A Glimpse of Lace – Chp 1 – 10

 

Chapter 1 – Something Wicked

It was something about the way her short skirt swished against her rounded bottom that always seemed to draw his eye, not that he tried to look. He knew it wasn’t the gentlemanly thing to do, ogle girls, but Merlin! She didn’t make it easy. The skirt was so much shorter than it should’ve been. He was surprised that McGonagall hadn’t given her detention yet.


He drew his eyes away again. He consciously tried not to look, not only was it impolite but it also wasn’t fair. He was going out with Hannah, so why he needed to ogle Pansy, of all people, he wasn’t sure.

He kept his eyes turned as he watched her in his peripheral vision. He watched as she stood, her head turned to talk to a couple of the other Slytherin girls. She began to walk away, laughing before she paused by him to throw a retort back at them.

The smell of black cherries and violets filled his space, and he tried not to inhale as she turned. He glanced up at her as Pansy looked down at him. Their eyes lingered for a moment before Pansy smirked at him. Without a word, she walked off, her skirt swishing against the satin smokiness of her thighs. Was that the tops of her stockings he could see? Sweet mother of Merlin! He felt his neck burn as he looked back down at his book. Wanting to hide, he pretended to read, but his eyes skimmed over the words without reading them. The Slytherin girls giggled again as Neville rubbed his neck in a bid to get rid of the heat creeping up his face.

He decided that there was something wicked about the full curve of her mouth too, something that promised sinful delights. He closed his eyes as he tried to order his thoughts. He was dating Hannah. He wanted to be with Hannah! He didn’t fancy Pansy at all. He did not want to do all manner of things with the Slytherin. He certainly didn’t want to have lipstick stains in random places either.

He really tried to believe it, as his eyes continued to skim the same line.

~~~

Chapter 2 – Black Lace and White Cotton Shirts

He loved the smell of Hannah’s hair, like calendula and geraniums. He loved the sound of her laugh when he said something intentionally funny. He absolutely adored her smile, it lit up the room.

Neville smiled at her as she turned to smile at him. Her attention, momentarily drawn from the books in her lap. She kissed his cheek before looking down again. He sighed happily as he looked out across the courtyard.

The sun poured down in golden ribbons as it filtered through the tree. Others shared the space as they relaxed between lessons, stretched out, and enjoying the last days of summer before autumn rolled in. Neville wished he could remove his robes but was enjoying the feeling of Hannah pressed against his side.

A sharp bark of a laugh erupted from the other side of the courtyard catching his attention. His eyes found a small group of Slytherins basking in the sun like the snakes they were. Theo sat hunched over, his dark eyes creased in laughter while Blaise looked on with a small smirk on his face.

Neville’s eyes spotted Pansy, and he felt his mouth suddenly dry up. Her black hair glinted blue in the sun as she lay outstretched on the grass. Her long, extended legs, crossed gracefully at the ankle. Once again, a hint of stocking poked out from under her short skirt. But that wasn’t the first thing to catch his eye.

Her bright white school shirt gaped as her bent elbows propped her up. Two tiny nubs fought against the tight cotton as her breasts squeezed for escape. He caught a glance of black lace from between the gaping buttons, and he swallowed.

He blushed furiously as they met eyes again. She shifted and popped the top button of her shirt, highlighting the soft curve of her small breasts. She kept eye contact with him as she flipped her hair back then, with languid grace, she closed her eyes and extended her neck to face the sun.

The exposed throat and the sensual curve of her parted lips looked so sinful and seductive that Neville forced himself to look away. He pressed his face into Hannah’s hair and closed his eyes before taking a deep breath. He felt so conflicted as his wants warred within him

He adored Hannah. They had so many things in common. They finished each other’s sentences, but as much as he loved her as a person, and as much as he hated himself for thinking it, he felt bored.

He kissed her head before she could notice anything was amiss. He felt that before the war, had he gathered the courage to ask her out, he would have gone on to marry her and live happily ever after. But so many things had changed. He wasn’t the same person he was before, and he never would be again.

In the gaps between the love and respect he held for her, he felt a yearning for something less vanilla, something more dangerous. His eyes darted back to the Slytherin princess, and he clenched his teeth with want. Dark thoughts flooded his mind of what he wanted to do. He wanted to mark that pale neck as he ran his hands over those nubs.

He wondered what noises she would make-No! This was cheating and wrong. He stood up and was thankful for his robes, knowing that his want would be noticeable without them. Hannah looked up at him, her brown eyes warm and curious. He felt dirty and wrong.

“You alright, Nev?“ she asked, placing her finger in the book before letting it close.

Neville nodded nervously, “Yeah, I’m getting too hot out here. I’ve also got to finish my transfiguration essay.”

Hannah went to follow, but Neville held up his hands. He needed some time alone.

“It’s alright. I want to grab a shower. I’ll see you at lunch?” He asked. She smiled and nodded, going back to her book.

“See you later,” he tried to smile back as he threw his bag into his shoulder. He turned and walked away, passing the Slytherins as he went.

“Need help finding your toad, Longbottom?” Pansy asked smoothly. Neville didn’t reply as he tried to abstain from glancing down the long ‘V’ of her shirt. Translucent lace met his eyes before he rushed on, determined not to look again.

Not again, he shouldn’t do it again. He couldn’t do it again. The throbbing need under his robes promised otherwise.

~~~

Chapter 3 – Lipstick Smudges in the Dark.

He shuddered as pleasure flooded his veins, and heat surrounded his throbbing cock. He didn’t question it when he felt a tongue swirl around the head. He bucked against the bed as the heat surrounded him. Images of dark red lipstick pressing against the base of his length filled his mind as he tried to gain friction. None was forthcoming, and he grunted in frustration.

The mouth sucked and continued to tease him into insanity. He felt his heart and breath speed up as the pleasure began to build. He tried to push his hands into the dark hair, but his hands met empty air. He gasped as a final swish of tongue pushed him over the point of no return. He opened his eyes and panicked as the orgasm wracked his waking body.

Pleasure overwhelmed him as he lay quivering, tangled in his bed covers. He blinked against dawn light glittering through his curtains as he grimaced in embarrassment. Neville grunted as he reached for his wand and quietly cast a cleansing charm on his boxer shorts. Once clean, he fell back into the bed and stared at the virtually pitch ceiling as he lay in the afterglow. For the third time in a week, he’d dreamt the same dream, each time it resulted in him coming in his boxers.

The thought of her wine coloured lipstick smudged against the glossy skin of his cock made it twitch in appreciation as he bit his lip against the image. He rolled over and contemplated going back to sleep. He decided against it. It was the weekend, and that meant he could go and collect wild plants for his thesis. And he might actually get some time alone to himself.

He silently pushed the curtains to the side as he stepped out onto the stone floor. He missed the warm wooden floor of the Gryffindor tower, but he understood that those dorms were now needed for the new first years. The sounds of snores filled the air as he tried to make out the beds in the dark.

As the first-ever eighth year at Hogwarts, they had been integrated into one large house. And with one house came one large dorm for them all to share. The dorm itself was doughnut-shaped with the stairwell in the centre.

Once the battle flames had died away, and thoughts turned to repairs, a tower had been erected and named Lumos tower in honour of those fallen to the dark lord.

The dorms took up the uppermost three floors. Girls had the run of the top level, the common room-the bottom-most, and then sandwiched between the two, was the boy’s dorm. House points were now irrelevant as house identity had been removed. Their uniforms were now only black and white with a thin, mauve thread running through it.

Neville crept out when he heard a sharp gasp. He froze and turned to find the noise coming from Terry Boot’s bed. Most of them now suffered from nightmares, whether they had fought in the war or not. Neville waited for Terry to quieten again before he proceeded to get dressed. He grabbed his herbology things and pushed out into the brightly lit stairwell. He squinted at the lights as he began the climb down the stairs.

He stretched and groaned as he met the common room lights. His muscles beginning to cramp after his dream. He grabbed his coat and started down when he heard a voice behind him.

“Morning, Nev,” he groaned inwardly and tried to hide his disappointment as he turned.

“Morning, Han. Sleep well?”

She smiled, and his irritation eased a bit.

“Yeah, not too bad. The wind howled quite a bit last night, sounded like the shutters were going to come right off the windows. Then the rain changed direction, and we were sure that if the windows hadn’t been magical, then they would have smashed. Kept quiet a few of us up last night. It really did howl and groan! Did you hear it? Then again, the boy’s dorm is a bit lower, isn’t it? Probably didn’t hit you as fiercely. You look tired, did it keep you up?”

His irritation was back as was his guilt as he waited for her to finish. He nodded as his eyes skimmer her pale hair and thin pink lips and knew with certainty that it hadn’t been her lips that he’d been dreaming of.

“Nah, we were fine.” He said simply as he turned to go.

“Where are you going?” She asked as she stood from her chair, her long pale nightie rubbing her ankles.

“I need to collect some things for my herbology thesis and thought I’d go now.” He cringed inwardly as he knew what her reply would be.

“You should have let me know, you never give me time to get ready. Silly sausage! Let me go get dressed.”

“You don’t need to come,” he offered, but he already knew it was too late. His plans at having some time alone were gone.

“Yes, I do. I’ll be right back.” She kissed his cheek as she brushed past him towards the stairs. Now alone in the common room, he groaned as he threw himself onto one of the tattered old chairs.

The longer they dated, the less time he had to himself. She wanted to be attached to him wherever he went, which in turn meant he had to follow her to do her activities too. He rubbed his face as he contemplated just running out without her. It’s not like she would enjoy herself.

He heard someone yawn and glanced at the stairwell. He groaned inwardly but not in irritation. Pansy gracefully descended, her long pale legs contrasting with the dark grey silk robe she wore. She hadn’t tied it tightly meaning that Neville could see the taut lace triangles of material. The transparent material did nothing to hide the dark circles of delicate skin beneath. The shorts were a similar story; however, at least they were semi-opaque where it counted.

He listened as her feet padded against the stone floor and wondered why she was up. She walked right passed him, and he realised she was heading for the coffee pot. She was out of view now, but he could hear the swish of material and the trickle of liquid before she passed him again and sat down.

He felt guilty as he watched her gracefully cross her legs and sip at the coffee as she stared outside. He cleared his throat.

She turned, surprise etched into her features. Her plump, pink mouth parted and her dark eyebrows raised in perfect arches. Her ordinarily perfect hair stuck out in all directions. She looked like a centre-page spread in an adult magazine.

Her surprise was short-lived as she smirked before taking another sip of coffee.

“Good morning, Longbottom,” She said calmly.

“Morning, Parkinson.” He replied, relieved that his voice didn’t quiver.

“Sleep well?” She asked, and for a split moment, he wondered if she knew.

“Very well,” he replied, “and you?” He asked, wondering if she would give the game away.

“Better than expected.” She smirked before sipping her coffee again. “Are you waiting for Hannah?” She asked, leaning forward to put her coffee cup down, allowing her robe to gape. He swallowed audibly.

“Erm, yeah. She wanted to come with me to collect plants,” Pansy nodded.

“You’ll be waiting a while, she was just jumping in the showers when I came down,” she raised her arms above her head and stretched, again the triangles of transparent lace appeared. He saw the two nubs pressing against the material and swallowed again. He wondered whether she would taste as good as she looked. She moaned into the stretch, and the sound vibrated straight to his cock. She sounded like melted dark chocolate and fire whiskey and everything decadent in the world.

He sat up, hoping to readjust himself without Pansy noticing. He had already started to grow hard at the mere sight of her. He clenched his teeth together as he tried to remember what they had been talking about. Hannah, they had been discussing Hannah.

“I’ll wait and hope she’s not too long,” Neville replied as he tore his eyes away. Pansy leant forward and retrieved her cup before sipping it and throwing her legs over the arm of the sofa. His eyes glanced to hers, and she smiled as if she knew the exact reaction she had on him. After a long stretch of silence, Neville decided that perhaps coffee was a good idea after all.

He stood and poured himself a cup as he felt her eyes on him. He looked out of the window and watched as the clouds rolled closer. It was going to rain soon, and he was going to get caught in it if Hannah didn’t hurry. A noise caught his attention as he turned. Pansy stood up languidly, like a cat as she left her cup on the coffee table. She prowled forward stopping right in front of him. He had never realised how tall she was before, but now as he looked down, and saw her lips, he knew that she was the perfect height for him to kiss. She looked up, allowing him a full sight of her chest and midriff.

“If I were you, I’d go out and come back. It’s important to let a partner breathe in a relationship. Too much time together stifles the flame.” Neville looked up into those smokey grey eye and felt so spellbound, he wondered if she hadn’t put something in the food. He’d never noted the fine dusting of freckles across the bridge of her nose before

“But then again, if you were mine, I wouldn’t want to leave you alone either.” She shrugged with a tilt of her head as her eyes raked over his chest and lower. “Oh well, I’d better get dressed, it would be terrible if any of the boys saw me in my nightclothes,” she winked and smirked before turning to leave.

He watched as she stalked away and felt the blood leave his face in search of lower places. Sweet mother of Merlin she was certainly brazen and knew exactly what buttons to press. He tried to think calm thoughts but knew that he’d better get used to this sensation in his trousers as something told him she was going to make him suffer exquisitely as the months progressed.

~~~

Chapter 4 – Walking Boots and Bad Influences

It was over an hour before they were finally outside and as predicted, the weather had moved in filling the air with a fine drizzle. Neville had taken this into account, wearing his walking boots and waterproofs. Hannah, on the other hand, hadn’t.

“Are we going to be out here long, Nev?” She asked as she held her wand up to cast the umbrella charm. She held herself tightly to keep the cold out as she looked around in distaste.

“I was going to keep going until lunchtime. I need to find some Bulgerwort and Pipeweed to compare for my essay.”

“Those aren’t hard to find are they?” She asked as she trailed behind him.

“They’re not the easiest. You can go back in, you didn’t need to come with me. I don’t want you catching a cold.”

“No, it’s ok. I wanted to talk to you about some things anyway, and we never seem to have any alone time any more.” He almost stopped walking and looked at her. He felt like that’s all they seemed to have these days.

He wondered whether she had noticed him eyeing Pansy, not that he’d been doing it on purpose. He wasn’t that sort of man. He was loyal to the end.

“Oh?” Was all he could say as he carried on walking.

“Neville, please slow down. Your legs are longer than mine.” She complained as she tried to keep up. He tried not to roll his eyes, but it was difficult.

“Sorry, Love.” He responded as he stopped to wait for her.

“Anyway, I wanted to know what your plans were for Christmas?”

He raised his eyebrows at that, Christmas was four months off. He’d assumed that he would spend it at home and possibly see the Weasley’s Harry and Hermione at the Burrow for a good portion of it too. He would have to check with Ginny as neither Harry nor Ron had returned. He hadn’t really seen Hermione since term had started, he’d have to try and sought her out too.

His mind wandered to the summer spent with them as they attempted to rebuild the castle. There were still areas that hadn’t been completed, but luckily they were parts of the castle that weren’t vital to lessons.

“I’m not really sure, I guess I’ll spend it with my family and see you and my friends too. I know that they’re always asking us over to the Burrow.” He smiled as he thought of the loud and busy red-heads. “I’d have to check though, it’s still a way off yet. Why?”

“I was wondering whether you wanted to spend it with my family and me?”

“That sounds nice, which day?”

“Day?” She asked, looking confused. “I meant for all of it,”

“All of it? What about my friends and family? I don’t get to see them during term time.”

“Your grandmother would be welcome too, of course.”

“But what about Ron and Harry and the others?”

“Well, I was thinking about that too.” She said, and Neville knew that he was not going to like the next bit either. He waited and watched as her lips fidgeted as though tasting the words before she said them. “They’ve not been the best friends, or role models to you have they? Disappearing without you. Leaving you to the Carrows, teasing you. I just thought that someone needed to tell you that they weren’t really your friends, not like I am.”

He took a deep breath as he tried to understand what she was suggesting.

“They never teased me, no more than we all teased each other.” He argued, it sounded lame, but he knew it was true. “They’ve never said a genuine bad word about me.”

“But they left you to the Carrow’s” She argued “They didn’t offer for you to go with them,” He couldn’t argue with that, but he didn’t mind, he thought of all the first years that he had managed to protect by just being there. 

“It was better that I stayed behind, They left Ginny as well. Being on the run wasn’t safer than school, even with the Carrows.”

“I just don’t think they’re good for you, Nev. They were always causing trouble and losing house points. I think it’s a good thing that most of them didn’t return this year.”

Neville felt the sharp sting he always felt whenever he remembered that he was the only Gryffindor boy to have returned. He had wanted to finish his Newts so that he could at least say that he’d been able to achieve good grades. There was a job waiting for him in the Aurors when he left if he wanted it. Harry and Ron had both joined and were going through training. Dean and Seamus were also working at the ministry trying to rebuild and reorganise things. Dean had been taken on as an architect, and Seamus as demolitions.

He missed his friends, but Terry from Ravenclaw was alright, as was Wayne and Roger from Hufflepuff. He’d spoken to Theo a couple of times too, but the rest of the Slytherins kept to themselves. He still had Ginny, Luna and Hermione, but being girls, it just wasn’t the same.

“I don’t agree, Han. They’re my friends,” He turned to her to say more when he saw her fall.

He rushed to her side, the words he was about to say lost in his panic.

“Oh, Neville, It’s my ankle.” She whimpered as he touched it.

“Can you walk?” He asked as he tried to help her up.

“I’m not sure.” She confessed as he hooked her arm around his shoulder. She stepped out and attempted to place her foot down but cried out before jerking her foot up again. “No, it hurts too much, can you heal it?”

He shook his head. His healing spells had always been disastrous.

“I’d rather not risk it, let’s get you to the hospital wing.”

“Oh, but what about your research?”

“I’ll come back out later.” He sighed silently as he helped her slowly back to the castle.

~~~

Chapter 5 – Priorities

He collapsed into the chair next to Hermione and winced as his back twinged. The walk back with Hannah had created aches all along his side where he stooped to carry her.

“You look awful, Nev!” Ginny said as she looked up from her homework.

“Yes, Neville, you look very soggy,” Luna confirmed as she appeared at the table with a couple of hefty tomes.

“I just had to walk all the way back from the other side of the black lake because Hannah sprained her ankle.”

“Oh no, is she alright?” Hermione asked without looking up from her parchment.

“She’ll be fine, Madam Pomfrey gave her a sleeping draught and sent her back to the dorms to rest.”

“Well, that’s good then.” Luna smiled before tilting her head. He watched as she narrowed her eyes thoughtfully “Is there more you need to tell us, Neville?”

He sighed heavily, earning a violent shush from Madam Pince. He held up his hand in apology and leant forward, placing his head in his hands.

He thought back to the conversation about his friends. Had he blown it out of proportion In his head? She was only looking out for him. And Hannah was right, they had never asked him whether he wanted to join them on the run. He opened his mouth to say something but stopped. It was done, there was no changing it, and everything had worked out alright in the end.

“It’s nothing, don’t worry about it, I just don’t think I’ve been sleeping properly.” He whispered as the others worked. “Mind if I stay here with you guys for a while?”

“Of course it is,” Hermione smiled.

Neville went and picked some herbology books to read through, hoping that he would be able to get some work done despite his failed trek.

When he returned back to the table, the other girls were sharing glances.

“Everything alright?” he asked quietly. They shared a glance again and nodded together.

“Everythings fine, Neville. We just want you to know that if you need anything, we’re here for you.” He nodded as he looked at the three of them, the earnest concern there put him at ease.

“Thanks.” He smiled as he opened his book and began to read.

~

The time seemed to fly by, but before long, it was lunchtime. Neville felt his stomach growl as Madam Pince glared at him. He smiled in appeasement as he stood up. “I’m going to go grab some lunch and carry on in the common room.”

“Alright Nev, I’ve got to stay here, some of these books are from the restricted section so I can’t remove them.” Hermione frowned. “But I’ll be back up to work in the common room later if you want to sit together?” Hermione offered.

“Sounds good.” He turned to Ginny and Luna. “I’ll see you guys tomorrow, alright?” They nodded as they offered sympathetic smiles.

“We still have the DA coins if you need us.” Ginny reminded him, he nodded.

He headed in the direction of the great hall, he’d grab a sandwich and take something back for Hannah. Hopefully, they could talk about what she’d said earlier.

He grabbed some sandwiches of various flavours, some fruit and a couple of cakes. He thought that she’d enjoy a picnic in the common room. He was feeling slightly better by the time he reached the common room. The place looked deserted as he went to leave.

“There you are!” Neville turned around and smiled. Hannah was sat in one of the chairs with her foot up. His smiled wilted when he saw her face.

“Hey,” He offered as he got closer. “What are you doing out of bed?” He asked, placing his bag down next to the opposite chair.

“I’ve been waiting for you.” She said grumpily. “I didn’t realise that you were going to dump me in the dorm and then abandon me.” She huffed as she crossed her arms.

“I didn’t abandon you, you were going to be asleep, so I went to the Library.” He offered as he sat down.

“And I bet you’ve been hanging with Granger, Weasley and Loony after I specifically asked you not to.”

He paused before pulling the food out of his bag. He was sure that she hadn’t asked him anything of the sort.

“When did you ask me that?” He asked he didn’t think he would forget something like that.

“Merlin, Neville! You don’t listen to me any more. You said that wouldn’t hang around with them any more because they’re a bad influence.”

“Is this the conversation we had before you sprained your ankle?” He asked as he racked his brain, trying to remember. “I don’t remember you mentioning Hermione, Ginny and Luna.”

“Do I need to spell it out for you, Nev? Hermione set a teacher on fire, Ginny broke into the headteacher’s office and Loony see’s things that aren’t there. Which one of those do you think is a good influence?” Once again, he couldn’t argue with her facts.

“Hermione is the best student in the school. Ginny is Quidditch team captain and gets great grades, and Luna is clever and intuitive. I’d rather you didn’t call her loony.”

There was a silence before the sniffles began. He looked up as she began to sob.

“I knew you would take their side, you always do.” She shouted. He shook his head in disagreement.

“Han-“

“You didn’t let me finish what I was saying!” She interrupted. “I’m supposed to be your girlfriend, not them.”

“But they’re my family-”

“But you’re the only one who thinks that. They only see you as someone that hangs around. Whereas you are the centre of my world. You ask anyone, and they’ll tell you the same. They’re not your real friends!”

She started to cry in earnest now, and Neville didn’t know what to do. He looked around, but if there were any students within hearing distance, they remained hidden. The room looked deserted.

He stepped closer and crouched as he tried to comfort her, She shook her head and stood before knocking him over.

“You need to sort out your priorities, Neville. Decide who is more important to you, them or me. Because I will not play second fiddle to a bunch of misfits and trouble-makers regardless of who they are.” She sobbed again before getting to her feet. She wobbled on her sore ankle before hobbling towards the stairs.

He sat on the floor as he stared after where he had been. He wasn’t sure what had happened. He shook his head as he got to his feet and sat on the chair again. He grabbed one of the sandwiches and nibbled it before realising that he wasn’t hungry any more.

How had this day turned into such a mess? He rubbed his face as he tried to understand her thinking. He adored her, but she had become so possessive and controlling. He couldn’t just dump his friends. He knew they weren’t bad influences. He threw the sandwich down as he stared at the ceiling. What was he going to do? He didn’t want to break up, did he? It was nice having someone that he could call his own. He pondered this as someone coughed, dragging him from his thoughts.

~~~

Chapter 6 – Muted Violet

He looked around for the culprit, ready to give someone a piece of his mind.

“Hello?” He called.

He heard a creak of material and springs as a head popped u over a nearby chair. He felt his heart let out a loud thud as Pansy smiled at him. The smile took him off guard. It seemed to be missing its usual playful edge.

“Girl trouble, Longbottom?” she asked as she rested her chin on her arms.

“Something like that.” He admitted as he tried to fight the blush in his cheeks. “Sorry if we disturbed you,” he muttered as the fight went out of him.

Pansy smiled softly and looked at him

“Don’t worry about it.” She replied carefully before sinking back behind the chair.

He stood up and grabbed his things before moving towards her seat.

“What are you doing?” He asked again as he eyed the books on the table in front of her. Movement caught his eyes, and he noticed that she wasn’t alone. Theo looked up from a weathers book and nodded to him. Neville nodded back awkwardly, his eyes darting between Pansy and Theo.

Pansy sat down, folding the muted violet summer dress beneath her legs before getting comfortable.

“Nothing, don’t worry about it,” Pansy smirked as she turned back to her books.

“She was trying not to laugh at Abbott’s comment about Granger being a bad influence,” Theo replied quietly as his attention turned back to his book. Pansy pouted as she shot him a glare.

“Traitor!” Theo glanced up and smirked before returning to his work. “But, yes, Ms Abbott should have been put into Slytherin! Her emotional manipulation is on point!” Pansy nodded thoughtfully before looking at her own books again.

Neville continued to stand, looking between Theo and Pansy as they looked at their books, scribbling notes occasionally.

“Are you waiting for the knight bus or something?” Theo asked as he glanced up again. Neville shook his head, confused.

“What do you mean?”

“He means ‘sit down’, you Pigmypuff!” Pansy chuckled as she shot him a glance.

“You don’t mind?” Neville asked as he started to lower his things to the floor.

“Salazar! Longbottom. Just sit down, Merlin knows we could do with your help on our Herbology assignment.” Theo said with a roll of his eyes. Neville paused for a moment more before sitting down on the chair next to them.

“Now you’re hanging around with some real trouble makers,” Pansy winked as she pushed some hair out of her face.

Neville felt a blush warm his throat as he caught Pansy’s eyes. She smiled warmly as she rubbed her neck, a delicate silver chain glinting in the light. He stopped his eyes travelling lower as he started to pull his books out of his bag.

“Have you eaten lunch yet?” He asked suddenly, remembering the food he’d brought up.

Pansy and Theo looked at him before sharing a long glance. The familiar gesture made Neville wonder whether he was intruding.

“We haven’t, why?” Theo answered cautiously.

“I brought some sandwiches up, intending to share them with Hannah, but she probably won’t talk to me again until tomorrow now.”

He pulled the food out of his bag and laid it out on the table as he avoided their books. Both Slytherin’s leant forward and grabbed a sandwich before thanking Neville.

There was a moment of silence as Neville chewed on some grapes. Pansy tilted her head thoughtfully before opening her mouth.

“Does Abbott often ignore you?”

“Only when I’ve done something to annoy her.”

“And that’s how often?” Theo asked.

Neville felt the blush return as he ran his fingers through his hair. He wasn’t sure why he was talking to candidly to them. It’s not like they were friends.

“Not that often, although she wouldn’t talk to me at all last week.”

“What had you done?”

“I went to watch Ginny audition their new quidditch team.” He said with a shrug.

Theo and Pansy looked at each other.

“What?” Neville asked.

“Nothing, Longbottom,” Theo added with a sympathetic smile.

“Come on,” Neville complained.

Pansy sighed as she closed her book and looked at him, Her eyes looked steely and purposeful as she crossed her legs. Something about the dress made her look soft and pretty instead of the harsher clothes she wore. He liked the new facet to her, it seemed far more approachable.

“I’ve got questions first,” She said first as she looked at him.

“Okay?” he agreed curiously.

“Today, did she sprain her ankle before or after you fought?”

“We didn’t fight” Neville responded.

“Ok, did you agree with her when she asked you to not see your friends any more?”

“No.” He shook his head as he waited for Pansy to respond.

“So were you in agreement when she tripped?”

“No,”

“Interesting,” she added. “So you disagreed with her and then she fell over?” She asked calmly resting her hands in her lap. He nodded.

“Why?”

“Did you stop fighting afterwards?” Theo asked, temporarily shutting his own books.

“Yeah, I guess so, we were busy trying to get back to the hospital wing,”

“Slytherin through and through,” Theo offered before looking at Pansy.

“Please explain.” He begged as he could feel a headache build

“Theo and I think that she used the trip as a distraction, so then when she decided to come back to the point, you may have forgotten what you agreed to or not.” Pansy offered

“But I know I didn’t agree to it.”

“But knowing that she’s hurt, does that make you hold back from arguing again?”

“I guess, a little,”

“There! You’ll want to be careful of that one, I underestimated her.”

“Why?”

“She wants to control you. If you let her get away with it, she’ll to be a tough one to get rid of.”

“No, she isn’t like that,” Neville argued.

“Ok, step one – get together, step two – get him away from his friends,” she paused before glancing to Theo, counting with her fingers as she went.

Theo jumped in “Three – hog all of his time and attention.” Pansy smiled and nodded like a proud parent,

“Four – stop him from arguing back by interrupting. And then finally there’s five,”

“Five?” Neville asked

“Threats” Theo added in as he finished his sentence with a small flourish of his quill.

“Any of this sounding familiar?” Pansy asked kindly, “If I were you, I’d call her bluff. You’re better off without her.”

Neville shook his head. “She’s not like that, and she doesn’t manipulate me,”

“Neville, I know what tricks bullies use, because I’ve used them myself.” Pansy placed her hand on his knee, and he felt the heat radiate through his trousers. She looked into his face but not into his eyes, and he saw regret there.  “I wish I hadn’t, but what’s done is done.”

“She’s right, Longbottom. Cut ties, if anyone knows what it’s like to be in manipulative relationships, it’s the children of parents like ours.” Theo added as he pointed at Pansy and himself.

Neville shook his head again.

“Look, you don’t know Hannah like I do, so… let’s just do our homework” Neville said finally as Pansy reluctantly pulled back her hand.

~

They sat in awkward yet companionable silence as they worked, asking questions and answering when needed. It wasn’t until the door of the common room opened that Neville realised the time. The sky had started to darken outside the tower windows, the distant horizon turning an eerie purple and orange as the sun began its descent through the clouds.

Neville glanced at the door and noticed Hermione. He smiled and waved and watched as she approached. He watched as her eyes darted cautiously to the chairs either side but widened when she saw who he sat with.

“Do you mind if Hermione sits with us?” Neville asked after clearing his throat to get their attention.

Pansy and Theo glanced at Hermione before smirking to themselves.

“I’m sure three trouble makers are better than two,” Theo replied as he stood to allow Hermione to take his seat.

“Oh, right, Thank you,” Hermione muttered uncertainly as she frowned in confusion. He eyes turned to Neville, and he shrugged. She smiled slightly as she pulled the books out of her bag. “I thought you’d be with Hannah.” She said lightly, but Neville spotted the tightness around her lips.

“Hannah and never had a bit of a misunderstanding.” Pansy offered smoothly without looking up.

“Oh? Over what?” Hermione asked, her books now forgotten.

“Nothing,” Neville said as he avoided her gaze. “She’s just tired.”

He heard the snort from Theo and Pansy in stereo as he looked up.

“Abbott got her knickers in a twist and stormed off,” Pansy added. Neville looked at her and saw the disgust flash across her face before it returned to the smooth, attractive lines he was used to.

“Nev?” Hermione probed “What happened?”

“Nothing, I told you, she’s just tired from the draught that Pomfrey gave her.”

He wasn’t sure why he didn’t want to talk about it. It had certainly been playing on his mind constantly. He guessed it was because he didn’t want to either hurt Hermione or enrage her when she found out what Hannah had said. Pansy and Theo’s words spun around in his head as the words on his book faded into inconsequence. Was she really manipulating him?

He thought back to when they had first started seeing each other. The train had been quieter than usual as only half of the students had returned. The compartments were more jumbled too, the houses mingling more than before. The Slytherins still remained separated from the rest; regret, shame and fear radiating from them in equal measure. Their compartment was as silent as a library as haunted faces gazed emptily out of the window, or nose first into books.

The sound of footsteps drew his attention as his eyes raised to the stairway. The unsteady rhythm of it churned his stomach as his eyes darted between Hermione and Pansy. Hannah slowly limped down the stairs stopping for a moment as her eyes scanned the common room. As their eyes met, he saw the grim line of her lips as her eyes darted to the other women he was sitting with. His mind began to race as he tried to decide what was best to say as damage control. He felt sick with nerves as if he’d been caught cheating.

“Hi, Hannah.” Hermione offered and a tentative smile.

“Hello, Hermione,” she responded with coldly. She looked at Pansy and Theo who sat silently, the awkwardness of the situation blatant. Hannah didn’t even address the former Slytherins as her eyes returned to Neville.

“Having fun, are we?” She asked, and it felt like he had been slapped.

“Han, We were doing homework.”

“How long has it been?”

“What do you mean?” He asked as he stood up.

“How long has it been since we discussed this?” She limped closer, the fury in her eyes becoming more apparent, the closer she got.

“Since you went upstairs? About five hours.” He offered “Are you feeling better?” He asked, hoping to distract her.

“So, five hours after I specifically ask you not to hang around with trouble makers, you go and disobey me, and you start associating with death eaters?” Neville winced as her volume rose.

“Han, please, keep your voice down,” He pleaded as other students began to look over.

“You haven’t listened to a word I’ve said, have you? You never listen, your ears are too clogged up with bloody soil to hear a damn word. You’re about as useful and attentive as a dead snail. I don’t know why I bother, you don’t care about me, you never did, otherwise, you wouldn’t spend all your times with other girls” She screamed

“That was uncalled for.” Pansy cut in, Neville turned to find pansy’s scowl pointed at Hannah. Hannah blinked but didn’t acknowledge her.

“Han-” he started, but she cut him off.

“No, Longbottom. You obviously prefer the company of others, so please, continue.” She waved a hand sarcastically to the others before she limped off towards the stairs down to the lower levels.

The common room was shrouded in shocked silence for a few moments as Hannah left the room. Neville felt everyone’s eyes on him as he stood exposed and alone. He felt the heat rise up his neck as embarrassment stung his pride.

“Oh Neville,” Hermione said as she stepped behind him, placing a hand on his shoulder. Neville heard someone snigger, and it broke the spell. He shrugged off Hermione’s hand and turned to grab his books and bags. He avoided everyone’s gaze, not feeling ready to face any emotion that he might see there. He shrugged his bag onto his shoulder and retreated back to his dorm where he could be alone and could collect himself. 

~~~  

Chapter 7 – Greenhouses

Three days passed, and nothing he did made him feel any better. He kept his eyes turned down and tried to keep his mind attuned to his lessons. He studied on his bed away from the common room and the mocking glances and kept his distance from anyone that could get him into further trouble. He knew that it was self-inflicted isolation, but he hadn’t felt as lonely since before starting Hogwarts sitting in his room at home, wishing for friends and missing his parents.

He sighed again as he tried to concentrate on his book. Tuesday had been an utterly abysmal day as had Monday and Sunday. Still, today felt more so as Ginny had had her first match against Hufflepuff. He had watched from his window, yearning to be out there and be a part of it. He wasn’t sure who had won in the end but wasn’t sure it mattered. If Gryffindor won, he’d be gutted to have missed it, if they lost, he’d only blame himself for missing it.

He tore his eyes from the window where they’d wandered against his will. The sky was starting to darken, and he thought it might be safe to venture out. Most people would be in the great hall eating.  He might even be able to get into the greenhouses to get some coursework done. He closed his book and grabbed his jacket and bag before slipping out of the dorm.

He kept his head down as he rushed through the Common room, not waiting to see who was there. He didn’t hear any commotion as he managed to make it into the next stairwell. He let go of the breath he was holding and continued to the greenhouses. The corridors were virtually deserted as he rushed to the nearest exit.

Once outside in the cooling air, he breathed another sigh of relief. Since that incident at the weekend, the stone walls seemed to bend in towards him, pressing down from all sides. He couldn’t bear it. He could hear them in class, talking about it and whispering as they glanced his way.     

He closed his eyes and shook his head. He needed to relax. He knew that he was probably blowing everything out of context, especially after last year under the Carrows. But something about the whole situation seemed to drain him, pulling his mind into dark and deep places that seemed almost impossible to climb out of.

He followed the castle walls at a slower pace now as the chances of bumping into anyone had dropped to virtually nothing. He let his hands trail against the stone and lichen as he let his feet lead the way. He looked up and knew that the night was going to be a beautiful one, perfect for the astrology students. He could see Orion’s belt glittering above him as the warm, orange light disappeared behind the mountains. The moon rose like a silvery pearl against the darkening sky as he pulled out his wand and whispered Lumos, causing the end to erupt into light.

Before long he was in the first of the greenhouses. He could smell the rich, moist air as he took a deep breath. He let the smell of life and nature fill his lungs and instantly felt better. He flicked his wand and the lanterns within awoken, filling the space in amber light. He dropped his bag and removed his jacket before pulling out his books to work.

The rose of Jericho sat looking as shrivelled and knarled as it had earlier that afternoon regardless of the tests he had run on the plant. It was known to the muggles by the same name or as the resurrection plant, and it had been widely believed that the sap at its core could be used as an elixir for prolonged life. Neville leant over it for a moment before smiling. Only around plants did he feel genuinely at ease. The plants asked nothing, demanded nothing and expected nothing. There was a certain sense of relief in that simple relationship.

He opened his book when he heard a noise in the doorway. He jumped and pointed his wand, sending sparks at the intruder.

“For fuck’s sake, Longbottom!” Pansy swore as she pulled her hand away, narrowly avoiding the vast amount of sparks. As the sparks landed, the dry straw started to glow and flame.

“Shit!” Neville said with feeling as he flooded the floor with a thin layer of water. Breathing out when the embers sizzled into nothing.

“Does that happen every time you’re caught off guard?” Pansy asked as she pushed into the door, waving her hand around. Neville caught the motion and cringed.

“Are you hurt?” He asked as he avoided her eyes.

“Just a bit singed, I’ll be fine, I’m a big girl,” Pansy smirked as she looked at the plants.

“What are you doing here?” He asked, his heartbeat roaring in his ears.

“Isn’t it obvious?” She asked with a quirk of her eyebrow. “I followed you.” She smiled as she jumped up to sit on one of the tables.

“Why?” He asked, turning back to the plant. He could feel the table rock as she swung her legs. The motion distracted him as the leaves twitched and shivered.

“Why not?” She offered with a smile. “Maybe I just want to tease you? It’s not like anyone else has been able to this week so far.”

“Get it out of your system them, I’ve got work to do.”

“Can I call you by your name?” She asked curiously.

He looked up, her tone piquing his interest. He frowned as he looked at her, his eyes focusing on her elbow.

“You do, anyway.” He muttered sullenly before turning back.

“I meant your first name, I mean it’s a damn sight easier to say than Longbottom.” Neville felt a thrill rush through him as he tried to concentrate on the plant.

“I guess.” He shrugged, hoping to come across as calm and nonchalant, but feeling slightly giddy inside.

“Neville,” she said as if tasting it with her tongue. He glanced over and watched as she caught her bottom lip with her teeth as she pronounced the V. He watched as the plump pillow bounced back. He swallowed and looked away, and memories of his dream resurfaced. He closed his eyes as he tried to blot out the images. Not here, not now.

He’d be lying if he hadn’t had thoughts about being with her in the greenhouses. He took a deep breath. He needed to get her out of there, if only for his own sanity.    

“So, are you going to get on with it or is the suspense part of the torture?” He asked

“Depends” She smirked again and shrugged.

“On what?” He asked, turning fully to her now.

“On whether you’re going to talk to me.”

“Talk to you?” he frowned again. “why? What is there to talk about?”

“Come on, Neville. I know you’re smarter than that.” He looked at her and waited for her to elaborate. She sighed and gave up before starting to talk again. “I want to talk about what happened on Saturday.”

“What about Saturday?”

“Don’t be such a stubborn Gryffindor! It drives me crazy. Just be normal, level-headed Neville, just for a second.”

“Normal Neville? How would you know what’s normal for me?” She dismissed his comment with a wave of her hand before sighing and shaking her head. She looked up and met his gaze. Her face was devoid of the playfulness now, and he ventured to guess that he could see concern instead.

The frown remained on his face as he stared into her eyes. He wanted to turn away from her, to hide from the honesty that stared back.

“Just talk to me! Please. Talk at me! Pretend I’m my namesake and chat with me like one of your plants. I won’t even chat back if that’s what you want. Just talk about it. Let it out. Do something except mope and wallow.” She sighed before looking down. “I know we’ve never been friends, and I,” she paused for a second, before pushing on. “I would like us to be friends.”

He felt like the world had turned topsy-turvy.

“What?” He couldn’t seem to form words to comprehend what was happening.

She sighed and chuckled to herself with a shake of her head.

“Hermione told me that you wouldn’t believe me.” She went to stand up  

“Hermione? She knows?”

“Of course she knows. Our beds are right next to each other.” She looked down and pushed a strand of hair out of her face before glancing back. “After Saturday, we had a nice long conversation about everything. I think we’ve buried the hatchet.”

Neville nodded dumbly as he tried to connect everything. He watched dumbfounded as she stood looking up at him. She chewed at her lip as she played with the hem of her sleeve. “Hermione is worried about you, as are Weasley and Lovegood. They don’t want to upset you by facing you with it, but I know that you need to know.” She shrugged and turned around.

“Wait.” He almost shouted as his hand shot out. “Where are you going?”

“Well, if you’re not going to talk to me, I was going to go and stargaze before going back to the common room.”

“Stargaze? You don’t take astrology.” It was a statement, and he felt his cheeks flame as she looked at him, a shy smile coming to her lips.

“Very observant.” She replied coyly “I don’t, but I love the stars anyway.” She turned to go.

“If you would like to talk, I’ll be just outside.” Neville nodded as she left the greenhouse. He stood staring at the ground as he tried to put everything in order. He glanced back at the plant and shook his head. He wasn’t going to be able to concentrate, knowing that she was outside alone. He took a few calming breaths as he shook out his hands to dissipate the nervous energy that had electrified his blood. The idea of being alone with her sent a thrill up his spine and a hum in his bones that he couldn’t stop.

~~~

Chapter 8 – Stargazing

Neville shivered as he left the greenhouse, the night was cloudless and cold now that the sun had sunk firmly behind the mountains. He eyed the ground and spotted Pansy laying in the grass, staring up at the star-speckled expanse. He stood silently as his eyes moved over her body, noting her clothes. The silken blouse clung to her curves, and once again, he could see the tiny pinpricks against the material where her nipples stood proud. He swallowed and shook his head, he honestly wished that he didn’t notice such things. She deserved more respect than being only something that made his body react in such a way.

She heard his approach and pushed her self up on her elbows. She turned to him and smiled. The light of the moon bathing them in a bright grey light. It had occurred to him how pretty she looked when her spiteful and superior façade was gone. Her shiny eyes looking almost unearthly in the night.

“That was quick. I wasn’t expecting you for a while yet.”

He shrugged as he sat on the grass next to her.

“I couldn’t concentrate.” He said as he gazed up at the face on the moon.

“I know that feeling.” She snorted as she looked back up at the sky.

“How come?” He asked as he hugged his legs to his chest.

She laughed, and it was a bitter sound. “Where would you like me to begin?”

“Good point.” He nodded with a snort.

“I remember coming here a lot last year.” She said quietly. “When it got too much inside.”

“How come I never saw you?” Neville asked as he looked down and her, following the lines and curves of her face as she spoke.

She shrugged, making the blouse ride up. The small curve of her navel caught his eyes, and he groaned inwardly as he shut his eyes.

“I guess I didn’t want to be found.” She sighed as she lifted her arms and rested her head on her hands, exposing more midriff.

Neville nodded as he watched her. He didn’t want to break the silence; to break the spell.

“Last year was a real headfuck.” She said finally as she sighed into the night. “The only thing that kept me going was coming here to stare at the stars.” She paused as her eyes gazed up, Neville felt his breath catch as he could see galaxies reflected in her eyes. “I mean, how bad could life really be in comparison to the vastness of the universe. How much could such a little speck suffer in the grand scheme of things? It helped put things into perspective as well as scaring the shit out of me.” She laughed and looked at him.

He looked back, not knowing what to say.

“Lie down with me, Neville.” She asked, her voice barely above a whisper. He felt entranced as he lay down next to her, his shoulder touching hers as the cold grass tickled his neck. She rested her head against his shoulder as she pointed into the sky. She named a couple of constellations and stars as they lay there, but Neville couldn’t focus as her warmth and smell overwhelmed his senses. The scent of cherries and violets smelling spicier and sharper in the fresh air.

“Looking into such beauty, almost any problem becomes so small in comparison; almost insignificant.”

She turned her head to look at him, her lips brushing his shoulder as their eyes met. She looked away without moving her face. “I really would like it if we became friends.”

“So would I.” Neville found himself replying as he watched her lips. He longed to kiss those lips, to hear her breath sigh as he claimed her. He ached to feel her hands in his hair as she cried out. Her lips suddenly twitched into a beautiful smile.

“Tell me a story, something you’ve never told anyone.”

He felt the pulse in his throat pound as he swallowed. “I don’t have any stories.” He said and smiled as he felt her head tilt to look at him.

“I don’t believe you, you just want to be a man of mystery.” She said as she poked him in the side. He flinched before laughing; the sensation, strange in his throat, tight like an unused muscle.

“That wasn’t fair.” He protested playfully.

“I know that we’re in the same house now, however never forget, once a Slytherin, always a Slytherin.”

“Is that so?” He asked. He felt his heart stuttered as he took a leap of faith. He reached over and tickled her exposed waist and was rewarded by a high pitched squeal.

“No, don’t” she laughed as he stopped. “I’m so ticklish.”

“You shouldn’t have told me that.” He replied with a grin as he tickled her waist again, watching as she writhed against his touch. Her chest bucking up from the ground, dragged his mind back to the thoughts he tried to suppress.

She laughed until she was breathless, her body now pressed even closer against his.

“Truce.” She cried as she wiped the tears from her eyes. Neville chuckled and nodded

“Truce.” He agreed as his eyes returned to the stars. The silence returned between them as they both lay breathing heavily.

Neville let his mind wander as he felt her warmth pressed against him. It felt so right being here like this. His mind shot back to Saturday, Hannah and the argument. He sighed as he tried to let the emotions go. He wasn’t sure whether they were still together or whether they were now broken up. He wondered what she would say if she could see him now. The thought lodged in his head as he stared up into the pinpricks of light that shone down on him.

“You’re thinking about what you’re going to do, aren’t you?” Pansy asked quietly.

Neville nodded slowly before looking down at her where she had cuddled up to him.

“What’s the plan?” She asked calmly “Remember about the stars and about how small they make problems appear.” She added.

“I don’t know, is there anything to do? I sort of assumed she broke up with me.” He muttered, feeling the keen sting again.

“That’s a good assumption.” Pansy nodded. She turned back to him and placed a hand on his chest. He almost stopped breathing as he looked at her.

“What she said. She’s trying to get into your head.” He nodded but didn’t agree with her statement. He felt like he’d let her down; hurt her by not being present enough. “Don’t nod if you don’t agree.” She said as she pushed herself up to look at him. “One thing that friends are supposed to do is be honest. If you don’t agree, say so. We can disagree and still like each other.” She said sternly. He nodded nervously.

“Sorry.”

“And don’t apologise unless you’ve done something wrong.” She continued “If you haven’t done anything wrong, don’t apologise because that is just admitting liability.” She said firmly.

He nodded again.

“Lessons to live by Neville. You would be unstoppable if you have some Slytherin cunning and ambition.” She said as she propped her head upon her arm next to him. “But I’m willing to train you.” She smirked with a wink.

He felt his stomach roll uncomfortably as he looked up into her face haloed by the moon. She was so very beautiful. He searched her face before dropping his eyes to his lips. She smiled as if she knew what he was thinking. 

“Come on, we had better get back, it’s getting cold.” She pushed herself up, her blouse gaping letting Neville see that she wasn’t wearing anything underneath. Once to her feet, she offered him her hand. He looked at it for a moment before taking it. He used it to steady himself as he pushed himself up off the floor. Once up, they were face to face, and some of the awkwardness had returned. He looked down at her and smiled as he pushed his hand through his hair.

She shivered as she began to turn.

“Wait.” He called as he pushed back into the greenhouse.  He grabbed his jacket and bag before rushing back to her. He draped the coat over her shoulders, and she cuddled into it.

“Thank you” She replied as she pulled it tight around herself.

“No problem.”

The walked back to Lumos tower slowly as they talked about everything and nothing. Neville wasn’t sure that he had ever been able to have such conversations with anyone, even his friends. He smiled as they arrived outside the boy’s dorm.

“Well this is my stop,” Neville said she he turned back to her. “Thank you for listening and for your advice.”

“What are friends for?” She asked with a grin. As she tucked her hair behind her ear. She paused and began to take his jacket off to give back.

“It’s ok, keep it for tonight.” He said as he pulled it back up over her shoulders.

“Thanks.” She replied as her cheeks coloured slightly. She bit her lip for a moment before speaking again. “Ignore the rumours, and if anyone gives you any trouble, either Hermione or I want to know about it.

“What a scary thought, you two working together.” He shivered, causing Pansy to laugh.

“Scary but also a great deterrent.” They both nodded and laughed.

“Well, goodnight” Pansy said as she waited for Neville to enter through their portrait hole.

“Good night, Pansy.” He smiled and was rewarded by a gorgeous, sexy smile as she began to climb the stairs. He waited as she rose, secretly hoping to see a hint of lace beneath the skirt. When he saw the black frills, he shivered and muttered the passwords before pushing through the entrance hole.   

~~~

Chapter 9 – Tattered Mind

Her lips always featured in his dreams. Sometimes with her perfect white teeth leaving imprints in the cherry red cushion, other times they would be their natural shade and a small pink tongue would push out. He liked it most when she licked her lips, most of the lipstick left around his length in long burgundy smudges.

He awoke in stages as the early morning light glinted through his curtains. His cock woke up first, standing painfully to attention as he dreamt of bite marks and whispered moans. Next, he became conscious as he imagined leaving love bites on her perfect breasts. Sucking those delicate nipples between his teeth and gently grazing the sensitive flesh until she cried out.

He lay blinking into the semi-darkness as his mind raced. He wanted her so badly. He hadn’t quite realised how much. It was as though his body, after being so close to her last night now craved her presence like a drug. He lay thinking of her exposed flesh and closed his eyes again. He had time before breakfast and he knew that his hardness wouldn’t go away in a hurry.

He lay in the darkness and called her to mind, imagining her sat on the tables in the greenhouse again. Her skirt hitched up to just above her stockings. He slowly pushed his hand between his legs as he touched himself, letting his mind’s eye rake over her body. Every curve and dips brought a quiet moan to his lips as he brought his hand down the length of his cock, touching the hair at the base.

He sighed as he focused on the sensation for a moment feeling the silky skin roll under his palm. His thoughts wondered how her painted nails would look around his erection. He sighed as he continued to fantasise.

He imagined running his hands up the satin until they met the ruffled lace at the top, before pushing his hands further until they disappeared under her skirt. Stroking the unseen lace beneath. He would claim her lips and devour her moans as his thumb moved over the lace of her crotch. He picked up the pace as he imagined pushing into the heat underneath. He wondered what noises she would make, whether she would beg him for more, to be faster.

He thrust into his hand, tightening his grip as he imagined her begging him for more, pleading with him to make her feel good. He began to shudder as he came hard into his hand; his thoughts clinging to her pleading moans.

He lay panting into the darkness as he tried to regain himself. Guilt racked his mind as clarity returned. He felt guilty then annoyed at feeling guilty. He wasn’t in a relationship any more, and his thoughts weren’t hurting anyone. He grabbed his wand and cast a cleaning charm before sitting up and pushing the sleep from his eyes. He pushed open the curtains and peaked out, the weather looked grim again, and he steeled himself for another long and irritating day.

He pushed the curtain open and swung his legs out to meet the floor. He needed a shower after that. He stretched and stood, feeling the stone underfoot. He went to his dresser to get his towel, but the sight that met his eyes stopped him in his tracks.

He stepped closer to find his clothes had been pulled out of the draws, strips of shredded material dangling over the darkened wood. He opened the draws fully seeing that every item of clothing was shredded beyond repair. He felt sick as his mind raced through options. He could try and fix things, but chances were he’d never be able to get all the pieces back together again. If he couldn’t fix them, then he’d either have to walk around in his underwear or just stay in the dorm. He stepped back and sat back down on the side of his bed as he riffled through options, feeling the time ticking away before lessons like sand through an hourglass. He heard a curtain shift and looked up. Terry Boot yawned as he threw out his feet. He smiled at Neville before glancing over to the dresser.

Neville watched as his face fell at the site.

“Woah, Neville! What did you do?” He asked as he stood up and riffled through the shreds of material.

“I didn’t do it.” Neville pushed his fingers through his hair as he tried not to panic. His first thoughts were Hermione, perhaps she could fix them, but by asking her for help, he would have to tell her what happened, and he couldn’t bear the thought. Maybe Ginny or Luna? Same problem. Pansy was out of the question. The idea of facing her with his clothes in such a state was… unthinkable.

What could he do? He felt the panic rising like acid in his throat. After so many years of being the clumsy one, the unlucky one. After the incident with the snake, he thought that maybe those days were behind him. He glanced at the slithers of material and realised it was far from over. His heart started to thud as if trying to escape out of his chest, he tried to swallow as he cuddled his head in his arms, knotting his fingers behind his head. He squeezed his eyes closed as he tried to centre himself. He took several deep breaths, but they caught in his throat. He felt like he was about to pass out as the world around him seemed to narrow down. Even the darkness behind his eyes seemed to get darker. His heart thundered in his ears as he tried to breathe. Maybe he would die, his heart giving out. He pinched the tears from his eyes as he started to panic about dying. He felt a hand on each knee as a voice tried to break through the darkness. He couldn’t seem to get enough air as his heart stuttered.

“Neville,” He blinked open and found someone in front of him. The dark hair confused him as his face didn’t fully register. He closed his eyes again. “Neville, You’re alright.” He hiccuped as another breath caught on the way down. He wasn’t alright, he was about to die. His heart was about to give out. How could this voice know that he was okay? “You’re alright, you’re not having a heart attack.”

He nodded. He was most definitely having a heart attack. Any minute now, his heart was going to fail.

“Neville Longbottom.” He blinked again and looked into the face. It was Theo. “You are going to watch me breathe, and you are going to try and match. Understand? Blink once for no, twice for yes.”

Neville blinked twice as he felt the sweat run down his back. He watched as Theo took a breath in. Neville tried to copy, but couldn’t. Once again, Theo let out the breath smoothly and slowly. His own came out in a rush and caught as a breath tried to rush back in almost immediately. He coughed as his heart palpitated inside his ribs. A squeeze to his legs returned his attention to Theo.

“Come on, Longbottom, in.” Theo breathed in and then slowly out again. Neville tried to copy; tried to forget his exploding heart and to forget the aching darkness inside his skull.

At first, it felt like he would never be able to match Theo’s steady rhythm, but with each intake of breath, his heart slowed, and he was able to breath deeper. He released his fingers from his head and stretched them out, the numbness receding with each rub and bend.

He heard a commotion outside of their door and looked up, his head feeling light and airy. There seemed to be a crowd forming, but before anyone could say anything, Terry whipped his wand at the door slamming it closed.

It was now only the four of them within the room. Roger had woken up at some point and was sat silently on his bed, fully dressed.

“How long?” Neville asked weakly.

“About fifteen minutes,” Terry answered quietly.

“Oh, Merlin.” Neville rubbed his face before pulling at his hair again. “I’m so sorry, please don’t say anything.” He begged the idea that he had broken down in such a spectacular fashion made his cheeks blaze

“No one’s going to say anything here” Theo assured him. He looked at Terry and Roger, who both shook their heads.

“Thank you.” Neville cleared his throat, aware that he was sitting in just his boxers while everyone around him was now dressed. He looked at his dresser and took a deep breath, the panic threatening to rise again.

“Neville, Look at me for a moment,” Theo asked from the floor in front of him. “We will sort out your clothes, don’t worry, I’m sure they can be fixed. You go and have a shower and leave it to us. We’ve still got time before lessons.” Theo’s brown eyes were steady as he kept firm eye contact with Neville.

Neville looked at the others, and they all nodded. He nodded too, it seemed to be the correct response. Theo stood up and gave him room. He stood up and felt unsteady on his feet as he grabbed to the bedpost. 

“You good?” Theo asked as he held up hands to catch him. Neville nodded.

“I’ll be alright.” He assured him as he slowly stepped away from the bed. He mentally pushed himself towards the door. The noise on the other side seemed to explode around him as he kept his eyes down.

“Hey look its Neville Shortcock. Looks like he’s into men. Explains a lot,” He heard the jibes but ignored them as he focused on the door to the bathroom. Once in the bathroom, he pressed his back to the door. It was deserted much to his relief. The light from the windows and the noise from the others seemed to trigger a sensory overload. He swallowed and took a deep breath before heading towards the showers. He turned the water on before stepping in and waited as the water went from warm to hot. He sank down to his knees before sitting under the spray; the water washing over his neck and shoulders.

It had been so long since he had suffered from panic attacks that he’d almost forgotten how they felt. He’d had a few during the war, but they had improved. He’d forgotten the crippling fear of death that came with the overwhelming terror of being out of control. He closed his eyes as he let the water wash away some of the residual achyness.

He felt the heat surround him, comforting him like a blanket. He forced his mind to remain blank but counting the titles on the floor. Once he counted them, he counted them again just in case the number had changed. It was only after he’d done this about five times that he seemed to fall back into his own body. He looked around and realised that he was still in his boxers. The weight of the waterlogged material against his skin was surprisingly comforting. He stood up and proceeded to scrub himself quickly before turning the water off. All sense of time had disappeared as he stood in front of the mirror.

Even through the steam in the air, he could see his bright pink skin where the hot water had pummelled against it. He knew that he would probably need some cream from madam Pomfrey later but right now, the tingling tightness helped focus is mind. He grabbed one of the towels from the shelves and wrapped it around his waist before stripping his boxers off. He hoped that everyone had gone to breakfast or lessons; just anywhere that wasn’t outside of the bathroom door. He took a deep breath and steeled himself as he approached the door.

He pulled it open and was relieved when he couldn’t hear anything. He stepped out and headed back to his bed.

“Shortcock.” He heard a voice and turned. “Accio towel.” He saw as Stephen Cornfoot, and Oliver Rivers stood in the entranceway to the boy’s dorms from outside. Neville felt the towel whipped off him. He tried to grab it, but his reflexes were still too slow. He cupped himself to save embarrassment as they laughed, some of the girls walking down the stairs from the dorms upstairs caught sight of him and chuckled. He felt his face burn as the boys laughed. “Hannah sends her love,” Stephen called before shutting the portrait hole, leaving Neville naked and mortified.

~~~

Chapter 10 – Don’t Panic Now

Theo, Terry and Roger had been faithful to their word. They had managed to gather almost all of the shreds together and reattach them. However, whether it was Hannah or the former Ravenclaws, there was at least one piece missing from every item. He groaned as he looked at the mess that was his uniform.

“I’m sorry that we weren’t able to fix them completely. Will you be able to get replacements?” Theo asked as he rose from Terry’s bed.

Neville shrugged. “I’ll have to owl Madam Malkin and see whether she can make some replacements for me. At least I don’t have to ask my Gran to do it for me now.” He said as she sat down, more comfortable now that he was able to put on some clothes, even if his left leg was considerably shorter than the right. “Thank you so much for fixing this. Transfiguration isn’t my strong suit.”

“It’s no problem,” Terry said hesitantly. “However, Theo and I have been talking, and we do have a condition.”

Neville swallowed and grimaced. “What’s that?”

“We’re not going to ask questions this time. We’re also not going to mention this to anyone; however, if it happens again, you need to tell us what’s going on,” Theo added thoughtfully.

Neville nodded, it sounded fair. He looked down at his hands as he remembered the numbness from earlier. He rubbed them together nervously.

“Are you ready to go outside?” Theo asked gently.

Neville took a deep breath and stood up. He nodded confidently, even though his insides felt like jelly.

“Come on, let’s get this over with,” He said as they all headed for the door.

~

“Where have you been?” Hermione hissed as Neville sat down beside her. He smiled apologetically to Flitwick as he glanced over. Other students turned at the disruption. Neville clenched his teeth together in embarrassment as he tried to make as little noise as possible.
”I,” he paused, in the mess that was his morning, he hadn’t thought about what he would tell his friends besides the truth. He cursed inwardly as he racked his brain “I, um, overslept”  He avoided her eyes as he let the lie hang there between them. It sounded plausible, and after a few moments, it appeared that Hermione bought it as she accepted it and continued to listen to Flitwick. He spotted Ginny looking at him from the desk in front. He tried to smile and raised his fingers from the desk in a subtle wave. She smiled back before facing forward again, her eyes glancing down to whatever Luna was writing on her parchment.

He felt his anxiety dissipate slowly as the lesson continued as usual. With everyone’s eyes facing forward, he could finally take a breath and centre himself. He had assumed that he wouldn’t be able to keep the secret from them for long, but he wasn’t going to volunteer the information. He didn’t want to bother them with his troubles.

He started taking notes as Flitwick continued his speech. His eyes scanned the other students and stopped on Hannah. He could see her blonde head a few rows in front as she sat next to Stephen. He felt the panic rise in his chest again as the memories of being stripped and vulnerable. He felt his leg starting to bounce nervously and stopped as soon as he noticed Hermione glance at him. She smiled and shook her head as she turned back to Flitwick. He swallowed and rubbed his palms onto his trousers, feeling the sweat build up as he thought of the mess his clothes were.

His eyes found Hannah and Stephen again and met with Stephens smug gaze. He looked away nervously as he stopped himself tapping his quill. He had been told by Hannah so many times not to do it that now it was just a habit to stop before he was told to. He placed his hands flat against the desk before he could pick up anything else to fiddle with it. He hated that he felt so weak.

He couldn’t understand why Stephen had suddenly started behaving like this. They had never been friends, and the stocky boy had even teased him in their earlier years. However, they had gravitated away from each other until this final year had brought them crashing together again.

“Well, I’ve rambled on enough, I would like you to pair up and work on the Protego charms. Please be considerate in the jinxes you use, anyone who harms their opponent may face detention.” There was a murmur of agreement as people started to get up. Neville kept his eyes down as he got up. He could feel his anxiety spike, knowing that he hadn’t heard a word of what Flitwick had said.

“You alright, Neville?” Hermione asked, her face creased with concern, “You don’t look well.” He nodded as he stood in front of her, he didn’t trust his voice as he tried to concentrate. He stood and steadied himself as he cast his protego charm. Hermione fired her charm at him silently. Nothing happened, which Neville thought was incredible. She tried, again and again, nothing happened. “Well done, Neville.” She smiled before positioning herself back. “go again?” He nodded and felt the spell connect with the shield before dissipating.

“-shame about his clothes.” Neville heard as he turned. His eyes caught Hannah’s before he felt empty space between himself and the floor. There was a sickening thud as the world went dark for a moment. He knew he was still conscious, but the pain seemed to overload his eyes for a second as he felt the warm liquid run from his nose.

“Neville, Are you alright?” Hermione’s voice cut through the pain as she stood over him.

“I’ve been better.” He muttered as he tried to get up.

“Granger, please be careful,” Flitwick called, causing Hermione to blush. She helped him to his feet. He could hear Hannah and Stephen laughing from the other side of the room and felt his face flame and the panic start to build.

“Ignore her, She’s a spiteful cow. You’re better off without her. Let’s swap for a while,” Neville nodded before preparing for her attack again.

“-kisses like a slug in a bucket of Bubotuber pus” He heard Hannah say again as his jinx went wide, missing Hermione completely.

“Concentrate, Longbottom.”

Neville took a deep breath before trying to focus again.

“-More like short cock, disappointing, to say the least.” He clenched his teeth before taking another calming breath. He fired off a pathetic jelly leg jinx before giving up.

“What’s going on, Nev?” Ginny asked as she and Luna approached.

“Nothing, It’s fine.” He stated before trying another jinx. He waited for a second while Hermione tried to get ready. He fired his wand again, and it hit her shield and fizzed out as predicted.

“Hannah must have been really lonely without you, She’s going out with Cornfoot now,” Luna said airily before continuing. “I don’t know how anyone can be that lonely, surrounded by so many Nargles.”

“I’m sorry, Neville,” Ginny offered. Neville shook his head as he focussed on Hermione again.

“It’s fine,” Neville replied as he fired another shot at Hermione.

“I saw Nott giving him a blow job this morning!” Neville felt the anger flare up inside as he closed his eyes and turned away.

“Shut up, Cornfoot!” Ginny replied as she placed her hand on his back. “Ignore them. Just pathetic!”

Neville wanted to turn him inside out as he clenched his fists together. He watched as Ginny and Hermione exchanged glances. He had to make it through the rest of the lesson. He couldn’t panic now.

Accio Chapters 11 – 20

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