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Originally posted:February 22, 2005

Set in the universe of Jedi Rita's Becoming Neville, which I highly recommend. Thanks to hazelhawthorne, brightsun301, and claraswift (yes, that Clara Swift!) for their helpful comments on this fic!
Link: My LJ


Neville steadied himself with a deep breath. His fingers brushed against Trevor resting in the deep pocket of his robe, which made him feel a bit better. Trevor had that effect on him.

When he reached the table, Harry was busy copying a passage out of an enormous book of spells. Neville crossed his arms over his chest and blew out a nervous breath, willing his knees not to knock together. He paused, tongue heavy in his mouth. Why was he doing this again? Because he had to say something. He couldn't bear it any longer.

“So the practicing paid off, did it?”

Harry looked up, an expression of confusion on his face. He seemed to have no idea what Neville was referring to, which only made Neville feel worse. He’d spent the better part of an hour trying not to stare at Harry from across the library, working up his courage. Then Hermione had left, and Neville’d pushed himself to his feet and crossed the room, figuring this was his best chance.

He sat in Hermione’s vacant seat and tried not to look like his feelings had been hurt every day for the last month. “I overheard Ginny telling Luna you were a good kisser. So I thought the… the practicing must have worked.” He hadn’t realized Harry and Ginny were a couple until then, but it had explained many things.

Realization spread over Harry’s face in the form of ever-widening splotches of red. Neville could pinpoint the second when Harry finally understood.

“I… it, uh… look, Neville--”

“I’m glad it all worked out for you,” Neville interrupted. He had to say this now or he never would. “I had fun this summer. I’m glad it was you, and I hope we’re still friends, despite everything. That’s all.” Neville offered him a weak smile and stood, walking away before Harry could reply.

Zacharias Smith looked up from his homework as Neville passed, but Neville kept his eyes straight ahead. He didn’t particularly care if anyone had overheard. He was tired of worrying about it, anyway.


Harry had been avoiding Neville since the start of term, despite their closeness over the summer, so Neville was shocked when Harry sat next to him at breakfast a few mornings later.

“Pass the jam?”

Neville handed the jar to him and Harry gave him an uncomfortable nod. They sat in silence for nearly a minute, both chewing toast and staring straight ahead. It was a start, Neville thought.

Harry set his toast down. “Neville--”

A shock of red curls fell between them, temporarily blocking Harry from view. “Morning,” Ginny chirped. She poked Neville in the arm. “Budge over, will you?”

Neville made room and she settled between them, chattering about how busy her schedule was and how much homework they’d been set already.

“What did you expect?” Hermione asked, sitting across from them. “It’s your OWL year. Morning, Neville.”

“Morning.” Neville was relieved not to be alone with Harry any more, truth be told. It had been so long since Harry’d looked in his direction that even something as small as companionable silence was appreciated – but Neville wasn’t sure about actual conversation just yet.

“What’s with you this morning?” Hermione asked. She had paused from her methodical slicing of a banana to squint at Harry.

”Nothing,” Harry replied, ducking his head. “Just tired.”

“Oh, did I keep you up too late again?” Ginny grinned.

“Ginny, you’re setting a bad example as a prefect,” Hermione warned.

“I made sure the firsties were in bed,” Ginny countered. “They didn’t see anything inappropriate.”

Harry’s eyes flicked up to Neville’s. There was a hint of tension on his face, but nothing more. Neville’s smile was tight-lipped. He stood, making an excuse about needing to meet with a teacher before lessons began, and left the Great Hall.

If they were going to be friends, he’d have to find a way to get over his feelings for Harry. Fast.


Professor Flitwick beamed at the yard-long cricket shuddering on Neville’s desk. “Very good, Mr. Longbottom!”

Neville blushed. He was still getting used to his new wand, but he was continually surprised at how much easier charms work had been for him. His classmates had even stopped complaining about being partnered with him.

Susan Bones – his current partner – was gawking at the massive insect. It made a clicking sound and took a step forward, brushing one hairy leg against her satchel.

“Neville!” She stepped behind him and peered at it over his shoulder. “I hate bugs.” She grasped his arm, and he felt her lean into him a bit. Her breasts pressed into his back, reminding him for an uncomfortable moment of his buxom Aunt Prudence.

“All right, don’t worry,” he replied, stepping forward. The entire class was now watching; his engorgement charm had been one of the few that had worked on a live subject.

“Actually, I’d prefer to keep this one around for my next lesson,” Professor Flitwick said. With a swish of his wand, the cricket rose into the air and headed towards an empty cage at the back of the room. The cricket made unearthly clicking sounds and thrashed its legs as it flew, apparently bewildered.

Susan buried her face in Neville’s back as it passed overhead, clinging to his robes with both hands.

“A wonderful example. Five points to Gryffindor!”

Neville’s jaw dropped. He couldn’t remember the last time he’d earned points in a lesson. Harry smiled at him from across the room, and Neville’s stomach did a little flip.


Neville had to endure Susan’s clinginess for the rest of the lesson, only ridding himself of her by claiming he needed to stay behind to talk to Professor Flitwick. She flipped her blonde hair over her shoulder and said she’d see him later, then seemed to take an extra long time sauntering out the door, even looking back once to smile at him.

Neville leaned against his desk, bewildered. Girls had never liked him, despite his many attempts to get their attention in the past. How ironic that one would decide to like him now.

He turned around to pack up his satchel and saw Zach Smith staring at him. Neville held his gaze for a few seconds before the other boy blushed and looked away. Neville sighed. Zach and Susan had been a couple at the end of last term. The last thing Neville wanted was to make any new enemies; Zach reminded him of Malfoy enough as it was with his fair hair and sharp features.

Come to think of it, Zach was rather good-looking.

“Good job there, Neville,” Harry said.

Neville’s satchel dropped to floor and several rolled up bits of parchment scattered. Swearing under his breath, he knelt down to pick them up. Harry crouched beside him, fishing a wayward quill out from under a desk. He handed it to Neville.

“Thanks,” Neville replied. Harry’s eyes were dark in the shadows between the desks, with just a tinge of green around the edges. Neville was reminded of so many nights spent trying to see the outline of Harry’s face in the dark, which only reminded him of other things that had happened in the dark. He felt himself blushing and cringed.

“Can we talk?” Harry asked.

Neville blinked at him. “What, now?” He felt panic flood his gut.

Harry’s eyes flicked towards Zach, who was taking a great deal of time to pack up his own satchel. “Not now. After dinner. Do you know where the statue of Cedric the Smarmy is?”

Neville nodded.

“Around eight,” Harry said, standing.

Neville watched him walk away, wondering what Harry wanted. Perhaps Harry would finally acknowledge what had happened between them, and say that it was a mistake and he wished it had never happened. Or maybe he'd say that it was fun, but that he was with Ginny now and he hoped he and Neville could be friends. Or maybe he'd threaten to hex Neville if he ever told anyone about any of it.

Whatever happened, Neville doubted it was going to help him get over Harry. Not one little bit.

He slung his bag over his shoulder and turned to leave. Zach was still packing up, and staring at him. Neville sighed. Let him stare. He didn’t care anymore.


At quarter past eight, Neville finally admitted to himself that Harry wasn’t coming. He’d even showed up a bit early, in case Harry had done too. He’d sat on a stone bench until his arse was cold. He’d memorized the engraved tale carved around the base of Cedric the Smarmy’s statue. He’d counted the number of animals depicted in the portraits on the walls, and then (unsuccessfully) tried to recall their proper Latin names. He’d practiced his engorgement charm on a passing cockroach. It had scuttled away before he could shrink it again. He imagined it finding its way into the Hufflepuff girls’ dormitory and winced.

Now he was back on the bench, waiting. Ginny had been bleary-eyed and quiet at dinner, and Harry had been absent. Maybe they’d had a fight. Maybe they were making up right now. An image of the two of them snogging in a dark corner filled his mind, along with Harry saying, “Oh, Neville’ll understand,” just before sticking his hand up Ginny’s shirt.

Neville groaned and leaned back against the stone wall.

“Hi,” he heard. His eyes flew open to see Zach Smith standing in front of him. “Mind if I sit?”

“Uh…” Neville said.

Zach sat, staring at the floor in front of him. Neville glanced around, but Harry was still nowhere in sight. Zach must have overheard their conversation after the charms lesson.

“So do you like Susan?” Zach asked after a tense moment.

Great. Now he had to deal with a jealous ex-boyfriend on top of being stood up by Harry.

Neville sighed. “No,” he replied. “Not like that.”

Zach bit his lip. “Okay.”

“She’s just… not my type.”

Zach looked up. “What is your type, then?”

Neville blinked at him. “What?”

Zach looked away. “Well, if you don’t like cute and blonde with big tits…”

Neville shrugged. “Just cute and blonde is fine.”

Zach’s head turned back to him just as Neville realized what he’d said. He felt himself flush. Zach stared at him for a moment, and then he did something Neville didn’t expect: he brushed his fingers against Neville’s thigh.

Neville swallowed, but he didn’t look away. Hoping he hadn’t misunderstood, he leaned forward a little. Zach leaned towards him too and Neville closed the gap between them, pressing his lips against Zach’s. At first it was just a clumsy mashing of lips, and then Neville’s mouth was full of Zach’s tongue.

Well, he wasn’t as good a kisser as Harry, that was for certain.

Neville managed to coax Zach into a less invasive kiss and pulled him closer. Zach seemed not to know what to do with his hands; he alternated between clutching at Neville’s shirt and squeezing his thigh. Neville pulled back, smiling.

Zach just stared at him. “Oh god,” he whispered. “I’ve never… with a bloke.” He shifted uncomfortably, trying to hide the erection starting to tent his trousers.

Neville grinned and took Zach’s hand, his mind already spinning with ideas. Maybe this was how he could get over Harry. Zach was looking at him with a kind of desire Neville had never seen in Harry’s eyes, and he didn’t even know what he was doing. Zach didn’t yet know how good it felt to press his prick against another boy’s, or how it felt to make someone else come in his hand, or what wonders a tongue could do, or how erotic slow open-mouthed kisses could be.

Neville could teach him all of those things, and maybe Zach wouldn’t pretend it hadn’t happened the next day. Zach wouldn’t push him away during the day only to slip into his bed again at night. Zach wouldn’t let his friends’ fears get in the way.


“Wanna go someplace more private?” Neville asked.

A smile spread over Zach’s face. “Yeah. Sure.”


From where he was hiding around the corner, Harry watched Neville and Zach walk away. He’d spent fifteen minutes working up his courage, and just as he’d been ready to step around the corner, Zacharias Smith had showed up.

Harry slid to the floor and pressed his forehead into his knees, wondering what the hell he was going to do now.

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