Author: dorothywrites PM
Two years after the war, Percy Weasley is back to working at the Ministry, which is trying to pick up the pieces. While on a trip to check in at Hogwarts, which is scheduled to reopen, he runs into Neville in an uncomfortable situation. Slash.Rated: Fiction T - English - Romance - Percy W. & Neville L. - Words: 5,819 - Reviews: 11 - Favs: 23 - Follows: 3 - Published: 11-15-08 - Status: Complete - id: 4656467
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
(Author's Note: Don't own it. Just borrowing JK Rowling's characters and stuff for my own amusement. Also, I'm sorry if I ever refer to Neville as a girl in the first bit... It started off as het and then I changed my mind. I think I got them all, but I may have missed one. Enjoy :))
Percy walked down the hallway looking at the newly constructed walls and the restored paintings. The Minister had sent him to do the final inspection of the school and ensure that everything was in working order for the students to return in the fall.
The professors had already moved back into the castle. Some were happy to be back in the place they considered home but others were still cautious. Several had resigned, some had never returned the owls that had been sent to notify them that their jobs were open to them if they chose to return, and few hadn't made it out of the castle at all on that fateful night.
Percy came to the end of the hallway and stopped to check his notes and make the appropriate marks. He turned around and looked back down the hallway, prepared to check off that everything seemed meld together as though nothing had changed, that everything looked the way it would have if nothing had ever happened, just like the Ministry wanted...
And then he realized where he was.
He looked down at the ground below his feet and could almost see the rocks shifting below his weight, pushing him off of the ground, hurtling him into the air... He felt a tightness in his chest and he dropped his notes, struggling to breathe.
He couldn't cough and he could barely gasp as he fell back against the wall, feeling as though he were being confronted by death and seeing no way around. He closed his eyes as tight as he could, but then the scene played... Fred, lying there in the rubble... The dust in the air stinging his eyes... The moments afterwards when he had begged to go instead...
There was a gentle hand on his arm and he opened his eyes, trying to regain his senses. A man... My dignity is gone, he thought. I'll never be the Minister of Magic...
He was looking at him with concern, "Are you all right? Should I summon someone from the Infirmary?"
He looked genuinely worried, but Percy shook his head. He could feel his lungs burning less as he began to breathe again, panting slightly. He opened his mouth with the intention of speaking for himself, to tell him he was okay, but no words came.
"Lay down," he said, and it was at that moment that he realized he was sitting on the floor, hugging his knees against his chest. He gestured for him to lay on his back and he shook his head. Not only because he wanted to walk away with some semblance of dignity, but because these were his good robes and he couldn't go back to the Ministry with dusty robes.
"Trust me. I've had panic attacks before... If you lay down, it will be easier for you to breathe again."
Percy looked at him, opening his mouth to speak again, but still nothing came out but a gasp of air. The stranger put a hand on his other shoulder and gently nudged him to lean over. When he finally gave in to him and laid down, he sat back on her heels, pushed his hair out of his face, and watched him.
"Do you like music?" The man asked.
Is this really the time for questions? he wondered, but he nodded anyway, wishing he could be anywhere else.
"I like music, too. Do you have a favorite song?"
What are you getting at? He nodded.
"What is it?"
He opened his mouth to reply but nothing came out.
"No, don't tell me. Think of it," he said. "Let it play in your head."
Percy closed his eyes and willed himself to calm down. This was so embarrassing.
But without realizing it, Percy had begun to imagine his favorite song, an old piano piece, and could hear it playing in his mind. He felt his breathing slowing down without any effort on his part and a few moments later, he felt fine.
He opened his eyes and looked at the man as he sat up.
"Don't sit up too quickly," he warned. "You'll get dizzy."
Percy sat for a moment while he stood, offering a hand down to him. He looked up at him and then took his hand. He lightly pulled as Percy pushed himself off the ground, and then he handed him his notes, smiling.
Percy, on the other hand, was not smiling. He was blushing from the tips of his toes to the roots of his hair. He wiped at his eyes and found a surprising amount of moisture there.
Crying, Percy thought, I was crying. What must he think of me?
"Are you all right?" He asked again. "Can I get you anything? Tea? Water?... Cognac?" He added the last one with a smile, but Percy simply cleared his throat.
"I'm fine, thank you," he said, straightening his robes and organizing his notes.
"You're from the Ministry," he noted.
"I am." But I hoped you wouldn't notice.
"Why?" Percy asked. He heard his own voice crack on the word, like it had all throughout puberty. He hoped he didn't notice.
"I've never seen a Ministry official show emotion," he said. "And there have been a lot of them through here these past few weeks."
"Well..." Percy realized he didn't have a trained response for him. He just looked at the stranger for a moment and the the man blushed and looked down at his feet.
"You're sure you don't need anything?" He asked, looking back up at him, still concerned.
"Quite," Percy said, preparing to walk away. "Thank you for your concern." Percy turned and walked in the other direction, ready to start blocking the memory from his head.
"I suppose you don't remember me, then," came the voice behind him.
Percy paused, wondering if he should remember him. He thought about it for a moment and then turned, looking at the stranger with different eyes and hoping he wouldn't make a bigger fool of himself. It was true that he looked familiar, but almost everyone looked familiar to Percy. He was pale with brown hair and a scattering of freckles across his face that made Percy sure that he was younger by several years.
Percy cocked his head to one side, trying to figure out which of his younger siblings had gone to school with the familiar fellow. Or had he seen him in the Prophet?
"Neville Longbottom," the younger man said. "I went to school—"
"--With Ron," Percy finished. "And you chopped the head off the snake."
He blushed, making the freckles on his cheeks stand out, "I prefer to just be known as the boy who went to school with Ron."
Percy smiled slightly, but felt awkward nonetheless. He had just broken down in front of one of Ron's classmates. Surely the boy would tell him and that would lead to endless taunting on his brother's part. Then again, maybe Ron had grown up in the last few years and would understand his emotions.
"What brings you to Hogwarts? I thought we were done with the Ministry until Opening Day," Neville said, shuffling on his feet slightly.
"I'm just here to check on things that weren't finished at the last inspection. Some of the portraits weren't properly adhered to the walls and were complaining rather vocally about how they swayed in the wind; Some of the classrooms were infested with Doxies, leaving the incoming professors afraid to enter their classrooms. Now, you may think that Doxies aren't so bad--"
"Oh, no, I've felt their wrath. I was lifted by my ears by a few of them," Neville said, holding up his hands. "I can relate to the fear."
Percy stifled a laugh, the first laugh that had tried to bubble up in a very long time.
"It's okay to laugh," Neville said with a laugh of his own. "It's something I can look back on and laugh about, so why shouldn't you?"
Percy cleared his throat and adjusted his robes, looking down at the papers in his hands. "I should be going," he said, with a shoulder gesture in the other direction.
"Of course," Neville said, blusing again. "I'm sorry for keeping you."
"It's quite all right," Percy replied quickly. Then, as an afterthought, he added "It was nice seeing you."
He turned away as Neville replied politely and hurried down the corridor. He turned a corner and leaned against the wall, trying to find the composure he had left back there on the floor.
That had been Neville Longbottom, a war hero who was practically as renowned as Harry Potter himself. Neville Longbottom, whom Head Boy Percy had been forced to hold as the trembling 13-year-old had sobbed about his incompetence as a wizard. Neville Longbottom... Neville Longbottom who was no longer 13-years-old and was most certainly a competent wizard.
He touched his face, feeling the heat under his fingers, and wondered if he had misjudged the weather for the day or if he was still flushed from his encounter with Neville. He had no reason to be... There was nothing about it that told him that his brother would hear about his breakdown; Neville didn't seem like the type to gossip about things like that.
Percy heard footsteps coming from around the corner and cleared his throat before heading on his way, notes in hand.
Percy looked up from his desk to see Kingsley Shacklebolt standing at the door. "Minister?"
"There's some trouble at Hogwarts," the Minister sighed. "I need you to go take care of it."
Percy put his quill in the ink well and stood, reaching for the cloak hanging behind his chair. "What kind of trouble?"
"Flesh-eating Venus traps are overtaking the greenhouses," said the Minister.
Percy's mind immediately went to Neville. "And the professor?"
"Can't handle it all on his own. I'm sending you down there armed with a potion that will help get rid of them faster. Apparently he's incompetent when it comes to potions--" Percy cringed at the Minister's wording. "It'd take longer to send an owl."
"I understand, Minister," Percy said. "Where's the po-"
Shacklebolt held out a small vial that he had had in his pocket.
"I thought they were overtaking the greenhouse," Percy noted, looking at the small vial.
"This here will get rid of up to fifty full-grown traps. Just try not to inhale the fumes," he said, placing the bottle in Percy's hand. It was heavy and warm as he closed his fingers around it.
"There's a Floo directly to the entrance hall fireplace from mine. From there, you go out—"
"I know how to get there, sir," replied Percy, meaning no disrespect. The Minister nodded and went on his way.
A short time later, Percy found himself outside the largest greenhouse, looking for any sign of human life. He had expected to meet Neville here, or at least someone to tell him what he was supposed to be doing. What did he know about plants, anyway?
He saw movement in the greenhouse farthest from him and started walking toward it. The door opened and Neville hurried out to greet him, breathless.
"Percy!" He said, sounding surprised. "Pleasant surprise." He stopped a few feet from Percy and tried to catch his breath.
"The Minister sent me with a potion he said you'd need to--"
"That's strange," Neville said as Percy drew the potion from the pocket of his robes. "I only asked him to send an owl."
"I suppose your situation sounded more dire than it actually is," Percy replied.
"My fault. I panicked... I may have sounded—Well, I probably sounded rather desperate," Neville said, his cheeks flooding with red.
"No harm done, Neville," Percy said. He held out the potion for the flustered Herbologist, but when Neville reached out a bloodied hand to retrieve it, he withdrew. "What happened?"
Neville pulled back his hand, as though noticing the blood for the first time. "I guess one of them got me," he said, pulling up the sleeve of his robes and looking at it curiously. He looked back to Percy and shook his head. "I'll be fine," he said, shaking the sleeve back down his arm.
"You should go to the Infirmary. She could fix you up--"
"If I went to the Infirmary every time I bled a bit, I'd live there, Percy. I'm more worried about my other plants."
"I thought they were flesh-eating. What problem could they be to the rest of your--"
"Well, they get aggressive when they aren't fed. They've been choking off some of the others in their frustration," Neville said, sounding genuinely concerned.
"At least let me fix your wrist," Percy said, handing Neville the potion.
Neville looked nervous but proceeded to pocket the vial and roll up his sleeve, offering Percy his arm.
Percy took his hand, surprised by how soft Neville's hands were, considering his line of work. He blinked twice and fished his wand from his robes with his other hand, willing the warm feeling that had flew down his spine to disappear. He was here on Ministry business.
With a few flicks of his wand, Neville's wrist was clean, bite free, and flexible again.
Neville smiled up at Percy in thanks and Percy, finding it hard not to, smiled back at him. He realized a moment later that he was still holding Neville's hand within his own and dropped it quickly, clearing his throat and looking back at the greenhouses.
"Since I'm here, would you like a hand with the plants?" He had a feeling that that had been the reason the Minister had sent him.
"Oh, you should get back. I'm sure it's not in your job description to fool around with flesh-eating plants."
"It's just below washing the Minister's dirty socks. The fine print, you know," Percy said, smiling back at Neville.
Without any argument, Neville led the way to the furthest greenhouse. When he opened the door, Percy heard a loud cry from next to them and jumped as an angry flytrap snapped at him. This would be interesting, he was sure.
But when they were through with the flytraps, which had turned into nothing more than little pansies with green centers and yellow petals, they exited the greenhouse without having shed any blood. Percy's robes were a bit worse for wear after a particularly stubborn plant had defended the flesh-eater and shoveled dirt at him as he tried to reach behind it and administer the potion.
In the dimming light of the evening, he brushed off his robes and then looked off in the direction of the Forbidden Forest, where he could see the sun setting through the trees.
"I should be getting back to the Ministry," Percy said, turning to Neville, who was locking up the greenhouses with a few waves of his wand.
Neville approached him with a frown. "Are you sure you have to go back? It's getting rather late."
"I was in the middle of a report when the Minister asked me to come out here," Percy explained. "It could wait until morning, but I know that there will be several others in my bin in the morning."
"Could I feed you?" Neville blurted out.
"I beg your pardon?"
Neville blushed again.
"What I meant was---Well. You've been here for a few hours, helping me. I'm sure I've taken away your afternoon break and if you go back, you'll certainly miss supper. Cou—Could I at least give you dinner before you go back?"
Percy had to admire where Neville was coming from. He had turned down his mother's offer for dinner so many times in order to get back to his office. But for some reason, Percy didn't even have the heart to tell Neville that he didn't take an afternoon break and, on most nights, ate nothing for dinner other than a cup of tea and buttered toast.
"I'd like that," he replied.
He was rewarded with one of Neville's genuine smiles. Percy was so surprised by how innocent Neville still appeared, even after the war. He turned back toward the castle, but Neville's voice stopped him.
"Actually, I live just over here... Beyond the last greenhouse," he said, gesturing with a nod of his head in the other direction.
Percy's eyebrows raised in surprise, but he followed Neville anyway. When they arrived, Percy realized that the small cottage closely resembled Hagrid's hut. But when they went inside, he was sure it wasn't the same building, since this was cozy on the inside. He had never been inside Hagrid's hut, but he would have imagined it to be anything but cozy.
"I never knew this was here," Percy said, looking around at the stone walls. There was a photo of Neville and who Percy assumed was his gran on the other side of Neville's cloak pegs. A few feet from that, to the right of the window, was a cut out from the Prophet showing Harry, Ron, Neville, and Hermione after they had been awarded their Orders of Merlin, First Class. The trio in the photo were all beaming happily at each other as Neville just held up the medal and smiled awkwardly.
"It, uh, wasn't here before. It was—Well..." Neville paused, filling a teakettle at his small sink. When it was full, he put it on the stove and turned back to Percy. "It was the one request I made, as—As a war hero."
They shared eye contact for a moment and then Neville looked away, his face pale, like he was nervous about bringing it up. Percy didn't blame him... He'd be nervous about bringing it up, too, after his breakdown in the hallway that day.
Percy cleared his throat and tried to think of a different topic. He watched as Neville flicked his wand at the stove, starting a fire under the teapot. When Neville began to remove pots from one of the cupboards, he tilted his head to the side in slight confusion.
"You're going to cook?" It sounded more surprised than Percy had intended and Neville turned to him, pot in hand.
"If you don't mind," Neville said. "I asked the house elves not to come here. When they've left, I can never find anything. And you can't just tell a house elf to deliver food and not clean everything. They're just not bred for that." The color was returning to his face and Percy began to wonder if there was anything that wouldn't make Neville blush.
"I don't want to be any trouble, Neville," Percy said, still standing by the door. "I wouldn't mind if you just summoned a house elf. You don't have to go through the effort--"
"Percy," Neville said, sounding as though he were on his last leg of patience with the world, or perhaps just his guest, "There are very few things I am good at. I'm not a shoddy cook. Please just let me do this."
Percy scratched the side of his neck, sorry to have caused such an outburst from the calm Neville Longbottom, and looked at one of the seats by the fire. He looked back to Neville, who had turned back to his preparation without any more indication toward Percy as to what he should do. Should he set the table? Should he sit down? Should he go pluck some chickens for the meal?
He walked over to the plush chair and sat down, deciding it was the best option.
Once Neville was happy with the spicing of the food, Percy was invited over to the table, a small, round one that was barely big enough for two. The edges of their plates were touching and they each had to put their glasses on opposite sides.
When Percy's knee bumped Neville's under the table, they each drew their chairs back and blushed.
"Sorry," Neville muttered, stuffing a slice of his potato into his mouth. He chewed for a moment, swallowed, and then looked up at Percy, his blush slowly fading back into his skin. "I don't have much company. I didn't see much use for a big table. It just—Well, I used to have a bigger one, in my old flat... It made the place feel smaller and made meals seem lonelier." He looked back down at his plate and poked at what was left of his chicken with his knife.
"It's all right," Percy said, looking down at the scraps that were left on his plate. He picked up his napkin and wiped his mouth. "This was delicious, Neville. Thank you."
Neville looked up and smiled, something Percy was beginning to be thankful for. There seemed to be so few smiles at the Ministry these days; everyone was so preoccupied with the trials that were going on and worried about Hogwarts re-opening.
"Would you like a cup of tea?" Neville asked, standing and collecting their dishes from the table.
"Tea would be lovely," Percy said, standing as well. "Could I at least help you tidy up?"
"That's not necessary," Neville replied. "You're my guest. I'm not going to have you cleaning up."
When Neville was turned around at the sink, Percy whispered a spell to clean the table and to quickly make each of their napkins look brand new. Before Neville saw, he put his wand back in his robes and put his hands behind his back. When Neville went back to the table to retrieve the napkins, he frowned at Percy.
"You just have to be busy," Neville said, shaking his head.
"You've done enough for me, Neville. Why don't you let me make the tea? Sit down, you've been on your feet since I got here this afternoon," Percy said, walking over to the teapot, which already held boiling water since Neville had started heating it even before the meal had begun.
Neville sat down, however unwillingly, and took the tea cup from Percy when it was handed to him.
"Where do you keep your sugar bowl?"
"It's in the cupboard just above the sink. To the left of the spice jars."
"Ah," Percy said as he opened the doors and saw exactly what he was looking for. "And cream?"
"The icebox on the third shelf. It's behind a pitcher of orange juice and--"
Percy returned to Neville, placing the teapot on a cozy in the center of the table, the sugar and cream on either side.
They made small talk through their tea. Neville described the classes he had to work with, the students who were almost his age and had been displaced by the construction on the school, the first years who were convinced that Harry Potter was the second coming, and his feeling of nervousness about not being respected by his students because he generally came across as too soft.
"You'll do just fine," Percy said as he took the last sip of his tea. He looked down into the empty cup and decided that he should get back. He had changed his mind about going back to the Ministry; he just wanted to get home to his flat and take a long shower. He could still feel stray flecks of dirt in his pants and the arms of his robes.
After they had all but said goodbye for the evening, Percy started to walk to the door, intending to turn and offer Neville his best. But when he did turn, Neville was turned away from him, holding the counter.
"Neville?" Percy inquired. "Are you all right?"
He saw Neville blinking something away in his reflection in the window. He turned to Percy with his face slightly scrunched up, like he was unsure.
Percy took a few hesitant steps forward, wondering if he was going to have to repay the favor and calm his host down the way Neville had before. But Neville didn't look like he was going to break down... He just looked like he was nervous about saying something.
"Do you remember me, Percy?"
Percy was slightly taken aback by the question and wasn't sure how to answer.
"Of course I remember you," he said. "You were in Ron's year--"
"No, not like that," Neville said, shaking his head and wringing his hands together. "Do you remember me? When you were Head Boy... There was a night--"
"There was a night when I was so upset. It was after Sirius had broken into Gryffindor Tower because I had left the password list. Do you remember?"
"I was crying. Hysterically crying," Neville laughed nervously. "And you told me that it would be okay. I knew you were just saying it so I'd stop getting my snot on your shoulder--"
"But it was okay. Because I believed you, it was okay. Do you remember what you told me?"
Percy tried to think back to that night, but it seemed like so long ago. He couldn't even picture the Neville who stood before him now being the Neville who had kept him up all night those years ago. Without an answer, Neville continued.
"You told me that I didn't have to be good at remembering things. I just had to be good at something." He paused. "You said that you were good at remembering things, that's why you got such outstanding marks. You told me I just needed to figure out what I was good at and stick with it."
Percy wasn't sure what to say.
"The next year, when Professor Sprout asked me if I would help her after class one day, I thought of you saying that. I liked plants, but I didn't know if they were what I'd be good at. And when it turned out that they were, I—I was just so happy that I had found it."
"It takes some people waste their lives doing things they don't like, Neville. You're lucky to have found it," Percy said.
"Ron used to say things about you. I lived with him, you know," Neville said. "He would complain about you all the time. And during our seventh year, Ginny was furious with you. I couldn't imagine you doing these things she accused you of."
Percy looked down at his feet, ashamed of his actions during those years.
"But when I saw you come through the portrait that night, I don't think I could have been happier to see anyone. I wasn't even that happy when Harry and Hermione came through. I just—It made me feel like everything I had been doing that year wasn't for nothing. You being there... It meant that your family could come back together. And I felt like I was a part of it."
Percy looked back at Neville and was surprised to see that his eyes were shining ever-so-slightly with a sheen of tears.
"Neville..." Percy felt at a loss for words, something he wasn't used to in the slightest, so he just stepped forward, even though he knew he couldn't do anything.
"That night in my third year..." Neville seemed to stumble over his thoughts and he looked down at the ground as he spoke. "I've never wanted to kiss anyone more than I wanted to kiss you in that moment."
Neville looked up at him then and he looked so open, so vulnerable, so close to breaking that Percy just wanted to gather him in his arms and hold him. He wanted to keep him away from the world, just like he had wanted to when he was Head Boy; he wanted to keep Neville's innocence in a place where the world could never damage it.
Again, Percy found that he wasn't sure how to respond. Just because Neville said he had wanted to kiss him when he was thirteen didn't mean he wanted to now. And just because Percy had felt the same thing back then didn't mean it was right that he suddenly felt the desire to do so welling up in the back of his mind. Especially since Neville's bottom lip looked particularly swollen, like he had been biting it when Percy hadn't been paying attention.
Pushing all thoughts of the Ministry and the policies he was meant to uphold, Percy closed the space between himself and Neville and wrapped his arms around the shorter man. He rested his chin on top of Neville's head as he reached up and gently stroked his hair. Neville clutched him for dear life and Percy felt sobs wracking through Neville's body as quick breaths were panted into Percy's neck.
It was his turn to be the comforter.
He gently rubbed Neville's back with one hand as the other smoothed his hair. He was whispering words of comfort into his hair and, as Neville's shaking seemed to slow, he pulled away slightly, which made Neville's grip become so tight that Percy wondered if he'd have bruises. He kissed Neville on the forehead.
"I'm not going anywhere, Neville," Percy promised. Thankfully, Neville's hands eased up on his sides, but only slightly.
"When I saw you here I thought that maybe..." He looked up at Percy with wet eyes. Percy wiped away the tears with his thumb tucked inside the sleeve of his robes.
"Shhh," he said, trying to offer Neville a reassuring smile.
"I'm terrible at this," Neville said, his face turning scarlet.
"At what?" Percy asked, brushing a stray lock of hair from Neville's forehead, keeping it out of his eyes.
"Crying," Neville laughed nervously again and sniffled. "I always make a mess of your robes."
Percy looked down at the front of his robes which were, indeed, slightly damp with a small line of mucous.
"It can be cleaned easily enough," Percy replied, unconcerned. "Are you all right?" He asked, touching Neville's face gently. It was warm under his touch, but that was to be expected from the shade of his cheeks.
"It's wrong of me to say this," Percy said, trying not to fight back the Ministry voices in the back of his mind. He lowered his own voice, hoping the voices in his head wouldn't hear him. "But I've never wanted to kiss anyone more than I want to kiss you right now."
Neville's eyes widened, but then they slowly fluttered shut as Percy leaned forward just as slowly, as if giving Neville time to back away if he didn't want the same thing. Neville stayed put.
When their lips touched, Neville's hands gripped at Percy's sides again, painfully so, and Percy cupped Neville's face gently in his hands. It was a slow kiss, driven more by instinct and gentle passion than by lust or desperation.
He slipped one of his hands back around Neville's neck and carefully turned the younger man's head up toward him to give him a better angle as their lips parted to each other slowly. As his tongue slipped past his lips and gently traced Neville's bottom lip, he felt a soft gasp against his mouth and took it as encouragement.
Percy broke the kiss a moment later, though reluctantly, after deciding in his mind that he couldn't rush Neville and didn't know how long he could keep kissing him like that without losing his professional demeanor. Though he was pretty sure that professional was out the window by now...
They stood there for several moments, Neville's head rested on Percy's chest.
"It's late," Neville said into Percy's robes.
Percy raised his eyes from Neville's hair and looked out the small window above the sink. It was completely dark outside. Percy wondered what time it was, but he didn't want to move his head around to look for a clock.
Neville pulled way but kept his death-grip on Percy's waist.
"You could stay," Neville said.
Percy looked at Neville and wished he could trust himself to stay. But he knew that if he stayed, he wouldn't be able to keep himself in check because Neville would keep looking at him just like that and all of his composure would be shot to hell.
"I really shouldn't, Neville," Percy replied, wondering how long he'd keep telling himself that.
"I have a guest bedroom," Neville said, gesturing to a short corridor. "It's made up and all. You could go to the Ministry from my Floo as early as you like."
"I get up very early, Neville--"
"So do I," Neville said, his voice jumping a few octaves. He cleared his thought. "I get up in the morning to tend the plants that bloom at sunrise," he paused. "But I won't make a peep. After all those years with Gran, I learned to be quiet."
Neville looked up at Percy and seemed to rethink his wording, blushing again and looking straight at Percy's chest.
"Are you sure?" Percy asked.
"That I can be quiet if you're still sleeping?" Neville replied, looking up at Percy in slight confusion.
"That it would be all right if I stayed."
"I'd like little more than for you to stay," Neville said with a smile behind his eyes.
As they walked toward the hall, Percy wondered if he'd actually be sleeping in the guest bed that night or if Neville had pointed out the fact that he had one just for effect.
He wasn't sure he would mind either way.