This continues my Draco-Neville pairing as told previously in My Gryffindor and Anything for You. (You do understand this is slash, right?) Oh, and I'm not envisioning the movieverse, either. My mental images of the individuals involved are just that: mine. Inspired, of course, by the writings of the brilliant J.K. Rowling - I own nothing save the neurons and electrons I composed it with.

This was written prior to the release of HPB and should be considered an alternate universe. Thank you!


Ink

When I ask Professor Snape for use of the Potions classroom, he stares at me with his coldest expression, and I'm sick with dread at the prospect of having to report failure to my Gryffindor.

"You are working on a project with Longbottom?" Professor Snape repeats in disbelief. "Trying to blow up the school, no doubt?"

"No, sir. Ink from...uh, indigo something. Bellissima."

"Indigoneous Bellissima."

"Yes, sir. It's extra credit for his Herbology grade and if I helped, perhaps I could get extra credit for Potions?" It's the only thing I can think of to explain why I'd ask, and clearly, Professor Snape thinks it's fishy.

"You and Longbottom." The note of suspicion in his voice makes me swallow nervously. "Collaborating."

"For extra credit, sir."

"Very well, Malfoy," he says finally, just when I've begun to despair. "But I'll be supervising you. You're not going to detonate anything in my dungeon."

And he's been doing just that. The first two attempts saw him hovering over us like a vulture, convinced that we were either in an unholy alliance to commit an act of sabotage or that we're both thoroughly inept and might manage to burn down the classroom out of sheer idiocy. Professor Snape finally seems to be convinced; tonight, instead of hovering, he's back in his office with the door half-open. He can't see us from where he's sitting, but his desk chair squeaks from time to time as he grades parchments.

The potions lab is quiet; there are little plop, plop, plop sounds as the ink we're distilling drips into the beaker. They say the third time is the charm, and I hope they - whoever 'they' are - are right. We won't be able to tell if it's worked until the brew cools.

Neville watches the hesitant flow intently, his elbow on the work table, his chin on his elbow. His eyes follow each blue droplet as it falls from the spiral tubing to the glass flask below. I've already cleared away everything but the equipment still in use, and I sit on my stool quietly watching him.

It's so hard to act normally when I'm around Neville. My Gryffindor...only thoughts of how mortified he'd be keep me in line, otherwise I'd attach myself to him like a limpet and follow him everywhere. He's never gone out of his way to be nice to me when anyone else was around - unless you count the time he stopped Weasel the Prefect from beating me to a jelly. He gave the Weasel some dung about students dueling in the Charms corridor, and the burke went dashing off to exercise his authority.

Our first attempt at producing ink was a total failure; the sap stayed in the beaker - instead of being distilled, it transformed into a clear liquid with a hard blue shell on the walls of the flask. We experimented; the liquid, thinned with an alcohol base, made an excellant aftershave, and the blue coating, scraped off the flask, became putty-like when heated over a flame and could be moulded before it cooled again. The second batch actually produced ink, but without the shimmering properties of the sap. It was still very nice ink, and we knew we were on the right track.

The last droplet hangs, suspended, above the slowly cooling blue liquid. Impatiently, Neville takes a scrap of parchment and brings it up beneath the reluctant bubble of hot ink. A blue trail trickles onto the parchment, and he wipes the edge of the beaker. We stare eagerly to see if it's what we've been working toward, but although it's brighter blue than the last batch, there's none of the shine there should be. Sadly, we look at one another. This would-be batch of ink contains the last of the Indigoneus harvest.

The beaker is still too hot to touch; glumly, I dismantle and clean the rest of the equipment. Then Neville gasps and catches my arm. He points to the flask sitting forlornly on the table. Turning my head, I see a flash of metallic gold-blue-silver. Cooled now, it's achieved perfection. Neville has several small bottles ready; with meticulous care, he begins to fill them with the iridescent ink.

Neville beams hugely as he surveys the product of our labors. Before I know what he's going to do, his hand tangles in my hair and he kisses me triumphantly. Thoroughly. Oh, Merlin's beard...he tastes like pepper imps...and smells like Indigoneus...his other arm snakes around my waist, crushing me to him. He's pinned me back against the table, and as our bodies rub together, we're both rigid with desire. I succumb to his mouth, the moist caress of his tongue upon my lips...

There's a squeal from Professor Snape's chair, and we start upright, breaking away from each other. I'm hot, embarrassed, guilty and defiant all at once. Professor Snape does not appear. False alarm. Neville smirks at the office door, a mischievous glint in his eyes. A scant thimbleful of ink remains at the bottom of the flask, and my Gryffindor regards it speculatively. "Get up on the table," he says to me in a voice barely above a whisper.

Obeying, I sit on the edge of the table, my legs dangling. He shifts me so that I'm sitting half-sideways, my right leg still hanging while my left leg is bent and my foot rests on the table. My robe rides up, exposing my crotch. Taking a brand-new quill from his bag, he dips it into the fluid in the beaker.

With a furtive glance at Snape's office door, he rests his free hand near my left hip, holding me still, and begins writing on my tender skin. The quill darts against my inner thigh as Neville prints neatly: 'P-R-O-'... It doesn't draw blood, but it pricks and scratches me lightly as he presses down. I've never realized before how sharp a quill-tip is. My heart is pounding. What if Professor Snape comes out here and catches us, what if another instructor or worse yet, another student found us like this? Fata Morgana, we'd never hear the end of it!

Part of me is terrified of the possible consequences, but the sheer bravado of the act is erotic... 'P-E-R'... How can Neville be so calm? His printing is perfectly neat. He shapes each letter oh-so carefully, maddening tickle-scratch against my inseam. He pauses to dip the quill again. 'T-Y'...

A gap, and he begins: 'O-F'... The hand steadying me is hot and I wish, oh, how I wish he'd move it...just a little. Just enough to stroke the green silk and what waits eagerly beneath...he inclines his head toward me, and for one wild moment, I'm sure he's going to kiss me there, but instead, he blows on the ink to dry it. The air is lightly perfumed with the scent of pepper imps.

The quill moves continuously in script as he signs it. The stinging point etches 'Neville'. More ink. 'Long' - I long for his touch, his kisses, as his free hand absently pats my tense thigh - 'bottom'. He underscores it with a slashing flourish that makes me gasp. I'm sure he's drawn blood. He raises one finger, cautioning me to silence. I remain silent and motionless as he reaches to the table behind us and finds his wand. He points it at the inscription and murmurs "Impervious!" My skin tingles.

He bends forward, testing the success of the charm with an agonizing flick of his tongue; he nods to himself and looks satisfied with his work.

The words glisten as if still wet, shining blue-gold-silver:

PROPERTY OF

Neville Longbottom

He strokes the gleaming script with gardening-roughened fingers, and I go gooseflesh all over. Inches away, my cock quivers, begging for his touch - not that he's ever touched me there, not even when he had me naked in Greenhouse #3. He's never done more than rub against me fully dressed, but we both enjoyed that...

The lettering remains pristine.

I look imploringly at him. He's lost most of the puppy-fat that always made him look so roly-poly. His face has angles now, giving it more character; he isn't handsome, but he's...interesting. The curve of his lips was made to be kissed. When he glances up and meets my eyes, he grins. His glinting eyes are greeney-grey like the ocean before a storm...but he has such a sunny smile...I used to think he was a hopeless innocent, but now I know he's no innocent, and I'm the one who feels hopeless.

Neville's hand, still holding the quill, rests on my knee. Now his free hand reaches up and caresses my jaw. I tilt my head, rubbing my cheek against his calloused palm. "Property of..." Does he really mean that? It's what I want most, to be his...not my father's son, or the Dark Lord's servant, but Neville's...what? Plaything? Sex slave? Dare I say it - lover? Is all this teasing a game to him, or does he have any shred of feeling for me?

As he's about to say something, we hear Snape's chair wail and the unmistakable roll of casters on the floor. Neville motions me down from the table, and I slide off, hastily rearranging my robes as the professor's footfalls come closer.

When he appears in the doorway, I'm standing beside the table with the near-empty flask in my hand as Neville pens a doodle on the scrap of parchment. He glances at me and flicks his eyes toward Snape. I find it endearing that he's so commanding with me, but is still shy around the gruff Potions Master. "We did it, sir!" I announce, raising the beaker with its tell-tale sparkle of drying ink.

Professor Snape comes over to the table, examining the container. Neville offers him the quill, and he tests the last drops of ink from the flask on the piece of parchment. Knowing where that quill-tip was just moments ago gives me the oddest sensation...as our teacher pens the words 'Indigoneus Bellissima' with tight, crabbed letters, my thigh twitches. He holds it up to the light, watching the blue-metallic twinkle in the torchlight.

"Very well," he says as the ink dries. "You've succeeded in producing the ink correctly. "Ten points for Slytherin." That's not fair, but after all, he is head of Slytherin house. I clear my throat. "And five points for Gryffindor," he says irritably, tossing the parchment onto the table. "Sign that so I'll have a record of it for my files."

He hands me the quill, and I manage somehow to write 'D. Malfoy' legibly. Passing the pen to Neville, our hands brush together and I try to steel myself not to give away my feelings in front of the professor. Watching 'N. Longbottom' appear in the quill's wake, I'm in an agony of memory and desire.

Snape takes the signed parchment. "I believe Professor Sprout is in the infirmary with Madam Pomfrey. You may want to show that ink to her before anything happens to it, such as random acts of clumsiness by Longbottom." His lips curls. Neville's humbly lowered gaze is somewhere in the vicinity of the Potions teacher's chin. "I suggest you do it speedily, it's nearly time for curfew."

Grabbing our belongings, we exit the Potions dungeon and trot to the infirmary. Neville doesn't say anything to me about what's just happened, and he isn't looking at me. What's he thinking, I wonder? That I'm a prat for letting him scribble on me? But he signed it - he put his name on me - that has to mean something!

There are no students in the infirmary at the moment. Our Herbology instructor is laughing in Madam Pomfrey's office as we walk up to the doorway. The two of them have a spread of biscuits and tea on the desk, and there's soft music playing on the wireless. The nurse wipes the smile from her face and asks us briskly what we need.

I lag behind a bit - this part of it is Neville's show. He apologizes for interrupting the ladies, and goes on to demonstrate the successful product for Professor Sprout, presenting her with a bottle. There's no diffidence on his part now, no shyness or hanging back. He's confident on the subject, and articulate - I've never seen this side of him, and it's curiously thrilling.

"Nice work!" she compliments him. "We'll have to increase the Indigoneus beds for next season so you can make more. Twenty points each for Gryffindor and Slytherin." She beams at us, and Neville looks pleased.

Suddenly, I don't feel at all well. It's just dawned on me that we're done. Hours spent studying distilling techniques in old books, thoughtful discussions on what went wrong with our first attempts and what we ought to do differently, those evenings in the shadowy Potions lab - all the time we've spent together in recent weeks - now I no longer have an excuse to keep company with my Gryffindor, and the thought horrifies me.

It's late enough that the corridor is deserted when Neville stops, studying me. He maneuvers me back against the wall - his outstretched arm isn't an embrace, but as he stands very close, I'm weak with wanting him to - I can't fool myself; I'd let him do whatever pleases him. I am his, and have been since before he ever noticed me that way. Being with him makes me feel like a different person, someone who isn't a Malfoy, someone who's allowed to have feelings about other things than power.

"We did it," he says with quiet approval,grey-green eyes meeting mine for the first time since we left the dungeon. "Nice work, Drake." Butterflies the size of owls flutter in my stomach at his intimate grin. Don't let him be teasing, please let him mean it... He's about to kiss me again, storm-at-sea eyes looming ever-closer...the heat of him, so much bigger and taller than I am...

Hungrily, our mouths devour each other, lips and tongues uttering little groans as we attack one another, pent-up passions surging - right there in the corridor where anyone could see us. I think I'm going to die, to explode, when his hand finds my crotch, urgently rubbing my aching need for him. Unable to control myself any longer, I reach out to stroke the bulge beneath his robes.

A crash in the distance breaks the moment. Probably that unspeakable Peeves causing trouble.

Snogging in the hallways...we must be mental, both of us. Neville's breathing heavily, watching me. "Stay behind after Herbology tomorrow," he tells me, and I nod with joy. He still wants to be with me! Delight and desire are flooding through me and I smile broadly at him.

"But let's be clear on one very important point," he says, face-to-face with me, a strong hand coming up to hold my chin firmly and not letting me look away. "You're mine." A quick, rough kiss. "Mine, you understand?" I try to nod, but his grip won't allow it. "If you ever come to me with anyone else's mark on you, it's over - is that clear?"

He means the Dark Mark, I realize, and now the owls are doing acrobatics. I know what's expected of me by my family. As soon as I'm of age, they'll insist that I receive the Dark Lord's emblem. Refusing may cost me my life, accepting will make me wish I was dead. "I understand," I whisper.

"Good," he answers, releasing my chin with a gentle pat on my jaw. "We'd better get back to our dorms, it's getting late. See you tomorrow!"

Watching the sweep of his robes as he strides away, I lean against the wall for support, a marked man.