Disclaimer: Harry Potter belongs to JK Rowling.
Summary: Neville wants to date Harry Potter but isn't so sure he has what it takes to date the Hufflepuff Savior!
AN1: I am aware that Harry is a Gryffindor but in my story Harry is in Hufflepuff. This is set in sixth year. Sirius is alive and is assumed to have raised Harry. This is fluff. This is an AU. Enjoy!
AN2: I heard the song 'Stuttering (Kiss Me Again)' by Ben's Brother and couldn't get the song out of my head... this is the result. This was beta'ed by the lovely and talented Dani-ko, any remaining mistakes are my own.
Hogwarts was a quiet school on most days, seeing as people occupied only a small portion of the large castle. The rest of the castle was empty and ready to be explored by curious first-years and adventurous Hufflepuffs that wanted a quiet corner to read. Neville Longbottom was currently on the tail of one of said Hufflepuffs: Harry James Potter, their Savior, who turned out to be just a normal boy despite all the media coverage of him.
The magical school—of course being magical and all—was quite aware of Neville's silent near-stalking and couldn't help but be amused at it all, which is why it took great amusement in letting Harry find a room just at the end of the hallway. Once Neville entered behind the quiet Hufflepuff, the doorway and even the hallway disappeared from existence.
The room was well lit, since the ceiling was made of glass, and had been a greenhouse once. It was later turned into a sunroom, then a classroom and then fallen out of use.
Neville watched from the corner of the room as Harry looked up and then around him, only to tense up and stare at the exact place where he was standing. "Sorry, I didn't know there was anyone in here." Harry made to go to the door but paused when he couldn't find it. "What did you do with the door?"
The Gryffindor blinked out of his Harry-induced love-glaze to stare around him in confusion, just as Harry had done. "I-I-I didn't do anything." It amazed him that, even though he was supposedly over his stuttering, just one small Hufflepuff could make him feel like he was facing his OWL exams again. "I'm sh-sh-sh-sure the door will turn up again." Blast his stuttering! 'I'll just shut up now.'
Bright emerald eyes stared at him in slight confusion, but Harry nodded nonetheless. He made his way over to one of the large window seats with his bag at his side and curled up on it. "I'm Harry Potter, Sixth-year Hufflepuff." Neville smiled at how the introduction made it sound like a kingly title. His smile faded, however, when Harry turned around and stared at him. Neville panicked and tried to figure out what he was expecting him to say about it, since everyone already knew who Harry Potter was. "You are?"
"Oh." Harry's face lit up with a small smile and Neville clutched at the wall as he felt his entire body hum at the action. "I-I-I—Neville, my name's Neville Longbottom. I'm a sixth-year Gryffindor." Harry's smile widened and Neville's cheeks flushed red when he understood that the smile was just for him.
"It's a pleasure to meet you, Neville," Harry said and opened up his bag to get out his books.
Harry was probably the shortest sixth-year in the entire school, aside maybe from Daphne Greengrass, but everyone thought she was part goblin anyway. His eyes were an amazing bright green, and they seemed too large for his face with the thick glasses he had on. He remembered from the first time that he saw Harry on the train that Harry always wore top of the line clothes that always fit him. 'The poor bloke would have to get his clothes tailored with how small he is.'
Harry had a tendency to bleed into the crowd, much like Neville did, and that's the only reason that Neville had noticed him in the first place.
With a shuffle and uncertain steps, he walked over to where Harry was sitting and sat down on the other side of the window, making sure not to touch the Hufflepuff even though his fingers were itching to do so. "Um, have you decided what you're going to do after you leave Hogwarts next year?"
"I have been interested in becoming a professional artist," Harry said, not looking up from his book. "You know like family portraits or scenery," he continued and Neville nodded. "Professor Sprout tells me that you're legible to take an apprenticeship in Herbology. Have you decided who will be your Master? Or are you staying in Hogwarts to be Professor Sprout's apprentice?"
If Neville's mouth hadn't been hanging open when Harry had answered him, it sure was now, as Harry seemed to know something about him. Neville blanched when Harry's messy head turned and stared at him with a raised brow. "I was thinking of it, t-t-to work with Professor Sprout I mean, but I think that she would be too busy with the Hufflepuffs and teaching everyone," he quickly said when he figured that Harry was waiting for an answer. "I never really knew that you were interested in art, though. I guess you learn something new everyday about your classmates."
Harry's lips pursed and Neville couldn't help but stare at the pink lips. "Did you think that I was all about saving the world and kissing babies?" Neville's head popped up to stare at his face instead and winced at the glare, quickly shaking his head. "Don't assume you know me just because the media prints crap about me when they have nothing better to do with the front page." The growled words caught Neville off guard and he flinched away, bumping his elbow sharply on the wall.
"I never thought that about you, actually," Neville murmured rubbing his tingling elbow. "I've always wondered why you're so quiet and in the background; I've never really understood it and wanted to get to know you better," he tried to explain and sighed when he figured that Harry probably heard this all the time, only to be stabbed in the back by liars. "I know you probably hear this a lot, probably what I just said too, but I just wanted to get to know you better."
"I do hear that a lot," Harry said and moved his feet so that he was resting his head on his knees. "What makes you so different from everyone else?"
Neville sighed and tried to figure out what about him was so different from the other people that tried to be friends with Harry. The other people were probably more popular, could offer more in their friendship, and they were probably not lusting after the green-eyed teen either. "I don't know what makes me so different from everyone else. I'm not popular, I'm only good in Herbology, and I can't offer to set you up with contacts because I don't have any." He sighed and scratched at his head in agitation. "I honestly just wanted to be your friend because I like you." He took a deep breath and was thankful that he hadn't stuttered in the last five minutes.
Neville felt more than saw the door appear and he gave one last look at Harry's slumped figure before making his way out the door. His eyes looked over Harry to make sure that the smaller boy was okay and not shocked about what he had said.
As far as Neville was concerned, he was positive that humans weren't meant to purr. Purring was for cats and feline creatures with the occasional Veela, but those were rare and he didn't know any personally to admit whether or not they actually purred. Luna Lovegood was odd and Neville wasn't completely sure whether or not was from this planet, let alone human. Luna Lovegood purred, not like a cat and not like a Veela, but like you would expect a human to purr if they could.
"Why are you so happy?" he asked, sitting across from her and putting his schoolbooks on the library table. "You're usually only this happy when you have one of those Muggle riddle books; has anyone gifted you with one?"
She blinked at him, her locks falling out of the messy bun she had it in, and getting into her eyes. "True or false: The following sentence is false. The preceding sentence is true. Are these sentences true or false?" she asked as she looked back down at a leather bound journal of sorts.
"I don't know, Luna, I'm not as smart as you." Neville grinned and then thought about the riddle. "Wait, that riddle doesn't make sense, though. If the first sentence is true, then the second will be false, but then that makes the first sentence false." He hummed and looked out the window, trying to figure out the answer now that Luna seemed intent on making his brain explode with riddles. "It doesn't make sense, Luna!"
Neville flinched away from the noise and would have fallen out of his chair if he hadn't seen the ticked redhead from across the room. "I hate these stupid OWL sessions," Ginny Weasley grumbled, plopped down on a chair beside Luna and slammed her head on the table. "Please put me out of my misery." Her head turned sharply towards him. "How did you deal with this last year, Neville?"
Said boy looked at her with raised brows and ignored Luna's purring again. "Luna mostly. She's good at making study sheets and practice tests, so I was able to do well enough on them without going insane."
Ginny's brown eyes stared into Luna's silvery gray and growled at her. "How come Neville gets study sheets?" she whined and slumped her body over Luna's. "I thought you loved me more because I understood your woman problems."
The pale hand belonging to Luna patted Ginny's head lightly. "You've never asked. I can show you the study sheets I've made so far."
"You used study sheets?" Neville inquired with big eyes, as if expecting Luna to have the answer to the tests already in her head. "You know things that not even the seventh-years know about and you're using study sheets?"
The blonde handed Ginny a notebook and patted her head again before settling her eyes back on her book of riddles. "I need to study the subject of the exam or else I might end up writing things that I don't need to write."
"You're a really smart person, Luna, but your writing leaves a lot to be desired for," Ginny said, showing her the tight scribbles and loopy letters. "I think I might need a magnifying spell for this, or Omnioculars." She showed Neville the notebook and smiled at the roll of his eyes. "I like your doodles, though, it helps with reading them because I look forward to what drawing is next."
"I would like that notebook back when you're done with studying," Luna said and pointed at the side, where she assumed the notebook was as she had her head stuck in her book of riddles again. "I like to read what I've written and add things to it before bed."
The bobbing of the red hair was all the answer that Luna got before she rushed off into the shelves of the library to look for some books. Neville watched her go from shelf to shelf and then over to Madam Pince with a big smile. "Do you figure that you'll get that back tonight?"
"She'll copy the notes that she needs and give it back to me before dinner," Luna answered lightly. She turned around slowly and Neville frowned as her head tilted to the side and stared ahead of her. "How exciting."
A boy never really thinks about things smelling nice, that's usually for girls to do, and they usually don't think about how the light makes another person's hair look ethereal. Neville never really cared what people thought about him because they never really mattered. So, when Harry Potter sat next to him, smelling like spring fields and with the light making his hair look like a halo, it wasn't surprising that Neville noticed because Neville care about what Harry thought.
"Did you just shower?" Neville's mouth dropped at the question coming from Luna's mouth and he stared at her as if she had gone insane. "You smell nice. A new shampoo, perhaps." She leaned forward and took a whiff of his hair and for that one moment Neville was jealous of Luna Lovegood because she was a girl.
Harry just made the matter worst by ruffling his hair and causing the lovely scent to tantalizingly hover over to Neville. Was it possible to get a boner from just the smell of the person you liked? Was that even normal? But Neville had better self-control than that, or it could be that he wasn't an exhibitionist and just the thought that someone could see the tent in his trousers quickly sobered him up. He rubbed at his face as he thought about un-sexy things and definitely not about Harry Potter taking a shower and smelling absolutely delicious with his new shampoo.
"Hello, Neville." The voice startled him and he looked into the green eyes. "How have you been since we last saw each other?"
"Fu-fu-fine, thank you." He winced as the stutter erupted out of his lips before he could stop it. "How have you been?"
Silvery grey eyes watched the interaction with a critical look. Harry was her friend, her first friend in a school that thought her insane, and she cared a lot about him and would not stand for someone hurting him in any way. Neville was also her friend, even an older friend than Ginny Weasley was as she remembered the visits to St. Mungo's to see her mother and seeing him there with his grandmother. She smiled at them and stared at the blue and yellow orbs floating around them and hoped for the best between the boys.
Harry smiled and blushed at something Neville said, and she tuned back into the conversation. "It hadn't been my intention to say that to Malfoy and I insulted a lot of purebloods, it seems, when I said that."
"I'm from an old family and looking back at the family trees it's rather daunting," Neville said with a smile, his stutter gone for now. "I'm not interested to know that my great grandmother married someone that was related to her." He shuddered and leaned back as he got more comfortable. "It seems that it's dying out nowadays, though, so Malfoy probably won't marry the Black heir."
Harry's eyes widened slightly and he looked around him. "I should hope not seeing as I'm the Black heir and that I have no interest in a bigoted troll like Malfoy."
They talked for a while about the old families and how important traditions had been lost throughout the years because of Muggleborns and how traditions that should die out were still around. Luna was amazed at how they were able to talk about such things and yet they weren't tearing each other's hair out like some of the Slytherins would do when the subject was brought up.
She took out one of her books from her bag and smiled at the old photo album. There weren't any photographs in it, but what was in it meant the world to her because she knew that no one would ever have a collection quite like hers—except maybe for Sirius Black.
"Luna, what is that?" Harry asked, pausing in what he had been trying to say to Neville when the plastic of the album caught his eye. "Merlin above, Luna. Are those what I think they are?"
Luna's nose wrinkled and she cocked her head to the side. "Despite what people say about me, Harry, I'm unable to read minds. What did you think these were?"
Neville looked between the two of them and leaned forward to look at the book. "They're drawings. She put drawings in a photo album."
The book flipped around with a flick of her wand and Neville was able to see the drawings better as the pages shifted. "I'm guessing that in a couple of years this book will cost a hefty bundle; a shame this book is priceless to me."
"They're all really beautiful," Neville said as he paused the pages from turning and turned back to a previous drawing he liked. "This is Professor Snape!" He flipped forward again and saw several colorful ones of the giant squid and of house-elves working in the kitchen. "This is amazing. Are they all done by the same artist?" Luna nodded and let Neville look through the book again. "If this book is so priceless why do you have it with you?"
"My things have a tendency to disappear from my trunk so I like to have it with me at all times," Luna explained and smiled at Neville. "I think the only other person that might have as intensive of a collection as this is Sirius Black; he probably has older ones, too."
Harry grunted and smacked his forehead with the palm of his hand. "Actually Remus Lupin's collection is a lot bigger," he said, shocking Neville that their old professor would be a collector of these drawings and that Harry would know about it. "He has a folder full of stick figures I drew when I was three and he keeps them all organized by the date they were made. Sirius likes to frame them and put them all over the house."
"You drew these?" Neville asked, his mouth still hanging open. "These are amazing; I've never seen drawings like these."
"Dean Thomas is an exceptional artist as well," Harry mumbled and shrugged. "He's the one that does the Quidditch posters during the last four games. And Luna was lying about the drawings being expensive; if I remember correctly there are 25 galleons worth of drawings in there."
"They're still important to me," Luna said and smacked Harry's head when she leaned forward to take the book from Neville. "I still have the bookmarks you made for me in first year."
Running through the hallways was never recommended for students, because that usually meant that you would get caught by Filch, which would then mean that you would have some kind of horrendous detention to deal with. Neville was desperate enough that he didn't really care for that at the moment and he was positive that Filch wouldn't give detentions the day the students were leaving. 'I doubt Snape would actually want any of us staying an extra day just for detention. Does he even go on vacation?'
He slid around the corner and caught up with the Hufflepuffs exiting their common room. He tried to catch his breath while waiting for the person he wanted. When the torrent of yellow lined robes finally settled into a trickle, he saw that back Harry's messy hair and grinned in delight. Neville called out his name and Harry turned towards him.
"Neville, what are you doing here? I thought you would be one of the first people on the train since you have a long ride ahead of you," Harry said as he jogged over to him, a smile on his face.
"I wanted to walk you—with you one last time before we had to leave for summer break. We won't see each other for nearly two and a half months," Neville said, his cheeks turning pink at his slip up and walking beside Harry.
The students were all piling up at the carriages, saying goodbye and promising to write each other over the holidays. They waved to Luna as she rushed into a carriage with Ginny Weasley, her brother and Hermione Granger. Some of the first-years, whom in two months would be second-years, were crying and clinging to their friends a bit tighter as they promised to send letters to each other and to visit and sorts of things that they could have just said when they were on the train.
"Remember when we were like that?" Neville asked with a small smile and side stepped a Ravenclaw with a bag full of books, probably borrowed from the library.
"Well, not really, I would always use a Portkey because we live close by and taking the train is kind of pointless." Harry shrugged lightly and walked to the school gates with Neville at his side. "I do remember that everyone always does this no matter what and I suppose it'll be weird when we leave next year and it won't happen again."
Neville tried to gather all of his Gryffindor courage as he saw Remus Lupin just outside of the gates waiting for Harry. He stopped and Harry stopped beside him in slight confusion before he remembered that Neville had to take the carriage to the train.
"Harry," Neville started biting his lower lip as he tried to not psych himself out, "I really, really like you."
"That's good, I like you, too," Harry said with a bright smile. "I would have thought that you had figured it out after we've spent so much time together and not killed each other."
Neville sighed and looked away from the innocent eyes for a second. "That's not what I meant." He huffed and Harry's head tilted to the side cutely. "This is what I mean." He leaned forward and pressed his lips to Harry's, only to pull back when he was sure that it was too long and that it wouldn't get any deeper than that. Harry's eyes were wide and his mouth was slightly open. "I-I-I'll see you next year, I su-su-suppose."
As Neville turned around Harry caught hold of his robe sleeve and made the Gryffindor face him. He was biting his lip and looked like he wanted to say something, but instead he just stepped forward, pressed his other hand to Neville's neck, and brought him down to his level.
This time around the kiss wasn't a gentle press of lips; once Harry's lips touched Neville's he opened his mouth and deepened it, sweeping his tongue over Neville's shocked mouth and plunging in to taste and savor all that was the Gryffindor teen. Harry's eyes were darker and his face was flushed when they pulled away, and he stepped back a bit to be able to breathe. "I didn't even get to invite you over for the summer… Would you like to come over for the last month of summer break?"
"I would love to come ova—" His answer was muffled by Harry's lips covering his again. He hadn't expected the softness and smoothness of the other boy's lips and leaned forward a bit to get more of it.
"I'll see you August 1st, then," Harry said with a bright smile and a wave. Remus Lupin was grinning on the other side of the gate and was turned slightly away, as if he hadn't just seen his charge making out with one of his previous students. Harry waved again and turned around to talk to Remus with a wide smile, until the Portkey was activated and they disappeared.
"Who was that?" Remus asked even though he was quite aware who the Gryffindor boy was.
"Neville Longbottom," Harry answered with a goofy grin on his face.
"The boy you've fancied since fourth year?"
"Yes, the same one."
"Is he your boyfriend?" Remus asked, with his brow raised.
Harry grinned up at him and cocked his head to the side. "No, but he will be."
'Ah, Sirius, our little Harry is nothing more than a conniving little snake in an innocent badger's clothing. How am I even going to explain this to you?'
Thank you for reading! I hope you all enjoyed that! Leave a review with your thoughts on the story on what you liked or didn't like.