Disclaimer: I own nothin', yo.

I feel as if I haven't posted anything in fifty years; this took me about a week to write, which is a bit pathetic, but yeah. Everyone thinks of Hogwarts as this protected place, this place that's great and wonderful for everyone, and I wanted to make it a place that somebody dreaded. Also, Joseph Gordon-Levitt is now at the top of my to-do list. Title taken from Bruno Mars' song. Credit to mew-tsubaki for this awesome pairing!


if perfect's what you're searching for

her eyes, her eyes make the stars
look like they're not shining
(bruno mars)

i. we break like we were whole before

The day she and Teddy split up feels like the end of everything.

It's seventh year, only just beginning, and you'd think that students wouldn't have the time and effort to gossip about things like her, but the stares come quickly and severely when she steps into the Great Hall the morning after. The hall, filled with loud chatter and laughs previously, suddenly falls into a hush, save for a uninformed few. Her pale face is flooded with pink and she takes a seat at the Gryffindor table besides her "friends", who give her a completely unfriendly look and scoot away from her as though she is a pariah.

She swallows, finding her throat suddenly dry. The plate in front of her looks much too full. She turns around to look at the Ravenclaw table, meeting Rose's eyes. The red-head gives her a sad look and then glances to her side to argue with that Malfoy boy. Victoire shakes her head, ignores the feeling of strangers' eyes on her. She stares across the Gryffindor table and finds Lucy's gaze; the young girl only shrugs and looks away.

Across the sea of tables, her sister's smug smile catches her eye. Beside Dominique is little Lily Potter, who only sends an angry glare and tosses her hair over her shoulder nonchalantly. Clearly Teddy has already told her as soon as it happened, they are best friends after all. Lily Potter, Teddy's best friend, always more important than his own girlfriend.

Tears fill her eyes. Her own best friends don't even give her a second glance, don't care now that her scandal has been revealed. The flight instinct kicks into her system, and she wants to run out of the hall and go back to her dorm, but she stays instead boldly, struggling to pay no attention to what's going on around her.

Having nowhere else to look, Victoire stares up at the staff table helplessly, blinking away tears. The other teachers are consumed in their own conversations, their own lives. None of them meet her eyes.

She begins to turn away, when a weary man at the corner of the long table catches her eye. He is staring straight at her. Professor Longbottom, from Herbology.

He nods at her curtly, sympathy in his expression. She smiles softly, the corners of her mouth only just turning up.

When they break apart, Victoire looks down at her plate, plays with her spoon, and remembers.

ii. in this haven of escape i find myself

The pretty, golden Gryffindor that always shined brighter than any one of those Weasley girls becomes an outcast, with searing gawking and loud whispers following her whenever she wanders the halls of Hogwarts. The story of what she'd done to Teddy becomes a commonplace tale, and she wouldn't be surprised if the Giant Squid knew of her actions.

She is walking outside one afternoon, trying to find a place to study for Transfiguration in peace, when Lily Luna Potter and her band of cronies (mostly consisting of Roxanne, Dominique, and various worthy Slytherins) rounds the corner.

Victoire feels ridiculous at being frightened by an eleven-year-old girl, but Lily still hadn't done anything for revenge, and knowing her, her cousin was probably still out for vengeance. Immediately, the seventh-year looks around for a hiding place. The Forbidden Forest is out of the question, and Hagrid's hut is off-limits simply due to the fact that he'd always been quite close to both Teddy and Lily and would most likely take Ted's side. The Herbology building comes into view, and in an act of desperation Victoire grabs her wand and textbook, and sprints into the closed glass doors before Lily spots her.

"Professor?" she calls breathlessly, hiding behind a particularly large, spiny plant full of vines. All of a sudden, one of the vines take a swipe at her and squeals, jumping away. In her arm are three, large spines, similar to a cactus, and stinging pain travels up and down her limb. "Shit!"

A cough sounds from the back of the room. "Language," a deep voice reminds, and Professor Longbottom appears from a thicket of green, looking surprised. "Oh, no. What've we got here?" he asks, a hint of shyness.

Victoire drops her books when a shock runs down her arm. "I - It - That thing hit me," she explains, glaring at the still-moving plant. It looks like it's laughing. "Is… Is it venomous?" she asks in a worried tone.

"Don't worry," the Professor sighs wearily, and takes her thin arm gingerly in his. "It's only a Swiping Mizchiv plant. Its prickles hurt badly, but are otherwise harmless as long as they are removed within twenty-four hours." He frowns, and then pulls out his wand from his front pocket, and mumbles some words under his breath before pointing it at the spines that were penetrating her. A calm numbness fills her body, and the spines cautiously pull themselves out of her skin. "Let me get you a bandage," Neville says quickly as blood trickles down her skin slowly, and Victoire closes her eyes, feeling nauseous.

"I remember studying Swiping Mizchivs," she tells him awkwardly, feeling a need to talk or surrender to the pain. "Don't their spines have magical medical properties? They can - I dunno… It's like, when eaten they can help people with spattergroit get better? Something like that?"

Professor Longbottom smiles slyly as he comes back into her line of sight, a large bandage in his hands. He vanishes the blood with a spell and begins to wrap it around her arm, messily pinning the bandage in place. "Yes," he admits, "That was actually a question on a test that, if I remember correctly, you failed to answer." He raises an eyebrow and Victoire turns pink.

"Oh," she mumbles. "Oops, I guess."

The man pats the bandage on her arm, making sure it is secure, and then steps away to look at her. "You know, Miss Weasley, you were the top of the class up until seventh year. Suddenly, you're failing." He frowns. "What's happening?"

Victoire stares at her feet. "I guess… I just lost track, or something. I got busy," she tells him weakly.

"I could tutor you," Neville offers, "if you like. Miss Weasley, you're brilliant at Herbology, if I do say so myself, and with good N.E. in the right places, I'm sure you can achieve a great position after Hogwarts."

The young girl smiles, her cheeks colouring a little bit, her messy ponytail cascading down her back in unintended perfection. "I'd like that," she murmurs gratefully, batting her eyelashes at him, and something has just happened, but they're not really quite sure what.

iii. there's always a time when something goes horribly wrong

There's really no other place for her to go after that, other than Professor Longbottom's Herbology building. At Neville's suggestions, Victoire spends her days waking up in her dormitory (where none of the girls talk to her anymore), eats a miniscule breakfast as quickly as she can (where every girl stares at her), and then rushes off with her books and wand into the building. Professor Longbottom is always waiting for her there, whether he be wearing his thick gloves and experimenting with a dangerous-looking plant, or sitting at his desk, reading glasses perched crookedly on his long nose, looking young and wise at the same time as he glances up at her unexpectedly, a gradual smile forming on his face.

These are the moments she begins to live for.

And then one day, Victoire looks at his face and she sees him. She really, really sees him. He is explaining to her a concept that he'd been pondering, when she, her mind elsewhere, looks up from the book he'd been reading aloud to her and finds herself enraptured in his appearance.

His face is thin, his forehead filled with wrinkles but his eyes sparkling, speaking of passion and knowledge and untold stories. As his lips move, forming words, his tongue darts out occasionally to moisten the pink skin; every once in a while his brow would furrow, his eyebrows coming together, and determination would show as his hand would come to stroke the dark stubble that grew on his round chin as he thought.

A longing suddenly fills her stomach as the very tips of her ears burn. Her eyes begin to wander downward, where his forearms are tanned and toned, with scratches and scars littering the skin there like tattoos. His sweater is riding up slightly, revealing a hint of a flat stomach. His legs are long, his figure towering over her at six foot. He smells of the forest, of tea, of the strong musk of Mandrakes. He smells of manliness, of the outdoors, of wonder.

Without warning his head jerks and light, boyish blue eyes meet hers and she is waken from her trance with a jolt. "Is something wrong, Miss Weasley?" he asks courteously, and her entire body feels warm.

"Nothing, nothing," Victoire replies, her voice just that tiny bit sweeter, her hand coming up to curl a lock of blonde hair around her manicured finger.

Feeling very lolita-ish, she watches as his gaze follows that particular strand of fair hair, his teeth coming down on his bottom lip.

At that very moment, Victoire decides she wants Neville Longbottom more than anything in this world.

(And when Victoire wants something, she gets it.)

iv. and this is it

"Where are you going this time, 'Toire?" Lucy calls after her one night, just as she begins to head across the near-empty Common Room, a worn satchel borrowed from her Professor hanging on her shoulder. Lucy is the only one of her cousins who still talks to her, and almost the only girl in the entire school.

A lowly second-year looks at the two Weasleys and begins to gossip to her companion. Feeling the familiar sensation in her chest, she looks away and focuses on her cousin. "Just studying," she says nonchalantly, gripping the strap of her bag.

Lucy raises an eyebrow, her smile gentle. "Professor Longbottom, again? You're always down there, Victoire." The fifth-year cross her arms over her chest and sets her quill down.

"Well, NEWTs are close," Victoire lies, her body on fire as she senses the increasing whispers pointed at her back. "I - I'll see you later, Lu," she says in defeat, and rushes out of the portrait whole as fast as her skinny legs can take her, and she flies down the staircase and out into the evening, the familiar sight of the green building comforting.

"Ah, Miss Weasley," Neville exclaims when she enters, breathing hard slightly, setting her bag over the back of a stray chair. "Just the girl I wanted to see."

Victoire beams weakly, tying her hair back and grabbing a pair of goggles, pushing it over her head. "What've you got, Professor?" she asks, her voice soft, still in shock.

The older man frowns, looking at her. "Is anything wrong, Vic - Miss Weasley?"

She shakes her head fervently, tugging at the hem of her skirt nervously. "Nothing, nothing wrong," she insists, shivering slightly when a breeze flies in through the creaked-open door. His eyes are still boring into her, and she gives up for the second time that night, running a hand through her hair and covering her face with her free hand. "I just… I haven't got any friends," she gasps, and it's the first time she's ever admitted it out loud. "Everyone's just… abandoned me, and I dunno, maybe they've got good reason but I didn't know it was just that easy to give up on me, and… and…" Her voice is suddenly tired and ragged and her full chest is heaving, and she blushes hard, because he was never really supposed to see her like this.

Neville gulps, reaches out, covers her small hand in his broad one, squeezing awkwardly. "I'm sorry," he says genuinely.

She pulls away slowly, looking behind her. "Me, too. I - I didn't mean to just dump this all on you. It's not your fault Teddy and I broke up." His body is beckoning her closer, and she can't help but lean into the man whom she's been dependent on when everyone else was gone. "It's… just… Professor, you're basically the only person I've got here at Hogwarts," she breathes, and his face pales visibly.

"I wouldn't say that," he mutters back, but he doesn't pull away and that is what sticks in Victoire's mind as she comes closer and closer. "I… You're a fine lady, Miss Weasley."

"Call me Victoire," she tells him, taking in his scent.

"I - I think that might be a bit inappropriate," Neville mumbles, his eyelids coming down halfway, intoxicated. "That would be like… you calling me, 'Neville.'"

She smiles cleverly, her hand spreading across his kneecap. A shiver runs down his spine. It feels like home, where her hand is, connecting with him. "That's not so bad," she whispers, and her lips take the plunge, stopping only millimeters away from his.

Almost immediately, he jumps away, and it's almost as though it never happened. Professor Longbottom shakes his head, as if trying to rid himself of the idea that it had happened. "Why did you and Mister Lupin break up?" he asks irrelevantly, distracting them from her previous actions.

"He caught me kissing another boy," she throws in almost carelessly, "in France the summer before seventh year. Overreacted a bit, if you ask me. Everyone did, but Teddy was always more popular than me, I guess." She shrugs her shoulders, and leans in again. "But that's over now, Professor."

But his torso is stiff, his eyes distant. "I think you ought to leave, Victo - Miss Weasley." His words are cold.

Victoire freezes. "W - What?"

"You should leave," he grunts, standing up and hunching over some potted plants, ignoring her surprise. "This… This isn't a good time."

The young girl gets up from her seat, in a daze. She grasps the bag, slinging it over her shoulder, the smell of him still surrounding her. "P - Professor -" she begins.

He cuts her off. "Don't come in tomorrow morning," he spits out. "I'm… busy."

Victoire's eyes moisten. She opens her mouth to say something, but he has already disappeared into the forest of green that is his escape.

She gathers her mask, pulls the elastic out of her hair, and leaves without a word.

v. you broke me breaking you

The world is pouring rain and broken shapes for weeks. Hours tick by that the young girl cannot even remember, with passing time only an annoying fact as she wanders the school halls, not quite knowing what she's doing.

(She is alone. That is the only thing she is sure of.)

And finally, it gets to her. For seventeen years she'd been the light of everyone's lives (or so it seemed) and suddenly one tiny mistake and she is an Untouchable. She is alone and abandoned and uncared for and nobody really gives a damn about her, so what else is there to do?

One of those nights, she walks outside in nothing but her thin, sky-blue nightgown and her bony hand wrapped around her wand of willow and Veela hair. The rain is thundering down on top of her, instantly soaking her petite body.

In this freezing, deathly cold, she sits beside the Great Lake, watching as even the Giant Squid retreats down into the Lake's deep layers. She curls up, tugs her knees to her chest, and cries for the very first time, because right now the salty teardrops mingle with the rain and you couldn't even tell.

He finds her about two hours later. She's shaking so violently that she doesn't feel his strong arms wrap around her tiny waist; she doesn't feel his jacket drape over her trembling shoulders. And she most definitely doesn't feel him lose a gentle kiss in her wet, stringy hair as he carried her bridal-style into Hogwarts castle, the warmth of his spells wrapping around her like a protective blanket.

vi. these things we do

She wakes up unceremoniously in an off-white hospital bed in St. Mungo's. Her father and nine-year-old Louis are at her side, and straight away Louis runs out of the small room to get his mother. When the incomplete family gathers around her again, Fleur is the first to talk.

"'Tori, my sweet, what 'appened?" she asks, a pale hand wrapping around Victoire's.

Blinking her eyes to adjust to the florescent lights, Victoire shrugs. "I… I don't remember," she lies, visions of an almost black night and unbearable cold filling the blankness behind her eyelids. "All I remember is going outside, and then just now, waking up. What did happen?"

Her father frowns disbelievingly. "Neville Longbottom found you," he explains. The name makes Victoire shiver, but it goes unnoticed. "Says your lips were blue, and you were delirious." Bill shakes his head angrily, his face filling with red. "If this is about Teddy Lupin, I swear, I'm going to Avada Kedavra that boy…"

Victoire laughs softly, fakeness obvious. "This has nothing to do with Teddy, Daddy, leave him alone," she murmurs, touching his chin with a skinny hand. "Uh, what else did Nev - Professor Longbottom say?"

"Nuzzing, really," Fleur replies thoughtfully. "He seemed very concerned, 'owever, which is quite sweet. If 'e 'adn't found you, 'Tori…" The mother closes her eyes, pressing a wet kiss to her daughter's forehead. "Don't ever do zat again. Do you promise? The worry was 'orrid."

Bill nods vigorously in agreement. "If you had died, I would've killed you," he teases to lighten the mood.

Victoire plays with her little brother's fingers, avoiding her parents' eyes out of guilt. "When will I have to go back to Hogwarts?" she asks, already beginning to dread it.

"Well, since Christmas 'olidays are only a week away…"

All of a sudden, she shoots up from her position lying down. Soreness shocks her back, but she stays sitting up anyway. "One week?" she gasps. "I… Last time I remember, holidays were three weeks away!"

Her parents look at each other uncomfortably. "Honey, you were out for two weeks," Bill explains gently. "We were worried sick. Plenty of people visited you. Dom came 'round for a week, but she had to go back to Hogwarts because she had exams. All of your uncles and aunts came over, 'cept Charlie, but he sent over some flowers and… that thing." Her father gestures to a tiny, miniature dragon crawling around the bedside table, breathing small flames. "Even Professor Longbottom visited you, dozens of times. I think he came almost as many times as we did."

In her hospital bed, Victoire closes her eyes at all that she'd missed. "Oh, God," she groans, covering her face with her palms. "So… I'm not going back to Hogwarts? Until after Christmas holidays?"

Fleur shakes her head apologetically. "No. You need your rest."

"Oh, alright," Vic sighs softly. "Sorry, you guys. Thanks for being here. But I'd like to be alone, if you don't mind."

The Delacour-Weasleys nod understandingly; Bill and Fleur kiss the top of their eldest daughter's head and Victoire gives a messy kiss to the side of Louis' head before they exit the room. When they are gone, Victoire lays back, keeps her eyes open to make sure she doesn't fall back asleep, and thinks of a man with dark hair and blue eyes, who always manages to save her when he still hasn't saved himself.

vii. dreams of you fill this reality i've forged

Her Christmas holiday is spent mostly laying in bed, watching the snow fall lightly outside the window. Around Shell Cottage, there is nothing to do; Louis is always playing Quidditch, maybe walking around the chilly beach or having Fred over. Dominique is never at home when Victoire has ventured outside of her confinement; apparently, she spends most of her time at Lily's or Molly's place. Suddenly, the hope that out of Hogwarts there would be hope has self-destructed and she is back to where she started.

Christmas day itself is spent at the Burrow, where George and Angelina now reside with a lonely Molly (the First.) While three-quarters of the family have agreed with Teddy's despair over Victoire's unfaithfulness, a select few (namely Uncle Percy and his family, and her parents) have taken her side and the Weasley family feast is broken down the middle awkwardly, not sure whom it is safe to mingle with. Her cousins send her glares and her aunts send her pitying looks and her uncles fume at her, while she simply sits in the middle of the room, talking to Lucy and Rose, ignoring the fact that Lily is holding onto Teddy and giggling with him (and he's letting her because, oh, they're so close.) Victoire tries not to pay attention, tries to shove down the green-eyed monster inside of her but she can't, because he is twenty-two and Lily is eleven and nothing could ever happen between them but that's the point. Why she is so worked up about them, Victoire has no idea, but she is almost sure that if there had been no Lily to fall back with, Teddy would never have had the guts to end it with her. And had they still been together what happened between her and Neville would never have occurred and she wouldn't be crying herself to sleep because she always falls for the one who won't have her.

The chaos in her mind finally blows up, and she stands abruptly, excusing herself from Rose's speech on how much of a git Scorpius Malfoy is (because everyone knows they're madly in love, blah-blah-blah, I'm about to vomit.) Quietly, she steps into the kitchen, relieved to get away from everyone's disapproving looks.

Inside, her Uncle Harry, Uncle Ron, father, and Uncle George jump away from the fireplace, startled by the sound of the door banging back into place. Without their legs in the way an exhausted, devastated face is revealed, slightly green and flaming.

Of course, it has to be him, she complains in her head.

"Victoire?" Through the fire, his voice is not its smooth, smart sharpness, but instead rough and raw. "Is that you?"

"Nev - Professor," she corrects herself, unable to move at the feeling of his stare.

"I - I -" Neville begins, and then all of a sudden with a swirl and a roar he spins away and his face is gone. Victoire, shaken, blanches, and stands still, regaining her suspiciously lost breath.

Her father, clueless, steps toward her and wraps a comforting arm around her shoulders. "Must've run out of Floo," he says to his brothers and brother-in-law. "What're you doing here, honey?"

"Getting water," Victoire lies quickly, still gazing at the fireplace. "What was Professor Longbottom doing here?" she counters, curious.

Harry gives a solemn look. Ron nudges his shoulder comfortably, as if assuring him his niece will understand. "Your Professor's divorce was finalised last month," he admits finally, "and he just came to talk to us. He's going through some hard times with Hannah, and, well, I guess he just needed some help." Harry raises his eyebrows grimly. "Don't go telling everyone at school, alright, Victoire?"

"If you don't mind my asking, why are Professor Longbottom and Mrs. Longbottom getting a divorce?" Victoire asks without thinking.

As Harry (or, as many of the younger Weasleys like to call him, 'The Chosen Uncle') mulled over whether or not it would be appropriate to tell her, Ron speaks up. "Hannah cheated on him," he explains, "with Zacharias Smith. Always knew he was a git, that one." George and Harry sandwich the man between them roughly, a seemingly regular occurrence. "Oh, was that a secret?"

"Ron…" Harry grumbles, muttering what sounded like swear words under his breath. "Just don't be spreading this gossip around, Vicky," he warns.

At the sound of the nickname, Uncle Ron turns red enough to match his hair. "Right, Uncle Harry," Vic responds, just as Ron begins to yell.

As the sound of fighting and wrestling begins to escape the now-closed door, the feeling of guilt becomes unignorable.

viii. she's coming back

The return to Hogwarts is anticlimactic, if you ask her. She steps off the train, expecting the waterfall of hushed gossip and false rumours (and a couple true, to be honest) to drown her, but instead she is faced with boring quiet. Walking into a carriage with a snobby-looking Slytherin, nobody acknowledges the fact that she's there. She is forgotten. No one cares.

The feeling of being irrelevant is confusing. She doesn't know whether to be relieved that her days as a complete social outcast or over, or sad that she's so far under the radar that no one looks up when she enters the Great Hall anymore.

Well, one person looks up. The tired young old man in the corner of the staff table always glances up from his meal and meets her eyes, unknowing and undefeated. And every single time the same feeling churns in her stomach, and she is forced to look away, still guilty.

It's a ritual.

They haven't actually talked since the Incident, as she refers to it. Sure, occasionally he's forced to say "Miss Weasley, you're partnered with Miss Davies" or "Miss Weasley, here's your test back." But other than what is required no other interaction occurs between them and she finds herself longing for his dusty natural cologne, the feeling of callused fingers stroking her knuckles as he thinks slowly.

Finally, one day, her instincts tell her to take any opportunity that shows up. A week before NEWTs are scheduled, Professor Longbottom hands out a surprise quiz, and she pours over the words calculatingly and calmly, unlike the panicked subconscious murmurs of wrong answers that begin to surface from the other students.

What are three requirements for the caretaking of Bubbling Pustule Leaves?

Damp air, no sunlight. There is no third requirement, Victoire recites in her mind. On the piece of paper, she scribbles Dry surroundings, plenty of light, with a smirk forming on her features.

Her answers are all purposely wrong, and sure enough the next day she is called to Neville's desk, far from the other students, while they're studying. "Miss Weasley," he begins nervously, his eyes glued to the stained papers on his desk.

"You know you can call me Victoire, Neville," she says in a bored tone, that damn Gryffindor bravery she'd always lacked suddenly flooding into her like light in a dark room.

Neville's front teeth sink into his bottom lip and Victoire squirms. "It's Professor Longbottom, Miss Weasley," he corrects quickly, not missing a beat. "And I want to talk to you about your grades. You would've gotten a T had this been an exam." He holds up her old quiz paper, and sure enough there is a dark red 'T' scrawled on the front. "This is the first time I've given someone a T in four years, Miss Weasley. I know you, and you're brilliant. The thing is, these are the exact opposite of the correct answers."

Victoire lets her mouth fall open just a bit, cocking her hip. "What are you saying about my intelligence, Professor?" she gasps dramatically. A thought pops up in the back of her head that she could've made it as a Muggle actress.

He shakes his head disbelievingly, hiding an obvious smile. "What are you up to, Victoire?" he asks huskily, and the sound of his low voice makes everything about her ache. The taste of her name on his tongue makes her want him, want him back, want him forever.

"I've no idea what you're going on about, Professor," she responds just as slyly. "But I do suppose that I might need some tutoring. After all, NEWTs are so very soon and I'd hate to fail when I've got so much," she bats her eyelashes devilishly, "potential."

His eyebrows come down over his eyes, narrowing, and he looks like a young man again. "One tutoring session," he growls. "Tomorrow. One o'clock sharp. Because you're very smart and can do great things." He glances back at his papers, and then up at her again with a scowl. "And I'm not letting you go to waste."

"Of course," Victoire replies smoothly, without a trace of doubt in her voice.

There's a reason that girl was named after victory, Neville realises as he watches her walk away, those damn hips swaying oh-so-seductively.

ix. those torturous eyes will be the death of both of us

"The number of leaves on the right side of a healthy Exploding Vine are…"

"Eight," Victoire answers in a professional tone. "If there are less, the plant is under-watered. More, over-watered."

Neville closes his eyes, pinching the bridge of his nose. "You've answered every question I've thrown at you perfectly, Miss Weasley, even the ones about things that none of the students here have studied." He turns away, shrugs off his jacket and throwing it onto one of the unused desks. "I really don't know why you're wasting your time here."

"This isn't wasted time, Professor," Victoire confesses softly, rubbing the corners of her textbook pages together nervously. "It's with you. Time with you is never a waste."

Running a hand through his messy hair, he shakes his head furiously in disagreement. "Don't do this now," he argues. "This is completely inappropriate and I don't know why you've taken such an interest in me but trust me, Vic - Miss Weasley, I'm too old for you and you've got no future or business with a man like me and you really ought to find a nicer boy your age." His eyes are tortured when he turns to her, full of doubt and regret and questions and want and need.

Stepping away from the desk she'd been sitting at, she inches towards him. "Neville," she whispers, "I want you."

"You want me, you don't need me," he throws back hoarsely, finding himself unable to move as she moves closer.

"Stop doubting," Victoire insists in frustration, stopping abruptly in front of him. "Let yourself desire, for once. Just once. You deserve to get something you want for once, Neville, you deserve it!"

His hands, still tangled in his hair, begin to tug at the roots, his face turning white. "This is wrong, so wrong," he says dryly.

"But we are so right," Victoire protests gently, her manicured hand coming out to brush his chin.

"Just once," he murmurs in surrender, his mind suddenly inebriated with her, drunk on her.

"Only once, because that's all we need for a forever," she breathes, and closes the space in between them, kissing him finally. Everything that's built up until this moment combusts into whatever they can call themselves and oh, the sweet feeling of temptation fulfilled fills her up until all she can do to stand is wrap her legs around him and press their bodies closer together.

x. what is a happy ending?

In the end…

Well, she's not really sure how it ends, exactly.

After the kiss and everything, they sit curled up in the middle of the room. The perfect word to describe the two of them, really, is dazed. Dazed by the effect they've got on each other, amazed by how imperfectly perfect the moment had been, stumbling around the classroom with their lips fused together, knocking over desks and chairs and a few plants, actually.

"I feel like a teenage boy again," Neville admits, stringing their fingers together.

"I am a teenage girl," Victoire giggles, suddenly giddy as she stares up at him from her position with her head in his lap.

Neville places his face in his hands, disconnecting their intertwined fingers. "I'm so very royally screwed. What the hell am I supposed to do now?"

"Don't worry," Victoire soothes, placing her hands on both sides of his head and bringing their faces close. "With a Victoire, there's always a victory." And with that, she presses her lips to his, and they forget everything, for just a little while.