Draco could remember when Neville Longbottom was beneath contempt.
He could also remember when Neville Longbottom was above contempt. When the appropriate emotion was anger and hate and maybe a little bit of unadmitted fear, while Neville glared defiance at those who should be his natural allies and defended those beneath him. Draco well remembered his aunt's tirades on the topic. He remembered Neville's walk too. At a time when everyone else hunched their shoulders and moved in anxious little clumps from classroom to classroom, avoiding the Carrows, Neville strode through Hogwarts with his dark eyes burning. Draco, scuttling through the world, so pale he felt he was turning into a ghost, had hated him for it. And admired it. He could admit that, if only to himself.
Draco remembered all of this. But no one else seemed to.
The moment the war was over, Neville had gone back to hiding behind his blushes and bumbling and lack of social graces. It bewildered Draco, and that made him more angry about it than ever - stupidly, fruitlessly angry. And no one else seemed to realise. Didn't anyone else's memory of Neville fighting burn through the veil, so that the strength in the hunched shoulders was undeniable?
Draco scowled down at his Ancient Runes homework, his mouth pinching until he probably looked like Madam Pince. Neville was across the library from him, and Draco - straining his ears - could hear the mumbles about how confusing he found Transfiguration and whether anyone else understood the part about making a dolphin's fin into an ape's hand. Draco didn't have to try in order to hear the replies: Parvati eagerly telling him, Padma archly teasing, Hannah commiserating that she didn't understand either, Millicent giggling.
This last was the final indignity.
Later, Millicent swore she was just trying to get inside information, and stormed off to the girl's dorm.
"You're not Mata bloody Hari!" Draco shouted up the stairs. "You didn't need to lean in at quite that angle to do Astronomy!"
Draco slammed the door and stamped over to the fire. He hit a sofa so hard it made a complaining oof and dust flicked up into his face.
"I still don't see why you're so bothered," Pansy said from behind her Charms textbook. Her tone reminded Draco horribly of his mother. "Longbottom's not causing us any grief, so we might as well just focus on school. I know that now you and Potter have had your weird not-reconciliation you don't have a nemesis any more, and maybe you're pining away for lack of drama - "
"I am NOT!" Draco exploded as unforgivable snickers broke out across the common room.
"- But honestly, who cares why Longbottom's regressed?"
"Maybe it's the lack of pressure," Blaise offered. "The biggest problem Longbottom's facing right now is the drastic shortage of female shirt buttons every time he's around."
"Lucky bugger," Greg muttered. "Next time, we save the world."
The conversation drifted off into whether this made sense, and possible ways of setting up a deadly threat to the world so that they could save it, and Orders of Merlin versus pretty young things as acceptable rewards. Draco tried to pay attention.
With an effort, he got into the conversation enough to offer opinions on threatening the Ministry versus Hogwarts. By the time Draco went to bed, he'd finished his homework and had a spirited argument with Blaise about whether Hagrid was incompetent a teacher enough to serve as a deadly threat to Hogwarts by himself, and had barely thought about Neville at all.
But Draco had always had a capacity for obsession. Maybe Neville had changed, now that he didn't have the war or protecting his friends and family or worrying about the other side to do any more. But not having to think about those things any more hadn't changed Draco at all, and Draco had never been one to give in.
Or to wonder why exactly this bothered him so much. One thing war had given him was a lot of practice at not thinking about certain things.
Draco watched Neville, at meals and in the few lessons they shared and every time the eighth-years had one of those interminable Truth and Reconciliation meetings. Ministry visitors spoke from the front about acceptance and understanding while Draco stared at Neville until his eyes ached. Draco felt burnt up inside with scorn - it wasn't disdain, there was nothing that cool or distant in it - at the way Neville was flustered by strangers' praise. How Neville refused to take advantage, and buried the cool, hard, immovable man Draco knew he could be under layers of shyness.
Draco waited, bringing all his focus to bear; but he never saw Neville be anything but the sweet, uncertain boy who flinched from Parvati Patil's smooth hand. Draco watched the sensitive mouth, the wide dark eyes that made Neville look so easy to wound, and despised him. He hated how Hannah Abbott, who admired Neville's heroism, seemed to have forgotten the way Neville killed Nagini without a second's hesitation, and led his schoolmates in the knowledge that some of them would die. But not nearly as much as he hated the way Neville hunched and hid, like a turtle crawling back inside its shell.
Two months after they got back to school, while Greg was eating all the bacon and Neville was trying to avoid Justin Finch-Fletchley's fluttery admiration, Draco decided that enough was enough.
After breakfast, Draco followed Neville and Hannah to the second floor. He didn't know why they were here, and he didn't care.
"Sneaking Neville up to an empty classroom for a bit of seduction, are we?" he sneered. Draco heard his voice echoing off the stone of the corridor as the other two turned, but it was like hearing something underwater. His whole body was tingling now that he was actually doing something, now Neville was looking at him and Draco was going to make him react.
Hannah flushed. "Shut up, Malfoy!" she said, voice high in her indignation. "It's none of your business!"
"Better hope he doesn't mind your head's even emptier than these rooms," Draco said. It was an effort to focus on what he was saying. His heart jumped into his throat as Neville growled and marched up the corridor towards him. Neville was squaring his shoulders, his shadow falling over Draco's face, and it was like he took up the whole world.
"Malfoy, you should shut up," he said. "Hannah hasn't done anything to you."
"I'm the only one," Draco said. He was talking rubbish, he knew it, and Pansy would slap him herself if she heard - but it didn't matter because anger was building on Neville's face. "I heard she's done something to Hufflepuff's whole Quidditch team - "
"Piss off, Malfoy!" said Hannah. "Oh for goodness' sake. I'm going to the library, where horrible slime like him can't bother me. Come on, Neville."
"I'll catch up," Neville said, giving her a smile over his shoulder. Draco glared. "I think me and Malfoy need to have a chat."
"Well... I guess that's why I like you, that you want to do that. But come and find me when you're finished, all right?"
"Of course," Neville said, and Draco could tell he was smiling, and Draco lost his head like he hadn't in years and reached for his wand.
Neville turned as Draco was doing it. For a moment Draco caught those eyes, the same brown-black as an animal's velvety nose, and then Neville recognised Draco's movement and grabbed his wrist. Neville's gentle hand was large and tight round his wrist and suddenly hurting him and Draco went dizzy.
"What is wrong with you?" Neville said through his teeth. A low flush darkened his cheeks; he was obviously holding onto his temper with difficulty. "Hannah hasn't done anything to you. I haven't bothered you."
Draco said nothing, his whole self taken up with the thrill of Neville's anger.
Neville hesitated, his eyes moving over Draco's face as if trying to work him out. Then he let go, and Draco felt loss hit him.
"Of course you haven't bothered me, you've been too busy getting it daily and nightly and ever so rightly from half the girls in our year. Is it true you did both the Patil twins at once - "
Neville shoved him against the wall. Draco's shoulders smacked it painfully, and he was breathless for a moment. Neville's angry face was an inch from his - he was a little taller than Draco, now - and Draco had to jab at that control, to see what was rearing to go.
"Look, Malfoy," he said through gritted teeth. "I don't know what - "
"Stop dribbling on about what you don't know, you're as bad as your bloody parents," Draco said, and had a moment to think that was probably too far before Neville grabbed his collar and held him against the wall, breathing hard, eyes furious.
Draco went wide-eyed and still, limp against Neville's hands. Neville's fists were pressed against his neck, his whole body close to Draco's, and he looked like a warrior. This was what Draco had been missing. This Neville, who might do anything to him.
Except then Neville's glare fractured and he said in an odd voice, "are you getting off on this?"
The words broke the beautiful, suspended moment of anticipation. Then the realisation of what Neville had said crashed in and Draco glared, humiliation hitting him. "I am not!"
"You are," Neville said - not like he was disagreeing, but like he didn't hear Draco. He let go of Draco, speeding backwards down the corridor. Fleeing like he'd been doing all damn year and Draco was sick of it.
"Running away again?" Draco yelled after him, his agitated voice echoing against the stone walls. "I thought you were brave!"
Neville didn't even falter. It was like he didn't hear him. Or like he didn't want to.
Heat rose up in Draco's chest, anger that was tainted by hurt, and he chased after Neville. "Hey!" He grabbed Neville's shoulder and dragged him round to face him. Neville glowered, red-faced now.
"For goodness' sake, Malfoy - "
"You can't just walk away from me!" Draco said. "You're not meant to run away. I want to talk to you."
Neville pushed his hand through his hair and exhaled. "Fine. We'll talk, and then you can stop bothering me."
He turned and walked into a dim, empty classroom, leaving Draco to follow. Draco blinked, half-annoyed at having the initiative so thoroughly taken from him. But at least this was Neville as he was meant to be.
He went into the classroom and half-slammed the door. For a moment Neville was just a dark, broad-shouldered shadow, and then Draco's eyes adjusted and he saw Neville's furrowed brow. He looked vaguely concerned.
"Oh for goodness' sake," Draco snapped without meaning to. "Those bloody hero cow-eyes, I can't take it any more, maybe it gets Hufflepuffs wet but not - "
Neville instantly grabbed his shirt again, dragging Draco closer. Then he blinked down at Draco, seeming a little startled at his own behaviour. Draco blinked back, and breathed in the scent of him, and waited for what Neville would do.
Neville hesitated, and his eyes went dark and sorrowful. He looked sad - looked sorry for Draco. But his expression wasn't insipid at all, so it didn't bring writhing, angry contempt to the surface. Instead Draco felt uncertainty ache in his chest.
Neville said, "didn't anyone ever give you attention without... without all this?"
No, Draco thought, immediately and petulantly.
It wasn't true. His mother never needed a reason to lavish attention on him, even if she did best with love at a distance; long letters and sweets were easier for her than hugs. Goyle had always liked him. Pansy seemed to find reasons for giving Draco attention, even if Draco never understood them. But the desperation for his father's proud gaze; the aching attempts at Severus' approval; the uncomprehending rage of never being very important to Potter, whatever he did... those were the things that had stayed with Draco.
He hadn't answered Neville's question, but maybe his silence and his scowl did it for him. Neville's face changed: his eyebrows lifting, his eyes softening. "Oh," he said quietly. Draco didn't want to know what Neville saw in his face.
Neville's hand tightened against his chest, winding more of Draco's shirt between his fingers. Draco froze as Neville raised his free hand, and rubbed a broad thumb along Draco's jaw. Draco shivered at that small, deliberate point of contact, Neville touching his face. Then Neville put his hand under Draco's pointed chin, and nudged his face up. Draco met Neville's eyes full-on and Neville kissed him.
Draco was vaguely aware that he should be shoving Neville away and hexing him and telling everyone he'd ever met that Neville Longbottom had tried to kiss him. Maybe telling Hannah Abbott twice. But his body had half-melted against Neville without Draco's permission, and Neville was kissing him politely but with an undeniable edge of heat, and Draco found his hands settling onto Neville's arms, as though on somewhere safe to rest.
They stood there in the dark room, kissing, while Neville's fisted hand slowly uncurled and slid up Draco's chest. Neville cupped the back of his neck, his hand warm and comforting. Draco was held in place between Neville's hands while Neville's tongue teased his mouth open, and a shiver of desire made his breath stutter against Neville's mouth.
Draco's cock was hardening. He slid his hands up to Neville's shoulders, and thrilled at the layers of muscle Neville wasn't trying to hide any more. Neville made a soft sound as Draco's hands slid into his hair, and he pulled back from the kiss, breathing hard.
His eyes were soft and dark and serious, and they were on Draco's face as if Neville couldn't imagine looking elsewhere. Draco felt Neville's large hands move to the base of his throat, and felt a shocking little burst of lust at the edge of danger there before Neville simply removed his tie.
Neville's eyes stayed on his face and Neville's hands stayed at the base of his throat as Draco's tie hit the floor. "Can I...?" he asked.
Draco nodded, not quite knowing what Neville meant. But of course he could, whatever it was.
Neville unbuttoned the first button. As Draco's collar loosened he gave a long, excited exhale. Neville half-smiled, and moved on to the next. Draco stood with his arms at his sides, his breathing shallow, while Neville's hands carefully unbuttoned each button in turn. He didn't know why he couldn't make himself move, but Neville seemed content to undress him. And Draco could do nothing but let him, feeling so very naked already, but blissfully helpless in the face of Neville's desire to see more of him. And then his shirt was undone, all the way down, and Neville twitched it open.
Draco felt a moment of utter embarrassment, because his body was not up to Longbottom standards of musculature. Damn his tendency to lose his appetite under stress! It was no excuse though, he had the body of a Victorian heroine with a tragic wasting disease, he was going to play Quidditch and lift weights and eat red meat every day -
Neville reached him all at once. One hand settled over Draco's twitching fingers and the other on his chest. His long fingers against Draco's skin were shocking points of warmth, and Draco's worry was overwhelmed by desire. Neville's fast breathing mingled with Draco's shivering exhales in the dusty dark.
Neville kissed him against, deep and a little wet, and when he pulled away Draco had to force down a protesting whine. Neville didn't move away again, though, didn't deny Draco contact. Instead his large, sensitive hands opened Draco's trousers. Draco felt blood rush to his cheeks, but he didn't move. Neville held his eyes as he pushed down Draco's briefs, exposing his cock to the air and Neville's gaze.
Neville's eyes were dark, and he looked a million miles away from the blushing boy at breakfast, despite his flush. His eyes were roving over Draco's body in shameless hunger. Draco wanted to shrink away, blushing, and he wanted to preen under Neville's heated look. "Merlin," Neville muttered, almost to himself. "Never thought I'd get this."
"Did you want it?"
Neville looked up at him in startlement. Then his face relaxed into a grin, flashing in the gloom. "Yes."
Draco sort of wanted to hear more of this. He wanted to hear Neville tell him all about how he'd wanted Draco. But Neville began to unbutton his own shirt. He removed his tie and his shoes and his trousers without a hint of bashfulness. The confident movements were breathtaking, exactly what Draco had been missing. Lust surged through Draco. Maybe he'd been in denial before, or maybe seventh year had just worried him too much for such feelings to make themselves known. Either way, there was no possible way that Draco would back down now.
He rid himself of his own clothes, suddenly aware of what a graceless process it was. Neville was dressed only in shadows. His thighs were strong and his stomach a little padded but defined and his cock was hard. Draco couldn't breathe. He was certain that ever after, he was going to associate the smell of old chalk with the kind of lust that turned your knees to water.
Neville walked towards him, and it was his old hero's stride. He walked Draco backwards until Draco hit the door and Neville's body was against his, and Draco had never known what was skin was for before this glorious contact and friction. Neville slid a thigh between Draco's and kept moving, in some miracle of physics. He forced Draco to spread his legs around him, to make a space for Neville's body right there against his.
Draco felt Neville's cock brush his. The door was hard and a little cold behind him, but he only felt that because of the heat of Neville's body. Neville seemed especially tall now, inescapably broad-shouldered and between Draco's legs, overwhelming him. For a moment he didn't move or touch, but looked hard into Draco's face. Draco wasn't sure why. But Neville seemed to see what he wanted, because he nodded to himself.
Neville stroked his face, and Draco turned his face into Neville's hand, almost blindly. He cried out against Neville's skin as he felt a hand on his cock: gentle, exploratory. Draco trembled under Neville's careful touch as Neville learnt the details of his body.
Neville's hands moved, curling over his shoulders, then caressing down his chest. Draco felt sort of pathetic, just standing there clinging to the door and shivering while Neville's fingertips learnt his collarbone, his chest. He reached for Neville's shoulders, but Neville gently caught his hands, put them back against the doorframe. "Just let me... all right?"
Draco nodded wordlessly, and then whined as Neville's hand brushed the dip of his waist. He'd never known he was so sensitive there. But Neville's thorough, careful examination, not letting any part of Draco's body go untouched, not allowing Draco to hide his reactions... he felt almost dizzy. Draco shut his eyes, leaning his head against the door, and gave himself up to it.
He gave a breathless moan as Neville touched his nipples. Neville paused, a ghost of a smile on his face, and circled his thumbs over Draco's nipples, over and over, gentle and relentless. They hardened under the stimulation and breathless, endless sounds fell out of Draco's mouth. He couldn't stop them, and Neville's eyes grew focussed and intent, as he worked more moans from Draco. He pinched both Draco's nipples, hard, and Draco's hips shot out from against the door. His hips hit Neville's, and Neville made a sound of his own, a sort of surprised growl that made Draco's whole body pulse in reaction.
Neville's hands trailed down his body, slow and proprietary. They moved over his hipbones, bypassing his cock; instead Draco felt Neville's fingertips tease over his inner thighs and he spread further without meaning to, wordlessly begging for more touch.
Neville began to work his cock again, and Draco saw stars. He moaned, his whole body pushing into every touch Neville gave, pleasure sending shockwaves through him... "G-gonna come."
Neville's hand gripped the base of his cock. "No."
His voice was heavy with authority, and Draco groaned but didn't fight back. Couldn't, somehow. "P-please." The word made his cheeks heat.
"No," Neville said, and then he scooped his wand off the floor and conjured ropes. "You're going to wait." He turned back to Draco with eyes that were firm but not hard. No one could stand against those eyes, and maybe Draco was lying when he said he didn't get off on the hero thing, because Draco knew he was a villain and he couldn't fucking wait for Neville to tie him up and show him what was what.
Neville picked up the rope, and hesitated for a moment. Draco waited to be sure his legs would support him, then stepped close enough that their chests brushed as they breathed. "What. What do you want me to do?"
Neville actually moaned a little at the question. "I want you to turn around and hold your wrists together."
Draco obeyed. He couldn't see Neville, could only wait for him to act, and that made him shiver. Then he felt the rope wrapping round his wrists, Neville's hands easy and competent as he tied Draco's hands firmly behind his back. "All right, now try moving them a bit, see if they're too tight or will come off easily."
Draco wriggled a little, and the rope stayed in place: he wasn't getting free until Neville chose to release him. The lust that realisation inspired was heavy in his voice. "It doesn't hurt."
"Good." Neville spun Draco to face him, then pushed him back by his shoulders. Draco's stomach flipped as he was forced backwards, and then down. But Neville's grip was firm, he wouldn't let Draco fall.
Then Draco was on his back on a desk, Neville standing above him, between his legs. Neville's body seemed huge; Draco's legs were wrapped round him, Neville's hands on either side of his head, Neville's face so close to his. Draco was surrounded and taken, groaning as he felt Neville's clever fingers tease over the head of his cock.
Neville's hand curled round his cock once more, and Draco shivered. Neville's face was close to his, so close they were breathing the same air; but Neville didn't kiss him. Neville watched him instead, his eyes fierce, taking in every detail of his face and his cries and his reactions. Draco couldn't quite look back. He let his eyes drop shut as Neville stroked and teased and rubbed at him, tormenting him. Draco could feel Neville's ferocious attention as Draco's body arched helplessly, and cries escaped his mouth.
Neville worked his cock, steady and relentless; every twitch and cry was caught by Neville's eyes and his earnest desire to make Draco feel good. It was just a handjob, but Draco had never felt so exposed, as Neville learnt him, using every little desire and sensitive spot to blind Draco with desire.
Draco was sweating, mangling his lower lip between his teeth, and Neville wasn't stopping. His brown eyes were ferocious, the hair at his temples darkening with effort and lust. Neville kissed him, and Draco moaned into his mouth, groaning and bucking into Neville's solid body as Neville tweaked a nipple, struggling mindlessly against the tie and feeling it refuse to release him -
Draco's mouth dropped open as his whole body clenched; he cried out in choking half-screams and came, shuddering, falling apart in Neville's arms.
Draco came back to himself, panting and mindless and half-destroyed, and Neville drew back. "On your feet."
Draco made a breathless whine of complaint, and Neville helped him, curling a strong arm round him until Draco's wobbly knees could hold him up. But Neville's supporting arm also stopped Draco from sitting. At least until Neville got what he wanted.
Neville looked him over, while Draco stood flushed and wrecked with his hands still tied behind his back. Neville gave a small smile of approval, and put a hand on Draco's shoulder. Draco felt his insides light up, and then the hand pushed him downwards. "You're going to suck me off."
Draco felt his breath stutter. His shock was ridiculous - Neville had just tied him up and made him come - but he hadn't expected Neville Longbottom to say such a thing.
Then he landed on his knees, Neville's reddened, hard cock before his eyes, and his mouth watered. Maybe it was time to enjoy the unexpected.
But Neville was looking down at him, smiling with dark eyes full of anticipation, and Draco felt a moment of pure anxiety. He'd never done this before. Merlin, he was going to fuck it up.
"I know." Neville stroked the back of two fingers down Draco's face. Lust was evident in his taut muscles, his flushed face; but he kept his voice gentle. "You'll be fine. No need to be perfect the first time." He looked down at his own cock, which was damp with pre-come, and smiled wryly. "Or even especially good."
Draco took a deep breath, then licked his lips, then felt silly and sort of lunged and all of a sudden he had Neville's cock in his mouth. Not very much of it, true. But enough. He had the head of Neville's cock pushing between his lips, and now forever after Draco would be the sort of person who knew how Neville Longbottom's cock tasted.
The blush didn't stop at his face. Draco felt like his whole body was flushing with heat, and it only got worse as he realised something else.
He rather liked it. Warm skin against his tongue, fragile yet firm and eminently suckable, and Neville's breathing changing in response to every tiny movement: speeding, stuttering, going deep and slow. Draco tongued the slit of Neville's cock, cautious about the taste, and Neville's hands grabbed. One large hand was on Draco's shoulder, the other sliding into his hair, and Draco shuddered with the movement.
He glanced up, and found Neville's dark eyes on him.
Draco flushed and looked down, unable to meet Neville's eyes with a cock stretching his lips. But Draco could still feel Neville's eyes on him, unrelenting. Watching Draco's face as he experimented with his tongue, tried to be good for Neville, blushed more deeply at Neville's moans. Neville's hands stayed on him: bruising his shoulder now, but gentle in his hair. Not forcing Draco to do anything.
No, Draco was choosing to do this, and that was more... more than any force could have been.
Draco shut his eyes to escape Neville's steady gaze; but it only made him more aware of the smell of Neville's body, the quiver of his thighs, the hardness under Draco's knees. The rope still tying his hands - Neville could choke him if he wanted, Draco wouldn't be able to stop him, but he'd chosen to get on his knees for him - Draco's breathing was speeding, matching Neville's, however he tried to control it. He trembled as much as Neville, feeling lust twist in the pit of his stomach at Neville's guttural moan, sucking harder and trying to go faster, wanting Neville to - finally -
Draco looked up, and caught Neville's eyes again. He stared, caught like a fish on a hook, and then Neville cried out. Neville's orgasm was a consummation; Draco shuddered through it.
And then a blurred period: Neville's scarlet face, his panting, his undoing Draco's ropes. Draco's arms slumped down and he whined through the pins and needles, and Neville was patient and lay them both down. Draco's head was full of the smell of sweat and dust, Neville's warm solidity and the cool wood beneath them.
"I'd never have thought you wanted this," Neville murmured. The lazy movement of his hand took in both himself and the rope on the floor.
"Me neither," Draco said, and Neville chuckled.
"Besides," Draco said, and gave in to the urge to trace the muscle of Neville's upper arm, "I didn't want you the way you've been. Hiding. I wanted... well, I wanted this."
"This?" Neville's voice was unreadable, but there was a hint of strain in his tone.
"You know. You... the way you are. Not bumbling any more. Not pretending to be..." Draco trailed off, embarrassed, frustrated by his inability to articulate what he meant.
"I know." Silence, while Draco watched the dust motes falling onto abandoned desks and listened to Neville's breathing. He could be calm for this long, couldn't he? Lying against Neville Longbottom's chest, that was a logical time to feel safe. To feel like falling asleep, because surely nightmares couldn't reach him here...
"I just... I didn't want to fight any more. Didn't want things to be like last year. I want to trust people again and not have them look at me and see a warrior - But I suppose... I mean, this wasn't like last year... Draco?"
Draco didn't answer; he was already mostly asleep. He was past the point of talking, and only just aware enough to hear Neville's little sigh, and feel Neville's fingers in his hair, before he was done.