Author: Selina Kyle
Rating: PG (for language and romantic situations)
Summary: A picnic between friends. What could possibly go wrong?
Word Count: 1,091
Author’s Note: Written for hp_fqf challenge (Neville/Ginny, a picnic). My apologies to all Nevile/Ginny shippers.
“It’s supposed to be a lovely day tomorrow, first day of spring and all that. It would be a shame to spend it inside…and we haven’t talked in so long, so…won’t you join me, Neville? Please?
He couldn’t exactly refuse her. This was Ginny, after all. Though he’d long since come to terms with the fact that she’d never consider him as anything other than a dear friend, some small part of him, one that he thought he’d finally beaten into cowering submission, tap-danced back to life at her request.
So Neville ignored Dean’s silent and overly dramatic hand-waving in the back and said yes. Ginny threw her arms around him in delight, her body pressed so close that all his blood seemed to be pooling down to—
“It’s alright, Ginny.” He hastily squeezed himself out of her embrace. “I’m really looking forward to it.” She gave him one final peck on the cheek (already worth it, in his opinion) before bouncing out of the common room.
Dean seemed unimpressed by his good fortune. His head shook in pity as he approached Neville, as if he had just agreed to extra tutoring sessions with Snape rather than a romantic date. “D’you realize that she broke it off with Malfoy yesterday? He’s in an awful mood, wrecked all the furniture in the common room, if you believe the gossip coming from the Slytherins. He won’t be too pleased when he sees you getting it on with his girl.”
“Am not getting it on with Ginny!” Neville huffed in protest. Not that he would push her away if she did anything of that sort. He was a member of the male species. “In any case, she asked me, not the other way around.”
“I’m sure that’ll make a difference to Malfoy.” Dean rolled his eyes and simply shrugged his shoulders. “Well, don’t say I didn’t warn you.” He clapped Neville on the shoulder before making his way up to the dorm.
Even Ron, whom he thought would be pleased at this turn of events, remained unconvinced.
“I dunno,” he said later that night, his mouth full of the last of the pumpkin pasties he’d nicked from the kitchens. “I heard Malfoy’s real furious. Even threw a box of chocolates off the Astronomy Tower…you know, those fancy French ones.” Ron sighed, obviously in dismay at the thought of all those lovely chocolates, wasted on Hogwarts’ unyielding stone.
This was too much for Neville. “I thought you were on my side!” he whined, yanking the pillow off his bed and slamming it down, just barely missing Trevor who hopped away in fright.
“I am, mate. It’s absolutely fantastic that Ginny’s taken an interest in you. It’s just that…well, I heard that Malfoy’s gone crazy. Ballistic, even. Who knows what he’ll do?”
“Yeah, I’m real touched by all the concern,” Neville shot back before pulling the covers over his head. He didn’t scare easily anymore, though no one else seemed aware of that fact. He was capable of taking care of himself. Besides, what could Malfoy do to him?
The bludger bounced off the tree, leaving a crack in wood right over his head. A hazard, Neville supposed, of having a picnic on this rather sparse patch of grass in the shadow of the Quidditch pitch. He tried to convince Ginny that his favorite spot by the lake was more ideal, but she couldn’t be swayed. Too cold, she said, and he soon found himself laying out the blanket underneath the tree.
Mocking laughter drifted from the Slytherins, who just happened to be holding their team practise at that very moment. “Don’t mind them, Neville.” Ginny patted his hand, which was laying next to his. “How about another strawberry?” She held out the luscious fruit to him.
“N-No, thanks.” Neville shifted on the blanket, trying to find a comfortable spot where the rocks weren’t poking holes through his arse. A good thing too, since the next bludger, which screeched by inches past his ear, would have certainly knocked him out cold.
“Head still attached, Longbottom?” Malfoy flew closer to the pair on his broomstick, the usual sneer pasted on his face.
“Bugger off, Malfoy! As you can see, we’re having a grand time, aren’t we?” Ginny’s smile was strained around the edges, and the spoon in her hand was in danger of snapping into two. But Malfoy didn’t heed the warning signs.
“Such a cozy picture, the two of you. Maybe planning a little shag later? Hope you can handle her, Longbottom. She’s a wild one—”
The bowl flew straight at Malfoy, knocking him right off his broom.
“You crazy bint!” he yelled as he wiped the dripping cream from his eyes.
“And you’re an egomaniacal, stupid prat!” Ginny shot back. “I must’ve been insane to think that you could change!” Her freckles had disappeared under the red flush spreading across her cheeks. Neville thought she looked glorious, what with the red hair streaming behind her like a banner and her eyes glittering with anger.
Unfortunately, he wasn’t the only one who noticed.
Draco stopped wringing out his hair and peered at her more closely. “You look fantastic when you’re angry, do you realize that?”
“I- I am?” Ginny blinked in surprise, her fury melting away.
“Absolutely. Excuse us, Longbottom. I’d like to borrow Weasley here for a moment.” Malfoy clamped one hand down on Ginny and prodded her in the direction of the broom shed. Neville tried to stop him, of course, but Ginny assured him that she’d only be a minute. He could only watch as the two of them disappeared behind the corner. The furious whispers died down, followed by something he just couldn’t quite make out—
A blush bloomed on Neville’s cheeks. He just couldn’t sit there and listen to that! In a hurry to get up from the blanket, his legs tangled underneath him, making it easy for a shadow to push him back down. When he looked up, the shadow had materialized into Pansy Parkinson, who then proceeded to sit herself down in front of him. She pulled her skirt primly over her knees before reaching for the bowl of strawberries.
“Longbottom, didn’t your grandmother teach you that it’s rude to leave your mouth hanging open,” she said, a stinging reminder before popping a ripe berry into her mouth. “Oh don’t worry, they’ll take it inside soon enough." Much to his eternal amazement, she winked at him. "Besides, we can’t let all this food go to waste.”