Title: Yes Is A World
Challenge: #45 - Neville/Harry: More than friends
Summary: Misconceptions threaten Neville and Harry's relationship
Warnings (if any): slash, general angst, nothing major
Notes: This is a follow-up to Love Is A Place. Again, a huge thanks to my beta vafizziks.
Saturday used to be their day. After a long week of herbology lessons, potions experiments, charms practice, and Muggle Studies homework, Saturdays were a reward, a day to simply relax and enjoy each other’s company without the hectic intrusion of university life. Saturday used to be Harry’s favorite day of the week. Of course, that was before he broke up with Neville.
Harry sat on a bench in the park across the street from his and Neville’s favorite muggle coffeehouse. If one were to ask what he was doing, he’d have answered that he was waiting for Hermione to meet him. This would have been true. But he chose this bench in this park because it afforded him a clear yet inconspicuous vantage point. Harry was spending this Saturday watching Neville.
His ex-boyfriend sat at one of the airy tables on the patio slowly leafing through a stack of newspapers, a café latte with six sugars close at hand. From time to time, Neville would glance up, carefully scanning his surroundings. Harry wondered if he was staring so hard the other man could sense it. He wouldn’t be surprised. Their time together had taught him that Neville was very intuitive.
The sudden touch of a gentle hand on his shoulder startled Harry. He automatically reached for his wand as he looked up at the intruder. Hermione stared down at him with a worried smile on her face. He sighed in relief; though Voldemort and the Death Eaters were a threat of the past, Harry hadn’t entirely let his guard down. He’d spent too many years looking over his shoulder and peering into shadows to not be defensive. Constant vigilance and all that. Smiling sheepishly at his friend, he took his hand away from his wand. “Hullo, Hermione.”
“Hi, Harry.” She sat beside him, her gaze roaming over his face. They’d seen each other just the day before; they had a charms class together. Still, the worry deepened in her eyes and she tentatively reached for Harry’s hand. He let her take it but silently wished another hand—large, calloused, and gentle—was reaching for him instead. “You didn’t get any sleep last night, did you?” she asked quietly.
“A couple hours,” he answered just as quietly, his eyes back on Neville.
“It’s all right, Mi,” he assured her. He knew she hated the severely abbreviated nickname but he was tired and more than a little sad. The mere thought of uttering all four syllables of her name increased his fatigue. “Really, don’t worry about me. See?” He held up a cup. “I have reinforcements.”
Sadness seeped into her brown eyes, threatening to overwhelm Harry if he looked too long. So he resumed his vigil. Neville was blowing on his coffee, his exquisite, voluptuous mouth puckered seductively. An image flashed through Harry’s mind: Neville, his eyes dancing mischievously, lying on top of him, lips pursed, blowing a steady stream of warm, soothing air over the wet, hardened nipple he’d sucked, nibbled, and teased until Harry was almost painfully aroused. He stifled a groan and wished he could stifle his erection, but he continued to watch Neville.
“This is ridiculous, Harry,” Hermione stated.
He shook his head. “It’s for the best.”
“The best for whom?” she half-exclaimed, half-demanded. “Look at you! You haven’t had a decent night’s sleep in a month. Your marks are slipping. Have you been eating?”
“Not much.” Neville did most of the cooking and it was too painful to see him puttering around the kitchen knowing he couldn’t kiss the long, tanned neck or mold his body to Neville’s strong, lightly cushioned frame or indulge any other intimate gesture he could think to perform. Somehow, eating was less important than touching his lover. Ex-lover—he had to keep reminding himself of that. “I’ll be all right.”
“Clearly. You’re a model of health and happiness,” Hermione snapped, concern and exasperation warring in her voice.
Harry gave her a wan smile. “It’s better this way. Honestly.”
“You’re stalking your ex, Harry!”
“I’m not stalking him,” Harry countered. “I’m just reminding myself…just keeping him in my memory until we get past this part.”
Sighing, Hermione squeezed his hand. “You’re obviously still in love with him. I’m certain he’s still in love with you. So why are you doing this? Why won’t you just let yourself be happy? You deserve it.”
Harry shrugged and watched a waitress bring Neville a crumpet. She smiled, wide and inviting. Resting a hand on the table, for balance Harry presumed, she settled into a pose that emphasized her cleavage, hips, and firm, exposed thighs all at once. Neville blushed—he always did that when someone flirted with him—and shook his head. Harry’s stomach clenched nervously. Was she asking Neville out? What if he said yes? It wasn’t until the girl shrugged and walked back into the café that Harry relaxed and released the breath he’d unconsciously held.
“No one ever really touched me before Neville,” he said quietly, almost to himself. “Since the Dursleys hated me, I wasn’t hugged and kissed the way Dudley was. Or petted and fussed over like Ginny and R-R…” Harry stopped and swallowed. It still hurt to say Ron’s name. “Like the Weasleys. Some of my most vivid memories of my stay at Longbottom Hall are how often, how casually Neville would touch me. He’d brush my hair out of my eyes or pat me on the shoulder or rub my back.
“After my first nightmare, he’d sleep with me every night. Not touching, but there, comforting and solid. Sometime during the night, I’d find my way to him. I always woke up in his arms. It made me feel safe, like all the danger I’d been in my entire life was finally over. Like I could finally believe it; even though I watched Voldemort die, that was what made it real.”
Harry lapsed into silence. Neville absently broke off a piece of his crumpet, dipped it in marmalade, and popped it in his mouth, thoughtlessly licking stray crumbs from the corner of his lips. Hermione held Harry’s hand between both of hers. With a pained chuckle and a shrug, Harry dragged his gaze away from Neville and turned toward his friend. “He deserves more than I can give him.”
“But if you’re what he wants—and you are—then who are you to decide things have to change?”
“It was either end things now and remain friends or wait until he came to hate or resent me and lose him forever,” Harry said, his tone pleading with her to understand.
“You don’t know that would have happened,” Hermione reasonably pointed out.
Hermione held up a hand, stemming whatever he was about to say. “You need to talk to him, Harry.”
“Don’t you think you at least owe him an explanation?”
Harry’s gaze skittered away from her and butterflies rampaged in his stomach. He didn’t think he could go over to Neville and tell him his fears. Not this time. What if … what if he lost his resolve? What if he broke down, threw caution to the wind, risked losing Neville entirely just so they could be together now?
“Harry,” Hermione whispered, drawing the dark-haired wizard’s gaze. “What if you’re making yourself miserable unnecessarily? Wouldn’t it be best to see if maybe you’re wrong about whatever prompted you to end things with him?”
“I guess,” he mumbled.
“Go talk to him. We can have lunch some other time.”
Harry sat unmoving for some time, gathering his courage before Hermione gently prodded him. “Okay. I’m going.” He stood, took a deep breath and squared his shoulders. Gods help him.
Neville knew he shouldn’t have come to the café. He was just torturing himself, spending his weekends visiting his and Harry’s favorite places. But there was a certain comfort in remembering, in reliving those moments when Harry would forget everything and just be with him. Like the first time they’d come to the café. They’d stood in line, Neville fascinated by the seemingly endless menu. He’d been attempting to figure out whether he wanted a dark Colombian roast espresso or a grande café latte with extra cream and sugar when he felt Harry’s hand brush his. Awareness shot through Neville’s system, electrifying his blood. Harry did it over and over again, completely distracting him. Finally, Harry hooked his index finger around Neville’s before letting his hand creep in fully, tightly clasping Neville’s, their fingers twined.
He’d looked questioningly at Harry. Neville didn’t mind holding hands, far from it, but it was such a rarity that he couldn’t help wondering when the other shoe would drop. Harry had just grinned and leaned into him. “Have I told you I love you today?” he whispered in Neville’s ear.
Shivering from the feel of Harry’s breath dancing over his skin, Neville shook his head.
“Well, I do,” Harry continued, squeezing Neville’s hand. “I love you.”
“I love you,” Neville replied so softly, he didn’t even hear the words himself. Harry’s smile just got bigger and he inched closer. They stayed that way until they sat at the table Neville currently occupied. Their table. Their place. He blinked against a prickle of tears for what felt like the twentieth time and took a steadying breath. It wasn’t theirs anymore and Neville didn’t understand why.
His head jerked up at the sound of his name. Harry stood next to him looking extremely awkward, his green, green gaze darting swiftly over Neville as if he were trying to look at all of the brown-haired wizard at once. Neville closed his eyes at the sight. Did he miss Harry so much that he’d conjured up his image, even if that image did look like crap? That had to be it; what other reason was there for Harry to be standing next to him? “Go away,” he whispered, trying to shake the figure from his head.
The silence lasted just long enough for him to think that the Harry projection was gone and it was safe to open his eyes. “Neville,” came Harry’s voice, “please?”
Neville hesitantly reached out, expecting his hand to go through Harry’s. Instead, it brushed warm, firm skin. Harry’s skin. He raised bemused eyes up to Harry’s face. “What are you doing here?”
Harry pressed his hand against Neville’s fingers, his eyelids briefly fluttering closed at the contact. “I just…” he cleared his throat, “want to talk to you.”
“All right.” He watched his green-eyed ex-lover settle into the seat opposite him, hands folded on the table the way they had been the night Harry ended things. Neville had known that something was up with Harry, something that wasn’t good. Concerned and more than a little apprehensive, Neville had set aside his potions paper and focused on his boyfriend. “What’s wrong?”
Harry had kept his gaze on his clasped hands, refusing to meet Neville’s worried eyes. “I’ve…er…I’ve been thinking…”
Fear, slick and ominous, slithered into his chest. “About?”
“Us.” Harry fiddled with the placemat in front of him. “I think we should break up.”
Neville didn’t respond for a long moment. The pain radiating from his heart, along his veins, through his nerves had been far too intense. He’d been unable to think past it, to latch on to any of the many thoughts flitting through his mind. Balling his hands into fists, letting the short, neat nails dig into the tough flesh of his palms, he’d forced himself to sort through his flyaway questions and feelings. Finally, one loomed fully in his mind’s eyes, his promise: If this ever gets to be too much or you realize this is just a phase, then it’s okay. I’ll understand. You don’t have to worry, Harry. I’ll never leave you. I’ll always be there for you even if we don’t work out.
Apparently, they hadn’t worked out. Shoving all the other thoughts away, Neville had nodded jerkily, stood, and gone into their bedroom. Without a word, he’d methodically removed his clothes from their closet and dresser. He’d retrieved his toothbrush, razor, and other toiletries from their bathroom. Once, he had everything, he levitated the entire pile and maneuvered it through the doorway toward the spare bedroom.
He’d just reached the door when Harry said his name. Neville had composed his features as best he could and looked at Harry. Those incredible green eyes stared back, unfathomable in their conflicting emotions. He’d quirked his lips into an approximation of a smile and nodded at the man he’d given his heart to three years before. “Good night, Harry.”
Then Neville had gone into his new bedroom and closed the door behind him. He’d set his things on his bed and cast another spell so that they’d put themselves away. Lastly, he’d cast a silencing charm before collapsing against the door and sliding down. By the time his bum touched the floor, the tears had begun to roll down his face. He’d rested his forehead on his raised knees and let the sobs come.
Now he found himself in the same position—confused and worried, wanting to touch him, beg him to reconsider their split, certain that Harry was about to break his heart all over again, but wanting to believe that maybe he’d realized that Neville was the one for him and forgive him for whatever he did to drive Harry away in the first place.
“I’m going to get some coffee,” Harry blurted before bolting from the table.
Neville sighed. This couldn’t be good if Harry needed liquid fortification. He forced his wayward thoughts at bay, his fingers finding a necessary outlet by shredding the rest of his crumpet.
Harry eventually returned, a regular cup of coffee with one cream and two sugars in his hand. They sat quietly, Neville watching Harry through his lashes, Harry turning his cup in his hands without taking a sip. Harry looked awful. There were dark, deep bags under his eyes and his face was haggard. He’d lost weight—at least ten pounds. It didn’t suit him. “So,” Neville said when he couldn’t stand the silence any longer, “you wanted to talk?”
“Um-hmm.” Harry nodded though his gaze remained on his restless hands. He didn’t elaborate.
“About something specific?” Neville asked. “Or did you just want to touch base?”
“Er, specific.” At last, Harry sipped his coffee and looked at Neville. “We need to talk about our…situation.”
“Oh.” Neville had known this was coming, this particular conversation, but it still felt like he’d been hit in the stomach with a Bludger. “Right. You don’t need to worry about it. I’ve already started looking.”
Harry squinted at him, clearly confused. “Looking for what?”
“A flat.” At Harry’s startled look, Neville lifted one of the papers on the table. Several small ads were circled in red ink. “I thought it would be best if I moved out. Isn’t that what you wanted to discuss?”
“Uh,” Harry shook his head dully, “no. No, I…do you want to move out?”
“Of course not. But things aren’t getting any better between us.” Neville waved his hands as if they’d articulate everything he needed to say, but didn’t want to. “You’re avoiding me and it…hurts…to see you. I thought if I moved, we could perhaps get back to how we used to be.”
Another strained silence settled between them. Harry stared dejectedly at his coffee and, for the thousandth time, Neville felt completely mystified. Harry was the one who wanted to break up, the one who changed his mind. Why was he falling apart? Why did he look like he wanted to vomit at the thought of Neville leaving the flat for good? Why didn’t any of this make sense? “What did you want to talk about then?”
“The break-up. I wanted to explain.”
Neville’s breath caught in his throat. He was finally going to find out what he’d done to push Harry away. “I’m listening.”
“I saw you with Gwen Vinings,” Harry began softly. “In the greenhouses.”
“All right,” Neville said, confused.
“She was…coming on to you.”
“Harry, nothing happened. Did you really think I’d…”
“I know,” Harry said quickly. “But I heard her ask you why you were playing so hard-to-get. She asked you if you were involved with someone and you froze.”
Neville shook his head as if to clear it. Harry’s explanation just had him more confused. “I don’t understand what the problem is, Harry.”
“The problem is that you can’t just say you’re involved with me because I won’t let you and you deserve someone who’ll let you be open about your relationship.” Harry paused and glanced down at his cup. “And I…I can’t.”
Blinking, unsure he understood what he was hearing, Neville tried to find an appropriate response to Harry’s explanation. Finally, he said, “That doesn’t make sense.”
“What?” Harry asked, his head jerking up.
“We’ve been together for three years. In all that time, I’ve never once complained about keeping the real nature of our relationship secret. It’s what you wanted. You explained it to me. I understood. I agreed. And, all of a sudden, you decide that that’s no longer good enough for me? That…” Neville bit his trembling lip. His voice had risen and he could feel his temper getting away from him.
“You deserve better…”
“So you just unilaterally decide…” He paused again. Gods, he had never been so angry.
Taking a deep breath to rein in his temper, Neville opened his eyes and stared into Harry’s. “I realize that you’ve spent half of your life making big decisions, life and death decisions, decisions only you could make. But this is different. This was our relationship and you’re not the only one in it.”
“Nev, please, listen…”
“No, you listen to me.” Neville was breathing a little fast and his heart was pounding. “I am an adult. An intelligent, responsible adult and I choose what I can and can’t handle. You don’t get to do that for me, Harry. You don’t get to make my choices.” Neville could feel himself shaking. Although his nerves had healed, the tremors returned whenever he was upset.
“We should go back to the flat,” Harry said finally, quietly.
Even though he knew Harry was right, Neville couldn’t help the childish surge of stubbornness that wanted to refuse to go anywhere with him. But he’d probably calm down once they got home and the potion he took daily for his nerves was there as well. So he nodded, stood and reached for the wallet he carried whenever he was in the muggle world.
“I’ve got it, Nev,” Harry said, pulling out his own wallet.
Neville shook his head. It was his tip to leave. He was perfectly capable of leaving a tip. “I have money. I don’t need…”
“I know,” Harry interrupted. “Just…let me?”
Arguing seemed like too much trouble, so he shrugged and gathered his newspapers as Harry tucked far too much money under Neville’s cup. They left in silence, Harry matching his steps to Neville’s slower gait.
The short walk to the apparation point helped cool Neville’s anger enough so that he could think. Only his thoughts turned to why Harry would just suddenly decide Neville “deserved better.” Had he, Harry, begun to feel guilty about keeping their relationship secret? Neville hadn’t lied when he said that he understood and agreed with Harry’s reasons for wanting to keep their romance private. That didn’t mean he’d never wished they could be as openly affectionate as other couples, but it did mean that he didn’t resent Harry.
There was always the possibility that Harry had met someone else. Of course, Neville had seen no indication of this, but that didn’t rule out the option. They’d both gotten very good at sneaking and hiding and Harry had had plenty of practice at Hogwarts. And it wasn’t like Harry didn’t receive more than his fair share of interested looks and propositions.
Perhaps Harry was simply weary of him. He knew that Harry worried about him even now that his nerves were as healed as they would ever be. Neville supposed he was a bit needy though he did try not to be a burden. His heart sank at the thought as he followed Harry down a deserted alley to the apparation point.
“Nev?” Harry said cautiously, the back of his hand lightly brushing Neville’s.
He raised sad, hurt eyes to Harry’s. “Yeah?”
“What’s wrong?” Harry asked, voice urgent as he slipped his hand into Neville’s.
Closing his eyes at Harry’s touch, Neville cleared his throat as he shook his head. “Let’s just go,” he whispered.
“All right,” Harry said softly, his voice as sad as Neville’s and apparated them to the flat.
Harry tucked his wand in his pocket. For once, he was at a complete loss. Neville’s anger had been replaced with a heavy sadness and Harry didn’t know how to diffuse either. To cover his insecurity, he went to the kitchen and poured some of Neville’s nerve potion into a teacup. He set it on a tray with two bottles of butterbeer and a plate of biscuits and took it to the dining room. Harry placed the teacup in front of Neville before grabbing one of the bottles and sitting on the other side of their small dining table.
Muttering a quick thanks, Neville hurriedly downed the potion. Shuddering, he grimaced and reached for one of the biscuits (shortbread with pecans, one of his favorites). He shoved it in his mouth and closed his eyes as he chewed.
Harry stared at the brown-haired wizard hungrily. It had been some time since he’d been this close to Neville and he took full advantage of observing him without the other man’s notice. He was happy to see Neville had lost neither weight nor sleep. He often worried about Neville’s health; he’d feared that the break-up would wreck havoc on it. But Neville hadn’t changed in the last month. Harry frowned suddenly. Didn’t Neville miss him at all?
The more he thought about it, the more he doubted it. Neville had gone on as if nothing had changed between them. He was his usual nice, cheerful self—laughing with their friends, puttering around the flat, giving Harry small smiles whenever their eyes met. The twisting, stabbing ache that had taken up residence in Harry’s chest didn’t appear to have afflicted Neville. No, the man he desperately loved seemed to be getting on just fine without him.
Then why had he been so angry at the café? It couldn’t be that he still had feelings for Harry, could it? No, that couldn’t be it, not with the way Neville had just accepted Harry’s announcement without a word of protest or even demanding a reason. The only explanation Harry could come up with was righteous indignation over the way Harry had broken up with him.
He was so saddened by the thought that Neville may have stopped loving him long before they broke up (had he only stayed with Harry out of pity?), he had to blink back the sudden rush of tears that flooded his eyes. “Why are you angry with me?” he blurted out as Neville reached for the remaining bottle of butterbeer.
Neville’s hand stilled. “You’re joking.”
“No,” Harry said, shaking his head. “I’m not. I did what I thought was best…”
“You didn’t,” Neville interrupted. “You didn’t because if you’d really thought that, you would have come talk to me. You would have told me that you had concerns about us or that you didn’t want me anymore.”
“But that’s not…I care about you, Neville. Breaking up with you…well, you can see how well I’ve handled it.” Harry stared down at his hands rather than look at Neville. “I just…I didn’t want to lose you so I let you go.”
Neville slowly reached across the table and grasped Harry’s hand. So intense was his awareness of Neville’s firm touch, the first solid contact between them in a month, that Harry closed his eyes and let the rush of contentment sweep through him. He clung to him, squeezing the fingers wrapped around his palm as if to reassure himself that the moment was indeed real. “What did I do?” Neville whispered. “Why did you think you were losing me?”
Raising his gaze to Neville’s, Harry gave him a rueful smile. “We’ve been lucky. It’s been three years and no one knows we’re together. But it’s only a matter of time before people figure it out. And then we’ll lose all of our privacy. The press will want interviews and there’ll be all kinds of attention and…articles.”
“So you’d rather not be with me than have everyone know you’re dating another man?” The question was half-accusatory, half-beseeching as if Neville thought it was the truth and wanted Harry to deny it.
Brushing his thumb over his knuckles, Harry stared steadily into Neville’s apprehensive eyes. “That’s not it and you know it.”
“Then I don’t understand why you broke up with me, Harry.”
“I told you. I don’t want to lose you.”
“Then don’t,” Neville exclaimed, exasperated.
Harry shook his head sadly. “It’s not that simple.”
“Yes, it is,” Neville disagreed. “We come out as a couple, give a few interviews, and wait for the fuss to die down. Then we can go on with our lives. I don’t see a problem.”
“Don’t you see?” Harry demanded. “That’s the problem. Do you honestly think that there’ll be a few interviews, a couple of articles, and that’ll be the end of it? Gods, Nev, I’m not some up-and-coming singing sensation with a new lover. I’m Harry Potter, the Boy Who Fucking Lived. I’m a bloody legend. It was just two months ago Witch Weekly voted me the most eligible bachelor in the whole wizarding world. If we come out, we won’t get our privacy back for a very long time, if ever.”
“All right. I get it. I didn’t do the situation justice,” Neville admitted. “But I still fail to see why you had to break up with me.”
Harry took a deep breath. He knew Neville wasn’t being deliberately obtuse, but he felt his patience slipping just the same. “Most of my life is a matter of public interest. I can hardly do anything without there being a story of some sort, which is part of why I wanted to keep us secret. My love life should be mine, private and personal. I don’t want to share you, us, with the world.”
Neville gave Harry’s hand a sympathetic squeeze. “This is something you’d have to deal with regardless of who you dated.”
“I know,” Harry conceded. “But what I’m trying to say is that everyone already knows just about all there is to know about my life. There are probably some who know more about it than I do. That’s not the case for you, Neville. If we come out, people are going to want to know more than how you snagged me. They’re going to want to know everything about you: what you were like at Hogwarts, what role you played in the war, what your favorite meal is.” Harry paused before whispering his next statement. “They’re going to want to know about your family.”
Comprehension dawned in Neville’s warm, brown eyes. “My parents.”
“You and Gran have been through enough,” Harry said quietly. “You shouldn’t have to relive all that because of me.”
“Oh, Harry.” Neville got up and took the seat closest to his lover. He took Harry’s other hand in his and rested his elbows on his knees. Harry clutched Neville’s hands and forced himself to meet the brown-haired wizard’s gaze. “You should have a little more faith in me.”
“What?” That was the last thing he’d expected Neville to say.
Neville smiled. “We shared a dorm for seven years. We fought Voldemort side-by-side for two of those years. I knew what your life was before we ever kissed and I chose you anyway.”
“I’ve always known that being with you meant that my parents’ condition would probably become public knowledge,” Neville interrupted. “Gran and I talked about it and we’re okay with that. I’m not saying it’s what I want but I have nothing to be ashamed of. My parents were extraordinary people who fought to make the world better for us.”
“Yes, they were.”
Neville released one of Harry’s hands and stroked the messy-haired wizard’s cheek. “I’m lucky really. I’ve been surrounded by heroes.”
“So you understand I was just trying to protect you?” Harry asked, pressing his cheek into Neville’s caress.
“I do,” Neville assured. “But there’s something I need you to understand, too.”
“That I’m not the clumsy, forgetful little boy you met ten years ago. I don’t need you to stand in front of me and protect me from the world. I don’t expect it. And, most importantly, I don’t want it.” Neville extracted his other hand and cupped Harry’s face. “What I do want is for you to stand beside me and hold my hand while we face things together. Think you can do that?”
Harry nodded, the first genuine smile he’d had in a month spreading across his face. “I’ll probably make mistakes, but I’ll try.”
Neville chuckled, his hands sliding down Harry’s chest to his hips, leaving a tingling trail of awareness vibrating through Harry. “So does that mean this stupid break-up is over?”
Gazing into Neville’s bright, hopeful face, Harry paused and considered the question. He wanted more than anything to be with Neville but didn’t want to be selfish, didn’t want to let Neville open himself up to unnecessary pain. Seeing the certainty in Neville’s clear, brown eyes, however, laid his fears to rest. “Yes.”
“Good,” Neville said, tugging Harry toward him. Harry reached for him, his arms wrapping eagerly around broad, firm shoulders as he straddled Neville’s lap. For a long moment, they just stared at each other, soaking in each other’s nearness. Harry ran the back of his fingers along the column of Neville’s neck while Neville rubbed slow, mesmerizing circles into the small of Harry’s back with his thumb. Finally, Neville urged Harry closer and kissed his chin. “I’ve missed you.”
“I’ve missed you, too.” Harry lowered his mouth to Neville’s, slowly reacquainting himself with the feel and shape of his lover’s lips before attempting to deepen the kiss. With a groan, Neville pulled back and Harry struggled to catch his breath. “Why’d you stop?”
“Because we’d have ended up shagging if I hadn’t,” Neville answered breathlessly.
Harry gaped at him. “It’s been over a month. I’m really not seeing the problem.”
Neville smiled up at his lover. “Don’t you think we should talk first?”
“Talk?” Harry asked, raising his eyebrows disbelievingly.
“Yes,” Neville said seriously though his eyes were twinkling merrily. “We clearly have some issues we need to discuss.”
“I suppose you’re right,” Harry admitted with a shrug.
“Besides,” Neville continued, brushing a soft kiss on Harry’s mouth, “I thought we could just hold each other for a little while first. It seems like forever since I last touched you.”
“Oh.” A fierce blush stained Harry’s cheeks as a smile flitted across his lips. “Um, h-holding each other sounds good,” he whispered as he laid his head on Neville’s shoulder.
Neville wrapped his arms around Harry, one hand running leisurely through his messy hair. All the tension drained out of Harry and he relaxed, a sigh of contentment escaping him as he played with a button on Neville’s shirt. He pressed a small kiss to Neville’s neck eliciting a chuckle.
He didn’t know how long they sat like that, but Harry thought he could stay like that all night. Then Neville said his name, breaking the silence.
“Hmm?” Harry moaned as he snuggled deeper into Neville’s warmth.
“If you ever break up with me again for any reason other than you stopped loving me, I’ll get Gran and Molly to give you a long, thorough lecture.”
Shuddering, Harry pulled back to stare down into his boyfriend’s sparkling eyes. “Couldn’t you just have Ginny hex me?”
“Nope, you’d just deflect them,” Neville answered. “In fact, I think I’ll get Professor McGonagall to join them.”
“That’s just cruel.”
“It’s effective,” Neville noted.
“It’s unnecessary,” Harry countered, brushing his lips over Neville’s.
“Yes,” Harry declared, leaning his forehead against Neville’s and grinning at him.