Title: let your heart be light
Pairing: Ginny Weasley/Neville Longbottom
Summary: Ginny and Neville and a greenhouse, the winter of '98.
Word Count: 1666
Rating: R, for inferred violence and for sexual situations, plus a sliiiiight warning for underage shenanigans: it’s consensual, but Ginny is 16 and Neville is 17.
Disclaimer: None of this is mine: anyone with a name you recognize belongs to JKR.
A/N: Hoo boy, this was fun – not a pairing I usually write, but one I love all the same. Written as a gift for csichick_2 at the rarepair_shorts 2015 Winter Fic Exchange. :)
He’s alone when she seeks him out after dinner, cutting baneberry and dittany for Madam Pomfrey’s diminishing stores. Neville stands at Professor Sprout’s worktable in Greenhouse Four with his sleeves rolled up and dirt smudged over his nose, green gloves protecting his hands as he snips carefully at the potted dittany with a pair of shears; he does not notice her entry, not until Ginny is standing across the table from him, snowflakes melting into her hair in the greenhouses’ unnatural heat. Neville starts as she removes her cloak but doesn’t fumble in his task, the small branch in his hand breaking off cleanly before he lays it atop the steadily growing pile at his elbow.
He knows why she’s here, and there is a part of Ginny that hates the sudden look of resignation that settles on his face: five months and they have nothing to show for it, graffiti and leaflets and an escalating series of dares among their ranks that have only ended with Gryffindor’s sword locked away, with Luna going missing, with the Carrows continuing to terrorize their students without any sign of stopping. Alecto cursed Seamus’s mouth shut only this morning, and Amycus has nailed Ginny’s hands to her desk twice this week already.
It’s the second week of January and they have yet to call a meeting for the DA members waiting; “We need to discuss this,” Ginny says, draping her cloak over the least-dirty part of the table before she leans against it. “Neville, we can’t keep putting it off. Everyone is asking, and we need to regroup, get everyone’s heads together and see what we can –”
Neville rips off his gloves, throwing them to the table with an audiblethwap before scooping up the pile of dittany. Green shoots poke through the gaps in his fingers as he drops them into a basket and Ginny frowns at his retreating back, watching him move to put the potted plant back on its shelf. The grounds are dark at this time of night, the moonlight glowing luminous and blue over the snowy path leading back to the castle; very little of it can be seen in Greenhouse Four, flowering vines climbing and curling from their pots on the floor to the hooks in the ceiling, blocking out the rest of the world. Combined with the heat it makes Ginny feel claustrophobic, like the walls are pressing in.
“They need us, Neville,” she pleads, and the way his shoulders tense makes her breath catch in her chest.
“Ginny, I can’t,” he says without looking at her, and Ginny doesn’t know if he means help you or do this with you or be with you or all three at once but suddenly they are on the same side of the table, Ginny gripping at his arm with both hands when he tries to step away.
“We have to!” Neville tries to move away but Ginny holds him steady, the gauzy bandages shifting uncomfortably against her palms where it meets his shirtsleeve. “We have to! If no one else – if they don’t – we have to keep trying, don’t you see that?”
Neville stares down at her, his eyes sad and dark, and Ginny can’t pinpoint when the first flash of heat ripples between them but there is a definitive shift in the moment, a palpable change in the room. Her hands are still closed around his wrist, his bicep, and there is barely an inch between them, and when Neville’s eyes flick from her eyes to her mouth she knows exactly what is coming.
They pull together like the magnets her father keeps in his toolshed, Ginny coming up on tiptoe to reach Neville as his hands drop to her waist; they start at her hips and move up as the kiss intensifies, sliding up across her back until they push into her hair, holding her steady, holding her still. Ginny kisses back with fervor, their feet alternating like the teeth in a zipper as Neville turns her away from the shelves of plants, backing her up to the table and pressing her there with his hips. This is not her, this is not him; Ginny’s head spins and feels like she’s watching it all from across the room, nearly laughing out loud as Neville lifts her onto the worktable like she weighs nothing. It feels like something fictional: ripped from one of the cheap romances Romilda leaves lying around the common room, a scene from one of the films Lavender moons over on holiday breaks. This is not something happening in real life.
Neville paws at her breasts over her uniform blouse and Ginny unbuttons it for him, has to bend to kiss him properly. He’s taller than Harry now but at this angle she nearly towers over him, and Ginny twists herself until they’re level: eye to eye, mouth to mouth. Neville kisses her deep and kisses her well, and is it terrible to say that she didn’t expect it? She thinks of his nervous manner when he tried to kiss her after the Yule Ball; his shaking hands, the tentative peck on her lipsticked mouth that left his own lips as red as apples, as red as the rest of his flushed face. She almost wants to ask him Who have you been practicing on? but that would be rude, wouldn’t it? What does it matter if he’s been with someone else before, someone with blonde hair instead of red, curvier hips, greener eyes? She’s not thinking of Harry or Dean or Michael or anyone else – not here, not now.
Neville’s attention slides downwards, his mouth pressed to the hinge of her jaw as he glides his fingertips under the hem of her skirt, skimming them up along the freckled skin of her legs and stopping so quickly it nearly gives her whiplash. Neville pulls back slightly, fear flashing in his eyes in such a way that Ginny can’t bring herself to tell him to stop, doesn’t want him to stop, and grips his one of his hands with hers and pushes it between her legs. She’s done some of this before, but never went further than fingers in her knickers or hands up under her shirts, a few sunny afternoons spent down by the lake. Neville breathes out sharply as she helps him push her knickers aside, makes a low noise in his throat when he finds her wet, when she reaches out and unzips his trousers.
Neville kisses her, hungry and hot, as Ginny strokes him slowly; they’re both mostly dressed and that makes it better, she thinks, like this is still all an illusion, something out of Fred and George’s Patented Daydream Charms. Neville pushes her backwards on the workbench and fumbles a little as he pushes her skirt up, nails scraping against her thighs as he pushes her knickers aside. The lights of the greenhouse are very bright and Ginny Weasley, laid out with her back to the dirty wooden tabletop, wishes very suddenly for darkness. It would be easier, almost, if she wasn’t able to see him touch her: this boy who is not her boyfriend, this man who is her very best friend.
His cock brushes against her thigh, the tip wet, and Ginny reaches down impatiently, awkwardly lining him up with her entrance. Neville is inside her before she’s ready for it, sliding into her in one smooth motion that makes her cry out, sending a flash of heat up all the way up her spine. Ginny’s entire body seems to tense and relax at the same time, every part of her focused directly on where they’re joined together, her breath coming out in sighs and whimpers and Neville pulls out, pushes in again, her mouth falling open on a groan as he thrusts deeper into her. Ginny keeps her eyes open against the lights overhead and clutches at his back, his shoulders, whatever she can reach as she watches the tendons in his neck tighten when he bends his head, snaps his hips against hers. There is still a bit of potting soil smudged over the bridge of his nose and when she moves to brush it off Neville clasps her hand in his, kisses the bandaged palm.
His movements are jerky and imperfect, worktable detritus they’ve both knocked to the floor lying in a pile of broken pottery and crushed baneberry stalks, but Ginny lifts her hips against Neville’s and just wants more. He pushes and she moans and it’s all too much, hitting her all at once with the force of a bludger, and when he slips his hand clumsily between them it sends her over the edge with a sharp cry, Ginny throwing her head back so hard that she bangs it on the edge of the table. Neville kisses her throat as she pants underneath him, trying to catch her breath, and isn’t that far behind her. He’s shaking afterwards, breathing fast, his eyes half-closed and Ginny feels a wild rush of tenderness for him – there isn’t anyone in the world she would rather have done this with. The two of them are slick and sweaty in their rumpled clothes, the heat of the room pressing down as she wraps her arms around him, pulling him so that his head rests against her chest.
Neville opens his mouth to speak but no words come out, his breath wet and heavy on her collarbone as they both come down, his whole body trembling over hers and the world waiting for them outside feeling very far away. Ginny slides her fingers through his hair, that dark blond the color of an old galleon, and she blinks upwards at the glass ceiling for a moment before she starts to laugh. There are herbs drying from the hooks in the ceiling, thick green clumps dangling down over their heads, but it isn’t asphodel, it isn’t knotgrass or bloodroot or hemlock – it’s mistletoe.