Table/Prompt: December table/ Mistletoe
Word Count: 2484
Summary: Someone can be in your life for so long and yet you never really think about them any other way, until one small thing changes everything you thought you knew.
A/N:This is my fic for the draconeville December table challenge I had mistletoe as my prompt. I also want to thank my beta for taking the time to look this over for me and sharing her thoughts on this with me and for making sure this was presentable. ♥
Another year nearly gone and Neville felt as if Christmas had come too early. He didn’t like feeling as if his life seemed to be in fast forward since he turned 25.
His business was doing great. He loved having his own greenhouses and spending everyday tending them. The fact that he had people wanting to buy the things he grew was just ‘icing on the cake’, so they say. Yet something was missing. The past few years Neville had watched his friends marry and have children. Neville, however, was all alone again this year.
He was completely fine with his solitary existence most days, but this time of year was hard for him. Neville had been on his fair share of dates and even had a short fling or two abroad, but none of those people seemed to be the one.
Some time ago Ginny had made it her personal mission to find someone for Neville and she was just itching to set him up with one of her teammates. This was the reason Neville had decided he would turn down his invitation to Christmas dinner with his friends this year. Too many babies, too many happy couples, and he didn't want to be forced in to talking to some bloke that he had nothing in common with just to make nice with Ginny.
He made the excuse that he would be spending Christmas Eve and Christmas Day with his Gran and family. His friends accepted this excuse and moved on, much to Neville's relief.
It was now two days before Christmas, Neville was alone in the back garden tending some winter lilies, when the bell rang from his shop. Having given his assistant, Margaret, the week off Neville rushed down the path to the small shop front.
“Hello.” Neville said, slightly out of breath, to the man looking at some dried herbs “What can I do for you today?”
The man turned at the sound of Neville's voice, pulling his hood back.
“Hello, Longbottom.” Draco replied, noting how disheveled Neville seemed and the pieces of enchanted mistletoe floating above his head “I... are you open?”
“Yes... sorry it took me. I let Margaret off for the week and I was in the back greenhouse.” Neville said, dusting off his clothes.
“Tending mistletoe?” Draco asked with a slight smile watching the bunch above Neville's unaware head.
“I was earlier.” Neville said, looking perplexed “Do you need some?”
“Oh no. I came for some lilies and hemlock if you have any, but you seem to have a bunch of mistletoe over your head.” Draco said, trying his best not to smile.
“I...” Neville sighed as his hand felt the enchanted branch above his head “Thanks for letting me know. I'll go get your things. It will be just a few minutes.”
“Do you need a hand?” Draco said, before Neville could make it out the door.
“I guess I could today, if you really want to. I can't even keep track of my own head, it seems.” Neville said, waving a hand towards the branch above his head.
The two men made their way out to the back greenhouse in relative silence. The sky that had been sunny now threatened rain. First they tended the lilies Neville had been working on, carefully clipping a bundle for Draco.
“The hemlock is back in the first greenhouse. Thanks for the help by the way.”
“It’s no problem. So any big holiday plans?” Draco asked, trying to keep the small talk going while gathering up his bundle of lilies.
“Actually no, not this year,” Neville admitted as they walked up the path “I'm not really in much of the Christmas spirit this year.”
Draco was silent. He hadn't anticipated such a response.
“How about you, any big plans?” Neville asked, noting Draco's silence
“No, just me this year” Draco said “It’s not for the lack of invites, but it’s just odd spending Christmas with people that have their lives together.”
“Oh I know what you mean” Neville laughed “Ginny invites me to every family event, but it gets old, her trying to hook me up with whomever she thinks I will like at the time. And now Hermione has the baby. It’s just awkward. I don't need to feel like life is passing me by.”
Draco nodded in agreement as they clipped some hemlock.
“That should do it then. I guess I will close up early. I don't think I will have anyone else in today.” Neville said, picking up Draco's herbs
“How much do I owe you then and I will be out of your way?” Draco said, reaching in his pocket.
“Nothing. Happy Christmas.” Neville said, smiling brightly. It felt good to tell someone how he felt about Christmas this year. Draco let him rant and he felt better for it, that was all the payment he needed.
“I couldn't possibly.” Draco said, with his wallet out, looking perplexed.
“Nonsense. A gift for my first and best customer.” Neville said, handing the parcel over.
“Thank you.” Draco said, reluctantly taking the package “Have a good day, Longbottom.”
“You too, Malfoy.” Neville said, before turning to close up the shop.
Neville turned to face Draco, who promptly leaned in and kissed him.
Chills ran down his back as he leaned into the kiss. Lips parted briefly and tongues caressed. Then it was over and Neville felt the breath that Draco had been holding on his cheek as they separated.
“I... I'm sorry… I just thought I was helping the... mistletoe... sorry.” Draco stammered as the moment ended.
Neville stood frozen, unable to respond it seemed. Just as words returned to him Draco turned and was gone.
Neville ran to the door, but Draco had already disapparated away. Leaving Neville with nothing, but the longing for another kiss.
As he closed the shop, Neville's mind was filled with many thoughts. All of them about Draco.
Draco had been Neville's first customer almost three years ago. He had shown up the first day Neville opened, with a long list of requests. He simply said “I need the best, so I expect nothing less than that, Longbottom.” Neville first thought that Draco was acting like the snob he always thought him to be. However, the following Thursday Draco returned with another list. Neville gave him the best, as he did every other Thursday after that. That first year Draco almost singlehandedly paid Neville's bills with his business. Neville made his way to the café that he and Ginny met at every Thursday for a late tea. His mind was quite cluttered with thoughts of Draco Malfoy.
“Neville.” Ginny said, putting her tea down “I wish you could make it to Christmas dinner. It's just not going to be the same without you.”
“Sorry Gin. I just can't this year.” Neville replied. Her rant hadn't changed his mind.
“Ginny... tell me, do you know if Draco Malfoy is gay?”
“Wow!” Ginny almost snorted her tea “That came out of nowhere. You’re not thinking about asking him, out are you?”
“I was just wondering.” Neville was hopping he was playing things cool.
“I don't know. He really keeps to himself these days.”
“I know... well you know he shops at my place.”
“Yeah, and so does the rest of wizarding Britain after his advert last spring.”
Draco had put an advert in the Daily Prophet and the Quibbler for his apothecary. At the bottom of the advert it read “Only the best, made with only the best. All herbal ingredients used from Longbottom Hothouses and Gardens.” It was free advertising for Neville and it boosted sales so much that he was able to hire another assistant and build a forth greenhouse.
“Yeah his business is doing well. He comes by every Thursday.”
“I know Margaret told me,” Ginny smiled. She was happy to be the queen of gossip.
“You are so nosy,” Neville retorted.
“I know and you, my friend, are so weird.”
They parted ways, and still Neville couldn't help but think about Draco and how much he wanted to kiss him again.
All that night Neville wished Draco hadn’t run out of the shop or that he had said something sooner.
The next day as Neville made his rounds in the greenhouses he walked past the mistletoe and had an idea. Neville transplanted a small bush of un-enchanted mistletoe and decided to close the shop early again today. It was Christmas Eve after all.
It took some digging, but he found Draco's business card and on it was his address. Although he had never been there, Neville knew Draco worked from his flat in London. His business was mail order.
Later that afternoon Neville closed up, and with mistletoe in hand made his way to London to find Draco's flat.
Once in London, Neville decided to take a taxi being that he wasn't as familiar with Muggle London as he would like to be. Sometime later Neville stood outside a small building not knowing what to say now that he was there.
Neville stood outside the walk-up for several minutes debating on just going home, but every time he felt like turning away Draco's voice saying his name flashed across his mind. Neville was so lost in his own thoughts, and possibly frozen from standing in the sleet for far too long, he didn't respond to hearing his name for real.
“Neville?” Draco had just gotten back from the store to find Neville Longbottom standing outside his building in the sleet, and rain holding a potted plant no less.
“Neville Longbottom.” Draco said again, reaching out to touch Neville's arm.
Neville suddenly snapped back to reality, almost dropping the planter at Draco's touch.
“What are you doing? Trying to freeze to death?” Draco asked
“I came to talk to you,” was all Neville could manage through his chattering teeth.
“Dear Merlin, there are better ways to get a hold of me than waiting outside my house trying to get frost bite.” Draco said sounding very annoyed. Neville's hopes shattered.
*This was such a bad idea* He thought, now bitterly aware of the cold.
“Come on, let’s get you inside.” Draco said, grabbing Neville by the arm and guiding him up the stairs.
“Sit here,” Draco said, stopping in front of his fire place and lighting it with his wand “I'll be right back.”
Neville stared into the fire. He felt like he wanted to be the one running away right now. This was the stupidest thing he had ever done.
“Here have some tea,” Draco said, setting a tray down next to Neville “are your clothes wet?”
“Just... just my coat.” Neville managed, his teeth still chattering
“And your hair. Now take the coat off and drink your tea. I'm not having you die in my house on Christmas Eve.” Draco said, giving Neville a very confused look as he took his coat off and reached a shaking had out for the tea cup.
“Now, do I want to know why you decided to turn into an ice lolly on my front stoop?”
“I came to tell... to tell you...” Neville said, still fighting the cold “that I like you.”
The words left his lips before he could even process what he was saying. Neville felt his heart hit his toes.
There was a pause before Draco responded that made Neville feel like dying.
“Clearly, you have hypothermia. You’re not thinking clearly.” Draco said, standing to fetch a nearby throw and wrap it around Neville's shoulders. “That is the only explanation for what you just said. Because, you see Gryffindor boys just don't like Slytherin boys.”
Draco's voice softened with the last few words and he sat down next to Neville in front of the fire letting silence fall again. After a moment Neville looked over to Draco who was transfixed on the flames in front of them.
“Do Slytherin boys ever like Gryffindor boys?” Neville said not quite sure where the words were coming from.
“Yes... yes sometimes they do” Draco replied looking back at Neville.
“I've never really been a good Gryffindor anyways, so you should just kiss me.” Neville said leaning slightly in towards Draco.
“That’s not true. You’re the bravest person I know.” Draco almost whispered as he leaned in, closing the distance to kiss Neville.
Their lips felt as if they were meant to be together. Tongues darted in and out, sending chills over them both. When they finally parted, Neville was smiling at Draco. He felt as if he could walk on water. Draco shyly smiled back, unable to control his face.
“Its funny how someone can be in your life for so long and yet you never really think about them any other way, until one small thing changes everything you thought you knew.” Neville said
“And what is that supposed to mean?” Draco asked, eyes narrowing slightly.
“Well, don't get me wrong, I have admired your arse from time to time, and I don't think I will ever get over your eyes, but I thought you were straight and most certainly out of my league. So I had resided that I was only ever meant to look and never touch.”
“Out of my league?!” Draco laughed out right. “Have you looked in the mirror, or the Prophet for that matter? They have a field day anytime you go on a date. And who, in their right mind, would want me, the son of the scum of the earth. No, I think it is you who is out of my league.” Draco's voice was bitter and he sat back again, staring in to the fire.
“For starters, I don't read the Prophet. Its pure garbage, and I have never cared who a person’s parents are. Furthermore, I only care about who a person is now. I don't live in the past and neither should you.” Neville said firmly.
“I'm sorry.” Draco said after several minutes of silence, “Most days I'm better than that, but today has been a particularly bad day.”
“I'm sorry you’ve had a bad day, but who’s to say we can't make this night a good night?” Neville said, breaking off a branch of the potted mistletoe that sat next to him and holding it out towards Draco. Neville watched as Draco's face softened again at the sight of the mistletoe.
“You know most people bring roses,” Draco said, taking the branch from Neville's hand.
“Roses are highly overrated and unoriginal.”
“I would have to agree.” Draco said, before raising the branch above Neville's head and leaning in for a kiss.
When their kiss ended, Draco's stormy eyes were again calm.
“Would you like to spend Christmas Eve with me?” Neville said, unable to stop staring into Draco's eyes.
“Yes that would be nice.”