A/N Here is the first official chapter. This is definitely going to be shorter than 25 chapters (maybe, if I make the chapters longer from now on) since there isn't a huge dramatic mysterious plot. It's planned to be fluffy with a bit of jealousy.
Beginning of term, the library
"You're here!" Neville exclaimed surprised.
"Why the tone of surprise?" Hermione asked bemused.
"I-I didn't think it would carry on," he replied blushing slightly.
He looked different. Older, more mature. The fat around his face had all but disappeared. He was taller, a lot taller. His shoulders looked broader as well. He wasn't stuttering as much. He almost looked comfortable with himself. Almost. He looked like he wanted to say something but wasn't sure, Hermione noted.
"Nev, this is a very productive and beneficial symbiotic relationship. I help you study, you help me stay sane. We're study partners, friends. Of course, it carries on. Now, say what you want to say," she said regally, an amused smile playing at her lips.
"I talked to Professor McGonagall and Professor Babbling. They might let me join fourth year Study of Ancient Runes if I pass a test tomorrow and I was wondering if you'd help me review?" he finished hopefully.
"Of course! I can't believe we're going to have runes together!" Hermione gushed excitedly.
Her eyes were glowing happily. The wide smile on her face lit up the room. At that moment Neville saw that his friend was very pretty. No, not pretty, beautiful. He had had a bit of a crush on her since first year, when she had defended him against some bullying Slytherins. Sure it had backfired and she ended up being bullied, but she hadn't cared, and his crush had only grown since then. He liked her. He liked Hermione Jean Granger, Brightest Witch of the Age.
"Let's get to it then," she said pulling out her book.
Three hours of studying later...
"You'll do wonderfully, Nev."
"No. You're ready. You were more than ready three hours ago," she said firmly.
She was so proud of him. He had studied over the holidays. He knew everything from third year. He was definitely getting into fourth year ancient runes, maybe even OWL level ancient runes. He had listened to her when she had told him that Divination was a loss of time for all who didn't have the gift of seeing. He had listened to her when she gushed about how interesting Ancient Runes was. He actually listened to her!
"You'll do great," she said softly, kissing his cheek.
She couldn't believe she had done that. She could not believe she did that. She would have apologized for her forward behavior, but her lips were tingling too deliciously for her to do that. Besides, it had gotten Neville to calm down, so an innocent kiss on the cheek was not something she was going to apologize for.
He was in shock, studying be damned. She had kissed him. Sure it was on the cheek, but still. She had kissed him! His cheek was still tingling at the spot her soft lips had met his skin. He had to be dreaming!
"Let's go to the common room, yeah? We still have to catch up," Hermione pleaded.
Her pink full lips pouted delectably. Her wide, sweet, caramel brown eyes stared up at him. She looked so innocently beautiful, it was absolutely tantalizing. She was the most angelic creature in the universe and she had no idea, he was sure.
He wanted to kiss her. He wanted to hold her. He wanted to be her equal. He wanted her to look at him like he looked at her, but before he could have hopes of ever having that, he needed to better himself. Not only for her, however, but for himself as well.
His jaw was set. His expression was determined. This was a turning point for Neville, she was sure. She just hoped he wouldn't forget about her. She liked him. She had slowly started falling for him when they started studying together. He had no idea, but he was the one that had kept her sane in the mess that was last year, and he was witty and sweet and observant and caring. She knew she liked him when her chest started fluttering at the mere thought of spending time with him. She knew, however, that she didn't have a chance. She was plain. She was boring. She wasn't what boys wanted, what they looked for, but as long as he would be her friend, she'd be content.
The next day
She had a free period after Care of Magical Creatures. Harry and Ron had Divination, so she decided she should go for a walk around the lake. She couldn't possibly focus on anything, without knowing how Neville had done. She had no doubt that he would pass, but what if he didn't have it at the same time that she did? What if he did so well that he joined the OWL class? Yes, it was unlikely, but it could be a possibility.
"My!" she heard before being crushed in a hug and finding herself being twirled around. "You are brilliant!" he breathed once he put her down, but he didn't pull away. He wasn't going to throw a chance to be so physically close to her away. "You are currently looking at your new classmate," he said proudly a huge smile on his face.
"I knew you could do it!" she beamed back, barely suppressing the urge to kiss him again.
"Really so you were out here…just because?" he asked crossing his arms over his chest, lifting a single eyebrow.
"I was worried you'd be put into the owl class or that we wouldn't be in the same class," she admitted blushing.
"My, My, My, My" he tsked. "You worry too much," he chuckled.
"It was a legitimate concern!" she defended. He rolled his eyes.
"Anyways, aren't you supposed to be in class missy?" he mock scolded.
"Free period," she shrugged.
He got closer without knowing it, drawn in, unconsciously, by her sweet vanilla scent. She was overcome by his woody scent, fogging up her brain. She could feel the warmth radiating off of him. She was small compared to his tall frame, but she didn't feel small. She felt right. She could fit right into him if she closed the distance between them.
"And then we're off to runes," he whispered in her ear, causing a shiver to run down her spine.
He didn't know why he had done that. He wanted to be closer. He wanted to inhale her intoxicating odor without seeming weird, and so he said the first thing that popped into his head. She shivered, he noticed. It wasn't that cold, but then again she wasn't wearing her cloak. Guess it was time to go inside, even if this was nice, really nice. As long as he could be near her, he was happy.
He mistook her shiver for her being cold and proposed that they go in. She thought it was for the best. She certainly didn't want to explain why she was shivering. He would laugh at her or worse he'd feel guilted into trying to see her differently, see her as a girl. No, that wouldn't do. As long as he was her friend and he was happy, it would be okay. She could deal with the unrequited emotions.
A/N And there it is! Please review! ^_^