April 5, 2005 6:21 PM
Neville deposited one of the boxes of plants in the council greenhouse. He was making deliveries, and this was his second to last stop of the day. He was looking forward to finishing up his rounds and heading home. It was raining and this dreary weather always made him sleepy.
Daisy always informed Mac when Neville was there. She was running towards the greenhouses as he was coming back inside. She took a flying leap and made him catch her. Before he could get his bearings, she kissed him.
He barely had any time to catch her, let alone make sure she didn't fall. As it was, one of his hands was holding her arse rather tightly so she didn't fall completely out of his arms. When they both pulled back for air, Neville grinned. "If I didn't know any better, I'd say you're glad to see me."
"Of course I am. I always miss ya when yer away. I dinna know what yer doin' now, but tha's out. We're goin' on tha' date ya promised. Iffen ya buy me dinner, I'll let ya touch whatever ya want on m'person."
She grinned at him.
Neville just opened his mouth a couple of times, but no sound came out. "Um, one, I'm pretty sure that my hand is already intimately acquainted with one part of you that isn't appropriate for public, permission or no. And two, I have one final delivery and then was planning on going home and falling into bed. To sleep."
Mac sighed. "Then I suppose ya will have to take me wit ya and stop along the way somewhere for us to get take away. I just need to let Kasie know I willna be back until tomorrow."
He laughed. "You're not going to let this go, are you? Or get down anytime soon."
"No. I will be fightin' a hellhound soon. I want a night wit ya a'fore then."
She'd sounded a bit too serious for his liking. Neville stopped holding her up and her feet dropped to the floor. "Tell me that you're coming back from that. You can't just throw statements like that out and not expect me to react."
Mac frowned. "Neville, aye. Tha' mutt is goin' to rue th'damned day. I just might get hurt, be a bit sore. I willna be able to show ya how bendy I am for some time."
He breathed a large sigh of relief. "Merlin, I thought you were telling me you were going off to fight him to the death or something. You made it sound so ominous."
"Tis pretty serious, but I'm confident I'll win."
She stood on her toes and kissed him.
It was just as bad as knowing someone who was an Auror. Everyone who knew an Auror personally always worried when they heard about an accident on the wireless or in the Daily Prophet. Now he had his friends in the Aurors and Mac to worry about.
Neville wrapped his arms around her back. "Want to come with me to my last delivery then? I usually walk from the nearest floo gate and even though it's raining, I don't mind getting a little wet."
"Aye. I dinna mind gettin' a little wet either," she replied, wiggling her brows at him suggestively.
"You're charming," he replied, rolling his eyes. "Now let whoever you have to tell about your leaving know so we can head out. I do have a time limit on these plants you know."
Mac turned and ran. She found Kasie in little time.
"I'm stayin' th'night at Neville's."
She did not even give Kasie time to respond before running off and siding back up to Neville, linking and arm through his. Mac smiled up at him with lots of teeth.
He shook his head and they apparated to his shop. He gave her the directions to the floo he used to get to his next place. They both stepped out into the busy London street. Thankfully it wasn't too crowded because of the rain. "I'd offer to have you an umbrella, but I don't mind the rain."
"It doesna bother me."
She was fine with whatever as long as he was here. They walked at a decent pace. As long as he had a towel for her later. Her hair tended to hold water.
They'd started out with their arms linked, but now they were holding hands. It would have been romantic if they weren't in dreary London during a shower. "I saw Brody a bit ago. Went for a drink with your watcher and Pevensie."
"I dinna know ya knew Oz. He's a good lad. Doesna quite get Kasie, but I thin' he will."
"Well, he came into the shop because he's got a friend that needs work. Malfoy told him my name was Fatbum, and that wasn't really the best way to meet someone else from the Council."
"Oz isna a bad one. Dinna hold him having faith tha' Malfoy weren't a wee baby against him. He's fair and even-minded. He makes me stop and think. Kasie too. he's th'one tha' did all th'research on how to kill m'hellhound. Said I wasna goin' after th'best until I knew how."
Neville grinned and swung their hands a bit. "Well I didn't say I didn't like him. I had a drink with him, and Brody knew him as well. I think Pevensie might have a teeny crush on your brother though. She wants him to teach her how to headbutt someone."
Mac snorted. "No, Pevensie has a crush on Marcus fockin' Flint of all people."
He made a face. "That's just wrong. Although, given that Malfoy is her watcher, it doesn't surprise me that much."
Mac snorted. "She likes him because he's an alpha male. He steps on necks and breaks legs. Some girls like tha', and some of us like a mon wit a brain in his skull."
Neville grinned at her and pulled her hand when she almost walked past the shop. "It's here."
When they walked in, Neville coughed a bit. The air was heavy with the smell of garlic. He waved his hand in front of his face. "No wonder he wanted the lavender. Oi, Donny, it's Neville! I've got your lav order!"
"On the table!" came the faint reply.
Neville shook his head and placed the small bundle of fresh lavender on the table near the counter. "We'll be out of here in a minute. This bloke makes a killing off of selling herbs and things to a local cult group, and a recent round of kidnappings has gotten everyone thinking vampires are about. He's been having to overdo the garlic and said he needed lavender to calm the smell."
"Vampires are about, Neville," Mac replied. "And I'm one of the ones here to do somethin' about tha'."
Neville sighed as he arranged everything to his liking. "And these are teenagers using hallucinogenics and alcohol to feel decent about themselves. Trust me, Donny makes sure that nothing serious is happening. Every person who has been kidnapped was probably drunk and is sleeping it off somewhere."
"I dinna like this. What iffen they aren't off people sleepin'? What iffen they are off sleepin' th'sleep of the undead?"
"Then the undead look a damn lot like hungover mongrels who got too much of daddy's booze and mummy's pills," Donny said. Neville looked over as the shop owner shuffled in from the back. He was in his mid-thirties and his jeans and shirt were caked with dirty that he hardly ever tried to wipe off. His long hair was tied back and his nails were almost permanently stained from fertilizer. "Every single one of the kidnapping victims returned home safe and sound with a killer headache. One of the brats happened to be one of those gothic ones and claimed vampires took their friends. If it means they want to buy more garlic, more to 'em."
Neville turned back to Mac. "See? Everything's okay."
Mac pulled a card out of her bra. "Iffen ya ever thin' it is vampires, floo this woman."
She gave him Willow's card.
"I'm a vampire slayer. I can take care of 'em better than yer garlic ever could, but tell yer clients it does repel them."
Neville just shook his head and started leading her out of the garlic-infused air. "Owl me if you need any more!"
The rain was coming down a bit harder than when they first ventured outside. "I hope you're not going to be worried all day now."
"I'll try no' to be," Mac said honestly. "I hope ya have a towel. I'm gettin' soaked through."
She wrapped her arms around one of his and just enjoyed being there. It made her feel more like a regular person than she had ever felt in her life. Not even before she was a slayer had she felt normal like this.
He laughed. "I have a towel, don't worry. I just don't know what we're planning on doing once we're dried off. I'm not very exciting."
Mac snorted, letting him know what she felt about that. She thought he was plenty exciting. He was smart and kissed well.
"We could get some food unless ya have some and know how to cook. After we're fed and dried, I can think of lots of thin's I'd like to be doin'."
Neville led her back into the small shop they could floo out of and back to his own shop. "I can cook, but I'm limited on what I have. Do you not like a certain food?"
"I like all food in large quantities. Besides, I'm Scottish. Ever seen what a Scot will eat?"
He was laughing as he stepped through the floo and into his shop. He led Mac to the small stairwell off the side of the shop that went up to his flat door.
"It's small but it does the trick. I'll go get some towels."
"I dinna care how big th'place is. Yer here. Tha's all tha' matters."
As he left the room, she used her wand to start a fire in the fireplace and started stripping out of her wet clothing to set it near the grate to dry out.
Neville quickly snatched a few big towels so that Mac could dry off. When he came back into the living room, he immediately put them in front of his face. "I-I-I take it you're aware that you're, um, that you're just in your knickers. Do you need a shirt?"
Mac made sure her hair was covering her breasts before turning to look at him. He was blushing and stuttering. It was the most adorable thing she had ever seen.
"I dinna need a shirt, but I think ya need me to have one."
Neville also thought he needed to have another run in the cool rain, but that would be inappropriate and so he tossed the towels on a chair and went back into his room. He made sure to grab a shirt that was darker in color and was big enough to completely cover her.
When he came back, he was relieved to find she'd wrapped a towel around her. "Here. This should do it."
Mac held up the shirt and raised a brow at him. It was more like a dress. Just to mess with him, she dropped her towel to put on the shirt.
Neville instantly looked up at the ceiling with an incredulous laugh. "You're torturing me. I get it. Let's make a bloke uncomfortable. Tease."
"Tease implies I have no follow-through. I assure ya tha' is no' the case."
Mac stepped close to him and put a hand on his chest. M'brother told me we knew one another as children. I dinna believe him. I think I would recall ya."
"And I'm pretty sure you would have made an impression on me as well." Neville put his hand on her hip over the thin cotton of his shirt. "You never did tell me what you wanted for dinner."
Mac just grinned and resisted the urge to say 'you'. "I'll have wha'ever yer havin'. I'm no' very particular 'bout m'food."
"How about something simple and easy? Chicken salad?" Neville didn't think he had the brain capacity to make anything else.
"Like I said, wha'ever yer havin' is more than fine."
Mac ran to his couch and flopped backwards on it. She landed in a sprawl. She was pretty sure her knickers were showing. She had a feeling tonight would be fun.
He was glad to be distracted by going into the kitchen. Neville was trying to be courteous and gentlemanly. It was also a bit strange because he hadn't known Mac too well in school and once he did get to know her, it was as Brody and Connor's little sister. He'd never seen her outside of the Three Broomsticks or school. Now that she was a woman on her own, Neville was trying not to kick himself for being attracted to her.
Once he was gone, Mac got up and poked around. There were pictures of his Gran. There was one with him with Granger, the Weasleys, Potter and Luna Lovegood. She vaguely recalled Luna being friends with all of that crowd.
"Did ya know Luna has been at the Council today. I dinna seen her yet. I plan to though. She's organizing the library."
"Really?" Neville asked, digging through his cabinets. "I saw her a few weeks ago. She popped by the shop. We try to visit every once in a while when we can get around to it. I knew she'd been busy. Did you know her well?"
"I used to beat people up when they'd take her stuff. I always liked Luna. She were different too. She's more tough and smarter than people give her credit for."
"That she is. Dinner, or whatever you want to call this, is ready." The salad was plain but it was all he had. He brought out a plate for her.
Mac grinned and took her plate. She sat down on the floor by his coffee table. She dug in and ate happily. It was nice to be out of the Council. Not that she did not like spending time with Kasie, but Neville was different.
"So, hellhounds aside, how are things at the council? Do you just slave away hitting each other or do you stay locked in your room pining away for me?"
"I fight. I study. We found a book of slayer prophecy in Gaelic. I been translatin' it in my spare time. The Dark Marks have been givin' us some trouble, but we'll figure out who's behind it."
Neville's eyebrows went up and he nearly choked on a piece of lettuce. "Did you just say the Dark marks are acting up? How is that possible?"
"We dinna know yet. Tis no' You-Know-Who. Willow thin's wha's doin' it is no' even human. Dinna ya worry. They've saved the world from endin' many times."
He shook his head. "As long as I don't have to cut off the head of any snake again. Or have to attend school with insane Death Eaters. My seventh year the first time round really did suck."
"Ya dinna have to worry. I'll do the choppin' iffen thin's need choppin'."
Mac finished her chicken salad and burped, trying to make it delicate and failing. She went and sat next to Neville with a smile on her face. Her face was not used to grinning so much.
Neville licked his fingers and stared at Mac with a grin on his face. "This is the boring part. I don't have a telly. Sometimes I read about flowers or go work on the nocturnal plants or just generally fall in bed. Sometimes I try to get in some bit of exercise. I bet this is dull compared to the Council."
"Tis quiet. I like tha'."
Mac cuddled into his side with a grin.
Neville put his arm around her and propped his feet up on the coffee table. "Quiet I can do."
He rubbed her shoulder lightly as they just sat there for a few moments. "Are you going to be doing this all your life? Fighting the monsters?"
"Would it bother ya iffen I said I dinna think I have a choice? Some of them will know wha' I am. They'll come at me for tha' reason alone. Iffen ya dinna want tha', I'll understand."
She'd be heartbroken, but she would have to accept that he did not want that in his life.
"What?" Neville leaned back to look down at her. "I never said that at all. I just worry about people directly in the line of fire. I'd never try to talk you out of it or stop being your... stop this because you were doing what you do."
"Bein' my wha'?" Mac was looking at him intently.
This is the moment he'd been dreading. He was shite at asking girls out and some didn't like to be labeled. "Well, we're friends, aren't we? We're close?"
Mac raised a brow at him. "Was tha' really wha' ya wanted to say? Ya cut the head off a giant snake, mon. Say wha' ya mean."
"Well, we're dating. I don't want to stop that because I worry about you."
"So this were a date then? And ya already got me out of m'clothes. Tha' doesna make me look like a good lass. So I'm yer... wha' then? Wha' were ya goin' to call me?"
Neville looked down at her seriously. "I consider you my girlfriend, but some people don't like to be labeled."
"I dinna recall ya askin' me to be yer girlfriend," Mac said playfully.
She was resisting the urge to giggle because he liked her that much. She liked him too. He made her feel light and happy, and nothing had done that in a very long time.
"Well, I assumed," he said defensively. "But, I kind of told Luna I we were together, and from then on, it just seemed natural. I know we haven't really gone on a proper or anything, but I like you."
"A lass likes to be asked, Nev, but if it's any worry, I'm gonna say aye."
It was silent.
"Well, ask me."
He rolled his eyes. "Will you be my girlfriend, Mac?"
"Aye," she said, preening her damp hair a bit. "I thin' tha' would be nice."