I'll Prune You
Neville had asked Pevensie to pass along a message to her watcher before she came for her shift. With Draco arriving to pick her up and expecting to talk, they would be away from prying eyes at the council. It was about time they had a chat about Luna.
He looked at the clock. Malfoy would soon show up. “All right, Pevensie. Good work. Head into the back to clean up, yeah?”
She looked at him suspiciously. “Should I be worried? Why can’t you tell me what you guyses are talking about? If it’s me, don’t. I’m fine now. Draco and I are cool and everything. No one’s picking on me or anything.”
He smiled. “I’m glad to hear it, but it has absolutely nothing to do with you. I promise. And it’s not even bad. Now go wash up. I’m going to finish cutting and trimming these plants so you can take them back with you for the greenhouses.”
Pevensie sighed and walked into the back.
Draco was dreading this. He honestly could not imagine what Longbottom wanted a chat about. He entered the shop and spotted the chap in question. Draco gestured grandly as if to say, well here I am
Neville snorted. “You don’t have to look so put out. I know this place isn’t too far for you to travel.” He kept trimming. “So, Luna stopped by the other day. You were the topic of conversation.”
“Really,” Draco said smoothly.
Now he couldn’t imagine what Luna could have said. The likely conclusion was that she told Longbottom about them, but Draco wasn’t sure. She had said she didn’t want to go public as of yet.
“I’m not going to bother asking your intentions, because you’re a good enough liar that I won’t be able to tell if you’re telling the truth or not, but I will say this.” Neville slammed the pruners down hard on the bench and turned to glare at Malfoy properly. “If you are doing this for some sick amusement or if you have anything but true, honest feelings for Luna, I will find new and improved ways to use every single tool in this room before I end you. And I’ve had practice cutting the heads off snakes before. I’m kind of known for it.”
Draco didn’t say anything for a moment.
“That was actually rather impressive. Now allow me to retort,” he said as he started to stalk towards Longbottom. “I like her. If anyone ever tries to hurt her in any way ever again, they’ll beg death, and it still won’t come. I don’t kill people, but torture is another story. I could torture someone who’d made her cry. I could likely do that for hours.”
“Including yourself? You weren’t exactly the nicest person in school and don’t think I’ve forgotten about you giving the wrong name to Oz when he first came here. You be careful with Luna. She might not understand your jokes.”
“Gods dammit,” Draco shouted, slamming his hand down on one of the counters. “I am not who I used to be! Not with her! She couldn’t even be in the same room with me at first because all she saw was my father, all she felt was the damp of our dungeons, all she heard in her mind were the screams. If you think I’d ever undo all the work I’ve done to make her forget I’m associated with that, you’ve gone ‘round the bend.”
Pevensie had rushed back in when she’d heard the shouting start. Now she was just standing there uncertain what to do.
“Do you not see how still uncertain she is with you? All the teasing she endured in school rolled off her because those people weren’t her friends. They weren’t us. We never teased her and we got to see who she really was. If you go after her in any way, the teasing won’t roll off her.” Neville shook his head. “She honestly likes
you. If you screw that up because you want to play jokes, I’ll see about finding a sword.”
“And you’re hearing me, but you’re not listening,” Draco snarled. “I’m not playing at anything with her. I wouldn’t. It makes me fucking furious that people have her doubting her worth. Did you know she thought I’d kissed her on a bet. As if I’d do such a thing. With anyone.”
Pevensie’s mouth was hanging open. She wanted to leave, knew she should, but she just could not quite make herself go.
“Because your best mate didn’t have sex
with my girlfriend on a bet once upon a time? That didn’t happen? “ Neville took a few deep breaths. “Look, I told Luna that I would give you the benefit of the doubt. I don’t know you now. But I do know that you’ll have to look out for her. You better protect her from the people you are around, because they might not care about her as much as you say you do.”
“I am not Blaise. I never have been. Hell, he’s not even him any longer. You can’t judge me by him. That’d be like me judging you by Potter just because you’re friends. Not all Slytherins are alike, git. People bloody well better tread lightly around her or I’ll turn their kneecaps backwards, you just see if I don’t.”
Pevensie blinked. He was like some sort of rabid mama bear defending her cubs.
“I better not hear one word about you treating her anything but amazing. She assured me that you’ve been decent so far. Let’s keep it that way.”
Draco sighed loudly. Then he spotted Pevensie.
“Hear everything you wanted? Be sure not to leave anything out when you tell Meredith,” Draco snapped before he stormed out. “I’ll be waiting in the Leaky! You leave me waiting too long and you can find your own sodding way home!”
Pevensie looked at Neville with wide eyes. “Thanks a bunch. He’s gonna be real fun for training later. What did you just do?”
“What I needed to,” Neville said firmly. “And I didn’t finish this shipment, so don’t worry about bringing it back. I’ll bring it on my own.”
He gestured to the door. “You better hurry. You probably don’t want to keep him waiting very long.”
“You know I never knew Draco way back when like you did, but I can tell you this, the boy I’ve heard about isn’t the watcher I know. He treats me better than anyone has ever, like I’m his family. I almost feel sorry for anyone who tries to hurt Luna now. He’s fierce about her. You don’t have to worry there because when he likes you, he’ll do just about anything for you, and he’d do anything for her.”
She nodded then sprinted after her watcher.
Neville depended on actions more than words, but he would hold out and see what Malfoy did.