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Mama Deb
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December Afternoon (Revised)

Harry Potter (Harry/Neville)

I've revised this somewhat, thanks to my beta, jacquez.

"Harry? It's cold outside."

"Is it?" He turned to face Neville, but there was nothing in his eyes. He didn't seem to see him at all. "Funny, that."

"Yeah. It being December and all, and us in Scotland." He wrapped the cloak he brought around Harry's shoulders. Harry didn't notice that, or that Neville never did take his hands away. "Maybe you should come in." Snow swirled around them, making the castle an ominous dark shape in the distance.

Harry shrugged. "It doesn't matter. Not like this is going to hurt me now, is it? I have a *destiny*, don't I? Kill or be killed, or maybe both? So I'm not going to die of pneumonia or anything." Neville could have gagged on the bitterness in Harry's voice. So that what he was thinking when he wandered alone.

His shoulders were bony under the cloak and the school robe. Neville had watched him barely eat for months, except when Hermione nagged at him, much as he'd watched him just stand outside the castle for months - the time since they started their sixth year. Harry was only alive on the Quidditch pitch these days, or when he taught the DA.

"How do you know that?" Harry frowned but didn't say anything. "How do you know that you can't be hurt? Destiny's a funny thing, Harry. I mean, from what you said, it was almost me who could be killing Vol…Vol…Voldemort. Prophecy works as well for the two of us, except he chose you. Not that I envy you the choosing, but. It's like I'm a spare, you know? And, I'd take it from you if I could, even if the thought gives me nightmares."

"That's what he called Cedric." His voice was so low, Neville could hardly hear it. "He said, 'Kill the spare' and he killed him. His voice is so cold. Colder than this, than this snow." He looked up, and this time Neville knew he saw him. "But you are not a spare, Neville. You're too brave for that. I…I blunder into things without thinking, which is not bravery, but you go in with those eyes wide open. You're a true Gryffindor." He pulled the cloak closer around his body, as if finally feeling the wind cut through him.

"That's not bravery. It's just doing what has to be done." Neville smiled. "But you'll do it, Harry, and you'll survive. And if I can help in anyway, I will. It doesn't matter what happens to me."

Harry looked at him. His eyes were very green behind his glasses. "Yes, it does. It does more than anything I could say." He bit his lower lip for a moment, and then let it go. His mouth was very red, bright against his winter-pale cheeks.

Neville's heart turned over. He leaned forward, his hands still on Harry's shoulders, and wondering just when he'd gotten taller, kissed him on that mouth. Harry did nothing at first, but then his lips softened and moved and they wrapped their arms around each other, and suddenly it was warm in the middle of the snow of a Scottish December.

And Neville took him by the hand and led him back inside to a warm fire and food nicked from the kitchen.

(no subject) - (Anonymous)

I do have the world's best beta. Go, read *her* stuff. It's really, really good.

It also wasn't the right time for anything but snuggles.

yay! more Harry/Neville!

now there's more than 3 of us who write them!

very nice work *hugs*

Thank you! And thank you for rec'ing this story.

you are most welcome!

Forgot to comment on the other version, but this is lovely! I like these quiet, matter-of-fact moments of caring.

Thank you, Dira!

Came here from dacro. This fic is so sweet :) *melts*

I'm so glad you liked it!

*is also here because of dacro's rec*

I like it..It's gentle, quiet, and very moving. My heart hurt for Harry when Neville said It's like I'm a spare, you know? And, I'd take it from you if I could, even if the thought gives me nightmares.... and then it just worked out. Good job!

It just...felt right to do it that way.

I'm happy you enjoyed it.

Thank you!

I missed the chance to see the first one, (IO could go back and look for it, I guess) but I do like this one. It's very very nice. Sweet. And I like the idea of Neville finding out it could have been him, as I like both of their definitions of bravery.

If you really must, the original is here.. The second version is better, though.

Bravery comes in so many shapes it's hard to pin down.

Very nice!

I think you got their characterizations down PERFECTLY. *CLAP* I like when people actually realize that Neville's really brave and not the dunder-head most make him out to be. I liked this very much.

Thank you!

I've said this before. Neville is a very powerful wizard - he just needs to accept that and learn control. A weak wizard's spells would just *fail*. They would not melt cauldrons or cause even tiny professors to fly across the room.

And he is truly brave.

And I think he and Harry would be very good for each other. Harry doesn't realize it, but he needs to be taken care of sometimes, and Neville is born to nurture.

Anyway, I'm very glad you liked my story.

Much love.

this was just wonderful. the torment that harry is feeling, the fact that neville would take his place, it's all so heart-wrenching and warming at the same time. thank you for sharing. :D