Four-Leaf Clover

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Comment drabble fic for cocoa_n_coffee & cunning_croft

Originally Posted: April 25, 2007

“Where are we going?”

Hermione looked at him before quickly looking away. A lock of hair curled around her face, brushing against the scar on her cheek, and Neville had to focus on the path to resist the urge to curl it around his finger. Such urges were becoming more difficult to ignore, unfortunately, but he had to try. Their friendship was too important to him to risk acting on the infatuation that had started one afternoon on the Hogwarts Express when he was eleven only to fade over time until it returned full-force fourteen years later. Crushes came and went, but friendship was forever.

“I already told you, Neville. I thought we might have lunch outside today,” Hermione said, holding up the picnic basket she’d insisted on carrying despite his protests.

“Right, I know that, but I was curious if we were going somewhere in particular or just walking,” he said, wondering why her cheeks were flushed. They weren’t walking that fast, after all, since it would have been difficult maneuvering the branches and rocks if they had been.

“I found a clearing the other day when I was on a walk that I thought might make a nice picnic spot,” she explained, glancing back at him and frowning slightly before she looked back at the path.

Normally, a frown might worry him, but he knew Hermione pretty well, even if there was a lot about her that remained a mystery. To her, a frown usually meant she was thinking about something. So, he didn’t ask any more questions. Instead, he enjoyed the warm spring day and watched her bum as she walked. He might respect her and consider her a great friend, the best in recent years, but that didn’t mean he was blind. She had a great bum, curvy and firm in ways that made his fingers itch to touch.

Instead of ogling her bum, he should have been looking at the forest. It was the first he’d really walked in it before, despite Hermione having her cottage for three years now. They’d taken to meeting for lunch once a week after she moved, though it had become lunch a couple of days a week and dinner a few nights a week in recent months. Everyone else they knew were in relationships or lived outside England now, after all, so it wasn’t unusual for them to spend free time together.

Of course, that’s what had brought back his infatuation. She was still the smartest and bravest woman he’d ever met, and he thought she was lovely even if others overlooked her. The scar on her face and the burn on her collarbone, permanent reminders of the war, just added to her natural beauty, in his opinion. It was probably stupid to see her so often when he spent most nights wanking to images that would probably shock her. He’d never been accused of being that clever, though, so he used that as his excuse.

“Neville, are you daydreaming?”

He shook his head and looked at her, blushing when he saw her smiling. “Oh, sorry. I was thinking about, uh, work. Right. What did you say?”

“I said we’re there,” she told him, motioning to a clearing that was near a small stream. He watched her Transfigure a leaf into a blanket, which she proceeded to spread out for their lunch.

“This is really pretty, Hermione,” he said as he sat down. She smiled and her cheeks flushed again, which distracted him. He’d never seen her blush in all the years that he could remember, not even when she accidentally walked into the boys dorm and caught them all in various stages of undress during fifth year, but that was definitely a blush.

“I thought so when I found out.” She looked down at the basket and began to sort the food she’d brought for lunch. He wondered if he should have brought something along, too, since it wasn’t fair that she’d brought lunch and carried it, too.

“Next time, I’ll bring lunch,” he offered, smiling when she looked at him. “Here, let me help.”

He reached over and took the plates from her, biting his lip when his fingers brushed against the back of her hand. He heard her inhale softly and dropped the plates when he glanced at her and saw a look in her eyes that he’d never seen before.

“I’ll get them,” she murmured, leaning forward slightly to get the plates. “Oh, look. It’s a four-leaf clover.” She smiled at him, the awkward tension forgotten as she motioned beside the blanket. “There’s several of them.”

“So there are,” he said, not exactly sure why a plant would make her grin like that. “They’re rather rare, you know?”

“I know. My grandmum used to give me one whenever I visited her during the summer,” Hermione said, running her finger over the leaves of the closest one. “She always said they bring good luck, though better luck if found by accident.”

Neville watched her and felt like this was one of those moments when something important could happen. He could ignore it or he could try to be brave, in his own way. He licked his lips, wondering when his mouth had become so dry, and hesitantly reached out. He felt her tense when he placed his hand over hers, but she relaxed slightly and looked at him curiously.

“Do you know the Muggle legend about the leaves?” he asked quietly, moving his finger over hers to brush one of them.

“Legend?” she asked softly, staring at him in a similar way to the look that had surprised him, in a good way, just moments before.

Neville smiled, pleased that he knew something Muggle she didn’t. “Legend says that each leaf on a four-leaf clover means something different. One is luck, which you mentioned, but the other three are different,” he told her. “There’s hope, faith, and, uh, love.”

“I guess that’s why they’re so lucky then,” she murmured, glancing at his lips before she looked at the clover. “Those are all rare and special things, just like these clovers.”

“Very special.” He cleared his throat and moved his hand more firmly around hers. “When you find those things, you should probably not ignore them, right?”

“Ignorance is never good,” she agreed, turning her hand so that their palms were pressed together.

“Bloody hell, I’m not really good at this stuff,” he muttered before he pulled her against him and just kissed her. For a minute, he thought he’d confused things or misunderstood things, but she soon began to return his kiss, parting her lips beneath his and holding his shoulder as she pressed closer. As the kiss deepened and their lunch was forgotten, he knew he’d finally got something right.