Chapter Seven: Friday

The characters and canon situations in the following story belong solely to JK Rowling, Scholastic and WB. I am not making any money from the publishing or writing of this story.

Beta cred: Palmetto Blue

A/N: At this point in the drivel, you will notice a slight shift in format. This is entirely due to the Ascendance of Venus.

 

 

 

Back and forth, back and forth Neville paced in his rooms, patting his trouser pocket regularly to ensure his wand was still there. He’d come back after the last bell to shave and change his robes, only to be penned in by Pansy Parkinson! He had Nearly Headless Nick to thank for that information; just as he’d picked up his shaving cup, the ghost drifted through to warn him of a rude, dark-haired witch camped outside his door. This sent him into a state of complete and utter panic. Scruffy face forgotten, he’d begged Nick to get help and then sent three Patronuses to Draco.

 

The problem with ghosts and best mates, he realized several hours later, was that both were flightier than fuck. What the hell was he to do – invite Pansy along? He just wanted to be rid of her once and for all! We’ve followed Luna’s instructions to the letter, he repeated for the seven-hundredth time, and it will all work out. But for Godric’s sake, please let there be role playing.

 

All week he’d deliberated over what, exactly, tonight entailed, and finally decided the list of requirements pointed toward a staged rescue of Hermione from the Venomous Tentacula. And she, brilliant witch that she was, had undoubtedly come to the same conclusion and was already posed seductively a safe distance from that plant – ideally on the bed he’d set up in the storeroom earlier in the day – just waiting to be saved. Neville paused in his pacing to check for his wand once more; after all, a hero was nothing without his trusty weapon.

 

*          *          *

 

Hermione slipped into Greenhouse 6 as quietly as she could and relaxed when it became apparent she was alone. She took out her wand and headed toward the far end, lighting torches as she went. Soon the entire greenhouse was awash in the cozy glow of magical fire, but the Venomous Tentacula was nowhere in sight. She wondered how, exactly, The Plan unfurled from this point.

 

Perhaps the storeroom held a clue? No; it held a large and suspiciously new-looking bed, an inordinate number of empty lotion bottles, and a pair of Omnioculars. She studied the doorway view with the magnifying peepers as she tabulated the evidence. Either Neville Longbottom had seriously dry skin and a passion for birdwatching or . . . Her eyes fell on her customary perch up on the maintenance frame at the far side of the greenhouse, and her face lit up in smug comprehension.

 

She smoothed down the thin red silk of her best dress and fluffed her curls, willing them to stay in place until Neville’s heroic rescue. It seemed the only logical interpretation of The Plan, given the items required; now she just needed to find a safe place to ‘accidentally’ drop her wand, because otherwise it would all be completely unrealistic.

 

The irony of the situation was not lost on Hermione; she, the brightest witch of the age, was eagerly playing the role of damsel in distress! But the rules must sometimes be broken, she thought, remembering her conversation with Anthony several days previous, and some things need to be done the hard way. She smiled predatorily. Hard, and maybe a little rough, too.

 

She continued her search of the outer greenhouse in a rather distracted state, which was probably why she failed to notice the large dark shadow near the aquatic plant pool until it was too late. Just as Hermione became aware that someone – or something – was watching her, there was a sharp hissing sound as of whips being swung. Alarms ringing in her head as she realized her mistake, she dove headfirst into the reservoir.

 

*          *          *

 

“Mmmmmm,” Luna hummed, “it feels so good. Do my front, please.” She rolled over on the sheet-draped bed.

 

Draco grimaced as he poured more of the Madagascan coffee flower oil into his hand. It felt like liquid fire on his skin. “You’re sure this doesn’t burn? I couldn’t bear for you to be hurt.”

 

“No, Draco. It’s lovely.”

 

He smoothed his slick hands over her shoulders and down her arms several times, focusing on the sound of her contented moans and the rise and fall of her splendid breasts rather than the scorching heat now spreading up his forearms.

 

She reached for the oil and poured a small trickle across her chest. “You can do my breasts now if you like.”

 

Draco raised his eyes to hers with a smirk. “I do like, thank you very much.” He slid his fingers over those ample curves that drove him to his knees on a regular basis and then leaned to nip at one perfect nipple. Luna’s coo of pleasure was all the encouragement necessary for him to tease the other in the same manner, and the sensual massage was just turning into something far more interesting when he jerked away.

 

“Aaaagh! This stuff is evil!” He wiped at his oil-slicked mouth. Unfortunately, his hands were very much in the same state, and all he managed to do was spread even more of the oil over his face. “Luna, I need to wash this off.” It was true – a strange raised rash was spreading rapidly up his arms even as he spoke.

 

“Draco,” she said reproachfully, “the oil is vital to The Plan. Don’t you want it to work?”

 

He paused, distracted from his current misery. Of course he did! Nev was his mate, and Hermione was a good friend as well. They deserved the kind of happiness he had with Lu – the kind that transcended everything else and was meant to last longer than a lifetime. “Of course I do, but . . . ” But what he really wanted was the perfect moment to present itself so he could propose to her! And people kept interfering with potentially perfect moments! In frustration he pinched the bridge of his nose and then cried out as the oil came in contact with his eyes. “It burns! Oh, gods, it burns! I can’t see!”

 

*          *          *

 

 

Luna studied her love for a moment. The allergic reaction was spreading nicely, but the timing needed to be perfect. “Don’t worry, Draco. I know exactly what to do.” She pushed him down onto the bed and kissed his oily lips, then crossed the room to their closet and dug behind her robes until she’d found what she needed.   She paused, realizing her current naked state was against Hogwarts faculty dress-code, and sighed. “I suppose I should put some clothes on.”

 

“Luna,” Draco begged, “sweetheart, don’t leave me!”

 

She dressed quickly. Making sure to leave the closet door wide open, she promised, ““I’ll be back as soon as I can.”

 

She skipped from their shared room at the far end of the faculty residence wing all the way to Neville’s room, the small tote dangling from her wrist making an odd thumping noise with each step. She had fifteen minutes before Draco’s symptoms became severe enough to preclude sex for the evening, and every second counted. He’d earned that sex!

 

When she arrived at her destination, she gave her parcel a quick, appraising glance. Before Hermione had unwittingly supplied such perfect packaging, this part of The Plan had been a bit wobbly; the little red and black shopping bag, however, hinted at the sort of thing any witch would like to have, and the lovely ribbon from the jar of Madagascan coffee flower oil – still carrying a trace of that exotic fragrance! – now affixed to its handle proclaimed it a gift. Luna allowed herself three full seconds to gloat. Her star charts never fibbed!

 

She found Pansy Parkinson exactly where she was supposed to be – guarding the door to Neville’s quarters. Adopting the slightly balmy expression that was helpful in so many instances, she approached. “Hello, Pansy.”

 

“Go away, Loony,” Pansy sneered.

 

If Luna had ever had any qualms about this part of The Plan, they would have evaporated at that point. Pansy Parkinson needed to be taught a lesson. “Are you looking for Nev?”

 

“What do you think!”

 

“This is for you.” She held out the distinctive Malkin’s Lingerie Room shopping bag, smiling when it was snatched from her hand. “You’re to go home and open it there.”

 

Pansy fingered the ribbon and smirked. “I knew he’d cave eventually.” She turned to go, calling over her shoulder, “Thanks.”

 

“Oh, you’re very welcome,” Luna murmured to the quickly retreating figure. Then she knocked on Neville’s door. “She’s gone; you can come out now.”

 

The door cracked open immediately. Neville’s relief was palpable when he saw Luna. “Oh, thank Merlin! Am I too late?”

 

“No, but it’ll be close,” Luna urged. She yanked him into the corridor. “Do you have your wand? Good. Now go! Venus is ascending!”

 

As soon as he took off, Luna did the same in the opposite direction. The timing of this scheme was a bit too close, now that she thought of it.

 

*          *          *

 

Neville raced to Greenhouse 6, mentally rehearsing a few theatrical wand waves along the way. A little showmanship never hurt, after all, even with a hex as simple as Reducto. Or perhaps he should use Diffindo; that was pretty dramatic . . .

 

G6 was lit throughout when he arrived, which could only mean Hermione was already there and in place. Where would she have gone, he wondered. Would she cry out to give him a hint? He passed the storeroom, noting its door was ajar. Had she peeked inside? Realized the depth of his depravity? Was she even now questioning his character and compatibility with her perfection? The adrenalin that had served so well to get him here in record time now made his hands and knees shake. I destroyed a bloody Horcrux with the sword of Gryffindor, damnitall! Why can’t I just tell her how I feel! Suddenly the idea of winning the hand of Hermione Granger seemed impossible. He faltered.

 

A second later the unmistakable hiss and snap of the venomous Tentacula broke the silence of the greenhouse. He would have stayed where he was, warring with himself, had not another series of sounds followed: shrieking intermingled with frenzied splashing.

 

“YOU FUCKING SON OF A WHORE PLANT (blublublub) JUST YOU WAIT UNTIL I FIND (blublublub) MY WAND! I’M GOING TO CARVE YOU INTO SPLINTERS! NEVILLLLLLLLLLLLLLLE (blublublublub)!”

 

Neville sprang into action. Hermione was under real attack by the plant, and by the sound of it, all hell had broken loose.

 

 

*          *          *

 

Pansy Parkinson stepped through her Floo and shrugged off her outer robes and shoes. With a triumphant smile, she carried her gift to the couch and sank down, anxious to see exactly what sort of lingerie Neville fancied. Her fingers made short work of the lovely ribbon tying the handles, and she paused before peering inside. What color would it be? Lace or silk? She opened the bag and- Mother of magic, was that what she thought it was? She leaned closer and took a delicate sniff. It was.

 

Pansy was no slouch when it came to wizarding culture; she was pretty sure she knew what a gift of unicorn droppings meant. She blanched, suddenly not so sure she was woman enough for the kink that was Neville Longbottom.