All That Glitters
by zahra


Sometimes Neville thinks that happiness is Draco curled up next to him in the bowels of a Muggle church while the winter elements swirl around outside. Except that there's nothing happy about Neville freezing his arse off whilst he attempts to keep his eyes open so he can maintain the wards that surround them. There's nothing happy about the grit embedded under Neville's nails or the untreated scratches that dance around Draco's neck.

In a few hours it will be Draco's turn to keep watch and Neville will sleep, but for now, Draco's head rests on Neville's thigh as Neville's numb fingers slide through sheared blonde hair. Neville doesn't miss Draco's long hair. He quite likes it this length. He likes the way the spiky angles feel against the flat of his hand. He likes that Draco is actually sleeping for the first time in ages; Neville can tell by the little snuffling noises he makes and he thinks that happiness is finding something good in the middle of the end of everything.



Surprise is Draco remembering Neville's birthday when even Neville's forgotten all about it. It's Draco magicking a cake from somewhere and working alongside Hermione to have it appear on the kitchen table of the Burrow, whilst Neville and Ron and Dean are still trying to figure out a plan of attack for the day's battles. You would never think it to look at him, but Draco can be very sentimental when he chooses to be. In his own way, of course. And it makes Neville very happy when he thinks that Draco's being himself.



Sometimes Neville's not quite sure he knows what happiness is supposed to entail. He has vague ideas about his grandmother's safety and his parents' sanity and the end of the war, but again, these are all vague ideas. They're concepts and foggy crystal balls without any real defintion. These ideas are things that Neville would like to have. These are things that Neville would kill to have; he already has done. And yet, these notions aren't really about happiness, they're about keeping his family safe. They're about his peace of mind. They're not about Neville's happiness. At least they're not about what he considers his happiness, but maybe peace of mind is a sort of happiness. At the least knowing his gran is safe makes Neville sleep better at night.



Draco Malfoy was never supposed to end up with Neville Longbottom. Draco was all pureblood grace and harsh words and Slytherin angles. And Neville, well, Neville was a Gryffindor. For the first fifteen years of his life he was all uncoordination and round cheeks and freckles. Neville was all uncertainty and misplaced valour and all sorts of things that were bound to get him killed. Except they didn't. And somewhere between Neville's sixteenth and seventeenth year his inabilities became his abilities. He could hex and curse and spell. He grew about six inches overnight. He had angles to his face instead of baby fat. He found confidence in himself. That was happiness.



Neville lives his life in increments: seconds and minutes and hours, but never days. Or never whole days. Neville takes his days in sections. Waking up. Making sure Draco's waking up too. Checking the perimeter of wherever they are that day. Scrounging for breakfast. Finding something that could be used for tea. Finding water to actually make tea. These are things that make Neville happy.



Neville stores up his happiness like a niffler hoarding shiny bits. A smile here, a few kind words there, a touch underneath layers of scratchy clothing. He holds onto these things to remember when the world is cruel and unkind, and he can feel Death Eaters closing in wherever they are. The first time he told Draco he could feel the Death Eaters coming closer, Draco smirked and said “They're already here.” Then he pulled up the sleeve of his jumper to remind Neville of the brand on his arm. It was easier for Neville to cast a Silencio on Draco so he could kick him in the shin without giving their location away than it was for him to explain that there was a time and place for everything, and if Draco didn't start realising that he was going to be sleeping in Muggle churches by himself.



Happiness is the way Draco's eyes glitter when he says that he loves Neville.



Sometimes Neville is terrified of being happy, because he's not quite sure he knows how. He knows how to live with the spectre of war hanging over his head. He knows how to love someone that no one approves of. He knows how to be on the outside looking in, but he's not quite sure he'll know what to do when the war is over and everything is sorted out. But everything will get sorted out. Neville has faith in that if nothing else. It's what keeps him going in wee hours of the morning when he's supposed to be asleep, and he can feel Draco worrying beside him. The idea that everything will work out is incredibly foreign to him, and yet, Neville's not willing to accept anything else because he has plans.

Neville wants a house in Dorset so that Draco can practise as many Quidditch moves as he likes without Obliviating the Muggles who happen to be on the roofs of their London flats. Neville has plans for a nursery of his own and life after the war. Neville wants to have a future with Draco, full stop.

These are thoughts make him happy when he's not sure what else he's fighting for.


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