The Toad Question
The shrill words echoed off the walls and Neville grimaced. He didn’t know whether he liked or not that he could recognize the voice immediately.
Neville looked carefully around the corner and saw that in effect, it was Pansy. She was standing in front of a Slytherin boy he didn’t recognize, probably older, and a Ravenclaw girl who appeared to be his girlfriend.
“Oh come on Parkinson, can’t you take a joke?” the girl said.
Pansy pointed her wand at them threatenenly. “Don’t mention him again,” her voice was ice as cold and it made Neville shiver.
“You’ll have to specify,” the boy drawled. “Are you talking about your toad… Or your boyfriend?” he smirked.
“Wait, I thought her toad was her boyfriend,” the girl laughed.
The Slytherin boy smirked and shook his head. “No, no. You got it backwards. Her boyfriend Longbottom is a toad.”
As if in slow motion, Neville watched Pansy swing her arm back before firing a spell with such strength that he thought she might fall back. But she didn’t, and the purple light illuminated her skin rather beautifully as dozens of purple balls started hitting the couple all over their bodies, leaving marks on their skins. The girl screamed out and they both ran away, the balls following them.
Neville could tell that Pansy was about to turn around then, but he couldn’t move, he felt frozen in place. Pansy’s eyes locked with his and in a second she was all over him, pushing him back into the wall and holding her wand against his side as her other hand was wrapped around his wrist.
“What the bloody hell did you say about the other night?” she snapped. Neville was about a head taller than her, but he had just witnessed a pretty nasty spell from her part, so he told himself it was okay to be terrified.
“Nothing, I swear!” he shook his head. “Someone must have seen you when you entered the greenhouses!“
Pansy looked thoughtful for a second before narrowing her eyes again. “If I find out it was you…"
She let the threat hanging in the air, levaing Neville to imagine what she’d do to him. Pansy emphasized her seriousness by pushing her wand harder into his waist, making Neville wince. He couldn’t help but notice how close she was and his heart started beating for reasons other than his fear.
"I hate to be the one to say this,” Neville stammered, forcing himself to speak as to not have any more trouble with Pansy. “But, do you know what’s gonna happen if someone sees us like this.”
To his surprise, Pansy blushed, and even though it was probably the wrong time to be thinking about it, Neville thought that anger and pink cheeks made her look rather pretty. They stared at each other for a second before she stepped away.
Pansy shook her head and laughed humourlessly to herself. “Of course you didn’t start the rumor. I forgot you don’t have the guts to pull something like that.”
Her words made something inside Neville flare with anger and he found himself balling up his fists and stepping closer to her. Pansy raised an eyebrow but didn’t back down.
“You’re right,” Neville said and Pansy chuckled again.
“You’re admiting that you’re gutless?”
“No!” Neville snapped, tired of being humiliated. Pansy looked shocked at his reaction and even took a small step back. “You’re right I didn’t start the rumour. But it’s not because I’m gutless, it’s because I’m not a bad person. And if I wanted people to think we were dating, I would just ask you out.”
Neville thought she might blush again, but her expression changed suddenly and she was frowning. “What are you talking about, Longbottom?”
Neville couldn’t say he was certain of what he was talking about, but he knew that he was not going to let Pansy treat him badly anymore.
“Let’s go to Hogsmade this weekend,” he said.
Pansy’s brown eyes went wide. “What?”
Neville’s conciousness finally caught up with him, and he realized what he had just said. He tried not to panic, but the looming silence between them was making him increasingly anxious.
A group of people was aproaching from down the hall to Neville’s right, he could hear the steps and conversation getting louder. Pansy noticed them as well, and with one last surprised look at Neville, she turned on her heel and walked quickly away torwards the dungeons.
Neville relaxed, thankful that he no longer had to face Pansy after what he said. But as much as he felt relieved, something would continue to bother him for the next few days, because he had asked out Pansy Parkinson, and she didn’t say no.