Neville feels suffocated with sympathy after his Gran dies. The looks of pity make him angry but he can't show that. It would not be proper and he could never insult his Gran by lashing out. Still, he grew up with parents long lost and his Gran supervised his upbringing more than raised him. He needs to get away before he says something he shouldn't. Something that becomes dangerous gossip that no doubt would follow his grandchildren for years if the likes of Malfoy or Zabini had any say.
When Harry mentions offhand that Charlie Weasley needs someone who knows plants out in Romania to deal with a strange infestation in the Dragon's dens he jumps at the chance. Harry seems mildly alarmed.
"I meant if you knew anyone, mate. I mean, you've got Hogwarts?"
"Which will still be there in September. I need away, Harry. I 'm an adult and they expect me to fall to my knees like a child." Neville groans, giving a wry smile a second later because hasn't that been his life story?
Harry just shrugs, cause he's like that, and nods. "I'll mention it on the next floo call or get Gin to."
The portkey leaves him disorientated for a moment. Neville has never travelled this far before but he feels a steady hand on his shoulder and then his name is ringing in his ear. Glancing up he meets the somewhat familiar gaze of Charlie Weasley.
"Come on. I'm sure your ears are still ringing so I'll just app us over there now before it gets worse yeah? In a oner?" Neville nods for lack of anything else to do and then oh. Oh.
"It is something isn't it?" Charlie murmurs, hand still on Neville's shoulder.
Something indeed. Lush greenland spreads out before Neville for what seems like miles. He wonders at magic, how muggles are so unaware. He can make out a dragon down below, rolling on its belly in the dust and avoiding direct sunlight. It seems so content, at home, and Neville feels a hot flare of guilt in his stomach. How dare they be used for a tournament?
Charlie must sense him tensing because he tightens his grip on Neville's shoulder and pulls him away promising food.
Dinner a few nights later is when Neville sees the tat around Charlie's wrist. A simple drawing of flames that now and then curl around Charlie's wrist. He does not realise he is staring until Charlie nudges him with his knee.
Neville turns scarlet. "No. I'd want it to have meaning. I'm sure yours does. I want....well I'd want something like you but...I need to earn it?"
Charlie gives him a warm smile that seems to drown out the approving comments of those around them. "Well, we have all summer to work on that don't we?"
It turns out the growths are poisonous to dragons but fantastic for healing potions so Nevile makes sure everything is in place so that the Reserve gets the money they deserve. They have land the dragons cannot be trusted to live on and so Neville diligently makes sure the plants are moved to those areas to create an income that cans support a better food supply for the dragons. Charlie's eyes light up when he considers how they can sell the goods on.
Neville does not really take in how many hours he is spending with Charlie, not until the nights start to shorten and Charlie is asking him about tattoos again.
"You've earned it mate. You've saved lives out here. We lost three to those plants before you came. Now we can use the money to get fresh livestock in for them to hunt proper, spread their wings." Charlie has that easy smile again and Neville hides behind his bottle of beer.
" I did my job. Maybe....I mean...perhaps you could come to Hogwarts for Halloween and we could get something done for me? In Diagon? Just...I heard you talking to your boss and I know you have leave and-"
Neville freezes as he feels a hand over his mouth. Then Charlie is out of his seat and on the floor in front of him, dead bark crunching under his knees, smiling. "i'd love that. A lot. I'll get someone here to draw something up yeah? Earth and fire and dragons? You."
Neville pulls back and gestures to the empty seat next to him until Charlie casually takes it. "I guess, I mean, that....I'd like that."
"Yeah me too."
They both agree to ignore the whistles from everyone else.