It had been years since a white Christmas. Everything littered in the white powdery cold substance. Making even the drabbest darkest place look inviting with Snow littering the front and top of it. Christmas now days seemed to be a wet and rainy, pouring sleet down from the heavens making then the most welcoming place look dark and gloomy. I was if the whole world had decided to mourn those that died, and it just never came back, the world was stuck in a depressive funk.
Neville didn’t mind it much; the world would move onward. It was still cold to run the fire and run around in woolen socks and jumpers around his cottage. It made trekking to his greenhouse easier, he didn’t end up trekking snow through the back of the house or through his greenhouse, and all of that was fine, but at some point, Neville began to miss the joy that snow brought to the holiday season.
No one seemed as joyful, having to trek out in the sleeting rain isn’t always fun and it seemed that people only seemed to do it when they absolutely have too. So, it was quite a surprise to find a stiff bundle sitting in the alleyway of his shop. He suspected it was to keep warm and not have the sleet hitting whoever it was if they angled themselves just right.
Neville just couldn’t let the person, whoever it was sitting out there in the cold. He had manners, and more than that it was just cruel to leave anyone out in this weather, no matter the circumstances. He made his way over to the bundle shaking it a little in hopes of either waking or alerting the person that he was there. When after several minutes of shaking nothing happened, Neville began to worry. How long had this person been sitting out here? How did he miss them this morning when he came out back?
His mind raced through all the possibilities as he tried to tug the scarves down just enough that he could find a pulse and see if this poor person was still alive. Neville couldn’t help letting out a gasp in surprise when after untangling the scarves he noticed the very prominent mop of blond hair. His fingers cold and wet are quick to try and find a pulse. He finds it, it’s light and Neville is sure that it’s almost nonexistent, but there is a pulse.
Neville notes that if the boy hadn’t been wrapped in all this clothing then he probably would have started to get frostbite. Neville also suspected that it was quite lucky that he found him when he did. So, with as much care as possible, he wrapped him back in his scarf and hauled him up. Pulling the boy into his arms, giving him some of his body heat as he made his way back inside of his shop. It was warm inside almost blistering warm in some cases, as it would do no good to get his plants to get that cold.
The warmth is so very welcome for Neville and he suspects the boy he is carrying is also happy for the warmth. Neville would use his flow, like the one in his cottage is connected to the one in his shop and that is about it, but Neville isn’t all that sure how safe it would be. So, Neville decides that Apparition will have to do. With a quick little swish and pop, Neville finds himself in his slightly chilled cottage.
Even with the chill filling the room, it is far warmer than what it was outside. As well as being completely dry. Neville is careful as he sets the boy down and is quick to start a fire while also casting several warming spells around the room and the other rooms. Once he is sure that the cottage is well on its way to warming up nicely Neville turns his attention back to his guest. He could always use several drying spells, but Neville isn’t sure that this would be a good idea.
So, he methodically goes about stripping him of all his wet clothing. As each layer comes off Neville can feel the body begin to shiver. This makes Neville smile softly, knowing that if the body is shivering it is sensing the warmth and coming out of its state of hibernation. Which could mean that he had just gone into it and that the boy wouldn’t be getting Hyperthermia?
Neville suspects though that there could be a chance for a cold, that is far better than the alternatives. Neville frowns when he finally gets the last piece of clothing off and finds patches of red staining his legs and Neville’s fingers. Something doesn’t sit right and Neville’s stomach churns at the thought of what might be staining his couch and fingers red. As he fingers trail south his suspicion is confirmed, and Neville can’t help but let out a soft cry of distress.
He pulls the limp body towards him and presses a soft kiss to his shoulder as he whispers, “I’m sorry, so sorry.”
When he sits back up pale grey eyes stare at him in hollow indifference. They show no sign of recognition though Neville knows that the boy knows him. He slowly lifts the boy up again slipping him into a bridal hold taking him to the bathroom in quick stride. The boy doesn’t even struggle as he carries him, doesn’t seem to notice at all what is going on around him. Just that there is warmth seeping from Neville that he wants to keep as his head slips onto Neville’s shoulder.
Neville slips the boy into his tube watching as the red stains the smooth white service. Neville starts the water filling spraying the boy with the spicket making him gasp at the cool water hitting his back. Neville keeps the water cold for a little bit before turning it up ever so slightly every few minutes before the boy can take the feel of the warm water on his skin. Once the water is warm enough Neville plugs the tub and then begins to gather supplies to clean the boy’s skin of the filth that covers him.
The boy continues to shiver as Neville runs a warm cloth over his back and arms rubbing the soap into his skin scrubbing the dirt and gunk from his skin. The water is quick to turn a dark color and so Neville finds himself emptying the tub several times. It doesn’t bother him and after a while, the shivering stop altogether and Neville feels slightly accomplished. It takes almost four tubs of water before he has gotten everything off his skin and the boy's hair washed, but once it’s done, he can see almost a shadow of the former self. A boy that he knows looking up at him if only the eyes would brighten and show light in them once more.
Neville moves away from the tub fetching a towel and pulls the boy out telling him to stand on weak legs. He is quick to dry him off before carrying him back to his living room and setting him in front of the fireplace. Then Neville moves off only stopping when he feels a tug at his sleeve. Neville turns and gives him a soft smile, “I’m only going to the other room to get some clothing and a blanket. I’ll be right back.”
He leans down and presses a soft kiss to the top of his head and feels the hand slip back down to his lap. Neville is quick as he changes his own wet clothing and pulls out some more sleeping pants and one of his warmest jumpers. He also grabs a few quilts from his hall closet bringing them back into the room dropping them next to the boy. Before rushing back out to get some pillows and the kettle as well as some cups and tea. Neville thinks that he probably has some biscuits somewhere but can’t quite remember where he put them, so he opts for the dried jerky that he had made several months ago.
Finally, he gets everything back into the room, setting the kettle with water in it above the fire on its hook so that it can heat up and then turns to the boy. He hasn’t moved, he is just sitting there in the wet towel looking at the fire as if debating if it would be smarter to get closer or not. Neville stirs him out of these thoughts as he brushes a finger through his hair and pulls the towel from him.
“Why don’t we get you into some warmer clothing, yeah?”
Finally, those blue-grey eyes land on him again and there is a slight nod of his head before Neville is helping him up again and slipping him into the warm jumper and the sleeping pants. Then Neville starts to make a fort of warmth with the pillows and quilts pulling them around the boy so that he can be warm. The boy looks at him with a small amount of curiosity but allows the fort to be built around him.
Once done Neville sits back and admires his work before pulling a bit of the jerky in front of him, “You can eat some,” Neville says softly, “No one is going to hurt you here Draco. I am getting some water heated for tea and you can sleep as well. You are safe here.”
Draco blinked at him for a second or so before hesitantly reaching out his hand and snagging the jerky from Neville’s. Neville smiled softly before standing up and kissing Draco on the top of his head as he nibbled at the jerky, “There is plenty more, eat as much as you like. I’ll see if I can find those biscuits, I made the other day.”
With that Neville moves back towards his kitchen only slightly keeping an eye on Draco to makes sure that he is okay and doesn’t need anything. It takes him a bit to find the biscuits, but he finally finds them. And so, Neville returns with the biscuits, jam, cheese, sugar and a bit of honey. He also has some spoons and a butter knife to spread the jam on the biscuits if needed. The water has finally come to boil when he returns, Neville is able to remove it from the fire pouring it and some tea into two cups.
“Would you like sugar or honey in your tea? Nan always says I am the oddball out, drinking my tea with honey.”
Neville’s lips quirk as he says it and he can’t help but smile fully at the fact that Draco has already started in on the second piece of jerky. He places the plate of biscuits and jam in front of Draco along with the knife. Neville also places a spoon and the plate of a sugar cube within reach as well before placing the cup of tea next to Draco. It doesn’t take long for Draco to make a move for his tea, drinking almost all of it down in one gulp, not even slowing for the heat that was radiating from it.
Neville watched in silence, only moving to eat some of the meat and bread every now and then as well as fill Draco’s cup back up when it was empty. They sat there in silence as Draco ate and drank most of the biscuits and jerky that Neville had brought out for him. He smiles softly when he must get up to fill his kettle back up with more water. Not even concerned with the amount of food and tea he is going through.
Finally, after several hours Neville notes that Draco’s eyes have begun to droop and his head is dropping slowly. Neville presses another kiss into Draco’s head, “Why don’t you lie down, get some rest. I won’t let anything harm you. It’s warm and safe.”
Draco’s weary eyes blink at Neville before nodding his head and slipping down into a more comfortable position. His eyes slip closed, but Neville isn’t sure he is sleeping just yet. He picks the plates and the left-over food carrying them back into his kitchen. Neville puts them away and cleans the dishes. As he is looking out his window into his back-yard Neville notices that there is a fresh blanket of snow on the ground covering everything. He can’t help but smile at it feeling the warmth and happiness that it gives him seeing it right before his eyes.
Once done putting the food away and cleaning the dishes Neville comes back into the living room with a book and another blanket. He lies them down in his armchair before moving over to the couch with Draco’s wet musty clothing. Neville picks them all up with ease and carries them to the back-wash room when they await cleaning before returning to whisper a few drying and cleaning spells. Neville then goes about whispering a few more warming spells and then re-stokes the fire, placing some more wood in it.
As Neville turns, he notes that Draco’s eyes are open and that he is watching him. In a soft voice Draco calls out, “Will, will you lie with me?”
Neville notes a slight bit of recognition in Draco’s eyes and he smiles softly, “Of course Draco, let me just get my blanket.”
“Under the quilts with me? In…” Draco stops before taking a deep breath, “holding me?”
Neville nods his head slipping away quickly to get his blanket. By the time he is back, Draco has unraveled the fort that Neville had created around him. Neville slips in behind Draco lying down while Draco gets comfortable pulling the quilts and the blanket back around them. Once Draco is sure that they are covered enough he turns in Neville’s arms burying his face and neck in Neville’s chest.
Neville can feel the warmth of Draco’s breath as he tightens his arms around the boy. It isn’t long after that, that Draco falls into a peaceful sleep. Neville hums softly as his own eyes drift shut. The only thing on his mind, that this year it would be a white Christmas, and Neville is grateful that he found Draco before the snow began to fall. In a sense, it almost seemed like a Christmas miracle. Seeing the snow pool around him Neville believed that the dark and dreary cloud that has been sitting over London was finally lifting.
Small acts of kindness can bring about the joy and happiness that was once missing. Neville knew that it wouldn’t be easy and there would be some rough spots, but it seems that there was finally something good coming along. Draco deserved Happiness and Neville would see to it, he would make sure that no one would ever hurt Draco again. That was a vowel that he planned to keep and never break.