Neville couldn't believe Ginny had agreed to go to the Yule Ball with him. When she came down to meet him in the common room, his mouth went completely dry. "You're-- you're gorgeous, Gin," he managed to say, and she smiled, so he knew it was absolutely the correct thing.
He wiped his palm surreptitiously on his robes, praying it didn't sweat more as he offered his hand to her. When she placed her hand in his, he gulped and felt entirely out of his element.
It was a dance. A party. A thing. He tried to relax and enjoy it, but his dancing was awkward and he trod on her feet several times before Harry came in to steal her away for a dance and Neville relinquished her. Flushed and confused, he slipped away to get some punch.
"Sometimes, when it's terribly hard to think about a thing, I find that it's easier to just not think about it, and then it becomes easier."
The voice came from somewhere near his elbow, and almost startled Neville into dropping his drink. He blinked at the petite girl watching him, her eyes wide. "I'm sorry?" he stammered.
She blinked twice, her head cocked. "Dancing. You look as if you're thinking about it terribly hard. Perhaps if you didn't think about it at all, you might be able to do it."
The flush returned to Neville's cheeks. Had everyone noticed how inept he was? He knew Ginny had noticed, and that was horrible enough. He knew she was only here as a friend, but he liked her. Truly liked her.
A small hand touched his arm, and the girl smiled at him. "It's quite alright, you know. Ginny's not at all the sort of person to dislike a person just because he's trod her toes. After all, it's not as if you did it on purpose." The girl stood close to Neville, almost as if she was unaware just how she invaded his personal space, her arm brushing his. "I've checked the Mistletoe just outside the door, in the hall. Ginny said I ought to, because people might kiss there, and no one wants Nargles dropping down on them when they do."
"Ah." Neville looked down at her. "Um. Thank you?"
She smiled then, the expression lighting up her face, and patted Neville's arm as if he'd just performed a trick brilliantly. "You're quite welcome." Setting her cup down on the table, the girl slipped into the crowd.
Mistletoe. Ginny. Kissing.
Ah. Er. Um. Wait.
Was that a hint?
Neville gulped. And set his glass down, and wiped both palms against his robes this time because he could feel how damp they'd become again. Then he headed onto the dance floor and awkwardly stole his date back from Harry.
Ginny smiled at him as Neville took a deep breath and closed his eyes. Lower lip caught in his teeth, he counted out the steps, wincing when he caught her toe again under his foot. "I'm sorry, Gin," he apologized. "Um." He looked at the door. "Maybe we ought to walk a little?"
They walked out the door, and Neville glanced up, and he saw the mistletoe there, off to one side. No one else was there, and he took a little hop and a step and then he had managed to maneuver them beneath it. "Is your toe okay?"
Mistletoe overhead and he was asking about her toe? Neville groaned inwardly, confused and anxious, and thinking.
Fine then. As she looked up to answer, Neville leaned in at the same moment and bumped noses as their lips awkwardly met. He pulled back, flushing. "Someone said you were asking about the Nargles," he said before he thought better of it.
Ginny grinned. "I was asking about the mistletoe. She was worried about the nargles. I just wanted to know where it was."
"So I could get you under it, of course."
"Oh." Neville flushed.
Ginny sighed, and slipped close to him again, settling herself in his arms as if they were dancing. "Stop thinking, Neville," she said, and came up on tiptoes to brush her lips against his again.
Neville closed his eyes, and listened to the music spilling out of the great hall, and inhaled the scent of the girl in his arms. And he kissed her back, letting his inner monologue slip away as they danced beneath the mistletoe.