Should've Tried Harder

Neville just doesn't seem to have any luck with girls - why should he expect one of the most popular girls in his year to be any different?

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1. Should've Tried Harder

 

Neville Longbottom watched Adelia Fiddleworth from across the Gryffindor common room. He'd fancied her from the start of their third year at Hogwarts. Here they were, three years later, and he still felt the same.

It wasn't that Neville didn't talk to the girl, but they weren't the closest of friends, either. He just didn't know how to make her see how completely right for her he was.

Adelia was popular, gorgeous with her shoulder length blonde hair and striking, sea green eyes. Eyes so clear that Neville couldn't help getting lost in them every time he looked into them.

Dean nudged his friend with his shoulder. "Go talk to her, Neville," he encouraged.

"I can't just talk to her, Dean. She's so completely out of my league, it's pathetic."

Adelia was in front of the large fireplace, standing behind one of the large armchairs and chatting with whoever sat there and several other sixth year girls they recognized that stood around the chair with her. The flames enhanced her profile as she turned to say something to a friend of theirs, Lavender Brown. She looked so bright and happy as she talked animatedly.

When Adelia threw her head back and laughed, her smile made Neville groan and tilt his head back, purposely hitting it against the wall. And hitting it a few more times.

"Go talk to her," Dean repeated.

Neville sighed and climbed to his feet, dusting of his bum nervously. He clapped his hands together. "Okay." Dean watched him expectantly. "I'm going upstairs," Neville said, spinning on his heels and starting to march up the stairs.

"Oh bloody hell," Dean said, rolling his eyes and standing. He caught Neville by the collar of his shirt and yanked him backward. He dragged Neville across the room to the group of girls. "Ladies, could my friend have a moment with Adelia alone, please?" he asked with a polite smile.

"Sure," they all agreed, looking around for another place to perch and gossip.

Dean shoved Neville into place in front of Adelia and gave him a pointed look before turning to find their friend Seamus Finnigan.

Neville shoved his hands in the pockets of his khaki pants, avoiding looking her in the eye because if he did, he wouldn't be able to do this. "So, uhm, Adelia, I was, uh, wondering if...if maybe you'd like to like...come for a walk with me? Around the Black Lake. You-you don't have to or anything, it's only an offer but you can say no, obviously, if you don't want to, I mean."

Adelia's giggle was so damn cute Neville's stomach twisted in this sick way. "Neville, I'd love to! Let's go!" She linked arms with him and they headed out through the portrait hole.

Neville was so busy being in shock and whatnot that he forgot to skip the usual trick stair and his leg sunk in knee deep. "Ow," he mumbled under his breath. He tried to tug his leg free but fail. He sighed. "As embarrassing as this is, could you help me?" he asked, looking at Adelia with a look of defeat.

"Don't worry, I do it all the time," she laughed, grabbing his arm and trying to hoist him up. It took a few times, but soon his leg pulled free and he stumbled back and landed on one of the steps.

"Really? You too?"

"Mhmm. Every so often. It's no big deal," she assured him with a smile.

"Oh-well, I don't feel so silly than," Neville said, said, laughing awkwardly.

"You shouldn't feel silly, Neville, I find it endearing."

Neville felt his cheeks heat up a little as they entered the Great Hall. He cleared his throat. "I-I didn't think you'd agree to come with me," he admitted.

Adelia's kind eyes studied him. "Why wouldn't I?" she asked curiously.

Neville shrugged, feeling the answer was obvious. "Well, in case you haven't noticed, I am a bit of a disaster. Clumsy, forgetful, only particularly smart in Herbology. I'm not exactly a hit with the girls, either."

Adelia took hold of his arm, leaning against it as they departed from the castle and toward the Black Lake in the post-summer heat. For September, it was particularly balmy, when it normally would've been cooling off outside. Still, Neville didn't fail to wear his sweater vest. Adelia had to admit, it didn't give him many points, but he was incredibly sweet, and that more than made up for it in her opinion.

"Neville Longbottom, you are wonderful. Stop believing anything different," she told him firmly. Again, Neville felt his cheeks heat.

"You're one to call another -especially me- wonderful."

They reached the shore of the lake and began the trek around it when Adelia noticed a small set up just a ways away from them. "Neville, what is that?" she asked, intrigued.

"A surprise for you," he said, embarrassed.

"A surprise?" She definitely was surprised. "But what is it?" she asked as they grew closer.

"A picnic. The house elves in the kitchen helped me put together a sort of lunch. I won't lie, it was Dean's idea. I only went through with it because be threatened to owl my grandmum and tell her I'd lost Trevor again. Thank Merlin I found him. I'm a bit embarrassed to be doing this, honestly."

"Embarrassed? Oh heavens no, Neville, don't be! I would be just honored to have a picnic with you while it's so beautiful outside," Adelia gushed.

"Re-really?" Neville stammered, amazed.

"Why, of course!" Adelia grabbed his hand, covering the last few steps between them and the beautiful set up, and plunked down on the checkered blanket cross legged. Neville carefully sat next to her.

There were a few minutes of comfortable silence between them as they went through the basket of food, deciding what they wanted to eat and what they didn't. A horrifyingly large rack of lamb, for example, they gave to the giant squid in the lake.

While the two ate, they discussed Herbology and Neville's passion for it as well as his lack of skills at Potions as opposed to Adelia's affinity for it. They laughed quietly and thoughtfully. Just because they could be didn't mean they had to be loud and raucous.

Neville brought his eyes to Adelia's as when to speak, then he paused. He needed to say something now, or he'd never have the courage again.

"Adelia, don't say anything, just hear me out and then you can reject me, okay?" He didn't wait for her answer because if he did, she'd reject him right then and there and he'd never be able to say everything he needed to.

"I've liked you since our third year. You're gorgeous, smart, funny, the whole package. And I'm damaged goods, at best. I'm scared of half of everything, I still mourn my parents, I'm not very smart or coordinated or anything that you are. I'm pudgy and I'm awkward, but Adelia, I really like you, and I'd love it if you'd go out with me." Toward the end, his words had turned rushed, but he'd gotten his point across and now he watched Adelia for her reaction.

"Neville, calm down," she smiled, leaning in closer to him. "You don't have to try so hard; I like you just the way you are." Then her perfect lips met his inexperienced ones, and his world exploded.

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