Disclaimer : This chapter holds my view of the violent events that changed Neville's life, I do not own Neville or any other characters simply because I am not JK Rowling.
Again, thanks Nicole for your big help!!
It was December first and the Longbottoms were having a quiet diner. Well, as quiet as it can be with an 18 months old boy who was having a lot of fun throwing pieces of steak on the floor and making himself a beard with his mash potatoes.
‘Neville, look at you,’ Frank laughed, trying to wipe his boy’s face. Neville, in a mocking way, kept dodging his father. ‘You are not Father Christmas! The potatoes go inside of your mouth, not around it!’
‘You do look good, Bubble Gum, but like your father said, you eat the potatoes, you do not disguise yourself with it!’ Alice said, holding Neville steady for Frank so he could finally wash the boy. Neville though, had a lot of fun and tried to worm his way out of his mother’s grip while still shouting ‘No! No!’
Suddenly, Alice and Frank froze. They had heard a noise outside and even though the menace of Voldemort was now gone, their old reflexes and fears were still very much alive. Frank got up silently and took out his wand, motioning to his wife to get Neville to safety while he went to the living room to investigate. Alice took her boy out of his high chair and quickly brought him to his crib, in his room when she heard the definite sound of a door being kicked open. Her eyes full of terror, she kissed her boy on the head and told him to stay quiet while she went to see what was going on. She cast protective spells around the crib so that Neville could not hear what was going on outside of his room and he, himself, could not be heard. She could hear the distant sounds of a duel taking place next room and took out her wand while she looked through a gap in the door.
In the other room, Frank was fighting a hooded figure, slightly taller than himself but twice as large. She knew that shape; Rodolfus Lestrange was easy to recognise. Alice couldn’t let her husband, the love of her life, fight alone to defend her and their son. She hesitated a second before going in because she knew the Death Eaters too well and was sure Lestrange was not alone. Rarely was he seen on a crime scene or linked to a crime, without his brother and his wife. “Rabastan and Bellatrix must be near,” she thought, “and they will surely join the duel once I get there.”
Alice Longbottom turned around to smile at her son. He was sitting in his crib, hugging a teddy bear, unaware of what was happening. She blew him a kiss, summoned all of her courage to walk into the action, hoping she would get to come back to her son. The woman silently walked into the living room to battle Rodolfus, sending him a Stunning spell. Rodolfus blocked the spell which made Frank notice her. For a moment, Frank panicked and shouted to his wife: ‘No, Alice! Go, get yourself safe!’
That seemed to be what the others were waiting for. Rabastan, Bellatrix and a young man the Longbottoms recognised with a jolt of surprise as Barty Crouch Jr, walked in and joined the battle. Bellatrix and Rabastan went for Alice, while Barty joined Rodolfus. For three long minutes, Frank and Alice battle their hardest to fend off the Death Eathers but at two against one, the Death Eaters had a definite advantage. With a well aimed curse, Bellatrix entangled Alice with a red-hot rope that burned its way through her skin.
‘The little lady has finally given up?’ Bellatrix asked walking up to the screaming woman. ‘What? Think this is hot? You think this hurts? Crucio!’
‘Alice! Leave her, take me,’ Frank pleaded before Rodolfus hit him in the face and held him to the ground but was unable to silence him. ‘Do whatever you want to me, kill me if you want but don’t touch her!’
‘Now, now Franky-boy, we are not here to kill anyone, why would you think that?’ Rodolfus asked with a hollow laugh. Bellatrix lifted the curse and Alice fell, crying, onto the floor.
‘You have something that we want,’ Rabastan’s low voice came to her and she stopped crying. She immediately thought of her son and of little Harry’s fate, a mere 2 months ago. ‘We hear that you have information on the whereabouts of the Dark Lord.’
‘What? We don’t know anything, I swear,’ Frank answered truthfully. Bellatrix followed his comment by pointing her wand at Alice, shouting ‘Crucio!’
‘Now see what you made her do? Do you really want your wife to be in so much pain?’ Rodolfus asked him with a twisted smile, barely loud enough to cover Alice's screams of pain, until Bellatrix lifted the spell, once again.
‘But it’s the entire truth,’ whispered Alice between two sobs. Frank continued, looking at Rodolfus, who seemed like the sanest one of the bunch, ‘It’s a mystery for us as well, we haven’t got any information.’
‘No,’ Barty said, talking for the first time, ‘Our informer is very trustworthy and he said that you, Frank Longbottom and you, Alice Longbottom, have secret information that we need and will help us get the Dark Lord back to his true form. We believe our informer, therefore, you are lying.’
‘He’s not gone!' Bellatrix was shouting madly. 'He wouldn’t leave us and you, you horrible little man, are trying to stop us from bringing him back to his full power. Well I won’t let this happen and I will get everything that you know on the subject, hurting your precious little wife in the process,' the mad Death Eater finished before submitting Alice again to the Cruciatus curse.
Little Neville choose this moment to poke his head out of his room. He had left his crib, wondering why his parents were not coming back to get him since he wasn’t tired yet. He had been calling his mother but she had not yet came back to his room like she usually did so he decided to try his way out on his own. What he saw made no sense to him; his mother was screaming, his father was crying and four other people wore evil smiles on their lips. The toddler did not register what was happening in front of his eyes but could not remain silent to his mother’s screams. ‘Mama!’
‘Neville, go back boy!’ Frank shouted with terror. His perfect little boy, what if they hurt him? Bellatrix lifted the curse and reached for the boy before the four men did. Holding the now crying little boy, she smiled and looked at his parents.
‘Well, well, who do we have here? Neville is it? Don’t worry, I won’t do anything to him,’ she said, answering Frank and Alice’s silent plea. She then turned to Neville and spoke to him in what almost sounded like a maternal way. ‘Here’s what I’ll do. First, we will silence you little man because we have enough of your parents screaming, ok? Now, we will settle you comfortably on the couch, than stop you from moving so you’ll be in the perfect position to watch us get answers from your mommy and daddy.’
Neville forcefully sat on the couch, his arms and legs stuck to his body. His parents and the Death Eathers could see he was crying but no sound could reach their ears. Alice tried to get to him but Barty kicked her hard in the face, breaking her nose. Frank tried to get out of Rodolfus’ grip but Rabastan hit him too. Bellatrix was looking at the scene with a demented smile; this was going to be even better than expected! She turned her attention to Frank and wondered if he really was saying the truth about his knowledge. Than she shrugged; whether they had information or not was not important anymore, she wanted to see them suffer and wanted to see little Neville watch his parents suffer.
‘Here is how it’s going to be,’ Bellatrix started, walking between Frank and Alice, facing Neville. ‘We will give Alice a little break and ask her some questions. If the answers do not satisfy us, we will inflict Frank some pain. If that does not help you “remember”, well, we will have to do it stronger and stronger until one of you give us what we need. As for you Neville, your job is to just watch and keep quiet; it’ll be enough for today. Is that clear for everyone?’
‘Up,’ Barty said, pulling Alice from the ground, signalling the end of playtime for the four Death Eaters; now they were getting serious.
Night had fallen outside of the small country house and a delicate snow was covering the view. Inside the house, the level of noise had also gone down a bit. Alice and Frank Longbottom were both lying on the ground in their own tears, vomit, blood and urine. Alice was staring into space, her body shivering at times, as if to shake off some remaining feeling of pain. Frank had his eyes closed, searching hard for another way to answer Rabastan’s question.
‘I don’t… where Barry… taken. Bundeldore did not say. Don’t know what Larry did, what happened to Boldevore… at Halloween,’ Frank tried to say.
‘Not good enough I’m afraid,’ Barty said, ‘But since dear Alice has not said a word for a while now, you will be at the receiving end of this,’ Barty felt tired so he turned to Bellatrix to do the curse. She got up from her siege next to little Neville and walked to Frank, bending down to his level.
‘Franky, I need to be honest. From the start, I believed you when you said you didn’t know anything. But we thought, maybe, maybe he does know something, deep down. But you didn’t. I should have trusted my instincts.’ Her voice was soft, too soft and it made everyone shiver. She gave a small smile to Alice and turned back to Frank. ‘This is going to be our last curses for tonight, we’re a bit tired so, count yourself lucky, we don’t have enough strength to kill you both.’
‘Alice,’ Frank whispered when Bellatrix got up and walked to the three men. Alice seemed to hear him and joined her eyes to his. ‘Alice I love you and I’m sorry.’
Frank reached for Alice’s hand when he heard the chorus of “Crucio” being shouted. Rabastan and Barty’s curses hit Frank as Bellatrix and Rodolfus aimed for Alice. For what seemed like hours, Alice and Frank’s body shook and they screamed in pain until they had no more voice, or no more courage, to scream. Neville, who was in complete shock from what he had witnessed for the past7 hours, tightly closed his eyes to block this overwhelming view. In his little bubble of silence, he screamed, suffering as much as his parents.
The four Death Eaters lifted their curses and looked at the numb, inanimate bodies on the floor. Bellatrix gave Neville an evil smile, and then motioned the others to follow her. Outside, in the fresh snow, the disaparated into the night.
Neville was crying on the couch when suddenly he realised he could hear himself. He tried moving and noticed the spells had been lifted. He listened intensely to make sure they were not coming back then, reassured, he descended the couch and went to his parents.
‘Mamma? Daddy?’ He kept repeating but they were not answering him. Their eyes just stared; but they did not stare at him. Neville sat down between them, holding his mother’s hand in his right and his father’s in his left. The boy sobbed silently, holding his parents’ hands with all the strength his 18 month-old self could master. After a while, he fell asleep in his sitting position, between his parents. This is how Rufus Scrimgeour, head Auror, found the Longbottom family on the morning of December second.
So??? Care to help me make this story even better? Your ideas and comments are welcome.
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