Disclaimer: Hello all! Yes, the story is back! I do not own the Characters or their universe... only the story you see written here.
Neville pinched the bridge of his nose delicately in the kitchen, Molly had fixed it up and it was no longer broken, but it was still swollen and tender. Harry gave him a block of ice wrapped within a tea-towel to ease its growing size.
Ginny and Molly were now with Luna in the living room, no doubt waiting for her to snap back into consciousness and make sure she was okay. Arthur had retreated to his and Molly’s bedroom with half a bottle of Fire Whiskey and his pipe.
Harry sat opposite Neville now, staring down at the table, sticking the tip of his tongue against his fat, swollen lip, running it over the rough split that tasted of coppery blood. He had in his hands two glasses filled with a deep red, Willow matured mead. He handed one glass to Neville, who clasped it gingerly. Harry took a swig, and grimaced as the alcohol flowed into his open cut.
‘I messed up’ Neville whispered in a cracked voice. Harry just nodded at the table ‘I thought it was for the best, I thought it would save everyone from worry and torment. This country is still recovering after all… five years is barely enough time for the old scars to heal before the whip strikes again, and Hermione…’ his voice faltered at the end of her name, and his face crumpled into a whole world of tearless misery as he pressed his hands to cover his eyes.
Harry sighed and reached across the table, squeezing Neville’s forearm gently. He kept his hand there while Neville composed himself. Once he had uncovered his face, Harry gave his arm a pat and then took another sip of his mead, favouring the unscathed side of his mouth.
‘I’m sorry Harry, Merlin I’m so sorry. If I could just turn the clock back, even to just two hours I could have done something to help her’ he whispered.
‘There is no point in wasting time on wishes Neville, all we can do is work to get her back’ Harry said, a note of violent determination in his voice. Neville gulped.
‘You don’t think he’s… do you think… you think she’s still ali-’ Harry cut him off.
‘Yes!’ he said sternly, Neville stared at his glass ‘Yes, she’s still alive. If Draco had wanted her dead he would have done it in a heartbeat. She was wandless when he attacked and took her. If he had wanted her dead, or if he wanted to leave some sadistic message for us he would have killed her then, and left her at Spinners End, he probably would have killed Aurora too’
‘What do we do?’ Neville asked. Harry thought he sounded much like the Neville he had once known at Hogwarts, the Neville that mumbled over his pet toad Trevor. The Neville that never stood up for himself and got picked on and stuttered and shrank under pressure.
‘You said earlier that Draco had been mumbling things in his sleep. Did Kingsley say what kinds of things? Did he tell you much about it?’ Harry asked.
‘He kept everything in files and reports; I can get them to you if it will be any help. I remember him coming back from Azkaban one evening, he was shaken up badly, the first thing he did was pour himself a glass of Port. His hands were trembling. I remember it so clearly because I had never seen Kingsley so riled. He wasn’t the kind of man to let things get to him. But this trip, this one trip had jolted his nerves’ Harry listened intently.
‘He had been to monitor Draco to see how he was when he was asleep. He said he had been muttering things about Voldemort, about his master. And then, out of nowhere he began talking about a man called Asmodius Xenobia? I sure as hell have never heard of him, but Kingsley must have done because it shook him up something rotten. He said that he needed to check some old Ministry sources to look up the details of the name, but I just shrugged it off. I figured it was something he needed to do to calm himself down after the visit’ Neville chugged down half of his glass and looked at Harry whose brow was furrowed in deep thought.
‘Do you think Severus is ok?’ he asked quietly, and this snapped Harry out of his thoughts. His glance hardened and his lips curled.
‘I can understand that he is upset… furious. But there was no need for him to act like that; hitting you like that will only burn a hole in his own conscience. I’m just glad Ginny was able to stop him the way she did’ Harry said.
‘Thanks for trying to help’ Neville shrugged.
‘Hey’ Harry said, grabbing his attention ‘The Neville Longbottom I know, and have known for over fifteen years is not an idiot. If he makes a decision I know that he believes it is for the good of others. Yes, that decision failed miserable, and turned out to be the worst one that could have been made. But his heart was behind it… I’d stand by a guy like that any day’ Neville nodded quickly, and dipped his head again.
‘So, what are we going to do?’ Neville whispered.
‘Well, you are going to go back to the Ministry and continue what you are doing. Place Magical Law Enforcement Officers around England… because I don’t think he will go abroad. Especially now that he has Hermione. Aurors should be placed around too’ Neville nodded ‘Who is to stand in for the Minister when things like this occur?’ He asked. Neville turned a rather shocking pink around the cheeks.
He raised a hand.
‘You’re to stand in?’ Harry asked.
‘Kingsley promoted me to an Advisory position before he died, and so, if an accident like this were to occur I would have to stand in as temporary Minister until another one is sorted… but I can’t do that now Harry. Look what I’ve done, look at the mess I’ve caused!’ he said desperately.
‘Do you really think you are the first person of authority to ever make a mistake? Everyone does… but they build from those mistakes, they make better, stronger blocks to re-start upon Neville’ Harry said. Ginny walked in then, a line of beaded sweat on her upper lip. She placed a hand on Neville’s shoulder and squeezed, he grasped and returned the pressure. Asking her silently if Luna was ok.
‘She’s awake now; Mum’s making her drink some tea and feeding her biscuits. But she needs her bed. Are you ready to take her home?’ she asked, Neville nodded as he got up. His chair scraping along the floor as he pushed it back.
‘I’ll get to work at the Ministry, tell the papers, spread the word that all eyes must be glued on the horizon for Malfoy and Hermione’ Harry nodded, and watched as Neville disappeared from the kitchen and few moments later he heard the loud crack as he and Luna apparated back to their own flat.
Ginny sat herself on Harry’s lap, and kissed him on the forehead. He hugged her closely to him and thought silently while she ran her fingers through his hair. With his other hand he caressed her swollen belly gently, tracing around her belly button that was sticking out by force.
A little while later Severus appeared in the kitchen, he shot one, chilling glare at Harry… and his newly acquired split lip, before walking into the fireplace and flooing home.
‘We’ll find her, Harry. We’ll bring her home’ Ginny whispered. He furrowed his brow in thought, thinking over that name again, Asmodius Xenobia. He was sure he had seen it somewhere before… but its source stayed within the shadowed corners of his brain, unseen.
Hello everybody! I'm back, and so is this lovely little fanfiction! I know I've not been uploading, I lost my inspirational balance a little bit during my third year of uni, but i've graduated now with a well earned degree and am ready to get back on the fan-fictional horse!
So here is the next installment and I'll be ready to post the next chapter at the weekend!