I lay on my bed flipping through a copy of Herbologist’s Monthly. Unfortunately, it was the latest copy and two months old. Back in June the editor was arrested for being a half-blood—his current condition or whereabouts still unknown—and not a single issue had been published since.
The release of the pages from my thumb created a small breeze; I closed my eyes and relished the moment of temporary relief from the summer’s blaring heat. The entire house felt like a furnace: hot as hell in the daytime and slightly cooler in the company of the sympathetic moon. Despite the discomforting darkness, I preferred the night because my recently nocturnal family would come to life. On some nights, if I was quiet enough, I could find Gran sitting on the porch with her feet elevated on the rail with her stockings hanging loosely around her ankles, but if my cover was blown she would hastily pull them up past her knees and scold me for sneaking around. Officially, Mum and Dad were missing from Mungo’s, but unofficially they were in the sitting room or kitchen playing with cards and chewing gum I snuck them against Gran’s direct orders not to.
There was a loud thud in the room bellow me and relentless giggling—Mum. I smiled to myself, but then frowned when I heard the doorbell chime echo through the house. I pushed myself off the bed and jogged down the hallway, stopping at the first landing on the stairs. Gran was at the door, her large figure temporarily blocking the visitor. After a moment she stepped aside, allowing the person to enter, and looked up at me.
‘Well come down here are greet your guest, Neville.’ She turned back to the person standing beside her and added: ‘I may have raised him, but I did not teach him those manners. Quite honestly he rarely has a visitor, so he hardly has the proper practice.’
I blushed in embarrassment and slowly walked down the stairs toward the pair. I recognized the girl standing next to Gran from her blonde hair and happy disposition: Luna Lovegood. She was wearing a light blue dress with ruffles and a pair of rugged walking shoes.
‘Hi’ya, Luna.’ I said as I finally reached them.
‘Hello, Neville,’ she smiled at me, but said nothing more.
Gran cleared her throat forcefully, causing me to swallow hard. ‘How-how are you?’
‘Rather tired. I’m afraid father’s been talking in his sleep recently.’
I glanced at Gran, but she raised her eyebrow back. ‘Um well does he tell any good jokes? In his sleep I mean.’
Luna thought for a moment before answering. ‘No, he is more entertaining when he’s not unconscious.’
Gran coughed again, but before I could guess the hidden meaning she rolled her eyes. ‘Neville, perhaps you would like to introduce me to your little friend here.’
I could feel the heat rise in my face. ‘Right, Gran this is Luna Lovegood. Luna this is my Gran.’
Luna smiled and Gran nodded curtly before dismissing herself unhappily. I glanced around us for a moment, unable to think of anything intelligent to say. ‘Would you like to sit down?’
‘I would, thank you.’
I nodded and led us into the nearby sitting room. It wasn’t large, but it wasn’t small either. The walls were faded yellow and all of the furniture a light brown with a flowery design Gran liked. On one of the walls sat a large display case that held an antique figurine collection. The couch, cushioned chair, and footrest squatted nearby around the glass tea table. On the walls hung old black and white photos of deceased and living family relatives that were, for one reason or another, no longer in the area.
Luna took a seat on the couch, while I sat down awkwardly on the chair opposite her. She looked around the room pleasantly, taking special note of the figurines. ‘How’s your holiday been?’
‘Fine,’ she sighed as she turned to face me, ‘I was recently attacked by Death Eaters though. Neville, I came here to talk to you about Dumbledore’s Army.’
My mind stopped functioning once I heard the words: Death Eaters. I slowly glanced behind me at the closed door to the kitchen, where I assumed all of the family was gathered to ease drop on our conversation and celebrate that someone, let alone a girl, had come for a visit. ‘Luna, what do you mean Death Eaters attacked you? Are you alright? Was anyone hurt?’
She smiled patiently and nodded. ‘I’m fine.A few people were injured, but most left before any real fighting happened.’
I shook my head trying to picture it. ‘Where did this happen?’
‘At the Burrow, during Bill and Fleur’s wedding.’
My head shot up. ‘They were after Harry, weren’t they? Well is he alright? Did they get him?’
‘He’s fine, but Neville that’s why I came. Harry left with Ron and Hermione.’
Suddenly I was confused again. ‘What does that have to do with us?’
She stood elegantly and walked over to the display case, practically pressing her nose up against the glass. ‘Well they are gone so Dumbledore’s Army is left without clear leadership.’
I couldn’t help but laugh. ‘So you came here? You came to Neville Longbottom’s house in search of leadership?’ I stood up and walked behind my chair. ‘I’m real sorry Luna, but you sure came to the wrong house.’
She scrunched her face in confusion, ‘but you’re the Chosen One.’
‘Luna, where have you been all these years?’
‘My house in Surrey, Hogwarts, Ireland, the Amazonian rainforest briefly—’
‘Harry is the chosen one.’ I said cutting her off, ‘Not me.’ She only smiled at me, as if she knew something I didn’t. ‘It’s always been him. Didn’t you see the Prophet before it went to hell? Every other article was called “Harry Potter: The Chosen One” or “Harry Potter: The Boy Who Lived.”’
‘But Harry isn’t the only Chosen One.’
I sighed, knowing that all of this was just another one of her crazy moments and a waste of time. I didn’t kick her out or cut her off though; it seemed rude, and after spending the entire summer at home, I was somewhat grateful to have some fresh company.
‘What are you talking about “not the only Chosen One”—there’s only one Chose One. It’s in the name!’
She shook her head adamantly. ‘Harry has always needed help for every task he’s ever done! He’s never been alone in this fight, why would he suddenly be now?’
I grimaced, seeing her point and yet still being utterly confused. ‘But how could I lead Dumbledore’s Army? Any spell I know first years know! I’d be of no use.’
Luna frowned and walked over to me. ‘The bigger problem is getting other people to believe in you, when you don’t even believe in yourself. You are extremely courageous, Neville, and it’s a pity you can’t see it.’
The clock in the kitchen next door chimed loudly causing me to jump. Luna stepped back and began to head towards the door. ‘I’ll see you at the Burrow, then!’ she called over her shoulder before she dissaperated.
I stood in the middle of the sitting room, for a moment completely unsure of what had just happened or what I was supposed to do. Luna has visited. She had asked me to lead Dumbledore’s Army in Harry’s absence. She had said that I was the other Chosen One. She had liked Gran’s porcelain figurines. She had left mentioning something about the Burrow and seeing me there.
I grasped the back of the chair I had just occupied, the scratchy texture assuring me that I had not been dreaming. I could see myself walking through the kitchen door and sitting next to Mum at the dinner table, avoiding Gran’s numerous questions about Luna’s visit and ignoring her nagging about combing my hair. It’s what I had always done; it’s what had always been normal to me. But nothing these days was normal. People were going missing; families were being torn apart; and now weddings were being crashed by death eaters. The only things I was definitely sure of was that Harry was gone, Dumbledore was dead, and my world was in utter chaos.
I didn’t take another moment to make my decision—I didn’t need to. Suddenly, I was running up the stairs to my bedroom in search of parchment and a quill, ready to put my good-for-nothing owl to work.