A/N: This might have been written before, but posting my version won’t hurt anyone, will it? J
Dead. Dead... Harry was dead. Harry Potter, the symbol of everything they had been fighting for was dead. It just couldn’t be true. Neville just couldn’t believe it was true.
He looked around, his own confusedness and sorrow reflected on everyone’s faces, their eyes fixed on the lifeless body lying at Voldemort’s feet. At his feet! That was more than he could take. Harry Potter was lying nowhere but at the horrid creature’s feet –where he belonged. That was the idea, huh? Laying the – lifeless – Boy Who Lived at his feet was the shot they needed. Bringing their faith to his feet. Low. Very low, so they wouldn’t pick it up ever again. That was the plan. That was the cruelty they were capable of.
And then he started talking. He talked with that cool, loud voice. Neville heard it before. He had always been so scared of it. He had always been scared of that horrifying presence. But right then, none of them scared him. None of them were equal to his anger. None of them could measure with the words that slipped out that mouth. Just hearing what he was saying... He was saying Harry was a coward. He was saying Harry tried to run away. He was saying their hero was a liar. That was something Neville couldn’t take – no more.
Harry was more than the Wizarding World’s hero.... symbol. He was HIS hero. He was his mentor. He was the one who had believed in him all along. Harry had been the one who helped him get over his fears. He was the one who had understood him and his parents’ problems and his need of revenge, his reasons to fight.
Foolish. Bravely foolish, though. Without a wand up to make a real attack or, at least, to defend himself, Neville ran out the crowd to the Dark Lord himself. Extremely bravely foolish, we could say. Neville didn’t care. He was conscious of that when he did it. He just didn’t care.
The creature laughed. He found the proof of courage very funny. Still, when Neville thought there couldn’t be anything to make him more distasteful of the creature, it happened. The creature made him an offer. An offer of joining them! Of being one of those traitors! His answer to the kind offer was just as distasteful as he felt.
Of course, he expected a great punishment for that, but he would just take it. So he waited for it. He’d been through much torture before. Of course, the one applied by the Dark Lord himself must have been worse than anything, but, well, he was ready for it. So he was waiting...
Right then, the sound of a crash came from the creature’s back – something flying through a window. An object fell right between him and Voldemort – the Sorting Hat.
Yes, he was Voldemort, not He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named or You-Know-Who. Harry taught him that. They just shouldn’t be afraid of a name. How could you possibly give others the courage to hope when you are afraid of even the name of that chaos builder?
Voldemort laughed again. His next words made Neville realize the long waited punishment was coming. And he was ready. He was ready when the Hat was put on his head. He was ready when the Hat lit. He was ready when flames started to burn. He wasn’t ready for the heavy thing falling into his head, though. But there wasn’t need for more than seconds for him to understand what the heavy thing was and what the apparition of the heavy thing meant.
Only a real Gryffindor... Finally, there was a proof – he was a real Gryffindor. The sword was in his hands. He knew what he had to do. He had time for only one move before Voldemort to get what was happening... and it had to be a good move. If I won’t be there... kill the snake... To kill the snake! Un protected! Right in front of him! Harry knew he was going to die. He left Voldemort kill him. To save the others. To save them. But Harry had left Neville a job before that. Kill the snake, Neville. Kill the snake.
And there was need for only one move. Dead – the chaos began. But that was a good chaos. Hope. People had hope one more time. And he gave it to them. The House Elves! The Centaurs! Death Eaters falling! That was it! There was no way they could lose right then. No way! Harry would have been so proud of them. Harry would have been so proud of him. Harry would... Harry was alive!
An Invisibility Cloak revealed a living Harry and the Great Hall became silent. The long waited battle was going to take place. Harry let them know he didn’t need anyone to help him. They were face to face, walking round and round. They were talking – rather shouting. It didn’t begin yet, but Neville already knew who was going to win this. He had his eyes set on him proudly – on his mentor.
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