It is said in moments of desperation and despair heroes are able to rise. Neville Longbottom had never been considered a hero, yes, he may have won the House Cup for Gryffindor in his first year, and yes perhaps he had saved several students from the Carrows’ this year, but he was hardly a hero. Harry Potter was a hero, Neville was well, he was just Neville, the other Gryffindor. He wasn’t a hero, and he doubted he ever would be, there was a difference between being born with a great destiny and having a little luck. Although he often despaired that much of the luck that he possessed was of the bad variety sometimes much could be said for simply being in the right place at the right time and more often than not having your heart in the right place.
He had watched as his world came crashing down around him, although he hardly remembered the first time this had happened, this time he was fully aware of it, and he would never be able to forget watching his world fall to pieces around him. It seemed silly to simply wish that he could forget all of this, but it was impossible. He would never forget watching friends die or be tortured. He would never forget the crimes which had been committed against those he loved and himself, for he too was a victim in all of this mess, no matter how few people knew the sacrifices his parents had made for their son. So very few people today remembered Alice and Frank Longbottom’s fate, or more to the point, not many chose to.
Remembering meant living through the pain, remembering meant never having to forget the empty look in their eyes when they met you at the door of their room at St Mungos. Neville would never forget that empty look, the lifelessness which seemed to consume them even in moments of happiness. Neville loved his parents despite this; he loved them and thanked them every day for the sacrifices they made for him. He could never have felt angry at them their absence in his life, never once had he even done so. They had given him more than he could ever asked for in life, a love which had saved him from the same fate as Harry. How very close he had come to sharing a fate, yet at the same time, how very far he was from it. He could never have been “The Chosen One,” he could never have been as strong as Harry, but ultimately it seemed even he was defeated.
Staring straight at his body it was difficult to tell what hurt more, that he had lost a friend, or that they had lost their last hope of defeating Voldemort. It seemed as though they’d lost more than they had bargained for in this war, things that should never have been lost and now, there was very little hope left to fight with. He glanced at the eyes of those surrounding him; some filled with tears, others with a loss that could not be summed up in words. Their situation was bleak, yet all that lingered in his mind were Harry’s instructions, those final words which had been spoken to him before he had walked into the forest alone, he had to kill the snake, it seemed more important than ever now, because it was for Harry.
What happened next was a blur, those moments passed and the words poured from his mouth, unknowingly and without any form of direction. It seemed as though something had taken hold of him and refused to let go. It spoke for him, used his voice and his mouth to portray the frustration nearly beyond any simple wording. It used his body as a means to an ends, they were his thoughts, but it was not him sharing them entirely. He had been pushed to the very edge of his temper, not a stage he reached easily, and now he had snapped. It seemed as though the words rushed from his mouth, yet nothing happened when he attempted to stop them. He did not want to stop them. He had finally found the courage to stand up for what he believed in and now was not the time to back away from it.
Stepping forward he felt his whole body alight and yet despite his screams the pain ended and the curse broke. His body lurched forward and the Sorting Hat which had been placed upon his head was now clutched firmly within his hands. It revealed yet another secret, the handle of a sword glistening in the dim light, a final beacon of hope in these moments where it seemed all else was lost. In a moment everything changed, a large giant burst through the trees and rushed forward crying out for ‘Hagger’. Seizing this opportunity he thrust his hand into the Hat and drawing out the sword he seized it within his right hand, rushing forward towards the snake in a single slicing movement he beheaded the creature by Voldemort’s side, causing it to erupt in a burst of black smoke before his very eyes. There was a loud crash and the world descended into chaos around him.
The next few hours were a blur; he could not remember anything that had happened prior to Harry disappearing from Hagrid’s arms, but all that really mattered remained with him. He had managed to rise above what he even expected of himself and perform a singular act of greatness which amounted to more than everything he had ever done before this point combined. He had risen to the status of a hero in the eyes of many of those who had witnessed the event, and among his peers. Yet he did not quite understand what for. It may have been for his words of bravery and it may have been for the beheading of the snake, it did not really matter which it was. He was proud of himself, finally.
It was once said to him that some are born into greatness and others, achieved greatness without ever really meaning to in the first place, such as he had. Neville was one of the lucky ones, he had never had the great expectation of being a hero placed upon his shoulders from a young age as Harry had, but he was now a hero nevertheless. Of course, it was more by coincidence than anything else, but he was a hero in his own right. It was in those moments of desperation and despair that something had risen within him – a frightening and great courage that had changed him for the better he hoped. Despite what he had done in these moments, he was proud of what he had achieved. No longer was he weak and pathetic Neville Longbottom. No, he was something more and he knew in his heart, it was a moment his parents would have been proud to see.