Cries of joy erupted from the room of requirement for hours that evening. There were stories to tell, hugs to share and most importantly, celebrating to be done.
The room had almost tripled in size because of the seven new arrivals (Anthony and Michael went back to their dorms as they had not been seen by the Carrows during the fight. They could also serve as messengers between the D.A. and the main school). A patch of the room was now dedicated to the house of Ravenclaw; Padma’s and Terry’s hammocks hung under a magnificent bronze eagle, and the Gryffindor and Hufflepuff corners had gained two and three hammocks respectively. A myriad of new cushions had appeared and contributed to the “sea of squashiness” (as Seamus called it) that one had to wade through to get across the room.
Smiles were plastered all around, even on Hannah, who had been given no time to celebrate as she was busy mending peoples scars. After offering to heal the scratches on Lavender’s arms she was bombarded with requests; scars, bruises, and Colin’s broken leg. But Hannah didn't mind, seeing then laugh and smile free of pain was worth the energy.
Hannah had got through Lavender, Leanne and Romilda in an hour, but there was still everyone else, everyone except Neville who had insisted he was fine and that she should deal with the others first. Hannah was skeptical, but did not pursue it as Seamus had shoved his battered and bruised arm in her face.
Neville sat silently and watched as the others laughed and talked. He watched Hannah as she effortlessly healed everyone’s wounds, grinning as she did so. It was now that Neville noticed how radiant her smile was, brighter than all the others in the room. He watched as she laughed at Seamus’s animated account of the evening’s events, wondering how anyone could be so blissfully happy, despite just coming face to face with the evil that consumed everything.
Neville found himself longing to be in Seamus’s position: he wanted nothing more than to be the one that made Hannah laugh, seeing her happy lifted his heart.
It was well into the night before Hannah was relieved of her duties. She changed into her pajamas (if you can call muggle shorts and baggy yellow and black jumper pajamas) and waited quietly until all the celebrations had died down and all of her patients were asleep before tiptoeing across the room to Neville, who was staring blankly at the wall.
He did not turn around at her whisper, nor did he move when she sat beside him.
“Neville, are you ok?”
Hannah placed a friendly hand on his shoulder. Pain slashed across his chest like lightning and he gasped sharply, turning his head away from Hannah, not wanting her to see his weakness.
“Oh, Neville, you’re hurt” she said gently. She pulled down the fabric of his jumper carefully over his shoulder, revealing a large slash from his shoulder to his chest.
“Hannah-” Neville protested, but he was silenced by her touch. He looked down at his injury for the first time, coming face to face with the thing that had caused him so much pain. It was deep and burned with the evil that created it. Hannah’s hand was on his chest, soft as a feather, tracing the path of his wound.
“Vulnera sanentur” she whispered and three purple threads of light streamed from her wand onto Neville’s cut. A cold sensation ran through him like water and the gash seemed to fill slowly, fading away.
“Why didn’t you tell me? I could have saved you a lot of pain.” Hannah asked. There was an air of disappointment in her voice, didn’t Neville trust her?
“You were dealing with the others, I didn’t want to interrupt.”
This was only partly true. The main reason was that Neville wanted to see if he could endure the pain. His parents did, so much that it drove them insane.
“I- or they- wouldn’t have minded, Neville.” Hannah smiled shyly at him, causing him to melt a little inside. A few moments of silence passed.
“Hannah, how do you stay so happy?”
Neville’s question startled Hannah; no one had ever asked that question before. Neville looked sincerely interested and there was longing in his eyes, he needed to know.
“Being happy is the only thing I can think to do. Showing you’re upset tells the death eaters they’re winning, and that you’re giving up. There are some times when breaking down would be easier, every day in fact, since my mum…” Hannah hesitated, thinking she had said too much, but talking about her feelings had felt good. She looked up at Neville for a moment, examining him, and then decided she could trust him, he would understand.
“My mum was murdered by death eaters”. This shocked Neville; although he knew Hannah’s mother had died last year, he did not know - nor dare to suspect - it was murder. Hannah’s words came with a great deal of restraint. Neville could sense that they should have been followed by tears, but none came. To Hannah they did, but on the inside.
“I don’t know why and I don’t know who did it, but there's not a second that passes when I don’t want to cry, scream or curse someone, even though I know those things won’t do any good.”
Neville knew exactly how she felt.
“My mum once said to me that happiness is the strongest shield and smiles are the most powerful weapons… I live by her words.”
Hannah had never shared this with anyone before and she could feel her cheeks burn with embarrassment.
Neville was impressed. He opened his mouth to speak but before he could, a shiver ran through him, slowly filling him up. He looked down and saw the final stages of his treatment. Where there was once a deep, red gash, there was now just a thin white line - nothing more than a scratch. His mouth dropped open in amazement.
“Hannah you’re…” Neville became side tracked for a moment. Hannah had brushed his skin as she lifted his jumper back onto his shoulder. The same magical sensation as before made him lose his train of thought.
“You’re really something.”
Hannah’s cheeks flushed red with pride, and she smiled slightly. Neville’s eyes brightened at seeing her smile, they gleamed like blue stars in the night sky. Hannah slowly became absorbed in them as they grew closer…
Seamus let out a loud snore and Hannah and Neville jumped back, coming to their senses.
Hannah got up nervously, said goodnight and made her way over to her bunk. Neville did the same, his cheeks red.
As Neville lay there, drifting in and out of sleep he pondered Hannah’s words, “smiles are the most powerful weapons...” Hannah’s theory made sense to him, and he vowed that night to try it. It was also now that Neville realized that not only did Hannah make him happy, she gave him hope.As the land of dreams immersed him, Neville’s mind wandered into the realms of what might have been - if Seamus hadn’t snored…