Chapter 8 : Honor
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Neville’s words rang in Hannah’s ears.
“Were his army, Dumbledore’s Army”
“Everyone in here’s proven they’re loyal to Dumbledore, loyal to you.”
Hannah had never seen Neville so angry, nor so full of pride. It wasn’t like him to speak out like this, especially not to Harry.
Neville’s insides boiled. Didn't Harry realise what everyone had done for him? Seamus; who had put it all on the line almost everyday just to spread a message of hope through the means of graffiti. Lavender; who had performed dangerous magic to prevent the Carrows from harming other students. Hannah; who had devoted all her time to healing student’s wounds whenever they dared to do good. Every single one of them had risked capture, torture and peril, and here was Harry, telling them they wouldn’t understand.
Despite all this, when Harry had relented, Neville suddenly felt guilty. He watched as Harry left the room, wanting to apologise but no words came, as if his mind was telling him he had said enough. Then there was Hannah, with a friendly hand on his shoulder telling him silently not to worry, Harry would forgive him.
Neville turned to meet her eyes – to somehow show his appreciation but her warm pools of caramel were looking elsewhere.
New arrivals appeared constantly; professor Lupin, Fleur Delacour, three redheads Hannah assumed were Weasleys, the entire original Gryffindor Quidditch team and a large auror Hannah did not know the name of. The amount of people in the room was overwhelming, even the room itself could no longer cope with the crowd: it had not grown in size since the arrival of Fred, George, Cho and Lee.
Most of the D.A were embracing the new company, filling each other in on recent events. Colin had just pointed out that it was as if he were “at a Gryffindor Quidditch team reunion” and the Weasleys, along with Lupin, Fleur and the unnamed auror were huddled together muttering in hushed tones.
“Hi Hannah” said a quiet voice.
Hannah was surprised to see that Hermione had left Ron’s side to talk to her; after all they weren’t exactly close. Nevertheless, she returned the greeting. No reply came. Following Hermione’s line of sight, she understood why. Right in front of them was Lavender, holding on tightly to Ron’s arm and giggling flirtatiously. Hermione seemed to have sunk into herself.
Hannah shook her head at Hermione’s obliviousness.
“You can’t see it can you Hermione?” Hannah said with a smile. “He only has eyes for you.”
Hermione continued staring. “As if” was her reply.
Ron was getting frustrated. Lavender was glad to see him: fine. Lavender wanted to compliment his bravery and flatter him constantly: a little obsessive but he couldn’t complain. Lavender wanted to snuggle into him, cling on to his arm and never let go: this was getting out of hand.
“Lavender, I’m sorry but-“
“Oh Ron your so strong!”
“Look Lavender I need to-“
The vice on his arm gripped tighter.
“But Ron you haven’t seen me in ages, I missed you” With this Lavender snaked her hand around his neck and pulled him towards her. In the corner of his eye Ron saw Hermione staring at him blankly, fighting off tears.
That was the last straw. He wasn’t going to do this to Hermione, not again.
“FOR THE LOVE OF MERLIN, GET OFF ME LAVENDER!” he yelled, wrenching them apart.
Hermione’s jaw opened and closed like a fish. She blinked repeatedly in shock but managed to return Ron’s goofy smile of “I’m sorry” with one of forgiveness. They stood opposite each other in silence for a moment. Then Ron spoke hesitantly, trying to break the ice.
“Can you believe it Hermione? We’re so close. If we get this one it’s just the snake and the man himself…”
“Ron” Hermione said quietly, “I’ve just thought, even if we do find the diadem, how are we going to destroy it?” she paused, pondering.
At Hermione’s words, Ron had a revelation. It was obvious really. What he couldn’t believe was that Hermione hadn’t thought of it.
Hermione continued. “The only thing that destroys it is…”
“Dead, and in the girls bathroom.”
Ron and Hermione’s eyes locked on each others, thoughts passing between them.
“You’re an absolute genius Ronald Weasley!” Hermione squealed. Ron went red in the face.
“Well-I mean-it was just a thought-“
“Come on!” Hermione grabbed Ron’s hand and they rushed off, ploughing through the crowd.
Hannah had to smile.
“Where are they off to?” asked Neville, coming up behind Hannah.
“They said something about a bathroom- something dead- in the girl’s bathroom.” Hannah replied, confused. “What could they be talking about?”
“Trust me; I’m no wiser than you are.”
Neville and Hannah were side by side, almost touching. Hannah could now fully register his height. The top of her head only reached his eye line. His presence made her feel comfortable and safe; like nothing bad could happen.
“I’ve learnt by now to let them get on with it.”
As soon as Neville had finished speaking, a silence swept through the room. Harry and Luna were back. Luna stepped into the room gracefully and stood beside Hannah. Harry remained in the doorway.
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