Chapter 1 : The Dragon of his Heart
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Author - Me (Shortie)
Beta - Maybe
Artist - Camila
My beta and artist are getting a lot of cookies for this. *hugs*
Dragon of my Heart
The eerie silence threatened to split his eardrums as Neville Longbottom stepped out of the Hogwarts Express and onto Platform Nine and Three Quarters. The journey home had been no different. The atmosphere had been weighing with tension and grief since the previous night.
Since Harry came out of the maze with Cedric Diggory’s body.
Neville knew how Harry was feeling at the very moment. He wanted to reach out to him, tell him that they were all with him no matter what, and tell him that anyone who dared even think of it would have to go through all of them to kill him. But he knew Harry better than that. Harry was not afraid of death. Harry was blaming himself for Diggory’s death. Harry blamed himself for being weak.
But Harry was the bravest person Neville had ever known.
Apart from his father.
He pulled his trunk out of the train as Harry, Ron, Hermione, Ginny and the twins were attacked by Mr. and Mrs. Weasley’s hugs and inquiries. He waved a quick goodbye to all of them before turning to leave the opposite way. But as he turned, he pulled Harry with him a few feet apart from the Weasleys and whispered in his ear,
“Where dwell the brave at heart Harry. Don’t ever forget that. Hold on in there mate. We’ve got your back.”
With that he turned around without waiting for a reply and walked into the open arms of a woman wearing a red cloak and an elegant black feather hat. She embraced him deeply and pulled his trunk towards her, staring into his eyes intently all the time. Together they walked arm in arm out of King’s Cross Station and into the open sunlight of another busy day in London.
She didn’t utter a word as she stuffed the trunk into the backseat and walked to the driver’s seat. Neville was already seated in the passenger seat as she got in and strapped the seatbelt across her front. She’d bought this car a long time ago because Neville wasn’t allowed to Apparate just yet. This car had only been used for his purposes ever since.
She ignited the engine and drove away from the Station. She hadn’t uttered a word from the moment she saw him. She knew that there was something he wanted to tell her and she was giving him all the time he wanted to spit it out in his own good time. He didn’t say a word until they drove out of the town and into the countryside.
His voice was strangely quiet. There was no panic or fear in his voice, but rather an emotion she couldn’t detect.
She didn’t say anything. She knew he wasn’t finished.
“He’s back. V-Voldemort is back.”
Her eyes gleamed with pride at her grandson’s courage. She didn’t take her eyes off the road as she answered,
“How does he know?”
“Harry saw him.”
She looked him dead in the eye before answering.
“That’s enough proof for us.”
The rest of the journey was quiet, just as the journey on the Express. Neville had only wanted that confirmation: that his grandmother was on his side.
That was enough for the moment.
Neville walked inside the house as Gran parked the car in the garage. He walked inside slowly, a hurricane of thoughts swirling inside his head. As he neared the Drawing Room, Gran walked in in a great hurry.
“There’s food in the larder. Take your pick if you’re hungry but do try to wait till I return.”
Neville stopped day dreaming and looked at Gran properly. She had her wand in hand, prepared to Apparate.
“Where are you going?”
“To Diagon Alley of course.”
She lifted her chin up high in pride as she answered,
“The Longbottoms have been an enemy of the Death Eaters for years. This will be one of the first places they attack, if they dare to. We need a few things to get prepared, Sneakoscopes, Foe-Glasses, that sort of thing so that we’ll get a heads up. If we’re lucky, we’ll have a shot at hexing one or two into the next millennium.”
With that she turned on the spot, leaving only the atmosphere disturbed with her movement.
With her gone, Neville started to feel that eerie feeling he’d been feeling since Dumbledore’s announcement that morning. Without his knowledge, his legs started to travel up the stairs to the second floor and stopped at the second door on the left. As he stopped in front of the door, he realised where he'd been heading.
His parents’ bedroom.
He opened the door slowly, not daring to make a sound. Even though he’d lived in this house for all his life, he had never visited this room. He’d always kept a distance from this part of the house altogether. He would hear Gran dusting off this room often but he knew that she made no changes whatsoever. This place was more sacred to them than any they’d ever known.
He walked into the room slowly, taking in every detail. His eyes swept over the neatly folded bedspread, the cupboard, the study table…
Something on the table caught his eye; he walked cautiously towards the table and sat on the chair next to it. As he took the little object that had caught his notice, all blood drained out of his whole system.
It was his father’s diary.
His eyes started to brim with tears as he turned the pages carelessly, only taking in the handwriting. But as he got closer to the end of the book, something caught his attention yet again and he stopped to read the page.
21st October 1981
We’ve been stuck inside this house for almost a year now. We were only told that we were in grave danger because we’ve defied the Dark Lord three times, but I think I know the real reason now. I hear whispers about a prophecy, a prophecy that has got ol’ Voldy’s knickers in a twist. Two boys were born at the end of July last year to Aurors of the Order who’ve defied the Dark Lord thrice, and then both families were driven into hiding, protected by Dumbledore’s own Fidelius Charm and a most trusted secret keeper. And then we hear whispers about a prophecy? Come on! I’m sure they’ve figured it out as well.
I’ve watched all our kids from the day they were born. Bill, Charlie, Fred, George, Ron, Nymphadora and Harry are all brave, daring and mischievous. They always make everyone laugh and cry tears of pride. I’ve seen them fly and I’ve seen them do wondrous magic.
Unlike my baby Neville.
A lot of people don’t like my baby. They say he’s always crying. They call him useless. When they talk about how great their children would be, they always exclude him. He’s never picked up and cuddled. He’s never given anything special. He’s just a Longbottom kid, born to extremely unfortunate and talented Aurors. Born to bring shame to the family.
But I know better.
Whenever I look at my baby my heart swells with pride and warmth. It’s not something anyone else would understand. It’s not his laugh or cuteness that does the trick. No, those are shallow feelings. My baby and I have a bond that goes beyond all that.
Like I said earlier, the prophecy obviously was about a child born at the end of July last year, a child that will grow up to challenge the Dark Lord’s power, a child that will have unspeakable power that goes beyond the Dark Lord’s comprehension. A child that was born to parents who have thrice defied the Dark Lord.
A child born to either the Potters or the Longbottoms.
And I know in my heart that it is not my Neville.
Harry Potter has it all. He’s brave and daring just like his father, kind and sweet just like his mother. He has a capacity to love and to bear that goes beyond the comprehension or capability of the Dark Lord. He will rise to strike back and take all that has been taken from us all these years. Harry Potter is the Chosen One. He is the strength of the world and the Lion among the snakes.
But my baby is the Dragon.
The Dragon of my heart.
He will rise up when the hour is close to take over the side Harry leaves open. Together my Dragon and our Lion will take over the Dark side, fighting side by side. Harry Potter will one day defeat the Dark Lord, I’m sure of that. I didn’t get an O in Divination for nothing. I see it in him. He has it all.
But my Dragon will be there to cover up the spaces, to fight in the moments needed. He will carry on his leadership on the other side of the battle. He will be there in the end and he will make his mark upon the world.
I see it every time he looks at me. We have a bond that goes beyond comprehension of the greatest minds, a bond that goes beyond the bond between him and Alice. I don’t know how to explain it. Like I said earlier, it’s not in his laugh or in his cuteness. No, those are shallow feelings.
It’s in the silent moments we share, moments I cherish in the deepest places of my heart, moments that I keep wrapped and secured safely, moments that will never leave my memory. My baby will be the underdog in the years to come, but he’ll have his moment of truth. Through all the insults, taunting and adversities that are yet to come he will survive with his head held high, only to flourish in his moment of truth and ever after.
I only hope to the high heavens that I’ll be there to see that day.
Voldemort doesn’t know for sure which child the prophecy is about. He’s likely to attack us as much as the Potters. I don’t know what’ll happen; I don’t know how it’ll end.
But I’d rather be driven insane by the Cruciatus curse than let that monster set his eyes on my baby.
But I want to see him grow up, see him learn magic, see him get excited over his first letter from Hogwarts. I want to receive that first letter from him, saying which house he was sorted into and who his friends are. I want him to write to me telling which girl he fancies and why. I want to see him fight for his house, get upset over little things. I want to see my baby become a man. A better man.
But if I’m not here to see any of these, baby, I want you to remember, I love you. I’m not here today because I loved you and I’m watching over you from wherever I am, because I love you. I love you more than I love my Alice, I love you more than my whole existence.
It doesn’t matter if you’re not sorted into Gryffindor. I don’t care if you’re not chosen to be a Lion.
Because you’re the Dragon of my heart.
Neville shut the book slowly, tears pouring down his face. He didn’t attempt to wipe them away. He wasn’t afraid of the tears any more. He wasn’t afraid of anything; he wasn’t a coward.
Not any more.
He stood up, laying the diary on the table, and took out his wand from the back pocket of his trousers. He stood there rolling it between his fingers for what felt like weeks. The more he touched it, the lighter his heart felt. His father’s words kept on repeating in his head. He started to see images of his father writing those words, playing with him, carrying him and putting him to sleep, and he let the tears flow down freely for the first time. He was done hiding his emotions. He was done being “Longbottom”.
He was The Dragon of his father’s heart.
He was so absorbed in his thoughts that he didn’t notice his grandmother standing near the door, her eyes filled with tears.
Her voice didn’t startle him but it brought him out of his reverie.
“I still remember the day he got that wand. He was so excited when he got the letter that I had to take him to Diagon Alley right away. He’d been there many times of course, so he knew where he was going.”
Neville didn’t turn to look at her but he could feel her slip into someplace in time about thirty years ago.
“He dragged me down the street, right into Ollivanders. He said ‘What’s magic without a wand Mum?’”
She laughed heartily.
“He was so eager, even at eleven. He rang the bell until Ollivander appeared. Good old chap. He came out laughing, asking who this young lad was. He wasn’t a bit afraid. He happily piped up, saying ‘Frank Longbottom, sir’. Ollivander then said, ‘And I know just what to give you Mr. Longbottom.’ Then he went to the far corner of the shop, climbed several steps of his ladder and pulled a wand from the messy shelves. He walked towards us, confident in his choice and said, ‘Mahogany, Phoenix Feather, thirteen inches. Inflexible and good for defensive spells. I can look you in the eye and say this, boy: you’re going to be some Auror.’”
She took in a sharp breath, steadying herself before continuing.
“I remember that day like it was only yesterday.”
She then came out of her reverie and looked at Neville properly for the first time since she entered the room.
“You’ve been using his wand since you were three. You never wanted a new one and I never offered to buy you one. But I think it’s time to buy your own wand now.”
She waited, but he didn’t reply. He kept on rolling his wand over and over in his fingers, grasping its power. The painful silence unnerved her so she decided to urge him on.
“You don’t have to use that wand, you know.”
He looked at her, dead in the eye, before replying.
“I know. But I want to.”
At that moment he wanted his father to be there, to see this moment, because he knew in his heart;
This was his moment of truth.
Just as that thought entered his mind, he felt something flip inside him. He felt his back straighten and his glare harden. He felt something awake deep down inside and he knew what it was.
The Dragon had awoken.
He would not let anyone thwart him any more. He would not be the underdog to anyone. He would not be just “Longbottom”.
Because he wasn’t just another Longbottom. He was Frank Longbottom’s son.
The Dragon of his heart.
Author's Note: Written for 2012 House Cup : Task One Challenge
Word count is 2500 exclusive of the list of prompts below:
- features your House’s Champion
- mentions at least 1 Unforgivable Curse
- features a dragon
- mentions at least 2 of the following types of Dark Detectors: Foe-Glass, Sneakoscope, Secrecy Sensor, or Probity-Probe
- features a theme of flourishing in the face of adversity
- mentions the details of your Champion’s Wand, as provided by your Head of House
Hey *waves* So what do you think? Did I do a good job with the prompts? And most importantly. did you guys like it? Please let me know (Even if you hate it :P)