Chapter 1 : The One
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There was never a time when I suddenly thought to myself, “Hannah Abbott, Neville Longbottom is the one. He’s the one for you”. It was never a sudden and passionate fall. It was gradual—and when I say gradual, I mean it happened at a snail’s pace. It was like a leaf dropping from a tree in Autumn.
The first time I met Neville, he was a pudgy boy with dark brown hair, pale skin and bright blue eyes. He wasn’t ugly by any means, but he wasn’t attractive by any standards either. He was an average boy. Neville also had a terrified expression on his face the first time I laid eyes on him.
We, the first years, were standing on the stair steps right before the door to the Great Hall. I was in the middle of a huge crowd, nervously playing with my long blond hair, when a boy in the front of the group, Neville, lunged forward at a toad that was sitting by Professor McGonagall’s feet.
“Trevor!” he exclaimed, and then looked up at a stern McGonagall. His blue eyes went wide and his face paled even more, if that was even possible. He held his toad tighter and stepped back into his previous spot.
Now you must imagine my surprise when this scared, plump boy was sorted into Gryffindor, a while after I was sorted into Hufflepuff. He, then, wore a look of shock and disbelief with his mouth open, jaw practically on the cobblestone floor. He sat down at the Gryffindor table with a little unease, but soon became comfortable as he talked with his fellow Gryffindor students, nodding his pudgy head enthusiastically.
I thought next to nothing about Neville for the rest of the year. With my first magical lessons happening, and being only eleven, my mind wasn’t on boys, especially ones like Neville. The next time he came into my thoughts wasn’t until the end of the year, after hearing about the adventures Harry, Ron, and Hermione.
Professor Dumbledore stood up behind the podium and announced Slytherin the victor of the house cup, with Hufflepuff in third place, unfortunately. Then, Dumbledore had a sparkle in his eye; a sort of mischievous gleam that everyone could sense from their seats in the Great Hall.
“Ahem.” He cleared his throat. “I have a few last minute points to dish out.” And he did. The points that were awarded to the trio made sense to me after hearing the rumors about the Sorcerer’s Stone. Gryffindor officially was tied for first with Slytherin. That left us in last, but I was okay with it if Slytherin was knocked off the top. Fortunately, Dumbledore had one more trick up his sleeve. He awarded Neville, of all people, ten points for courage. I was pleasantly surprised to say the least. It was at that moment that I could picture him as a Gryffindor. Even if he didn’t show it all the time; he had guts.
Our relationship, or more lack of one, was the same throughout our terrifying second year. Even though I was a half-blood, I was scared for my friends because Hufflepuff was known for having more than a few muggle-borns. Most of my friends were safe and sound throughout the year, save Justin Finch-Fletchley, who was the victim of the heir of Slytherin, Harry Potter himself, as was the rumor that year. I’ll admit, I was one of the people that gossiped about him that year.
It wasn’t as if I didn’t like him. I even thought him nice, but at that age I was so easily misled, especially by my friend Ernie MacMillan, who was a huge gossip, especially for a boy. He loved spreading secrets like a niffler likes shiny things.
Thankfully, later that year I learned the real truth in a new rumor from Ernie. I heard all about how Ginny Weasley was being controlled by the memory of You-Know-Who, well, I guess I can call him Voldemort now.
That year, I only heard of now Neville got hung up on a chandelier by his ears because that wanker, Professor Lockhart, let out some Cornish Pixies. I confess, I laughed at that. I mean, by his ears? Really? It was mean and I recognize that, but even Neville had to laugh about it later on, so I guess it was okay… I think.
It wasn’t until third year that I said my first words to him.
The dangerous event going on during third year was the notorious escape of Sirius Black, alleged mass-murderer and right-hand man to Voldemort himself, who wanted to take revenge on Harry Potter for weakening his dark lord. He entered the castle and had gotten into Gryffindor tower via the password that Neville had written down and lost. Though he was still clumsy, that year, Neville had started to grow up.
His dark brown hair had gotten longer and shaggier looking. He grew several inches over the summer and lost a few pounds from his torso and the baby-fat from his face. He still needed to grow into his features a little more, but he had changed enough to make me look twice.
Now that I was thirteen, a full-fledged teenager, I started taking an interest in blokes. To be totally honest, Neville wasn’t the only boy I looked at, but he was a face that I turned to often. Unfortunately, as it always happens, he caught me looking. My face flushed brightly and I tried miserably to cover it up by waving and asking him a question about homework in Herbology.
“Um... yeah... how long was that essay we were supposed to write in Herbology?” I asked, racking my brain for some sort of homework assignment.
“Eighteen inches. Do you need any help with it, Hannah?” he asked kindly. I was sure that he wanted to help me as much as he wanted to do more Herbology homework. He was brilliant in that class and loved to do anything plant related. I smiled at him in mock thanks.
“No, thanks, though,” I said quickly. “Thanks reminding me. I’ll see you around, Neville.”
Thank Merlin, he seemed to believe my utter failure of a lie, but I was still mortified and vowed to be extra careful while taking a sneak peek at cute guys because I wasn’t about to give them up any time soon.
From then on, though, he waved and said hello to me in the corridors. Occasionally, in classes, we would exchange polite “Hi, how are you?”’s, but we didn’t say anything other than that. It was like we were more than acquaintances because we talked on a daily basis, but not friends because we still didn’t know each other. Strangely enough, I found myself wanting to know more. Fourth year gave me that chance.
During my fourth year at Hogwarts, we had the infamous Tri-wizard tournament. Oddly enough, we had four contestants and that was what Neville and I bonded over. I was, of course, rooting for Hufflepuff’s resident Quidditch star and all around good looking guy, Cedric Diggory. Neville was rooting for Harry Potter.
One afternoon, I was walking around after classes, looking for Ernie, with my Support Cedric Diggory - The REAL Hogwarts Champion badge that changed to say Potter Stinks, when none other than Neville is walking in the opposite direction. When he saw my badge, he frowned and stopped me in my tracks.
“Really, Hannah? I thought you were better than that,” he stated with obvious disappointment in me. “He didn’t choose to be in the tournament and he’s a great guy. Harry doesn’t deserve the kind of shite that he’s getting about this. He doesn’t even want to compete.”
“You don’t understand, Neville,” I argued heatedly. “Harry Potter is not only the wizarding world and Gryffindor’s golden boy, but he is now a champion and is going to earn more glory if he wins. Hufflepuff doesn’t have any of that. We are known as the lesser house and if Cedric wins, we’ll earn some respect.”
“That’s all fine and dandy, but I repeat; he didn’t want to do it. He’s bound by a contract. If he could get out of it, he would. And, I don’t think that Hufflepuff is second class. If anything, you’re displaying extreme loyalty to your house and to Cedric right now, even if you are being rude about it,” he said reasonably. I nodded in understanding. His words and courage to say something to me about this made me want to stop. I felt ashamed of myself. I did it again. I misjudged Harry Potter when he has only ever been nice to everybody with the exception of Malfoy and his goonies, but no one likes them anyway.
I unpinned the badge from my robes and incinerated it. Neville’s face lit up with a smile.
“Thanks, Hannah,” he said gratefully.
“No, thank you, Neville,” I said. “I was being an arse.” He laughed, throwing his head back.
“Well, I wasn’t going to say anything, but yeah, you were.” I playfully smacked him on the arm.
After that first long conversation, we just sort of clicked. We began talking more frequently in classes we shared and, soon, became actual friends.
That summer, I even got a few letters from him, and though it wasn’t much, it made me happy to know that we were friends, especially when I was dealing with Cedric’s death. He and I weren’t close, but I considered him a friend and I grieved for him. It was only after he was gone that I really realized the effect he had on the school.
I saw his face in crowded halls, even though he wasn’t there. I used to hear his voice only to see somebody else. He smile would never light up the corridors again, and I was angry at myself that I only knew how he changed us after he was gone.
Next year was another excitement filled year with the new Defense Against the Dark Arts teacher from the Ministry of Magic, Dolores Umbridge. She believed in practical study of defense, but not actually practicing it firsthand. Because of this complete rubbish, I joined Dumbledore’s Army. It was a specialized defense-teaching club that was started by Harry Potter and his friends. We met secretly in the Room of Requirement and practiced how to best defend ourselves against dark wizards and witches.
It empowered me to make a difference. Before D.A., the war was just something that was outside of my realm. It wasn’t real to me until I started believing it was real. The more I trained, the more serious I felt about the fight that was occurring right at that point in time.
Also, while joining this, Neville really surprised me. He was never the best D.A.D.A. student, but while we were in Dumbledore’s Army, he showed serious determination and improvement. He practiced from start until finish of our meetings each day and if he didn’t get something by the end, he would practice at night and come back with it perfected. His perseverance pushed me to do better.
Because of last year and D.A., Neville and I started spending even more time together. We would have study sessions. He would help me out in Herbology and I would teach him a little in Transfiguration, and sometimes, if we were sure we wouldn’t be caught, we tried out dueling.
During these times alone, we talked about ourselves; our families, friends, interests, et cetera. This is where I learned about his mum and dad and how he had gotten to live with his horrid Grandmother Augusta, who thought he was never good enough at anything. It, frankly, made me sick. The whole story also explained his knowledge of Unforgivable Curses, which he displayed impressively last year.
We opened up with each other and it felt nice to just talk to someone and not feel judged about my half-blood heritage. He was, actually, intrigued by the muggle objects I talked about and I even showed him some that I had brought with me.
Later that year, he shocked me by rushing off to the Ministry of Magic with Harry Potter, Ron and Ginny Weasley, Hermione Granger, and Luna Lovegood to rescue Harry’s godfather, Sirius Black, from Voldemort and the death eaters. Sirius died in the battle and was later cleared of all his previous charges, as if that helped Harry at all.
Because of the closeness we achieved during the year, the letter’s between Neville and I during the summer were more frequent and much longer, especially when he gave me all the details about his battle, including how horrible Harry was feeling and how proud his grandmother finally was, as if she didn’t have an excuse before. I let him know about becoming Prefect along with Ernie and asked him all about his adventures. I even told him that I was proud of him before the fight at the Ministry, though I don’t think he believed me. Our letters contained more depth rather than just “How is your summer?”. I even found myself missing him during my days away from Hogwarts.
That is why, when sixth year strolled around, I searched far and wide for Neville when we got to Hogwarts. When I found him, he had changed again. Gone was the lanky boy that I knew. His shoulders and chest had broadened; his face became rounder, though not fat, but just fuller. He still had his longer hair, but it was less disheveled and more styled. He had grown another few inches and I had to look up slightly to see his eyes. He wasn’t boyishly cute like Cedric was, or a total hunk like a professional quidditch player, but something about him that year made my heart flutter when he was around.
Sadly, I didn’t have any time to think through my new feelings. In Herbology, one grievous day, I received a letter stating that my mother had been murdered by Death Eaters. I looked up from my letter and stared straight at Neville with tears in my eyes. Concern was all over his face, but I didn’t give an explanation as I ran out of the greenhouse and straight to the headmaster’s office.
Professor Dumbledore looked at me with sad, knowing eyes, but didn’t say anything to me and of that I was grateful.
I stayed home with my crushed father for the rest of the year, only receiving news and my homework from Neville in letters. I told him all about my mum’s death and he said he was sorry, but asked no questions, knowing that when I wanted to explain further, I would. He arranged to grab my homework so that I wouldn’t have to redo classes when I went back during seventh year.
He reported what life was like in Hogwarts and how things were going. At the end of the year, I was landed another crushing blow by the death of Dumbledore, beloved headmaster to all of Hogwarts and many others. Neville explained how the death eaters were let into the castle by Draco Malfoy and had attacked without warning. He told me of Harry Potter and how he was with the headmaster when Professor Snape landed the fatal curse. I cried all over again; for Professor Dumbledore and for my mother. I wanted desperately to see Neville and for him to hold me, to comfort me.
Life went on simply while I was at home. I went through the usual motions; homework, eating, sleeping, etcetera, but I ceased to smile and laugh without my mother to cheer me up as my father was just as saddened as I was. The only thing that brought a little light to my life was his letters and little by little as the year went on, a combination of his letters and time let me be happy again. I even looked forward to going back to Hogwarts because every time I thought about going there, I thought of Neville and my heart would thud in my chest.
As they say, absence makes the heart grow fonder. It’s true, as that was when I decided that I had feelings for him and I wanted to see him as soon as possible.
Unfortunately as the school year approached, I learned that Hogwarts was now under Death Eater control. Professor Snape was the new headmaster and he had hired the Carrows. Alecto and Amycus were siblings and vicious to the core. They had changed a few classes; specifically Muggles Studies and Dark Arts (formerly Defense Against the Dark Arts), but I would go to make sure my friends are safe. To make sure Neville was safe.
I arrived at the platform and searched for my friends, only to discover that most of them never even arrived. Ernie was the only one there. The rest had gone into hiding, either because they were muggle-born, or because they were protecting muggle family members. My mum was the muggle, so now I had nothing to worry about, even though I would have given anything at that time to have my mum to worry over.
I sat on the train with Ernie as he filled me in about last year, even though Neville already had, but I humored him. Then he reported all the rumors about how Voldemort took over the ministry. I tuned him out after a while and pretended to fall asleep to get some peace and quiet before I arrived in the hell hole that was now Hogwarts.
And hell hole it was. Classes were bloody brutal.
Though the regular, non -Death Eater teachers tried to keep us from the grasp of the torturous Carrows, sometimes they would be caught trying to give us a warning and we would be subjected to punishment.
Even though my mum had died, I was still punished for having a muggle for a mother. Being a half-blood was almost as filthy as being a muggle-born or blood traitor. I frequently had cuts and bruises on my body. Most of the time I could heal myself, but I had several broken bones that I had to sneak over to the hospital wing to get fixed in secret. Fortunately, I didn’t get the worst end of the stick. Surprisingly, I was let off pretty easily compared to any non-purebloods, at least the ones that listened to the rules.
Neville was always beaten and seeing as I was in a good chunk of his classes, I had to restrain myself from running to him and shielding him from his torture. He had been kicked, cut, punched, Crucio-ed, burned, hexed, jinxed, and much more. Any spell or muggle violence you could think of the Carrows used and most likely used on Neville. He played the hero.
The worst time was when he, Ginny, and Luna snuck into Professor Snape’s office to grab the sword of Godric Gryffindor for some special mission Harry Potter was on. The Carrows almost killed him, but luckily he got off with detention. Unfortunately he wouldn’t always be that lucky and I worried. Eventually I couldn’t take it anymore. I couldn’t watch him get tormented any longer.
“Neville,” I whispered to him one day while we were in the library. “Why do you keep fighting the Carrows? You just get hurt.” Neville just looked confused.
“How could I ever stop fighting, Hannah?” he asked. “There are so many kids out there who are suffering and people who need help. I fight for them. I keep going for the people that can’t stand up for their selves. If I didn’t do that, then I don’t deserve to be called a Gryffindor.”
I felt admiration for him and shame at myself. Neville was so selfless and gallant and here I was asking him why he wanted to help people.
“You’re right. Sorry, Neville,” I said, not able to look into his eyes. “I just don’t like seeing you hurt. It scares me...” I added in an almost inaudible whisper, but he heard me. He reached his fingers under my chin and lifted it so my eyes met his. He took my breath away.
Gone was the boy I knew and here was a man. He had slight stubble on his face and his hair, though still styled, was cut shorter. He grew even taller and I swear his blue eyes got even brighter. Even better, his arms had filled out and he had definitely become more toned from the last time I saw him.
His expression was one of warmth and just sitting there, looking into his eyes, I felt safe. He smiled a small smile.
“You don’t need to be sorry that you care, Hannah,” he stated simply. I flushed. He didn’t know how much I cared.
As the year progressed my feelings grew stronger and the danger inside of Hogwarts normally safe walls increased. I resorted to living in the room of requirement with other rebellious students, most of whom were Dumbledore’s Army members.
I had a large yellow and black striped hammock and lived there with Seamus Finnegan, Neville, Ernie, the Patil twins; Padma and Pavarti, Terry Boot, Michael Corner, and Anthony Goldstein, among others. Neville didn’t live there permanently, choosing to go to classes and help out in any way possible, but for some permanent members, like me, it had all the comforts of home. Well, all accept food, but Neville made up for that.
He really got the hang of the whole Room of Requirement thing. He ended up getting a passage from Hogwarts to the Hog’s Head, where we got food from late Professor Dumbledore’s grumpy brother, Aberforth.
I lived there for the longest time, acting as a healer to help small injuries and occasionally sneaking back into Hogwarts to escort kids to Madame Pomfrey, who would heal you if you could get to her in secret. The only people I couldn't help were the ones that didn’t permanently stay in the Room of Requirement. That included Neville. Neville wouldn’t let any injury heal for fear that if he came back to class unscathed that he would reveal our hiding spot.
I felt as if I lived in there for so long that I got used to the hammocks and the beaten kids. We tried to be cheery, but it’s hard in a war where people die every day. So day after day we would just survive, not live, but survive. That is until we had some unexpected guests one day.
I was just in the middle of trying to convince Neville to get healed, as always.
“Please, Neville,” I begged, wand at the ready.
“No, Hannah. You know I can’t.”
“At least let me look at that cut on your eye. I think it’s infected,” I said, ignoring his protests when I quickly cured the infection.
“Now, will you stop? You’re going to alert the Carrows,” he said worriedly. I just rolled my eyes.
“The Carrows are too thick to notice the infection, Neville. It’ll be okay,” I said and grabbed his hands. Dried blood was caked on his knuckles and fingertips. “Everything will be okay.”
“I just don’t know anymore, Hannah. I mean, how long can we keep this up? Eventually something will give us away in here and we can’t fight them off. They might even kill us,” He brushed my blond curl behind my ear.
“Don’t you talk like that,” I commanded. “I don’t want to hear that from you, Neville. You’ve never given up, even when I wanted to. You can’t do it now.” His hand was on my cheek and my breathing had stopped as I looked into his eyes and his face got closer.
A voice called out to Neville. A little girl standing in the portrait hole leading to the Hog’s Head said she had something urgent that required Neville’s attention. He looked startled and a little disappointed, but before he left, he squeezed my hand.
“You’re right, Hannah. Thanks. I don’t know what I’d do without you,” he said looking sincere. I felt my heart beat rapidly in my chest. I don’t know what I’d do without him either. He leaned over and kissed me on the cheek softly.
“I’ll see what this is about and then come right back.”
He left me there, heart pounding, face flushed, and completely in love. For the first time I acknowledged that I had fallen for Neville Longbottom. Anytime I thought about him (which was often) I was left with a warm feeling and when he touched me, even just brushed against me accidentally, I felt a jolt of electricity shoot through my body.
When he left, I made a decision. I would tell him when he got back here. I would lay it all out on the line. I couldn’t stay “just friends”. I wanted to be with him.
That plan didn’t go so well.
Neville came back all right... with Harry Potter, Ron Weasley and Hermione Granger in tow. I was mixed with disappointment that I couldn’t share my feelings and relief that Harry was here to help us.
Harry Potter quickly explained that he was looking for a lost object (Ravenclaw’s lost diadem, we surmised) and that would help him defeat Voldemort. We didn’t get specifics and we didn’t ask for them.
After Luna explained that he should just go to the Grey Lady, the ghost of Ravenclaw, and ask her where the diadem was, he and the other two rushed out of the room without another word.
So there we were again; stuck in the same boring routine until something happened. And, thankfully, something did happen. Minutes after Harry, Ron and Hermione left, Professor McGonagall had arrived to bring us news. The moment we had all feared had come; death eaters were invading the castle and Voldemort was on his way.
She left after telling us to go to the Great Hall.
Every student had met up there, it seemed and soon, McGonagall arrived, too. A voice called out to us, slimy and loud.
Voldemort’s voice told us that if we gave up Harry Potter, we would live. He said that he didn’t want to spill magical blood and that we would be safe and even rewarded if we sold out Harry.
His words made me sick. He was okay with spilling non-magical blood. And we wouldn’t be okay if we gave up Harry. We would be giving up hope as well. Every student and teacher in here would be giving up a chance to live because with Voldemort, we would be just like the Room of Requirement residents; surviving, going through the motions.
Pansy spotted Harry in the corner of the room, though I hadn’t seen him and shouted for someone to capture him, but none of us would have it. All non-Slytherin students rose and surrounded him, including me, wands pointed at the Slytherins. Harry would not be given up.
Professor McGonagall got the attention of every scared and rambling person in the hall, student or otherwise, as some Order of the Phoenix members had arrived to help us. She told us that every student was to be evacuated through the Room of Requirement and into the Hog’s Head pub. Anyone who was of age could stay, though no Slytherins helped.
I looked to where Neville sat across the room. His face had gone deadly serious and he was the first to walk out of the safety of the Great Hall and into the battle. I followed after him with a group of people who were also inspired by Neville’s courage.
As soon as we were out of the room, Professor McGonagall ushered under age students to the Room of Requirement.
I was surprised how quickly I heard the booms of battle. The first and second years were running around with fearful expressions and the teachers were too busy keeping them protected to lie and reassure them that this was all going to be alright.
We made our way onto the grounds and saw hundreds of masked death eaters, larger than life acromantulas, giants, and more. Which species were fighting for which side, I wouldn’t know. I ran to the nearest Death Eater who had cornered a defenseless third year and sent a stunning spell at him. He dodged it last minute and shot a green jet of light straight at my chest. I barely made it out of the way in time and shouted “Petrificus Totalus”. He tried to move out of the way, but it still hit his arm causing him to fall to the ground, stiff as a board.
I ushered the third year inside the castle, telling him to go to the Room of Requirement and go through the passage and evacuate. He nodded and sprinted to safety.
As I was running through the castle, I saw Hermione Granger blast back a hulking, greasy-haired man, who looked as though he was eating Lavender Brown. He growled and stirred from where he hit the wall, but Professor Trelawny dropped a crystal ball the size of my head on top of his. He appeared to have a giant welt on his head, but I decided that Fenrir Greyback (for I saw his face and determined him to be the unlawful werewolf) deserved even more than what he got.
Turning to Lavendar, I saw blood gushing from a wound in her neck. I slowly levitated her up in the air. As I walked down the stairs, Madame Pomfrey showed up in a hustle and gasped when she saw Lavender, lying helpless in mid-air. She quickly took her off my hands and went as fast as she could to the infirmary that I’m sure was already packed full.
I continued like this for hours. I fought any death eater that I could and rescued anyone in need, taking them to the Hospital Wing, which was indeed full with injured people. Then, an eerie, chilling voice rang out all over Hogwarts.
Voldemort, in all of his kindness (Notice the sarcasm?), let us take a break from fighting and grieve our dead and also gave Harry one hour to turn himself in. I gathered, along with the other students and various Order of the Phoenix members, to the Great Hall and saw a ghastly sight. On top of the tables were dead students and Order members lying on white sheets.
Professor Lupin and his wife, the auror, Tonks, lay together hand in hand, never parting even in death. Fred Weasley was surrounded by weeping family members. Lavender, I found out, didn’t make it. Collin Creevey, so small and delicate also was on a white sheet, still clutching his camera. Others were wept over as well, but I couldn’t cry with them. I felt numb.
I spotted Neville from across the room, staring at the wall. I sat next to him, but we both said nothing for a while. We felt, not content, but normal, or at least as normal as possible, just sitting there, not talking.
Neville finally spoke up.
“I carried him, you know?” he whispered hoarsely, pointing to Collin’s tiny body. “He was so small, but so happy. Why did he have to die? Why did any of them...?” I put my arms around him and finally felt able to cry. He held me tight and we both grieved together for the loss of our friends and fellow classmates. We felt the loss of people who gave their lives to save our beloved school and still, it seemed in vain, as we were being destroyed. We were only safe because we had been given a time out.
Our break was short-lived before we were back to misery and sadness and death.
The death, as it turned out, was the worst one of all.
When we went back outside on the grounds to prepare again, the Death Eaters had Hagrid, our half-giant groundskeeper in chains. But the worst part was that he was crying and holding the body of Harry Potter, who had given himself up to save us.
Voldemort looked thrilled. Neville was just the opposite. He charged.
Neville ran at Voldemort, but the dark wizard just looked amused and put him in a full body bind curse. I gasped and was ready to run to him, but Ernie, who I hadn’t seen behind me, grabbed me, holding me back from getting to Neville.
“You’ll just get killed,” he hissed.
“I don’t care,” I said, tears running freely down my face.
Voldemort laughed and raised his wand, shattering all the windows into tiny shards. Then, the black, ratty sorting hat flew out of the glass-less holes in the wall and into Voldmorts hands. He placed it on Neville’s motionless head and set it on fire. I wanted to scream out, but Ernie put his hand over my mouth and held me tighter as I struggled against him.
But, then, something extraordinary happened. Neville moved. He flung the hat off of his head, not even burned at all. Voldemort looked impressed.
“You show spirit and bravery, and come of a noble stock,” stated Voldemort. “You will make a very valuable death eater. We need your kind, Neville Longbottom.” Neville just snorted.
“I’ll join you when hell freezes over. Dumbledore’s Army!” he shouted causing the crowd to go ballistic. Suddenly he lunged for the burnt sorting hat and pulled out the sword of Godric Gryffindor. He raised it up at slashed it through the air with enormous force, bring it down on the head of Voldemort’s wretched snake, Nagini. He cut the snake’s head clean off making Voldemort cry out in rage... and pain? I didn’t have time to give it thought as Hagrid yelled out in confusion “Where’s Harry?”
Then chaos ensued.
Centaurs burst out of the forest and threstals that I could now see burst into the sky led by a giant hippogriff. House elves from the kitchen also joined the fight along with Professor Slughorn’s band of shopkeepers and student’s family members.
I felt exhilarated. I charged into the fight with renewed strength, picking off the death eaters that were already battered down the forest creatures.
“Not my daughter, you bitch!” I heard Ginny’s mum, Molly Weasley, yell out. “Get back! Get back! She’s mine.” Bellatrix laughed in her face, taunting her about her late son, Fred, but her expression turned to one of fear and shock as Molly attacked her with full force, taking her down within minutes. I smiled widely. Go Molly!
Voldemort roared in anger and pointed his wand at Molly. Out of the corner of my eye I saw Harry appear seemingly out of nowhere.
“Protego!” he yelled and a huge shield prevented her from being harmed. Voldemort searched for the source of the shield charm and locked eyes with Harry.
I cheered for joy along with the rest of the non-death eater witches and wizards, but the crowd died down as the intensity grew between the two duelists. Harry called out that he didn’t want anyone to interfere. It was between him and Voldemort.
The latter taunted Harry, saying that he was just alive because of others’ sacrifices, but Harry had a ready retort, using Voldemort’s real name, Riddle. Harry said that he had knowledge that Voldemort didn’t possess and explained all about love and Dumbledore’s death.
Voldemort looked truly shocked for the first time, but covered up his emotions.
“That is a childish dream!” he yelled.
Next, Harry landed another blow to Voldemort by explaining Snape’s real loyalty, which was to Dumbledore and Harry’s deceased mother and, finally, telling him that Harry, himself, was the master of the elder wand.
“It all comes down to this, Tom,” he said calmly.
“Expelliarmus!” shouted Harry simultaneously.
The two spells hit each other and we watched them in awe. The fighting had ceased a while ago.
For what seemed like hours, the two spells danced together, neither budging one way or the other, but then, Harry’s gained some leeway. It slowly moved forward and Voldemort’s eyes widened in true fear. His wand flew up in the air, only to be caught by Harry and Voldemort’s killing curse rebounded, hitting him right in the chest, killing him instantly.
The crowd rejoiced in celebration. Laughter, yelling, and cheers of happiness ensued from some, while others, though still happy about Voldemort’s death, mourned the loss of those precious to them.
I whooped and hollered and made my way to Neville.
“You were brilliant!” I said to him. He blushed and mumbled a humble “thanks”.
“You really were, Neville,” I repeated and in all the excitement I flung my arms around his neck and snogged him. When I realized what I had done, I stopped and backed away from him, cheeks burning with embarrassment.
But Neville didn’t look horrified. He was smiling his usual goofy grin. He stepped closer to me and whispered to me.
“I love you, Hannah. I have for a while now.” I grinned widely.
“I love you.” And I kissed him again.
Neville was the one.
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