Chapter 1 : Fire and Steel
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Fire and Steel
Neville looked after the cloak where Harry had disappeared under. He wouldn’t. He wouldn’t hand himself over. Never in a million years would Harry do that. He wasn’t that stupid, he must know that they all supported him. He was probably was just under the cloak so people didn’t call him out and start talking to him. Yes, that had to be it.
He looked around the hall glad to see that all of the bodies were moved. Or at least the ones that weren’t were being carried. He stepped back into the Great Hall and found people crying, weeping their eyes out. He saw Professor Lupin, Fred, a boy who he believed was a seventh year Ravenclaw, Wood placing Colin next to them, and he just sat down. It was all too much. He rubbed his eyes out and a comforting hand held his back.
“It’s alright.” His grandmother whispered.
Neville didn’t even care if Seamus or Dean would tell him he was going soft by hugging his grandmother, it was war. “It’s just,” Neville squeezed out, “I could have done more.”
“Don’t say that, you’re a hero.” She said and stroked his back.
Neville thought about during the year, first years looked up to him, others depended on his guidance, but he still hadn’t done enough. Kids were still getting tortured, and he knew that if Harry had been there he would have done more. I’m not a hero, Neville thought about what his grandmother had said. I have done things to help others, but so have Death Eaters. Their ideas of help might just be a little different.
“I’ve haven’t done enough. If I hadn’t tripped one of them up and just laughed he wouldn’t have killed someone. I could have prevented it, I just wanted to make sure that he knew I was winning.”
“Neville.” Her voice was sharp. “Don’t ever say that. Your parents would be proud.”
There it was again. Every time he had done something kind of admirable, helping win the house cup, fighting at the Ministry, helping save a first year, it came out. Your parents would be proud. They weren’t proud, but if they knew their rights from lefts they would be. It angered him, his parents weren’t dead, they were just, just, insane. Damaged. Brushed aside. Useless. The words came to him with surprising ease. He knew that he was bitter, angry, he wouldn’t forgive them. Not until they were dead. The ones that had done it.
Neville frowned, not sure how his thoughts had formed. He usually thought that he was more on the softer side, not blood lust, but, he stood up. “I’m going into the forest.”
His grandmother, with surprising force pulled him back down to the bench. “No you are not. When the hour is up, we will fight again.”
“But I must get them.” Neville squirmed, but not really putting up a fight. He knew his grandmother was right. Even if they needed to pay
“You will have your chance. We will all have our chance, but it isn’t them that you should focus on.” She said. “All of them have done wrongs and we need to make sure that the don’t do it again.”
“We should kill them.” Neville asked. The thought seemed malicious, almost cruel, but it was the light at the end of the tunnel.
“There are other ways,” His grandmother said, “We must at least hold them on trial.” Neville nodded and looked around the Great Hall. Parents were mourning, siblings were mourning, and others just had a stoicism to them, like they were a rock that wasn’t going to fall over. Like they hadn’t been born with emotion. He saw others who were just anticipating the fighting, ready for it to begin again, and others who were muttering to themselves like they were stuck in Azkaban.
Kill the snake. Neville pulled out his wand and flipped it over in his hand. He had to kill the snake. He had to do it for everyone in the room, he wasn’t going to wait until Ron or Hermione were busy, or whatever, he was going to do it the first chance that he got.
Neville stood up and his Gran held his arm so he wouldn’t go running off. “What are you doing?” She asked him.
“I can’t sit and rest. I need to be ready for when it happens again.” Spells began to run through his head, but he really wasn’t that good at magic. And he didn’t know a spell that could kill a snake. Not a big one anyway.
He looked around wondering if he could ask McGonagall if she knew any special charms for killing animals. He looked to find her but his thoughts were interrupted by Voldemort’s voice.
He couldn't believe it. Harry couldn't be dead. There must be some kind of mistake. It must have been a joke. He got up and looked to see where everyone was going. He just followed to crowd. This couldn’t be true. Harry didn’t go and sacrifice himself did he? He must have known that it wouldn’t work. A tear dropped out of his eye, and he quickly brushed it away. Millions of ideas came and went as he tried to think of how to stop Harry from going. Should he have stolen the cloak? Or just held him and dragged him into the Great Hall? He shouldn’t have let him go on with no one else. He was his roommate for six years, he should have known that he was going to do something all noble.
As they reached the grounds he heard several voices cry out, but he was numb. There was no doubt, Harry’s voice was limp, his chest not rising, and Hagrid was carrying him as if he was a doll. Voldemort yelled out and Neville almost fell to the ground. He saw the snake. This was his chance. He held his wand when Ron spoke up and Voldemort seemed to be getting angrier and angrier. He started to feed them lies and Neville grunted and pushed his way out of the crowd. He gripped his wand and was immediately disarmed and he fell to the ground.
Voldemort laughed and Bellatrix spoke. That devil woman. Voldemort spoke to him and Neville took a deep breath. He was a Gryffindor. He was brave.
Neville gritted his teeth. Who cared about blood status? Voldemort should have known a lost cause when he saw one. He was never going to join. He just shouted back feeling slightly braver.
“I’ll join you when hell freezes over. Dumbledore’s army!”* The crowd cheered and Neville smiled. They were going to fight.
“Very well,” He heard Voldemort say and Neville swallowed. “If that is your choice, Longbottom, we revert to the original plan.”* Original plan? What was the original plan? He looked around and saw that several DAers were just as confused as he was. The sorting hat flew out a window and Neville looked at it. Honestly, that was his original plan?
Voldemort spoke of Slytherin and Neville shook his head. Who wanted to be a Slytherin? Then he was bound. He thought, in spite of everything going on around him, that Hermione Granger as a first year had a better body bind charm than Voldemort. He tried to laugh but he couldn’t. The sorting hat rested on his head and a loud thunk seemed to knock him out. What in Merlin’s soggy beard, he thought? But the hat was aflame, and there was nothing anyone could do to stop it. The hat grew hotter and hotter and his hair was going to catch, but they everyone around him moved. Curses flew and he tried to reach out and pull the hat off of him. A giant appeared, centaurs moved, and he willed his body to move. Nothing happened. He looked around him but nobody was there to help him. And then it broke, it seemed some force other than himself was moving him and in one motion he tore the hat of his head, stamped out the fire and reached in and pulled out a sword. The Sword of Gryffindor. He looked at it in aw, and remembered the stories of Harry pulling it out of the sorting hat himself, he spotted the snake, and he brought the sword down. The head split open and Neville sank to his knees. He had done it. He had done what Harry had asked. He saw Voldemort advancing and crawled over to his wand and then took off running. He had an appointment with his parent’s tormentors.
* Signifies an actual quote from Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, American edition; Events based off and quotes from Chapter 36: A Flaw in the Plan, pages 728-733.
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by Tyler Goodhue