Chapter 3 : Moving In and Moving On
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Alice Longbottom. I feel as if that name should ring a bell. I look over at Neville Longbottom who looks as if he’s seen a ghost. He’s staring ahead at the woman with short black hair and kind eyes. Eyes that were wide and teary at this moment. There was a lot of talk over at the Gryfindor table and I waited for the gossip to float over to where I was sitting with Blaise and Pansy. Within a minute, the whispers reached my end of the table.
“That’s Neville’s mum. Apparently when Bellatrix died, the Cruciartus curse lifted from both his parents. They were locked up at St. Mungo’s for seventeen years. Weasley said her dad told her they just got their memories back.” Pansy whispered to me. I nodded slowly. Good for him. I’m glad his parents got some sense after he finally got a grip on his magic. Two years ago, he was the laughingstock of Hogwarts. Now he’s just as nearly as popular as the Golden Trio.
Silence filled the hall as food appeared onto the tables. I released Pansy’s hand and dug in. In all truth, I was glad my two best friends were still here. Pansy was my friend since we were four years old learning to fly broomsticks. The entire school thought we were dating and we played along. She’d been gay for years and this kept guys from hitting on her. I, personally, just wasn’t interested in the empty-headed ninnies wandering around Hogwarts. So we were each other’s cover stories. Blaise was like my adopted brother. I had even got to spend a few weekends over at his place in California. He and his sisters had run there when Voldemort had risen to power. He was one of the lucky ones.
I was silent as I ate. Everyone was. Neville had vanished ages ago. As had his mother, I noticed. I shrugged and stuffed my face with more pie. Out of all the things I miss about Hogwarts while on vacation, the food is towards the top of the list. Mum can cook, but given the recent circumstances, she hasn’t had much passion for it. I had discovered a Muggle type of food I was crazy about: Ramen. It was amazing and made up most of my meals during the summer. When I was in California with Blaise, I had shown him how to make it. He didn’t like it as much as I did, though.
I stood as people began to head upstairs. Granger and I were to meet up with Headmistress so she could show us our living quarters. I stood at the front of the Hall with her for about five minutes before Granger came running in. She cheeks were flushed and she was panting heavily.
“I’m – so – sorry – Professor – Neville – help.” She looked sort of ill so I grabbed her elbow to balance her out a little. She looked sharply at me. I couldn’t help the words that fell out of my mouth next.
“Don’t start. You look like you’re about to pass out, so shut up for a minute and just accept my help.” I saw Headmistress out of the corner of my eye, trying to fight a smile. Granger blushed and looked at the floor as we walked out of the Great Hall. She looked better so I let go. She turned and looked at me when I released her arm. We kept walking until we reached a small square portrait of two giggling girls. One had long curly blond hair and the other had straight black hair. They smile shyly at me and winked at Granger. Her cheeks turned an attractive shade of pink.
“You are to make up your own password. It can be changed once a month and if you so choose, you may release your passwords to your friends. But do so wisely. We can finish this meeting at a later time. Goodnight to you both.” And with that, she was gone.
Hermione turned to me and looked pointedly at the painting. I raised an eyebrow. If we were going to be immature and play the quiet game, I wouldn’t be the one to lose. Finally, she sighed.
“You pick the first password.”
“Dobby.” She gave me the absolute strangest look as the portrait grew until it was a door for us to walk through. There was a large common room, nearly as big as the one in Slytherin house. It wasn’t decorated in house colors, like I’d expected. Instead, it was a mixture of all four colors. As tacky as that sounds, it actually worked for the room. There was prestige, as well as comfort. The giant couch was facing a large fire place and on either side of the fireplace were doors. One had a gold plaque with my name written on it. I started up the stairs until I heard her voice.
“How did you know Dobby?” I couldn’t help but to roll my eyes.
“He was my house elf until Harry freed him.” I didn’t wait for an answer and instead headed to my room.
My room looked exactly as it did at home. The ceiling was high and the walls were stark white. All of the furniture was dark oak and the comforter was green. There was a black baby grand piano in the corner of my room. I sat on the bench and ran my fingers over the keys and allowed a small smile. Things might not end up so bad after all.
A shriek sounded from the common room .
I grabbed my wand and flew towards it. Granger was staring at a strange black box with figures moving on it. “What the hell is that?” I yelled, pointing at it. Granger looked at me with an amused smile.
“It’s a television. It’s Muggle and I haven’t the faintest idea how it’s working. Electricity doesn’t work at Hogwarts.” I relaxed slightly, and then aggravation sunk in.
“Merlin, Granger, don’t act like such a drama queen. I thought something was actually wrong." I stomped back to my room and slammed the door. I sat back at my bench and began to play. I didn’t really focus on what I was playing, the notes just flowed out. My room was filled with melancholy notes as I thought back to what happened at dinner. Neville was probably furiously hexing up a storm somewhere. I sighed, pondering our exchanged words earlier.
I was walking down the train, looking for Harry. Neville bumped right into me. "Oi! Watch it, Longbottom!" I snapped. He looked at me with a raised eyebrow. There was no trace of the wimpy little Longbottom I was so used to bullying. I smiled slightly. "Look who finally grew a pair," I murmured. Neville shoved me softly and grinned. I had to return the grin, it was too contagious. We chatted about some trvial things before I mentioned needing to find Herminone. That's when he ran. I noticed a small note on the ground. I picked it up. Perplexed as hell, I followed him, although at a much slower pace. I read the note as I walked "No one can know," His face was still red when I walked into the compartment he was in. I nodded at him, showing my understanding.
I got out of bed and tip-toed past Granger’s room, where I heard quiet guitar playing. I almost paused until I remembered my mission. I performed a Disillusionment Charm on myself and made my way out. The ladies in the painting were asleep, so I kept walking. I paced in front of the Room of Requirement a few times and walked through the door where I found the sight I expected. Neville Longbottom was dueling a charmed dummy, and let me tell you, if he had shown he had this much power earlier, I’d have never picked a fight with him. I cleared my throat and he turned around, a scowl on his face. I couldn’t help but smirk at him. I removed the charm.
“Damn, Longbottom, I didn’t know you had this in you.” Neville laughed and put his wand down.
“Shit, Malfoy, you nearly lost a limb sneaking up on me like that!” I chuckled and sat on the small couch in the corner of the Room. Neville sank onto the couch in front of me. That’s when I saw the damage. He looked awful.
“Merlin, you look awful.” Neville burst into full laughter that ended in tears welling up in his eyes.
“This whole situation fucking sucks!” He shouted, suddenly, punching the wall.
“I know mate, I know…”
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