Chapter 1 : Rêve Voyager
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Not many people look happy; instead they are stressed or worried. She wonders why they could possibly feel that way. They’re outside, breathing in fresh air, meeting new people. She wants to join them, she wants to run from this room and twirl in the middle of the street like she had seen some little girls do. She wants to close her eyes and to be in a new place. Away from the grey walls and pale bed sheets. The man next to her doesn’t move at all, she wonders how he does it. She wonders how he sits there and doesn’t do anything.
She stares at him sometimes. She feels a connection with him, and he does too. He’s never said a word, but she knows it. The way he looks at her, it makes her feel jittery and her stomach flutters with something unknown.
She always wants to say something, to open her mouth and start a conversation. She licks her chapped lips in anticipation and rolls her lips between her teeth. She doesn’t know what to say. There are no words. She looks away and stares back at the window, looking at the familiar hustling and bustling of people. She smiles; she has grown fond of seeing these strangers every day.
People sometimes visit her and the man next to her. They talk to her but she doesn’t know them so she fades off into the distance, imagining a place where she is exploring a new world. She often dreams herself walking outside into the fresh air. She pictures herself walking to a whole new world. The sky is blue, the sun is shining, the people are smiling. She envisions herself with those people, smiling at everyone. She wants to be out there, doing something.
She tries to build up the courage of asking one of the familiar ladies to let her go outside but the words never come to her mouth. She stays quiet as they chatter to her about a boy named, ‘Neville’. They talk about him quite often but she doesn’t know why. She listens occasionally, but doesn’t understand why they are telling her about this strange boy. She doesn’t know him.
Instead, she discovers the world she has invented in her mind. She sees herself rubbing dirt between her fingers. She once tried to do that before but the chattering lady took the plant away from her, muttering and nattering about something she didn’t understand.
She can feel herself chewing on her lip, a habit she cannot seem to break. She stares back out the window, someone stares up at her and something comes to her mind. She claws at it desperate to remember what the memory was.
She squeezes her eyes shut and she sees herself with the man next to her ad they are laughing. She is in front of a metal building, pointing at the top. The letter ‘E’ comes to mind and her tongue rolls, trying to say something. She and the man kiss and her eyes spring open, the memory running away as the light hits her faded brown irises. She shuts her eyes, hoping it would come back but she can’t remember. She is frustrated; she wants to know what that image was.
She looks to the man, knowing he had something to do with the memory. She wants to know if he saw the same thing but he gazes blankly at her. She looks in the brown eyes and his eyes flicker, as if he recognises something too. She doesn’t say a word, but she knows he feels something towards her. She wants to hold his hand, lie down with him but she is unsure why.
A smile flickers at his lips and she feels something pressing down on her mind. She closes her eyes again and an image of the two of them flits in her mind. They’re at a foreign café and people are talking around them in a different language. She sees herself laughing with the man as they try to communicate what they want. She hears the word ‘German’ come from the man’s mouth, but before she can dwell on it, the memory disappears again. She opens her eyes and tries to say the word but she cannot remember it.
She is frustrated with herself, she is a useless person. She taps the window sill, hoping that would bring back another memory. She is struggling to keep these images of her and the man.
The man continues to stare at her and she feels a tug at her navel. She is not uncomfortable with his stare, but flattered. She wonders why he would be staring at her. She gives him a small smile before closing her eyes and falling asleep.
In her slumber, she has nightmares of her and the man fighting people. She’s terrified; she grips his hand and is comforted by the calloused fingers. He squeezes her hand tightly, reassuring her silently.
Her and the man are using magic wands, shooting out red and blue beams of light. The other people in dark cloaks are cackling around them, shooting green spells at them. Her heart thumps loudly in her chest but she maintains a calm façade, jeering at them. She doesn’t know where the courage or the words are coming from but she keeps spewing them out of her mouth uncontrollably. The cloaked people hide and she turns to the man, looking triumphant.
The man whispers to her, smirking, “I really didn’t expect Wales to be like this. Fun honeymoon, eh?”
She laughs and says, “It’s not an adventure without action, Frank.” She looks down at her ruined clothes and looks at his as well saying, “The washing is going to be fun next week.”
He laughs loudly and holds her hand before spinning into a new place. She looks down at her clothes and they are no longer ripped. She looks at the man, Frank, and notices his clothes are no longer torn either. She looks at the setting around her and notices she’s in the countryside, a few cows are mulling about with several horses galloping around the field. She recognises the place, but cannot place a finger on the name.
Frank is holding her hand loosely. He says, “Alice, are you okay?”
She starts, not realising her name is Alice. She replies, “Yes, I’m fine. Why?”
He brings her closer towards him, brushing some of her short hair away from her face. She jolts, realising it is brown and not white. “You’re jumpy,” he says simply.
She stares at him lovingly. She doesn’t know why she feels this way towards him but she doesn’t want to ruin it. She wants to have a few moments of memory. Or is it imagination? Is she making all this up?
She doesn’t know, but she decides to make the most of it while she can. It is rare when she has such vivid images.
She bites her lip, a habit she has in the waking world. “I guess I’m a bit nervous. What if they’re dangerous?”
Frank chuckles. “If they are, who cares? We’re the best Aurors out there, you know that.” He winks at her and she finds laughter bubbling from her lips. She doesn’t know that but she laughs along with him.
He says, “Try not to worry too much, love. We originally came here on a holiday. Just think, if we get this interrogation over and done with, we can visit the Montacute House.”
She nods, a grin tugging at the edge of her lips. She smooths down the cornflower blue dress and pokes around in her bag to check she has her wand. “Ready,” she says, reaching out and holding his hand.
They walk to the cottage and when they open the door, she is surprised to not see the inside of a house, but instead a backyard filled with dull green plants. The sky is bluer than she had ever seen it and it is extremely hot. It is a heat that she has never endured. She fiddles with her camisole and notices she has rather short shorts on. They notice a pool in the backyard and she turns to Frank in wonder.
He laughs. “Australia’s a great place, isn’t it? It’s October and we’re swimming in an outdoor pool in a backyard!” He leads her to the pool, tugging on her hand eagerly.
She dips her feet into the cool water and sighs happily. She looks to a tree and sees a Kookaburra staring at them cautiously from a tall tree. She says to Frank, “Look at the bird!” She grabs his hand and guides it to the place where the Kookaburra is hiding.
He grins. “Wow!” He is staring at the tree with a silly grin and cheekily she pushes him so he splashes in the water. He rises up from the water, his hair sticking to his forehead. She giggles and he glares at her playfully. He starts to walk slowly toward her and she scrambles up but he lunges and drags her into the pool with him. The water surrounds her and she presses down against the stone and projects herself upward. She takes in a deep breath and opens her eyes to see that she is no longer in the pool.
She shivers and runs a hand through her hair, surprised to find it dry. She realises she is in a thick coat with multiple layers underneath, keeping her warm. “Alice,” a voice calls out.
She turns around and sees Frank walking towards her, his head bent against the whipping wind. He rushes to catch up to her and he says, “Wanna get going?”
She doesn’t know what to say so she nods and he holds her hand leading her to a carriage. She realises that there are many other people and she wonders where they are all going. The pair are quiet for the whole ride and they finally arrive to a small village.
“I’ve missed Hogsmeade,” Frank mumbles, grinning slyly at her.
“I have too,” she finds herself saying. He holds her mitten-enclosed hands with his large snow-gloves. They hurry to the Three Broomsticks, wanting to get inside as soon as possible. They look around and spot a small table at the back.
They push their way through some pesky third years who were jeering at a young red-haired girl and a greasy, black-haired boy. Frank snorts and says, “I sincerely hope we weren’t that annoying.”
She rolls her eyes and says, “I can assure you, we were. Everyone is annoying at thirteen.”
They finally sit down at the table and Frank leans in to her saying, “I’m really glad you’re dating me, Alice.”
She laughs and says, “I should bloody well hope so, I am rather fond of you.”
He ducks his head and grins. “You’re one of a kind, Alice Prewett.”
“As are you, Frank Longbottom,” she says, smiling gently at him. She looks up at him and they are in a different place once again. She feels exhausted, she doesn’t know why until someone shows her a baby boy.
She holds this child and realises it is her baby boy. No one says it to her, but she knows as soon as she looks at him. He is surprisingly very settled and she feels a hand smoothing her hair down. She jolts and realises it is Frank, who is looking at his son proudly. He whispers, “You did fantastically, Alice.”
She smiles at him but resumes staring at the boy in her arms. She laughs as Frank says, “Trust that our child would come five weeks early and while we’re on holiday.”
“Well, I didn’t want to go away but your mother insisted,” she points out, smiling at her baby boy. She wonders how he is so healthy until a Muggle nurse tells them that he was actually only two weeks early, that they had apparently been reading the signs incorrectly.
Alice feels foolish but Frank just laughs. “Of course he was. Thank you.” The nurse leaves and allows the family to be on their own for a small amount of time before their family members pour in.
Alice looks up from her son and expecting to see the hospital but instead she sees a home. She looks back down and sees her son as no longer a baby but a sitting up and giggling boy.
“How’s Neville?” Frank asks, popping from behind her to press a kiss to her cheek. He ruffles his son’s hair and snatches him out of her arms.
“He’s good,” she says, wiping some drool off his chin. She pulls a silly face and Neville laughs. She loves seeing him laugh, it fills her with a significant amount of pride.
Frank also starts to pull silly faces to make their son laugh and soon they are all laughing. She bends down to pick up a toy that had been thrown on the floor. When she straightens, she is no longer in her kitchen with Neville but instead in a dark room with her wand at the ready. She is angry and scared at the same time. She looks next to her and sees Frank also with his wand out, his face grim.
“You murderers!” he shouts. “Come out here!” A flash of terror seizes through Alice as high-pitched cackling surrounds the room.
“Itty bitty Longbottoms want to play?” a girlish voice coos. Her stomach fills with dread at that voice.
“We aren’t scared of you!” Alice screams in defiance. “Come out you COWARDS!”
Four people appear out of nowhere, circling Alice and Frank. They taunt the pair and silently, Alice thanks Augusta is looking after Neville. He is safe; she will never allow anything to happen to her grandson. Frank sends a jet of light towards one of them and they react angrily, shouting, “Crucio!”
She wakes up from her sleep with a jolt. Her heart is in her throat and she has tiny beads of sweat lining her hairline. She tries to remember the dream but she cannot. She just knows she was scared. She closes her eyes, hoping to remember just a tiny bit but she can’t.
She clenches her fists and wants to scream at her mind. She begins to cry and starts fisting the sheets. She hates this; she just wants to be able to remember something, anything. She stops crying eventually and takes a deep breath. Her hands loosen on the linen sheets, and she lies back down.
A lady comes in and leads her to the bathroom so she can clean herself. She barely knows what she is doing, she goes through the same rhythm every day and then she is in front of the mirror, staring at her naked body. She is thin, but she has strange marks all over her body.
There are purple lines running up and down her stomach, breasts and hips. She runs her fingers along them, confused as to how they got on her body. She notices a few scars on her arms, but they are odd-shaped. Shapes she has never seen before. She looks at her pale face, her lips are pinched and there are purple circles underneath her eyes. Her hair is pale, almost translucent and falls in wisps around her face.
She picks up a towel with delicate hands and dries herself off, still staring at her body. How did she get these marks? Why does she have these marks?
She puts a gown back on and shuffles to the room where the man is staring at the window. She walks toward him and places a hand on his forearm. He doesn’t flinch, but his eyes tighten. She doesn’t know why she is doing this; it just feels natural to do so.
A tiny sigh escapes her lips and she walks back to her bed, sitting down cautiously. She doesn’t know what to do, so she sleeps.
She feels as if she only slept for a few minutes but she hears a voice, “She’s sleeping, he’s just having a bit of walk. I’m sure they’ll be glad to see you.”
A different, more aged, voice replies, “They don’t really show any happiness, can they? Let’s just hope it’s a good thing what I do.”
The first lady reassures the second that it is a good thing and then she hears sharp clicking noises. A lady with a strange hat walks in and looks around the room. “Hello, dears. Haven’t been here in a while, have I?” she says, smiling at them.
She doesn’t know who she is talking to. And neither does the man who is still staring out the window. The lady smiles at the woman next to her. “If you don’t mind I’d like a bit of time alone with them.”
The woman nods and scurries out the room, leaving the three of them alone. The lady holds the man’s arm and leads him to a chair next to her bed. “I’m Augusta, but you guys used to call me Mum,” she says, looking at the pair sadly. She sighs and shakes her head. “Of course you don’t remember. But I’ll talk to you two; it seems like a rather quiet place, eh?” She lets out a small laugh and starts to rummage through her bag, looking for something.
She pulls out a letter and says, “I have a letter from your son. Remember him? Always a bit scared he was a squib, you know. But I’m not anymore. He’s truly your son, Frank. And Alice,” she adds hurriedly. “He’s been smarting off all those ruddy Death Eaters at school,” she says, a proud smile tugging at her aged face. “He gets that from you, Alice. You were always back-chatting to your own teachers and to me. You were a cheeky girl, Alice,” she says fondly. “I’m actually going to run away after this little meeting. I stunned a few Death Eaters of my own, where did everyone think Frank inherited from? His father? ‘Course not, the man didn’t know what way was up. He was a good man though, shame he didn’t get to see his grandson become the man he is today,” she says sadly. “He would’ve loved to see it.”
Her eyes flutter and she quickly dabs them with a tissue. “Anyway, I’ll tell you about Neville and all his adventures.”
At the word ‘Neville’, she straightens up and stares at the older lady. Her mouth slackens and she tries to remember what the name meant. She knows it is an important name, and she knows that it relates to her dream.
Seeing her jolt at her son’s name, the older lady leant forward and grips her thin hand in her bony one. “Alice, do you remember Neville?” she asks urgently. She looks at her in thinly veiled hope. “Neville is your son. Frank is your husband, Neville’s father. Neville looks so much like you, dear. You would be so proud,” she says, her eyes watering.
She, who is apparently called ‘Alice’, doesn’t understand what this lady, ‘Augusta’ means. She stares back at her and the grip on her hand tightens. “Alice, dear. Please remember. Neville is your son, he’s at Hogwarts and he’s been defending others. He’s not having the time of his life, but he’s doing pretty well for a boy who I thought was a squib.” Alice looks at her and although she does not know who this boy Augusta is talking about, or what a ‘squib’ or ‘Hogwarts’ is, she wants to know what is happening to the boy.
She leans forward and Augusta starts to tell her about Neville, and she finds that her stomach tightens when Augusta tells her about Neville getting hurt. She wants to protect this boy, she wants to hold him and make sure he’s okay. She doesn’t want him to be in danger.
Augusta finishes telling her story and says, “I have to go. They’re going to start looking for me and I can’t be found. I’ll return when the war is over, and it will be over. And I promise you that Neville will play a part in it, and he will return and tell you about his own adventures. I’m not going down without a fight.” She looks at the pair of them and sighs. “I’m going to miss you, both of you. You’re safe here.”
She lifts herself off the chair and mutters about how she is ageing. Alice stares at her and Augusta looks at her intensely. “Goodbye, Alice and Frank,” she says before squeezing the man’s hand one last time.
Alice rolls the sheets between her fingers, nervous. Who is Neville and what did he mean to her? She eventually falls asleep and the tension leaves her.
When she wakes up, she is no longer in the hospital. She is in a warm bed, with the man beside her. She looks at him and sees that he is fast asleep, so she quietly pulls herself out of bed, wraps a robe around her body and pads down to the room one door away from her own. She doesn’t know why she is doing this, but she doesn’t question it. She opens the door quietly and she sees a boy of six months in his crib, blinking up at her. She smiles and says, “Didn’t you want to wake your mumma up?” She picks him up and cradles him to her body. She kisses his forehead and he smiles at her. She sits down on the rocking chair and feeds him, telling him stories.
“One day, Neville, you’re going to be a big, strong man. And you aren’t going to want to do anything with your father and I. You’ll think we’re ‘uncool’ and will cringe at all the embarrassing things we do, but I want to make sure that you know that even though we may be lame in the future, we’ll always love you and we’ll always want you to be with us.
“And so you know that we’re pretty cool, I’m going to tell you a story. A story that I’m going to tell you a lot, just so you know how un-lame we are and will hopefully force you to remain our friend.” She laughs and rocks herself forward, patting her son’s back to soothe him.
She recounts the story of her and Frank when they were in France. “We’d gone there for a little holiday, your father and I. We took a lot of holidays, mostly because we could. When I had you, we were on holiday! We had just gone a few hours down south and suddenly you were begging to come join on the holiday as well! It wasn’t a nasty surprise, but it was still a surprise.
“Anyway, so we were at France. We were out in front of the Eiffel Tower being romantic – and one day when I tell this story; you’ll scrunch up your nose and say, ‘Ew! That’s gross!’ and your father and I will laugh at you – and we were just about to go back home and suddenly there was a loud bang! We immediately pulled out our wands and ordered the Muggles to go back home. Whenever they asked about those ruddy policemen, we would confund them and make them believe we were those police people.
“What was I saying? Ah yes, so we ordered most of the Muggles to leave – some were stubborn and refusing to leave so they ended up witnessing magic, but they can’t remember any of it now, the poor things – and these cloaked people appeared out of nowhere. They drew out their own wands and your father and I were the only magical people out there. But you know what, Neville? We beat them!
“And it’s actually the second time we’ve beaten them! Those guys can’t ever get past us, we’re too good. So when you’re older and we say or do something lame and you cringe, just think: we’ve escaped death from You-Know-Who two times! And we’ll continue to do that because you wanna know why? Because we’ve got you. And nothing and no one will ever hurt you, we’re going to make sure of that.”
“Please, he’s our son,” a deep voice says from the doorway, “no one will want to touch him because he’s going to be so tough and strong.” She looks over to her husband and smiles.
“I know,” she says, smoothing Neville’s hair down. “I’m just saying that if someone tries to lay a finger on our son, they may never have hands again.”
He laughs and sits down next to her. “I’ll help you with that,” he says, smiling at her. She smiles back at him and then returns to looking at the beautiful boy in her arms.
“I love you, Neville,” she says softly.
Her eyes spring open and she feels a warmth inside of her that she cannot explain. She wants to embrace the man for reasons unbeknownst to her. She stays put though, and watches the window out at the side. No one goes past anymore, they haven’t for several weeks. She misses them and their smiles. The rare person that walks through the cobblestone no longer has a brilliant smile; their faces are pinched and lined with stress and worry.
She continues to stare out the window until suddenly, the people are back and they are happier than ever. She smiles to herself as she watches them, so incredibly happy and then there is a knock at the door.
“Hello?” a voice calls out. “You have some visitors. Augusta and Neville are here to visit again. Bet you’ve missed them, hey?”
At the word ‘Neville’, she straightens up. She doesn’t know why this name means so much to her but it does. She feels herself smiling as they walk in and she takes a look at the man. He is also smiling and she wonders if he felt the same tug at his stomach when he heard the word ‘Neville’.
A man walks in with a big grin on his face. “Hey, Mum and Dad. Sorry I’ve not come for the past few months. It’s been scary.”
The lady walks in behind him and says, “It was scary but you were so brave, Neville. Tell them all about it; they’re going to be proud of you.”
He looks at the old lady and she encourages him with a proud smile. His hands fidget and he says softly, “Mum, do you recognise me?”
She doesn’t know what he means but she smiles gently at him. He sighs and looks back to the older lady who jerks her head to encourage him further. “Mum, do you know what my name is?
She looks at the young boy and she thinks about it. He is familiar to her and she finds herself wanting to hold him tight and make sure he is always protected. She sees a faded scar on his face and the words, ‘If someone tries to lay a finger on our son, they may never have hands again’ and a faint stirring of recognition whirls inside her.
She places a hand on his clasped ones and says softly, “Neville.”
Hope you enjoyed! The title is French for 'Travelling Dream', for obvious reasons. :p
I just wanted to add that this one-shot really spans over a year or so, but I couldn't find a good way to say it. It's just that Alice is pretty much catatonic so her timing of things are just blurred. I just wanted to clear that up.
Anywho, I'd love to hear your opinions on this! Thanks for reading! :)
Word count: 4,594