Chapter 1 : Never Forgive, Never Forget
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On this night, Neville Longbottom could be found in the makeshift office he and Hannah shared in their dingy London flat. Hannah had just secured her new job for The Leaky Cauldron, and they were getting ready to move in two weeks. Boxes threatened to engulf the tiny room in their vast quantity, but packing was not on Neville’s mind at the moment. He had thrown himself into the cracked leather chair, his face as dark as the night surrounding him. As he nursed a glass of Firewhiskey he glared at the object of his fury.
Strewn haphazardly across a second-hand desk, a crumpled piece of parchment sat innocently on its top.
I hope this letter finds you and Hannah well. I just wanted to let you know that Severus Snape’s portrait is to be instated into the Headmaster’s Office at Hogwarts for the coming school year. Kingsley wants to run a piece for the Prophet, too, as long as he can get McGonagall to agree to it. Somehow I don’t think she will, do you?
Anyway, what I mean to say is I’m sorry if it brings back any bad memories, but we both know that Snape deserves his place in that office.
Send an owl if you want to talk.
Never in Neville’s life had he been so angry. It was that kind of rage that only takes possession of a person perhaps two or three times in a lifetime; seeing red, blood boiling, hands shaking uncontrollably. The letter had brought back a torrent of ugly, terrible memories that had haunted Neville since his time at Hogwarts. He knew he was always regarded as a bit of a joke by everyone he’d ever met – even his family were disdainful of his entire existence before he became a war hero – but nothing was as bad as what he was put through by Severus Snape.
Just even thinking about the man who was his tormentor for seven years made Neville’s lip curl into a snarl. He was no longer the little boy who couldn’t defend himself, who relied on others to fight his battles for him. He’d depended on Harry too many times to count, and karma was coming round to slap him in the face. Harry had betrayed him.
Neville stood up so violently that his vision blurred and he staggered into a tower of boxes, spilling their contents onto the grimy floor. He cursed. Perhaps the Firewhiskey wasn’t a good idea, but he couldn’t give a damn. He didn’t care about Hannah’s concern as he pictured her worried face, knitting in the lounge and pretending everything was okay. He’d apologise tomorrow, she’d smile and give him a kiss just like always. For now… he would brood.
An overturned box revealed some photographs spilling out of it, a mix of the decades of him and Hannah’s lives. Neville picked one up at random. It was of him, Seamus and Harry during their fifth year; Seamus stood boldly and confident in the middle, grinning goofily, shirt untucked and tie loose. Harry seemed to be laughing at something Seamus had said as he cracked up again and again as the picture repeated its scene, bending at the knees. Neville was slightly behind the other two, more reserved and with his arms crossed. He looked slightly embarrassed to be included in the picture, but had managed a small smile. Harry, who was his friend and who he had fought with in the Battle of Hogwarts, was championing the teacher and Death Eater who made his life hell.
In a fit of sudden anger Neville tore the photo in half, setting it alight with his wand and watching their bright faces curl up and burn slowly. Severus Snape did not deserve to hold any sort of honours or any place in the Headmasters office. He simply couldn’t fathom how anybody could think otherwise.
But he was brave, he was clever, he did it for love. Neville could hear their pathetic answers already, niggling at his thoughts and insisting on making themselves heard through the red midst of his rage. He pushed them away angrily, taking another swig of his drink. It burned his throat as he recalled his final year at Hogwarts. Perhaps Harry would understand how he felt if he were there alongside him that year.
He had suffered during that time, physically and mentally. Neville could vividly recall the lashes and burns that he endured for the cause, sometimes from spells, sometimes from whips. He saw small children being tortured to the brink of breaking point, forced to watch as punishment for defiance. Snape loomed over them each day like the huge oversized bat he was, tolerating and even instigating the cruelty that pervaded every corner at the school.
Neville brushed away tears that rolled down his cheeks as he willed himself to calm down. These memories still woke him up at night, drenched in a cold sweat and crying out for the ones who had lost their lives because of that man. Harry had been through his own hardships but he was not at the heart of the pain, the anguish like the rest of them had been. It was something fiercely personal to Neville, who many considered one of the leaders of the resistance and someone to look up to. His particular hatred for Snape was entirely justified to him.
Even Neville himself was surprised at his almost delighted reaction at Snape’s death. He heard the news as he was helping to move the dead, mourning the loss of yet another person barely out of their youth and yet to become grown men and women. Snape had died alone at the hand of his master, trying to save his own skin. Many viewed him and his actions as reprehensible and damning – he was one of the most ardent supporters of Voldemort, after all. Neville knew that there were others who still agreed with him, but they were few and far between these days as the truth came out.
As he downed the last of his drink, he slumped back into the worn chair once more and let his energy gradually drain from his body, feeling the tension seep from his being. He would not reply to the letter – there was nothing he could do that would ever change Harry’s mind. His silence would be his damning response.
The Severus Snape that Neville remembered ruthlessly bullied young children, robbing them of their self-confidence and making them sob with fear at the thought of another lesson with him. The Severus Snape he remembered sided with the scum of the earth and allowed for real, brutal torture to happen with no remorse. The Severus Snape he remembered was Voldemort’s right hand man, selling secrets to pure evil and running home to Dumbledore every day.
It was this resentment that Neville held deep in a broken piece of his heart. He would never forgive Snape for how he treated him and others… but he would keep this bitterness locked deep away, reserved for a rainy and melancholy night like tonight.
He would never forgive, and he would never forget.
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by CA Crawford