"Courage is not simply one of the virtues, but the form of every virtue at the testing point." -C.S. Lewis


"Leave her alone."

The words left Hannah's mouth before she could stop them. She almost wanted to reach out and grab them and stuff them back inside, but it would not be fair for her to let Nott continue his mistreatment of poor Luna. Hannah was all about fair-play.

"What's it to you, Abbott?" Nott sneered, twirling Luna's wand between his fingers.

Hannah straightened her robes and jabbed a finger at her prefect badge. "Aside from the obvious," she said with a sniff, looking the sandy-haired boy in the eye. "I don't think Miss Lovegood is having as good a time as you are," Luna's face showed no sign that she was even put-out by the boy's actions, but Hannah soldiered on. "And I'd just hate for Slytherin to lose points all because one person can't understand that 'we mustn't touch what isn't ours.'"

Nott straightened his spine then, standing to his full height. He was now a good foot taller than she was, the top of her head barely reaching his shoulders, and Hannah felt the knot of worry in her stomach twist. "And who says what's hers isn't mine?"

Hannah's eyebrows raised involuntarily, confusion settling over her.

"This little blood traitor doesn't deserve to have a wand," he continued, eyes flashing as he advanced on her. "Anymore that you deserve to set foot in this school, halfbreed."

Hannah's head snapped back like he'd delivered a sound slap to her face. Venom dripped from every syllable, especially the last two, which still hung in the air like a bad odor.

"Fifty points from Slytherin," she snapped, reaching out and snatching the wand from him with surprising speed and handing it back to the blonde behind her. "For bullying, theft, derogatory remarks, and back-sassing a prefect. Take it up with your Head of House if you've got a problem."

The Slytherin glared down at her with such an intensity, Hannah almost felt her brave face falter. Maybe she shouldn't have been so cheeky. He was bigger than her, after all, and stronger. The corridor was currently deserted, save the three of them and a suit of rusted armor, and the stone walls seemed to be pressing in on her from all around.

He took a single step forward and whatever space between them vanished. He sneered down into her face, looking as evil and menacing as he ever had. His thin, pale lips parted, showing her flashes of brilliant, pearly teeth. "You'll regret that, Abbott. Hope it was worth it."

He shouldered past her, knocking her to the floor as he swept away down the hall. Luna knelt next to Hannah, checking her over as she helped Hannah to her feet. "Thank you for your help. It was very kind of you."

Hannah nodded absently, staring after Nott's retreating form. She had a feeling that his last words were not only a threat, but a promise.

It wasn't even two weeks later that she was told her mother was murdered. The lesson was Herbology with the Slytherins, of all things.

The scream fell from her lips before she could even try to contain it. She didn't wish to have it back, though. Not like the helping hand she had extended to Luna bloody Lovegood that day. Not like those words she'd said to Theodore Nott. She hoped that scream rang out to wherever that dithering idiot was. She hoped Nott felt it back there in the greenhouse, and that it burned into his soul. She hoped it haunted him until he died.

She hoped he wouldn't be haunted long.


Done for Inspiration Strikes using the above quote

and the Alphabet Prompt Challenge using 'Dithering Idiots'.

Sorry for dark!bitter!Hannah, but hey, we aren't all peaches and cream.