A/N: I don't own Harry Potter; it belongs to JKR.
My first attempt at a letter fic. I hope it's okay. (This may be AU. I don't think Neville has a child in canon but he does in this.) Enjoy! :)
This was written for round 6 of the QLFC (Harpies, Beater 2: write to an enemy/rival) Bonus prompts [jealousy, freedom, "I always find it more difficult to say the things I mean than the things I don't" - W. Somerset Maughan.]
Also for: Birthday comp [September - Zodiac - justice, truth]; Quotes for all Occasions comp [Life - "Begin at once to live, and count each separate day as a separate life" - Seneca]; Hunger Games comp [characters - Primrose Everdeen - Write about Neville]; Prompt mania challenge [Song - Titanium: David Guetta ft. Sia]
Houses and Hurricanes
I'm talking loud, not saying much. I'm criticized, but all your bullets ricochet.
You shoot me down, but I get up.
- Titanium. David Guetta ft. Sia
I should feel a bit foolish really, writing to a woman who's been dead for ten years. There's no way that you could ever know what I'm writing, I tell myself. You're dead. I know that. But there are times when I can't really accept it. Right now, I don't feel like I'm writing to a dead woman. Because you still have a hold over my family, and you have done ever since 1981. Enough is enough.
It's the year 2008 now. Other families who fought against you in the war are free of the torment and the misery, except mine. Harry's scar isn't bothering him anymore and the Weasleys have continued to be a strong family unit after Fred's death. In fact, right now there seem to be more Weasleys than ever. When the remaining members of Dumbledore's Army meet in the Leaky Cauldron on the odd occasion, they are able to discuss the war and celebrate their triumph rather than brood over their losses.
'They', that is, not 'we'.
I'd undoubtedly feel jealous of my friends' happiness if it was in my nature. I'd never wish this internal pain on any of them. But at the same time I can't help but think: Why is it always - always - me?
I should be grateful, I suppose, that my parents are still alive. I can visit them whenever I like, which is more than can be said for Harry and his parents and godfather. He's grieved, and he has moved on in the event of your master's death as well as your own. He's free; because there's nothing in the world there to remind him what he's lost.
My circumstances are different. Although they don't really recognise me, my parents are alive. When I see the damage that was inflicted on them all those years ago, all I can think of is you. I see your mocking sneer in the vacant eyes of my mother and I can hear your vicious cackle in my dad's slurred words.
Nobody can truly understand how this feels for me, but my wife, Hannah, was able to come close, through an analogy of houses and hurricanes. A hurricane ripped Harry's house off the ground and blew it completely out of sight, leaving him with no trace of what was once there or what had taken it when the wind eventually died. He had no evidence of the disaster, and was able to forget and build a new house in time, free from the hurricane's clutches.
But in terms of my life, the hurricane only battered my house: perhaps beyond repair, but not completely destroyed. It just left me with remains, and even long after the hurricane had gone, my mind subconsciously associated the debris with the hurricane, making it almost impossible for me to forget what caused the damage.
At the moment I'm caught up in a vicious cycle, and that isn't fair when you've been dead for so long. My life in general is better than I ever imagined it could be: I have a brilliant job, a lovely wife and a beautiful daughter, whom I have taken to see my parents on a couple of occasions.
Little Alice, however, is very naïve. She's too young to understand why my parents are the way they are. I can't even begin to explain it to her, and that breaks my heart. I live a happy and carefree life until I go to St. Mungo's: then I feel trapped and suffocated, like I'm being contained in an invisible bubble as I'm reminded of you with every second I'm with my parents.
It's a cycle that I hope to break by writing this letter to you. My parents are quite old now, and I don't want my last months and hopefully years with them ruined by you: the hurricane. If I face the source of my inner-torment head-on, then with any luck I will break free of your clutches once and for all.
In my early years at Hogwarts, I'd write to gran whenever I felt left out or lonely, and she'd always reply with the same piece of advice (albeit, in amongst several far less sympathetic sentiments). She'd say that I shouldn't let the past affect me, and to live each day as a separate life. That way, I'd have freedom of yesterday's worries.
Unfortunately, whilst you continue to have a hold over my family, I can't do that. After all, what's the point in a new life when the same darkness lingers there?
It has been very difficult to write this letter, for more reasons than one. I'm quite surprised I've written so much so far; I always find it more difficult to say the things I mean than the things I don't, particularly when it comes to my friends. At school, I was a boy of very few words. I never liked to go against someone's opinion for fear that they'd hate me for it. I never liked talking about myself for fear that they'd think I was arrogant, and whilst you are the polar-opposite of a friend to me, writing so much about myself has made me quite embarrassed.
Maybe this has been my problem. Maybe I haven't been honest enough with myself in this letter so far. I've re-told my innermost thoughts, but I realise that I've been holding back the whole truth. I shouldn't care what you think of me; you're my enemy and you're dead. I shouldn't still be scared of you, and you shouldn't be able to keep hurting me. It's taking all of my courage (and then some) to finally take the plunge into the deep end. So here goes.
I'm a nice person, a good person, and you, Bellatrix, are the very opposite. I don't have it in me to hate many people, not even your nephew, who bullied me frequently during school. I probably should hate him; he's a blood-relative to you, after all. But I don't. You are the one person I truly hate. Even to this day, I can't stop myself from getting angry when I think of you.
Honestly, if I had it my way, you would be locked up in Azkaban instead of having the freedom and peace of death. That way, you'd at least feel a degree of the pain that you've caused my family. Sometimes I'm jealous and envious of the fact that I remain a tormented mortal while you – the monster who ruined families and never showed a shred of regret – continue to mock me even beyond the grave. I'm made of strong stuff; you haven't and never will break me, but this constant inner battle is extremely tiresome and draining.
You don't deserve the pleasure of taunting me with your memory. The only thing you deserve, is justice. You may have escaped Azkaban after the war, but I realise now that if you can affect me still, then I can ricochet your bullets right back. I want you to suffer, so I can tell you right now that I'm not going to give you the satisfaction of keeping me a prisoner anymore.
I can practically feel the shackles that have kept me attached to you for so long loosening and breaking as I write. With any luck (Merlin knows I deserve some of that right now), this is the last time I will acknowledge that you ever existed.
You don't own Neville Longbottom any more, Bellatrix. Of that, I am certain.
A/N: Thank you so much for reading. Please let me know what you thought :)
Word count: 1297