Author: Magus

Disclaimer: I don't own Severus Snape. I don't own Neville Longbottom. I don't own Gryffindor. I don't own Voldemort. I don't own Dumbledore. I don't own the Longbottoms. I don't own sleeping bags.

Rating: PG `cause I think there's a swear word.

A/N: Shamelessly typical, terrifically generic and clich‚ Nevfic.

A/N2: I got bored during a summer course on government and so I wrote this. It's definitely not my best, but probably could be worse. Thanks for reading. If you're not lazy, please review. If you are lazy, don't review, you're not obligated to. Thanks.

/He looks so young when he sleeps/ Snape thought to himself. /Of course sixteen is rather young and Longbottom has always had a young face. Just like his father./ Snape shuddered at that last thought and at the image that flooded his mind of Frank Longbottom's face the last time he saw it.

It was storming terribly and a bolt of lightning raced across the enchanted ceiling in the Great Hall, closely followed by a loud crash of thunder. Neville made a quiet whimper and turned onto his side facing Snape, and proceeded, to Snape's amazement, to plop his thumb into the side of his mouth and curl his arm around his chest, hugging himself.

It had been a long night and Snape had found himself sitting on the floor near the corner in an empty space between students. He leaned his head back against the wall, resolved to strangle the Weasley twins when next he saw them. The brainless dunderheads had been bumbling about, trying to mix a potion with unauthorised ingredients he had not yet taught them about.

The potion had exploded and vaporised filling the Gryffindor tower with a pungent air that also had the unfortunate effect of dotting it's breathers with itchy red patches on their skin and in their mouths. Hence, all the Gryffindor sleeping bags. /Bloody red and gold everywhere/.

He looked down at Longbottom in all his Gryffindor colours, and shifted his bum on the hard marble floor. /Well at least some of us are comfortable./ he thought, still watching Longbottom softly snore. Suddenly a flash of lightning exploded, covering the entire ceiling then a horrendous crash of thunder and other smaller spikes of lightning. Neville's eyes had flown open to be greeted by a hooked nose and bottomless black eyes lit by a flash of lightning.

Snape saw it coming when Neville's eyes grew huge and his mouth stretched wide, and clamped his hand over the source of the impending scream.

"Hush or you'll wake the other brats."

Neville's eyes were still the size of saucers but his mouth stopped working against Snape's hand and Snape felt the boy relax a bit an so removed his hand, wiping it absent-mindedly on his robes.

"My, my, Longbottom, wetting your blanket over a bit of lightning, hmm?", Snape sneered at him. "Well there's no need to wake the whole lot over it." He sat back against the wall once again but couldn't help noticing the trembling Longbottom's eyes were still glued to him.

"Well, what are you looking at!?" Neville quickly cast his eyes down, not quite stifling a whimper.

/Good God,/ thought Snape, /the boy's still horrified of me./ He thought Longbottom was asleep and was beginning to dose himself when,

"I remember it, you know." Neville spoke so softly that Snape had to strain his ears to catch it. "I was a year and a half old; she doesn't know that I can remember. It was storming that night, like tonight. That's why." It was a whisper that Snape found he was intrigued by; he waited but there was no more. Stricken by his great weakness/strength, curiosity, he spoke.

"That's why, what?" Perhaps it was the fact that Snape's quiet curiosity covered up any of his usual sneer, or perhaps it was that Neville was still half asleep, or maybe Neville just needed to tell someone who wouldn't pity him for it and bring everything back around to it. For whatever his reasons, Neville told.

"That's why the lightning scares me; because it stormed like this the night... the night my parents... were hurt." There was a pause and Snape unknowingly held his breath, waiting, silent and still, so very still.

"It's why I'm... why I'm afraid of you." The last word was broken and uncertain and Snape was hard pressed to ignore the sudden tightening in his jaw and chest. "Because I was there that night when they broke into our home, and I-I remember their... screams and the deathea... I remember their laughter." Snape's blood ran cold, cold with the boys quiet, calm narrative. "Then the laughter was gone and there was only screaming; then those stopped to. There was a crash when the good wizards came such a long time later, and you remind me of the man who came and took me away into the night and the lightning, took me away to my Gran's... the man who took me away from my mummy."

Snape's eyes closed with that last bit and a familiar yearning to take it all away tightened his chest. He remembered that night well; he had been with Albus, not the Deatheaters. When Albus burst through the door they had long since apparated away. The curses had not been lifted and the Longbottoms lay in their parlour floor, covered in vomit and shit, still twitching, their eyes mad.

When Snape came back from his own memories he felt a silky softness enveloping his fingers. The boy's hair, he realised. He had been stroking it back from Longbottom's... Neville's forehead. He made no move to stop.

"It was." Snape spoke without realising.


"It was me. I came there with Albus, and I took you away from that awful place to your Grandmother's house."

"Oh. I wish... I dunno, I wish I'd been able see her... you know just one last time before...St. Mungo's."

"If I had let you see her, Neville, you would beg me not to have done so." Oh, he hadn't meant to use the boy's name.

Neville, who had, at some point, moved quite a bit closer, a horrified and desperate look of questioning upon his face, that was quickly overcome with realisation and despair.

Neville's face was buried in the robes on Snape's chest before the Professor knew what had happened. Snape stiffened and sat there, plagued with uncertainty.

"They were already gone?" a tiny voice lamented, muffled by the robes, more a statement than a question, yet still tinged with the barest most desperate hope. Snape melted into the boy, his arms wrapping themselves around the still small frame.

"They were already gone." he said. And for the first time since he was a year and a half old, Neville Longbottom was rocked to sleep.

FIN... I think.