Hi friends! Ohhhh my gosh. So much happening in my life, people. Things will settle down after Sunday, and I think (really and truly) that I am going to have loads more writing time. Suffice to say that a lot of really bad stuff that I was dealing with all summer long ended up leading to a lot of really good stuff, but it's meant a lot of change for me!
Anywho, I still had to crank out a story for QLFC! So here I am with R11. This time I had to write about a Harry Potter trope - mine was 'the depiction of a villain as physically repulsive', and I also had to begin and end my story on the same word. How about a little bit of Neville/Hannah fluff? :) Hugs, family!
20 April 1998
"Neville, this looks bad," Hannah said tensely, as she ripped open his sleeve to reveal a long, deep cut in his shoulder; it was oozing trickles of dark blood down his upper arm.
Murmurs and soft conversation echoed from between the hammocks that were draped back and forth across the Room of Requirement. Tonight's mission in the corridors had gone reasonably well, although the Carrows' new policy of causing as much damage as possible immediately on sight of any member of Dumbledore's Army had taken its toll. Neville, who face and limbs were already lacerated and heavily bruised, had taken a curse that was aimed at Seamus, and they'd been separated from the group; it had taken them some time to get back to the Room of Requirement.
"Ah," Neville winced, tilting his head stiffly to one side as Hannah inspected his wound. "That hurts."
"I should think so," Hannah murmured. "Thanks, Parvati," she said, as Parvati appeared around the side of Neville's hammock and passed her a medicine kit.
"Neville, everyone else is back from the run," Parvati told him, and he gave her a slight smile.
"Good," he said. "Nobody was injured?"
Parvati shook her head. "Everything's quiet. Terry and Michael passed along the word from Ravenclaw Tower that they made it back okay, too."
Neville nodded. "Good."
"We should get them in here with us," Hannah said, uncorking a faintly purple potion and applying a liberal amount to a piece of gauze. "I don't like the idea of them being outside while the rest of us are holed up in here."
"We will," Parvati said reassuringly. "But as long as they aren't getting caught or cornered…"
"Better to have some eyes and ears who can go out during the daylight," Neville said significantly. His teeth were gritted in pain.
"Here, hold this to it," Hannah advised, bringing his hand up to put pressure on the wound. "I'm going to bandage it now."
Parvati patted Neville's uninjured shoulder gently and walked away. Hannah bit the inside of her lip and focused on wrapping the bandage over his cut. "Is that too tight?"
Neville shook his head tersely. His jaw was still tense and his eyes seemed to be watering; he was gazing intently up at the ceiling.
"I can try to find you something for the pain," Hannah said gently, tying off the bandage and positioning Neville's arm so that she could put a sling around his elbow.
"It's okay," he replied. He looked at her and tried to smile, though this was difficult, as he had a split lip. "Thanks a lot, Hannah."
To Hannah's surprise, she blushed a little, and covered it by allowing her hair to swing forward and hide her pink cheeks as she rummaged in the medical bag. "Just like fourth year, remember?"
Neville didn't say anything; when Hannah looked up again, she was surprised to see that he, too, looked embarrassed.
Not long before Christmas, in their fourth year, Professor Snape had exposed Neville's toad, Trevor, to the Shrinking Solution that the Gryffindors had been making in Potions. Hannah had come across Neville, sitting alone in an upstairs corridor, his eyes red and puffy as he allowed Trevor to hop on the floor around his feet.
After much poking and prodding, Hannah had gotten the story from him; by the time she did, she was nothing short of horrified.
"He tried to poison your toad?"
"He tried to test my potion on him," Neville had responded dully, looking down at his shoes. "Since I'm rubbish at Potions…"
"I'm sure you aren't," Hannah had said kindly.
"No, I am." Neville had heaved a sigh. "I can't do anything right."
Hannah frowned at him thoughtfully for a few moments, and then reached into her schoolbag. She found a notebook in which she kept her Potions notes and fished it out, flipping it open to the back page.
"What are you doing?" Neville asked, as Hannah twirled a quill expertly in her fingers and began scribbling.
"Have you ever noticed how greasy Snape's hair is?" Hannah asked, without looking up from her drawing. "And how he looks like a vulture?"
Neville stared at her, and then began looking around as though he expected to see Professor Snape swooping from out of nowhere. Hannah had continued her work.
"Whenever I'm annoyed with someone—and mind you, this is only if I'm really, really angry—I draw," she told Neville. "It's a caricature, and it's not nice, and it makes fun of them, and honestly, I'm none too proud of it—but it gets all the bad feelings out, and then I feel better. Plus, it's funny, and it makes me laugh when I'm feeling angry." She stopped scribbling and held her book to her chest. "I've never showed one of these to anyone. Usually I destroy them. So if I show you this, will you swear not to tell?"
Neville had looked at her as though she'd lost her mind. "O-okay," he stammered, staring at her.
Hannah flipped the drawing around. It featured a giant bat with a long, pointed, human face surrounded by curtains of greasy dark hair. It had crooked teeth, beady black eyes, and its nose was so large, it was almost beaklike; even though it was an ink-and-parchment drawing, it seemed like there was a yellowish tinge to the skin. Neville had burst out laughing.
"Shh, someone'll hear us," Hannah had said, giggling as she flicked her wand over the page and the drawing vanished.
Hannah and Neville were pulled out of the shared memory when Neville winced as she tied off his sling. "Sorry," she said. "Too tight?"
"No," he mumbled. "It's fine. Thanks again."
Hannah hesitated for a moment. "I've always thought the Carrows would look good as a pair of trolls," she said softly. "Amycus has the figure for it."
Neville snorted and looked up into Hannah's eyes. For a moment, she was drawn back to that day in their fourth year. What if she had asked him to the Yule Ball then? Would he still have gone with Ginny Weasley? Would she still have gone with Ernie? Would she and Ernie have been together ever since?
Without really understanding why all of these questions were leaping to the front of her mind, Hannah withdrew her hand from where it had been sitting on Neville's knee.
"I'd better check on the others," Neville said quietly, and she nodded. "I'll see you later. Thanks again—er—again," he added, grinning at her. "Night, Hannah."