She watched him scurry about the house, looking for the things he was missing. It was August 20th, and Neville was preparing for the same thing he did every month, although today seemed more important. Lavender knew why. Today was the anniversary of his parents, and what had happened to them this night twenty years before.

"Lav, I can't seem to find my apperation license. Have you seen it?" Neville called as he wandered out of the room they had both been standing in and headed towards the bedroom.

She smiled at the question. It was so like him to be so flustered and to be missing nearly everything, regardless of where he was off to. "It's right here Neville," she called to him, picking it up off of the small table and holding it up.

He smiled at her as he reentered the room and walked over to her. "Thanks love," he said, giving her a quick peck on the lips before turning to leave.

Lavender watched him, and hesitated for a moment. It was now or never. Before he could raise his want to apperate she called out to him, "Neville, I'm coming with you."

That stopped her fiancé dead in his tracks. Neville turned back to her, all the color had drained out of his normally rosy cheeks. "W-what?" he stuttered, looking at her like she were some foreign invader.

Lavender pretended like nothing was out of the ordinary. As if she hadn't done something that had neither been expected or "You heard me," she said quickly, picking up the flowers that she had cut from their garden, which Neville had forgotten and grabbed her old scarf and cloak. "I'm coming with you."

"There's no need really, I'll be fine," Neville insisted. It wasn't that he didn't love Lavender, it was just that he did not want her to see this part of his life. "I'm just going to sit there and talk to them for awhile and come home. There's no need for you to be there. It's not like they'll notice."

A part of Lavender's heart broke at that statement. "I want to be there for you," she said, reaching out and grasping one of his hands with hers and squeezing tightly. "And I want to meet your parents."

Neville shook his head. Usually he would cave and give his passionate and demanding love everything, but he was going to stand firm on this one. "I don't want you to see them like this Lavender."

"Are you ashamed of them?"

"No!" he hollered, shocking Lavender a bit and causing her to jump back a bit. "Do you have any idea how horrific that is? To see what a curse such as the crustaticious can do when left on too long too many times?" Neville demanded, a haunted look in his eyes.

If the words would have weakened what Lavender was after, the look in his eyes only strengthened them tenfold. It was that very look that had prompted her to make this decision and there was no way she was taking no for an answer. "This is why you need someone with you."

Neville let out a tired sigh. Couldn't she just let it go and accept that his going alone was his decision? "I've been going alone since I was seventeen."

"And dealing with it alone since you were a child. You know I can count on one hand how many times you've discussed it with me in the five years we've been together."

"I don't want to burden you with this."

"I'm going to be your wife Neville," lavender reminded him seriously as her thumb twisted the pretty little ring that rested on her fourth finger. "The point is sharing things like this. I'm willing to admit that I was once very flighty and silly, but I was young. I've grown up Neville." And she was Neville thought, seeing the serious look in those normally laughing eyes. When had she grown up so much? "Please let me help you with this."

"You don't understand," he told her, turning away. He couldn't look at her for this.

"No I don't," Lavender said angrily, letting a bit of the hurt slip through her voice, "not if you don't tell me Neville. You've shared everything else with me over the past five years. I want to be there to hold your hand, to let you lean on me. I love Trevor, but can you honestly that's the same as having me by your side for comfort and support."

"Look I don't want this to touch you," Neville said harshly. There he'd said it. Lavender was perfect and lovely and his angel. He didn't want her to be touched by the ugliness that was his family. It was bad enough that she had to deal with Gran and Uncle.

"Why?" she asked him, feeling as if she were a little porcelain doll. She wasn't. Hadn't she proved that. "Because it's bad, ugly, and evil? Neville I've seen so much of it in school and since."

"Then why subject yourself to it now?" he asked her desperately.

Lavender laid the flowers aside and took his face in her hands. "Because I love you."

She was wearing him down and they both knew it. "Lav."

"Look at me Neville. I want to meet your parents," Lavender said, plainly, but sternly, so there would be no mistake. "I want to tell them the things about you that I know you don't. I want to thank them for having you in the short time they had to do anything of the sort. And IF I do not get to go with you now I will wait until we are married and I will go all on my own."

Neville reached out and snaked an arm around her waist. He gave her a gentle kiss on her head. "You never did listen to no."

Lavender pulled back and gave him that grin of hers that had made him week kneed in school. Still did. "Nope."

"I'm afraid this is going to be a shallow victory for you," he told her as he padded his cloak and robes for his wand.

Lavender picked it out of one of his pockets and placed it in his hand. "I'm not expecting much Neville. I'm just doing what I want to do." 'And what I need to do,' she added silently, knowing it was the last thing he wanted to think she was doing. It was both. She wouldn't have done it if she didn't want to, but that didn't negate the fact that it was necessary as well. He needed her.

* * * * *

Neville apperated into the waiting room in the mental ward of St. Mungos, within a moment Lavender was beside him. She reached out and grabbed his hand and held it tight.

The woman behind the desk looked up a them and instantly spotted Neville, giving him a sad smile of recognition. She hadn't not seen the boy at less than once a month since he was a child. She looked to his side and did not recognize the young woman. "Mr. Longbottom," she said as the young man walked over to her desk. "It's good to see you again."

"Same here Lucy," Neville said with a nod, even thought it really wasn't. "This is my fiancée Lavender Brown."

"It's quite good of you to come visit your parents. And I'm quite glad you've found someone to come with you."

Neville wasn't exactly sure what he was supposed to say. "Well, yes," was all he found he could manage.

Lucy leaned in to whisper to Lavender, "He really is the sweetest young man, but it isn't good for one to do these things all on their own."

Lavender merely pursed her lips and nodded once. "I know."

She looked between them and cleared her throat. "Well right this way," she said, turning on her heel and starting off.

Lucy lead them down a corridor, though Lavender could tell that Neville knew the path by heart. They came to a stop at one of the auspicious doors in the long corridor and Neville just stared at it with a consideration. After a few moments he turned to the nurse and politely asked her to leave, insisting that they would be fine from thereon out . Then it was back to staring at the door with the same considering manner. Lavender couldn't help but wonder if he did this every time he came here.

"Are we going to go in, or would you prefer to sit out here for awhile?" Lavender asked, being very careful not to put any tones in her voice. She didn't want him to think she was pushing him. "Because either would be fine."

"Lets go in and get this over with."

Neville pushed the door open and took her hand as he did so. He lead her in and Lavender finally got a look at the two people within. Both of them sat in bathrobes, the man was laying on his bed, staring at the ceiling, making signs with his fingers. Lavender didn't know if they had any significance. He would have been handsome once, when there was a soul within him. The woman sat at a table, a box of sweets in front of her, she kept picking them out and placing them before the other chairs, but saving the Drubble's Bubble Gum for herself. Lavender had to hold back a gasp, for the woman looked like Neville.

The woman had seemingly given Neville his clumsiness, as she knocked the box to the floor accidentally. She stared at it lost with blank eyes.

Neville dropped Lav's hand and hurried over to his mother's side. "It's alright Mum, I've got it. Don't worry about it. There. I've brought someone with me this time," He told her as he returned the box to the table.

Neville rose and returned to her, wrapping an arm about her. Both of his parents seemed to stare at them absently. "Mom, Dad, this is Lavender Brown, my fiancée. Lav love, these are my parents, Frank and Alice Longbottom."

Lavender managed a smile over the emotion that was pooling within her. How did anyone face tragedy like this so often? "It's wonderful to meet you both."

Neville smiled as he lead her to a seat, and took the one next to her. "We're going to be married this October and then plan on taking our honeymoon over Christmas hols. Lav is currently working on honing her divination skills. She even apprenticed with an actual seer."

Lavender blushed, it didn't matter that these two people may or may not understand, they were still her fiancé's parents. "I'm not that talented Neville."

Neville looked at her with love in his eyes. "You're brilliant."

"Well so are you." With renewed strength in her convictions Lavender turned to Mrs. Longbottom with a smile. "Neville is Defense Against the Dark Arts teacher at Hogwarts and rather brilliant at it. Although a part of me thinks he should have stuck with herbology. He has this way of sending messages with flowers that is magnificently wonderful."

They talked like that for hours. Telling his parents all sorts of magnificent thing about each other, their years at school. About Harry and how he was doing. About their plans for life. After awhile Neville squeezed her hand again. "Come on Lavender, we've been here long enough."

Lavender stood, and they both bid their good-byes. After receiving no response they headed for the door. Neville pushed it the door opened and then turned

Alice stood and shuffled towards them. She reached a hand out towards Neville and in response, like a well known dance, extended his, palm up. Alice was about to drop something but then she looked at Lavender. Instead she ripped what was in her hand, and then held a piece in each, re- extending her hand to Neville and the other to Lavender. Lavender opened her hand like Neville's and felt something drop into her palm.

Lavender stared at half the wrapper in her hand for a moment, before remembering the manners her mother had always drilled into her. "Thank you Alice," she called out after the woman who was already shuffling away.

They walked out of the room and down the hall until they got to the lobby. Upon reaching it he stopped her. "Lav."

"What?"

Neville leaned in and kissed her lips gently before pulling back. "Thank you," he murmured.

"I was glad to do it," she told him honestly.

"I have to admit, I'm glad you did. Now let's go home."

* * * * *

Lavender lay down in bed and looked across at her soon to be husband and finally let the tears fall down her face. He was right, it had been horrible. To find people so trapped within themselves that they weren't even cognizant of their own son.

And Neville. No one at school had never realized how strong or brave he was, out side of Harry and co., but if only they could see this wonderful man. She wondered if his students ever had. They better have.

"You're more than you know Neville. So much more," she whispered to his sleeping form.

She wrapped her arms around him tightly, glad to be able to hold him close. She was lucky and she planned to stay that way.