Disclaimer: I do not own Harry Potter, or any of the usual characters. Also, this is set during the sixth book but I am ignoring many plot details. So don't yell at me if I neglect to mention something Neville says.
Story by StormDancer
It is not light that we need, but fire; it is not the gentle shower, but thunder. We need the storm, the whirlwind, and the earthquake.
Overlooked. That was what he was. Always the dorky friend, or the occasional helper in saving the world. Never noticed, never acknowledged. Even his family failed to notice him until he became a wizard. The one quality he hated in himself, his compliancy, only made it worse. He was an object to beat on, to occasionally be a sounding board. He was always overlooked.
Especially by her. Neville Longbottom looked up from the book he had been staring at but not reading. Sophia Kuval had plopped her books down next to his, and sat down across the circular table.
"Hi Soph," he replied half-heartedly.
"So, how was your summer?" she asked happily, nearly bouncing up and down with suppressed excitement.
Neville shrugged. "Nothing much happened."
Except his parents conditions had worsened considerably. But that was something no one could know about. Of the students who knew his secret, he trusted all of them with his life. Not that he didn't trust Sophia, but the opportunity had never come up to tell her. And he didn't want it to. He did not want to sacrifice the veneer of normality that he seemed to have. Mindless parents did not fall under the category of normal.
"Well, my summer was great! I saw all my old friends, and we had lots of sleepovers, and I met this cute guy who I'm going to stay in touch with, and it was just sooo great." Her gray eyes sparkled.
Neville flinched at her talk of cute guys. That was the curse of being a dorky friend. The girl you loved always talked about her boyfriends and crushes on other guys freely with you.
"That's great." He said feebly.
"Nev, what's wrong?" she asked concernedly.
"Nothing," he said, shaking off his reveries, "I'm just a bit tired. So tell me about this guy."
Sophia's eyes lit up as she imagined him.
"He's dark and handsome. He has short, spiky black hair, and these sparkling green eyes you can just melt in with a swarthy complexion. He's a quidditch player, and he's like a foot taller than me. Doesn't that sound soooo hott!"
Neville shrugged. He could not help comparing this unknown paragon of manliness to himself. This guy had black hair to his brown; hair was styled to Neville's messy falling into eyes look, and 'sparkling green eyes' to Neville's plain, ordinary brown. Even his pale skin was against him!
Sophia glared at his lack of enthusiasm.
"Well he is."
Neville smiled patronizingly. "I'll take your word for it."
Sophia glared. "He really is! Derek is amazingly hot! Can't you just be happy for me?" she yelled.
Neville raised an eyebrow at her outburst. "I am Soph, I really am," he said sincerely.
Sophia smiled sweetly, the storm being blown over. "Ok then."
Neville held back a grin. He loved how Sophia's anger, though quickly forming, blew itself out just as quickly. He was glad she was not like Hermione, who could hold a grudge forever. He felt bad for Ron, having to deal with that side of her.
"Can you believe McGonagall gave us homework the first day?" Sophia exclaimed.
Neville winced. "I know. And I really can't get it at all. And I lost my notes. Do you?"
"Yeah, a bit. I'll help you if you can quiz me on herbology."
They began to study. After about 15 minutes, Sophia spoke up.
"I can't study anymore. I'm bored."
Neville hid his smile. "You know, Soph, you reall-"
He was cut off by Sophia's shriek. "Oooh, there's Cho! I haven't talked to her in forever!"
She turned and ran away so fast Neville was whipped by her long black hair. He watched her go sadly. Yes, taken for granted, that's what he was.
Neville closed his book and walked out of the library. As he walked, a note fell out of his book.
"I know I didn't put that there," he mused.
You always hide. Stand up and shout who you are. The person who I know and love will shine through then, and only then.
Neville stared at the note. 'What on earth could it mean?' he wondered, 'who could have put it there?'
Neville's thought turned automatically to Sophia, but then he shook his head. She didn't love him, nor was she perceptive enough to see what the note said. She was a dear, sweet person, but wisdom was not her forte.
Neville continued out of the Library. As he paced out of the door, he saw Sophia in the middle of a huge group of friends. He walked by, but she never even acknowledged he existed.
"Hey guys," Neville said, dropping into a chair next to Ron. He basked in the warmth of the fire in the Gryffindor common room.
"Hi Neville," Harry said, Ron nodding cordially.
"What's up?" Neville asked, glancing at a sheet of paper in front of Ron.
"Nothing," Ron said, blushing. He hid the paper quickly under his books.
"Okay," Neville shrugged. If Ron did not want to tell him, he obviously did not need to know. "Where's Hermione?"
Ron's ears turned red. "I dunno."
"She's studying in her room. Ron annoyed her too much," Harry said absentmindedly. He was staring hard into the fire, as if there was a secret in the middle he was trying to find.
Neville laughed. "So, how were your summers?"
Harry shrugged. "Not bad. Got away from the Dursley's sooner than I'd expected to."
Ron laughed. "And he only has to go back one more time. Right, Harry? My summer was great. Hermione came to stay for a month a Harry joined us a few days later! Have you gone to Fred and George's?"
"Isn't it amazing?"
"I guess." Neville was depressed. These people were supposed to be his friends, and they didn't even ask how his summer was.
"You guess! Mate, what's wrong with you? That place is bloody awesome!" Ron asserted enthusiastically.
"Yeah, Neville, what is wrong?" Hermione asked, coming down the stairs and sitting next to them, "You look awful. Was your summer that bad?"
Neville made a face. "Thanks, Hermione, for the compliment. And, I guess not."
"Oh. Okay," Hermione said distractedly, before turning back to Ron and Harry and starting a spirited discussion on what they called 'private lessons'.
Neville just felt worse. He may have said his summer was not that bad, but they could have made sure. If they had pressed, he would have told them! It was all cut and parcel of being understated.
He rose and walked up to his dorm. As the rain pattered against the window and the thunder roared overhead, he reread the note.
Hide? He did not hide. He may not have thrown himself out there, but he never purposefully hid. And standing up for himself never worked. The first time he had, Crabbe and Goyle beat him up. The second, Hermione put a Full-Body-Bind Curse on him.
Neville crumpled up the note and threw it aside. It landed in his trunk, and he knew from experience papers that went in there, never came out again.
He got up and began pacing around the dorm, the storm outside echoing his feelings. He toped and ran to his trunk, throwing it open. There, at the bottom, was his broom. Most people thought Neville was a klutz who could never fly, and they used to be right. After the disastrous lesson in first year, Neville had taken lessons every time he went home. Most of his clumsiness had been trained away, at least on a broom stick. He would never again be humiliated like that.
Neville threw open the windows and grabbed his Nimbus 2000. He may never be as good as Harry was, but he had found a special talent that was all his own.
Neville mounted the broom and flew out the window, into the storm. There, he was safe, ironically. In a storm, he would not be thrown. That was his gift. He was a amazing storm flier, to everyone's surprise. The heaviness that made him bad at agility training made him immovable in the wind and rain. He knew instinctively where a lightning bolt would strike, and thus was never hit.
Ever since he had discovered his gift, he had always flown whenever there was a storm. It made him feel powerful, a feeling that he did not often have. When he flew the storm, he was part of it. Part of the invincible being, the ancient, unconquerable thing. He was of it when he flew, dancing between the lightning.
The storm. That was his secret wish. To be the storm, to be something that people respected, and sometimes feared. Then people would no longer overlook him. They would always pay attention. No longer would they disregard what he said because he was Neville Longbottom, the victim; Neville, the prey.
With this in his mind, he flew back towards his dorm. As he entered through the window, a gust of wind came suddenly and pushed him through the window, into the dorm. He stumbled at the change, than fell.
"Mate, You OK?" Ron asked coming in just then, "Why are you wet?"
Neville sighed. He pushed the broom surreptitiously under his bed and stood up. He opened his mouth to tell Ron what he was really doing, and instead what came out was
"The window ws open, and when I tried to close it, the rain blew in and got me wet and knocked me down."
"oh." Ron shrugged dismissively, "You Okay?"
"Yeah," Neville said, but he was screaming inside. Why couldn't anybody see he was not okay? That was the one thing they all listened to, when he lied to say he was okay. Didn't anybody look deeper?
Neville pulled on his pajamas and got into bed, the storm still roaring outside. 'When I become the storm, I will take what is mine!' he thought as he was falling asleep. The last thing he imagined before sleep took him was black hair, and gray eyes.