These eight chapters were inspired by Jason Robert Brown's Songs for a New World, to which it might be helpful to listen. They're pretty great. Like the Songs, these chapters don't follow any real narrative thread; they're just about kind of similar things. They're in the order of the songs in the show, and each chapter title is the name of the song quoted therein. I shall post one a day for the next week.
Thanks to Silver Ice for your review of "Ad Astra." I appreciate your kind words!
Disclaimer: All characters are property of J.K. Rowling. All lyrics are from Songs for a New World by Jason Robert Brown.
A New World
A new world calls across the ocean
A new world calls across the sky
A new world whispers in the shadows
Time to fly, time to fly
One time he'd tried to be brave, and stand up for the rules, and it'd gotten him petrified. A rather too fitting and ironic result, he thought. At the time it had just proved that no matter what his Gran had said, this school was not going to be any different than the previous one, and being put in his parents' old house wouldn't suddenly make him a better wizard.
Now, because apparently just being a mediocre wizard wasn't shameful enough, there was someone who probably wanted to kill him for it. Neville didn't think that was fair in the least. His parents had been very good, magically speaking, and it had got them all but killed; now he himself was not all that good, and it would probably get him killed. He sighed.
Before his Gran had put him on the Express for the first time she'd warned him to look sharp and not tarnish the family name. "Neville," she'd said, glaring at him maternally, "this is your opportunity to start fresh. Seize it! I don't want to hear of you getting into any trouble, or losing anything, or getting lost..." The speech that had started almost encouragingly tapered off into the usual warnings and admonitions. He wouldn't have cared to admit it, but Neville had suspected he was more reliant on his Gran than other kids his age were on their real parents.
Nobody told you the best way to steer when the wind starts to blow
Or had been, at least. Over the years at Hogwarts he'd managed to learn a bit more than what was in the lesson plans. Part of it he'd chalk up to what he once would have called coincidence, but in a time of prophecies, the word "coincidence" rang hollow. All that aside, if he hadn't happened to be at school the same time as Harry and Hermione and Ron, he was sure he would've persisted in being disappointing Neville Longbottom. On the other hand, being away from his Gran had to have done some good, no matter who his classmates were. Not that he didn't love her; but she'd always told him who he was, and Neville wanted to find out who he was apart from her.
And oh, you're suddenly a stranger
Your life is different than you planned
And you have to stay
'Til you somehow find a way
To be sure of what will be
And you might be free
For a while he'd continued being the same old Neville, but over time he'd changed. Sometimes he didn't recognize himself these days. He found himself thinking things that he wouldn't have dreamed of thinking before. He'd learned how to fight from Harry Potter himself, which should really count for something. Never had he imagined that he would risk his life for any cause without hardly thinking twice about it. Maybe just he was changing, or maybe the whole world was changing. It was certainly possible. The things he'd seen were teaching him not to call anything impossible too quickly. Neville didn't know what any day's tomorrow would bring, but he wanted to know; and for the first time he felt he could help change the world.