Lie in the Bed I Make
A Harry Potter Fan Fiction
Characters: Neville, Seamus
NOTE: Spoilers for Deathly Hollows. I'm throwing this out to see if there's any interest in this scenario, and might do a couple of fics in this series. I'm sure several writers are going to tackle this angle. ;;
The room seemed mockingly empty as Neville set his trunk upon his bed. He looked over at Seamus, and received a blank stare in return. Their two beds were dwarfed in a room originally meant for five, and both of them felt the quiet oppressively weighing down on them.
The room had never been so still. With five teenage boys in residence, it was always a hub of activity; the silence was so unbearable that Neville had to speak. "Harry didn't come," he said unnecessarily, because of all the absences, it was Harry's that was felt most keenly. For so long their lives had revolved around the Boy Who Lived, and now he wasn't there.
"He would have been mad to," Seamus replied as he abandoned sorting through his things and came to sit on the edge of Neville's bed. "And Ron's got spattergroit."
Neville barely contained a snort. Both of them knew that Ron was wherever Harry was, but couldn't voice it aloud. Neither was stupid; as the closest friends of Harry's remaining at Hogwarts, it was likely there were magical eavesdropping devices hidden throughout the room. It was why they didn't mention Dean, because talking about a Muggleborn would only ask for trouble.
"Do you want to move the beds?" Neville asked, unwilling to let the conversation die. There was a space between their bunks where Dean's bed used to be, and the room looked decidedly lopsided.
"Leave them," Seamus replied, and his chin set in stubborn lines. "Just in case."
Just in case what? Neville wanted to ask, but didn't. He knew what Seamus was hoping for: somehow a miracle would happen, and Harry Potter would win quickly. Then things could return to the way they're supposed to be, and everyone could come back. They could have the seventh year they're supposed to, one last grand hurrah before venturing out into the real world.
Or pretend to have that innocence. Neither of them had been a child since joining Dumbledore's Army.
"Okay," Neville agreed, shuffling through his trunk until he found the Chocolate Frogs his grandmother packed. Producing two packages, he tossed one to Seamus before taking a seat next to him. They were sitting so close that their thighs touched, and Neville found reassurance in the tactile contact. Seamus was warm and real, and as long as he was there, Neville wasn't alone.
They ripped into their packages, and Neville slid the card out habitually, wondering if he would finally get a Flavius Belby. To his horror, it was a card he didn't have, but never wanted to see. He took a glance at Seamus and saw a similar expression of loathing on his face. Neville flipped the card over to show his friend, and earned a grimace in reply.
SEVERUS SNAPE Considered by many to be one of the foremost potion masters of the modern era, Snape is particularly famous for creating several potions of use in promoting Pureblood supremacy. In his spare time, Snape enjoys gardening and researching the Dark Arts.
Currently Head master of Hogwarts
Considered by many to be one of the foremost potion masters of the modern era, Snape is particularly famous for creating several potions of use in promoting Pureblood supremacy.
In his spare time, Snape enjoys gardening and researching the Dark Arts.
Seamus turned his card to display Dolores Umbridge's cheerfully described biography, exalting her firm hand with youth. "At least it's not Bellatrix Lestrange?"
Neville didn't flinch at the name of his parents' torturer, especially since Seamus didn't know about what had happened. Neville had grown used to thinking of that horrible woman. He had witnessed the gradual evolution of her image into a martyr as the media fell more deeply under the Dark Lord's sway. Now even the candy company was participating in the whitewashing of Death Eaters.
"They're probably designing one for her as we speak. I've lost my appetite," Neville said grumpily. Neither he nor Seamus ate the candy, throwing it into the small waste receptacle in the corner.
Feeling a bit lost and for lack of a better idea, they fetched a Wizarding Chessboard, and set up a match. They weren't very good, both more experienced at losing to Ron than knowing how to play competitively. Their pieces reflected their lack of interest, barely smashing the opponent whenever a capture was made. They played in silence, although both had plenty of things - dangerous things – they wanted to say.
It was strange to be in a room with Seamus alone, and stranger still that Seamus wasn't talking his ear off. The Irish wizard was a notorious loudmouth, unable to shut up. Neville remembered fifth year, when Seamus had gone too far and told Harry – to his face – about his doubts. But Seamus was a Gryffindor through-and-through, and he'd been brave enough to apologize when confronted with evidence of his mistake.
Neville hadn't needed that proof. Harry had always been too frighteningly sane. Like the oracle Cassandra, he had always told the truth. It wasn't his fault that people couldn't bear to hear something so horrible.
Neville knew the game wasn't worth continuing when Seamus didn't even flinch as his queen was captured. But they played on, because at least they were together, despite the cloud of gloom hanging over the school. Neville wondered if Dean had anyone to be with.
As the hands pushed forward on his watch – from not doing much to curfew - Neville felt his fatigue grow. He wasn't ready for bed, but the last few months had gradually worn down his reserves.
He'd felt uneasy for weeks, which was only compounded after boarding the Hogwarts Express and finding so many of his friends missing. After OWLs, students could drop out of school without recourse, but he was surprised that so many chose to flee. Hogwarts used to represent safety.
Not anymore. Not with Snape and his Death Eater friends in charge. Members of the Wizarding World might not acknowledge that You-Know-Who was back, but they were taking steps to protect their children. Maybe he shouldn't have come back, but Gryffindors weren't supposed to hide in fear.
Neville realized that he'd been childishly hoping that Harry would come back to Hogwarts despite the danger and tell him what to do next. He had never been the leader; he had always followed Harry. Harry was the hero, and Neville was one of his supporting players. He had been happy to help, and even gladder that the responsibility wasn't his.
But Harry wasn't there to lead anymore.
After he finally pushed Seamus into Checkmate, he stared down at the board. If this was a normal night, Ron would have been yelling about how sorry a game they'd played. Harry would have been rolling his eyes, probably grinning a bit that Ron's zealous nature wasn't annoyed with him for a change. And maybe Dean would have been drawing the scene. Neville had always admired Dean's talent as an artist.
"That royally sucked," Seamus said, like he was reading Neville's mind. "Why do we even bother?"
"Well, if Ron gets better, we'll need to keep in practice, right?" Neville responded, even though Ron wasn't going to appear anytime soon. Ron wouldn't be back until it all ended – and only if Harry won.
"I guess. Not like it's going to help – he'll still kick us all over the board. It's too bad there's no such thing as a professional chess player," Seamus said, offering a dry laugh. It's the first time Neville's heard anyone laugh in a while, and it was a sorry attempt. Seamus' throat sounded tight, but Neville appreciated the effort.
He forced a laugh of his own. "If he was as good at Quidditch as he is at chess, he'd be a one-man team."
"Harry could be," Seamus said thoughtlessly, before smacking a hand over his mouth as if by doing so he could take his words back.
"Harry could be," Neville echoed, stressing his friend's name. He couldn't help but notice that speaking Harry Potter's name was becoming nearly as anathema as saying You-Know-Who's. There was something wrong in that. Harry was the good guy.
"Harry's name isn't taboo," he added, mentally tacking on not like You-Know-Who's.
"I know." Seamus deflated a bit, slumping down onto Neville's bed. The movement upset the board, and several of the pieces went flying onto the floor. They complained quite loudly, the most spirit they had shown the entire evening. Seamus guiltily slid off the bed to collect them, setting them gently in their case before shutting the lid.
Neville watched Seamus, trying to ignore the melancholia that threatened. Ron would have been throwing the fit to end all fits by now. Chess was sacrosanct in Ron's world.
A part of him was actually jealous that Ron had been trusted by Harry enough to accompany him on the quest. Neville would have preferred that to the impotence of just sitting at school. Neville had been moving closer to Harry's inner circle, but in the end it was always Ron and Hermione who he turned to.
"Do you think they're okay?" Seamus asked softly, his voice barely above a whisper.
It was the question that's been hanging between them the entire evening, like a dragon hidden by a poorly-thrown invisibility cloak. Neville opened his mouth to give a stock reassurance, but closed it just as quickly so he could think. Lying to themselves wasn't going to get them anywhere. "If we can't believe in them, there's nothing left to believe," he said finally.
Seamus nodded, but remained seated on the floor, looking defeated. For some reason, his slumped posture grated on Neville's already over extended nerves. "Get up, man," Neville commanded. "You're a Gryffindor."
He wasn't sure if he was flattered or offended at the slightly bug-eyed expression Seamus wore as he obeyed.
Neville had once won the House Cup for Gryffindor for his courage in standing up to his friends; surely standing up to his enemies couldn't be worse. While enemies had the power to threaten life and physical safety, it was only friends that can touch his heart. Neville knew what had become of his parents in the first war, and was terrified of having the same thing happen to himself. But living in fear would be worse, a small voice said in the back of his mind.
Somewhere out there, Harry Potter was working to destroy You-Know - Voldemort. He could think the Dark Lord's name in the privacy of his mind, he told himself. And it was time to use his mind to figure out what he needed to do. The answer was blindingly obvious, and a surge of adrenalin swept through him as he realized what his next steps were.
Harry would need allies. He would need the people who he could count on when he returned to Hogwarts. Neville would see that those people were in place. There were still people who were loyal to Dumbledore's memory – and to the Boy Who Lived.
Reaching into his pocket, he pulled out the fake galleon that Hermione had designed for Dumbledore's Army in fifth year. Neville always kept it with him, as both a reminder of that dreadful day in the Department of Mysteries and because it might come in handy. Ginny and Luna probably still carried theirs. Maybe a couple of others had theirs as well.
Would they check? Neville couldn't be sure. And even if they did check, how many people would be insane enough to go against the Dark Lord without Harry Potter to lead them? Neville wasn't vain enough to think he could replace Harry.
It was worth a try, he supposed. "Heads or tails?" he asked, waiting for a reaction. Seamus had never been one of the most fervent DA members. He would be a good test.
"Heads," Seamus replied quickly, pulling his own talisman out to display its presence. "Gryffindors always turn situations on their heads."
There was only one place they could still speak freely. The Room of Requirement. Not even Snape would be able to bug that, though they would have to avoid getting caught going there. Flipping the coin, Neville triggered a message to signal that a DA meeting was going to be held immediately.
He wondered who would come.
"Let's go on a snack raid," Neville said just in case they had an audience. He wouldn't put it past Snape to be spying right now. A schoolboy raid on the kitchens would be less dangerous than a DA meeting, though he was convinced they'd receive harsh punishment even under that guise if discovered.
Seamus grinned, and his posture was erect with determination, a complete about face from ten minutes before. "I'm always up for a good snack," he replied.
They dressed in their school clothes but left their robes behind. After tucking their wands up their sleeves, they stole through the common room. The Fat Lady gave them an approving smile as they passed, holding a finger to her lips to indicate she would keep their secret. Neville couldn't help but feel the strangeness of the situation. It was his step that Seamus was following, his plan that was being instituted.
If they get caught breaking curfew, there would be hell to pay. Snape had announced that the Carrows would be taking over the school's discipline. Neville wasn't naïve enough to believe Death Eaters would be anything less than ruthless in performing the task.
But those that did not protest condoned the situation through their inaction.
Neville wasn't the best or the brightest student, but that didn't matter – he would do this. Not for fame and fortune, or even for friendship, but because it was the right thing to do. His parents had stood up once; he would not be worthy of their legacy if he didn't fight now.
He would be Gryffindor until the end.