Chapter Four: The Last Years of School

I: How Neville Lost Hannah

After passing the O.W.L.S. (both of them got mostly Acceptables with a couple of Exceeds Expectations) the prospect of a sixth year was daunting—the Wizarding world was abuzz with rumors and fears—Voldemort was back, and some parents decided not to send their children to Hogwarts. But Hannah's mother reasoned that it would be safe—safer than home, perhaps. And it turned out that she was right.

It was during Herbology that it happened. The class had been working with Devil's Snare when McGonagall came in with Professor Sprout and asked Hannah to go with her. The two professors looked uneasy and upset, and Neville looked around, expecting his fellow students to have noticed. But everyone was just working, oblivious. Neville wasn't sure if following his instincts was the best idea, but he did. And outside, he found a devastated Hannah with a silent McGonagall. Hannah's mother had been killed earlier that day with the Dark Mark above her house.

And when he heard this, Neville felt his stomach drop, the shock of it hitting hard. And then he hugged Hannah tightly, suddenly crying with her. She left Hogwarts immediately, dazed, lost, and without her cat (naturally, Neville took the poor creature in, which Trevor was thrilled about).

And Neville didn't ever see Hannah again. Well all right, that's an outright lie. But that's definitely and truthfully how Neville felt when he watched Hannah leave—like he would never see her again. And he continued feeling that way for over a year. As selfish as it was, Neville felt the void generated by Hannah not being there, and he missed her. He constantly wondered where she was. But she never wrote. Sometimes, Neville read The Daily Prophet, afraid to see news of her death. But he heard nothing (and somehow, hearing nothing scared him even more).

Now, if the students thought their sixth year was bad, seventh year was, in comparison hell or something worse. With seventh year came Voldemort's return, and with his return Hogwarts was rendered unrecognizable. The Carrows, two particularly nasty Death Eaters, took over, while Snape remained cold, aloft, and silent. It was like being in a death camp.

II: How Hannah Found Neville

Even when Hogwarts required mandatory attendance of all magical children, Hannah still didn't turn up—but Neville hopefully reasoned that she'd gone into hiding and was just waiting for the right time to return. I suppose you'd think it's unlikely that Neville might become a hero, artful and clever, a revolution starter. But he did. He somehow forgot how to be clumsy and awkward, and instead grew passionately rebellious, enjoying his favorite new pastime (which was trying to get into trouble with the Carrows).

Meanwhile, young Hannah Abbott had unhappily sold her mother's home, hidden the money, and laid low in hopes of somehow being able to fight the state of the world she found herself in. Keeping her galleon close, she passed the time, waiting for it to tell her where to go.

On May first, 1998, the galleons all blazed to life, and Neville Longbottom found himself lost in a swarm of familiar faces inside the Room of Requirement. Just as the newly-arrived Oliver Wood was shaking Neville's hand heartily and saying something derogatory about Voldemort, a flash of blond appeared behind the fellow's shoulder, and Neville's heart skipped a beat (or several, actually).

It was her! She was a bit thinner, a bit wilder—with her hair in untidy plaits and rosy cold-weather cheeks she stood breathless, clutching her galleon and staring at him, and then suddenly grinning madly. They shouted each other's names at once, rushing into a tight hug even as Harry Potter was shouting about evacuations and fighting. Everyone roared in response, stampeding toward the exit.

The noise drowned out what Hannah had begun to say, but despite the river of people squeezing around and past Hannah and Neville, it seemed quiet and serene, strangely enough. As the last of the noisy students filtered out, Neville stepped back, but didn't let go all the way (and she didn't try and end the embrace, either). He wanted to ask her a million things, but he settled for "Are you all right?"

She nodded, distracted as she gently ran a thumb over the gouge marks on his cheek. Her worried eyes flicked up from the wounds to his eyes. He caught her hand and held her gaze. "I love you, you know," he said steadily.

Hannah smiled up at him as if she had known all along, tucking a stray strand of hair behind her ear. "Yes."

She stood on her tiptoes and gave him a kiss.

As the two simultaneously blushed and grinned and shuffled out together, you'd never have guessed that they were consciously entering into a war zone. But they knew they were going to fight and they were going to win, because nothing could stop them from making the world better as it once had been.

And so, hand in hand, Neville Longbottom and Hannah Abbott faced their greatest test ever—not O.W.L.S., not N.E.W.T.S, but something greater, definitive, life-altering. And in the end of it all, they would watch their world become bright once again.

Epilogue: How Padrig and Trevor Lived Happily Ever After

Above The Leaky Cauldron, a single window was lit. Inside, Neville distractedly nearly tripped over Padrig, who was bounding after good old Trevor. Throwing a good natured cease-and-desist in their general direction, he set down another box of potted plants and glanced down at his left hand for the millionth time, still not used to the new weight there.

"Neville, have you found the-oh, bollocks!" A loud crash followed, and Neville dashed to the kitchen to find his wife and a bunch of neon colored cups rolling on the floor. "Wonderful thing, this pla-stick," she said, picking one up and squinting as if she couldn't believe it hadn't broken. "Nice of Mr. Weasley to give them to us..." she trailed off, suddenly very interested in her husband's mischievous smile.

"Why Mr. Longbottom!" She exclaimed with mock astonishment. Neville just grinned at Hannah and kissed her against the kitchen cabinet, happier than he had ever been, ever.

In the other room, Padrig was contentedly chewing on Trevor's leg as the old toad grunted halfheartedly in protest.

…The End


Author's Notes: Thank you for reading this story. It was a labor of love, and I really hope you enjoyed reading it and writing it. I value your feedback and reviews, so go leave me some of your thoughts!

Acknowledgements: My friend Claire for being my constant companion, assistant, and inspiration. Darling, you are my Trevor.