LbN: Woo, I had some serious writer's block with this one...Here's the last chapter; the first chapter of the next story will be up in a few days!
"Hi there Neville," Hannah smiled as he made his way to one of the smaller tables, "The usual?"
"I'll just have the soup today, thanks," he replied cheerfully, "And a gillywater with cherry."
"Alright," she nodded, "I'll have it right out."
"Thanks Hannah," Neville smiled.
Ever since his first Friday back, Neville had become a regular in the Three Broomsticks. He would come in every Friday, sometimes joined by Harry, just to have a drink or a quick sandwich. Harry had more than once suggested that Neville had other motives besides food that was keeping him coming back; to which Neville would simply blush and shrug. The fact of the matter was that it was all well and good talking to Hannah a little each week, but Neville had yet to pluck up the nerve to ask her out. So yes, he did have ulterior motives in visiting the Hogsmeade pub.
After a few minutes, Hannah brought his lunch out and he thanked her, as he always did. Her next question caught him a little off guard.
"Do you always wear that?" she asked, pointing to his DA coin; the top half of which was just visible inside of his robes.
"Yeah," he answered, "I dunno…I've always kept it with me, so I figured I'd make it into a pendant."
"The kids must be really impressed."
"I don't show it off, really," Neville shrugged, "A couple have seen it when I'm working, but they haven't said anything."
"Ah," she nodded, "They're probably shy. I'll let you eat now," she smiled, "See you around?"
Neville ducked, stunned at his quick reflexes, as one of the Bouncing Bulbs Micha and Blair, twins from Ravenclaw, were planting went soaring/bouncing across the greenhouse. As it started to loose momentum, Neville pointed his wand and said, "Immobulus!" and the bulb came to a halt.
"Sorry, Master Longbottom," Micha blushed as Neville bent down to pick up the orb.
"It's alright, Micha," Neville said, handing him the renegade seedling.
"What's that?" Blair asked, nodding at Neville.
The Herbology apprentice looked down and saw his DA coin dangling from his neck. It must have slipped out when he was picking up the bulb.
"Oh, this? This was one of the coins the DA members used to communicate with each other during the second war," he explained.
The brother and sister's eyes widened as they looked at him.
"I told you!" Blair said to her brother, "I knew you were in it!"
"I was," Neville nodded.
The twins looked deeply impressed, and went back to planting. After a few minutes, Micha looked up from his dirt covered hands and said,
"We've always wanted to be in a club."
Neville looked up; the interested expression on his face telling Micha it was alright to continue.
"In primary school, we were the only wizards there. Everyone thought we were a bit odd; so we never really made friends. Any time we tried to join in an activity, the kids would kind of ignore us."
"It's gotten better here?" Neville prompted.
"A little," Blair muttered, "People still think we're a bit odd."
"D'you think we could start a DA?" Micha blurted. Neville had known that this was the conversation's destination, and therefore, was ready with his answer.
"Sure I do," he nodded, "But ours was student led; who would you get to lead yours?"
"You," the twins said simply.
"Of course," Micha thought aloud, "We might have to change the name, since, you know…"
"It was the Defense Association before Dumbledore's Army," Neville supplied, "I'm sure you could go back to that name. Let me run the idea by the Headmistress, alright? If she approves, we can start making advertisements and see who's interested."
McGonagall approved. Heartily, in fact.
Neville had spoken to her at dinner that very night, and she thought the idea was splendid. Now he was walking through the halls, down to Professor Greggor's apartment. He knocked on the DADA teacher's door and waited. Almost immediately, Greggor's kind, stern face appeared before him.
"Neville!" he smiled, "To what do I owe this pleasant surprise?"
"I've a question for you," Neville said as the older teacher showed him in.
They sat at a small table and discussed the idea for a new, school sanctioned DA. Neville explained that he wanted the actual Defense teacher there, as well as him, for it to be more official.
"Well," Greggor said after Neville had finished talking, "That is an interesting idea. I think I should like to assist you! Where are we in the planning for this?"
"I've gotten McGonagall's approval," Neville said, "You know the Garwen twins, yes? They're going to be helping me with advertising."
"It sounds like we're on our way then," Greggor nodded with approval.
The next week was a flurry of activity for Neville. Between helping make different solutions for Madam Pomphrey, tutoring some of the students, and helping Micha and Blair create posters for the new DA, by the time Friday rolled around, he was exhausted. He put the finishing touches on a copy of his favorite poster "The DA—Still Recruiting!" and put it on the table next to the rest.
"Alright you two, let's knock off for lunch."
The twins' paint smeared faces looked up at him from the posters they were working on. They nodded and put their supplies away. On the ground floor, he wished them a good afternoon and headed to his room. After a quick wash and a change, he was on his way down to Hogsmeade Village.
"Hey there Neville," Hannah said cheerfully, "The usual today?"
"Yes please," Neville smiled, "Thanks Hannah."
As he sat and sipped his water, a strange feeling came over Neville. He didn't know what was getting into him; if it was the excitement about the DA starting next Friday, or if he was just looking forward to a break from the week. Whatever the reason, he was feeling a bit reckless. When Hannah came back with his roast beef sandwich and crisps he took a deep breath and asked,
"Hannah? How would you like to go to dinner with me tonight?"
"Good 'tory Daddy," Frankie whispered as he fell back asleep.
Outside was gray with the first fleeting rays of light covering the earth. Neville set his son back into his bed. He decided that right now was not the time to tell him what had happened next, so he simply tucked the little boy in and went back to his room to get a little rest.
LbN: Hope you liked it!! Don't forget to go vote on the new poll!