Disclaimers: This is a work of fan-fiction belonging to December Morning Owl for non-commercial and non-profitable purposes. Harry Potter and related materials are the property of J.K Rowling. Do not distribute this story in any form without consent.Prologue – Space-time rift or just magic?
Closing the book and his eyes to rest from the marathon Ness had spontaneously taken up for his last high school summer, he swirled inside his mind the aftertaste of the seven books that had undeniably imprinted a mark in literature through the Millennium Generation. He was not going to be any English major next year, quite the opposite, but he understood why it made such waves back in the day, and all those speculations and anticipation after each book's release.
Just as the series had its end, as did the youth of its original readers. That was probably the reason why he decided to reread all seven books of Harry Potter before entering university – some sort of empathy to himself leaving one of the most colourful periods of his life. Although he was still young relative to the global population, it still saddened him to never be called a high-schooler again. That title was not enjoyed for its correlation with the schooling system though.
If only high schools were like Hogwarts, with all its magic and adventures every year, though maybe it was only applicable for Harry – that lucky four-eyed cockroach. Ness did not hate the protagonist, especially in the earlier books, but there were some points in the books that he seriously snarled at while reading.
For example, how could some semi-qualified teenager duel a legendary dark lord? That was like telling the guy who sat behind him in physics to challenge Albert Einstein to solve equations on relativity. Ness also remembered all that heated media about 'who is going to die in the next book' going on every year, and he wondered if J.K just killed characters off to meet some PA purposes: Snape and Dumbledore were arguably reasonable becauseor their deaths' contributions to the plot; but trivial for Mad-Eye; and even extreme for Cedric, who did not really deserve a death in his eyes – unless it was just an excuse to pile on the angst for the next book or obliterate a love rival. That whole love affair with Cho was just headshake-invoking to the max. About that Epilogue? He considered ripping those pages out before returning this book to the library.
Ness opened his eyes and exited his room, ready to throw on a raincoat and return the old books now that he was done. He was not the author or editor, and for the details he did not like, those fan-fiction writers could deal with it. Stepping out of the front door, he jogged down the street, the tattered pages of worn paper lifted above his head. He still felt soaked though, and just as he was about to mutter about having such an uncomforting raincoat, everything went white. Then black.
Basic physics. Light travels faster than sound,explaining how Ness did not hear the thunder afterwards.
" Oh! He is finally awake!" Augusta Longbottom shrilled and grabbed hold of a small child on the bed in a bear hug sort of way.
" Hey! What?" The child impulsively tried to push the old woman away but was unsuccessful.
First, a puzzled expression emerged on his chubby face as he thought to himself how he must hit the gym if he was even weaker than this frail woman. Then surfaced an expression of suspicion as to why he was being hugged by this stranger anyway. Then bewilderment as to how he could be enveloped by her thin arms. Then finally, absolute mind-numbing shock as he realised the body he was moving in, the voice he was screaming with, or even the brain he was using to think was all alien to him.
" Who the hell am I!" The child, in shock from these extreme changes, managed to shove Augusta away. He stood on his prior-occupied bed, holding his hands out to ogle disbelievingly at their size. Then he felt his legs, slapped his cheeks, and screamed again when he saw his face in the mirror hanging on the wall.
Blonde hair, an absolute mess as he was frantically pulling at it. Plump cheeks, seemingly still to lose its baby-fat, red from his slaps. His height was probably just a bit over one meter compared with the window behind him. Falling down on his butt on the bed again, fully-stretched eyes continued to bore back from the mirror in their unfamiliar deep shade of azure.
By this time Augusta was crying in her hands. She thought: Why did Algie have to throw him off that damned pier? We were on holiday at Blackpool, not training him to be the next Merlin! At that moment, she only prayed for her grandson to be safe and healthy, Squib or not! Her other relatives had all rushed to the room following the commotion, Algie Longbottom being the first one to reach the door.
" Can our Neville do magic now? Is that what the scream was about?" Algie asked with a proud tone, thinking his method really worked.
" Magic nothing! Look what you've done! He can't even recognise me now! He's the only heir to the Longbottom family! How could anything happen to him?" Augusta abruptly sprung up from the floor and shook Algie until he saw birds and stars.
" Neville Longbottom?" The child screamed, both hands covering his mouth. Neville, magic, Blackpool pier, Longbottom… Usually, no one would be able to make such a quick and unbelievable connection, but for someone who had just finished a Harry Potter marathon, Ness knew he was no longer Ness.
Ness was Neville Longbottom.
If only he was more immature or a few years younger before meeting this fate, Ness would immediately adapt into this new life with excitement. Though thinking realistically, Ness in effect just learnt the news of his own death. For most of the whole week after 'Neville' woke up, he had been lying flat on his bed staring wide-eyed at the ceiling in that tiny body, trying to accept the facts he faced.
He was never going to see his family and friends again. Everything he possessed or built up in his previous life were lost. He was in an unfamiliar world where everyone was a stranger and even the laws of physics were deformed by Magic that apparently existed. Ness had an average life in an average family, average social standing amongst peers and some might even consider a prosperous future. How could anyone with half an ounce of mature thought be happy about such a predicament without a period of time to accept the things he had lost and would never get back?
The only way out was self-hypnosis, as he tried to reason with himself the new opportunities opened to him. He was in a world with magic! One on the verge of going into the Second War with Voldemort! He even knew the limited future! There could be numerous possibilities lying ahead for him to snatch up with as much ease as raising an arm! Famous Quidditch player, Head Auror, even Minister of Magic!
He was even put into the body of Neville Longbottom, one of the characters that he knew was a fair man in the books. As clumsy and seemingly talent-less as he seemed initially, he proved to be a true Gryffindor – leading the DA and slaying Nagini as a few examples. The most respected quality was how he never boasted about his heroic parents or his pure-blood heritage – modest, compassionate and relentless at the face of failure or social pressure.
The more Ness thought about it, the more he felt pity for Neville. He had not been recognised for much of the book, bar comic relief purposes, and now he was practically dead with Ness occupying his body. His relatives really were responsible to that head-bowing personality of his, especially that great uncle Algie who literally killed him now.
Keeping on that track, Ness decided that the only way to repay Neville for lengthening his life from whatever it was death had for him in the original world was to change the fate of Neville as he knew it. Sure, Neville was a good person, but as they said – nice guys finished last. Neville could have amounted to a lot more than Herbology teacher of Hogwarts. According to J.K, Harry Potter hated his fame with Voldemort eh? Well, Neville, being a potential prophecy candidate, would help to lessen his burden in a few years. J.K said in some interview that Neville ended up with Hannah Abbot, who Ness never remembered reading as a beauty really. If not stealing Ginny or Hermione, described to have been quite attractive, at least he could find some random part-Veela bombshell instead. At the very least, even if he could not achieve any of the above, he would never let Neville make a total prat of himself for the first few years.
After all, being truthfully selfish, Neville was himself now. There was no way he could tolerate being laughed at for being a clumsy fool! He was definitely not going to have Harry thought of him as just some 'round-faced boy' who lost his toad at their first meeting. They were at least equals, though maybe like two faces of a single coin.
Acceptances, a sense of direction, and eventually the excitement of experiencing magic and adventures in the future, the new Neville Longbottom threw the sheets off his body and jumped off the bed – only to have his toe clipping the bedside table. Ness wondered if clumsiness was just in the body's DNA as he cursed.
Algie Longbottom sat in the drawing room of the ancient Longbottom manor, moaning to his wife, Enid, about his discomfort with the recent changes to their relatives. That Augusta, who had always been on the same anarchic side as him when it came to bringing out Neville's magical powers, seemed to have made a one-eighty turn. That was why he had to make his way out here now to have a good long discussion about that laid-back attitude she adapted ever since the trip to Blackpool. Sure, Neville had a few sips of seawater, and laid on the bed for a week, and it was understandable to go easy on him for a bit. It had been months now and Augusta still had not once sent him an owl regarding schemes to put Neville in a position where his powers can awaken! Baffled at why she had not recovered by now, he contacted her yesterday in the fireplace, but she replied with "we should just leave Neville to it, Algie"!
Enid sighed, knowing her husband loved Neville and was worried about the Longbottom family – especially after what happened after the war. She had been frowning at the ascending dangerous nature of his 'methods' and was never on his side. She was secretly a little glad that Augusta saw it now as well. It was probably because of the accident that almost drowned the boy – that really was a little too far.
The drawing room doors opened and Augusta came in with a greeting, giving her relatives a hug and a kiss on the cheeks. While Enid returned with endearments, Algie merely sustained a frown.
" I guess you know why I am here," Algie tapped his foot. " Now where is Neville? Chasing worms in the garden again? Call him back in so I can see him."
" Neville is presently not at home Algie." Augusta mentioned without facing Algie, gesturing for the house elf that just came in to leave the tray of tea stuffs on the table.
" Well, where is he? He is already eight years old for god's sakes! He can't just go around on a toy broom all day! Wait – he can't even fly a toy broom!" Algie crossed his arms, even more annoyed.
" Neville took up jujitsu lessons at the local –" Although Augusta replied calmly, offering Enid a biscuit in the process in fact, Algie's plump face grew as red as a hot kettle.
He shouted in a volume that even people at the front porch could hear him, " You sent him to play some muggle games? Are you out of your mind? Why would you even let him near muggles? What if his latent magic powers gets rubbed off on them and then what will happen to the Longbottom family line? How will you answer your dear deceased husband if his last sole grandson turned out to be a Squib?"
" I am not a Squib… great uncle Algie." Neville, hearing the familiar voice, knew his childhood nemesis was here. Ness remembered that Neville first showed magical abilities when this old man dropped him out of a window. Neville might have survived, but who knew if Ness would. Ness fully understood the butterfly effect, and his consciousness arriving in this world might have already changed this version of the future already – Ness would not risk Neville's life that way.
It is all for the original Neville, honest. Ness reasoned with himself.
" Neville!" Algie ignored his great nephew's jutted greeting, putting a smile on his wrinkled face and advanced. " What is fun about some muggle games? Come here and let great uncle Algie see how much you've grown."
The original Neville would have shied away, knowing Algie was up to no good again. Ness also saw through that false smile, and he really did not have a good impression of Algie. He might have plotted to kill Algie in revenge for Neville if he was crueller, but he remembered the toad and supposedly rare plant Neville received from Algie in the books and dismissed the idea. Not taking revenge however did not mean he was going to just follow the flow of history.
Algie abruptly swept his leg sideways at Neville, planning to trip Neville over and Neville can magically avoid it or something. By the next second though, Algie found himself surprisingly flat on his back on the drawing room floor, staring up at the ceiling. This was one of the reasons Neville wanted to learn a martial art instead of some random sports.
" If you will excuse me, I have some reading left to finish. It is great to see you too great aunt Enid." Neville nodded, almost bowed, and sauntered out of the room. A moment later, the two old women burst out in laughter at the still shocked Algie. After he embarrassingly sat down again, Augusta offered an explanation.
" After coming back from Blackpool, I really don't know what came over Neville. Instead of taking a nap or water plants around the house, he would search around in the study's old books or practice his jujitsu in the garden. Not only that, but you should hear some of the things he says! It is definitely not something a typical eight year-old would normally reason with! I guess people really do mature after a near-death experience …"
" But… he still can't use magic?" Algie hopefully asked, but only to be disappointed when Augusta sighed shaking her head.
" Algie… maybe we were too hard on poor Neville. When magic comes around, that would be wonderful. But if doesn't… Well, as long as he grows to be healthy and happy, that is the most important thing."
Even Ness himself was surprised with the apparent freedom granted to him from his 'Gran', contrary to what he expected from the books. In the books' world, Augusta would have recovered just as Algie expected and be the strict disciplinarian again not long after Blackpool. However, since the 'soul-switching' made Neville's drowning seemed much more severe, she realised nothing was worth risking her grandson's health, considering her now insane son. Not only that, but the original motive for her spurring Neville to develop magic was because he was always clumsy and made a mess of everything. She was worried that he would grow up to be an absolutely useless person – and magic seemed to be the only and clearest way for him to make something of himself. Now that he seemed to have developed a more reliable personality, the worry in her heart started to disappear, and magic no longer seemed important anymore since she knew her grandson would grow to be a fine young man – in the muggle world if that had to be the case.
Leaving the drawing room, and staying composed until he closed the doors of the study, Neville jumped and pumped his fist in the air right after closing the door, as cheeky as any eight year old. This ought to have taken revenge for Neville! See you try anything smart now Algie!
Ness was kind of lucky that he found Neville's picture-diary left in his room and filled himself in with how he should behave and some early memories. Using this, Ness tried his best to forge himself as only having disoriented memory instead of total memory lost, which was practically the case. Not having a TV or Internet, and the wizard radio could not be used without magic, it was only the Daily Prophet and the left-over books in the study that he could really get into grips with 1988 wizarding England. Heck, he would not have much recognition of the normal 1988 England just after seeing the muggle hairstyles.
Setting off to work closer to his aims immediately after settling into the Longbottom manor, he sought out old school books left by relatives. After all, that underage wizard law was a real pain for Harry and he only had three years before it was in place on him as well. Since one of the reasons why he was bullied at Hogwarts was his academic incompetence, he aimed to be at least on par with Hermione, though not geekily so, when it came to starting first year.
" Expecto Patronum! Expelliarmus! Accio! Lumos!" Ness had panted an afternoon away, from the most difficult to the easiest spells he could remember and find, but not even a single spark emitted from the wand he was graciously passed down earlier than the original timeline.
It must have been the fault of Frank Longbottom's wand, although Gran had been rambling on about how powerful it was, and proceeded to boast about her once courageous son. No wonder Neville never got anything right at school, remembering all that stuff about wand ownership in the last book. Neville did not have ownership of the mismatched wand, and for a beginning wizard, it was just an excess barrier of difficulty to overcome. Ness was now surprised that Neville got those OWL results and felt an inch friendlier to the wand-sharing Ron.
Moaning and muttering aside, Ness determined that Neville's body would be awakened to magic at eight years old anyway, he delayed his magic-improvement plans and switched focus, applying for jujitsu lessons. Another reason Neville was bullied was probably because he was chubby, and most likely physically weak. Being short was probably in the family DNA, but Ness was definitely going to change the other undesirable qualities. Sure, he could have taken other forms of sports to get fit, but being able to handle enemies without magic would probably prove invaluable in the long run – if not for Algie, just Crabbe and Goyle.
There was not much else a kid could have done at that moment. This was an opportune moment to destroy Voldemort once and for all when he was weak, knowing about the Horcruxes. The trick was finding them. Ness really did not have that great a memory and doubted he could even remember what all the Horcruxes were, never mind where. At this time, he really disbelieved that J.K had released the books for his reference – and she probably never would in this world.
Time continued to past as Neville continued with jujitsu training and waving what was seemingly just a stick of wood to him everyday. Ness had always been more logically inclined and even though he continued his wand work, he was getting impatient at the lack of results, and decided to actually try to dig into the source of magic. How did spells work? Did you need MP? Did all magic originate from one same root?
The more de dived, the more questions he had, and although he never liked to study, when it came to materials he was interested in, like game strategy guides or historic battles, he had an uncanny level of concentration. Coupled with the fact that he had now the memory power of a growing child and the logical reasoning of an adult, his learning rate was extraordinary to a point that he had understood, in the field of general spells theory anyway, beyond the NEWT level.
The basic mechanics of conventional magic was quite simple really. This world had magic in every corner of it, unlike the original world. For wizards, they all had certain amounts of magic powers inside of their bodies, and by wand movements and incantations as a medium, a wizard's inner power could be transformed into spells effecting the surrounding magic. If this world was a factory, the wizard's inner magic powers would be fuel, the wand was the machine, the incantations were the instructions, and the surrounding magic are the ingredients.
As simple as all that sounded in a summary, there were exceptions and differences between different categories of magic that ate up Neville's time tremendously. So much in fact that his ninth and tenth birthday passed without events… In the original timeline, the day Ness threw Algie to the ground in the drawing room was actually when Neville would have bounced from the fall out of the window.
A/N: Got a bit like an instruction booklet at the end but this chapter is generally explaining the situation, and why I chose to name this the prologue. This fic is a personal enjoyment/remembrance project first started as the anniversary of the last book's release. I disliked some parts of the book, and figured this may be a fun idea.
I plan to follow info from the seven books that I've read and selective materials J.K gave, then possibly some stuffs around the internet. The protagonist, like most readers, only remembers here and there instead of every tiny immaculate detail. Most importantly, whatever J.K says never overrules whatever I put in this fanfic (unless it is printed in her series in black and white). My sources are mostly from the Harry Potter Lexicon if you're interested. If you think I have inaccurate information, source from books only thanks.
The protagonist will most certainly not do drastic things to the levels of killing Voldemort (or Harry) at eleven years old, or know the location of Ravenclaw's dormitories now. I will try my best to keep this story relatively realistic and mature. Mature does not equal smut, or dark themes even, and there will be no graphical descriptions of anything of that sort.
When it comes to those ship battles, I will follow cannon part - or all - of the way. Criticism and random eye-rolls are fine and welcomed, but flames about how Ginny should not end up with Crabbe (not gonna happen by the way) or trivial details like Harry has to pick his nose at a specific time mentioned on page x of book x should just be saved for a trashcan.
Lastly, this project is purely continued on a whim and updates could be sporadic. I'd written some of it, and decided to put it up now instead of just stowing away the chapters to let it cover dust. Details of progress can be found in my profile.
Now, great if you feel like offering me some ideas. Wonderful if you just want a chat. Bring tea and biscuits… God, I feel old…