A/N: This is just a little idea of mine that arrived very suddenly. It's about Neville's thoughts when the pause of the Battle at Hogwarts arrives in Deathly Hallows. Ah, I've missed writing about Neville. Thank you to Kristen (harryhermionerw) who beta-read this for me!
He is in the gigantic doorway of the castle. He notes the carrying of another departed life into the Great Hall, and for the umpteenth time that night, a piece of his heart shatters in regret towards another dead one – this time, it is Colin Creevey, that energetic, and perhaps foolish, sixth-year Gryffindor. For a sparing moment, he presses his body against the lapidary doorframe, taking long, cleansing breaths as he mourns lightly for Colin.
Just hours ago, he didn't mind fighting. He was longing for the much-anticipated revenge against the kind that tortured his parents – two years ago; he had had a chance of retribution against Bellatrix, and just couldn't do it. But now, the opportunity is bigger and grander – he could fight against anyone associated with Frank and Alice's tortures.
If only his parents could see him now, and if they could understand! Neville finally knows for sure – he is the biological son of Frank and Alice Longbottom. He is the fighter they had each been. He finally lives up to his surname. He had developed into a leader over the past few months, and if their minds weren't blank, Alice and Frank would now be so prideful, so impressed!
He recalls the eager but skeptical flush that rang through him when war was declared. He was naïve back then, and unaware of the suffering that would strike so quickly. Why didn't he stop himself when he could?
It was the Longbottom gene in you. His grandmother's voice fills his head. Your parents wouldn't have run away from a fight that their opponents truly deserved…
Oh, Merlin, where's Gran? He turns his head abruptly to peer into the castle's entry hall searchingly, and he relaxes when seeing his grandmother, looking unharmed, aiding to a marred student. Augusta catches his eye, and smiles at him weakly before assisting the student in rising from the ground.
She's all right. He resumes his broken position at the door, his ears still ringing from the numerous booms, crashes, and screeches that stopped merely minutes ago. Deep down, he knows that he wants it all to come to a halt before people that mean the most to him – like Gran – get hurt. At the beginning, fighting Death Eaters was just like punching his pillow in fury after being hurt emotionally. When his hand would finally start to ache after hitting the pillow, all of the negative feelings inside him were weakened.
He knows better now. Fighting in reality is no game, no way to release anger. It's a tragic and heartbreaking way to lose the people you've encountered over life, people that you love, hate, or have barely talked to.
Neville's former professor has been killed, alongside his wife of nearly a year…
…Luna had told Neville before that this teacher had only become a father a short time ago.
One of the Weasley twins is gone, and to Neville, it seems as if the Weasleys can now no longer see the world around them properly.
Colin has had his future's promise cut tragically short. He was a young man, just reaching the beginning of his adulthood.
The roommates he grew up with are both injured – he had seen Dean and Seamus stumble separately into the Great Hall before, each sporting a bloodstained face, or a ferocious-looking burn. They looked even worse than they had before the battle.
Previously, Neville had passed several underage students that had snuck back to Hogwarts in order to fight. Neville shivers when he remembers the tears several of the students had been shedding – they were tired of fighting, and they wanted to leave for safety. But they can't leave – after what they have seen, they are too scarred to even think about departing.
Afraid that he'll break down if he doesn't occupy himself, Neville takes off down a corridor, stopping when a scattered group of bodies comes into view. There lies an unconscious Lavender Brown. A distance from her, the body of a slightly familiar Hufflepuff boy is curled up in a ball, and dread flies to Neville's heart – the boy appears dead. Drawing in another breath, Neville bends down to pick up a classmate's body, and a creaking sound from the end of the hall startles him.
It's Harry. Neville pulls himself up to his full height, listening intently as Harry tells him about Voldemort's snake. Harry ends his ramble with throwing out a favor – he wants Neville to kill the snake if he, Ron, or Hermione never get the chance.
Neville hesitates. Killing – he had done none of it before. He only caused injury and unconsciousness among Death Eaters, but not killing. Taking away someone's life and promise just seems wrong.
It's a snake, he tells himself. It's not the same. Killing it isn't like killing a human. It's your duty to help win this.
"I'll be sure to, Harry. And we'll keep fighting if we have to, don't worry." Neville doesn't know why he assured Harry that he'd continue to fight – perhaps just to convince himself to do so?
Harry nods approvingly, and dashes off in another direction, leaving Neville alone with the non-responsive bodies. Bending back down to lift one, Neville immediately recognizes the bloody and burnt face of Hannah Abbott. He finds himself smiling wanly at the girl he always considered a friend, the one who had always understood his love of plants. Hannah hadn't returned to school that year, still mournful about her mother's death. Neville is surprised that she turned up for the battle.
His eyes aimlessly drift over to her still chest – she is not dead, only insensible.
Seeing Hannah like this brings forth a new feeling in him. Seeing her in a near-death state causes him to remember.
He remembers the blank stares his parents would give him when he visited them on their birthdays and at Christmastime – they are like this because of a war.
He recalls Sirius Black, killed on the night that Neville could have sought revenge against Bellatrix Lestrange.
He sees the pale faces of Lupin, Fred Weasley, and Colin.
He reminisces about the injured Dean, Seamus, and Lavender.
He looks back down at Hannah, and gently squeezes her cold hand.
He is suddenly strong again. He will keep fighting, but not for the entertainment of it. He will fight for the souls of the lost, the departed minds of his parents, the impairments of his friends, and the safety of the unharmed. He will fight for a better tomorrow, and the promise of a safe day.
Placing Hannah in his bruised arms, he looks over at a shattered window nearby. The sky is jet-black, but yet, through the darkness, Neville can finally see a promising light. Smiling at the brightness that had long ago disappeared, Neville stands up, Hannah in his arms, and sets off towards the Great Hall, ready to face whatever may come.
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