A/N: This is one of my two responses to the Fluffy Bunny Challenge at HPFC. My claim was Neville Longbottom. I'm just concerned about certain story parts that I don't believe flow right. But, if you can, leave a review if you found any words that be could be better - I'm all for critique!
Rainstorms often affrighted people, but Neville Longbottom always welcomed their comings like the storms were old friends of his. Ever since he was a young boy, he'd love it when the sky turned ominous and humid moisture fell from the grey, puffy clouds.
"The rain is similar to life, my dear boy," His grandmother once told him when he was a mere individual of nine years old. "Darkness will occasionally appear in your days, but the sun is bound to come and bring a fresh beginning along with it."
Neville had devoured this axiology – during his childhood, there was rarely a time when he didn't believe in what his grandmother said. He began applying the philosophy to every rainstorm he witnessed from then on. Even when the booms of thunder startled him, he maintained a brave visage and assured himself that the sun would appear shortly.
There were numerous drizzles that occurred when he was at Hogwarts and coincidentally, they'd always appear when he was moping on a bad day, or the entire atmosphere was just morose. But yet, good news had a recurring habit of arriving shortly after a rainfall.
Continuing to believe strongly in his grandmother's proverb, Neville bore a cheerful and assisting attitude for most of his school years. Even when there was no rain, he knew that a light would always come after a rough patch. It seemed unnecessary and difficult to take your anger out on the world. Why not keep your chin up and serenely wait for a new, sunny day?
The night before his seventh year graduation (a ceremony was finally managed after NEWTs were taken in late July), it poured like there would be no tomorrow. Neville sat upright on his bed as lightning flashed and thunder cracked. While others tossed and turned in their sleep uncomfortably, he was smiling, his ears perking up happily at each noise. It was a sign, he could just feel it.
The next day, he was given a "Special Contribution to Hogwarts" award, for his work to keep the student body strong during the Carrows' terrorizing stage. On top of the award, he received a kiss from Hannah Abbott, and a promised recommendation for the school's Herbology teaching position once Professor Sprout retired.
He couldn't help but love the rain even more.
Neville remembers the way Hannah had broken down when a fierce storm took place during their honeymoon. Looking into his bride's alarmed face, Neville had realized that the pouring rain reminded her of the people the war had yanked away from her – specifically her mother. To Hannah, the rain was no friend, rather a nemesis. Neville can still replay the memory of telling Hannah his grandmother's philosophy clearly in his head. From then on, Hannah knew of the rain's true purpose – to signify peaceful times approaching.
His children were always afraid of rainstorms when they were young. Although she fought to hide her uneasiness, fear was commonly visible in Alice's eyes when rain fell. Frankie would press the sofa cushions against his ears to block out the noise of the thunder, and little Eleanor would simply wail with no stopping in mind.
Neville shared the ever-useful quote with the three when they were all old enough to understand. As if the gods above were listening in, it had begun to rain as soon as he spoke.
"The sun and good times will come soon," Neville reminded his children at the time, smiling.
The rain soon yielded, and a colorful rainbow eventually emerged in the sky. As the children gleefully rushed to register the image, Neville called out to them, "What did I tell you?" A huge grin was stretched across his face as he peered up at the sky somewhat quizzically, wondering if there was such a thing as angels. Could his grandmother hear him up in the skies?
He had never believed in times fleeting away too quickly, but before he knew it, his children were grown, raising families of their own. Neville watched musingly as he was eventually blessed with ten grandchildren – five from Alice, three from Frank, and two from Eleanor, who named her eldest son after her father. As these ten grew, exploring their worlds with eyes of wonder, Neville's three kin came to him separately, each at a different time, imploring him of the same thing.
"Dad, tell them about the rain…"
"…But all of that is gone now," Neville thinks glumly. He sits on his screened porch alone, age now clearly visible in his appearance – his hair long ago had faded to a snow-white color, and had thinned rapidly. He used a charm to keep his vision strong, and his daughters had talked him into using a cane to walk around the house. Neville was a feeble man, no longer the war hero of the yester years.
Hannah, his worshipped sunshine, had passed onto the next realm nearly four years ago. Her death was thrown upon Neville with surprise. She was gone more quickly than a short-lived ripple in a pond. Without her, life just seemed to roll along sluggishly, with no endpoint in view.
His friends had gone too. Luna went decades ago, when her twin boys were barely three years old – she was captured by Death due to a wizarding illness. Out of the Golden Trio, Ron had been the first to take on the next great adventure. It had been thirteen years since he and Hermione were in a severe Portkey incident, and only Hermione lived to tell the tale.
Harry and Ginny had followed almost simultaneously. Harry died first, in his sleep, eight years ago. Ginny was so distraught that she went only six months afterwards – some say that she just couldn't live without Harry. Hermione passed on only two years after Ginny and Harry's deaths, shortly after having dinner with her children's families – a ghost of a smile was visible on her weathered face when her body was found.
Neville's head now makes an involuntary movement, and in the corner of his eye, he sees the table that displays family photos. They date back to his school days, the color in these photos yellowed and faded. The most recent photographs are of his grandchildren, from Michael to Theresa to little Toby. The two eldest of the ten, Michael and Ariana, are already married. Neville has their wedding photos displayed, but with not much pride.
Any day now, great-grandchildren will arrive, and Neville will be the only great-grandparent to dote on a new bundle of joy. He has never fussed over babies before – that was Hannah's field of expertise.
…Hannah…just the thought of her name causes a ping in his heart. His eyes fervently scan his collection of photos until he finds the one of Hannah on their wedding day, her gown flowing out behind her, both her eyes and mouth smiling. Her hair is done up in elaborate curls, and she is laughing.
Neville's melancholy eyes shimmer, and they seem to not only weep for Hannah, but all of the defunct ones.
For his mother and father, who died before they could even encounter their grandchildren.
For the lost souls in the Wars, the nameless and the faceless, and the ones who were achingly familiar. Their bodies are dust by now, and have vanished.
For his grandmother, who raised him like her own son.
For his friends who had left him – Harry, Hermione, Ron, Luna, and Ginny.
It has begun to mist outside, and Neville leans back in his lounge chair as the rain splatters against the trees and flowers in the garden. He always said that things would become better after a long, satisfying downpour, as if the sky was weeping alongside him.
But his grandmother's byword was bound to be proven wrong over time. As this rain begins to sustain, Neville shakes his head sagaciously. The sun might shine tomorrow, but his spirits won't. His time has lapsed. He has made his effect on the world, and it's time to go.
He stretches his hand out to the table, and lifts the picture of Hannah in her wedding gown. Neville smiles gauntly at her age-worn image, at the moment in time that occurred so long ago.
He curls up in his chair as best as he can, and presses the photo to his chest. He can feel Death coming ever so bashfully – it isn't going to hurt.
Neville feels a smile trickling upon his waxen face, and he hugs the photograph's frame keenly. As a single, anxious tear glides down his cheek, he cranes his ears to absorb the sound of the rainfall for the last time. Maybe, somewhere in the world, a person will smile after the rain ceases.
As he breathes his last, he gets a final glance at Hannah's image. He's going to see her again…
"Hannah? Hannah, dear, I'm here…"
A/N: In case you haven't guessed it, 'Fluffy Bunny' was code for 'Kill Off Your Main Character'. ;) It was extremely hard to kill off my favorite character, but I'm mostly proud of how this turned out! I will gladly accept any critique or words in a review - they're my only payment!