"Grab him," Frank called to Alice as Neville ran by. He was trying to photograph his son, but the baby wouldn't stay in one place long enough to allow him to do it.
Caught between his parents Neville stopped running and gazed at his father until Frank crouched down to take his picture and then, excited by the camera he ran forward with his hands outstretched trying to grab the interesting object.
Alice picked Neville up just before he could get his hands on the lens, swinging him into her arms. "We better calm him down or he'll never get to sleep," she said, as he wiggled around to look at his father.
Frank was supposed to be having a quiet time reading with Neville before the baby went to bed. He sat down with him and grabbed a copy of Jabberwocky from the pile of baby books that Alice kept next to the couch. Most were gifts from their friend Benjy, who had given as presents both the still quiet picture books that he remembered from his own Muggle childhood and the wizard books full of dancing, cavorting illustrations.
When Frank reached their favorite part -- where the Jaberwock with eyes of flame came whiffling out of the wood and the boy took his vorpal sword and cut off the creature's head -- he grabbed Neville's little hand and waved it like a striking sword swinging with great sweeping slashes. "The vorpal blade went snicker-snack!" he recited loudly. Neville laughed and laughed. Frank dropped his hand and bounced him on his lap reading, "He left it dead and with its head he went galumphing back," until the baby laughed so hard he almost fell over on to the floor. Frank caught him and set him upright.
Giggling, Neville slid off Frank's lap and looked up at him expectantly.
"So you want to play," Frank said. "I'm the Jabberwock and I'm going to get you."
Neville made a little yelp and took off running on chubby legs as Frank crouched down and followed behind. Neville looked back to watch his dad and ran straight into a bookcase. Books fell over and bounced all around him. A timely summoning charm by Alice was all that kept a potted plant from landing on his head. Neville turned and wailed.
"This kid needs to be wrapped in a Bubble charm," Frank said as he cuddled the crying toddler and rubbed his bumped head.
"We'll get him a nice Muggle motorcycle helmet," Alice replied gesturing with her hands on either side of her face.
Forgetting his terrible experience with the bookcase, Neville smiled, while the tears were still wet on his cheeks. Frank smiled back. "Now you're the Jabberwock," he said poking him in the stomach with his finger. "One, two! One, two! And through and through." Neville threw his head and shoulders back and laughed till his little body shook.
"Frank, be careful! Don't drop him," Alice called. "He just ate dinner. You'll make him sick." Alice decided that Neville would never get to bed unless she stepped in. She took him to the couch and softly sang a song about a wizard and his puffskein. Neville leaned back against her chest, eyes open sucking on his fingers as she stroked his soft hair. Alice closed her eyes, contented.
Some of their friends had been shocked when she'd had Neville. They had thought Alice and Frank were feckless to have a baby when their lives were so at risk. When she'd told Moody of her plans, he'd taken a swig from his hip flask and then he'd reminded her of the dead Bones children, killed when the Death Eaters attacked Edgar. Well, Alastor Moody might not approve, but Alice had no regrets. She and Frank loved Neville and he made them happy. He was a little blessed island of normal happiness in their lives and she was grateful for him.
War twisted people and altered them. It had changed Moody. She didn't want it to change her. When everything was over and the war ended, Alice wanted to look in the mirror and see a happy woman with a family and a normal life, like everyone else. She kissed the top of Neville's head and rocked back and forth smiling.
Frank raised the camera to take another picture and the motion immediately caught Neville's eye. He wiggled away from her and ran toward his father.
"Look what you've done. He was just about to quiet down and you've got him wound up again." She laughed. "When your mother complains that we never put Neville to bed early enough, I'll send her to you."
"Are you fighting the Jabberwock again?" Frank asked as Neville swung his arms like a sword. "You are my beamish boy."