'I don't know why I wrote this one' seems to be my starting words for every one shot I write nowadays. But I really don't have any clue why I write them! I guess I wrote this one because I wanted to experiment with the other three friends in Harry Potter.
Disclaimer: I don't own HP :)
"Nev," Luna experimented quietly. "Has anyone ever called you 'Nev' before?"
"Maybe," shrugged Neville, though he couldn't really remember, and didn't honestly care. He was too busy staring out of the window as the scenery of the English/Scottish border moved past, a haze of colour that used to signify that the castle was near and a Sorting awaited at the end.
"Nev," Luna repeated with a tone of satisfaction. "You could change your name to that, if you ever needed to."
Neville said nothing. If ever I needed to, he gelled in his head. He might this year. Harry and Hermione had gone into hiding, and Ginny had told them the truth about Ron's mystery spattergroit case. It was only a few weeks before the other three of their six were forced into taking refuge somewhere.
"Are you scared?" Neville asked Luna, making the question seem as trivial as possible.
Luna considered this. "No, not really," she answered honestly. "I know that however terrible years may become, Harry will sort this out for us, just like before."
"But we can't just depend on Harry," Ginny pitched in, her voice sounding a little bitter. Worry, decided Neville. "We have to fight for ourselves as well."
"Oh yes," Luna agreed, nodding. "Though when it comes down to it, Harry will be the one to end all this fighting."
Ginny said nothing. She knew Luna was right. And yet she felt abandoned by Harry.
It was selfish, she knew, but she couldn't help it. He had abandoned her to protect her life from the hands of Voldemort, and yet she would be willing to die just to be with him.
Neville, sensing Ginny's discomfort, swiftly changed the subject. "Will we have a new Defence teacher?" he enquired, although he already knew the answer.
"Well, yes, I suppose," Luna mused. "After all, the job is cursed." She smiled to herself. "Funny how that's worked out."
"How what's worked out?" asked Ginny quickly, seizing the chance of a new conversation.
"How the one thing that changes every year is the only thing that is still constant," Luna said in an ambiguous voice. Neville's eyes widened at this philosophical judgement. She was right, he supposed. It was the only thing he knew to expect at Hogwarts. Everything else may have changed, but they'd still be getting a new Defence teacher.
"It seems almost too normal," continued Luna in a contemplative voice. "We're going to Hogwarts. We're getting a new Defence professor."
It did seem uncomfortably normal. He'd have thought that in times like these, to discover something that had not changed would be the best thing he could find.
And yet, it was the most unsettling thing he had thought about in a long time. He had decided that all consistencies in his life had gone.
He wasn't going to go to St Mungo's to visit his parents anymore; it was run by the people who violated them. It disgusted him more than he could say.
His grandmother was aging, becoming frailer. What if she died? What would he do? Who would he have?
A war was raging.
Harry, Ron and Hermione had vanished, Dumbledore was dead.
Voldemort had absolute control.
Neville was no longer afraid of the name; he had grown to understand that fear of a name would do nothing to improve the situation.
Bellatrix was at her prime, free and ferocious.
And they were getting a new Defence Against the Dark Arts teacher.
And he wasn't sure if he liked it or not.