A/N: Set during DH, when Harry, Ron and Hermione return to Hogwarts from the Hog's Head with Neville. Neville/Hannah, Hannah's POV.
Disclaimer: I do not, unfortunately, own Harry Potter.
An Internal Earthquake
I was perched on the arm of a chair in the corner of the room, my nose in a book, when the tunnel door opened and Neville stepped into the room, followed, inexplicably, by Harry, Ron and Hermione. The change in the atmosphere of the room was tangible: here was Harry Potter, the Chosen One, our fabled hero, returned to us at last!
As happy as I was that Harry was here, to lead us in the fight against Snape and the Carrows, I was - at that moment, at least - considerably more interested in Neville.
I had only been staying in the Room of Requirement for two days, compared to Neville's fortnight, and I was struck, as he climbed into the room, by how changed he was, how different from the little, pudgy, forgetful eleven-year-old boy he had been.
He was taller, obviously, and slimmer, but I had noticed all that as we were growing up. What was new was the hard, weary expression on his face; the taut lines of muscles around his jaw and arms and shoulders; the shadow of stubble on his chin. It had taken me a while, but I now realised that he was...handsome. It was a shock, and I felt my face flush as I registered my approval of his looks.
I was having trouble coming to terms with the effects of his reappearance, both on me and on the others - only they were more interested in the other three. They weren't having a miniature breakdown, trying to work out why they suddenly found a childhood friend, someone they'd known since they were eleven, so attractive. They didn't know how lucky they were.
I watched as he spoke with Harry, Ron and Hermione, alive and animated like I hadn't seen him in God knows how long. I wasn't listening to the conversation - I was concentrating desperately hard on my book, trying to seem like I wasn't looking at him - but it sounded like an argument. Voices weren't raised, but it was obvious he was angry, his colour raised, cheeks flushed and mouth set.
He turned his head away abruptly, his eyes meeting mine. He smiled when he saw me looking at him, and that one sweet smile sent earthquake tremors running through my body, so strong I nearly fell off of the chair.
I had to get out of there, get away from him, just for a little while. Otherwise, I'm not sure what stupid thing I would have done.
I slid off of the arm of the chair, placed my book back on the bookshelf and slipped into the bathroom that adjoined to the main room. Once there, I stood in front of the sink and splashed water onto my face. Why was I so hot? It was hardly warm outside, in fact it was eerily, unseasonably cold; and as for inside...well, parts of the castle were said to always remain a stubborn ten degrees colder than the ambient temperature outside. So why was I so Goddamn hot?
I risked a look in the mirror, but was surprised to find that I looked almost...pretty. Not gorgeous, like Lavender or Cho or Hermione, but as pretty as I was likely to get. My hair was curling, for once, properly curly, not just boringly wavy like usual; and droplets of water sparkled on the ends like broken glass. My pink, plump face seemed slimmer, somehow, and though I was more flushed than usual, the blush was confined to my cheeks.
I turned around and leaned against the cool white tiles on the wall, enjoying the cold porcelain against my cheek.
"Hello Hannah," Neville said, standing in the doorway.
I jumped, startled, my face burning as I started towards him. I quickly decided against that course of action, however, and ended up standing stupidly in the middle of the room, staring at him.
We stayed like that for a while, him hovering in the doorway with me stood a metre or so away, fiddling with the hem of my jumper.
Eventually, once the tension had been notched up to sufficient heights, he spoke again, just my name, his voice low and gentle.
As quietly as it was said, however, it still made me jump. He quickly closed the space between us and laid a comforting hand on my arm. My pulse rate skyrocketed immediately.
"Are you alright Hannah?" he asked, concerned.
I nodded. "Of course. I'm fine."
"Good. I'm glad. Good," he said, running a hand through his hair. "I wondered, because you ran our here so quickly after I looked at you...I was worried I had upset you. I don't want to upset you, Hannah. I really like you. Really like you."
I swallowed noisily. "I like you, too," I said vaguely, the pathetic half-truth being all I trusted myself to say. I couldn't tell him how much I liked him, I couldn't.
Maybe it was written plainly across my face, though, because next thing I knew, he had taken my face in his hands and was kissing me, gently at first and then not gently at all, his mouth rough over mine, fingers tangling in hair and fumbling with clothes, brushing skin and pulling me closer, holding me tighter. I didn't want it to stop and I could tell he didn't either, but I had to break away, if only to breathe.
I was pleasantly dizzy as I looked up at him, smiling. He smiled too, and squeezed me tight.
At that moment, I was utterly and completely ecstatically happy, so why did I then decide that that was the moment to remember everyone else?
"Don't you think we should go back? They'll all be wondering what's going on."
Neville nodded slowly, and I uncurled myself from against his chest. "That reminds me. What were you and Harry arguing about earlier? Are we going to fight Snape and the Carrows?"
He frowned. "Yes and no. It's all part of fighting Voldemort after all. Harry has something he needs to do in Ravenclaw Tower, so Luna's going to help him; and Ron and Hermione have some other things they need to take care of, but they all need us to help them."
My eyes were wide. "It's war, isn't it? The Carrows and Snape will send for...You-Know-Who as soon as they realise Harry's here."
"It's war alright. But we'll be OK. We have to be."
"Promise me something," I said, biting my lip.
"Don't die, please."
He smiled. "I'll do my best. But don't you die either," he said, mock-sternly, waving a finger at me.
"I'll do my best," I promised.
"Good. Now let's go fight some Death Eaters."