This was my official library entry in the HOL: Virtual Hogwarts website, the topic being a missing chapter anywhere in the series. Though this chapter could certainly fit in any book after Neville's story is known, I chose to put it in the fifth book, just after Lord Voldemort's re-awkening, where the impact of his evil is still fresh in our minds.
So here's a brief account of what could have happened the day Neville Longbottom's life changed forever...
Disclaimer: To think any of the following characters are mine is, well, laughable. I am obviously not J K Rowling, so there.
Chapter 1: Torture
It was a glorious evening in the little village of Upper Flagley. It was late November, but the sun was unusually bright for that time of the year. The peacefulness of the place was rent by the sounds of hens clucking in a rustic two-storied farmhouse, slightly outside the little circle of farmhouses in the village. Inside the kitchen of the pretty house, a man and a woman sat at a white table covered with checked tablecloth.
Alice Longbottom stared out the kitchen window, absorbing the beautiful scenery. The sun was just beginning to set. Her husband, Frank, followed her gaze. His thin lips curved upwards slightly. "You're right, Alice. Winter is just round the corner, and you can't tell at all."
Alice jumped, and turned to her amused husband. She smiled back. "It seems Mother Nature is also celebrating."
Frank leaned back in his chair lazily. "And for good reason."
Alice nodded in agreement, and stood up, pushing her chair back. "I'll do the dishes," she said and took both their greasy plates to the sink.
Alice was a pretty petite woman with honey coloured, golden-brown hair. She had chubby cheeks and a round face, but she looked gaunt and pale, as though she was recovering from a horrible illness. Frank Longbottom had straight, silky dark hair. He had sharp features, and was lean and wiry.
Frank first noticed Alice at Auror training, where he found she shared his passion and zeal to fight against the gathering Dark Forces. At first, Frank couldn't believe this soft and mellow Hufflepuff wanted to be a hard-core Auror. But Alice was made of stronger stuff. She could perform all three Unforgivable Curses with quick brutality, and in one incident, she didn't even flinch when a colleague's brains were blown out right in front of her eyes in a bloody duel.
Alice liked Frank's frankness(they often joked about 'frank Frank') and his steady demeanour. She had barely seen him lose his temper, and he was very reliable. He was humble, his only pride being that of Gryffindor and his family. He admired bravery more than anything else, and he liked Alice because of that.
Slowly, and steadily, they came to know each other better and better- their love bloomed like a beautiful flower. After a whole year of being Aurors, and four years since they first became friends, Alice and Frank married each other, with Frank's mother's permission(Alice was an orphan by then).
Now they had little Neville, their chubby and cuddly one-year-old baby boy; and the War they had prepared so much for, was over.
"I'm glad Mother could finally take Neville out," remarked Alice, tying a clean white apron around her waist.
"So am I," agreed Frank heartily. "Little Nev was cooped up a lot. I sure am glad the War's over."
Alice looked slightly downcast. "But look what it cost the world- two exceptional people dead, and a family torn apart."
Frank's smile lessened. "The Potters didn't deserve that."
Alice sighed. "No. They didn't."
There was a pause. "Little Harry Potter...the Boy who Lived...but at what a cost!"-muttered Frank.
"He's only as old as our Nev," Alice said. Frank saw her hands shake a little as she lathered up the dirty dishes. "They doted upon him," Alice continued sombrely. "The happiest couple I'd ever seen."
Frank looked at his wife. He stood up and walked to her, and placed a reassuring hand on her shoulder. "Why don't we just do this by wand, hmm?"-he muttered gently. Alice nodded jerkily. A sudden torrent of emotions had swelled with her, nearly reducing her to the point of tears.
"They were good people," Frank continued quietly, as he simultaneously waved his wand and cleared the sink.
"It was so horrible...I keep wondering how we survived after all that," Alice whispered, resting her head on his shoulder.
"Well, we did survive."
Alice shuddered slightly. "It seemed so..." Her voice trailed away. She raised her head. Frank looked at her. "What?"
"Did you hear that?"- Alice whispered, deadly white.
Frank frowned. "Hear what?" Frank was worried. He had always seen Alice like this before a duel or a mission. But the War was over...
Alice motioned Frank to be quiet by placing a finger on her lips. She tiptoed round the table to the kitchen door, which led to their living room. Frank followed her noiselessly.
Slowly, Alice peeked behind the door.
The next moment, she jumped back with a shriek as a red curse shattered the wall next to her.
"Alice!"- Frank shouted, and pulled her towards him.
"Death Eaters!"- she gasped.
Frank swore. "The War's over, for Merlin's sake! What're they doing here?"
Alice ignored him. She snatched her wand from the top of the table, and exclaimed feverishly, "Come on!"
With a yell, both of them charged out the door together. There were four of them. Frank felt a momentary spasm of fear cross him. Four against two?
He also recognized them instantly, for they weren't wearing their customary masks. Each of them had incredible, fanatical fury etched on their faces.
The rotten to the core kid Barty Crouch Jr., repulsive Rabastan Lestrange, his brother Rodolphus Lestrange, and Rodolphus' wife, that hateful woman, Bellatrix.
All this happened in a moment. The next second, there was a blitzkrieg of flashes of light- coloured curses were flying everywhere.
Frank fought furiously, but he could see that this duel was a life or death situation for them. He had no idea why they were here, but he kept fighting.
Suddenly he was distracted by a handful of ornaments flying at him. He avoided them, but he heard Bellatrix Lestrange scream-"Stupefy!" Too late, he saw the red spell zoom at him, and then he remembered nothing more as it hit him.
"Wake up, Longbottom," said a cruel voice. Frank stirred. What was happening?
"Look at your wife, Longbottom. She's whining for you."- the voice was jeering now.
Frank frowned slightly. Alice- whining? What-
Suddenly his eyes flew open as his brain registered what the voice was saying.
They were outside, by the path that led to their front door. The setting sun's last rays gleamed at the trees and the grass. But nothing prepared him for the sight in front of him.
The four Death Eaters were smirking evilly at him, and at their feet, almost lifeless, was huddled Alice's motionless body. Her robes were torn, her apron stained, her hair ragged and covering her face, her knuckles gleaming white.
"ALICE!"- roared Frank, struggling. That was when he noticed that he was bound tightly from shoulder to toe. She looked up, and Frank gasped.
Her face was whiter than her apron had ever been, her eyes were sunken in, and her face was stained with tears. She was also twitching nervously, and Frank understood what the fiends had done to her.
"What do you want with us?"- he yelled. "Let her go!"
Bellatrix stepped forward, her eyes gleaming with the madness of a lunatic. "The Dark Lord...our master. We want him back, Longbottom. And you'll tell us where he is."
Frank struggled against his bonds. "We don't know where he is! How would we know!"-he answered feverishly.
Bellatrix turned to look at Alice's prostrated figure. She said coldly, "We have had it from a very reliable source that you have information." She paused. "Information we seek and require."
"I tell you, I don't know! Alice!"- he shouted, losing his calmness for once. Alice's blank, pained look was unnerving him.
Bellatrix swung around suddenly, and punched Frank hard on his nose. Frank yelled with pain. She had broken it. "You do know where our Master is, and you'll tell us!"-she shrieked.
"I tell you, you mad woman, I don't know!"-Franks said in a nasal tone, his eyes screwed up with pain and rage.
"Bellatrix...this is taking too long. Lets get rid of them!"-said an impatient voice, a young, adenoidal voice. It was Barty Crouch. Frank turned to the boy. "Barty, you're making a mistake! This is wrong! You're ruining my family!" He was pleading, hoping for some effect on the teenager.
But Crouch Jr., didn't even respond. Bellatrix kicked Frank. "You filthy blood-traitor! Pure-bloods like you should be on our side, not support mudblood dirt! You deserve this! Crucio!"
Pain erupted throughout Frank's body, he screamed his heart out, but it didn't cease...almost as if from far away, he could hear Alice screaming as well...it went on and on...no rest, no break, his voice was gone...everything was over...Alice...Mother...Neville...
"STUPEFY!"- a large number of voices said the same thing, and the four Death Eaters fell to the ground, hit by a dozen Stunning Curses.
"Frank! Alice!"- screamed an old woman, a dumpy baby boy in her arms. Frank and Alice Longbottom weren't moving. They were alive, but were just lying on the ground staring ahead blankly, and didn't react to Augusta Longbottom's cry.
Old hurried to them. "Frank!"-she gasped, thrusting Baby Neville into his face. "Frank, look! Your Neville's calling! Frank, it's over!" No reaction.
She turned to Alice feverishly. "Alice! Dear, dear, Alice! Look, Nev- he's smiling at you, oh, please look!"
Alice didn't respond, her eyes glassy and unfocused.
Old Augusta Longbottom began to cry, tears flowing down her white, wrinkled cheeks. "What I'd give to see them dead instead of..."- she whispered.
All around her, the Aurors were whispering. As if on cue, Baby Neville began to wail loudly. Alice blinked once, her face expressionless...
Fourteen years from then, Neville Longbottom woke up with tears in his eyes.