Harry stumbled at the bottom of the stairs and almost fell on his face. A strong arm grabbed him and kept him from falling. Harry looked up at his savior and grinned.
"Alright there Neville?
"Mostly Harry." Neville grinned, "Come on we can't let you scrape up your face the women would all swoon to help you out."
"Not all of them." Harry grinned in response, "I can think of a fair few that would probably push me rubble and even grind my face in it if they could."
"Some women do have some sense then." Ron laughed with the other boys.
"Honestly." Hermione chided softly.
"Ron your Mum asked me to send you back to the Great Hall." Neville said, "Said something about a family meeting."
"Oh they're probably making funeral arrangements." Ron's face was twisted in pain for a moment before he took a deep breath and it was replaced with a look that was hard as stone, "Later."
Hermione went with him trying to be his support. Harry watched them go and then turned back to Neville, "Do you think the tower is safe? I'm exhausted, haven't slept in like two days or something."
"I'm sure it is. Mind if I walk with you?" he asked.
"No I don't mind. As long as you promise to help me stay on my feet." Harry laughed feebly. The two stumbled along in silence for a bit before Harry continued talking, "Thanks for all your help Neville."
"I didn't do anything." he shrugged.
"You didn't do anything." Harry said in surprise, "Are you kidding me. Really Neville I know you're humble but come on now I know you did stuff. Shall we start with the DA fifth year? You were the student who improved the most. You moved from being the struggler that was thought a squib to one of the most amazing duelers."
"You taught me how." Neville interrupted.
"But you did the work. You are one of the hardest working people I know. Then you helped me in that fiasco at the Ministry. They would have had the prophecy if it hadn't been for you." Harry said.
"I dropped it and broke it." Neville stated mildly.
"But before that you helped me keep it safe. Then you made sure they couldn't get it when it looked like we would lose. You broke it and kept them from hearing it." Harry said.
"But you didn't get to hear it either." Neville pointed out, "We don't have the password kind lady can you let us in anyway?"
"To the defenders of course." the portrait announced.
"Dumbledore told me all about it later." Harry grimaced and then told him the prophecy just after the portrait closed behind them, "It could have meant either of us but Voldemort went after the half blood just like himself."
"He was a half blood?" Neville was dumbfounded.
"Yea can you imagine how stupid those pure blood racists feel now?" Harry laughed, "They are going to Azkaban because of a half blood bent on blood purity. I'm going to make sure they all know too. I'll publish his life story if I have to."
"Get Hermione to help you write it." Neville said, "I've seen some of the grades you get on essays."
"Ha." Harry grinned at his four poster bed that was ready for him. As he sat down and began to pull his shoes off he went back to his conversation, "But like I said you've done a lot. Last year you came when we called the DA not like those others who didn't keep their coins. You knew we'd need you and you held out. I'm sorry I haven't been as good a friend as what you have been. I haven't always been around when you needed it but I hope you know that all you have to do is ask."
"I know." Neville watched as Harry collapsed on his bed.
"You came when we called last year and you fought Death Eaters again." Harry said, "You helped us chase them from the castle and we won the day."
"How can you say that we lost Dumbledore that day." Neville was concerned.
"We did." Harry agreed, "But we really lost him about a year before. Remember his blackened hand?"
"Yes that was scary to see him injured." Neville shuddered.
"It really was." Harry agreed, "But he got it from a terrible dark curse and a slip on his own part. There is no cure for that curse and he was given only a year to live. It was held to his hand but eventually it would get out and attack. It was supposed to be a very painful death. He made a deal with Snape. When the time came Snape would kill him instead of someone like Bellatrix."
"So he was for the light all the time?" Neville questioned, "But he was so terrible this year. He basically fed us to the Carrow's they were able to do anything but kill us."
"Exactly, he kept you all alive." Harry said, "If he had done more…"
"Voldemort would have replaced him with someone worse." Neville slumped back onto his own bed."
"Exactly, which brings me to this year. You led the DA this year and had real threats not the prattle that Umbridge spouted." Harry said, "You save numerous people and you caused some major havoc at the school. I'm so proud."
"I didn't do it alone." Neville said, "I had Luna and Ginny helping me."
"And I always have Ron, Hermione and many others helping me." Harry pointed out, "Then the biggest part, the part that blows me totally away. You kill Nagini."
"The snake?" Neville was confused.
"The big bad snake." Harry confirmed, "You got one eighth of the guy who caused the attack on your parents."
"What are you talking about?" Neville asked, "You killed him."
"I killed the biggest part of him." Harry agreed, "But you, Ron, Hermione, Dumbledore, Crabbe and Voldemort got the rest of him. My part was the ugliest, though Nagini was a close second."
"I don't understand." Neville said, "I just killed a snake not Voldemort. I think you may have hit your head or something."
"No I didn't." Harry laughed, "Voldemort broke his soul into eight pieces. He placed one piece in the snake. As long as the containers for these pieces were whole he couldn't die. You took down the last piece so that he could bite the big one."
"Bite the big what?" Neville asked.
"Muggle phrase bite the big one means to die." Harry said yawning, "I killed the book, Dumbledore got the ring, Ron got his locket, Hermione got the cup, Crabbe got the diadem, Voldemort killed me, you got the snake and then I got to kill his body. Well really he killed himself if you think about it. He shot the killing curse I just reflected it."
"Why did Crabbe and Voldemort help you kill him off?" Neville was getting really confused, "What do you mean he killed you? I thought you tricked him."
"Crabbe set fiend fire in the room of requirement where the diadem was. We managed to escape but the fire touched the diadem enough to destroy it." Harry's speech was getting slower and harder to understand as he was falling asleep, "I did really die. I just didn't stay dead Dumbledore told me I could come back so I did. You did good tonight Nev."
Neville wanted to get more explanations but Harry was asleep. He pulled the curtains around the bed and put up some silencing spells so no one would disturb Harry. He locked all the windows so no one could get in that way and then he sat against the door. If anyone opened the door he'd know even if he was asleep. After a while the door opened and he fell back through the space. He had his wand trained on the intruder and a spell ready to be unleashed.
"What are you doing Neville?" Seamus asked.
"Guarding Harry." He replied with a yawn.
"He asked you …"
"Of course not he fell asleep as we were talking and I just decided not to risk leaving him alone." Neville said crossly, "If you're coming in be quiet so he can sleep."
"We can help you keep watch. What do you want us to do?" Dean asked.
"Why don't you guard the common room." he suggested, "I don't know if anyone else is up here but we should protect any girls that are sleeping too."
"If anyone else comes in we'll send them to you first." Seamus added.
"Make sure no one gets past you, even secure the windows." Neville added as they left.
"Got it boss." Dean saluted and the two boys turned and left.
Neville shook his head at them and then settled back down on his spot. Some thirty minutes later there was a light knock on the door. So he stood back up and opened it with his wand trained on the doorway. But there was no need as the person who had knocked was Ginny Weasley.
"Hi Neville." she smiled, "Keeping watch I see. Harry's lucky to have a friend like you."
"Its nothing." he shrugged in return.
"It's not nothing." Ginny said, "I'm glad you thought to do this. I've been too busy with… family stuff to look after him properly. I'm glad we have you around. Thanks."
Ginny approached the bed and moved to open the curtains but stopped. She looked back at Neville asking for permission and he nodded. Harry was still out the only thing that showed he wasn't dead was the steady rise and fall of his chest. Neville watched as she swept the hair out of his face and pulled the covers more securely around him. She leaned over him and gave him a small kiss before straightening.
"I'm headed to my dorm to sleep for a bit." She whispered, "Hermione and Ron should be by later."
Neville hugged her and shut the door after she left. He settled back to his spot leaning on the door and tried to relax. The relaxing worked and he was soon asleep. But it was all for naught because it wasn't more than an hour someone knocked again. Before he could wake enough to stand the door was opened and he fell back again and had his wand up and ready to curse someone.
"Easy there Neville." Ron grinned, "I've just come in to get some sleep."
Neville sat up and moved out of the way. Hermione followed Ron into the room and they both approached Harry. Ron's arm was around Hermione's waist as they stood looking at their sleeping friend. After a few moments they kissed and Ron left for the bathroom. Hermione went to leave but Neville stopped her.
"When did that start?" He snickered.
"Hush you." Hermione grinned, "Earlier today. It's about time I say."
"I can agree with that." Neville commented, "Maybe now you'll quit arguing."
"Doubt it." Hermione snickered this time, "It's a nice thing you're doing. But I think you need to sleep."
"I'm sleeping." Neville argued.
"On the floor?" Hermione shook her head, "Just take a bed."
"When I'm sure there is no danger I'll go to sleep in a bed." Neville said, "How bad would it be if someone snuck in here and killed him while we're all sleeping."
"What if I ward the room myself?" she asked.
"Add whatever you want but I'm staying by the door." Neville was very stubborn when he wanted to be.
He settled back onto the floor after she left. He nodded off again but this time he went undisturbed for several hours. When the door opened this time another red head was the guilty party.
"Neville what are you doing?" Charlie asked.
"Keeping watch." he yawned.
"Watch for what?"
"Anyone trying to get to Harry." he replied, "He hadn't been asleep for a couple days. I'm pretty sure a dragon could be let loose in the room and he wouldn't know." A loud snore from Ron's bed interrupted him, "I don't think Ron would know either."
"No I suppose not." Charlie chuckled, "He said the same about not sleeping. They were too worried about Gringotts to sleep the night before. Then they went from there to here without much rest. I was lucky I was asleep until we got the news. Everyone at the reserve knows my siblings are at Hogwarts so when we got the news it had been attacked they woke me right away. Still that was at about two this morning."
"I was asleep last night when Arianna's portrait had one of the others wake me. She won't talk to anyone else I guess because I was first." Neville shrugged, "Anyway I had a few hours last night before this all started."
"Why don't you go to bed now and I'll watch." he suggested.
"I'm fine." Neville said around a huge yawn.
"That's my line." Harry grumbled from his bed.
"Sorry didn't mean to wake you." Neville said.
"You didn't. I've got to use the loo." he replied, "Have you been watching out for me this whole time?"
"Someone needs too." Neville answered.
"I'm trying to get him to go to bed and I'll keep watch." Charlie said, "They're going to bring George in here with a sleeping draught in a few minutes. So he'll just take one of the other beds. Seamus and Dean volunteered to sleep in another dorm tonight."
"That's good Charlie. Neville you need some good rest so off you go." Harry insisted. When he returned Neville was already asleep on his own bed. Harry grinned and climbed into his own bed, "He's a good friend."
"I heard what he did to the snake and standing up to You Know… I mean Voldemort." Charlie grinned, "It was so cool."
"Neville rocks." Harry grinned, "No other way to say it."