Neville Reads the Prophet 4

Covering the events of Honor to Serve Part 4

Neville began his second day back from school early. He'd been in the heir's gallery when Malfoy, Macnair, and Goyle had been placed on trial by the Royals, and Malfoy's testimony had produced nightmares that would not end.

The sun had only lent a hint of red to the edge of the eastern horizon when Neville took his seat in the breakfast nook. A glass of orange juice and the Prophet waited for him. He took a single sip of juice, then turned to the Longbottom's house elf. "If you please, I think some scones, blueberry, will be enough for this morning, Lokie."

It was Saturday, and the Saturday Prophet tended to be more light than most days. Neville knew that anyone expecting that today was going to be disappointed. The headline on the front page said that clearly. The scones appeared just as he opened the paper. "Thank you Lokie." He picked up a scone and began to nibble on it as he read. He had to be careful about how many of those he ate. Nibbling on things as he read had been why he'd been so chubby at the start of his first year.

"Treason! Royals Sentence Death Eaters." The picture was of the Tower Green, with a gallows ready. Three nooses stood waiting. Neville forced himself to read the accounting of Lucius Malfoy's deeds. He forced himself to read about the killing, the torture, even the desecration of graves done at Malfoy's orders. He'd been there, among the record crowd in the galleries, but it was still important to read the whole article. Only after he did, did he look below the fold.

Below the fold was the stories on Waldon Macnair and Gregory Goyle V. Goyle had actually been found not guilty on one charge. Somehow he'd avoided using unforgivable curses, but he wasn't exactly sure how he'd done that. The corner box notified Neville that there would be no Fashion or Farm section, and that there would be additional Wizengamot trial coverage on pages eight and nine.

Neville turned the page, briefly checking out the weather report, rain all day. That felt almost appropriate to him. Then he looked at Czarina Redeemer's Buys and Sells. Amos Diggory, buy. Tom Marvolo Riddle, sell. That was a bold entry. Neville was surprised that it got past the editors. Draco Malfoy, buy. The Royal Family, buy. Minister Fudge, sell. Amelia Bones, hold. Pius Thicknesse, buy. Harry Potter, buy.

On the International News page opposite, it seemed there was some concern about the Death Eaters being back in Britain. A column from one of the Daily Prophet's regular writers complained about Secretary DeConcini's comments indicating that America stood ready to assist. Neville thought the columnist was way off base. Some one had apparently replaced an obelisk in some district named Columbia with the statue from the hill in Bolivia. The harbor statue had been returned.

The forth page of the Prophet was a continuation from the Front page, along with an advertisement for a new book titled Guilty Men. There was also an article about the Royals, speculating as to which ones had sat in judgement, as by tradition, their hoods had remained up during the whole thing. Neville sipped his orange juice. He figured their claim that the Duke of York wasn't one of the three was wrong.

Neville looked over to page five and Sports. It was announced that the Pride of Portree was now one hundred percent owned by the Royal Family, with the lead owner being the Duke of Rothesay. Neville had no idea which royal that was. He'd have to ask Harry or Hermione on Monday. Muggle raised students always seemed to know more about the Royal Family than his pureblood relatives did.

There was an article about the various curses that Lucius had used on his team, and speculations as to why he did so. Neville had only one theory, Malfoy was crazy. Of course the more informed, and Neville used the term very lightly, members of the press said it was part of some massive betting scheme. Neville would believe that when Gringotts reported the size of the Malfoy and other soon to be deceased Death Eater's accounts.

There had been no Quidditch matches on Friday, but today there were going to be three. Chudley was going to be playing Appleby. That was going to be a slaughter, especially given the Arrow's well oiled Chasers and the fact that Chudley had a new Keeper in his first game, following an off field injury. Wigtown was playing Holyhead. Hannah had tickets, and had invited him to accompany her. Neville figured it would be a good idea not to admit to Hannah that there was a poster of Holyhead's Seeker in his bedroom. The last game of the day was going to be Ballycastle against Falmouth. Neville was rooting futilely for Ballycastle in that game. Falmouth's Beaters were living up to their motto lately, even when they won.

Page Six was a Royal Proclamation, the official announcement of the death sentences of Lucius Malfoy, Waldon Macnair and Gregory Goyle V. Neville had never read such a sentence before. He noticed that the there was an application for witnesses, but the actual time was not specified, nor was where they were being held.

Page Seven was the Business section. When the Wizengamot had ended it's closed trial session, the overseas exchanges had went into free fall. The Galleon had dropped to the lowest amount to the pound that Neville had ever seen. It seemed that the Goblins had released a list of holdings by the doomed three Death Eaters to the Royals, and part of it had gotten out. The international chain Gambol & Japes was apparently entirely owned by the three Death Eaters.

Neville figured that he had no need to buy any joke items anytime soon. If he needed something, he could always ask Fred and George Weasley to make it up for him. They did better work than Gambol & Japes anyway.

Neville tried to turn to page eight, but couldn't. After a couple tries to split the sheets, he noticed the child protect notice. He was glad that Harry had already filed his staff intern form. Neville would not have to ask his Gran to do the charm today. "Majorus!" he said, tapping his wand on the small box in the lower left of page seven. The page turned, opening to show him pages eight and nine.

Page Eight was child protected along with page nine and titled "The Crimes of Lucius Malfoy," and the lead article was by Rita Skeeter. Neville had felt sorry for previous victims of Skeeter, there was no other reporter so skilled in the art of twisting facts, but he didn't feel sorry for the victim of this article. He'd sat through Malfoy's confession, and what Skeeter had revealed wasn't nearly as bad. Not that it still wasn't bad.

Skeeter had somehow managed to get details on how Lucius Malfoy had treated his captive muggle girls. The details and the description of their scarred gravid bodies, as well as the grave yard of those that hadn't survived to be rescued from Malfoy Manor, made Neville put down his blueberry scone, leaving the rest of it untouched. The fact that Malfoy had been the world's largest suppler of the banned potions ingredient, an innocent's blood, was merely detail on the parchment.

Neville felt sick by the time he finished the page.

The top of page Nine had the crimes of Gregory Goyle V. Compared to Malfoy, he was a petty criminal. Petty, a term that really shouldn't be applied to rape and murder. There was only a single picture of Goyle. The bottom of the page, though, was a story about one of the most loathsome Death Eater attacks in the year that Voldermort was defeated by Harry Potter's mother. Neville had credited Lily Evans since his second year for the defeat that Halloween. Harry had made a good case.

The attack had occurred in a muggle place called a department store. Neville wasn't sure what that was, as there was no equivalent in the wizarding world, but the picture of the aftermath showed what looked to him to be shelves full of baby stuff. Not that Neville had a lot of experience with baby stuff. Most of his encounters with it were old well worn pictures of himself with his parents. There was a list of victims. One of the names caught his eye. Dahlia Dursley, wasn't that the last name of the muggles that Harry lived with?

The two secured pages ruined Neville's appetite. He left his scones on the table and stood up, turning the page to the back of the Prophet. As he walked away, he looked at the last page briefly. An advertisement for dragon dung and a bunch of editorials of people who obviously hadn't sat through the trials. The advertisement summed up the page, summed up the way Neville felt the world was going.

Neville tossed the paper on the table, and strode out of the room. He headed for the only place where that dragon dung could actually do some good. Perhaps an hour or so in his greenhouse would allow him to get his appetite back.