The Boy Who Wasn't
by Healer Pomfrey
All recognizable characters belong to J. K. Rowling, and I am not earning anything by writing this story.
I am not a native speaker of English. Please excuse my mistakes.
7. To Heal Us.
Noah listened to the Potions Master's speech in amazement and eagerly began to take notes, completely unaware that the professor suddenly stopped talking and stared at him. Only when Neville unobtrusively gave him a small kick did he look up in surprise.
"Even foolish Gryffindors need to pay attention in my class or you might easily lose a limb," the professor said in a sharp voice.
Seeing Noah stare at the teacher in apparent fright, Neville pointed out, "Noah was only taking notes of your speech sir."
"Ten points from Gryffindor for disturbing my class, Mr. Longbottom," Snape replied, causing the twins to exchange a horrified look.
'The Weasley twins were right,' Noah thought. 'He really hates Gryffindors. We have to be very careful in his class.'
Fortunately, the twins could make up for the point loss in the Transfiguration class, where they were the only students able to transfigure their matches into needles.
"Very well Messrs. Longbottom, five points each to Gryffindor," McGonagall commended them, casting them a proud smile.
After the last afternoon class, the two pairs of twins sat in the common room together with Lee Jordan and worked on their homework.
"Today's only the first day of classes and they gave us quite a lot of homework. I hope it won't be much more next week," George groaned.
"Exactly, we still need some time to play pranks," Fred added, causing the others to chuckle.
"Whom do you want to prank..."
"... without getting into trouble?" Noah and Neville queried.
"The teachers," Fred and George replied, simultaneously.
"I have a better idea," Noah spoke up and, seeing that the other four looked at him in expectation, continued, "The other day, Neville and I read about about the Animagus transformation, and there was something about a potion that shows you your Animagus form. I'd rather prefer to brew that."
"So we're going to be Animagi?..."
"... What a brilliant idea," the Weasleys replied, completely agreeing with the younger twins.
"How and when can we brew it though?" Lee threw in. "Snape surely won't allow us to use the Potions classroom to brew the Animagus potion."
"I know what we do," Noah replied, chuckling. "The professor told us that we'd be allowed to use the classroom if we show him the recipe beforehand and it's harmless..."
"... We can just pretend to brew a simple prank potion," Neville finished the sentence for his brother.
The five friends decided to ask the professor after dinner the next evening. However, the events of the following afternoon made the first-years forget about the brewing of any potions.
At the same time, the teachers met in the headmaster's office for their first staff meeting of the school year.
"Yesterday, when Percy Weasley came back to Hogwarts, Minerva spoke with him and confiscicated his rat," Dumbledore spoke up, pointing to a wooden rat that was sitting on the shelf next to the Sorting Hat. It was missing a toe. "This morning, I have informed the Minister of Magic, and Sirius Black and Peter Pettigrew will have a trial on Saturday morning in order to allow some of us to appear as witnesses," the headmaster continued. "I'd like to ask both of you, Alice and Frank, to accompany Minerva and me to the trial."
"Of course Albus," Alice replied, smiling. "Thank you for taking the matter into your hands. We'll see to it that the boy will receive an adequate new familiar."
"Very well," Dumbledore said and changed the topic to the timetables for the respective houses.
First thing in the morning, the first year Gryffindors and Slytherins had their Defence Against the Dark Arts class.
Noah really did not want to separate from Neville, however, since Alice had agreed with Pomfrey that he should have Healing classes during that time and had told him that it would be too dangerous for him to watch the Defence class as he could be hit by a spell, he knew better than to not obey.
To his surprise and relief, the Healing class was much more interesting that he had expected it to be. Pomfrey taught him the two easiest diagnostic spells and, instead of giving him homework, she instructed him to practise the spells, even if he was not allowed to use them on people.
In the afternoon, the first years had their first flying class, and Noah decided to not leave his brother alone but simply watch the class.
"I'm scared. I wished I could just watch together with you," Neville whispered to Noah, before he headed to where many broomsticks were lying on the floor waiting for the students to practise.
Noah soon became bored, when his classmates had to instruct the brooms to come into their hands. 'Is that so difficult?' he wondered, observing how the Wealey twins' and his brother's brooms obeyed immediately, while others took a long time. Finally, the first years were allowed to sit on their brooms, and Madam Hooch corrected their grips on the brooms, before she allowed them to take off just a little bit and land again.
Noah had no idea how it could happen; however, Neville was apparently not only unable to land again, but his broom took him higher and higher upwards in spite of the instructor's shouting that he should come down immediately.
Without further thinking, Noah grabbed one of the brooms that were still lying on the ground, mounted it and took into the air as if he were an experienced flier. He could not make out his brother's face, but he did not have to see it to know that he had to be horrified. "Neville, wait, I'll help you," he shouted against the wind, not sure if his twin would be able to hear him.
All of a sudden, Neville began to slowly tumble down, just an instant before Noah reached him. As carefully as possible while trying to catch up with the other broom's speed, Noah guided his own broom next to that of his brother and reached out for it.
"Try to come nearer and hold on to me," he instructed his brother. "I'll bring us down." Sitting on his own broom with his right hand firmly gripping Neville's, he slowly flew them down towards the ground.
As soon as they made a safe landing on the ground, they were surrounded by their excited classmates and a very upset flying instructor.
"Messrs. Longbottom," she said, sounding angry. "You," she pointed to Neville, "need to listen to my instructions, and you," she pointed to Noah," should know better than to fly in spite of not being allowed to do so."
"But he saved Neville's life..."
"... and it was brilliant," the Weasley twins spoke aloud what their classmates were thinking.
"Too bad that you're not allowed to fly, you'd probably make a fantastic Seeker," Hooch commented, before she motioned everyone except for the Longbottom twins to once again mount their brooms.
Neville and Noah sat in the grass next to each other.
"Thanks for saving my life," Neville said, glancing at Noah.
"Ah you wouldn't have died," Noah replied, lightly, noticing that Neville's voice was slightly shaking. "I'm sure your magic would have saved you."
"Are you all right Noah?" Neville suddenly remembered to ask. "You were not supposed to fly."
"I'm fine," Noah said, reassuringly, although he admit to himself that he wasn't feeling too great.
By the time the flying class ended, all the first-years were still shaken by the earlier events, and the professors were surprised how quiet the first-years' ends of the Gryffindor and Slytherin tables remained during dinner.
Dinner was almost over, when Alice Longbottom walked behind the Gryffindor table and instructed her sons, "Neville and Noah come with me for a moment."
Glancing at each other in silent question, the twins followed their mother home to their quarters.
Alice motioned the twins to take a seat on the sofa in the living room and gave them a sharp look. "Madam Hooch informed me what happened out on the Quidditch pitch," she spoke up in apparent concern. "Are the two of you all right?"
"... Nothing really happened," Noah and Neville reassured their mother, smiling.
"Neville, how come that you were unable to land?" Alice enquired, worriedly.
"I don't know," Neville replied, his voice still shaking at the memory. "My broom just took me higher and higher. I thought I was going to die until suddenly Noah showed up and took me back to the ground." Casting his mother a pleading look, he asked, "Is there any way that I could be excused from the flying class? I think I'm made for the ground and not for the air."
"I think so too," Noah agreed, looking at his twin in concern.
"I'll speak with my colleagues," Alice promised in a soothing voice, before she turned to Noah. "Are you feeling completely fine dear? You look awfully pale tonight."
"Noah please tell Mum," Neville threw in. "She can help you."
"I feel a bit strange tonight," Noah admitted in a small voice. "It's not so bad though."
"All right," Alice said in understanding. "Would you both mind spending the night here, so that I can keep an eye of you? I suggest that you go to bed now anyway."
Knowing that the following day was a Saturday and they did not have any urgent homework to do, the twins agreed, and they both willingly turned in for the night, after Alice had reassured them that she'd speak with Professor McGonagall and ask her to inform their roommates.
Unbeknownst to the boys, who fell asleep after a few minutes of quietly talking to each other, Alice not only informed the Gryffindor head but also asked the healer to check on them.
Pomfrey first checked on Neville and reassured Alice that nothing was wrong, neither with his magic nor with his motoric abilities. Then she proceeded to cast her spells at Noah and informed her young colleague that Noah had to rest a lot and be careful to not overexert himself, especially during the next few weeks.
While several of the teachers joined the Longbottoms for tea in their quarters that evening, the Weasley twins and Lee felt bored because of Noah's and Neville's absence and snuck out of the Gryffindor common room shortly after curfew.
"Percy showed us where the kitchens are..."
"... and told us that we could get hot cocoa there," they told Lee, as they led him through the deserted halls.
"I just hope we won't meet Snape," Lee replied, anxiously looking around.
The three first-years were lucky and managed to reach the kitchens unseen.
"You have to tickle the pear..."
"... like this," the twins informed their friend and pulled him inside.
The three friends enjoyed a huge cup of hot cocoa each as well as several kind of biscuits that the elves kindly served.
"The elves seem really bored," George whispered to his friends, unobtrusively observing a dozen of elves who were standing around waiting if there was anything that they could do for them.
"Excuse me," Fred addressed the elves nearest to their table. "Would you mind showing us the kitchens?"
Of course the kind elves did not mind and led the twins and their friends around the kitchen elves' working place. They even showed their guests the part of the kitchen where the elves used to have their own meals. George and Lee stared at Fred in confusion, when the boy asked several questions about when the elves were having their meals and if they ate the same food that was served in the Great Hall.
Happy to assist their guests, the elves kindly replied to all questions and informed the boy that the kitchen elves usually took their meals before serving the food in the Great Hall and that the elves who looked after the teachers or the students ate at different times.
It was almost midnight when the three first-years returned to their dormitory.
"I've an idea," Fred informed his friends, "but we should wait for Noah and Neville. They probably won't want to miss the fun." Seeing his twin and their friend give him questioning looks, he explained the plan, causing the two others to agree immediately.
Sirius Black's trial went well, and he was declared innocent and free and was compensated for his imprisonment and offered his old position as Auror once again. On the same morening, Pettigrew was found guilty of everything that Black had been accused for and sentenced to receive the Dementor's kiss at Azkaban.
"I'm glad that he's free considering that he's innocent," Alice said to Frank on the way back to Hogwarts. "I don't regret changing Noah's godparents though. I've never liked Black, and I don't really want him around our twins."
"I fully agree with you dear," Frank replied, calmly, and kissed his wife. "I hope he'll drive Dumbledore nuts once he finds out that Harry Potter is gone."
"Yes," Alice replied, grimly. "He really deserves it."
At the same time, while Professor Snape was chaperoning the Hogsmeade visit together with the Hufflepuff head of house, the two couples of twins and their roommate busied themselves in the Potions classroom brewing a rare potion that Fred and George had found in an old Potions tome. Fortunately, it did not take long to brew, and they managed to leave the Potions classroom in a state that did not make the professor realise that anyone had come to brew a potion during his absence.
'I wonder what the potion does,' Noah wondered but fully relied on their twin friends to know what they were doing.
Very early on Sunday morning, Fred, George and Lee led Noah and Neville into the kitchens to not only consume a cup of hot cocoa and biscuits. It was about two hours before breakfast in the Great Hall was going to commence, and while the friends were enjoying their beverage and small pieces of cake that the elves had served them, Fred suddenly motioned Noah to follow him.
After a while, the elves were called for breakfast and hesitantly asked if it was all right to leave the five friends alone or if they still needed them. The friends hurriedly reassured them that they'd be fine, and as soon as the elves had retreated to the other part of the kitchen, George cast a notice-me-not charm at his brother and Noah.
"We practised the charm for this purpose yesterday," he explained to Neville, while Fred motioned Noah to follow him.
"Let's spread this all over the elves' food," Fred instructed the younger twin, handing him a small phial with the potion that they had brewed during the previous afternoon.
"What does it do?" Noah whispered, curiously. "Are you going to prank the elves?"
Fred chuckled. "Just wait and see," he replied, smirking. "Let me just tell you that if it works we're going to have much fun at breakfast."
The friends were lucky and none of the elves noticed the intruders. Five minutes later, they were back at the table where their brothers and friends were waiting for them.
"Let's go back to Gryffindor quickly," Fred told the others and cast a notice-me-not spell at all of them. "Believe me we don't want anyone to see us near the kitchens this morning," he said, chuckling.
Thanks to the kind readers who reviewed the previous chapter!