A.N: Oh my god, I'm SO sorry for not updating last Saturday! Please forgive me for the delay, and I can't promise anything but I'll try not to let it happen again. I think this next week my family is going on a trip though, so I will most likely not be able to update again on Saturday, but I'll try my best. Anyway, you're here to read the history and not my rambling, so here we go!
Disclaimer: Believe me, I'll let you know if I ever own Harry Potter.
Twenty days. That's how much time Harry had before the first task. Twenty days for him to, somehow, train and learn to survive whatever it was that awaited him on the 24th of November. I better get started today, he thought. It was a Friday, and that meant after the afternoon classes Harry would have a night and an entire weekend before his classes started again. It was a Hogsmead weekend though, and Harry really wanted to get out of the castle and away from the stares and accusations. It will probably be even worse at breakfast, when the owls arrive with the Daily Prophet. He was extremely anxious about what that Skeeter woman might have written, even if Hermione had assured him the only thing she could write about him was his status as a Champion and what happened in the Weighting of the Wands ceremony. He was once again thankful he had managed to avoid the private interview. He was certain the woman would have fabricated lies about him and written things he never said. You could just look at her face, and that gleam in her eyes, and tell she was a gossip who does anything to create a scandal. The thought made him shiver.
He was so lost in thought he didn't see the person in front of him as he climbed down the stairs for breakfast, dressed and ready for the day. He walked right into the figure. Thankfully, the person managed to grip a railing and stop himself from falling down and Harry did the same. The figure turned and Harry saw it was Neville.
"I- I'm sorry Neville, I didn't see where I was going."
"It's okay, Harry. No need to apologize." He gave Harry a small, shy smile. "What about you, you haven't been talking to Ron, or anyone other than Hermione for that matter. And you seem quieter than usual ever since Halloween. Are you okay?"
Harry looked up in surprise. Was he okay? No. He was tired from the almost sleepless nights and the accusations, frustrated and angry with his situation and the fact he could do nothing to get out of it, scared of what's in store for him, insecure about his own abilities... But he would never tell anyone that.
"I'm fine, Neville" He smiled.
The brown headed boy nodded, even if he still looked suspicious. Harry chatted with him as they resumed climbing down the stairs. Harry did most of the talking, while Neville was quiet and often answered questions with short answers, giving him small smiles. Neville looked way better than the last time Harry talked to him, after Moody's class about the Unforgivables. He had been shaken and pale, staring unseenly ahead. Harry didn't hold it against him. He had been shaken too, seeing the grumpy new professor do the curses in class and in the case of the Imperious curse, on the students. He could still see the spider the professor used as a victim in his mind, squirming and screeching as Moody held the torture curse. Then he remembered the way it stilled and went limp as the professor cast the killing curse. Moody had turned to him then, both his eyes focused on him as he said Harry had been the only person known to survive the killing curse. Harry had noticed a strange tick the professor had then, to stick out his tongue like a snake. The man was certainly as mad as the stories everyone told.
The two boys met Hermione in the common room and headed down to the Great Hall. They sat together at the Gryffindor table, with Neville at Harry's side and Hermione across from them. Harry listened as Neville quietly talked about his difficulty with the Summoning charms and other spells and classes. And before he knew what he was doing, he blurted out that he'd be glad to help him out if he could.
"Really? You'd do that?" Neville asked, eyes wide.
"Yeah, I mean, I'm training for the tournament and I have to practice spells and what not. We could review all the spells we've learned this year, and maybe the years before. I think it will help me with the tasks. And after that, we could try new spells. Hermione could find us the textbooks from the first four years in the library, and maybe the one for fifth year too." Harry said. He turned to Hermione. "Right?"
His best friend stared at him with wide eyes before she blinked a few times and recovered from her surprise. "Yeah... Yeah, I could do that. It's a great idea."
"Why do you sound so surprised?" Harry asked her, frowning.
"Oh, shut up!" And the three laughed.
When the three left the Great Hall, they didn't even notice the owls arriving through the Windows and they walked together to the Charms classroom. They discussed the time they'd meet for the training. For Harry, and for Neville too it seemed, the classes lasted forever. When they finally ended, Harry decided he'd show Neville the room he'd found before supper while Hermione went to the library, promising to find the textbooks they'd need. They stopped by their dorm so Harry could get his invisibility cloak and the Marauder's Map, and Harry smiled wide at the awe on Neville's face as he explained what the items were before they headed to the seventh floor. He instructed Neville on how to get the room to appear and watched as his friend gaped at the new room. They walked inside, and Neville asked questions about how the room worked as they looked at their surroundings.
This time, Harry had thought of a room where they could practice in. It was big and wide, just a bit smaller than the Great Hall. It was divided in three different sections. One, the biggest, looked like an obstacle course. There were different targets set up at different heights and distances, and training dummies that sprung up from behind colunes and walls. Another had a long platform, just like the one in second year that Lockheart had used for his 'Dueling class' and the last, the smallest, had a table and a bookshelf where they could put their bags and the textbooks they'd be using.
Harry answered Neville's questions as best he could before they had to leave for dinner, stopping to drop their things in the dormitory. They were chatting on the way down when Neville asked how Harry thought his name had gotten into the Goblet of Fire. Harry stopped and looked up at Neville in surprise.
"You... You believe me? That I didn't put my name in the goblet?"
"Well, yeah... I mean, you've never lied to me before and if you're telling me you didn't put your name there then, yeah, I believe you" Neville shrugged. "Besides, I could see how surprised you were when Dumbledore called your name. You'd have had to be an idiot not to see it." He smiled at Harry.
He almost hugged Neville for that, but he settled for returning his smile with a wide one of his own. Truth be told, he had forgotten to ask the brown-haired boy about it, and the boy hadn't brought it up. He thanked Neville profusely, but the boy told him there was no reason to thank him as he hadn't done anything and he lowered his head, looking away, reverting to the shy Gryffindor everyone made him out to be. But Harry had seen the other side of Neville as the boy excitedly talked about his plants and the Herbology book he had gotten from the new professor, and he was determined to make that side of his friend appear again. One more mission on my list, he thought. Here we go.