Chapter 9 : Additional Help
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Once the Weasley Family left her office Headmistress Minerva McGonagall opened the alcove to get out the pensieve. She saw the liquid was swirling around indicating memories were still in it.
"Those belong to Harry. Or actually Severus gave them to him as he died. Perhaps Kreacher should take this to him?" Albus asked.
As the old Elf left he took the pensieve with him. Minerva took a second one out and set it on her desk for Fleur who proceeded to draw out her memory. She duplicated it and gave one to Kingsley and placed the other in the pensieve.
"While we are waiting you two come with me" Minerva instructed Hannah and Neville. They followed her into her private Office and found a breakfast laid out for them. "Go ahead. We may be a while" she suggested with a smile. Hannah and Neville both hugged her and gratefully sat and ate. When they were finished they saw two couches along the walls. Each had a set of clothes with a note instructing them to get some sleep and theirs would be cleaned.
"Hannah you go first" Neville told her. She entered the loo and changed into the pajamas wondering what Neville would think of how she looked as she changed, if their relationship ever went that far.
When Neville came out he saw she had moved the couches so they were now side by side. "How am I supposed to get in?" he wondered. He felt himself leave his feet as she levitated him onto the couch next to her.
"Good night" she mumbled as they fell asleep with their wands in their hands .
The door had not completely closed and Minerva motioned Fleur over. "Amor. Cie Manifique" she whispered. She waved her wand over them causing tiny stars to fall. Both now had smiles on their faces as their hands found each other's.
"Veela magic?" wondered Kingsley who observed over Minerva's shoulder.
"Perhaps" Fleur replied with a wink. "Now come let us see what I saw." She took Minerva's and Kingsley's hands and they dipped their faces into the swirling water.
* * *
Neville awoke feeling very warm, and it was dark in the room. He didn't remember closing the curtains so he thought it must be getting late. As he tried to move he realized why he was so warm. Hannah had slid closer and was sharing the couch with him. Her head was resting now on his bare chest and her hand was slid inside pulling him closer. Gently he brushed the long blonde hair over and kissed her forehead.
"Good Morning. You were tossing a lot and I didn't know what else to do" she replied as she turned her head up to kiss him.
"I was? I don't remember" he replied as he too pulled her closer. "I wish I could wake up like this every morning" he thought he was saying to himself.
"You do? Me too" she replied as she kissed him again.
After a few minutes of serious snogging he pulled back a little. "As much as I don't want to we need to stop. This feels so right, you know? The Headmistress trusts us. And we need to see how our friends are" he stated as he felt her pull him even tighter. With a flick of his wrist his patronus, which was a lion, leaped forth and exited the room.
"Are you sending that to the Headmistress?" she wondered. "Or to Ron?"
"Neither. It was to my Gran so she doesn't worry" he replied.
"You did that so fast. It usually takes me a minute to focus. Do you mind me asking which happy memory you chose?"
"It was this one" he said as he kissed her again.
Hannah felt herself melting in his arms. This man who she had cared for, who didn't even notice her or think of her in that way now didn't care about anything else, other than family and friends. She waved her wand and the other couch slid aside so she could get up. Neville inhaled sharply when she did. "What happened? Did I hurt you?" she asked her face full of concern.
Neville took three more deep breaths. How could he not have seen what she was wearing last night? When he came out she was under the covers.
Hannah blushed slightly as she leaned over to kiss him again, letting him enjoy the view even more. She had transfigured the sleeping clothes to give her a plunging neckline which she threatened to fall out of the longer she stayed like that.
"If you keep standing over me like that we will never leave" he finally told her as he now focused his eyes on hers.
"And that would be a bad thing?" she whispered.
"If we were anywhere else I would say no. As it stands I can barely keep my hands to myself" he replied.
"Good answer" she smiled as she straightened up. She smiled again and went back into the loo to change. She saw him lean back continuing to take deep breaths knowing that he was hers. When she came out she saw how he had straightened things and put away the extra bedding.
"All this and you can clean? Can you cook too?" she asked amazed more and more.
"Actually I can. Since it is only Gran and I she taught me how to do everything. Just in case anything happened to her" he quietly replied.
Hannah held him gently as he cried. Last night he shared what happened to his parents. 'I wonder if he was there when it happened like Harry was' she wondered as she held him. "Don't worry Neville. I promise you that you will never ever be alone as long as I am alive."
"Thank you" he replied. He picked her up and sat on the couch cradling her in his arms. With the flick of his wrist he produced a red rose. He pulled the hair back behind her left ear and slid it there. "I have always wanted to do that for someone. I just never got the chance."
Hannah wondered if he understood the significance of where he placed it. On the right meant available, but on the left showed her heart belonged to someone. "I have never been close to anyone before either. Most guys chased after me, especially for these" she replied patting her chest. "So as I got older I dressed so they were less obvious."
"Well they were pretty obvious a few minutes ago" he wryly replied.
Playfully she punched him in the shoulder. As she wanted he stared, but then brought his eyes up without being told to. And as he said he kept his hands to himself as she teased him. No, he liked her before he knew what she was concealing. "You're right Gran is waiting. Let's go find her and make sure she is OK. Maybe we can take a nap later before we start?"
Neville blushed wondering what she would wear the next time. It couldn't be much less ...
* * *
"Good Morning? And how are we all today?" Kreacher asked as he returned to the special room that morning.
"Better thank you" Hermione replied. Much of the swelling had gone down in her face but Poppy had charmed her eyes to stay closed for at least another day yet. "Too much nerve damage" she told a worried Ron. This bothered Hermione more than a few broken bones. Reading and the Library were her life. At least until she and Ron got serious. Finally.
"Mistress Granger would you like anything special to eat today?" wondered Kreacher.
"No thank you. Whatever you bring will be fine" she answered. Her pet project was explaining to everyone how the House Elves were being mistreated and overworked.
"Hermione what did you just ask me for? Kreacher she told me when she was little and was sick her Mother used to make her chicken noodle soup. And chocolate chip cookies" Ron said.
"Then you are in luck today." He vanished and returned with three steaming bowls and a plate full of chocolate chip cookies. And three huge mugs of hot cocoa.
"Ron that smells like ... " Ginny said as she came around the corner. "Oh it is!!" she smiled as she bit into a cookie. "Mmmm still warm." With Ron's help Hermione enjoyed her snack. Towards the end they noticed the pensieve sitting on the big table. Seeing it Kreacher told them it contained the memories Professor Snape had given Harry as he died.
"You two go. Tell me everything afterwards" Hermione told Ron after kissing him. "You taste way better now. Ginny today we both had our morning Skelegrow."
Together Ron and Ginny dipped their faces into the swirling water. The scenes from Professor Snape's life played themselves out, culminating in the final one revealing Headmaster Dumbledore's realization of what must be done to defeat Voldemort. "This explains everything" Ron said to his sister.
"No Ron it doesn't. Are these horcruxes what you were chasing?" Ginny asked.
Ron gave her a condensed version, including that the book which possessed her was one too. Harry and Hermione understood this better so they can give you more of the details. They separated with Ginny returning to Harry's bedside, wondering what else happened and why Harry felt he had to do this. "There had to be another way" she said aloud to him as she tucked the sheet around him tighter. Ron went back to Hermione and began softly talking, explaining each memory.
"OK now I understand. And the nightmares too. A part of Voldemort was inside him" Hermione added.
"Mistress Ginny we have a visitor" Kreacher said from behind the curtain. Wiping her eyes (again) she got up to find Fleur waiting. "The Headmistress and the Minister thought Mrs. Weasley might be of some help."
Ginny looked at Fleur. In the beginning she called her 'Phlem' because of her minimal English, and questioned her motives about Bill. But after Fleur stayed at Bill's side after the werewolf attack she won Ginny over.
"This morning the Family met with Minerva and Kingsley. We discussed things from the Battle trying to understand what led to this. I want to learn what happened so I can get Bill the help he needs" Fleur told her.
Ginny stared at her for a few minutes trying to decide what to say. Words seemed inadequate so she led Fleur first to Hermione's bed. Ron was asleep in a chair holding her hand, their good hands intertwined. Hermione still had the pink salve covering her right arm, shoulder, and neck. Her face was bandaged from the nose up, with the hair on her left side of her head was now gone. On her left side and left leg the potion had turned green, indicating to Fleur healing was occurring. "That is a good sign" she whispered to Ginny who had forgotten Fleur was a healer as they walked away.
Now she took her to Harry's side. The sharp intake of breath she heard told Ginny how surprised Fleur was. Harry was now covered in a white sheet from his chin down. Ginny moved his long hair aside again and the white shimmer he was projecting intensified. His face was still so badly bruised he was unrecognizable, and in some places blood seeped through the sheets. Ginny picked up a fresh one and moved the other aside, causing Fleur to gasp again. The scar from the horcrux/locket had begun to heal but not the one from the killing curse. She took a damp cloth and dabbed his chest to remove the excess blood, then another to wipe down his arms and legs which were covered in sweat. None of the dozens of cuts and bruises were bleeding, most having formed scars. Fleur helped to cover him up, gently tucking in the sheet along both sides.
"His back is broken in three places. He may never walk again" she told Fleur as they walked away.
"Ginny I don't know what to say. There are no words in English, French, or any other language I can say to express how badly I feel" Fleur replied.
"Fleur I am so scared" Ginny began. Her bottom lip began to quiver as she felt Fleur's arms envelop her. It seemed like hours they stood there, Ginny finally letting out all the emotions kept inside about Harry and Fred. "I'm sorry Fleur. Crying like a baby like that" she said after a while.
"Don't be" the older woman replied. "After Bill was attacked your Mother and I cried for days. She really loves you."
"I know. But now you can see why I can't let her around Harry, or any other Weasley for that matter" Ginny responded. "You, Ron, and Hermione are all I have now."
"You forgot Auntie Muriel" Fleur said with a straight face. This caused both women to begin to giggle then fall into chairs that appeared.
"Even Voldemort wasn't that bad! But now you should get to see them both. Kingsley put a charm on them so they would sleep and Poppy's sister has started healing them." Ginny took Fleur to the other end. Both brothers were still bound in their beds. Ginny explained what happened, which made Fleur shake her head. "I did not think the madness would take him. And it was a full moon too. But Charlie?"
"Fleur we don't know either. But until we know why this happened, and who else is involved we won't risk it. Kingsley and Minerva will be here shortly to interview them separately. Please don't tell them or anyone else what you have seen."
"I promise Ginny. Are you coming to the funerals? Remus and Tonks are in two days and Fred's is the day after."
"I can't leave Harry. I have to be here or he won't let Poppy treat him. Her magic seems to bounce off if Ron or I aren't here. He isn't trusting anyone either. You have to understand Fleur he died out there!! It was a miracle Fawkes came when he did. Harry had stopped breathing !!!"
"Then we will all pray for another miracle. But I hear Kingsley's voice. Perhaps I can see Bill after they talk?"
"I'll ask for you. Oh and thank you for helping out at Gringotts. As soon as Hermione can go they will be there" she said as the Minister appeared.
* * *
Hand in hand Neville and Hannah returned to the Great Hall searching for his Gran. They found her with Susan Bones and Terry Boot. "Neville can we go somewhere and talk?" asked Terry as he looked at the floor.
"You three go ahead. I wanted to get a chance to talk to Hannah" Augusta Longbottom stated.
Neville winked at his Gran and kissed Hannah. "Don't worry her bark is worse than her bite" he whispered in her ear.
"Thanks. She loves you" Hannah replied as she walked away.
"Neville we want to apologize. We are resigning from the DA and leaving" Susan told him.
He quickly cast the 'Muffalato' Charm. "No one knew the Weasley's were in there. That is the problem with trying to keep a secret. Not enough communication. I hoped it would work, but maybe it's better this way. Now they know in general what happened, but not why. That's the worst part. We may never know what brought it on."
"You should have heard them after Voldemort died. Screaming at Harry, wishing he was dead too" Terry added.
"Kingsley and Minerva are collecting the memories of everyone. As soon as you see them let them know. But don't tell anyone else about this. It is still DA business, and no you are not resigning. Tonight I am going to ask Ron if he still wants us or will it be better to help Minerva. Either way we need you."
"Are you sure Neville? We really messed up" Susan responded.
"Absolutely. Now let's go find Luna and see how things are doing" he replied.
* * *
Augusta and Hannah took a walk outside to get away from everyone. They made small talk until they had passed the greenhouses. "Neville really cares for you" Augusta stated.
"I feel the same. It's that we have known each other for a long time, but not as individuals" Hannah replied.
"Neville has had a hard life. I have tried to prepare him for what is out there, to make him able to stand on his own two feet should anything happen to me. Did he tell you about his parents?"
"Just a little last night. He goes to see them right?"
"Yes. St. Mungos has a special wing for those with similar problems. As often as he can he does this. Harry, Ron, and Hermione ran into him there during your fifth year. It was awkward for him, but it helped him to realize he is not alone. It helped him to focus more."
"I remember seeing the change in him. We had started the DA, and he was so quiet and shy. We took turns working together and many times we were partners. I'm afraid he didn't really notice me. You know as a girl."
"Well it's no wonder the way you dress. With those baggy robes" Augusta teased.
"I see you have the same problem" Hannah laughed.
"You will find as you grow up there are times to show what GOD gave you, and other times to keep them to yourself. I was very self conscious growing up, and dressed much like you do. Most boys were only curious to see what I was hiding so I became a recluse. It wasn't until seventh year that I met Neville's Grandfather. Together we had a Son we named Frank, then shortly after I lost him and never remarried."
"What were his parents like?"
"Two very focused, very driven people. Members of the Order of the Phoenix just like yours were. And extremely proud of their Son. One night I decided to give them a chance for a romantic evening. We flooed over to Minerva's and spent some time there. It was almost midnight when we went back."
"I wanted to say hello so I went back too" Minerva added. She was sitting on a bench outside enjoying the cool evening air. "When we got there a catastrophe had happened. Frank and Alice Longbottom were tied to chairs and Bellatrix and Rudolphus Lestrange were torturing them!!"
"I took baby Neville and pushed him into Minerva's arms and shoved her back into the fireplace" Augusta stated.
"And I spun around several times before coming out in the Headmaster's Office. As soon as I could speak I told Albus what happened. We flooed straight back to find Alice and Frank lying on the floor" Minerva replied.
"I was so mad!! Bellatrix was laughing at me, saying 'she wished the brat was here so she could kill him in front of me'. I blasted her and her husband through the wall and cut my Family loose."
"When Albus and I returned we saw a hole the size of the Castle doors" Minerva proudly said of her best friend. "Albus took Alice and Frank to St. Mungo's but it was too late. Their memories were destroyed, leaving them with only scattered images. For example they know who Neville is, but not that he is their Son. On his Fifth Birthday he promised Augusta to find who did this to his Mommy and Daddy."
Hannah was now sitting in between Augusta and Minerva, holding their hands. "And my parents. Did you know them?"
"Yes. Your Dad was an Auror. He died on an assignment many years ago. Kingsley was his partner" Minerva replied.
"I don't remember him" Hannah answered, trying hard to picture him.
"Your Mom was a member too, but stayed behind the scenes. Not on the front line like Harry's parents. Did they ever say who killed her?" asked Augusta.
"No, just some Death Eaters. I was devastated and went to live with Susan Bones parents. They were Mom's best friends. I think that is what caused me to fall apart here" Hannah replied. "And now I don't know what I will do. I can't expect Susan's parents to just take me in. I am old enough now to get a job and earn my own way. My uncle is Tom who has The Leaky Cauldron. Maybe I can get a job there?"
Augusta looked past Hannah to Minerva and winked. "You know I know of someone who has room. Lots of room actually."
"You do? Who?" asked Hannah wide eyed.
"My house. We have 10 bedrooms so you can have your pick" Augusta replied.
"Really??? Thank you" she replied, hugging her almost as well as Molly Weasley. She turned to hug Minerva, then gave another one to Augusta. "Thanks Gran. Now I have one question. Did your Grandson put you up to this?"
"In his patronus I could feel how much he cares for you. He mentioned about your Mother which I already knew about. He left the decision up to me."
"Then let's go find him and tell him the good news" she responded, grinning from ear to ear. The three Witches walked arm in arm up into the Castle. The sound of clinking plates told them dinner was being served. Hannah looked first to see if Neville was sitting at the Gryffindor table but he was not. A large group of students, mainly girls, were clustered around him near the Headmistress' table peppering him with questions.
"Do you have a girlfriend?"
"If you do then where is she?"
"I bet I'm prettier!"
"Is she a good kisser? I think I'm better!!!"
Neville was stuck. He didn't want to hurt the girls, especially since many of them had parents here.
"What do you think? Should we save him?" wondered Minerva.
"No. If he is a true Gryffindor he can take care of this himself" Hannah replied. She waited and watched as the crowd grew bigger, and wondered if she needed to step in.
Then Neville noticed her. His frown changed immediately into a smile. "Ladies" his voice boomed. "Would you like to see some real magic?''
The girls all stopped talking at once. "There are four very special women in my life. Three are in this room." He paused to let them speculate which of them he was talking about.
"First the one who has inspired me." He waved his wand and a bouquet of yellow roses appeared. It drifted across the hall and into the hands of Professor McGonagall.
"Second for the one who raised me." This time a bouquet of white roses appeared and drifted over the girls heads again. A few tried to jump up and grab them but missed. These came to a stop in the hands of his Gran.
"And last, and most importantly, to the one who has captured my heart." He looked from face to face as he waved his wand again, this time producing two dozen of the largest, fullest red roses any of them had ever seen. After taking one final look at them he levitated himself over them and gracefully landed next to Hannah. All eyes were turned to them as he presented the flowers to her. Many had wondered about the one she had in her hair and now they all knew. She smiled as she accepted them and kissed him as passionately as she could. At least with his Gran standing next to her.
"Very impressive Mr. Longbottom" she replied as they walked up to the head table to sit with Minerva and Augusta. She smiled as nicely as she could at all the girls who were still standing there, hoping this was a joke and the hero was still available.
"What can I say? All three of you really do inspire me" he replied as he kissed each of the other two women on the cheek as he pulled out a chair for them.
When he pulled out the chair for Hannah she leaned against him and said "Gran asked me. I said yes."
Neville blushed, wondering if in the future he would have another question to ask her involving yes and no. Hannah, almost like reading his mind, blushed and kissed him again. This time on the raised platform so the entire crowd could see.
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