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Chasing The Sun by hufflepuffhallows

Format: Novella
Chapters: 6
Word Count: 10,467
Status: WIP

Rating: Mature
Warnings: Strong Language, Strong Violence, Scenes of a Sexual Nature, Substance Use or Abuse, Sensitive Topic/Issue/Theme

Genres: Drama, Romance, Action/Adventure
Characters: Harry, Ron, Hermione, McGonagall, A. Longbottom, F. Longbottom, Seamus, Neville, Fred, OtherCanon
Pairings: Other Pairing, Harry/Ginny, Ron/Hermione

First Published: 07/17/2012
Last Chapter: 01/23/2013
Last Updated: 01/23/2013

Summary:





Both hands are reaching for the future, but the past just won't let go...

5 years on, Neville and Hannah are facing the fears of marriage, careers, and children; surviving the Battle Of Hogwarts suddenly seems like the easy part... 

Hannah and Neville pairing.

Sequal to my previous story A Place To Hide and also connects to my one shot The Cowardly Brave.


Chapter 1: Chapter 1
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    “Due to the recent news of Ron Weasley’s



engagement to Hermione Granger, we can

 no longer consider our former winner as

 a possibility, ladies. Add this to the marriage

 of Harry Potter and Ginny Weasley last

month and we must mourn the loss of

 any members of the “Golden Trio” topping

Witch Weekly’s Most Eligible Bachelor

charts this year. But, don’t be too disappointed,

 because we are pleased to announce that-”

 

Hannah took another sip of her tea then turned the page.

“-Neville Longbottom, snake killer and Herbology

Heartthrob, is this year’s winner!”

 

Hannah made a loud snorting and choking sound, half out of amusement, and half out of surprise, causing to spurt out her previous sip.

“Neville Longbottom,” she said under her breath, as if saying it aloud would make it any less –well, weird. “Neville Longbottom, Most Eligible Bachelor.” It didn’t.

“Neville?” she called into the other room. “Have you read this week’s Witch Weekly?”

“What?” he said, leaning his head around the doorway.

Hannah sat up properly from her position in the corner of the sofa to look at her boyfriend. From his expression, she could tell she had asked the wrong question.

“Why, in the name of Merlin, would I read Witch Weekly?”

He stepped out from the bathroom and into the open, wearing nothing but a pair of trousers.

“Last time I checked, I was a wizard.” He looked down at his chest, examining it, and then looked back up at Hannah. “yep, definitely a wizard.”

Hannah giggled and raised an eyebrow.

“Alright, smarty-pants. Just read this article.” Hannah held out the magazine and Neville took it, sitting down next to her.

Neville started to read and Hannah reached out for his spare hand, tangling her fingers with his. Slowly, she leant closer to him and rested her head on his shoulder; his skin was warm and soft and familiar.

“You’re incredibly distracting you know. I don’t know how you expect me to concentrate.”

Hannah sighed and apologised for him having the attention span of a goldfish, but did not move.

“Have you read it yet?”

“Yes.” Neville replied, then burst into a large, smug, grin that he felt was unnecessary to contain. Ron was unbearable last year when he won, and would boast about his victory constantly, but this time, Neville thought, it was his turn to boast.

“I am this year’s Most Eligible Bachelor, and a heartthrob, apparently.”

Hannah narrowed her eyes. Hearing Neville say the words had made her suddenly aware of their meaning. Eligible: suitable. Bachelor: available. Witch Weekly was effectively telling women that Neville was attainable and that they should seek his affections. Hannah was then inhibited by the satisfying vision of running after any women that made an advance on Neville with a pitchfork.

“But you’re not an eligible bachelor. You have a girlfriend- I’m your girlfriend-”

Ah. The jealous streak. Up until now, Neville wasn’t sure Hannah had one.

“I love you Neville, and I’m not having some woman thinking she can get lucky-oh”

Neville had cut her off with a kiss. Their lips brushed together, lingering for only a second, but Hannah was immediately comforted. He rested his forehead against hers and looked deep into her eyes.

“No girl is going to get lucky except you, Hannah. You’re the only one I want.”

They stayed like that for a moment, just looking into each other’s eyes. Hannah loved Neville’s eyes, they were fantastically blue, like the sky, or the sea, or the mesmerising lights of a Patronus charm. His eyes were Hannah’s favourite physical feature (though his toned chest was an added bonus, she had to admit).

“Hannah?”

“Hm?”

“Can I ask you something?”

Hannah’s heart skipped a beat. His voice was serious and sincere. Was he about to ask The Question? Hannah had thought about The Question, and its answer. Was he going to- was this it- was she about to become Mrs-?

“Do you, in your honest opinion, think I’m a heartthrob?”

The anticipation in Hannah lifted, and she laughed, going to swat him with the magazine. “I’m not sure I should answer that, I don’t want to make you too big-headed.”

Neville gasped in mock offence.

“Me? Big-headed? How rude.”

Hannah smirked. “I love you too, honey”

Neville stood up with a sleepy yawn. “I’m so tired.”

“Funny, I’m not tired at all.” Said Hannah brightly, downing the rest of her tea.

“Because you only just got up.” He yawned again. “I’ve been at work all day, and now I’ll probably be up all night. Ron is going to be full of energy.” He groaned. If Ron wasn’t tired, then no-one else was allowed to be tired either.

“So he should be. He just got engaged.” Hannah reasoned, and went to the bathroom to do her hair for work. She was on nights that week, and always found it strange to go to work in the dark and come home in the light, instead of the other way around as she was used to. But she also enjoyed it, something about St Mungos at night made it more exciting.

“What time are you going downstairs?” She called to him. “Or are you going to Hogsmeade tonight?”

Hannah saw in the mirror that Neville had followed her into the bathroom.

“Nine, and yeah, downstairs.”

Neville stretched, giving Hannah a full view of his chest in the mirror. As always, her eyes focused on the thin white scar that went from near his shoulder and down in a diagonal to the middle of his chest. She hated that scar, it was her fault he had it. Hannah knew he had taken Snape’s curse for her on the day of the “Great Escape,” and it was hell knowing that all the pain and the lifelong mark was never meant for him.

Neville reached up for his shirt that hung on a hanger behind the door and started putting it on.

The words left Hannah’s mouth before she could stop them.

“Oh. I like it when you-”

Hannah hesitated when she realised what she had said, but then thought to herself “What the heck?” and felt confident in continuing.

“I like it when you have your shirt off.”

Neville looked slightly taken aback, and looked at his shirt for a moment, contemplating whether his desire to keep warm was greater than the satisfaction of Hannah inadvertently answering “yes” to his earlier question. 

He put his shirt back on the hanger. It was only half eight, and the Leaky Cauldron was only downstairs after all.

“Fine, but I’m risking feeling a little chilly because of you, so I deserve some form of compensation.” He said cheekily, with a waggle of his eyebrows.

Hannah rolled her eyes at him. “Very well,” she whispered, and stepped over to him. He watched her intently as she stopped only a centimetre away. Hannah rose up onto her tiptoes, used a hand to gently pull his head down, and kissed him. His soft lips tasted of butter beer, as they always did, and ever so faintly of toothpaste. Kissing him was one of Hannah’s favourite pastimes; it was like creating their own special magic, just between the two of them.

Hannah became aware of Neville’s hand on her back and another in her hair. Neville stroked her hair every time they kissed, without fail. Hannah couldn’t quite understand his obsession with it, to her it was just a blonde tangle, but when she dared suggest cutting it, Neville almost had a fit. Hannah’s lips formed a small smile against Neville’s as she thought about how Neville reacted every time she brought the subject up (if she was honest, she often did it just to mew with him).

They eventually broke apart, and Hannah was sure she heard Neville say a little “wow” as he caught his breath.

Neville saw Hannah’s eyes sparkle; she knew what a kiss like that did to him.

“Well, I was just hoping for a chocolate frog or something, but that – that works – better, in fact.”

Hannah smiled widely. “I’m glad you think so.”

She kept smiling as she pulled on her healer robes and grabbed her wand and bag.

“Have a good night, and don’t let Ron get you too drunk!” she waved.

Neville laughed, “I’ll try not to!” He called, and watched Hannah disapperate. He stood and stared at the space Hannah had just been for a moment, still slightly dazed and dizzy, his lips still tingling from Hannah’s kiss.


Chapter 2: Chapter 2
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 “So when are you going to marry Hannah then?”



Neville spluttered, causing him to swallow his drink all in one go. He coughed as the liquid burnt his throat and gasped for breath sharply. The fire-whiskey continued as a flame through his system, and Neville was sure his intestines were singeing away.

Idiot, Neville thought to himself. Why did he let Ron talk him into this?

The leaky Cauldron blurred into fuzz around the edges of his vision. All of the bottles, barrels, photos, and paintings that were scattered on the walls became a colourful fog, and the warm orbs of light on each table, as well as the bar next to him, grew in size, and filled his eyes with yellow. The low, cheerful chatter floating around the room became a muffled buzz in his ears, and half his brain cells seemed to go on a walk-about.

“Marry who?” He slurred, leaning closer to his companions. Hell sloped forward like a puppet with his strings cut and Harry only just managed to stop Neville from falling off the bar-stool.

“Oh, I don’t know, maybe your girlfriend of five years?  The girl you love? Hannah Abbott? Is this ringing any bells?” Seamus asked sarcastically, trying to jog Neville’s memory. When this didn’t work he resorted to snapping his fingers in front of Neville’s face to get a reaction.

Neville squashed his eyes together and shook his head violently, trying to speed up the fading of the fire-whiskey’s effects. He was unsuccessful however, and was thrown off balance again, his drink sloshing into Harry’s lap. Harry huffed in annoyance.

“You know Ron, I don’t think the fire-whiskey was a good idea.” He said, helping Neville back onto his seat.

“It was only a bit of fun! How was I supposed to know he couldn’t handle it?” Ron said, defending himself. He then downed his own glass of fire-whiskey, as if to point out that he, himself, could hold his drink, even if Neville couldn’t.

“Yeah, well, if he’s still drunk in the morning, Hannah’s going to do her nut.”

“Hannah?” Neville sat up, suddenly confident as the burning sensation of the fire-whiskey began to settle. “I love Hannah.”

Harry rolled his eyes, here we go again, he thought. “We know, mate. We know.” He patted Neville on the shoulder. Ron sighed.

“At least he remembers her name now,” Dean said, then signalled to Tom, the barman, for another round of drinks.

Ron turned back to face Neville in a business-like fashion.

“So, back to my original question, when are you going to marry her?”

Neville blinked; the effects of the fire-whiskey now completely gone.

“What- Hannah? Why would she want to marry me?”

Harry, Dean, and Seamus looked at Neville in complete disbelief. Ron acted out banging his head on the bar in mock exasperation.

“You have been with her for five years, Neville. Why wouldn’t she want to marry you?”

Neville didn’t answer, because somewhere, deep down, he knew Ron was right. And, if he was slightly less drunk at that moment in time, he would have realised the significance of Hannah’s reaction to him being named Witch Weekly’s Most Eligible Bachelor earlier that evening. But he wasn’t slightly less drunk, and he realised nothing of the sort.

“Right.” said Harry, in a voice he normally saved for directing Auror missions at work. Neville squirmed a little, like a small boy being told what to do. “Mission Proposal, part one: buy a ring.”

Ron snorted. “Mission proposal?” He mocked, “Your drinks gone to your head, mate.”

Harry ignored Ron’s jibes and went back to Neville. He opened his mouth to say something but Neville got there first, feeling the childish need to defend himself with an excuse.

“I wouldn’t know where to start looking for a ring.” Neville admitted. He had always known that if he were to buy one, it would have to be perfect.

Neville vaguely heard Seamus saying that Hannah would love any ring as long as it was big and sparkly, but Neville shook his head. Hannah wasn’t the “sparkly” kind of girl. The only sparkly thing she had ever expressed a liking for was his eyes, and unless he could find a way of making one those into a ring, it was back to square one.

But, thought Neville, did the ring even matter? A voice in his head told him it didn’t, not to Hannah anyway. It told him that Hannah would say yes even if he proposed with nothing more than Bertie Bott’s Every Flavour Bean. Unfortunately though, Neville wasn’t giving this particular voice the slightest bit of attention.

Neville had thought about proposing to Hannah before, years before, in fact. There had never been any doubt in his mind: Hannah was the girl he wanted to spend the rest of his life with. Despite knowing this since she kissed him at the end of The Battle, however, every time he had tried to buy a ring or propose to her without one, he had chickened out because it wasn’t perfect enough. It never would be.

Seamus’s hand waved in front of his face suddenly, bringing Neville back to reality.

“Your drink is here.” Harry said, “Though I’m not sure drinking it would be a good idea,” he added under his breath.

Neville took the refilled glass and swilled its contents for a second, watching as the liquid became a little tornado. He took a sip, having not heard Harry’s comment, and felt the heat rush straight to his head, burning his brain.

“Arrggghh” he gasped, and clutched his temples, trying to pull out the pain. He dropped his glass and it smashed onto the wooden floor, its contents spreading out in a river of alcohol.

A few heads in the rest of the pub turned at the clatter. Some eyes widened as they realised they were sharing the pub that evening with Harry Potter, Ron Weasley, and Neville Longbottom. Even more eyes widened when they realised who had dropped the glass. Any regulars to the pub were used to seeing the famous group of Aurors in the Leaky Cauldron, but what they were not used to was seeing Neville drunk (it was normally Ron). However, no one was too concerned because as drunkards go, they had all seen a lot worse.

Tom came over from wiping a table and picked up the larger parts of the broken glass. He stood up and shook his head sympathetically at the young man he had gotten to know so well. “I think you need go to bed, Neville, fire-whiskey’s not your drink, lad.”

Neville was about to nod and agree but then, suddenly completely sober, he dived and tackled Tom to the ground.


Chapter 3: Chapter 3
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 “Neville!” Harry cried, “Have you lost your mind?”



BANG!

Neville’s reason for sending Tom to the ground became clear, and Harry, Ron, Dean, and Seamus followed suit, ducking under the counter as fast as they could.

The bar was ablaze. A catastrophic fist of flame had punched directly into the store of drink behind the counter, spilling out galleons of beers, wines, and spirits. The flames rushed along Alcohol Rivers, merging in multi-coloured sparks then spreading hungrily, engulfing anything in their path.

The rest of the pub collapsed into panic. People were practically falling out of their chairs as they attempted to leave the destruction. Everyone, witches and wizards, were stumbling, intoxicated, partly from their previous drinking and partly from the smoky fumes created by the fire. All of them united in their mad, self- preserving rush for the door.

Neville waited for the last of the red-hot debris to rain down in front of him, and watched the commotion unfold through the grey haze before darting out from under the bar.

Neville pushed through the heat, feeling his skin flush and boil. He tripped on a broken chair leg and lunged forward, grabbing a table piled high with bottles that Tom had set out for the next day’s business. The table toppled over and the bottles smashed into a nearby flame that immediately quadrupled in size thanks to the added fuel. Fire-whiskey was not called Fire-whiskey for nothing.

Breathing heavily, Neville suddenly realised that he had wand. He grabbed it from where it was tucked into his sock and hectically shouted any water related spell he knew in a bid to subdue the flame.

The others did the same and it started to rain, the fires died down a little, slowly shrinking, allowing Neville and everyone else to hurdle any that stood between them and the door.

While this was going on, Tom had crawled out from under the bar, shaken. He had been given no time to comprehend what had happened. In the space of seconds, Neville had saved his life, and his pub, everything he had ever worked for, was in ruins, and that hurt more than anything that was yet to come.

He stood up as quickly as a man of his age could, and stepped out into what used to be a scene of tipsy joy. His ears rang with the shouts and screams of his customers, disorientating him. He tried to move forward, navigating a maze of fire, tables, and chairs. But this proved impossible. Every broken piece brought back a memory. His first customer since he became the landlord, Albus Dumbledore, of all people, had sat on that chair, or three consecutive Ministers of Magic had chosen to sit at that table. That chair was then sent crashing into a wall as someone shoved it out of his or her way, and that table was morphing into a pile of white ash.

Aware that he had not seen the barman pass him, Neville turned back to check where Tom was and found him crouched on the ground, surrounded by ever increasing flames, clutching a painting that had once hung on the wall.

“TOM!” Neville yelled through the panic-stricken noise, but Tom took no notice. He was wallowing in grief, sobbing out apologies to the woman in the painting. The woman herself was not listening, she was too busy running from one side of the frame to the other, unable to escape, for Tom was holding the only painting that existed of her, the first landlady of the Leaky Cauldron, Daisy Dodderidge.

A pair of hands dragged him out of his sorrow and he only felt an overpowering sense of burning before collapsing in Neville’s arms.

Neville used all his strength to pull Tom out of the flames, careful not to touch the parts of Tom’s skin that were blackened and charred. Tom seemed to barely be breathing, but Neville put the thought of losing the man who had become a second father out of his mind.

Neville grunted, and tried in vain to take in a clean breath that didn’t taste of burnt alcohol. He pushed his hair off his sticky forehead, smearing his face with smoky dirt as he did so. Then, as if someone up there had heard his prayers, he and Tom were doused in in water that Seamus had conjured to put out an overhead flame. Tom’s body jerked a little, the painting still in its arms, as the water touched his burns.

Seamus then left the extinguishing of flames to Dean, Ron, and Harry, and picked up Toms feet, lifting him off the ground.

“Do you think he’ll make it?” Seamus shouted.

“I-” Neville’s voice broke “I don’t know.”

Seamus blinked, and though he tried not to, thought the worst. He kept this to himself, however, because he had learnt that voicing that kind of opinion helped no-one.

Harry rushed by, soaked through but with flames licking at his heels. “That is everyone out, I think- Dean? Ron?”

“All clear” they shouted back, and in a fiery whirlwind, they broke out into the open air of Diagon Alley.

“Merlin.” Ron gasped “Holy mother of Merlin.”

They all stood dazed, taking a few moments to fully register what they were seeing.

Smoke. Fire. Rubble. Panic. Fear. Bodies. Death Eaters.

Death Eaters. This became the only understandable thought in Neville’s mind amongst the rush of noise. People were screaming, another, then another, shouting, wailing, smashes, crashes, the pounding of footsteps stampeding away from those wearing cloaks and masks.

All of Neville’s training had come down to this. For 5 years they had searched for the Death Eaters that managed to escape after the battle of Hogwarts, and so far they had only captured two (Avery Sr and Amycus Carrow). Now they had a chance to capture the rest of them.

Easier said than done.

“We need to get Tom out of this!” Seamus yelled.

Neville snapped into focus and they snaked through the crowds with Ron for protection, as Dean and Harry ran after the Death Eaters in the distance. They managed to get Tom under a balcony and behind a wall of barrels. They laid him down. Neville tried to remember what Hannah had told him about checking for a pulse- there was a spell, apparently, but Hannah had never bothered to learn it. The muggle way was better, she said, because you knew for sure.

“He’s breathing, he’s,-he’s ok- I think” Neville said, relieved but still worried. Seamus nodded and chased after Harry and Dean, feeling he would be more use as a fighter rather than a healer.

“Good” said Ron, slightly distracted, “Good- great” he breathed, but then he had his breath taken away.

He had been searching down the street, staring at his brother’s shop, Weasley Wizard Wheezes, to try to see if it had been left unscathed. One second ago, it had been, but then…

From out of nowhere, a huge ball of fire (twice the size of the one that hit the Leaky Cauldron) exploded right in the middle of the joke shop, encasing the building in smoke.

A torrent of ash and dust billowed down the Alley at gale fore pace, bombarding Ron, Neville, and anything that stood in its way, as if they had walked into a brick wall.

“HERMIONE! GEORGE! HERMIONE!” Ron screamed hysterically into the rush, furiously sprinting down the road.

Neville ran after him, sending out any he spell he knew that would clear the air. He reached the smoke curtain seconds after Ron sank into it, and braced himself for what he might experience inside. Neville pushed through the grey and was surprised to see that the shop was still standing, just. It had been reduced to its bare skeleton; the windows had been ripped out, the stores insides turned to burnt rubble and the walls scarred.

He found Ron in front of the doorway (which had caved in), desperately scrambling over the rubble, trying to find a way through. Ron clawed at a part of the wooden frame and pulled it away, then flung it over his shoulder and carried on. Neville dodged the flying plank of wood and joined Ron, pushing away rocks and occasionally coming across a mangled part of a product.

They were at it for what seemed like hours of no release, completely oblivious to the duelling behind them,  blissfully unaware that Harry was locked in battle with three Eaters at once, that Dean was in headlock in an attempt to capture another, or that no-one had seen Seamus for nearly half an hour.

There was a clatter and scraping sound, and Ron slid to the ground. Instead of getting up, he stayed on his knees and began to sob.

“Her-her-Hermione…please… George-g-George…”

Neville didn’t know what to do. To be frank, he wanted to do the same as Ron. But there was something that made him keep searching, an instinct of hope that was built in. Anyone that had spent a good amount of time with Hannah seemed to have it.

Then, slowly, a shadow came into view. A silhouette, then a figure. A person-no- two people. One carrying the other. One tall, with messy ginger hair, and a face covered in soot. The other in his arms, her face covered by wild brown locks, dainty and broken.

“Ron!” Neville cried, shaking him back to reality so he would look.

“George! Thank Merlin you’re- No. Hermione-Merlin-please, no! George? She’s not? George, tell me she’s not-?”

“She’s alive, Ron. We were round the back; we didn’t get the worst of it.” George managed to say. He bent down to Ron’s level and carefully lowered Hermione into the loving arms of her husband-to-be.

Ron held her as he would hold a child, and stroked her bruised cheek. Surveying her body, he saw that one of her legs was broken, and she had pink blotchy burns all up the other, amongst spreading bruises. Her arms were the same. In a mad thought, Ron kissed her lips, hoping she would wake up, like the princess always did in those fairy tales she had told him about. But none of that sort of magic came.

“Neville.” Ron snapped, his voice clear and sharp. “Get Hannah. She’s a healer, isn’t she.” Neville nodded. “Hermione needs a healer. Get Hannah.” Ron repeated calmly, but Neville could see from his eyes that he was begging.

Neville hesitated. The fighting, the destruction, and the Death Eaters added up to the sort of situation he didn’t want Hannah to be in. Nevertheless, Hermione, Tom, and whoever else, needed her.

George was looking at Neville, understanding completely. “I can do it for you, mate. If it’s hard-”

“No.” Neville cut him off. “It’s fine, I’ll do it.” With that, he raised his wand.

“Expecto Patronum!”


Chapter 4: Chapter 4
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 “Who is that pretty lady over there?” asked Frank Longbottom, tugging on Hannah’s arm gently. “She isn’t one of you green people. I’m not too fond of green, myself, blue is my favourite colour. That lady is wearing blue.” He looked admiringly at the next bed where Alice sat, being checked over by Tammy, the trainee healer. Her grey head turned and she met Frank’s eyes, her own eyes lighting up a little, and showing teasing signs of the brightness that had once been there. She realised Frank was gazing at her and blushed, colour filling her pale cheeks.



Hannah smiled warmly and cast the last of her medical spells on Frank, checking his blood pressure (normal, she was pleased to say), before putting her hand softly on the man’s frail shoulder.

“That pretty lady over there is your wife, Frank,” Hannah said.

Frank scoffed and shook his head at Hannah; she must have got it wrong. “Never! She’s far too lovely to want me.” He said, hanging his head humbly.

Hannah was immediately reminded of Neville; he often did the same whenever she or anyone else complimented him (when he wasn’t sending himself up like earlier). It was obvious to Hannah very early on, that Neville had inherited most of his mannerisms from his father. Augusta, his gran, often expressed this same opinion rather proudly.

“He’s a fine young man; Neville is, as was my son.” She told Hannah. “Handsome too, my son was, girls followed him everywhere, pretty ones! Imagine that! Of course, he married Alice in the end… Oh! Don’t get me wrong, she’s a lovely woman. Just a bit plain looking if you ask me.” Augusta would sigh slightly then. “Neville looks so much like his mother. He has his father’s eyes though, and his bravery, so much bravery.” Augusta seemed to well up with pride at that moment. “You know, once, when Neville was 8…” and she would follow this with any of a numerous selection of anecdotes that she had tattooed in some sentimental corner of her mind.

Hannah tried to empathise with Neville whenever Augusta began one of her stories, because they somehow seemed to be more embarrassing the more people that were there. Secretly though, she loved hearing them, she found them endearing; and knowing Neville once climbed a tree to say sorry to and angry squirrel just made him more attractive somehow.

“Hannah?”

Hannah looked up from thinking of Neville (she really needed to stop doing that, she was working).

“Yes, Tammy?” she said brightly. Her brightness was not returned.

“Penelope wants to talk to you- she just sent a memo saying she’s on her way up.” Tammy sighed, and held up a squirming paper post-it note like it were rotten. Hannah immediately forgave Tammy for not answering joyfully. The prospect of having to talk to the welcome witch was never a pleasant one.

“How lovely,” Hannah replied.

Tammy snorted and with a flick of her wand turned the post it note to ash. Hannah noticed one of the girl’s eyes was red.

“Sorry about your eye, Tammy- I assume it was supposed to aim at me.” Hannah apologised, though in reality she was quite grateful to Tammy for getting in the way. Any memo sent by Penelope was dreaded, as they always came at you like darts, jabbing one of its pointy corners into your eye when you least expected it. The rest of the healers were convinced that Penelope was trying to kill them all off one by one. Hannah, who tried to see the best in everyone, had to agree, and she had once heard Penelope say that the hospital would be a lot better run if there were no healers or patients.

“Brace yourself”, said Tammy hearing the clicking of heels advancing down the corridor.

The door swung open and a woman appeared. She bore the expression of mindless irritation and her hair was as clipped as the sound of her voice.

“Miss Abbott. I wish to inform you that your end-of-week patient details have not been filled out. Again. This is the third time in a row now. Would you care to explain?”

Hannah would have, but she didn’t bother because she knew Penelope wouldn’t understand. Penelope had no regard for anything except cold, emotionless paperwork.

The truth was that Hannah detested asking her patients to fill out their detail sheets. In any other ward of the hospital, it was acceptable, but not in her ward. Hannah held the resolute opinion that reminding her patients of their permanent residence in the hospital and their unchanging medical condition was nothing more than human cruelty. Penelope just saw every patient in Hannah’s care as brainless dummies, pieces of data that needed to be collected and stored, but Hannah saw them as people, personalities.

Hannah knew she would have to say this eventually, but for the moment she waited in silence, until, thankfully, the door was pushed open again.

Hannah tried hopelessly to supress a giggle when it hit Penelope in the back and nearly sent her to the floor. Her giggle was washed away when she saw what had floated into the room.

It was blue, soft and ghost like, its presence bringing the room to silence. It seemed to absorb all of the light in the room, making itself look bigger and brighter, throwing everything else around it into shadow.

Frank and Alice had stopped their cavorting and were staring at it, completely mesmerised. At the same time though, they were comfortable with it, as if they had seen it before, as if it was a person they knew well.

“A badger? Who’s Patronus is that?” Penelope demanded.

Hannah knew. But unlike Alice and Frank, she was not comfortable with it. Something was wrong.

“Neville’s” she whispered, so that only she and Tammy could hear, “It’s Neville’s.”

The badger’s head turned towards her, hooking at her almost pleadingly.

“Diagon Alley is under attack,” said the animal, a metallic echoing version of Neville’s voice filling Hannah’s ears.

“Half the shops are in flames. There are- Bloomin-eck- Stupefy!”

Hannah’s heart raced. It was disconcerting having to decipher what was going on just from Neville’s words, but it was obvious there was fighting, and that Neville was in the middle of it. But whom was he fighting? Not-no, they were all in Azkaban- weren’t they? Then Hannah remembered that this was not true, and that the only reason Neville agreed to become an Auror was to have his hand in locking them all away.

“There are Death Eaters. People are injured. Bring help as fast as you can.”

Then Neville’s voice faded into the walls and the badger was sucked into itself, getting smaller and smaller, and then disappeared with a flash.

Hannah felt a knot clench in her stomach from knowing that Neville was in danger, and that her only thread of communication with him was lost. Until she arrived in Diagon Alley herself, she had no way of knowing if he was safe.

However, it wasn’t just Neville she was worried about: Harry, Ron, Seamus, Dean, and Tom were all at the Leaky Cauldron; George was undoubtedly at his shop and Hermione was probably there too, she normally helped George with stocking and things whenever Ron was out. Did “People are injured” mean any of them? Even if it didn’t, there were still countless amounts of people in Diagon Alley every night, now with the added company of Death Eaters. Hannah was filled with a sense of duty help them, as she often was, and snapped into action.

“Tammy, go and alert the emergency team.”

“I’m on it,” she said, almost saluting, and disapparated.

“Miriam?” Hannah appealed to the elderly witch in the corner who had not yet spoken; she normally kept to herself and rarely talked to anyone but her patients. “Can you stay here and look after the ward while we’re gone?”

“I’d be glad to my dear.”

“Thank you.”

Hannah pulled out her wand and gripped it tightly, feeling the familiar shape of it gave her confidence.

Tammy apparated back into the room, “all set, ready to go when you are.”

“Ok, lets-”

“Wait a minute! You can’t just leave.” Penelope cried, her head twitching, unable to cope with a sudden change of plan, as if her brain couldn’t comprehend spontaneity. “There is paperwork that needs to be done, and you need to get permission from Riordan. You can’t just leave your posts!”

Hannah blinked in disbelief. It almost sickened her to see someone care more about procedure than saving lives. Hannah shook her head, pitying Penelope, then disapparated anyway.


Chapter 5: Chapter 5
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 They appeared in Diagon Alley in an instant, and shook themselves to come into perspective. The colours of Diagon Alley filled Hannah’s eyes, mixed in with deadly red and orange. Sounds of terror swirled through the smoke and pelted Hannah’s ears with shouts and screams.



Hannah closed her eyes for a second, clearing her head. On opening them, she took a deep breath and turned to the emergency healer team that had disapparated milliseconds behind her, and issued her instructions.

“Cover as much area as you can!” she ordered, feeling her voice cut through the hot air. “Anyone with a small injury can be healed on the spot! Anything more serious, take them to St Mungos!”

The rest of the team nodded and parted, not doubting her leadership, despite her not being officially in charge.

Hannah ran across the cobbled road as fast as she could, with Tammy and Matthew, an emergency healer, in her wake.

Everything had been transformed; buildings that were once loved and unique were unrecognisable, collapsed together in two lines along the street. Hannah ran past what she assumed was the Leaky Cauldron, and felt something tug at a heartstring, reminding her that her and Neville’s flat would be almost beyond repair amongst the roaring flames.

A crowd of duellers ran past, locked in fierce battle, not noticing the group in green robes.

A voice amongst them, Harry’s, belted out a spell.

“IMPEDIMENTA!” He yelled. “PETRIFICUS TOTALUS!”

Another fighter was thrown out of the circle of battle and collapsed to the ground in a swirl of black robes, his silver mask clattering on the stone paving. He landed face first and a low groan melted out of his bleeding mouth.

Dean emerged from out of nowhere and scrambled over to the fallen Death Eater, snatching the man’s wand before using his own to bind him, restricting his movement even more than it already was. The Death Eater grunted and groaned and thrashed around hopelessly like a fish out of water.

Hannah squirmed a little at the sight of someone being treated like an animal, but then remembered what sort of person the Death Eater was and her sympathy evaporated.

Dean looked up and saw Hannah, Tammy, and Matthew, his eyes clocking their green St Mungos robes, and relief flashed across his face.

“Two down, three to go!” He called out to them, hoping to spur them on; the Aurors were doing their job, now it was the healers’ turn to do theirs.

Hannah bowed her head a little in acknowledgement and thanks before continuing on, dodging past a crowd of people rushing the other way. Her acute senses meant she spotted every injury: black eyes, bruises, burns, cuts. She homed in on a young girl of about 15 and noticed she was limping, clutching her leg and grimacing as she hurried after her parents. Hannah made a signal to the others that she was going to help but Tammy volunteered to go instead.

“You carry on, Hannah” said Tammy.

Hannah tried to protest but stopped when she saw the steely look in Tammy’s eyes, there was a glow amongst the grey-green tinges that seemed to say; “Find Neville.”

Hannah kept moving through the crowds, the thought of finding Neville and making sure that he was safe at the forefront of her mind.

Matthew led the way across a maze of strewn tables that had once stood covered in patterned tea cloths outside Florian Fortesque’s Ice Cream Parlour. Her foot became wedged in between two chairs that had locked themselves together.

“Relashio!”

Hannah jumped out from underneath the chairs as they sprang apart and stumbled, teetering  like a spinning top that was about to fall, but managed to keep her balance.

Images of Neville clouded over her mind. Visions of him consumed by flames or his body limp on the ground appeared in front of her. Hannah tried to shake the thoughts away but they kept floating back, getting worse and worse, making her wish that one of them were true so she would not have to witness the one where Neville appeared dead.

“Hannah!”

She stopped in her tracks, unsure of what she had just heard. It had sounded like Neville, but it was only an echo, and Hannah convinced herself it was her imagination, not daring to hope.

“Hannah!” someone shouted again, clearer than before, and a hand grabbed the sleeve of her robe, pulling her out of the open and under a jutted balcony behind a wall of barrels. Matthew followed.

Her heart flew to her throat, and she came face to face with Neville. But before she could hug him, kiss him, touch him, or even fully acknowledge that this person was, in fact, him, she saw Tom’s body and her thoughts changed course.

 She knelt beside him, and the horror sunk in. Tom’s face was blackened and his eyes were puffy and blotchy. His clothes were covered in dirt, and huge patches of fabric had been singed away, taking layers of the man’s skin with it, leaving garish tears that made his arms and legs look like lumps of meat.

Hannah turned to Neville, looking up at him, searching his expression for an explanation. He was about to give one, but spotted Seamus dashing by, wandless and dodging spells frantically. A Death Eater stalked him menacingly, holding two wands, Seamus’s and his own.

“Crucio!” He spat “Crucio! Crucio!”

Seamus had to jump and duck at the same time to avoid the oncoming jets of pain.

The Death Eater was angered by his victim’s agility and he switched wands. Instead of his own, he grasped Seamus’s, rolling it between his fingers, getting a feel for it. He thrust a basic exploding spell out to his right and a barrel burst apart, proving the spell successful. Then the Death Eater turned slowly and robotically back to Seamus, who had stopped in his tracks at the sight of a wizard other than himself wielding his wand. It was worse, somehow, to fall at the hands of your own weapon.

Hidden away, Neville saw everything, and pointed his wand at the Death Eater from behind the barrels.

“Expelliarmus.” He said forcefully, and both wands that the Death Eater was holding flew into Neville’s hand. He did a small double take, surprised that his spell had worked perfectly the first time. Simple spells, he said to himself, are always the most effective: something he had learned from Harry. The Death Eater swivelled round in search of the thief with a confused and panicked air about him. Neville prepared to catch him off guard again and stun the man to the ground, but Seamus was way ahead of him. With a loud thud, the Death Eater hit the cobbles as Seamus tackled him to the floor.

Neville threw Seamus his wand and Seamus caught it instinctively, not realising straight away, where it had come from. He pinned the Death Eater down with his knees then stunned him, knocking him out. He looked around for his helper and his eyes settled on Neville.

“Thanks mate!” He shouted, giving Neville a smile and a thumbs up. Neville smiled back as brightly as he could despite the situation.

The Death Eater stirred a little, and without a second’s hesitation, Seamus punched him hard in the head for good measure, then tied the Death Eater up and rolled the body away.

Neville switched his mind to what was going on behind him. He knelt down beside Tom’s body, unsure of what to do, just watching Hannah ad Matthew weave their healing magic. He held out Tom’s leg so that Matthew could wrap the last of the bandages around it, whilst Hannah tied up the bandages on Tom’s arms.

Neville stared at Tom’s closed eyes, waiting and wishing with all his might for them to open. He felt someone watching him do so and looked up at Hannah; her eyes were wide and glass like from her brewing tears. Neville reached across and took her hand, giving it a squeeze, letting her know that he was there for her.

Hannah squeezed Neville’s hand in return, and conjured up a floating stretcher. Matthew waved his wand and Tom rose into the air, and Hannah directed him slowly and carefully to on top of the stretcher. He lay there peacefully, as if he were in a deep sleep.

“Straight the emergency ward, right, Hannah?” Matthew asked, his way of volunteering to take Tom back to St Mungos. Hannah nodded in confirmation. “Yeah, give him a Calming Draught and put Dittany on all his wounds once they’re clean. He’ll need some new robes too, and water to cool him down.”

“Sure” Matthew replied and apparated, along with Tom, into the night with a CRACK.

Hannah took her chance to hug Neville and hold him close, relishing in knowing he was safe. She pressed her body into him, and buried her head into his shoulder, wishing she could remain there for the rest of the night.

“I’m so glad you’re ok. When I got your Patronus- you were fighting- I thought-”

“Hannah”

Hannah trailed off, hearing her name, and looked around because it wasn’t Neville’s voice. She unwrapped herself from Neville and was met with the sight of George and Ron with Hermione lying limply in Ron’s arms.

Hannah rushed straight to them, getting straight to work, mumbling multiple bruise healing spells to return Hermione’s skin back to its original creamy pink.

Whilst the boys watched on in awe as the black, purple and blue swells faded away from Hermione’s flesh, Hannah conjured up a floating stretcher like the one Tom had. Ron and George placed Hermione onto it gently, Ron slightly reluctant to be separated from her.

Hermione groaned a little from the change, but stayed inanimate. Hannah saw this and told Ron to hold her Hermione’s hand, knowing she would still be faintly aware of her senses, and that she could probably feel a comforting familiarity in Ron’s touch.

Ron did as he was told and gripped Hermione tightly, and then looked pleadingly at Hannah. “Y-you can h-heal her? R-right?” he stammered.

Hannah placed her hand warmly over Ron’s for a second and nodded. “I’ll do everything I can, so will everyone. Hermione will make a full recovery Ron, I promise you.”

Ron jerked his head slightly then said a shaky thank you.

Neville watched Hannah do all this with immense admiration. Her overwhelming love for caring for people was almost unbelievable. Hannah began to tie up Hermione’s legs with bandages and splints, and then set to work on healing all of the girl’s scars. Neville must have seen Hannah heal people about a thousand times now, but he was still awestruck every time. Healing magic was by far the most mesmerising and, it seemed to him, the only type of magic that was wholly “good”.

Neville remembered back in Hogwarts when Hannah had healed him for the first time. He had taken Snape’s spell for her, and that night she had healed his wound without even knowing what he had done. But that wasn’t all. She had healed him in more ways than one that night. She had comforted him, reassured him, and made him believe that he could get through the war that would inevitably come. From that night onwards, he had decided to take every spell that he could for her, just so she could heal the wounds. Neville was convinced that as long as Hannah was around, everyone was cared for.

This same thought was on his mind as he saw hope slowly flow back into Ron and George’s faces.

“Hannah?” George asked, perked up a little. “Is there anything I can do?” He enquired, feeling a need to do something other than wallow in emotion and just stand there.

Hannah understood completely. “How are you at apperation?”

“Reasonable…” George replied modestly. Ron huffed, disagreeing.

“He’s not. He’s bloody brilliant at it.” Ron said, speaking up from his worry, calmer now that Hannah had reassured him. “He and Fre- he’s been practicing constantly since he passed his test. It still scares the hell out of everyone when he appears behind them- he thinks it’s hilarious.”

George flushed a little and mumbled, “Because it is” beneath his breath.

“Right then.” Hannah said, performing her last spell for the time being. “George, hold Hermione’s other hand. Take her and Ron to St Mungos, the emergency ward. When you get there, ask for Matthew, he’ll sort you out.”

George did so, and Ron said a final thank you before they disappeared into thin air.

At that moment, a catastrophic jet of light was sent surging into the exact spot where Hannah stood. Neville shoved her behind him protectively, and sent a shield charm outwards that absorbed the spell like a wave. Almost immediately, another spell shot towards them, then another and another, faster and faster. Hannah cast shield charms around them at every angle she could, but they smashed just seconds after she cast them. “Stay back!” Neville called to her, his heart racing, his eyes frantically searching for their attacker.

Hannah sensed what he was doing, then saw a black figure in the corner of her eye. “Death Eater, to your left.” She whispered.

Neville found the area she was looking at and, both at once; they sent two stunning spells into the darkness.

Nothing happened for a long moment. Hannah listened to both her own and Neville’s heartbeat, trying to calm herself, maybe their spells had knocked the Death Eater out…

Then the Death Eater stepped out into the open, completely unscathed, only a few metres away. Neville clutched his wand tightly; ready for whatever spell the Death Eater might throw at him. Both of the two men kept their eyes locked on each other, neither of them noticing Harry emerge in the background.

Hannah saw Harry and he saw her. He lifted a finger to his lips, signalling to both her and Neville to keep their cool, then raised his wand and pointed it at the Death Eaters back.

But Neville hadn’t seen him.

“Stupefy!” Neville bellowed seconds before Harry cast his spell. The Death Eater reacted to Neville’s spell instantly, flicking it away, and sending and even worse one in its place. Hannah screamed as a huge dagger of red slashed into Neville, at the same time that Harry’s spell hit the Death Eater, knocking him unconscious.

Neville stood for a moment, his body taking time to register its new wound. Seconds later, Neville fell to the ground in a pool of blood.

 


Chapter 6: Chapter 6
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It was late evening. The blocks of light that normally shone in from St Mungo’s windows were now blocks of shadow on the shiny marbled floor. Most of the staff had gone home for the night and the constant stream of footsteps and voices outside the ward doors had been reduced to the occasional chatter of various “night shifters”. The sound inside the ward was low and sleepy. Tom, who was on his way to a full recovery, just waiting for his burns to heal, snored rhythmically from his bed in the far corner of the room. Hermione, at the other end, bedridden but on the mend, was sighing deeply as she fell into her slumber, snuggled up in her covers with Ron watching over her. Harry was the only person up and running, his only injuries being a few burns and cuts, and was quietly pacing left to right then back again in front of a bed in the middle of the room.

Hannah sat by that same bed in silence, watching, waiting for Neville to wake up.

She had done everything she could. If she was honest, healing everyone else was just a distraction from her true purpose. Riordan Greencloak, her boss and the most accomplished healer in the hospital, had come in an hour ago to relieve her from her duties and upon leaving had examined Neville, concluding that Hannah had done everything that could be done. Hannah had no choice but to believe him, but hated that all she could do now was wait.

She went over a checklist in her mind, desperately hoping there was something she had forgotten, something that would wake Neville up immediately, something that would keep her from her morbid thoughts.

Clean wounds: check.

Calming Draught: check.

Dittany: check.

Healing spells: check.

Cream: check.

Bandages: check.

Everything: check.

Each gash had been horrifying, ten times worse than the one Snape had given Neville in his seventh year. Each cut had glistened evilly with red, deep and wide, a sadistic mark of Death Eater, Hannah, Neville, or anyone else that saw them would never forget. Hannah had reduced the gashes to thin white scars; the total increasing drastically from one to eight, but the result hadn’t looked any less sinister. Hannah traced the scars down Neville’s chest with her finger lightly, joining them up in two lines like the number 11.

Hannah felt Harry’s hand squeeze her shoulder in a faintly comforting manner. She looked up at him with a faint smile “thank you” she whispered. Hannah thought he deserved so much more than a thank you. He could have gone home to Ginny hours ago, but he had stayed to keep her company and to make sure Neville was all right, feeling that Neville’s injuries were partly his fault. Harry nodded at Hannah, feeling restless, then began to pace around the ward again, this time all the way to Ron and Hermione and back.

So far, Neville had only stirred a few times, letting out the occasional groan. Hannah became desperate. She grabbed Neville’s hand, her eyes darting around the room to check no one was watching- if they were, they would think she’d gone mad.

“Neville, it’s me, Hannah. I hope you’re having a nice sleep, but could you wake up? To let us know you’re there? Please?” Hannah sniffed back tears, but she felt one escape and roll down her cheek. “Harry probably thinks I’ve goon loopy, but I need to talk to you-”

Neville’s eyelids twitched.

“It feels like months since we talked, properly, without stuff exploding or people trying to kill us. But it’s only been a day-”

“That long huh?” a voice asked wearily.

“Yeah-NEVILLE!” Hannah squealed and launched forward, hugging him tight, pulling him close. She wrapped her arms around his neck and stroked his hair. She closed her eyes, just focusing on his warmth, the beat of his heart, his life.

“It was a nice sleep.” Neville said, his voice slightly muffled from his face being buried in Hannah’s shoulder. “It got better when you started talking though.”

Hannah smiled through her tears and let go of him gently, watching him rearrange himself so he was sitting up comfortably. As he did so, he caught sight of his torn up chest. Hannah saw in his eyes that he could remember the pain. He shook himself a little then looked at Hannah as if nothing was wrong.

“Oh Merlin” Hannah whispered shakily, as more tears fell. She began to sob, but started to laugh at the same time, the ridiculousness of it all overwhelming her. She tried to wipe her tears away with her sleeve but Neville took her hand and folded it with his.

“Neville, please, stop it. St-st-stop saving me, I can’t- seeing you ripped apart I-”

“Hannah, losing you is worse than anything they can do to me.” Neville said softly. “I love you more than anything else. I’m going to take every spell I can for you.”

Hannah didn’t quite know what to say. She didn’t want him to take every spell for her, she wanted to take every spell for him. But the forcefulness in his voice told her she had no choice.

“Typical Gryffindor.” She said, and then leant in to kiss him. His lips were slightly dry and cold, but it was still perfection. She closed her eyes and soaked up the glorious feeling of his lips against her lips, his hand on her back, her hand on his. The whole experience was made even more special just by the fact that they were living it. Hannah had spent the whole day hoping that the kiss they had shared the night before was not their last.

Neville curved a hand around the back of Hannah’s head then teased out a lock of her golden hair, winding the soft strands around his finger.

He pulled back suddenly, feeling a twinge in his chest.

“I can put more Dittany on it.” Hannah said, immediately getting up. Neville stopped her.

“No, stay, I’m fine.”

Hannah raised an eyebrow but obeyed, summoning the bottle instead.

“I forget you can do that. I forget about magic completely sometimes.” Neville admitted. He sat back obediently and toyed with the blankets.

“So do I” Hannah said, peeling one of Neville’s bandages off to apply more of the clear brown liquid to his scars.

“I don’t think I was supposed to be a wizard, you know. I’m terrible at magic, anyway.”

“You’re not terrible Neville, you’re-”

“Below average?” Neville suggested “Second rate?”

Hannah laughed. “No, I was going to say-”

“Barely mediocre? Subpar?” Neville continued. Hannah pretended to clout him round the head.

“You’re brilliant at magic Neville, your listening abilities, however, are a different kettle of fish.” She said sitting down next to him on the bed.

“Kettle of fish? Is that a muggle saying, like “don’t count your dragons before they’re hatched”?”

“You mean chickens?”

“Chickens? That makes sense too, I suppose-” Neville narrowed his eyes and pursed his lips. “Stop changing the subject, you’re lying about me being brilliant at magic.”

“I am not.” Hannah retorted. There was no way she was going to let him think so badly of himself all the time.

Neville stretched instead of answering. Hannah saw the scars on his chest elongate grotesquely as he did so. She bit her lip, trying to hold back the guilt she felt in not being able to make them less obvious. She thought of her own injuries. They matched. Stripes and dots. Scars and bruises.

“You know, a good healer would have given you a shirt.” Hannah said, snuggling into her boyfriend’s shoulder.

“Hmm. Well, I think we’ve already established your opinions of me and shirts.” Neville said, remembering the night before.

“I suppose we have.”

Harry paced over to them, realising that Neville was awake. He had been bracing himself for the worst, so let out a large sigh of relief when he saw that Neville only harboured a few scars. Harry had expected to see Neville’s chest mangled and shredded, so the thick pink lines of reality were considered minimal damage.

He snorted in disbelief, shaking his head. “You’re an absolute miracle worker Hannah.”

Hannah blushed and looked at her lap. Neville rolled his eyes with a smile and turned to Harry slowly, trying not to strain his wounds.

 “What happened in the end?- no one is- I mean everyone’s- aren’t they?”

“Yes.” Harry nodded. “Yes, everyone’s fine- well mostly fine.” He said nodding towards Neville’s chest.

Neville pretended not to see. “How many Death Eaters did we catch in the end?”

“Five” Harry replied. “All on trial for Azkaban as we speak, so overall it was a successful night, apart from destroying Diagon Alley in the process….” Harry’s voice faded as he remembered that Diagon Alley included Hannah and Neville’s flat. “I reckon we can rebuild it though,” he added quickly.

Hannah looked up; her eyes were alight with hope. Could it be rebuilt? She wasn’t even sure how much had been destroyed, it had all looked the same to her that night. She wasn’t paying much attention to what had happened to the Leaky Cauldron, all she had focused on was finding Neville and healing Tom and Hermione.

Hannah zoned out for a while, looking around the ward, deciding not to ponder the subject too much until she saw the damage.

Miriam lowered the lights and the ward settled into a peaceful slumber. Hannah’s eyes settled straight ahead, on Ron as he shuffled around in his chair next to Hermione’s bed trying to get comfortable. Hannah summoned him a couple of pillows and sent them floating down the ward. Ron looked up at her, adding pillows to the list of things he had to thank her for. He opened his mouth to say something, but Hermione decided otherwise.

“Ro-onn-aldd…” she mumbled, the sound echoing down the ward.

Harry’s voice melted into silence behind Hannah. He had just been thrown into a vision from his sixth year at Hogwarts, as if he were looking into the pensive.

Ron’s eyes widened and glazed over. He looked away from the others, trying to conceal his emotions. He gave up trying to get himself comfortable and slotted the pillows behind Hermione, the resumed his original position of holding her hand.

Harry came out of his flashback and suddenly ached to see Ginny. Seeing Ron with Hermione and Neville with Hannah made him miss that connection. It was more than a day since he had seen his wife, and she would be worried sick, knowing by know what had happened in Diagon Alley and probably beginning to panic because he had not come home.

Harry said good luck and goodbye to everyone, then apparated home, unintentionally reminding Neville and Hannah that he, unlike them, had a home to go back to.

“They gave me a room for the night.” Hannah said, breaking the silence, “a bed, anyway.”

Neville did not reply for a moment,  he was thinking. Even if their flat could be rebuilt, it would be months until they could move back in. Where would they go until then? Neville began weighing up the possibilities. His gran would probably take them, but it would be a squeeze-her bungalow was tiny. Harry and Ginny’s maybe? Ron and Hermione’s? Neither appealed, he wanted everything to go back to normal. He wanted this all to be a dream. He wanted to wake up on the sofa from a drunken snooze when Hannah came in. He wanted to spend the weekend as they always did, together, go out somewhere all day then come home and spend the evening with Hannah in his arms. But that was impossible now.

Hannah knew what Neville was thinking- she was thinking the same.

“I’ll ask Dad” she said, “there’s enough room, it’s just him after all…”

“I’m sure Gran will have me for a while…”

“I meant both of us Neville.” Hannah said. He didn’t understand that when she referred to herself, she meant him too. To her, they were a package deal; you couldn’t have one without the other.

“I wouldn’t want to impose-” started Neville. He didn’t want to be a burden on her dad, and he wasn’t sure what her dad thought of him anyway. He imagined that any dad would resent having their daughter’s boyfriend living with them

“I’ll write to him.” Hannah said forcefully, shaking her head at Neville ludicrousness. Her Dad loved him, almost like a son.

 Neville decided not to argue, happy that she’d made it easy for him to agree. It was almost impossible not to.

Hannah summoned a quill and paper and wrote a note to her father, sending it off with one of the hospitals owls.

A few minutes later, she became aware that Neville had fallen asleep on her shoulder, and laid him down gently on the pillows, covering him with a blanket. She lay next to him for a while, thinking she would make sure he was settled then go to the ward that was set aside for employees, but she never got that far.

 

Authors Note: Sorry for the slow updates! Thanks for reading as always, and reviews are much appreciated!~Hufflepuffhallows 


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