Hi everyone!! Sorry for the long wait. I was looking for inspiration on who my next chapter would be about. As it turns out, I decided to do it about Neville. He is one character whose role in the war many of us underestimate. This time, I didn’t write such na introspective chapter and more dialogues. Anxiety sometimes is not something we are aware about in ourselves. Also, our dear professor Macgonagall appears too cause I think she cares for her students much more than she shows. Please, leave your thoughts below and Enjoy!:)
Neville roamed the corridors of Hogwarts in complete peace after a full day of classes. It was a starry evening and the whole population of students was condensed in the Great Hall enjoying dinner. Or so he thought, when he heard young voices and laughter.
- What were you saying again, Billy? – someone taunted.
- Please stop! – another voice begged.
- Are you or are you not gonna say what Lisa told you of us in class? We can always loosen your tongue a bit with our wands. – a third voice joined in, laughing.
Neville entered in panic mode. He had to find these students quickly. The young professor could already see. Two bullies, evil smirks on their faces, pointing their wands on a third defenseless boy, the torture curse on their tongue.
Neville ran through the corridor, opening every classroom door, until the fourth one wasn’t empty.
- Give me your wands right now and stay quiet!!
The two students, a Ravenclaw and a Hufflepuff, pointing their wands to a blond Ravenclaw on the floor widened their eyes at him, caught in their evil acts.
- We... – the Ravenclaw holding the wand stammered.
- I said quiet!! – Neville yelled. He thought he saw their wands shaking but he couldn’t care less. They should be afraid. Just like they made their Ravenclaw classmate on the floor feel like.
- Are you okay, Billy? – he asked the hurt student, his priority.
The young boy blushed:
- Professor, I’m fine. We were just joking, really. Matt and Andrews were mocking me as friends.
Neville frowned and looked him straight in the eyes. He’d seen excuses like that way too often in his seventh year.
- You don’t have to lie for them, Mr. Thompson. You can be sure they will never raise a wand at you again.
- It’s not... – the boy seemed ashamed, something Neville knew all too well.
- Professor, it was just a tickling jinx! – the Hufflepuff spoke up.
- We weren’t hurting him, he’s our friend. – the other boy joined in.
- Enough!! – Neville raised his voice again and the two armed students stopped talking immediately.
- Give me your wands right now, Mr. Calvins and Mr. Brennan! – Neville yelled again, and they obeyed – Seventy points from Ravenclaw and Hufflepuff. And two months of detention for both of you! I’ll talk to your Heads of Houses about it tomorrow. Now go!
The two boys hurried out of the classroom, leaving Billy to stare at him, worried. Neville cleared his throat.
- Sorry, Billy. Do you want me to take you to the Hospital Wing or you can walk there?
- I... – Billy started to say something, but nodded. – I’ll be going.
And Neville stayed alone, just then leaning on the wall and releasing a breath.
An hour later, he received a note to go to the Headmistress office and climbed the circular staircase, very curious. He knocked at the door and heard a familiar “Come in!”.
Behind the imposing desk stood his old Transfiguration Professor, writing some letters and completely at home in the office that she took so much time to get used to.
- You wanted to see me, Headmistress?
She looked at him pointedly over her glasses:
- Haven’t I told you to call me Minerva before? Have a seat, Neville.
The man himself rubbed his neck and seated in front of the serious old lady, feeling too much a student again.
- Tea? – the Headmistress offered.
- Yes, please.
Neville sipped his tea, looking at her worriedly. Had he done something wrong lately? Was he getting fired?
- So, I heard you put two students in detention today.
The young wizard almost spit his biscuit out. That was what this was about?
- They were threatening another student, Professor!
- I know. – she nodded. – With a tickling jinx.
- We don’t know that! – he protested.
- Their stories all match.
- Mr. Thompson could be lying!
- Mr. Thompson was examined by Madame Pomfrey and is completely fine.
Neville shook his head:
- It doesn’t matter! We don’t know what could have happened if I didn’t intervene.
- Indeed. – Professor Macgonagall said. – And a few years back this could be worrying – she stared at him behind her glasses. – but now , not so much.
Neville didn’t understand anything. How could she not be worried that a student could have been cursed. How many times had he heard the screams that followed a curse. The bruises that had to be healed later. Which Susan and Hannah would have to do because Madame Pomfrey couldn’t help them... No, he had to do something! Even if it meant taking the curse himself. The Carrows wouldn’t...
He looked up with the sudden realization. This wasn’t happening on the here and now. It was his mind remembering a time long past.
Minerva had such a compassionate look on her face he was ashamed to feel tears in his eyes and looked away.
He felt her weathered hand in his.
- You don’t understand. – he said, shakily – How can I be sure this won’t happen again and I could have prevented someone else from getting hurt?
- You won’t be sure.
He looked at her and Minerva continued.
- But you’re not a student anymore and Hogwarts is safe again. You can prevent it from happening. As long as you keep being this wonderful example to them. Not the one of tonight. – Neville blushed – They don’t need that Professor Longbottom. You don’t need to be that person anymore, Neville. – she said, almost sadly. – They need the kind, fair Professor they look up to every day.
Neville dried his eyes with his hand and looked up.
- Then that’s who I will be. – he said categorically – I’ll solve the issue with the boys now.
- Neville? – Professor Macgonagall said as he was getting up.
- Yes, Professor?
- Biscuits? – she offered a pot. He laughed, feeling the most carefree he had in his last two years as a teacher.
No more Carrows, hiding or tortures at Hogwarts. Just tickling jinxes from now on.
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