A bloodied, torn up, and pale Neville stumbled in to the common room causing it to go deadly quiet.
“Neville! What happened?” Harry asked alarmed.
Neville just stared blankly until he could finally stutter out “G-g-g-giant thr-thr-three h-he-hea-headed d-do-do-dog.” He then promptly passed out.
“Hermione,” Harry whispered frantically in her ear. “Please do it, you’ve got to do it.”
“What if they ask how-” Hermione started to ask, but Harry cut her off.
“Never mind that now! We’ll just say you’re an elementalist. Technically that’s partially true. Besides, it wouldn’t be the first time a muggleborn showed powers like that so it wouldn’t be questioned. It would take too long to get him to Pomfrey. He needs immediate medical attention and the more we talk, the more likely he’ll bleed to death. I would do it myself, but you know water isn’t my specialty. It’s yours,” Harry said.
“Alright,” Hermione whispered, than she said louder. “I need a bowl with a lot of water.”
One seventh year conjured a bowl while a sixth year pointed his wand at the bowl and said, “Aguamenti!”
Hermione began to move her hands in complex, rhythmic gestures. At first, nothing happened. Then, the water began to rise out of the bowl in a wavy pattern. Hermione continued what she was doing until all the water was out of the bowl and floating above Neville’s unconscious form. She lowered the water until it encased all of Neville’s body (with the exception of his head). Hermione’s brow furrowed and her eyes screwed up in concentration. Harry gestured everyone to stand back and they did. A blue light began to emanate from the water, giving Neville an eerie glow. The tenser Hermione got, the bright the light became. She started to grunt in frustration until all of a suddenly, the light vanished, the water disappeared, and Hermione passed out. As she began to fall backwards, Harry caught her and gently let her down. Everyone stared at Neville. Though his clothes were still barely hanging on by threads, he was completely healed!
Harry turned to Lavender and Parvati “Would you two take her up to your dorm. She’ll be out until morning at least. She used a ton of magic on Neville.” Harry snorted and glanced at his unconscious roommate. “He’s going to wake up feeling like a million galleons.”
“Er…how are we supposed to get her up the stairs?” asked Lavender.
Harry raised an eyebrow, turned, and levitated Neville off the ground. He started heading towards the boys dorm rooms, with Neville floating along behind him, before he turned around and said, “Are you witches or not? You figure it out.” He smirked at their blushes and continued up the stairs.
Neville Longbottom slowly came to. He had never felt so good in his life. This was saying a ton since the last thing he remembered was getting his arse kicked by a hellhound. He barely remembered getting back to the common room. He knew for certain that he wasn’t in the hospital wing; he also knew he didn’t hurt anymore. Both of which surprised him. He slowly sat up and looked around. His curtains were drawn on his four-poster bed. He knew it was still night because he could hear Ron’s snoring. He saw that someone was still up by the dim flicker of a candle. He pulled back his curtain and saw Harry sitting up in bed reading a book with a small ball of fire hovering above him. Neville now realized that that was what was giving off the light, not a candle. Harry must have sensed that he was awake, because he looked up directly at Neville. Harry smiled at him and closed the book before he got up and walked over to Neville.
“How are yah feeling, Nev?” Harry asked, quietly so as not to wake their roommates.
“Not bad, considering I just got mauled,” Neville replied with a shrug.
“Yeah about that,” Harry began. “When you came in you said something about a three headed dog. Care to elaborate?”
“Yah know the third floor corridor?” Neville asked.
“You mean the one that is and I quote: ‘Off limits to those how don’t wish to die a horrible death?’” Harry asked with a raised eyebrow.
“Yeah well…there’s a reason it’s off limits. Unfortunately, I had to find out the hard way,” Neville replied.
Harry snorted and Neville glared at him.
“So,” Neville said, trying to change the subject, “what yah reading?”
“My dad’s old journal from when he went here. By the way Nev, is your dad’s name Frank?”
Neville’s smiled disappeared and he looked away. “Yeah…yeah it was-is…yeah…” he said.
“Neville…?” Harry questioned.
“Harry? Can you promise me what I’m about to tell you, you’ll never tell anyone else?” Neville asked.
“Sure mate. What is it?”
“At the end of the war with Voldemort-” Neville stopped when he saw the surprise on Harry’s faces. “My gran always told me to call him by his name. That it would give him less power if one more person could say his name,” Neville explained. Harry nodded and told Neville to continue.
“Anyway, after the war with Voldemort, his supports were running wild everywhere. Some believed he was destroyed, others thought he was just weakened. Still others thought he had somehow been captured. A group of those were the Lestrange brother’s, Bellatrix Black-Lestrange, and Barty Crouch Jr. They had some crazed idea that the Ministry had Voldemort in a holding cell somewhere so they sought to find the information from the two mostly likely sources, my parents.” Neville paused and Harry inhaled sharply. Harry could already tell he would not like how this was going to end. Neville continued, “Apparently our parents were the four of greatest Aurors, Dark wizard catchers, of the time. The Death Eaters stormed our home and captured my parents. For the next couple hours they…they tortured my parents by means of the Cruituas. Eight hours they tortured them until they went insane. As I got older, my gran told me that they made me watch, but I was barely fourteen months. I don’t remember any of it.”
“Count yourself lucky, mate,” Harry murmured, but Neville heard him. The room had gone deathly quiet.
“What do you mean?” Neville asked with a frown.
Harry closed his eyes and began to tell a secret he had kept hidden since he arrived at Hogwarts. “I can remember when Voldemort attacked my parents. I hear the front door blowing off its hinges and my mum running up the steps towards my run. I hear the sounds of his dual with my dad. I hear my mum begging him to kill her and spare me. I hear him laughing as he kills her anyway and turns on me. I remember the intense pain of the Killer Curse. It’s like nothing I’ve ever felt since, pain beyond anything that even the sickest person could think of putting someone through. When I’m thrashing around at night, that’s usually what I’m dreaming of.”
Neville stared at him in shock. “Why don’t you take a Dreamless Sleep potion? You shouldn’t have to go through that each night.”
“I don’t want to have to take potions all my life. Besides, this way I’ll never underestimate him or his supporters. I re-live what they are capable of each night. It’s a constant reminder of why Voldemort must be completely and utterly eradicated,” Harry said clenching his fist.
“Isn’t he already dead?” Neville asked.
“Some say he is. Bullshit in my opinion. He is still out there somewhere, laying and waiting. Watching for the opportunity to strike like a cobra and return with a vengeance. When he does, I’ll be there. I don’t know if I’ll win, but I’ll do everything and anything it takes. Even if it means I die in the process. To quote General Dwight D. Eisenhower ‘Defeat is not an option. I expect nothing less than total victory.’” (June 6, 1944. Order speech for Operation: Overlord, a.k.a. D-Day Invasion)
“I’ll be there to help you, if you will let me,” Neville said with a fierce look of determination burning in his eyes.
Harry smiled. “Thanks Nev Come on let’s get some sleep, we’ve got classes tomorrow”
Both climbed into bed and Harry extinguished the flame that he had conjured for a reading light. As they drifted off to sleep, neither noticed the how quiet it was. Neither realized that Ron had stopped snoring…
Monday: November 15, 1991; three weeks since Marking.
Come down to my cabin tonight at eight. I got something to show yah. You can bring a couple friends as long as they can keep a secret. Remember eight o’clock.
Harry finished reading the note quietly to Hermione, Ron, and Neville. It was dinnertime and the group was in the Great Hall. Neither Harry nor Neville had vocally spoken about the night of their talk. Both had come to a silent agreement not to speak about it. Since then, Neville had been studying with them and sitting by them in classes and at meals. Neville was quickly becoming a recognized member of the group. The trio was now a quad and it seemed like things couldn’t get any better.
“Wub ga facken Sabcrid vents,” Ron said through an over stuffed mouthful of food.
Harry and Neville looked at each other before bursting out in laughter while Hermione half-heartedly chastised Ron about talking with a mouthful of food...
After a few minutes, Neville calmed down enough to ask, “Could you say that again, in English this time if you don’t mind.” This caused Harry to roar with laughter, again while Hermione failed horribly to keep a straight face. She soon gave up and joined in having a good, hard laugh with Harry.
Ron nearly choked as he swallowed his food. Then replied, “I asked: What yah reckon Hagrid wants?”
Harry snorted in amusement. “Knowing Hagrid,” he said, “it could be anything. Now, the problem is getting down there tonight without getting caught.”
“Sorry to interrupt,” said an all too familiar voice from behind them.
“But did we just hear that,”
“Some ickle firsties,”
“Are planning on sneaking,”
“Out to the grounds,”
“Tonight!” the twins finished in unison.
Harry and Hermione looked at each other and smiled.
Harry began their reply “You do,”
“Realize that that,”
“Annoying,” they finished together smirking.
Fred began the counter, “Not nearly,”
“As annoying and,”
“As irritating as,”
“When you two,”
“Do it,” they finished.
Hermione shook her head, “Anyway, you were,”
“Going to say,”
“Something before we,”
“Got into this,”
“Battle of words,” Harry and Hermione finished. They were really starting to get the hang of finishing each other's sentences.
“Could you two please stop doing that?” asked Neville. “It’s bad enough we have to listen to those two,” pointing to Harry and Hermione, “on a regular basis. It gives me a headache sometimes.”
“Spoil,” Fred and George began.
“Sport,” Harry and Hermione finished.
Ron groaned. “Please don’t start that. I swear the four of you are going to drive me bonkers.”
Fred sniffed and wiped away an imaginary tear drop from his eyes. “We’ve taught them well, haven’t we Forge?”
“Yes we have oh brother of mine.” George began to take something out of his pocket.
Harry eyes widen as he saw what they were pulling out. (It couldn’t be…) Hermione heard him think. She gave him a questioning look, so he telepathically sent what he had read in their dad’s journal to her, and her eyes widened as well.
(You don’t think that…) she asked glancing at Harry.
(I do.) Harry said. His hand grabbed George’s and pushed the parchment back into his pocket.
“Not here,” he hissed at the twins questioning looks. Harry jerked his head in the direction of the hallway and began to walk out.
Once they found an empty classroom, Harry turned on the twins.
“Were did you get that?” he demanded, breathlessly.
The twins looked at each other for a minute before Fred asked, “You know what it is?”
“I think I do.” Harry replied, (and I hope I’m right.) Hermione heard him think.
George pulled the parchment from his pocket and held it out to Harry and said, “If you truly know what it is, then prove it.”
Harry pulled out his wand and slightly stuttered through the password due to nervousness, “I s-s-solemnly s-swear… that I am up to no good.”
Harry held his breath. At first nothing happened, and doubt began to creep into his mind. Then little ink lines began to spread like spider webs across the paper and his heart soared.
Padfoot, and Prongs
are proud to present:
The Marauders Map
“It can’t be,” Harry said, tears forming in his eyes. “He said the old caretaker had taken it. I thought it was lost forever.” Harry turned to the twins and asked, “Where’d you find it?”
“In Filch’s office,” Said Fred.
“We nicked it,” Continued George, proudly.
“It was in a filing cabinet labeled: Confiscated and Highly Dangerous.”
“You didn’t!” exclaimed Hermione with a smirk.
“We did.” Said George with a smile.
“Don’t reckon he ever figured out how to activate it, though.” Said Fred.
“Now, how do you know about it, Harry?” asked George.
“Are you kidding me, my dad invented it, or at least had a hand in its creation.” Harry said with a sly grin.
“WHAT!” exclaimed the twins.
“My dad was Prongs. Padfoot was his best mate, Sirius Black. Moony was another friend, Remus Lupin. Finally, Wormtail was also a friend by the name of Peter Pettigrew. They were the Marauders and together, they invented this map. My dad wrote about the creation of the map in his journal. There are detailed instructions on how to make another, but the Marauders never got around to doing it.” Harry explained.
Fred and George looked at each other, and then back at Harry. “You’re the son of a Marauder?” George asked.
“Yep," Harry replied.
Fred and George began to bow to Harry saying, “We’re not worthy. We’re not worthy.”
This caused the Hermione, Ron, and Neville to laugh. Harry wasn’t so amused.
“Aw…cut it out Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dumb,” Harry said.
“Tweedle whose it’s?” the twins asked.
“Nothing,” Hermione replied. “Just some muggle fairytale.”
“How’d the muggles get a hold of a fairy’s tail and why would they call the Tweedle what-cha-ma-call-it?” questioned Ron
Hermione covered her mouth trying to hide her giggles; Harry on the other had collapsed on the ground in fits of laughter. Ron, Fred, and George were plain confused while Neville seemed to understand what was going on.
“Not a fairy’s tail,” said Neville “but a fairytale, one word and tale spelt t-a-l-e. They are a series of fictional stories based on what muggles believe are mythical creatures; such as dragons, goblins, etc.”
“Oh,” was the collective responses from the Ron and the twins who obviously still didn’t get what was going on.
Harry turned back to the map and let his gaze wonder over it. “Thanks,” he said. “This will be right useful tonight.” He smirked and said, “Maybe we’ll stop by Honeyduke’s to snag a couple of butterbeer’s before we come back. You guys need anything from Zonkos? Cause we could swing by there.”
Fred and George grinned, “That’s the ticket. Live life on the wild side while you can and no, we are well supplied until the next trip to the village.”
“Thanks for this, guys. Maybe we should start working on a copy of this bad boy,” Harry said gesturing towards the map “so that you to can have one and we can have one.”
-- (Hagrid’s hut, eight o’clock P.M.) --
Harry, Hermione, Ron, and Neville stood on the front steps to Hagrid’s hut. As Harry knocked on the large wooden door, a dog began to bark loudly causing Neville to involuntarily to shudder. Hermione gave Neville a look that said ‘Well next time don’t wonder off into restricted areas’.
From inside the house, the students heard a voice saying “Back, back Fang. Back yah ruby dog.”
As the door opened, hot steam gushed out leaving in its wake a large black dog and a very sweaty Hagrid.
“Bloody hell, mate, hot enough for yah?” asked Ron who was fanning himself.
“Hi yah there, ‘Arry! Come on get in before we let too much heat out,” said Hagrid.
Neville eyed the dog warily as they entered. When Hagrid noticed this, he said “Never you mind Fang there, he’s a bloody pushover.” He then turned to Harry and said, “All right there ‘Arry?”
Harry smiled and nodded. “Right now,” Hagrid continued. “Who we got here?”
“Hagrid, meet Hermione… Granger, Ron Weasley, and Neville Longbottom.”
“Nice ter meet yah. Weasley, you wouldn’t happen to be related ter Charlie would yah?”
“Yeah, he is one of my brothers,” Ron replied.
“Charlie was one of the friendliest people I’ve ever met. Dragged him out of the forest so many times, I reckon he knew it better than I do.” Turning to Neville he said, “I knew yer parents from during the war. Them were good folks, they were.” Neville nodded. To Hermione he said, “I don’t know anyone named Granger.”
“I’m…I’m a muggleborn.” Hermione lied. She hated lying and Harry knew it. Harry gave her a look that said ‘Someday sis, someday.’
“Oh…well that’d explain it,” Hagrid said. “Right now, come in and look at this.”
There was a huge pot over a fire; inside the pot was a large oddly spotted egg.
“Wow! Hagrid, where’d you get that? They’re incredible hard to get,” asked Ron.
“I won it off a stranger in the pub. Seemed right glad to be rid of it to tell yer the truth. Don’t know why though,” said Hagrid, scratching his head.
Ron was gaping at Hagrid. “Of course he was glad to get rid of it. Hagrid trading dragon eggs is illegal!”
“Dragon egg!” screeched Harry, Hermione, and Neville. They all began talking at once, but before Hagrid could say anything, the egg began to wriggle and a crack formed on it.
“It’s hatching!” exclaimed Neville, stating the obvious.
More cracks started forming until a small plume of fire blow the egg to pieces. A small baby dragon uncurled itself from the fractured pieces of what remained of the egg.
“I know what bread that is! Charlie has sent us pictures before, that’s a Norwegian Ridgeback! They are only shown up in viciousness by the Hungarian Horntail.”
“I think I’ll name it Norbert,” said Hagrid while the first years just stared at each other. Then they heard a crash from outside. Harry ran to the window in time to see Draco Malfoy running back towards the castle.
Monday November 25, 1991; four weeks since ‘Marking’
It had been a week since baby Norbert had been born. The ickle dragon wasn’t so ickle anymore, the four Gryffindor’s knew that soon Norbert would be too big to keep indoors. It had taken several hours of convincing before Hagrid would listen to reason and agreed that Norbert belonged on a preserve. Ron had proceeded to contact Charlie about evacuating Norbert to Romania. Charlie had told them he was sending some friends to pick Norbert up and fly him to the Northern Romanian Dragon Preserve where Charlie and the other trainers could take care of him. When Harry had heard that the team was flying in, he began making his own plans. Sending letters to the second oldest Weasley and to the fliers. The letter he had just gotten confirmed that everything was worked out. He had one last thing to take care before the fliers arrived. Harry had immediately gone to the Headmaster to seek permission to allow him to do this.
“You sure this is what you want to do, Harry?” asked Dumbledore for the third time.
“I’m sure, sir,” Harry replied, confidently.
“Very well, here is the work you have requested. Please see that it gets done,” said Dumbledore.
“Yes, sir. Of course,” replied Harry before he picked up the stack of papers, packed them up, and left the office; leaving a very weary and tired Dumbledore behind him.
--(Astronomy Tower, shortly after midnight)---*
Charlie’s friends were just making the final preparations before taking off. Ron and Neville were listening to some stories about the preserve. Hermione was talking to the only girl flier astonished at the statistics as to how many women worked with dragons. The lead flier came up to Harry and asked, “Ready, Potter?”
“Ready when you are, Zernich,” Harry replied calmly.
Hermione, Ron, and Neville turned in time to see Harry take his broom out from his pocket and un-shrink it. They stared at him as Zernich nodded to the other fliers who made sure that the cords connecting Norbert’s cage to their brooms were secure. Harry walked over to the dragon trainers, who made room for him in their flight formation and attached a cord on to his broom.
“Harry?” Hermione asked, hesitantly.
He didn’t look at them for a minute. When he finally did look up he said, almost hesitantly, “I’m sorry I didn’t tell you sooner, but I didn’t want you lot to try and stop me from doing this.” He took a deep breath and sighed. “I’m going to Romania from there I’m going to travel for a bit. See some sights. Go to places that I’ve always wanted to go. I here Cancun is nice this time of year,” he finished with a smile.
“Why, mate?” asked Neville even though he thought he already knew the answer.
“Let’s face it guys, I don’t have long to live and there’s a lot I want to do before I keel over and kick the bucket. I’ll be back before ‘the Burning’. I just need to get away from here, from all the staring, and looks of pity. Especially from Malfoy or I might snap and kill that pompous, egotistical son of a-” Hermione cleared her throat loudly. Harry smiled at her and took the Marauder’s Map from his pocket, handing it to Neville he said, “Keep an eye out for Filch on your way back to the Tower. I don’t want you guys to get caught.” Then he whispered, “Also keep an eye on Hermione. If anyone messes with her, blast them into the next millennia. Just make sure there is enough left of them so I can have a crack at them, kay?” Neville nodded numbly and took the map.
Tears were now freely flowing down Hermione’s face as she ran up to Harry, throwing her arms around him in a hug and kissed him on the cheek.
“Be careful, Harry,” she whispered in his ear. “And please come back.”
Ron and Neville gripped his shoulders in turn and nodded that they understood why he had to do this. With that, the dragon trainers and Harry mounted their brooms and took off into the still cold November night sky. Hermione threw her arms around Ron and sobbed on his shoulder. Ron in turn wrapped his arms around Hermione and started to gently stroke her hair. The trio stood rooted to the spot long after the fliers were out of sight, before they to finally left and made there way back to Gryffindor Tower.