Harry: I show up next chapter, don't I? Can't we just…stay on this chapter forever.
Ginny: You really want to read this fic forever?
Hannah: We want to get this over with quickly, like ripping off an bandaid.
Luna: I for one cannot wait for next chapter! I hear Ron and Hermione will be joining us, among others! It will be great fun!
*Ron and Hermione pop in the room*
Ron: This isn't fair!
Harry: Heh heh heh! Now you lot will suffer with all of us!
Ron: You aren't supposed to wish such pain on your best friends, Harry.
Harry: Says the man who let his best friend and his sister suffer alone!
Hermione: This has to be a human rights violation! I move to outlaw it!
Neville: You go do that. In the meantime, let's get this rubbish over with.
For over a week, it was stalemate. Neville was on his guard, but Snape and the Carrows made no move, and he began to think that a dangerous equilibrium had been set.
Neville: Those last five words don't make the remotest amount of sense.
The scaling-down of the D.A.'s activities since Michael's torture appeared to have lulled the Death Eaters into the belief that his Gran's attempted abduction – which Alecto had sneeringly informed him of the next day, though she implied that the effort to send Gran to Azkaban had been far more successful than her Patronus would have indicated - had frightened him into submission.
Ginny: Little did they know that he LIKED submission. Mmmmmm-mmm.
Then, on the eighth of April, he and Seamus were on their way to Charms when Crabbe and Goyle met them in the hallway, their massive forms blocking the door to the classroom belligerently, arms crossed. Neville exchanged a look with his friend and sighed, rolling his eyes at the two giant Slytherins. "If we say pretty please, will you get out of our way?"
Ginny: Oh look, it's the people the author turned into rapists.
Hannah: Please God don't let another rape happen…
Neville: It's nice to see Seamus treating such people so casually too.
Goyle seemed to think a very long time about this, then shook his head firmly. "No."
"No?" Seamus was aghast.
Harry: Of course he is. He's used to people letting him walk all over them, being a main character in this story.
"No," repeated Goyle, more certainly this time.
"Just no. And you had him set up with so many possible lovely, witty comebacks,"
Ginny: What? Who is Seamus talking to? Who's supposed to set who up? What?
Luna: Maybe he's speaking to a phantom…
the young wizard sighed, his blue eyes glittering with the anticipation of a fight as he drew his wand, bouncing it lightly in his palm. "Of course, wit isn't your greatest talent, is it, Gregory darlin'?"
Neville: Nor yours either, clearly.
"Don't call me darling, I ain't yer darling nothin'." Goyle frowned deeply, his shoulders bunching as he clenched his fist around his own wand.
"It's nothing personal, Goyle, it's just how Finnigan talks…" Neville said soothingly.
Luna: Because he's possessed by a leprechaun, as we know.
Ginny: Or simply wants to date everybody.
Luna: Well, yes. Leprechauns are notoriously promiscuous.
Though he had drawn his wand as well, he kept it low at his side, raising his other hand in a placating gesture. "Just let us pass. We don't want a fight."
Neville: Wow, he didn't go automatically to violence? I'm shocked.
Ginny: Yet another twist!
"Well we do," Crabbe snarled,
Hannah: ….while forgetting a comma.
and before Neville knew what had hit him, he was down. He had been ready to block a curse, a jinx, even an attack from a third party using the two thugs as a distraction, but he had not anticipated simply being punched.
Harry: Some strategist.
*Seamus fights Crabbe and Goyle and Neville gets back up and downs them like "falling oaks"*
Like figures appearing through a heavy mist, eight black-robed Death Eaters appeared from the walls of the hallway as their Disillusionment Charms faded.
Neville: EIGHT DEATH EATERS? To capture ONE TEENAGER?
Harry: Remember, he is just that special.
Neville felt the coin in his pocket burn, and he knew Seamus had called for help, but before he could argue the Lieutenant's action, he was dueling for his life harder than he ever had before.
Hannah: Yes, let's argue calling for help in a duel against EIGHT GROWN WIZARDS. In the middle of the fight, too!
Ginny: See, but Seamus did something without Neville telling him to, and that is simply unforgivable.
*Flitwick saves Neville which is actually pretty cool, then tells him to run and there's this sentence*
Neville shook his head, wheeling to the side, then snapping his wand up to strike one of them with a Conjunctivus Curse in the face. The man let out a scream, tearing the mask away to clutch at his burning eyes, but it wasn't anyone he knew, and he didn't care.
Ginny: Most awkward sentence ever. For some reason we have to be told Neville didn't know this guy, and that he didn't care…about what? That he didn't know him? That he jinxed him? Why should WE care?
*Lavender, Parvati and Colin rush in, Flitwick finally gets Neville to run off, telling him his Memory Charms are perfectly fine…which I guess means they plan to wipe the DE's memories so they don't know who helped Neville run off?
There was no going back. He would just have to trust.
Ginny: Trust OTHER PEOPLE to be competent? The horror!
Ignoring the sounds of the battle resuming fiercely behind him, Neville ran.
Neville runs so fast even his epic manliness can barely take it
But there it was. The portrait of Barnabus the Barmy being merrily, eternally clubbed. The giant oriental vase that bizarrely kept filling with empty bottles of cooking sherry. The flat wall that concealed the door to his only chance. Once, twice, three times he sprinted past it, his shoes skidding on the floor as he wheeled, nearly falling. I need to hide somewhere my enemies can't get me! I need to hide somewhere my enemies can't get me! I need to hide somewhere my enemies can't get me!
The door appeared, and he yanked it open. As he turned to close it behind him, he saw Amycus appearing through what had always appeared to be and what had been listed on every map of the castle as a dead-end closet. The Death Eater gave a roar of rage and frustration as Neville threw him a cheery little wave, then slammed the door. It shimmered and vanished, and he got only the briefest fleeting impression of fists pounding uselessly and foul swearing before the wall had thickened, and he was safe.
Ginny: I have nothing to make fun of in these two paragraphs. Dammit!
Harry: Don't worry, I'm sure more material will arrive soo-
Neville had tried sending messages on the Galleon, but there had been no answer, and he was increasingly terrified that the entire D.A. had been captured. Was he the only survivor? Was there any way to tell without being captured? Was he their last hope? Was this what the prophecy had been intended to come down to? Him hiding out until everyone else had fallen, then being left to find a way to carry on and avenge them? How would he know?
Harry: And there we go.
Ginny: *falls over laughing*
Neville: Oh gosh his overdramatizing has reached ridiculous levels. He seriously thinks the entire DA might have been killed in his absence and he will have to be their dark avenger because he is just that special and important.
Hannah: Thinks, or WANTS to happen? Because being a dark avenger seems like it would stroke his ego perfectly.
NEVILLE IS VENGEANCE
NEVILLE IS THE NIGHT.
NEVILLE. IS. BATMAN.
Harry: …Where did that come from?
Luna: Someone with a very deep voice.
times, he had tried to call the house-elves to bring him something, but either Dobby's absence had left none of them brave enough to come help, or more likely, the loophole Snape had closed when he banned non-human Apparition after Michael's stunt prevented them from using their own brand of magic to reach him.
Hannah: Oh dear, I'd forgotten about that idiotic physically impossible Patronus bit.
Harry: Wizards can control house-elf magic? Since when?
*Neville angsts epically, but doesn't cry, because tears won't turn into a sandwich. ENTER ARIANA*
The frame was simple, gilded wood, and inside, an old-fashioned oil painting showed a pretty young girl in a white dress that dated back to the beginning of the century. She had a sweet, innocent look about her, with long blonde hair in sausage curls over her shoulders, but her eyes were oddly distant, almost vacant, like Luna's when she was at her most dreamy, but different in that they lacked his friend's spark of lively brilliance. At first, she was almost as motionless as a Muggle photograph, then her eyes slowly turned to his, and she smiled vaguely.
Credit where it's due, nice bit of description there.
"Hello," Neville said cautiously. "Who are you?"
The girl did not answer, but she continued to stare at him, then her hand floated to her mouth as if by accident, and she raised her eyebrows questioningly. Neville pressed forward, fighting the urge to seize the frame in eagerness as he nodded. "Yes! Yes! Hungry. I'm very hungry! Do you know where I can get food?"
His shout seemed to startle her, and she cringed back, hiding her face in her arms like a toddler, and he forced himself to back down, offering her his gentlest smile. Now he understood. There was something wrong with her mind. Some trauma had destroyed her, driven her deep inside herself and left her a high-strung, cracked-crystal version of herself.
Neville: …cracked crystal…?
He smiled. This he knew how to deal with.
"I'm sorry," he said softly, speaking carefully as he would to a particularly hysterical Fainting Fichus,
Neville: Calling a mentally ill person hysterical! That's not horrible at all!
"I'm not mad at you, pretty.
Neville: Oh yes, addressing her as "pretty" like a creepy bastard won't disturb her at all.
Ginny: Seriously. That is some Fenrir Greyback shit there.
Harry: Let's all be reminded that Ariana is a SMALL CHILD as well. Well, small child portrait thingamajig.
I just haven't had anything to eat in a couple days, and I got excited. It made me dumb. I bet you feel kind of upset sometimes and do dumb things too. I didn't mean to scare you. I don't like to scare people. I try to be nice to everybody. Can you forgive me and let me be your friend?"
Neville: Yes, so this whole speech is unbearably creepy. Run away, Ariana!
Gradually, one bright blue eye peeped out from behind her arms, and she studied him warily. Neville spread his hands wide, tucking his wand into his back pocket out of sight, and smiled again. "See? I don't want to hurt you."
Her gaze was focused uncertainly on his palms, and he glanced down, realizing that she was looking at the round scars from the thorns.
Ginny: Even Ariana's portrait is obsessed with his scars what the fuck.
"These?" He pointed to the scars, and she nodded gingerly.
Neville: How do you do that.
"I got them because I was with two of my friends – pretty girls like you –
Neville: Okay, seriously SHUT UP.
and some bad monsters tried to hurt us. I stopped them, and it kind of hurt me, but that was okay, because I didn't let them hurt my friends."
Ginny: Oh, you are just so pure and noble and heroic valiant protector. Or so you keep reminding us a thousand times.
She had uncurled now, and was staring at him with that same open, sweetly bland look, as if they were starting from scratch.
Neville: And once again, being a condescending arse-head solves all his problems.
Neville took a deep breath. "Love,
Neville: NO. STOP IT. STOP BEING A CREEP. THIS IS NOT HOW YOU TALK TO A MENTALLY DISABLED PERSON.
can you show me where I can get some food?"
Ariana goes into the portrait's tunnel
As if she had heard him, the girl paused and turned back, regarding him placidly for a moment, then raising one dainty hand in a beckoning motion.
Ginny: I believe this is the millionth time "dainty" has been used to refer to a female character in this work. Just a guestimate.
Oh, Merlin, I hope I'm doing the right thing….
Neville goes into the portrait
Now that he was inside the portrait world, he could see that there was something unnatural about her that went beyond her vacant eyes and frail-minded manner.
Neville: "frail-minded"? What the hell that is barely a phrase also FUCK YOU.
Ginny: Neville! Wow!
Neville: You're not the only one that has your buttons, Ginny.
Into the Hogshead to meet Aberforth!
"Why…you're a Hogwarts kid, aren't you? What in the name of Cleopatra's asp happened to your face?"
Neville: Cleopatra's…that is the weirdest exclamation he has come up with.
Hermione: *pops in* Cleopatra didn't die from an asp, she took a gentle poison-
Ginny: Hermione, Harry's right, if you're going to do this, you have to stay.
Hermione: *Apparates away*
Harry: Damn, she's fast.
Startled, Neville touched his cheek. He had almost forgotten in the hunger and isolation about the deep gouges that slashed across both sides of his face, and he had a strong feeling that the eye he still hadn't been able to open since Crabbe hit him probably didn't look too pretty either, despite undoubtedly being very colorful by now.
Hannah: He is super special and good at magic, and yet can't heal a black eye. The author just wants more manly scars.
"I, uh…." he hesitated, unsure what side this stranger was on or what was safe to say. "I had an accident. Got in the way of a spell, you know…er…a couple times."
Ginny: Please don't have him say he ran into the door.
"Hmmph." The wizard snorted in obvious disbelief, then gestured him through into the little sitting room. "So what's the clearly most accident-prone boy in Hogwarts doing in my pub, and are you going to give me a name before I have to check and see if your mother writes it in your shirt collar?"
Neville: Cue whining that HE DOES NOT HAVE A MOTHER SHE IS INSANE OH NO
Neville hesitated, then replied with the name of Lavender's older brother who had graduated Hogwarts during their second year.
Hannah: Who we've never heard of before now, naturally.
"Robert Brown, sir. I'm Gryffindor…but…your pub?"
"I'm not blind, I know you're Gryffindor…unless you're wearing that sweater and tie because you think red and gold look good with a beating."
Credit for a good line.
Neville and Aberforth talk, it's fairly IC for Ab, especially Aberforth telling Neville after his PROUD ASSERTION that he is an adult that he totally isn't. Neville gets food and finds out OMG HE IS DUMBLDORE'S BROTHER
"A seventeen year-old who's had nothing in two –" he stopped, blinking, his mouth still full of the heavy wheat bread. "Wait a sec, what'd you call me?"
"Neville Longbottom. That's the same's your mother calls you, am I right?"
Neville: HIS MOTHER IS-
"But how did you – ?"
He saw the notice not to serve Alcohol to Neville and Ernie
"But you…?" Neville motioned towards the mead.
"Well, I don't get most of my clientele because I give a flying shrivelfig about rules. Never have."
Hannah: So why'd he keep the notice around?
He reached into his robes and pulled out a long pipe, clenching it between his teeth as he lit it with a tap of his wand. Sweet, fragrant smoke began to rise immediately, and he blew a series of smoke rings lazily, studying Neville as he ate.
So Aberforth is getting high, I guess
"I guess you're the one what's been driving the Death Eaters up the wall and down again up there."
Neville: Yes, he is just so special.
snip Ab asks about the army
Aberforth's bright blue eyes widened in sudden realization. "I'll be a Grindylow's underpants!
Harry: …what. They don't even have…okay never mind.
He nodded. "Yeah, well, it was just a class then. But we've kept it going, and we're a real army now!"
This pronouncement was met with a low, humorless chuckle. "Oh, are you?"
Harry: Surely supposed to be a sign that Aberforth is UNAWARE OF NEVILLE'S SACRIFICES.
"You've heard how much trouble we've given them!" He thrust his chin out proudly. "They want me dead, you know…tried a couple times."
Ginny: Shut up.
Neville talks about how he's awesome for a while, Aberforth is skeptical and asks if it's because of Dumbledore. Neville then makes a dramatic speech that boils down to "no, not really"
these are our freedoms too, and we're not sitting back and waiting on someone else's plan."
He stopped, surprised at himself for the little speech, but Aberforth seemed rather impressed.
Neville: Of course he is. Everyone must instantly love my doppelganger.
The barkeep was looking at him as though seeing him for the first time, and a small, grim smile appeared around the stem of the long pipe. "Well, aren't you something."
Neville laughed. "My Gramps used to say that, and my great-uncle Algie would always give him this look and say 'Certainly, Trev, but let's not say what, shall we?'"
Aberforth gave a surprisingly boyish laugh.
Neville: I cannot see Ab laughing really. At least, not WITH someone.
A smile quirked one side of the barkeep's thin mouth. "You're definitely not one of Albus' little toadies, then. Letting a body think for themselves…." He shook his head in mock astonishment. "Who'd have dreamed of such a thing."
Harry: Yes, yes, Neville is just the greatest person ever because he didn't listen to Dumbledore. I'm sure I'm supposed to be one of those "little toadies" who don't "think for themselves." Never mind that listening to Dumbledore WON THE WAR, I did it for myself, and had tons of doubts.
Aberforth paused, then the smile widened slightly. "I've decided I like you, boy. You've got the kind of spunk Albus always thought he did.
Ginny: Neville is cooler than Dumbledore.
Neville: Well, Ab probably thinks most people are cooler than Dumbledore. However, him warming up to me right away and showering me with praise? Completely out of character.
But you're not afraid to take on your own dirty work and put your wand where your mouth is…
Ginny: OH GOD THE IMAGE.
everything I've heard about you has been what you've been doing, what you've been leading, not saying or scheming, and I figure it's true, or your face would be a lot less heavily decorated."
Harry: Yes, because Dumbledore never got personally involved in the fight or got his hands dirty EXCEPT NO HE ACTUALLY DID THAT IS WHY HE IS DEAD. I think even Aberforth knows that!
"But I don't want you thinking I'm joining your little rebellion just because I'm not going to let someone starve right at my own doorstep."
Neville: Oh look, a desperate attempt to get Ab back in character. Doesn't work!
"Leftovers and a door." Aberforth snorted, but there was something much deeper in the brilliant blue eyes behind the smeared spectacles. "If that was all most 'Great Leaders' wanted, we'd all be a lot better off."
Neville: Yes, we get it, he is amazing and better than all of us everyone loves him.
When Neville pushed open the portrait that lead back into the Room of Requirement, he found it changed. It had expanded to almost the size of the tower dormitory in Gryffindor, and two more hammocks were strung from the ceiling, one of them occupied, while a second figure in black and crimson robes bent over it attentively, a broomstick at his feet.
At the sound of the portrait swinging opened, the figure whirled, wand raised, and Neville saw that it was Jack Sloper, one side of his face sheeted in fresh, shining blood from a deep cut on his scalp. "Neville!"
Ginny: Oh, lovely, more melodrama.
"Jack…what happened? What's going on?" He dropped the satchel containing the food Aberforth had given him, rushing across the room to grab the other young wizard in a hard embrace.
Neville: Even their hugs sound manly!
Ginny: Hard. *snickers*
Jack is fine but Seamus is greviously injured…a decree has been passed
"Actually, saying that status as a student at Hogwarts did not protect anyone of-age who was engaging in 'subversive or criminal activity' from being arrested, questioned, or prosecuted. They're provoking more problems, going after pretty much the whole seventh year and everybody like me who's old enough in six. I think they hope that's going to cut the head off the D.A." Jack's gray eyes burned defiantly. "Parvati and Colin have Gryffindor now, and Ernie and Terry have command overall, but we've already talked about it. Even if everyone over seventeen has to run in here eventually, we're still going to stick this out."
"So they tried to bring him in?" Neville motioned towards the hammock.
"Provoking Finnigan's not the hardest thing in the world," Jack acknowledged.
Ginny: Considering how Irish he is.
"Alecto caught him on the way back from Herbology. Don't know what she said, but the next thing I knew, they were flat-out dueling right there on the grounds! Not the greatest filter between his brain and his mouth, maybe, but no one's ever said he doesn't have guts."
"More than are good for him most of the time."
Harry: God, this is getting so repetitive.
"Definitely this time. Well, they were going at it pretty impressively, and then she just stops and grins, and it didn't make sense for a second, but then I think we all realized about the same time he did that she'd backed him under the Whomping Willow. First swipe knocked him clean off his feet, and then it just kept beating the living crap out of him."
Hannah: And he's not dead…how?
Neville: Because he's a main character, silly.
Jack shuddered. "I remembered what the twins had done, and I summoned my broom straight through the dorm window."
"You flew into the Willow for him?" Neville asked incredulously.
Ginny: I think we've all forgotten that Jack Sloper is not that good at flying.
Jack blushed, looking down at his feet. "I'm a lot better at flying when I'm not surrounded by gorgeous witches in tight Quidditch uniforms.
Ginny: Oh, bullshit. That is the weakest excuse I have ever heard. Go sit in the corner, Sloper.
And about eight gallons of adrenaline doesn't hurt either. It still kind of grazed me, but I got him out and flew straight up here again through the broken window, then just down the hall as fast as I could before Alecto could get here or call anyone…never even got off the broom." He hesitated, biting his lip as he looked across at the badly beaten wizard. "I just hope I was fast enough."
"I'm not the best at Healing Spells," Neville admitted, "but I'll do what I can, and he's alive, which is the important thing. You saved his life, Jack. You have no idea how grateful I am."
Luna: It's his soulmate, after all! Oh, I really should have included Seamus in my slashfic..
"It's not like I gave it a lot of thought," he shrugged, embarrassed at the open gratitude. "I mean, I couldn't just watch him pounded into a –"
His words were cut off as the door appeared again, and both of them turned quickly, wands drawn as it opened. Ernie Macmillan and Wayne Hopkins came barreling through at a sprint, Wayne's face tightly crunched up in pain as he clutched a still-smoldering wand scorch on his right arm. They stopped short, looking at the two Gryffindors in surprise, clearly not having expected to find Jack already there with Neville.
Hannah: Well, where did they think he went?
With a faint popping noise, the room expanded still further, and the yellow and black badger banner of Hufflepuff unfurled next to the other one on the wall as two more hammocks appeared. Ernie shook his head, laughing as he panted for breath. "I guess…that means…we're welcome."
Ginny: Or that you really wanted a banner and hammock.
Seamus' injuries were horrifying to look at, but on further examination, they did not prove to be anything more life-threatening than massive bruises and a lot of broken bones,
Hannah: …which are never life threatening untreated…
and the other four men agreed to simply keep him under until someone came along with a better grasp on how to help him without causing more damage. It did not take long.
Andrew Kirke showed up the next morning, and by lunch time, the blue and bronze eagle of Ravenclaw had rounded out their collection of banners as Stewart Acklerly arrived. Both Michael and Terry followed the next day, and Ryan Vance and Derek Adams from Hufflepuff the day after that. Anthony was behind them only hours later, and by the morning of the thirteenth, every wizard over the age of seventeen in the D.A. was living in the Room of Requirement.
Ginny: So ALL the boys came before ANY of the girls, eh? I wonder how delightfully sexist the explanation for this will be.
cut for a long list of living arrange ments and the fact Ernie's massive richness helps them get food
To Neville's surprise, their enforced retreat proved to actually be one of the most enjoyable experiences he had ever had. They had found a way around the Carrows strict watch and could use the Galleons again to assure themselves of the welfare of their friends outside, and the Room of Requirement was now firmly a boy's club.
Ginny: What they've wanted all along!
Luna: Sounds like a recipe for romance to me…
Rank and house meant nothing anymore, and they quickly fell into a routine, staring each day with physical training, practicing spells in the afternoon, and taking the evenings to just relax, sharing their own catalogues of off-color jokes and amusing stories, challenging each other to duels for fun, or simply hanging out.
It wasn't until the twentieth – twelve days after Neville himself had fled and a little less than a week after Seamus had finally gotten back on his feet again with some help from the Ravenclaws – that anything really changed. Witches arrived.
Hannah: We'd best brace ourselves so this doesn't hurt too much when it hits.
Like most of the other witches, Lavender and Parvati had not been nearly as easy as the men to provoke,
Ginny: Oh yes, because girls can never be provoked or get angry. HAS HE EVEN FUCKING MET ME? OR HERMIONE? OR ANYONE REALLY?
Harry: *soothingly* You know he hasn't, Ginny. Just your lesser doppelganger.
Ginny: Well, QUITE A FEW girls are easy to provoke. I am pretty damn provoked right now, for instance. We are not some Hive Mind of gentle passiveness! I am so sick of this shit!
Neville: Guys aren't some Hive Mind of hair-trigger, bullheaded rage either.
Luna: I think the solution here is that we're all simply human, with individual quirks and temperament. The author tries to make each gender a separate species that runs on overriding and uniform traits, when really everyone is far more complex.
Luna: Of course, Daddy and I have a theory every INDIVIDUAL is a separate but compatible species…
Ginny: I was getting worried for a minute there.
so the Death Eaters had resorted to other means. They had been framed, copies of pamphlets supporting Harry planted in their pockets, but they were no longer the gossipy little butterflies
Ginny: Gossipy little…WHAT?
Hannah: Sounds like a combination of "social butterfly" and a condescending insult.
they once had been, and the two young women had proved more than Amycus had been ready to handle.
They were not, however, as delighted with the atmosphere in the Room of Requirement as its previous occupants.
Ginny: Ah, will this be clichéd tripe where the girls invade the boys club? I'm guessing yes!
As a matter of fact, 'hovel' and 'Neanderthal cave' were the nicest things by far they had to say about it.
Ginny: Right again!
To their shock, the men found themselves stripped to shorts
Hannah: My, this sounds quite naughty.
and lined up in front of a bathroom that had suddenly enlarged far beyond the simple commode it had been up until that point, with Parvati enforcing immediate and thorough showers at wand-point, while Lavender, her pretty face distorted oddly by a Bubble-Head charm, began attacking the clothes, bedding, and odd stacks of dirty dishes and discarded chicken bones.
Harry: ..okay, if I remember correctly, Neville made an offhand comment that the bathroom got nicer once the girls came along. Nothing like this really weird scene where apparently the guys have been stewing in their juices for weeks on end in some bacteria ridden mancave. In fact, I was under the impression the girls arrived shortly after the boys, so there wouldn't have been time to do that.
Neville: But see, Harry, my comment must be comically overexagerrated to make it absolutely clear that men are dirty, hairy thugs who don't know what soap is and love nothing better than a sweaty women-free paradise, while women are overbearing embodiments of cleanliness and domesticity.
(This is another example of Thanfiction deciding to dramatically worsen some zygote of a problem canon may have in regards to gender issues. Such as Hermione attacking Ron with birds and Ron being mad at her for it /=/ Hannah almost killing Neville and him instantly forgiving her because girls are just crazy. The simple comment in canon was cliché, but not too terribly offensive. Parvati and Lav are fairly into their appearances, they probably would magic up a very nice bathroom the instant they arrived, while Neville and Seamus wouldn't really care, especially if they'd only been there a short time. Thanfiction turns it into this really OTT scene that's downright eyerollworthy and pretty offensive to both genders involved.)
Only Ernie put up a serious fight. The news that witches were being specifically attacked and framed had sent him into a panic, and he demanded to be allowed to go immediately and fetch his wife. Parvati had prevailed, however, insisting that his current aroma would be dangerous to Susan in her condition,
Ginny: Okay, this is just ridiculous. Did these men stew in their own shit or what? I didn't know bad smells could cause a pregnant woman harm, unless he was so bad he'd induce vomiting.
Harry: I think that was supposed to be more "comedy".
Ginny: Well, I don't laugh at over the top cliché rubbish.
and marching him back in queue for the showers. Although he finally complied, Neville was sure that some kind of new record had been set for speed in washing, and he vanished out the door with Wayne and Derek with his shirt still clinging to him wetly.
Hannah, Susan, Sally Anne and co arrive
If something happened to Colin,
Harry: Shouldn't they go get Colin if he's so bloody important?
blablabla safety measures
. Ernie was not the only one who was intensely protective of Susan and her baby, and all the young men in particular were glad to know that she wouldn't be taking a hammock like the rest of them. Truthfully, very few of them had much idea at all what exactly she needed or didn't need,
Hannah: Because they're all idiots. Do none of these boys have younger siblings? Have they seriously never been around a pregnant woman before?
but the general agreement seemed to be that treating her like gold would cover all the hoops well enough.
Ginny: Yes, let's continue treating her like an object, just a VALUABLE one.
Stewart jams on his guitar, and writes some awful songs
"Seventeen is the start of it all, The beginning of our days. Yet here we are, ready to fall, Ready to give it all away. What's the use of a thousand years, If the sun will never rise? We're ready to take on all of our fears, To see hope shining in a new life's eyes…"
Ginny: That last line sounds awkward to sing.
Hannah was nestled in Neville's lap, and she turned, nuzzling her face against his neck as Stewart continued. "Tomorrow's the first of May," she whispered. "Two months."
Hannah: Do we have to see more tepid romance between our fake selves? I may gag.
really boring conversations
Hannah was quiet for a moment, then her eyes closed, and she sang softly along with Stewart on the chorus, several other voices having also joined on what had become their own little anthem.
"For we are Dumbledore's Army, Nothing but children who've grown up too fast. We are Dumbledore's Army, This battle is ours, and we'll stand to the last…"
Neville: The cheese is so thick I'm starting to grease over.
The words drifted away into the guitar alone, but her eyes remained closed. "He's right, you know."
"Hmm?" Neville kissed her throat where the smooth, pale skin was invitingly exposed as she rested her head against him.
Neville: Seriously, is he a vampire? "invitingly exposed?"
*resists another Neville is Edward Cullen joke*
"There are no children here any more, Neville,
Ginny: Here we go again. Why must the author bluntly hammer this into our skulls over and over?
and that's not just that we're all of-age in this room. Colin's not going to be seventeen until the third of July, and he's no more a kid than you or I. Neither are any of us, really." Hannah's eyes opened, and there was something not quite like bitterness there. "I've stopped believing childhood has anything to do with numbers. It's the time of your life where you can trust that older people will take care of things for you."
Hannah: Thank you for awkwardly explaining the hackneyed "moral" of the story, dear.
"Then you're right," he agreed solemnly. "By that definition, there are no kids left at Hogwarts."
"The D.C.," she pointed out. "The really young ones…they've still got that, except we're the adults they're trusting."
Ginny: Those poor kids. Looking up to complete nutters.
"Now that's a terrifying thought," he chuckled. "You know, Gran said a lot the same thing, though…she said that when things get really hard, we should remember that the ones people can look up to every day often matter more than icons."
Neville: …okay, but what's her definition of icons? What's her definition of "ones people can look up to every day"? That's just a vague statement that means nothing.
Neville patted his shirt pocket, where he had carried his grandmother's letter ever since Aberforth had passed it on to him. In barely a week, the parchment already looked worn and deeply creased, but he tried not to let anyone know that the single sheet was his most treasured possession. It wasn't very long, less than half a page, but it contained one portion that had brought him nearly to tears, and that he had read so many times that he could close his eyes and see every swirl of ink perfectly.
It was not easy to lose your father so young, but I am ready to lose you even younger, because you have already accomplished so much more,
Neville: MY DAD WAS AN AUROR. HE DIED DEFYING BELLATRIX LESTRANGE. Yet we're even saying this twister version of me is better than HIM now? Shut the hell up. No one talks bad about my Dad.
and I am as proud of you as I ever was of him. Fight hard, Commander. You have no one's respect left to earn but your own, and that is a standard worthy of a hero.
Ginny: Well, he hasn't earned my respect.
Everyone else: Or mine.
Hannah was the only one he had allowed to see the letter, and she smiled, running a finger along the pocket's upper edge. "I agree with all of what your Gran said, actually."
Neville: Of course you do, he is the best thing in the world, a god above all others, play the broken record again.
He blushed, looking away, and was grateful for the distraction as Morag shouted out a request, and Stewart complied with the rollicking tune that had long been one of his most popular.
"Hey, there, Severus, what will you do? You're facing a rebellion that's sending you shampoo. Graffiti in the hallways, the revolution grows, But how could we expect you to see it past your nose?"
Harry: This is all so original! I've never heard these jokes before!
. Ernie was grinning broadly, but the look in his eyes was more like shock, and he didn't seem able to find words, just beckoning his two friends away from the circle eagerly. "I want you to…we just…come on!"
Hannah stood, exchanging a bemused look with Neville, then her eyes widened, and her head snapped around back to Ernie. "Oh, Merlin, if you've managed to get her with twins…"
Hannah: Yes Ernie, it is your responsibility if she has twins! YOU CLEARLY WILLED IT TO HAPPEN. You are the only decider here, Susan is just a helpless victim as usual!
"Twins?" He seemed alarmed, even terrified by the prospect, but then the curly head shook quickly. "No, no…not twins. At least, Romilda didn't say anything about twins, and I think she would have." Ernie bit his lip, a tiny, worried frown creasing his brow. "I mean, she knew it was a girl, she was completely sure of that, said it was old Gypsy magic that had never failed,
Ginny: More cultural clichés, how suprising.
but she didn't specifically say it wasn't twins. Still, that's something you would want to prepare someone for, I would think. I would certainly need to be –"
"Ernie." Neville put both hands on his friend's shoulders, looking him squarely in the eyes. "Take a breath. Not twins. And she's only half-way, so she's not having the baby, and if there was something wrong, it would be a whole different kind of panic. So what's going on, mate? You only get that stupid grin when it's Susan."
Neville: Oh look, isn't he so analytical and perfect.
Absolute wonder filled the hazel eyes, and he grabbed Neville's wrists rather harder than the other young man suspected was his intention. "She moved."
"What?" Neville frowned in absolute confusion. "I don't –"
Neville: - and dumb as a rock, which is just a side effect of being a man and not knowing about silly girl stuff like basic common sense.
"Oh, that's so exciting!" Hannah clapped her hands and broke into a little sprint up to the Macmillan's room. He still had no idea what was going on – there was no reason, as far as he knew, why Susan moving should be anything of note, and she seemed to have been doing it as long as he'd known her –
Neville: Okay, seriously, this level of stupidity is ridiculous. Even if he's never been around a pregnant woman, he's supposed to be 17, he should be able to figure it out.
Hannah: Though of course I automatically know because GIRL INSTINCTS.
but he followed along behind Ernie, hoping it would all make sense when everyone had calmed down a little.
Susan was sitting on the edge of the bed, the lower buttons of her shirt undone, and she smiled up at the two wizards as they entered. Hannah was already on her knees, making funny little cooing noises as she touched her friend's belly, but Neville looked down at his feet awkwardly.
Neville: He still doesn't get it? THIS IS SO STUPID. HAS HE REALLY LOST HIS BRAIN TO HIS DICK?
Luna: Perhaps he thinks Hannah's just doing a special cuddle with Susan right in front of him.
At first, the impending baby had been no big deal. He offered congratulations, took care of the tactical issues, and listened indulgently as Ernie went on about being a father the same way as when he was talking about Quidditch or Clans or anything else that mattered deeply but that Neville didn't really get. Since they had moved into the room full-time, however, she had dropped all pretense of hiding. It had become impossible to ignore, not just because she was starting to grow at what he considered a rather alarming rate, but because everyone else was so excited about it.
Neville: Babies scare him. Girl stuff. Ick. If you can't solve the problem by killing it, he can't handle it.
Cecily Macmillan had taken on a powerful symbolism for a large number of them. She was what they were fighting for in the end, the children who would hopefully never know You-Know-Who's reign, even in nightmares or memories, and she was one of theirs, a life that was being created right in front of them in the midst of the very worst of it. Ernie was no longer the only one who wrote letters to the baby, and the couple were being deluged with all manner of hand-made gifts.
Ginny: Why don't they just build an altar and worship her?
Everyone wanted to touch Susan's stomach, to talk to the baby, to fuss over her and offer their regrets that they would never see her along with hopes that she would grow up to be beautiful, kind, smart, brave, and most importantly, free.
Amid it all, Neville smiled and nodded and agreed that she would probably be very beautiful as long as she took after her mother,
Ginny: And looks are all that matter for a woman, teehee!
but he tried to keep away from the subject as much as friendship would allow. It was just too strange. Mothers were old. Even in the pictures from his own babyhood, his mother was in her early twenties.
Harry: …which is clearly incredibly old.
Susan was only a month older than he was, Ernie less than a year. His mind simply refused to accept them as someone's parents, because they hadn't changed.
Ernie still told that really amazingly filthy joke about the blind wizard and the three sheep. Susan still liked to sit with the Patil twins and braid each other's hair with ribbons and little paper flowers.
Ginny: The boy tells lewd jokes while the girl dances around braiding hair with ribbons and flowers! Not stereotypical at all!
Neville feels her stomach with ENHANCED TACTILENESS
Before Neville could protest, Ernie had laid his hand against Susan's stomach, and he gasped. The enhanced sensation was almost overwhelming. He could feel every tiny texture of her skin, the steady rhythms of her pulse and breathing, and her belly was harder than he had imagined, as if she really had swallowed a Quaffle the way Lavender teasingly suggested,
Neville: …that is a really bizarre metaphor.
but there was also….
His eyes widened as a tiny, faint flutter of motion passed beneath his fingertips. "Is that…?"
Susan nodded happily. "I just started being able to feel her today. She's a busy little girl, isn't she?"
"But…" he protested, "I mean, Susan, are you sure?"
Neville: There's only so much of this man being as dumb as a bag of hammers I can take…
She laughed. "Of course I'm sure. I mean, she's probably been doing it for a while, but I just couldn't feel it until she got big enough. Li's got a pile of nieces and nephews, and she says it's about the right time anyway."
Neville frowned at his hand, trying to feel the little movement again. "But she's not done. How can she be moving?"
"Don't you know anything about babies?" Hannah asked bemusedly, tilting her head at him.
"No," he confessed.
Hannah: "…I AM FAR TOO MANLY."
"To be honest, I've never actually known anyone personally who was going to have one before. I was the youngest in my family, and, well…."
"You were kind of raised by old people?" she offered gently.
Neville: Even if that's true, I wouldn't be a complete numbskull. I would have heard about pregnant women, and hopefully someone would have taught me basic human biology. I would HOPE I wouldn't be as dense as portrayed here, and know something was up if Hannah was feeling Susan's stomach.
"She's already a little person in there," Ernie explained, kneeling down beside his friend. "She's got wee fingers, toes, the whole lot. But she's only about this big –" he indicated the width of his palm, "—so there's a fair bit to go before she's ready to come out into the world. Still, she's moving and sucking her thumb and everything…she can even hear you, you know. By the time we're ready to fight, she'll even be big enough that you can play with her a bit; touch her from the outside and make her kick and wiggle back."
"How do you know all this?" Neville asked.
Hannah: He's not a complete idiot.
He pulled his hand back, shaking his head. "She's got to go now. If there's a real baby –"
"There's been a real baby all along, Neville, whether you've really gotten that before or not," Susan said firmly.
(I half expected an out-of-place anti-abortion screed to happen here. I don't know, I'd expect anything of Thanfiction)
"And I'm not leaving until we're actually ready to fight. I've only got two months left with Ernie, and I'm not going to miss a single day of it. Ernie and I know what we're doing, we've been ready for this possibility since he asked me to marry him, and being able to actually feel our child is something wonderful, not a reason to panic."
Neville was only the youngest of them by a matter of weeks, but he felt suddenly like a stupid little boy as he looked around at the three faces. They really did know, all of them. And there was something else in Ernie's hazel eyes that he had never seen before, a deep, flickering shadow of grief and resignation beneath the joy and pride and love.
Ginny: I am so bored. Thank goodness this chapter is almost over.
He looked again at his hand, then placed it deliberately against Susan's warm stomach as he met the young wizard's gaze. "We're going to win this, Ernie. Tomorrow, we start doubling up the training schedule and setting our final tactical arrangements. We don't have to take it slow for the younger kids any more. Let's take these two months and really be ready to hit them harder than they can ever be ready for…because if she's already a person, I want her to meet the father that's been telling her how much he loves her."
Harry: Great, and next chapter Ron, Hermione and I have to be dropped into this.
Neville: Just be grateful we're nearing the end.
Hannah: I look forward to the day I'll no longer have to see myself be the perfect cliché woman to my bullheaded lunk of a man.
Luna: I'll miss the slashing opportunities, but I'm excited to get on with it too.
Not the seventh or the ninth. The eighth! I'm sure it's vitally important for us to know the date for some reason.
Luna: Well, yes. Leprechauns are notoriously promiscuous.
Haha I love Luna.
but it wasn't anyone he knew, and he didn't care
Just to make absolutely clear that Neville's a budding sociopath.
pretty girls like you
BADTOUCH NO THIS IS UNBEARABLY CREEPY
did not prove to be anything more life-threatening than massive bruises and a lot of broken bones
Oh is that all? Thanfiction fails biology forever.
The whole bathroom thing is insane. Males don't just sit around and not shower for days on end if there aren't females present. Most of them like to be clean too. It's also more evidence that thanfiction wouldn't know an army from an anthill -- if these boys were truly "military", that room would be spotless. Though honestly it's so long, unnecessary and OTT, I was waiting for it to turn into porn.
The pregnancy part made me want to hurl. It's vile.
Anyway, how did thanfiction spend so many words saying so much nothing? Where's the plot? It's all description. No plot, no character development, no interesting conversations, NOTHING. I don't know how you get through it.
Taking it out of the context of the ridiculously sexist bathroom thing, I do rather like the image of Lavender conjuring a bubble head charm to be able to breath clearly. That's one of those little moments which reminds you thanfiction could be a good writer, he does have some good material in there.
Uggh Neville's interactions with Ariana's portrait are SO DAMN CREEPY. What was Than thinking!? "Pretty girls like you"... I mean seriously. How could he possibly think that was a good idea.
The bathroom scene might have been funny if 1) it wasn't stereotyping based on gender, and 2) there was an actual plausible reason for them to be slovenly, like maybe someone slipped them an apathy potion.
Mind, she is the first person of their class to have a baby, but I have to wonder, is Susan giving birth to the Baby Jesus or something? Because I never felt the urge to touch my classmate's bellies when they were pregnant. That's just... weird. Maybe if I was a very good friend and she invited me to do it, but otherwise ick. No.
And calling any little girl 'Pretty' is creepy IMO. I could see 'Sweetie', I've called enough kids that, but who the hell uses 'Pretty?' I don't even call a dog that.
Gah. My comment got eaten. I'll try to paraphrase what I wrote before.
Calling Ariana "Pretty" reminds me of T-Bag from Prison Break.
But to be honest, I mostly find the gender stereotyping and all the rest of it to be just sad. It really seems to me like Thanfiction has got in his head some super-idealised vision of Perfect Masculine Manliness (Real Men are strong! Real Men are tough! Real Men protect the poor dainty women!) which he's tried to mould his personality to emulate (judging by some comments I remember someone linked to from here, Thanfiction's own attitude is very DAYD!Neville-esque), not realising how warped it is from reality. It's like he's thrown himself at masculinity and missed.
In fact, if this is what he thinks men are like, you have to wonder if he actually has any male friends. Because if he does, he should get new ones -- ones that aren't misogynist jerks, at least.
Gah. This chapter was insufferably boring, wasn't it? And the cheese was dripping everywhere too.
Also, Thanfiction's awkward, run-on sentences are getting on my nerves now. Not as much as the actual content of the chapter (if I have to read about Seamus's Irishy Irishness one.more.time, I'll...) but still, annoying.
Looking forward to the next one! The Harry-bashing should make for some choice material, eh?
"Dumbledore's Cadets", the fifth years and below got to form their own little army! Isn't that just adorable. The Cleopatra deal is a recent discovery, I think, not really a slight on Than, I just like Hermione showing up and being a knowitall.
Out of morbid curiosity, I decided to go through the last chapters of this monstrosity of a fic to see what would happen when the 'author' is forced to deal with canon. JFC I NEED BLEACH FOR MY BRAIN. I AM PARALYZED WITH RAGE (well not really but basically). I just... ARRRRGHHHHH please finish sporking so we can RAGE TOGETHER
And for the love of all that is good in the world, why are there so many good reviews? WHY?! I know it's fanfiction.net and but this all just reminds me of why I gave up on the fanon and steer clear of fanfiction like it's my job.
...I hate to admit it, but he actually got the sheer chaos of a big battle scene down pretty well. Were there problems? Hoyes. When Neville's saying his canon lines, for instance, he comes across as a completely different character than when Thanfiction is writing him, and one character's death makes absolutely no sense.
Were this being written for a fandom where blood and gore is commonplace, I might actually say this was a very good battle scene. As it happens, it's much too theatrical for Harry Potter.
The idea of what everyone else was doing during the BoH IS a very interesting one, though. I'm surprised there aren't more fics about it...
Oh, God. Please don't taint my beautiful memories of Batman:The Animated Series by associating it with fake!Neville.
I did a research paper on Down Syndrome once and the biggest complaint that parents of kids with Down Syndrome had was people being overly friendly and rather creepy towards them. Fake!Neville, I'm looking at you.
I would also like to say, as a girl, that plenty of women make completely awful, inappropriate jokes all the time. I've beaten guys in dirty joke competitions before. Being a woman doesn't make me a delicate flower or something.