DAYD sporking Chapter 22- "Darkest Before Dawn". Pt1
Neville: The dawn is the end of this fic, right? Well, it certainly is dark.
Hannah: Once again, we have the regular crew, and everyone will pop by to commentate on their horrible deaths.
"Commander! Commander Longbottom!"
Neville: Guys. This is how my Gran is supposed to be addressing her unconscious, possibly dead grandson. By the last name we share and the absurd fake military appellation I told her about six months ago. It's beyond ridiculous.
(snip cuz it's actually decent writing, if overly purple as usual)
and if he was utterly honest with himself, it wouldn't have been her that his mind would have summoned to come to him in his final moments. It would have been Hannah. He licked his lips, and his voice was a rough whisper of confusion. "Gran? What – ?"
Augusta: Such a loving grandson.
Neville: Gran! Aggh! Where did you come from?
August: I want to see what my bright grandson has been wasting his too-valuable free time with…
Neville: Well, it's not like I have a choice…
Hannah: Hi, Mrs. Longbottom!
Augusta: Hello, dear, are you taking good care of him? That's good, he needs looking after, heaven knows…Well, I see in whatever this bit of writing is I'm useless to you in your last moments because I can't give you a good…snog.
Neville: Well, to be fair, though I love you, I would probably rather it be Hannah by my deathbed, I mean you're not very comforting …
Augusta: What was that?
"Just trapped me. And did that." He nodded towards where the gory mass still hung limp on the door.
Gran: What on earth is this?
Ginny: A bad fanfic.
(Neville is going to find that BITCH and kill her SLOWLY. Whatever.)
"Listen to me, Neville," he glanced at her as she grabbed his arm firmly, and though he could see that she was disgusted and horrified by what had been done to Romilda, her tone was calm and cold. "That woman is a monster."
Augusta: Why am I stating the obvious?
He laughed darkly, shaking off her hand
Augusta: What! The nerve! Listen to me when I'm talking to you, young man!
Neville: Gran, I'm right here.
Augusta: Oh. Well, just the thought of it had me overcome with anger, carry on.
as he knelt to check Ritchie's neck for any chance of survival, grimly unsurprised to find no trace of a pulse or breath under his fingers
Ginny: We called it!
. "I know that, Gran."
"You must not kill her."
Augusta: We're assuming he'd even be able to.
Augusta: Well, she took on both of your parents, and they were Aurors!
Neville: But Mrs. Weasley-
Augusta: Was fueled by a mother's rage,that is a special thing.
Augusta: Also, Molly is out of your league.
Neville: Well, okay. I mean, in the context of this fic, she just overpowered me, so I'd think I'd be less sure I can take her…
It was an order, not a request or plea, and he looked up from where he had been closing the eyes on Padma's broken body, tucked beneath one of the shattered windows with a thick, platter-sized chunk of glass protruding from her chest, flickering almost prettily with the flashes of light from the duels outside. "But –"
Padma: Wait, what? That was random. When did he even walk over to by body? Damn, that's so offhand.
(Trivia! Padma probably also dies offscreen in the DH movie! But not from impalement. As I said, Thanfiction killed so many in this fic, of course any deaths they had in the movie would coincide.)
"She would be happy to die for her Master. It would be what she wants. Don't kill her, Neville." There was an icy, vindictive smile on Gran's lips now, and her eyes blazed with the hate he had always suspected was there for her as well, but had never actually seen openly. "Make her watch you kill him."
Neville: Wow, big dreams.
Ginny: You really think she'd just watch?
Harry: I am just totally irrelevant in this thing, aren't I?
The true impact of that statement took a moment to sink in, and when it did, he actually staggered slightly. "Then Harry –"
Harry: Does that mean he cares?
Ginny: No, he probably just lost his balance.
"No one's seen him since he went towards the Shrieking Shack after You-Know-Who, and they're still coming.
Ron: We were with him too.
Harry: She sure wrote me off quickly.
Neville: Like son, like grandmother?
(snip) the entrance himself, more than ready now to go back to the fight, welcoming it even as an avoidance of that other possibility.
Hermione: Which is…? Death? Voldemort? Be specific please.
(Voldemort makes his speeeech with a megaphone. Oh wait that was just in the musical. By the way, Neville is mostly shirtless at this point. Bet it's sexy and MUSCULAR especially since he's soaked in blood. MANLY! Anyway, they have an hour)
Neville turned without hesitation, sprinting the few feet into the Great Hall, and already people were appearing, the cracks like a string of fireworks one after the other. Each new arrival was a thrill and a heartbreak, because it was someone alive, but they bore with them those who had not been so fortunate.
One of the Weasley twins was there – Fred or George, he could not tell
George: Oh, thanks. I am the one with one ear for the record.
Neville: Like I would know- oh, Ginny would have told me. Yeah, I should know.
– but in his arms he carried his own mirror image, limp and too obviously lost to them.
George: You sound so broken up about it. Also, Fred was not a mirror.
Neville: It's not me!
Seamus, blood spattered among the freckles, sandy hair singed away, but weeping openly as he cradled Dean, his dark head lolling across his best friend's shoulder.
Dean: What the hell? Have I been reduced to the Black Best Friend who dies while the plucky white Irish-
Dean: - Lepre- what, Luna?
Luna: He's possessed by a leprechaun in that hellish dimension
Dean: …right. Well, I am now the Dead Black Best Friend for the white people to mourn over, brilliant.
Hermione: Actually, you're the Dead Gay Black Best Friend who was In Love with The Author's Pet Perfect White Male Character and Confessed Your Love but Got Tragically Rejected and Was Fridged as a Denied Unrequited Unhappy Gay Man so the White Heterosexual Guy Could Feel Bad About it.
Ginny: Supplementary materials. Though you do kiss Neville later on somehow.
Dean: That just hits every stereotyped death trope in popular culture, doesn't it?
Hermione: Well, you're not a woman, and I'm not sure if Seamus goes on a revenge killing spree, so not quite, but close.
Dean: And offscreen, too.
Ginny: I'm sorry, Dean.
Neville: We all are.
Ernie, his massive strength having carried him through somehow, but now it allowed him two burdens: Orla and Natalie.
(Guys, just a note here. I don't know if Thanfiction was aware (I hope to hell NOT), but Natalie McDonald was named after an actual cancer patient in real life who died very young. She wrote a letter to JK Rowling asking if she could know the end of the Harry Potter books before she died. JKR didn't get the letter in time, and when she wrote back, it was too late, Natalie had already died. So JKR did a tribute to her in GoF and had her sorted into Gryffindor. It is beyond insensitive, sick and disgusting to use her as a fucking prop, have her killed off violently in this at a young age offscreen in your shitty fanfic for cheap shock effect. I really cannot go on about this, it makes me too angry and as a result, obviously Natalie's not commentating as she was a real person and all. But… think before you do things in your tasteless killing sprees, Thanfiction, fuck.)
McGonagall with Trelawney.
Trelawney: What? But I would have foreseen my death!
Harry: Er…well, it's a shame, Professor.
Sprout with Morag.
Morag: First I have to speak like a Nac Mac Feegle and now this?
Ginny with Rowan.
Rowan: I don't even feel special. I'm part of a list. Oh, and wasn't I the Token Ambiguous Lesbian? That's just what I get for being gay in this fic!
Tiny Flitwick grimly clutching Andrew Kirke by the collar.
Andrew: He's dragging my corpse by the collar? That's…weird.
For the first few moments, Neville's heart was a turbulent rush of pain and joy, and he ran to each of them with hugs and kisses, shouts and tears, but then there were just too many, and the emotionless, systemic numbness of the battlefield returned. He knew this well now, the price of command was sometimes your own heart and humanity, but he was grateful, because it made them just names for now.
Neville: I like how he admits he has no heart.
The pain would come later when there was time, if there was time, and a part of him almost hoped there never would be, because oh, there were so many names.
Neville: Look, just go die. I know human emotion is a problem for you. Don't you want your statue?
(Neville does a kill count for us)
Neville crossed to where McGonagall was helping Madam Pomfrey set up a makeshift hospital on the raised platform that had once held the Staff Table – gone with all the other furniture now – and she looked up at him with an exhausted smile. "A pleasure to see you're still with us, Commander."
McGonagall: Oh, please. I don't call students by titles they make up for themselves.
Ginny: Wouldn't Madame Pomfrey be sort of hacked off? Having been Stunned and all?
Pomfrey: I would be! But Colin died, didn't he? I suppose I wouldn't be able to apply the healing arts to him in creative ways, then.
She had never called him by his title before, never acknowledged it at all, in fact, and he startled slightly.
McGonagall: Of course I never acknowledged it! He made it up. He's not an actual Commander. It's childish.
The Professor noticed his reaction. "You've earned it well enough, Mr. Longbottom.
McGonagall: Does he have a uniform saying so? Did he get a ceremony? Join the military? Then no, he didn't earn it.
Your people fought as bravely as I've ever seen."
McGonagall: They are not his people. If they fought bravely that's not down to him, you can't teach bravery.
Not knowing how to respond to a compliment that felt so wrong when so many had died for following him, he spoke quickly, trying to ignore it altogether.
Neville: Damn right.
"We've got a lot missing…Terry, Parvati, Professor Vector, Professor Hooch, Wayne, Lisa, Stephen, Camellia, Tommy, Rachel, Vicky, Fritz, Anthony…" he took a deep breath, pushing on past the pain that stabbed even through the shield of practicality. "…and Hannah. That's proper missing, too. Not ones like Colin where we know where the bodies are."
Neville: Oh God. You know they're all dead except Hannah. HOW IS THERE ANYONE LEFT?
Ron and Hermione, gathered with the rest of the Weasley family – even, to his surprise, Percy – around whichever of the twins had died. Hermione was holding Ginny, while Ron had his hand resting gently on his mother's where she was folded on her knees, sobbing in heartbreak over her child's body.
Neville leapt over the stairs off the platform in a single stride, running across the hall. Something felt regret for invading on the family's grief, but their pain was just too small against the stakes they were facing and there wasn't nearly time enough to be sensitive. "RON!"
Ron: Did he just YELL at me? While I was crying over my dead brother? While I was comforting my mother? Because he was too impatient to show some fucking tact? We get that you're in a big rush, that doesn't mean you can't ask me politely to come talk to you.Did he just dare bother my family while we were grieving? I would have punched him in his fucking face. That is beyond rudeness, I don't care if he thinks he's hot shit top commander.
The red head snapped up, and he smiled weakly through the tears that streaked his face.
Ron: Why the hell would I smile in response to someone snapping at me around my grieving mother?
"Neville…Merlin's pants, mate, you look a little more like crap every time I see you these days."
Ron: I've adopted Hermione's catchphrase, I see.
Hermione: Shut up.
Hermione: Why is he asking Ron this and not me? Wouldn't it be better to leave Ron alone, since he is the one with the dead brother, and talk to me instead?
Ginny: You're a woman, Hermione. He can't talk to you like an equal.
Hermione: Right, sometimes I forget.
The other wizard glanced around, seeming to notice for the first time that his friend wasn't beside them. The blue eyes registered something that looked almost like betrayal at this,
Harry: What, am I not allowed out of your sightline or something?
Ron: Maybe I realized you were going off to DIE WITHOUT TELLING ME.
Harry: But I didn't make that decision until later-
Ron: In other words, no, you're not allowed out of my sightline.
then his mouth opened into a little 'o' of realization, and his jaw set as he turned back to Neville. "He's got something to do, and –"
Ron: So…I'm not looking for him.
Harry: What, you really looked for me when you noticed-
Ron: Of course I did, I know we can't leave you alone.
"Yeah, I know." He looked from Ron to Hermione and back again, hesitating. It felt like something was different between them now, like they had gone their separate ways and were reuniting again after decades, not months, but there was still a thread of six year's friendship beneath,
Ron: Six years of friendship with the real Neville, not this tosser.
and he reached for that as he smiled at them. "You guys joining us for the rest of this party?"
Hermione: Oh, I see I exist now.
"Might as well," Ron shrugged. "I get the feeling the last dance is Harry's alone anyway.
Harry: I'm dancing with Voldemort?
Ginny: It was sort of like a dance, but that may just be how you look when you hop around angrily.
Ron: This is bloody ridiculous. I would not let Harry face Voldemort alone if I knew about it. There would be no reason for that, he'd need all the hands he would get.
Harry: Well, there are some reasons-
Ron: There is no reason.
(Ron actually asks Hermione's opinion which puts him a cut above Neville.)
"Good. We're a little low on wands, we could use you two." He paused, aware that he had made it sound like he was settling for their help rather than grateful, and he amended himself.
Neville: Wait, he's actually being tactful for once?
Hannah: So out of character!
(Snip Neville actually acts halfway respectful to Ron and Hermione)
"Oh, sweet Merlin's mercy…this can't be all of us."
Luna: You'd think Dean's death would snap Seamus out of the Leprechaun possession, but no.
Seamus' voice was a low murmur of horror as he looked across the cluster of young soldiers that had assembled in the entry hall, and Neville took a deep breath, not wanting to admit that he had been thinking very much the same thing.
Ricky King. Ginny Weasley. Ron Weasley. Demelza Robins. Megan Jones. Felton Summerby. Bernard Dunstan. Luna Lovegood.
Hermione: I wonder if he'll be thrown into the sun for his gruesome death.
Hermione Granger. Rachel Winchcomb. Walter Bell. Twelve people. Fifteen counting Ernie, Seamus, and himself. Fifteen of the D.A. who had numbered seventy-six at only midnight were still able to fight,
Ginny: Yeah, that's ridiculous.
Harry: It should be sixteen since Dean ACTUALLY WAS NOTED AS LIVING.
and a mere nine more were so badly injured that they couldn't even stand to be counted, their own lives a question as Pomfrey, McGonagall, and Sprout struggled with Mrs. Weasley to save who they could.
Hermione: I take it none of the men are capable of helping.
Ginny: Of course not! Healing is women's work!
And adding every Order member, every former student, every teacher who was also still standing brought their numbers to no more than thirty-four.
Harry: Yeah, can't even comment on how ridiculous that is.
His eyes passed over the mangled remains of Ernie's hand,
Ginny: Why is he not dead already?
the deep burn seared across Seamus' back,
Luna: Oh, that will mess up the tattoos! Did they stretch to his back?
Ginny: Probably. Who cares.
the way Luna was favoring her left leg,
Luna: Well, I always did like it best.
the empty, raw socket where Demelza's eye had been.
Only Ron and Hermione did not properly belong in hospital themselves,
Ron: Damn us!
(snip not everyone can be dead (yes they can in this fic) let's find them but how?)
Hermione had stepped forward, nearly glowing with pleasure at being able to do something to help. "You're still using my coins, aren't you?"
Ginny: A woman does something in this fic! Historic moment!
(They can hone in on DA members by using the flashing of the coins)
"You know, Hermione, I've missed that lovely brain," Seamus grinned, and she blushed in response, then tossed back her long, bushy hair.
Ginny: Seamus sure recovered from Dean's death quickly…
Hermione: Enough to be annoying.
"Be honest. You've just missed that Ron let you copy the essays he copied from me, Finnigan."
He laughed, not skipping a beat as he winked back. "Six of one…"
Hermione: He's so condescending. Don't wink at me.
Ginny cleared her throat, raising her voice above the little ripple of exhausted laughter. "We've got a little less than forty minutes until our hour's up, guys. Let's find our friends."
"Right." Neville nodded, trying not to look at the thick, bloodstained splinter where Romilda had been murdered as he gestured out the doors.
Hermione: Why don't we get rid of that?
Ginny: Shush, that would be logical. We must be reminded of the gore.
(Neville summons a Patronus, which somehow has Hannah-sensing capabilities)
There she was. Face-down on the ground, crumpled beside the wall of Hagrid's hut, and she looked so small, so alone that it hurt all the more, and the Patronus vanished in a shuddering sob as he knelt. Her wand lay loosely beneath her fingers, a dark scorch across the back of her knuckles, and there were little chips of stone and clots of dirt in the golden hair. Closing his eyes, his breath held, he reached out a hand, sliding it gingerly beneath the soft waves to the crook of her neck.
Ginny: Prose so purple that it's a massive bruise, yadda yadda.
It was warm, and a pulse beat there, strong and steady against his fingertips.
(Neville cries and searches for mortal wounds because he's like that. But there are none! He Ennervates)
The green eyes blinked several times,
Hannah: Nice to know the eyes haven't changed color since the last twenty million times it was mentioned.
Harry: I swear she has my mother's eyes.
she shivered in his arms, then they opened and focused, and she gasped as she saw him. "Neville! Are – ?"
He kissed her.
For a moment, she was stiff, confused,
Hermione: Lovely. Consent issues. Kiss a girl when she's half conscious, how heroic.
then her body relaxed against him, and her arms came up around his neck, pulling them in closer together, and his own hold on her tightened, their bodies pressing so hard to each other that his bruised ribs groaned, but he didn't care. She was alive, oh, she had survived, and he had never loved her more, never needed her more, wanted her more than he did in this instant. His hands stroked through her hair, slid beneath her shirt to the soft, smooth skin of her back, his mouth traced the beautiful living pulse at her throat, felt the cool line of the chain where she still wore his pendant with its promise to live, the promise she'd so wonderfully, thankfully kept.
Ginny: Are they going to have sex right there… or…
Hannah: Maybe the weight of all the words will crush them.
All around them was the smell of blood and death and broken stone and crushed grass, and the bodies were scattered like fallen leaves across the grounds,
Ginny: And this all aroused him, naturally…
but none of it mattered, and it was only finally the need to breathe that broke the kiss.
Hannah: Oh, by all means, keep it up and suffocate.
He sucked in a great gasping breath, his forehead still against hers as he realized how hard he was shaking. "Oh, Hannah" he whispered, "I love you so much…."
"I love you too," she traced the line of his jaw with her lips, making him gasp, "I want to marry you, Neville."
He pulled back a few inches, blinking at her in astonishment. "You…."
Hannah: "The woman isn't allowed to propose!"
"I swore I wouldn't say it until we'd both survived, until it was all over and I still felt that way and was sure it wasn't just being afraid of dying or wanting to feel like a real grown-up or being jealous of Susan…but I want to be your wife. Not tomorrow or anything, but we have time to wait now, don't we?" Her smile was radiant, she was so beautiful, and he wished he could just pretend she was right and say yes, of course yes, but he couldn't, and he closed his eyes as he shook his head. She let out a little cry of hurt, and he winced. "But I thought you – "
"I do, Hannah, I really do," he forced himself to open his eyes and meet hers again. "But it's not over. This is just a ceasefire. We have just barely more than half an hour before we'll be fighting again, and if Harry – " he hesitated a moment, " – if someone doesn't do something big,
Harry: As usual, thanks for the support!
You-Know-Who isn't going to stop until everyone's dead."
Ginny: Endless tragedy, we get it.
To his surprise, there were no tears, there was no gasp of shock and fear, she just pulled away from him, brushing off her robes as she picked up her wand and got to her feet.
Hannah: A woman, not crying! So shocking!
(Hannah is tough and grins and bears it. As much as she is a flat character, she's really too good for Fic!Neville)
She nodded, setting off at a run and calling back to him over her shoulder. "Then you do your job, and I'll go try to help with the wounded, and we'll just hope Harry gets it done so I can ask you again!"
He watched her go, his heart aching to see her leave but admiring her strength all the more, and though he knew she couldn't hear him, he smiled sadly with his reply. "The wizard is supposed to ask the witch, Hannah…but my answer is still yes."
Ginny: Oh fuck. He did not.
Hannah: He did.
Ginny: We keep saying these things in jest, then he just…he makes them not in jest. He confirms his massive fucking sexism about how the man is supposed to be in control.
Hannah: He does. Why are we surprised anymore?
Ginny: I don't know.
(Seriously, I think I skimmed over this line my first reading many months ago. I had no idea it was coming when I wrote Hannah's joke. Yet once again, I appear to be able to predict Thanfiction's fuckery because it's so damn easy)
(Neville finds Colin's body, Wood comes)
Oliver raised his arm, rotating the shoulder deliberately to show that he had regained the use. "Madam Pomfrey put it right for me. Still hurts like hell, but I can move it again, and it doesn't matter if I can play Quidditch or not as long as I can wield a wand."
Harry: Wood's out of character as well, it figures.
Neville fought the urge to make a comment about how he must have suffered a blow to the head along with nearly having his arm ripped off if he could say anything dismissive about Quidditch,
Harry: See, even PodNeville had to notice.
(Colin was more than just Harry's fanclub president, Wood! All these kids were heroes! Wood says his canon line and drags Colin off. Neville angsts. Harry should have revealed himself by now, in the time it took to do all that angsting.)
his eye caught something that made his heart plummet.
Ron: Moooore dead people!
In his mind's eye, he still saw Terry as he had known him for years, with the thin wire-framed glasses and the dark blonde, almost brown hair
Terry: My hair color is really important to this guy.
Luna: Hello, Terry! I see you've sensed your impending doom.
that just barely skimmed his shoulders when he bent his head to read.
But the glasses had been confessed and abandoned in January as an affectation that he thought made him look more scholarly,
Terry:… is this a fashion calendar rundown or…?
and he had cut his hair nearly to the scalp at the end of February,
Terry: It is.
and that long, slender, perfectly symmetrical wand was unmistakable,
Ginny and Ron: *snort*
Luna: See, I knew Neville had been intimate with Terry.
Terry: Immature, Weasleys and Luna. How can a wand be symmetrical…?
Ginny: We try not to think about that too much, Terry. It's your private business.
even if something had crushed the face beyond all hope of recognition.
Terry: …of course.
Neville crossed to the body and bent over to look more closely. What had killed him in the first place was impossible to tell, but the body had been stepped on since by one of the giants,
Terry: This keeps getting better.
and a part of him still clung to hope that it wasn't his Lieutenant after all.
Terry: Unfortunately, he lives in this fic, where hope is a lie.
He reached out, slitting the sleeve and pulling it open, praying he wouldn't find the elegant script that banded both Terry and Michael's upper arms ever since the Christmas Break.
Terry: …I got a tattoo with Michael?
Luna: You're in a relationship with him, but the author won't admit it in the text.
Terry: Oh, all right. Hmmm, and we both died?
Luna: Yes, it's very cliché.
Terry: Too right it is.
The arm bent in all the wrong places, there was hardly any light, but oh no, it wasn't fair, because there it was…L'amitie de la connasissance.
Ginny: Bury Your Gays!
Luna: Bury Your Gay Ravenclaws, more like.
Terry: It's that conspiracy again!
Luna: I know! It must be exposed!
Harry: Wait, you all believe in the conspiracy? It's not just a Luna thing?
Terry: Of course. The conspiracy goes back decades.
Harry: …all right, then.
Ron: Wait, what does the tattoo mean? Is the author going to bother to tell us?
Hermione and Terry (at the same time): "Love comes from blindness, friendship from knowledge".
Ginny: ….that was odd.
Terry: We got matching tattoos of that, and we were not supposed to be in a relationship?
Luna: No, the author was surprised when the readers bought it up. Also, he outlawed slashing "his" characters.
Terry: That's just ridiculous.
Harry's voice was the last thing he had ever expected at that moment, and Neville jumped about a mile, dropping the sleeve as he whirled around with a gasp of shock.
Harry: I'm pretty sure I would have noticed if Neville had been poking at another dead body when I revealed myself. …He wasn't.
Neville: Oh, we're back in the realm of things that actually happened.
"Blimey, Harry, you nearly gave me heart failure!" His eyes scanned quickly over the other wizard, looking for a sword, a cup, a locket, a crown…but there was nothing. Harry's hands were empty. He hadn't even drawn his wand.
Harry: What, do you think I wanted to attack you? I mean, I really SHOULD attack imposter-you….
And he looked…except that wasn't possible. It couldn't be. But Harry was unquestionably heading towards the Forest,
Harry: How can you tell? Am I wearing a sign?
and he had to have been wearing the Invisibility Cloak, or his shadow would have fallen directly over Terry's arm. "Where are you going, alone?" he asked.
"It's all part of the plan," Harry assured him,
Neville: That was very comforting, by the way.
Harry: Shut up.
"There's something I've got to do. Listen – Neville –"
The look in the green eyes was terrifying, and Neville abruptly felt like he wanted to shove his fingers in his ears like a child and just refuse to deal with what was next. "Harry, you're not thinking of handing yourself over!"
Neville: Huh, this sounds in character.
"No," Harry replied with a reassuring smile, "'Course not…this is something else. But I might be out of sight for a while." Neville knew perfectly well that this did not mean the Invisibility Cloak. Harry was going to make his attempt to do it,
Ron: Alone, like an idiot, without a chance in hell of it working, then. And it wouldn't occur to Neville to try to help him?
and he didn't think he was going to survive.
Ron: And it wouldn't occur to Neville to try to help him?
It almost made him want to laugh that after everything that had happened that night, Harry still wanted to protect him from the truth of something that had become so common as the death of a friend.
Harry: …oh. Sorry, Neville, that I, er, tried to do that. I just had this silly notion that you cared about me or something. And might try to stop me. Naïve, really. I shouldn't have thought that.
Neville: Harry, that WASN'T WHAT I WAS THINKING. I had no idea what the hell you were doing, I just assumed you were babbling as usual.
Harry: That's…somewhat nicer.
"All right, Harry." It made sense. A lot of sense, actually, and he felt a great deal of the respect he had started to lose for Dumbledore's plan beginning to return.
Harry: Oh, well, thank goodness. Dumbledore would have been so crushed to hear you disapproved of his plan…while not actually knowing what it was or anything about it.
So that was where You-Know-Who had been all those years. With his body destroyed at Godric's Hollow, he had hidden for thirteen years in snakes before being brought back in the graveyard. He couldn't just talk to snakes, he could possess them, the way rumor had it he'd possessed Harry at the Ministry of Magic, and Dumbledore – and now Harry – had figured out that Nagini was more than an extremely intimidating pet, but a last-chance escape clause they could not allow to be used.
Harry: Sure, why not.
He looked at Harry again, noticing how pale he seemed, the odd way he was breathing as if trying to make each inhalation last just a fraction too long. His brow creased in concern, "You're okay, are you?"
Harry: It's nice to know that concern was fake.
Neville: It wasn't!
Harry: I know, I know.
Neville: If I'd actually thought you were going to face Voldemort alone and definitely die, I would have stopped you! I mean, that is an idiotic thing to do! I assumed you knew what you were doing. I was wrong, but it worked out anyway.
Harry: When did you become as cutting as Ginny?
Neville: Well, you did lie to me.
Harry: I was distraught! And I completely knew what I was doing I was going to-
Neville: …die without telling anyone…
Harry: FOR THE CAUSE.
Neville: God, there's no arguing with you, it's like Ginny.
Ginny: I'm not nearly that stupid!
Harry: Ugh, if I want bashing I'll get it from the fic, okay.
"I'm fine," Harry lied, but Neville let it go. Getting ready to die wasn't an easy thing, after all. He knew this personally.
Harry: It's all about you, as usual. Thanks so much for caring about my impending death no wait it's just an opportunity to brag.
Neville: And inaccurate too, it was completely easy for me to get ready to die in this fic. I practically anticipated it with relish.
Harry turned to go, but at the last moment, Neville felt his own stab of fear. What if he was wrong? What if killing the snake wasn't something to ensure the task, but the final task itself? What if Harry was going to turn himself in with the foolish belief that this would actually lead to mercy for the rest of them?
Harry: Great, Neville thinks I'm a complete idiot.
Ginny: He's right, but you're not that stupid.
What if he thought they wanted him to? Ginny had always said he had a stupidly self-sacrificial streak…
Ginny: You forgot to put do. And don't use me to bash Harry, I'll do it myself. Playfully. With love.
Neville reached out, grabbing the thin wrist in a unshakable grip, his voice intent. "We're all going to keep fighting, Harry. You know that?"
Harry: You know, I always thought you were trying to convince me not to die there.
Neville: I was! You know, in case you were. I thought I had gotten through to you, that's why I let you go.
Harry: Well, in this fic, you didn't give a damn if I lived or died, you just didn't want me to do it in an uncool way. Apparently, that's true friendship.
He tried to put everything in his eyes, warning and promise alike, and Harry seemed to understand the full weight of it, because his head sagged.
Harry: …realizing these were not actually heartfelt words to a friend, but just someone who thought of him as another toy soldier.
Neville: Yeah, this moment was prettttty much ruined in this fic, wasn't it?
"Yeah, I…." His words trailed off, but he knew, and that was the important thing, and they couldn't have much time left now. Twenty minutes? Maybe?
Neville released the wrist, giving a quick squeeze on the shoulder to the young wizard who had been his hero for years and was now his hope. Only human, maybe, but weren't they all, and how much had he learned simple human love and courage could be worth in this year alone?
Neville: Oh God, how purple and cliché can you get? Show, don't tell, author.
Leaving Harry to his fate, he returned to his own.
Harry: I feel so loved.
Neville: Honestly, this wasn't what I was thinking. I thought you were doing something sensible, and I was trying to reassure you so you didn't go off alone.
Harry: I know, Neville, thanks.
Neville: I would have never let you just go face Voldemort alone. That's stupid. Astronomically stupid.
Harry: I get it, thanks.
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