- Harry Potter/Neville Longbottom
- Neville Longbottom Remus Lupin Severus Snape Nymphadora Tonks Harry and Hermione and Ron
- Mystery Adventure
- The Harry Potter at Hogwarts Years
Published: 01/16/2006Updated: 06/19/2006Words: 134,451Chapters: 37Hits: 105,190
- Story Summary:
- Neville's Gran breaks her hip just after his fifth year at Hogwarts, and he must spend the summer with Harry and Remus at No. 12 Grimmauld Place. He and Harry discover a hidden message in the candy wrappers Neville's mother has been giving him over the years, and they begin to uncover secrets about the past, even as they must confront dangers in the present. Along the way, Neville learns just how much he has in common with The Boy Who Lived, and how to be his own kind of hero.
Chapter 26 - Chapter 27
- Chapter Summary:
- In which Neville suffers the after-effects of mixing firewhiskey and a Weasley charm.
Neville slowly blinked his eyes. Two large, red blobs appeared in front of him. Or above him. Yes, he seemed to be lying on his back, on some kind of merry-go-round that was spinning. The two blobs revolved in his vision, yet somehow they never seemed to move.
"Oi, Neville. You all right?"
The sounds resolved themselves into words. Someone was speaking to him. This called for a response. He sagely replied, "Glfighiszhk."
The two blobs looked at each other. "Right then. Up you go, mate."
And now he appeared to be levitating. It was very nice, sort of like flying, the way the world around him dipped and spun. Except his limbs felt awfully heavy, and someone was unkindly beating him between the eyes with a Quidditch bat, and come to think of it, flying had always made him nauseous.
At that moment, his stomach turned itself inside out. Someone was making really disgusting retching noises, and he realized it must be him. But he wasn't too embarrassed about it, because after he'd finished sicking up, he really felt much better. Sort of.
Someone muttered a cleaning charm, and the vomit conveniently vanished. He lazily looked up and found Fred and George propping him up and looking worried. "Oh, hello," he said.
The twins looked at each other, then back at him. "Better now?"
He pondered this for quite some time, and said, "Yes. Or maybe not. A little?" His voice kept squeaking high and then dipping low. He found it very amusing and thought he might like to continue talking just to hear how funny it sounded.
Fred, or perhaps it was George said, "It would appear that firewhiskey and our daydream charm do not mix."
George, or it might have been Fred, said, "I don't think so. Harry seems to be fine."
All three of them looked over at Harry, who sat slumped against a chair leg, his eyes staring glassily at nothing, a slight grin on his face.
"You on the other hand," said Fred-or-George, "went a bit wonky, mumbling and thrashing a bit."
"And then you fell over as if you'd fainted," added George-or-Fred, "and we thought we ought to end the charm."
"Hmmm," said Neville.
One of them peered at him. "What did you dream about, anyway?"
Images flashed through his mind. His parents. A tree. Bellatrix. And lots and lots of water. "Not sure exactly," he said.
The other of them said, "Perhaps we ought to get you to bed. I think you've had enough for one night."
It seemed to Neville that he had had enough for several nights. And a respectable number of mornings and evenings as well.
"Think you can stand?" a third one asked. Or perhaps it was the first one again.
Neville pondered the issue, but since he couldn't seem to locate his legs, it seemed unlikely.
"All right, then. Up you go."
Neville levitated again, rising from the floor and lurching across the room. As he bobbled down the hall, bits and pieces of him seemed to be falling off here and there, but then other bits came back and multiplied. Somehow he had ended up with far too many feet, and yet he could only locate half of an arm. And his neck appeared to have sunk into his chest, because his shoulders touched his ears.
By the time he arrived at his bed, however, all the extra bits detached themselves, forming into Fred and George, and he was happily left with all his own parts.
"Well, here you are, mate. Sleep well."
"And remember, there's no need to tell anyone about this little adventure. Especially our mum."
Neville wanted to say something in response, but by the time his face hit the pillow, he'd forgotten what it was. Which was just as well, because he'd fallen asleep.
The dream came back, only now it was all jumbled. Sometimes it was Omar he sat with in the chair. Sometimes it was Snape threatening him with the Cruciatus. Then Snape became Gran, and Neville would wind up in that rocking chair again, warmly cuddling up to her until she turned into Harry, who was throwing Scrabble chips and scolding, "Tincture is spelled with a 't' not an 's'!" It was all very confusing, and more than a little disturbing, and he really wished he would just dream about his parents again. The tiny corner of his mind that was self-aware sought to catch the fragments of his dream and force them to go in the direction he wanted. At last the confusing jumble faded away, and a new dream began to take shape.
It was dark. He couldn't see a thing. Somewhere he heard voices, but he couldn't understand them. All he knew was that he was frightened. Yet as scary as the dark was, if the light came on he knew it would be worse. He must stay still. He must be quiet.
But he could hear those voices. If only he could understand them! If only he knew what was happening. The voices grew louder, angry. There was shouting. Then the shouting turned to screams.
"No!" he shrieked, even though he was supposed to stay quiet. But no sound came out of his mouth. He screamed as loud as he could, but there was only silence. He thrashed his arms and legs about, trying to break free of the darkness, but he could not move.
The screaming abruptly stopped. The voices fell silent, and he was left to cry soundlessly in the dark that never ended.
Someone was shaking him hard, calling his name. He blinked awake, looking up to see Remus hovering over him. Neville's arms and legs trembled as if he'd been running for miles and miles. He gulped for air, his head pounding.
"Are you all right?" Remus asked. His voice banged against Neville's skull and made his headache worse.
"Yeah," Neville said, but his teeth were chattering so hard in his head, he could barely get the words out, and his stomach threatened to empty itself again. "It was just a plain old nightmare. I couldn't move or talk."
Remus nodded. "I've had that one, too. I hate it."
"I've had it loads of times." But something nagged at the back of his mind, and the way Remus was staring at him, like a specimen in one of his Defense classes, didn't help.
"Those dreams are about feeling helpless," Remus observed.
"It wasn't so bad, really," he said, wishing Remus would stop going on about it so he could go back to sleep. He hoped Remus couldn't smell the whiskey on his breath. "I didn't dream about...about Her." Yet even as he said it, he wondered. Had one of the voices in his dream sounded like her? Still, it could just be a coincidence. He'd spoken with her portrait too many times. Maybe he just remembered the sound of her voice.
Maybe he just remembered....
Remus was still studying him. "You're sure you're all right?" he asked.
*No!* he wanted to scream, the way he'd wanted to in the dream. But instead what came out was: "I'm fine."
Remus nodded. "All right. But if you need anything, just ask."
Neville lay back against the pillow, and Remus finally left, shutting the door quietly behind him. The room fell once more into darkness, just like his dream.
Sleep was a very long time in coming.
The next time Neville woke, it was morning, but his condition was little improved from the previous night. It felt like a hippogriff was stampeding inside his skull, and a puffskein had taken up residence in his mouth.
Gingerly he rolled off the bed, his bare feet plopping against the worn carpet. The room swam in front of him, his stomach lurching in response, and he clung to the edge of the mattress, willing everything to straighten out again. A soft croak called his attention to Trevor, staring up at him from the center of the carpet. Perhaps it was his imagination, but Neville thought he detected concern in Trevor's bulging eyes. Though it was hard to tell: toad expressions were difficult to read.
He cautiously picked his way through his morning routine, spending three times longer than usual in brushing his teeth, and it took several attempts before he got his trousers on correctly. He gave up the socks and shoes as hopeless and crept barefoot down the stairs, clinging to the railing with both hands and trying not to jolt himself on each step.
He found Remus in the kitchen, a mug of coffee at his elbow and the morning's Prophet spread out on the table. In front of an empty chair sat a half-drunk glass of pumpkin juice and a bowl of soggy Witchabix. He glanced around the kitchen. "Um, where's Harry?"
Remus nodded toward the door. "Throwing up in the loo again. I think this is his fourth time this morning."
"Oh." Neville gulped hard, his stomach twinging in sympathy. He made his way hand over hand along the table's edge and sat down.
Remus poured him a glass of pumpkin juice and pushed a plate of cold toast in front of him. "I guess the twins were a bit rough on you boys?"
Nibbling on a corner of the toast, Neville mumbled, "I s'pose so."
"Poor lads," said Remus. Then he frowned. "There weren't any drugs involved, I hope?"
Remus looked relieved. "Well, that's all right then," and he returned to his paper.
Neville might have expected a more parental or teacherly reaction from Remus. Certainly Snape, if he'd been here this morning, would have yelled at them both and assigned them a nasty detention, summer holiday or no. And if the pounding in his head was any indication, he deserved it.
The two of them sat in silence, Remus reading his newspaper, Neville eating his toast. He wasn't really hungry, but the toast settled his stomach a bit, and after a while he risked a sip of pumpkin juice.
The silence was broken by the sound of footsteps shuffling in the hallway. Remus and Neville both looked up, and eventually Harry appeared in the door, clutching his stomach as he staggered to the table. His hair stuck out even more messily than usual, his glasses perched askew on his nose, and he looked even more miserable than Neville felt.
"I wish I was dead," Harry moaned.
Remus suppressed a smirk, but said mildly, "Some warm tea might do you good. At least then you'd have something in your stomach to throw up."
Groaning, Harry lowered his head to the table.
Curious, Neville asked, "What happened last night when you came out of the daydream charm?"
"I don't really remember."
"Do you remember what you daydreamed about?" When Harry nodded, Neville prompted, "What?"
Harry turned bright red, angling his head to look across the table at Neville. "What did you dream about?"
Harry frowned, as if the answer disappointed him. "Is that all you ever dream about?"
Neville only shrugged. "I had this weird nightmare last night. Did I wake you up?"
"Why would it?" Harry asked.
"It woke up Remus."
Harry looked over at Remus, who nodded. "I guess I was...really sound asleep."
Neville studied his glass of pumpkin juice. "It was a weird dream. I wonder if...?"
No one asked him what he wondered. Harry stirred his Witchabix, and Remus watched the two of them out of the corner of his eyes while pretending to read the paper. Neville reached for another slice of toast and chewed slowly on it as he pondered his dream. Why had the charm acted on him as it had? There was something very strange about the way his daydream had gone, as if something had taken it over. Even his nightmare felt as if it had been planted in his mind, as if it were someone else's dream. Yet he knew the dream was about him, that he was the one who'd been left in the dark, unable to speak. It didn't feel like a dream, it felt like....
"That nightmare," he said aloud. "What if it wasn't a dream? I mean, what if it was some kind of memory."
Harry squinted at him, and Remus just raised his eyebrows in inquiry.
Staring down at the nibbled edge of his toast, he said, "I've always had nightmares about not being able to move or talk, but last night, it was different. More real somehow. I think it might be a memory of -."
When he didn't continue, Harry prompted, "Of what?"
He bit his lip in frustration. "I'm not sure. But I think it's somehow about my parents, about that night...," he shuddered. "I know it is, but I don't know what it is."
"How," Harry asked slowly, "can you know something that you don't know?"
But Remus was watching him closely, a light of comprehension in his eyes. "You think it's about the night your parents were abducted?"
Neville nodded. "You know that memory charm you did on Ron...?"
"No," Remus said flatly.
Neville blinked. "But maybe if you -."
"No," repeated Remus. "Professor Snape was right. I shouldn't have done it."
"Neville, how old where you when it happened? You were an infant."
"I was two," he corrected.
"That's so young."
"But two-year-olds can talk, can't they? Those memories must be in my mind."
Remus shook his head. "I won't do it."
"Do what?" a confused Harry interrupted.
"You have to!" Neville shouted, slamming his fists on the table. Harry winced in pain, and Remus's eyes widened, mirroring Neville's own surprise at the outburst. But he was sick and tired of other people deciding what was best for him. "No one knows what happened that night. But I was there! Maybe I didn't see much of anything, maybe what I saw won't help. But my parents have been locked in their own minds for fourteen years! If I can find out anything to help, I have to try." His hands shook hard, and he balled them into fists to still their trembling. "I will do anything to help my parents. Anything."
"Neville, I understand your determination, but -."
"If you won't help me, Harry will," he continued. "He's smart and powerful. He'll figure out the charm."
"Yeah, I will!" Harry shouted. "Um, what charm?"
"For God's sake, Neville!" Remus burst out. He actually looked frightened. "Don't be so foolish. If he does the spell wrong he could destroy your mind."
Neville gazed steadily at him. "But that won't happen if you do it."
With a frustrated growl, Remus buried his face in his hands, rubbing fiercely at his eyes. At last he looked up, his expression so unhappy Neville almost wanted to forget the whole thing. But not quite.
"All right, I'll do it," Remus agreed. "But only if your grandmother gives permission. If she says no, that will be the end of it. I mean it, Neville. This is not something you should go messing around with."
Neville considered. Gran probably wouldn't be too thrilled about it, but she'd been backing him up quite a lot lately. He was fairly confident that he could get her to agree. "All right," he said.
Remus only shook his head. "Severus is going to kill me."
"Don't worry," Neville assured him. "Nobody can stand up to my Gran when she makes up her mind."
"I certainly hope so," muttered Remus.
"Guys," Harry interrupted, "I think I'm gonna be sick again." And clutching his stomach, he dashed from the room.