I was inspired to write Alice angst by this video http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j8bmER6x5
Warnings/Notes: Alcohol use and mild violence
Summary: Neville's life - from the night his parents died and Post-Hogwarts.
A loud cry from her son’s room jolted Alice out of her slumber. She rolled on her back and rubbed her eyes. Picking up her still sleeping husband’s arm, she squinted to read his watch. “Bloody hell, Neville,” she whispered, dropping her husband’s arm. “It’s only been twenty minutes.”
She fumbled for her dressing gown and shoved her arms through the armholes with her eyes closed. “I’m coming,” she mumbled sleepily, sliding her slippers on and stumbling into the hall. The moment she entered his room, he stopped crying and sniffled. Despite her extreme fatigue, she smiled. “Bloody little boy,” she mumbled, picking up the one-year-old and holding him to her chest. He sniffed and rubbed his face against her shoulder. She kissed his head. “It’s a good thing I love you.”
She walked out of the room and into the kitchen. She and her husband, Frank, had just bought their first house not too long ago; a charming little cottage on the outskirts of Ottery St. Catchpole. It was located around the same place where Alice had grown up. Frank had grown up in Lancashire, but there was no way Alice was going to leave where she’d grown up, especially after her parents passed away. They’d been found dead in their living room, apparently of heart attacks, and their untimely passing was what sent Alice into labor four and a half weeks early. She felt like living here kept her connected to her roots, and as Neville grew older, he would be able to experience some of that connection.
She opened the refrigerator and grabbed a bottle. She closed it with her hip and padded into the living room, sitting in a rocking chair. She pulled her wand out of her pocket and warmed the bottle before offering it to her son. He grinned and took it, sucking on it nosily as she rocked back and forth gently.
The bottle had been half empty, so he finished it quickly. She patted him on the back gently and he burped, squealing gleefully before leaning into Alice. She held him tightly to her chest, feeling her heart swell with love. Her chest tightened, and she felt like her heart might explode. “I love you so much,” she whispered into his hair as he snuggled his face into her neck.
She heard the kitchen floor creak slightly, and she looked up, expecting to see her husband standing in the doorway. What she saw made her blood run cold.
Bellatrix Lestrange was leaning against the doorframe, a cold sneer laced across her face. Bellatrix raised her wand, and Alice clutched Neville tighter.
She fell forward, temporarily stunned. Frank bust into the room. “Hide Neville!” he shouted, looking behind his shoulder. “They’ve come for us.”
Alice and Frank had a plan for this particular situation. Alice stood, murmuring soothing words in her son’s ear as he began to fret. She hurried to the bookcase and pulled a rather large book out, and the shelf jumped back, exposing a small room. She placed her son in the bassinet located in the corner and tucked him in. “Run, Alice!” her husband shouted.
She kissed her baby on the head, knowing it may be the last time she ever had the chance. She stepped out, uttered a spell that would keep the bookcase locked until Dumbledore arrived and hurried into the kitchen to help her husband.
They had been on the run for several months now. This house was supposed to have been a secret, but after Lily Potter, their first secret keeper, died, they’d been exposed for a brief moment. They’d chosen another secret keeper, Frank‘s father, and after his death, Frank and Alice were attacked. They escaped; naming Frank’s mother as their new secret keeper. Considering their horrible luck, it was only a matter of time before they were found.
They’d been so careful; wards and spells put up around their home. Frank had stopped working, as had Alice, and they’d been cooped up in this house forever. The title was under assumed, Muggle names, and they’d tried to keep all magic to a minimum. Dumbledore assigned Aurors to stand watch, but there was no help in sight. Alice was going to have to fight.
She heard Bellatrix scream the Cruciatus Curse, and she ran into the kitchen. Frank was writhing on the floor, but he didn’t yell out. “Frank!” she screamed, launching an array of spells at the woman cackling above him. Bellatrix shot back.
Alice tried to put up a shield, but before she’d finished, she was grabbed from behind. She kicked and screamed, and in the midst of the struggle, her wand was wrenched from her hand and broken in half.
Her attacker threw her on the floor, and she crawled to her husband. “Oh, Frank,” she whispered, gently pushing his hair off his face. His nose was bleeding badly, and he whimpered in pain as she touched his face. She stood up and faced the man she recognized as Rodolphus Lestrange. She launched herself at him, knocking him against the wall and slamming her fist against every part of his body she could reach.
He pushed her down and spat in her face. “Stupid bitch,” he mumbled, wiping the blood from the corner of his mouth. “Where is he?”
“Where’s who?” she responded, clamoring to her knees. “I don’t know what your talking about.”
Rodolphus pointed his wand at Frank. “Where is he?” he gritted, grinning manically as Alice’s eyes widened.
Rodolphus’ lips began to mouth the curse, and Alice instinctively threw herself in front of Frank. The curse shot out of his wand and hit her square in the chest, sending her over Frank and into the kitchen cabinets.
The sound of cracking wood fell on Alice’s deaf ears. All she could think about was the roaring pain ripping through her body. It was like every fiber of her being was on fire, and all she could do was convulse and scream. The feeling subsided, leaving a dull, thudding pain coursing through her veins. She rolled over on her side and inhaled, the oxygen hitting her lungs like a ton of bricks. She rose, carefully and slowly, before being struck again.
The second time was worse, sending Alice’s head into the countertop. She was vaguely aware of blood pooling in her mouth, and when she opened it to scream, all that came out was a gurgle.
She fell back on the ground, attempting to crawl towards Frank. Bellatrix was shouting questions in between curses, but Frank refused to say anything, even to scream. He just writhed, his eyebrows furrowed and his fists clenched tightly.
Alice reached him as she was struck again, this time from a voice she didn’t recognize. She felt someone grab her and hold her still, and as the pain subsided, Frank whispered, “I love you, honey.”
She tried to respond, but her mouth was sticky and her brain was fuzzy. He held onto her, and they lay there for quite awhile as their captors conversed in the corner. Alice clutched at Frank’s shirt, her eyes squeezed shut. “He’s safe,” she whispered, her eyes filling with tears. “I’m so scared.”
Alice screamed, jolting herself awake. “Frank!” she screamed, struggling against the invisible bonds that kept her strapped to the bed. “Frank! Where are you?”
An orderly rushed in and flipped on the lights. “Mrs. Longbottom, you need to calm down--”
“Where’s Frank?!” she screamed, trying to bite the invisible binds on her wrists. “I want my husband!”
Suddenly, her demeanor changed. Her whole body went limp and her face became blank. The bonds loosened, allowing her to roll on her side, her back to the orderly. She began counting the cracks in the walls, like she always did before bed.
The orderly, Seamus Finnigan, turned off the lights and closed the door quietly. He’d been working at St Mungo’s for almost two years now, and Alice Longbottom’s moments of mental clarity had become few and far between. Occasionally, she called out for her mother, but mostly all she did was call for her husband, who had passed away last week. Neville, Seamus’ former classmate, hadn’t been in to visit since the funeral, breaking his routine of coming in everyday for the past four years.
Seamus returned to his office and closed the door gently. Going to Mrs. Longbottom’s room was always harder than going to anyone else’s.
The first day he’d been on his rounds, he’d encountered Neville in the hall. They had exchanged pleasantries, and after a brief chat, Seamus asked why Neville was there. Neville’s face became troubled, and he explained about his parents. Seamus suddenly remembered reading an article about Neville in the paper, and it had mentioned his parents being ‘permanently indisposed’. That fact had been pushed to the back of his mind, but was brought to the forefront as Neville explained it.
Over the past four years, Seamus had watched as Neville cared for his parents; taking over feeding them at lunch and walking them to and from their rooms. His dedication and patience was amazing, and Seamus knew most people wouldn’t be able to handle all the things Neville had been dealt.
A pounding on the ward’s main doors interrupted Seamus’ thoughts. He stood and jogged there, not wanting the pounding to wake the patients. He opened the doors and stepped out, finding himself face to face with Neville himself. “You look like shit, mate.” His hair was matted in some places, while sticking up wildly in others. His eyes were bloodshot, and Seamus could smell the sharp scent of Firewhiskey wafting off his clothes.
Neville smiled softly and looked down at his shoes. “I need to see my mum,” he mumbled, looking up. “I haven’t been lately, and I don’t want her to think something is wrong.”
Seamus crossed his arms. “It’s three o’clock in the morning. Visiting hours have been over since five.”
Neville ran his hands through his hair, mussing it even more. “C’mon, please. She’s-” his voice cracked “-she’s all I have left.”
Seamus leaned back on the door, opening it and letting him in. “Fifteen minutes,” he warned.
Neville thanked him and ran down the hall, skidding drunkenly into his mother’s room. Before going in, he waved a Seamus, who returned to his office.
“Mate, I’m so sorry for your loss.”
Neville shook Ron’s hand hard, clapping his back with his other hand. “S’alright,” he replied, offering him a small smile. “At least now she’s with Dad now.” His eyes were clear, something Ron hadn’t seen in awhile. Usually, the guy was so plastered he could hardly stand, but not today. Today he was freshly showered, shaved, in a clean set of robes, clear eyed and there was color back in his face. “I’m going to be all right.” Hermione practically tackled the poor guy, but he patted her back and repeated, “I’m going to be all right.”
The funeral was relatively small; the few Order members that had survived both Wars were there, including a few newer Order members and quite a few of Neville’s classmates were there. All of Neville’s family were gone now, a thought that bothered Ron greatly. Of course, the guy had survived basically being all alone after his grandmother died two years ago, but Ron was still worried about him. Ever since his grandmother’s death, Neville had become quite fond of partaking in the drink, polishing off a whole bottle of Firewhiskey before dinner arrived, and another couple afterwards.
Several interventions had been made, but nothing seemed to work, until a week before his mother’s death, Luna Lovegood came back from Brazil. Ginny asked her to intervene on Neville’s behalf, and the next day, Luna brought a very sober Neville to her welcoming back party.
When Ginny asked how she did it, Luna simply responded, “I just asked him to stop.”
Ron held Hermione to him as she teared up. Ron watched as Luna approached Neville. She wrapped her arms around his neck and held him close as he buried his face in her neck. Luna smiled softly and said something to him. They stayed that way for quite awhile, and when Neville let go, Ron could tell he’d been crying. Luna leaned in and kissed him softly before walking off. Neville seemed to sag, and since she’d been the last person in the line, he turned around and headed to the food table.
Ron excused himself and followed him. Neville leaned across the counter and plucked a bottle of Firewhiskey from the back. He popped it open and took a swig, seemingly unaffected. He set it on the counter and sighed, leaning his forehead on the bar and breathing deeply. Ron pulled up a stool, grabbed a glass and poured himself one as well.
Neville stumbled into his flat and collapsed on the sofa. The shower was running, and he thought a shower sounded pretty good right about now. He was hot, and he was sure he was sweaty. He’d spent five hours in a crowded bar, successfully downing two bottles of Firewhiskey. He ran his hands down his face and groaned. He was so sloshed.
The shower turned off, and he leaned forward and put his head in his hands. He promised her he would do this anymore, but after she left, a huge weight pressed on him. He had no parents. He was finally an orphan. He had no reason to stay, but, at the same time, he had no where to go. He was finally alone.
The couch sank down as she sat next to him. She put her hand under his chin and lifted his face to look at her. “You still have me,” she said softly. “I’m going to Norway this Thursday. I want you to go with me.”
Her cool hands felt good on his face. She rubbed his head, her long nails scratching right behind his ears. Suddenly, he didn‘t want to leave to take a shower. “I want to go,” he assured her. “I think I will go.”
Luna smiled dreamily and leaned in. “Will you help me find Hertelbees?” she asked, continuing to play with his hair.
He leaned in closer, resting his forehead on hers. “Hertelbees and Snorkacks,” he whispered, his eyes still closed. “It’ll be great.”
Dear Ron, Hermione and family,
Greetings from Greece! We’re only staying here until we get our Portkey to St. Croix, apparently, it’s not safe to Apparate trans-Atlantic, especially with all the luggage, so they’ve made us a Portkey.
We just arrived from Portugal, and I’ve got to say, it’s amazing here. Not only is the landscape amazing, the plants would simply blow your mind. They’ve got things I’ve only seen in textbooks, but I’ve been collecting samples, so hopefully when we get back, I’ll be able to start my own greenhouse.
Luna says not to bother you too much with the plants, so I’m sorry if I’ve bored you. The reason I wrote was to tell you we’re coming back in a month, just in time for me to start teaching. The Herbology position finally opened up, and after reviewing my application, it’s been accepted! I think Luna’s excited to return, especially since she’s got enough material to write for years.
We can’t wait to get back, even though the weather here is amazing. I don’t know if I can handle the drear of London after all this sunshine.
See you in a month!
Neville and Luna
“Is my tie straight?”
Luna laughed and tightened it a bit, straightening and smoothing his tie for the hundredth time. She traced the Crumpled Horn Snorkack on the front and smiled. “Perfect,” she announced, hooking her pinky finger through his.
He blushed and smiled nervously. The last time he’d been on Platform 9 ¾, he been with his grandmother, sadly leaving what had been like his second home. “I’m nervous,” he admitted, looking down at his girlfriend. “Really, really nervous.”
She shook her head, her long hair bouncing merrily. “Don’t be. They’re going to love you,” she assured him. “Just like I do.”
He leaned his forehead on hers and smiled. “Thanks.”
The train whistle blew, and Luna kissed him hard. He wrapped his arms around her waist and grinned against her lips. “Be amazing,” she whispered breathlessly, her hand coming up to the side of his face. Her thumb traced his bottom lip. “Be amazing.”
He picked up his bag and kissed her one last time. “Bye, sweets. I’ll write you everyday.”
She smiled and looked down at her orange rain boots. “I’ll be waiting.”
Oh, and ps.- Matthew Lewis in his interviews post-OotP... hot.