Neville, having just come from the hospital wing, went straight to his room, ignoring the calls from his classmates. 'What did they know? Why did they care? They were not there; they didn't see the battle that had just happened'.
He was still surprised that he had come out alive. Even with a broken nose, it was bad. It angered him that she got away. He had come face to face with the scum who had haunted his dreams and his thoughts. He slumped to his knees and let a pitiful cry escape him.
He grabbed his trusted diary and opened it to the correct date, his hands still shaking from the evening's adventure.
'I feel I must write something down lest I forget the events that transpired this evening. The only word to describe me is useless. I saw that twisted bitch. I feel it tearing me apart; the anger inside, the frustration. I should have got to her, if not to bring her to justice, to avenge my mother and father. It hurt so much to be under that curse. I will never get over the feeling of helplessness, pain, and fear.'
He broke down again, utterly miserable. Great tears escaped from him, spilling onto his diary, smudging the ink. He could not understand that he was doing so well. He was picking up spells faster than anybody else. But in the Department of Mysteries it had all gone to pieces.
'I must also figure out why I couldn't perform any spells. I really am at a loss to explain this. I know the spells. I can perform them in class. Harry is right; it really is different performing them when it matters. On top of all this, I broke my father's wand. Gran is going to so disappointed.'
'I'm just so glad to be alive. It is times like this I need my mother, to feel her warmth and for her to tell me everything will be okay. That is what mothers are supposed to do. But no, she was taken away from me. Now I'm stuck with HER! She always puts me down, she never gives me praise. I know I'm not like my father. I know I'm a constant disappointment to her. It's not her fault. She tries her best, but all I want is some recognition.'
He dried his eyes on his robes and tried to reign in his emotions. If the lads saw him now, he would be a laughing stock. He did not need that on top of everything else. He pulled off his robes, his body screaming in protest after the night's activities. The potions he had taken were a small comfort. He put on his pyjamas, and got into bed.
'Well I'm safe for now at school, but for how long? How does Harry do this year after year? If it was left to me, You-Know-Who would've come back in our first year. That much I'm certain of. I don't have Harry's strength, his courage. I don't have Ron's sense of humour. I don't have Hermione's intelligence. No, all I have is compassion and a love of plants. Merlin, I'm pathetic.'
Neville took a deep breath to steady himself. Once he had calmed down, he had a chance to reflect on the events of the night. He looked down at his diary; he had not been that bad. He had helped Hermione out of the room and led her to the rest of the group. Neville smiled to himself with pride as he thought back to running after Harry. 'He couldn't face all of that alone.' Neville thought to himself. 'I had to help him.' He took hold of his diary once more. There were only two thoughts going through his mind, a constant feed back loop.
'I had a chance to get her, to make her pay, but because of my nose I couldn't speak. I had a chance to hurt her. What happened? I was over powered. She performed the curse, the pain. Mother, the unimaginable pain. Father, so much pain. I broke the prophecy, I didn't mean to. It was that strange hex I got hit with. I really hope Harry isn't too angry with me. He entrusted the prophecy to me, but I still let him down. I suppose there is one small comfort, if we don't know what it was about, then they won't know either.'
Neville pulled the covers over himself. He pulled his legs up into a tight ball, quietly sobbing. He hoped that the others would not hear him, that the sounds of his distress did not keep his roommates up. He could not stand more pity, not tonight.
* * * *
Dean and Seamus saw Neville enter the common room. A strange rumour was going around saying that Harry, Ron, Hermione, Ginny, Neville and Luna had all gone to London. They had heard this much from one of the paintings telling another about it. Harry and company had been in the hospital wing, barely alive. Some of this story was confirmed by a fourth year who had seen them arrive before she was asked to leave.
Dean and Seamus walked into the dorm room quietly. Hoping the noise from the common room did not travel up the stairway.
"Shush, you'll wake up Neville. The poor guy has had a rough night." Dean whispered.
"Yeah, you're not wrong there. I'll tell you one thing though; I wouldn't want to be in that situation down there with all those Death Eaters." Seamus said with a look of apprehension on his face.
"Got to give it to Neville. He was there with Harry and Ron. Took balls, that."
"You're not wrong mate, you're not wrong. Come on let's get to bed. We can ask him about it tomorrow."
Neville closed his eyes, which lit with a small flicker of hope, and a smile on his face. The admiration from his fellow roommates had meant more to him than they would ever know.
He thought back to that night during their duel. The Death Eaters were a unit, held together by fear and intimidation. This group, which Neville finally felt part of, was born out of respect and loyalty. Bellatrix be damned; she had none of that. In his own way, Neville felt sorry for her, something was missing from her life, something important. It was this thought that shocked Neville. He was a better person than her, granted, yet he felt pity for her. She was lead by fear and power; he was lead by hope and friendship.
'Maybe things will turn out OK after all.' Neville thought before falling asleep.
Many thanks once again to Tante for her support, and to thekillerpie for beta-ing! Thanks also to Elfmaiden for the pre-beta.