are you doing, Mr. Longbottom?”
looked up at Professor Snape slowly, with trepidation. He knew all too
well what was coming, when he watched his potion turn into a violent purple
color just a few minutes before. Snape’s face was set in the look of malicious
triumph he specially reserved for Neville and Harry as he looked into Neville’s
cauldron. Scowling at the viscous liquid inside it, he snapped his head
back up to look at Neville.
were supposed to brew an Inflating Potion, not the bile of a Manticore.
Twenty points from Gryffindor.”
at it again,” Harry growled, watching the whole commotion unfold two rows
in front of him. Ron and Hermione quickly looked at where Harry was gazing.
Indeed, Snape was tormenting Neville for the umpteenth time, and it would
usually stop when Neville ran out of the dungeons, tears trickling down
his face. Since the very first day of fifth-year Potions, Snape had been
picking on Neville even worse then ever. Harry had, several times, been
tempted to punch the professor’s face for treating Neville like an imbecile,
but was just able to hold it back for fear of losing house points and earning
a detention. Ron had already decided on his course of action, points or
no points. Only with Hermione stopping him would he back down and simmer
in his own seat.
too, was outraged by the behavior of Snape, but her ever-practical sense
had always overruled her impulse to go out front and confront him. Perhaps
it was better to not jump into the fray, as that would cause a lot of trouble.
And Hermione Granger was most certainly not fond of trouble.
then, Snape spotted a medium sized animal lurking around Neville’s legs.
The latter followed his gaze, and with a soft gasp, scooped up the escaping
amphibian hurriedly. A plan began to surface in Snape’s head.
over the toad,” Snape demanded. He snatched Trevor away with a deft hand
when Neville produced the nervous amphibian. “It would make an ideal test
subject for your ‘potion,’” he said, spitting out that last word like a
whole class rapidly quieted down and looked in the direction of the Potions
Master. The ones who were also brewing the potion put out the fire underneath
the cauldrons for fear of unattended boiling and melting of the cauldrons
while they were focusing on something else.
will use this pitiful excuse for a pet,” began Snape, while sniggers began
to issue from the Slytherins, “to test out Longbottom’s inflating potion.
If all goes well, it will inflate up to three times its size. If the potion
is not up to standard, which is almost inevitable, then it will - ” Here
Snape paused to flash a malevolent smile, “inflate until it bursts.” This
statement was met with collective gasps from the Fifth Year Gryffindors,
and enthusiastic cheering from the Slytherins. It sounded very much like
goblins gloating over a pile of money, to Harry.
he mad?” Hermione squeaked, “Trevor is Neville’s closest friend! What if
it dies of poisoning?”
still,” replied Ron, staring at Snape with unbridled fury in his eyes,
“what if it gets inflated so much that it bursts?” Both cringed at the
thought of Trevor’s grisly remains spread all over the classroom.
was now very quiet, and waiting for the application of Neville’s potion.
Harry was silent and watchful, all the while restraining the anger that
welled deep inside him. Something (or someone - it would most certainly
be a ‘someone’ to Neville) was going to be treated like a sacrifice, and
he could not do anything about it.
also saw tears beginning to run down Neville’s anguished face.
had crossed her fingers and was now praying silently for the success of
Neville’s potion. Ron himself wanted to stop this ‘exhibit’ of Snape’s.
Trevor on the desk, Snape took advantage of the toad’s temporary loss of
consciousness to pour Neville’s potion on it, and then stepped back to
watch the results. All the eyes of the people present in the room gazed
intently at the toad.
whatsoever happened to Trevor in the first few seconds. The Slytherins
were beginning to go back to their seats unhappily when a sudden shout
from Seamus made them turn back and watch. Trevor was beginning to swell
up. It continued to inflate, bit-by-bit, until it was the size of a fully
blown balloon, and then it stopped.
the Gryffindors breathed an audible sigh of relief.
were just going back to their seats, when it suddenly started to inflate
again, now in a faster speed than before. The students who had been standing
near the toad moved quickly away from it. Trevor kept ballooning until
it was the size of an eleven-year-old Dudley, at which point it burst.
impact was disastrous. Trevor exploded and went into pieces. The toad’s
innards and blood went splashing on all sides, and there was a scream from
Parvati and Lavender as they tried desperately to clean off the dark red
substance. The Slytherins were all howling with laughter, much like hyenas.
shouted Snape, amidst all the noise, “goes to show that your potion has
failed, Mr. Longbottom. Thirty five points from Gryffindor for obvious
inattentiveness and ten for the dirtying of the dungeon walls.”
now looked at Neville, observing his reaction. Some looked at him with
scorn, and others with sympathy. Neville himself had gone wild eyed and
stared straight ahead, as though in a trance, and then suddenly he knelt
down upon the floor, staring at the ground. Nobody moved.
looked down at Neville with a menacing sneer latched on to his face. “Get
up, Longbottom, and stop wailing like a child. Wash the remains of your
toad off the dungeon walls, and make sure it shine.”
whole class had seen the entire incident and had varying degrees of reactions.
Parvati and Lavender were silently sobbing, while Dean and Seamus cracked
their knuckles and looked ready to pay back what Snape had done to their
friend. Hermione, however, was looking at Harry and Ron worriedly. She
had reason to do so too, because both were looking extremely murderous
in that moment. Harry was glaring at Snape with disgust and anger written
all over his face, and his emerald green eyes were shining very brightly.
Ron was already shaking with suppressed rage, baring
Neville would incline his head to see them, he would at least know that
all his friends would stand up for him, to anything at all. But he was
rendered temporarily speechless and deaf to everything going on around
Slytherins were all snickering and pointing at the stains on the wall and
the floor, marveling at it as if it was a mural. Malfoy and his two cronies
were the worst. “Idiot boy is crying over something pathetic again,” drawled
Malfoy. “In first year it was the Remembrall, now it’s his stupid toad.
If you ask me, we should have gotten rid of it sooner. It only serves to
revolt those of us who are made of better stuff than him.” Crabbe and Goyle
laughed, as always, at his remark.
then, Neville stood up. The whole class silenced themselves for a second
was facing Snape, whose sneer faltered, all the while staring at the ground.
The Slytherins were ready to begin making fun of him again when he opened
sentence was not uttered in fear, but in great fury. Neville looked up
at Snape. The Potions Master took a step backward in surprise. Neither
he, nor the class, had ever seen the boy that enraged before.
Snape regained his composure quickly. “And why not?” he replied. “It was
only a pathetic creature. It is not worth anything.”
animosity reached a breaking point with his words. The Gryffindors practically
bared their teeth while the Slytherins were grinning with the sides of
their mouth almost reaching their eyes.
WAS MY FRIEND!” Neville shouted. “AND EVEN IF HE’S NOT, YOU DON’T HAVE
THE RIGHT TO TAKE THE LIFE OF ANYBODY WHO IS INNOCENT!”
the Gryffindors move closer behind him, and Harry’s hand come to rest on
his shoulder, Neville found an enormous well of courage to push his assault.
With a forceful edge to his words, he said in a small voice:
are no better than Voldemort.”
gasps were echoed all around as Snape himself took a step back. Steely
resolve then settled into him and he took his wand out. “This has
gone too far,” he snarled, “I will bring you to your head of house, who
will give one of the worst detentions ever.”
raised his wand up above his head, preparing to cast the Stunning spell,
but for once, Neville was quicker than him. Raising his own wand, he moved
to disarm Snape. “EXPELLIARMUS!” he roared, and instead of just disarming
Snape, he was unexpectedly thrown towards the dungeon wall. With a loud
‘crack’, all the breath in Snape’s body escaped him. His wand was sent
clattering onto the cold stone floor.
rounded on the Slytherins, who went out of the dungeon as fast as they
could. The Gryffindors, however, stayed behind to congratulate him on his
victory over the Potions Master. Everybody applauded, with Seamus and Dean
giving catcalls. Ron shook hands with him, yelling, “That’s bloody brilliant!
How did you do it?” And Hermione, true to her studious personality,
commended him on his excellent wandwork, but a hint of a smile was evident.
Parvati and Lavender cheered in a manner not unlike the fans in a Quidditch
match. But Neville just stared at the ground, oblivious to the chaos around
him. His hands were clenched, and tears were starting to fall again.
would have broken down and cried, if Harry had not put an arm around him
for comfort. He leaned closer and said, “You are a true Gryffindor, Neville.”
Neville looked with red-rimmed eyes at the face of The Boy Who Lived, and
was surprised to see confidence and pride in his eyes.
and pride seeped into his soul, and he felt then that he could face five
Snapes simultaneously, anytime.
the Gryffindors left, and the only person remaining was Snape, sitting
on the floor with his back against the wall. He had been conscious the
whole time, and nobody had bothered to even notice him. He winced as he
tested the movement of his limbs. ‘Longbottom certainly has proven himself
this time,’ he thought. He would no longer be the weak-minded boy he
once was, and Snape knew that it would be an aid of sorts for Neville in
these approaching dark times. Blood was beginning to trickle down from
his forehead. As he rested for a while, a wry smile materialized on his
hundred and fifteen points to Gryffindor.”