A True Gryffindor
Authors' Notes: It's all JKR's. Well, except for Twinky.
Neville Longbottom sat in an armchair in the corner of the Gryffindor common room. No one had spoken to him all evening, and he really doubted anyone even knew he was there. He had spent most of the past couple of hours trying to corral Trevor, his toad, who seemed determined to escape yet again. Neville had almost gotten used to being alone- no one seemed to want anything to do with him since he, Harry, and Hermione had lost all those points. Ordinarily, he would have gone to bed by this time; he usually couldn't handle an entire evening of the silent treatment. However, he had noticed Harry, Ron and Hermione nearby, whispering and acting very nervous. He wasn't sure why, but he had a feeling they were planning yet another rule-breaking adventure. Someone had to stop them. Maybe he should say something?
Neville's thoughts were interrupted by a highly arrogant voice. It was Percy Weasley, and he had apparently decided it was bedtime.
"All right, everyone, lights out in ten minutes!" Percy was bustling around the common room, directing people to finish their activities and head for their dormitories. Neville started to get up with the rest of the Gryffindors, but he heard Ron saying something about a cloak, and decided he'd better stay put. He crouched in the shadows behind his armchair, waiting to see what would happen. He watched as Harry rushed up the stairs to the boys' dormitory, returning a few minutes later, carrying a silvery, grey cloak.
"We'd better put the Cloak on here, and make sure it covers all three of us - if Filch spots one of our feet wandering along on its own -" Neville watched as Harry shook out the Cloak and started to put it on. An Invisibility Cloak? They were planning on sneaking out! Neville took a deep breath and rose from his spot in the corner.
"What are you doing?" Neville asked as he emerged from behind the armchair. Harry, Ron and Hermione jumped about three feet in the air.
"Nothing, Neville, nothing," said Harry, trying to hide the Cloak behind his back. Neville didn't believe him at all.
"You're going out again," he said angrily.
"No, no, no," said Hermione. "No, we're not. Why don't you go to bed, Neville?"
The nerve! Telling him to go to bed when they were so obviously planning to break more rules! He was going to have to stand up to them. He just knew it. He worked up his courage, hoping it would be enough to stop them.
"You can't go out," he said, "You'll be caught again. Gryffindor will be in even more trouble." There. That sounded reasonable. But they weren't listening to him.
"You don't understand," said Harry, "this is important." That was it. He was going to have to do something desperate. He stepped between them and the portrait hole.
"I won't let you do it." Neville couldn't believe his ears. Was he really this brave? "I'll - I'll fight you!" Or this stupid?
"Neville," Ron exploded, "get away from that hole and don't be an idiot -"
"Don't you call me an idiot!" Neville shouted back, scandalized. "I don't think you should be breaking any more rules. And you were the one who told me to stand up to people!"
"Yes, but not to us," Ron replied. "Neville, you don't know what you're doing!" Ron took a step toward Neville, who almost lost his nerve. He dropped Trevor, but managed to stand his ground.
"Go on then, try and hit me!" said Neville, raising his fists. "I'm ready!" It was official. He was stupid.
Harry turned to Hermione.
"Do something!" he hissed.
Neville felt very nervous all of a sudden. He knew he might get one good blow at Ron before he was knocked out, but he was no match for Hermione and her wand.
"Neville, I'm really, really sorry about this," Hermione said as she stepped forward, raising her wand.
Neville didn't have any idea what she was going to do, but he felt fairly certain she wasn't the only one who would be sorry. He braced himself for the worst.
"Petrificus Totalus!" Hermione cried.
Before Neville knew what was happening, he was falling face-first to the floor. He tried to put out his hands to catch himself, but he couldn't move his arms at all.
"No!" he tried to scream. "You can't do this! What about Gryffindor?" But it was no use. He couldn't move his mouth, either. Whatever Hermione had done to him was keeping him from doing anything but staring at the floor. Hermione knelt beside him and turned him over.
"What've you done to him?" he heard Harry whisper.
"It's the full Body-Bind," Hermione answered miserably. "Oh, Neville, I'm so sorry."
"Sorry? I thought you were my friend!" Neville tried to shout.
"We had to, Neville. No time to explain," Harry said, looking down at him.
"Explain what? That you think you're above the rules?!"
"You'll understand later, Neville," said Ron, stepping over him. Neville longed to reach out his hand and trip him. Instead, he watched helplessly as they disappeared beneath the Invisibility Cloak. Moments later, the portrait hole had opened and shut. They were gone.
"I can't believe they left me like this! What am I going to do?" Neville thought dejectedly. It was past midnight. He would just have to lie there until Hermione came back, or until someone else found him, which could be the next morning.
"They won't be gone long! Surely they'll be back soon," he tried to assure himself. "All I have to do is wait patiently, and Hermione will come back and help me in a little while." But the time ticked slowly by. After what seemed like hours, Neville began to doubt his friends would ever return. "I'm going to be stuck this way forever!" He wanted to cry, but it seemed he couldn't even do that!
Neville had been lying on the floor for several hours, contemplating a life of absolute stillness, when suddenly he heard a rattling noise near the fireplace. Then, a squeaky voice began humming what was unmistakably a Weird Sisters tune. "It must be a house-elf," Neville decided. He breathed a sigh of relief. The elf would soon find him and alert someone to his predicament. The humming grew louder. The elf was working its way toward him. Any minute now...
"Oh, please excuse Twinky," the elf squeaked. "Twinky thought she was alone! Twinky will leave sir to his slumber party!" Neville couldn't believe his ears. She thought he was here for fun?! And to make matters worse, she began straightening his clothes! She covered him with a blanket, bid him good night, and disappeared.
"Come back, Twinky!" Neville tried to scream. "Come back!" Neville couldn't believe it. He knew house elves were supposed to be discreet (his gran had always said they should be seen and not heard), but this was ridiculous! A slumber party? Did he look like he was having a party?! He hoped Twinky would mention him to someone, but thought that very unlikely. Instead, he wondered just what could go wrong next.
He didn't have long to wonder. To his great dismay, he heard Peeves zoom into the common room, cackling about wrecking Filch's office. Neville prayed the poltergeist would somehow not notice him lying on the floor in front of the portrait hole. No such luck.
"Ooh, an ickle Firstie out of bed!" Peeves hovered upside down over Neville's head, grinning evilly. "Should tell on you, I should. Students aren't supposed to be out of bed in the middle of the night. What are you up to, ickle Firstie?" When Neville didn't reply, Peeves blew a raspberry at him. "What's the matter, Firstie? Cat got your tongue?"
To make matters worse, Trevor chose that moment to hop over and plant himself right on Neville's nose. Peeves roared with laughter.
"Oh, no, I see. Toad's got your tongue!" Peeves somersaulted around the room, chanting "Toad's got your tongue, toad's got your tongue!" and chucking stray Gobstones at Neville. This went on for what seemed an eternity, and Neville began to feel his grip on reality slipping. He saw his gran and his great-uncle Algie, both cackling at him and chanting along with Peeves. "I'm just hallucinating," Neville told himself. "They're not really here." But they seemed so real, and he could hear their voices so clearly... Suddenly a fourth voice sounded in his head. "Peeves! Peeves! PEEVES!!!" Nearly Headless Nick had to shout to be heard. Neville wondered if it was really Nick, or just another hallucination.
Thankfully, Neville was not hallucinating. "PEEVES!" Nick shouted. "Do you want to wake up all of Gryffindor Tower? Leave here at once, or I will fetch the Bloody Baron!" Peeves scowled at Nick, making a rude gesture as he quickly departed. Nick turned to float through the portrait hole, when he spotted Neville lying on the floor.
"Longbottom! What are you doing down there?" Nick peered curiously at him. "Oh, dear. Been cursed again, have you? Don't you worry, I'll send for aid!" He disappeared briefly through the portrait hole, and Neville could hear him having a conversation with the Fat Lady. Nick soon reappeared and said, "There now, Longbottom! I've asked the Fat Lady to alert Professor McGonagall. She'll be here any minute."
Neville breathed a sigh of relief. He was saved!