The Sugar Quill
Author: St. Margarets (Professors' Bookshelf)  Story: A Toad of a Hero  Chapter: Default
The distribution of this story is for personal use only. Any other form of distribution is prohibited without the consent of the author.

A/N: This story was written as a birthday gift for Dogstar, who wrote Asking For Roses, a wonderful Neville/Hannah Abbott story. Dogstar is planning a seventh year story from Neville's point of view. In the first chapter of her story Neville sets Trevor free as soon as he is off the train. This is the story of their reunion as well as an alternate point of view of the Battle of Hogwarts. The passages in italics are taken from Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. Thanks to TDU, Jo Wickaninnish and Sherry for the betas.

A Toad Of A Hero

Trevor the Toad decided that he hated goats. No, he loathed goats as much as he loathed very few things in this world that long-nosed professor, bubbling cauldrons of horrible liquid, toad-eating snakes with sharp fangs. He had not always hated goats in fact, he had never had any particular opinion about goats at all until he had come to live in this place called the Hog's Head. Neville had set him free on the first day of school and promised that they would be together again once "everything" was over.

Trevor had no idea what "everything" meant, but he thought it must have something to do with those horrible cold things that patrolled the streets of Hogsmeade and the fact that he, Trevor, was living in a run-down pub that smelled of goats instead of the nice warm castle with Neville.

A sharp hoof stamped the ground next to Trevor's back leg. He jumped, only to come face-to-face with another black, horned hoof. How he loathed goats! Each one had four of these appendages he had to dodge.

Even though it was dark and those cold, nasty things in cloaks would be out, Trevor decided he had had enough of the goats. He would sneak into the pub and lurk in one of its dark (albeit sticky) corners for a well-deserved rest.

As soon as he was out of the goats' dilapidated shed, a horrible noise rent the air. An alarm had sounded! They were obviously looking for him, Trevor the Toad!

Men with heavy treads and rough voices gathered in the street. Then he felt the chill of those cold things. He was suffocating all he could see were goats and poisonous cauldrons. He would never see Neville again . . .

Something silvery flashed in front of his eyes, and the chill dissipated, allowing him to breathe once more. Before he could croak his relief, the door of the pub popped open, sending a golden beam of light out into the darkness. In four hops, Trevor was under the legs of the cranky landlord who was waving his wand and talking about goats. Not wanting to be seen, Trevor moved under a table as fast as he could. His heart was still racing when the door shut and the grumpy old man returned to his empty pub.

But the pub wasn't empty. He could hear voices coming from the rooms upstairs. Familiar voices. He shut his eyes and remembered the black-haired boy who was always in trouble. Harry was his name. Trevor trembled. He liked an adventure as well as any toad, but this boy

He hopped closer to the stairs. This was not good. Not good at all especially if

Yes, that was the voice of the tall, red-haired one Ron - who snored loudly and never picked up his socks. Ron's deep tones were quickly overridden by the loud bossy voice of the witch who was always trying to help Neville. Trevor liked Hermione, despite the fact that she talked a lot and didn't understand that a toad just needed to get away every now and again.

He started up the stairs. Even though it went against every bone in his body to get involved with those three, he thought they might take him to Neville if he showed himself.

He was resting on the fourth step when he heard yet another voice. Neville! A bolt of pure happiness shot through him as he contemplated the impossible. For an entire winter and most of the spring he had been in exile but soon he would be taking his rightful place in Neville's pocket. He would bask in the warm humidity of the green house, he would have more than enough flies to fill his belly, he would regale Toro the Bullfrog with tales of his exploits in Hogsmeade . . .

His excitement dimmed. He had to climb a mountain of stairs first.

Neville and warmth and flies. He mustn't lose sight of his mission, he thought determinedly. His hind legs ached, and his stomach hurt where he had slammed into the sharp edge of the steps, but at last victory was his. He was on the same floor as Neville!

For about one minute.

He was just in time to see the portrait over the mantel swing shut and Neville's back receding into the depths of the picture. Neville's hair was different, but Trevor would know that determined stride anywhere.

Trevor, who always thought swearing was for mouthy tadpoles and uncouth waterfowl, cursed his luck.

"You!" The piercing blue eyes of the landlord were upon him.

Trevor scrambled away from the kicking feet of the old man, and hopped into the shadows. Luckily there was a very small mouse hole in the wall with no mouse. The smell of goats must have driven it away, Trevor thought as he squeezed himself into the confined space and started to relax. The pub owner hadn't perused him, and if he stayed here, Neville was bound to return. His eyelids drooped as he thought of Neville's happy round face when he saw his beloved, brave toad again . . .

*

"I think you should seal the portrait after me, Aberforth."

Trevor opened his eyes with a start. That voice. It couldn't be. Neville's Gran? Here? He shot out of the mouse hole with one strong push of his back legs. Surely she would recognize him. He croaked as loud as he possibly could.

"That toad again! It's been hanging around all winter." Trevor moved closer to Gran, away from those hobnail boots.

"Merciful Merlin!" Gran said. "That's Neville's toad."

"Neville's toad, you say?" Aberforth scratched his head. "Why's it hanging around here?"

"Who knows? He obviously wants to go back to Hogwarts." Gran scooped him up.

Trevor was in ecstasy. Finally someone was holding him again. Finally someone was going to take care of him. It had been a long, lonely exile he could admit that now. Really, it was amazing how he, a modest toad, had survived with such stoicism and valor.

"We're going right into the thick of things," Gran said grimly, putting him into her handbag. "Should be quite an adventure for all of us."

Adventure? He didn't want an adventure.

*

He had fallen asleep again, lulled by the gentle swaying of Gran's handbag and the soft bed of her linen handkerchief. The three Chocolate Frogs he had eaten had also contributed to his feeling of well-being, so that when he woke up to the sound of Harry telling Gran that Neville was fighting, Trevor felt refreshed enough not to cower underneath Gran's Mokeskin wallet. As a credit to both his curiosity and his bravery, he poked his head out of the opening and then promptly dived for cover as a red flash lit up the corridor.

The handbag tumbled end over end with Trevor still inside. He was buffeted and bludgeoned by the contents of the purse (Sickles and Knuts in any number were heavy). By the time the handbag came to rest, Trevor's head was spinning and his tender flesh was bruised all over. He had just spit out the breath mint he had inadvertently swallowed when he heard an ominous rumble. It sounded like wood thumping on stone. With a deep (minty) breath, he summoned the courage to peep at his surroundings. What he saw horrified him a herd of desks was thundering towards him. This was as bad no worse than goats!

Years later he wondered how he ever extracted himself from the tangle of that handbag, but extract he did. Luckily, he was close to a hidden staircase and managed to hop to safety that way. Obviously, desks couldn't go down stairs.

Unlike the desks, Trevor could go downstairs but it wasn't any safer. Peeves was throwing Snargaluff pods, a crystal ball smashed right next to him, and there were emeralds cutting into the soft part of his stomach. Trevor thought he caught sight of Neville with a Venomous Tentacula, but he couldn't be sure because he was distracted by the giant spiders.

His list of things he loathed was getting longer, and giant spiders were now at the top of it. Perhaps it was the number of appendages that could crush him or perhaps the murderous red eyes or the fact that one of them had him by its pincer grip and was going to shove him in its giant maw

Hagrid's voice cut through Trevor's agonized thoughts. "Don't hurt 'em!"

Trevor took heart. Hagrid was worried about him, Trevor the Toad. How wonderful to have friends at such a time.

The spider dropped him on the landing of the Entrance Hall stairs and took Hagrid away. Trevor felt the building tremble. He happened to look through a high window and saw a huge eye staring back at him.

Good heavens, giants.

His scrambled brain tried to work out just where on the list of loathing he should place giants when he heard a muffled, gritty scream. A gargoyle's head came to rest next to Trevor. "This is it. I'm done for," the gargoyle moaned.

Trevor couldn't believe the whinging. Everyone knew that with a quick patch of plaster and some magic, the gargoyle would be as good as new. But if a toad lost his head

Trevor hopped away in disgust only to encounter a discarded adolescent Mandrake undulating on the marble stairs. With a come-hither smile she grabbed his back leg and started to kiss his muscled (but terribly bruised) flesh.

"Unhand me, you hussy!" Trevor croaked. The Mandrake didn't understand toad, or she didn't care. She continued to kiss her way up his leg . . .

Trevor's eyes crossed in pleasure. Then he pulled his leg away this Mandrake was a temptress of the first order. But he had to be strong there was a war going on. The Mandrake pouted her displeasure and then said something.

Trevor didn't speak Mandrake - not that it mattered since the cry of an adult Mandrake could kill a human and Stun even as strong a species as the toad. As it was, he felt his head was filling with cotton wool as the world went black.

*

"No!"

Trevor woke to the sound of anguish.

"No!"

"Harry! HARRY!"

"SILENCE!"

Trevor's eyes snapped open as he heard the high, cold voice that had haunted his Mandrake-induced coma. Did Harry turn himself in like the voice in his nightmares had asked?

"He beat you!" That was Ron.

Whatever was happening, was happening in the first light of morning right outside the doors of the Entrance Hall. And Ron was there, which meant

Oh, no! Trevor poked his head through the railing of the stairs in time to see Neville disarmed and falling backwards. Harry Potter was lying at the feet of a hideous man who looked like a snake in a dress. A crazed-looking woman with dark hair was laughing. From this distance, Trevor couldn't hear the snake in the dress, but he could hear the woman.

"It is Neville Longbottom, my Lord! The boy who has been giving the Carrows so much trouble! The son of the Aurors, remember?"

The snake man said something, but Trevor didn't catch it.

By that point Neville was on his feet, again with his fists clenched. "So what if I am?" he said loudly.

Trevor was proud of his defiant owner, but he was starting to worry about the real snake he suddenly spied. It was huge and looked ready to strike. Trevor shuddered. How he hated no loathed snakes!

"I'll join you when hell freezes over," shouted Neville. "Dumbledore's Army!"

Trevor's heart was in his mouth as the crowd cheered. Neville was going to get himself killed and he, Trevor, would be alone in the world. This was the worst possible

A window broke, Neville stiffened, a Hat fell on Neville's head and then burst into flame. Trevor couldn't quite comprehend it all. It was too awful. Maybe he was dreaming that giant's cries of 'Hagger!' and the army of centaurs and villagers that were charging the castle.

Then, like a dream, the action abruptly changed yet again as he saw the flash of a silver blade. Neville was inexplicably free and holding a sword that he used to decapitate the giant snake.

Oh, Neville. Trevor's heart burst with pride.

"HARRY! WHERE'S HARRY?"

Harry was nowhere to be seen and the crowd in the Entrance Hall was going wild as yet another battle broke out this time with the house-elves joining in.

The action surged from the Entrance Hall into the Great Hall. Trevor didn't know if he should stay put or join the throng. He couldn't see Neville in all the confusion and he was worried. Neville had just killed that horrible man's pet snake.

There was so much noise from the shouting and the hexes flying that nothing was clear in the din until he heard the unmistakable sound of a mother defending her young. "NOT MY DAUGHTER, YOU BITCH!"

The female of the species was always the most formidable, Trevor thought wisely. He started down the stairs. He was three steps above the floor of the Entrance Hall when he heard, "HE'S ALIVE!"

Of course, he was alive, Trevor thought with amusement. It would take more than pummeling handbags, giant spiders and randy mandrakes to keep Trevor the Toad down. The crowd was now silent and still, making it easy for Trevor to weave around their legs. Thank goodness humans had only two appendages for him to avoid.

Harry was talking and the snake man with the high, cold voice was talking.

Then he heard it:

"Avada Kedavra!"

"Expelliarmus!"

The cannon blast of sound lifted him off his feet and the golden burst of light temporarily blinded him. When he opened his eyes, he saw the snake man stretched dead on the floor.

There was a moment of shocked silence and then there was a jubilant roar that filled his head and lifted his heart. It was over.

Trevor watched Neville hug Harry, who was enduring the embraces of his friends in stunned disbelief. For some reason, Harry had two wands.

It was over.

*

Of course it wasn't over for Trevor, since he couldn't make his croaks heard over the shrieking crowd. After a spending a short time congratulating his friends, Neville leaped into action again tending the wounded and moving the newly fallen.

Trevor couldn't keep up with Neville so he looked for his grandmother. He had just caught a glimpse of Gran talking to Professor McGonagall when Peeves swooped down and took him on an exuberant flight through the corridors. Trevor went limp in the poltergeist's hands and moved Peeves to the top of his loathing list. After all he, Trevor the Toad, had been through that day, he had to suffer this further indignity of zooming around the ruined castle listening to Peeves' idea of a victory song:

We did it, we bashed them, wee Potter's the One,

And Voldy's gone mouldy, so now let's have some fun!

In one of their circuits around the castle, Trevor saw Harry, Ron, and Hermione going up to the Headmaster's office. Neville wasn't with them.

Eventually Peeves got tired of Trevor and his victory song and dropped him in an empty cauldron in the Potions dungeon. Trevor about gave up then and there. He would just lie in this iron coldness and wait for someone to cook him into delicious soup. Then he remembered Neville's words: "I'll join you when hell freezes over."

Neville would never give up, and neither should he, Trevor the Toad.

He summed all of his energy and hopped out of the cauldron, practically spraining his left hip in the process. Then he started his slow journey to Gryffindor tower. Surely Neville would go there to sleep after his work was done.

He passed more whining gargoyles by the staffroom, a landscape full of people drinking, and the suits of armor that were slowly marching to their plinths. There was no one else in the corridor. Even Peeves was quiet. The Fat Lady let him in to the Tower when he guessed her the password in one try:

Harry Potter.

The empty common room looked just the same, only a little shabbier.

The fifth stair still squeaked and the dormitory still smelled like dirty socks.

From what he could tell, all the boys were in their beds. Dean was lying on his back, fully dressed. Seamus was snoring. Ron was on his stomach with his hand dangling to the floor. Harry had fallen asleep next to a plate of sandwiches. They looked so heartbreakingly young.

Trevor sniffed back a rare, sentimental tear and then looked anxiously to Neville's bed. His stalwart heart couldn't take it if Neville wasn't behind those hangings. He hopped up on Neville's trunk, and then pushed through the hangings. Neville was lying on his side with his hands tucked under his cheek and his eyes wide open.

Trevor wasn't surprised. Neville had never been a good sleeper he was one to worry and toss and turn before he finally succumbed to slumber.

His light hop must have alerted Neville to his presence, because he abruptly sat up, almost knocking Trevor off the bed.

"Trevor?" Neville asked in a choked whisper.

Trevor found he couldn't croak around the lump of emotion in his throat "I can't believe it." Neville's voice cracked. "You're all right." Neville put gentle hands around him. "You lived."

Trevor looked into the kind eyes of the one he loved the most.

"Not everyone lived," Neville repeated incredulously. "But you're all right."

Trevor felt something warm and wet drop on his head.

"I'm so lucky compared to so many," Neville sniffed, still holding Trevor in his calloused hands. "Thank you," he breathed. This was said so quietly that Trevor barely heard him.

At first he wasn't sure to whom Neville was addressing this gratitude, but then Trevor decided that Neville was expressing his thanks to his toad, because at last the poor boy was starting to relax.

Neville slid against the pillows with his eyes closed. Trevor jumped out of his limp hands and settled next to him on top of the blanket.

Neville had fallen asleep like this too many times over the years for Trevor to count. He would talk out his feelings and then he would finally fall against the pillows in a final surrender. Thank goodness he had made the effort to be here, Trevor thought. How else could Neville have ever fallen asleep after such a day?

"You're welcome," Trevor croaked softly before he, too, closed his eyes. He was a toad of a hero, he thought proudly. Of course he would be here - now and all the other days Neville needed him.

//
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