The Sugar Quill
Author: TheRealMaraJade  Story: The Cruciatus Curse  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.

Disclaimer: Neville Longbottom and all other characters related to the Harry Potter books are property of J.K.Rowling, not mine. I’m only borrowing them for a little bit after some harmless wondering about what could have happened in a certain day of Neville’s life…

I hope everyone who reads this enjoy it, or at least stop to think a little bit about clumsy and adorable Neville!

TheRealMaraJade

***

'Anyone else know one? Another illegal curse?’

Hermione’s hand flew into the air again and so, to Harry’s surprise, did Neville’s. The only class in which Neville usually volunteered information was Herbology, which was easily his best subject. Neville looked surprised at his own daring.

‘Yes?’ said Moody, his magical eye rolling right over to fix on Neville.

‘There’s one – the Cruciatus curse,’ said Neville, in a small but distinct voice.

Moody was looking very intently at Neville, this time with both eyes.

‘Your name’s Longbottom?’ he said, his magical eye swooping down to check the register again.

Neville nodded nervously, but Moody made no further enquiries.

-- Harry Potter and Goblet of Fire by J.K. Rowling, Bloomsbury Edition, page 189 --

***

The Cruciatus Curse

 

When Professor Moody asked in his very first class to the Fourth years Gryffindor students what were the curses most heavily punished by wizarding law, Neville was forced to remember something very unpleasant about his past.

Something that nobody but his grandmother and his great-uncle Algie knew about.

Nightmares.

Since a very young age, Neville used to wake up in the middle of the night crying. He never remembered exactly what he saw or heard at his nightmares. The only thing he knew about those was that someone was screaming, but he couldn’t make out who they could be, or if they were trying to say anything.

Well, at least that was all he knew until last year.

It had all started during the trip back to Hogwarts. Neville had gone to Harry and Ron’s compartment once the lights went out, and had suddenly felt a coldness spreading through his body, followed by screams in his head.

Screams that he knew only too well.

But this time he was recognizing two distinct voices, something he had never done before: the voices of a man and a woman. And Neville suddenly realized who they were: his father and his mother.

Neville was petrified. It had been years since the last time he ever had that nightmare. Now not only he was reliving it again, wide-awake, but he was also completely aware of exactly what was happening.

At first, he heard only his father screaming, with his mother’s sobs in the background. Then his mother joined him, both in excruciating pain, just after a deep, vicious, nasty, sadistic voice had said, ‘Crucio!’

Thankfully, the professor sharing the compartment with them had been able to scare the Dementor away, and the pressure those highly disturbing sounds were forcing upon Neville’s brain had been lifted.

But the sounds had remained deep within his mind, perfectly and unbearably clear. And after that dreadful experience with the Dementor, Neville couldn’t help but mull over the subject over and over again during the following weeks.

Surely, he couldn’t have come up with these highly disturbing sounds on his own. No one, not even a very imaginative person, could picture his or her own parents in so much misery. So, there seemed to be only one explanation for that.

Neville was hearing his parents when placed under the Cruciatus Curse because he had been there.

It was impossible.

He knew very few of that fateful night’s events, but his grandmother had assured him that he was not with his parents on that night. She had told him that he had been only two years old when a group of Death Eaters captured and cursed them in the name of the Dark Lord, hoping to extract some information from Frank Longbottom about the whereabouts of You-Know-Who.

But then, he wouldn’t have recollections so real about his parents screaming in agony under the Cruciatus Curse, would he?

After months wondering about that, and remembering over and over again what he had felt when the Dementor had entered that train compartment, Neville finally had the chance to set everything straight.

When he had gone back home for the Holidays, he had asked his grandmother about that fateful night. Or rather, confronted her, something he had never done before, and that greatly surprised her. But he had to do that at that moment, especially because he had an uneasy feeling that his grandmother had lied to him to protect him.

And his grandmother, apparently too flabbergasted by Neville’s sudden determination and fierceness in knowing about his past, confirmed his suspicion. On that fateful night, Neville had been with his parents. The Death Eaters had first attacked his father, then his mother and then…when nothing seemed to break his father into telling anything, they had almost attacked Neville. Apparently, the Death Eaters had heard Neville’s cries from the second floor of their house when they had begun their attack at the Longbottoms, and had brought him down to threat his parents by torturing him.

Luckily, the Aurors arrived at that exact moment and saved him and his parents. Well, at least his parents’ physical selves, because their minds had been deeply scarred by the Cruciatus Curse.

The fact that Neville was almost put under the Cruciatus Curse was actually one of the possible reasons that explained his parents’ current mental state. Sure, other people had been placed under the Cruciatus curse, but usually they either died of agony, had a short period of mental impairment that in a few months regressed, or survived unscathed (those lucky few to have been placed under it only a couple of times).

But the Longbottoms had been at St. Mungo’s for years now. And that had never happened to anyone submitted to the Cruciatus Curse before.

They weren’t the only ones affected by it, though. Neville had also been deeply affected by the Curse, in a way very different than his parents, despite the fact that he hadn’t been cursed. But he had spent the next few nights awake, unable to sleep, crying and screaming for his parents.

So, his grandmother and his great-uncle Algie, who had been one of the Aurors to find the Longbottoms in the clutches of the Death Eaters, decided that the best thing to do was to erase that night from Neville’s memory.

And they had to use a very powerful Memory Charm.

They didn’t succeeded in erasing completely his memory, though. He still continued to have nightmares, although less disturbing ones. At least Neville could sleep part of the night, and with time he stopped having those at all, especially when his grandmother started teaching him all about plants and gardening.

Gardening was a hobby Neville’s grandmother had told him to be his parent’s favorite. In fact, they still practiced it at St. Mungo’s, but now as a form of therapy. And it was also the only thing that was finally able to stop Neville’s nightmares completely.

But what his great-uncle and grandmother didn’t expect, though, was that the Memory Charm they had to use to erase Neville’s memory had been so strong that it had impaired his brain from functioning perfectly.

So, Neville never developed the magic any normal child in the wizarding world did. He had become almost a Squib, not to mention that, when growing up, he also became a very forgetful and disastrous boy. And to his family that was a great disgrace, since they were one of the oldest and more traditional wizarding families around.

Great-uncle Algie, who had been the one to come up with the spell and actually performed it on Neville, had been so transtorned by its results that he blamed himself for it, and swore that he would pluck the magic out of Neville.

No wonder he had been so happy that he had bought Neville his frog Trevor when Hogwarts accepted him. He, like Neville’s grandmother, thought Hogwarts would never accept Neville.

But Neville had come to Hogwarts, and even though he was not the best student in his year (well, it would be a lost cause anyway with Hermione Granger as a classmate), he managed pretty well.

When his grandmother finished telling Neville the whole truth about his past, she added that they only did that to protect him. Neville couldn’t blame her, or be mad at her. She had taken care of him when his parents were unable to, and she had done a very good job of it.

But he needed to know one more thing, no matter how hard it could be for him to know the truth. He needed to know. He was a grown-up boy now. A brave Gryffindor. And so he asked his grandmother what was the curse the Death Eaters used on his parents.

She looked up at him, startled even more by his question and a little frightened too. But seeing what was unmistakably the Longbottoms determination on his face, she whispered.

‘The Cruciatus Curse. It’s one of the worst things a human being’ she said the last few words sarcastically ‘can do to another. It’s one of the Unforgivable Curses.’ She looked at Neville, the bitter look on her face disappearing to give place to a fierce look. ‘But the monsters that did that to your parents got what they deserved. The Ministry for Magic hauled them into Azkaban for the rest of their lives.’

So, when Professor Moody had made his question, even thought Neville had never volunteered for anything in Defense Against the Dark Arts, he raised his hand to answer, without even thinking. And he did it not only once, but twice.

And that was a remarkable thing for Neville to do. After all, Neville was the kind of student that went out of his way not to draw attention to himself during classes. Especially during Potions, when Professor Snape went out of *his* way to make the Gryffindor students suffer. And Neville was one of his favourite victims, alongside Harry Potter and Ron Weasley; and the fact that Neville was very clumsy and completely helpless at Potions didn’t help.

The only class Neville ventured willingly to answer the teacher once in a while was Herbology, but it was the only class he was good at, really good. But then again, his grandmother had taught him all she knew about gardening and plants before he came to Hogwarts. Not that any of his classmates knew about this.

So, Neville’s classmates’ surprise when he volunteered to answer Professor Moody was completely understandable. After all, the only time Neville had done something in a DADA class was when Professor Lupin, the professor that had scared the Dementor away at the Hogwarts Express, had asked him to face a Boggart, and Neville hadn’t truly volunteered for that.

When Neville finally told Professor Moody about the Cruciatus Curse, Moody provided a small explanation about the Curse and then subjected an engorged spider to that curse.

Looking at the spider rocking from side to side, in what was undeniable pain, and wrapping its legs around itself, Neville had for the first time in his life a clear image of a living being under the Cruciatus Curse. Coupling that with the screams that were now permanently imprinted in his mind, Neville was able to reconstruct a very possible and real version of what had happened that night so many years ago. He couldn’t help looking at the spider suffering and picturing a mental image of his parents doing likewise. He dug his fingers into the wooden desk in front of him, remembering his parent’s screams from his nightmares, and now having a sick mental image of how they had twisted and turn in pain.

He felt so shaken by it that for a moment he had thought to see an evil glint on Professor Moody’s normal eye, and a small smile tugging at his lips. But he couldn’t possibly have seen that. According to his grandmother, he had been one of the Aurors, along with his great-uncle Algie, to arrest the culprits that had attacked his parents (as a matter of fact, she had been very pleased to learn that Moody was going to teach at Hogwarts this year).

So, he couldn’t be enjoying doing that to the spider, or seeing Neville’s reaction to it.

Could he?

THE END

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