Makes us stronger
Disclaimer: I don't own Harry Potter (or BTVS, since this is a crossover series) and am making no money!!! They belong to JK Rowling and publishers (and Joss Whedon and Mutant Enemy) respectively.
AN: I have other chps for Dawn but I can't get them off my comp at the moment... please bear with me!!
“He was my friend.” Neville whispered.
[Hermione] gave Neville a quick peck on the cheek, smiled at him, then left before she was confronted with his colossus of a Gran in a temper.
Neville watched Hermione go, walking a little too fast to fit in with the slow-moving crowd so that he could watch her procession as far as the floo chimneys where she disappeared in a flash of green fire. His Grandmother was talking too loudly and too fast to be making any real sense but he’d grown up with her and so could follow her train of thought even if no-one else could.
Although that could be a good thing with what she was currently saying about the Minister and his entire Ministry. He ignored the looks he was getting from the other wizards and witches as he followed this steamroller of a woman. People moved quickly out of the way when they saw her coming and Neville just had to stay in her slipstream to avoid being jostled.
They went up into muggle London where the summer sun was giving way to the dim of night, such as it was in the city, and they flagged down the Knight Bus, hanging on, once aboard, as it careened down the busy streets swerving and dodging anything that wouldn’t get out of the way.
In one sense Neville was glad it took everything he had just to stay sitting, it meant he couldn’t drift off into his own little world for long, which meant he wouldn’t have to think about Hermione’s little pronouncement back in the Ministry headquarters.
They left London behind with a bang. Granny lost her hat in the sudden motion and Neville smiled. Then laughed, huge bellyaching laughs that caused tears to spring from the corners of his eyes. He could feel the hysteria bubbling up inside him and he let it all out. He clutched at the railing beside him, the only thing holding him up, he clutched at it as if it was his only lifeline in the crushing sea that was pulling him under.
Dimly he was aware of Granny landing a heavy hand on his shoulder and he looked up at her, laughter still gripping him as he fought to control it.
He thought she would lecture him, try again to instill in him the Longbottom family virtues of bravery and honour she had fought so hard to teach him. But as he looked into her brown eyes she was silent, her lips pinched together in a hard line until he though her face would crack from the pressure.
He deflated like a balloon, swift and sudden. All energy gone now he leaned back. Out of reach of her hands, but now of her eyes. Those eyes that had followed him since he was a baby, watching him as he learned to walk, as he got his first letter from Hogwarts and later as he was told he’d killed a friend he would have died to save.
There was no recrimination in her eyes, no reproach. Only the hard pinch that, oddly, he had come to recognize as the only means she had to tell him she loved him. In that moment Neville felt he truly understood his Grandmother.
Understood how she had boxed herself away from the world, through Voldemort and those terrible years when he would never know if her son would live to fight another day as Auror, through the news that he had fallen so soon after everyone had though they could learn to live again, and knew that his Grandmother would see him through this, like everything else.
There was a lurch as the bus stopped at the gate of their house and the moment was lost.
“Come along, Neville,” she said in the quiet roar she said everything in and Neville sighed. He stood up and walked quickly after her. She was half way down the path when she turned to look at him. She nodded once, sharply. Then said to him in that gruff voice of hers.
"What doesn’t kill us, Neville!” She nodded again.
They walked on.