ApologizingDisclaimer: None of the characters are mine, but belong to Joss Whedon and co., or to J. Rowling.
Note: This takes place in AU BtVS season 8 (comic-verse).
Neville saw the girl – or rather, the young woman – in question sitting in the lobby of St. Mungo’s, reading one of the magazines. That alone was already not quite how he envisioned this scenario, but he had no intention of retreating. “V’era Nocturna Lestrange?” he said, trying to sound controlled, but failing at it, as always.
Neville’s interlocutrix shifted to face him, and Neville realized, to his discomfort, that she was not only somewhat older than he, but also a bit wider in the shoulders. “Now there’s a name I didn’t hear for a long time,” she said softly. “Please, call me Faith Lehane. It’s a lot simpler and easier, at this time.”
“My name,” Neville ignored her, “is Neville Longbottom. Your parents have Crucio’d mine to insanity.”
“Ah,” V’era, or Faith, just went slack. “A vampire named Kakistos had tortured my guardian slash Watcher to death, so I think I know where you’re coming from. Ergo, what are you going to do about it?”
“Um.” In theory, Neville had a very good idea what he was going to do about it, but in that same theory this just wasn’t supposed to happen. “A vampire? Really? And your guardian?” he said, trying to think on his feet and failing.
“Yeah, it’s a very sad story,” another young and feminine voice spoke from behind Neville. “Faith, you sure that you don’t want some cider?”
Very carefully, and feeling that this situation was getting further away from his control by the minute, Neville turned around. Another girl was there, young, and blonde, and carrying a couple of mugs of hot cider.
“No, Courtney, I’m not really in a cider mood. Maybe Mr. Longbottom would like some, though,” Faith replied from behind Neville. “Do you?”
A lifetime of living with his Gran took over. “Yes, please,” he said, almost gratefully and took one of the mugs.
“Just be careful,” Faith’s voice was still devoid of malice or anything that Neville had expected her to sound. “Courtney likes her cider hot and spicy, apparently.”
“That’s okay, you just have to drink it slow,” Neville replied, feeling rather ridiculous all the same. “Anyways, ah, why are you here?”
“Oh, we’re waiting for Mr. Giles and Gigi. Mrs. – I mean, Madame Pomphrey told us to go here as well, in order to get Gigi’s prescription-“
“Wait,” Neville managed to wedge into Courtney’s babbling. “You know Madame Pomphrey?”
“Not us, Giles,” Faith said, almost smiling for the first time since the discussion began. “And it’s not Gigi, but Genevieve – Courtney is just being herself.”
“Aha,” nodded Neville, fully aware of the bizarreness of the surroundings (from his point of view). “So who are they?”
“Them,” Courtney emphatically pointed further down the corridor. Another dark-haired girl was slowly coming out of there, one hand holding a crutch, another gripped by an older, bespectacled gentleman. “Hey, Gigi, what’s up?”
The other girl gave Courtney a look that cemented for Neville the idea that calling her Gigi was bad. “I’m fine,” the girl said, rather friendly than Neville had expected. “In about a month, I’ll be back to normal.” She gave Neville a look. “And who’s he?”
“Neville Longbottom,” Faith explained.
“Really?” Mr. Giles looked at Neville with some interest. “And how’s Lady Augusta these days? Still living in Westmoreland?”
“Gran’s fine,” Neville said, feeling that things were getting back on track – somewhat. Now, however, he wasn’t sure that that’s what he wanted. “You, uh, knew her? Knew my parents?”
“Only so-so,” Mr. Giles admitted. “Madame Pomphrey asked me to see them while Miss Savidge was being checked regarding her trauma. As I expected, they fell to one of Rudolphus Lestrange’s more antique curses.”
“They’ve been Crucio’d to insanity!” Neville said hotly and fell silent, for Mr. Giles looked at him with a look that Neville had seen only in his Gran, and that wasn’t a good thing.
“Young Longbottom, I do not mock you,” Mr. Giles said sternly, “nor your pain and loss, but your parents were hit with a rather outdated and cruel form of Oblivating curse, not one of the Unforgiveables. The physical damage was secondary to the mental... but that’s not my point. All I am saying is that you should seek the help of an experienced and professional curse-breaker as well as a healer-“
“G-man, we still have to meet B and the others,” Faith spoke up. “Genevieve, feel like walking all that distance?” she asked, sounding more concerned than before.
“Yeah,” Genevieve rolled her eyes. “And if I’m tired, will you carry me?”
“We’ll see,” Faith said carefully. “Bye, Longbottom.”
“Good-bye, Mr. Longbottom.”
With these words the strange foursome was off. Very soon they were out of St. Mungo’s doors and out of Neville’s sight. Only a cup of still-warm apple cider reminded Neville that that hadn’t been some hallucination of his.
“Well,” he spoke slowly into the cup. “I came expecting a life or death confrontation, and instead I got a cup of apple cider. Just another day in my life, I suppose. Until next time, V’era, or Faith, or whatever your name is.”