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Chapter 8 - It Was Now Or Never

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1 Chapter 8 - It Was Now Or Never on Fri Jan 14, 2011 8:04 am

Mrs.KreszentiaBlack

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Ten years later . . .

Neville and Ginny returned from Victor Krum's wedding in great spirits.

"Wasn't it a great party!" said Ginny wistfully, "it's so beautiful when a couple gets married."

Neville took this as his cue. He has been meaning to ask her ever since Ron and Hermione got married. "Ginny, will you marry me?"

Ginny couldn't answer; She was so happy! She was waiting so long for this moment. "Yes, Neville, of course! "

"There is something I have to tell you, though, something I never told a soul."

"What is it?" asked Ginny almost fearfully, seeing Neville's sober expression.

"I will show it to you, my memory of it. Here, I borrowed this Penseive from McGonagal." Neville took out a silver thread from his brain and dropped it into the Penseive.

"Wait, Neville, first just tell me what its about," Ginny said slowly.

"Do you remember the night that Harry sneaked out to kill Voldemort, without telling Ron or Hermione?" said Neville quietly, "the same night that the three of them came to the Griffindor Common Room exhausted, but thrilled, because they have destroyed the second-to-last Horcrux?"

"Yes," she answered thoughtfully, "but you weren't there..."

"I was there. I was sitting in the common room hidden. I saw you sitting there, all alone, I did not know why you were there, I was trying to gather up the courage to talk to you - Not in a boyfriend way," he said hastily, seeing her expression, "just to talk to you. You looked so miserable, you know..."

"Yes I was worried and miserable," said Ginny remembering, "it was, then, when I finally found out where those three were going every time they disappeared. I remember begging them to come along, but to no avail. I remembered how they promised me they would visit me in the common room when they are done, so I shouldn't worry. They all – well, at least Ron and Hermione - knew it was Harry that I was most concerned about."

"But when they came-"

"I never understood him! " she cried suddenly, "Why? It was as if that month we had together meant nothing to him! I know we weren't together anymore for already a year, but I was just so relieved to see him back; and when I hugged him, I did feel his desire for me, but he just pushed me away. He said 'we weren’t meant for each other' I just never understood it, even as he kept insisting that I would eventually understand."
"He explained it to me, Ginny. After you, Ron and Hermione went up to your dormitories, he told me the truth. I was still sitting there, waiting for Harry to leave, so that I can sneak quietly back to bed, when I heard him weep. This made me feel very uncomfortable. I was sure Harry would never have wanted me to witness this very private display of emotion. I couldn't imagine what he would be crying about, for at least two hours, while writing something. I could hear the scratching of quill on parchment. I wasn't sure what to do with myself, so I just sat there, hoping to forget all of it, and never to let Harry find out that I heard, but he saw me in the end."

Neville took Ginny by the arm and they fell together into the Penseive.

They were falling through something icy cold and black; it was like being sucked into a dark whirlpool-
and suddenly, they found themselves in the common room.

17-year-old Neville was sitting uncomfortably on the couch by the fire, when Harry suddenly appeared looking puffy-eyed and startled.

"Oh! Neville!" he said surprised. He did not look away, or hide the fact that he was crying, but is voice sounded surprisingly calm and steady. "I was looking for a place to hide this," he said showing Neville a small piece of parchment, while stuffing a much bigger piece of parchment into his robe pocket.
"Listen, will you do me a favor?" he asked when Neville couldn't answer. "Can you hold this for me, and if you hear that I died, give it do McGonogal or someone. It's my will.” he explained seeing the question on Neville's face.

Neville finally found his voice. "Where are you going?" he stammered.

What shocked Neville, and now, Ginny, was not what Harry was saying, but the way he said it. He sounded so matter-of-fact; it was as if he was talking about a piece of homework on a regular school day.

"I am going to kill Voldemort,” answered Harry.

Neville's eyes widened. "Are-are you sure? Are you sure you know what you're doing?" Neville was panicking. "What if he will win..?"

"Don't worry Neville, I have a plan. It's fool-proof; guaranteed to work."

"Then why did you write a will?"

Harry sighed and sat across Neville, "I guess I'd better tell someone about my plan," he said, "What I have in mind to do, is posess Voldemort-"

Neville gasped, "posess...?"
"Yes, posess, it’s one of those dark powers I kindly received from Voldemort the night he killed my parents. When he tried to kill me he accedently gave me some of his own powers.I will posess him, and march him to the department of mysteries, and into that veil, over there."

"But, Harry, this will mean..." Neville looked fearful.

"I know what it means. This is why I wrote a will. I want to make sure my friends get my stuff and my money, and not the ministry or the Dursleys."

"You can't do it! You can't go! " Neville burst out suddenly, his voice shaking horribly. "You've got to think of another plan! There's got to be another way. Just wait a little, don't do it now."

"Neville, there is no time to wait for another plan. Voldemort is already wizened to what Ron, Hermione and I were doing. If I don't do it now we might never be able to do it. He will become immortal again. We worked so hard to make him mortal, I can't risk the possibility that he will create another Horcrux today or tomorrow. We will NEVER find out where it is, or what it is, or how many. My only opportunity is now. I will never have a second chance! "

"Then maybe we should call the members of the Order and the aurors from the ministry, why should YOU have to do this?"

"Because I am the only one who can use Voldemort's powers. It's because of a prophecy that was made before I was born."

When Harry finished reciting the prophecy, Neville said "but my parents - I was born..."

"That's right, you see? You could have been the "chosen one" had Voldemort chosen you. But he marked me as his equal, so it's my job to finish him. But this is why I trust that, you, of all people would understand me. Imagine that it was you who had the only power to destroy the most horrible dark wizard in history. And you would KNOW that he would hunt you for the rest of your life if you don't kill him now. You will never have a peaceful moment. You will never be able to fall in love, or get married for the fear of the mess you will be getting your wife into. You would be in constant fear for your friends, for yourself. What kind of a life do you call that? What would YOU have done in this situation?"

Neville looked horrified. There was a long pause as Harry and Neville looked at each other.

"Tell me, Neville," Harry said earnestly, "please tell me what you would have done. "

There was a very heavy silence. Neville was looking all around the room not really seeing anything. He looked like he was moving his eyes too quickly either trying to hold back tears or searching desperately for some kind of an escape. He finally broke the silence by trying to change the subject.

"What is this parchment you have in your pocket?" he asked Harry.

"This," sighed Harry, "is a letter I wrote to Ginny. A letter she will never read because it will be gone along with me when I get into that veil."

"Why?" asked Neville startled.

Harry noticed, that hearing Ginny’s name startled him. "Neville, I know how you feel about Ginny. I see the way you look at her. I know you never dared approach her, because you weren't sure of my feelings for her. So I will tell you the truth. I love her. I love her more than anyone or anything on this earth. I would give anything to be able to live and be with her forever and ever. But I don't want Ginny to know how much I care for her because I am worried about her. Look at Cho. She is wretched. She is depressed. She is still crying over Cedric. I don't want this to happen to Ginny."

"Then don't let it. Don't go."

"But you know this is not an option!" Said Harry looking at his watch and starting to sound slightly impatient, "Ginny will never know how I feel about her even if I don't go now, because I know we cannot be together. I will never be with any girl because it will condemn her to a life on-the-run; a life of fear and panic, until Voldemort catches up with us and kills us both."

Harry stood up. He looked pleadingly at Neville, as if asking him for his permission. "What would you have done if it were up to you?"

Neville looked anxious, "I - I would go," he said in a shaky, barely audible whisper.

Harry had relief written all over his face. It was as if he was waiting for a blessing to go ahead. To Harry those three shaky words meant, "I know that what you are doing will hurt your friends and everyone who loves you, but I understand that it's the only thing you can do."

"Thank you, you are a great friend." Harry told Neville giving him a quick hug and sounding businesslike again, “Take care of Ginny," and he turned and walked away without looking back once.

Ginny looked at the present-day Neville. His head was in his arms, and his shoulders were shaking with silent sobs. She took him by the arm, and led him out of the Penseive.

"A great friend," wept Neville, "he called me a great friend. I was sending him off to his death and I-" his voice was breaking, "what sort of friend does that?"

"You were very brave for letting him go. He would have gone weather you approved of it or not. He would have immobilized you if he had to; you know that. He didn't need your permission. He needed reassurance, and you gave it to him. That's why he thanked you. You were a good friend."

Ginny and Neville stayed up very late that night. They weren't talking at all. Just sitting there, together, holding hands, thinking...

It was much later, when Ginny was going up to her bedroom to sleep, that she let her tears flow.
She remembered Harry’s will looking clean and fresh with no tear- stains. She knew it was her letter he was crying over. Crying, because he knew he was losing her. He knew he would never see her again. And he was going through the pain that she did not have to feel when he died.

"Oh, I understand it now, Harry, I understand, " she said miserably to her pillow.

And she knew. As her mind drifted off into sleep, as her brain was filling with warm, happy dreams of weddings, and life, and Neville, she finally understood what seventeen-year-old Harry was doing ten years ago, as he was pushing away the love of his life. It was to protect her from the pain of losing someone she loved. She understood why he kept insisting that they were not destined for each other. It was because he knew that his future was already prewritten from the time the prophecy was made. He knew that he was not destined to have the girl he loved, because his destiny was already finalized long before he ever met her. Since that dreadful night at Gordic Hollow, when Voldemort chose to mark him as his equal: from the moment he received that scar.

Author's note: JK Rowling said that the last chapter of the last book will be an epilog, and the last word will be "scar", so I had to end it this way. The next chapter is an AU of this. just disregard this epilog; pretend it never happened, then go on and read the next chapter.



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