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a neville longbottom fanfiction.
written by jude.

content warning ; themes of substance abuse, trauma, and mental illnesses. please be aware if these might be triggering! <3

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ASK BRIAR VALIENTE, and she'll tell you that it's a simple story.

               Golden girls are magnets for ruination — and once upon a time, she was golden, too. But Icarus falls — and yes, Briar hates how fucking cliché that sounds, too — and she's hardly even a ghost of the person she used to be. Here's the thing about broken girls (read: Briar Valiente) — they don't know when to stop taking. She's no exception. She'll take and take and take until there's nothing left, until everyone around her feels as hollow as she does.

               As her sister, Calla, likes to say, Briar's already burned so many bridges that it's a miracle she hasn't drowned yet. Briar just bites the soft flesh of her cheek until it bleeds, and thinks, You don't know the half of it. Her sister doesn't know what the wizarding world went through. Her sister doesn't know that Briar can barely afford to see her therapist anymore. Her sister doesn't know that after less than three months sober, Briar's teetering dangerously close to relapsing. Again. And she knows that if that happens, she won't have anyone left to cling to.

               Maybe Briar is drowning. Maybe Calla is her last hope, pathetic as that seems — the last tiny bit of driftwood for Briar to cling to before she slips under the waves. But she knows, deep down, that it would be easier for everyone if she just let go.

               Letting go is exactly what Briar intends to do — until the night when Minerva McGonagall comes to her door with a job offer. She doesn't know why she accepts. But it's too late to turn back, and suddenly, Briar is surrounded by people who refuse to give up on her. Naturally, she hates them for it.

ASK NEVILLE LONGBOTTOM, and he'll tell you that it's a simple story.

               He's never been the hero — not for a single day in his life — but the people around him seem to think that he is. He feels like he's been painted gold, an imposter with the face of a lion. In truth, he sometimes thinks that things were easier before the war. At least then, he could hide in the shadow of his parents. Now, he's exposed, and he can't find it in himself to be the person the world wants. Here's the thing about healing boys (read: Neville Longbottom) — they don't know when to stop giving. He's no exception. He'll give and give and give until he doesn't have anything left, but maybe that's okay, so long as he saves someone along the way.

               It's been six years since Voldemort was vanquished, and Neville knows that the scars on his world run deeper than anyone will admit. A year after he graduates (albeit after repeating his seventh year along with most of his classmates), he throws himself into teaching Herbology, mostly because it's what he's good at — and it's one of the few things that still makes him happy. He becomes Gryffindor's Head of House, and he tries his best to be there for his students. The summer before his third year teaching at Hogwarts, McGonagall asks him questions about Briar Valiente, who he'd only known in passing, and who he has hardly heard about in almost five years, since she'd dropped out following the Battle of Hogwarts. If he's being honest, he never expects to see her again.

               But he does, in September of 2004, when she takes the long-vacant position of Muggle Studies teacher, dredging up ghosts that have haunted them both for years. Before he knows it, Neville is following that girl with no light in her eyes down even farther into the pit of their shared grief, and it's still unclear if he will pull her out, or if she will drag him down with her.

𝐅𝐑𝐎𝐌 𝐄𝐃𝐄𝐍, neville longbottomWhere stories live. Discover now