Summary: Hannah's life up to her wedding with Neville Longbottom
Author's note: Oddly writers tend to universally describe Hannah as a bosomy girl. I have continued in this tradition.
Written for the twenty random fact fest: http://iulia-linnea.insanejournal.com/360172.html
When Hannah Abbott's mother discovered she was pregnant with Hannah, she shocked her colleagues by immediately quiting her job. They considered her an up and coming, ambitious woman whom they assumed would want to keep her plum position serving the Wizengamot, but she'd had difficulty getting pregnant and needed to be absolutely sure of the safety of this miracle child. You-Know-Who's killing of Dorcas Meadows in the hallway outside of her office, convinced Hannah's mother that the Ministry was too dangerous a place for a pregnant woman. (She had nightmares featuring the hiss of Parseltongue for the rest of her life)
She did not return to work till after Hannah boarded her first train to Hogwarts. Even then, she waited in case Hannah had trouble at school and needed her. Of course, this twelve year hiatus took its toll on her career. Her former boss found her a job monitoring Floo traffic for the Department of Magical Transportation. She never regretted her loss of status or income.
Though taught at home by her mother, she was never lonely, because she played often with the children of her parent's friends. Ernie Macmillan, Morag MacDougal, and Mandy Brocklehurst fought pretend wars with her on sunny afternoons, chasing her through the magical forts and play houses that her parents had built in their garden. When the Diggorys came to the house, Cedric would direct her and the other children in complicated games of his own design. He took each kid for long rides on his broom and sometimes even let Hannah ride it herself as he shouted instructions from the ground. One rainy Sunday afternoon when she was eight, he taught her and Ernie Exploding Snap.
Hannah developed early; she wore a bra at ten and was menstruating before she received her Hogwarts letter. She hated it. The bras pinched and poked till she pulled them off in frustration, forcing her poor mother to bribe her into wearing them. By her second year at Hogwarts, the other girls envied her, asking a lot of questions that she hated answering. She wore loose over-sized blouses and tried to disappear as much as she could. Her father remarked that she had changed from a confident, silly, little girl who ran wild with her friends to an insecure little mouse. Her mother blamed her age and assured him that this was something she would outgrow.
Hannah wasn't surprised when she was sorted into Hufflepuff; her mother had always said that she was a born Badger, and her dad had joked that she let her friends win too often at games to be anything else. She was glad, because the Hufflepuffs were the friendliest people at Hogwarts; even their ghost wanted every student to be part of his house. She was shocked to learn the other houses had passwords and tests to keep people out of their common room. Why? What were they afraid of? No Hufflepuff cared if a student from another house sat in their chairs or warmed by their fire. Anyone who wanted to was welcome to come in and a lot of them did. (That had to change seventh year, like so much at Hogwarts.) Best of all Ernie, who'd been her friend since they were two year-olds sharing the same bath, was in Hufflepuff. She'd lost Morag and Mandy to Ravenclaw, but she would have Ernie with her for seven years.
She knew that the other houses looked down on Hufflepuff, but that just showed that they didn't belong there. What could you say about people who thought loyalty, honesty and willingness to work were second rate?
Fifth year, a group of boys in a stupid, underground poll voted Hannah the girl at Hogwarts with the best figure, only they didn't put it that way. The Patil twins were the most beautiful. Lavender and Daphne were the most all around gorgeous. Susan and Pansy were cute. Hannah didn't like to even think about how they described her. Megan came running to her with the gossip, thinking that she would be thrilled or proud or who knows what. (That girl constantly pointed out tiny blouses and sweaters that she thought Hannah should wear, having no idea what Hannah would actually look like if she wore those things.) Susan told her not to be embarrassed by the words of idiots, while Ernie shut them up.
Death Eaters killed Hannah's mother because she refused to help them. They approached her demanding reports on Floo activity in certain homes. She knew they were tracking Harry Potter; anyone who'd followed the recent newspaper reports on the boy would have figured that out. He was a child the same age as her own daughter; she could no more betray him than she could betray Hannah herself. She'd run from these people before, in those long ago days of Dorcas Meadows and she would not do it again. So because she refused their bribes and stared down their threats, they killed her. Her replacement agreed to the Death Eater's demands, because she felt only a fool would do otherwise.
Sixth year, Hannah had her first boyfriend, Justin Finch-Fletchley, and he was wonderful. Relaxed easy-going and fun, he made her feel loved and desirable. They started dating at Halloween and stayed together until her mother's death ruined everything, or rather until Hannah ruined everything after her mother died.
When Hannah returned home, she felt her mother's absence like a punch. Nothing that anyone said helped. She didn't want to be with her mother in some golden future; she wanted to talk to her mother now, to please her and make her happy -- to take care of her. Hannah knew that her mother would have been angry if she had known about the things she and Justin had done together. The woman was dead and beyond caring, but Hannah still felt inside, deep and uncontrollable, that she had hurt and betrayed her mother, and she wanted to somehow make it up to her.
So Hannah pulled away from Justin, ignoring his letters and his requests to visit. When he with the rest of Hufflepuff came to the funeral, she avoided him, instead clinging to Ernie and crying on Susan's shoulder. She knew she was hurting someone who cared about her and was only trying to comfort her, but she couldn't stop herself.
Her mother's death drove her and her father apart. They argued over stupid unimportant things, until they became distant and quiet with each other. Her father made angry little comments, complaining about her mother, their marriage, her death, accusing her of putting Harry Potter ahead of her own family. Her grandparents told her to be patient with her dad, because he was grieving and didn't mean what he said, but Hannah hated listening to him. To her every word was a betrayal.
After Hannah returned to school, her dad married her mother's best friend. “I know now that life is short,” he wrote her, “and I have no time to waste.”
Hannah stared at the letter wondering if her parent's marriage had been unhappy her whole life. Had her father loved her mother at all? She felt that she had not only lost her mother but also her past.
Seventh year Hannah kept the truth about life at Hogwarts from her family. She couldn't see the point in burdening them. They could do nothing to help and she was of age, an adult, who should handle problems by herself, but when she returned home at Christmas, they were all so protective of her that she wondered how much they suspected. Her great uncle Tom even offered to hide her so she wouldn't have to return to school. She refused, not wanting to risk getting him into trouble, and as a member of the DA, she was needed. That Christmas her uncle spent a lot of time with her in the kitchen teaching her to cook. "There was no comfort like sharing food, drink and company with friends," he told her.
By Easter they were so worried, that only the publicity surrounding the capture of truants kept them from insisting she remain at home. The day she returned to school her father saw her off at the station. Before she could board, he hugged her close and whispered, “Promise me you won't get hurt.”
Kissing his cheek ,she whispered back, “I'll try my best.”
“Trying your best isn't enough. Promise me,” he demanded even more quietly so only she could hear. “You know what it's like to lose someone. Don't let that happen to me again. You have to promise me.”
She promised even though she knew it was a lie. How could she promise anything?
Life at school that year was almost unbearably hard. Many, many friends were missing. Hannah worried about Justin, filled with guilt over how she'd treated him. Then Susan, her rock, was kidnapped after Christmas in an attempt to silence her parents. Hannah feared for her friend's life and missed her support as conditions at school grew worse and worse. The pressure to conform, to think like the Carrows wanted her to think, to do the things they wanted her to do, was crushing. The DA knew that they had to do two things to defeat the Carrows. They had to be ready to fight when the time came and most important of all, they had to keep themselves from being squeezed into the mold the Carrows had prepared for them.
She endured the Cruciatus Curse, felt pain beyond what she ever thought she could feel, pain so bad that when it rolled off of her and she came to herself she couldn't understand why she wasn't dead. In some ways the anticipation of the pain as she waited for her turn in front of the wand was even harder, but the worst was fighting the urge to use the curse herself, not against the Carrows or their little servants, but against the kid in detention in front of her. The kid they were demanding that she hurt. Sometimes she found that she wanted to hurt that kid, really hurt him, because if she didn't, if she refused to torture him, she would be tortured herself. Sometimes she hated that kid, hated him enough to want to use the curse and to be able to mean it, because he was the source of her pain. She never tortured anyone, but she understood those who broke down and did. Knowing you could feel that way and think those thoughts was a horror of its own.
Then there were the boys on the disciplinary squads, the one who saw their work as an opportunity to gain favors. They would offer a chance to get away, to avoid the pain, in exchange for doing what they wanted. Some of them took bets on who would give in while others went after girls they really desired, giving them detentions, threatening them with particularly bad punishments. As humiliating as it was to admit, there were times that Hannah considered giving in, seriously considered doing anything to avoid some pain. Those were very bad days.
She kept a grip on herself, even holding out from taking refuge in the Room of Requirement. Someone had to stay behind and protect the younger kids -- between the dementors, the Death Eaters and Carrow's detentions those children were in serious danger. She remained firm and did her duty to the end, taking comfort in that.pThe night she got word that Harry had returned to Hogwarts, she looked in the mirror and congratulated herself on out lasting her enemies. “You've prevailed,” she thought. “Despite them you haven't lost yourself. You remained Hannah Abbott.</p>
When Harry returned and Hannah knew that the battle they'd been waiting for was about to begin, she felt nothing but overwhelming relief, as if she'd come up for air after swimming underwater for a long time. She knew they were outnumbered and that some would die, but after a year of abuse the chance to fight -- really fight, not just resist but to finally rebel was like coming alive again.
Nothing Hannah saw that day was as shocking as watching Neville run out to confront Voldemort alone. She even reached her hand out to grab him in a bizarre attempt to stop him across the yards of ground that separated them. No horror she witnessed equaled the sight of him burning. Later she dreamed about it often, but in her nightmares, he didn't break the body bind spell but burned until he was nothing but blackened embers. She never knew that his grandmother shared the same dream.
Her father was part of the reinforcements that Professor Slughorn lead into battle. Hannah suspected that he spent his time looking for her rather than fighting. When he did find her, he was so angry that she thought for a moment that he might slap her. He hugged her instead. “You promised,” he said before telling her that fighting in the battle was the most selfish thing that she'd ever done.
Her great uncle sat her down and told her frankly, that she'd had a bad time of it and needed to heal. She could share her experiences with him if she wanted to. He was a barman and had heard every story there was, but if she didn't want to -- that was fine with him too. He offered to train her to run the pub, promising her the business when he died.
“It is a fine thing to take care of people,” he said. “Give those who are hurting some fun, a place to meet friends, eat, and have a few drinks -- that's how to heal.” Her uncle even offered her his old quarters – a three bedroom apartment on the top floor of the pub that he had decided was too big for him.
After everything, Hannah liked the sound of her uncle's offer and so the Leaky Cauldron became her home.
She didn't cry when she found Morag and Mandy dead on the battlefield in a cluster of mangled Ravenclaws, nor did she cry when she helped lay Eloise down in the row with the other dead. She didn't cry at the funerals. She didn't even cry when they brought her word that Susan had been found dead in a cellar. It scared her that she didn't and she wished she could. She watched Ernie weep heavily at Susan's funeral and tried to join him, but nothing happened.
One day, Neville Longbottom came to tell her that Susan's killers had been captured in Massachusetts, in America, where they had been hiding. They'd apparently killed her in an attempt to cover their tracks. The Aurors had brought them home for trial by special Portkey. Hannah sat staring silently at him as he spoke, and then suddenly, she burst into tears and cried with him for a very long time, not understanding why she was able to do so now and not before, but very grateful that she could feel again.
She loved the other members of the DA. To her they were a second family, who had shared experiences with her that no one else could understand. She told her uncle Tom that whenever any of them needed a meal, a room or a drink, she would give it to them without charge. He agreed.
Every holiday, and anniversary a private room at the pub was open for the DA to spend together as they wished. Some stayed the whole day, while others just dropped in for an hour, but everyone was welcome. Harry had offered the Burrow and later his own home, but she told him he was being ridiculous. She had banquet rooms, a bar and a kitchen large enough to feed an army, why should Mrs. Weasley or he and Ginny have to struggle to do what she could do with no effort? She was a Hufflepuff; hospitality was her gift. But really, she wasn't going to let an outsider look after her DA. Harry was their founder, their hero and their hope, but he hadn't shared a year under the Carrows. He was a man apart. Ginny knew and understood, but Hannah didn't think Harry even suspected.
She wasn't shocked when George Weasley married his dead brother's girlfriend. She understood how grief was a form of madness, sometimes making people drive away those they loved, while making others cling all the more to those who had loved their lost one. One afternoon not long after the war ended, Hannah's stepmother slipped into the Leakey Cauldron, sat Hannah down and talked with her. She told Hannah how much she had loved her mother and how devastated she'd been by the loss of her oldest friend. Her friend's husband had been grieving too. They had turned to each other, each seeking comfort in the other.
Hannah claimed to have a policy of never dating customers. She found this to be the simplest way to deal with those men who couldn't see a blond bosomy woman serve drinks without making themselves unwanted. The rule was flexible of course.
One night after her other customers left, Neville Longbottom offered Hannah help cleaning up so she could finish her work early. He told her he was hoping to bribe her into breaking her rule about customers so she would go out with him that night. Charmed that a man would wash dishes in order to be with her, she accepted gladly. She always thought there could be something good between them.
Neville's parents were guests at Hannah's and Neville's wedding. Hannah felt it was right for them to attend; she would have wanted her mother to be there, whatever her condition.
Before the wedding, the most common reaction to this unremarkable plan was shock, which irritated Hannah. She was tired of people acting as if the sight of Neville's parents would drive everyone screaming into the streets. The two of them really weren't that bad. She and Neville understood his parents and knew how to take care of them. They had set up an excellent system of attendants who could Side-Along Apparate the Longbottoms to a quiet place if they grew frightened or overwhelmed. Hannah knew there would be no problems, but still people asked them if they had really thought things through. "It is a lovely idea," they would say, "but..."
Finally when Ginny asked her if it was fair to subject the Longbottoms to stares, Hannah became very frustrated and demanded Ginny give her a list of all their friends who would stare, so she could avoid inviting them. “I don't want anyone to come to my wedding who would treat Neville and his parents like that,” she said. Of course there were none -- their friends all loved them.
The wedding was lovely, and most people didn't even notice that the Longbottoms were Disapparated away when the ceremony ended. Neville's mum happily shredded two bouquets and his dad sometimes appeared to be enjoying himself. The attendants did such a good job that neither she nor Neville were distracted at all. Hannah felt quite smug about the whole thing.
They honeymooned in Puerto Rico deep in the El Yunque rain forest where strange, beautiful, almost obscene orchids bloomed, surrounded by whip spiders a foot across and iridescent butterflies with eye encrusted wings that spanned both Hannah's hands. The coquis frogs sang all night and a waterfall splashed into a small pool of water near their room. Neville had learned of this place while searching for those orchids, the very ones he would use in the years to come to breed the flowers he would name for her. He had heard from the local wizards of a cottage amid the forest hidden and Unplottable, accessible only by Portkey and then only by invitation. He had immediately thought of Hannah and had dreamed of taking her there. After they were married, he did.