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I  wrote the following alternative POV piece for the Omniocular August challenge.  We were to write a scene from an outsider's point of view.

Title: She Knew He Would Return
Author: Vegablack62
Characters: Augusta Longbottom
Rating: PG
Word Count: 1440
Beta: Oddnari
Summary: How did Augusta always know that Voldemort would return?  She watched the trial of Bellatrix Lestrange.

Rec'd by: The Golden Seeker


 

  

Augusta Longbottom had insisted on a seat as close to the accused as possible and because the ministry pitied her they were inclined to give her what she wanted.


She sat just below Crouch, facing the four Death Eaters. If she desired (and she did) she could look right into the eyes of her son's attackers. The guards had confiscated her wand

and had searched her for every possible magical weapon, before they would allow her to take her seat. She had stood calmly while they passed a Probity Probe and a Secrecy Sensor over her; since the tragedy, she had grown used to enduring indignities. The guards believed she was plotting revenge, because they could come up with no other motive to explain her behavior.


They had no imagination.


She wanted to see the Death Eaters who had ruined her son, really see them, to their very bones and know them for what they were. She wanted them punished, but she wanted the Ministry to do it. If she took revenge herself, then the tragedy would become something small and personal, and Augusta wanted it to be the whole Wizarding World's catastrophe. Frank was an Auror and he had taken risks for everyone. Everyone had damn well better thank him for it, even if it was just by punishing his attackers.

Crouch had hesitated over seating her in such a prominent place. He had worried that she would break down and cause a disruption in the proceedings, but Augusta knew she would be calm. If he could watch and listen, so could she. In truth, he had more to fear from what would be said than she did. She was proud of her son. She would rather have him, ruined as he was, than that shameful piece of trash that was Crouch's son.

She listened dry-eyed to every sordid moment of it. Moody and Robards had prepared her for the testimony, telling her what would be revealed ahead of time to lessen the shock. But hearing the words spoken in public was nothing like listening to her son's Auror friends explain things at her kitchen table. At times she wanted her wand so she could silence the room, because she didn’t want anyone to hear what she knew was coming.

She could hear Frank's in-laws cry as they listened to a recounting of what was done to Alice. She felt for Helen and Trevor; she thought it must be harder when it was a daughter.

Rita Skeeter furiously took down every detail, every painful morsel, stopping only to look up and gauge Helen and Trevor’s reaction or Augusta's, hoping to add pathos, as if the situation needed more. Of course, Skeeter had another character to generate pity - the Crouch boy’s mother. They said she was ill and that the knowledge of her son’s cruelty was killing her. Augusta, too, felt great pity for a woman who knew that the child she had carried inside her own body, and had nurtured and loved with her whole soul, had done things so vile.

A Ministry expert on Priori Incantatem described the tests he'd done on the captured wands of the accused, and the curses they'd cast. Augusta had no need to look at the man; she already knew all that he would say. She watched the accused. Her eyes roved from one to the other and back again, wanting them to notice her, to know who she was, wanting to see their reactions. She was not disappointed.

The older Lestrange brother, stout and jowly, schooled his features in to a dull, blank look. He never took his eyes off the elder Crouch, the most powerful person present. His rat-faced brother's eyes skittered around the room, roaming through the crowd as if searching for a hole to scurry into. He would never find one. She could feel the silent hatred thick in the air around her. He could feel it too and she was glad. They'd found Frank's wand hidden in the rat's robes when they captured him.

The Lestrange woman was no dissembler, though. She savoured the description of the degradations inflicted on Frank and Alice, and she didn't care who knew it. She, too, watched the crowd, not as one furtively looking for an escape, but as a victor examining the defeated. She looked into Augusta's eyes and smiled a proud smile of triumph as she recognized her victim's mother.

The two witches stared at each other as an expert from St. Mungos described the effects of the Cruciatus curse on the mind, especially when it was performed by four people simultaneously in a co-ordinated attack. Augusta refused to break her gaze first. The woman had no similar qualms. She flashed a final grin at Augusta and turned her attention to the Healer who was speaking, staring and smiling till the man became disconcerted, lost the thread of a sentence and had to repeat himself.

Crouch's son looked small and shrunken in his seat. The boy's wand had never been found. The one he had when he was captured had been recently bought. He claimed to have lost his original wand, an assertion that gained a laugh from the crowd. His hair, along with hair from the other accused, had been found in the wreck that had been Frank's and Alice's house. A Hitwizard recounted for the court the shock he felt when he added the hair to Polyjuice Potion, tested the drink on a colleague and recognized the son of the Head of the Department of Magical Law Enforcement. As the wizard gave his testimony, Crouch junior stared at his father, weeping. The boy shook his head silently, denying all that was said.

She almost pitied that boy, before she saw the falsity in him. She had caught him. An arrested look had come into his eyes as an Auror described the current state of Frank and Alice, and the reasons they could not give testimony. The boy had let slip how pleased he was by the effects of his handiwork.

Finally the testimony ended and the court-room cleared as the jury consulted together. She walked past the gauntlet of reporters, concerned sympathetic citizens and outraged relatives as she made her way to the small room they'd provided her in the Auror office. Augusta sat by herself and waited to be called back to the court-room. She thought of Neville alone in her house with the Ministry-provided nanny and body guard. (“For the duration of the trial,” they'd said. “It will help you feel safe.”) She'd left the baby behind without even a good-bye pat, because if she had even looked at him, she would have bawled and she needed all the composure she had to get through this day.

The jury deliberated for less than an hour. Augusta returned to the dungeon courtroom and sat in stony silence as Crouch sentenced the four to Azkaban for life and the wizards in the room shouted and applauded. Amid the cheers and the catcalls, she kept her attention on the Death Eaters. The boy screamed for his father's mercy, calling on him as a son, but Crouch disowned him on the spot. “I have no son,” he shouted. Only a man could do that. No woman could cast her child aside, whatever he had become.

But it was the Lestrange woman, whom Augusta would think about for years after the trial. The witch had looked up at Crouch and declared that the Dark Lord would return and free her from her prison. Augusta was sitting so close to Crouch, that she had felt Bellatrix's eyes on herself. The woman could have been speaking to Augusta alone. She had complete faith that You-Know-Who would arise again and reward her for her crimes against Frank and Alice. Augusta realized that she knew something – something that Crouch and the Ministry in their arrogance had missed. Augusta turned her attention to the crowd. Disgust and disbelief were on the face of every witch and wizard except one. Dumbledore's expression was concerned, intense and serious. Augusta watched him as he watched Bellatrix. He believed her. You-Know-Who was not gone forever. Dumbledore knew the war wasn't over; he knew they were just living in the hiatus.

When Voldemort returned, her son’s attackers would be freed from the horror that was Azkaban, but her son and his wife would never be freed from their prison. The trial was over. Augusta could do nothing but visit her demented son and daughter-in-law and then go home to raise their toddler for them and prepare herself for Voldemort’s return.


 


 


 

 


 

Comments

( 25 comments — Leave a comment )
clionona
Sep. 1st, 2008 02:53 pm (UTC)
Wow!
What a vision of Augusta!!!
Again, you've got me seeing a character in an entirely new light. God, the vision of her leaving without even giving Neville a good-bye pat because she would break down just killed me!

Love your style, too. I could feel the tension in the courtroom, the sorrow, determination and desperation.

Just a wonderful read, sweetie! Thanks for sharing.
vegablack62
Sep. 1st, 2008 03:50 pm (UTC)
Thanks for your review! This was one of those pieces which I wondered if I should post. I enjoyed writing it, but I didn't know if anyone would like reading it. I'm glad you liked the atmosphere and characterization. Augusta is a favorite of mine.
mcgonagalls_cat
Sep. 1st, 2008 06:06 pm (UTC)
This is very well done! You've captured the character(s) very well!

Excellent!


.
vegablack62
Sep. 1st, 2008 06:56 pm (UTC)
Thanks for your review, and for the beta advice. I like Augusta a lot and this is how I picture her in my imagination. I'm glad you enjoyed it.
snuggle_muggle
Sep. 3rd, 2008 06:12 am (UTC)
Thanks for the referral!
I appreciate your suggesting this story for Harry Potter Missing Moments. It definitely fits, and I think it actually works in both places you suggested, so I am going to go ahead and "cross-reference" it; in other words, I'll put it in both places with the appropriate quotes, which, by the way I greatly appreciate your supplying.

Also, thanks for the title of one of the DH stories. I am still trying to reconstruct that disaster and I know I don't have all 15 yet, but you are correct that I definitely had that one.

Thank you again!!!
vegablack62
Sep. 3rd, 2008 06:43 am (UTC)
Re: Thanks for the referral!
Thank you for being willing to post it.
breathingbooks
Sep. 8th, 2008 06:34 pm (UTC)
I really enjoyed this and love the thoughts and tone you gave Augusta, particularly as regards family.
vegablack62
Sep. 8th, 2008 07:19 pm (UTC)
Thanks, I'm glad you liked my vision of Augusta. I enjoy writing her. She's a strong woman with a powerful sense of responsibility to her family and a unique outlook.
muggle_prof
Sep. 8th, 2008 08:27 pm (UTC)
(here thru ominocular.)
This little piece does a good job of illuminating the character. I can totally see Augusta having the strength and determination to sit thru the trial and see that the Four got their due.
The part about using the hair in Polyjuice Potion to determine the cirminal was interesting -- of course wizards would have an answer to DNA crime-solving!
vegablack62
Sep. 9th, 2008 12:01 am (UTC)
I'm glad you liked my portrayal of Augusta. I see her as a very tough woman. It was fun to come up with wizard trial evidence.
dustbunny105
Sep. 8th, 2008 11:18 pm (UTC)
Wow, this is really well-done! I love how you handled the characters and just the situation. Augusta and Bellatrix's staring match made me shiver, and Augusta not patting Neville goodbye so as to prevent a breakdown just killed me. Just seeing Augusta in fic is awesome, and to see her so well represented is even better.

A few oddities with capitalization, but the writing is overall clean and it flows well. Very nice!
vegablack62
Sep. 8th, 2008 11:59 pm (UTC)
Thanks for your comments. I enjoy writing Augusta. I found some oddities myself as I read the fic again after reading your comments. I thought I'd gone over everything, but I must have missed some errors. My only excuse is a lame one. I posted very late at night. I hope I caught all my errors. Thanks for reading anyway.
flyingtonowhere
Sep. 9th, 2008 12:59 am (UTC)
Oh, you are AMAZING. This is such a unique viewpoint of this scene, but I love it. You never hear enough about Augusta.

She'd left the baby behind without even a good-by pat, because if she had even looked at him she would have bawled and she needed all the composure she had to get through this day.

So many people as heartless because she always seems so stoic and stern with Neville, but you tend to overlook that she's probably always looking at a piece of Frank when she's with him. She's such an incredible person in your piece and I really love her here.

I also love that Alice's dad's name is Trevor. =D Best toad name ever.
vegablack62
Sep. 9th, 2008 02:23 am (UTC)
Thanks for your comments on my Augusta story. I wanted to show how things looked from her vantage point. She's very strong and she expects Neville to be too even when he's a small child. I think the attack on Frank and Alice, the trial and their commitment to St. Mungo's hardened her a little. That must have been devastating for her. I think she loved Neville very much even when she was at her most harsh. (I'm glad you like the name Trevor for Neville's grandad.)
malinbe
Sep. 9th, 2008 02:41 pm (UTC)
Oh, I have a big thing in my throat. I almost cried.
It was incredible. Augusta's strenght and courage is inspiring, and Bellatrix's conviction was excellently portrayed. The stares made me shiver, and I felt for the poor Healer.

I especially liked Augusta's conviction that it should rightfully be the wizarding community the one to punish Bellatrix et al, and not her. Not only it speakes so highly of herself, but also because it shows her political views, so far from Crouch's, and the inmense respect she had for her son's part in the war.

Thanks for sharing.
vegablack62
Sep. 9th, 2008 10:25 pm (UTC)
I wanted to show how she would show her love and respect for her son by not seeking personal revenge, even though she wanted to see them punished. The Longbottoms express a lot of family pride in the books. I see them as people who take pride more than anything in their principles and a sense that they stand for something. And Augusta has huge respect for her son.

Thanks for posting. Reading this review made me very happy.
snorkackcatcher
Sep. 10th, 2008 08:55 pm (UTC)
Never thought about Augusta being at the trial, but it's a good idea, and an effective treatment.
vegablack62
Sep. 10th, 2008 10:08 pm (UTC)
Thanks for your comments. They were appreciated. Many of the family members of crime victims attend the trials of the perpetrators. I figured Augusta was more than strong enough.
lyras
Sep. 13th, 2008 08:53 am (UTC)
I like your portrayal of Augusta here, especially the fact that she isn't baying for justice along with the crowd, but is nevertheless glad that the hatred is thick in the air and that the defendants sense it. The insights into Bellatrix and Crouch Junior was good, too. Nice piece!
vegablack62
Sep. 13th, 2008 09:31 pm (UTC)
Thanks for your comments! They mean a lot coming from you. I've admired and enjoyed your work on Augusta.
(Deleted comment)
vegablack62
Sep. 14th, 2008 03:20 pm (UTC)
Thank you so much. I enjoy writing Augusta, because I can give vent to any feelings of outrage I may have. It's much harder to write her with warmer emotions.

I think you are right. Her knowledge that the Dark Lord would return colored her relationship with Neville. I felt that the attack on her son and the subsequent trial changed her and hardened her. The woman we see isn't exactly the woman she was. She was demanding of Frank, but I don't think she was as critical. Though he was a more successful boy, and she had less reason to be.

She never reacts like other mothers would to Neville's fighting in the department of Mysteries or at the Battle of Hogwarts. Think of the difference between her reactions and Molly's. Molly is more typical. Many other parents remove their child from the school after Dumbledore dies. Neville is injured in the actual fight, a fight where two people are killed, and one is permanently maimed and she doesn't rush over to claim him. She definitely has the attitude of return with you shield or you head on it. She expects him to do his duty, period. (Don't get me wrong I think she loves him. Her attitude is just very martial, like something from a Pat Conroy novel.)
chiarore
Sep. 16th, 2008 04:27 am (UTC)
This was beautiful. I'm blown away by your writing, and wondering why I've never come across it before. Do you mind if I friend you?
vegablack62
Sep. 16th, 2008 05:01 am (UTC)
Thank you. You are very kind. I'd love to have you friend me and I'll friend you back.
snuggle_muggle
Nov. 10th, 2008 01:23 pm (UTC)
Your story was rec'd!
I just wanted to let you know that I have rec’d your story and posted a link to it in the new HP community hpmssgmoments, or Harry Potter Missing Moments. Your story fits nicely into canon and makes a nice addition to our archives. Please feel free to come over and take a look at what we are doing and your entry (posted under "Devastation" and "Undiscovered Beginnings"). We are a small group at the moment, but we hope to get your story some new readers and some new reviews as we grow.
vegablack62
Nov. 15th, 2008 05:45 am (UTC)
Re: Your story was rec'd!
Thank you for adding my story to your community. I love the idea for hpmssgmoments and am glad to be a part of it.
( 25 comments — Leave a comment )

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