Neville Rules, Ok?
by Lauren Greenleaf (aka Seagull Laridae)

Wow, it's been a while since I did one of these, and this is my first ever one on a computer that wasn't my own. That's right, guys, I'm house-sitting in South Yarra (a swanky suburb of Melbourne, Victoria's capital), and using the owner's laptop. Thanks Merriwyn!

This story is rated PG, but contains scenes (think CPR) that may offend/disturb/amuse some readers. It's classified H for humour, but not R for romance unless you are extremely twisted, which we all know Mandy is (Hi Gred!).

For some reason, aside from Mandy's requirements, this story features a heavily pregnant Neville. I don't exactly know why. It does sort of explain the title, which was a last-minute thing on my part.

This one's original, funny, and probably late, but I haven't checked my e-mail in ages (it's now, by the way).

Harry Potter characters belong to J.K. Rowling and Warner Bros. Malfoy's swimming gear belongs to the 19th century *snicker*. Hermione's... it's nothing like mine, that's for sure.

I just realised how ridiculous it is to close the toilet door when you're living alone. Just thought I'd share that :-)

Dedicated to Merriwyn and Blue (Blue is the 15-year-old cat for whom I am cat-sitting. Go me!) for letting me stay here...

The piece of parchment was quite pretty, actually. The waves on the letterhead really moved, and the exuberant diver did not remain perpetually perched on his diving board, but rather swan dove into the water before swimming out of view, only to reappear moments later back on the board and repeat the whole process.

Dumbledore looked at the parchment and sighed, failing to be impressed, although some pleb at M.A.N.D.Y. had obviously spent hours thinking up the concept, and more charming the notepaper. But Dumbledore had only just finalised the timetable, while this letter, from the Magical Aquatic and Nautical Directive Yellers specified exactly what else it was he had to add.

The headmaster sighed again, and reached for a pot of dust on his desk, throwing some into the fire.

"Minerva, we have a problem..."


Three days into the first term, Dumbledore stood in front of the fifth-years, wearing only his blue swimming trunks and feeling distinctly uncomfortable about it. Most of the fifth-years were wearing some kind of swimming costume - Malfoy's was neck-to-knee and black; Hermione's, surprisingly, was a rather skimpy bikini that went well with her summer tan; Ron's red board shorts looked ready to fall apart, and everyone was devoutly hoping that they wouldn't.

The major exception was Neville. He stood out like a gaudy butterfly in his neon, green-orange-purple-and-red robes. Maternity robes, in fact. Nobody knew if his claim of magical impregnation by the well-known singer Witchney Scares was true, but most were betting it wasn't. In any case, Neville was already sporting a respectable-sized bump, complaining of morning sickness, and getting cravings for the strangest foods - and in the world of magic, that covered a lot of ground.

The other notable exception to the swimsuit rule was Lavender. She was standing with her arms folded, still fully clothed, an uncompromising look on her face. McGonagall was trying to reason with her, but to no avail.

"*No*. I'd rather dance the hokey-pokey naked than get in *that* lake with *that* squid," Lavender said.

The squid in question was actually asleep on the far side of the lake, due to a potion that Dumbledore had slipped it, and McGonagall simply couldn't convince Lavender of the fact. Everyone was waiting for her, and getting colder and colder to boot. Those lucky few who wore T-shirts and shorts to swim in were looking very smug as they snuggled into them.

"The squid is asleep, Miss Brown," McGonagall said, showing admirable patience. "Is it such a threat when it's asleep, drugged, in fact?"

"It might wake up!" Stubbornly, Lavender repeated, "I'd rather dance the hokey-..."

McGonagall had had enough. She was also wearing her swimming costume, but it had a Lycra pocket for her wand, and she used her wand now.

Lavender began performing a rather odd series of actions, while singing, "You put your left foot in, you take your left foot out..."

Fortunately, she wasn't naked.

Dumbledore coughed, and the group's attention turned away from Lavender, who looked furious, but was also - more or less - rooted to the spot.

"As you are no doubt now all aware, Hogwarts has been directed by the Magical Aquatic and Nautical Directive Yellers to give you all swimming lessons." He winced slightly. “In order to place you into appropriate skill groups, we have asked the mermaids and mermen to assist in testing you. Therefore, for your swimming lessons, you will all be made capable of speaking and understanding Mermish.” He snapped his fingers and his wand appeared, and with a wave of it, he cast the spell.

The students began lining up by house and shuffling rather dispiritedly towards the lake. It had been cold sitting on the shore, and even the enthusiastic swimmers were wary of going into the water, which was sure to be freezing.

“Can you swim, Harry?” Ron asked through chattering teeth as they shuffled towards the water.

“I hope not. Then I might get to sit with Neville,” Harry said. Neville was sitting on a deckchair by the shore, talking to a mermaid who was leaning on a floating inflatable duck.

“Of course he can swim. Remember the second task last year? He had to swim in this lake then.” Hermione looked, for a moment, as bossy as she had when the boys had first met her. Ron looked at her to reply, got sidetracked *by* looking at her, and was unable to say anything.

On the other side of them, Draco Malfoy was also stealing a sideways glance at her, but was more engaged in talking to Dumbledore. His father was supposed to be meeting with the headmaster today, and had planned to drop by to see how Malfoy was doing in his lessons. However...

“Your father has been regrettably detained, and will not be visiting today after all,” Dumbledore informed him.

Malfoy nodded, quietly restrained, and disappeared momentarily behind a tree. His black, neck-to-knee bathers went flying, and several people blanched at the thought of what was going to happen when he came *out* from behind the tree. Fortunately – depending on your point of view – Malfoy was wearing red Speedos underneath the wetsuit-ish black, and thus the fifth-years were spared the horror. Although some of them might’ve said it was only a marginal improvement – the outline of his, ahem, wand and two Rememberalls was clearly visible.

“Hey, Malfoy, is that a wand in your...”

“Shut up, Weasel.”


While the swimmers were getting sorted into their groups, Neville rested in his deckchair and talked to the mermaid, whose name was Acqua. She was giggly and blonde, which was a clichéd combination, but in her case was extremely accurate.

“Why aren’t you swimming? Water is fun. I like swimming. Do you like swimming? You should come swimming,” she bubbled.

“I like swimming,” Neville said. “But I’m not in the right condition to do it.” He patted his stomach. Acqua’s eyes lit onto it, and she nodded. “See?”

“I see. How on Earth did that happen?”

Neville started trying to explain. It was hard – behind him, Lavender had moved onto the Macarena and was singing in Spanish very loudly and badly. And further along the shore, the antics as the others entered the water were quite amusing – there were those, like Ron and Harry, who just plunged straight in, and then there were those like Parvati and Hermione, who sidled in bit by bit. At least Hermione wasn’t squealing like Parvati was.


Eventually, everyone was sorted into one of four competency groups. The lowest group stayed in the shallows and practised putting their faces under the water. Snape, teaching them, looked ready to hold their heads there after only a few minutes of putting up with Parvati’s whining. Neville couldn’t really blame him.

Neville was getting bored, and lonely. Lavender, still more or less rooted to the spot behind him, was up to the Nutbush, but sounded nothing like Tina Turner. Acqua was brushing her hair and frowning at her mirror. It was funny, when she talked he heard the words in Mermish – he thought – but in his head it sounded like English.


“Yes, sweetie?”

“Does my voice sound funny to you?”

Acqua laughed. “Baby, all you drylanders sound funny to us. I guess we sound funny to you. Everyone in the world – magic or Muggle – sounds funny to someone else.”

“Right. I guess.” Acqua sounded like she knew what she was talking about. However, she then said something that sounded to Neville’s ears like “Sqack sqeeck ick ourk mock?” but actually meant, “Does this tail make my butt look big?”

Neville had to change his opinion of her slightly at that moment.


Hermione swam back from the float some minutes later (she, of course, was in the advanced group), to see if he was all right. Neville, unlike some of the other boys, wasn’t admiring her for her bikini, but for her kindness. When she spoke to him, he... he sort of melted. He really liked her.

“Neville... are you all right?” She had a funny expression on her face.

“Yes, why?” Neville mumbled, chewing.

“What exactly are you eating there?”

“Um. Kelp.”

“Yuck,” Hermione said. “That’s worse than the ice-cream and pickles thing yesterday.” She gave him another funny look. “How exactly did this happen?”

“An accident.”

“Um. Was there... someone else involved?” He could see that she didn’t really want to ask.

“No. Not in the way you mean. A spell backfired,” Neville said. “I know that it’s happened a lot. This was just the backfire to end all backfires.” He shrugged. “Dumbledore’s trying to find something to, um, cancel it. If he doesn’t... I’m calling her Aviva.”

“That’s a pretty name,” Hermione said, feeling surreal. “I’d better go back.” She walked back into the water. Neville expected it to part before her. It didn’t, of course.

“What’s her problem? Kelp is nice.” Acqua was chewing on her own piece. “But then, so is fish. Do you like fish? I like fish. They like swimming.” She plunged back into the water and disappeared for a good five minutes. Neville was just about to turn around and see what dance Lavender was doing now (it was the dance to Steps “5,6,7,8”, but he didn’t know that, and neither did she as it happened), when Acqua came back, holding a wriggling, silver fish in either hand.

“Here. Fish?”

*Just think of it as sushi,* Neville told himself as Acqua neatly gutted one fish and held it out to him.

To his surprise, it didn’t taste so bad. A little oily, perhaps, but not actually bad.

“Neville! That’s revolting!” Parvati had seen him.

“Haven’t you ever heard of sushi?” Neville called back cheerfully.

“That’s *dead*!”

“It *was* dead!”

Acqua’s wasn’t, though, and when Neville turned back to her and saw the fish wriggling as she popped it headfirst into her mouth, he nearly threw his back up. He decided that if his stomach was going to settle, it’d be better off in the water, and shed his neon robes, revealing an equally neon pair of boardshorts. He slid into the water until it covered his burgeoning bump, and sighed. It felt good.


When there were only a few minutes of the swim session left to go, Snape left the beginners to go and tell the others that it was time to finish up. He’d made it through the session without drowning Parvati, or Pansy Parkinson, who was floundering in the same group, and was proud of himself. Proud enough to forget that the reason why he was teaching the beginners was because he hadn’t swum properly in twenty-seven years.

Neville saw Snape cramp up and go under. He didn’t know exactly what had happened, but since Acqua was off catching more fish, and nobody from further out had seen Snape go under...

Neville *could*, actually, swim, not that Acqua had ever listened to his answer on the topic. He had to, now. Some of the beginners had seen Snape and were starting to scream out to the groups further out, but they couldn’t (and in some cases, didn’t really want to) swim out themselves. It was up to Neville. He ploughed into the water and made his whale-like way towards Snape, who was going under for the second time.

He reached the sinking teacher just as someone finally got Dumbledore’s attention and the group on the float started towards them. Snape grabbed his arm and hung on panickedly. Neville promptly bit him and Snape let go, and Neville manoeuvred the teacher into a better position, then started towing him back to shore. His own strength was rapidly fading, and when Acqua came up beside him, he gratefully accepted her offer of help. Between them, they manhandled Snape to shore. His eyes had rolled back in his head and he wasn’t breathing.

He wasn’t breathing. Great. This was going to be gross. Neville steeled himself, pinched Snape’s nostrils shut, then bravely turned aside and threw up. As he did so, he caught sight of McGonagall’s wand, left lying on the ground, and picked it up.

“Respiro!” He coughed in the middle of the word.

Snape coughed, wriggled, then opened his mouth wide and belched a stream of brown moths. His eyes rolled back to their proper place and glared balefully at Neville. At the same time, Neville realised something was missing from himself, but not what.

The first person to reach them was Lavender, whose dance spell had finally worn off. She threw her arms around Neville’s neck.

“You hero!” she glowed, then muttered directly into his ear, “Next time, let it not be sodding Snape, all right?” Seamus was looking jealous and she let go.

The second person to reach them was Dumbledore, and his words were, “Well done, Mr Longbottom.”

The third person to reach them was Harry, and his words were, “You should’ve left him there...”

After that incident, the first lesson was well and truly over. Snape was escorted back up to the castle, still burping moths, and remarkably ungrateful. Not that Neville had expected gratitude anyway.

“He must’ve swallowed a lot of water. Look at his tummy,” Hermione said. Then she looked at Neville’s. “Neville... um, where’s your pregnancy?”

“I think *that* spell backfired a little too,” Neville said solemnly. Hermione gaped at him for a moment, then started to laugh. Ron, whose trunks had just disintegrated, clutched a towel to him, thinking she was laughing at him (she wasn’t, and fortunately nobody else had noticed either).

“Oh God, Snape as a mother,” Hermione said finally.

“I hope he looks after her,” Neville said.

“Oh, don’t worry Neville, I’m sure he will,” Harry said.

“Are you serious?”

“Of course not. But,” Harry added, “you could always adopt her.”

Neville shuddered. “I’d rather not. Now, if you wouldn’t mind, I’ll just say goodbye to Acqua.”

And the others waited for him, surrounded by a cloud of brown moths, as Neville ran back into the water and said goodbye to his new friend.

A/N: I’m restarting a new challenge arc from the start of fifth year again. I hope to put a poll on the METMA website: Should I keep the Snape pregnancy arc going as well? Like Ron’s dream in the last round, it could be a running joke. is the place for comments, please!

E-mail the Author