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Written for the prompt "Somehow... whether in the Afterlife or via a portrait, etc... Snape and Dumbledore talking about Neville after the Final Battle, when Snape learns more about Neville's bravery."


"So what do we think of the new professors?"

It was a traditional question, one asked by Headmaster Everard Litcomb every year after the first staff meeting. As the oldest surviving portrait, it was his right and privilege to begin the discussion.

"Hmph," sniffed Headmistress Charity Appleblossom. "Too young by far. In my day - "

"In your day witches and wizards were required to serve ten year apprenticeships before anyone would even consider letting them teach anything," Headmaster Phineas Black interrupted wearily. "As we've told you every year, Charity, times have changed. We can't judge today's staff by our own."

"Well I for one am delighted to see Miss Patil and Mr. Longbottom joining the staff," Headmaster Albus Dumbledore proclaimed. "They were both fine students and - " He was interrupted by an indignant snort that came from his left.

"Do you have something to add, Headmaster Snape?" Headmaster Litcomb asked pointedly. Few of the Headmasters believed Snape deserved his place on the wall along side them, but Hogwarts's magic refused to let his painting be removed, and so he remained.

"Patil might have been a passable student, but Longbottom always was and every will be an incompetent idiot. How he got sorted into Gryffindor and not Hufflepuff I'll never understand."

"He survived seven years in the same castle with you," Black pointed out over the indignant squawks of the former Hufflepuffs. "That certainly shows a certain amount of courage."

"Bah. Cowardice, you mean. Never once did I see him stand up for himself," Snape retorted.

"I'd hardly call defying Tom to his face and killing Nagini an act of cowardice, Severus," Dumbledore chided gently.

"He - what?"

"Did you truly never know? He was the one - not Harry - who slew the snake that killed you."

"Drew Gryffindor's own sword, to do it too!" crowed Headmaster Dexter Fortescue.

Snape opened his mouth and snapped it shut again. "Hmmh," he finally said. "Perhaps the boy isn't useless after all."


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