.Zinnia and Honeysuckle.

Author: ThreeSidedOrchid
Pairing:  Hooch/Sprout, Neville
Rating: R-ish.
Warning: featured character death
Summary: Muggle plants bloom out of season in the wizarding world. They flourish and wither at the whim of magical energies, a barometer of wizard emotions.
A/N: Written for hp_beholder, 2010 for Delphi. Many thanks go to Abstract Concept and Chalcopyrite for their beta help and support on this fic. This story uses references to Victorian flower language. A key to flowers mentioned (where not given in the text) is at the end. All meanings pulled from this website.
Disclaimer: The Harry Potter universe and its characters belong to JKR and Warner Brothers, not me. I'm not making any money off of this - it is done soley for love of the characters and fun.

I. Marigolds

Muggle plants bloom out of season in the wizarding world. They flourish and wither at the whim of magical energies, a barometer of wizard emotions and events. Or portent, Neville thinks, recalling the rhododendron that arose, choking Hogwarts’ gardens the day of the final battle. He’d found Pomona that morning, staring grimly at the red blooms. ‘Danger,’ she’d said, then gone about preparing for the battle.

Though still the earliest blush of summer, the air is laden with heat. The short walk from Hogsmeade proper feels as if it has taken all day. Neville loosens his grip on the bouquet, his palm sweaty and aching from the unconscious clench. Just ahead is the cottage. Zinnias stand like sentinels at the gate, but the rest of the yard is a riot of dahlias and marigold. From somewhere comes the scent of honeysuckle, lingering like perfume in the wake of a woman.

II. Mountain Laurel

“Coreopsis is always cheerful. Everlasting always remembered.”

“Very good. Endurance?”

Neville thinks, hefting one of the larger pots onto the worktable.


“You’ve been studying,” Sprout accuses.

“A little.” Late at night, when he can’t sleep for the feel of a half-empty dorm and a day of watching the fear on his classmates’ faces.

Standing, hands pressed flat to the table, Neville waits for the ache in his back and thighs to abate. His flying has improved, but Hooch seems to work him harder each week, seemingly determined to make him regret requesting extra lessons.

Neville breathes, and pushes on.

III. Ivy

Winter sunlight falls over everyone with indiscriminate warmth, making the hall appear deceptively cheerful.

Ginny passes him the paper with a look that speaks of another day without news, of fluff articles.

Her action draws his attention to the table center, where normally a floral centerpiece of muggle blooms would sit. Gone. Looking up he finds Pomona at the dais, face pained.

There are days Neville hates the sunlight, days it makes him doubt everything his gran taught him about what is right and good.

Hooch leans in from Pomona’s side, speaking softly in defiance of glares from the Carrows.

IV. White Rose Buds

“Your arms are too tense, speed flying requires fluidity.”

Trying to relax his arms and lean forward, Neville loses focus on keeping his flight straight. The broom angles, tipping him towards Hooch.

“Steady,” she commands, one hand coming to rest on his thigh as he rights himself.

Blushing, Neville nods. Her hand is firm, a patch of heat where everything else is cold from the wind. He looks up, watching the silver of her eyes alight with the thrill of flying.

Drawing her hand away, she clears her throat. “You have made progress, but you’ve still a lot to learn.”

V. Peach Blossoms

Two teacups stand on the worktable in fine china defiance of the dirt and pots wreckage around them.

He can hear voices from further in the greenhouse and knows that Hooch is visiting again.


“What kind?”


“Red Daisies,” Pomona answers, not missing a beat.

Neville smiles. It’s a game they often play, Hooch testing Pomona’s knowledge, as she tests his.

He approaches, pausing before they see him as he catches sight of Hooch’s face. He comprehends with sudden clarity the look of fondness and longing as she watches Pomona, and realizes the game is not truly a game.

VI. Black Bryony

Barreling into the greenhouse, Neville ignores Hooch and Pomona’s startled cries and dashes towards the back.

Entering seconds behind him, sallow skin mottled red from exertion, is Snape.

“You look quite flushed, are you alright?” Pomona asks, sounding rather too chipper.

“Where is he?” Snape spits.



“He’s around here somewhere…” Neville watches from behind a stack of pots as Pomona looks about uncertainly.

“He has stolen something of mine.”

“Oh, you must be mistaken, Headmaster,” Hooch says. “Longbottom’s been here all day.”

Silently, Neville slides Gryffindor’s sword into a fertilizer bag. He steps out. “Were you calling me?”

VII. Arum, Sweet Pea, and Pansies

Neville darts across the moonlit grounds quick and fluid as a frightened minnow.

On days like this, when the castle halls seem charged with fear, and the shadows beneath his classmates’ eyes are like bruises, Neville needs the greenhouses.

It’s never truly silent here. There is the mumbling of the mandrakes dreaming in their pots and, beneath that, a ceaseless, imprecise hum; leaves shifting, insects buzzing, worms burrowing -- all the sundries of life, continuing.

As he approaches the greenhouses, one sound begins to separate from the hum. Voices.

On guard, he peers through glass and foliage, seeking a view.

He finds it in an arch between Jonquil and Acacia; the blooms tease the edge of his vision.

Sun orb glowing dimly, Hooch sips tea while Pomona works at seeding trays. Relieved, Neville moves to announce himself, but Hooch’s words, or tone, stop him.


“Dwarf sunflower.”

Hooch walks around the table, fingers trailing over the blossoms until she comes to stand behind Pomona, who turns questioningly.

“How do you say I think of nothing but you, every moment?” She asks, intent.

“Enough of this!” Pomona whispers, grabbing the front of Hooch’s robe and pulling her down into a kiss.

He should leave.

They fall together, jostling the table, mouths kissing, licking, biting at each other.

He should leave, but instead lets his hand stray down to press against his growing erection as robes are stripped away.

Pomona’s hands leave long trails of dirt over Hooch as they touch. “Please,” she says, and “yes!” while Hooch whispers endearments Neville cannot hear against her skin.

Hooch kneels on the dusty ground, and Neville strokes himself to the slick sound of her kiss.

Body arching as if she’s been hit by a curse, Pomona cries out.

Neville’s seed spills to the earth.

VIII. Chrysanthemums

“Danger,” Pomona says that morning, looking grimly out at the rhododendron.

Neville helps her prepare the more dangerous plants, tucking them away in obscure corners and quietly warding the areas against students.

By early afternoon he leaves her, going to meet Ginny and the others for their own preparations. He spies Hooch on her way up from the pitch, her eyes dark as if she knows what’s coming.

Finding anyone in battle is impossible. He trips over bodies and cannot spare them even a glance. It is not until after that he knows who has survived, and who has not.

IX. Purple Verbena

Standing on the steps of the cottage, Neville hesitates. The bouquet seems a paltry thing in view of the garden. He cannot imagine himself offering it. Far worse the thought of saying, I’m sorry for your loss, like a scribbled note on a florist’s card. Sincere, perhaps, but useless.

He looks at the cottage, at its curtains pulled closed against the sunlight and the flowers, with an ache of helplessness in his chest. He should not even know to be here, and cannot imagine what Hooch will say to him, or he to her.

Looking down, Neville studies the bouquet again. Carefully selected, every flower brings back a memory from theses last months, and after a moment he has to close his eyes against them.

Taking a deep breath, Neville tosses the bouquet aside, letting it fall in with the flowers of the garden, before raising his hand to knock.


Flower Meanings:

Zinnia: I mourn your absence
Honeysuckle: The bond of love, Devoted love; Fidelity, Generous and devoted affection, The color of my fate, I will not answer hastily, Rustic beauty, Domestic Happiness.

I. Marigold: Grief, despair
Dahlia: Forever thine
II. Mountain Laurel: Ambition of a hero
III. Ivy: friendship
IV. White Rose bud: Heart ignorant of love / too young to love
V. Peach Blossom: My heart is thine
VI. Black Bryony: Be my Support
VII. Arum: Ardor
Sweet Pea: Delicate Pleasures
Pansy: You occupy my thoughts
VIII. Chrysanthemum (Chinese): Cheerfulness under adversity, a heart left to desolation
IX. Purple Verbena: I weep for you.


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