Notes: Naima means Tranquil, from Swedish. Response to a prompt from Sue: "Neville working in the greenhouse with Sprout." Prequel to The Blessed Broken Road.
"Whew," Neville panted, wiping sweat from his brow. "I hadn't realized how long it'd been since I worked in a greenhouse."
A few tables over, a stout matronly woman clucked her tongue. "That's what happens when you give an inch, Neville. It's like the Abyssinian shrivelfig from your second year. You have to be firm and decisive."
Neville blushed. "Yes Professor Sprout."
"I'm hardly your professor anymore young man," Pomona chuckled.
"Well, I'll always feel like I'm your student, you teach me so much," Neville admitted. He busied himself with the honking daffodils he inadvertently jostled.
"A word about that actually, Neville." She put her Fanged Germaniums back onto their sunny shelf along the wall. "You need to get out of the Auror department. You don't look like you're getting any rest. When was the last time you saw any of your friends?"
Neville tried to not look at her, knowing that she was right. He hadn't been able to spend New Year's Eve with Luna and only a little of her Christmas holiday from exploring.
"What about your-" Pomona Sprout was cut off by the smooth entrance of an elf owl. The dainty bird landed on Neville's shoulder before nibbling on his hair.
"Naima, cut that out," Neville half-heartedly groaned. "I'll take the letter from you if you would just cut that-ow, out!" The bird nicked the soft skin of his ear. "Blasted bird. Tranquil my…wand." Ignoring his former professor's amusement, he opened the letter. For a few minutes, there was silence as his eyes scanned the parchment. "That's it, I give up."
"At what?" Pomona was not following the leap of what could only loosely be called logic.
"Trying to think I know best. Luna agrees with you. But what would I do?" Neville sat on a stool, ignoring the dragon dung fertilizer dirt left on it from earlier.
"I was going to offer you an apprenticeship, if you're interested in teaching," Pomona Sprout offered.