Written for the LJ springtime_gen Fest 2007.
by Beth H.
(c) April 23, 2007
In her free time, Pomona Sprout likes to garden.
Her colleagues find it all terribly amusing, of course (if they were Muggles, phrases such as "busman's holiday" and "coals to Newcastle" would no doubt be pressed into regular service in their conversations), but Pomona just smiles and says there's nothing quite so relaxing as getting out in the clean air and digging one's fingers in the fresh earth for an hour or two.
She has three private plots tucked away behind the greenhouses: one for vegetables (which she shares with Browny and Legassy, two of the elves who work in the Hogwarts' kitchen); one for herbs (which Severus and Poppy both make use of now and again for medicinal potions); and one for flowers.
On occasion, Pomona invites one or two of the older students who seem to have a sincere interest in Herbology to join her in the flower garden. This year, Neville Longbottom has been her little garden's most regular visitor. Twenty years earlier, it was Severus Snape who spent the most time there. Pomona isn't sure which of them would be more appalled to discover they shared an interest in tulips and daffodils, but she suspects it's a close run thing.
When Pomona first started teaching at Hogwarts, she used to Apparate to Alvin Alley every other Sunday afternoon to attend one of the tea dances sponsored by the Witches Institute, but in recent years, the gardens are all she seems to be able to find time for.
Perhaps she'll ask Horace if he might not mind watching over the children of her house for a few hours next week.
At nine years of age, Filius Flitwick dreamt of being a pirate.
By eleven, his plans for leading a pirate's life had been abandoned in favor of working with dragons - the fiercer, the better. At fourteen, Filius had decided he would someday be the greatest duelist in the magical world.
When he was fifteen, Filius' mother told him that she expected him to follow tradition and take a position in the family business. For the next two decades - right up until the moment he saw a notice in the Prophet saying the Charms position at Hogwarts was open - Filius Flitwick sat at a desk in the New Accounts department of Gringotts Bank, right beside his mother's aunt's cousin's grandson Forngort.
The students who are sorted into Ravenclaw haven't the reputation of being grade-grubbing swots for nothing, and Filius spends much of his free time helping his young charges with their revision and their special projects. When he gets a moment or two to himself, Filius works on a special project of his own. For many years, he and Rolanda Hooch have been developing an action adventure game that combines dueling, flying, and a working knowledge of Charms casting. The logistics of the game are a bit tricky, and the game requires a playing space large enough to house a full-scale pirate ship and at least two medium-sized dragons, but Filius is certain that one day his game will be more popular than Quidditch. Forngort agrees - or at least he says he does whenever he and Filius go out for an end-of-term drink.
Then again, Forngort has been known to agree to almost anything once he's been treated to a few strawberry-banana daiquiris.
Teacher. Head of House. Deputy Headmistress. Member of the Order of the Phoenix.
Even setting aside the responsibilities she takes upon herself in her Animagus form (neither Mrs Norris nor Crookshanks nor any of the other feline denizens of Hogwarts having the experience to take charge of the castle's rodent population), it is clear that Minerva McGonagall has more than enough duties to fill her days. However, in addition to her official tasks, Minerva also collects tartan tea cozies, writes a column in Wizards' Bridge Quarterly, and spends part of each school holiday spoiling her sister's grandchildren, both of whom attend Beauxbatons Academy.
She neither confirms nor denies the persistent rumours that she and the headmaster are anything more than colleagues.
Severus Snape's rooms contain little that would interest a visitor. There is no decorating scheme as such, only a jumble of furniture - odds and ends collected over the years from various unused rooms in the castle - and few personal items are in evidence, apart from a small Muggle photograph of his parents on their wedding day and an even smaller framed picture of Evan Rosier.
He has built up quite a substantial library over the years, but none of Severus' books have the power to hold his interest these days.
Severus believes - and not entirely without cause - that he can no longer afford to allow himself to be distracted, even by books. That he must focus all his attention on treading the dangerous path between his dual loyalties.
Certainly socializing is entirely out of the question.
Teaching classes, eating meals in the Great Hall, counseling his Slytherins, attending meetings run by megalomaniacs (of both the good and the evil variety): these provide Severus with more than enough human interaction. When no pressing matters require his attention, Severus can usually be found in his sitting room, holding a lukewarm cup of tea and staring into the unlit fireplace, his absence unnoticed by anybody...
...or so Severus tells himself.
"I must protest this treatment in the strongest possible terms."
Severus' words are spoken through clenched teeth and a dangerous expression is on his face, but Minerva doesn't look at all impressed.
"Protest all you want, Severus, but you're going to sit right there until the meeting is over."
"Meeting?" Severus says, disbelief plain in his tone as he strains surreptitiously against the magical bindings. "Since when do we have meetings on Saturday afternoons during the Easter holidays?"
"Since Sybill realized the book she'd ordered from Flourish & Blotts - Spirits and Cocktails - had nothing whatsoever to do with possible connections between ghosts and ornithomancy." Minerva glances across her room. "How are you getting on, Filius?"
"All finished!" he answers, then directs a tray of glasses to the table. "Try one, Severus. I think you'll like the orange and red ones."
Severus scowls. "I'm not drinking anything that has a little paper umbrella sticking out of it."
"Oh, don't be such a stick in the mud," Filius says, climbing up onto his chair. "If I didn't know better, I'd swear you were 200 years old on the day you were born."
"Am I late?" Pomona's face is entirely obscured by a large bouquet of flowers. "I stopped by the garden, and it was absolutely bursting with daffodils in full bloom, and I thought, right...Severus will appreciate these. Oh dear, what's the matter with him? Minerva, what's the matter with Severus? Why is he covering his face with his hands?"
Minerva raises an eyebrow. "I suspect he doesn't want us to see him blushing."
"Oh, how silly," Pomona says dismissively. "It's just us, after all. Severus, lift your head up at once. Ah, Filius! These drinks bear your stamp...oh, I say! You've charmed the little plastic giraffe in this glass to look as if it's eating leaves. Fine work, my dear. Now, who shall I partner today?"
"Men against the women, I think," Minerva says, and waves her wand. The seat across from her moves out from the table, and Pomona sits down.
"Quite right," says Pomona. "And no Legilimency, Severus."
Looking resigned to his fate, Severus takes one of the glasses from the tray and tastes some of the colourful red liquid. Filius watches Severus drink for a moment, then - apparently satisfied with what he sees - transfigures a lemon slice into a vase and places Pomona's flowers inside.
"Lovely work," Minerva says to him, then looks directly at Severus. "You heard Pomona. No Legilimency."
Severus takes another drink, and one corner of his mouth turns up into something resembling a smile. "I'm cut to the quick that you would doubt my honesty," he says with as much false sincerity as he can muster, as Filius tries to keep himself from laughing.
Wordlessly, Minerva's reverses the Incarcerous spell, and Severus is no longer bound.
He nods to her briefly in acknowledgment.
He makes no attempt to leave.
Comments, critiques, chit chat: bethbethbeth [at] gmail
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