11th January 2023
Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, Hogsmeade, Scotland
It was late afternoon and already the last golden streaks of sunshine falling through the huge panes of glass were fading. Professor Longbottom waited until the great oak front doors of the school slammed shut and silence fell over the grounds before turning to Rose Weasley.
The dusty yellow-tinged light illuminated have of Neville's face, revealing the wrinkles that dented his pale skin. The last few years had not treated the Herbology professor kindly. At only forty-four, he had the face of a sixty-year-old and his dark hair was streaked grey and rapidly thinning. The hundreds of badly behaved Hogwarts students had left him with a slight stutter and shaky hands.
"I remember fainting here," Neville said absent-mindedly. "Professor Sprout was demonstrating how to re-pot Mandrakes." He turned his head slightly, still lost in past memories, laughing quietly to himself. The tips of his fingers were skimming over the desk that he was standing in front of, tracing the grain of the wood.
"Did you always know that you wanted to be a Herbologist when you were older?" Rose asked him. Her green eyes followed his every moment, watching him thoughtfully.