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A Place for the Best Ideas

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Even graduates of other schools would find it hard to deny that Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry was a sight unlike any other at Christmastime. The grounds were blanketed in a thick coating of sparkling white fluff, flakes clinging to treetops and the roof of every building. The lake was frozen over with ice the perfect thickness for skating. The jingle of bells and of laughter was a permanent fixture traveling on the breeze as every witch and wizard for miles fell under the spell of holiday cheer. No matter how enchanting the grounds as a whole were, there was one particular place that stood out in the picturesque scene.

After the Battle of Hogwarts, the greenhouses were all but destroyed. Glass was shattered, metal frames were bent, and plants lay dead or dying by the dozens. In the wake of the war, Professor Sprout and her apprentice, Neville Longbottom, decided to rebuild them better rather than simply restoring them to their prior state. Neville never stopped improving on what they rebuilt. By the time Sprout retired and he took over—well, the greenhouses at the holidays had become a sight that rivaled the castle itself. They were rows of perfect ice sculptures. Every pane of glass was frosted just enough to hide the contents of each house while letting in enough light to feed the plants inside with sturdy wrought iron framing that looked like delicate climbing vines. In the winter the frames thickened and sprouted holly leaves and berries, and the resident fairies of each house delighted in creating twinkling light shows every evening. Furthermore, there were more houses than there had been prior to the war.

The addition that particularly stood out was Professor Longbottom’s private greenhouse. It was a large, round glass enclosure surrounded by the greenhouses used by the students. It served as the center of a wheel with the other twelve rectangular greenhouses fanning out as the spokes. It was two stories tall with a conical roof. Unlike the other greenhouses its glass didn’t rely only on frosting to obscure the interior. Charms glittered in the panes, sparkling like crystal even when no light fell upon them. The plants within the greenhouse were a mixture of many things. Some were the more dangerous plants that Neville kept from even his most advanced students, their spores and scents contained within individual shield spells. Some were nothing more than pretty muggle blooms. Some were even experiments he was breeding. It was in the middle of those plants that Neville was spending his evening the night the students went home.

In the center of the greenhouse was a round pool surrounded by stone. Steam rose from its surface, curling upwards to the ceiling. There the glass was charmed to be perfectly clear, showing the sky above no matter how much snow had gathered on the roof. In a circle the same breadth as the pool enchanted snow fell through the roof toward the ground, disappearing once the flakes had drifted down a dozen feet. Beneath such an amazing sight, Hogwart’s Professor of Herbology lounged against the pool’s wall, the weight of his wife nestled against his chest.

“I think this place might be the best idea I’ve ever had,” Neville murmured, dragging his hand up the length of Luna’s thigh before wrapping his arm around her hips.

“It is useful for generating the positive thoughts need to dispel the wrackspurts,” Luna hummed in agreement. She tilted her head back onto his shoulder, arching her spine in a cat-like stretch. The tips of her breasts barely skimmed the surface of the water, pebbling quickly in the cool air before disappearing back into its warmth. “And it feels fantastic.” She turned her head towards him, leaning up just enough to press a kiss beneath his ear. “I’m sorry I was gone so long. Have you made anything interesting since Halloween?”

Neville nuzzled his face into the side of her neck. “It’s a hazard of your job, love. I miss you when you’re gone, but you wouldn’t be you without that wanderlust.” He pulled away, reaching over the side of the pool for a bottle of thick, periwinkle liquid and his wand. “I made something for you, actually.” With a wave of the wand he pulled a stream of water from the pool and sent it threading through her hair until every strand was soaked through. “Sit up, but keep your head tilted back.”

Luna did as he asked, her eyes closed while he uncorked the bottle. The scent of jasmine wafted from it as he tipped a bit of liquid into his palms. Neville worked the liquid into a lather and set to scrubbing his way through her hair. It wasn’t long before she hummed in pleasure beneath his hands, leaning into his touch while he worked. “That smells lovely,” she told him.

“I made it from some of the plants I’ve been breeding.” Another wave of his wand set a few more jets of water to rising the suds away. No longer busy with the shampoo, Neville slipped his hands over her shoulders and kneaded at the tense muscles there. “I crossed several species of plants that are known for their restorative properties. The muggles practice a thing called ‘aromatherapy’ with healing based on scent. Based on that I added muggle jasmine to boost mood and ease stress.” He trailed his hands lower, working the muscles all along her spine as he went. “It’s tailor made to ease your nerves while you’re working.”

She turned suddenly in his grasp, water swirling out from their bodies. Her arms wound about his neck, goosebumps springing up along her pale skin. “You always take care of me, even when I’m not here for you to take care of.”

He meant to tell her that he tried, but she kissed him before he could. Neville pulled her close, running his hands up the slender length of her back to tangle in her freshly cleaned hair. Finally she let him pull away with a last peck of her lips to his, the tips of their noses brushing against one another.

“You know,” Neville said in a conversational tone that was completely at odds with the pounding of the blood in his veins. “I really should add a bedroom to this greenhouse.” He pulled her tight against him, nibbling gently at the spot where her neck met her shoulder. “I don’t know that I want to walk all the way back to quarters with you when I’m already so content with where you are.”

Her laugh rang like the soft tinkling of a bell. “The best ideas do come in the bath, I’ve noticed. I’m sure we can come up with something for the night.” She arched her back, pressing her chest tightly against his. “It’s good to sleep amongst plants. Promotes sexual longevity.”

“We’d best make a habit of it, then.”