The Chase

A Harry Potter story by Frulie

When little green men
visit, remember: say they
are weather balloons.
  - from untitled by Greg Beatty


Pairing: Harry/Neville
Summary: Greenhouse number two. Harry. Neville. Parseltongue!
Rated: PG-ish (has slash)
Key to Latin terms used, at the end of the story.


"If you dip a dragon in water, it is no longer dry."

The portrait swung open.

Harry shook his head, ducked through the portrait hole, past the studying students, and up the stairs to his room. 'The passwords are getting more bizarre every week. The fat lady must be going senile.' Harry thought.

He pulled on the latest of the jumpers Mrs. Weasley had made for him, and examined the result in the mirror. He groaned in disapproval at his reflection. This jumper was too red for Harry's liking, but his favourite one, the gold, had been on the floor for a few days. The last thing he wanted to do, was show up, unannounced, in an un-fresh jumper.

"Well, no worry." Harry's scowl raised into a smirk. "I won't be wearing it for long."

He gave his hair one last smooth over, and headed out the door, to the mirror's low whistle of approval.


Neville was busying himself in Greenhouse number two. He had been assisting Professor Sprout for quite some time, but since the start of his seventh year, she had granted him full run over pretty much anything that grew in and around Hogwarts. Today it was the massive vines of the Gingiber Corollarium that demanded his attention, and a good trimming.

Neville loved shaping the vines that wrapped the beams of the greenhouse in thick green and cinnamon leaves. Every time he cut a sprig from the main vine, it would burst into powder, leaving the scent of ginger thick in the air, and all over Neville. It smelled like walking into a bake shop.

The plant was a little tricky to get at from the ground, so Neville had been standing on one of the tables against the eastern wall of windows. He wiped one hand across his brow while the other that held the shears, fell to his side. Taking a glance at his watch, he exhaled loudly. "Wow. Didn't know I'd been at it this long." His voice sounded rough from hours of breathing the ginger dust, but he was only talking to himself, anyway.

He dropped to a sitting position, facing the windows, stretching his aching arms out in front of him. Gazing out through the dusty glass, Neville smiled and thought of Harry.

Neville still blushed every time he thought of him, which annoyingly, made Madame Pomfrey think he had a constant rash of some sort...

A giggling group of young Gryffindor girls waved at Neville as they walked back toward the castle. He smiled and waved a weary arm as they passed.

A voice close to his ear shook Neville from his dreamlike state.

"Good thing I'm not the jealous type." Harry hugged him from behind, burying his nose in Neville's cinnadusty hair. "Mmmmmm you smell delicious."

"Hi, Harry." Neville snuggled back into Harry's warm arms and jumper. "You don't have to worry about losing me to any first year girl, that's for sure." Neville tilted his head toward the ceiling, and received a soft kiss to his forehead.

"Mmmm...taste as good as you smell."

Neville spun around to the front of the table, placing a leg on either side of where Harry was standing. He lifted a hand to smell his own skin.

"I smell like a sticky bun." Neville wrinkled his nose from the spice he'd just inhaled.

"Like I said. Delicious." Harry laughed as Neville blushed and tried to clean some of the dust out of his hair.

"Now are you going to greet me properly or not?" Harry grinned, moving closer to the table.

"Oh, sorry. Didn't mean to forget that." Neville slid his hands across the table toward Harry, accidentally bumping the shears at his side. They shot off the edge, clanking noisily at Harry's feet as he jumped to avoid them.

Neville looked away from Harry and sighed, leaning back on his hands. "I was thinking that just for once, it would be nice to have a bit of poise." He caught Harry's glance again, and gave him a smile that revealed his embarrassment.

The gears in Harry's head started turning. 'Time to change the subject, Potter.' He took a step forward, hands on his hips, and raised his voice in a mocking tone. "You can throw the snips at me all you like Neville Longbottom, but I'm not leaving this greenhouse!" He smiled mischievously. "I dare you to catch me and try for that kiss again."

'There's that smile. I'm done for.' Neville thought, as he watched Harry wait for his response.

'I've got him. He's mine.' Harry was skilled at the art of diversion. One quick nod from Neville was all it took.

The chase was on.

Harry spun, darting away from the table, as Neville grabbed at the air, his fingers just missing the back of Harry's robes. Harry took off down the row between the long tables loaded with a variety of small potted plants. Neville was catching up too quickly, so Harry did the first thing that came to his mind.

"Hey! I can't see...OW!" Neville collided with a small storage shelf, sending a few pots crashing to the floor. Harry couldn't help but laugh as he watched Neville pulling the red jumper he'd just thrown at him, off of his head. Neville glowered at him.

"What?" Harry shrugged innocently as Neville regained his balance. "I was hot."

"Well..." Neville dusted off his robes, thinking to himself that Harry really did look much better without the jumper, anyway. "Maybe, you should stop running?"

Harry threw his head back, and laughed. "Oh no, Longbottom, you're not getting off that easily. It's not a true dare if I don't make you work for it!"

"Hardly a workout, Harry. You run like my Gran." Neville challenged back.

"Then I'll bet I throw like her too!" Harry picked up the nearest plant, tossing in back and forth between his hands like a boiled egg. Neville paled considerably.

"Careful, Harry! That's the Puteulanus Alveus!"

"It's only one plant, Neville. You have plenty." Harry quipped, tossing the blue, sponge-like plant higher.

Neville was trying to remain calm, but his voice wavered slightly. "We drop that, Harry, and fish will spring up out of the floor."

The plant landed solidly in Harry's hands. Neville minded him, as he set it back down on the table, pushing the soil back over some of the exposed roots. "Impressive." Harry said to the plant. Neville let out a breath of relief. "What's this one do?" Harry held a small brownish-grey spirally plant that looked like the little corkscrews that grow on grape vines.

"Oh that's an Orbis. Remember the tea I brought you last night to help you study?"

"Yeah, it was good." Harry silently thanked the skies for giving him this beautiful, selfless bringer of tea. "That was this?" Harry pointed to the Orbis with his free hand.

Neville nodded.

Harry felt playful again. "So you're saying that this O-bus..."


"Orbis, thank you. That this Orbis doesn't have any fish-sprouting qualities?"

"No, only good for tea, or hair-loss potions."


Neville held his breath as he realized what Harry's warped mind was playing at. He barely caught the shaken Orbis as it flew toward him. He safely returned it to the table before resuming the fox hunt.

"That wasn't funny, Harry!"

He chased Harry to the end of the row, managing to gain some ground. He almost had him in reach, when the outer pocket of his robe caught itself on a stray nail as he sailed around the end of the large table. Harry stopped running at the sound of fabric ripping, but Neville was stopped by the force, and fell hard on the floor, one long rip from his pocket to the bottom hem.

Harry hurriedly returned to Neville, kneeling beside him, out of breath from the chase. Before he could register was happening, Neville reached up, trapping Harry's face in the palms of his hands, pulling him in for a very nice welcome indeed.

"Caught you, Harry." Neville slightly out of breath himself, whispered into Harry's lips.

"Now who's not playing fair?" Harry pulled back to give Neville a well practised pout, but quickly discovered it was being kissed away.

"You know it's your fault. You're a really good teacher." He laughed as Harry stood up again and walked back to the storage shelf, pretending to be insulted. Neville watched him. 'I love you, Harry.' Neville silently confessed.

Harry returned to the floor, curling up at Neville's side, placing the jumper under their heads as a pillow. The floor was surprisingly warm, and the ginger dust, after being disturbed from all the running, settled back down, gently covering both boys.

Neville wrapped his right arm around Harry, rubbing his back lightly. "Not that I mind, but don't you have class right now?"

Harry hummed into Neville's chest, closing his eyes. "No. Snape was called out on an errand for Dumbledore, so I have two hours to spend with you."

"Best news I've had all day." Neville shifted slightly to run his lips over the top of Harry's head. "Any other news for me?"

"Mmm, that's nice." Harry really wasn't completely paying attention to Neville's words at this point, but thought of something to say, anyway. "Oh. The password's changed, and youre not' going to like it."

Neville groaned. "What is it this time? Will I need a quill?"

Harry pushed one hand against Neville's chest, lifting up his head to make eye contact. "Or at least some sort of memory retention charm. They picked a nasty one this time."

"Harry, just tell me." Neville tapped Harry on the cheek.

"When little green men visit, remember: say they are weather balloons." Harry tried to imitate Hermione's dictionary reciting voice.

"That's the strangest password yet. I'm done for."

Harry felt it was yet another good time to change the subject. "I almost forgot!" Harry pulled himself up to a full sitting position beside Neville's hip. "Look at what Hermione showed me!" Harry reached into his back pants pocket for his wand. "Promo prompsi promptum casia!"

Neville's eyes grew wide as a glass vial, filled with a champagne coloured liquid, appeared on his chest. Harry picked up the tube and uncorked it, dabbing a bit of the liquid on his fingertips. "What is that, Harry?"

"It's vanilla cologne." He rubbed his fingers behind Neville's ear, and up through his hair. "I thought it would match nicely with the ginger theme we already have working for us." He climbed over Neville, bending low to breathe in his handiwork. Neville shuddered beneath him.

His voice was raspy when he finally spoke. "Why would Hermione need that spell? Wait. Don't answer that. Right now, I don't care." He ran his hands lightly over Harry's face, carefully touching the soft eyelashes. Harry lowered his head to Neville's shoulder, brushing his face against Neville's warm neck. The rest was a tangle of limbs, lips and love.

'I'm his.' They thought in unison.

They didn't hear the birds on the glass roof of the greenhouse, the cheers of the Hufflepuff Quidditch team, the shifting vines of the Gingiber Corollarium, or the door clicking open.

Neville pushed Harry up gently until they were face to face. "...would you say something in Parseltongue?" He paused, breaking eye contact momentarily.

Harry couldn't resist Neville if he tried. There was something about him that was so innocent, but strong at the same time. There was no way to describe what it was, but it made Harry want to move the castle if that's what Neville desired.

"Anything. What do you want to hear?"

Neville closed his eyes and thought for a moment, enjoying the mixture of both ginger and vanilla now heavy in the air.

Someone coughed near the table beside them. There wasn't time to move, hide, or reach for wands.

Draco was staring at them, his wand at the ready.

"Personally, Potter, I'd like to hear what 'expelled' sounds like in Parseltongue."


Casia : a tree with an aromatic bark/ sweet-smelling mezereon.

Gingiber Corollarium : ginger flower/plant

Orbis : circle, orb, ring, disk, orbit, coil/ round / rotation

Promo prompsi promptum : to produce, disclose, bring forth.



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