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Freckles - A Place for the most Rare of Loves
Find it in the Room of Requirement

Boca. posting in A Gift Exchange for HP Rarepairs
User: hprare_exchange (posted by msqu)
Date: 2007-10-14 16:19
Title: Freckles
Security: Public
Feeling:happy
Tags:hannah, het, neville, neville/hannah
Story for: piartemis18
Title: Freckles
Pairing: Hannah/Neville
Rating: G
Summary: Neville is the Herbology professor at Hogwarts, but his life is still missing something. With the help of his old schoolmate and one of his students, he'll find out what. The question is, will he get it?




Neville reached into the pot of green, murky water and pulled out a handful of thick, weedy plants, letting the water trickle through his fingers. He laid it out on the table and began slicing it lengthwise. He picked up one of the slices and held it over a small jar, running his fingers down the length of it and letting the liquid inside drain into the jar.

Then he looked up and smiled. "Get to work!"

His students, first years and fresh-faced, scurried back to their tables and began rolling up their sleeves to plunge their hands into the cloudy water that contained the Sanoweed. Neville had proposed a plan the previous year so that the classes all worked together to supply St. Mungo's Hospital For Magical Maladies and Injuries with potions, ingredients, and other such things. The students all worked together to salvage as much as they could for the cause, which helped them learn more thoroughly. Neville's students were all outstanding, even the ones who didn't like his class.

After the lesson, Neville had each student bring his or her jars up to the front and leave them in the crates provided that were to go through a magical screening process performed by interns at St. Mungo's.

Neville waved his wand and the lids flew onto the crates. The students had all cleared out, off to their next lessons. With another wave of his wand, the crates gently and neatly stacked themselves in front of Neville's desk. Then he sat down to finish filling out the grade sheet. He was very proud of his classes; they demonstrated exceptional skill when it came to plants. Of course, there were students who did poorly in his classes, but most students were getting rather good at it.

He was nearly finished with the grades when he heard a knock on the open door of the greenhouse. Looking up, he saw a young woman with badly combed blonde hair standing at the door with a tired expression on her face. She was dressed, not in green robes, but mint-coloured trousers and a uniform blouse. Neville knew her well; she was an employee of St. Mungo's, and she was here to collect the Sanoweed extract. She came to the school every so often to gather the supplies they donated to the hospital.

Neville smiled sadly at the young woman standing before him. "Hello, Hannah."

"Hello, Neville." Hannah's voice was quiet and hoarse, as if she didn't use it very often. Her usually pink cheeks were pale and thin, and her eyeliner was smudged. The Hannah Neville used to know rarely wore makeup, and she always had a smile for everyone. This Hannah was poor, lonely, and depressed.

Ever since she left Hogwarts, Hannah's life had gone downhill. She had been forced to find work on the streets after her father was killed - one year after her mother. All their money went to a greedy cousin who somehow figured out how to take it since Hannah wasn't of age. Orphaned, penniless and homeless, Hannah wandered the town until someone took pity on her and took her in for the night.

Then, one day, Hannah went to visit her old schoolmate Neville Longbottom. He let her stay at his house for a few weeks during the summer and found her a job at St. Mungo's.

"That all?" Hannah asked, pointing with a skinny finger toward the Sanoweed crates. A crease appeared in Neville's brow as he took in her appearance more fully.

"Hannah," he said warily, changing the subject, "have you been getting enough food?"

Hannah blushed. Her face still looked pale. She seemed to shrink, and Neville marvelled at how small she could make herself seem.

"You know I can't always afford--"

"You really should--"

"Sorry."

"You go first."

"No, it's okay."

An awkward silence ensued, leaving Neville to peer at the crates and count the number of jars in each one.

"Well--" he blurted out, then paused. "We've got some good plants and herbs for you today."

"Oh," Hannah said, looking mortified. "Right." She seemed to have forgotten why she was there.

"The Sanoweed is in those," Neville gestured to the crates, "and the dried herbs are in the boxes in the cupboard." He swallowed and continued in a would-be casual voice, "Can I get you anything, Hannah?"

"Could you help me get these outside?" she asked shyly. "I'm on a broom today, so I've got the harnesses all ready. They decided to use the carriage for a bigger delivery," she added.

Neville smiled and waved his wand. "Locomotor crates," he said, levitating them to about waist height while Hannah got the boxes out of the cupboard. Hannah looked at him rather enviously.

"I wish I'd stayed in Hogwarts. I can't Apparate, and I can't do half the things you do. I would have liked to teach Transfiguration someday, but I wasn't good enough." Hannah held up her grubby, mudstained wand. "This is all I've got." It was not taken care of exceptionally well; that much was obvious. The unicorn hair was gleaming underneath the thin wood, mud and all.

"They don't let me do much magic, not being a Hogwarts graduate and all."

Neville had not really been listening; he was too busy admiring the way the freckles on Hannah's face were splashed across her nose, but nowhere else. It was nice, he thought. As he surveyed her, a picture formed in his head. He saw himself and Hannah sitting by a roaring fire with a little girl squished in between them, laughing. He could see the little girl's freckles, just like Hannah's. He smiled. That would be nice. In fact, there wasn't anything he could think of that he'd rather have.

"Neville?"

Neville started. Hannah was staring at him, a bemused expression on her face. Neville smiled weakly, realising that his thoughts were absurd. He was learning to be on his own and doing very well, thank you very much. He was resigned to the fact that he would probably never have a real relationship. He was okay with that now.

Was he?

He could see the little girl - his daughter - laughing in his mind's eye. She looked so happy, so comfortable. More than anything, he wanted to meet her.

Looking up suddenly, Neville asked, "Would you like to go to the Three Broomsticks sometime, Hannah?"

Hannah looked very surprised, then hesitant, then awkward. His heart sank. "Er... I'm sorry, Neville, I can't."

"Oh." The image in Neville's head faded and he sighed. "All right, just thought I'd ask. That's all," he added, gesturing to the boxes. 'What just came over me?' he wondered. 'Never mind. I'll just forget about this, and everything will be fine.'


For a while, it was. He had not seen the image of the happy family in front of the fire since Hannah had left, and in fact all thoughts of Hannah had slipped out of his mind. It was almost exam time, and his students were getting tense.

Occasionally, however, late at night, he would be in his office doing work and he would sense that something was missing. He thought of all that was gone from his life, even though he had so much now, and he felt a pang of longing in his heart. He dismissed it each time.


For several months, Neville was distinctly aware that something wasn't right, but he could never pinpoint what it was. It was the first day back at Hogwarts after summer holiday that he realised what it was.

Neville had never really had a family of his own. His parents had been tortured to insanity by Death Eaters and he had gone to live with his Gran. Augusta Longbottom was an austere, formidable woman who enjoyed telling her grandson how little he lived up to the family name. After leaving his home and moving to Hogwarts, Neville never met the right person to settle down with. Who better, he thought, than his old schoolmate Hannah?

The next time he saw her, she had come to pick up the supplies for St. Mungo's again. This time she looked even poorer and even more unhappy. Neville felt so sorry for her. Again, he saw the image of the happy family in front of the fire.

"Neville, what's wrong?" Hannah asked him as they finished loading up the crates. "You look so strange."

"Er," Neville said. He didn't know how to phrase what he wanted to say. "I... er... would you like to come and live with me, Hannah?" That had not sounded as good coming out of his mouth as it had in his head. Hannah blinked and Neville cringed.

"Neville," Hannah said gently, "I think you want this for the wrong reasons."

"No, I don't –" Neville protested, but Hannah cut him off.

"Yes, you do," she said. "You barely know me, Neville. I may be a poor girl who lives in a different flat every week, but I'm not stupid. You're scared, you're getting older –" Neville was slightly astonished at her honesty – "and you want someone to settle down with." Even though he knew on some level that Hannah was right, Neville resented her saying it outright.

"That's all I'm going to say, Neville." Hannah smiled sadly. "I'm sorry."


Neville was in a state of utter capriciousness after his encounter with Hannah. He was frequently found hurling objects across his office or tearing up letters he had been composing ten minutes earlier. Other times, he would sit in his quarters, staring out the window at the moon. The spots on the moon reminded him of Hannah's freckles, for some reason. He could not figure out why she had rejected him.

His attention in his classes was fading; as a result, the amount of herbs and plants delivered to St. Mungo's diminished. Someone else was covering Hannah's position now; Neville wondered if she had asked to be transferred. His students were suffering as well. Their grades had gone steadily down since Neville's distraction began.

One day after class, one of Neville's second-year students approached him with a tentative air about her.

"Professor?" she asked cautiously. "Could I talk to you before the next lesson?"

Neville forced a smile. "Of course, Miss Clarke. What's the matter?"

"Well..." the girl trailed off. "I miss the way lessons used to be. I was good at Herbology for the first time ever. Now you're distracted all the time and we're suffering with you." She bit her lip and continued hesitantly. "I know it's none of my business, but sometimes it can help to talk to someone who doesn't know your life..." She left the question unasked and looked at him hopefully.

Neville looked at her appraisingly. She seemed trustworthy. He sat down at his desk and sighed. "Have you ever been lonely, Miss Clarke?"

The girl nodded. She did not speak, merely looked up at him with her wide eyes. She looked so innocent... the way Hannah used to.

"Well," Neville continued, "I am... er... a bit challenged in the family department. I recently asked a woman to move in with me, and she refused. I just don't know why." Why am I spilling my entrails to a twelve-year-old?

"Did she say why?" Neville blinked at the small girl standing in front of him.

"She said I didn't ask her for the right reasons." Neville sighed. "I want a family, but I've never met anyone but her that I'd like to settle down with."

"Do you love her, or do you just want a family?"

Neville started to say something, but he stopped as the full meaning of her words struck him. "What?"

"Do you love her?"

Neville hesitated. "I don't really know her." There was sadness in his voice, and Miss Clarke detected it.

"Then you need to get to know her," she said decisively. "Do you know where she lives?"

"No," Neville said gloomily. "Wait. Yes!"

Miss Clarke smiled. "Do you feel better now?"

A spark of hope was in Neville's eye as he walked around the desk and hugged the young girl. She laughed. "Good luck, Professor Longbottom."


For the rest of the day, Neville was teaching up a storm. He was speaking with even more fervor than he usually did. He waited until the weekend, and then he left the grounds (giving notice to the Headmaster) and Apparated to the building where Hannah lived.

He wrenched open the door of the building, taking the stairs two at a time until he reached the third floor. Finally arriving at 307, he knocked on the door.

"Hannah?" he called. "Are you home?"

"You looking for Abbott?" Neville whirled around to see a frowning Muggle standing behind him. He was apparently the landlord, as his shirt had a large orange patch on it that clashed horribly with the colour of the shirt. He was an older man with hunched shoulders and a face like an English Mastiff.

"Yes," Neville replied warily. "Who are you?"

"Name's Madadh," the man replied gruffly. "'Fraid you won't find Abbott 'ere. Left about two weeks back. No notice, no nuffin'. Just packed 'er bags and split."

Neville was crestfallen. "Where did she go? Tell me!" Madadh shook his head, and his jowls waved back and forth.

"Couldn't say," he grunted. "Sorr'."

Neville tore off down the hall, not even caring that the man called after him, "'Ey, no running in my 'alls!"


There was only one person who might know where Hannah was now. Neville stood in front of Ernie Macmillan's small house in a shabby little neighbourhood outside of Newcastle, wondering if he would ever find Hannah.

He walked up to the door and knocked. A few minutes later, it opened to reveal a pretty young woman with red, curly hair.

"Hello, Neville," she said, smiling. "Was Ernie expecting you?"

"No," Neville admitted. "Is he here, Julia? I need to talk to him."

"Come in," Mrs Macmillan said, opening the door. "He's in the den."

As Neville walked into the house, Ernie came out of the den to see who the guest was. As he recognised Neville, a faint look of surprise sprung onto his face, and then he smiled.

"Longbottom," he greeted. "Something told me I'd see you here before too long." Ernie had not changed. He was now high up in the Ministry and he was still as pompous as he had been at Hogwarts.

"Hello, Ernie. Do you know where Hannah's gone?" Neville asked abruptly.

"She's upstairs," Ernie replied. "I let her move in here after she couldn't pay her rent anymore –" Neville was already on his way upstairs.

"Hannah?" he called. Hannah poked her head out of a bedroom at the end of the hall.

"Neville?" she cried. "What are you doing here?"

"I want to get to know you," Neville said. "I like you, but I want to get to know you."

Hannah looked rather astonished, but flattered all the same. "Neville... how did you find me?"

"I went to your flat, but Madadh said you'd moved out, so I knew there was only one place I could go to find out where you were." Neville was out of breath, but he pressed on. "Sometime, do you think we could fall in love?"

Hannah blinked. Neville's heart felt as though it stopped for just that second before Hannah's face broke out into a smile.

"I think so."




Four years later, Hannah and Neville married. They fought constantly, but they always grew closer together afterward. They were blissfully happy when they weren't ready to tear each other's heads off. Neville's classes were better than ever, and Hannah took some courses at the local Qwikspell facility to obtain what she missed in her last year of Hogwarts. After that, Hannah was accepted to come and teach Transfiguration when Professor McGonagall took over as Headmistress.

After two and a half years of marriage, Neville and Hannah had a baby girl. One night, Neville sat in the nursery, cradling his now one-year-old daughter. Smiling, he traced his finger over her sleeping face.

She had freckles.
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CA: amazing
User: piartemis18
Date: 2007-10-14 22:38 (UTC)
Title: (no subject)
Keyword:amazing
*grins* Neville is so amazingly in character. His kindness and awkwardness ("Sometime, do you think we could fall in love?" *dies*) is spot on.

I liked Hannah too. She knows Neville better than he knows himself, even before they give it a shot. It's easy to see why they would get along -- and also fight.

And they lived out their dreams. Hannah became Transfiguration teacher (yay) and Neville had his little freckled baby. I love happy endings. Thanks so much. This is awesome. :)
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User: (Anonymous)
Date: 2007-10-20 12:19 (UTC)
Title: (no subject)
I'm so glad you liked it! Neville is one of my favourite characters, so it was really fun to write (though I didn't expect it to go in the direction it did).

Also, this ship just became canon. *giggles* I got Hannah's job wrong (she turns out to be the landlady of the Leaky Cauldron), but they did get married after Hogwarts, according to Jo.

Well, I'm very happy that you liked it!
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Jess: film -->> hp ; neville painted
User: hazy_crazy
Date: 2007-10-22 13:09 (UTC)
Title: (no subject)
Keyword:film -->> hp ; neville painted
"Sometime, do you think we could fall in love?"

That is one of the most beautiful lines I have ever read. And it's so completely, utterly and endearingly Neville. :)

I really enjoyed this - you wrote it well. I really liked Hannah's perception. Well done!
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merlins_babe
User: merlins_babe
Date: 2009-02-26 03:19 (UTC)
Title: (no subject)
This story has been rec'ed at
The Golden Seeker
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Pining for...
March 2008