1995-03-12: Snap-Jaw Wickles


Jackson_icon.gif Neville_icon.gif Melissa_icon.gif

Scene Title Snap-Jaw Wickles
Synopsis Biting plants and bubbles in the greenhouses.
Location Hogwarts - Greenhouses
Date March 12, 1995
Watch For Dancing Neville & Star Trek Herbology
Logger Jax

[HGW] - Greenhouses

The Herbology classes of Hogwarts are taught in a series of greenhouses located out off the main courtyard. From the outside, these greenhouses look like any old greenhouse you would find in someone's garden. The structures are made from glass and metal, of course they are magically enhanced to prevent breakage as well as controlling the inner temperatures. Depending upon your class year depends upon which greenhouse you study in. The contents of these rooms almost appear normal, save for oddly colored foliage that occasionally try to teeth on passing students. Tables and shelving units containing the smaller plants are set up in neat rows, while larger plants occupy corners in their own pots and personal space. Some of these errr, miracles of nature are quite volatile. Arranged down the center aisle are a series of tables for students to work at.

The warm shelter of the Hogwarts greenhouses is where Neville has neatly tucked himself away, his coat, scarf, and mittens discarded at the entrance, along with the slumped bookbag on the floor. The fourth year is amongst the rows of plants and foliage, slowly drifting in a melodic, timed, beat. Neville Longbottom hums to himself, striking up a song as he dances and tends to one row of vividly colored stalks of bamboo-like brush.

Neville is not alone, though, being Sunday afternoon, it isn't as though any classes are scheduled. The warmth and the greenery have drawn another Herbology-loving student out to the greenhouses. Jax's presence is announced first by a flurry of soap bubbles — as vividly-colored as Neville's plants — that shimmer and glitter in the light with magically-enhanced brilliance. The tiny firstie follows soon after, dancing, as well, in time with Neville's quiet humming. He has a bottle of Muggle bubble solution — the bubbles enchanted to lend them extra color and sparkle — in one hand and the wand in the other, waving it to let more bubbles form as he moves.

Neville leans forward, as he bounces to the next clump, this one a silvery blue sort of color, and clips them at an angle near the top. Neville pauses, pushing a vial to the cut edge and letting the electic blue liquid pour in. He fills up three more vials in return before setting them down and moving to— "Yahh!" Neville yelps as he catches his first glimpse of Jax, scooting back to bang into the tables behind him. The plants on those tables stir, clicking their sharp, green teeth at the too-close student.

Jackson squeaks in startlement and whirls around, bubble solution splashing out of his bottle and onto the ground as he blinks at Neville in surprise. "Oh! /You're/ singing, it isn't the plants at all — oh dear. Oh, dear, please don't get eaten." His brow creases at the plants' snapping teeth, and he skitters around to the other side of the table, waving a hand at them to try and distract them from Neville. "M'sorry, I didn't mean to scare you at all or nothin'. It's just usually empty around here."

Neville breathes heavily, his chest rising and falling under his scratchy sweater. "Oh… I…" he stammers, finally becoming keen to the sounds of the danger behind him. Neville turns, grimacing up at the barred plant mouths before whipping his wand out and jabbing forward, tapping their stalks right where an adams apple would be found on any human male. The plants immediately go limp, hanging uselessly, though they still snap and hiss. "It's all right," Neville says to the boy. "I startle easily."

"Oh, /neat/!" Jax's eyes widen when Neville tames the snapping plants. "That's so cool! What are these? I don't know them yet. How'd you do that?" He leans juuuust a little closer to peer at them, curious but cautious. "An' that's okay, I do too — or at least I forget where I am and then /everything/ feels startley." The chattery first-year's accent is an awkward blend of English and American-Southern. He blushes faintly, scrubbing the heel of his hand against his cheek. "I'd'a gone somewhere else to dance if I knew I'd be interrupting only there was /humming/ and I thought maybe it was a plant so I wanted to find it."

"Well," Neville begins, looking at the boy with a new curiosity. "These are Snap-Jaw Wickles. They go limp when you jab the Wickle seed, right there in their stalk," the fourth year points at the lump just under their wide, leafy mouths." He perks with a smile, delighted at the other boy's interest. "There is the Talosian Singer. It's a plant with icy blue leaves. It'll sing if it's not being disturbed. But they're awfully rare. I don't think Hogwarts even has one. Where are you from?"

"That's too bad — a singing plant would be lovely. I wonder what it'd take to cultivate them around here." Jax scurries back around to Neville's side of the table to get a better look at the seed, eyes widening with fascination. "Cool! I'll have to remember that. I bump into things a lot. That could be dangerous around here!" He screws the cap back onto his bottle of bubbles, and rocks back on his heels, his smile bright as he looks from the plants back up to the older student. "I live in Brighton, now. My pa's American, though, I usedta live there." He peers at the Wickles curiously. "What are these used for, d'you know?"

Neville realxes, stepping away from the plants and attempting to tug Jax back a little bit. The reason why is that slowly the plants begin to stir once more. "Oh, America? Never been," Neville admits with a shrug. "They're, um, used for that same seed. When they're fully mature you harvest the seed and it's wickedly useful in potions. Or so I'm told. I'm trash at potions."

Jax takes a hasty step back when the plants start moving again, though he still watches them thoughtfully. His nose crinkles slighlty at the mention of potions. "Can't hardly blame you," he says with an easy laugh, "the potionsmaster can be a /little/ intimidating." He hooks a thumb into the pocket of his jeans, and turns to face Neville. "I'm Jax, by the way."

Neville thrusts a hand out. "Neville," he greets back. "Or just Nev, if you want. Nice to meet you." Now Neville beams a bright smile. And enemy of Snape is a friend of his! "So you like Herbology?" he wants to know eagerly. "It's my best subject."

Jax unhooks his thumb from his pocket to shake Neville's hand, his grip firm, and returns Neville's smile with an equally bright one. "I love Herbology. I was born on a farm — Muggle, though — so I've kinda always loved things that grow. S'really neat getting to know how to care for /magical/ plants now, too — an' all the magical stuff that regular old muggle plants are useful for." His head tilts curiously. "What year are you? You seem to know bunches. I'm only just learning — it's all so fascinating."

"Fourth," Neville replies with a nod. "Herbology is a pretty important skill. Witches and Wizards need at least some plantlife in their houses. Plants for burns and injuries, or cooking, or well, just about anything!"

"And potions," Jax agrees with a nod, "for all that some'a the Slytherins look down on Herbology." He takes a few steps back to lean against a /different/ table (after checking to make sure that the nearest plant on it — a small bush with fluffy pale-yellow leaves — isn't about to try and bite him.) "I think eating's the best part of all that, though," he confides cheerfully. "I mean, without plants we couldn't have /pie/, an' /then/ where'd be the point in life?"

Neville laughs, moving on after Jax. "Slytherins look down on a lot of things," he remarks with a chuckle. "It takes a real wizard to see the use of herbology. At least, that's what m'Gran told me. But then again, she might just be trying to make me feel better. It's not as flashy or exciting as Transfiguration or Charms."

"Don't gotta be flashy to be important," Jax replies, shrugging a shoulder. "Nobody could get anything done at all without it, really! Anyway maybe other folks just don't got enough patience for making things grow." He uncaps his bubbles again, blowing a stream of them towards the Wickle plants to watch them snap from a safe distance, now. His lips quirk into a crooked grin. "'sides, I like it out here. Some days I'd much rather deal with sharptooth plants than some people, anyway. People are scarier."

Neville leans against the table, his elbows resting to the wood as he watches the plants growl and snap at the little, colorful soap orbs. "I think I'm with you on that," the boy agrees to Jax. "But hey, if you're interested in Herbology, I'd be willing to come in here on Sunday's and teach you some new stuff. You'd probably knock Professor Sprout clean out of her socks."

"/Really/?" Jax's eyes light at this offer, excited. "Oh, /wow/, that'd be /aces/." His grin stretches wide and his gaze flits from the bright bubbles to Neville, grateful. "I'd love that — Y'sure you don't mind?"

Neville can't help but laugh. "Aces," he repeats, amused. The boy fiddles with his left ear, watching another bubbles life end at the snap of a Wickle. "Oh, I don't mind at all. I'm in here every Sunday just about anyways. I'd enjoy some company."

Jax bounces slightly on his toes, his nose crinkling with the wideness of his smile. "/Cool/," he chirrups eagerly. "Thanks!" He leans back against the table, blowing another stream of vividly-colored bubbles towards the also-colorful snapping plants. "Next time maybe I even won't startle you. My teeth are /totally/ less scary than theirs anyway."

Neville grins slightly, pushing himself off his lean against the table row of small, fluffier plants. "If I know you're in here, then I won't be frightened. It was just… you know. I was humming and—um…" Neville scratches the back of his head. "Dancing."

Melissa lets herself in, waving a bit to Neville and Jackson. "Oh, hi," she says. "I didn't expect anyone else would be in here!" She trots up to see what the boys are up to.

"I was dancing! Cuz there was humming. Dancing's what you're supposed to do when there's music," Jax replies cheerfully. "Sometimes I just can't help it — Hi!" He waves to the other first-year as she enters. "It's turning into a party in here. And it's normally so quiet! We have bubbles," he tells Melissa, with a smile, "and also plants with snappyteeth. They like the bubbles, too." He gestures in indication as the Wickles snap at another of the bubbles.

Neville is still scratching his head as Melissa comes in. "Oh, hullo," the fourth year greets with a small smile. "A party of sorts. Guess the greenhouses are popular today." Neville turns towards his work he was doing before the interruption, sorrting the wide variety of vials he has collected from the colorful bamboo-ish plants in the older-year row of the greenhouse. Each vial is filled with a vivid color, and Neville begins to sort them.

Melissa nods, giving a bright smile. "Oh, bubbles… that's nice," she says. "Um… what was I here for again? Oh, that's right…" She moves down one aisle and checks the tags against her notes, occasionally jotting something down.

Jax watches Neville work with interest, paying close attention to his sorting. He flicks an occasional glance after Melissa. "What /are/ you here for?" he wonders conversationally. "I was here for dancing, but I found Neville instead, which turned out to be cooler /anyway/. Did you know there's a plant that sings? Not at Hogwarts, though. Yet."

Neville glances over, scooting the array of orange vials together in their right place. He can only snuffle a laugh at Jax, warming up to the first year with great ease. "A Talosian Singer," Neville reminds.

Melissa looks up from her notes. "Oh, Potions," she says. "We were supposed to identify some of the ingredients out here. Hmm, Talosian Singer? That sounds a bit sci-fi," she adds with a giggle. She finishes her note taking than moves back to the others. "Why are you coming out here to dance?"

"Cuz it's quiet and empty," Jax says, and then laughs as he adds, "Well, /usually/. And the plants are friendly except the ones that bite, and it's warm, and peaceful, and I like dancing." His lips purse thoughtfully. "That's six reasons. Is that enough? I don't like even numbers. I should make it seven. — It's Sunday, and I'm done all my homework." He nods to himself, satisfied with his number of reasons, now. "A Talosian Singer," he echoes, "an' I'm /totally/ going to look them up and talk to Professor Sprout and see /just how much/ work it'd take to get a really rare singing blue plant to take care of out here."

"No, it's 'sian', not 'scifi'," Neville responds, completely missing the meaning of her remark. But by the time any explanation can be made, the Gryffindor fourth year is already back at his work. "You should look at the Wickles, then. I was just pointing them out to Jax."

Melissa smiles a bit. Sometimes she forgets that being half-blood lets you understand twice the pop culture references. "Oh, where are those then? Are they interesting?"

Jax points towards the sharp-toothed plants that were snapping at his bubbles, where they sit on the table behind Neville. "They have tempers! But Neville taught me how to make them stop snapping for a little while." He points a finger at the seeds that sit below the plants' jaws, but his attention span doesn't last long enough to give more of an explanation than that. He peers at the colorful vials that Neville is filling. "What are /those/ for? The plants are pretty."

Neville glances down at his work, looking at them proudly. "These are pigment shoots! One drop of this liquid can turn anything you want into the color it is. /Anything/, so you have to be careful. If it splashed on you just a bit, you'd turn green as a lizard or as yellow as butterbeer. It's mostly used by wizard tailors and it crops up a good price. Professor Sprout is trusting me to gather it all for her."

Melissa looks at them with interest. "What, all over? That'd be so funny to see!" she says. "What are you going to use them for?"

"Anything?" Jax peers at the vials with interest, looking from one color to the next. "Could you dilute it an' use it for hair dye?" he wonders excitedly. "Cuz that'd be way cool! I'd make my hair purple. Or pink. Or blue. Or all those!"

Neville steps back from the small vial. "Yeah, I bet you could," the boy says after a moment of thought. "But if you do it, I had /nothing/ to do with it, all right?" He looks to Melissa, smiling at his crowd. "Not sure what the Professor is going to use them for. Perhaps she'll sell them to raise some money for some more rare plants. Like the Singer!"

Melissa grins. "Oh, that'd be great!" she says. "I think I'd like to hear it…"

Jax grins and draws an X over his heart with a forefinger. "You had nothing to do with it. Got it." He eyes the vials, bouncing slightly on his toes. "Well, we can ask her about it. The Singer, not the hair-dying. I'd totally be willing to help out with fundraising efforts to get more awesome stuff in here."

Neville smirks, nodding at the crossed-heart. "Don't get your hopes up, though. That's a rare, rare plant." He starts to load up the vials into a shelf nearby. "Did you need any help with your homework?" he shoots at Melissa.

Melissa shakes her head. "No, I'm all right. Thanks though," she says to Neville. "Well, if any place deserves a super-rare plant, it would be Hogwarts… we're probably the best school there is anywhere!"

Jax squints at Melissa uncertainly, and laughs. "Have you been to many other schools?" he wonders. "I think your sample size is prob'ly a bit small to judge that. — This place /is/ totally /way/ more awesome than either of the Muggle schools I been to, though, that's for sure. We didn't get to /fly/ at those."

Melissa grins at Jax. "Oh, you're right," she says. "I guess it's just pride talking. It is a lot more fun than Muggle school though… though mum wouldn't want me saying that, she's a science teacher."

Neville looks to Melissa, curious as well to Jax's question. "What are muggle schools like?" the boy suddenly wonders. "My friend Brian is Muggleborn, and I don't know much about the whole… lifestyle."

"I guess they can be fun sometimes, but there ain't no magic," Jax says with a wrinkle of his nose. "No brooms, no wands. Just lots of books. We didn't have a greenhouse or anything, though I guess some richer schools do. Just — go to school, sit through six hours of classes, go home. I did like art classes, though, /that/ was fun. I love painting. But our paintings there don't move."

Neville looks simply amused at the thought. "They don't move?" the boy wonders with a click of his tongue against the roof of his mouth. "That's /weird/. I guess an art class wouldn't be so bad. I've been thinking about joining the music club."

"Don't move at /all/! And we don't have classes like potions and transfiguration and things — just math and English and computers and science and —" Jax laughs, head shaking. "Magic totally goes against everything we learn in science, though." He shrugs, and rocks back on his heels again, looking up at the roof. "Anyway, I've gotta get going — I'll see you next Sunday?" He grins at Neville and waves to Melissa before skittering off.

Melissa waves to Jackson as he leaves. "Well, it helps to know both magic and science, I think," she says. "Sometimes they work well together, even. But it's a bit of a rocky relationship!"

Neville looks at Melissa much like a deer into headlights. The lost boy silently nods and sets the last vials onto the shelf. "Well, that's all sorted. Professor Sprout'll be pleased!" He turns his head, glancing out of the greenhouse. "Oh. I should probably get back in for that study group in the library. You'll be okay out here by yourself?"

Melissa nods. "I think so, but I'll probably head in anyway," she says. "I've done what I needed to do."

Neville moves to the table by the door, gathering up his coat, scarf, and bookbag. "All right. I'll see you around," he departs with a wave, back into the frigid winter air.

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