"What I don't understand is why the kid killed the snake."

Neville looked up from the field notes he was correcting. The members of the research team sat around the campfire talking. The chief propagator spoke. He hated field research and vented his dislike by engaging in endless debates with his botanist friend over Ministry politics and the relative merits of Quidditch teams. Neville normally ignored them. "The kid is standing in front of You-know-Who and he has a sword. Why doesn't he cut his head off instead of the snake's?" the propagator asked. "One stroke and it's good-bye Voldemort."

Most of the members of the expedition were plant-hunting abroad when the Ministry fell three years ago and waited out the war at Beaubatons. Their knowledge of the war was gleaned from foreign newspapers and was limited at best.

"Harry Potter told him to kill the snake." Neville answered. "He only had one chance and he chose to do what Harry asked."

They turned toward Neville, the newest and least experienced member of the troop. "No," the propagator said, "that doesn't make sense. The kid ran out after Lord Voldemort. That's who he was after."

Tradescant, the expedition leader let out a small bark of amusement.

"Who would want him to kill the snake anyway?" the propagator continued. "It was a brilliant moment that rallied the fighters but a mistake."

"I think he was rattled by the burning hat on his head." The botanist answered. "Made the wrong move. It saved the day of course. But unplanned."

Neville saw recognition slowly dawn on the face of the girl sitting next to him. He caught her eye and shook his head. She smiled back at him and watched with amusement as the debate continued.