Neville slipped away from Hogsmeade, taking the lane that led past the shops on the outskirts of town, into the hedgerow lined by-ways beyond. He walked slowly, stooped over, searching the ground for the rare plants that often nestled at the feet of these shrubs, until he found the break in the plant wall that revealed the path that ran into the distant hills. He turned onto it and went on until Hogsmeade shrunk to a small collection of insignificant buildings behind him.
He didn't think anyone would miss him. He wasn't exactly the most popular bloke on a Saturday in Hogsmeade. No one minded having him around; they just didn't care if he wasn't. Harry, Ron and Hermione included him when they could. Dean and Seamus were a lot of fun and they liked him. Even Ernie's and Hannah's crowd were glad to have him join them and even asked sometimes. They were all friends, but they didn't plan on him being with them. They just thought it was all right if he was. That wasn't a big deal, but sometimes it wasn't very satisfying.
After walking for awhile, he saw Asphodels blazing like beacons far beyond him and he head for them, trudging through wet spongy ground, until he spotted a Sundew amid the bog plants. He knelt beside it and gave himself omniocular eyes, so he could watch the plant magnified many times over. It was lovely; each tiny hair, a deadly tentacle that was crowned with a drop of mucilage that glistened in the sun like a jewel. A midge brushed against one of the shining specks of dew. The tentacle it decorated, closed over the insect, rolling down into itself, capturing the creature, just as its wizard cousin, the Venomous Tentacula would grab its prey. Neville knew this was a Muggle plant and yet it behaved so like the wizard form that he wondered how alike the two really were. How much of the Venomous Tentacula's behavior wasn't a product of magic at all but of the same tropisms shared with the non-magical of its kind?
He wondered if Sprout had ever considered this. It was worth studying he thought and then he smiled at his idea. Here was more proof that he wasn't a complete wizard. Most students at Hogwarts spent their time thinking about how different the magical world was from the Muggle one and wanted to study how alike they were. He laughed a little, embarrassed even though he was alone.
He examined the plants in the bog, drawing and writing about them in a little notebook he kept on a string around his neck until the sun began to sink and he knew it was time to head home. When he reached the lane that led back to Hogsmeade he preformed the cleaning and drying charms that Hermione had taught him. It hadn't been a bad day. He'd enjoyed himself and thought about some things.
No one in Hogsmeade had noticed he'd been gone.