An owl swooped into the Leaky Cauldron dropped a letter and a package where Neville was sitting at the bar and landed, knocking over Neville's drink with his outstretched wings. Hannah quickly wiped up the spill, amused at how messes followed Neville even when he wasn't the cause. Neville gave her a rueful look; she shrugged and smiled back.
Neville read his letter, tossed it on to the bar and wrote a quick response, sending it off with the mess making owl. He grabbed a wad of photographs from his package and flipped through them looking very pleased as he did so.
It was near closing and the crowd in the pub was thin so Hannah sat down in the seat next to Neville. "What's this?" she asked.
"Photos of my last trip to the Himalayas," he said as he studied each one and then laid it onto the bar
Amid the pictures of strange and beautiful plants were mixed some of Neville -- drinking coffee as the sun rose over a mountain in the distance, flying his broom slowly over a meadow full of plants, none of which Hannah could recognize, or standing at the front of a tent laughing while a girl stuck her head out and waved at the camera and the tent walls flapped wildly in the wind.
Hannah glanced at the letter lying on the bar. Why didn't you put in for this trip to the Andes? Family responsibilities again I suppose. We all miss you. The sweet botanist from Taiwan is here. Aren't you sorry you're not? She asked about you. Don't say you don't know who I'm talking about, because I know you do. We need you out here; I've been going over the identification keys for the Smilacina and I'm already confused…"
Hannah found herself wondering if the girl in the picture was the same one who wrote the letter. She looked guiltily over to Neville who was staring intently at a picture of the biggest Venomous Tentacula that she had ever seen. She really shouldn't be reading his mail. She poured him a drink to replace the one that spilled.
"Hannah look here," Neville called. "Do you want to see the greatest moment in my herbological life?"
"I thought growing my orchid was your greatest."
"All right my second greatest."
Neville handed her a photo. In it he was leaning low over a broom hovering along side a cliff face examining a small white puffskein of a plant. Covered in fluffy, white hair, it looked more animal than vegetable. "That's the rarest plant I've ever seen in person."
"Just looking at this plant is one of your greatest moments?"
"Oh yes! The plant's that rare."
The cliff face rose above a deep rugged valley. Hannah could see the thin blue line of a river far below Neville's broom.
"I thought you didn't like high places?" she asked.
"I hate them," he answered. "But to see the plant, I had to brave the cliff. I just reminded myself that I have done things that scared me in the past and survived."
Hannah couldn't help herself. "Like telling Lord Voldemort to go to hell?" she asked.
Neville looked up momentarily confused. "What? That was the easiest thing I've ever done in my life. I had no intention of joining that man. I was talking about learning to ride a broom."