AN: So, hi. Just to break up writing Tyrant I tidied up this little oneshot I wrote a while ago. As a warning, it is just a joke, a setup to a punchline. It also jumps around across the plot quickly. I like it though, YMMV.
Harry Potter and the Garden
LITTLE WHINGING LANDSCAPE AND GARDENING BIANNUAL
GRAND PRIZE 4 YEARS RUNNING
the sign proclaimed.
Minerva had to admit that among the rows of standard issue houses with standard issue lawns and standard roses, the Dursley residence stood out. The sheer beauty of the garden that both lined and shielded the house was breathtaking, and the lack of artifice that flowed throughout indicated a subtle touch she had not expected.
Perhaps she had been wrong about the Dursleys, all those years ago.
She stepped over lush foliage and past fragrant blooms. Each position revealed a new vista, a new perspective that was both unexpected and exhilarating. She even saw several plants she knew to be weeds, but somehow they only served to complement the more traditional species.
A true masterpiece, of the kind rarely seen even in her own world.
Forcing her face back into a modicum of schoolmarm propriety she reached the door and rapped sharply on the wood.
An enormous man opened the door, eyes widening as he took her appearance in. His face purpled so quickly patches of white skin stood out on his neck, seemingly left behind in the rush.
"Piss off you bloody freak!" he screamed as he slammed the door.
Giant jaws snapped like a steel trap overhead, and Hermione could only hope that Harry had made it through. Her hope was confirmed by the soft thump of him landing next to her. Luckily something had broken their falls … who jumps into a hole of an unknown depth anyway?
She felt an impatient hand on her shoulder, and sighed.
"Give me a second Ron. You know, lumos is a basic spell, you should be able to do it yourself by now," she said in exasperation. Her wand lit with a cool blue glow.
Ron blinked at her, standing a good 10 feet away. "I was just about to do it Hermione, you don't need to be so snitty," he groused.
Hermione felt her blood run cold as she glanced at her shoulder, upon which rested a thick green vine. A distinctly recognisable vine to anyone who had read "101 Carnivorous Plants for Beginners".
"Harry, Ron," she whispered fiercely. "Don't move. This is a Devil's Snare!"
Of course, Ron immediately tried to scramble to his feet, and all hell broke loose. Vines as thick as her wrist streamed from the shadows and quickly smothered Ron, dragging him into the writhing root system. The tendrils around Hermione were multiplying rapidly too, even if she wasn't moving the plant knew it had found prey. She strained her mind to recall the spell to use against Devil's Snare, but as she was pulled downward she realised that it was going to be too late …
A whispering of the wind passed her ears just before she was engulfed, like leaves shivering before a storm. Funny, she mused as if from a great distance, Devil's Snare doesn't have leaves.
And then she was dropped unceremoniously onto her bottom, solid flagstones underneath and all offending greenery nowhere to be seen.
Harry reached down and helped her up with a grin.
It was total pandemonium, the hut was filled with flashing forms of cats, rats and dogs playing out a comedy of noise and destruction. Remus' wand spat curses furiously, disintegrating Hagrid's meagre possessions with each missed shot.
Harry was screaming, trying to reason with Remus. Sirius wasn't who they thought he was, he cried, and neither was Scabbers.
A stray curse hit the window, and quick as a flash a small grey blur marked the escape of the rat animagus that had been Peter Pettigrew. Harry, Hermione and Remus chased the train of animals out of the hut, catching sight of them as they raced away towards the Hogsmeade end of the grounds.
"Stop you bastard!" Harry screamed, practically hysterical. "You killed my parents."
Remus' heart tore painfully but he paused in the doorway, eyes worriedly on the sky.
He knew where Sirius was running, and if the animals reached the Whomping Willow first it would be impossible to catch them. He threw caution to the wind, sprinting out into the open. It was a full moon tonight and it would be rising soon, but he could not fail his godson again …
A wind howled past him, although he felt no gust, the sound of an entire forest shaking in a storm, branches and leaves crashing and buffeting each other. Dread rising in him, he saw the Whomping Willow stir, just ahead.
It was like slow motion as the giant tree angled forward. A glacier could not advance with such inevitability or brutal majesty. Just as the tree reached him, the full moon that it had obscured shone it's light directly into his eyes.
Hermione's hand rose to her mouth in abject horror as the entire group (including Crookshanks!) was buried under tons of timber. Harry dashed forward into the branches before Hermione could stop him, a cry on her lips.
But the expected violence of branch and twig never erupted, and the tree remained bowed low.
"Hermione, we've got them!" Harry cried out triumphantly.
Wending her way into the wreckage of dirt and foliage, expecting to stumble on a gruesome discovery at every turn, Hermione arrived at what could only be described as a clearing.
Standing in the middle was a grinning Harry, and on all sides were their quarries – Padfoot and Wormtail unconscious in their human forms, Crookshanks uninjured but hackles so high he looked like nothing more than an orange dandelion, and a thrashing werewolf still partially wearing Remus' robes, all held fast in prisons of willowbranch.
Hermione collapsed onto the ground, absolutely speechless. Hogwarts: A History had never mentioned anything like this.
"HARRY POTTER IS DEAD!" the snake-like voice of Voldemort hissed painfully, the siblant tones carried by magic to every student and teacher ranked against him. "Give up now, and I will be merciful."
Gasps and cries broke out among the defenders of Light, as the last hope faded. Winter and darkness was upon them.
"I wouldn't be so sure," came a reply from behind him. From among his Death Eaters. Voldemort spun, shaking with rage, and those before him quailed in fear. They swiftly parted, revealing a dark haired boy carrying a swaddled bundle of wrinkles and ugliness.
Voldemort stiffened, the Elder Wand hanging limp in his nerveless hand. He brought it back.
"How is this possible Potter?" he spat in a harsh whisper. "How are you alive?"
The boy smirked. "You know," he said, "I am as surprised as you are. Surviving the Killing Curse twice? Must be some sort of record."
The deformity moved in Potter's arms, drawing the attention of the Dark Lord and an evil grin drew his lipless skin back across his teeth. He thrust his wand forward with a cry of "Accio", and the thing flew into his arms.
"I don't know how you brought this back with you Potter, but you have just cost yourself any chance of winning," he crowed. "Your precious Sword could have ended this war, but instead you return me my immortality."
Potter's grin stretched wide across his face, a human counterpoint to the sick rictus of Lord Voldemort. "Tom," he said softly, "I am afraid that's not a Horcrux."
Ice ran down Voldemort's spine and he turned his gaze to the creature in his arms. It was ugly and monstrous to be sure, but now he looked it was … different. It was brown, to start with. His eyes flicked back up to Potter.
The boy opened his mouth, but instead of words the Dark Lord heard a morning breeze, like boughs shaking the dew from their leaves.
In Voldemort's arms, small eyes opened and squinted harshly at the bright light of day. It was clearly unhappy at being woken.
And then the Mandrake screamed.
It was widely accepted afterwards that three things happened next.
Voldemort's head exploded.
A significant number of Death Eaters died or lost consciousness, while those that remained upright staggered away.
Harry, standing in the epicentre of the devastation, at ground zero, just smiled.
It took some time before even the professors were brave enough to approach Harry as he stood in front of them all, carrying an unpotted Mandrake like it was the most normal thing in the world. It was really only fitting that Pomona Sprout was the first to step forward, much to the eternal chagrin of the Head of the House of Brave Lions from thenceforth.
"It is quite alright Professor," Harry said softly. "You can remove your silencing charm from the Mandrake, it is sleeping. Not that the charm would help anyway."
Pomona nodded her head and cancelled the charm. She knew that magic was no protection against a Mandrake, but without custom-enchanted nifflerskin earmuffs on hand she was still willing to try anything. The end of the Dark Lord had been … upsetting.
"Mr Potter," she said, beaming with pride. "In all my life I have never seen such a thing, and I never would want to again, but well done. 50 points to Gryffindor for defeating the Dark Lord with Herbology!"
As if waiting for that cue, the surviving students and teachers (which was most of them) all cheered and rushed forward, offering congratulations and throwing hugs around each other. Ron and Hermione burst from the pack and rushed up to Harry.
"That was bloody brilliant mate, you really had us going for a minute there."
"Oh Harry! I don't know how you did that, and you are absolutely going to tell me, but I am so glad you are alive."
And with that the two students threw themselves around Harry, who stiffened. All noise ceased and the crowd turned wide-eyed towards the trio, and the sleeping plant they had just crushed between them. Ron and Hermione staggered back, horrified expressions on their faces.
Bright eyes again blinked in the light. Lungs of wood sucked in a deep breath.
Harry simply looked down and began to sing. Or at least that was what it looked like as he rocked the Mandrake back and forth in his arms, like singing a lullaby to a child. But all that anyone could hear was a subtle rustling, like leaves and fronds folding back into themselves as the night drew in.
And the Mandrake settled back into his arms and fell asleep, sucking Harry's thumb.
Professor Sprout collapsed onto the ground, as it all suddenly made sense. How Harry could hold an unpotted Mandrake, how he could stand and survive amidst its scream. How he scored even higher than Neville in Herbology in every year.
"Merlin," she gasped. "Not in over a thousand years ..."
Harry jerked his head up, looking decidedly uncomfortable to again be the focal point of a sea of shocked faces. "What?" he asked gruffly, always having hated this sort of attention.
"Harry," Hermione struggled to force out. "You just spoke to that plant."
"Oh," Harry said, frowning. "Is that weird or something? I thought everyone could do it."
Tears were forming in Pomona's eyes. It had been a myth, a joke, but secretly she had always believed.
She had found the Badger's Heir.
"Harry..." she whispered reverently. "Harry. You are a Parsleymouth."
AN: Badum Tish.