by Healer Pomfrey
All recognizable characters belong to J. K. Rowling, and I am not earning anything by writing this story.
I am not a native speaker of English. Please excuse my mistakes.
Completely AU! If you don't like AU stories, don't read my stories!
It was a warm late summer evening in Scotland, when Albus Dumbledore, the headmaster of Hogwarts School for Witchcraft and Wizardry called his deputy headmistress, the Potions Master, the Herbology professor and the healer into his office.
"The Minister of Magic just contacted me in a slightly strange case," the headmaster began to speak, before he offered his colleagues a lemon drop like he always did, even if he knew that none of them would accept one of his favourite sweets. Seeing that everyone eyed him with apparent curiosity, he explained, "In a small park, not far from the Leaky Cauldron, the Muggles have detected a strange plant. According to the information, which the Minister received from Mr. Lovegood, the editor of the Quibbler, the plant's leaves have a strange green colour, and it is spiking black flowers, which are said to occasionally turn white."
"What exactly is so strange about it, apart from the strange colour of the blossoms?" Pomona Sprout threw in, glancing from the headmaster to the Potions Master, who nodded his agreement.
"Apparently," Dumbledore continued, "the plant occasionally offers one of its white blossoms to people who talk with it. According to Mr. Lovegood, this happened to his daughter Luna earlier today. Therefore, Mr. Lovegood and the Minister believe that it has to be a magical plant and asked me to consider taking the flower to Hogwarts for observation and further examination."
"Very well," Sprout said, seemingly eager to inspect the new plant. "Severus, will you please accompany me and help me move it into my greenhouse?"
The Potions Master nodded, grumpily, however, pointed out that it might be better to wait for a few hours in order to use the darkness of the night to hide their activity from the Muggles.
From the time, when his aunt had first sent him out into the garden to do the weeding work at the age of three, Harry Potter knew that he was able to communicate with all possible kinds of plants. During the following years, he spent much time in the garden working and got to know the plants in his aunt's flowerbeds very well. In fact, they became the small boy's best friends.
One day, the large tree at the far edge of the garden addressed him and told him something to think about. Only later though, when Harry was lying on the worn-out mattress in his cupboard under the stairs, did he have time to ponder what the tree had told him.
'People usually aren't able to understand the language of flowers,' he recalled. When he had sadly replied that it was because he was a freak, the tree had protested and told him that he probably possessed magic, that magic was real, and that he had seen the tabby cat, who often spent her weekends on the garden wall, once change into an old lady. 'Maybe I'll be able to change into a plant,' he repeated the tree's idea in his mind.
Unfortunately, five-year-old Harry had no idea how he might be able to change into a flower. However, the thought was always present in his mind, and he often pondered how he'd look like if he managed the transformation. 'Maybe my leaves would have the green of my eyes and the flowers would be black like my hair,' he tried to imagine himself as a flower.
It was three years later that an incident happened that was going to change Harry's life greatly.
The Dursleys had grudgingly taken Harry with them to London, not trusting their freakish nephew to remain at home just by himself, while his baby-sitter, Mrs. Figg, was unavailable. Harry slowly trailed behind his relatives, carrying their many shopping bags that were filled with new clothes and toys for Dudley, when all of a sudden, a couple dressed in strange clothes greeted him in apparent admiration.
"Don't let your freakishness show," his uncle growled, as soon as the people had walked further on, shaking his fist into Harry's face.
Panicking, Harry backed up without even looking behind and ended up in a neat flowerbed that belonged to a small park. Still trying to get away from his enraged uncle, he caused a bout of accidental magic and suddenly found himself as a small plant with emerald green leaves and black blossoms, firmly planted into the flowerbed. The Dursleys' shopping bags lay discarded at the entrance to the park.
'I did it, I'm a plant,' Harry thought with a combination of disbelief and happiness, unaware that the flowers around him eyed him with apparent curiosity. He exchanged a few words with the nearby plants, before he drifted off to sleep, totally exhausted from the huge amount of magic that he had used.
By the time Harry's mind turned back to awareness, many people were gathered in front of the flowerbed, and Harry realised, horrified, that everyone's attention was drawn to himself. On top of everything, most of the people were carrying cameras and other devices around. 'Are they from the newspaper?' Harry wondered, inwardly groaning upon realising that even as a flower he seemed to be a freak.
Ignoring the crowd of people, Harry stretched his black blossoms towards the sun, feeling that the warm rays of sunlight felt good on his skin. Feeling relaxed and happy, he unconsciously changed some of his blossoms to a bright white colour, causing a girl to lean over him in clear admiration. Her hair was almost as white as his blossoms, and she gave him a dreamy look.
"My aren't you a pretty flower," she said in a soft voice, smiling at him.
'She's very nice,' Harry thought and, without even thinking about it, stretched his limbs towards the girl handing her one of his white flowers.
"Thank you," the girl said in clear appreciation and showed the flower to her father, who was standing behind her taking a photograph of Harry.
"Come Luna," her father finally called the girl back. "Let's head back and contact the Ministry. This clearly is a magical plant."
Feeling slightly disappointed, when the nice girl left, gently carrying his blossom, Harry drifted back to sleep, unaware of the fact that his blossoms instinctively turned black again.
By the time he woke up again, it was already dark, and the small park was lying quietly in the faint moonlight.
All of a sudden, a man and a woman showed up seemingly out of nowhere. They quickly approached his flowerbed, and the woman pointed a stick at him that made him come out of the flowerbed and right into her hand.
In full panic mode, Harry wriggled his way out of the woman's hand and returned into the apparent safety of the flowerbed.
"Definitely a magical plant," the man said, smirking, before he equally pointed a stick at Harry.
Once again, Harry felt himself being lifted out of the flowerbed and found himself in the man's left hand. Unfortunately, the man, who was dressed in what seemed to be a long, black one-piece, held him in a gentle but firm grip, from which Harry was unable to escape.
"Don't fret," the man told him in a soft voice. "We're going to take you with us to Hogwarts, our school for magic to further examine and study you."
"We're going to put you into a greenhouse, where it's much warmer and more comfortable than here," the woman added, before she turned to the man. "Severus, grab my Portkey," she demanded in a firm voice.
Suddenly, Harry felt a strange movement. The world around him began to turn around, and his vision failed. Fortunately, it only lasted for an instant, and immediately afterwards, he found himself being put into a flowerbed. The hands that placed him and covered him with earth were very gentle, and the woman spoke with him in a soft voice.
"Now this is your new home little one," she informed him, as she gently touched his black blossoms.
'Thank you,' Harry thought, knowing better than to alert the woman that he was capable of speaking human language. 'I just hope no one will ever find out that I'm not a real flower,' he thought, as he eyed the plants around him with curiosity. Most plants already seemed to be asleep, and Harry decided that with the faint light from two torches that were lit at one side of what seemed to be a small building it was too dark to be awake anyway. Seconds later, he drifted off to sleep.
During the next few days, Harry noticed that not only the plants around him were all very nice, but also the woman, who spent much time with him and the other plants. Harry was uncertain if the woman believed that he would understand her words, however, she patiently explained to him that she was Professor Sprout, the Herbology professor at Hogwarts, and that he found himself in the greenhouse, which she also used for her classes.
"Since you're such a very rare plant, I decided to have you here, where all students will be able to admire you," she told him, smiling.
Suddenly feeling very happy and cared for - for the first time in his life - Harry slowly and for once willingly turned his blossoms white.
"Oh my aren't you beautiful," the professor blurted out, staring at him in apparent amazement.
'I'm not, but she's really nice,' Harry thought and carefully handed the professor one of his blossoms, causing her to smile at him.
"Thank you very much," she said, thoughtfully and placed it into a small vase on her desk at the other side of the classroom.
Harry nodded, contentedly, feeling very happy to have been able to give one of his blossoms to the kind professor, who was so gentle to him and the other plants.
During the next few days, several other professors came to see Harry, and the professor told everyone that he was very friendly when being spoken to. "It seems to listen very patiently, as if it would be able to understand, and I believe that it turns its blossoms to white when it's happy," the professor explained to her colleagues, who then admired the blossom on her desk.
"Maybe Severus could do a few tests with the blossoms," one of the professors said.
It was a very old man, and Harry instinctively disliked him. 'If they want to use my blossoms, they should at least ask me,' he thought and leaned away from the man as far as possible.
Sprout chuckled. "Look Albus, he seems to either understand or be afraid of you," she said, pointing out how the plant with the black blossoms was leaning towards the plants on the other side of the flowerbed.
The professors should soon know that this special plant openly displayed its sympathies and antipathies.
A few days later, the new school year began, and every day, the professor taught several classes in the greenhouse. At first, Harry had been a little frightened, however, he noticed soon that one half of the students did not care about plants and did not come near him at all, while the other half behaved very gently, just like the professor.
However, one day, two boys, of whom Harry thought that they had to be just two or three years older than himself, came over to him.
"Now let's see what's so special about you," one of them sneered and quickly tore off two of Harry's black blossoms.
Suddenly feeling very sore, Harry panicked and instinctively spiked small thorns, just when the other boy took another blossom. Before the boy could get away from him, Harry moved his whole body, scratching the boy's hands and arms over and over. More than to hurt the boy, it was to warn the children, to tell them that their actions had hurt him and that he didn't want them to do such a thing again.
While the boy screamed, looking from his scratches to the plant, the other boy fetched the professor.
For a moment, Harry felt extremely frightened. 'I hope she won't throw me out now,' he thought, 'thinking that I was a freak.' However, seeing her plant leaning away from the boys in anxiousness as well as the blossoms in the students' hands, the professor vehemently scolded the boys and took one hundred points from Gryffindor.
'She stood up for me,' Harry realised, feeling very happy.
To Harry's relief, the professor strictly forbade all students to take blossoms from him if they were not offered willingly, and during the next couple of school years, no one ever hurt him.
Closely observing the students and their classes, Harry soon realised that they all had to be freaks like himself and felt extremely relieved at the thought.
It was in the third year after Harry had come to the greenhouse, that a girl was among the first years, who attracted his attention by mentioning his name. Harry could not hear what she had said, however, he observed her with growing amazement. Her name was Hermione, and she seemed to be very studious and knew more than all her classmates. He watched the girl, whenever she came to the greenhouse for her classes, and for the first time in more than two years, the idea that he was human and could change back into his human form if he wanted came into his mind.
'No one can know that I'm not a real plant though,' he thought, longingly observing the girl. 'Oh well, she'd just realise that I'm a freak anyway.' Nevertheless, he gave the girl one of his white blossoms at the first opportunity, feeling very happy when she thanked him profusely.
From that time onwards, Hermione sometimes helped the professor care for her strangest plant, and Harry thoroughly enjoyed her gentle touch and the soft smell of cream that engulfed the girl. During her first two school years, he inwardly fought with himself at the recurring thought of changing into his human form in order to speak with the most attractive girl whom he had ever met. However, Harry was reasonable enough to withstand the temptation and merely rewarded her caring with white blossoms.
Harry was just counting how many years had passed since he had transformed into his flower form and decided that his thirteenth birthday should be close, when the Potions professor approached him one day.
Harry had often seen the Potions Master and observed him care for nearby plants. Although the man was usually wearing a menacing expression, especially when students were nearby, he was always very gentle with the plants, and Harry could not help liking the professor. 'He has a faint smell of herbs. I like that,' he thought, as he observed the professor come right over to him.
"Hello there," the man addressed him in a soft voice. "I don't know if you're aware of it, but I'm the Potions Master here at Hogwarts," he introduced himself. "Would it perhaps be possible to get one or two of your blossoms and leaves?" he then asked, gently. "I'd like to do a few experiments to assess if they might perhaps be useful in healing potions."
'Of course,' Harry thought. He changed his blossoms to white and carefully handed the professor two blossoms, before he held out one of his pedicels, sensing that it would hurt less if the professor took a leaf from there than from any other spot. He eyed the man with apprehension, however, the professor was very careful as he took two leaves. He thanked him profusely and strode away, seemingly eager to commence with his research.
A few weeks later, Harry jerked out of sleep upon hearing strange, slithering sounds right in front of him. It was in the middle of the night, and only the usual two torches provided a faint light in the greenhouse. Nevertheless, he could see a black snake with a beautiful green pattern right in front of him.
Harry was so surprised that he did not even think what he was doing and automatically hissed, "My aren't you a pretty sssnake."
"I didn't know that plantsss could ssspeak," the snake hissed back, raising its head with apparent interest.
Harry chuckled, before he realised his own mistake in shock. 'Oh no, what am I going to do now?' he thought, horrified.
"Originally, I'm not a plant," he admitted in a small voice, hoping that the snake would keep his secret.
"What are you if you're not a plant then?" the snake queried, moving its tail in apparent disbelief. "Are you a sssnake?"
"No, I'm human," Harry admitted in a small voice.
"Is that ssso? I just came to thank you. Due to your leavesss, I wass able to develop the wolvessscure and cure werewolvesss," the snake hissed back, only to add, pensively, "Will you tell me why you're here asss a plant? Maybe I can help you."
Harry instinctively leaned away from the snake, regretting his own mistake. "Are you a real sssnake?" he then asked.
To his surprise, instead of a reply, the snake changed into the Potions professor. "You know me already. I'm Professor Snape," he said in a soft voice, crouching on the floor in front of Harry. "I owe you, and I promise that I'm going to help you," he promised. "Will you please tell me about yourself?"
Harry hesitantly admitted that he was about thirteen and had transformed into his plant form a few years ago in order to get away from his abusive uncle.
"If you're thirteen, wouldn't it be more interesting for you to attend Hogwarts than to reside in the greenhouse?" the professor queried, quirking an eyebrow. "Could it be that you're Harry Potter?"
Harry cast the professor a horrified look, causing the man to smirk.
"Why don't you change back and come with me to my quarters for a cup of cocoa, hmm?" the Potions Master suggested, promising to bring Harry back before Professor Sprout would notice his absence.
Harry hesitantly agreed. Lacking any other idea how to change back, he just wished himself back into his human form, glad that his clothes had been so big that they were still fitting.
Snape smirked as he pointed his wand at the boy, transfiguring the rags he was wearing into blue trousers and a white T-shirt with the pattern of Harry's plant form on it.
"Thank you so much, sir," Harry blurted out, staring down at himself in amazement.
"You're welcome," the professor replied, and his mouth stretched to a small smile.
Together with the professor, Harry walked through the corridors of the huge castle, which were fairly bright in the moonlight, and stared in surprise and amazement at the moving paintings along the halls.
"Today is the night of the full moon," the professor explained, "and it's the second time that our teacher who is a werewolf didn't transform after taking the potion with your leaf in it five weeks ago. Therefore, I'm sure that he's cured from lycanthropy." Apparently noticing that Harry was listening with interest, he continued, "Over hundreds of years, Potions Masters have tried to find a cure, however, only now I managed to develop it with your help."
Harry had not understood everything, however, he had comprehended that his leaves had been able to help the professor greatly, and he smiled contentedly.
By now they had reached the professor's office, and Harry obediently sat in the offered chair in front of the teacher's desk.
"Will you allow me to watch a few of your memories?" the professor enquired, giving him a sharp look.
"Yes sir," Harry replied, wearily. "How...?" He trailed off, recalling that he was not allowed to ask questions.
"Just look into my eyes," Snape instructed him. "If it hurts, please let me know."
As soon as emerald eyes locked into the professor's onyx orbs, Harry felt a strange presence in his mind and saw memories of himself at the Dursleys' pass in front of his mind, ending with the scene in which he had changed into his flower form.
"Does your head hurt?" the professor enquired in apparent concern.
"No sir," Harry replied, giving the older wizard a small smile.
"Very well," Snape said, pensively, adding as an afterthought, "I knew your aunt well, so I'm not surprised at her treatment of you. Your mother was my best friend."
Harry observed how the professor called Cicero, his house-elf. He had already seen several house-elves in the greenhouses but had never spoken to any of them. However, when the Potions Master introduced him to Cicero, Harry shyly greeted the elf.
"Please bring us a strong coffee and a cocoa," Snape ordered the elf, and Harry realised in disbelief that both beverages appeared on the desk in front of him within seconds.
'For me?' he wondered, as he eyed the cup in front of himself, giving the teacher an uncertain look.
"Drink, you'll like it," Snape reassured him, smirking at Harry's amazed expression.
"You have two options. One would be to properly enrol into Hogwarts as a student," the professor then continued, pointing out that he had already missed two years and that the headmaster was obsessed with the idea that Harry had to grow up with his relatives and would probably make him go back there during the holidays. "The other option would be to become my apprentice," he added, explaining that he would automatically become the boy's guardian, and that the headmaster would have less influence on him.
"Yes please," Harry replied, quickly, before he asked, "Excuse me, sir. Is the headmaster the very old man with the long white beard?" Seeing the professor nod in apparent amusement, he repeated, "Yes sir. I'd like to become your apprentice."
"Are you certain?" the professor queried and, ignoring Harry's prompt reply, explained, "As my apprentice, you'll spend the whole day in my lab brewing potions. Depending on your interest, I might allow you to attend certain classes like Transfiguration, Charms or Herbology, however, at all other times, you will assist me until you'll have passed your Potions Mastery exam."
"Yes please, sir," Harry replied, enthusiastically, wondering if the brewing of potions was similar to cooking.
"We still have one week of holidays left, and if you're agreeable, we can try it out before you have to make a decision," the professor offered, only to add, "Considering your capability of speaking with plants, you're predestined to become a Potions or Herbology Master."
"If you're sure that I'm not a burden, I'd like to accept your offer. I don't have to try it out," Harry replied in a small voice, thinking, 'Then I'd be able to speak with Hermione. Maybe she'll be happy. She doesn't seem to have a friend either.'
Four weeks later, Severus Snape and his apprentice Harry Potter received the Order of Merlin first class for their invention of the wolvescure potion. In return, they promised to brew as many batches of the potion as were needed to cure all werewolves, knowing that no one else would be able to brew the potion even if they were in the possession of the recipe. 'They'd be missing one ingredient, one of my leaves,' Harry thought in amusement, as he followed his friend Hermione into the library, feeling very happy with his new life.