This drabble won 3rd place in the HiH hh_clubs Herbology Challenge: I'll Make a Plant Out of You. A character becomes, or always has been a plant.

The Halfwood Prince

At the edge of the school grounds, not quite in the Forbidden Forest, Severus spread his arms wide, drinking in the moonlight. He removed his confining shoes, his knobby woolen socks, and dug his rather large, spindly feet into the soil, closing his eyes in bliss.

There, in the moonlight, he appeared as if carved from wood - a white statue, cloaked in shadow.

A feminine laugh reached him on the breeze and his eyes snapped open. But he could not move, he was quite literally rooted to the spot. His transformation had progressed too far.

"Hurry up, Lucius!" Narcissa Black called over her shoulder as she stumbled into Severus' secret place, a small pocket of land hidden by a rising hill and shaded by the forest behind. "Oh, Prince, what are you doing out here?" Narcissa asked slyly.

She always treated Severus as an amusing little brother, to his chagrin, though it was better than the contempt he received outside his House. As soon as he had been made a target by Potter and his gang, the Slytherins had closed ranks around him. They may not all like each other, certainly, but they looked after their own.

Severus wondered if House loyalty would be enough to overcome this.

"Severus, what...?" Narcissa trailed off as she noticed his feet dug into the soil.

The wooden cast to his skin.

As she saw his true roots, at last.

"Cissa," Lucius called, entering the clearing, his prefect badge gleaming in the moonlight.

Severus groaned, but it was not a human sound. Rather it was the creaking of wood, the sigh of the wind.

"You're part dryad," Narcissa said with sudden clarity. Her eyes went wide, though still beautiful, before narrowing in thought.

Lucius merely examined him mutely, a calculating look upon his face.

Severus waited, his limbs softening as he regained his human form.

"Are you really a Prince?" Lucius asked after a lengthy pause.

Severus nodded sharply, raising an imperceptibly trembling hand to push his hair from his face. He would not hide behind the ebony curtain- there was no point in trying. "My mother was a Prince," he said firmly, softly. "My father - my realfather - was the Ancient Oak of the Moonwood Clan."

"So you really are royalty then," Lucius mused.

There was a loaded silence. All there knew that, though capable of it, the Ministry had decreed that dryads were not permitted to learn wand magic. They were too dangerous, their connection with wood, with nature, with the earth... It explained why Severus was so powerful at such a young age.

"Well, now we know why you're always so stiff," Narcissa commented, mischief in her tone.

"Cissa," Lucius chastised with a smirk, "you're making him blush."

And Severus had indeed turned an mottled red, though it was because he was waiting for the condemnation he expected - the condemnation that seemed the only reaction his pureblood protectors could have.

"Stop looking so frightened, Sev," Narcissa cooed, striding forward to slip her arm through his. She knew he despised the nickname, and so used it to needle at him. "You can trust us. Can't he, Lucius?"

Lucius smiled, the look of a cat that had landed in the cream. "Of course he can, Cissa. We're his friends."

A pause.

"As we are friends of course, I'm sure you would not mind checking my potions homework for errors from this point forward."

As they strode back to the castle together, Severus reflected that he had gotten off lightly.