This fic originated because I saw two similar fics and thought to myself "You know what, no, I will not let those fics stand as the only fics of their type." The pairing in this fic is not my Harry Potter OTP, but it is what I thought fit this the best. This is a sad break from my pledge to myself to not write anymore fanfiction, but I feel it must be done. Also, yes, this does take place in an AU where students have control over their schedule before year six. There are other differences from the main timeline, which will become apparent as time goes on.
So here goes. Pretty much none of this fic is original, and all goes back to JK Rowling or Howard Ashman. All rights to them.
THE ACTUAL FIC:
We see a starfield and a deep voice emerges. "On the twenty third day of the month of September, in a decade not too long before our own, the Wizarding and Muggle worlds faced a deadly threat to their very existences. And this terrifying enemy surfaced, as such enemies often do, in the seemingly most innocent, and unlikely of places..." We pan down, revealing that this starfield is merely the ceiling of the Great Hall. Students are milling around eating lunch. We focus in on Ginny, Lavender, and Parvati, who are standing together and dancing with a tone of a dark warning. They slowly lead us outside, on the way meeting assorted characters (who all ignore them).
"The greenhouse, the greenhouse of horrors
The greenhouse, the greenhouse of terror
Hope to God that they sent the Aurors,
No! Oh oh, oh no-oh!
The greenhouse, the greenhouse of horrors
Bop sh'bop, the greenhouse of terror,
Watch 'em drop, the greenhouse of horrors,
No! Oh oh, oh no-oh!
Azkaban, gonna hit the fan if nothin' changes! Lookout! Lookout! Lookout! Lookout!
Voldemort, just isn't the worst of your co-oncerns! (Fi-i-irns, yeah!)
Mrs. Sprout! You better look out if you wanna live!
You better, you better, tellin' you you better, tell your mama, somethin's gonna get her,
She better, everybody better beware!"
The three girls lead us into the greenhouse, where there's an herbology class in session.
"Come-a, come-a, come-a,
The greenhouse, the greenhouse of horrors,
Bop sh'bop, you'll never stop the terror
The greenhouse, the greenhouse of horrors,
No! No no n'no! No no n'no! No no n'no-oh oh oh!"
A shattering noise pierces the class, and Professor Sprout turns around and starts shouting into the storage closet. "What did you break now, Longbottom?"
A simple response eminates from within. "Nothing, Professor Sprout." She mumbles and returns to the podium, only to catch Luna sneaking in late.
"So she finally decides to come to class?"
"Good morning, Professor Sprout," said Luna.
"What morning? It's two o'clock in the afternoon. Not that anyone's learned anything. Who cares about learning anything if they picked Herbology? They just want the credit for sitting there and staring fowards."
"I'm sorry," said Luna. Another crash.
"Neville, what is going on back there?"
"Very little, Professor Sprout!" said the voice in the closet.
"Luna, would you go back there and see what he's- Luna, where'd you get that shiner?"
"Shiner?" asked Luna.
"Luna, that greasy boyfriend of yours-he's been beating up on you again? Look, I know it's none of my business, but I'm beginning to think he's maybe not such a nice boy."
"You don't meet nice boys when you picked Herbology as your elective, Professor Sprout." Before the teacher could answer this, a boy came out of the closet.
"I found the plants you were talking about, Professor-" Evidently, he made some misstep, because the pots went flying across the room, falling into pieces across the floor.
"Neville, look what you done to the material."
"Don't yell at Neville, Professor Sprout," said Luna.
"Hi, Luna," said Neville. "You look radiant today. Is that new eye makeup?"
Luna turned to the professor. "I'll clean it up before the next lesson starts."
"Well, that ought to give you plenty of time," she responded. "Look, God, what an existence I got. A class full of coasters, a reputation for effortless credit, no real education is happening, my life is a living hell!" She turns to Ginny, Lavender, and Parvati. "You! Sign your name on the scroll. It's not bad enough that Luna comes in several hours late without you slipping in unnoticed?"
"Aw, we were in class when it started, right Lavender?"
"Of course, Ginny."
"You ought to be in a real class!"
"We're on the split shift," said Parvati.
"Right," said Ginny. "We took real classes till our second year, and then we split."
"So how do you intend to better yourselves?"
"Better ourselves? Miss, when you're the sort of person who would sign up for Herbology all day," said Lavender, "Ain't no such thing.
Alarm goes off at seven and you start downstairs.
You eat your magic breakfast with the knowledge that you'll never win.
Till it's ten AM..."
Goyle, who had been asleep at his desk till this point, suddenly woke up. "Then you take-" He fell asleep just as suddenly. The trio of girls was singing together, now.
"This class, where the kids don't care, you take this class, where they only stare, you take this class, if you need your credit, you lurch... here in Hogwarts!"
Goyle awoke for one more line. "Yes you take-"
"Where you look at sap!"
"You take this class!"
"Where you don't learn crap!"
"You take this class!"
"Where you might just snap or yet worse!
Here in Hogwarts!"
"That class you learn about wizards of past,
About as fascinating as Dobby's ass,
Learning 'bout charms, transfiguration, defense,
We don't know why they bother with all the expense,
And that class says it can predict what's to come,
Which would be neat if it just worked for anyone,
Your first block's tribulation, afternoon's a curse,
And five o'clock is even worse!"
Goyle awoke for another line: "Cuz you're still in..." Luna then became the focus.
"This class, where the guys are drips, this class, where they rip your slips, this class, where relationships can't get worse! Here in Hogwarts!"
Spotlight on Neville. "I! Never knew my mum or my dad!
So I ask God why things went bad, and he tells me 'Sorry you're sad... sweep that floor kid!'
Oh! My grandmother Augusta still thinks I'm a squib, here at Hogwarts!"
Neville gestured towards Professor Sprout. "She's all I've got, gave me purpose, a skill, stuff to do, and a job, treats me like dirt, and calls me a slob... which I am... So I take..."
"This class..." they all sung.
"Your identity, ya take..." sung Neville.
"It's not much to see, but still, this class, is the only place I can shine!"
"Here at Hogwarts..."
"Someone show me a way to get out of here, cause I constantly pray I'll get out of here,
Please won't somebody say I'll get out of here, someone give me my shot or I'll rot here!
Show me how and I will, I'll get out of here! I'll start climbing uphill and get out of here!
Someone tell me I still could get out of here! Someone tell Lady Luck that I'm stuck here!"
Now it was Neville and Luna singing together as the rest provided backup. "Gee, it sure would be swell to get out of here, bid the greenhouse farewell and get out of here
I'd move heaven and hell to see more of Hog, I'd do I-dunno-what to see more of Hog,
But a hell of a lot to see more of Hog, people tell me I'm stuck in this part of Hog,
But believe me I gotta see more of Hogwarts!"
As the class ended, Professor Sprout threw up her hands, exasperated. "Look at that! Six o'clock and noone so much as figured out what mooncalf dung is for. I guess this is it. Don't bother coming in tomorrow."
"You don't mean-" said Luna.
"You can't mean-" said Neville.
"What, what, what don't I mean?" said Professor Sprout. "I mean I'm done, forget it, kaput."
"You can't-" said Luna.
"Kaput! Extinct. I'm ending this God-and-student-forsaken class." Neville gulped. Herbology was the only class that he had half of a clue in. If it was retired, he would be unable to pass anywhere else.
"Professor Sprout, forgive me for saying so, but has it ever occurred to you that maybe what the class needs is to move in a new direction?"
"What Neville's trying to say, Professor Sprout, is... Well, we've talked about it and we both agree..." Luna paused. "Neville, why don't you run in back and bring out that strange and interesting new plant you've been working on?" Neville then exited. "You see, Professor Sprout, some of those exotic plants Neville has been tinkering around with are really unusual. We both think that maybe some of his strange and interesting plants, prominently displayed and advertised, would attract interest in the class."
"I'm afraid it isn't feeling very well today," said Neville. Regardless, it was unlike anything anyone there had ever seen.
"There," said Luna. "Now isn't that bizarre?"
"At least," said Professor Sprout. "What kind of weirdo plant is that, Neville?"
"I don't know," said Neville. "It looks like some kind of tentacula, but I haven't been able to identify it in any of my books. So I gave it my own name. I call it a Luna Two."
"After me?" Luna was deeply moved.
"I hope you don't mind," said Neville, as he gazed at her. "You see, sir, if you put a strange and interesting plant like this, here in the window, maybe-"
"Maybe what?" asked Professor Sprout. "Do you have any idea how ridiculous you sound? Just because you put a strange and interesting plant in a window, people don't suddenly-"
At that point, Harry walked into the classroom, uninvited and unannounced. "Excuse me, I couldn't help noticing that strange and interesting plant. What is it?"
"It's a Luna Two," said Luna.
"I've never seen anything like it before," said Harry.
"No one has," said Neville.
"Where did you get it?" asked Harry.
"Well..." Suddenly, Ginny, Lavender, and Parvati sat up to provide back up.
"You remember that total eclipse of the sun a few weeks ago?"
"I was walking through the Hogwarts student store that day."
"And I passed by this place where this fourth-year Chinese girl-"
"-she sometimes sells me weird and exotic cuttings-"
"-cause she knows strange plants are my hobby!"
"He had nothing unusual there that day."
"And I was about to, you know, walk on by."
"Good for you!"
"When suddenly and without warning, there was this... TOTAL ECLIPSE OF THE SUN! It got very dark. And then I heard a strange humming sound like something from another world."
"And when the light came back this weird plant was just sitting there."
"Just stuck in, you know, among the zinnias?"
"I could have sworn it hadn't been there before, but Cho Chang sold it to me anyways. For a dollar ninety-five."
"Well," said Harry. "It's an unusual story and a fascinating plant." He started to exit, but then stopped and turned around. "Oh, I may as well take a class here, I don't have anything to do this period."
"What do you want to learn?" asked Sprout.
"Anything to do with herbology, I guess."
"I'm afraid the class is a bit unmotivated."
"Unmotivated? I'm Harry freaking Potter. You better be motivated! I want to take this class."
Neville whispered to Professor Sprout, "Did Harry Potter just endorse your class?"
"Well, I'm afraid that the class is over for the day," explained Professor Sprout. "You can come back tomorrow if you want."
"I think I will," said Harry, as he left. "Yessir, that is one strange and interesting plant."
"Well don't just stand there! Quick, quick, quick!" said Professor Sprout. "Put that plant-what do you call it?"
"A Luna Two."
"Put that Luna Two in the window where the passersby can see! My God, I'd never have believed it. Any students who are interested may sit as guests at the professor's table at dinner tonight. Class is dismissed." All students except for Neville and Luna left.
Luna's face became slightly less serene. "Oh, I'd like to, Professor Sprout, but I have a date."
"With the same nogoodnik?" asked Professor Sprout. "I'm telling you, Luna, you don't need a date with him, you need major medical. He ain't a good clean kind of boy."
"He's popular," said Luna.
"What popular kid flies around on a broom by himself and scares Muggles out of their wits?"
"He's a rebel, Professor Sprout, but he comes from a very wealth family, and besides, he's the only fella I've got. Enjoy dinner. Good night, Neville."
"Good night." Luna left, and when she was out of the field of view Neville turned to Professor Sprout.
"Poor girl," said Sprout.
"Am I still sitting with you at dinner?" There was an awkward sound as the Luna Two wilted in Neville's hands.
"You're not going anywhere, Longbottom. You're staying right here and taking care of this sick plant. How come it's fainting all the time?"
"I told you, it's been giving be trouble. It just wilts like this. The Luna Two is not a healthy girl."
"Strictly between us, neither is the Luna One."
"If only I knew what breed it is, what genus. But it's nowhere in the books."
"Well, Longbottom, my advice to you is you better figure it out and fast. Look what this exotic little beauty did for our reputation!"
"So work, Neville! Nurse that plant back to health. I'm counting on you."
"So fix! Good night." Professor Sprout left, and the day was getting to the point where the greenhouse's light was less and less natural and more and more derived from enchantments. Neville held the plant, and though he knew it could not hear him, he spoke to it.
"Aw, Twoey, I don't know what else to do for you. Professor Sprout and Luna, they just met you, but I've been through this with you for weeks - grow and wilt, spurt and flop. Are you sickly, little plant, or just plain stubborn? What is it you want? What is it you need?
I've given you sunshine, I've given you dirt,
You've given me nothing, but heartache and hurt!
I'm begging you sweetly, I'm down on my knees, oh please, grow for me!
I've given you plant food, and water to ship,
I've given you potash, you've given me zip,
Oh God how I mist you, oh pod how you tease, so please, grow for me!
I've given you southern exposure to get you to thrive!
I've pinched you back hard like I'm supposed to, you're barely alive!
I've tried you at levels of moisture from desert to mud!
I've given you growlights and mineral supplements, what do you want from me, blood?"
At this point, Neville made the mistake of shoving his hand directly in the "COMPOST PILE-HAZARDOUS-DO NOT TOUCH" hole. He quickly felt the bite of a Mandrake. "Ouch! Damned mandrakes! Damned thorns! Clumsy me, look what I did, Twoey." It was then that the pod opened. "Hey, you're opening up. What made you do that?" Some experimentation, and... "I think I know what made you do that. Well, I guess a few drops couldn't hurt. As long as you don't make a habit of it or anything.
I've given you sunlight, I've given you rain,
Looks like you're not happy, 'less I open a vein!
I'll give you a few drops, if that'll appease, now please, oh oh oh please... grow for me!"
As Neville walked away, Luna Two did indeed begin to grow...