Disclaimer: I don't own Harry Potter, Batman: the Animated Series, or any related characters. HP belongs to JK Rowling, and B:TAS belongs to WB, DC Comics, and Bob Kane
Author's Notes: This is a very belated response to wishlist-fic 2011. I noted the prompter above, and the actual prompt is the summary of the fic. I hope my prompter enjoys what I've done with it here, and doesn't mind that I went with the B:TAS 'verse. It's the one I enjoy the most. Setting is anywhere within B:TAS, really, and for HP, post the Battle of Hogwarts, but Pre-Epilogue.
They had strengthened the apparition laws during the war against Voldemort, and, much to Hermione's chagrin, they had yet to slacken them. Of course, most would agree that this was good. Constant vigilance, in the words of one long departed. But, at the moment, Hermione was cursing them.
She had wanted to take a break, or at least, that's what she had told Harry and Ron. And it was true. The three of them were heroes now, in all the places they loved the most—Hogsmede, Hogwarts, Diagon Alley. It got to the point where they couldn't step out into public without shouts of joy or awe. Ron kind of enjoyed it. Not in a dreadful way, more in the way of humble pride. Harry was used to the attention, so he had barely noticed the change. As for Hermione, however, she hated it. She had fully expected to be recognized one day, sure… but she had always thought it would be in the way of academic achievement, not war hero. For her, she supposed, the wounds were still too fresh. So, she bid Harry and Ron and temporary farewell, taking up a teaching position—potions, of all things—at an elite wizarding preparatory school in Gotham City, in America. She had gone through a lot of trouble, adhering to all the new international apparition laws that had formed, but no one seemed willing to deny Hermione Granger, War Hero, passage to wherever the Hell she pleased to go. And Gotham Wizarding Academy was more than happy to have her on their staff.
Gotham was strange, to say the least. A muggle in costume, calling himself Batman, seemed the city's best hope against the even stranger muggles that plagued it. The Joker, Harley Quinn, The Scarecrow, Killer Croc, The Penguin… all muggles, but all deadly and seemingly consumed with turning the city to rubble. Such a threat arose just about every other week. The students—every one of them talented witches and wizards—seemed as afraid of these muggles as the students of Hogwarts had been of Voldemort. It baffled Hermione. After all, if faced in the streets with these villains, any one of the students could simply stun and run. Even her fellow staff members did nothing but cower before these people. So, when Hermione had expressed a need to go out into the Gotham night to seek out an ingredient she needed for an upcoming potions' lesson, they had all implored her not to go. She waved them off, donning appropriate muggle-wear, and set off into the dark.
She had done her research upon arriving in the city. She knew of at least six fully operational, wizard-owned shops. Each one sold a variety of objects, from Quidditch equipment to the necessary potions ingredients. Hermione's only worry was the rarity of her object—because it was very, very rare. Professor Snape had had some in his store… she had learned that when she had helped the professors with putting the school back in order after the battle. But, due to the new international apparition laws, simply appearing in Hogsmede and going to borrow some of the store was next to impossible on a moment's notice. It would take at least a week to obtain the proper travel parchments to do that, and her lesson was tomorrow.
Hermione's shoes splashed in the rain water that had gathered in the uneven concrete sidewalks of the city, and a chill she seemed unable to shake consumed her as she finally stepped into the first wizard's shop. It was small, the shop, and lit with muggle lighting—florescent. She arched a brow, noting right away that this place obviously catered to both wizarding and muggles alike. She wondered if the laws on the enchantment of muggle objects was slacker in the States than in England. She shook the thought away as the shopkeeper, an elderly gentleman dressed in brown slacks, beige button-up with a knitted sweater-vest pulled over, came out from the back room. He smiled at her, waving her closer.
"Come in, come in, my dear!" he said. "You must be chilled to the bone. What brings you in this evening?"
Hermione stopped at the glass counter that separated the two, a little breathless as her body desperately tried to absorb the pleasant warmth of the shop. She shook her hair a bit, wondering how it had managed to absorb so much water from the little drizzle that had been starting when she walked in.
"Yes, hello. I need some dried Jade Vine, if you have any, please," she said as brightly as she could manage with her teeth chattering.
The elder man raised a white brow.
"Jade Vine? For what purpose?"
Hermione smiled knowingly. "I'm a teacher. It's for a lesson."
The shopkeeper made a silent, "ah," and shook his head. Sighing, he leaned on his side of the counter, leveling his gaze with Hermione's.
"I'm afraid I have some bad news for you, dear. We're out."
Another trek in the growing rain. Hermione sighed, but nodded all the same.
"Oh, well, that's fine, I'll just hit the other shops on my list."
As she turned to leave, the man called her to a stop.
"No, no, ma'am, that's what I mean. Six wizarding shops in Gotham… we're all out."
Hermione's eyes widened. "That's not possible."
"The flower's extremely rare. And the potion it's used for is even rarer. In fact, I'm surprised that you're even going to teach a lesson on it. I ran out ages ago, so did the other shops, and not a one of us has found a supplier since. I'm sorry."
Hermione flapped her arms uselessly. She groaned, running a hand through her wet hair.
"What am I supposed to do then? I mean, this is a potion that is rarely taught, as you noted, but it's useful. I mean, if I had known how to brew it back during the war, then I would have—"
The man waved Hermione silent. Eyeing the shop a moment, as if someone was in danger of jumping out and surprising the both of them, he waved the flustered witch forward. Hermione did so slowly, cautiously. She reached her edge of the counter, and he waved her farther in. She followed, until she was so close that he could speak to her in a whisper… which he did.
"This isn't what I'd recommend. Frankly, I'd recommend to be damned of the whole situation and teach another friggin' potion. But, since you seem so determined… there is a rumor of one place, here in Gotham, that you can still get some of the plant. But, again, I do not recommend it."
He seemed afraid. Hermione knew that particular fear. She saw it in her students' eyes, and in their professors', whenever one of the infamous villains of Gotham was being spoken of. So, Hermione knew the perfect question to follow up this revelation with.
"Who has it?"
The greenhouse was large, looming… and much more sinister than a greenhouse should ever be, in Hermione's opinion. But the shopkeeper had sent her here, to obtain her rare potion ingredient from the one person in all of Gotham who grew it—the villain, Poison Ivy. It was Hermione's understanding that Miss Ivy was not considered mentally stable—like many of the other villains in this city—and that, when caught, she was often incarcerated inside Arkham Asylum. Where she should be now. Where she wasn't right now.
No, right now, Poison Ivy was just beyond that set of glass doors that stood just feet away from Hermione. The young witch sighed, gathering herself up—and making sure that her wand was well within reach. She marched right up to the glass doors and faltered. She knew it was silly, that she was being just as unreasonable as any other witch or wizard that feared these people, but… what if they were right? What if Poison Ivy was worth fearing? Hermione shook that thought away, knocking swiftly on the glass.
A moment passed, and Hermione was about to raise her fist to knock again when the doors slid open of their own accord. This did nothing to frighten Hermione, as she strode right inside. She stopped just out of the way of the entrance, hearing the doors rattle closed behind her.
"Hello?" she called.
"My, my," leaked a sultry voice from the shadows. "What a brave fly you are."
She stepped into the light. She was dressed in a dark green body suit, sleeveless, with matching gloves that extended to her elbows. Her skin was a pale green, somewhere between the human peach and something… not normal. And her hair was fiery red, falling to mid-back. Her eyes, just as green as the rest of her, locked onto Hermione, and they seemed to be laughing.
"I was told I could get the Jade Vine here. Do you have it?" Hermione asked, direct.
After all, she was an educator. She was not in the business of consorting with criminals. She would get what she needed and be away. Done and done. Ivy arched a brow.
"You were told that, were you? And, why, pray tell, do you require it?"
Ivy inched closer to Hermione, and the witch's instincts—and, perhaps, her own irrational fear—were faster than her mind. She drew her wand, aiming it squarely at the villain. Ivy paused, laughing openly now.
"And what is that supposed to do?" she asked.
"Far more than you know. Now, look. I didn't come here for any sort of… confrontation. I can pay you, purchase it like I would from any shop. I have no qualms with that."
Ivy crossed her arms, all amusement gone from her features. "And what do you intend to do to it? Destroy it?"
Hermione shook her head. "Never."
"Yes, that's what you all say."
She followed that with a flick of her wrist, and suddenly, Hermione was upended. Thankfully, though, in the surprise, her grip on her wand had only tightened. She looked up—which, normally, would be looking down—to see two thick, green vines holding her off the floor. Ivy closed the distance, shaking her head.
"My flytrap is hungry, so I guess I should thank you," she said.
Hermione grinned, and muttered a spell in the direction of the vines, causing them to retreat. She fell, ungracefully, to the floor. Groaning for only a moment, she launched herself to her feet, her wand back on Ivy, whose eyes were wide.
"How did you do that?" she demanded.
"Never you mind. Now, the plant. Please," Hermione said.
Ivy nodded, turning and walking away. Hermione followed, careful to keep her wand at the ready.
"Tell me. What is so important that you would risk your life for this flower?"
Ivy stopped, bookending her question by turning, a pot containing the Jade Vine in her hands. The plant was beautiful, healthy. Its stem and leaves were the brightest green, with its pod-like flowers a turquoise in color.
"I need it for a lesson," Hermione said.
Ivy balanced the plain, stone pot it stood in one hand, and cocked her head to the right. She then brought he plant close, hugging it low on her body, as if it were a precious child to her. And, if what Hermione knew of Poison Ivy was correct, then that motion was probably just that.
"So, you plan to massacre it? Cut it up? Murder it?"
Hermione shook her head. "No. I'd cultivate it. Keep it healthy, so I'd always have a supply."
Ivy was looking at her questioningly again. "Why? Why this plant? What lesson will you teach with it?"
"A potion, to my students," Hermione explained, growing impatient. "Now give me the plant! Please! I said I would pay."
"And why would a potion be so worth your life, because that's just what you risked by coming here?"
Hermione shook her head, using her free hand to reach into her pocket and withdraw the muggle, American money she found there. She tossed a wad of it at Ivy's feet, then motioned for her to hand her the plant.
"Tell me why, Miss Teacher," Ivy said.
Hermione's tongue flickered out, wetting her lips. This was insanity. How had it become this important? So important that she was now in a standoff against Gotham's own Poison Ivy? She knew that answer, if she was honest. But she didn't want to say it, to commit it to the world. But Ivy stood there, as still as an oak, waiting for the answer. Finally, Hermione groaned.
"It's the only potion that can cure a basilisk's poison. Even a bezoar won't do the trick. If I had known how to brew it, if I had brewed it, a good man would still be alive. Now, please. I promise, I'll keep it well."
Ivy scoffed, setting the pot down and sliding it over. Hermione scooped it up. Ivy shook her head.
"And to think that they consider me crazy."
Hermione had no response to that. Instead, she apparated away, appearing safely outside the grounds of Gotham Wizarding Academy. She shoved her wand back inside the pocket of the jeans she wore, holding the pot of Jade Vine out to inspect. The rain had let up, but the water that ran down her cheeks was too warm for rain anyway. She sniffled, once, and held the plant close. She took a moment longer to compose herself, pushing it all deep down. After all, she was going to do her best to rectify the mistake. These students, her students, would know how to brew the potion. And she would always have its rarest ingredient. Too little, too late for Snape… but maybe, in the future… not for anyone else. Not ever again.