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the irony of a gardening werewolf
G, gen, humour. In which Dumbledore is helpful, Snape throws things, Sirius discovers hidden talents and Remus Has Doubts. Just another day for the Order of the Phoenix.
In his own way, Severus Snape was as paranoid as
Mad-Eye Moody. To be sure, he didn’t drink from his own personal hip-flask,
booby-trap his dustbins so they exploded in the face of potential intruders or
shout “Constant vigilance!” at everything that moved, but that didn’t mean
the paranoia wasn’t there. It just exhibited itself in more subtle ways. Every
man has his weakness, and Snape’s was potions ingredients and the possible
tampering therewith. After the fifth shopkeeper had had extract of aconite
thrown at his head, Dumbledore tactfully suggested it might be time to grow his
Snape had been less than delighted with the
proposition. He’d been a Death Eater, for crying out loud; he might have
switched sides, but he still had a reputation to keep up. He might be somewhat
nervous about the provenance of his ingredients, but still. He didn’t do
Dumbledore than suggested he allow Professor
Sprout to grow his potions ingredients for him in Greenhouse Three. Professor
Sprout herself was initially enthusiastic.
That was before Snape threw a Mandrake at her
And that was how one Remus Lupin, former
teacher, werewolf, and founder member of the Order of the Phoenix, found himself
standing at his kitchen window looking out at Snape’s plants, growing in neat
rows. They were bright green in the sunlight and their labels fluttered in the
light wind. Anyone standing outside the cottage would have thought it a perfect
English countryside scene, beautiful, fragrant and peaceful. However, anyone
standing outside the cottage would not have been Remus Lupin, and would not have
been in possession of the small piece of knowledge that explained why this
idyllic sweet serenity would shortly be shattered in dramatic fashion.
Sirius was home.
To be more specific, it was Sirius in his dog
form, floppy-eared and panting. He’d been to the newsagent to pick up the
newspaper (“Such a well-trained dog, Lupin! Even knows how much change to
expect!”) and here he was, trotting in through the front gate, making sure
no-one was watching before shifting back into human form, letting himself into
the cottage, and making his way into the kitchen. He joined Remus at the window
and looked out.
“What’s with the organised greenery?”
“I’m growing Snape’s potions ingredients
It wasn’t as bad as Remus expected.
No, that was a lie. It was as bad as he’d expected. It took him at least ten minutes of
fast talking before Sirius could be persuaded not to change back into Padfoot,
go out and give all the plants a good…watering.
But fast talking was what Remus was good at, and although he did have to play
his trump card (“What if Snape refused to make me the Wolfsbane potion,
Sirius? What would I do then?”) Sirius came round surprisingly quickly. After
a while he even seemed to warm to the idea, offering to go out and prune and
weed when Remus wanted nothing more than to howl at the moon.
Remus was doubtful. So was Snape, when he came
to pick up what he needed. “Much as I appreciate the irony of a gardening
werewolf, Lupin, I will admit that the idea of your… friend… discovering latent green fingers as counter-intuitive in
But the plants seemed to thrive against all
expectations. Snape carefully harvested the lush green specimens, carefully
placed them in a basket, and with a perfunctory nod all round, disappeared.
Remus later learned from Dumbledore that when used as potions ingredients,
Sirius’s plants had been a great success and nothing had been thrown at anyone
(except Neville Longbottom, and he didn’t count).
They were Sirius’s
plants, now. Would wonders never cease?
A few days passed. Even if Sirius had suddenly
discovered an affinity for all things horticultural, any hopes Remus might have
harboured of his becoming domestic in any other ways were quickly dashed. To put
it another way, Sirius was out in the garden again, and Remus was in the
kitchen, using his wand to stir the contents of a saucepan. With blithe
disregard for basic rules of cooking, he stuck his thumb into the pan (full of
pasta sauce), hissed in pain and inserted said thumb in his mouth. It lacked
something. Something spicy… coriander, maybe?
Sticking his head out of the window, he fully
intended to yell for Sirius to grab him a bunch of herbs, but something stopped
him. Sirius was seated cross-legged in a flowerbed, apparently deep in
conversation with a dittany plant. Remus’s first impulse was to ask him what
the hell he was doing, but on second thoughts, he simply stayed where he was and
“Listen to me,” Sirius was saying, and his
voice was harsh, guttural, menacing. “You pathetic, inadequate excuse for a
barely- photosynthesising dried-up old stick. I will not stand for stunted
growth like yours in my garden.” He paused, brought his face even closer to
the plant, and went on, “I expect improvement. I expect results! Do you
understand me?” Another pause, and he moved away again, letting his voice drop
to a sinister whisper. “You know the consequences.” He glanced significantly
at the shed at the bottom of the garden. “You know
Remus looked out at the plants with new eyes.
They were the most luxurious, verdant and beautiful plants he’d ever seen.
Also the most terrified.
He withdrew his head, sat down at the kitchen
table and thought about it.
Snape dropped off the final dose of the
Wolfsbane Potion with his usual sneer, admittedly a sneer that abated slightly
upon the sight of the green plants, row upon row of them, waving in the sun.
“I wouldn’t have thought it,” he said grudgingly. “Black, you’ve done
a good job with them.”
Sirius merely smirked.
The next morning, the morning after the full
moon, Remus awoke with a strange taste in his mouth. He licked his lips
experimentally. Not blood. But a familiar taste, nevertheless, and it took him a
moment to realise what it was.
He didn’t ask Sirius about it, but he had a
horrible feeling that some unfortunate plant had been thrown to the wolves.
Dumbledore visited them later in the
summer, when the growing season was almost over. “They’re quite
impressive,” he said gravely, eyes twinkling. “Sirius, you must be very
Snape reached down and idly picked a leaf off a
small mint bush. He crushed it between his fingers so the air was filled with
the faint sweetness. “He must give the plants a lot of encouragement,” he
Sirius threw a garden rake at his head.
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