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Deadly Nightshade

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Harry Potter knew he was different from other people even at the very young age of seven. It wasn’t just because his relatives constantly reminded him he was different, and they hated those differences. Harry knew he was different because he could understand plants.

For as long as he could remember he could communicate with plants. He could make them grow faster, stronger, and more beautiful. Once his Aunt Petunia realized what he was capable of she put him to work in her garden. It was a task Harry was more than happy to do as plants were the only friends he had at Privet Drive.

Despite the fact that Harry won his aunt first place in the neighborhood garden tournament every year neither of them ever spoke about Harry’s unique gift for plants. In fact anytime Harry tried to bring it up she snapped at him and sent him to his cupboard for asking questions.

His difference was further proven when his appearance began to change into something abnormal. He was around four years old when his aunt started having him help her in her garden. He spent long hours toiling in the sun, and his skin started to began to change until eventually he could no longer pass as a normal person.

Harry’s skin had turned a light green, and he grew plum colored freckles that splattered across his cheekbones, forehead, arms, chest, back, and legs in a spiral pattern. The speckling reminded him of some of the patterns that some of the deadlier but more beautiful flowers possessed.

It was soon after his skin turned green that they learned his skin was actually poisonous. Whenever his uncle or aunt grabbed him it made them nauseous and feel light headed. They eventually learned that direct contact with Harry’s skin was what was making them ill, and so they made sure to avoid any direct physical contact with him.

Due to his toxic green skin and deep purple flecks Harry was only allowed out in the backyard with it’s tall fence. The Dursleys would never risk their reputation with the neighbors by letting them get a glimpse of their freaky nephew. This also meant that Harry had to stay in his cupboard when company was over.

When it came time to start primary school Dudley was sent off to school while Harry had to stay behind. Little boys weren’t supposed to be green, and so he wasn’t allowed to go to school. He was stuck in the house with only his Aunt Petunia for company. He was stuck doing all of the household chores while she sat on the couch to watch her soap operas or read her romance novels.

At the very least Aunt Petunia did teach him how to read and do basic math but even that wasn’t for Harry’s benefit. It was only so that he could do Dudley’s homework for him. Dudley’s genius needed a break while he was at home. Harry learned what he could from Dudley’s homework.

Harry’s life was utterly predictable and monotonous. The routine Harry had come to expect in his life was disrupted one afternoon while his Aunt Petunia watched the news. A huge plant monster had tried to destroy a city in America, and the event had made international news. Normally, his aunt and uncle would change the channel when something they considered unnatural came on the tellie but this time his aunt had watched the news raptly.

Following the incident with the giant plant monster his Aunt Petunia had spent a lot of time on the phone arguing with people. Harry could never quite catch what the arguments were about or who his aunt was arguing with. His aunt made sure to send him from the room if she caught him listening.

Eventually the phone conversations died down, and things slowly returned to normal at Privet Drive. Until one day his aunt sat him down to hold a conversation with him. Harry was immediately wary of the situation. Aunt Petunia had never actually had a conversation with him. Unless yelling, commanding, and berating him could be considered a conversation.

“Listen closely, boy. I have to tell you something, and I don’t want to repeat myself,” Aunt Petunia glared fiercely at him.

“Yes, Aunt Petunia,” Harry agreed meekly.

“Good. I had two sisters. One was of them was your mother just not the one you think it is. My younger sister name’s was Lily. She married a boy named James Potter. She’s the one you believe to be your mother. But your real mother was my older sister, Ivy. I never saw the need to clarify it for you until now.

“Your mother, Ivy, went off to America to study plants for some reason I’ll never understand. Then Ivy got involved in some shady experiments, and we stopped hearing from her. Lily and our parents tried to reach out to her, and search for her but they weren’t able to find her. We didn’t hear anything about her for several years. Not until after our parents passed away, and Lily and I were contacted by the American authorities.

“They had found Ivy severely injured, and they needed to speak to her next of kin. She had been taken to a hospital after having been in some kind of accident, which caused her to fall into a coma. She had apparently been pregnant at the time, and was far enough along that the hospital had been able to safely deliver her baby. That baby was you.

“The doctors weren’t certain how long Ivy would be in a coma or if she would ever even come out of it. They needed a home for the baby while Ivy remained in her coma as there was no record of who your father was. Lily decided to take you in. She and her husband even ended up adopting you when we were informed that Ivy was never going to wake up. But only a year and a half later Lily and her husband died, and we were the only ones who were able to take you in.”

“So my mum and dad are really just my aunt and uncle like you and Uncle Vernon. My real mum is in a coma and you don’t know who my dad is?” Harry couldn’t quite believe this turn of events.

“Exactly, except it turns out Ivy, your real mother, did wake up from her coma. The plant attack that was on the news a few weeks ago proved it. The plant woman who caused the attack was Ivy. I’d recognize my sister anywhere even if she is green now. The accident she was in gave her unnatural powers, which must be where you got yours from. After some searching I was able to get in touch with her. She thought you were dead, and was very happy to find out you were alive. Ivy agreed to come pick you up. She should be here this afternoon.”

Harry just stared at his aunt. He couldn’t quite believe that this was actually happening. His mum and dad were actually his aunt and uncle. His real mum was alive, and she was coming to get him this very afternoon.

“So she’s like me?” Harry dared to ask.

“Yes, I’m sure you’ll get along wonderfully,” Aunt Petunia sniffed. “Now go pack your things so you’re ready to leave.”

“Yes, Aunt Petunia,” Harry raced to his cupboard to gather his few possessions in an old knapsack of Dudley’s he had filched from being tossed in the trash.

It didn’t take him long to pack. Harry was then left to anxiously await the arrival of his mother. He willed time to move faster but the clock hands didn’t move any quicker.

At around two o’clock a knock came to the door. Harry’s heart started racing as Aunt Petunia went to answer the door, and he had to wait in the living room.

“Hello, Petunia,” a lovely female voice greeted.

“Ivy,” Aunt Petunia’s voice was much more stilted.

Those were the only words the sisters spoke to one another. The door closed, and then Aunt Petunia and Harry’s mother were walking into the living room where he was waiting for them.

Harry’s breath caught in his throat as he got his first look at his birth mother.

She was as lovely as her voice. She was much prettier than his Aunt Petunia. His mother had long dark red hair that was curly like his own black locks. Her eyes were a deep emerald green that were almond shaped just like his. Her face was heart shaped but Harry was a little disappointed to discover that she had pale cream skin instead of green like his own. He thought Aunt Petunia said she had green skin like his.

She was dressed in a form fitting green dress and flat sandals. His mother was beautiful and made Aunt Petunia look even plainer standing next to her.

“Harry this is Ivy, your mother. Ivy this is Harry. Technically speaking, Lily and her husband named him Hawthorne to keep with the family tradition. However, they nicknamed him Harry, and we continued to use the nickname as Hawthorne was a bit too…odd,” Petunia announced.  

Harry was shocked. He hadn’t known his full name was actually Hawthorne!

“Hello, Harry. It is so wonderful to finally meet you,” his mother smiled warmly at him.

“You too,” Harry nervously smiled back, even though Harry hadn’t been waiting since he’d only just found out she existed this morning.

“You’re so handsome,” his mother moved forward and placed her hands on either side of Harry’s face.

Harry instantly jerked back.

“Oh, I’m sorry. I know it must be strange having a stranger touch you. We’ve only just met. I just couldn’t help myself. I’m so thrilled to meet you and know you’re alive. I’ve dreamed of this moment, and I never believed it would actually happen,” his mother breathed, her green eyes bright.

“Er, it’s not that. It’s my skin. I’m poisonous. I make people who touch me sick,” Harry glanced uncertainly at Aunt Petunia.

Harry expected his mother to recoil from him at the announcement like everyone else he’d ever come into contact with but instead she smiled. Then before his eyes his mother’s cream-colored skin turned a pale green like his own. She leaned down to his level once more.

“That’s okay, my little sprout, so am I,” she smiled warmly at him, and reached out to touch a pale green hand to his bare arm.

Harry smiled back. Before he could stop he threw himself forward to embrace his mother. She gripped him back just as tightly. For the first time in his life that he could remember someone was hugging him, and he felt what it must be like for someone to love him.

His mother loved him.

“I hate to break up this little reunion but Vernon will be home soon so you really must be going before he gets here,” Aunt Petunia tapped her foot impatiently.

“Still just as lovely as ever, Tuney,” his mother drawled releasing him from the hug only to tuck him against her side.

“At least I’m not a wanted criminal,” Aunt Petunia snapped, looking quite smug.

His mother chuckled.

Was she really a criminal? Aunt Petunia had mentioned that she was involved in the monster plant attack that had been on the news.

“I’m a protector of the Green. You wouldn’t understand. But I suppose I should thank you for returning my son to me. Not that you did it for anything beyond your own selfish reasons,” Ivy kept a protective arm around Harry while she glared at Aunt Petunia.

“We certainly couldn’t raise him. He becomes more freakish the older he gets,” Aunt Petunia hissed.

“Be careful with your words, Tuney. I’m feeling generous today. Don’t make me change my mind,” his mother threatened.

“I think you should leave, Ivy,” Aunt Petunia crossed her thin arms across her chest.

“As do I. Goodbye, Tuney, enjoy your life of mediocrity. Come along, my darling,” with her arm wrapped around his shoulder she guided him from the house.

Together the two of them exited the house, and didn’t look back.

Harry hadn’t gone out the front door in years, and he felt a moment of panic as they walked down the sidewalk. But his mother walked confidently outside with her green skin so Harry attempted to mimic her. A car was parked on the sidewalk in front of the house. His mother bundled him into the backseat of the car, and then climbed into the driver seat.

The car started and the two of them set off.

Harry hadn’t left Privet Drive in years due to his appearance, and leaving now with his mother was exhilarating. Harry eagerly watched the scenery pass by, and they swiftly left Privet Drive behind them forever.

“So, my little sprout, tell me about yourself,” his mother prompted.

“Well, um… I don’t think there’s much to tell,” Harry shifted embarrassedly.

Harry had never been to school before. He’d barely left Privet Drive even before his relatives started confining him to Number 4. He didn’t think there was much that he could offer in regards to interesting conversation.

“I’m sure that’s not true. You have toxic skin just like my own. What else can you do?” his mother asked gently.

“Um, well…” Harry shifted, not really sure how to start.

“One of the things I can do is speak to plants, is that something you can do?”

“I can talk to plants, too. I can understand them, and I can help them grow stronger,” Harry twisted his fingers in his shirt.

“That’s wonderful, my little one. I’m so glad to hear your powers are so similar to my own,” his mother praised.

“What else can you do?” Harry turned his gaze on his mother.

He’d never gotten praise for the things that he could do. His relatives had always ridiculed him and reviled him, and he never had contact with anyone else to tell him differently.

“I can control plants, and I think, considering how similar our abilities are, that you’ll be able to do the same some day.”

“I’d like that,” Harry smiled shyly.

“So would I. I’m the protector of plant life, my little one. People have so little care for plants these days. They kill them indiscriminately, and I as their protector do what I can to stand up for them. That is my responsibility.”

“That sounds like a good goal to have. Can I help you?” Harry asked timidly.

“I would love nothing more, my little sprout,” his mother smiled warmly.

Harry was thrilled to have made his new mother smile. He just couldn’t believe his good fortune. His mum was alive, she was wonderful and she wanted Harry. He was going to live with her, and she didn’t care that he was green because she was too. She could hug Harry too because she was toxic like he was.

The next day sped by quickly as it was entirely spent on traveling. His mother and he got on a plane to go to America. She helped him apply make up to his face and hands to conceal him. His mother was able to change her skin at will, and promised to teach him how to do it once they were home. The plane ride wasn’t too exciting. He mostly slept, and listened to his mother’s stories. He did enjoy listening to his mother’s whispered words as she told him about Gotham, and its ever-expanding group of colorful inhabitants.

Once their plane landed in America they had to travel first by car and then train into Gotham, the city where his mother lived.

His mother lived on an island in the city’s bay. She explained that the island is toxic, and was surrounded by radiation that was dangerous to most people. This kept other people from going there. His mother and he were immune to all toxins, and so the toxins on the island wouldn’t harm them.

Large trees of various types were spread across the island while other plants grew wild. Harry could sense the difference in these plants from the plants that made up his aunt’s garden immediately. These plants seemed much more aware and intelligent.

“They are my own creations, my children,” his mother explained when he had commented on the difference while they made their way towards her house. “If you were an intruder they would be much more hostile. They can sense you are my son and they welcome you.”

She gently tapped one of the vines, and a massive green and purple pod the size of Uncle Vernon’s company car unfolded itself from the ground. A seam split the pod, and it opened its mouth to reveal rows of needle thin teeth. It reminded Harry of pictures he’d seen of a Venus Fly Trap but ginormous and much more deadly.

“Wow,” Harry breathed in awe.

“This is Flora. She and her sisters protect the island, and she’ll protect you too,” his mother laid a gentle hand on the plant and waved him forward to do the same.

Tentatively Harry approached the humongous plant, and put his hand on its green and purple skin.

“She’s curious about me,” Harry gasped, turning to grin up at his mother.

“She is indeed. Why don’t you introduce yourself?” his mother was smiling down at him.

Harry did as she suggested but his mind was really thinking about the twinkle he had seen in his mother’s green eyes. It was an expression he had seen in his Aunt Petunia’s eyes when she was looking at Dudley. It made him feel warm inside.

The two of them continued through the jungle of his mother’s plant creations until they reached the small house where she lived. It was painted green with a brown roof. It was nearly obscured by plants of all kinds that grew all over it. Beside the small house was a massive greenhouse. Harry could see all sorts of brightly colored plants inside, and could hear whispers from the plants within as they called out to his mother in greeting.

“I’ll show you the greenhouse later, my sprout. For now I think it is wise to have a meal, and get you settled in to your new home.”

Harry thrilled at the thought of this being his home. He also had to agree with his mom. They had travelled a long way for a long time, and he was exhausted. His mother had said it would be better if he stayed awake for the majority of it so that he could get used to his new time zone faster.

Together the two of them entered the small house. There were plants everywhere inside the house as well. Vines crawled up the walls, and potted flowers of all shape, sizes, and colors were placed on all available surfaces. The kitchen and living room were in one room with a counter to separate them. The living room had a couple of comfy looking green chairs and a couch with a wooden coffee table and a bookshelf with tons of books. There wasn’t a tellie in the living room like the Dursleys. There was a small television that sat at the kitchen counter.

It was cluttered but warm and homey. Harry already liked it a hundred times better than the Dursleys. His aunt was constantly using harsh smelling chemicals to clean with, and nothing could ever be out of place. Harry should know since he was the one she made do all of the cleaning.

There were only two other rooms in the quaint home in addition to the bathroom, which was nearly as big as the living room. The bathtub was huge, and built right into the floor. It was made of dark stone, and it had a waterfall shower. The entire thing awed Harry. The other two rooms were his mother’s bedroom, and office. Her room contained a large green canopy bed with living vines crawling on the poles, a vanity table, and a dark wooden wardrobe. Her office held a desk and was cluttered with tables filled with books and papers.

“My office will be your room now. We’ll paint it if you like. Then we’ll get you a bed, and some other furniture tomorrow. We also need to get you some new clothes besides your cousin’s hand-me-downs,” his mother had asked him about his baggy clothing on the plane. She had not been happy to discover that Aunt Petunia only gave him Dudley’s castoffs to wear when the Dursleys were perfectly capable of affording clothes that would actually fit Harry.

“You don’t have to give up your office,” Harry glanced down at his scuffed shoes. He couldn’t remember ever having new things before, and he didn’t want to be any trouble for his mother.

“Most of my work is done in the greenhouse anyway. I’d much rather give you a room of your own,” his mother ran a gentle hand through his hair.

Ivy had been even more upset to discover that Aunt Petunia hadn’t even given him a bedroom, and made him sleep in the cupboard under the stairs. Her skin had even started turning green again she’d been so angry.

“Okay,” Harry smiled shyly up at her.

“Tonight, you’ll stay with me. Now let’s have some dinner, and then we’ll get ready for bed,” his mother led him back into the kitchen.

His mother made dinner for the two of them. She explained that she was a vegetarian and only ate the plants that she had crafted herself. Harry didn’t mind becoming a vegetarian too. He thought the dinner was delicious, and it was much more fun to cook with his mum than having to cook all by himself for the Dursleys. His relatives never said thank you, and he was only allowed to ever eat the leftovers.

After dinner he took a bath in the huge tub to get all of the make up off him. Aunt Petunia had never let him use hot water or bubbles like Dudley. His mother let him do both.

Once he was clean and dressed in one of Dudley’s oversized shirts, his mother tucked him into her huge and comfy bed. Then she settled down beside him, and read to him from one of her botany books. He was very eager to learn more about plants but he was also very tired, and he felt so very safe and comfortable.

It wasn’t long before he drifted off to sleep.

Harry’s dreams were pleasant for a little while. But it didn’t take long before his old nightmares resurfaced. Terrifying laughter rang through his head, and was joined by a man’s shouting and a woman’s screams. Bright green light flashed through the darkness, and Harry felt terror and pain. Suddenly the darkness faded and Harry was surrounded by warm, deep emerald light. It was different from the flashing bright green light. This was safe and life, the opposite of the green flash.

“Harry, it’s all right. I’m here,” a soft voice whispered to him.

A part of him recognized the voice as his mother’s. He woke partially and felt her arms around him. He’d never had anyone to comfort him when he had a nightmare before. In the past he only had the spiders that shared his cupboard to keep him company.

“Mummy,” he murmured, clutching her tightly.

“Go back to sleep, my little sprout. I have you,” she stroked a reassuring hand through his hair.

That was all it took for Harry to return to sleep, his nightmare defeated by his mother’s reassuring presence.

The next morning he woke up confused about where he was, and why he wasn’t in his cupboard waking up to Aunt Petunia’s shrill cries. He couldn’t quite believe that the previous day had actually happened. But waking up with his mother reading quietly beside him confirmed that it hadn’t just been a very vivid dream.

“Good morning, my little sprout,” she set her book on the bedside table.

“Good morning, mum,” Harry pulled himself into a sitting position.

This was the first time that he had consciously called her that, and even though they had only known one another for a short time it just felt right. A huge smile stretched across her face in response to the title.

“Are you ready to start the day?” she questioned.

Harry nodded.

“Good, we have a very busy one ahead of us,” his mother set her book aside and got up.

Harry followed suit. He had no choice but to put on another old pair of Dudley’s cast offs to wear for the day but getting new clothes was one of the many things that was apparently on their agenda for the day.

They had pancakes for breakfast, and after breakfast they went out into Gotham to get some new clothes for Harry. The city was a bit overwhelming for someone who had spent the majority of his life confined to one house. His mother said that Gotham was a particularly dangerous city but that he shouldn’t worry because she was dangerous too, and would do anything she could to protect him. After that Harry felt a bit safer on the dark and gloomy city streets.

Their first stop of the day was to get some new clothes for Harry. His mum didn’t pay for his new clothes instead she simply told the workers that they were giving them the clothes. Using her abilities, she could make people do what she wanted. His mother explained that she secreted something called pheromones like plants did. When Harry asked questions about it she happily went into a more thorough explanation, and promised that they could look into whether or not Harry had the same pheromone abilities that she did.

His mother used her abilities for the rest of the day in acquiring all of the items that Harry would need.

It had made Harry uncomfortable at first because he thought it was stealing but his mum quickly assured him that it was all right. The places they got things from didn’t treat plants very nicely so they were within their rights to just take things from them.

Shopping took nearly the entire day. In addition to getting new clothes they had gotten him some furniture for his bedroom. His mother had also insisted on getting him some books, puzzles, and toys. Harry had never had many things to call his own, and it was almost overwhelming to have so many new things all at once.

His mother had talked some movers into shipping all of his things to the island, and then his mother’s plants carried them into the house. Harry watched in fascination as his mother expertly controlled the plants to relocate the things in her once office to her greenhouse, and then move the items they bought into Harry’s new room.

Seeing the power and control his mum had made him desperately hope that one day he could do the same things she could.

The rest of the day was spent setting up his room. His mother let him set up and decorate his room however he pleased. Harry was thrilled at the chance to decorate his room, to finally have a space that was uniquely his own for the first time in his life. That night he slept in his own bed for the first time in pajamas that belonged only to him, and he felt like he was home.