Potions and Snitches
Snape and Harry Gen Fanfiction Archive

The Garden of a Potion Master

Deeply inhaling the fresh scent of morning air, Severus Snape stood on his porch. It overlooked his prospering back garden and thus was the perfect spot to enjoy a morning cup of tea.

His garden was organised right down to the last grain of earth. Some patches of low-growing potions ingredients such as valerian and sneezewort stretched right in front of the house while taller specimens like baneberry blossomed in bigger fields towards the back. The tail end of his garden mellowed out unto the beginnings of common-ground underbrush. Right at the border stood some wiggentrees for harvesting the bark and useful in protecting the property against dark creatures. It had been a though piece of work converting the once barren land into everything a Potion’s Master could wish for in a garden.

Now the sky was piling with some fleecy clouds and the cold breeze from the ocean nearby had picked up overnight. It already promised to become a beautiful day. Perfect for some gardening at least. He ventured out between the patches of monkshood sprinkled with yellow arnica in search of Felix. He liked the little fellow try as he might to conceal it from Ben. It wouldn’t do to appear too soft even for his holiday-self. Although he suspected Benjamin to be more observant than the boy himself pretended to be.

It wouldn’t do either to let Ben catch a glimpse of the more magical plants purposefully located in the ensconced recesses of the garden. Severus had to remember renewing the Muggle-repelling charms on them.

With his cup empty there was nothing to hold him back any longer and thus he started by applying some clever concealment charms, any magical folk could see right through in wink.

He worked the whole day enjoying being outside after six month of being cooped up in the castle. Clipping away at some ivy threatening to overgrow the wiggentrees, raking the ingredient beds and pulling up weeds, the hours flew by.

Someone else might have found these tasks tedious but for Severus they meant absolute peace as his thoughts settled slowly and he remained with a mind completely empty. He worked diligently only going inside to make himself a quick sandwich that he hastily scarfed down sitting on the garden bench.

The afternoon came and went and all of a sudden, Severus could hear the wind carrying church bells across the street. Groaning he straightened. With the last watering can empty and a ton of plant clippings piling up in one corner, he headed back towards the house. His back was killing him. Tomorrow he would have to start on the compost. His spine cracked. Well, maybe not tomorrow.

His ears picked up some shuffling behind the wall separating his yard from the neighbours.

“Felix. Felix!” he heard a voice calling at times still breaking with puberty, not being accustomed to its new deep quality.

A head appeared above the bricks. Slowly someone pulled over the wall to get a better view. The head swivelled to the left and right, finally coming around to see Severus standing there in all his sweaty glory complete with dark earth stains on the knees and his flannel shirt hanging crumbled out of his trousers.

“Oh, hello sir,” Ben said seeming puzzled.

“And a good evening to you as well, Mr. Anderson.”

Ben’s face darkened.

“Ugh, that’s seriously even worse than Benjamin.”

Severus smirked.

“Is it?”

Only rolling his eyes, Ben pulled himself up the last centimetres and deftly jumped into Severus’ garden.

“Careful there! You’re trampling my thyme,” Severus admonished.

Bewildered Ben looked around.

“I can’t see any thyme, sir.”

“Well, it’s hardly my fault if your eyesight leaves much to be desired.”

Ben only smiled. He knew it was just a diversion strategy in order to not acknowledge just how much Severus enjoyed his impromptu visits.

“I tried growing some tomatoes and cucumbers from seeds, but it’s not working out so well. I don’t know maybe too much shadow? Or the water…?”

“I’ll give you something for it,” Severus said bending over some weird shuddering plants in one of the many nooks and crannies of his back garden and thus blocking Ben’s view.


“The soil is not good here. It’s due to the nearby sea,” the professor continued absentmindedly, “During the glacial period the ice pushed rocks and sand ahead and when the glaciers melted these outwash plains emerged. You have to accumulate the earth with nutrients first. The seedlings don’t need special soil. In fact, it’s better if the soil isn’t too rich for them. But, once grown, tomatoes need potassium and phosphorus to guaranty their frutification.”

“English, please?” Ben smiled. He was accustomed to the professor’s thorough explanations.

“Cucumbers will roughly use the same nutrients, so it’s better to plant them separately from the tomatoes,” Severus said giving the appearance of not having heard Ben.


Ben knew Mr. Snape didn’t think highly of his teaching skills. He had complained about disinterested students at least once over each break. He accused them not to care about science at all and to fail for this reason alone.

But Ben could see that the professor blamed himself for that. He didn’t really understand it as the professor’s quiet and clear voice sounded through the garden like it had done many times before. Always patiently instructing Ben to try something different with his own aspiring garden project.

“Did you have dinner yet, sir?”

Severus pushed his sleeves back down and straightened them out.

“Not yet, no.”

“Well, maybe we- I mean, you, maybe…”

“Your mother isn’t at home?”

Grinning, Ben shook his head.

“How about you go find that cat of yours and come back here in half an hour?”

“Aye-aye sir,” he mock-saluted the professor.

When Ben did not leave after a few seconds, Severus narrowed his eyes.

“Well, what are you waiting for?”

“He’s still your cat.”

Having said that he turned around quickly and skipped away over the wall.

After a much-needed shower, Severus sat down at his kitchen table, tea in hand. The warm water had washed away the residue aches from the hard work and even seemed to have helped his back a little bit. Contently he took some refreshing swigs from his cup. Nothing could satisfy him as much as gardening; digging around in the warm earth, tending to the little seedlings, making sure they had everything they needed for their growth. Watching them thrive and flourish was certainly something most people wouldn’t even see. It was a very small and simple thing. But often these were the best in his opinion.

His thoughts were interrupted suddenly as Ben came back with an enormous head of lettuce under one arm and Felix in the other.

“I don’t know about your tomatoes. But you should stick to your salad.”

Ben grinned. That was as far as Mr. Snape would be willing to go regarding compliments.

“Where should I put it?”

“Put it in the sink. I will wash it first.”

“Can I give Felix some food?”

As if sensing that he was being talked about, the cat squirmed free of Ben’s arms, gracefully leapt to the floor and sat there mewling up at them with big yellow eyes.

“Yes, it’s still in the cupboard.”

While looking for the tins in one of the kitchen cabinets Ben discovered a package of his favourite ginger nuts and had to smile some more. He knew that the professors didn’t like their flavour but kept restocking them for some reason.

“Can I have them?”

“Mmh, what?” Severus looked up from cutting some carrots into precise little cubes. Ben had always wondered how he had learned to be this skilled with a knife. The household classes the school had forced upon them two years ago hadn’t done anything for him at least. Although he could still whisk together some respectable chocolate cake. Incidentally, he suspected that it was the professor’s favourite much as he tried to conceal the fact.

He waved the package in the air.

“Ah, them,” Severus squinted, “Let’s have dinner first.”

After some delicious salad seasoned perfectly with some herbs from Severus’ front yard and a generous helping of ginger nuts, the professor accompanied Ben to the door. On the front step, Ben shifted from foot to foot uneasily.

“Is there a reason for you to be loitering on my doorstep as if you wanted to avoid going home?” Severus asked and Yup! there were the infamous eyebrows again.

Ben shifted some more but eventually offered, “Greg’s visiting.”

“The notorious one?”


“Ben, I have no idea who this Greg is supposed to be.”

“Mum’s new friend.”

“As in boyfriend?”

“Mmh”, Ben made a noncommittal sound.

Severus sighed, “Well come on then. I think Star Trek is on tonight.”

“You still have some ginger nuts, sir?” Ben asked sheepishly.

“I’ll see what I can do.”

Chapter End Notes:
Just a little piece of comfort, before the story will gather up speed in the next chapter.
Did you notice Ben lie to Severus and not getting caught?
Also, the plants Severus has in his garden are known in the muggle world,too. Most of them are thought to be poisonous but obviously magical folks can use them for completely different purposes :D

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