Thank you for your patience in this.
This is the short story of Harry's in my fic "It's Green" (To be inserted somewhere in chapter 28), and while I think it's interesting on it's own, you should probably think of reading It's Green before jumping on this.
Thanks again to everyone for the support you've knowingly or unknowingly given.
It's a Circle: Harry's Story (It's Green)
Once upon a time a snake found his way into a Garden.
It was a strange Garden, with so many different kinds of fruits and vegetables; the snake didn't know what to do with himself.
He'd only ever been in Gardens with gangly grasses, friendly shrubbery, and flowers bundled together in their lots.
Never had he been in a place full of such colour, full of uniform produce in their uniform lots, so much variety snipped and pruned into efficient conformity.
Many other snakes would, he felt, balk at such a strange new place, and perhaps turn around for Greener pastures, but this snake took a chance.
This snake moved forward.
He moved through the Garden, looking at families of fruits and vegetables and legumes, but mostly unseen himself. He was content with this, as snakes are generally satisfied with the solitary life.
He slithered and slid along the neat plots of land, wondering if he would see anything not trimmed and tucked to excess, when he came across the Boy.
He was a small bit of familiarity to the snake, having seen plants such as the Boy before, though he did wonder why one would be happy to be in such a place as this.
From what he recalled of Vegetable gardens, plants like this Boy were considered Weeds.
Curious, he approached the Boy.
Called out a greeting, and watched as he jumped, startled.
Plants, as far as he could tell, did not jump for any reason. Always had one foot firmly to the ground, and he wondered at this strangeness.
"Why are you here, Boy?" he asked, once he had his attention. "What are you doing here surrounded by vegetables?"
The Boy looked uncomfortable, and shrugged. "Weed killer got my parents, and I got sent to live with… well." He looked over his shoulder at the plot of land he was on, and through the windows he could see a horse faced Carrot fussing with a portly young Rutabaga, a Gold-Faced Beet just beyond them, reading the newspaper.
It was an odd looking family to him, but certainly not unusual around these parts from what he had seen.
He looked back to the Boy.
The Boy shrugged again. "I'm grateful to them for taking me in, really. There's not much room in a world like this or a weed like me."
He wanted to say something about that, to say that there are actually many more 'weeds' out in the world, many more in communities much more diverse than this odd Garden, but was distracted by the Boy asking him his name.
Snakes in general have no need for names, as most recognize each other by scent, but each snake does have one.
He speaks his, and the Boy does not understand it.
Says it again, and the boy tries repeating it, and again they try, and again they try, and he thinks it is fortunate that he is not terribly attached to his name, as they come to agree that the Boy may call him Samuel.
When he, thinking to be polite, asks the boy for his name in return, he looks uncomfortable and replies "Boy. I'm really just called Boy."
This is convenient, Samuel thinks, as snakes really don't have need for names, and he doubted he would remember any other.
And that is the start to Samuel's friendship with the Boy.
They talk often, about everything and nothing, all at once and at great length, and it works for both.
Their solitude was a little less solitary, and Samuel told of all the places he'd been, the sights he hoped the Boy would someday see, while the Boy told of his life in the Garden.
It's clear the Boy doesn't understand why Samuel stays in the Garden, just as Samuel doesn't understand why the Boy doesn't leave it.
It was true that the Boy was in need of water and nutrients, but though his roots were small and thin, he had many, and that made up for any perceived deficiency. Samuel knew, should he ever put his roots down somewhere, one would be hard pushed to remove him.
He only hoped he would one day do so far, far away from this particular Garden.
A vegetable Garden wasn't a bad place to be, but it was certainly a more difficult place to be happy in when you were thought a weed.
Bits and pieces of themselves come together in conversations filling the holes in each other's fabric, the spaces in between kept together by shared thoughts and the exchange of experiences, and it felt as though they were making a great tapestry of colour. Day by day, week-by-week, it was growing and warming their days with its comforting colour, thickness.
The Boy cannot remember a happy time before Samuel, and indeed Samuel cannot recall a time he was more content.
One night it all came torn down.
Out of the house came the Golden-Faced Beet, shovel in hand. The Boy reeled back from it immediately, fearful of its root-severing sharpness, remembered threats running rampant through his mind. This was the end for him; this was where his legs would be cut out from him.
But it wasn't for him.
He wished it were.
For instead the shovel was swung at Samuel, making a hollow sound on impact. For one moment the Boy was elated—the shovel had no power over Samuel! But then Samuel gave a full body twitch from the impact, and the shovel came again, and again, and the Boy could do nothing as his friend was cut in two.
The Boy could not move.
The Golden-Faced Beet prodded the Boy's friend twice, confirming, and still the Boy could not move.
The deed done, the golden-faced Beet twitched his moustache and told the Boy to get rid of it.
The Boy wanted to tell him that Samuel wasn't an It, he was a he… he was Samuel.
Samuel was his friend. But he was as silent as he was still.
However, as long as he wanted to have shelter on their land, he had to do as he was told, and the Boy set to digging. Finally moving. Words still escaped him.
He worked and he worked, digging deeper and deeper into the land to give Samuel a proper burial, doing his best to remember him the way he would want the Boy to remember him.
He remembered him in mind; how clever he was, all the places he'd been, the stories he'd told. He recalled tales of other places, other Gardens entirely populated by plants like him, by Weeds, and still he dug deeper.
He remembered him in body; the sleek strength to him, the colour of his scales just before and just after shedding, the way his forked tongue flickered in and out. He remembered how he coiled up with the Boy to look at the stars, and he made the hole wider.
He remembered him in spirit; the unending belief he had in the Boy to do more than tend the earth in his relatives land, the complete lack of fear for the unknown, for death.
Once, Samuel said, it was best not to think about death, as it was going to happen with or without thinking on it. He'd said Death was natural. The Boy had said it was scary, and sad. And it is.
"Hey," Samuel had said, sliding closer, "don't be sad when I'm dead, and I won't be sad when you're dead. It makes no sense to live thinking on death. Death is natural," he repeated.
It was hard to keep that in mind, when rolling your best friend into his grave, and then again the other half of him, but the Boy did his best. He would mourn, but he would not do so indefinitely. He would not, he promised, not forever. But for now, it was needed.
Before covering the hole, the Boy snuck inside and stole the shovel, bringing it outside without notice and placing it beside his friend.
Then, he filled in the hole.
The Boy did his best by Samuel's words, and worked to be strong enough to leave this Garden. To find the lands he spoke of, to spread his roots without fear of shovels coming down to cut them short. He would do so, for Samuel.
His roots grew stronger, thicker, and he grew taker, more vibrant despite his relative's efforts.
And eventually, with only one last look back in memory of his friend, the Boy left the Garden.
Left to find greener pastures.
AN: Hope I didn't disappoint. Or hype it up too much in the fic.
Review or not, still working on the last arc to IG right now, will have it up as soon as I am able.
Hope you enjoyed, and have a nice day!