Draco Malfoy Harry Potter Hermione Granger Severus Snape
Drama Slash
The Harry Potter at Hogwarts Years
Philosopher's Stone Chamber of Secrets Prizoner of Azkaban Goblet of Fire
Published: 07/17/2003
Updated: 08/11/2003
Words: 114,996
Chapters: 43
Hits: 388,758

Snakes and Lions


Story Summary:
When Ron and Hermione get together, they notice only each other. A nightmare prompts Harry to return alone to the empty Chamber of Secrets, and leads to a new look at an old enemy. Harry enjoys the company, but with Bellatrix LeStrange actively hunting him, how far can he trust a Death Eater's son? (H/D -- mostly friendship, progressing to mild slash) Sixth year. Rated R for unseemly behavior (drinking, stealing, and Dark Arts), occasional cursing (the non-magical sort), and off-screen violence.
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Chapter 31 - Revelations and Plots

Chapter Summary:
Harry has a revelation and talks with Dumbledore. Harry, Draco, and Hermione spend more time plotting.
Author's Note:
This may be a good time to remind you all that I wrote this

Revelations and Plots

The next day, Harry decided he needed to do some work on his Transfiguration reading between last class and dinner. Research with Hermione and Draco was taking up most of his evening time. The common room was too noisy and distracting, so he soon went up to the dormitory. A minute after he settled down, Seamus entered the room.

Harry sighed. He never seemed to be alone any more. He turned the thought over in his mind. For several minutes, he tried to remember a recent time he had been up in the dormitory without one of his roommates present. He could not.

Harry tried to concentrate on his Transfiguration homework, but every time Seamus shifted or sighed, his attention was drawn back to his year-mate. Finally, he put down his book and looked pointedly at Seamus. It took Seamus a few minutes to notice.

"Harry?" Seamus asked.

"Why are you here?" Harry demanded bluntly.

"I'm studying for --" Seamus stopped in mid-sentence. He looked searchingly at Harry, then sighed.

"All right, then. McGonagall has requested someone stay with you. I know Neville gets irritating, and Dean is restless, and you and Ron.... Well, it seems to me the least intrusive is myself."

"McGonagall wants someone with me why?" Harry demanded. "I don't have my cloak, so I can't sneak out through the common room, and I'm not about to jump out the window without my broom."

Seamus chuckled. "Well, I didn't think so," he said.


"McGonagall is worried that you're suicidal. Bollocks, I think, but Ron and Neville are taking it seriously."

"What?! I am not suicidal, Seamus."

"She said you said it didn't matter whether you lived or not."

"Even if I did, that's not the same thing. And I just said it didn't matter too much, because the chances of me living past graduation are minuscule."

"Oh, that!" Seamus grinned. "Don't let them get to you, Harry. You're better at taking care of yourself then the teachers seem to think."

"Short term, yeah, but long term?"

"I think so." Seamus looked at him pointedly. "If you don't give up."

"Then I'll just die killing Voldemort."

Seamus bit his lip.

"Of course," Harry continued, "that's at least useful. And it means they don't have to decide whether or not to imprison me forever for the Killing Curse. It's not dying that worries me."

Seamus twitched. "How did Unforgiveables get into this?"

"I think that's what it will take to kill him. That from me."

Seamus's eyes widened. "Better not die before, then," he said, and looked shocked at his own words.

Harry froze. He turned the thought over in his mind. If he really was the only one who could destroy Voldemort, then he had to live to do it.

"Harry, t'is a bit dramatic, don't you think so?" Seamus coaxed belatedly. "I don't see why it would need to be that, or you."

But if it does, Harry thought, not really seeing Seamus, and I die doing some stupid thing....

Harry managed to extract himself from the conversation with Seamus and go down to the common room, where he could be alone in the crowd. At dinner, he kept an eye on Dumbledore, ready to jump up if the headmaster left early. Dumbledore stayed. When he appeared to be finished with his fruit and custard, Harry stood and walked to the staff table. He stopped in front of Dumbledore.

"Professor Dumbledore?"

"Good evening, Harry. What is it?"

"I'd like to discuss something with you, sir. Do you have time after dinner?"

"This is not a conversation for the table, I presume?"

"No. Not at all."

Dumbledore rose in a susurrance of settling robes and smiled brightly at Harry. "As it happens, Mr. Potter, I was about to return to my rooms, anyway. I would be most pleased to have you accompany me."

As they walked, Dumbledore asked Harry light questions about his classes, and Harry replied in kind. They continued this all the way into Dumbledore's office. It was not until Dumbledore had sat behind his desk that a silence fell between them.

Harry shifted nervously. The headmaster raised his eyebrows. "Well?" he asked. "I believe you have something to tell me?"

Harry felt himself blushing at the arrogance of what he was about to say.

"I've figured something out, sir," he began hesitantly. "It is important I not die until I have destroyed Voldemort -- that's right, isn't it?" He grew more sure of himself at the sorrowful acceptance on Dumbledore's face. "I'm your secret weapon."

"Not terribly secret, Harry. Rather well-known, I would say. But yes."

"I am the only one that you are sure can kill him."

Dumbledore shook his head. "No," he said sadly. "I am not sure. You are the only one I think might be able to kill him."

"Because of what you have done," Harry pushed, suddenly angry. "You made me your weapon."

"Not just I. Your parents started it, before you were even conceived, I believe. It wasn't until you were born, and they held you, that they realized what they had done. Well, Lily, perhaps, a bit before. But that is when they came to me and said you were just a baby, and they -- they had not thought on what they were doing to a person. Lily cried whenever she spoke, whenever she looked down at you.

"It was Lily's only brush with Dark Arts, I believe -- and though that spell was of their own devising, done with the best of intentions, I classify it Dark without reservation. I worked what protections around you I could, but I could not undo what they had done. All James's faint chance of killing Voldemort, all Lily's, all Sirius's, all Remus's, all Peter's, and those of many others were channeled into you. In Lily's womb you were fashioned a receptor for Voldemort's power, so when he first moved against you, you could draw his essence into yourself and wield it against him. They intended to train you for that, when you were old enough. They intended it to happen when you were an adult, adept at the manipulation of energies. Instead, it struck you when you had yet to gain the concept of self."

Harry wanted to scream. He had not expected this -- a betrayal from his parents, so far in the past. He pushed his anger into familiar enmity for Voldemort. "There is nothing I want so much as to see him dead."

"That frightens me, Harry."

"It should." Harry shrugged and tried to make his voice less grim. "At least I know it."

"Know which?"

"That it should be frightening."

Dumbledore nodded. "The desire, also, may be strengthened by the spell. A weapon should want to be used, should it not?" The headmaster looked frail and weary as he settled back down into his chair. "Now, tell me, Harry ..."

Harry looked at him questioningly. Dumbledore looked at him with a mild teacher's mien. "Tell me our greatest danger."

Harry sighed. He thought he knew what was meant, but would feel a bit stupid saying it in front of Albus Dumbledore.

"That you loose control of your weapon?" he answered lightly.

Dumbledore's mild look hardened. "Harry..." he warned.

Harry sighed again, then glared back. "Your greatest danger, sir," he spat, "is that I am the next Dark Lord."

Dumbledore nodded, but looked slightly dismayed. "Very good, Harry. I prefer that you had said 'our,' rather than 'your,' but no matter. What would you call yourself?" he continued lightly. "'Lord Harry' doesn't really seem properly intimidating."

Harry laughed. "I haven't given it any thought, sir." He sobered and looked down. "It's a thing to know, that's all. I can't avoid it if I don't know it."

"Which is why I asked. Very good, Harry. Do you think you can find your own way back to Gryffindor tower without encountering any trouble?"

Harry's head shot up. "Um... if you wish, sir."

"I think an exception would not harm you. If anyone asks, I approved it."


Amusement drove the weariness from Dumbledore's eyes. "It is strange what we enjoy when we haven't had it in too long, isn't it? Run along, now."

When Harry returned to Gryffindor tower, he went directly to Hermione's room. Hermione was sitting at her desk, weighting down the ends of a scroll of parchment.

"It's Harry!" she called.

Draco Malfoy squirmed out from under the bed, brushed non-existent dust from his robes, and settled himself complacently on Hermione's bed, in between two wobbly piles of books.

"Who brought you back?" Hermione asked Harry.

"No one. Dumbledore said I could come back on my own."

"Oh Harry!" Hermione sounded delighted. "Are they lifting the punishment?"

"It sounded like more of an exception."

Hermione shook her head. "We'll all need to be in the Shrieking Shack once the potion's ready."

Harry shrugged. "Oh well." He looked at her indignant expression, and held up his hands in a warding gesture. "It's not that I don't care, Hermione, or that I think I can't get caught. It's just that I've made my decision, and there's no point wasting more time on it. How are we doing on ingredients?"

"Not good," Draco said. "Snape has been watching me like a hawk ever since that incident with the fur-growing potion. I'm not sure I could steal an ingredient we're working with, now, never mind one we're not. And it's been worse the last couple of weeks -- you've seen how he makes me leave my bag at his desk when we're working, Harry."

"We could go down at night with the invisibility cloak and the Marauder's Map --"

"He's got it warded."

"It's not the best way," Hermione reproved him. She sighed. "It will need to be me, again."

Draco blinked. "Again? You've stolen things from Snape before this?"

"Well of course!" Hermione rolled her eyes. "No one ever suspects me."

"In fact, last time you stole potion ingredients, I got blamed for it," Harry noted. "Snape said he couldn't prove it, but he knew it was me. Come to think of it, when Barty Crouch stole potion ingredients, Snape also 'knew' it was me."

"This is Snape," Hermione observed. "The source of all annoyance is Harry Potter." She and Harry laughed, but Draco did not.

"You two could take it a bit more seriously," he snapped. "He's not safe, Harry, I've told you that. Every time I leave you down there alone with him, I keep wondering if we'll be called to the Great Hall to hear about your untimely demise."

"Then don't --" Hermione began, but Harry, sensing approaching disaster, cut her off.

"This is Hogwarts, Draco. Snape is not going to harm me here, especially at a time I am scheduled to be in his care." He glanced over at Draco. "Er... I should tell you about tomorrow's detention, later. Remind me before you leave."

"Will you be safe then?" Draco asked fiercely.

Harry smiled, trying not to look too sincere. "I'll be fine. Maybe I can get some of the components, which is what we should be talking about now. What are we missing?"

"Most of it we can get from the student cupboard -- iron filings, leeches, and such," Hermione said, ticking off items on her fingers. "We still need quicksilver, diricawl feathers --"

"I've got a few vials of quicksilver in my room." Draco grinned at Hermione's bewildered look. "It's fun."

"It's carcinogenic!"


"It makes your body grow bad tissue," Harry explained. "Eventually. I think it also causes liver failure, or kidney failure, or something."

Draco dismissed this with a wave of one hand. "So I go see Pomfrey. Honestly, Muggles worry about that?"

"Okay, so you've got mercury," Harry said, preventing Hermione from quizzing Draco on the wizarding world's treatment of cancer. "Diricawl feathers?"

"Snape has diricawl feathers," Draco contributed. "They're in a small, charmed, iron case on the lowest shelf on the right-hand side of his closet. I don't know how to open that silently, so you'll need to take the entire case, and we should open it in a classroom, or something, in case he can trace it."

"It couldn't be easy, of course," Hermione complained. "Oh, and the sucker of a ramora. That's not controlled or expensive, but so few potions call for it that it's not in the student cupboard." She looked expectantly at Draco.

Draco closed his eyes, turned, and slowly raised one arm. "Middle of the third shelf up, on the left," he said absently, letting the arm fall back again. "Is that all, then?"

"That's all." Hermione looked directly at Draco. "You'll need to cause the distraction," she said firmly. "Harry can't risk getting in any more trouble."

Draco sighed. "Really, Granger. I have noticed. We're doing this during class?"

"Well, I'm not breaking into the lab later, as you pointed out earlier."

"I'll see what I can come up with." Draco smirked. "If something explodes, don't stay and watch."

Draco's potion did, indeed, explode spectacularly in Thursday's Potions class At the end of class, Snape told Harry to stay.

"This won't take long, Miss Granger. Please wait in the hallway."

As soon as Hermione had stepped through the doorway, Snape whirled to stare threateningly at Harry. Harry wondered if he was to be somehow accused of causing Draco to ruin his potion.

"Did you tell anyone besides Draco about your detention, Potter?" Snape asked in a harsh whisper.

"The Forbidden Forest bit?" Harry asked. "Of course not. What use would that be?"

"None. Could anyone have overheard you?"

"No." Harry realized what must have happened and grinned. "Dumbledore found out about it, didn't he?"

"Yes." Professor Snape's face was sour. "However, he said he had this information from Seamus Finnegan."

"I'll ask Seamus how he heard about it."

"Please do. Oh, Potter?"

Harry, who had started to leave, looked back. Snape gave him a satisfied smirk. "Detention tomorrow night will be in my office, starting at 8:00. Please have the gossip trail tracked by then."

The trail was short and direct. Seamus told Harry he had been working on his Transfiguration homework in the common room on Wednesday night. When he had rolled up the parchment he had been writing on, he had found a folded note, with his name on the outside, underneath his essay.

"Impressive that someone managed to put it there without my noticing. I don't recognize the hand, but at least we know it's a Gryffindor. It was odd -- here."

Seamus pulled the note from his bag and handed it to Harry.

Professor Snape plans to take Harry Potter into the Forbidden Forest for his Friday night detention. Harry will be in terrible danger if this happens. Please tell the headmaster; I cannot. Do not tell him where you got this information.

Seamus looked apologetically at Harry. "It seemed like it was probably a prank, but I couldn't be sure. I hope I haven't caused any trouble."

"No, that's fine. Thank you for looking out for me." Harry looked over the elegant script, which he easily recognized as Draco's hand. Snape would as well, he was sure. "May I have the note, though?"

"Of course." Seamus closed his bag. "Everything all right, Harry? You seem more awake, this week."

"I swear, it's pure stress," Harry said, but he smiled. "I'm doing better, I suppose."

"Spending a lot of time with Hermione," Seamus remarked reluctantly.

"We're researching something."

"Oh!" Seamus smiled knowingly. "Well, that's nothing new. All right, then."

On Friday, Harry, Hermione, and Draco met after classes, to be sure they had all the ingredients needed for the anchor potion. They still needed to open the box of Diricawl feathers, but otherwise had everything. "When's your detention?" Draco asked. His voice was quite casual, but Harry could see that he was clenching his jaw as he waited for information.

"Eight o'clock." Harry took pity on Draco's tense look and added:

"In Snape's office. Apparently Dumbledore nixed taking me out into the Forbidden Forest."


"We better work through dinner, then," Hermione said nervously. "We should finish the shielding potion tonight. It's quick."

"Maybe you'll get to spend some time with Ron, then," Harry suggested. "He's been looking put out."

"Pity that doesn't translate to saying he misses me," Hermione said acidly.

"Oh, you know how Ron is."

"Yes -- If I'm not snogging him now, I don't exist." Hermione sighed. "I'm sorry -- that was rude."

They made the shielding potion from edelweiss, chameleon skin, and lead, and soaked a tiny black silk bag in it. Hermione, who hated working with lead, magically cleared the air in her room as soon as they were finished. On the walk down to Snape's office, Harry ate some of the Chocolate Frogs that Draco had given him, as a substitute for dinner.

Harry hated Snape's office. It was smelly, dark, and lined with shelves of jars filled with unidentifiable (at least at the glance Harry could tolerate) things suspended in various liquids. He walked in reluctantly, and stood in front of Professor Snape's desk, trying desperately not to focus on any of the jars.

"Have you determined where Finnegan got his information?"

Harry nodded. "Here." He pulled Draco's note from his bag and handed it to Snape. "He said he found that in his Transfiguration homework."

Snape looked at the note, and his eyes widened in surprise. Frowning, he tapped it with his wand and muttered something. He did this a few times.

"Written by Draco definitely," he said. "Approximately two days ago, which would have been Wednesday evening."

Harry kept his eyes on the desk and waited.

"What is your problem, Potter?!" Snape snarled.


"Why are you looking guilty? Did you tell him?"

"Looking guilty, sir?" Harry met Snape's eyes in his most guileless fashion.

"Don't try that innocent act on me, Potter! You were staring down."

"Oh! I ... er..." Harry shrugged. "I hate this place." He motioned quickly at the shelves behind Snape. "Sorry, sir."

Snape snorted. "You are intended to hate this place, Potter. That's what it's for."

"Excuse me?"

To Harry's horror, Snape grabbed one of the jars -- a particular large one with a human-like shape dimly visible through murky greenish liquid -- and thunked it down on the desk.

"This," he said, with evident relish, "is a fetal Kappa in embalming fluid. There is no earthly use for such a thing, other than to terrify the ill-behaved, yet impressionable, young brats who trail reluctantly through here." He looked thoughtful for a moment. "There are uses for parts of the fetal Kappa, but this one spoiled in transit."

Snape turned and selected a smaller jar, in which slimy grey orbs sat in a rust-colored liquid. He placed this on the desk beside the first.

"These, on the other hand, are peeled plums in cask-strength brandy." Snape unscrewed the top from the jar, pulled a narrow dagger from somewhere about his person (from the angle, Harry was guessing a boot sheath), stabbed one of the orbs and drew it out. He took a bite from it, dripping liquid down his chin and onto the desktop. "Would you like one?"

The plums and brandy smelled very good, but even if he hadn't been nauseated by the fetal Kappa, Harry didn't think he could stomach anything from a jar that had had Snape's boot knife in it, however briefly. He didn't even want to think about where else Snape's knife may have been.

"No, thank you," he managed.

"As you wish," Snape finished his plum and put both jars back on the shelf behind him. He glanced down at the note, but said nothing further about it. Harry was slightly irritated -- it would have been nice to hear Snape say Harry had been right -- but he hadn't really expected it, so he was not disappointed.

"I planned to have you attempt the Imperius Curse again, tonight," Snape said. "Before you get into that, do you have any questions?

"Yes." Harry had been thinking about his lists. At Snape's slight shift in attention, Harry continued. "You know about my wand and Voldemort's wand, right?"

"They are brothers. This made it possible for you to escape him."

"Yes. Because the wands connect when used against each other, I was able to drive back the Killing Curse from him. But by the same token, he might be able to drive back the Killing Curse from me."

Snape frowned. "That curse would not affect him anyway --"

"It wouldn't!?" Harry burst out indignantly. "How am I supposed to kill him?"

Snape peered at Harry. "You had intended to use the Killing Curse on Voldemort?"

"I... I thought it would need to be that. I'm not sure why. It seemed ... proper, somehow."

Snape's lip quirked upward so briefly that Harry was not quite sure he had really seen it.

"The ancient Greeks were wrong, Potter. The universe does not tend to symmetry, except at the microscopic level. Voldemort has made himself invulnerable to a great many things -- I will tell you the ones I know, but they will not be close to all -- he does not trust anyone with that knowledge. However, he has undoubtedly forgotten something. To destroy him, you must find his mistletoe, his Achilles heel." Snape picked up his knife from the desk and began to turn it idly. He seemed to be watching the flames from the fireplace reflected in the blade. "Now. The wand."

Harry tried to focus his thoughts back on his original question. "Yes. Would it be possible for me to get a second wand, for use against Voldemort?"

Snape stared at the narrow knife blade for long enough that Harry began to wonder if he had heard the question. Suddenly, however, the Potions Master returned the knife to wherever it had come from and leaned forward, his hair dangling to either side of his sallow face.

"Were you to break or loose your wand," he said, "you could choose another. You might find it different to work with, and, if your first wand was truly the best for you, perhaps slightly less effective -- or, if you had changed greatly in the meantime, perhaps more so. However, when you still have a wand, taking up another is more problematic. The energies interfere, or some such idiocy, and neither wand will work for you as well as if you had only one."

"But I have used other people's wands."

"Yes." Snape gave a tight, unpleasant grimace that might charitably been described as a smile. "Mine, perhaps? And it caused no problem with your own, because you did not ... bond," Snape's mouth curled with distaste at the word, "with the second wand." He shook his head.

"I do not deal in these sort of things, Potter -- interfering energies, bonds with inanimate objects -- I know the theory works in practice, but it all sounds rather ... fuzzy. If you want a detailed explanation, ask Professor Dumbledore, or Olivander, next time you are in Diagon Alley. Either will happily babble at you for hours."

They set up the block on Professor Snape's desk, and the professor brought out a new snake. Harry managed to cast the Imperius Curse on it in two tries, and he did not feel as disoriented afterwards, though he was aware of a restless undercurrent of power lingering from the spell.

"I think this may work, Potter," Snape remarked.

"Did you doubt it?" Harry demanded, fixing his gaze on the Potions Master. Snape, to his displeasure, did not look discomfited.

"Your lack of experience seemed somewhat of a drawback. You still must be able to cast the spell on first attempt." He leaned back. "Should you be successful in taking down a few Death Eaters -- sparing me, of course -- with Nagini, that gives us another wand option."

"Well?" Harry snarled, after waiting a few seconds for Snape to continue. He was startled by the harshness of his voice. Perhaps he was not as unaffected as he had thought.

"If I can seize someone else's wand, I could throw you my own."

"Why not throw me the other wand? That way at least one of us would have a familiar weapon."

"But, loathe as I am to admit it, you should have a familiar weapon. And you can practice with my wand in advance."

Snape pulled out his wand. Formally, he offered it to Harry. "We have half an hour -- plenty of time to get the feel of it. Try some standard dueling spells on the snake first -- Engorgement, Impedimente -- then give your wand to me, and we will have a little duel. Nothing dangerous and no Dark curses -- this is just to get acclimated to my wand."

Chapter 32 -- Social contact