Categories > Books > Harry Potter > Cage and Key

Potions and Research

by faromir 0 reviews

chapt 4

Category: Harry Potter - Rating: G - Genres: Drama,Romance - Characters: Harry - Warnings: [!!] - Published: 2015-05-10 - 4802 words

Disclaimer: The Harry Potter Universe and all the characters belong to J.K. Rowling.

Special thanks to Yuigfhf for beta-ing this chapter and removing obvious grammar mistakes!

They entered the Great Hall after the Slytherins, which were already seated and eating dinner. The sky of the hall was once again filled with hundreds of floating candles under a starry night sky, casting a warm glow onto the tables. The sight never ceased to amaze him

His moment didn't last long however, as Ron dropped down on a bench, knocking into nearby second and first years in the progress, incidentally creating more space for them to seat themselves, Harry and Hermione gesturing a quick apology as they grabbed their food.

"Ron people were sitting there, you should be more—" Began Hermione only to be cut off as Ron finally gave in to his thoughts and feelings. Harry though, was already surprised it had taken him this long. Having walked from the greenhouses to the Great hall without a word.

"What are Sprout and Slughorn thinking? Working together with Slytherins! I'm lucky to have come out of this lesson without being ambushed while handling that monster like plant! Educational purposes, my ass! He ranted, finishing with a flourish as he grabbed food about.

"Ron!" Hermione cried. "Language! Don't say things like that, especially not with our underclassmen here!" she hissed.

Indeed as she said, quite some first and second years had stopped any activity to stare and listen at the foul display in front of them. Interested and confused.

"No, let them hear Hermione, it will be for their own safety. Oi midgets! You better not get near any of them. Slimy lot they are, house of dark wizards!" Ron continued, bits of food flying away as he spoke, the youngsters only backing away more from him as food rained down.

"Don't listen to him, he doesn't know what he is talking about." Hermione said hurriedly to the sizable amount of kids listening in, her head flashing to them, hair whipping Ron in the face.

"I do Hermione, it's obvious, they're all sneaky pricks, stuffing their slated noses in Dark books, inhaling all that is Dark!"

"You can't judge all of them the same Ron, just because they are in Slytherin!" Hermione returned heatedly.

"She's right Ron, a lot of them are indeed, pricks, but not every single one. Davis wasn't so bad right? She did a decent job of controlling those vines earlier." Harry piped in.

Ron turned to look at him as if he had grown another head, food momentarily forgotten. "All just a plan Harry, to make me drop my guard, so they can sink their poisonous fangs in me. I'll be damned if the same happens to you guys, you should be careful the coming weeks."

"I appreciate the thought, but I doubt the chances Ron. We're merely doing the assignment so that the plant doesn't sink its fangs into us." Harry tried to reason.

"You guys have gone barmy! What's going on? Did you get some of that toxic on you?" Ron asked, his face scrunched up in thought.

"It isn't very effective on humans Ron." Came Neville's voice who had just joined them on the table, sitting down.

"Slytherins must have done something with it then. It's the perfect cover." Ron contemplated darkly.

"Really Ron? Are you still being serious here?" Hermione sighed, losing patience.

"How can you be so sure? You had one lesson with a Slytherin and your buddies already?" Ron asked incredulous.

"That's more than just stretching it, maybe we managed to be civil Ron, you should try it out sometime." He said pointedly, not sue why he felt the need to clarify it.

"Maybe you should know that not everyone got along swimmingly Harry." Ron retorted. "Right Seamus, Dean?" He questioned them.

"Parkinson was horrible, kept looking at Malfoy with that jealous and swooning look. Still don't know how she manages to do both of them at the same time." Seamus complained while gathering various pieces of food on the table.

"Be glad that you didn't have that stuck up Zabini, too narcissistic to even help out and touch the damn plant." Dean said, giving his own opinion.

"And you Neville? Right now you are the worst off with that ferret!" Ron continued, rounding on Neville, who nearly dropped his fork at the sudden attention.

"I-it wasn't all that bad really, Malfoy said very little to me, even following some of my advises on the plant." Neville said, the events and story still surreal to him.

"Malfoy is just waiting for an opening Neville, you better keep watch." Ron said seriously.

"Yeah Ron, I'll do that." Neville said, not sure how to respond to Ron's ominous remarks.

"You're going off topic Ron, we were talking about all wizards and witches from Slytherin being dark, not what we thought about them in the Herbology lesson!" Hermione said with a look of exasperation.

"Why are you so keen of defending the snakes Hermione!" Ron said frustrated at Hermione, his fist slamming down on the table, making the tableware briefly clatter at the force.

"I'm trying to make you see that it's simply ridiculous to think that twenty-five percent of the wizarding population is Dark because they were sorted into Slytherin! She cried her own frustration mounting.

"Well it could be true Hermione, a lot of them are probably Dark in secret!" Ron quickly shot back.

"Yeah Ron you're completely right!" Lavender suddenly said, agreeing with him. Still for some unknown reason trying to get closer to Ron. Probably, or hopefully not believing that every single person in Slytherin is dark but wanting to get in his good book.

This however, only made Ron more confident in his case.

Harry saw that like Ron; Hermione was fuming, for multiple reasons as her eyes briefly shifted to Lavender at her outcry, before she visibly got more control of herself and sank back. Tired from their lesson and from trying to make him understand.

"Well, they will show their true colours, and it will be green. I'm going to the common room." He finished, grumbling, put off by her sudden silence, taking an armful of food with him as he left.

They waited in the silence Ron had left them, people around them slowly returning to their own business again, Seamus and Dean striking up a conversation again, while Lavender and Parvati did the same.

He began after another moment, asking Neville, as Hermione was in a bad mood right now, judging by her expression and posture.

"So Neville, how was your lesson with Malfoy?" "I must say that things went differently than I had expected them to be, although that was for the better." Harry asked, curious to learn more about Malfoy's behavior this year.

"I feel the same way Harry. I expected Malfoy to start insulting me as soon as I came within range, although none of it happened in the end. He had stayed silent, only speaking a few words when necessary." Neville said, fingering his fork.

"Strange…" Harry said softly, the rest of his thoughts only being spoken in his mind.

"I think he's just getting little sleep, he looks a bit bad and was distracted a lot." Neville reasoned his behavior, making Harry look over to the Slytherin table where Malfoy quietly ate his dinner, exchanging few words with Crabbe and Goyle. Harry was quite a distance away, but could see that Malfoy looked as tired as he had been during their lesson.

The question still burning inside him was why, for what reason or purpose was Malfoy losing all this sleep? Not that he was the best to point this out as his own research nights went up to midnight. Spending hours of work on something, which might not give him the answers, he seeks.

For now he will wait for any other signs coming off Malfoy.

"And you Harry, how was yours with Greengrass? You guys were really doing a good job. A little bickering but miles better than any of us." Neville asked tentatively pulling harry out of his musings.

"It wasn't so bad. We said little to nothing really. The few words spoken were from Greengrass cursing." He responded after a moment, looking away from Malfoy to answer him.

"Oh yeah she does that quite easily despite her calm demeanor most of the time." Said Neville, smiling a bit as he remembered.

"You know her then?" Harry asked neutrally. Neville's answer seems to indicate more experience with her.

"No not really. I saw her at a few galas my gran used to take me to. We talked a few minutes every time. More for pleasantries than anything else."

"Oh. You go to parties and balls Neville?" Harry asked curious for what it entailed.

"Yes, but they're mostly for pureblood politics and business. Showing your allegiance, standing and interest." Neville summed up absentmindedly, the memories probably not being very pleasant, as he had kept his answer short and prodded at his food absentmindedly.

Neville likely didn't have a very good time amongst the other purebloods. Harry could already see his grandmother trying to push him up front; encouraging him to make conversation and connections with people he had no desire of even talking to. Neville didn't work that way, only desiring to be treated normally with no stuck up people looking down on him.

"You said your grandmother used to take you to them, meaning you aren't anymore?" Harry asked for confirmation.

"You're right, I'm not. I told her in third year, she wasn't happy with my sudden choice, but my reasons and motivation softened her up."

"What did you do then?" Harry asked wondering what Neville did to convince her so quickly, she seemed to be a strict person at the very least, judging by Neville's examples and descriptions.

"It was after you had completed the first task. I realized after seeing you in mortal danger against the dragon, a dragon that you had no desire of fighting with. Having no saying in the matter and being forced to compete." Neville said pushing his plate away and looking at Harry, his face serious.

"I don't see how any of that matters Neville." He said confused.

"It matters because it made me realize that I had a choice, while you didn't. I felt ashamed of my behavior, simply choosing to feel bad about my situation, rather than doing something about it." Neville said softly, looking at his now empty plate before fixating on Harry's again.

"I gathered myself and stood my ground against my gran, making sure never to give an inch and stick to the choice I had made. The choice I was capable of."

"I don't know what stories are completely true but I know that you always manage to plow to everything Harry. Always being in the position of having to, instead of choosing to.

"You are a strong person Harry, I admire that about you." Neville finished, holding the moment before noticing how Hermione and a few other Gryffindor's had been completely transfixed on him, having kept silent the entire time, just opting to listen.

Harry himself was also at a loss of words; Neville had looked so confident in that one moment, his back straight, shoulders squared, and his voice like iron. It was probably the one thing he had ever sounded absolutely sure of, without doubt or hesitation whatsoever.

The praise made him feel quite embarrassed, but also lifted his spirits. Hearing someone speak so honestly to him. Neville was a stronger person than Harry had ever imagined.

"Thank you Neville… that means a lot to me." He said slowly, unsure of how to respond.

The silence that followed was soon broken by Parvati giggling. "Do the girls at Hogwarts need to start worrying about anything between you two?" She said before completely breaking down, others around the table joining her.

"Yeah I'm done for dinner, you guys coming to the common room?" Said Harry promptly, rising to his feet, any remaining desire for food vanishing at their joke.

"Y-yeah Harry, r-right behind you." Hermione said, her voice shaking in restrained laughter.

"C-coming!" Neville called out distressed, stumbling after them, not wanting to stay at the laughing table.

Another week had passed and Harry found to his ire that the knowledge in the books he had collected, namely: 'Rebirth and Resurrection 'and 'Dark Rituals' only went so far into their specifics. Information on the Dark rituals had been quite complete, entailing: uses, history, effects, and requirements, and in some, even instructions. However they mostly spoke about that; uses for each ritual, transfer or mutation, whether it was for getting an extra appendage or an enhanced body.

All rituals had the basis of the wizard or witch being alive in their own body, which were simply unsatisfied with the level it performed on, or wished to bring changes to their bodies. In each instance it required your own physical body to be sacrificed or modified by said ritual, taking away or adding to something that is already there.

A few cases described the transfer of your soul into another vessel but these required your own original physical body to be destroyed in the process, with a considerable chance of failure during the transfer, resulting in death. Harry knew for one that Voldemort wasn't one to leave things to chance, even above that he also didn't have his own physical body to sacrifice even if he had wanted to.

It left him with the strong notion that Voldemort hadn't, or isn't using any Dark rituals to accomplish his return to earth from soul to container after being severed from his body. Voldemort had used, as Dumbledore too had said; 'A very dark and ancient ritual to regain his body', using his container, a mangled body, but still flesh and blood as a basis, with his actual soul inside for the ritual to change it into a body of his liking.

But it didn't explain how he was capable of getting the container in the first place.

'Rebirth and Resurrection ' had been a lot less complete; it was the book that went much more into the soul, its workings and possibilities with Dark magic's. Harry however began to skim more and more though the book as days went on. Multiple methods and articles were brought up and explained but none sounded anything like he was searching for.

There were methods and theories of returning a deceased witch or wizard back but most of them required animal, or even human sacrifices, yielding weak bodies, being more of a means to stay and watch the world, rather than walk, speak or even battle in it. Above all they seemed to be similar to the explanations of the ghosts and wraiths book, the recalled spirits were merely an imprint or reflection of the dead.

He noticed however that the information and examples all followed the same trend; the quantity coupled with cruelness of the act, defined the quality of the result.

He looked at the big mechanical clock, midnight. I better pack up and get to sleep. Classes begin again, tomorrow.
The following day he stood at the door leading into the Potions classroom, waiting to be led inside by Slughorn. Gryffindors and Slytherins standing on opposite sides, not particularly happy with seeing their partners for tomorrow's Herbology lesson again, or just seeing each other in general.

Harry yawned behind his hand; he had been making late nights the whole month, waiting for everyone in his dorm to fall asleep before putting his cloak on and slipping out of the curtains around his bed to the Restricted Section. This way the others wouldn't know he would be gone, as long as they didn't check inside his bed. It also hadn't helped his sleep when he occasionally woke up in the night, nightmares making themselves known again from time to time.

He had spent more time writing down spells he could use during his trips, namely, Curses Jinxes and some Charms. This evening he was going to start working on his spellwork, improving and expanding his assortment of spells.

He stopped his thoughts, glancing at Ron and Hermione, who still stood with him in silence, irked expressions on their faces. The relationship between his two friends had been going in ups and downs every day lately, fighting over anything you could have a different opinion on, ending in disagreement before letting it cool down by a nights rest and beginning from start a few days later.

He himself also didn't know what to do with it, trying to change the topic or having them forget their mood was useless as they didn't have desire to speak further about anything during these moments. Half of the day they would be getting along just fine before restarting the cycle again and ending up red faced with each other.

He could tell that something was bothering them, but he would wait and let them sort it out, they always do.

"Sorry, sorry everyone!" Slughorn said cheerfully. "I was just talking to Professor Snape about the time I went to Greece with Professor Galatea Merrythought and forgot the time! Brilliant teacher she was indeed." Slughorn said trailing off as he plucked at his mustache, twirling the ends between his fingers. While Harry could only envision Snape staring straight ahead as he listened to Slughorn, completely uninterested, murmuring a yes here and there.

"But no matter, let's get this class started! I have wonderful, absolutely wonderful news for all of you!" Slughorn said overjoyed, stepping into the Potions room and quickly moving behind his desk.

Harry himself also moved to stand behind his desk, Ron beside him and Hermione at the table next to them with Neville.

Slughorn stood, waiting for everybody to stand ready before he began, jumping right in. "Now, you have undoubtedly heard from my colleague; professor Sprout, about my ideas for more House friendliness and coexistence, yes?"

Grumpy murmurs were his answer.

"Indeed, from this idea of mine stemmed the root to our current development, being biased in later wizarding life will do nobody good, only resulting in bad business and socialization. As such we will be working towards mature team effort between ourselves. In later life you will be asked to see past the school housings and work with your fellow witches and wizards in whatever the environment may be." Slughorn explained.

"The relationship between Gryffindor and Slytherin is without doubt; diabolical. Making it for that exact reason the perfect practice for later experiences." He continued, pacing back and forth in front of the class, twirling his mustache all the while.

"As of today I will be happy to announce that in the Potions lessons we will be applying the same concept as Herbology!" Slughorn continued jovially, either oblivious to their opinions or completely ignoring them as they instantly began moaning at his words.

"We will be using the same pairings here to encourage growth between each other, in our lessons we will be focusing on potions which require four hands regarding instructions, and two brains on knowledge, now hophop to your partner!" He finished, looking expectantly at his class.

"Bloody hell. Just had to ruin my day, did you." Ron said, softly cursing.

"Good luck Ron, don't be too hard on her." Harry said, trying to encourage Ron in being more open minded.

"I'll rather make a potion out of my own shite, and drink it." Ron muttered sourly.

So much for being open minded Harry idly thought as he walked away from on to find Greengrass again. He found her standing behind her table on the opposite side of the class. Her vials and tools lined up neatly.

"Well, I guess we'll be working together a day earlier then." Harry said, standing next to her, not wanting to begin with some lame greeting again.

"Disappointed that it came a day earlier?" She asked.

"E-er no I just meant-" He began, trying to get rid of any misinterpretations.

"Upset that you now have to do it twice a week then?" She interjected, her tone still light.

"No, listen in fact I'm quite content with this, it's miles better than any of the other Slytherins I could have been paired with."

"I'm flattered Potter, but I was just messing with you. You're quite easy aren't you?" She said, grinning slightly.

"I…you're horrible, you weren't like this during Herbology." He said after a moment.

"I was simply looking for a compliment while wanting to see whether or not you would respond like a stuck up ponce. Besides I was a bit busy in the greenhouse with trying to remove toxic waste from a coconut-flower-plant in a damp-cramped-space filled with sweaty people, how about you Potter?" She said her gaze fixated on him, making him a bit squirmish.

"I see..." Was all he managed, at a loss of words. "Well in any case." He said, bringing up his hand for a handshake, smiling a bit at her. "Not too late for introductions I hope?"

"I guess it doesn't matter anymore after six years Potter." She said shaking his hand, her hand small and soft. "Daphne Greengrass. Pleased to formally meet you."

"Harry Potter." He said simply, knowing that his name would be nothing new to her.

"Merlin's Garden Gnomes!" Boomed a voice suddenly behind them, making Greengrass jump before he gathered them both in his arms pressing them against his belly.

"Just wonderful! Seeing you two get along so well already! A prime example which the whole school should do well following too!" He said holding them a moment longer, treasuring his most precious samples before releasing them and bustling away.

"Especially you Mr. Weasley! You are already redder than a Charm engorged tomato! Much work to be done here I fear." He commented seeing Ron unhappy about his situation.

Harry looked back to Greengrass whose eyebrows were set in a slight frown and biting her lip, holding back any nasty comments from his sudden ambush.

"Now, as for the assignment; Skele-Gro! A potion capable of regrowing any lost bones through either having them Vanished or missing through other means. Also used when said victim has too many bone fractures to heal accordingly, in such cases Vanishes and regrowing will be faster, cheaper and safer. The downside is that it tastes horrible and the regrowing process is quite painful.

Harry grimaced, as he thought about his experience in second year with Lockhart.

"Instructions are on the board and ingredients in the closets, remember; four hands, two brains. Begin!" He said waving his wand at the board to reveal the instructions.

Greengrass immediately set to work, repositioning tools while putting others away. "You grab the ingredients and I will set up things here." She said, her voice all business.

"Sure, be right back." He told her, already moving towards the cabinets, grabbing the ingredients he had seen on the board and textbook. Better to let her do what she does best while I fill in, he thought.

Moving back to their table he saw that several tools had been put away and the cauldron moved. He carefully set all the ingredients down on a spot she seemed to have cleared up for.

"Good, let's get to work" She said, apparently glad he had catched her drift in her positioning. "I'll start on the Chinese Chomping Cabbage while you work on getting the Puffer-fish poison out."

"You sure? The book says we shouldn't start on the Puffer-fish until halfway through." He asked skeptically on her work order.

"Yes, but in the instruction above that they ask you to add the Cabbage and stir for fifteen minutes. Which is a bit unnecessary as the Cabbage is a stable ingredient, occasionally stirring will be enough, allowing us to work on extracting the Puffer-fish poison and adding it to the cauldron in a fresher state, It's hard to extract and will take longer than is good for the potion." She explained to him, impressing and instantly reminding him she was Slughorn's prodigy here.

The lesson continued like this, Greengrass would give him instructions on what to work on, and tips on how to do it better. She was indeed, a brilliant potion maker as she only so much as glanced at the instructions before knowing how to make the potion better, switching up order, amounts and methods at a moment's notice.

The class had ended and Harry looked down on a perfectly beige coloured liquid, the unpleasant smell being more than a clear reminder that it had been made correctly.

"You're really good at this." He complimented her, grinning.

She immediately gave off some of that haughtiness again, her hands on her hips, trying to act as if it was no big deal. "I guess I have some feeling for it, yes. You're doing good by taking notice of it." She said trying to hide her own satisfaction.

She may have called him easy but Harry could already tell that sometimes she was a very easy person to read herself.

"Excellent work you two, a fantastic cauldron!" Slughorn said popping up again and looking into their creamy cauldron.

"Although I'm sad to note that others didn't get it down just yet, opting to trust their own hands and minds rather than relying on their partners." Slughorn continued, trying to sound sad but failing rather badly as he practically had a spring in his step about their success.

Harry looked around to see what he was talking about and saw Hermione looking severely disappointed in her potion as it had a brown colour, probably having kept Bulstrode to handle the ingredients while she worked in the potion, which probably worked for the best but still yielded quite crude ingredients at the hands of Bulstrode.

Ron looked darkly at an empty cauldron while Davis had an expression that said 'Well, I tried.' Luckily not looking very bothered by it all.

Malfoy and Neville too, had an empty cauldron. Malfoy never was that good and Neville, sadly was even worse than any of them.

The others had their cauldrons still filled but were a mix of different colours in the brownish area.

"You aren't half bad as rumors say you are Potter." Harry heard Greengrass say as they each parted ways between the passing students to their own common rooms.

It was after six in the evening when Harry walked to hallways and climbed stairs, leading himself to the fourth floor. They had eaten some time ago in which Hermione and Ron had once again engaged in their prejudice argument, ending as usual with Ron leaving and Hermione grumpy, before she too excused herself to the library.

Currently he was looking for a classroom to practice his collection of spells in for the first time. However he already knew of a perfect classroom when he entered the empty hallway he found himself standing in. He stopped at one after walking on for a few doors, hoping that his memory had served him well he opened the door.

Stepping inside, his footsteps sounding a bit hollow he knew for sure he had found it again. He was standing in the disused classroom, the room looked exactly like it did in his first year. The dark shapes of desks and chairs were piled against the walls. It was here where he had found the Mirror of Erised, and saw his deceased relatives including James and Lily.

It was also practical regardless of the sentimental value of seeing his parents for the first time. The mirror wasn't even present now; Dumbledore had moved it long ago.

He levitated one of the tables from the walls to put his spell notes on it for easy reading. His plan for the coming time was to learn new spells, maybe try coming up with spell chains to corner any target fluidly, using technique and ideas. It would certainly be better than casting random spells at his opponent; of course he must stay cautious of becoming predictable when doing this.

Spells in particularly he wanted to learn were: the Bone-Breaking curse; spoken as Os Fractionis, Scalpere; a stronger version of the Diffindo, Expulso; a spell that causes an object to explode and the Frigoris Pedes Charm which would momentarily slow an opponent's feet. A harmless Charm but useful when used in combination with others, at least that was what he thought, having no actual experience with it but feeling that it would.

Harry made sure to cast Silencing Charms before leveled his wand at one of the pillars in the classroom, his practice target chosen.
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