Harry fumbled in the darkness for the silken drapes surrounding his bed. Grasping the opening of the drapes, he quietly opened them in order to haul himself out of his bed. He moved quickly towards the front of his bed where his trunk lay. Inside was what taunted him, calling his name, and the fix to the problems in his life. It would be easy to give in to it and he deserved it. It had only been a few hours without it but, he could surely stop whenever he wanted to. Opening the trunk, he picked the single metallic potion up and took off the lid. He tilted the potion to his mouth and let a drop of the metallic substance drop onto his tongue and basked in its sweet taste, a taste that he was once disgusted by. It was funny, how much he uses to hate it, yet now it saved him. Its metallic aftertaste had now turned sweet. Perhaps he was wrong, maybe he could make the stronger version………… He stood abruptly, stopping himself from drinking the rest of the potion. Almost forgetting about his sleeping roommates, he scrambled into the bathroom.
“ Lumos” The soft light doused the bathroom in an almost eerie magenta light .
Hesitating for only a few milliseconds, Harry watched as the metallic potion poured into the ceramic sink and down the drain. His hands shook as the very last drop was emptied into the sink. A breath of air escaped his lungs. A breath of relief that he didn’t even know that he was holding. But if this breath was one of relief then why did it feel like it was choking him?
What if he couldn’t sleep at all tonight? It would be the first time in a long time that he would have to endure those nightmares. An image of the pale complexion of Cedric face as he lay on the grave next to him played in his mind. He could have been asleep if not for the dull glazed look of death within his eyes. He shook his head roughly as if to destroy the memories replaying in his head . He could survive those memories; it was the other ones he was terrified of. At least in those memories, he had a fighting chance.
Perhaps this was a mistake. Sticking his finger into the small cylindrical vial he swiped it along the rim to collect any of the remaining contents. He got only as far as the tips of his lips before wiping his hand on his pajama pants thus scrubbing away the last of his fix. Glancing at where the other 27 vials of dreamless sleep were, he hesitated before standing up. He had to get out of here before he really couldn’t stop.
The further he ran from the dorms the easier it was to breathe. Each stepped spurred him on almost as if they were lending him some secret strength. He knew this was only temporary but for now he would enjoy it . Anything would be better than being in his dorm, pretending that everything was not going to absolute hell.
To most, the castle at night was dreary and disturbing but to him it just seemed calm. The paintings were all asleep in their canvases and the light in the lanterns seemed dimmer. The cold draft tickled his skin , but it didn’t scare him . It was merely the castle’s way of saying hello. There was no one here that would worry about him, no one here to hurt him , there was only him and the castle at two in the morning. Sitting down between a nearby stature and the wall he placed his head in his hands .
He had promised himself that once he got to Hogwarts that everything would be ok. It was the one thing ,other than the dreamless sleep ,that had kept him going over the summer. In the dead of the night, Hogwarts certainly helped but it didn’t completely calm his nerves. His skin still felt like it was raw. His breathing hitched as the echo of footsteps bounced off the walls of the castle, slowly becoming louder as they got closer. The footsteps walked past the statue without any pause and continued down the corridor.
He should have stayed where he was . He was in no shape physically or mentally to wander after the individual but something seemed to compel him . Following far behind the silhouette ,his eyes only caught the billowing of the individual’s robe as they turned each corner. By the height and posture of the person it had to be Snape but wasn’t it supposed to be McGonagall’s night on duty? So what could Snape be doing at this time of night?
They arrived at a painting of a single lady that knelt at a pond . At first glance the painting seemed insignificant , completely and utterly uninteresting. But after a moment , the young girl’s hair seems to glisten in the moonlight, each strand dancing on its own accord. As Snape approaches , the girl turns and stares at him , waiting for him to whisper the password . Eyes that seemed to stare into your soul . From the dim light of the lanterns and his angle it is impossible to see the color of her eyes but Harry would bet that they would be absolutely striking.
The painting swings open, the professor walks into the room and Harry slips in after him underneath the protection of the invisibility cloak. The room was lined with silver tables that held rows of empty cauldrons . At the very back of the room was the only cauldron that contained anything. Its contents held a bubbling red elixir that had glowing numbers floating above it. The slamming of the portrait behind him jolted Harry out of his observations. He cursed mentally , how was he supposed to get out of here without Snape realizing ? Would he just have to make a run for it ?
Snape reached for the timer with only a few seconds left on it and began tending to his potion. After stirring the substance for a few, he turned to the ingredients that he had left on the counter next to the cauldron. He diced the aconite leaves with skill , his hands never hesitating. Each cut was done with the precision of a master. The most remarkable part of the process were his hands. They were absolutely relaxed , even in class the dour potion master had never seemed to be so relaxed . It was absolutely memorizing . Harry’s eyes traveled up from his hand to his face . Upon the Greasy Git of The Dungeon’s face was the expression of true tranquility. As the steady sound of metal hitting wood filled the air , Harry carefully slid down against the wall to the left of the potion master. For the first time since the beginning of the summer, everything stood still and suddenly his skin didn’t feel so damn raw. Perhaps he’ll just stay for a bit.