Chapter Eight

Learning to make peace

Harry sighed aloud as the potions' professor swept out of the dungeon, leaving him alone with his work. How he had pored over book after book looking for the recipe for the potion! Only to find that the actual, genuine Peacemaker's Oil was one of the most difficult to brew in all of wizarding history. Snape had called the accidental potion a variant, after all. As it turned out, a very simple variation with less predictable effects than the real thing, including the ability to induce sleep and a disproportionate increase in empathy, which explained a lot.

Harry added the black pearl with great care, determined not to spoil the potion, even if it would not serve his true purpose, which was to rediscover the Professor Snape who had told him stories of the by-gone days before Voldemort rose to power and his parents were still alive. The potion bubbled and hissed. The color looked right, which was always a good sign.

"Harry?" questioned a voice from behind him.

He looked over his shoulder and smiled when he saw Professor Dumbledore in the door of the recently repaired and reconstructed dungeon.

"Hello, sir, if you're looking for Professor Snape ..."

"I passed him in the corridor. He looked a bit annoyed. Turned down a chocolate frog ..." said Dumbledore, shaking his head in disbelief. "Severus was a real chocolate frog man in his younger days. He could never turn them down. I felt the same way about Bertie Bott's Every Flavor Beans until that fateful day ..." he explained with a bit of a sigh.

"That's hard to imagine, sir. Him, eating chocolate frogs, I mean."

"Even after the misadventure the two of you shared?" questioned the headmaster.

Harry thought for a moment and answered, "No, I suppose you're right, professor."

"What are you brewing there, Harry?"

"It's an experiment ... a variety of Peacemaker's Oil."

"Ah ... and you are trying to make peace with Severus no doubt. Commendable."

"When we were trapped down here, we had an understanding because of the potion. It made him ... so much nicer. He was different ... someone I would be honored to call a friend." Harry admitted.

"I am quite surprised, Mister Potter. From what I have heard, you have spent many long hours in the library studying potions' tomes in your free time, painstakingly researching this ... experiment."

"Yes, sir."

"Then you ought to know that Peacemaker's Oil doesn't really add anything to the character of those under its influence. It only takes away."

"I don't think I understand."

"The potion didn't make Professor Snape a different person, nicer or better. I think you can probably deduce from your own experience that it merely removed the barriers of anger and resentment, which for him are quite substantial, especially regarding you."

Harry frowned as the realization hit him. The people that Professor Snape and he had been in the dungeon weren't a product of an aromatic potion. They were themselves when all the long harbored bad feelings and ill will had been stripped away. The potion had simply allowed them to be their better selves.

"Well, Harry?" probed Dumbledore with a smile.

"Yes, I understand now." he replied, looking down at his finished potion and taking the cauldron from the flame. "But what should I do?" he questioned.

"Well, Potter, you can start by following my instructions and bottling some of that." said an irritable voice from the door.

Harry turned and saw Professor Snape standing just behind the headmaster, arms crossed over his chest and looking less than amused, although certainly not entirely displeased. He seemed to be somewhat uncomfortable.

"Of course, professor."

"And fill a bottle for me if you don't mind. Useful stuff to have around in a pinch. That should leave enough for a third bottle ... for your own use, if Professor Snape doesn't mind, that is."

"Potions aren't toys, Potter. Just be careful how you use it." said Snape rather reluctantly.

"Thank you, sir." nodded Harry, fetching two bottles for the professors before removing one from his own kit.

"At least we know it works." commented the potions' master with a slight, although not unkindly smirk.

"Now, now, Severus. It isn't nice to take advantage of someone under the influence of a mood-altering potion, especially when you aren't willing to be subjected to it yourself." chided Dumbledore.

"I intend to remain in the hallway until Mister Potter has finished the bottling process. I am in no mood to wax nostalgic about my school days again, for his amusement or yours, headmaster." said Snape stiffly.

Dumbledore smiled kindly at Harry, who was doing his best to fill the bottles while they watched, a rather nerve wracking experience to say the least.

"I will just take one of those and be on my way." said Dumbledore as Harry finished filling the two stock bottles with a still fizzing liquid of a rather lovely silvery-gray hue. "You have done a fine job here, Harry, and I thank you." said the headmaster appreciatively.

"You're quite welcome, sir." said Harry.

As Dumbledore left, Snape remained hovering by the dungeon door until Harry had corked the remaining bottles and emptied the nearly drained cauldron.

"You have the skill necessary to be an adequate master of potions someday." commented Snape as he approached the table where Harry was working and lifted one of the bottles for inspection.

"Do you really think so?"

"Yes." said Severus. "Your innovation, your dedication to the research and methods, your investment of time ... it's all there. Those things would make you an excellent brewer of magical draughts ..." he said, hesitating as he realized what he was saying. "But ..."


"I would advise you as your mother advised me. Potions and their study can be a step down a darker road, a road that you need not take, Harry. Perhaps your time ... and talents would be best spent in other pursuits." Severus told him solemnly.

Harry lowered his eyes and looked at the silvery bottle on the table, his creation, the product of many hours of study and many hours of experimental potion-making. He had, he knew, enjoyed both very much.

"Have I dissuaded you?" inquired Snape.

"No, sir." he answered, looking up at the professor.

"Then I recommend that you sign up for additional potions classes next term. You have some catching up to do, Mister Potter."

The End


A/N: I want to thank everyone who has reviewed, kalariah, Steph, Vegeta Jr (four times at once!), shadowjardis, Lauren, SilverWolf, Zardiphillian Beryllix, Footmonster, and anyone who chooses to review later! You people have been the best! I hope the ending is satisfactory.