Severus walked into the Gryffindor common room, curious to find Harry up and ready to go. The boy looked wide awake as he hovered over something on the table.
"What are you doing?"
Harry turned and looked at him with bright emerald eyes. "Well, when you left, I couldn't sleep. So I'd gotten up and gotten ready for class, and when I came back down stairs, these were on the table." Harry pointed at fliers scattered all over the tables.
"And they are?" Severus questioned as he walked over.
"Apparently for a Halloween Ball," Harry grinned, looking him in the eye.
"I know that look and the answer is no," Severus stated.
Harry pouted. "Why not?"
"Firstly, it's a week away, meaning I wouldn't have the time to prepare and get ready for such a thing," Lexus said, throwing a little Malfoy snootiness into his voice. "Second, my family rarely attends functions such as this unless there are many people of value present, such as the Yule Ball I missed several years ago."
"Is there a third reason?" Harry inquired.
"That I don't like events such as these."
"Hmmmm…." Harry thought for a moment. "Not good enough."
"Your reasons kind of… blow."
Severus rolled his eyes at the boy's inappropriate humor as Harry chuckled. "Listen, Harry. Your going to have to face the facts that I'm not going."
"Okay," Harry smiled.
"Alright Lexus, if you say so."
"Nothing," Harry smiled some more, grabbing his bag. "Come on. We're going to be late to potions."
"Since when have you cared?" Severus stated.
"Since I don't want you asking me any more questions," Harry grinned and quickly walked to the portrait. "I'll be waiting out here." He pointed at the painting. "I'll see you after you grab your bag."
Severus stared after the boy. 'Harry Potter…'
"This is where you two have been," Hermione breathed. "I've been looking all over for you. Have you two seen Ron?"
"No, not at all," Harry replied. "Is everything all right? You seem… out of it."
"I'm fine," Hermione said nervously. "Lexus, Draco wanted me to give you this."
Severus studied the envelope before taking it. Lucious' seal was on it. 'It's about time he wrote me. It's been a month… I certainly hope there's some sort of explanation for his absence.'
"Oh, and Harry," Hermione said, patting him on the leg. "I think you should really talk to Draco sometime soon."
Harry looked at her hand and saw she had something in it. Lexus was too busy studying his envelope to notice. Harry took it, slipping it into his cloak pocket. "Why? Is everything alright?"
"I'm… not entirely sure," Hermione said slowly before sighing. "Just talk to him Harry. You two really need to talk. One-on-one." She looked at Lexus and back at Harry.
"Alright," Harry nodded, confused.
"Well, I'll see you two later," Hermione smiled. "I guess I should set up the table so Ron and I can get straight to work when he comes in." She gave a small wave before leaving.
"I suppose I should do the same," Harry said, getting up to grab a cauldron. "I'll be back in a bit."
Severus waited until he'd left to open his letter. He'd always loved the parchment Lucius used. He ran his fingers over it. A special made rice paper that felt smooth as silk and was strong enough to hold without tearing. Writing on it, however, was the hardest thing to do. Quills would easily tear the paper, making it the least favorite among those wanting specialized parchment. Also a very expensive type, selling at 5 galleons a sheet, a price many wizards would not be willing to pay for something so simple.
Severus unfolded it and examined Lucius' calligraphy. It was so unique and unusual. Lucius had combined several different forms from writing from China, Russia, Mongolia, and the ancient Philippines. Severus let his eyes take in the words and began reading:
My apologies for the late reply, love. I've been gone at my brothers. I've been making arrangements for you to come stay with them around Christmas Break. If that doesn't work out, I'll save you from them… They've wanted to see for why they've been dragged into the private affairs of mine, and I figure this the best chance to show them what amazing thing I've dragged them into.
Dumbledore and I have had a chat. We planned for you to be in Gryffindor since we decided for you to be at Hogwarts again.'
Severus' eyes narrowed.
'My motives and Albus' are completely different, however. Draco has been having an unusual bit of attention thrown at Harry Potter since they started… associating on civil terms. I do not like it in the slightest, and I figured Harry would be drawn to you, getting in Draco's way. Apparently, my intentions have been successful.'
Pausing, Severus looked at Harry, and then over at Draco's empty seat. He'd had no idea the two had…
'Of course, Albus doesn't know my reasons. I just agreed with him that Potter and you should work out your differences.
I'm sure you're aware that Albus' granddaughter is coming to Hogwarts? Albus is arranging some sort of Halloween Ball for her to be presented at. She's his favorite of Priscilla's.'
Severus could picture Lucius' face full of longing and hatred. Priscilla had rejected him more times than anyone could count. Lucius claimed it was her Slytherin prejudice, being a Gryffindor, but Severus knew it was Lucius' stuck up pride that pushed her away from him.
'I need you to do something for me. Get close to her and push her in Draco's direction. I want to arrange something, if you get my drift, and I need your help to make it work. She is very prized, you know that, and among one of Albus' best kept treasures. I want her into the Malfoy lineage not to upset Albus, but to put Draco into a higher spot within the eyes of the people. Albus sees the good in my son, so if the cards are played right…
I must leave you at this Severus. I'm counting on you.
Severus stared at the letter in utter disgust. Lucius' request was outrageous, especially after making him unknowingly tear Draco and Harry apart… Severus crumpled up the letter in rage, it bursting into a safe blue flame in his hand. The letter turned to ashes and was gone within seconds.
He looked up to see Draco come through the door, followed by Evanuel. Draco looked paler than normal, his hair in a bit of a frizzled mess. His eyes were slightly red, and somewhat puffy and pink. He looked dreadful.
"Draco's been really… It seems like his life has been heading downhill… "
Severus looked up to see Harry staring after Draco. Remembering his letter from Lucius, he turned a light shade of red.
"Are you okay?" Harry questioned, reaching out and feeling Lexus' forehead. "Your cheeks are flushed."
Severus cleared his throat. "I'm fine. It's just a little hot in here."
Harry nodded. "I agree." He took another look at Draco to see him slumped over on his desk with his head buried in his arms. His shoulders moved in a slow steady pattern, leading Harry to believe he was asleep.
"Alright class, enough of your senseless babble," Evanuel clapped her hands together. Severus' eyes rounded on her in a bit of surprise. He'd completely ignored her when she'd walked in, but looking at her now, he had no idea how he had. She'd changed her appearance, greatly. Her hair was an unusual autumn orange with black tips, as if she was decorated for the October weather. Her eyes were a cat-like yellow and had a playful look in them. Clothes wise, she was in her general black robes, but Severus could see her muggle pants peeking out at the ankles.
Everyone was in awe of her, wondering what was going on. Smiling softly, she said, "I guess a few of you have noticed my change in appearance." She was greeted with silence. "Well, don't get used to it. I've come looking like this to class to show an example of what you'll be making today. It's a special little potion that will give you a brand new view on the world, a new view of yourself, a somewhat new and temporary personality. This is what we're making as a special Halloween treat, because isn't that what Halloween is about? Being someone you're not." Her eyes flickered as Severus, making him stiffen. "You'll find this on page 5 in your books. It should take one hour to make. When everyone is finished, we'll chat about it some more. Oh, and don't expect this to happen often. I just really love this holiday. Now get to work… I haven't got all day."
Harry quickly flipped open to the page in his book. "This has to be one of the best potions we've made in here since she started teaching."
"Indeed, but it's also borderline illegal," Severus said quietly.
Harry looked at him. "How?"
"It's a very weak branch off of a polyjuice potion," Severus said. "It doesn't completely change your appearance, but it does to some extent. The ministry has had several problems with people taking them to get high positioned jobs, and when it would wear off, minor problems would start that would sometimes escalade to more."
Harry looked at the recipe and back at Lexus. He then turned his head and looked at Draco. "Whoaaaa…"
"I agree," Severus said, remembering his letter and turning a little pink.
"Let's hurry and get this class over with, eh?" Harry said, tearing his eyes from Draco.
"Yes, lets," Severus said quietly and got to work.
Draco awoke to the room being cleared out, and a smiling Evanuel hovering over his desk. She gently placed her fingertips on his desk, leaned in so they were nose to nose, and whispered "Wake up sleepyhead."
Draco moved his head back in disgust, inspecting the woman in front of him. "My mother's warned me about you…"
"You always listen to dear, sweet Mummy?" Evanuel mocked. "Narcissa was always a bitch, ruining my fun."
"Do not talk about my mother that way, you conniving, stalker, crazy—"
"Now, now, Draco," Evanuel smiled. "I am your teacher after all. Do not speak to me that way."
Draco gritted his teeth.
"I understand you have a problem my dear dragon," Evanuel said, gently cupping his face in her hands, "involving one Mr. Harry James Potter."
Draco, who had been tugging his head away, froze and looked at her with wide eyes. Was it that obvious that he… He quickly composed himself and yanked away from her grasp. "I don't know what you're talking about."
"I know you love him Draco," Evanuel smiled. "I know that you're in love with him, except he's all over your cousin Lexus…" She let out a sarcastic "tsk tsk". "I can help you get him for your own Draco. I really can. I just need you to help me."
Draco considered it for a moment, his heart skipping a beat every so often. "What do you want from this? I know you wish to have something in return. I can tell how people like you work."
"Tell me where Severus is," she purred, ignoring his comment.
Draco instantly got up. "You're barking mad if you believe I'd rat out my own godfather." He then grabbed his bag and brushed past her.
Evanuel licked her lips. "Oh Draco. 'Ratting out?' That helps me out more than you know."