Summary: Hallowe'en 1983: Sixth year Draco Malfoy commits suicide. Hallowe'en 1996: the Golden Trio accidentally raise the dead. AU.
A/N: Main title is part of a line from Switchblade Symphony's "Mine Eyes". Chapter titles are from Nightwish's "Dead Boy's Poem". Also, nightshade is a poisonous plant.
The chapters will probably be kind of short. Sorry about that.
Sleeping on the Edge of the Sky
Ch. 1: Sing What You Can't Say
It was neither dark nor stormy, and the evening fog was just beginning to settle over the frosted grounds of Hogwarts when Draco Malfoy, firmly ensconced in the Room of Hidden Things, raised a smoking goblet into the chilly air, murmured "Cheers" to no one, and drained the goblet in one long gulp. For a moment, nothing happened, and Draco frowned slightly. A second later, however, his silver eyes rolled soundlessly back into his head, his long legs crumpled beneath him, and he fell to the floor, twitching slightly as a thin thread of blood traced its way out of his mouth and down one marble-smooth cheek. The still-smoking goblet crashed to the stone floor, and the tendrils of smoke that wafted around the dead boy smelled faintly of nightshade.
Ron rubbed his eyes and yawned absurdly loudly. "Why couldn't we have done this in the morning? I wouldn't mind missing History of Magic," he grumbled, sounding slightly hopeful at the end of his sentence as if there really was a chance that Hermione would agree to let them go back to bed and miss class in the morning. Harry yawned as well, privately agreeing with Ron, although he didn't dare say it aloud. Hermione had been in a foul mood all day and Harry really didn't fancy getting yelled at just now. Instead, he sat on the cold floor of Moaning Myrtle's bathroom and stared at the cracked mirrors. They really should get those fixed, he thought absently, already falling asleep in spite of the chill that pervaded the air. Fall had hit Hogwarts hard, and the castle's lack of heating meant that the students often had to wrap themselves in so many sweaters and cloaks that they all resembled black marshmallows.
"Harry?" Hermione's sharp voice pierced through his tired haze and Harry peered up to see Hermione Granger, her hands on her hips as she glared at him over the smoking cauldron.
"Huh?" He felt rather like he had in Snape's class last year; whenever Snape felt the need to humiliate Harry further he (Snape) would pepper him (Harry) with difficult Potions questions until a large amount of points had been taken from Gryffindor due to Harry's ignorance of what burning henbane did or what you got when you mixed Chizpurfle fangs and shredded dittany.
"I asked whether you got the hippogryff feathers and the saffron, Harry," Hermione said patiently.
"Right." He'd filched the feathers and the spice from Slughorn's potions cupboard earlier that day, and had accidentally knocked over a whole row of jars of feathers. He'd cast a hasty Reparo and managed to grab some feathers and vanish under the Invisibility Cloak just as Slughorn appeared to investigate the sound of shattering glass. He fished the feathers and saffron from the moleskin pouch that Hagrid had given him for Christmas a year ago and handed them to Hermione, who promptly ordered Ron to crush the black feathers while she mixed in the saffron.
The potion they were brewing was even more complicated than Polyjuice Potion, which they had just learned earlier that year. It was a complex wound-healing potion that would, they figured, come in useful, as dark times had fallen over the Wizarding World and Sybil Trelawney had recently experienced a vision concerning an upcoming clash between the forces of light and dark.
The Dark Lord Voldemort had been resurrected two years ago, when Harry had been fourteen years old and a competitor in the Triwizard Tournament (although in that tournament there had been four contestants; Harry had previously pondered whether that meant it had been the Tetrawizard Tournament for that year). Voldemort's followers, the Death Eaters, had flocked back to their risen lord in droves, and attacks on Muggles and Muggleborns had been increasing steadily since then. Just last week, Justin Finch-Fletchley had been called home when his older sister had been found murdered in her flat, the Dark Mark looming over her body. Justin had not been the first to disappear from Hogwarts, and would doubtlessly not be the last.
The persistent chill in the air was due not only to the changing seasons, but also to the rapidly breeding Dementors. Wizards and witches everywhere ventured out only when they needed to, all Hogsmeade trips for that year had been cancelled, and Harry could not help feeling that the tension was about to break and plunge the entire Wizarding world into a massive and bloody Final Battle. The Final Battle was especially important to Harry, since Harry had, even before his birth, been chosen by a prophecy to be the one to defeat Voldemort. It was very burdensome to be the Chosen One, and Harry was all too anxious to have the war over and done with, preferably with as few casualties as possible. Hence, the wound-healing potion that he, Ron, and Hermione were finishing tonight, in spite of the fact that it was Hallowe'en and on the verge of midnight.
"Here," Ron shoved the crushed feathers toward Hermione, an eager expression on his face. Hermione's hair was bushier than ever, and she brushed the course strands out of her face before steadily pouring the pulverized feathers into the brew and strengthening the flame. A strange tinny sound emitted from the cauldron and Harry leaned forward to see what was happening. The potion, which had moments before been a deep turquoise, was now bubbling fiercely and rapidly darkening.
"I don't think that's supposed to happen." Hermione's voice was a horrified whisper, and a thick puff of acrid black smoke rose out of the cauldron. Harry had a sudden memory of knocking down the jars of feathers; gryffin and hippogriff feathers had been right next to each other, and, with a sickening feeling in his gut, he remembered reaching hurriedly over the dark blue hippogryff feathers and snatching up a few black feathers- gryffin feathers- before fleeing the potions cupboard. The last thing he saw before blacking out was the potion, now a deep blood-red, flaming brightly and on the verge of explosion. As the black smoke washed over him, he heard the whistle of wind rushing past.
Harry blinked. Everything was so grey...he blinked again and realized why-- he was lying on the bathroom floor, the left side of his face smooshed against the grey stone and his glasses askew. He heard rustling from the other side of the bathroom, and a moment later heard Ron's voice.
"What happened? Harry? Hermione? You guys okay?"
"We're fine, Ronald. Harry just woke up." Hermione sounded vaguely frightened, although she was doing a pretty admirable job of hiding it; her voice was trembling a bit, which was how Harry knew she was afraid. Sitting up, he saw Ron and Hermione, their faces so plastered with black soot that it looked like they had rubbed charcoal all over their faces; Ron looked almost comical, his bright red hair contrasting outrageously with his blackened face. Harry noticed that his glasses were covered in soot as well and attempted to clean them with the hem of his robes, although he quickly realized that it was useless because his robes were soot-stained as well.
Seeing that neither Harry nor Ron were hurt, Hermione's fear immediately turned to anger. Her face (had anyone been able to see under the soot) was flushed a bright pink and her hair was frothing around her head like a frizzy brown cloud. "I hope you're happy. The potion is ruined," she snapped, gesturing violently toward the cauldron, which was tipped dejectedly on its side, a faint dent in the rim. "We're lucky nothing happened when it blew up."
A giggle drifted down from the ceiling, and Harry looked up. Moaning Myrtle, looking oddly gleeful, smiled down at them. "You're wrong. Something did happen." She was smirking down at Hermione, whom she seemed to like to tease ever since Harry's second year at Hogwarts, when one of Neville Longbottom's potions had spilled over Hermione and half-transformed her into a cat, an event that Myrtle had found hilarious.
"What?!" Hermione demanded harshly; Harry supposed she was mad about being accused of being wrong. Hermione was rarely, if ever, wrong about anything.
"Oh, you'll see," Myrtle said coyly. She winked teasingly at Harry before diving into her toilet. Hermione let out a strangled sigh and, with a light sweep of her wand, shrunk the empty cauldron into the size of a thimble. "I'm going to bed. I'll see you at breakfast." She pocketed the cauldron and marched out of the washroom, her nose in the air, not even bothering to throw on the Invisibility cloak. Harry picked up the Cloak as he and Ron followed her toward the Gryffindor dormitory. "Girls," muttered Ron. "Nutters," agreed Harry, throwing the Cloak over them.
Hopefully everything would be better in the morning, suppressing a yawn. He really needed a break.