So after making timydamonkey read this, she demanded I upload it XD I'm kind of nervous about it as it's a departure from what I normally post on here...but, I'm pretty pleased with it, for whatever that's worth (probably nothing, ignore me, I'm not here) and this is a pretty liberal take on the events of POA, at times I try to follow the books, but that never seems to last long...
Anyways! I hope you enjoy this and the next chapter will be up in a few days :D
Disclaimer: I do not own Harry Potter, nor anything having to do with it, I make no money from this!
Chapter One: Adrenaline Alone
Harry stared down at the directions, anxiously gripping the parchment in his hands. He quickly looked between the simmering potion and the information in the book, desperately making sure that the two matched. Swallowing, Harry decided that the potion was likely as correct as it could possibly be and gently placed the parchment atop the solution.
Harry turned to the supply table and picked up a large pair of tweezers and a tray and waited for the goopy solution to finish coating the parchment. Then Harry, carefully trying not to tear or fold the parchment-which was easier said than done considering his hands were shaking-took hold of the parchment with the tweezers and removed the parchment, laying it flat on the tray.
Harry breathed a sigh of relief and turned his attention to the other potion he'd been working on. It was gently bubbling away and the timer on his wand said that he still had two minutes left to boil.
Taking a moment to breathe, Harry leant against the work table and tried to soothe his nerves. He'd been brewing the two potions for nearly an hour on adrenaline alone. He was constantly worried Snape or Filch would catch him, and when he wasn't worried about them he was worried about the results of the potions…
At least he'd gotten past all the parts that required a steady hand, that had been increasing the anxiety level quite a bit. Harry didn't know what he would have done if he'd ruined the parchment…the potion was only potent enough to infuse one parchment before neutralizing and Snape would already notice the missing ingredients. Harry didn't want to know how much trouble he'd be in if he failed and had to remake the potion…
And he would.
Harry had to brew these potions, it had been months since he'd found out about them, and he couldn't seem to get them out of his head. This was made all the more difficult since he couldn't brew them over the summer, and his everyday life reminded him of what he could have if only he brewed the potions…what he could have if it were possible.
The timer buzzed and Harry hastily went to tend to the incomplete potion, compared to the ones they were currently making in class this was incredibly simple, but according to Hermione and her stolen syllabus they were halfway through the third year potions. Their class had begun moving at an accelerated rate the year before, when they'd skipped ahead by two weeks and never looked back. They routinely skipped potions they were supposed to learn in order to continue to move ahead, and Harry was beginning to find the rigorous pace very difficult.
No one but Hermione had noticed and she'd taken it upon herself to find out every potion they'd missed. These two potions were some of the ones they'd skipped. Harry felt a bit cheated that they hadn't covered this one in class last year.
Harry carefully stirred and measured out ingredients until finally the potion was finished and looked exactly how the book said it should. Harry's nerves returned easily and with a vengeance as he carefully measured out the dosage, hoping his shaking hands wouldn't cause him to make a mistake.
There, it was done.
Harry sighed and took a deep breath before downing the potion. Now he had to wait ten minutes before it would activate, but the waiting made him nervous and Harry reached for the clean scalpel, thumbing it anxiously. So far, so good.
Finally, finally, the ten minutes were up and both potions were complete and now Harry could just cut his finger and get the results he wanted. Gently, and scared he would cut too deeply and it would hurt for days, Harry slowly applied pressure to his thumb with the small scalpel waiting for it to hit blood.
He didn't have to wait long there was a crash out in the hallway and the noise startled Harry enough that he drove the blade into his thumb which hurt so terribly he dropped the scalpel and drew his thumb up to his mouth to suck on the wound. The crash was immediately followed by Snape yelling at Peeves who cackled with delight, "If you want to get someone in trouble there's an ickle Gryffindor in the potions classroom!"
Panicked, Harry drove for his invisibility cloak and threw it over himself just before Snape threw open the classroom door.
Snape's eyes slowly scanned the empty room, eyes falling onto the potions that Harry had completed brewing. Then Snape stepped in further and magically locked the door behind him…there was no way Harry could escape now.
Dread filled Harry and he slowly retreated back into a corner, careful not to make a noise.
"If you come out now, I'll take fewer than fifty points," Snape said into the empty room, his voice sharp and authoritarian, but lacking the usual gleeful menace with which he addressed Harry. Snape seemed surprised that Harry hadn't revealed himself.
"Stubborn, are we?" Snape asked and he approached the potions, examining them with a careful eye. He also took hold of Harry's book and checked the inside cover for his name, fortunately Harry never remembered to do that or he'd be in a lot of trouble now. Snape's eyes fell to the parchment in the tray and he picked up the whole tray and moved it to an empty work station, pausing on the way to pick something up from the floor.
"I'm going to offer my deal again," Snape said, sounding unusually reasonable, but Harry knew that any deal would go out the window once he saw it was Harry out of bounds and not any other student in the entire school. "If you come out now, I'll take fewer than fifty points."
Harry remained hidden, hoping that he could make it through the night without getting caught. Snape waited for a moment, head cocked, and when no response was forthcoming he smiled nastily and replied, "Well, I'll know who you are soon enough."
A jolt of panic wracked Harry's body when he realized what it was Snape had picked up from the floor: the bloodied scalpel that Harry had dropped. Snape placed the scalpel against the parchment, gently rubbing Harry's blood against the paper…in just a few minutes, the parchment infused with the one potion would combine with the other potion and Harry's blood to set of a chemical reaction which would reveal every single close (no more removed than a second cousin), living relative that Harry had.
The worst part of it was that Harry was too far away to even see the results.
For months, Harry had hoped that the potion would reveal a previously unknown relative, and if he did find someone. That meant maybe, just possibly they could take Harry away from the Dursleys…
Odds were, of course, that Snape would never allow him to see the results and there would be no way that Harry could never get away with sneaking into the class and store rooms ever again.
Everything had been going so well!
Then something surprising happened, Snape grabbed the parchment, crushing it in his fist and flicked his wand sending the two cauldrons over to clean themselves and all the ingredients and supplies flew themselves back to where they came from. Snape's fists, one holding the parchment and the other his wand, both fell hard on the table in front of him and he stared down into the empty tray. His greasy hair fell in a line which obscured his face and he stood there silent for a long time, his heavy breath the only noise in the room.
"Potter," Snape called out, and Harry gripped his invisibility cloak as if it could turn into a portkey and take him away. Snape didn't seemed deterred by Harry's continued hiding nor did he move from his place above the table.
"It is you, isn't it, Potter?" Snape asked, though it didn't sound like a question, more like acknowledging an unwanted chore that was unlikely to go away…even with magic.
Harry supposed it was the tone of Snape's voice that made him do it, but he quickly removed invisibility cloak and shoved it into his pocket before saying, "Yes, it's me."
Snape still didn't move, his body a hard line where it stiffly stood, and he replied, "I knew it was."
Then he moved to face Harry and waved the parchment in explanation, repeating, "I knew it was."
The rough treatment of the parchment made Harry's breath catch and he reached out, desperately asking, "Can I-please, can I see?"
"Why have you brewed these potions, Potter," Snape demanded, harshly, "surely you weren't harboring any infantile hopes that we'd made a dreadful mistake and your parents were actually still alive."
"It wasn't that!" Harry insisted, "I wanted-"
"What did you want?" Snape demanded lowly, threateningly.
"I only know my aunt, uncle, and cousin," Harry admitted softly, gaze drifting down to stare longingly at the hand that held the parchment, "I wanted to see if I had any other relatives…they never talk about anyone…"
Snape's fist clenched impossibly tighter on the parchment and Harry wonder if the bit of his blood on it had connected the parchment to his heart, because it certainly felt like it was caught in a vise, being crushed by Snape's fist.
Snape stared at Harry derisively for several moments before commanding, "Return to your dormitory."
Harry had never felt more confused in his life, "Sir?"
"Go, now, Potter," Snape demanded, jerking his fist, the one holding the parchment, at the door as a directive. Harry couldn't understand, Snape was just going to let him go? He wasn't even going to take points?
"Potter," Snape said, voice low and gravelly and frightening in the dark of the dungeon classroom, "if you don't leave now, I will deduct all of the points possible from Gryffindor and allow you to explain to your housemates and the headmaster what it was you were doing here."
Harry didn't need to be told twice, and quickly snatched up his things and raced to the door.
"I'll advise you to not get caught on your way back," Snape said snidely as Harry slipped out of the classroom, wondering for a moment when Snape had removed the locking charm…or had he done that wandlessly?
Harry scurried down the hallway until he reached a semi-secluded area and then he pulled the cloak over himself and stood there for a long while thinking over what had happened.
Snape may not have taken any house points, but he had taken the parchment that could change his life…and Harry would choose knowing that there was someone out there who could be a real family to him over house points any day. What's worse was Harry had been planning this excursion for months and now Snape would know to look out for him, know that he could return to try and re-brew the potions. Snape would probably even set up wards specifically to keep Harry Potter out of the storeroom!
Harry leaned against the wall and slid down to the floor feeling desolate. What was he going to do now?
Harry didn't know how much later it was when he let himself back into Gryffindor Tower, but the sky was beginning to turn grey and he could hear birds chirping up on the roof. He took off his invisibility cloak and folded it up, but the rustling noise attracted some attention.
Hermione jumped up from one of the couches looking exhausted and frantic and rushed over to him. She latched onto Harry, looking completely concerned, but her tone of voice was annoyed, "Harry, what were you doing out for so long! You've been gone all night! Did you get caught? How much trouble are you in?"
Exhausted both mentally and physically, Harry sighed and replied, "I'm not in trouble Hermione, calm down."
This didn't seem to make Hermione feel any better, and her brow furrowed deeply in confusion, "But then…why were you out all night?"
"It doesn't matter anymore," Harry replied, worn. "Can I just head up to the dorm and get ready for classes?"
Hermione looked even more concerned, but let him go, "Are you sure you're okay?"
Harry didn't remember saying he was okay in the first place, but that was neither here nor there. Harry trudged upstairs and threw his cloak and potions book onto his bed before checking his wand for the time. He had a few hours before breakfast and it was incredibly tempting to just allow himself to fall into bed and go to sleep.
Harry decided to give into the urge and shoved his cloak under his pillow before falling asleep, fully clothed on top of the covers and his potions text.
And that's the end of the first chapter...review and let me know what you think!