:Severus, come quickly!:
Smidgen's mindcall was so sharp with fear and urgency that Severus nearly fell out of his bed. He opened his eyes to find the tiny shimmerling hovering a foot from his nose, her violet eyes whirling in extreme agitation.
"Smidgen, what's wrong?"
Before she could answer, he felt his medallion sear him with a warning jolt, which only occurred when one of his immediate family was hit by a powerful curse that was potentially life-threatening. He sat up immediately and threw on a robe and slippers. "Where are my sons?"
:Draco has been hit by some kind of curse I think. He is lying in the corridor and seems to be in terrible pain. He sent me to get you, Severus.:
"Find Harry and guard him," snapped Severus, then he was out the door.
Smidgen blinked away, but not before sending a message to Philip, who was inside the Gryffindor common room. He assured her that Harry was safe and sleeping soundly and then told her to watch the Gryffindor while he went to assist Severus.
:As you will, my lord Snape.:
the shimmerling replied, then she flew into Harry's room, making sure he was still asleep.
Instead she found him wide awake, rubbing his medallion, which was glowing.
:Harry, you're awake?:
"Smidgen! There's something wrong. My amulet's gone nuts, it's glowing and stinging me and I feel really sick all of a sudden, but I don't know why. What happened?"
:You must share a link with your brother, because Draco has been hurt.:
"Hurt? How and when?" Harry threw on his Invisibility Cloak.
:Just now and I believe someone cast a curse on him.:
"Bloody hell!" Harry swore and for once did not earn a reprimand for using a swear word or two. "How is he?"
:In a great deal of pain last time I saw him:
Smidgen admitted candidly.
"Aww hells!" Harry made as if to leave, but the shimmerling mewed softly, and he halted. "What?"
:I think it best if you wait a bit before going to check on your brother, Harry. Phil and your father are with him and they need space to work and they will feel better if they know you are safe here in the tower instead of roaming the halls at this hour.:
Harry rubbed his eyes. "What time is it?" He peered at his watch, with its glow-in-the-dark face, which had been a gift from Hermione. "Three AM!
:Indeed. Now please do as I have suggested, Harry, and stay here until Severus calls you.:
"But Smidgen, I could help with Draco . . ."
:Not this time. Stay here, Harry.:
Harry reluctantly tossed his Invisibility Cloak upon the foot of his bed and settled down on it with a sigh of worried exasperation. "Okay. But please ask Dad to tell me the minute Draco's okay."
:I shall. Though I'd wager it will take some time to break the curse.:
Harry nodded, frightened for his brother, his amulet had never reacted that way before and he wondered if Draco might be . . .dying. Stop that, Harry! Draco's not dying, Dad will fix him just like he fixes all his students who get hurt in potions,
he scolded himself. He caressed his amulet tentatively, and found the medallion was now cool to the touch. But what did that mean? That the danger was past or that Draco was beyond the amulet's powers of detection? He wished desperately to go and talk to Severus, but he knew Smidgen was right. Draco needed Severus more than he did and so he sat and waited, fighting the urge to bite his nails to shreds.
Smidgen perched upon his shoulder, purring into his ear, and the soft sound soothed him a little, stilling his need to pace about. He bowed his head and prayed his brother would be all right.
* * * * * *
Draco had never felt such exquisite pain in his life. Not all of the canings he had received from Lucius could match this awful pain. He could not comprehend why he was feeling this way at first, especially since he had only drank a Nasal Elixir, but some part of his brain that was not screaming in agony was screaming that the potion had been tampered with and now he might be dying.
Merlin, make it stop! Please!
He begged soundlessly, pain radiating outward from his groin on sharp pulsing waves accompanied by a throbbing desire that he had never felt for any girl other than Hermione, and even then it had been a gentle thing, not this awful obsessive need. He gritted his teeth and groaned.
"Draco? Son, what happened?"
Draco opened his eyes and hissed, "Dunno . . .hurts . . .Dad. Make it stop . . .!" To his utter horror he began to cry, tears splashing down his face.
"Easy, Dragon." Severus soothed, slipping his arms beneath his son's lean frame.
Draco yelled when Snape lifted him, he couldn't help it.
"Sorry. Can you tell me what happened, Draco? Was it a curse?"
Severus walked slowly and carefully back to his quarters, his boots tapping rapidly, fear making him feel queasy. First Harry nearly died and now Draco. The boy was pale, paler than a dead flobberworm, and obviously in agony. Just looking at him suffering made Severus's chest ache and tighten, he hated it when one of his children was hurt, it conjured in him an awful feeling of desperation and empathy and he would do whatever it took to make his son's pain cease.
"Drank a Nasal Elixir," Draco managed to get out inbetween clenched teeth.
"A Nasal Elixir shouldn't have done this," Severus murmured, entering his quarters and laying Draco on the couch. "Still, I'll need to examine the vial." He muttered a quick Summoning charm and opened the door.
Both the vial and Phil came into the room, one after the other.
"I'm here to help you break the curse on Draco," the vampire said swiftly.
"How did you know?"
"Smidgen told me. She's with Harry, making sure he stays in his room and doesn't do anything foolish. Apparently he felt something was wrong, said his amulet was acting strangely, glowing and burning."
"As was mine. That has to do with the connection to Prince Manor. Through the amulet we can sense how our relatives who had lived within its walls are, especially if hit with dark magic." Severus returned to Draco's side, and dosed him with a strong Pain Reliever.
Draco sighed in profound relief as the pain eased and then Severus mopped his brow with a cool cloth and asked, "Where does it hurt, Dragon?"
"I ache all over, feels like my blood is on fire, sort of, but mostly . . ." he gestured mutely to his groin.
Severus looked alarmed, then said, "All right, I'm going to banish your pajamas and underpants, I have to examine you and the clothing will interfere with my deep scans."
Draco blushed. "No . . .please, can't you just . . ."
"Son, you have nothing I haven't seen before. Close your eyes if you must, but don't argue." Severus said, gently but firmly. Then he banished the teen's clothing.
"Could be a conventional medical problem, like a bladder infection or kidney stones," Severus told Phil as he ran his wand over his son. "But I doubt it."
Within a minute he had the answer to his scans. "Negative. That's good and not good."
"You could have treated them, but this still leaves you groping in the dark for answers." Phil surmised.
"Now we analyze the potion bottle." Severus said. Draco moaned. "Phil, can you numb him a bit while I analyze?"
"Certainly." He moved over and sat down next to Draco, saying quietly in a tone that brooked no refusal, "Draco, open your eyes and look at me."
Draco did as he was told and soon found himself gazing into a pair of violet eyes. "Uncle Phil? Am . . .I . . .dying?"
"No. Now look deep into my eyes. That's good. Keep looking, keep focusing," Phil began to hum, bring the full force of his vampire ability to hypnotize to the fore. "Your pain is leaving . . .you feel nothing but a soothing warmth, you are beyond feeling pain, you are surrounded by a bubble of sleepiness. Close your eyes and let yourself drift . . ."
Draco fell instantly under the master vampire's seductive mental urging and allowed Phil to send him to sleep, sweet release from the awful throbbing pain.
Severus concentrated upon analyzing the dregs of the potion, and found that it had been tampered with using what could amount to a dark curse. But the curse itself eluded him. He cast several Revealing Charms, all came up with curse unknown results. He longed to tear his hair out in frustration.
"Anything?" Phil asked.
"No. The potion was definitely tampered with, but the curse isn't a standard one. Or at least not one a Revealing Charm can recognize. And his symptoms are not ones I recognize."
He began to tick them off on his fingers, until Phil said,"Stop! His groin is swollen and painful . . .why target that area? Unless this is not a curse meant to kill, but one to humiliate and hurt. Has he broken up with any girls lately, Severus?"
"Not that I know of. He was cradle betrothed to Pansy Parkinson, but her father called off the match when Draco renounced his Death Eater ties and became my ward. He has only recently been seeing Hermione Granger, and she would never cast something like this upon him."
"What about the other girl?"
"Parkinson? She's not bright enough to create a spell like this."
"What if it wasn't created, but learned?"
Severus's mouth thinned. "It's possible. God knows jealous adolescent girls have done similar things before this-it's why we don't teach spells of amour and love charms and so forth. Too much potential for abuse. I would hate to think a Slytherin would disregard my authority and actually hex my son after what was done to the others who tried it, but jealousy drives you to commit acts of betrayal."
Phil nodded darkly, one hand resting protectively upon Draco's blond head. "I would search the girl's room, but I need to stay near him in order to keep the veil of sleep flowing, since I didn't put him under a full Command. And you need to keep trying to identify the curse, so the only one who could search the girl's room with impunity is Smidgen."
"And if she finds something, then what? She cannot remove it and give it to us a proof."
"Right. She would need a pair of hands, invisible ones."
Severus frowned, getting immediately what Phil was hinting at. "I don't like involving Harry in this, but we need to see if Pansy is guilty. Can you call Smidgen with your vampire telepathy?"
"Yes," Phil answered, and did so.
* * * * * *
Ten minutes later, Harry waited outside the Slytherin portrait hole, shrouded in his Invisibility Cloak. Smidgen was already inside and promised to call him if she found anything radiating dark magic. Until then he would have to wait, for Severus only allowed him to enter the girl's dormitory because it was extenuating circumstances.
"If Smidgen calls you, you are to go in, retrieve whatever it is, and leave. Don't dawdle or gape at anyone else or touch anything. I don't care what or who it is. Understood?"
"Yes, sir." Harry had promised, and now he waited.
Smidgen was flitting about inside the girls' dormitory, her cat's night vision allowing her to see in the dark, and actually it wasn't pitch black because someone had left a nightglobe on, just in case a trip to the lavatory was necessary. The shimmerling, normally sensitive to magical auras, quivered in suppressed rage as she flew into the dorm where the fourth year girls slept.
The stench of dark magic slammed into her as soon as she entered, making her hiss and gag. It was not as strong because it was no longer active, but Smidgen could feel it oozing over her like a greasy slimy film. She wrinkled her nose and sneezed twice. Faugh! The smell of dark magic makes me want to retch up a hairball . . .no several hairballs . . .
She hissed and her mouth worked, as if trying to get a nasty taste from her mouth.
But while there had been a pitiable attempt to dispel the dark aura from the room, Smidgen was far more perceptive than your average wizard or feline, so she could follow the traces easily. Tail lashing and a low growl rumbling through her, Smidgen sought the source of the evil magic. It was familiar, somehow, this taint. I have smelled this before . . .back when I served exclusively in the palace, when Oberon was King and Titania merely his consort.
The fae cat searched her memory, which was long but clear even after five centuries.
And while she did so she brushed up against a wooden trunk. There was where the taint originated, she could feel the wood and leather enclosing the darkness. Here! It is here, within this box and Moon and Stars! I remember now! Only one kind of spell carries this kind of sharp tang, like merlinnas gone sour. Spells of compulsion and desire, spells to harm and to bind, spells that were once commonplace in the Seelie court-for the vengeance of a lover scorned was no laughing matter among the fae, though love was something most never found. Ah yes, the bitterness of a jealous lover is not a scent I shall easily forget. And this spell-the spell of the Unfaithful One-was once a common tool of retribution, until Titania became queen and banished those who used such and forbade those magics to be used ever again.
The results of such spells were varied but all were painful and degrading and no child should have to suffer such a thing, the shimmerling thought furiously. No fae of good alliance would harm a human child-any child-in that manner. The very idea was abhorrent. There was little doubt in Smidgen's mind that Draco had become the victim of such a spell.
She knew that the grimoire was inside the trunk and since the lock was iron, she could not magic it away. So she called to Harry, who spoke the password to the portrait hole and slipped inside, following Smidgen's directions until he saw the shimmerling hovering over a trunk.
He approached soundlessly, blessing Severus for teaching him kin-sa-dor
, because he could now move quietly when he needed to, and he soon made his way across the floor and next to the trunk at the foot of a bed. The curtains were drawn, so he could not see the person sleeping, but as he whispered a soft "Alohomora
!" to unlock the trunk, he caught sight of the initials upon the brass plate facing him.
. Pansy Parkinson, I'd wager my whole vault on it.
He thought angrily, knowing full well how Pansy would resent Draco going out with Hermione, but even he hadn't thought the witch could be so vindictive. What a nasty bitch, hexing my brother that way!
Smidgen had told him what Philip and Severus were trying to do and Harry had immediately volunteered to help.
He carefully pulled out what was in the trunk until he came to s small leatherbound book, like the kind you would keep a diary in. He picked it up and Smidgen hissed, :That's it! Put it inside your robes and let us bring it to Severus and Phil immediately.:
"Half a minute, I need to put all this stuff back. If she notices the book's missing, she could think she misplaced it or something, but not if I don't put everything back the way I found it." Harry told the fae cat. He carefully placed all the items back and shut the trunk and locked it.
Then he drew up the hood of his cloak and vanished from view.
He was out of the Slytherin portrait hole in a flash and heading towards the Snape rooms. I really hope this will help Draco, but Merlin, Dad and Uncle Phil are going to be frothing at the mouth like a seriously mad dragon!
* * * * * *
That was the understatement of the year, Harry thought later. Phil's eyes glowed an eerie blood red and for a second Harry was sure the vampire was going to bust through the Slytherin portrait hole and savage Pansy, or at the least scare the crap out of her. Severus grew very still, his mouth a grim line, and only his dark eyes showed the depths of his anger, they blazed obsidian fire. Harry knew that if his father hadn't had such incredible discipline over his emotions, he might have stormed into the girls' dormitory and hexed Pansy then and there. Smidgen, surprisingly was the worst of the trio, the fae cat practically had steam coming out of her ears and her fur seemed shot through with small jets of lightning. It was also standing up in spikes along her back and head.
:Forbidden magic!Did she really think she could get away with such, and no one would know? She forgets, Draco is a son of Prince Manor, and we are pledged to protect him from all who would do him harm-all, even spoilt jealous little witches! She needs to be taught a good lesson about playing with dark magic!:
"You are right, Smidgen, but first I must see to my son," Severus reprimanded softly. "He is more important than punishing Pansy at the moment. At least I have the spellbook now and can use it to perform a countercharm and treat thesymptoms which may linger with potions." He flipped rapidly through the book until he came to the Unfaithful Lover hex and began to read it.
Harry studied his brother, who was still out from Phil's hypnotic charm. His face was still creased with lines of pain, but he remained sleeping, his blond hair tousled like a small boy's. He had a sheet draped discreetly over his lower half, though Harry could see a bare foot poking out from beneath it.
Philip was sitting next to his brother, perched casually on the arm of the sofa, one hand resting lightly on Draco's head. His fangs were showing and the sight of the enlarged canines made a shudder run through Harry, though he knew he had nothing to fear from the ancient vampire, the mere sight of those teeth was enough to give him the willies. "He'll be okay, won't he, Uncle Phil?"
The violet eyes met his and Philip nodded. "Your father is one of the best Potions Masters and medics I have ever seen, and that is saying something, when you consider how long I have walked the earth. I have faith that he will restore Draco to full health. Your brother is a fighter, like all of the Snapes."
"I know. But what she did to him . . ." Harry scowled. "Nasty evil pug-faced bitch! I'd love to give her a taste of her own medicine, but I just remembered that we have no proof the book belongs to her. Her name wasn't in it."
"You opened the book?" Phil snapped, alarmed.
"Just the cover, to see if her name was in it." Harry said defensively. "I didn't look at any of the spells. But how can we accuse her of hexing Draco without proof?"
The master vampire sighed. "You are correct, Harry. Without proof that she owned the book, we cannot do much. You certainly cannot admit that you sneaked into her room and found the book in her trunk and Smidgen cannot reveal herself either. But she shall not get away with this, little Snape. If we cannot accuse her openly, perhaps there may be a way to get her to admit her own guilt."
"How? With Veritaserum?"
"Veritaserum is illegal to gain confessions from underage wizards," Severus interjected. "Forget about her for the moment. I need you two to help me form a circle to break this curse. It requires the love of family and friends in order to shatter it."
"Friends?" Harry repeated. "Like a girlfriend? Maybe we ought to wake up Hermione then. She really likes
"Believe me, I know
," his father remarked wryly. Then he thought about Harry's suggestion. "Yes. Her positive feelings will help to balance the negative influence."
"Okay. I'll send Frost to her with a note and tell her to make sure she wakes up and reads it." Harry said, scribbling rapidly on a spare piece of parchment. Then he whistled, and Frost woke up from her perch beside Phantom, the two preferred to roost in Sev's apartments instead of the Owlery.
The white owl blinked once, then held out her foot obediently for Harry to tie the message to. "Go to Hermione, Frosty. And make sure you wake her up to get this, all right?"
Frost bobbed her head in understanding, then Harry opened the door to Snape's quarters and she flew away. He knew she could get into the portrait hole, since all the owls were allowed in and out of the dorms.
Some ten minutes later there came a knock at the door, and Harry opened it to admit Hermione, who was dressed in a fluffy pink terry robe and slippers, her hair tousled, but she was wide awake despite the obscenely early hour. "Harry, what's happened to Draco? Is he okay? What did you mean, you needed me to help break a curse? Who cursed him?"
"Pansy Parkinson," Harry answered, shutting the door behind her. "Cast some kind of awful hex on him, something called the Curse of the Unfaithful Lover. It hurt him really bad, Hermione. That's why Uncle Phil . . ." Harry stumbled to a halt, only then realizing that Hermione didn't know about Philip.
"It's all right, Harry." Philip called from where he was sitting. "I would have introduced myself sooner or later, especially if Draco was serious about her."
Hermione looked up at the violet-eyed visitor and gasped. "Oh dear Merlin! Are you Professor Snape's brother?"
"No, I am his . . .uncle, shall we say, though in fact the relationship is a bit more complicated than that," Philip said, smiling. "My name is Philip Anthony Snape, and I am pleased to meet you."
Hermione came forward to shake his hand, thinking that he was one of the hottest men she had ever seen in her life, even better looking than Severus with his hair washed. "Likewise, sir. I'm Hermione Granger." Then she saw them and her jaw dropped. "Jumping Jinxes! You're a-a-vampire!"
"I am. A very old one," Philip said, his eyes twinkling. "I'm here to guard Harry and Draco and Severus from harm." He stroked Draco's hair. "Right now I'm keeping Draco asleep so he doesn't suffer any more pain from the curse."
"Which is why we called you here, Miss Granger," Severus said. "The curse cast upon my son is one that needs to be broken by a circle of wizards, ones who share ties of blood and friendship with the victim. Draw your wand and take up position by Draco's feet, you shall be the west quadrant, Philip the east. Harry, you stand behind the couch, you are north, and I shall be south and Invoker."
They assumed their positions, wands drawn, all save for Phil, and Severus said, "All of you focus your thoughts upon Draco, and send him peaceful and comforting wishes for his recovery. Focus on how important he is to you personally, and then repeat the following words after me." He chanted a string of words in Latin.
One by one, Hermione, Harry, and Philip repeated them, and then a bright violet light flared from Snape's ebony wand and then from each of the apprentice's wands and Philip's hands, connecting them together before coalescing into a shaft of brilliant violet light that washed over Draco's prone form, concealing it from view for a brief instant.
Harry squeezed his eyes shut, concentrating hard on sending his love to his brother, and he felt the magic conjured tug at him, filling him with a sense of peace and renewal, hope and healing.
Hermione kept her focus upon Draco even when she could no longer see him, she projected her concern and love and her fervent wish that he be cured fiercely, feeding the spell with the formidable power of her magic.
Severus too sent his love and wish that his child be well and the combined strengths of the three wizards plus the ancient vampire, gave the spell power enough to shatter the web of jealousy and hate that had formed the core of the hex Pansy had cast.
A minute or two later, the violet light vanished and Phil declared that Draco was no longer tainted with dark magic, the curse was broken. Severus closed the circle, and went back to preparing a special potion that would ease the stress the curse had placed upon Draco's body and break the fever he had developed.
Hermione went over to touch the sleeping Draco's face tenderly. "You're going to be all right now, Draco."
"Thank you for helping him, Miss Granger," Severus said sincerely.
"I was happy to help. But oh, how I'd like to hex that . . .that . . .bitch till she howls!" Hermione declared, her fists clenched and her eyes shining with the wrath of a lioness.
"So would we all," Harry said feelingly. "Dad, can we help you with the potion?"
"Yes. Come with me into the lab, I need a number two standard pewter cauldron and powdered calendula root, ground lavender buds . . ."
The two wizards followed the Potions Master into his private lab connected to his quarters by a secret revolving door in the wall, leaving Phil and Smidgen with the sleeping Draco.
:Now that the curse has been broken, Master Draco can rest easy. I am so happy he will recover.:
Smidgen sent sincerely. Then her mind voice hardened. :But there is still the wicked witch to deal with. She must be taught never to harm a Snape again.:
Philip bared his fangs. "And so she will be. Hell hath no fury like a Snape roused to venegeance. How shall we make the girl regret her actions and admit her guilt, Smidgen?"
:That will be easy, for a dreamweaver has influence over the subconscious, and I am sure together we can influence her in dreams. Do you know how to project yourself into the Realm of Dreams, Nightwalker?:
"I do. When shall we begin?"
:What is it humans say? There is no time like the present.:
the shimmerling sent, then she blinked away, and a moment later Philip rose and followed.
* * * * * *
The First Dream:
"In the Realm of Dreams, a dreamweaver rules," Smidgen told Phil as he appeared beside her in the misty meadow of the dreamscape. She had grown from her usual three inch height to a larger panther-like cat with beautiful butterfly wings. "You wish to be involved in the dreams, yes?"
"Of course. I wish to mete out some justice to the conceited child."
"Good. We shall start then by sending her a dream centered around her childhood and Draco's. From what Draco told me, she was an unpleasant spoiled brat even then and got him beaten on a number of occasions when he refused to play with her."
The shimmerling walked towards the formless mist at the edge of the meadow. "Come, Phil."
The vampire followed, watching avidly as the shimmerling expertly wove the stuff of raw dreams into shape and then cast it towards the sleeping consciousness of Pansy, who lay sleeping without regrets. That was about to change.
* * * * * *
"You have to do what I say, Draco!" five-year-old Pansy declared shrilly, stamping her foot upon the ground. She was wearing a frilly blue dress and a fluffy white cloak, she looked adorable, but the scowl on her round face was anything but attractive.
"But I don't want to play stupid tea party. I want to play Exploding Snap." Draco replied, he was the same age, dressed in blue trousers and a white collared shirt with a dragon logo on the pocket. He wore and equally stubborn expression.
"No! I'm the guest and you do what I say! Or else I'll tell your father!" Pansy yelled.
"You're nothing but a boring old girl and I'm never marrying you!"
"Yes you will! You have to!"
"Do so! My daddy says so! You're gonna marry me and make me a princess. So there!" she threw him a look of triumph.
"No! I hate you!" Draco screamed. "I'd rather marry a toad."
Suddenly Pansy was clutching a wand and hissing, "If I can't have you, than no one shall! You belong to me, Draco Malfoy!"
In that instant, she was no longer a child, but a fourteen-year-old girl and her face became cruel and hard, filled with obsessive jealousy and hate. The curse flowed from her wand and struck Draco, making him fall to the ground.
Pansy laughed. "That'll teach you!" she sneered and went to flounce away, only to run right into a very angry Philip. "Eeek!" she yelped, and tried to run, but he caught her before she could flee and all at once she was a child again. "Lemme go!" she kicked Philip in the stomach. "You bloody vampire! Lemme go b'fore I tell my daddy and he sticks a stake through your heart." She struggled, kicking and squirming to no avail. "Where's my wand! I want my wand!"
"Little girls who misbehave don't get wands," Philip intoned sternly. "Witches who misuse their magic and cast dark curses get punished." His fangs showed stark white against his blood-red lips.
"He deserved it!" Pansy wailed. "He was mine first!"
"Draco belongs to himself and what you did is forbidden by every code of conduct in the wizarding world."
"So what? Nobody rejects me!" she spat. "Put me down! I mean it!"
"Do you not understand that what you did was wrong? That you could have seriously hurt Draco? Is that how you behave with someone you love, girl?" Phil snarled, shaking her.
"Who cares? He should be grateful I didn't kill him for scorning me!"
"You are a wicked child, spoiled and selfish, but perhaps you can still be taught the error of your ways." The violet eyes hardened. "Little children who play around with dark magic need to be taught a lesson."
"By you? Who do you think you are?"
"I am Draco's uncle and no one hurts my nephew and gets away with it." Phil declared, then he flipped the child over his knee, flicked up her skirt and began to spank her soundly.
By the time he had finished she was howling and squirming, having never been subjected to such chastisement before in her life. He set her on her feet and hissed, "Remember, that is what happens to wicked little girls who use dark magic for whatever reason."
Pansy burst into tears and screeched, "I HATE you! You can't prove it was me! You can't!"
Then she sprinted off through the garden of Malfoy Manor, holding her very sore bottom, bawling loudly.
* * * * * *
Pansy jerked awake, it was just after five o'clock, she was all wrapped up in her coverlet. She groped for her wand and spoke a quick Lumos
. What a strange dream I had. Crazy really.
She rubbed her eyes. Usually she didn't recall her dreams, but this one she remembered in vivid detail, especially the angry vampire who had paddled her so soundly. She flinched and went to rub her bottom automatically,
and discovered to her horror that it was very sore, just like in her dream.
She kicked off her covers frantically and raced out of the room and into the bathroom to examine her backside. It was red and stinging . . .as if she had actually been spanked.
Eyes wide, she whimpered and shook her head in denial. It was just a dream! How can a dream become real?
She recalled the vampire scolding her, his deep voice sharp with anger and disapproval. "Remember, that is what happens to wicked little girls who use dark magic for whatever reason."
"Bloody stupid dream!" she spat, kicking the counter. "Bloody f-ing vampire!" She rubbed her bottom and then returned to her room, hoping to get a few more hours of sleep before classes, only to find that she was too afraid to close her eyes. No one knows what I did. No one. Except maybe that stupid dream vampire.
Swallowing hard, she turned on her side, hoping that Draco was hurting as much as she was, if not more.
Surrounded by veils from mortal sight, Phil and Smidgen watched from a corner of the room. "She is still not regretting her actions. How was it that what I did in the Realm of Dreams affected her in the real world?"
:A dreamweaver may induce psychosomatic dreams if she so chooses,:
Smidgen replied. :Meaning that sometimes what happens in dreams can be translated by the mind to reflect the body. The effects will fade in twenty-four hours, they are not permanent. But it is my hope that she will learn from it.:
"Hmm. You are dangerous, my Lady Catkin. I would not like having you for an enemy." Phil said, and bowed to her. "Turning dreams into reality . . ."
:That is not something I do lightly, but in this case . . .justice is served.:
the shimmerling replied, flicking her wings. :You make a dangerous enemy too, Nightwalker. Perhaps another session tonight?:
"Yes. That spanking is something her father ought to have done long ago. But next time perhaps a different approach is needed." Phil declared grimly.
Smidgen hissed in agreement, then the two returned to Severus's rooms.
They found a shaky Draco sitting up drinking a vial of a purple potion slowly, while a smiling Harry and Hermione looked on and Severus ran a diagnostic on him. The blond Slytherin's eyes widened as Phil stepped into the room. He set down the half-finished vial and stared. "Uh . . .Uncle Phil . . .you're not wearing your veils . . ."
"Finish your potion, Draco." Severus ordered. "It's all right. Philip and . . .Hermione have met."
Draco whistled. "Huh. I missed a lot while I was out, I guess." His eyes slid to his girlfriend. "How did you know I was hurt, Mione?"
She shrugged. "Intuition." She lifted her hand and brushed a lock of his hair off his forehead. "Drink your potion, it'll make you feel better."
"You make me feel better," he murmured, one hand capturing hers.
She picked up the potion bottle. "Drink, silly dragon."
He drank and she held the vial to his lips, smiling and looking deep into his gray eyes. When he had finished, she set the vial down, and gently kissed him. It was brief kiss and yet it made him feel energized and better than he had since he had taken that cursed Nasal Elixir. She tasted of mint and sunlight and it was with reluctance that he drew away from her. "Maybe I should get myself hexed more often, if this is what I get from it."
"Draco!" she promptly swatted him on the head with a potions periodical. "Don't you ever scare me like that again, you hear?"
"Me either," Harry said, snickering.
"Or me," Severus added.
"I second that," Philip agreed.
:We are all glad you're on the mend, Draco.:
"Okay. Next time I'll try and watch my back, but I never thought I'd need to worry about stupid psycho ex-girlfriends." He made a face. "Actually, she was never my girlfriend, only an annoyance."
"I am so
glad to hear that," Hermione said.
"How long do I have to stay in bed, Dad?"
"At least for two days, that curse took quite a toll on you and your magic, son." Severus said. "You need to rest and take more of my potions to replenish your magic."
Draco groaned. "Aww . . .Merlin! Can I have visitors? Because I'm going to go spare stuck in here with nothing to do but read potions journals, even though I like potions."
"Yes, Dragon, you may have your friends here to visit, after
you take a long rest," said his father. "They can come by for lunch and after classes for awhile."
"All right! I can finally sleep during classes and not get in trouble." He grinned, then leaned back with his hands behind his head, the picture of a lazy relaxed teenager.
Harry exchanged glances with Hermione. "You do know his favorite pastime is sleeping, right?"
Hermione giggled. "Of course. It's every teenager's, except maybe mine."
"That's ‘cause you two are abnormal," Draco drawled, yawning. "But don't worry, Mione. I still like you."
happy to hear that, Draco," laughed Hermione.
He grinned his sweet grin at her, the one that made her knees go weak.
"Okay, you two, enough with the eye thingy, you're making me sick," Harry said.
Draco rolled his eyes. "Whatever." He turned to look at Severus. "So how long will Parkinson get in detention? The rest of the term?"
"If we could prove she was the one who hexed you, at least that long," Severus said, his tone hard. "But first we need proof."
"But Harry found the book in her trunk! So why . . .oh."
"Exactly. We cannot reveal that Harry was snooping around in Slytherin territory, especially in the girls' dormitory. So we have to find another way to get Miss Parkinson to reveal herself."
"Leave that to me," Philip growled softly.
Draco cast one look at him and gulped audibly. "Merlin, but I am really glad it wasn't me who got him mad. Pansy better find a deep hole and bury herself."
"That won't stop me," was all the vampire said, licking his lips pointedly. "Don't look like that, Sev. I won't hurt her . . .much."
:And by the time we are done, she will confess her crime to you, Wizard Snape,:
Smidgen put in.
Severus said nothing, for he too was still angry over what had happened to his son and he had no control over Philip or Smidgen in any case. Fae justice was often harsh, but the Seelie Court's version was mostly fair as well.
* * * * * *
Over the next three days, Pansy went from a smug thing to a drawn out sleepless hag. This was mostly because of the nightly visitations by Smidgen and Philip, who haunted her dreams like the Christmas Spirits had Scrooge. The second dream arrived the night after Draco had been cursed, and before then she had been the victim of a Bad Odor hex that made her stink to high heaven like fresh manure, making everyone
step back from her. By the time she had stopped reeking, it was lunch but no one wanted to sit next to her. Then she had tried to eat, and everything she reached for kept jumping away from her, the bowl jumped a foot across the table and the spoon slithered after it, even her plate kept sliding around, and whenever she tried to cancel the annoying spell, she found herself babbling nonsense words.
She ended up fleeing the hall in tears, still hungry and missing completely the high five Harry and Hermione gave each other.
"Score one for the Snapes," Harry chuckled. "That was brilliant, Hermione. Where'd you learn that spell?"
"Oh, you'd be amazed what you can learn when you read in the library," Hermione replied sweetly. "Never mess with a Snape, Harry. Or their girlfriend."
* * * * * *
The Second Dream:
Pansy pointed her wand and altered the potion sitting on Draco's nightstand. "There! That'll teach you to choose a Mudblood over me!" she declared.
No sooner had she done that, then a dark figure loomed over her. "Still playing around with dark magic, I see."
Pansy screamed. "No! Oh no! Not YOU again! Go away!"
"And what will you do if I don't? Will you curse me like you did Draco?" Phil bared his fangs. "Oh yes, I know you cursed him. You cannot hide the truth from ME, child. I see it in your mind. You are as guilty as Morgan leFay when she seduced Arthur."
"Just get out, bloodsucker!" she pointed her wand at him, her hand trembling.
His eyes glowed blood-red. "You dare to curse me, little girl?" A second later he was lunging at her, fangs bared.
Pansy's shriek could have been heard across the Realms. She dropped her wand and fled, screaming bloody murder, down the hall, which suddenly morphed from stone walls to a living breathing tunnel of vines that wrapped about her, prickling her all over, and tiny mouths appeared with sharp teeth, hissing, "Guilty, you are guilty! Guilty! Guilty! And now you must pay, dark sorceress!"
Then the vines fastened upon her arms and began to feed . . .
* * * * * *
She woke shrieking . . .and found that her arms were covered with round sucker-like bites. "Oh my God! Look at me!" she wailed. "I'm covered in these disgusting bites!"
"Ah, shut it, willya, Parkinson!" cried an irate Millicent Bulstrode. "I'm tryin' to sleep here."
"Sleep? How can you sleep when these things keep happening to me!" sobbed Pansy, wringing her hands. "My nightmares are coming alive."
"Good for you! Now go ask Snape for Dreamless Sleep and get over it!" Millicent snapped, then she turned over and buried her head in her pillow. "Merlin have mercy!"
Finding no sympathy from her Housemates, Pansy fled to the bathroom, where she tried unsuccessfully to remove the sucker welts with Magical Blemish Remover. Even more terrifying was the fact that the dreams were getting worse.
All that day, unexplained mishaps plagued her. Her homework vanished in Transfiguration, resulting in a detention with McGonagall. Her shoes became glued to the earth in Care of Magical Creatures and she fell flat on her face in front of the box of Electrifying Scorpions, startling them and causing one to zap her in the bum.
"Oww!" she yelped and the whole class burst out laughing.
But the worst was yet to come.
On her way to the girls' bathroom on the first floor, she passed Hermione and Harry, and couldn't resist sneering and asking, "Hey, Snape! How's your brother? I heard somebody hexed him good."
Harry's eyes narrowed. "What's it to you, Parkinson?"
"Oh, nothing." She said airily and walked away, her nose in the air.
She entered the bathroom, going to check her make-up in the mirror.
She put her hands to her face in horror.
"Merlin help me! I've got SNAKES for hair! My HAIR!"
Her dark long hair was her one beauty and now it had been transformed into a mass of writhing hissing snakes. "I look like MEDUSA!"
Frantically, she turned and ran for the Hospital Wing, holding her bag over her head, but it did not cover her entire head, and as she raced past, people began to snigger and mock her.
"Nice do, Parkinson!"
"Is that some new Slytherin pride motif?"
"You trying out for Ugliest Girl in school?"
Several Gryffindor girls began hissing and wriggling their fingers at her and a group of Ravenclaws screamed and held up mirrors.
All in all, it had been a most awful humiliating day.
Exhausted, she threw herself down on her bed, Madam Pomfrey had managed to remove the hex on her hair, saying it had been a clever bit of an Illusion Charm, not a true Transfiguration. "But whoever hexed you dear, was first rate with illusion charms."
But once again, as soon as she closed her eyes, the vampire came for her, with his terrible red eyes and hateful smirk, chastising her for cursing Draco.
The Third Dream:
"Why can't you leave me ALONE?" she yelled, balling her fists and stamping her foot like a petulant child. This time they were in a kind of forest, where all the trees were twisted and grotesque. "What is it that you want from me?"
He folded his arms across his chest. "To admit that you were wrong."
"About what?" she pouted.
"About cursing Draco. You say you did it to keep him, but you never owned him."
"I did! He was promised to ME!"
"And now the contract was broken, but even if it were not, it was made without his consent. An unconsenting partner makes a betrothal contract null and void."
"Yes. It has always been so, since the beginning. Love cannot live in the unwilling heart. And Draco's heart is not filled with love for you."
"Because SHE stole him from me!"
"Child, you cannot steal what has been freely given. He chose her, and using dark magic to possess him will not bring him back. To love is to set free. Accept it."
"No! He is mine!"
"He belongs to himself," Philip snapped. "And if you loved him, as you say, you would have never hurt him over your jealous pride."
"It was payback, bloodsucker!"
"And that is why you shall never have him. Was the book of dark spells yours?"
"What if it was?"
"Dark magic is forbidden. And wrong."
She shrugged insolently. "Why do you care?"
"You trod a dangerous path. The darkness will consume you in the end, foolish child. Unless you turn your back on it."
"Up yours, vampire!"
"You do not want me as your enemy."
"I'll see you dead, bloodsucker."
"You wish," he snarled, then he was on her, and this time she felt his teeth puncture her wrist.
"Quiet!" he ordered menacingly. She froze. "You ask why I am here. It is simple. I am here to get you to admit your guilt and I shall keep walking your dreams until you do so. Every night, you shall sleep and I will be there, every time you close your eyes, I shall be waiting."
"No. No, please."
"Do you wish to be free of me?"
"Then you must face up to your actions and take the consequences. Until then the dreams will continue. Your choice."
That time when she woke there was blood on her wrist, but no puncture wounds.
All of Slytherin was talking about Draco and who might have cursed him, and there was a distinct current of disapproval running through the House, especially among the girls, who thought Draco was cute, that whoever had hexed him deserved to pay. They did not know the details, but they learned the curse might have killed him if Professor Snape hadn't removed it in time. Rumor had it he was still looking for the perpetrator.
"If anyone has any information regarding this matter, you are to come to me immediately."
She shivered recalling the iciness in his voice and the look in his eyes. If he ever knew it was me . . .I would be expelled.
The mysterious pranks also continued, and every day she was the target of laughter and the humiliation coupled with the lack of sleep was starting to get to her. She felt eyes on her all the time, asleep and awake, after a week she felt like a zombie and looked like one too.
But she finally snapped one afternoon, when she went to look in her trunk for a spare set of robes, hers had suddenly developed purple and pink polka dots, and found the black book missing. A panicked search turned up nothing and dread swept through her. She tore apart her possessions, but it was nowhere to be found. The professor knows. He must know . . .he knows everything . . .
She bolted out of her dorm and into the common room, only to run smack into her Head.
He raised an eyebrow. "Going somewhere, Parkinson?"
"No! I mean yes . . ."
"You look like you're up to no good."
He fixed her with a penetrating knowing gaze.
She crumbled then, for it was all too much. The dreams, the pranks, everything . . ."Don't send me to Azkaban, Professor! I don't wanna get my soul sucked out by a dementor," she wailed and then burst into noisy sobs.
"And why would you deserve to go to Azkaban? What have you done?"
"It was me, sir! I . . .I hexed Draco! Please don't send me there," she blubbered.
"You hexed my son?"
"Yes! The black book is mine." Snot dribbled down her face as she grabbed the front of his robes.
He jerked his robes free, a look of disgust and anger stealing over his face. "Come with me, Parkinson," he said in a clipped deadly tone, and he fastened a hand upon her shoulder and dragged her out of the common room.
Chapter End Notes:
Thank you all for giving me ideas about Pansy's punishment, they were greatly appreciated, although I could not use all of them.
You can find out what Severus does to her next chapter and the students from Durmstrang and Beauxbatons finally arrive for the Tournament.