Disclaimer: I do not own anything related to Harry Potter.
I have changed a few minor details about the Battle of Hogwarts and am ignoring the epilogue of the Deathly Hallows, but otherwise, this story adheres to all canon.
Harry Potter sat in his office, the torches in the room casting long shadows over his desk and burning low as it neared midnight. Still his quill scratched across the parchment before him. The essays from his second years on how to produce a proper Shield Charm had to be graded before the morning. He had already left them a week late as his stress had mounted in the previous fortnight.
He reached the end of the current essay in front of him and marked it with an 'E' before setting it aside on the small stack of graded papers. The stack of ungraded ones from all his other classes was already threatening to spill onto the floor if he breathed wrong. But, there was nowhere else to put them. The rest of his desk space was taken up by books and letters and other random items he had found necessary to have on-hand. The drawers were no better, stuffed as they were with products from Weasleys' Wizard Wheezes, spare quills, photographs, and Daily Prophet clippings. The entire bottom right drawer was bursting with letters he had received over the past two years. He kept every letter he received for either lifting up his spirits when he felt lonely or for documentation purposes.
Well, almost every letter.
Two weeks ago, a strange mark had appeared on Harry's right inner forearm. Since one mark on his body had already dictated the first almost eighteen years of his life, he was sure another one showing up randomly was not a good sign. And, he was definitely sure he hadn't been drunk and gotten a tattoo without remembering. Tattoos did not suddenly make themselves known in the middle of a teaching demonstration and shoot bright pain through the inner elbow as if shot by a centaur's arrow.
No book or fellow teacher he consulted over the next few days had been of any help. After the initial burst of pain, the mark had lain dormant, a simple black outline of two animals grappling with each other. Perhaps, the design was what both troubled and intrigued him more than the mark's sudden appearance. The image was that of a serpent and a lion in battle with each other. The lion's mouth was open, its paw frozen in a downward swing to strike the serpent that had wrapped its tail around the lion's ankle.
He had spent many hours in the Headmistress's office, pacing and talking aloud with McGonagall about what it could mean. The portraits of past Heads, of course, had their own opinions, and more than once, Harry had shouted to silence them.
It was obvious to him that the mark must refer to Gryffindor and Slytherin, but he had no clue beyond that of its significance. Godric Gryffindor and Salazar Slytherin, two of the Hogwarts founders, were known to have grown apart and become rivals after a series of disagreements on the running of the school. So, that must be why the lion and serpent were pictured fighting. But, why show up as a tattoo-like mark? Why on Harry? Why, period?
A vague answer had come a few nights ago via a large eagle owl that had rapped on his windowpane at two in the morning until he awoke and let it in. Bleary-eyed, he had untied the letter from its leg. It had gone out the window before he could even unroll the scroll of parchment. It had read:
Potter, we need to talk. I know about the mark. I have one too.
Meet me at the Leaky Cauldron in London tomorrow, 9am.
In his half-asleep state, Harry had thought Malfoy was referring to the Dark Mark, which clearly meant he was out of his mind to suggest Harry had one. He had gone back to bed, and in the morning, he reread the letter to realize exactly what Malfoy meant. So what if Malfoy had the same mark as him? Harry wanted nothing to do with strange marks or Malfoy.
So, he had burned the letter, with no intentions of ever meeting Malfoy in London.
But, Harry of all people should have realized that magical marks could not be ignored, and neither would Malfoy be ignored. After burning the letter, more pain had erupted in his arm. Upon inspection, the lion's paw had moved and was now scraping the serpent's face with its claws. And when Malfoy sent another letter every day, becoming more and more persistent about their meeting, and Harry burned them too, the mark and the pain got worse.
As Harry set aside another graded essay, this one marked with a 'P', his gaze traveled to the open letter on the corner of his desk. It had arrived from Malfoy at breakfast that morning. It read:
Potter, stop avoiding me. You're making it worse for both of us.
I am coming to Hogsmeade. You will meet me in The Three Broomsticks at noon tomorrow.
Harry had not replied to this letter either, but he also didn't burn it. By now, he was well aware that his doing so was what triggered the mark. He didn't understand it. It made no sense. But, he had a vague idea that if Malfoy had the same mark and the animals were fighting more due to Harry's avoidance of him, somehow they were connected. Somehow, Harry was the Gryffindor lion, and Malfoy was the Slytherin serpent. And he did not like the implications of what that might mean.
He knew he was running out of options. He had no choice but to meet Malfoy the following day, but he'd be damned if he went willingly. And in some sort of weird rebellion, he didn't wish to give in to the sleep that was hounding him. Sleeping would mean surrendering to the next day where he would meet Malfoy. If he stayed up and did distracting work, like grading, it would slow the progress of the night.
But four more essays later, when the clock on the wall chimed midnight, there was a knock on his office door.
Cold swept through Harry as he jumped to his feet and drew his wand. His hip rammed into the desk in his haste to stand up, and the stack of ungraded essays fell to the floor with a thud and a hiss as sheets of parchment spread out over the stone floor.
The door opened to reveal Draco Malfoy. He had not changed much in the two years since the Battle of Hogwarts, which was the last time Harry had seen him. True, his face looked a little thinner, more drawn. But Harry knew that was the effect of grief. He himself had grown thinner in the time after the battle, having lost a multitude of great friends that night. It was no surprise that Malfoy would look similarly thin after the passing of both his parents that night as well.
"You said to meet tomorrow," Harry said, very slowly lowering his wand to his side as the blond stepped into the office and shut the door.
"I didn't want to give you time to come up with some excuse to weasel your way out of it," Malfoy said. He stood across from Harry, the desk between them. Though there was a chair meant for students to sit while Harry discussed their grades or work ethic with them, Malfoy did not sit. Neither did Harry.
"So what is this all about?" Harry asked. "You seem to know a lot about it."
Malfoy withdrew a vial from an inner pocket of his robes, and it took Harry a moment to realize what the man was showing him. It was a small vial with a wisp of silver coiled in the bottom.
"You came here to show me a memory?" Harry asked.
"Not just a memory," Malfoy said, and his expression pulled taut in displeasure. "It is a memory of my mother's. A memory of a prophecy made to her."
Harry raised an eyebrow at the same time that his stomach churned into a tight knot. Prophecies, he hated prophecies. In the summer that had followed his fifth year, while mourning the death of his godfather, he had found some tiny solace in knowing that since the entire Hall of Prophecy had been obliterated and all the records destroyed, he had maybe saved some people from hearing prophecies about themselves and becoming trapped like he had felt after hearing his own. But, of course, memories of prophecies still existed. He just hadn't anticipated another about him.
"Your mother's?" Harry asked, deciding to ignore the obvious problem of the prophecy right then.
Malfoy's eyebrows drew together. "Yes, Potter," he snapped. "My mother's. But, that's not the point. It-"
"She stored it how long ago?" Harry asked, obviously stalling. For what, he didn't know. But he was tired and didn't want to hear about prophecies and marks on his arm.
Malfoy's hand tightened on the vial, and for a moment, Harry was sure he might break it. But then the blond thrust the bottle into his hand. Upon examining it, Harry saw it had a label with Narcissa's name and a date that would have put Harry around three years old.
"I found it in the Lestranges' vault."
Harry's attention was drawn away from the vial at this statement. "What?"
"Bellatrix and Rudolphus didn't have any children. I inherited everything from them when they died in the battle. I just hadn't gotten around to going through their vault until recently." Malfoy gave Harry a hard look, his eyes narrowed in annoyance. "I haven't felt like going through the mess you left."
Harry thought back to when he, Ron, and Hermione had broken into Gringotts to find another horcrux hidden in the Lestrange vault. All of the treasure had duplicated when they touched it since they were not the rightful owners. Now, Harry could picture Malfoy standing in front of the vault, opening it, and being buried in a deluge of treasure. It was enough to make the corner of his mouth twitch in amusement.
"So," Harry said and cleared his throat, trying to wipe any trace of amusement from his face. He didn't want a fight. Not here, and not at this late hour. Maybe tomorrow once he had slept. "Why was your mother's memory in the Lestrange vault and not the Malfoy vault?"
"I suspect she was hoping I'd never find it. But, I did. And once I heard the prophecy, the mark appeared on my arm." He pulled up the right sleeve of his robes to reveal a mark identical to Harry's.
Harry frowned as Malfoy dropped his sleeve back into place. "So, this is your fault."
"I didn't know what it was. If you found a memory with your mother's name on it, you would have watched it in a heartbeat too."
This was true, and Harry looked back down at the small vial in his hands to avoid looking at him. "So, you heard it, and the mark appeared, but how did you know it involved me?"
"Just watch it. Didn't Dumbledore have a pensieve around here? In his office?"
Harry set the vial on his desk and turned away. He moved to a cabinet crammed into the corner of his room and opened it. When he returned to the desk, he was holding the pensieve. "McGonagall gave it to me when I started teaching here." Two years of teaching at Hogwarts, and he still refused to call her Minerva.
He set the pensieve in the middle of the desk and picked up the vial. His heart was hammering. He didn't want to hear what the prophecy said, even though he knew from their matching marks that he was already tied tightly into the prophecy regardless of how much he resisted. But, in his experience, prophecies meant danger and running around the country trying to find horcruxes and almost dying more times than he could count. As he tipped Narcissa's memory into the pensieve, his own memory flared with warning as a flash of Trelawney's prophecy rung in his head from that day five years ago in Dumbledore's office.
Narcissa's memory swirled in the pensieve for a moment. Then, a slender ghostly figure made of white smoky memory rose out of the basin to stand on the watery surface. Harry did not recognize the woman, but the tone in which she spoke and the wideness of her eyes told him she was in a trance as he had seen Trelawney do once. The seer spoke in a rasp:
"The lion and the serpent,
once in love, once united,
now divided, a rift torn wide,
have gone to sleep,
but do not rest,
forever in turmoil.
A prodigy of each arises,
enemies from first meeting.
Destined to change
the past and the future,
to bring lion and serpent
back into harmony.
Blood to blood,
find one another.
A journey made to resting place,
vine and sand, jungle and desert,
find the souls
that must be reunited.
Be warned, however.
If prodigy refuses or fails,
death will come to both
in mounting agony.
And, restless, lion and serpent
will rain fire and venom."
Somewhere between confusion and stunned disbelief, Harry stepped back and dropped into his chair finally. He stared at the pensieve as the seer sunk back out of sight. He prodded the contents with his wand to repeat the prophecy. Only after he had listened to it twice more did he look across the desk to Malfoy.
At some point, Malfoy had taken a seat too and had obviously been watching Harry closely. "You see the problem."
This statement seemed to break the spell of silence Harry had found cast upon himself. "The problem?" he spluttered. "I see lots of problems!" Suddenly, he was on his feet again, his hands running a familiar path through his hair that he typically reserved for stressful students or long letters from Hermione about politics.
"I've been dissecting the lines," Malfoy said as Harry paced.
Harry grunted, his head bowed to the floor in thought, one hand still in his hair. "So, this prophecy...it's saying...Godric Gryffindor and Salazar Slytherin were lovers?"
Harry gave a choked laugh. How was that possible that two of the most famous wizards in history had had a secret love affair? For, of course, it must have been secret. If it had been known or even suspected, it surely would have been written about. And Hermione had never mentioned a Gryffindor-Slytherin love affair cropping up in Hogwarts, A History.
"And their souls can't rest because of the rift when Slytherin left the school?"
"That's the way I see it," Malfoy said. He crossed his arms over his chest. "So, they have to be brought back together. We're essentially matchmakers, trying to get them to make up."
Harry stared at him. "Do you even realize how insane that sounds? We have to get their souls, ghosts, whatever to kiss and make up so they can move on to the afterlife?"
"Seems like it. That's the past the prophecy is referring to. Best I can figure is the future refers to getting the current houses here to work together. But the past portion would come first seeing as if its not done now that the prophecy is activated or whatever you want to call it, Gryffindor's and Slytherin's ghosts would seek some sort of revenge."
Harry's expression never wavered from incredulity. "Revenge on who? Us? The school?"
"Possibly both. And since everything else in the prophecy seems to be literal, I'm taking the line about 'rain fire and venom' literally."
"You can't be serious." That was all Harry said for a long moment. "And if we don't help them, we die."
"Yes. And, we know that's true, the 'mounting agony', from you refusing to meet me. The mark kept hurting worse and worse." Malfoy sat forward, gripping the arms of the chair. "Potter, I hate this as much as you. But, we will actually die if we don't do this."
"Yes, I gathered that much," Harry said, his voice tight and waspish. He had just stated they would die himself. He didn't need it repeated. "Ok, let's say that we did this, go looking for their final resting places. I thought Gryffindor was buried in Godric's Hollow."
"It's his birthplace. I've never heard of him being buried there." Malfoy shrugged. "I tried to find information on where they're both buried, but sources say they're lost. No one knows where their tombs are."
Harry ran another hand through his hair and then finally looked straight at Malfoy, stopping his pacing. "How did you know it was me that's the prodigy of Gryffindor?"
Malfoy's tell-tale smirk appeared on his face. "You were the first enemy I thought of. And, you're a Gryffindor. It seemed...ironic enough to be poetic." At Harry's eye roll, his smirk disappeared, and he became more serious. "I consulted some books on prophecy too. The lines 'blood to blood, find one another' are a staple of many prophecies, it seems. It's how the people of prophecies can locate each other."
The man stood and withdrew a square of parchment from his pocket. He unfolded it, shifted the pensieve back a few inches, and laid out the parchment on the desk.
Harry walked over to him to peer at the document. It was a world map, and in the northern United Kingdom was a dried dot of blood labeled as Harry Potter. Harry leaned closer to inspect it but withdrew quickly as a flash of silver caught in the corner of his eye. "What are you-"
It was a knife that Malfoy had produced from another pocket. Harry stepped back in alarm, his fingers itching to reach for his wand. But, he watched in amazement as the man drew the blade across his palm. Bright drops of crimson blood pooled in his hand, and he tipped it to spill a few drops on the map, in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean.
Harry watched in amazement as the drops of blood quivered and drew together into a larger bubble. Then the large drop began moving up the map. It settled directly on top of the old drop of blood and was quickly absorbed into the parchment. The dot and label of Harry's own name was the same, except now brighter, newer.
"Your blood can track me?" Harry asked as he whirled to face Malfoy.
Malfoy was busy wrapping cloth around his hand. "Yours can do the same to find me. And if we combine our blood, I think it will show us where to go to find these tombs."
Harry was already shaking his head by the time Malfoy finished speaking. "No. There is no way we're doing this. It's mental."
Instantly, Harry felt like someone had just taken a beater's bat to his elbow and shattered all the bones there. He gasped, and so did Malfoy, both of them clutching at their arms.
"Quit refusing!" Malfoy snapped, holding his injured arm to his chest. "If I die because you're too stubborn to do this, Gryffindor and Slytherin won't be the only ones warring for eternity from their tombs."
Harry pursed his lips and just looked down at the mark. It hadn't changed much, or so he thought. Upon closer inspection, he could see the lion was now treading on the snake's tail. "Alright! Alright, I'll help!"
The pain in his arm instantly lessened, and after a moment, it was gone. It was replaced by a gentle warmth, and as Harry watched, the mark changed yet again. The lion and serpent both closed their mouths, successfully hiding their dangerous fangs. The snake uncoiled itself from the lion's limbs, and the lion lowered its striking paw to the ground. Now, there was a sliver of space between them, the two animals staring warily at each other.
Malfoy gave a sigh of relief even as he frowned at Harry. "Good choice, Potter." He straightened and clenched and unclenched his hand as if to work the tension from the muscle of his forearm. "We need to make a plan. Do this as fast as possible to get out of each other's hair."
"Not tonight," Harry said. "It's late, and I want to sleep."
Malfoy nodded stiffly. "Then I still expect you to meet me in The Three Broomsticks tomorrow. Noon. Don't be late." He retrieved his mother's memory from the pensieve's basin, snatched up the world map, and was gone.
Harry sighed, a tension in his body and mind that he hadn't felt since the days of Voldemort. He was once again tangled up in a prophecy that he wanted no part of. And this time, there was a guarantee he would die if he didn't even try to fulfill it.
Resolved to get to bed within the next few minutes, he crouched down and began to gather the fallen papers.
Hi, guys, thanks for checking out this first chapter! I'm really excited for what I have planned with this story, and I hope you guys will enjoy it as much as I do. If you liked this chapter, please leave a review. Reviews help me stay motivated, especially as I'm going through a really tough time in my personal life at the moment.