Disclaimer: This story was made without any intention of profiting from it. Only the original characters and the plot are mine. The rest of it belongs to JKR.
A/N: Once again, let me apologize for the long wait. I actually had half of this done by the middle of January but RL got in the way of continuing. It was only in the last week that I got a little time to write. I hope it doesn't look disjointed as a result. I would have posted this before the weekend but Fanfiction was not accepting the post. Anyway, enjoy and please review. Please remember that sentences in italics without quotations are thoughts while those within quotation marks are Harry and Ginny speaking to each other through their bond.
Chapter 64: Consequences of a Potion gone wrong
James was furious. He was in a meeting in the Headmaster's office with Albus Dumbledore, Minerva McGonagall and Severus Snape to discuss the case of Amanda Bletchley, the fifth year Slytherin girl who had Imperiused Romilda Vane to give a batch of Chocoballs filled with Draught of Living Death to James' eldest daughter, Rose. Because the hard-to-brew potion had been brewed badly, instead of putting Rose in a coma, it had poisoned her and left her unconscious in the Hospital wing for the last two days. In spite of all that, Dumbledore refused to allow the Aurors to arrest the Bletchley girl.
"Why the bloody hell won't you let the Aurors arrest her, Albus?" James almost yelled at the elderly wizard. Minerva looked shocked at his language while Snape simply looked bored just before he spoke up.
"It seems being Minister of Magic hasn't given you a civil tongue for your elders, Potter," the greasy-haired professor remarked.
"Watch it, Snivellus," James said. "You're lucky I haven't used my position to see you tossed out on your backside from this job."
"Probably because your lovely wife talked you out of it," Snape retorted.
"You shut up about Lily," James yelled. "She hasn't been your friend since you called her a Mudblood in our fifth year." He heard Minerva gasp because she hadn't known about that incident but James didn't care. Being near Snape had always brought the dark side of his personality out, even years after they had finished with school.
"Enough!" Dumbledore exclaimed, pounding the table with his fist. "James, I told you before to leave Severus alone. Severus, please do not try to provoke James. We cannot afford to be fighting one another, especially with Voldemort still out there. Now James, please listen to my reasons for not allowing your Aurors to arrest Miss Bletchley."
James sighed and sat down. "Very well, Albus. They had better be good reasons." He watched Snape carefully as the other man sat down in his chair next to Minerva's.
"You can judge for yourself," Albus said. "I believe that Miss Bletchley's actions are not of her own accord. When I viewed Miss Vane's memory after I had removed the memory charm, I saw Miss Bletchley having difficulty holding the Imperius on Miss Vane. She looked reluctant to do it."
James wanted to scoff and protest Albus' observation but Albus held up his hand to prevent any interruption.
"I know that doesn't seem like much," Albus said, "but it has led me to consider that this is all part of some plan of Voldemort. You know that he fears her Seer powers, especially her ability to look into the future. Since he failed to convert her to his side or keep her prisoner, he may have decided to remove her short of directly killing her, probably hoping to turn her at some later date which kept him from having her feed a real poison."
"So he somehow had this girl do this to get my Rose out of the way?" James asked, one eyebrow rising. "Isn't that stretching it a bit?"
"I have to agree with the Headmaster, Potter," Snape broke in. "The Dark Lord has realized that many of the Ministry's successes against his followers this past year has been due to your daughter's powers. He fears and seeks to destroy any power he cannot control."
James eyed Snape suspiciously. "Did you know he was planning an attack on Rose?"
Snape scoffed and shook his head. "No, Potter, he has not confided with me on this. He may have planned it with other people while I was here."
Then what use are you as a spy? James thought. He turned to Dumbledore and said the same thing.
Dumbledore sighed. "It doesn't matter now, James. If this was a ploy by Tom to prevent Rose from using her powers, then it means he has something important planned to occur soon. We need Severus to find out what that is."
James sighed and shook his head. "Very well, Albus. I hope you can find out whatever scheme that monster has planned, Snape. It doesn't reassure me that what Sirius and I have suspected about you being our spy in Voldemort's remaining ranks is true but it's probably the best use for you since you can't really teach." He stood up. "If there is nothing else, Albus, I need to get back to see how Rose is doing."
He bade McGonagall farewell as well, pointedly ignoring Snape. He hoped he would not regret letting the Bletchley girl get away with trying to drug his daughter.
While James was meeting with the three professors, Harry was in his own meeting with three students from Snape's House. As soon as he had learned who had Imperiused Romilda into giving Rose the drugged chocolates, he sent a message to the only Slytherin NEWT year members of the DC to find out about Amanda Bletchley. So now he was meeting with Daphne Greengrass, Tracey Davis and Blaise Zabini in a secret passage under the cover of several protective and privacy charms.
"Hey, guys," Harry greeted the three Slytherins, "I'm glad you could meet with me on such short notice. So just who is Amanda Bletchley? I know she's a fifth year, like Romilda and Ti. Why would she try to give my sister chocolates with the Draught of Living Death and why use Romilda?"
"You're right that she's a fifth year, Harry," Daphne said. "Being Head Boy, you should know her a bit more since she's the female fifth year Slytherin prefect this year. She's also the twin sister of one of our House who died during the battle last June, Miles Bletchley, though she didn't want to fight and was evacuated with the other under age students. Miles was a great guy, brave enough to have been a Gryff instead of one of us."
"Now I remember her from the meeting on the train on the way here," Harry said. "She's got strawberry blonde hair about shoulder length and light brown eyes, right? She seemed a bit shy and unsure of herself."
"Quite true," Daphne said. "I've been wondering since then why Snape picked her as Prefect."
"And Miles was her twin brother?" Harry asked. "I think I talked with Miles a few times during the DC meetings this past year. He kept telling me that he felt bad that his sister was too scared to join the DC like he did. Did she come back after the battle?"
"She did," Tracey said. "She was quite distraught over her brother's death. I hope she didn't end up blaming you and everyone else for that."
"That's a possibility," Blaise said. "I believe her father was a big supporter of You-Know-Who in the last war but his two children never seemed to like all the Pureblood propaganda or follow any of the old ways in spite of being Purebloods."
"That's true," Daphne said. "Miles and Amanda have never said anything to indicate they believe in all the blood purity stuff or followed any of the old ways while they were at school. So I don't see Amanda doing what she did willingly. The few times I've talked to her over the years, I thought she'd be better off in Hufflepuff than Slytherin. I have a feeling she might have been forced to do all that."
"Are you sure, Daphne?" Harry asked. "I'm sure my Dad would want to arrest her for using the Unforgivable but we have to give her a chance. If she was forced to do it, she shouldn't be arrested. Rose would understand."
"We'll find out, Harry," Blaise said. "Maybe we can get her to you so you can talk to her."
"Thanks, guys," Harry said. "Let me know if you have something." He lifted the charms around the area and left.
A few days passed with no improvement in Rose's condition. Harry met again with the three Slytherins in the same area. This time, Ginny was with him and the three had brought Amanda herself. The younger girl looked afraid and distressed as she looked over at the two Gryffindors. They gave her a warm smile and approached them slowly before sitting down next to them on some conjured chairs.
"Hi Amanda," Harry said softly. "Don't be afraid. I know you had something to do with what happened to my sister but I'm not mad. I have a feeling you didn't do it willingly. Please tell me the truth."
Amanda looked at him with watery eyes and sighed. She started speaking in a soft voice. "My brother and I have never believed in the superiority of Purebloods like the rest of our family does. But until this year, we managed to hide that from them. My brother joined the Defense Club because he admired you and what you stand for. I was too afraid of Father to do that and what he would do if he found out."
She looked down at her feet. "Father has always been a supporter of You-Know-Who and his cause, even during the first war, donating money to his cause in secret so he wouldn't be arrested by the Ministry. He was furious when he learned that Miles had died fighting You-Know-Who and his followers. When I got home this summer, he locked me in my room and didn't let me out. My meals were brought to me by our family house-elf. Then after a month, I heard the door unlocked and a Death Eater came into my room."
Tear started to run down her cheeks and her words came out in stammers. "H-he locked the room w-with his wand and came at me. I-I screamed but either n-no one h-heard me or no one cared. He t-tore my clothes off and…and….," She started crying which caused Ginny to go to her and embrace her gently.
Harry felt angry and disgusted. He didn't need for Amanda to say anything more for him to understand what the Death Eater had done to her. His heart went out to the poor girl. The three older Slytherins looked saddened and not surprised.
After a few minutes, Amanda pulled away from Ginny and wiped her eyes with one sleeve. "A-after the Death Eater left my r-room, my father came in a-and told me t-that if I d-did as he told me, i-it wouldn't h-happen again. If I disobeyed him, he'd let the rest of the Death Eaters have me."
Harry asked gently. "What did he want you to do?"
"I was to keep my eyes open and watch you and your friends, reporting to him anything that happened," she said. "I noticed Romilda's interest with Neville. Knowing he was your sister's boyfriend, I told my father about it in an owl I sent him. He told me to befriend Romilda and encourage her to get Neville to like her more. It was easy to do that as we were both Prefects and I had a couple of patrols with her already. I even helped her get a copy of Neville's schedule so she could be waiting for him after some of his classes. But after that scene in the Great Hall, I thought it was over and was relieved that I could be a real friend with Romilda. I liked being her friend. Unfortunately, my father came up with a seemingly brilliant way to get Rose out of the way."
"He told me to console Romilda and get her to apologize to Neville and Rose and give Rose a gift to patch things up with them," Romilda said. "My father told me to brew up a batch of Draught of Living Death and put it in some chocolates that were Rose's favorites and have Romilda give it to Rose."
Tears leaked out from Amanda's eyes as she continued, "My father didn't care that the Draught is a Sixth year potion and dreadfully difficult to brew. It took me a week to make a batch that looked right. I had the vial with me that morning in Hogsmeade and saw Rose look longingly at those Chocoballs so I figured out that she liked them a lot. I put the Draught in a packet of Chocoballs I bought using a spell my father taught me. Then I caught up to Romilda and suggested she give them to Rose as part of her apology. But Romilda was suspicious and didn't want to take them. So I-I used the Imperius to make her then I tried to Obliviate the memory from her. Father made me practice both spells and the Cruciatus during the summer."
She looked up at him. "What will happen t-to me n-now? Will you have the A-aurors arrest me?"
"No one's arresting you," Ginny said, patting the younger girl's hand. "You did all that against your will."
"Ginny's right, Amanda," Harry said. "Once my father learns the truth, you won't have to worry about going to Azkaban. Your father, on the other hand, is a different matter. If you provide a few of your memories of him teaching the two Unforgivables to you, he'll be going away for a long, long time."
"He's going to kill me when he finds out," Amanda exclaimed, starting to sob again.
Ginny embraced her tightly, whispering to her, "No, he won't. You're safe here. We'll make sure you don't have to go home until he's put away."
They talked for a few more minutes with Amanda, Daphne, Tracey and Blaise then they left the secret area after making sure no one was around the entrance. Harry needed to talk to his father.
Rose continued to remain in a coma which greatly affected her friends and family. Lily remained at her bedside, only leaving for meals and an occasional shower and only when there was someone else to watch Rose, usually Neville. Their schoolwork was starting to deteriorate because they couldn't concentrate.
Finally, the second Saturday after Rose's collapse, Lily heard her daughter moan and rushed to her side. Neville, Harry and Ginny, who were all in the Hospital wing with her, quickly followed her.
"Rose, honey," Lily said, "Can you hear me?"
Rose moaned again before she opened her eyes blearily. "M-Mum? What are you doing here? W-where am I?"
"Shh," Lily consoled her, "You're in the Hospital wing. You collapsed in the common room. It seems that you were poisoned."
"Poisoned!" Rose exclaimed, "How? How long have I been here?"
Neville took hold of one of Rose's hands and squeezed it gently. "It's been almost two weeks, sweetie. It seems the Chocoballs you were eating that night were spiked with the Draught of Living Death. Unfortunately, that potion was badly brewed so it almost poisoned you. Harry was quick enough to realize what was happening and used a Bezoar to help you. But then it left you comatose until now."
"I'd better call Poppy," Lily said, getting up and heading for the matron's office.
"How are you feeling, Rose?" Harry asked.
"Not too well," Rose answered. "My head is buzzing and my mouth is like it's full of cotton."
Just then, Madam Pomfrey came into the ward. The matron shooed out the three Gryffindors out of the wing while she checked on Rose. The three teens waited in the corridor outside the Hospital Wing, preferring to wait on the floor rather than going back to Gryffindor Tower.
Harry's worry increased the longer it took. Ginny sat beside him with her head on his shoulder and arms wrapped around his waist, trying to send soothing words through their link but Harry could feel her own worry for her best friend through their bond. He was aware of Neville pacing back and forth in front of those doors, clearly as worried as they were.
Their worry increased further when they saw a silvery doe come out of the door and run down the corridor, disappearing as it ran. A few minutes later, Professors Dumbledore, McGonagall and Snape came from that direction.
Feeling very worried now, Harry got up and intercepted the three professors when they reached the Hospital wing's doors.
"Professor, what's going on?" Harry asked Dumbledore. "Did Mum call you with her Patronus? Is something wrong with Rose?"
"Step aside, Potter," Snape said gruffly. "We don't have any time for your silly questions."
Harry glared at him, the temperature surrounding the area noticeably decreasing as he struggled to control his temper.
Dumbledore placed a gentle hand on Harry's shoulder. "Nothing to worry about, Harry," he said. "Madam Pomfrey simply needs us to confirm something she has found. It's nothing serious. You'll know more about it in a while."
Harry eyed him for a few seconds then gruffly nodded and stepped aside, allowing the three professors to enter the hospital wing. After the door closed, Harry sat back down beside Ginny on the floor. She took hold of his hand and gave it a gentle squeeze.
"It'll be all right, Harry," she told him. "Whatever is wrong, Professor Dumbledore and McGonagall are there. With your mum, they won't let anything bad happen to Rose."
Harry sighed and ran a hand through his messy mop of hair. "I hope so, love, I hope so." He leaned his head back against the wall and closed his eyes. He felt so tired now.
The next thing he knew was being shaken gently awake with Ginny's voice in his head.
"Wake up, love. Your mum is calling for you."
Shaking himself awake, he was surprised to see Ron, Hermione, Ti and Maggie gathered around them.
"When did they get here? How long have I been asleep?"
"They just arrived, love," Ginny answered him. "You've only been asleep for twenty minutes. Come on, your mum is waiting."
Harry quickly got up and entered the Hospital wing with Ginny and Neville. When they got inside, they saw that Rose was now sitting up with Lily, their arms around each other. Rose appeared to be upset and on the verge of tears.
Professor Dumbledore and McGonagall were standing nearby with Madam Pomfrey. Snape was farther away, near the windows, watching mother and daughter with a strange expression on his face. Harry thought it was a mixture of sadness and longing that was gone when the man saw them enter, replaced with his usual bland expression.
"Mum," he said to Lily as he approached them, "What's wrong? Why is Rose crying?"
"I'll explain in a bit," Lily said, "please, all of you, sit down first."
Her words sounded ominous to Harry, sending a spike of apprehension and fear through him. Sensing his emotions, Ginny squeezed his hand to calm him but he could feel her own fear and worry over Rose. Neville looked equally worried.
Once the trio had taken a seat on the bed next to Rose's, Lily said, "I'm afraid the potion given to Rose has had a regrettable side effect. It seems, according to Poppy and Albus, that she's lost her seer abilities."
Harry and the others looked at Rose and Lily in shock. Harry turned to look at Professor Dumbledore who simply nodded.
"H-how is that possible?" Harry asked.
Lily sighed before answering, "The Draught of Living Death works on certain parts of the brain to induce its deathlike state. The ingredients used can affect other parts of the brain if added incorrectly. They've made it impossible for her to access her magical core to use her powers."
"Your mother is correct," Snape suddenly interrupted. "That is one reason why it is a difficult potion to make. Unfortunately, an incorrectly prepared Draught has never been given to someone with Rose's abilities. So we did not anticipate this side effect. If we had known earlier, it might have been possible to prevent this type of damage."
This last statement made Harry angry. "Like you would have cared," he snapped at Snape as he rose to his feet. "I bet your master would be pleased by this. It's almost as good as having killed her."
"Why you insolent brat," Snape exclaimed, looking coldly at Harry, "You're just as arrogant as your father."
"Severus!" Lily exclaimed, "Don't you dare say that." She turned to Harry, "Stop that, Harry. Severus didn't know about this. He's not responsible for what happened to Rose."
Harry sat back down, his mind filled with the implications of Rose's loss of her seer abilities. Without it, they would have no certain warning of Voldemort's plans. They would have to rely on Snape's ability to deceive Voldemort on his true loyalties. Now that really sucked.
Because she was no longer ill except for the loss of her seer abilities, Madam Pomfrey had released Rose from the Hospital wing in the evening. Lily had to return home since she had left Andrew and Daisy in the care of the house elves and the Grangers while she was at Rose's side these past weeks. Rose, Harry, Ginny and Neville accompanied her to the Headmaster's office from where she would Floo to Potter Manor.
Before she stepped into the green flames of the fireplace, Lily embraced Rose tightly and told her, "Oh my darling, don't worry about losing those powers. You're just the same girl we all love very much. Take care and study hard. I'll see you and the others at the start of the Christmas holidays."
Later that evening, Harry told her about Amanda and why she had given Romilda the doped chocolates. Rose felt sorry for the girl and immediately wanted to meet her. Harry contacted Tracey and they arranged a meeting time for the next day after breakfast.
The meeting with Amanda went well. Since she didn't know about Rose's Seer powers, Rose couldn't hold their loss against the younger girl. She promised Amanda that no harm would come to her from the rest of Gryffindor or any other students for what happened to Rose. Harry promised to talk to their father to make sure Amanda was placed somewhere safe during the Christmas holidays.
During lunch, Professor Dumbledore asked Rose to come to his office after the meal. She wondered what the Headmaster wanted but though it must have to do with the loss of her Seer powers. Accompanied by Neville, she nervously waited as the moving steps brought them up to the Headmaster's door. Before they could knock on the door, they heard Dumbledore's voice say, "Enter."
When they did, Rose was surprised to see Martha Thunderheart standing in front of the Headmaster's desk, smiling at them. Rose felt both relief and trepidation. Surely, Martha could help her regain her abilities. She ran to her mentor and threw herself into her arms, sobbing almost hysterically. She barely noticed Dumbledore thanking Neville for accompanying her and telling him to go back to Gryffindor Tower.
After a few minutes, Rose looked up at Martha's kindly face. "Oh Martha, can you help me? I don't want to lose my abilities to see into the future."
Martha sighed and said, "I will try, dear, but I don't know of any similar experience such as you've had. I've never heard of any seer being exposed to the Draught of Living Death. I do have some experience with potions and agree that it could have done something to you to keep you from seeing the future. Come on, let's sit down so I can try to connect with you."
They sat down on two facing chairs and placed their palms against each other like they used to do when Rose was learning to harness her powers two years before. Martha frowned slightly when they did but smiled again.
"All right, dear," she said, "Try and focus on your magical core."
Rose closed her eyes tightly and tried to meditate. However, no matter how hard she tried to concentrate, she couldn't focus on her magical core. She couldn't get the image of the ball of light that was her magical core.
Martha finally disengaged their hands and sighed. "Albus, I'm afraid the potion has affected the part of her brain that allowed her to focus on her magical core."
Dumbledore frowned. "Are you sure, Martha?"
Martha nodded sadly. "I can barely feel her, unlike before when we could connect almost immediately." She turned to Rose and embraced her. "I'm so sorry, my dear. I know how much those abilities meant to you."
Rose felt devastated. She sobbed into Martha's chest. She didn't know how long she cried but she finally drew back and looked up at Martha.
"Can't we try again?" she asked. "I'm sure I can get it in a day or two. Remember the first time? It took me a while to see my magical core."
Martha sighed. "All right dear," she said. "We can try tomorrow. You just rest up tonight."
Rose embraced Martha again. "Oh thank you, Martha. I'm sure I can do this. Maybe the potions effect will wear off. I'll see you tomorrow." She looked to Dumbledore and smiled. "Thank you for asking her to come, Headmaster." She then left the office. I'm sure I can do it tomorrow.
She returned to the Gryffindor Tower where she found Neville and the rest of the New Marauders. They seemed to be happy to know that Martha was back to help her. Rose hoped that her mentor would be able to help her overcome the effects of the potion on her seer abilities.
Rose met with Martha every evening for several days after that. Unfortunately, though she tried, Rose could only manage to come up with an image of her magical core. Even with the spells she had learned to control her visions, she could not form the images she used to be able to.
The unsuccessful sessions took a toll on her. She fell into a depression that was affecting everything she did. She attended class but didn't pay much attention. She went to Quidditch practices again but her flying was so erratic that Ron was forced to transfer her to the reserve team. Her friends tried to talk with her but she refused to talk about it, even to Neville and Ginny.
Two evenings after Halloween, she met with Martha in Dumbledore's office once more but this time to say goodbye again.
"Please don't go yet, Martha," she begged the elderly Canadian while embracing her. "I'm close to getting there. I just know it." Rose felt her embrace tighten with her words.
"I'm so sorry, Rose," Martha said, a deep sadness in her voice. "I wish I could stay longer to help you but my husband is gravely ill. If it had been someone else, I wouldn't have left his side but you are so much like me that I had to come help you. However, I've already stayed away too long from him. Just continue trying. Since this has never happened before, there is a chance it is a temporary effect. I promise I will continue looking for a way to help you."
Martha embraced her once again tightly then stepped back. She took hold of the battered hat that was the Portkey Dumbledore had created to send her back to Canada. After giving Rose another encouraging smile, the Portkey activated and whisked her away. Rose felt a deep melancholy with her mentor's departure.
"Rose," Dumbledore said kindly, "I'm so sorry that Martha couldn't stay longer but she is right that the potion's effect might still be temporary. You mustn't give up."
"T-thank you, Headmaster," Rose said. "I'll keep on trying. I know just the place to do it in."
After leaving Dumbledore's office, she made her way to the seventh floor; to a blank wall opposite the tapestry of a mad wizard trying to teach some trolls how to dance. A door appeared after she had walked back and forth in front of the wall three times. Entering, she saw a small version of the Gryffindor common room down to the fireplace with a crackling fire.
"Perfect," she thought.
However, even after hours of trying, she still couldn't form images from her magical core. She noticed that it was past curfew already and, not wanting to be caught by Filch, she decided to head back to Gryffindor Tower. Sighing in frustration, she resolved to return every night to try again.
Over the next few days, that became her routine after dinner. However, even with all the effort she could put into it for hours, she remained unsuccessful. Her late evenings caused her to lose more sleep. She continued to do poorly in class and even began to avoid her brother and friends, including Neville.
When Harry and Ginny managed to corner her and tried to talk to her about it, she threatened to hex them if they didn't leave her alone and stormed away from them. She fled to her dorm room. Throwing herself on her bed, she sealed her curtains shut and cried into her pillow.
Why can't they understand? She thought. My seer ability is the only way I can contribute to the war effort. Without them, I'm useless. I just have to try harder and longer.
With that thought, she fell into a troubled sleep.