Blood Leads the Blind
Part 2 - A Most Bothersome Cure
Disclaimer: Harry Potter and so forth obviously belong to J.K.
Rowling and whoever, besides Warner Brothers, own any rights to it.
No infringement intended.
Spoilers: Up to the third book, at the very least.
Handsome. Cunning. Quick. Draco Malfoy was all of these things and
more, but physically fit he was not. He didn't exactly keep Crabbe
and Goyle around for their pretty faces after all. He certainly
wasn't fit enough to be hauling an unconscious and bleeding Harry
Potter from the south courtyard and down to the bloody dungeons
without -some- strain. So it was with no small amount of relief when
he finally managed to drag his burden over to Professor Snape's
office door. The damned man had better be in because there was
absolutely no way he was dragging Potter back up those horrid stairs.
Staring blankly at the forbidding door, Draco considered his options.
He could put Potter down and knock like any civilized wizard would
do, but he wasn't sure he'd be able to pick Potter back up. His arms
were really, really starting to burn like nobody's business from the
strain. They might give out completely once he let go. No, that
wasn't an appealing idea at all. So what else could he do? He
couldn't use his wand to do anything, both of his arms were full. He
could probably balance on one leg for a short length of time... yes,
that would be the best idea.
Getting a better hold on Potter, Draco lifted his left leg slightly
and banged insistently on the door with his heel. He thought he heard
the sound of smashing glass, but wasn't certain so kept up his
barrage. He did hear the sulfurous cursing though, right
before the door was flung open and a very irate Potions Master peered
out into the hallway.
"What is it-," Snape trailed off, his fury at being interrupted
fading into pure annoyance as he got a good look at who it was. "Mr.
Malfoy-," he started out, then trailed off again when he noticed what
Draco was holding on to. He cocked a bewildered eyebrow at the odd
tableau before him. "What exactly are you doing with that?"
"Somebody thought murdering Potter while I was around would be great
fun," Draco growled, not waiting for an invitation as he dragged his
unwanted burden into the dark, smoky room. Snape closed the door once
he was past and indicated that Draco should continue over towards the
desk. "While I don't particularly care whether Potter is among the
breathing or not, I refuse to be implicated in such a shoddy job of
Snape's lips twisted up in a bitter, almost half-smile at Draco's
blasť explanation. He knew there was more to it than that, but there
were more pressing matters at the moment than Draco Malfoy's
motivation. Waving his wand and muttering a few choice words under
his breath, Snape moved the veritable apothecary off of his desk and
replaced it a few moments later with the bleeding form of one of his
most annoying students. The boy just could not stay out of trouble.
Draco stood off to the side, rubbing his arms as they alternated
between going numb and having a thousand needles speared into them.
Perhaps hauling Potter around hadn't been the wisest decision. He was
certainly going to regret it in spades in the morning. Tilting his
head to the side in curiosity, Draco watched as Snape circled his
desk, and then winced when the Potions Master yanked the arrow out of
Potter's shoulder. Nasty thing that, the arrowhead was barbed.
Humming to himself thoughtfully, Snape studied the bloody arrowhead,
sniffing it almost daintily before pressing a fingertip to it and
smearing that finger together with his thumb. Sneering at something
his student couldn't fathom, Snape wiped his fingers off on his robes
and said, "Do be useful Mr. Malfoy and go fetch the Headmaster and
then Madame Pomfrey... and Professor McGonagall." He grimaced at the
last name, as if he were adding it in afterthought but really didn't
"But sir, it's after hours," Draco protested, scowling at the useful
comment. He was the best of Slytherin house, he was far more than
just useful. "What if I run into Filch? He won't care if I have a
good reason for being out or not. He'll just drag me off for more
detention. And besides, I'm not even supposed to know where the
Headmaster's office is."
"Don't be coy, Mr. Malfoy," Snape snapped as he glared over at Draco.
"I expect you to do exactly as I have told you. And should you
encounter any problems, the password is owl cookies. Now get going."
"Yes sir," Draco grumbled as he stalked out of the office, slamming
the door shut behind him. He did not appreciate this particular task
one little bit. Fetching people was the job for a servant or a
house-elf or something other than him. Really, he should have
just left Potter to bleed to death.
Snape returned his attention to the arrowhead once Draco had left,
absently reaching down and feeling Potter's forehead with his right
hand. The boy wasn't feverish or anything of the sort, and that
helped confirm some of his suspicions. Potter hadn't just been shot.
He'd been poisoned as well, and this type of 'poison' was very rare
indeed. "Well Mr. Potter, someone really doesn't like you,"
Snape said absentmindedly, not noticing as his thumb started rubbing
softly against the skin on Harry's forehead.
A minute passed, another, and then Snape shook himself as if waking
from a stupor. Sighing at the work that lay ahead, he went about
gathering the implements he would need to extract the 'poison' and
fix whatever else might be wrong. Pomfrey was an excellent healer,
but she wouldn't be able to handle this type of crisis. No, he was
the only one available with the necessary knowledge and experience.
How ironic, here he was about to save the famous Harry Potter again
for no other reason than because he was there.
A faint crunching sound under his foot distracted him from his musing
for the moment. Looking down, Snape grimaced in distaste. He had
forgotten about that. Draco's charming little entrance had startled
him enough that he had dropped the potion he had been working on. A
most disturbing occurrence if nothing else. He wasn't the type of
person who should allow himself to get so wrapped up in something
that a student banging on his door was something of a shock. That
type of reaction wasn't anywhere near being healthy in his line of
work, as it were. Something very strange must be bothering
him, but he couldn't figure out what it was. Perhaps it was also the
reason he had been watching some of the more troublesome students
with a keener eye of late.
Ah well, it was something to ponder upon later. Right now he had
something a bit more 'annoying' to take care of. Scuffing the broken
glass out of the way for the moment --He'd clean it up later--, Snape
walked over to and began digging through his vast, unorganized mass
of vials of all sizes, oddly shaped bottles, strange bubbling
concoctions and things even Dumbledore would have great difficulty
identifying. He needed one particular tiny, crystal vial...
As if his thoughts had summoned them, Snape heard harried footsteps
echoing down the hallway just outside of his office. --Why hadn't he
at least heard Draco dragging Potter around out there?-- A few
seconds later, the door swung open once more and revealed the
extremely worried countenance of the Hogwarts' Headmaster.
"Severus," Dumbledore said by way of greeting before rushing over to
Harry's side. It was a testament to his distress that he used Snape's
first name outside of what he considered a controlled environment. He
rarely used the young man's first name because of certain unpleasant
factors, though he knew he was more than welcome to. In this
particular case, unfortunately or not, his concern overrode some of
his better sense. Looking over the boy's wound, he felt he had more
than enough reason for that. "What happened?"
"As Mr. Malfoy has stated," Snape began, still digging for that one
vial he wanted, "Someone, or something, decided it would be
great fun to murder Potter in his presence. Since he didn't want to
be implicated, and not knowing what else to do, my student dragged
Potter down here to see what I could do about it." Digging down a
little deeper amidst his clutter --He was really going to have to
clean this up one of these days. Such chaos was unbecoming of a
Hogwarts' professor--, Snape smiled triumphantly as he felt his
fingers close around what he knew to be the vial in question.
"Yes- yes, very strange," Dumbledore mumbled as he glanced over at
Snape who held the bloody arrow in one hand while he dragged his find
out of his mass of glass with the other. Frowning at the gruesome
appearing scene, Dumbledore continued, "Well then, I do believe the
first course of action would be to get Harry up to the hospital
"Not unless you really want him to die," Snape said amiably,
something that was more than a little disconcerting to Dumbledore.
Snape was nowhere near being anything remotely resembling amiable.
And he knew, without a doubt, that when Snape was congenial about
anything at all, then reality was going to be very unpleasant for
the foreseeable future.
"Oh dear, what is it?" Dumbledore asked wearily as he looked back
down at Harry. If Snape was feeling 'chipper' about this ordeal, then
it had to be some type of potion, poison or a combination of both
that was incredibly difficult to cure. His Potions Master did so like
a challenge. The boy was bleeding a bit more than he felt comfortable
with though. "Shouldn't we do something about the wound? I really
wouldn't appreciate having to inform the world at large that 'The Boy
Who Lived' bled to death on your desk, Severus."
"I think it's brittleblood weed," Snape said as he deposited
the arrow on one of his bookcases and then dug around for the bottle
with the specific ingredients already blended in it that he would
need. "I'm not quite certain though. And as for the bleeding, it
would be best to let it bleed out for the time being."
"But Severus, Harry would be dead already if it was brittleblood
weed," Dumbledore said curiously. If Snape was correct, and there
were very few instances where he was not, then there had to be
something else preventing the weed from dissolving all of the blood
present in Harry's body. That left a very narrow margin of what else
could possibly be in the boy's blood, and none of the choices were
anywhere near being pleasant. Some were, in fact, incurable.
"I'm quite aware of that," Snape said, having found the bottle rather
easily. Grasping the spout, he shook it vigorously and walked back
over toward his desk. "I'm not certain that it is brittleblood weed
because it's being masked by Odin's Blood."
"Odin's Blood?" Dumbledore mouthed in amazement. Odin's Blood was
nigh impossible to acquire because it was in actuality the
blood of Odin, the fallen ruler of the Norse pantheon. Someone, or
thing, would had to have been powerful enough to slip through
Valhalla's protective sphere, but would also had to have been clever
enough to escape the notice of its denizens. That last bit was the
most difficult because the valkyries were incredibly perceptive of
even the smallest change in their environment.
No truly mortal, living being could enter Valhalla. Only the valorous
slain and very specific 'gods' were allowed within the legendary
hall. However, no 'god' was interested enough in the human world to
interfere in this manner, and thus would not have cared one wit about
whether 'The Boy Who Lived' lived on or died. Dumbledore couldn't
really rule in Voldemort either. The dark wizard hadn't been 'dead'
enough to enter Valhalla, nor had he been valorous in any sort of way
to have thus been allowed anywhere near it. That meant there was in
all likelihood another force moving against them. Now that was a very
disquieting thought indeed.
Snape, in the meantime, had set the bottle and the crystal vial down
beside his 'patient'. Frowning as he studied the wound, he brought
out his wand and cast a simple spell that would remove any trace bits
of fabric from the puncture. At least that little bit he could do
with basic magic, everything else, on the other hand, was going to be
Snape sighed as he reached up into the left sleeve of his robes and
pulled out the knife he kept strapped to the inside of his upper arm.
He could never be too careful, and when he couldn't reach his wand
sometimes a sharp blade would do just as well. And sometimes, like
now when he was about to do something he'd rather not, he could
easily make himself believe that Potter was more trouble than he was
worth. He knew differently, of course, which was an annoying upset
for his typical hatred of the boy, but he could usually ignore it.
"Oh my! Oh dear!" Dumbledore and Snape both looked up as Madame
Pomfrey, the resident mediwitch, burst through the door. She leaned
against the doorjamb for a moment, as if to catch her breath, and
then bustled over to the desk. She clucked as she circled the desk to
join Snape, placing her hand on Harry's forehead to check for fever
as she glanced over the wound. She frowned worriedly at what she
felt. The boy didn't have any sort of temperature, which was
unnatural to say the least. "Now now, this is strange," she
muttered. "Poor boy." Quickly going over which spell would be best in
her mind, she raised her wand and was stopped from doing anything
else when Snape's hand closed over her wrist.
"I wouldn't do that Poppy. We don't need you dying on us," Snape
explained when she looked up at him questioningly. Her face fell at
his words. She knew at least some of what that meant: poison of a
very dangerous kind. While she was more knowledgeable about such
things than a school mediwitch ought to be, there were some things
that were just beyond her capabilities. She was relieved though that
the school at least had a master for such things in the form of
Professor Snape. He knew everything about anything that could
possibly be put into any sort of potion, and thus poisons as well.
Sometimes she even harbored the thought that he knew more about herbs
than even Professor Sprout.
"What is it and what can we do about it?" Pomfrey asked, switching
herself over to complete professionalism. It was at times like this,
when she couldn't really do much of anything to help, that she felt
like falling into hysterics. She wouldn't allow herself to do so
though, there was always something she could do to help. She
just needed them to tell her what that something might be.
"It is Odin's Blood," Dumbledore said, waiting for Pomfrey's nod of
acknowledgment before he continued, "As you now know, casting a spell
to heal directly onto the wound and thus it, would have ripped your
own magic out and killed you. I do believe there is a type of layered
spell which can be used to remove it without causing too much damage.
Am I correct in my assessment Severus?" He looked up at Snape
inquisitively, waiting for the Potions Master to either agree with
him or correct him.
"Mm, yes," Snape answered absently as he sliced the palm of his left
hand with the blade of his knife and allowed the blood to drip down
into the bottle. "However, the All Blood Tonic must be completed
first. Madame Pomfrey needs to be ready to administer it
directly after you and I have completed that spell, Albus, or
to be more precise: spells."
"All Blood Tonic? We can't keep that in stores. It goes bad far too
quickly," Pomfrey murmured while Albus nodded his assent at Snape.
Thinking swiftly over the very, very few things that required All
Blood Tonic, she easily came to a conclusion. "Brittleblood weed. It
can't work while there's such a magical black hole like Odin's Blood
in the body, but the instant you remove the Odin's Blood it will
start working. I see, the All Blood Tonic will be needed to replace
all the blood that is dissolved by the weed." She nodded finally in
understanding as they all watched the liquid in the bottle turn an
unhealthy appearing crimson red. A few more drops of blood from Snape
and the red began to glow ominously, a fair indication that it was
ready to be used.
"We are quite lucky you had some of that on hand, Severus,"
Dumbledore said with a sparkle of admiration in his eyes.
Snape healed the slice on his palm before answering the unvoiced
question, "I've been trying to discover a way to preserve the
mixture for any given length of time without damaging the effects. I
haven't been successful so far, but I'm sure I'll find something that
works eventually." He smirked self-importantly as he handed the
completed All Blood Tonic over to Madame Pomfrey.
"So productive, Severus," Dumbledore chuckled lightly as he pushed
the sleeves of his robes up. "Now then, shall I be the one to cast
the containment spell while you handle the extraction?"
"Yes, that would be for the best," Snape said as he took the tiny,
crystal vial up in his left hand and stretched his wand out over
Potter's wound. When Dumbledore's wand joined his own, he added a
warning, "I expect McGonagall will be showing up shortly with Mr.
Malfoy. Don't let their arrival distract you otherwise the Odin's
Blood will claim all three of us. I, for one, don't particularly
care to die anytime soon."
"Noted." Dumbledore then closed his eyes and let his consciousness
sink down into his own magic. Once he felt familiar enough with every
little nuance and tingle, he muttered a single word that was both
spoken and not and let his consciousness flow into the boy's body.
There, he let himself spread out over the vast network of veins while
he began his search. It was a difficult task, to say the least. He
had to search for minuscule particles that simply just didn't feel
like there was anything there. Once he found them, he had to surround
each little particle with the solidity of Harry's own blood and then
his magic so that Snape would have something to grab onto. And he had
to do all of this without letting any of his own magic directly touch
those places that didn't feel like they were there. It was quite
delicate work, and quite straining as well. He'd be lucky if he could
even levitate one of Flitwick's feathers in the morning.
Snape waited a few minutes before allowing his consciousness to also
sink down into the boy's bloodstream. He traveled along vein after
vein until he found the first little globule of magic and then began
to gently tug it out. It wasn't easy. If he went too fast he risked
damaging the surrounding vein. If he went too slow he risked the
chance of it causing a clot and then there would be very little they
could do to keep Potter from dying. He felt some small amount of
relief when the little globule floated up out of the wound and over
to hover directly above the crystal vial. He then popped the bubble
of Dumbledore's magic causing the small droplet of Odin's Blood to
fall into the vial while the remains of Potter's blood spattered over
his hand. It was messy and it was going to get messier. Scowling, he
let his consciousness fall back into Potter's blood so he could do it
all over again.
Sometime during the entire process, neither Dumbledore nor Snape
could spare the attention the find out exactly when, two more people
entered the room, one muffling a distressed exclamation and the other
remaining silent though radiating disgust. It had to be McGonagall
and Draco Malfoy. A whispered explanation was passed between Pomfrey
and McGonagall and then silence reigned again. It was taking a long
time to remove all of the Odin's Blood and they could both feel Harry
weakening around them. If they didn't finish soon, he really would
die of blood loss and their great efforts would have been in vain.
It was with a heavy sense of relief that Dumbledore felt Snape latch
onto the last remaining bubble of magic. He followed along with it
until it was close enough to the wound that he could withdraw back
into his own body. He gave a stilted nod to Madame Pomfrey,
indicating that she should be ready to administer the All Blood Tonic
when this next globule emerged. The brittleblood weed had already
begun its deadly work even as he had withdrawn.
The last bubble floated out, followed instantly by a horrendous hiss
from the wound. Madame Pomfrey acted swiftly, pouring the tonic
directly onto the wound. It would take a few seconds for the All
Blood Tonic to transform itself into the appropriate type for Harry,
but by that time the brittleblood weed would have dissolved itself
out and would no longer be a danger.
When Pomfrey finally withdrew, Snape reached over, wand still in
hand, and felt Potter's forehead. The boy was incredibly pale, but it
felt like his temperature was rising, which in this case was a good
thing. As long as his body reacted correctly, then Potter would
recover... with time. Unfortunately, they couldn't heal the wound
immediately. When Odin's Blood was introduced into the bloodstream of
a magical being, or in this case, person, their natural magic went
into a sort of hibernation to save itself. It would take a little
while after the Odin's Blood was removed for the magic to 'wake' back
up again. Casting a spell on the person in question before that
happened would cause it to 'wake up' prematurely and possibly damage
itself in the process. Potter was just going to have to deal with
bandages and pain until enough time had passed for his to wake up.
"Well then, now that that's taken care of, I think it would be
prudent to move the patient to the hospital wing," Madame Pomfrey
said cheerfully as she summoned up a floating stretcher. Scratching
her chin, she gazed down at Harry and the stretcher for a moment,
then looked around at all of them. "Would one of you mind helping me
heft Mr. Potter over onto the stretcher?"
Snape rolled his eyes and turned his back to them, indicating that he
had done more than his fair share and didn't plan on doing anything
more. He ignored Pomfrey's titters as he waved his wand over his hand
to remove the blood. It had been congealing where it had spattered
across his skin, a terribly disgusting sensation. He studied the
little crystal vial he held and the small amount of dark red liquid
within it. Someone had gone to a lot of trouble for this. He highly
doubted they'd leave the job unfinished. That wasn't the only worry
though. Someone else would come looking for this, and they
would not be pleased in the least.
Snape jerked his head up, noticing that Dumbledore was the only one
remaining in his office. The Headmaster leaned heavily against his
desk. He was obviously exhausted. They both were, though Snape would
never admit to it. "Yes Albus?" Snape asked after a moment, too tired
to bother with formality.
"You do know what that means?" Dumbledore inquired, pointing vaguely
at the tiny vial. His eyes were half-lidded with his need for rest,
but they were clouded ominously with the knowledge of the troubles
that lay ahead.
"Oh yes. We'll be having a rather unusual guest soon. It is a
concern but not the most bothersome one," Snape said blandly as he
leaned against his desk and faced Dumbledore. "What worries me is
what is here now and just exactly how it got past Hogwarts' various
protection spells without any of us knowing about it."
"That is the mystery," Dumbledore muttered as he reached up and
adjusted his glasses. "It cannot have come from within as the
basilisk did. When something like that happens, the atmosphere within
the castle shifts and there has never been a time when none of the
castle's denizens haven't felt that. It had to have come from
outside. However, there are only two ways that something truly
dangerous could enter the castle. Either it was charmed to fool the
castle's protections or someone from inside helped to bring it
"It wasn't the Dark Lord. Of that we can be almost certain," Snape
said as he considered the possibilities. "He would rather kill Potter
himself. It has become something of a personal grudge between them."
"I had already thought of that. It is a rather disturbing truth and
Voldemort has never had the resources necessary to acquire Odin's
Blood. No one and nothing we have knowledge of does." Dumbledore
squinched his nose up in what appeared approximately like a grimace
"Meaning there's something going on we know absolutely nothing
about," Snape said sourly. As if the Dark Lord wasn't bad enough.
"Not entirely. It's very probable that we do know something about it,
but it is so unlikely that our minds refuse to acknowledge it as a
possibility," Dumbledore explained, waving his wand around slowly as
he pondered upon the crisis.
"That's all well and good to say Albus, but it doesn't really help
us," Snape snarled in annoyance at the obvious return of Dumbledore's
"Something occurs to me, but I'm not sure what relevance it has upon
this particular situation," Dumbledore said, his voice going soft and
quiet as if he were remembering something he would rather not. "It is
very odd for it to come up now. Perhaps I'm just too tired."
Snape blinked in surprise at that admission. He had never known
Dumbledore to excuse any train of thought upon his physical
condition, no matter how bizarre said thoughts might be. It must be
something very painful for him to remember for the old wizard to try
and brush off whatever meaning it might contain.
"I think it is more than time for me to take my rest," Dumbledore
said at last. Looking up as Snape, he continued, "I will drop by the
hospital wing beforehand. Severus, would you-"
"I'll do a little investigating before I head to bed, Albus," Snape
answered, cutting Dumbledore off before the question could even be
completed. "I do need to get a little cleaning done in here though.
Would you be so kind as to inform Mr. Malfoy to return here instead
of heading back to Slytherin House. When McGonagall and Pomfrey are
through with him, of course." He smirked at the last bit.
"Of course. We wouldn't want to interrupt them," Dumbledore chuckled
slightly, the twinkle returning to his eyes. Professor McGonagall
would even now be grilling Draco Malfoy on just exactly what had
happened that had ended up with one of her House's students having an
arrow sticking out of his shoulder. Madame Pomfrey would be bandaging
Harry up, with one ear keenly focused on the conversation. Once she
was certain she couldn't do anything more for Harry she would join
them and cluck over everything. Yes, he should check in and hopefully
Snape's request would somehow rescue the boy from them.
Snape watched Dumbledore walk wearily out of his office before he
directed his wand at his desk. A quick spell cleaned the blood off of
the surface and another levitated his apothecary back to its proper
place. He scowled as his wand hand shook slightly during the entire
process. He was tired, but it shouldn't be that bad yet. Or
was it something else?
What had possessed him to go out and check on the boys during their
detention earlier in the day? He had been working on an interesting
potion, but he hadn't been able to focus on it. A niggling urge to
get up had driven him from his office and out into the hallways. The
whispering of the students as they headed to their respective houses
had informed him of where Potter and Malfoy had been serving their
detention. There had been no specific reason for him to go and check
up on them like he had though.
There had been no a specific reason for the utter shock he had felt
when Draco had shown up at his door. Nor had there been any specific
reason for the solid determination that had told him in no uncertain
terms that he would fix the problem one way or another.
He had told himself he was only doing it because he was there.
It was a bald lie and he knew it, but he had no idea what he was
lying to himself about. He hated Potter. He utterly loathed the boy.
Everybody knew it too. So why did he still feel like he was lying to
himself when he thought about his hatred for Potter?
He hated Potter. So why had he had to fight back panic when he had
felt the boy weaken around him while he and Dumbledore had been
removing the Odin's Blood? Why did he have the sudden urge to walk up
to the hospital wing and find out if Pomfrey had bandaged the boy up
He really was such a fool.
*pets on Snape and then kicks his ass for being so difficult for this
part* Ahem. I am somewhat surprised I finished this part in the time
limit I gave myself. I was out of town a lot last week. But anyway, I
did finish it, and like I said: more Snape for your pleasure... or
something. I'm not quite sure how well this turned out, so do
please let me know what you think.