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Snake Charming

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This story is No. 2 in the series "A Drop in the Ocean Series". You may wish to read the series introduction and the preceeding stories first.

Summary: The sequel to "A Drop in the Ocean".

Categories Author Rating Chapters Words Recs Reviews Hits Published Updated Complete
Harry Potter > Multiple Pairings > RomanceechoFR1552170,344124848383,93823 Jan 036 Feb 06No

After School Special

*~* After School Special *~*

Lily was crouched on the floor sweating. She was on her hands and knees, but mere inches from being totally on the floor.

"Again."

She craned her head around to glare at the man she had chosen as her father.

"Don't glare at me like that, girl. Get up and try it again."

Lily pulled herself to her feet and dusted off her robes. He was using her irritation to try and get her to slip. She knew this. She was trying not to slip, but he was really being all harsh taskmaster-y and infuriating this afternoon. He nodded at the book before her. Lily centered herself them delved her fingers into the book. It felt sinfully good to suck the dark magic out of it.

Her 'mother' would have fits if she knew exactly what she and her 'father' were doing in the afternoons. Willow thought Severus was teaching Lily Occlumency. Which he was... but she was being taught other things as well.

Like how to take in darkness and wield it like a weapon without letting it overtake her.

*~*~*~*~*

Harry stepped into Ollivander's Wand Shop with McGonagall right on his heels. They'd gotten special, and more importantly super secret, permission to skip classes today and travel to London, specifically Diagon Alley, so Harry could acquire a wand for his left hand. McGonagall had gotten special permission to apparate them there. Mr. Ollivander was looking scarily giddy at the prospect of selling Harry another wand upon their entrance into the shop. Dumbledore had spoken to the wandmaker beforehand, so Ollivander knew why they were in his shop. In fact, the shop was currently sporting a 'closed' sign, so Harry, McGonagall, and Ollivander could conduct their business without interruption by other would-be customers.

"Have you any idea how rare an ambidextrous wizard is, Mister Potter?"

"Er... I'm getting an idea."

"Well, I have something rather special for you. I have a feeling it might be exactly what you need."

"Oh?"

Mr. Ollivander reached under the counter and grabbed a box. His hands shook slightly. Harry wondered what could possibly be lurking within to make him so nervous. Ollivander lifted the lid. Harry peered at it. The wand inside didn't look as if it were made of wood at all. It had a very polished look. Like colored glass or something. It was a deep red. The grip of it was done in a weaving of black dragon's hide. It looked to be about the same length as his holly and phoenix feather wand.

Harry reached for the wand to test it. He was reaching with his right hand though. Ollivander made a noise. Harry looked up at him. The man nodded at Harry's left hand.

"Oh. Right."

Harry reached out with his left hand. It leapt up into said hand before he could even touch it.

"I knew it." Ollivander whispered.

Harry held the wand in his left hand and peered at it. He turned it this way and that, noticing how it caught the light.

"What sort of wand is that?" McGonagall asked quietly, as if normal volume of voice would disturb the moment.

"Mister Potter has held this wand before... though not in wand form. It remembers you well, boy."

"I don't-"

"That wand was fashioned for me by a man named Nicolas Flamel."

"The stone." Harry whispered, and his hand shook a bit. "But I thought..."

"The stone itself WAS destroyed, but recall that Nicolas Flamel is a rather brilliant alchemist, boy. The stone as you knew the stone no longer exists here. It was melted down and reformed. Its properties are altered. It can not be used as it was before. It has other values now. Ones I'm sure you'll delight in discovering. Flamel bid me tell you that he suspected it would find you again, and as before it could have sustained He-who-must-not-be-named, now it holds the power to destroy him."

"How?"

"That I do not know."

"Does-"

"And neither does Flamel. He only knows the end not the means. The means are for your discovery."

"Great." Harry replied. "Another indication that I'm supposed to destroy Voldemort, but no ideas on exactly how. Thanks."

"Potter." McGonagall hissed.

Mr. Ollivander just chuckled though, not at all put off by Harry's snappish and slightly rude tone. "Oh yes, it's not shocking you're the one who lived. Quite lively just now. Hang on to that, boy. Such fire will always serve you well."

*~*~*~*

Ginny and Ron were on their brooms racing down the pitch. They were the only ones out in the quidditch stadium now. Cho Chang and some of the other Ravenclaw players had been practicing, but they'd just left.

But not before Cho had asked Ron a bunch of questions about Harry. Ginny had fairly glared the other girl away. Harry was with Dawn now. WITH Dawn. Seriously with Dawn. Like for real and everything. Best other girls give up the dream. Cho had her chance, and she didn't take it. There was a time when Ginny would have given anything to have been in Cho Chang's shoes as far as Harry was concerned, but that was the past. She had Draco now.

And Harry had Dawn. It would be best for certain Ravenclaw seekers to recognize.

Currently brother and sister were racing down the pitch tossing a quaffle back and forth between them and shouting a conversation.

"You didn't have to be so rude to Cho."

"Yes I did. She needs to back off. She had her chance at Harry, and she didn't take it."

"She was just being polite."

"Open your eyes, Ron. She was being sneaky. She didn't give a fig about Harry that way until Harry wasn't available anymore. I can't stand girls like that. She doesn't really want him. She just doesn't want anyone else to have him."

"I still say she was being polite."

"And I say she was being a pot-stirrer." Ginny tossed the quaffle quite hard.

It hit Ron in the face, and he toppled from his broom.

"Ron!"

Thank goodness they hadn't been flying that high up. Ginny swooped down and jumped from her broom, running to where her brother was lying on his face.

"Oh hell, Ron. I'm sorry. Please don't be hurt." Ginny rolled him over onto his back.

Ron groaned. His face was pinched with slight pain.

"Ron? Oh please, Ron, be ok."

"You.... are so going to get it for that." He grunted before shooting up to tackle her.

Ginny shrieked and tried to run, but Ron was quicker than he looked. He wrestled her to the ground and sat on her. Ron was much heavier than her, so Ginny's struggles to free herself proved to be in vein very quickly.

"I think I just might have to tickle you until you pee yourself."

"Ron, no."

"Yes. That quaffle to the face still smarts. I think a tickling is the order of the day."

"NOOOOO!"

*~*~*~*

She was dreaming or something.

Tara had been supposed to meet Willow in Giles' classroom after she finished organizing Snape's stores, but she'd become a bit tired. He'd transfigured his desk in his office into a sofa. A very comfy one. Tara had only meant to rest a while. Sleep had utterly stolen her.

She was standing in a field with grass so green and so soft. She could feel it with her toes. She was barefoot. She was also wearing a sundress that she'd had as a child. Not the same dress, because that wouldn't have fit obviously, but it was cut the same way Pale blue cotton with royal blue flowers. She had loved this sundress as a child. Tara ran her hands over the soft cotton. Someone called her name.

Tara turned. A slight breeze caught her unbound hair. She raked one hand up to keep in from her face, to keep it from obscuring her view. Tara smiled. Sirius was hurrying towards her. Now she KNEW she was dreaming.

"What are you doing here?" He asked.

"Am I not supposed to be?"

"I..." He reached out and touched her face.

Tara could swear this bit wasn't a dream. His hand was so warm. She leaned into the caress. Her bottom lip trembled.

"Tara?"

"You... didn't h-have to leave me, leave... us."

"But-"

She pressed her fingers to his lips. "Take responsibility for something that is truly yours for once in your life, Sirius."

"I have. I went to jail for murder, you know."

"You didn't-"

"Didn't I?" His eyes took on this wild pain. "If I had been the one... instead of Peter, Lily and James would be alive. Your... mother would be alive."

"You didn't know."

"But I as good as held a blade to their throats."

"Sirius-"

"I have to atone. I have to make it right."

"What about making it right with me?"

"What?"

"I.... can't d-do this alone. I need you here. We need you. Please..." She cut herself off with a little sob.

"Don't... oh please don't..."

"Tara?" Another voice was calling her.

Tara fisted her hands into Sirius' shirt. "No. Don't wanna wake. Please. Let me stay here."

"Shhhh, luv."

"Tara?" Someone was calling her and shaking her to wake her.

"Sirius, please come home."

"I will. I swear it, I will. I just can't right now. I have to do this."

Tara dropped her arms from him and took a step back.

"Tara?" Sirius' voice sounded far away.

She was waking. She looked up at him. She let him see all the pain he was causing her in her tear-streaked face.

"No!" Sirius shouted and reached for her. He turned into mist.

*~*~*~*

Tara lurched up with a broken sob half-stuck in her throat. Her hands were gripping Snape's arms rather painfully. Lily was standing in the doorway to his office looking at Tara anxiously.

"You were whimpering rather loudly in your sleep." Snape said. "Nightmare?"

Tara swiped a hand over her damp brow. "I have to go. Willow will be expecting me."

"Perhaps you should beg off and rest."

Tara shook her head. "I don't want Will going inside Dawn's head without an anchor."

"But how much use will you be in this weakened state?"

"I don't need another father, Snape." Tara snapped rather uncharacteristically.

Severus was taken aback. It was almost as if... but no, it couldn't be. Tara was up and had swept past him and Lily before anything more could be said.

Doyle was ranting in her head though. He didn't think she had been nice at all when all Snape had been doing was worrying about her and being a good friend... which had to be difficult for a 'nasty cranky pants' like him. She was so busy storming off and arguing with Doyle that she didn't see it until it was too late.

Tara passed through some bizarre mist that was lingering in the hall. It was so cold it stole her breath. She fell to the floor gasping.

"Tara! Oh hellfire! Tara! Tara, are you all right, darlin'?"

Tara blinked. Her hand went protectively to her rounded belly. Holy crap! Doyle was looking down at her. He was all ghostlike, but he wasn't inside. He was there. He was a spirit. And good grief, dead Cassie was a ghost and hovering next to him.

"I-I-I... I'm all r-r-right, Doyle. Are YOU all right?"

"I'm..." He paused. "Not in your body. Oh shit! I'm not in your body! I'm out! I'm..." He looked. "Damn me, I'm a ghost. An actual ghost!"

Doyle whooped and flew in a little circle. Cassie started laughing. Doyle paused.

"You did this."

Cassie nodded. "My whole purpose for being here."

"To die and draw Doyle out of my body with your own ghostly essence?" Tara asked.

"Seems so. Being a ghost isn't so bad." Cassie smiled then looked at Doyle. "I think you'll like it. And you can meet Myrtle and Sir Nick. They've been looking out for me until it was time for me to be seen. And you can still watch out for the baby."

Doyle didn't know what to say. "Thanks."

"It was what I came here for. I didn't know how it would play, just that I'd be here."

Tara managed to get to her feet.

"Sorry, if I scared you."

Tara shrugged it off. "I'm just glad you're still kinda here, Cassie. Neville will be glad to see you."

"I know. I wanted to tell him I was still here, that I've sorta been watching over him, but..." She chewed her bottom lip. "He's special. I think I could write the first un-tragic and dark verses of my life about Nev. I look at him and I just get so full of words."

Doyle rolled his eyes. "Oh beautiful. A ghost with a crush."

Tara grinned. Despite her falling down and being winded by walking through the very chilly Cassie mist and activating her and removing Doyle, Tara felt remarkably light. Likely because there were now only two souls in her body. She started to walk, but a sharp pain in her stomach stopped her.

"Oh."

"Tara?"

She tried to grab onto the wall to hold herself upright. It wasn't the baby, but she could hear the baby crying in her head. No, something had happened to Sirius. She could feel it. The baby could feel it too. Something really bad had just happened to him.

"No." She gasped, sliding further down the wall.

"I'm goin' fer Snape." Doyle shouted before taking off down the hall.

"Doyle!" Cassie shouted.

He stopped.

"You're a ghost! Think like one!" With that, she took off on the most direct route to Snape... through the walls.

Doyle swore a blue streak and then followed her.

*~*~*~*

Draco was in a far off section of the library with Giles. Many books were piled on the table before them.

"It seems the Glory creature has to be tied to a corporeal body. So I don't understand how she's tied to Riddle. There is no Riddle. He's noncorporeal also. Riddle was the man before he became so twisted in the dark he became Voldemort. Voldemort is now the body, Riddle is just the echo of what was. It doesn't make any sense."

Giles looked up and smiled at his 'apprentice'. Draco Malfoy was smarter than anyone gave him credit for being. His smile faded when he noticed Narcissa Malfoy approaching.

"What?" Draco asked.

Giles nodded in his mother's direction. Draco looked over his shoulder he gave a great sigh and went back to his text.

"Hello, Mother. What do you want?"

"What are you doing?"

"Research."

"Research? After school? Why?"

"Well, my homework's all completed, and I happen to like it."

"What are you doing with all these old things." She gestured to the books.

"They're called books, Mother. People read them."

"Now, Draco." Giles said in a stern tone. "She is still your mother. A little respect would not be amiss here."

"She tried to kill me."

"I said a little, not a lot. Subtlety, Draco, subtlety."

Draco nodded. "Right then. Anything else, Mother?"

Narcissa scowled and stalked off in a fury of robes.

Draco raised an eyebrow at Giles. "I think she does that on purpose."

"What's that?"

"Asks questions she well knows the answers to just to see how I phrase my responses."

"I think you might be correct there, Draco."

"Pot-strirrer person." Draco muttered.

Giles chuckled to himself. It was fairly obvious who Draco's closest friends were due to the changes in his speech pattern lately. That one smacked of Dawn.

*~*~*~*

Willow was tapping her foot impatiently. Dawn was trying not to fidget. Fred was pretending to read a book. Dawn knew she was pretending because not even Goyle would have been on the same page for this long.

"What could be keeping her?" Willow muttered.

Then she gasped and collapsed.

"Willow!" Dawn shouted. She dropped down and tried to sit Willow up.

"Noooo."

"Willow?"

"Too in tune... too in tune. Too much. I can feel everything. EVERYTHING! Too much magic. Too much."

"Will?"

"He is bleeding so far away. Why are you showing me this? The ghosts... and the baby. Why do I feel what you feel?"

"Willow?"

Willow struggled to her feet, her episode past apparently. "Something's happened to Tara."

With that, she left the classroom. Dawn and Fred exchanged a worried look before hurrying after her.

*~*~*~*

Hermione tried to keep her expression bland as Connor hurled his Potions text across the common room in a fit of temper. Seamus Finnigan had shouted in alarm because the heavy book had narrowly missed his head.

"That was rather inappropriate."

"I don't get it. I never will."

"So you punish the book."

Connor sighed. Then he stormed across the room and snatched up the fallen text. Seamus glared at him harshly when Connor was stomping back to Hermione.

"Connor, I know this is difficult for you, but if I'm to tutor you, you have really got to control that temper of yours a little better. Sometimes you frighten me."

Connor felt what had to be guilt. He didn't want her to be scared of him. "I'm sorry."

"It's all right." She gave his thigh a friendly pat.

Connor immediately stared at her hand in shock. Hermione snatched her hand away, suddenly feeling a little uncomfortable. It had been innocent, but the air seemed to be charged with something that was not so innocent just now.

"I just get... frustrated about things." He muttered.

"I understand."

Connor looked at her and grinned.

"Just no more throwing the books. It upsets me."

He nodded.

"Right then. Where were we?"

"We weren't finished with Potions for this afternoon?"

"No."

"Damn."

"Don't swear."

*~*~*~*~*

end part 48
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