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East Bay Boys

Somnio Salvus
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Chapter 2

Draco Malfoy stared out of the library window, scowling at the dreary clouds and drizzle. It was Sunday morning and he had been looking forward to some solitary flying practice. One look at the weather had been the end of that plan, as getting cold and wet was not his favourite thing to do on a weekend. So he opted for some quiet study. It was preferable to rainwater dripping down his neck, even if it was stupid boring pointless Herbology.

He sighed and flipped a page of 'Carnivorous Weeds', only half his mind on the gruesome description of a hapless herbologist's encounter with a Venomous Gulpwort. A moment later the door opened and a small group of Gryffindors entered the library. They headed for the large table by the window but stopped when they saw Malfoy seated there, twirling his quill with an air of menace that suggested he would stab it in the eye of the first person to say 'Do you mind if I sit here?'

They passed him and settled themselves at a table behind the Herbology shelves. He didn't bother them. Weasley-baiting was no fun if Potter wasn't there to fly into a rage in his defence, and the Boy Who Lived was conspicuously absent. Malfoy returned to his work. His concentration soon lapsed again, and he found himself idly eavesdropping on the Gryffindors' hushed conversation while he doodled a caricature of Weasley being eaten by a Sabre-Toothed Tiger Lily.

'....ate hardly anything at breakfast. Maybe Madam Pomfrey could do something?'

'We persuaded him to go back to bed. He just needs to catch up on some sleep.'

'It's getting so he's too scared to go to sleep, I can't imagine a nightmare so terrible that...'

Draco's head snapped up. All the usual suspects were there; Weasley, Granger, Finnigan, Longbottom and Thomas all present and correct. So they must be talking about Potter, he thought. What was this about a nightmare? He leaned back and tilted his chair so he could look around the shelves. Granger was leaning across the table listening intently to Finnigan's description of events the previous night, and several other nights in recent weeks. So Potter is having recurrent nightmares! Draco smirked. This could be useful information in his next verbal battle with Potter...

'Poor little Potter, did you have a nasty dream? Didn't Mummy kiss it better and make the scary monsters go away? Oh, that's right, you haven't got a mummy. Never mind, maybe Weasley will let you sleep in his bed next time...'

Draco gathered up his books and walked towards the door, sneering to himself.

As he made his way to the Slytherin common room, his mind wandered to the nightmares he had suffered with as a child. He could just about recall the images. A dim, smoky cave, with several tunnels leading off it. He knew that one of them led to freedom, but which one? He would tentatively set out along one, but it always turned out to be the wrong one, and he would come face to face with a snarling dragon. The beast would sniff and exhale a puff of smoke before opening its mouth wide. Draco remembered the rows of jagged, blood stained teeth and the reek of petrol, then the bright flash as a jet of flame shot towards him...then he would always wake, screaming for his mother.

Draco's pace slowed as he reminisced. The frequency and severity of the dreams had greatly concerned his mother. She had taken him to a Healer who specialised in sleep disorders, a Madam Schlafen. He remembered having a wand-light shone in his eyes, and being made to stay overnight in Madam Schlafen's clinic. He slept inside a magically created bubble while his mother and the Healer monitored his sleep on a little flickering box. He woke to find his mother and the Healer speaking in hushed tones. He thought he remembered the words, '...not strictly ethical, you understand. Restricted since Grindelwald's days and rightly so. Could lose my license...' in Madam Schlafen's squeaky voice.

His mother had responded with a promise of absolute discretion, and plucked a piece of paper from the Healer's hand. Draco had thought nothing of it - that kind of conversation often cropped up between his parents and their acquaintances.

The next time he had the dream, his mother had appeared by his side, waving her wand and conjuring a large muzzle, which she slipped over the dragon's head, clamping its mouth shut. They had then fitted a lead on the dragon and walked it like a dog, out of the cave and into the sunshine. Draco hadn't been quite so afraid of it after that. The dream came back a few more times, but he and his mother fought off the dragon each time, and eventually it stopped haunting his sleep.

Draco stopped in his tracks. For the first time since those days, he realised that he hadn't simply dreamed about his mother fighting the dragon. In all probability, that was really her. Whatever it was she took from Madam Schlafen must have enabled her to visit his dream and take control.

With new determination, Draco strode off to Slytherin. He hoped the house-elves had lit a fire in the boys' dorm. He needed to talk to his mother.

When he returned to Slytherin, most of his house were sprawled around the common room, playing chess or gossiping. He ignored Crabbe and Goyle, who were trying to get him to play exploding snap, and headed for his dorm, where a roaring fire waited for him. He set down his books and sat in front of the fire, flinging a handful of Floo powder into the flames. He leaned into the resulting green flames and said 'The Drawing Room, Malfoy Manor.'

He closed his eyes and sighed impatiently as he felt the rush of warm air over his face. Hot ash and soot were no friends to those with a delicate complexion.

He felt himself slow down and opened his eyes to find himself looking into a spacious, comfortable room.

'Hello, Mother,' he said with a smile, as Narcissa Malfoy turned to face him.

'Draco, dear! What a pleasant surprise, it's not like you to call home out of the blue.'

'I wanted to ask you something,' he replied, getting straight to the point. 'How did you cure my nightmares, when I was a child?'

Narcissa looked taken aback. 'Well, dear, we took you to Madam Schlafen's clinic, don't you remember?'

'Yes, but what was it she gave you, to make the nightmares go away?'

She was getting a little flustered. 'Umm, I believe it was a mild potion, a Narcotica Potion! Yes that's it! It's a sedative draught'.

Draco patiently polished his silver cloak fastenings with a corner of his robe. He didn't look up as he replied 'Don't lie to me, Mother. She gave you a piece of paper, and you promised to be discreet. Why would you need to be discreet about a basic sedative potion?'

Narcissa sighed, defeated. 'Very well. I will tell you. But you must swear not to reveal what I'm going to tell you to anyone. Only Madam Schlafen, your father, and I know the truth.'

'I swear on my inheritance,' replied Draco.

Narcissa nodded, satisfied. 'Madam Schlafen gave me a prescription for dried blood extracted from a hibernating Blue Tongued Viper. It is a powerful ingredient in all potent sleeping potions, and in several medicinal draughts for sleep disorders. It isn't supposed to be prescribed except in the most severe cases of insomnia. I...persuaded...the Healer to prepare a prescription for you, as I had heard of a potion that I knew I could use to banish your nightmares, and viper blood was the only ingredient I couldn't get hold of. It is a Class B Non-Tradeable Substance, because of the damage it can do in...ahem...the wrong hands. With the Dark Lord gone and his supporters scattered I didn't even have contacts who could get it on the black market. It was the only way.'

'What was the potion?' probed Draco, insistently.

Narcissa narrowed her eyes. 'Why?' she asked.

Draco shrugged. 'Just interested. I had a...a kind of flashback. I remembered the dream, and I wondered how you made it go away'.

Narcissa sighed again. 'It's of no significance what it was. It's illegal anyway and viper blood is harder to get hold of than ever. Besides, I can't remember what it was called. I came across it by accident when I was looking for the recipe for Veritaserum.'

Draco was disappointed, but not discouraged. A plan was forming in his mind which was far better than teasing Potter about his nightmares. He could use his new-found knowledge more profitably, if he could only find out what the potion was.

'Draco...?'

He was startled out of his thoughts by the realisation that Narcissa was waiting for him to reply.

'Oh. Right. Well, thanks for telling me, anyway. I won't breathe a word.'

'Of course, dear.'

'Give my regards to Father.'

'I will. Take care, Draco.'

'Goodbye, Mother.'

The next day in Potions class, Draco couldn't help watching Potter across the room. It was true that he looked tired and pale. The dark shadows under his eyes were magnified by his glasses, making him look a bit like a rather skinny panda. Draco was intrigued. What was so terrifying that it kept brave, heroic Harry Potter awake, night after night? Maybe he dreamed about Granger and the Weasel getting down to it? That would be enough to give anybody nightmares! He snorted to himself while stirring his Hair Growth potion , and almost forgot to add the egg yolk.

At the end of the lesson he took his time packing up his equipment, sending Crabbe and Goyle on to their next class ahead of him. He wanted to speak to Professor Snape.

He was nervous. He knew that Snape was observant, and could spot a deception a mile away if he chose to. But he also had a blind spot where his favourite pupil was concerned, and Draco was depending on it as he drew a piece of parchment from his bag and approached Snape's desk.

'Ahem...um...Sir?'

Snape didn't look up from the homework assignments he was marking. 'What is it, Mr Malfoy?'

Draco pulled himself together and tried to appear his confident and arrogant self. 'Would you mind signing out a library book for me, sir? I am particularly interested in the mood-control serums you mentioned last week, and I was thinking of researching antidotes for my theory project.'

Snape took the parchment and glanced at it. 'Moste Potente Potions?' he raised an eyebrow.

'Yes, Sir...' Draco ploughed on, determined to swamp Snape with enthusiasm, '...I asked Madam Pince for advice on the best sources and she said nearly all the information I needed would be in here. I wasn't sure if I was happy about reading one of the restricted books but she said if I got a note from you it would be fine, as long as I'm responsible of course.'

He put on his most responsible expression. Of course, what Madam Pince had actually said was more along the lines of 'Sixth Year Students reading Restricted Books? Over my dead body!'

We can but hope... he had thought to himself as he walked away, clutching a permission form.

Professor Snape was no fool, but he liked to think that his most able student had a genuine interest and he appeared inclined to indulge him.

'Very well,' he remarked, endorsing the form with his restrained, angular signature. He handed the form to Draco, who took it eagerly, but Snape did not let go. Draco looked up warily. Snape was eyeing him shrewdly with an intense gaze. Draco had the uncomfortable feeling that Snape could look right into his head and was watching his thoughts being played out on the back of his skull.

'I am sure you are aware, Mr Malfoy, that there are substances detailed in this book which are not suitable for experimentation by the most able wizards. The consequences of dabbling by students could be catastrophic. I hope I do not need to tell you to behave responsibly while in possession of this manuscript.'

'Yes Sir. I mean, no Sir', gabbled Draco, briefly losing his customary poise in his excitement. Snape released the parchment and Draco pocketed it with relief.

'Thank you, Professor,' he said hurriedly, and dashed from the room.

Madam Pince looked as if she'd rather sunbathe naked under the Whomping Willow than let Draco have the book. But she couldn't argue with an authorised request, although she did use a Revealing Charm to check the authenticity of the signature. Eventually she handed it over, with strict instructions that it was not to be left lying around, that he was not to make copies of any of the recipes, and he was absolutely not, under any circumstances, to attempt to make any of the potions. Draco smiled sweetly and left the library, the precious book tucked under his arm.

Back in his dorm that night, Draco waited until everyone was asleep, then pulled 'Moste Potente Potions' out from under his pillow. The only other copy of this book that he knew to exist was in his father's library. He also knew that the recipe for Veritaserum was in it. If his mother came across the dream potion while looking for Veritaserum, there was a good chance it would be in here.

He turned the stiff, stained pages carefully. It looked like many a clumsy wizard had suffered the odd mishap while preparing these concoctions. A page on Oil of the Burning Touch was singed all round the edges. The whole bottom half of a page on Vanishing lotion was missing. Some of the names were familiar; Veritaserum, Polyjuice, Draught of the Living Death...

He must be close. This appeared to be a whole chapter on sleeping potions. He turned a page and stopped, fascinated. The next page showed a magical moving picture, the lines faded but still visible. It depicted a woman drinking a potion and going into some kind of trance. The background of the picture was swirly and indistinct, but as the potion took effect, the background came into focus and the woman's body began to fade. The swirling mist gradually took form and became a desert. Nasty looking lizards scuttled across the page and a strong wind whipped at the sand. In one corner of the picture there was a little girl, huddled on the ground crying. The woman appeared in the middle of the page, and ran to comfort the lost child. Then the image faded and began all over again. There were only two words at the top of the page; 'Somnio Salvus.'

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