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East Bay Boys

Somnio Salvus
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Chapter 11

Draco went to breakfast late on Sunday morning so that he wouldn't have to talk to anybody. He sat alone at the end of the table and sulkily poured tea into his "Slytherins do it in the Dungeon" mug.

He was tired and bad tempered, because he had been awake for a large part of the night, trying without success to get into Harry's dream. He had done nothing different, and had no idea why it hadn't worked. He had reached the dizzy phase, and the flying phase without difficulty. He had felt the sensation of speeding up, whizzing through the fog towards Harry. Then he had felt a sensation much like flying into a kind of vertical trampoline, and he had bounced back into his body.

He tried again and again, but the more tired he got, the more difficult it was to concentrate. On his final try he was determined that it would work. He decided that when he reached whatever obstacle was preventing his progress, he would try to mentally grab on, if that was possible. He thought it had worked (although it wasn't easy - it was a bit like hanging onto a lamp-post in the middle of a tornado), but then a noise distracted him and he found himself back where he started.

Eventually he gave up, wondering if perhaps the potion was past its best and becoming less effective. He put on his expensive silk pyjamas, sadly resigned to the fact that nothing messy was going to happen to them, and eventually he drifted off to sleep

Now, as he sat in the great hall scowling into his tea, it dawned on him.

"If they are awake, the conscious mind will fight off the intrusion."

He smacked a hand to his forehead. Of course! Harry was awake! Silly of him, really, to assume that he would be asleep and dreaming whenever it was convenient! He smiled at his own stupidity, with more than a little relief. There was nothing wrong with the potion after all!

Suddenly finding his appetite, he munched his way through three pieces of toast before strolling back to the common room for a nice snooze in front of the fire.

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Harry didn't know what to make of what he had discovered. He couldn't help feeling that the previous night's excursion had been a waste of time; after all, what had he really found out? That Millicent Bulstrode wore rollers to bed and Malfoy slept in the nude.

He sat alone in the library, staring blankly at his Astronomy homework. He flicked the glossy pages of the textbook Hermione had lent him, and tried to take an interest in a stunning colour photograph of a nebula. He just couldn't concentrate. He flipped the book shut and frowned at the unmoving picture of the Muggle author on the back cover. He had astonishing eyebrows and a monocle.

Events from the night before jumped around in his head like grasshoppers in a jar. Harry tried to sort out his thoughts one at a time, wishing he had a Pensieve to do it for him.

Ok, the book...what do we know about that?

Harry drew a scrap of parchment towards him and scribbled, ' "Moste Potente Potions". Dangerous book of advanced magic, hidden in Malfoy's bed.'

That was as far as he got with that.

He moved on to the potion. 'Pinky purple, smells of almonds. Malfoy takes it before bed. Possible sleeping draught from the book?'

He scratched his head. Things weren't making much more sense. If Malfoy needed a sleeping draught, why didn't he take one of Madam Pomfrey's instead of brewing his own from a dangerous book?

Maybe that is Madam Pomfrey's, and the book is for something else? That was more likely. He wrote it down.

Moving on...to Malfoy's surprisingly light sleep. If he'd taken a medicinal sleeping draught the clinking of glass on glass wouldn't wake him. And why on earth was he lying on top of his covers with no clothes on? Harry paused at this point, unable to think about anything else for a moment or two.

He couldn't have been too hot; it was freezing in the dungeons, Harry thought, when his brain started functioning normally again.

Suddenly he remembered a miserable week when he was nine years old. He had caught flu that winter, and Aunt Petunia had sent him to his cupboard with a packet of aspirin and a bottle of Lucozade. He had spent the week shivering with cold one minute, flushed and sweating the next. Every muscle had ached, even his eyelids, and the only comfortable position to lie in was flat on his back. Also, his skin had been so sore and sensitive, he couldn't bear the feel of his clothes rubbing against it.

Harry sat back. Maybe the potion had nothing to do with anything - it was just a flu remedy. He thought back to the day Malfoy had dashed out of the great hall looking like he was going to throw up. Maybe he's just ill - that would even explain why he's been acting strangely.

He began to wonder if he'd been mistaken. Perhaps Malfoy was innocent after all. But no, he still didn't have an explanation for the book. There was no legitimate reason for a sixth year student to be reading a restricted book that contained advanced dark magic. It had to have something to do with the change in his dreams... it just had to.

His thoughts were interrupted at that point because Hermione flopped down in a chair opposite him and dumped about eight massive books onto the table. He subtly moved his Astronomy essay over the notes he'd been making then looked up and smiled.

'Astronomy homework?' he asked casually.

'No, Ancient Runes. That reminds me though, when you've finished with "How to be an Astronomer," could you pass it on to Neville? He's having trouble with comets so I said he could borrow it after you.'

'OK, I should be finished soon.'

He managed to write about three lines about the influence of Halley's Comet on the Earth's magical field before his mind wandered back to 'Moste Potente Potions' and its current whereabouts.

What if Malfoy had made a mind-control serum and slipped some to him at some point? Would that enable Malfoy to interfere with his dreams?

No, even if it would, the Slytherin had been noticeably avoiding him for a while. He hadn't been close enough to put anything in his pumpkin juice; that was for sure.

If only he could get his hands on the book again. Then he could find out once and for all if Malfoy had done this...whatever it was...to him.

He decided to have a go at getting hold of it. All he had to do was collect his Invisibility Cloak and go to the Slytherin dorms. He knew the password now, and where the book was. He'd be in and out as quick as a flash.

He started gathering his belongings but stopped when he saw Malfoy enter the library. With a sinking feeling he watched as the Slytherin approached Madam Pince's desk and handed over a large book. Harry recognised the scuffed leather binding and the faint gold text, and flung down his quill in frustration as Madam Pince locked the book away in the bookcase for particularly dangerous tomes. Even with his father's cloak he wouldn't be able to get it now.

Hermione looked at him curiously.

'What's up?' she murmured.

Harry thought quickly. 'Oh, um, nothing. Just can't concentrate.'

'There's nothing much to concentrate on. Just explain how the magical waves emitted by the comet interfere with the natural magical balance, enhancing it in some places and cancelling it out in others. It's all in "Magic and Magnetism". There's not much in there (she waved a hand at the Muggle book), other than the basic descriptions of comets and their orbits.'

Harry grinned at her. 'Do you remember everything you read?'

She smiled sheepishly. 'No. I forgot where I'd heard about Nicholas Flamel that time, didn't I?'

Harry chuckled. He looked at the enormous stack of books in front of her. Then he looked back at Madam Pince's locked bookcase. Then his eyes opened wide as realisation hit him. Hermione had been in possession of 'Moste Potente Potions' for a month in the second year. Hermione being Hermione, she would have taken the opportunity to learn everything she could from it, Dark Magic or not. If anyone could tell him whether Malfoy could have used it to curse him, she could.

He cleared his throat.

'Uh, Herm?'

'Hmm?' She didn't look up from her Rune dictionary.

'Remember when we made the Polyjuice Potion?'

'Yeeees...' She looked up apprehensively. She didn't like being reminded of the time she turned herself half human, half cat.

'Do you remember any of the other potions from the book it was in?'

'Oh, yes!' she replied, brightening. 'There was Vanishing Lotion, Veritaserum, Milk of Melancholy...hang on, why do you ask?' Her eyes narrowed suspiciously.

Harry looked around to check for eavesdroppers, but they were alone. He lowered his voice anyway and leaned across the table to whisper, 'I think someone may have used a dark potion on me, to give me...weird dreams.'

Hermione looked concerned. 'Really? You think someone deliberately caused your nightmares?'

'Er...kind of,' he lied. There was no need for her to know the whole truth, after all.

'Who?' asked Hermione, wide eyed.

Harry didn't answer, but Hermione noticed immediately when his eyes flicked across the room to where Malfoy sat, reading a magical research journal.

'Malfoy?' she asked incredulously. 'I know he's a nasty piece of work but would he have the nerve to...I mean right under Dumbledore's nose? And I know he's Snape's pet but he's not actually that good at Potions. Just the other day I saw him put crushed cockleshells in his Bewilderment potion before he stirred it! That's SO risky...he could have dissolved the whole bench!'

Harry fought to get a word in. 'I don't know for sure if he's done anything. I just wondered if it was possible. I've seen him with 'Moste Potente Potions' and...well, he's been odd lately.'

Hermione looked thoughtful. 'I don't know, Harry. There are lots of strange concoctions in that book but I can't remember one for inducing nightmares. Unless...no, that can't be it...'

'What?' asked Harry eagerly.

'Oh it's nothing. I just remembered one that's used to stop nightmares.'

Harry was on the edge of his seat, but he attempted an expression of innocent interest. 'Really? What was that, then?'

Hermione frowned in concentration. 'Uh, I think it was called "Somnio Salvus". It's a mind-invasive potion, for actually visiting another person's dream. I can't remember how it works, but Malfoy can't have slipped you that anyway. You'd notice - it has a really strong taste of burnt almonds.'

Harry fell off his chair.

**********************************************************************

An hour later, Harry was walking aimlessly in the grounds, his mind full of conflicting thoughts and emotions. It had been bad enough trying to accept that he was having erotic dreams about Malfoy. But at least then he could separate the warm, funny, delectable and obviously fictional Malfoy of his dreams from the arrogant, obnoxious, detestable Malfoy of reality.

Except of course just recently he hasn't really been detestable...maybe that should have been a clue...

Anyway the new evidence clearly indicated that the Malfoy in his dreams was the real thing. He hadn't been slipping a potion to Harry; he'd been taking it himself, with startling results.

Harry paused in his tracks and took a deep breath. Just what was he supposed to do with this information?

He couldn't begin to imagine why Malfoy had taken to turning up in his dreams and making them X-rated. Of course, what I should do is confront him. Tell him I know what he's doing and demand to know why, Harry thought to himself angrily. But deep down he knew that he wouldn't. He was too afraid of the possible answers. Knowing what he did about Malfoy, it couldn't be anything good. With a sinking feeling Harry decided that it was too much to hope that the Slytherin was simply trying to find a way to be close to him.

Anyway Malfoy would just deny everything, then make some scathing remarks about the fact that Harry was dreaming about him.

No, the only thing to do would be to wait until it happened again, and then tell the dirty little interloper to fuck off out of his head.

Decisively, Harry strode back to library. In the meantime he could look up protective measures for keeping Malfoy out of his dreams. There had to be a charm or potion that would counteract Somnio Salvus, he just had to find it.

Sure enough, after a brief search he discovered a charm in a research journal on Protective Magic. Known as the Psychic Shield, it was designed to protect the subconscious mind from prying telepaths and clairvoyants. The inventor of the charm - Barnabus Botch - was not exactly renowned for creating effective spells, but it had to be worth a try.

Harry copied down the instructions, then snapped the book shut. That was that, then. He just had to remember to cast the spell at night before going to sleep.

Not tonight, though he reminded himself. I have to let him in one more time just so I can tell him where to go...

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Harry lay in his bed that night, staring out of the window and calmly watching clouds drift across a crescent moon. The other beds were empty, and he had no idea where his dorm mates were. He didn't really care, all he knew was that when the moon glowed like that outside the tower window, something good was about to happen.

He sighed contentedly and turned onto his back, peacefully waiting for...whatever it was. The door creaked open and someone stepped into the room, hidden in the shadows. Harry sat up. This was it; this was what he'd been waiting for...

The visitor closed the door and stepped forward into the moonlight. Harry felt his pulse quicken...Draco!

Nobody spoke. There was no need, it was as though the invitation had been long ago issued and accepted. Draco smiled and took off his cloak, draping it over a chair as he strode across the room towards Harry. He sat on the bed and reached for Harry's hands with both of his.

A fleeting thought shot through Harry's mind. There was something he was supposed to do...what was it?

Too late, it was gone. He tried to bring that thought back, he was sure it was important, but just then Draco started licking the tips of his fingers and he couldn't think about anything at all. He closed his eyes and concentrated on the painfully delicious sensation. Nothing in the world could be important enough to interrupt this...

His eyes snapped open. But it is important. I have to tell him something...what is it I have to say?

Draco looked at him quizzically, then put his arms around him, pulling him onto his lap. He wrapped Harry's legs around his waist and then stroked his hair gently. They were nose to nose. Harry could feel Draco's quickened breaths on his face. He decided that whatever it was could wait. There were better things they could be doing with their mouths than talking...

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