Harry shut off the water and dried off before pulling on some jogging pants and a t-shirt. She towel-dried her hair before putting on her glasses. Her reflection stared back at her in the mirror. She'd grown into herself a bit more after school, certainly more with Auror training, having gained some muscle and curve. While she'd become more feminine in her form, she still felt a bit gangly and her hair was still unruly, but manageable at least.
She started down the stairs and immediately looked towards the sitting room, thinking Snape would likely be there. He was nowhere to be seen. "Professor?"
"Miss Potter," he said through clenched teeth. She turned to see he'd found her potions room. Instinctively, she took a step back. "Do you have any idea..."
"Yes, I know, please...just don't scold me, Professor...please? I already know..."
"If you know, then, pray, why are you doing this?"
"I..." a sudden crack startled her. Looking to the wall next to her, she saw the mirror had cracked along the corner, "can't help it. I don't want them to know it's me." She glared at the mirror, seeing his reflection move to press against his temples. "Professor..."
"Follow me," he said, turning swiftly into the potions room. "Please tell me that this is all there is."
"Yes, sir." He vanished the potions in the bottles. Harry could feel the tears stinking her eyes, threatening to fall, but she didn't let them. "Names, Miss Potter. All."
She could feel his eyes boring into her, but she didn't look up. She couldn't. She gave him three names, Death Eaters he likely knew, "Marcus Selwyn, Nott Jr.,...Draco, and um, Mr. Malfoy. There are a couple muggles I met in a pub, too."
"There are ten separate sets of hair here. Is that all?"
"I...keep an extra..."
"How long have you been doing this?"
"Since a year into Auror training."
"Four years?" he asked, his hand gripping the edge of the potions table, his knuckles white.
"It wasn't very often at first."
"Before...how much of a dose did you take and how long did the effects last?" She knew he was gauging just how far the habit had effected her. She couldn't lie to a potions master.
"A double dose and it lasted a total of..." she checked the clock on the table, "seven hours and forty something minutes."
"This stops. Now." He opened each bottle containing the hair and set them all ablaze. The pungent scent of burnt hair stung her sinuses. "You are lucky that your body hasn't gotten stuck between any of these others."
"I know," she whispered, quickly wiping the fallen tear before he could see, but she knew that he did.
Harry swallowed and took a breath. "It's a long story."
"Then I'll make tea," he said with some finality.
She nodded and followed him into the narrow kitchen and dining area. He put the kettle on and sat down at the end, across from her, waiting for her to talk. "I suppose it started after the battle. After he wasn't in my head anymore, I started having dreams...like you saw. And my magic started going all...wonky. I told Hermione about the magic part and she made me go ask Ollivander if it might have something to do with the elder wand since I...snapped it in two. He said that it was possible since I inherited the elder wand, no matter what wand I yield, that wand was meant for me and, under stress, any other wand might not be able to handle the level at which my magic is at now. I got another wand, one that seems to be less temper-mental, but, if I get stressed or anxious..."
Harry nodded. "Also why the sitting room is remodeled. I didn't connect the two things until I went to a muggle pub and met this guy. We went back to his place and things sort of got...rough. For two whole weeks I didn't have a single bit of accidental magic. It started happening again and I went back, found another bloke. No accidents for about a month. I felt...better...more relaxed than I have been since...well ever, honestly. I could sleep...a whole night. Then I thought about that incident with Draco and that time in the Ministry with Mr. Malfoy...I thought...if they didn't know it was me...they might..." The kettle began to whistle.
Snape got up and went to the stove. "How often?"
"Once a week...sometimes twice if I'm stressed about something."
"How often do you see Lucius and Draco?"
"They're really the only ones I see on the regular...I see Draco on the second and last Saturday of every month and Mr. Malfoy on the second Tuesday of every month and usually a weekend."
He came back with two cups of tea. Harry summoned the milk and added a bit to her cup. "Potter.....Harry...what I'm about to say, I don't want it to make you panic. Do you trust me?" She looked up and nodded, looking back down at her tea. "I need to tell Lucius and Draco. Lucius is the only friend I have and Draco is my godson. I can't keep this from them." She opened her mouth to argue after a silent moment, but he interrupted, "Do you trust me?" Harry looked down at her cup and chewed on her lip.
"I, um...think I should go lie down," she said barely above a whisper.
He nodded, "You aren't taking anything to sleep, are you?" Harry stopped short of rising from her seat.
"Um, no, Sir...they sort of...stopped giving me Dreamless Sleep. This was...all I had left that lets me sleep." He seemed to think for a moment before pulling a small blue dropper vial from his inside coat pocket. Summoning a small glass, he filled it with water and added three drops.
"Drink. It's only muggle melatonin in a concentrated form." Harry gave him a curious look. "You aren't the only one who's had trouble with Dreamless Sleep, Harry." She drank it back and turned to leave the room, stopping just at the door.
“Sir...I should probably tell you...I think Mr. Malfoy already knows. Things are a bit...different, with him that is. There's no way he doesn't know. Maybe not the full extent, but he knows it's me; he doesn't say anything and neither do I.” Harry ascended the stairs to her bedroom. Severus sighed once he heard the door shut. He grabbed Harry's still full teacup, feeling the frost coating the outside of the cup. Looking inside, he saw that the tea was frozen solid. He had a rather worded letter to write.
"You'll be fine. I thought you were in Gryffindor."
"Well...it wasn't the Hat's first choice, you know, so there's that."
"What was it then? Hufflepuff?"
"Slytherin." Snape's silence didn't go unnoticed.
"Dumbledore said it was the Hat's test of whether I'd choose power or not. Then he said it was because I had part of Voldemort inside my head. Since fifth year, I haven't believed him...not completely. I never really fit in Gryffindor...not that I'd fit in with Slytherin either, but...yeah." Snape moved to open the gate. "They're gonna hate me even more."
"I think you might be surprised," he muttered as he began the long strides to the front door.
"Severus...good to see you," Lucius began, then acknowledging her, "Miss Potter."
"Mr. Malfoy." She kept her eyes on anything but him.
Lucius stood aside and allowed them entrance. "Would Draco happen to be home?" Severus asked.
"Actually, yes. He stayed out rather late, though. Tippy?" A dainty elf appeared, eager to have a task. "Can you see if Draco is awake? If so, tell him we have company."
"Of course, Master Malfoy," she said happily.
"Is this a conversation we can have over tea or is it for the study?"
"I think Miss Potter would like to get this out of the way as soon as possible" Lucius lifted a curious brow before turning towards the hall and through a set of double doors.
"Young Master Draco is getting ready. He shall be down momentarily," the elf said as she popped into the room.
Harry thought the elf was oddly well spoken, but thought nothing of it. Her throat felt tight and she tried to take a breath, but ended up wringing her hands together while pacing along the bookshelves, pretending to be looking about.
There was a painful silence until the door opened. Draco entered, well put together as always, not showing at all that he'd hardly slept but a few hours. "Sev- Potter? What are you doing here? Father, what's going on?"
"I am just as out of the loop as you are..." Lucius said, prompting Severus to turn to Harry, giving her a stare.
"Uh...um... Well," she took a couple steps forward, "the thing is...I-I've been lying to you...both of you..." her voice quivered as she tried to get the words out. Draco looked at her confused, then to his father. Lucius continued to look at her, his eyes now alight with something she couldn't place. "I...I've been seeing you...both...under Polyjuice." She looked down, waiting for the angry bellows and insults. When they didn't come, she looked up. Lucius still stood, a knowing bit of a smirk on his face, but Draco still seemed confused and focused as if his mind were whirling trying to figure out when and where and what. "As Sophie and...Jessica," she muttered, watching the realization dawn on Draco's face before the twisting fury.
"You what?" he spat. She stepped back a bit. "You..." Draco couldn't seem to form the words he needed in such a rage. Instead, he spun, walking out and slamming the door behind him. The bang caused her to jump. The gasp that came from her turned into a choke and tears began to well up. She covered her mouth, forcing herself to remain calm.
Lucius could feel the magical tension as if it could snap at any moment. He quickly rounded his desk and went towards Harry. She backed up, but Severus put a hand on her shoulder to stop her. Lucius sighed. "Harry...come here," he tried, gently, but it had no effect. "Sweetheart, look at me..." Harry looked up hesitantly, expecting a cold stare if not anger in his eyes, but found only a gentle understanding. He held out his hand. "Come here."
The tears began to roll as she took the few steps towards him and he pulled her to him, allowing her to wrap her arms around his middle and sob into his chest. "I already knew, Darling. Shhhh. When I first realized, I was a little astonished, but not angry. I hoped over time you would trust me with the truth, but I didn't want to push you. Don't worry about Draco...he'll come around...he usually just needs time. I am more concerned about you, however."
“When did you know?” she asked, her voice muffled by his clothing.
“The first time you called me 'daddy'. Don't think I've forgotten about what I offered. I knew long before...well, before any of that.”
Severus's voice came low and softly from behind, not daring to startle her. “I need a word, Lucius...”
He pulled back, holding her face in his hands, forcing her to look at him eye-to-eye. “I'm not angry with you...remember what we talked about.” After she nodded her understanding, he wiped the tears from her cheeks. “Draco may need some convincing, however...up the stairs, take a left, first door on the right.”