Chapter Thirty-Two: Women
Norbert and Sly arrived fit and well a few days later, and Harry spent quite some time in the Astronomy Hall with Hagrid helping them settle in. Hagrid had burst into tears when he was how huge Norbert had grown, about twice the size of an elephant, and Norbert, it seemed, recognised Hagrid as well. The dragon crooned softly and attempted to nuzzle Hagrid, which only resulted in Hagrid being knocked to the ground. Harry severely hoped that Norbert wouldn't try to give him a Hello Nudge, because if the dragon could push the half-giant Hagrid to the ground, he dreaded to think what it would do to him. Fortunately, Norbert didn't, and Harry's ribs stayed intact.
Sly was a magnificent creature, slightly smaller than Norbert, with dark-green emerald scales and long, glimmering golden horns. Charlie, who was staying at Hogwarts to check on their progress, told Harry that normally the Romanian Longhorn was a very quick, active species, but because Sly was so close to birth, she spent most of her time lazed out against the bottom of one of the walls on her back. Norbert was the perfect father, swooping in and out of the opening in the roof and bringing back cows and sheep for her. It wasn't nice to see two dragons tearing a dead sheep to bits, but, Harry reminded himself, at least it wasn't a first year.
The start of May came, accompanied by a term holiday for the exhausted students. Hermione and her parents were going to visit Wales for the holiday, so she made Harry swear to send her lots of letters about how the dragons were getting on, and whether Sly's child had been born yet.
Harry's life was becoming busier again. He was juggling Kainda, homework, dragons, DA Club, occlumency and Quidditch all at the same time, and they were all becoming more attention-needing. Kainda saw Harry in DA Club and Quidditch anyway, but he still liked to spend time with her when there wasn't Ron grinning and giving him the thumbs up from across the pitch. His homework was as demanding as always, and though his marks were picking up in occlumency, Snape would probably sooner marry him than let him have a break.
Quidditch, however, was the most important of them all. Harry got a letter a few days into the holiday that said the points of the league had been counted, and The Bright Sparks were going to be playing The Dragons a week after the end of the holiday. The Quidditch final was the first thing on Harry's mind at all times. He now realised why Wood had been so possessed about Quidditch. He was Captain and Seeker in the final, and he found himself sitting in lessons making up strategies and playing different scenarios across his head. He knew things were getting serious when he started dreaming about Quidditch, and woke up in a cold sweat after seeing Blaise's fingers clasp around the Snitch. He even woke Ron up just to check it had actually been a dream.
Though when Harry went down to see Hagrid one Saturday, he found himself suddenly grateful that he could sleep at all. The opsittops had apparently invaded Hagrid's hut and made themselves at home. They spent all their time mimicking the noises they heard, night and day.
"S'absolutely bloody mayhem," Hagrid told him, gruffly, pouring him some tea. "Can't do anythin' without them copyin' me." He put down the kettle, and instantly, there were about twenty echoes of the 'clink' from the little huddle of faces watching him in the corner. "Yeh see? Everytime anythin' makes a noise they 'aven't heard, they have teh make it. And Charlie snores, so all night long, I've got twen'y bloody opsittops snorin' away in the corner as well. Yeh should've seen the chaos yesterday. I got a letter from Professor Dumbledore, and the owl 'course hooted when I took the letter off it. They were all hootin' fer bloody hours, I swear, yeh've never heard anythin' like it."
Harry laughed, and raised the cup to his lips, taking a sip, about to say something else, but he was interrupted by twenty sipping noises from the corner. He smiled. "You're right, that probably does get annoying. Can't you just... put them outside?"
"Nah, can't, Harry," said Hagrid, gruffly. "They won'ts leave now. Got comfy. Besides, Kibbles still don't like 'em, and I think he'd probl'y eat 'em if he could." He snapped a biscuit in half, and there was instantly a series of answering snaps from the opsittop herd. "I'm thinkin' a lettin' him, actually."
So, with everything that was going on, Harry found his holiday flittering gently past. Before he knew it, it was the end of the first week and just two weeks to go until their Quidditch match.
When Harry woke on the bright Sunday morning, it was to the harsh ring of an alarm clock drilling into his ears. He groaned, rolling over and slapping the snooze button on the top of Ron's alarm clock. To his great surprise, the alarm clock shouted, "UP, you lazy scruff! UP! Come on, the early bird gets the worm!"
"And the second mouse gets the cheese from the trap," Harry groaned.
"UP!" the clock shouted, impatiently.
"No, leave me alone... you're not even my clock..." Harry rolled over, tucking the duvet over his head, and Ron gave a sleepy snort, pulling the blanket back.
"Come on, get up! Up, up now! Lots to do today, things to get on with! If you went to bed earlier, you wouldn't be tired, so come on, get up!" The clock started to ring again, clattering up and down until Ron got so annoyed with it he seized it and flung it across the room. It hit the wall and fell to the ground, leaving a ringing silence.
Ron yawned, tugging the blanket back. "Remind me to never take that clock anywhere near the opsittops... and stop stealing the covers."
"If you had your own duvet, I wouldn't have to steal the covers."
"Kibbles burnt my duvet."
"Yeah, and the dog ate my Transfiguration homework."
"Seriously. You can go and see it, it's there behind Hagrid's hut with the rest of the charred stuff he tried to make a nest with."
"You shouldn't have volunteered it then."
"I didn't know it was going to get cooked."
"What did you think Hagrid wanted it for?"
"I dunno, I thought he was going to smother the opsittops with it."
Harry yawned, stretching, then sitting up, tousle-haired and blurry-eyed. Ron groaned about putting the duvet back, but Harry ignored him. "Come on... we've got to feed the dragons..."
"Oh, just let them eat each other, it's cold..." Ron buried his face into his pillow. "Send Hedwig to Malfoy and tell him he can do their breakfast on his own for once, I'm sick of getting up early."
"It's ten o' clock," said Harry, chuckling a little, yawning again and stretching his arms. "Come on, I'm not going on my own." He reached out and put on his glasses, blinking as the common room gradually came into focus. Ron groaned, and with a lot of grumbling and dark muttering, he got up from under the mattress and started looking for his clothes.
"Are we going to go for breakfast today?" asked Harry, as he pulled on his jumper.
"No, there's no point. There's hardly anybody left at Hogwarts anyway, they won't notice if we're not there." Ron found his clothes, and dragged them off to the bathroom to change. When both of them were dressed, they found their dragon hide gloves, and headed off to the Astronomy Hall.
Draco was already there when they walked in, sitting cross-legged on the straw-strewn floor, sketching Sly. She was languishing stretched out on her side, eyes shut, looking rather peaceful in her sleep. Draco looked up as they came in. "Good morning."
"For you, maybe," Ron said, grumpily, still rubbing his sleep-ridden eyes.
Draco's eyes swept up and down Sly's scaly form, then back at his drawing, sketching something gently and then saying, "I've been here for hours. You both really need to get up earlier. It's much healthier."
"What, throwing myself out of bed and staggering around half-blind for hours? I don't think so." Ron held up his wand, and summoned an old bath tub they had set on rails. It came grinding towards him from across the hall, clanking against the wall, and he filled it with water, then banished it back along the rails. It squeaked to a halt in front of Sly, and she opened one yellow eye to stare scournfully at it for a moment, then went straight back to sleep.
There was a gentle fluttering noise from above, and Hedwig swooped in through the open ceiling, a letter tied neatly to her leg. Harry got a broom from the corner and started sweeping straw around as she glided down to him, perched on his shoulder, and nudged him with the letter. He took it off her gratefully. "Thanks girl."
She hooted fondly, nipped his ear, and then took off again, back through the ceiling, heading towards the owlery.
"Who's the letter from?" Ron asked, as he started hauling slabs of meat into a large container on wheels.
"I don't know," Harry said, shrugging. He propped his broom in the corner, opening up the letter, and recognising Hermione's neat, tidy handwriting at once.
Dear Harry - Hi! How are you? How are the dragons? I thought I'd write and tell you something interesting I found out a few days ago. Do you remember all that time ago before school started, and you wrote to me about the meeting at Grimmauld Place? You told me that Dumbledore was organising another wizarding publication to sell to people. It's out now! It's called The Truth. You won't believe the article I found in this week's edition. I've photocopied it at my local library and I'm bring as many copies back to Hogwarts as possible. Just wait until you see it! Love from Hermione.
Ron, who had been peering over Harry's shoulder and reading it himself, said with a raised eyebrow, "Don't you just love the way Hermione never leaves us in suspense?"
"Yeah," said Harry. He rolled the letter up. "I wonder what she's found out."
"Dunno. Maybe they're publishing "Hogwarts : A History" with a new cover or something." Ron shrugged. "Or something about how house elves should be set free. You know what Hermione's like."
Harry nodded, and with that, he pushed the letter to the back of his mind, starting to sweep the floor again, as Ron went to accuse Draco of being lazy and not helping.
The rest of the day passed by slowly. Harry spent the rest of his morning with the dragons, then went down to see Hagrid and Charlie after lunch. The opsittops were flourishing, and Hagrid had found the perfect solution to keep them quiet.
"Borr'red it off Professor Dumbledore," he said, opening the lid of a huge black cauldron. All the opsittops were inside, sitting around in a circle, blinking up with their wide green eyes. Harry could see what looked like a large marble floating in the middle of the opsittop ring.
"What is it?" asked Harry, curiously.
"S'charmed teh make random sounds," said Hagrid. "Every thir'y seconds, it makes a sound, and they all copy it. That's why I've put 'em in the cauldron. Keeps 'em lovely an' quiet."
The marble glowed a bright yellow, and quacked loudly. The opsittops all shivered with excitement, and repeated the quack perfectly, all together, making a noise like a gong being struck. Hagrid smiled, putting the lid back on the cauldron.
"I'm gonna 'ave my own little orchestra soon," he said, proudly. "One of 'em keeps whistlin' the Chudley Cannons theme tune. I'm thinkin' a sendin' him to their headquarters teh sing for 'em."
And so the day flittered past, and all too soon for Harry's liking, it was eight o' clock, and he found himself descending the marble staircase wearily, heading towards the dungeons for his occlumency lesson. Really, he wasn't sure why he kept having these classes. He was becoming pretty good in the subject, and even Snape admitted it. He hadn't had any more dreams about Voldemort or Death Eaters either. Of course, this was worrying him a little. Voldemort had been very quite for quiet some time now, and once again, he had the sensation he was being lulled into a false sense of safety.
He raised his fist, and knocked three times on the door of Snape's office, waiting to be let in. There was no answer. Glancing up and down the corridor, he knocked again, but once more, there was no reply. Harry frowned. Snape normally wrenched him inside before he'd even finished knocking. Tentatively, he curled his fingers around the handle of the door and eased it open, just a few inches. He peered around the door. Snape was nowhere to be seen.
Thinking that maybe Snape was in his classroom, he shut the door quickly, and crept down the corridor. He pushed the door of the Potions classroom open carefully, and looked around, spotting a figure sitting on one of the high stools at the back, legs swinging pleasant back and forth through the air. Dumbledore smiled at him. "Good evening, Harry."
Harry blinked. "Oh - hello, Sir. Where's - ?"
"Professor Snape has been called away on urgent business, and will most likely be back very soon," said Dumbledore, pleasantly. He produced a brown paper bag from the pocket of his long purple robes, and offered it to Harry. "Fizzing whizbee?"
"No thanks," said Harry.
Dumbledore popped one of the sherbet sweets in his mouth with a happy smile. "Madam Pomfrey says I shall rot away my teeth with all these highly tasty but unfortunately sugary sweets... alas, the price of sweetness?"
Harry sat down on one of the stools nearby, dropping his bag on the floor. "Headmaster? Where has Professor Snape gone? Is it something for the Order...?"
Dumbledore chuckled pleasant around his sweet, which was now beginning to foam in his mouth, and he was attempting to stop it running down his chin. "I'm afraid I cannot tell you, Harry, though rest assured if all goes well, Professor Snape will enter this classroom any moment now, bright as a daisy, with good news for all."
Dumbledore's timing couldn't have been any more spectacular, though his statement couldn't have been any more wrong. There was a tremendous bang behind Harry that very moment that made him jump, and Snape swept straight past him in, brimming over with fury. Harry could just sense the bad mood radiating from the Potions master.
"Women!" he spat, viciously, not spotting Harry or Dumbledore in his rage, proceeding to the front of the class and pulling open drawers in his desk. "Damn Albus! Damn it all, damn damn damn old man!"
"Good evening, Severus," said Dumbledore, pleasantly, from the back of the room.
Snape looked up in alarm, and his expression of fury melted instantly into a polite smile. "Ah, good evening, Headmaster." His eyes flicked to Harry, but before he could order him out of the room, Dumbledore cut in.
"Well, Severus, I came to wait for you to see if your task was a success or not. Judging by the way you walked in cursing my name, it was not?"
Snape glanced at Harry again. "Potter, out. Wait in my office."
"Can't I - "
"No," Snape hissed. "This is a private matter which I have absolutely no intentions of discussing anywhere near you. I'll call you back in when I deem it appropriate."
He said the last bit perfectly calmly, in the matter-of-fact tone that Harry normally assosciated with Hermione, though Snape's actiosn weren't in the least bit like Hermione. He found what he was looking for in his desk drawer, and Harry caught a split seconds view of the silver picture frame and the beautiful woman inside - before Snape hurled it against the far wall. It shattered into a thousand pieces instantly, showering the floor with glass.
Harry decided that perhaps it was best to leave after all and grabbed his bag, shooting out of the door before Snape could start hurling ornaments at him. He slammed the door behind him and proceeded to Snape's office quickly, slipping in and sitting down to wait. To his great surprise and delight however, he realised that the door from office to classroom was ever so slightly ajar. He bit his lip, wondering whether to listen in or not. After a few seconds of frantic thought, he slid his chair a few inches closer to the door, and leant in, listening very hard.
"Severus, calm yourself," Dumbledore was saying seriously. "Destroying treasured possessions will not help the situation in the slightest."
Harry jumped as there was a loud shattering noise, another photograph having hit the wall just beside the door. It fell with a clatter to the floor in jagged pieces, and Harry looked down into the face of the black-haired woman smiling up at him, her photograph torn slightly, showered in broken glass. Harry had never seen Snape resort to physical violence before, and he didn't like it. He couldn't think of anything that would get the Potions master angry enough to actually start hurling things around, though from the way Snape was behaving, Harry could tell this fury had been bottled up for a long time and needed to escape.
"Women!" Snape spat venomously again, and there was a swish as he apparently grabbed something else to throw. Harry was very surprised that Dumbledore wasn't running screaming from the room, but in fact, the headmaster was perfectly calm against Snape's rage.
"Severus," he said, firmly. "That will do. There is no need for such rash decisions - sit down. Tell me what happened."
There was a moment's silence, as Snape probably just glared at the headmaster, but then there was an exasperated sigh, the scrape of a chair and a creak as Snape sunk down into it. Harry chanced a glance through the door, just in time to see Dumbledore lower himself onto another school and give the Potions master a prompting sort of look.
"I met her in Hogsmeade, as we agreed," Snape muttered through his hair. "Things were... perfect. Just as always, and so I brought up the subject of her blasted husband. Rookwood. Obviously, I told her what we've found out, that she was in danger, that if she had any sense she would take shelter at Hogwarts. I tried my best to stress how much safer she would be in my - " He paused, changed his mind and said, "She would be in the Order's care."
"But?" said Dumbledore.
"But she won't." Snape brushed his hair wearily from his face, now perfectly calm, even though he reached out, picked up a fistful of worksheets and shredded them into several torn strips before continuing. "The stupid, foolish woman won't leave him, despite all the risks to her life, how he beats her, the threat from the Dark Lord, the perfectly safe sanctuary she has at Hogwarts just waiting for her to run to." There was a heavy thump as he banged a fist on his desk, and Harry sat back again, just in case, relying on hearing only. "Gods, Dumbledore, that woman will be the end of me! What possible excuse could she have? Is it me? I've offered her everything, and yet she prefers to wallow in some grime-stained filthy hole with... with Rookwood," he spat, and Harry was alarmed at the bitterness in Snape's voice. Was that jealousy he picked up layered under the Potion master's spiteful tones?
"What were her exact words?" asked Dumbledore, quietly.
Snape worked hard for a moment to control his breathing, and then said in a deceptively calm voice: "She said things were getting better with him, and she found the idea of her life being at risk ridiculous. Apparently, Rookwood is "away" at the minute... she wouldn't tell me what he may be doing..." Harry then distinctly heard Snape sigh, quietly, and his next words and the sadness in their tone made Harry's eyes widen in surprise. "She says she still loves him, Albus."
There was a moment's pause, and then Dumbledore murmured consolingly, "Severus, you must understand that marriage is - "
"A strong magical bond," Snape finished quietly. He stood up, and his footsteps came towards the door. Harry leaned back quickly but Snape didn't notice him there, as the professor bent down and scooped the smashed remains of the photograph from the floor. Harry glanced up, and saw that Snape was gazing at them with such a painful, broken expression that Harry found himself feeling sorry for the Potions master.
"I understand that this is hardly the thing you want to hear most of all," said Dumbledore, "but that bond may well be too strong to break, Severus. She agreed to spend the rest of her life with Rookwood, and if the bond is still active, and you intrude, you will pay even more greatly for your actions."
"I know," said Snape heavily, his eyes still lost in his smashed photograph. "I don't care, Albus. I don't care if it kills me."
Dumbledore appeared behind Snape in the doorway, laying a hand on his shoulder in a fatherly way. He said, wisely, "Love is the most wonderful, and yet most terrible occurance in this marvellously complex world we live in, Severus. It can make a man everything that he is, or rob him of his very soul."
"There is still that possibility..." said Snape, silkily and quietly, as though to himself. "If Rookwood was to..."
"Severus," said Dumbledore. His stern tone was nearly as surprising as Snape's. "Do not descend to the level of the man you're fighting. Someday the time may come, and if it does, I beg you to think with the logical mind you have displayed to me for fifteen years, and not the head of a jealous adolescent."
Snape frowned slightly. "I'll try to remember that, headmaster."
For a moment, Harry was too amazed in the look of longing on Snape's face as he fitted the pieces of the photograph back together to notice something. He tore his eyes away at last, and realised that Dumbledore was watching him closely, with a very serious expression. Harry looked back, apologetically, trying to read the expression on the headmaster's face. It wasn't angry in the slightest, more a gentle warning to not make himself seen.
"Perhaps a meeting with Mrs Rookwood in person would be in order," Dumbledore mused. "I shall talk to her Severus. Don't worry - I won't mention anything that might affect you," he added, seeing the swift glare Snape passed him. "In the meantime, I believe Harry Potter has a lesson with you now, and it would be dreadful to keep him languishing in your office all night."
Taking the hint, Harry put on his best casual face, just as the door opened and Snape leant out. "Potter? In here, at the front desk."
Harry headed up to the front of the room, his head too fogged with new information to consider arguing or grumbling. He heard Snape mutter, "And do not refer to her as Mrs Rookwood," to Dumbledore, before turning and sweeping up the room, back to normal again. Though really, was he back to normal? Was he back to not normal? Harry tidied the remains of a photograph into a neat pile, placed them on Snape's desk and realised that Snape actually had a life outside of the dungeons. Maybe the professor dreaded teaching as much as students dreaded being taught by him? He had a momentary vision of a Snape during the holidays, at a cafe with this woman, talking, sharing secrets, laughing and joking...
"Potter, get out of my memories."
"Sorry, Professor," Harry mumbled apologetically.
He glanced up, and saw Snape staring at him closely, frowning slightly, clearly dipping into his mind. Harry clapped his hands over his eyes quickly, a little like Dobby, and said, "I didn't hear anything!"
Snape pulled one of his hands away, fixing his gaze forcefully and scanning his eyes. Harry found he couldn't look away from the legilimens glare Snape swept over him. Harry was too full of information and wonder to block his mind properly, and Snape read him like a book. The Potions master's face contorted in anger. "Potter!"
"Sorry," Harry squeaked. "I couldn't help it. Honestly."
Snape ran a hand agitatedly through his hair, and said, vaguely, "You repeat none of this to your little friends. Are we clear?"
"Yessir," Harry mumbled, dipping his head. He placed the last shard of broken photograph on Snape's desk, next to the others, and whispered, "Maybe she just has bad taste, Sir..."
He chanced a look upwards, and Snape looked back down at him, considering the expression on his face. A second passed, and then Snape smiled ever so slightly. "Thankyou, Potter, but you don't need to bolster my moral. I shall do that myself, if you don't mind."
"Is it... is it Rookwood's wife?" Harry chanced.
Snape sunk into the black leather chair behind his desk, drumming his long fingers agitatedly on the polished pine. "Couldn't you have surmised that from the private conversation you listened in on?"
"That's a yes," said Harry. Snape continued to surprise him today, from flinging photographs around the dungeons to spilling his soul to Dumbledore, revealed as in love with Rookwood's wife, and now, the most startling thing of all, he wasn't tearing Harry to tiny pieces.
Snape sat back in his chair, fingers still drumming slowly, gazing heavily into the collection of shards of his precious photograph. "Don't try to understand this situation, Potter. It isn't just as simple as... Rookwood's wife and..." He fought to keep himself talking. "And myself. All other factors you will hopefully never have any knowledge of come into the equation. Think of it as a potion, and you only know one of the ingredients... even I myself don't have the full recipe."
Harry nodded, looking down at his desk, thinking of something to counter that exceptionally wise metaphor of Snape's. After a moment, he said, quietly, "There's always divorce..."
Snape laughed harshly. Harry heard a lot of the Snape he knew in that laugh. "Clearly you're not aware of wizard marriages, Potter, and until you are, you have no hope of even vaguely contemplating my situation. You're sixteen-years-old. You have no idea how lucky you - "
Quite suddenly, an empty bottle used for potions came tumbling down from the shelf above Snape's head, sailed downwards and there was a nasty crack as it clouted him hard on the skull. Snape hissed to cover the sound of his swearing, rubbing the back of his head furiously.
"Damn it all, she's not even here!" he snarled at the shelf above him.
Harry stared. "Um... Professor?"
"Don't tell me, Potter, I already have the headmaster on at my back about it every day," Snape snapped. His half-good mood seemed to have instantly vanished, but Harry found he wanted to know. He had to. This had been driving him crazy for months now.
Snape turned his black eyes onto Harry. "Isn't it obvious Potter?"
"They're not just accidents, are they?" said Harry. "Like at Grimmauld Place. Those glasses didn't just fall. And your magic didn't break for no reason."
Snape shook his head, and thought for a moment, considering Harry with an almost confused expression. "Surely you're not even that stupid? Haven't you worked out everything you need to piece it together?"
"I know... I know that you're in a relationship with a woman married to Augustus Rookwood," said Harry, tentatively, being very careful in how he worded this. "And that you've been getting bad luck for some reason, and it's got to be connected to her in some way."
"Any theories?" said Snape, with a raised eyebrow, almost amused by Harry's confusion.
"I... well, Ron and I thought that - " Seeing Snape's face darken, Harry said, quickly, "He's only seen what he would have seen anyway. I've told him nothing. All he knows is that you're getting bad luck and you're doing something to cause that. We... we heard you and Dumbledore talking at Grimmauld Place. And I'm sorry," he added, as Snape's eyes widened in disbelief at how nosy Harry was. "But that's it. That's all that Ron knows. I swear."
Snape sighed. "Very well. What is the theory of Weasley and Potter? And make sure you don't skip on the details, I need a good laugh."
"Well..." Harry tried to remember. "It's something to do with the Death Eaters. You're digging into some ancient black magic, and we don't know what it does, but it's reflecting bad luck on you. And before tonight, I'd have said that Rookwood's wife was helping you do it, but - "
He stopped talking, as Snape laughed, his head falling back. "Oh, Potter, so dramatic... always so dramatic... you never look for simple things, do you?"
"So we were wrong," said Harry, going a little red.
"Oh, you couldn't have been more wrong," said Snape, still sniggering, wiping his mouth with the back of his hand. "Something to do with the Death Eaters... how marvellously drastic..."
"So what is it?" asked Harry, with wide eyes. "Why are you getting all that bad luck? And I know that you're messing with some ancient magic, there's definitely ancient magic involved."
"Yes, there is..." said Snape, lazily, drumming his fingers slowly on the desk again. "But something a lot less sinister than Death Eaters. Voldemort has nothing to do with this. Tell me, Potter, is that all you see me as? A Death Eater? Is that the only side of me you can possibly comprehend?"
Harry looked up at Snape, and couldn't really think of anything to say. He knew Snape was partially right. Or, at least, Harry couldn't see Snape as a friend, or a husband, or an adulterer. He could picture Snape in the long, sweeping black robes of a Death Eater, the white mask, the Dark Mark tattooed on his arm. With a funny stab inside him, he remembered Snape cleaning his wounds after the brawl with Blaise Zabini, and imagining him as an uncle or a father for one instant. And as always, he could see Snape as the vile, spiteful Potions master he had always been.
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