The Poisoned Goblet
“Wait, why didn’t you stay to read the biography?” Ron asked. The returning students had arrived just in time for dinner, and Harry was telling Ron and Neville about his trip to the Restricted Section. “Sure, it’s good to know that he was an alchemist, but wouldn’t it be better to know more?”
“I didn’t want to spend any more time in there than I had to!” Harry insisted. “You weren’t there – it was horrible! If you want to borrow the Cloak and sneak into the Restricted Section, fine, but I am never going in there again!”
“Calm down, Harry,” Neville said. “Ron didn’t mean that you should go back. I’m sure that Hermione found out some things, anyway.” Ron glanced over at Hermione and Ginny, sitting at the Ravenclaw table, but Harry was still glaring daggers at Ron. Neville decided to change the subject. “What cloak is this, Harry?”
“I got an invisibility cloak for Christmas,” Harry said, turning deliberately away from Ron. “Didn’t I mention that?”
Neville shook his head. “No, but that’s pretty cool. You’ll have to show that to us sometime. Get anything else good?”
“Professor Flitwick gave me a belt pouch with the Gryffindor crest and my initials,” Harry said. “Did you get the same?”
“Ah. Hermione got me a little glass troll, which was cool.”
“I got one of those two,” Ron said, trying to enter into the conversation again. Harry ignored him and merely continued talking.
“Oh, and Professor Snape gave me a photo album of him and my mum when they were kids,” Harry added. “That was pretty cool, and I still need to thank him for that.”
“Fine,” Ron said to the air. “I’ll just not say anything, shall I?”
“Very good idea,” Neville agreed. “Just let Harry calm down, alright?”
“Who’re you talking to, Neville?” Harry asked.
Ron’s eyes narrowed and he began breathing deeply, trying to stay calm. After another minute or two, the redhead stood, leaving his food on the table, and began walking towards the doors to the Hall. He broke into a run halfway there and disappeared.
Neville glared at Harry. “Why did you get so angry at him?” he demanded. “Ron didn’t do anything wrong!”
Harry started to snap at Neville, too, but then stopped himself and thought: why had he gotten so angry at Ron? He felt angry in general, a low-grade dislike towards everyone he saw, now that he was aware of it. Something was off about it. Harry sniffed, and something seemed off about the smells of the food. He wasn’t a good enough potioneer to tell what, but…
“Something’s wrong with my juice,” Harry said flatly. He reached over and sniffed at Neville’s, and couldn’t smell the wrongness from his own. Whatever it was, the sour scent that was barely present, was only in his cup. Someone was trying to do something to him, but it wasn’t going to work. He wouldn’t let it. And when he found out who it was they would pay…
No! That was the potion in his drink talking! Harry picked up his cup and walked towards the Head table. Professor Snape would know what to do.
The Headmaster raised a silver eyebrow as Harry approached. “What is it, Harry?”
Harry blinked. Why was the doddering old fool calling him by his – no! “I think someone slipped a potion into my drink,” he said as calmly as he could.
Professor Snape, sitting to Dumbledore’s left, turned away from his conversation with Professor Flitwick to face Harry. “What led to you believe this?” he demanded.
“There’s a slight sour smell, and I’m noticing irrational anger,” Harry said, suppressing anger that the Professor didn’t believe him.
“That’s worrying,” Dumbledore said, beckoning with a hand. The cup floated from Harry hand to the Headmaster’s, and he passed it to Snape. “What do you think, Severus?”
The professor sniffed a few times. “Erumpent blood, augery tears, lemon juice and crabapple slices. That would be a Calming Draught. There’s something else in there, though… elendil root, I suspect. That would act to reverse the effect of the augery tears and turn it into a Draught of Anger, I suspect. Quite ingenious.”
“Who would be able to brew such a thing, Severus?” Dumbledore asked, seeming quite concerned. “If it is a new potion, then…”
“Not a new potion exactly,” Snape sneered, sipping the juice and making a face at the taste. “Yes, definitely elendil root. It’s just an inversion of a normal potion. But Calming draughts are quite difficult to make – the erumpent blood needs a delicate touch – and I doubt any of the students could brew it. Few of the teachers could, either. I can, of course, and Professor Adams, as an auror, knows medical potions like the calming draught.”
Harry narrowed his eyes. Professor Snape clearly believed that Adams had been the architect of this as well as the jinxed broom. Why?
“What could the purpose be?” Dumbledore inquired, but he seemed to be speaking to himself more than Snape now. “If it was more powerful, it might’ve caused a disturbance and distracted us, but as it is I can still pay attention to the castle, and everyone is here. If it had been placed in everyone’s cups, it could’ve served a similar effect, but no, it’s only Harry’s. Hm…”
Harry was pretty sure that the potion was beginning to wear off, and he realized something. “Headmaster, Professor, Ron was behaving oddly too. Normally, if I acted like I just did, he would’ve gotten angry right back and started shouting at me, but he just left. I think he was crying when he ran out of the hall… I’ve got to apologize!” He promptly ran down the length of the Hall, following Ron.
Dumbledore waved his hand again and Ron’s cup floated to him. He passed it to Snape as well, and the potions master sniffed unenthusiastically. “It’s also drugged,” he said. “A similar potion, but this one has orange juice rather than lemon juice. It would enhance sadness and similar emotions, and likely would last longer.”
The Headmaster frowned. “That makes no sense. It seems to me that the only result would be to create an argument between Harry and young Mr. Weasley. If their angers were both aroused, then they’ve already shown that they can reconciled after calming down, but a deep sadness caused by a potion would be more difficult to resolve. Hm…” Suddenly, Dumbledore’s eyes narrowed and he turned to Professor Snape. “Severus…” he began in a low and dangerous tone of voice.
“I believe this is a conversation best done privately, Headmaster,” Snape said smoothly, and they stood from the table as one and stalked away from the Head Table.
“Ron!” Harry shouted. “Ron, wait, I’m sorry!” He ran through the halls, trying to find where Ron had gone. “Please, wait!”
Harry reached the Common Room in record time, and almost yelled at the Fat Lady, “Is Ron in there?”
“The little redheaded boy?” The Fat Lady asked. At Harry’s nod, she continued, “Yes, he came in not five minutes ago.”
“Hippogriff!” Harry dashed through the opening portrait and, seeing no head of bright red hair in the Common Room, went on a beeline for the dorms. “Ron!”
“Go away, Potter.” Harry stopped at the door to the first-year dorm. Ron was curled up on his bed, head buried in a pillow. “Go away.”
Harry opened his mouth, closed it again, opened it, closed it. In the end, he didn’t say anything, just turned and slowly walked down the stairs again. A faint sob came from behind him.