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bespelled for my eyes alone

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Well, the seas are still tempestuous, but there are places worth voyaging to, though one must brave reefs and rocks to reach them it seems. I am speaking of Scarlett, of course.

We had a lovely time out at Valentine's. And Snape of course was entirely right, that it was necessary for me to rid my system of the potion in order to become sufficiently inflamed to perform. But the consequences of the emotional hypersensitivity that P. was designed to treat are that I broke down in tears while in bed with her. While still in congress! Humiliating. She forgives me, though, it seems. She asked me to stay the night with her and truthfully, I wanted to.

But even her warm, soft presence could not keep the nightmares at bay. I woke a few hours later and paced her windows, trying to rid myself of fear and dread and the sense of doom that pervades my thoughts whenever I let my guard down.

I dreamt of being Marked. And of the light of madness in my aunt's eyes as she looked at me in a horrific parody of the loving, doting aunt. She'd thought I was screaming in ecstasy, you see.... more...Collapse )
I must ask Snape's advice about potions for dreamless sleep. I will never make it to Greece--or through spectating the next steeplechase--at the rate I am going.
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I have only been off P. for two days and already my dreams are unbearable. Granted, this may have nothing to do with the potion and everything to do with my accumulated lack of sleep, meaning that the moment I do sleep, my starved subconscious ambushes me and attacks. And given the content of some, I still worry that Andromeda's affliction has shaped my mind somehow.

The themes are three. The dark room where Andromeda is trapped. Fighting with my father. And sex.

They mix together strangely, as dreams will, often making no sense and shifting from one scenario to another with no logic or reason. In some I am dueling with the portrait of my father when he steps out of the frame, as young and hale as before he went to Azkaban, and it seems I cannot best him, no curse or hex is strong enough to reach him save one, the Unforgivable that I cannot, will not, cast. He wipes the floor with me and then seals me in a room in the dark.

More disturbing are the way my memories are becoming tangled in the dreams. Harry and I are flying through the trees.--the accident. He rushes to help me, his arms lifting me from behind... that is where reality diverges into desperate fantasy. Or, the moment my wand was returned to me, and then he asks me to demonstrate... anything.

I was lost at that moment, I think. The cat transfiguration. Had I forgotten everything about Michael? No, I've forgotten none of it, but much of it was buried rather deep.

No longer. But at least I remember the ways of hiding. Michael Gaudet was never the wiser about how I felt about him. And neither was Severus Snape. Harry Potter shan't be the first. In time my ardour will cool and then we shall carry on as friends.

Should I tell him, though, that there is something about him that keeps my nightmares at bay? If I knew what it was, I would bottle it.
* * *
Well, I have the portrait of Severus Snape that I commissioned, and in the three short days he has been here, it has been equal parts blessing and curse.

He managed to talk a house elf into hanging him on the wall, made a trip to Hogwarts, and then on returning to the Manor got into a duel with my father's portrait which I am still cleaning up after.

On the other hand, he is convinced he has made an improvement on the formula for Andromeda that may buy us some more time, and I am nearly convinced myself, and I plan to bring it with me on a visit tomorrow.

And we have fought twice. Bitterly. I would no doubt shed a tear over this except I have upped my intake of P. from 4 to 6 times daily.

* * *
I am a fool. This is not news, but the fact is sometimes driven home anew.

I am beginning to have wholly inappropriately amorous thoughts about Harry Potter.
He says he wants honesty, but I cannot imagine he would welcome hearing this. I've never heard a hint of any interest on his part in anyone other than his wife, and even if he were inclined toward wizards in any way, I am going to guess that pursuing anything beyond a platonic friendship would be considered cheating by his morals.

My lot could be worse. He could hate me. At least, as things are now, I can and do spend time in his company. I shall need to be careful, though, not to overstep my bounds.

And, no, I am not so blind as to not see that it will be the third time that I have grown infatuated with a man who saved my life and who could not love me in return. Perhaps it is merely as they say, that history is doomed to repeat.

* * *
It has been not the worst week ever, but well, perhaps I am no judge of such things.

Harry left me sleeping soundly after his visit. I woke some 12 hours later, in the wee hours of morning, fully robed and in my own bed. He must have moved me there as I have no memory of it, cat or otherwise. I crawled out of my robes and back into bed and slept another four hours, meaning that I then got up next at a nearly normal time of day.

I used Dreamless Sleep the next two nights, hoping to cement the progress in calming my fevered brain, but my fears over interaction with P. were not unfounded and I had to discontinue it. Insomnia returned the last few nights and today I must go to see Andromeda.

I dread it.

* * *
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No progress with Andromeda. I could not bring myself to stay in her nightmare more than a few seconds.

I know this is mad. What am I afraid of? It is fear itself. There is no actual harm that can come to me in the dream. I cannot become trapped by the curse. Well, so far as I have been able to determine. No, it is the experience of being in terror that I fear and try to avoid. I feel I should be able to rationalise my way past it, but so far I have not.

And when I say no harm, I know I am not taking into account the lost sleep, the detriment that has on my health. But then my upset over Scarlett robs me of sleep, too. And thoughts of Severus--I am dreading facing his portrait, and yet, I know I must.

I do not think I could make it through a week like this if it were not for P. I am fortunate to have perfected the formula during this summer, or I shudder to think what lengths I might have gone to by now.

Someone is coming through the Floo.

* * *
The good news is that I believe I am not cursed. Though there was a day and a night when I feared I might be.

Andromeda's curse. I undertook to watch her nightmares and found myself sucked into them. Quite terrifying. And then when I tried to sleep for some time after that I found myself returning to the scenario, trapped in it.

It has waned some over the past few days, though, so I do not believe the curse was passed on to me, merely that my mind was so affected by what I saw that it gave me nightmares of the non-cursed variety.

I am learning more about the cursed variety all the time, and yet I have come to a bit of a gap in my search. There is a book I am certain would be just the thing, written by Hildebolde Hancock around 1730. There are two volumes, and I am certain that the family library had both volumes at one point, but now I can only find one and not the other. I wonder if at some point when Father hid all the dark arts materials if he hid this one a little too well? But then why one volume and not the other?

Meanwhile, on the potions front, Harry and I have what I would guess is only three or four more tries at filling in the book before we hit truly diminishing returns. it is well more than half done, we did quite a lot last time, perhaps 20 pages or so, which leaves fewer than one hundred unmarked leaves left to go.

And I have decided I must brave Severus' portrait again. But rather than risk the mortification I'd suffer if he dressed me down in public at Hogwarts, I've commissioned Dean Thomas to paint me one for my lab. It is there I'll need the specific insights, anyway. It may be a terrible mistake, if he does nothing but upbraid me, but I think if I suffer through enough of that, we may get past to more fruitful conversations.
* * *
I believe I am ready to try to Legilimise Andromeda. My latest visit we were both lucid, incredible, no? I think it is Harry's doing and I wonder if he would be pleased to know it. First, the return of my original wand has been a boon in the lab--yes, I wrote boon, not boom, though I suspect that was the cause of the explosion. I am unaccustomed to how easily certain magics flow through it, or was. I'm adjusting, but I am curious to see if the effect will last. At any rate, I think the restorative I have been making for her is more effective now--though perhaps that is the effect of steady use, too? I would think that it would lose its effectiveness over time, though, as the curse progresses, but sometimes these things work backwards. At any rate, the wand may very well have helped.

And then also he has helped in that the more I look forward to spending time with him, the better I sleep and eat. I remain baffled on the subject of Scarlett for now, but we seem to be holding steady in a state of truce. Some things she said when we last talked make me think the gap in our understanding of each other is even wider than I had suspected. Which makes me even more leery of trying to cross it. If a balance of mutual antipathy is all we can manage, well, I will live with that and hope to maintain at least that. I fear that if I push it will be like the conflagration that wiped out half the lab. So I tread carefully. My goal right now is modest--I am attempting to catch a meal with her at least once every three days.

But Andromeda. I was fed, had slept, and was not an utter basket case when I saw her. I think she finally believes I want to help her. I also suspect she had a letter from my mother, though she would not come out and say so and I would not ask her outright and force her to lie.

I'm also slightly less afraid of what I may see in her head. My own head has been a less than hospitable place sometimes recently, but I find I feel better, not worse, for it. Potter and I have been mucking about trying to pull up memories that relate to the 6th year Potions text, though now that we are both taking Spectumbilica to aid the effort, we are easily distracted.

I thought about some of the horrors of the war I had not dared think on in years. Most of it... quite distressing, even with the distancing effect of the potion. But perhaps it is something like dispelling the boggart in the closet. I have many closets, but I have shone a bit of light into some of them, at least. Some, I can defeat the boggart. Some, I slam the door again and who knows if I will ever have the strength for them.
* * *
I've just awoken from a dream in which I was asleep. Is that odd, that I was asleep in the dream, and then woke up--and then woke up in real life? Perhaps it is an indication of how truly exhausted I was.

Or how well I slept. I woke in my bed in my robes, and for a few moments I could not recall how I got there. Harry Potter transfigured me into a cat, I went to sleep, and he must have changed me back and snuck out.

Exactly what Michael used to do when I was stressed out or overwrought. Well, I'd told Harry about the transfiguration, which is how we got started on it in the first place. But not that Michael used to use it to get me to sleep. He'd pet me until I fell asleep and then change me back.

Nor did I tell Harry that there were times, eventually, when we skipped the transfiguration. I never found out if that was Michael's intent all along or if it just sort of evolved. At the time, it did not much matter to me. His attention was a badly needed source of comfort.

As Harry's is now. I do not think for one second that Harry Potter has designs on seducing me. Regardless of the parallel.

Besides, my libido has been nonexistent for two months. I meant to put the question to Sasha at the ball, actually, in purely theoretical terms. There are some ingredients in P. that have been known to have an effect on male potency, but they should be effectively counteracted by other agents in the formula.

Perhaps I will have a chance to speak with him regarding it when I visit Hogwarts to speak with Scorpius. I know from reputable sources (Harry via his daughter, my own house elves, and the charms on the room) that a rather raucous game of Truth or Dare took place during the ball, instigated by my own son. I rather expected something like that to happen but I had not thought that Firewhiskey would play such a large and inappropriate part in the evening's activities. I shall need to hear Scorpius out on the matter, but it seems likely some disciplinary action may be necessary.

The ball itself was a smashing success. I'm tucking the article from the Prophet in here.

I am not prepared yet to write my thoughts on Scarlett. Things are worse. I shall write more when I have the fortitude to do so.
* * *
I stayed out of the lab AND the library for 24 whole hours and I suppose it would shock no one but my narrow-minded ego that I look and feel better as a result. I had a pleasant but unrevealing visit with Andromeda, in which we were both perhaps as clear-minded as we've been.

I meet with Harry next, for more work on the book, but perhaps the short break will have helped my brain. Or my magic. After the mishap in the lab, which could easily have been my lack of attention, I had another brief incident with the butter and jam. Nothing much, just a charm gone awry, but still. If a third thing goes wrong, I shall speak to a Healer.

Resetting and strengthening the privacy charms around the Manor has gone easily enough. I especially went back over the hidden rooms, the ones that have been sealed off because of the snake's occupation. Most of them are on the lower floors, but Bellatrix's suite was on the fourth. Not that I think anyone will get that far, but just in case.

I suppose if I am really to be sure about it, I ought to have someone test them.
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