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Neither Can Live While the Other is High

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“And you’re sure it has pain relief properties?” Harry asked dubiously as he and Neville entered the common room.

Neville shrugged. “Pretty sure. Professor Sprout has a few bushes that look pretty similar to the ones we found, and she said she uses them to calm her nerves and have a good night’s sleep. She said there were different types though.”

Harry fingered the pouch of plant clippings in his pocket. “I guess if it turns out to be the wrong type we can just vanish it. Do you need help researching it?”

“It shouldn’t be too difficult,” Neville said as he and Harry entered their dorm room, “It’s not in our standard herbology textbook, but I have a few other books I can check. I know I’ve seen mentions of cannabis in at least one of them.”

Dean, who had previously been chatting with Seamus on his bed, whipped his head around. “Cannabis? Don’t tell me you have some? My mum doesn’t like to send me any while I’m at school.”

“You know what it is?” Harry asked.

Dean looked mildly offended. “I know it’s not very popular in the magical world, but we were both raised by muggles, mate. My mum’s got arthritis, she uses it to take the edge off.”

So it was a pain reliever. Harry hadn’t ever heard of it, but the Dursleys hadn’t exactly provided painkillers for his various aches and pains growing up. He decided not to voice that thought.

While Harry distanced himself from thoughts of the Dursleys, Neville spoke. “We’ve been trying to find something people can use for pain relief after detention with Umbridge, and we found a patch of it in the Forbidden Forest.”

“Do you know what potion we’re supposed to use it in?” Harry asked.

Dean's eyes grew wide in alarm. “You don’t make a potion with it! You’ll waste it!” He lunged forward a bit as if to physically prevent such a disaster from taking place.

Harry held up his hands in surrender. “Merlin, relax, we won’t. What do you recommend instead?”

This time, Seamus spoke up. “Normally you’re supposed to smoke it, but if you want something you can sneak past Umbridge and her cronies, you’re better off making it into a food, like brownies.” His eyes furrowed. “But I don’t know the recipe.”

“I do,” Dean said. “My mum makes it sometimes for special occasions. We mostly just need somewhere we can set up a cauldron for a few hours where no one will walk past and smell it.”

Harry, who had been in an awfully similar situation once before in second year, knew the perfect place.

Myrtle hovered over the cauldron while Harry, Neville, Seamus, Dean, and Ron played exploding snap. In the corner of the bathroom, a cauldron simmered quietly.

“Thanks again for letting us hang out in your bathroom for a while, Myrtle,” Harry said.

“Anything for you, Harry darling,” Myrtle giggled, still watched the cauldron with curious eyes. “I wish I’d gotten the chance to try this stuff. One of my dormmates smoked it sometimes, but she wouldn’t share. I couldn’t figure out who was selling it either, so I could never buy my own.” She sighed wistfully.

The boys nodded politely to appease her, but they had already moved on to different topics.

“So we let it steep in butter for another hour, and then what?” Harry asked.

“Then we strain it and let the butter cool before giving it to your house elf friend, so he can use it to make brownies,” Dean said. “The butter will have absorbed the effects, so we can vanish whatever gets strained out.”

“Then we just have to grab everyone who’s coming with us and go to the Room of Requirement to eat the brownies,” Seamus added.

“Why can’t we just eat them in the common room?” Ron asked. He had joined them on their way to Myrtle’s bathroom, and the others had quickly caught him up on the events of the day. “Seems like a risk to sneak around the castle just to test the effects.”

Seamus and Dean shared a look. Dean was the one who answered. “It’d be better to eat them somewhere more private. You never know how it will affect you until you’ve tried it before.”

Harry supposed that made sense. If the different types of cannabis had different effects, and some of them were calming instead of just pain-relieving, it would be good to try theirs in private until they knew which type it was. People sometimes said odd things while under the influence of calming potions.

When Severus entered the kitchen, he was immediately struck by the overpowering smell of weed. His eyes narrowed.


An aged elf appeared, holding a whisk and squinting up at him. “Sir is being asking for Tippy?”

“Someone has been using cannabis in the kitchen tonight. Have any students been here this evening?”

Tippy shook her head vigorously, making her ears flap against her head. “No sir, only elves is being in the kitchen tonight, aside from you sir.”

“I see,” he said. “Have any elves been acting suspiciously? Making any foods that weren’t on the menu this evening?”

House elves, as a rule, were not often condescending, but the look Tippy gave him was clearly questioning his intelligence. “We is making many foods each day, sir. I is not keeping track of every elf.”

Severus looked around the kitchen, and his eyes caught upon one elf who was staring at him with wide, frightened eyes. “What about that one?”

Tippy glanced at the elf in question. “Dobby is a free elf,” she said dismissively. “He is always acting strangely.”

Dobby ducked out of view, and Severus turned back to Tippy. He weighed his options. He could try to ferret out whoever was using cannabis in the castle, but that would most likely bring the issue to Dolores’ attention eventually. She was unbearable enough as it was, and Salazar only knew what she would do if she found out there were psychoactive drugs in the castle. Not only that, but he had to attend a meeting with the Dark Lord later in the evening.

No, he decided. He had far too much on his plate to waste time worrying about some idiot students making edibles.

“That will be all, Tippy. I will take my dinner now.”

“Is this everyone?” Harry asked.

There were more people than he had expected. Ron had gone to collect Hermione after her classes ended, and the pair had appeared with Ginny in tow. Shortly afterward, Luna had shown up with the Weasley twins trailing after her. Harry wasn’t sure how Luna had known to come. He had some suspicions though, he mused as he watched her settle down next to Ginny and lean on her shoulder.

“Aye, captain,” the twins chorused.

“Are we sure this is safe?” Hermione asked.

“My guide to non-magical plants listed cannabis as a level 1 hazard. Almost entirely nonlethal and nonaddictive,” Neville said. “It confirmed that different breeds have different effects, but I couldn’t identify which breed we have. The book was weirdly short on details.”

“It’s safe,” Dean confirmed.

“Shouldn’t you be more concerned about whether it’s allowed ?” Ron teased.

Hermione sniffed in disdain. “I checked. There aren’t any laws against cannabis in the wizarding world. Not even Umbridge has tried to ban it.”

Seamus, who had been quietly portioning out the brownies, started passing around pieces to everyone in attendance. “Serving size is half a brownie,” he announced, “but if you don’t feel the effects in an hour you can have the other half.”

Harry took his piece and carefully tore it into two halves. He took a bite of one half. It tasted fine, but there was definitely an unpleasant herbal aftertaste that made him scrunch up his nose. “How will I know if it works?”

“It’s different for everyone,” Dean said, “but you’ll know.” With that, everyone ate their portions and settled into the various couches and cushions the room had provided.

Harry shrugged. He’d had an almost constant headache for the past few months, so he supposed he would know if the pain relief kicked in.

The group spent a pleasant hour complaining about Umbridge, which devolved into doing bad impressions of the woman herself, which devolved further into impressions of all the professors at Hogwarts.

“I can teach you how to bottle death,” Harry drawled in a nasally voice. “How to brew shampoo… How to stopper prickishness… How to… How...” He lost track of what he’d been saying.

Harry became aware of a strange sensation in his eyes. It almost felt like they were vibrating faintly. He turned to ask if anyone else felt it as well, but it was as if his vision was lagging behind the motion of his head. “Does anyone…?” he started to ask before trailing back off into silence.

“Does anyone what?” Hermione asked. She had been staring intently at the blanket in her lap, but Harry’s voice appeared to have drawn her out of her reverie.

“I just,” Harry said. He felt silly. His thoughts kept slipping away from him. He tried again. “My eyes feel like they’re vibrating?” 

In a darkened room of Malfoy Manor, an altogether different group of people congregated for an altogether different meeting.

Voldemort and his inner circle sat around a large dining room table. The Dark Lord himself sat at the head of the table, with Lucius Malfoy at his right hand. It could almost have passed as a formal dinner, if it weren’t for the lack of food and the air of dread that permeated the guests. 

“Avery,” Voldemort called in a deceptively serene voice. “Would you like to report how your mission with the vampires in Albania went?”

“Of course, my lord,” the man in question responded. He was not one to stutter, but he could feel a tremor in his hands. “My efforts were met with flat refusal from every angle. It appears that the coven in control of Albania is uninterested in supporting our cause, and I was told plainly that they will respond to future attempts to reach out to them with… extreme violence.”

“I see,” Voldemort said lightly.

Everyone held their breath.

After a moment, the Dark Lord’s eyes narrowed, and Avery tensed further as he awaited the cruciatus that was surely coming. Voldemort’s attention seemed to be focused internally, however.

He almost looked confused, as if he had been caught off guard by an errant thought.

“My eyes feel like they’re vibrating?” Harry said. Unbidden, a giggle slipped out of his mouth.

“That’s the weed,” Luna told him very seriously from the floor. She had, at some point, moved there and was doodling on a piece of parchment she’d pulled from her bag.

Dean nodded. He didn’t turn to look at Harry, staring contentedly at the ceiling as he relaxed entirely against the large cushion he had sunk into. “Yeah, pot brownies are like that sometimes.”

Several things clicked in Harry’s mind in rapid succession. Or maybe it took a while. His mind felt like when Quirrel had cursed his broom in first year. His thoughts occurred in jittery, jerking movements. When he blinked, it felt like his whole being flickered in and out of existence. There was a tingling feeling in his skull.

“Pot brownies?” he asked incredulously. “Weed? Cannabis is weed??”

In the silence of the room, everyone heard it very clearly.

Voldemort let out a single, sharp bark of a laugh, which escalated into full-on cackles within seconds. He threw his head back, and his shoulders shook from the force of his laughter.

“Cannabis is weed?” he mimicked to himself in a mocking falsetto before dissolving back into wordless cackling.

The Death Eaters sat perfectly still, petrified.

One Death Eater in particular felt dread trickling down his spine as several facts aligned themselves neatly in his mind.

Someone at Hogwarts was in possession of cannabis. The Dark Lord was laughing and talking about cannabis. Harry Potter had a mind link of some sort with the Dark Lord.

A final thought clicked decisively into place: Snape was going to kill Potter.

The Dark Lord finally managed to get his laughter under control. With a grin, he ordered, “Get out.”

“My Lord,” Bellatrix began in concern.

“Bellatrixsssss,” Voldemort drawled mockingly. He tapped his wand against his palm.



The Death Eaters fled, some outright shoving others out of the way in their haste.


The door closed with a snap behind the final Death Eater.

“Man I fuckin’ hate Bellatrix Lestrange,” Harry mumbled to himself, apropos of nothing.

Next to him, Neville broke out into helpless laughter. The other boy leaned onto Harry’s shoulder, and Harry obligingly turned to be a more comfortable cushion.

Dean and Luna seemed to have realized that no one else in the room had ever tried weed before, and they began to make a serious effort to check in on everyone.

Ron haltingly asked if they had any snacks, and Luna was quick to call for Dobby and request some. Dean tacked on a request for water as well.

Soon they each had a bowl of assorted snacks and a goblet of water within arm’s reach. Dobby was very pleased with the loud cheer of gratitude he received from the group in return. Harry’s eyes caught on his goblet of water, and he drained half of it in quick gulps. When had his mouth gotten so dry? Maybe it was because he was grinning so much. When had he started grinning? He made a conscious effort to school his expression just to prove to himself that he could.

The twins, who were sharing a loveseat across from Harry and Neville, were having a rapid-fire conversation that Harry’s lagging brain could not comprehend. The individual words made sense, but when they were strung together he couldn’t seem to follow their meaning. He thought maybe they were talking about their shop? One of them reached down to borrow some of Luna’s parchment and began sketching something out in earnest.

Looking at them made him dizzy, so Harry looked away.

At some point, Luna had reclaimed her spot on a couch with Ginny, and Ginny had laid her head in her lap. “How are you feeling, Hermione?” Luna prompted.

Hermione was sitting in her own armchair, playing with Ron’s hair as he sat on the floor in front of her. Her head whipped up upon hearing her name, and she nodded earnestly.

Harry laughed, and Hermione’s eyebrows furrowed in confusion.

“That’s good,” Luna said, bringing Hermione’s attention back away from Harry.

“Whatcha thinkin’ about?” Ginny asked her with an indulgent smile.

Hermione struggled with that question for a moment. Then she noticed that several people were looking at her expectantly, and seemed to get flustered. “What?” she demanded.

Ron and Harry burst into laughter, and Hermione flushed. Before she could get too upset, Luna broke in. “How is Crookshanks lately, Hermione?”

She perked up immediately, hitting her palms against the arms of her chair in excitement. “She’s doing soooo good! She slept in my bed last night and it was so nice.”

“Yeah?” Ginny said.

Hermione nodded feverishly. “She’s so soft and warm and she bumped her head against my head and I almost cried. I love her so much.”

“That’s great,” Luna said honestly. “Do you see the goblet next to you? You should drink some of that.”

“This one?” Hermione asked, picking it up.

“Yes, just hold that and drink some of it,” Luna directed.

“It’s water.”

“That’s right.”


Harry spent a few more moments inspecting his friends. The room was swirling around him, and it was easier to focus on people. He respectfully kept his eyes off Hermione though, because she got defensive when anyone looked at her for too long.

Ron, leaning up against Hermione’s chair, clutched a bowl of snacks to his chest and painstakingly ate one piece at a time. Harry was suddenly aware of how much he wanted something to eat, but he quickly rejected the idea of getting up to grab some. His instincts told him that the floor would rock under his feet like a ship. Had he ever been on a ship? The Durmstrang students had arrived at Hogwarts on a flying ship. Did flying ships rock like normal ships? Oh! The Dursleys had taken him on a rowboat to get to that island shack when he was eleven. Did that count? Count for what again?

‘When did you last eat?’

“Lunch,” Harry said out loud.

‘Merlin, you took edibles for the first time on an empty stomach?’

“Lunch?” Dean echoed in concern.

Harry realized he shouldn’t have said that out loud. 

‘Grab that bowl to your right. You should eat more.’

He struggled to come up with a response. It felt like he was having two different conversations, and he wasn’t sober enough to even keep up with one. “I, uh. The last meal I had was. Lunch.” There. Nailed it. He grabbed the bowl of popcorn and situated it in his lap so it wouldn’t bother Neville. It was weird - he didn’t feel hungry, but he wanted to eat.

Dean seemed to accept the explanation at least.

Neville snorted to himself, and then Harry was laughing again. Neville joined him, and there was an echo of laughter in his head as well, which only heightened the hilarity.

Unfortunately, Hermione must have thought that they were laughing at her. “What??” she demanded again. This sparked Ron, Dean, and Ginny to join in. It quickly spiraled out of control until all five of them were gasping for breath and the slightest giggle would set them off again. “Stop laughing at me,” Hermione ordered, pouting.

She looked like a kicked puppy, so Harry made a serious effort to rein himself in. Gradually, the room got itself under control again.

“What was so funny?” Luna asked him, still grinning.

“I,” he began, but then stopped short. Why had he been laughing? Something, something… Hermione, obviously, but he didn’t want to offend her. Trying to grasp a thought long enough to speak it out loud was like trying to hold onto a wet bar of soap.

Wasn’t there, like, a voice or something? Was that normal? Would they judge him if he said that? Probably, right? That seemed like one of those things that was weird even in the magical world. He should keep that to himself. Several people were looking at him quizzically, but he remained silent, embarrassed.

“Ron, mate, are you alright?” Dean asked abruptly.

Ron, still clutching his bowl of snacks, looked up at the rest of them with wide, frightened eyes. “I don’t want these anymore.”

“The snacks?” Dean clarified.

Ron nodded wordlessly but did not otherwise move.

While the others dealt with that, Harry’s attention turned inward.

‘Um,' he tried.


‘Okay cool,’ he thought, ‘so there is a voice.’

‘There is a voice,’ the voice confirmed. ‘You, Harry Potter, are immensely lucky.’

‘Usually when I hear those words, I’m in the infirmary,’ Harry thought inanely. ‘Is this a side-effect of the brownies?’

‘You don’t realize who you’re talking to.’ It wasn’t a question, and Harry’s face scrunched up in thought. ‘Oh, don’t hurt yourself.’ The voice gave off the impression of rolling its eyes. ‘You are speaking to Lord Voldemort.’

Instead of having a normal reaction to such an occurrence, Harry’s brain unhelpfully pointed out that they weren’t speaking at all. He flinched at the sudden stab of pain in his head.

‘Cannabis lowers one’s natural mental shields,’ the voice continued as if that hadn’t happened. ‘Your thoughts are practically screaming at me.’

Harry’s eyes widened. Oh Merlin there were so many things he shouldn’t think about if Voldemort was in his head. Like- wait no, he couldn’t let himself think about it. But he- What about the- Shit, wait-

‘SHUT UP. I don’t care about your stupid teenaged angst or whatever little tidbits of information Dumbledore saw fit to give you.’

That snapped Harry back into a productive train of thought. ‘...Is that the lucky part?’

‘No, imbecile. You are lucky because in your stupidity you took incredibly strong edibles, for the first time, on an empty stomach. Normally, cannabis lowers one’s mental shields, which would have left you open for attack. However, when I felt your mind opening up, I lowered my own occlumency shields to get a better look and got hit with the full force of your high. Fortunately for you, I am not eager to attempt using mind magic while intoxicated for the first time in over a decade.’

Harry took a second to process that. ‘So you’re in my head because I’m an idiot, but I don’t have to be worried right now because I’m a lucky idiot.’ That sounded fairly typical for his life. ‘Do I have to be worried later?’

‘There’s always the slim chance that the mind-opening effects of the cannabis will become permanent,’ Voldemort said with a tone that implied he was keeping his fingers crossed for that outcome. ‘But otherwise, no, you should go back to normal once the high wears off in a few hours.’

Harry hummed in response. The hum reminded him of a few notes of a song he heard once, so he kept humming. He lost track of the melody after a moment, but Neville started to hum his own tune in response. Harry thought it sounded nice.

‘Oh, spare me,’ Voldemort complained. ‘What would it take to make you go to bed so I can stop experiencing this embarrassing display of teenage antics?’

Harry thought about it. ‘You could give up on the war and disappear quietly forever?’

‘Try again.’

‘I think I’ll stay, then. I’m having a good time.’

Things had calmed down immensely while Harry was distracted. The others had managed to take away Ron’s snack bowl, and he was now carefully unwrapping individual chocolates and handing them to Hermione. She seemed newly delighted every time another treat miraculously appeared in her hand. Fred and George were laying on the floor, both doodling on the parchment they’d borrowed from Luna. Luna and Ginny, for their part, had joined Neville in humming a discordant little tune together. Dean had sunk back into his cushion, smiling vaguely and listening to their humming, with Seamus tucked against his side. That was pretty similar to how he and Neville were sitting, Harry thought, and he had the sudden impression that life was just a series of mirrors reflecting the same scenes over and over again with new characters. Maybe it was like a play, with new actors, new sets, and new directors. But that couldn’t be right… where were the mirrors?

‘Are there ever mirrors in plays?’ he asked.

A dull throbbing had been growing in his forehead while he thought, and it finally split into a blinding headache. ‘Go to bed,’ Voldemort ordered.

Harry rolled his eyes and pointedly nestled deeper into the couch. ‘I get headaches from you so often they barely register anymore. Get new tricks.’

He got the impression of Voldemort growling in annoyance. ‘My first time getting high in a decade and I’m forced to spend it in the mind of a useless teenager.’

That rang an alarm bell in Harry’s head. “Does Voldemort smoke weed??” Harry whispered to himself in horror.

He must have been louder than he meant to be, because Ginny stopped humming and lifted her head to stare at Harry. “...Oh my god.”

“What?” Harry asked nervously. Had she heard him? Could she tell that Voldemort was in his head?

“He does,” Ginny breathed. “He tried all sorts of drugs while he was a student, it was like, a weird hobby.” Her eyes were wide as if the universe was opening up to her.

'Snitch,’ Voldemort grumbled.

Everyone was staring at Ginny in open-mouthed shock, even the people who had previously been dozing off. Ron finally spoke to ask what they were all thinking. “Why do you know that?”

“Because he,” Ginny said before faltering, her face falling. “Because the diary told me.” She went quiet, and they all looked at each other unsure what to do.

Luna clapped her hands together, catching everyone’s attention. “Alright, I think it’s bedtime. We should start heading back before we get too tired. Harry, would you mind checking that the way to Gryffindor tower is clear? I’ll spend the night with Ginny, I think she needs someone with her.”

Harry fumbled to pull the map out of his pocket without jostling Neville, who was still leaning drowsily against him. After a moment, he unfolded it and-

‘Oh dear,’ Voldemort said with faint amusement.

A pair of footsteps labeled Severus Snape lurked right outside the common room.

‘Act natural,’ the voice in his head coached him. ‘You’re going to think he knows you’re high, but he doesn’t know.’

‘That sounds like terrible advice,’ Harry thought back.

‘It is.’

‘Why are you giving me advice at all??’ He was hidden under his invisibility cloak, edging closer to the entrance to Gryffindor tower while the rest of the party waited around the corner.

‘As delightful as it is to experience the effects of cannabis again, being high right this second is incredibly inconvenient. I had to cut a meeting short for this. I was about to torture a man and frighten my followers into submission. The sooner you go to bed, the sooner the bond will return to normal and I can get back to work.’

Harry’s face scrunched up. ‘It’s like, the middle of the night.’

‘Evil never sleeps,’ Voldemort replied, giving the impression of a wicked smile. ‘Now go lead Severus on a wild goose chase.’

‘...This is stupid,’ Harry thought.

‘It will be fine. The spell is simple enough.’

‘Not that,’ Harry replied. He was feeling marginally more sober now that he had eaten something and started moving around, and the situation was starting to catch up with him. ‘I ate pot brownies, and Snape knows somehow, and Voldemort of all people is helping me sneak back into the common room. This is stupid.’

‘Ah,’ the voice in his head said. ‘Yes, this is very stupid.’

Harry glanced once more at the map to make sure the others were in place. With a deep breath, he whispered the spell Voldemort (Voldemort, of all people) had taught him. “Raucous.”

The air around him was filled with disembodied giggles. Snape’s footsteps on the map immediately stopped pacing and began to march toward Harry’s, and Harry set off quickly towards the staircases. Hopefully the others would use the opportunity to get into the common room undetected.

Evading Snape was always a difficult task, even with the map and his invisibility cloak. His best bet was to get onto a staircase as it began to move, then make his way back to the tower from wherever the stairs deposited him. With any luck, he would be able to make it back before Snape realized he’d been tricked.

He was so screwed.

The voice in his head agreed.

Snape’s voice, deceptively calm, came from behind him. “Homenum revelio.”

Harry blanched as he felt the spell sweep over him. ‘New plan,’ he thought, glancing back down at his map briefly before taking a sharp turn around a corner, heading away from the stairs.

‘What are you- No, no, you will not go to-,’ but Harry ignored Voldemort’s protests in favor of canceling the raucous spell and shoving the map into his back pocket while he ran. He stumbled a few times, but his quidditch training kept him in shape and he thought he probably had enough of a head start to get to get where he was aiming to go before Snape could close the distance.

Harry barreled around another corner, just barely skidding to a stop before he ran into the robed figure standing there.

Albus Dumbledore watched with curious eyes as Harry whipped off his invisibility cloak, shoved it into the elder wizard’s hands, and angled himself as if the two of them had been having a conversation. With approximately two seconds before Snape caught up, Harry started with the first plausible topic to come to mind.

“So there’s this muggle candy called a Mars Bar-”

“Potter!” Snape came around the corner at full speed. “This is the last straw. Of all the irresponsible, juvenile-”

“Now Severus,” Dumbledore interrupted, clasping his hands -and the cloak- out of sight behind his back. “Mister Potter and I were just having a lovely evening stroll, chatting about muggle sweets. I’m sure you’ll agree that he isn’t breaking curfew if he is with a professor.” The man smiled a genial smile, his eyes twinkling.

‘Unbelievable,’ the voice in his head complained.

Snape gave Harry a once-over, and Harry tried to look innocent and confused while still trying to catch his breath. “I see,” the man said flatly. “And I am to believe you took this stroll… just to talk about candy?”

Dumbledore looked at Harry, clearly leaving it up to him. “Well we got distracted talking about the candy,” Harry stalled, “but, uh…”

‘Tell him you wanted to ask the old man about the prophecy,’ the voice whispered.

“I wanted to ask Professor Dumbledore about the prophecy,” Harry parroted, then internally cringed. ‘Fuck.’ Why had he listened to Voldemort of all people?


The reaction of the two professors, however, was immediate. Both of them paled drastically, and Snape actually took a half step back. Harry tried to look like he knew what he had just said.

“...Ah,” Dumbledore said after a long moment. “Severus, I believe this is a conversation best kept between myself and Harry. If you would be so kind as to leave us? I will make sure he is returned to his common room with no detours after our discussion.”

Snape paused, clearly conflicted and thrown off balance. Finally, he gave a stiff nod and, after leveling one last glare at Harry, turned and stalked away. Harry found himself staring at how the man’s robes whipped and fluttered around him before reluctantly turning back to the Headmaster.

“Now Harry,” he began as they started walking together in the direction of Gryffindor tower, “I understand that you must have a great deal of questions. First, however, I must ask how you came to know of the prophecy’s existence.”

Harry’s muddled mind raced to keep up with what was going on. He didn’t- he hadn’t- ‘I thought you didn’t care about getting information out of this,’ Harry mentally hissed.

‘Slytherin, Potter,’ Voldemort reminded him. ‘Plans change.’

Dumbledore was still waiting for an explanation. Voldemort was a smug presence in the back of his head, and this conversation seemed like it was going to be entirely too serious for Harry’s current level of intoxication.

...Oh wait, serious, that was perfect.

“Sirius mentioned it once when he thought I couldn’t hear him,” Harry lied.

Dumbledore hummed in disappointment, nodding. “I see. I’m sorry, my boy, but I have to ask for your trust and patience in this matter. I cannot tell you the contents of the prophecy at this time. I can, however, confirm this for you: the prophecy pertains to you and Voldemort, and it would be disastrous if the exact wording fell into the wrong hands.”

‘This is a lot,’ Harry thought, ignoring his building headache fueled by Voldemort’s rage. ‘I think I should be angry about it, but mostly I think it’s funny that now I have information I didn’t have, and you got nothing new from this.’ His headache, predictably, doubled in intensity. “But you do know what it says?” Harry asked aloud, trying not to smile or wince.

“I do,” Dumbledore confirmed.

“Okay,” Harry agreed. After a moment, he added, “I’m probably going to be mad at you about that once I have time to actually think about it.” He saw no reason not to be honest with the man in that regard.

Dumbledore smiled. “I expect nothing less, my dear boy.” By that point, they had arrived in front of the portrait of the Fat Lady. “I wish you a pleasant rest of your evening then. And, Harry, for future reference,” he said, peering at him over his spectacles with a knowing look, “you should know that cannabis causes the whites of your eyes to go a bit red.” Then he winked, handed Harry his cloak back, and departed back the way they’d came, humming quietly to himself.

‘...I hate him,’ Voldemort said simply.

Harry focused on giving the Fat Lady the password so he wouldn’t have to admit he kind of agreed. Inside, the common room was empty except for a lone figure on the couch.

“Neville?” Harry asked quietly, nudging the boy awake. Neville blinked blearily up at him, his face scrunching up in confusion. “What are you doing down here?”

Neville pulled himself upright, stretching. “I was going to,” pause for yawn, “gonna wait for you. Must have… fallen asleep. You all good, then?”

Harry blinked, then thought about it. “You know, Neville, I think I am,” he answered with no small amount of surprise.

“Well good,” Neville said firmly, “You deserve a good night where nothing bad happens, for once.”

Harry smiled. “Thanks. Let’s head up to bed before you pass out again.”

Once they were upstairs, Neville climbed into bed and promptly fell back asleep, shoes and all. Harry was feeling marginally more awake, so he took the time to get ready for bed.

‘I have a question,’ he thought at Voldemort while brushing his teeth.

‘Salazar save me.’

‘You’re as high as I am, right?’ Harry continued regardless. ‘Then how are you so… so…’

‘Coherent?’ Voldemort drawled.

‘Yeah, that one.’

‘I have far more experience with this than you do. I made money at Hogwarts by selling cannabis to the mudbloods and halfbloods, you know. I even bred my own strain in the forest, though I had to leave it behind when I graduated.’

They both remained silent for a moment. And then-


Harry winced.

‘You stole my weed,’ Voldemort hissed. ‘And got me high with it.’


‘...That’s almost considerate of you.’

‘Er, you’re welcome,’ Harry replied. ‘This has been a weird day. I’m learning a lot of things and I don’t know how to deal with any of them. Do I have a crush on Neville?’

‘I could kill him so you can figure it out based on your level of emotional agony,’ Voldemort offered.

‘No thanks,’ Harry rushed to decline, ‘I’ll work it out on my own.’

Harry then realized that he had been brushing his teeth for the entirety of the conversation and hurriedly spit and rinsed his mouth. That was one benefit of being high, he supposed. He doubted his teeth had ever been so clean.

‘So, um,’ Harry thought. ‘I have to go to the bathroom, so…’

Voldemort made a disgusted noise. ‘If you guarantee that you will go to bed immediately after, I will leave.’

‘I don’t think I could physically stay awake much longer even if I wanted to,’ Harry admitted. Now that everyone was safely back in the dorms, he could feel tiredness clawing at the edges of his consciousness.

‘Finally,’ Voldemort commented, and then the extra presence was gone from his mind.

Unfortunately, Harry was more tired than he expected, and he ended up falling asleep on the toilet mere minutes later.

Voldemort breathed a sigh of relief as he felt the effects of the cannabis leave his mind. The boy must have gone to bed at last. Finally, he could think about what he needed to do to salvage this night. 

He steepled his hands in thought. The meeting was a bust, he was far too tired to deal with his underlings after that ordeal. He could always summon Avery and torture him for his failure, but that was always less fun without an audience.

Hmm… Oh! He could always… Yes, excellent, that would be wonderful entertainment to make up for the disaster of the evening. With a smirk, Voldemort withdrew his wand and pressed it against his arm.

Barely a minute later, Severus Snape flooed into his office bedraggled and out of breath, his Death Eater robes failing to hide the fact that he was wearing pajamas under them.

He must have dragged the man out of bed just as he was falling asleep, Voldemort noted with delight. It was a game he played, stressing and inconveniencing the man in as many ways as he could. “Severusss,” he began, drawing it out with a hiss, “I’m sure you know why I have summoned you.”

There wasn’t a real answer. Voldemort was making it up as he went.

“...Yes, my lord,” Severus replied after a moment.

Voldemort hummed with an air of disapproval. He moved to stand in front of the man, looming over him. “Your interference with the Potter brat tonight has set my plans back by months. If not for you, I would have seen him dead or maimed tonight. What do you have to say for yourself?”

Severus Snape was smart enough to keep his reactions under control, but Voldemort could almost hear the gears turning in his head as he struggled to understand. “Forgive me, my lord. I did not realize you were moving anything forward tonight that related to the brat. If I can be of any service to these plans in the future-”

“Silence,” the Dark Lord interrupted. There wasn’t a plan, and he didn’t feel like making one up at the moment. He was here to push Severus closer to having an aneurism, not to make more work for himself. “Now, to discuss your-”

Back at Hogwarts, Harry’s eyes flickered open. He was… on the toilet? He must have fallen asleep, he thought blearily. Okay, he thought, that’s fine. I just have to, get it together, and-

But he didn’t get to finish that thought. Instead, the moment he stood up, his stomach lurched urgently.

Uh oh.

'Uh oh,’ Voldemort heard through the bond, and that was all the warning he had.

‘Uh oh,’ didn’t even begin to cover it, Voldemort thought, staring at where he had just thrown up on Severus’ shoes. He was going to strangle that brat.

As he hobbled off to bed, Harry had the sudden urge to kill someone. And a blinding headache, which clued him into the fact that he was probably still experiencing more of Voldemort’s thoughts than normal.

“Stupid bond,” Harry complained under his breath while climbing under the covers. “Bloody inconvenient.”

“Severus, you’ve served me faithfully for a long time, have you not?’

“I have, my Lord.”

“And I have been a worthy leader, have I not? Always treated you with respect?”

“...You have, my Lord.”

“I’m glad you agree. In order for us to keep this balance we have going, both of those statements have to be true. So, to that end, I’m going to leave now. And then you’re going to leave. And we will never talk about this night again. Otherwise, I might have to do some thinking about just how faithful you’ve been since joining my cause.”

“...Yes, my Lord.”

The first thing Harry became aware of when he woke up was that it was dark outside. The second thing he noticed was that the room was empty. A quick tempus charm told him that it was early evening, and it took Harry longer than he would like to admit to realize that it meant early evening of the next day, not that he had somehow traveled back in time to before they ate those brownies.

With great effort, he managed to pry himself out of bed, make himself some semblance of presentable, and drag his lagging body down to the common room. The others, Luna included, were all sitting in a huddle around the fireplace, and Harry plopped himself down in the space between Ron and Neville on the couch.

Ginny gave him a tired grin, her head resting on her hand. “Glad to see you’re still alive. We were worried when even Ron got here before you.”

Harry just groaned and laid his head against Neville’s shoulder. “Am I still high, or is the world just spinning?”

“You shouldn’t be,” Dean answered, “but based on how everyone’s feeling, you might. That must have been some really strong weed you found.” Here, he rubbed his neck awkwardly. “Sorry about last night, by the way. If I’d known none of you knew what it was, I would have had a smaller dose so I could take care of you all. Sorry if anyone had a bad time.”

“I had a good time,” one of the twins declared. Harry thought it might be Fred, but he couldn’t tell their voices apart yet, and his eyes had slipped closed at some point. “We came up with some ingenious ideas for the shop, didn’t we Gred?”

“We certainly did, Forge,” answered maybe-George. “Feast your eyes, friends.” There was a sound of rustling paper, and Harry was curious enough to take a look. Yes-that’s-definitely-George was brandishing a piece of parchment covered in unintelligible scribbles. There were parts that looked like words, something that might have been a diagram of some kind, and a drawing of a clock with the numbers all bunched together.

“...It looks like it was drawn by a first year with a concussion,” Hermione spoke up for the first time.

“It does!” the twins agreed in sync, bursting with pride.

“I like it,” Luna said.

“...I thought I had figured out some connection between my breathing and the universe,” Neville admitted after a moment. “It was… cyclical.” He didn’t elaborate further, seemingly embarrassed.

“I fell asleep on the toilet last night after everyone got back safe,” Harry told them. “I don’t know how long I was there before I woke up, threw up, and went to my actual bed.”

Predictably, everyone cracked up laughing at him, and then suddenly they were all confessing their strange experiences of the night. It was like they had all been waiting for confirmation that everyone had felt it, and now they could speak freely.

“I thought I was being compelled to eat my snacks.”

“I forgot Ron was unwrapping chocolates for me. I thought they were appearing in my hand by magic.”

“At one point I swear there was music playing.”

“You just started laughing and wouldn’t explain it!”

“And then Hermione thought we were making fun of her every time someone looked at her!”

They went back and forth like that, gaining energy, until they were almost giddy with the silliness they’d experienced last night. It was nice, feeling loose and relaxed while sitting with his friends.

That, of course, meant that the universe was unbalanced and something had to happen to ratchet his stress levels back up immediately. The ‘something’ came in the form of a nondescript owl tapping at the window. A passing second year let the bird in, and it flew directly to Harry, dropping a letter in his lap. It perched on the back of the opposite couch, stoically tolerating it when Luna reached up to pet its feathers.

Harry stared at the letter with a sinking feeling. It had no markings to indicate who had sent it, but he had a pretty good guess regardless.

“I’ll go put this upstairs to deal with later,” he told his friends, disentangling himself from the couch’s other occupants to stand up.

They let him go easily, and he rushed up the stairs two at a time. In the empty dorm, Harry stared at the envelope in his hands as if it were a bomb. Gingerly, with the legitimate expectation that it would kill him the second he did so, Harry ripped it open. When he remained alive and in one piece, he removed the letter and began to read. 

“In the interest of never experiencing that again, I am prepared to offer you a deal. If you mail me a cutting of one of my cannabis plants and give me adequate warning in the future, I will close our mental connection when you wish to get high. Consider it a courtesy for both of us.

This changes nothing.”

There was no salutation or sign off, but it didn’t really need either. He was about to set it down before he saw a small postscript at the bottom of the page.

“P.S. There is a hidden room at the back of the Chamber of Secrets. In it, there is a large stash of heroin from my school days. Send it to me, and I will grant amnesty to one person of your choosing. Perhaps your little boyfriend. Think about it.”

Harry was starting to regret ever finding that patch of cannabis plants.