Status: I am a terrible human being who went on hiatus without telling anybody! But I'm back now and writing more for you wonderful people!

In Her Eyes Lies Her Heart

The Beginning

“You said you’d already worked out that egg clue!” said Hermione indignantly.

“Keep your voice down!” said Harry crossly. “I just need to - sort of fine-tune it, all right?”

He, Ron, and Hermione were sitting at the very back of the Charms class with a table to themselves. They were supposed to be practicing the opposite of the Summoning Charm today - the Banishing Charm. Owing to the potential for nasty accidents when objects kept flying across the room. Professor Flitwick had given each student a stack of cushions on which to practice, the theory being that these wouldn’t hurt anyone if they went off target. It was a good theory, but it wasn’t working very well. Neville’s aim was so poor that he kept accidentally sending much heavier things flying across the room - Professor Flitwick, for instance.

“Just forget the egg for a minute, all right?” Harry hissed as Professor Flitwick went whizzing resignedly past them, landing on top of a large cabinet. “I’m trying to tell you about Snape and Moody…”

This class was an ideal cover for a private conversation, as everyone was having far too much fun to pay them any attention. Harry had been recounting his adventures of the previous night in whispered installments for the last half hour.

“Snape said Moody’s searched his office as well?” Ron whispered, his eyes alight with interest as he Banished a cushion with a sweep of his wand (it soared into the air and knocked Parvati’s hat off). “Oh, sorry, Pavarti.” He smiled at her, then turned back to Harry, “What… d’you reckon Moody’s here to keep an eye on Snape as well as Karkaroff?”

“Well, I dunno if that’s what Dumbledore asked him to do, but he’s definitely doing it,” said Harry, waving his wand without paying much attention, so that his cushion did an odd sort of belly flop off the desk. “Moody said Dumbledore only lets Snape stay here because he’s giving him a second chance or something…”

“What?” said Ron, his eyes widening, his next cushion spinning high into the air, ricocheting off the chandelier, and dropping heavily onto Flitwick’s desk. “Harry… maybe Moody thinks Snape put your name in the Goblet of Fire!”

“Oh Ron,” said Hermione, shaking her head skeptically, “we thought Snape was trying to kill Harry before, and it turned out he was saving Harry’s life, remember?”

She Banished a cushion and it flew across the room and landed in the box they were all supposed to be aiming at. Harry looked at Hermione, thinking… it was true that Snape had saved his life once, but the odd thing was, Snape definitely loathed him, just as he’d loathed Harry’s father when they had been at school together. Snape loved taking points from Harry, and had certainly never missed an opportunity to give him punishments, or even to suggest that he should be suspended from the school.

“I don’t care what Moody says,” Hermione went on. “Dumbledore’s not stupid. He was right to trust Hagrid and Professor Lupin, even though loads of people wouldn’t have given them jobs, so why shouldn’t he be right about Snape, even if Snape is a bit -”
“- evil,” said Ron promptly. “Come on, Hermione, why are all these Dark wizard catchers searching his office, then?”

“Why has Mr. Crouch been pretending to be ill?” said Hermione, ignoring Ron. “Its a bit funny, isn’t it, that he can’t manage to come to the Yule Ball, but he can get up here in the middle of the night when he wants to?”

“You just don’t like Crouch because of that elf, Winky,” said Ron, sending a cushion soaring into the window.

“You just want to think Snape’s up to something,” said Hermione, sending her cushion zooming neatly into the box.

“I just want to know what Snape did with his first chance, if he’s on his second one,” said Harry grimly, and his cushion, to his very great surprise, flew straight across the room and landed neatly on top of Hermione’s.

Obedient to Sirius’s wish of hearing about anything odd at Hogwarts, Harry sent him a letter by brown owl that night, explaining all about Mr. Crouch breaking into Snape’s office, and Moody and Snape’s conversation. Then Harry turned his attention in earnest to the most urgent problem facing him: how to survive underwater for an hour on the twenty-fourth of February.

Ron quite liked the idea of using the Summoning Charm again - Harry had explained about Aqua-Lungs, and Ron couldn’t see why Harry shouldn’t summon one from the nearest Muggle town. Hermione squashed this plan by pointing out that, in the unlikely event that Harry managed to learn how to operate an Aqua- Lung within the set limit of an hour, he was sure to be disqualified for breaking the International Code of Wizarding Secrecy - it was too much to hope that no Muggles would spot an Aqua-Lung zooming across the countryside to Hogwarts.

“Of course, the ideal solution would be for you to Transfigure yourself into a submarine or something,” Hermione said. “If only we’d done human Transfiguration already! But I don’t think we start that until sixth year, and it can go badly wrong if you don’t know what you’re doing…”
“Yeah, I don’t fancy walking around with a periscope sticking out of my head,” said Harry. “I s’pose I could always attack someone in front of Moody; he might do it for me…”

“I don’t think he’d let you choose what you wanted to be turned into, though,” said Hermione seriously. “No, I think your best chance is some sort of charm.”

“Eve said something about a Bubblehead charm,” Harry said.

“Oh! Yes, that would be perfect!” Hermione exclaimed, “I remember Professor Flitwick mentioned it last year.”

“Yeah, but Eve reckons I don’t have enough time to learn it,” Harry said, less enthusiastically than Hermione.”

“That’s not what I said,” said Eve, materializing beside him.

“How do you do that?” Harry said, straightening his glasses, for he had jumped horribly when she spoke.

“I learned how to walk without stomping around, it’s not that hard,” she rolled her eyes and sat in the empty chair beside him. “Anyway, I meant that you wouldn’t have time to get proficient enough for the charm to be reliable. You could learn to do the charm in a day if you wanted to. But you’ll have to be able to hold the charm in place while also doing whatever is required once you’re in there. The last thing you need is for the charm to fail while you’re 300 feet below the surface and unable to recast it because you can’t do non-verbal spells yet.”

She propped her feet up in his lap.

“I think you should learn the charm, but only as a backup while we look for something more reliable so you don’t drown.”

“I s’pose you’re right,” said Harry, resting a hand on her shin. “Where should we start?”

“I think we should look for a potion or something that won’t require you to have to maintain it to survive,” she said, thoughtfully.

So Harry, thinking that he would soon have had enough of the library to last him a lifetime, buried himself once more among the dusty volumes, looking for any potion that might enable a human to survive without oxygen. However, though he, Eve, Ron, and Hermione searched through their lunchtimes, evenings, and whole weekends - though Harry asked Professor McGonagall for a note of permission to use the Restricted Section, and even asked the irritable, vulture-like librarian Madam Pince, for help - they found nothing whatsoever that would enable Harry to spend an hour underwater and live to tell the tale.

Familiar flutterings of panic were starting to disturb Harry now, but they weren’t nearly as bad as the first task. Eve worked with him every night on the Bubblehead charm, and he felt that if worst came to worst, he wouldn’t be completely unable to survive. But the idea that if he failed he would drown was still an unpleasant one, and he was finding it difficult to concentrate in class again. The lake, which Harry had always taken for granted as just another feature of the grounds, drew his eyes whenever he was near a classroom window, a great, irongray mass of chilly water, whose dark and icy depths were starting to seem as distant as the moon.

Just as it had before he faced the Horntail, time was slipping away as though somebody had bewitched the clocks to go extra-fast. There was a week to go before February the twenty-fourth (there was still time)… there were five days to go (he was bound to find something soon)… three days to go (please let me find something… please)… With two days left. Harry started to go off food again, though that only lasted through breakfast, as Eve threatened to force feed him if he didn’t start eating a healthy amount. The only good thing about breakfast on Monday was the return of the brown owl he had sent to Sirius. He pulled off the parchment, unrolled it, and saw the shortest letter Sirius had ever written to him.

Send date of next Hogsmeade weekend by return owl.

Harry turned the parchment over and looked at the back, hoping to see something else, but it was blank.

“Weekend after next,” whispered Hermione, who had read the note over Harrys shoulder. “Here - take my quill and send this owl back straight away.”

Harry scribbled the dates down on the back of Sirius’s letter, tied it onto the brown owl’s leg, and watched it take flight again. What had he expected? Advice on how to survive underwater? He had been so intent on telling Sirius all about Snape and Moody he had completely forgotten to mention the eggs clue.

“What’s he want to know about the next Hogsmeade weekend for?” said Ron.
“Dunno,” said Harry dully. The momentary happiness that had flared inside him at the sight of the owl had died. “Come on… Care of Magical Creatures.”

Whether Hagrid was trying to make up for the Blast-Ended Skrewts, or because there were now only two skrewts left, or because he was trying to prove he could do anything that Professor Grubbly-Plank could. Harry didn’t know, but Hagrid had been continuing her lessons on unicorns ever since he’d returned to work. It turned out that Hagrid knew quite as much about unicorns as he did about monsters, though it was clear that he found their lack of poisonous fangs disappointing.

Today he had managed to capture two unicorn foals. Unlike full-grown unicorns, they were pure gold. Parvati and Lavender went into transports of delight at the sight of them, and even Pansy Parkinson had to work hard to conceal how much she liked them.

“Easier ter spot than the adults,” Hagrid told the class. “They turn silver when they’re abou’ two years old, an’ they grow horns at aroun four. Don’ go pure white till they’re full grown, ‘round about seven. They’re a bit more trustin when they’re babies… don mind boys so much… C’mon, move in a bit, yeh can pat ‘em if yeh want… give ‘em a few o’ these sugar lumps…

“You okay Harry?” Hagrid muttered, moving aside slightly, while most of the others swarmed around the baby unicorns.

“Yeah,” said Harry.

“Jus’ nervous, eh?” said Hagrid.

“Bit,” said Harry.

“Harry,” said Hagrid, clapping a massive hand on his shoulder, so that Harry’s knees buckled under its weight, “I’d’ve bin worried before I saw yeh take on tha Horntail, but I know now yeh can do anythin’ yeh set yer mind ter. I’m not worried at all. Yeh’re goin ter be fine. Got yer clue worked out, haven’ yeh?”

Harry nodded, but even as he did so, an insane urge to confess that he didn’t believe he could complete the task, that he wasn’t good enough with charms to keep up what Eve had taught him. He looked up at Hagrid - perhaps he had to go into the lake sometimes, to deal with the creatures in it? He looked after everything else on the grounds, after all.

“Yeh’re goin’ ter win,” Hagrid growled, patting Harrys shoulder again, so that Harry actually felt himself sink a couple of inches into the soft ground. “I know it. I can feel it. Yeh’re goin’ ter win, Harry.”

Harry just couldn’t bring himself to wipe the happy, confident smile off Hagrid’s face. Pretending he was interested in the young unicorns, he forced a smile in return, and moved forward to pat them with the others.

That night, Harry felt exceptionally nervous. He and Eve had borrowed a spare classroom near Gryffindor tower with the permission of Professor McGonagall. They had just practiced the spell again, and he had been able to hold it for 40 minutes, while completing a series of tasks Eve devised to test his concentration. But despite Eve’s exclamations that he had vastly improved, and that he was perfectly capable, just lacking confidence, Harry felt extremely nervous and depressed.
Eve sat next to him on the cool stone floor. Eve and Harry sat in silence for some time, gazing out of the opposite window.

“Harry, I- I just wanted to say I’m sorry for what happened, at the Yule Ball,” she said breaking the silence.

Harry looked up at her, startled.

“It wasn’t your fault,” he said at once, “it was an accident, that’s all.”

She smiled at him, “I should have told you, warned you. I had so much skin exposed, I was taking a terrible risk, and I should have told you what would happen,” she sighed. “But I meant that I was sorry for how I handled it. Walking away with barely any explanation, shutting you out. I behaved poorly, and shirked my duties to watch over you, and I want to apologize.”

“It’s ok, really,” Harry said again. “You were scared, I could see it. I don’t blame you for anything,” and he meant it. For all the anger he had felt towards her, he knew was just frustration. He had seen the terror and the guilt in her eyes, and he knew he couldn't hold it against her.

They were silent again for a while, until Harry asked the question that had been burning in his mind.
“The curse, that caused that to happen... Is it related to the curse that makes you never age? Did Merlin do this to you?”

“Yes,” she said. “It was all intertwined, a masterful curse with many layers to keep me from ever obtaining happiness.” She spoke low, even though they were alone.

“Why would he do that?” Harry asked, “I thought he was supposed to be this great wizard who helped King Arthur rule England?”

“Oh, he was,” she said. “He was a very great wizard; wise, kind, powerful. He was an indispensable member of Arthur’s court, gave advice and support. He was the Albus Dumbledore of his age.”
“Then why-“ Harry began.

“Because every man has his weakness,” she said, simply. “Have you ever heard the story of Merlin and Nimue?”

Harry thought he recognized it, from some class in his muggle school, but that seemed so long ago. “Wasn’t she the one who killed him?”

“Yes, she was,” said Eve, a steely note to her voice. “Do you know why?”
He wracked his brains, but he couldn’t remember.

“Nimue was young when Arthur’s knight, Pellinore, brought her before the court. She was beautiful, strong, confident, and like Merlin, she possessed incredible skills in magic. Merlin was besotted with her instantly. He soon began teaching her all of his secrets, tutoring her day and night, doing anything to keep her close to him. She learned quickly, and her power grew so great, she began taking Merlin’s role as advisor and guide to the king, though she was barely 16. But her power and beauty was a curse. Men coveted her, but she could deal with them. Muggles, knights of the court, were easy to turn away. If they pressed her, she could bring them down easily. But Merlin was still greater than she, and he lusted for her. However, Nimue was a maid of great virtue, and she soon became afraid of his advances. She made Merlin swear he would never use magic or force to make her go to his bed. And though he vowed to never take advantage of her, Nimue did not entirely trust him.”
Eve’s hands were clenched tightly in her lap, as if the words caused her pain to speak. But they poured out of her, like a river that had broken through a dam.

“Nimue pressed Merlin to teach her more and more of his secrets, and when she decided she had learned everything there was to learn from him, she asked him to go on a journey with her. Along the way, they paused in a wood. There was a cave, and Merlin asked Nimue to come inside with him, for the place contained great magic. But her paranoia had become overwhelming, and she did not trust Merlin to keep his promise. So she told him she would come, but let him enter the cave first. When he was inside, she used the same magic he had taught her to seal him inside. He was trapped, for he had taught her well, the charm was unbreakable. But Merlin was distraught. Betrayed and angry, left to die by the woman he loved, Merlin wove a curse. He cursed her to live forever, but take no lover. For if he could not have her, no man would. She became immortal, powerful beyond compare. But she would never know a lovers touch. What she had denied Merlin, he denied her forever. Any touch of lust or love would rend the soul of her would be swain. A brush of her skin would turn them into wraiths, doomed to forever search for their lost soul. Merlin’s vengeance was complete and irreversible. She would never know the happiness of love, the price of her fear and mistrust.” Eve’s hands were shaking now.

“Nimue did not know this, of course. She returned to the court and replaced Merlin as Arthur’s adviser. She won him many battles, and gained great renown. But when Pelleas asked her for her hand in marriage, and touched her cheek to profess his love, it happened. Nimue could not control herself. She held his face in her hands, transfixed. She pressed her lips to his, and drew him in. She stole his soul as he writhed in pain, but neither could pull away. He needed her like he needed air, and she poured herself into him until he wasn’t there anymore. When she at last released him, and saw what she had done, she fled. In grief and guilt, she threw herself from the tallest tower into the lake, but she did not die. She could not die.” Eve’s voice cracked. “She knew she could not return to the court. She could not endanger anyone else, so she remained there, and became the Lady of the Lake. She dwelled in the waters until King Arthur died, then she carried his body to a burial cairn on an island in the center. The knights believed her to be a spirit, taking their lord to the Mysts of Avalon. She let them. She buried Arthur, and let her name fade into legend. Over time, her story was changed, along with her name. Nimue, Viviane, Vivien, Elaine, Ninianne, Nivian, Nyneve, and now… she is known as Evienne.”

Eve looked at Harry finally, tears shining in her eyes. She really was beautiful. Her dark hair against her moon-bright skin, the fleck of gold in her scarlet eyes. And Harry knew the torment she must feel. How could he worry about the lake, how could any of the trials of his life compare to this? He wanted to hold her, offer her some sort of support, but thanks to Merlin, that comfort was denied her. He took one of her gloved hands, the most he could do.

“I’ve killed so many people, Harry,” she said, tears spilling over her porcelain cheeks. “And I will never be able to make it stop. I just want it to end.”

He squeezed her hand tightly, and she leaned against him, and they stayed on the cool stone floor for hours, shoulder to shoulder, taking solace in each other’s company.

They stayed in the classroom long past curfew, so Eve ran ahead in ermine form to check for teachers and Filch. When all was clear, she led him to the Fat Lady’s portrait and left him without saying anything.

The next morning, Eve didn’t meet them at breakfast, and Harry began to worry that she was shutting him out again. But that evening, when he, Ron, and Hermione left dinner to research more in the library (Harry beginning to panic in earnest now), Eve appeared. She came bounding toward them from the other end of the corridor, pure delight in her eyes, and a broad smile stretching across her face.

“Harry, I found it! I found it!” She came to a skidding stop before them, then held up a jar. Inside was a ball of what looked like slimy, grayish-green rat tails.

“What- what do you mean?” He said, startled at this complete departure from the distraught Eve he had comforted the night before.

“I found how you’re going to survive in the lake tomorrow,” she shook the jar. “Gillyweed!”
Harry just looked at her, still confused.

“Our conversation last night, got me thinking about the lake, and I realized there was a plant that grew there and I remembered! All you have to do is eat it, right before you go in the water.” She beamed at him.

“That’s it? I just have to eat it?” He asked, incredulously. “What does it do?”

“It gives you the attributes of a fish, and this ball right here will last you exactly an hour.” Eve handed the jar to him, and relief washed over him. He could do this.

That night they relaxed for the first time in ages, and lounged by the common room fire. Pavarti joined them, and leaned comfortably against Ron while he played chess with Eve. Hermione lay on the sofa above them with the large ancient book Eve had given her for Christmas, and Harry played Exploding snap with Ginny on the floor between them. Harry laughed and joked for the first time in what felt like forever. He hadn’t really appreciated what life without the Tri-Wizard tasks was like, and he reveled in the absence of the heavy burden he had been carrying.

Eve, unsurprisingly, was a very good chess player. She beat Ron almost every game, which was a definite departure from his usual (though Harry suspected having over a thousand years under her belt gave Eve a bit of an unfair advantage), but Ron accepted this with good grace. He happily explained each move to Pavarti, teaching her the movements and strategies for each piece, and analyzing where he went wrong. Pavarti was an enthusiastic student, but Harry suspected she wasn’t quite as interested in the game as much as in Ron.

Eve seemed to be making a concerted effort to keep her tone light and happy, but Harry noticed when her smile temporarily slipped from her lips, and when her eyes lingered on Pavarti’s head on Ron’s shoulder. Harry couldn’t deny that he himself felt some pang of loss, watching Ron and Pavarti, knowing that Eve would never lay her head on his shoulder. Harry did not fully understand why this thought upset him. No more than a few weeks ago, he had been devastated that Cho Chang had agreed to go with Diggory to the Yule Ball, rather than Harry. So why then did he suddenly not care about Cho at all? Was it what happened in the garden? Or was it something else? Had he not felt something when she cleared his mind before the first task? Had he not felt a thrumming deep in his chest, calling him home? And even before that, he had thought her pretty and charming, even if she was a bit aloof. She was intriguing, but did her power mean what he felt wasn’t real?

At 8:30, Fred and George came in, but did not join them.

“McGonagall wants you, Ron. And you, Hermione.” Said Fred, leaning against the sofa.

“Why?” said Hermione, looking surprised.

“Dunno… she was looking a bit grim, though,” said Fred.

“We’re supposed to take you down to her office,” said George.

Ron and Hermione stared at Harry, who felt his stomach drop. Was Professor McGonagall about to tell Ron and Hermione off? Perhaps she’d noticed how much they were helping him, when he ought to be working out how to do the task alone? But no… then they would have taken Eve too. She had helped him more than either of them. The fist around his heart loosened its grip.

“We’ll see you tomorrow, Harry. You should probably get ready for bed soon anyway, so you’re well rested for tomorrow,” Hermione said, standing.

Harry watched them go, and the nervousness started creeping back into his stomach. Eve grabbed his hand and pulled him upright, then pushed him towards the dormitory stairs. She changed into an ermine then followed him up the stairs. Harry was momentarily stunned when she jumped up on to his bed and pointedly looked out the window. When she showed no sign of leaving, Harry hurriedly pulled on his pajamas, feeling rather hot around the collar. He fell into bed, suddenly exhausted, the week’s stress had taken its toll. Eve surprised him again, and settled in the crook between his pillow and his chest. Harry lay rigid, unsure of what to do, then cautiously stroked her fur. She did not protest, and made a low chirruping noise. He felt immediately calmer, just like the first task, and felt his body relax and his mind empty. He fell asleep the moment he closed his eyes, with Eve curled up beside him.
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I'm so sorry, y'all. I've been so crazy busy, and I had no motivation at all. But here's another chapter for you :) please comment, subscribe, and let me know what you think and if I messed up any grammar or spelling. I've been writing super late at night, and I'm pretty sure this chapter doesn't flow very well. But I just wanted to get something out there for y'all :)