She paced away from the bed and back again, needed the movement. “Right. Assuming that someone was Dumbledore and he got you after our meet in Diagon, he probably assumed that you were Remus Lupin, and brought you here to keep you away from Harry, in case you tried to influence him or some rot like that. Which means that you’re probably under the Draught, just like the other patients around here.” She blew out a hard breath. “Bloody fucking hell.” She muttered, enjoying the way the crass words echoed in the room. “Lily, I blame you for this, you crazy witch. And stop laughing!”
She could hear and see the vibrant witch in her mind, green eyes sparkling with mirth and mischief as she giggled at her friend’s predicament.
Resolutely, she removed her suit jacket. Setting her hip next to James’s, she braced her left arm on the bed, her right hand resting lightly on his chest.
“We share a child together, yet this is the first – and last – time that my lips will touch yours since we were thirteen.” She murmured. “This better be enough, Potter.”
Leaning in, she pressed her lips gently to his for a long moment, before sitting back expectantly.
Slughorn’s sniveling voice sounded in her mind.
“The Draught of Living Death is one of the few potions that has crossed over to Muggle lore and fairy tales, although they have of course gotten the details muddled up. What they called the ‘Sleeping Beauty Curse’ was, essentially, the Draught in spell form, with one major difference: there was no liquid antidote, as there is with the potion, although there was a very specific cure, if the spouse or lover was willing.”
The class of sixth and seventh years tittered, making him scowl.
“Come now, we’re all adults here! The curse and the potion work in the same way; both shut down all conscious functions and slow down the automatic, biological ones to just above survival. The antidote jump starts those functions, forcing them and thus our magic back into action as our bodies respond to the ingredients and elements. The cure for the curse, therefore, must provoke a similar response out of the patient, only through…more physiological means.”
“In other words,” Lily said briskly in Narcissa’s head, making her jump; she didn’t remember the redheaded witch being in Advanced Potions, though Lily had shown an unique aptitude for the art during their training as healers. “You have to induce a sexual response. Arousal is biological, automatic. Once the blood is rushing to other places,” she paused wryly to let the snickers die down. “Everything else should respond as well. Erm…how long do you have to go before the person wakes up?”
“Thank you, Miss Evans, for the eloquent translation. That is exactly correct. And it depends on the patient, to be bluntly honest.” Slughorn replied. “Witches and wizards have some basic natural defenses against sexual assault and rape – our magic won’t allow it. We have to genuinely trust our partners with our bodies, or else it is impossible to garner a response. You see the conundrum?”
“This had better be worth it, Potter.” Narcissa grumbled, standing up and removing her heels. In deference to the summer heat, she had forgone her stockings, and was wearing a light silk sheath dress in a summery pale lavender. Flipping the blanket all the way down and off of James, she took a purely female moment to appreciate the sight before her.