Chapter 2 : When Fears Become Reality
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“Not the Stone boy, you – the effort involved nearly killed you. For a moment there, I was afraid it had.” – Albus Dumbledore PS/SS pg 215 (UK edition)
I’m getting too old for this.
I barely draw breath as I sprint across the Hogwarts grounds. My heart pounds so fast I fear it may burst right out of my chest. Every breath I take sends spasms of pain through me.
Please don’t let me be too late.
The Entrance Hall. I almost run straight into Ron Weasley and Hermione Granger. One look at their scared faces tells me enough.
“Harry’s gone after him, hasn’t he?”
I am amazed I can even speak. The two nod, white-faced. Fear clenches round me so tightly I think I will suffocate.
I’m coming Harry, hold on…
I don’t think I have ever run so fast. Students stare as I ascend three sets of stairs, several at a time. I used to be able to do that without batting an eyelid in my youth. Now, however, I know my knees will be paying dearly for this later.
The third floor.
Don’t let me be too late. Please…
Fluffy and the Devil’s Snare are easy. I am lucky in Filius’ challenge – the blue-winged key is flying nearest to me. I summon up the strongest Time-Freezing Charm I can manage for Minerva's chessmen, and the troll is already knocked out. I don’t hesitate in Severus’ room – I kept a small vial of the right potion back in case of an emergency. I swallow and shudder, then make for the black flames.
The scene on the other side makes my heart stop.
Quirrell crumples on the ground, lifeless. I shove the body aside and grab Harry. He is still. Too still…
*Albus, what have you done?*
I pull the Stone from his grasp – he is clutching it so tightly it was cutting him. It falls to the floor from his suddenly slack hand.
“Harry, wake up. Please wake up…”
He’s not dead. He can’t be dead. *Please don’t let him be dead!*
I fumble clumsily for his pulse, and I think my own heart stops. I can’t feel a thing.
This isn’t happening. This can’t be happening. He was only eleven! He was –
“Harry, wake up!”
I don’t think he’s breathing.
I feel something wet on my face, and realize they’re tears. I’ve watched Harry all his life. I know him better than I know myself. Now it’s like a part of me has been ripped out of existence.
He’s so pale.
I gather him up in my arms and try to wake him again, sobbing over the words.
“H-Harry, wake up. Wak-ke up! Please!”
When I get no response, I bury my face in his hair and cry. I cry for the loss of a life who never knew love; who had so much to live for. I cry for the loss of the one boy of his age witches and wizards would mourn all over the world.
And I cry for Harry.
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