Super-cool chapter image by Caren at TDA
This chapter contains a scene of the Potions class from the HBP. I borrowed it for this chapter. Everything you recognise belongs to JKR.
05/13/08 EDITED BY: FALLSTAR
(in-depth imagery by Fallstar)
“Hermione, I didn’t know what effect you have on blokes,” Ginny whispered through her giggle.
Hermione, apperently startled by Hayden’s embrace, neither moved nor said a word; not even seeming to breathe. When she spoke, Hayden pulled back from her.
“Are … are you … all right?” Hermione asked, patting his shoulder carefully.
Hayden averted his eyes from Hermione, the colour draining out of his face. Drying his tears with the back of his hand, he swallowed down the dryness in his throat and mumbled, “Sorry, just an emotional outburst.” He stared into Hermione’s puzzled eyes, blushing. “Er … you … completely knocked me out with your … beauty,” he said, winking at her.
“Oh! That was the most dramatic performance I’ve ever been given,” Hermione exclaimed. Hayden noticed her eyes shimmering and her whole face blushing; he knew she was flattered.
“Hey, I have Charms in ten minutes,” Ginny announced, giving an excuse as do ladies who think they are arranging soulmates whist they play cupid at a bar. “Hermione, I’ll see you later. And Hayden, hope to meet you again.” Ginny turned around and dashed away, joining a bunch of fifth year students who were heading down the corridor.
“Hey, do you have Potions with us?” Hermione asked. “We could go together … if you’d like.” She looked hesitant.
“Er … no. Sure.” Hayden noticed that Hermione carried a few books in her arms. He’d read all the school books his mother had left him about curses, spells, and the history of Hogwarts. He’d even memorised the theories and principles of magic. “Hermione, I’ll take your books. They must be heavy.” He grabbed the stack of books from the Gryffindor’s arms before she could protest and carried them for her. He happened to catch a glimpse of one of the titles. It was her Potions book, Advanced Potion-Making
, and he hoped to use geminio
on it – make a copy – before the beginning of class.
“Thanks … but … wouldn’t it be awkward for you if your friends saw you carrying my books?”
“Why would it be awkward?” Hayden asked.
“Because I’m a…” Hermione choked, and Hayden could tell that she looked a bit disgusted. “You know how much Slytherins despise people like me.”
?” Hayden remembered his father yelling that word at his mum, but he had never really understood what it meant. Now he realised that it was something hurtful or offensive. “That’s what Dad … er… I mean, Draco used to call you, right?”
“That’s what all Slytherins call me … or all of us Muggle-borns.” The Gryffindor lowered her head. Hayden noticed the sadness in his young mother’s voice, and he felt like holding her tight and comforting her.
“I would never call you that,” he said genuinely, placing a hand on her back, “and as long as I’m around, Draco will never hurt you again. I promise. I’ll teach him to love you.” That sounded encouraging to his ears. The corners of his lips extended upwards as his eyes shone down towards Hermione. He felt as though he’d just promised the greatest things: a golden cup that would let her establish peace on earth; silver vase, in which was an infinite volcano of bon-bons; and a bronze platter on which was the secret of the touch of Midas. His smile fell, though, when Hermione burst out laughing, shaking her head disbelievingly.
“But why in the world should that happen? I would not like that, I hate him.” Hermione held her stomach in laughter. As Hayden looked puzzled, she gained control of herself and explained, “Seriously, Hayden. I hate Malfoy. No one can ever make him change.”
“And I don’t need another protector. I’ve already got Ron and Harry, and then there’s Ginny. You make me all feel so dependent and vulnerable.”
“But … my … my mum once told me that every person deserves a chance to change,” Hayden mumbled, biting his lower lip. He was hoping Hermione didn’t notice the truth hidden in this statement.
“She may be right, but I’m not your mother, Hayden. And she probably doesn’t know Draco Malfoy,” Hermione said nonchalantly. “He’ll never change.”
Hayden’s hope of fixing his parents’ love for each other fell burning like young Icarus, whose passion for flight and infatuation with the sun melted his wings and burned his body so that he fell to the sea as a ball of flame. With these glad thoughts playing in his mind, he stole a glance at his mother’s younger self, wondering how under the sun she and his father had ever married each other and if they’d always hated one another … from the very beginning until their early
A ridiculous longing sprang up inside his mind. He suddenly wished he were Cupid that he could shoot an arrow through the hearts of his mum and dad and so co-join them and cause them have true and requited love. But Hayden knew he was just himself, a boy who could hardly shoot an arrow into the air.
But he was as ambitious as his mother; what he’d started, he would definitely finish…
The bald head of a rotund elderly gentleman shone in the middle of the room. Thus situated, the man, who it was now clear, had a pronounced scholastic slouch, presented four cauldrons with differently-coloured liquids in them.
Hayden gave the man a curious look and wondered if all wizarding teachers looked as bizarre as this one. He had prominent eyes and a large belly. He appeared old-fashioned, possibly…Mid to Late-Victorian? The waistcoat with gold buttons and a large moustache that danced up and down as he spoke were certainly similar in style, but he could not be sure if it were a theatrical tribute of some sort.
Hayden sat at the Slytherin table, just within earshot of the teacher. He only caught pieces of his lecture because he wasn’t really there to learn Potions.
“…Anyone tell me what this one is?” The Potions Master asked, having introduced the day’s lesson. He indicated the cauldron nearest the Slytherin table.
Hayden remembered what his mother had told him about her sixth-year Potions class and found it hard to realise that he was experiencing it in real life. He remembered that Harry Potter, one of his mum’s best friends, had cheated in class using a book that had once belonged to the so-called Half-Blood Prince.
He wondered if the story about Harry Potter was true.
“Veritaserum,” Hayden mumbled thoughtlessly behind his hand before Hermione, a few table away, shot her hand in the air and answered the question with an energy appropriate to her memorization of the whole textbook.
The teacher threw a curious glance at Hayden before praising the bright Gryffindor.
He pointed at the cauldron nearest the Ravenclaw table. Again he asked the class if they recognised the potion within. Again Hayden lifted his head in the direction of the cauldron, mumbling the answer to the question behind his hand: “Polyjuice Potion.” Again his bright mum erupted into the air with desire to answer—an event, which like Vesuvius—a volcano, he could not help but notice.
This time, the Potions Master examined Hayden. He furrowed his eyebrows, noticing that the lad also seemed to know the answer.
“M’boy, would you tell me what the third potion is?”
Hayden’s face paled as he stared up at the teacher’s face. He could sense Hermione’s hand shooting in the air, eager to answer. He felt chill as everyone in the classroom froze with all of their eyes resting on him.
“Sir, it’s Amortentia,” Hayden said. All the surrounding students mumbled behind their hands; only Hermione beamed and nodded.
“Indeed it is! Could you tell us what it does?” The teacher asked, not taking his eyes from Hayden’s.
“It’s … it’s the most powerful love potion in the world. It causes a powerful infatuation or obsession,” Hayden mumbled, throwing a darting glance at his mother. “So I’ve heard, sir.” I didn’t mean to steal your show,
Mum, he thought and somehow hoped Hermione would hear him. But she merely smiled at him.
“Excellent! Take ten well-earned points for Slytherin.” The Slytherins at his table cheered in triumph. It seemed to Hayden that they weren’t accustomed to being praised like this and never expected that someone would bring them to the same glory Hermione had always brought to the Gryffindors. Hayden could see even Draco gloating…or had he just imagined it?
“May I ask your name, m’boy?” the bizarre teacher asked, his moustache dancing with glee.
“Hayden, sir. Hayden Mal – Malcolm, sir,” he answered carefully, swallowing his nervousness. He would have to get used to his newly-invented surname.
“Malcolm, you say. You’re quite familiar to me, as though I’ve seen your face before.” His eyes shifted obliviously to Draco and then back to Hayden. The teacher shook his head incredulously. “May I ask your parents’ names?”
“Oh, sir. I…” Hayden bit his lower lip as he peeked over at Hermione, then glued his eyes on the table in front of him. He did the first thing that popped up in his mind: He lied, at least partly. “I’ve never known my parents, sir. I grew up with foster parents. And I don’t want to sound impolite, sir, but I’d rather not talk about them.”
The teacher gave him a curious look and exclaimed, “Oho! Such a mysterious boy.”
The Potions Master turned his attention to Hermione and asked her for her name. Then he turned to the boy next to her. Hayden realised that it was Harry Potter, whom he had not noticed upon first entering the classroom; upon entry, his attention had been seized by the bizarre nature of the teacher’s appearance.
By the time the class ended, Harry had successfully brewed the Draught of Living Death and won the liquid luck, Felix Felicis. Hayden knowing that the Half-Blood Prince’s book had guided Harry, and all the results that must follow, did not care. Hermione, because she saw it as interfering with and breaking laws, albeit small, seemed rather upset about it. Hayden’s potion had turned blackish-brown; he had thrown every ingredient randomly into his cauldron. It wasn’t that he didn’t know how to follow instructions correctly. He had already managed to brew the Time-Traveller Potion, a real and difficult potion, for the first time in his life. He simply thought it unfair to the others if he played the know-it-all just for the sake of achieving praise and rewards. That wasn’t the purpose of his mission.
He might know the answers. He might even know all the future consequences of the actions of this present time, but he didn’t want to steal anyone’s glory—especially not Harry Potter’s.
(A/N: Thanks to my beta-reader, La-sorciere. Please let me know what you think of this chapter.) ^_^