Chapter 17 : Why Me?
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Haiden had been stricken with this mystery illness twenty-four hours prior, during a rather lively dinner in the great hall. And now, as he wallowed away in bed, at that very minute, quidditch try-outs were occurring down at the pitch. There was no way that his father could persuade the captains of the team to hold out for the Slytherin separatist, and so Haiden had missed out on his big chance to become a first year star.
Oh, he had been to the infirmary, and Madame Pomfrey had given him an elixir and told him bed rest would be the only thing that would help the ailment. And so he shot the elixir and then lay down, hopeful that relief would occur quickly. Seven hours later, the pain was worse than ever.
Much to his unbelievable embarrassment, Haiden had been informed that, during his bout with restless sleep, he had been crying out eerily, almost frighteningly, and the rest of the Slytherin first years mercilessly teased him through his pain. In the chorus of cruelty, there was one voice noticeably absent. Draco Malfoy kept a silent distance, refusing to taunt his old pal as well as ignoring his excruciating pain.
So far, his father had not been informed of his son’s situation, but Haiden’s gaping absence at quidditch try-outs would alert him to the fact that something was amiss. In fact, through the intense, unyielding pain that engulfed his body, Haiden was sure he heard the heavy footfalls of his father. Echoing throughout the room…asking questions about the whereabouts of his son…he would be coming for him…to stop the pain…please stop the pain…please…
“Not my son…”
“Harry Potter…Harry Potter…”
“How can I do this on my own…”
“Where is the Dark Lord now?”
“Dead…at the hands of the boy, gone forever”
“He will return…soon…he may already have returned”
“It is your job to protect him…”
“How…can I do this on my own?
And just as soon as it occurred, it was gone. After three days of insatiable fever and clinically inexplicable pain, Haiden woke up and felt nothing. Numb and tired from the preceeding days, he was relieved to be awake and alert. He had been experiencing the oddest nightmares that played like old muggle movies in the back of his head as he drifted in and out of consciousness.
Slowly, he cracked open his eyes and took in his surroundings. He soon gauged that he was not in the Slytherin dormitory. Instead, the familiar silk sheets of his childhood bed covered his frail form. He breathed in small gasps as he assumed a seated position for the first time in days. Coughing lightly, he spoke feebly, as though he his voice has been seized by a 90 year-old man.
“Father?” he called out quietly, fully expecting to be greeted with the same silence he had awoken to. It was, after all a school day.
“You are awake,” came a soft reply. It was then that Haiden realized his father seated to the left of the bed, a stack of papers resting on his lap. “You have been out for quite a while. You had us worried,” he said steadily, as though his son has just arrived home from a trip.
“What happened?” Haiden asked, repositioning his sore, stiff muscles.
“No one is sure. Diagnostic tests showed you had no foreign objects inside your body. Yet you appeared to be deathly ill for days. You had to be moved from the dormitory because of your classmates, and you have been drifting in and out of sleep.” Severus stopped for a moment, and glanced briefly at his son. “I have stayed vigilant at your bedside.”
“Thank you, Father.”
“Are you thirsty? Hungry? We forced nourishment yesterday, but I imagine you would prefer a proper meal,” Severus articulated slowly.
“That would be wonderful.”
Not minutes later, a house elf appeared, furnishing the kitchen table with an array of different breakfast foods.
“It is 3 o’clock in the morning, so I suppose breakfast is appropriate,” Severus said, taking a seat next to Haiden.
“How much have I missed in classes?” Haiden asked, grabbing a muffin.
“I have gathered your lessons for you. I’m afraid you missed quidditch try-outs, but it is probably for the best.”
Haiden nodded half-heartedly. As he ate, he felt his energy return little by little.
“I will inform Dumbledore of your recovery and we will try to get you back into classes.”
“That would be good. More than anything else, I just want things to get back to normal.”
Unfortunately, things could not get back to normal. The Slytherins taunted him during his first day back in class. All the houses knew something had been wrong with him, because his absence, as well as Snape’s, had been painfully obvious. Draco was oddly quiet about the whole ordeal. But no one seemed to be more excited to see Haiden back than Gryffindor Hermione Granger. Seeing him at dinner the following evening, she enthusiastically ran up to him and wrapped him in a hug.
“We must speak! I have urgent information!”
“Okay,” Haiden said slowly, rising from his uncomfortable position at the Slytherin table, “walk with me.”
Once they were safely out of earshot from the rest of the school, Hermione began to speak rapidly in hushed tones.
“The Sorcerer’s Stone is being hidden by the dogs! Well…Fluffy, actually, if you must know.”
“Yep! And I know how to get past him, too! While you were…well, wherever you were, Ronald and I did some digging! We went to Hagrid to ask him for some help, and here we are! We’re planning to go down there tonight and investigate. It turns out, if you play him a bit of music, he falls right to sleep! What do you say?”
“It’s a little soon for me, I think. We’ll see.”
“Oh Haiden…there’s something else…”
“The Sorcerer’s Stone…the power is unimaginable. It makes you immortal! And well…we figure that only someone really evil would want it. Someone like…you-know-who,” Hermione whispered.
“You-Know-Who?” Haiden asked, his body suddenly frozen with an odd sense of foreboding. “But…but, he’s dead.”
“I know. But I think that maybe his followers are hoping he’s still alive or something…they never found his body, you know.” Hermione cocked her head to the side thoughtfully. “And poor Harry Potter. What is to become of him? Wherever he is…”
Haiden stayed quiet, pondering Hermione’s last statement. What would become of Harry Potter if Voldemort came back? What would become of Haiden Snape?
“How could his followers get a hold of this stone? Hogwarts is so well protected! No one can apparate in or out of the grounds, and there’s no way they could just waltz in to the castle with all the students. It just doesn’t make sense,” he said quietly.
“Unless…there was someone here already! Someone who was working an inside job…maybe a teacher who used to be a follower or something…”
Haiden felt his blood run cold as he remembered some key things from his childhood. The pensieve that he and Draco had found so many years ago…the scene he had seen in it…the aurors that used to come to Draco’s house…how angry Haiden’s father would get if he ever brought up Lucius Malfoy’s personal affairs…surely it couldn’t be true…
“Hermione…I have to go. I’ll-I’ll talk to you tomorrow. There’s something I have to do.”
He took off at a run, all the way down to the dungeons, where he entered the empty common room and waited for dinner to end. Within the hour, the whole of Slytherin house came traipsing lazily through the portrait hole and into the common room, pleased to see that Haiden was sitting there so they had something to make fun of for the rest of the evening. But defying all expectations, Haiden stood to greet them with a frown.
“Draco…I need to talk to you,” he said intently.
“Hey look, the mudblood lover wants to talk to you, Draco!” a particularly large 6th year laughed cruelly.
“What could you possibly need to say to him? No one wants to hear about your disgusting relationship with the ugly first year mudblood, Snape,” a 7th year chimed in.
Haiden did not flinch as they continued their assault, and yet he did not see Draco through the mob.
“I need to speak to Draco. Privately,” he reasserted.
“Well, he doesn’t need to speak to you,” Gregory Goyle spoke up.
The crowd dispersed then, and Haiden sighed, not giving up hope. The dormitory was truly the only place where he could speak to Draco, and he should have though of that first.
He sat late into the evening, turning the pages of books he didn’t need to read, writing down to-do lists that would never be finished. And finally, after midnight, Draco came through the door, his lumpy guards on either side of him.
“Draco,” Haiden said, standing at once.
“Leave,” Draco said simply, and Haiden lowered his head, angry that Draco refused to listen to him. But much to his surpise, Goyle and his counterpart, Vincent Crabbe, both frowned deeply and stepped out of the room, leaving Draco and Haiden. Everyone else in their year was still down in the common room.
“What do you want?” Draco asked, contempt staining his voice.
“I need to talk to you about something,” Haiden countered, sitting back down on his bed.
“Clearly. I really would have preferred you just came here, the scene in the common room was quite unnecessary, and I don’t need people to think I consort with the likes of…of mudblood lovers.” He spat the last words, turning away from Haiden as though he were ashamed of himself for calling Haiden that.
“I don’t love mudbloods,” Haiden said quietly. “I made a friend from another house. I’m really sorry for the things that happened. I wish I could tell you what was going on with me but I really can’t.”
“But you could spill all your secrets to her. To that…to that…”
“You don’t have to keep calling her that. She’s just a girl in another house.”
“Did you kiss her? Do you like her?” Draco asked, his anger rising quickly.
“No! Nothing like that…no way. Look I was just wondering…do you remember when we were kids and we went into the south wing of you house?” Haiden asked quietly, watching the expression on Draco’s face change from disgust to disbelief.
“Why would you think of that?” he asked.
“All those aurors that used to come to you house all the time…why did they come? What was your father doing?”
“How dare you! My father’s personal business is certainly none of yours, and—”
“—I know that you’re angry at me but I have to know. The Dark Lord is dead. Did your father follow him?”
Draco’s laugh was so cold, it sent chills up Haiden’s spine.
“You really are stupid, Snape. You are daft as hell, and I can’t believe we’re having this conversation.”
“I have to know! Is you dad a follower? Is he a…a death eater?” Haiden’s voice shook as he said the words “death eater.”
“Why do you even care? Why would you care, Snape.”
Haiden took a deep breath, not believing what he was about to reveal to his former best friend.
“I think that death eaters…or someone, is trying to infiltrate Hogwarts. I think they are trying to get in for some reason. I think maybe they think the Dark Lord is still alive, and I think that they’re coming into the castle.”
At this, Draco started laughing hysterically. He braced himself on the bed as the laugh rumbled from deep inside his body. Haiden was confused and offended. He stood quickly, his face reddening in anger.
“What the hell are you laughing at, Malfoy?”
“After…after all these years…you still don’t…you still don’t know?” he choked out, gasping for air in between words.
“Don’t know what! What don’t I know!” Haiden cried indignantly.
After a few more minutes, Draco finally composed himself.
“Yes, my father was—is a death eater,” he said smugly. Haiden’s eyes were wide as he attempted to respond without choking his friend.
“And that’s funny because?”
“You are so thick. It’s funny because…oh my God you’re absolutely going to die when you hear this, I wish I could bring in the others.”
“Draco, I swear to God—”
“Your father. Didn’t you ever wonder what he was doing in the pensieve with my father? Didn’t you ever suspect?”
It hit Haiden like a hippogriff flying directly into his chest. He stumbled backward, feeling as though the air had been knocked out of him. The realization was written all over his face, and it sent Draco into a fit of giggles once again.
“Not my father…surely not. There’s no way…”
“You idiot. Of course your father! He, along with my father, might just been two of the most trusted Death Eaters! So in answer to your question, there is already a death eater in the castle. You definitely don’t need to worry about that, mate.”
Draco shook his head, wiping tears from his eyes, and allowed his new best friends back into the room. Haiden closed the curtain to his bed, shaking.
How could you. How could Dumbledore? How could he allow me to be raised by a death eater? Someone who loved Voldemort? How could this happen to me? I thought you loved me! I’d just gotten over this whole Harry Potter thing, and now I find out that you supported the person who tried to kill me. I’m going to go to Dumbledore tomorrow. I don’t care if I skip all my classes. I am going to talk to Professor Dumbledore and we are going to sort this out! I hope you’re not the one passing information about the sorcerer’s stone. I could never forgive you. I even saw you that one time in the forbidden corridor…you were bleeding. It can’t be true…Draco has to be lying. I’m just so mad, I can’t even hardly see because of my stupid tears, and I am so done crying over all this stuff. I’m so tired of crying all the time, Dad! Dumbledore is going to fix this, I know he’ll tell me the truth…Dumbledore will make it right. I still love you, I won’t believe it. I refuse to believe that Dumbledore would allow me to be raised by a death eater. I still love you…I have to go to bed, Dad, and I can’t write any more because I’m tired, but I promise I will make this right and I won’t be mad at you anymore, I swear it. I just have to talk to Mr. Dumbledore. Remember when I used to call him that? I’ll go talk to him, Dad. I still love you.
Author’s Note: Well, yes, it’s been forever since I updated but I’ve been VERY busy validating, and recently with the house cup, and getting over all the stuff in the Author’s note of my last chapter…lol. I thought I’d give you an update for those who were worried…my “boyfriend” did well at boot camp, we got engaged on Christmas and we got married in March :) Also, I got into grad school and in August I’ll be starting my Doctor of Physical Therapy degree! Thanks for reading, drop me a review if you feel like it! I love you all, especially if you’ve been keeping up with the story after all these months!
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