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Chapter 19 : Gathering the Forces
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“Hermione, I have to tell you something.” Haiden’s voice shook as he said it, alerting Hermione to the serious nature of his confession.
“Ok. What is it?”
“I’m not…I’m not who you think I am. Haiden Snape I mean…I’m not him.” The words were jumbled and sounded silly as they left his dry lips.
“That’s ridiculous, Haiden. Of course you are.”
“No, that’s not what I meant. What I meant was…I have a charm on me. It’s this…ancient….thing, I’m not really sure. All I know is that, what you see right now, it’s not what I really look like. I’m transfigured, I look different and I’m…not me.”
“Haiden, I don’t care who you are, you’re my friend,” Hermione said, her voice barely above a whisper. “Friends stick with eachother.”
“No, you don’t understand. This is big news…you need to care who I am. I’m not Haiden Snape! I’m not me!” Frustration leaked into his voice as he stripped the Earth of all the grass he could find.
“Well, if you’re not you, then…who are you?”
“Okay, don’t freak out. And you can’t tell anyone, not ever. But my name…my real name…I’m Harry Potter.”
He watched her face morph from concern to unexplainable anger. She stood suddenly, leaving him speechless on the ground.
“Harry Potter?Harry Potter? You were him this whole time? How dare you keep that from me! How dare you!”
The scream that issued from Hermione’s mouth startled him.
“I-I don’t understand! Hermione, please! Please calm down, why does this matter so much?”
“You lied to me! I’m going to tell everyone who you are!”
Lights flickered on in the castle, and Haiden blinked, terror grabbing at his heart.
“No…no…they heard you! I have to get out of here!”
“Harry Potter!” She began to scream the name repeatedly, louder each time. The student body began to spill out the castle door, with teachers leading the pack. Haiden’s breath rasped in his throat as Hermione’s eyes narrowed.
“You’ve been Harry Potter this whole time, you traitor! You lied to me!”
“Haiden, how could you!” Severus’s voice echoed loudly in his head. Thousands of eyes flashed at him as the crowd gained speed.
Haiden spun quickly and began to run, as fast as his legs could carry him, toward the forbidden forest. The sound of the ground groaning in response to heavy footfalls made him sick to his stomach. The inky canopies of surrounding trees chained him into the forest, preventing him from seeing the twinkling stars or the light of the moon.
Several large tree roots tripped him up before he fell over a large rock. Screaming in pain, he reached down to grab his newly broken ankle. The crowd from the school was still far away, their voices resonating through the forest. Why were they so angry at him? Why was Hermione so violently angry at him? But more importantly, how could everyone have had enough time to run out of the castle and organize like an army against him?
The sound was chilling, like the hiss of a snake. Haiden jerked his head in the direction of the strange noise, his hands shaking with trepidation.
“Who is there? What do you want?” He spit out, not realizing that the reply was in parseltongue.
“You.” A cloaked figure descended upon him, and he didn’t have time to scream before the world went black.
Severus’s body was rigid as he stared into the bleak nothingness of his chambers. His body was drenched in cold sweat from the dream. He’d been dreaming about Haiden telling his secret for days now, each dream ending with the Dark Lord returning for his final revenge.
They left Severus heartbroken every time.
Haiden could not be controlled every minute of every day; he was growing up and becoming a man far more quickly than Severus could have ever predicted. It was only a matter of time before Haiden’s body would finally become desensitized to the ancient magic of the cloaking spell. Eventually, the world would find out who his son truly was, and the consequences were dire.
But more importantly still, something was amiss within the wizarding community. Severus had been hearing dark whispers lately around the Hog’s Head Inn, and there had been some odd happenings around the castle. Hagrid had that insufferable three headed dog guarding the sorceror’s stone inside the castle. Severus had to concoct a special bit of magic to deter anyone from entering the passageway that lead to the stone, and he was quite proud of his potion/riddle hybrid. If anyone were to pass the dog, which he thought unlikely, they would be stumped for quite a while with his obstacle. Severus endured the wrath of the dogs a few months back to place his charms down in the collection area where Dumbledore was to enact them. That stupid blubbering oaf Hagrid had forgotten to charm the harp keeping the dogs asleep for more than a half hour, and so Severus’s exit from the tunnel was exceedingly more exciting than it should have been. A nasty cut on the leg was the result, and if his memory served him correctly, Haiden had seen him shortly after that.
His fears of the Dark Lord returning were seemingly more legitimate every day. He did not fear for his own life. Haiden was the most important thing to him, and if anything were to happen, Severus would never forgive himself.
What would Lily do in a time like this?
The wiry fingers of danger and despair that had Severus’s stomach in knots gradually transitioned into the soft wisps of his treasured memories of Lily. Scenes of stolen moments with her flew through his mind. She always smelled so lovely, especially in the summer time after allowing the sun to kiss her strawberry tinted hair for a few hours. Their time together had been so short, and when she finally chose the wretched Potter boy over him, it had devastated Severus more than she could have ever known. One particular event at the beach lingered for him, and he watched the events as though they were burned into the back of his eyelids like a photograph.
Haiden’s mother was the most beautiful creature Severus had ever laid eyes on. From the moment they met in their childhood all the way up until his misfortunate steps into the dark arts, the two had been inseparable. How he wished he could travel back in time and gaze into her beautiful eyes, that were as green as the flower stems in her personal garden.
What would she say about her son now? Would she approve of the choices Severus had made? Could she ever be as proud of Haiden as Severus was? The thought of her alive today caught Severus’s breath, and he abruptly sat up in bed, letting his head fall into his hands. There was no one who could ever fill the hole in his heart where she had been.
Haiden gazed around the great hall at the Slytherin breakfast table, hoping to catch Hermione’s eye. The end of the term was nearing, and besides studying for exams, he needed to meet with her to figure out what to do about the Sorceror’s Stone. It was time to act, and he needed to do so before school was through. Several of the professors had begun to buckle down, keeping a watchful eye over the students and assigning more homework. No one on staff was as distracted as Professor Quirrell, however, who had never quite been the same since the troll attack in October. His classes were the hardest to sit through. Rather than teach, he spent most of his time jumping at loud noises and stuttering more profusely than ever before.
He began to pick apart the bran muffin on his plate. Eating had become very difficult for him as he was rarely hungry and felt sick to his stomach most of the time. Madame Pomfrey chalked the stomach ache up to stress, but Haiden feared that there was something far worse going on inside of him.
Finally, he caught Hermione’s eye. She smiled at him and mouthed “library,” and he rose at once and followed her out of the room.
“I’ve been thinking. I think perhaps tonight is the night we should make our move,” Haiden said, sitting down at a wooden table. “My father doesn’t think that Lucius is after the stone, but I know he is. My father is just blinded by their friendship. We have to get it tonight because I saw Dumbledore leaving this morning. If anyone was going to steal the stone, now would be the time to do it.”
“Dumbledore’s gone? Why would he leave in a time like this? How could he leave something like the sorceror’s stone unattended?” Hermione’s eyes were wide. “We have to warn someone about it. Lucius could come in at any moment! Like your dad said, he’s a governor of the school! No one would think anything of his presence here. We should really tell a teacher.”
“Well I don’t know who we can tell. Obviously not my father because he’ll think I’m crazy and banish me to the common room all night. And Professor McGonagall will think we’re both stark raving mad. Hermione, I think we have to go at this alone,” Haiden replied, feeling strangely nervous about the events that were to unfold.
“No you don’t. I’ll help.” The voice behind him made Haiden jump, and he turned to see Ron Weasley. “I discovered Nicholas Flamel after all. Besides, you can’t trust a Slytherin to do anything, Hermione, you know that.” Ron grinned, and Haiden felt warmth spread over him.
“Listen, I have this thing. It’s an invisibility cloak that belonged to my father, and tonight I think we can sneak out.”
“Why would your dad give you his invisibility cloak? If it were me, I’d hold on to that until the day I died!” Ron exclaimed, joining the two conspirators at the table. Haiden’s gaze dropped as he found sudden interest in his fingernails.
“Yes well…he figured it was time I have it, I s’pose. Anyway, the one thing I can’t figure out is how to get past that dog. I’ve been thinking about that one for a while. I don’t know why I feel this..need…to go down there and secure the stone, but I truly believe it is in danger.” Haiden’s heart thumped wildly in his chest as the plan began to form. Over the last few days, he’d begun having strange dreams, where he could see the stone and feel the wicked desire of the one who so desperately craved it. Even more confusing for him was the fact that he felt an overwhelming need to protect the stone. Whoever had plans for it was very bad, and every day Haiden was beginning to doubt that Lucius was the man behind it all.
This person was much darker, and it sent a shiver down Haiden’s spine.
Every dream he had was more detailed and involved. He wasn’t sure where they took place, but he could see a door, which opened easily with a push. Each door opened more easily than the next, and at the end of the tunnel, atop a stone platform, was the ruby red stone. The dreams perplexed him but he had absolutely no explanation for them.
“Well, actually, ever since that day we went to see Hagrid to find out about Fluffy and Nicholas Flamel, I’ve actually become friends with him. I go down to see his dog sometimes during my free time. I brought Ron with me a few times. Anyway, a few days ago I was discussing Fluffy with him, and he accidentally told me how to get past. All we need is a bit of music,” Hermione said, smiling wide. “I meant to tell you but I guess I got so busy with my studies.”
“I say we try for ten o’clock tonight. I’ll leave my common room under the cloak, and all you have to do is come out at exactly ten so you’re not seen,” Haiden whispered. “Tell no one about what you’re doing.”
“How do you know where our common room is?” Ron asked, eyeing Hermione.
“I grew up in the castle. I know where everyone’s common room is, I just don’t know your password. So stop looking at Hermione like she’s a snitch!” Haiden smiled, feeling like a giant weight had been lifted from his chest. He bid his friends farewell, excitement for their adventure building with every breath.
Haiden jogged to class, late because of the exchange that had just occurred in the library. His head was full of the thoughts of their plans, and he ignored the vicious pain raging in his stomach. Very suddenly, however, he felt nauseous and did not see the figure looming before him. With a loud smack, he ran into someone in the middle of the hallway and fell down like a rag doll onto the stone floor.
“Running through the hallways will not be tolerated, ten points from—Haiden? What on Earth are you doing running through the hall, is everything alright?” Severus asked, switching from annoyed teacher to concerned parent within seconds.
“I-I…I feel…fine. I’m fine,” Haiden replied, sitting up abruptly. The move made him dizzy, but then the pain eased. “I’m really sorry, Dad. I should have been more careful.”
“Your face is white, and your cheeks are flushed. Are you sure you’re ok, perhaps a trip to Madame Pomfrey is in order?” Severus asked, concern flooding his voice.
“Yes, Dad, I’m fine. I need to get to class, I’m going to be late!” He quickly stood, rubbing his elbow.
“I trust you would tell me if something was truly wrong with you, so I shall let you pass. Please be more careful in the future. I will see you later in your potions class.”
“Yes, goodbye, Dad,” Haiden said, taking off down the hallway. He prayed that whatever sickness was infecting him would hold off at least for one more day.
What we’re getting ready to do is dangerous. The thought of crossing that three headed dog is really freaking me out, and something tells me that whatever is underneath that trap door is not daisies and sunshine. The thing about it is, Dad, is that I don’t feel good, and I haven’t been feeling good for a long time. I think, actually, that I’m dying. That’s the only thing that can explain this pain. Madame Pomfrey can do nothing for me, and I really think it might be the end for me. The thing I want you to know, Dad, is that I love you, and I’m so happy that you took care of me. So if I die soon, and I never get a chance to tell you, I just want you to know that I’m nearly sure that Dumbledore giving me to you was the best thing that ever happened to me. Of course I wish that I knew my real Mum and Dad, but I’m glad you were here for me. I wish that Draco and I wouldn’t have fought, but it’s probably better this way, because if he ever found out who I really am, well, that would be bad. So I’m going to sign this letter and go, because I’m getting ready to go pick up Hermione and Ron, and we’re going to go save the school, possibly the world. Thank you, Dad.
A/N Ok, it’s been a while, I get that. Almost a year. And I want everyone who has ever read this story, whether it be your first time or a loyal reader (which I highly doubt!)- THIS STORY WILL BE FINISHED!! Mark my words, this story is destined for an ending. I predict about 3 or 4 more chapters left, but it will be finished. That being said, this chapter was a set up chapter, and I realize it was probably pretty boring. Also, I vowed I would post it today (and it's 11:58 PM! woot!) But I was also rushing toward the end so it's entirely possible that there's all kinds of grammar errors, so I apologize for that!. I think the reason it took me so long is that I was really stalled by writers block. Also, there’s that whole….staffer thing! So, in conclusion, I really hope you liked it, and that you’ll stick around for the end. I’ve got some big plans for Haiden!
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