Chapter 14 : Revelations
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Some time passed, and then he heard people talking, whispering, walking around. He wondered…no he didn’t. He just wished they’d all lie back down again and let the world be simple. Simple, he could deal with. Simple, he could… he could deal with…
Hey Al, you awake yet?
The thought was forced into his head, and Albus gasped from the shock. His mind had been blank, blissfully empty, for so long he forgot what it was like to have a proper thought in his brain. The thought was sharp, loud, painful. Albus pushed it away and ignored it. He heard people making noises again, but he didn’t have to listen. Didn’t have to do or think anything.
A figure loomed over Albus. He tried to focus on it, but he gave up. It was a woman, he decided, and he was happy enough with that. The woman’s mouth was moving… Albus didn’t care. He tuned his gaze away and lost focus.
Suddenly thoughts came flooding back into his brain. Albus sat up, gasping from the shock. His head was pounding. He could think, he could focus, he cared… It was all too much, too much too quickly. His head hurt. His eyes were watering. His thoughts were overloading, too much too much too much…
For the second time, Albus awoke, but this time he knew what the white was – the ceiling of the hospital wing. He was lying on a bed. These simple things, the fact that he could remember and hold on to these facts, made him indescribably happy.
“Sev?” he croaked.
“Al!” A boy, Albus’s twin brother Severus, jumped up from a chair beside the bed. “Madame Pomfrey! Madame Pomfrey, he’s awake!” Severus turned back to Albus. “Are you okay? Alpha did some serious Dark magic on you there…”
An icy hand of fear wrapped itself around Albus’s heart. “Alpha? Where is he? Where’s Keane? What happened?”
Severus opened his mouth to reply but he was abruptly cut off by the sound of many feet running into the hospital wing. Albus heard his name called out many times by many different voices and suddenly he had the entire Weasley family crowded around his bed. Madame Pomfrey screeched, “This boy needs rest! Family members only!”
“Oh yes, this is the Weasley family,” remarked Madame Pomfrey. “How about immediate family only. The rest of you, go away. Stop disturbing the patients.”
The sea of redheads cleared until only Harry, Ginny, Lily, James and Severus were left. “Out of my way, out of my way,” said Madame Pomfrey. She barged past James and fed Albus three vile-tasting potions in a row. Albus swallowed them but grimaced afterwards. “They’re good for you,” she said, noticing. She left the Potters alone and went back to her desk.
Ginny rushed up to Albus. “Are you alight? What happened? Did he hurt you?”
“Mum, I’m fine,” said Albus. “I don’t know what happened.” He looked at Severus.
“After you blacked out, Dad came in and Stunned Keane,” Severus said. “It was kind of funny. Then he and Alpha got into this huge duel and a bunch of other Aurors came in. They got Rose and Dillon up, woke up Scorpius (they’re all fine by the way), and one of them conjured a stretcher for you. Uncle Ron stayed behind to help Dad and the rest came up here. I followed them.” Severus turned to Harry to continue the tale.
“We duelled for ages,” said Harry. “Finally he Stunned us both and ran off into one of the pipes. I don’t know where he is now, but there’s a team looking for him. We should have him soon.”
“What did he do to me?” asked Albus. He felt his forehead. “It was like I couldn’t think at all.”
“He stopped you from being able to think,” said Harry grimly. “It’s a good thing he said the spell out loud, and that Sev was there to hear it, because otherwise we might not have got you back.”
Albus smiled at his brother. “Thanks,” he said.
“What about Daegan?” asked Albus. “Where’s he? And how on earth did he open the Chamber?”
“Daegan’s fine,” assured Ginny. “As for how he opened the Chamber, I think he wants to tell you that himself.”
Albus nodded and yawned. Almost immediately Madame Pomfrey was there, shooing the Potter family away. “He’s tired, he needs rest, leave please! Severus, you may go, you weren’t hurt at all…”
Yeah, not physically I wasn’t, Albus heard Severus think.
Don’t worry, thought Albus. Alpha is deranged. He’s mad. Don’t let the ramblings of a mad person get to you, Sev. You belong in Gryffindor.
Severus was silent as he left the hospital wing, and Albus was worried. Knowing Severus, he would brood on this for a while. Albus hoped it didn’t get to him too much.
Three days later, Albus was allowed out of the hospital wing. That day, Rose cornered Daegan in the common room and demanded that he tell them what was going on.
“Can we go up to the boys’ dormitory first?” asked Daegan. “I don’t want anyone to overhear.”
Daegan sat on his bed, Dillon, Rose, Severus and Albus standing around him. Sev, now is your moment, thought Albus.
“Daegan, tell us the truth,” said Severus firmly. “Are you a werewolf?”
“No!” exclaimed Daegan. “No, nothing like that. Well, okay, it is a bit like that.”
They looked at him, demanding a further explanation.
“Okay. Have any of you heard of an Animorpher?” They all looked at Rose, but she shook her head. They turned back to Daegan. “An Animorpher is someone who can change into an animal at will. How did Longbottom put it? It’s like a cross between a werewolf, a Metamorphmagus, and a shape-shifter. I can change any part of me to an animal part-” he changed his nose to a pig-snout and back “-like a Metamorphmagus, and I can change my whole self-” he morphed into a black dog and back “-like a shape-shifter, but I have to change on the full moon, like a werewolf. When I become an animal, I can’t speak like a human. For instance if I was a dog, I think a sentence, but when I try to say it it comes out in a bark.”
Albus, Severus and Dillon gasped. That was the explanation for Daegan's disappearences, his ill health around the full moon, everything.
“And if you were a snake, anything you said would be hissed,” said Rose slowly. “Keane forced you to turn into a snake and open the Chamber like that, didn’t he?”
“Yes,” said Daegan quietly. “He used the Imperius Curse. That’s why I nearly attacked you, Al. You have no idea how sorry I am about that.”
“It’s okay,” said Albus quickly. “It’s fine.”
Daegan nodded but did not look satisfied. “Now you know. What happens now?”
“What do you mean?” asked Dillon, frowning.
“Longbottom told me about how you treat werewolves,” said Daegan quietly, looking down at the ground. “Aren’t you going to do the same with me?”
Albus sat down beside his friend. “Daegan, are you insane? My Uncle has werewolf traits. My god-brother’s father was a werewolf. If you’re looking for a family who hates werewolves, you’ve come to the wrong place.” Severus and Rose nodded firmly.
“That was years ago, like before the war,” said Dillon. “Nobody treats werewolves like that anymore. Besides, you’re not a werewolf. You’re an Animorpher – which, by the way, sounds extremely cool.”
“I can’t believe you ever told us,” said Severus, grinning. “We actually thought you were a werewolf! Do you know how much of my Christmas holiday I spent researching werewolves? A whole lot, that’s how much.”
Daegan looked up. “You guys were researching werewolves?” They nodded. “Because of me? Why?”
“So we could find out information and try and help you,” said Rose. “Not that it matters now.”
Daegan looked at all of them, a smile slowly growing on his face. “Wow. I can’t believe you guys actually did all that for me…”
“Shall we just get the mushy stuff over with and have a big group hug?” asked Severus drily. Albus laughed.
There was a comfortable silence for a moment, and then Rose clapped her hands. “Well, we’ve finally got that over with,” she said briskly. “Now let’s go finish Zabini’s homework.”
Daegan, Dillon, Albus and Severus groaned. They followed Rose back into the common room and started to work on the essay. At one point Albus couldn’t think of the answer and had to ask what it was. It turned out to be incredibly simple and everyone laughed, but deep down Albus was just glad to be able to think at all.
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