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Chapter 6 : Understanding The Dream
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Terrific chapter image by Caren at TDA
Disclaimer: I've borrowed the headline of The Daily Prophet from the HP lexicon.
05/14/08 EDITED BY FALLSTAR
Hayden couldn’t really tell how long he’d been staring inquiringly at Hermione. He only knew it had been since he had asked that question about the Dark Lord and the Death Eaters. He wanted to know everything about his parents’ pasts: who their closest friends were; who their former lovers were before they fell in love with each other; and about those misunderstandings they’d referred to that had kept both acting so coldly towards one another. As a little boy, Hayden used to eavesdrop from their bedroom door; they were always yelling their lungs out, screaming that if only the other weren’t so ignorant and pig-headed then things would have probably gone differently between them. Hayden always wondered what they had meant by that.
Another great secret, which had always interested Hayden, was his father’s dark past. Who were those hooded people who, that fateful night, had chased him and his dad, the night his father left him behind. Were those the so-called Death Eaters who killed many people, magical and Muggle? And if so, did his father belong to them? Would that mean his father was evil, too?
“Excuse me, what?” Hermione asked, a bit perplexed, snapping Hayden back to reality.
“Um … Could you tell me a – anything you know about the Dark Lord and Death Eaters, you know, anything?”
“I don’t know more than you do, probably, except that Voldemort’s back,” Hermione said, her bewildered confusion showing in a shrug. “What do you want to know? About what happened at the Ministry of Magic last year, or something specific? If it’s about the prophecy, I really can’t tell you much.”
“Er…” This is going to be more complicated, Hayden thought. He couldn’t follow what Hermione was talking about; he didn’t even know the basics of it all, since his parents never shared a word about the events of the wizarding battle that would – if nothing was going to change – occur approximately a year hence. Giving it another try, he spoke slowly, gesturing with his hands in the air as though struggling to find the proper words.
“…is back,” Hermione said tersely.
“Er … yes. And … the Death Eaters are his supporters, aren’t they?” Hayden asked, trying his best not to sound uninformed. But Hermione looked more sceptical than before.
“What’s this about, Hayden?” Hermione said, furrowing her brows. “Are you trying to play some sort of game with me?” She shook her head, smiling at him kind-heartedly, but with a bit of sarcasm as well. “You can play that I’m-Not-From-This-World Game with Luna, she loves to play that, actually, but I’m really not interested.”
“OK, then,” Hayden said, staring disappointedly at the ground, “and you don’t know anything about Horcruxes or Hallows yet, do you?”
“Pardon me, what? How…” Hermione looked stunned for a moment at his question.
“Never mind,” Hayden said dismissively, “I’ll invite Luna for a chat then when I’ve got some time.” Before he made his way back to the castle, he called back to Hermione, “I’m going to the library. I’ve got to do some research.”
Hayden was in the library, his head hidden behind a stack of books. He was so determined to find some information about the Dark Lord and Death Eaters that he was actually willing to spend his entire evening in the library. Unfortunately, there were few, if any, books about dark magic of any sort. That lack of ease was echoed in his attempting to find out about current events. But perhaps in this, he was not searching in the correct section.
He ran his finger across the books on the shelves, and went up and down the aisles. But there was no book that would give him the information he needed. He went back to his seat, and his weary eyes widened. There was a newspaper lying on his table.
“The Daily Prophet,” Hayden whispered, “of course!”
The headline of the Daily Prophet read:
THE BATTLE OF THE DEPARTMENT OF MYSTERIES,
An Analysis of the Chase and Battle, June 1996
Hayden looked around him and wondered who had put the Daily Prophet on his table, but no one was acting suspiciously. There were only a few scattered students, sitting at tables and chatting in hushed tones. But then, Hayden recognised two first year girls, whom he had seen while speaking to Hermione a while ago. He peeked through the shelves and noticed that one was writing on a parchment, copying from her textbook, while the other girl was sitting down, her head resting upon her arms, which were laid out across the table in front of her. She seemed to be asleep.
He scanned the articles and looked at the moving pictures. When Hayden was little, his mum had always had to monitor everything he wanted to read, since he was a very knowledge-thirsty boy. The Daily Prophet was the only thing he wasn’t allowed to read, because of the articles about the remaining Voldemort Supporters and murders of many innocent Muggles or Muggleborns. When he moved to foster care, all those magical things were completely removed from his life, leaving only his father’s wand and his mother’s textbooks. They were all he had to remind him that, somewhere out there, magic still existed, and, most importantly, that he should never forget who his real parents were.
“Forgive me, Mum, you never wanted me to read this, but I’m a big boy now,” he sighed. I have to find Dad’s connection to the Death Eaters, he finished in his thoughts. It was already late. Exhaustion was crawling up his body, but he was determined, so he started reading…
“Get up! Quick,” a man’s voice said sternly, shaking Hayden’s arm. “Wake up. I got your clothes ready.”
“What’s going on?” Hayden mumbled from under his blanket. His voice sounded young, softer and higher than usual. He got up from his bed, his small-framed-self was startled. He looked around and found himself in his old bedroom again, in Malfoy Manor. He felt the man’s hand grasping his arm and dragging him out of his bedroom. His tiny legs could hardly keep up.
“You’ve got to get out of here,” the man said in a frantic whisper, glancing nervously out of the window. His hand was clutched around his wand tightly.
“Where are we going?” Hayden asked, but there was no reply. The man dragged him out of the house and into the garden, and Hayden felt a swooping sensation in his stomach as the ground under his feet vanished. He thought that the sudden sensation of being punched in the stomach was going to make him vomit, but it was gone as quickly as it had come.
The ground reappeared under his feet and found himself standing in front of a house. The man beside him bent down, and Hayden was startled to see that it wasn’t his old father before him, with his dirty-blonde beard and receding hair, but the teenage version of Draco, in full existence as he was when Hayden had first encountered him in the dungeons. He spoke with the voice Hayden had in memory.
“Listen Hayden, I want you to hide!” Draco’s voice was trembling; he was shaking the little boy slightly. “You’re not safe with me anymore, my son. They are after me. Some of Voldemort’s remaining supporters, called Death Eaters. You should take care of yourself, you hear me?”
“Who? But Daddy, tell ‘em you’re no D – Death Eater anymore. You’re a good man, aren’t you?” Hayden clasped Draco’s arms desperately, his tiny hands on the young man’s forearm, trembling.
“That’s exactly the problem, my dear son,” Draco said, trying to smile in spite of everything.
“Who are they? What should I do?” Hayden asked.
“Don’t be scared,” he said, his voice weighed down with worry. Hayden now noticed that Draco’s eyes were bloodshot; the bags under his eyes were swollen, which emphasised his meager, pale face. He looked as though he hadn’t slept for quite some time. “Here’s my wand. Remember what your Mum taught you? Use all the spells you know if you’re in danger. Be a good boy, can you promise me that?”
Draco gave Hayden his wand, hugged him quickly, then turned around. The little boy grasped Draco’s hand, not wanting him to leave. “But where are you going?” He felt tears running down his cheeks, his chest heaving.
“You won’t understand.” He turned to Hayden one last time and patted him gently on his head. His eyes were filled with tears, too. “Don’t worry. You’ll be under the Protection Charm that is cast on this house and on you if you stay with this family. Remember your mum’s Muggle friend, Martin, and his wife, Hannah? They’ll take care of you as long as I am away, OK?”
“But I don’t like Martin and Hannah,” the curly-haired boy whimpered. His tiny hand clutched around his father’s wand and the other around his father’s hand. “Don’t go, don’t go, Dad! I’ll come with you! We can hide together.”
“NO!” Draco bellowed, his impatience growing, causing Hayden to stumble backward. Draco walked a little ways away, and Hayden could hear him mumbling before he left. “I’ve already lost your Mum; I don’t want to lose you, too.”
Hayden felt, once again, pain as he had endured when his father had vanished into the dark on the night it had actually happened. That night, he had not understood, being young, not even eleven. But this time it was painfully comprehensible as to why he had left. Draco was absorbed by the night, his light-blond hair fading into the shadows, cloak gliding over the pavement. The only sound echoing through Hayden’s mind was that of his Father’s footsteps, as he walked out of his life - forever.
Hayden sat up and reality broke past his eyes like dams, opening. His face, warm, felt as though a hand had been pressed against his cheek a mere second before. His heart throbbed frenetically within his chest. His throat felt that dryness that feels as if no water will moisten. A sweat that came neither from the heat of exertion nor the cold of fear ran down his forehead. His head ached horribly.
He observed his surroundings. He was still in the library; no one was around. A few students’ voices from the other side of the aisle were the only sources of noise around him. He brushed his palm over his cheek. Had someone awakened him?
The stack of books, which contained information which both of his parents had desperately tried to shield from him while he was still a little boy, was still in front of him; he was determined to go through them in order to find the information he needed.
He realised that he had once again dreamt that dread memory he wanted so desperately to exorcise from his mind. But it—he refused to call it anything so anthromorphic as ‘dream’ or ‘thought’ or ‘memory’ —evoked new emotions inside of him. Somehow … he was starting to understand his father, although he didn’t know why or how. But things became clearer the longer he stayed in this era, now that he had finally met his adolescent and apparently—or was it thus—confused father and his oblivious mother. Draco Malfoy, it seemed, was only acting cold-hearted and arrogant. That insufferable prick was actually only insecure: a bloke who was too dumb to reveal his true feelings for Hermione. Hayden chuckled and shook his head in amusement.
Even if Hayden was about to turn the world upside down, Draco Malfoy was still his father. A coward, maybe, who abandoned him…
‘You’re not safe with me anymore, my son.’
What does that mean? Hayden wondered. The voice of his father still lingered in his mind.
He looked down at the depictions ministerially organized in the pages of the Daily Prophet, and saw the Death Eaters screaming up at him with the ferocity that said that as a spear entered their liver, they would make critical comments on its craftsmanship, aim and the terror of the wielder. The chains around their arms, attached to the walls to the left and right of them appeared to be there for good reason. That must be the legendary prison, Azkaban. Death Eaters had killed so many wizards and witches, many Muggleborns and innocent Muggles, and Hayden wondered if his father, a Death Eater, was a murderer, too.
“But Dad was no murderer!” Hayden hissed, clutching a tuft of his hair angrily. There was something beneath the paper that caught Hayden’s attention. He picked it up and noticed that it was the Muggle snapshot of his Mum. It had most likely fallen out of his chest pocket while he had been bent over the table, sleeping. He had always wondered where he got it from…
‘I’ve already lost your Mum; I don’t want to lose you, too.’
Once again, he heard his father’s last words before he had disappeared that night. Hayden had never heard him speak so wretchedly, so brokenly, as the night his mother was parted by Death, who used as scythe, a car. And then Hayden felt something still within him. His mouth moved to form words that were alien; his ears, hearing them, did not recognize his voice, a voice speaking on its own, giving words to the thought he had subdued over all those years of hatred towards his father—his father who left him. Because then he finally understood.
“Dad loved Mum; he wasn’t an evil man…my father went away to protect me.”
(A/N: When Hayden had this dream before he time-travelled, he originally saw his real father, meaning: the adult version of Draco. I've cut that out because I don't think it was necessary to mention. Just in case some of you were wondering...)
(A/N: I'm so glad I found a new beta, and she's amazing good! Thanks a lot, Unwritten Curse, for saving this story. And also, my thanks to exodus at APU, who pointed out all the flaws in this chapter, as well as doing the first read.) ^_^
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