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Chapter 9 : Hayden's Boggart
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Amazing chapter image by the talented Caren at TDA.
Disclaimer: I do not own the characters and places you recognise. The storyline is mine.
EDITED BY FALLSTAR 06/18/08
“Help, I need you to help me.”
Draco dropped his head to the ground and started shaking all over, his fists balled tightly by his sides. It seemed like he was about to faint right there in front of Hermione. Inhaling deeply a few times, he startled when Hermione suddenly stood only inches in front of him. She put carefully a hand on his arm, and Draco flinched away under her touch, his forehead forming a layer of cold sweat, face shaking with shock.
“Malfoy,” Hermione said softly, her voice just barely rising above a whisper.
Hayden moved down from the spot he had been standing—since, perhaps a few minutes ago—to sneak up on his parents to listen to their conversation.
“Do you need help? Should I bring you to the Hospital Wing? Aren't you feeling well?”
Draco looked away from her, his eyes distant and unfocused. He shrugged off Hermione's hand and made a defensive step backward.
Before turning around, he muttered, “You're not safe here.” And then Draco ambled away, disappearing down the hallway.
“You should go and talk to him,” Hayden said.
Hermione didn't turn around, giving the momentary impression that she hadn't heard. This was dispelled when she pressed her potions book against her chest, looking worriedly towards down the direction Draco had just walked. “He needs you, Hermione.”
Hermione looked at him, her face blank. It then changed to a rather questioning look as though only now she realised that Hayden was standing right behind her and talking to her. She asked, “What did he mean by telling me, ‘You’re not safe here.’”
Hayden looked at her and smiled sadly, but words seemed to fail him.
Hayden had not slept well the previous night because he had thought about his parents and realised that his plan was taking too long. What could he expect after a week in Hogwarts? If patience was a virtue, then he was… Consoling himself that at least the 'relationship' of the two stubborn teenagers made some—albeit little—progress, he didn't slip yet into hopelessness and give up on everything.
What if he’d stayed in this era until his conception and watch nine months later how he was born? What about the strange situation in which he saw himself the one asked to baby-sit himself? Wouldn’t that be awkward? What about babysitting while watching Draco and Hermione sent jinxes at each other and called each other names? And would he be able to endure once again the horrible pain of losing his mother at the age of eight years?
All because he had failed his mission.
Despite the ridiculousness of baby-sitting himself, the theory of time travelling was rather complex, which meant that it was not possible to exist twice in the same era. So either, Hayden would vanish once his baby self was conceived, or his baby self wouldn't exist because he was still in this era, hence, Hayden would not exist in the future. And so he would never have come. And so he would be born to parents who still hated each other—even if he brought them to True Love.
He recalled again his plan for the day, Draco had detention after Defence Against the Dark Arts class for skipping classes several times this week…and for being caught sleeping in class. Hayden thought of giving Draco a visit and maybe talking to him to figure some things out. But also to tease him for whining like a sissy and making that melodramatic show in front of Hermione the other night. ‘Though of course, it wasn't a show. Draco was sincere, so why did he need Hermione’s help?’
Hayden walked into the Defence Against the Dark Arts classroom in which Draco was serving his detention and found a sponge and a cloth flopped on the floor, a bucket of water standing limp, and Draco Malfoy sound asleep. Soundless, peaceful and even were his breaths; his lips were half parted; murmurs and mumblings fell from his mouth. He smiled the smile of a soul at peace: the greatest gift of Death’s sweet sister, Sleep.
“Lazy dolt,” Hayden snorted. He looked around the room. It was immense and disorganised, filled with stuff like some antique looking books stacked in one shelf, old broomsticks lying around the room, one was even vibrating slightly, flasks and cauldrons filled with liquids in different colours, old-fashioned bookshelves, seats, tables, some wooden, broken sticks, winged keys flying in a cage, and other objects Hayden could not identify.
He walked towards a wardrobe that caught his attention. It was shaking slightly, as though somebody was locked inside, trying to get out. Hayden moved closer to examine the wardrobe door. It was locked. He knocked on it, put his ear on the wood, and then he startled when the wardrobe door burst open. Tripping backwards, he landed on his bum, as his vision slightly darkened and two figures walked out of the cabinet door…
The figures’ faces were laden with burden, filled with years of long sorrow and misery. Hayden gasped when he realised who they were. The man was tall and massively built, with receding light blond hair; the woman to his side had brownish bushy hair cascading down her shoulders. The two figures started to argue all of a sudden, their mouths weren't moving, but Hayden could hear in his head clearly, all too clearly, what they were yelling at each other. It felt so real. The pain from the past was suddenly returning.
“I never lied to you!” The woman cried, wiping away the tears in her eyes. “Stop acting like a worthless harrumph. Why can’t you just trust me?”
“Why can’t you just admit it?” The man retorted, grasping the woman's upper arms and shaking her violently. “Tell me the truth; you miss him, don't you? Look at me!”
Hayden knew, and suddenly remembered, the very argument on that fateful night upon which his mother died. He found himself suddenly in the middle of a scene which he once, as a little child, only heard the fight from the door crack of the living room. And he was terrified.
“Yes, I do miss him,” she seethed angrily through her teeth, her irritation growing, and the adult Draco dropped her like burning coal. “Is it that what you wanted to hear? Tell me,” she spat, her eyes flickering with fire. “What do you want to hear, Draco? That I’ve never loved you? That the reason why I agreed to marry you was because of our son? Tell me, what do you want to hear?”
Hayden watched his father’s face. Like coals that burn, his father's rage glowed. Like coals turned to dust, his father’s fury turned cold. He seemed to be holding his breath. His lips started to curl in wrath. He looked liked he was about to slap his wife across her face. Knowing that it would actually not happen, Hayden remained glued on his spot, his heart pumping faster with every breath he took…
Draco’s massive state made a threatening step towards his wife, intimidating her with his full height, he growled, “And do you think that I have ever loved you? You're just some slag I bedded in a school party. Miss hard-to-get Hermione Granger, I needed the challenge.”
Before either one knew what was happening, Hermione slapped Draco across his face. Hard.
She pulled her hand back to her side, shaking. “I've always known that you were only pretending, Draco!” Hermione sobbed. “I don't even know how it came this far. I knew you never loved me! I knew it! If Ron and Harry were still alive, Hayden and I, we would have never stayed with you! Ron would've taken care of us.”
Hayden noticed his father’s entire composure tensing up, his breathing becoming rapid.
It seemed like Hermione regretted what she had just said and leaned forward to apologise, to touch Draco’s hurt and saddened face. “I’m sorry, I didn't…” she mumbled, but Draco shrugged her hand off and turned around, hiding his angry tears.
“Tell me you were lying, Draco,” Hermione pleaded, sobbing in her hands. “Tell me you love me.”
“N – No, I don’t,” he said in a tone which belied the fact that he was trying to keep his voice from trembling, “I never have.”
With the force of those strong words against her, Hermione ran out of the living room, fled the house.
Hayden closed his eyes.
He heard, in the distance, a car honking.
He heard, in the distance, a loud and familiar scream.
He heard, in the same dreadful distance, a sudden thud—a crash.
A voice called, “Riddikulus”, causing Hayden to open his eyes only to see the two figures vanishing in dark fumes in front of him. And the teenager Draco stood there, wand in hand, where a few seconds before his parents had stood.
Hayden saw Draco’s mouth moving, but his voice became distorted in his ears. Suddenly everything became dark in front of Hayden’s eyes as he collapsed on the hard floor.
Hayden opened his eyes and found himself with his back on the cold floor again. He stared up at Draco, who was bent over him, shaking him rather fiercely.
Hayden got up to sit upright, looking around him. “Dad? Mum?” he mumbled, rubbing his aching temples gingerly.
“Idiot, get up!” Draco said. “What are you doing here? Were you stalking me? Who were those people?”
“People?” Hayden asked confusedly, trying to remember what had happened.
“Your Boggart,” Draco clarified, rising to his feet. He turned around and nodded towards the wardrobe.
“Merlin, did you lose your brain?”
“Oh,” Hayden remembered the book he had read about that particular magical creature. “Yeah, Boggart. My Mum…”
“Your Mummy is your Boggart? Is she so horrifying?” Draco snickered.
“Not my Mum, but her death. Reliving the pain when she died, that – that’s my greatest fear,” Hayden pressed his eyes together, trying to regain his composure. He felt so weak, so drain inside.
“Your Mum,” Draco said, looking thoughtfully for a moment, “she looks familiar.”
“Did you hear their fight?” Hayden asked in surprise, worried that Draco might know the whole truth now.
“No, I woke up when that woman ran somewhere else and then disappeared,” Draco said, looking towards the direction where the adult version of Hermione ran to. “Why?”
“N – Nothing,” replied Hayden uneasily.
“And the man, he must be your father,” Draco pointed out, smirking. “Merlin, if he had long hair, he would look like my father. Though your Dad seemed pathetic, sorry to offend.”
Hayden raised an eye at Draco, he said, “Well, my father is pathetic!”
“Here’s your wand,” Draco said, throwing the wooden stick towards Hayden. “It fell out of your robe. You’re supposed to be bright and all, why didn’t you protect yourself with the Riddikulus spell? Or are you yet another squib?” he shook his head, disgusted. “Anyway, I used your wand to clean around here. I’m done for today.”
Draco walked out of the classroom, body confidently upright as he strode towards the door. When Hayden looked around him and back towards the Boggart wardrobe, he felt a cold shiver running down his spine. He had a vague feeling that something else was going to happen today.
Right after Hayden left the Defence Against the Dark Arts classroom, he headed back to the Slytherin common room. Slowly pacing through the corridors, he paused mid-tracks when he heard a soft chugging from one of the empty classrooms. He listened vigilantly into the dimly lit corridors, and indeed, a steaming and bubbling noise was to be just heard.
Walking towards the source of the noise, which led him to one of the classrooms a short distance from the staircase, Hayden stopped in his track. He peeked through the metal-grilled arched window of the wooden door once he reached the classroom with the mysterious sound.
A loud crack, and something seethed from inside like air escaping the tiny hole of a balloon, was heard from the other side of the door. Someone cursed out loud, “damn!” before running towards the door.
The door burst open, and someone ran out and crushed into Hayden. The whole incident was followed by a loud explosion emanating from the classroom. In reflex, Hayden covered his face with one arm. Splitters of wood and stones flew in all directions. A layer of dust plastered upon Hayden.
He coughed as he inhaled the dust; he started to spin suddenly with dizziness, realising it the moment that he keeled over, crashing on the floor.
“Arrgh! my head,” Hayden roared through his pain. He rubbed the back of his head, and turned to the person who lay beside him. Long, raven-black hair was sprawled around her shoulder, as she managed somehow to lift herself up on her arms. She was wearing blue goggles, which loosely dangled from her nose and a black rubber glove on her left hand that reached up barely below her elbow.
Her right hand moved to re-arrange her goggles. Removing her glove, she sat back on her ankles to rub her back, her face cringing in pain. Hayden recognised her once again.
“Cho? What on heck were you doing?” Hayden asked once he managed to sit upright. “Are you alright?”
Cho didn't look at him, still rubbing in pain the wrist on which she had fallen. “Ouch,” she moaned, disregarding Hayden's question.
“What was that? You could’ve killed someone.” Hayden looked towards the remnants of the classroom door: a gaping hole was in the wall and the wooden door, which had shredded, had scattered all over the ground.
Descending footsteps were heard from the upper stairs. The Ravenclaw beauty panicked and quickly got to her feet. She grabbed Hayden harshly on the wrist and tugged him behind her, dragging him around the next corner to a secluded area, running as fast as they could. She hobbled on one foot slightly.
They stopped at some place which Hayden had never seen before. Of course he hadn't. He had certainly not had the time yet to explore the entire school. Being busy with his mission took all of his time and attention. To explore the school, he would have had to have come when he was eleven.
Hayden panted—breathless—and looked up towards the Asian Beauty, Cho, who also was breathing heavily. She leaned with her back against the wall, her blue goggles still covering her eyes. She was wearing a long soot-smeared apron over her uniform skirt and now greyish blouse.
“Are you hurt?” Hayden asked, still concerned.
“No!” she spat, taking Hayden aback. He didn't know why on earth she had such a temper. After all, it was her fault. She could’ve hurt someone. Cho removed the goggles from her nose to wipe some tears from her eyes.
“What’s the matter?” Hayden moved closer. To see if she had any injuries, he tilted her head up softly with his finger. Cho closed her eyes in reflex, and more tears ran down her cheeks.
“It’s your fault, Hayden,” she whispered, opening her eyes again, looking sadly.
“Excuse me?” he asked, a bit confused.
Cho looked up, staring Hayden directly in his grey eyes. “You ruined it. We are stuck. Don’t you get it, Hayden?,” the Ravenclaw sobbed, wiping yet again another tear from her hazel eyes. “We are stuck here.”
And then from Cho’s wrist flicked something that caught Hayden's attention while she was wiping her eyes dry. A bracelet. He grabbed her wrist gently so as to examine the bracelet, especially the name tag with the engraving. Thinking his heart had just skipped a beat, he turned to face her again.
“Where’d you get this?” he asked, unconsciously holding his breath.
She bit her lower lip, new tears falling from the corners of her eyes, and she pulled her arm back again. In that moment, as if a cold shiver ran down his spine, Hayden backed away from her—stumbling backwards when he finally recognised those hazel eyes.
The moment he found his voice, he exclaimed, “W—What are you doing here, Naomi?”
(A/N: Thank you, Unwritten_Curse, for beta-reading the chapter! :) Reviews are gladly appreciated. :)
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