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Chapter 11 : In Caritate Servire
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(A/N: This chapter is one of those so-called ‘filling’ chapters, which explains the surprising length of it. Yeah, more than 4000words is long for me. *rolleyesLOL* It’ll explain briefly what happened in the future after Hayden left his era; how Naomi was able to follow him; where they got the rare ingredients from. I’m telling you this so that, if you want, you can skip it and precede to the last part of the chapter. ^_^ Why? Um…because I’m worried it might bore you.
In this chapter I have hopefully answered most of your questions in your reviews. *looks uncertainly*)
Disclaimer: The places and characters you recognise belong to JK Rowling. The storyline is mine.
BETA’ed BY FALLSTAR
She was very close to his lips, yet somehow forever out of reach. As two streams will converge when still apart, her warm breath joined with his. Hayden’s stomach, deciding it was a worm, tightened to his now-racing heart, readying his body to drown in her. He blinked.
“Please, Hayden,” she pleaded softly, gently, even whisperingly. Hers were close against his, so close that one only might be able to slide a feather between her steady and his trembling lips without touching them. Her hands were flat on his chest, pressing him back against the unpleasantly cold stone wall. “You owe me.”
“I—I can’t d—do that, Naomi,” Hayden muttered, uncertain whether it was due to the chill of the atmosphere or the warmth Naomi exuded as she pressed her body against his.
“Oh but you can,” Naomi said softly, “you have to trust me. Do you trust me, Hayden?”
Hayden nodded hastily, but he couldn’t control his lips to form his answer.
As she breathed, Naomi moved her lips nibblingly towards Hayden’s ear, “We…have to kill her.”
In the moment before it hit its target, there was a flash of light of brightest green, a loud scream of inescapable doom. Then a lifeless body flopped to the ground.
Hayden awakened on soft bed sheets, his heart pounding wildly against his ribcage. His forehead and entire body dripped with sweat. He looked around him and found himself back again in familiar surroundings. He was back in the Slytherin common room.
What was that? He asked himself, closing his eyes to see again. Naomi…
His heart ached. He was afraid that he might just have dreamed about Naomi being in Hogwarts, but more importantly, he was worried when he thought about the fact that Naomi could be dangerous. He got up from his bed and grabbed his robe as he slept wearing just pyjama pants and his house shoes.
“Naomi?” he asked into the dimness, but the only responses he got were the snoring sounds of his dorm mates. If she were here in Hogwarts, he thought, what the hell should she be doing in the boys’ dormitory? He almost chuckled and blamed it on absurdity of his brain after midnight. Instead, as he ran down the stairway to the common room, Hayden nearly stumbled over the carpet as he headed for the exit hole to look for Naomi outside, in the dungeons corridor.
He tried to remember what had happened the previous evening and wondered why everything seemed to be just a figment of a dream. Tears pricked his eyes as the realisation slowly dawned upon him that Naomi didn’t exist in this era, that she didn’t follow him, that last night he had talked to her merely in an imagination fuelled by his guilty feelings from leaving her in the future, that miserable future, without telling her where he was going to go—hence, the nightmare.
She said I’m dangerous, Hayden.
Naomi’s child-like voice re-echoed through his insensible ears again, and Hayden shook off the memory of the little girl he used to comfort in his arms after her foster mother had spanked her.
Slowly, aimlessly, Hayden let himself be dragged by his feet along the ceaseless and labyrinthine corridors of the dungeon. He missed Naomi desperately. He was aware he would fail his mission; the urge to return to his time was suddenly started to overtake him.
Warm tears ran down his cheek, but he didn’t bother to wipe them away. His apathy was so intense that he would not have cared at all if anyone discovered him like a sleepwalker, pacing around the hallways, or even more accurately, like a little child crying because he was homesick.
His stomach grumbled. As he remembered that he didn’t eat dinner last night, he went to the kitchen to get some food.
The kitchen was large with many cupboards and shelves, filled with all sorts of food he had never seen before. He felt like he was in the land of milk and honey, and wanted to taste everything. There were several cupboards out of which a chilly fog streamed. Hayden assumed that they were like refrigerators or freezers, only magical.
He grabbed some pie from a platter which he assumed another missing piece would be unnoticed and shoved it greedily into his mouth.
“You should try this, too.” A voice, a familiar one, came from behind Hayden, making him almost choke on the big piece of pie. He spun around and found Naomi standing behind him, a bottle of grape juice and bagels in her hands. “I missed these house-elf bagels. These sun-dried wheat ones are just the most delicious—”
Before Naomi could finish her sentence, Hayden had jumped to his feet and kissed her on the lips. Naomi dropped the bottle and the bagels, causing a loud sound of shattering glass, which probably awakened some of the house elves. But Hayden didn’t care. To his own surprise, he even lifted Naomi from the ground, holding her tightly as he spun her, dance-like in a circle.
The only reaction Naomi made, once she was placed back on the ground, was to shove Hayden away from her.
“Ew!—Are you insane? What are you doing?” she snapped, wiping her mouth off fully with the back of her hand. She shivered, almost repulsed; Hayden had never felt so embarrassed in his life. “You can’t do that. It’s—you’re—”
“I d-didn’t mean,” Hayden stammered. Whether his stutter was caused because he had no idea what to say, or because of pure humiliation, he did not know. What he did know, was that as he tried to choke the burbling words down, he blurted, “I was just overwhelmed to see you.”
“We just saw each other a couple of hours ago,” Naomi said, waving her wand over the shards on the ground to clean up the mess. She avoided looking at Hayden.
A moment of silence passed when Hayden asked, “It’s still him, is it?” He could barely recognise his own voice, so full it was of disappointment and of shame.
“No,” Naomi said, running a finger over the corner of her left eye, as though wiping a tear away before it fell. “Teddy’s broken up with me two months ago. He ditched me when that frog princess, Victoire, kissed him and convinced him he was a prince; how he could stand near her is beyond my comprehension, seeing as her Beauty’s Help consists of a thousand powders, poison, and puppy water. But let’s not talk about it.”
“I thought you were getting along with her.”
“Yes. We did,” Naomi said, but there was a glow in her eyes and her smile hid something wicked.
Before Hayden could show any reaction, she already grabbed his hand and dragged him over the next cupboard. “Hey, do you want to try the barbeque chicken over here, it’s tasty.”
“You never answered my questions,” Hayden remarked the next day. He was sitting on a rock on the hill that had a perfect view on the Hogwarts terrain. The weather was rather warm and sunny with not a single cloud in the sky. A few students were taking a walk. Hayden had spotted Hermione and her following of four, and that slim Ravenclaw girl with the reflective eyes and the Streeler in the glass box on her lap.
The small group exchanged amused looks with each other when Luna said something. Maybe they were having yet another exasperating conversation with her. Hayden smiled at her sight, the girl nobody took seriously. Indeed, Mrs Luna Lovegood Scamander was a peculiar teenager, Hayden thought. And that peculiar girl will become the most famous witch in Hayden’s time. A powerful witch who had helped him so much that even without the ingredients she provided him, Hayden would have never been able to brew the potion for time travelling. She didn’t help him brewing it per se; she merely helped providing the rare ingredients that were required.
“You said no more lies,” Hayden reminded her, breaking the silence, not wavering his gaze from the little group under the beech tree. “Yeah, you haven’t lied to me since you promised to not lie again, but I didn’t expect you would avoid all of my questions.”
Until now, Naomi kept a safe distance from Hayden since the kiss from the last night, as though worried Hayden might have another attack on her—a kiss attack. His heart broke, ached when Naomi saw in him nothing more than just a friend, like a brother. How could he have assumed she felt more for him than that?
Letting her eyes wander over the Hogwarts ground, Naomi heaved a sigh, narrowing her eyes to narrow slits, better to see the students’ faces.
“Have you seen—do you see my mum somewhere?” she asked, shielding her eyes from the sun with her hand, disregarding Hayden. “I can’t find her.”
“And—there, you do it again.”
“I did what again?”
“Bloody digress, Naomi,” Hayden snapped, straightening his body. “How did you get the ingredients for the Time Traveller Potion? I had difficulties finding them all, and without Mrs Scamander’s help, I wouldn’t have. So how did you do it? How did you get here?”
Naomi turned slowly her head to Hayden, she looked thoughtfully before she said, “Now you won’t get mad at me? No matter what I did?”
“Okay.” This caused Hayden to raise an eyebrow at her, but he was curious to know the answer. Her facial features, which were almost foreign in his opinion, hid mysteries which he wanted to delve to know. He said, “Deal.”
“No deal,” she smirked playfully, “you have to promise me.”
Hayden relaxed as the tension which had accumulated released when he smiled sincerely at her. “I promise.”
“Cross your heart?” she teased. “And swear to die?”
“Naomi,” Hayden warned, struggling to control his tone as he rose to his feet.
“I stole them,” she confessed.
The air in Hayden’s lungs froze, until her words registered, he opened his mouth to say something, but failed. He was not sure he got her right. Somewhere between caution and reproach came the words “I said be serious.”
“I am,” she said without even blinking. “I stole them from Mrs. Scamander’s house. You had some ingredients left in your bedroom, and the others I got from her.” Naomi let out a small giggle.
“Why did you do that? Why didn’t you just ask her like I did?”
“Silly, after all what we’ve done to her house and her garden, not to mention the stupid pranks we played on her when we were children?” Rolling her eyes, Naomi turned her back at Hayden again and looked over to the teenaged version of Mrs. Scamander. “I was caught, Hayden, not you. I was caught when I set that fire in her rubbish bin. I was caught when that baseball flew through her window and broke mysteriously all the glasses of her house.” She made a little pause, then continued, unperturbed. “Because you never came out of your hiding spot. It was me she always caught and suspected in all misdeeds. You know. We were there both when we sprinkled her flowerbed with concentrated brine and threw algae at her house in the nights. I couldn’t just possibly go to her house and ask for some ingredients for a potion ten years later, now could I? That is of course ignoring the fact that I didn’t want to draw suspicions that I am a witch too.”
“Well, she knew it was the both of us,” Hayden scolded, feeling sorry now that he remembered what he had done as a little boy, or rather, what Naomi made him do. “I told her and she said she knew. I also told her that we are very sorry. She forgave us, Naomi. She is a very understanding witch, a kind-hearted woman. And you just go, break into her house, and steal ingredients?”
“Yes.” Naomi shrugged either to say that no explanation would come or none was necessary. She chuckled, “Though it wasn’t much of fun without you.”
Hayden could not believe his own ears. He had always known what an impulsive and sometimes wicked little girl Naomi was as a child, although he had almost repressed this memory. It was her way to “kid” other people—and somehow she always managed to get Hayden involved in it—to do what she wanted.
Pushing away the thought that his best friend had broken into a house and stolen from the woman to whom Hayden was grateful for helping him with the potion, he formed the next question, “How did you know I would go back to this era?”
“I just knew it,” Naomi said. Hayden could see her shoulders tensing up. “I’ve noticed you’ve taken the picture of your mother from the frame, and then I saw the Hogwarts yearbook from 1996-1997—bookmarked to your parents—on your desk. That would tend to suggest the time. Then the ancient book was lying on your bed and I found notes and scribbles on the page for the Time-Traveller Potion. It took me six months to brew it, but this is time travelling, so it doesn’t matter at the end.”
“Ever thought of a career as a detective? Anyway, how the hell did you get into my room?” he asked, trying to reject the idea that Naomi might have broken into his foster parents’ house, too.
“Hannah let me in,” Naomi said. “She said you were in your bedroom—told me to call you down for lunch. I went to your place the same afternoon, you know? When I came back from Hogwarts.” Naomi furrowed her eyebrows. “Did you know they were worried sick about you?”
“Hannah and Martin … were worried about me? They were looking for me?” Hayden demurred, “We can’t be talking about the same people. Cheesy I-don’t-give-a-goddamn-batshit-about-that-boy-Martin and That-boy-is-not-my-real-son-so-why-would-I-care-Hannah are who I know. What about you?”
“I’m not sure if you’ll believe this but...“ Naomi sighed, “...Martin was blaming himself that you ran away. He said your mother would be really disappointed at him that he wasn’t able to take care of her only son, if she were still alive.”
“He didn’t say that,” Hayden said, flabbergasted.
“Why you do not believe me?” It was an accusation, which, after an instant’s pause, was followed by a scold: “You have no idea what you’ve caused in the future, Hayden; did it never occur to you to even leave me at least a message where you’d be going?”
“How could I tell you? I had no effing idea you were a witch and would understand it,” Hayden retorted, way too loudly. “Remember, you lied to me!”
“So did you,” Naomi said plainly. “Yet it is not quite correct to say that I lied, but that I withheld those parts of truth which would endanger innocent people and therefore to which you had no right.” Before he could object, and even over his open mouth, she finished, “You are of course counted among the innocent people.”
Hayden stared at her, speechless, and felt the warmth of the sunlight on his head. A few younger students bounded out of the Hogwarts porches, running down the hill, towards the lake, laughing as they came. It felt like it was a lifetime ago since he last played tag with Naomi, or wrestled in the grass or climbed up trees...
“I missed you,” Naomi said, entering his silence. “I thought when I get back home, you’ll be there.”
“I’m sorry,” Hayden said, lifting a corner of his lips. “I—I didn’t think...I thought you wouldn’t come back again.”
“I changed my mind.”
He moved closer to her. “Where did you really go, Naomi? Summer was already over, and whether you came back from Hogwarts or the all girls private school somewhere in North America, doesn’t really matter. Did anything happen?”
She looked up but said nothing. Naomi had a tendency to rub her elbow when nervous or feeling uncomfortable. “Nothing you have to worry about.”
He looked at her suspiciously and said, “Are you sure?”
“Anyway...let’s return to my question from last night, if you don’t mind? How did you know I was a wizard?” Hayden asked. “I mean, nothing ‘strange’ ever happened that would make one have a suspicion as to my having magical ability.”
“Hayden,” Naomi said, giving an exasperated huff. “You are a Malfoy. Right?
“The Malfoys are well-known in the Wizarding World.”
“Wizarding World?” Hayden repeated, as though he heard this term the first time. “How well-known? Why?”
“Haven’t you read the Daily Prophet I slipped to you the other day in the library?” Naomi rolled her eyes, exasperated, “Regarding the Death Eaters? That issue was published before their intrusion of your house on the day you and your dad fled from the Manor—when he brought you to those Muggles. The Death Eaters were eliminating traitors, such as those who betrayed the Dark Lord or those who changed sides. And the Malfoys were all Death Eaters, well, except for your grandmother.”
“What’s the meaning of this?” Hayden said. “My father was a Death Eater, emphasis on ‘was’.”
“Yes. And in this era he’s been branded already,” Naomi pointed out.
Hayden’s chest constricted and he sat down on the rock behind him again when he felt his knees give in. “But—he’s not a murderer, is he?”
“I don’t know.” Naomi shrugged as though it was a casual conversation. “But you might be able to prevent him and from murdering the headmaster. I’ve only read old Daily Prophet copies in the school library when I was in my first year. I do not know the true story. Though I know he’d never been arrested and brought to Azkaban. He was the most hunted treacherous post Voldemort Supporter. He exposed their hideout to the Order.”
“I can’t follow you,” Hayden groaned, feeling irritated. “You know, I’ve almost grown up as a Muggle. My parents never mentioned any of that stuff to me. What’s that, this Order?”
“The Order of the Phoenix, Silly,” Naomi replied impatiently, she walked a little up and down, wavering her gaze over the ground once again. “Your mum was a member of the Order, as well as Harry Potter, the boy who defeated the Dark Lord, and most of their friends were members, too.”
“So for handing over the Death Eaters’ hideout to the Order,” Hayden started again, running a hand over his face. “Dad was hunted by a rest of the post-Voldemort—Voldemort-Supporters? How did they find us? I mean, if they had known where we lived, then why hadn’t they attacked us earlier?”
“Did you receive an owl from Hogwarts?” Naomi asked. Hayden looked at her, and before he could make comment that she was digressing again, she added, “It’s a relevant question, Silly, because they may have tracked the owl. Didn’t they attack your house when you were eleven?”
“Yes, they did,” Hayden mumbled, putting his chin on his palms and his elbows on his thighs. He was staring absent-mindedly at his shoes. Everything from that night came streaming back in his inner eyes again. Flashes of lights outside—hectic movements—calling voices—walls and doors erupting open. And his father’s strong hand on his arm followed by the wrenching feeling in his stomach when they Apparated. … The retreating figure of his father.
“He left me his wand,” Hayden said in his hands. “He was absolutely unprotected. And I’ve thought of him as being some coward pig who abandoned his son. I’ve grown up comforted by that conviction.”
“At least you know now,” Naomi said.
“How long have you known about my parents?” he asked, ignoring the giant knot in his throat. “You could have told me earlier. You had—all the time—the opportunity before you ‘travelled’ back to ‘North America’ after every summer. You could’ve sent me posts to tell me about it.”
“To be honest, I only heard some rumours regarding the Malfoys when I was in my first year,” Naomi said. “Then I started my own research. First to fourth year students aren’t allowed in the restricted section of the library, so I had to sneak at nights to get there and read old copies of the Daily Prophet. And...Teddy had mentioned some facts about your family. I told him about having a Muggle friend whose surname is Malfoy. He said you are not a Muggle if you are Draco Malfoy’s son.”
It took a few excruciating seconds before her words registered. “You’ve known it for seven whole bloody years, and only now you came and told me?” Hayden exclaimed, staring at her with fiery-cold eyes.
“You were in danger, Hayden; I couldn’t risk they found your foster parents’ house, too.”
“You knew I’ve been grieving over my mum’s death, and I grew up in the false belief that my father was pathetic and abandoned me,” Hayden bellowed, rising to his feet. “And yet I find out that you’ve known the whole truth but have been withholding it from me?”
Naomi’s face turned scarlet and tears shimmered in her eyes. “I only wanted to protect you.”
“Damn that whole sodding protection,” Hayden yelled, throwing his arms in the air. “Why is everyone shielding me from all harm and protecting me like I’m some breakable object? I don’t need your protection, I can defend myself!”
“You don’t even know how to use your wand, Hayden,” Naomi answered. “How are you supposed to protect yourself?”
She walked up to him and pointed her index finger at his chest. “Let’s think of this as a wand,” she said sharply. “Now, what do you do?”
Hayden looked down, staring at her finger. He tried to grab it, but Naomi already called, “Avada Kedavra! It’s the Killing Curse, Hayden. You’re dead.”
Tears streaked down her cheeks, and she pressed her lips together and looked at her finger that was still pointed at Hayden’s chest. “Don’t you get it? It’s a matter of seconds. One wrong movement and you’re dead. I mean—you don’t even carry your wand with you.”
Hayden refrained from the urge to scan his pocket for his wand. She was absolutely right. He didn’t carry his wand with him. He left it under his pillow this morning, this morning when he thought that carrying a stick of wood was just nonsense.
He realised what she meant, so he grabbed her finger and took her small, soft and delicate hand into his and pulled her closer to kiss her forehead. He said softly against her skin, “I won’t die. I won’t leave you. I promised that to you, didn’t I?”
He felt her head nodding slightly as she sobbed against his chest.
A year to go before the battle started, thus the time was running out. Deep inside he wished to keep that promise to Naomi, but sometimes promises are just meant to be broken.
He shook his head. “Why would my father betray the remaining Death Eaters to the Order? How come he changed sides?” he asked aloud, the question was more to himself than to Naomi.
“Isn’t that a bit obvious?” asked Naomi, looking up at him, tears still glistening on her cheeks. “He did it for your mother.”
Hermione peeked over to the hill where the same tall Slytherin from last night was holding the same girl in his arms. How fast Cho fell for Hayden’s charm was amazing: only a few days ago the Ravenclaw would turn her back to him, cringing her nose in repulsion at his straightforwardness.
“He hums at night when I can’t sleep,” Luna said, interrupting Hermione’s thought. “But you have to be really quiet to hear it.
It took a moment for Hermione to realise that Luna was talking about her snail and not about Hayden. “Streelers don’t hum, Luna,” she explained. “Whatever melodies you hear at night don’t come from your pet.”
“He hums,” Luna insisted. She held the glass box near her ear and listened, closing her eyes, as though she were listening the sound of the ocean through a shell.
Harry and Ron exchanged impish looks with each other while Ginny shrugged, giving Hermione a sympathetic look.
What sense did it make to argue with Luna Lovegood? The conversation with her was getting so exasperatingly silly that Hermione had to stand up and leave her friends.
“I’ll see you later,” Hermione said, “I still have an essay to write.”
“Now?” Ron exclaimed, astounded. “Hermione, take a look at how wonderful the weather is. The sun’s shining and you want to spend your time inside writing an essay?”
“Yes,” Hermione said, rolling her eyes. “The due date is Wednesday, Ron. Have you even started?”
“I thought that would be the case.”
Hermione left her friends, glanced a last time up the hill where Hayden and Cho had been standing a short while ago. They were gone. When she moved back to the porches, she noticed someone tall standing there, with his back turned to Hermione. She recognised those broad shoulders, his slim profile; his right arm was entwined with his robe, the other was in his trousers pocket. He was obviously waiting for someone.
Maybe for his new girlfriend, Cho, who was now not with him anymore. Maybe she just got something from inside.
Smiling roguishly, Hermione sneaked closer to the Slytherin, and put her hands around his eyes.
“Guess who?” she asked. She had to stand on her toes to reach his eyes. His skin felt surprising warm under her hands.
He didn’t answer at first, but moved his free hand to touch hers.
“I guess it’s Granger,” he answered. That voice was definitely not Hayden’s. Hermione realised it within seconds, even before she quickly withdrew her hands. Her blood rushed to her face when the guy in front of her turned slowly around, a soft smirk on his face, her embarrassment reflected oddly in his grey eyes.
“Malfoy!” she said in a surprised voice.
1) The title (Latin) means: To serve in love
2) I don’t want people to confuse this and report my story for violating the TOS. *eek*
Hayden and Naomi are NOT related with each other. She’s not his half-sister, nor his future daughter.)
(A/N2: Thanks to everyone who nominated this story for best novella. I really didn’t expect it. Gosh, one of my stories?! *flabbergasted* I couldn’t even believe it when a friend mentioned that it was Dobby’s finalist in that category. *blushes* Thanks to all the reviewers, and most especially to my eHPF buddies, for the great support.)
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