I also apologize if it looks a little different than normal. If it does, let me know in the comments and I'll try to fix it for next time. But my computer has been buggy, so I wrote this chapter on my phone.
Arthur and Molly Weasley had been summoned to Hogwarts countless time before. Not so much when it was just dear Bill in school, but then Charlie went and he was forever running off into the Forbidden Forest in search of dragons and goblins.
Percy, gem that he was, only caused them to get a single summon in his academic career. And that had been because he'd stayed up so many nights his second year, studying, forgetting to eat for so long, that he collapsed and the Mediwitch had reccomended that he be sent home for a few days to calm down and recuperate.
The twins, on the other hand, were an entirely different beast. Their first year at Hogwarts the Weasley parents had been summoned so many times that by Easter break students would wave cheerfully as they made their way to the Headmaster's office, not surprised by their presence in the slightest.
Ron and Ginny, by comparison, had been angels. Though Arthur had always known it was only a matter of time before a summons came. Even so, when he saw the now familiar sight of the Hogwarts Owl a small pang of worry wiggled in his stomach.
When he saw the brief message written, his stomach dropped like a stone.
Come at Once ~Severus Snape
That was all.
Neither parent had made the trip to the Potionmaster's Office quicker, assuming the message to have been about Ginny, seeing as how she was the only Slytherin in the family. But the office was empty save for a lone, bubbling cauldron.
There didn't seem to be any students about, either, which felt so wrong that the fear in Arthur's gut intensified several times over. They tried the next most likelt place, even though the very idea of it made them feel ill: the Mediward.
Poppy, to Arthur's dismay, didn't seem surprised to see them at all. The little woman was sitting in a chair beside an empty bed, beds of petrified students all around her. She looked angry and tired and worried, her fists were clenched in her robe skirts and her face was drawn and pinched.
"Mister and Missus Weasley," she greeted them. "I-I rather think you should see the Headmaster." This was one of the very last things Arthur had been hoping to hear her say. Seeing the Headmaster meant only very good or very bad. And from the look on her face, there was almost no chance of their summoning being for anything even remotely good.
Once there, the gargoyle guarding the steps sprang out of the way without prompting, only confirming that the Professor was already up there, waiting for them.
The climbed upwards with trepidation, only to find themselves in a room with the Headmaster and his Heads of Houses. The Headmaster sat gravely behind his wide desk, Minerva standing stiffly at attention behind his shoulder.
Snape sat slouched in a deep chair, his head in his hands. Madame sprout was worrying her hands in a corner, muttering under her breath. When she saw the Weasleys, she gave a little cry and held her hands to her heart. Molly made to go over to her and offer comfort, but with a quick hand raised Arthur prevented her from doing so.
Flitwick paced back and forth across the office in quick, small strides. Arthur and Molly looked to Dumbledore questioningly, and the old wizard sighed in dismay.
" ..It pains me to bring you here, to bring you such bad news. But your daughter Ginerva has--" Dumbledore cut himself off, for the first time Arthur could recall, the Headmaster seemed to be lost for words. Dumbledore looked first to Severus and then to Minerva, but both of his associates seemed to be just as at a loss as him.
Unexpectedly it was Sprout who ended up taking the lead. "She's missing," she said quietly.
Immediately Molly erupted into questions and frantic assumptions. Arthur on the other hand could barely form a sentence. While Molly was asking where they had looked and how long she had been gone, Arthur could only wonder if the strange things that had been happening on and off all year could have been foreshadowing this new tragedy. If there could have been some way to foresee and prevent what had happened. And most of all, if Harry had had anything to do with it.
"Where is Lockheart?" Molly demanded. "What does he say?"
Severus Snape scoffed and rolled his eyes which may have been one of the more surprising and alarming parts of what was going on. Minerva, with an angry look on her face and a barely restrained tone of voice turned to address Molly. "I believe there are things which we should inform you of" she bit out.
"This isn't working," John said in disgust as he gave up trying to remove the rubble. "You're not even trying to help!" he accused Mycroft angrily.
The blonde aristocrat had walked a couple feet away, and was sitting croslegged on the filthy, grimy floor with his eyes closed. "I am helping," he said in a level tone of voice. "I'm just not so stupid as to believe I can move those several tons of rock with my bare hands."
"So then what are you doing?" Asked Fred.
In lieu of an answer, Mycroft only closed his eyes once more. Redheaded boys were just about to snap at him angrily, when a silvery pool of magic again to collect around Mycroft's legs.
The magic then slid in a thin ribbon over to the pile of debris. Like a tiny snake it wrapped around the rubbish filling in the cracks with tiny glowing strands. Percy and the twins took a few shocked steps back and watched with gaping mouths as the magic began to expand creating larger gaps between the larger pieces of rubbish and pushing the smaller completely to the side.
As they watched, the magic extended upwards making the rock and stone tumble to the side until it formed a tall pillar the width of a pencil. Then it widened, making the debris pile grown as it was forced apart. Within moments, a doorway-like opening had been created by Mycroft's magic.
"Go," Mycroft grunted. The Weasleys turn back to him and saw that he was straining under the mental pressure of maintaining the doorway. "Go quickly, please. I'll hold as long as I can."
With barely another glance in Mycroft's direction, John flew through the opening with his brothers on his tail. Their feet splashed in the shallow puddles on the ground, their footsteps echoing eerily. The tunnels all seem to run in one direction and so John had hope that they would find Sherlock buy running randomly down one. This theory was soon proven correct, as they suddenly found themselves in a reasonably well-lit chamber.
In the distance two figures were laying on the ground at the feet of a tall statue. Neither were moving.
Screaming out their names frantically, Percy sprinted towards where Ginny and Sherlock were laying on the ground. To their great relief they were both breathing, and neither appeared to have a scratch on them.
What was odd however, was the plain black notebook laying on the ground beside them. It was open to a random page, blank. There seemed to be blood on the ground, though it did not appear to belong to either child.
The twins gently knelt beside their black haired brother, who was on his stomach. It looked like he had collapsed forward. They turned him over with tender hands, and frowned when they saw his forehead. It was bleeding and appeared to have been rubbed raw. There wasn't much blood but the fact that there was blood at all on such an old scar made them exchange worried looks with their elder brother.
"Let's get them back up to the Mediward," Percy took charge, scooping up his sister in his arms and leaving the twins to cradle Sherlock between them. "Quickly before Malfoy exhausts himself. "
It wasn't until they had reunited with Draco, that John spoke what was on all of their minds. " Sherlock wasn't supposed to fall asleep."
Madam Poppy just about strangled the children when they reappeared in the Mediward. But she was too overcome with joy and relief at their safety, so she let them all the severe scolding and pepper-up potions all around.
Percy laid his sister down on a bed with all the care of a good big brother. He smoothed out her flaming red hair and sat down beside her, gingerly, as Madam Pomfrey wiggled her wand clucking like a hen.
"Poor Sherlock has gone through the wringer," she said, disapproving. "Just what were you boys thinking?" she demanded. "This child was already in a very fragile place, on the brink of relapse and you think it's a good idea to take him on a rescue mission?"
Percy and Mycroft both guiltily shied away from looking her in the eyes, though the twins unabashedly met her gaze. "Ginny was in trouble," said Fred.
"And we couldn't have stopped Sherlock if we tried, besides," finished his twin with a final nod. Poppy agitatedly huffed, bonking the both of them lightly on the head before healing up a couple scrapes and bruises on them.
John didn't hear a word they were saying. At the moment, his entire world consisted of Sherlock and nothing else. The thought that Sherlock might wake up as Harry again endlessly circled through his mind. John didn't know if he'd be able to take it, losing Sherlock again so suddenly after having him back so briefly.
He nearly jumped out of his robes when the doors slammed open. His parents came tearing in, in the form of redish blurs.
Molly went directly to Ginny's side, her chest heaving and face flushed. "What's wrong with her? When'd she get back?" Poppy tried to shoo her off a little bit, so that she could better get to her patient, but Molly refused to budge an inch until she got her answers.
"I don't know!" screeched Pomfrey. "All I know is that these two children need medical attention and you're preventing me from doing my job!"
"As their mother, I deserve to know!"
"And as human beings they deserve treatment!"
Arthur stepped passed the quarreling women to lean over Sherlock, whose forehead was still very much red. Dumbledore strode in behind the couple, a contemplative look on his face.
"Boys," he looked over his strange, half moon glasses at them. "I think you should share with us exactly what happened to the six of you, so that we may better understand how to help Mr. Potter and Ms. Weasley."
John still wasn't responding to anything or anyone that wasn't Sherlock. Mr. Weasley put a comforting hand on his smallest son's shoulder. Draco refused to answer, not trusting Dumbledore. The twins were still seething at Madam Pomfrey and had a deep seated mistrust in school figures. So that left Percy to explain his side of what happened, though he was prudent enough to leave out how Mycroft had used his magic in such a way, and the fact that Sherlock spoke in parseltongue.
"The Chamber of Secrets," Dumbledore raised an eyebrow. "A secret that Hogwarts herself has kept under wraps for centuries...was just left standing open you say?"
Percy shuffled his feet, not meeting Dumbledore's eyes. "Yyyeeeeees" he said slowly. "J-just standing wide open." The adults stood in disbelief, so the twins nodded in agreement.
"Exactly what happened."
"Just like that."
"But how did Harry defeat the dark article that was possessing her?" Molly asked, still looking at her daughter. "We know he's gifted, but he's just a little boy. And look at the state he's in now."
"We don't know, mum," George shook his head.
"He ran ahead when the ceiling collapsed," Fred added.
"A pity you didn't take the notebook with you," Dumbledore said archly. "Considering that the Chamber closed behind you." Percy gulped audibly. Getting out had been an adventure and a half, involving putting antigravity charms on all of them as well as Sticky Charms to their hands. As soon as they'd climbed out, the sinks had slid back into their original position, as though they had never moved in the first place.
"Odd, isn't it," Malfoy commented blandly.
Aeldin was thrown backwards by the great wave of pearlecent magic. The energy seeped into his tatter of a soul, healing and filling it up, soothing the frayed edges like a balm. It carried him for several moments, and then it began to settle itself into a steady, flowing river running all through Sherlock's mind.
Aeldin watched as, almost immediately, the palace began to fix itself. The soul piece had his breath stolen away by how elaborate and beautiful Sherlock's mind palace was. He longed to explore every room, wander ever hallway and bask in the light pouring in from the many, many windows.
After years of solitude and boredom, it was like he'd finally found Nirvana. Aeldin eased himself from the magic flow, feeling stronger than he had since his death, probably even before that, and landed lithely on the pristine tiles below.
He spun in a 180, mouth agape and shamlessly impressed. There was no one to judge him here anyway and he'd never seen a place so beautiful. The windows occasionally flashed with memories of sunsets, of stars, of unexplained explosions, of fire, of falling snow and clear blue sky.
Aeldin ran to the nearest door with the glee of the small child he was never really allowed to be, and he tried the knob. He laughed, bright and free, when the door opened easily.
Inside was a kitchen. The appliances shifted from high tech to old fashion to somewhere modestly in between. The colors changed and the sizes altered, sometimes a table would appear in the center and sometimes a dusty light fixture would come into existance over head.
"Sherlock darling," said a voice. Aeldin watched as a ghost-like visage walked into the room through a non-existent door. "Would you fetch the milk for me out of the fridge? And four or five potatoes as well. I want to surprise John with a meal when he gets home. Not everyday a man gets promoted!"
"He should have had the position to begin with," Aeldin found himself saying before a gentle guiding force lead him to the refrigerator to obey the old lady. For about an hour, he found himself making Shepherd's Pie with the old woman, his movements determined by an unseen hand. Aeldin could have disregarded it if he wanted to, played off script. But he knew instinctively that he was walking through Sherlock's memories...but...this woman was talking about John as though he were an adult.
A different John, then?
After a while, the images and kitchen changed. It became smaller and more full of random clutter. Various Christmas decorations were strewn about. A man who was well built with a soft, kind face stood giggling across from him. A glass of beer was held loosely in his fingers. He had sandy blonde hair with a light dusting of grey color at the roots. His eyes were brown and looked very warm. He wore a hideous green jumper with a red bauble stitched on the front, and soft looking flannel trousers with plaid print. A muggle, for sure.
Though Aeldin didn't feel disgust as he usually did when faced with a muggle. He assumed it was the memory at work, but he felt nothing but intense affection for this stranger. He knew this man in an instant.
"John" he said aloud.
"Sherlock," John answered still giggling.
"You're being ridiculous," Aeldin informed the memory ghost, taking a step forward until he was uncomfortably close to the man. John smiled at him.
"And you're being a grinch."
"You're excused." John launched off into another bout of giggles. Aeldin sighed. "Cmon mate, it's Christmas and she's ill. Molly does so much for you, the least we can do is make her a batch of cookies. You're a chemist! How hard could it be?"
"I don't want to."
"Pretty, pretty please with some mistletoe on top?"
"You're drunk John, go to bed." Aeldin was getting mildly uncomfortable with how close John and Sherlock were getting to each other's faces.
"M not drunk," John slurred. "And y'know It'd mean the world to her. She loves you."
"Which is precisely why I shouldn't. I don't return those feelings, nor do I plan on doing so. Ever."
"Never love any body?"
"I didn't say that."
"Oooh, who is she then?"
"Go to bed, John."
The force tried to force Aeldin closer to John, but he'd had enough of...whatever that was. Instead he broke away and slipped out of the room, closing it behind him.
He tried to peice together some new hypothesis based on the information he'd just seen.
Fact: Sherlock is inordinately close to John for having only known him two years, and has been strangely close to the small Weasley for as long as Aeldin knew they knew each other.
Fact: Sherlock's mind is strangely developed for a 12 year old. Even a genius one, which Aeldin can attest to since he was a genius 12 year old once.
Fact: these memories were about John and Sherlock as adults.
Fact: they may not be memories
Fact: it would be strange, but not unthinkable, for Sherlock to have a room dedicated to domestic daydreams about him and John in the future in a kitchen, particuarily ones where they don't seem to be married.
Fact: he was going to need to have a long chat with Sherlock when they saw each other again.
Aeldin determinedly began striding towards the next door, smiling when it opened just as easily as the first.
Until then, he had some exploring to do.