I do not own any right to Harry Potter, or it's character's/plots.
Also, definitely, not making any money by writing this fanfiction (unless personal satisfaction is now a currency).
Beta'd by: Bombadilo Baby.
A Mystical Weekend to You All!
Severus' hand reached forward, brushing Harry's hair gently back from his face. Green eyes flickered then slowly opened, blurrily gazing out into the dark room until they focused on Severus.
"Dad?" Harry's voice was rough with sleep.
Severus' froze, then his heart melted. "Shhh" he soothed, hand trembling slightly as it once more combed through Harry's messy locks. "I'm here, Harry. Go back to sleep." He said softly, mind still reeling.
Harry pressed his head closer, comforted by the large warm palm and the faint smell of potions ingredients. "m'kay" he mumbled, slipping back into sleep with ease.
Severus didn't move from his bedside for the rest of the night.
Chapter 22: Hearts Desire
Harry drifted back to consciousness to the sound of muted voices across the other end of the room.
"-n't believe he escaped! The Auror's have been looking for Albus since-"
Harry huffed a quiet breath and rolled over, burrowing his head further into the pillow. Wanting nothing more than to drift off to oblivion and stay there. The voices continued on in the background, gradually getting quieter until they disappeared altogether. He dozed on and off, nothing dragging him from sleep until a warm familiar voice, right near his head, spoke his name.
Surprised, Harry stirred, blearily cracking open an eyelid. "Dad?" the word rolled off his tongue without conscious thought, and Harry went rigid, as his mistake crashed over him like a bucket of ice cold water.
A lump rose in his throat, and he stopped. Stopped moving, stopped breathing, only his thunderously beating heart indicated he was awake.
For a long, terrible moment, Severus didn't respond. Harry's heart cracked, and he choked back down the sob that wanted to be wrenched from his throat.
Merlin. Why was he always such an idiot! And suddenly, everything was just too much. He'd been feeling horrible for the last two weeks. Barely sleeping. Barely eating. Hardly able to concentrate on anything except a stupid (beautiful) fake mirror. His friends weren't talking to him. And Severus was so busy with classes and other students that Harry was never quite game to interrupt him.
Harry buried himself in the bed, desperate to hide his shaking. His shaky breaths, and limbs, and mouth, and eyelids, allfrom view. To hide himself from everyone. Wishing he had never woken up.
It doesn't matter. He told himself, tears slipping down his face. It doesn't matter. It doesn't matter. He was used to it. It doesn't matter. He was fine. It doesn't matter. He doesn't matter, but it's fine. He'd be fine. Harry cried silently, hands twisting (clawing) in the sheet. It doesn't matter.
He would be fine.
"-rry! Harry!" a voice was calling his name, but Harry shied away further, barely conscious of the arms wrapping around him like a warm blanket, lifting him up.
"Shhh, Harry." The low voice soothed, and a distant part of Harry's mind registered the undertone of panic. "I'm sorry. Shhh, Harry. I'm here. I'm sorry." The arms tightened. "Please don't cry." The choked voice whispered.
Harry sobbed harder, hands tangling in the shirt he'd been pulled against.
"I hate it. I hate the mirror! It lies!" Harry cried, voice quiet and clogged with tears, burrowing into Severus' chest. "None of it's true!" he wept harder.
The arms stilled in shock around him before tightening. "What?" Severus asked, confused and concerned. "Harry, what do you mean?" he asked, trying to meet his eye.
But Harry didn't want to meet his Da- Godfather's!, face "You're not- " he cut himself off, not wanting to repeat his stupid mistake again. "…nothing. I just – nothing." He whispered, incoherently.
Gentle hands tugged Harry face up. "Harry, this is important. What do you mean? What mirror?" Severus asked, with concern strong in his dark eyes, and dread brewing in the back of his mind.
But Harry didn't have to answer, because Severus and Harry both gasped as the older man was suddenly pulled into Harry's memories (two whole weeks' worth of memories) where Harry was bewitched. Ensnared by a magical object that had noplace, noright, beingin this school. Severus' horror rose like bile as he watched the gradual erosion of Harry's will, his young unprotected mind enchanted and overwhelmed by a magical object that could (and had) destroyed some of the strongest minds in wizarding history.
After cleansing the magical residue of the Mirror from Harry's mind, Severus untangled his own, leaving Harry's memories as gently as possible. Harry shied away, ashamed and horrified. Knowing that his Godfather had seen his (ridiculous!) wishes. A horrible swell of guilt washed through Severus' stomach as several nagging questions, which he'd had since hearing the details of Harry's current condition, fell into place. With shame, he realised just how unpardonably unobservant he'd been of late.
Harry startled as two warm palms cupped his head. "Harry, I want you to listen to me closely, okay?" Severus urged, "That mirror should never have been placed in this school. It is incredibly dangerous, and will be removed immediately. Do you understand what it does?" he asked softly, running his fingers through Harry's messy black hair.
Harry shook his head mutely, unable to pull away from the comfort that his Godfather's presence gave him, despite his humiliation.
"The transcription, writing around the edges. It says: I show not your face but your heart's desire." Severus explained gently, tightly reining his fury at what had happened to his Godson. "It entangles those who look upon it in a false reality, Harry. People find themselves unable to leave, or function away from it. Harry, you may not be able to have everything you saw in that mirror in real life, but" he went on, knowing exactly what had tormented Harry in that Mirror's reflection "your parents would be so proud of you. You havefriends, and family, and we love you dearly. And, if you still wish it- I would be – so happy" Severus choked on the word, chest tight "to call you my son." He told his Godson, dark eyes earnest as he waited for Harry's reply. He'd had plans intended for Christmas Break, but altered them upon seeing Harry's face now.
Harry's eyes widened, as he was shocked motionless by his Godfather's words. Hardly able to comprehend their reality. Before he shot forward, thin arms wrapping tightly around the man's waist he'd, for the last several months (since promising to be there for him. Always. The word whispered through his head again now like a vow.) wished to be his Dad.
"You could have come to me, Harry. You can always come to me." Severus said quietly, wrapping long arms around Harry in return. Harry was enveloped in the comforting smell of the potions class, the smell of his Godfather. His- his Dad.
"I'm sorry." Harry whispered.
Severus was shaking his head, holding Harry closer, whispering that it wasn't his fault. That the mirror affected his actions. But Harry felt the stirrings of guilt nonetheless.
For the first time in weeks, his mind felt clear. And he was horrified to realise how badly he had treated his friends and those people he – he wanted to consider his family. And not just a little, but for weeks now. He knew part of that was the mirror, luring him into that perfect false reality, but in the back of his mind he thought that part of it was him too. Not fully accepting, not believing, that these people could care about him. Could like having him around. Not for this long, not forever.
And, as he thought of his friends face's (Draco's face) over the last two weeks, and thought about those couple of letters from Lucius and Narcissa he'd left unanswered, and he met his Godfather's (Dad's) worried eyes right now. He knew he'd made a mistake.
He'd been pushing them away. Just like the Dursley's pushed him away. Year, after year, after year. And now Harry was doing it too. Harry felt a lump rise high in his throat, as he forced down tears of shame, hiding his face against Severus' neck.
"Harry, I've done what I can to clear your mind of the mirror's magic. But I have to go talk with Minerva, to make sure it's removed entirely from the school." Severus said, hating to leave to soon, but unwilling to allow the magical object to remain a minute longer amongst his students. "Madam Pomphrey will return from breakfast in a few minutes. If she says it's okay, and I suspect she will, you can join your house mates." Severus smiled, his dark eyes warm
"Can't have you missing the first Quidditch game of the year, can we? Especially since Slytherin is set to win against Gryffindor." He said, standing.
Harry's heart fluttered nervously at the thought of meeting up with his friends, then he frowned in confusion at his Dad.
Severus smiled tiredly "It's Saturday morning. You've been asleep since Thursday night, Samhain."
Harry's memories from that night suddenly returned to him in a flash. He sat up in alarm. "Draco and Blaise! Are they alright? Are they hurt?!"
"Both Draco and Mr Zabini are perfectly fine. Though their parents were less than pleased. I imagine that you can get further details from them today." Severus said reassuringly.
"I'll see you there?" Harry asked hopefully, part of him hoping to sit with his Dad to watch the game.
Severus nodded. "Either there, or after the game." He confirmed, and looked about to sweep away when he leant down and brushed a gentle kiss against Harry's hair.
"Listen to Madam Pomphrey, and ask that she sends me a list of any additional potions she believes you might need." He instructed. Harry nodded in response, and a few moments later Severus disappeared out the Hospital Wing door.
Harry bounded down the corridor to the entrance hall. Green eyes excited and nervous. He was surprised to see the large crowds of students milling around, gradually making their way to the stands surrounding the quidditch pitch outside. It was a typical cold weekend for the start of November, and Harry spared a moments consideration to darting down and grabbing his warmer jacket from the Dungeon's. His impatience however won out, that and the thought that Pansy's natural talent for heating charms (or any charm) would keep him toasty and warm even outside during the match.
Assuming she wasn't angry with him. . . Harry's uneasiness returned full force, and he bade himself continue on his trek.
He peeked into the Great Hall, cautiously sweeping his gaze around the remaining students.
His heart froze as he came across a familiar group at the Slytherin table. He stared, seemingly unable to approach. Though somehow his presence drew the attention of a familiar pair of (suddenly wide) grey eyes.
"Harry?" Draco's surprised voice travelled across the Great Hall.
As he heard the voice of his friend, a wobbly smile wormed it's way onto Harry's face.
Apparently that was all the que Draco needed to fling himself away from the table and sprint across the hall, pale arms wrapping so tightly around Harry that he was sure his lungs could no longer inflate to breath.
Harry's surprise lasted the barest moment before he melted into the embrace, tucking his head into his friends neck. He squeezed his eyes closed to stave off the tears threatening to fall.
Harry tentatively returned the embrace. "Hey" he replied, voice wavering with emotion.
Draco didn't reply, but his breath hitched and his arms tightened almost to the point of pain.
Seconds later they were swamped with the presence of their friends, all talking loudly over each other, and clambering to give their own hugs and greetings.
Draco refused to be jostled aside. He brushed Harry's hand with his own to het his attention. "Are you alright?" he asked quietly, under the excited conversation the others had resumed (even louder now with Harry's appearance) about the Quidditch game. Apparently everyone heard, because they all quietened down to hear his answer.
Harry smiled, glancing up at Draco. Actually feeling alright for the first time in weeks. "Yeah. Yeah, I am, but . . . can I talk to you guys about something later? I – there's something I should have told you, but I'd rather- Can we talk about it in the dorm? Maybe after the match?" Harry babbled, his words fast and nervous.
Draco felt a flicker of concern, but smiled nonetheless, interrupting him. "I think they're planning a party in the common room after the game, but I'm sure we can commandeer the dorm room. But you better be prepared cause I think we're going to have a lot of questions." He warned, jokingly.
Harry huffed a laugh. "Yeah." He said, staring at Draco, just feeling so warm and happy. "Yeah, I, er . . . kinda figured."
They all started walking from the Great Hall down to the Quidditch pitch when Harry caught sight of his Godfather and the Headmistress walking the other direction. Realising that he'd forgotten to tell his Dad which room he'd found the mirror in, he paused.
"Hey" he said to the other, who paused along with him "you guys go on ahead and save us some good seats, I've just got to tell Da-Professor Snape something real quick. I'll catch up?" he checked with the others, anxiously.
They all glanced back at him in surprise, though Draco had a slight frown line between his eyes. Harry didn't wait for their reply before darting away.
The majority of the group started walking down again, but Draco hesitated. "You guys can head down." Draco said "I'll wait for here, Harry." He decided resolutely.
Harry tried to make his way quickly through the moving crowd, finding it frustratingly difficult to move away from the pitch. He could hear his Dad up ahead, talking urgently with the Headmistress about the Mirror. Unfortunately for Harry, the students didn't naturally make way for him to pass, and only his small stature and agility enabled him to slowly draw closer.
"-need to inform the Board - n't believe he brought it into the school!" Minerva cried in outrage.
Severus' naturally lower voice was slightly muffled as he responded "-be surprised. The old coot has alw- ore concerned about his machinations than the welfar-"
"But the Mirror of Erised, Severus! What possible cause could he have had to bring it here?!"
Harry glanced up in surprise. The path was slightly less congested now, and he was able to navigate far easier than before. He'd never even considered himself why someone would think to move that Mirror to Hogwarts, being far too entranced by the Mirror itself. As he looked up his eyes caught onto another person, trailing a short distance behind his Dad, obviously listening closely to their conversation.
"- quite obvious. The stone. Along with all the other ridicul-" Severus' voice faded out again.
"-remove them both, immediately – refuse to house either a moment longer in the halls of Ho-" Minerva's voice became inaudible as they disappeared round a corner towards the Head Mistresses office.
The person listening in froze, and Harry was surprised to see their face flash with fury and something else, something that made Harry's gut swirl uneasily.
"The Ssstone!" their voice hissed, lowly, fingers grasping their wand. Suddenly calculating eyes turned in what Harry knew to be the approximate direction of the third floor corridor.
Harry steps stumbled to a stop in surprised alarm as he saw an unmistakable flash of red in the iris' of the eavesdropper. A cold shiver ran down his spine.
Around him the last of the straggling crowds were moving on, walking obliviously around the corner, leaving Harry alone with the person in the corridor. Harry's eyes widened with fear as the man's attention flickered. Sensing his presence. Turning to face him. Red eyes darkening.
Harry's heart pounded.
"…Hhharry Potterrr" Professor Quirrell murmured.
Harry quietly screams as a piercing pain erupts from his scar, hands whipping up instinctively to cover his forehead. He stumbled slightly, knees shaking. Eyes wide.
Quirrell whirls closer, eyes cold and full of unmasked hatred.
"Hhhheaaar anytttthing interesssting?" he whispered coldly, just before his wand stabbed forward, snapping Harry back against the cold stone wall.
Harry's breath was forced from his lungs on impact, the back of his head painfully fitting the wall. Before he even had a moment to react a sickly orange shot of magic crashed against Harry.
And he was frozen. Unable to move, unable to speak. Encased in a strange orange bubble.
"By the tiiiime anyone realisssess that theiiir preciousss boy-who-llliived iss in daanger." Quirrell hissed softly.
"youuuu'll be dead."
Harry watched in alarm as the man sped off to the stairwell. He tried to move, or call for help, but was unable to do either. He felt increasingly woozy, vision darkening as he slipped unconscious, his head throbbing. As the orange bubble encasing him slipped from view, he prayed that someone would find him soon. Before he found out what it did.
Draco waited in the Entrance Hall. Idle fingers tracing a nearby climbing fern growing up the side of the castle. The indigo flowers undulated in the sun, green tendrils waving quickly, one curling around Draco's hand, squeezing.
Harry had disappeared almost five minutes ago, and Draco was growing oddly uneasy. What appeared to be the last of the remaining students had wandered out onto the grounds, and the castle had fallen into an unnatural silence in comparison to the roaring of the crowds he could hear coming from the pitch.
Draco turned around, peering back into the castle, just as a distant sound of pain rang out.
Draco's nerves jangled, the fine hairs on his forearms prickling. Without thinking, he found himself hurriedly walking back into the hall, shoes clacking on the flagstones. Grey eyes searching, then scanning frantically.
He'd almost written it off as nothing, talked himself out of the anxiety, despite the continuous pounding of his heart, when he reached the end of the empty Hall.
But then he looked around the right hand corner.
A wordless cry of horror slipped from his throat as he pelted forward. Harry was surrounded by a strange orange bubble of magic, held aloft against the stone wall. Draco tried to reach him, but couldn't pass through the barrier. He hissed in pain as his skin came in contact with the unknown magic.
And Harry wasn't responding to his presence at all.
Green eyes were closed, the only sign that Harry was alright the rhythmic rise and fall of his chest.
"Help!" Draco's panicked voice ricocheted off the stone walls, as his hands scrambled, trying once more to reach his friend. To do anything to help Harry. "HELP! PLEASE, SOMEONE!"
The Hall was silent. No one responded.
"HARRY!" Draco cried, "HARRY, ARE YOU OKAY? PLEASE!"
Draco battered against the shield. "MOVE!" he screamed, a bright fission of silver magic exploding from his chest into Harry's.
A fine lattice of orange webbing, coating Harry's entire body, flared then crumbled.
Harry's body collapsed down to the floor, the impact forcing the trapped air from his lungs, and rousing Harry back to consciousness with a pained groan.
Draco, with a sudden wave of exhaustion, collapsed to the ground beside him. Tears prickling in his eyes in relief. He reached out, hands curling around Harry, seeking reassurance.
"Harry" his voice trembled "Harry, Harry." His hand reached out, gently shaking Harry's shoulder.
The dark haired boy groaned quietly, body shifted slowly, lungs rasping for air. "-raco?" he croaked, eyelids flickering, then sliding open.
"You're awake!" Draco pulled Harry into his arms, wrapping his arms tightly around the now conscious boy.
Now that Harry was awake, Draco sighed raggedly in relief. Harry struggled to move, wanting to reassure his friend.
"'m alright, Draco. S'okay." Harry said, tucking himself further into Draco's body. He'd missed his friend so much these past two weeks.
Draco's arms tightened "What happened? Morgana, what happened to you Harry?! I – I couldn't get you out. You weren't moving." Draco's said, hugging Harry close.
Harry stilled, the reality suddenly slammed into him. "…We've got to find Severus, Draco."
"…what?" Draco asked, shakily, not ready to think properly yet, let alone move yet. He wasn't going to let Harry out of his sight for the rest of the year, as far as he was concerned.
"It was Professor Quirrell, Draco. He- He was the one who-" Harry couldn't finish the sentence, voice too unsteady. He stood up, shakily.
Draco face froze in shock. He stumbled to his feet after Harry. "But – what? Why would he-?"
Harry was shaking his head, eyes hazy "I don't kn- I saw him overhear-" he grabbed Draco's hand, tugging him along as he hurried after his Dad. "I don't know." Harry said quietly, though he had suspicions flying around his head like snitches. "But I – I think he's doing something bad. He was- he was furious when he realised I'd seen him sneaking around behind Dad and the Minerva's back… He ran off, but I – I think it's something to do with the third floor." Harry admitted, as they raced off towards the Headmistress' office.
Draco had just opened his mouth to reply when they raced headlong into Severus and Minerva descending the stairs.
"Boys!" Minerva exclaimed in surprise.
Severus' eyes widened as he took in the pale faces, shaky limbs and tear streaked faces of the two boys before him.
"What's wrong?" he asked immediately, concern welling. "What happened?"