Bruce Wayne and the Sorcerer's Stone
Chapter Eight: Conclusions
Bruce resisted the urge to smirk in satisfaction – it was Quirrell. The Slytherin only regretted that it took this long to piece everything together. Harry, however, was aghast. Quirrell only smiled.
"I was wondering if I would meet you here, Potter. I see you've brought along a guest." Bruce glared at the teacher, who only chuckled. Harry was still in a state of disbelief.
"But….Snape…he tried to kill me when.." Quirrell interrupted him.
"When you were on your broom? Ignorant child, Snape was trying to save you. He was muttering the counter-curse so quickly that for a moment I thought you were actually going to survive. Then your friend Granger knocked me over and broke my concentration. Even though I failed, Snape decided to referee the next match to make sure I didn't try again. He shouldn't have bothered – with Dumbledore there I couldn't have done anything." Quirrell continued talking, but Bruce was not listening. He leaned closed to Harry and whispered in to him.
"Keep him talking." Harry didn't need any explanation.
"So, you were the one who let the troll in on Halloween." Harry was looking directly at the teacher.
"Yes, I was. Trolls are something of a specialty of mine. I thought it the perfect diversion to get to the Stone. Unfortunately, I couldn't get past that filthy mongrel of Hagrid's. Snape tried to cut me off, but ended up with a wounded leg for his trouble. A small bit of consolation for my failure."
"Then, when I heard Snape threatening you…."
"He was actually warning me to stay away from the Stone. Very good, Potter. You may not be the complete idiot I thought you were. Or maybe your Slytherin friend there has been giving you tips on deception. No matter – it's not as if Severus could threaten me, after everything that has been done to me…" the teacher turned to the mirror.
"I can see myself with the Stone, presenting it to my master, but how can I get it? I should have known that Dumbledore would conceive of something truly aggravating." Bruce and Harry glimpsed the mirror and each instantly recognized it – the mirror of Erised. The two exchanged glances while Quirrell had his back to them. Harry was a bit surprised at the knowing look on Bruce's face, but the Slytherin simply whispered "If we survive, I'll tell you about it."
"Murmuring amongst yourselves, are you?" Quirrell mocked. "Hoping to find some way to stop your professor? Why don't you come over here and give me a hand. Potter first." Again the two students exchanged looks, and Harry saw Bruce's wand partially extending out of his sleeve, realizing that his fellow student was ready to jump in if Quirrell made a move against the Gryffindor. Harry slowly walked up to the mirror. Bruce could not make out anything, but clutched his wand even tighter.
"Well, Potter? What do you see?"
"I see….myself. With Professor Dumbledore. He's presenting me with the House Cup. I've just won it for Gryffindor." Bruce knew it was a lie, but hoped that Quirrell would not be so clever. It was then that Bruce heard a voice that chilled him to the bone.
"He's lying…..he's lying…." Bruce looked around, hoping to find some trace of an invisibility cloak or something, when he realized that the voice seemed to be coming from Quirrell.
"Let me see…let me see….." Quirrell then looked upset.
"No master! You're still weak! I have the situation in hand!" The terror in Quirrell's voice was obvious to all who heard it.
"Do not make me repeat myself……"
"Yes, master." With that, Quirrell began unwrapping his turban and Bruce was met with a sight that sickened him.
Protruding from the back of the teacher's head was a face, a face with glaring red eyes and slits for nostrils. It looked straight at him and Bruce clutched his wand tighter than ever, wondering if now would be a good time to try...something. It turned to Harry, leaving Quirrell now directly in the Slytherin's line of sight.
"See what I have become……reduced to a mere whisper of my former power…..forced to rely upon another's body to keep me alive. All because of you. The Unicorn blood has sustained long enough for this moment,……once I have the Stone, I will return to glory. You could help me……..I see the potential in you for great things….if only you join me….." A disgusted look crossed Harry's face.
"You killed my parents. I'll never join you!" Voldemort looked murderous.
"Do not be a fool. You have no chance against me. No one…..can help you."
"I said no." Bruce had to admit – the Gryffindor's courage was impressive.
You shall pay for this…..perhaps your Slytherin companion will see the truth…" he turned to Bruce. "Strike down the boy…….prove your loyalty to Slytherin and I shall reward you greatly…..you need only take the Stone from his pocket." Harry and Bruce exchanged horrified looks and something that sounded like a perversion of a laugh emanated from Voldemort. Harry stumbled backward.
"Don't be fools. You need only hand me the Stone to survive. You need not meet the same fate as your parents." Harry sprang for the door and Bruce flung the potion he had concealed straight at Quirrell, which caused the man to fall to the floor and start yelling with pain. It would not kill him, but the ingredients used to make the potion would be guaranteed to make the professor's life extremely painful for the next several minutes.
"I think it's time we got out of here." Harryhad said this afterreaching his companion's side, obviously trying to think of something.
"You may have a point." The two children turned to the way they came in, only to be stopped in their tracks by a great roar of pain and rage.
Voldemort had gotten back on his feet and looked ready to murder both of them in the grisliest manner possible. Bruce and Harry looked at each other, hoping that one of them would come up with some brilliant, last-minute strategy.
"Kill them! Kill them both!" After this command from Voldemort, Harry suddenly fell to the ground, obvioiusly in pain andhad his hands on hisscar. Bruce knelt to his side, only to be thrown hard into a nearby pillar by Quirrell's spell. He got up, but then heard the dark wizard shout another spell.
"Reducto!" The ceiling above Bruce exploded, causing numerous pieces of large rock to fall on him. The boy thought he heard some ribs cracking, but did his best to push it out of his mind.
Satisfied that Bruce was out of the picture and in sufficient pain for the time being, the professor then turned his attention to Harry. Yet, when he placed his hands around the boy's neck with the clear intention of choking the life out of him, Quirrell yelped with pain.
"Master, when I touch the boy it burns!"
"No matter! Kill him! Kill him now! I command it!" Voldemort was clearly insane with rage.
Bruce, barely conscious and bleeding, somehow managed to get to his feet, though it resulted in constant pain. Limping over to the scene of the attempted strangulation, he tried to jump Quirrell, who brushed him aside, and then kicked him in the gut.
"I think I shall begin with you and let Potter know what is in store for him." The teacher raised his wand.
"Avada Ke-" the interruption was caused by none other than Harry Potter, who had decided to mimic Bruce's tactic of tackling the teacher. However, when he made skin contact, smoke seemed to come from Quirrell's hands. Realizing what was happening, Harry started clutching the professor, though it was obviously causing the Gryffindor extreme pain. Quirrell began screaming in agony and Bruce watched as the dark lord's host began to disintegrate before his very eyes.
Again and again Voldemort yelled 'KILL HIM!', in what looked to be an increasingly vain attempt to snatch victory. Once again stumbling to his feet and ignoring the piercing pain in his chest area, Bruce tried to separate the two, since he doubted Potter could survive much longer. Yet, when he placed his hands on the combatants there was an experience of pain like no other that went coursing through his body. His last conscious thought was the realization that Quirrell was dissolving into a kind of black smoke.
The first thing Bruce realized upon awakening was the feeling that he had been hit by something approximating a large truck, or maybe a train. His eyes cleared and the boy realized that he was in the hospital wing of the school. On the bed next to his was the unconscious form of Harry Potter. For a moment Bruce thought that his ally was dead, but then realized that if that were the case, he would not be in a hospital. Not to mention the fact that there would not be a small mountain of candy right next to him. Bruce let out a sigh of relief – it looked like they had won.
"Yes, Quirrell did indeed fail in his attempt. It is good to see that your powers of observation are not dulled by a mere near-death experience." Bruce turned to see the welcome face of Albus Dumbledore.
"How is he?" Bruce motioned to Harry.
"He has been through a truly traumatic experience, but Harry has shown himself to be a resilient boy. Madam Pomfrey expects him to make a full recovery." Bruce let out another sigh of relief.
"I must thank you for your remarkable show of bravery down there. Most would not have placed themselves in such a position for someone they did not know. It warms my heart to see that such nobility still resides in the students under my charge." Bruce could not make eye contact – something about the man made him feel unworthy.
"I merely did what was necessary."
"If more people placed the same importance on what is 'necessary' as you, a great many problems would be solved. I'm sure Harry will say the same thing once he awakens."
"He might say that – if he remembers it after going through the mountain of gifts he's received. I take it the entire school has heard about what happened."
"Mr. Wayne, what happened down there was an event purely between the four individuals there and best kept a secret. Naturally, the whole school knows about it." Bruce stifled a laugh at that. "And do not underestimate the gratitude of others. You have had a few well-wishers yourself." Bruce looked to see that Dumbledore was next to a tray with some candies on it, signed with Ron and Hermione's names.
"Both Ms. Granger and Mr. Weasley have expressed deep concern over your welfare. I believe you may have inadvertently made yourself some friends." Bruce smiled at that. He then summoned up the will to look directly at the Headmaster.
"Sir, what did happen down there? Both of us should be dead."
"Harry's mother died protecting him. The kind of love that takes is complete anathema to Voldemort, who simply cannot begin to conceive of it. It left a mark of its own on Harry, one that was so pure it protected him from the touch of one as evil as Voldemort. When you attempted to save Harry from Quirrell's grip, the hatred Voldemort embodies was directed at you for a deadly few seconds. "
"What about Voldemort himself? Is he gone?"
"No dear boy, he has once again managed to escape death. He abandoned Quirrell and has now gone to find a new place where he can recover. It may take more than either you or Harry to stop him when he once again manifests himself. Yet, he may be delayed again and again, until finally he can no longer return."
"I suppose you can't tell me why Voldemort was so interested in Harry in the first place." Dumbledore frowned.
"Alas, I cannot. It is a private manner concerning Harry, and one he cannot learn of until he is older."
"I understand, sir. What about the Stone? Is it still in the school?"
"The Stone has been destroyed. Its creator and I had a discussion about it and decided that it was the most prudent course. It would only be a temptation for others to attempt to seize."
"How did Harry get the Stone?"
"Ah. It was one of my more clever ideas. I enchanted the mirror so that the Stone could only be acquired by one who wanted it, but did not want to use it for himself."
"That was clever. If I could ask a few more things…."
"My dear boy, you have earned a few more answers."
"How long have I been out?"
"Two days. I expect Madam Pomfrey will keep for two more, at the least."
"One last thing, Headmaster." Bruce picked up one of the gifts left for him. "Would you care for some of this? I probably won't eat it." Dumbledore smiled.
"My dear boy, you must learn to allow yourself to indulge in the fruits of victory. Or sweets, as this situation has it. Now, I ask that you get some rest and enjoy the gifts that have been given to you. You have certainly earned them. I shall be back once Harry awakens." With that, Bruce laid back on his bed and looked forward to a nice, long rest.
Dumbledore was indeed back when the Gryffindor awoke, and Bruce found that Harry asked many of the same questions he did. The Slytherin felt a bit sorry for the Headmaster, having to go through the same material a second time. Yet, he sensed that while most would have found it tedious, he was only happy to explain things for the boy. Bruce supposed that was one of the things that made Dumbledore such a great teacher – his willingness to help, despite whatever inconvenience. In the process, Bruce learned a few interesting facts about Professor Snape, which he resolved to store away for further use. One could never know when such information could be useful. After Dumbledore left, the two chatted briefly, and Harry thanked Bruce for everything, though Bruce's decided lack of conversational skills or tact kept things brief. In response to Harry's inquiry about the mirror, Bruce simply said "I found it roughly before you did." and brushed aside any questions about what he saw. After that, the two spent most of their time resting, until Madam Pomfrey allowed Ron and Hermione to stop by. The two Gryffindors were elated to see their friend healthy, and then Ron turned to Bruce.
"Y'know, I wasn't that sure about you, at first. I mean, with you being a Slytherin and everything. But, you're an alright bloke and anyone willing to stick their neck out for Harry is a friend of mine." He extended his hand and Bruce took it, but decided to kill any hopes Weasley had of a chummy relationship.
"I merely did what was necessary. Nothing more. I expect you to remember that in the future." The curt tone to his voice only made Ron shake his head and caused Harry and Hermione to roll their eyes.
"Oh, come off it." Hermione said. "No one as cold as you make yourself look would be willing to return a lost toad, remember?" Bruce said nothing, but gave her a sour look which prompted all three Gryffindors to start giggling.
"I think he's just upset that he didn't a small mountain of gifts. Maybe we could conjure one up for him?" Harry's light-hearted swipe only made Bruce glower even more, which in turn only made the Gryffindors giggle even more.
"Oh, he's got enough to be happy about. Slytherin won the house cup again, even if it was just barely." Ron's needling made Bruce briefly consider murder, but they were interrupted by Madam Pomfrey, who promptly ushered the two guests out of the room. Bruce turned to Harry.
"Interesting friends you have."
"Yeah. I don't know what I would do without them."
The next day passed a bit swiftly for Bruce. He was awakened by the sound of Hagrid coming in to sob his apologies to Harry. After a slightly amusing display, Hagrid calmed down and offered Bruce an invitation to his hut. It appeared that the 'if you're a friend of Harry, you're a friend of mine' mentality was not limited to a few select students. That night, he and Bruce made their way to the feast, though Bruce had to be slightly prodded to do so. When they made their way to their respective tables, Bruce could feel the eyes of all the Slytherins on him. There was little doubt his adventure had resulted in the more powerful members of the house labeling him a traitor. He would not be a bit surprised to find that Malfoy had done more than his part as well, trying to get some payback for the various humiliations. No matter. Bruce was more than capable of dealing with what his peers could throw at him.
He took a seat at the end of the table, next to a student he recognized as Blaise Zabini. The fellow Slytherin looked ready to say something, but then decided not to. The Headmaster then began his usual speech for the end of the year. Bruce normally would have tuned out most of it, but instead he hung on every word. The past year had resulted in a tremendous surge of respect on his part for the old man, and Bruce was not one who gave respect lightly. He listened as the Slytherins cheered when Dumbledore announced that they had won the house cup, but he became truly interested when the Headmaster announced that there were a few more points to be given out.
"First - to Mr. Bruce Wayne for the most remarkable display of inter-house cooperation I have had the privilege to see in a very long time, I award Slytherin house forty points." This caused a number of confused reactions from the crowd. Slytherin had already won the cup, so why give them more points? Nevertheless, there was some clapping from the Slytherin table, apparently from people just glad to have more points. They had come narrowly close to being beaten by Ravenclaw.
"Second – to Mr. Ronald Weasley, for the best-played game of chess Hogwarts has seen in many years, I award Gryffindor house fifty points." Now that drew murmurs from the crowd, as they wondered what Dumbledore was up to.
"Third – to Ms. Hermione Granger, for the cool use of logic in the face of fire, I award Gryffindor house fifty points." That caused some cheers from the Gryffindors, as they realized the large increase in points they were being given.
"Fourth – to Mr. Harry Potter, for pure nerve and outstanding courage, I award Gryffindor house sixty points." There were some cheers at that, but also more murmuring as people began to tally the points up and realized that Slytherin and Gryffindor were now dead even. Bruce had a feeling that Dumbledore had one last surprise left.
"There are all kinds of courage. It takes a great deal of bravery to stand up to our enemies, but just as much to stand up to our friends. I therefore award ten points to Mr. Neville Longbottom."
Bruce was not sure that he would ever again hear something as loud, and personally thought that would probably be a good thing. Even the Hufflepuffs and Ravenclaws had joined in, happy to see Slytherin dethroned at last. As he looked about his table, some of his classmates looked positively murderous. A few directed their looks at Potter, but others aimed right at him, no doubt placing the blame for this humiliation squarely upon his shoulders. Bruce had a feeling that his interactions with the rest of his house were going to be very interesting next year. Turning his attention to the Gryffindors, Bruce saw the entire table almost overcome with joy. Hermione had turned several shades of deep red, while Ron has something of a dumbstruck look to him. Harry was positively elated, and Bruce was not surprised. This kind of validation was obviously important to the Gryffindor, and who was he to begrudge him happiness? The two made eye contact briefly, and Bruce gave Harry a slight smirk, showing no hard feelings. Harry could only keep that stupid smile on his face.
In the days that came, Bruce actually saw very little of the Gryffindor trio, considering everything they had gone through together. This was mostly due to his own desire to be left alone and contemplate the options that were set before him. He had originally come to Hogwarts hoping to learn magic in order to use it later in life as a means to clean up Gotham City. However, the strict policy of secrecy set down by the Ministry of Magic obviously prevented such a course of action. There was a strong temptation to simply abandon Hogwarts and the magical community in general.
Yet, the more he thought about that possibility, the less appealing it seemed to him. While he could not use magic to help Gotham, there was still the matter of Lord Voldemort. The idea that the dark lord would simply give up after this setback involving the Stone was ludicrous to the point of insanity. He would be back. It was only a matter of time. Someone needed to be willing to stand in his way and while there certainly was not a lack of brave souls that would stand up and be counted, Bruce felt that he should keep a personal eye on the situation. It was not that he did not trust the likes of Dumbledore to perform admirably, he simply had doubts concerning everyone else.
Thus, he was resolved to continue his education at Hogwarts, if for no other reason than it was blindingly obvious that the school would become the focal point for whatever battle with the dark forces loomed ahead. Perhaps not the best reason to stay on at a location, but it would suffice.
However, his allies in Gyffindor would not allow him to indulge his musings on the nature of his stay at Hogwarts, simply because they were curious to find out how well he had performed on his exams. Ron was sure that Hermione would emerge at the top of her year, but Harry had his doubts.
"I don't know," he would say. "Bruce was actually capable of keeping up with her while we studied. He might actually beat her."
"Harry, don't be mental."
Yet, when they eventually cornered him, Bruce revealed that he had beaten the Gryffindor brain at Potions and Defense Against the Dark Arts. Ron was shell-shocked.
"It's Snape's fault, obviously. That git wasn't about to allow a Gryffindor top marks when he could give it to one of his Slytherins."
Yet, when Harry asked his best friend to explain how Bruce managed to earn a high grade in Defense Against the Dart Arts, the red head could only mumble something about Slytherins and talents for the dark arts. However, it was the expression on Hermione's face when she realized she had been beaten at schoolwork that proved to be the most satisfying part of the experience for Bruce. It was something he resolved to remember for a long time to come. The female Gryffindor tried to brush it off, but all assembled could tell that she had decided to study even harder next year. Ron took Bruce aside.
"I hope you're happy. As if she wasn't bad enough before. Now she'll go from being a walking encyclopedia to being a walking library! We'll probably never see her again, she'll be too busy studying." Bruce could only give a smug smirk.
"Perhaps if you Gryffindors shared her habits you wouldn't be required to defeat a dark lord in order to win the house cup." Harry gave a small laugh at Bruce's response.
"You're just bitter because the points you won didn't get Slytherin the house cup. We'll just have to make sure that next year, we beat you without any dark lords."
Sooner than anyone expected, the bags were packed and the train was boarded. While he was invited to ride with them, Bruce decided to spend the return trip alone and without Gryffindor company. The Hogwarts express managed to once again make its way back to King's Cross station, and the students were let out in small groups in order to avoid arousing the muggles. Bruce said a few brief goodbyes to the only people he could call friends at that school, somewhat ducking the promise of keeping in touch. As he left the platform, he found Alfred waiting for him. The familiar butler took hold of the luggage and led his charge to the car.
"I trust that you've had a pleasant experience, Master Bruce." Bruce smiled.
"That's one way of putting it, Alfred."
"I take it you plan to return next year?"
"Yes, Alfred. Things are a bit too…..interesting for me to think about leaving it behind." Alfred could only shake his head at that remark. The boy could be so reckless.
Well, here it is. The end of it. Bruce Wayne, the future Batman, managed to survive his first year at Hogwarts, although a bit narrowly. However, such little things like near-death experiences aren't going to phase him in the least, so expect Bruce to be his usual self when I unveil...
Bruce Wayne and the Chamber of Secrets!
Yes friends, I fully intend to write a sequal that chronicles Bruce's second year at Hogwarts, as he deals with a Slytherin house that's now aware of his existence and growing a bit hostile to him. Not to mention there's this guy called 'The Heir of Slytherin' who's running around and petrifying muggle-borns. Obviously, our hero is going to have to do something about that. The first chapter should be up in about a week.
Before I sign off and return to work on the sequal, I want to give a hearty thanks to everyone who has taken the time to review this little effort of mine. There's really no fun in writing if no one is going to bother to read it, so you all make everything worthwhile. Thanks.