Snape has proved his loyalty to Albus Dumbledore. Now he and Harry
have to put aside their differences to help Hagrid bring their leader
back from his not quite dead state. But it's harder than expected.
Let's hope one of them knows how to change nappies. Rating:
May I just point out that I DO NOT have an advance copy of the book or even know how to get hold of one. All of the things Harry says to Hagrid are in HBP. Er, apart from the egg bit at the end. That's my invention. But it'll be explained in next chapter, and it's based on a theory on the legendary Dumbledore is Not Dead website.
Rating:PGDisclaimer: All four main characters belong to JKR.Author's Notes: I had the title in mind for ages but I didn't want it to be a normal de-aging fic. I created Kiddie Kare but still didn't know what to do with this title. Then this morning it jumped into my head.
Chapter One: Face Value
Hagrid surveyed Hogwarts sadly. It looked deserted. It wasn't, there were still a hundred-odd students in attendance and nearly half the teachers. But no-one was around outside except him.
It all depended on Harry. Hagrid turned and looked at the white tombstone glinting in the sunlight and sighed. Would Harry work it out? He had to. The Order couldn't go on for much longer without him.
It was just as Hagrid was thinking that that he thought he saw something flit through the trees on the edge of the Forbidden Forest. He moved quickly and quietly for his size, in time to spot a cloaked figure dodge the light and crouch down by his cabin.
"Took yeh long enough," Hagrid said quietly, opening the door a fraction and letting the shadow that was Harry slip through unnoticed. "Thought you'd never come an' visit."
"How did you know it was me?" Harry asked, lowering his hood after checking the only other living occupant in the cabin was Fang.
"Yeh weren' the on'y one Dumbledore left summat ter," Hagrid stated flatly, busying himself with the kettle. "I knew ter look out for yer. Useful, tha' cloak, is it?"
Harry nodded, fingering the dark material. "Yeah. Almost as useful as the Invisibility Cloak. But I can't wear both at once."
"Yer shouldn' need your cloak if you got tha'. Shadows don' generally as a rule attract a loada 'ttention."
"But you could see me."
"On'y cos I knew you had it," Hagrid chuckled. "Anyway, how you doin' Harry?"
Harry sighed and flopped into a chair. Fang raced over and laid his head on his lap. Instead of pushing it off, Harry scratched him behind the ears. "This isn't a personal visit, Hagrid. I need to talk to you, seriously. About Dumbledore."
Hagrid's eyes flickered momentarily to one of his shelves. "Go ahead."
"I …" Harry paused, apparently deciding how to phrase it. "I know he trusted you, and I – well – I noticed a few things." Hagrid waited. "You remember when … Sirius died?"
Harry took a deep breath. "I couldn't face the fact that he'd gone for good. I tried several times to find a way out, a way I could see him again. When Dumbledore died … I didn't do that. I just accepted it at face value."
Hagrid nodded and waited for him to continue.
"I've been an idiot, Hagrid."
"I think 'idiot' is a bit strong."
"All year, he kept telling me. He said over and over again and I never got it. And that night I was so caught up in anger that I didn't stop to think. And it didn't hit me till now." Harry looked up at Hagrid. "You know who I'm talking about, don't you?"
Harry groaned and buried his head in his hands. It seemed the "Professor" before the "Snape" had proved what he was hoping he was wrong about.
"They planned it," he said into his hands. "They planned the whole bloody thing together." Harry's hands clenched together so the knuckles turned white. "How could he do that, Hagrid? How could he plan to die? How could he just abandon me?"
Hagrid shook his head quickly. "Dumbledore didn' abandon yeh, Harry. Don' you think he didn' think of yeh when they went through it? He'd never abandon yeh, he cares about you too much for tha'."
Harry sighed. "It doesn't add up." He paused. "I've been round everything and – and – I don't know what to think. Every little detail of … that night. And the funeral. And everything he told me in between."
"Start from the beginning, Harry."
"Right." Harry sat up a little straighter in his seat. "What do you know about the prophecy?"
"No' the exact contents," Hagrid admitted, "but the general gist. An' I also know Professor Trelawney was the one who made it."
Harry nodded. "And Snape was the Death Eater who heard it and passed it on. But. Dumbledore said Snape heard half, and passed half on. But that night when I talked with Trelawney, she said Snape burst in on her interview."
"I don' follow you."
"She made a prophecy in my third year, Hagrid, I was witness. She didn't have a clue I was there while she did it, she was in a trance. She didn't know what was going on around her. So if she saw Snape at the time she made the first one, that must mean he heard the lot, and only passed on half."
Comprehension dawned on Hagrid's face. "Tha's clever of yeh. I would never have put tha' together."
"So," Harry said, his head hurting, "that's how I figured there was more to the story. And without asking him or Dumbledore, I don't really know what happened, but … well … it made me think about everything he told me about Snape, and I guess he was right. I just don't get how Snape could do that, even if he asked him to. I couldn't."
"It weren' easy," Hagrid said softly. "I saw him earlier Harry, after the funeral. He was cryin' his eyes out. I never seen anyone so broken."
Hot guilt arose in Harry's chest and he blinked furiously. Harry had insisted on pursuing an innocent man for a year, he had let anger take over logical thought, had ran after Snape and called him a coward. Now he thought about it, he didn't know anyone who was less so. But Harry still couldn't understand how Snape could have gone through with it in the first place.
"I still don't understand everything," he admitted. "Hagrid, I've been through everything I know and I still don't understand everything. That's why I came to you for answers." He looked Hagrid squarely in the eyes. "There are several events linking you to the Plan. You were the one who told me about their argument. You moved Dumbledore's – body – after he died. And you carried him down at the funeral." Harry swallowed.
Hagrid looked impressed. "How did you remember all tha'?"
"Uh, Hermione. She bought a Pensieve with her birthday money and let me borrow it. I basically relieved the whole year." Harry paused again. "Hagrid, I don't know what to think. I need you to tell me the truth. The whole truth."
"An' nothin' bu' the truth," Hagrid added solemnly. There were several shelves up on his wall. He reached up and took something down from the top. It looked like an ordinary storage jar, but he was cradling it as carefully as if it was the most precious thing in the world.
At Harry's puzzled look, he said, "Yeh came to me fer answers. I told yeh Snape's a good guy. Now I'm telling yeh Dumbledore never abandoned yeh. He never abandoned any of us." Hagrid placed the jar carefully on the table-top and opened the lid. Before Harry could peer inside Hagrid gingerly reached in and brought out something round wrapped in a thick cloth. Unwrapping it, Harry saw it was a red-gold egg.
"This," Hagrid announced proudly, "is Dumbledore's Horcrux."
Harry's mouth fell open.