Chapter 1: The Stone
The moment Harry felt the stone land in his pocket, he knew that the only way to keep Voldemort from getting it was to destroy it. Without considering what he might be doing to the Flamels, or what the value of the red stone in his pocket was, he took it out and threw it at the ground as hard as he could. Immediately, he realized what a terrible mistake he'd made.
Now there were hundreds of stones, thousands of them glittering sharply on the ground. The stone had not been destroyed at all. It had been multiplied.
Voldemort only laughed, and Quirrel along with him. They picked up a sharp long fragment.
Harry could not tell which one of them was speaking.
It was while Harry stared unbelievingly at the ground that Voldemort cast his spell. It was green, and every instinct Harry possessed screamed that he should not let it hit him. He flung himself to the ground, ignoring the pain as his elbow hit the ground and what felt like a million small needles pierced his side. And then Voldemort cast the spell again. There was no dodging it this time- Harry was on the ground, and he just couldn't move fast enough. It struck, and Harry blacked out-but only for a second, because when he opened his eyes again, Voldemort had moved only a few centimeters towards him, a grin on his face. Harry's side was burning. It was easily the worst pain he had ever felt. He glared at Voldemort, and Voldemort stared back at him.
"How?" came a hoarse whisper, and then red eyes darted toward red blood on the ground, and to the shards of the stone dusting the floor of the entire room.
It's in me now, Harry thought. He can't kill me, because I have the stone.
And he leapt towards Voldemort with energy he should have not have had, his wounds already closing.
Harry's magic was no match for Voldemort's, but that didn't matter. There was no offensive move that could hurt Harry now, no way for Voldemort to win. His only option was to lose or to take a draw. He didn't have time to stab himself with a piece of the stone, or to come up with any sort of strategy at all. Harry moved fast, by instinct, choking his enemy with hands that now seemed to burn Voldemort wherever they touched.
When Dumbledore arrived, he was too late. The enemy was dead. He hadn't even had time to flee the body he'd inhabited. Harry was alone, standing very still in a chamber that was now silent. His bright green eyes shone in a room covered in red.
"We'll have to remove the stone from your body," Dumbledore told Harry, "It isn't safe. We have no information on what it could do to your body or mind. Also, it makes you too valuable a kidnap victim- your blood can heal all wounds, can grant eternal life. It isn't a power to be used lightly."
Harry didn't say a word. He hadn't since he left the room where he became a murderer. He kept looking at his left arm, which was covered in tiny white scars. If they had been brown they could have passed as freckles. There were more of them, he knew, on his leg, where his robes had slid up a bit as he had fallen. There were even a few on his neck, and one on his forehead somehow, right under his lightening bolt, turning it into a sort of jagged exclamation point. There was no other sign of what had happened, save that his blood was now as silvery as that of a unicorn. Perhaps it lent him a sort of glow. His complexion was less pink for it, certainly. He would have looked very odd if his tan from all the outdoor work with the Dursleys last summer hadn't kept some color on him.
"Are you listening, Harry?" Dumbledore asked.
Harry half-shrugged, then nodded, staring at the place where the largest fragment had lodged itself, just below the elbow on the inside of his arm. He could almost make out the red there, if he squinted. He could feel it there, if he rubbed the place. It was smaller than a grain of rice, and was enough to wage a war over.
I think I died for a minute, Harry thought, when that that spell hit me. Do I stay alive if these come out?
He wanted to ask, but couldn't bring himself to speak. He stared at Dumbledore mutely, hoping that his message would somehow get across. Maybe it did for Dumbledore gave him a warm smile.
"Everything is going to work out fine, Harry. I'm going to let you speak to Nick-to Mr. Flamel-before we take them out. He knows more about the stone than any other person alive. I'm sure he can answer any questions you have."
Harry shook his head slightly, I want to keep them, he thought, I like feeling safe. I won't ever have to worry about Dudley's gang at home if they can't hurt me. I won't have to worry about anything.
He shook his head again, this time more fiercely. Again, there was the thought of his death, of silver blood slowly going red, and then brown, as it leaked out of him and dried-
He was shaking now, and Dumbledore's face showed concern.
"Are you alright? Harry?"
Harry began to breathe deeply, and held himself still. They have to get some sort of consent, don't they? Or is that just Muggles? I'd better owl the Dursleys to make sure they don't give it, just in case.
He continued to shake his head, and is he had tried to stop, would have still been unable.
Would Dumbledore understand if Harry tried to explain? Would he stop this removal, this death? It was worth a try. Harry couldn't bring himself to speak, but he motioned for paper , and managed to scrawl a note.
I don't want them taken out. They saved my life once. I figured out what spell he kept trying to use on me. It was the Killing Curse. Nothing is supposed to guard against it, but this did.
He paused for a moment , but couldn't think of what else to add. He passed it to Dumbledore, who read it with a neutral expression.
"I see," he said, "But I really think that having those shards removed would be in your best interests."
Harry shook his head again, sharply, and walked out of Dumbledore's office.
Writing a letter to the Dursleys was almost as bad as talking to them. He tried to hit on the points that would matter most to them, which required too much thought. He had to provide both sides of a dialogue that was painful enough when he only had to come up with one.
Dear Uncle Vernon and Aunt Petunia,
Harry crossed out the 'dear'- suck up, Uncle Vernon would say. Harry thought for a moment about what to say, and finally decided that an outright lie would serve him best.
Wizarding School is as bad as your warned me it would be. Though I have made a few friends, we never have a chance to have any normal fun. The only sport here is 'Quidditch" which is played on broomsticks and can be fatal if you fall. I've been able to handle life so far, but now they want to force me into some sort of freakish surgery. Please, if you get any letters asking for permission, don't give it. Life is pretty bad already. I don't want bits of me taken out and sold. Don't let them know I sent you this letter or you could be in danger too. They might say the surgery is for something else, but don't believe them. Thank you from the bottom of my heart. I can't wait to come home.
He hoped this would be effective. It would really be better if he could think of a lie that would involve himself getting hurt by not having surgery, but he couldn't come up with a convincing one. The Dursleys might sign any forms that came to them out of spite, with what he had. Biting the end of his quill, he added the line "and it would cost quite a bit of money." He made a prettier draft, burned the old one, and took the new to the Owlry.
"Here, Hedwig," he said, and tied it to her leg, "Take it to the Dursleys."
Hedwig nipped him, drawing a single drop of silver blood. The wound closed. She didn't seem to notice that it was a different color than usual, and flew off.
Harry licked the blood from his finger. It still tasted the same to him, or so close that he couldn't tell the difference. Perhaps if he were a vampire, he would notice. But then, a vampire probably wouldn't have gotten into this situation in the first place.
He went to bed that night hoping that they needed consent, and that the Dursleys would be helpful for once in their lives.
Ron and Hermione didn't know anything about what had happened with the stone. They were leaving soon, though. Harry finally broke the silence to tell them on the day before they all left for the summer holiday. He would have stayed mute on the subject, except that he scraped his knee and didn't wipe the silver away before Hermione noticed. He never would have thought it was so hard to hide the color of his blood.
"What is that, Harry?" Hermione had asked, looking at the shiny place on the ground. He'd shrugged , and wished he had robes on over his trousers. They were walking near the lake, enjoying the sunlight and warmth. He rubbed out any sign of the silver with his shoe. The knee of his pants was wet with it, though. Not enough to soak it, but enough to see.
"Did you…your knee went into it?" Hermione asked, "That looks like unicorn blood. We ought to tell Hagrid. I thought it was You-Know-Who that had been hunting them."
Her voice grew louder as she talked, but then she cut off her train of thought, "But there are no other puddles. If one had been injured, it would be-"
Harry ended the conversation by biting his thumb hard enough to draw blood. It was easier to inflict damage on himself now that he knew the pain would last only a few seconds. Still wordlessly, he showed the blood to Hermione, then licked it off his thumb, showing the unblemished skin.
"What-" she started asking but Harry cut her off.
"Elixir of Life," he said, then, pointing at his freckle-scars, "Philosopher's Stone."
He continued walking, and it took a few steps before he turned to see his friends staring at him, eyes and mouths open wide. He'd grinned, shrugged, and then all the words he hadn't been able to say over the last week had come tumbling out.
"I won't go willingly," Harry told Dumbledore, the next time they met, "I don't want the shards taken out. I'm perfectly happy with things as they stand."
A sad look entered Dumbledore's eyes, but he did not protest. It was at that moment that the door slammed open, with a bang that shook the room so much that a delicate glass scale fell to the ground and smashed.
A man now stood in the doorway, He was tall and strong-looking with brown hair and an amiable smile.
"Albus!" he said, and then the two men embraced.
The Dumbledore turned to Harry once again, "Harry," he said, "this is Mr. Flamel. Nicolas, this is Harry."
The man did not look hundreds of years old. He looked young. There was no grey in his hair and he was solid-looking, not thin or frail at all. It was impossible to tell, looking at them, that Dumbledore was by far the junior.
"Pleased to meet you," Harry said, extending his hand a bit awkwardly.
"I'll leave you two alone for a while," Dumbledore said, leaving the room, "I dare say we could use some tea…"
Harry was left standing across from Flamel, wondering what to say.
"Dumbledore told me about the situation," Flamel said, "And what he wanted to see done." He sat in one of the chairs.
"Can you stop him?" Harry asked.
Flamel gave him a long, impenetrable glance, "Why are you so set against this? You're young still. You have decades ahead of you, maybe centuries. What are you afraid of? You crave immortality already?"
"I would be dead already if I hadn't had these stuck into me," Harry lifted his arm, showing the pate dots. They stood out less now than they had a week ago. In a few days they might be unnoticeable.
Flamel stayed silent.
"And…I wouldn't mind, so much, if I knew taking them out was safe. This hasn't ever happened before, though, has it?"
Flamel shook his head.
"My blood isn't red anymore," Harry volunteered. "It's silver. This had done things to me, and I want some proof that they'll come undone before I let anything change."
Flamel nodded, "Compelling arguments. And you aren't worried at all about changes that might still be occurring? Changes to your mind? To your magic? We don't know what will happen to them if you stay like this."
Harry shook his head, "It isn't as worrying to me."
"It should be. The only guarantee you have is that you won't die." He stood. "It isn't as comforting as you might think."
Neither of them had a chance to leave; Dumbledore cam back with tea, and a tray full of sweets.
"Lemon drop, anyone?"
The rest of the students left on the train the next day.
"We can't let you into an area of unprotected Muggles in your present condition. Word probably hasn't spread yet, but there is a chance, and any chance is too great just now."
Dumbledore had been talking for quite some time now.
"Do you know what one drop of your blood would be worth on the black market, Harry?"
Flamel interrupted. "Don't try to scare the boy out of his decision, Albus. You won't change his mind. He's too stubborn for that, and I'm not so sure he's chosen wrong."
Harry had never seen Dumbledore look irritated before. Even now, it might have been his imagination.
"But it is true he'll need guarding. What do you think, Harry? Care to say at my place for the summer?"
Yes, Harry thought, as he agreed, Dumbledore is annoyed.
Flamel lived in a normal looking two-story white house, which happened to be on the bottom of a lake. They had to wear Bubble-Head Charms to get the front door.
"This is wicked," Harry said.
Flamel smiled, "Indeed."
Only Flamel and his wife lived in the house. There were moments when Harry would wake in the night and think he was alone. But most of the time the house was filled with laughter and an eerie sort of underwater light.
Everyday, Harry had his height, weight, and magical signature recorded.
"We can't be too careful. Nothing seems too different yet, but your magical core is shifting a little. It might be normal, but, then again, it might not be."
After the third day in the house, Harry began to feel restless. The house was full of books, but Harry had never been much of a reader. He preferred action, and took long swims around the house. Once he took the Bubble Head Charm off, just to see what would happen.
"What were you thinking?" Nick yelled as Harry vomited up lake water, "What possessed you to think that that was a good idea?"
"It wasn't gong to kill me," Harry said, when he had improved a bit, "I just wondered what it would do."
Flamel scowled, "What were you expecting, something nice then?"
Harry shrugged, "I wasn't thinking. I won't do it again."
He coughed deeply. There was water deep in his lungs, still. It hurt.
"Are you going to walk into a fire next? Jump from the top of your House tower? Cut your hand off with a knife? Is that the purpose you're putting your immortality to? Tricks and foolishness? Come"
He showed Harry a room at the top of the house.
"This is my laboratory. Did you know Muggles do potions of a sort?"
Harry shook his head.
"Chemistry, they call it. From Alchemy, you see, two schools emerged. The potion makers, who brew by trial and error, and the chemists, who find basic principles and exploit them to make new creations."
He paced. "The fields are separate now, but they shouldn't be. Look at this."
He showed Harry a jar full of a thick blue liquid. Crystals were glowing on the sides, giving an odd look to the glass.
"Last time this took two months to grow. This time it will take less than one."
"What is it?"
"A new stone, to replace the one you broke. I can still use that one, but it is problematic. The pieces are small. It requires filtration." Flamel shook his head, "This is more for convenience than anything else."
Harry looked at the crystals again.
"Why are they blue? The last one was red."
"They aren't done yet. This is but one step of dozens. I won't have a new stone for years." He scowled. "You won't try something like that again now, will you?"
It took Harry a moment to remember what they had been talking about, "No, sir."
"Don't call me sir. You make me feel old."
Harry just stared, unable to tell if it had been a joke.
Harry did not go swimming much after the accident. Nick would force books onto him. With no idea what was appropriate for an eleven-year-old, he picked out books Harry would never have chosen for himself.
"It's too long," Harry said, gesturing towards the large Dostoevsky novel on the dining room table, "You can't really expect me to read that."
"It's a wonderful book. Give it a try."
Harry scowled, but gave it a shot. After that, the summer went by all too quickly. He stayed with the Flamels the whole time, leaving only to go shopping for school supplies. Then, Harry and Nick wore disguises, which Harry was rather amused bu.
"I feel like I'm in a movie," he told Nick, who smiled a little blankly.
"It's a Muggle thing. I got to see some when Dudley was watching them on the telly."
Nick did not ask what a telly was.
All too soon, the summer was over. Nick saw Harry to the train, striking a conversation with Mrs. Weasley on the way.
"Goodbye!" Harry said, with a grin.
"Farewell, Harry. Do come visit over break."
Grinning, Harry went to find Ron and Hermione.
"You never answered any of my owls," Ron said, looking put out.
"I didn't get any," Harry said, "Maybe they couldn't find the house."
On the ride to school, he told them about the lake, and Nick, and alchemy. When they got to school, and through the Welcoming Feast, McGonnagal pulled Harry aside.
"The Headmaster would like to speak to you."
Dumbledore did not look pleased.
"I trust you had a pleasant summer?"
"Have you reconsidered your alternatives regarding the stone?"
"I'd like to keep it. It isn't doing me any harm so far, and it comes in handy, not being able to be harmed."
A sad look entered Dumbledore's eyes.
"I'm afraid the choice is no longer yours. I have obtained permission to proceed from your aunt and uncle. The stone will be removed tomorrow morning, and you will spend a month at home for observation and recovery."
"A month? With them?" Harry scowled, "No. No 'procedure' and no Dursleys."
"Family is important. Mr. Flamel did not get agreement to take you for the summer. No word was sent to your aunt and uncle at all, until I thought to tell them myself. Don't you feel that you might have worried them by staying away? By not writing?"
"No. They probably hoped I was dead."
Dumbledore looked pained, "Nevertheless, they are your guardians-"
Harry walked out of the room.
The next morning Madame Pomfrey took him to St. Mungo's.
"I'm here against my will," Harry told the Healer in charge, "I remain unconvinced of the benefits of this procedure and skeptical of its intentions."
The Healer gave a worried look to Madame Pomfrey. She shrugged. Harry was made to lay in a bed without his shirt on while the Healer pointed his wand at the places the stone had pierced Harry. The scars had gone now. Harry hoped that the Healer missed some fragment. Every time one came out, Harry felt more and more tired. He glared with as much intensity as he could muster, but by the time the fifth shard had come out, he was fast asleep.
Harry woke still in the bed at St. Mungo's with the worst headache he had ever felt. He was alone, and his arm, too, ached.
He bit his thumb and was relieved to see that his blood was still silver, and the wound healed instantly as it had before. Were there still a fragment in him, or was it a residual effect of his experience? How long would it last? He absentmindedly rubbed the inner elbow, and felt odd, because the rice-grain-sized lump under the skin was gone.
He tried to sit up, and was overcome by a wave of pain and exhaustion. The world went black for a moment, and then he woke again.
Alright, then, he thought, No moving. I'll just lay here for a while, then.
He fell asleep again. It was dark when he woke, except for a light under the door. It seemed as if only for a moment had passed, but he knew he could not fall asleep again. He fumbled for his glasses on the stand next to him, but did not try to sit for a few moments. He felt very dizzy for a moment, but did not black out.
He could just make out a candle on the table, but didn't know where he had put his wand. It wasn't in his pocket. He wasn't sure he wanted to risk standing yet, and he was overcome by another wave of weariness that made him lay his head on the pillow once more and sleep.
It was light when he woke, and Nick was there.
"Hullo," Harry croaked, throat dry.
"How are you feeling?" Nick asked. He handed Harry a glass of water and helped him sit up.
"You've been asleep for over a week. One more day, and they were going to put the stone back."
"Should've slept in, then."
"No need," Nick said. "It grew back on its own."
There was a bright look in his eyes, "It's extraordinary. A process to grow stones in days, rather than years. And guaranteed immortality- a source of elixir, right in the blood…" He grinned. "Welcome to the immortal club."
And then Nick held out his arm, showing Harry the one white dot under his elbow.
A/N: So, this is a plot bunny that has been nibbling the edges of my brain lately. I decided to write it down before it finished eating my entire brain.
I could blame any typos on my good friend who's typing this up for me, but she's probably fixed dozens of mistakes in here already. I'm one of the only people I know that can make typos while writing things out by hand…
Incidentally, I learned today that Nicolas Flamel was a real person, and he left a recipe to make the Stone. Unfortunately, it isn't very specific, and makes a lot of references to things like "the first-born of Jupiter in nine parts" that nobody really knows what are. So even if it worked, it wouldn't be too much use, since you couldn't make it...