The Phantom of Hogwarts
(Disclaimer: Anatole Garron and his story are the only things that belong to me.)
Author's Note: No you are not dreaming I have returned! So much has changed since the last update. I've grown older and hopefully wiser, found and lost love for the first time, and a lot more has happened in between. In the spirit of nostalgia I have decided to return to my roots and revise this beloved work of mine. For the purists among us my original work will remain posted. Mostly grammar and certain scenes will be altered in this version. Let me know what you think of my changes! Great to be back!
Charles and Madeline Harquin considered themselves an exemplary couple. The first and foremost, that they were incredibly wealthy and therefore considered themselves above all others. Charles Harquin, a rather handsome man with deep brown hair and matching brown eyes, came from one of the oldest and wealthiest banking families in Britain and Madeline, a beautiful young woman with gold hair and entrancing blue-green eyes, was the daughter of a fellow banker and a mother with strong ties to aristocracy.
The Harquins lived on a beautiful English country estate and a coastal holiday estate in France easily maintaining them with all the superficial trappings of a civilized high class society. They hosted and attended numerous social gatherings, regularly attended the theatre and viewed it from their private box seats, and gossiped and backstabbed at every opportunity. It was a carefree world filled with ease and pleasure that the Harquins inhabited; a world that they would soon welcome their first child into.
Nearly three years into their marriage and after two miscarriages, Madeline happily discovered that she was with child and the preparations for the impending birth began.
In the months that followed, Madeline waited with baited breath silently rejoicing every time the unborn child stirred in her womb. Charles shared his wife's optimism and dared to speculate how great a man his son would be. The child would be a son, of that they were certain, and they planned to name him Erik for he would rule over the Harquin clan and lead them to greatness.
On a calm October evening, Madeline felt the first pangs of labor. She writhed in agony on her bed clinging to the sheets tied to the posts; while outside a cold breeze rattled the skeletal branches of an old oak tree and ruffled the feathers of a rather proud looking screech owl.
As the stabbing pains rippled through her Madeline couldn't help but envy the owl and wish that she too were able to fly away and escape the pain as it threatened her sanity with each passing wave.
It was a difficult birth and a breech birth at that. Charles, though aware of the situation, had remained in his study protocol preventing his presence. The room's only occupants were the midwife, the maid, Madeline's good friend Marie Perrault, and Father Mansart, the local priest.
While the women tended to Madeline and prepared for the baby, Father Mansart kneeled on the floor in the adjoining sitting room with his eyes closed and his hands folded tightly as he feverishly whispered prayers of safety for both mother and child.
Madeline gasped as the latest pain reached its peak and slowly began to recede. Exhausted she sank further into the soft pillows and tried to relax as the rather infuriatingly calm midwife had instructed her but that didn't make it any easier. Madeline's thin nightdress clung to her and the sheets were wadded with her sweat and tears. Madeline took a deep breath and futilely attempted to peel her sweat soaked hair off her face. Luckily Marie had seen this and wiped Madeline's face with a cold damp cloth.
"Just relax, Madame Harquin. A few more pushes and you will see your son." the midwife cooed.
Madeline nodded, took a few deep breaths, gestured for Marie to hold her hand, and pushed once more. Two pushes later the eruption of an oddly melodious shriek announced the success of the birth.
"Oh dear, God." the midwife gasped over the infant's cries.
"What is it? What's wrong? Is my son all right?" Madeline demanded. No one responded to her plea.
The maid crumpled to the floor but a sharp slap from Marie brought the younger girl out of her stupor. "Stop this at once and go fetch Master Harquin. He needs to see his son. If you speak of this to anyone the consequences will be dire. Now get going, girl!" Marie snapped in a fashion most unlike her normal timid nature.
The maid recovered quickly and fled the room. The midwife carried the still squalling infant away from the bed and with Marie's help they wiped the newborn clean and wrapped him tightly.
"Father, you'd better take a look at this." the midwife advised.
"Why I can't see my son?" Madeline screamed.
Madeline was once again ignored as Father Mansart rose from the floor and walked over to where the midwife and Marie were standing. His face became much paler as he looked down at the now quiet child and quickly crossed himself.
"Did you scrub the child well enough?" Father Mansart asked.
The midwife produced a huff of indignation, "Of course, Father. If anything I made it worse. No amount of scrubbing could help this poor whelp." the portly woman muttered.
"I want to see my son!" Madeline cried out, tears of both exhaustion and rage streaming down her already slick cheeks.
"You will see him very soon, Madeline, but first we must baptize the child immediately. What is his name?" Father Mansart asked.
Confused yet desperate to hold her child Madeline quickly spoke up, "Erik James Harquin." she answered.
Father Mansart nodded and took the newborn in his arms. He carried the baby to a nearby bureau, which had a wash basin on top, and poured a small bit of water over the boy's head saying softly, "I baptize thee, Erik James Harquin, in the name of the Father, of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen."
The women crossed themselves and muttered their amens.
"Let me see him." Madeline said firmly.
The priest slowly nodded and handed the swaddled child to his mother. Madeline gratefully accepted him and gazed upon her newborn son for the first time.
Her small son had a full head of jet black hair and the small eyes that curiously stared back at her were the most beautiful shade of sapphire blue Madeline had ever seen. His skin was a healthy shade of pink and a quick examination revealed that Erik had all ten fingers and ten toes. But unfortunately that was where her son's normal appearance ended.
The left side of Erik's face was completely normal and oddly alluring. However, the right side of his face was a stark opposite. The chubby cheek on the right side of Erik's face was an angry red with patches of violet. The skin was swollen and felt bumpy to the touch. The skin beneath Erik's right eye was pulled down slightly and the right nostril ran away from the tiny nose and merged with the cheek. A tiny bump on the side of his small face partially concealed his perfect ear.
Erik looked up at his mother almost anxiously. Madeline responded by softly sobbing, pulling her son closer, and gently rocking herself back and forth.
"I love you, Erik. Bless you, sweet child." Madeline whispered. The infant responded by whimpering softly and nuzzling closer to his mother.
Father Mansart and Marie Perrault sighed with relief while the midwife tried to avoid crying as they watched mother and son form their first bond. It was then that Charles stormed into the room startling them all.
His face was a deathly pale and wore an expression of horror and disbelief.
"Madeline, the maid has left. She was screaming that you had given birth to a monster and she couldn't bear to be in the same house as it. Please tell me it's not true." Charles gently begged.
Madeline gave him a small smile, "Erik is not a monster, Charles. He is a sweet healthy little boy." Madeline said as she held Erik up for Charles to see.
Charles flew back from the boy as if he had just faced the plague, "There is nothing sweet about that…that thing! Get rid of it immediately!" Charles cried.
"Never." Madeline hissed.
Charles looked helplessly over at Father Mansart, "Father, surely you can see that is an unholy being! It should never have been born!" Charles begged.
"The boy is odd looking but still he is a child of God." Father Mansart stated.
"Then it would be best if he went back to be with Him! Madeline, I forbid you to nurse that little freak!" Charles snapped.
Madeline gave her husband an ugly sneer and defiantly pulled down her nightdress and held Erik close to her exposed breast. Marie quickly draped a blanket over her friend's shoulder effectively shielding the baby's head from view.
Father Mansart moved between Charles and the bed glaring angrily at the young nobleman, "What you are proposing is murder, Charles. The child is an innocent being and there is nothing demonic about him! Are you willing to sacrifice your soul simply because of a birthmark?"
"What else can I do? That child has the face of a corpse!" Charles screamed.
"Do what you would've done if he had the face of an angel. Care for the child and raise him accordingly." Father Mansart responded.
"As you wish. I'll raise him but that doesn't mean that I have to like the little wretch!" Charles snapped. He then turned on his heels and stormed out of the bedroom.
Hours later, when Father Mansart and the midwife had left and Marie had retired to her bedroom Madeline was still awake and staring down at Erik, who lay nestled in a small basket on the bed. He had finally fallen asleep his small chest rising and falling beneath the blankets. Madeline stroked his marred cheek with the tip of her finger and sighed softly.
After his outburst Charles had refused to come back into the bedroom. He wanted nothing to do with the boy. Madeline surmised that Charles had opened up his beloved liquor cabinet and had tried to drink away his disappointment. He was most likely passed out either in his study or in the kitchens but Madeline wasn't worried. The servants would find him when they came in tomorrow and she would tell them to put him in one of the many guest bedrooms. Until Charles got over his stupid pettiness, Madeline was not going to allow him back into her bed.
Erik moaned in his sleep and Madeline lightly kissed his small forehead, "I don't care what Charles said, Erik, and neither should you. I've traveled through hell and back for you and I'll be damned if I let your birthmark take you away from me. I'll always love you no matter what, my son." Madeline whispered.