Green and Silver

These are JK Rowling's world and characters.

The idea of taking the place of the king in the chess game came from 'When in Doubt, Obliviate', by Sarah1281.

ooo

10.

The Man with Two Faces

"Stop showing off, there's more to come," sniffed Professor Snape, as Harry waved the key in the air triumphantly. It struggled in his hand, like a Snitch, and flew away as soon as it had opened the next door.

"Come on, Potter. The faster this is over, the more sleep we'll get tonight."

In the next chamber, Harry found his way blocked by two rows of black larger-than-life statues. At the other end of the room, two rows of white statues stood in front of the exit.

"It's a chessboard, a giant chessboard...Now what do we do?"

"What does one do with a chessboard, Potter?"

"Play? But I'm rubbish at chess! Everybody always beats me."

Snape shook his head. It was hard to tell whether he was more annoyed with Harry or with the chessboard.

"Take the place of the king."

At these words, the black king left the board. Harry went to stand on the empty square.

"Don't think this is a reflection of your statute."

Harry shook his head. He didn't feel like a king at all.

"Why did I choose the king?"

Harry frowned. Draco had taught him the game, but it was not his favourite. There were too many rules and intricacies.

"The purpose of the game is to checkmate the king. But he's the weakest. I'm like him."

"On the other hand," said Snape slowly, "this is the only piece that cannot be taken."

Harry looked at the statues. If this was like wizard chess, being taken would be dangerous indeed.

Snape took the place of one of the black knights.

"Watch carefully."

A white pawn moved forward.

Snape directed the black pieces in the low voice he used in class. The pieces moved silently. It was eerie, and no fun at all to be a king. It seemed all the other pieces could dart around in all directions and Harry could hardly move.

Harry jumped when the other black knight got smashed to the ground.

"Stay in place," snapped Professor Snape, while the knight was being dragged off the board.

More pieces were taken. Hary found himself tensing with dread, the same way he did when Dudley was in a rampageous mood. There was a little comfort in knowing he could not be taken, but what if Professor Snape got knocked down?

The white side was aggressive. Snape, on the other hand, moved quietly and insidiously. His subtle game was hard to follow.

"Checkmate," said Snape softly, a triumphant gleam in his eyes.

Harry blinked.

The white king threw his crown at Snape's feet. The chessmen bowed and parted. Snape bowed back and walked over to the door.

The smell in the next room was awful, worse than anything Harry has smelled in his life, including Quirrell's turban and Aunt Petunia's attempt to dye his uniform for Stonewall High. He pulled his robe over his nose.

Then he stared. What he saw through watery eyes was a huge grey creature that only vaguely looked human. It had been knocked out, by the sight of the bloody lump on its head.

"What's that?"

"This is a troll," said Snape, stepping over one of its legs.

"Like... like the one you fought on Hallowe'en?"

"Humph," said Snape.

Then Harry realised.

"Three heads! It wasn't a troll that attacked you, it was the dog! But why? But how? Wasn't the troll in the dungeons?"

"Let's get away from this foul thing," said Snape.

Harry followed Snape into the next room. As soon as they were inside, a purple fire sprang up behind them, preventing them from going back, while a black fire appeared in front of the next door.

Harry looked at Snape. His face was expressionless. Hary took a deep breath and turned towards the other thing in the room: a table on which seven differently shaped bottles had been placed in a row. Next to them was a roll of paper. Harry picked it up and read it slowly. His eyes widened.

"What does that mean?"

"I was under the impression your relatives had taught you English."

"Yes, but..."

With a sigh, Harry reread the riddle. And reread it. Snape was not going to help.

"One moves ahead. One gets you back. Two contain wine. Three are poison. Nettle wine on the left of the poison..."

After a few minutes, he looked up.

"The small one leads forward and this one backward?"

"How can you find out?"

"By... drinking them?"

"Which one do you intend to try?"

It was no use going backward. Harry indicated the small bottle.

"Go ahead."

Harry looked at it dubiously.

"There isn't enough for both of us."

"Don't worry about me," said Snape.

"You mean I must go forward alone?"

"That is what I mean."

"But..."

Then Harry remembered Snape was "strongly against students putting themselves in danger".

"What am I supposed to do in there?"

"Pretend you came alone, out of sheer foolishness," said Snape, his lip curling. "The thief must not know I am here."

"I don't understand."

"You don't have to. Just do as you are told."

Snape's voice had an impatient edge again. Harry gulped down the contents of the bottle. It felt as if his body had filled up with ice.

"Go," said Snape.

This was like the Floo, Harry told himself, except that the flames were a different colour. He braced himself and walked in. It wasn't exactly like the Floo. He could not feel the flames at all and there was no mad spinning. He just walked through.

Quirrell was on the other side, standing in front of a high mirror.

Was Quirrell the thief?

Quirrell smiled.

"I wondered whether I'd be meeting you here, Potter."

Why? thought Harry. But he suspected it was the wrong question, so he kept quiet.

Quirrell snapped his fingers and something - at first, Harry thought it was Devil's Snare, but it was just an ordinary rope - wrapped itself tightly around him. He was caught. He couldn't move.

Pretend you came alone. Why would a first year student want to come here alone?

"Wait quietly, Potter. I need to examine this interesting mirror."

Harry was quiet, but he didn't exactly wait. He struggled against the ropes as discreetly as he could, even though he had no idea what he would do if he manged to break free.

"Trust Dumbledore to come up with something like this," Quirrel was muttering. "But he's in London."

In London? Hadn't Snape said Dumbledore would be nearby to help him?

At least, Snape was there.

Quirrell was getting nervous.

"I see the Stone... I am presenting it to my master... but where is it?"

Harry could see no Stone and no master, only Quirrell looking at his reflection from different angles.

Quirrell was beginning to panic.

"What does this mirror do? How does it work? Help me, master!"

A high, cold voice answered. A voice that seemed to come from Quirrell, but that wasn't his.

"Use the boy..."

"Potter," said Quirrell's voice. "Come here."

The ropes fell away.

"Look into the mirror and tell me what you see."

Bewildered, Harry walked towards the mirror. He saw his reflection, pale and scared-looking. The suddenly Professor Snape appeared next to him. Harry turned, but he was alone in the room with Quirrell. How strange. He was standing next to Quirrell, and he knew this was no illusion, as he could smell Quirrell's turban. But his reflection was standing next to Professor Snape.

"What do you see?"

So Quirrell could not see Snape.

"I see myself," said Harry.

"Get out of the way," said Quirrell.

Harry moved aside and mirror Snape disappeared. It felt lonely.

The strange voice spoke again. It came from Quirrell, but Quirrell's lips weren't moving.

"He lies... Let me speak to him... face to face..."

Suddenly Harry knew. He had heard that voice before, a long time ago.

Voldemort.

Quirrell was unwrapping his turban. How...?

A second later, Harry had no more questions. Quirrell had turned around. Where the back of his head should have been there was a face. A snake-like face with eyes as red lights and no nose.

"Harry Potter," whispered the creature. "See what I have become? Mere shadow and vapour... I have form only when I can share another's body... once I have the Elixir of Life, I will be able to create a body of my own... I need the Stone. What did you see in the mirror?"

Harry had seen Professor Snape, but Professor Snape was not there. Or maybe he was wearing an Invisibility Cloak. That was it. The mirror allowed one to see under Invisibility Cloaks.

Harry noticed he was breathing heavily. It was as if he had been out of his body, but the thought of Snape under an Invisibility Cloak had brought him back.

"You saw Snape, didn't you?" said the voice.

How did he know?

"You are a young Slytherin, Harry Potter, one of my own house. Don't you want eternal life and as much money as you can have? Your father's bank account won't last for ever. Don't you want the Philospher's Stone?"

Hope left Harry again. Voldemort was not disturbed by the thought of Snape. This was hardly surprising: what could Snape do against Voldemort?

Where was Dumbledore? Instinctively, Harry turned to the mirror.

His heart leapt: Dumbledore's reflection had appeared next to Snape's.

"Don't be a fool. Your teachers cannot help you. Save your own life and join me," hissed Voldemort.

He wasn't even afraid of Dumbledore.

"Join me or you'll meet the same end as your parents... They died begging for mercy."

It must have been the mention of his parents that did it.

"Liar!" yelled Harry.

"How touching... I always valued bravery... Your parents were brave... I killed your father first...but your mother needn't have died... she was trying to protect you..."

This man... creature... was mad. Nothing would stop him.

"I need the Stone, boy."

"I don't have it. I don't know where it is."

Harry wished he didn't know it existed.

"Look. Look in the mirror."

But there was no Stone in the mirror. Only Professor Snape and Professor Dumbledore.

"You want the Stone, boy!"

This time, it was Quirrell's voice. Quirrell grasped Harry's wrist. Pain surged through Harry's scar. Excruciating, overpowering, incapacitating pain. Harry felt as if his head was going to explode.

Then it stopped, or rather, it seemed to ebb. Quirrell was screaming. Harry opened his eyes and saw Quirrell's fingers covered in blisters.

"Seize him!" yelled Voldemort.

Quirrell tried again, the pain came back and again Quirrell had to let him go.

"Then kill him!"

Quirrell raised his wand. Harry grabbed Quirrell's face. It was like a nightmare: the pain, Voldemort's roars and Quirrell's screams.

"Kill him!"

Harry wasn't sure what happened next because, when he woke up, he was lying in a strange bed. Snape and Dumbledore sat next to him. Dumbledore was smiling. Snape was not.

"Good afternoon, Harry," said Dumbledore.

Snape said nothing.

"Volde- the Dark- You-Know-Who!" spluttered Harry.

"Calm yourself, dear boy. Quirrell is dead. Voldemort is now looking for another body to share."

This didn't seem like a good reason to calm down. Harry shuddered.

"What happened?"

"I arrived just in time to prevent Quirrell from killing you. For a moment, I even feared I had been too late."

"You nearly were," said Harry.

Snape's lips tightened.

"The Stone has been destroyed," said Dumbledore.

"Oh. Why couldn't it be destroyed before all this happened?"

Dumbledore seemed disconcerted.

"The Stone has ben keeping an old friend of mine and his wife alive for six hundred years."

"That means they're going to die?"

"Oh yes. To the well-organised mind, death is but the next adventure."

Harry stared.

"But... why did you need me?"

"You see, Harry, Professor Snape and I had our suspicions about Quirrell. Profesor Snape caught him trying to get past the three-headed dog at Hallowe'en..."

"The dog hurt Professor Snape's leg."

"Oh yes. So we knew Quirrell wanted to steal the Philosopher's Stone. We could have simply stopped him, but we needed to know whether Voldemort was involved."

"I don't understand."

"The best way to force Voldemort to show himself was to bring him in your presence."

"So I was... bait?"

Professor Snape tightened his lips even more.

"I wouldn't use that ugly word, Harry," said Dumbledore. "You had the right to face Voldemort. I wanted to give you the chance."

Professor Dumbledore was making it sound as though he had given Harry a special treat. Bewildered. Harry turned to Professor Snape.

His Head of house was stony-faced. It was obvious that he didn't share the Headmaster's view. Harry felt better.

"You have risen to the challenge, Harry," Dumbledore was saying. "You have fought Lord Voldemort. You have fought a man's fight."

"I had no choice," said Harry. "He would have killed me. Why did he want to kill me?"

"Alas," said Dumbledore. "I cannot tell you this. Not now. When you are older, you will know."

"That is, if I get to be older."

"My dear boy, you have survived him once more and you have delayed his return. If he is delayed again and again, why, he may never return to power."

"How did I delay him? Why couldn't Quirrell touch me?"

"Your mother gave her life to save you."

Snape jerked, as if he too had a scar that was hurting him.

"Voldemort cannot understand love," continued Dumbledore gravely. "To have been loved so deeply will give you protection for ever."

There was a swish of black robes. Snape had left the room.

"It is in your skin. This is the reason Quirrell, sharing his soul with Voldemort, could not touch you."

The idea was new to Harry. He had grown up believing no one loved him, until Hagrid had appeared in his life.

Harry stared at the window and, as it sometimes happens when a feeling is just too strong, his mind got distracted.

"This is the hospital wing, isn't it?" he blurted out.

"Yes, Harry," said Dumbledore. "Do you have any more questions?"

"When can I leave? When can I go back to the others?"

Dumbledore looked a bit disappointed.

"I have asked Madam Pomfrey to let you go to the end-of-year feast."

"When is that?"

"Tomorrow morning."

"Oh."

"Aren't you curious about the Mirror of Erised, Harry?" prodded Dumbledore.

Harry shrugged.

"Oh, is that what it's called? It shows people under Invisibility Cloaks."

Dumbledore chuckled.

"No, my dear boy. This is not what the Mirror does. The happiest man on earth would be able to use the Mirror of Erised like a normal mirror. He would look into it and see himself exactly as he is. Does that help?"

Harry frowned. This gave him a headache, so he stopped.

"It shows us what we want?"

"Yes and no. It shows us nothing more than the deepest, most desperate desire of our hearts. Your desire was to see me - I am most flattered - and Professor Snape. However, this mirror gives us neither knowledge or truth. Men have wasted away before it or been driven mad, not knowing if what it shows is real or even possible."

"It was real and possible. You and Professor Snape were there."

"In your case it was. But it isn't always."

"Was the Stone hidden in the Mirror?"

"I'm glad you asked me that. It was one of my most brilliant ideas, and between you and me, that's saying something. Only one who wanted to find the Stone - not use it - could find it. Otherwise they'd just see themselves making gold or drinking the Elixir of Life. Neither Quirrell nor Voldemort qualified. As for you..."

"I didn't want to find the Stone."

"No. You wanted to be helped."

Dumbledore was unmistakably disappointed.

"Enough questions for now,"he said. "Just one recommendation: what happened down in the dungeons between you and Professor Quirrell must stay a secret. I will ask you not to mention any of it to your classmates."

.

To Harry's disappointment, Professor Snape did not come back to see him in hospital.

Draco did.

"Professor Snape said you weren't feeling well. I hope you can come to the feast tomorrow."

"Madam Pomfrey says I can go."

"Oh, good. We won the Cup. You don't want to miss Weasley's face."

After a few minutes of entertaining Harry with imitations of Ron, Hermione and Neville, followed by a silent war dance, Draco added,

"What was wrong with you, anyway?"

"Exam nerves. Bad headache."

Draco looked at Harry's scar.

"Yes, it's sensitive," said Harry.

"What did Snape want last night?"

"He gave me an extra test."

"Whatever for?"

"For being the Boy Who Lived. Orders of Dumbledore."

"What was it about?"

"I'm not sure."

Draco sniggered.

"Father always says Dumbledore's barking. Did you pass?"

"No."

ooo

The Great Hall was decked in green and silver. Slytherin had won the House Cup for the seventh year in a row. At the staff table, Professor Snape had put on a smug face for the occasion. Next to him, Professor McGonagall wore a stiff false smile for the whole evening.

"Where's Quirrell?" said Pansy.

"The vampire got him," said Blaise Zabini, in a satisfied voice.

"No, it's the curse," said Daphne Greengrass. "There's a curse on the job. All Defence teachers disappear before the end of the year."

"That doesn't mean the vampire didn't get him."

"No, but..."

"He's no great loss. I wonder who we'll have next year," said Draco, unconcerned.

.

When the exam results came, Harry was surprised to see he had done even better than Draco. What upset Draco most was that Hermione had come out top of the year.

"Teachers' pet," he hissed. "Snape's the only one who sees through her. And old Hooch, of course - she can hardly stay on her broom. Stupid Mudblood. Snape says she learns all the books by heart. Any idiot can do that."

He went on and on rambling about stupid Mudbloods as he packed his trunk, and stopped only to smirk as Professor Snape handed out notes warning the students not to use magic during the holidays.

"No one can tell if you do, except if you're living with Muggles."

Harry's face fell.

"Like me."

"You can come and stay with us."

"Thank you, but my relatives are expecting me."

"Ah, the Muggles..."

Both boys pulled faces.

"Maybe they'll let me come and spend some time later," said Harry.

.

They joined the first years from the other houses and Hagrid led them to the fleet of boats that took them across the lake to the train station.

Ron glared at Draco, Draco glared at Hermione and Pansy made fun of Neville's toad, but apart from that, each house kept to itself. The students sat in separate compartments aboard the Hogwarts Express.

Soon they were changing into Muggle clothes again. Harry wondered what the Dursleys would say when they saw him wearing the clothes Madam Malfoy had bought for him. One thing made him feel good: aunt Petunia wouldn't be able to take them away and give then to Dudley, as they would never fit him.

Harry and Draco walked through the gate together and found themselves face-to-face with Mrs Weasley and her little girl.

"There he is, Mum, there he is, look!"

She was pointing at Harry.

"Be quiet, Ginny. It's rude to point."

"Hello," said Harry shyly.

Ginny beamed. Mrs Weasley looked sadly at Harry.

Draco was sneering.

"The little blood traitor likes you, but her family won't let her near a Slytherin."

"I don't get it," said Harry. "What's wrong with Slytherin?"

ooo

This is the end of Harry's first year as a Slytherin. I am taking a break now to put the second year on its feet. I'll post it as soon as it's ready.

I hope you enjoyed this. Thank you for your interest and encouragement.

Swallow