AN – To Heal has been a loooong time in coming and since the last update I've found out that I'm no good with a 'go with the flow' plot and so, To Heal will be on hold until I've figured out the plan. I've got a plan written down for Twist Of Fate and Missing Magic all of which the next chapter of each is halfway done.
Tumblr and Twitter is Fatynthemachine as always.
Chapter 8 – Lost and Alone
"You agree then?"
"Of course!" Flitwick nodded.
Pomona clasped her hands in her lap, "It's heartbreaking what's happened to him, poor dear, he needs support now. I'll be there for him." She promised.
Albus, Minerva, Fillius and Pomona all turned to Severus Snape at the end of the row sitting stiffly in the high backed chairs in front of the Headmaster's desk.
"I don't think it wise if I was involved as anything other than his head of house. It would be improper." He told them slowly.
He folded his arms over his chest and eyed the headmaster sternly. "You said yourself Albus that the Dark Lord isn't dead, I do not like to tempt fate by accepting the joint role as guardian of the boy and then receive punishment afterwards from him when he asks why I have let Potter live. That and my history."
"Surely you can see that it would be beneficial for Mr Potter to have someone closer to his own age" Flitwick reasoned his short legs swinging freely above the floor on his chair. "After all, you are the same age his parents would have been should they…well, you know. Peace be with them."
Before Severus could so much as sneer the door was flung open and smacked against the wall with enough force to leave a crack in the stone.
"Headmaster! Harry's gone!" Draco Malfoy gasped as he entered the room upon the heels of Hagrid. His blonde hair wild, eyes wide with worry. He started talking at a rate they could barely understand, but they got the gist of it, the most important ones were "He…dog…forest" and sent their stomachs dropping to their shoes.
"Professer Quirrell's out lookin' fer him now sir!" Hagrid boomed over the young Slytherin as they leapt to their feet and rushed to the door.
Merlin, they'll both be killed if they go in there! Severus panicked. Severus almost ran down the spiral staircase while Minerva and Albus hurried out after him, calling out things to Draco and Hagrid as they went. Pomona and Fillius stayed behind to look after the school while they went to find their missing student.
"Return to your common room Draco!" demanded Severus, hearing a hurried 'Yes sir!' as he raced down the hall.
"Your assistance Rubeus would be advantageous in the search for Mr Potter!" Albus called behind him while Fillius and Pomona sent their patronuses to the remaining professor's in the school to inform them about the search.
"We'll spread out." Minerva said, wand clasped in her hand, hurrying down the stairs and along corridors to the entrance hall, "we can find Harry much faster that way."
His heart was beating loudly in his ears, breath coming too fast from his lungs and legs stumbling over fallen branches and thick vines that reached out to snatch at his ankles.
Away, away, must get away.
The barks of the dog rang sharply in his head and adrenaline and instinct forced him to keep going. His thoughts were clipped into a single line of continuous thought.
Get to safety. Run. Keep running.
The forest seemed to have stilled, sinking into silence, the only sound was of the boy's rattling breaths and the snapping of branches as he ran as fast as he could, deeper and deeper into the forest. Then, something caught the back of his robes, they were yanked roughly against his bandaged throat and he toppled back, attempting to stand, only to have his legs trapped and snatched from the ground as he swung helplessly in the grip of his attacker.
Before his glasses fell to the ground all he could see was the large hairy underbelly of what looked to be an enormous spider.
The boy, find the boy!
"I will master, I promise." Quirrell whispered without even a hint of a stutter. His footsteps were dampened by the dark moss and leaves that covered the floor; he looked more aware and capable now than he had in any of his classes as his eyes shifted about his surroundings. Of course, his students would think it was a completely different person, but in fact it was all an act and Quinirus Quirrell was more than any of them ever suspected. Most of them thought he was a wimp, unable to cast a spell because of his stammer, but they couldn't have been further from the truth. He was capable, intelligent, cast his spells with dexterity and he had the power and knowledge of the Dark Lord on his side. Now all he had to do would be to find the boy and then his master would tell him what to do next.
It was easy to see in what direction Potter had gone, broken branches and imprints on the mud from his school shoes led in a clear trail deep into the forest. All he had to do was follow the path Potter had left in his wake.
Well, it was until the boy had seemed to slip – the earth had been scraped, eight thin lines scraped back as though he'd dug his nails in to stop from being dragged away…but away by what? The boy could even be dead by now. A flash of pain through the back of his neck from his master made him hurry. He cast a targeting spell and followed the pull from his wand, he had to duck and jump over several fallen trees and rotting stumps on the way but his heart stuttered when he saw the scene before him.
Hundreds of Acromantula at all stages in development were clustered around a wriggling sack made of web. They were getting ready to eat him. Damn. Acromantula venom was very poisonous, expensive because of how dangerous they were, and very fast working. If Potter was bitten, he'd be dead before they could get back to Hogwarts. He would have had no hope of outrunning or killing a fair portion if he didn't have his master to guide him.
Gathering his magic, severing and bludgeoning curses shot from Quirrell's wand in an almost continuous stream, slaying many of the nearest ones and distracting them from Potter who was presumably inside the wriggling cocoon. A cutting curse sliced open the webbing and an Accio summoned the traumatised boy to Quirrell's side, remainders of the cocoon stuck their robes together like glue as he slashed his wand left and right, slicing a path through the hoards of spiders that clicked furiously spitting venom and raising their front legs in anger, getting ready to attack.
Harry stuck to Quirrell's side, too shocked other than to do as he was told and simply be dragged along. They managed to make it out of the nest and a short way into the forest when Quirrell cried out in pain. Great globs of venom were shot from the spider behind and eating through his robes, severing the web that stuck Quirrell and Harry together. Harry stumbled to the side, falling against a tree as he watched his professor battle the spider.
He's not stuttering Harry thought blearily as the spider reared up and Quirrell tripped over the end of his tattered robe, struggling to retain his balance. The spiders rushed forward, surrounding the professor until Harry could no longer see him.
A Flash of light – severed legs – rolling heads – popped eyeballs – the sticky green ichor of Acromantula blood sprayed outwards. Screeching – his professors yells – and finally Harry was able to see him.
He stood, face fierce and more determined and stronger than Harry had ever seen him, his arm thrust upwards and with a roar the spell engulfed the remaining spiders surrounding him and they burst into black flames, silver sparks snapping from the ashes that remained.
Quirrell turned his head, looking until his eyes finally came to rest on Harry, but the turban was gone and Harry had seen what no one was meant to see.
It had slipped from Quirrell's bald head during the fight and lay, unravelled by the carcass of a smoking Acromantula.
Harry daren't breathe. For the brief moment he had made eye-contact with the red eyes on Professor Quirrell's face – but it wasn't his face – it was something else – something unnatural. Harry backed away from Professor Quirrell, his body tense as he got ready to run. His day was just getting worse.
"Stop." The voice hissed and Harry did, unable to resist. "Don't—"
"Let…me speak…to the boy" the same high, cold voice hissed, and Harry knew it wasn't professor Quirrell who spoke.
Quirrell turned around to look at Harry, "Master you are too weak—"
Quirrell's body stiffened before collapsed onto his hands and knees, gasping and trembling.
"I. Am. Not. Weak." The voice hissed angrily.
"For-forgive m-me Master—" for once, the stutter was real and he struggled to his feet, eyes unfocused, swaying slightly.
"Turn! Let me speak…to him." Harry still hadn't moved his feet were frozen to the ground. The adrenaline that had coursed through his veins had faded, leaving him feeling weak and shaky. As Quirrell turned away red eyes met green and Harry felt a fuzzy memory tickle the back of his mind…red eyes and a flash of green. "Do you know who I am? I know who you are, Harry Potter. I know a great many things, and I can help you." The red eyes were bright in the semi-darkness of the Forbidden Forest and the skin was pale, almost translucent. "Come with me now and all your problems will disappear." The thin, slitted nostrils flared when Harry made no move towards him. "Come here boy!"
Boy! Wash the dishes and don't even think about sneaking any leftovers – those are to be scraped into the bin…I don't want any funny business now…boy you'll do as you're told!
Harry shook his head slowly and took a step back, his heel snapping a twig behind him. Keep your eye on the enemy. Watch him. He took another step and another before he noticed the red eyes widening. Quirrell turned and sent a spell whizzing over Harry's head, a screech and thick green ichor sloshed down onto his robes, covering him in the gelatinous goo that was Acromantula blood. For a moment, Harry wished he was blind instead of mute. His scream would have been able to reach the castle. A spider, using the other's as a distraction leapt at Quirrell. It was over in a flash, but just long enough for Harry to see Quirrell's look of surprise and the high, cold voice scream "Ibecile!" before the spider's mouth swallowed Quirrell's head and bit.
The headless body fell to its knees before slumping forward to the floor. A thick grey mist seeped from the wound along with the blood sliding insidiously along the floor.
But the blood, oh the blood.
He turned and ran as fast as he could, missing the arrows that soared through the air and pierced the eyes of the large spider hunching over the body of his dead professor. Harry's hands were clenched into fists, white knuckles straining against his skin, stumbling as he saw the forest through blurred eyes, unable to push away the image of Professor Quirrell's head being eaten and his headless body being overrun by thousands of smaller spiders. He could only imagine—he felt sick fill his mouth, burning a path from his stomach to his throat and spilled from his mouth, unable to stop for the luxury of directing the vomit into the shrubbery rather than onto his robes.
Having lost his glasses some time ago Harry was almost blind with fear when he slammed into something hard and was forced to the side, the world faded to nothing.
He was in strong pale arms…long white hair…the footsteps sounded more like hooves…it was bright and warm and there were voices all around him. Where was he? There was a breeze and – beards! Dumbledore's blue eyes and glasses…a potion best to swallow that before I choke to death…the voices were distant again and he felt himself fall into the soothing waves of sleep.
"I don't believe we've ever lost a defence professor so early in the year." Dumbledore sighed looking over the sleeping form of Harry Potter. Madam Pomfrey had commented sadly that he seemed to be a regular in the infirmary and said they could have a bed with his name on it. Dumbledore hoped that it wouldn't have to be the case. "The body cannot be recovered of course, due to the Acromantulas rather quick con—"
"I think that's enough, Albus" Minerva interrupted looking queasy, patting down the hairs that had come loose in their frenzied search for Harry Potter. "It was brave, but foolish, for Quinirus to go in after him."
"If the centaurs hadn't been to see what was happening I doubt the boy would have survived at all." Severus said grimly. "We were lucky Hagrid found the Centuars in time to alert them to the situation."
"It was good of them to assist us." Minerva agreed.
"The centaurs need to do more than look for lost students," Severus grumbled as he gently applied disinfectant to the scratches that littered Harry's face and hands, "A complete extermination would be advisable headmaster since they are not in fact a native species to Scotland."
Dumbledore ran a hand through his long white beard and hummed thoughtfully. "A cull would be preferable to complete extermination I had hoped to get Hagrid to liaise with them for venom to add to your stores but I will have a word with the Centuars to see what they can do. In the meantime I believe I have found something that will fix Mr Potter's voice."
Thank you to….
Serialkeller – Harry did the charm for Neville to amuse Draco who doesn't like Hermione haha!
Dancer4813 – Harry's fear of dogs will stop him from liking any dogs but he might like them in the future. I have a Labrador crossed with a springer spaniel, and he's so lovely you can sit him on your lap (despite him being quite a big dog) with his paws in the air and sit with him watching tv. Glad you liked it!
Flying Dragonite- That's because you are special! :D I try to respond to all the reviews that are left on each chapter :D Weekends are always the best!
Dark Neko 4000 – Hopefully that answers your question!
ZenaraTheDragon – Thanks! Glad it's evoking such emotions! :D
Kairan1979 – He'd probably collapse! Especially since Fluffy is really protective over the hatch!
Atymer – He's going to be even more terrorised because of the spiders now! Sometimes I feel awful for putting Harry through these situations! It'll probably take a while – on top of everything else – to heal him. No need to say sorry, everyone's entitled to their opinion and I like reading how different people interpret what I write :)
Silvermane1 – I can't promise anything but you might be surprised ;)
Thesilverdagger-03 – thank you very much :)
OldestOfTheYoung – That really means a lot to me! Thank you :D
Hell Hath No
Thank you everyone for sticking with me! Peace out!