Chapter Twenty and Interlude Two
Harry awoke the next morn still in the common room to the sounds of fellow students beginning to stir. He tried to get up but was unsuccessful at first. He felt really stiff and for a minute he couldn't remember why.
Then the day before came back to him. The bruises of course. He would need to heal them fast.
He hurried up to his room and quickly grabbed some clothes, and then went into the bathroom to change and freshen up. As he changed, he caught a glimpse of himself in the mirror and stifled a gasp.
He looked awful. His eyes had dark circles under them, that showed his lack of proper sleep the night before. There were also several bruises that were creeping up his neck. His complexion was also pasty. This caused the bruises to stand out even more. All in all he looked like death warmed over.
This wasn't good at all. If he went to breakfast looking like this then he would surely be asked tons of questions by his fellow students. Worse, he would be asked questions by the teachers who would surely report it to Dumbledore. Therefore, he had to cover them up somehow.
The best thing to do would be to get some bruise paste to heal it, but for that he would need to go to the hospital wing which would alert Dumbledore. He could make some but he didn't have the time. Oh it was days like this that he wished he had put some more time into learning the more obscure healing spells. As it was he didn't know if there was one to heal bruises.
He would have to go with the second best thing and don a glamor. It wouldn't help with his stiffness or the bruises themselves, but at least noone would be able to see them and he know one that would help. He still didn't like it but it was the best solution he could come up with on such sort notice.
Harry did not care for glamors in general. They were in a branch of spells that drained a little of your magic for as long as they were up. So, they were not good to keep up for long term, especially during battle. They also were not good to use when one is tired like Harry was at that moment. He would just have to tell anyone who asked why he was tired that it was from being woken up in the middle of the night by Professor Sprout.
It wasn't long before he was heading down to breakfast with everyone else. It was very loud in the great hall. Conversations everywhere were about how they were woken up in the middle of the night. The rumor mill was running rampant. The stories ranged from Aragog and his army of spiders breaching the wards in the middle of the night and they wanted to make sure that none of them had gotten eaten, to Mrs. Norris leading a rampage composed of the student's cats through the hallways and they wanted to be sure that they hadn't run through the dormitories themselves.
Harry had to keep himself from laughing. The stories were all so ridiculously funny and far from the truth. You could always count on the rumor mill to entertain you when it wasn't you they were talking about anyway. That thought sobered Harry up as he thought back to all the times that he had been painted in a bad light.
He was once more broken out of his memories by Dumbledore who had stood up to talk. The student body, upon seeing this, quickly quieted so as to hear what explanation he would give as why they were awoken in the middle of the night.
“It is with much sadness and regret that I must inform you of the death of Professor Quirrel.” started Dumbledore as the students gasps and started talking again.
“What happened?” someone yelled out.
“No need to worry. The teachers and I are handling it. Now for the next few days I would like you to stay in your dormitories and...” He trailed off looking a bit pale.
He quickly gathered himself up and said: “ Now off to your dormitories. Professors please meet in the staff room. I have a meeting.”
And with that he left the great hall. All the students just looked at one another. No one, not even the teachers seemed to know what had happened. Students slowly started leaving. Harry was one of the first. He wanted to know what had happened to make Dumbledore stop talking so abruptly.
What could make Dumbledore stop like that for. Harry took a few minutes to stop and think. It had to have something to do with the stone. That would be what was currently one Dumbledore's mind at the moment after all. But what could happen so suddenly that..
Of course! Not a what, but a who. Harry took off running. Didn't Dumbledore say that in the last timeline that he and the Flamels decide to destroy the stone while Harry was unconscious in the hospital wing?
Well, now would be about when they would show up and the Flamels would not be happy when they heard that the stone was gone. Come to think of it Dumbledore would be worried that Moldy Shorts had been successful and stolen the stone. Why didn't Harry think of that?
He practically ran to his Dormitory to grab the stone. He couldn't let Dumbledore think that Voldy had it. Things could get ugly real fast that way. He grabbed the stone from where he had hid it in his trunk and put it back in his pocket then he went to the owlery as fast as he could.
Harry had to apologize to Hedwig as she came down to take it from him. She was much to recognizable. So, he called a school owl to him and pulled out a small bit of parchment and a spare quill that he had grabbed when he got the stone.
He wrote out a quick note and then used a spell to make his handwriting unrecognizable. He was then sure to erase his magical signature as well. When he was done he looked over his note. It read:
Dear Mr. and Mrs. Flamel,
I am sorry to have worried you about your stone. Yes, I stole it but only to keep Voldemort from getting to it and using it to resurrect himself. I would never use the stone for myself. Immortality is the last thing that I would want. I apologize for worrying you. I wish you luck with whatever you decide to do.
a concerned person
Satisfied, he tied the stone to it and sent it off with the school owl. He then hurried off back to his dorm before he could be missed.
He then settled down with a book to relax in the common room just for a few minutes. The next thing he knew he was being roughly shaken awake by the shoulder. He blinked sleepily up to see who it was and realized it was a prefect.
“Ah. Good Potter. You're awake. Professor Dumbledore would like to see you in his office. The password is skittles. Do you know where it's at?” asked the prefect.
“Yah. I was there once.” Harry answered
He quickly made his way up to the very familiar gargoyle and gave the password. He then stepped onto the equally familiar staircase. When he got to the top and knocked. He heard a quiet, “enter.” and so went in.
Dumbledore was in his usual spot behind his desk and Fawkes was sitting on his perch just like countless other times that he had been when Harry was there.
“Ah Harry my boy. It is good to see you. Do sit down.”
“Thank you sir.”
“So how were your classes this year.”
“They were good professor. A bit challenging at times, but I like it that way. How else am I supposed to learn?”
Dumbledore chuckled, “I am so glad that you enjoyed them my boy. Now.” Dumbledore's face grew serious. “I am afraid I have some very serious news to tell you.”
“What is it Professor?” asked Harry with a curious face plastered on. He felt the beginning of legilimancy and let Dumbledore see only his curiosity. For Harry was curious. He didn't know how much Dumbledore would tell him after all.
“Well I am sure you are wondering what happened to professor Quirrel.”
“Well yes sir. Everyone is. That is all anyone could talk about in the common room.” Harry let the images of his fellow students talking in the background while he was reading his book go through his mind.
“Well Harry I am not sure how to put it but Voldemort killed him.”
“Really sir? How did that happen?” Harry let surprise show on his face as well as in his mind and voice.
Dumbledore seemingly satisfied that Harry had know idea what had happened carried on.
“Well you see Voldemort was possessing professor Quirrel and killed him when he didn't get what he wanted.”
“That is terrible Professor.” said Harry,
“Yes it is. I have always known that he was still alive. So you see Harry he might not have his body back but he is still out there, so it is more important than ever that you go back to your aunt and uncle's house this summer.”
“I will do what is best for me as I said before professor.”
“Very good my boy. Well, I hope you have a wonderful summer.”
“Thanks. You too Professor.”
Harry then went back to his common room. He wondered what the Flamels had decided. He didn't know that he'd ever know. He just hoped that they weren't too upset that he had stolen it.
The next few days were relatively peaceful for Harry. Oh course what happened to Quirrel was still the only thing that anyone could talk about and it was starting to get on his nerves somewhat.
He was therefore happy when the leaving feast came about. He and each of his friends sat at their own tables and chatted with their dorm mates and before Harry knew it Dumbledore was standing to give out the house cup.
“Another year gone! And I mus trouble you with an old man's wheezing waffle before we sink our teeth into our delicious feast. What a year it has been! Hopefully your heads are a little fuller than they were...you have the whole summer ahead to get them nice and empty before next school year starts...
“Now as I understand it, the house cup here needs awarding, and the point stand as thus: In fourth place, Hufflepuff, with three hundred and seventy- five points; In third, Gryffindor, with four hundred and thirty-five points; Ravenclaw has four hundred and forty-seven points; and finally our winners with four hundred and seventy-two points is Slytherin. So, Congratulations Slytherin!”
The Slytherins cheered and others, including Harry clapped politely. They all then dug in to the wonderful feast.
Interlude TwoAlbus Dumbledore didn't know what had gone wrong. He was sure that the protections on the stone would be enough to keep Voldemort busy until he got there. That was the whole point after all.
Oh he knew that the protections were easily passable. He wanted them that way. The whole point in bringing the stone to Hogwarts was to draw him out after all. He thought that his plan was brilliant. Draw Tom to Hogwarts with the stone and then capture him.
That was where it all went wrong. First there was that blasted note. How could he have fallen for that pathetic trick. He should have known better. But the note sounded so desperate. After all, everyone knew Fudge couldn't do a thing without him.
And then by the time he realized it was a fake and got back to Hogwarts, Tom and the Stone were gone. He couldn't figure out what had happened. The mirror wasn't broken but the stone was still gone and so was Tom with poor Quirrel left as a husk on the floor.
He spent all night investigating, but was no closer to an answer this morning, and now the wards alerted him to the last people he wanted to see at the moment. The Flamels. Oh how angry they would be and rightfully so. There was nothing to do but to meet them and meet them he did at the front gate.
Their expressions were stony and they were silent all the way up to his office. Sadly it didn't last.
“Albus. Where is our stone.”
“Well, you see..I don't know.”
“What do you mean you don't know.”
“I mean it is no longer where I put it but I am pretty sure that Voldemort doesn't have it.”
He explained what he found and by the end of this explanation, the Flamels were calmer but still not happy. They spent the next half hour brainstorming until they heard a tap tap tap at the window.
It was a school owl and it hopped over to Nicolas's shoulder. When he was done reading, his mouth was wide open. Just as the others were about to ask what was the matter, he ripped open the package and the others gasped. He passed the note around.
Albus cast spells to try to determine who had sent it but the couldn't figure it out. The Flamels were clearly just glad to have it back. After discussing their options, they decided that it would be best to get their affairs in order and destroy the stone. Albus respected their decision and said his good-byes.
He was certainly glad that Tom didn't have the stone. But that let the one question? Who had gotten it?