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Nie wyrażamy zgody na kopiowanie i umieszczanie naszych ficków i tłumaczeń na chomikach itp.
Ariel & Gobuss
| Chapter 13 - "Whispers in the dark" |
Beta Reader: Ailslin Avalbane
Thanks EvangelineFox for help
13. Whispers in the dark.
No, you'll never be alone
When darkness comes you know I'm never far
Hear the whispers in the dark*
Hermione took a long breath and looked out the window at the hazy moon. It was very late. All of the students had long been asleep, and she was the only one sitting in the deserted Common Room. Every minute she looked at the clock, each time more and more nervously.
What happened to him?
She was seriously worried now. She had been waiting for Harry since ten o'clock - she wanted to talk to him. She had to find out the truth! He'd been avoiding her all day, so she decided to wait until he came back from detention, and this time she wasn't going to let him escape. But he was still not there.
Maybe Snape did something to him?
From time to time Hermione circled the room, and her head would fill with of all sorts of scenarios concerning the prolonged absence of her friend.
She had to do something, because certainly, if she waited much longer, she'd go mad!
She tried to explain to herself logically that there was probably a specific reason why Harry had not yet appeared in the doorway leading to the Common Room, and that she'd certainly see him here soon.
However, her hopes were dashed.
She sat down abruptly on the couch, trying to think, but it didn't help. And it certainly hadn't made Harry arrive alive and unharmed.
I have to go look for him! Maybe something serious happened!
Having made the decision, Hermione jumped off the couch and headed toward the boys' dormitory.
She knew that it was risky - going there at this time, but she had an extremely important reason as an excuse. She slipped quietly into the bedroom and walked on her tiptoes toward the bed where Ron was snoring away without a care.
Hermione was seized by anger.
How can he sleep when Harry's missing? Doesn't he care that his best friend hasn’t returned tonight at all?
She grabbed his arm and shook him violently.
"Ron! Get up! Immediately!" she hissed, trying not to wake Neville, who was sleeping nearby.
"What ...? What happened?" the redhead muttered, looking at her with blurry eyes.
"Harry didn't come back from detention. Something might have happened to him. We have to find him."
"What ...? Oh, Hermioneee ... " Ron moaned, yawning and trying to turn over to the other side. "Can't we look for him in the morning?"
"Ronald Weasley!" the girl hissed quietly, being driven to extremes. "If you do not get up, I'll reveal to the whole school what you are doing in your dreams and who you are doing it with!"
It worked. Ron immediately opened his eyes, now completely awake.
"What? You can't do that. You can't!"
She smiled triumphantly.
"Get dressed. We need to find Harry."
Then she turned her back on him and moved to her friend's trunk.
"We'll need the Marauder's Map and Harry’s Cloak. Do you know where he is keeping them?" she whispered.
"I don't know, but it seems to me that he always carries them with him," Ron replied, hiding behind his bed and hurriedly pulling on trousers and sweater. "You weren't serious about those dreams, right?"
Hermione snorted, searching Harry's trunk, illuminating her way with the wand.
"It doesn't matter now. How will we find him without the map and the Cloak?"
She frowned at the thought of traversing the corridors of Hogwarts at night, completely without protection. What if Filch caught them? They could just politely explain to him that they were worried about Harry and went looking for him. Although she frankly doubted that the caretaker would understand.
"You were bluffing. No one can reveal one's dreams. It's impossible," she heard Ron's muffled voice and sighed:
Hermione cautiously peered around the corner.
"All right. There’s nobody there. We can go."
"Where are we actually going to? Where do you want to look for him?" Ron whispered, following Hermione through the dark, empty corridors of the castle.
"To the dungeons," she said briefly, looking carefully in all directions. "Harry had a detention with Snape. He was the last person who saw him."
"And it didn’t occur to you that Harry could still be there?" asked Ron. This question made Hermione blush slightly. "Maybe Snape had forced him to do some long, tedious work that Harry just hasn't finished yet."
"Teachers have no right to detain students outside the bedroom after ten o'clock," she replied curtly.
"But it is Snape," Ron answered emphatically, as if it explained everything.
"Even Snape doesn't have that right," Hermione growled, exploring the next corridor. Like shadows, they crept down the stairs and into the cold, deserted dungeons.
"And what do you want to do?" the redhead continued sarcastically. "Knock on the door to Snape's office in the middle of the night and ask "Excuse me, but is Harry here? Because he hasn’t been back tonight and we think that ..."
"Shhh!" Hermione interrupted him, stopping and listening. All around them was a dull, ominous silence. Several dimly lit torches were lighting the rough, bare walls, and the Gryffindors did not want to use their wands, lest they attract attention. "I think I heard something." She listened for a moment, looking around the hallway, submerged in darkness. Then shook her head and walked on. "Never mind."
They managed to reach the front door of the Potions Master's office without any problems. When they stood before it, there was a moment of consternation.
"Well," Ron urged, "it's you who had this brilliant idea, so knock."
Hermione swallowed. Visiting professors' offices at night was not a daily habit of the best school students. If Harry somehow went back to the dormitory, and they were caught here at this hour, it could end up very badly. But they had to be sure! Harry's safety was paramount.
She licked her lips and sighed deeply, then raised her hand to the office door and knocked softly.
She held her breath and waited. After a few moments, the door opened and Professor Snape appeared before them.
Fully dressed... flashed through her mind, and she sighed with relief.
The Professor raised his eyebrows in his customary gesture of surprise, seeing the two students standing before him so late. He didn't get a chance to say anything, however, because Hermione blurted out:
"Excuse me, we know that we should not be outside the Common Room at this time, you can take points from us for this, sir, but we wanted to ask if maybe Harry is here, because he did not return and we're very worried about him and we know that recently he was with you, sir," she blurted out in one breath. "I mean, he had a detention with you," she quickly amended, feeling her cheeks flush. Breaking school rules was very stressful for her, so in such moments her famous eloquence was really damaged. In addition, all this time Ron had been hunching behind her back, offering no support, only silence.
Hermione saw the Potions Master's eyes widen at first, and then narrow dangerously. His face, for a moment, seemed to be paler than usual; but it was only a fraction of a second and she wondered whether it was just a delusion or not.
"Potter?" Snape growled, staring at her with a piercing gaze. "Didn't return to the dormitory?"
Hermione shook her head.
"No doubt hiding somewhere, wallowing in self-pity, as usual," the man said gruffly, without taking his eyes off her face. "Go back to bed unless you want me to take all that remains of Gryffindor's house points."
Hermione had an overwhelming feeling of injustice flood her. Snape couldn’t just send them back to the dormitory! If he doesn't want to help, they could go to another teacher who was surely going to pay attention to the fact that Harry hadn't returned.
She turned to Ron and said in a cool, nervous voice:
"We are going to Professor McGonagall. The castle is too big. We will never find him by ourselves."
"Miss Granger, have you lost your hearing, or did someone throw a silencing spell on me?" Snape's voice turned into a growl. "It seems to me that I have clearly commanded you to go back to bed."
"Sir, you can't... " Hermione began, turning to him again, but Snape had pierced her with such a murderous glance that the words stuck in her throat.
"Just one word of objection, Miss Granger," the Professor hissed, his face moving closer to her own, "and it will be the last word you say as a student of this school."
Hermione closed her mouth, swallowing the bitter words of protest which crowded on her lips.
"I'll look for Potter myself," the man continued, straightening up and eyeing them contemptuously. "This time he won't get away with breaking the rules."
Snape stepped back into his office and shut the door in their faces.
Then silence set in.
Hermione turned on her heels. Her face shone with such fury that for a moment Ron wondered whether he should be more afraid of Snape or her.
"What a... " she started, but remembered where they were and bit her tongue. She pulled Ron by his arm and rushed forward. "Harry has disappeared, and he orders us to go back to bed? I am almost certain that he won't even lift a finger to find him. Well, maybe just to give him another detention and take points from him. What an impassive, nasty bastard!"
Ron was running after his furious friend.
"Maybe Snape's right?" he said softly. "Maybe we should just go back to bed. What would happen to Harry at Hogwarts, anyway? Perhaps everything is like Snape says. I mean, you must've seen that Harry has been acting strangely lately, and anyway, we don't even know where to look for him. He could be anywhere."
Hermione stopped abruptly and turned. The boy moaned, seeing the expression on her face.
"Ronald, if you try again to agree with this unfeeling Death Eater... " she said in a trembling voice and pointed her index finger toward him, "then I swear that I will personally..."
Suddenly something crackled under her foot. Hermione broke off the eye contact and looked down. When she raised her foot, her face became white as paper.
"It's Harry's glasses," she whispered, a terrified feeling flooding her. She bent down and picked up the broken glasses. Ron also looked like he suddenly forgotten everything that had happened before.
"How did they get here?" he asked, looking round the dark hallway.
Hermione shook her head and stared at the glasses.
"He never takes them off," Ron said quietly. "He wouldn't just lose them."
Hermione shook her head again. She looked around carefully at the corridor, but the closest place was only a broom-cupboard. No sign of Harry.
Suddenly she remembered something.
"Ron," she whispered, "this is about where I thought I heard something. I think that sound came from - " her eyes fell on the door of the cupboard, " - there."
Ron followed her gaze. He gulped.
Hermione, not waiting for him, went to the old wooden door and put an ear to it.
"I can't hear anything," she whispered.
Ron looked like he was not able to spit out a word. Hermione slowly reached for the handle and turned the knob.
The door remained closed.
Hermione would have breathed a sigh of relief, but the disturbed feeling didn't go away. Trying to suppress the growing fear, Hermione drew her wand and put it to the lock, whispering:
This time there was a quiet creaking, and the door opened. Hermione held her breath, intently watching as small room shrouded in impenetrable darkness appeared before her eyes. She raised her wand and uttered:
At the moment, as the cupboard filled with light, she heard Ron make some kind of inarticulate sound behind her. She heard a long, hoarse groan and squeak, and after a moment she realized that it was she who'd made them. The glasses fell from her hand.
Harry was lying against the wall. Blood covered his face and soaked into his clothing, even forming a small puddle on the floor. His bangs were glued to his face from the blood and he was swollen, scratched and bruised. His hanging head was braced on his chest and his right hand was lying at a strange angle, caught in a piece of black fabric.
Hermione stood in panic for a moment. She couldn't determine whether he was alive or not. She couldn't even force her body to move. She felt like she was about to vomit.
Oh … Harry. This can't be happening!
She closed her eyes, refusing to believe what was before her. It couldn't be real!
Her stomach was writhing and twisting, her heart was quivering in her chest and everything around her was suddenly spinning. She tried to breathe, but something huge had blocked her throat. Hermione gulped a few times before deciding to open her eyes.
The horror was tightly enmeshing her heart with its slippery tentacles, but she made an effort to focus on the present situation and analyze everything. She used to think logically in any occasion. She couldn't fail now!
You must control yourself! Get a grip! Bring someone here! Immediately! she screamed at herself.
"Stay with him," she croaked at Ron, who was already sitting on the ground, staring at Harry with eyes widened in horror. Apparently his legs refused to obey him. Hermione then ran to find Snape. He was the nearest person! He had a lot of potions! He could help Harry! He had to!
When Hermione passed the corner of the corridor, she collided with the tall, dark figure. She screamed, startled, and staggered back, trying to regain balance. She looked up and only then, seeing how blurred the figure standing before her was, realized that she was crying. She couldn’t manage to say anything. Snape grabbed her by the shoulders, thrusting his fingers painfully in her skin and shaking her.
"What happened?" he demanded.
Hermione tried to answer, but her voice refused to obey her. She burst into tears. "Harry …"
"Where is he?" Snape's sharp, commanding voice and another jerk hit her like a whip and sobered to such extent that she managed to stammer:
"Harry... Cupboard... He... " She managed to point a shaking finger back in the direction she'd come from.
Hermione felt steely hands let go of her arms and realized that she was alone. She looked around and saw Snape's black cloak disappearing around the corner. She ran after him, trying to wipe the tears from her eyes.
When she came to the cupboard, she saw Snape paused at the entrance. His face was deathly pale. He stared, speechless, at the figure lying on the floor, and apparently could not force his body to move. Just stood there and stared, as if he could not believe what he saw.
But after a while he shuddered, breaking himself from the grip of paralyzing horror, and quickly entered the cupboard. Ron was kneeling before Harry. Apparently, he had finally managed to overcome the effects of the first shock. Hermione looked astounded as Snape fell to Harry and pushed Ron with such force and fury that the redhead landed on the floor with a cry of surprise.
"Did you touch him?" the Professor asked, putting his ear to Harry's face. Ron shook his head. Apparently, he was still unable to speak. Hermione came closer. Snape checked the pulse on the boy's neck and his tense, pale face relaxed slightly, and a sigh of relief escaped his lips. "He's alive," he whispered softly. Hermione noticed that his hands were shaking. But she wasn’t certain whether it was a hallucination or not, because she was trembling so much, herself. Snape put his ear back to Harry's face and frowned. He looked at the boy's bloody features and an expression of fear washed over his face. Hermione blinked. This time there was no way it was a delusion.
Snape pulled out his wand and pointed it toward Harry's chest. Hermione looked on as he began uttering strange, complicated formulas, and a warm, yellow glow shot from the wand, covering Harry's chest. The Professor's face was distorted with efforts, as if the spell required extraordinary focus and enormous power.
Hermione saw Harry's chest slowly rise, and a hoarse, jerky, strenuous breath burst from his mouth. A huge wave of relief and gratitude flooded her heart. She leaned against the wall for support. Ron stared at everything with wide and frightened eyes. The warm glow disappeared, and Snape leaned forward, his hands on the floor, taking a long breath. It looked as if he suddenly lost his vitality.
"Miss Granger," he said to her with a trembling, tired voice,. "Please, go to Professor Dumbledore and bring him to the hospital wing. Now. The password is "gobstones". Mr. Weasley," Snape's eyes rested on Ron, who finally managed to get up from the floor, "you're going to inform Professor McGonagall." Seeing that both of them remained standing motionless and staring at him, shocked, he added with a harsh, commanding voice: "Go!"
Hermione shuddered and rushed toward the stairs. As she was running through the dark corridors, there was the only one thought in her head:
He's alive! He's alive!
Everything was in pain.
It penetrated his body and soul. Stabbing. Horrific. Twisting.
Darkness. Sticky and stifling.
Harry didn't know where he was. He didn't know what had happened.
He heard some whispers. Whispers in the dark.
It seemed like they were coming from a distant room, but he couldn't distinguish the words. They were echoing in his head, repeating and mixing with each other, making noise which was difficult to understand, noise which was gradually morphing into a strange and irritating...
Detention ... ended ...
Where should I touch you... uch you?
Did you touch him... uch him?
Touch me... me ...
He could not understand any of it. It was so hard for him to breathe. Something firm was pressed to his back.
He's alive... ive ...
He was lying on something.
He felt only pressure and pain. The whole world was pain. Rushing, throbbing, piercing, burning pain.
Someone was here. Somewhere nearby.
His weakened, pain-soaked mind felt magic. Magic that was close to him. He tried to focus on it and stick to it, so as not to allow the darkness to envelope him again.
He could breathe.
Bring them... ing them...
Slowly, he began to feel different parts of his body, as if acquainted with them again. The noise in his ears was calming down.
He moaned, feeling hands touching his chest.
"It hurts..." he whispered almost inaudibly, because even speaking caused him suffering.
The hands retreated. The familiar voice broke through the noise:
"Do not say anything. Save your strength."
Something cleared up a little in Harry's head.
Snape. It was Snape. Right next to him.
Very slowly, the fragments of memories began to rise up in his consciousness.
Snape... was angry at him... threw him out of his chambers because Harry had kissed him. And he was not allowed to kiss him... He broke the rules. Exposed himself. But he didn't want it...
"I'm sor... ry... " he managed to whisper through the pain clenching his throat. "Didn't wa... nt to... I'm sorry... "
Maybe Snape wasn't here? Maybe it was just a delusion? Why didn't he say anything? Was he that angry with him?
He had to see him.
Harry tried to open his eyes, but something flooded them. Only now he realized that, all this time, something had been trickling down his face. He tried to lift his right hand, but he couldn't feel it at all. He groaned with the effort and raised his left hand. However, when he wanted to touch his face, someone's cold hand grabbed it and gently pulled it back.
So he was really here. Snape was here. With him.
Harry instinctively squeezed the hand and drew it to himself, pressing his lips to it.
"It feels so good... that you're here... " he managed to whisper, feeling how swollen and sore his lips were.
For a moment nothing happened. Snape did not reply, but Harry didn't care. He knew he was with him. He didn't need anything more.
But after a few moments he felt the hand gently sliding out of his.
"Don't... don't go..."
He felt Snape's hands sliding under his back and knees and slowly, gently lifting him off the floor.
The pain came back with terrifying force, pushing him back into the darkness full of incomprehensible, hoarse whispers.
"It hurts... so much... " Harry managed to whisper before the darkness fully took him back into its arms.
Crabbe looked anxiously at his hands.
"Are you sure there is nothing... left?" he asked with a slightly nervous voice.
Three Slytherins were sitting in their dormitory. Well, Crabbe and Goyle were sitting, because Malfoy was circling the room, very excitedly. His eyes glittered feverishly, and deep satisfaction shone in a smile on his face.
"Oh, stop it already! You've been rubbing them for so long that probably erased everything, including your fat," Malfoy replied, annoyed, and fell on his bed. Crabbe and Goyle were sitting on the couch against the wall, looking at each other nervously. "That's why we didn't use spells," continued the Slytherin. "Magic can be detected. Fists - " he lifted one of the slightly scratched hands, " - can not. And besides, a lot of time will pass before anyone finds Potter."
Crabbe and Goyle looked at him strangely, perhaps not entirely convinced. Malfoy's face contorted with a grimace of a cruel mockery.
"Too late for doubts. We've already done it. Now there's no turning back. Potter's finally paid for everything. For absolutely everything! At last!" He laughed hoarsely, and his eyes flashed with a dangerous triumph. He seemed unable to control his actions and words. Blinded by hatred, he behaved like a madman who finally succeeded in plotting the destruction of the world. "Oh, the Dark Lord will reward me for this! I finally bumped Potter off! He'll love it!"
"Well... " Goyle began tentatively, "but you said... that it's not allowed. That he ordered you to watch him, so no one would know. I mean ... " he hesitated, trying to pull these sentences together because they probably did not sound as they should have. "You said... that you had to watch him and couldn't allow anyone to know." He breathed a sigh of relief. For Goyle, forming big sentences was hard. "You're sure that he... is not going to be mad at us? I mean, the Dark Lord?"
"Shut up!" Draco growled. "I should have protected Potter's ass? Never! After all these years? Because of him, my father ended up in Azkaban! Everyone thinks I'm crazy! They've lost all respect for me, because I had to watch him! The Slytherins have started to look at me as a traitor. Me!"
"And... Snape?" Crabbe asked quietly. "Won't he get angry at us? Don’t you remember... what he did to you the last time? He said that Potter is... invo... invil... ivion..." he thought for a moment, " - inviolable!" he finally succeeded and smiled, proud of himself.
"No way! What am I supposed to be, their servant? I have been doing it for too long! Enough of this!" He jumped out of bed, and his gray eyes darkened with anger. "I tried to extract information from Snape. I asked what was going on, but he didn't want to tell me anything, so now he can kiss my ass! When I'm rewarded by the Dark Lord, Snape won't be able to do anything to me! He'll only be able to..." Draco stopped suddenly, realizing his so-called “buddies” were not listening. They were staring at the door with wide, horrified eyes.
Draco hesitated. An icy shiver ran through his body.
He felt someone's dark presence; a presence full of cold determination and burning anger.
Slowly, he turned around.
Severus Snape stood at the entrance. The black silhouette emerged from the darkness like a fatal destiny. He was carrying a black piece of material in his hand; the sack which they had put on Potter's head so he could not recognize them. It was soaked in blood.
Draco swallowed hard and looked in the Potions Master's demonic eyes. What he saw there made him immediately regret everything he had done. He realized that he had made the biggest mistake of his life. But now it was too late to go back.
In one stupefied, overwhelming moment of terror, he could only think of one thing: he would never forget that look...
Through the mist of horror that gripped his mind, he saw Snape's wand pointing at him and before he could react, he heard the spell:
* "Whispers in the dark" by Skillet
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