Categories > Books > Harry Potter > Second Fiddle

Fool Me Twice

by Crucio_Crusade 3 reviews

Harry Potter is aware of the wizarding world. The only problem is he grew up apart from it. When he explored the magical world, he found danger, wonder, and friendship

Category: Harry Potter - Rating: R - Genres: Action/Adventure, Drama - Characters: Harry, Hermione, Neville, Voldemort - Warnings: [!] [?] [V] - Published: 2006-12-06 - Updated: 2006-12-06 - 4586 words

Disclaimer: This fan fiction was based on the Harry Potter books by J.K. Rowling. I do not claim ownership on any character created by J.K. Rowling, and no money is collected from this story. This is one way I show appreciation to J.K. Rowling's works. Other names or places on this story are fictional. Any similarity to actual name is purely coincidental.

Chapter 22: Fool Me Twice

The hospital wing was usually quiet during the summer. No student. No patient. Madam Pomfrey was happy with this. She could spend most of her time visiting friends and relatives. She even had the time to knit her very own shawl. For a while, she thought this summer would be uneventful. But, it seemed You-Know-Who didn't know how to take a vacation.

Madam Pomfrey stopped gathering her medicinal potions. She looked out the window of her office. It was a beautiful day outside. It all looked so quiet and peaceful. She could almost believe You-Know-Who wasn't terrorizing the wizarding world. She lowered her head and looked at all the potions she was preparing. Soon, her quiet and peaceful hospital wing would be filled with battle injured witches and wizards. She could only hope Dumbledore and the others would return alive. She glanced at the clock on top of her fireplace mantle. It was fifteen minutes before four O'clock... time to examine her sole patient.

"Madam Pomfrey? Madam Pomfrey? Are you there?" shouted a voice from the fireplace.

The school nurse sedately walked over to the fireplace. "Yes?"

"Madam Pomfrey, it's me, Hermione Granger," the voice said. The glowing embers were formed in the likeness of the firecaller.

The school nurse kneeled down. "What can I do for you, Miss Granger?" she politely asked, even though she could accurately guess the reason for the young witch's firecall.

"I'm sorry to bother you, Madam Pomfrey. But, I'd like to know if Harry is awake." The school nurse could clearly discern the concern in her voice. Harry was lucky to have her as a friend.

"He is still asleep, Miss Granger." There was no response from the girl. She was probably waiting for more information. "He is stable right now. Rest assured, Miss Granger. I will personally inform you once he wakes up."

"Thank you, Madam Pomfrey." The fiery visage disappeared from the fireplace. The school nurse stared at the glowing embers for a moment. She wondered what time Miss Granger would firecall her again.

As soon as she walked out of her office, Madam Pomfrey immediately saw Lily Potter sitting quietly beside her son's bed. The poor mother had been a constant presence in the hospital wing since her son was brought in last Saturday night. She probably would have stayed here if she didn't have any obligation at St. Mungo. She smiled comfortingly at Lily as she neared her patient's bedside. She noticed the wan smile the young mother gave her. Madam Pomfrey studied the pale face of her young patient. It was uncanny. He looked so much like James at that age.

"Lily, he will be alright," she said with conviction, giving her full attention to the worried mother. "As for you, I suggest you go home and rest. Your children are probably missing you. I'll let you know right away if I see any change in his condition." She tried to sound cheerful so as not to alarm her friend. But, Lily didn't lose the worried look on her face. She softly sighed. It seemed it wasn't easy to fool a fellow healer.

Lily just gave her a grateful smile. "I'll be alright." Madam Pomfrey dubiously looked at her. After a moment, the kindly old school nurse nodded her head.

Madam Pomfrey glanced at the intravenous pouch attached to her patient's right forearm. It was a new IV pouch. It seemed Lily had already replaced it herself. Harry had been asleep for three days. She was forced to use the muggle method of feeding him. She, then, proceeded to examine the stricken teenager. She couldn't understand it. His body was back to normal health. He should be awake before now. She was still puzzling over this dilemma when a movement caught her attention. Harry was restlessly moving his head from side to side. A gamut of emotions passed over his face. Lily had reached out and firmly held her son's left hand which was periodically gripping the blanket.

The school nurse gave her patient one last look. Harry's restless body movement had stopped. "I'll be in my office if you need me, Lily." The worried mother didn't even respond. She was busy wiping the tears streaming down her son's face. Lily, herself, was unaware of the tears falling down her own face.

Madam Pomfrey was walking slowly back to her office when she heard Lily's pleading words. "Harry, please, wake up." Lily's voice sounded so helpless it tore through her heart. She knew of the strained relationship between her patient and Lily. She hoped...she hoped the relationship between mother and son would improve soon.

Harry thought he heard someone begging him to wake up. He was asleep? What a ridiculous idea! If he was asleep, he wouldn't be dueling Voldemort right now, would he? Another bad memory flashed literally before his eyes. What the hell was going on? He was actually seeing his unsavory experiences. He vigorously shook his head as he vehemently cursed to himself. He had to stay focus.

Harry angrily glared at Voldemort. He believed the Dark Wizard was doing something to him. It couldn't be him since recalling his bad memories was the last thing he wanted to do. Harry looked again, from across the room, at Voldemort. The bastard was grinning nastily at him. There was no doubt that he was doing something. But, what? He couldn't figure out what it was or how Voldemort was doing it.

"It was foolish of you to challenge me," a voice harshly said inside his head. "You have no idea of the power I wield." Suddenly, the room darkened. Harry was caught off-guard. He forced himself not to panic. But, an indescribable fear seemed to well up from his belly and threatened to overwhelm him. His hands began to shake. Sweat matted his face...his hands...his whole body. He firmly closed his eyes and forced himself to breathe evenly. He willfully coaxed himself to remain calm.

When Harry opened his eyes, he found himself at Diagon Alley. He disbelievingly stared at the street, the people, and the shops. The sight, sound, and smell of his surroundings assaulted his senses. How did he get here? Did Voldemort bring him here? He couldn't be that powerful, could he?

"So, what do you think, Harry?" lightly asked a very familiar voice, coming from behind his right shoulder. He uneasily turned to his right. His eyes grew as big as a saucer. His Uncle Max...he's alive? He rapidly blinked his eyes several times. His Uncle Max was still there. This was impossible. This must be a dream. He knew his Uncle Max was dead. He buried him himself. Yet, here he was, smiling good-naturedly at him.

"What's the matter, Harry? Cat got your tongue?" he heard his Uncle Max teasingly asked him. He pinched his left forearm, hard. He felt the pain. This couldn't be real, could it?

"Uncle Max, you're alive? But, how?" he finally asked, mystified. Unknown to him, he was standing at the very spot where his uncle died.

"What are you talking about, Harry? I'm alive as you are," his uncle replied, puzzled.

Deep in his heart, he knew this was a lie. This was a fabrication of his guilty conscience. But, he desperately wanted to believe this was real. He desperately wanted to believe his Uncle Max was alive. He desperately wanted to believe his uncle's death was just a bad dream all along. Tears of joy fell from his eyes. "Uncle Max!" Harry hugged his uncle as hard as he could.

"What's gotten into you, Harry? I know I'm huggable. But, you never like to show your affection," his Uncle Max said in a surprise tone of voice.

"Well, I'm changing it. From now on, I'll hug you as often as I want," Harry declared happily. His uncle didn't answer him. "Uncle Max, promise me you won't die." Harry laughed lightly at the absurdity of his words. "I mean, don't die until you're an old, old man." There was still no reply from his uncle. "Uncle Max, did you hear me?" Harry reluctantly released his uncle from his tight embrace and looked up. His eyes grew wide with horror. His uncle looked like a decomposing corpse.

"I can't promise you anything, Harry. I'm already dead. You killed me," his Uncle Max accusingly said.

Harry helplessly looked at the furious decayed face of his uncle. His hands fell limply at his side. He slowly backed away. His face showed disbelief...guilt...fear. "No. No, Uncle Max. I didn't kill you. It was Marcus Flint. He killed you."

"No, Harry. You killed me. If it wasn't for you, I wouldn't have gone to Diagon Alley. You know how much I hated witches and wizards. If you didn't want your magic, I would still be alive today. " He heard his Uncle Max heatedly blamed him.

Harry slowly kept backing away. Tears were rolling down his cheeks. As much as he wanted to deny it, his Uncle Max was right. They wouldn't have gone to Diagon Alley if it wasn't for him. He badly wanted to have magic like his cousin Dudley. Because of it, his uncle was dead. He weakly crumpled to the ground. The weight of his guilt and sorrow were pressing down on him.

"Uncle Max, I'm so sorry. I didn't mean to get you killed. It wasn't entirely my fault you were dead." Like the time when his Uncle Vernon was scolding him for an unknown misdeed, Harry tried to make his Uncle Max see reason.

"Yes. It was entirely your fault. You should have died instead of me. I was fine until you came along. You made me feel miserable, making me constantly remember the family I had lost." Harry didn't want to hear anymore. He tightly covered his ears with his hands, but the voice of his Uncle Max spoke directly to his head. "You should have died. Even your own parents wished you were dead. Nobody wants you, Harry. And, you have the gall to insinuate your pathetic life into mine."

Harry pressed his hands harder against his ears. "That is not true. You love me, Uncle Max. You said so yourself, remember?" Harry begged in a child like tone of voice. He looked up with pleading eyes at the furious decomposing face of his uncle.

"Love? I only told you this, so you will work harder and do whatever I tell you. Love? How can I love a murderer," his Uncle Max said contemptuously.

"No... No... No... You don't mean that, Uncle Max," Harry pleaded piteously. He raised his hands begging for understanding. But, they were viciously slapped away.

"Oh, I meant every word I said," his Uncle Max said, sneering at him.

Harry shamefully lowered his head. His mind was filled with self-recriminations, sorrow, and guilt. Was it true? Was his life all a sham? He heard another voice. He looked up and saw Flint. "You blame me for your uncle's death when it was you all along who killed him. Does it lessen your guilt by blaming me? Does it make other people feel sorry for you?" Flint laughed derisively. "And, you want to have justice. You are a fraud...a fraud."

"Atone for your sins, Harry." Harry turned his tear-stained eyes to his uncle. "Atone for your sins, Harry." His uncle repeated. "If you really are sorry for killing me, atone for your sins by killing yourself," his uncle firmly urged.

"Kill yourself, you murderer," Flint furiously commanded him.

"Kill yourself, you murderer," Voldemort's gleeful voice ordered him.

"Kill yourself, you murderer," his own accusing image told him.

Lily reached out again and tenderly wiped the tears flowing down her son's cheeks. She noticed Harry's eyes were rapidly moving again underneath his closed eyelids. Once in a while, she would straighten the blanket being shoved aside by Harry's agitated movements. Words uttered in despair would sometimes escape his lips. She knew Harry was having a nightmare again. She wanted to do something, anything to comfort her son from his nightmare. But all she could do was helplessly watched him.

"Harry, please wake up," she pleadingly said again.

"It is pointless to talk to him. He can neither hear you nor respond to you. It would be better for you to go home and tend to your other children," a male voice, coming from somewhere behind her left side, spoke.

Lily didn't need to turn around to identify the owner of the acerbic voice. "What do you want, Snape?" she caustically demanded. She remained seated. She didn't even deign the Potions Master with any polite greeting as she would normally do. The last thing she wanted was to be in the company of this despicable wizard. She hoped Snape would just leave.

"I have urgent information concerning the Dark Lord's plan for the exchange," Snape flatly replied.

Lily didn't respond. She deliberately ignored the Potions Master and diligently continued to watch over her son. The feeling of being observe prickled the back of her neck. "Why come to me?" she asked in an irate tone of voice. "Go find Professor Dumbledore and tell it to him. I have no time for your cloak and dagger shenanigans."

"This information concerns the life of the headmaster and every Order member who went with him," Snape dispassionately said.

She didn't care one bit whatever information he possessed. But, as member of the Order of the Phoenix, she was obligated to listen. With complete composure, she slowly turned her head, presenting her patrician profile to the Potions Master. "Tell me, Snape. Why don't you deliver this information directly to Professor Dumbledore if it's really urgent? I, myself, don't know where he is right now."

"The headmaster has ordered me to remain here at Hogwarts after I delivered a letter to the Dark Lord," Snape pompously replied.

Lily felt irritated at Snape's flimsy excuse. She returned her attention to her son's distressed face. "You are not an underage wizard anymore, Snape. Professor Dumbledore will not give you detention if you step out of bound. I suggest you immediately go to him before your information loses its value." With that said, she decided to completely ignore the Potions Master. However, a nagging feeling that Snape was up to something, set off a warning bell in her mind. As discreetly as she could, her right hand crept slowly inside her cloak pocket.

Snape was fuming inside. He couldn't believe that a mudblood dared treat him like a common house-elf. She didn't even have the decency to give him her full attention. The Dark Lord didn't tell him what to do if he encountered a problem. But, he possessed a sharp intellect to easily think of a solution. With deadly intention in mind, he slowly reached inside his cloak pocket and withdrew his wand. He lazily raised it and took careful aim. His day had come.

A beating of wings distracted him. So did Lily, it seemed. He saw a Ghost Owl landed on top of the sleeping Evans, dropped a letter, and then, flew away. He curiously watched Lily hurriedly opened the letter and silently read it. He decided to wait for Lily to finish reading her correspondence before he would curse her. After all, unlike the mudblood, he had manners.

Snape cautiously closed the distance between himself and his target. He stopped at the foot of Harry's bed. His wand was at a ready and carefully aimed at Lily. He watched the mudblood raised her eyes and looked at him with pure hatred. He smiled maliciously. He used to admire her beautiful eyes. They were like twin pools of emerald. But, the stupid mudblood married, of all people, his school nemesis. He remembered feeling devastated. It didn't matter now. Soon, the brilliance from those beautiful emerald eyes would be extinguished. And Potter... Potter would be next.

"Ah. Ah. Ah. I wouldn't if I were you." He already noticed Lily was secretly fumbling for her wand. Did she really think he was stupid? "Slowly...put your wand on top of the blanket." Lily reluctantly placed her wand on Harry's chest. "Now...I want you to brush it off him towards the other side of this bed." She lightly brushed it away with the four fingers on her right hand. It made a soft sound when it hit the floor. Satisfied... Snape relaxed from his dueling stance. "You should have accepted my urgent information and delivered it. I was offering you a chance to walk away with your life."

"Imagine that. I thought you were just being your mean old self," Lily replied sarcastically.

He briefly glanced at the letter in Lily's hand. "Give me that letter." He extended his left hand. Lily didn't move. She just looked at him with hatred and defiance. Snape changed the direction of his wand. Now, he was pointing it at the sleeping Harry. "You will give me that letter or he will suffer the consequence." For a brief moment, she continued to look at him with hatred and defiance. But, Snape already knew her decision even before she stood up, defeated, and handed him the letter. He directed her back to her seat with his wand.

He conscientiously put some distance between himself and Lily before he read the letter. "So, there is another Order spy among my Lord's Death Eaters. I wonder who would be foolish enough to volunteer." He smirked in the face of the mudblood's suppressed hatred and fury. He shoved the letter in his cloak pocket. "No matter. The Dark Lord will discover his identity soon enough. He always does."

"Why?" Snape heard Lily cryptically asked. He just raised his right eyebrow at the odd question. "Why are you doing this? Professor Dumbledore trusted you. He saved you from going to Azkaban."

Snape laughed without humor. "I'm surprised you haven't figured it out," he said mockingly. "Death Eaters willingly serve the Dark Lord for power and glory. You and the rest of the Order members serve an ideal which you think the headmaster represents. I serve no one...not the headmaster or the Dark Lord. I serve myself." He smirked at Lily's confused look. "Is it too complicated for you to comprehend? I will explain it to you in one word, then. Survival." He saw Lily's eyes grew wide with disbelief. "I am not naïve enough to believe the Dark Lord will grant me power. And, do you really think the headmaster saved me out of the goodness of his heart?" He smiled cynically. "I am merely a means to an end to both the headmaster and the Dark Lord... a pawn to be used, and then, discarded once its usefulness has been exhausted. They use me. And so, I use them. Who do you think will win this war...the headmaster or the Dark Lord? Nobody knows for sure. Either way, I still win."

"Not if you're dead," Lily said venomously.

This time, Snape laughed with humor. "Who will kill me? You?" he asked disdainfully.

"No... me," a cold female voice said from his left side. "Drop your wand, Professor Snape."

Snape merely smiled with confidence. "Are you really going to kill me, Madam Pomfrey? You have spent most of your life saving people. Can you really take a life?" He arrogantly turned his head to look at her. He saw uncertainty written all over her austere face. "I don't think so. I suggest you drop your wand or I will kill the boy."

"Go ahead. I doubt you can cast the Killing Curse faster than I can curse you." Snape knew Madam Pomfrey spoke the truth. It takes more than just words to properly cast the Killing Curse. Besides, he couldn't really kill the boy. The Dark Lord personally wanted to do it himself. Snape cursed his luck. What seemed to be a simple mission was beginning to get more and more complicated.

Lily found the opportunity she was waiting for. When Snape took his eyes off her, she hastily slid under Harry's bed to find her wand. She anxiously hoped she hadn't miscalculated the place where her wand might be.

Snape caught a sudden movement from the corner of his right eye. He quickly looked at where Lily was supposed to be sitting. He saw a pair of legs disappeared underneath the hospital bed. He would have stopped her but Madam Pomfrey chose that moment to cast a Stunning Spell. Snape barely had time to deflect it. He tried to cast his own curse but the school nurse didn't let up her barrage of spells. He was forced to dodge or shield himself. He furiously thought of a way to get past the school nurse's offensive spells. At the same time, he kept an eye for Lily to show her head on the other side of Harry's bed.

The Potions Master was beginning to feel frustrated. Madam Pomfrey proved to be a more skillful dueler than she let everybody believed. He had to end this duel. Harry Evans must be at Slytherin's Keep before the Dark Lord returned from his meeting with the headmaster. Out of nowhere, a Reductor Curse hit him on his right side. The power of the curse forcibly threw him against the wall. With his concentration focused on the school nurse, he lost track of the redheaded witch. A mistake he would live to regret.

Snape landed on the floor face first. He tried to get up but, his head exploded in pain. He breathed deeply and evenly to stop the pain and clear his head. He remembered his wand. He must have it if he wanted his mission to succeed. He spotted his wand just a meter away from him. He painfully crawled to reach it. Just as he was about to grasp it, a leather shoe landed hard on his right hand. He cried in pain as he felt the bones break. He painfully rolled on his left side and cradled his hand. He faintly heard a snapping sound before two pieces of a broken wand landed near his face.

"Get up, you traitor."

Snape never heard Lily's furious command. He was staring in disbelief at the broken pieces of his wand. For a moment, he felt a great loss. It felt as if something inside him broke as well. It was just a stick he began saying to himself...just a stick. He refused to admit that seeing his broken wand hurt more than his broken hand.

"I said get up!"

He managed to stand on his feet although he was a little unsteady. He gave the two witches a scornful smile. He noticed the two of them were steadily pointing their wands at him. "You think you have won? You think you have thwarted the Dark Lord's plan?"

"We know we have won," Lily calmly answered him. She was coldly staring at him.

"The Dark Lord wanted me to deliver a message to you. I did not think it was necessary earlier. But now, I think it is appropriate." He quickly reached inside his cloak pocket.

"Keep your hands where I can see them," coldly ordered the redheaded witch.

Snape withdrew his left hand and opened it, palm up. There was a galleon sitting on the palm of his hand. "This is the message the Dark Lord wanted me to relay to you." He casually threw the galleon to Harry's direction. He thought his luck must have changed because the galleon hit the sleeping boy in the face. And, Harry vanished.

Lily couldn't believe her eyes. "What? ... How? ... It's impossible. Only portkeys made by Professor Dumbledore can get through the Anti-Portkey Ward of Hogwarts." She turned a shocked face towards Snape.

"Like I said... They use me. I use them. The galleon was given to me by the headmaster earlier case I needed to escape from the Dark Lord," Snape scornfully explained.

The shock in Lily's face turned into fury. "You bastard! You will tell me where my son is or I will curse you." She brought her wand near the Potions Master's left eye.

Snape disdainfully smiled at her. "Go ahead. I doubt you have the guts. You are weak, like all the members of the Order of the Phoenix."

Lily's anger rose even higher when she heard Snape's words. If she didn't have a husband and children to think about, she would use the Cruciatus Curse to find the whereabouts of her son. But, what could she do? Every minute she stood there threatening Snape, increased the likelihood of permanently losing her son. With undisguised fury, Lily wiped the hateful smile off the Potions Master's face with her fist.

Hermione sat quietly in front of the fireplace, thinking. She already agreed to practice Animagus with her friends, but she couldn't help being worried for Harry. However, her inquiry to Harry's condition didn't reassure her. Madam Pomfrey told her he was stable. How stable? Was it good stable or bad stable? Should she firecall Madam Pomfrey and ask her again? No. She couldn't accept mere reassurances from the school nurse anymore. She had to see him for herself.

"Hermione?" She unhappily looked up. It was Fred... or was it George? Anyway, it was one of the Weasley twins. "What are you doing here? The others are already practicing." She questioningly arched her right eyebrow. "Well, Susan and Luna were practicing. Neville, Ron, and Cho were laughing their arses off."

It was typical of Neville and Ron. They fooled around most of the time instead of being serious with their studies. That was why she liked tutoring Harry. He devoured everything she was teaching him. She stood up with the twin gallantly lending his hand. "Umm...Fred..."

"I'm George." Hermione noticed he wasn't smiling per se, but his eyes were alight with merriment.

"George..." She gave him her most disapproving look. She had to let him know right away that she would have none of his foolishness. "Could I ask you a favor?" She gave him her sweetest smile.

"What kind of favor?" he asked guardedly.

"Relax," she casually said with a smile. "I'm not going to ask you to do something outrageous."

"You're not?" he asked dubiously.

"No, silly," she lightly reassured, laughing at the same time as if George had said a very funny joke.

"Okay, then," he amusedly agreed without actually knowing the favor. After all, it was Hermione. She never did start anything outrageous. It was always Neville or Ron who ran off on some reckless adventures.

"Great!" Hermione happily exclaimed. "You wait for me at the foyer. I'll just go up to my room and grab my cloak. Don't worry. I won't be long." She hurriedly walked away with a noticeable skip in her every step.

George was left standing in the sitting room with his mouth hanging open. "What just happened? Hermione... wait!" He swiftly went after the wily witch.
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