Disclaimer: alas, not mine... The characters belong to the great J.K. Rowling. I will never be able to pay her back what she's given me. I earn nothing, I own nothing, nobody would pay me for this any-way. This is an act of love, please don't sue.
What happened in prevous parts: The friends were invited to Malfoy Manor under Lucius' pretense of wanting to get to know Draco's friends better. After a disastrous weekend, they returned to Hogwarts, but Draco seemed strangely changed. When Harry thought he had found evidence of Draco's unfaithfulness, he uncovered a dark secret that involved Snape, Lucius and possibly a lot more than he might fathom.
Previous chapters and the cover illustration can be found at http://sonofthedark.glasscases.net
Notes: This part is dedicated to my good friend Fleur without whom so much wouldn't be possible...
Son of the Dark
Part 5 - Man
By Silver :-)
Draco howled like a furious beast and flung himself at Snape. The potions master lifted his arms to parry the attack. But still, one of the flying fists hit Snape on the chin and sent his head flying back, causing him to lose his balance for a second. Draco used this moment of confusion to punch him in the stomach and bring him down completely.
Hitting the ground hard, Snape groaned but didn't move or say anything. Instead he just sat there, staring into the void.
Draco, on the other hand, didn't feel his anger being placated enough and got ready to lunge at the man lying on the ground again.
Harry ignored them both. He was caught up in the sight of the poor creature, groping around on the floor as if he was looking for something. The most diverse emotions went through his head as he watched that.
Most of all, he was horrified. This boy looked like Draco in every possible way except for the hair and eye color maybe. He couldn't even dare to let his mind come up with possible explanations. It was just too insane!
But then again... something in that boy made Harry feel sorry for him. He felt as if it were his boyfriend crawling there on the floor in front of him, and he had to fight the urge to run to his side and support him.
In the meantime, Draco appeared to have given up on the idea of expressing his confusion physically and had diverted his attention to yelling. "What the fuck is wrong with you? Did you want a new sex toy now that I wasn't available anymore?" Turning his eyes to the ceiling, he groaned angrily. "God! The thought alone makes me so sick!"
"No!" Snape interrupted him weakly. "That's not the reason! That's not the reason at all!"
Draco snorted derisively. "And why should I believe that?"
"It's the truth! Draco, your father..."
Right then, the boy suddenly got to his feet and tried to stand on shaky legs. Harry took a frightened step back, feeling threatened by this unknown creature taller than him all of a sudden, but a moment later the boy lost his balance and fell.
Without thinking twice, Harry reached out and grabbed the boy's arm, pulling him close and thus keeping him from hurting himself. Speechless, he stared into the empty eyes of the boy that yet seemed to be begging for help.
"For Christ's sake, don't touch it, Harry!" Draco cried disgustedly. "You don't know what it could do!"
"What could he do?" Harry laughed humorlessly. "Look at him, Draco! He's completely helpless!" Gently, he directed the boy over to a box and made him sit down. "It's all right..."
Against his better judgement, he lifted his hand and gently touched the boy's hair, just like he would do to Draco. The boy shrieked and lashed out at Harry, then turned away, hiding his face in his hands.
"I told you not to touch it!" Draco yelled and came towards them, his face contorted in fury.
"Will you stop talking about him as 'it'?" Harry yelled back, the shock finally leaving. "Look at him! Look!" He pointed at the boy's face angrily. "He looks like you! He could be your brother! How can you talk of him as an 'it'?"
Draco started at him, aghast. "Brother? Have you completely lost your mind? This... this thing has sprung from that sick mind of his!" He thrust his hand at Snape.
"No..." Snape scrambled to his feet and got ready to get up.
"What?" Draco laughed spitefully. "Don't be dense! Why should we believe anything you say? Tell us one good reason not to report you to Dumbledore right away!"
Harry and Draco stared at Snape, dumbstruck. Since nobody interrupted him, Snape gathered a bit of confidence and continued. "Your father, Draco. It was his idea."
Draco blanched visibly. "No... you're, you're lying. Right, Harry? He's lying?"
Harry's face was gray as he listened to Snape. Suddenly, the mysterious scene at Malfoy Manor seemed to make sense.
Shaking his head, Snape continued. "It's the truth, Draco. Your father and I... we have a history. We... used to be lovers."
"No!" Draco clenched his fists and took a step closer, ready to fling himself at Snape again, but something held him back. "You're a liar! My father never would have..." He broke up, staring at the floor. His quickened breath made his shoulders heave rapidly. Then, all of a sudden, he grew very quiet and looked up.
"What else?" he asked calmly.
A faint smile spread on Snape's lips. "He contacted me a few weeks ago. He was talking about an experiment. I didn't think much of it then, but soon I realized that his plan was to make an exact copy of his son."
Draco gulped and stared down at his clenched fists again. So Harry asked instead, "But why? Why would he want to do that?"
Snape shrugged. "He never really explained it to me. I think, he wanted to recreate the feeling of having a son to be proud of. A son he could teach the ways of the Dark Arts."
With Draco still lost in silence, Harry continued. "How would he want to do that? Would he have tried to get rid of Draco and exchange them?" The mere idea made Harry sick with horror.
"No!" Snape shook his head vigorously. "I never would have endorsed such a thing. Besides, it's not possible. Simulacra--"
"A simulacrum. The exact copy of another person made with the help of magic. When done correctly, they can get away as a doppelganger for many weeks."
Draco groaned. "This is sick!" He turned to look at the simulacrum again and shuddered.
Sighing deeply, Snape said, "You're right. I didn't realize then what I was doing. It sounded like a curious experiment. But now that I see what it's doing to you..." Suddenly, he slammed his fist into his opened palm. "I was so stupid!" He turned around abruptly and left the room. A moment later he returned with a bottle that contained a green liquid.
"What are you doing?" Harry asked, alarmed.
"I'm going to undo a mistake," was the grim reply.
"What?" Harry followed Snape who approached the sitting boy, opening the bottle. "Wait a moment!" He pushed himself between the Snape and the boy. "What exactly are you going to do?"
Snape scoffed. "I'm going to destroy it again, of course!"
Staring at the potions master in dismay, Harry was too shocked for words. Draco, however, wasn't. He woke up from his trance and cried, "Yes! Do it! Destroy it! Get rid of it, now!" His eyes had a mad glimmer as he stepped next to his copy.
Producing a syringe from a shelf, Snape loaded it with the liquid. Then, he grabbed the boy's arm.
The creature gave a frightened shriek, being grabbed like that. He started struggling against the unknown attacker. That made Harry snap out of his shock, and he hit at Snape, slapping the syringe out of his hand and making it crash on the stone floor.
"Fuck, Harry, why did you do that?" Draco yelled at him.
"Because I can't let you do that!" Harry was just as furious as his boyfriend.
"Why not? I want this thing out of my life!"
Harry was shaking now. Hearing Draco talk so heartlessly drove him crazy. "How can you say that, Draco? He's a living, breathing being. He's not a thing. Look at him!" His voice got softer until it almost nothing more than a whisper. "Just look at him. He could be your brother. In a way, he is... Your own flesh and blood."
"No..." Draco shook his head desperately. "He has to disappear." He sounded tired.
"Just look at him," Harry repeated calmly.
And Draco did. For a solid minute he stared at the other boy, taking in every single detail. Maybe the boy noticed it, but suddenly he calmed down and allowed the inspection. Draco drew closer, squinting, perhaps to get a better view.
He tentatively reached out, as if to touch the boy's cheek, but then shied away from it. Draco's hand stopped only a few inches away from his cheek, shaking softly, just like his whole body did.
Both Snape and Harry watched them with bated breath.
Suddenly, the boy's hand moved up and grabbed Draco's hand. Draco yelped in surprise and struggled to get away, but he wouldn't let go. Draco stopped and looked at the pale hand holding his wrist and frowned.
"His hand is warm..." he whispered.
Now he did reach out and touched the other boy's cheek. The boy whimpered softly, then pushed his face into Draco's hand.
"My God..." he sobbed and yanked back his hand as if he had been burned.
"What do we do now?" Harry asked calmly, despite the tempest of emotion raging inside of him. His question wasn't really directed at anyone. He felt so helpless. Someone needed to think about this. Someone who was good at thinking... "I'll be right back!" With that, Harry left the room, praying for the two men not to do anything rash while he was gone.
"Oh... my... God..." Hermione stumbled back against a low table and sat down, staring at the boy in front of her. "I don't believe it!"
"Holy Mother of God!" Ron stood in the middle of the room, his mouth open in utter confusing. When Harry had come to get Hermione, Ron had insisted on coming along and now he looked like he was regretting it.
Harry said nothing, just looked at her earnestly, arms crossed over his chest. Next to him, Draco was leaning against the wall, just as silent. Snape had chosen to leave them alone and nobody had really objected.
"Is he... is he real?" she asked cautiously.
"What do you think, Granger?" Draco replied testily.
"Unbelievable..." She moved a little closer, inspecting the boy up close. "What a piece of art... It must have taken days, if not weeks to create such a perfect image. I wonder what spells he used..."
"Would you cut that out?" Clenching his fists, Draco stared at Hermione angrily.
Hermione gave him a cool look. "I'm only trying to evaluate in order to save your sorry..."
"Draco, Hermione..." Harry interrupted them both. "We need to find a solution. You can keep bickering later on."
"Right." Hermione nodded. Draco snorted. She got up and looked around the room slowly. "He tried to destroy him, you said?"
Harry nodded yes.
"Then we have to bring him to a safe place first. Somewhere where we can figure things out before we decide what to do." Everyone nodded in agreement except for Draco who continued to stare gloomily. Hermione lifted a questioning eyebrow. "Any suggestions?"
A moment of silence followed. When it became clear that nobody was going to make the first suggestion, Harry volunteered. "How about that room in the West Wing...?"
"Which room?" Ron blurted in without thinking.
Harry turned crimson and mumbled, "Well, the room. The one that lies deep down in the West Wing... nobody ever goes there." He gave Hermione a look pleading for understanding. "The room".
Ron blinked a few times. "Huh?"
With a exasperated sigh, Draco kicked himself off the wall and planted himself in front of Ron. "The room where Harry and I used to meet and do it like wild animals all night long. The room where no one would hear him scream when I made him come. The room where..."
"Draco!" Harry stared at his boyfriend, deeply embarrassed. He looked worriedly at Ron who had put a couple of fingers against his forehead as if he was having a headache.
"Okay, okay... too much information, too much information!" Ron looked up at the couple, his freckled cheeks burning as well. "I've got it now. No need to go into details!"
Draco smiled coldly. "Good. But the room is no good anyway."
"No, you're right," Harry said, trying to focus on more important matters. "It's okay at night, but during the day I wouldn't be too convinced that he would be safe." He looked thoughtfully at the pale boy who sat wrapped up on a cape reluctantly provided by Snape before he left. He was staring blankly into the air, his long, spider-like fingers clutching the cape as he rocked back and forth.
Harry shook his head slowly. "No, he needs constant attention. Someone will have to be with him all the time even if it's just to prevent Snape from getting rid of the evidence. But where..."
"The Secret Hideout."
"What?" Everyone turned to look at Ron who had spoken with firm determination.
"What the hell are you talking about?" Draco frowned at Ron impatiently.
"Fred and George's hideout. I've been there once or twice and Harry, you should know how to find it. They're probably there right now."
It took Harry less than a second to think about this idea and decide that it was good. Perfect, even! Why hadn't he thought about this before? He gave Ron a grateful smile. "Ron, that's a fabulous idea! Let's go right away!"
Ron grinned proudly and looked at Hermione who nodded at him in approval. His cheeks flushed happily. "Okay! Let's go then!"
They already had reached the door when Harry realized that they needed to take the boy with them somehow. He gave Hermione a questioning look, but she already had taken matters in her hands. Harry saw her talking to him with a soft voice, gently touching the back of his hand. The boy tilted his head, listening to her voice intently.
Much to Harry's surprise, the boy allowed Hermione to help him up and lead him to the door. He was walking shakily and Hermione had to hold him by the waist, but he managed to support himself. All in all his movements appeared to be a lot more co-ordinated than they had been an hour ago! Harry's eyes fell on Draco who was watching Hermione with disgust and he frowned.
Deciding not to worry about that right now, Harry went ahead, checking together with Ron that the coast was clear for them to reach Fred and George's hideout. Figuring that the twins probably would appreciate it if he didn't give away its exact location to the others, he made sure they were at a safe distance before he took the necessary steps to open the hidden passage that would lead them through the tunnel into the Weasley twins' headquarters.
Watching the door that lay magically hidden beneath the walls of the second floor and was activated by tapping a certain cobblestone on the floor while mumbling the secret password, Harry felt himself reminded of the time when he had come here often. When he had been just talking with the twins, asking for their advice when he had thought he was going to go crazy over the muddle he had gotten himself into with loving Draco and mistaking his friendship to Ron for something similar.
How much time had passed since then? Not that much... and yet it seemed like a whole different life he was living. Harry felt a soft smile creep onto his lips. Being with Draco had been worth all the trouble and it was worth surmounting this as well. With new-found determination, he scouted ahead, leaving Ron at the entrance to guide the others inside while trying to give Fred and George at least a hint of a warning.
One of the twins was already waiting for him at the door to the secret hideout, his red head pushed past the crack in the door, suspiciously waiting for the intruder. When he recognized Harry, the twin smiled warmly. "Harry! You were the last person we expected! Actually, we weren't expecting anyone! Fred heard the chime so I decided to check..."
Harry gave George a somewhat awkward smile. "Listen... if you think seeing me is a surprise then wait till you see..." The same moment, a series of chimes interrupted his talk. George quirked an eyebrow at him. "Are you bringing friends, or what?"
"A party?" Fred joined them at the door, looking curious.
"No, of course not. You know I wouldn't bring anyone here if it wasn't important."
"Of course we know," Fred assured him. "I was just kidding..."
"Woah, you're right. This is a surprise..." George was looking past Harry's shoulder down the gloomy corridor. When Harry turned his head he could see the shock of Draco's silver hair reflecting in the light of the magical torches as he approached, an inscrutable expression on his face that Harry knew just too well.
"Actually, that's not it..." Harry confessed, not really sure what kind of reaction to expect.
"It's not?" Before George could finish his thought, the black hair of the boy came into view. Most of his body was hidden by the long cape and Hermione was virtually hugging him, so weak he seemed from the exhaustion of walking. Harry could tell from the corner of his eyes that the twins were surprised to see someone new among them.
"Is this a friend, Harry?" Fred asked curiously, eyeing the stranger.
"Well... sort of..." Before Harry could finish his sentence, the boy lifted his head and directed his dead eyes at the twins. Harry heard them suck in their breaths when they probably realized the resemblance. He didn't even try to explain further but stepped aside to let the twins take a closer look.
"Goodness gracious..." George breathed out, staring into the face that looked like Draco's and yet wasn't. He reached out to touch it, but Hermione held him bet. "Don't... better not touch him."
George nodded, obviously confused. "What..."
"We'll tell you everything we know when we're inside, okay?" Harry interrupted, noticing that the boy was already swaying in his feet. "Not that we know much anyway..." he added dryly as he followed the others inside.
"I should have known there was something weird about the way Lucius was acting at Malfoy Manor..." Fred remarked deeply, his knees drawn up to his chin.
"Well duh!" George said and slapped his shoulder. "Everything about this freak is weird!" He gave Draco a grin. "No offense." Draco just waved his hand resignedly in answer.
"Anyway..." Fred said, rubbing his shoulder, thoughtfully looking at the boy who lay curled up on the bed. "Of course he can stay here until you guys know what to do. Got any ideas yet?"
Everyone looked at Hermione who shook her head slowly. "Not yet. I'll go to the library first thing tomorrow and see what kind of information I can look up."
Harry nodded. "Okay... thank you, Hermione..." He smiled at her gratefully. "Someone has to take the first watch now." He looked at his friends' tired faces and sighed. "Guess that's going to be me." He wasn't looking forward to spending the night here together with the boy, but he knew that he wasn't going to be able to get a moment of rest if he didn't do it.
"That's okay, we were going to spend the night here anyway," Fred said, much to Harry's relief. "We'll keep you company."
"Then I'll stay, too." Harry turned in surprise at Draco, who returned his look with grim determination. From the expression on his boyfriend's face he could tell that he still felt some kind of rivalry towards the twins and wasn't going to leave Harry alone with them. Somehow, Harry thought this was really sweet and he gave Draco a warm smile which, of course, was graciously ignored.
Ron looked around at all of them and said only reluctantly, "Well, I'll be going back to the dorm. After all, somebody's got to make sure everything's okay..."
Harry smiled at his friend. "You're right. Good thinking!" Ron responded with a blush. "Okay then," Harry continued. "You and Hermione can go now. I'll see you tomorrow. Draco and I'll stay here with the boy."
"Okay..." Ron nodded hastily and Harry could tell that he was anxious to get away from here. He couldn't blame him, and he shared a knowing glance with Hermione. He just hoped she was going to be able to cast some light on this matter. If anyone could, it would be her. Snape wasn't going to be much help anyway.
He watched Hermione and Ron leave the room, sighing to himself. Draco had settled himself in a chair and was staring at the boy gloomily. Harry felt a feeling of deep regret as he watched him. How was this going to affect their relationship? He couldn't tell... As much as he hated to admit it, the important thing now was to do the right thing. Even if it hurt. Only the right thing was yet to be determined.
Cautiously, he approached the boy, who lay curled up sleepily on the mattress. He gasped when Harry touched his shoulder, but relaxed as soon as he recognized his voice. "Shhh, it's okay," Harry murmured, tucking the cape around his slender frame. "We'll take care of you."
For a moment, the boy's eyes fluttered open, and he directed his vacant stare at Harry. Once more the horror of seeing his boyfriend reflected in this dead face caught his heart, and he shivered, yet he returned the stare even though he knew it was useless.
"Ha... ha-ha..." the boy muttered.
Harry frowned. "Sleep..." he commanded softly, making sure the boy lay comfortably before he returned to the others with a thoughtful expression on his face. The twins had already made themselves a bed on the other mattress and lay spooned up against each other, one arm thrown across the other one's hips.
Draco sat in his chair, feet put against a box. Harry walked over to him and sat down by his side on the chair, snuggling up against his chest. Draco put one arm around him and sighed.
"Everything's going to be okay, Draco..."
"How can you tell?" Draco murmured with his lips against Harry's hair.
Harry shrugged. "I just know. Everything's going to be okay as long as we're together."
"I just hope you're right..." With that, Draco pulled the thin blanket over both their bodies, cradling Harry's body against his chest. Harry could tell that all familiarities were used up for tonight and it was no use trying to involve Draco in further conversation. So he decided to give sleep a try, even though he already could tell that he wasn't going to get a lot of it.
When he woke up, it took Harry a moment to realize where he was. He immediately felt Draco's presence and remembered that this had to be a special situation. Usually, Draco never allowed him that much intimacy as to fall asleep deeply in his embrace. Drowsily, he sat up and freed himself from his sleeping boyfriend who lay sprawled across the chair, taking most of the space anyway. He just stirred a little when Harry got up, but apart from that he stayed sound asleep.
Harry looked around the room, adjusting his glasses which had come half off when he had fallen asleep pressed against Draco's chest. He hadn't dared to take them off for fear of having to react quickly all of a sudden. His glance wandered over to the mattress to see if the boy was still asleep. The twins must have put out all the candles but one somewhere during the night. He squinted into the darkness. There was the cape lying in a pile on the floor, but the boy was nowhere to be seen.
Alarmed, Harry wanted to jump to his feet, but when he turned his head he suddenly found the boy standing next to the chair, his white skin eerily luminescent against the darkness. Harry could barely hold back a horrified yelp. His heart was racing like crazy as he stared back at the naked boy.
After he had caught himself, Harry took a deep breath and touched his hand. The boy flinched and moved his head, then he grabbed Harry's hand, holding it surprisingly tight.
"Ha-ha... ha... riiiii..."
Harry blinked and pressed back, almost too tightly, as he realized and he relaxed his grip. "I'm here," he whispered, not wanting to wake the others.
The boy didn't say anything else, just moved his head around, as if trying to see something. A shiver went through his body and it was only now that Harry fully realized he was naked. "Come on, go back to bed..." he murmured and got up. The boy followed his lead without resistance and sat down on the bed. He lay down, but didn't release Harry's hand, pulling him down with him. Harry tried to pull back his hand a couple of times, but the other one's grip was just too strong.
With his hand still locked between the boy's hands, Harry didn't have much choice when he turned around and curled up, but to lie down as well. A little reluctantly, he spooned up against the boy, the only comfortable position possible, and closed his eyes again.
When he woke up a second time, the room was alight with candles again and he found Draco looming over them with a half-furious expression on his face. Harry tried sitting up, but the boy still help him in a bone-crushing grip.
"Draco!" he gasped, finally managing to pull away.
"What do you think you're doing?" Draco asked quietly.
"He woke up and was standing there. I led him back to bed because he was cold."
"And that's reason enough for you to cuddle up with him?" Draco's brow creased into a deep frown. "God, Harry, you're so gullible! For all we know this creature could be out to kill us all! And you've got nothing better to do than crawl into bed with this... him."
Trying to tame his anger, Harry sat up. "And you're always so damn hostile against anything that's not..."
Draco crossed his arms in front of his chest and stared down at him. "Go on, say it. Say what's on your mind!"
Harry swallowed. "Your kind. That's what I was going to say."
"Oh?" the blonde said coolly, quirking one eyebrow. "Going to say, eh?"
Harry nodded. "Yes, but I realized it wasn't true. You're one of us now. Your kind is mine."
That took Draco by surprise and he lost his angry expression. Before he could say anything, the boy sat up, staring blindly into the room. "Dre-koh," he mumbled.
"Huh?" Draco stared. "Did you teach him that?"
"No..." Harry shook his head. "He just started..." Just then Harry realized that the twins weren't there. "Where are Fred and George?"
"They're getting breakfast," Draco explained. The same moment, the door swung open and the twins waltzed in, loaded with rolls, buns and fruits.
"Good morning," Fred said good-naturedly, putting the food on the table. "How's everything? Any more clones since we left?"
"Yes?" Fred asked back, not looking up.
"Yes, what is it, Draco?" Fred said, a little annoyed now.
Fred turned around. "What's wrong with---"
George stared at the boy. "Hey, Fred, he said that! He said your name!"
"Really?" Fred looked pleased and approached the bed. "Hey, little guy!"
"Mate, you shouldn't call him 'little', he's just as tall as Draco!" George laughed.
"Yeah, I know he just seems---"
George laughed happily. "Hey! You can do better than that! Say it again: Geoooorge."
"Ah, never mind!" George chuckled again, then he looked at Harry seriously. "How did he know it was us?"
Harry had asked himself the same question. Then the answer dawned on him. "I said your name before. He's probably just copying what I said."
"Cool! Can you say 'twit'?"
His brother bopped him. "George, stop teaching him insults!"
"Well he can already say both your names. I don't see how much of a difference that would make..." Draco commented dryly.
The twins chuckled.
Harry looked at Draco proudly. Seeing his boyfriend engage in this friendly bickering really made him happy. He got up and impulsively hugged Draco, kissing him on the mouth. Draco murred and pulled Harry closer, wanting to deepen the kiss, but he was prevented from realizing his intentions when the soft chime announced a visitor.
"That must be Hermione," Fred said and ran to the door, waiting for her. And true to his prediction, Hermione entered the room shortly after, followed by Ron who was still chewing on a croissant.
"Hello, everyone," she said cheerfully, putting the heavy book she was carrying on a nearby chair. "How's the patient?"
"He's talking," Harry reported, summing up the morning's most exciting event.
"Really? Now that's fast..." Hermione didn't seem to be the least surprised as she approached the bed, looking down at the boy.
"Are you saying you expected that?"
Hermione nodded. "Yes... I did some basic research in the library and what I found out is that Simulacra tend to mature after they've been taken out of the tank."
"Simul---" Fred repeated.
"I remember Snape using that word," Draco said.
"Yes." Hermione opened the book and read out, "Simulacrum, the image or perfect copy of a person. Usually used as a decoy or for confusing the enemy, but also to try out spells etc.. Requires a very complex and difficult potion, not to be tried by an inexperienced mage. To brew the potion, several rare ingredients are needed, including some parts from the original specimen. The potion takes about a week to develop its full effect. After that, the seedling can be placed inside the tub where it ripens and matures. Contact with the lye or the seedling during this period must be avoided at all costs. Once fully developed, the simulacrum is charged with a person's energy [chi] by making physical contact."
Harry listened carefully. Then he said, "Interesting, but that doesn't really answer our questions yet does it?"
"No..." Hermione tilted her head apologetically. "I didn't have the chance to do proper research yet, but now I know what I'm looking for. I'm quite sure that's it. The lye, the ripening of the body, the loading with energy. It all fits. Once I've looked into it further, I'll be able to say more. Maybe by tonight."
"This is so weird..." Ron said, for the first time speaking since he had entered the room with Hermione. "I'm looking at this boy and I see Draco with black hair. It almost seems like he was a mix of both Draco and Harry. I don't know what to think..."
Hermione thought about this for a moment. Then she said, "You could be right actually. Maybe he has been charged with both of Draco and Harry's energy at the same time. I just don't know what it means yet..."
They all looked at the boy for a moment, quietly taking in his looks.
"Ronn..." he suddenly murmured.
"Eh?" Ron looked horrified. "How does he know my name?"
"I just sa..." Harry stopped. "No, I didn't. I don't think anyone said your name yet, did we?" He gave the group a look of utter confusion. "This just keeps getting weirder and weirder..."
"Well, at least he got your name right," Fred said cheerfully.
"Not that there's much to get wrong in the first place," George snickered.
"Hey! He needs a name!" Fred proclaimed, looking at the boy. "What should be call him?
"Gulliver!" George suggested.
"Zippo!" Fred retorted.
"Agamemnon!" All heads turned to Hermione who blushed. "Sorry, I thought that sounded neat..."
A silence spread. Slowly, each pair of eyes wandered over to the boy sitting on the bed, pale and lost. Then he opened his mouth again and repeated, "Leonid..."
They were quiet again, too surprised for words. Then Harry nodded slowly. "All right... then Leonid it is."
The room was dark. Only a few candles cast a spare light on the room and the person sitting there in his armchair, hunched over an object on his desk. It tinted his face in a ghostly green, intensified by his sallow cheeks. The strands of his black hair caused harsh shadows on his face as his hands rubbed over the orb in front of him and he whispered something.
The orb's glowing got brighter and it began to flicker until the outlines of a face appeared, sharpening slowly, wavering around and reconnecting until it showed the clear image of a man.
"Severus," the face said.
"One moment, I can't see you," Snape murmured, brushing the orb with his fingers once more. Lucius Malfoy's face fully manifested itself inside of the orb.
"Don't bother with that," Lucius said, slightly impatiently. "I don't have much time."
Snape nodded, taking in the delicate features of the other man. "Greetings, Lucius."
"Hello." Lucius flicked back a strand of his hair. He looked away, as if somebody else was with him. Snape's eyes narrowed. Then Lucius directed his attention at him again and asked, "So, got any news? How's the simulacrum coming along?"
Now it was Snape's turn to glance to the side, his eyes wandering over to the empty tub in the corner of the room. He looked back into the orb and swallowed, an inscrutable expression upon his features. Then he said softly, "Everything's going according to plan."
~ to be continued in 'Part 6: Peorth' ~
Again, what can I say? This probably was the longest break I've ever taken from a story. It wasn't even intentional. Call it bad bad writer's block. I've barely written anything at all in that time. However, part of the delay was caused by my starting a new original project. If you're interested, check my homepage every now and then. I'm probably going to link to it soon! ^_~ Anyway, I'll try to post more often now. Definitely not such a long break anymore! I'm really sorry about that!
Since a lot of people have asked and nobody has gotten it yet, it seems: my titles all are runes and the properties attributed to them usually indicate the general mood of the chapter! ^_^
As always, feedback is treasured.
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