I'm so sorry about the delay with this story. I know that it's been almost a year since I've updated but this chapter has been giving me a lot of trouble. Hopefully I'll be able to update a bit quicker now that the actual "action" part of CoS has begun. Please don't hate me. This chapter isn't as long as I wanted it to be but I think I left it at a good spot.

Special notice to Gimme-candy-and-no1-gets-hurt for being my 1000th reviewer. You, and everyone who has so far reviewed this story, are awesome!

Now, previously in Harry Potter: Chosen One...

Dearest Hayden,

Something has come up and your father and I would like to talk with you about something. You're not in trouble but it seems that only you have the answers to our dilemma. We will be in Hogsmeade this coming weekend and have already spoken to Professor McGonagall about you being out of the castle for a day. Please greet us at the entrance at 9am on Sunday. There is much to discuss.

Your loving mother


WARNING: CHARACTER DEATH


Harry Potter: Chosen One

Chapter 18

Harry woke Hayden when he woke up at 7:00…and then reminded him to get up every ten minutes until it was 8:30 and then warned him that unless he got up at that instance he wouldn't speak to him until he saw the elder Potters at the Entrance Hall at 9:00. So Hayden got up and spent a good fifteen minutes in the shower, under the hottest water he could stand to wake him up, before walking briskly down from the tower to arrive at the Entrance Hall at 8:55. His parents were already waiting for him, and according to Harry they had been there since 8:30. He glared at his younger brother for not mentioning that they were already there, but that glare faded when a napkin of toast and a cup of pumpkin juice were held out for him to take.

Hayden shook his head but without a word he left the Entrance Hall with his parents, without a backwards glance at anyone who was already up. Harry shook his head with a smile before retreating to the library where he could do his homework without any distractions…at least until his friends got up. If Hayden wanted to talk to him he was but a thought away.

James and Lily, having seen Harry in the Entrance Hall, had their suspicions about the boy, but it wasn't until the young Hufflepuff handed over the toast and pumpkin juice without a word that they confirmed their suspicions. They led Hayden into Hogsmeade, not a word spoken between them. It wasn't until Hayden realised that he was being led towards the Shrieking Shack that he mumbled that the conversation had to be serious.

The Shrieking Shack was a "Marauder Hang-out" and since their split from the Marauders, James and Lily weren't welcome in those places. No one would guess that that was where they were headed unless they were being watched. When they reached the Shack and locked the doors behind them, Hayden sat on the nearest bit of broken furniture and looked quizzically at his parents.

"So, what did you want to talk to me about?" he asked.

"Harry Evans," James replied seriously. "We know that he is…was our youngest son. What we want to know is how he survived."

"What are you going to tell me in return?" Hayden asked without as much as a blink.

"Eleven years ago, we lied to a powerful man," Lily began. "There was a prophecy, stupid and ridiculous, but it was considered seriously. This prophecy said that there would be a child who could defeat Voldemort, only it didn't say what child. From what we could figure out there were three boys who fit, you, Harry and Neville Longbottom. We knew instantly who it would be, but we didn't want to tell Dumbledore."

"It's Harry," Hayden confirmed with a nod. "And Dumbledore would have used him to fulfill this prophecy, probably by taking him away to train somewhere hidden."

"There was no way that we would allow that to happen to either one of our children," James confirmed. "Unfortunately, it seemed that nothing we did could dissuade the man."

"We told him it was you," Lily continued. "You were the oldest and extremely protective of Harry, it was very believable. About a week later Dumbledore started to come over a lot, watching you and how you behaved. He wanted Harry gone so that you could be trained. We wanted you together. It lasted years, but in the weeks after your fifth birthday it was like something had changed. Dumbledore became threatening in his suggestions."

"You could have left," Hayden snapped.

"No, we couldn't," James sighed. "I think you underestimate how powerful and influential Albus Dumbledore is. If we had left it was because we wanted to take the 'Boy-Who-Lived' away from England to get rid of him quietly. If we did that then we would have been killed. I'm sure that if we had done that Albus would have somehow convinced everyone that we supported Voldemort, or hated the fame that you had given us, or that we were neglectful parents. That last one was true however, as whenever Harry and Dumbledore were around we would ignore him. You may not remember but your mother and I would spend most of the night in Harry's room, holding him when he cried in his sleep. We made sure that the House-Elves looked after him and his health was always reported to us."

"We were so proud of you for sticking with your brother," Lily broke in. "We still are. You can tell your brother that we have no intention of taking him away from the Diggory's, any place would be better than my sister's."

"Why did you take him there then?"

"I didn't," James declared as he stared at his hands. "I was talking on the Floo when the wards flickered. It had happened before so I didn't think of it. It was only the next day that I realised Harry had disappeared during the flicker. Dumbledore came over that morning, and I guess he used a memory charm on us as neither one of us remembered the Dursleys until you mentioned them to us. I searched orphanages, churches, muggle governments…I couldn't find him at all."

"And Uncle Padfoot and Uncle Moony?"

"That was real," James admitted with tears in his eyes. "It hurt, but Dumbledore had warned that those closest to us would always be at risk. I thought it was from Death Eaters, but he was warning us about what he would do if we didn't do things his way. So we acted by day and by night I searched."

"I'm ashamed to say that we gave up, thinking he was dead," Lily added after James fell silent. "At least, until last Christmas when I saw your smirk on another boy's face. You telling your father a week ago that Harry was alive…I think we knew it all along."

"Uncle Moony found him first, you know?" Hayden stated with a frown. "Harry and I brought Uncle Padfoot into 'the know' last year when we boarded the train. Professor McGonagall and Madam Pomfrey also know, I think Snape knows, and over Christmas Harry plans on telling the Diggorys."

"Can you tell us about him?" his father asked. Hayden considered it for a moment before mentally asking Harry, closing his eyes so that his parents would know what he was doing.

I want to stay with the Diggorys, Harry replied instantly. But, if you can find out how we were separated then I guess you can tell them. And…tell them it was nice to know that they loved me.

Hayden opened his eyes with a small smile on his face. He looked at his parents, saw their devastated expressions, the hope in their eyes and nodded. He told them everything. He told them Harry's favourite foods, the names of his friends, his favourite classes, and the fact that they had never stopped communicating. Everything that Hayden had been taught, Harry had also been taught. Hayden spoke of Quidditch, how Harry had recently made Seeker, and how eager he was for their first match. He spoke of Jade and Midnight, Harry's defense lessons with Snape and how much he had enjoyed his summer.

"Also, he wanted me to tell you that it was nice to know that you loved him. He wants to stay with the Diggorys, it's safer, but he's happy knowing that you loved him too."

"Love him, Hayden," Lily blurted out. "We still love him, and can you tell him, that we're proud of him as well. We're proud of both of you."

The small family of three embraced, and Harry included his own mental hug before packing up his homework and returning to his Common Room. The others would want lunch soon.


Hayden didn't return to Hogwarts until late that night. After their talk James and Lily had taken their oldest son around Hogsmeade, buying trinkets and learning more about how Hayden had been coping at school. James thought it was a brilliant prank against the wizarding world. The fact that he was hiding his true intelligence, and Harry was hiding his identity…James looked forward to seeing how everything ended up being. He and Lily had told him that they had picked their side, and the consequences be damned, they wouldn't be following Albus Dumbledore again.

Hayden and Harry were worried about that, the two of them know just how powerful the old man was. Anyone who spoke out against him either wouldn't live long or would suddenly find themselves unemployed or arrested. But as they were adults, the Potters were allowed to do their own thing. They would face the consequences later.

Back at school, classes continued as expected. Lockhart's class, if possible, became even worse. At times Hayden wondered why he turned up at all. Harry still did, but he read at the back of the class what Professor Snape wanted him to study for his next lesson. That lesson would then be taught back to his classmates, just like the Gryffindors looked to Hayden if they wanted to learn a few spells…at the moment that included one person, Neville, who also attended Harry's lessons. Lockhart was unaware of Harry's alternative defence lessons.

Between classes Hayden also spent his time avoiding Lockhart. The man had somehow come to the conclusion that Hayden needed assistance in managing his fame and had offered to take him under his influential wings. Ron thought it hilarious, but as most of the male Gryffindors hated Lockhart, they offered to run interference for him. Hayden was particularly proud to be a Gryffindor when he had been told that.

On the other hand, Harry and the Hufflepuffs thought that there was something wrong with their Professor. Even the girls were starting to doubt his capabilities as a teacher. A few of the girls had created timelines of his achievements and noticed that some of his adventures overlapped. At first it was believed that the editor had done a shoddy job at documenting everything, but after asking Lockhart about some of the finer details, they decided that it wasn't the editor's fault.

There was something off about Professor Gilderoy Lockhart.

Harry started to attend regular Quidditch Practices. The Seeker position wasn't one in the thick of the game, and most of the strategies that he could use involved him staying out of the way above the game so that he wouldn't be in danger of being targeted early on. So while everyone else practiced numerous plays in the case of the Chasers, or precision targeting in the case of the Beaters, Harry practiced his diving and if he was allowed to, Trent had him using the other players as part of an obstacle course so that during the actual game there was less of a chance of him hitting anyone accidently.

Naturally by the time practices were over Harry was exhausted and more than willing to curl up with Jade and Midnight to read or just socialize with his housemates.

Saturday afternoons became Defence Days, where Harry would do his best to teach his fellow Hufflepuffs what they should have been taught that week from Professor Lockhart. His "class" of Second Years soon grew to include the First Years and the Third Years. Those in Fourth Year and above already knew what he was teaching from their own readings, and from past Defence Teachers who weren't incompetent.

In mid-October the Slytherin Quidditch Team barged in on the Gryffindors when they were on the field having their practice, much to the disapproval of the other three teams. Quidditch was a serious sport in the Wizarding World, but no one believed it appropriate that one team thought themselves above the rules. The Captains of each team were required to book the field in advance so that everyone was able to utilize the Quidditch Pitch fairly. The Professors were also able to monitor who used the Pitch most often and were able to allocate times for those who were finding it difficult to get a share in the training.

Hayden, Ron and Hermione explained everything to the Three Badgers, and what had happened afterwards. They also had to explain to the muggleborns in the group what the term Mudblood meant. This term affected Hermione and Justin the most, although everyone agreed that the word, and what it meant, was disgusting and shouldn't be used in polite conversation.

During the sixth week of term Hayden somehow managed to get himself a detention with Professor Lockhart and after hearing who would be looking over his detention Hayden vowed to never get another one. Hermione had quickly covered her mouth with her hand to prevent the laughter from escaping and allowed Ron to comfort Hayden. The Three Badgers hadn't restrained themselves in any way and laughed in Hayden's face. Once they heard about the date of the detention however, they all expressed their sympathies.

Having a detention on Halloween was just bad luck.

As with the previous year, Harry skipped the Halloween feast with Jade. He and Hayden had managed to reach the sixth floor in their hunt for somewhere to work in secret. He estimated that by the end of the year he and Hayden would reach the seventh floor. If they still hadn't found a place to secretly meet they would continue on the eighth floor the following year.

Hey, Harry?

Harry stopped walking and focused on his brother's mental voice.

What's wrong Hayden? Lockhart driving you nuts?

Naturally, but that's not what's worrying me. What floor are you on?

Sixth. Jade and I are about to head back down to get something to eat from the kitchens. Why?

I heard something, in detention, but Lockhart didn't hear it.

Harry froze. It had been two months since there had been any word or whisper of the crazy house elf, but that didn't mean that either twin had forgotten about him. Harry called Jade over and started to head down to the second floor where Hayden had his detention.

Did you hear talking, sounds or whispers? Harry asked as he jogged through the halls.

Talking. The voice was moving away from me. I couldn't hear it very well, but I did make out the words "rip…tear…kill".

Harry shivered. He had a feeling that the so far peaceful school year had come to an end.


By the time Harry reached the second floor, Hayden had been released from his detention and was going to meet him on the way to the Great Hall. Hayden hadn't heard the voice again, but that didn't decrease the nerves of either boy. Jade was running ahead of Harry, looking around corners like the forerunner in a war party. Despite his apprehension, Harry couldn't help but smile at her diligence. Every time Jade went overprotective on him, he mentally thanked his Aunty Minerva for buying Jade for him.

Where are you Harry?

Second floor. We're near Moaning Myrtle's bathroom. Where are you?

Next to the Main Staircase that leads to the Great Hall. I'll wait here for you.

Thanks, I'll see you soon.

Harry picked up the pace slightly as Jade paused at the next corner. She seemed to be unsure about what was up ahead and he asked her what was wrong. Unfortunately, it wasn't Jade who answered his question.

"So hungry…it's been so long."

Harry hesitated in his step as the unfamiliar voice echoed from around the corner. He mentally called for Hayden; suddenly very afraid of what he would find when he started to walk again.

"I smell blood…I must eat…come to me…COME TO ME!"

He didn't think he just darted forward to grab Jade, to protect her. His hand came into contact with her body as she looked around the corner, but as he touched her she went limp under him and he was sent flying into the wall. The last thing he heard was Hayden screaming for him in his mind.


Hayden knew something was wrong when Harry contacted him. He started to jog away from the Great Hall, to where Harry was, but with every step he took his fear increased. Within moments he was sprinting down the hall.

Harry? What's wrong? Answer me, please!

He received his answer the same way Harry did, from a voice echoing down the hall. Tears fell from his eyes as he failed to recognise the voice. It wasn't Harry who was talking.

"I smell blood…I must eat…come to me…COME TO ME!"

A flash of pain echoed through his mind from Harry before it went silent. He cried out to him, hoping that his brother was merely unconscious and would be alright. He burst around the next corner and instantly noticed several things.

First: Mrs Norris was hanging from one of the torches on the wall.

Second: the floor was covered in water.

Third: there was writing on the wall in what appeared to be blood.

Forth: Jade was lying limp on the ground, green eyes open and glassy.

Fifth: Harry was lying facing down against the wall, a pool of red seeping out from his body.

"Oh God," Hayden whispered. "Someone, help. Help me. HELP! ANYONE!"

He rushed towards Harry and turned him over so that his face wasn't in the water. There was a jagged scar across his forehead where someone or something had hit him and it was bleeding heavily. But he was alive. Hayden nearly cried in relief when he noticed Harry's chest rising and falling slightly. He looked around desperately; there was no one in sight.

"SOMEONE! ANYONE! I NEED HELP!"

At that moment Hayden wished that he knew a spell to call for help. After all his training he had no idea of what to do. A flash of inspiration struck him as he stared at the bathroom door. Harry had said that he was near Moaning Myrtle's bathroom; the ghost girl would be in there. He leapt to his feet and pushed the door open.

"Myrtle! Are you in here?"

"Who are you? This is a girl's bathroom. Boy's aren't allowed."

Hayden stared at the ghost girl who appeared above one of the cubicles. She only appeared a few years older than he was, a Ravenclaw judging from the emblem on her school robes. He looked at her pleadingly.

"Can you get help?" he asked her desperately. "My…friend…Harry. He's just been attacked and I don't know how to cast a spell to get help. Everyone would be in the Great Hall for the Halloween feast. Can you help me? Please?"

"You want me to go for help?" Myrtle asked.

"Yes, please he could be dying!"

Myrtle nodded and floated out of the bathroom, staring at Harry as she passed him.

"He doesn't look too good," she murmured. "I'll be quick."

"Thank you," Hayden called after her as he once again dropped to his knees. He pressed down on Harry's head wound and stared around as if someone would miraculously appear to help him. Harry was going pale and his breathing was becoming shallower. If help didn't come soon, Hayden knew that Harry would die.

"Please, someone, anyone," Hayden whispered. His eyes flickered up to where the writing on the wall was, and for the first time registered what it said.

THE CHAMBER OF SECRETS HAS BEEN OPENED
ENEMIES OF THE HEIR, BEWARE.

"Why can't I just have a normal year?" Hayden moaned. "What did I do to deserve this?"

Harry? Can you hear me? Please answer me. I'm right here and I'm not going to leave you. Please. Come back.

"The Professors are on their way."

Hayden looked up rapidly at Myrtle's sudden appearance. She was looking at him and Harry curiously.

"They're not letting anyone leave the Great Hall, and said that you're not to go anywhere until they arrive."

"I'm not leaving Harry," Hayden insisted. "He's dying, and I don't know what to do."

"He's lucky to have a friend like you," Myrtle stated with a smile. "No one ever cared about me like that."

With that last statement she burst into tears and disappeared back into her bathroom. Hayden wished that she wouldn't leave him, but if he strained his ears he could make out the hurried footsteps of several people. He tried again to call out for help, to let them know where he was. The first person to appear before him was Professor Snape, and while Hayden hated the man, he also knew that Snape liked Harry and wouldn't let him suffer.

"Professor, I don't know what to do," he said as Snape dropped to the ground next to him. "He's bleeding a lot and I think Jade's dead, Mrs Norris is hanging from a torch and I don't know what to do. Please Professor. I know you don't like me but Harry, he won't answer me."

"No hysterics Potter," Snape ordered. "The other Professors are on their way, as is Madam Pomfrey. Do you need a calming draught?"

"Yes," Hayden admitted. "Please, help him."

"Keep your hands where they are Potter and I'll do my best."

Before he did anything however, he lifted a calming draught to Hayden's mouth and instructed that he drink it. He did and a calmness swept over him, alerting him to how close to hysterics he had been. As Snape worked Professors McGonagall, Dumbledore, Lockhart and Sprout joined them, as did Madam Pomfrey with a bag of medical supplies.

"Oh dear," Pomfrey murmured upon spotting the scene. "What happened? Potter?"

"I finished my detention and when I was on my way to the Great Hall I heard someone screaming. I followed the sound and found this. Harry's bleeding a lot. I didn't know what to do so I got Myrtle to go for help and I think Jade is dead because she hasn't moved and I don't know what to do."

"He's going into shock Poppy," Snape muttered. "I've given him a calming draught but his hysteria is overwhelming the strength of the potion."

"His worry for his friend is understandable Severus," Dumbledore stressed. "What do you think happened here?"

"Looks like someone wanted to make a Halloween prank," Snape stated without glancing around much. "Evans stumbled across them and got in the way. He was knocked out, his cat was probably hit with a spell of some kind that killed it, and the culprit either ran away or presented himself as the one who discovered the scene of the crime."

"Severus! Hayden Potter is not responsible for this!" McGonagall snapped. "You said yourself that you'd given him a calming draught."

"Guilt could be eating away at his small mind."

"Innocent until proven guilty Severus," Dumbledore stressed. "Can you help Mr Evans?"

"He is in critical condition Headmaster," Pomfrey explained. "I need to get him, and Mr Potter, to the Hospital Wing now. You can figure out exactly what happened once I have cleared them both for questioning."

"I'll alert the Diggorys," Sprout stated as she stared down at her student. "They'll want to know that their charge is injured."

"What is it with this boy and Halloween?" Snape muttered. "First the troll and now this. I hate Halloween."


Word spread quickly that Harry Evans was in critical condition in the Hospital Wing and Hayden Potter was a suspect in the attack. Hufflepuff's banded together against Gryffindor and the rivalries between the two reached the same proportion as Gryffindor vs. Slytherin. It didn't help that Hayden had been kept in the Hospital Wing where no one could speak to him, but the damage had been done and the only people who would talk to him were Ron, Hermione and Neville. Everyone else believed him to be guilty.

Amos and Anna Diggory were up at Hogwarts a mere hour after Harry was transferred to the Hospital Wing, and shortly after that James and Lily Potter had arrived. They were briefed together in the Headmaster's office but as the only ones who knew the true relationship between the boys, the Potters wouldn't believe for a second that Hayden had been the culprit. The Diggorys on the other hand had no knowledge but refused to jump to conclusions until Harry had woken and told them what had happened.

Unfortunately there was nothing that could be done for the two cats. Mrs Norris had been petrified and couldn't be healed until the Mandrakes were fully matured, and nothing could bring Jade back from the dead. Rumours of the Chamber of Secrets flew through the school like a forest fire, and by the end of November the first everyone had their own theories and ideas about where the Chamber was located and what monster lived inside.

Harry woke up after four days, surrounded by his new family. Anna told him about Jade and held him while he cried, Amos holding both Anna and Harry close to him in silent support. Cedric had been in class at the time but when classes finished he appeared in the Hospital Wing and stayed there for the rest of the night. Midnight sat on the headboard of the bed and sung to calm everyone down. She was upset about Jade as well, but she also knew that Harry needed her.

"Harry, do you remember what happened?" Anna asked him softly after Cedric explained what had happened with the rest of the school since Halloween. Harry shook his head, not speaking or uttering another sound. He was sitting on Anna's lap, Cedric's hand on his knee and Amos' hand on his back.

"Hayden Potter has been crucified by the whole school," Cedric explained. "He hasn't been seen except for classes, not that I can blame him. It's almost amazing that he's not in here because he's been cursed by other students."

Harry looked at him sadly and clenched his hands tightly enough that his nails dug into his palm. As childish as it was to him, he wanted Hayden by his side.

Hayden? Where are you?

Harry! You're awake! Are you alright? Are you in pain? Is Midnight with you? Hayden's voice answered instantly and it was touched slightly with hysteria. Harry instantly knew that Hayden hadn't taken the attack well but was too frightened to go to the Hospital Wing with the way everyone was treating him.

I'm awake, Harry mentally whispered. Cedric told me about what you've been going through. Why aren't the teachers doing anything?

Because some of them believe that I did it, Hayden stated sadly. I found you, I wasn't at the feast. To them I'm a dark wizard and you were my first victim. Mrs Norris apparently had it coming because I hate Filch and it was good revenge, and Jade tried to protect you and died instead of you. According to Them I then panicked and called for help to appear "innocent".

Can you come to the Hospital Wing? I want you with me.

I'll try. If I have to pull out the cloak I will.

Thank you.

Harry felt more tears leaking out of his eyes. He looked at Cedric briefly before staring down. Cedric grabbed his hands to stop him from injuring himself and continued to talk.

"The whole school is worried about you. If Madam Pomfrey would let them I'm sure that this whole room would be filled with gifts for you to get better. All of Hufflepuff has been trying to get inside to see you, as well as a good many Ravenclaws and some Gryffindors. All the teachers have visited at least once, and Snape has been in multiple times. He doesn't stay for long but when I see him here I know that he has been worried about you."

"Hayden didn't do it," Harry whispered. "He tried to stop it. I heard him call out my name."

"He did save your life," Amos admitted. "Madam Pomfrey said that if he hadn't tried to stop the blood or sent Myrtle for help you would have died before anyone found you."

"Can I see him?" Harry asked, again in a whisper. "Hayden I mean?"

"Potter is avoiding everyone," Cedric stated. "The only ones who talk to him at all, according to rumor, are Weasley, Granger and Longbottom."

"He's my brother."

The last sentence was done so softly that at first no one understood it. Cedric furrowed his brow in confusion before gasping in shock.

"Harrison Potter," he breathed. "You were the younger brother to the Boy-Who-Lived."

"That's what you meant?" Anna asked. "Before you left for school you were talking to Midnight. You said something about telling us at Christmas time. Is this what you were going to tell us?"

Harry nodded, his eyes still focused on his hands. Cedric let out a breath of air in amazement.

"That explains so much. That's why Mr Lupin is your godfather. He never had two godsons, it was only you. Your birth parents aren't dead, oh my god, how many times have you seen the Potters now and they haven't recognised you?"

"They know who I am," Harry whispered. "They've known since Christmas last year. It's a long story but I don't want to tell it now. I just…I want Hayden here. I want…I want my brother."

Anna pulled him tighter to her chest and promised that she would see to getting Hayden permission to visit. Amos asked him who else knew about him and Harry whispered his answers. After he went back to sleep he and Anna went to speak to Madam Pomfrey about him, while Cedric remained at Harry's bedside. As such only Cedric met Hayden when he snuck into the Hospital Wing around eleven.

"So he told you about us then?" was how Hayden announced his presence. Cedric jumped and stared at the red haired boy who appeared to arrive out of thin air. As his heart rate dropped down again he nodded and brushed his thumb over Harry's hand.

"Not the full story, just that you're brothers and your parents know about him."

"They didn't abandon him," Hayden whispered. "Harry was kidnapped when we were five, we think Dumbledore was responsible. Dad's been searching for him secretly for years now. His and mum's memories were wiped so that they wouldn't be able to find him, but they won't fight your parents for custody. Dumbledore thinks that my brother is dead, and we're going to keep it that way for as long as we can. Harry will be safer if no one knows about him."

"You have a bond, haven't you?" Cedric asked. "That's how you knew that he was awake."

"And how we know when either one of us is in danger. The train is one instance where he knew that I was in trouble. When I was thrown from my window during the holidays was another, and in Diagon Alley I knew where he had gone. I'm sorry you had to worry about that. No one could know about us."

"I understand. My parents are going to want to talk to yours soon."

"Christmas? Uncle Moony and Uncle Padfoot can come too, Uncle Padfoot was upset that he couldn't meet up with Harry during the summer. Plans will also need to be made for the future. Mum and dad are planning something big and I know that they're going to need help."

"I'll let them know. What are you going to do about the school crucifying you?"

"I'm hoping that Harry will help with that, call off the guards if you will."

"We could probably make a big scene where he thanks you for saving him," Cedric mused with a smile. "Harry's not one for public appearances, but for you I think he'd do it. Especially if it would mean that you wouldn't be attacked in the corridors."

"We can discuss it when he wakes up. He knows that I'm here for him. He told me once that we're never alone, as long as we have each other. I plan to stand by that. Even if the whole school hates me, I know that Harry will always be on my side, just like I'm always going to be on his."

Cedric extended his hand to Hayden, which the young Gryffindor took easily enough. They shook hands and it was like they were agreeing to share responsibility for the well-being of the boy before them. Harry would be protected until he was able to stand on his own…then they would stand beside him.


Harry wasn't allowed out of the Hospital Wing until the following week. Cedric remained by his side and stated that he wouldn't be leaving him alone except for classes. Since he had woken he had been visited by the entirety of Hufflepuff, and many of the younger Ravenclaws. Cedric admitted that there were a few Gryffindors who wanted to visit but they had been chased away by well-meaning Hufflepuffs. It was only late at night when Harry was able to talk with Cedric without any disruptions, and it was during that time that they came up with a plan of action to absolve Hayden of any wrong-doing in the eyes of the school.

On the Monday that he returned, most of the school was finishing breakfast quickly so that they could get to classes on time…including Hayden Potter. Hayden had already been warned of the plan, which was why he risked eating in public. When Harry entered the Great Hall he was first stared at in silence and then the cheers started. Having not expected that reaction Harry found himself surprised that about three quarters of the school were glad to see him.

Cedric led him to where Hayden was and in front of almost the entire school Harry thanked Hayden for trying to save him and gave him a hug. And just like that Hayden was forgiven by almost everyone. There would still be some tension between the Gryffindors and Hufflepuffs, but not as thick as it was before.

By Monday's end Harry had been asked no less than twenty-two times if he remembered what had happened on Halloween, given condolences for Jade's death by every single person he spoke with and gained several shadows that never left his side. Celeste Scott had been in tears when he finally made it back to the Common Room, and explained to him that everyone in Hufflepuff was willing to have a memorial for Jade if he wanted one.

Trent had pulled him aside and explained that he wasn't expected to play in the Ravenclaw vs. Hufflepuff Quidditch Match that would be coming up in the next week. Gryffindor and Slytherin would play each other the upcoming weekend, and Ravenclaw and Hufflepuff would play the week after that. After the Christmas break Ravenclaw would be playing Gryffindor and Hufflepuff would play Slytherin. After the Easter break would be the final two matches, Slytherin vs. Ravenclaw and Gryffindor vs. Hufflepuff. The team with the most points overall would earn the title of Quidditch Champions and the Quidditch Cup would sit in the Head of House's office for the following year. Currently the Cup sat in Professor Snape's office as Slytherin was the reigning champions.

Harry appreciated the offer, but told the Quidditch captain that he wanted to play.

He sat with his friends in the Hufflepuff stands and watched the match between Gryffindor and Slytherin. Like usual it was dirty, and most attacks seemed to be against Hayden. It was almost like the bludgers themselves wanted revenge on Hayden, and without the will of the Beaters they hunted Hayden like a wolf would hunt a sheep.

"There's something wrong with that bludger," Harry whispered. He still hadn't spoken in a voice above a whisper since waking up.

"Think it's jinxed?" Hannah asked nervously. "One of the Slytherins perhaps?"

"Not even they would fight like that," Justin stated, sounding unsure. "It's illegal to jinx a bludger to hunt one player."

"I don't think the Slytherins would care about legalities," Hannah continued. "But Hayden could get hurt."

"Who cares?" Zach asked. "Despite what you all think, Potter was the only one who could have attacked Harry. Everyone else was at the feast."

"Hayden saved Harry's life," Justin muttered. "If not for him then Harry would have died."

"If it weren't for Potter, Harry wouldn't have been in any danger to begin with," Zach rebutted. "I don't like him."

"Please don't fight," Harry pleaded between them. "Whatever your problem with Hayden is, there is a reason that jinxing bludgers is illegal and Hayden could be seriously hurt out there."

All eyes returned to the field to watch Hayden navigate around the players to try and avoid the rouge bludger. A time-out was called but Harry knew, even before Hayden told him mentally, that Gryffindor would have to continue playing or else they would be forced to forfeit the match and Slytherin would win. They team returned to the air and Hayden was instantly on the run from the bludger. Cedric appeared behind Harry and put his hand on his shoulder. Harry appreciated the gesture, and was more that glad that Cedric knew of his relationship with the Potters. It was like a weight had been lifted from his shoulders and he could now focus on something else.

That something else being the crazy house elf mystery.

Hayden and Malfoy suddenly dove between the Chasers, hunting the one thing that could end this match. They were neck and neck, hands reaching out for the tiny gold ball flying just out of their reach.

Behind them was the bludger.

Hayden and Malfoy flew from one end of the pitch to the other, sometimes flying high, other times flying so low to the ground that their feet brushed against the grass. Harry knew that it took a lot of skill to fly that low at such high speeds and not crash, he also knew that Hayden had been flying since he was able to hold a broom.

Malfoy's feet suddenly brushed the ground and disrupted his flying. The broom shot down suddenly, the handle snapping as it came into contact with the ground and Malfoy demonstrated a few spectacular summersaults through the air before landing on his back, completely winded. Hayden had a free shot at the golden snitch, but the bludger also had a free shot at Hayden. As Hayden reached out for the tiny gold ball, and his fingers wrapped around it, the rouge bludger appeared from the side and smashed into his wrist. From the stands Harry could hear the sickening break of the bone, and in his mind he could hear Hayden cursing through the pain.

"Ouch, that had to hurt," Ernie muttered.

"Do you think he'll be alright?" Susan asked.

"Madam Pomfrey will be able to take care of him," Cedric assured the Second Year students. "Let's head back to the Common Room where it's warm. I'm sure Trent has a few things he'd like to say about those new brooms that the Slytherins have."

Everyone agreed and started to file out of the stands. It wasn't until later that they heard that Professor Lockhart had not only ignored Hayden's refusal to be healed by him, but also removed all the bones from Hayden's arm. Instead of healing a small break, Madam Pomfrey had to regrow all the bones in Hayden's arm using a painful potion known as Skele-grow.

The very next day it became known that the monster from the Chamber of Secrets had taken another victim. Colin Creevy, a First Year Gryffindor, had been petrified.


Next time: Christmas Reunions