It lives! I'm so sorry that this took so long, and I hope that the length makes up for it. We get more of the full story, and maybe I now have more of an idea about what direction this story is going to travel in. I don't know how far I'll deviate from the cannon story, but I know that this won't spread across seven years. Everything will end sooner than that. Fifth Year, maybe.
I want to thank everyone who reviewed, this chapter may have taken a while but it was because of you, my reviewers, that I was able to finish this chapter. The ideas and plot points you reminded me of helped flesh out what I wanted. So, thank-you. I hope this was worth the wait.
Blah twin speak
"Blah" normal talking
"Blah" phoenix talking
Previously in Harry Potter: Chosen One...
Harry heard someone else cast a spell but couldn't figure out where it had come from. It hadn't come from Hayden, that's for sure. He didn't know what the spell did, but when several people screamed he and Hayden both stopped dueling and looked around. On the ground, about a metre and a half in front of Harry, was a black snake.
"Stop!" Hayden cried as the snake started to move towards Justin who was in the front of the audience. "Don't attack anyone!" Harry felt his eyes widen as the words that escaped Hayden's mouth wasn't in English.
You just spoke in Parseltongue, Harry mentally told his brother. Hayden mentally cursed but the damage was done. The students in the audience started to back away from the stage, their whispers disturbing the snake.
The Heir has struck again. This time there were two people. Nearly Headless Nick was one, so whoever is behind this can affect ghosts as well. I'm about to meet with Professor Dumbledore 'cause I was caught at 'the scene of the crime' by Peeves. I swear it wasn't me.
I know that it's not you, Harry assured him. Who was the second victim?
Hayden didn't get a chance to answer him, because at that moment the teachers and ghosts brought in Nick
Harry Potter: Chosen One
If Hayden had been treated badly before the double attack, it was nothing compared to how he was treated afterwards. The Second Year Gryffindor was unable to travel anywhere without at least one of his friends with him to provide back up for when he was attacked. Even in his own House he was considered an outcast, and there was nothing that Harry could do. Cedric was well liked by pretty much everyone in the school, including the upper year students in Slytherin, which meant that there was no chance that Hayden could be forgiven any time soon. Harry was just grateful that Christmas holidays would be upon them soon and they would be able to leave the castle. The family "reunion" wouldn't be the same without Cedric, but the meeting was still arranged for Christmas Eve.
The entirety of Hufflepuff House had banded together to protect what was theirs, and as soon as a Gryffindor was in sight, Harry was shoved out of sight. He hadn't been able to talk to any of his friends in Gryffindor, and was only able to talk to Hayden because of their twin bond. Amos and Anna had arrived at the school thirty minutes after Cedric was brought into the Hospital Wing, and already they were talking about contacting St Mungos or an independent Potions Master to provide the antidote.
Every day, without fail, Harry could be found in the Hospital Wing sitting at Cedric's side. He told Cedric what had happened during the day, rumors and gossip that had sprung up, and everything he knew about Hayden and how he was coping. A few students had been pulled from the school grounds by concerned parents, and Harry was honestly confused as to why the Ministry hadn't barged in and searched the grounds for the culprit. In the end he figured that Dumbledore was preventing that from happening, knowing what the outcome could possibly be.
The Ministry would take Hayden.
Boy-Who-Lived or not, Hayden had been connected to each attack in some way. There was also the fact that Hayden was a parselmouth, a "sure sign of darkness" simply because Voldemort was a parselmouth. With the school crucifying him whenever he was seen, cursing him out of fear, it was like he had already been declared guilty. The Ministry needed to look like it was doing something, so they would probably arrest Hayden and throw him into Azkaban.
I'm not going to be thrown into Azkaban, Hayden promised over their bond.
How can you be sure? Harry asked with his hands wrapped around Cedric's cold and lifeless one.
Because my purpose has yet to be fulfilled, Hayden explained. Dumbledore will protect me, as much as I hate to say it.
Already some students have been pulled out, Jade was killed by whatever is doing this, and there is talk that you will be killed so that no one else will.
I'm not going to die Harry.
I heard Zach planning it when he thought I was asleep. He and Justin are really freaked out.
I'm freaked out. Ron and Hermione are still by my side, but sometimes they look at me in fear. I truly believe that you are the only person in the school who believes me when I say that it wasn't me.
What are we going to do? Harry asked. What can we do?
Hayden had no answer to that. There really was nothing that the twins could do. The only time Hayden wasn't wearing his invisibility cloak were during class and when he was sleeping. But Harry knew that he wasn't sleeping. Hayden would sit up all night, listening to everything that was happening. They really needed somewhere where only they could go, where no one would be able to find them.
Who do Ron and Hermione think is behind this? Harry eventually asked.
Malfoy, Hayden replied. Hermione has this plan to use Polyjuice Potion to infiltrate the Slytherin Common Room and interrogate Malfoy without it looking like we're interrogating him.
How, when and where? Harry wondered. Hermione's good, but the Polyjuice Potion takes a month to brew and is a very detailed potion.
She started after the Quidditch Match, in Moaning Myrtle's bathroom. She and Ron are staying here for the holidays, and so is Malfoy. They'll do it and update me when I get back.
It's not him, Harry stated with amusement. Draco Malfoy, the Heir of Slytherin? Everyone would have known last year by Halloween at the latest. He couldn't keep a secret if his life depended on it. He may be in Slytherin, but he doesn't have a sly bone in his body.
For what it's worth, I agree, Hayden mumbled. But this is Hermione. When she has her mind set on something she has to do everything she can to find the answer.
Then direct her to the library where she can do some book research and figure out who the Heir of Slytherin is, Harry ordered.
Or we could figure out who opened the Chamber fifty years ago, Hayden added. Whoever did it then would have an idea of who is doing it now, and would know exactly what the monster is. Harry, you're a genius!
Get some sleep Hayden, Harry again ordered. You're exhausted. Set a ward around your bed to wake you if someone crosses it. From what I hear you're starting to look like a monster.
Hardy ha ha, Hayden stated sarcastically. I'm going, I'm going. Is someone grabbing you?
Yep, Hannah and Justin just walked in.
Talk to you later then.
Harry stood and let go of Cedric's hand. Without looking back he walked up to his friends and allowed them to lead him back to the Hufflepuff Common Room. Out in the corridor were several other Hufflepuffs, Seventh Years. Whenever the younger students went out, there was always at least two upper years that went with them. Extra protection from students who knew a lot of defensive spells.
The most recent attack had everyone worried, and it wasn't just because Cedric had been attacked. It was because a ghost had been attacked. Whatever was attacking students could affect more than the living. Harry knew of no animal or spell that could affect ghosts. He also knew of no animal that could both kill and petrify indiscriminately. Fifty years previously, a girl had died. This time, a cat had died.
"I heard that there's only going to be a handful of students staying here for the holidays," Hannah said, starting up a conversation.
"I heard that Potter's going home, so it should be safe for those who are staying," Justin told her. Harry sighed. Regardless of how many times he said it, no one believed him when he said that Hayden was innocent.
"I just hope he doesn't bother us on the train," Hannah continued. "What if he tries to hurt someone on the way home?"
"His parents are picking him up from the Entrance Hall and they're portkeying home," Harry mumbled. "He won't be on the train."
"How do you know that?" Justin asked curiously.
"He told me when I saw him in the Hospital Wing."
"What was he doing there?" Justin demanded, this time in fear.
"A Ravenclaw tried to kill him and Madam Pomfrey was healing him," Harry explained.
"Should have let him die," the Seventh Year mumbled behind them. Harry spun around and glared at the teen angrily.
"Don't say that!" he ordered. "There has been enough pain and fear in this place without students becoming murderers to satisfy some need to feel superior! Hayden is not responsible for these attacks!"
The Seventh Year backed up in slight fear as he saw the fury in Harry's eyes. As Harry didn't get angry often, few had actually seen how powerful he could be with his emotions high. His eyes would flash with hidden power and the object of his rage would be able to feel his magic threatening them. Hannah and Justin gently encouraged Harry to continue walking, to ignore the Seventh Years with them. Harry did so, but not before giving the Seventh Year one final glare.
Once they arrived back in the Common Room Harry retreated to his room and made sure that everything he was taking home was packed up. Midnight appeared on his headboard and sung a few notes to get him to calm down. Harry smiled at her and closed his curtains, casting the one-way silencing charm as he did so.
"Fledgling, how is your nest-mate?" Midnight asked once Harry was lying down.
"Lucky to be alive," Harry replied as he closed his eyes. "Thanks for saving him."
"He is innocent of what he is being accused," Midnight told him serenely. "Sleep, you are to return to your new home tomorrow. You will need all your energy."
Harry smiled slightly at that. He had been looking forward to the holidays for so long, and now that they were finally here, all he wanted to do was stay at Hogwarts so that he could be with Cedric. He hadn't considered that he would be reuniting with his birth parents without Cedric by his side. But now he would have to.
Harry had barely stepped off the train before he was swept into the arms of his new mother. Anna sighed in relief once Harry was in her arms, and while Harry returned her hug he could tell that the stress of the last few days had taken its toll. She had lost weight, and when he looked up at her face he could see that she was pale.
"Are you alright mum?" he asked softly.
"Yes, dear," she replied. "Come on. Let's go home to your father. We're having a family meeting."
"Is everything alright?" Harry asked, slightly alarmed now. Scenarios were running through his mind: they didn't want him anymore, the Potter's were contesting the adoption, Cedric would never recover, and a range of others. Anna saw his expression and gently brushed her hand across his cheek.
"Everything is…well, almost fine," she explained. She started to lead them away from the crowd so that they could apparate safely. "It would be perfect if Cedric were here too, but all things considered we're glad that you're home now. Hogwarts is becoming a very dangerous place. First there was that stupid stone last year, and that troll, and now there's something going around killing animals and petrifying the students. You shouldn't have to be facing dangers like those! You're twelve years old."
"I'm sorry mum," Harry whispered.
"Hey, it's not your fault. When I do find the person responsible for all this, I am going to castrate them."
Harry blinked at the sudden threat. He had his suspicions about who was behind all the danger that had suddenly appeared at Hogwarts, and he would really like to see Anna castrate them. An evil grin spread across his face and he chuckled. Anna looked down at him, happy to see that his mood had improved since she saw him last. He had little enough to be happy about, but she would ensure that this holiday was enjoyable for him.
The two of them apparated home as soon as they were free of the crowds and Harry immediately went to his room to drop off his shrunken trunk. Midnight flashed into existence on her post and trilled happily now that she was home as well. Harry spent a few minutes making sure that she was comfortable and didn't need anything before walking away to see if he could help with preparing dinner. He figured that Amos was at work and that's why he hadn't been at the station, but Anna had said that they would be having a family meeting.
"But where would we send him?"
Harry froze his forward momentum as sounds echoed out from Amos' study. Amos had been the one talking, so Harry knew that he was home, but the question had confused and alarmed him.
"Hogwarts is not the only school in the world," Anna told her husband.
"Well, I know that," Amos replied. "But to pull him out of school? Away from his friends? Really?"
"He has nearly died several times this year alone, it's dangerous," Anna argued. "And Cedric's…"
"I'm not arguing about the danger," Amos soothed. There was the sound of chairs moving and Harry imagined that Amos was hugging his wife. He still didn't move from his spot.
"Then it's the Potters," Anna summarized.
"Regardless of the past, Harry is still their son," Amos murmured. "Taking him away from them…do you really want to be responsible for that boy losing his family?"
"We are his family!" Anna protested. "We are! Not them! I don't care what excuse they use. Harry was abandoned because of them. I am never going to abandon that boy, but I want him to be safe."
"And I want him to be happy."
Harry slowly moved away from the office so that he wouldn't be caught eavesdropping. He gathered that Anna wanted to pull him out of Hogwarts, send him to another school where there was no history of danger to the students. Amos, however, didn't want him to leave his friends, and Harry had to admit that he didn't want to leave them either. Anna didn't like the Potters, that was new to him. The time they had spent apart since the revelation of his parentage had obviously caused the woman to rethink her assumptions about certain people. The argument between Anna and Amos was debating safety and happiness.
Whatever they decided, Harry knew that he needed to be with Hayden.
Once Harry started to make a noise with the various pans and cupboards he knew that Anna would be down to join him shortly. She still didn't want him cooking alone, and if he was honest with himself, Harry missed cooking with Anna. It was a bonding experience he had never had with his aunt or his mother, but it made him feel closer to Anna, like he belonged. As he had predicted, Anna was at his side in a few minutes and they cooked together whilst talking about the subjects at Hogwarts. Harry happily explained his defence lessons with Professor Snape, much to Anna's amusement.
Dinner was a great deal of fun as each member of the family did their best to dwell on happier memories, and not the fact that Cedric was absent, or why he was absent. Amos shared a great many stories from when he was at Hogwarts, and Anna joined in by talking about how much trouble Amos had managed to get himself involved in. It was great, and Harry wished that it would go on for forever. But dinner finished, dishes were placed in the sink to be done later, and the family moved to the lounge room for the promised family meeting.
Harry curled up on the rug in front of the fireplace, back resting against the nearest couch and Midnight sitting on his lap. Anna was on the couch opposite him, on the other side of the coffee table, whereas Amos was closer and sitting on the seat directly between the two. The couches made a u-shape in front of the fire, and Harry loved it simply because it looked warm and inviting.
"There are a few things that we need to discuss," Amos began. "First, I have been in contact with St Mungos and various Potions Masters I am acquainted with. They all tell me the same thing, they have no pre-prepared Mandrake Restorative Draught."
"Why not?" Harry asked, interrupting softly.
"The potion has a shelf-life of two months," Anna explained sadly. "So the only time of the year when the Draught can be brewed is in June."
"But, the Mandrakes?"
"Can only be used when they are mature," Amos took over. "Mandrakes are seasonal plants, they are only mature in autumn. It's why second years start studying the plants in September, because that is when they grow. It is a year-long assignment, going through all the different stages of development, mating and death. Herbologists have attempted to alter the life-cycle of a Mandrake for years, growing them in different locations with different temperatures, but to date they have not succeeded. We will have to wait for the Hogwarts Mandrakes to be mature before the Draught is brewed."
"That means that Cedric is going to miss out on the rest of Fourth Year," Harry protested. "He's going to be behind."
"We will arrange for a tutor during the holidays so that when – if – he returns to Hogwarts for his OWLS, he will be at the same level as his year mates," Anna explained.
"Alright," Harry said slowly. "Can I ask why the Ministry hasn't made an effort to control what's happening?"
"They have," Amos assured him. "The Minister is very upset with Professor Dumbledore at the moment. But the Headmaster is conducting an internal investigation. Should he find nothing he will invite the Ministry in to conduct their investigation."
"Who did Professor Dumbledore say was heading the internal investigation?"
"Your defence teacher," Amos said disgustedly. Harry echoed his expression before letting his head fall back against the chair behind him. Lockhart was an idiot and there was no possible chance that the man would attempt to find Slytherin's monster.
"That's not going to happen," Harry said aloud.
"Quite," Amos agreed. "But there's not much we can do at the moment. The worst that's happened is that students are being petrified. If a student were to die, however, then the Ministry would be able to go around Dumbledore, though I wouldn't wish for that to happen."
"Isn't there something that the Ministry can do?"
"Unfortunately, if the Ministry were to enter Hogwarts now they would arrest the most likely suspect, no matter whom they are, and toss them in Azkaban."
"Hayden," Harry admitted sadly. "It's just way too convenient that everything bad is happening to him. I mean, he's connected to every attack so far, and I don't believe in coincidences! So he's either being framed…"
"Or he's the attacker," Anna finished.
"No!" Harry cried, coming to his feet. Midnight moved to the couch so that she wouldn't get in the way. She trilled a few notes to calm the room down. "Hayden is not responsible for this!"
"Then who is?" Anna asked. "I believe you when you say it's not Hayden, but who else could it be?"
"Someone who knows him really well," Harry muttered, sitting back down again. "And someone who knows who I am."
Harry thought about the victims carefully. First, technically, had been Mrs. Norris. It was no secret that Filch disliked Hayden with a passion so it wasn't that much of a stretch to think Hayden attacked the cat. But then the majority of the students at Hogwarts hated Mrs. Norris. Then it had been Jade, but Harry and Jade were accidents, they weren't supposed to be there. But it hadn't been a spell that caused Harry's injuries, it had been a hard object. During the attack Hayden had been outside the Great Hall after his detention. The only reason he hadn't been in the Hall was because he had been worried about Harry and the voice in the walls.
Then it was Colin Creevy. Harry didn't know much about the First Year, but from what he had heard from the Hufflepuff First Years, Colin adored Hayden. He was a muggleborn who had been bewitched by magic, and had gravitated towards the more influential members of his House. That had been Hayden. He had been alone and was on his way to visit Hayden after the Quidditch Match where Hayden had his arm bones removed. Hayden had been under the influence of Skelegrow at the time, his arm in agony, he wouldn't have been able to attack Colin and get back to the Hospital Wing without anyone seeing him. His cloak had been in his dorm.
The last attack had been a duel attack, a ghost and a student. Nick was generally very polite, but around Halloween he had been annoying certain students by constantly trying to rip his head off so that he could join some Headless Hunt Club. No reason to want him gone. But Cedric, he was a pureblood and theoretically safe from Slytherin's monster. The attacks had suddenly become a real threat. But there was no reason for Hayden wanting Cedric gone, he knew what the older boy meant to Harry. Yet, if someone had guessed the relationship that Harry and Hayden were hiding, attacking Cedric could be interpreted as an attack of jealousy. It could be said that Hayden was jealous of the amount of time Cedric was spending with Harry and by getting him out of the way then he wouldn't have to share his brother.
Who could orchestrate the attacks without drawing suspicion to them? Who benefits from Hayden being a suspect? What's the point?
"You are thinking too hard fledgling," Midnight trilled. "Take a break from these thoughts and focus on having a good time this holiday."
"Sorry Midnight," Harry murmured, smiling at her before looking at his new parents. "I don't know what's happening at Hogwarts. But I'm almost positive that Dumbledore is aware of everything that is happening, and the only reason that he hasn't put a stop to it is because, a) no one has died yet, and b) he wants Hayden to prove himself as a hero, and loyal to him."
"That's a…pretty serious allegation," Amos informed him with a frown. "Do you have proof?"
"Only what Hayden and I have figured out," Harry admitted. "As far as we know, there are only three people who know what happened that Halloween: me, Hayden and Voldemort."
"So, what everyone else thinks is wrong?" Anna asked. "Is Hayden the Boy-Who-Lived?"
"…in a way," Harry stated with a shrug and a smile. "But we know Dumbledore wanted a hero, the Chosen One. Recently Hayden and I learnt that James and Lily lied to him, and pushed Hayden into his line of sight. While that kept me figuratively safe from him, it did lead to my disappearance and so called 'death'."
"There is a lot that we'll need to cover Christmas Eve," Amos mumbled. Anna nodded her agreement with him before looking back over at Harry.
"Why don't you head up to bed?" she asked. "We'll arrange location and time tomorrow. Then we can do some Christmas shopping, decorate the house, and do some baking for Christmas day. Does that sound alright?"
Harry nodded, already filled with excitement about doing Christmas activities with his family. The only thing that would put a damper on everything was the fact that Cedric wouldn't be there to join in. Harry vowed that one day he would have a perfect Christmas, one where everyone he loved would be able to join in with him. It wouldn't be this year, but he had his fingers crossed for the following year.
Harry hadn't realised how much effort went into preparing for Christmas. The first few weeks of the holiday went by in a whirlwind of activity. There was decorating, buying a tree, decorating the tree, baking cookies, preparing for the Christmas day meals, buying presents, wrapping presents, sending presents to friends, receiving presents and placing them under the tree, and Harry even had to finish his homework. On Christmas night there was a Ministry Ball that Amos was expected to attend, and since Anna usually accompanied him they couldn't leave Harry home alone. So they bought some dress robes for Harry and gave him a crash course in behaviour for the night.
On Christmas Eve, just after lunch, Harry had Midnight collect the Potters and bring them to the Diggory's home. They had arrived at the conclusion that it would be the last place anyone looked for the Potters due to the fact that everyone suspected Hayden of attacking Cedric. Sirius was with the Potters for the holidays, and would be joining them, but Remus had already arrived at the Diggory's in the morning so that he could spend some time with his godson without his former friends stealing his time. So Harry spent the whole morning bringing Remus up to date with what was happening at Hogwarts, as well as Quidditch and academic news.
When the Potters and Sirius did arrive, Harry was in the kitchen with Anna making lunch for everyone, and Amos was waiting to play host. They would be eating in the lounge room, which had been changed to accommodate so many people. More chairs had been added, making a wider circle, with another coffee table transfigured into the middle of the room. Both coffee tables were full of snacks and drinks for their guests to munch on throughout the afternoon.
"So," James Potter began. "Where should we start?"
"I find the beginning to be a wonderful place," Amos told him, perfectly civil. Harry and Hayden were perched on the floor in front of the roaring fire. Each had a hot chocolate that Harry had prepared, while the parents each had something a little stronger. Remus, however, had joined the boys in having a hot chocolate. He was something of a chocolate addict.
"Right," James cleared his throat, his eyes often darting to Harry as if memorizing his features. "Thirteen years ago it is. Lily was pregnant at the time, and she and Alice Longbottom were having drinks at a local coffee shop in Godric's Hollow. It's where we lived for a few years during the war. Anyway, the two of them were both due at the same time, and they were very excited. Naturally, they did everything to prepare for the kids together. It would have been in May, or June, that Dumbledore summoned us and told us about this prophecy that he had been told."
"He never told us what the prophecy said," Lily interrupted. "Just that it pertained to a child who would be born at the end of July and that he would save us all."
"What a load of–"
"Anna!" Amos cut over his wife. "The children…"
Anna looked slightly sheepish, but didn't seem repentant. Harry and Hayden looked at each other with grins on their faces. The fact that they agreed with Anna made it that much funnier. Prophecies were a waste of time, and the twins didn't believe in them.
"Anyway," James continued, having seen the smirks. "We all went into hiding and rarely left our homes. During this time we found out that Lily was carrying twins, and I admit that I was excited."
"Excited?" Sirius queried. "You just about wet your pants when you were telling me. You didn't stop smiling for months."
"I remember that," Remus added, smiling in memory. "Didn't Lily hex you for being hyperactive?"
"Maybe," James said, neither confirming nor denying. "Hayden was born first, his birth was easy. Born at 11:25pm, weighing 6.2 pounds, dark blonde hair and dark brown eyes…he was perfect, except for the fact that he wouldn't stop crying no matter what we did."
Hayden laughed. He could see it in his mind's eye, a panicked James Potter holding a newborn with no idea what he was doing. The image floated over to Harry who snorted into his hot chocolate.
"And Harry?" Anna asked, looking at the two boys with a raised eyebrow. Both stopped laughing and refrained from looking at each other.
"Harry was born thirty-five minutes later," Lily answered. "He didn't want to leave me."
"He was so quiet when he finally decided to join us," James continued. "4.2 pounds, absolutely tiny compared to his brother. He had the softest dark hair, and tiny hands, and when he opened his eyes and stared at me for the first time…"
"We had our favorites, I hate to say," Lily took over when it looked like James wouldn't, trapped in his memories as he was. "Hayden was always a mummy's boy. Wouldn't eat unless I was feeding him, wouldn't go to sleep unless I put him in his crib, wouldn't stop crying until I held him…but Harry was a daddy's boy. From day one he had James wrapped around his finger. He was always quiet, but James seemed to always know when he was hungry, or tired, or just wanted to be held."
"What changed?" Remus asked sadly. "That was how you started, but by the time the twins were three, everything was different."
"Voldemort happened," James told him. "Attacks had started to increase in frequency and severity. Lily cast the Fidelius Charm over our property and made Wormtail our Secret Keeper. We thought that it would be safe to go out. Dumbledore wanted us for a mission, and we agreed to go if Sirius remained behind to look after the twins."
"You were both sleeping when the attack happened," Sirius continued, looking at the twins on the floor. "I had just put you down and was on my way to the kitchen for some firewhisky, don't glare Lily, times were tough. The front door blasted open and I was pushed back violently. The entire first floor was on fire, and whatever spell had been sent my way had broken my back. Voldemort walked passed me as if I wasn't there, and that rat trailed behind him like the coward he is."
"You're lucky to be alive," Amos told him.
"Lucky?" Sirius asked him in return. "I would rather have died than let that monster anywhere near the twins."
"What happened after that night?" Harry asked. "We remember roughly what happened, but not the aftermath."
"You remember?" James asked in shock.
"Nightmares," Harry and Hayden answered simultaneously.
"Well, Dumbledore was very interested in seeing how you both developed," Lily stated, staring at the twins curiously. "We had an idea about what he wanted, but we had no intention of abiding by his demands. I had studied Ancient Runes, and used that knowledge to hide Harry's power. Even as a baby he had this – presence – about him that we couldn't ignore. That scar on your forehead, it is the rune of the sun, Sowilo. It means victory, or success. I knew instantly that Dumbledore could not see it."
"Hayden also had a scar, though his was made from rubble," James added. "The rune for Uruz, I think it was."
"A symbol of health, strength, vigor and healing," Lily explained. "This was shown to Dumbledore and his eyes twinkled like mad. He was so happy that his Chosen One had a mark of power on him."
"But, Hayden got that when he protected me," Harry argued. "There was no magic in it."
"Oh, but there was," James told him, leaning forward happily. "There was enough ambient magic in it, caused by the explosion or fate, whatever you want to call it, that registered when Dumbledore cast a spell to determine whether or not the scar was cursed or not."
"Cursed?" the twins echoed each other.
"My headaches," Harry continued, ignoring the adults and looking at Hayden. "It was during exams last year, when Voldemort was working towards getting the fake stone."
"That's right, and when he was nearby your head was going to explode," Hayden added.
"So whenever I'm near him," Harry started.
"You'll know right away," Hayden finished.
"He won't be able to hide."
"But why do you sense him?"
"And could he sense me?"
"Whoa!" Sirius cried with wide eyes. "You're finishing each other's sentences!"
Harry and Hayden turned to look at Sirius and each raised their eyebrows simultaneously, disgruntled that the man had interrupted their conversation. Sirius had a smile stretching across his face as he turned to Remus.
"Moony! It's happening!"
"What Padfoot?" Remus asked, amused but not following Sirius' train of thought.
"They're finally acting like real twins! No pretending to be strangers, finishing each other's train of thought, being brothers!"
"I guess you were right Harry," Hayden whispered.
"If we had grown up together we would have been like the Weasley twins."
"But more creative and better looking," Harry corrected with a smile. This was what he wanted. This was the family relationship that he craved.
"Alright," Amos stated, drawing attention from the twins. He took a sip of his firewhisky before turning to James and Lily. "When, and why, did you start treating them differently?"
"Just after Halloween of '83," James mused. "We had moved back into Potter Manor as Godric's Hollow was proving to be dangerous to us. And then Harry got sick, and I mean really sick. We had a healer come out to visit us and she informed us that it was a side effect of a block gone wrong."
"A block?" Harry asked curiously.
"Someone had tried to block your magic," Lily explained sadly. "It failed, thankfully, but if it had succeeded your magical core could have done two things. One, it could have shut down and you would have been a squib, or two, it could have fought the block and killed you during the struggle."
"Dumbledore visited us a lot after that, and from the way he was acting we knew that he believed Harry was a squib," James continued. "We let him believe it for we saw no reason to discuss our children's accidental magic with him."
"Then he started to drop hints," Lily admitted.
"Threats actually," James corrected. "He kept saying that squibs were looked down upon in our world and that it would be better off if Harry went to live in the muggle world. He implied that in twins, where one had magic and the other didn't, jealousy was common and we should make sure that Harry never had to feel jealous of Hayden's magical abilities."
"So we started to distance ourselves from Harry," Lily took over. "It was, and still is, one of the hardest and worst things we have ever done. We figured that if Dumbledore saw us focusing on the child he wanted, and ignoring the other one, he wouldn't do anything more."
"For the next two years nothing happened," James stated. "Every night, after the two of you were put to bed, Lily and I would spend half the night in Harry's room. We had the house elves give him some Dreamless Sleep so that he wouldn't stir, and we would just hold him. Some nights I would spend the whole night with you Harry, and even without dreams you would cuddle close to me. It always broke my heart to put you down and walk away."
"I never knew," Harry whispered. Hayden bumped him with his shoulder.
We're together now, that's all that matters.
"But when we were five," Harry said, louder now. "You got rid of me."
"No," James protested. He ran his hands through his hair as this was the part of the story where there was a lot of heartache. "Something changed with Dumbledore. He suddenly became that much more persistent in sending Harry away. We were afraid."
"We were going to set him up with a new identity overseas, out of Dumbledore's reach," Lily explained, looking at the other adults in the room before her eyes landed on Harry's. She sighed sadly before continuing. "I had everything ready. You would have had a house elf to watch over you, to make sure you never went hungry and get you away when you were in danger. We had a trust vault set up for you under your new name, for when you were accepted into Hogwarts."
"And then you disappeared," James finished. "Gone, like you were never in our house. The fear and the panic that we felt…my worst memory."
"When Dumbledore appeared the following morning he offered his condolences for Harry running away, and that it would be best if we didn't look for him," Lily continued, just about hissing Dumbledore's name. "He said that we needed to focus our attention on the future, on the Chosen One. We were to tell everyone that Harry, that you, had been placed in a safe location so that Hayden could focus on his destiny without any…distractions."
"I broke your nose," Remus said, staring at James. "And you let me. You continued your charade. I would have helped!"
"It would have been a prank," Sirius added. "I'm perfect when it comes to pranks."
"He threatened the two of you as well," James informed his once-friends. "He said that in trying times, friends were usually the first to go. And there was something in his eyes that made me believe he would have you killed. So we pushed you away."
"We looked," Lily promised. "When eyes weren't on us we looked for where Dumbledore had hidden you away. He promised we would see you September first, but I didn't believe him. And then he told us, two days before the Express left, that you had disappeared when you were nine and died."
"I got drunk," James admitted. "Really drunk. I hid myself in Harry's old room with pictures of us as a family, before everything went down the drain."
The group went silent. All could hear the bitterness, the self-loathing and the despair in James' voice, but none knew what to say. Harry and Hayden used their twin bond to plan ideas and comfort the other. The words coming from his former parents' mouths were the answers Harry had been looking for ever since he was five. Proof that his parents had loved him.
"Why didn't you leave?" Anna asked softly.
"Death penalty," Lily explained. "We leave, we get arrested and thrown into Azkaban, and Hayden would be Dumbledore's to mold and manipulate."
"So what are we going to do now?" Sirius asked. "I'm not going to sit on the sidelines while Hayden and Harry are in trouble."
"What are we going to do?" Anna asked looking at Amos. "From what I understand, Dumbledore is the instigator behind everything. I don't want my children to be under his control anymore!"
"Hayden and I have to be together mum," Harry told her. Lily choked on her tears as she heard the endearment directed at another woman. Harry looked at her, uncomfortable.
"Why, sweetie?" Anna asked curiously.
"Dumbledore thinks that I'm dead," Harry explained. "I'm not a threat to him. At most, I'm Hayden's friend because he's my hero, saving me all the time. Hayden is in real danger at Hogwarts, and I need to be there to watch his back."
"I'm protecting Harry at the moment," Hayden continued. "But when my purpose has been achieved, I'm going to be thrown aside and Harry will appear to surprise everyone. His resurrection will provide us the edge that we need to win."
"But who are you fighting?" Amos asked.
The twins looked at each other, ideas and answers flowing across their bond. They had two enemies, but they needed to gather more information before condemning both of them. If Dumbledore had been lying and manipulating them all their lives, what else had he orchestrated and what else had he done? Who else was affected by his decisions?
"Dumbledore," the stated together.
"Not Voldemort?" Remus mused, intrigued. "Why ever not?"
"Everything bad that has happened to us since Halloween," Hayden began.
"Has been thanks to Dumbledore, and only Dumbledore," Harry finished.
"And he's got a hidden agenda that only he knows about," Harry concluded.
"I've got a question," Amos announced. "What happened to your Secret Keeper? Wormtail?"
"Cowardly rat disappeared after Voldemort blew up," Sirius muttered. "His body was never found, so I'm pretty sure he ran off as a rat and is still living like a rat now."
"Damn," Amos sighed.
"I think it's time we changed our topic of discussion," Remus suggested. "We've learnt a lot, and I think that we need some time before we come up with a plan of action. Harry, how are your defence lessons coming with Severus?"
"Snape?" James asked curiously, and with a little shock.
Harry excitedly started to talk about his lessons, and then how he was teaching the younger years on Saturdays so that Hufflepuffs would know how to defend themselves, especially with an unknown terror s sweeping through Hogwarts' halls. James and Lily asked different questions about the lessons, and Hayden added some information as well, such as how good Harry actually was with magic. He didn't mention the wandless magic, but he did emphasize his control and power, and the fact that he was a brilliant teacher judging by the success of his "students". By the time Hayden was done Harry was bright red from embarrassment.
The Potters declined staying for dinner, and Midnight took them home. Sirius spent a few minutes extra with Harry, giving him a birthday present, before having Midnight take him back. He needed to have a good, long talk with James, preferably with a casket of firewhisky between them. Remus made use of the spare bedroom at the Diggory's, and after dinner he retreated to the room and went to sleep. He would get his turn with James at a later date.
Harry put the present from Sirius under the tree and helped to clean up. That night Anna and Amos tucked him into bed, sitting by his side until he was drowsy. Harry knew that they were concerned that he'd want to go back to the Potters, and he remembered the conversation that he'd heard at the beginning of the holidays.
"Mum, dad," he whispered, opening his eyes and staring at the two. "You wouldn't do that to me, would you? To protect Cedric?"
"Never," Anna promised instantly, leaning down to kiss his forehead.
"They had good intentions," Amos admitted. "But as the muggles say: the road to hell is paved with good intentions."
"Amos," Anna scolded.
"I will never abandon or shun either one of my sons," Amos corrected, placing a kiss on Harry's forehead as well. "I love both you and Cedric equally. Nothing will change that."
Harry smiled. Time would tell how the Diggorys would face adversity, but Harry trusted them to stand by him. As he drifted off to sleep, he thought to himself that his family was getting bigger and bigger by the day.
He loved it.
Christmas day dawned bright and cold. There was snow all across the ground and a cold breeze rushed through the trees surrounding the property. Harry burrowed deeper under his bed covers and thought about the day. When he had kicked his feet he had felt the presents sitting on the end of his bed, but he found that he really didn't want to open them without Cedric.
Eventually he crawled out of bed and silently crept to the lounge room and the Christmas tree. There were even more presents there, but no sign of the elder Diggorys. So Harry turned around and went up to their room to see if they were conscious or not. Poking his head around the corner of their room, he smiled as he heard their soft snores. He briefly went to check on Remus, and smiled when the man opened his eyes and gave him a morning greeting. Harry padded over to the bed and sat on the end of it, staring at Remus as he struggled to wake up.
"It's six in the morning," Remus told him. "I know it's Christmas, but wouldn't you rather sleep in?"
"How are you after yesterday?" Harry asked.
"Shouldn't I be asking you that?" Remus told him. He sighed and thought about his answer. "I guess I'm happy that I finally have an answer to the 'why'. I could never figure it out. It does make sense that Dumbledore's behind everything, but I've trusted that man almost my entire life. He was the one who allowed me to attend Hogwarts, despite my furry side."
"Uncle Moony, can I ask you a question about that?"
"Why haven't there been other werewolf children at Hogwarts? I don't believe that you were the only werewolf child who could do magic, but you were the only one to attend Hogwarts."
Remus sat up slowly and stared at Harry curiously. He thought about the question, and then the history of Hogwarts. The Whomping Willow had been planted especially for him, and in the seven years at Hogwarts he had been the only one to utilize the Shrieking Shack. When he had investigated the Shack for old time's sake, the dust indicated that no one had used it since he was in school. He had never thought about it before, but he had met children who had been bitten and could do magic, but had never attended a public institute.
"I guess, those kids were homeschooled."
"Is that likely?"
"If they didn't go to Hogwarts they would have needed a private tutor. It's against the law for children with magic to not be taught. The Ministry enforces that all children be taught, and those who refuse have their magic bound so that they can never harm another person."
"Mainly. Ministry officials visit the muggleborns who reject magic and bind the child's magic and wipe their memories."
"It's how we've been safe all these years."
"But by rejecting fresh blood we are harming ourselves," Harry protested. "Our world is so far behind the muggle world that they're far stronger than us."
"It's the way it is," Remus told him. "You can't force people to change."
"But if we continue wiping memories, hiding magic and rejecting our own kind, when the muggles find out about us they will wipe us all out in, what, ten years? We cannot afford to continue this way."
"You think the muggles will find out?"
"Yes, it's just a matter of time."
"You bring up good points," Remus admitted. "If you were in charge of our world, what would you do?"
"I don't know," Harry confessed. "But, I guess Hayden and I would discuss it and come up with a plan of action to present to everyone else."
"You and Hayden?"
"We do everything together. We cannot function without the other."
"Your wandless abilities?"
"Self-taught through Hayden. He learnt the magic and taught me, and once I got it I helped him perfect his casting."
"And at school? During your tests?"
"It's the only time that I block him from my mind, but otherwise we're constantly bouncing knowledge and ideas off of each other."
"I'll keep that in mind," Remus promised. "Now, go downstairs and wait for your new parents to get up. They're starting to stir so go and enjoy Christmas."
Harry scrunched up his nose but otherwise obeyed and scurried off to the lounge room to sit in his spot by the fire. Once it was going it warmed him up and chased away the chill of winter.
"It is far too quiet to be Christmas day," Amos announced as he collapsed into his chair with a sigh. "Good morning Harry, and Merry Christmas!"
"Merry Christmas dad," Harry replied, swiveling so that his back was facing the fire. "Do we have to do Christmas today?"
"Don't you want to celebrate Christmas Harry?" Anna asked as she joined the group.
"Not without Cedric," Harry told her. "Can we just open presents from friends, and then when Cedric wakes up we can have a family Christmas?"
"Christmas in July," Amos mused. "So today can be a practice run with the food, to make sure that everything is perfect and we don't need to change anything. I think I can live with that. Good idea Harry."
"Yes, I agree," Anna added. "Go on then, open your presents from your friends and we'll store these presents away so that we can surprise Cedric with them."
Harry grinned and pulled his presents closer to him, ripping the paper off happily. His candy supply multiplied with the amount of chocolate and candy that his friends had given him. More books were added to his personal library, and Hannah and Justin had gotten together to make him a wooden figurine of Jade. The memorial in the Common Room had been taken down so he now had a book of all the nice things his Housemates had written about her. Molly Weasley had gifted him with a woolen jumper, emerald green, and with a grin he pulled it on over his pyjamas. Sirius had given him a framed photo of him and Hayden from when they were young. The twins were sitting on Sirius' motorcycle, Sirius holding them on and grinning like a loon, knowing that what he was doing would earn him weeks in the dog house. However, Harry loved it because it had been taken before the shunning and abandonment.
He took his presents up to his room, taking great care when placing his figurine of Jade onto his desk next to his animated wolf. He stared at it lovingly before greeting Midnight and returning to his new parents. They spent the rest of the day tasting food, commenting on what they would need for their July celebration and what wouldn't be needed. After dinner they dressed up and Anna spent a few minutes styling Harry's hair so that it was neat and presentable for the Ministry Ball.
The Diggorys promised him that they wouldn't stay for long, socialize for an hour or two, dance a few songs, and then they would go home. Harry agreed with that, though he knew that there was a high chance he'd be bored simply because Hayden wouldn't be attending. His family hadn't attended the previous year's Ball, and Hayden had told him that they wouldn't attend this year's one. So Harry remained quiet, he stood by Anna's side, smiled when he was spoken to and answered questions softly when asked. He was thrilled when he spotted Susan standing next to her aunt, and excused himself so that he could go over and talk to her. Susan looked relived to see him as well, and they danced together when the music started. Well, Susan danced and Harry did his absolute best not to stand on her feet.
However, he was happy to go home and escape those who were constantly offering their condolences for Cedric's attack. Hayden had no sympathy for him, and spent most of the night laughing and telling jokes. Harry admitted that it made the night more bearable. But when he got home and curled up under his bed covers, he and Hayden started to plan. The adults had made it clear that they wouldn't be following Dumbledore anymore, but the twins knew that it wouldn't be that easy.
So their plan was developed. They needed to be close to Dumbledore, no matter how much they hated it. He was the Leader of the Light, and had many connections. Until they had something concrete on him to ruin his reputation and get him removed from his numerous government positions, they needed to obey him. Hayden needed to appear as if he were in Dumbledore's pocket, his loyal stooge. Harry likened it to the saying: "Keep your friends close, and your enemies closer." Dumbledore would trust Hayden, so when they were ready to make a move it would be that much more effective because Hayden was already there.
This plan makes me nervous, Hayden admitted.
We have time, Harry promised. And we need to figure out this Heir of Slytherin rubbish. Someone at Hogwarts is working against us, we need to figure out who and why and how.
And I need to make sure Ron and Hermione are still alive after their Polyjuice adventure.
Harry agreed, a smile on his face. The fact that three Second Years, even if Hermione was the only one brewing, had brewed a supremely difficult potion that was effective was amazing. He bid his brother a goodnight and settled down to sleep. His first stop after returning to Hogwarts would be to visit the Hospital Wing and tell Cedric about how the holidays had gone. While Cedric may have been petrified, Harry believed that the Fourth Years was aware of what was happening around him. If he was aware, he was probably bored out of his mind and listening to some chatter on about anything and everything was bound to make his petrification more bearable. Harry even considered grabbing some of Cedric's books and reading about what he was supposed to be learning so that he wouldn't be too far behind his classmates.
Go to sleep Harry, I can hear you thinking.
Good night Hayden, Harry replied with a laugh.
The end of the holidays came about fairly quickly once Christmas was over. Harry had everything packed and ready, and Amos would be taking him to the station. He had some last minute warnings about not doing anything dangerous, not getting hurt, and to keep his eyes opened for any danger. Harry hugged him goodbye and boarded the train. Hayden would be taking the train back to school, and to keep him safe they would travelling together with a locking charm on the door and the windows blackened so that no one would be able to see inside or get in.
They spent the journey fleshing out their plans and their to-do list. Aside from getting Hayden to appear firmly on Dumbledore's side, they needed to: determine what was killing and petrifying students and animals; find out who was responsible for the Chamber opening; learn more defensive charms so that Hayden wouldn't be killed walking to classes; find somewhere where they could hide out without anyone disturbing them; and prepare for final exams.
"The next few months are going to be hard," Hayden warned, looking over their lists.
"I know," Harry told him. "I also need to find time to visit Aran and Aranel. They probably think that I've forgotten them."
"I sometimes find it amazing that you were adopted by a unicorn," Hayden laughed. "I mean, there is no one else who would deserve it more than you, but you are definitely the first human to have been adopted. They normally stick to other magical creatures."
"Humans are magical as well," Harry explained, smiling at his brother. "It's just that humans tend to be darker than other magical creatures. We are the only species who kill each other for sport."
"Yeah, but still…"
"I'm going to miss this," Harry admitted.
"Maybe we should make finding a space for us a priority?"
"We're still not allowed to go anywhere alone," Hayden rebutted. "You would have to bring your friends with you, and they're more likely to kill me than let us hang out."
"We'll prove them wrong about you," Harry promised.
Hayden smiled at him and relaxed back against his seat. After lunch he decided that he would sleep for a few hours, knowing that he wouldn't get much rest once he was back at school. He closed his eyes, feeling safe with Harry watching over him.
"I'm glad mum and dad really loved me," Harry whispered when he was almost asleep.
"Me too," Hayden replied, half asleep.
"Everything's going to change now, isn't it?"
"Yeah," Hayden opened his eyes so that he could look at Harry. "Go to sleep, or read a book or something. Relax, for once we get to school we won't be able to."
"Okay," Harry pulled out a book and made himself comfortable.
The rest of the journey was made in silence. Hayden slept until Harry woke him, and as they dressed in their school robes they prepared themselves. They were back, and they were going to find out exactly who was the Heir of Slytherin. Look out Hogwarts…
The Potter Twins were making their move.
Next up in Harry Potter: Chosen One
Chapter 21: A Fifty Year Secret
There may or may not be another two chapters for this year. Maybe three. I'm not going to promise a speedy update, but it shouldn't take another 11 months to write the next chapter. Have I confused anyone? Is there anything that you would like to see that I haven't included yet? If you have any plot ideas, don't hesitate to review. I love to read your ideas, they inspire me to get creative.
Until the next chapter then!