7th June 1992
Harry slowly stirred. His blurry vision could make out that it was bright. 'What-?' He tried to remember what happened, and after a moment it struck him. He jerked, and a kind voice interrupted him.
"Calm down, Harry." It was Dumbledore. "The dangers over, my boy. You're in the Hospital Wing," he said, gingerly putting on Harry's glasses on his eyes.
"Sir, the Stone, I - I tried to protect it, but -"
"It was destroyed. Yes, you did tell me that before you passed out. Gave me quite a scare actually. Turns out it was magical exhaustion."
"Sir, what about Ron, and Hermione and -"
"All well my boy. Thanks to your friend Mr Smith's quick thinking, Mr Weasley, Mr Longbottom, and Ms Granger were able to escape. Mr Weasley volunteered to stay by the trap door and inform me of the situation when I arrived."
"What about Mark?" Harry now asked, fearing the answer.
"He was badly injured. He had a lot of bruises along with magical exhaustion like you, but nothing more serious. He is currently asleep, just over there," Dumbledore said looking towards another bed currently surrounded by curtains.
"Do not worry Harry. You and your friends are all safe and sound. That, I believe, is the most important thing." Dumbledore said in a reassuring manner.
"But sir, what about your friend - Nicolas Flamel -" Harry stammered out guiltily.
"Oh, you know about Nicolas then?" said Dumbledore sounding a bit amused. "It seems you did do the thing properly, didn't you?" He took a pause before continuing,
"Well, Nicolas, his wife, and I had a little chat - well actually it's better you hear it from them directly. I'll be back shortly," he got up and left.
Harry froze. They were here? Were they here to scold him? Express their disappointment in him? The thoughts couldn't seem to leave him alone when he heard someone arrive. Panic set in, only to be dissipated when it turned out to be Ron, Neville, and Hermione.
"Harry you're awake!" Hermione cried on spotting him, jogging over to him. Ron and Neville followed big grins on their faces.
"How are you feeling mate?" Ron asked, his voice carrying a hint of worry quite unlike him.
Harry just nodded. Ron clapped him on the shoulder lightly, while Hermione began to speak
"Oh, we were so worried. I - I still can't believe that it was Quirrell and that he - he had - thing on his head. I - I thought he was going to kill us." She finished, almost in whispers.
Ron and Neville nodded silently, their minds reliving the experience of that night. Harry spoke, in a voice laced with guilt.
"I shouldn't have asked you guys to come in with me, it was too dangerous"
It was Neville who replied, in the sternest voice that Harry had ever heard.
"In case you don't remember Harry, you didn't ask us. We offered. And I do not think that anyone here regrets coming with you down through that trapdoor"
"And anyways how were you going to cross the chessboard without Ron's help?" Hermione said, in a scolding tone. Ron tried to look at the stone ceiling in order to hide the blush on his freckled face.
"But what good did it do? The Stone was destroyed. What will Mr Flamel say?"
"He would say that he is extremely impressed and frankly surprised at the display of skills and the courage shown by five young witches and wizards," came a rather crisp voice from the doorway.
Harry turned to see the newcomers. Standing with Professor Dumbledore was a couple, who looked like they were in their early sixties. The man was dressed in a prim grey robe, while the lady was dressed in deep scarlet ones. They walked over briskly to Harry's bed.
"Well hello, Mr Potter. It is good to finally meet you. I'm Nicolas, and this is my lovely wife Perenelle," the new man said. "I wish to sincerely thank you," he paused looking at the surprised faces of the three other kids, "All four of you. You have shown tremendous fibre in your efforts to protect our property, although I do wish it hadn't come to it," he finished, with a pointed look at Dumbledore.
"I'm so sorry, sir. I didn't wish for the stone to-"
"Oh, Mr Potter, didn't you listen? We're proud of you. You went above and beyond what was expected of an eleven-year-old wizard. It was more important that the Stone not fall into the hands of dark forces, and you did just that."
"But sir, won't - won't you die?" The couple shared a soft smile, and it was the woman who answered
"Mr Potter, the elixir acts in essence to stop the ageing of the body. Even without the elixir, we will live for year or two, and we have enough elixir stored for a few more."
Ron and Neville had an amazed look on their faces, while Hermione's was showing delight at learning this new information. Harry, however, was still feeling guilty. He didn't want to be responsible for anybody's death.
"To one as young as you, Mr Potter, death may seem incredible, but Nicolas and I have been alive for a long time," she paused to take a deep breath before continuing, "A very, very, long time."
There was a long silence, in which the four Gryffindors digested this wisdom. Dumbledore broke the silence,
"Mr Weasley, Mr Longbottom, Ms Granger. I believe it is time for you to have your lunch in the great hall. I'm sure Mr Potter would like you to visit later." The three nodded and left silently.
Mr Flamel seemed to remember something and spoke,
"Albus, I think we should now convey our thanks to the fifth member of Mr Potters party."
Mark had been awake for the last few minutes. He had heard the Flamels talk with Harry, and could now hear them walking towards his bed.
The footsteps stopped just outside his curtains, and he heard hushed voices.
"My friend, will it be alright if I returned to Harry? I believe there are still questions the poor boy wants answers to, and I wish to make myself available to answer them," spoke Dumbledore.
"Of course, Albus, we understand," came the voice of a woman. Mark heard Dumbledore's footsteps walk away before the curtains were drawn open. He decided to greet his visitors
"Ah, Mr Smith. You're awake," the man, who must be Nicholas Flamel spoke. "I hear you have had quite the adventure"
"Nothing I'd like to repeat sir," Mark replied.
"You showed great courage, Mr Smith. I thank you." Nicolas said in the sincerest tone.
"The stone sir - I -" Mark began. He didn't know how to put up what he wanted to say.
"As I said to Mr Potter, we still have a year or two to live. The Stone only delayed the inevitable," answered Nicolas
Mark nodded silently, then voiced the question on his mind
"How - How does the elixir work? How exactly? Can it like cure - cure diseases, for examples."
Both Nicolas and Perenelle smiled at this. It was the latter who answered.
"In a manner of speaking. We don't fully know how the stone exactly worked." She took a pause. "Actually, that was the primary reason why we still used it. We were trying to conduct experiments with the Elixir. We did manage to extract a few cures from it, like the one for Dragon Pox."
"Could it - could it work on non-magical humans?" Mark asked hesitantly. "My father. He has Leukaemia. I wondered if there was a cure."
Nicolas' and Perenelle's face fell a little, before taking on a sympathetic visage.
"As far as we can tell, the magic in the elixir will not react kindly with a non-magical being. None of the potions generally do," Nicolas said. "And we will likely not know," he added after a moment.
Mark went into deep thought, considering his options. Perenelle seemed to recognise his dilemma.
"Mr Smith, is there something you wish to ask us?"
Mark looked into her eyes and gleaned with as much subtlety as possible. He needed to be sure, and he did not wish to alert them. Satisfied with what he saw, he voiced his question.
"What if we can know? If the elixir can be used to cure cancer?"
At seeing the confused faces of his visitors, Mark slowly got out of his bed and walked towards the chair on which his clothes and shoes were kept. Picking up the left shoe, he returned to bed. Perenelle seemed to have realised what he was about to say, and her face took on an expression of awe.
Putting his hand into the sole of the shoe, Mark removed a blood red stone and placed it onto his bed.
"How-?" came the spluttering question from Nicolas finally.
"I didn't want to destroy the stone, but I needed Voldemort to think I had. So, I transfigured a chocolate frog in my pocket into a reddish crystal and then threw it into the cursed fire." Mark explained.
"But the Dark Lord is an accomplished Legilimens, how could-" Nicolas said disbelievingly.
"You're a Natural Legilimens, aren't you?" Perenelle asked suddenly. She seemed to have realised Mark reading her mind before. Mark simply nodded.
"Once I found out about the Stone from Harry, I couldn't stop thinking about dad," he said remembering the events of that night. "Once I saw the stone on the floor, I summoned it to myself. But I also needed to save Harry, and had to distract Voldemort"
Nicolas and Perenelle shared a look. They were clearly impressed by Mark's actions. Picking up the stone to examine it, Perenelle asked Mark,
"You want to find a cure for your father? What makes you think you can do it?"
"Well, I had intended to have the Stone examined. Using non-magical technology, I mean. Under the microscope, possibly a spectrograph, standard chemical tests etc. Also, if I could isolate whatever compounds are active in the elixir, it would be possible to see the effects directly on the blood cells, and-"
"You wish to see how it would react with blood? Blood magic is a very Dark Magic, Mr Smith and not to be trifled-"
"No no no, I meant inject it into the bloodstream" Mark clarified. "Since the elixir will not be subjected to the digestive tract, it might react in a different way-" he tapered off.
"Brilliant!" Nicolas said, "Injecting! We never even considered it," he said to an equally intrigued Perenelle.
"Well, I hope that helps," Mark said, feeling a little awkward now.
The couple looked at each other. Nicolas and Perenelle seemed to be having a silent conversation for a while. Finally, Nicolas spoke.
"Mr Smith, there is something more that I - we need to ask of you," he said.
Mark nodded, a little confused. Nicolas continued,
"Since you clearly have a plan to proceed along with your idea, we wish to offer you a chance to work with us on this."
Now it was Mark's turn to be gobsmacked. Work with the legendary Flamels?
"You may be young, but as you clearly don't have a bias towards magical means," he explained further. "You come off as the inventive sort, and we wish to offer you this opportunity."
"Yes!" Mark replied immediately. Perenelle smiled, then fished out a small crystal flask from her robes. Inside was a pearly rose liquid.
"Here is your first sample then," she said, handing over the flask to Mark, who took it gingerly. "Do take your time and don't hurry at all. It is important that your studies don't suffer because of this"
Mark nodded slowly, trying to keep his emotions in check. He failed, and swiftly gave the witch in front of him a tight hug.
AN: So here we have it. The Stone is still around and is sure to affect future events. The fact that they faced Voldemort will affect Ron and Hermione, and affect their general attitude towards the danger and adventures that they get up to.
Fun fact: Mark saving the Stone is the first plot point that I had envisioned while developing this story.
Hope you enjoyed this chapter. Feedback is welcome, so please review