The Dueling Club and Deaths at Hogwarts
The news that Justin Finch-Fletchley had been attacked and was now lying as though dead in the hospital wing had spread around the entire school by the time everyone went to breakfast the next morning. The air was suddenly thick with rumor and suspicion. The first-years were now moving around the castle in tight-knit groups, as though scared they would be attacked if they ventured forth alone. The animosity between the Gryffindors and Slytherins was even worse than it had been after the attack on Mrs. Norris. Classes were so tense when those two houses were together that a lot of students weren't getting their classwork done.
Hidden from the teachers, a roaring trade in talismans, amulets and other protective devices was sweeping the school. Roger Davies boasted about making money off of several Hufflepuff Muggle-borns who were all eager to buy rotting-newt tails and evil-smelling green onions that supposedly warded off dark creatures. The Slytherins had a good laugh when they saw some Muggle-borns and half bloods walking around with pointed purple crystals that were supposed to keep a person from becoming petrified.
"Are people actually stupid enough to believe those things work?" Cass asked with a superior look on her face. "If they did the professors would be handing them out."
"They're Mudbloods," Leo snidely chimed in. "Of course they're stupid."
A week later, Harrison and his friends were walking across the Entrance Hall when they saw a small knot of people gathered around the Hogwarts notice-board, reading a piece of parchment that had just been pinned up. Harrison could hear excited whispers and he lead his friends to the board, pushing past a knot of excited first year Gryffindors.
"A dueling club," Harrison murmured after reading the notice.
"The first meeting is tonight," Theo said. "Shall we go?"
"It could be useful," Harrison answered. To see what the enemy knows, he added in his head.
"I would love to be paired up with the weasel," Draco said with a dangerous smirk. "I can show him just how much more magic I know than him."
"Within reason," Harrison said in an undertone with a hint of warning.
Harrison knew how Draco felt about Ron and he didn't want his best friend to slip and do something he wouldn't be able to take back. Harrison wouldn't put it past Dumbledore to go to the meeting secretly under a disillusionment charm.
"I wonder why a dueling club was suddenly formed," Blaise mused as they walked to the Great Hall.
"Oh, I don't know," Draco drawled. "Maybe because the Chamber of Secrets was opened."
Blaise's eyes narrowed. "Maybe, but seeing how Slytherins monster can't duel this club won't be of much use."
"It's probably because of Lockhart," Daphne guessed. "Dumbledore had to have heard how much of an idiot the man is, and having a dueling club is the only way anyone will learn anything." As they walked into the Great Hall she glanced at where Ron was sitting. "And some people really do need all the help they can get."
That night at eight o'clock, they made their way to the Great Hall. The long dining tables had vanished and a golden stage had appeared along one wall, lit by thousands of candles floating overhead. The ceiling was velvety black once more and most of the school seemed to be packed beneath it. The first years were looking around eagerly while a group of older Slytherins appeared to only be there to see if any drama would happen.
"Who do you think will be teaching us?" Jenna asked as she stood up on her tip toes. "I hope it will be Flitwick or Severus, I heard from Roger that Flitwick was a dueling champion in his youth."
"As long as it isn't-" Blaise began before breaking off and groaning.
Harrison turned to where he was looking and saw Gilderoy Lockhart walking onto the stage. He was wearing resplendent in robes of deep plum and accompanied by none other than Snape, wearing his usual black. Harrison scowled, he'd rather be taught by a blasted house elf than have more lessons with Lockhart.
Lockhart waved an arm for silence and called, "Gather round, gather round! Can everyone see me?"
"Unfortunately," Cass said as her lips thinned.
"Can you all hear me?" Lockhart continued. "Excellent! Now, Professor Dumbledore has granted me permission to start this little Dueling Club, to train you all up, in case you ever need to defend yourselves as I myself have done on countless occasions, for full details, see my published works." Harrison rolled his eyes, if Lockhart's done half the things he says he had than Harrison would be best friends with Dumbledore. "Let me introduce my assistant Professor Snape," said Lockhart, flashing a wide smile.
Blaise snorted. "Sev won't like being called his assistant."
Blaise was correct, Harrison could see Snape's eyes take on a dangerous gleam. Harrison's lips quirked into a smirk, this was going to be interesting.
"He tells me he knows a tiny little bit about dueling himself and has sportingly agreed to help me with a short demonstration before we begin. Now, I don't want any of you youngsters to worry - you'll still have your Potions Master when I'm through with him, never fear!" Lockhart bounced on the balls of his feet.
Harrison fought off the urge to sneer and hex the mans annoying face off. Who does this man think he is? Severus could beat him in a duel with both hands tied behind his back. By the looks on the other Slytherins faces they were fighting the same urge.
"Wouldn't it be good if they finished each other off?" Harrison heard Ron say to Dean and Seamus; he shot them a glare before turning back to the stage.
Snape's upper lip was curling. Lockhart and Snape turned to face each other and bowed; at least, Lockhart did, with much twirling of his hands, where as Snape jerked his head irritably. Then they raised their wands like swords in front of them.
"As you see, we are holding our wands in the accepted combative position," Lockhart told the silent crowd. "On the count of three, we will cast our first spells. Neither of us will be aiming to kill, of course."
"How unfortunate," Harrison drawled causing his friends to snicker and Hermione to send him a reprimanding look. It would save me a headache if Severus finished him off.
"One - two - three -"
Both of them swung their wands up and over their shoulders. Snape cried "Expelliarmus!"
There was a dazzling flash of scarlet light and Lockhart was blasted off his feet; he flew backwards off the stage, smashed into the wall and slid down to sprawl on the floor.
Harrison smirked while the other Slytherins cheered.
Hermione was dancing on tiptoes. "Oh do you think he's alright?"
"Who cares," Draco sneered.
"You're very insensitive," Hermione said disapprovingly. She stared at him the way McGonagall looked at the Weasley twins when she knew they were up to something.
"I'm not insensitive," Draco snapped. "I just don't care."
Hermione frowned but didn't say anything when Harrison shook his head. Harrison knew that he'd be needing a headache relieving potion by the end of the night.
Lockhart was getting unsteadily to his feet. His hat had fallen off and his wavy hair was standing on end.
"Well there you have it!" Lockhart said, tottering back on to the platform. "That was a Disarming Charm - as you see, I've lost my wand - ah, thank you, Miss Brown. Yes, an excellent idea to show them that, Professor Snape, but if you don't mind me saying so, it was very obvious what you were about to do. If I had wanted to stop you, it would have been only too easy. However, I felt it would be instructive to let them see..."
"Of course," Leo said sounding bored.
Snape was looking murderous.
Possibly Lockhart had noticed, because he said, "Enough demonstrating! I'm going to come amongst you now and put you all into pairs. Professor Snape, if you'd like to help me ..."
They moved through the crowd, matching up partners. Lockhart teamed Neville with Ernie Macmillan, but Snape reached Ron, Seamus and Dean first.
"I don't think so Mr. Weasley, Mr. Finnigan," Snape said, smiling coldly. "Mr. Weasley, you'll pair with Mr. Riddle. Let's see what you make of Mr. Finnigan, Mr. Malfoy. Ah let's see, and Mr. Thomas you can partner with Mr. Lestrange."
The three Gryffindors scowled at Snape while the three Slytherins exchanged smirks. Everyone else paired up and they were told to pull out their wands. Harrison twirled his wand around with his fingers all the while smirking at a glaring Ron.
"Face your partners!" called Lockhart, back on the platform, "and bow!"
Harrison and Ron barely inclined their heads, not taking their eyes off each other.
"Wands at the ready!" Lockhart shouted. "When I count to three, cast your charms to disarm your opponent - only to disarm them - we don't want any accidents. One ... two ... three ..."
Harrison heard Draco cast at two but he didn't pay him any attention, he waited until Lockhart said three and fired off a curse. He made sure to speak out loud, he would draw unwanted attention if he cast non-verbally.
"Langlock!" Harrison shouted.
Harrison smirked when Ron didn't even put up a shield, the spell hit him square in the chest. Ron went to say a spell but realized that his tongue was glued to the roof of his mouth and began trying to yell but nothing coherent came out. Harrison's smirk grew, that was precisely the reason why a person should know how to cast non-verbally. Harrison knew he could just disarm Ron and then be done with it, but he wanted to embarrass the boy first. He could hear spells being shouted all around him and saw several people fall to the ground from his peripheral vision.
"Engorgio Skullus!" Harrison shouted and Ron surprisingly dodged it. "Anteoculatia! Locomotor Wibbly! Calvorio!" Ron dodged the next two but the third hit him in the neck causing all of his red hair to fall out of his head. Ron's eyes went wide as he looked down and saw his hair puddled around his feet. "Densaugeo!" Ron hadn't been paying attention and the spell landed right on target causing Ron's front teeth to begin growing.
Ron glared at Harrison and it was obvious he was trying to yell curses. He was waving his wand around over-zealously and his face was bright red. Harrison sent a disarming jinx and Ron's wand went sailing through the air and into his hand. Harrison shot the now bald second year a triumphant look. Ron looked ready to charge at him so Harrison quickly sent a stunner before he could act. Harrison twirled both wands in his hands and looked around the room. There were students waving their wands around wildly, some students were laying on the ground and others were spouting boils or purple spots.
"Nice job Harrison," Draco smirked.
"Thank you," Harrison said as he heard a click and turned to Pansy. "What are you doing?"
Pansy was holding the camera she usually carried with her everywhere. "I wanted a picture of this memory."
Draco laughed while Harrison shook his head in amusement. He looked down at Seamus who was laying face down on the ground sporting a pigs tail. Harrison snorted before his head snapped up upon hearing a loud explosion.
"I said disarm only!" Lockhart shouted in alarm. No one could hear him over the noise. "Stop! Stop!"
Snape took charge. "Finite Incantatem!"
Harrison looked around, a haze of green smoke was hovering over the scene. Everyone who had been laying on the ground was waking up and those who had been hit with other spells were going back to normal. Ron jumped up and glared at Harrison with more venom than he ever had before. Harrison winked causing the red head to turn bright red and ball his hands into fists. All that did was cause Harrison to be even more amused, he loved how easy it was to get Ron riled up.
"Dear, dear," said Lockhart, skittering through the crowd, looking at the aftermath of the duels. "Up you get, Macmillan...careful there, Miss Fawcett...pinch it hard, and it'll stop bleeding in a second, Boot. I think I'd better teach you how to block unfriendly spells," said Lockhart, standing flustered in the midst of the hall. "Let's have a volunteer pair - Longbottom and Macmillan, how about you?"
"A bad idea, Professor Lockhart," said Snape, gliding over. "Longbottom causes devastation with the simplest spells. We'll be sending what's left of Macmillan up to the hospital wing in a match-box." Neville's round pink face went pinker. "How about Weasley and Malfoy?" He asked with a twisted smile, the hall broke into whispers and Draco looked as though Christmas had come early.
"Excellent idea!" said Lockhart, gesturing Draco and Ron into the middle of the Hall as the crowd backed away to give them room.
"Now, Weasley," said Lockhart, "When Malfoy points his wand at you, you do this." He raised his wand, attempting a complicated sort of wiggling action and dropped it. Snape smirked as Lockhart quickly picked it up, saying, "Whoops - my wand is a little over-excited." Harrison covered up a snort with a cough.
"Scared?" Muttered Ron, so that Lockhart couldn't hear him.
"You wish," said Draco out of the corner of his mouth.
Lockhart cuffed Ron merrily on the shoulder. "Just do what I did, Weasley!"
Harrison saw Ron scowl; well at least Ron isn't stupid enough to listen to the fool.
"Three - two - one - go!" Lockhart shouted.
"Locomotor Mortis!" Draco shouted and Ron quickly jumped out of the way.
"Stupefy!" Ron yelled and a red light shot towards Draco.
"Protego!" Draco waved his wand. "Expelliarmus!" Ron barely moved out of the way in time. "Expelliarmus! Expelliarmus! Slugulus Eructo!"
Ron managed to throw up a shield to block the first spell but it faltered upon impact and the next two spells hit him in quick succession. Ron's wand went flying into Draco's outstretched hand and a green light sent Ron flying backwards. Ron landed on his butt with his head down and the Slytherins and Ravenclaws burst into cheers. Ron looked up red faced and a slug came sliding out of his open mouth. There were sounds of disgust all around the hall and a few girls looked green.
Draco smirked as he tossed Ron's wand at him before walking off the stage with his head held high.
"Can you believe that essay McGonagall assigned?" Pansy complained. "It's going to take hours to finish." She stabbed her carrots violently.
"It's not that bad," Theo said as he eyes the frustrated girl. "It-"
Theo was cut off when the doors to the Great Hall slammed open and a frantic Hufflepuff rushed in. The girl had a look of terror etched on her face and her skin looked as pale as snow. She was breathing heavy and staring around wide eyed. Dumbledore immediately stood up as did the other heads of house. Every student in the hall was staring at the Hufflepuff as she stopped in front of the head table directly in front of the Muggle Studies professor who looked startled.
"He's just laying there!" The Hufflepuff shrieked, her voice rising with every word. "He's- he's petrified!" The girl fell to her knees and began to sob.
Frantic whispers broke at all the four house tables as a red haired Hufflepuff ran to the crying girl.
"Miss Matthews who is petrified?" Dumbledore asked urgently.
"Zacharias Smith," the Hufflepuff girl choked out. Harrison's lips twitched, in his opinion the prat deserved it. "He's in front of the- the library and so is Nearly Headless Nick."
There were a few shocked gasps at her words, most of the students couldn't fathom something being able to petrify a ghost. Dumbledore and McGonagall exchanged a significant look before Dumbledore quickly left the hall followed by Pomfrey, Sprout and Snape. The noise in the Great Hall rose and several of the younger Hufflepuffs began to cry and even a few Gryffindors had tears welling in their eyes. The older Hufflepuffs looked horrified and Harrison could hear someone saying they shouldn't have let any of the younger students go off by themselves. The Slytherins and most of the Ravenclaws looked unaffected, in fact several of the older Slytherins looked amused before masking their expressions. McGonagall shot three red firecrackers from her wand to call for silence.
"Silence!" McGonagall yelled into the hall, her Scottish accent shining through. The hall went silent with the exception of quiet sniffling. "Prefects please escort your classmates to your common rooms, no one is allowed to leave until tomorrow morning. Prefects who were assigned rounds this evening need not patrol the halls."
There was loud shuffling as students got up and prefects began rounding up the younger students. Harrison followed Violet and Marcus out of the Great Hall feeling satisfaction at the terrified looks on some of the students faces. He could tell by the look on Cass' face that she wanted to burst into a fit of laughter but was refraining from doing so. He pushed past a group of Hufflepuff first years and made the journey to the common room.
"Zacharias Smith," Harrison smirked as he sat down in front of a blazing fireplace. "It couldn't have happened to a bigger idiot."
"Why isn't he dead?" Draco groaned.
"He must've only seen the reflection," Theo pointed out.
"It's weird that everyone keeps only seeing its reflection," Blaise mused. "You would think someone would look directly into its eyes."
"It's only petrified two people and Mrs. Norris," Theo reminded him as he picked up a large dark blue book. "There's still time for someone to die."
"Attention now," Snape's loud voice echoed around the room drawing everyones attention. Harrison looked up at his head of house, he hadn't seen him enter the room. "Gather around everyone." He looked around to make sure everyone was present. "The headmaster has informed the Ministry of Magic about this evenings attack on Mr. Smith and Nearly Headless Nick. Minister Fudge and Amelia Bones both agree that the school needs protection." Snape sneered the last sentence and a few Slytherins rolled their eyes. "As of tomorrow morning Aurors will be patrolling the school twenty-four seven." Snape's eyes were blazing with annoyance. "The headmaster wants all of the heads of house to inform our students that no one is to walk around the school alone, you must go in at least groups of two until the threat is taken care of." Snape's eyes roamed to Harrison who smirked. Harrison could've sworn he saw amusement dance in the mans onyx eyes before he spun around and exited the common room.
Conversations broke out around the room.
"Aurors," Leo sneered in disgust.
Harrison didn't hear anything after that as his mind drifted. Aurors being at the school wasn't a good thing but Harrison wasn't truly surprised. It would be more difficult for him to retrieve the diary when the time came but he would find a way. He made an amused sound in the back of his throat as he pictured a petrified Zacharias Smith, he would pay a million galleons to see him like that.
The double attack on Zacharias Smith and Nearly Headless Nick turned what had hitherto been nervousness into real panic. Curiously, it was Nearly Headless Nick's fate that seemed to worry people most. Everyone was wondering what could possibly do that to a ghost, people asked each other: what terrible power could harm someone who was already dead? There was almost a stampede to book seats on the Hogwarts Express so that students could go home for Christmas. The Slytherins and a majority of the Ravenclaws found it amusing to say the least. The Gryffindors and Hufflepuffs would walk around in huddled groups and students could be seen looking around in a paranoid fashion. Neville had almost hyper ventilated when he saw his shadow one afternoon and Harrison spent twenty minutes calming him down.
Everywhere anyone went Aurors were present, they were stationed all around the castle and the grounds. A tall black man with a deep voice and one gold hoop earring normally stood by the large oak doors that led to the Great Hall, Harrison learned that his name was Kingsley Shacklebolt. A grizzled older man who resembled a lion who Harrison recognized from the Daily Prophet as Rufus Scrimgeour was also present quite often. Harrison made sure to never draw their attention and acted perfectly pleasant around them. He could tell that some of the students felt safer with Aurors everywhere but that didn't lessen the tension and fear that filled the school.
Soon the term ended and a silence deep as the snow on the grounds descended on the castle. Harrison had been planning to return home for the holidays but his plans changed at the last minute when some of his fathers plans advanced quicker than he had planned. Lucius, Narcissa and Bellatrix were helping Tom so Draco was staying as well. Leo and Cass were going to stay but their father wanted to see them so they signed up to return home. Blaise's mother had apparently gotten engaged so he had to return home to meet the unfortunate man. In fact the only Slytherins staying over the holidays were Harrison and Draco.
The two Slytherins walked into the Great Hall after saying goodbye to their friends and they both stopped dead in their tracks. The four house tables were gone, instead there was one large round table in the center of the hall. Fred, George, Percy, Ron, Ginny, Seamus, Dean, a small mousy first year Harrison knew was Colin Creevey and a Ravenclaw prefect named Penelope Clearwater were the only ones seated there. Draco made an annoyed noise in his throat as they began walking to the table. Harrison ignored the glares from Ron, Dean and Seamus as he sat down next to Percy. The older boy gave him a respectful nod which Harrison returned. Harrison knew that Percy was reporting the goings on in Gryffindor tower to his father and Percy knew Harrison was the Dark Lord's son, but by their interaction one wouldn't be able to tell they had anything in common.
"Harrison," Fred began grinning.
"What are you-" George continued.
"Doing here?" Fred finished as he pulled apart his roll.
"What are you doing here?" Ron growled. "Your dad doesn't want you around?" He gave Harrison a challenging look as the twins scowled at their younger brother.
"Ron!" Percy scolded looking both angry and embarrassed.
Harrison turned cold eyes to his least favorite person in the world as he held up a hand to Percy. "I could ask you the same question." Ron's ears turned red. "It's none of your business, but my father is currently busy with work." He spoke in a silky voice that reminded everyone at the table of Snape. "I'm staying at Hogwarts in favor of staying with one of my friends."
"What are you doing here?" Ron snapped at Draco in an attempt to regain some dignity.
"That's none of your business weasel," Draco sneered, his gray eyes burning with hatred.
"You-" Ron began angrily.
"Why are you here?" A dreamy voice asked from behind Harrison, cutting Ron off. He smirked when he recognized Luna's voice. "You shouldn't say his father doesn't want him home when you're here as well." Her large eyes pierced Ron as she stopped behind Draco. "You're here because your parents are in Romania."
"Wh-what?" Ron spluttered. "How do you know that?"
Luna tilted her head to the side, she looked like an innocent eleven year old causing Harrison to snort. He covered it up with a cough but he knew that Draco saw right through it. Luna was wearing splendid robes of plum purple with a silver trim. Her long blonde hair was hanging loosely around her face and her eyes glittered. She sat down next to Draco and ignored the red heads question.
"How do you know that?" Ron demanded as his cheeks tinged pink.
"Ron control yourself," Percy scolded.
"Then tell her to answer my question," Ron half demanded, half whined.
"What are you five?" Harrison said tonelessly. "Leave her alone, she doesn't have to answer your questions." Ron looked ready to leap over the table and punch him.
"Don't talk to him like that," Seamus growled out, his Irish accent more pronounced than normal.
Harrison sneered. "I can do as I like."
"Typical rich spoiled brat," Seamus said rudely. He eyed Harrison like Lucius would an extremely poor Muggle.
"Jealous Gryffindor," Harrison stated mockingly. He fingered the long chain of the snake necklace his father had given him before his first year, the emeralds that represented the eyes glittered in the light from the candles.
"I would never be jealous of you," Seamus spat.
Harrison rolled his eyes while Draco chuckled. The three second year Gryffindors now all looked equally angry. Colin was looking around nervously and Penelope was attempting to ignore the situation. The Clearwater's were on the dark side, but it wouldn't do for Penelope to show favor to Harrison in front of Ron and his friends. Ginny looked like she wanted to be anywhere other than in the Great Hall and she had large bags under her eyes. Harrison didn't put much thought into how she looked, he knew it was because of the diary. The twins were looking back and forth between their brother and Harrison while Percy was turning purple with anger.
"Really?" Draco asked snidely. "I would assume you'd rather be anyone than yourself."
"Shut up!" Seamus snapped standing up and drawing his wand.
Harrison and Draco immediately jumped up and pulled theirs out as well. The twins followed suit and pointed their wands at Seamus causing Ron to snarl and turn as red as the sun. Dean fumbled with his silverware before grabbing his wand. Luna looked completely unfazed and continued to eat her piece of treacle tart. Colin froze like a deer caught in headlights and Ginny bit her lip nervously. Penelope and Percy both stood up looking furious but before anyone could react further McGonagall's voice cut through the tense silence.
"What are you all doing?" McGonagall demanded.
"Seamus pointed his wand at us professor," Harrison said in his defense. "Draco and I only pulled ours out to defend ourselves."
"You pulled yours our first!" Ron yelled with a smirk towards Harrison. McGonagall's nostrils flared. "We were only trying to defend ourselves."
"I saw Mr. Finnigan pull his wand out first," McGonagall said angrily. Her tight bun and pitch black robes made her look menacing and Ron flinched. "Twenty points from Gryffindor for lying to a professor Weasley and ten from you, Mr. Finnigan and Mr. Thomas for pulling your wand out on your school mates." She turned to the twins and her glare lessened. "Ten points to each of you for attempting to help Mr. Riddle and Mr. Malfoy." She looked between Percy and Penelope. "Next time don't allow a fight to escalate, I expect better from prefects." She sounded disappointed and Percy looked like he had been slapped.
"Why aren't they losing points?" Ron asked furiously.
McGonagall's lips thinned and she looked ready to spit fire, Ron must've noticed because he paled. "Don't speak to me in that way Mr. Weasley, ten more points from Gryffindor." She glanced at the two Slytherins. "They aren't losing points because all they did was try to defend themselves." She gave everyone a stern look before walking back up to the head table.
"I hate you both," Ron spat.
"Ron," Percy said warningly. Ron glared at his brother before shoving his wand in his pocket.
"I assure you the feeling is mutual," Harrison drawled.
"I second that," Draco said disdainfully.
Christmas morning dawned cold and white. When Harrison woke up he saw a large pile of presents on the ground in front of his bed; he noticed that Draco had a slightly smaller pile near his but still large. Harrison sat down at the foot of his bed and Nani curled up his arm, her tongue flicking in and out.
"Presents," Draco grinned as he pulled on his t-shirt. "Shall we?"
"Of course," Harrison returned the grin as he picked up a small parcel.
Harrison began opening his presents, starting with the one from his non-Slytherin friends, then the Slytherins, followed by Death Eater presents, and finally the ones from his father. Like the Christmas before he received enough candy to last an entire year and a variety of books. He didn't bother to contain his enthusiasm when he opened up a rare book written in Parselscript from Barty Crouch Jr. Several of the books he received would need to be hidden in his trunk since it could only be opened by a Parseltongue.
"Did you receive a large box of clothes from Pansy?" Draco asked as he held up a burgundy silk shirt.
Harrison looked up from a globe of Mars he received from Violet. "Of course." He sat the globe aside. "I don't think I've ever received anything from her other than clothes. One of the perks of being best friends with someone whose mum is a world famous fashion designer."
Draco smirked as he sat the burgundy shirt on top of a charcoal gray cloak.
Two hours later Harrison and Draco walked into the Great Hall which looked beautiful. There were a dozen frost covered Christmas trees and thick streamers of holly and mistletoe crisscrossed the ceiling. Enchanted snow fell from above and disappeared as soon as it hit something leaving everything and everyone dry. Harrison and Draco both wore new clothes from head to toe. Harrison was wearing a black long sleeved silk shirt with black dress pants, an emerald green cloak clung to his shoulders and a new necklace hung around his neck. The necklace had a long silver chain with a small four inch dagger made completely of emeralds. Draco wore a red long sleeved shirt with charcoal gray dress pants. Draco's black cloak trailed behind him and his shiny black dragon hide boots made a clicking noise as he walked. A large silver watch surrounded by small diamonds shone from his wrist.
Harrison noticed Ron's eyes fill with envy when he saw their new clothes and jewelry. Harrison resisted the urge to roll his eyes, typical Ron Weasley. Although the boy really should be used to seeing them dress extravagantly. Harrison smiled at Luna who was already seated, she was wearing a red dress with a forest green cloak. Her normally long curly hair was in a plait and a beautiful flower necklace hung on her neck. The center of the flower was a ten carrot diamond and the petals were large sapphires.
"Happy Christmas Luna," Harrison said as he took a seat next to her.
"Happy Christmas Harrison, Draco," Luna said dreamily before stroking her necklace. "Thank you for the beautiful present."
"You got her that?" Fred asked in shock.
"That must've cost-"
"A fortune," George let out a low whistle.
"But then again-" Fred said looking contemplative.
"After seeing where you live-"
"It isn't that surprising."
Ron looked annoyed at the mention of Harrison's money, he stabbed his eggs moodily. Harrison ignored the brooding red head in exchange for conversing with the twins. Harrison and Draco laughed when the twins told him about how Ron tumbled down the stairs that morning. Ron went to speak when Percy shot him a silencing look.
After lunch Harrison, Draco and Luna had a snowball fight with the twins and Penelope. Percy didn't join in at first but he did watch them, Harrison could see his lips twitch in amusement every time one of the twins was hit. When Luna threw a snowball at Percy and it hit him in the face the twins rolled on the snow covered ground laughing. Percy scowled as he wiped the snow from his face, his scowl turned into a predatory grin as he waved his wand. A dozen snowballs went flying towards the twins and Luna, the former two went wide eyed as the snowballs smacked into them. Luna jumped out of the way and returned fire. Soon Percy had joined in until they were all wet, Percy then suggested they all get ready for dinner.
During dinner Draco gloated about his presents while Ron listened and turned increasingly more red as time went on. During dessert Dumbledore sang several of his favorite carols, with the twins joining in singing completely off key. Hagrid boomed louder as he sang along with every goblet of eggnog he consumed. Draco sneered when Hagrid turned red and began to sway from drinking too much.
The next evening at dinner a special evening edition of the Daily Prophet was delivered. Underneath a large photo of Tom and Lucius was an article and the answer to why Tom and Lucius were busy.
New Wizarding Orphanage Opens
By Rita Skeeter
This morning Riddle-Malfoy Orphanage, the first Wizarding orphanage in Britain, was opened. Britain was one of the only countries in the world that didn't have an orphanage. When a Wizarding child is left parent-less or a Muggle-born child is given up they either go to a Muggle orphanage or a family member. A Muggle orphanage is no place for a wizard or witch. Children can't control their accidental magic and is a threat to the International Statue of Secrecy, it could also be a potential danger to the child. Muggles don't understand magic and could lash out on the child when accidental magic does happen. Magical children growing up in Muggle orphanages often face abuse which is why one man decided to help the orphaned children of Britain.
Tom Riddle began plans for an orphanage a year ago and with the help of Lucius Malfoy made that dream a reality. Tom Riddle and Lucius Malfoy used their own money to acquire land in the English countryside and built a wonderful residence capable of holding one hundred children and twelve members of staff. I was lucky enough to be at the opening and saw the house where the children will be staying for myself. A large gray stone path leads to a large white manor with tall oak front doors. Upon entering I was in an airy entrance hall with oak floors and beautiful silver light fixtures and a large silver chandelier that had once belonged to Brutus Malfoy a confident of Arthur Pendragon, the once King of Muggle England and friend of the wizard Merlin. A wide staircase led to what was obviously the second floor.
The ground floor of the manor has a large dining hall, two expansive sitting rooms, a library and a play room. The play room was filled with magical toys and the library had thousands of books for both children and teens. There were also several other rooms that could be used as classrooms or study rooms, as well as two bathrooms. The second floor had bedrooms, each one would hold two children. The third floor had more bedrooms for the children as well as the staff quarters. The extensive grounds are beautiful, a large lake sits behind the manor and tall trees covered with snow looked like large frosted Christmas trees. Two glass greenhouses hold many plants both for young children and teens.
As of this morning Riddle-Malfoy Orphanage is home to thirteen children, the youngest being two and the oldest being ten. The orphanage will be serviced by house elves purchased by both Tom Riddle and Lucius Malfoy. The staff was hired after extensive background checks and interviews to make sure the best candidates were hired.
"I am pleased that after a year of hard work Riddle-Malfoy Orphanage is ready to open," Tom Riddle stated. "I've always loved children and I knew that this was something I was meant to do."
"When my good friend Tom came to me for help with opening an orphanage I was of course willing to help," Lucius Malfoy answered when asked about why he got involved. "Like Tom, I've been blessed with a fortune and I'm thankful for it. Being able to give to those less fortunate, especially children is a heartwarming experience."
When asked how the orphanage would remain able to operate Tom Riddle smiled kindly.
"Lucius and I paid for the orphanage and opened a vault at Gringotts in its name," Tom explained. "There is enough money for it to be able to operate for several months. The children will all receive everything they need and upon turning ten they will receive a small monthly allowance. This is to help them learn the value of money and be able to purchase some things of their own."
Lucius Malfoy elaborated on his friends response. "This summer we will hold a charity event and all proceeds will go to the Riddle-Malfoy Orphanage. Also if anyone wants to at any time they can donate money through the mail, anything sent to Riddle-Malfoy Orphanage will be delivered and received. The children will appreciate any donation and so will Tom and myself."
Thanks to these two extraordinary men magical children will now be able to live in a safe and happy environment. I for one wish the staff and the children the best of luck and encourage all who read this article to send a donation. Every sickle will go towards making sure these children live a healthy and full life.
Harrison looked up to gauge Dumbledore's reaction and he saw that there was no twinkle in the old mans blue eyes. Harrison very much wanted to smirk and laugh in his face but he settled for smiling in a manner one would if they were proud of someone's accomplishment. Which he was, but not for the reason people would think. He knew that the main reason why his father wanted to open an orphanage was for the good publicity. However, Harrison also knew that magical children being abused infuriated his father. Harrison knew it had something to do with Tom growing up in a Muggle orphanage.
Over the next few days Harrison read through several of the books he had received for Christmas. He also participated in several snow ball fights with the Weasley twins and Draco. Every evening he would spend an hour with Draco working on their Animagus forms. Harrison was now able to turn his skin into shimmering green scales which was a lot of progress. On New Years Eve Draco finally accomplished sprouting feathers, but not in the place he had meant too. Harrison teased him for hours after his blonde hair turned into a mass of midnight black feathers.
On the first day of the new year Harrison's stomach dropped when he read the headline on the cover of the morning paper.
Death Eater Raid Failed
By Rita Skeeter
My faithful readers, I am happy to report that last night an attack on a Muggle village in Scotland was foiled by Ministry Aurors. Yesterday afternoon an anonymous tip was sent to Amelia Bones, Head of the Department of Magical Law Enforcement detailing an attack that was to take place that evening. Aurors were sent an hour early and waited under disillusionment charms to await the coming Death Eaters. When the Death Eaters arrived the Aurors placed anti-apparition wards around the village and a fight broke out. Thankfully several Death Eaters had been stunned before they realized the Aurors were present.
Ten Death Eaters were captured and two were killed in the ensuing battle. Luckily one one Auror was killed and two injured in the attack. One of the captured Death Eaters was shockingly Alexander Pearce, an employee of the Obliviator squad.
"We were extremely lucky to receive the anonymous tip," Amelia Bones stated in a late night interview. "However we lost one of our own, my condolences go out to Auror Steve Cross' family and friends. He was an exceptional Auror and he will be missed."
"We've been losing Aurors and Muggles have been killed too often since You-Know-Who came into power," Minister Fudge said. "Tonight was a victory, and we'll do our best to ensure the victories keep coming."
Harrison sneered as he burnt the paper to a crisp, luckily for him no one noticed because they were all too busy reading the article. He glanced at Draco whose eyes were narrowed as he read the article he had just finished. His eyes flickered to Dumbledore whose eyes were once more twinkling and Harrison felt his hate for the man grow. He snatched up the letter his fathers owl had delivered and quickly read it.
As I'm sure you're now aware a planned raid last evening was foiled by those idiotic Ministry Aurors. It was easy enough for me to figure out who the leak was, a pathetic excuse for a wizard by the name of Greg Bates. He is now residing in our dungeons being used as Cruciatus practice for new recruits. A fitting punishment if I do say so. Luckily none of the Death Eaters captured knew extremely sensitive information and only a few were of any importance.
I learned from Pettigrew that Dumbledore is extremely suspicious of the orphanage, as he should be. I didn't expect anything less from the man. Thankfully the man won't suggest either myself or Lucius of having ulterior motives to anyone other than members of his precious order. Pettigrew also acquired some interesting information regarding next years choice for Defense professor, the man is hiring the werewolf Remus Lupin. I'm not in the least bit thrilled by that but I won't have Lucius fight it. Having Pettigrew pretend to be the Weasley's pet rat was a better idea than I at first thought it would be.
One of my Death Eaters will be filling a post next year, Lucius convinced the Board of Governors that having a ghost for a professor is foolish. As of September first there will be a new professor for History of Magic, I won't tell you who just yet.
I know we've already discussed the Aurors at Hogwarts situation and like I said before, don't draw their attention. Continue with what you've been doing, but remember to destroy the diary if things get to a point where the school will be shut down. In the package that was delivered with this letter there is a small dagger laced with basilisk venom. If you stab my diary with it then it will be destroyed. I know you were planning on it destroying it in a different manner if it came down to it, but this would be the easiest way.
I hope you enjoyed your holidays so far, Nagini has missed you. Be careful around the old man.
Harrison internally sighed in relief that no important Death Eater was taken. He had known his Aunt Bella or Uncle Lucius hadn't been captured, their captures would've definitely been included in the article. But one of the Death Eaters he cared about could've been, and he was glad to learn they hadn't. He handed the letter to Draco who had been looking at the parchment curiously. Harrison grabbed the small package and placed it in his pocket. The blonde handed it back when he was done and Harrison lit it on fire. He noticed Ron watching the action from across the round table and he smirked at the boy whose blue eyes narrowed.
The second term began and everyone seemed less tense than they had been before the holidays. Aurors still stood guard around the school but the students did their best not to think about the petrifications that had happened during the last term. Every time one of the petrified victims would be named the subject would instantly change. Harrison and his friends were advancing more in terms of turning into their Animagus form. Harrison and Leo were the farthest along with Theo and Daphne not far behind. Jenna was having the most trouble so Harrison would spend time every evening talking her through it.
Soon February came and, with it, the sun began to shine weakly on Hogwarts once again. Inside the castle, the mood had grown more hopeful. There had been no more attacks since those on Zacharias and Nearly Headless Nick, and Professor Sprout was pleased to report that the Mandrakes were becoming moody and sensitive, meaning that they were leaving childhood fast.
"The moment their acne clears up, they'll be ready for re-potting again," Harrison heard her telling Filch kindly one afternoon. "And after that, it won't be long until we're cutting them up and stewing them. You'll have Mrs. Norris back in no time."
A week into February Harrison was lining up for transfiguration when he heard Gilderoy Lockhart gloating about how he had made the attacks stop.
"I don't think there will be any more trouble, Minerva," he said, tapping his nose knowingly and winking. "I think that Chamber has been locked for good this time. The culprit must have known it was only a matter of time before I caught them. Rather sensible to stop now, before I came down hard on them." Harrison sneered at the man, is he truly that delusion? He looked at Leo and Blaise who were both glaring daggers at the lilac clad professor. "You know, what the school needs now is a morale-booster. Wash away the memories of last term! I won't say anymore just now, but I think I know just the thing..." Lockhart tapped his nose again and strode off.
Lockhart's idea of a morale-booster became clear at breakfast time on February the fourteenth. Harrison thought, for a moment, that he'd walked through the wrong doors. The walls were covered with large, lurid, pink flowers. Worse still, heart-shaped confetti was falling from the pale blue ceiling. He exchanged disgusted looks with Draco, Leo, Blaise and Theo then walked to the Slytherin table.
He looked around the hall and saw that many girls had been overcome with giggles. The faces of all the boys in Slytherin were ones of disgust or incredulity. Even the girly Daphne looked like she was going to be sick as pink heart-shaped confetti landed on her eggs. Glancing up at the staff table, he saw that Lockhart, wearing lurid pink robes to match the decorations, was waving for silence. The teachers on either side of him were looking stony-faced. From where he sat, Harrison could see a muscle going in Professor McGonagall's cheek. Snape looked as though someone had just fed him a large beaker of Skele-Gro.
"Please tell me this is a bad dream," Odette Warrington sneered. "This confetti keeps falling on my breakfast."
"I wouldn't try drinking anything if I were you," a scowling Marcus warned.
Harrison picked up his goblet of pumpkin juice and saw pink confetti clumped together floating over the orange liquid. He grimaced as he sat the goblet down and pushed it away. He felt like he was in a horrid romance novel, and he hated romance novels.
"Happy Valentine's Day!" Lockhart shouted. "And may I thank the forty-six people who have so far sent me cards!" His chest was puffed out like he had just won the Quidditch World Cup.
"Why the hell would anyone send that idiot a Valentine?" Draco sneered while wiping confetti off his robes.
"Some people are too idiotic to see that he's a fraud," Cass pointed out as she wrinkled her nose.
"Yes, I have taken the liberty of arranging this little surprise for you all - and it doesn't end here!" Lockhart clapped his hands and through the doors to the Entrance Hall marched a dozen surly-looking dwarfs. Not just any dwarfs, however. Lockhart had them wearing golden wings and carrying harps. Harrison noticed that all of the Slytherins looked like they wanted to lynch Lockhart, he couldn't blame them, if he could pick one person for the basilisk to kill, it would be Lockhart, even if he had to pick between him and Ron.
"He made them dress up like cupids," Theo stated incredulously. "How demeaning."
"I will kill anyone who sends me a valentine via those little creatures," Cass said threateningly and her eyes narrowed when Blaise got a mischievous smirk. "I'm not joking Blaise."
"My friendly card-carrying cupids!" Beamed Lockhart. "They will be roving around the school today delivering your Valentines! And the fun doesn't stop here! I'm sure my colleagues will want to enter into the spirit of the occasion! Why not ask Professor Snape to show you how to whip up a Love Potion!" Blaise snorted while Callum Warren choked on his bacon. "And while you're at it, Professor Flitwick knows more about Entrancing Enchantments than any wizard I've ever met, the sly old dog!" Professor Flitwick buried his face in his hands. Snape was looking as though the first person to ask him for a Love Potion would be force-fed poison.
All day long, the dwarfs kept barging into their classes to deliver Valentines, to the annoyance of the teachers. Harrison received dozens of cards from Slytherins, Ravenclaws and a few Hufflepuffs. He noticed Daphne sending the cards jealous looks but he didn't dwell on it. During dinner a particular surly looking dwarf stopped behind Blaise who turned around and glared disdainfully. The Great Hall went silent when the dwarf loudly cleared his throat and strummed his harp.
"Blaise Zabini?" The dwarf asked but Blaise didn't answer.
"Yeah, that's him," Ron yelled loudly across the hall. Several Slytherins including Anastasia sent hateful looks towards the red head.
"You have a singing Valentine," the dwarf informed him and Blaise's eyes widened slightly in horror. "And here it is," the dwarf began roughly, "his eyes are as blue as the ocean, his hair is as dark as night, I wish he was mine, he's really divine, the cutest boy in Slytherin."
Several people choked on their drinks as the valentine was read. The Great Hall burst into laughter and Blaise's cheeks turned red from embarrassment. Ron, Dean and Seamus were the loudest out of everyone and Ron was banging one of his fists on the Gryffindor table. Blaise glared at everyone but it was hard to take it seriously when he was so obviously embarrassed. Harrison noticed one person at the Gryffindor table not laughing, Ginny Weasley. His eyes narrowed when he saw that she just looked embarrassed.
"I think Ginny Weasley sent him that Valentine," Harrison whispered to Draco.
Draco grimaced. "What?" Harrison nudged his head in her direction and Draco looked over. "She looks embarrassed." Draco's grimace slowly morphed into a smirk. "The weaselette likes Blaise, oh this is too sweet. I'm going to rub that in Weasley's face."
"No," Harrison said sharply and Draco looked confused. "This information might come in handy later, we can tell the others but no one else." Draco slowly nodded his head in agreement.
Harrison had worked every day since he first found out his Animagus form and he was finally able to transform into a snake with just a simple thought. It had been hard work and sometimes frustrating but every time he transformed he felt accomplished, it was rare to be an Animagus and almost unheard of to be one so young. The first person he had told was his father over their two way mirrors, he had smiled genuinely and promised to send him books on the panthers anatomy so he could work towards his second form. He told his friends immediately after and the nine second year Slytherins stared at him in shock as he transformed into a snake and back.
"Do it again," Tracey said excitedly.
Harrison nodded before slowly morphing into a three foot long green snake with shimmering scales. He was as round as a soda can and his eyes were emerald green, the exact same shade that his eyes normally were. His senses were exponentially heightened, he could smell all of his friends perfumes and colognes. He could even smell the flowery shampoo Daphne always uses. He flicked his tongue out as Daphne went to pet him, he crawled up her slender arm causing her to giggle.
"You're so cute," Jenna cooed. Harrison bared his sharp fangs causing Jenna to pale and the others to laugh. "Sorry Harrison." Harrison slithered from Daphne's arm over to Jenna and bumped his head against her cheek. "So I'm forgiven." Harrison bobbed his head.
"It didn't even take you a year to get your form," Draco said shaking his head. "Why am I not surprised?"
"He still has two other forms he needs to master," Theo reminded him.
"But for the time being he has one," Draco rolled his eyes. "It's more than any of us have."
Harrison turned back into himself while he was still on Jenna, the girl gasped when he appeared sitting on her lap.
Harrison winked. "Hello beautiful." Jenna rolled her eyes and stood up causing Harrison to have to jump to his feet.
"Smooth Harrison," Blaise chuckled.
The Easter holidays came and Harrison was given something new to think about besides mastering his two other Animagus forms. The time had come to choose their subjects for the third year, a matter that Harrison and his friends were taking seriously.
"It could affect our whole future," Hermione told Harrison one afternoon in the library. She was frantically looking through books on every elective option. "And they all sound so interesting."
Pansy looked at Hermione oddly when she picked up a Muggle Studies book. "You're a Muggle-born."
Hermione stopped flipping through the pages. "But seeing Muggles through the Wizarding perspective would be interesting and the OWL would be a good thing to have."
Pansy rolled her eyes. "Then just read the book, the class is a joke. And you don't need to take the class to take the OWL."
Hermione frowned. "You don't?" She looked unsure whether to believe Pansy or not.
"No," Pansy said honestly. "You can take the OWL here when you take your other ones, or at the Ministry of Magic over the summer."
Neville had been sent letters from all the witches and wizards in his family, all giving him different advice on what to choose. Confused and worried, he sat reading the subject list with his tongue poking out, asking people whether they thought Arithmancy sounded more difficult than the study of Ancient Runes.
"Arithmancy is the more difficult of the two," Harrison said absentmindedly. "But both are interesting and useful." He looked at Neville seriously. "I would advise not wasting your time with Divination or Muggle Studies. Divination is only useful for true seers and if you want to know about Muggles just buy a book on the subject."
Pansy went around asking all of the Slytherin prefects which classes would be the best for her to take, while Daphne immediately crossed Divination off her list of choices.
"Trelawney is such a fraud," Daphne said to everyone who was seated at their table. "My time would be better spent in a different class."
"What are you taking Harrison?" Susan asked during Herbology.
"I've signed up for Arithmancy, Ancient Runes and Care of Magical Creatures," Harrison said as he grabbed a hand full of soil.
"You're taking three electives?" Hannah asked incredulously from her seat on the other side of Susan.
"Yeah, Arithmancy and Ancient Runes are the two most important electives and I've always been interested in magical creatures," Harrison said as the plant he was working with spat green liquid at him which he quickly dodged. "I refuse to take a class with Trelawney and if I want to learn about Muggles I'll read a book on my own."
"That makes sense," Susan said nodding in approval. "I'm taking Care of Magical Creatures and Arithmancy."
"Maybe we'll have one of those classes together," Harrison said shooting her one of his charming smiles.
Susan blushed. "Yeah, maybe."
Summer was creeping over the grounds around the castle; sky and lake alike turned periwinkle blue and flowers large as cabbages burst into bloom in the greenhouses. There was only a month left before exams, so the afternoons found Harrison and his friends studying in the library or practicing their spells in the Room of Requirement. Harrison enjoyed his time spent in the Room of Requirement; there he was able to practice advanced magic that he knew would be a bad idea to perform in front of his teachers.
Potions was becoming a sort of daily torture for Ron and his friends. One morning during class, Snape caught Ron trying to throw random ingredients into Draco's cauldron, he received the longest, not to mention loudest, lecture Harrison had ever heard Snape give; he also received a week's worth of detention and a large loss of points. The Slytherins thought it was extremely amusing that Ron had spent about 3/4 of this school year serving detention.
Ron, Dean and Seamus had begun taking out their hatred on the Slytherins on Hermione and Neville since they weren't as skilled as Harrison and his friends. Harrison had to heal Neville several times and he was just barely able to stop them from jumping Hermione one Saturday morning. He had been walking with Daphne to the Great Hall when he heard his friends panicked voice. He blasted the three boys into the wall and held Hermione as she cried into his shirt. Daphne had retrieved Snape and the three Gryffindors lost sixty points for an unprovoked attack. This incident caused their fellow Gryffindors to shun them even more, they were now so far in the negatives it would take a miracle to be in the positives before the year ended.
Harrison had been impatiently wondering why there hadn't been another attack. The Aurors were still patrolling the halls but not as many as there had once been. He was about to plan a way of getting into the Gryffindor dormitory and seeing if Ginny still had the diary when an announcement was made that echoed throughout the school.
"All students must return to their dormitory immediately," McGonagall's voice said. "All professors to the second floor."
Harrison exchanged a significant look with Draco.
"Do you think it's killed someone?" Draco asked with a hopeful gleam in his eyes.
"I don't know," Harrison answered. "But I'm going to go find out, if it has I'll need to get the diary." He pulled out his wand and tapped his head, slowly he began to disappear. "If Severus asks where I am tell him that I went to see what's going on." Draco nodded and a disillusioned Harrison began walking to the second floor as he cast silencing charms on himself to keep from being heard. It was pointless to be invisible if you were heard.
Harrison reached the second floor and he heard several voices all speaking at once. He turned the corner and stopped at the sight, a smirk formed on his lips. The gray stone wall ahead of him had words glistening in large blood red letters.
Her skeleton will lie in the chamber forever.
Laying on the ground in front of the words were three bodies, but unlike Zacharias and Justin they weren't petrified. Gilderoy Lockhart, Rufus Scrimgeour and that mousy first year Colin Creevey were lying dead. Colin had a look of immense horror etched on his face and Lockhart's blue eyes were as wide as saucers. Rufus had a fierce expression on his face and his wand was clutched in his hand.
The professors and small group of Aurors were talking in panicked voices until Dumbledore held up his hands. Snape's eyes roamed over to where Harrison was standing and for a moment he could've sworn the man knew he was standing there.
"What do we do Albus?" McGonagall's horrified voice asked. "How do we find Miss Weasley?" Her voice was shaking and she was ghostly pale.
Dumbledore looked older than his many years. "I do not know Minerva." His blue eyes looked hard as they roamed over the dead bodies.
Flitwick burst into tears and Sprout put a comforting arm around the tiny professor. The Aurors were staring at Rufus' body and an Auror with purple hair shuddered as Kingsley rubbed her back soothingly. There was a feeling of death and misery and the air and Harrison felt giddy. He wanted to laugh at the fact that the annoying fraud was dead and he could care less about the Gryffindor boy. An Auror dying as well was just a bonus. However he knew that he now had to get the diary and stop all of this. He walked backwards until he was around the corner and made his way to the bathroom he knew held the entrance to the chamber. He could still hear Flitwick's sobs in the distance.
Harrison walked into the bathroom which was thankfully void of Moaning Myrtle. He stopped in front of an ordinary looking sink.
Open. Harrison hissed and the next second, the sink began to move; the sink, in fact, sank, right out of sight, leaving a large pipe exposed, a pipe wide enough for a man to slide into.
Harrison cast a quick cleaning charm before sliding down, he could feel wind blowing in his face as he twisted and turned. He knew that he was going deep below the school and he could feel the air becoming cooler. He flew out of the end of the pipe and landed on his feet. He canceled the disillusionment and cast a lumos. The tunnel was so dark that he could only see a little distance ahead. His shadow on the wet walls looked monstrous in the wand-light. He heard a crunching sound and looked down, he grimaced as he saw the skull of a rat. He looked back up and saw a large figure in the distance. He lifted his wand higher and the light slid over a gigantic snake skin, of a vivid, poisonous green, lying curled and empty across the tunnel floor. The creature that had shed it must have been twenty feet long at least.
He walked past the snake skin and the tunnel turned and turned again. The air got cooler and the smell worse as he walked on. At last, as he crept around yet another bend, he saw a solid wall ahead on which two entwined serpents were carved, their eyes set with great, glinting emeralds. Their eyes looked strangely alive and Harrison had heard from his father that if you didn't speak in Parseltongue they would attack.
Open. Harrison hissed once more and the serpents parted as the wall cracked open, the halves slid smoothly out of sight and Harrison walked inside.