Essences of Lily Revised

Chapter 24 The Chamber of Secrets

Disclaimer: This story is based on characters created and owned by JK Rowling, various publishers including but not limited to Bloomsbury Books, Scholastic Books and Raincoast Books, and Warner Bros., Inc. No money is being made and no copyright or trademark infringement is intended.

Summary: What is 'The power he knows not' and how did Harry get it? How did Harry survive the killing curse and what does Sirius Black have to do with it? Who is the voice Harry is hearing in his head?

Chapter 24 - Chamber of Secrets

After their trip to Gringotts, Harry's schedule seemed to fall in to a normal routine: Classes, Study, time in chamber 8, quidditch practice, and trouble with Professors Quirrell and Snape.

Harry had taken the time to meet with Mr. Weasley to remove the family curse placed on him as heir of Gryffindor by Salazar Slytherin, even though none of the older Weasley boys looked like they had any hopes of getting married at any time soon.

One of the things Harry had learned about during his time Salazar's portrait while he was at Gringotts, was regarding a 'guardian' Salazar had left there to protect the school in his absents.

The basilisk was considered the 'King of Snakes'. It could kill with a stare and had the deadliest venom known to man. Salazar explained that just before leaving Hogwarts, he had placed the guardian in his personal chamber located under the school and that this guardian was to remain in stasis until it was needed to defend the school from direct attack, or was summoned by a parselmouth. Harry told Salazar that he had already been told about the basilisk by his house elves, but it was nice to have additional information regarding the 'King of Snakes' before he met it.

Salazar told Harry where the chamber was and how to get to it. He also told Harry about the chamber it's self and how he could use it to study his tome.

The first weekend after returning from Gringotts, after receiving their inheritance, Harry slipped away from the rest of his friends telling them that he had something very important to do.

Making his way down to an abandon girl's restroom on the second floor, Harry entered, and found the emblem of a snake on one of the faucets there. Just as Harry was going to speak, he was surprised when he heard someone talk behind him.

"You're not supposed to be here are you?"

Harry jumped back, pulling his wand out and pointing it at the new voice.

Above Harry was the ghost of a young girl in a Hogwarts uniform with large glasses on her face.

"Who are you?" asked Harry shakily.

"No need to be so rude." The specter said. "My name is Myrtle. I was killed in this bathroom 49 years ago."

Harry put his wand away so he wouldn't look threatening. "Oh, Hello Myrtle, it's nice to meet you… sorry about you being dead. Can you tell me how it happened?" Harry asked.

"Well, since you ask so nicely. Olive Hornby had been teasing me about my appearance and I had come in here for a good cry. While I was in here, I heard someone else enter and walk over to the sinks just as you just did. Then I heard this boy 'hiss' something, and then the sound of something moving around. By the time I looked back, the boy was gone, and everything looked normal.

"I went back to my stall to cry and think how rude that boy had been coming in here without so much as a 'by your leave'. A little while later I heard something move again, and looked out of my stall sooner. All I saw were two big red eyes, and the next thing I knew, I was dead! Now, wasn't that rude?"

"Yes, very thoughtless." said Harry. "Did you happen to see who the boy was?"

To his surprise, the ghost took exception to his question and screamed at him. "Just typical of a boy! Not caring for me or my feelings at all!" With that, Myrtle let out a cry, and disappeared down one of the toilets.

"I don't think I will ever understand girls." Harry said to himself.

Returning back to the faucet, Harry found the one with an image of a snake on it. Remembering what Salazar has said, he concentrated on the image, and hissed out 'Open'. Much to his surprise and delight, the furniture moved to reveal a tunnel leading down below the school.

'Down.' Harry spoke again in parseltongue, and a platform appeared at the mouth of the opening. As he stepped on the platform, it proceeded to move down the hole. As Harry cleared the opening, the sinks moved back into place leaving him in darkness.

"Lumos," Harry said holding his wand. He noticed in the light of the wand all the slime and grunge that was on the pipe. 'It's a good thing I didn't have to slide down this' Harry thought to himself.

As he reached the bottom of the pipe, he noticed several things. One, there was what looked like a skin shed by a very large snake.

'This isn't right,' Harry though. 'The basilisk was supposed to be in stasis.'

'Ma' chose this time to remind Harry of something the ghost had said. 'Harry, remember the description of how that young girl died? She said that all she saw were a pair of red eyes, and then she was dead. That sounds just like how a basilisk would kill someone, if they looked into their eyes.'

'Thanks 'Ma',' Harry thought, 'I was hoping that Sal and Myrtle were making that part up about a basilisk.'

'No, I'm afraid not son' Came 'Ma's reply.

'That means that the basilisk has already been woken up. Do you think there will be some danger there? I mean, I'm sure it hasn't eaten in a long time. I'd hate to be a breakfast snack for it.'

'Don't worry son. I'm sure whoever opened up the chamber last time put the basilisk back into stasis.' 'Ma' replied.

'Ya, if he had the chance.' Harry thought.

Continuing down the hallway, Harry came to the inner chamber door.

'Open', he said again in parseltongue.

A large green snake came out of the hinge of the door and weaved its way around the door frame unlocking all the locks as it passed. As it returned to the hinge, the inner door opened.

Carefully walking into Salazar's Chamber, Harry hissed 'Lights' and immediately the chamber was filled with light coming from above the pliers of great snakes that lined the walls.

As he reached the front of the chamber, Harry noticed the great bust of Salazar Slytherin, just as he had been told it would be. 'Boy, I guess Salazar really thought a lot about himself didn't he?' Harry thought to himself.

Remembering what the portrait of Salazar had told him, Harry raised his hand and said 'Speak to me Salazar, greatest of the Hogwarts four!'

Just as expected the mouth of Salazar's bust opened wide.

Now, for the next part of his task, Harry had to think of some way of getting rid of a thousand year old snake. Well, I guess it wouldn't hurt to talk to it first.

'Guardian of Hogwarts! Come forth! Thy master calls thee!' (Might as well put in a few old English words when talking to a thousand year old snake.)

From deep within the opening in Salazar's bust came an angry voice of a very powerful beast.

'Who dare call Guardian of Hogwarts? If thou art not my master truly, I will surly tear you asunder!' Came an angry reply.

'I am Harry James Potter, heir of Slytherin by conquest and also of blood. Hood thine eyes great guardian and let us speak.' Harry stated as boldly as he could.

'Potter? If this is one of Godric's tricks I will take great pleasure in ripping thee asunder before returning thy body to the house of fools!' came the reply.

Harry could hear something coming quickly out of the opening. He stood as confidently as he could. Drendal had told Harry that he must show no weakness before the great guardian if he were to command it, and have it do his bidding.

Harry thought it best if he called his sword to him so that the snake could see that he was ready to give battle if that is what it wanted.

As the basilisk appeared in the open of Salazar's mouth, Harry looked in its general direction, but made sure he avoided looking at its eyes.

'Ah, I see that thou art not entirely a foolish little man. Thou comest to me with an enchanted sword… but not of Gryffindor's… it is… much older. Interesting. I sense that thou art indeed the heir of Slytherin even more so then that little wlep that called upon me last time. Fear not, little one, I will not hurt thee. Mine eyes are hooded so that ye may look upon me and I upon thee without any ill effects. What is thy bidding my master?'

Harry took a moment to calm himself and dismiss Drendal before addressing the snake again.

'Come, let us sit together and speak of the past and thy task. I bring a portrait of thy first true master to also talk with thee and explain how things have changed over the last thousand years.'

The basilisk came down to the main chamber and slithered in front of Harry.

'Hast thou truly brought my first master? It has been many years since I have last seen him. I must admit that I long to see his person again. What doest thou desire to do know my lord?' the great snake asked.

Harry brought out the portrait of Slytherin, and over the next few hours Harry, Sal, and the Basilisk talked as to what has happened over the last few hundred years, and who it was that called it forth the last time.

Harry heard about Tom Riddle and what he had had him do.

'I am not proud of my actions my lord, but my last pretend master had told me that the castle was under attack by those called 'mud-bloods', those who came not from magical families.'

'Please do not call they 'mud-bloods', they are muggle-born.' Harry stated

'As you wish my lord, what would you have me do now, my lord?' the Basilisk asked.

Harry hadn't really thought that far ahead, so he asked the great snake, 'What wouldst thou have me do?'

The guardian was somewhat taken by surprise that his lord would ask what he wanted to do.

'It matters not, my lord, what I want. I am thy servant and will do as I am commanded, though I am sorry for having wronged the young maid. I long to be with my first master again if he will have me.' Sal looked at the great snake and nodded his head 'yes'.

Harry thought about it for a few moments before addressing the guardian again. Salazar was both pleased to see his old friend, and sadden by the loneliness he could feel in the basilisk's voice. Maybe he had been careless to leave such a creature down here for so long, unsupervised and without guidance.

Harry broke the silence by talking to the basilisk again. 'I am sorry guardian, but in order for me to be a proper lord, I must be aware of the wants and needs of my subjects. I value thee, and the service thou hast rendered over this last millennia and I do want to know, what wouldst thou like to do now?'

The great snake took a few moments to look at Harry and consider the words he had said. Then, bowing his head he looked at Harry and spoke.

'My lord, unlike my foe the phoenix, I was not meant to be immortal. I feel I am no longer a part of this world. It has changed too much since I began this sojourn on this earth. It is my wish to move on to the next great adventure. Unfortunately, I can not, of myself, leave this sphere, and would ask thee, my liege, to release me from this existence.'

Harry was somewhat shocked at the request the basilisk had made from him and asked, 'Is there not some other way great guardian? Doest thou not wish to travel or see what is outside this chamber?'

'No my lord. There is nothing left for me here.' The great snake said. 'I have no family, or desire to travel about. There is no Manor or Estate where I could go to live out my days. I am too dangerous to be allowed to roam freely for surly there would be many who would parish if I were to but gaze upon them. No, it is better that I go now. I am saddened that I was used for ill by one who was unworthy of the title of Lord of Slytherin. I fear that if I were to remain, it may happen again. Also by leaving now I may find some redemption of spirit for the harm that I have done.

Desiring to honor the basilisk request, he asked, 'How would I do this for thee, my friend?'

'There are but two ways that will guarantee my demise my liege. The first is to hear a rooster's crow… a most painful exit. The second way is found at the base of my skull. There is a spot under my scales where the brain and spine are joined. One quick thrust with thy sword at this connection will cause an instant, painless death.' With that the great snake lowered his head to show Harry where the spot on his neck was.

'Art thou sure that this is what thy desire? I do not wish thee any harm.' Harry said.

Harry could feel the light hearted response of the great snake. 'Thou hast asked my lord, yea, this is my desire. I do not wish to stay here in this existence any longer.'

Harry was now sad that he had asked what the basilisk wanted. He did not want to kill such a great and old snake. It was Drendal that came to his rescue.

'My lord if I might suggest? The morals and desires of this great beast are of a different age then now. It views its service and usefulness over. It feels that it is no longer needed here. He also feels a certain amount of sorrow for taking the life of one that was not a threat to the school and in being used by a pretend heir. As a part of its 'redemption', it feels it must exchange his life for the life of the maiden as he has said. He truly means what he says. I hope this makes sense to thee my lord.'

'Yes, now that you explain that to me and made it clear to me that this is truly his desire, it does make sense, though it does make me sad to see such a great snake die.'

'GREAT SNAKE!''Ma' exclaimed. 'That's a bloody basilisk for goodness sake! You can't have something like that running around the school full of children!'

'Ma'! Harry said, 'This basilisk was set down here to be a guardian for the school, not to attack the students! As Lord of Slytherin I am responsible for it as well as the rest of Salazar's possessions.'

Harry returned his attention back to the basilisk and asked, 'Wouldst thou like to talk to the maiden thou didst harm? Perchance to ask her forgiveness as well? '

The basilisk response was both humble and heavy.

'Yea, young master, it would be a great relief if I could gain her forgiveness and understanding. But how canst thou call her back from the land of the dead? Art thou a greater wizard than Merlin?''

"No great guardian, I am not. But the maid has not crossed over to the next great adventure and is a ghost here in the castle. Talk with thy first master a little longer whilst I go and fetch the maiden." With that, Harry was out of the chamber and back up the pipe.

"Myrtle? Myrtle! Are you here?" Harry asked. "I have something I think you will want to see and hear"

Out of the central chamber, Harry heard a commotion.

"Oh, it's you again." Myrtle said disinterestedly. "What could you possible have that I would be interested in?"

"Myrtle, I'm sorry I wasn't more caring or feeling about how you died the last time we met, but I promise, that has all changed. I have just found something out in Salazar Slytherin's secret chamber – it's underneath the sink here, and I think it will interest you."

"And what could that possible be?" Myrtle asked as she folded her arms in front of her.

"I know how you died." Harry said quietly, "and I think I know how to bring closure to your soul."

For a moment, it looked like Myrtle even paler then she was before.

"Please Myrtle! Give me a chance to prove myself to you." Harry pleaded.

Nervously, Myrtle nodded her head and asked, "What do you want me to do?"

"Just stay close to me and I promise nothing and no one will hurt you."

As Myrtle moved closer to Harry, he turned to the sinks and said 'open' again.

Myrtle was shocked and a little a scared to hear parseltongue, but stayed close to Harry.

'Down' he said as he began their descent through the pipe.

Harry took out his wand again and said "Lumos," Illuminating their way down the pipe.

Harry felt a chill go through his body as Myrtle moved even closer to him and tried to grab his arm. He looked over at Myrtle and tried to give her an understanding look, doing his best as to not show how cold he was.

As they reached the bottom, Myrtle wasn't sure if she wanted to continue. Harry turned to her and as seriously as an eleven year-old boy could said, "Myrtle, I promise on my magic and as heir of Ravenclaw and Slytherin that no harm will come to you while you are with me."

There was a sudden flash of light to show that a magical oath had been made.

Myrtle was shocked and amazed to know that the young man in front of her was willing to make such a serious oath just for her. That act alone made her feel more secure and at ease then she had felt for as long has she could remember.

"Thank you Harry, no ones ever cared for me enough to do something like that. But I'm still scared. Can't you tell me what it is you found down here?"

Harry was afraid she would disappear on him again if he told her, so he just smiled. He had been glad that she didn't seem to notice the snake skin that had been shed in the middle of the path. So he simple turned to her and said "We're almost at the inner chamber. I have a portrait of Salazar Slytherin who told me that when he was here he left a 'guardian' to help protect the school. It would appear that another student found out about the chamber and the guardian, and used it to terrify the school. It is unfortunate that as a result of that student's action, you died. Now that I have met the guardian, he has expressed remorse for causing your death, and wishes to ask your forgiveness before he move on to the next great adventure."

Harry noticed that Myrtle stopped and looked at Harry with a shocked expression on her face. For a moment Harry thought she was going to start whaling again and fly away.

"Yo…You know who m…my killer is?" she asked.

"Yes Myrtle, I do. It was a young man named Tom Riddle. He tricked the guardian into thinking that the school was under attack from muggle-born witches and wizards."

"Tommy Riddle? Bu… But he wasn't a pure-blood. Why would he hate muggle-born?"

"I'm not totally sure about that Myrtle I just think he was mad at everyone at that time. Here we are at the inner chamber. Please Myrtle, promise me you will stay with me and not disappear. This is very important for everyone."

Myrtle shock her head 'yes' and moved closer to Harry.

'Open.' Harry said as the inner chamber door opened for him.

Harry looked in and found that the basilisk was hiding, but that Sal's portrait was still out where he had left it. Moving down into the chamber, Harry brought Myrtle to the front of Sal's portrait.

"Sal, this is Myrtle. Myrtle, this is Salazar Slytherin, one of the original founders of Hogwarts. I think it is best since Myrtle does not speak parseltongue that we would all speak in English while in her presents." Sal looked a little put out, but shock his head agreeing to the situation.

"As you wish my heir." He said with a bow. Turning to Myrtle, he said, "My lady Myrtle, it pains me greatly that the guardian that I set to guard the school and the students has been used for ill and was the cause of your early demise. You have my heart felt sorrow and apology." With that he bowed to Myrtle.

To say that Myrtle was stunned would have been an understatement – A founder of Hogwarts apologizing to her! She was beside herself.

"Of course Master Slytherin. You have nothing to apologies for."

"Ah, but I do fair maiden. For it was I who left the basilisk here in the first place to protect the students from invaders. I did not take proper care to insure it would not be used to harm those that it charged to protect. Please forgive me.

This is what Harry had been afraid of – just coming out and telling Myrtle about the Basilisk.

"A basilisk?" Myrtle shot up to the top of the chamber. "YOU LEFT A BASILISK HERE TO PROTECT THE STUDENTS! ARE YOU MAD?" Myrtle screamed. Sal had the common dignity to lower his head in shame.

As Myrtle was continuing to fly around the top of the chamber yelling about the basilisk and how foolish it was to have such a dangerous animal anywhere near children, Sal turned to Harry and said in a low voice: "You did not tell her about the guardian?"

Harry looked back at the portrait and replied: "Oh I told her about the guardian. I just hadn't got around to telling her the part about the guardian being a thousand year old basilisk. Thanks for bring that part up by the way."

"My pleasure my heir. Now please, quickly try to calm the young maiden down so we can conclude this unpleasant business."

Harry immediately turned back to Myrtle and said, "Myrtle! Remember my promise to you! Nothing here will harm you."

"HARM ME! HOW COULD IT HARM ME ANY FURTHER? IT KILLED ME FOR CRYING OUT LOUD!"

"Yes Myrtle, I know that. Remember what I said about the young boy Riddle coming down here and finding out about the guardian? He was the one that was in control of the Basilisk when it found you. Now, after Master Slytherin and I have talked to him, he knows that he was used for evil and has asked us to give him the chance to ask your forgiveness before he is sent on to the next great adventure." Harry was speaking very quickly, with a degree of pleading in his voice. He did not want this opportunity to pass by if Myrtle and the Basilisk could find some form of closure from this exchange.

Myrtle started to float back down towards Harry. "What do you mean he wants to go on to the 'next great adventure'?"

She continued to move closer to Harry as the seriousness of this act became apparent to Harry. He answered her with a heavy heart.

"He knows that what he did was wrong and wishes to answer for his crime according as honor demands: A life for a life."

Myrtle was back next to Harry looking shocked at what he was saying. "Are you sure he can't hurt me again?" She asked.

"I'm sure." Harry replied. "His eyes are hooded, and they will not… do what every they would do to a ghost. I just wish there were someway for you to hear the guardian directly, and not through Master Slytherin or me. That way, you could be sure as to what the basilisk was saying."

"Ah, but young master there is just a spell for that. Point your wand to the maiden and say 'Serpetis Exaudio' in parseltongue and she will be able to understand anything that is said in parseltongue." Salazar said.

Harry looked from the portrait of Salazar to Myrtle with a questioned look on his face. Myrtle looked back at Harry and nodded her head 'yes'.

Taking out his wand, Harry pointed it to Myrtle and said, 'Serpetis Exaudio' in parseltongue as Sal had instructed. Switching to parseltongue, Harry said, 'Myrtle, can you understand me?'

Myrtle shook her head yes and said "Yes, I can. It's as if you're speaking normally, but I can hear the hissing sound too."

'Myrtle, come close to me now. I am going to call the guardian out.' Harry said.

Myrtle for her part got as close to Harry as she could. As she pressed up against his back, he again felt a cold shiver run down his spine, but for Myrtle's sake, he did not react.

Holding his hand up, Drendal appeared in his hand. Speaking in a loud voice Harry spoke: 'Great guardian, hood thine eyes and come hither to make thy redress. The maiden thou hast harmed is here! Guardian COME FORTH!'

With that, the shadows in the back of the chamber seemed to stir, and before long, all could see the sixty foot basilisk drawing near to them. If possible, Myrtle drew closer to Harry making him fell even colder.

When the basilisk was within ten meters from the group, he spoke: 'Young maiden, I had been placed here to guard and protect the students and teachers of Hogwarts for nigh on one thousand years. In all that time I have not been called to action save once. I do not make excuse for my actions'.

'I was approached by a young lad who knew the noble tongue. He said he school was under attack from the 'mud-bloods' as he called them. And that if they were not driven from the school, Hogwarts would be destroyed.'

'I hurried with him to the pipe that exited near thine abode. When I came out of the pipe I saw thee looking at us through thine door. It was then that I un-hooded mine eyes and thou fell dead. It was as this was taking place that I realized something was amiss. I realized that I felt no evil or ill intent from you, but from the one I had called master. For as soon as I gazed upon thee, my young 'master' did that which is most dark and unholy. He used thy death to rip his soul in half and store half in a book which he had upon his person.'

"O bloody hell!" Salazar's portrait said softly.

'As I turned to attack this pretend master, he was able to bind mine eyes and control my mind to where I could do him no harm, but he could not get me to do any more of his evil work for him. Finally he returned me to this chamber and placed me back into stasis until he could find a way to bring me back under his control. He never returned I am glad to say, but for me and for thee that damage had been done. I am sorry young maiden, most honestly and truly. I did not mean thee harm, but yet it has happened and now honor demands that I forfeit my life for taking yours. Please, forgive me.'

The entire chamber was deadly silent except for the sound of a young girls cry. As the basilisk spoke Myrtle was drawn away from Harry and closer to the great snake. By the end of the story, Myrtle was next to the snake softly crying.

"I forgive you my friend. You are not to blame for my death. It's Riddle who tricked you into thinking the school was under attack. I just happened to be the first person you found. And I was the only one you let Riddle use you to kill. When you saw he was lying to you, you stopped! You tried to do what is right! I can now say after forty nine years I do not fault you for my death. The fault is clearly Riddle's that I am dead. You do not have to kill yourself to atone for someone else's sins. Please… stay."

After Harry had made sure the Guardian has heard Myrtle's words, he was hopeful that the great basilisk would agree with her and not ask him to send him on to the next great adventure.

The basilisk thought on what Myrtle had said for several minutes before he gave his reply.

'I thank thee young maiden for thy kind words and gift of forgiveness. However, there is more than one reason why I must move on. There is no place for me here. I am too dangerous to all that are in this world. I can not take the chance for someone else using me for ill again. I was never meant to live a millennia. My time has passed. I wish to move on to the next great adventure. This is my final request. I will not be turned from it.' The basilisk lowered his head and waited for Harry to deliver the death blow.

Harry had now moved next to the basilisk. Using the scales of the great snake, he climbed to the top of its head. Once there, the basilisk lifted the scale that exposed the kill point. Harry looked down at Myrtle and said, 'You know you don't have to watch this if you do not want to.'

Myrtle nodded her head and said, "I understand, but right now I want to be with my friend during his last moments on earth."

Harry was having a battle of his own in his mind. He had never taken the life of a creature that was not in battle or in protecting someone else's life. 'Young master,' Drendal said, 'this is the way of the great guardian. You cannot impose your sense of morality on his. What he is doing, for him, seem just and fair. To do otherwise would be a disgrace and he would feel dishonored for the remainder of his days. He may continue to serve you, but it would be with remorse and without total commitment. Please Harry, do what must be done.'

'He's right Harry,' 'Ma' continued. 'You have many things that you will need to do in the future that you will not 'want' to do, but they will need to be done, and many times you are the only one who can do them. This is one of those times sweetheart. I know you don't feel like doing it, but it is something that must be done, and only you can do it.'

'That doesn't make me feel any better you know 'Ma'.' Harry said.

'I know sweetheart, but this is part of growing up. No one said it would be easy.'

'Ay, young master, to be a Paladin one must be willing to do that which is right, not easy at all time and in all places, despite our personal feelings.'

Harry finally resigned himself to the task that was before him now. Looking down at the 'Kill Point' he said: 'Great Guardian, know that thou art leaving this life having faithfully and honorable serving your master and liege to the end.' With that, Harry called his sword, Drendal, and struck quickly at the 'Kill Point'. Immediately he felt the basilisk rise up slightly, and then, falling down, let out one last great breath. After that – nothing. The basilisk lay perfectly still. His eyes remained closed, his tongue was hanging out a little to the side of its mouth, but there was no movement from the great snake that Harry could see, hear or feel. Slowly he drew his sword out and looked down at the great beast he had just sent to the next great adventure.

For what seemed like an eternity, Harry remained standing there, perfectly still. He did not remember how or when he returned to the ground again. What brought him out of his stupor was the feeling of someone placing their warm arms around him in a loving embrace. He looked up almost expecting to see his 'Ma', but to his surprise, Myrtle was there holding him with what looked like a tear in her eyes, a soft golden glow surrounding her.

"Thank you Harry. I know that could not have been easy for you, but you did the right thing for both the basilisk and for me. I can now cross over to the next great adventure myself since I now know the circumstances surrounding my death. I have been waiting to be able to do that for a long time now."

"I know this is not the proper time to mention this, but almost all parts of a basilisk are useful as potion supplies, weapons, or protection. I'm sure the Guardian would have liked to have been of uses to his master even after his death."

Harry looked up at Myrtle with a hurt expression on his face. 'How could anyone even think of something like that at a time like this?' was his thought. After a moment he nodded his head to her to acknowledge that he had heard her, then he lowered his eyes again, feeling the tears start to burn as they tried to escape.

"I have to be going now Harry." Myrtle said, "I'll make sure all your family know how good you are doing, and Harry?" Harry looked up again. "Thank you."

With that she leaned forward and gave him a kind, tender kiss on his lips as she faded from view.

Again Harry stood there for several minutes trying to relish the feeling of that kiss on his lips.

Coming around to the reality of the present, and the sight of a dead basilisk in the Chamber of Secrets, Harry almost felt sick. He knew that he had to get back to chamber eight in his trunk so that he could spend time centering himself and coming to grips with the task that he had been called upon to do. Shrinking Salazar's portrait, Harry put it in his pocket to take with him to the chamber also. It was obvious that there was quite a lot more that he still had to understand regarding being an heir of a founder.

"Sassy!" He called.

Instantly his first magical friend was there. "Yes Harry, what do you need… WHOA!" Sassy jumped behind Harry when she saw the large basilisk laying there in the chamber.

"Har.. Harry? D… Do you kn…know there is a bi… big snake next to you?" Sassy stuttered.

"Yes Sassy, I'm well aware of the big snake that is next to me. I just got through killing it!" Harry answered a little too sharp then what was needed at the time.

"I'm sorry Sassy. I shouldn't be taking this out on you. Sorry."

"Sassy, I need you to check with some of the other elves and see if there is anyone who knows how to harvest the different parts from a basilisk. I want everything saved and preserved that can be. Then dispose of the rest of the body properly please. I'm going to be in chamber eight, and do not wish to be disturbed."

With that, Harry took up Sal's portrait, walked past Sassy and into his trunk straight to chamber eight.

Over the course of the next eight hours – ten days trunk time. Harry spent time talking to Salazar's portrait and with 'Ma' and Drendal regarding the action that he had been required to take. At the end of this time, Harry felt a little better regarding what he had done, but he was also very weak, since he had taken no water or food with him into the chamber.

As he exited the chamber, Sassy had a light dinner of soup and bread along with a few potions to help him get his strength back. Harry thanked Sassy for the meal and potions and then retired to his bed in the 'Potter Manor' in his trunk to get some proper sleep. He knew he would still have to return to the Gryffindor common area before curfew.

End of chapter 24.

A/N

Sorry for the long delay. This chapter was very hard to write by it's self, but having real life get in the way of things just added to the confusion.

For those who have not visited my profile page lately, let me point out a few things that have happened in the interval.

I became a Grandpa for the first time with the birth of my granddaughter! She was born on her father's birthday, keeping up a three generation tradition.

Work being more demanding

Wife's MS is now secondary progressive.

The next chapter should be about Harry finding Rowena Ravenclaw's personal chamber.

Thank you for your time and patience in reading this story.

Rdgale2000

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