The Secret Superheroes
Chapter 22: The Secret Superheroes
"Protego"exclaimed Harry a split-second before Angus and Draco had cast their curses.
Both boys instantly had to block, as their curses rebounded off of Harry´s Shield Charm.
"I have to say, my dear friend... these sessions of ours are working wonders for your duelling skills."remarked Blaise, smiling at Harry over the Teacher´s desk.
Since Christmas, the boys had taken use of an unused classroom, aided by Dobby and Fidus, who took turns watching out for teachers or prefects and providing the neccessary Concealing Enchantments as well as food from their respective homes sometimes.
The four Slytherin boys had taken to learning and practicing many spells, curses and charms, that second-years rarely even heared about, much less practiced.
"Pretty soon, we may as well aquire a level sufficient enough in order to perform them non-verbally. At least, that´s what this footnote here suggests. Listen – once reaching a sufficient level, a skilled witch or wizard may even be capable of casting it Non-verbally on instinct, if he or she is skillfull enough."continued Blaise, tapping with his finger a book Harry had gotten from Sirius for Christmas called "Practical Defence – just in case".
"Well, the sooner we do, the better."said Harry, his eyes shining with determination.
Their sessions contained many interesting stuff like Disillusionment Charms, witty Switching spells, cool hexes and curses and the recent – Shield Charms.
"Not that this isn´t fun or anything, guys... time´s almost come – the Quiddich match is almost on."noted Draco.
"You´re not playing today, Dray."said Harry rolling his eyes, not really understanding his best friend´s love for Quiddich.
"But I want to see the match. Gryffindor against Hufflepuff."
"Yea! Lions versus Badgers! My money´s on the lions."exclaimed Angus excitedly.
"Who´s money ISN´T? The Hufflepuff team doesn´t stand a chance. Not with the line-up they have there."
"Yup. The Weasley twins are the best Beaters in our Hogwarts league. Wood´s a great Keeper too. Their girl Chasers are also awesome and your sister Harry, is a great Seeker."informed Angus.
Harry couldn´t surpress the tiniest smile, no matter how angry he was with Alice at the moment.
"Yeah well... have fun, guys."
"Aww, come on Harry. Come with us."whined Draco, trying to persuade him to come to a Quiddich match.
"Yeah, Harry. Quiddich is a really cool game."nodded Angus.
"I second that. I had always enjoyed watching a good game of Quiddich myself."noted Blaise with a smile.
Harry however shook his head stubbornly.
"No thanks. Look guys, Quiddich... its just... just not my cup of tea."
Harry felt his wife elbow him and looked into her loving eyes.
"And yet you chose to come to the last match."she teased lovingly.
Harry shrugged, keeping his infamous Slytherin-style pokerface, though it was being slightly ruined by his blushing cheeks.
"I merely heared from a very reliable source, that the Gryffindor Seeker is a highly talented and attractive girl. Who wouldn´t want to take a look?"
Ginny at once gave him an affectionate kiss.
"Flatterer."she purred, failing to notice the grins coming from the rest of the room.
"I feel my time would be better directed into locating the enterance to the Chamber of Secrets. Plus we still have to figure out, HOW the hell is the Basilisk moving around the school without detection. Have fun guys."he said kindly.
"I´m going for the library."
"That match... Gryffindor versus Hufflepuff... the library... that´s when."
She started to shake, remembering what had happened. Ron swiftly layed an arm around his fianceé´s shoulder, but in fact he too was shaking, remembering the events of that dreadfull day, just as the diary displayed an image of a 12-year-old Hermione infront of the library and in reluctant conversation with Harry.
"Look Granger... I don´t CARE, if you believe me to be guilty or not. All that I ask for is an answer to a single question – WHERE in the HELL did Neville get that diary?!"inquired Harry, his fist bawled and shaking with surpressed emotion.
Hermione however continued to glare him.
"And how would YOU know about that diary, Potter?!"she questioned coolly.
Harry gave an exaspirated sigh.
"I was HOLDING it in my very hands. Riddle´s name is on the Award for Special Services to the School EXACTLY at the same time the Chamber was opened the first time! And suddenly I find, that Neville – the person least likely to be writing a diary – has one. A BRAND NEW LOOKING one at that, but having the name "Tom Marvolo Riddle" on it. It doesn´t take a genius to see a connection!"
"Well any connections as it were are of no concern to you, Potter."
"NO CONCERN?!"exclaimed Harry, now visibly angered.
"No concern when I´m being framed for being the Heir of Slytherin?! No concern when I see my half-brother holding a suspitious object?! No concern if I take into consideration, that it might be something dangerous?!"
"As though YOU care about Neville! All you care is finding out more for your own greedy ends!"she said, glaring him harder.
"I´m sorry about that, Harry."whispered Hermione.
"Don´t be. You were - in a way - right."said Harry shrugging, but Ginny had noticed a note of self-criticism in his voice.
Harry´s face scrowled, a death-glare following right after it.
"You know what, Granger? Forget it! I don´t need the brains of the "brightest witch of our age" to get to the bottom of this mystery! I have my OWN brains! I´ll find out how the hell Neville got a hold of Riddle´s diary in my OWN way!"he growled, turning away from Hermione and angrily stomping off.
"For all the brains she has... in the end, she is just..."
Suddenly he tensed, hearing the voice coming from the walls.
"Who CARES right now?!"he exclaimed in his mind.
Harry froze, for it was EXACTLY what he thought prior to his "I DO" today, just when he vowed to...
"Harry?"asked Ginny, shocked at the way he had tensed – she noticed without any trouble.
"I... I´ll tell you later, Gin..."he whispered to her so quietly, that she almost wasn´t able to hear it.
She nodded, just as the scene moved forward.
Harry flew backwards as Ron Weasley had suceeded punching him straight in the face with formidable force. His face was contorted in anger, his hands around Harry´s throat, pinning him against the wall.
"This is ALL your fault, Potter! YOUR FAULT! MY BEST FRIEND IS IN THE HOSPITAL WING PETRIFIED AND ITS ENTIRELY YOUR FAULT, YOU STUPID SNAKE!"he bellowed, his eyes sporting tears of hurt.
Harry´s anger was starting to boil out. Not only did he fail to capture that damn Basilisk, even yelling at him in Parseltongue – hence his now-problem – but the damn thing escaped, once more retreating into the chamber without any leads, where the enterance might be. And now THIS – he had had ENOUGH!
His right hand shot up before he even knew what he was doing, returning the punch. The two boys started to fight manicly, throwing one punch after nother while trying to either pin the other to the wall or force him to the ground, Ron finally suceeding the latter. His eye was already slightly swollen and blood was running down his lower lip, nevertheless he was still determined to beat his foe as much as he possibly could. Harry´s eyes widened as Ron raised his fist once more, prepared to deliver a yet another punch.
"FUNGUNIO"roared a girl´s voice and Harry felt Ron´s weight dissapear.
He quickly reached for his glasses and looked to his side, seeing Ron Weasley on the ground moaning in obvious pain. Large, moss-colored fungus was appearing all over his body and robes and he was clearly unconcious.
Harry looked up and saw, that his fellow House-members standing there, some were looking shocked, others sporting looks of triumph at the sight of the Gryffindor boy on the ground.
Daphne Greengrass however was looking at the said boy with a murderous glare, her wand still aimed at him, even as she came closer.
"NO ONE hurts Harry!"she growled menacingly.
Most women in the room at once recodnized from the tone, that though she did not say it aloud, she meant "MY Harry". Harry flashed a look on his wife´s face and was slightly surprised – she merely observed the scene in a neutral way, as though trying to see as much as she could.
Draco had come closer too, his wand also at the ready.
"I second that. Not when WE´RE around."
"No, Dray... leave him."said Harry quietly.
Draco however gave the Gryffindor boy´s form a cold look before turning to his best friend.
"Take a look at yourself, mate."
Harry felt something drip from his throbbing nose. He quickly realized, that it was blood – HIS blood! Nevertheless...
"No... leave him alone. This was between him and me and let´s leave it at that. Someone take him to the Hospital Wing."he said firmly as he scanned each and every face, that was looking at him.
Though he did not like to admit it - even to himself right now - the words this Gryffindor boy had shouted at him resonated deep within. He felt empathy and dispite the brocken nose he now sported, a slight twinge of admiration at his action... among other things anyway.
"I´ll do it."said Angus, at once coming closer to Ron, intent on obeying his friend´s wish.
However, it was clear that Angus wasn´t able to lift the unconcious boy on his own, partially because he was slightly shorter.
"You really were a tiny one back then."cooed Susie, the difference between this adorable little boy in the memory and her tall, muscular fianceé was plain to see.
"Well... amazing what growing-up, working-out and few healthy herb vitamins do to a guy over the years."said Angus in a sheepish voice.
"Awww... why didn´t YOU take up such a healthy diet?"asked Ginny with a grin.
Harry raised his eyebrows in a mock-curious look.
"Well... I may not have a perfect herculean body, but..."he said, pointing to the memory.
Swiftly getting to his feet, startling Daphne who was by his side, Harry narrowed his eyes in a death-glare fresh in his eyes.
"No Angus, you stay where you are. Crabbe! Goyle!"he barked, the two larger and muscular boys at once jumping.
"YOU two take Weasley to the Hospital Wing... AT ONCE!"he commanded, his raised voice making sure, that the order will be fufilled.
Crabbe and Goyle litterally ran to the unconcious boy and together raised him from the ground.
"At once, Heir."
Draco and Blaise couldn´t help but snicker at the automatic replies – apparently, Harry had a gift for making these two jump around like his puppets. Angus also couldn´t help but grin.
"See, sweetheart? I can hold my own just fine."said Harry in a calm voice, making her giggle.
"Oh, I already knew that. And for the record, love... I am quite happy with what I´ve got."she whispered, ruffling his hair affectionately.
Harry gave a tiny giggle.
"You´d better be, Mrs Potter."he said in a mock-menacing voice, making her giggle now as a new scene began to play.
"Dumbledore SACKED?! No! I mean... Dray... can´t you...your Dad´s one of the school governors... can´t he...?"asked Angus as the Common Room was in silence with only a few people still there – most from their year. The news had just got in.
"He and Dumbledore don´t exactly see eye to eye, Angus. But the rest of the governors... they don´t see it that way... as I heared, YOUR father headed that decidion, Daphne."explained Draco.
Daphne Greengrass was sitting on the sofa next to Harry, who seemed to be in a state of shock. Daphne bit her lip.
"I know... though that was father´s decidion, not mine. All I know, is that they´ve had a serious argument when Father visited here before the start-of-term."
She cast a small look on Harry.
"And poor Hagrid is blamed for all this. Arrested and sent to Azkaban?! What´s Fudge playing at?!"exclaimed Angus, dropping into an empty sofa.
"My fault... this is all my fault."breathed Harry.
"NO! Its no fault of yours, Harry. We all know it."said Daphne, at once taking his hand.
But Harry did not react – it was plain to see, that he didn´t think so.
"I´m going to bed."he said in an emotionless voice, rising from the sofa and leaving the stunned Common Room behind him.
"Nasty little wake-up call, if I do say so myself."muttered Harry in the same tone-of-voice.
Most of the occupants flashed looks to eachother as Harry gave a deep sigh.
"Well anyway, we´ve had a nice talk after it and decided to try and locate the enterance before letting the Professors know – just so they would believe us and they could let the Ministry lot know. Until something happened a few days later. Until I realized, that in my rush to solve the mystery, I have forgotten to question someone. Someone I should have approached first."said Harry and another scene rolled up.
Harry was circling in his room, going over everything once again, his notebook regarding the mystery was open and many papers were crossed out and crumbled on the ground. He did not even bother to stay in the Common Room and wait for Severus to deliver the news of what he was sure to be another attack. He had company however. Unussual company. He felt like kicking himself for not asking HIM right away.
"I´ve been an ultimate-leveled IDIOT! Are you certain about this?"he asked his compagnion, his euphoria building.
"Corvinus Gaunt had told me himself after he visited it. I´ve sworn to my very honor, to only reveal this secret to one I deem most worthy. And that my boy, is YOU."said the Bloody Baron, looking at Harry with pride.
"So THAT´S how the damn snake was creeping around. And THAT´S why I´ve been hearing the voices in the wall!"said Harry with a revelation.
"What will you do now, Harry?"asked the Baron with curiousity.
Before Harry could answer, the room-door snapped open and his friends ran in. Their faces were pure-white.
"Who got attacked thistime?"asked Harry sharply at once.
"Its worse, mate."breathed Draco.
Harry´s eyes widened.
"Who´s dead?!"he whispered, shaking all-over at once.
"We don´t know about dead, but... mate... the Weasley-girl... she was taken into the Chamber by the Basilisk."said Angus, also shaking.
"Taken in?!"asked Harry, his voice curious now – something was a miss in here.
"Yes. Another message was left – Her skelleton will lie in the Chamber forever."said Blaise, his voice shaking.
Harry felt something rise up within him. He was starting to make sence... of EVERYTHING! A determined flash gleamed in his eyes.
"The HELL it will! I´m going down there! The girl is still alive, but she may not be for long. Remember that part of the story we´ve read? About the painting draining the life from the woman who liked it so much, before her father stabbed it with the wizard´s own sword cane?"
His friends were looking at him in stunned disbelief.
"You don´t think..."breathed Blaise.
"The diary."growled Harry, now knowing the answer to this disturbing... riddle.
"Bloody hell."breathed Draco.
"FIDUS!"roared Harry and his house-elf instantly appeared by his side.
"Master Harry? What is happening? You is looking...?"questioned Fidus, at once startled at his young master´s state.
"Get me Dad´s Invisibility Cloak."he commanded, the plan already forming in his mind.
"Master? What is you needing it for?"questioned the old elf, but Harry shook his head.
"No time to explain, Fidus. When you bring it to me, I want you to go to old Bathilda´s hen-coop and fetch me a rooster – a LIVE rooster. Place it in a bag and deliver it straight to me. Then, you will go find Severus and give him a message – I will write it right away."
Fidus nodded and dissapeared. Harry swiftly retrieved his wand.
"Right. You three..."
His friends however came closer.
"We are not allowing you to go there yourself, my friend."said Blaise firmly.
"Yeah. Remember what your Dad said about true friends always sticking together? We´re in this together, mate."nodded Draco.
"To the ends of the world, and beyond."said Angus, stretching his hand.
Harry looked on as Draco and Blaise both placed their hands on Angus´. He grinned.
"All right."he said, placing his hand on the top.
"Time to go snake-hunting."
"And you´ve had the Baron make you an alibi as I recall. He told me, that he had his eyes on you troughout the entire time."said Severus, glaring his Godson.
"Ah... our friendly and trusty House ghost."grinned Blaise.
"Well, what d´ you expect? Afterall, which self-respective superhero EVER goes into action without establishing an alibi first?"shrugged Angus with a happy grin as though explaining "one plus one" to a group of tiny children.
Susan, Luna, Ginny, Ron and Sirius grinned at him, but the remainder looked very serious.
"Angus! This is REALITY for God´s sake, not some superhero action cartoon!"exclaimed Hermione in a scolding voice.
However it was met with nothing else but smug grins from the Slytherin Squad – even Salazar Slytherin´s portrait looked smug, much to the disaprooving looks from Hufflepuff and Ravenclaw.
"Exactly, Mione. All the more reasons for having one. Or SEVERAL in some cases."revealed Harry to general shock – many incidents of the past few years bore that trait, when people were convinced, that Harry Potter and his group had NOTHING to do with what happened.
James placed a palm to his forehead – since when did his son become such a good little liar?!
"Once again, Harry... I´m not sure if I should be angry or proud."
"B...bro..."came a whisper.
Alice´s lower lip was trembling and Harry was startled to see a tear rolling down her cheek.
"Harry... I... I always wondered... that time down in the Chamber... oh, Harry... that was you, wasn´t it?"
Harry´s eyes visibly softened and there was a tiny smile playing on his lips.
"Oh... you mean... this moment?"he asked innocently, pointing his wand at the diary, playing another scene.
Harry was shaking. Anger and hatered the likes of which he had never known was now coursing trough his veins, burning like Fiendfyre. Gilderoy Lockhart was smiling in triumph, Alice´s Dogwood wand in his hand and aimed at Alice, Neville and Ron. The boys were eyeing the wand as though frozen, but Alice´s sight was on Lockhart. Her face was pure-white and tears were running from her eyes – her great hero was not only a fraud, but also a... a ...
"Why the tears, my dear Alice? I am writing a happy end to this sad story. It is very clear now, who the Heir of Slytherin is. Your little brother and his blasted Snake Mouth will become a Dark Wizard one way or the other. This way, he will not only be exposed for his terrible crime and the Chamber be sealed forever, but with him safely in Azkaban for the rest of his life, many innocent lives will be spared of his future crimes. And YOU my dear, will be spared of the pain of seeing him fall, because you will not even remember him at all. Trust me, my dear children – sometimes ignorance is BLISS."
Lockhart would definitely not be smiling so leisurely had he seen the expression on Harry´s face, hidden under the Invisibility Cloak.
Many in the room gasped, for they were able to see the boys under the cloak. It was unnerving to see such a livid, hatefull and downright murderous look on such a young boy´s face – it seemed almost unnatural. They were watching in stunned silence, no one sure what spell would fly out of the raised Cedar wand that little Harry aimed at Lockhart under the Cloak.
Lockhart raised his wand high over his head, prepared to cast his spell.
"Obliviate"he roared, his wand falling on Alice.
However Harry had already acted, acting on impulse and casting his first-ever non-verbal spell under the Invisibility Cloak.
"I KNEW IT!"exclaimed Alice, at once rising from her chair and running at Harry, startling Ginny, Naja and of course her baby brother as she gripped him in a tight hug, that could even rival that of Naja´s.
The others watched the scene as Lockhart was lifted off his feet and smashed into the cieling of the tunnel as his own Memory Charm hit him. Ron gasped – he, along with everyone else had always thought the Charm had backfired, but it didn´t... It REBOUNDED off Harry´s...
"Bloody HELL... THAT was one HELL of a Shield Charm."whistled Sirius in pure awe.
"You can say that again, Padfoot..."whispered Remus, shaking his head in wonder.
Lily´s eyes were wide at her tiny son´s magical ability.
The entire tunel began to shake. The four Slytherins under the Cloak were running to the gateway, just like Neville did. But Alice and Ron were holding their arms over their heads, unable to escape the rubble that was falling to the ground all around them.
Harry quickly raised his Cedar wand again, once more casting the Shield Charm over his sister and the Gryffindor boy non-verbally before the worst could fall.
"Oh, Harry... it was you... and... and... I... I..."whispered Alice as she cried on her brother´s shoulder, now understanding everything.
Ginny smiled as she saw her husband hug her back, running soothing circles on her back.
"I have to admit... those Shield Charms were quite extraordinary for a 12-year-old wizard, Harry. A testament to your skill, I take it."said Arthur, smiling in admiration at his son-in-law.
Harry flashed him a grin over his sister´s shoulders.
"Thanks, Arthur. But I´ll have you know... those Charms weren´t entirely my doing."
Many looked puzzled at this revelation, but James and Albus suddenly gasped.
"The Cloak! That´s why...!"breathed James in revelation.
Harry grinned at his father now.
"I always liked those family legends you told me about before going to bed as a child. Like the one about our family heirloom. The Cloak of our ancestor, that was made to protect and shield others, as well as its owner. That´s the main reason why I asked Fidus to bring it, though the boys did not understand at first – you see, we were already capable of using Disillusionment Charms at that point. And when I cast the Shield Charm under it, intent on protecting those I care for, the Cloak reacted as well and acted as an amplifier, boosting the Shield Charm with its own brand of magic. As I understand it, you Albus know very well, how such an enchantment works."
Albus grinned at Harry, appretiating the subtle hint. He ran his finger in his pocket over his wand – the Elder Wand.
Alice let go of her brother and looked him straight in the eyes.
"Nev said, that he didn´t remember slaying the Basilisk nor piercing the diary. I knew there was someone else there. WHY?! Why on Earth didn´t you tell us? ANY of us?!"she asked desperately.
"Once again... you have to understand, that I was 12. I was angry and desperate to prove myself, hungry for adventure, yearning to achieve something extraordinary. But then... well... you´ll see soon enough."he said, pointing his wand at the diary again.
Ginny tensed visibly as the scene in the Chamber started to play. Molly and Arthur, even Ron too, gasped at the sight of the wee Ginny, lying on the ground, white as marble. Neville near her side and beside them a tall, black-haired handsome boy holding Neville´s wand in his hand, his outlines shightly blurred.
"T...Tom Riddle..."breathed Ginny, shaking from head to foot, her body remembering the terrifying struggle she had with the Horcrux for her very life.
Harry at once reached for her hand and even Naja quickly wrapped herself around her.
"Its okay, love. Its okay. I´m here. I was there as well... its okay."he swiftly breathed into her ear in a whisper so silent only SHE was able to hear it, running his other hand on her shoulder and pressing her to himself along with Naja.
Her golden scales seemed to sparkle a bit, the Royal Queen Cobra seemed to wish to give her her support. Ginny felt her tension drift away as she snuggled into her loving husband, the embrace soothing her more than she could ever imagine.
Tom Riddle used Neville´s wand to write three shimmering words.
TOM MARVOLO RIDDLE.
With a sinister smile, Riddle waved the wand and the letters rearranged themselves.
I AM LORD VOLDEMORT.
Harry barely had time to clap his hands on Draco´s and Blaise´s mouths before the two could release their screams of horror – he wasn´t sure if the Cloak´s protective magic would also block out the noises they make and felt, that this certainly wasn´t the situation to find out.
Angus was looking wide-eyed and shocked, much like Neville who was staring at the taller boy there. Neither seemed to be able to associate this sixteen-year-old boy with the darkest wizard of all time.
The room, minus the Slytherin Squad, Albus and Alice were similarly stunned. Ginny however wasn´t looking at Riddle, but at the younger version of her husband.
Alice too, completly stunned by the complete absence of fear of any sort on her little brother´s face. On the contrary...
Harry´s face was calm and analytic. He looked as though he was trying to solve a simple math problem instead of the massive catastrophe that was presently on their hands and admittedly, over their heads.
"M...mate... you´re not scared?!"whispered Draco incredulously as Neville began talking angerly with Riddle.
"Harry?"breathed Blaise, but Harry once more gave it no notice.
He was looking at Riddle, then at Ginny Weasley as though seeing something no one else could. Swiftly repeating this a few times, he closed his eyes and screwed his face as though he was trying to remember something as best he could. The Chamber rang with eerie, wonderfull music and there was a flash of fire. Draco, Blaise and Angus breathed in awe.
"What´s that...?"breathed Angus.
"No way..."breathed Draco.
"That´s Dumbledore´s phoenix, Fawkes."whispered Harry with a smile, knowing the beautiull bird from his visit in Dumbledore´s office a few months before.
Angus looked as though he had just seen the greatest thing of his life.
"Amazing..."he breathed in awe, knowing his Dad and brothers would faint when he tells them he had just seen one of the most legendary creatures in history.
"But what´s the Sorting Hat for?"muttered Draco, as they saw Fawkes deliver it to Neville before sitting comfortably on his shoulder.
"Perfect. Professor Dumbledore must be on his way then."breathed Blaise.
Harry however was still eying Riddle, who broke into a loud manic laugh.
"We have to stall for time. His outlines had turned more blurry as he wrote those words – just like in the story - if the git uses magic, the life he had been sapping returns slightly to the victim, in other words..."
"In order to keep young Miss Weasley alive AND weaken him at the same time, we need to force him to use magic, correct?"asked Blaise, catching on and remembering the story.
"But how to do it without revealing ourselfs?"asked Angus.
"Uh-oh."breathed Harry as Riddle started to hiss in Parseltongue.
The giant statue of Slytherin was moving and the boys didn´t have to guess twice at WHAT was coming.
"Quickly, Fidus..."breathed Harry, calling his house-elf, who had Apparated with a bag from the boy´s dormitory room, where Harry had ordered him to stay.
"Here, Master."whispered Fidus, looking worriedly at him.
Harry quickly took the bag as something heavy hit the floor.
"Quickly Fidus. Go home, FAST!"he ordered swiftly, concerned for his safety as the Basilisk had arrived.
Though Fidus looked like he wanted desperately to stay, he could not disobey his master´s command.
"Stay safe, young Master..."he whispered miserably as he obeyed.
Fidus saw Apricie give him a hard glare.
"Don´t glare at him like that, Apricie. Fidus was a real lifesaver down there."said Harry, smiling at the two house-elves.
"Special delivery for our dark friends."grinned Angus.
The boys concetrated their eyesight mainly on the floor under their feet or the bag in Harry´s hand.
Riddle hissed something in Parseltongue and no one had to understand to know WHAT he had ordered his Basilisk to do.
Draco quickly took the bag, trying to get the bird out, but to no avail... the rooster inside avoided his grip. They could hear Neville running around, the Basilisk hiss angrily and Riddle laughing, obviously quite enjoying the sight.
Blaise pulled out the dagger left to him by his father, that his family house-elf had brought before they left the dormitory for the Chamber – according to the story, the main hero had stabbed the portrait and Blaise at once knew, they must do the same.
"Here my friend. Go slay the Horcrux, leave this to us."he said quickly, handing Harry the dagger before gripping the bag along with Draco.
The Basilisk was suddenly spitting in agony as the Phoenix let out a few tunes, flying around its head. Understanding the hissing from both the Basilisk and Riddle, Harry turned to his friends.
"Fawkes did it! The Basilisk is blind!"
The boys gave out a happy whoop.
"Well done, Fawkes."muttered Blaise in triumph.
"Go Harry, go."encouraged Draco.
"Woah..."breathed Angus, taking a look at the giant snake.
Harry quickly performed the Disillusionment Charm on himself and left the Cloak´s safety, wand in one hand, the dagger in the other. His eyes darted around, trying to find the diary. He saw Neville place the Sorting Hat on his head and with a painfull moan, pulled the Hat off his head holding something, Harry had only heared and read legends of – the sword of Godric Gryffindor. The Basilisk lunged at Neville and he at once started to slash at him with the sword, cutting off several of its fangs.
"What´s he playing at? That will never work!"breathed Draco, watching as Blaise and Angus pulled out the rooster.
But the rooster did not seem to want to crow, instead only tried to peck them.
"We have to do something to make it..."muttered Blaise in obvious anger, the bird was fighting.
"Leave it to me. I remember a trick my Grandpop taught me on his farm."said Angus, attempting to catch the rooster at exactly the place, he knew would produce the result.
Harry made it to the diary, layed at the foot of the statue when Neville, who lunged at the Basilisk with the sword again, roared in pure pain.
Riddle laughed in triumph as Neville fell to the ground holding his arm at the place, where the Basilisk suceeded to bite him.
"You´re dead, Longbottom."said Riddle in a satisfied voice.
Harry turned at Riddle in anger, his wand prepared to cast a curse when he saw Fawkes glide trough the air towards Neville, placing his head over the wound – something Riddle only laughed at, the Basilisk at his side prepared to deliver the final bite.
"You´ll be with your dear Mummy soon, Longbottom. She bought you time, but in vain. You were never a match for Lord Vol-"
Suddenly the Chamber rang in a loud sound. Then again... and again...
Riddle was visibly shocked.
"I...impossible... HOW?!"he exclaimed in pure anger, looking around wildly.
The Basilisk gave a loud hiss of pain as the rooster crowed with its full might, the sound vibrating around the Chamber, its walls making it impossible for the Basilisk to escape it.
"ACCIO ROOSTER!"roared Riddle, waving Neville´s wand wildly, but the Cloak shielded the boys and the rooster.
"Told you... this trick works everytime."said Angus happily as he pressed the rooster again, making it give out an all-mighty crow.
"Heh... I´d never think a simple muggle trick like this could come in so handy."breathed Draco with a grin at another crow.
Riddle gave out a manic howl of pure rage as the Basilisk flailed for the last time, falling dead onto the floor with a heavy thud.
Under the Invisibility Cloak, the three Slytherins whooped in triumph.
"Bye-bye, big guy!"muttered Angus happily, the rooster still in his hands.
Riddle´s outlines became more blurry as he swung around with all of his might, screaming in anger and performing a Non-verbal spell. Harry felt himself being knocked to the ground with the sheer power of the spell.
"YOU! WHO THE HELL ARE YOU?!"roared Riddle as his now-red eyes fell on Harry, who felt his Disillusionment Charm break before he fell to the ground.
He gripped the diary tighter, reaching for his wand rather than the dagger.
"Wouldn´t you like to know, Riddle."said Harry as he got to his feet, at once aiming his wand on him.
Riddle at once blocked Harry´s curse, retaliating with one of his own.
"Protego"roared Harry, sending the curse back at Riddle.
Though the outlines of Tom Riddle were becoming more blurry, the expression of rage was growing more clearer by the second as his eyes and wand tracked Harry, who evaded another curse by taking shelter behind the body of the fallen Basilisk. He tried to make his way to the fallen dagger, but Riddle was one step ahead and acted, before Harry could shield himself.
Harry was at once on the ground, writhing and screaming in pure, utter pain under Riddle´s Cruciatus Curse.
He panted for breath as the curse ended, his fingers reaching franticly for his wand. Instead they wrapped around something else – one of the Basilisk fangs, Neville had cut off.
Riddle didn´t even bother looking at Neville as he advanced on him. Though very blurry now, his expression was bestial.
"You have meddled into my business for the final time, whoever you are."he said in a dangerous voice.
Suddenly he deflected three more curses, with a single movement. He saw three other boys there. His red eyes fell on the Slytherin uniforms.
"Traitors! Filth!"he roared, waving his wand around.
Something jet-black erupted from it, creating a barrier – the barrier they saw today, the Dark Mark barrier – around himself, Harry, the dead Basilisk, Ginny, Fawkes and Neville.
Though Draco, Angus and Blaise cast their spells at it, the barrier remained as it was.
"I shall have you wait here until I regenerate fully. Then I shall deal with three of you."he said, his figure flickering slightly – it was clear that he was almost out of energy.
Harry saw Ginny Weasley´s face gaining back its color, he also saw the diary not far from her and Neville´s still-unconcious form. The phoenix raised its head from Neville´s arm and looked at Harry, blinking at him.
"Fawkes. The diary."mouthed Harry without making any sound, knowing the Phoenix would understand.
Blinking in understanding, Fawkes used his tail to slide the diary smoothly across the floor towards Harry just in time as Riddle advanced over him again.
"As for YOU, you filthy little brat, I won´t wait so long."Riddle´s voice was quiet, yet murderous.
As Riddle pointed his wand at him, Harry gripped the Basilisk fang tightly in his hand – it was now or never...
With a single motion, Harry rolled around to his other side, the Basilisk fang landing straight on Riddle´s diary, piercing it in one instant.
Riddle gave out a long, drawn-out and dreadfull scream, flailing around like crazy as his form emitted yellowish bright light, before exploding in light and into nothingness.
The Barrier also broke away, dissapearing just like Riddle. The three boys whooped in victory.
"In the immortal words of an unnamed superhero – BINGO!"exclaimed Angus, punching the air in triumph to general agreement.
Harry looked over Ginny and Neville, as though assuring himself that they are okay. Fawkes once more took his place at Neville´s side and Harry could´ve sworn, that the Phoenix blinked at him in understanding. He heared sounds coming from the enterance door and saw Ginny stirring.
"Quickly, the Cloak."he said at once.
The boys quickly went to the Invisibility Cloak. Harry´s green eyes however scanned Ginny´s face for a few seconds.
"Harry, hurry up."called Draco from under the Cloak.
Harry barely made it, but he was almost sure Ginny´s eyes had opened before he could vanish under it.
"Hope she didn´t see me."he muttered as he took refuge.
"Tough luck, my little superhero – I DID."whispered Ginny, kissing him on the cheek as he chuckled.
As the boys came to the door, they distinctly heared the voice of their Headmaster behind them.
"Let me, Severus. I shall try..."came Albus Dumbledore´s voice from the other side.
Grinning in spite of himself, Harry hissed at the door – commanding it to open.
The door slided open to revealed the stunned forms of Albus Dumbledore and Severus Snape.
"I´ve had a feeling I´ve had help."said Albus conversationally, making most of the room grin.
"I´ve made up my mind, Harry – I am proud of you boys."said James, his face showing just how MUCH proud he was.
Harry grinned, but shook his head.
"Don´t be, Dad. This adventure was what started it all. Plus I can´t pretend, that it didn´t go to my head."
"The costly price of sucess."nodded Blaise happily.
Their dormitory was in a state of party – even the Bloody Baron seemed to be celebrating.
"THAT was the coolest adventure I EVER had."exclaimed Draco happily.
"Let´s face it gentlemen – we are the SUPERHEROES of the Slytherin House!"boomed Angus happily, jumping around with a large Slytherin Banner wrapped around him like a cape.
"Awww... adorable."cooed Susan as most of the room shared that opinion.
The Baron smacked his forehead, though he couldn´t surpress a smile.
"I agree Angus. The ones who are viewed as vilains, ostracized, feared and hated are in essence those who save the day."said Blaise, lost in a dream-world of his own.
Angus and Draco exploded in laughter.
"Jeez, Blaise... that was corny."chuckled Angus, Draco nodding as well.
Blaise pouted and folded his arms.
"Just because you two mundane misfits have no drama in your souls."he muttered in annoyance, inviting another chorus of laughter.
Harry however was looking out the window, the water of the Black Lake having a soothing effect – making him feel, that he could achieve anything he wished.
"You´re right... all of you. We – us four snakes, will honor our House and show everyone by saving the day from the shadows. But unlike Neville and his lions – we´ll do it OUR way. One thing though... as any superhero group, we should have a name."he said.
There was a moment of silence in the room before...
"How about... The Slytherin Squad."suggested Angus to general agreement.
Harry and his three friends froze as a group of Gryffindors headed by Neville and Alice stopped them on a sun-lit corridor the very next day. Fred, George, Ron and Ginny Weasley were also present. As were Lee Jordan, Colin Creevy, Angelina Johnson and Hermione Granger. Looking from one to the other, counting them all, Harry shrugged.
"Well... twenty to four... let´s get started."he said brightly, pulling out his wand.
His three friends did the same, but Fred Weasley quickly raised his hand.
"Wait, Potter. We´re not here to fight."
Harry fixed all of them a mock-astonished look.
"You´re NOT?"flashing a look at Ron Weasley.
The Gryffindors shared an uncertain look, but Draco, Blaise and Angus shared a discreet grin, catching on to Harry´s game.
"We came to apologize."said Neville, going red in the face.
"You´re not the heir of Slytherin."added Hermione Granger, also going slightly red.
The four Slytherins exploded in laughter.
"Well, good morning to you too, sunshine. Welcome back to a little place called Earth."said Harry smoothly, prompting another wave of laughter from his three friends.
Alice growled, going red in the face as well.
"You don´t have to rub it in."
Harry fixed her a smirk.
"Oh... DON´T I, sis?"he asked innocently.
Alice at once stomped her foot in annoyance.
"OH! Why the hell are you being so stubborn?!"
"Yeah! We want to APOLOGIZE to you!"exclaimed Neville, his own shame building his anger.
Harry´s eyes flashed and he fixed his siblings a mighty glare.
"Well maybe I don´t FEEL like listening. Maybe I don´t WANT your apology."
Neville and Alice backed slightly, shocked.
"Who the hell do you think you are?!"exclaimed Angelina Johnson in exaspiration.
Harry´s glare intensified.
"Someone who won´t come crawling back like a beaten puppy whenever you idiots realize you did something wrong!"he said, strength building in.
"But Harry..."breathed Neville.
"Call it payback, Nev. Or revenge, or whatever you want to call it. But thistime I won´t listen and let´s see how YOU like it."he said, pointing his wand at himself, then at Neville and Alice for emphasis.
Holding the look with his siblings for a few more moments, he turned to his friends.
"Let´s go boys. As I understand it, there´s no need to say anything else."
"Well... I´ve said we were young and stupid."said Harry as the scene ended.
"Arguably... you DID make a good point."shrugged Severus.
"Severus!"exclaimed Lily, though she couldn´t help but agree to some extend.
"Well... at the time I felt, that I should go and explore other things in life. And prior to the end of the term, Angus recieved a letter from his brother..."
Lily and James gasped, remembering.
"The Egyptian archeology trip."breathed Lily, her eyes falling on Naja.
"You were barely at home during that summer."said Alice, remembering.
"Alice and Neville believed, that it was then you had embraced the Pure-blood supremacy theory."said James in reminiscence.
Alice bit her lip, but Harry looked analytic.
"Well... they´ve had a pretty good reason for thinking so. You see, around that summer, we´ve had many party with our fellow Slytherins and it was then, when we had become closer with the Greengrass sisters."he said, flashing a smile at Torie.
As the diary displayed a scene on the Hogwarts Express, as Daphne handed them their invitations, Harry couldn´t help but feel a twinge of regret at what the girl had become.
Feeling pretty well now, after her sixth helping of the Restorative Draught, Daphne took her wand from Barty Crouch.
"Wormtail´s puppet got them back from the Confiscated Objects Room at the Ministry."he said smilingly.
Daphne Greengrass looked, running her fingers lovingly on her sweet little wand, relishing the reunion. At once, she had made up her mind to check on something.
"Where is he, Bart?"she asked coldly.
Barty raised his eyebrow.
"He is still in the main room. Why do you ask?"
Daphne rose from the bed and with a wave of her wand transfigured her prision clothes into a green and silver battle uniform.
"I need to confirm something."she said and without another word, she had left the room.
Barty was shocked for the tiniest of moment, before his face broke into a smirk.
"Pity I won´t be able to see it. THAT ought to be good."
Daphne was walking trough the corridor of the Headquarters, thinking, going over several scenarios and possibilities in her head. She had to be sure... she had to KNOW...
She opened the main room´s door and saw the large throne-like chair at the end of it – the chair that had several snakes carved onto the outline of it – the chair befitting of the TRUE Heir of Slytherin. A smaller man was kneeling before the figure sitting in it.
"You have done well, Wormtail. Our operation was a success, thanks to my two hands. You, my left hand have my gratitude. I shall soon need you once again."said the cold voice from the throne.
Wormtail bowed deeply.
"Of course, my Lord. I live to serve you."
Under his hood, Voldemort smiled.
"Very well, Wormtail. Now leave. I have a visitor."
Wormtail nodded and as he was exiting the room, flashed a small smile at Daphne.
"Good to have you back, Daphne."
Daphne however paid no attention to it, her eyes fixed on the figure sitting on the throne.
"I agree with Wormtail, Daphne – something that does not happen often. I have heared from Barty that you had, recently in Azkaban, stopped eating – giving up on yourself."Voldemort had said, rising from his throne as the seventeen-year-old girl stepped forward.
"I want to confirm something..."she said quietly, coming closer.
The hood masked his face, making it impossible for her to see the expression of curiosity. But though the red eyes were the ones she had remembered, she saw a definite change in his physical form, furthering her suspitions. Dispite of Wormtail, Barty, Bella, Marcus and all the others here, there was only one thing she cared for knowing – only one thing she cared for... and she NEEDED to know.
"What is it, that you wish to confirm?"asked Voldemort, though he was catching on.
Daphne at once pulled out her wand on him.
"Fungunio Relligo"she screamed, firing her curse.
Voldemort deflected it at once and moved backwards for more space. He delfected three more curses before retaliating with curses of his own, the girl on defence yet still holding her own.
"She always WAS strong."thought Voldemort, as Daphne undid his Dark Constrict Curse with ease.
"I was giving up, because this world is not worth living in, if my master is not in it!"she bellowed, firing another curse.
Voldemort was, for a moment, astonished at what he had heared. Daphne pressed her advantage, driving him on defence.
"You could easily be that Masked Bastard in disguise! I know Barty and the others are acting on your orders, but you may as well be someone completly else! WHO ARE YOU?!"she roared, sending another non-verbal curse at him.
Voldemort deflected the curse, but something had chaught his attention. He remembered, what his mother had told him in that miserable place... was it possible...?
Daphne gave a roar of rage and fired a series of curses on him – many being quite lethal. Voldemort however felt something he had only experienced over all these years with the Basilisk or Nagini. The dance with death – his worst fear – being extremly intoxicating. With a smirk, he retaliated with JUST the same curses and watched the girl energicly block and retaliate, something that seemed to him quite... enchanting. However... all good games must come to an end.
With a series of waves of his trusty Yew wand several serpents appeared out of nowhere, encircling her in a deadly grip.
Daphne gritted her teeth, not afraid of death in particural, but in rage at her opponent, who had suceeded in defeating her. The snakes constricted her powerfully, their poisonous fangs were only milimeters from her throat when...
The cloaked figure hissed a command in Parseltongue. The snakes at once obeyed, releasing her. Down on the ground, the girl gasped for breath for more reasons than one.
"Does THAT answer your question as to WHO I am?"he asked silkily, his red eyes on the girl at his feet.
Daphne shook. For a moment Voldemort wondered whether she had stopped breathing, when... suddenly...
"MY LORD!"she wailed, at once jumping up, catching him by surprise.
Voldemort froze as he felt her embrace him. The embrace... he could only relate it to being held by Nagini... or his mother in THAT place...
A series of feelings, he never knew he was capable of feeling had gripped him with an iron-grip. For some... some impossible reason, he didn´t feel as disgusted with them as he did in the years before... for some reason... could it be... could it be, that... as he remembered his earliest years in the orphanage... could it be that he had LONGED for them...?!
"My Lord... my LORD... it is you... it really IS you..."the girl breathed and Voldemort was shocked as he read her feelings via Legilimency – feeling her complete and utter relief at him being alive.
He placed his palm on the top of her head, just like he used to do with his dear Nagini.
"Mother... could it be... that you were right? That this is it?"he thought as he did something he had NEVER done – never thought he would do in his LIFE... NEVER... EVER in his 71 years, had he kissed a girl.
A/N: And there we have it, folks :D. First up to answer the questions you had as to the relations between Alice, Neville and Harry... Alice is the eldest Potter – 19 years old and born not long after James and Lily left Hogwarts. Harry of course is 17, born on 1980 as per cannon. The same thing with Neville. Frank and James are distant relatives and Alice Longbottom nee Crouch (yup, Barty Crouch sr´s younger – much younger sister, Barty´s age was never specified, but I always envisoned him being the older sibling, being almost of age when his sister was born) was dear friends with Lily Evans during their Hogwarts days dispite Alice being a few years above her.
James and Lily are Neville´s Godparents and since all of the Longbottoms had died during the first Voldemort attack, James and Lily took Neville in and raised him as their own. Harry and Alice therefore consider Neville their sibling, or half-sibing. Not by blood but simply as someone who belongs into the family, much like James and Lily consider Remus, Sirius or Severus as members of the family, dispite not being related.
Now... as to the Chamber of Secrets incident... well I always figured, that Harry and his snakes would not stay behind, but that they would happily act from the shadows :D And with Harry´s and Angus´ fascination with muggle cartoons and stuff, its not hard for two 12 year old boys to start wanting to be superheroes :D Don´t worry, you´ll see it evolve into their present-day selfs.
And as for the last part of the chapter – I realize most of you will probably want to kill me for it :D, but YES, our Dark Lord has had the slightest change of heart. You will of course see, what on Earth (pun intended) had prompted him to see something he had failed to see for seven decades, and yes – Merope Riddle has indeed played a part in it. As for Daphne, you will see that she is much different from Bellatrix Lestrange and she shares certain traits with the Dark Lord, dispite being born into MUCH different surroundings. Also... regarding their more than big age difference, don´t worry... :) I realize, that the implication to such a relationship is very controverse ( I mean 71year old to 17), but I already have a plan to skate over that :D.
Dispite this, have no fear, Voldy is still the Dark, dangerous megalomaniac we all know and hate. So keep tight and hang on for another ride :D