The attack on Colin Creevey was common knowledge by the morning as Gryffindor seemed to shut down on itself. While Colin was only a first year and most found his constant picturing taking to be annoying, having the first human victim be from their own house was staggering and to top it all off, no one could remember seeing Colin at the Quidditch celebration the night before. Percy Weasley seemed to be taking the petrification the hardest. “It’s my job to know when someone’s missing after curfew!” the Prefect bemoaned, holding his hands over his head. “How is it possible that no one noticed he was gone?”
That was the million dollar question: how had Colin’s absence been missed? The first year was always making his presence known with the flashing of his camera and he tried to be anywhere Harry was. Thinking about it, the group of combined Gryffindor’s couldn’t remember hearing the clicking of a camera or seeing that blinding flash all night.
Ginny Weasley seemed to be taking her friend’s petrification hard as well, wailing whenever someone mentioned the boy and downright sobbing ever since McGonagall had announced the new that morning two weeks ago.
That added with the visit from Dobby and the trio of Gryffindor’s couldn’t have found better clues if they had been trying. “Colin’s a muggleborn,” Hermione said fretfully that day at lunch, not even protesting the cancelled classes so that the teacher’s could search for the monster. “What if this really is about purging the school?”
Both Gabriel and Harry didn’t like that thought however... ‘Voldemort did have to develop his hate of muggleborns at some point,’ Gabriel mumbled in thought. ‘But how is he doing this?’
The hundred pound question: just how was Voldemort seemingly coming forward in time and petrifying people? According to the brief explanation on time travel that Gabriel had given Harry, time was fluid and ever changing. Going backwards in time to change events was impossible as your effect on the timeline by traveling backwards had been accounted for by the time stream already and all you would do is cement the events into place. Going forward in time wasn’t an option because finding the correct future out of all the possible futures was impossible.
Needless to say, Harry gained a headache and Gabriel was stumped. Hermione and Ron were just as in the dark as they were and none of the library books yielded any information.
So intent on finding out what was going on, Harry declined going to the dueling club that Lockhart had formed in order to better protect themselve. ‘A fraud isn’t going to be able to teach us anything useful,’ he thought to himself as he continued reading, Hermione having dragged Ron off in order to see if the club had any potential. ‘I can’t believe that she has a crush on him.’
‘She’ll get over it soon enough,’ Gabriel assured him. ‘Besides, she was bound to have her first crush at some point.’
Harry nodded absently before freezing as a voice spoke from all around them . “Blood,” it echoed around the room. “Hunt...hungry! Kill!”
‘What on Earth is that?!’ Gabriel nearly shouted in their mind as Harry’s head whipped along to search for where the voice could be coming from.
Besides Madam Pince, he was the only one in the library and yet the voice was still echoing softly around them and Harry could swear that it was moving. ‘Follow it!’ Gabriel said hurriedly and Harry obliged, shutting the book he was reading, grabbing his book bag and forcing himself not to run after the voice.
Outside the library, the strange murderous voice was louder, seemingly going upwards. Harry sprinted after it, his stomach twisting in horror at the thought of who could be targeted next when he turned the corner and found himself suddenly sliding as his feet hit a large pool of water. Falling to the floor with a half aborted shriek, the water soaked through his once dry clothes.
Climbing to his feet and groaning at the new soreness of his backside, Harry looked around in curiosity before looking at the wall in shock. There, in blood red lettering, was the threatening writing on the wall and what looked like scorch marks seared into the bricks that were stained red. Somehow, Harry had made it to the second floor without noticing and the voice he had been following was gone. Confused and frustrated, Harry settled on finding out where all this water had come from.
He regretted the decision soon after.
Moaning Myrtle was one of the few Hogwarts ghosts that was loathed by the entire student body. Myrtle didn’t seem to have a purpose in her afterlife, unlike most of the ghost in Hogwarts that attempted to help out their respective houses as much as they could. Even Peeves had his purpose in causing mayhem and mischeif around Hogwarts. Myrtle just stayed in her bathroom, crying and occasionally flooding the second floor hallway.
Harry found that out the hard way, having only heard rumors of the ghost the year before. Mrytle was sitting up the window of the bathroom, her head in her hands as she cried her misery out for the world to hear. She looked up when he entered but quickly returned to her previous activities once she had properly glimpsed him. Harry could hear Gabriel snort in the back of his head and mutter something about ‘weepy cry babies that should have just gone with their reaper’. Not knowing what a reaper was, Harry didn’t comment and continued to observe the bathroom around him.
That was how he found the soak black book that shined with a black aura on the bathroom floor. ‘What is that?!’ Gabriel screached in their mind, seemingly offend by the mere presence of the book. Harry didn’t know but he had a hunch that it had something to do with the Chamber.
Picking up the books, Harry retreated to the library to furhter look into the matter, not even bothering to remember his wet clothes or aching behind.
The next day, Harry animatedly explained what he had learned to a listening Ron and an increasingly horrified Hermione. “They thought Hagrid opened the Chamber of Secrets originally?!” she practically yelled, not caring of the listening ears, so caught up in her disbelief. “Are they mentally retarded?”
Having never heard Hermione insult someone before, Harry had to stop himself from letting out a startled snort. It would figure that the one time Hermione insulted someone with authority it would be in defense of one of her friends. Not that he blamed her because he completely and utterly agreed. Unicorns were pure and glaringly picky creatures; there would be no way that Hope would accept Hagrid’s presence if he had been responsible for killing a student and attacking the school.
There was also the way that the diary had felt, ugly and dirty on his skin when he held it and the way the black aura attempted to reach out to him at times was alarming. Gabriel was already spitting and snarling whenever he saw it and Harry couldn’t bring himself to touch it again to dispose of it nor could he seem to find the will to go inform a teacher.
He’d tried once, going up to Professor McGonagall with the intent to tell her about his discovery, only to find himself asking a question instead. The same results had happened when he’d attempted to tell Hagrid and yet he could freely talk to his friends about the strange journal and Tom Marvolo Riddle. It irked him and confused him at the same time.
‘Whatever that thing is,’ Gabriel grumbled. ‘It’s bad news and I don’t want it nearly us any longer than we have to have it!’
Luckily, Christmas Holiday approached quickly and Harry found himself with an invitation to the Burrow for the holidays. He quickly sent off Hedwig with his response, ignoring the pang of jealousy as he watched her fly away into the night sky.
The days passed quickly, the entire school abuzz with talk of the approaching holidays, and Harry, who had never had much reason to celebrate, was anxious for break to start. Soon enough, sooner than Harry had thought possible, he found himself back on Platform Nine and Three Quarters and heading to the Burrow with the Weasley family.
They were greeted by two unfamiliar redheaded males as they pulled up to the Burrow, Ginny letting out a delighted squeal at the sight of them and the excited girl barely waited for the car to roll to a stop before she jumped out and practically tackled the tallest of them.
“That’s Charlie!” Ron told him as he pointed to the still standing male who was holding his stomach as he laughed at Ginny and what was presumably the oldest Weasley. “The one on the ground under Ginny is Bill! I can’t believe they didn’t tell us they were coming!”
That was how Harry was finally introduced to the entire Weasley family, easily getting along with Bill and Charlie as the oldest of the redheaded family easily slid back into life at the Burrow. Harry found that Charlie was a wealth of information on magical creatures and was just as happy to tell them everything he knew as he was to tease them for their sudden interest.
Both Harry and Ron kept quiet about the supposed monster lurking in the hall of Hogwarts and took the ribbing with the intent that it was given, though both were disappointed when no creature matching the criteria of the attacks was brought up.
Bill had just as fascinating stories as Charlie did, however, as he worked as a curse breaker for Gringotts in Egypt. Tales of the Egyptian tombs and the different curses and traps that lay in wait within captivated even the Twins and Percy as the two weeks slowly crawled by. Harry, with some prodding from Gabriel, promised himself that he would be taking Ancient Runes the next year. From the way Bill made it sound, Runes were essential in his line of work and Harry certainly thought that being a curse breaker would be an interesting career to look into.
When Christmas day had arrived, Harry was nearly bouncing on the balls of his feet as he waited with bated breath for Ron to wake up. Harry had gotten up early this year in order to sneak his gifts to the Weasley’s under the tree before anyone could see. He’d also taken the opportunity to hide a few galleons around the house in various places.
It had been obvious to Harry, from his first night at the Burrow, that although Mr. Weasley was overworked the man was severely underpaid for his job. Harry had more money than he knew how to deal with, however, and had plenty left over from school shopping the year before and had begun sneaking a few galleons along with plenty of sickles and knuts, into very plausible place he could. He also kept quiet when he saw Mrs. Weasley eye him in suspicion a few times as she looked a pile of sickles that had been sitting innocently in the laundry room hamper.
Ron gave a mumbled groan from his bed and began to stir. Harry quickly pretended to be asleep as the redhead shuffled to his feet and silently made his way out of the room, probably planning to go wake up the other’s before he moved onto Harry. Knowing that the Twins would attempt to prank him if he kept up his pretence, Harry climbed out of bed and began getting ready for the day, Ron soon joining him and giving him a knowing look when he thought Harry wasn’t looking.
‘You need to learn to lie better,’ Gabriel complained as Harry made his way out of the room to head downstairs for breakfast.
‘You know how to lie well,’ Harry pointed out.
‘Yes,’ Gabriel agreed.
‘Then what’s the problem? I’m you, aren’t I?’
His counterpart had no response for that and remained silent as he contemplated the question. In honesty, Gabriel had no idea how he felt about that; on one hand, Harry was him, his very essence given a human soul and on another hand, Gabriel couldn’t really reconcile the mostly polite and honest twelve year old as being the same person as the prone to lying and rude Gabriel that his memories made him out to be.
Just how much of his very identity did he give up when he had assumed the role of Loki? The memories given conscience was afraid to dig for that answer, not wanting to know just how far from what he had been he had given up when he had left Heaven. He wondered how much of his time as a human, in all his various incarnations, had been a punishment as much as it had been a reward.
“Happy Christmas!” Harry was greeted by two enthusiastic fourth years, identical grins on their faces as the grabbed both of his arms and dragged him into the main room of the Burrow where a large tree stood and gifts laid strewn about the floor. “Present time!” The Twins chorused as Ron made to join them.
Bill and Charlie went first, both picking up their presents with care. Charlies received a pair of fire proof robes from his parents as well as an updated guide on magical creatures from his sibling as a combined gift. Harry, not having expected the older siblings, had only barely managed to owl order a book on the many species of dragons that had been recently discovered or had gone extinct over the years. He received a surprised hug from the Dragon Handler after Charlie had slipped on his customary Weasley sweater.
Bill, along with his own Weasley sweater, had received a set of robes that were covered in protection charms, dragon hide boots from Charlie, and a set of books on rare ancient spells from his siblings. Harry had gotten him pair of goggles that were charmed to see magic that he had seen Bill eyeing earlier in the week.
“Where did you find the time to get this?” the eldest Weasley asked in surprise as he tried the goggles out. Harry saw the magic of the Burrow pulse in greeting and grinned at the awe that filled Bill’s face.
“There should be a guide on the different colors with them,” Harry told him, ignoring the question in favor of searching out for the guide and handing it to the awestruck Weasley.
The Twins were next, Weasley sweaters having already been put on while Charlie and Bill had opened their presents. Harry looked at Percy in askance only to have to third oldest laugh when he caught Harry’s eye.
“It’s for our combined health.” Percy explained. “The Twins once blew up the tree because they got bored waiting for their turn.”
Harry laughed at the thought of an exploding Christmas tree just as the twins let out combined yell of surprise and jumped on him. Harry, having been annoyed at Malfoy’s taunts over their brooms, had gotten the Twins two Nimbus Two Thousand’s for Christmas. Harry didn’t even think that they had even bothered with their other presents yet, to occupied with seeing how long it would take for Harry to suffocate from their gratefulness. “Can’t breathe!” he gasped out from underneath them, inciting laughter from the watching Weasley’s. Ron seemed to be snickering the most as he watched them.
They finally let up and Harry gasped for breath as air filled his abused lungs. Fred was the first one to speak as Harry’s breath returned to a normal pace. “Why Two Thousand’s?” he seemed pleased but also confused. It was clear that he was remembering the Two Thousand and One’s that Slytherin was riding.
“Well, Malfoy thinks that the Two Thousand and One’s are good brooms and he can’t catch the Snitch when it literally on his head so I figured that wasn’t a recommendation in their favor,” Harry explained to the combined laughs of everyone that knew what he was talking about and the surprised chuckles of those who didn’t know how the first Quidditch game had gone. Gabriel gave a hum of approval in the back of their head. “Plus there was a sale going one and I figured Oliver might stop making eyes at my broom if he had his own.”
The Twins burst out in laughter, forced to hold their stomachs in attempt to keep from falling over from laughing as hard as they were.
The rest of the day progressed with Ron receiving his own broom from Harry as well as a myriad of gifts with Quidditch themes (even a book on the Chudley Cannons from Hermione), the Twins gaining prank kits from Zonko’s, Mr. Weasley getting many new muggle contraptions to figure out, and Percy ending up with six new books from both his family, Harry, and his friends from Hogwarts.
Mrs. Weasley received a combined gift theme of cookbooks, both muggle and wizard, which she hummed in pleasure as she read. Ginny ended up with an assortment of things but she seemed to like Harry’s gift the best once she figured out what it was for. The look on her face when she looked at exactly thirteen galleons was worth it though because he had never seen someone looked amused, confused, and hurt at the same time.
“I figured you might want a new wand,” he offered as he looked at her worn wand that looked as if it might be a safety hazard soon. Harry already planned on giving the same amount of money to Ron for his best friend’s birthday in a few months. It was also because he didn’t know the eleven year old girl all the well in comparison to the males of the family, seeing as she barely ever talked to him before running in the opposite direction. It had been Gabriel who suggested the money for a new wand and Harry was forced to agree with him as it was the best idea that he had.
Ginny went bright red before giving him a shy, beaming smile and hid the money in her new trunk, which had come from her parents, right next to a new book on magical creatures (from Charlie), and story book that Harry couldn’t see the title of (from Ron, Percy, and the Twins). She was wearing a strange necklace from one of her friends and had a locket hung around her neck that was from Bill and held a picture of him and Charlie in it.
Harry was the last to open presents, being the second youngest and the guest (having insisted that Ginny go first). Ron had gotten him wizarding camera with a scrap book that came from the Twins and Percy. It seemed that they had all noticed his fondness of the pictures of his parents and had decided that he should be able to start his own album of his time at Hogwarts. He appreciated the thought and planned on taking picture of his friends as soon as he could and adding them to the book.
His Weasley sweater, made an emerald green that matched his eyes, was quickly put on. Bill and Charlie had both gotten him books. It seemed that the oldest Weasley children had noticed his interest in what they did and had gotten him a beginner’s guide to runes and a book on dragons respectively. Harry blushed as he read the titles and thanks them as Gabriel hummed in interest at the books.
Harry might not know what Gabriel was but he had figured out rather quickly that his counterpart knew many, many things on nearly every subject so the interest that he was showing in something he probably already knew surprised Harry.
‘Spell casting in runes differs with every culture,’ Gabriel explained. ‘For all I know, they link together certain runes that other cultures don’t even think of trying or they combine different runes of different cultures, which can do some awesome and strange things. Dragons come in many different breeds and shapes. I’ve never seen dragons like the ones that Hagrid had before which means that I don’t know everything on them.’
‘What kind of dragons have you seen?’ Harry wondered as picked one of his remaining gifts.
‘Let’s just say that Muggle myths on dragons have some basis in fact and leave it at that,’ Gabriel told him evasively. Harry nearly scowled in annoyance before remembering what he was doing and ripped open the paper. Inside was a rather pretty looking snow globe with what looked like Hogwarts in the middle of the swirling ‘snow’. “Oh,” Harry whispered as he studied the globe in fascination. It didn’t give off the same glow that most magical objects did and Harry had to wonder where the person who had given him this had gotten it as there was no name on it to tell him who had sent it.
“What is that?” Ron asked from beside him and Harry showed him the snow globe. “They’re called snow globes,” Harry told his friend. “I think that’s Hogwarts in the middle.”
“Cool,” Ron said as he continued to study the globe. Harry nodded happily and placed it on top of his other gifts once Ron handed it back to him. Happy that it was safe for now, he turned to his last two gifts in interest, one of them clearly marked from Hermione. Like Ron, he had also gotten a book though his was about Seekers instead of the Cannons. Grinning, he tucked the book away with his other new additions and picked up the last present, which was a tin of treacle tart from Hagrid and a card about wishing him a Mercy Christmas and telling him to visit when he got back because Hope and her foals were missing him.
The presents were quickly taken upstairs and put into his trunk while Ron piled his own presents onto his bed minus his broom. Grabbing his own broom, Harry and Ron raced downstairs and outside so as to get as much flying time in as possible, the twins right behind them with their own new brooms.
It was the best Christmas that Harry had ever had, far outweighing his Christmas the year before.