The Chamber of Secrets was just as dark and disgusting as Harry had expected it to be. Underneath the thousand years worth of decay had left the Chamber in its current state but Harry could see, beneath it all, the remnants of what the Chamber used to be. He was surprised to see that there had once been benches around the walls and he could see the remains of picture frames hidden underneath the bones of dead animals that were most likely left by the Basilisk.
'This doesn't look like a death chamber that was built to purge the school of muggleborns,' Harry observed.
'No,' Gabriel agreed. 'This looks more like a sanctuary that's fallen into decay. I'm beginning to think that we don't know everything about who Salazar Slytherin was.'
'Everyone agrees that he was prejudiced against muggleborns,' Harry argued but he had his own suspicions that were whispering in the back of his head. 'How could it be a widely accepted fact if it doesn't have some truth to it.'
'I have a feeling that truths in the Wizarding World have a lot less fact than they would care to admit,' Gabriel explained. 'If I'm correct about the time period that they lived in, Slytherin would have been right to be wary of muggleborns. They were burning witches a thousand years ago and I doubt that muggleborns always accepted the fact that they were born with magic.'
'So they could have led the Witch Hunters here,' Harry realized and the idea of a sanctuary underneath the school made that much more sense. 'If their parents happened to be Witch Hunters, the entire population of Hogwarts could be put to risk.'
'Thus a Chamber hidden in the school where only someone from a magical bloodline could access and a guard that could not be reasoned with by muggles.' Gabriel concluded sounding both smug and sad at the same time.
'Then how did we all forget? History of Magic doesn't even really cover the Witch Hunts all that well. It's like the people just forgot about the danger.' It didn't make any sense. Sure, History was written by the victor but that shouldn't be able to cause an entire magical society to forget the dangers that were present in different time periods, not to mention the whole society conveniently forgetting that part of history.
'I don't know but we've more important matters to deal with,' Gabriel reminded him. 'Whether or not the chamber was originally supposed to be the last defense of the school doesn't matter when the Slytherin Heir is using the original magicks to attack the school from within. It doesn't seem to matter to him whether or not his victims are muggleborn or halfbloods or even purebloods, seeing as Percy was attacked as well and the Weasley's are a pureblood family.'
Harry didn't have a chance to respond, having come to the end of the long tunnel only to be faced with a brass door blocking his way. 'Focus on the snakes,' Gabriel suggested as Harry studied the snakes that covered the brass door. 'If it's anything like the entrance we came in, then the password will be in snake. Last time we spoke it, we were looking at a snake and before that, at the zoo we talked to the snake before we freed it.'
Harry nodded and looked at the snakes that held the brass door closed. "Open," he said, english coming out instead of the desired parseltongue. Frowning in annoyance he tried again with the same result. Eyes narrowing, Harry made sure to focus of the snake closest to him and tried a third time.
"Open!" He snapped, hissing coming out instead of English. The snakes began to move, receding as a smaller snake crawled past where their heads had been. With a creak that made Harry think the door was rusted shut, the rounded entrance opened as the brass door swung passed him.
'There, you see?' Gabriel, if he had had a face, would have been grinning. The memory of the Archangel loved being right, probably just as much as he had when he had been more than just memories.
Harry ignored the cheerful voice and stepped into the what was most likely the actual Chamber of Secrets and home to the Basilisk.
If Harry thought that the sanctuary outside had once been beautiful, it had nothing on the inside of what he suspected was the actual Chamber. Giant carved snakes stood at the end of a long stone floor, all of it covered with green mildew, the original colors lost to time. A statue of a man that was probably Salazar Slytherin stood proudly in the center of the room and Harry thought that it most likely had once been just as grand and magnificent as the Great Hall was in its glory days because even now, a thousand years later, it was still awe inspiring to look at.
He discontinued studying his surrounding in favor of Ginny, who was lying sprawled on the floor not far from the statue in the center. With water surrounding her and covering most of the cavern they were in, Harry hoped that she hadn't been there long as if she was injured, catching cold or pneumonia would do her no good. 'Then stop staring at her and go check!' Gabriel scolded, sounding more than a bit annoyed. Harry didn't blame him, he'd be annoyed to if he was in Gabriel's situation (which he was, in a strange, still mind breaking, way).
Harry rushed over to Ginny's fallen figure, setting his wand down as Gabriel instructed him on how to check for a pulse. He wasn't the only one relieved when he found a steady pulse as his fingers wrapped around her wrist. 'That's good,' Gabriel said and Harry could relief in his voice. 'She's just unconscious. Madam Pomfrey should be able to fix her up as soon as we get out of here.'
Harry nodded, reaching for his wand...except that it wasn't there, his hand meeting cold stone instead of a familiar wood. "She won't wake," a voice, familiar in a horrible and gut-wretching way, spoke from behind them. Harry turned around, standing as he did so and came face to face with Tom Riddle, twirling Harry's wand in the middle of his fingers.
"Tom Riddle," Harry said easily and everything made that much more sense. The diary was Tom's and he had been the one that had implicated Hagrid in the opening of the Chamber of Secrets when it had opened fifty years ago. "So you're behind the attacks." It wasn't a question and he could feel Gabriel seething within him, just as pissed as he was.
"Oh?" Riddle cocked his head to the side, he face a perfect mask of innocence but Harry could see the darkness that was surrounding him, radiating from the inside out.
'Don't underestimate him,' Gabriel warned. 'He might have the mind of a fifteen year old but remember, he's been in that book for fifty years. We won't know what kind of memories he has of that time or what he's learned, not to mention that he now has our wand.'
'So he could be more dangerous than he already was at fifteen,' Harry concluded. 'Not to mention the darkness that's surrounding him.'
Gabriel was silent for a moment before he began cursing. 'I can't believe I didn't notice it before!' Gabriel said with a snarl. 'That diary just became much more interesting and dangerous. He isn't a memory but a soul fragment.'
Harry didn't respond as Riddle seemed to have noticed his inattentiveness to him and had pointed the Holly wand that wasn't even his at Harry. "You're smart," Riddle said, seemingly annoyed at having to compliment him. "You seemed to have already figured out who I am; that's more than I can say for the incompetent people at the Ministry. They honestly believed that half-breed was the Heir of Slytherin?" Riddle scoffed and began smirking at Harry, studying him with teal eyes that seemed to be attempting to see into the deepest part of Harry's soul.
"Harry Potter," he said and Harry started at the sudden use of his name. "I must say, you've surpassed my expectations. Finding the Chamber and even managing to access it! It took me until my fifth year to find this Chamber, hidden as it was in the girls bathroom. Of course, my expectations were already high."
Harry had a bad feeling about this, almost as if he had met Tom Riddle before. There was a familiar way to how he talked and the look in his eyes reminded Harry of another person that he had met the year before. "You had expectations?" he asked as Gabriel began trying to figure out just how a soul fragment had ended up in a diary.
Riddle gave him a secretive smile, his teals eyes seeming to darken as he looked over. "A baby," he began, eyes narrowing. "Manages to defeat the greatest wizard in the world, the only one to ever survive the Killing Curse in the history of its creation. I'd be a fool to not have had expectations. So tell me, Harry Potter, how did you manage to defeat the greatest wizard in the world?"
The question set Harry on edge. He had a suspicion about why Riddle was talking like he was but if he was right, then the professors had fucked up ('So you can curse!') worse than he had ever thought they could have. "I didn't," Harry snapped. He didn't know if it was true or not and he honestly wasn't sure if he would ever find out but Dumbledore had explained his own theories to Harry about his survival the year before and now Harry was about to throw those into Riddle's face. If he was right about who Riddle was then the knowledge would serve to piss him off.
'And anger will cause him to make mistakes,' Gabriel added and Harry could feel the thrum of anger underneath their skin. Gabriel, like Harry, was anxious to end this. "My mother," Harry said, enjoying the look of confusion on Riddle's face. "My common muggleborn mother defeated Voldemort. And now he's a shade of himself, not even strong enough to possess a body!"
It hit home alright and Riddle's face twisted into a angered sneer, his eyes promising murder as he snarled. Harry didn't let up there, however, and continued. "Why would you even care? Voldemort is after your time!" Now all he had to do was wait for Riddle to confirm his thoughts.
"Voldemort is my past, present and future!" Riddle yelled and using Harry's wand, he wrote flaming words in the air. Tom Marvolo Riddle. Waving his hand, the words rewrote themselves and Harry fought back a snort at the cheesiness of it. I am Lord Voldemort.
'Great,' Gabriel snarked. 'He's a bloody psychopath with delusion of grandeur! What could possibly go wrong with that?'
Harry watched as the flames faded out of existence before he lunged at Riddle, catching the spirit off guard and knocking him to the ground. Riddle was more solid that Harry had originally thought and struggled against Harry's weight as the twelve year old attempted to go for his wand. "Speak to me Slytherin!" Riddle yelled, his words coming out in a series of hisses. "Greatest of the Hogwarts four!"
Harry ignored the sound of stone moving, more intent on getting back his wand. If what he thought was happening was actually happening, then he would need the weapon now more than ever. Riddle seemed to become bored with their wrestling and with a blast of pure magic, threw Harry across the room and nearly in the water that surrounded the main pathway.
That was when he caught his first sight of the Basilisk. The snake was much larger than the fifty foot snake's skin and if Harry had to guess, he would say that the great snake was nearly fifteen feet longer than he had thought. It's head was about as big as Harry was tall which didn't give him much confidence on how he was going to beat this thing. "Kill him!" Riddle yelled and the snake turned towards him...
Just in time for a loud cry to fill the tunnel. Harry turned his head to the still open entrance of the cave and saw a pheonix, of all things, flying into the Chamber with what looked like the Sorting Hat clutched in his talons. 'Well,' Gabriel said after a moment of stunned silence from everyone still conscious in the room. 'I guess that Dumbledore isn't all that useless after all.' Harry looked at the two magic auras that were covering the phoenix and had to agree. He never would have guessed that Dumbledore would have a phoenix and he hoped beyond hope that the appearance of the pheonix meant that someone had heard Ron (or had finally went to talk to Myrtle and saw the giant hole in the floor). Fawkes, as the phoenix had introduced himself ('We can understand birds too?!' Harry asked in shock as Gabriel laughed) dropped the hat on the ground before attacking the eyes of the Basilisk.
"So this is what Dumbledore sends to protect his school?" Riddle sneered. "A song bird and a silly old hat?"
Harry ignored him in favor of the hat. It was glowing brightly in a way that Harry had never seen it do and with a burst of inspiration, he threw the hat on his head, diving to the side as the Basilisk attempted to strike Fawkes, only for the phoenix to dodge. 'I need to defend myself with!' he thought urgently, rolling to the side as one of the snake statues was broken by the thrashing basilisk.
A painful thump was heard as something hard hit his head. A sword clattered to the ground and Harry heard Gabriel cheer inside their head. Picking up the blade, he found that it felt both wrong and right in his hands. He didn't have much time to think more about it as Fawkes finally managed to blind the Basilisk's eyes.
He felt bad for what he would have to do. The basilisk was originally supposed to be the guardian of the school and Harry could hear its confusion as it searched for the threat it was supposed to destroy. It was old and Harry had no doubt the poor thing had gone insane from its time isolated down here from the rest of the world. Hefting up the sword, Harry ran forward, miraculously not falling on his face due to the water on the floor.
He dodged the Basilisk's strike, the snake using its sense of smell in place of its eyes to kill him. With a graceful swing ('How'd I do that,' he wondered), Harry slashed into the hide of the Basilisk and heard it scream in pain as the sword cut deep into its flesh.
'The mouth!' Gabriel yelled urgently. 'Go for the mouth! Into the brain is the only way you're going to kill it!'
Harry didn't question how Gabriel knew this and instead, he moved on what was nearly instinct, dodging and striking as he looked for his opening. The Basilisk seemed to grow angrier and angrier at his continued evasion until finally, it opened its large mouth in what would be its last attempt to kill him. Harry raised the sword as the Basilisk's head came at him, plunging the blade upwards into its mouth and into its brain, killing it instantly.
He wished that would have been the end of it but a large piece of fang puncture and break off into his arm, Harry barely able to hold back an agonized scream as he felt venom flow through his system and the world begin to blur.
Harry thought, in a moment of pain, that they were going to die. Yet it seemed that their Grace disagreed with them, flaring hotly underneath their skin until Harry had to fight back a scream that was echoed by Gabriel in their mind. Memories of swords clashing and pain filling him as he was stabbed through flooded into his mind as white Grace surround him before disappearing without any warning, the poison gone from his system leaving him gasping for breath on the ground.
Riddle, in what was annoyingly his best idea so far, had covered his eyes during the process and could only just stare at him in unadulterated shock. The fifteen year old Dark Lord to be looked as if Harry had just destroyed his every belief in that one moment. That didn't matter to Harry and the black haired wizard pushed aside the newest memories in favor of looking toward the teal eyed Heir of Slytherin. He and Gabriel had promised to end the one that had attacked Hermione and he planned on keeping that promise.
His Grace had receded into his body but his magic was still there for use. Sword in hand, Harry filled the magical blade with his magic and anger and lunged forward towards the stunned Riddle, piercing him through the stomach with the magically charged venom soaked blade. Riddle threw back his head and screamed as a bright golden light surrounded his darkened soul piece, consuming it from the inside out until it retreated to the black diary that sat on the floor, not to far from where Ginny lay still.
'Stab that thing and get this over with!' Gabriel growled, pissed at how things had gone so far. 'I want to know how part of a soul, one dark enough that it could be a demon, got into a diary and how that diary fell into the hands of a little girl!'
Harry wanted to know that as well. Raising the sword, he brought it down onto the diary and listened in satisfaction as Riddle screamed before dissipating into nothingness. Looking down at his arm, he frowned as he saw that fang still sticking out of it. Wrapping his right hand around the broken edges of the fang, he yanked it out with a ferocity that he hadn't known he had.
Ginny coughed and moaned on the floor and Harry spun around, fang in one hand and sword in another, to see the girl sitting up and looking around at her surroundings in shock. She about fainted when she caught sight of him, his arm bleeding and grime covering every inch of him. "Oh my god, Harry!" she sobbed and lunged for him, taking the both to the ground where she clung to his dirtied robes and just cried.
Fawkes let out a soft coo as he land on Harry's shoulder before beginning to sing. The song instantly calmed her and Harry felt himself relax as well, slowly pushing them both upwards. "Thanks Fawkes," Harry said smiling and Gabriel agreed with him silently. Fawkes chirped in response and hopped to the floor.
"You're bleeding!" Ginny exclaimed, eyes impossibly wide with horror. Harry started and looked down at the rounded wound. He hadn't even noticed that it was there and even looking at it, he couldn't really feel any pain. 'After effect of using so much Grace at once,' Gabriel told him. 'Using that much nearly killed us as much as the Basilisk venom would have. Our entire system is in a state of shock and I doubt that we'll be coming out of it anytime soon.'
'I'd best bandage it, then,' Harry said, not wanting to think about how close to death they had nearly come. He had promised Ron that he wouldn't die in here and he felt nauseous at the thought of nearly breaking that promise. 'Let's not tell him,' Gabriel suggested easily and Harry agreed. The last thing he needed was for the redhead to freak out. Looking at his bloodied arm once again, Harry sighed and lifted up his robe to reveal the shirt and trousers underneath. With a strong yank, Harry ripped the fabric of his undershirt and pulled until he had a long enought strip of it in his hands. Biting one end of the fabric, he wrapped it around his arm, covering the bloodied hole that went all the way down to the bone.
"Ron's waiting for us at the Chamber entrance," Harry told her as he stood up.
Ginny nodded and pulled herself up to the floor, tears flowing down her face as she tried not to cry but failed to keep it in. "I attacked those people," she whispered and before they could even leave their part of the chamber, she collapsed sobbing in horror. Harry had no idea how to comfort her as she cried. Ginny, logically, should have told someone the minute that her diary began talking to her but Harry knew that the magics on the diary, which was now clutched in Fawkes' talons, that the magic Riddle (his main soul piece, that is) had put on the diary would have prevented her from telling anyone.
Harry also knew that he, Ron, and Hermione had also been caught in that spell when Harry had found and showed the diary to them after he had found it. It pissed Gabriel off that they hadn't noticed it when they had looked at the diary the first time but it was an ingenious spell. The spell hadn't been visible over the dark aura that the diary had exuded and Harry had to wonder if he would be able to see such things better when he and Gabriel finished merging together. 'We should,' Gabriel answered, more in tune with Harry's thoughts than he had been before.
'Is that normal?' Harry asked. Proving that he could hear more than he could before, Gabriel answered. 'Probably. We did just use a rather large amount of Grace right there. It's just lucky that your soul didn't completely regect it or we wouldn't be having this conversation.'
Harry nodded absently as he rubbed Ginny's back in what he hoped was a soothing manner. "It isn't your fault," he told her as her sobbing began to wind down. "I tried telling the professor's about the diary more than once and it was like I couldn't even talk about it around them."
Ginny looked at him in alarm before nodding as well. "I tried to ask Dad about it..." she said and Harry knew that the same thing had happened to her when she had tried to talk to Mr. Weasley about the small black book. "I couldn't even bring the book to him to show him."
"See?" Harry said feeling so out of his depth that it wasn't funny. He'd never had to comfort somebody before and all of his memories that he'd regained didn't help when the girl crying was only eleven, had been possessed, and blamed herself for petrifying people in the school. "I'm sure Headmaster Dumbledore won't blame you for what happened."
Fawkes trilled in agreement, the diary still clutched in his talons. Ginny took a deep breath before smiling tearily at him and standing. Harry grinned at her and held out his uninjured arm for her to take his hand.
It was time to get out of here.
Getting out of the chamber wasn't as easy as Harry had hoped it would be but Fawkes solved that problem when he proved to have superbird strength ('I regret ever glancing at a comic book,' Gabriel bemoaned. 'If you start going 'pow' I'm deleting those memories!') and managed to pull all three of them out of the pipe that lead into the Chamber. "Close," Harry hissed at the sink as they landed in Myrtle's bathroom. Ginny gave a startled shriek at the hiss and Ron was forced to explain to hysterical sister what they had discovered when attempting to open the Chamber.
That wasn't the only hardship they met as Harry remembered that due to never having actually been in Dumbledore's office, he had no idea what the password was or where said office was located at. "We should go to the hospital wing," he said after a moment of Ron and Ginny arguing about where they should go. For once, Ron was all for going to the hospital wing while Ginny wanted to go turn herself in to the Headmaster. "Unless you know where the Headmaster's office is?" he asked with a sheepish grin. Ginny paused, red eyes widening as she realized that no, she didn't.
"Thanks mate," Ron hissed to him as they walked. "I don't know why she wanted to go to the Headmaster so bad. I mean, she nearly died!"
Harry didn't answer as the throbbing in his arm finally made itself known. He fought back a whimper as they walked, Gabriel mindlessly babbling in their mind in attempt to keep Harry's thoughts away from the pain. He was just lucky, Harry thought to himself, that their Grace had burned out the Basilisk's venom from his system. He really didn't want to know how that would have felt running through his veins.
It was a relief when they finally arrived at the infirmary. Madam Pomfrey nearly fainted when she saw them, covered in grime and in Harry's case, blood. "Out of those clothes!" she ordered immediately, nearly pushing them towards the changing area. "I want to get a good look at you all. What were you children doing?!"
They didn't answer, changing into their hospital gowns with little complaint. Ginny was the first done and the nurse nearly warped over to her side to guide her to an empty bed and begin checking her over. Ron was next, having finished getting dressed only seconds after Ginny had. Harry, though, was the slowest of them, having to work around his still bleeding and rather painful feeling arm. By the time he was done, Madam Pomfrey had already concluded that Ginny was magically exhausted but overall, she was okay and there was absolutely nothing wrong with Ron other than being cold and having a few bruises.
She indicated for Harry to sit on the bed when she noticed that he had emerged and began running scans on him, growing increasingly pale the more spells that she cast. "Oh my," she mumbled, staring at him and his arm. "These scans have to be malfunctioning. According to this, you've trace amount of Basilisk venom in your bloodstream, your magical core is severely depleted and your arm is damaged all the way to the bone!"
Harry fought back a grimace and kept silent as potion after potion was pushed towards him, her eyes promising a long term stay if he didn't drink them as instructed. The bleeding from his arm was stopped and the pain faded away as Madam Pomfrey gave him one last potion, telling him that he was to get some rest while she alerted the Headmaster of what was going on.
Closing his eyes, Harry fell asleep not long afterwards.
He almost wished that he could have stayed that way as when he opened his eyes the next morning, the entire Weasley family and most of the staff were waiting up for him. The Headmaster looked to be the only one awake, however, and Harry was more than grateful that he wouldn't have to explain the story more than once. He didn't know if he could keep to the facts on what he and Gabriel had decided to tell them about what had happened.
"Ah," Dumbledore spoke, his voice startling the people dozing around him. Harry didn't question what Mr. and Mrs. Weasley were doing here, assuming that Dumbledore had called them here when it was discovered that Ginny was missing. "I'm glad to see you awake, Mr. Potter. I dare say that Madam Pomfrey was getting a tad upset with your visitor's refusal to leave until you woke."
Harry didn't doubt that. While nice, the nurse was strict about her rules and even stricter about people needlessly cluttering the Hospital Wing. He said nothing, though, content to let Dumbledore speak for the moment as the redheads around him shook themselves awake. "We were hoping that you would clarify a few things for the school record," Dumbledore told him but Harry knew that the Headmaster wanted to make sure that he had the entire story for when the Ministry inevitably tried to cover it up. They had thrown an innocent man in Azkaban to be seen as 'doing something' by the people. It wasn't that much of a reach to think that they would blame everything on Ginny.
The fact that Dumbledore was once again the Headmaster (he couldn't believe he'd forgotten that the old professor had been fired by the Hogwarts Board of Directors) and gave him a sure nod. Opening his mouth, Harry began his retelling of events on the eve that he had found Tom Riddle's journal. He left out Gabriel's existence in his story, emitting most of the conversation he'd had with Aragog to just summing up the bare basics of what he had learned.
His audience listened to him, enraptured by everything that had been sitting right under their noses. The professor's seemed especially annoyed when he told them that he'd attempted to inform them about the diary before, only to find himself unable to talk about it in their presence. After what felt like forever, Harry finished up his story by telling them of how, after getting out of the Chamber, they had ended up in the hospital wing. "It's a good thing too!" Madam Pomfrey huffed as she straightened out some bed sheets. "You were in a right state when you got here and hearing this, I'm not surprised you passed out as quickly as you did."
'Our body was under too much stress from everything that happened,' Gabriel explained to him as Madam Pomfrey bustled around. 'Frankly, I'm surprised that we managed to stay conscious as long as we did. That poison forced us to use more Grace than we ever have before and it nearly shut down our body when it flare up to disolve the venom. In all honesty, we should have died.'
Harry fought back a shudder; he didn't want to think about what would have happened if they had died. 'We're okay now, though, aren't we?' he asked hesitantly.
'Yes,' Gabriel answered but there was something in his voice that Harry didn't like. 'The rate of our reintegration has increased exponentially. Originally, we would have completed it when we turned twenty but now, if I'm doing my math right, we should complete it at eighteen.'
'That's good...isn't it?'
'In theory, yes. In practice? Well, there are a lot of things that could go wrong. Our soul could still reject our Grace and we could burn out or we could end up burning the eyes out of anyone around us when it completes. It's even possible that we could even destroy half the planet when we come together completely. This hasn't ever happened before so I honestly don't know.' Gabriel sounded frustrated and Harry couldn't blame him. He was also frustrated at the lack of concrete knowledge of what could happen now that they were merging quicker than before.
Their conversation trailed off as Harry was bombarded by four concerned Weasley children and two adults. It was the first time that Harry had ever seen any similarities between the redheaded parents and their children; all six of them were both yelling and hugging him, Ron mostly upset because Harry had ended up injured while Ginny was blaming herself for...well, everything, really.
Not long after the Weasley's were finally thrown out of the hospital wing by an irate Madam Pomfrey, Hagrid showed up, looking a bit ragged and dirty but smiling all the same. "Ye did it, 'Arry!" the Grounds Keeper grinned as he clapped Harry on the back. "Ah knew ye could!"
"Thanks Hagrid," Harry grinned back, shifting slightly in his seat. His arm gave an annoyed twinge of pain but it wasn't nearly as bad as it had been. Madam Pomfrey had regrown the part of the bone that had been pierced by the fang and the muscles had already healed over it. All that was left was for the top layer of skin to heal over and due to the amount of magic that had already been used on the wound, Harry would have to wait until he healed naturally for his arm to stop hurting. 'It could have been worse,' Gabriel pointed out and Harry acknowledged that fact with a grimace. He didn't want to think about how bad it could have been if Fawkes hadn't shown. For all that he and Gabriel were confident in their abilities to take out the Heir, they had forgotten one important thing: for the time being, all they had in their arsenal was their magic, which Harry could barely manipulate due to his young age, even with his memories as a full grown wizard, Harry's magical core was too underdeveloped to use like he knew he could.
'The drawbacks of being a child,' Gabriel sighed within their mind. 'We have all the memories and knowledge necessary to do things but none of the power.'
'We'll fix that,' Harry said determinedly as he and Hagrid talked about everything that the man had missed during his incarceration at Azkaban. They made plans to visit Hope, Celestica, Mystica, and Sol before the end of the school year and Hagrid gave him what looked like a hand carved versions of all four of them laying together as they slept. Harry accepted the gift with a grin and promised Hagrid that he would come down and visit as soon as he could.
Days passed, the end of the year only a week away, when the Mandrake potion was finally able to be completed and Hermione, along with everyone else that had been petrified, were awake once again. Madam Pomfrey still had Harry confined to his own hospital bed in order to ensure that his arm didn't get damaged any further and was healing properly.
"Oh my goodness!" Hermione had cried out, the last to be revived but the first to spot Harry with his arm in a sling to prevent him from using it. "What happened?!"
Harry told those listening about what they had missed, Percy going deathly pale when he heard that Ginny had been taken into the Chamber itself. He told them that the one behind the attacks was a spirit that was trapped in a diary and had possessed the redheaded girl since the beginning of the year. "Oh my," Hermione had whispered as he had began explaining that Ginny, like them, had been unable to tell any adult about the diary.
"And Mr. Potter along with Mr. Weasley seemed to think that it was a grand idea to go after Ms. Weasley by themselves!" Madam Pomfrey huffed, clearly displeased with what had happened. "He's lucky that the Headmaster's phoenix found them, less they both be dead! Even then, the tears only managed to purge the venom in his system and not heal the wound itself!"
Hermione gave him a look that could only be described as pissed, her eyes narrowed, promising a lecture as soon as he was released from the hospital wing. Really, Harry hadn't planned on telling her about what had happened but he knew from the looks on the faces of those waking up that if he didn't, they might just blame Ginny for their attack and he didn't think the redhead would be able to handle that. He'd also been hoping to downplay the seriousness of his injuries off until Madam Pomfrey had spoken, likely knowing exactly what he was planning on doing.
Three days before the end of the school year, Harry was finally released from the Hospital Wing and quickly made his way down to Hagrid's cabin, where the man was waiting for him with Hope and her foals.
Sol saw him and was immediately by his side, excited at his appearance. Harry was unsurprised to find that he could now understand what the young foal was saying, having apparently missed him greatly in his absence. Hope stood and approached as well, nibbling gently on his hair, something that Harry now understood was a gesture of motherly affection.
'A unicorn has adopted us,' Gabriel observed and Harry could hear the pleasure in his counterparts voice. From the memories that he had gained during the fight with the Basilisk, Harry knew that they had never really had all that much luck in the family department. There was a lot about those memories that Harry didn't understand yet and he knew that Gabriel was unlikely to explain it to him, yet that didn't bother him as much as it would have only months before. Like Gabriel had first told him, when they had met during Gringotts, they were the same person and that was becoming more and more apparent as Harry regained more and more memories.
He hadn't seen anymore about when he was Gabriel but that didn't bother him. Sitting down on the grass, arm still in its sling, Harry began telling the foals and Hope all about what he had been doing, Harry felt as if he had found part of himself, a part that he hadn't even known was missing. He'd friends, family, and he had himself.
For the first time in his life, Harry felt like he was at home. And three days later, as he boarded the train for the summer holidays, Harry was already counting down the days until he returned to Hogwarts the next year.