Harry didn’t find his chance to explore the Chamber for another three weeks. He couldn’t tell Ron or Hermione what he was doing and he didn’t want Luna anywhere near one of those fowl things, so Harry was forced to wait until all of his friends were busy before he could make his way down to the Chamber. Thankfully, the second floor bathroom was empty when Harry slipped inside.
Opening the sink, Harry cast an overpowered cleaning charm down the shaft. With a deep breath, Harry hissed, “Close.” Then he jumped, the pipe sealing above him as he slid downwards.
Landing on the bones of dead animals, Harry sighed at the horrid state the Chamber was in. Now that he wasn’t distracted, Harry could see what the Chamber had once been even better than he had before. Casting a cleaning charm at the walls, Harry wasn’t surprised to see Runes etched along them.
′It’s almost sad to see it like this,′ Gabriel sighed. ‘I bet that it was magnificent when it was first built.’
Harry nodded, eyeing the rotting benches with distaste. Clearing a path through the bones, Harry started walking towards the main chamber.
It didn’t take him long to reach it and Harry was greeted with the sight of a rotting Basilisk corpse. The once great beast was slowly becoming nothing but bones, its flesh dissolving into nothing as the venom that once protected it broke the body down. It was almost a pity, Harry thought with a grimace. The Basilisk hadn’t truly been the enemy and Harry felt a bit guilty that he’d been forced to kill it. He didn’t regret it though.
“Accio Tom Riddle’s things,” Harry called out, half hoping that the spell would work. He wasn’t all that surprised when nothing happened and let out a groan. “This is going to take a while.”
′I suggest we start with the statue,′ Gabriel offered.
With another groan, Harry got to work. The Chamber was big, however, and the water blocked off most of the Chamber, making it impossible to search those areas. After two hours of searching, Harry finally acknowledged that if he was going to find anything, he was going to have to clear the flooded areas as well as patching up the leaks that allowed the water in at all.
It was a good thing that he didn’t have class today, Harry thought with annoyance as trudged through water towards the wall on the left of the Chamber entrance. He could hear the small flow of water coming from this direction.
Harry shrieked as he stepped forward and found himself standing on nothing for a split second before he went under. Stinking quite a distance, Harry began kicking his legs and swam up towards the surface. Coughing as his head broke the surface, Harry shook the water out of his eyes. Somewhere along the way, he’d lost his glasses. While he didn’t really need the spectacles, it would be rather noticeable if he started walking around without them.
′Maybe we should start pretending to wear contacts,′ Gabriel suggested. ‘Or we could go to the Hospital Wing, say we lost our glasses, and see about getting a replacement pair.’
Harry sighed and began swimming towards the wall. ‘We’ll have to do the second. People would wonder why we didn’t start the year with contacts if we went that route. It’ll be a problem if she decides to check our eyesight, though. I don’t want to have to try and explain why we can see perfectly all of a sudden.’
Gabriel didn’t respond so Harry went back to focusing on his swimming. He really wished that he had thought to check the depth of the water before deciding to go in fully dressed. Robes did not make it easy to do this.
Finally, Harry reached the wall and was surprised to find that the water he’d been hearing was coming from a large pipe. It made sense, Harry mused. Slytherin likely had created the pipes running through the castle as a path for the Basilisk to move around. Grabbing a hold of the bottom, Harry heaved himself into the pipe and out of the water. There flow in the pipe wasn’t nearly as strong as Harry had first thought and the teen took a moment to catch his breath.
′I bet we can follow this to the source,′ Gabriel hummed.
“Let’s just get this over with,” Harry grumbled. “I can’t wait to get out of these clothes.”
Standing, Harry started following the pipe. It didn’t take long to find the leak, thankfully. Looking at the top of the pipe, Harry grabbed his wand. Focusing on his magic, he slowly pushed the power through his wand as he conjure a small piece of rock to replace the missing piece. It was harder than Harry expected and by the time he was done, the teen was exhausted.
′ Guess we still have a ways to go with our magical growth.′
Harry nodded and with a hiss of pain, he hefted the rock into the gap, slowly sealing it into place. Once he was done, the leak looked as if it had never been there. “One down, numerous more to go,” Harry sighed. “Yippee.”
Harry spent a good four more hours tracking down each and every leak and sealing them up. It would have likely taken longer if Harry hadn’t remembered to use the point me spell after the second leak had been fixed. By the time he was done, the teen was absolutely exhausted and was quite ready to go crash in bed.
“We’ll deal with the water another day,” Harry decided after remembering his missing glasses. With one final glance around, Harry cast a cleaning and drying charm before leaving the Chamber all together.
Madame Pomfrey was not pleased in the least to see him. “Already?” she’d asked with a resigned look. It took Harry a good ten minutes to explain what he needed and by the time he was done, the nurse was muttering to herself under her breath. Harry supposed that had something to do with his vagueness on how the glasses had gone missing in the first place.
Unfortunately, the nurse insisted on checking his eyes to find the right prescription. To say she was surprised to find that they were perfectly healthy was a surprise.
Harry spent a good half hour denying that he was aware of the change, claiming that he barely ever took his glasses off and had just assumed that he was seeing the same as always. Then she demanded to know how he had come to be wearing glasses in the first place. Harry didn’t bother lying, explaining the trip to the school nurse and how his aunt had just shown up with the glasses in tow one day.
Pomfrey had been more than a tad upset at that and Harry almost felt guilty even though he knew he wasn’t exactly lying to her. Petunia had just come home with glasses one day and Harry knew that he’d never had the right prescription in the first place. Sure, he had actually needed them at one point but it would be hard to explain to the nurse why he no longer needed them at all.
Madame Pomfrey finally came to the conclusion that he’d never needed them in the first place and sent him off after assuring him she’d let all the other teachers know of the change.
That left Harry with the task of explaining to everyone else why he was no longer wearing the horrid things. Hermione, of course, was livid on his behalf and Ron look just as upset. Fred and George just kept quiet about the change, which actually alarmed the teen. Thankfully, the twins took it upon themselves to inform everyone else so Harry hadn’t been forced to explain the entire thing too many times.
Sirius thought this was rather funny, unsurprisingly enough. The dog animagus was of the opinion that the Dursley’s deserved the negative attention and Harry couldn’t really disagree. It was nice not having to worry about the things every day, though.
Life went on and the subject of his eyesight was slowly forgotten in favor of the Triwizard Tournament and the quirks of Professor Moody.
Harry found that he didn’t like the new defense Professor. The man was unhinged and seemed to have an odd fascination with watching him all the time. Harry had the annoying feeling that the man was stalking him.
There was also the fact that his soul was dark and twisted. Just looking at it made Harry’s skin crawl. Gabriel was all for keeping their distance from the man, making the class one of his least favorites. He didn’t know why Dumbledore was friends with this man but Harry didn’t like him one bit.
That was the general consensus, actually. The ex-auror just gave everyone a bad feeling. It was one of the few things that everyone in the school could agree on. His constant warnings of ‘Constant Vigilance!’ made him the most unpopular professor in school. Even Snape was more liked than Moody.
Harry made constant trips into the Chamber after the first night. He and Gabriel had devised a set of runes to begin evaporating the water and they needed to be recharge every day until the small lake that had taken over the Chamber was gone.
Harry didn’t know why he was going through all this trouble. Something told him, however, that the Chamber was going to be needed again, perhaps soon. Gabriel seemed to agree with his gut feeling as well, so Harry made it his pet project to get the Chamber fixed up properly. Eventually, Harry even let Luna come down with him to help, after the girl had asked him if she could.
Harry thought about telling the others and seeing if they wanted to help. He thought better of it, though. Ginny would likely never consent to coming down into the Chamber again and he doubted Ron would be any better. Hermione might consider it yet he didn’t really want to pull her away from her studies. He also didn’t want to explain why he was able to use such advanced magic just yet.
Once the place was cleared of water and the basilisk corpse had been fully broken down with the help of some runes, Harry began working on fixing up the walls and statues. Luna was quite happy to begin clearing out the bones in the entry way.
Harry was also fairly sure that there weren’t any Horcruxes in the Chamber at that point as well. While he had found numerous little rooms that had been hidden by the water, there was no way Tom Riddle had been able to access them. That water had been there a least a century, maybe more judging from how old the objects in those rooms were.
Mostly, he found quite a few tomes and journals, all of them belonging to Slytherin himself if the language they were written in was an indication. Harry could read Olde English perfectly, of course, but the language hadn’t been used in quite a long time. Harry planned of giving the tomes and journals to the Headmaster, eventually. They belonged to the school, after all.
As Harry and Luna worked, time seemed to fly by. September changed into October and the school seemed to become louder and louder as it almost became time for the other schools to arrive.
Harry found that the closer it came to the day of their arrival, the more his instincts screamed at him that something horrible was going to happen. He didn’t know what that horrible thing was but it would happen soon.
Finally, the day of the arrival of Beauxbatons and Durmstrang came and Harry’s instincts were on high alert. Enough so that he skipped the feast welcoming the schools and hid in the dorm room, playing sick. Ron and Hermione promised to bring him back something from the feast before leaving him to his bed where Harry spent a good portion of the time trying to figure out why he was reacting this way.
′I think it’s our Grace,′ Gabriel sighed. ‘It sensing something wrong, likely a someone who’s a threat to us and it’s trying to warn us. If we had more access, I could probably pinpoint who it was sensing.’
‘So we can’t do anything,’ Harry summarized.
That did not make him feel any better. Flopping backwards on his bed, Harry wondered what death threat this year would throw his way. ‘I just wanted one year,’ the teen bemoaned.
His luck was never that good.
Harry went to visit Hagrid the next day. He hadn’t seen the half giant all that much this year and he found himself missing talking to the man.
“Hiya, ’Arry!” Hagrid called, noticing him making his way towards the hut. The half giant was feeding a pristine white winged horse while talking to a rather large woman, who managed to reach Hagrid in size.
“’o is this?” the woman asked in a clear French accent.
“Madame Maxime, this is ’Arry Potter!” Hagrid introduced. “’Arry here is a right natural ’ith creatures!”
Maxime gave Harry a curious once over. “I am pleased to meet you, ’Arry Potter. I ’ave heard most ’onderous thing of you.”
Harry gave her a polite smile and greeted her as well. He shot Hagrid and knowing look after catching the man gazing longingly at the woman. She was obviously another half giant, just by her size. Harry wondered if she was from one of the schools that had arrived the night before but didn’t dare ask. He didn’t want to be forced to come up with a reason why he hadn’t been at the feast the night before.
“Is Hope around?” He asked Hagrid. “I was hoping to spend time with her and the others. It’s been a while since I’ve seen them.”
This was certainly true. Harry hadn’t been to see them since he’d started on the Chamber project. It wasn’t the original reason he’d come down to see Hagrid, though. Judging from the look on the Keeper of the Key’s face, Hagrid was much more interested in spending time with Madame Maxime at the moment.
“Ah saw ‘er just a bit ago,” Hagrid told him. “Was headin’ back toward the ’erd. ’Ou remember the way?”
Harry grinned. “I remember. I’ll see you later Hagrid.”
Hagrid gave him a grateful look before beginning to strike up conversation with Maxime as Harry walked away. He could hear the woman asking about who ‘Hope’ was as he entered the forest and their voices faded away.
Harry had been to see the unicorn herd a few times before and knew exactly where they spent most of their time, so he began to head right there. One of the nice things about his tree having landed in this forest was that none of the residents were willing to mess with him. Even the centaurs tolerated his presence, despite his appearance being mostly that of a human. Hagrid had noticed the ease that the residents had with him a long time ago and had been more than happy to let Harry wander the forest alone ever since.
Hagrid had also taken to asking Harry how certain creatures would go over with his classmates before bringing them into class. Harry had only just barely managed to talk Hagrid out of bringing an Arcnomantula into class one day. That would have been a disaster and Harry still shudder when he thought of the possible mayhem that would have brought.
This year they would be working with Blast-End Skrewts. Harry was still trying to talk the man out of it with little success and was nearly resided to having to deal with the horrid creatures. He’d seen a few in the forest before and Harry could definitely say that they were not cute.
Harry paused as a familiar form began to trot towards him. The hippogriff shrieked softly in greeting and Harry grinned. “Nice to see you too Buckbeak. I’m headed over to see the unicorn herd, want to come?”
The hippogriff pawed the ground in answer and moved to walk beside him. While Buckbeak no longer tried to follow him to the castle during Care anymore, he was still rather fond of Harry. It was a normal occurrence to have Buckbeak appear next to him in the middle of Care and follow him around the rest of the class.
It was only a few more minutes before they arrived at the herd. Harry’s entrance caused a few of the newer unicorns to look up curiously but for the most part, none of the unicorns were bothered by his appearance.
A happy whinny came from Harry’s left and Sol appeared from behind a few of the other, coming towards Harry at full speed. Buckbeak clutched his beak in amusement as the Harry dodged the unicorns approach when Sol failed to slow down. “You silly thing,” he informed the golden unicorn as Sol’s horn caught the branch of a tree before he could slow.
Sol gave him a pathetic stare and huffed as he tried to pull his horn away from the offending branch with no success. Harry snorted and moved to help him.
“It’s a wonder how you manage to do these things,” Harry laughed as the branch finally gave way. “What are you going to do if no one’s around to help you next time?”
Sol just snorted and nibbled at Harry’s hair. It was a habit he had picked up from Hope, though he was the only one of the three to pick it up, thankfully. “Up for a game?” he asked.
Sol perked right up and Harry was off. It wasn’t often that Sol got to be ‘it’ and it took a moment for realization to sink in before Sol took off in pursuit.
Harry managed to kill a good few hours playing tag with Buckbeak, the cheater, winning most of the games. Harry wasn’t even sure when the hippogriff had joined the game.
Eventually, though, they all grew tired and called an end to the game. Exhausted, Harry plopped down on grass next to the tired unicorn and hippogriff. Eventually, Mystica and Celestica joined them, obviously amused by their antics before.
“Oh hush, you used to be just as silly,” Harry stuck his tongue out at them. Celestica just snorted at him while Mystica seemed to concede the point. “Best be getting back to the castle, though.”
Sol gave a protesting whine and Buckbeak seemed just as against this. Harry laughed at them. “You both know that I can’t stay out all night. And you definitely cannot come with!” He didn’t want to think about the ruckus that would cause.
After another few minutes of rest, Harry heaved himself up and began the walk back to the castle. While it wasn’t how he originally planned to spend the evening, Harry found that he didn’t mind at all. The outing had managed to push back Harry’s worries to the back of his mind and the teen felt more relaxed than he had in a while.
Harry might not know what was going to happen but he would handle it when the time came. He was sure of it.