The school was alive with talk of Harry’s performance in the First Task. The entire school was torn before pride in his performance and absolute misery at the prospect of facing him in Quidditch now that he had a Firebolt. Gryffindor, however, were practically preening at his skill and Oliver was bemoaning the fact that he wouldn’t be around to claim the Quidditch Cup the next year. All thoughts of how he had entered the Tournament were quickly forgotten in the hype.
Cedric was just as popular, though his performance hadn’t been nearly as interesting. Whenever anyone mentioned that to the Hufflepuff, the seventh year would just laugh and telling them that he was too sane for such a plan to work. No one could really argue with that and soon, the whole school was of the opinion that Harry was off his rocker.
Harry found he didn’t really mind this all that much. He was just glad that Cedric hadn’t told anyone that he had just been winging it the entire time. He really didn’t want that getting back to Sirius, Molly, and Remus. Those three were not pleased with how he had gone about completing the task as it was.
On a completely different note, Scylla and Nith had been received rather well by the other Gryffindors when Harry had introduced them. Nith was a little wary of anyone not Harry but she seemed to get along well enough with Tinker. The little pixie and the enchanted dragon had an odd friendship. Nith would help Tinker fix certain objects that needed to be welded together and Tinker would share the food he was given in return. Nith seemed to be content with this arrangement so Harry left it alone for now. He did make sure the dragon knew not to hurt anyone, though.
Scylla, on the other hand, preferred to remain in Harry’s hair most of the time. Harry wasn’t sure why but he left it alone. Scylla never bothered anyone and the professors didn’t seem to mind it any so he just shrugged it off and continued with his life.
With the First Task out of the way and the Second Task three months away, Harry was glad to see the return of his free time.
With this realization, Harry immediately sought out Luna the first chance he got and asked to resume their Chamber project.
Luna was quick to agree and most nights found the duo cleaning up the Chamber and restoring it to its former glory.
With the water gone and the debris cleaned up and fixed, the Chamber was beginning to really shape up. Luna had finished getting rid of the bones in the entry chamber before the mess with the Tournament had taken up all of Harry’s time. With the bones gone, remains of portraits and tapestries had been unearthed. Harry had even found what looked to be an old drawing of castle grounds that was at least a few hundred years old.
“It’s so sad,” Luna said when she saw the drawing before she tried to hand it back to him. Harry just shook his head and motioned for her to keep it.
“To think,” he said as he looked around. “This place was supposed to be a safe haven for the people in the school and no one remembers. Somehow, in the last thousand years, we just forgot.”
“The wrackspurts must have really wanted this place gone,” Luna mused as she helped him collected anything that might not be beyond saving. So far, they had a few tapestries that were only a bit frayed at the edges. All the portraits were damaged beyond repair. Harry just hoped that they hadn’t been enchanted before being destroyed by time.
“History is written by the victors,” Harry sighed and looked around. He flicked his wand, banishing the materials too damaged to fix. Beautiful black stone was revealed for all to see. There were a few chips in it here and there but nothing too bad. “That’s as good as this area is going to get. Let’s go put these with the other things we found.”
Standing, Harry turned to head towards the main Chamber and paused when his eye caught a slight unevenness in one section of bricks. “Hey, Luna!” he called to the girl who had already started walking off. He moved over to the bricks in question. “Come help me with this!”
The blond haired girl gently set down the items in her hand before moving back over to him to see what he was talking about. Harry ran his fingers over the unevenness. Sure enough, there was a small indent just big enough for fingers along the edges. “Grab the other side?”
Luna eyed the section with a clarity that he wasn’t used to seeing in her gaze and nodded. “On three?” she asked.
“Three.” Harry nodded. “1…2…3!”
They heaved, pulling with all their might. The section gave way and slid out of place, opening to reveal hatch underneath, just big enough for a person to fit through. Harry felt his eyebrows raise as he stared at it. “This entire Chamber is already yards below the school, just what would they need another underground cavern for?”
Luna hummed happily. “This is the Chamber of Secrets.”
Well, there was that, Harry snorted to himself. “So Luna, what do you say we start uncovering some of those secrets?”
Luna smiled serenely at him. “I say what are you waiting for? The nargles will get impatient.”
Harry grabbed the handle of the hatch and pulled it open. The hinges, likely as old as the school itself, creaked in protest at the sudden use after so long of stay close. They’d likely have to replace it eventually. “I’ll go first to check of any surprises of the snake kind,” he told her.
Luna nodded, smiling with excitement in her eyes that Harry was more used to seeing in a forest setting. He supposed that Luna had always wanted to uncover a mystery to solve. “Lumos,” he muttered, pointing his wand towards the opening. Darkness gave way to the light, revealing a long drop down. “Just how deep can they make this thing go?” he muttered before looking for a rope, ladder, or some way down. It was bad enough that he had to jump down the pipe every time he wanted to get down here. And getting up took a lot of concentration since Luna wasn’t good enough on a broom to fly up herself. Two people on one broom was asking for trouble so Harry tended to fly next to her, guiding the broom up.
It was good practice in a controlled area but not something he wanted to try in a small area.
“There’s no ladder,” he observed. “Or rope.”
Luna frowned before pointing. “Those look like foot holes,” she commented. Harry moved towards her to get a better look. Sure enough, there were small holes going downwards in the wall.
“Can you keep a light going while I climb?” he asked her. Luna cast the spell in response, keeping it directed at the opening. Harry cancelled his own spell and moved to the opposite edge. Kneeling, he slowly used his right foot to search out the hole before continuing with the other foot. He kept up that pattern of decent until his head was only just under the opening.
Harry went to find the other foot hole and was surprised when his foot his solid ground. “It’s not that deep,” he called to Luna and moved to place his other foot downwards.
What happened next was a series of events that had Harry regretting not giving Luna the broom in cases of emergency. With a sudden unexpected lurch, the floor beneath him fell away, taking him with it. Harry let out a surprised shriek at the sudden decent before he could help himself, falling with the floor as they moved down. Luna’s concerned voice, muffled by the sound of the wind and the sudden distance from the opening and the platform Harry was standing on.
It took both forever and no time at all for the platform to come to a slow stop. With rather frayed nerves, Harry quickly pulled out his wand and wasn’t all that surprised when it lit up without a word said from him. His magic was tingling just underneath his skin, ready to help defend him if he needed it.
The appearance of light caused a chain reaction as green and blue crystal seemed to catch it and distribute the light around the room, revealing a large carven all around him. Bookshelves and a desk filled the room, with a small cot leaning against the wall, ready to be pulled down if needed. The ceiling seemed to shine with moving white magic that resembled modern muggle lighting and seemed to be generated by the crystal Harry had seen before. Not far from the cot was a large wooden door, leading the teen to believe that there was more than just the study down here.
Harry craned his neck upwards the way he came but could see nothing other than inky darkness. Even his Lumos only allowed him seem so far. ‘Crap,’ Gabriel winced. ‘Luna must be scared out of her mind and we’ve got the only way out sitting in our pocket.’
“Luna!” Harry shouted up. His yell echoed and Harry strained to hear a response. None came, likely meaning he was too far down for her to hear. “How did they even build this place? Muggle drills would probably need another few years to reach this far!”
The Chamber was already impressively far down underground as it was. This place had to be at least a few hundred feet further than that! Harry couldn’t find any recollection of such knowledge in any of his memories. And how had they enchanted the platform to know when to move? Harry certainly would have noticed the movement when they first opened the hatch if it was a timed movement.
′We could always try flying back up.′
“No, too narrow.” Harry observed. “We won’t have enough air flow.” He really wished that he knew dimensional flight right now. He could just pop back up and everything would be fine, no worries of airflow needed.
A grumpy roar coming from above him made Harry pause. Scylla had been exploring the Chamber with them before settling down on some spare parchment they’d brought with them. Grinning, Harry held out his hand for the enchanted dragon to land in as she came into sight, quill and parchment in her claws. Luna was a genius.
“You are a life saver, Scylla,” Harry cooed at the dragon. Scylla gave a sleepy yawn before surveying her surroundings with curiosity. “Pretty brilliant, isn’t it?”
The Swedish Short-Snout just flew up and onto his head. Laughing, Harry walked over to the desk and sat in the already present chair. A quick look through the papers showed that each one of them was blank. “Must have heard me after all,” he grinned.
Fine. The platform seems to be made to move when occupied. Not sure how far down this is but it’s at least a few hundred feet. Seems to be a cavern of some kind. Definitely more than one room.
I’ll see if I can’t send the platform back up for you.
Nodding to himself, Harry rolled the parchment up. “Think you can go take this to Luna? I’m sure she’s worried sick about us both by now.”
Scylla moved a bit in his hair, seemingly contemplating the request. Harry felt bad for asking but Hedwig wasn’t available to take it instead. The dragon seemed to decide that going back up wasn’t too much of a chore and grabbed the parchment with her talons before taking off. “Be careful!”
Scylla roared in response, likely offended by the concern. Harry grinned at her departure before turning to the shelves. “Right…now how to get back up?”
Forty minutes of searching later and Harry found absolutely nothing on how to work the platform among the bookshelf or in the desk. The door also refused to open for him so Harry was forced to concede that he’d have to figure it out himself.
′Maybe there’s a switch?′ Gabriel suggested once again.
‘We already looked at the walls, tried the crystals, and pulled on all the books,’ Harry reminded him with an internal groan of frustration. Fed up, Harry slumped against the wall. ‘What else can we try?’
′It can’t be all that hard to work or else this room wouldn’t be here,′ Gabriel grumbled.
‘Tell that to the forty minutes we wasted trying to figure it out,’ Harry huffed.
′We could try stomping on it until it works!′ Gabriel shot back and Harry realized he was having a full blown argument with himself. Why was this his life?
“Why not!” Harry threw his hands up and stood, walking over to the platform. If it turned out to be that easy… Harry lifted his leg and slammed his foot down.
And nearly fell over as the platform lurched upwards, the speed nearly pushing him against the floor of it. When it finally stopped, Harry found that he was back where he started. “Oh you’ve got to be kidding me.” Harry almost considered cursing something before forcing himself to calm down.
“Harry!” Luna’s voice called from above him. The blond girl’s face was more than a little relieved. “You’re back!”
“Apparently, you have to stomp on it to get it to move,” Harry told her dryly before grinning. “Want to come see?”
The Ravenclaw beamed before hoping down without warning, sending them speeding back down as soon as her feet touched. Harry felt her laughter against his chest as she pushed him to the ground at the same time. The raven haired teen had to admit that it was kind of fun now that he was expecting it.
The cavern was still lit when they stopped. Luna’s laughter trailed off as she got a good look at the place, her eyes round with awe. Like Harry, she immediately craned her head up in order to judge how far down they had come. “This…” the girl trailed off. “Father will be so excited when I tell him!”
Harry hummed and grinned. “I’m sure the Headmaster will be even more thrilled. Just think, we’re probably the first ones in centuries to be down here! Riddle probably never bothered trying to find anything besides that Basilisk!”
Luna didn’t respond, already making her way towards the pile of books Harry had left when he’d been trying to figure out how to get back up. Harry shook his head and decided to leave those to her. He was much more interested in what was on the other side of that door.
Unfortunately for them both, neither managed to get what they wanted done before it was curfew. So with the reluctance of two teens intent of discovery and exploration, they made their way back up to the Chamber, closed the hatch and replaced the flooring, and then exited the Chamber altogether.
Harry supposed that it was for the best in the long run. Spending all his time in the Chamber would definitely start drawing attention to the fact that he was disappearing all the time and Harry wasn’t nearly ready let people know about their side project. As soon as Harry got someone else involved, it wouldn’t be long before it reached the adults and the project was assigned to a professional. Neither Luna nor himself wanted that until they were finished satisfying their own curiosity.
It was also about time he started on that amulet for the blond girl as well. He’d picked out the materials and set aside the runic sequence over the last few months. Christmas would be coming up soon, though so it was probably for the best that he started it now instead of putting it off.
Finding the right material to carve had been easier than Harry had originally expected. Luna had supplied, somehow knowing that he would need it though she hadn’t known what he’d needed it for. The blond Ravenclaw had picked out a opal stone, big enough to carve but small enough to wear comfortably.
Pulling out one of the knife he always kept on his person since the Twins had given it to him, Harry grabbed the paper he’d written the correct sequence on. Finding the right Runes to use hadn’t been all that hard and Harry had even substituted a few with Enochian on the suggestion of Gabriel. The hard part would be carving them in the right places on the opal.
′Let’s get started,′ Gabriel chirped.
Two hours of carving later and Harry had all the runes carved into the stone in the right places. There had been a few rough spots and Harry had managed to cut his hand at some point but the second to last step had been completed. No he just needed to activate them.
There were a few different ways he could power the runes. He could trace each one with his magic, he could store magic in the stone itself and let the runes draw from that, or he could try and use Grace. That last option was both the best and most dangerous of them all.
Over the last few months since the school year began, they had gained less than .05 percent of their Grace. In the grand scheme of things, that wasn’t all that much. Not really. Yet it was still more than they’d had before and in theory, they could use that small amount of Grace to power the amulet through the Enochian runes they had added into the sequence. Even that minimal amount of Grace would power the amulet for at least a six years longer than just magic would.
The problem with using Grace was making sure that didn’t go even a thousandth above their limit or they’d risk severe bodily harm. Their body and soul just weren’t accustomed enough to the Grace’s presence yet. That meant that Harry’s control had to be perfect if they went that route and Harry wasn’t nearly as confident about his control as Gabriel was.
′Oh come on,′ Gabriel bemoaned in their head. ‘We’re going to have to start somewhere and now is the perfect time to start.’
It was for that reason Harry had been putting off completing the amulet sooner. Gabriel was adamant that they power it with Grace. Harry understood why, he really did. Grace was the best option and if Harry started using what he could now, there was a chance that he’d increase how much he’d have access to by the end of the year, even if it was only a decimal more than what they would have had otherwise.
With the Tournament, it was also possible that they’d need more than just magic at their disposal and Harry would need to be able to use it safely to keep from killing them both if they did. So Harry understood.
At the same time, he quite clearly remembered the last time they had used Grace the year before during the Dementor incident. It had been an instinctual use, yes, but it had still caused a chain reaction that had come far too close to killing them. If not for Cedric, they would be dead. So Harry really wasn’t looking forward to using it again, not even a year later.
′We’re going to have to use it sometime,′ Gabriel sighed. ‘Best start early. Just focus it towards your pink and push until I say stop.’
Easy for him to say, Harry grumbled but placed his pinky on the opal. Sighing aloud, Harry closed his eyes and reached towards the warmth he knew from his memories as being his Grace. Focusing the smallest amount possible into his pinky and then into the opal.
′And stop!′ Harry immediately cut off the flow. The opal was now warm in his hand and the runes glowed bright white as he studied them.
The skin on his pinky tingled unpleasantly, almost like it was asleep. Harry shook his hand with a grimace.
′See? Nothing life threatening!′ Gabriel was smug. Harry didn’t respond as he studied the newly created amulet some more.
He steadily ignored the feeling of loss that accompanied the absence of the warmth in his hand, despite the tingling left behind.
The last thing he needed right now was an ‘I told you so’. Especially from himself.
Luna Lovegood was considered an oddity among the kinder of the Ravenclaw students and an insane embarrassment by everyone else. It didn’t help that her father was the author of the Quibbler or that she could see things others couldn’t. Most wrote off her claims as imaginary creatures and even Ginny, her best friend who was more than willing to help her search for them, didn’t fully believe her.
Luna hadn’t let that bother her. Her mother had taught her to never change herself for others and even years after her mother’s death, Luna remembered the lesson. She wore her jewelry, spoke of the things that she saw, and kept her head held high whenever someone taunted her for her father’s work.
When it came time for her to head to Hogwarts, Luna knew that she wouldn’t be accepted by most and she was okay with that. As long as she was happy with who she was, what did a simple thing like the opinions of silly older students matter?
Things went exactly like she had known they would in her first year. Well, for the most part. She had thought she’d have Ginny but she didn’t hold the redhead’s absence against her. Ginny certainly hadn’t planned to be possessed by an evil diary and nearly die. So Luna faced her new House alone and tried not to feel to upset when she had not made a single friend by the end of the year.
It was the summer before her second year that things changed. She’d been shopping for her things while her father did business at the bank when she’d seen them.
Wings, with feathers of green and gold that glittered in the sunlight. She’d been shocked, of course, when she realized no one else could see the beautiful appendages and it was then she realized that they’d connected to a raven haired boy with pixies in his pockets. Finding out that boy was Harry Potter just furthered her curiosity and she’d approached him.
Talking to him had been the best decision of her life. Harry was kind to her. He’d not scowled at her nor had he commented on her jewelry. She had left that conversation with an understanding of why Ginny was so fascinated by him.
Life had gone on as normal for a while. Then things had changed again when Harry came across her after one of the older girls had damaged her books and ripped her bag. The wings had quivered in fury behind him and that was when she discovered the darker side of the winged boy. He had been ruthless when he’d gone after the girls responsible.
He seemed to regret it, later, but it had been enough. Luna was quickly left alone after that, none of the Ravenclaws missing the fact that they had been targeted after their attack on the odd girl. Luna had watched the winged boy even more intently after that.
She’d worried when the Dementors attacked and saw him fall. She hadn’t understood, before, that Harry’s wings hadn’t always been there. That the kind boy wasn’t able to fly with the beautiful things. Watching him fall, wings desperately trying to keep him in the air would haunt her dreams for a very long time.
When he’d appeared again from the Hospital Wing, his wings had grown and Harry started practicing flying in the forest.
She’d followed him and watched afar as he struggled to fly. Luna didn’t approach him, though. It had taken all of her courage to send her the necklace she’d made. It surprised her even more when she received a thank you letter and present back. She still smiled whenever she saw the small blue glowing rock he’d given her on her bedside table.
Then she’d found him in the forest while exploring. She could still remember the soft, silky feel of the feathers beneath her fingers and the way he had melted into her hands.
After that, Harry became a normal part of her life. He sought her out, let her watch him try to fly. He asked her questions, wanting to understand how she’d been able to touch his wings. Soon, he sought her out just to talk. He told her about how special she was for being able to see his wings, how it had surprised him at first. She’d even learned why he was so surprised she could touch them.
He’d become the older brother that she’d always wanted. Her father was ecstatic when she told him about Harry and how he’d become her friend. That he’d put a stop to the bullying. That he believed her when she told him about the things she saw. Luna carefully kept out mention of his wings, though.
That summer was still the best of her life. Every day, Harry would join her and Ginny on their explorations in the woods. Her father had been both bemused and pleased when he watched her race out of the house at the same time each day, excited to spend more time with two of the most important people in her world.
When he’d come to her after the start of the school year, asking if she wanted to help him with his plan for the Chamber, she’d nearly jumped for joy. She would have preferred if Ginny had joined them but she understood why Harry hadn’t asked the other girl. Ginny still hadn’t gotten over what had happened to her and seeing the Chamber as it was, Luna couldn’t blame her.
It had been surprising when she had first discovered debris amongst the bones. As they fixed more and more of the Chamber, Luna could see why Harry had wanted to start this project. This wasn’t a place made to contain a monster that would purge the school, but a lost part of history that had been twisted over time. A part of the school long forgotten that had fallen into disrepair.
And Luna Lovegood was part of the team to make the discovery. All of this history, most of it forgotten, was right at her finger tips. Her inner Ravenclaw was overjoyed. The more she learned about the chamber, the more she felt connected to the people that had roamed it before.
Nothing, not even the earlier mishap when they discovered the underground room, could dull that excitement.
Luna closed her eyes with a small hum and leaned into the pillows of her bed. Her life was different from what it had been, what it would have stayed, without Harry Potter in it.
She wouldn’t have it any other way.