Harry Potter 24

Hour 21: 3 PM

Previously in Harry Potter 24:

Draco apparates with Ginny away from Malfoy Manor, takes her to the Burrow

Hogwarts:

Harry, Ron and Hermione meet up with Seamus, but during the confrontation they are attacked by the Slytherins

They all get separated as they try to escape

Draco and Ginny arrive at Ottery St. Catchpole and eventually make it to the Burrow and to Molly Weasley

A magical explosion occurs in Hogwarts, the wards at Hogwarts have all fallen

Voldemort makes a move on the castle

Diagon Alley: the aurors arrive to battle the Death Eaters and the werewolves

Harry catches Seamus, but someone cast a curse that Harry had to duck and Seamus escapes again

Riddle encounters Dumbledore outside of his office:

The Dark Lord could see that the blackness was spreading more quickly now, as Dumbledore was expending more power and using more magic to defend himself.

Then with an overpowered bombarda curse Voldemort sent the headmaster crashing into the wall. Albus Dumbledore, the defeater of Grindelwald, slumped into a barely conscious heap on the floor. Wearily he gazed up at the man who had finally bested him.

"You are old and you have become weak and slow," stated the triumphant Dark Lord. "In fact you have been quite disappointing today as an opponent." Then he stabbed his wand forward as he silently cast the expeliarmus spell and Dumbledore's wand flew out of his hand and was grabbed out of the air by the man who had just defeated him.

Voldemort examined the wand closely, running his delicate finger tips along the shaft, holding it gingerly. Then he looked back at Dumbledore. "Yes, I have taken the Elder Wand away from you. It is mine now, mine to control. And this wand, known as the death stick, shall be the death of you."

The Twenty-first hour: 3 PM - 4 PM, Saturday, October 19, 1996

3:00 PM

Hogwarts Halls

Harry Potter was making his way back towards the 2nd floor girl's bathroom. He had hoped that Ron and Hermione were doing the same. He was nearly at the bathroom when he met up with Ron. The two friends quickly shared about how they had each escaped from the students that were chasing them. Then Harry told Ron that he had caught up with Seamus, but then Seamus and Pansy ended up getting away.

"How did that happen?" asked Ron, who was sure that Harry shouldn't have had a problem dealing with Seamus even if he did have help from Parkinson.

"That would be our fault," said Tracey Davis as she and Daphne approached the two Gryffindor friends.

Harry raised an eyebrow, and Ron pulled out his wand.

Daphne held up her hands showing that she was not currently armed. "Well, to be more accurate, it was Tracey that allowed them to get away. She's the one who cast the stupefy spell."

"You tried to attack me?" questioned Harry, who had believed that their earlier encounters with these two girls had shown that they were trying to be friends.

"No, Tracey tried to hit Finnegan with the spell," said Daphne with a slight laugh as Tracey blushed. "She's just got terrible aim!"

Harry let out a breath, and then looked at the two Slytherin girls. "When this is all over I think we'll have to teach you how to cast spells better, or at least how to aim."

"I was just trying to help," pleaded Tracey.

"We need to get going and deal with that diadem," said Ron.

"But what about Hermione?" wondered Harry.

"She'll be okay, besides, she knows where we're heading. She'll meet up with us, I'm sure," added Ron.

Harry considered his friends words and decided that he was probably right. So then the four of them started off on their way towards Moaning Myrtle's Bathroom.

3:10 PM

The Burrow

Molly was beside herself. She had tried contacting her husband at his job at the Ministry, but she was not able to get through. She knew that they needed to get a message to Harry and Ron, but she was unable to think of how they could possibly do that.

Then there was a fluttering sound in the corner of the room. Molly turned to look and noticed Ron's owl, Pigwidgeon, and she recalled that he had returned home just last week. He may be small and quirky, but he was an owl and he could actually fly quite fast.

"We'll use Ron's owl to send them a message!" she said. Then Molly grabbed a small piece of parchment from the kitchen and scrawled short note. After tying it securely to the small owl's leg she then commanded the tiny bird to bring the message to Ronald Weasley as quickly as possible.

3:20 PM

Girl's Second Floor Bathroom

Harry Potter and the students who were with him were about to round the corner to where they would find the bathroom that was usually avoided due to the presence of the ghost which had haunted it for years. Moaning Myrtle, while not dangerous, was a ghost that the students had uniformly decided was one they all wanted to avoid. Even though Harry knew he had to use the bathroom as the only access he knew of to get to the Chamber of Secrets, he still never enjoyed his encounters with the ghost that seemed to spend too much time in the plumbing.

As they were about to push open the door to the bathroom a voice called out to Harry. "Potter, stop, there's something I need to speak with you about."

Harry knew that voice and it sent chills up his spine. The four students turned and they all had wands drawn as they faced Bellatrix Lestrange.

"What do you want?" hissed Harry. "I should kill you right where you are!"

"That wouldn't be very sporting of you, especially since you can see that I am unarmed," added Bellatrix.

Harry was not about to trust the woman who had killed his godfather. "But you killed Sirius," he said venomously. "I should strike you down where you stand."

Tracey and Daphne were horrified as they listened to this conversation. Ron was obviously setting with rage at the woman in front of them.

"Would it help if I said I was sorry? No, I didn't think so," she answered for him. "Things have changed, and you don't believe it, I'm sure, but I have proof."

"Proof of what?" demanded Harry.

"I know what you're up to," she said simply, "hell the Dark Lord knows what you're up to, after all it was your friend Hermione who told them."

Harry noted that something was very odd with this conversation. Or many things were actually. Bella seemed to be talking without a psychotic lilt to her voice, she was not taunting him and she had just mentioned Hermione without cursing her as a dirty mu-blood. Harry felt he needed to be even warier around his opponent now.

"Yes, Hermione, she told the Dark Lord what you are doing with his soul anchors," explained Bellatrix. "And actually, I am here to help you."

"Why should we believe you?" spat Ron. He seemed about ready to hex the woman in front of him any moment.

"Please put that away before you hurt yourself," quipped Bella. Then she turned to face Harry. "You cannot defeat him until you have destroyed all of his horcruxes."

The pair of Gryffindors paled at her using that word. She put a hand to her face as she feigned embarrassment. "Oh, did that word shock you, wittle Harry," she mentally cursed herself for taunting him by calling him little Harry and using baby speak with him again, but then old habits do die hard it seemed. "Yes, I know what horcruxes are, and I know you have already managed to destroy some of them. But without my help you cannot possibly defeat the Dark Lord."

"And why is that?" demanded Harry.

"Because he gave me one to keep safe," she explained as if it were the most obvious thing in the world.

"So, what do you want from me? Why are you even telling me this?" asked Harry.

"I want to help you, so I will just give it to you. I even have it with me. Helga Hufflepuff's cup, if I am not mistaken. But what do I want from you? I want the chance to seek my own vengeance against the Dark Lord. He betrayed me, more than once. I was betrayed by my family when I was forced into his service. Yes, I was forced. By a very dark magic that was imbued into an amulet which I was forced to wear. It was that amulet which made me do the things I did. It was that amulet that turned me into the cruel witch that willingly tortured others. But that amulet was removed and I am not the same person who did those things."

"Why should we believe you?" snapped Ron.

"I am not sure if I was in your position that I would believe me, but what I do have to support my credibility is simply the cup." Bella looked intently at Harry, ignoring the glares from Ron.

Harry almost felt mesmerised as he looked at Bellatrix. She had a sallowness to her features from her time in Azkaban, but she also had an innate beauty which was more pronounced without the psychotic rantings.

"Then where is this cup?" asked Harry.

"I have it in a satchel at my side," she answered. "Shall I retrieve it?"

"No, she'll just go for her wand and ambush you," exclaimed Ron.

"Then how do you expect me to give Potter the cup?" she asked pointedly.

"I could get it from her satchel," offered Daphne

Bellatrix fixed her eyes on the young blonde. "I wouldn't do that if I were you," she warned.

The four students looked at her with slight confusion.

Bella gave them all a slight smirk. "It's a dark object, you would be a fool to touch it with bare hands."

Daphne looked back at Bellatrix and felt a little uneasy with the stares she was receiving. Then she conjured a cloth handkerchief as she took a step closer. "Would this suffice to provide protection?"

"It should probably work," answered Bellatrix.

"Well, then we should take the cup and be on our way," said Harry.

Bellatrix pointed to the satchel at her side as Daphne tentatively walked forward to obtain the cup. Opening the bag hanging at the notorious witch's side she carefully removed the cup. Daphne stepped backwards away from Bella as she did not trust her. She carefully handed Harry the cup who now had two of the dark items in his possession.

"We do need to get on with this," said Harry, "so we will take our leave."

3:30 PM

Room of Requirement

Tom Riddle had made his way up to the Room of Requirement, although he had actually thought he was the only one who knew of the room, which he knew as the Room of Hidden Things. He walked back and forth past the tapestry that marked the location of the door and after his third pass the door appeared.

The Dark Lord made his way into the room and he felt there was little change in there compared to when he last ventured here. That was when Dumbledore refused to offer him the position as the Defence Against the Dark Arts teacher and it was then that he had placed one of his prized acquisitions there. "No one will ever find this," he had told himself at that time. That was also when he had seen that there was a vanishing cabinet hidden away in this room. It was unclear to him as to why the cabinet was there, but he knew enough about it that when he had examined it he recognised some runes which had been carved inside of it. Those same runes had been carved inside of a vanishing cabinet that he had seen at Borgin and Burkes when he had worked there before. While he detested the way he was treated as a lowly shop assistant, the position had enabled him to acquire certain rare objects which he had then turned into his various horcruxes.

Voldemort quickly banished any thoughts out of his mind that might be construed as reminiscing. He made his way throughout the rows and piles of junk and discarded or lost items and he came to the area where the vanishing cabinet was located. Or at least where it was supposed to be. He quickly noted the scattered splinters of wood and he could easily detect the magical signature of a bombarda curse that had been used. Draco Malfoy had not only failed, he had turned on him. The boy was a walking crops as far as he was concerned. And so would be anyone who tried to interfere with his plans. Then he turned to find the bust where he had left Rowena Ravenclaw's diadem. Most people thought that it was either a myth or that it had been lost for ever. But the young Tom Riddle had managed to convince the Grey Lady, the ghost of the daughter of Rowena Ravenclaw herself where to find the hidden and fabled jewelled tiara. But now it was clear that it was missing. His lioness had been proven to be correct. He was grateful that he had already unleashed her on her unsuspecting friends. But his rage was building. With a sudden burst of anger he cast an overpowered blasting hex at the debris in front of him. While the explosion destroyed nearly a quarter of the rooms contents he did not feel any better. He was enraged. He would not have his army of werewolves joining him, and the brat who somehow kept managing to survive was tracking down his soul anchors. This would have to stop now. Potter may have learned that it was the basilisk venom that destroyed the diary. Voldemort had learned very little of what had actually happened in the Chamber of Secrets, only that Lucius had carelessly allowed that horcrux to be destroyed by using it to corrupt that Weasley girl. He cursed the entire Malfoy family tree as he stormed out of the Room of Hidden Things. He needed to get down to the Chamber of Secrets.

3:45 PM

Gryffindor Tower

Hermione had become separated from Potter and Weasley, she wouldn't think of them by their first names anymore, and she knew that they were heading to the Chamber of Secrets. But she had ended up near the Gryffindor Tower in her effort to avoid capture by the Slytherins. She knew she would probably have no trouble defeating them in a duel, as the amulet had given her many new skills, but she didn't want to hurt any allies of her new lord.

But upon realising where she was, her proximity to the dorm, she remembered that Potter possessed a couple of very useful items. He had not been using the Marauder's Map or his cloak recently, and she had hoped that maybe they had been left behind in his trunk in his dorm. So she made her way up to the Gryffindor common room and then up to the boy's 6th year dorm. She quickly found Potter's trunk and rifled though his belongings but there was no sign of either the cloak or the map.

She knew she would have to head down to the Chamber of Secrets and meet up with Potter and Weasley there, because after all that was where they were planning to go before they were split up when Parkinson's cronies showed up.

3:55 PM

Chamber of Secrets

The group entered Moaning Myrtle's bathroom. Harry hissed "open" in parseltongue and the sinks separated revealing the passageway down to the chamber.

Harry had told Ron to keep a close eye on Bellatrix has he still refused to trust her. The five people then descended the steep and slipper ramp. From there they followed the corridor to where the pile of rubble still lay, and they managed to climb through the narrow opening. When they came face to face with the rage round door locked with intertwining snakes Bellatrix felt a shiver as she realised she was about to enter Salazar Slytherin's fabled hidden Chamber of Secrets. Once again Harry hissed in parseltongue and the snakes slid away and the door swung open, allowing them access to the chamber.

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