Hour 7: 1 AM
Previously in Harry Potter: 24
Scabior arrived at Knockturn Alley and obtained an item from Cobb& Webb's
A pink adorned toad like woman returns to the Hogwarts, with plans to reinstate the Inquisitorial Squad: "And you, Miss Parker, will be the head Junior Inquisitor once we deal with that lying brat Potter once and for all."
Daphne and Tracey run into their head of house in their common room…
Harry heads to the Room of Requirement to look for a horcrux…and is interrupted by Draco Malfoy…
Voldemort summons his followers to Malfoy Manor: "But more importantly, I tell you that the death of Harry Potter shall happen within the next twenty-four hours. He will be destroyed, and with him the hopes of all of those who dare to oppose us!"
The Seventh Hour, 1 AM to 2 AM, Saturday October 19, 1996
October 19, 1996
Room of Requirement
Harry had been hiding behind the sofa, and he was starting to get stiff. He had watched as Draco came in and made his way towards a large cabinet. Harry had been unable to see what he was doing, but it sounded like he was working on carving runes inside the door frame of the cabinet. After staying put for over thirty minutes, he knew he had to move and he knew he needed to leave. He obviously wouldn't be able to search this area for a horcrux, so he decided he needed to look elsewhere in the castle.
Carefully he moved from behind the sofa and make his way slowly towards the door. He briefly considered casting a charm to make his movements silent, but seeing as how he could not cast that spell silently that was not really an option. Harry was relieved to see that there was plenty of debris and piles of books and various items that would help him not be seen as he made his way out of the room. Finally he reached a point where he had only a few meters between where he was hiding and where the door was to leave the room. Harry lifted his head to look at what his nemesis was up to and saw that he was bent over something in front of the cabinet and he seemed completely focused on what he was doing. As quickly as he could move and still be quiet, Harry made a dash for the door and hoped that the hinges wouldn't squeak as he pulled the door open. He was relieved as the door opened without making any extra noises and he slid out the partially opened door into the hallway.
Draco looked up as the door closed. "Potter," he muttered to himself, "I thought it was he who was here. What the hell is up to? It doesn't matter anyway, because he has no idea what I'm working on. Next time I come up here, if he is here again I'll just hit him with a cutting hex, or something worse. Well, at least that explains why the door was already present when I arrived."
Draco then turned back to the cabinet he was working on as he continued to try and discover what the problem was that was preventing it from working properly.
Hallway near Gryffindor Tower
Ginny and Hermione were slowly making progress back towards their house dormitory. They had to make one detour when they came close to running into Filch and Mrs. Norris, his faithful cat who seemed to have a knack for finding students who were out of their dorms after curfew.
"I can hardly believe that any one could be so cruel and evil as to make a horcrux, and to think he made several of those horrid things," said Ginny as she and Hermione made their way around the halls trying to double back to the passage way they need to take to get to the stairs that would take them up to their dorm.
Slytherin Common Room
Tracey and Daphne had initially headed in to their room to go to bed. They noted that both Millicent Bulstrode and Lily Moon were both asleep in their beds. But it was clear that the fifth Slytherin girl in their class was not in their room, so they had both left the dorm room before they spoke to each other in the common room so as not to disturb the two girls who were sleeping.
"So, Pansy isn't here," stated Tracey, "as I'm sure you noticed."
"She's either out with Draco or up to some other form of trouble," agreed Daphne.
"Whatever she is up to, it can't be good," added Tracey.
Daphne's face became serious as she considered what they needed to do.
"No, you're not seriously considering heading back out there," said Tracy, her face turning pale.
Daphne nodded slowly, indicating that she was.
"When the hell do you become a stupid bloody Gryffindor and start acting brave and bold and all this?" asked Tracey. "Have you den spending too much time studying with Granger lately?"
"We know that Pansy isn't out on prefect duty tonight, she had that last night," said Daphne, finally breaking her silence. "We need to make sure she's not causing trouble."
"Why us?" asked Tracey.
"If not us, then who?" answered Daphne rhetorically. "Besides, we can be just as sneaky as anyone else in this castle, so how much trouble could we get into anyway?"
Hallway near the Grand Stairs
Hermione and Ginny were nearly to the stairway that would lead them to Gryffindor Tower when Hermione suddenly grabbed Ginny by her arm and held her finger to her lips indicating that they needed to be absolutely quiet.
"I thought I heard footsteps," whispered Hermione.
The two witches slowly made their way to the corner, each drawing their wands to be prepared for what or whomever might be on the other side. Slowly they peered around the edge only to come face to face with a wand point. The two girls each let out a quiet "Eeep!" in surprise. They followed the wand up the arm that was holding it and then to the face of the person who they had confronted, and they quickly recognised Ron Weasley despite the dark shadows of the dimly lit halls.
"Bloody hell, Hermione," exclaimed Ron, "you nearly scared me to death!"
"Quiet down," ordered Ginny in a hushed voice.
"What are you two doing out so late?" he asked.
"What are you doing out after curfew, yourself," replied Hermione.
"I came looking for you," answered Ron as though it was patently obvious. "Harry already went out to try and find you, but when you didn't show up I figured someone was probably in trouble so I needed to act as the cavalry."
Ginny scoffed at her brother's comment.
"What? I've rescued Hermione before!" he protested.
"Whatever," snapped Ginny.
"You two cut it out," said Hermione trying to end the bickering between the siblings. "So, do we go find Harry or head back to the dorm?"
"Go find Harry," came the simultaneous response.
Chamber of Secrets
Harry had made his way to Moaning Myrtle's bathroom and from there it was easy for him to enter the Chamber of Secrets. He had no reason to worry about getting caught as no one else in the castle cold get in to the chamber. He made his way down the slide and passed the rubble debris and tot he locked door. With a quick command in parseltongue Harry was through the final barrier and once again he fond himself in the eerie chamber. He was actually surprised that the carcass for the giant reptile did not smell as he cam upon the beast he had slain less than four years prior. He slowly walked around the dead snake like creature, marvelling at how big it actually was. Part of him wondered if his mind had exaggerated how big the basilisk was because of how small he was at age 12 to fight it singlehandedly. But now he realised it was not his imagination, the creature was huge. Easily well over twenty meters in length, Harry estimated, and then he made his way back to the head of the beast. He pulled out a magical satchel he had with him and carefully pried the basilisk fangs out of the giant serpents mouth. They actually broke off quite easily, thought Harry, for he had expected that he would need to use considerable force to break them loose from the beast's jaws.
Once he had obtained all of the fangs and secured them within the satchel, he made his way to the far side of the chamber. He decided to explore the large room to see if there was perhaps something else that might have been left behind, either by Tom Riddle or even Salazar Slytherin himself. After spending over twenty minutes searching the chamber he had not come up with anything that might be useful, so he decided to make his way out of the chamber and back to Moaning Myrtle's bathroom.
Third Floor Corridor
Hermione, Ron and Ginny were trying to systematically cover the school by tracking along the various hallways. They had found no sign of Harry anywhere they had looked so far.
"Where could Harry be?" wondered Ginny out loud.
Hermione answered after thinking about the possibilities, "Maybe he went up to the Room of Requirement. He might be looking for a horcrux up there."
"Well, we can head their once we get back to the stairs," commented Ron.
Then they started back towards the Grand Stairs when they heard footsteps coming the other way.
"That can't be Harry," stated Hermione, " because I am sure there are at least three or more people coming the other way."
Around the corner from where they were now standing, the three Gryffindors could not see who was coming towards them. But they could hear the voice of one of the people in the group, and it was a voice that they had hoped they would never have to hear again.
"Now children," said Umbridge to the students who were with her, "stay alert as I am sure I heard someone just around the corner. Have your wands at the ready."
Third Floor Classroom
Daphne and Tracey had spent per twenty minutes roaming the halls and had not found any sign of Pansy or any other students so far. They had stepped into a classroom on the third floor to sit down and rest, as they were feeling tired considering how late it was.
Tracey was rubbing her feet as she spoke to her best friend, "I'm glad we're not in Gryffindor or prefects, all of this sneaking around the castle at night is making my feet hurt and keeping me from my beauty rest."
"You don't need beauty rest," commented Daphne.
"Why is that? Are you saying I'm as beautiful as you?" asked the brunette.
"No, I'm telling you that it won't help," she said with a smirk. Tracey went to throw a shoe at her friend but Daphne held up her hand to tell her to stop and put a finger to her lips to tell her to be quiet. "I thought I heard something out there in the hallway."
The two witches slowly opened the door to the classroom, from where they were they could see an intersection of two hallways. There were footsteps coming from both directions. To their right they could see Hermione Granger with Ron and Ginny Weasley. To the left they saw Pansy Parkinson and several other Slytherin students being lead by the toad of a woman, Dolores Umbridge.
"That can't be good," whispered Tracey. "We've got to do something."
"How are you at conjuring birds or fog?" asked Daphne.
"I think I'm better at smoke than fog," answered Tracey.
"All right then, go with that," added Daphne, "so get your wand ready and get ready to run."
Umbridge and her personal group of junior terrorists were waiting for someone to come around the corner. The Gryffindor trio was cautiously approaching the intersection of the corridors.
"On three," whispered Daphne, "One…two…three…"
Suddenly a group of about ten song birds appeared in the middle of the intersection. The sound of their chirping startled both groups and the Slytherin students started to cast stunning spells at the birds. Then there appeared a cloud of smoke in the middle of the hallway.
The two groups of people started screaming, one telling each other to run, and the other being the piercing voice of Dolores Umbridge as she yelled at the students who were with her to "Go get them you fools!"
Tracey and Daphne silently closed the door to the room they were in and decided to wait until the hallway was quiet for at least ten minutes before they would dare leave the room.
Hermione, Ron and Ginny had to again double back to another hallway to avoid being caught. Once they had reached a place where they thought they would be safe, they ducked into an empty classroom. "Who was that?" asked Ron, fearing that he had recognised the voice of the person whom they had almost run into just a minute ago,
"What the bloody hell is she doing here?" asked Ginny, who was panting for breath.
"Umbridge," said Hermione flatly, "how the hell did Umbridge come back? Why the bloody hell is Umbridge back?"
Moaning Myrtle's bathroom
Harry sat down next to one of the sinks in Moaning Myrtle's bathroom, trying to figure out what he should do next.
The ghost who seemed to enjoy tormenting him came out of her toilet when she realised that Harry Potter had come back up from the Chamber of Secrets.
"Hi, Harry," said the usually depressed ghost who only seemed happy when she could torment the boy-who-lived.
"Go away Myrtle," said Harry who was feeling exhausted, "I don't have time for you right now."
"Is my little Harry having a bad day?" she asked. "Is someone trying to kill you again? If they do, I'll let you share my toilet with me."
Harry shook his head, "Why me," he asked himself, "why do I always attract the crazy ghosts?"
"Sorry Myrtle, but other than Tom Riddle, no one else is trying to kill me tonight," answered Harry. "At least not that I know of," he added under his breath.
"Why do you always think your future is so black?" asked Myrtle.
Harry had sat down to try and think about where else he could try and find another horcrux and he was trying to ignore the pesky ghost. At least she only bothered him here in the girls bathroom, he thought. Then he considered what she had just said.
"Black?" he said aloud, as if asking a question.
Myrtle looked at him as she was confused by his words.
"Regulus Black worked for Voldemort," said Harry to no one as he was alone, except for the disturbed ghost. "Regulus Black had been a Death Eater, but I never heard what happened to him at the end of the war. I think Sirius said something about his brother having died, but not during a battle. Could Regulus have had a horcrux?"
Myrtle stared at Harry. "You're not making any sense, Harry Potter," said the ghost as she tilted her head and stared at the boy who was now standing up from where he had been sitting.
"Thanks Myrtle," said Harry with a big grin, "I think you have helped me out."
"Well, I certainly didn't mean to," said Myrtle defensively.
"Kreacher!" called out Harry. I hope he can hear me, thought Harry. And hopefully he will do what I say as Sirius did name me as his heir. "Kreacher! I need you now!"