The majority of the Chamber of Secrets has lay undisturbed for nearly one thousand years, but what will Harry find in the catacombs beneath the school. Post GoF. Nearly exams in OotP. No DOM. HP/DG
A/N: Anything said in “italics” is in parseltongue.
A/N 2: I’m a Brit, so if anything like colour is spelt ‘incorrectly,’ don’t worry about it.
Secrets of the Chamber
In Hogwarts, but still away from prying eyes, stood Harry Potter. It was almost four in the morning and he had occupied the Chamber of Secrets for the past two hours. His OWL exams were approaching and he was using the time to study. Upon his return to the Dursleys’ after witnessing the rebirth of Voldemort he had decided that it was time to grow up.
He knew he could only rely on his luck for a little longer before it ran out and Voldemort killed him. He had decided to train physically and magically. He started by running and doing various stretches every morning at his relatives. After being welcomed back to Hogwarts he had looked for a place to train. He had struggled to find anywhere for the first three weeks, until he decided he needed to face his fears and return to Slytherin’s catacombs beneath the school.
He still hadn’t entered the main cavern yet because he had, quite literally, stumbled upon the entrance to the founder’s private quarters. He had tripped in the darkness and thought he was going to hit the wall, but he fell right through it. The shock prevented him from reacted and he had to deal with a severe nose bleed after landing painfully on his face.
He had used the outdated but still workable exercise equipment he had found to toughen up. There was even a target range with self-repair charms so that he could vent his anger at wooden mannequins. He had also found Slytherin’s personal library. Many of the books were of a darker nature and he hadn’t dared to even pick them up. There were one or two titles that had caught his eye though. Namely “Protecting the Mind” and “So You Think You’re a Dark Lord.” The former was an occlumency guide book and the latter was a humorous parody of a dark lord how-to. Snape had no idea of Harry’s proficiency in the mind arts; he had created the perfect defence which was the one that whoever attacked his mind would never know about. His mind looked like any other teenage male mind, except his secrets were all securely hidden beneath the façade.
He had learnt to control his emotions and hide his true thoughts effectively. His magical power and ability far surpassed any other in his year, but he knew that his coming-of-age would further increase his ability to use magic. The age magical people reached their full maturity varied, but could be calculated and Harry had guessed that his was due to happen soon. It was unheard of to reach magical maturity before entering your sixth year at Hogwarts. Even Dumbledore had only reached his in early September, but Harry was nearly certain that it would be at around the time of his sixteenth birthday.
Currently Harry was thinking about this whilst standing over a potion which was almost complete. It was complex, and had taken over seven months to complete as he carefully followed the instructions in a third book he had found, but it would show him which animagus form, if any, he would have. He hoped to be something magical, like a dragon, but knew that it was impossible. Their brain functions worked at too high a level for his human brain to control it. Anyone foolish enough to become a magical animagus would lose control to the animal; they would become that animal. It was even one of the theories that Harry had heard about the beginning of dragons. A powerful wizard had learnt that his animagus form was to be a lizard. He wasn’t too impressed and tried to imbue it with magic, but it was too powerful.
Harry glanced at the clock on the wall and once again reflected on how useful magic was. Even after nearly a thousand years the clock still showed the correct time. It was nearly time for Harry to head back to Gryffindor Tower and get a few hours sleep before Ron woke him. He would have to finish the potion tomorrow. He waved his wand over the potion and watched as the top seemed to solidify. The potion was in stasis and he would be able to store it for up to three months without renewing the spell.
He picked his bag up from the corner of the room and exited, looking around to make sure he didn’t leave anything. He turned right and made his way confidently through the darkness. He had been here so many times before that he knew every little rock along the path. At roughly the bottom of the tunnel he stopped.
“Stairs,” he said, in parseltongue.
Above him a light slowly appeared as the passage opened and there was a soft grating noise as a set of stairs appeared around the edge. He walked slowly up, thinking about what his animagus form would be. He hoped for something powerful, a bear maybe. Something that could swim would also be an advantage as that was one thing he couldn’t do.
He walked into Myrtle’s bathroom and heard sobs coming from one of the cubicles. He had two options: he could either comfort the ghost, or he could walk on past. Myrtle had been kind to him in the past and occasionally helped him with the potion, so he chose to see what was wrong.
He padded to the cubicle door as the sink closed behind him and pushed it slowly open as he asked “What’s wrong?”
He was surprised to see that the girl sitting on the toilet seat with her head in her hands was definitely not Myrtle. The girl looked relatively short from what Harry could see as she sat there. Her long blond hair hung in loose curls and effectively hid her face from view. Harry couldn’t tell what house she was in, let alone who it was and so decided to try to comfort her.
As he made his mind up the girl seemed to become aware that she was being watched and looked up. Clear blue eyes sparkling with unshed tears stared into his face for a few seconds, both too uncomfortable to say anything before the girl quickly drew her wand and stood up.
“Potter,” snarled Daphne Greengrass with her wand pointing straight at his nose.
He held his hands up in the worldwide sign for non-aggression. “Sorry,” he said sincerely, “I thought you were Myrtle. I’ll go now.”
“Sure you did bastard,” she muttered without conviction. She sobbed softly again. “You’re no better than the others; you just want to get close to me so you hurt me more when you choose.”
“I’m sorry,” muttered Harry softly, unsure of himself.
“No you’re not.” There was another sob and the wand lowered.
“Look, what’s wrong? You can tell me,” stated Harry, trying to sound friendly.
The blond simply sat back down on the toilet, cradling her head in her hands. Once again Harry was faced with two options: walk out or comfort. He had come this far, so he decided to try to help her.
He was unsure of what to do, but settled on remaining where he was leaning against the side of the cubicle. “What’s wrong?” he asked.
Daphne looked up; the surprise that he hadn’t left was evident on her face. She studied him closely for a few seconds, staring intently at his eyes. “You really want to know?” She sounded both shocked and a little worried.
Harry nodded wordlessly.
Daphne seemed hesitant, but took a breath and started to speak. “It’s Malfoy. His father has asked to arrange a marriage between the two of us. My parents haven’t replied, but he’s taking that as a yes. He wants to … do stuff to me.” Daphne started to cry again.
Harry was shocked and remained standing mutely. His only thought was of how twisted Malfoy was. Daphne continued to speak.
“He tried to rape me as I left the astronomy tower – I’d been doing homework – and I ran here to escape. I don’t know how much longer I can hide for.”
At that moment the sound of laughter came from outside the room. Draco Malfoy’s voice called out.
“I know you’re here. We’ve searched the rest of the school. It won’t be long now.” His manic laughter showed just how willing he was to harm his peers.
“Crabbe; check the rooms on the right. Goyle; you take the left.” There was a pause. “No; your other left you idiot!” There was another pause, followed by a sigh. “For fuck sake, do I have to do everything myself?”
There was the sound of a door being kicked open, followed by the slam as it hit the wall.
“Come out; come out, wherever you are.”
“Shit,” muttered Daphne.
“Follow me,” commanded Harry. Daphne looked unsure. “If you don’t want Malfoy to hurt you, follow me.” She still looked worried. “Fine; I, Harry Potter, do hereby swear that I am trying to lead Daphne Greengrass to safety and am not trying to knowingly bring her to harm.” Harry’s wand flashed white to show that he was telling the truth. That settled Daphne and she rose to follow as they heard Draco’s voice.
“What was that? There was a flash of light from under that door! Get in there.”
“Shit!” swore Harry. He raced over to the Chamber entrance and said “Open.”
He grabbed the startled Daphne and dragged her into the tunnel, saying “Close” at the same time. They fell for a few seconds and then landed at the bottom. After using the tunnel for a year Harry could land on his feet, but the weight of Daphne dragged him down and they landed side-by-side.
Harry stood up and used a spell to brush himself off before lighting his wand and offering Daphne his hand. She ignored it and pushed herself upright and cleaning her robes.
“Where are we?” she asked.
“Welcome to the Chamber of Secrets,” said Harry melodramatically, waving his hands about himself elaborately. The girl opposite him gasped.
“I thought you said that you wouldn’t lead me to danger.”
“What? There’s supposed to be a monster down here!”
“Not any more.”
“What do you mean?”
“There was a monster down here.”
Daphne froze as she took the information in and they both heard Draco using some heavy wards on the doors upstairs.
“I guess we aren’t going back the way we came,” said Harry as he started walking forward. He turned round to face Daphne. “Aren’t you coming?”
She jogged to catch up. “Do you mean those stories are true?”
“The rumours that say you killed a basilisk down here.”
“What do the rumours say?” he asked exasperatedly.
“That you came down here trying to save that Weasley girl and fought a basilisk. I even think that I overheard Weasley saying that it bit you.”
“Yeah, they’re true.” He was tired of having to tell everyone in the Order the stories over and over again so he left it at that.
“But that’s impossible! You should be dead.”
Harry rolled up his sleeve. “There’s the scar. It bit me as I stabbed it. Luckily Fawkes cried on it. My blood is probably still pretty screwed from it. Muggles worry about catching AIDS from each other’s blood; mine would probably kill within seconds.”
“Fawkes?” queried Daphne.
“Dumbledore’s phoenix,” explained Harry.
“Right, what about those other rumours?” asked Daphne.
“And they say…”
“That you killed Quirrel in first year because he was possessed by Voldemort. That you fought Sirius Black in third year, as well as driving back over a hundred dementors and you watched Voldemort’s resurrection nearly a year ago. You’re first kiss was Cho Chang after a meeting of your illegal defence group and she was crying at the time and that was only this year.” Daphne took a breath and prepared to continue, but Harry interrupted her.
“They’re true…mostly,” confessed Harry. “Except for fighting Sirius Black; I saved him from the dementor’s kiss.” Harry went on to explain the events that night, even though he didn’t know Daphne he felt that he could trust her. After all, he was leading her through the Chamber of Secrets and it seemed as if everybody knew anyway.
As he neared the end of his tale Harry found the entrance to Slytherin’s private quarters.
“Why are we stopping here?” asked Daphne.
“I’ve got something to show you, but you can’t tell anyone. Nobody except me knows about this.”
“Right,” agreed Daphne. Harry gave her a pointed look. “You want an oath?” Harry nodded. Daphne seemed unsure, but then consented by saying “I, Daphne Greengrass, do hereby swear upon my magic that I will not reveal what Harry Potter is about to show me without his prior consent.” A bright ribbon flowed from Daphne’s wand hand to Harry’s. “Are you happy now?”
“Yes, very,” said Harry cheekily. “Walk this way.”
As Harry hummed the tune to the Aerosmith song he walked through the wall. Daphne stood still for a few seconds before following him. What she saw surprised her more than anything else Harry had done.
It was a sitting room, of average size decorated in dark greens and the furnishings were in silver. The actual furniture was black. It was similar to the Slytherin common room, but warmer and more inviting. There were three doors leading away from the room.
“Well,” asked Harry, “What do you think?”
“It’s impressive. It’s similar to the Slytherin common rooms.” Harry smiled knowingly. “Where are we?”
“This is Salazar Slytherin’s private rooms,” said Harry. He pointed to each door in turn and said, “That’s the practice room for potions and magic, that’s the bedroom and the kitchen, through that door.” He collapsed back onto a sofa as Daphne walked around the room. She opened the first door and walked in.
Harry got up and followed her. He entered the room to find her reaching out to take a book from one of the shelves.
“I wouldn’t touch that,” he warned. “They’re probably cursed. There’s powerful magic around that bookcase. Any books around the place are alright though.”
Daphne lifted two of the books Harry had read. “I remember reading this. It helped me learn occlumency.”
Harry was surprised. “You know occlumency?”
“Yeah,” stated Daphne, “My dad is really paranoid and made me learn before I arrived at Hogwarts. He muttered something about Snape.”
“Snape knows leglimency,” said Harry.
“How do you know?”
“After I read that book he was supposed to teach me occlumency.” Daphne shuddered at the thought.
“I bet that didn’t work out too well.”
“No, he refuses to teach me now.”
“So You Think You’re a Dark Lord?” asked Daphne.
“Look at page four,” said Harry.
Daphne flicked the book open and started to read out loud. “The dark lord’s checklist: number one is an arch nemesis, number two is a love of power, number three is a group of power crazy and crazy followers and number four is thirty Chinamen and a zeppelin.”
“Yeah, it’s a spoof,” chuckled Harry.
“I realised,” said Daphne. “What potion are you brewing?”
Harry walked over to the cauldron and peered in. “It the potion to reveal your animagus shape and it should be done fairly soon, tomorrow night hopefully.”
“Really? Sorry, but I always thought you weren’t good at potions?”
“That’s just Snape’s teaching,” said Harry.
“Touché,” replied Daphne. “There’s quite a lot of it…”
Harry stood quietly, waiting for her to say what he thought she would.
She sighed, “Do you think you could give me some?”
“I don’t know; I’d have to think about it.” Daphne swatted him on the arm. “Alright; alright, I’ll give you some.”
Harry glanced at the clock on the wall. It was nearly half five. “We’d better get going,” he declared.
At the exit to Salazar’s rooms Daphne spoke up. “Which way do we go now? We can’t go back the way we came.”
“Left,” said Harry. He hadn’t ventured this far into the catacombs since second year and if he was honest, he was a little afraid. Once again he came across the large entrance to the main chamber.
“Open,” he said.
“That really creeps me out,” stated Daphne as she shivered.
The giant entrance was clear and Harry stepped through. At once he heard a voice.
“Welcome back, little one.”
“Harry, I thought you said it was dead.”
“That’s what I thought too; let’s go back.”
“No, stay, the other is dead.” Harry grabbed Daphne and held her where she was.
“Good, do not worry; I will not harm you.”
“How do I know we can trust you?”
“Harry; what’s going on?” Daphne sounded worried, but Harry motioned to her to be quiet.
“It was prophesised that one would enter these halls seeking the destruction of the pupils of this school, but that one would defeat the evil. The first was impure and was the test for you. Tom Riddle failed. You succeeded. It was said that these chambers would be a place of tranquillity and relaxation for the Saviour before the final battle and that the catacombs would provide a means to help him. I am that means.”
At the last words the sound of scales scraping against stone reverberated round the chamber. Daphne started tugging at his arm, but he stood still.
“Do not fret female, for I will not harm you.”
“What the hell is going on? I can hear that thing.”
“That thing can hear you too. Unlike the other that resided in these halls I am pure and have a third eyelid. Like others of my kind, it helps me see when in water, but it also prevents my gaze from killing. This may hurt.”
Harry had listened while the basilisk talked to Daphne, watching as its body slid into view. Unlike the other it was black, and this was only about the length of a normal snake. As it said the last words it lunged at Harry and bit his skin. Daphne screamed. The sound seemed to fade and the world started to spin. The pain was like nothing he had ever felt before. It was excruciating, but at the same time it was comforting.
Suddenly the world was back in focus and the pain was gone. Daphne rushed over to Harry and tried to support his weight once she realised he was still standing, ignoring the snake. Harry shrugged off her help and looked up, right into the basilisk’s eyes.
“Go little ones; it is late and you are sleepy. I will show you to the exit.”
“Thanks, what just happened?” asked Harry as he followed the basilisk.
“We bonded, it will have many benefits to both of us, but we will discuss those at another time. Goodbye, little ones.”
The snake had shown them to a tunnel across the hall from the main entrance and as Harry walked up it, he thought that they would emerge near the edge of the Forbidden Forest. They ended up emerging from a large rock along the shore of the lake furthest from Hogwarts, quite near Hagrid’s hut and the Forbidden Forest.
The two teens walked to the castle, each lost in their thoughts. The varied stereotypes they’d had for each other had been proved completely false and both were stunned by the light-hearted camaraderie between them.
In the foyer Harry turned to Daphne and said “I guess this is where we part ways.”
“I suppose so.” Daphne started to walk away, but Harry called after her.
“If you want to join me tonight, I’ll be in the bathroom at around half twelve.”
“I’ll see you there,” called Daphne over her shoulder.
Thanks go to Jimmy Carr for a joke in this chapter. Can anyone spot it?
Does anybody have any ideas for animagus forms for any characters? (How many times can you put the word “any” in one question?”) They are all non-magical, including Harry! That is the only boundary. If you want an exception, you’re going to have to provide a reason.
What do you think of the story? Please review.