Holly circles in on the Heir, just in time to lose Hermione.
Disclaimer: Harry Potter and all related concepts are owned by someone who isn't me. I will never seek or accept money for the circulation of this work.
Holly Evans and the Spiral Path
Chapter 11: Alone with Ghosts
13th March, 1993
I am embarrassed to say this, but I hadn't noticed until now that Hermione is suffering from PMS. I'm not referring to girl-plumbing issues, exactly; Hermione is drawing Positive Male Scrutiny the way she slinks about nowadays. Now that the shock of her return from isolation has worn off, it seems every able-bodied male in our year and the next few have noticed Hermione's developing body. Her leftover feline grace draws their eyes to her and her tendency to go without the tarp-like winter cloaks most students are still wearing to offset the lingering winter chill holds their attention further. She is developing breasts before anyone else in our year aside from a Hufflepuff named Eloise Midgen and Lavender, who started last year already as a B-cup and has swelled impressively since then (pretty soon Lav'll be pressed against some boy's chest just to support those things).
I finally caught notice of Hermione's burgeoning ...popularity when the Hufflepuff seeker Cedric OhmyGoddery, Cedric Please-dig-me turned his seeking eyes on her. He's been lurking about our library table of late making suggestions on homework assignments and class notes. Ron is circling the table as well, but hasn't tried to move in with Diggory being so ...helpful. Hermione is lapping up the attention, too. It bugs me on several levels, but the most pressing is that I can't hold her attention on the Ginny/Riddle diary investigation when she's like this. I can guarantee she's still pants at Occlumency. I can just hear her synapses burning out every time she smiles back at him.
I've decided to confront her on this. It reminds me of Lockhart too much, and Idon't want to make a habit of hitting my friends.
Transcription: 14th March, 1993 starting 6:46 AM GMT
Hermione Granger (HG) rises slowly from her bed to sit with her legs folded beneath her, playing with her curly hair as it hangs in front of her face. Holly Evans (HE)is standing facing her near the side of the bed.
HG: Cedric is quite tasty isn't he? I wouldn't mind playing with him for a while...
HE: What about the diary? Have you found out anything related to T.M. Riddle?
HG: No, I forgot.
HE: YOU forgot?!
HG rests back with her arms locked, her legs kicking out slowly, stretching her toes towards HE's legs.
HG: Yes, I forgot.
HE: You never forget anything! Don't you see? Your cat brain is becoming a rotting mass of hormones and distraction!
HG sits upright.
HG: I just don't want to give up these feelings! I'm comfortable in my body. I don't feel ashamed of my smile. I can tell boys want me, and I can let them know I want them too! It's so easy...
HE: What, like a charm?
HG: No, with smells. Ithink I'm releasing a pheromone somehow. And the smell of their response is ...delicious! I can even smell your scent...OH! Um, Holly?
HE: We're not getting into this right now.
HG: But, um, Holly?
HE grabs both HG's arms tightly in her hands.
HE: Listen. To. Me. Whatever else is going on, however else this may have made your life better, or more enjoyable, I have to ask you one simple question: With your mind like this, can you still help me find out who the real Heir is before somebody else gets petrified and they close Hogwarts?
HG: Well, but Holly...
HE: ANSWER THE QUESTION!
HG: No. There's no way. I can't focus on anything for long unless it smells good, or feels good. Oh, Holly...
HG starts to cry
HE releases HG and turns away in frustration.
HE: What now?
HG: Just as I said that, I could tell you didn't...you didn't ...you don't want me anymore!
HG starts crying again.
HE: You need to go back to Madame Pomfrey to finish your treatments. This isn't you.
HG: (sniffs) I know...
HE: As for the rest, let's table that for another time. I don't think either of us is ready to talk about it. Chalk it up to Spring fever. A strange season. Potion mishap recovery. Just come back to me when you feel like Hermione Granger again.
22nd March, 1993
Well that's better. As perhaps a side effect of Cedric's interest being pheromone-induced, his attention to Hermione has wandered off to focus on the Ravenclaw seeker, a Chinese girl named Chang, without any bad feelings or recriminations left behind. The rest of the boys sniffing after her have returned to their previously scheduled distractions, except for Ron and Seamus who haven't been able to lift their gazes from Hermione's chest in weeks. Hermione lost her fangs but her front teeth are smaller and more even than they used to be. I can't fault her for wanting to leave that last bit of correction alone. I'm fairly certain she suffered a number of beaver-related teasings in the past. Her smile is quite fetching now, actually.
Hermione and I were digging into Riddle's history in the library yesterday when Ron woke up from staring at Hermione's breasts long enough to mention Riddle was astudent 50 years ago that won an award for Special Services to the school- he's'polished the damn award enough times...' At that point the discussion reverted to whether Ron should hate me for those detentions Filch put him through. Itold him he could hate me for whatever reason he wanted, as it's quite the vogue right now. Several Hufflepuffs that were sneering at me shuffled off to another part of the library then. With that as a marker for Mr. Riddle's place in history, Hermione and I were able to start working out a profile for him.
Tom(not Thomas) Marvolo Riddle was a Slytherin prefect and eventually Head Boy, attending Hogwarts from 1938-1945. He was awarded the Special Services medal in 1943. He graduated with top honors in 1945.
That took us four days to uncover. No matter where we look, we can't seem to find out why he got the medal. Special Services awards are like the old Empire Gallantry Medal- awarded for civilian heroism. To have no record of the event is just odd.
But at least Hermione is back to normal, for real this time. Although she is looking a little pale at the moment.
Oh, this was gross but funny.
I asked Hermione what was making her ill. She looked up from the volume she had been scouring and started waving her hand in front of her tightly clenched mouth, until she blurted out "I need a sack!" then started waving her hand again. I caught on when her face started to get a little green and jumped up to grab the hat off a firstie at the table behind me. I mean really- no one wears their hats outside of Feasts except firsties and the Professors. I tossed the hat to Hermione who promptly projected her previous meal into the wool chapeau. Once finished, Hermione sat back for a moment, glanced down at the sick in the hat, seemed to have a second thought and heaved once more into the hat. At this point the firstie realised how his hat was being used and began to protest; "Hey! You can't just...you...you're EVANS!" At this point he grabbed his books and ran from the library like he was being chased by adragon. I turned back to Hermione who was sitting somewhat limply in her chair, still holding the hat.
That's when I made my latest error. I was trying to be helpful when I cast Evanesco at the hat in her hands- unfortunately my spell was successful and the hat vanished, leaving the sick to splatter all over Hermione's lap. Aghast, both she and I jumped up from the table, and I threw a Scourgify at her after aquick apology. Her look was a memorable mixture of indignation, illness and humiliation, with a last look of annoyance thrown in at me at the end.
"Holly, perhaps in the future if you wish to help me with a targeted spell like the Vanishing Charm you could attempt it with your goggles on!"
"Right. Again, sorry about that. What set you off anyway?"
"Oh, well, um..."
"Weren't you following up on Vital Humours?"
Hermione looked a little green again but she held herself together.
"Yes. According to Aristotelian tradition, the Vital Humours are the four fluids found in the human body that match with the four Aristotelian elements."
"And they are...?"
"Fire, Earth, Water and Air, of course."
"The Humours, Hermione?"
"Um, yes. Bile, Feces, Phlegm and Blood respectively, though Blood is representative of all four elements."
"At least one of which the Headmaster included in his Loyalty draught."
I tried very hard not to, but I ended up heaving onto the floor a minute later at that thought. Maybe I should start wearing my hat.
28th March, 1993
Normally I don't bother telling you about these minor skirmishes with my enemies but this one was sort of fun, and was prompted by some odd behavior that I should probably take note of. Lately I have been travelling the hallways alone at night, either from escorting Hermione to her last few treatments in Pomfrey's care or returning from some janitorial detention with Filch. While I keep awary eye out for stalkers and ambush situations, sometimes you can be over cautious and end up reacting badly to a wandering ghost. At first I thought that was what was happening, as I kept catching a glimpse of a pale girl who looked almost like Drowned Dorothea. The obvious difference was that Dorothea's head is turned backwards; her attempt to drown herself in the Black Lake back in 1878 was interrupted by Grindylows that decided to divide her equally before she had actually passed on. Thus, I knew the straggly blonde wasn't Dorothea, but she was following me silently, always keeping her distance and evading my attempts to lead her into a passage where I could circle around to find out who she was. My latest attempt to catch her unfortunately led me into an ambush by the Slytherin Quidditch squad (minus Flint). Evidently they had been tracking me as I was tracking my pale stalker. The ambush was not expertly executed, however. They decided to try and intimidate me first.
I had rounded a corner and suddenly heard voices from in front and behind me start to hiss and make other snakey noises. While I'm certain this would have petrified any other student in the castle, as a Parselmouth it sounded a bit like the nonsense that babies make. They were trying to intimidate me with the snake equivalent of "Gah! Bububububububbbbtthppthpthp.Yeee!" As Idoubted that was all they had planned, I pulled a few things from my robes and set my goggles in place. They started getting chatty as they circled in on me from the shadows.
"Look at the little girl!"
"She's all alone in the night!"
"No one to protect her, no one to hear her..."
"Do you think your little wand can save you against us?"
"Silly little bint, that's no wand- you're holding a toy broom!"
"Bletch, she's starting something in her left hand..."
Which is when I jumped into action. The Slytherin behind and to the left of me must have noticed the glowing tip of my wand in my left hand as I had swirled it about, building up power. Now I released it, sweeping my wand in an arc above my head.
The corona of near sunlight caused my attackers to cringe backwards in blindness, while my eyes were protected behind my goggles.
"/Finite/" was applied to my shrunken broom to bring it instantly to full size. Before they could react, I had mounted it and was skimming the ceiling headed back towards the main staircases.
You can't get much speed going within the corridors with only a three meter clearance, so I threw a "/Confrigo"/ at the two opponents before me to clear my exit. The rest of the group chased after me as I darted forward, finally tilting upward as the main staircases came into view. As I rose past the second floor balcony, I caught a glimpse of Fred and George rushing towards the stairs from the other direction. They intoned a "Wicked!" in unison as they saw my upturned broom pass in front of them. As I leveled off around the fifth floor, I looked back down to see the Slytherins had rushed into the center of the stairwell only to be carpet bombed by the twins' collection of ink grenades, sneezing powder and dungbombs. I came to a landing next to them as they pulled back from the balcony. We shared a happy grin and athree-way handshake together just as Filch and Prof McG laid their hands on our collective shoulders.
The twins and I have chosen to serve our detentions with grace and decorum. We all wear our hats.
The moral of this tale? Preparation is important.
30th March, 1993
Sometimes, acting out in frustration is exactly what's called for. I was so incensed about this diary business that I just started writing in the thing. What happened next I wish I could have recorded, but circumstances prevented the Quill from helping, so I'll recount as much detail as I can muster.
How does this damned thing work anyway?
Such language! My name is Tom Riddle. Who are you?
HE: Call me Holly. Are you the Tom Riddle that won the Award for Special Services to Hogwarts School in 1943?
TR: I am the very same. How did you come to find my diary, Holly?
HE: A girl I know flushed it down a toilet in frustration. I couldn't fathom why agirl would get upset over a blank diary, so I figured this must be enchanted.
TR: You're very smart, Holly. How did you hear about my award?
HE: A friend of mine cleaned it about fifty times for detention with the caretaker. We couldn't figure out why you received the award though.
TR: I caught the boy who opened the Chamber of Secrets and released a monster that killed a girl. Have you heard of the Chamber of Secrets before, Holly?
HE: Yes. The Chamber has been opened again and something is attacking students again.
TR: Perhaps if I show you how I caught the culprit the first time, you can figure out how to catch him again.
HE: How would you do that exactly?
TR: I can show you the memory of it stored within this diary.
At this point, the pages flipped themselves until they stopped at a date in June of 1943, but the box for the date had turned into a miniature telly. As soon as I brought the diary closer to see the detail in the screen, I was sucked into amemory of Tom Riddle talking to the Headmaster of that time, named Dippet. He looked even older than Dumbledore does now, frail and stooped. Tom chatted with Dippet about his background; his mother was a witch who died shortly after childbirth, his father was a muggle who disowned him so he lived in an orphanage. The situation with the Chamber was threatening Tom's chances to stay at Hogwarts instead of being sent back to the orphanage for the summer. Tom bumped into a younger version of Dumbledore, acting as Professor of Transfiguration, then Tom prowled the castle until he found a suspicious room. When he entered he confronted a school-age Hagrid, of all people, who was in the process of shoving a spider the size of my head into a box. Tom told Hagrid that monsters make lousy pets and that he felt that with a girl dead, Hagrid had to give up his pet and take his deserved punishment. Hagrid defended Aragog the Acromantula as never having hurt a person as he was stuck in the box whenever Hagrid was in class. Tom tried to zap the super spider with some sort of spider-freezing charm, but Aragog was agile and frightened enough to escape.
At this point, the memory froze and Tom Riddle turned to me and said "You see don't you? YOU see! You SEE!" He was getting a bit hysterical and then the memory went black.
The next thing I remember, there is sounds of a distant argument in the darkness. The argument gets louder and louder, though no more understandable, until it begins to hurt my ears. I screamed out "SHUT UP!" and I was suddenly awake again, my hands clutched to my head in a massive migraine headache. Hermione ripped back the curtains to my bed and nearly screamed. My face was covered in blood seeping from my scar! She dragged me immediately to see Madame Pomfrey. After a Calming Draught for both of us, some pain relieving potion and some crushed ice, I am feeling quite a bit better. I am also excited.
Tom's vision suggested that Aragog was the creature petrifying things. Obviously, Tom the diary is lying. If it were a spider running through the pipes chatting about feeding time, I would have been able to hear other spiders before. Believe me; I've been trying to talk to spiders for a long time, with no results. I hear snakes, so the thing in the pipes is a snake of some sort. In one of Hagrid's conversations with me earlier this year, he suggested that spiders and snakes were somehow mortal enemies. I know this all fits together; I just can't see it yet. The best part is I figured out how to get the diary to work before Hermione did!
1st April, 1993
Other than it being the twins' birthday, this day has been rotten. Ron caught up with Hermione and me in the hospital wing as Madame Pomfrey had insisted that we stay the night after my bleeding head wound issue. On the way back to the dorms he caught up a bit on our Riddle investigation, and immediately jumped to all the wrong conclusions- he thinks Hagrid knows how to open the Chamber, even though we know he doesn't. Ron also thinks Riddle must be a genius for coming up with a spider freezing charm. The boy has issues. So then we return to our dorm to find my trunks been smashed apart again! Parvati and Lavender were beside themselves suspecting that the Heir was trying to punish me or something. I quickly redirected their confusion by suggesting that it might just be an April Fool's joke, what with the date and all. I fixed the trunk with a Reparo and did a quick inventory. There's only one thing missing. In our rush to get me treatment I had left the diary behind and it is no longer amongst my things. Ginny has the diary back. Hermione was quick to point out that we have no proof against her, but then she bolted out of the dorm room saying she needed to check something in the library. At this point, my migraine has returned. I'm going back to sleep, and we'll see if my subconscious can sort out this mayhem.
2nd April, 1993
I can't talk with Hermione anymore. Hermione was petrified last night by the monster from the Chamber, just outside the library. I shouldn't feel so bad, Isuppose. Penelope Clearwater was standing right next to her and she is dead.
That's right, the monster doesn't petrify by choice; it embodies the concept 'if looks could kill'. Sitting here looking at Hermione like a knocked over mannequin Ican only assume the mirror in her hand prevented her suffering the full effect, much as Creepy Creevey's camera protected him. Justin Finch-Fletchley, the Hufflepuff that was stricken around the time I was taking revenge on Flint, saw the creature through Sir Nicholas' body, once again refracting the effect to prevent actual death. Filch's cat probably was hit from a reflection in the water Myrtle had released. Penelope had none of those mitigating circumstances so she just died, with a look of horror frozen on her face that no one can seem to correct. I asked Myrtle if that was what she remembered feeling as she died. All Myrtle could say was she couldn't pull her gaze from those sickly yellow eyes, and she was gone.
All ghosts in their way.
Even Percy seems to have lost his soul. I should have picked it up from the transcript when I tried to save Penny from the Slytherins. I would have if Iactually remembered the conversation; Percy fancied Penelope and now she is dead, and Percy is interred in a bed over there, on a regular drip of Dreamless Sleep potion and Calming Draught.
Ron went to visit Hagrid to ask him about the Chamber and Riddle. Hagrid barely had time to say "Follow the spiders!" to Ron before Hagrid was arrested by the Minister of Magic himself, Cornelius Fudge. Moments later, Lucius Malfoy pressed Dumbledore into a suspension, pending a full inquiry by the school's Board of Governors. Ron doesn't want to follow the spiders, as he is deathly afraid of them. I want to meet Hagrid's friend, but I think I know what he'll say, and it won't keep Hagrid out of prison. I doubt my voice would lend any credence to Hagrid's defense right now, either. In fact, I wouldn't be surprised if I am arrested soon. Curse my own skill at manipulating the mob.
As each person turns away, is frozen in fear, is captured or sidelined or killed, I feel like the Heir is slicing into my gut with a barbed knife. So here I sit, writing to hear myself think, looking at the expression of shock and surprise frozen on Hermione's face.
I love her.
It may be a sign of my desperation, but right now I think I love her enough to break the spell that holds her from me. If only...hang on.
Well, that didn't work. Bloody fairy tales rotting my brain; as if kissing her was going to do anything. Mind you it wasn't that pleasant a kiss, much like kissing a marble statue but with less dust. I did find this scrap of parchment tucked into her halter though. I only just noticed it as I heard the crinkle in her blouse when I was kissing her. Sorry m'love; first I kiss you now I'm feeling up your new breasts.
I can't help but laugh through my tears. The note shows she's been playing with people's names jumbled up. Gilderoy Lockhart becomes "OK Girly Lord, teach"; my name was mixed into "Holy Navels" or "Shy Love Lan"; Hermione's came out with quite a few. I prefer "Greenhorn Mirage" or "Her Mere Groaning". I particularly like your name, Harry, jumbled into "Pyjamas the Terror". Hang on, there's more on the back.
"Tom Marvolo Riddle = I am Lord Voldemort".
Ladies and gentlemen we have just lost cabin pressure.
Ginny is being directed by Voldemort through HIS fucking diary. Somehow it carries his personality, like the portraits in the headmaster's office, only better at lying. She's the one controlling the giant snake that petrifies and kills. She can access it from Myrtle's lav, where she hides out when Hermione and I aren't brewing there. She has to be able to speak Parsel to control the thing, so the entrance is probably protected by requiring a Parsel password, much like the Slytherin dorm. That's why it hadn't been found in centuries. Then Voldemort came and let out the beastie to frolic. Only, to get Ginny to speak Parsel, he must have some connection to her that allows him to loan her his talents. As Ginny has been acting weird, /except when we had the diary/, he must be able to control her when she is carrying it. That's why Ginny knew about my attraction to Hermione- Riddle pulled a quick mind sift on me while riding in her head. Now Ginny has the diary back, and he aimed the monster at Hermione as soon as she could arrange it.
Ginny's been weird since the chasers harassed Ron into confessing about Quirrel. NO WAIT. She's been different since after the Diagon Alley shopping trip- where the Weasleys fought the Malfoys! Dobby knew this was coming. This was what he feared. He's a Malfoy elf; his pillowcase tunic had the monogram LCM- my bet is it was Lucius Malfoy's. I think the C stands for 'Caligula', but that's not relevant at the moment.
Hermione, in your honor, and because I have no intention of entering a dragon's lair until I'm a fully trained Amazon, I will take this to Minerva. Ginny can hang.
A/N:"Pyjamas the Terror" came from my best reviewer and preferred author Clell65619 in his story "Harry Potter and The Power He Has Not". I kiped the '...lost cabin pressure' line from the movie Fight Club, which Holly will love if she survives long enough to see it.
Next time: Cage match! The Spider Girl fights the Basilisk! Narrated by the Sorting Hat! (I hope you didn't think Holly would escape that fate; I've been looking forward to this for a while.)