Authors Notes: The following ficlet is set during the Chamber of Secrets when Ron and Harry are going to get Lockhart to help them. Well, Ron his leading a disinterested Harry along... it's not like he cares. Remember, this has nothing to do with the other two before it...
"D'you know what? I think we should go and see Lockhart. Tell him what we know. He's going to try and get into the Chamber. We can tell him where we think it is, and tell him it's a Basilisk in there." Ron said naively, dragging Harry along. Harry rolled his eyes at the boy's stupidity, wondering why he let the idiot hang around him. If idiocy was contagious, Harry would be a fucking vegetable by now, he was sure of it.
Couldn't he see Lockhart was a joke? The man couldn't even control a room of pixies let alone take on a Basilisk or do any of the things he said he'd done in his books. Harry wasn't sure where the fraud got his information for his books from but he'd bet half his vault at Gringotts that it was all bullshit, or mostly bullshit. At least they'd had one good purpose though despite the utter garbage within, keeping the Gryffindor common room warm at nights via the fireplace.
"Whatever Ron." Harry muttered, glancing around lazily. The castle was darkening with each passing minute, the sun close to setting. When they arrived at Lockhart's office they both heard the sounds of rustling clothes and trunk lids being snapped shut. Ron knocked on the door loudly as Harry buffed his nails against his school robe, making sure they were clean. The sounds immediately stopped.
A few seconds of silence followed before the door opened the tiniest crack, showing one of Lockhart's eyes peering through. Harry fought down the urge to kick the door open.
"Oh... Mister Potter... Mister Weasley..." He said, opening the door a mite wider. "I'm rather busy at the moment. If you would be quick..."
"Professor, we've got some information for you," Ron said. "We think it'll help you."
"Er - well - it's not terribly-" The side of Lockhart's face they could see looked very uncomfortable and the reason dawned on Harry in an instant but didn't comment. "I mean - well - all right." He sighed, opening the door fully for them to enter.
His office had been almost completely stripped. Two large trunks stood open on the floor with three more closed off to the side, already packed. Robes of all different colors and fashions had been hastily folded into one of them; books were jumbled untidily into the other. The photographs that had covered the walls were now crammed into boxes on the desk.
"What's going on here?" Ron demanded. Harry rolled his eyes.
"Isn't it obvious," Harry drawled, eyeing Lockhart's lilac robes in disgust. "He's leaving, what else."
Lockhart eyed Harry warily as the boy started rubbing his thumb and index finger together, as if he was trying to start something. "Er, well, yes," Lockhart said, ripping a life-sized poster of himself off the back of the door, rolling it up as he spoke. "Urgent call... unavoidable... got to go..."
"What about my sister?" Ron asked jerkily. Lockhart swore he heard Harry mutter, 'What about her?' under his breath but reasoned he was hearing things.
"Well, as to that - most unfortunate," Lockhart said quickly, avoiding their eyes, especially Harry's as they were now glowing with an eerie light, as he wrenched open a drawer and started emptying its contents into a small bag. "No one regrets more than I-"
"You're the Defense Against the Dark Arts teacher." Harry mocked lightly seeing as Ron was about to explode. "You can't go now." He emphasized this point by waggling a finger in Lockhart's face, smirking cockily. "Not with all this... dark stuff going on here."
"Well I must say... when I took the job," Lockhart muttered, now piling socks on top of his robes. "There was nothing in the job description... didn't expect..."
"You mean you're /running away/?" Ron screamed disbelievingly. "After all that stuff you did in your books!" Harry felt like drowning himself... Ron was such a fucking ignoramus!
"Books can be misleading." Lockhart delicately put.
"You wrote them!" Ron shouted.
"My dear boy," Lockhart snapped, straightening up and frowning at Ron as if he had no brain, which was pretty close to the truth in Harry's opinion. "Do use your common sense. My books wouldn't have sold half as well if people didn't think I'd done all those things. No one wants to read about some ugly old Armenian warlock, even if he did save a village from werewolves." He explained slowly, hoping the boy could understand his words. "He'd look dreadful on the front cover. No dress sense at all. And the witch who banished the Bandon Banshee had a hairy chin. I mean come on..." Harry couldn't help but snort as he heard that last one.
"So this is how you did it then." Harry smirked, eyeing the man strangely. It gave Lockhart the creeps. "You've just been taking credit for other people's hard work."
Lockhart quickly regained his composure. "Harry, Harry," He said, shaking his head. "It's not nearly as simple as that. There was work involved. I had to track these people down. Ask them exactly how they managed to do what they did. Then I had to put a Memory Charm on them so they wouldn't remember doing it. If there's one thing I pride myself on it's my Memory Charms. No, it's been a lot of hard work, Harry. It's not all book-signings and publicity photos, you know. You want fame, you have to be prepared for a long hard slog."
He banged the lids of his remaining trucks shut and locked them. "Let's see, I think that's everything. Yes, only one thing left." Harry saw the man reaching for his wand and smirked sardonically. The man was making a big mistake.
"Did you know," Harry said cheerfully, gaining Lockhart's attention. He was now openly leering at the man, a strange hunger burning in his eyes. "Silk is very flammable." He gestured to the robes he was wearing and then to his left hand that was now incased in red, hot flames. Lockhart stared at him in horror, unable to believe what he was seeing. Ron had a similar look.
"Now, if you so much as move an inch I'll roast your pretty boy ass, got it?" He snapped harshly. Lockhart jumped, as did Ron, and nodded weakly, hand slowly inching away from his wand. "Ron, be useful for once and fetch his wand." Nodding, the red haired boy quickly snatched Lockhart's wand from his pocket and handed it to Harry. Harry just raised an eyebrow questionably at Lockhart, daring him to do something as he grabbed the wand with his left hand, turning it to ashes.
"Now we are going to take a little walk." Harry stated while walking to the door. "Come along Lockhart, Ron."
For the next few minutes the unlikely trio walked through the dark halls of Hogwarts, the only light coming from his hand that still cackled with fire. Harry was amused to notice that the other two kept shooting him terrified glances. Finally they stopped in front of a door, a door that led to Moaning Myrtles bathroom.
"In." The two quickly complied, Harry lazily following. "Now then..." Whipping out his wand, he stunned Ron quickly before conjuring ropes, smirking as they wrapped tightly around Lockhart. The man was about to scream but Harry silenced him with a charm. The terror in his eyes made Harry feel giddy, the flames incasing his left hand pulsing brighter.
"What's going on here?" A whiney voice came from above. Harry craned his head to get a good look at Myrtle who was floating upside down above them. She was watching Harry with interest, wondering what the boy would be doing an unconscious boy and a bound professor. "This looks kinky." Harry barely kept himself from snorting.
"Hello Myrtle." He smiled his most charming smile and he was pleased to note that she blushed... no he wasn't mistaken she actually blushed a silvery hue. He didn't know ghosts could do that. "How are you this pleasant evening?"
She smiled at him shyly. "Hello Harry, I'm fine..." She trailed off, looking towards the professor and Ron questionably. "What are you doing?"
"I just came by to ask you something," He said smoothly. "It's about your death. How did you die Myrtle?"
Her eyes lit up and her body swelled importantly as she started babbling excitedly about teasing, Olive Hornby, hiding in one of the toilet stalls, a boy talking in a strange language, and a pair of great big yellow eyes. Harry smirked and asked, "So, you just dropped dead? Where did you see the eyes?"
"Somewhere there." She said, pointing vaguely towards the sink in front of her toilet.
"Thank you Myrtle." He said, blowing her a kiss. Harry chuckled as her whole face went dark silver and she shot off into one of the stalls. Lockhart was looking at him as if he were insane. "What? Ghosts need loving too, you know."
Looking towards the sink, it looked like any other. He examined every inch of it, inside and out, including the pipes below. And then Harry saw it; scratched on the side of the one of the copper taps was a tiny snake. Harry was surprised that no one had ever found it before... or maybe they had and didn't expect the great Salazar Slytherin to hide his entrance in a girl's bathroom. Salazar Slytherin, the voyeur. Now that was disturbing...
"Okay, enough of that, this is more important. I get to see a real Basilisk... oh, and save Ron's sister too I guess... well, it's obvious what I have to do." Staring at the small snake on the side of the copper tape, he concentrated as hard as he could.
"/Open./" He hissed in parseltongue, sending shivers up Lockhart's spine. He looked like he was about to pass out from terror.
The tap glowed with a brilliant white light and began to spin. Next second, the sink began to move. In fact, the sink sank right out of sight, leaving a large pipe exposed, a pipe wide enough for a man to slide into. The entrance to the Chamber of Secrets was open.
"I'm hardly impressed." Harry said in disappointment, turning to look at Lockhart. The ponce had fallen over at some point and cracked his nose on the tiled floor, smashing it to pieces. Harry shook his head and stared at the man in amusement. "Sorry about that Lockhart, I should have put you up against the wall or something. Anyway, you're not done yet." Levitating the man upright, Harry directed his defense professor into the pipe. "Bye" And with that, Lockhart was out of sight.
Waiting a few moments, he then positioned his body into the pipe, shook his left hand to put out the fire, and slide down. It was like rushing down an endless, slimy, dark slide. He could see more pipes branching off in all directions, but none as large as the one he was in, which twisted and turned, sloping steeply downwards, and he knew he was falling deeper below the school than even the dungeons where the Slytherin common room was located.
And then, just as he was getting annoyed at the amount of time it was taking he hit the ground, the pipe leveled out, and he shot out the end with a wet thud, landing on the damp floor of a dark stone tunnel, large enough to stand in. Lockhart was next to him, blood still seeping from his broken nose, running down his cheeks and chin as he faced the ceiling.
Harry hurriedly got to his feet and cleaned himself off with a spell, then levitated Lockhart to float beside him. He also removed the silencing charm he had placed on his professor, bringing the man's silent whimpers of pain audible. He smirked at the blond prick before heading down the tunnel, said prick floating at his side.
"Enjoying the adventure professor?" Harry asked conversationally as he lit his wand. The tunnel was dark, very dark, and he could hardly see anything at all. "It's about time you went on a real one don't you think? If you're lucky enough to survive maybe you can write a book about this. I'm sure people would flock from all over to read about the great myth of the chamber. Then again, you wouldn't want them to know that a twelve year old boy did all the work while you hovered by his side." A loud crunching sound made him stop and look down. The floor was littered with the bones of various animals, mainly rodents.
"How... disgusting." He sneered before continuing. He made sure to bop the professor's head on the roof a few times, causing him to cry out in pain. "Do shut up, will you? It's only a few bumps."
Rounding a bend in the tunnel, he stopped as he spotted a large object. Holding his wand high, the light slid over a giant snake skin, of a vivid, poisonous green, lying curled and empty across the tunnel floor. The creature that shed it must have been at least twenty feet long.
"That's one big fucking snake." He muttered in awe, staring at the skin. Lockhart, however, started to hyperventilate at the sight of it. His eyes were wide and darting around wildly as his breathing became more erratic. He was on the verge of a large panic attack.
"Let me go!" He screamed, struggling with the rope that bound him. "Please let me go! I beg you!" Tears started running down his cheeks as his struggles became more urgent. "I DON'T WANT TO DIE!"
Harry glared at him in annoyance. "Do you want to know what happens when fire meets skin, Lockhart?" His lips quirked into a sadistic grin, eyes flashing dangerously. "Let me assure you, it isn't the most pleasant feeling."
"Please! I'll do anything you want!" He pled hysterically as Harry continued walking, 'dragging' him along. Harry ignored the man as he continued begging, navigating the twist and turns of the tunnel. The floor was starting to become a lot smoother and was easier to walk on without stumbling. Finally they came upon a stone wall on which two entwined serpents were carved, their eyes set with great glinting emeralds. It was obvious to Harry what he had to do.
"/Open./" He said in a low, faint hiss. Lockhart squealed like a girl.
The serpents parted as the wall cracked open, the halves slid smoothly out of sight, and Harry, smirking confidently, walked inside, Lockhart floating at his side. He was standing at the end of a very long, dimly lit chamber. Towering stone pillars entwined with more carved serpents rose to support a ceiling lost in darkness, casting long black shadows through the odd, greenish gloom that filled the place.
Harry looked around, finally impressed with the fabled Chamber of Secrets. The silence was deafening, even Lockhart had stopped trying to escape and was gaping at the room in amazement.
Finished scanning the area he moved forward between the serpentine columns. Every footstep echoed loudly off the shadowy walls. He kept his eyes narrowed, ready to clamp them shut at the slightest sign of movement lest the Basilisk get him with its deadly gaze. The hollow eye sockets of the stone snakes seemed to be following him. More than once he thought he saw one stir.
Then, as he drew level with the last pair of pillars, a statue high as the Chamber itself loomed into view, standing against the back wall. He craned his neck to get a good look at the giant face above. Only one man could look like a monkey yet somehow seem to radiate elegance. It was a statue of Salazar Slytherin himself, member of the Hogwarts Four.
Looking around, he spotted a small, blacked robed figure with bright red hair lying face down. It was Ginny Weasley.
"But where's the bloody Basilisk." Harry grunted in annoyance, looking around. It was when that he noticed Lockhart had passed out. "Oh yes, you are a hero." He drawled sarcastically, dumping the man on the floor roughly. "And you conned the entire wizarding world? Merlin save us..."
Harry, who was starting to get bored rather quickly, wandered over to Ginny and flipped her over with his foot. She was pale, too pale, and her breathing was shallow.
"Come on, get up and let's go." He kicked her in the side hard but she didn't wake. So he tried again... and then bent down and slapped her when that didn't work. He was about burn her when a voice sounded from behind him.
"She won't wake."
Harry turned to see a tall, black-haired teen leaning against the nearest pillar. He was strangely blurred around the edges, as though he was looking at him through a misted window. Even so, Harry never forgot a face.
"Tom Riddle." The boy inclined his head. Harry stared him in the eyes unflinching; smirking slightly at Riddle's growing unease. He started fidgeting at first before finally looking away from Harry, towards Ginny.
"She's still alive, but only just." Harry shrugged.
"I don't care." Riddle's eyes snapped back to his.
"What?" He asked uncertainly.
"I said I don't care about that little stalking bitch. I only came down to see the Basilisk, now where is it?" Riddle stared at him in shock, unable to believe what he'd just heard. "Well?" Harry was getting impatient. "Where is it?"
Snapping out of his shock, he straightened up and walked towards the base of the statue, keeping his eyes on Harry. "It won't come until it's called."
"By you?" Harry smirked at his startled look. "Let me guess... you're a ghost or spirit that possessed the diary?"
"Indeed." Riddle said, inching towards the diary and picking it up, holding it protectively to his chest.
"So... call it."
Riddle stared at him as if he was mad but nodded, turning towards the statue. "/Speak to me Slytherin, greatest of the Hogwarts Four!/"
Harry looked up as he heard a loud grinding noise. Slytherin's gigantic stone face was moving, its mouth slowly opening wider and wider. Before it opened completely, a loud tune echoed throughout the chamber, making Harry's hair stand on end. He'd heard this once before in Dumbledore's office and recognized it immediately.
Turning, a large red and gold bird was flying at him, clutching something in its beak. Fawkes, Dumbledore's phoenix, dropped whatever it was in Harry's hand before shooting up into Slytherin's mouth, out of sight. Suddenly a loud hiss of pain filled the chamber as Fawkes attacked the Basilisk. A few moments later the phoenix exited, landing on the stone floor a short distance away as a huge, green snake fell from the statues gaping mouth and hit the hard, stone ground with a thunderous bang.
Looking at it closely, Harry noticed its eyes were gone. Fawkes had pecked them out.
"Thanks Fawkes." He said, smirking at the firebird. It chirped at him happily from where it stood.
"What's going on!?" The voice of Lockhart sounded. He was awakened by the beast falling. The Basilisk reared up suddenly and started flicking its tongue, trying to sniff them out. "MERLIN'S BEARD!"
"Lockhart, you fucking idiot." Harry snarled as the Basilisk came their way. Thinking on his feet, he flicked his wand at his professor, banishing him at the serpent. Lockhart sailed through the air and smacked into its nose, causing it to cry out in surprise. Before Lockhart could fall to the ground the Basilisk had him in its mouth, crushing him with its powerful jaws.
Harry started laughing at Lockhart's shrill, pained scream. Riddle was staring at Harry in horror. "I have to get one of these as a pet..."
While the beast was distracted, Harry looked down at the hat he was holding. He realized quickly that it was the Sorting Hat. Acting on a whim, he shoved his arm inside and came into contact with something metal. Grasping it with his left hand, he pulled it out, smirking at the silver sword he'd discovered, its hilt covered in large rubies the size of eggs. On the blade the words 'Godric Gryffindor' were inscribed.
"Well... this is nice and all but I don't need it." Pointing his wand at the Basilisk with his right arm, he cast the killing curse. It dropped to the ground in an instant, dead. It was a shame really...
"WHAT!" Riddle roared. "You... you used... what!?"
Harry turned to him with a sick smile twisting his face. "The killing curse. Yes I did."
"But... but..." He stared at him gob-smacked.
Harry eyed the diary Riddle was carrying with interest. "So that's how I kill you then?" He said, gesturing to the diary with his new sword. Riddle immediately fazed out of sight, taking the diary with him. Harry raised an eyebrow. "Nice trick."
"You'll never find me before I drain the girl. It's all over! Soon I'll have my body back and you'll be no match for me."
"Really..." Harry drawled, stalking over to the body of Ginny Weasley. "Let's see about that." Pocketing his wand, he grasped the hilt with both hands and raised it above his head. "What if I do this?"
Harry smirked before bringing the sword down on the girl's neck, severing her head clean from her shoulders. A loud screeching met his ears and he turned to see Tom Riddle explode in a shower of light. The diary fluttered to the ground where Harry sent a fireball at it, turning it to ashes, completely destroying the memory.
Looking down at Ginny's decapitated corpse, he smiled. Blood was pooling around her body in large amounts as her heart continued to beat. A few minutes later it stopped completely. He noticed that her eyes were open, staring at him blankly. He laughed.
"Two birds with one stone. It must be my lucky day." Aiming his wand, he incinerated her body as he cackled insanely before turning towards the exit. He was tired and needed a good nights sleep. This was definitely a night to remember.
Fawkes watched as he left, Gryffindor's sword gleaming with blood, cackling evilly about how Ron's reaction would be. It shook its head in amusement before vanishing in a ball of flames.
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