New twist on an old story...I think.
AN: In this story, as of the start of Harry's first year, Myrtle's life span was June 13, 1929-June13, 1943.
Physically, Myrtle was 14 when she died, but the body used to resurrect her was 17. After the ritual, her physical body will be about 15-16. Of course, having been a ghost for fifty years, I figure she's mentally grown at least a little bit...maybe. I also considered Myrtle to be what Hermione might have become had she not befriended Harry and Ron; well, if she'd have survived the Troll without them coming to save her. That being a loner, friendless, constantly teased, but still incredibly smart and capable as a witch.
Okay, I'm going to warn you that I took some liberties with the timeline of year two, and when certain things happened.
Recently majoritorized, Harry Potter sat on his bed on the cusp of the riskiest undertaking of his life. There wasn't so much the risk of getting caught, as legally, there was no precedence, nor were there any laws against it. The risk involved resulted from how badly things could go if he messed them up. He knew that he couldn't directly ask for help, nor could he confide in anyone else. The one person he might have confided in was technically the recipient of the surprise, and he didn't trust any of the other supposed people that he was told he could. His decision made, he called for Dobby. As he waited for the hyper elf, he thought back on how he'd gotten to where he was.
This is the story of how a different set of events shaped a new Harry Potter. Instead of apparating onto the roof to get away from his cousin, he'd been caught, and beaten up. When he'd decided to report it, not only had he gotten in trouble for fighting, but with Dudley's gang backing the larger boy, he'd gotten further punished for starting a fight. At the tender age of nine, Harry learned that he couldn't trust very many people, and that adults often couldn't be counted on to help.
At the age of ten, Harry had his first significant burst of useful accidental magic. He accidentally cast a Notice-Me-Not charm on himself when he was trying to hide from his cousin; one that somehow enveloped all of his relatives. He found that so long as he didn't bring attention to himself and did the assigned chores, they didn't pay him any mind, and he was actually able to eat his fill so long as he wasn't greedy. Though he did admit that figuring out that Dudley and Vernon pigged out the way they did to keep him from eating very much was irritating.
At age eleven he would also realize- much to the magical world's later horror- that what he'd thought of the adults in the muggle world ran doubly true in the magical world, when both his head of house and the headmaster ignored his complaints about the greasy dungeon bat; this sentiment would be reaffirmed four years later when an infestation of toads occurred. But that's later. First let's take a look at one of the major changes this new Harry Potter unknowingly instigated.
Upon seeing it- and realizing that he had enough money left over for it- Harry ignored Hagrid's advice, and decided to purchase a certain book; a book on Curses and Counter-Curses by Vindictus Viridian. He also picked up what looked to be a hand written manual on wandless magic, but that wouldn't play much part until later. Him having Viridian's book would have a snowball effect on the train ride to Hogwarts.
Because he'd been so into the book, he'd only made a passing acquaintance with the redhead who shared his compartment on the way to school. Because he didn't befriend the consumate slacker, Harry would put more emphasis on his studies, hoping that keeping his grades up would keep him enrolled, and away from the Dursleys for most of the year. Thus, the famous Golden Trio was destroyed before it ever had a chance to form.
In an interesting twist of fate, his first confrontation with Draco Malfoy was unique in how different and similar it was to another universe's set of events. In this one, Draco once again entered looking to befriend Harry Potter, and once again ridiculed Ron, but unlike in other universes, Harry didn't come to Ron's rescue. Instead, he dismissed the young Malfoy heir in a much more fitting way.
"Having been on the receiving end of it myself, I have very little tolerance for bullying and bullies." Harry said calmly. "You, Draco Malfoy, are a bully, and it would be morally contradictive for me to even consider being friends with you."
The next significant change occurred on one fateful Halloween, after a particular incident following First Year Charms.
To be honest, Harry couldn't believe what he was hearing, and when she shoved past him, Harry couldn't help the dark glare that alighted his face. He'd seen what happened during the lesson, and while she had been a bit bossy, she'd honestly only been trying to help him. After adminishing Ron for his comment, "Must you always be such a bloody berk? You're just like Malfoy.", he ran to catch up with Hermione. It was when he caught her just as she was reaching the second floor, that he gave her a bit of advice to think on.
"Hermione, wait." He said, continuing when she turned to him, tears already streaking from her eyes. "Look, people are going to be mean, and from what I've seen, going to the professors is useless. Your only choices, especially since you're a muggleborn, are to either ignore them and succeed in spite of them, or just give up and go home. You're too smart, and talented to just give up, so just pretend he doesn't exist, and let Weasley flunk out if that's his choice."
As Harry walked away from the thoughtful looking girl, in his mind he was disgusted. Ron Weasley wouldn't know it, but he had confirmed Harry's worst fears about the magical world. To think that the lazy slob not only wasted his time not even trying to learn, he then had the audacity to snap at, and make fun of, someone only trying to help him. It looked like the Wizarding world was just as bad as the one he'd left behind in some areas, and worse in others. And the fact that Ron Weasley reminded him of his cousin just made Harry even more annoyed with the boy.
Unfortunately for Wizarding Britain, Hermione decided to ignore the advice about the professors because she'd always been taught that they were there to help. Unfortunately going to McGonagall only served to prove Harry right. When she tried to take her bullying concerns to the Headmaster- as she'd also been concerned with the extremely derogatory remarks made by Draco Malfoy, in the presence of Professor Snape no less- not only did he not help her, but he tried to wave it off silly childhood games.
As a result of these actions, it was an extremely annoyed Hermione who was present during the Halloween feast, and three firsties didn't bond over a knocked out troll. Because Harry never befriended Hermione, the girl closed even further into the shell that had been forming since her first day. Hermione had decided to take Harry's advice, to try and stick it out, but found that she couldn't. One early November evening, during the free period between dinner and first year curfew, Hermione could be found in the owlry sending a letter to her parents. The contents of this letter, a request for them to look into other magical schools. After sending home her letter, she decided to keep her head down, and tried to draw as little attention to herself as possible.
When Hermione went home for Christmas, it was to the good news that not only were there other magical schools than Hogwarts, but that Hogwarts had either not been entirely truthful about being the best, or they were very out of touch with the outside world. She visited one of the other smaller schools nearer to her home, and found that she liked the university style campus a whole lot better than the drafty castle. That it also happened to specialize in her favorite subject was only a bonus.
When the Hogwarts Express returned in January, Hermione Granger was not on it. Both the Headmaster and Head of Gryffindor were very worried when she went unaccounted for several days in a row. That worry turned to shock when a small school in Wales requested a copy of the first term grades for a transfer student by the name of Granger. The result of this, would be magical Britain losing a brilliant mind, and a true leader of equality and social reform. It would also be the small clump of snow that would roll into a massive avalanche as far as student enrollment.
When Harry heard the news, he smiled, happy that someone thought to better their situation. He wouldn't be transferring like Hermione, even though it was tempting, because unlike her, he could ignore both his peers and adults if he had to- he'd also later come to the realization that the Headmaster had far too much interest in him to allow it to occur anyway.
As a result, Harry never figured out some of the clues that would have led him to go after the Philosopher's Stone, nor did he really develop any interest in doing so without Ron's instigation. When he couldn't get the stone from the mirror, and was captured by Dumbledore, Quirrel ended up dying in Azkaban when Voldemort left him.
Hermione Granger's leaving also had another effect on the school. When other Muggleborn Hogwarts students found out about her leaving, and what she'd found, many of them began making their own transfer plans. Over the next five years, a combination of bad teachers, biased and unsafe learning environments, mistreatment, and all around prejudice against them, would result in Hogwarts losing nearly every single Muggleborn student that hadn't already graduated.
While the Ministry would try to prevent the news from spreading to prospective new Muggleborn students, many of them would still decline Hogwarts' offer; either to remain in the Muggle world, or look for other options that were closer to home. Those that did end up accepting their Hogwarts invitation, would soon learn the way of things, and they too would suddenly disappear during an extended holiday. The blood purists- who had entrenched themselves in key positions in the government- shot down any attempt at legislation to prevent it; their personal feelings being that it was for the better for their society that the Mudbloods stay away.
Alone, and friendless- as his intense study habits had driven away the Weasley who had tried to befriend him on the train, and anti-social tendecies developed in his homelife had finished the job- Harry took up conversations with the portraits, learning all that he could. He was often to be found- during free periods when he didn't have any homework due- sitting in a chair in front of a portrait having extended, and most often enlightening, conversations with the occupants. Many thought him weird, and many figured that it was just one of the eccentricities of powerful wizards to do things normal people didn't. After all, Dumbledore wore colorful robes, and offered children candy.
His second favorite thing- flying was first, although having to play Quidditch was a bother sometimes, and it was a testament to his ability that he was able to win on a school broom- was sneaking into the Headmaster's office to talk with the former school heads. He'd put the cloak he'd received that Christmas to very thorough use. After awhile, Dumbledore decided to set up a couple hours every weekend for Harry to come and talk with the portraits. It was from them, that Harry learned some of the most important lessons he'd ever learn at Hogwarts.
Never trust blindly.
Always confirm information you hear.
Think and plan before you act.
Never take what you read as absolute fact.
Never stop learning.
Over the summer, Harry immediately set about his homework upon returning to the Dursleys. It wasn't like he had anything else to do around the house other than chores. He also began spending a lot of time in the park reading his book on wandless magic, and had made sure to be out of the house the night the Masons visited for dinner. Harry found it odd that his birthday present to himself was spending several hours away from his relatives, but a moments more thought revealed that it wasn't really a gift, just the smart thing to do. It was on this night that he'd met the deranged elf Dobby, who kept insisting that Harry not return to Hogwarts.
Harry's declining of that offer had resulted in Harry receiving a letter from the Underage Magic office, and an even greater need to learn how to perform magic without a wand. If the Dursleys ever found out, they would be even more horrible to him. He had no doubt that Dobby would arrange an accident that would result in this, so he needed to be able to better fend for himself. After studying the book, and getting good enough at the exercises to try casting, he started with some of the easier Charms he'd learned the past year.
With the combination of his above average magical power (for his age), and the aptitude that he unknowingly inherited from his mother, Harry actually found himself making headway with it. He had near proficiency over four charms by the end of summer: Lumos, Nox, Levitation Charm, and Alohamora. With that success, he decided that each summer he'd take three spells he learned that year, and try and get them wandless.
From there, things spiralled out of good, and into fuck all.
It all started when he'd gone to Diagon Alley for his school supplies. As he passed through, he noticed that there was a lot of commotion in the alley, most of it specifically concentrated on Flourish and Blotts. As he passed the store, he saw a notice out front that stated Gilderoy Lockhart would be in for a book signing. Ignoring that, Harry headed to Gringotts, and asked to speak with someone about his account. He'd been sent to a side desk where he learned that the account he currently used was a trust fund left for him until he became an adult. When he learned that the vault was refilled each year- and that his tuition for Hogwarts had already been withdrawn- he decided to treat himself, and bought himself a Nimbus 2000.
Upon reaching the the bookstore, Lockhart's autograph session was in full swing. He could even see the Weasleys there, and the woman who was likely Ron's mother waiting anxiously in line with several stacks of books. From the moment he laid eyes on the man, he knew that he didn't like him, and when the poncy bastard drug him in front of the crowd for a photo op, and handed him a free set of his books, he was ready to become violent. Learning that the man was to be their defense professor just screamed disaster and publicity stunt to him.
On September 1, Harry got on the Hogwarts express, and started his second year of magical schooling. Harry quickly found that his second year was going to be an exercise in patience. Between the Chamber of Secrets being opened, Dobby trying to save him, and having a complete fraud like Lockhart for a professor, Harry applauded himself for not going on a Voldemortesque rampage.
Only a week into the new schoolyear, and he'd had his fill of the new Defense Professor. The man obviously had no idea what he was supposed to be doing, and Harry was only more convinced that this was a huge publicity stunt. Harry hadn't bothered opening any of the books he'd been assigned, and he certainly wouldn't have purchased them, even if the man hadn't given him a full set free. He'd left them on his bed back on Privet Drive, with a note for his aunt that they were probably bodice rippers from his world.
By the time Halloween came around, Harry was wondering if murdering Lockhart wouldn't actually be beneficial to the world as a whole. He sat in the back of the defense class while the great ponce prattled on about hair care products, and the importance of a dazzling smile even in the face of certain danger. Having never faced certain danger, he couldn't be certain, but he highly doubted that anyone in that situation would be smiling unless they were stupidly arrogant, or assured victory. Harry, as well as most of the boys, and some of the more intelligent girls just ignored him; Harry reading a defense book he found assigned by a teacher from a decade ago.
Later that evening, after deciding to eat in the kitchens, as the Great Hall was far too noisy and nerve wracking, Harry was making his way back up to Gryffindor tower. As luck would have it, he happened to be walking past a certain bathroom on the second floor, when he found himself walking through a large puddle.
"Of all the bloody-" His words cut off, when he suddenly noticed the frozen form of Filch's cat hanging from a torch holder. His eyes then traveled up the wall and landed on the message on the wall...a message that appeared to be written in blood.
Harry had never liked the cat, but she wasn't such a pain that he could in good conscious leave her like that- though it would probably be best to make sure that nothing would happen if he moved her, first. Of course, as luck would have it, just as he'd gone to examine the frozen cat the entire school suddenly decided to have a meeting in that particular hallway, at that exact time. And it was just his luck that Filch would immediately jump to conclusions, and Harry found himself being blamed. All things considered, he shouldn't have been surprised.
Then came that fateful day in November. Dobby wasn't happy with his decision to return to Hogwarts, and had hexed a bludger to target him help convince him. About the only good thing that had happened that day was being able to used that flying ball of disaster to take out Malfoy. Seeing that bludger plow the blond bastard in the chest trying to get to him had brightened his day, but it had almost cost him his own head when one of the Slytherin beaters tried to take him out with the other one.
Of course, that had been the end of his good day. While he'd caught the snitch, Dobby's bludger had broken his arm. Then he'd had the unfortunate luck of having that fluffed up, arrogant bastard Lockhart try to heal him, despite his protests. Of course, the man was as much a failure in the healing arts as he was in defense- though later research would teach him how a simple mispronounciation, Brakia Emendo was the proper pronounciation, could actually create an entirely new spell- and had vanished the bones in his arm. The man had better be glad that Pomphrey arrived when she did, because Harry was ambidextrous, and was going for his wand when she'd drug him off to the infirmary. It was while he was in the infirmary that he learned some very interesting information about the Chamber, and the fact that it had been opened before.
A month later had Harry wishing he really was responsible for the attacks. After Colin Creevey had been petrified, he had started getting subtle looks of accusation from the students. It was no secret that Colin was a fanboy, and that he annoyed Harry to no end with the constant pestering for photos and autographs- the one time Lockhart had seen it and pounced on the chance to grab more attention for himself irked Harry to no end. Between Harry being found at the scene of the crime with Mrs. Norris, and one of his smaller annoyances being attacked, even Harry could admit it was incriminating. But that was far from the worst thing that happened.
No, that came when the incompetent moron known as Gilderoy Lockhart decided to create a dueling club to teach the students to protect themselves. Whatever they were up against, he doubted that standardized dueling would do any good, as it would not likely bother bowing, or waiting for a countdown. In hindsight, Harry couldn't say why he'd even gone, as Lockhart's classes proved daily that they weren't going to learn anything from the man aside from how to make a fool of oneself. Probably the only saving grace had been the fact that Snape was his assistant. Having formerly been an Inner Circle Death Eater- and he bet Dumbledore would shit bricks if he found out that Harry knew that- he figured that he was at the very least competent.
Of course, he should have known nothing good would come from showing up. He and Malfoy had ended up getting dragged onto the dueling platform and set against each other. He knew, as soon as Lockhart said only disarm and on his three count that Malfoy would both cast at two, as well as try and hit him with something other than a disarming spell. As soon as Lockhart said two, he was proven right, and quickly dodged the spell, while rapidly casting Flipendo and Calvorio back to back. Seeing Malfoy knocked on his arse was good, but hearing the laughter when he sat up bald as an egg made his whole day.
Of course, the jerk could never handle embarrassment very well, and took things a step too far. The snake he conjured showed that he wasn't the type to think things through. Given how poisonous the Cobra was, any student bitten could be dead before help could get to them, and he could be charged with murder. Then again, he was a pureblood, and his father had the Minister in his pocket, so he'd probably get off. Regardless, it had been a stupid gesture, and made Harry dislike the boy even more.
Now Harry knew from primary school that when dealing with snakes, any sudden movement could provoke an attack, hence why he'd gone completely still long before Snape had even said it. Of course, he should have known that with present company, any kind of logical course of action would be thrown out the window. Looking to direct the attention onto himself once again, Lockhart tried to beat Snape to the punch.
Raising his wand, and waving it around like a fool, Lockhart cast a spell at the already agitated snake, sending it a dozen feet into the air. As soon as it landed, the snake rose up, and flared its hood ready to attack. Justin Finch-Fletchley, who was right in front should have been thanking every god he knew of that it wasn't a spitting cobra, or he'd be blind. Again, hindsight had taught Harry a valuable lesson. He didn't know why he thought trying to talk the snake down would work, but something inside told him to at least try.
It took a few moments to convince the snake that Justin wasn't responsible, but he managed to do so. Harry relaxed just a bit when the snake turned to him, and started to move in his direction. No one could ever accuse Snape of not being a vigilant man, as he'd taken that opportunity to banish the snake. Unfortunately, when Harry finally relaxed enough to take in everything else, he found the horror stricken faces of hundreds of students, and two professors. He didn't know how yet, but he knew that he'd done a bad thing, and it wouldn't take him long to find out what.
Never let it be said that students weren't capable of getting information around. Within an hour, news that Harry was a Parselmouth had circulated the school, and within another, he was the undisputed prime suspect as far as they were concerned.
The next day had the young Gryffindor wondering why he'd even bothered trying to help. 'Bloody wanker, should have just let that snake bite his arse.'
Harry had just finished the thought when who should he stumble upon- quite literally, as he wasn't paying attention, and falling through a petrified ghost was even more unpleasant than colliding with a normal one- but Justin Finch-Fletchly. And of course, his luck was if anything, consistent. As soon as he tried to climb to his feet, which accidentally resulted in him using Justin's chest as a balance, Peeves came along, rounded the corner, and found him. One could always count on Peeves to stir up trouble, and him flying away yelling that Harry Potter had struck again didn't help matters.
Regardless of Harry's opinion on the matter, he became the number one suspect as far as the students were concerned- and even some of the teachers as well. Again, Harry had to reiterate the fact that the adults in his life seemed to be exceptionally incompetent. Considering that the Chamber had been opened fifty years earlier- over four decades before he was even born, at that- that his mother was Muggleborn, and that there were no Potters attending Hogwarts the last time itt was opened, one would think that would be enough to make people realize that he wasn't the heir.
Later that evening, if it hadn't been for the fact that Harry had an exceptional amount of self-control, his reputation might have taken another huge hit. Ron Weasley had never been considered a road scholar, but it truly amazed Harry just how dim he could be sometimes. To accuse Harry of being a dark wizard, right in the middle of the common room at that, was plain stupid. Taking a deep breath, Harry glared the boy down.
"First of all, yes I'm a parselmouth, but that doesn't mean I did anything." Harry snapped. "Sure, Colin was a little annoying sometimes, and I thought Justin was an ungrateful wanker for accusing me instead of thanking me for calling that bloody snake off of him, but why would I attack people I could just as easily ignore? Considering the Chamber was opened once before over fifty years ago, you'd have to be an utter idiot to think it's possible that I'm responsible. And really Weasley, don't you think that if I were responsible, antagonizing me like this would be a bad idea?"
'Besides, even if I was, why would I go after people I don't really care about, when Malfoy, Snape, and Lockhart make much more appealing targets.' Harry thought.
Ron fumed at being made fun of, and just had to get the last word in. "Tch, you're no better than You-Know-Who."
That was the moment that Harry almost lost control.
"Don't you ever compare me to the bastard that murdered my parents...ever." Harry growled, before shoving past the redhead, and exiting the portrait hole. He was certain that if he didn't leave right then, he was going to choke the boy.
Probably the single shining light of the year for Harry had been the interesting acquaintanceship he'd struck with a ghost in a bathroom during the Christmas holidays. He'd taken to avoiding people as much as possible after the Finch-Fletchly incident, and what better hiding place than a girl's lavatory that no one ever went to. Sure, it would be futher incriminating if he were found there, especially considering the first attack happened right outside the bathroom, but it wasn't like it could hurt him anymore.
The first meeting had been fairly awkward, especially with her accusing him of being a pervert. It didn't help matters when he responded that no one ever came here to perv on, and that it was pointless trying to perv on a ghost. She sniffled, wailed, then dove head first into a toilet spraying water everwhere. Letting out a sigh, Harry found a dry patch, sat down, and took out parchment, ink, and quill.
Ahead in all his classes, and with nothing else to do, Harry began trying to puzzle the chamber mystery. If nothing else, this whole situation was getting bothersome. While he worked, Myrtle spied on him from her toilet. She was interested, true, but he had been offensive. She watched him for a time, but when he seemed content to just ignore her, she huffed and went back into her u-bend. Harry worked in silence, both occupants of the bathroom ignoring each other. Harry stayed until dinner, where he went to the kitchens and grabbed a bite, before heading back up to the bathroom until curfew.
When he reentered the room, Myrtle was staring at him inquisitively. He knew the ghost didn't like him all that much, but she didn't glare, whisper, or even bother him either, and that made her better company than the rest of the school. Harry was content to just pretend she wasn't there, the same as she was him.
Over the next few days, Myrtle became more and more interested in the boy that kept coming to her bathroom. The first thing she'd noticed was that he was kind of dishy. He'd certainly be worth spying on in the showers when he got older. Another thing she'd noticed was that he didn't make fun of here like everyone else- well aside from that first day, but that wasn't technically aimed at her, he was just stating a general fact. Still he ignored her, and she wasn't about to make the first move.
Christmas morning dawned particularly bright. Harry wasn't surprised to find the end of his bed empty, and he'd made no attempt to change the circumstances that resulted in that. Quickly packing his back, Harry made his way down to the Common Room before anyone awoke, and exited the portrait hole. After a quick breakfast in the kitchens, Harry headed back up to his hideaway.
Entering, he headed to the back wall where he always sat- at least when the bathroom wasn't flooded- and took out his notes. Feeling like he was being watched, he turned to the stall that the ghost frequented, and saw the top of a head peaking out of the toilet-enough to show her eyes. Not really knowing why, Harry nodded at her.
"Happy Christmas, Myrtle." He spoke, before going back to his notes.
The chronically upset ghost peeked her head further out of the toilet in curiosity. No one had really spoken to her since she became a ghost- at least not anyone who didn't plan to taunt and tease her. Even more, no one had ever thought to wish her a happy holiday, no matter which one it was. Exiting her stall, she glided down until she was floating right in front of him and just stared in curiosity. She noticed that he didn't seem to mind her staring, but acknowledged that he could have been too distracted by his work to notice.
Taking in his features, Myrtle blushed at how handsome the boy was. With nothing else to do, Myrtle floated above and behind him, and settled in to watch him work.
Harry tried to work with the ghost floating above his head watching, but the day had been particularly bright despite how cloudy it was. The light coming in from from the window in the room was shining through Myrtle's pearly body, and causing an unfortunate glare that was reflecting through his glasses.
"Uh, could you move a bit, Myrtle?" Harry asked, earning a scowl from her. "Not trying to be rude, but your...luminescence combined with the bit of light from the window is causing a glare."
Myrtle blushed at that...or she would have if she could. No one had ever complimented her that way before. Heck, aside from her family, no boy had complimented her, ever. While Harry would never know it, in Myrtle's mind, he'd just openly flirted with her. Deciding to give him a chance, she spoke.
"You know, Harry, this is just like it was the first time." Harry's head snapped up, and his eyes met hers.
"You know about the attacks that happened last time?" Harry asked. Giving him a rackish grin, she answered.
"Of course, considering I was a third year when it happened." Harry's eyes widened in horror as his sharp mind processed that. He'd asked the portraits in Dumbledore's office about the Chamber- specifically Headmaster Dippet- what had happened, and how it had ended.
"It was you, wasn't it?" Harry asked. "You were the student that died the last time."
Oddly enough, she just nodded, instead of bursting into tears and loud sobs. For the first time since he'd met her, she seemed oddly focused...though if he was honest, he'd only known her for about a week, and most of that had been spent ignoring each other.
"Would you like some help?" Harry stared stupidly for a moment, before grinning, and nodding.
Harry was surprised to find out how knowledgable Myrtle was about the situation. She showed her brilliance when she suggested that before he even began searching for the chamber, he should find out what the monster was. No point knowing where it was located, if you didn't know what you'd be up against.
While initially it had only been his intention to use the room as an escape from the rest of the world, Harry started to almost look forward to the visits. He began spending quite a bit of time in Myrtle's bathroom, almost as much time as he had spent in Dumbledore's office talking with the portraits there. Whenever he didn't have any assignments due, or Quidditch practice to attend, Harry spent his free time talking with Myrtle about any and everything, starting with formally introducing themselves, and learning about each other.
The ghost proved to be a great well of knowledge, as one would expect of one of Flitwick's flock. Ever the consumate Ravenclaw, even though she died near the end of her third year, she had technically completed her Hogwarts education by sitting in on the classes. She had even learned quite a bit more from floating around the castle invisible, and eavesdropping on academic conversations that struck her fancy- after she'd gotten her fill of haunting Olive Hornsby, of course.
It was through her that Harry gained a greater understanding- and appreciation- for the subject of Potions. It had been Myrtle's favorite subject, and listening to her speak so passionately about it made Harry develop a fondness for the art. While he'd never love the subject as she had, especially given that Snape seemed intent on driving him away from the subject, he found it quite a bit more interesting than he had.
All too soon for Harry's liking, the new term started. While certain things were certainly new, much of life at Hogwarts stayed the same. Classes were attended, meals were had, students were fools, and Lockhart still failed to show any evidence that he knew how to do more than be a pompous arse. Oddly enough, Harry noticed that other students had picked up on this fact, and were starting to wonder if they would be able to pass their Defense OWL.
Still, life went on. January turned into February, and February brought winter full bore, as well as some revelations.
With Myrtle's help, Harry finally solved the mystery of the monster in the Chamber- well, part of the mystery anyway. He realized that he was the only one that could hear the voices, and that was something he'd only talked about with Myrtle. It had actually come about one day in early February while he was visiting her. He'd heard the voices calling to rip, tear, and kill, and taking a chance on his new friend, he'd asked her if she'd heard that, and she said she hadn't heard anything. When he explained what he'd heard, the young looking ghost had said that it sounded like a snake.
And suddenly, things started making more sense. With both he and Slytherin being parselmouths, of course he was the only one who could hear the whispered threats for what they were. If he hadn't been, he probably wouldn't have heard anything either. He quickly came to the conclusion that whatever the monster in the chamber was, it had to be a snake of some sort. The only thing he had to do now was find out what kind of snake, and how it was getting around.
Given that the Chamber had been opened fifty years prior he started his search for snakes that were long lived. He then narrowed his search for snakes that could survive for centuries, since it had been that long between Slytherin and the first chamber opening. Harry's research led him to a partucular snake, one that he hoped beyond everything isn't right. Heading quickly to the second floor, Harry opened the door, and immediately called for his friend.
"Hey Myrtle, I don't mean to offend you, but I have to ask you an important question that you might not like."
"What is it, Harry?" She asked, bracing herself for it.
"How did you die?" Harry burst out, and awaited the bad reaction to what he knew was an insensitive question.
"I don't really remember, except that it was quick." She admitted quietly. "I came out of the stall, and saw a pair of great big yellow eyes, and the next thing I know, I was floating above my body."
"Bugger." He said, slumping into his usual spot. "I think I know what killed you, and what's been attacking the students, and it's a miracle everyone is still alive."
"What was it?"
"A bloody basilisk."
"But that doesn't explaine how no one has died, only been petrified." Harry said.
"Well, I looked directly at it, so maybe they didn't somehow." Myrtle theorized.
"Still doesn't make this any less double bugger." He grumbled.
February also brought Lockhart finally noticing that he didn't have the undivided attention of his pupils. It brought him finally noticing that they were starting to suspect him of being the fraud that Harry was certain the man was, and trying to deflect their attention with a grandiose event. Enter, the singing dwarves dressed like little cupids.
Harry had had a feeling that something not good was going to happen that day from the moment he awoke. As soon as he entered the Great Hall for breakfast, and saw how it was decorated- as well as how Lockhart was dressed- he was almost certain that Lockhart was involved. When the man stood, and told everyone that he'd acquired dwarves to receive and deliver Valentines, Harry groaned. He couldn't wait until the bell rang for classes; all of the reds, pinks, and whites were giving him a headache.
Harry did everything he could that day to avoid the short, horribly singing messengers, and had done a fairly good job of it until after his first class after lunch. Just as he was coming out of Transfiguration, one of the creepy little things finally caught up to him. It's voice was gruff as it announced that he'd received a message, and Harry wasn't planning on sticking around for the auditory torture. He turned to walk away, but found the dwarf grabbing onto his bag to keep him from leaving.
Drawing his wand in a huff, Harry swished and flicked as soon as the being let go of him. With a quick intonation of the spell, the dwarf began to float up into the air. Guiding the spell, Harry sent the dwarf over to one of the empty wall sconses, and cancelled the spell, leaving it hanging there by its diaper. Deed done, he turned and made a run for it. Arriving in the second floor hallway, Harry quickly made his way inside, deciding to just hide in Myrtle's bathroom until dinner when the flaming ponce would call a halt to the stupidity.
Upon entering the bathroom though, Harry was greeted by a very distraught ghost. Over the last couple months, Harry had developed an interesting friendship with the sweet, yet exceptionally flirtatious Myrtle Frisbee. Deciding to see what was wrong with her, Harry asked.
"What's wrong, Myrtle?" The upset ghost gave a sniff.
"I was just sitting in my u-bend, minding my own business, when someone thought it might be funny to try and flush a book through my head." Looking down, Harry found the small, leather bound book lying on the floor of Myrtle's stall. Flipping open the cover, he found the name T.M.Riddle written on the inside cover. Not knowing any Riddles himself, Harry decided to ask Myrtle if she knew of, or remembered any. Her sniffles of anguish turned into a nasty scowl at that.
"I knew a boy named Tom Riddle when I was alive." She spat. "He was a Slytherin two years ahead of me. He was very handsome, and could be quite nice, but he was also a horrible, cruel, despicable boy when the professors weren't looking."
"Hmm, wonder what it's doing here." Harry mused. "I wouldn't suspect this'd still be around after fifty years, would it?"
Harry cast a drying charm on the book, and stuck it in his bag. He didn't know why, but he felt compelled to keep the little book that he suspected was a diary of some sort.
Several weeks later, found Harry racing into Myrtle'd bathroom at top speed.
"Myrtle, I think I've found something you'll want to see." Said ghost popped up out of her toilet with a soft scowl on her face. She'd been wondering why her friend had been avoiding her for the past week and a half. Unfortunately, only house ghosts were allowed in the houses, and she was too afraid to go into the Great Hall for running into Peeves. That left her only option to sit in her toilet and sulk.
"Where have you been?" She questioned. "I was starting to think you didn't like me anymore."
"That's all part of what I have to tell you." Harry said. "It's like this..."
Harry Potter stormed angrily into Gryffindor Tower after classes, through the common room, up the stairs, and through the door to his dorm. With an angry growl, he locked the door, climbed into his bed, pulled the curtains, and silenced them. After all of this time, speculating and accusing glances apparently weren't enough for the idiots, so they'd moved on to verbal insinuations. And if that wasn't bad enough, the Professors who were in the vicinity didn't seem like they were going to come to his aid, and seemed more interested in how he was going to respond.
[/Remembering the diary that he'd found all those weeks ago, and really not wanting to bother Myrtle with his attitude, Harry decided to vent in there. He'd just finished a rant about how much he wanted to hex that stupid prat Weasley, when something amazing happened. The paragraph that he'd just written became seemingly absorbed by the page, and words began to form.
[/'Oh, you're new, I don't recognize you.' The diary wrote back.
[/'Who are you? What do you mean I'm new?'
[/'I'm sorry. I just meant that you're not the person who was using me before. As to who I am, I'm the enchanted consciousness of this diary. My original creator Tom, enchanted me to help him think, and to give him someone to talk to about his ideas and plans.
[/'Oh.' Harry wrote back, not sure what to think. One thing was certain, he wasn't about to take this diary at face value. From what Myrtle had said, this Tom character was a bad chap, and he wasn't about to trust anything enchanted by him to think.
[/'I noticed that you were quite angry.'
[/'Yeah, well I've finally come to realize that the people in the magical world are all stupid sheep.'
[/'Would you like to talk about it?'
"And you talked to him?" Myrtle asked, frowning. He usually talked to her about things, why was he talking to that stupid diary?
"Well, yeah," Harry said, not noticing her frown as he searched his pockets for the book. "When I realized that it could think, and that Tom had enchanted it, I was trying to see if I could get any information from it. He ended up showing me this memory of Tom's that made me even more suspicious of him. He showed me when Tom caught Hagrid with the Monster of Slytherin. The only thing, I highly doubt that Hagrid is either malicious or intelligent enough to have been behind the attacks."
"Oh?" She asked, brightenting up a bit.
"Yeah, and you'll never guess what else I found." Harry said, inking a quill. 'Hey Tom, what was that you were saying about making those arses pay?'
'I was just saying that if you really wanted revenge, I might know a way to do it.' Looking up at Myrtle, he asked.
"What do you think?"
"I think we should make him think we're interested." She said. "He might tell us more. Oh, I always knew that Tom was a big meanie."
'I've been thinking that maybe it might be worth my while to consider it. What did you have in mind?'
'There's a chamber underneath the school that used to belong to Salazar Slytherin. In it, you'll find your means of making everyone pay.'
'How do I find it?'
'Do you know of the girls bathroom on the second floor, the one nearest the stairs?'
'The entrance lies within. Stand in front of the sink closest to the stalls, and say open in Parseltongue- you are able, correct.'
'Yes, I am.'
'Good, once you've done that, then go down, and follow the corridor to another door, and repeat the password. Follow the path down to the base of Slytherin's head, and recite the words "Speak to me Slytherin, greatest of the Hogwarts four.". The passage will open, and allow your weapon to be accessed.'
"Well, since he didn't tell me that there was a basilisk down there, I'm guessing that he expected me to be killed by it, and allow the snake to run rampant through the school." Harry guessed. "You're right, this guy was an arse. But now we have all the innformation we need to get rid of the beast, and stop the attacks."
"All we need now is a plan." Myrtle said.
"Well, the most obvious plan would be to take a rooster down, summon the basilisk, and then make the rooster crow." Harry said. "The only problem is that whoever was coordinating the attacks at first killed all of the rooster."
"What if we transfigured one?" Myrtle asked. "It should still have the same properties and effect."
"Yeah, but I'm only a second year, we haven't learned that kind of transfiguration yet."
"I can teach you, but it'll be really hard."
"Nothing worth knowing was ever easy." Harry replied.
"Right, well the first thing you have to learn, is that Tranfiguration is the only branch of magic where incantations are extremely versatile. The spell I'm going to teach you, cockifors, is really just a spell fragment -ifors. Basically, for inanimate to living transfiguration, whatever you're turning the first object into, is blankifors. While there are a few specific commands, most of the time generic terms will suffice. Now, while simple in theory, this is a spell you learn during NEWT level Transfiguration. All of those spells you do early on is to get your magic ready for the stronger, more difficult, nearly all purpose spells later. About the only thing it doesn't work for is transfiguration on sentient beings."
"I don't think this is going to work." Harry said, exhaustedly a couple weeks before the spring holiday. "We've been working on this for months, and I'm still not getting more than a few feathers."
"I should have known that your magical core wasn't strong enough to handle that kind of spellcasting." Myrtle admitted.
"So what are we going to do?" Harry asked. "The only idea we have right now is a rooster, because I don't plan on trying to actually fight a bloody basilisk."
"Wait, what about animation?" Myrtle suggested. "No that's too advanced as well."
"Isn't there some way to take something fake, and make it real?" Harry asked. "Is that even possible?"
Myrtle wasn't listening, as Harry's rambling had spawed something of an idea. When her idea finally fleshed itself, she squealed excitedly. "I've got it! And the best part, is that we can use the same spell."
As the students who signed up rode the express home for Easter Holiday, Harry was making his way to the Headmaster's office. Upon being bade to enter, Harry did so, and sat in the chair across from the professor.
"What can I do for you, Harry?" Dumbledore asked.
"I think I've figured out one part of the riddle with the chamber, sir." Harry replied. His attention decidedly captured, the old wizard leaned forward.
"Do tell." So Harry explained his research about what the monster of Slytherin would be, and how he came to his conclusions. "I must admit that I am ashamed that such a simplistically logical train of thought evaded me."
"I've also thought of a way to at least try and fight against it." Harry said. "Well, to an extent, at least. I don't think any of the students, and very few of the teachers could actually fight a Basilisk, but I think I've found a way to help...conditional on us not being killed or petrified right away."
"Would you mind sharing?" Dumbledore asked.
"Well, I've spent the last couple months of my free time learning two upper year spells that might help: Cockifors and the Compulsion Charm. My idea is to use the first spell to change a small rooster statue into a real rooster, and then use the compulsion to make it crow. I don't know if you have to use a real rooster against a Basilisk, but this is at least better than nothing."
"I do not myself know." Dumbledore started. "But you are indeed correct; it is better than nothing. Take fifty points for Gryffindor for such superb thinking. Whether this works or not, such ideas and forethought should always be commended. Now, is there anything else that you needed to speak with me about?"
"Well, I heard that you were pretty good with Transfiguration." Harry said. "I was wondering if I could trouble you to make me a small rooster statue."
"I would be delighted to, but I must ask." Dumbledore started. "Why did you not go to Professor McGonagall for this? She is more than equally as gifted in the art as I am, my power level being the only real advantage I can deduce."
"Honestly sir, I don't trust her." Harry said, causing the headmaster to express shock. "May I explain?"
"Please do." Dumbledore prompted.
"As much as I would like to trust Professor McGonagall, her actions this year and last have made that almost impossible." Harry said honestly. "I've noticed that she's been giving me some of the same looks and reactions as the majority of the others have been giving me- especially since that day she found me with Justin. That's why I came to you."
"I'm glad that you feel you can trust me, Harry." Dumbledore smiled.
"Actually, my upbringing has taught me not to trust adults in general." Harry said. "The fact of the matter is that aside from Madam Pomphrey, you seem to be the only adult in the castle who isn't instantly suspicious of me when I enter a room. Professor Flitwick tries to mask it, but even he is overly cautious around me."
"I'm sorry you feel that way, Harry." Dumbledore replied, transfiguring a quill on his desk into a small rooster figurine. "I hope this helps to repair your views on the adults in your life."
Harry knew, however, that the chance of that happening were slim to none.
Taking the small statue, Harry nodded, and thanked the professor. Leaving the office, Harry smiled to himself. He now had all of the materials he needed to deal with the problem, and he planned to do just that. Similar to the situation with Tom Riddle, Harry was desperate not to have Hogwarts close, regardless of everything that had happened. He knew for sure that he preferred being shunned by his peers to being with the Dursleys.
It was a particularly sunny, and surprisingly warm spring day that saw most of the castle's remaining inhabitants out on the grounds, or visiting Hogsmeade. While there hadn't been any recent attacks- notably since Harry had come into possession of the diary- the headmaster thought that a day of fun was just the ticket to help further relax the students. Dumbledore, in rare form, had given the entire castle leave to take advantage of the nice day, and visit the village- though he did require the first and second years to buddy up with at least three other people, as well as an older student so as to not get lost. One would probably be surprised by just how many of the older years freely volunteered to escort the younger kiddies around.
There was one student, however, who would not be taking advantage of this fun day. As a matter of fact, he was actually unaware that the announcement had even been made. This student was currently in a second floor bathroom, getting ready to embark on the most dangerous undertaking of his young life. This young man was Harry Potter.
Having obtained the information needed to get into the chamber, as well as having a plan to deal with the monster inside, Harry stood in front of the proper sink, and hissed for it to open. Asking for stairs, Harry climbed down the long tunnel with his ghost friend floating along behind him. When they reached the bottom, the first thing Harry and Myrtle noticed was all of the rat skeletons.
"Must have gotten killed by its gaze when Tom brought the basilisk up the tunnel." Myrtle muttered.
Noticing the archway that looked very unstable, she urged Harry to tread slowly and quitely so as not to disturb the crumbling ceiling. She also reminded him to look into some spells to stabalize that, as this could be a nice getaway once it was cleaned up and rid of pests. Harry snickered to himself, wondering how a basilisk would react to being called a pest. When they came upon the massive snake skin, Harry stilled realizing the enormity of what he was about to face.
"Maybe this isn't such a good idea after all." He muttered, but knew it was too late to back out now.
Coming upon the second door, Harry again hissed it open, and was greeted by a stale odor, and complete darkness. As he stepped cautiously into the room, torches that burned a deep emerald flared to life. With the chamber illuminated- albeit weakly- Harry found himself shocked at what was revealed. The room was absolutely massive, with towering stone pillars entwined with serpents that rose to a ceiling lost in darkness. The giant pillars cast long, black shadows through the odd, greenish gloom that filled the place dimly lit chamber. At the other end of the long, shadowed chamber sat a massive statue of Salazar Slytherin.
Harry and Myrtle slowly made their way down the long corridor, Harry's steps echoing somewhat loudly in the silent chamber. Once he'd reached the statue of Slytherin, he turned to the ghost beside him.
"All right Myrtle, head on up to the ceiling, and keep a lookout." Harry said. "And let me know once it's fully emerged. Remember, keep your eyes covered until it's over after you do that. Wouldn't want you to be petrified like Nick, and me not being able to help you cause I couldn't find you up there."
Myrtle gave what amounted to a blush, nodded, and floated upwards until she disappeared into the shadows. Stepping forward, Harry raised his wand, and hissed. "Speak to me Slytherin, greatest of the Hogwarts four."
With the groaning of moving stone of the statue's mouth, Harry heard and saw the basilisk being unleashed. Moving quickly, he ran halfway back up the chamber, and hid behind one of the massive pillars, and pulled the stone rooster from his pocket. Moments later, he heard the loud thump- and even felt a slight tremble- as the massive body of the basilisk hit the ground.
"It's out, Harry." He heard Myrtle say.
Sitting the statue on the ground, Harry quickly cast, "Cockifors," turning the statue into the real thing. Even as the transformation was happening, his wand kept moving, right into the compulsion charm. A few seconds later, the transformation was complete. Just to be sure that it took, Harry again cast the compulsion charm on the rooster- that he'd intentionally turned to face the chamber opening. To his great relief, the rooster crowed like its life depended on it.
About a second after the rooster crowed, Harry and Myrtle were treated to the anguished hisses of a basilisk in agony. While Harry knew that the rooster crow was fatal to a basilisk, he didn't know how long it took to do the deed, nor was he aware of whether the crowing had to be continuous. Therefore, he repeatedly cast the compulsion to crow on the former statue, and hoped it would be over soon.
After a few minutes of pained hisses, Harry heard- and felt- the loud thud of something massive hitting the ground. Just to be sure, Harry cast the compulsion a few more times, before stopping, and allowing the chamber to fall into silence. From several dozen feet above him, he heard a voice call.
"I think it's dead."
Harry slowly made his way from behind the pillar, still keeping his eyes covered. "Tell me where to go."
Harry followed Myrtle's instructions until he'd reached the tail, and climbed up onto the snake. Shimmying up the body to the head, he followed Myrtle's instructions until his wand was touching the massive snake's eyes. With a shout of "Reducto!", Harry destroyed the eye, quickly following suit with the other. Only then did he open his eyes. Climbing down from the massive snake, Harry turned to the- kind of pretty- ghost that was now floating by his side.
Harry was all set to make a clever little quip about the fight being anti-climactic, until an image popped in his head. It was an image of a more naive, easily influenced version of himself trying to fight that massive snake with nothing more than that gaudy sword he'd seen in the Headmaster's office. On second thought, anti-climactic was perfectly acceptable.
Reaching into his pocket, and pulling out the diary, Harry muttered. "Guess there's only one thing left to do."
With a muttered Reductor Curse, Harry tore off a small chunk of stone from Slytherin's huge lip. Harry then used it to knock one of the foot long fangs from the snakes mouth.
"Kind of wish I'd brought a quill and some ink with me." Harry said. "That way I could write a witty taunt to Tom before I crammed that fang into his diary."
Harry opened the diary to one of the back pages, and stabbed right into the center. Like a person with a pierced artery, the diary erutped, and ink began to squirt out from the wound. Flipping backwards to about halfway through, Harry again stabbed the diary, resulting in another spurt of ink. Finally, he closed it, and impaled the front of diary with the fang, and let go. He and Myrtle watched in something akin to morbid fascination as the diary spurted for several minutes. When it finally trickled to an ooze, the tension in Harry finally relaxed.
"Well, I guess that's that." Harry said. "Although, in hindsight, it might have been smarter to just have Dumbledore come and deal with the snake. This could make for a pretty decent hideaway, and Dumbledore would have definitely made cleaning this thing up a lot easier."
"You know Harry, according to magical law, if you bring down a wild Class XXXXX dangerous creature, you can claim its carcass as your own."
"While I'm sure that's probably a good idea, you mind explaining to me why it is." Harry asked. "No offense, but I honestly don't know what to do with a Basilisk that big."
"You can have it broken down for rare potions ingredients for one." She replied. "Plus, the hide is even more resistant to magic than a dragon's. And the best part, is that given the age of the snake, it'll be at least a decade before it even starts to decay, so you have plenty of time to learn how to render a creature."
"Okay, but where would I learn?"
"I'm sure there are books on it." She said, smiling. "I'll even help...well, as much as I can anyway."
Harry frowned. Sure he understood that the young ghost was happy about seeing the thing that killed her dead, but honestly. She was just a little too bubbly about this. There was also something just a little off about her tone. It reminded him of how some of the older year girls talked about their prospective dates to Hogsmeade.
The rest of the school year crept along at an annoyingly slow pace. While the occupants of Hogwarts were starting to loosen up with the cease of attacks, Harry was still getting more than his fair share of suspicious looks. Harry ignored them for the most part, and kept to himself, using Myrtle's bathroom- or the Chamber when he wanted to truly disappear after someone discovered his hiding spot- to avoid others. By the end of the year, he'd managed to consistently cast Reparo, Scourgify, and Flipendo (Knockback Jinx) wandlessly; even using the latter to help deal with Malfoy's rather annoying biannual visit.
Before too long, Harry was back at Privet Drive. The difference this time, he wouldn't have to spend the summer bored out of his mind. While his uncle had locked his trunk in the cupboard under the stairs, with the help of his wandless Alohamora, he was able to liberate his trunk. About two weeks into his vacation, his uncle barged into his room, and spoke a single sentence that effectively ruined the rest of the summer.
"My sister Marge is coming to stay with us for a month while her house is being fumigated." The fat man blustered. "You'd better behave, and I don't want any of that freakishness about my house."
"Well there goes the neighborhood." Harry muttered after his uncle left.
Let's just assume that somehow Harry helped in freeing Dobby from the Malfoy's because I don't have any real desire to try and figure out a way for that to happen within the parameters of the story I've got going.