Categories > Books > Harry Potter > Harry & the Mysterious Curse of the GirlWhoLived


by Jeram 0 reviews

The further adventures

Category: Harry Potter - Rating: PG - Genres: Drama,Humor - Warnings: [!!] [?] - Published: 2016-03-24 - 7605 words

Hello, people and artificial intelligences in the future scanning the Internet. I know it's been a year or so, but I have been updating other stories in the meantime, including completing my first "real" HP fanfic story The Ten Plagues, which was driving me spare. This chapter took me three months to complete, but that's because I have a lot of other things going on, including trying to finish my master's degree, which eats up a lot of time. Plus the whole "going outside thing" you're supposed to do and now everything's on Netflix. Bleh. Anyway, I'll have a few author's notes at the end of the chapter, but I hope you enjoy the drama and problems!



Harry discovers that the Hufflepuffs have been working with the Slytherin girls to infiltrate his group and gets Susan to continue the charade. He wrecks the Slytherin team in a Quidditch match. Colin is petrified and Neville is attacked.

Ron walked slowly over to them from his brother, quivering and shaking.

"What is it?" Hermione asked in concern. "What happened?"

Ron looked stricken and horribly pale. "It's Neville. He's in the Hospital Wing."

For a few seconds, nobody said anything.

Finally Harry got his wits back. "Was he petrified?"

Ron shook his head. "Thank Merlin, no. He got attacked the old fashioned way, by somebody hexing him. It was Malfoy and his troll friends, I know it!" He smacked a fist against his palm. "I told Neville that punching Malfoy was just asking for trouble!"

"Oh, I doubt that!" Parvati made a face. "You were right there cheering him on!"

"This was later," said Lavender, and she bit her nails nervously. "But Neville said he couldn't help himself."

"Is there any proof?" Harry asked quickly. "Did you see anything?"

"Well, sort of," said Ron. "I saw Goyle lurking about, but I didn't think anything by it. Why would I? He's not capable of thinking on his own. But if he was just waiting for Neville to be on his own..." He frowned.

A look of anger flashed on Hermione's face. "Just the sort of vile scheme that little bigoted idiot might dream up. Can we ask Neville if he remembers anything?"

Ron shook his head. "Percy said he's resting right now. We'll have to check back later. But I have the sneaking suspicion it was a sneak attack."

"So Malfoy is just going to get away with it?" Parvati asked in a near shriek. "That bloody ponce!"

"Calm down," said Harry, and he tried to soothe the girl by softly grabbing her hand. "If Draco did try something, we'll figure it out. In the meantime, we'll wait until he's okay to visit. No point in getting ourselves in a state until then."

Nobody seemed to particularly like hearing this, but nobody offered anything better to try either.

When the Gryffindors visited that evening, Neville seemed to be good spirits despite everything.

"I didn't see who hexed me," he said with a bright smile. "Imagine it was probably Malfoy though. Who else could it be? If it was the Heir, they'd have petrified or killed me!"

"Don't say that!" Hermione wrung her hands in the air. "That horridness is still hovering over us."

"I'm glad it's just you lot visiting," Neville continued as though Hermione hadn't said anything. "I like Hannah and Susan and the rest fine, but they don't need to be involved in everything we do. Oh, I guess Padma's alright." He glanced at Parvati. "But it's not like the two of us are close. Now if it had been Hermione here instead of me, that'd be a different kettle of stew."

Hermione made a face. "Neville, you're being weird."

Ron laughed and punched Neville lightly on the shoulder. "It's good to see you haven't lost your sense of humor, mate. Even if you have lost your bloody mind, staying behind like that."

"You should've stopped them," said Parvati angrily. "You were supposed to be on the lookout for anything suspicious." She pointed a finger at Ron.

"It's okay, Parvati." Neville gave her a small smile. "We'll know better for next time. Maybe we'll get Seamus and Dean to keep an extra eye out for Slytherins. Couldn't hurt."

Harry nodded. "We need to stick together on this. I mean, it's not like we can complain to the Professors about it. We don't have proof!"

"Proof!" Lavender rolled her eyes. "Any idiot would see that Malfoy and his trolls did this!"

Hermione tapped her chin. "Maybe you could talk to Professor Snape?" She gave Harry an appraising look. "He may actually listen to you."

"Snape isn't about to help us out against Malfoy," said Ron with a scoff. "Be reasonable, Hermione!"

"You be reasonable!" Hermione hissed.

"Oh dear Merlin, would you two just quit it already?" Parvati giggled. "It's like my sister was in here or something."

Ron laughed. "You've got a point there, Parvati."

"You might as well try," said Hermione, giving Ron and Parvati a scathing glare. "Harriet, it's up to you, but it's better than nothing."

Harry nodded. "Yeah, maybe I'll try."

But by the time he had the chance to speak to Snape, the Professor seemed to have a pretty good idea what was going on.

"So, Miss Potter, have you come to make baseless accusations?" Snape raised an eyebrow. "I have heard a few rumors."

"It's not like that," said Harry. "Neville was attacked."

"Yes, I am aware," said Snape. "But there is no evidence connecting this incident to anyone in particular. Albus confirmed it, in point of fact. If one of my House perpetrated this deed, I have no knowledge of it."

Harry frowned. "So you haven't heard about Malfoy bragging or anything?"

"Draco isn't that foolish," said the Professor. "If he had anything to do with it, he's not about to be that open about such things. Perhaps he alluded to being connected to it, but I've heard that he's been boasting about knowing everything about the Heir. We both know how likely that is, don't we?"

"I mean... he might be the Heir..."

Snape just gave Harry a look of disappointment.

Harry sighed. "Yeah, I guess that doesn't really make sense. I just don't like the idea of my friends being attacked. I mean, it was probably Malfoy, but I suppose it may have been Sirius Black."

The Professor gripped the edge of his desk. "Do not joke about that, Miss Potter!"

"I wasn't," Harry insisted. "Do we really know anything about Black's plans?"

The older man sighed and then rubbed his head. "Unfortunately you have a point. It is impossible to say what that unbalanced creature is on about." He grimaced. "That said, be careful confronting Mister Malfoy. He knows not to try anything directly with you, but that does not necessarily apply to your friends."

"Wait, he knows not to attack me or something?" Harry was surprised, and then a bit suspicious. "Why is that?"

"Draco knows that it would be foolish to attack the Girl-Who-Lived, and he knows I wouldn't cover for him if I found out. Other than that, if any other Gryffindors are attacked." Snape shrugged. "Well, that is hardly my concern."

Harry made an annoyed face but he nodded. "Alright, sir, I guess I can't blame you for that attitude. But just the same, I may not be able to control Neville or whoever if they happen to find Malfoy at a time he could be... vulnerable."

The Professor actually chuckled a bit. "You have certainly become advanced for your age," he said. "Albus may not be glad to hear it, but I for one am relieved you have a rational perspective on life. Not everything is always going to go your way."

"It didn't at all until I got to Hogwarts," said Harry with a small smile. "Since then I've had a few small victories. Most at Quidditch, sorry to say."

Snape made a harrumphing noise. "I believe that is all for today, Miss Potter."


The next few days passed without incident, and then the next few, and the next after that, until people had almost forgotten about the petrifications altogether. Harry kept an eye on Malfoy, but the Slytherin seemed to be trying to avoid running into him. It seemed to be either an obvious sign of guilt or a worry that he might be attacked for not being guilty.

Neville had asked the Gryffindors not to mention the specifics of the situation to anyone else, even their study group. This had upset Parvati, at first.

"Your sister wouldn't mean any harm," Harry had told her. "But she might just talk about it without realizing it. You know what I mean."

Parvati had made a face but agreed.

But despite this agreement, none of them could entirely hide their suspicion and hidden anger at the Slytherins, which was perhaps another good reason why Draco was avoiding them.

Every so often, he would send a message to the Headmaster about any new progress on his Curse, knowing he was being annoying but not wanting to forget about it. Each time, Dumbledore would respond with a very polite and sincere note that he had not found anything new.

It had been quite a bit of this when finally things changed again. At breakfast one morning in early December, the Headmaster stood to make an announcement.

"Students, the winter holiday is fast approaching," he said with a warm smile. "Naturally, Hogwarts keeps her doors open and her hearths warm for all students during this break from your studies. Most of you will probably spend time back at home with your families, but for those inclined, there will be a notice to notify us your intention to stay here. Minerva?"

Professor McGonagall gave everyone a stern look. "It is important to let us know what you are expecting to do. If there is a last minute need to alter your plans, we can accommodate you, but it would make things more difficult. I would appreciate it if things were not made difficult."

Parvati leaned over to Harry. "Sort of obvious, isn't it?" She asked in a whisper. "McGonagall seems like she never really relaxes, doesn't she?"

Harry could just nod in response; it was a mild shock to him that the term had already nearly ended. The previous year he had stayed at Hogwarts, which was nice, if a bit lonely at times. This time there was the problem of the Heir and Sirius Black (if indeed they were not the same of course), but there was also the problem that Harry did not particularly wish to spend time with the Dursleys.

"It's a right jam," he said to Luna later when they were talking between classes. "If I stay here, I may be in danger. If I go back to my relatives, it'll be horrid."

Luna began to laugh. "A jam! You're in a jam."

Harry frowned. "Luna, that wasn't meant as a joke."

The girl held a hand over her mouth and tried to stop her laughter. A few giggles escaped her and she nodded. "I know, Not-Precisely-Harriet. But when I had the picture of you in a giant bowl of jam..." She giggled again. "I couldn't help myself."

"Alright, alright," said Harry with a chuckle. "But it's a serious problem. I guess I could ask someone if I could stay with them, but maybe Professor Dumbledore wouldn't be okay with it."

"But you stayed with the Weasleys," said Luna. "And although they are frightfully boring, they should be able to keep you safe."

"Frightfully boring?" Harry tried not to laugh. "I don't think they'd like hearing that."

Luna shrugged. "If you say so. But maybe you could stay with me!" She smiled. "I'm not that boring! And my father is the most interesting man in the world!"

"That... that's actually pretty impressive," said Harry. "You're basically one of the most interesting people I know already."

"That's true," said Luna. "So what do you think? We can have all sorts of fun, experimenting with your Curse. Maybe we can break it! And the Weasleys are right down the road, in case you're in the mood for some boredom or better food." She tapped her chin. "Mrs. Weasley is a better cook than my father, although I'm not so bad."

The more Harry thought about it, the more he liked the idea. "I don't know if we'll be able to break it, but it'll be great hanging out with you, if your dad is okay with me staying with you. After all, I'm not really a girl."

Luna poked Harry in the nose. "You look like a girl. That's good enough for him. He didn't seem to understand that you were under a Curse. I suppose because of the Curse." She giggled. "Your Curse is so weird, Not-Harriet!"

"Yeah," said Harry. "And while we're experimenting, maybe we can try a name that isn't so... long."

"Great idea!" Luna pulled out a piece of parchment. "I'm going to start a list of experiments to try. I have a few ideas too."

"Well, hold on a moment. I'd better ask Professor Dumbledore about it."

"Oh?" The younger girl frowned. "Are you sure?"

Harry nodded and said, "I don't want to put you or your dad in danger." He wondered about Luna's mother, but figured that if she wasn't mentioning another parent, he wouldn't pry.

"That's very thoughtful of you," said Luna. "Okay then, go ask him!"

"We have class in a few minutes, Luna."

"What's more important," Luna said. "Your winter holiday or some silly class?"

Harry laughed. "I'll go this evening, okay?"

Luna pouted. "Oh, okay."


"That is quite the request," said Dumbledore, stroking his beard thoughtfully. "It is difficult to say where you would be the safest; in theory Hogwarts ought to be more secure than any other place, excepting your relatives. But I do not think either them nor you is particularly interested in spending additional time together."

"Isn't there something... something you can do to make it safe at the Lovegoods like at the Dursleys?"

"Safer, certainly. As safe as with your relatives, that would take more time than we may have. But I will think it over, Not-Miss Potter." The Headmaster adjusted his spectacles and smiled. "I should tell you I have not forgotten about your Curse, but I am afraid I have been a bit busy with searching for the Chamber of Secrets and Sirius Black. In any event, I will certainly have a plan for the summer holidays; you will not have to stay with your Aunt even if must stay in the same house. I give you my word on that."

This made Harry feel a bit better. "So you think the Chamber is real then?"

Dumbledore nodded. "There is no question on that front, but I am afraid finding it is not quite that simple. I believe that either our old friend Volotredi or perhaps Slytherin himself did something to make the Chamber very difficult to find. I have little doubt that Volotredi opened it herself many decades ago, when a young Muggle-born girl was killed."

Harry sighed. "And Volotredi did it? She killed this girl?"

"She was certainly an heir of Slytherin, but perhaps not the only one. As a young girl, she was quite charismatic and bright, well practiced at hiding the darkness beneath the facade. When the threat of Hogwarts closing became severe, Hagrid was suddenly accused of opening the Chamber."

"That's nonsense!" Harry said angrily. "He wouldn't hurt a fly!"

"Oh, I agree, of course," said Dumbledore. "But still, getting Hagrid wrongfully expelled was probably the least vile act the Dark Lady has perpetrated." He stroked his beard again. "Come to think of it, maybe staying elsewhere for the holidays would be for the best. I would need to work with Xeno on some protective spellwork, of course. Perhaps there's a way to keep things confused temporarily... but I don't need to worry you with that minutiae. I will let you know as soon as I can settle that matter, is that alright?"

Harry nodded. "Yeah, sir, just let me know."


The next study group between all of them was coming up soon, so Harry planned to get everyone else up to speed with the tidbits he had learned from Dumbledore. But that plan was slightly derailed when Professor Lockhart made a surprise announcement.

"I have something special cooked up," he told them with a wide, proud smile. "Haven't told any of the other students, naturally, but as you happen to be my favorites, well, what's the harm? The school will know about it soon enough."

"We're your favorites?" Parvati asked in surprise. "But we're only second year!"

"True," said the Professor with a nod. "But I don't believe I have quite as much fun with any other group." He glanced at Harry and stopped speaking for just a moment. "Now for the news," he continued and took out his wand. "We have been covering quite a few Defensive spells here, so I thought it may be time to put things into practice."

Harry raised his hand. "Are we going to fight someone?"

"Harriet!" Hermione looked over at him with horror. "Raise your hand first!"

"The Professor is okay with it," he said, rolling his eyes.

Lockhart laughed. "Well, if it was any other group of students, perhaps I wouldn't, but that's besides the point! Miss Potter has it dead to rights, I am delighted to say. We shall be having a dueling club, informal, of course and obviously nonlethal." He chuckled again. "The Headmaster wouldn't approve it otherwise. Professor Snape will also be there to keep an eye on things."

Ron groaned. "Sir, don't you think that's a bad idea?"

"Snape isn't going to let anything happen," said Harry. "Well, not in public anyway."

"She's got a point," said Neville.

Dean raised his hand. "Can we choose our dueling partners?" He glared at Seamus. "Maybe someone that's been irritating us lately?"

Seamus made a scoffing sound. "Ah, stuff it, Dean. We ain't having that argument in public." He smirked. "Besides, reckon I could easily wipe the floor with you."

"Oh, is that a fact, you pale-faced git?"

"Alright, alright," interjected Lockhart. "I suppose it might do to let off a bit of your ... excess energy, if you will. We should ideally have a few duels between Houses too, so you can see who's the best, eh?"

"It's us," said Parvati promptly. "No offense to them, but the Slytherin House is filled with bints and idiots, the Hufflepuffs play too fair, and the Ravenclaws are either horrid or my sister."

Lavender gasped and then giggled. "Are you implying something about Padma?"

Hermione muttered something under her breath.

"None of that now," said the Professor. "Save it for the duels!"

Harry looked at his wand and thought about it, wondering whom he could defeat amongst his peers. Although his pride suggested that he could wipe the floor with such irritants as Malfoy or Mandy Brocklehurst, Harry realized he had very little notion of how talented they might be at dueling.

"Sir," he said suddenly. "Do you think we could spend the rest of the class practicing our spellwork?"

Lockhart grinned. "I won't tell if you won't."


With all the excitement of the upcoming duelling club, Harry had mostly forgotten to tell the others about his new information on the Chamber. By the time the evening of the club's first meeting had arrived, Harry realized he didn't entirely remember everything Dumbledore had told him. Nonetheless, he held back his Gryffindor friends after dinner to tell them what he recalled.

"I know you're all itching to hex each other stupid," he said. "But I wanted to tell you guys about my meeting with Dumbledore last week before I completely forget about it."

"Last week!" Hermione looked shocked. "And it's taken you this long to say anything?"

"Really, Harriet," said Parvati. "You could've told me at the least."

Ron gave her an annoyed look. "C'mon, Parvati, don't start that bloody nonsense!"

Parvati just smirked at him.

"Right, so let me just quickly go over it," said Harry before Ron said something rude. "The Professor said that You-Know-You was definitely a Heir of Slytherin, but that doesn't mean she necessarily opened the Chamber."

Hermione opened her mouth but then closed it and shook her head.

Harry wasn't sure what that was about, but he decided to ignore it. "Also, he said that she framed Hagrid for opening the Chamber, but that was because most people thought she wasn't evil."

Lavender scowled. "Hagrid? Why that's ridiculous! He's as Slytherin as you are!"

"More than that, if we're honest," said Ron and he grinned. "We know Harriet can be a bit of a schemer."

"Shut up, Ron," said Parvati and then she giggled.

"That's really all the new stuff I got," said Harry and he shrugged. "Wish it was more, but there you go."

Hermione tapped her chin thoughtfully. "Interesting, Harriet. I think I need to write a few notes about it. Neville, will you walk me back to the Tower so I can jot a few things down before the dueling club?"

Neville blinked and then nodded. "Of course," he said.

"Me and Lavender can go find the 'Puffs," said Parvati and then Hermione winced.

"I think you all do that on purpose," she said and turned away in a huff. "Neville, coming?"

"Right," he said and trailed after her.

Ron shook his head. "That boy is entirely too well trained. I blame you, Harriet, so don't be trying that on me."

Parvati quickly covered her mouth, although Harry could tell she was trying not to laugh. Ron gave her a suspicious look but then laughed himself.

"Oh, enough, Parvati. Harriet, you want to check out the setup for the club? We can get a bit of a head start on things, eh?"

Harry nodded. "Good idea, Ron. See you girls there!"

The Great Hall had been transformed, with all the tables simply gone and a long, golden stage against one of the walls. Nearly the entire school seemed to be there, milling about and talking loudly. Lockhart stood atop the stage, grinning widely and when he saw Harry, he nodded at her. Professor Snape hovered behind him, a sour expression on his face that transformed into one of boredom as soon as he met Harry's eye.

Harry rolled his eyes at the theatrics; sometimes it seemed adults were the childish ones.

Ron whistled. "Quite a turnout, innit? You think we'll have to duel the older years?"

"I don't think it's quite that organized," said Harry. "Call it a feeling. We should clear out some space near the front so we can see everything."

"Good idea!" Ron nodded and he started pushing through the crowd of students. As he followed behind, Harry gave apologetic looks to the annoyed people in Ron's wake.

When they neared the stage, Lockhart stepped down and walked over to them.

"I say, isn't it marvelous?" He smiled widely. "Practically the whole school is here!"

"Yeah, I think everyone either likes the idea of dueling or wants to watch people do it," Harry said and he looked around the room for people he recognized. The Ravenclaws were huddled near each other, including Anthony and Padma, although she was given quite a bit of space. Mandy gave Harry a dirty look and turned her head away from them.

Harry sighed. He then saw Ernie Macmillan wave to to him and say something, although he was too far away to be heard. But Susan and Hannah didn't seem to be in attendance.

"Harriet! Ron!" It was Hermione, who had squeezed through the crowd as well, Neville right behind her. She stopped rushing when she realized Lockhart was next to them. "Professor, are you proctoring this event?"

Lockhart chuckled. "I can always count on you for the pertinent questions, Miss Granger. I'll explain everything in a few moments. Just waiting for the last sets of stragglers. I see a few now!" He pointed near one of the entrance, where a couple of last minute arrivals were coming through. Parvati and Lavender were also there, with Susan and Hannah in tow.

Lavender exchanged a few words with Parvati, and then Parvati pulled Susan forward to the front of the Hall.

"I think I'd best kick things off," said Lockhart, and he climbed back onto the stage.

"Hey, guys!" Parvati looked around excitedly. "Can you believe this crowd? I wonder how they're going to do it?"

"Attention, everyone!" Lockhart said loudly, and he tapped his throat and said Sonorus. "Everyone pay attention to me, students!" His voice suddenly boomed out over the crowd.

Behind him, Snape shook his head and seemed exasperated.

"We will now be commencing our dueling club," continued Lockhart. "Where we can all finally get in a bit of practical work and out of some stuffy classroom." He chuckled. "We will be showing off some of the useful spells for this sort of thing. Disarming, Shields, all that tosh."

"Of course it is," said Snape in a grumble, although Harry was close enough to hear it.

"Perhaps a bit of an exhibition is in order?" Lockhart looked around the room. "Champions from different Houses sort of thing? Let's see, who to choose, who to choose... Mister Malfoy, how about you take on one of the Gryffindors?"

"Anytime," said Draco with a snarl.

"Hmm, but whom to pair up with? Perhaps one of my finest students, Miss Potter?"

Harry blinked in surprise, but then he grinned. It would feel good to take out some stress on Malfoy.

"I think not," said Snape smoothly. "Pairing those two would hardly be what anyone would call a fair fight."

Malfoy smirked, but Harry realized that what the Professor was saying could easily have been about either of them.

"Well, perhaps," said Lockhart slowly. "Did you have a better candidate in mind?"

"I believe so," said Snape and he looked over the crowd. When he met eyes with Neville, the boy looked back with a completely still, calm face. "Yes, I have it," said Snape, and he smiled thinly. "I believe Mister Weasley would be the ideal choice."

Ron smiled and he jumped onto the stage.

"Will everyone just be watching them?" Snape asked, as if this was the most boring idea imaginable. "Quite a waste of their time. Perhaps they should be facing each other instead, seeing how well they are against their foolish little friends."

"Um, well, sure!" Lockhart smiled and rubbed his hands together. "Everyone, find a partner and I'll count down to our first little duel! Non-lethal spells only, of course!" And then he laughed.

Parvati grabbed Susan Bones' arm. "Susan, let's pair up!" She said this with a very excited smile on her face.

"Okay..." Susan said nervously. "But take it easy on me, okay?"

As Parvati stood up to face Susan, the look on the Gryffindor girl's face made Harry feel a bit uncomfortable.

"Good luck the both of you!" He shouted instead of trying to puzzle it out. "Neville, you want to duel?" Harry asked.

Neville nodded and shrugged. "Yeah, okay. Don't take it easy on me though, I need the practice."

Harry laughed and said, "Okay, if you insist."

"Oh, bother," said Hermione with a frown. "I suppose I can just watch, can't I? Perhaps I can step in next round?"

"You've got it," said Harry. "Unless Padma or Anthony will give you a turn."

Hermione made a face. "I doubt it. I'm a bit cross at those two. I won't bother you with the details."

"Thanks," said Neville in obvious relief and Hermione glared at him.

"Alright, all of you!" Lockhart said loudly. "On my mark. Five! Four! Three! Two! Duel!"

"Ex... Expelliarmus!" Neville shouted, and Harry dodged to the side.

He heard a few shrieks, and Hermione shouting, "Ron, look out!".

Harry managed to take a glance at the stage, where it appeared a dangerous looking snake was about to attack Ron. But before he could do anything, Neville cast another Disarming Charm, and Harry fell back instinctively.

"Expelliarmus!" He shouted, and it hit the target, causing Neville's wand to jump towards Harry.

Neville grimaced. "Well, I asked you not to take it easy, I guess that's my own fault."

"Okay, okay, okay!" Lockhart shouted over the crowd, a look of alarm on his face.

Suddenly Malfoy yelped, and Harry saw that the snake was now snapping at him.

"It appears things have gotten a bit... out of hand," said Snape in a drawl, and he pulled out his wand. "Perhaps we should clean things up?"

"Yes, yes, of course, Severus," said Lockhart in a bit of a stammer. "Go right ahead."

Snape sneered and said, "Finite Incantatem." Suddenly the snake was gone, and there seemed to be an awful less commotion.

"Oh dear me," said Lockhart as he looked over the students. "It would appear some of you have been injured. I think we ought to postpone the rest of the club for now so that can be taken of."

Several of the students seemed to be suffering minor injuries, including some twisted limbs and cursed faces. Susan Bones was near tears and her nose looked broken. It seemed like it may even have been bleeding. Parvati was saying something to her soothingly, hopefully apologizing.

"I cannot believe this mess," said Hermione with annoyance. "I didn't even get a chance to practice dueling!"

"You will next time," said Harry reassuringly. "It was kinda fun."

Neville nodded and pointed to Ron as the taller boy jumped off the stage. "He had fun."

"I didn't realize you knew the Banishing Charm," Hermione said with approval.

Ron grinned. "Last second realization, it was brilliant, eh? Harriet, did you see?"

"I saw the aftermath," said Harry. "Nice work."

"Yes," said Neville. "It was. Suspiciously good, if you ask me."

"Bugger off, Neville," said Ron, although with a light tone and a smile.

Harry laughed and they began to slowly stream out of the room. As they walked through the hallways, Harry spotted Parvati leaned against a wall.

"Harriet, let's talk for a second," said Parvati, and she pulled Harry into an empty classroom. "I heard something earlier."

"Does it have to do with the Heir?"

"Oh, no, I doubt that. It was Susan Bones. Talking to the Slytherins, if you can believe it." Parvati frowned. "I didn't let on I overheard of course, but I couldn't help myself from hexing her a bit."

"You gave her a bloody nose!" Harry said in horror.

Parvati shrugged. "Serves her right. I didn't even tell you what they were talking about, Harriet! You'll be furious when you hear," she said with glee. "She's been working with those awful Slytherin girls. To mess with us, Harriet! So you see, we have to take revenge."

Harry groaned and rubbed his temples. He was beginning to get a headache.

After debating internally for a few painful moments, Harry decided to fill Parvati in on his new plan with Susan. Although he wasn't entirely happy about it, it was better that than having her hex Susan again.

"You have to keep pretending she's not a fraud," said Harry, looking Parvati in the eyes. "We have enough nonsense to deal with otherwise."

Parvati nodded and bit her lip. "How thrilling," she said. "And utterly confusing. I'll do my best, Harriet."


The next day, all Herbology classes were cancelled due to an unusually strong blizzard, so Harry decided to pay a visit to Hagrid. He let this slip to the Gryffindors sitting near him, who weren't interested in going, but this led to an annoyed Padma asking in frustrated tones why Harry was always leaving her out of the interesting adventures.

So Harry ended up with a bit of company, a very excited Padma dragging a mildly curious Anthony Goldstein, while Hermione crept along to "make sure things didn't get out of hand".

When they arrived, Hagrid was outside chopping firewood.

"Oh, it's yeh!" He said and smiled, although he had a sad look on his face. "C'mon in and get warm, then." His shack was warm, with a pleasant fire, and he gave each of them a piping cup of tea.

"Any interesting news in the realm of fantastical creatures?" Padma asked, leaning forward with a glint in her eyes.

"Nothin' too grand, sorry to say," said Hagrid with a frown. "Somethin's been killing the roosters, not sure what it is. Could be a lot o' things, that's the problem I got."

Padma grinned, clearly entranced at the thought of a new mystery to solve. "Is it werewolves? Mundane wolves? Acromantulas? Ashwinders?"

"Doubt it's one of them," said Hagrid. "Not near a full moon for the first, and we don't have none of the regular sort o' wolves round here. As fer the spiders, they wouldn't want such a small meal. And we don't see Ashwinders during the Winter o' course."

"Yes, yes, of course," said Padma and she frowned.

"Perhaps it's a very mundane sort," said Anthony. "A fox or the like. Furry beasts or something similar."

"Or it's the Heir of Slytherin." Hermione looked around the room after she said this bit. "Oh, what? Is it that crazy?"

"I mean, I dunno," said Hagrid, scratching his head. "If it's Yeh-Know-Who, who knows what she's thinkin'? Could be she don't like 'em for some reason. But it's probably a beast, I'd expect that."

"Is there anything magical about a rooster, Hagrid?" Harry sipped at his tea. "Some reason they'd be a target?"

Hagrid shook his head. "Not by themselves, Harriet. Nothin' magical about 'em. Course, I guess you could use 'em to kill a basilisk, seein' as they come from chickens in the first place."

Hermione perked her head up. "A basilisk? I don't believe I've heard of that before."

"I recall reading about it in an addendum to Fantastic Creatures," said Anthony. "Created by Herpo the Foul, right?"

Hagrid nodded and smiled at the Ravenclaw boy. "Right yeh are! O' course, ain't none been seen in a thousand years or so, but they're bloody dangerous so that's alright."

"Dangerous? I'm surprised," said Harry. "I didn't think you thought any beasts were dangerous."

"Well, I mean basilisks ain't normal, they're Dark creatures," said Hagrid. "They can kill yeh just by lookin' at yeh. I mean they don't know no better, but nobody never tried to figure out how to stop it. Long time since one's been around, like I said."

"Maybe that's what's been petrifying the students!" Hermione leaped out of her chair, a triumphant grin on her face.

"Nah, couldn't be that," said Hagrid. "Gotta be a Dark curse, seein' as how folks are petrified. A basilisk would just kill 'em, sorry to say."

"It's okay," Padma said and patted Hermione on the shoulder. "Everyone makes mistakes, Granger."

Hermione glared at her. "Don't you start, Padma!" She looked around. "Harriet, you don't think it's that crazy, do you?"

"Um." Harry winced. "I don't think I can give you a strong opinion, Hermione. Maybe you can, you know, do some research?"

"Research, you say?" Hermione smiled. "Really, Harriet, are you just saying what you think I want to hear?"

"Now I think you're being ridiculous," said Harry. "If you think that Hagrid and Padma are wrong about this, you need to prove them wrong, but you won't do that by sitting here and yelling at them."

Hermione laughed. "Okay, Harriet, you've got me. So are you two interested?" She looked meaningfully at the two Ravenclaws. "Anthony? Padma?"

"As far as I'm concerned, the matter has been settled," said Padma with her arms crossed. "Subject matter expertise."

"Appealing to authority is a logical fallacy, Padma," said Hermione with a grin.

"She's got a point," said Anthony. "You know what, I think I am interested in researching more about dark creatures. It's better than sitting around just talking about it."

Padma shook her head. "Wasting your time, it's just ridiculous. We'd be better suited trying to figure out who the Heir is or where the Chamber of Secrets may be hidden."

"I don' think yeh all need to do all that," said Hagrid, and he scratched his head nervously. "Leave it to the Professors."

"I think it's about time to head back," said Harry quickly before anyone had the chance to say something against that. "Lunch and all that. Hagrid, this has been great, thanks."

Hagrid nodded with a huge smile. "Anytime, o' course, Harriet! Yeh and yer friends are always welcome."

Harry amused himself as they trudged back through the snow by listening to Padma trying to convince Anthony not to research with Hermione. Unfortunately for her, it seemed that it was only serving to make the Ravenclaw boy more convinced.

When they arrived in the Hall, there was a noticeable clamor and commotion. Students were nervously talking and a few were even shouting, although it wasn't clear what had happened.

Parvati ran over to them, having spotted their entrance. "There's been another attack," she said, a look of horror on her face. "Lisa Turpin and the Grey Lady! Both petrified in the hall"

Anthony gasped. "A ghost was petrified? I didn't even know that was possible."

"Do you still think it's a Dark creature?" Padma asked Hermione.

"Oh, it's as good a guess as any," responded Hermione. "Something attacked those roosters, and it may not be a coincidence. If I could just figure out how a basilisk could petrify someone instead of killing them." She frowned and tapped her chin in thought. "Unless it's a different sort of Dark creature altogether."

"Uh oh," said Harry. "Was Mandy there?"

Parvati gave Harry a curious look. "Why, no. I don't think so, anyway, otherwise she'd be petrified too, wouldn't she?"

But the reason Harry had asked was that a red eyed and furious Mandy Brocklehurst was stomping towards them.

"Oh, um, Mandy," Hermione started to say. "We just heard. We were out..."

"Shut up," said Mandy with an angry snarl. "You think I'm going to believe a bloody word you're saying?" She turned to face Harry. "This was you, wasn't it? Trying to eliminate your enemies? Is there even really a Heir, or is that just all lies to hide your real plan?"

Harry frowned. "My real plan?"

"Don't give me that pretend innocence, Potter," said Mandy with near a growl. "Maybe you're lying about something else. Hell, for all I know, you really are the Heir of Slytherin. Would explain an awful lot."

"But.. but that's just nonsense!" Hermione protested. "She's as Gryffindor as it gets! Besides, everyone knows You-Know-You is the true Heir."

"Oh, I know that's the propaganda," said Mandy and her eyes narrowed. "I've heard the rumors. So many coincidences. Somehow Quirrell happens to 'die' in an accident last year and Harriet ends up in the Hospital Wing. How curious. And this year, her godfather Sirius Black 'escapes' from the unescapable prison and suddenly people have been attacked by Dark curses." Her voice was getting louder and more shrill. "Anything you want to confess, Potter?"

"You're being ridiculous," said Harry and then Mandy slapped him - hard.

Harry grabbed his face unconsciously, and then Parvati yanked on Mandy's hair, pulling her away from him. Mandy tried to pull out her wand, but Parvati grabbed her hand first and twisted.

"Ow! Get off me, you Gryffindor whore!"

Parvati smacked Mandy on the head and then hit her again. Hermione grabbed Parvati and pulled her back, and then Lavender appeared, stepping between Parvati and Mandy.

"Harriet, you okay?" It was Ron, looking quite concerned. "I didn't want to just step in. My Mum wouldn't be happy if I was in a fight with a girl. Um, no offense!"

Harry rolled his eyes. "Calm down, Ron. I'm okay, she just caught me by surprise."

"You'll all pay," said Mandy, her eyes red and her nose running. "Especially you, Potter!" And then she turned and ran from the room.

"Yikes," said Harry and he felt a bit shaken. Another petrifying and a surprise attack from Mandy, and suddenly Hogwarts didn't seem quite as safe as it had been. He walked over to the Ravenclaw table to where Luna was sitting.

"Hello, Not-Harriet," said Luna with a smile. "You sure like getting slapped by Mandy!"

"Not quite how'd I'd put it, but sure," said Harry. "I think I'll be staying with you over the holidays after all. At least there I won't have the Heir or crazy Ravenclaws to worry about."

Luna beamed. "It's going to be wonderful! I can't wait to show you the story Ginny and I wrote about you! You're going to find it so embarrassing!"

Harry grimaced but then he chuckled. "You know, that actually does sound like fun."


"So this is the kitchen," said Luna, waving her arms around. "This is where we make our food. Daddy says that eating is important for the active mind." She picked up an odd looking pot, sort of a mix between a corkscrew and a jar. "I'm not sure what this one is for. Maybe porridge?"

Harry laughed. "We'll figure it out. Where's your dad anyway?" He had expected Mister Lovegood to collect them from the train, but it had ended up being easier just to travel with the Weasleys through the Floo Network and walk the short distance to Luna's.

"In his study, I'd expect," said Luna. "Supposedly he and the Headmaster were working on protections for the house or something. He said he couldn't explain fully in his letter due to security reasons." She shrugged. "I guess he's worried people might try and kill you."

"That is a concern," said Harry in a dry tone. "Anyway, I'd be happy to help cook for you two. I'm not like an expert or anything, but Mrs. Weasley didn't let me help her."

Luna nodded. "She's a tyrant of her kitchen, Ginny always says. But then again, she's a great cook, so maybe that's what she needs. Hey, let me show you my room!"

As he walked through the Lovegood house, Harry kept being surprised by the unusual furnishings, like stuffed animals that were clearly composites of several different creatures and portraits with nothing in them. There was a sort of madcap energy around, and it wasn't entirely unpleasant either. Luna's room was actually a bit understated in comparison, with a nice blue aesthetic, a small but overstuffed bookcase, and a bunch of drawings hung on the wall.

"I have a picture of you up here," said Luna, as she looked through her books. "Ah, here we are." She pulled out a large album and smiled at Harry. "Can you find the picture?"

"Hmm." Harry walked over and looked at the pictures. They were actually quite decent; he could easily recognize Ginny in a few of them. One of them had a drawing of a girl with glasses and no hair at all. And then Harry realized there were a few lightning scars on her forehead.

"Is this bald girl supposed to be me?" Harry asked, trying not to laugh.

"I couldn't draw you as a boy," said Luna, flipping through the pages of her album. "Couldn't do it, the Curse and all, I think. And since I couldn't draw your real hair, I drew no hair at all. Logical. Anyway, let me show you something." She pulled out a newspaper and handed it to Harry. "Here's one of the stories we wrote. You can read it while I find my notes."

It was a copy of The Quibbler from several years prior, and it took Harry a moment to find the story.

From the quill of Selene Finnabair:

More Adventures of the Young Harriet Potter

This week's magical tale is "Harriet and the Secret of Deathman's Mountain"

"Selene Finnabair?"

Luna was sitting on her bed, searching through pieces of parchment. "It's sort of inspired by our names. Selene is like the Greek version of my name, and Finnabair is basically another version of Ginevra in Irish. Oh, here it is!" She smiled back at Harry. "It's my ideas for experiments."

"Oh. Yeah, of course!" Harry felt a bit nervous but he gave a big grin to Luna. "What do you have in mind?"

"I thought we'd start with something simple," said Luna. "Like trying to say your real name."

Harry nodded, feeling a sense of anticipation and excitement. It felt almost like being happy.

"Okay," he said. "Let's get started."


Next time, it's the holidays:

"I am afraid I have some bad news," said Dumbledore. "Dementors will be at Hogwarts."

Harry didn't recall what that meant, but it certainly didn't sound good.


So I mentioned earlier about post chapter notes, so here they are!

What sort of experiments might you like to see? I have a few already in mind, but I thought I'd test the waters and see what nuttiness people are thinking of. Some ground rules:

1) NO SEX STUFF - Both Harry and Luna are too young for that. Maybe in two years or so that'll change.


That's about it. Anyway, I know there are authors out there who "hold stories hostage" for reviews, which I find reprehensible. So I promise I will never do that. That being said, the next chapter will be finished when it's finished.
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