Categories > Books > Harry Potter > Harry Potter and the Aftermath

Level Ten

by RyanJenkins 0 reviews

Harry leads the battle against a terrifying surprise, found underneath the Ministry of Magic itself.

Category: Harry Potter - Rating: G - Genres: Drama - Characters: Bill Weasley,Harry,Hermione,Kingsley,Ron - Published: 2016-07-20 - 4343 words - Complete



“Any change?”

“None. It's not moving, there's no indication of increased activity. Here – ” I took the display back up to the floor of the cells, and tapped the inlaid seal again. The box still said “Locked.” I opened up a second window and put the two images side by side.

“Oh, nice – didn't know you could do that,” said Ron. “That helps.”

“I'm going to get Kingsley. Stay here.” Harry disappeared.

“Even if that seal is some sort of pop-top for a can of fresh basilisk, how are we going to get it open?” I thought it was a good question.

“I don't think that will be a problem,” said Hermione. “It probably opens just like the Chamber of Secrets.” I knew about Harry's encounter with a basilisk at Hogwarts, but there was so much ground to cover this morning – was it only this morning? – that he'd skipped a lot of details. When I looked a question, she and Ron told me about Harry being a parselmouth, and described the fight in the Chamber. They were still talking, and I was realizing how very modest Harry had been, when crack-crack! Harry and Kingsley appeared in the room.

“No change, Harry,” said Neville. None of us had taken our eyes off the display.

Kingsley looked at it intently. “Ryan, you may not have been informed, but Apparition is limited in the Ministry building – it is only possible to Apparate within the structure inside the top two levels, to other places in the building from the top two levels, and to them from other places only as a return trip. Everywhere else, everyone must use the lifts or the stairs. This will require careful handling. Let's see – it's after six, many people will have left.”

“If the basilisk has been sitting there all this time, we can probably take time to prepare, and choose our moment,” pointed out Harry, “not that I want us to take our eyes off that screen for a second. Time to organize this – set up a watch – change it about every ten minutes – uhh...alphabetically by first name. Abner, you're up.”

“Right. Ten minutes. Bill's next.”

“Good!” said Kingsley. “And you're right, Harry, we have some time in hand. But I cannot allow people to come in tomorrow morning if the basilisk is still there. We should do this with the building empty, but there are always some who stay on after hours. Hmmm. I can send a general memo asking everyone to leave, say within an hour, because...” He frowned.

“Because I need the place empty in order to conduct a series of sensitive and delicate tests for an insidious hidden surveillance charm which Voldemort could have left behind.
Any casual magic in the building could throw off the results.” Bill's voice carried conviction.

“Excellent. Taking all possible precautions for the security of our people. That will do nicely.” Kingsley disappeared.

Elliott shifted in his chair and looked at Harry. “So it looks as if we'll be able to let the beastie out, but what do we do then, exactly?”

“Just what I was thinkin',” said Ron, and Hermione added, “Harry, I think you're the only Wizard who's actually killed a basilisk in something like four hundred years. But I don't think your experience is going to do us much good.”

“Too right,” agreed Harry. “I don't happen to have a magic sword on me at the moment, and anyway, I'd have never stood a chance if Fawkes hadn't blinded it first. This time, though, I've got my wand for a change. Let's try and avoid close quarters, shall we?” At that moment, Kingsley Apparated back into his chair, and Harry added, “Kingsley, we were just talking about how one goes about killing a basilisk.”

“Will Avada Kedavra do it?” asked Neville.

“It may. In fact, it should,” said Kingsley slowly, “but this isn't just a basilisk, it's Voldemort's basilisk. So just in case the killing curse doesn't kill, I'd like to have a Plan B in place and ready to go.” Bill was nodding emphatically.

“I don't think we have a complete Plan A yet,” objected Elliott.

“Too right,” put in Abner, without taking his eyes off the display. “You've got to look at a thing to curse it, and what if it looks back?”

“I just remembered!” exclaimed Hermione. “The only thing fatal to it is the crow of the rooster. That was in the book at Hogwarts.”

“Of course!” rejoined Harry. “That was on the piece of paper we found in your hand when you were petrified.”

“We can get a rooster,” said Ron, “but if the basilisk sees him first he won't be in any condition to crow.”

The sound of a rooster crowing filled the room, and everyone looked around – except Abner. But he'd been aware that I'd brought up another window on the screen and started riffling through some computer files. I made the rooster crow again. “Will that do?”

“Same answer!” Kingsley was grinning. “It should! But I'd still like a Plan B.”

It took us four hours before we were ready. Neville went out to St. Mungo's and brought back some mandrake root potion; the best Plan B we could evolve carried a serious risk of someone's being petrified. Plan B was actually Plan C. Elliott suggested we simply put up mirrors in the room and wait for it to see itself, but nobody was at all sure this would work. Still, it seemed worth trying, so the walls, ceiling and floor of the detention room were turned into perfect reflecting surfaces by Bill and Hermione. While they were in there, Ron never took his eyes from the display screen.

The idea was that the basilisk would emerge into a mirrored area, and if seeing itself didn't kill it, it would immediately hear the crow of the rooster, repeatedly. I went down and put audio transducer spells in place, but it took a little time to connect them properly. Something on Level Nine kept interfering, and since that floor houses the Department of Mysteries, there was no hope of finding out what it was. We finally had to bypass that floor completely by drilling through the stonework so the multipair charm went straight from the stairs to the lift shaft.

The display should tell us if the basilisk changed position, or if it died. If it didn't, though, we would have to let it come up to the next level to attack it. Tackling a basilisk in a room full of mirrors – if it was immune to its own glance – was unanimously voted a Really Bad Idea. On level ten, we closed off and sealed all the doors with every lock and barrier spell anybody could think of, hopefully confining the beast to the hallways and the stairs. I put several more audio transducers at the ends of the hallways, and set up an audio mixer to operate them independently. We hoped a sound, coming from one of them, might distract the basilisk, or attract it, as might be necessary. The idea of a basilisk loose in the Department of Mysteries was judged an Even Worse Idea, so we blocked the stairway to Level Nine, and the hallway in front of the door to the Department, with a solid mass of filing cabinets, reinforced with chains, holding charms and barrier spells.

To look at the basilisk without risking more than petrification meant seeing it in a mirror. In Hogwarts, four people, a cat, and a ghost had been petrified by the Basilisk's glance, but only the ghost (Nearly Headless Nick, who I was much looking forward to meeting) had seen it directly, and of course he couldn't be killed because he was already dead. The others had seen it indirectly – one through a camera lens, one through the ghost, two in a mirror, and one (the cat) reflected in a pool of water. We talked about welder's masks and video cameras, but decided to stick with things that were already proven to work. It was Hermione who solved the problem by remembering a Muggle children's toy she'd had – a little cardboard periscope. She and Ron left, and it was over two hours later when they came back with half a dozen of them, new in boxes, and laid them on the desk with a polite suggestion that we not ask where they got them.

Plan C was admittedly dangerous, and I thought bordered on desperate, but if the Killing Curse would work on basilisks, it would – probably – give someone a good shot at the target. Two Wizards would Apparate simultaneously to different points. In a narrow space like the hallway, we figured the creature would only be looking in one direction. One person might be petrified but the other would have a chance to hurl the curse, and if necessary to use accio on the victim and Apparate back. If all went well. If someone got bitten, however, we had no phoenix tears to save them.

The question of who would go was settled almost before it was asked. Harry announced he would lead the first team. I thought Kingsley was going to object, but Harry's look made it plain that if he did he would have to start looking for a new Head Auror. Abner would go with Harry. Kingsley and Bill would be a second team, and Ron and Neville a third.

Harry had his wand in his right hand, a periscope in his left, and was about to go down and try to open the Seal when I shook my head like a horse. “Harry, wait a minute. You don't have to go down. I'm an idiot. My brain must be clogged or something. Audio transducer charms can be reversed. You can say your say right up here, and have it come out the speakers in the detention chamber. Sorry. I should have thought of that hours ago.”

“You thought of it in time, mate, and that's good enough. Let's try it.” I made the change and nodded at him, watching the level meters. Everyone but me and Elliott (who was on watch) looked at Harry. He began to speak. What we heard was a series of weird hissing sounds – and the yellow circle on the display turned suddenly red. The dialog box changed to read Ministry Seal – Unlocked, and the basilisk icon began to flash and change. It looked like it was swirling, or maybe uncoiling.

I changed the transducers in Harry's office back to speaker-form, and changed one of the units in the detention chamber over to pickup-form. We suddenly heard the sound of metal grating on stone. This continued for what seemed like about three years, but was probably more like three minutes. There was a pause, and then the sound of something heavy setting down – a great grinding thump. Then there was a slithering sound – that's the only word that comes close to describing it, a hard-edged, oily sort of sliding noise.

The basilisk roared.

It was a very low-frequency hiss, I guess. It sounded a bit like a huge fire extinguisher, if a fire extinguisher could sound angry. The icon on the display started to change shape, it elongated. And it moved. It roared again.

“It would seem the mirrors aren't doing it,” said Kingsley.

“I thought it might be just a story somebody made up.” said Hermione, “After all, a basilisk might catch a glimpse of its own tail. But at any rate, now we know.”

“Let's have the cock crow,” Harry ordered. I let it go, three times in a row, and we held our breaths.

The basilisk roared.

I gave it another three rooster crows, with the volume all the way up. It roared again, longer and louder. We all looked at each other with grave concern, and I use the term advisedly. “I don't understand it,” said Bill, “the authoritative books all say the crow of the rooster is fatal to basilisks.”

“Maybe Voldemort made it deaf,” suggested Neville.

“It seemed to hear the rooster all right, it responded,” pointed out Elliott.

“Nothing for it then,” said Harry decisively. “Ready, Abner?” They took their places on either side of me. “Ryan, where does it seem to be now?”

“It looks like it's moving toward the North end of the room, between the cages. It's heading for the stairs.” We watched the flashing icon move across the window displaying the detention cell level, reach the edge, and shorten. It appeared in the stairwell on the other window, and started to lengthen. “It's reached Level Ten.”

I had zoomed in on Level Ten until we were just seeing the corridors, with the courtrooms off-screen. They looked like a capital letter T, with the crossbar running East to West, and the upright going off to the South. At the top of the T was the stairwell down to the detention cells. At either end of the crossbar were doors to courtrooms. Along the upright of the T were doors on either side, and there was another one at the end. All, of course, were locked and blocked by the strongest spells we had been able to conjure.

Hermione was talking to herself. “It doesn't make sense. Harry's parseltongue worked over the speakers.”

“It's heading down the South corridor!” Harry snapped. “Abner, go for the East corridor, and I'll take the West end. Ready – steady – go!” They both disappeared. Their icons blinked in on the display, flashing. They moved toward the center, and we knew they were using their periscopes to look around the corner.

We heard both yell “Avada Kedavra!”

The screen lit with blinding green lightning bolt icons bordered in red – and then went wonky. It was like a sudden blizzard of multicolored snow, except for a dialog box that popped up, “Sorceri Interdictum – magic is blocked in this area.” I had never seen that happen before.

The basilisk roared.

Bill yelled “Harry! There's an interference spell! Magic is blocked!”

“It's still alive!” Abner Proudfoot's voice echoed.

“Get back here – NOW!” yelled Kingsley.

“We can't!” came Harry's voice after a moment. “We can't Apparate. And I think it's coming this way. Abner – wait – don't look – !”

“Ahhh! I just saw its eyes, and I'm not Petrified.” Abner sounded very surprised. “It's coming!”

“Be careful!” Kingsley exlaimed. “Venom! Its fangs are deadly even without magic!”

“Harry!” Shouted Elliott. “If magic is blocked, the locking spells on the doors may be off – see if you can get into the courtroom – block the door with something!”

The screen looked like it was beginning to clear up, I could see things again, fuzzily. I sent the rooster crow to the transducer behind the basilisk, at the end of the South hall. The monster's icon on the screen stopped, and foreshortened.

“Harry! Abner! Watch it! The blocking spell looks like it's wearing off!” I yelled. “It's going for the rooster sound – go for the door!” But Harry's icon was already at the end of the corridor. Crashing noises started coming. I made the rooster crow again. The basilisk was at the South end of the hallway.

There was a big crash, and Harry yelled, “I've got the door open – come on, Abner!” Abner's icon was still on the other side, but it started moving across the center – and then stopped and suddenly became faint. We heard a body fall. The basilisk must have turned around. “He's Petrified! I'll get him!” came Harry's voice, and then “Avada Kedavra!” The basilisk roared. Hermione screamed. The interference was back full on the screen and we couldn't see a thing.

There were some confused noises, draggings, bumpings, and the sound of Harry's labored breathing – then the sound of a door slamming. After a moment, there was a series of heavy bumps and thumps.

“Harry!” called Hermione in a strained voice, “Are you all right?”

“I'm OK!” Harry's voice was faint, and I boosted the gain on the audio transducer over the door he'd gone through. “And I've got Abner. I'm piling chairs up against the door! I can't hear you very well!”

I boosted the level on the speaker-transducer at the opposite end of the hall. “Is that better?”

“Yeah, some, it's echo-ey, but I can hear you,” said Harry.

Bill spoke up urgently, “Harry, that magic blocking spell seems to be triggered by an unforgivable curse, but it wears off after a couple of minutes. We can tell you when it's gone, and you can Apparate again.”


“I know!” suddenly exclaimed Hermione. “I know what happened! Harry's voice opened the chamber from up here, but the rooster crow didn't work – it's not the speaker system, it's the recording! If we can get a live rooster up here – ”

I was watching the screen. “It's starting to clear, Harry.”

“Better wait til it's all clear,” said Neville, “don't want you to splinch yourself!”

“Ron,” said Hermione urgently, “you said something about getting a rooster. Do you know someone who has one?”

“Yeah!” said Ron. “The Fawcetts do, just down the road from The Burrow. Let's go!”

“Wait!” commanded Kingsley. “Hermione, you stay here. We need you. Neville, go with Ron.” The two of them DisApparated, going to the lobby to take the floo network.

“OK, Harry, it looks clear to me,” I called. “See if you can do magic – lift chairs with your wand or something.”

“Right!” came from Harry, followed by more thumps. “It works! I can move chairs with my wand! I'll grab Abner and be right up!” We all looked around – but nothing happened. Harry's voice came again. “I still can't Apparate! Nothing happens when I try.”

I started going through some pull-down menus, fast, and my hunch paid off. “Oh boy. It looks like there's an Anti-DisApparition jinx on levels...ten and below. I can't tell for sure – here's another note for the Research people – but it may be – I think – considering where I found it – this is a kind of block that won't just fade out. If I'm right, it will persist until it's released, or turned off, by some counterspell.”

“That's not good.” Kingsley shook his head.

“The question is,” said Bill, “is this something Voldemort did? Or is it some kind of protective spell that's been there all along for some reason?”

“I've never heard of anything like this, but then I'm only a junior –” Elliot suddenly interrupted himself, looking surprised. “-- that is, I was a junior member of the Auror Department. Kingsley, are there any records of spells or enchantments related to this area?”

“I don't know,” admitted Kingsley. “But let's see if we can find out. They may be in my office, but they may also be here, or in the Magical Law Enforcement offices. I'll see what I can find upstairs. Elliott, you look in the files here....”

“And I'll search the Magical Law Enforcement files,” said Hermione determinedly. “I'll help you!” chimed in Bill.

This caught Kingsley by surprise, but he liked it. “Good! But I'll have to take you there and open things up for you. Let's go, and meet back here in, say, half an hour...”

CRASH! Came from Level Ten. “He's found us!” Harry yelled. The screen was clear and the Basilisk's icon was against the door. I made the rooster crow on the opposite end of the T crossbar, and the basilisk began to move toward it. “I'll try to keep the beastie away from Harry, but I don't know how long it's gonna work.”

“Make that fifteen minutes,” snapped Kingsley. He, Bill, and Hermione ran out the door, heading for the hallway, and Elliott was right behind them. I could hear him banging file drawers and spilling folders as I watched the screen. When the basilisk started to move back toward Harry's end of the T, I suckered him all the way down the upright with more rooster crows. He smashed against that door for awhile, but the locking spells (and the great pile of furniture Kingsley and Bill had put on the other side) held and he turned back up the hall.

All this took a little while, and I was beginning to think the monster snake was moving slower than he ought to be. Elliott came back into the room as I had him up against the door opposite Harry's again. “There's nothing there – or at any rate, nothing I'm going to find at all quickly,” he said tightly.

Just then, Kingsley appeared in the room. “I found something! Elliott, go get Bill and Hermione. Where's the basilisk?” I showed him what was happening as I heard Elliott out in the corridor, yelling for the other two. They came on the run.

“Look at this,” said Kingsley, unrolling a small parchment scroll. “It was in my top desk drawer, but I'd swear it wasn't there before.”

I couldn't take my eyes off the display. “What's it say?”

Hermione exclaimed “That's Dumbledore's handwriting! I'd know it anywhere. Uhh – 'M.B. and A.D.J. Triggered by U.C. L10 & below, 3 January 1997. Counterspell: Master of EW – AD.'”

The basilisk was crossing the T again and I let the rooster sound come from the south end. The monster hesitated. The rooster crowed again, and it moved slowly into the South corridor. “It looks like the basilisk is movin' kinda slow – I don't know why...” Everybody looked at the display.

“I wonder if the killing spell wounded it,” offered Bill, “at least somewhat, before the block came down.”

“Perhaps,” said Kingsley, “but we won't experiment with that...unless we have no choice.”

Hermione and Elliot were studying the parchment. “M.B. - magic block, triggered by U.C. - unforgivable curse,” said Elliott.

“Yes,” agreed Hermione, “and A.D.J. - Anti DisApparition Jinx.”

“Makes sense,” put in Bill. “I didn't think there was any way to block an Unforgivable Curse, and I'd guess the only way he could do it – amazing man, Dumbledore – was to block all magic, but that couldn't be left in place for long so it wears off after a few minutes. Blocking Apparition to counter an escape, on the other hand, couldn't be allowed to wear off, it would have to be removed deliberately. But what's the EW?”

“The Elder Wand,” said Hermione. “It has to be.”

“When he wrote that,” Kingsley said, “the Master of the Elder Wand was Dumbledore himself. So he was the only one who knew the counterspell...”

“And he didn't pass it on to me,” came Harry's voice; he'd been listening. “Never said a word about it.”

The basilisk was coming North again and I tried a rooster crow from behind it. Instead of turning around, though, it stopped – and we heard a crash, and then another, and another. “It's trying the other doors in the South corridor. Are they well blocked?”

“There wasn't much furniture in those small rooms,” said Bill doubtfully.

“Where do they go? Oh! Wait...” I felt stupid as I zoomed the display out some. “Looks like an anteroom to the large courtroom...”

“Harry!” Bill, Elliott and Hermione yelled it together, and Elliot continued, “The other doors to the room you're in! Are they blocked?”

“Not yet!” Harry's voice was faint, and accompanied by a renewed series of thumps and crashes.

“Oh, where are Ron and Neville!” Hermione moaned. “They should have been back by now. Maybe I should...” She was interupted by a double CRACK! as Ron and Neville suddenly appeared in the room, looking very seriously disheveled. Neville was clutching an extremely annoyed white-and-red rooster, which was craning its neck and trying to peck at anything in reach. Both were covered with scratches, their robes were torn and muddy, and Ron's head was dripping blood down the back.

Ron!” screamed Hermione “What happened? Are you – ”

“I'm fine!” snapped Ron. “Let's get this over with. I want to go home and ask Mum how you cook chicken stew!” He glared at the rooster, who glared back and lunged at him.

CRASH! The basilisk's icon moved, slowly and noisily, into the anteroom.

“Harry!” called out Kingsley, “We've got a live rooster! Hang on!”

The basilisk was moving around the anteroom. It was searching.

Neville set the rooster down, and it immediately started after him. “Help!” He jumped up on a chair.

Pedo immobilo!” Hermione's wand was pointed at the rooster's feet, which were now stuck to the carpet. Neville slid down and collapsed in the chair.

“Come on, chickie chick chick! – crow for us then, come on...” Ron's voice was silky but menacing. The rooster struggled to free itself and all its feathers seemed to stand out.

CRASH! The basilisk was battering the door into the large courtroom.

“Does anybody know how to make a rooster crow?” asked Elliott.

“He crows every day at sunrise,” said Ron. “Come on, crow, you little..”

CRASH! There were more bangs and thumps. Harry was moving chairs and things again. I suddenly remembered something, and dived into my files. The display went blank and then we were looking at a nightclub stage. A musician started to play a guitar riff, and the audience cheered and applauded.

“Ryan, this is not the time for...”

“Let it go!” I didn't think twice about interrupting the Minister For Magic. “Quiet everybody! Turn out the lights!” The room went dark except for the screen, which now showed the rooftops of the French Quarter, with streetlights glowing.

CRASH! CRASH! The basilisk was making progress.

The singer began,

There is a house in New Orleans –

On the screen, the stars faded, the sky lightened, and a glow suffused the horizon, as the sun came up over the Big Easy.

They callllllll the Riiiiiising Sunnnnn....

The rooster flapped its wings, and crowed.

The basilisk screamed.

And it's been the ruin –

The rooster crowed again.

– of many a poor boy,

The basilisk made a strange noise, a gasping, choking, hissing which ended abruptly.

And God...I know...I've won.
Sign up to rate and review this story