A/N: This chapter fought me hard, but I finally beat it into submission. I don't know if its good, but now we can move on because I covered the the rest of Year 1 and Year 2.
Disclaimer: I'm not JK Rowling, I do not own Harry Potter.
After the Gryffindor victory, the trio made their way down to the Great Hall for dinner, the Gryffindors cheering loudly, while the Slytherins sulked. Most of them didn't even show up, tucking their tails between their legs and hididng up in their dungeons. When Harry inquired to why his broom was acting up, and Hermione and Neville told him that it was Snape. Neville proudly told Harry how Hermione set fire to his robes, the green-eyed boy looking at his blushing best friend with immense gratitude.
"Anytime," she shrugged, the three breaking out into laughter as they continued their meal. Of course, the questions kept pouring into Harry's head. Did Snape really hate him enough to kill him?
Harry received another tea invitation from Hagrid and brings Hermione and Neville along, where they told the half-giant about Snape jinxing the broom to try and kill Harry, though he dismisses it as nonsense. When Hermione told Hagrid about Snape getting injured by a three-headed dog in the third floor corridor, Hagrid let it slip that its name is 'Fluffy' and that he got it from a 'Greek chappie.' Hagrid also let it slip that the dog was guarding is a secret known only to Albus Dumbledore and a man named Nicolas Flamel.
Their curiosity was peaked, but Hagrid refused to answer any more questions, knowing that he had said too much already. Hermione was determined to research this 'Nicholas Flamel' and find out what Fluffly could be guarding.
Christmas was approaching fast, and Hermione wasn't excited. Christmas had never been a big deal, considering she spent every Christmas at the orphanage. Sometimes Miss Abbey would treat them to some candy, but that would be it. She would normally just spend the whole day reading in her room, trying to ignore all the children buzzing with irritating Christmas spirit.
She was lying to her friends again. She had told Harry and Neville that her parents were going out of town for Christmas and gave her the option of staying at the castle. Harry, though, was overjoyed that she was staying, as he was too.
One problem for her, was that she didn't have anything to give to her best friends. She didn't have money to buy them any gifts, and didn't have any way to buy them anything. She felt sad, because they were her first friends and she wanted to show them her gratitude. Thankfully, Professor McGonagall noticed Hermione's sullen demeanor and found out her woes. In exchange for helping the Professor clean out her classroom, she made a deal that she would pay Hermione so that she could buy presents for Harry and Neville.
During their break, Hermione would help Professor organize her class 'the muggle way', and she even got some old books of McGonagall's that she didn't need anymore. Of course, she knew that Hermione would read anything she could get her hands on.
Professor McGonagall was able to get Harry and Neville some treats from Honeyduke's, and she also gave Hermione a copy of 'Quidditch Through the Ages', to gift to Harry. Hermione's time with Professor McGonagall turned out to be beneficial when she inquired about Nicholas Flamel. McGonagall, understanding the girl's perpetual thirst for knowledge, told her that he was a famous alchemist, which gave her a clue of where to look in the library.
Hermione woke up on Christmas day and walked out of the empty dorms into the common room, where she found Harry sitting by the fire, staring at the tree with large, excited eyes. He caught sight of Hermione and smiled, "Happy Christmas, Hermione."
"Happy Christmas, Harry," she said with a smile, walking out into the common room, where there were a couple of presents under the large tree. No one other than Harry and Hermione had stayed in Gryffindor, though the duo found it to be relaxing without the normal chaos. Hermione opened her gifts - she received a beautiful emerald cloak from Professor McGonagall along with some candy and a couple of books from Neville.
"Here," Hermione shyly handed Harry his gifts, watching as the green-eyed boy looked confused. He actually had presents? He took the two packages from Hermione and opened the top, smiling when he saw a box of Honeyduke's chocolate, which had become one of his favorites after Neville shared with him. He beamed brightly when he saw the other gift, his very own copy of 'Quidditch Through the Ages'. Now, he would be able to know the sport inside and out.
"Thank you, Hermione." Harry said to the blushing girl, he then told her to wait, while he ran up into his dorm where he kept Hermione's present. He carried it back down to her and she gasped as soon as she saw it. "This is for you."
He had Hagrid collect some money out of his vault to buy Christmas gifts for his friends, practically giddy that he had friends to give gifts to. He wanted to make them really special, so he had Hagrid get Neville a couple of expensive books on Herbology and Neville's favorite candy, Bertie Bott's Every Flavour Beans.
For Hermione, he was a little confused. If his aunt was any example, he knew that girl's liked jewelry and clothes as gifts, but Hermione wasn't a typical girl. She was special, and he wanted a gift that matched that. He noticed that she didn't bring an animal with her to Hogwarts, and wanted her to have a companion besides Harry and Neville.
Hermione stared at the tiny dark brown furball mewling in Harry's arms. It was a Kneazle! Hermione thought that it was absolutely adorable, with large ears, spotted fur, and a plumped tail reminiscent of a lion. Hagrid had told Harry that the shop owner had a Kneazle that had given birth recently, and he had gotten one of the kittens.
"I hope your parents are okay with me getting you this. Happy Christmas, Hermione." Harry said, handing the Kneazle to Hermione, who took it gently in her arms. She cradled the feline as it stared up at her with large amber eyes, a purr sounding from its throat. After studying her for a bit, he rubbed his face affectionately against hers.
"Thank you, Harry," Hermione whispered with unshed tears in her eyes. Placing the Kneazle down on the ground, she turned to her smiling best friend and wrapped her arms around him. She had never given, nor received a hug before, but with Harry, it felt like the right thing to do. She had to thank him, somehow.
Harry immediately tensed up when she hugged him, but the feeling was quite pleasant, and he returned his first hug with gusto. He inhaled her scent of fresh parchment and vanilla, her bushy hair tickling his face and making him smile.
Both pulled back a little awkward, before Hermione scooped up the eager kitten in her arms and Harry scratched his head, "What are you going to name him?"
"Hmm...I know! Castor."
"Castor," Harry repeated and gently petted the small feline, staring at Hermione's happy face.
After Christmas dinner, Hermione and Harry decided to sneak out using Harry's invisibility cloak, which he received from an anonymous person, the note stating that it belonged to his father. They snuck into the library and into the restricted section to look up information on alchemy, hoping to find anything on Nicholas Flamel, until Filch and Mrs. Norris walked down the corridor. They snuck into a room, knowing that the cat could probably sense them under the cloak and hid.
It was an empty room, with a large mirror in the center of it.
"Erised stra ehru oyt ube cafru oyt on wohsi," Harry sounded out the words above the mirror and turned to Hermione. "What language is that?"
She narrowed her eyes and studied it closer, seeing that 'Erised' was 'desire' spelled backward. Backwards...mirror, she thought and turned to her best friend. "It's not a language, Harry, it's just backwards. I show...not your face...but your...heart's desire." Hermione read and Harry gasped as he looked into the mirror, pressing his hands against it. "What? What is it?"
"It-It's my parents! Look! It's my mum and dad!" Harry stuttered out, not taking his eyes off of the mirror, staring into it. Hermione glanced into the mirror, but couldn't see Harry's parents. She only saw Harry looking at himself, his face full of both happiness and sadness. He turned to look at Hermione, who shook her head.
"Harry, I don't see them."
"What do you mean? They're right there," Harry said, his voice almost pleading. "Mum, dad..."
Hermione kept looking into the mirror, before Harry walked over to stand beside her. "Hermione, what do you see?"
Hermione gazed into the mirror, suddenly Harry and Neville were beside her. They looked different - older, happy, her two best friends looking quite handsome, while she was more mature looking, her hair not so bushy, her teeth not so large, her body not so gangly. All three of them were laughing together, beaming wide with happiness. The Hermione in the mirror turned to Harry next to her, who took her hand in his while smiling that crooked grin. They then grew older, now looking like adults, but still together.
Her greatest desire was that she wanted her best friends with her forever. She never wanted them to leave her, like her parents left her, and silently vowed that they would always be together, and be there for each other. At least, she would be there for them.
Later while she laid in her bed, Hermione briefly wondered why she didn't see her own parents in the mirror, but then realized that they obviously didn't care enough to keep her, or to even leave her with a last name, so why should she desire to see them? She was glad with her greatest desire, her real family - Harry and Neville.
"What do you see?"
Hermione glanced over to Harry's eager face and gave him a small serene smile. "The three of us, older. Still the best of friends," Hermione told Harry, who looked perplexed. "This mirror shows our greatest desire, Harry. Your greatest desire is having your parents back."
She glanced down to her right hand, the one 'Harry' in the mirror was holding, even as adults. She might have been fooling herself, but she could feel a slight warmth, like he really was holding her hand. She stepped back and Harry watched the mirror again, Hermione sitting back and letting him. He eventually got tired of standing and sat down, staring, gazing, longing.
Hermione was heartbroken. At least her greatest desire was within reach, while Harry would never see his parents again. She made sure to give Harry time, and stayed as support for him, whatever he needed.
It had become almost an obsession for Harry, compulsively coming back and gazing into the mirror. Just talking to his parents, telling them everything, he even attempted to introduce her, though it was odd because she couldn't see them. Every night, they would come back and she would come back with him. Castor would be curled up next to her, softly purring and she would bring a book with her to read. She was still looking for information on Nicholas Flamel, but she couldn't concentrate. She was so concerned for Harry. He became obsessively coming back to the mirror, Hermione coming back with him, even though the mirror made her uneasy.
She was scared that Harry wouldn't stop obsessing, but didn't have the heart to convince to leave, but thankfully, Professor Dumbledore caught them. He explained that many have wasted their lives staring into the mirror, driven mad with seeing their desires. Hermione and Harry were relieved when he told them that the mirror would be sent somewhere else.
The mirror was gone and Harry looked a lot better because of it. Neville came back along with the other students, thanking his friends for his gifts, along with invitations for the both of them to visit Longbottom Manor during the summer. Harry wasn't sure his aunt and uncle woud let him, and Hermione wasn't sure how to get there without them finding out about her living at an orphanage.
Hermione came through for them, finding Nicholas Flamel in one of the books she checked out from the library. Turns out, he was the only known maker of the Philosopher's Stone, which powers include turning any metal to gold and producing the Elixir of Life. Harry started to theorize that that was what 'Fluffy' is guarding and that Snape wanted to get his hands on it.
The trio told Professor McGonagall that Snape was trying to steal the stone. Initially shocked that they found out about the stone, she assured them that it was well guarded. Accepting that, especially with the idea of a three-headed dog guarding the door, they place the stone in the back of their minds. Time seemed to pass by quickly, and even though they were sure that the stone was safe, they kept their eyes on Snape.
Exams were in full swing and the trio were studying hard at the urging of Hermione. While walking back to the dorm from the library late one night, they spotted Snape toward the third floor corridor. Suspicious that he was going to try and steal the stone, the trio dropped their stuff off at the Gryffindor tower and Harry grabbed his cloak, which was the main reason of going back.
All three huddled under the cloak and up toward the third floor corridor. Finding an ajar door, the three walked through it and sucked in short breaths at the sight of the sleeping Cerebrus, a charmed harp playing in the corner. Hermione pointed out the trap door, and saw that it lead to an unknown drop. Holding each other's hands in support and taking a deep calming breath, the trio dropped into the unknown.
Five tests to get through, thankfully they made it out alive.
Neville identified the Devil's Snare, Hermione setting off some bluebell flames to repel it and letting them free.
Harry flew in the room full of keys, grabbing the one to unlock the door and letting them through.
The chessboard concerned them at first, but Neville played Wizard's Chess at home with his Gran. He sacrificed himself to the White Queen, knocking him down and allowing Harry and Hermione to pass through.
A mountain troll, which thankfully had already been defeated by Snape.
Finally, a riddle. A logical riddle that Hermione solved easily.
"You're a great wizard, Harry." Hermione said. So many words she wanted to say. She very well knew that her best friend could die from whatever was through those flames. She wanted to say how thankful that she was to him for being her friend, she wanted to tell him how great of a person he was, but those words wouldn't lodge from her tightened throat.
"I'm not as good as you," said Harry, his face blushing at her praise.
"I said wizard, not witch," she replied with an impish grin, Harry letting out a laugh that he was incredibly grateful for. He just...needed something to take his mind off the situation, and that did it for a bit, before her face and tone turned serious.
"There are more important things than just books or cleverness. Bravery and friendship, which you have in spades. Just, please be careful." Hermione's voice cracked and Harry blushed slightly, before Hermione pulled him in for a hug. It felt different from the hug at Christmas, though he didn't have many hugs to compare it to, considering it was only the second time someone had done so. It felt desperate, but also warm. He had no idea what was on the other side of those flames and came to a realization that he could die. It was quite a high possibility.
He returned his best friend's hug tightly and took in her vanilla scent. Hermione had been the first person to ever befriend him, and it was bitter that he could die after finally finding a place to fit in. He silently said goodbye to his best friend, before pulling back.
She had tears in her eyes.
"Good luck, Harry." Hermione choked out, before taking the potion and running back through the flames. Harry took a deep breath and straightened his stance. He would face whatever was on that other side. For her. For Neville. For his parents.
He took the potion and walked through the flames.
"Ugh, my head."
Harry groaned as he opened his eyes, the light making him wince along with the pounding in his head. He reached blindly toward a blurry table next to the bed, finding his glasses and putting them on. The Hospital Wing, he thought as he glanced around. He was alive!
Harry got flashes of what happened.
Quirrel...taking off his turban...a raspy voice...Voldemort...the Mirror..."What do you see?"...his parents smiling at him...Hermione and Neville smiling at him...older, wiser...still the best of friends...family, his family..."Kill him!"...Quirrel charging...his hands on Quirrel's face...burning...screams...turning to stone...a mist rising from his Professor's limp body...screaming...blackness.
He won. He defeated Voldemort, again.
"You're awake, Mr. Potter." Harry turned to see Madam Pomfrey standing by his bed, before she started fussing over him, shoving potions down his throat, checking him over for injuries. She started muttering some unintelligible things, but Harry's head was spinning. He just wanted to lay down and rest. But, he also wanted to see his friends.
Whatever Madam Pomfrey stuck down his throat made his decision easy as he felt his glasses being slipped off his face as darkness overpowered him.
"Sir, why would you keep Quirrel in the castle if you that he had Voldemort in the back of his head?" Harry asked Dumbledore, who let out a long weary sigh. The Headmaster sat next to the hospital bed, his blue eyes a little sad as he glanced at Harry.
"I believe, and correct me if I'm wrong, the muggle saying goes, 'keep your friends close, but your enemies closer.'" Dumbledore said, Harry frowning at the Headmaster. "I would have rather had him close where I could keep an eye on him, than out there, doing Merlin knows what. I could keep an eye on him here, the Castle kept an eye on him when I couldn't. There was no way he could harm any students here. I know it must be harsh, but you had to banish him from that body. I knew that you would be protected. Lily's love protects you always, but he will get stronger. Now that he's only a spirit, he's weaker than he's ever been and you will have to defeat him again. I truly am sorry, Mr. Potter."
Harry nodded his head and considered this for a moment. Basically, it was planned out for him to defeat Voldemort and he'll do it again. For a while, he just sat in silence. "I'm not going to say it's okay, sir, because it's not. I do understand your reasons though, but it put my best friends in danger and that's not okay."
Dumbledore's beard twitched as he smiled at Harry, "That is something your father would have said. He put his friends before anything at Hogwarts."
"Where is the stone, sir? Is it safe?"
"Yes, it is safe, Harry. It had always been safe and he will never be able to get it. It was never in the castle in the first place. I implied that it was, because it was a way to draw his attention."
Harry nodded and settled back into bed, when he heard the pitter patter of feet running. He and Professor Dumbledore turned their heads to see Hermione and Neville running toward him, the Headmaster watching with a smile.
They both yelled in unison, "Harry!"
He saw Hermione's wide smile and he returned it.
He was alive.
The feast was in full swing.
Gryffindor had won the House Cup, cutting off Slytherin's streak, much to the annoyance of the Snake's and Snape. It was a contribution, a significant amount from the "Golden Trio" as some of the Gryffindors were calling Harry, Hermione, and Neville. Professor McGonagall gazed at her cubs with pride, especially one little girl who exceeded all her expectations.
She had talked to Hermione, and the girl explained her situation of omitting the fact that she lived in an orphanage. She advised Hermione to tell them, knowing that it could damage their friendship if she kept lying to them. She knew about Harry's situation of contempt at his guardian's house, and knew that the boy would be sympathetic, though a little angry that she lied.
Neville had invited Hermione and Harry to Longbottom Manor for the summer holiday, and when Hermione expressed her desire to go, Professor McGonagall talked to Lady Augusta and they decided that Minerva would pick her up and bring her. Since Longbottom Manor had heavy wards, and Voldemort wasn't a concern, Professor Dumbledore would bring Harry.
The trio was excited for the summer.
"You lied to us."
Hermione felt a stabbing pain in her heart at those words. Yes, she lied to them, and for a very poor reason she realized. She should have known that her best friends wouldn't have cared that she lived in an orphanage. She never had friends before, and she did everything she could to keep them close.
"I didn't want to lose the first kids my age who talked to me like a person, not a freak. M-My own parents left me on the front porch of the orphanage. Anybody who fostered me would send me back because I could do things other kids couldn't. I could make things happen and was teased for it. I was the weird girl and no one wanted to be my friend. I finally found somewhere to be normal, and I finally had friends. I found two people who wanted to be around me, so I lied to keep them close. I was wrong. I'm so sorry," the last word was a choked sob, Hermione collapsing on the couch and putting her head in her hands. Her shoulders wracked while she wept, knowing that because she lied to her best friends, she was going to lose them.
To her surprise, she felt Harry and Neville sit down next to her, the boys enveloping their friend in a hug from both sides.
"I'm sorry, I lied. I'm sorry, I'm sorry..."
They held her while she cried, still upset that their best friend lied to them, but needing to comfort her. She was still Hermione, and Harry could understand not wanting to tell them about his home life, because he was giving them half-truths. Yes, he had told them he lived with his aunt and uncle, but not his treatment. He didn't know if would ever want to share that, but maybe one day. For now, he and Neville comforted their hurting friend.
"Hermione, just promise that you'll never lie to us again. Okay?"
Harry and Hermione had just met Lady Longbottom - who preferred to be called Aggie - at King's Cross and were saying goodbye, until July when they would spend the rest of their Holiday at Longbottom Manor. Hermione could see Professor McGonagall waiting to take her back to the orphanage, which set her mood down a little. She wished that she could just live at Hogwarts.
The trio departed with Hermione giving her best friend's hugs, before Professor McGonagall took her back to her temporary home. She felt truly at home a Hogwarts. She cuddled Castor to her, who was mewling softly. He had grown a little since Christmas, but was still relatively tiny. He resembled a lion more than he did a regular house cat and it concerned Hermione.
"Professor, what about Miss Abbey with Castor?" Hermione asked her favorite Professor as they stood outside the orphanage door.
"I've placed a notice-me-not charm on him. She, or the other children, won't even realize that he's there. I'll remove it when I come to pick you up, Lady Longbottom already approved you bringing him."
Hermione nodded her head and glanced up to the woman who helped her so much. "Thank you, Professor...for everything."
"I will see you July 20," Minerva told the girl, who beamed in excitement. She nodded and walked up the path toward the orphanage, Miss Abbey waiting at the door and waving to Minerva.
The Scot smiled and turned to walk down the street, before apparating.
Harry stumbled out of the Floo and unceremoniously landed on the marble floor.
Professor Dumbledore had appeared to the Dursley's through their fireplace, scaring the hell out of them. Vernon started to sputter about 'freaks in his house', until Dumbledore silenced him and helped Harry pack up his things. The Dursley's were happy to get Harry out of their hands, as they were having a very important dinner party for one of Vernon's clients.
Dumbledore waved his wand and made the fireplace Floo ready, instructing Harry on the way to travel. Harry decided the he didn't like Floo travel as he landed on the marble floor.
"Harry!" he glanced up to see Neville walking toward him. He stood up and dusted himself off, shaking Neville's hand in a greeting, before turning toward the Lady of the Manor.
"Hello, L-Lady Longbottom." Harry stuttered out, still a little nervous about being in her presence. Augusta Longbottom was a stern woman with a stern looking face, and she could be downright nasty if you messed with someone she cared about.. had been overjoyed when she heard that her grandson was friends with Harry Potter and Hermione Lupin. She had immediately recognized the girl when she saw her on the Platform. She was both Elena and Remus rolled into one with her looks. From what Neville said, she was shy like Remus had been, but had some fire in her that came from Elena. She was delighted to meet the little girl of her son and daughter-in-law's friends.
"What did I say?" she asked with a smile, glancing at the Potter heir.
"Sorry, Aggie." Harry amended, before a house elf named Hizzy appeared and took Harry's things up to his room. Professor Dumbledore had business to attend to, so he couldn't stay long. After making sure that Harry was okay, he Floo'd away. They retreated to the dining room where lunch was being served when they heard a 'woosh' that came from the living room. Aggie was surprised at the speed of both boys shooting out of their seats.
They both ran toward their best friend, who placed Castor on the ground and embraced her boys. The three started shouting questions to each other, in between hugging, just incredibly happy to be reunited for the summer. Aggie and Minerva both watched with wide smiles at they alternated between yelling enthusiastically and hugging each other like they had been apart for years.
The trio had one thing on their minds - it was going to be a great summer.
They celebrated Harry's birthday for the first time in his life. Hermione and Neville had made a banner saying 'Happy Birthday Harry' and a cake was made. He was confused with what to do, until Hermione explained that you blow out the candles after you make a wish.
Before her Hogwarts letter came, Hermione had no idea when her birthday was. She had never celebrated it before as she had forgotten the prior year. The date September 19 didn't bring any special feeling to her, so she just ignored it. She wanted to make Harry's birthday special though, so with some leftover money earned from cleaning with Professor McGonagall, she and Neville bought Harry a broom service kit for his Nimbus, for which he was incredibly grateful.
Harry had also had a visit from a house elf named Dobby, who tried to warn Harry about 'terrible things' that would happen to him. Of course, Hizzy had ordered Dobby away from Longbottom Manor, but Harry was confused nonetheless. Terrible things, even more so than last year?
Mid-August, Aggie took them to Diagon Alley for shopping, insisting that Hermione let her pay for her school things. Seeing one look on the older woman's stern face was enough to shut Hermione up and void every argument she had. Flourish and Blott's was buzzing with people, all there to see 'Gilderoy Lockhart', their new DADA teacher. All girls there were swooning, while Hermione couldn't see what the fuss was. He had proportional features and a white smile, but didn't seem to have the magical capabilities to back up what was written in his book.
There, they had met Luna Lovegood, who Neville had known. She was a shy and quirky girl, staring her first year at Hogwarts. She had told Harry and Hermione that her dad owned the Quibbler, a magical newspaper, which was like the magical equivalent to a muggle tabloid.
Harry and Hermione then had the pleasure of meeting Lucius Malfoy, who was shopping along with Draco for their books. He and his son made some snide comments, mostly toward Hermione, but the trio was amused when he blanched whiter than his bleach blond hair at the sight of Augusta Longbottom, who promptly put him in his place. The House of Malfoy may be Noble, but the House of Longbottom was Ancient and Noble.
School started up soon enough much to Hermione's delight, though they quickly learned that Lockhart teaching DADA was a complete joke, especially after an incident with some pixies. He had let them loose in the classroom, and then retreated like a coward when they came after him. Thanks to Hermione's quick thinking, she casted the freezing charm on the pixies as Professor McGonagall stormed into the room on alert from the ruckus. She awarded Gryffindor fifty points for Hermione's use of the freezing charm.
A muggle-born named Colin Creevey with a penchant for taking pictures took upon a deep admiration for Harry. He was always snapping his picture when he was near and babbling about nonsense, though he was harmless.
Quidditch started up again and Harry serviced his broom using the kit that Hermione and Neville got him. Before practice one Saturday, where Hermione and Neville were walking out to watch the team practice, Marcus Flint informed Oliver Wood that they had the field since they had to train their new Seeker, Draco Malfoy. His father had generously supplied the team with brand new Nimbus 2001's, though everyone knew that his father basically bought his way onto the team. When Hermione voiced this, Draco let the name 'Mudblood' slip, resulting in a Gryffindor uproar. It would have escalated to a fight if not for Professor McGonagall coming to see what the fuss was about, and docked points from Malfoy for using that word.
Halloween rolled around and Nearly Headless Nick's Death Day party was held, which the trio attended. They tried to get Luna Lovegood to go with them, since they noticed some of the Ravenclaw's picking on her and ignoring her. She always seemed alone at the table, and her face, which seemed perpetually bright at Diagon Alley, was dull. She refused and hurried away like a startled mouse, much to the trio's confusion.
Leaving the party, Harry claimed to have heard a voice, which Hermione and Neville couldn't hear. He decided to follow it to the second floor, where the three found Mrs. Norris, Filch's cat, hanging from a torch bracket, seemingly frozen. On the wall, written in red read,
THE CHAMBER OF SECRETS HAS BEEN OPENED. ENEMIES OF THE HEIR, BEWARE.
Filch found the and accused Harry of doing that to his cat, when everyone came out of the party to see the commotion.
Draco Malfoy, proving himself to be the git he is, hissed, "Enemies of the Heir, beware! You'll be next, Mudbloods!"
They find that Mrs. Norris is petrified, which Dumbledore claimed was dark and out of reach for a second year student, disputing the claims of Harry petrifying the cat. Professor Binns, persuaded by Hermione, was able to tell them about the Chamber of Secrets, Salazar Slytherin's 'going away present' to Hogwarts.
Hermione set away for research.
During the Gryffindor vs. Slytherin match, a cursed bludger tried attacking Harry and ended up breaking his arm. After he caught the Snitch, Hermione cast the counter-curse and, in an effort to fix Harry's arm, Lockhart removed all the bones in it.
Harry was visited by Dobby the house elf once more during the night. He revealed that he was responsible for the bludger, and that he was still in grave danger. Harry took the warnings with a grain of salt, but was startled to hear that Colin Creevey was in the bed next to him, petrified, and Professor Dumbledore declare that the Chamber of Secrets had been opened.
Whatever was petrifying students was targeting muggle-borns, and Hermione was determined to solve the mystery.
Harry once again found himself to be a pariah of Hogwarts after the Dueling club incident. During a battle against Malfoy, he conjured a snake that was about to attack Hufflepuff, Justin Finch-Fletchley, but Harry ordered it, using Parseltongue, to leave him alone.
Everyone then assumed that Harry was the Heir, sans Hermione and Neville, who tried to defend Harry as much as possible.
After Harry wrote in the mysterious diary and talked to Tom Riddle, finding out about Hagrid and Aragog, the trio decided to go question the acromantula themselves. However, the information they got was less than useful and they had barely escaped with their lives after the giant arachnid offered them as dinner for his children. It was only the intervention of a werewolf that got them out...
Harry, Hermione, and Neville immediately turned tail and started running back in the direction of the castle. They could hear the slithering of the multiple acromantulas as they came from all directions, looking for their meal. The trio dodged a couple of the eight-legged creatures, trying to get back to safety.
Unfortunately, Hermione tripped over an exposed root and fell to the ground, Harry and Neville barely noticing over the commotion. She laid dazed for a moment and glanced up to see her best friends running, a momentary fear that they were going to leave her, when Harry turned his head, noticing that his bushy-haired best friend wasn't running with them.
"Hermione!" Harry yelled as he skidded to a stop, Neville stopping in response.
Hermione tried to get up, but heard the slithering even closer turned to see the 'children' crawling toward her, ready to kill her. She closed her eyes and waited for the inevitable, silently hoping that Neville and Harry would get away safely.
Her eyes snapped open when a loud growl filled the air and the three baby acromantula's were knocked away from the girl by something. Light from the full moon appeared between the tree's branches and Hermione gasped.
Standing between her and the now scared acromantulas, was a large wolf-like creature. It let out a loud howl form its crouch and turned toward Hermione, amber eyes boring into her. For some reason, she wasn't afraid of it. She felt...safe. It looked at her and sniffed deeply, its features almost softening. Others would have been scared that it was sniffing to test how delicious they were, but Hermione didn't consider that for a moment. She had no idea what it was doing, but it wasn't looking to make a meal out of her.
The connection was broken when some more acromantula's tried to charge Hermione, the wolf creature snarling at them as he grabbed them and ripped them to shreds. She watched with morbid fascination as it took on many of the arachnids, decimating them completely and could hear Aragog crying out in misery at his children being torn apart. Hermione couldn't find it in her to pity him, as he had tried to make them their meal. She felt someone pulling her up and saw Harry and Neville by her sides, yanking her up from the ground.
They sprinted from the forest and toward the castle.
Hermione didn't give any thoughts toward the werewolf as she was still focusing on what was petrifying the students. She was just itching to solve the riddle.
A couple of nights later, Hermione pulled Harry aside in the common room, asking him if she could borrow his invisibility cloak to research in the library. He agreed and snuck it into her bag in the common room after dinner. She thanked him and went up to her dorm, waiting until everyone fell asleep before sneaking out.
She made her way over to the restricted section as soon as she entered the library, being careful with her choice of books.
An hour later and no luck, until a shining light came through from Most Macabre Monstrosities, "Of the many fearsome beasts and monsters that roam our land, there is none more curious or more deadly than the Basilisk, known also as the King of Serpents. This snake, which may reach gigantic size, and live many hundreds of years, is born from a chicken's egg, hatched beneath a toad. Its methods of killing are most wondrous, for aside from its deadly and venomous fangs, the Basilisk has a murderous stare, and all who are fixed with the beam of its eye shall suffer instant death. Spiders flee before the Basilisk, for it is their mortal enemy, and the Basilisk flees only from the crowing of the rooster, which is fatal to it."
"A Basilisk," Hermione whispered. Murderous stare...but they were only petrif...that's it. Colin saw it through his camera, Justin through Nearly Headless Nick, Mrs. Norris...the water, she saw it in the water.
"That's it. A snake...but how has it been getting around-oh! The water...pipes!"
She quickly tore out the piece of paper and marked down her notes, before putting everything. She slung the cloak over herself and kept the piece of paper in her hand, making her way out of the library. She had both hands up in front of her for the cloak, the paper in one fist.
She was so excited, she seemed to forget that there was a giant snake with a murderous stare running around the school. She was right near the hallway for the Gryffindor tower when she turned the corner, and saw a pair of yellow eyes.
Penelope Clearwater was making her way toward the Gryffindor Tower early in the morning to meet Percy so that they could go to breakfast.
She had just turned the corner when she ran into something hard. She went crashing toward the floor from the force and heard something hard, like stone, crash next to her.
"Bloody hell," she hissed as she rubbed her sore knee. She looked to see what she ran into, but couldn't see anything, until she caught sight of a small foot. With shaking hands she reached out to touch the foot, before realizing it was covered in an invisibility cloak. The fabric felt like water as she touched it, but she didn't have time to marvel about it as she pulled it back to reveal Hermione Granger.
She was so shocked, it took her a few moments for her body to react. When it did, she shot off the floor and ran toward the Deputy Headmistress' office.
"Professor!" Penelope burst into McGongall's office without knocking, scaring the still waking Scot half to death.
"Miss Clearwater, what is it?"
"Granger's been petrified!"
Neville and Harry were waiting for Hermione in the common room, but she was late. When they asked Lavender Brown to go get her, in case she was oversleeping, she told them that her bed was empty.
"Maybe she's already at the hall?" Neville suggested, the Boy-Who-Lived who nodded his head, though a squirming sensation in his gut unsettling him. They made their way down to the Great Hall, not finding Hermione there either. They were starting to worry, especially when Professor McGonagall approached them with a solemn face and asked them to follow her.
Harry couldn't breathe when he saw her lying on the bed. Petrified.
"Hermione," Neville gasped out, still able to talk. Harry felt just as Hermione looked, frozen. She was lying on her back, both hands in front of her while her face carried a shocked expression.
"I believe that this is yours," Professor McGonagall said, handing Harry his invisibility cloak. Harry numbly took it from her, still watching his best friend lie unmoving on the hospital bed. He vaguely heard McGonagall tell him that the Mandrake Potion would be ready soon, but she was still petrified. For the first time in a long time, he felt terribly alone.
Harry picked up the piece of paper that had fallen out of her pocket. His eyes widened as he saw that she had solved it.
"You're brilliant, Hermione...truly," he whispered, before giving her stone like hand a soft squeeze and running out of the wing to find Neville.
A/N: Oh. My. God. This was extremely choppy and probably God awful, I know, but I hoped that I covered all that I changed. Everything that had happened in the Chamber is the same as canon, substitute Luna in for Ginny and Neville in for Ron. Now, we can get on with the story. I apologize if this was awful, but I was fed up with it and anxious to move on.