This is a one-shot based on the idea that somebody realised back when the Chamber of Secrets was opened the first time what the monster was. As always I don't own anything in the HP verse, just this little idea. Happy reading.
Rubeus Hagrid knew he wasn't as smart as a lot of his classmates. But there was one subject he was really good at. Care of Magical Creatures. Probably it had something to do with his half-giant heritage. He simply got any kind of creature and the new elective that he had been able to take up this year at school was his by far favourite subject. He knew that now, after his Dad had died a few months ago, he needed to see to it that he got as much out of his education at Hogwarts to later have a job that he liked. Secretly he craved to study all magical creatures in the world for a few years after Hogwarts and then take over the spot as teacher for Care of Magical Creatures. That was his dream.
But this year there was too much that could ruin his dream. He knew that his pet acromantula Aragog wasn't strictly safe to have as a pet in a school, as it was a carnivorous spider, but he took all precautions that prevented that he ever interacted with other students or teachers. The cupboard he kept him in was in a normally deserted part of the castle. He brought him meat from birds or squirrels, which he hunted at the edge of the forest. But Aragog told him some things that the teachers didn't know about the threat to the school, with the Chamber of Secrets being opened. Aragog wanted to run as far away from the school as he could, as he was terrified of the monster.
Therefore Hagrid had a clue about the monster that nobody else had. He went to the library and researched all kinds of magical creatures that were feared by spiders. He also looked through magical attacks and the history of Salazar Slytherin. After all it was his secret chamber and his monster that was the problem. Hagrid quickly had a list of points that made deducting the monster fairly simple, even if he didn't have any idea where the Chamber of Secrets itself could be.
Hagrid knew, as he sometimes helped the gamekeeper, that the roosters had been killed one by one in cruel ways. One rooster might have been a coincidence, but five of them certainly weren't. And it hadn't been done by an animal. Therefore the roosters were important in the puzzle as well. The students were petrified without any kind of visible injury. That meant the creature didn't use claws or fangs to harm its prey. There weren't too many other options left if you excluded them. And then it had to be able to live for a long time and be controlled by anybody of Slytherin blood, if the legend that only Salazar Slytherin's heirs could control it was true. Hagrid looked up snakes and reptiles in general, as Slytherin was a parselmouth, a seriously cool ability that he would have liked to have, just to talk to venomous snakes, he was sure they were greatly misunderstood, and he found a snake that combined all the things that were known to him about the monster.
"A basilisk," Hagrid mumbled in a low voice, "A true shame that it is being used against the school. It would have been great to study it closer. But I have to tell a teacher. Probably my best bet would be Professor Dumbledore. He was always fair to me."
Hagrid packed the book and his list into his bag and set off to find his Transfiguration Professor.
Albus Dumbledore looked at the Gryffindor third year that had come to him with his results into finding out what the monster in the Chamber of Secrets was.
"This is very concerning, Rubeus," He stated gravely, "But I fear that you are correct. Thirty points for great deductions and bringing this to my attention. I need to see Headmaster Dippet at once. We need to take better precautions and find out where the basilisk can enter the school proper."
"I hope that you can find a way to stop the attacks, Professor. I don't want that Hogwarts closes," Hagrid said.
"Neither do I, Rubeus. Well, go back to Gryffindor's common room and please warn the others to not leave until the teachers allow it. I will give out a school-wide warning for all students to return to their common rooms. We first need to eliminate the threat before we can continue with teaching. A basilisk is way too dangerous for students to run around freely."
Hagrid nodded, happy that one of his favourite teachers was taking his research serious. He left the office and went back to Gryffindor common room immediately and while he walked, the announcement in Professor Dumbledore's voice sounded through all corridors of the school.
Professor Armando Dippet immediately acted once the identity of the monster in the Chamber was known. He sealed up the common rooms and let the students stay there while the teachers went and alarmed the experts at the Ministry of Magic. A basilisk was an automatic cause for red alert to be activated. Those creatures were simply much too dangerous to be left alive. And to think that one had been at Hogwarts all the time. It also threw suspicion at one of the best students at Hogwarts. Tom Marvolo Riddle. Albus had told him that he had known that the boy was a parselmouth ever since he had brought the boy his Hogwarts letter. He hadn't wanted to judge him over a simple ability, as it was always what you did with that ability that made you good or evil.
Dippet could actually agree with that sentiment, but the fact that a snake attacked his students, which had coincidentally happened while Riddle was in his fifth year, warranted closer observation of the boy at the very least. He had tasked Horace with keeping a close eye on Tom, as he was a member of his house. He also tasked the whole house elves force to keep track of any student that behaved a bit suspicious. They didn't want to overlook anything. They couldn't afford to overlook anything.
The experts would arrive in half an hour. Hopefully they could manage to find out where the basilisk managed to get into the school and put a stop to it. Otherwise they would have to be creative to protect the students. Perhaps they could use the rooms in the wing farthest away from the previous sites of attack. There were lots of unused classrooms at Hogwarts and for a while it would work out. He would see to it that meals were taken at the same time and that no student could leave his common room without two teachers present. It should help until they got rid of the snake.
Hagrid and his classmates looked at the huge corpse of the slain basilisk. It had been three weeks since Hagrid had told Professor Dumbledore about what he had deducted and now, finally, they had the proof that the school was safe again. Nobody had expected that the monster what this kind of huge snake, except for Hagrid. The basilisk had been transported to the grounds to show the students exactly what had been attacking them.
"Students, I'm happy to be able to tell you that the danger to the school has been dealt with," the headmaster announced and the students broke out in cheers and applause.
"Yes, we are all happy that we can go back to normal life at Hogwarts. I would like to use this opportunity that you're all assembled to award one among you with a special award for services to the school. This student has used his knowledge about magical creatures and some well-done research to deduct what the monster in the Chamber was and then went to Professor Dumbledore to inform him about his suspicions. Rubeus Hagrid, please step forward," Dippet called out and Hagrid blushed, with his friends clapping on his back and congratulating him.
He went forward to the headmaster.
"Rubeus, thank you in the name of the whole school for doing the right thing and finding out what kind of creature we were dealing with. The Board of Governors has agreed to award you with a full scholarship for the school until you have passed your NEWTs and a yearly allowance of thirty galleons for your school supplies. Congratulations, you truly earned it by outstanding behaviour and great deductions," Dippet told Hagrid.
"Thank you, headmaster, this is incredible," Hagrid exclaimed happily.
He would be able to get through school easily now. His finances had been strained after his Dad's death and all the inherited money was basically already gone to just pay for the tuition fees. Now he wouldn't have to worry about anything until he graduated from school and could save the money he had inherited to perhaps afford the travels he wanted to do. He went back to his friends, who all congratulated him on his reward.
Over the next two years the teachers kept a close eye on what Tom Riddle did. They never found proof that he had been the one to open the Chamber, but it was noticeable that he didn't seem honest in his relief that the basilisk was dead. When the decision to name a headboy for Tom's seventh year came, he wasn't given the spot, despite his exemplary scholastic performance. He was left as Slytherin prefect, a title he had got before the Chamber was opened, and the Ravenclaw male prefect in his year got the honour to be headboy. It was clear that Tom had nearly expected that he got the position, but except for complaining with his house mates he didn't do anything. Probably he had also noticed that the regard of the teachers towards him had changed and he kept a low profile.
Hagrid meanwhile was very popular and was made prefect for Gryffindor in his fifth year and head boy in his seventh. Thanks to his efforts and new fame for being the one that was mainly responsible for the end of the terror of the Chamber of Secrets, many others listened to his opinions about magical creatures and how to treat other sentient races. Hagrid was known to be friends with a number of centaurs and a few goblins as well, therefore a good number of others were at least more courteous with them.
When Albus Dumbledore defeated the leader of the dark movement, Gellert Grindelwald, Hogwarts again got a lot of positive publicity. The influence that the now two outstanding characters from Hogwarts wielded allowed for a slow change in perception and those of mixed heritage weren't as disadvantaged anymore as they had been before.
When Hagrid graduated, with good NEWTs in Charms, COMC, Transfiguration, Herbology and History of Magic, he had saved up enough money to go on the trip he had wished to do since he had been twelve years old. And he was determined to fulfil his other wish as well in a few years' time. Becoming a teacher at Hogwarts.
When Harry Potter looked around Hogwarts, he couldn't help but be excited. His parents had told him so much about the school. He recognised a good number of the teachers from their stories. There was of course Professor Dumbledore, the headmaster. He was famous for defeating Gellert Grindelwald, the dark lord that had raged in the 30's and 40's on mainly continental Europe, but he had also influenced things badly in England. He had also been a main contributor to the defeat of Voldemort, the dark lord on the late 70's and early 80's, which had concentrated on terrorising the British Isles. Then there were Professor McGonagall, who had succeeded Professor Dumbledore in teaching Transfiguration and Professor Flitwick, a part goblin, who had been his Mum's master in Charms during her apprenticeship. Harry remembered him fondly for often bringing him chocolate when he visited his Mum.
Next there was of course Professor Hagrid. He taught one of the electives, Care of Magical Creatures, and had been the absolute favourite teacher of both his parents and his uncles. Professor Hagrid had been the one to prevent that Uncle Peter was bullied into joining Voldemort by older students that had joined the terrorist's ranks. Not to mention that in a famous duel between Professors Dumbledore, Hagrid and Flitwick against Voldemort and his top lieutenants Bellatrix Lestrange, Lucius Malfoy and Antonin Dolohov, Hagrid had been the one to deal the fatal blow against Voldemort. His part giant heritage had made him more durable against many curses outside of the unforgivable ones and he had managed to fell Lucius Malfoy before using a combination of great duelling skills and raw power to finish Voldemort off.
Harry only knew basics about the war, as his parents, while they didn't keep secret how horrible it had been, never told him or his siblings the details about the battles. They were too young for it. Still, he knew that most other children that grew up in the wizarding world didn't know anywhere near as much as he did. Probably it had something to do with his Uncle Remus being History Professor. He loved telling Harry and his two younger siblings about interesting events and things they should know in his opinion. Their parents fully supported it, but demanded that it was kept appropriate for children.
The Sorting Hat sang his new song and then the students were called up one after the other, in alphabetical order. Harry knew it would take some time, as there were eighty children overall in his year. Harry knew a good number of them. And he also knew that many more would start over the next years, as his parents had more than once commented on the baby boom after the war ended. Some expected over one hundred and fifty children in one year in two years' time. A really large number.
Harry finally was called up and sat on the stool. He didn't have to wait long for the hat to call out Gryffindor. He was happy. He had wanted to be in his parents' and uncles' and Professor Hagrid's old house. He certainly admired the large man with the big heart for all kinds of creatures and people, literally the description his Dad often used for the man. He was a hero, but he certainly didn't behave like a jerk, like other famous people sometimes did. Harry fully intended to take COMC next to Runes and Muggle Studies in his third year, when he could choose electives.
He sat down next to his best friend, Neville Longbottom, who he had known since they had been babies, thanks to their parents also being friends. They would have a great time at Hogwarts, that much both knew. Seven years at this school lay before them. They were already excited what kind of adventures they would have.