AN: I don't own Harry Potter!
This story came about from reading Parihfan's The Founders Four and wondering what it would be like for certain students to find themselves the embodiment of the Founders. There are other, even better, stories of Harry as Salazar stories that are out there but the one I mentioned is the one that caused the plot bunny for this story.
This story involves the Founders' minds, personalities, and magic merging with canon characters. While it is a true merging where the original mind and personality remains, there is no question that the addition of 50+ decades of another life will affect the characters. As such, if Harry is referenced as Salazar then it simply means he is using/relying on the Salazar experiences more than his own.
That said, this story starts during the Chamber of Secrets battle scene and will continue until at least the summer post-Tri-Wizard Tournament. If you like what you're reading, I've got a patre0n account where you can leave a tip or follow for updates on my writing. It's / DaSalvatore.
Thoughts / "emphasis" / Title of Books or spells used
A Snake Reborn
Chamber of Secrets, 1993
Harry Potter was only twelve. Harry Potter had only known about the Wizarding World and that he was a wizard since his eleventh birthday despite being born to two extremely powerful parents. Not that Harry was aware of that fact. No one had sat him down to teach him anything about his parents, his family, nor his place in the new world he had been thrust into. In every practical sense, Harry Potter was worse than a Muggle-born considering he had not been told about introductory books for true Muggle-borns.
Which was why Harry Potter was mentally cursing up a storm over having to face his parents' murderer for the second year in a row. A murderer who just so happened to be the most feared Dark Lord in recent memory.
"You see?" The shade of a teenage Riddle, aka Lord Voldemort, whispered. "It was a name I was already using at Hogwarts, to my most intimate friends only, of course…"
"You had friends?" Harry immediately snarked. There was a harshness to the retort that his friends and professors would have been shocked to hear, and the shade did its best to ignore him.
"…You think I was going to use my filthy Muggle father's name forever? I, in whose veins runs the blood of Salazar Slytherin himself, through my mother's side?"
Something powerful within Harry reacted to teenage-Voldemort's words. He had felt a stirring since he first heard the confused mumblings of the basilisk all those months ago, an awakening of the 'dark' Slytherin part of his personality the Sorting Hat had delighted in seeing. It was the part that had kept him alive at the Dursleys, that rebelled against his public displays of laziness, that cheered at secretly working on his knowledge with the Hogwarts librarian, Madam Pince. It was also the part of Harry that wanted to hex the gormless, jealous prat that was Ronald Weasley into the next decade and beyond.
"No, Harry," the shade continued, completely unaware that Harry had zoned out on part of this year's Epic Evil Monologue. "I fashioned myself a new name, a name I knew wizards everywhere would one day fear to speak when I became the greatest sorcerer in the world!"
"A name that's an anagram of your Muggle one?" Harry quipped back, doing his absolute damnedest to not start shouting 'Phenomenal Cosmic Power…in an itty-bitty-living-space' at the shade. "Besides, you're not."
Not, what?" Riddle snarled in confusion and rage at not being taken seriously by the boy who had destroyed his elder self.
"Not the greatest sorcerer in the world," Harry explained slowly, as though speaking to a very small child. Or Hagrid. "Apparently even when you were at your peak, you still wouldn't dare attack Hogwarts because of Albus Dumbledore. After all, he knew who and what you were when you were a student here."
"Dumbledore has been driven out of the castle by the mere memory of me!" The shade hissed.
"Well, maybe," Harry shrugged, as though it was inconsequential. "But I think it's more Malfoy's money that did it. And she's still standing so it doesn't matter. And besides, I killed your arse when I was one! I head-butted your Killing Curse and messed my diaper so bad it caused your body and most of my room to explode."
And that was the other strange thing about the past year. Aside from the petrifications by a rampaging basilisk, a diary that was able to think for itself, show memories to people writing in it, and apparently trying to gain a life of its own. Harry had been remembering the night his parents died in horrifying detail. After two months of the same nightmare every night, he came to a sudden realisation about his mother. Lily Potter had been acting the entire time. She knew she was going to die and every word, every act, was following some type of script. It didn't take Harry long to realise it must have been some type of protection ritual she was following.
Harry now held the memory of her last moments close to his heart as the ultimate expression of what real love meant.
He was brought out of his heavy thoughts by the sound of powerful music filling the Chamber. This place is getting to me, he thought as he looked up to see a majestic bird soaring in its full glory. The heavy gloom of the Chamber only adding to the beauty of the phoenix's flight. As Fawkes' song ended, the bird took a dive reminiscent of Harry on his Nimbus and dropped a raggedy bundle at the Gryffindor's feet and landed on his shoulder with grace and poise.
"That's a phoenix," Riddle blurted out with narrow eyes.
"Who's a clever shade," Harry instantly quipped, wondering why he was letting his snark out as much as he was. "Little Tom deserves a sweet."
Riddle snarled in fury, looking and sounding very much like one of Marge's dogs while Fawkes softly trilled with laughter. Harry was sure he caught the sound of the Hat snickering.
"Tell me!" The Shade roared, all pretence at being in control lost in its anger. "Tell me how it is that twice, your past and my future, that I failed to kill you! Tell me everything and you'll live longer!"
Something about the rant had Harry's eyes narrowing as suspicion crept into his thoughts. Fawkes twilled softly as though guiding and encouraging them, and he looked between Riddle's solidifying shade and the diary lying beside the unconscious Ginny Weasley.
"How does the diary work, o' grand sorcerer?" He asked in return, the mocking tone only infuriating Riddle more. "Your other self is still floating around as some butt-ugly mist, so you aren't a ghost. What are you? A memory interlaced with heavy compulsion charms?"
"Nothing so plebeian!" Riddle snapped, his top lip curling more than an Elvis impersonator's. It was as though Harry had suggested he used his wand as a combination back-scratcher and nose picker. "I have delved deep into the Darkest of Arts and have become immortal. That diary is one of my greatest creations. A soul container. A Horcrux."
"You…" Harry looked at Riddle in pure horror and the shade laughed, misunderstanding his reaction.
Harry had read a theory of how a person's soul and magic were deeply connected, clearly explaining how magical ghosts were possible, and couldn't understand why someone would willingly mess with something that was a key part of their existence. While the Horcrux term might be unknown, Riddle's attitude allowed Harry to guess at what the diary was. He was stunned that someone as talented as Riddle appeared to have been somehow messed with his soul as a way of avoiding there. His entire first-year adventure had been because Dumbledore brought in an object that was supposed to do exactly that and didn't mess with a person's soul doing so..
Riddle's shade preened like a peacock while Fawkes' low trill was almost a chuckle at what was to come.
"So, I'm guessing you didn't think just one of those things," Harry said, pointing at the diary and hiding his revulsion at a man so dangerous his named stilled caused the adults around Harry to shudder having multiple ways to return from the dead. "Would be enough for the 'Great and Powerful Lord Voldemort."
"Of course not!" Riddle laughed, his ego easily stroked by the Slytherin Gryffindor. Harry absently wondered if the powerful idiot caught his reference. "I did what no-one would ever dream. Six Horcruxes, seven pieces of soul. The most magical number to keep me immortal!"
"An immortally deranged, completely insane, and magically unstable idiot," Harry added, and this time there was no mistaking the deep laughter of the Sorting Hat coming from their feet. He half turned to Ginny as he continued before Riddle could react. "Well, that's all I needed to know. Now I'll collect the girl, destroy your book, and find someone capable of hunting down your other containers. Take care, Tom."
The fury building up within the teenage Voldemort shattered at the idea of someone destroying his soul anchors. The shade turned to the giant carving of Salazar Slytherin and hissed.
~~"Speak to me, Slytherin, greatest of the Hogwarts Four!"~~ The Parseltongue echoed throughout the Chamber and Harry felt it react to the magic within the language.
The Boy-Who-Lived watched in awe and fear as the statue began to open, and deep down he knew what was happening and what exactly would be coming out of the dark, foreboding hole.
"Oh, Haaarrry," the Hat called out. Fawkes launched himself off Harry's shoulder as the boy pulled his gaze away from the basilisk's lair to the sentient headwear. The Hat's brim lifted to reveal something shiny. "Take what is yours by Magic, Blood, and Birth-right."
The Boy-Who-Lived launched himself at the Hat, his Seeker reflexes scooping it up and he raced to hide behind one of the many columns in the grand Chamber. Harry could hear the basilisk moving behind him, hear Tom ordering the deadly snake to kill him, and a phoenix screeching as it attacked the ancient beast. He forced himself to ignore the cacophony of sound and pulled free the Hat's gift.
The world seemed to pause as Harry looked at the superbly crafted sword he now held. The blade had a slight silvery tint and dramatically tapered into a point, reminding Harry of a rapier he had seen in one of the Little Whinging's library books. His fingers were gripped comfortably around the snake-shaped hilt with the snake's fangs gripping an emerald pommel stone. He could see squiggles carved into the guard that subtly shifted into letters and he gasped as he realised it was Parsel for Slytherin.
Harry was sharply brought out of his reverence for the sword, and the confusion as to why it seemed so damned happy for him to be holding it when the Chamber shuddered from the basilisk's roar of pain. He put the Hat on and carefully peeked around the column to see a now completely blind basilisk thrashing around the central chamber. While the sight of the mammoth snake saddened Harry, he grinned in delight as an enraged Riddle attempted to get the basilisk to under control. The soul shade was so angry he hadn't noticed that he had slipped back into human speech.
"Bloody hell, Slinky," Harry cursed when he finally took in the basilisk's size. "You got big."
"Indeed," the Hat agreed through its strange mind-speech as it carefully nudged the boy's magic and potential to the surface while making sure Harry didn't notice the changes. "That's a blind, thousand-year-old basilisk, there's an evil bastard trying to come back to life, you're only twelve, and you have a pointy sword. So, what's the plan?"
"You know, Sebastian," Harry sneered back, not realising he had used the Hat's name nor that he was working through wrist exercises with the sword. "One day, you and I are going to have words about your attitude."
"I came by it honestly from my snake-loving creator after the other three added in their say," Sebastian chuckled.
"Magic resistant hide, he's in a really bad mood, and I doubt I have enough power to kill him with a spell down the mouth," Harry listed off, ignoring Sebastian's comment through years of practice. His lips twisted into a smirk as Riddle stomped his feet over Fawkes keeping Slinky occupied. "There's only one answer left, and I'll never live this down if it gets out."
"Pointy sword, dangerous beast, CHARGE!" Sebastian quoted a familiar complained about The Gryffindor of Gryffindors with a laugh.
"Hermione is going to kill me for this," Harry sighed, pain lancing his chest at the memory of his best friend in the infirmary.
"Says you," Harry immediately scoffed. "There's a reason why the castle has so many hidden passageways; it's so the two of us could run when she got angry. That's one dangerous woman."
Harry never gave Sebastian time to reply as he ran forward from his hiding spot, the sword angled low as he raced towards the giant beast. Its senses picked up on the movement and instinct took over on both sides. Slinky the Basilisk lunged forward just as Harry brought the sword up to meet the attack, and the blade sunk deep into the roof of the snake's mouth.
His arm erupted in agony as one of the poisonous fangs pierced it below the elbow. The deadliest venom in the known Wizarding World flooded Harry's veins as the dead basilisk topped to the side. He stumbled in the other direction as the venom took hold and the fang snapped, allowing him to stagger away, covered in the animal's blood.
The sword grew too heavy to hold and Harry only kept hold of the weapon because his muscles were unable to relax enough to let it go. He took hold of the broken fang and wrenched it free of his arm with a snarl of defiance. He never felt the hard impact as he fell to his knees.
"You're dead, Harry Potter," Riddle crowed in triumph. "Dead! And it won't be long now before I completely drain little Weasley and retake my place…wait…what are you doing you stupid bird?!"
The phoenix in question had scooped up the cursed diary and dropped it in front of Harry. Neither boy took notice as it reclaimed the Sebastian the Sorting Hat and gently dropped it on Ginny's head.
"It's given me a way of stopping you, Tommy boy," Harry smirked, the look having been feared by many almost a thousand years prior. He never gave the shade a chance to reply before driving the fang's tip deep into the diary's heart.
A terrible scream seemed to come from both the diary and the shade. Ink spewed from the book, its life-force draining away, while Riddle's spectral body contorted and twisted until he was somehow wrenched into nothingness.
The silence was heavy with Sebastian, Fawkes, and the very Chamber of Secrets itself waiting for what was coming next. The basilisk venom finally connected to Harry's magical core and the legacy that had been hidden within the blood of Lily Evans. His body stiffened, and he opened his mouth in a silent scream as ancient magics burst free. The safety feature of Salazar's bloodline kicked in, unlocked by the venom, and Harry's mind and magic were torn apart and rebuilt as the essence of Salazar Slytherin was reborn within the body of Harry James Potter.
The lightning bolt scar, as famous as the boy whose forehead it sat on, opened to spew forth black puss that merged with the basilisk blood. It wouldn't be until the next day that anyone noticed how faded the mark became.
"You're an absolute bastard, Sebastian," Harry croaked as he collapsed onto his side, fighting for every breath as the pain dropped to a more tolerable level. Which for both Salazar and Harry meant most people would have been unconscious. The memories of Salazar clashed with those of Harry with the merged result realising just how similar their childhoods had been.
"You know I couldn't do anything. It was the only way to properly Awaken you," Sebastian retorted without any sense of regret. "The moment I was placed on young Harry's head, I knew you were in there with him. You're the only one I know who could survive the childhood the two of you had while still being a good person."
Sal scoffed at the sentiment and ignored Fawkes trilling in agreement. Salazar's physically brutal childhood at the hands of his loving father meant that he became a Dark wizard fighting for the side of good, and no good didn't get a say in the matter. Salazar was only surprised that Harry hadn't already made a similar choice.
"You know," the most feared of the Founders said in a tone that declared the subject was being changed. There was no part of his body that didn't hurt as he pulled himself to his feet and ripped off his damaged robe, using it to clean his beloved sword of basilisk fluids. The pain continued to spike as his body overcharged with magic from the merger, but he pushed the agony away through mental discipline. "Owning something imbued with my magic while being injected with basilisk venom seemed like the ideal way of combining myself with one of my heirs. At the time."
"And now?" Sebastian chortled as though already knowing the answer.
"Now I understand why Ro' gave me such a disappointed look when I suggested it," Harry said, wistful at the memory. He dropped the ruined robe once the blade was clean and held out his left hand, mentally calling his basilisk-hide scabbard from its hiding place. Muscle memory had him sliding the blade home and tying the belt around his waist even as he glared at the Hat. His famous green eyes glowed more brightly and with greater clarity than anyone in his current lifetime had ever seen. "I know who my brother and Helga are. Tell me Ro' is here as well."
The scabbard automatically shrunk to fit Harry's smaller body, the inverse space-enlargement enchantment making sure the blade was unharmed by the size-changing magic. He didn't notice a thing as he waited for Sebastian's answer, the Avada glare growing more dangerous the longer the enchanted object took to give it.
"She's here, Sal," it finally sighed. "But she, like the three of you, has had a similar life as her old one."
"The fury that passed over Harry's face was only matched by the explosion of his magic that caused the Chamber to shudder. The man in a boy's body quickly closed his eyes to bring up his old Occlumency mindscape and shields to regain control of his emotions. The mindscape and mental protections might not have fully survived the transition, but they were still strong enough to give him control over himself as well as withstand a wandless attack.
"Then I will Awaken my sissster first," he declared with a harsh hiss once his rage slithered back into its dark home deep within his soul. "I can't risk it for Rick or Helga first, not with the way their lives are away from here."
Sebastian declined to reply as both he and Fawkes waited for the next Sal explosion. It wasn't long in coming.
"So," Salazar said in a faux sweet tone. "Want to tell me what in Magic's s name has happened to my House? Half those nitwits wouldn't even be tutored by our educators, let along become one of our apprentices. I haven't seen a true Slytherin since I came back."
The Sorting Hat cringed at the rant. He knew he had done his best with what he had, but it was still a far cry from the Founders' dream.
"It only took a hundred years after you all died that it was decided to do away with Hogwarts' House," Sebastian explained, not surprised by Harry's snarl. The House system had been designed for everyone to be in one, unnamed House split only by magical power/education. The other four Houses were then for those who exemplified what each Founder believed in and was given personal tutoring. Now the little bastards were being put into Houses that they didn't really deserve. "It took a Coven of three-and-seven to weaken the blood protections you put on me, Sal. And then only to the point a Headmaster or the child in question could attempt to nudge me in a Sorting's direction.
"And you know what your name has become because of Salestine," Sebastian pushed on even though it could feel Harry's pain at what had happened. Fawkes' soft warbling looked to help them through the difficult conversation. "Between the current Headmaster using the Peverell Elder Stick on me and that jumped-up bastard Riddle proclaiming himself your heir, your House has become a travesty of the man I consider my friend."
Harry sighed, his heart clenching at the agony in Sebastian's voice. He finally asked the question he had been avoiding since he Awakened. "Is he really one of mine?"
"That snot-stain is a bastard son of Merope Gaunt. The Gaunts married one of Salestine's many, many brood," the Hat snarled in a perfect imitation of Harry. Salestine had been Salazar's third child and second son, born without the tell-tale Slytherin green eyes and so barred from accessing the family magic that had come from Salazar. The boy had taken the news he wouldn't become Lord Slytherin badly and became the Dark Lord history declared Salazar to be. He was also the eventual reason for Salazar's death from an agonising curse after Sal had killed the little shit. "Lily Evans is your direct line as are the Potters through your great-granddaughter marrying Antioch I's grandson. You're also part of Ro's family through the Blacks with Dorea Black being Harry's paternal grandmother. It's why the Headmaster's blood wards are so bloody useless! Petunia doesn't have the Slytherin magic, so they don't consider her a true member of the family."
Salazar couldn't help but chuckle at Sebastian's rant. All the Founders had been infamous with their students for going on long ramblings that simultaneously tore apart arguments and educated those able to handle such sharp tongues. The quick moment of levity passed as his intelligent mind processed the information.
"Speaking of the old goat," he said, his eyes narrowing at someone not of Peverell blood possessing the dangerous wand. "What the hell is going on with his redemption project of my Head of House?"
"A blind spot, Sal," Sebastian sighed. "Snape thought himself in love with Lily, was part of the reason why the Potters were targeted by Riddle, and how you ended up under the blood wards. The Headmaster believes he's sorry for what he's done in the past and not merely in agony over losing the woman who was never his."
"The more I hear, the more I was to retake Cassie immediately and kick everyone's arse," Harry shook his head in frustration and began to pace as his lightning-fast thoughts created and abandoned plans with almost every step. "Forget all this personal drama, tell me what I need to know."
"You know about my situation already," Sebastian groused. "The Headmaster has grown lax with keeping the school protected and the wards are a total mess. There's a ward designed to destroy anything electrical coming into Cassie's and it's so overpowered it's been known to cause Muggle-borns headaches. The Dark Artefact ward is barely there, hence that now dead deadly diary able to get in, and a whole lot of the other protections simply aren't active. It's a balls up of epic proportions, Sal."
"Well the ward keeping overly aggressive action from happening in the halls must be down," Harry absently noted as he swivelled on the spot to walk back the way he came only to suddenly freeze as a horrifying thought chilled his blood. "Tell me at least the physical assault wards are active."
The silence spoke volumes and Sal felt bile climbing up the back of his throat. And then he remembered what Sebastian had said about his sister's new life. "Ro'?"
"It's only been girls and they haven't gone that far."
The 'yet' went unsaid and Harry's control shattered once more, sending another wave of magic erupting from his still merging cores. The magic was a living wave of fury, rippling out from the too small body that contained it, and caused Chamber's stagnated water to leap into the air in millions of individual drops. They hung there for a heartbeat and then evaporated as oxygen and hydrogen atoms were forcefully separated by Salazar's raw power. The resulting shockwave impacted the Chamber walls, cracking the solid stone into thousands of spider-webbed fragments, and Harry crumpled to his knees as his body simultaneously overloaded itself with and emptied itself of magic.
Sebastian shuddered in fear at the terrible act. Salazar Slytherin's power was almost unmatched when he was in his prime and it was now within a body that had only gone through one magical maturity. Harry Potter's potential backed by the sheer force of will that was Salazar Slytherin would reshape the world and Sebastian only hoped the other three Founders still had their talent of reigning the dangerous man in. While Salazar wasn't the Dark Lord history made him, he was most definitely the Dark Wizard it hinted at.
The proof of Sebastian's fears was in the way the Chamber shuddered as the released magic sank into the hungry runes, awakening the Snake Lord's home for the first time since he left Hogwarts. It would have taken a fully rested adult wizard half a day to safely do the same and a weak Slytherin had done so in a fit of anger.
The Chamber's own small Heartstone awoke at the touch of its maker's magic and began drawing from the seven ley lines beneath Hogwarts, pouring the potent magic into repairing and rebuilding the Chamber to its former glory as well as alerting the house-elves of the Chamber's location so they could fix what it couldn't.
It took a worrying number of minutes for Harry's harsh coughing to settle and for him to stop spitting up blood. He knew his body and core needed time to recover from the mixing of basilisk venom and the Awakening, and the emotional explosions were pushing both to the point of collapse. It was a situation he was painfully familiar with.
"Right," he gasped, forcing himself through the agony. "First thing is to get to the surface and have the Healer look me and Weasley over. Next, some bullshit information for the great Dumbledore, I recover, and then I hunt down Ro' and free her from another nightmare."
"I've been working on Miss Weasley's mind as we've been talking, as well as keeping her asleep," Sebastian informed one of his creators. "She'll need a professional Mind-Healer, but I've done enough for her to realise this past year wasn't her fault. I also tweaked her response to Harry Potter saving her so that instead of it feeding into her hero worship, it's made her realise that it was her obsession with him that kept her writing in the diary."
"Thank you, old friend," Harry said, weakly pushing himself to his feet and then stumbling as the world spun.
"Be careful, Sal," the Hat warned, knowing not to mention his friend's physical weakness no matter how worried he was about it. Neither Harry nor Salazar allowed themselves to be weak and trying to point it out only alienated them. "Her family look at Harry's fame and gold as a way out of their poverty and the answer to their dreams. Even the twins are capable of enjoying the pain of others."
"Indeed. And they have a piece of parchment made by Harry's father and his friends. It's tied into the identification wards, so they know almost every hidden place and where everyone is at any time."
Harry blinked as he held his burning side. It felt as though the core release and coughing fit had caused a rib to crack. Thankfully it was an injury they were well used to working around. "What name would I show up as?"
"Exactly. You know Cassie, she'll be over the moon to have Salazar back."
Harry didn't bother responding as he was too focused on shuffling over to the unconscious Ginny. His energy levels were dropping hard and he knew he'd be on the verge of a magical coma if he didn't get some aid soon.
"Once we get up top, I'll need you to beg, bribe, bully, or promise anything the Little Girl wants," he instructed Sebastian as he collapsed with a grunt beside the unconscious girl. "She only has to keep the wards saying Harry Potter until I'm able to get the map from them."
"Will do, Sal. Now take a bloody breather while Sparky over there flashes up to the tunnel to pick up the dead weights."
Harry weakly chuckled at Fawkes' squawk of indignation. He closed his mind to help partition off the pain and weakness, fully aware that it would cost him more in the end. The world behind his eyelids burned a furious orange as the phoenix transported them to a frantic Ron Weasley.
It had taken all of Harry's fragile self-control not to skewer the red-headed bastard. He had taken Sebastian off Ginny's head the moment the world stopped burning and the first year immediately woke up, falling into her brother's arms once she opened her eyes. Sal had left them to it and dragged his exhausted carcass towards the pipe's opening only for the male Weasley to demanding answers as to what happened and just why was Harry wearing a sword-belt, with sword, that was covered in snakes. As though the Slytherin sword wasn't worthy enough to save his sister's life.
Bigoted little shit, Harry thought to himself, his perception of Ron's attitude and actions over the past two years now coloured by Salazar's maturity.
"The Sorting Hat thought it would be funny if I killed Slytherin's Monster with Slytherin's sword," he snarked, sending the Hat in question into barking laughter that echoed in the tunnel. The tips of Ron's ears turned red and Harry turned away from the two Weasleys to lead the way out.
Ron had been Harry's first friend and he was still pretty sure he'd pick Weasley over the idiot Draco Malfoy if the choice came up again. The boys had rescued him from the Dursleys that past summer, had given him a chance to enjoy what it meant to be warm and have a full stomach before bed, and generally made him feel welcome at the Burrow. Harry's shift in attitude came from not looking at the family in the illusionary perfect way he did before. They might not be the Dursleys, but the entire family had problems that soured Harry on them now Salazar's decades of experience made them obvious.
Molly Weasley was too overbearing while Arthur seemed to go along with anything she said or wanted. The twins were a laugh but never knew when to stop with their jokes while Percy was a political toady in the making if Sal had ever seen one. Harry knew next to nothing about Ginny, but he knew more than enough when it came to Ron; blindly anti everything not Gryffindor, disinterested in learning even the basics of magical control, an inferiority complex about his place in life while also carrying a superiority complex over his skills. But it was the last two flaws that had Harry uncaring if their relationship fell apart. The boy was a subtle blood-bigot given a few of his comments over the past two years and he was intensely jealous of any attention Harry gained, willing to push Harry into situations he had no interest in as long as Ron got to tag along and fell important.
Harry shook his head free of the running thoughts. He had a path of his own that had to be forged and it would be too Slytherin for the boy holding his quietly sobbing sister to follow. Salazar hoped Ronald Weasley grew up and found his own way in life and forgot about measuring himself to others.
The deep introspective was broken when the quiet trio came across a totally blitzed-out Gilderoy Lockhart leaning against the stone wall and grinning like an idiot. Sal hadn't seen anyone so peaceful with the world since one of his students somehow overpowered the hallucinogenic properties of some of the Forbidden Forest's mushrooms.
That's something else that needs fixing, he remembered. I'm not having those nasty Acromantulas near my school.
"His memory's gone, the Memory Charm backfired," Ron grumbled after being given a questioning eyebrow raise.
Sal shook his head and ignored both idiots. He knew Lockhart was too out of it to move from the cave-in to the bottom of the slide on his own but didn't care enough to find out what Ron was hiding. He glared at the slope and found himself too tired to face the stairs he now knew he could turn it into.
"Couldn't lend us a feather, could you, Fawkes?" He politely asked the phoenix perched on his shoulder, tucking Sebastian into his belt. The phoenix consented, and the group were quickly soaring up the large opening to land with a thump on the wet floor of Moaning Myrtle's bathroom.
Harry was flat on his back gasping for breath, wondering if he had the strength to move when he suddenly tasted a drop of salty water. The essence of Fawkes worked through his body, healing the internal injuries to leave only the exhaustion and core damage.
"Thanks, old friend," he whispered as he rolled to his knees. The crimson bird bobbed its head in return while the two Weasleys were too focused on themselves to hear.
Harry pulled up the memory-wiped Lockhart to his feet and led the idiot as the three students followed the slowly floating phoenix down the corridors. Sal absently put Sebastian on his head only to wince when his mind was filled with a shout.
"MORGANA'S OVERFLOWING CHAMBER POT! Your core is ready to implode!"
An elf immediately popped in front of Harry to stop him taking another step. He blinked stupidly at the little being as it glared up at him with a look of pure stubbornness on its face. Harry idly wondered if it had been taking lessons from Helga while the two Weasleys stared in confusion. Sal ultimately gave a mental shrug and took the vial the elf was holding out, downing the Core Replenishing Potion that would keep him from falling into a potentially lethal magical coma.
The elf took the vial back, gave one last glare that promised pain if he didn't start taking care of himself, and popped back to wherever it had come from. Sal easily ignored Sebastian's mental laughter at the scene and picked up the pace so that he could get himself a good sleep and some food as quickly as possible.
The eclectic group found themselves in McGonagall's office where a frantic Molly Weasley pulled all three children into far too tight hugs. She was saved from evisceration only by Harry's exhaustion. Once he gained his freedom from the iron-armed woman, Sal carefully put Sebastian and Riddle's diary on the desk while Fawkes drifted to the shoulder of the white-bearded man sitting behind it. Harry met the blue gaze with a steady green one of his own.
"Professor Dumbledore, sir," he said in the most 'Harry' voice he could manage given the circumstances. "I got to admit that these end of year adventures aren't as fun as people might imagine."
Those who didn't know Sal's sense of humour looked at the raven-haired boy as though he had grown a second head. The comment had even caught Lockhart's attention until it was captured by an interesting pattern in McGonagall's rug. It was only Sal's iron will that kept his body from shivering at Hogwarts' excitement at one of her fathers being back and prayed to the old gods that Dumbledore didn't notice the castle's shift in magic.
Slowly, the way a twelve-year-old would, he spun the tale of the entire year. Hearing Slinky's voice – though never actually using the dead basilisk's name – and how it was Hermione who eventually realised what it was he heard moving through the pipes. He told the adults of how he and Ron had gone into the Acromantula colony to learn of Myrtle's death, playing up Ron's heroics in facing his arachnophobia for all its worth in the hopes it helped the boy feel better about himself, and finally to how they worked out the entrance had to be in the very same bathroom Myrtle now haunted.
Mr and Mrs Weasley sat agog throughout the tale while Dumbledore and McGonagall kept their reactions hidden, the former succeeding far more than the latter. It was the disappointing Head of Gryffindor who spoke up once Harry finished his twist of truth and tale.
"How on Earth did you survive facing off against a basilisk, Potter?"
Harry tasted blood from how hard he bit his cheek to keep from showing his annoyance at the woman. McGonagall's impersonal stance towards her own students was one of the reasons why Gryffindor House wasn't what it could be. An elf popped in to pass Sal a glass of cool water laced with a healing potion to soothe his raw throat and the teachers blinked in surprise at the unique act.
"It seems that Riddle wrote in that diary there," he threw out his chin towards the object in question. "He somehow made it so that whoever wrote back would slowly become entrapped."
"Brilliant," Dumbledore softly said. Sal frowned at the intense appreciation he heard in the single word and suspiciously eyed the Headmaster as the old man picked up the object in question. "Of course, he was probably the most brilliant student Hogwarts had ever seen."
Hogwash. Harry mentally snapped. He could name over twenty students from his time as Salazar and the present who had the potential to equal or better his descendent if they had a mind to. The shade in the Chamber had been daring and egotistical in his powers, going places others had the sanity not to tread, but Sal had heard nothing of Tom Riddle to suggest he was as talented as Dumbledore made out. And Harry should know; after all, it was Salazar's ability to know the full potential of another magical that he imbued within the Sorting Hat.
"Very few people know that Tom Riddle went on to become Lord Voldemort," the fool continued, speaking mostly to the Weasleys who naturally gave him the looks of wide-eyed wonder he was after. "I taught him myself, fifty years ago. He disappeared after leaving the school…went far and wide no doubt…sank so very deeply into the Dark Arts, consorted with the very worst of our kind and underwent so many dangerous, magical transformations, that when he resurfaced as Lord Voldemort, he was barely recognisable as…"
Bullshit! Sal argued, he Occlumency shields straining to hide his reaction to what was being spewed forth. Salazar knew the Dark Arts. He had delved into, dissected, and understood more about the branch of magic the modern world shunned than anyone except his bloodline's originator. He couldn't see how a fully formed 'Voldemort' could have captured the loyalty and following of so many Pure-bloods as the accounts claimed.
No. he probably went through some core, stamina, and body strengthening rituals prior to coming back into society as well as something to add speed and dexterity but not anything else. Sal's academic mind running off on a tangent at what he would suggest someone do if they wanted to become Voldemort. Something must have scared Riddle to give up his physical humanity and become more in tune with his Parsel Magic. A new player on the board, perhaps? One who faded away when my parents bested the bastard?
"Miss Weasley should go to the Hospital Wing right away," Dumbledore's voice cut through Harry's musings and he realised that he had once again drifted away from the conversation. "Madam Pomfrey is just giving out Mandrake juice as we speak."
A tension Harry didn't know he carried slipped away at the news and he sighed in relief. Whether she was Helga or Hermione, he never felt right without the woman of his heart by his side.
McGonagall led the frantic Weasleys sans Ron out of her office and Harry leant back in his chair with a soft sigh, his eyes closing as he worked on his Occlumency. Dumbledore had just admitted that he saw the signs of one of his students turning evil and yet, as far as Sal knew, he had done nothing to stop Riddle from becoming the monster who would ultimately attack the Potters. That Salazar had faced the same situation with his own son and went on to kill Salestine only made Dumbledore's failure that much harder for the Snake Lord to accept.
"I seem to remember telling you both that I would have to expel you if you broke any more rules," the man in question reminded them. "Which goes to show that the best of us must sometimes eat our words. You will both receive Special Awards for Services to the School and I think two hundred points apiece for Gryffindor."
Ron went bright pink with embarrassment at the praise while Harry could only internally wince at Godric's joy at him being the cause of Gryffindor winning the House Cup two years in a row.
"What about your part in this, Gilderoy?"
"Professor Dumbledore, sir, there was an accident down in the Chamber of Secrets," Ron quickly said. "He tried doing a Memory Charm and the wand backfired."
"Dear me," the Headmaster chuckled. "Impaled on your own sword, eh? Well then, perhaps you can take him to the Infirmary, Mister Weasley?"
Ron gave them both a confused frown before nodding and leading the wide-eyed man-child out of the room. Fawkes dropped down to sit on Dumbledore's lap and the old man began stroking the fire-bird's wings.
"You must have shown me real loyalty down in the Chamber, Harry. Nothing but that could have called Fawkes to you, so thank you," the blue eyes twinkled at what Harry knew was a lie. While it was an unusual act, it wasn't unknown for the phoenix to protect the castle or those within from highly dangerous attack. "And so, you met Tom Riddle. I imagine he was most interested in you…"
"A little, sir," Harry knew it wouldn't cost him anything to admit part of the conversation with shade. "After his big speech about how great he was, how he had overcome his origins, and admitted who he became, that's when he wanted to know about me."
"Yes. Tom always was a bit full of himself," Dumbledore chuckled in memory. "And what do you think of him?"
"A waste of potential, sir," Harry shrugged, not surprised by Dumbledore's eyes widening at his answer. "I got the impression his life wasn't the best growing up and he was simply mad at the world. He wanted to make everyone fear him to make himself feel special."
"Indeed," the Headmaster muttered, taken aback by the insight into the young Voldemort. A worrying thought flickered across Dumbledore's mind and he tentatively asked. "You sound as though you understand his position."
"Only the first part," Harry answered, honestly, much to Dumbledore's not-so hidden relief. "I know what it's like to not feel good about where you come from. This year showed me what its like to have an entire school against me."
This time the reaction was obvious as the Headmaster winced while remaining silent.
"I could lash out at both of those things, sir, but then I'd be no better than Riddle, wouldn't I?" Now Harry's voice broke into that of an exhausted and scared boy. "I don't want to be like that, sir."
"Everyone thought you were Slytherin's heir because you speak Parseltongue, Harry," Dumbledore softly explained, fully ignoring the fact that he and the rest of the staff could have stopped the year-long bullying at any point. Sal knew the Wraith of Helga would be descending upon the staff once she took her place as a Founder. "I believe the reason you speak Parseltongue is because Riddle, who is the last remaining descendent to Salazar Slytherin, can speak Parseltongue."
Sal blinked owlishly in confusion, unable to fully comprehend the drivel that was being sent his way.
"Unless I'm mistaken, he transferred some of his own powers to you the night he gave you that scar. Not something he intended to do, I'm sure."
"He put a piece of himself in me?" Harry meekly asked while silently fuming. The fool obviously thought him to be a living Horcrux without thinking about the fact the object used had to go through its own series of rituals before it could accept the soul piece. At worst, Harry's forehead housed a rogue spiritual shadow that could be pulled free by anyone skilled in Soul Magic.
Sal's thoughts hit a brick wall as a cold chill slithered down his spine. If Dumbledore thought he was a living Horcrux, then what was the man's eventual plan for his life?
"It seems so."
"The Hat did want me in Slytherin," Harry said, not having to fake the unease in his voice.
"And yet it put you in Gryffindor," Dumbledore pushed, almost desperate to get Harry to see the difference between himself and Riddle. "You may have some of the qualities Slytherin prized…"
A sound suspiciously like coughing came from Sebastian while Fawkes actually rolled his eyes at the statement.
"…You have his own rare gift of Parseltongue, you have resourcefulness, determination, and a certain disregard for the rules. Yet the Sorting Hat placed you in Gryffindor for a reason."
"I asked it to, sir," Harry exclaimed as though finding the answer to the Philosopher's Stone. Sal was on autopilot now, acting as he needed as his sharp intellect completely re-evaluated Dumbledore's future goals and potential actions.
"Exactly, Harry," the Headmaster beamed, his eyes twinkling full blast. "It is exactly as you spoke about with Tom's reaction to his childhood. It is our choices, Harry, that show what we truly are, far more than our abilities."
Dumbledore sat back pleaded with how he had shown the boy the way to his conclusion. His gaze dropped to the new addition to Harry's wardrobe and mused aloud. "I do wonder why you were given that sword rather than Gryffindor's."
"I can answer that, Headmaster," Sebastian finally spoke up with glee. "The boy could easily have wielded Godric's blade as keenly as the one I gave him."
Which was truer than Dumbledore knew. The two Founders had often swapped weapons if a battle required it.
"Yet I felt it was better for him to understand that not everything related to Slytherin is evil," Sebastian continued, censure in his voice towards the Headmaster who refused to learn that lesson. "And I believed it was right that Salazar's sword put down Salazar's pet. A coming of full circle, if you will."
Dumbledore nodded sagely along with the explanation as though it was exactly what he thought it would be. Apparently, that was enough for the old man who then told Harry to eat and sleep. The Awakened Salazar quickly stood, desperate to rest his aching body, when the office door burst open and an angry and dishevelled Lucius Malfoy stormed into the room, followed by a nervous Dobby. The blond almost knocked Harry over in his need to get into Dumbledore's face.
Harry blocked out the ranting man and focused his still-developing Mage Sight on Malfoy's forearm. He really wanted to know more about the infamous Dark Mark. His study, what little he could do, was broken by Dobby pointing between his Master and the diary before smacking his first against his temple in self-punishment. It didn't take long for Harry to understand the meaning.
"I'm sure you're familiar with how Ginny got the diary, aren't you, Mr Malfoy?" Sal asked with cheer, deliberately ignoring the title of Lord.
"And how should I know how a little girl got a hold of it?" The man snapped, snipping around to face Harry.
"Why because you gave it to her! You remember, don't you? Flourish and Blotts? An old Transfiguration textbook with the diary slipped in?"
Lucius' hand went white with how hard it tightened around the head of his walking cane. The man's fury meant he was only able to ground out two words. "Prove it."
"Oh, no one will be able to do that, Lucius," Dumbledore interrupted with his own smile, visibly delighted with Harry's verbal sparring. "Not now Riddle has vanished from the book. But I do advise you not to lend out any more of Lord Voldemort's old school things. Why I could imagine Arthur Weasley doing everything he could to make sure they traced back to you if you were to continue doing so."
Way to make the Weasleys his main targets, Dumbledore. Salazar sneered as his battle instincts kicked in. Experience caught the split-second Malfoy's body tensed in preparation of an attack before the blond pulled himself under somewhat limited control and stormed from the room, his fury an almost living thing that forced Dobby to follow behind in misery. Harry's own rage rose up and he quickly kicked off his shoe to pull off a sock.
Dumbledore watched in amusement as Harry put the shoe back on, slipped the sock inside the forgotten diary, and raced out after Malfoy without saying a word. The Headmaster's only thought was how dissimilar the boy was to Tom.
"Mr Malfoy," Harry called out, loud enough that the man was forced to stop and turn. He immediately tossed the dead diary at the blond's chest, forcing him to catch it. "I wanted to give this back to you."
"You'd better watch yourself, Potter," Malfoy spat, absently tossing Dobby the book. The man had no clue how much he was mirroring his impotent spawn with all the blustering. "Or else you'll meet the same sticky end as your parents."
"And anyone who tried will meet the sssame sssticky end asss your Massster," Harry hissed back, his mask slipping just enough to let Malfoy glimpse the extremely dangerous wizard beneath. He hid the truth as quickly as it was revealed and gave Malfoy a beaming smile. "Have a nice day, Mr Malfoy."
The hissing speech had caused Lucius to step back as memories of his Dark Lord threatened to overcome him. He quickly turned away from the Boy-Who-Lived and went to storm down the hallway only to catch sight of Dobby holding an old sock.
"Master has given Dobby a sock. Dobby bes free!"
Once more Malfoy spun to face Harry who wondered if the man was getting giddy with all the sharp turns. Sal was briefly reminded of royal court functions and all the impotent Barons the Founders had been forced to deal with. Malfoy made to pull his wand free of its place within his cane only to find himself flying down the hallway and crashing down some steps through the magic of an enraged house-elf.
"You shall not harm Harry Potter!" Dobby roared, his face contorted in righteous fury. "You shall go now. You wills NOT be harming Harry Potter. You shall go now!"
The man who prided himself on his political and financial influence could do nothing but hastily pull himself to his feet and fail to rearrange his dishevelled robes. There was a momentary standoff between the free house-elf pointing his finger at his former master and the wizard who had just been embarrassed by a being he believed was lesser than him, and then Malfoy stormed off. Dobby sheepishly turned to Harry only to be stunned at the sight of the Great Harry Potter kneeling so that they could be eye level.
"Dobby, I want to thank you for what you've done this year," Sal quietly told the elf. "You did your best for me and now I'm going to do the same for you. I want you to get healthy, enjoy your freedom if that's what you want, and two weeks after I leave Hogwarts you are to come to me. Two weeks, no more, no less, and I'll give you the chance to become my personal elf."
A tearful Dobby tackled Harry's weary body and gave him a Hermione worthy hug. Once the elf was able to pull himself together he gave Harry a watery smile of thanks and popped away.
Harry painfully rose to his feet and instantly knew he had pushed his body as far as it could go. It was in desperate need of shutting down while he equally desperately wanted to see Hermione. He felt eyes on him and half turned to see Dumbledore watching him, the two sharing some type of smile and nod before going their separate ways.
Sal stumbled into the Hospital Wing on his last legs and smiled happily when he saw the bed next to Hermione open. Ron had apparently dropped the mind-mangled Lockhart off and disappeared to find food, Ginny looked asleep as did most of those who had been petrified. Though thankfully Mrs Norris was already long gone.
"Hey, you," he smiled, weakly, dropping onto the bed with a thump. A sleepy Hermione smiled back and then frowned when she took in his appearance.
"Mister Potter, you shouldn't be here," came the familiar voice of the Medi-witch. "I can't allow visitors yet."
"Aww, Madam Pomfrey, and here I thought you enjoyed taking care of me," he mock-whined at the friendly woman.
The Medi-witch gave him a hard look and took in his haggard state before tutting about him not being able to keep himself out of trouble. "And what seems to be the problem?"
Harry gave a wry smile as the woman hovered over him, her wand moving in familiar ways. "Magical, physical, and mental exhaustion after fighting a thousand-year-old basilisk with only a sword, a few internal injuries, and recovering from a bite from said snake."
The stereo screams came from both the Medi-witch and Hermione, giving him flashbacks of dealing with Helga and Rowena.
"Fawkes gave me some tears," he unhelpfully offered up.
Although it was technically true, the tears weren't offered in connection with the venom that was Pomfrey was now frantically scanning for. Salazar had, through an extremely painful ritual, found a way of providing himself and his direct descendants immunity to the deadliest poison ever known and, as a by-product, a general immunity to all snake bites. Harry idly wondered how many of his family had found that fact out.
Hermione was in an absolute state and staring at his revealed bite scar in horror. He gave them an edited version of what happened in the Chamber and mentioned how his magic seemed to explode once the venom had been neutralised. Another truth hidden in a half-lie.
"I can see that, Mister Potter," Pomfrey snapped, her wand moving at a furious speed. "I can also see where one of my Core Replenishing Potions went. I'm going to give you a Dreamless Sleep so your body has time to recover, and maybe one to Miss Granger now you've scared us both to death with your latest adventure."
Hermione gave a wide-eyed nod and Harry realised just how scared she was for him. Madam Pomfrey had barely disappeared into her supply room before he was on Hermione's bed and pulling the girl into a tight hug.
The fact that Harry had initiated the contact snapped Hermione out of her shock better than any potion could have, and she immediately tightened her arms around him. There was something different about her Harry, something about the way he moved and especially how he looked at her. She couldn't work out what it was but then she was still recovering and not at her best. So instead of worrying, Hermione simply enjoyed their new closeness and hoped it wasn't gone in the morning.
Hermione got her wish. Leading up to the end of the school year Harry hugged her as much as she did him, smiled and laughed much more than he ever did, and seemed to truly enjoy her company. He even surprised her by dragging her off to Professor McGonagall's office to ask for a change of electives so that he could take Arithmancy and Ancient Runes alongside Care of Magical Creatures, dropping Divination. She'd almost kissed him right then and there.
He had also explained, in far more detail than in the Infirmary, what happened in the Chamber of Secrets and how he had to fight against You-Know-Who again. Yet somehow this time seemed to have given him a confidence that the fight with Quirrell never did. Hermione couldn't place it, but it was as though this was how Harry should have been rather than the Harry she had known before being petrified.
The change in Harry also meant there was a change in the friendship of the Gryffindor trio. While Harry allowed Ron to claim a much bigger role in defeating the basilisk than what she knew he had – because there was no way she wasn't going to believe Harry over the loudmouth – he refused to allow the redhead to say a single word against her. Ron's mouth had always got away from him, whether complaining about her reading habits or her focus on homework, yet now Harry was in the redhead's face the moment it started.
In the few times Harry wasn't with her, Ron blamed the stress of the Chamber on Harry being different and how he needed the summer without any complaining about homework to get back to the old Harry. Hermione chose to ignore this 'advice' and focus on the new Harry.
The only time she had been worried was when she noticed him intensely scanning the Ravenclaw table during the Leaving Feast. His eyes, so much brighter and clearer than she had ever noticed them being, locked onto the quiet form of a blonde first year and he asked if anyone knew her name.
"'er?" Ron mumbled around a mouthful of food. "That's Loony Lovegood. Lives near us."
"Ron," Harry had said in a chilling voice, turning his neck to look directly at the other boy. "We've been friends for the last two years so I'm warning you now. Call her that again and I'll break your nose, rip your bits off, and feed them to you until you choke. Are we clear?"
Hermione had been ready to scold her friend for his language when she caught sight of Ron's face. Her position on Harry's other side meant she couldn't see his look but Ron had gone from the early signs of anger to scared in the blink of an eye and couldn't nod his head fast enough.
She wondered what the little blonde was to Harry but that thought got derailed when she remembered all the names she had been called in primary school and how much they had hurt. Had Harry somehow found out the girl was being bullied? She looked at the Ravenclaw in question and noticed that she appeared to be ignored by everyone around her. Something deep inside Hermione, something she had been fighting against since she had seen this new Harry, reacted to the idea of this slip of a girl being bullied and silently swore to look out for her the next year
As for Harry, it had been far too easy for him to get the Marauder's Map. His first private moment after leaving the Hospital Wing saw him asking one of the Hogwarts elves to take it from the twins when they finally went to sleep. A bit of Mage Sight, his many years of reading wards, and carefully assessing the individual magics within the parchment gave him the humorous passwords. He now knew as much about the Map as the creators did and far more than the minuscule knowledge the twins had collected.
He did wonder which of the four names had been his dad's.
The last days of second year were all about integrating the memories of his two lives and promising Cassie that he would begin to bring her back to her former glory in September. As impatient as the castle was, she understood it wasn't a good idea for him to show his hand now only to then disappear for the summer and she glumly agreed to wait. That didn't stop her pouting.
He had gotten closer to Hermione and spent a little bit of time back in his Chamber, using other entrances that Riddle had never found, and brought the place up to modern standards. He had also put Slinky's body under a massive Shrinking Charm to put it into an old trunk possessing an equally massive Expansion Charm he had found in the Room of Requirement. Both spells had worn Harry out and made it obvious his magic was still struggling to settle.
The spell only worked on Slinky's body because of the magical connection from being Salazar's pet and son of his familiar. It also meant that it wouldn't last longer than a few weeks before breaking down in spectacular fashion and send basilisk parts flying everywhere. Sal was sure that he would have passed the carcass off to the goblins by that point, so they could render the magnificent animal down.
The Express ride to London was quiet with Harry making sure Neville joined the trio in their compartment. It was superficially so that he could apologise for the end of their first year when Hermione petrified the Longbottom Scion, but it was really so Sal could spend more time with his brother. He'd missed Godric so much when he hunted down Salestine and the ache had returned the moment he had Awakened.
He promised to write to everyone over the holidays and left them to face the living anger that was Vernon Dursley. With his back to anyone who knew him, Harry let out a Slytherin smirk and his eyes slightly pulsed with magic that had the large man swallowing in fear.
Even an idiot could learn that things had changed if given the right incentive and Harry was about to give Vernon plenty of incentive.
Last Edited: 31/07/18