End of 2nd year & on. Harry got separated from Ron while heading into the CoS to save Ginny. There he was attacked by killer spiders, & a monster dog-man-thing while trying to find his way back to save the girl, & picking up a new path of adventure along the way. Harry will make his own choices, & meet strange new friends, enemies, and challenges along the path to uncover the past.

Crossover - Harry Potter & Skulduggery Pleasant series - Rated: T - English - Adventure/Supernatural - Chapters: 5 - Words: 29,944 - Reviews: 60 - Updated: 3/7/2014 - Published: 2/23/2014 - [Harry P., Valkyrie C./Stephanie E.] Luna L., Skulduggery P.

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Harry Potter was having a horrible time at Hogwarts. This year had been even worse than the year before if anyone could believe that, and the year before sucked almost as bad as having to live with his douche bag relatives.

He hated his relatives, and he hated having to be the hero because the adults were idiots, but given the choice of risking his life and having the Dursley's as his only company, he would take the life or death situation any day.

Though, he half wondered whether hanging around the Dursley's was considered a life or death situation, considering he had never felt safe around them. He had mostly been his cousins punch bag, and the day Harry was able to use magic outside of school was the day he was turning them into turnips.

The year before, Harry had to protect the Philosopher's Stone from a deranged moron who let Harry's arch-enemy, the Dark Wizard Voldemort possess him. They were planning on stealing the powerful alchemic stone to give the Dark Wizard back his body from when he had lost it years before trying to kill Harry as a baby. Then he would get back to trying to destroy the world.

Professor Quirrell hadn't been much of a teacher, and would not be missed. He ended up dead when the so-called protection from Voldemort, Harry had, transferred from the disembodied spirit as it possessed him, so he couldn't touch Harry, and his touch dissolved him, and Voldemort fled from the school.

It was when Harry first realised that these sort of nutty things were bound to follow him like a bad smell. He had just wanted to be left alone to get on with his life, make friends, and have fun, the normal sort of thing, but he wasn't that lucky. It sometimes felt like the Headmaster Dumbledore enjoyed watching him suffer through these moronic events.

Quirrell must have been crazier than anyone to think that he wasn't going to die. It wasn't like Voldemort cared about anyone. The ex-teacher had been rotting away, alive. That should have been an indicator that all was not well. If he thought for a moment that Voldemort would have shared the Philosopher's Stone with him; he was kidding himself.

Harry didn't get how these people could hate others so much based on their blood that they would go to such lengths. It was all utter craziness, and he wanted to slap them all and knock some sense into them. They could have done amazing things in the world, but instead they chose to hurt people to get their jollies off.

It was all craziness if you asked him. Then the old headmaster expected radical and fanatic terrorists to get some kind of reprieve. The only reprieve they should get is a nasty curse to the face and a kick in the nuts just to teach them that extra lesson before they're dumped in maximum security prison and never seen again, and if they fight back too harshly, a cutting curse to the throat.

He may think such action is harsh, but he had lived with racists who were one throw away from being radicals after his blood, and they like the Death Eaters and their boss have no reason to be, and no right. It was racism in its ugliest form, and he had seen that racism had damaged, and destroyed many cultures around the world, even going so far as to end highly advanced civilisations, putting humans back by years.

Harry wasn't the smartest kid around, but he enjoyed history, even more since joining the magical world. It wasn't just the muggles who had partaken in destroying ancient cultures through jealousy and greed, but Atlantis, reading between the lines fell to western mage who wanted its wealth, and brought illness that the people had never had to experience before, and never built an immunity, and then – boom, the city was gone, and still no one knew what really happened in the end.

Then places like Avalon, and Camelot. People had a vision that mage and muggle should get along, and for a while it worked. Then came the moronic racism, either from muggles, or from mage, likely both, and Camelot fell, and the ideology of Avalon fell with it. It made out Merlin to be a great white wizard, but it was so over the top that Harry was sure there was more to it than that.

He often wondered why everything was taken so black and white. They took so much at face value. After all, history is written from the point of view of the victor. He felt that history should be written by a third party; an outside observer. Then he wouldn't feel so confused when he thought about such things that happened so long ago with badly kept records that everything seemed blown out of proportion.

It's like with the Voldemort problem he had. Everyone automatically thought he hated the murderer. Voldemort murdered his parents after all. He supposed that he hated losing his parents more than their killer and some day. He promised that he would end the Dark Wizard once and for all. He hated more than anything when people praised his name, and the day his parents died. It was disrespectful and uncouth.

Then maybe someday, he could settle down to the quiet life and enjoy himself. He could maybe have a family of his own, and instead of letting Dumbledore in his inner circle of awesome where he'll be in danger of the senile old man's plots, where his wife and children would be in danger, he'll put the old man in a retirement home out of the way where he'll get all of the attention he needed from people who won't pay him so much heed, and he won't make trouble for anyone.

Harry still didn't get how the old man, even slightly senile could hire Severus Snape as potion teacher. Harry wouldn't discredit the greasy slime balls potion talent, but he would and could question his teaching talent forever as the man had none. If that grease ball was teaching at Hogwarts after Voldemort's demise, and long after Harry had had children, they wouldn't be going to Hogwarts.

In fact, it might be nice to move out of the country in the future. Maybe move to Australia or somewhere in the sun with nice warm beaches. He would of course be a jerk about it and tell the papers why his children wouldn't be attending Hogwarts.

Shaking his head he frowned at the tone his thoughts had taken him. He had wanted a family so bad that he was starting to think of making his own and he felt the slight blush, even though he was hard to embarrass these days with the crazy things a lot of his fangirls get up too.

Thinking back to Voldemort and the likes, Dumbledore included. He wondered how they had survived so long with all of their over the top, super elaborate plots that could go wrong in a heartbeat, but they're so arrogant they never plan for the eventuality that someone could and would most likely foil their plans.

Harry would have to let that sit in his mind so none of his schemes come undone by one unravelled thread. That would be ridiculous. He wasn't going to be that kind of guy. He needed to start working at setting himself apart from all of the crazies before one of these got someone he liked killed, or worse, him.

It was becoming increasingly difficult to keep Dumbledore out of his head. The perverted old man seemed to see no harm in raping people's minds. Their thoughts. Their memories. Then what? He likely used it against them, for his great good, whatever that was supposed to mean.

Then to top things off he lets Snape have a go too. However, Snape is violet and painful when he attacks. It was Harry's heightened senses, born from all of his isolation, and his need to survive that clued him in, allowing him to feel the attacks, and because of the constant attacks, his survival instincts were grabbing hold and not letting go. They were giving him the skills to keep them from his mind, and it was infuriating them both.

Dumbledore wasn't an easily angered man, so it was hard to read from him, but Snape gave him detentions all the time. He said they were for stupid things like breathing, but they were really for denying him access to his mind, but if he admitted what he couldn't do Harry was sure Slytherin parents would be in an uproar, which could get him fired as Dumbledore controlled too many Gryffindor parents for them to kick up much of a fuss.

Harry had asked about means to protect peoples mind from a wired blonde Ravenclaw girl he met in the Hogwarts library. He hadn't meant too. She was sitting opposite him and he was contemplating asking the school librarian. He must have talked out loud as she looked up at him with faraway blue eyes.

She told him that it would get back to the headmaster, and he would never allow Harry such knowledge. She told him about occlumency. It was the defence against Dumbledore and Snape's, mental attacks, legilimency.

The library didn't have books on the subject, for obvious reasons that the students might find out about it. However, being a conspiracy theory nut, the cute and sweet girl gave him one of her copies to keep. She was nice. He often worked in the library on his homework sitting with her, even though his friend Hermione didn't like her because she couldn't believe all the so-called rubbish she came out with.

Harry had been having a talk with Luna Lovegood about aliens (yes, from other planets). He believed that they weren't alone, and they were discussing whether aliens had magical communities too.

Now, Harry agreed that since the earth did that they had too, unless mage weren't originally from earth but a completely different species that gave up their advanced technology thousands of years ago, to join the human race, and got stuck in the time warp they now were in.

Hermione had gone off on a rant about how there was no such thing as aliens, and wizards and witches were not descended from aliens. Harry had only said that witches and wizards weren't supposed to exist either, and she stormed off, sulking and wouldn't talk to him while he was with Luna, since then.

Honestly, he just enjoyed the company of someone willing to take apart wizard culture, and make fun of it with him. Sure, he believed in aliens, especially after learning of magic, but he wouldn't quite bring himself to commit to mage are – or were aliens. It was more of... just a thought.

Anyway, above Luna's oddities, she was smart, and because of her open mind – too open sometimes – she thought outside of the box and kicked it a few times for good measure. He found she was smarter than Hermione, which was likely a reason Hermione disliked her so much.

Therefore, she was a font of knowledge, even more so because she lived in the magical world. Whereas Ronald Weasley, his other friend was quite the opposite of Hermione, the muggle-born when it came to smarts, he was a pureblood who knew less about magic than Harry had done before he even knew about magic as a real thing.

The book Luna had given him was excellent, and even taught the basics of legilimency, which was a great lie detector, but so far he wasn't all that good at it. He went the whole nine yards while studying his mental protections. The better he got the more Snape and Dumbledore tried to beat him, but the more they tried, the quicker he learnt. It was like they were unwitting teachers.

Harry shook off those thoughts for now. He was on a mission to rescue the damsel in distress since mostly all the adults didn't want to know when he tried telling them where the entrance to the Chamber of Secrets was a few days before. He would have thought McGonagall would have learnt her lesson, not listening when they told her about the Philosopher's Stone the year before.

Ginny Weasley had been kidnapped. She was one of his fangirls. She wasn't a fanatical with limited morals like some of them.

He had wanted to tell a teacher – well competent teacher about the chamber, and how to get in, forcing them to listen if he had too, but he had been rebuffed by his friend Ronald to take the idiot Defence against the Dark Arts teacher, Professor Lockhart. He was as total fraud, and loser.

Harry was standing at the top of the slide down into the Chamber of Secrets in the girls' bathroom. He would agree that he would have never believed the so-called biggest muggle hating douche bag in dark-lore history had hidden the secret entrance in a bathroom, let alone a girl's bathroom. Though, he figured that it might have originally been a boy's bathroom, or even a staff bathroom.

Ron stood with him, looking down into the darkness as they had 'persuaded' Lockhart to test the slide out, and once he called up, complaining about how filthy it was Ron jumped after him, yelling in fear like a little girl. It was kind of amusing, and Harry had to hide his grin from Myrtle, the ghost who inhabited the bathroom.

Myrtle, or Moaning Myrtle as she had come to be known had been the last ever victim of the Basilisk that resided within the chamber 50 years previously. Back then, someone opened the chamber and without a spot of proof, Rubeus Hagrid was blamed and expelled for the attacks on muggle-born students.

Hagrid was either an evil mastermind or the dope in someone else's scheme, and he didn't speak out, never given a chance. The only thing Dumbledore did for the friendly and naive giant of a man was give him constant employ at the school. It showed how much anyone, ministry included really believed he did anything, and that he was just the fall guy, for them and the real culprit.

For most of the year Ron had been telling Harry about how Ginny, his younger sister no less, what a crazed, psycho fangirl she was, and here he was going to rescue her. Honestly Harry didn't mind. He thought most of his crazed fangirls were amusing, but Ginny was nowhere near as crazy, or that crazy at all.

Okay, he had seen her staring at him like many other girls, but she didn't do anything abnormal. Harry had tried to make friends with her. After all he had spent most of the summer holiday at her house, after the escape from the Dursley's, and it was odd how Dumbledore didn't seem to have mentioned that, as Harry was certain Mrs. Weasley would have told him the moment she found out.

Anyway, some of his crazed fangirls had done some of the oddest thing. He had been flashed by older girls, front, top and bottom, and rears. They were his older fangirls, and before that he had never really thought about what girls looked like in them areas. It was mostly flashes on boob and bottoms that he got, but they were mostly very fast, and honestly, he liked them, especially since it only seemed to be the girls in the best shape that had the brazenness, but that had calmed down quite a lot since first year, last year, and he was sure most would stop eventually and leave him be - hopefully.

The fangirlism was kept to a minimum to near non-existent when Ron or Hermione was around. In other words they kept it to winks and giggling. He wasn't alone too much but that was when he would get the weird stuff. He would hear giggles, the words 'I dare you too...' then the dare sometimes returned and maybe two or three girls flashing him. It was weird to say the least, but not unappreciated.

He was nearly a teenager after all. It had been highly embarrassing at first, but he had started to appreciate it. It was amusing sometimes that they would be more embarrassed than him.

Harry was certain Ginny hadn't tried anything like that with him. He would remember as the others tended to be a few years older than him. He had just wanted to make friends but Ron didn't like that idea. He might have been afraid Harry might have enjoyed her company over him, which might have been true, Harry didn't know.

It was surprising how the only person the girls didn't mind going something weird in front of was Luna. The blonde girl had been confused when it happened, and he had to explain, and then stop her flashing him as she thought she was obliged to as she liked him too. He had to assure her that yes, he would probably like the show, but no, his female friends don't have to, and that they were just crazy fangirls.

He sighed, shaking his head clear as he thought about it. Ever since, Luna had been more comfortable touching him. It was nice to have a friend who would hug and stuff. It was odd thinking that he had missed out on that sort of thing never having a family for that sort of thing.

Luna was good company, and since she hung around him sometimes, those annoying girls from her classes weren't picking on her because of her eccentric behaviours. She was like the little sister that he had always wanted, and never wanted to be stuck with him at the Dursley's because he would have probably killed them for looking at her funny.

The fangirls weren't as annoying as some people at Hogwarts he could name. He got gifts, used underwear, pictures, and other things from the more wealthy girls in the school, and that included a few Slytherin girls. He kept that secret from everyone, except for Luna since she knew some of the girls were weirder than her anyway.

Harry smiled slowly as he had almost thought Luna would have sent him her panties for Christmas or something, but she sent him a new book on detection magic, just in case. The thing about crazy girls was that they didn't have qualms against spiking their target, or adding tracking charms to things, and he didn't want to waste something useful they might send him, while other things are neatly stored away in one of his trunks compartments, locked away.

He shook his head as he heard Ron hitting down underground and smirked at Myrtle as she was smitten with him. He didn't get it, but apparently Luna said the girls like the rebel hero vibe he had going on. He wasn't sure what that was, but most of the school seemed to know something of the previous year, and then all the things in between, and surviving the killing curse. She said it would likely calm down as he got older.

Myrtle was kind of cute. She had been a couple years older than him when she died. He felt bad for her, having her life cut so short, murdered, and yet not once had anyone living asked her about it.

Harry thought that everyone was so stupid. Ghosts had a host of knowledge, and the living just ignored them, even when one had been murdered. It was stupid, ignorant, and possibly arrogant.

He let a wider smirk line his lips before giving her a wink and jumping into the pipe. He could hear her embarrassed giggle as he slid down deeper and deeper into the castle. The slide would have been more fun with less friction, and horrible sludge and dirt clinging to his school robes. His raven black hair wasn't cut too short and flailed in the wind from his fall.

His eyes were the colour of emeralds, and widened in worry as he felt the tunnel shake and thought his luck was out and either the pipe was collapsing or the basilisk was crawling through it ready to swallow him. He wondered briefly why he didn't even bother trying to ask the secrete entrance for stairs. After all, he couldn't imagine someone like Salazar Slytherin sliding down to his secret base on his butt.

Letting out a sigh, the shaking stopped, but the tunnel dipped, sending him further down, moving him faster while he staggered in the slid fruitlessly trying to grip the sides to slow himself down. He didn't mind a lot of speed usually, but then he would prefer to control that speed. Here and now he was out of control. He didn't know of any spells to slow himself – well he did, but in his situation he didn't think it would help him much.

The levitation charm wasn't known to slow people down, just pick them up. He doubted he had enough room in the slide anyway. He made a mental note to think of obscure reasons for magic, like falling, and find spells to protect himself, from his own stupidity. That was if he survived his tunnel ride as he knew something had happened, as neither Ron nor Lockhart were sliding as long as he was.

"T-this isn't going as planned!" he spoke to himself, trying to keep out the fear before answering himself, "I don't actually think I planned anything, so it is going to plan."

He knew by then that the shaking tunnels had been something moving and he wasn't going to be spat out anywhere near Lockhart or Ron. He just hoped his ginger haired friend didn't let his guard down around the fraud or he may lose his memory if he had read enough between the lines of Lockhart's fraud.

How Dumbledore could let an idiot like him teach was appalling. It was like Dumbledore didn't want them to learn how to defend themselves. Harry was thankful that he was naturally good at Defence against the Dark Arts, or he supposed curses and jinxes were his forte, or maybe he should just try harder at other areas. He felt like he might just be engaging in the stereotyping that he was supposed to be the hero or something on a subconscious level.

Harry had been sliding through the tunnel long enough that the exhilarating feeling in his chest had gone, and he was feeling a little annoyed that he wasn't coming to the end.

"How far down does this tunnel go?!" he asked himself feeling frustrated as he thought of poor Ginny, hurt, cold, and alone. "If I end up in the Land that Time Forgot, being chased by dinosaurs I am so suing Hogwarts and Dumbledore for this crap-!"

It was at that moment that he felt a whoosh of air and cried out as he was flung out into a dark, dank, and cold chamber before he started falling, and falling, and falling. He screamed in terror, and he continued screaming before he got bored, having to take several breaths just to scream.

He was falling like a skydiver, and no parachute, frowning. He felt quite annoyed. The wind rushed through his hair and passed his ears. He wanted to shout and cuss out the magical world, because only they would build a school on top of what seemed like a bottomless pit.

It must have been thirty something minutes later that he had flipped himself over, resting with his hands behind his head, and his feet crossed, thinking. He couldn't think of anything really, but he figured he would give a few things a try. He couldn't rely on Ron to rescue Ginny, and he was starting to feel hungry. The fall was draining him of energy, and honestly, it could have been fun, but the exhilaration had worn off.

Harry realised it was true. You can have too much of a good thing. He wished he could carry his broom around in his pocket. His trusty Nimbus 2000 would have seen him right. He could have flown out but now he had to find some other way.

Flipping back over to face down was rather easy. He really wished he could fly like he was without the falling out of control. It would likely be the greatest fun he had ever had in his life. Not that the bar of great fun for him was set very height, but he was sure flying without a broom would be hard to top.

"Lumos!" he cried out as he snatched out his wooden wand from his left sleeve with his right hand. He had a black leather holster he had been given by one of his Slytherin admirers so his wand will be under his arm and easily accessible with charms to clean and protect it and make sure even if it was on display that no one noticed it.

He frowned as the beam of light was tiny and thin. It would barely light up him the cavern was so dark. He could smell the water somewhere in the rocks, but couldn't see anything with his pathetic little dribble of light. However, he did know a few spells that he was sure Hermione would have frowned at him for knowing without her knowing he knew them.

"Not bright enough!" he muttered to himself as he concentrated as he hadn't practised his next spell much, and it was vastly more powerful. He moved his wand in a wave of a pattern in a swift, strong, purposeful motion of arches and ticks, swishing faster than he had ever before.

"Excandui lampadis!" he yelled out with (for once) perfect pronunciation. He had never tried that hard before. He had never had such dire need. He figured that he would have work on that if he wasn't going to be a pancake.

He had to shield his eyes as the light exploded around him, and when the spots left his eyes and they focussed, his mouth dropped open as the rocky enclave was bathed in an orange glow. He looked down to see he was about fifty metres above an underground lake. He could see his reflection in the water he was so close, but he wasn't getting closer as blasts of air streamed up from some blue marking under the water.

The marking glinted on the light of Harry's spell. He felt like crying that he had spent half an hour, or more floating on some stupid rune.

"The hell is this crap!" he whined, angrily. "Okay... how the hell am I going to get down from here?!" he asked himself as he tried to hide the fear in his own voice. "Right... big gun time, and this is going to hurt!" he mumbled as he prepared himself to use the only spell he knew he could to get off the rune, and into the cold water.

"Explosiva Spiritus!" he called out as he waved his wand. He braced himself against nothing as the OWL level spell sparked out and boom. He cried out in pain and worry as the air beside him exploded in blue flames throwing him out of the wind shooting up at him.

Then next thing Harry knew was panic as his eyes opened under the dark of the lake. He had lost his wand as well as his breath. The water was freezing, and running through his veins. His robes were filling with water, dragging him down. He tried kicking and pushing, forcing himself up, chocking on the water. He had never been swimming before, and it hadn't occurred to him that he couldn't swim at the time.

No. He refused to drown like that. He refused to become fish food. He held his breath. Shivering under the water, but his adrenalin was pumping through his veins. He tore off his robe, shirt and tie in a quick struggle, his trousers, shoes, socks, and boxers. They were all heavy with water so loosening them was all it took to wriggle free.

He splashed and struggled, and broke the surface, splashing through. His vision was slightly blurred as he had lost his glasses in the water. He was chocking up the fresh, freezing water and shivering as he gulped and gulped, trying to take in as much oxygen as he could get.

Looking around he managed to keep his head above the water. He saw a cave tunnel to the distance. His eyes had adjusted to darkness. It had a small 'shore' to it, leading to dry land. He struggled to swim towards it, trying to ignore the things in the water he felt brushing up against him.

It took him several minutes to get to land, shakily pulling himself up and collapsing on the rocks, on his back. He looked to the water, shaking. He had half expected some horrible lake monster to try eating him or something. He shakily pulled himself up. His muscles protested, and his teeth chattered. However, he had to move. He had to find away to get to Ginny and save her before it was too late.

He managed to get up onto his hands and knees. The only thing he wore was his wand holster and that was empty; his wand forever lost. "Okay... maybe I have some kind of hero complex!" he muttered to himself tiredly forcing himself to his feet.

He wasn't normally self-conscious about his body, and though he had some muscle from being overworked by the Dursley's they weren't overly large. But he had secretly been smug that he was a lot better hung than the other boys in his year as he caught glimpses here and there, and he was even bigger than a few of the older boys he caught glimpses at while at the urinal.

However, all of the cold water, and frigid air wasn't doing him favours. He didn't have any dry clothes to wear so hoped that he had warmed up enough by the time he got back to saving Ginny.

"Super villainy sounds l-like a good change in career!" he stuttered shakily to himself as he stumbled as he tried to move. "It has to be less stressful to sit on your throne while your minions do all the hard work!" he said, sighing while taking shaky breaths.

He looked into the dark corridor cut into the rocks. It looked too smooth to be natural, but he couldn't be sure in the magical world. He took one last deep breath before stepping into the tunnel and near jumping out of his skin as torches either side exploded to life with flames, leading the way deeper into the tunnel like a Mexican wave. The flames felt nice as they warmed the area, and him.

The torches were in old brackets and the whole tunnel had cobwebs filling corners and melting away with the magical flames of the torches where they had been on the brackets. He reached out and shakily took a torch, freeing it from its bracket and spending a few minutes letting the flames warm him before heading on, keeping the torch in case he needed a weapon.

Brushing his soggy hair back out of his eyes he moved on. He had some heroics or something to get too. He was tired and hungry, but still, he couldn't trust that Ron could save Ginny with that idiot Lockhart.

The dark tunnel was creepy and had him jumpy. He couldn't help but fear something jumping out to try eating him. It was just he was who he was, and that was what monsters tended to do whether they were human or not. That was when he froze as he heard something creeping.

He looked around as he came to a stop by a cross section of the tunnel. He heard a scuttling sound and looked down one of the tunnels as the light of his torch glinted off something. He sighed in relief as it was just a teal coloured spider with black legs and sharp looking pincers, but it was only the size of a tarantula, maybe smaller, and having seen the giant spiders in the Forbidden Forest, it was practically harmless in his opinion.

However, he looked away, down the other two tunnels, trying to pick one before he looked back down the spiders' tunnel to see it had three friends with it. He gulped as he heard the scurrying, more and more as the four moved to scurry towards him.

They came out of the shadows in a wave of black, flushing blue backs. They covered the floor as if it was moving, the walls, and ceiling were alive with them as they fought to get to him. His eyes had widened impossibly in terror before he didn't care what tunnel he was going down. He just chose and fled, running faster than he ever had, sweating as his heart started pumping warmth through his body.

He looked back to see the wave of monstrous arachnid after him. "Oh crap, oh crap, oh crap. I would much rather the giant ones, while I'm fully clothed!" he cried out as he pulled off torches, dropping them in the path behind him. He heard some hisses as some spiders were burnt up in the flames, but after a second they diverted, straight around the flames in a scuttling swarm.

Harry ran faster, looking to his sides, spiders ran on the walls, and he swiped his torch at them, knocking them away. He ran as he saw a light up ahead. It was a bluish glow. He reached the exit of the tunnel and shot over thin air. He let go of his torch as he saw the sand coloured rock and slammed into it, grabbing hold, he swung, and his left hand slipped and he flipped back, holding himself in the air by his right hand.

He looked down and gulped as he saw his torch hit the ground, several hundred metres down. He scrambled to pull himself up, panting for breath, grabbing hold with his left hand, pulling himself up. He could hear the scurrying and looked behind. The spiders were pouring out of the tunnel, some falling while others poured up, down, and to the sides.

"Oh shit!"

He started climbing; the glow was coming from some stones on his wall. He was forcing himself on, pushing, and pulling himself up. The rocks were slippery but he had to move fast, racing the spiders. The sharp rocks were cutting into his skin on his hands and feet. He could feel blood trickling from him as he struggled, even going so far as to throw himself up to grab hand reaches too far to reach out for. He didn't know how long it took but he was soon pulling himself up into a small craves.

Scurrying through the tight gap he soon heard the scurrying of the monster spiders. He would rather camp out in the Forbidden Forest. He could see some light up ahead of him and soon he fell through the gap to the floor below, panting for breath. Looking back into the gap; his eyes widened as he saw them coming, the blue glint of light, flashing as they moved.

"Crap!" he mumbled as he took a step back. He looked around as he entered a chamber that had to have been twenty times the size of the Great Hall back in the school.

It had two huge doors he came in from with sloping corridors on the outside leading towards the doors with spiders scurrying through both with more coming the same way he did.

He grabbed the door on the right. It wasn't too hard to slam it closed but the other was stuck. He pushed and heaved but it wouldn't close. The spiders were nearing. The spiders beady black eyes staring at him, and he imagined them licking lips as they hunted their meal.

"I am not surviving all of this to become bug food!" he roared out and suddenly the door slammed closed and splattered several spiders, and locking the rest out.

He felt like he was going to be sick, glad that he could still have bouts of accidental magic.

Harry took a few minutes to catch his breath. He felt dizzy and sick. He felt as if his luck had run out but he couldn't even hear the spiders any longer. He looked around. The chamber was lit with an orange glow from torches around the room glinting off gold and silver, gems and weapons from wooden bows to spears and swords, and huge bulky, powerful looking armours.

The place was a complete treasure trove, but he couldn't find it in him to cheer in glee about how rich he could be. He knew the moment he touched some treasure was the moment the walls would start caving in. He had read plenty of books about treasure hunters to know that much.

The human bones scattering the vault was enough of a deterrent from greed for him, and he needed to find a way out to get to Ginny. He needed to find her and make sure she wasn't giant snake chow.

"Oh crap!" he muttered to himself angrily. "I have to fight a giant snake next!" he said feeling as if he was close to crying. He staggered back and paused as he hit something and gulped. He looked back to see a giant dog-headed man thing. It held a giant black battle scythe and growled with razor sharp teeth, and he was sure that wasn't a friendly hello.

He managed to dive to the side as it swung at him. It was wearing a batty old kilt over its shoulder and around its waist. It looked like it used to be black, but had been de-coloured with age and wear, near falling apart even. It swung down at him with it powerful black muscles bulging.

Harry rolled, barely avoiding death. The monsters head looked like it came straight from the meanest, strongest dog on earth, also black in colour with pointed ears. It reminded him of depictions of Anubis, from Ancient Egyptian legends, only wearing a kilt over the jewels and toga thing.

He scrambled to his feet as the monster swung again, near clipping his arm. Harry ran, but tripped, feeling the whoosh of the scythe over his head as he crashed into a pile of gold. Spinning to look up with wide eyes, he grabbed for anything as the scythe came down. He pulled a round golden shield into the way. His eyes widened as the scythe slashed the shield in two.

He cried out as threw each piece of lame metal into the beast but he just battered them away with his free arm with long hands and fingers with sharp claws, roaring out with glaring black eyes. His scythe swung, but Harry was already moving. Skidding on the gold and silver, he dived round as he grabbed a long silver coloured sword. He had expected it to be sliced through, but it held.

The momentum of the scythe on sword sent him flying back into a pile of red, blue, and green gems. The golden-glow of the torches illuminated him in a halo of colour.

He groaned as he looked up through blurry eyes. It kept coming for him, and he scurried back when its foot caught on something and it fell. It dark eyes looked as surprised as Harry. Then it landed on him and stopped moving. Its scythe lay motionless by its side while Harry struggled out from underneath the beast.

He panted on his hands and knees as he almost laughed as he saw his sword stuck through the creature, sticking out of its back covered in crimson blood. He could cry and laugh at his own pathetic luck. He climbed to his feet and looked around. He remembered to grab a weapon, and made sure not to pick up something that was deceptive because chances were it was useless to defend him.

He chose a lance because it was one of the only things he could use to help him walk as it was taller than he was with a blade to one end like a giant framed dart or arrow head. It was thick and strong, sharp and durable. It was beautifully made, cosmic grey. He could feel the magic properties, whatever they might be, but then even the sword he killed the beast with had a magical feel.

He was staggering as he tried to find an exit. There was so much magic in the air he could actually hear it buzzing and crackling, thickening the atmosphere enough that he could taste ozone. He moved slowly, close to passing out, and he felt like he was near deaths door. His head ached, and he felt like he had caught the flue.

It was shortly after a small look around where he was disappointed that all the armour was adult sized and wouldn't fit him that he saw the black glow. He moved closer as he found a gem in a pedestal, standing apart from all the treasure. It was glowing with the colour black. It was captivating and special, yet he couldn't tell why.

He reached out and touched it. Then his hand was stuck and he screamed out as the black pooled out of the gem, and into him, leaving it a perfect white. He lost any fight to stay awake, collapsing to the floor in a heap.

He had thought he had felt the worst pains before.

He was hugely mistaken.

0oo00oo0

Harry near yelled himself hoarse as he sat up right holding his head. He was still naked, on the cold floor of the vault. His lance was resting next to him and his head was pounding hard enough that he thought he might as well have been ran over by a freight train that was carrying another freight train it throbbed that hard, but as he blinked his eyes the throb was gently settling.

The gem that had been black was now white in his hand, and cracked into pieces, crumbling to nothing as his fingers twitched. He couldn't hold back as he twisted and vomited something like it was ink. It tasted nasty, like fish enthrals smelt at the fish stall in the market, only worse because it came from his mouth. He remembered that black stuff left the gem and entered him. Then white noise in his head, pounding beyond anything he had ever experienced. He passed out, but for how long?

He was panting from exertion. He was tired, and no matter what that foul black, horrible tasting stuff was, he was starving. He looked around with clarity of vision. "Oh great the map seemed to have fixed my eyes," he mumbled to himself.

He blinked a few times wondering why he never thought to use magic to fix his eyes before, or at least get new glasses that self-corrected to his needs as he hadn't realised how bad his eyes were before. He wiped some icky grey gunk from the scar on his forehead and groaned. It was nasty. He knew he should have seen a doctor about that some time years ago, but as far as he knew no one ever even thought about it.

"W-wait, map?" he asked himself confused. It felt like he knew something but couldn't quite remember what it was, and it was just out of reach. "Okay, I've got too... oh know, Ginny, how long have I been out?!" he asked himself as he jumped up to his feet in a panic, pulling his lance up with him, and pushing everything else to the back of his mind.

He shook his head, rubbing his brow as he leaned onto his lance to keep from falling back down. He didn't know what that gem did to him or what it was for, but he was sure it had some kind of ancient or at least really old spells on it.

Harry didn't know more than he had read himself about ancient forms of magic since the headmaster had a senile old ghost teaching history class and going on about goblin rebellions, and troll uprising, and anything else to do with some 'evil' creature trying to stand up to mage. It was like the wizarding world wanted them to only learn of wizards' victories, or the evilness of other creatures, and bore them at the same time.

However, he was an avid fan of the past. It was full of so many fascinating things, and plenty of mysteries, so he knew a few things, and he liked to learn more, but he was still quite young. He needed more time to become good at anything like that, and he had only gained a fascination when his primary school went on a field trip to a dig site. It wasn't much, just a Bronze Age settlement, but it kick started his imagination.

He couldn't do much after that but read, stories, and history books. Then joining the magical world with its vast history that he had once thought were mere fairytales grabbed his imagination further and he couldn't stop himself from reading all he could. When it came to history books, while Hermione read up on things the stupid ghost teacher talked about in class, Harry went for the cool things to her chagrin. She wouldn't be a very good historian or archaeologist. She would look in a book, and blam-o, believe everything some moron had speculated as if it was the greatest of facts while never presenting any evidence.

Harry however; he liked questioning everything, more so since joining the magical world. His aunt and uncle had always forbid him from asking questions, but the more they did, the more he wanted to know. It was the same with the past. There were so many, too many questions left unanswered, too much speculation, and too many places, magic, muggle, magic and muggle left as undiscovered mysteries.

Therefore, knowing enough, there should be a secret door somewhere, where he could escape the vault without having to get passed the spiders the other side of the huge main doors where he'll certainly meet his end, and die a poisoned, and web covered death that likely won't be painless. He already had Snape threatening to poison him to death on a regular basis. He mildly wondered whether capturing one of the spiders to leave in his office would be wise and funny.

Though, thinking of that. He had never seen spiders like them before. They hunted in packs of thousands, but yet unlike the spiders in the forest they didn't have a somewhat intelligent community. He wondered whether they could be more like ants, or bees, and have a queen that sent them hunting. It would explain the teamwork skills; maybe they have a mental connection somewhere, or instinctual connection or something.

He sighed as he looked around, shivering slightly. He would like to get some clothes, but even if he found a wand or he supposed staff he hadn't gotten to conjuring anything yet in classes, let alone self-study, and then the little material around - forget about that, it was gross. He made a mental note to put that on his too-do list alone with carrying two wands from then on, just in case.

In the centre of the vault there was a giant sand stone fireplace that was alight on all five sides and reaching high to the ceiling. He vaguely wondered whether floo powder would work from it, before remembering that the floo was a network, so it was highly unlikely even if he had some floo powder.

He staggered slightly as he looked around. He just needed something to keep warm, or maybe even an exit that wasn't bombarded by millions of deadly spiders. He had to wonder whether any of the school founders knew what they were building on top of. If he had to guess, maybe they were looking for the treasure, because Hogwarts stood long before the founders claimed it and turned it into a school.

Slumping down on some odd patterned rug with a sigh next to some shiny gold coins Harry leaned back into the pile, relaxing for a moment, trying to get his bearings back. He had to save Ginny, if she hadn't already been saved, or worse, killed. Yet, he couldn't even save himself from some stupid underground tomb vault full of magical things and treasure. It was pure gold, and gems from diamonds to emeralds, and he couldn't take it all with him when he left, if he could leave; he didn't want the vault to be his tomb.

He couldn't see one thing to help him get out. He leaned back, looking up to the vast ceiling above and sighed. He could see light coming from above, which meant that he would have a very long way to climb. However, looking further around he wanted to cry as it seemed that he would never be able to reach the lowest holds for his hands and feet as the lower bases were much too smooth.

Then, he was sure the grips would only cause his feet more damage. Whereas a person's hands were kept in the air, where they got used to a beating, and got tougher because of it, a person's feet were weaker because they're normally hidden away, protected. That was the reason his feet hurt much more than his hands, and it was driving him crazy enough that he was feeling like giving up.

Harry reached out in frustration, grabbing a blue stone. It was round, and perfectly smooth. Its colour was dull, and it looked and felt brittle. He was going to throw it in his frustration when he barely caught himself, almost dropping the stone in his surprise, near juggling it to a stop.

He had sat up, examining it carefully with wide eyes full of awe. He had seen a picture before. Nobody knew how to make them any more, but he had seen a picture and description in a book about magical things that nobody knew how to make any more It was a stone made to conjure what the user needed. It was an ancient German invention, given to magical soldiers for use in emergency situations.

The gem was only supposed to work once. They would normally be able to conjure a change of clothes, some very bad tasting food, and anything else they needed such as knife, within the limits of the magic contained within. So they wouldn't be able to conjure a new focus, which was a shame for Harry.

He looked at his gem carefully and concentrated to feel the magic. It was nearly out of power. It must have been in the vault for centuries, if not longer. He just needed some simple things. He needed boots, trousers, and a top. The main problem was that he didn't know how it worked, no one did any more

Therefore, climbing onto his knees he held the gem, taking a few deep breaths, and closing his eyes he concentrated, cupping the gem between both hands and tried begging it to give him what he needed. He was glad no one else was around to watch him as the next two minutes made him feel stupid as he was naked, praying to a stone, and nothing was happening.

Then he felt warmth in his hands, and the stone collapsed. He opened his eyes to see the stone crumbled to dust, drifting away on the breeze. However, he grinned as it had done what he wanted and given him his clothes. He even got some white boxer briefs, and socks out of the deal.

He pulled on his socks and they were extremely comfortable, and his feet had never felt better. He slid on his boxers and they held everything in place, comfortably before pulling on his dark beige combat trousers, with a few extra pockets. He may have been thinking about taking a few extra trinkets and needed the pockets to place them in. Then he pulled on his white, long sleeves tee shirt, rolling the sleeves up to his elbow, and then pulled on his brown leather belt and brown walking boots.

It was nice to be clothed again. He made a mental note to buy himself a decent watch so he didn't lose track of time like he had, maybe one with a compass and many magical tricks to help him out in the future.

Then under where his clothes had been he was surprised to see a brand-new pocket sized brown leather-bound book with a small pencil. He picked it up and smiled a little. He had thought that it would have been nice to make some notes of some of the things he found rather than finding the vault being a total waste, and placed the book and pencil in his right leg pocket.

Sighing he stood with the aid of his lance. He looked up towards the exit several hundred metres away, and the nearest handgrip fifty metres height or so. He was dubious about climbing that high, let alone the rest. One slip - one mishap - one screw up and he was certain he would be as good as dead. He doubted accidental magic would save him then. He had fallen so much in such a short time that he wasn't sure he had the fear to latch on too that would save his life with accidental magic.

He shook his head as the buzzing of magic was doing his head in as he went for another quick stroll as he was feeling better with some clothes, and his new boots were doing wonders for his feet. He came to some symbols on the wall. There were symbols everywhere, but they weren't all from the same place. He knew many cultures had invaded and conquered the UK in the past, so it wasn't that crazy to find them, but together in one treasure vault?

Harry was glad for his notebook as he wrote down some of his findings, and copied some of the glyphs he found so he could look up where they were from and what they meant once he got back to the safety of the castle. He took a few gems here and there, not too many, just enough that they might pique goblin interest and he might find out something more. He still wasn't sure how or why the tunnel moved to send him towards the vault.

Thinking on that for a moment, maybe it were the number of people who slid, 1 after the other, and number 3 got to go to the vault. The triad to magic was important, the Power of Three. It was different to 7 being the most magical number from his knowledge, but he wasn't too sure how, or who came up with that.

He frowned thinking about that before placing his notebook and pencil away as he returned to his previous resting place, half standing on the dirty old rug. He hadn't found any secret door yet, and he had carefully, in case of traps, ran his fingers over every bit of wall he could, trying to find a secret switch. It looked like, other than the entrance where the spiders lay in wait, the only way out was climbing up.

"How the hell am I supposed to get up there-!" he complained before trailing off as something under foot shifted, and he looked down at the battered rug, taking a better look, wide eyed. He crouched down and yanked it free of the gold coins, displacing dust.

He coughed as he battered it free of dust before the glint of gold caught his eye and he looked at it, buried under the blank coins he recognised a coin. It was a Spanish Doubloon. He had seen plenty of pictures but never the real thing. He picked up the coin, forgetting the rug as he found a few more. He dropped the rug for a moment as he scooped out the gold, placing a couple doubloons in his pocket for further investigation when he jumped back onto his butt as a skeleton arm sprang out at him displacing gold.

Harry held his chest, feeling his heart racing before turning his attention to the clasped hand of bone. It held a strip of old parchment screwed up in its fist. He reached for it, grimacing as he pried its fingers open and two snapped off before pulling the parchment free and looking it over. It was faded but he knew a map when he saw one – well a piece of a map and by the look of it, it wasn't to the vault the person died in.

He placed the piece of parchment neatly ironed out and folded into his notebook and stood up. He was about to grab at the rug to examine it when suddenly something grabbed his leg, hissing. He looked down as the rest of the skeleton burst through the gold, its broken hand grasping his ankle.

Harry cried out in shock as he kicked it away, and with his free foot crushed the skull in, and it stopped moving. He took steadying breaths, which didn't help as the skeletons around him started hissing and spitting. Some still had slivers of rotting flesh sliding off bone.

He could only watch in morbid horror as they pulled themselves up, pulling cutlasses and other swords up with them. It was like a scene from a horror movie, only he wasn't a girl waiting, screaming, while they slowly advanced, and, they weren't slow once up on their feet.

He barely had a second to react when one shot at him. He stumbled back. His lance swinging, it shattered the skeletons skull and it fell to pieces in a rattle of bones.

"So not good!" Harry said to himself panting for breath.

He dived painfully to the side as three more charged at him with swords swinging. Two of them destroyed each other as they clashed in their attack, and Harry took the opportunity from his knees to spear the last one in the face, dropping him, and rolling, his lance accidentality slicing a skeletons feet off. It fell next to him, trying to reach him with its sword before Harry stood quickly and crushed its head with his right boot.

Several more gave chase as Harry ran. He looked behind him, passed the skeletons to the rug. He needed to get to it and fast. It might be his only way to escape the vault and not become another creature like them, chasing unsuspecting treasure hunters and killing them.

His eyes widened as he ducked as he almost ran into the swipe of a sword. He looked up to see one of the skeletons had run round the other way, getting in front of him. He dived to the right, just as a blade swung by. It stung as it clipped his cheek.

He crashed down, whimpering and groaning as he lied on some silver tiles. They weren't the softest thing he could have landed on. His lance had clattered to the ground, rolling away from him. He only had a second to roll away as three swords clinked on the silver where he was moments before.

Harry's blood was pounding in his ears as he pulled himself up. He grabbed a short sword with an ivory handle with jade decorations and straight hourglass shaped golden blade. He moved up and managed to slice off one of the skeletons arms before it could strike him, and he fled, towards the rug.

The skeletons had all been trying to converge on him but he made it passed, sweating and bleeding as he battered away attacking swords. He had the advantage of muscle, while the magic controlling them was too weak to push much force into their attacks. It counted on numbers and blade sharpness from what he could tell, and the swords they carried were very sharp.

He managed to get back to the rug, straightening it out on the floor while the skeletons were turning to him. He gulped as they started charging again as he stood on the rug and concentrated harder than he ever had as this would be a first, but if nit was half like a broom he would be okay, if it flew.

"Come on, just like a broom!" he murmured to himself as he felt the soft buzz through his feet. He knew the magic carpet wouldn't last long as it slowly started lifting. It was shaking from exertion already and it hadn't risen too far when it jerked to a stop.

He looked down to see a snarling, hissing skeleton had grabbed hold of his ride, trying to swipe him with its sword before Harry sliced off its neck and he and carpet shot up a few feet, out of reach like a catapult.

Harry looked up to see the lowest hand holds. The carpet was struggling, and Harry got ready, placing his sword in the back of his belt since it wasn't very sharp as it seemed more ceremonial than practical, he waited. He edged the carpet on and on while looking down at the skeletons. They had all stopped moving and collapsed, but if he fell and survived, he was sure they would be chopping him up in moments.

He turned back to the hand holes. He started reaching out as the carpet was jerking and spluttering like a car that was running out of fuel. The carpet was losing its buzz, and Harry didn't have a wand, and wouldn't know how to re-power it anyway.

It was then or death. The carpet lowered slightly before Harry concentrated every last ounce of magic out of the carpet. The middle of the carpet lurched, and Harry jumped up, reaching out as far as he could stretch. He few up the last few feet and grabbed the sand stone. It broke and crumpled as the carpet fell back down. Harry nearly went with it, but managed to shimmy fast to the right, and swung himself through the air and caught himself in some grey stone, holding onto some groves.

His muscles were screaming in protest as he pulled himself up, grabbing extra grooves in the rock. He managed to get high enough to put his feet in the previous groove, and only using his left hand to hang forward, over the air. He looked around the giant chamber in awe. His breathing was ragged and he was covered in sweat and grime, but he could still appreciate the majesty of the vault. It was the architecture, and majesty; the curiosity of who could have or would have built it.

He smiled painfully a little as he imagined what the goblins expressions would be like seeing all of these treasures. It was a part of history that maybe nobody would ever know the truth about. He wasn't sure he would be able to find it again when he was older, or whether he would want to with those skeletons and spiders guarding the place.

Shaking his head he span back, fully secured to the wall and started climbing. It felt like it took hours of climbing, jumping from one handgrip to another when they were just slightly too far to stretch too. He couldn't feel any fear when high up in his element. He felt safer on the wall than he ever had living with the Dursley's.

He was glad he had a head for heights or he would have never made it near that far, or as a Quidditch player back at school. He actually quite liked being up high. He had enjoyed climbing back in the muggle world. He had gotten good at it as climbing anywhere high without stairs or a lift was the best place to be from his cousin and his friend beating on him.

Though, he had never imagined climbing so high, especially without any safety equipment. His muscles still felt strained and taught, shaking if he stopped for a moment. If he concentrated hard enough on the task, he hurt less than if he dwelled. It helped that he had to move fast as some pieces of rock crumbled, and only left him with up to a moment to move on.

Then he felt it. The top of the climb. He could feel the gentle breeze on his fingers. He yelped out as he dragged himself up onto the top of the ledge, collapsing with deep breaths, sweat pooling down his face. He lay for what could have been hours, but was likely minutes', resting, forcing himself to stay awake.

He pulled himself up to his shaky feet after a few more moments. The path ahead was large enough to walk through, but narrow. He had to use the rock walls for support to move passed, careful not to fall. It was only because of the blue glowing mineral that lined the walls that he could even see as no torches lined these walls. He made sure to choose paths that went up and not down, even though the curve was ever so slight.

It was like a maze. It travelled on with tunnels leading in different directions every which way. He felt like he could sleep while walking, but he didn't feel like he could survive another 'bottomless' pit without his wand. He didn't actually think he could perform even the simplest spell any more even though he would try. To use magic he needed complete clarity, and he was certain he used it all on the flying carpet and climb up afterwards.

Harry felt like he was stumbling in circles when he suddenly realised that the place was suddenly brighter. He hadn't even jumped as he realised torches had ignited. He looked around. It was a small antechamber of bare stone, but here the torches were of different design to those down below. He looked at one closer and if he wasn't so tired he would have cheered in glee. They were of the same design that Hogwarts had, and he thought the school needed some upgrades, screw that, these were proof he was getting close to his destination.

He looked ahead of him to see a rough wooden door cut into the rocks. The brown varnish having deteriorated years ago, leaving the wood to rot without any protection as the magic must have faded years before. He staggered through the antechamber, and slammed the door open. It crumbled off its hinges in a huge ploom of dust.

Harry chocked and coughed while the dust settled and the torches inside ignited. Well, not all of them as the magic in the room was likely low compared to outside as the torches inside were probably used a lot more back when they were used at all.

The chamber within with dimly lit, and was clearly a study and library with cupboards and draws. It had a wooden desk with dirty quills and dried up inkwells. It had stacks of crusty parchment, some blank, and some with notes written down. It had a high backed leather chair that had seen better days. The leather was of a deep green colour with a plush green leather surface to the desk.

He staggered in looking around. The walls were of grey stone, but the floor covered in dust, mould, decay and cracks was brown wood like the door it had lost its former lustre with time. There were two dirty black coloured chairs by a filthy sooty fireplace near some bookshelves with a broken, rotten table in the middle with a china pot shattered on the floor by it with two tea cups and saucers.

The design on the pottery was serpent like dragons of reds and blues, now dull and covered with cobwebs. That made him cautious, but he felt safe enough that they were normal spiders, and they were long gone. That made him realise something that hadn't crossed his mind until then.

"Spiders flee before it!" he muttered in awe. He realised the basilisk was keeping the spiders from the school whether that was its purpose or not, it was doing a good job. He rubbed his brow as killing the basilisk might not be an option even if he could kill a giant snake, but maybe he would have to reason with it.

He looked around further to see dust covered bookshelves lining the circular walls of the large room. It was certainly larger than Dumbledore's office. The books and shelves had been better protected, along with the reading material. Books and scrolls of all sorts of things lined the shelves, from any subject he could think of, and then some he hadn't heard of. His fingers brushed the spines of some of the dusty books, reading titles from 'Dark Arts for Simpletons' to 'How to Stop a Rampage Anything'. That second one seemed like it might come in handy.

There was a second rotten door leading out the other way, and he took one more sweep of the room when he realised he over looked the large dusty painting of a man over the fireplace. The dust was so thick he almost didn't notice the painting at all until he squinted at it to focus through the dirt and grime.

"You know about my basilisk then?!" the painting asked, startling him, even though he knew about plenty of talking paintings, but this was different. It was hidden away within the doom and gloom of the tomb. "But even more, you know about the arachnid!" he added, smirking, but it was barely noticeable. His voice was gruff and underused, which was odd considering he was just a magical painting, the vibrancy covered by thick layers of dust.

"Who are you?!" Harry asked a question that was obvious. He knew who this man was, but he had heard that none of the founders left their memories and knowledge in paintings like many witches and wizards did, but if one did, maybe there were others too, hidden away within the schools secrets.

The man chuckled. "I'll tell you if you do me a favour, and get rid of all the dust covering me. I can't see you fully," he said with a helpless gesture.

"I-I kind of lost my wand!" he replied, embarrassed, and sheepish.

"Top draw, next to my desk, I have a collection!" he answered thoughtfully. Harry took note of the accent; it was north, and surprisingly warm.

Harry nodded as he found the draws and pulled it open. Dust rose, but not enough to make him cough. The draw was protected as well as the shelves, and he was surprised to find it full of wands of different woods in perfect condition, and the inside of the draw was spotless.

"Yeah, I know, used a bit extra power to look after the more important things to the weathering of time," the painting spoke in amusement. "I always preferred a staff, especially for the big stuff, but a wand is much better for intricate things like healing, or even cleaning I suppose. Take your time; see if you can get it to be half as friendly as your previous wand if you can't find a new match."

Harry had already pulled out a wand that seemingly agreed to be his, and placed it in his holster under his left forearm before pulling out a wand that was like a naughty dog. It would do what you told it too but sulk about it and protest a little. He decided he might as well keep it as a spare or main wand. Maybe learning with a wand that fights would make him even better with the wand that didn't fight, like wearing weights while training for a fight.

Looking back at the painting he pointed his wand at it. "Scourgify!" he muttered and watched as all of the dust was scraped off by an invisible force clearing the painting of all dust.

The man in the painting shook his head. He had shaggy black hair and bright blue eyes. He was a tall, handsome man, and wore emerald green robes with some kind of suit underneath with a white ruffle around his neck, and a black moustache and slight beard on his chin, neatly trimmed. The colours had faded on the painting, but the golden frame was sparkling. He was standing with a smaller version of Hogwarts in the background with a large brown dog running around him yapping, but he ignored the dog.

"What happened to you?!" the man in the painting asked in shock as he looked at Harry closely. "It looks like you met the spiders!"

"Umm... yeah," he agreed sheepishly. "And other things, like animated skeletons, and this dog man thing that looked like Anubis from Egyptian myths, but it were wearing a really old kilt."

"Anubian!" he answered with a thoughtful nod. "They herald from Egypt. I had thought they were instinct."

"I err, think they might be," Harry said impishly as he sat in exhaustion, pleased the chair didn't shatter as he got a weird look. "I mean, it was me or him, and... it was an accident. He was swinging around his scythe, tripped, and fell on my sword; he could have crushed me to death."

"What is your name boy?!" the painting asked after a few moments of thought, and an impressed air in his words.

"Harry Potter. And you I take it are Salazar Slytherin!?" he replied with drooping eyes, before shaking his head to stay awake.

"I am," he agreed looking down at him in concern. "You should get some sleep before you try to head back. I take it you are a student at Hogwarts," he said as Harry easily adjusted his wand holster to take the second wand on top. It was a surprise, it was like it was designed for 2, and he wouldn't have noticed before.

"I-I can't!" he said suddenly standing as he remembered why he was in the mess he was in, in the first place. "I have to save Ginny. Y-your heir... he was using the basilisk to attack muggle-born students, but so far hadn't had much luck. They've only seen its reflection and were petrified. Now he kidnapped a friend of mine, and the teachers don't listen to kids. I'm a parselmouth, and figured out where the entrance was-."

"What...!?" Salazar boomed out in anger. "My heir!?" he demanded as his eyes lit up. "It's that bloody Riddle again isn't it!?" he demanded, startling Harry as his eyes widened.

"W-wait, Riddle... t-the diary!" he replied in shock. "Tom Riddle... he... he must have been controlling Ginny through the diary somehow."

"Magic most foul!" Slytherin growled out. "He asked me a question, which caused him anger because I refused to talk of such matters as dangerous as that. He destroyed one of my other portraits in another part of my chamber, he knew not of more. He asked me about a Horcrux! I refused such knowledge. I had been prepared to show him some of my truest secrets, but by then I had realised he lied to me!"

"What's a Horcrux?" Harry asked in confusion.

"I shall tell you but the basics. It is simply an object!" he answered. "It is most foul. The objects used would normally hold significance to the creator of a Horcrux. It is said to be created by the taking of innocent life, and splitting the soul, trapping a piece within an object to anchor oneself to the world of the living. It was a fool's gambit at immortality!"

"Tom Riddle was Voldemort!" Harry muttered to himself in horror. "Voldemort's teenage self has Ginny!" he ground out clenching his fists.

"Voldemort...?!" Slytherin asked in worry.

"He was a muggle, and muggle-born hating racist who built an army in the dark. He killed my parents!" Harry replied quietly. "Then he came for me while I was just fifteen months old. Something happened and his killing curse returned on him, ripping him from his body, but he didn't quite die! I saw him last year, little more than a ghost."

"A powerful protection!" the painting replied, his voice sounding disconnected for a moment. "That would be what a Horcrux in theory should do," he replied quietly. "While a piece of your soul remains, the main hole cannot pass over, holding it within the world of the living, and more than just an imprint like a ghost. You must stop him. He is likely trying to steal your friends' life force, to build a body, and young again, ready to learn from the mistakes of his main self and become more of a threat to the world and the people's freedom."

"History says you're a muggle hater!" Harry said as he stopped on his way to the other door to leave.

Salazar nodded sagely. "Yes, and though I held no love for the mortals or their world as they persecuted their neighbours so freely, I held them in no contempt. It was hard for them in those years, and I understand. My goal was to protect those mage born from them. Godric didn't understand that, he treated it as simple racism towards the mortals, but maybe that is a lesson for another time Harry Potter.

"You must rescue your friend and stop my heir before it is too late and innocent people die because of his misinterpretation of me, even though I had told him many times. It seems he had never let the facts seep in. Take the door, the corridor will lead you to a secret entrance into my main halls. Follow the water to the main chamber, and he will likely be there. If I remember him well, learning of you, and the fact you are here, I wouldn't put it passed him to be waiting just for you, so be careful.

"Oh, and one last thing," he added as Harry was reaching for the door handle; he turned back. "Unless you have another basilisk in your pocket to replace the guardian, you cannot kill her. The moment she dies is the moment the spiders will sense her gone. The spiders will seep through into the chamber and then the school and few will survive the onslaught."

Harry nodded his head, gulping. "I'm not having a very good day," he said as the door fell down into splinters of dust as he pulled at the handle.

He coughed as he stepped through making a mental not that next time he touched rotting wood to hold his breath. Stepping out into the corridor it only had two lit torches outside, so he grabbed one and headed on along the path with the thought that he should have asked about the secret entrance.

Walking through the dark, dank corridor took several minutes before he came to a dead end but it had torches either side of the stone. "Okay, it's going to be that easy?" he asked himself as he pulled on the left torch bracket and almost cheered as the wall opened into a craves of a chamber, and he looked down to see small streams either side of him heading through into a large opening.

"Just a few more minutes' girl and you won't be able to stay awake!"

The voice echoed around the chamber, cold and mocking.

"Then just a minute or more later, you'll be gone, and the rise of Lord Voldemort shall begin anew!" he laughed loudly; his voice echoing throughout the chamber. "Now where's your pathetic hero, Potter, nowhere to be seen, and that idiot brother of yours blocked himself out with that cave in! No one will save you now, foolish little girl!" he spat out in disgust.

Harry's eyes narrowed as he made his move, walking towards the voice he mentally prepared himself to fight the megalomaniac future Dark Lord, praying for a miracle, or another miracle as he had had plenty of them today.

0oo00oo0

"-...No one to save you now girl...-!"

The black haired boy looked to be around 16. He was skinny and pale. He wore outdated Slytherin robe hanging off his slender frame. He had an angled face, and quite honestly Harry just wanted to snack the jerk a few times in the face. He trailed off his speech to the red haired first year that was curled up on the ground in her Gryffindor robes looking up at him with a green tint to her cheeks and fear and horror in her chocolate brown eyes.

Tom's green eyes flicked to the golden blade to his neck as it gleamed in the light from the torches around the chamber, and the blue glowing mineral. "Here's the deal Tom!" Harry hissed hatefully from behind. "Get back in the book so I can get rid of this anchor!" he demanded, and Tom's eyes widened slightly but he sneered smugly a moment later.

"Do you think that your silly blade can hurt me?!" he demanded snidely.

"T-there are more of you!" Harry said as he saw the smugness in Tom's face. "You could have done good things, great, good things. You could have been better, more loved than Dumbledore!"

The boy grinned as he stepped forward and turned Ginny's wand on Harry as he phased through the blade as if it wasn't there. "I'm not corporeal enough for a stupid boy like you to do me any harm!" he laughed. "I had honestly thought you wouldn't come hearing that fool Weasley boy cussing your name for the coward runaway! Gryffindors - always quick to think the worst of people," he said, chuckling coldly. "But look at you. It looks like you've been through the struggle of your life, and instead of running away, here you are, and your friend believes you're a coward!"

"He can believe what he wants!" Harry said with a small grin. "I met Slytherin. You may have destroyed one painting, but I found another. You're disgracing his name, and have to be destroyed. You're an abomination!" he said, moving slowly around to where Ginny watched them, and Tom wouldn't let him leave his sight, circling with him.

"I figured the old man had more paintings!" he replied, unconcerned. "Though, I had wondered how you knew I was a Horcrux! Yes, once I have taken the whiny little girls remaining life force Lord Voldemort will rise again, and no stupid child will get in his way this time!"

"You talk too much!" Harry said as he hurtled the sword, flinging it, it span through the air and Tom only laughed as it went for him and swished straight through, slicing into the wall behind, but Harry had already drawn a wand, aiming that instead.

"Not a great try now Potter! You disappoint me!" Tom spoke while Harry had turned to ignore him and crouched by Ginny.

Ginny had tears trailing down her cheeks as Harry smiled and brushed her hair back, as he plucked the small black diary from her fingers, standing he turned back to Tom. The Dark Lord wannabe looked at him cautiously, but otherwise didn't look concerned.

"I honestly find it odd, Tom," he said whimsically to buy himself time to think. "You don't try to hex me, even when I turned my back. I was curious. You may have just enough substance to hold that wand, but do you have the magic?" he asked, amusement reaching his smirk.

"Then I'll unleash the basilisk to kill you for me!" he replied smugly.

"Who's to say she won't obey me!?" he interrupted Tom's smug laugh, bringing it to an uncertain stop.

Tom shook his head. "No Potter, she will only listen to me, even if you do have the foolish old man's favour!" he retorted. "I let her out. I let her see some freedoms from this prison!"

"You don't even know why she's here do you?!" Harry asked, curious, and to continue stalling for time.

The older boy snorted. "Of course, to purify this school of all the undeserving!" he said with his voice going high pitched at the end with hysteric glee. "You could never harm my beautiful killing machine. I could have her travel the school killing everyone!"

"I couldn't kill her even if I had no choice!" he replied, glancing down at Ginny as she was whimpering, terrified before his eyes flickered back up. "The arachnids will descend the moment they sense the basilisks' life leave, and that isn't a good thing for anyone."

"What are you talking about Potter?!" he demanded, trying to keep the curiosity from his face, but Harry could see it had piqued his interest.

"Under this cavern!" he replied. "There are thousands of tarantula sized man-eating poisonous spiders that hunt in packs, like piranha!"

Tom's eyes widened as they swept Harry before he smiled amused. "Oh, nice of you to tell me... once you are out of the way I shall find them, and Dumbledore will have met his downfall."

Harry groaned. "Note to self: don't give evil douche bags ideas for killing Dumbledore," he mumbled to himself. "Though, maybe they'll kill him first!" he said before looking at Tom with a grin. "You really wouldn't want to go looking for them; they're more hassle than they're worth!"

"Well, what now then Potter?" Tom asked thoughtfully. "We seem to be at an impasse. You can't stop me, and I can't risk you taking the basilisk from me, so cannot release it. But when the girl is dead, I will be free to kill you along with her, and then the basilisk will only obey me. Then I'll think about tracking down these delightful spiders you so kindly told me about."

"Yeah, doesn't sound too good for me, huh?" Harry asked while he was looking the diary over. "But I wonder," he said while Tom watched in amusement as Harry put his wand away and tried tearing the book.

"I thought of that, Potter!" he laughed. "You cannot easily destroy my diary!"

Harry frowned, ignoring the smug git and pulled out a diamond shard he took from the vault. Tom watched with widening eyes as he twitched as the diamond cut into the cover of the book.

"Well," Harry muttered with a wide grin on his lips while Tom had paled. He had lost some of the colour from his face. "It looks like magic isn't everything, and this is just a normal diamond!"

"No!" Tom hissed, taking a step forward, but stopping as he saw Harry place the diamond to the pages inside. "Please, we can join sides, together, Potter, you and I could rule these fools!" he pleaded, licking his lips, but he could only scream as a slash of white light cut across his body as pages sliced through and spilt ink like blood, pouring from the book.

"Get the hell out of my life Tom, and return Ginny, hers!" Harry spat out as he cut and sliced the book, black ink burst out, gushing while Tom screamed and burst open into white slashes of light, crying and begging while pages fell covered in inky blood.

Then, the screams were gone as Tom burst into sparks of light, and Harry dropped the book to the floor as the remaining echoes fell silent. He looked to Ginny as she sat up suddenly, the colour having returned to her cheeks and she looked healthier than him. He smiled a little as she was trying to figure out what was happening and walked over to his sword, struggling to pull it out of the wall, it pulled free, making him stagger before he placed it in the back of his belt pleased with how durable his treasure was.

He turned to Ginny as he picked up her wand, and grinned while she grimaced as he had blood on his face and he was covered in grime, sweat and blood. He walked over to her and crouched down, sliding her wand into her pocket before picking up the pieces of the diary, he placed it away in a free pocket along with the diamond that tore it.

"It's okay now Ginny!" he said in a strained, reassuring voice. "Let's get out of here, and back to the school. I could do with a very, very long sleep," he said offering his hand.

She attentively took it showing surprise he managed to pull her up to her feel so well since he staggered while doing it. "H-Harry, I'm so sorry, the diary, Tom, everything. I didn't mean too, I couldn't help it. I wasn't strong enough to fight him-."

Harry interrupted her with a laugh. "Don't worry, you're safe now, okay!" he said while she blushed as he led her on through the chamber by the hand where they came to some huge doors with a circling snake on it in rusted metal with emeralds for eyes before she stopped him. "Harry... what about the basilisk, the teachers will kill it won't they!?" she asked and started as he span her to face him.

"As for as that, for you, and everyone else concerned, the basilisk is dead!" he said to her shock. "It is once again sealed away. That snake is the only thing that keeps the spiders away from the school. If the teachers try to kill it I'm out of here. I was chased by them things, and I would rather have to deal with the acromantula! The teachers and students will be better off not knowing about either the spiders or basilisk. Understand?"

She nodded her head, shivering. "O-okay... but are they really that bad?" she asked timidly.

He nodded his head gravely. "Yeah, but the basilisk is like Voldemort to spiders, so they stay away, trapped in the tombs below," he said while looking to the giant doors and telling them to open in parseltongue. The snake slid around in a circle, clicking each time before the doors creaked open on their own.

"Let's just go!" he said, pulling her through the door, turning while continuing to walk he ordered the doors to close and seal, adding an actual password to the doors like he read since he was the only parselmouth around and Voldemort hadn't thought about it, arrogant that he would be the only parselmouth to find the chamber. The doors sealed without him missing a step.

Ginny was holding his arm tightly as they walked in the dim light until they reached a large cave-in that was being cleared. It had a large gap in and they saw through where a ginger haired boy stared at them in shock while a dopey looking blonde man stood behind him with a wide grin on his face and near vacant blue eyes.

Ron looked back as he saw where Harry was looking. "Took my dodgy wand, tried to modify my memory, but it backfired. I thought you had chickened out. What happened to you man!?" he said and asked in a rush. "I can't believe you actually saved her, come on!" he said while Harry helped Ginny up and through the gap before effortlessly slipping through after her.

"Yeah, crap happened, and I won, not much else to say!" Harry said drowsily. "Let's just get out of here before more crap happens!"

"Yeah, come on!" Ron said as he near dragged Ginny after him.

"Who are you then?" Lockhart asked as he followed with Harry.

Harry just looked at him and rolled his eyes. "At least the asshole was good at something, even if it was the memory charm!"

"Err... yeah!" Ron called back, laughing nervously. "Hang on, where'd you get those clothes from?" he asked, looking down at his Gryffindor robes. "I swear you were wearing your uniform too, weren't you?"

"Yeah," he replied, amused smile on his lips. "Fell in a giant underground lake and had to ditch them," he said while Ginny blushed and Ron laughed. "It was very cold and it isn't that funny to do the whole hero thing in the nude, and stumbled across a conjunction stone. It just barely had the power to conjure me these clothes before it broke apart and turned to dust."

"What happened then?" he asked, confused.

Harry shrugged. "I don't know. Either the pipes moved sending me somewhere else, or I was transported. You don't really know with all of the weird mojo down here."

"Yeah, we didn't think this through, but how do we get out?" he asked as he looked to the pipe they had obviously came through. "It won't be easy climbing that," he said looking up through the tunnel.

Harry knew there was something he should have asked Salazar about. Looking up the pipe it would be easy, even for the adult to stand in, but to climb up it while its slick with grease and sludge wasn't likely going to happen. He looked around at the bottom of the slope where a large circular platform sat quietly.

He crouched down while the other three looked at him in confusion as he wiped away the muck and grim to reveal symbols around it edge. He let a grin widen his lips as he kicked away the grime and revealed each symbol. They were in squiggles and waves.

"Okay, everyone on, now!" he said to their confusion, but they obeyed him anyway. He concentrated as he stood with his hands to his sides spread out to the platform. "Up!" he hissed in Parseltongue. They waited a second and Harry could see the mock on Ron's lips when the markings on the platform lit up with purples and yellows, the lights of the marking started spreading, lighting up the inside of the pipe brightly before dimming slightly, and then the platform rose like a broom.

The platform felt similar to the magic carpet he had ridden, but this was more like it was on tracks, hovering two inches off the ground at most as it started shaking and then moving, sliding up the massive pipe. It moved up with a soft hum, scraping the ground in some areas where the runes had been broken, and shaking them.

Ginny held onto Harry's arm tightly while Ron was swearing repeatedly his shock and amazement. Lockhart was just looking around in wonderment and if not for Harry would have fallen off countless times back into the chamber. The ride was more secure than Harry would have thought when they finally reached the top as it opened into a bathroom.

This time the sink opened up further, pulling back into the wall and the platform took its place with the four of them standing on it. Harry smiled as he stepped off with Ginny, and sighing in relief as Myrtle was there to greet them, looking surprised that they had survived. Harry gestured the other two and they stepped off before Harry locked the chamber, and made sure to concentrate, since he was going to be administrator, and that was done, just in case Ron could mimic the password, he changed it while Ron was busy and not listening.

"Okay!" Harry said as he walked into a stall and didn't even care if Myrtle peaked as he was dying for a pee. He let his stream go before shaking and putting away and leaving the stall that he never closed to find Myrtle giggling, and Ginny blushing while Ron looking confused as Harry started washing his hands at the newly settled sinks, getting most of the blood off as the cuts were healing.

"Hey, I've been needing to take a pee for a while!" he said as they gave him looks. "Come on; let's get to McGonagall's office. I bet she'll be worried sick that we've gone missing too, but I do have to wonder how they knew you had been taken into the chamber Ginny without a head count since the blood on the wall never said your name."

"Never mind that...!" Ron quickly said. "Let's just get to McGonagall. I bet they've called mum already!" he said while Harry nodded and let that drop before quickly leading the way out of the bathroom and through the corridors. They walked in silence and didn't meet anyone along the way.

They came to a stop outside of McGonagall's office door and Harry didn't give knocking a thought and just barged in to see the occupants. It contained the stern looking older woman with her hair tied neatly into a bun, sitting at her desk next to the old man with his twinkling blue eyes behind half-moon spectacles, and blue robes with gold stars and moons. Then looking around the room, Harry saw a plump ginger haired woman and a thin ginger haired man with glasses, Molly and Arthur Weasley, Ron and Ginny's mother and father.

"Mr. Potter, not now...!" McGonagall quickly complained as she pulled on her glasses from where they hung around her neck.

Harry grinned as he turned and pulled Ginny out from behind him, and all but Dumbledore looked surprised. "Yeah, while you guys sit around and do nothing I get the job done, losers!" he said, blinking away Dumbledore's mental attack, glaring at him before shaking the sleep away while the Weasley parents were nearly squeezing the life out of the Ginny.

"What happened...?!" McGonagall asked quickly trying to school away her guilty expression.

Harry pulled out the ink stained diary and dumped it on her desk in front of Dumbledore. "What are you, professor McGonagall, sixty-odd?" he asked whimsically and she was about to retort at him angrily when he continued before he had to hear the berating him as usual. "Then you would have likely gone to school with Tom Riddle!" he said, and she paled as she looked to the diary. "Tom turned out to be a complete git... murdered so many people, and that book was his memory; the heir of Slytherin!"

He smiled while the Weasley parents looked gobsmacked. "The Dark Jerk Voldemort in his teenage... not quite flesh!" he said, and shook his head as everyone but Dumbledore flinched or looked shocked and sick.

"Very good Harry," Dumbledore praised while McGonagall's sails had been deflated. Harry wondered whether she had never known who Voldemort was before now. The old man turned to the Weasley's as he stood from his chair, "Please, take Miss. Weasley to see the nurse... oh and Professor Lockhart too by the look of him, while Mr. Potter tells us what happened," he said, but he gave them a look as if it was an order, and the Weasley parents hurried the other two out while Ron grabbed Lockhart as he didn't have a clue.

McGonagall was about to close the door as they left it open when a man wearing long flowing black silk robes, and his long platinum blonde hair loose down his neck charged in. He carried a black cane with a silver skull head in his hand that Harry suspected held his wand. He was accompanied by a small creature wearing an old tea-towel like a toga, and long pointed feet, hands, nose, and ears with black buggy eyes.

The creature, Dobby, the house elf was wringing its bandaged hands as he kept looking at Harry and back to Lucius Malfoy in worry before his eyes darted all over. However, Harry wasn't stupid. He already knew there was only one man brazen enough to try a stunt like the diary. If the main Voldemort ever returned, he would be terrifyingly angry at Malfoy for losing him a precious Horcrux.

"So, Dumbledore, you're back!" the man hissed as he came to a stop as Dumbledore retook his seat, smiling such a smile that Harry would be angrier too, it was that smug.

"Ah yes," he agreed smiling all the brighter. "As soon as the bored heard that Arthur Weasley's daughter had been taken by the monster they thought it was time to bring me back, some having tales of blackmail."

"I see!" he replied with clenched teeth. "Then the matter is resolved?" he asked and seemed to be infuriated by Dumbledore's nod.

"Yes, it seems it was Voldemort!" the old man said while Lucius hid his response but it clearly angered him, more so when Dumbledore rose the remains of the diary; his eyes widened a fraction as he drunk in the proof. "He was controlling an innocent child through the use of this diary, but it was thanks to Mr. Potter here that we discovered the truth, even going so far as to personally stop the plot and save the child!"

"I see!" Lucius turned his sneer to Harry as he had only just noticed him. "Well, let's hope that Mr. Potter is around next time shall we!?" he asked sarcastically.

Harry had reached behind his back as he returned the sneer, fingers curling around his sword. "Let's hope shall we?" he replied to the question with his own question while gripping the handle of his sword tighter.

The three adults saw the threat as they all noticed the sword in his belt for the first time. "Don't threaten me boy or you'll meet the same sticky end as your mud-blood mother-!"

Harry was a moment from drawing the sword but McGonagall had quickly moved up behind him and hit him with a slight disarmer, and his hand came from the sword.

However, he looked at Lucius coldly, ignoring the disarming charm. "Don't push me, Malfoy!" he growled out as he grabbed the diary from the table where Dumbledore had left it and sliding a tiny tee shirt someone had shrunken for some reason from the desk and sliding it in with the pages from the diary and turning back to him. "Get out of here, scum, and take Voldemort's crap with you. Ever pull anything like this crap again, and I'll make you pay!" he said forcing the man to take the inky book.

He sneered and shoved it into the house elf, Dobby's hands. "I've had enough of this Potter, watch your back!" he said, turning to leave, "come Dobby!"

Dobby went to leave when Harry stopped him. "You might want to open that mate!" he said and Malfoy turned to see his elf open the broken book to find the tiny tee shirt.

"Dobby... Dobby is free!" he said while Malfoy watched with horror and rage on his face. "Master has freed Dobby, Dobby is free!" he said as he took the tiny tee. It was even too small for him to wear.

"You'll pay for this!" Malfoy roared, drawing his wand from the cane, raising it at Harry while McGonagall re-drew her wand to defend him when the elf stood in the way.

"You will not harm Harry Potter!" the elf bellowed as he thrust his hands forward and sparks of gold exploded out in a ball of pink energy and smacked into Malfoy before he could utter a word, blasting him out of the office into the hall outside with a crash.

Malfoy groaned as he pulled himself up while McGonagall and Dumbledore started at the elf, dumbfounded by the strange creature defending Harry like that.

"You'll pay for this Potter!" Malfoy repeated, but sheaved his wand and turned, storming away, slamming the door behind him.

Harry sighed tiredly as he turned to McGonagall. "You really thought I would have sliced his head off?" he asked, mockingly hurt, but her stern look deflated him a little. "Well, okay, I was thinking about it. The world would be a better place if we could," he shrugged as he walked to the door. "I think I need some medical attention," he said, reaching for the door.

"Mr. Potter!" McGonagall called with her hand up and waiting. He only looked at her, confused. "The sword Mr. Potter... and where did you get it?"

"Huh?" he mumbled as he pulled it from his belt. "Well, from the chamber, and oh... the basilisk is dead!" he said nonchalant.

"You and I both know that is a lie Mr. Potter!" Dumbledore said, not stating how he knew, but Harry knew he found out from Ginny. "You shall assist us once you are well with gaining access to the chamber so that we may dispose of the beast!"

"Sorry Professor but I can't do that," he said while McGonagall gave him a look of reprimand.

"And why not?" she asked before the old man could get to it.

He sighed and rubbed his eyes. "This stays here?" he asked and they both nodded reluctantly. "Beneath the school are thousands, maybe more, very fast tarantula sized spiders that move in swarms. The basilisk is the only thing keeping them away from the school. I've sealed the Chamber of Secrets, and changed the passwords. I am the only person capable of opening the chamber and it will stay that way."

"These spiders..." McGonagall said. "Describe them for us if you would!"

"Teal on top, black legs and under bodies, and they glint in the light, and I think they worked like bees or ants, with a queen!" he said while both teachers paled.

"Emperiax Arachnid!" McGonagall whispered in horror while Dumbledore nodded grimly.

"It appears so," he agreed before looking at Harry's confusion and elaborating. "They are native to China, living within cave systems miles underground where they feed on other... larger insects, magical or otherwise, but they also feed on any creature that ventures into their territory, moles, and other burrowing creature that reaches their tunnels, humans included.

"You are lucky to have escaped unharmed. I agree that the basilisk should be kept within the chamber. They may consider the lower depths of the school their back yard so to speak if they spread out. They do not live long lives, but they can become... many in numbers at any one time, and they're very dangerous. I believe given a choice people would rather dance naked in a dragons nest."

"Less chance of being eaten...!" McGonagall agreed. "Though I think the Chinese Ministry has been sectioning them away from human settlements because occasionally they have been known to wander into muggle villages during hot nights as they can't stand bright lights or the cold, killing children with their venom. An adult could survive the painful venom, but children and the elderly or infirm, not so much."

Harry let out a breath he didn't know he was holding. "Whoa... well that saves me some research," he chucked nervously as he reached for the door handle.

"Sword, Mr. Potter!" McGonagall said as she gave a small smile at his attempt.

"Can I have it back at the end of school?" he asked, concerned. "I want to have it studied by an expert, to learn about it. You know - something to do over the holidays. Everyone needs a hobby."

"Of course, Harry!" Dumbledore interrupted with a smile. "Professor McGonagall will just look after it until then. After all, you are very correct, everybody should have a hobby!" he said while Harry handed it over and left the room followed by the house elf who seemed to be following him around now.

It had been three days since Harry had saved the day and the school year was almost up. Harry had spent most of the time sleeping, and felt like he had had enough. The school nurse had wanted to keep him in after the first night, but he felt that his dorm bed was a nicer fit to his body. That night he had used Dobby to fetch him so much food that Ginny sitting in the bed next to his was watching and looked horrified that he could eat so much food so fast.

He had used so much energy he couldn't help but scoff his face silly. It was nice that Ginny felt comfortable enough to tease him.

Luna had come to visit and Harry had introduced the pair, and they were quick to become friends. At least Luna didn't think his appetite was tease worthy as she sat up on the bed with him before he was out like a light, snoozing for the country. He was surprised he didn't have one Tom or spider related nightmare but he did see some strange images but couldn't work out their meaning.

He had all of his finds locked away in one of the compartments of his seven compartment trunk. He remembered buying it only because Hagrid didn't want him too, but it came in handy being able to place things in certain compartments. It kept the trunk neat and tidy, and allowed him to find what he needed in a hurry. Not to mention the trunk came with a nifty shrink function so he could just stuff it in his pocket to take wherever he wanted.

He had to order out some new clothes as he felt that after his ordeal he could do with a treat. Well he would say order but he sent Dobby out. The little elf had hurt him a few times during the year; it was the least he could do to make it up to Harry.

He wore some blue jeans with a brown leather belt, brown walking boots, and a white shirt with the top few buttons undone and his sleeves curled up above his elbows. He had his hair done with some styling cream he discovered when a girl mentioned it to a friend, and it tamed his hair, neat, short, forward in a small natural looking climb over the front of his head where his scar had 'healed' to an extent that it was nearly non-noticeable for some reason nobody knew.

Then he had bought a new watch with a thick brown leather strap, tied around his right wrist. It had a compass, and every and any function he could think of, muggle and magic, within reason of course, some muggle things didn't work the way they should around concentrated magic.

Walking into the Great Hall that last morning before he had to leave for those annoying Dursley's wasn't too bad. McGonagall had returned his sword that morning and it was in his trunk, which was in his pocket. He was actually surprised that she had given it back, even though she looked reluctant, and begged him not to stab a Dursley or two.

Hermione was back to her annoying self, being bossy, looking down on stupid people, the usual, no longer petrified, and Harry refrained from any dirty jokes about her 'stiff' state, or about her near dead state. They would have been funny, but he wondered whether she had a sense of humour sometimes.

He stopped in the Great Hall, looking up at the banners over the tables, blue, Ravenclaw, yellow, Hufflepuff, red, Gryffindor, and green, Slytherin. He wasn't sure what to think any more He had looked down on Slytherin, thinking the man was a racist dark wizard, but it seemed that Gryffindor was just an idiot who couldn't tell the difference between hate and protectiveness.

Harry quivered at the thought of Godric Gryffindor finding out about the basilisk and not seeing reason about the spiders, killing it and all of his students dying while Salazar Slytherin evacuates the rest of the school. He would have to head back to visit Slytherins painting, and take it out of the chamber so he could talk with him about the past. It would be great getting to hear bits and pieces. He wouldn't take it all at face value, but looking at most of Gryffindors residents he couldn't help wonder whether that was really the house who took the rest because at least Hufflepuff had loyalty and a great work ethic.

He sighed as he half wished he was in Slytherin. It would have been cool if there weren't so many defilers of Slytherins name in the house. Salazar's painting was pleasant conversation. He was an intelligent and thoughtful man whereas his house tried to make him seem like an evil pile of dung.

Shaking his head as he was confusing himself he went to walk over to Gryffindor table when he was interrupted by a bleach blonde boy with his hair slicked back with enough hair gel that Harry wondered how many whales had to die to get all of that grease.

"Potter!" he sneered with a wrinkled nose. "Magical people don't take kindly to house elf thieves!"

"Your point is?" he asked, wondering what the point would be as the two behemoths Draco Malfoy had trailing him like flies on poop stood either side, flexing their fat as if they were muscles.

"My point is! I'll get you back!" he snarled. "Then you should watch your back for all pure-bloods You've dishonoured your family name!"

Harry yawned mockingly. "And you think I give a crap about anything you have to say, or dishonouring my family name?!" he asked with a snort. "News flash, Malfoy," he said leaning towards him with a grin. "I would have a long way to go to meet your families' level of dishonour. You can't even come to me without minions because you're a coward. All bullies like you are cowards, can't bully without their idiot muscle who let the weedy little twerp boss them around, but I'm not afraid of them Malfoy!"

"You should be!" he ground out, red cheeked as he realised the hall around them had quietened, and lots of his fellow Slytherins had moved closer to watch, making him cockier. "Look Potter. I have so many people backing me up, who do you have!"

"Point proved Malfoy, but I don't think most of these Slytherins care anything for you!" he replied, looking board.

Malfoy snorted. "Yeah, right, like any of them would dare stand against the Malfoy family! None of them have the guts, and when we're through with you you'll be eating through a straw!"

Malfoy yelped out as he suddenly dropped to the floor like a rock. Harry slid his wand away and looked up. None of them drew against him as he stepped over the fallen boy whistling a victory fanfare for himself and finding a seat next to Ron.

"Mate – what was that about?" the ginger boy asked looking over to the crowd of Slytherins that had parted to let Harry through.

Harry shrugged his shoulders. "Not too sure, just Malfoy being a stupid git again...!"

"Oh, right, shall we hex him?" he asked as he got back to stuffing his face full of bacon.

"Kind of already stunned him," he said, shrugging as he gestured to where only Malfoy's two flunkies were trying to move the fallen boy from the floor as the other Slytherins headed back to their table, and obviously flunky 1 and 2 didn't know how to wake him.

Ron looked over, blinking in surprise before laughing. "Nice one," he said in appreciation.

"Harry you shouldn't do these things!" Hermione, his bushy haired hazel eyed friend reprimanded from over the table. "You'll get into trouble. It's a miracle that Gryffindor won the house cup again this year."

"It's not a miracle, Dumbledore is cheating!" Harry retorted rolling his eyes while Ron almost spat out his juice as he chocked while laughing, and earning a glare from Hermione.

Hermione folded her arms and pouted as she didn't have a retort capable of denying it, and her cheeks lit up as Harry gave her a 'cheeky I win wink'.

Harry realised that it was good to win, plus Hermione wasn't going to argue too hard just yet when he had solved the mystery and save Ginny's life from the mad man Tom Riddle. He looked over at the Ravenclaw table and smiled as he watched Ginny in her Gryffindor colours at the Ravenclaw table with Luna, chatting away, hopefully about normal girl things.

Then he groaned as he realised normal girl things could mean boys, and he was a boy that girls liked to talk about, so he stood up and snuck over to sit with them, just to make sure.

"Just making sure Ginny isn't corrupting Luna with some kind of fangirlism!" he said to Ron's look, and he readily nodded his approval.

Hermione just sighed, rolling her eyes. "Harry was weird before, now he just got worse!"

"He's not weird!"

They were interrupted by an older girl with her brown tight tightly back into a ponytail. "Harry just had to grow up faster than you, poor boy, lives with these horrible muggles that never cared about him because he's a wizard from what I heard."

"Katie. That is nonsense!" Hermione said rolling her eyes. "Dumbledore wouldn't send Harry to live with people like that, even if they were family."

"If you don't believe me, ask Fred and George!"

"That's Fred and George!" she replied rolling her eyes, looking to Ron; he had gone quiet and shrugged, looking uncomfortable with her question, and she paled, feeling terrible, and sick that Harry would still be any kind of hero if it was true, and worse that she was calling him weird when he was just doing his thing, and being a good friend.

0oo00oo0

Harry frowned as the convict lay on the floor at his feet clutching his crutch whimpering while Ron was on the bed with a broken ankle and seconds away from complaining, and Hermione was on the floor, on her knees next to the bed staring at the dirty man with long matted black hair and dirty beard; her eyes wide open in fear even though Harry had already won.

He hadn't been hanging around Hermione or Ron as much as the previous years, because he had other friends who didn't complain like Hermione about how he shouldn't do this or that, or like Ron about how Harry liked hanging out with his supposedly useless sister and the 'Loony' Lovegood, Luna. They were both smarter than him, and neither of them cared what he got up to, and certainly wouldn't tell on him.

Hermione had got on his nerves when he had received a Firebolt broom for a gift at Christmas. It was one of the best brooms on the planet. He was near certain Sirius had sent it somehow, and Hermione had told him over and over to tell a teacher because it could be hexed. He scoffed at the idea, even telling her that it came straight from the factory, and he had even sent a note to make sure, which surprisingly came back that day confirming that the broom had never crossed anyone else's hands, but she wouldn't listen.

She went and told McGonagall, and even she wouldn't listen to reason, so he told them to keep it. He didn't want a broom returned that had been tampered with by amateurs. Therefore, since the incident where his trusty Nimbus 2000 was destroyed because of the filthy dementors attacking the Quidditch pitch. (Yes, he sent the ministry a bill, and they surprisingly paid). He bought a new broom and out of spite destroyed the Firebolt in the Great Hall in front of everyone.

The look on McGonagall and Hermione's face's was priceless, but not as much as his Quidditch teams who thought he was nuts, but he refused to ride a broom that had been 'stripped' as they called it by a bunch of second rate school teachers.

Harry had gone ahead and bought himself a Slipstream Professional Racing broom he had sent over from the states, and told McGonagall and his team that if anyone touched his new broom the Quidditch team can get lost as he would quit, and the school would have to pay compensation.

He didn't consider himself a petty person, but that Firebolt was the first and only real present he had ever received from anybody connected to family, except his Invisibility Cloak, which was technically his anyway, and the old man kept it too long. So, Harry wanted to prove the point that he wasn't going to let idiots who don't listen, don't care to listen, and who want to be right all the time control his life, and that he wasn't above destroying 8 thousand galleon brooms to make a point.

His Slipstream was only 4 thousand, and its stats were better in some places than the Firebolts, especially speed, even though that hampered manoeuvrability. He was a good enough 'pilot' that he could still get it to do what he needed, and quite honestly he liked its design better. He also loved the speed. If they had a broom racing team he would have quit Quidditch without a second thought.

The whole ordeal had been given infamy as the day a student destroyed the most expensive Quidditch broom on the planet, having been the only student in history to have destroyed two expensive brooms at school, be it the first was the ministries fault, he was still ridding the first at the time. He hated those dementors. He thought they should be destroyed, or at least kept well away from any school, not just Hogwarts.

Harry was still quite annoyed with Hermione with the whole event, and even though she was in the wrong she wouldn't accept responsibility or even pretend to look like she did wrong by him. She was more arrogant and self-assured in her 'right' than Dumbledore or Snape, and that was saying something.

However, he had been nearby when Hagrid had turned up with a surprise at his hut for Ron while Hermione was with him. He was curious about that so tagged alone, only to get a surprise of his own. It was Ron's 'pet' rat. Hagrid had found it hiding in his hut. Harry had been pleased but the rat knew he was after it and fled, which led them to their current location.

The three of them were in a hovel of a shack, in a top floor bedroom. It was dusty and ratty with only a rotten wooden bed and torn up sheets, and smelt of mould and pee. Ron was clutching a squealing rat between his fingers, holding it tight as it was trying to get away while Harry had smacked Sirius Black in the face and then punted him in the nuts before finally reclaiming his wand that Sirius had taken using Ron's new wand that he had taken first when he snatched the ginger boy.

He still marvelled that while Sirius, in his animagus dog form, having broken Ron's ankle that Ron still managed to keep hold of the rat. It was quite amazing actually considering the rat wanted to flee for its life, but then Harry had been hunting the blasted thing ever since it escaped him the first time and then faked its own death by means of Hermione's ugly ginger cat.

Harry had noticed the name under the rats dot a while after he had been given the Marauders map by the Weasley twins, so he could use it to sneak out of the school using one of the many secret tunnels without being caught because the map showed the user where everyone in the school was, since his stupid uncle never signed his permission slip so he could go to Hogsmeade with his friends.

He had bribed his uncle with the promise that he would be good and not freaky while his 'aunt' was visiting, but he couldn't help himself. She was just that much of an ignorant, self-centred, blind pile of crap 'wearing' a sticker on her face saying 'evil, make me pay'.

It had been easy to find out about Sirius Black being his godfather, as a new outside friend had gotten him the information when he asked. He met her when he was in London up to business, trying to get some information on some of the writings he found. She had given him a number for someone who might be able to tell him, and though it cost a few pounds, it was worth it.

It was just ridiculous that everyone tried to keep the truth about Sirius Black from him, thinking he would be scared that he was coming for him. He had actually laughed when he heard that. He couldn't help himself. He had been attacked by those annoying spider things, an Anubian, and evil animated lifeless skeletons, not to mention Tom Riddle, and then the stuff his first year, so a dementor weakened man, not all that scary.

He nearly blew his cover when he heard that buffoon minister talking at the Three Broomsticks Pub. He couldn't fear a man ravaged by dementors for so long. Harry was more scared of the dementors entering the school than any so-called traitor. He had met the minister after the incident where he had 'accidentality' left a REAL magical mushroom sweet (well packet) for his annoying Aunt Marge to find as she was just as greedy as his cousin Dudley, and just as naive.

He thought it was funny. He had only been doing some homework for Snape, and chose that potion to try, even though it wasn't in his homework, or schoolbook, it looked funny. It made her burp talking bubble mushrooms. He still couldn't figure out what he did wrong. They were supposed to blow her up into a blimp person and float her away, next time he'll pay closer attention.

He had gotten fed up with her pathetic insults about his parents, but couldn't figure out how to undo it when the accidental magic reversal squad turned up. He had said he had just placed the mushrooms down for two seconds and she had swiped them, and after hearing her insults about him and his parents, understood that she was at fault for stealing what didn't belong to her.

They took Marge away, and apparently it took over a week for someone to figure out how to stop the bubble mushrooms as they cursed, caused an annoyance and spoke her inner thoughts, which were about Harry and his no good for nothing drunkard parents, and not flattering, which got the attention of Magical Law Enforcement, and others, and they were not impressed.

They didn't bother to reprimand Harry as they completely understood he had good reason. They sent her home after modifying her memory and nothing more was heard of it, and while he was at it had Dobby confess to the magic Harry got into trouble for the year before, completely moving any and all strikes.

It worked out well for Harry as he got to stay away from the Dursley's for the rest of the holidays, so he had freedom to go anywhere, after making distractions to sneak out of the magical world. The ministry, because of Sirius's escape from Azkaban didn't want him out of 'their' sight. He didn't much care what they wanted, and spent a little time with his new friend, learning a little about swinging around a sword, which she had a great handle on.

Having a magical friend outside of the magical world was proving to be good. She was fun, didn't think he was a weakling, even more after proving it that night they first met. She was an adult who encouraged him to follow his own path, not to back down because older people were such cowards, ignorant of his talent and courage no matter how much he does.

Anyway, Harry doubted that the Deputy Headmistress, McGonagall would have allowed him to go with a signed permission slip. Adults were just weird. Save the world and they still treat 'kids' like they were incompetent idiots over and over, never learning the error of their ways – well most of them anyway.

Harry brushed his hands on his trousers as he glared down at the trampy man in his rags. Harry was wearing dark beige combat trousers with a brown belt. His long sleeve white tee shirt had the sleeves rolled up over his elbows to show his watch and wand holster, with brown walking boots on his feet.

"Hey man. You stole my wand. I like this wand," Harry defended his actions without remorse. "I didn't hit you that hard!" he added poking the man's leg with his foot.

"You kicked me in the balls!" the man squeaked out, wheezing. "I'm so proud!" he said rolling from side to side. "I honestly never saw any of it coming!"

"Yeah, well," he shrugged sheepishly as he put his spare wand away and looked to the door, eyes narrowed. "Did you take your poison tonight?" he asked thin air. "I also want my cloak back, and my map because after tonight, do you think that jerk Snape is going to keep his mouth shut, and do you think Dumbledore will care now you've served your purpose?"

"Harry, who are you-?" Hermione asked, confused as she trailed off and a man wearing tattered robes with greying brown hair pulled himself free of the invisibility cloak.

"You left the cloak on purpose?" he asked as he had a wand aimed at Harry, but it was lazily held so it wasn't done purposefully.

Harry shrugged, amused. "It would have been either you or Snape. I tried to make it more obvious, rather you touch it than that greasy waste of space!"

"Where is he?" he asked, looking around.

Harry smirked while pointing to Ron. "Bloody thing got away from me when I tried capturing it. Faked its death again, but I found him!"

"Harry!" Hermione called out, confused. "You can't trust him. He's a werewolf... but you already figured that out!" she tried to warn him but trailed off.

"That really isn't a reason not to trust someone, Hermione!" Harry reprimanded, rolling his eyes. "You tell us to trust Snape because he's a teacher while he's a douche bag, but not to trust Remus Lupin because he's a werewolf when he's a nice guy. That seems like double standards Hermione, and judging a person based off fear and conjecture based around a small group of a people...?"

Hermione looked away, rightfully ashamed, "I-I'm sorry Professor, I was out of line!" she mumbled her apology. It was nearly amusing how she was so quick to apologise to a teacher, but when she wronged Harry, didn't care because she still believed he is so much stupider than her.

However, Remus Lupin wasn't paying her any attention as he was eyeing the rat hungrily while Ron coward trying to protect it, holding it to his chest. "Umm... Ron, you're hugging a thirty-something year old animagus to your chest... a male one, and traitorous dark... well mucky wizard!"

The rat shot from Ron's hands fast as it bit him and he let go, yelping. It sprinted away. Remus tried to hit it with spell after spell before it ran into Harry and he trod on it, stopping it cold. It squealed and screamed in pain as its beady black eyes looked up at Harry in horror. He was so tempted to just splay its brains out. All it would take is a small bit of extra pressure, nothing more.

Harry moved back as Remus finally hit his target and they watched as the rat morphed and shifted with a pop until a fat, building, rat faced man lay scurrying on the floor in rags filthier than Sirius's. Sirius had managed to crawl up to his feet, shaking off the pain he looked down over Harry's shoulder at the rat man. His blue eyes were like fire of hate, teeth grit in anger.

"Peter Pettigrew!" Sirius spat out gruffly while Ron and Hermione looked at the filthy man, sickened.

Pettigrew scurried from him while he moved round. The rat was on his hands and knees facing the werewolf in a matter of seconds. "Remus my old friend!" he squeaked out shakily. "Y-you won't let him hurt me, you'll protect me! What would you have done? The Dark Lord has ways... terrible ways!"

"I would have died!" he roared out kicking the rat-man away.

The rat-man turned and scurried to Harry on his hands and knees. "H-Harry, you won't let them hurt me, would you, Lily and James, they would have understood. Yes. You're a good boy, Harry; you won't let them hurt me..."

"Of course I won't let them hurt you!" he replied to their shock as they didn't look like they knew what to do when suddenly Pettigrew screamed out in tears as Harry's right fist collided with his nose, braking it in a spray of blood, knocking him back, bawling. "Well... not before I've beaten the living crap out of you for stealing my family because you were a useless piece of crap!" He kicked the man back, stomping on his head to cries and screams, begging before he stopped.

"What...?" Harry asked the whimpering, blood stained mess. "Voldemort's not here any more You lost. I'm not like Dumbledore, and I'm not like my parents. I'm my own person, and... Wait a minute... you're already dead aren't you...? Can a person be convicted of the murder of a dead man, after that man has been declared dead?" he asked whimsically, eyes narrowing coldly as Pettigrew started shivering and likely emptying his bladder.

"Harry. That's enough!" Hermione called, sobbing. "Please Harry, l-let's just take him in and hand him over to the ministry!"

Harry looked to her and sighed before nodding, and turning to the men. "Yeah, I'm pretty sure I wouldn't hesitate to kill in self defence, but killing a snivelling weakling like him while he cries and begs would turn me into something I'm not! We put him in chains, and then we take him to the ministry, we get Sirius pardoned, we sue the ministry and have a giant meal on them!"

"I like the idea of a giant meal!" Sirius commented looking hungry at the thought, and Harry tried not to feel bad as he heard the man's stomach growling.

"Cool!" Harry said as he deflected the stunner as the greasy hook nosed teacher charged through the doors looking smug only to get his own stunner in his face and thrown down the stairs. "I can kill him though, right?" he asked hopefully.

"Coolest godson ever...!" Sirius proclaimed while Harry grinned and Hermione panicked about attacking a teacher, and Ron looked like his broken ankle, and discovery about his pet was worth it to see Snape go down a flight of stairs.

"Hey, what can I say?" he replied, shrugging. "Douche set off my douche bag alert system!" he said while they all looked at him. "Oh right, alert charm, sheesh, try to give something a cool name and people look at you weird. Oh, and wolf-man, here, you might want to take this!" he finished as he pulled a bottle from his pocket and handed it over. "Wolfsbane potion," he said to the surprised man. "There's this place near Dublin this woman told me about that gets it in from the States, mass produced, pretty good prices too."

"I-I didn't know anyone sold it," he said in surprise as he opened the bottle while Harry stunned Pettigrew, mainly to shut him up before folding up his invisibility cloak, folding it up and putting it in his pocket followed by his map as he reclaimed it.

"It's... wow. I've never seen it look so clear," Remus said looking in the bottle after reading the label as it was professionally done. "I asked Dumbledore whether I could get some from somewhere and he said no," he said before draining the bottle dry. "Tastes better than what Snape makes," he commented readily.

Harry shrugged with a smile. "Yeah, apparently the Irish Sanctuary, whatever that is orders them in from there if they need any for werewolves I guess," he said thoughtfully. "The woman I got the info from wasn't sure where to get some in England, but gave me a few names of places to look into, so if there's a place in England or Scotland, I wouldn't be able to tell you until I've finished looking around! I just met her by chance over the holidays when I saved her from this mean troll who was living under a bridge.

"Well, I tried to save her, but it turned out she didn't want to be saved. Had a huge-ass sword hidden in her coat. Then the troll kept asking us to guess his name or he would eat us. We tried the usual, like Rumplestitskin and all that, but nope, he was hungry.

"Then, at midnight, turned into this huge monstrous... well monster and tried to eat us," he said shaking his head. "Still kept asking us to guess his name... I didn't know, she didn't know, we only had three attempts, so we kind of had to fight, and she was pretty awesome and killed it before this huge guy she knew turned up, said some stuff, confused me a little before leaving, but whatever.

"She gave me her phone number, just in case I find any more trolls, said she liked the cut of my foolish heroics. So she seemed like the sort to know about monster related stuff and I called her at Christmas, and presto, she gave me some place names-."

"Harry," Hermione interrupted slowly. "Trolls don't-!"

"You actually met a bridge troll!" Sirius interrupted with a low whistle of appreciation. "Lots of people go missing around those things. That's why it's best to never cross a bridge between the hours of midnight and one. There's plenty of cautionary tales about those things that parents read to children as warnings."

"B-but they don't exist!" Hermione said slowly.

"Of course they do," Remus agreed, nodding. "It's just Hogwarts doesn't teach a lot of things about creatures you could encounter because with our powers we kind of bypass them all. A wizard or witch living as part of the magical world can go a lifetime without coming close to anything that would be considered dangerous to them."

"Unless they're me, or they work in that field...!" Harry corrected, looking to Lupin while he nodded his praise and amusement.

"But trolls under bridges are like fairytale stuff," she replied, confused.

"Aren't fairies and magic?" Harry asked, scratching the back of his head, confused that she was still so close-minded, and glad that no one called him out on being outside so late.

Hermione folded her arms and pouted, as anytime she brought up 'it can't be real' he bought up, the fact wizards and witches existed and she went quiet. It was the ultimate gobstopper for the girl. He wished he thought to play 'logic' with her back when they first met.

They were soon packing up what they needed, placing Pettigrew in chains where Harry would be levitating him, and Sirius would be helping Ron, while Remus went to levitate Snape but Harry stopped him with a giant grin. Then proceeded to pull out a marker pen and draw on his face some very choice and rude words Hermione didn't find as amusing as everyone else.

Then they left him behind with another healthy stunning so that he didn't get in the way. They were heading through the tunnel back to school when Sirius spoke up. "I don't know whether you know Harry, but I'm your godfather, so I was thinking. If you want to, after I've been cleared and everything. You don't have too. I'll understand if you're happy with your aunt-."

"Have you met that... woman before?" Harry interrupted while he shook his head. "Well that... woman could die tomorrow and I would only attend her funeral to gloat and mock my cousin and uncles, telling everyone what a drunkard good for nothing she was, like she told me my parents were, and 'how' they died drunk behind the wheel of a car!"

"Oh," he said before brightening. "Well that's good then... kind of... we can find a nice place in London, or some place further away if you want, get away from it all or something."

"London's cool I suppose!" he agreed with a thoughtful shrug. "Wherever you want, I don't mind, really."

"Great!" he declared in glee. "Oh, by the way... what happened to the Firebolt I sent you for Christmas? You were flying the new Slipstream California Racing Broom at your matches after the Nimbus died during that storm."

"It came straight from the factory, correct?" he asked, and Sirius nodded. "Well, certain people weren't satisfied with that and... 'stripped' it down... so I ordered my new broom and in the Great Hall when McGonagall happily returned the Firebolt, I destroyed it," he said to the man's shock. "Yep, the look on their faces when they saw that I wasn't grateful and never indented to use a broom that had become third rate and heavily devalued because of their amateur tampering."

"That was really petty," Remus said from up front. "That was you showing that you are your mother's son. I remember that she could be just like that when people never cared to listen to her."

"Do you know how much that thing cost?" Sirius asked. "Your dad must be cringing in his grave man. He would have just accepted it back with a grin, but yep, your mum wouldn't have wanted it either, just out of principle."

"It was made dangerous the moment morons started unravelling the charms!" he replied coolly. "If making a broom was that easy everyone would do it. I just had to touch that sad excuse for magic to make me despise it. It wasn't even at half its original power. I doubt it would have reached more than two thirds its original speeds, or even that it could turn on a dime any more It was Hermione's fault. She doesn't listen to anyone when she thinks she's right, like a small, young, McGonagall. That was like taking a powerful ancient artefact, playing with its magic and putting it back together again from a dummies guide, and devaluing it to the price of a set of robes."

"It could have been cursed!" Hermione said from up front, sulking, and trying to defend herself.

"I could have just sent it back for a replacement at anytime if I felt it was hexed!" he replied, nonchalant. "They have like five year warranties, not to mention come with a year's free manufacturers insurance! I just chose to destroy it rather than filing a police report against the school for theft and tampering. I wanted to prove a point. I'm not going to sit back and let anyone dictate what they do with my stuff. Tamper with it, I don't care whether it was worth a million galleons I would rather destroy it, or maybe next time I will go to the aurors department and have the culprits arrested."

"Good on you man," Sirius said, nodded in approval. "Don't just stand back and let the 'authority' screw with your stuff," he said as they finally reached the exit by the huge attacking tree, but a press of the knot by its base and it froze to let them out when the clouds parted and Remus looked up, gulping.

"Just go man; the potion should be working," Harry said to Remus as his body started twitching, and he nodded, fleeing into the dark of the early night, disappearing into the shadows.

The Great Hall was crowded when they walked in, and all eyes were soon on them, perfectly quiet as they stared at them in shock as Sirius Black stood with them. The next thing Harry knew was he was waking up in the hospital wing, blinking his eyes in confusion as he sat up in the bed.

"What the hell is going on?!" he asked himself as he looked around to see Hermione and Ron in beds opposite, fast asleep.

"Harry!"

He was startled as he looked around to see Ginny leaning over his bed, long red hair framing over them, worried brown eyes, and hands on his shoulders still trying to shake him awake.

"Thank god, Harry!" she said in relief. "The teachers threw freaking stunners at you all when you came into the hall with Sirius Black and that rat faced man! The rat guy woke up as you hit the floor, turned into Scabbers and ran away! They're going to kill Black, and I take it he was innocent just like that Hippogryph they murdered!"

Harry leapt from his bed without any hesitation and looked down to see he was wearing pale blue hospital pyjamas and his clothes had been folded and left on his bedside table.

He growled as he tore off the top and threw it to the floor, pulling on his tee while Ginny pretended she wasn't watching. He checked, and was still wearing boxer shorts, so pulled off his bottoms and hopped onto the bed to pull on his shocks, then trousers and boots. His wand holster hadn't been touched because of the charms it contained so it wasn't noticed.

Picking up his watch he frowned in annoyance as the hands blinked red, showing that an unauthorised person was trying to change its functions. "Did you touch my watch?" he asked as he reset it back to its usual luminous green hands.

Ginny while slightly red cheeked shook her head. "No... I saw it blinking though. It has a security feature so I wouldn't be able to change it to anything but a compass, since that isn't a real function. You already told me about it," she readily admitted. "I had to sneak here to try waking you up because you always know what to do in sticky situations, but I bet it was Dumbledore because McGonagall wouldn't do that, and Snape has only just gotten back. He accused you of attacking him."

Harry snorted, rolling his eyes. "I deflected that jerks attack. It was his fault that I needed to."

"And the rude drawings on his face?" she asked him with raised eyebrows.

He grinned smugly. "I'm man enough to admit when I have done something," he said as he finished fastening his watch and jumped down from the bed. He always found hospital beds higher than normal as if they were designed so that the hospital staff didn't get bad back from having to bend down to them.

Harry walked over to Hermione and sorted through her clothes until he found a long golden chain holding a small golden hourglass with brown-gold sand inside the glass. He looked to Ginny with a grin. "Want to come and mess with the Space Time Continuum with me?" he asked as if that was the greatest adventure in the history of adventures.

"Oh my god!" she muttered as she rushed over, looking at the jewellery in awe. "Is that a freaking Time Turner? What the hell is Hermione doing with one?" she asked, quietly as she looked at the sleeping girl, making sure she didn't wake up.

Harry shrugged thoughtfully. "Have you noticed how Hermione seems to be in two classes at once, how she had been going to every class she could?" he asked, and her eyes widened in understanding. "Yep. After that crap on the train with the dementors at the beginning of school, McGonagall wanted to see me with the nurse like I'm freaking fragile!" he said snorting at the thought. "I could show them memories of how 'fragile' I am that would have made them crap themselves and die if they had to go through it.

"Anyway, that was probably the time Hermione got the Time Turner as McGonagall asked to keep her. I had been curious why McGonagall would have asked to see her too, with me? I asked what McGonagall wanted but Hermione wouldn't tell me. It didn't take long for me to figure out the danger McGonagall put the school and world in by giving an idiot a time machine. To do extra classes... even muggle studies. I could give her a mages perspective on muggles. Decades out of date, and ignorant!" he said, holding back from laughing.

Ginny glared at him with cute puffed out cheeks. "We are not!" she declared, eyes narrowing.

"What do muggles watch?" he asked her. "It's a box with pictures in it?"

"Umm..." she blushed as she thought. "Hell-e-vision?" she asked hopefully. "It's a giant box that muggles use, and have plays in, right?"

Harry sighed and shook his head. "It's called a television," he said shaking his head before he pulled her closer and pulled the Time Turner around their necks and twisting it four times. The world started dissolving around them and running backwards.

"Time to mess with time...!" Harry mumbled in Ginny's ear as the blurred images stopped, and they were in the Hospital Wing, four hour in the past, alone, and it was quiet because classes were still running.

0oo00oo0

Harry led Ginny very un-sneakily through the school. He didn't seem to care about breaking any temporal lore's, but then he knew where both she and he should be so they would be very unlikely to cross paths. Well, they would only cross paths if they chose too.

"Why'd we come back so far?" Ginny asked after a few moments. "Two hours would have been okay."

He grinned as he dragged her to hurry up by her hand. "Some jerk messed with me with Buckbeak the Hippogryphs trial! I'm not letting any of those grease ball Malfoy's get away with that. Malfoy was at fault, and Hagrid gets blamed for him being a piece of crap without any ears. So I'm going to rescue the bird horse thing as well as Sirius. Then I'm going to use my name and whatever influence I can put to get Sirius a fair trial, even if I have to resort to blackmail and bribery."

"Okay," she said with a nod. "So how are we going to do that?" she asked reasonably.

"With a lot of cleverness silly!" he answered, smirking.

She sighed and shook her head while he led her out of the school towards Hagrid's hut. "Is that your answer for everything?" she asked and he went to answer, but she interrupted before he could. "Okay, and don't say if cleverness doesn't work that we punch everything in our way!"

"But that's what you do when being clever doesn't quite work out," he replied, complaining. "And if punching stuff doesn't quite get what you need, shooting it seems like a good idea until its dead!"

"Harry, you are crazy!" she declared with utter certainty.

He just laughed as if he thought she was joking with him. "It's better to be crazy than a coward weakling like near everybody else in the magical world. Have you read how close the ministry came to folding to Voldemort because most of them were too chicken to kick ass and never ask questions!?"

She pouted cutely as he tugged her around Hagrid's Hut while it was empty. Hagrid must be looking for Ron to tell him about the rat. "So where is the rat? Are we going to capture it?" Ginny asked, shivering as she thought about Ron hugging some stupid animagus.

"He's in Hagrid's," he replied and she went for the back door where the Hippogryph Buckbeak stood tied to a fence. It was large, the top half a feathered hawk of green and blue feathers while its lower body was mostly a chestnut horse with his front hooves hawk feet and claws.

"No!" he replied shaking his head and pulling her back, into his arms before looking for a place to hide, pulling her behind some large bundles of hay. "We can't change the past. We have to get this done, and return before they can blame us for anything. But... that doesn't mean we couldn't capture Pettigrew before he escapes. Once we save the horsey I can follow us to the Entrance Hall... was that the way he fled?"

She nodded her head. "Yeah, no one even cared to try capturing him. He left through the Entrance Hall," she said, nodding. "So if I keep hold of Buckbeak to save Sirius with. You grab the rat while he's a rat and cage him. We get Sirius out of the school on Buckbeak, and then get back to the Hospital Wing, and then... you get Pettigrew to the right person who will do something about him!"

"Exactly!" he agreed with a smirk as he pulled out a neatly folded water like cloth from his pocket, and a piece of parchment from another. "Invisibility Cloak and Map will be invaluable to the task!" he said activating the map with his wand and passing it to Ginny while keeping the cloak and putting it back away for his use.

"Now we just have to sit back and wait," he said thoughtfully as he sat on the hay next to her. "We should let the executioner and Minister see, Buckbeak first, so we'll have to get him while they're in the house!" he added thoughtfully when he suddenly felt an odd chill run down his spine, and looked to Ginny. She gave him a nervous look in return.

"Dementors...!" Ginny muttered as the cold was getting worse.

"Crap!" Harry replied, looking around and up he could see them in the distance, in the sky, scores of them heading in their direction. The cold was starting to penetrate them to their bones. They could see their breath leaving them in a warm fog.

"Okay," Harry grabbed Ginny and stuffed her into the hay bundles. "I'll hide you. If I leave they'll come after me. Use the map and get Buckbeak to Sirius once he's been captured. I'll double around and be back in time to capture Pettigrew, okay!?"

"B-but Harry-!" she complained in worry.

He gave her a cocky grin as he planted two bundles of hay over her to hide her from view, not that he thought they wouldn't sense her. He was almost one hundred percent certain that dementors were all blind. That meant that he would have to lead them all away. It was their only chance at survival. Well their only chance at completing their mission to save Sirius and get one over on the minister.

"Don't worry about me, Ginny, I think I'm growing attached to doing things like this!" he said while he heard her whimper but she didn't object any more as he turned to the oncoming dementors, the cold was raking at his bones. "Anyway, I have no choice or they'll murder my godfather, and I won't have a way out of Dumbledore's, 'you're safe and loved with your family' clause."

He moved from the hay and grinned as the first few dementors poured down. The sky had darkened just because of them, and it could have been an early winter. He drew his wand, aiming at them he roared out.

"Expectro Petronum!"

White silvery light exploded out blindingly bright. It pulsed and hummed, blurring out in a shock wave, arching like a shield. It created a pulsating tone that held the dementors back, and pushed them further away. He watched in amazement as more dementors crashed into his shield and bounced away. He skidded back under the onslaught, and had to think of better, stronger happy emotions.

He thought of his friends. Ginny, and Luna, and how funny it was to stump Hermione with simple logic that defied her stupid books. He remembered how embarrassed Ginny had been when Luna had been feeling mischievous and hit her with a tickling charm while she had a mouthful of milk, spitting it all out in Astoria Greengrass's face. He almost laughed thinking about that. The look on the blonde Slytherin girls face was so indignant and she had even swallowed some.

His pulse of light pushed out as he chuckled at the memory before he swished his wand. White-silver mist hung, keeping them at bay for just a moment while he shot off towards the tree line into the woods. He checked his wand as he streaked through the trees. He should have had plenty of time to get rid of the dementors, but turning his head to look behind him, he wasn't too sure.

There were hundreds of these things charging after him, and unfortunately they could fly and he couldn't. He remembered his new trusty broom and made a silent promise to learn to summon, and shrink, so if he didn't have his broom he could call it, or he could shrink it and put it in his pocket, so he had it at all times, especially for emergencies. That was if he could shrink it without screwing with its magic, which might not be possible or brooms might have came with a shrink function anyway.

Shaking those thoughts away he realised he had more important things to worry about, like the evil horde of soul stealing ghouls chasing him. He jumped over tree roots, and fallen logs, scampering through the forest, he changed directions, leap frogging over a fallen tree to crash down a steep hill the other side. He fell, rolling and crashing down to a stop at the bottom, losing his wand in the process, but he wouldn't worry about that when he had a spare.

He groaned, rubbing his head as he sat up and came face to face with a girl. She was blonde with her hair tied back into a lose ponytail. She wore a white short sleeved top and black hipster's, brown boots and a brown backpack on her back with deep blue eyes and she looked like she had been caught with her hand in the cookie jar. She looked around fifteen, and was filthy, carrying a silver and black video camera.

"Umm... hi!" she said, smiling nervously. He looked up behind her to see that she had fallen down the other side at the same time as him.

Harry was about to replied when he felt the cold getting closer, and looked back to the girl. She had started shivering, looking around, confused. Harry looked back the way he came and up to see the swarm of dementors heading for them.

"Let's go!" Harry said urgently pulling her to her feet and trying to drag her after him but she resisted. "Quickly, they're dementors!" he said desperately when he realised she couldn't see them. "Oh crap, you're a muggle... well that explains the camera. Okay, there are a swarm of invisible soul drinking monsters!"

"What are you talking about? Don't be stupid!" she reprimanded him angrily.

However, Harry saw something on the screen of her camera, grabbed her arm and pointed it up. She looked, and her cheeks turned green while her eyes widened in horror. He could have grinned that she could see them through the camera. It was only a wild guess but it paid off in the end, which was a good thing, as she let him pull her with him, sprinting as fast as they could.

"W-what are those things!" she demanded as she stumbled but Harry kept her on her feet and dragged her after him and around some trees.

They came to the dark mouth of a cave and stopped, turning to the dementors. The girl was staring at them in fright through the screen on her camera, and Harry aimed his spare wand. It pulsed out again, but the cold was deeper this time and he could barely think straight, let alone of happy thoughts. He pulled the girl back with him into the cave. The dementors kept smashing against the shield when it buckled.

Harry pushed the girl back and flicked his wand as he fell back. The cave entrance took the exploding air spell but he lost his wand as the cave entrance collapsed, sealing them into darkness away from the ghouls. He groaned as he pulled himself to sit up and checking for injuries when the girl turned on the light from her camera, illuminating the cave.

Harry groaned when he plucked up half his wand as it had snapped, leaving the other half under a tonne of rubble, which was thankfully keeping the dementors away from them. He shook his head as he stood up while the girl was staring all around the cavern to make sure no dementors got in, which was good as they didn't.

"It looks like there's a tunnel through here!" the girl said suddenly as if everything was okay and normal. "Those things won't be able to pass through the rock will they?"

"No," he reassured her. "They're solid," he said with a sigh as he looked at his watch. "I have just over two hours to get back to the castle to stop a criminal who can change into a rat from escaping justice while my friend frees the innocent man who took the wrap, so I guess we need to get moving and fast," he said before she startled as he opened her backpack, rummaging before coming out with a powerful torch that he turned on and clipped to his belt.

"At least you have something useful, other than a gun?" he asked as he pulled out the brown leather underarm holster and black 99mm pistol.

"Hey, you're younger than me, you shouldn't play with that!" she complained as he pulled it on so the gun was under his left arm.

"What are you, fifteen, sixteen years old?" he asked with a raised eyebrow as he closed up her bag and he led the way while she pouted.

"Fifteen!" she answered, annoyed with him. "I'm looking for something, well someone I guess, but then you turn up being hunted by monsters! And what was that thing with the light and the stick?" she asked as they squeezed through a tight gap in the cave, Harry helping her through because her bust made it slightly more difficult.

"Magic!" he answered straight to the point, looking at her she didn't show any sign of doubt, after all she had seen it with her own eyes. "So... I'm Harry Potter, nice to meet you!" he introduced himself.

"Elena Fisher!" she answered, sulkily. "I like mysteries," she began explaining. "My family moved here from the states for business... my dad remarried, but I don't like her. Dads a historian, looking for truths to old mysteries, so I guess I got it from him, but he went missing five months ago, and my step mum had given up after only a week. There are some old legends about a forest in Scotland that doesn't exist. He wanted to find out the truth. I hadn't expected the forest to be real, so I think my dad found it and couldn't find his way out because GPS doesn't work in here!"

"Yeah, wouldn't be much of a forest that doesn't exist if anyone can find it!" he replied as he came out into a large opening. Inside there was huge grey stone walls. The stone was cut into massive bricks and Harry couldn't help but grin as he looked down as an old wooden staircase led down into the ground. Even with torches they couldn't see the bottom, or whether the rotten wood stopped short of ground level or not.

It was rickety and old. At some stage in its life it must have been a beautiful sight to behold. The wood had some beautiful carvings of magical creatures and humans working together. He crouched down with his notebook in hand sketching a few things, and copying some writings.

"Harry, look at these!" Elena called quietly as she stood at the top of the stairs where two stone gargoyles sat on rock pedestal's either side.

"Some kind of guardians," he muttered, running his hands over them. "I don't sense any magic coming from them so they must be safe," he muttered as he looked to the pedestal underneath one. "Look, some kind of writing," he said looking closer. "A pictograph," he mumbled before pulling out a few pieces of folded tracing paper and a piece of charcoal, making a rubbing of each while Elena watched, curious.

"You never can be too sure, they might mean something important," he said as he stood up looking around the room he couldn't see anything else that looked significant.

"Wow, out of anybody I could have run into, I happen to find the one person who knows his stuff," she said, shaking her head.

"You're lucky it was me," he answered with a grin while she rolled her eyes, but he elaborated that he was being serious. "Most adults would have just wiped your memory and dumped you in the closest town. The rest would have killed you because they're racist piles of crap. Most of the other kids would have led you to the adults to erase your memory, while the rest are douchy racists who... I couldn't say, but some of them need their teeth smashed down their throats."

"Then what about you when this is over?" she asked him, sounding and looking worried.

He shrugged sheepishly. "I was thinking that once all of this was over, if we find your dad, that I would sneak you both out and get you home. If we can't find your dad, then maybe we could continue looking. You could stay with me until we find him, or-."

"We find out we can't find him because he's gone forever!" she said, looking away. "I know that it's a possibility. That if this place really is all magic that something could have eaten him."

"Yeah, well, we'll find out something, hopefully," he said looking down at the stairs into the darkness.

"How are you being so calm, look where we are, and we're all alone!" she hissed at him, near hysterics.

He turned to her and patted her on the shoulder, smiling. "I lost my parents when I was fifteen months old to a megalomaniac douche bag with dreams of conquering the world. He then tried to kill me, but the curse meant for nothing more than killing bounced back somehow and tore him from his body, leaving him as nothing, but slightly more than a ghost.

"They call me their saviour because I did what they were too afraid to do. They're cowards, calling on a child to do what they didn't. Not because they couldn't, but because they wouldn't, too afraid of his taken name that they would watch his minions murder family members over drawing their wands and killing the bastards! Then when my mother died for me, a stupid prick of a Merlin wannabe who has everyone 'good' eating out of his asshole sent me to my racist, spiteful, pile of crap aunts where I wouldn't even have a happy childhood, let alone know what I was.

"Then this Dark Prick has tried to kill me four extra times since I started this damn school two years ago, and now this year, that old fool has dementors hanging around the school to 'protect' us from an escaped convict who has lived near twelve years with these things that guard the prison, weakening him. They suck out the happiness in the air, and if you're unlucky, you don't die; your soul is kissed out of you.

"I'm pretty sure Elena that I don't give a crap about fearing the unknown any more!" he stopped for a breath. "So I'm going to go on, because quite frankly, this sort of thing is fun. I have a say in it. I control what I do here. What I find out, and what secrets can be uncovered. But most of all we have no choice but to search for another way out of here or we're going to die, and I've been through too much crap to die in here, now."

"Wow," she said unable to say more for a moment. "Your people suck," she finally concluded.

Harry sighed and shook his head before grinning. "Yeah, I guess I had wanted to get that off my chest for a while. I guess that winger Hermione was right. It does feel good to let it out sometimes. Now it's all out I can just go with the flow, and never let the pressure get to me again, so you coming or what?" he said as he started carefully down the wooden steps, snapping one but he got over it without falling to his doom.

Elena was careful behind him, keeping her eyes on his back, and the steps as each step they took they creaked and shook. The staircase was wobbling in areas, and it was the most harrowing experience on stairs either could admit to taking. They continued down into the dark when the wooden stairs went into a crevasse and Harry stopped. They could reach out and touch walls either side of them.

"Umm... Elena, how good are you at climbing?" he asked, looking around at her.

"Why?" she asked, moving forward slightly to look over his shoulder as the stairs cut off, missing at least twenty feet between them and the rest of the stairs. "Oh... well, I guess it can't... be... helped," she said, panting as she strained, pulling herself up on the side wall.

Harry nodded as he grabbed some hand holds after letting her go first. They shimmied carefully, eyeing the goal as they made headway. Elena made it in quick time, dropping down onto some over hanging steps before Harry could say anything. The steps creaked and crumbled under her landing. She wobbled to balance herself with horror on her face.

"Elena, run!" he demanded, and she didn't need telling as she ran down, skipping a few steps and crashing into a wall with a landing that turned to the right. The stairs only crumbled off to that point and they both sighed in relief.

"Harry, are you okay?!" she called up.

"Yeah!" he quickly agreed. "Stay there, I'll be down in a second!" he said shimmying along, and climbing down until he was slightly above the platform when he ran out of holds two feet up and let go, with a grin he landed. However, his grin was short lived as the wood started to shake violently.

Harry pushed her to run down first. They were running as fast as they could as the stairs started a cascade, collapsing behind them with booms, and dust clouds of splintered wood chasing them down the parts that had yet to collapse before Elena came to a stop on solid stone, and Harry charged down, jumping the last two steps and knocking her down to the ground, using his body as a shield as the ploom of wood plastered passed, cutting them in places, but otherwise they were fine.

They coughed up a storm as they pulled themselves up slightly, in a tangle of limbs, to look behind where the stairs would have still gone further down. "I wouldn't have liked the odds of trying for the ground floor!" Harry commented whimsically as he pulled himself up, helping his partner up with him.

"Yeah, we're lucky!" she agreed with a sigh and shake of her head before a wide grin came to her lips and her cameras light hit on two large double doors that would have put the doors of the Great Hall to shame. They were gigantic and from the look of them made out of actual silver. At least the outside was. It didn't feel solid, but enough to look really nice.

The doors had incredible carvings within, depicting some kind of men fighting, other men. However, the other men had long hands and oddly shaped features and they were naked. They didn't use weapons, but clawed hands. The humans in the picture didn't seem to be using magic but Harry could feel magic within the door. It was a shame that some much had been worn down that he couldn't make out too much.

In the centre of the door was a large blue crystal, over the seal between both doors. It was glowing slightly with definite magic. He looked to each side of the door where two large gargoyle statues stood, similar to those up top, only a lot larger. He tried to read some of the inscription that ran along the top of the door as it was in Latin and he had been self studying just for situations like this.

Unfortunately, getting time to himself after being at the stupid Dursley's when he had Ron and Hermione sniffing around him all the time wasn't easy, and he wasn't quite sure he got even one word completely right, but it looked like it was talking about the midnight curse, whatever that was. Now normally these things would be spot on and mean exactly what they said, but that wasn't always the case. The mage of the past used to enjoy giving things names that didn't really mean anything to the real curse's attributes.

"So how do we get in?" Elena asked as she examined the statues bases. "I think, look, they spin with different pictures, so," she said spinning one twice.

"Wait, the carvings from upstairs, maybe they have to match-!" he said, but it was too late as the ground started shaking and he looked up, pulling Elena back with him as the stone around the gargoyles broke away, crumbling to the floor and they were two snarling, hissing, clawed, fanged, winged beasts of muscle.

Harry drew his gun, finding the safety catch and flicking it before aiming shakily as he hadn't fired a gun before. He squeezed the trigger as one slowly advanced on them, and the bullet penetrated its front arm. These things were huge, at nine feet long, and the bullet didn't seem to slow it down.

"I think that just m-made it angry!" Elena whimpered as she held onto Harry, terrified. "What are we going to do now, Einstein?"

"Fight to the death and not die!" he suggested in good humour, which only received him a glare for his efforts.