"We are so going to get caught," Hermione whispered as she, Harry, Ron, and Dudley walked toward the third floor corridor.
"Bloody hell woman! What a way to make a bloke feel better," Ron muttered.
Harry was about ready to kick both Hermione and Ron out of his cloak. After their little chat with Prof. McGonagall that afternoon, it was decided that Padma, Parvati, and Neville were to play decoy; Harry, Hermione, Ron, and Dudley were to go save the stone.
"I want the two of you to shut up!" Harry whispered harshly. The two of them had been arguing since before they left the common room to meet Dudley.
Hermione rolled her eyes and unlocked the chamber holding the three-headed dog. Once they were all "safely" inside, they took the cloak off and Harry threw it on the ground.
"What a way to treat a gift," Dudley said sarcastically.
Harry ignored him. "There's something wrong," he muttered.
Dudley looked around and saw the dog was sleeping. "Someone's already been here," he said.
Harry noticed the harp playing magically. "It was Snape. We have to hurry."
Ron helped Harry move the dog's paw and pull open the trap door. "I'm going to go first. If something goes wrong, get yourselves out!" Harry explained.
A slushy liquid rolled down Ron's front. "Eew!" He looked up and met the 3 pairs of eyes. "Uh…I think we have company," he croaked out.
Hermione looked. "The harp stopped playing!"
As she finished her sentence, the dogs began barking ferociously. "Jump!" Dudley shouted.
Harry, followed by Hermione, Ron, then Dudley, landed on a soft item. "Lucky this plant thing is here," Ron said casually.
"No, it's not," Dudley said ominously.
"Oh, yeah, and why is that, Bookworm?" Ron asked crossly.
"Because this is Devil's Snare," Hermione squeaked.
At that moment the plant began binding around the kids. Ron and Harry began thrashing against it. "Stay still!" Dudley snapped. "If you don't relax it'll only kill you faster."
"Kill us faster?" Ron cried.
"Oh, yeah, now I can relax!" Harry snapped.
Hermione and Dudley sneered at them before being sucked down. "Dudley! Hermione!" Harry cried.
"Do what we said," Hermione shouted. "Trust us."
Harry took a deep breath and then was sucked down through the plant. He landed none too gracefully next to Hermione and Dudley.
"Are you alright?" Hermione asked him.
He jumped to his feet brushing himself down. "Yeah, yeah, I'm fine."
Ron, meanwhile, was screaming bloody murder. "Help! Help me! Bloo-omph." His mouth was covered with the moving plant.
"He is not relaxing," Dudley commented idly.
"Really? I hadn't noticed," Hermione said breathing heavily. "There must be something we can do! I remember reading something-."
"Devil's Snare, it's deadly fun, but will sulk in the sun," Dudley yawned, rolling his wrist.
"Exactly! Devil's Snare hates sunlight, lumos solem," Hermione cried pointing her wand at the plant.
Ron landed with a yell and a plop onto the ground beside the other eleven year olds. He stood and brushed himself off. After taking a deep breath he said, "Lucky we didn't panic," slightly breathless despite his deep breath before he began speaking.
"Lucky Dudley and Hermione pay attention in Herbology," Harry corrected him and headed off.
There were two more challenges. There was one in a room filled with flying keys. Harry had to fly above them all and get the right key to fit into the lock to let them into the next room. The next challenge was chess. Ron played his way across the room and in the end, he and Dudley were sacrificed so Hermione and Harry could go on.
Then there was the potion room. Hermione figured out the logic behind the potion. She took one to go back and get help; he took the other to get into the next room. That is where he received a great shock.
It was Quirrell behind the entire thing. Not Snape. "You-," Harry said accusingly.
"Me," Quirrell said simply. No stutter to his voice.
"You! But I thought-."
"You thought that it was Snape who was after the stone. After all, who would suspect p-poor s-s-stu-stuttering Professor Quirell?" he said with a high falsetto voice.
"But, the match; Snape tried to kill me!" Harry said angrily, mad that he'd been wrong the entire time.
"No, my dear boy," Quirrell corrected. "I tried to kill you. I would've succeeded had his cloak not caught fire."
"But that means," Harry muttered. "That Snape tried to save me?" Harry filed that in the back of his brain on things to think about later.
"Never knew why he did either," Quirrell said. Quirrell turned his back to Harry and looked into a mirror. Harry frowned. He remembered his mother telling him about a mirror that shows you your heart's desire that lived in the school. Could that be it?
"I see myself holding the stone, but how do I get it out?" Quirrell muttered.
"Use the boy," a voice echoed throughout the room. Harry looked this way and that.
"Potter! Come here!"
Years later Harry will still be wondering what on Earth prompted him to actually walk forward to stand beside his evil professor. Harry nearly laughed at the idiocy of it all.
"Tell me Potter," Quirrell said. "What do you see in the mirror?"
Harry looked into the mirror and was shocked to see himself standing there with the stone and putting it in his pocket. Actually…what the hell is so heavy in his pocket? Was that the stone? He did not dare to look away as he slipped his hand into his pocket and fingered the delicate stone.
"Well? What do you see?" Quirrell demanded impatiently.
"It's, uh, me," Harry fibbed quickly. "I'm shaking hands with Dumbledore, I've one the House Cup."
"Tell me the truth, Potter! What. Do. You. See?" he bellowed.
Harry remained silent.
Let me talk to him.
Harry nearly spewed across the floor when he saw what happened next. Quirrell unwrapped the turban around his head and another head emerged from the back of Quirrell's. Gives another definition for two-faced.
"Harry Potter," the head said. "Harry Potter. Do you see what I've become?"
Harry raised an eyebrow but said nothing.
"Reduced to sharing a body with another," he continued as though Harry never did anything. "A mere shadow of what I was before. But you," the voice laughed. "You are powerful, and you can help me become what I once was."
"Are you mad?" Harry shouted. "You tried to kill me! When I was a baby," Harry added as if Voldemort did not remember. "Not exactly Boy Scout material where you, now?"
The Head laughed. "You have fire, just like I did. We are alike, you and I."
"Well, then," the head said flippantly. "KILL HIM!"
Quirrell flew at him and knocked Harry into the stairs and choked him. Harry tried to drag himself away but he couldn't move. The air was sucked out of him and then the world faded into black…
Harry shot awake. He looked around frantically. He was in the infirmary. He took a deep breath and his breathing became regular again. He sagged against the bed and hoped that someone would come soon.
That wish was answered when a second later Dumbledore glided through the door. "Ah, I see you're awake."
Harry nodded. "Professor? What happened?"
"Well, my boy, to put it bluntly, you fainted. But luckily, your friend Parvati Patil owled me before you even left the common room and I was back just in time," Dumbledore said jovially.
"Alas, he is not with us anymore. It's going to be murder to find another teacher, but-."
"But the stone?"
"Destroyed," Dumbledore said absently. "I could always ask him, but no, no, he's too-."
"Fled," Dumbledore answered. He stood and made his way to the door. "If you'll excuse me, I have to go find you a new teacher. But," he said turning back for a second. "You're a young hero, Harry. I hope you know that."
Dumbledore swept out of the room and Parvati, Dudley, Padma, Neville, Ron, and Hermione rushed in. Parvati flung herself on top of Harry. "Oh, thank Merlin you're alright!"
"Yeah, thanks to you," Harry chuckled. "Good looking out."
"You know we have your back, cuz," Dudley said.
"Always," Hermione agreed.
Harry smiled. "Thanks. After last night, I think I'm going to need it."
They all laughed.
I know, I know. It's lent. But, I figured, it's the last chapter, I might as well post it.