This chapter was supposed to be Christmas Reunions, but that will now be the next chapter as this chapter will cover the last few weeks of term and I couldn't add any more in without there being too much. Hope you like, don't hate me, and I'll try to get another chapter out in a few weeks.
Previously in Harry Potter: Chosen One...
The very next day it became known that the monster from the Chamber of Secrets had taken another victim. Colin Creevy, a First Year Gryffindor, had been petrified.
Harry Potter: Chosen One
In the days following Colin's petrification, under the teachers' notice, a roaring trade of amulets, talismans and other protective devices sprung up. First Years travelled in packs, terrified of being attacked, and Harry was never seen alone. As he had already been attacked once when he was alone, and since Colin had been alone when he was attacked, it was decreed that no student, no matter what year they were in, was to brave the corridors by themselves.
Hayden hadn't been able to get Harry alone, so the night after Colin was petrified he explained Dobby's reappearance and what the House Elf had done with the bludger. Hayden's inability to get onto the platform in September was also accredited to the House Elf, and the usual tales of doom at Hogwarts. Harry knew that if Dobby didn't stop trying to save Hayden's life, he'd end up killing him instead.
On Friday night, the day before the next Quidditch Match, Hufflepuff was able to hold a memorial for Jade. It was small, but it hadn't needed to be big. A photo of Jade curled up on one of the chairs had been enlarged and stuck onto the wall. Around the photo were little messages from each student in the house, ranging from We'll miss you Jade to more detailed messages from those who had known her better. It would stay on the wall for a few months and then when it was taken down it would be made into a book format and Harry would be able to take it home with him.
The weekend following the memorial was the second Quidditch Match of the season. Hufflepuff vs. Ravenclaw and Harry was excited about it. He had played Quidditch before, but only fun games between friends, never in a competition setting, so naturally he was nervous about what to expect. It was also good to pull him out of his shell and live again the way Jade would have wanted him to.
Harry wanted to sneak down to the change rooms early, but with the rule of never being alone already imposed on the House, he had to wait until one of the other players or Cedric was ready to go with him. So while he waited at the crack of dawn in the Common Room he inspected his broom carefully so that it would perform at its best, and listened to Midnight singing. By the time the rest of the team appeared Harry was more than ready to get going. Unfortunately for him, it meant that he had to have some breakfast first before being able to head towards the Quidditch Pitch.
"I'm not hungry Cedric," Harry whined softly as his brother piled food onto his plate.
"Don't care," Cedric replied. "You're too thin as it is and you're going to need your energy to play today. So eat."
"Meany," Harry whispered, but there was no heat behind his words. His fondness for his brother, however, didn't stop him from pushing several pieces of toast and bacon back onto Cedric's plate when he wasn't looking. The sniggers from the others let him know that he had been seen, but not one of them let Cedric know what had happened.
At nine o'clock Trent ordered everyone down to the Pitch, and everyone followed Harry as he leapt up and ran out of the Hall. Cedric ran after him, and soon their laughter echoed over the grounds. The rest of the school started to make a move towards the Pitch when they spotted the Hufflepuff Team, and the Ravenclaws were quick to follow.
There was only one Ravenclaw who Harry knew on the Quidditch Team, and that had been because Trent had pointed her out to him and Cedric had the beginnings of a crush on her. Her name was Cho Chang and she was in her Third Year. She was pretty, and this would also be her first match. It meant that they would be pretty even all things considered.
In the change rooms Harry changed into his uniform, and stared blankly at his reflection in the mirror. He did not look good in yellow. However, his broom stick matched his outfit, the black of the broom blending in with the black sleeves and pants. He was possibly the only student in the school who had a chance of keeping up with the Slytherins when they finally faced them as he was the only non-Slytherin, to his knowledge, who possessed a Nimbus 2001. His broomstick was something that Trent had almost salivated over, and depending on how well they did in this first match, Hufflepuff could possibly have a chance at the Cup. It was very exciting.
"All right team!" Trent announced and Harry looked back to where everyone was making last minute adjustments to their uniforms. "We have practised hard, we know all our plays, and we're all here. Hufflepuff hasn't had a chance at the Cup for many years now, but, I think that this year, this year we do! So let's go out there and show the school that Hufflepuffs are major contenders!"
The other members of the team cheered, and when they started to line up Justin and Michael crept up into the stands close by in case they were needed but still able to watch the game. Harry stood next to Cedric and lightly bounced his broom from one hand to the other as his feet rocked backwards and forwards.
"Relax Harry," Cedric ordered. "You'll be fine. There's no one in our House who can beat you when it comes to Seeking, Cho is new to the sport so you won't have much competition today. So have fun and do what you do best."
Harry nodded and took a deep breath. When the gate in front of them opened he mounted his broom and followed his team mates as they rocketed onto the field. Being in the air again after everything that had happened was amazing. All his worries and problems had been left behind on the ground and back in the change room. There was only him and the little golden snitch. He stopped flying and landed in front of Cho, Seeker to Seeker, as the rest of his team found their blue counterparts. The two captains shook hands and then they were flying.
The snitch hovered in front of him for a microsecond before disappearing and instantly he started to scan the Pitch for the elusive golden flash. The sun was warm, unusual this close to winter, but its rays were enough to assist him in finding the ball. Cho flew behind him, her eyes also searching but mostly marking him. The crowd cheered as the first goal went to Ravenclaw, and Harry looped quickly while Cho was distracted so that he was behind her instead of in front. When she found him again he smiled before shooting off to the opposite side of the pitch.
Cho followed him.
Harry knew that Cho wasn't confident in searching for herself, but he didn't want her to become accustomed to tailing someone. It would be bad for her health. So he dove in between the Ravenclaw Chasers and used them as an obstacle course like he had in training and from the corner of his eye noticed that Cho had followed him, thinking he had seen the snitch.
"Let's play follow the leader," Harry whispered as he sped up his broom and shot up above the game before rapidly diving. He took sharp turns and made himself unpredictable, yet all the while he was searching for the snitch. Cho followed him at a slower pace but she managed to follow him fairly well. Harry was impressed, the girl had quite a bit of natural talent, if only she would use it to her advantage.
After fifteen minutes of play the score was 50:30 to Ravenclaw. Harry knew that he would need to catch the snitch in order for Hufflepuff to win. The Ravenclaw Chasers and Keeper were just too good to win by goals alone. As Ravenclaw scored another goal Harry saw what he had been searching for hovering near the ground. Without even thinking about Cho he dived. Distantly he heard the crowd screaming in excitement, but all that mattered was the snitch that was just in front of him. He reached out his hand and felt the wings brush against his fingertips before it darted off to the side.. Harry cursed before spinning the broom and flying after it again. He could see Cho in the corner of his eye, but her broom wasn't fast enough to keep up with him when he really meant to fly it.
The snitch flew towards the Hufflepuff goals, and several bludgers headed his way. The first one was blocked by Trent but the second one grazed his back as he ducked at the last minute. Harry accelerated to the broom's fastest speed and mere moments later he had the golden snitch in his hand. He held it up so that everyone could see just before six yellow blurs flew into him. Hufflepuff had won 180 to 60.
Excellent flying Harry, Hayden praised. You've been practising. I'll have to watch myself when we finally play against each other.
Looking forward to it Hayden, Harry replied. We won!
The Monday of the second week of December the Golden Trio and the Three Badgers plus Susan were making their way to the Great Hall after Transfiguration only to discover a knot of people around the main notice board. Ron, being the tallest, was able to inform them that there would be a Dueling Club, first meeting that night.
"Oh! Dueling," Susan exclaimed excitedly. "My aunt promised me that she'd start teaching me to duel this summer. Maybe I can get her to start this Christmas with everything that's been going on."
"What, you reckon Slytherin's monster can duel?" asked Ron, but he was looking at the sign with interest.
"It could be useful," Hannah admitted with a quick glance at Harry. "I mean, being able to defend ourselves would make a lot of people relax. Don't you think?"
"I'm confused," Harry said softly as he looked at Ron. "Slytherin's monster? What did I miss that no one's filled me in on?"
"That's right!" Hermione exclaimed suddenly. "I'm sorry Harry, I guess we all forgot that you were in the Hospital Wing when we were told about the Chamber of Secrets."
Harry remembered the words on the wall, but he had forgotten about them after learning about Jade. He hadn't gone passed that wall again so it was no surprise that the mention of the Chamber confused him. A lot of people had gone out of their way not to mention Halloween around him.
"The legend of the Chamber has been around since the Founder's Era," Hayden quickly explained when it looked like no one else would. "At first the Founders worked together to give kids like us an education, but as time went on Slytherin wanted to be more selective about who was admitted to the school. He believed that magical learning should be kept within all-magic families. He didn't want students of muggle parentage to be accepted as he believed that they were untrustworthy."
"Makes sense," Harry agreed. Everyone looked at him in shock and he shrugged. "Think of the time they were in. The witch burnings aren't fiction. By accepting students of muggle parentage the Founders were risking the safety of all the students."
"How?" Hannah asked.
"What if one of the parents of a child with magic learnt where the school was?" Harry asked her. "Religion was a big thing back then and all magic users would have been burnt at the stake or hung depending on where they lived or where they were caught. If a group of well-meaning muggles attacked the school then a lot of students would have died. Slytherin was probably looking at the bigger picture, looking to the future, when he made those suggestions."
"Well, anyway," Hayden continued as everyone thought about what Harry had said. "There was an argument between Gryffindor and Slytherin, an argument Slytherin lost we think, and Slytherin left the school never to be seen again. But before he left, according to the legends anyway, he built a hidden chamber in the castle which no one else knew about. Slytherin sealed the chamber so that no one would be able to open until his own true heir arrived at the school. The heir alone would be able to unseal the Chamber of Secrets, unleash the 'horror within' and use it to purge the school of all those unworthy to study magic."
"I'll assume that the 'horror within' is the monster that you're all referring to?" Harry asked. The others nodded and Harry looked thoughtful. "Are you sure that the monster was meant to kill everyone? What if it isn't a monster and is instead an extra security measure if the muggles came to kill everyone?"
"Well, the Chamber was opened fifty years ago," Hayden told the Hufflepuffs. "I heard Dumbledore discussing it with Madam Pomfrey when I was in the Hospital Wing overnight after the Quidditch Match."
You didn't mention that, Harry thought to his brother.
News of Dobby distracted me, Hayden replied. But now that I think of it, Dobby did say that it was fifty years ago that the Chamber had been opened, but it wasn't Voldemort who did it. Also, something about history repeating itself…
"Well, now that I feel all cold inside I'm going to get something hot to eat before we make our way to history," Hannah announced. She grabbed Harry's hand and started to drag him with her. "And you're going to eat what I put in front of you or I'm going to carry food to class with us so that you can eat there as well."
"What?" Harry managed to get out. "Why?"
"You're too skinny."
Laughter followed them but before the two groups parted ways they promised to meet up at the Dueling Club that night.
At eight o'clock that night what felt like the entire school had piled into the Great Hall. The House tables had disappeared and a golden stage took up one side of the room. Thousands of candles floated overhead, and each student looked excited as they gathered around. All had their wands in their hands.
"I wonder who'll be teaching us?" Hermione asked as the seven of them walked in further.
"Someone told me Professor Flitwick was a dueling champion when he was younger," Hannah replied. "Maybe it'll be him."
"As long as it's not –" Hayden began before groaning. Harry and Justin joined him but Hermione looked excited. Gilderoy Lockhart walked out onto the stage, looking…unique…in his robes of deep plum. The only saving grace that anyone could see was that Professor Snape was behind him looking like a serious dueler in his usual black attire.
"Gather round, gather round!" Lockhart called. "Can everyone see me? Can you all hear me? Excellent!"
"Unfortunately," Harry whispered. Hannah giggled next to him but stopped when Hermione glared at both of them. Lockhart continued, unaware of the hostility from some of the students.
"Now, Professor Dumbledore has granted me permission to start this little dueling club, to train you all up in case you ever need to defend yourselves as I myself have done on countless occasions – for full details, see my published work."
"I'd rather not," Harry told Hannah, being careful not to let Hermione hear him.
"Professor Snape's books are so much better," Hannah agreed.
"Let me introduce my assistant Professor Snape," Lockhart continued. "He tells me he knows a little bit about dueling and has sportingly agreed to help me with a short demonstration before we begin. Now, I don't want any of you youngsters to worry – you'll still have your Potions master when I'm through with him, never fear!"
"Wouldn't it be great if they finished each other off?" Ron asked Hayden excitedly. Harry shook his head and decided to get closer so that he could actually see what was happening. Professor Snape had started him dueling with minor spells, but the chance to see his teacher duel somewhat seriously would be good to see. Hannah followed him closely, and then the rest of their group joined them. As they were making their way to the front Lockhart was describing the positions that formal duelers would be in prior to the start of the duel. By the time they got to the front they were just in time to see Professor Snape make use of the disarming charm and sending Lockhart the length of the stage to land in an undignified lump.
"Do you think he's alright?" Hermione asked in horror.
"Who cares?" Ron and Hayden replied in unison. Harry wasn't watching Lockhart, however, he was taking note of the position that Professor Snape was in and how he still looked ready to fire off another spell. Professor Snape caught his eye and gave him a small nod before his attention was drawn to Lockhart forcing himself to stand up again.
"Well, there you have it!" he said with a wide smile. "The Disarming Charm – as you see, I've lost my wand – ah, thank you Miss Brown. Yes, an excellent idea to show them that, Professor Snape, but if you don't mind me saying so, it was very obvious what you were about to do. If I had wanted to stop you it would have been only too easy. However, I felt it would be instructive to let them see…"
Professor Snape looked murderous, and that at least Lockhart noticed. He trailed off his last statement before turning to his audience. He asked for a volunteer pair, and several hands went up from girls, but Lockhart had spotted the one he wanted and moments later Hayden found himself standing on stage. The second "volunteer" he had nominated had been Ron, but in his typical behaviour, Professor Snape disapproved him. Ron's wand was still broken and was unsafe to be used in a duel. There would be danger to more students than just the two dueling if Ron went up. Instead, he looked at Harry curiously. Harry nodded and was helped onto the stage opposite Hayden.
Lockhart tried to give Hayden some advice, but instead dropped his wand. For a moment Harry actually felt sorry for his brother before he turned his attention to his teacher for instructions on what he was about to do.
"I know we've only just started formal dueling," he whispered quietly. "But remember what you've been taught. Potter has had training in this area, stay on your toes and keep a shield spell on your lips. Try to get him with the disarming charm quickly but be prepared to dodge."
Harry nodded and ducked down into a dueling pose, wand held up and ready to move when the countdown ended. Hayden grinned at him, his position mirroring Harry's, and as soon as Lockhart said "Go!" they both sent off a disarming charm before dodging the one cast at them. Hayden let loose with several charms that weren't designed to hurt, and Harry cast up defensive charms.
Concentrating as he was, Harry heard someone else cast a spell but couldn't figure out where it had come from. It hadn't come from Hayden, that's for sure. He didn't know what the spell did, but when several people screamed he and Hayden both stopped dueling and looked around. On the ground, about a metre and a half in front of Harry, was a black snake.
"Stop!" Hayden cried as the snake started to move towards Justin who was in the front of the audience. "Don't attack anyone!" Harry felt his eyes widen as the words that escaped Hayden's mouth wasn't in English.
You just spoke in Parseltongue, Harry mentally told his brother. Hayden mentally cursed but the damage was done. The students in the audience started to back away from the stage, their whispers disturbing the snake.
"Don't move Diggory," Professor Snape ordered as he jumped up on the stage. "I'll get rid of it." Harry nodded but other than that didn't move. No student would be harmed whilst Professor Snape was actively trying to help them.
"Allow me Professor Snape," Lockhart interrupted from the other side of the stage. Everyone's eyes snapped towards him but before anyone could protest he sent the snake flying high into the air before it came crashing down on Harry's head. Harry couldn't help letting out a short scream as the snake wrapped around his neck before opening its mouth to bite him. With his Seeker reflexes he moved his hand in the path of the snake's attack so instead of it biting his face, it bit his right wrist.
Professor Snape vanished the snake as Harry dropped to his knees, the venom already beginning to travel towards his heart. Black spots appeared in front of his eyes, but he knew from past experience that the venom of a snake couldn't kill him, just incapacitate him for a while. Professor Snape grabbed his wrist tightly to prevent the venom from travelling far from the entry point.
"Who cast it?" Harry asked softly so that no one other than the professor would hear him.
"I don't know, but I'm going to find out," Professor Snape promised. "Can you stand?"
"Not a chance," Harry tried to look for his friends but Professor Snape grasped his chin so that Harry was looking at him. "The venom will make me weak for a while, but I should be recovered by tomorrow."
"I'll carry you to the Hospital Wing then."
"Ok," Harry let his body fall limp as Professor Snape lifted him. His eyes drifted shut, but before he allowed himself to pass out he heard Professor Snape comment on his weight.
"I'll have to change the recipe of the nutrition potions you're taking. Obviously they aren't working as you're too light for a twelve year old."
"Not my fault."
"I know. Go to sleep."
Herbology classes were cancelled the following day due to the weather taking a turn for the worse. Professor Sprout enlisted the help of several advanced Herbology students to put mittens and scarves on the mandrakes so that they wouldn't get cold, but all of the Second Years were in the Hospital Wing where Harry was still residing. As he had predicted he was feeling better as the venom had left his system, but it had taken longer than he thought it would. He concluded that the more potent the venom, the longer it would take for him to recover.
Hannah and Justin were sitting on Harry's bed on either side of him, Susan was sitting in front of him with a chessboard between them, while the others had taken up perches on nearby beds and chairs with school work or other reading material scattered around them. They were hiding from Hayden, and nothing Harry said could convince them that Hayden wasn't the Heir of Slytherin. Justin was also positive that he would be the next target due to the fact that the snake had been targeting him first.
"Why would Hayden target you Justin?" Harry asked as Susan claimed another of his pawns.
"I'm muggleborn," Justin insisted. "He knows this. What if his friendship with us was a front to get close enough and then BAM! Goodbye muggleborns."
"Why didn't he make a move last year?"
"Because he needed to blend in, push suspicion elsewhere."
"Then why is he drawing attention to himself this year? I'm telling you, he's innocent."
"And I'm telling you, wherever he goes there's another attack. He's always alone when they happen, and he knows all the victims."
"You're not convincing each other of anything," Susan stated. "Besides, we need to get a move on or we're going to be late to Potions. Checkmate by the way."
"Rats," Harry cursed as he was defeated again. "Take pity on me, I can't play very well."
His fellow Hufflepuffs laughed before starting to pack up what they had brought with them. Cedric had Herbology next, but he had promised to come up to the Hospital Wing and spend the class with him. He was a bit surprised that he hadn't already turned up over the lunch period, but figured that he was still hanging out with his friends and would be up soon.
"See you after Potions!"
The farewells echoed from everyone as they made their way out of the Hospital Wing, and Harry's laughter followed them. He knew Hayden was in his Study Period, but had stayed away to make the Hufflepuffs more comfortable. Harry appreciated it, but he still would have liked one of his brothers to be with him. He reclined back on the bed and picked up one of the books he had discarded when his friends had arrived. It was about defensive spells that Professor Snape wanted him to know before his class on Friday. He was unable to get far into his reading, however, as Hayden decided to interrupt him.
Harry! I swear it wasn't me! I would never do this!
Do what? What's wrong? Harry asked in concern.
The Heir has struck again. This time there were two people. Nearly Headless Nick was one, so whoever is behind this can effect ghosts as well. I'm about to meet with Professor Dumbledore 'cause I was caught at 'the scene of the crime' by Peeves. I swear it wasn't me.
I know that it's not you, Harry assured him. Who was the second victim?
Hayden didn't get a chance to answer him, because at that moment the teachers and ghosts brought in Nick
Next time: Christmas Reunions