Between the Lions
Disclaimer: Harry Potter is the Property of Rowling
Author's notes: This is why AJT and I should be heavily monitored while we chat on IM.
"... How the bloody hell did I let you talk me into this, Scarhead?" Draco Malfoy grunted angrily as he kept Ron Weasley's broken wand aimed purposely towards their foppish Defense Against the Dark Arts teacher.
"Because I pointed out that you're a slimy git with no real friends where your only claim to fame is running and crying to your daddy to fix whatever problems you get your arrogant ass stuck in?" Harry offered up with a helpful tone and a grunt as he leaned down and suddenly hissed to the snake on the sink. "Open!"
"And again, how does this end with me helping you in your insane scheme to save the Weaslette, with our DADA teacher at wandpoint?"
"I'll be happy to wait here for reinforcements?" Gilderoy Lockheart asked hopefully as he nervously eyed the wands trained on him even as he watched the entrance to the Chamber of Secrets open. "So you boys can go charging off to save the day."
"Because, with Ron AND Hermione BOTH stuck paralyzed in the Medical Wing, you shot off your mouth like an idiot?" Harry countered, completely ignoring what the man was saying as he kept his wand trained on him. "And after I finished yelling at you, you said I was wrong, and I told you to prove it."
"Ah yes, somewhere along there you must have hit me over the head and have left my mind completely addled," Draco responded as he nodded his head, gripping the wand even tighter, muttering under his breath. "I can't believe I'm acting like a bloody Gryffindor!"
"Why don't I leave you two to your discussion, I'll just be right over here, watching the door..." Lockheart tried again, beginning to inch towards the doorway before he felt Harry jab his wand into his side.
"Oh no! You're going too!" Harry growled, cutting off the man's escape.
"Oh, right, of course, silly me." Lockheart paused a moment as he glanced towards the looming opening. "So, um, down there, right?" When both boys nodded emphatically, the man hesitated a moment. "I don't suppose we can talk about this?"
"Expelliarmus!" Harry shot out the spell, knocking the Professor backwards through the opening and quickly tumbling down the hole.
"Well, that was a bit rude, you didn't even wait to see if he was ready," Draco drawled dryly as he smirked back at Harry.
"He's a lying git," Harry countered with a grunt. "And he tried to oblivate us both, remember?"
"I'm still debating the merits of letting him remove this little slice of my life," Draco answered in turn. "Me, of all people, acting like an idiotic Gryffindor…"
"Could be worse." Harry shot back as he suddenly grinned at the blonde boy. "You could be acting like a cowardly git of a slimy Slytherin."
"… Oh, how I loathe you, Potter." Draco grumbled slightly before giving the boy an odd look. "You're not going to blast me down the hole as well, are you?"
"Depends, you going down on your own?" Harry smiled sweetly back at the boy, even as Draco glared back at him.
"Words cannot express the depths of that loathing, Potter." Draco growled slightly before nervously glancing at the waiting entrance. "Merlin, I can't believe I'm actually doing this."
With that said, Draco took a deep breath before practically leaping into the waiting entrance, his yowling voice heard echoing up from the depths. Blinking slightly, Harry grinned just a bit as he nodded his head before musing aloud. "Huh, maybe he's not so bad after all."
Grinning just a bit, Harry leapt forward and followed Draco down the sliding fall, before grunting slightly as he found himself landed directly atop an annoyed looking Draco. An annoyed looking Draco without a wand in his hand. "Oof! Get off already, Scarhead!"
"Um…" Harry quickly rolled off the boy, before blinking a moment. "Malfoy? Where's Ron's wand?"
"That would be here." A cheerful voice spoke up, as Harry caught sight of a happily grinning Gilderoy pointing his wand directly at the boys as he stood before a gigantic, shed snake skin. "I really must thank you two for sending me first. Otherwise, well... I might have actually had to accompany you on this silly little trip of yours!"
"… You let him have Ron's wand?" Harry stared incredulously at Draco, who merely shrugged back at him in response.
"Well, I wasn't exactly expecting to fall flat on my face you know. And he was there, waiting for me to land." Draco shot back defensively before sneering back at him. "Besides… It's the Weasel's wand."
Recollections filtering through his mind, Harry slowly, carefully nodded his head. "Ah… right." Slowly turning his head, he regarded Lockheart carefully. "What exactly are you going to do with that?"
"Well, sadly I arrived too late to save the poor Weasley girl." The man put on a rather tragic face and he sighed dramatically. "And as I battled the basilisk, you two were so overcome with horror that you simply lost your minds… Fortunately, I was able to bring with me a few scales, proving that I'd slain the foul serpent, even with the tragic loss of three young lives."
"How about you just oblivate the last hour or so from me?" Draco offered casually as he shook his head. "I really didn't want to be here in the first place."
"Sorry, I'm afraid I really can't take that chance, you know how it is." Lockheart shrugged in mock apology before smiling at the pair. "Any last words?"
Glancing over at Draco for a moment, Harry looked back at their teacher and shook his head. "Um, I really, REALLY don't think you want to do this, Sir."
"Too late to talk me out of it." Lockheart countered, before firmly thrusting the wand at the pair of boys. "OBLIVATE!"
The resulting spell blasted back into the man, knocking him soundly against the wall as it completely wiped away his mind. Finally pulling out his own wand, Malfoy smirked a bit as he approached their fallen teacher, and lightly poked at the man a moment. Glazed, almost empty eyes met the silvery eyes of the boy, as a vacant smile fell across the man's lips. "Oh, hello… Who're you? Do you know who I am?"
"You set him up." Harry stated simply as he gave the blonde boy a light glare.
"Why do you think I kept the Weasel's wand instead of using my own?" Malfoy sneered back at the boy, before smirking just a bit. "The man's a bloody fool. Besides, he didn't do anything to himself that he didn't want to do to us."
"Fine." Harry sighed slightly and shook his head. "You get your wish, get the git out of here, I'll find Ginny on my own."
"I'm not babysitting him so you can tell everyone about how I turned tail and ran, Potter." Draco glared back at the black haired boy, before turning and walking down the tunnel. "Let's go already."
"What about Lockheart?" Harry arched a brow carefully as he studied the boy, even as he fell in line alongside him.
"Well, if we even bloody live through this, we can pick him up on our way back." Draco grunted softly, before his lips twitched slightly in amusement. "Besides… I want to see the look on the Weasel's face when he realizes I helped save his sister."
Letting out a sigh of relief, Harry nodded quickly. "Oh, thank Merlin."
"…What?" Draco paused a moment, glancing back at the boy.
"I worried for a second you were actually turning into a decent bloke."
"Funny, Scarhead, funny."
"… A dead end?" Draco paused a moment, and stared at the carved stone in front of them, and blinked slightly. "Well, that's a bit anticlimactic."
"Draco, we're in Slytherin's bloody Chamber of Secrets." Harry shot back as before he suddenly hissed out in parseltongue. "Open up you bloody thing."
"No need to be rude about it!" The door suddenly hissed back indignantly even as it began to slide out of the way.
Blinking a moment in surprise, Harry stared at the door a moment, before pinching the bridge of his nose as he hissed again. "Sorry, it's just been one of those days."
"Just don't let it happen again!"
"Do you have any idea how unsettling it is, to have a bloody Gryffindor doing that?" Draco huffed slightly as he glared at Harry, arms crossed about his chest.
"Well, we could always trade, you can be the Boy-Who-Lived, be on Voldemort's hit list and I'll be the spoilt rich boy." Harry snapped as he glared lightly at the blonde boy, and growled in turn.
Draco paused a moment to make a particularly scathing remark, before stilling and shrugging just a bit. "Let's just get this over with."
As they stepped forward into the newly revealed chamber, they froze, staring in a slight mix of awe and apprehension as they glanced around, taking in the sights of the long, pillared room. At the end of it, a tall statue stood, proud and stern as it glared almost angrily forward. After a moment's study, Harry opened his lips to speak.
"Looks kinda like a monkey, doesn't he?"
Draco paused, before staring at Harry in positively outraged fury. "That's Slytherin! As in Salazar Slytherin!"
"Still looks like a monkey." Harry countered with a slightly sullen glare before he suddenly caught sight of a crumpled form at the foot at the statue. "Ginny!"
As Harry immediately rushed towards the crumpled girl, Draco followed after him, muttering quietly under his breath about 'idiotic Gryffindors.'
When the boy dropped his wand to pick up the girl trying to rouse her, Draco rolled his eyes slightly before he crouched down next to Harry. "Well? How is she?"
"Ginny? Wake up!" Harry frowned as he lightly shook the unnaturally pale girl and before shaking his head glancing up at Draco. "She's not waking up, we need to get her to Madame Pomphrey!"
"Now, I'm afraid I can't let you do that." A smugly sneering voice interrupted them from behind, leaving both boys to whirl around, just in time to find a smug, dark haired teenager smirking at them, and blasting Draco with an expelliarmus before the boy could bring his wand to bear.
"Who the bloody hell are you?!" Draco glared up at the older boy, his eyes narrowed into silvery slits as he quickly flicked his eyes to where his wand had flown.
"Ah, the little Malfoy brat." The older teen sneered down at the blonde and shook his head. "What, somehow managed to find a spine after all? I suppose you are your mother's child then, such a shame she's going to have to face the tragedy of losing her only child, so young."
"Who are you?" Harry repeated, his eyes narrowed even as he desperately tried to find something he could use to defend himself.
"Really, haven't you figured it out yet, Harry? You are the one that found me, after little Ginny tried to get rid of me."
"Tom Riddle?!" Harry stared with a kind of sickened fascination as he stared at the boy in front of him, his fingers uncomfortably clenching back into his palm.
"A memory of the original, at least. Hidden and stored in that wretched diary for fifty long years…" A sneer of distaste sprung across the teen's face as he shook his head in anger. "I came so close to properly purging this school of the muggleborn and half blood trash… so very, very close! But then that fool Dumbledore kept closing in."
"So you framed Hagrid to keep suspicion off of yourself." Harry finished, his eyes flashing. "But Dumbledore…"
"I spent YEARS searching for this place! My legacy!" The boy almost seemed to froth at the lips as he glared angrily down at the boy. "I was NOT about to let everything just slip away!" Suddenly, the teen calmed, a cold, reptilian smirk crossing his lips. "So, I saved my memory in my journal… waiting for the day when some foolish little child would find me, and allow me to finish my work."
Draco watched the exchange with a kind of sickening fascination. Here it was, what he'd been proclaiming he'd stood for to anyone willing to listen for the past two years. The things his father had always proclaimed came rushing to the surface and he simply stared, caught up in the uncertainty of the moment.
"And this foolish, foolish little girl... All she's written to me about her fears, her hopes, her feelings... It was really all I could take to play the part of the sympathetic friend. Waiting as she started to pour herself into it, pouring her soul into me. And that let me pour myself back into her, and take control." The memory of Tom sneered down at the girl, waving Harry's wand for effect.
"You used her to do all those things." Harry breathed out, his eyes burning even hotter as he glared up at the image of a teenager. "The writing on the wall, the Roosters, opening up the Chamber."
"Yes, and she in turn, told me all about YOU." Tom emphasized the word with a jab of his stolen wand down at the boy. "And, let me tell you, I was oh so happy when you found me after she finally started to realize an inkling of what I was doing to her."
"So she stole it back." Harry shook his head and slowly, angrily glared even more at Tom.
"Who knew the Weaslette had it in her." Draco muttered dumbly as he managed a glance over towards the girl before locking his eyes again Tom.
"Which lead me to have to force her down here, for two very important reasons." Tom agreed, ignoring Draco almost completely as he continued his little dialog. "To finish draining away what's left of her life, and to lure her hero, Harry Potter down here to save her, so we could meet, face to face."
"Why?" Draco found himself asking, his eyes staring at the teen, confusion actually venturing onto his face. "Why are you so focused on Potter?"
"Because, I want to know how a child, how an INFANT could possibly have defeated Lord Voldemort!" Tom answered with a hiss, his eyes burning towards Draco for a moment, before fixing back onto Harry. "How a babe could have cast down the most powerful wizard of the age!"
"Why the bloody hell do you care?!" Harry growled softly back as he could feel the way Ginny slowly seemed to be losing warmth against his arms.
"A little slow on the uptake, are we, Harry?" Tom chuckled coldly as he shook his head, before lifting his wand wand into the air. "My mother... The weak, wretched, unworthy creature that she was, bound my father, my pathetic, muggle father, with a love potion. She gave me his name, along with her father's. Tom Marvolo Riddle."
And with a sudden sweeping series of slashes Tom wrote the letters into the air, in a glowing, pulsing scrawl before suddenly swiping his wand against them. In a flash, the letters scattered, scrambling around until finally they rearranged themselves into a single, terrifying sentence: 'I am Lord Voldemort.' As the two school boys gaped in absolute shock, they could hear Tom's hollow chuckle.
"After all, it wouldn't do to have the most powerful wizard of the age, the direct descendant of Salazar Slytherin himself, held down by the pesky foolishness of a muggle's name, now would it? Especially not a muggle that abandoned my mother and left her to die, unwed and alone."
"A half-blood... my father... my father swore himself to a bloody half-blood?!" Draco could only stare in absolute, horrified shock as he could almost literally feel his entire world shatter around him. "A half-blood bastard at that?!
"Yes, yes, really boy, you should feel honored to die at the hand of the great Lord Voldemort! In the end, you're of little consequence after all, just a means to an end. Just like your pathetically weak father before you, so easily seduced, so easy to cow." Tom waved his free hand negligently, looking down at the boy as if he was nothing more than a bug. "So quick to think me gone, so eager to claim his innocence of the crimes he reveled in!"
"... Greatest wizard of the age?" Harry stared at Tom for a long moment, before shaking his head. "The most powerful wizard of the age is Albus Dumbledore, and everyone knows it. He probably saw through your little scheme when you were in school and he'd still more powerful than Voldemort!"
"Fool! Albus Dumbledore has been driven from this school by the mere MEMORY of me!" Tom hissed back at the boy, his eyes burning darkly.
"Um, no. He was driven off by Draco's father." Harry countered, gesturing towards the still completely shocked blonde boy. "And even then, he's probably closer than you think."
In a sudden flash of fire Fawkes appeared, his song filling the chamber as he dropped the Hogwarts Sorting Hat down into Harry's lap, before settling down on the boy's shoulder. Tom blinked a moment, and stared, before giving Harry an amused, incredulous look. "That's it? THIS is what the great Albus Dumbledore sends his allies? A pathetic little hat and an oversized song bird?"
As the phoenix let off an affronted trill, Draco couldn't help but let off a half mad laugh as he shook his head. "I don't think the phoenix agrees with you." Pausing a moment, Draco seemed to ignore the angry glare Tom sent his way. "Though, this IS Dumbledore we're talking about, the man's bloody well bonkers." Lightly tapping his chin a moment, Draco couldn't hold back the crazed grin on his lips. "Of course, Potter's still right. Dumbledore is still more than strong enough to scare you."
"Enough of this childish prattle!" Tom hissed, angrily as he suddenly turned his attention back to Harry, jabbing his wand directly at the boy. "TELL ME! How did you manage it?!"
As the anger built inside of Tom, Harry could practically feel Ginny fading in his arms, causing him to pause a moment, considering his options before he gave a half grin towards the older boy. "I didn't. My muggleborn mother did. Gave her life to to protect mine."
His eyes burning even brighter Tom clenched his fingers tighter on the wand as he watched Harry carefully setting Ginny down before him. "Yes, I suppose that would be a powerful protection..."
"You think that's something? You should see Scarhead on a broom. He'll blow your bloody socks off." Draco laughed again, his silvery eyes seemingly half mad as he drew Tom's attention away Harry again.
"You truly are pathetic, Malfoy. Just a few simple words, and your mind shatters." Tom sneered softly as he lifted the wand and pointed it at the blonde boy. "I should kill you now, and put you out of your misery."
"Shatters?" Draco suddenly smiled, placidly back at the teenage version of Voldemort. "No, I'm just the distraction."
For a moment, Tom stared dumbly at Draco, processing his words, before suddenly, he could feel the touch of slim, surprisingly strong fingers grabbing hold of him. Fingers that he quickly realized burned like nothing he'd ever felt before. Suddenly breaking into a scream, Tom shook, twisting and jerked backwards, dropping Harry's wand to the ground as he finally broke away from the boy and stared in absolute horror at the boy, who grinned breathlessly back at him even as he bent down and picked up his wand.
"I'll have to agree with you, Tom. It IS a very powerful protection, even against the memory of you apparently." As Harry raised his wand towards the still shocked teen, Draco scrambled to his feet, and quickly darted over to retrieve his own wand.
"Well, I have to admit, that was far more spectacular than I expected, Potter." Malfoy spoke up, grudgingly as he lifted his own wand even as a slightly annoyed sounding Fawkes again settled on Harry's shoulder. "But I think you ruffled the birdie's feathers."
Snarling in fury, Tom glared back at the boys before suddenly dodging out of the way as Harry could hear him begin to hiss in parseltongue. "Speak to me, greatest of the Hogwarts four!"
"Oh, bugger." Harry noted the mouth of the statue beginning to open and quickly gripped his fingers tightly onto the hat and his wand as he glanced over at Draco. "Basilisk time… Do I need to remind you to not look in its eyes?"
"Yes, because as I was insane enough to follow you down here, I obviously have a death wish." Draco spat back as he growled just a bit.
"That's what I thought," Harry agreed with a nod of his head even as he caught a glimpse of the massive snake starting to flow out of the statue. "Bugger, that's a bloody big snake."
"Well, Potter, I'd say it's been nice knowing you, but, it's because of you that I'm here in the first place." Draco drawled out as he shot his eyes towards the boy. "So, let me simply say: I hate you, Scarhead."
"Good to know, you poncy prat."
"KILL THEM! KILL THEM BOTH!" Tom's hissing scream filled the air as he gestured wildly towards the pair of boys.
"He sounded upset." Draco noted with a slight tinge of worry to his voice as he followed Harry as the black haired boy began to try and put some distance between them and the snake. "Actually, he sounded very, very upset."
"Bloody pissed actually." Harry agreed with a nod of his head.
"What'd he say?" Draco paused a moment before shaking his head. "Or, do I even want to know?"
"'Kill them. Kill them both.'" Harry answered back, before shrugging slightly. "Only, more, ya know… angry."
"Well, that's positively brilliant." Draco spat acidically as he glanced around. "Any ideas?"
"Kill the snake?" Harry offered helpfully.
"… A bit more of a plan than that would be good."
"Well, I figured I'd do what I normally do."
"And that is?"
"Again, I utterly loathe you." Draco shot back, before suddenly Fawkes leapt off Harry's shoulder and took to the air, flying towards the snake before crying out challengingly before it swooped in and began to rip out the basilisk's eyes. "But, I find myself quite fond of that phoenix."
"Rather brilliant, isn't he?" Harry agreed with a quick nod of his head before blinking as the snake suddenly began to thrash around wildly even as Fawkes dove for the second eye. As one of those thrashing coils suddenly slammed towards them, Harry barely had time to squawk out. "Oh, bugger." Before they were both slammed back into the wall.
"That… was unpleasant." Draco coughed softly as he almost fell to his knees as the coils spasmed away.
"Stupid bloody serpent! Taste them! Follow their scent in the air!" Tom screamed out as the basilisk paused, forcing past the pain as it suddenly flicked its tongue out, tasting the air as it searched for its prey.
Groaning softly, Harry pulled the Sorting Hat atop his head. "A little help here?!"
"A little, or a lot?" The Hat asked back curiously as it glanced down at the boy it sat atop.
"All the bloody help you can give us!" Harry screamed as he watched the serpent suddenly lock its eyes on their location.
"Great, thanks so much for telling the giant basilisk exactly where we are, Potter." Draco snapped back, even as the Hat constricted sharply and Harry winced as he felt a pair of impacts on his skull.
"Ow! Bloody…!" Ripping off the hat, Harry stared before he pulled out a gleaming, silver sword, then passed the hat to Draco. "I think this one's for you."
"… How come you get a bloody sword and I get… THIS?" Draco growled slightly as he lightly held up a dagger.
"Would you rather I take it back and leave you with nothing?" The hat shot back sourly as he glared at the boy. "I'll do it you know!"
Any further discourse the pair might've had was immediately interrupted by the sudden lunging of the massive basilisk that moved to engulf them both within its maw. In a sudden hiss of pain snake suddenly flinched back, as it felt two blades shoving into the soft, vulnerable flesh of his mouth, piercing into its brain even as two arms found themselves pierced on its fangs. An instant later, there was a ripping sound, rising into the air as the two boys were flung out of the serpent's mouth, each with one of the snake's torn fangs embedded in his arm.
As they landed with a heavy, damning thud, the pair took a moment to look at one another before glancing down at the torn off fangs in their arms and rapidly tugging them out in unison. Only, it was already too late as they could feel the cold numbness of the poison seeping into their bodies. Their voices rose in unison to utter one single word. "Bugger."
"Well, not perfect, but it'll do..." Tom sneered as he appeared once more, his face twisting into an ugly smirk as he glared down at the two. "You may have beaten my basilisk, but you'll be dead before you can save the girl."
"You know what?" Draco growled out, his silvery eyes burning as they locked onto the nearby diary, and suddenly tossed it to Harry. "I'm a sore loser."
Tom's eyes widened in horror as he watched Harry, basilisk fang still in hand, grin back at Draco before ramming it down through the diary. "And we're not going alone."
With a strangled scream, the phantom of Tom Riddle suddenly seemed to burst into a sickly green flame, before suddenly exploding into a cloud of sickly black mist that quickly vanished as if in a stiff wind. Both boy's managed a weak smirk at one another, before collapsing down as the boys' could feel the numbing chill of the poison burning through their bodies.
"Heh... I can't believe I'm dying like a bloody Gryffindor!" A sudden, wet laugh escaped Draco's lips as he glanced over at the destroyed diary even as a crooning Fawkes landed between them, tears beginning to flow down his face.
"Yeah, well... better than... dying alone." Harry managed, still tightly gripping the bloody fang in his hand.
"If I had the strength to hit you... Scarhead... I would." Draco half closed his eyes as he felt the cold spreading all through his body, never even noticing the way the tears began to drip down into the gaping wound. "Ah well, at least we'll have a good story to tell on the other side, eh?"
"Yeah... Me and some stupid git got killed by a diary and his basilisk." Harry weakly laughed back as everything seemed to grow so very, very cold, even as Fawkes' tears began to flow into his own open wound.
Draco struggled to open his eyes, his whole body still so cold and numb. "And after we stupidly got swallowed... we shoved our pointy sticks up into it."
"You... you were brilliant, Fawkes..." Harry reached out lightly stroking the crooning phoenix with what felt like the last of his strength. "W-we... we just weren't fast enough."
"H-h-harry?!" Ginny had opened her eyes by now, and was staring in shock at the pair of them. "Malfoy!"
"Weaselette." Draco gave her a slightly crooked grin he managed to half open his eyes. "Do me a favor... make sure you rub it in to that prat of a brother of yours... that I died helping save your life."
"A jerk, even to the end, huh Malfoy?" Harry laughed softly, even as he frowned just a bit. "Huh... I don't... feel as cold anymore."
Draco blinked slightly as he felt strength slowly returning to his body as the cold, numb chill faded into a prickling warmth that flowed through him. "What the bloody...?"
"Fawkes... Fawkes was crying. Phoenix tears!"
For a moment, Draco merely blinked back at Harry as the slow trickle of understanding finally turned into a flood and he groaned, audibly as he shut his eyes and banged his head back against the ground. "Oh, bloody hell! I'm never going to live this down!"
"At least you get to live... Unfortunately," Harry said with a wry grin on his lips.
"I'd tell you to bite me, Potter, but thanks to you, the basilisk already did it for me." Draco shot back even as a slight grin curled on his own lips, before he groaned audibly. "My mother is never going to let me out of my sight after this!"
"... You two... are really weird." Ginny spoke up again, as she stared with wide, trembling eyes from one boy to the other.
"It's part of our charm." Draco answered, with a slight drawling smirk on his lips. "Is it working?"
Ginny stared in dumb shock at the blonde boy for a moment, before scrunching her face slightly in consideration. "I'll get back to you on that."
"Heh, careful, Malfoy, if Ron finds out you're flirting with his sister…" Harry laughed just a bit at the way Draco rolled his eyes in response to his before unsteadily pushing himself up, using the sword in his hand for leverage before he glanced down at the fang in his hand.
Catching Harry's look Draco picked up his own fang and grinned slightly back at him. "Bah, the look on his face would be worth it…" Shaking his head he studied the fang in his hand a moment longer before grinning a bit broader. "You know, looks like I'm going to get that basilisk fang dagger I've always wanted."
"Really, REALLY weird." Ginny affirmed with a slight little giggle before frowning and shuddering as she caught sight of the basilisk, and shrinking down as the full weight of the situation crashed down on her shoulders. "Oh, Merlin, what did I do?"
Harry opened his mouth to reassure her, only to have Draco beat him to the punch. "You wrote in a diary. Admittedly, the whole diary writing back to you thing should have been a warning flag, but, you're a Gryffindor." When the girl immediately flushed in embarrassment and anger, and Harry moved to rebuke him, he again spoke up before they could. "So, that puts you in the same company as Scarhead over there and apparently me, though I still maintain he somehow managed to hit me over the head when I wasn't looking."
"And you just don't want to admit you're really a Gryffindor at heart." Harry shot back as Fawkes settled back down onto his shoulder as he gave the destroyed diary a good firm kick, sending it skidding along the stone flooring. "Ugh, if I ever see a diary again, any time in the foreseeable future..."
"Oi! Don't you three DARE leave me down here!" A muffled voice could be heard calling out as the three exchanged confused glances with one another before Draco groaned in recognition.
"Well, I've already got Fawkes, you can get the hat." Harry observed evenly before wincing as he felt the phoenix lightly tighten its talons on his shoulder. "Or, I suppose I should say Fawkes has me."
As the phoenix chirruped in approval, Draco cast him a look of betrayal before grumbling as he walked over to where the hat lay on the floor just in front of the basilisk, then picked it up and dropped it atop his head. "There, happy?"
"Ah, much better." The hat sighed happily as it smirked just a bit. "It's always so nice to get a ride from a true Gryffindor."
Draco immediately froze in place before his eyes lifted up and stared at the hat atop his head. "I'm a Slytherin, remember?!"
"Take a look at the dagger, my boy." The hat was practically chortling with mirth as warily Draco lifted up the dagger in his hand, then stared at it in absolute shock.
"Oh, you have got to be bloody kidding me!" Draco stared incredulously at the name emblazoned on the dagger and pointedly groaned out loud.
"I look forward to seeing you in Godric's house come September!" The hat just continued to laugh as Draco locked his silvery grey eyes onto a thoroughly amused looking Harry, then lifted dagger as he pointed it accusingly at the boy.
"YOU! This is all YOUR fault!"
"Quit blaming me because the Hat put you in the wrong house originally." Harry snorted slightly as he crossed his arms about his chest. "He's the one that did it, not me."
"Actually, I never sorted him." The hat answered as it mused aloud. "Was overruled by the governors, and to be perfectly honest, I didn't care enough to fight it. Let's see here... Oh yes, most definitely a Gryffindor."
"Oh, I WILL get you for this, Potter!" Draco hissed in outrage as he glared with ever increasing heat at the other boy.
"Bah, what're you complaining about, you get to be part of the best house in Hogwarts!" The hat grumbled audibly atop the boy's head, as all three children suddenly turned their attention fully onto it and stared at it in a moment of silence.
Finally, Harry spoke again. "Well, that certainly clears up why Hermione and the twins are in Gryffindor. The hat WAS made by Gryffindor himself after all."
"Hmph, stupid school regulations and bloody whining about needing to balance out the whole school." The hat muttered even more as he scrunched his face in displeasure. "All bloody Albus' fault. Wanting to diversify the school, BAH! If it was up to me, a third of those Weasley brothers wouldn't have been Gryffindors! But nooooo, I had to put them all together."
The group stared in absolute fascination as the hat seemed to continue on its rant, completely heedless of what the others around it heard. "And because I put both those twins into Gryffindor, I could only put one of the Patils into it with your year! And he made me offset her and Granger with that fluff for brains Puff if I ever saw one Brown!"
"Oh... so you don't think I should have been in Gryffindor?" Harry spoke up, his shoulders slumping slightly as the hat continued causing Fawkes to immediately pin the hat with an angry glare.
"What? Oh, please! Like there was ever a moment's doubt that you were a Gryffindor." The hat snorted softly as he ignored the way the phoenix's gaze bore down on him. "You represent one of my crowning achievements of this century, my boy! Only thing that was ever disappointing was when that bastard Riddle kept you from having a Weasley sized collection of siblings."
"What...?" Harry stopped and just stared at the Hat where it was perched atop Draco's head.
"Don't you know why Gryffindors are so often considered the best house?" The hat grinned downright maniacally at the group of children. "I've been breeding em that way for the better part of 1,000 years! The best of the best! And without any of that silly blood purity nonsense, I'm able to bring in all those delightfully brilliant muggleborns! A constant supply of fresh blood, new ideas and new possibilities for magical talents! Oh, be still my quivering heart!"
Draco's mouth worked in a steady manner, opening and shutting in completely dumbfounded shock as his eyes stared out ahead completely unseeing. After a moment, Harry walked over and waved his hand before the blonde's pale grey eyes, before blinking as he spoke up. "Huh... I think you broke him."
"Nah, just threw his brain into a kink like he's never encountered before. There are plenty of smart and powerful little blighters in Slytherin." The hat answered in a more conversational tone. "It's where I've been dumping the ones that are already closed off to new ideas. They're the ones who refuse to accept that a muggleborn can be better than a pureblood, because of what they are. Utter and complete poppycock I tell you!"
"What about Hufflepuff and Ravenclaw?" Ginny couldn't help but ask as she stared at the hat.
"Hufflepuff is where I send the ones who have the potential to be magnificent Gryffindors, but are determined to ignore it. Oh, how I wish I could've put Nymphadora Tonks into Gryffindor! Andromeda Black's daughter could have been so magnificent I tell you!" The hat sighed audibly before shaking itself slightly. "So, I leave them be, with the ones most likely to help nurture out the best in them. That in a few years, you'll see some of my hidden gems start to shine, I guarantee that!"
"And... Ravenclaw?" Harry was almost afraid to ask as he studied the hat as Draco slowly seemed to be coming back into a sense of lucidity.
"They're what Slytherins think Hufflepuff is." The hat glowered slightly. "Rowena was a smug bitch and her daughter is a whiny whore! I only wish I didn't have to condemn that poor Patil girl and the ones so dead set on being in the house of the 'smartest' witches and wizards' there. Ah well, pride bites em in the arse it does!"
Finally breaking free from his daze, Draco spoke up once more. "Then how do you explain bloody Longbottom?!"
"Ah, I still can't believe they let me slip that boy in so easily!" The hat laughed softly as it shook itself once more. "The son of two of the best Aurors of their generation, and they think he's nothing but a cowardly squib?! There's fire in that boy, waiting to be let loose on the world. And when it is, oh, how he'll knock em on their arses in shock!"
"You know, you sure know a lot for something that's supposedly locked up in the Headmaster's office all but one day a year." Draco noted with a wary glare at the amused hat atop his head even as he again began to move back the way they came in.
"Ha! Shows what you know then, bucko! I'm tied into Hogwarts herself! There isn't a damned thing that goes on around here that I don't know about!" The hat chuckled softly as he grinned at the kids. "I knew all about you the moment you set foot within her wards! I'm the one that basically runs this place after all!"
"... Then why're you telling us all this?" Harry finally asked as he continued to stare incredulously at the animated cloth.
"Two things, boredom, and there's no way in hell I'm not going to turn you two in to the best bloody Gryffindors you can be now! You two are the first to have drawn out anything of Godric's in so long... Oh yes, if they thought the Marauders were bad, wait until they get a load of what you two will do!"
"What about me?" Ginny's voice was small as she shifted nervously, watching the hat with wide, fearful eyes. "What're you going to do with me?"
"You? Oh, don't worry, I'm sure you'll make a fine little concubine for one of these two when you finish growing up."
For a moment, Ginny looked speculatively between the two boys, before addressing the hat again. "Will I get to choose which one?"
"Eh, sure, why not?"
"That... is a remarkable and wholy disturbing story." Albus Dumbledore noted as he stared at the two boys seated in front of him, one with the man's own phoenix perched comfortably on his shoulder, the other with the Sorting Hat draped almost roguishly at a slant atop his head with the safe and sound Ginny Weasley seated next to him. Each holding one of the weapons of Godric Gryffindor in his hand, along with a fresh basilisk fang in the other. "Lemon Drop?"
"Ha!" Draco answered, ignoring the slight scowl on his father's face as he shook his head and smirked back at the Headmaster. "And you think it's bad to listen to? Try living through it!"
"Eh, you get used to it." Harry offered with a slight shrug of his shoulders, before pausing slightly and glancing up at Fawkes. "At least I think so. What do you think, Fawkes?"
The phoenix gave off a chirruping melody of affirmation as he nodded his head, though with a trace of sadness to it. Ginny stared with absolutely wide eyes at the boy, as she couldn't help but blurt out. "You get used to it?!"
"I swear, you'll be the death of me yet, Potter." Draco drawled out with a slight shake of his head, before glancing over at his father. "Though, look on the bright side, Father. You get to rub it in to the Weaselette's father that your son saved her life."
Lucius glared back at his son for a moment, before sighing slightly before pinching the bridge of his nose. "Honestly, Draco. Don't you understand how insane your mother is going to be when she finds out about this?"
"Of course I do. Especially when she finds out that this whole thing is your fault for slipping that bloody diary into the Weaslette's cauldron," Draco countered with a huff as he suddenly felt everyone's eyes turning onto him in absolute shock. "What? Didn't you see the way he looked at the bloody thing when you pulled it out? What I want to know is why the bloody hell he did it!"
"Yes, that's something I'd like to know myself." Harry agreed, his fingers gripping tightly onto the visible basilisk fang.
"Considering how things unfolded, I find myself in agreement with that as well." Dumbledore added, though not a single glance was sent in his direction.
"I have no idea where my son gets such absolutely wild and inane ideas," Lucius responded after a moment's silence, his words carefully measured as he spoke. "Of course, if I was going do such a thing, not that I ever would, mind you, it might be because I'd have figured that one of the most prominently Anti-Dark Arts pureblooded families would have taught their children to be wary of such artifacts, leading it to find its way into the hands of a certain Wizard known for his defeat of a Dark Lord."
"But, why would you want to have the diary fall into Harry's hands?" Dumbledore queried, his eyes twinkling in confusion as Harry gave the old man a look before answering him flatly.
"I do believe he was referring to YOU, Sir."
"Oh. That does make a bit more sense then, doesn't it."
"I'm not so sure." Draco muttered quietly before palming the side of his face slightly, before giving a half lidded glance towards his father. "Oh, by the way. I've been resorted into Gryffindor."
"WHAT?!" Lucius' eyes nearly exploded out of his head as he stared in shock at his son. "This is... This is OUTRAGEOUS! I refuse to allow it!"
"Well, fortunately then that you don't have a say in it, isn't it?" The Sorting Hat asked almost rhetorically as it glanced towards Lucius. "The rules clearly state that after a student had performed a service to Hogwarts, I can resort them if I'm put atop their heads. Helping to kill a basilisk that has been terrorizing the school counts as a service. Not to mention... He helped kill a bloody basilisk! Can you honestly tell me that ISN'T the Gryffindor thing to do?"
Lucius paused a moment opening his mouth to protest, before it would finally snap shut and he stared incredulously down at his son. "What on earth possessed you to do something so foolish!?"
"I maintain that somehow Harry hit me over the head sometime I can no longer recollect and addled my mind," Draco responded calmly before shrugging slightly. "How else would you explain how much I enjoyed it?"
"… You are the one who is going to explain this to your Mother." Lucius was openly pressing his fingers against his temples before glaring at Dumbledore. "And you! Why are you bloody here! You were suspended!"
"Oh, that's right, I was, wasn't I?" Dumbledore paused a moment, before shrugging slightly as he held up his bowl. "Lemon drop?"
"…" Lucius paused a moment, and stared at the elderly man who shrugged in response to the blonde man's inaction and took one of his candies for himself. When it became apparent that Dumbledore wasn't going to volunteer any information, Lucius could feel his eyebrow twitching slightly. "Well?! What're you doing back here?!"
"Oh, that." Nodding his head for a moment, Dumbledore smiled at Lucius with his eyes twinkling merrily. "Why, as I recall, the other 11 govenors all asked me to come back once they found out about Ms. Weasley's kidnapping. It was the most curious thing in fact, a number of them had been under the impression that you'd been threatening to curse them and their families if they didn't go along with your plans."
Draco paused a moment before turning his head and glancing back at his scowling father, as he opened his mouth to speak, the Hat's voice suddenly preempted him. "Now you see, THIS is why you don't want to stay in Slytherin. You get a bunch of fake purebloods like daddy here thinking they're so clever just because I put them in that house, utterly deplorable I tell you."
"Fake purebloods?" Harry arched a brow a moment, as he glanced from the hat atop Draco's head, to the suddenly oh so very pale Lucius Malfoy. "You mean, he's not really a pureblood?"
"Ole man Malfoy just couldn't light the oven, so to speak." The hat cackled softly as leered down at Draco underneath him. "So, he did what most of the old inbred idiots do, paid an appropriately looking muggleborn to knock up his wife."
For a moment, Draco merely sat there, a look of contemplation on his face before he glanced up at the hat atop his head. "You enjoy doing that entirely too much."
"Which?" The hat grinned back down at the boy as it settled itself at a rather roguish angle.
"Playing the part of the all knowing and powerful Hat." Draco drawled as he crossed his arms about his chest.
"And if you keep being a smug little prat, I'll start showing you just what it is your Mummy and Daddy do in their bedroom while you're not around." The hat shot back, smirking downright evilly at the expressions that dawned across Draco and Lucius' faces.
"Now really, that's not a nice thing to do at all." Dumbledore noted, but made no further reproach as he lightly suckled on one of his lemon drops.
Harry stared at the man for a moment, before glancing up at where Fawkes was hanging his head. "I take it this isn't a new occurrence?"
As the Phoenix trilled sadly in confirmation Harry sighed and shook his head before addressing the Headmaster. "Professor Dumbledore, Sir?"
"Mmm? Yes Harry?"
"You don't mind that I'm going to keep your phoenix, do you?"
"Yes, I'm afraid I rather do, Harry."
"Oh, I'm sorry I'm going to be upsetting you then." Harry reached up and lightly stroked against the blinking phoenix's feathers.
"Quite all right then, as long as you're apologizing for it." Dumbledore nodded cheerfully as he smiled back at Harry. "You will take good care of him then? I am rather fond of him after all."
Ginny merely stared as she glanced from an overly Harry to Draco to Dumbledore to an equally incredulous looking Lucius Malfoy. "Um, Mr. Malfoy?"
"Yes, what is it, child?" Lucius seemed to come out of his daze and locked his eyes back onto the girl, looking more than slightly apprehensive.
"Would you be kind enough to take me to see my parents?"
"… You're asking the man that slipped you a soul stealing diary to take you to see your parents."
"I think you're the only other one here that wants to get away before we catch whatever it is they've got." Ginny pointed out simply.
"True." Lucius reluctantly agreed before nodding his head and strolling around and gesturing towards the door. "To the Medical Wing then?"
"Yes, thank you." Ginny nodded her head, before smiling suddenly up at the man. "Besides… can't you imagine the look on my parents face to see you escorting me there?"
Lucius paused a moment, as he looked at the girl speculatively for a moment before a slow smirk slid across his lips. "Why, Ms. Weasley, whatever would your parents say if they heard you talking like that?"
"That I'd been hanging around my brothers too much," Ginny answered simply as the odd pair strolled out of the headmaster's office.
"When did we all go insane?" Draco couldn't help but ask rhetorically as he glanced up questioningly at the hat.
"Albus started to go truly barmey before your father was born. Harry there was never meant to be the definition of sanity, and you? You lost it when you agreed to venture into the Chamber." The Hat smiled back down at the boy with a bemused tone. "Don't worry, you won't miss sanity at all. You'll have much more fun this way."
"Oh, right." Draco mumbled slightly and glanced over at the boy sitting next to him.
Harry merely shrugged his shoulders before reaching out, taking a pair of lemon drops from the Headmaster's bowl and offering one to Draco as Fawkes glowered mildly at Dumbledore, but made no attempt to leave Harry's shoulder. "Lemon drop?"
"What the hell." Draco shrugged as he took the proffered candy from Harry and popped it into his mouth.
"Now, why can't I get people to do that when I offer?" Dumbledore pouted slightly as he glanced between the boys.
Harry studied Dumbledore a moment, before glancing over at the Hat. "Are you going to teach us the twinkle trick?"
Draco immediately perked up as he glanced up at the Hat himself while offering his own curiosity.
"That, I'm afraid, is one of Albus' few and true secrets. Not even I can ferret out how he does it," The Hat admitted with a slight frown as he glared towards the benignly smiling Headmaster.
"Teach me the twinkle, and I'll teach you how to get people to take the candy." Harry offered with a sage nod of his head.
"Hmm… I'll think about it," Dumbledore agreed as he nodded his head and smiled happily back at the boys.
As reality reimposed itself upon Ron, he was struck by a sight that sent him through an instantly disorienting loop. His little sister was chatting amicably with Draco Malfoy's father, while his family hovered around him. Blinking for a moment, Ron turned his head, glancing to the bed next to him where he saw Hermione blinking in idle curiosity between the man and then anxiously towards Ron himself. Turning back, he looked towards his mother before attempting to speak. "Um… Mum? Is this real?"
"Why of course this is real! Oh my baby boy is awake again!" The woman immediately enfolded the boy in a tight hug, sobbing softly against his shoulder as Ron's head turned towards where his father was smiling in relief.
"Um, Dad? If this is real… Why's Ginny talking to Draco's dad like they're chums?" Ron awkwardly hugged his mother back as he felt her tightening his grip on her body.
"Oh, that's because Draco helped save me!" Ginny offered up as she glanced over at her brother. "And really, Ron, is it so surprising that I might want to talk to the father of such a brave and dashing young man?"
Lucius couldn't help but grimace slightly at the description of his son. "Must you use those terms so loosely, my dear? I am still accustoming myself to the idea that my son is now a Gryffindor."
Ginny lightly patted the man consolingly on the arm as she nodded her head in sympathy. "I know this must come as a complete and utter shock to you. But, look on the bright side, think of all the new connections this will open up for you."
Lucius blinked slightly, before looking down at the girl with a calculating eye. "That's a remarkably mature, and Slytherin point of view, my dear."
"I spent most of the year partially possessed by one of the most prominent Slytherins of this century. I picked up a few things." Ginny shrugged slightly before leaning back a slightly serene smile on her face.
"You're one to watch out for, I'll say that much." Lucius' lips tugged up towards a smile as he inclined his head with a slight show of respect.
"Only if you're going to get in my way." Ginny responded, before smiling a bit more, batting her eyes up at the man. "You weren't planning on doing that, were you, Mr. Malfoy?"
"Um, mum, dad?" Ron spoke up as carefully as he could as he stared with wide, almost terrified eyes at Ginny. "You SURE this isn't a dream?"
"Honestly Ron!" Hermione huffed up as she lightly glared at the boy. "Why would you ask a question like that?"
"Because, the last thing I remember was catching up with you, then seeing a giant snake in your mirror. Now, I'm in the hospital wing, and my little sister is acting completely nutters!"
"Now, that's not a nice thing to say." A new voice drawled as Ron's head immediately snapped to the side and caught sight of Draco Malfoy, lightly strutting into the room, a shining dagger pushed into his belt and a gleaming, gigantic snake's fang clutched in his hand like a knife with the Sorting Hat tilted to the side atop his head.
"It was a bit rude, I know, but try to look at things from his point of view." There was Harry, smiling at Draco Malfoy, holding a matching fang in his hand, with a bloody sword stuck in his belt and Dumbledore's ruddy phoenix perched happily on his shoulder.
"… I take it back," Ron stated carefully as he slowly stared at the apparently quite chummy Harry and Draco. "It's not just my little sister that's gone nutters."
"Now, see? THIS is what I was talking about!" The hat immediately began to grumble as he glared mildly at the bedridden boy. "This almost doesn't make it worth it to have the other four in Gryffindor."
"You know for some reason I think we're going to want to be sitting down for this." One of the Weasley twins noted.
"Quite right, and with a large supply of alcohol on hand just in case." The other quickly agreed with a nod of his head.
"Oh, before we get into all of that… Father?" Draco spoke up, glancing at his father as he would shift slightly. "We do need to see about getting people down into the Chamber to see about skinning and harvesting the basilisk. I don't know about Potter, but I intend to be wearing that thing's hide as boots for the rest of my time in Hogwarts."
"Hmm… We can discuss the specifics of it after all this is done with." Harry offered up as he blandly glanced at his fang. "Along with my fee of course."
"What fee?" Draco narrowed his eyes back at the boy as he twitched just a bit in place.
"Why, do you know any other parselmouths that will open up the Chamber for you?" Harry asked with an innocent smile on his lips as Fawkes chirruped in approval on his shoulder.
"… Maybe there's hope for you yet, Scarhead."
"Ooooh My sweet baby!" A wailing cry pierced the air and immediately made Draco Malfoy flinch as he ducked down in his seat at the Gryffindor table.
"Oh, bloody! Quick, Scarhead, hide me!" Draco looked pleadingly at Harry as a near hysterical blonde woman began to head towards the Slytherin table. "Don't let her find me!"
"… And what do I get out of it?" Harry asked curiously as he fed a piece of bacon to the phoenix chirruping happily on his shoulder, arching a brow slightly.
"… An extra 10% added onto your fee?" Draco offered hopefully as everyone's attention was still solely focused on the blonde woman searching along the Slytherin table.
"Mmm… 20%," Harry countered with a lazy smile as he lightly bit down on a sausage.
"This is blackmail, Potter!" Draco hissed back as he glared at the green eyed boy.
"This is business, my dear Malfoy." Harry smiled lazily back at the blonde boy and lightly stroked Fawkes. "Better hurry up, Snape's going to remind her that you're in Gryffindor now.
"I don't know whether to hate you, or be in awe of you, Potter." Draco growled back, before his eyes widened. "Deal! Just hide me!"
"Certainly." Harry agreed, and as everyone's attention remained on the distraught Mrs. Malfoy, Harry pulled out his invisibility cloak and draped it completely over Draco, making the boy vanish entirely.
It was only moments later that a glowering Snape lead the woman directly over to him, and sneered down at him. "Potter. This is Mrs. Malfoy, Draco's mother. You will tell her where she can find her son."
"Really? I will?" Harry blinked slightly back at the man as he lightly stroked on Fawkes feathers. "That would require me to know where he is."
"Spare me your arrogant games, Potter. It's your bloody fault that this whole mess happened." Snape scowled angrily back at the boy who blinked again in response.
"It is? I could've sworn I told Draco to go back after he got Lockheart to oblivate himself. Sadly, he wouldn't listen to me." Harry sighed slightly at this, before offering a smile up at the scowling blonde woman. "Mrs. Malfoy. A delight to meet you. Draco's been telling us all about you ever since we got out of the Chamber."
"And what, exactly has my son been telling you, Mr. Potter?" Narcissa Malfoy arched her brow down at the entirely too confidant little boy almost smirking back at her.
"Mainly, how much you're going to kill him for being so much of a bloody fool of a Gryffindor, and trying to get us to help him shift the blame off onto your husband." Harry shrugged a moment then as he continued to grin. "Though, of course he didn't mention how beautiful you are, but then, he is oblivious to those things."
"Potter, I'm warning you…" Snape's face had suddenly begun to flush as he started to redden in anger.
"Hmm… Add a couple of hundred pounds and you'd remind me of my Uncle, looking like that, Professor." Harry observed as he would lightly gesture towards the recently vacated seats in front of him. "Please, Mrs. Malfoy, why don't you have a seat and we can have a chat about your son. I'm sure you're rather desperate to know how he's doing, and as he's rather terrified of being found by you at the moment…"
"I see… You're far, far more clever than Severus lead me to believe, Mr. Potter." Narcissa noted as she slowly began to calm herself down. "And far more charming."
"Yes, another thing I'm sure he'll find something to deduct points from Gryffindor for in some silly relation to my father." Harry agreed with a casual nod of his head as he watched the woman seat herself. "Was there anything else I could do for you, Professor?"
"Ten points from Gryffindor, for your insufferable cheek, Potter!" Severus glared before he turned his head and looked down at Narcissa. "Mrs. Malfoy…"
"I do believe I'll stay here for the moment, Severus, thank you for your help. I'll be sure to call on you if I require further assistance." Narcissa answered as she continued to coolly study Harry's features.
For a moment, Snape stood there, almost stunned in shock, before jerkily, he nodded his head, casting Harry one last glare before turning on his heel, cloak billowing at the motion as he stalked off.
"Really, must he be so overly dramatic?" Harry sighed slightly as he lightly spread butter across his toast and shook his head. "I do apologize for our 'dear' Potions Professor, Mrs. Malfoy. Some people simply do not know how to behave with a proper amount of decorum."
"Mr. Potter, surely you don't believe I'm as foolish as to be as easily buttered up as that toast in your hand, do you?" Narcissa arched a cool brow upwards as she continued to study the boy.
"Not at all, not at all. I usually act like this only for Draco's benefit. The look of confusion on his face is utterly priceless." Harry smiled slightly before he took a dab of jam and spread it across the toast. "So, I'll begin with assuring you that wherever he's hidden, Draco is indeed safe and healthy."
"My son was bitten by a basilisk and you expect me to believe he's safe and healthy?" Narcissa stared incredulously at the boy as she gripped tightly onto the table in front of her.
In response, Harry rolled up his sleeve and revealed the pinkened flash of his own formerly punctured arm. "We both were actually. Was a wholly unpleasant experience, I assure you. Thankfully, Fawkes here was absolutely brilliant and saved our lives. Phoenix tears are truly amazing things."
Narcissa carefully digested that bit of information before she studied the boy in front of her and slowly swallowed. "I see. Well, thankfully this horrible mess is at least behind us."
"At least until next year." Harry agreed with a cheerful nod of his head. "This IS the second year in a row we've been in mortal danger thanks to Tommy boy."
"… Tommy boy?" Narcissa's lips twitched in amusement before the full implications of his statement sunk in.
"Oh, you know him as Lord Voldemort, the most pompous." Harry sighed slightly and shook his head. "He's two for two on possessing people in our school and unleashing mortal peril on the students during the school year."
"I… See…" Narcissa swallowed, rather thickly as she stared in shock at Harry. "So, you're saying that based on your experience…"
"Well, I see no reason why he wouldn't try to continue his streak. He does seem quite intent on causing his mayhem here." Harry admitted quite sadly as Fawkes let off a trill of agreement.
"I see… Mr. Potter, what will it take to convince you to produce my son?" Narcissa took another, slow breath, before she met Harry's eyes tightly.
"Well, what're you offering? Draco is paying me quite well to hide him after all." Harry didn't even flinch when he felt Draco's kick underneath the table.
"I will pay you whatever it is Draco is, plus I will offer an open ended invitation to stay at Malfoy Manor whenever you'd like, all summer in fact." Narcissa offered with a completely serious look on her face.
"Hmm… So if he suddenly appears before you, I'll receive what you're offering?"
"Only if it's due to actions taken by you, or at your direction." Narcissa agreed.
"Wonderful." Harry nodded his head and smiled over at a smirking, familiar red head. "Ginny? Would you do the honors?"
The girl grinned from where she was sitting next to Draco, and suddenly jerked the invisibility cloak off the frozen in shock, blonde boy. As Narcissa's own eyes widened in surprise, Harry spoke up. "This delightfully eager young woman is Ginerva Weasley. The young woman our dear Draco here helped rescue. After she met your husband earlier, she was quiet eager to introduce herself to you as well."
"Mrs. Malfoy." Ginny smiled back at the woman as she carefully began to fold Harry's cloak for him. "It is an honor to meet the mother of such a heroic boy."
Finally returning to reality, Draco turned his head and glared at Harry. "If you expect me to pay you for this, Scarhead…"
"I upheld my terms of the agreement, Draco." Harry countered, smiling pleasantly. "I hid you. We never discussed the amount of time, or made any sort of penalties for if I later revealed you when it was profitable for me to do so."
"He does have a point, Draco." Mrs. Malfoy spoke up, her lips curled upwards as her eyes shone with a twinkling light. "If you didn't make any such stipulations…"
Harry nodded pleasantly back to the woman before grinning. "Plus, Ginny agreed to pay me for properly introducing her to you in a way that would put her in a positive light."
Ginny immediately blushed as she felt both Malfoy's eyes turning onto her, and she couldn't help but shrug helplessly. "What? I couldn't think of a good excuse like I could with Mr. Malfoy."
Narcissa turned back to Harry, and couldn't help it, as she suddenly burst out laughing for a long moment before finally calming down enough to talk. "So, Mr. Potter, not only are you getting paid thrice for a few minutes worth of work in the same situation, you've managed to calm me down, thus saving my son from the brunt of my overly emotional wrath and aid a young woman in trying to ingratiate herself with the parents of the boy she wishes to have court her."
"Well, I was going to do the polite thing and wait to point that out until we were in private so not everyone would be watching him gaping like he is now." Harry agreed with a nod of his head as he lightly took another bite of his toast. "For a former Slytherin, he really does miss so many angles at times."
"Oh, I will have to watch out for you, Mr. Potter." Narcissa noted, before looking over at her son. "Now Draco, get over here and give me a hug so I can have a look at you."
"Yes, Mum." Draco ducked his head and sighed, before suddenly grinning impishly and instead of walking around the table to greet her, he stood up, and climbed across it to plop down in the seat next to her with an innocent smile on his lips.
"Yes, it seems I most certainly WILL have to watch out for you, Mr. Potter." Narcissa sighed slightly before pinching the bridge of her nose as she could hear the voice shouting out.
"Mr. Malfoy! 5 points from Slyth-Errr… Gryffindor!"
Draco waved his hand towards the flustered head of his new house before grinning back at his mother. "What can I say? If I'm going to be here, I might as well enjoy it."
Slowly Narcissa turned her head and regarded the amused smile on Harry's lips. "Oh yes, I WILL have to watch out for you, Mr. Potter."
"Look on the bright side, Draco will pick up a thing or two from my company." Harry smiled back at the woman before biting again into his toast. "Do try the jam though, it is quite delightful."
"Harry, mate, don't take this the wrong way…" Ron spoke up as he studied his friend carefully. "But, you're becoming as barmy as Dumbledore."
"Really Ron!" Hermione huffed slightly as she glared at the boy. "Professor Dumbledore is NOT barmy!"
"Yes, he is." Harry and Draco countered in unison, before the blonde continued. "How else do you think Harry could have gotten his phoenix?"
"Twas a sad, sad day." Harry admitted as he fed Fawkes another piece of bacon. "I just couldn't bring myself to leave Fawkes here in that kind of condition. Why, I'd imagine he'd sunken so far as to use Fawks as a common mail owl!"
Fawkes trilled in sad confirmation, before suddenly a white blur shot down, hooting angrily as Hedwig was suddenly glaring at Harry, puffed up and outraged as she stood on the table. Harry blinked a moment, before holding up his hands in mock surrender. "I'm not saying you're common by any stretch of the word, Hedwig, but you're an owl. You were bred specifically to deliver mail! Fawkes... Fawkes is a phoenix, it's hardly appropriate for a phoenix to be taking the jobs away from owls, now is it?"
Hedwig made a show of looking from the bacon, to Harry's hand, to the Phoenix, before glaring once more at the boy wizard. Harry blinked a moment, before staring incredulously back at Hedwig. "Wait, you're upset that I fed him bacon? Hedwig, take a look, there's plenty of bacon for everyone here."
The owl only continued to glare back at the boy as she let off an angry chuff, nipping painfully at the Boy-Who-Lived, and earning a yelp of pain out of him. "Come on now! You're being completely unreasonable!"
Hedwig immediately began to flap her wings, angrily as she glared at the boy who rolled his eyes in response. "Fine, see if I sneak you any bacon when we go back to the Dursleys."
THAT made Hedwig freeze as she sent him an inquiring, almost timidly questioning hoot. "Yes, that's right, a whole summer of NO bacon."
Immediately shrinking back down, the owl made an apologetic sound and bowed its head quickly, causing Harry to nod before he picked up a piece of bacon and fed it to the owl. "There we go, that wasn't so hard, now was it?"
Hedwig shot him a mildly reproachful glare, but none-the-less accepted the bacon in the spirit in which it was intended, before flying away and returning to her roost.
Harry blinked a moment as he met the stares directed his way from the rest of the table. "What? She's a bit temperamental."
"Mr. Potter, how on earth did you end up with such an... unique owl?" Narcissa arched a brow curiously even as she sat protectively next to her son.
"Hagrid got her for me, for my 11th birthday."
"Ah." Nodding in complete understanding Narcissa turned her head and studied her son. "So, do you know what classes you're going to be taking next year, dear?"
"Well, since Potter has such a way with ladies no matter the species, I was thinking of Care of Magical Creatures, to avoid making the same mistakes." Draco noted with a smug smirk on his lips. "Other than that, I'm not quite sure."
Ginny took a moment, studying Draco carefully, opening her mouth as if to speak, before suddenly shutting it as she took on a thoughtful look. "Hmm... So, does that mean you have a good idea of how to treat a lady, Draco?"
"Ginny." Ron spoke up, his voice half strangled as he gave his sister a long look. "If you're going to insist on doing that, have the decency to wait until I'm gone."
"But, the expression on your face is priceless!" Ginny countered as she smiled sweetly back at her brother.
Harry sent Draco a pitying look before shrugging slightly. "Better you than me, mate."
"And you, Mr. Potter? What classes were you thinking of taking?" Narcissa fixed the boy with a piercing, calculating look as she lightly arched a brow in response.
"Well, Care of Magical Creatures for one. Ron has been trying to convince me to also take Divination." Harry paused a moment, before shrugging slightly. "To be perfectly honest? I've really been too busy with this whole basilisk business to even look into it."
"Harry, you should pay more attention to your classes!" Hermione said reproachfully as she crossed her arms about her chest.
"... Hermione, excuse me for being a little bit more interested in the giant snake going around the school trying to kill people and the person behind it, when it was being blamed on me." Harry shot back with no small amount of sarcasm in his voice.
The bushy haired girl immediately blushed brightly and ducked her head in embarrassment as the full implication of his words settled into place, leading her to let off an eeped. "Sorry."
"It's fine." Harry waved his hand a moment before shrugging slightly. "What all is there to consider anyway?"
"Oh!" Hermione's eyes immediately lit up as she pulled out piece of parchment. "It's really interesting! You already know about Care of Magical Creatures and Divination..."
"Actually, all I know about it is that Ron said it was supposed to be easy," Harry admitted with a laconic shrug as he took another bite of his toast. "Can't be any worse than Binns is."
"Ugh, don't remind me, Mr. Potter." Narcissa made a face as she shook her head. "I swear, why they haven't replaced that old phantom... He completely ignores some of the most interesting facets of magical history in favor of those bloody Goblin Rebellions.
Harry regarded the woman for a moment, before his eyes immediately began to flash speculatively. Draco caught sight of the look just as Harry began to open his mouth and quickly cut in. "Potter... No."
"No, what?" Harry turned his head and smiled so every sweetly back at Draco. "I haven't said anything."
"Nothing good can come of anything running through your mind when you've got a look like that on your face," Draco said solemnly as he looked around, practically begging for support.
"Sorry." Ginny shrugged back as she glanced towards a bemused looking Harry. "I owe him. So, I'm afraid I've got to stay quiet on anything he comes up with for a while."
Ron glanced between Harry and Draco, opening his mouth, then shutting it again, caught between the simple fact that the look on Harry's face was giving him a bad, BAD feeling, and the fact that he'd be agreeing with Malfoy of all people. Hermione sighed and rolled her eyes. "Honestly, Draco! What could he possibly say that could be so terrible?"
Narcissa merely arched a brow at the girl, while Draco, Ron, and Ginny all turned absolutely horrified expressions onto her. Harry himself, merely grinned, almost shark-like back at the girl. "Now, there's a challenge in that I do believe..."
"Potter, Harry, please, for the love of Merlin, have mercy!" Draco looked pleadingly at the boy, his eyes actually trembling as he watched Harry slowly, carefully take a bite of his toast and take his sweet time chewing it before he answered.
"Now, Draco... I was only going to point out that if your beautiful, and quite obviously intelligent mother, had issues with the school's current instructor in Magical History, she could kill two birds with one stone as it were." Harry took another bite of his toast, watching the way the look of dawning horror unfolded on Draco's face. "Convincing Dumbledore shouldn't be too difficult, and it would put her in the perfect position to make sure she could... offset the danger that your newly discovered Gryffindor nature is certain to get you into."
Draco turned his head and pointed his finger accusingly towards Hermione. "See?! This, THIS is why you don't SAY things like that! Don't they teach you in the muggle world NOT to tempt fate?!"
"Oh they do," Harry agreed with a nod of his head. "It's one of the biggest lessons they teach in fact, wouldn't you agree, Dean?"
The muggleborn boy nodded his head in affirmation, giving Hermione a look of absolute disbelief. "Seriously, what could possibly possess you to say that, Granger? Around HARRY of all people?!"
"It's just a superstition!" Hermione immediately defended as she glared back at the boys.
Harry glanced back at her before chuckling softly. "Oh, Hermione... Heh."
Narcissa however, was lightly tapping her lower lip in speculation as she then glanced towards the staff table before smiling at Harry. "You make an excellent point, Mr. Potter. I think I'll have to look into it."
"Oh, I cannot begin to tell you how much I utterly loathe you, Potter." Malfoy hung his head and sighed. "Leaving me so bloody conflicted..."
"Well, while you're conflicted, let's go snag the hat." Harry grinned at the Malfoy heir as he nodded his head towards where Lucius had appeared with a group of men. "It's time for me to earn my money."
"Right, well, I'll see you when I get home, Mother, do take care now." Draco gave his mother a light kiss, before suddenly seeming to vanish towards the doorway.
Harry smirked just a bit and shook his head as he glanced up towards Fawkes. "He forgot that we need the password to get in, didn't he?"
Fawkes suddenly let off a sound that resembled an innocent whistle, before suddenly spreading his wings, before vanishing with Harry in a flash of flame.
"Oh, those two are going to be trouble together." Narcissa noted as she chuckled softly and shook her head ruefully before glancing around and nodding her head towards Ginny. "Well, Ms. Weasley, I'm sure we'll have plenty to discuss in the future."
"Indeed, Mrs. Malfoy." Ginny nodded her head back to the woman as she lifted her toast in a slight imitation of Harry. "Do have a good day."
Chuckling softly to herself, Narcissa stood up, nodding her head to the rest of the group before walking purposefully towards her husband and his little band.
"... Ron, I've got a question." Hermione spoke up as she let her eyes follow the woman as she walked away.
"Yes, Hermione?" Ron asked in distraction, his eyes half glazed over in thought.
"Is the wizarding world normally this barmy?"
"I think it's just when Harry's involved." Ron admitted with a shrug of his shoulders and a rueful chuckle.
"Oh." Hermione sighed just a bit before hanging her head. "That's what I was afraid of."
Draco stared at the sight of Harry sitting calmly in front of Headmaster's office, slowly stroking Fawkes as the phoenix rested against him, crooning in approval, with the Hat resting on one knee. "How the bloody hell did you...?"
"Well, apparently even though you can't apperate in Hogwarts..." Harry began before the Hat spoke up and interrupted him.
"Well you can, you just have to be properly allowed by the wards. Dumbledore's been the only one to ask me to allow them in so long, everyone just assumed that it was impossible."
"I sit corrected." Harry nodded his head towards the Hat before continuing. "Apparently, even thought you can't apperate in Hogwarts, without being properly added to the wards, a phoenix can fire port you anywhere you'd like to go if they're willing to take you."
Fawked chirruped in affirmation as it continued to preen happily under Harry's ministrations. Draco stared back at the boy, before snagging the hat, and dropping it atop his head. "Now that's just not bloody fair."
"Oi! Careful there! I might be impervious, but I still don't like being roughed up." The hat grumbled softly and glared slightly down at the boy it sat atop. "Besides, you don't see me riding around on HIS head, now do you?"
"Probably because his mind is so disturbing." Draco countered with a bit of a grumble as he glanced up at the Hat.
"Well, that too." The Hat admitted with a nod forward and glanced towards the bemused looking Harry. "But, that's mainly because he's too much like me for his own good."
"Too much like you?" Draco blinked a bit looking up at the hat in confusion as Harry lightly whistled to Fawkes, and the bird immediately hopped up and perched on his shoulder.
"Well, all fours of the founders DID leave an imprint on me you know." The Hat seemed to shrug a moment, before grinning evilly down at the boy it sat atop. "Godric just happened to be smart enough to make sure I knew where I came from."
"So, what, Harry's supposed to be a wonder child who embodies the aspects of all four houses?" Draco shot back sarcastically as he glared lightly up at the Hat.
"Who's the one that got you to pay an additional 40% to him, while saving you from your mother's wrath, and ingratiating the young lady to her?" The Hat countered as Harry just whistled next to them, as they began to walk towards the Chamber of Secret's entrance. "Pretty cunning, intelligent, loyal and brave, wouldn't you say?"
"You forgot bonkers." Draco muttered softly as he glared up at the Hat with a slightly cross look on his face. "Utterly and completely, bonkers."
"So?" Harry finally spoke up again, slightly shrugging his shoulders as he smiled happily back at Draco. "Look at how happy Professor Dumbledore is, and he completely nutters."
Draco opened his mouth to respond, before it clicked shut as he hung his head and just sighed softly in resignation. "Weren't you saner yesterday, Potter?"
"Nah, I just pretended I was." Harry shrugged back as he lightly whistled a merry little tune that was quickly accompanied by Fawkes.
"And you're not now... why?"
"Because, quite obviously you're as crazy as I am, you're just in denial." Harry grinned back at the boy and quickly nodded his head lightly to the tune Fawkes continued to trill.
"I am NOT insane." Draco insisted as he crossed his arms about his chest and nodded firmly, before suddenly looking up at the Hat. "I'm not, right?"
"Just keep telling yourself that," The Hat agreed with a snicker and lightly patted the boy on the head with its brim.
"Hello again." Myrtle spoke up with a slight glare at the pair of boys and the wary men walking behind them. "Still alive… leaving poor Myrtle all alone, I see."
"Do we really need to respond to her?" Draco asked curiously as he glanced up at the Hat.
"Who?" The Hat answered back as it mimed confusion. "Well, I don't think your mother would approve of you ignoring her."
"Fine, I know when I'm not wanted!" Myrtle half shrieked as she glared at the pair before vanishing down into the toilet with a sudden splash.
"… She does realize how utterly unsanitary that is, yes?" Draco noted with a kind of bland glance.
"She's a ghost, Draco. I don't think she's too terribly worried about being sanitary." Harry countered as he rolled his eyes walked up to the sink. "Open."
"Merlin, I think I'm hanging around you too much, Scarhead, you're actually starting to make sense when you do that." Draco muttered softly as he lightly half glared back at the boy, missing the growing little smirk on the Hat's lips.
"If you say so." Harry answered back with a cheerful nod of his head before glancing at Fawkes then back at the slightly apprehensive group of men behind Draco. "Fawkes you might want to, well you know…"
The bird chirruped cheerfully in agreement, before lifting up off of Harry's shoulder and beginning to glide down the entrance. As soon as the phoenix had left his shoulder. Harry waved cheerfully back at the group, before jumping down the chute. A moment later, Draco, hat firmly held in hand, jumped after him, leaving the adults staring at them both.
"Um, sir?" One of the men spoke up carefully as he glanced at Lucius.
"Yes?" Turning his head, Lucius arched a brow back towards the speaker.
"Are we… is that really… Slytherin's Chamber of Secrets?"
"Apparently, yes." Lucius drawled in agreement back at the man.
"And you want us to go in there?"
"That is the general idea behind my hiring of your services, yes." Lucius agreed again as he casually arched a brow. "Is there a point to this?"
"It's just, um, well, it's the Chamber of Secrets, sir."
"Yes, I know, and in it are the remains of Slytherin's basilisk, which I hired you to properly skin and harvest." Lucius agreed again in a patronizing tone. "Do I need to explain all of this to you again?"
"Oh, no, Sir." The man quickly held up his hands and nodded his head before glancing nervously at his fellows. "It's just… are you sure it's safe?"
"If it isn't and I was detained here, by your foolishness, and my son comes to harm, what do you think I'll do to you?" Lucius hissed out as he grabbed hold of his wand, glaring at the man.
"Right, of course, governor!" The man quickly tipped his hat and made his way towards the entrance.
Lucius glared back at the rest of the workers, who wisely decided it would be in their best interests to do the same.
A moment later, Lucius arched a brow calmly as he floated down on his broom and stared at the mess of tangled limbs and the two boys standing nearby looking entirely too innocent to be genuine. He couldn't help but feel this was only the start of what he was suddenly quite sure would be a long and growing number of headaches in the future. Shaking his head, he gracefully dismounted from his broom and glanced at the boys.
"Do I want to know?"
"Apparently, they were so motivated to get down here, they were tripping over each other," Draco observed dryly. "Literally."
"We got in some good practice on our cushioning charms though," Harry agreed brightly.
"I… see." Lucius stated carefully, his lips twitching downwards for a moment before sighing as he shook his head and turned his glare onto the men. "If you're going to just lay about, I can see about finding employees that are less prone to lay about."
"We're, umm, a bit stuck, Sir." One of the men mumbled out as he looked apologetically at the man.
"There is the slightest possibility that we may, may have, on occasion, miscast and gotten a few sticking charms with the cushioning ones," Draco admitted with the vaguest of answers while looking anywhere but up at his father.
"… May?" The single word was drawled out with an arch of the brow before Lucius languidly raised his wand and with a flowing flick of his wrist spoke three syllables. "Finite."
Draco and Harry made no response as the workers seemed to almost melt off each other, before each quickly scrambled to their feet, throwing somewhat irritated looks at the two boys.
Harry reached up and lightly stroked Fawkes' feathers before glancing about at the now standing men. "So, shall we?"
"... Please, Mr. Potter," Lucius stated as he gestured down the tunnel.
"I would advise you to be on the look out for Lockhart, I think we left him around here somewhere," Harry advised them, "So if you see something smiling vacantly and drooling a bit, feel free to kick it a bit back towards the entrance."
"Otherwise..." Draco paused before gesturing to the side of the tunnel, "We're coming up on our first bit of shed skin on the right, if it's of any use, please remember to pick it up."
The men stared incredulously at the massive shed skin, before looking back at the pair of boys and then to Lucious Malfoy, who merely arched a brow back at them, "Well? Is it?"
"Ah, right, gov'ner," their spokesperson said hastily as he quickly bobbed his head in agreement as they quickly went to work on the massive shed skin.
"You do realize if they keep doing that, it'll take them bloody well forever to get to the actual basilisk, right?" Harry asked reasonably as Fawkes chirped an affirmative with a bob of his head.
"I think he was expecting you to just go along with it so he could properly build up the drama," the Hat noted with a chuckle.
"I was simply attempting to give them some... motivation," Draco declared imperiously, "They doing entirely too much skulking."
"Well, this is prime skulking territory," Harry stated as he and Fawkes whistled innocently as they strolled deeper down the tunnel, "At least someone understands when the do it."
"And what is that supposed to mean?" Draco demanded as he glared back at Harry.
"They at least have the curtesy to do so in the appropriate ambiance."
"You had better not be trying to imply I would do something as unbecoming as skulking!" Draco demanded as he glared at Harry.
"He's not," the hat said as it patted Draco on the shoulder with it's brim consolingly, "He succeeded quite well."
"Hush, you, afore I, I..." Draco paused a moment, then frowned a bit in thought.
"No, won't work. Nope. Had that done before. It tickled. Ha! You think something like that would bother me?! Who do you think I am?!"
"..." Draco's eyes narrowed, and suddenly the hat went still.
"Ah, well there you go. I'd survive of course, but, I'd rather avoid that if I can help it," the hat admittted, before adding just as Draco started to look triumphant, "Unless, of course you push it."
"Draco would never do something like that," Harry said cheerfully as Fawkes nodded his head, looking at Draco with a look of pure amusement as they got to the final door.
"... I think my head's starting to clear, I can already feel the urge to declare how I will have my vengeance upon you returning, Potter," Draco noted sourly with a light glare towards him.
"Open," Harry stated simply, causing the door to open up as he glanced back at Draco, "You sure it's not just the urge to prank me?"
Draco frowned in consideration, before glaring at him sullenly, "Damn you, Potter!"
"I'll take that's a yes?" he asked cheerfully as he hopped down then gestured magnifically around him, "Welcome, to the Chamber of Secrets! Please, no flash photography and and hold your applause until the end."
"And remember who's the one paying you when you do," Lucius stated dryly as he shook his head and then snorted softly as he looked around. "This is the Chamber of Secrets?"
"In all it's 'ahem' glory," Draco agreed as he stared towards the still open mouth of Slytherin's statue, "What's inside there?"
"Not a clue," the hat admitted, "Sal built this place after I was made."
There was a pause as everyone's attention turned to the hat as Draco paused at the mouth of the statue, before he asked incredulously, "... Sal?!"
"Yes," the hat agreed with a smirk, "He never realized I called him that so he wouldn't look too closely at me for some of my little schemes."
"The more I learn about the founders, the less I'm surprised at how utterly mad the world is becoming," Draco stated sourly as he peered over the edge of the opening.
He found himself staring into a small pair of bright yellow eyes, before a hissing voice distinctly spoke up with a question, "... Mommy?"
"..." Draco stared at the baby basilisk, his mouth hanging upon as the snake swayed slightly while watching him intently, "... Oh... bugger... Wait... did it just call me 'Mommy?! And why am I not dead?!"
"Hmm... interesting, I think you two have just discovered the secret to becoming a parselmouth," The hat noted before chortling softly, "You just have to get bit by a basilisk and survive!"
"That does not explain why there is a baby basilisk here and why it's calling me mommy!" Draco stated slightly histerically.
"Well, Draco, let me officially say... welcome to my world," Harry stated cheerfully.
"KILL THEM! KILL THEM BOTH!" Tom's hissing scream filled the air he gestured wildly towards the pair of boys.
The basilisk paused, before flicking its tongue out into the air, before a curiously distinguished voice sounded to Harry's ears. "Oh, dear me, I do believe I taste pureblood! Now, my contract clearly states I am NOT to kill any purebloods!"
Blinking slightly dumbfounded, Harry almost stared up at the snake, before he couldn't help but ask. "What does it say about half bloods telling you to kill purebloods?"
"Oh, my, another speaker? It's been ages since I've come across two at the same time! How delightful! Do you play bridge by any chance?" The basilisk sounded positively delighted as he responded to the boy.
"You stupid snake kill them! I am VOLDEMORT! I am the descendant of Slytherin himself!" Tom was screaming out his eyes practically bulging out of his head.
"He's also a half blood bastard." Harry offered up as the snake glanced in consideration towards Tom. "Father was a muggle his mum dosed with a love potion."
"A child born out of wedlock? Deplorable! Where have people's manners gone?" For a moment, the snake considered before glancing from Tom to Harry. "And your parentage?"
"Oh, my parents were quite married." Harry quickly assured the creature. "Though, I am a half blood, my mum was at least a muggleborn witch, not just a muggle. My dad? Old pureblood family. They were head boy and girl of their year."
"Commendable!" The creature nodded its head, sounding positively delighted. "Then, I don't suppose you'd be willing to renegotiate the contract? I never did really much care for the taste of wizards or muggles."
"Sure, how does defender of the school and being in charge of keeping the acromantulas from taking over the Forbidden Forest sound?"
"Delightful! I have been more than a might bit peckish." The basilisk sounded absolutely thrilled at the possibility, nodding its head from where Harry could see.
"YOU STUPID SNAKE! YOU'RE SUPPOSED TO DO WHAT I TELL YOU!"
"Annoyingly loud little chap, isn't he?" The basilisk turned its head and glanced at where Tom was practically frothing at the mouth.
Blinking a moment, Harry nodded his head sadly before grinning at a thought. "Wait, is it true basilisk venom can destroy most anything?"
"Tragically so." The admission came with a sigh as the basilisk hung its head. "Makes it rather difficult to keep from ruining the taste of fresh spiders."
Picking up the diary, Harry couldn't help but smile sweetly towards Tom. "Then, do you think you could bite this with one of your fangs? The annoying one is using it to kill that little pureblood girl over there."
"… You know, I really don't care about all that beyond the terms of my contract, right?"
"Eh, figured better safe than sorry."
"Ah, too true. Shouldn't be a problem, looks positively flimsy, toss it here."