A MON SEUL DESIR (TO MY SOLE DESIRE)
Disclaimer: I don't own Harry Potter or Fate/Zero. The characters belong to their respective owners, I just /ahem/, borrowed them for a while because my plotdragons said so.
Summary: Lily researched summoning rituals. However, her attempt at summoning a protector failed. Twelve years later, Harry is dying in the Chamber of Secrets…
Shout Out: As it is, I have way too many ideas and because I've became interested in Unlimited Blade Works, it logically led me to discover Fate/Stay Night and Fate/Zero. And because Chamber of Secrets scene is just a plot device that is seriously underrated, along with that cute lil' picture I've found out on the 'net, and you got something evil, twisted and out of whack. Sorry for torturing Harry, but Chamber - Voldie really doesn't know just what kind of fire he began to play with when he toyed with the last Potter. Once again, thank you, MHB, for getting the script straightened out. You rock! Both Crimson Sagittarius and Fire And Ice are now in works, but Among The Hawks And Doves will come out a little later.
Warnings: AU-verse, as always. Not following the script, descriptions of the torture and faint inclinations of Harry/Berserker (innocent little whistle). What? Blame the 'dragons for this one. If you are still here, then I wish you happy reading /small smirk/.
Dictionary: Right, played with Latin again. /sticks tongue out/. Luckily for you, the list is short this time.
Carnivere Penitus – Inner carnivore. In an essence, the curse creates flesh-eating bugs in the victim's body. It's a bad kind of symbiosis - they eat the victim's inner organs and in exchange, they sustain the victim. Very old curse, and not curable. Also, modern magical scans don't detect anything wrong. Muggle ones, contrarily do.
Trilobites – The bugs in question - are a well-known fossil group of extinct marine arthropods that form the class Trilobita. Yes, they did exist. But in this story, I made them live again (yay), and carnivorous, just because of that pretty little picture. /sardonic snort/. The bugs are formed in the victim's stomach and later on, they slowly expand their living areas to the chest. The victim is their mode of transportation… somewhat. Victims can also partially control the bugs, because they were made from the victim's magic. So they can control them, if… and only if they have a mental fortitude to do so. It's still a torturous co-existence, because the bugs could be likened to a magical version of cancer, only in animal-ish shape. /Sweatdrops/
Pullus Umbra - Black/Sad Shadow. Luna's name for the Berserker. She can see the supernatural, so it isn't a stretch she could see the fallen Heroic Spirit.
He was… dying. This was an undisputed fact. His eyesight blurred, while his body felt both frozen and like he had acid travelling through his veins.
"And so ends the life of Harry Potter." The ghost's soft voice echoed in the dark, wide cavern, making it even more creepy than usual as it faintly reverberated off the stone walls.
Harry blinked blearily. He would have loved to sleep right now… yes, sleep was a wonderful idea. Sluggishly, he looked at the pale body of the girl at the ghost's feet.
"Sorry Gin. Seems I'm not a good hero." He muttered, and somehow, that thought amused him, before his weakened body was wracked with pain again, making him curl against the open snout of the snake he had killed a few moments prior.
"For all it's worth, you put up a good fight." Voldemort's magnanimous voice echoed through the chamber mockingly, and oh, how Harry wished he could have glared at the berk…
He was cold. The ground under him was cold and wet and he was shaking uncontrollably from both the wet clothes and cold air drafting through the elaborate cavern. What he wouldn't have given to be warm right now…he winced as a new lance of pain speared through his nerves, making him simultaneously more numb and more sensitive to the pain.
And then, there was a melodious warble and flash of orangeyellowredgold and there was a weight on his body.
"F'w'ks?" Harry questioned through clenched teeth. "G'way. Dan'grous." He ground out, his words slurred, but the damned bird pecked him on the head and then…
Was Fawkes crying?
'Well, at least someone was crying,' Harry dully thought to himself. The Dursleys surely wouldn't when they got a notice about his death.
His hand was bleeding and he was feeling lightheaded, like he had been drugged with a narcotic - once, his arm was broken and they had to reset it, and for that, the surgeons 'got under' then five year old Harry via narcotic.
"And I have to gift you for you for your performance - Carnivere Penitus!" The young shade commanded, as he flicked his/Ginny's wand in a complicated pattern, ending it in a short whipping motion, sending a sickly lavender colored curse towards the confused young boy.
The effects were immediate.
Dull green eyes snapped wide –
"GRAAAHHH!" The yell was interspersed with a shrieking trill from the golden bird that fluttered up as the youth buckled wildly his hands scrabbling to the stomach.
There - here! Something was gnawing, nibbling, chomping through - !
He howled as there was another and another and anotheranotheranother scrabbling shredding distending and finally –
His mouth opened in a wordless cry as the pain reached its apex and suddenly, his stomach distended in weird shapes, as if something was trying to get out and there was that muted chittering sound –
Gii Gii Giigiii giii -
And then, his stomach exploded in a mixture of warmth and liquid - wasn't that a little bit too familiar - he thought to himself dizzily as he curled into himself, only to be forced to uncurl as something crawled out of his stomach, the parts of his intestines falling out only to be covered by some kind of a trilobites, with their small, skittering legs and razor sharp mouths, covered with blood and gunk and -
GiiGii giiigiiigigigigiiii - The little monsters chittered as they gathered around the scattered little bits of his stomach – Harry almost choked on his blood that rose though his stomach and bubbled on his tongue the distinct iron taste so familiar to him that it was almost comfort, a home –
One of his hands accidentally touched the slimy thing, still slick with his blood and yet curiously cool on the touch, the chitin curved in some parody of the perfect armor as the thing wiggled under his palm, strong and alive and he choked another scream as he felt another round of gnawing –
"Oh, wow." Harry rolled away from the voice that was so terribly fascinated with his suffering.
"Wh't you do ta me?" His speech was slurred from the agony he had been put through and he practically slammed himself against the wall in an effort to dislodge the little blighters.
Oh, hell no.
He tried to back away, but how the fuck should he do that, backing away from something that was coming directly from his stomach!?
"You know, I've always wanted to try that particular curse, but I couldn't find a suitable…Test subject." Riddle's voice was nonchalant as if he were discussing the weather. "See, the curse is magical by nature, and of course, it would cause too much hassle if I tried it outside. After all, if any student… vanished, there would be questions, and as good of a wizard as I am, even I couldn't afford for this… particular experiment to be traced back to me."
Harry's vision was red with fury. "D'mn yoo." He gurgled out, his green eyes glaring weakly at the chuckling shade. Standing just a few steps away from him. So close and yet so far…. "R't in H'll."
"Ah, ah, ah," Riddle playfully wiggled his fingers. "You snooze, you lose, so be a good little loser and die a nice, slow death." His chuckles rose up in volume into amused, sadistic laughter that echoed through the chamber, making the sound all the more terrible.
Meanwhile, Harry scrabbled for everything - anything that could help him to at least get back to the bastard.
His trembling hand wiped out his mouth, and belatedly, he felt the blood trickling between his fingers down to the wrist and wetting the cord.
'No. I refuse. I won't be a good little dog! Even if I die here - at least I could take him with me. '
His thoughts flashed briefly to Hermione, to Ron to the Weasleys and he still owed the damned elf 'thanks' for the troubles it had gotten him into –
"So why are you not dying already?" Riddle asked after he had his laughing fit.
Harry's lips curved into a weak little smirk.
''Cause I am just that stubborn, bonehead.'
And then, he closed his eyes for a moment, and there it was, an intricate thing –
Shocked, he opened his eyes, but he still saw the outline of the circle…. Correction, circles within the circles, all of them moving, like some kind of a complicated mechanism.
And then, there was something that had been building in the back of his head, even before all that deal with Fawkes, something dark and sinister and like a siren's song, he was helpless to defy it.
His mouth opened and the words he had never seen, never heard never read came tumbling out, new and yet so familiar…
"I hereby… propose." The first sentence was more gurgled out than spoken, his throat hurting, but he persisted.
"What are you doing? Reciting poetry won't help you any, you know." Riddle asked.
The strange trilobites chittered, as if agreeing with him.
Harry ignored them, focusing instead on the circle that was steadily becoming more complicated in his mind's eye.
"My will shall …create thy body…And thy sword… shall create my fate. " He almost choked on the blood, having to spit it out before he could continue.
"Well, by all means." Riddle sighed, as if he were doing Harry a huge favor. "At least it will be entertaining." He smirked cruelly as Harry winced from the bite of another… bug.
"Abiding… by the summons of the Holy Grail, I hereby swear… I will be …all that is good in the eternal world. I will be the disposer …of evil in the eternal world. " His voice came out a little stronger, the strange kaleidoscope of deep violet on the black background dancing it's dizzying dance in his mind's eye.
Almost. Not quite. Not yet.
As he opened the mouth to finish the chant, there was a flash, and an unbearable heat emanating from his wrist -
"But let chaos cloud thine eyes. Thou, who art trapped in a cage of madness –" The female voice interrupted him, making Harry scowl and his non-existent stomach drop with dread –
A slender silhouette appeared in front of him, long-haired and slender and protective and utterly mad –
No. No, it couldn't be. No, he wouldn't allow it!
If this – she, it whatever it was, finished the chant, there would be something bad –
He hurriedly tugged the small bracelet off his wrist, hoping against hope it would come off - it was with him since forever but now –
Frantically, the weakened fingers, slick with blood tugged at the small band, off and away and away violently tugging it to snap -
"And I, who doth hold thy chains!" - He managed to get the blasted thing off just in time, before the thing finished the chant, successfully parting it from himself, hurling it away, but he had a sinking feeling it was already too late.
Shit. Shitshitshit –
No matter. All he had to do now was to finish the blasted thing. It couldn't get any worse than it already had. Grimacing, he continued, his cheeks flushed at Riddle's mocking smirk at his little freak-out over the bracelet.
"Thou clad with the Great Trinity, come forth from the circle of constraint…."
And then, Harry felt it. And by Riddle's tensing, he was not the only one.
The magic building up, thickening, like the forces of tornado about to be unleashed onto the unsuspecting people and animals. Wild. Animalistic. Untamable.
Harry's body tensed, and he forgot about the strange bugs and chittering and everything and anything, as he concentrated onto bringing into the reality the image within his mind.
"Guardian of the Heavenly Scales!"
Fawkes screeched with dismay, fluttering away from the epicenter of the magical nexus Harry was the middle of.
The last five words, he had practically roared out, commanding the circles within his mind to flare into reality around him with the blazing ultraviolet light, and magic all around him, above, below, within him howled and strained like a beast on a leash, wanting to tear him to pieces, to devour him, but he held on -
And then, there was a flash of deep violet light behind him, and he more felt than saw a presence behind him, a something - no, someone and his hand seared with pain, nearly causing him to black out again.
"W - what the hell have you done?" Riddle's shaken voice was barely audible to him.
The… something behind him growled.
"I ask of you. Are you my Master?"
Harry managed to smirk at the Riddle's horrified face as he managed to hunch upward, his hands protectively embracing his stomach as if to protecting it from the further hurt - a futile gesture, but done just the same.
"Yes, I am."
The end was fairly anticlimactic. Riddle, despite of his magical prowess, was no match for the …whatever it was that Harry had summoned out. The darkly armored knight was too fast, too strong and too good to be defeated by a mere shade, and in the end, Riddle's diary ended impaled on the tip of Gryffindor's sword stained with Basilisk's poison.
The shade's piercing shriek didn't make Harry any better, but he still felt a smidgen of a vindictive satisfaction at the bastard's gruesome death.
Right now, Harry was panting with the effort it took to stay on his knees and conscious. His eyesight was blurring and he was seeing dark blotches in front of his eyes interspersed only by an eerie red glow from the line of black knight's visor and the wicked looking armor in the dull light of the Chamber. The steel was dull as if the polishing was intentionally neglected yet it gave the appearance of sturdiness and danger, and the only one color, besides some of Harry's blood on the visor, an ethereal, partly see-through ribbon trailed after him from the top of his helmet, changing from the electric blue to the dark violet. The knight was tall, taller than six feet, which made him all the more intimidating, but right now, Harry had other things to worry about - like weathering through that curse the Riddle had hit him with.
The damned bugs chittered and Harry eyed them, disgust churning through his body. The things were like some prehistoric nightmare come to life, and despite of them being so unwieldy looking they were surprisingly fast little bastards.
"Ugh - Gah!" He choked as his body finally gave up on him, his muscles involuntarily loosening and he squeezed his eyes shut, prepared to meet the bite of the hard concrete –
-Only to be caught against the cold hard armor.
"Steady, Master." The growly voice murmured to him, making Harry tense for a moment as he tried to discern the features of his…. savior?
"Thanks." He murmured. He eyed the bugs distastefully, wishing to just kill them and be done with the entire episode. Hell, at this point he would have accepted being expelled and returned to the Dursleys, if that was what it took to have at least a semi-normal life.
Hogwarts was lauded as the safest building in Britain, aside from Gringotts…the boy's lips curled into a bitter smirk. What safety? If his first year was any indication, this school, for all intents and purposes was more like a lethal trap disguised as a school than anything else.
"Fucking Riddle." He hissed out as the knight gently uncurled him from his hunched position, making him cry out with pain at the movement. "Ow!"
As if he didn't have enough trouble with his scar already. And now, the bugs. And with Ginny being here –
Oh shit. Ginny!
Widened green eyes looked toward the pale faced, redheaded girl. Fortunately, the racket handn't woke her up… yet. But sooner or later…. Harry bit his lip.
"Damn it. The bugs – " He tried to wiggle out of the knight's hold, but the man only held him tighter and gave out a warning growl.
"No. Don't move." The deep voice cautioned him.
"But - Ginny – " Harry tried to wiggle out, however effort proved to be futile.
"No. Control them, Kariya. "
Bleary green eyes stared at the red line uncomprehendingly.
He felt sick just by looking at them, sick and repulsed and that idiot demanded he should control them?!
"No. No way." He bit out. "Dun'wanna."
He closed his eyes, wishing to wake up from that strange nightmare of bugs, diaries and mad knights that demanded impossible.
A sharp nudge jolted him back to the unpleasant reality of the situation he was in.
"Control. Girl safe. Don't control…. She devoured."
If Harry had thought that he had reached the bottom of the bottom of the pile of shit he was just proved wrong.
"Couldn't you just kill them?" He whined as he glared at his dark protector.
"Could, yes. Solution temporary." The answer was short, making Harry's shoulders drop with disappointment.
"I was afraid you would say …. Nngh…. That." He panted. "How?"
"Just do. Like hand."
The knight's answer was surprisingly succinct and Harry glared.
"Well, aren't you a helpful bunch of …ggh…fucking sunshine."
Hero business was a seriously fucked up job he intended to resign from as soon as he got out of this hellhole.
Oh, and getting some pesticide wouldn't be amiss.
De-bugging was like trying to walk with multiple pairs of feet. Or learning to write backwards. You know in theory how it should work, but doing it in practice is abysmally - and vastly different from imaging it.
But Harry was nothing if not stubborn to the point of bullheadedness, and despite his revulsion, he managed to get the bugs back to where they belonged - i.e. Into his stomach - and just in time, too.
However, having a bunch of something… alive… in his stomach just didn't settle well with him, even if the bugs were now complacent and not moving much aside from the occasional 'loving' nibble.
He didn't know how much time had passed. For all he knew it could be hours. Or minutes.
The only signs of his struggle now were his torn and bloodied clothes, his skin was pallid more than it was healthy and he still couldn't walk well enough even if his life depended on it.
Green eyes looked around the Chamber sluggishly, totally disregarding the blood and Basilisk corpse. Right now, Harry didn't have any time to freak out - in fact, he was too damned tired to contemplate any kind of theatrics.
"Now, how to get out of the Chamber?" he murmured to himself, wrinkling his nose at the thought of getting through all the rubble and slime again just to get out into the girls' toilet.
A small trill answered his question and dull viridian eyes zeroed on the flying turkey - ahem, Phoenix.
The immortal bird glided down from the height it had been flying, while the black knight dealt with the Riddle, making Harry eye it a little bit enviously. Wings were such a good thing to have… and here he was, stuck with a bunch of carnivorous bugs.
Life was truly one unfair, sadistic little bitch.
He was brought out of his moping via Fawkes' trill and the bird's tail feathers waving enticingly near his nose, almost tickling him.
"Master, grab its tail. " the black knight told him, making Harry look at his dumbly.
"Whatever fo - Oh." Harry felt quite foolish at the moment, and almost feeling his cheeks trying to flush with mortification.
Of course. Phoenixes can carry heavy loads too…
"Bring Ginny to me. And we'll go." He ordered the man , who inclined his helmeted head and gently released him from his hold as to get to the redheaded girl that was still quiet.
Ginny 's scent was that of stale water, damp stones and her perfume - strawberries and jasmine, which choked Harry's olfactory senses quite unpleasantly. Although he didn't have any right to say anything about himself smelling like roses either - he was dirty, bloodied and Basilisk gunk along with his own wasn't exactly the best perfume in the whole world.
Harry nodded absentmindedly as he received the blackened blade which reverted back to its gold steel and ruby appearance as soon as the black knight let go of it. "Yeah… Can you hide?" He winced at the blunt question. "I mean – " he blustered, only for the black knight to nod. "Aye. Spirit form." And within a blink of an eye, the knight vanished as if he was never summoned in the first place.
Closing his eyes, Harry breathed a quiet sigh of relief. 'Well, one trouble down, two to go.' He thought to himself. 'Wonder if he could follow us?'
'Can do, Master.' The Black Knight's voice spoke out in his head, making the boy yelp with fright.
"Can talk in your mind. Forgive me." Harry twitched at the black knight's explanation slash apology. "Right. We'll talk about it sometime soon." He muttered. "Fawkes? Could you …also pick up Ron and Lockarse?
The firebird chittered with amusement, but nodded, and the next thing Harry knew was blanket of flames enveloping him.
Ron Weasley wasn't the brightest crayon in the box, but that wasn't to say he was a bad person. True, he had been jealous of his more famous, and occasionally infamous friend, but no matter how much he tried to think differently, he was bloody glad he didn't have to follow Harry into the Chamber. Because he really didn't want to become a chew toy for a really really big snake that could kill him with a look. Harry on the other side, was an unlucky, and a little bit barmy bloke who was stuck with rescuing Ginny from whatever it was - aside from one giant-ass Basilisk - in that room.
And boy, was Ron glad he hadn't gone with Harry when he heard the screams and howls from the other side?
The redheaded second year Gryffindor gulped. What wouldn't he give to have Hermione here… or Dumbledore. They just had to be big time heroes and rush into the thick of things. True, there was also a matter of time, however, looking back, Ron regretted he hadn't at least asked the twins to come along.
He looked at the snoring wizard in disgust. Gilderoy Lockhart was an utter waste of a wizard and if his sister was be damaged in any way shape or form, Ron intended to get his own pound of flesh from the useless blond-haired fake celebrity.
He huffed as he tried to clear the wall again, swearing as a rock the size of his head nearly hit his shoulder. He coughed from the dust, grimacing at the small pile of the rocks he had managed to get out as to clear the passage.
"Blimey, how I wish I could have had a wand right now…" He looked at his broken one mournfully. "I swear, if we ever get out of this I will hit the books… Honest!" His stomach gurgled, reminding him that there should have been a dinnertime and he wasn't in the hall to get his dose of yummy food. "And food." He concluded sheepishly.
He had turned back to the rocky wall, eyeing it critically as to from where should he remove the next rock when the half-darkened room was illuminated with a golden light and a soothing trill made him happier he had been in… ever.
He turned around, blue eyes looking at the arrivals desperately.
And there they were, Harry, strange flaming bird, and her.
"Ginny! Harry!" He sprang up, only to stumble when he awkwardly meandered among the stones to reach them. "You're back!"
"'Lo." His best mate answered quietly. Ron looked over him, his heart clenching at the withdrawn look at Harry's face. Whatever had happened in the Chamber, Harry had to go through the Hell and back to get back here and the faint traces of blood on his chin and clothes didn't help to lessen his concern any better.
"You're hurt!" Ron's eyes were glued at the traces of blood on Harry's jaw and lips, making the other shrug uncomfortably. "Yeah. Later. Let's go now. How's Lockarse? "
Ron had to chuckle at Harry's nickname at Lockhart. "Sleeping like baby. He was hit on his head by a rock so I was left alone."
"Good. Can you take Ginny?" Ron blinked at the request, but complied. "So what now?"
"Waking up the sleeping ass." Harry replied shortly. "Ennervate."
The spell hit its target true, and a moment later, Lockarse - ahem, Lockhart was awake.
"Oh, I'm sorry. I didn't mean to fall asleep."
"Sure you didn't." Harry dismissed Ron's caustic remark. "Get up and let's go."
Lockhart tilted his head, his eyes curiously blank of recognition. "Sure, but dear sir, I don't know your name. Oh, and that reminds me, I can't seem to know my own one either."
The two boys stared at the blond-haired man incredulously.
Finally, Ron opened his mouth.
Groaning, Harry face palmed. "Let's just go. Ron… hold onto me and Lockarse, you hold onto Ron. Don't let go."
"Oh, of course, happy to help." The amnesiac smiled cheerfully. "Just one question, if I may?"
"I am named Lockarse, aren't I?"
Ron's less than polite guffaw was lost in the roar of the phoenix-induced flames.
Their return caused an uproar, as Fawkes had generously flamed them straight to the Myrtle's toilet, in front of the concerned teachers and two panicked parents.
Harry was immediately taken to the Hospital wing, where he was stripped, examined and given a strong painkiller and blood restoration potions before Madam Pomfrey ordered him to go straight to bed.
Fortunately, Ron was not harmed much, except for a slime and dust and occasional scratch from moving the stones and rocks. Lockhart, or, as he insisted to be called, Lockarse - was deemed to be a true blue amnesiac, because if nothing else, he managed to wipe his memories very efficiently and it was doubtful the St Mungo's personnel could restore them back into proper order.
Personally, Harry thought it was a kind of a poetic justice - the bastard was living off of the deeds of real heroes and it was a good feeling to know he had gotten his just desserts, although it galled him that Lockhart wouldn't be judged for his past crimes, as he was, in a sense, an entirely new person.
Ginny was okay - apparently she had slept through the entire episode, but she would still have to take the calming potions and be regularly checked by St Mungos' personnel for any discrepancies in her psyche.
Harry himself was just tired. The scans had shown that virtually nothing was wrong with his body, which baffled everyone, because he had lost an alarming amount of blood while in his confrontation with Riddle. Even when Harry mentioned the curse – Carnivere Penitus - the scans returned blank. It was as if he had never been cursed to begin with, so Harry had to amend his story to him confronting Riddle hunting the Basilisk, killing the said Basilisk - no, really? - getting a lift from Fawkes and arriving back.
If there wasn't a persistent gnawing in his stomach that was steadily advancing up to his chest, Harry would have dismissed the entire episode as a some kind of a nightmarish dream.
But the pain was too real. The jagged triskelion sign on his right hand was too real to be just a part of an insane fantasy of an attention-seeking brat he had been accused it to be.
Painkillers helped, but only to a point. They took away the edge, but Harry knew that sooner or later he would have to stand his ground and face the pain without them, and that meant an ever-present agony.
The black-haired teen sighed, as he looked at the cabinet with the phials of potions stocked in dully.
He heard the doors open, but he didn't deign to turn his head as too look who had come to visit him. He didn't try to delude himself that they were his friends - after the latest disaster cum heroic adventure, there was no way the adults would behave any more responsibly that they had during the philosopher's stone fiasco.
"Ah, Harry, my boy. I thought you would have been asleep already." The old, wizened voice would have raised Harry's hackles if he hadn't been so, so tired already.
Harry's eyebrows involuntarily climbed up. "Then why visit me at all?" His retort was crisp, delivered in a whispery voice. His throat had hurt from all that shouting in the Chamber, and even if the painkillers helped to soothe the jagged feeling of having an uncomfortably swollen throat, it didn't help with returning his voice to its normal range, so he was forced to whisper.
"Because we would like to hear your side of story. Ronald was already asked, but alas, he doesn't know all the details, as he wasn't privy to your confrontation to … anything you have found in the Chamber."
Harry had to bite back a hysterical chuckle at Dumbledore's careful phrasing.
"Indeed." Another voice entered the conversation, and Harry's mouth tilted downward minutely. "The Hogwarts Education Committee would also be very interesting in your story."
Malfoy. Lucius Malfoy, the bastard who was indirectly responsible for this mess to begin with.
Harry felt his blood boil, and his stomach churned uncomfortably as its tenants were shifting around restlessly. How he wished to sic upon him the black knight…
Even if he had felt the black knight's anticipation - since when could he feel it? - it was not the place nor the time for the retribution. Dull green eyes looked at the visitors, noting the miserable little being behind the blond man's elegantly sewn robes.
That damned elf.
Number three factor for Harry's current situation present and accounted for. Harry refused to look at the pathetic creature - he didn't appreciate its attempts to kill him, thank you very much.
Instead, dull green eyes moved to look at the wizened old Headmaster.
The resulting talk was long and awkward - Harry had to explain just why he thought it was a good idea to head into the Chamber without adult supervision - Lockarse apparently didn't count and that was known by all three parties – what happened when they were down - Lockarse's bright attempt at poaching the fame, obviously – and was there really a Basilisk and what did Harry mean about the diary siphoning off young Ginevra's life force - No, really? Did they think he had pierced his own arm just because he wanted to have a cool souvenir scar for visiting the Chamber of Secrets? And was a leech-diary really so strange of a thing to comprehend? They lived in a Wizarding world, for Merlin's sake.
By the end of the talks Harry was ready, willing and able to sic the bugs on both of the annoying idiots. Concerning the bugs, they were not mentioned, and Harry kept mum on his apparent protector who was still hovering somewhere on the room, but invisible to the two adults. If they didn't see him, Harry decided, then he was not obligated to explain to them about his new… servant.
Speaking about the servants, that stupid elf had been hurting himself and looking meaningfully at Harry, like Harry would know what that meant.
"Is that all, my boy?" The old wizard finally decided to cease the torture – ahem, questioning.
Harry shrugged. "Yeah." Then, he blinked. "Oh, and Mr. Malfoy, the diary… I think it was yours." He hissed slightly in pain as he mentioned to the man the aforementioned book - a little dirty and ruined via the sword puncture through the cover, but otherwise in a good state.
Slate grey eyes narrowed. "And what makes you think that, boy?" Lucius Malfoy asked silkily, as he fingered the snake head of his walking cane. Harry stilled.
Really, what gave him the right to accuse Lucius Malfoy of all people to be the culprit for the mess? True, he had seen the man dropping the diary into Ginny's cauldron, but in the end, it was Ginny's fault to write into the damned thing - even if he had been raised amongst Muggles, Harry had heard Mr. Weasley cautioning his brood not to use anything they didn't know how it worked. And it was his word – the word of a child, even if a famous one at that, against a word of a grown-up, respectable wizard - and Harry had enough trouble with grown-ups that he knew they weren't to be really trusted. All that went through the green-eyed wizard's mind with the speed of light as he blinked slowly. "M'sorry, Mister Malfoy. I didn't speak right." He tilted his head on the side, as to appear properly contrite. It had worked with Vernon, and he hoped to Hell and back it would work on Malfoy. "I am sleepy and my head is spinnin'. What I meant to say… could you take this diary and have it investigated? I don't wanna Hogwarts be closed down… it's my home." He admitted sheepishly, as he closed his eyes as he wetted his parched lips.
"Harry, my boy – " Dumbledore's protest was interrupted by a sound of a cane hitting the ground followed by the whisper of silks as the man stood up. "It appears the boy can be taught, Dumbledore." The man's cold drawl made Harry want to growl at the arrogance of his statement. Instead of that, he remained still, as if he had exhausted his last vestiges of energy. " Very well, as a Hogwarts Governor, I will take upon myself the duty to find the true culprit. Now, where is the diary?"
Green eye opened in a slitted, half-dazed glance, before it immediately shut down. "Ask nurse. She gots all th'stuff." Harry's words were slurred as he finally succumbed to the lure of sweet dreamless rest.
Whatever happened after that, it really wasn't Harry's concern.
As the two men went away to find the diary, the boy's pale lips curved in a small, barely seen smirk.
The ruckus half an hour later didn't have anything with him.
After all, how could he have done anything to the diary when he was firmly under the hold of Dreamless Draught?
Harry missed the Feast and with it the announcement of Gryffindor once again getting the House Cup, not that it would have mattered to him at this point. He had enough to deal with on his plate, thank you very much, and no pun intended. Verdantly colored eyes glared at the plate of hospital food as if it had mortally offended him, while in fact, it just sat there innocently, waiting for his consumption.
The problem was, he was reluctant to partake in the consumption of the dish, which was mashed potatoes with gravy and tender steak with a side dish of green salad. Moderately appetizing, but Harry had a problem in the shape of you-know-what residing in his stomach, and what was worse, nobody believed him he was housing the you-know-what's, so he was on his own in this new dilemma. He glared at his stomach as if that would solve all his problems, but even a minute or so staring at the aforementioned part of his body didn't solve the problem.
He really didn't feel hungry - okay, he did, but he didn't know what eating would do to the bugs. Not that he was concerned about them, but he really didn't want to feel them gnawing through his intestines more they were already doing, thank you very much!
"To eat or not to eat, that's the question." He muttered to himself sardonically, as he eyed the food once again. Besides his new pallor, he was rested enough to be fully cognizant of his surroundings, even if he did spend more time in the bed than usual. The school nurse – Pomfrey - had detained him here because of his blood - apparently having been poisoned by a Basilisk and then cured by Phoenix tears was kinda big deal, and coupled with his new acquisitions, not that the stern Mediwitch believed him, it was enough to land Harry straight to one of the hospital bed and dosed with pain potions to his gills for the first three days. Until now, he had been on nutritional potions, and while they tasted vile, they at least weren't adversely affecting his body-pests - ahem, body-guests. But food now was a whole new ball game, and even if Harry knew he would have to at least maintain the illusion of normality. That didn't mean he was any more eager to take the first step in attaining it, beginning with the food intake. He did have the classes in the school on Anatomy, and he was reluctant to consume food when he had his entrails chewed through.
"Mr Potter you will eat it!" Pomfrey's imperious voice made him wince and look around with the comically paranoid expression on his face. 'How the hell did she know that?' He wondered, his eyes slightly wide behind his newly-repaired glasses.
'Master. Safe to eat.'
Ahh. And there he was, his mysterious protector again.
Verdant eyes looked in the corner where the massive form was floating. Even now, when he got to know this black knight, Harry couldn't help but marvel at the ghost's - person's mere presence. The knight was tall, six feet at least, if not more, and clad in armor that seemed to be made of shadows. A red slit on his helmet glared at him with menacing light, while the two ethereal ribbons from the top of his helmet were floating behind him in color of electric blue fading to deep violet.
"And how would you know that, Berserker?" He asked his companion mulishly. "In case it escaped you, you weren't the one who got his stomach eaten out, you know."
When he had been switching between consciousness and dreams, he had found out that his mysterious helper's name was Berserker. The knight was also a person of a few words, making Harry pout a little, even if he was relieved he didn't have to suffer through the inane chatter, but still!
'You Kariya. You can do it.'
Harry's cheeks pinked by Berserker's unintentional compliment. "Gee, thanks." He snapped out sarcastically, before reaching for a fork to stave off his confused embarrassment. He was never cheered on - if the knight's flat, growled out words were cheering - and this was a novel experience for him. And what was with the man calling him Kariya?
Reluctantly, he scooped up the fork some mashed potatoes and gravy before carefully lifting it to his mouth. The tastes hit his greedy palate in a mixture of sweet and salt and earthy flavors, making him hum with delight before he carefully - reluctantly - gulped the mouthful down and tensed in the anticipation of a horrible pain.
Nothing. "Huh?" He blinked, confused. Carefully, he scooped up another mouthful, rolled it across his tongue a bit and then gulped it down.
Harry couldn't believe his luck. He could eat! And with no pain to boot! Maybe Pomfrey's scans were right – he began to eat a little faster, taking only a brief moment to enjoy the tastes.
"Why?" He managed to ask between his mouthfuls as he looked at the shadowy form inquiringly. "How?"
The knight tilted his head. 'You Kariya. They obey you.'
Harry scowled. "Kariya what?" He pressed on as he stabbed the salad. "You've called me that before, but I still don't know what it means." Green eyes looked at the knight over his glasses.
'You Harry. You Kariya.' The knight replied unrepentantly, and Harry got a feeling the knight was having a fun at his expense, making him huff with resigned irritation.
"You just love to mess with me, don't you?"
The helmeted head tilted in a mocking parody of consent.
Glaring, Harry chomped down on the piece of the steak, chewing it mulishly.
Two hours later, the pain hit.
Well, at least he was able to eat without making a scene, Harry mused to himself wryly as he whimpered, curling himself into a small ball under the covers, waiting for the painkillers to hit.
The next morning - it was cloudy outside - he managed to chow down a porridge and then he was helped to clothe himself. The previous night's 'cramps' made him paler than usual, and he had small bags under his eyes and his hair was even messier than usual, but otherwise, he was proclaimed right as rain by Pomfrey, even if she did warn him not to do any strenuous activities for a little while. Harry snorted inwardly at the warning, wryly musing whether or not the Dursleys would even heed it.
"Hey, mate! Ready to go?" Ron called, poking his head into the room, only to stumble in, courtesy of Hermione's shove. He was still clothed in an uniform, but his cloak was askew and his red hair was terrible mess, no doubt a courtesy of his twin brothers' noogies. "Oi! That wasn't nice, Hermione!" The redheaded boy complained at the bushy-haired young witch who only sniffled at him with disdain. She was also clad in school uniform, only she wore skirt instead of trousers, and her tie was neatly done, while Ron's was still not tied, the ends hanging loosely on his chest. "Oh, honestly, Ron. You did block the entrance." She threw at him, before looking at Harry. "Harry!" She squealed as her brown eyes widened at the state the young green eyed-wizard. "Are you feeling well? I wanted to visit you, but Madame Pomfrey said you needed rest and oh!" She reached for his arm. "I heard you killed a Basilisk – " Her voice was awed but tinged in disapproval. "You should have let adults to deal with it!"
Harry exasperatedly rolled his eyes heavenward at her bossiness. "Hermione, there was no time. " He stressed the last two words. "And Lockarse was completely useless." Ron snickered at Lockhart's new nickname, quickly dodging Hermione's elbow. "Ron!" Hermione scolded him, before turning back to Harry. "Did you really have to tell him his name was… that?" She grumbled, but her eyes were glinting with amusement. "'Course he did, Mione." Ron butted out. "He was completely useless waste of space. We took him along for the Basilisk bait, but - " "Ronald Weasley! That was cruel!" Hermione screeched, rounding at him. Ron snorted, scowling. "Tosser deserved it. Because of his bragging, Ginny was this close-" He showed thumb and finger together with a smidge of distance between them – "To death. He even said he wanted to Obliviate us and then take some of basilisk skin and return as a hero!" He ended the diatribe with a snarl. "So don't ever say he is as innocent as a fucking lamb!"
An uncomfortable pause ensued, before Harry sighed. "What's done is done, Mione." He told the young witch, his eyes involuntarily darkening at the memories of his time in the Chamber. "Ginny is well, we are good and Hogwarts is safe." He smiled at her thinly, making her sigh. "I suppose you are right." Hermione admitted grudgingly. "But you, are you alright?" She looked over him with critical eye, and Harry tried not to fidget under the close scrutiny.
"Not yet. But I will be. Pomfrey says it is a miracle I survived." He told her honestly, making her pale a bit at his frankness. "Anyway, enough with depression. Wanna help me to the carriages?" His unintentional puppy-eyed look made her huff with laughter in relieved exasperation.
"'Course we will, mate." Ron smirked.
Harry smiled and nodded, his heart for the first time after all this mess, felt light with happiness. Of course, he still had some dirty secrets, but right now, he chose not to dwell on it and enjoy the company and chatter of his two best friends.
The future would come soon enough, but for now, he was content to listen to Hermione's concerned nagging, Ron's enthusiastic descriptions of the Feast and laugh at their little spats.
All was well in the world.
Nobody noticed the black silhouette, shrouded in the shadows standing protectively over the green-eyed wizardling, red slit glaring menacingly at the world, as they slowly walked to the carriages.
Nobody… but her.
Hazy silver eyes widened and then blinked.
"Oh…so they do exist."
Pale pink lips stretched into amused smile.
"Wouldn't Daddy be surprised…"
And then, she turned and skipped back to her friend, humming cheerfully.
Finding Pullus Umbra was a momentous occasion, however some secrets were better left alone.
Besides, that sunny day was a good time for the Bibbering Humdingers to court their mates, wasn't it?
And with that thought in her mind, Luna smiled.