Disclaimer: This work of fan-fiction is not intended for personal profit. All characters utilized herein which are not creations of myself belong to J. K. Rowling.
Dobby the House-Elf could not believe he was being so honoured by the Fates. He had died saving the great Harry Potter, and no greater glory could be had in his opinion.
But he was being told something impossible! Inconceivable! For a lowly house-elf to be permitted the glory of saving Harry Potter's life - again!
He would be allowed to return to his own life, just after he had found out about the horrible diary of He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named and was desperately trying to tell the great and noble Harry Potter about the horrible and dangerous plans his Master was going to accomplish.
He said the only thing he could possibly say: "I is willing to return to save the Great Harry Potter sir!"
His existence whooshed in a giant swirl of light, and he was at Malfoy Manor...
Dobby hid himself in the library, forcing himself to hear his Master once again explain to the bat-like Severus Snape what he intended.
"Severus, I have heard... unsettling rumours about the Dark Lord."
Snape's acidic, gravelly voice responded: "Lucius, you know better than I what's going on. If you think any of the students, or, for that matter, the Headmaster, deign to tell me anything worthwhile, by all means take my job. Otherwise, you might as well ask me if I gave the Dark Lord a detention."
Lucius was holding up a diary. Dobby wished so fervently to grab the diary and rush away with it, hide it in the darkest corner of the world he knew, but no house-elf could disobey his or her Master. Even just thinking his thoughts was positively dangerous for a house-elf.
He said, "Well, I may have to think on what the Dark Lord might wish me to do. I was entrusted with this some time before his untimely demise."
Snape said, "What of it? If you're done wasting my time I have to give Draco his supplementary Potions tutoring. That's what you pay me for."
Lucius sighed. "Very well, Severus. But I am giving you fair warning: the Dark Lord said that if ever the Mudbloods should become too troublesome, this would help open the Chamber of Secrets."
Snape snorted. "Rubbish. It's a fairy tale. They didn't even find it last time. I'm sure the Dark Lord was speaking metaphorically."
Snape swept out of the library room, and Lucius seemed to be thinking for a whlle. Finally he placed the diary on the table, and barked, "Dobby!"
Dobby instantly popped into view of his Master, and said, "What can Dobby do for Master sir?"
"Wash my bedroom window. It was smudged last time you cleaned it. And shut your ears in the oven for that, afterwards."
Dobby nodded fervently. "Dobby shall do as you say!"
He popped away, and began cleaning the window, as instructed. Strangely, however, when he finished he didn't feel the compulsion to punish himself as he had in his old life.
Dobby wondered if he might be free already! He could save the Great Harry Potter!
But he would have to pretend to be the Malfoy house-elf; he could do this for Harry Potter, helper of house-elves.
Dobby remembered, last time, that he had been in the garden of Harry Potter's house and then popped to his bedroom. This time, he decided to simply go directly to the bedroom and wait. He quivered in anticipation of helping the Noble Harry Potter in his quest to defeat He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named.
Oh, it had been so terrible those last two years of his life - always wondering when the house-elves at Hogwarts might be ordered by He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named to shut their ears in the ovens, or bang their foreheads against the stone walls of the great castle, or throw themselves in the lake, or any number of other punishments devised by the cruel Death Eaters.
Dobby could remember when his Master ordered the kind Tibby, too kind she was, to be bitten by a great snake because she hadn't cut one string off Master's robe properly. He had heard from the Rosier family house-elf how his Master had cast the horrible Cruciatus Curse on him. Those days before the great Harry Potter had vanquished He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named were dark days indeed.
Dobby must keep those dark days from happening again!
The bedroom door opened and Harry Potter stepped in. It was all Dobby could do to stop from crying out in joy at seeing him once again.
Quiveringly, he said, "Dobby has wanted to see you, sir... it is such an honour, it is..."
"Th-thank you," said Harry. "Who are you?"
"Dobby, sir. Dobby the house-elf."
Harry winced. "This... Dobby, it's not the greatest time to have a house-elf in my bedroom. Er, why are you here?"
"Dobby has come to warn the great Harry Potter of many things. But Dobby remembers you has vanquished He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named! You is the Boy-Who-Lived, Harry Potter sir."
Harry looked uncomfortable. "Well, yeah. But I'm just another Hogwarts student. Hermione's the smart one in my year, you know."
Dobby was overjoyed that Harry Potter was just as he remembered. "So humble Harry Potter is! He does not boast of his triumphs! But Dobby has heard, sir, that you has defeated He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named again. Just weeks ago."
"How did you hear about Voldemort?"
Dobby winced. Even now, in a second lifetime, it was hard to hear the Evil One's name. "House-elves is speaking to each other, sir. House-elves is whispering of the most valiant and bold Harry Potter.
"But Dobby wishes to warn Harry Potter sir about dangerous things. There is a plot, Harry Potter. A plot to make most terrible things happen at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry this year."
"What terrible things?" said Harry at once. "Who's plotting them?"
Dobby steeled himself. He tried to say the words, and found that he wasn't suddenly forced to punish himself. "Dobby's family, sir. Dobby's Master wishes to hurt Harry Potter's Wheezy!"
"Wheezy?" Harry looked puzzled. Then his expression cleared. "Oh! Ron! Ron Weasley? But why?"
"Dobby has heard the Master say many times that he does not like the Wheezys because they is liking Muggles, sir. He has also heard Little Master say nasty things about Harry Potter's Grangey. He uses the word 'Mudblood' and Master does not discourage it."
Shocked realisation dawned on Harry's face. "Your family's the Malfoys!"
Dobby nodded shamefully as his ears drooped. "Dobby is sorry, Harry Potter sir. But house-elves is bound to their family, and Dobby will have to shut his ears in the oven many times. He may even have to shut his hands and feet too! And he may have to smash his head against the bed-post!"
Dobby knew he would have to do some of that - but not because he was disobeying the Malfoys. He was having to... to lie to the great and valiant Harry Potter.
Harry's eyes widened. "That's terrible! But won't they notice if you shut your ears in the oven door and all the rest?"
Dobby shook his head. "No, sir, Dobby doubts it. They lets Dobby punish himself whenever they orders Dobby to do it. They is always punishing Dobby, even reminding Dobby to do extra punishments..."
Dobby hoped that Harry would feel sorry enough to help 'free' him again.
"Well, can't anyone help you? Can't I help? The Malfoys make the Dursleys seem almost human!"
"Dobby is bound to his family. Dobby must serve them until he dies. Unless they give him clothes. And they does not give Dobby even a sock; Dobby cannot clean his family's clothes and become free that way. They must be giving Dobby clothes without telling him that they is still binding him."
Harry breathed heavily through his nose. "Well, if I possibly can I'll try to help. Really, I will."
Dobby hopped on the bed. "Dobby has heard of your greatness! But your goodness, Dobby did not know. Dobby is happy to hear this of the Noble Harry Potter."
Dobby's ears drooped again. He remembered he had been stopping Harry's mail, and would have to admit to it. He had been a little barmy in his old life, even by house-elf standards.
"But Dobby must admit that Dobby had thought if Harry Potter's friends did not care about him, that he would not wish to go to Hogwarts."
Astounded, Harry blurted, "That's rubbish! Hogwarts term starts on September the first. It's all that's keeping me going. You don't know what it's like here. I don't belong here. I belong in your world – at Hogwarts."
Dobby snapped his fingers, making Harry's mail appear beside him on the bed. "Dobby apologises, Harry Potter. Dobby wishes to let Harry Potter know that Dobby is not a normal house-elf."
Harry, gathering up his mail, peered at Dobby. "What?"
Dobby tried to imagine how to explain something even magical people would think was bizarre. "Dobby is not sure. It is difficult, sir … Dobby wonders where to begin …"
Harry, finishing sorting his mail, sat down next to Dobby and said, "Well, look. Er, have a seat."
Dobby gratefully sat down. He said, "House-elves is not allowed to say anything against their families. But Dobby can, because he is trying to be bound to Harry Potter, who would be so kind and gentle to house-elves everywhere."
"But wouldn't all house-elves want to do the same thing, then?"
Dobby shook his head. "Most house-elves is terrified of thinking bad things about their families. Even the nasty families that is making their house-elves shut their hands in the oven doors. But Dobby is sure that one day he can be free, and that Harry Potter will help."
"So... all right. You're a special kind of house-elf for some reason. Does this mean you could help me send messages to Ron and Hermione?"
Dobby nodded swiftly. "Yes, Harry Potter sir! Master is so busy thinking of punishments for Dobby that he will not notice that Dobby is gone for a few minutes. If you has messages for them Dobby will take the messages at once."
"Let me write the letters first. You can see Hedwig's locked up so I can't send any post even if I wanted to. Come back some time later, okay?"
Dobby's ears pricked up. "Dobby would be happy to!"
Dobby popped away, overjoyed that he had met the Great Harry Potter and that he was a free elf; even as he shut his ear in the oven door for having to lie to the wonderful Harry Potter, he grinned, knowing he would never have to obey Master again if he didn't want to.
Author Notes: Unbetaed. I hope you're as amused by this idea as I am. XD Part of my reluctance to take up my older fics is because ff.n broke all the section breaks and I need to go back through and fix them. Ugh.
Note that some material has been taken verbatim and/or adapted from Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets.