A/N: When we last left our heroes, Ron was passed out in the corner of the staff room and Hermione was, of course, still petrified in the hospital wing, leaving poor Harry all alone. What's more, Lockhart just pulled a wand on him and cast a powerful memory charm!
As an aside, you might wonder why there was no conversation where our antagonist (Lockhart, at the moment) casually reveals all his evil plans (that he didn't do anything he wrote about) to our protagonist. That's intentional, because when would that ever happen in real life? You're probably thinking "But Logan, when would there be wizards and magic in real life?" To which I say "SHUT UP AND LET ME WRITE MY STORY."
Also, a couple chapters ago I asked if you guys would rather these notes be put in my profile instead of the story. The only person that expressed an opinion said to keep them in the story. Look what you've made me do!
Harry, caught off guard for once, let his instincts kick in. Those instincts seemed to think that all this business with wands and magic were just silly, though. Instead he tried to use his knapsack as a shield.
There was a loud crack, a squawk, and finally a scream.
Harry slowly peeked over his bag to see Lockhart laying flat on the ground before him.
He's still breathing. Unfortunately. Harry thought, assessing the situation. He then examined his bag, which now had a slightly charred hole in it. Harry reached his hand through the hole and felt the feathers of a very much unfrozen rooster. So much so that the rooster was, in fact, dead, Harry surmised as he pulled its body out of his bag and lay him on the floor.
"Oh, hello, there. Who are you? And why've you got a dead chicken?" Lockhart asked, cheerily. Harry was startled.
"Your name is Rooster? Well mine is... actually, come to think of it, I'm not entirely sure what mine is, really."
"No. It's not a chicken, it's a rooster. My name is Harry. Your name is Lockhart."
"Oh, that makes more sense, Rooster isn't a very good name. Why've you got a dead rooster, then?"
"Because you killed it."
"I'm terribly sorry. Why'd I do that?"
"I suspect you were trying to wipe my memory. You told everyone you were going to stop Slytherin's monster but then decided to run away instead."
"Kill a monster? That hardly sounds like me."
"That's what I've been trying to tell Hermione and Mrs. Weasley all year."
"Who are they?"
"I really don't have time to explain. I've got to kill a basilisk and you just killed the only rooster on campus."
"Oh, I'm terribly sorry, I'll leave you to it, then. Best of luck with your basilisk!" With that Lockhart attempted to start a conversation with a nearby suit of armor.
Harry left his bag behind, taking only his wand and his cloak to Moaning Myrtle's bathroom.
"Are you here, Myrtle?" Harry asked. She popped up from a stall.
"Yes." She said, batting her eyes "It's so nice to see you again, Harry."
"It's good to see you, too. Unfortunately I'm in a bit of a rush, so sorry if I sound a bit rude but there's no gentle way to put this. I need to know how you died, Myrtle."
"Ooooh, it was deadful. I was in this very stall crying when I heard someone come into the bathroom. They walked over to the sinks and started sort of hissing at them. It must have been another language. It was a boy, though, so I opened the door to tell him to get out of the girls' room and then -" Myrtle beamed, evidently proud "I died."
"That's it? You didn't see who did it? There was no sound?"
"Well I remember a pair of big, yellow eyes, then it was over."
"Snake eyes, perhaps?" Harry asked.
"That would work."
"You saw a basilisk, Slytherin's monster."
"Really?" Myrtle asked, excited.
"Really. And I suspect the entrance to the Chamber of Secrets is somewhere in this bathroom. You haven't seen a redheaded first year in here today, have you?"
"Well I heard someone come in earlier, I was in a stall crying so I didn't see them but they made those hissing sounds like I heard before I died."
"Where did they do that?"
"By the sinks, I think."
"And you're sure it was just one person? Not two?"
Harry started investigating the sinks, they all appeared pretty much the same so he turned them each on, one-by-one until he got to the last one – it didn't work. He investigated further and found a small snake etched into the faucet.
This is it. He thought. "Open." He then said aloud.
"I think you might need to hiss at it." Myrtle suggested.
Harry focused harder on the image of the snake and tried again and this time the sink disappeared into the ground and a large pipe was revealed.
"Be seeing you." He said, tipping his head to Myrtle and jumping down the pipe. After a long slide he arrived at the dark, damp bottom.
This is a really elaborate set of pipes. Considering they don't seem to be used for anything other than housing a deadly monster you'd think the people building them would have been more suspicious. Harry thought as he brushed himself off and used his wand to light the way. Not much further into the tunnel he saw something unfortunately basilisk-shaped laying across the tunnel. It didn't move.
Good, maybe it's asleep. I'm sure all the pillaging and terrorizing gets exhausting.
Upon further examination this was only the skin, though.
Oh, it's only twenty or thirty feet, this should be no big deal. I'll just grab that rooster I carefully stole and then hid all day for this exact purpose. Oh, wait. Lockhart killed it.
Harry continued down the tunnel until he finally arrived at a wall with two serpents carved upon it.
"Open." He said in Parseltongue. The wall opened into two halves and Harry walked casually inside. Once there he was greeted by a chamber that looked just how an evil serpent-themed lair should. Because the chamber was lit and Harry wasn't actually suicidal he de-lumosed his wand. He walked further into the chamber until he saw a giant statue of a wizard he presumed to be Slytherin.
I can't really fault the guy, I plan to make a giant statue of myself inside my evil lair.
In between the feet of the statue he saw what he had come for. Ginny Weasley, laying motionless on the ground.
Well that was pretty easy, all things considered. He thought, crouching down to check her vitals. She was pale and cold, her eyes closed. Harry couldn't make out a pulse but, then again, he was no healer.
Well, she's not petrified, so I guess that's good. Unless she's dead, then that's probably bad.
"Hey Ginny, it's Harry, do you think you could wake up? I'm in a bit of a rush." He said, giving her a gentle slap on the face, to no avail.
"She won't wake." a voice said behind him.
Harry looked over his shoulder and saw the voice belonged to who he thought: Tom Riddle. He turned around and stood up.
"Why's that, Tom?"
"Well, she's still alive, but only just." Riddle replied from the pillar he was leaned casually against.
Harry weighed his options and decided that there wasn't much he could do about Ginny immediately, so he decided to talk with Tom a little more.
"So what are you exactly? A ghost?"
"A memory. Preserved for fifty years by a diary." Riddle said, pointing to the diary laying at the foot of the statue.
"Curious." Harry said, taking a moment to ponder. "So, want to help me get Ginny here back to the school to see if Madam Pomfrey can help her?" Harry had a sneaking suspicion he didn't, but figured it'd be fun to ask.
"I've waited a long time for the chance to see you, Harry Potter." Riddle started.
"So is that a no, or..."
"We're going to talk now."
"Alright. How did Ginny get like this? And why?" Harry asked.
"Good question. It's a long story but I suppose the real reason is because she spilled all the secrets of her heart to me: an invisible stranger."
"So I take it she's the one that had the diary before me?"
"And after, yes. She's been writing in it all year about all her petty worries. Months of 'Oh, I had to buy secondhand robes, it's so embarrassing.' and 'I don't even think the famous Harry Potter knows I exist.' Pathetic, really, and boring. But I was patient, I wrote back, I gave her my sympathy." Riddle went on. "And she gave me her soul."
"How oddly literal." Harry mused.
"And so I grew more powerful. Powerful enough to start pouring some of my soul into her."
"I know you're technically 16 but you're really like 50 so don't you think that's just a little bit-"
"Haven't you figured it out, yet, Potter?" Riddle interjected impatiently. "Ginny is the one that set the basilisk loose on the four Mudbloods-"
"That would make sense given her history of blood-purism. I guess it explains all those slurs she used to talk about Hermione, too."
"Ginny Weasley" Riddle continued, growing more impatient with Harry "Is the one who opened the chamber, who killed the Squib's cat, who strangled all the school's roosters."
"Well, not all of them. Lockhart did kill one, you've got to give him credit for that."
"She didn't know she was doing it at first, it was actually amusing. 'Dear Tom, I woke up covered in rooster blood and feathers. I think I'm losing my memory. Also, that Harry Potter is so cute. Swoon.'" He said using his best Ginny voice.
Harry actually thought that was a little amusing. Not so much the attacking people with deadly snakes part, that was a little messed up, but this guy who is some sort of supervillian, just tried to talk like an 11-year-old girl. Oh, and he said 'swoon.'
"It took Ginny a long time to distrust me." He went on. "She tried to dispose of me, but then you found me. How lucky! Of all the people who could have found it you picked it up: the person I most wanted to talk to."
"I get that a lot."
"She told me so much about you." Riddle said, eyes lingering on Harry's forehead. "I knew I had to gain your trust, so I showed you my famous capture of Hagrid, saving Hogwarts."
"Wow, you sure fooled me." Harry said in thick monotone.
"I fooled Headmaster Dippet, too." Riddle went on, missing Harry's sarcasm. "In fact, the only person who seemed to think Hagrid was innocent was Dumbledore, the transfiguration teacher. He never seemed to like me as much as the other teachers did..."
"Probably because you're some sort of evil supervillain."
"Well he did stay a little too close for comfort after that. He was suspicious. It made it unsafe to open the chamber any more. That's why I made the diary so that I could lead someone else to continue Slytherin's work in my stead."
"That seems like a pretty elaborate scheme. You had to preserve your memory in a diary – that cant' be a very common spell – and then you just had to hope that it was found by a student. If an adult found it they probably wouldn't even be at the school to open it. Then you'd have to hope that the student who found it wasn't a mudblood, just because that would be too ironic. After all that you could still get stuck with someone like Neville trying to do your work for you and have it all fall apart. The fact that you got this far doesn't prove that you're some sort of magical genius, it just means you got really, really lucky."
"You can think what you like, but I still got you here, didn't I? What more could I ask for."
"Bacon. You could ask for bacon. It makes everything taste better."
"How did you defeat Voldemort? A baby with no extraordinary powers-"
"Hold on a minute, now" Harry interrupted
"-escaped with nothing but a scar while Lort Voldemort's powers were destroyed?"
"Why do you even care about Voldemort? He came about long after you."
"Harry, I am Lord Voldemort. The most powerful wizard in the world." Tom said, tracing out his word and rearranging them to Tom Marvolo Riddle.
"That's a neat trick, you'll have to show me that one. Seriously, though, you're Lord Voldemort?"
"Merlin. You probably couldn't kill me because you though of a plan as contrived and silly as the one you used with the diary. I'm getting tired of killing you, though. I had to do it last year, too. This is just getting redundant. You aren't even the most powerful wizard, either. That's Dumbledore."
"If that's so then how is it that the mere memory of me could drive him from Hogwarts?"
"Dumbledore only left the school because he allowed himself to be. You drove him from nowhere."
Eerie music started sounding inside the chamber, it startled Tom. It grew louder and louder, finally reaching its crescendo as a large flaming bird appeared on top of a pillar. It dove to Harry, dropping the ragged sorting hat at his feet.
Riddle started laughing. "That's what you get? A phoenix and a hat? That's great. To business, then. Tell me everything you know about the last two times we met. The longer you talk the longer I allow you to live."
"But that would be telling." Harry replied. Riddle looked at him shrewdly then started speaking in Parseltongue to the statue of Slytherin. Harry slammed the hat over his head.
Though Dumbledore had technically been removed as headmaster it hadn't stopped him from continuing to do his job as best he could from outside the school. Today his job entailed travel out of the country and so he had brought Fawkes with him which is why he found it very usual that the bird had disappeared from his shoulder. When he didn't return several minutes later he grew more more concerned.
"I'm terribly sorry to cut our meeting short but I think I may be needed back in country." Dumbledore said sincerely to the man he was having tea with.
"I understand." The man replied. "We can reschedule."
"I don't think that will be necessary, at least not if you'd like to accompany me."
Come on, hat. Got any ideas on how to kill a basilisk? I'd even settle for an idea on how to kill a memory, Tom is really starting to get on my nerves. Harry thought to the hat. It didn't talk back but sort of contracted and then spat out a sword onto his head. It hit fairly hard, as swords dropped on heads so often do. Harry fell back from the pain and laid on the ground, trying to reorient himself. He could hear the snake approaching the chamber and he heard Fawkes take flight.
Harry hadn't really thought about the phoenix until it was leaving but he decided he really would prefer it if he stayed. Especially when Tom gave the "Kill Him" command to the snake and let out an evil laugh. But then he heard the phoenix emit a loud shriek. As interesting as it sounded, he decided to keep his eyes closed a short while longer. He heard another shriek and then Tom again.
"No! Leave the bird, kill the boy! You can still smell him!"
That sounded promising so harry opened his eyes to see that Fawkes had managed to blind the snake, which was really fortunate considering Harry had just looked at its eyes to check. Harry grabbed the sword the hat had given him and stood up.
I told Sirius that I needed sword-fighting lessons and yet he insisted that I would never need to know that!
Harry decided to see if his vast knowledge of second-year spells could do anything but they just seemed to bounce off the creature's skin. Having to run from a big, blind, angry snake didn't make focusing on the spells very easy, either.
So the sword it is, then. Since Tom controls the snake, let's try killing him first, then, shall we? Harry ran around the perimeter of the chamber slaloming between the columns in an effort to confuse the blind snake. As he neared Tom he seemed surprisingly unfazed, Harry thought. In fact, the closer he got the more he thought this might be a bad idea. As he closed the last bit of distance he lunged at Tom with the sword but passed right through him, falling on the floor from his lost balance.
Tom was laughing. "You thought you could stab me?"
"Well you aren't a ghost. I don't write the rules for this stuff. How am I supposed to know you can't stab a memory?"
Tom just laughed some more. Harry lay looking up at him deciding that the laughs were definitely growing more malevolent. Then he noticed why: the basilisk had caught up. Harry scrambled to get away as the basilisk made a blind jab at him, narrowly missing. As it recoiled for another attack Harry decided he couldn't outrun it at this range – he had to fight.
The basilisk moved to strike again. Harry rolled to the side and jabbed the sword forward. It punctured the roof the snakes mouth and exited the rear of its head. Before he had time to admire his work, however, Harry felt a burning pain in his shoulder. The basilisk had landed a fang in him before its lifeless head rolled away. Harry yanked the fang out but it did little to ease the pain.
"You're dead, now, Potter." Tom said, as Fawkes flew down to Harry's side.
"You were fantastic, Fawkes. Brilliant, really..." Harry said to the bird, stroking its feathers. The phoenix lay his head on the spot the fang had been and slowly began to cry. Then Harry remembered something else he'd read about basilisks.
"Even the bird knows it. You see that, Potter? He's crying." Tom scoffed.
"Yeah, you really got me this time." Harry said, patronizingly.
"I'm going to sit here and watch you die. Take your time, I'm in no hurry." Riddle said.
"That's touching. Thanks, Tom. It means so much to me." Harry could feel his pain slowly ease and his wound healing before his very eyes.
"So ends the famous Harry Potter. Alone in the Chamber of Secrets. Forsaken by his friends, defeated at last by the Dark Lord."
"Well I'm not so alone, am I? You just promised me you'd sit here and watch me die. By definition that means I'm not alone."
"It's a matter of speech. I meant that no one who cares about you will be here."
"But you were just saying how I was the one person you wanted to talk to most. If that's true then how could you not care about me?" Harry asked. He checked and his wound had completely disappeared now.
"Will you just die already?" Riddle asked, annoyed.
"Why? You just said you were in no hurry. I was going to lie here for another 70 or 80 years. I guess we can move along, though, if you're growing impatient, though." Harry said as he stood up, grabbing the fang he'd removed.
"Wh-what? What's happening?" Riddle said, slowly backing away.
"Healing powers! How could I forget?"
Harry had stabbed the basilisk and attempted to stab Tom. He decided the only thing left to try was the diary so he made a dive for it and stabbed it with the fang. Ink bled out of the diary and Riddle gave a piercing scream as a black whole burned through both him and the diary until he had totally disappeared. Harry lay on the floor for a moment to think, his head was spinning. His thoughts were interrupted by faint moan. Then he remembered he wasn't actually alone in the chamber, there was still a person to save, so he ran over to Ginny who had just managed to sit up. She looked at the dead basilisk, then at Harry, and then to the diary in his hand. Ginny gave Harry a hug and started sobbing.
"Oh, Harry I t-tried to t-tell you. It was me. B-but I s-swear I d-didn't mean to. The d-diary m-made me do it."
"I know, he and I had a nice talk."
"W-where is he? How did you kill that.. thing?"
"Oh, that was the best part, you missed it. I killed the basilisk with a sword, it was immense. And Riddle, he's dead. Turns out you can't stab a memory with a sword so I stabbed the diary instead." Harry held up the burned book for her to see. "I should probably get the sword back, too." He said as he walked over to the dead basilisk's head and removed the sword.
"I can't believe you went through all that for me." Ginny said, looking at the basilisk as she walked over to him.
"It wasn't that bad, really." Harry said, modestly as Ginny drew nearer. She hesitated for a moment and then moved in and kissed him on the lips.
This was the first time a kiss had ever surprised Harry, so he just stood there until Ginny pulled away.
"Oh." She said, softly.
"So all this... you just did that as a friend?"
"Yeah, more or less. I mean, I appreciate that, and all but, I don't think you and I would work, not like that."
"I mean, you're my best friend's sister and - don't take this the wrong way - I am sort of out of your league."
Ginny just looked at the floor.
That probably wasn't the smartest thing to say. In fact, I'm not actually sure there is a right way to take that. Harry realized as he looked at Ginny.
"Oh, and I have a tendency to not be the best boyfriend, so you shouldn't even want to my girlfriend, really."
"You can stop talking, I get it." Ginny said quietly.
"Right. So, I'm going to see if I can find us an exit." He said after a long silence and walked over to pick up the sorting hat. When he did so he looked down the entry hall and saw Dumbledore leading a pack of teachers, wands drawn, in his direction.
"Don't worry, everyone, I'm OK." Harry shouted out to them.
A/N: So I almost wrote this entire chapter in one setting, that's sort of new. Hopefully you've enjoyed this sudden burst of new writing. This chapter shares a title with a +44 song whose lyrics I felt were fitting with this chapter. There also might be another reason I picked that title but I suspect it will take a Ravenclaw to figure that out.
On a totally unrelated note, 10 house points to whoever correctly guesses the unnamed man Dumbledore met with. I think I might have just made that a little too obvious, though.
By the way, there's a poll pertaining to 3rd year plot in my profile. You can vote in it if you'd like.
Lastly, I enjoy your reviews, if you enjoy my replies to your reviews you should make sure your account has private messages enabled. Unless you don't like replies. Then you should disable private messages.