AN: I apologise for the very long delay, but my girlfriend and I have just recently welcomed a new addition to the family and I have been too busy with work and looking after my new daughter and have only just now found the time and energy to sit down and restart this story. I thank everyone who has left a review or favourite/followed this story.
The school could talk of little else but the attack on Mrs. Norris. Filch kept it fresh in everyone's minds by pacing the spot where she had been attacked, as though he thought the attacker might come back. Harry had seen him scrubbing the message on the wall with Mrs. Skower's All-Purpose Magical Mess Remover, but to no effect; the words still gleamed as brightly as ever on the stone. When Filch wasn't guarding the scene of the crime, he was skulking red- eyed through the corridors, lunging out at unsuspecting students and trying to put them in detention for things like "breathing loudly' and "looking happy."
Harry, Daphne and Tracy were walking to charms from lunch when they heard Dumbledore's voice booming throughout the castle.
"ALL STUDENTS ARE TO RETURN TO THEIR COMMON ROOMS." The Headmasters voice informed them, stopping students in their tracks as they looked around for the source of the voice, but Dumbledore was nowhere to be seen.
"ALL TEACHERS ARE TO REPORT TO THE SIXTH FLOOR CORRIDOR IMMEDIATELY." For a moment, there was silence in the halls before the students began chattering amongst themselves as they headed towards their common rooms.
"Sounds like there has been another attack." Harry said to the girls as they made their way down into the dungeons with the other Slytherin's.
"Sounds like it." Daphne agreed a frown on her face as she looked around them.
"Well at least the other houses will stop looking at you in suspicion." Tracy said to Harry who nodded in agreement. Ever since the attack on Mrs. Norris last week the other three houses had been looking at Harry with suspicion and some fear, clearly they all thought that Harry had petrified the cat.
In-fact Ron Weasley had openly declared the attack as Harry's beginning rise to be the next Dark Lord, his fear off Harry seemed to have vanished over night as he began sprouting about the next Dark Lord Potter.
As they entered the common room along with the other students, they failed to notice the absence of Pansy Parkinson who they had not seen for over an hour just as lunch was starting.
After an hour of the students standing around or in some cases sitting around, the wall to the common room slid open, Professor Snape stepped inside, his normally pale face even paler, and he had a grim look on his face.
"There has been a double attack." Snape began grimly as he stood before the silent students. "Mr. Collin Creevey and Ms. Hermione Granger were found on the sixth floor by Professor McGonagall and have been taken to the hospital wing." He finished explaining in a tired sounding voice.
"What has happened to them?" Bole asked his head of house, he like everyone else had a feeling that the double attack was just like the one on Filch's cat last week.
"They have been petrified." Snape answered confirming most people's suspicions.
"What happens now?" Kevin asked from beside Bole.
"For today the rest off lessons have been cancelled and dinner will be served in the common rooms while the headmaster and us professor's search the school for the culprit." Snape explained quietly though he privately thought that the culprit would be long gone and hidden by now.
"Nobody is to leave the common room until tomorrow morning and if I find out that anyone has ignored my order they will find themselves in detention with me every night until they graduate." Snape informed them all with a hard edge to his voice and glare on his face. He may not want to put one of his Slytherin's in detention for the rest of their Hogwarts career but he would if they disobeyed his order. He was only looking out for his snakes after all.
"We understand Professor Snape." Higg's informed his head of house as he looked around the students. "I'll make sure they do not disobey your order." He too glared at the students not wanting any of them to come to any harm.
"Thank you Mr Higg's." Snape said with a nod before he bid them all goodnight before turning around and exiting the common room leaving the students talk amongst themselves once more.
"Well since there are no more classes for the rest of the day, I think I'm going to begin reading on Occlumency." Harry told Daphne and Tracy as he began heading towards the stairs leading up to the boy's dorms.
"Ok see you in a bit." Tracy said before turning to talk to Daphne about the attack. She knew that unless the person or persons attacked Harry or any of his friends then her brother would not care about the attacks.
The most basic form of Occlumency, involves clearing one's mind — making it "blank and empty" — in order to prevent a Legilimens from perceiving one's emotions and thoughts. More advanced Occlumency involves suppressing only the thoughts, emotions, and memories that would contradict whatever it is an Occlumens wishes a Legilimens to believe; hence, it is not obvious that Occlumency is being used even if the person is lying. It requires a great deal of will power, as with resisting the Imperius Curse, as well as a high degree of mental and emotional discipline. It is also one method of resisting the influence of Veritaserum.
"However, a master of Occlumency is able to erect shields around his or her mind making it almost impossible for a Legilimens to gain entry into their mind and thus protecting their every emotion and thought. However, someone with a stronger will power will be able to break down these shields and read your thoughts to their content as their forceful breaking of your shields will leave you completely defenceless due to the massive headache after your shields are broken."
As he finished reading, the introduction to the book Harry could immediately see why Professor Flitwick would want him to obtain and master this skill.
He turned the page to begin the first chapter.
The Human Brain
"The mind is not a book, to be opened at will and examined at leisure. Thoughts are not etched on the inside of skulls, to be perused by any invader. The mind is a complex and many-layered thing... It is true, however, that those who have mastered Legilimency are able, under certain conditions, to delve into the minds of their victims and to interpret their findings correctly."
Memories are peculiar because they do not exist in the same way that your limbs or organs do. Unlike an office or a library, we do not have tiny filing cabinets filled with individual folders where bits of information are stored. Instead, we have complex pathways or neurons that fire messages back and forth, that extend throughout the entire brain. What seems to be a single memory is actually a complex composite of different areas of the brain being activated, thus together recalling the memory and creating a cohesive thought. The connections between neurons are not permanent, and are in fact continuously evolving. When you learn something new, you are creating pathways new between neurons, which will allow you to access the information at a later point in time. The more signals that are sent between the neurons, the stronger the connection will grow. These connections are reinforced with use, meaning that the more often you access certain pathways, the easier it will be to remember the information. By the same token, if a pathway is seldom accessed, it will slowly degrade in order to allow other pathways to be created, which will result in a greater difficulty to access and remember that memory.
Different types of memories are stored differently – sensorial memory, short term and long-term memory. Neurobiologists believe however that they are all accessed and recalled in the same way. When recalling a memory, you are retrieving the information on an unconscious level and bringing it into your conscious mind. Again, the stronger the pathways between the neurons, the easier it will be to recall that memory.
By this point Harry was completely engrossed in his book and therefore completely missed Theo entering their dorm and retrieving his homework for that week before once more leaving the dorm and Harry to his reading.
Now that we have a decent idea of how memory works, we can better appreciate how Occlumency might help protect someone against invasion of the mind. Occlumency is a form of suppression of memories, thus making it difficult for someone to access them.
Before Harry knew it, hours had passed without his notice as he remained completely engrossed in his book, and he would have missed dinner down in the common room unless Theo had not come to inform him that it was time to eat.
Up in the headmaster's office Dumbledore was talking to his two most trusted Order of the Phoenix members, Alastor "Mad-eye" Moody and Professor Severus Snape.
"Have we any ideas of whom or what is attacking the Students?" Moody asked the two Professor's in his growling voice as he took a swig from his flask.
Moody looked as though his face was roughly carved from wood. Due to injuries from his long career as an Auror, it was covered with scars, and a chunk of his nose was missing. He had dark grey, grizzled hair. He also had a wooden leg.
His eyes, however, were his most shocking feature: one was small and dark while the other was a vivid, electric blue magical eye and moved around independently from his normal eye, giving him the nickname of "Mad-Eye Moody". This eye could see through objects, Invisibility cloaks and the back of his own head
"Oh I know very well who is attacking the students but I just cannot figure out how he is doing it as the last I heard from my sources he was hiding in an Albanian forest, without a body." Dumbledore explained to the grizzled old Auror.
"You mean the Dark Lord is behind the attacks?" Moody asked with a growl and scowl on his face.
"Yes but since he does not have a body I cannot figure out how he is doing it." The frustration he was feeling was all too clear in the Headmasters' voice as he stood from his chair behind his desk and began pacing as he usually did when trying to solve a mystery.
"Are we 100% sure he does not have a body?" Moody asked as he took another swig from his flask.
"Yes otherwise this would not be pale gray but completely black if he had a body." Snape answered Moody as he rolled up his left sleeve to show the ex Auror the very pale gray Dark Mark.
Moody grunted in agreement, as he glanced at the Dark Mark. Moody was well known for being overly cautious and paranoid about his security and everyone who knew him knew that he trusted very few people completely. In-fact he only trusted Dumbledore, Arthur Weasley and Snape completely and he only trusted that Snape really was on the light side and spying on Voldemort because the man had sworn an unbreakable vow to him about his loyalty.
"So we know who is doing it but not how he is doing it." Moody began as he looked between the two men. "Do we know if he is using a spell or a dark creature to attack the students?"
"I do not know any spell that would render the victim petrified the way that they are." Dumbledore answered as he continued to pace. "The only spell that springs to mind is the petrification spell but that turns the victim to stone and clearly none of the victims have been turned to stone." He finished his explanation still pacing behind his desk.
"I would suggest a Basilisk but those monsters kill instantly with a single glance of the eyes." Snape spoke quietly as he looked at the two men.
Suddenly Dumbledore stopped his pacing as he caught sight of his own refection in the window.
"But what if they did not look the Basilisk in the eyes or at least not directly?" Dumbledore asked his voice barely above a whisper as he continued to stare at his reflection.
"You mean if they only looked in the reflection of the Basilisk's eyes and not directly into its eyes, then they would be petrified?" Moody asked as he moved to join Dumbledore in looking at their reflection in the window.
"It is a plausible explanation at to how the students are in the state that they are in and not dead if it is a Basilisk attacking them." Snape agreed as he joined the other two men at the window.
"Now all we have to do is find out where it is it hides when not attacking and how it moves around the school without notice." Dumbledore said softly to the nodded agreement of the two men behind him.
Two months later
With just under 10 days until Christmas the students and staff while clearly nervous about the attacks tried their hardest too forget about them and enjoy a nice normal Christmas. Since Dumbledore, Snape and Moody had come to an agreement about the Dark Lord being behind the attacks using a Basilisk, the three where no nearer in finding out how the Dark Lord was doing it or any nearer in capturing/killing the monstrous snake.
As the students and staff up at the school tried to carry on as normal out on the ground in the gamekeepers hut Hagrid was finding it very hard to carry on as normal.
He hardly seemed to know what he was doing as he went about making himself a cup of tea. He nearly extinguished the fire, spilling water from the kettle on it, and then smashed the teapot with a nervous jerk of his massive hand. He kept glancing nervously at the windows. He poured a large mug of boiling water (he had forgotten to add tea bags) and was just putting a slab of fruitcake on a plate when there was a loud knock on the door.
Hagrid dropped the fruitcake and seized his crossbow, and flung open his door.
"Good evening, Hagrid." It was Dumbledore. He entered, looking deadly serious, and was followed by a second, very odd-looking man. The stranger had rumpled gray hair and an anxious expression, and was wearing a strange mixture of clothes: pinstriped suit, a scarlet tie, a long black cloak, and pointed purple boots. Under his arm, he carried a lime-green bowler. This man's name was Cornelius Fudge, the Minister of Magic.
Hagrid had gone pale and sweaty. He dropped into one of his chairs and looked from Dumbledore to Cornelius Fudge.
"Bad business, Hagrid." said Fudge in rather clipped tones. "Very bad business, Had to come, eight attacks on Muggleborn's, Things have gone far enough, and Ministry's got to act."
"I never," said Hagrid, looking imploringly at Dumbledore. "You know I never, Professor Dumbledore, sir –"
"I want it understood, Cornelius, that Hagrid has my full confidence," said Dumbledore, frowning at Fudge.
"Look, Albus," said Fudge, uncomfortably. "Hagrid's record's against him. Ministry's got to do something - the school governors have been in touch –"
"Yet again, Cornelius, I tell you that taking Hagrid away will not help in the slightest," said Dumbledore. His blue eyes were full of a fire very rarely seen in the grandfatherly old Headmaster.
"Look at it from my point of view," said Fudge, fidgeting with his bowler. "I'm under a lot of pressure, got to be seen to be doing something. If it turns out it was not Hagrid, he will be back and no more said. However, I have to take him. Wouldn't be doing my duty."
"Take me?" said Hagrid, who was trembling. "Take me where?"
"For a short stretch only," said Fudge, not meeting Hagrid's eyes. "Not a punishment, Hagrid, more a precaution. If someone else is caught, you will be let out with a full apology –"
"Not Azkaban?" croaked Hagrid.
Before Fudge could answer, there was another loud rap on the door. Dumbledore answered it. Mr. Lucius Malfoy strode into Hagrid's hut, swathed in a long black travelling cloak, smiling a cold and satisfied smile. Fang started to growl.
"Already here, Fudge," he said approvingly. "Good, good…"
"What're you doin' here?" said Hagrid furiously. "Get outta my house!"
"My dear man, please believe me, I have no pleasure at all in being inside your - er - d'you call this a house?" said Lucius Malfoy, sneering as he looked around the small cabin. "I simply called at the school and was told that the Headmaster was here."
"And what exactly did you want with me, Lucius?" said Dumbledore. He spoke politely, but the fire was still blazing in his blue eyes.
"Dreadful thing, Dumbledore," said Malfoy lazily, taking out a long roll of parchment, "but the governors and I feel it's time for you to step aside. This is an Order of Suspension - you will find all twelve signatures on it. I am afraid we feel you are losing your touch. How many attacks have there been now? Two more this afternoon, wasn't it? At this rate, there'll be no Muggleborn's left at Hogwarts, and we all know what an awful loss that would be to the school."
"Oh, now, see here, Lucius," said Fudge, looking alarmed, "Dumbledore suspended - no, no - last thing we want just now –"
"The appointment - or suspension - of the Headmaster is a matter for the governors, Fudge," said Mr. Malfoy smoothly. "And as Dumbledore has failed to stop these attacks –"
"See here, Malfoy, if Dumbledore can't stop them," said Fudge, whose upper lip was sweating now, "I mean to say, who can?"
"That remains to be seen," said Mr. Malfoy with a nasty smile. "But as all twelve of us have voted –"
Hagrid leapt to his feet, his shaggy black head grazing the ceiling. "An' how many did yeh have ter threaten an' blackmail before they agreed, Malfoy, eh?" he roared.
"Dear, dear, you know, that temper of yours will lead you into trouble one of these days, Hagrid," said Mr. Malfoy. "I would advise you not to shout at the Azkaban guards like that. They won't like it at all."
"Yeh can' take Dumbledore!" yelled Hagrid, making Fang the boarhound cower and whimper in his basket. "Take him away, an' the Muggleborn's won' stand a chance! You mark my words there'll be killin's next!"
"You think so." Malfoy replied in a smooth voice with an undercurrent of hope that Hagrid was right and Muggleborn's would be killed.
"Calm yourself, Hagrid," said Dumbledore sharply. He looked at Lucius Malfoy.
"If the governors want my removal, Lucius, I shall of course step aside –"
"But –" stuttered Fudge.
"No!" Growled Hagrid.
Dumbledore had not taken his bright blue eyes off Lucius Malfoy's cold gray ones.
"However," said Dumbledore, speaking very slowly and clearly so that none of them could miss a word. "You will find that I will only truly have left this school when none here are loyal to me. You will also find that help will always be given at Hogwarts to those who ask for it."
"Admirable sentiments," said Malfoy, bowing. "We shall all miss your-er-highly individual way of running things, Albus, and only hope that your successor will manage to prevent any-ah-"killin's."
He strode to the cabin door, opened it and bowed Dumbledore out. Fudge, fiddling with his bowler, waited for Hagrid to go ahead of him.
"All right, I'm comin," said Hagrid, pulling on his moleskin overcoat and following Fudge out the door.
The following morning when the rest of the school learned of Dumbledore's removal as Headmaster the staff and students fear seemed to increase tenfold. They like Hagrid believed that without Dumbledore there would be an attack a day.
McGonagall as acting head was very reluctantly talking with the other professor's about shutting the school and sending the students home until the culprit had been caught and thrown into Azkaban prison.
Only Snape knew that one did not simply catch the Dark Lord, though of course he could not tell this to the other professor's as he was under orders from Dumbledore not too.
The only person at Hogwarts who was not scared about the attacks other than Harry, was Draco Malfoy who was seen swaggering through the halls as though he owned the place and on many occasions had been heard bragging about his father been the one to remove Dumbledore from the school.
"I always thought Father might be the one who got rid of Dumbledore," he said, not troubling to keep his voice down. "I told you he thinks Dumbledore's the worst Headmaster the schools ever had. Maybe we will get a decent Headmaster now. Someone who will not want the Chamber of Secrets closed. McGonagall won't last long; she's only filling in..."
"Ooh, he is really getting on my nerves." Tracy snarled as they once again heard Malfoy bragging as he swaggered past them.
"Same here, can't you knock him down a few pegs Harry?" Daphne asked him pleadingly causing Harry to smirk.
"Why when for once he's leaving me alone and all I have to put up with is Weasel calling me the next Dark Lord." Harry replied as he dropped into his seat in-between Tracy and Daphne in the charms classroom. He completely ignored Pansy Parkinson who had entered behind them and gave him a sad look; he and Pansy had broken up after just two weeks of being together as he could not stand her gossiping about other students or going on and on about the latest Witch Weekly Magazine or the latest fashion.
"But maybe you're both right; maybe I could knock the ponce back into place and put Weasel back in his." Harry said quietly as the Professor entered the room and took roll.
"Now then class, today we will be learning about the Hair-Thickening Charm." Flitwick began in his squeaky voice. Harry who had already mastered the 2nd and 3rd year's charms would be learning a fourth year charm, The Summoning Charm.
"Now the wand movement is thus." However before Flitwick could show them they once again heard a voice booming throughout the school.
"ALL STUDENTS ARE TO RETURN TO THEIR COMMON ROOMS, ALL PROFESSORS TO THE STAFF ROOM IMMEDIATELY." This time Snape's voice was booming throughout the school.
The students began to pack their things back into their bags, they all knew that this was another attack and they had to get to the safety of their common rooms. Flitwick watched as his 2nd years exited the classroom before he followed them and quickly made his way to the staffroom.
"What's happened, whose been attacked." He asked panting slightly after running up two flights of stairs. The staffroom was packed with every professor at Hogwarts, even Professor Trelawney had come down from her tower.
"I'm afraid it's much worse than that Filius, a student has been snatched and taken into the chamber itself." Snape explained to the gathered staff grimly.
"Oh my goodness, do we know who was snatched?" Asked a pale and aghast McGonagall as she slid bonelessly into a seat.
"No not at this moment we don't." Snape replied shaking his head. "All we know is what was written on the wall next to the original warning."
"What was written?" Sprout asked as she took a seat next to McGonagall and tried to offer her friend some small measure of comfort.
"Her skeleton will lie in the chamber forever." Snape said softly to the gasps of everyone there.
Elsewhere in the castle, Harry found himself separated from the rest of his house in the hustle and bustle of the students trying too quickly get to their common rooms. As he turned a corner, he found that he was completely alone and he could not hear any other students nearby.
As he was debating with himself on which was the quickest route to the dungeons he heard a voice call him from behind.
"Harry Potter." A soft feminine voice called from behind him. As he turned around, he saw a flash of red and felt a spell impact his chest before the blackness claimed him and he knew no more.
End of chapter.
Like it? Don't like it? Please review.
And yes, I know some of this chapter has been taken from the original story but I hope I was able to put my own twist on it also.
Also I know that I have moved this year very fast but as my Harry does not care about the attacker I decided I would move it on as he would not have to spend most of the year trying to figure out who it was or wait for the Pollyjuice potion to brew.