Dark grey clouds hovered in the sky as rain pelted down from them onto the ground and onto the magnificent castle of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. The mood outdoors matched the one indoors; the Chamber of Secrets has been opened. Justin Finch-Fletchley, the Gryffindor ghost Nearly Headless Nick and Filch's cat Mrs Norris have all been Petrified by the monster that resided in the Chamber. The students in the school, desperate to find out who was unleashing the horror of the Chamber, have now pinned the blame on one particular student.

Harry Potter sat in one of Hogwarts's many study areas, poring over his notes. Studying seemed to be the only thing that distracted him from the school's series of unfortunate events, especially now that he has been labelled as the Heir of Slytherin. Tell a snake to leave your classmates alone at a Duelling Club and you're officially the bad guy. Though Harry saw his classmates' point of view: being a Parselmouth, a Slytherin-only ability, would most likely get people thinking that you're related to Salazar Slytherin himself. But it still hurt Harry to know that his classmates thought he would try to purge the school of Muggle-borns. One of his best friends was a Muggle-born for crying out loud! How could they think that of him?

Harry grabbed one of his textbooks and began researching Herpo the Foul. After finding his needed information, he scribbled away in his notebook. While doing so, Harry became fully aware that he was being watched. He looked to his right and found a group of students glaring at him. Once they saw him staring back, they returned to their work. Feeling uneasy, Harry looked to his left and caught another group staring at him as well. He felt more eyes burning holes in his back but he dared not to turn around. He instead focused his gaze on Ron and Hermione, who were sitting in front of him, and saw with a painful stab through the heart that they weren't even looking at him. Deciding that he couldn't take any more, Harry packed his things and left the room, ignoring the piercing glares that followed.

He didn't stop walking until he reached the boys' dormitory in Gryffindor Tower. He dumped his things on his four-poster bed and stared out the window. He could barely see the outside as the rain lashed against the window; then, Harry had a sudden impulse to go out in this gloomy weather. Without bothering to bring a cloak or scarf or anything to keep him warm and dry, Harry stormed out of the dormitory and out of the common room.

Every student he passed gave him a wide berth and glared daggers at him as they whispered among themselves; even the ghosts were avoiding and whispering about him. Harry felt a pressure behind his eyes as he crossed the Entrance Hall and he quickened his pace. He pushed through the oak doors and he stepped into the rain.

The rain splashed hard on the ground and on Harry's glasses. He took out his wand and tapped his lenses, muttering "Impervius." He put his wand away and ran down the grounds' sloping lawns all the way to the Black Lake. Hundreds of ripples were formed on the water's usually smooth surface. Harry skidded to a halt but slipped on the wet grass and he fell hard on his backside. But he didn't care; all of his focus was on getting away from the scrutiny and unleashing his pent-up emotions. He buried his face in his arms and knees and began to cry.

Professor Severus Snape was making his way up to the Entrance Hall from the dungeons. The storm outside made the dungeons too dark for even the Potions master's taste so he had decided to relocate to a brighter atmosphere. The top of the stairs he was climbing shone with light, indicating that the Entrance Hall wasn't far.

As he crossed the threshold, something on the floor caught Snape's eye. He drew nearer and he discovered that it was a puddle of water. There was a trail of them that led to the great oak doors. Figuring that the trail began at the door rather than ending there, Snape turned his gaze toward the marble staircase and found a student climbing up them, drenched to the bone. Recognizing the student, Snape put on his best angry face and marched toward the unsuspecting tween.

"Potter!" Snape snapped harshly. "Mind explaining why you're dripping all over the floor?"

The young Gryffindor jumped about a foot and a half in the air in shock and he whirled around. Now closer, Snape saw that Potter was shivering violently and that his eyes were red and slightly puffy. Something was wrong and Snape was uncomfortably aware of it. But he said nothing and he glared at Potter until he got his answer.

"I-I was," Potter replied, his teeth chattering, "j-just outside in the g-grounds, sir."

"In this weather?" Snape said, scowling. He knew that Gryffindors were rather brawny than brainy but even he thought they were smarter than that. "Why?"

"B-Because I—" But the rest of the sentence was lost when Potter tried to stifle a sneeze. Snape's hand automatically flew to the boy's forehead. Potter's eyes grew wide in surprise and Snape quickly snatched his hand back, startled by his own actions. Knowing that he could not avoid the unavoidable, he said, "You're burning up, Potter! How long were you outside?"

Potter shrugged nonchalantly and Snape took that as 'a couple of hours'. Mumbling about Gryffindors becoming stupider every day, he grabbed Potter by the wrist and began dragging him up the stairs.

"You're coming with me to the Hospital Wing," Snape said silkily.

"No!" That response came so suddenly that it caused Snape to stop in his tracks. He turned around and found Potter staring at him with a terrified expression. The Potions master raised his eyebrows at him.

"You'd better have a good explanation for this," he snarled angrily.

Potter flushed, seeming to regret his outburst. He remained quiet and Snape narrowed his eyes in concentration. Without breaking eye contact, Snape used Legilimency and saw in Potter's mind that he was scared. Scared of what people might do to him during his time at the Hospital Wing due to the fact that most believed him to be the Heir of Slytherin.

Snape sighed exasperatedly. He hated to admit it but Potter was not wrong to be scared; Hogwarts students weren't always the friendliest crowd.

"Fine, we won't go to the hospital but don't think that I'll let you contaminate this school," Snape said icily.

He stormed down the stairs, dragging a very confused Potter behind him. Snape returned to the dungeons and did not stop until he reached his chamber, which was guarded by a portrait. He whispered the password ('Lily') so that Potter wouldn't hear and when the portrait swung open he marched inside with Potter stumbling about behind him.

The chamber was composed of two rooms. The first had a fireplace, a desk, a couch and two armchairs facing the fireplace and book shelves were lining the walls. Snape dragged Potter into the second room which was the bedroom. It contained a large four-poster bed, a bedside table and a wardrobe. Snape took out his wand and gave it a strained flick. Dry clothes appeared on his bed.

"Put those on and get into bed. No complaints!" Snape ordered stiffly.

Before Potter had a chance to protest, Snape strode out of the room, slamming the door shut behind him.

What's Harry thinking about all of this? He must be completely confused to say the least.

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