A/N: Hello Isis' Bane readers, thanks for checking this out. Sorry I took a break, but this little plot bunny's been distracting me from Isis' Bane. Don't worry, I have already started the next chapter, and I have a five hour plane trip coming up in which I will have plenty of time to type. I hope to have a new chapter posted at althor42's profile within a few weeks.
Disclaimer: If I owned Harry Potter, or any of the derivative works, I would not buss tables for a living.
His head felt weird, and it hurt a lot. He sat upright.
"Harry, can you hear me?"
It was dark, he couldn't see anything, not even his hand in front of his face.
"What happened?" he asked. He put a hand against his head, he could feel blood and a small gash on the crown of his head.
"Harry, oh Merlin, I've been calling out forever. Are you hurt, did he... Are you all right?" He tried to place the voice, the boy calling out to him sounded very familiar, tugging at remembrance, but no name or face came to mind.
"My head's bleeding, and I can't see anything. Where are we?"
There was a pause. "Harry, what's the last thing you can remember?"
"Um," that was a good question, unfortunately he had to think rather hard before he could answer the question, the state of his head was making things difficult.
"I think, last thing I can remember is going home at the end of term."
"You can't remember anything past first year?"
"First year? No, my last year, last year before I go to Stonewall High." Could a blow to his head have made him forget about a whole year of school?
There was a string of curses coming from the stranger, who sounded like he was close to a nervous collapse. It was a bit of a moment before the stranger, who sort of sounded like he was on the other side of a wall, calmed down.
"Alright, Harry, do you have a stick in your hand, or maybe in your pocket?"
"Uh," for the first time Harry realized that his right hand was firmly fisted around, what indeed felt like a stick of wood.
"Yeah," he said.
"Right, Harry, I just need you to trust me for a moment." he sounded desperate.
"Ok," Harry said. He was surprised to realize that he did trust the boy. Though he didn't think he knew him, and he could certainly not recall ever knowing someone who he did trust, but he just had this feeling that he could trust this boy. Maybe it was the blow to the head.
"I want you to hold it out in front of you with the large end in your hand like you're a conductor sort of."
Harry did what the boy told him to do. "Alright."
"Good, now think about a bright light coming from it and say 'lumos'."
"Just try it," the voice pleaded. "But make sure you concentrate on light."
Harry was very sure at this point that he was dreaming, but he did as he was told, though concentrating on anything wasn't fun at the moment.
"Lumos," he said. The stick clattered out of his hand when a bright light shone from the tip of it.
He had to be dreaming. He scrambled for the stick, saying the odd word when it was in his hand once more. It wasn't a stick though, it was a wand, a wand that lit up when he said a word, it was almost like...
"How's it doing that?"
"It's magic Harry, you're a wizard. Look, I'll explain everything, just help me shift these rocks. We don't have any time."
Harry looked away from his magic wand for the first time since it had lit up, and realized he was sitting amongst a ton of rocks, in what looked like a large tunnel underground. He looked to where the stranger's voice was coming from, a wall of rock and earth divided them.
Harry stood up, and climbed as far up the wall of rocks as he could and started moving the rocks. He could hear the other boy doing the same. It was hard though, some of the rocks were as big as his head.
"Um, what's your name?" Harry asked.
"Ron, Ron Weasley. Um, do you remember me at all."
The name oddly enough brought a smile to his face briefly, before it was screwed up with the effort of lifting a heavy rock. Again, he couldn't remember the boy, but he felt something there, something missing.
"Not really I guess."
There was a morose sigh from the other side, where Harry could hear the sounds of rocks moving.
"Look, you don't remember, but we're friends, best friends."
"Oh," Harry said, "I've never really had a friend before."
"I know, you told me once that your cousin used to beat up anyone who was nice to you."
Harris couldn't imagine ever actually telling anyone that.
"You were going to explain," he said. "Everything."
"Oh, yeah. Umm," he paused. "Right, so when you turned eleven-"
"I'm still ten," Harry said.
A sigh, "Ok so just now before the cave in, this big idiot here tried to use a spell to wipe your mind blank. But it backfired and caused the ceiling to fall in and you've lost some memory, right."
"Oh." Harry idly thought that this should have upset him quite a lot, but the whole magic part was still throwing him for a loop.
"Right, so when you turned eleven, you found out that you were a wizard when you got your Hogwarts letter. Um, that's the school we go to, Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. Your parents came here to."
During the boy's explanation, that involved mountain trolls and dark wizards, Harry had to look down at the wand in his hand, clutched awkwardly around the large stones he was moving, to prove to himself that magic was, in fact, real.
"So that's how we found out that you could talk to snakes, and a lot of people started to think that you were letting the monster loose. Then after a couple more students got petrified they sacked Professor Dumbledore, which is stupid, cause he's the most powerful wizard there is, and besides, he was the only wizard You-Know-Who was ever afraid of, so why get rid of him when a dark wizard's on the loose."
Ron had mentioned the headmaster before, and this time to, he had felt almost comforted by the sound of the name, as though this Dumbledore fellow were someone who would solve all of their problems. But Harry didn't need to look around to know that the man wasn't going to suddenly appear to make everything better.
"But after Hermione got petrified," Ron continued after his tangent. "We found a page she'd taken from a book, about Basilisks, which are giant magical snakes, and we figured that that was what it was, see it's look kills, but no one saw it directly. Like, they saw it's reflection and stuff. And Hermione had written the word 'pipes' on the paper. That's how it's been getting around, through the pipes, and that's why you could hear it and we couldn't, cause you speak parseltongue.
"So we figured out where it was, and decided to just come down here to find it?" Harry asked. He had always daydreamed of being a hero, but even with a magic wand in his hand, Harry didn't think he'd want to come down into a dark tunnel and fight a giant magical snake.
"Well we were going to," the boy's, Ron's, voice strained with the effort of his labor, pausing each time he heaved a rock, "find Professor McGonagall, but then we found out that my sister, Ginny had been taken by the heir into the Chamber of Secrets."
Ron's voice once more took on the urgency it had had before he had started his explanation.
"We thought the Defense teacher was going to try to find her, so we went to find him so that we could tell him what we had figured out. But we found him packing up to leave. We'd already figured him for a fraud, but when we called him on it, he admitted that he'd just gone around taking credit, for stuff other people had done and then modifying their memories, and then he was going to wipe our memories, but we disarmed him. We figured we should take him with us so he couldn't get us from behind, but when we got here he grabbed my wand, which is sort of broken, and tried to obliviate you. But it backfired and caused the cave to collapse. Lockheart's just been sitting here like a dolt since it happened. I think he's gotten the full force."
"If this chamber's so secret then how did we get in?"
"It's cause you're a parseltongue; Slytherin warded it so that only a parseltongue could get in. You had to say 'open' in snake-speak in front of the opening."
"Do you know- I mean..." he didn't really know how to ask this. "Do you think she's still alive?"
Ron paused, and Harry couldn't hear any rocks moving.
"The heir left a message. Um..." his voice caught. "It said 'her skeleton will lie in the chamber of secrets forever'. But, you know, maybe he hasn't killed her yet. See there are some Dark Rituals that need a sacrifice, so maybe that's why he took her and maybe she's still alive." Harry could hear desperation in his voice and his heart went out to the boy, who's only hope it seemed was that his sister was being used in a Dark Ritual.
The noise of rocks moving on the other side resumed with a new fervor. Harry lowered his wand and tried to look through the cracks in the rocks. He could just barely see the light coming from the other side. There was still a long way to go. He looked over his shoulder at the dark passageway behind him.
"Ok, look. You were right, there isn't any time. You keep clearing rocks. I'll go on ahead and try to find her."
"Wait, Harry no. You don't even know any magic."
"Did I really know any magic that could have killed a giant magical snake?" Ron was clearing rocks with his hands after all.
"So what was our plan?"
"We didn't have one, but Harry..."
"Right, well I'll just sneak in, and try to sneak her out." He was pretty good at not being seen. He slid down the pile of rocks.
"Harry don't. You're just going to get yourself killed."
"Just keep clearing the rocks, I'll be back as soon as I can."
"Damn it Harry, I've probably lost my sister, I don't want to lose my best friend too."
Harry started to run, there really wasn't any time to waste.
"Harry," Ron called out. "Harry stop." A pause. "Just don't look it in it's eyes, alright." The boy cursed loudly. "And you'd better come back."
Ron kept yelling, but Harry could no longer hear him. The blood was rushing in his ears, and he held his magic wand out in front of him lighting his way as he ran through the ancient tunnel.
Harry ran until he saw a large iron door in front of him. There were two ornate snakes etched into it. It looked like a vault door. Ron had said that they had opened the chamber by speaking like a snake.
"Open," he said. Nothing happened. That had sounded like English.
"Open," he said again, thinking hard about talking like a snake. But nothing happened.
"Open sesame," he tried. "Hocus pocus, abra cadabra." It was worth a shot.
He looked at the door, and closed his eyes. He envisioned that there really was a snake in front of him. He pretended that he really wanted to talk to it.
"Open," he said, and was disappointed to once more hear English. But a moment later he heard a rumbling and he opened his eyes to see that the door had opened for him.
He lowered his wand. In the distance he could see a light. It was time to be sneaky. He didn't know how to turn off the light, so he put it in his pocket. The light went off when the wand left his hand. He crept forward, it was time to be quiet.
As he made his way forward, he could see that the tunnel ended up ahead in a massive cavern. As he slowly made his way forward, he could see statues of large snakes, columns and arches. It was almost like a large cathedral. As he looked at it, he thought that something was off; it took him a moment to realize what it was. There were no shadows in the chamber. It was like the light was coming from everywhere and nowhere at the same time. As he came up to the end of the tunnel, he did his best to look around at his surroundings.
There at the other end, beneath a very large statue of a bearded man, was a small girl with red hair lying sprawled on the ground. He couldn't see any blood, giving him hope that she was still alive. He couldn't see anyone else. Neither the heir, nor the giant snake that Ron had spoken of.
Once more he made his way forward, staying close to the walls, and the high reaching columns. Between his indirect route and his careful pace, it took him a while to make his way towards the girl, constantly looking every which way for any sign of the heir and his basilisk.
There were no columns around where the girl lay and, looking around to make sure that the coast was clear, he made his way forward to check and see if she was alright. He tried shaking her, hoping that she would just wake up, but it was to no avail. She just lay there, limp. Falling upon desperate measures, Harry raised his hand and slapped her face.
"Tsk, tsk, Harry Potter." said a voice behind him.
Harry's stomach plummeted as he spun around. He hadn't heard anyone approach, but right behind him was an older boy, wearing a school uniform much like the one he was.
"Hitting a girl, what would the others think? It's no matter though, she won't wake to tell anyone."
"Did you kill her?" Harry asked the boy who must be the heir.
"Oh she isn't dead," the boy said with a sadistic smile. "Not yet, she has about ten minutes left, I would say, before I've drained the life from her. But then, yes, I will have killed her."
Harry couldn't see a wand in the boy's hand. Perhaps it was time to bluff. He pointed his wand right at the boy's face.
"Alright, you're going to stop killing her, or I'm going to turn you into a frog." Magic could do that, right?
The boy started laughing. "You must be thick if you think that I would believe that a second year had mastered human transfiguration. I doubt you could do anything with that wand that would hurt me. Even if I was fully corporeal."
Harry didn't know what 'corporeal' meant, but he could tell that his bluff had been called. With an incoherent yell, which did nothing for his headache, he ran and leapt at the boy, trying to stab him in the neck with his mostly useless wand. He wasn't really expecting success, but he certainly didn't expect to pass right through the older boy. He fell to the floor in a sprawl, the boy laughing behind him.
"How..." he started to ask before remembering the wand still in his hand. Anything was possible, he supposed.
"How? Surely even you aren't that dense. Haven't you put it together yet? You met me in that diary." He pointed to the leather bound journal clutched in the girl's arm. "I didn't just put my memories in there, I put my self in there; a back up plan of sorts. And in there I slept for fifty years, until she found me and started writing to me. As she wrote to me, she fed me; her hopes and fears, her happiness and her sorrow. She put a part of herself into me, and I have grown stronger. Strong enough to possess her, and open the chamber of secrets once more, and now, strong enough to cast off my paper shackles and take a physical form once more."
Harry eyed the book, and leapt once more through the boy. He grabbed the diary and started tearing at it. Or at least, he tried to. Though it felt like no more than paper and leather, he could not make a single tear. He looked up once more at the boy who was smiling cruelly down at him.
"I put a part of my soul in there Harry, did you think it would be so easy to destroy? But come, we have much more important things to discuss. Something I have wanted to ask you since first she told me of you."
"Like what?" Harry asked.
"Like how did you survive the Dark Lord, how did a baby escape the most powerful wizard of the age?"
Ron had told him about the Dark Wizard who had killed his parents.
"What's he to you?" Harry asked, confused about the direction the altercation had gone.
"He is me," the boy said. "I am Lord Voldemort, the Heir of Slytherin, the most powerful wizard since the founders. Now tell me what I want to know, or I'll just kill you now."
If Ron had known how Harry had survived the Dark Wizard, he hadn't told Harry. He needed to stall the boy.
"You aren't though."
"You aren't the most powerful wizard. Dumbledore is; everyone knows how much you feared him."
Harry wished he had come up with a better way to distract the homicidal teen, one that wouldn't just incite him to kill him sooner, but all that had come to mind was what Ron had said about the Headmaster.
"Dumbledore's been driven out of this castle by the mere memory of me."
"Yeah, he might have lost his job, but if it came down to a match between him and you, I'd bet on him any time," he said confidently. He didn't know where the words came from. But like he had when Ron had spoken earlier, he felt that it was right.
Suddenly, out of nowhere, an ethereal music started to play; like the light, it seemed to come from everywhere. The music got louder and louder, until harry could feel it resonating in his bones. It was uplifting. Of a sudden, there was a flash of fire in the air above them, and a fantastical red and golden bird flew out of it. It swooped down towards Harry and dropped a tattered pointy hat at his feet as it swept by. Harry looked at the item at his feet in confusion. The magnificent bird perched on his shoulder.
"That's a Phoenix," the boy said. He started laughing cruelly.
"Is this what Dumbledore sends his champion. A song bird and the old school sorting hat? Last chance, Harry Potter, tell me what I want to know, or we'll see what good that hat of yours is when you face a basilisk."
The mystical bird above him gave a sharp cry that bolstered Harry.
"Go ahead then," he said. He stooped down to pick up the hat. Who knew, maybe it was a magical hat, anything was possible it seemed.
Voldemort opened his mouth and said, "Speak to me, Slytherin, greatest of the Hogwarts four."
Harry stared transfixed at the statue of the large bearded man as the mouth of the statue opened wide. As he started to see movement in the shadows, he turned his gaze, remembering Ron's parting words. Shoving the hat and the diary under his arm, he stooped down and half carried, half dragged the girl as quickly as he could until he reached one of the columns, which he left her behind. He didn't want her to get crushed by the basilisk. Hearing a massive thud and movement behind him, he dropped the diary and started running, weaving through the columns while he shoved the hat over his head, hoping that something magical would happen when he did. Nothing happened.
Behind him, he heard the bird give a rallying cry, and then, he heard another, but this one didn't come from the golden avian. Harry could only imagine that it came from the massive basilisk behind him. He heard what sounded like splatter on the ground behind himself.
"No, no, forget the bird, get the boy, kill the boy."
Harry fought the urge, but succumbed to the impulse to look behind himself. He turned in time to see the the underside of the giant snakes head as it lunged at the Phoenix. But the golden bird dove over the gaping jaws it's talons outstretched, and a gush of red splattered the ground. The head turned, and before Harry could look away, he saw the face of the basilisk. Where he would have expected to see eyes, he saw red furrows where the bird's golden talons had scored across it's face.
"No, forget the bird, kill the boy, you can still smell him."
Harry kept running through the columns, making frequent turns that the massive basilisk, hunting by sent, couldn't keep up with. He had to think of a way to stop the basilisk, and stop Voldemort, before Ron's sister died.
Suddenly, the hat, which was still upon his head, felt as though it were constricting, and Harry felt a clunk on his already abused head. He pulled off the hat and reached inside, slowing down to see. His hand wrapped around around something large and metallic, but he wasn't really prepared for what he pulled out. It was a sword, and a long one too. How it had fit inside of the hat he had no idea.
If there had not been a giant magical snake barreling towards him at that moment, he might have taken a moment to wonder at the surreal luster of the metal, or the large gems set in the handle, but the fact of the matter was that there was a massive snake behind him. Right behind him, in fact. As he turned around, sword in hand, he barely had time to react at all when he saw the massive snake lunging towards him, it's massive jaws open wide, with rows of poisonous fangs protruding. Not wanting to get bitten, Harry lunged forward, sword in hand, passing straight through the jaws of the basilisk.
Or at least, he almost did. Harry gave a scream he didn't think he could have possibly made as two of the poisonous fangs pierced his lower leg. A moment later, the scream was strangled, as his whole body was constricted when the mighty snake tried to swallow him whole, but he didn't go anywhere since his leg was still impaled on the fangs. Twisting his upper body as much as he could, he pointed the sword to where he thought the top of the snakes head was and drove it in. The blade pierced the basilisk's skull like there was nothing there at all, and the jaws of the mighty beast wrenched open as it gave another horrible scream, which Harry echoed as one of the fangs was ripped out of his calf. He felt a sense of vertigo as the head he was inside of reared up high into the air.
Harry jerked the sword forward and out of the roof of the beast's mouth and moments later he felt his body slam down with the carcass of the now dead basilisk. He took a moment to catch his breath, but he had trouble breathing in all the way, as his chest felt like it was aflame with every breath. Giving that up as a bad job, Harry wormed his way around, trying to reposition himself within the confines of the partially open basilisk mouth. He drew his good leg up to his chest and tried to pry the beast's mouth open a little more. Eventually he was able to sit up enough to get a look at his leg and the fang that still went right through it. Not wanting to feel the pain again of another foreign object being ripped from his body, Harry carefully positioned the sword, and sliced the fang off at the base. Once more the sword passed through the hard tissue without any difficulty. Crawling carefully out of the mouth of the basilisk, Harry looked around himself, and found that with all of his twisting and turning, he had not managed to stray far from where he had left Ron's sister.
That was when he felt it, the venom that was coursing through his veins. His heart was racing impossibly fast, but his body was sluggish, his limbs were starting to tremble, and his head, which had stopped feeling clouded as he had traveled through the tunnel, was once more feeling off. He supposed he was probably dying, and he wondered if the girl, who's name he could not remember, was still alive. It seemed like forever since he had entered the chamber, but looking back he thought that it might not have really been that long.
He didn't want to die if it meant nothing, he had killed the basilisk, but what did that matter, the girl was going to die, and Voldemort would escape, would probably kill Ron on his way out of the chamber. He really didn't want to die having failed; he didn't want to die alone. The tip of the sword dragging behind him, he started hobbling, painfully, towards where he had left the girl. He could see Voldemort out of the corner of his eye.
"I must say," said the young dark wizard. "You defied all of my expectations there. But none of this mattered. You're dead Harry Potter, your body will lay here until it turns to dust. But I, I will live forever, and I will make the whole world fear my name."
Harry tried to tune him out as he reached the girl. He tried to sit down next to her, but it was more of a collapse. He picked up her hand, and held it in his, he shivered at how cold it was. He looked at Voldemort. Where before he had been pale, Harry could see deeper color creeping into the boy's skin. Voldemort held his hands in front of his face, and smiled.
"It is almost complete, you will just barely survive her, I think. Do you have any final words?" he asked.
Harry looked at the boy who had grown up to kill his parents, and wondered if he was solid enough to kill yet. He looked at the sword in his hands. He doubted he could even get back up on his feet, let alone swing the sword at the same time.
The phoenix landed next to him. It looked at him expectantly, and then it looked at the diary. Harry looked at the diary, and he remembered how easily the sword had pierced the skull, and sliced the fang. Perhaps the unnaturally strong book would give as little resistance.
He looked up at Voldemort once more.
"You killed my mom and dad. I think it's you I'm going to outlive." Lifting the sword was difficult, but he drove it down with all of his might.
"No!" Voldemort yelled, as the point of the sword went through the old book. Ink spurted like blood out of the Diary, and Voldemort started screaming. There was a flash of light from where he had stood and a gasp from the previously still form besides him. His body fell backwards, he was having trouble keeping his eyes open and his body was shivering all over, and in his gut, he could feel a burning that was growing stronger.
He saw a face fill his vision.
"Oh Merlin, oh Harry."
He tried to smile at the girl, but it came off more like a grimace. He was glad he had saved her. He raised a shaky hand.
"There's a tunnel over there, your brother's clearing a rock fall. But can you stay just a moment more?" He felt a weight on his good leg, and he lifted his head up as far as he could to see the magnificent bird that had helped him.
The girl was crying as she placed something under his head. She kept saying something over and over, but he had a hard time hearing over the rushing in his ears. He wished he could sit up to pet the bird. It was odd, it almost looked like it was crying too.
It took him a moment to realize that the burning pain in his leg had been replaced by a warmth, as though it were sitting in a hot bath. He felt the mussels in his leg constrict and he felt an odd sensation. He tried to lift his head to see, and soon felt hands under his head and his shoulder. He saw the fang in his leg slide out, as if it had been squeezed out by the mussels. The warmth in his leg started to spread upwards, and throughout his body.
Harry, at this point, almost took it as a matter of course that the magical bird could heal the magic snake venom flowing through his veins. His head started to clear, and his heartbeat evened out, as he started to take steady full breaths.
"Bloody hell!" the voice of Ron exclaimed. Harry sat up fully, no longer needing assistance.
"Ron!" The boy's sister ran up to him and he wrapped her up in a hug, as she cried. Harry could see the family resemblance.
Ron looked like he was trying to reassure himself that his sister was unharmed.
"Blimey, what are you covered in?" Ron asked, turning towards Harry. The boy was one to talk, he was covered in dirt, grime, sweat, and the same weird sludge Harry had woken up covered in.
"Basilisk saliva, and blood," Harry said.
"How'd you bloody well kill it then?"
Harry picked up the sword to show the boy.
"Wicked. Did you find out who the heir is?"
"It was that dark wizard you told me about, Voldemort. He left a copy of his younger self in this diary." He held up the ink stained journal.
"Tom Riddle's journal?"
Harry looked at the name on the front before nodding his head. He soon found himself explaining everything that had happened since they had parted in the tunnel as they made their way back. He kept looking at the boy, the sense of familiarity strong. But try as he might, nothing came to mind.
When they came across a man sitting cross legged on the ground, humming, Harry didn't need to be told that he was the one who had robbed him. He looked at the stupid grin on the man's face and wondered at how close he had come to losing so much more. Ron had the man get up and follow them, Harry avoided looking at him.
As they neared the end of the tunnel, the rush Harry had felt since he had left on his adventure started to wear off. Up above was a world he had been a part of, that was now as alien to him as Mars. Ron kept up a constant string of stories of the life he had lived, telling Harry all about magic. But it wasn't the magic that Harry missed. Magic had been a dream he had had since he was small. But he had lost something so much more. His body was different, it didn't feel like it was his. He knew that he was missing everything that made up the difference between a ten year old and a twelve year old. More important than anything though, was what Harry had been missing since infancy. He had always been alone, had always needed a connection to someone else, and now he found that he had had friends he could no longer remember. A friend he had entered the chamber of secrets for. A friend who cared about him.
Harry was making his way towards a world of wonder, but all he could think about was what he had lost.
I had wanted to keep writing this. I wanted to show Harry explaining everything to Dumbledore. And Molly going to pieces. And everyone marveling at Harry's success in spite of him losing his memory. But I couldn't stand to write any of that without writing about Harry saving Dobby, nothing I came up with, didn't sound contrived. The best I could think of was having Harry get so mad at Lucious, that he pulls off his smelly slimy sock and throws it in his face, which Lucious then casts off and then Dobby catches. There see, doesn't that just seem contrived? Since I couldn't save the little bugger, I decided to end it here.