Disclaimer – Not mine, it all belongs to JKR, just having fun.
Harry did his best to slow Dumblemort as he was hauled through the hallways, yelling for help and shouting insults at his captor. He'd quieted for a few moments as the Chamber of Secrets was opened.
"Stop that hissing you evil Slytherin!" Albus' voice howled in fury at Voldemort using his body to produce Parseltongue to open the chamber.
"Well, how else are we to get down there, if I don't tell it to open?" Voldemort answer in exasperation. It was really aggravating to have to be the reasonable one of the two occupying this body. However, he wanted to survive and he obviously couldn't count on Dumbledore to hold it together.
Dumbledore's voice mumbled an unhappy and rather incoherent reply. The once great wizards held Harry's upper arm in a vise-like grip, dragging him down a long, steep tunnel. Harry would have found the slide down a little exciting and perhaps fun if he hadn't needed to fear Dumblemort's wrath when the full truth of the situation was revealed. Harry was sure the Stone was going to evaporate within an hour or two.
He hoped that the time the Stone still seemed to exist bought any rescuers time to extricate him. He was ready to face even Snape's worst temper tantrum as long as he got rescued. He desperately wished he'd settled for a pensieve memory of Voldemort and Dumbledore's defeat.
Harry looked over at Dumblemort, who was ranting in Albus' voice, "Look at this snakeskin! Whatever shed this was at least 60 feet long." Albus snarled, but with a light of triumph in his eyes. "It's proof!, Proof that Salazar Slytherin was the very worst of Dark Wizards. To hide such a monster in a school with no thought to the safety of children …"
"Oh, stuff it, old man." Voldemort sneered as he dragged Harry behind them through the tunnels. They came to a large iron door with snakes encircling the door and locking it tight. A few hisses and the snakes unlocked the door and it swung open.
"Whoa … very cool." Harry breathed, making Dumblemort smirk a little. Voldemort was rather proud of his ancestor's accomplishments. Harry's somewhat breathless admiration increased a thousand-fold as they entered a cavernous chamber with giant snakes lining the walls and an enormous statue on the other side of a pool of water that shimmered at the far end of the chamber. For a few minutes Harry was distracted by the vast space being slowly revealed as the sconces that were held by the enormous snake statues lit in response to wizards entering the chamber.
"We need to start on the antidote immediately." Albus' voice was urgent and at least attempting to be authoritative.
"We need to make sure we are secure." Voldemort's voice answered, frowning. "I should awaken the basilisk to guard us."
"Nonsense, once we entered, the entrance was reclosing – we saw that. No one can re-open it once it closes. We are quite safe here." Albus spoke rather forcefully.
Harry rolled his eyes. He might only be eleven, but even he knew that trying to order Voldemort around was a study in futility. He would do the opposite just to spite Dumbledore. Unless, of course, it was definitely in his best interest and he could make it look like his own idea.
"Well, I found an Alchemy lab that appeared to also have been used for potions down here. We can get set up and start brewing a base." Voldemort answered in a menacing hiss that likely would have made his Death Eaters wet themselves. Maybe they did need to brew the antidote right away but he intended to have his way regarding the basilisk as well. "Then we need to get the basilisk out. Once we have the antidote we can turn the beast loose. They'll be too busy saving students and themselves from it to look for us."
Dumblemort tilted his head to the side; both wizards were obviously examining what each other had to say. It was a very creepy look, Harry thought. It was equally scary to note that the pair of arch – enemies had been able to find a way to work together very quickly even with the constant arguing.
Dumblemort suddenly straightened and nodded. "Very well, the antidote and then the basilisk. We'll escape during the chaos and make a getaway to one of the houses I know of and ward it well." Albus' voice said firmly.
"Yes, and we have the stone to not only find an antidote, but a way out of our predicament of having to share a space. It will also provide a lot of gold to aid us. Do you think we still need the 'Boy Who Lived' with us?" Voldemort's voice sneered hatefully.
Dumblemort's cold eyes looked Harry over, making him shrink a little. He still met the gaze with defiance, but he wasn't holding out hope for mercy from either of the wizards.
"Yes." Albus' voice was still cold, but the look in his eyes was calculating. "To separate we will need another body for you to occupy and Mr Potter here has a lot of magic."
"But he's a child!" Voldemort started to whine, and then stopped. "However, once I take Potter over, I can say you were protecting me from Snape and Quirrell – than they were going to use me in a dark ritual. We just need to do an unbreakable vow to never reveal the truth and you will be able to have your place back in wizarding society and I'll have in impeccable new identity to start off with."
Harry was horrified. There was no way he could let these two get turned back loose, Albus with his reputation possibly restored at Severus' expense and Voldemort getting a fresh chance at taking over the world using Harry's body and magic.
Dumblemort cackled a terrible laugh, a mix of Albus' chuckle and Voldemort's evil chortle and grabbed Harry's arm to drag him into a nearby antechamber. The door was hidden, it's outline lost in the intricate designs etched into the walls.
The room was large with unidentifiable objects sitting on shelves and worktables. The walls were lined with large jars with old labels peeling off them. There were some barrels and a shelf of books. Harry sincerely hoped nothing was still usable, but it did seem the stasis or stability charms on the room might still be in effect. He supposed that Salazar might have been clever enough to keep things good ever for a thousand years.
Dumblemort slapped the Sorcerer's Stone down on the worktable and Albus and Voldemort started arguing about the best way to counteract the potion that had put them in this fix. Voldemort had been in on at least part of Severus' plans so he knew where to start. Harry edged as close to the door of the anteroom as possible and sat on the floor, hoping for a chance to dash to freedom. An hour or so passed and Dumblemort had a cauldron bubbling as they tried to figure out a counter to a potion they only knew part of the formula to.
Dumblemort lay both Albus' and Harry's wands down on the table, to Harry's relief. A few non-verbal accio's with his left hand when Dumblemort had his back turned, reaching for a jar, and his wand was back in his sleeve – holster.
Harry sweated and hoped Severus and whoever he roped into assisting arrived soon. To his shock a tiger cat slunk in and crouched under a small table next to him. She glared hatefully at Harry, making him wonder if she was going to rescue him or was there to help chop him up for basilisk bait. Out of the corner of his eye he saw a raven wing in and land on a snake statue's head just outside the room's doorway.
Harry sighed in relief. At last, the troops had arrived.
At that moment the Sorcerer's Stone disappeared in a rather big puff of sparkling red dust. Severus and Lucius had decided to be a little dramatic with the stone's departure. Harry was wishing they hadn't decided on that, since he was now here to endure the wrath of two very hostile wizards.
Minerva watched Albus with angry horror. She had arrived back in the castle to a scene of chaos. Aurors milled around trying to secure the school while Severus and Lucius stood at the entrance to the Chamber of Secrets and shouted at Madame Bones and Rufus Scrimgeour. Cornelius Fudge stood nearby, wringing his hands and whispering loudly to a pair of aides next to him.
Minerva had transformed and crept closer, listening intently and had been outraged at what she had heard. Albus had been cursed … had found what he'd thought was a cure … the formula was written in his own hand … the remains of the potion in the cauldron had nothing but Albus' magic in it. Now Professor Quirrell was dead, Albus was possessed by Voldemort and Harry Potter had been dragged by the possessed Headmaster into the mythical Chamber of Secrets.
She had glared at Snape; she just knew that somehow he was to blame, though just how she did not know.
Minerva had wanted for a bit, until most of the Aurors had gone to secure the students in their dorms and to set guards. Cornelius went to the great hall to plan, hoping that if the end was bad that it could all be thrown on Dumbledore's shoulders. The rest were distracted long enough that she made it to the entrance of the chamber before she was noticed. She had ignored the shouting and made her way down to the chamber. She wasn't sure what she would do, but there had to be some reasonable explanation for all this.
Severus perched uncomfortably on the snake – head statue with its torch. He glared at Minerva but he was a little grateful. Seeing her leap through the entrance had made him sigh in relief at the obvious answer to the problem. Of course – a small animagus could get through the narrow opening to the chamber.
Severus had then popped into a Raven and swooped through the opening. He'd exchanged a glance with Lucius, who had nodded, understanding the Severus was going to rescue Harry if at all possible. Now Severus watched the scene, hoping for a few moments where snatching the boy would be possible.
Then the stone made its spectacular disappearance and Severus' heart clenched in fear at Dumblemort's look of enraged bewilderment. The "What the …?!" that the wizard yelled did not bode well since he immediately looked over at Harry in suspicion. Harry's cringe and look of guilt didn't help.
Albus' voice was a bit high-pitched as he rained a storm of vitriol down on Harry. The insults didn't bother Harry … but he was a bit worried about the hexes sure to follow when the wizard ran out foul language.
While Albus screamed abuse Voldemort thought swiftly. They hadn't the time to truly research an antidote, they had been counting on the sheer strength of the healing power of the elixir of life to fix whatever had been done.
Voldemort was sure that Severus knew how to fix this. Even if he didn't have an antidote made up, he likely had figured out how to counter the potion Albus had made. Severus couldn't possibly have watched Albus brewing without at least part of his mind mulling over how to fix the problem even if he had never expected to brew the antidote. Severus' mind was the sort to leap on a problem whether he wanted it to or not. They needed to fix this quickly. Negotiating with Severus was now very necessary.
Voldemort interrupted Albus' diatribe. "We need Severus to make the antidote. Call that bird of yours to send a message for us."
"Fawkes?" Albus asked uncertainly while his brain caught up with Voldemort's plan. "Ah, yes. Fawkes!" Albus called imperiously.
Fawkes burst into the chamber in a gust of flames, and looked around with a squawk of astonished disapproval. Feathers fluffed out and sparks dripped off the plumes. Then Fawkes took a good look at Dumblemort and squeaked out an unhappy trill. He'd known that Albus was slipping at bit, his aura getting a little greyer and murkier every year. He didn't comprehend all the human machinations – the messing about with the sorting hat, the double – dealing here and there. All he understood was that Albus was no longer the young man he had bonded with.
In fact, Albus was no longer alone in that aging body and the other being in the body with Albus couldn't get much darker. Yes, it was time to throw in the proverbial towel and perhaps take a long vacation. He would miss Hogwarts, he'd been the familiar of various teachers and Headmasters or Headmistresses over the centuries with only a few decades here and there away from the castle.
Fawkes shifted away from Dumblemort, who was now trying to give him a note, "To take to Severus, immediately." The sparks coming off the phoenix increased but the wizards didn't seem to take the hint. Finally Fawkes simply disappeared in a cloud of flames, although he merely went into the larger chamber to sulk and plan where to take that extended vacation … Bora Bora was nice this time of year, he thought.
Albus yelled in frustration. Nothing was going right. Voldemort fumed and made plans to kill that damn phoenix as soon as he could. Time was running out, he could feel it. Oh, the magic would last another day, maybe two; but the levels they would need to cow the wizarding world into submission would be gone in a few hours, after that he would slowly sink through the ranks of power until he was a squib.
Albus drew out his wand and turned toward Harry, causing Minerva to make her move. She'd heard enough to know that Albus was beyond redeeming, now. If he was planning to sacrifice a prized Gryffindor like Harry Potter – the son of two favorite Gryffindors, and to do it to resurrect Voldemort to save his own hide. Well, there was no way to justify him further, though she had struggled to find a way to excuse what she was seeing before her very eyes.
Dumblemort stopped in surprise as Minerva appeared in front of him. "Minerva …?" Albus said hesitantly, but he realized at the looked of disgusted disappointment on her face, that she knew too much. He barely had the first syllable of an Obliviate pronounced when she threw up a shield and followed it up with a rather painful stinging hex.
Dumblemort had an astonished look on his face for a moment. Minerva had never, ever crossed him before the fiasco with Black's escape and he was still bewildered that she would hex him for trying to obliviate her. Surely she realized he had to do that?
Voldemort broke in then. He'd been stunned at Albus' actions, or rather their feebleness. "You old moron! Did you forget your anti-senility potion? Obliviate? That was the only spell to come to mind?" Red was bleeding into the wizard's eyes, even more than previously. Albus was clearly losing the battle for dominance.
The wizard aimed his wand at Minerva, a far more sinister smile on his face. "Well, well. Minnie … how very interesting to renew our acquaintance in this manner."
Minerva froze, this was so much worse. Seeing Albus turning into the only wizard she hated even more than Snape.
Harry had started inching back through the door the moment Minerva had placed herself in front of him. As soon as he cleared the doorway he stood and started running toward the tunnels. Severus swooped after him and Harry spared a glance and asked, "Didn't anyone else come?" Severus managed to shake his head even well flying and Harry groaned and ran faster … but not fast enough.
A wall of flame erupted at the tunnel entrance, stopping Harry in his tracks. He turned to meet the malice in Dumblemort's eyes. Harry had almost made it, but almost just doesn't count in battles.
Severus popped back into a wizard and listened with dread as Dumblemort chanted in parseltongue and a very large basilisk slid out of the tunnel that opened in the statue of Salazar. Minerva scuttled out and got between Severus and Harry and Dumblemort.
Lucius paced in front of the entrance to the Chamber of Secrets. This was supposed to have been simple – trap Albus and Voldemort in one body and destroy their magic. Now they had a wizard that would not run out of magic 'for a day or two', a kidnapped 'Boy Who Lived' and a mythical chamber of one of the Founders.
A brace of Unspeakable had been fetched by the Minister, in a burst of unusual bravado, and they were trying to persuade the entrance to open far enough for a human body to get through it. Cornelius was hopeful the aid in Harry Potter's rescue, and he certainly did not want the press to decide that he'd been lax.
Professor McGonagall's display as an animagus and Deputy Headmaster Snape's following her into the Chamber had made them hopeful that rescue in a timely manner was possible. Sirius Black was brought by Kingsley Shacklebolt – the news of some sort of horrible events at Hogwarts had not stayed secret for long. Not when a group of Unspeakables had left like that. That hadn't happened in decades.
Lucius updated Sirius on events and he had immediately turned into his dog form and leaped for the entrance. Unfortunately he had been very well fed for the past few months and had regained a very healthy weight. In his dog form he might even have been called 'chubby'. At any rate he became firmly wedged in the entrance, about half-way through.
Work paused while everyone gaped at the very stuck Grim. Lucius' eye had started twitching erratically since their plans had gone pear – shaped; now it felt like the entire side of his face was spasming. Kingsley sighed and spoke softly to Madame Bones, who nodded and waved a hand toward Sirius' backside.
Kingsley transformed into a rather beautiful lynx and sauntered over to the Grim's hindquarters and leaped over the Grim, used Sirius' head as a springboard and dove down into the chamber. Sirius barked at the lynx in annoyance. Imagine, leaving him stuck here, and going on into the Chamber.
He was soon distracted by Lucius and Madame Bones yanking on him to get him loose. He finally popped out of the entrance with a painful yelp, landing on a curvaceous Auror who he was soon to start dating, though he did not know that yet.
Severus watched in horror as the basilisk emerged and Voldemort's voice gave the creature orders in Parseltongue. They had known their plans had areas that were not fool-proof, but this disaster was really over the top as far as bad luck was concerned.
Dumblemort grinned cruelly at the witch and two wizards. "The basilisk is quite hungry; I imagine the three of you will be a tasty snack …"
The basilisk slithered forward, eyeing the food that 'master' was offering. The basilisk had always preferred it when pigs or cattle were pushed into the chamber for a meal, but the last meal the basilisk could remember was centuries ago. Rats, possums, a few acromantula and the like had sustained the creature the few times it had awakened. Magical hibernation was really the only reason it still lived.
Minerva glared at the snake, a manifestation of everything Slytherin that she hated with a passion. She aimed a cutting spell at the snake's left eye, and repeated it over and over until she it had been blinded, at least on that side. She kept to that side circling as she cast spells, forcing it to circle as well.
Severus watched the battle and decided to leave Minerva to it. He now needed to concentrate on Dumblemort. "Give me the antidote and I'll let you and the whelp go." Voldemort's voice wheedled, trying to sound sincere.
Relieved to not have to be polite, Severus simply said, "You're a lying has-been … both of you.", and sent a strong Reducto at the wizard who waved the spell away and returned fire.
The duel between the wizards was fierce but hampered by Dumblemort having to dodge the basilisk's coils and occasional lunges that came near him. Severus had to ensure the Harry stayed behind him. Harry wanted to cooperate, but now and then he shot a spell out past Severus' voluminous cloak.
Harry stuck Dumblemort's feet to the floor briefly, making him crash to his hands and knees. A Rictusempra made the wizard break out in rather unnerving giggles for a few seconds. Small spells, but they broke the wizard's concentration and ruined any rhythm he might have had to his aggressive attack.
The battle raged for a time and Dumblemort started to sweat and look worried. "You need to stop …" Albus' voice pleaded.
"We need to win, coward …" Voldemort answered.
"Our magic is depleting. It should have lasted for days, but you're using it all up … and it's not going to regenerate …" Albus pleaded again.
Dumblemort truly looked fearful, then and Severus redoubled his effort. He cast Sectumsempra after Sectumsempra at the wizard, forcing him to use his strongest shield to block.
At that moment Minerva finally got the shot she had been aiming for. She shot the strongest spear curse into the basilisk's wide – open maw, piercing the soft pallet and going deep into the brain. The snake contorted in agony and managed to achieve its revenge before dying. The basilisk's right eye, the one still intact, swept across the slick marble floor and caught Minerva in its fatal gaze long enough to freeze her in death before gasping its last breath.
All three (or four) wizards stopped long enough to gaze at the figure of Minerva, arm upraised. Looking like she was posing for statue, Severus thought unkindly. Still, she had fought a basilisk; he supposed she deserved a few accolades when this was all over.
Dumblemort barely had time to squawk in outrage over his snake's demise before the wall of fire abruptly dropped and Kingsley Shacklebolt strode over the ashes, looking imposing and very competent. He raised his wand, adding his own threat to Severus'.
"Lay down your wand and surrender to the Ministry." Kingsley sounded very official and threatening.
Voldemort sneered and screamed "Avada Kedavra!" at Severus, who quailed and shoved Harry firmly behind him where no part of the spell could touch him.
Kingsley watched the horrible green light flash … and then stop only half-way to Severus, the spell simply fizzled out.
Severus' knees nearly buckled in relief and he cast a rather over-powered Expelliarmus and snatched Albus' wand out of the air and pocketed it. A pitifully sobbing Dumblemort was led through the tunnels. Apparently both Albus and Voldemort were rather peeved at the state of their magic, or lack thereof.
Severus found a ladder along one side of the tunnel up to the entrance and Harry scrambled up, hissing open half-way up so no one except Severus heard him.
The Unspeakables cheered in delight, believing they had finally undone Salazar Slytherin's spellwork. Harry, Severus, Kingsley and Dumblemort climbed out, and everyone breathed a sigh of relief, especially Lucius, whose face and eye finally stopped twitching. He'd noticed several Wizengamot and School Governors staring at him.
Severus quickly got rid of almost all the Aurors and Unspeakables by mentioning a petrified Minerva, a basilisk and Salazar Slytherin's hidden lab. He soon had Dumblemort secured in a well-padded cell in the Hogwarts hospital. It was usually only occupied by high-strung students just before or after NEWTs. Head Mindhealer Ailsa took charge of the mumbling and sobbing wizard, promising a large number of calming draughts and perhaps and dreamless sleep.
Lucius and Severus watched him leave with satisfaction and then turned to the remaining wizards and witches. All that was needed was the right explanation and they were home-free. Scrimgeour and Madame Bones already looked a bit skeptical, but one was a Slytherin and the other was naturally astute. Cornelius merely looked hopeful that they could clear this all so that the voting public would be satisfied.
"Perhaps we should adjourn to the Headmaster's office?" Severus said smoothly and led them to the circular stair, leading Harry gently along with them. The skeptical might take the 'explanation' better from Harry Potter than them.
They would soon see, Severus mused.
A/N – The RL Christmas dragon finally looked away long enough for me to shove this chapter by him.