Disclaimer:We have no claim on Harry Potter nor any characters or locations thereof. We gain only amusement from writing this.

WARNING: Drama, Creature fic. The Chamber of Secrets, destruction of horcruxes.

AN: Collaboration between Trulywicked and Acherona. Thank you so much for your lovely feedback and comments.

We also want to wish all of you a Happy Holiday, may it be wonderful no matter how you spend it.

Please enjoy this chapter.

Catch Me In Midair

Part Twenty-Two.

Once the group had all landed in the small cave like room leading to the Chamber of Secrets, Ron looked around. "I really hope the pathway is cleared from Lockhart's stupid move or this will be an extremely short and embarrassing excursion."

Ginny looked over her shoulder at him, "Ron is your brain cramping? We have magic, Hermione, and three well seasoned wizards. A caved in passageway is less than nothing to worry about."

Draco smirked, "Well said."

Ron flushed. "Well these are exciting times; you can't expect me to remember everything."

Harry laughed. "No it would be too much to ask of a wizard, to remember that he has magic, completely understandable."

"Hardy har har." Ron gave his friend a two fingered salute and started to walk down the dark pathway after having cast a strong lumos on his wand.

Hermione shook her head and grimaced at the bones under her feet before following after them. She glanced back at Sirius and Remus bringing up the rear and Neville and Luna in front of them before going up to walk beside Ron and Ginny. She glanced over at her boyfriend's sister, "You alright Ginny?"

She nodded and rubbed her arms, "I'm just...remembering the last time I was down here." She glanced around at Harry holding Draco's hand and her eyes went to the arm she knew bore the scar from the basilisk fang.

It was silly and quite impossible since it was five years ago since they'd been down here last but it almost felt as if the scar on his arm throbbed, Harry resisted reaching up and rubbing it though. Instead he held Draco's hand tighter and cursed himself for once again being weak enough to let things from the past affect him like this. He felt Ginny's gaze on him and gave her what he hoped was a reassuring smile. What went down here had never been her fault, just as Harry she had been nothing but a pawn in a bigger game.

Hermione reached over and pat Ginny on the shoulder, "Well you're here under your own power this time at least and there's no deadly magical serpent around the corner."

"Thanks Hermione." Ginny gave her a weak smile just as they came to the blockage.

Sirius whistled low, "That's a lot of rock."

"It certainly seemed like it when it was raining down on my head." Ron nodded, having forgiven and forgotten the latest slurs against his memory. "And actually Mione, there probably is a magical serpent around the corner but instead of being deadly it's just dead thanks to Harry here."

Harry snorted. Ron had his sides, plenty of them but there was no one who could lighten tension as Ron could either, whether it was intentional or not.

Remus and Bill begun to shift rocks out of the way with their wands and the rest of them soon followed and it wasn't very long at all until they had cleared the pathway.

Sirius applied a permanent sticking charm to the shifted rock so it wouldn't collapse again. "So Ron didn't get to see the creepy chamber eh? You excited to see what Salazar's ego built?"

Draco rolled his eyes, "If he's not you can bet I bloody well am. There isn't a single Slytherin about who wouldn't jump off a cliff if they could see the Chamber of Secrets."

"Still not sure why someone would build a giant statue of themselves in their own secret chamber. Seems a bit excessive to me." Harry shrugged as he remembered the stone head he'd clambered all over in his fight with the basilisk. "Still he was Slytherin so I suppose it's not that much of a stretch." He eyed Draco playfully but grew quieter the closer to the actual grand chamber they got.

"I wonder what secrets are hidden there; I mean there can't just be statues and a large snake now can it? What kind of secrets are those?" Luna looked around with wide pale blue eyes.

Draco rubbed his thumb over Harry's inner wrist, "According to the stories he kept a library and a spellcraft lab. Traditionally the head of Slytherin House is a potion master because Slytherin himself was uncommonly talented at potions but his greatest gift was spellcrafting."

"Do they feed you these stories when they hand you your house robes?" Ron asked as the looming, round door came closer. "I mean who knows these things? It's like we would sit around the common room discussing Godric's favorite snacks and the fact that he actually liked to wear lacy knickers under his armor."

Draco twitched, "It'd be hard to do that in those times as medieval dress didn't have lacy knickers. Furthermore, Godric Gryffindor was excellent at transfiguration, again the reason the traditional post of head of house is the Transfiguration teacher, but his true talents lay in what people called 'taming' of magical creatures then, Helga Hufflepuff was known for her herbology talents but the was aces at potions, and Rowena Ravenclaw was known for her wit and runes but her best talent was Divination. It is not just Slytherin I know about."

Ron stared at Draco, disbelief written all over his face. "Merlin, Tweety...You know I wasn't being literal right and does it look as if I give a shi...smack about this?" He shook his head and hurried forward to his girlfriend.

Bill looked at the door, wondering just what kind of metal it was made of. It was clearly not stone even though it looked a little like it, there were no traces of rust so no steel or iron either. Even with magical preservation wards, metal didn't usually stand the test of time very well. "Want to handle this one as well baby sis?"

Ginny wrapped her arms tighter around herself and nodded, speaking the password in the sibilant tones as Draco scowled at Ron.

"No wonder you fall asleep in Binn's class. You have no interest in history at all do you?"

"Not really no. I recognize its importance and that you have to know the past to go forward and not repeat mistakes but other than that it really bores me to tears. There's so much going on in the now that deserves my attention more than the founders skill." Ron wasn't ashamed of his disinterest; he wondered what Draco would say when he found out that Harry was exactly the same and spent those lessons sleeping right next to him.

The large round door swung open without as much as a creak and their attention were focused forward again.

Draco shook his head, "Out of curiosity am I the only one here who knows that the Peverell brothers descended from Godric Gryffindor and that the Potters descended from Ignotus Peverell?"

Hermione froze in mid-step and swung around the gape at the veela.

"Um...I knew..." Luna raised her hand. "Papa read me that story from Beetle the Bard every night, only he added the true facts to it."

The rest of them looked as gobsmacked as Hermione did although Bill couldn't help but find it humorous to see that expression on Hermione's face and to see that there were things she actually didn't know.

Harry was too stunned to say anything at all.

Sirius coughed, "Well I knew about it too but, it's never been important. It was something James always just brushed off believe it or not. I mean he was proud to be descended from Gryffindor and Ignotus but he was more of a 'live in the now' sort...oh Merlin, Moony! I just realized, Harry's best friend acts more like James than Harry ever has!"

"A little slow on the uptake are you?" Remus leaned in and kissed a stubbly cheek. "Doesn't matter, I know you get there eventually."

"Well I love you too."

Draco shook his head again and pulled Harry towards the door, "No culture you lot, barring Luna," he slid a look over at his mate, "You have an excuse. The rest of them? It's just sad that I know more about the founders than their own descendants."

Hermione scrambled after them, "Wait, that was plural! Who else is a founder's descendant?"

He flicked a thumb over his shoulder at Neville, "Hufflepuff."

Neville's eyes nearly bugged out, "W-what? Gran never told me anything about...huh?"

"You must know you're practically as far up as wizard nobility can come Nev?" Even Luna sounded surprised. "You're even higher than Feathers here; at least in the UK since the Malfoys are immigrant upstarts...Frenchies you know." She put on the haughtiest most upper class British she could muster at that statement.

Draco laughed at her tone and comment as Neville shook his head and stuttered a bit.

"N-no. I mean I've always been just the talentless, disappointing son of Frank. Gran never figured I'd outdo Cousin Liam for the seat as head of the family so she's never...told me anything."

"It sounds as if you and your Grandmother will have to have a talk after this; you are the head of the family regardless of what she thinks fit. Lady or not it's not something she can decide." For once Luna sounded very stern and focused. "You became the heir to your family seat the moment you were born."

Draco nodded, "She's right Longbottom. Unless your Grandmother magically disinherits you before you graduate, so long as you have enough magic to cast basic spells, you are heir to the top seat in your family."

Neville felt an uncomfortable chill shiver through him. Because he was needed in Hogwarts, he'd not gone home for Christmas this year, something his grandmother was normally thrilled about, but this year she'd pitched a fit. For a magical disinheritance spell he'd have to be present and either willing or not a graduate. He loved his Gran and he knew she loved him but he wouldn't put it past her to disinherit him so Liam could take over. "I think I don't want to talk to Gran until I graduate."

Harry placed a hand on Neville's shoulder. "I completely understand that, but don't worry. We won't let you face her alone until you've graduated and I don't have a clue what will happen after this but you know you're always welcome to stay with Draco and I."

"Hands off my man Potter." Luna placed her hands on her hips. "If he's staying with anyone it will be me." She looked at her boyfriend. "Us Lovegoods are considered as loony as they come but there's a reason no one can really touch us or take Papa's magazine away from him. We're old magic, old family and we still have pull when it counts. I really don't think your Grandmother will be keen to go against that."

Neville smiled and kissed her cheek, "Thanks love. If I can pass my N.E.W.T.S. though I'll be able to graduate and I know I can, if I get a little tutoring in Care of Magical Creatures and DADA. We've just been going on what we've been taught in previous years since we're not taught defense against dark arts under the Carrows."

"You're not alone in needing tutoring and catching up if we want to graduate." Ron sounded forlorn. "We can't all have superbrains like Mione and Feathers, the rest of us will have to make do with what mediocrity we can scrounge up."

"Oh boohoo, worry about that later." Bill climbed through the round opening. "Enough chattering for Merlin's sake, you're like Mum times a hundred; we're on a mission here."

Ginny clambered in after him then made a squeak as she ran right into his back. "Bill, why on earth did you just stop there after that sort of scold?"

"Because Charlie wrangles dragons half the size of...That." Bill pointed to the mostly preserved, feathered and scaly giant serpent corpse lying stretched across the stone floor. "For fucks sake Harry, you were twelve." Sure Bill had heard the stories and he'd read about basilisks both in school and in the pyramids where he'd worked in Egypt but he really couldn't have imagined something like this.

Draco's claws popped out and his crest rose at the sight of the just beginning to decompose basilisk and he pulled Harry close. Pointless he knew but still, his mate had been in such danger and the scent of the battle for life was still hanging in the chamber. Old and stale but still there.

Sirius stiffened as he moved to get a look at the snake, "Dear Merlin."

Hermione didn't say anything, just moved close to Ron and clung.

Remus swallowed hard, thinking about Jamie's little cub battling for his life all alone here when he was a child. Harry had been through so much that he shouldn't have been. Remus wished he could have been there to give Harry a real childhood.

Harry just turned in Draco's hold and ran his fingers through Draco's hair soothingly, brushing against the feathers of his crest. "It's okay love, it was a long time ago and I'm still here...Tough as an old birch root, that's me."

Draco nuzzled against his hand, "I know. I still don't like it. I like even less that I was still being a prat to you at the time."

Ginny stepped around Bill and stared at the basilisk corpse, aware of Neville's gasping shock a few paces back, then she started shaking, a tear escaping along with a choked sniffle.

Bill turned and wrapped his arms around his sister, tucking her head against his chest. "It's okay Ginger-snap." He did his best to comfort his sister as best he could.

"I'm so sorry!" She hiccuped against Bill's shirt. "Harry could have died; Hermione could have died if she wasn't so clever! And Penny and Justin and Colin...I'm so, so sorry!"

Harry stepped out of Draco's arms and walked over pulling Ginny into his own embrace, cupping her neck gently and making her look at him. "Oh Gin, nothing of this is your fault, nothing. You were eleven and you got a book you could talk to, confide in...I fell for it too you know. It could have happened to anyone Ginny, anyone at all. And Curly is seductive...He wasn't always snake man, he had charm and charisma once and he knew how to use it. Oh and let's not forget that the one closest to dying back then...Was you. I'm just so happy you're still here, that you're alive and strong and wonderful because you are."

"B-but you never had your dad telling you not to trust anything that talks unless you can see where it keeps its brain." Her arms went up around Harry's neck and she clung hard. "I should have known better!"

"Yes you should," Draco ignored the evil glares sent his way and continued talking in a no-nonsense tone, "you should have known better than to trust a book with a boy in it that says all the right things but you were eleven. Eleven years old, away from home and parents for the first time, sheltered baby of the family, a Gryffindor, and a girl getting teased for an obvious crush. You needed an ear, someone non-judgmental and the book offered that. Just because someone should know better doesn't make temptation any easier to resist and you more than paid the price for slipping into the book."

"He's right and at least you have your age to fall back on." Harry continued to hold her. "I was fifteen when I fell for his lies and rushed to the Ministry. Ron got really hurt and Sirius almost died. It was so close...That was all me, my fault because Curly tricked me, tempted me and made me think I could outsmart him." Harry was serious. "I should have been punished for that, I acted rashly and like an idiot but for some insane reason you all forgave me for it. Do you really think we haven't forgiven you? We love you."

"Oh and let's not forget me hm?" Draco lifted an eyebrow, "what excuses aside from being a petty, foul, loathsome, evil, little cockroach do I have?"

Ginny gave a watery laugh. Ron had spent hours regaling Gryffindor tower of the tale of Hermione clocking Draco.

"You see, none of us are perfect here." Harry gave his mate a fond look, loving him even more for managing to make Ginny laugh at a time when she was so upset. "The only thing we can do is pick ourselves up and move forward, and beat Curly into the ground until he's gone forever. The book is gone, the basilisk dead and you and I are still here, still strong and he couldn't beat us or kill our spirit so hah to him. We won that one Ginny...We won."

She sniffled and rubbed her face against his shoulder.

"Come on Ginny," Hermione walked over to rub her friend's back, "it's okay. Really you're more than forgiven and very much loved."

"Hell even Malfoy likes you, and he's letting you hang all over Harry even knowing you used to date him," Sirius grinned, "if that's not an endorsement of good character what is?"

Both Harry and Ginny colored a bit at that but they both also knew there were no more romantic feelings between them. Harry was Draco's, always would be. It was as simple as that. Now that he thought back on it he had never really felt truly complete until Draco crashed into his life...Or he into Draco's, no matter how it had started. "Snuffles is right believe it or not so no more tears or sadness. Take your frustration out on the one who deserve it and kill his Horcrux...Make him hurt Gin."

"Yes please, we've got a Gryffindor sword and a diadem all ready to be smashed to pieces. Bring him a little closer to permanent death for all of us." Draco smirked, "Channel Boudiccia if you need to. You've got the hair and all."

She burbled another laugh and moved back from Harry. A square of white linen was dangled in front of her face and she took the handkerchief from Draco, dabbing at her eyes and wet cheeks. "Thanks. A warrior queen hm? I like that image."

"Morrigan would work too." Harry released her and watched as Ron pulled Gryffindor's sword out of Hermione's exceptional beaded bag. "Oi Mione, wanna handle the cup? Make it complete, we do a Horcrux each?" Hermione had fought so hard, helped so much through all the years and she should be given the opportunity to kick Curly in his souley nads.

"Yes, oh yes I would. Ginny gets to go first though and I hope Curly knows it's her while the head splitting pain hits him and that snake of his too."

"I hope so too, I think he does and I think it kills him to know that someone he thought would be a victim and a mudblood kills off his soul piece by piece." Harry actually sounded bloodthirsty.

The diadem was placed on the floor and Ron handed his sister the sword, handle first. "Go for it sis, be careful for the backlash though, it's not fun." He warned, lowering his eyes. Sometimes he still had nightmares about what he'd been shown as he destroyed the locket, of images of Harry and Hermione together.

She took the sword from him and felt warmer for it and gave him a hug with the hand not holding the weapon, "Don't worry. This is about facing down my demons after all." She turned to the diadem, sitting all pretty and quiescent on the floor and gripped the sword tighter in both hands, "Alright you scabby excuse for a living being. I hope you feel this, I hope you know it's me, and I hope, that when all of your Horcruxes are destroyed and we finally, finally kill you, that you'll go straight to hell!" She raised the sword and sent it clanging down onto the diadem, releasing a heavy cloud of dark smoke, darker than black with the feel of evil permeating it.

Harry blinked, satisfaction that another Horcrux was destroyed warred with surprise that he wasn't down on his knees in agony...In fact he didn't feel any pain at all. It was enough to momentarily stun him as the others raised their wands and as one banished the dark, evil smoke.

"Great job Ginny, one firm blow and it was done." Luna cheered and danced around her friend.

Ginny laughed, relief making her a bit giddy, and caught Luna into a firm hug, "Okay, Hermione's turn." She held out the sword to the brunette.

Hermione took it and set the cup down, wasting no time in plunging the sword into the soft gold cup and pulling her wand as soon as the dark smoke boiled out, banishing it with everyone's help. "Well, let's hope he's writing in agony, it'll give us time to get ready for the fight."

"My beautiful, wrathful sword queen." Ron picked her up and twirled her around, after she'd dropped the sword. As happy and as proud as he was he didn't fancy having his bits cut off by mistake.

"It didn't hurt." Harry stood next to Draco. "Before it really hurt when a Horcrux was destroyed...Hurt like utter agony, your skull is about to explode and your brain will run out your eyeballs hurt but this time I didn't feel anything."

Draco felt a slick, slimy sick feeling in his stomach at those words and turned towards his mate, his hand going up to the scar on his forehead. He needed to talk to his godfather about that before the battle began.

Harry met his eyes and placed his own hand over Draco's before he pulled them both away before anyone else took notice. He really wasn't an idiot and he did realize what this probably meant. Now he only wondered what it would mean going forward, was he alone in his head now or was Voldemort still lurking in there somewhere? If he was then how would Harry be able to keep Draco safe? He didn't want the others to know though, Sirius would freak, Hermione lecture and Ron would get weird, he always did when he got scared.

"We should go," Draco's voice was soft as he brought Harry's hand to his lips. He looked over at the others and barked, "Alright enough celebrating. Curly's not dead yet. When he is I'll host the party."

"As long as you don't host it at your mansion I'm all for that." Luna said and looked around the chamber again. "I hope when this is done we can come back here, I'm still curious and there has to be more than this hall."

Remus nodded, he had to admit he wouldn't mind finding the library and going through the treasures bound to be there as well. Right now there were other things to concentrate on though. "Draco is right, Curly is not dead and after this he will be desperate to end this before he runs out of Horcruxes. He will be coming here and we need to get ready."

Everyone nodded and Draco pulled out a braided yarn bracelet, "Let's get the distraction working, if it meets with Hogwarts' approval?" In response to that question a tendril appeared from the floor in front of him and a little sparkling blue flower sprouted.

Ginny beamed, "I think that's Hogwarts' way of saying go for it."

He smiled and brought the bracelet up, kissing it and making it glow. "One flooded dungeon coming up."

Harry hoped and prayed that Draco's faith in his friends would be proved right and he thought it incredibly cute that Draco kissed his bracelet to make it glow. He could see the tinier version of his lover to the same as he planned mischief with his friends.

"I don't know if it's just me but if the dungeons are going to flood I really think it's a good idea to get out of here...A chamber placed beneaththe dungeons." Bill dry voice sounded through the stone chamber.

Sirius nodded, "Let's haul arse." The group bolted towards the exit and made their way back to the girls lavatory to the sound of Myrtle screeching.

Ginny froze as the passageway closed behind them and they saw Alecto Carrow leaning against the doorway, wand out.

"Well well look what we have here. Rule breakers and blood traitors and mudbloods oh my."

Draco growled and his wings came out as she tossed a spell at them. It bounced off his wing and flew back at Alecto. "Harry you and the others go, evict Amycus. I'll catch up."

Harry didn't want to leave Draco, not when everything inside him screamed at him to stay but this was Draco's fight. His mate wanted to fight Alecto alone, he could feel it through their bond and he had promised to respect Draco's choices and not stop him from being who he was, even with intent to protect him. "You better catch up and soon too or I will come back to drag you with us." Harry flashed him a weak smile and herded the others out of the bathroom.

Draco moved to block Alecto from following and his claws slid out as he gave her a feral smirk, "You think you can try to attack my mate and his family, my family after I'm already pissed with you? You really think that you can hold a candle to my mother in beauty, brains, or power? You dared," white hot fire coated his hands, "to slap her in Malfoy Manor's main hall when you knew she wasn't allowed to seek retaliation?"

Alecto's hand clenched on her wand even as she felt her stomach know at the display of power coming from Lucius' whelp. She cast a sectumsempra and watched it get absorbed into the flames.

"Oh bad idea you little bint." Pansy's voice sounded through the room, sounding positively gleeful at the thought of Alecto finally getting what was coming to her.

To be continued...

AN: Thank you so much for reading and as usual we would adore hearing what you think. Once again, Happy Holidays to each and every one of you. See you next chapter.