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"I think I am going to go see Fluffy." Harry said with a stretch as he stood from the library table. Thing scuttled around the desk, helping the Addams gather his books, parchment, and quills. Hermione gave Harry a disapproving look.
"You should be studying, Harry. Exams are next week!"
"I am ready for them, Hermione. Besides, we have been studying for hours. I think I deserve a break."
"That's a great idea." Ron said, pushing his book away. "Lets all take a break."
All it took was one glare from Hermione to make him pull his book back meekly and crouch over it in a studious manner. Hermione turned back to Harry to chide him into studying again, only to find that he had taken the opportunity to vanish.
"I am going to kill that boy one day." She sighed.
"Hello Fluffy!" Harry said, making sure to pat all three heads so that none of them felt left out. "How is my favorite puppy? I bet you miss being outside, don't you? Are they feeding you enough?"
Fluffy gave no sign of understanding and just wagged his tail at his friend, glad for the company. At least the year was almost over, and the cerberus could be moved to a place more desirable for a giant dog.
But then again, what if he wasn't?
Harry frowned in thought. He was not positive that Dumbledore would remove Fluffy when the summer came if that stupid stone stayed safe.
There was only one thing to do.
"I am going to go down the trapdoor, okay?" Harry told his four-legged friend. Fluffy just looked back at him, his heads cocked at different angles in interest.
"I'll be back." Harry assured him as he forced the trapdoor open. "I'm just going to help get you out of here. Be a good boy until I get back."
The cerberus whined, sensing that his friend was about to leave.
"Ready Thing?" Harry asked the hand as it crawled out of his bag and onto his shoulder. Thing gave a thumbs up.
"Hold on!" Harry warned him as he jumped through the opening in the floor. He continued to fall for several long seconds before he landed on something springy. From what he could tell, it was a plant of some kind. A very playful plant. Already it was trying to strangle and squeeze him to death. It reminded Harry of Cleopatra.
"I can't play with you now." He told it, pulling the man-crushing creepers off of him as if they were dandy lion weeds.
"Maybe a bit later, okay?"
The vines folded in on themselves in an almost sulky fashion once the boy was out of their reach. Harry chuckled at it and made a mental note to obtain a cutting of it for his mother's greenhouse before he left.
The room behind the nearby door had a high ceiling with hundreds of flying winged keys fluttering near the arches. Harry scoffed at the sight of the brooms in the corner. If they were going to make this that easy, why didn't they just gift wrap the stone and give it to the thieves?
"Alohamora." Harry tried, pointing his wand at the door knob. Nothing happened. Thank merlin they were not that stupid, at least. Time for plan B.
"Thing?" Harry asked. The hand gave an affirmative motion and plucked a pin from Harry's robes before jumping on the door handle and beginning to pick the lock. Less than a minute later the room echoed with a resounding click that indicated the latch being undone.
"Thank you Thing." Harry said, gathering his friend and placing him back on his shoulder before walking into the next room. At first, Harry thought he was in a graveyard, but his excitement was quickly dashed. It wasn't a graveyard. It was just a giant chessboard that he obviously had to play across to be let through.
Harry was absolutely awful at chess, despite his fascination with the violence in the enchanted sets. He simply did not have the patience to correctly play a game. After ten minutes of concentrating on winning Harry would grow bored and begin purposefully sending his pieces into dangerous positions just to watch them fight.
"I will take the place of the King." Harry informed the board. The black king came to life long enough to vacate his square, which Harry immediately took over.
"Does this board have the same rules as regular Wizard Chess boards?" he then asked aloud. He would not have been surprised if he had gotten no answer, but the marble queen beside him nodded once. Harry resisted the urge to scoff. This obstacle was a stupid as all the others had been.
For you see, chessboards were not usually enchanted with anti-cheating charms, given how difficult cheating would be if you were playing against a focused opponent, and talkative chess pieces willing to rat you out. But this only posed a problem if you wanted to cheat subtly. Draco and Ron quit inviting Harry to play after he discovered how to exploit this loophole.
Harry gave the white pieces an awful grin as they made their first move, sending a pawn forward.
"Black pieces." Harry commanded loudly. "All advance. Attack!"
His marble army leapt to life at his command and surged across the board as one, slaying the row of pawns before the other side could comprehend what was going on.
While the animated stone was busy attacking each other, Harry slipped between the fight and through the door beyond, leaving the game to destroy itself.
Harry had to duck the moment he stepped into the room to avoid the deadly blow of a mountain troll. This creature was much bigger than the one he had killed on Halloween night, and looked very hungry. Harry doubted that it was fed with any regularity, and that resulted in a desperate, murderous beast.
"Finally an obstacle that is actually a challenge." Harry said to Thing. "This is much better."
Harry dodged a second swing of the troll's club as he studied his prey with a careful eye. This particular troll was too big to be dispatched in the same way that he killed the last one.
"Diffindo!" Harry yelled, aiming at the neck. The beast roared as a nick appeared on his throat, but its thick hide protected it from most of the magic. Harry cast the spell a second time, putting more force behind his words. The cut widened and a small trail of blood appeared, enraging the monster more. It brought its club down again, and Harry was not quick enough this time around. The heavy wood collided with his shoulder, causing the Addams to smack against the wall painfully.
"I'm fine, Thing." Harry assured the frantically signing hand. He was no stranger to pain, but his immunity was useless if he could not lift his arm. Harry gritted his teeth when he discovered the extent of his injury, and gave a growl so menacing that even the troll paused for a moment. Harry moved his wand to his left hand and quickly disarmed the troll of his club with a simple Wingardium Leviosa. Then he continued to cutting at the troll's throat with diffindo after diffindo. The beast roared in agony and tried to get at the boy again, but Harry was no longer giving the creature any opportunity. It continued to slow as it lost blood, making the floor slick with the crimson liquid, until finally it fell.
But Harry did not stop there. He continued slicing away until the head was completely severed from the body. Only then did he take a step back to admire his work.
"Not bad." He said at last. "A little sloppy, but not bad for being left handed." He scowled down at his temporarily useless right arm. If he had been anything other than an Addams, his arm probably would have been cleaved away from his body.
"Let's keep going, Thing."
After the troll, the next task was simple. Once inside, enchanted fire had sprung up at the two exits. There was a line of bottles filled with various potions, and a riddle to tell you which would help you move forward and which would help you move back. Once again, if it had been up to Harry, he would not have even have left the potions here. He would let the thief get caught, unable to leave or go on. And if he needed to pass, he would bring his own potions with him. Sort of like a very unorthodox lock and key.
In any case, Harry cheated a little. He tasted a few of the contents to see what was what. The wine was horrendous, and the poisons were a little bit dated to taste as well as they should, but eventually he found the two that would help him. Then he tossed back the potion, and moved forward through the magicked flames.
Of course, Harry had not expected to see a familiar mirror in the last room; the same mirror that showed your heart's deepest desire.
Harry stepped forward and looked into it, half expecting to see the same family revel that he had seen before. Instead he saw himself, smashing the philosopher's stone into pieces.
Harry believed that he understood. Only someone who wanted to find the stone would see themselves finding it. Someone who wanted to use it (or destroy it, in his case) would be stuck, only able to see what they wanted to use the stone for.
Harry closed his eyes and began to organize his thoughts. He hated the idea of the stone and wanted it gone, but he had to find it first. Therefore, he had to make finding it his biggest priority. He let his desire to obtain the rock grow until it surpassed his wish to grind it into the dust. Then he opened his eyes again.
Only his reflection looked back at him. A moment before Harry could let his anger be known, his double smirked and pulled a garnet colored stone from his pocket. Harry felt a weight being added to his actual pocket and grinned.
What a pleasant game this had been. He turned around and headed back in the direction of the main castle, stopping to pick up the troll's head and a clipping of the strangling plant along the way.