Authors Note: GAH! I'm so sorry, everyone! I know this is MUCH later than I said it would be, but I was having a little trouble with it. See, I recently got a full-time Job, which means my writing time has been cut own quite a bit. What free time I do have, I mostly spend sleeping after long days at work. I have to spend the two days a week I have off doing errands, which means I only have maybe five or six total hours a week to write. I know it's not a good excuse, but know that I'm doing my best and I'll try to update at least once a month now that I'm more used to my new schedule.
As usual, I own nothing. People should know this by now. Also, any mistakes are my own, because I have no Beta.
Also, the Poll has officially closed and the winning pairings are as follows:
As previously stated, Romance won't be a huge part, but will be present. Mostly just glossed over. Because really, dating and sex are a huge part of growing up and becoming an adult, so it will be present but vaguely mentioned. Thanks to everyone that voted!
Weeks slowly pass, the ninja wanting to strangle their Defence teacher more and more with each passing lesson.
Hariko and the others made, signed, and sent get well soon cards to the Gennin they know are injured, especially after a secondary report that Gai received informed them that Naruto had been hurt in the fight too.
Lockhart has had several more Dueling club sessions, which Dumbledore made mandatory for second years after people stopped going due to Lockhart's idiocy. The Headmaster claimed it was important that they learn to properly duel as his reason for making it mandatory.
On Halloween, the young ninja attending Hogwarts find a large crowd gathered in front of a bathroom on the second floor. The floor is flooded and hung from a torch bracket is Mrs. Norris, the squib caretaker's cat. She isn't moving.
There's writing on the wall, looking to be written in blood.
"The Chamber of Secrets has been opened. Enemies of the Heir, Beware" Shikamaru mumbles. "This isn't good"
Neji snorts. "You think?"
"How unyouthful!" Lee cries out. "The poor cat!"
"Lee, shut up a minute" Tenten says, sending her teammate a sharp look.
Lee goes quiet, knowing (from experience) how dangerous Tenten can get with school supplies.
Filtch shoves through the crowd, crying out in anguish over what he assumes is his cat's dead body. He spins around, angry face glaring at the students as he tries to find someone to blame.
"YOU!" He screams, pointing at Shikamaru. "You did this! You killed her!"
Shikamaru raises an eyebrow, noting Dumbledore and several professors approaching.
"And how could I have done it?" Shikamaru asks. "I was in class all afternoon. In fact, I've just come back from talking with Professor Flitwick about some of the work we covered in charms class today"
"Don't deny it!" Filtch yells. "I know you did it! You look guilty!"
"Now Argus" Dumbledore says. "I'm sure we can sort this out"
Lockhart offers the use of his office, as it's closest.
Before he can be dragged into the office by a staff member, Shikamaru walks up to the wall and drags a finger through the dripping writing. He sniffs it, then takes an experimental lick.
Frowning, he follows the headmaster and other recently gathered teachers, who include his head of house and the potions professor.
In Lockhart's office, the teachers start talking as if he's not there.
Shikamaru sighs and leans against a wall.
"Why do I even bother anymore?" He groans to himself.
Anko bursts into the room. "Shikamaru! Report!"
Shika pushes himself off from the wall and stands at attention.
Anko's loud demand brings the attention of the teachers towards them.
"Roughly twenty minutes ago, Hari, Saku and team Gai left Professor Flitwick's office with me. We were there so I could ask some questions. Seeing a crowd in the hallway outside of Moaning Myrtle's bathroom, we decided to investigate. Upon joining the crowd, we found Mrs. Norris the cat petrified and hanging from a torch bracket. Mr. Filtch then came onto the scene and, with no due cause, accused me of murdering her. Before being forcefully dragged into this office, I took a moment to inspect the writing on the wall which reads 'The Chamber of Secrets has been opened. Enemies of the Heir, beware'. The writing is done in blood, but not just any blood. It's written in rooster blood. Hagrid happens to have some missing roosters. On the floor under Mrs. Norris, and leading into the girls washroom, was a large puddle of water. It's very likely that whatever petrified the cat left the water behind" Shika reports.
"It's that snake, isn't it?" She asks.
"Very likely" Shikamaru replies.
"What snake?" Professor Snape demands.
"There's a snake moving through the pipes." Anko says. "A snake I didn't summon. I have a summon of mine checking out the pipes and looking for the huge one that's in the pipes, but who knows when my summon will find it, considering how big the castle is. What we know is it can travel through the pipes, it can petrify things, it can't stand roosters probably since either it or someone controlling it decided to kill them and it's got to be pretty massive if you can hear it hissing through pipes and stone walls"
"You know…I think I read something about a snake like that recently" Shikamaru mutters, digging through his bag for a book and opening it up. "Here we go. The Basilisk. It can grow to be over sixty feet long and over ten feet high. It's gaze usually kills, but if someone were to lock eyes with it through something like a mirror or a puddle of water, they would be petrified instead. Salazar Slytherin was rumored to have a Basilisk but no proof was ever found. If Slytherin hid the snake in the school, using this chamber of secrets, then someone with the password to the chamber must be skulking about."
Anko nods. "Anyone suspicious?"
"Not really, though a first year Gryffindor, Ginerva Weasley I believe, seems to be getting sicker by the day. She's pale, becoming paranoid, loosing sleep and I've seen her writing in a black diary several times. I don't think the Diary is hers, either. It has the initials T.M.R. on it. She should probably be taken to Madam Pomfrey" Shikamaru says.
"I'll see to it that Professor McGonagall is informed" Flitwick says with a smile.
"Alright, that's settled!" Anko exclaims. "Now, Let's grab the others and go on safari!"
"Safari?" Shikamaru asks.
"Yup! Safari! We're going to be hunting a Basilisk! Think I could make it my pet?"
Shikamaru sighs. "We'll see, sensei. We'll see"
The two ninja head back out side, where curious students are still milling about.
The other Konoha ninja are right outside the door to Lockhart's office, waiting for Anko and Shikamaru.
"What's the verdict?" Neji questions.
"Basically, the teachers are clueless morons and Shikamaru and I need to go Basilisk hunting" Anko replies.
"Oi! You're not going hunting without Hari and I!" Sakuno protests.
"I believe my team should come as well" Neji says, glancing quickly at Lee and Tenten. "It will be good field experience"
"Alright. This weekend, then!" Anko exclaims. "Shikamaru and I will each lead a team out to hunt down this snake! We'll meet in the abandoned girls bathroom over there at midnight on Friday. Until then, keep an eye and ear out for any clues and do some research in the library's restricted section. One of you can easily trick Lockhart into giving you permission."
"Hai, Anko-Sensei" The younger ninja reply as one.
Anko nods to herself, satisfied with their answer, then says, "Well? Get a move on! Don't you kids have homework to do or something?"
"Night, sensei" Team Anko says, heading towards Ravenclaw Tower.
Neji says his good nights to his teammates, then follows them quickly.
Lee and Tenten head in the direction of Gryffindor Tower.
They have two days to prepare for their Basilisk hunt, and they're going to need all the sleep they can get to help them organize everything.
Authors Note part 2: You, my lovelies, are totally awesome for reading my story and encouraging me to continue. As is the case with all stories, Reviews keep the muses warm and fed, and questions or concerns can always be PM'd.
To those of you who celebrate it, I wish you a Merry those who don't, Happy Holidays. If your culture/religion doesn't have a holiday this month, Have an awesome remainder of the month. Again, I apologize for how long it took to get this chapter out, and for it's quality. Due to having no Beta, there are probably a few problems/mistakes that I didn't see when I re-read it for the third time.