A/N- Well I'm back. I've just been pummeled with real life stuff lately as well as being sick and at the same time having a damn wisdom tooth come in. They should call them 'Teeth of Pain' or something because I don't feel any wiser (although that could be lack of sleep). Couple of things- no spamming me about some religions being real or others being false or they're all real or whatever. I don't care. Soon this story will end. Probably next chapter. I already know how Dumbledore's reign as headmaster will end (truthfully I've known it since around Chapter 2 or 3) but I didn't want to give it away just yet.
Italics here are Parsel, bold italics are a memory. Thanks for being patient; lack of sleep and pain prevented me from writing for a good two weeks.
Over the Christmas break Harry and Hermione dispatched a few adults to investigate the Weasleys from an acceptable distance while Kreacher continued to make sure that Dumbledore's lemon drops were switched out for the potioned ones. Shortly before the winter break was over the couple snuck into Hogwarts to enter the Chamber of Secrets wearing their IBVG (Infrared Basilisk Viewing Goggles), created by Sirius and James, to find the basilisk. Hermione looked around, "Harry are we ridiculous for doing this?"
"I think it's more ridiculous that Sirius and my dad had to create these. The snake wouldn't hurt us so long as I can talk to it."
"I think their point is no horcrux, no Parseltongue."
Harry stopped walking. "Yeah? I guess that makes sense. But I still can so I don't see the problem."
Hermione just shook her head as she followed him into the Chamber proper. "Well Salazar was certainly not a looker." Harry snorted as they walked into the Chamber and Harry looked at her. Hermione smirked, "Yes I'll tell you if you're talking or hissing."
"Thanks," he smiled before looking at the statue and making sure his goggles were attached properly, "Speak to me…"
"Sorry." Harry looked at the mouth he knew the basilisk would come out of and imagined a snake in front of him, Speak to me Slytherin, greatest of the Hogwarts Four!
Hermione didn't have to tell him that he'd just spoke in Parsel because the mouth opened and he heard a voice speaking back, Who comes here?
My name is Harry Potter and I am here with my wife Hermione. We come to see you and speak with you.
While she couldn't understand what Harry was saying, she distinctly heard the sound of the basilisk approaching. Watching the large snake slide out of Slytherin's mouth she spoke, "Now we know where Voldemort got that whole Dark Mark idea from."
Harry just nodded before looking up at the basilisk, What should I call you?
The basilisk studied them both carefully before answering, Master Slytherin called me Medusa.
Harry's eyes bulged, You're a female? Well I didn't see that coming. My mate and I mean you no harm, Medusa. But we both know that you have been above to the school before and that you have killed.
I obey he who speaks. Master Slytherin's heir spoke to me often.
Are you supposed to go up there?
I am to guard this chamber.
So the answer to my question is no. My mate and I don't particularly want to kill you but we don't think that someone as deadly as you should be in a school for children. It's not safe.
You want me to leave my home?
Harry nodded his head, Yes I do. But we ask that you go in peace before the students return. Then we won't have to kill you.
The basilisk just stared at him for a long moment before speaking again, What is that on your head?
Special goggles so you won't kill us or petrify us. So will you leave or do we have destroy you? I'd really rather not do that.
I will leave tonight, the basilisk announced before exiting the chamber, Thank you Speaker.
Harry looked at Hermione, "At least we don't have to kill it. I still have nightmares about the magical creature extermination camps."
Hermione nodded, "Me too. I don't suppose you learned anything?"
"The basilisk is a female and her name is Medusa."
"I meant anything about the chamber," she rolled her eyes, "wait, Medusa?"
"Salazar named her Medusa," Harry shrugged, "I didn't think that wizards knew about muggle mythology though. I mean in our past life they didn't know about any religions. I remember you trying to explain the concept of Greek mythology to Neville and Luna," he chuckled, "that was hilarious."
Hermione began looking around the chamber for an exit, "I've thought about it. I think because the pureblood elitists would claim to never bow down for anyone," she glanced at Harry, "excluding a half-blood who looks partly like a snake of course," he winked at her and she continued, "they saw no need to ever create or have a deity. In many ways where a muggle might cry out a deity's name in surprise wizards tend to cry out Merlin's name."
Harry nodded his head at that. "That makes sense to me. You're brilliant."
"Even if we could have sex, it would not be happening in this chamber."
"Party pooper," Harry muttered. Hermione threw a rock at him and he ducked, "Hey watch it."
"Be glad I didn't use my wand. I wouldn't miss then."
They found a new way out of the castle and exited before silently Apparating back to the Granger house. They snuck back upstairs to their bedroom, stripping down to enter the shower. "Harry love you need to work on your dating ideas. I'm not a fan of crawling around in the sewers."
"Sorry love. You know I'm rubbish at being romantic," he kissed her gently, "you're cute even when you're covered in yuck though." Hermione wasn't sure whether to snog him or roll her eyes. She settled for dragging him into the shower with her.
Albus Dumbledore was dreaming. "You killed her."
"N-no it's not true!"
Gellert Grindelwald laughed, "I was there, Albus. You can try and lie to yourself and to everyone else but I know the truth. So do you. You were the one who killed your sister. Aberforth is right to blame you. You might blame me but our ideas are no different. I control through power and domination, you control through manipulation and cunning. You really should have been a Slytherin."
"You killed Arianna, not me! It was you!"
"And it was me who set up Severus Snape to become a Death Eater? It was me who engineered the coming of a new, far worse dark lord? It was me who saw all the signs of his rise to power but remained silent and kept that information all to myself? It was me who set up a false prophecy to kill the Potters and the Longbottoms and consign the young Harry to a life of misery with his magic-hating aunt and uncle? All while consigning the young Neville to a life of feeling completely inadequate and incapable of living up to the ghost of his father? It was me who knew that Pettigrew would turn on them and made sure that he did?" Gellert shook his head, "How long, Albus, do you think you can continue to play the omnipotent, omniscient, benevolent god? By any definition of the term you're a dark lord. You even permit and encourage the spread of pureblood propaganda, bringing Muggleborns and half-bloods to the school and then watching them return to the non-magical world because of the bigotry that runs rampant in wizarding society. You employ people you know will limit the students education and yet you claim to be the greatest wizarding school in the world! You care not for your students, merely your own ego!"
Albus Dumbledore sat up in bed in a cold sweat. "No…it's not…" But it was true. Albus knew that. After years of denying it and years of passing the blame…it was true. These dreams were coming to him because he knew, deep in his subconscious, that this was all true. He didn't believe in dreams as signs and portents, but he certainly did believe that the subconscious could bring out certain things from the brain. And the recurrence of these dreams certainly pointed to that. The only question now was…what did he do?
Harry thanked Kreacher for the memory before looking at Hermione, "I have to give the old coot credit for having a heart, no matter how small it is."
"Don't give him too much; the Grinch's heart was bigger," she muttered. "I think it's amusing he doesn't suspect anything still."
"Maybe he wants to believe that he still has some of his humanity," Harry offered, "he went after the ring pretty strongly."
"There was a compulsion charm on it Harry," she corrected, "don't give him sympathy. He gave you none. If we hadn't done anything to stop him…"
"Then he would have done the exact same thing again," Harry nodded. "I know. You're right. I want to have hope that he could change but the truth is without our interruption to the timeline and to his plans…he would have done it again and seen nothing wrong with it."
Albus Dumbledore did not like nightmares that reminded him of the truth. Every night he closed his eyes and every night those nightmares haunted him. Grindelwald and Arianna dominated them but as the school year resumed Voldemort was beginning to make an appearance. A taunting Voldemort. With no attempts on the stone he was concerned that without Harry Potter at the school it was just not an enticing enough object for the dark lord. Perhaps it was best to get rid of the stone. He was resigned to the fact that Potter wouldn't be a sacrificial lamb. At least not until Voldemort returned.
Hermione gazed up at Fluffy. This was a very familiar scene. The only obstacle they weren't aware of was the new potions one. But Harry was certain Slughorn wouldn't be trusted with protecting the stone and so there wouldn't be a potions task. She could see his point; Slughorn had told Voldemort about horcruxes in the first place and then sat on that information for over fifty years. Never said a word because he wanted to protect his 'reputation' in the wizarding world. But for all the ass-kissing Slughorn did Hermione had noticed he never seemed to actually be in contact with any of those people. And he wasn't above lying. While Hermione knew her mother-in-law was a talented potions maker, she was not the best. Hermione herself was better than Lily. Lily's true skill was in charms, not potions. The lies Slughorn told to get close to Harry just made him angrier with Slughorn; although the conversation they'd just overheard between Dumbledore and Ron Weasley was probably what had her normally laid back and happy husband ready to throttle a troll with his bare hands:
"You promised that Potter would be here and I'd be his best friend! You said he'd marry my sister and we'd get his money! I want what's coming to me!"
"Mr. Weasley we must be patient. I'm sure if you were to conveniently run into him in Diagon Alley you could get close to him. As for Ginevra, well his family has allied themselves with muggles and their daughter and Harry are apparently quite close."
"Then fix it! We want what's coming to us or my dad will make things bad for you!"
Ron had then stormed off and Hermione and Harry had shared a look of anger and satisfaction. They'd been on the fence about the Weasleys, going back and forth in getting retribution. Ron had just implicated the entire family. That meant Harry and Hermione had been right. Everyone, minus the twins, had been in on it. While that gave them satisfaction, they had held out hope that Arthur might have been bullied by his wife. Instead he was in on it. That made them angry.
"Ready for the obstacle course?"
Hermione gazed at her husband for a long moment before nodding. She leaned in and kissed him, "Let's go my love."
The devil's snare was easily dispatched, and the keys were as easy as the first time, although this time there was no partially crumpled wing to identify the key. Harry caught it easily and they moved onto the transfiguration task, which was still a chessboard. With Harry as the king and Hermione as the queen (the implications of the relationship of their pieces easily explaining why Ron had refused to put them in those positions) they masterfully dominated the board. The troll was something they'd prepared for. A potion bomb rendered him unconscious and unharmed. Troll or not, he was a magical creature and they still couldn't bring themselves to hurt one.
They reached the mirror and Harry avoided looking at it. He knew what he'd see if he looked into the mirror of desire. "We destroy the mirror, the stone gets destroyed too right?"
Hermione, also avoiding gazing into the mirror, nodded. "According to our research, yes. Otherwise the bastard would have had Quirrell destroy the mirror immediately, not stare at it for half an hour."
Harry chuckled and looked at her, "Which spell?"
"I think we should physically destroy it. First, it leaves no magical trace. Second, I don't think they'd expect a physical assault on the mirror."
"Makes sense," he nodded. He cast a spell to create a cricket bat and swung at the mirror, the mirror cracking on his first swing. "Guess that exercise is working."
"Admire your muscles later. We have work to do."
"Yes dear," he quipped, smirking at her before taking another swing. The mirror shattered and they set about working on making it appear that Voldemort had done it.
Hermione had just finished on recreating Voldemort's magical signature when she looked up at Harry, "I know how to get Dumbledore out of Hogwarts."
Harry tilted his head in curiosity and she mouthed 'later' to him before they exited the location and, just before they left through the trap door, set off the wards. Dumbledore would be there to see the mirror destroyed and have no way of knowing whether the stone was still there. The couple slipped out of a classroom window and Harry flew them to the edge of the wards where they Disapparated.
They relayed their story to their parents who were not pleased to hear that the Weasleys, an issue that the parents hoped Harry and Hermione could eventually move past, were still plotting against Harry. James and Lily knew Harry and Hermione would not let it go now; and they were hard-pressed to tell them to do so.
Hermione's idea was discussed and the entire family agreed that it was a brilliant idea. Not only would Dumbledore be taken down from the role of headmaster, they might even get to have him locked up sooner rather than later for insanity. Harry and Hermione had long suspected that Dumbledore stayed in power despite questionable sanity simply because everyone thought he was infallible. They doubted even in this timeline that anyone would suggest Dumbledore be locked up. It would take a serious situation that would make a public demand action against the aging, mentally unstable headmaster. They just needed a new potion for his lemon drops to marinade in.