- Draco Malfoy Harry Potter
- Alternate Universe General
- The Harry Potter at Hogwarts Years
- Philosopher's Stone Chamber of Secrets Quidditch Through the Ages Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them
Published: 04/18/2004Updated: 06/08/2006Words: 97,140Chapters: 21Hits: 109,125
They Shook Hands: Year Two (Original Version)
- Story Summary:
- Harry Potter's holiday with the Muggles has been dreadful. He wants nothing more than to return to Hogwarts, but when he is rescued by a masked wizard in a black robe, it sets off a chain reaction of disasters. Things are no calmer at school as an ancient legend comes to life and a deadly monster stalks the halls. The new Defense professor boasts that he will end the threat, but can even the magical might of the famed Gilderoy Lockhart prevail against the Heir of Slytherin? Nobody knows who it could be, but the prime suspect is none other than Harry himself!
Chapter 17 - Beware The Ides of March
- Chapter Summary:
- It's St. Valentine's Day! Lockhart has surprises planned for the students, but his fellow teachers might just tar and feather him before he can count all his cards. Weasley's detention is over, but someone forgot to inform Professor Snape. Percy helps Harry out when an accident ruins his homework, but the accident lets an alert Harry unravel the secret of the little black diary. What he learns could solve the mystery of the Heir of Slytherin. Harry and Draco stumble on the scene of another attack, but something is horribly different this time. The Ministry of Magic finally takes some action, but is it the right action?
- Author's Note:
- All chapters are posted on Schnoogle. All chapters and some juicy extras are posted on
They Shook Hands : Year Two
An alternate (but realistic!) universe Harry Potter fic
Chapter Seventeen - Beware The Ides of March
The following Sunday happened to be St. Valentine's Day. Because of their copious celebration of the Quidditch victory, the students of Slytherin House were somewhat delayed in their arrival at breakfast. As they walked through the doors, Harry nearly jumped out of his skin. Had they gone in the right door?
The walls were covered with large, lurid pink flowers. Worse still, heart-shaped confetti was falling from the pale blue ceiling. Lockhart, the great fop, was wearing equally lurid pink robes to match the decorations, standing at the front of the Head Table with his lips smiling so wide it looked as though his teeth were trying to climb out of his face.
At the Slytherin table, Pansy, Blaise, and Jenna were all giggling like mad. Crabbe looked as though his stomach bothered him. Harry shoved aside a scattering of rose petals and reached for the pancakes.
"Yeck, even the syrup is pink," he gagged. Sure enough, instead of good old maple, he'd grabbed the strawberry sauce instead. "Good thing I like strawberries. What the bloody hell is all this then?"
"Happy Valentine's Day!" Lockhart shouted. "And may I thank the forty-six people who have so far sent me cards! Yes, I have taken the liberty of arranging this little surprise for you all. Some good cheer is precisely what this castle needed. And it doesn't stop there!"
Oh no, there was more?
Lockhart clapped his hands, and through the doors to the entrance hall marched a dozen surly-looking dwarves. Not just any dwarves, though. Lockhart had them all wearing golden wings and carrying harps.
"My friendly, card-carrying cupids!" beamed Lockhart. "They will be roving around the school today delivering your valentines! And the fun doesn't stop here! I'm sure my colleagues will want to get into the spirit of the holiday! Why not ask Professor Snape to show you how to whip up a Love Potion? And while you're at it, Professor Flitwick knows more about Entrancing Enchantments than any wizard I've ever met, the sly old dog!"
Poor Professor Flitwick buried his face in his hands, but Snape looked furious. The first person to ask him about Love Potions was likely to be drowned in a batch of first-class poison instead.
"Wonder what old McGonagall would help us with," Draco sniggered.
All day long the dwarves marched through the corridors of Hogwarts, being sent here and there by the increasingly amused students. A few Knuts was all it cost to send someone a card, and the generally wealthy Slytherin students wasted a fair chunk of pocket change by sending all kinds of wild messages around the school. Draco and Harry sent a valentine to Weasley, signing Granger's name on it; the NEWT-level Transfiguration students sent McGonagall one with a hex inside. Late that afternoon in the Great Hall, a particularly grim-looking dwarf came to the Slytherin table.
"Oh no," he groaned. He'd already gotten valentines from a dozen people today. "Very well, give me the card."
"No card," the dwarf said with an evil sort of leer as he twanged his harp in a threatening manner. "I got me a song."
"Harry's got a singing valentine!" the girls giggled together with delighted amusement.
Harry's cheeks flushed. "Dear god," he shook his head. Was there no limit to this insanity?
"His eyes are as green as a fresh-pickled toad,
His hair is as dark as a blackboard.
I wish he was mine, he's really divine,
The hero who conquered the Dark Lord!"
Harry snorted pumpkin juice through his nose. The rhyme was hack verse at best; probably something Weasley had come up with. As he mopped at his face and blew his sinuses clear, his friends were shrieking with laughter. He sighed ruefully. Cupid-dwarves had been quite the decent joke, but it had gone a bit far.
Thankfully all the confetti, and cards and hearts disappeared come Monday. Even so, Harry's first class was Potions, where no hint of the holiday could be found regardless. Professor Snape seemed even grimmer than usual. Maybe he hadn't gotten any cards.
Snape set them directly to the work they'd left off on Thursday, which had needed to be chilled over the weekend. Harry was just finishing adding his final ingredient when the professor called upon his gopher.
"Weasley, fetch some rose stem from the stores."
"Go get it yourself," the boy muttered.
"What was that?" Snape swooped in on the Gryffindor. "What did you say?"
"I said go get it yourself." Weasley was showing no fear as he mouthed off. "I've been counting down the days, and now my detention is over."
Weasley exulted in his freedom as Snape stood silent a moment, his eyes unreadable. He seemed stunned that Weasley was daring to speak in that tone of voice (Harry certainly was!) Then slowly, his yellowed teeth were bared as Snape's lips pursed in a wicked sort of smile. He gave a soft, evil-sounding chuckle.
"Over? Wrong, Weasley. Your detention is not over. You'll report here, as usual, at the end of classes today, and every day until I say otherwise. That will be five points from Gryffindor for your cheek, now go - and fetch - the rose stem."
Weasley's defiant stare slowly crumbled in the face of Snape's awful glare. He lowered his head, but Snape kept on staring. He looked back up, flinched away from that implacable face, and hurried out of the room.
"Wow," Harry breathed.
"Weasley's quite full of himself, isn't he?" Blaise whispered.
"A bit less so now, I wager," Harry replied.
* * *
The sun had now begun to shine weakly on Hogwarts again. The snow was finally starting to melt a little, and Harry only had to wear two sweaters for Quidditch practice that afternoon instead of three.
He was still no closer to unravelling the mysterious diary, and he was frankly starting to get a little annoyed at the thing. He'd tried everything he and his friends could think of, but to all appearances, it was an ordinary Muggle diary. Frustrated enough for one night, Harry shoved it to the side and dipped his quill to write his Charms assignment.
He'd been at it nearly forty-five minutes when he heard Millie shouting out in the hall. "Crabbe, get back here!" His thoughts were interrupted as the door to the room crashed open and Crabbe lumbered in with Millie hot on his tail. Crabbe was holding something, Harry couldn't see what, and Millie was lunging for it. She managed to get a hold on Crabbe's wrist, and a wrestling match ensued.
Crabbe was one of the biggest boys in the second form (and third and fourth form as well!), but Millie was no pixie, and the tomboy was probably stronger than Harry. The two rolled around, struggling for possession. It was amusing enough, in an exasperating sort of way, but Harry really did have to get his work done.
"Take it somewhere else, would you please? Hey!" he shouted in surprise as the pair rolled towards him. He jumped out of the way just in time; with a loud crash, they knocked over his writing desk, sending parchment, ink, and quills flying.
"You gits!" Harry exclaimed. "That's my Charms essay you've just ruined!"
Millie stood up, whatever she'd been after firmly in her grasp, but a look of remorse on her face. "I'm so sorry, Harry," she apologized. Then she turned to glare at Crabbe. "See what you did?"
"What I did?" he repeated incredulously. "You mean you had nothing to do with it?"
"Enough!" Harry shouted. "Out! Both of you!"
His parchment was soaked with black ink. How disgustingly awful. It was also on his books, his desk, the floor, and him. Harry started picking things up with a sigh of resignation. Everything was covered except for Riddle's diary. Hang about. The diary was sitting in the middle of an ink spatter. Harry gingerly opened the cover: not a drop of ink to be found; the pages were bone dry. What was going on?
"I heard there was a slight accident." Percy Weasley knocked on his door. "Wow, it seems that I heard right."
"Can you help?" Harry asked, putting the diary to the side for now.
"Absolutely." Percy stepped closer and examined the mess. "This is simplicity in itself. There's a difference between spilled ink and written ink. You have to apply a bit of maths and tweak the spell a bit, but you can remove ink spilled by accident from a parchment you've been working on. It's just a matter of differentiating by intent."
Harry nodded as if he'd understood a single word of that. Percy must have noted his confused expression, because he merely patted Harry on the arm. "Let me show you."
Percy waved his wand, and ink floated into the air, coming off the floor, the desk, and everywhere else it had spilled. Many black drops lifted up from the parchment, leaving Harry's Charms essay unmarked! The ink collected into a levitating sphere, and Percy directed it back into the inkwell.
"Simple as that," he said modestly.
"Wicked!" Harry was very impressed.
"Just sixth year Arithmancy," Percy demurred.
"It was brilliant, Percy. Thank you."
"You're welcome. Now if you'll excuse me, I have a pair of second years to yell at for a bit."
Percy had definitely loosened up a lot since he'd become a part of Slytherin House. Around people who were remarkably similar to himself, he'd really started to be a decent chap. Harry couldn't imagine the stick-in-the-mud Percy Weasley of Gryffindor House doing anything so nice as what Percy Weasley of Slytherin had just done. There wasn't a drop of stray ink anywhere.
Harry flipped through the pages of Riddle's diary again. Every page was spotless. It might as well have not been there when the ink went flying. Curious, Harry dipped his quill anew and dropped a large blot onto the first page of the diary.
The ink shone brightly on the paper for a moment, and then, as though it was being sucked into the page, it vanished. Harry drew in his breath; what strange magic this was. He dipped the quill again and wrote, "My name is Harry Potter."
The words shone momentarily on the page, and they also sank without a trace. Then, after all his days of experimenting, something finally happened. Oozing back out of the page, in the very black ink he'd been using, came words Harry had never written, in a handwriting not Harry's own.
"Hello, Harry Potter. My name is Tom Riddle. How did you come by my diary?"
The script was very formal, as though the writer had had a very proper instructor. These words, too, faded away. Harry felt a stab of ecstasy. He'd figured it out!
"I found it," he wrote. "Someone dropped it in a puddle of water."
Lucky that I recorded my memories in some more lasting way than ink. But I always knew that there would be those who would not want this diary read."
"What do you mean?" Harry scrawled.
"I mean that this diary holds memories of terrible things. Things that were covered up. Things that happened at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry."
"I'm at Hogwarts now," Harry wrote. "Terrible things are happening now, too. Do you know anything about the Chamber of Secrets?"
Harry's heart leapt. Finally! He steadied his shaking quill. "Tell me."
Riddle's reply came quickly, the handwriting becoming sloppier, as though he was hurrying to tell all he knew. "In my day, they told us it was a legend, that it did not exist. This was a lie. In my fifth year, the Chamber was opened, and the monster attacked several students, finally killing one. I caught the person who had opened the Chamber, and he was expelled. They gave me a nice, shiny, engraved trophy for my trouble and warned me to keep my mouth shut. The Headmaster, Professor Dippet, was shamed by what had taken place, you see, and he put out the story that the girl had died in a freak accident. He forbade me to speak the truth, but I knew it could happen again: The monster lived on, and the one who had the power to release it was not imprisoned."
Harry's glee was near-tangible. He was moments away from knowing all the answers. "The Chamber is open once more. Who did you catch? Please tell me!"
"I can do more than tell you," came Riddle's reply. "You don't have to take my word. I can show you."
Harry hesitated only a moment. "How?"
"I can take you inside my memory of the night when I caught him."
How he could be taken inside someone else's memory was something Harry didn't understand at all. Then again, he didn't understand how this diary was talking back to him either. He glanced at the door, which was shut.
"Yes," he wrote.
The pages of the diary began to blow as though caught in a high wind, stopping halfway on June thirteenth. Bright golden light began to shine from the pages, and Harry felt himself slipping away from the dorm and into the pages of the book in a whirlwind of colour and shadow. His feet hit solid ground, and he stood shaking as the blurred shapes around him suddenly came into sharp focus.
Where the deuce was he? It was a large, circular room. Paintings of wizards and witches covered every inch of the walls. There was a shelf filled with a clutter of things, and up at the top was the Sorting Hat!
This must be the headmaster's office. Those people in the portraits must be past headmasters and headmistresses. Which would mean that the position was filled by the man sitting at the enormous, claw-footed desk.
It certainly wasn't Dumbledore!, Harry realized with a shock. But of course, Tom Riddle had said that a man named Dippet was headmaster. This Dippet was a wizened, frail-seeming fellow. He was bald except for a few wisps of white hair, and he was currently reading a letter by candlelight.
Dippet seemed to not have noticed Harry, so he pulled back out of sight. The wizard was absorbed in reading his letter, frowning slightly. He finished, folded it with a sigh, stood up, walked to the window to draw the curtains.
The sky outside the window was ruby-red. The sun seemed to be just setting. The wizard absorbed the scene for a moment, but returned to his desk, sat down, and twiddled his thumbs as he watched the door.
There came a knock.
"Enter," Dippet said in a feeble voice.
A boy of about sixteen entered, taking off his pointed hat. A silver prefect's badge was glinting on his chest. He was much taller than Harry, but he, too, had jet-black hair.
"You wanted to see me, Professor Dippet?" said Riddle. He looked nervous.
"Sit down. I've just been reading the letter you sent me."
"Oh." Riddle was gripping his hands very tightly together.
"My dear boy," Dippet began kindly, "I cannot possibly let you stay at school over the summer. Surely you want to go home for the holidays?"
"No," Riddle said at once. "I'd much rather stay at Hogwarts than go back to that- to that-"
"You live in a Muggle orphanage during the holidays, I believe?
"Yes, sir," said Riddle, reddening slightly.
"You are Muggle-born?"
"Half-blood, sir!" Riddle corrected hastily. "Muggle father, witch mother."
"And are both your parents-?"
"My mother died just after I was born, sir. They told me at the orphanage she lived just long enough to name me. Tom, after my father; Marvolo, after my grandfather."
Dippet clucked his tongue sympathetically. "The thing is, Tom," he sighed, "special arrangements might have been made for you, but in the current circumstances, I'm afraid-"
"You mean all these attacks, sir?" Riddle questioned. Harry's heart leapt, and he moved closer, scared of missing anything. This was a memory, he realized; it had already happened. Harry was no more than an observer. Nobody would be able to see him.
"Precisely," the headmaster said quietly. "My dear boy, you must see how foolish it would be of me to allow you to remain at the castle when term ends. Particularly in light of the recent tragedy -- the death of that poor little girl! No, you will be far safer at your orphanage. As a matter of fact, the Ministry of Magic is even now talking about closing the school. We are no nearer locating the- er, source of all this unpleasantness-"
Riddle's eyes had widened. "Sir, if the person was caught, if it all stopped-?"
"What do you mean?" said Dippet with a squeak in his voice, sitting up in his chair. "Riddle, do you mean you know something about these attacks?"
"No, sir," Riddle denied quickly.
Dippet sank back, looking faintly disappointed. "You may go, Tom."
Riddle slid off his chair and slouched out of the room. Harry followed him down the moving spiral staircase, a feature Harry was amazed at. They emerged next to a gargoyle statue up on the fourth floor. Riddle stopped, chewing at his lower lip. His forehead was furrowed in thought.
Decisively, he suddenly hurried off. Harry ran after him, matching older boy's fast pace. They didn't see another person until they reached the entrance hall, when a tall wizard with long, sweeping auburn hair and a thick matching beard called to Riddle from the marble staircase.
"What are you doing wandering around this late, Tom?"
Harry gaped at the wizard. He was none other than a fifty-years-younger Dumbledore.
"I had to see the headmaster, sir," Riddle answered.
"Well, hurry off to bed," Dumbledore advised, giving Riddle exactly the kind of penetrating stare Harry knew so well. "Best not to roam the corridors these days, not since-" he broke off with a sigh. "Ah, but these are not your problems. Good night, Mister Riddle."
"Good night, sir."
Riddle watched Dumbledore walked out of sight, and then headed quickly for the dungeons. Harry followed him straight down the stone steps at once, but to his disappointment, Riddle led him not to some hidden passageway or secret tunnel, but to the very dungeon in which Harry had Potions with Professor Snape! The torches hadn't been lit, and when Riddle pushed the door almost closed, Harry could only just see him, standing stock-still by the door, watching the passage outside.
It felt as though they were waiting there for at least an hour. All he could see was the figure of Riddle at the door, staring through the crack, still as a statue. When Harry finally stopped feeling expectant and tense, he finally heard something move beyond the door.
Someone was creeping along the passage. He heard whoever it was pass the dungeon where he and Riddle were hidden. Riddle, quiet as a shadow, edged through the door and followed. Harry, completely in the moment, tiptoed along behind him.
For perhaps five minutes they followed the footsteps, until Riddle stopped suddenly, his head inclined in the direction of new noises. Harry heard a door creak open, and then someone was speaking in a hoarse whisper.
"Gotta get yeh outta here. C'mon now, in the box!"
There was something familiar about that voice.
Riddle suddenly jumped around the corner. Harry stepped out behind him and could see the dark outline of a huge boy who was crouched in front of an open door next to a very large box.
"Evening, Rubeus," Riddle said sharply.
The boy slammed the door shut and stood up.
"What yer doin' down 'ere, Tom?"
Riddle stepped closer. "It's all over. I'm going to have to turn you in, Rubeus. They're talking about closing Hogwarts if the attacks don't stop."
"I don't think you meant to kill anyone. But monsters don't make good pets. I suppose you just let it out for exercise and-"
"It never killed no one!" the large boy denied, backing against the closed door. From behind him, Harry could hear a funny rustling and clicking.
"Come on, Rubeus," said Riddle in a persuasive voice as he moved closer still. "The dead girl's parents will be here tomorrow. The least Hogwarts can do is make sure that the thing that killed their daughter is slaughtered."
"It wasn't him!" the boy roared, his voice echoing in the dark stone passage. "He wouldn'! He never!"
"Stand aside!" Riddle ordered sharply, drawing his wand.
His spell lit the corridor with a sudden flaming light. The door behind the large boy flew open with such force that it knocked him into the wall opposite. Out of that door came something that prompted Harry to let out a long, piercing scream unheard by anyone.
A vast, low-slung, hairy body and a tangle of black legs; a gleam of many eyes and a pair of razor-sharp pincers. Riddle raised his wand again, but was too slow. The beast bowled him over as it scuttled away, tearing up the corridor and out of sight. Riddle scrambled to his feet, looking after it. He raised his wand, but the bigger boy jumped at him.
Riddle was casting more magic as the scene whirled in front of Harry's eyes. The blackness darkened and became complete. Harry felt himself falling, and he landed with a crash spread-eagled on his four-poster bed in the Slytherin dormitory. Riddle's diary lay open on his stomach.
Dizzy and nauseous, Harry felt like retching, and from more than just the after-effects of the magic. Him? Hagrid? Rubeus Hagrid, the Heir of Slytherin? Harry wanted to vomit.
He was not the only one of that mind either. When Harry related what he'd seen and heard in the diary to his friends, more than one was moved to gag.
"That moronic chump is no descendant of the great Salazar Slytherin," Tim asserted flatly. "I don't care what some mouldy old prefect's diary says."
Pansy nodded her head. "For once I agree with Tim. It's unthinkable."
"It's impossible," Jenna agreed. "Harry's not tall enough to be Hagrid's grandson."
"You silly bint," Harry said as he poked her in the side. "I tell you, I am not the Heir of Slytherin. Be serious."
"I am." She stuck her tongue out at him.
"Hagrid does have a fondness for great murdering beasts," Millie mused. "That part of the memory is probably entirely true."
"Hagrid would raise some giant spider in a box under his bed," Jenna concluded.
"He was planning on raising a dragon in a wooden hut," Harry reminded them.
"And don't forget that three-headed dog guarding the Philosopher's Stone last year," Blaise contributed.
"As if I could," Draco scoffed.
"They must have been so desperate to find the culprit that nobody ever considered that Riddle hadn't actually caught the Heir," reasoned Tim.
"And like any Slytherin, the Heir used the distraction to cover his tracks. When the attacks stopped, nobody asked any more questions." Draco was nodding as it all made sense for him.
"Then the Heir just finished school, married into the Potter family, and lived a good life," Jenna giggled.
"If you're so convinced that I'm the Heir, then take an order and shut it."
"Well then, any student whose father was at Hogwarts fifty years ago is suspect," Draco figured.
"Why would it have to be a man?" Pansy demanded.
"Because men are methodical and girls are scatterbrained," Tim answered. "Especially you."
"I'm methodical about hating you," she snarled.
"Bite me, vampire."
"I'll tear your throat out."
"Why don't you change into a bat and fly away?" he suggested.
"Why don't you start running before I start chasing you with a knife?"
"Aren't they just so cute?" Jenna said wryly to Blaise.
* * *
The last weekend in February saw Ravenclaw demolish Gryffindor on the Quidditch pitch. Without proper Beater support, the Chasers were completely vulnerable and could only manage a handful of goals. Oliver Wood was a fine captain and a talented Keeper - even the Slytherins were prepared to admit it - but finding replacements for the Weasley twins seemed to daunt even his skills. Panning, Gryffindor's Seeker, was, of course, absolutely awful.
"When is Wood going to realize that she's totally hopeless?" Harry questioned on the way to Transfiguration the following Monday.
"He probably already has," Millie pointed out. "The problem is that everyone else in his house is as bad or worse. Gryffindor hasn't had a competent Seeker in eight years now."
"That was Charlie Weasley," Tim informed them. "He led Gryffindor to six straight Cups."
Harry opened his mouth to make a snappy comment, but a loud tearing sound interrupted him. His books, quills, parchment and ink all went flying as his old and tattered bag finally gave up the ghost. Harry stood and stared at the mess for a few silent moments. Wonderful.
"Oh no!" Blaise ran after his escaping ink bottle.
"Don't bother," Harry sighed. "I'll get it. No sense in all of us being late."
"Are you sure?" Millie asked. "Old McGonagall will be right put out with you."
"She's always put out with me for one thing or another," Harry rued. "I'll survive."
Harry watched with resignation as his blank parchment swirled up the corridor in the slight draft. Perhaps he should just skiv off Transfiguration entirely; he could always plead a stomach-ache and copy the notes from Tim.
"Need some help?"
Harry looked towards the source of the strange voice and was considerably startled to see Ginny Weasley standing there. Now why on earth would she offer to help him?
"Bad luck," she said as she gathered up parchment, not waiting for him to accept her offer. "Anything break?"
"Thankfully no," Harry wasn't sure why she was being nice to him, but he wasn't about to look a gift horse in the mouth. "The bag is a loss though."
"My mum would stitch it right up," Ginny told him. "It's not a loss until it disintegrates entirely."
"I'll just buy another one," Harry shrugged. "And maybe one for you by way of thanks."
The girl went red as could be. "T-that won't be necessary," she stammered.
"Slytherins pay their debts," he told her. His bottle of ink went into his pocket; his quills were tucked into an inner pocket. He wrapped the straps around the stack of books as best he could. "I should just go back to bed."
"I wouldn't wander the halls alone, if I were you," Ginny advised him.
"Thanks. And thanks for the help."
"Bye," she waved, as Harry hurried to class.
By some amazing stroke of luck, old McGonagall's back was turned as he got there. Moving as quickly and as quietly as he could, Harry slid into his seat and breathed a sigh of relief. He sat towards the back anyway, so hopefully the professor wouldn't have missed him. Fortune, however, was truly not with him this day.
"You are late, Mister Potter." Old McGonagall's steely gaze was upon him, and now he had a taste of what Weasley felt from Snape. "Explain yourself."
"My bag tore," he dutifully explained, holding up the bag as evidence. "All my stuff scattered everywhere."
McGonagall crossed the distance to inspect the bag up close. Harry flinched reflexively as she drew her wand, but she uttered only a simple, "Reparo!," and the tear knit itself seamlessly.
"Now then, today we shall be changing flowers into goblets. Turn to page three hundred."
The lesson that day wasn't bad, but two weeks later, Harry and his friends were stumbling from Transfiguration in a daze. Whatever Professor McGonagall had been talking about today, it had been dreadfully obscure and terribly complicated. Even Tim, who normally was very ace at the subject, was shaking his head as they left the classroom.
"God, I've never felt so stupid!" Pansy complained.
"Me neither," Jenna agreed.
"I think I hurt something." Millie was holding a hand to her head.
"Maybe someone ought to tell old McGonagall that we don't speak Greek," Goyle grumbled.
"I swear, we used every letter today," Tim griped. "I think I'm going to be sick."
"Why do we always have to pass this hallway?" Harry asked, suddenly feeling irritated. They were walking by the corridor with the writing on the wall, and Harry had grown a bit superstitious about the place. He avoided it to avoid drawing suspicion on himself.
"Because it's the quickest route down to the dungeons," Draco answered him.
"We need to find a better way."
"You boys go ahead," Pansy said then. "We'll meet you in the common room." The gang had decided to take a break after the torture of Transfiguration.
"Afraid to face me at chess?" Tim needled her.
"I fear nothing," she declared.
"We just need to stop by the loo and freshen up," Blaise told Tim. "I want to wash my face."
"Why, did old McGonagall make you cry?"
"Very nearly," she admitted. "I'm pretty horrible at Transfiguration, you know."
"Not completely horrible," Draco encouraged her. "Goyle's worse."
"We won't be long," Pansy promised.
"You can go drown yourself in the sink for all I care," Tim retorted.
"So you say," she said as she stuck out her tongue.
"What's that smell?" Crabbe asked suddenly.
"It's not time for dinner yet, fathead," Draco pointed out.
"No, I smell it too," Goyle said, wrinkling his nose. "Something is burning."
"It's coming from the loo."
"Let's check it out."
The two big boys drew wands and peered through the crack of the door. "Clear."
"Open it up," Goyle urged his friend. "I've got you covered."
The door creaked open to reveal a bathroom filled with grey smoke that curled slowly from one of the stalls. Tim slowly eased the swinging door open. "Look here," he said. "Someone's been breaking a few rules. There's a fire in the toilet, and a cauldron bubbling away."
"Smells overdone to me," Jenna quipped.
"Any idea what potion it is?" Millie asked.
"What's this then? Moste Potente Potions?"
"That's a restricted book!" Draco exclaimed.
"The nasty little secrets some people keep," Crabbe observed with a grunt.
"The potion is pretty much crisped," Tim noted as he took an experimental stir.
"Oi Harry, come back here," Draco called out.
Harry left Tim poking at the cauldron and moved towards the rear of the loo. There was something on the floor, Harry saw. He peered closer and received a shock as he realized it was a person! It was that insufferable Granger girl. What the heck was she doing here? Why was she on the floor?
A queer feeling overcame Harry as he thought about it. Then Draco nudged the girl with his toe. She didn't move. Her flesh gave way beneath his shoe, so she wasn't Petrified. Her eyes were wide and staring.
"Bloody hell," Draco breathed. "She's dead."
A piercing shriek echoed off the tiled walls. Blaise had her hands clapped to her cheeks in horror.
Goosebumps broke out over Harry's skin. "Dead?" he croaked through a suddenly dry throat.
Millie looked stupefied. Pansy seemed about to faint. Jenna was green in the face. Surprise was plain on Crabbe and Goyle's faces, and even Tim seemed shocked. Only Draco seemed unmoved as he turned his back.
"I'm grabbing the book," he announced, matching his words with actions. "It could come in handy someday."
"Might I suggest that we don't want to be here?" Harry suggested in a sick voice. "That girl over there is dead in case you hadn't noticed."
"I noticed," Draco said in an unconcerned tone. "But we didn't do it. We've been in class with old McGonagall, and everyone knows it."
"You really have no concept of danger, do you?" Harry couldn't believe what he was hearing. "Grab your precious book if you must, but let's get the hell out of here!"
There was a gushing sound just then, and Harry turned to see Blaise throwing up into the sink. He felt entirely sympathetic, but there was no time for being delicate right now. Harry ushered his friends from the tiled bathroom and down into the dungeons.
Nobody spoke; they walked in silence, for which Harry was thankful. He was churning internally over whether they should report what they'd found.
"Hello, second-years," Abraham Montague warmly greeted them as they came into the common room. He was the only other person present, reading one of his textbooks in a comfortable chair before the fire.
"Abraham, we need to tell you something," Harry blurted before he could talk himself out of it.
"What's going on, Harry?"
Harry nearly stumbled over his words as he told the Head Boy about how they had stumbled on Granger's body. His voice was shaking near the end, and the awful enormity of it all was finally hitting him.
"I must inform Professor Snape," Abraham said when they had finished. "You've done well. I'll take it from here. Try not to think about it."
"Already forgotten," Draco assured him.
* * *
Shortly after the school sat down to dinner, it seemed there were some unexpected guests. A shortish man with rumpled grey hair and an anxious expression was coming through the entrance hall with two tall fellows in grey robes. He had a most curious assortment of clothes: a pinstriped suit, a scarlet tie, a long black cloak, and pointed purple boots. Under his arm he carried a lime-green bowler.
"That's Cornelius Fudge, the Minister of Magic!" Tim exclaimed to Harry.
"He doesn't look like much."
"He's not much," one of the older students laughed.
"Wonder what he's doing here," Draco frowned. "Those are Aurors he's got with him."
"It must be about Granger," Millie whispered. Harry had a sinking feeling that she was absolutely right.
"Dumbledore doesn't look pleased," Pansy noted.
"Having law enforcement show up during dinner would sour anybody's stomach," Goyle said.
The headmaster came down from the High Table and held a whispered consultation with the Minister. Fudge's expression was pained, and he had an appeasing sort of demeanour. He didn't give in, though, and Dumbledore finally sighed a great sigh and nodded his head in resignation.
Fudge gestured to the Aurors, and they moved with amazing quickness to guard -- Hagrid?
"'Ere now, what's all this then?" Hagrid rose to his feet and stared intimidatingly down at the Aurors, who were now being hesitant.
"Hagrid, let's not make a fuss now," Fudge pleaded. "Come along quietly, please."
"Where to?" the big man demanded to know. Everyone in the Great Hall was hushed to hear the Minister's reply.
"Your record is against you, Hagrid." Fudge was sweating now. "The Ministry's got to act. I've got to take you."
"Not teh Azkaban prison!"
Hagrid swelled himself up, seeming to bunch his shoulders in preparation for some berserk action. Both Aurors drew their wands as the gamekeeper kicked his chair back. He lunged at one of the armed wizards. A nasty hex was his payment, but the flash of red light barely slowed Hagrid down. The Auror crumpled as Hagrid's big fist slammed into his gut.
"Hagrid, stop!" Fudge shouted.
The second Auror cast a spell, and metal bands appeared in the air. They wrapped around Hagrid, pinning his powerful arms to his sides, binding his legs together. Carried forward by his momentum, the man crashed to the hard stone floor. He wriggled and writhed, still struggling to get away.
All the students watched in shock as the two Aurors stilled Hagrid's movements and levitated his unconscious carcass from the Great Hall. Minister Fudge wiped the sweat from his brow; he looked as though he wanted to say something as he tucked his handkerchief into his pocket.
"Sorry to have interrupted your meal," he apologized. "The law waits for nobody."
With that enigmatic statement, Fudge departed. Dumbledore, looking very old indeed, sat back in his chair. He didn't eat anything. After only a short time, he left the table.
The remainder of dinner was a riot of conversation and speculation. Nobody knew what to make of the arrest; nobody knew the history except for Harry and his friends. Nobody knew how there was a link between Hagrid and all the attacks, but surely there was one, it was whispered, or else the Ministry would never have taken Hagrid away.
to be continued...
Yes, there is an AU version of Year One. Please read my previous work, They Shook Hands before you read this one, otherwise things will get confusing. You can join my Yahoo group Deth By Fanfiction to participate in an open forum for discussing all things about this fic. Chapter updates go out here first before I post to Schnoogle. Many thanks to my loffly beta reader, Christi. This fic would not be possible without her help. I loff you so much, Christi!