Chapter 10 Into the Unknown
On Christmas morning Harry was rudely awoken by Ginny who jumped onto his bed and shock him. “Merry Christmas Harry! Get up, there are presents!”
Grumbling Harry sat up “Merry Christmas to you too. Couldn`t you have waited a little longer?”
“Absolutely not, now get up!”
“Potter, please move so your girlfriend shuts up!” Malfoy snarled from his bed.
“She is not my girlfriend! She is my best friend.”
“Whatever, just be quiet.”
Harry followed her out of the dorm into their common room. There he saw that Ginny had decorated their favourite chairs and lined up Christmas presents in front.
“Wow, Gin that looks amazing.” He said while sitting down.
She smiled and grabbed the first present from her pile. Despite having an argument with her mother about where to stay for Christmas, they sent her presents. Something Harry was immensely glad about, because it meant she was still supported by her family.
Harry’s pile consisted of three presents, he decided to open Ginny’s last. The first one was from Daniel, a cleaning kit for his broom. Harry chuckled and said to Ginny: “Because of the diary I completely forgot to try out for the Quidditch team, well we can try together next year!”
“Oh right, the diary really occupied all of our free time.”
“But it’s worth it, we are already so much stronger than our class mates.”
Ginny nodded and went back to unwrap her presents.
Harry’s second present was from Professor Snape. “Oh you really are his favourite pupil, getting presents from a Professor and all.” Ginny giggled.
It was a potions book, but when he opened it he forgot to breathe for a moment. “Ginny…. it`s the potions book form my mother.”
“Oh that`s awesome! Come let’s look through it.
The kids spend the next hour searching for tiny notes by Harry’s mother. When they reached the end Harry had a tear in his eye. Ginny hugged him tightly and whispered: “Your mother was an amazing witch and she has an amazing son.”
Now it was Ginny’s turn to open Harry’s present, she leaned forward and unwrapped it gently. A moment later, she held a miniature broom in her hand with a tiny note attached. She shot Harry an enquiring glance before reading and she soon squealed out in delight. “Harry you can`t be serious!”
“Oh I am. I will buy you a broom in the next summer holidays. Like I said, we will get onto the Quidditch team together next year.”
“Thanks, thanks, thanks, thanks, I always dreamed about having my own broom. But if we start playing Quidditch next year we have to train. I haven’t flown a broom in ages.”
Next, Harry opened Ginny’s present. Like last year it was a painting, but the two kids in the picture were not standing still. They were laughing and fooling around. “It’s wonderful, are they moving because of the painting set I gave you?”
“Yes, I was painting the picture with it since you gave me the set, when I arrived at Hogwarts I asked Professor Flitwick about the necessary charms. He helped me charming it. “I love it, you are really talented. Now I wish I had given your something about arts as present.”
“I love the broom, it is the best present I have ever gotten,” she said grinning.
Th e rest of the day was spent eating at the feast and playing in the snow.
Before going to sleep, Ginny asked: “Have you ever been in the forbidden Forest?”
“No, but now that you mention it, I really want to. Let’s go tomorrow.”
“We should ask Tom first if there are any interesting things, if there are I bet he knows it.”
Harry thought for a moment and then said: “No, I am sure there are tons of secrets in the forest, but I want us to find them on our own. It will be much more fun this way.”
“Okay, let’s meet for breakfast at 8 tomorrow.”
“We should go to the kitchens and nick some food, we can have a nice picnic in the forest!”
“That’s brilliant! I can’t wait until tomorrow. Good night.”
The next morning, both ate a hearty breakfast and then made their way towards the kitchens. While they failed at making a stealthy entrance, the elves were more than eager to pack them a lunch kit.
“Mhm, these sandwiches look good.” Harry said while unwrapping one, only to be interrupted by a slap on his wrist. “They are for later! We just had breakfast, you should have eaten more when we were in the great hall,” Ginny exclaimed.
“Not everyone can eat 5 toasts, eggs and bacon like you! Seriously where are you putting all of that? Well, at least you have table manners, unlike your youngest brother.
Ginny harrumphed and put the lunch packages in a small bag. She then put on some warming charms on herself and Harry, just as he wanted to exit the castle she asked: “Are you wearing you warmers and did you put on your thick socks?”
Harry looked at her bewildered for a moment before replying cheekily: “Yes mum.”
“Don’t give me that, I just don’t want to drag around a sick boy for the remaining holidays. You guys are such wimps when it comes to catching a cold, I remember Percy whining the entire holidays two years ago when he had a cold.”
“No really, I appreciate it. I never had anybody who would care if I get sick. It’s just… it’s an odd feeling, but I like it. I really like it, it gives me a nice feeling in the stomach.” The last part was not much more than a low rambling but Ginny was still touched by his words. She swore to herself that she would let him feel what an important person he was, even if her family despised him, she would stand by him!
Making their way down to the forest Harry remarked: “Having a picnic in December is pretty weird, don`t you think?”
“Being normal is boring and we have magic, the time of the year really should not matter to us.”
“That’s true, we can do whatever we want, whenever we want!”
With new vigour they stomped through the snow. At the forest they chose a path surrounded by thick vegetation as there would be less snow.
“Hey look a flower! It’s beautiful, do you know what it is?” Ginny asked.
“No, sorry I am not very interested in herbology. But I wonder how it can survive in the cold.”
“Well, it is obviously a magical plant!” Ginny sat while crouching down and starting to levitate snow, dirt and stones away from the shiny flower with two neat green leaves at the stem and black petals. “Can you please transfigure some kind of flower pot for me? I want to put it on my nightstand,” she asked with pleading eyes.
Harry smiled at how much joy a little flower in winter could bring her. He walked over to the small pile of dirt Ginny had previously levitated away from her flower and thought what the best way to approach it was. ‘I should probably form the dirt into a pot and then change it into something more solid. Maybe stone? No, what were Aunt Petunias Flower pots made of… right, hardened clay. But I want something special for her… I know!”
“Ginny please form the dirt into a pot and hold it for a moment.”
She obliged swiftly and the dirt pot, held together by magic, was levitating between them. Harry took a deep breath and mumbled the incantation for hardening an object.
With a swift flick of his wand the pot was as hard as any stone and Ginny started to thank profusely but Harry shock his head, “I am not done yet.” He aimed his want at the pot and then turned its colour into an emerald green, but instead of just changing the colour, he changed the mass itself and soon everybody who would lay his or her eyes on the pot would think it was carved from a single emerald, at least until closer inspection.
“Wow Harry, that’s amazing.” Ginny squealed while flinging herself at him thanking him with a tight hug. “Where did you learn how to make an emerald? It`s so beautiful.”
Harry chuckled and said: “Sadly it`s not an emerald, I just changed the colour and a little bit of the surface to look like one. I don`t know how long it will remain, if it fades just let me know, I will recast it then.”
“That was some incredible spell work, how did you come up with it?”
“I just tied a lot of spells I know together, the hardening spell, the colour changing spell and a spell to make the surface smoother. I found out that if you have a picture in mind you can control the colour spell very precisely, that’s how I got it to look like an emerald. I saw the picture in a history of magic book.”
“I love it, thank you so much!” She then levitated some dirt into the pot, followed by the flower. She could probably have done it faster by hand, but like Harry, she wanted to use magic whenever possible. After all, if one had a power why shouldn’t it be used?
Back at the dormitories Ginny put the flower on a night stand next to her bed, both looked at their handiwork for a moment before Ginny giggled: “You are in the girls dormitories.”
“Uh yes, is that a problem?”
“Uh hu, Fred and George tried to enter the Gryffindor girl’s dormitories once, apparently the stairs are hexed and they got some nasty pimples.”
“I am glad there are no stairs in our dormitories,” Harry said smirking but then added: “Nobody ever said that there is a rule about not entering here. I wonder if it`s up to the head of house to decide.”
“Probably. I bet he knows that Slytherin’s are able to defend themselves if some boy tries to become bold.” She said laughing.
“Well if any of your room mates are even close to having your temper I wouldn`t want to try it.”
“And you better remember it!” She said with faked arrogance.
“How about we learn with Tom tomorrow and then we head to the Quidditch pitch the day after?”
“Sounds like a plan.”
After having breakfast Harry quickly grabbed his broom and met with Ginny on the Quidditch pitch.
“So, what position do you want to try out for?” Ginny asked.
“Huh, I am honestly not sure. Malfoy bought his way into the seeker spot, I don`t think we can get that one. I am too small for a keeper and not strong enough to become a beater. That leaves Chaser.”
“The beaters are probably the only position were our house is good. But it’s great, I want to become a Chaser too, we will play together then!”
“Who will we have to kick out of the team? I want to know what we are up against.”
“Marcus Flint, Adrian Pucey and Terence Higgs. Flint is captain and Higgs was moved to the spot from being seeker. I think we can outmatch Higgs and Pucey.”
“Okay… what do you have in mind? I never played Quidditch before,” Harry admitted.
“Oh, I forgot. Don’t worry, you know the rules right?” Harry nodded. “Good then let`s see, my favourite Chaser tactics are….”
Harry soon realised that despite rarely mentioning the sport to him, she was an absolute fanatic. They took turns in flying with Harry’s broom, Harry transfigured a stone into a Quaffle and Ginny added the necessary charms to make it fly. While not as useful as a real Quaffle it worked all right. Back on the ground they were throwing the Quaffle back and forth while running around. An exercise Harry had never done before and he dropped the ball fairly often. “I am glad that we have half a year to train, otherwise I would have been an embarrassment,” Harry mused.
“You are not that bad, but training will do you good.”
“You could use some more muscle too! We should start exercising regularly.”
Ginny groaned at the prospect of physical exhaustion, why would you do something the muggle way if you had magic? But she knew Harry was right, a healthy body was important… and who knows, she might look a little more grown up with some muscle on her body.
The remaining holidays were spent by either learning with Tom, working out or practicing Quidditch. Due to spending so much time training outside in winter they became rather adept at various warming and drying charms. Magic truly defies the seasons.
Sometime after classes had resumed a new rumour started. Hermione Granger, who else, had found out what the Chamber of Secrets was. And Ron Weasley, again who else, blurted it out. The boy really held his heart on his tongue. According to Granger only the heir of Slytherin would be able to open the Chamber and that the heir would have to be a Parselmouth because a Basilisk was lingering in the Chamber.
Oh the joy of being stared at where ever you go.
Harry and Ginny didn’t care about the rumours, as they rarely spend any time with other pupils anyway. The Slytherins treated Harry with utmost respect, the Hufflepuffs and Ravenclaws feared him and the Gryffindors openly defied him.
The Hogwarts rumour mill seemed to grind faster day by day until it even reached ‘The daily prophet’.
Is the brother of the boy who lived the next DARK LORD?!
< em>Last year our beloved hero of the light started at Hogwarts, along with his evil brother.
As expected Daniel Potter was sorted into Gryffindor but to the wizarding worlds surprise Harry Potter became a Slytherin. Not that anything is wrong with being a member of this proud house but instead of becoming a normal pupil he greeted his housemates in Parseltongue! The last known user of the serpents tongue was You-know-who himself.
According to many pupils Harry Potter was not like his brother. Where Daniel is a loved and respected member of the school and always eager to help, Harry is a loner and accused of cheating in a recent duelling competition.
And now with the rumours of the Chamber of Secrets being reopened, we all have to ask: Is Hogwarts safe and can we stop Harry Potter before it`s too late?
Find more about Daniel Potter’s good deeds in school on page 7
For information on the state of safety in Hogwarts and Harry Potter`s mental health problems turn to page 10
Ginny leaned over to Harry and whispered in his ear: “Let’s ask Tom about the Chamber, I want to see it now!”
“Yes, but if there is a basilisk we have to be prepared to deal with it.”
“Can’t you just command it like you did with the summoned snakes?”
“I hope so, but would feel better if we had a backup plan. Let’s find out as much about Basilisks as we can.”
They went to the library, but soon found out that all books about Basilisks had already been lent out, it seemed that every pupil in Hogwarts was suddenly very interested in becoming an expert on serpents.
Luckily barely any students had access to the restricted section and with their knowledge of illusion spells entering was no problem.
They found their books swiftly and started studying the magical creature.
“It says here that the croaking of a rooster will kill a basilisk. Do you think that`s why Tom wanted us to kill them?” Ginny said.
“I am sure of it. But if that’s it, the Basilisk won`t be a problem, I will just transfigure some things into roosters.” Harry snorted and added: “Imagine the story, ‘Basilisk killed by army of roosters’.”
Ginny joined his laughter, they only stopped after their stomachs started to hurt. They got up and went to retrieve the Diary.
“When do you want to go into the Chamber?” Ginny asked.
“Let’s see what Tom says about it.”
Hello Ginny, how are you doing?
I am awful, I am lonely and everybody is going crazy because of the Chamber of Secrets.
You don’t have to be lonely, you have me!
Of course, you are my best friend. Tom, I want a place where I can hide from everybody, can you show me where the Chamber is?
Ginn y suddenly groaned out and held her temples. “Uh, I think he tries really hard to enter my mind right now.”
“Please stop before it becomes too much. It’s not worth it if he hurts you.”
“Don`t worry I can bear it, we will find out everything he knows.”
Yes Ginny I can. But only I can open it.
Only the heir of Slytherin is allowed to enter, but if you trust me I can open it through you.
“I don’t like this Ginny, it sounds like he wants to possess you.”
“I know, and I feel him trying to enter my mind. I think if I was actually lonely right now I would succumb to him. His intrusion feels so good, there is a part of me that wants to let him in, but I know I shouldn`t.”
I trust you, but I first want to see the entrance. Where is it?
It’s in the toilet with the Ghost called ‘Moaning Myrtle’ Go there and then I will open it for you.
“Hu h, well let`s go!”
Standing inside the toilet they ushered the crying ghost away.
Harry said: “Granger said a parselmouth can open the Chamber, but he says only a Slytherin heir. Do you think we can get him to explain to us exactly what we have to do?”
“Without revealing your presence? I doubt it. I will let him into my mind and then I am going to push him right out again.”
“Are you sure you can do it?”
Yes.” She took a deep breath and repeated: “Yes, I am.”
Tom I am in the toilet, what do I have to do?
You have to let me into your mind, I will then open the Chamber.
Okay, you will enter my mind and then immediately leave. You won`t linger or do anything!
Of course not, you can trust me. I am your best friend, I would never hurt you.
Good… okay you can enter.
H arry quickly cast an illusion charm on himself and saw how Ginny’s eyes unfocused.
She went over to the sink and hissed ‘Open’.
A hole in the wall opened and Ginny was immediately back to her former self.
“That was easy! I didn’t think he would leave without struggle.” Ginny exclaimed.
“Yes, finally something goes right the easy way! Let`s head down, ladies first?”
Ginny snorted and said: “Chicken,” while climbing through the hole.
“This place is creepy, I hope it will be worth it though. Maybe we find a magical artefact?” Harry mused while they climbed down the slippery stairs.
“Or maybe some books of Slytherin’s personal library, I bet he knew really powerful magic.”
“Of course! Maybe this is the place where Riddle learned all of his magic.”
“Just imagine if it was, then we can finally get rid of him.”
“Yes, let’s hope we find it. But we have to be careful as soon as you hear something close your eyes.”
They reached the end of the stairwell and stood in front of a gigantic oaken door. The age showed clearly but the wood was as sturdy as on the day it had been built. They had expected the Chamber of Secrets to be some brittle, rundown dungeon but now, they were starting to revaluate things.
Slightly shaking with fear and anticipation they pressed their hands against the door and pushed it open. For a long moment it seemed like the door was too heavy for them to move, slowly but surely it started to open. Stepping through the door, their breath hitched.