Making herself comfortable, Ginny sat her quill onto the paper and wrote:
Hello Ginny, how are you? I missed you terribly.
< p>I am fine, thank you Tom.
“Do n’t tell him about me, if something happens I will destroy the diary immediately before he even knew what happened” Harry said as took his wand in hand and started practicing the fire charm a couple of times. “I think I got it, if he tries something, I will burn it.”
It’s amazing, I am a Slytherin! My family wasn`t happy though.
A Slytherin you say? I myself was a Slytherin. Don’t worry about your family, if they don’t support you, they are not needed.”
Ther e is a duelling competition coming up, can you teach me spells to win it? You seem so knowledgeable.
Of course I can. Remember, I am your best friend and if you ever need something I will help you.
Thank you so much Tom. I am looking for Transfiguration spells and Charms I can use in a duel. I don`t want to rely on the basic Defence against the Dark Arts spells.
Hmm , yes let’s start with Transfiguration...
Tom taught them not just spells for duelling but useful techniques for every situation. He was always teasing about knowing much more but no pleading made him reveal it. So far Ginny had not encountered any problems with Tom, the most she had felt after a long sessions of learning was a headache, but I might have come from practicing for hours.
Some weeks into the year Tom finally offered more information. Information on how she would become truly powerful. In exchange he asked for a small favour. According to him the roosters near Hagrids hut were interfering with his magic, making it painful to exist. They had to kill them, for doing so he taught them a curse called ‘Slicternos’. He said it was a spell of his own creation, it would cut straight through most materials without leaving a wound or a trace of an impact.
“Do you think we could just say we killed them?” Harry asked.
“I doubt it, if he can really feel them, he will notice. Killing those roosters is not too bad, I mean we eat chicken almost weekly and I watched my father killing our roosters when I was younger.”
“You are right, I love eating chicken, I shouldn`t be scared of killing them myself. And if we learn some more magic it will be absolutely worth it.”
“Want to bet we whether we will have rooster for lunch tomorrow?” Ginny asked grinning.
They practiced the curse for a while on their room’s furniture until they had the hang on it.
As the clock showed midnight Harry and Ginny sneaked out of their dorm room and dashed through the hallways while carefully avoiding teachers, prefects and ghosts. Arriving at Hagrid’s garden, the deed was done quickly. True to Tom’s word, there was no blood or gore. The roosters simply rolled over and stopped moving, much to the relief of the two kids.
The next day a distraught looking Hagrid bolted into the great hall while breakfast, he knelt down next do Dumbledore and whispered something. A half giants whisper was not particularly quiet, but due to the exciting chatter of an entire room full of children nobody could make out was he was talking about. Not that Harry and Ginny were scared, they felt certain about their abilities to sneak around unnoticed.
The rest of the week passed without any further incidents, the roosters seemed to be long forgotten. After classes the kids would go into their storage room, use some simple wards Tom had taught and learned as much as they could from him.
He was the best teacher one could imagine, he was always kind and patient. No matter how often Ginny wrote a question, he would answer at great length.
On Saturday the duelling club met for the first time, Professor Lockhardt, who seemed to only have eyes for Daniel Potter, announced that they would start a tournament. It will be divided by years, and a single battle elimination ruleset.
The winner advances, the loser is out.
The first tournament was for the second years and surprising amount of spectators have come. Probably not because they were awaiting impressive spellwork by the kids but because it was the first tournament. The battle groups were set up by randomness.
The first fight was a Hannah Abbot versus Ernie Macmillan, it was not a pleasant thing to watch. They were barely able to cast a shield spell or a shocking curse and their footwork was non-existent. Harry and Ginny laughed about this and the following fights.
With Tom Riddles teachings in mind, he would have no problems at winning. He wouldn`t even need to resort to conjuring snakes or use combat curses, some simple transfigurations and dodging should be enough.
True to his word, Harry stood up confidently and strode towards the podium when he was called. His opponent was Ron Weasley, a fact that brought a great smile to his face. Surprisingly enough, Ron seemed to be sure about his winning chances.
The very moment Professor Flitwick gave the go, Harry flicked his wand and transfigured Ron robes into a pink tutu. Harry dodged the stunner his opponent send towards him with ease and graze, remembering the Tom Riddles lessons of intimidating ones opponent by radiating an aura of sheer superiority.
The spectators broke out laughing at the sight of the redhead, who blushed and started shaking. If he hadn`t much of a chance to win this fight before, he had none now. With his confidence shattered in a blink of an eye, he started spamming spells left and right. None of the spells had a punch and the accuracy was abysmal.
After about two minutes, Harry decided that playing with him was utterly boring and he turned his back to him walking towards Ginny, just as we was about to leave the designated duelling area he flicked his wand and send a ‘Reducto` behind him.
It wasn`t strong enough to send Weasley flying, something that infuriated Harry greatly, but it was enough to let him yelp out in pain and drop his wand.
“Winner is Harry Potter!”
The following duels went in much of the same fashion, the difference between Harry and his peers was obvious. None of them had ever learned how to react in a battle scenario and Harry, who grew up dodging punches, knew how to act in a tight situation. Being taught spell work by the teenage version of the most powerful wizard since Merlin helped too.
The final battle approached with Daniel Potter and Harry Potter walking up to the podium. Harry was surprised at how well Daniel had dealt with his opponents, he used nothing creative but it was efficient.
He was dodging, casting shield charms and sending the unarming spell at his opponents at a speed none of his peers were able to match. Harry knew that his brother is fast, he had to be being Dudley’s punching bag, but were he learned to cast spells in such a rapid succession was beyond him.
Harry muttered to Ginny: “Well, maybe he does have some kind of talent. Would be a first for him.”
Harry and Daniel bowed to each other and at the ‘GO!’ from Flitwick both… did nothing. Most battles before had been won by simply being faster, as nobody, except for Harry who didn`t showed it for obvious reasons, had a great knowledge of spells. Therefore the kids were bound to fling the same spells at each other over and over again.
Harry smirked at Daniel and said: “Do you want to give up or are you waiting for a written instruction on how to attack me?”
Daniel shock his head and started circling him: “I know you, you always have a trick up your sleeve. I won’t fall for it, I will beat you honourably through my courage and bravery.”
“Ugh, that was cheesy.” Harry said and the next moment he sent two spells at Daniel. A bright light shot towards Daniel while shortly after a dark blue spell hit the floor around him.
Daniel raised a shield and avoided being hit by the light. He looked momentarily confused because he had never heard of such a spell, but regained his composure swiftly and yelled: ‘Expelliarmus!’
Harry sidestepped and countered with his favourite ‘Robes into Tutu’ spell, so simple and yet so humiliating. Harry heard Ginny laughing loudly behind him, he turned, smiled and waved at her.
He was not concerned about being shot in the back, his opponent was Daniel Potter after all, he would never use an opening.
Unlike Ron, Daniel was not losing his concentration. He sent a barrage of unarming and shocking spells against Harry. While he would never admit it, it was obvious that Harry had problems countering all of them, deciding it was becoming too dangerous he activated the spell which was sent beneath Daniel`s feet before. The ground turned into honey, and Daniel was genuinely shocked at being unable to move his feet, but he was still throwing spells at Harry.
Daniel would have to be ended rightly, the golden Gryffindor boy slain by the frowned upon Slytherin.
Harry raised a shield and right as the shield crumbled under Daniels spells he sidestepped and shouted: ‘Serpensortia’
Three snakes jumped out of his wand tip and slithered in all directions, a short hiss from Harry made them stop and look towards him.
“Time to show off a little I guess.”
After some more hissing, the snakes started circling around Daniel.
The boy-who-lived was getting nervous, having three poisonous snakes slithering towards him, while having his feet stuck in honey did not help with his spellwork. He was getting sloppy, much to the relief of Harry, who could now concentrate fully on sidestepping and raising shields.
The snakes would win the battle for him, if Daniel attacked them he would simply use the opening to stun him. If he aimed well he might be able to let him fall into the honey face first.
The spectators were gasping everytime Harry hissed a command to his snakes and Daniel was starting to throw spells at the serpents. He knocked out the two snakes in front of him in rapid succession but just as he wanted to turn around to face the last snake he saw a ‘Reducto’ flying towards him. He whirled around and raised a shield just in time, Harry was once again surprised by his brother’s ability but simply smirked and commanded the snake to bite him.
The snakes head shot forward and bit Daniel in the waist, instead of retreating right afterward, Harry commanded it to remain his teeth in Daniels body. The boy who lived was crying out in pain. Professor Flitwick called the duel to a halt and announced Harry the winner.
From the three Professor that were watching the Duel, one jumped at the chance to help. While Professor Flitwick was still busy announcing and congratulating the winner in the fashion of a proper wizarding duel and Professor Snape who was busy smiling at Daniels pain, Professor Lockhart yelled: “Don’t worry, I healed snake bites before. I reminds me of a case in South America where I saved an entire village from a snake invasion. Please watch closely.”
The students cheered and waited expectantly for the wonders Lockhart would perform. He flicked his wand, mumbled some incantation and after a short bright light burst out of the wand tip, the snake fled from Daniel’s body.
Curious on what spell it was Harry asked his snake. After a short explanation Harry burst out laughing, the mad man had changed Daniel Potter’s blood into a stinking secret.
The crowds cheering stopped as Daniel started to cry in agonizing pain, lucky for him Madam Pomfrey was close by. She gave him a blood replenish potion, while it would save his live for now, having to change the entire blood of a person’s body is no comfortable procedure. Daniel was escorted to the hospital wing by the Gryffindor’s, who switched between shooting sympathising glances at Daniel and venomous ones at Harry.
Harry’s eyes searched Ginny in the crowd, but before he was able to spot her he was tackled by the red spitfire. “Good job! You should have seen the faces when you summoned the snakes, priceless!”
“I guess I am the winner of my year huh? To be honest, except for Daniel and maybe Malfoy no one was particularly skilled.”
“I never expected your oaf of a brother to be this good.”
“Oh, he is an oaf now? I taught you liked him, after all he is the boy who lived. Would you like to hear some stories?” Harry teased but stopped abruptly when he saw Ginny’s face.
“Mention my former crush again and I will hurt you. I mean it!”
If the Gryffindor’s didn’t like Harry before, they absolutely loathed him now. No day passed by without the lions trying to antagonise him. The fact that he had beaten their poster boy by using, according to them, dark magic itched them the wrong way.
The Weasley clan tried to push Ginny away from him whenever possible and Harry was just glad that the girl knew how to defend herself. Professor Snape was a great help too, whenever Harry and Ginny went a tad overboard with retaliating he was there to shield them from any punishment.
The lessons with Tom were useful as always, adding to teaching those spells, he started writing about breathing exercises and how one can read a person by watching their reactions to certain questions.
Autumn was passing by quickly and November was approaching when Tom became odd. The kids didn`t know why, but Tom seemed to be annoyed, he was still answering all question and teaching but something about his answers felt different than before. Almost like something was infuriating him greatly, but when asked he refused to tell.
After a lengthy session of tutoring Ginny said: “I think I know what’s off with him. He wants control over me, every time I tell him that he is my only friend I feel a small sting in my head, as if someone is trying to break through my skull.”
“We have to start learning Occlumency then, if we become good enough, it should keep him out.”
Practicing Occlumency helped a little with the feeling of intrusion, but it wouldn`t vanish completely. When Harry said that they should stop using the diary and destroy it Ginny refused. “It’s far too useful, I can deal with him. And if something happens you will be there.”
The weeks passed and one day Tom made a proposition that was unlike he had ever told them about. A prank. Why would they do a prank for him?
He told Ginny to kill an animal and use the blood to write “The chamber of secrets has been opened” on a wall, there was no way Harry and Ginny would do that. It wasn’t some much the fact that they had to kill an animal, as they had done so before, or that they should use blood to write a message, they refused because Tom would tell them what the Chamber was and the likelihood of being caught was far too high.
The Christmas holidays were approaching and the Weasley clan became a constant annoyance whenever they could corner Ginny. The whole family, plus Daniel had been invited home over the holidays, Ginny refused to go. After Mrs Weasley had sent three howlers in a row, Professor Snape finally intervened and destroyed every additional howler on sight. The whole population of Hogwarts, maybe with the exception of certain Gryffindor’s, was thankful.
The last week before the Christmas holidays Harry and Ginny wanted to study with Tom Riddle once more. He had grown very distant and for the first time he refused to teach them until they wrote his message.
Ginny let out a big sigh and then said: “Well then let’s just do it. It’s not such a big deal and I really miss learning about the secrets of magic.”
“I feel uneasy about this, why is it so important to him? I bet he has an ulterior motive.”
“Of course he has, but as long as we know it we will be safe.”
“Let’s see if we can find anything in the library about the Chamber of Secrets beforehand, I want to know what it is.”
They spent the next hours searching the library for any mentions of the Chamber of Secrets but got quickly frustrated as they hadn’t yielded any result.
“Well, if it’s not in here it can’t be that important. Maybe it really is just a prank from him.”
“I doubt it, but I want to use the holidays to learn a lot from him, let`s do it tonight.” Ginny exclaimed.
“What animal’s blood do you want to use, just some rats from the dungeons?”
Ginny suddenly had a cruel smile and said: “How about, while we are doing Tom a favour we do one for ourselves too, let`s kill Mrs. Norris.”
Harry chuckled: “Good idea, I really loathe this cat.”
That night Harry and Ginny hit an empty armour loudly against the head and then quickly cast a disillusion charm on their bodies. Just for learning a charm from Tom that made them near invisible made ‘the prank’ worth it, in their eyes.
They didn`t need to wait long, soon the cat sneaked through the corridor. The kids quickly checked if anybody was nearby and then aimed their wands at her head. Harry whispered: “One… Two… Three, Diffindo!” Her head was neatly separated from her body and Ginny immediately cast a charm to use the cat’s blood as ink. Harry was truly amazed with the level of control the girl had over her magic, she was able to write with her wand while using a dead cat head as ink more cleanly than he wrote with a quill.
After their work of art was done, they made sure to cast some more spells of Tom`s own creation to hide their traces.
At breakfast the next day, a screaming and crying Mr Filch sprinted into the hall. With his face reddened from relentless sobbing, he tried to explain that there was a message written on a wall on the third floor. Written with his cat’s blood.
Unfortunately it took quite some time for the people who didn`t know what was up to understand what Mr. Filch was screaming about, the forming of coherent sentences seemed to be beyond him.
Harry and Ginny tried their best to look as shocked as the rest of the students, luckily Slytherin’s tended to not care too much about what happened to other people, so they were fine putting up a rather impassive face.
Despite the protests of the teachers, soon Hogwarts entire populations was gawking at the writing on the wall. The chatter among students came to an abrupt end when the headmaster said: “Don`t worry, we will find the culprit for this hideous act in due time. Now please don’t let this minder your joy, it’s Christmas! A time of love, don`t ever forget.”
With that the students separated but the rumour mill was running high. Harry and Ginny heard Hermione Granger say: “I will go to the library and see what this Chamber of Secrets is.”
Harry said: “Well, if someone is going to find information about the Chamber it’s her.” Ginny nodded and added: “Let’s keep our ears open, I am confident that if she finds something out sooner or later my brother will tell me. He was always bad at keeping secrets.”
On the morning of departure for the pupils who went home for the holidays Ginny was once more intercepted by her brothers. “Ginny are you all packed? We want to get down to the train station early, so we get a nice compartment.” Ron said.
Ginny sighed and replied: “The answer is still the same, I am going to spend my holidays here. Like the last seven times you guys asked me.”
“Ginny you can’t just stay here, mum said we all have to go home.”
“Well, tell her that my education is more important than playing games. Have a nice Christmas.” With that she and Harry stood up and left the great Hall. On their way out they saw Hermione pass by carrying an unhealthy amount of books. “Huh, she is a lot stronger than I thought.”
Ginny looked at him like he just said something unbelievably stupid: “You are aware that this is a school for magic, yes? We have a class called charms, those charms tend to be quite useful, you know.”
“Oh right, the ‘featherweight charm’… well that was embarrassing.”
“It was. There is no way that girl could otherwise carry those books. I bet she couldn`t carry more than four. I could carry at least seven.”
“Err, yes. Good to know, in case I ever need someone to carry something I know who to call.” Harry said with a bewildered expression.
“Well, let’s hope these books are about the Chamber, I really want to know what it is. That`s reminds me, I want to learn more from Tom. Let`s meet him now and tell him about his ‘prank’ He better teach us something strong for doing this.”
Indeed, Tom was happy to hear about the confusion and rumours caused by the task he gave them. The following hours of tutoring proved once again why Harry and Ginny were not regretting working with him. The lessons ranged from dark creatures over spells to rituals that would strengthen the human body. According to him it was futile to attempt those rituals before puberty had hit them, as many changes would be undone. “I am already in puberty! I bet I could pull the rituals off.” Ginny pouted.
The two kids did their homework swiftly on the first occasion, Harry’s tutoring letters to Ginny had helped her greatly. She flew through her essays with ease and was soon able to help Harry research and write his.