CoP 22

Conjoining of Paragons

Chapter 22: True Power

By ACI100

Disclaimer: This is a work of fanfiction based on the Harry Potter universe. All recognizable characters, plots, and settings are the exclusive property of J.K Rowling. I make no claim to ownership.

Acknowledgements: Thank you to my editor Athena, as well as my other betas 3CP, Fezzik, Luq707, Raven, Regress, and Yoshi89 for their incredible work on this story.

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Harry Potter and the Conjoining of Paragons

By ACI100

Chapter 22: True Power

February 7, 1943

The Grounds of Hogwarts

7:51 AM

Deep, wracking coughs tore free from Harry’s lungs. His legs trembled underneath him with every step of his feet or rise of his chest. One of his hands was clutching at a stitch in his side whilst the other palmed the back of his head in a vain attempt to bring more air into his still-burning lungs.

“You’re evil,” he gasped at Charlus. He too was breathing heavily, but he was a fair bit better than his younger friend.

He even managed a smile. “That’s about what I thought when my dad started convincing me to run.”

“To hell with that,” said Harry, “you look fine.”

Charlus laughed, but his laughter devolved into his own fit of coughing. “It still hurts like hell,” he promised, “just less than when I first started. I’ve also just learnt to deal with it. It’s hard to explain.”

Harry knew what Charlus said was true, but it was difficult to think that way when his entire body was screaming in protest. Telling himself he was going to start mimicking Charlus’s regiment was one thing. He had always laughed at the reports by Dudley’s teachers, all telling Uncle Vernon and Aunt Petunia that their son needed to lose weight. Now, Harry found them less amusing. If Dudley had not been so much of a bastard growing up, Harry might even have pitied him. There were very few people he would wish this pain upon.

“And how long is that going to take?” he asked.

“I’d tell you if I could, but I think it’s different for everyone,” Charlus answered.

Harry scowled. “How long did it take for you?”

“I can’t remember. There wasn’t a specific day when it all just came together. A few months, I guess? It’s still getting easier now; it’s not like I’m done, or anything.”

Harry wanted so badly to flop down on the frozen earth, but he resisted. He had overdressed and was sweating, so the last thing he wanted was for that to freeze and become more arduous to deal with.

“We should get back up to the castle,” said Charlus, “breakfast is starting soon.

The bastard sounded like he had most of his breath back as he turned towards the castle. Harry scowled at his back, but the expression swiftly became a grimace when he hastened his pace to match that of the taller sixth year.

“I hate you,” Harry muttered, causing Charlus to laugh.

“If you hated me, I doubt we’d still be talking like we are.”

Harry glared. “Maybe I just want to use you for this kind of stuff. You know, become a better wizard, trounce you, then stab you in the back whenever it’s convenient for me.”

Charlus eyed him carefully. “I suppose it wouldn’t surprise me considering the company you keep.”

Harry frowned. “What’s wrong with Dorea and Elena?”

“Nothing, so far as I can tell.”

“Then what—”

“They weren’t who I was talking about.” It took Harry a moment to realize that Charlus was talking about Riddle and the crowd she kept. The thought had not registered right away, for Harry still had long to go before he considered any of them friends. 

He doubted that would ever happen, and none of them had even inched towards making him reconsider that stance yet. Riddle had been helpful, but she herself had spoken about how she maneuvered the pawns all around her. This was no different; Harry was not too blind to see exactly what was going on.

He glanced from side to side, but no one else appeared out on the grounds. That was hardly a surprise. The morning was warmer than most this time of year, but heavy snowflakes were falling with such frequency that the world before them appeared half-hidden behind a misty veil of pale-white snow.

Charlus continued watching him. “There’s something you’re not telling me, isn’t there?”

“There’s something I haven’t told anyone other than Elena and Dorea.” Harry let that statement hang, but Charlus’s eyes did not leave him. Harry sighed internally; he had hoped that would be enough to assure Charlus or sate his curiosity. Trying to explain the truth was impossible, so he now had to decide exactly how to answer questions he’d hoped would never be asked.

The same answer his friends had gotten rose to Harry’s lips, but he hesitated. They were Slytherins and Charlus was a Gryffindor. That was simplifying it, but the point was they were very different people. From what Harry knew of Charlus, he wasn’t sure he would share Dorea’s respect for someone manipulating events for their benefit or associating with an enemy for their own safety. He might see that as deceitful or even cowardly. Merlin, things had been so much easier in his own time when Harry could just answer people with the truth and not overthink responses to every second question.

What would have appeased Harry in his own time? That was the best point of reference he had. Charlus was infinitely more mature than he had ever been, but there were some similarities there. Harry could see some things that linked them and Charlus was certainly more like him than either Ron or Hermione. He would have balked at Ron’s laziness and Hermione? Well, the two of them might actually have gotten on, but they were far from similar.

“I don’t trust Riddle,” he said at last. “She lurks around too much at night and treats people around her like pawns. It’s like she doesn’t see anyone else as people and like she’s always planning something. With all that’s been going on this year with attacks and whatnot, I wanted to figure out what game she was playing.”

Charlus’s eyes widened. Had Harry gotten that adept at lying? He had expected more resistance and had more planned, but it seemed suddenly unnecessary. What had he become in half a year? 

“You think she’s behind the attacks?” he asked in a low voice.

Harry ran a hand through his hair. That was the question, wasn’t it? 

He was pretty sure Aragog getting free had been nothing more than a freak accident. The acromantula hadn’t been seen since and Harry had been with Riddle at the time of the attack. He doubted she had enough control over a monster like that to instruct it exactly when an attack would be appropriate.

The most recent attacks were more up in the air. There had been two more after the incident involving the Cruciatus Curse. They had been less severe, but each victim wound up in the hospital wing with no idea who had cursed them. Riddle had been unaccounted for during each attack and Harry was beginning to grow uneasy. All of the targets had been muggleborn; was it possible she had proceeded with her blood purity campaign even without Cerastes or access to the Chamber of Secrets?

The problem was that Harry didn’t know. Riddle had said already she cared little for blood supremacy, but could Harry trust her word? He doubted it; not when a version of her from his own time had fought a war over that very same concept. 

It was all maddening. Harry had felt briefly as though he was in control. When he had opened the Chamber of Secrets and taken control of Cerastes, everything had felt right. Then, Riddle had begun advancing and struck so decisively Harry had been without a defence. Ever since then, it felt like he was a puppet dancing on strings yet again, a feeling he was particularly averse to.

Yet what could he do? Tailing Riddle was unlikely to work, and even if it did, she or her friends would surely pick up on the pattern. What happened then? Harry was still not ready to fight someone like Riddle and he could only imagine what she might do to him. Dumbledore might believe him but in his own time, he had been unable to convince Armando Dippet of Riddle’s wrongdoing. The ancient headmaster seemed extremely fond of her here as well, so Harry failed to see why that fact would change.

“I don’t know,” Harry said with a frown. “That’s the problem. Even if she’s doing it, I’d rather know.”

Charlus nodded. “I’ll keep an eye on her,” he said after a moment of pause. Harry looked up, wide-eyed. “What?” Charlus asked with a smirk. “Did you think I was afraid of her like the rest of the school?”

The worst part about it was the way he genuinely sounded amused. Harry worried for Charlus then. There were some people who just rightfully inspired fear in others. In some cases, standing so boldly against them without knowledge or preparation was not brave, but foolish.

“Thanks, Charlus, just… be careful, yeah?”

He grinned. “Only if you do the same in return.”

Harry forced a smile and agreed, unable to shake the feeling he had just doomed one or both of them to the whims of fate.

That night, at dinner…

The Great Hall was abuzz with conversation the second Harry stepped through the doors. In his own time, his mere presence often achieved that effect, but here, it was different. He wondered exactly what had caused it as he moved towards the Slytherin table, flanked by Elena and Dorea, and took a seat with Riddle and her group of friends. That arrangement had become the norm as of late. Harry was discontent with that, but there was little to do for now. Hopefully, an opportunity to permanently split from the group would present itself in time. Perhaps Riddle was the one behind the attacks and this time, Harry would manage to prove it. That would remove her from the castle and free him from her manipulations. It was the best-case scenario, but it was one Harry did not dare hope for.

“What has everyone so riled up?” Harry asked, taking his now customary seat across from Riddle.

“Did you not read the paper this morning?” Rosier asked.

“Not unless he read it somewhere else,” said Riddle. “Harry was absent from breakfast this morning.”

Merlin, was there nothing Riddle missed? Her attention to detail was infuriating. How was Harry ever supposed to pull one over on someone who was incapable of making mistakes?

No, a small voice said in the back of his head, not incapable. She made a mistake by not opening the chamber sooner, and she made a mistake by legilimizing you at Slughorn’s party. She’s just better at recovering than most people.

That was true. Even in Harry’s own time, Voldemort had made mistakes. Overlooking his mother’s sacrifice not once, but twice chief amongst them. Yet on both occasions, he had rebounded in one way or the other, just like the younger, female version of him that sat across the table from Harry now. 

“I was practicing,” Harry said in response to the questioning stares, pointedly not saying exactly what it was he had been practicing. He suspected revealing he had been exercising in a muggle fashion alongside Charlus Potter would start an impromptu duel. 

“Grindelwald has officially retreated from Russian soil.” Harry did not miss the way Riddle watched his face when she spoke. He tried to keep it as impassive as possible. “The muggles pulled out days ago, but some of Grindelwald’s forces stayed behind to cover their retreat. They have now also pulled back.”

That certainly explained the nervous energy surging through the hall. Even Dumbledore believed Grindelwald would march on Britain if the offensive failed and now it had. That was interesting. The Germans had retreated around the same time during Harry’s own timeline, he thought, so did this mean other events would play out in the same way? Could it be that Dumbledore was wrong about Grindelwald’s plans? Could it be that the woman across from Harry would develop into Voldemort the same way Tom Riddle had in his world? 

No, that part was unlikely. She may well become Voldemort, but Harry had disrupted the flow of things with his stunt involving the Chamber of Secrets. Some facets of Riddle’s life would be different here, whether it was for better or worse.

“I guess we’ll have to wait and see what happens,” Harry said, suspecting the crowd around him was waiting for an answer.

“It seems so,” Riddle agreed. “It will certainly be interesting to see how events play out. For now, I’m just trying to stay focused on relevant events that I can control. Speaking of which,” she said, leaning a bit closer to Harry across the table, “you plan on visiting Hogsmeade this Saturday, yes?”

Harry forced his eyes not to widen. He hadn’t even realized there was a Hogsmeade weekend this Saturday; it was something he had spent no effort keeping track of since his arrival here. He ought to have. If he had, perhaps he would have had a viable excuse not to attend with Riddle and her posse. As it was, he had no such thing, so he could do little more than nod, seething internally at the small smile on Riddle’s face as she turned to engage Cassiopeia in conversation. Why was it she won so often?

February 12, 1943


4:13 PM

The day in Hogsmeade had actually been better than Harry dared hope for. Riddle had done nothing out of the ordinary. Their large group had just traipsed around the village like normal students. It was almost easy to forget the situation Harry found himself in; what with the sweet taste of butterbeer, the heavenly smell of Honeydukes chocolate, and the talk and laughter of several hundred bustling students, all felt next to normal. 


It was impossible to feel completely at ease around Riddle, at least for Harry. She had an ominous gravity to her that pulled at his wariness. The way almost everyone in their group bent to her every whim was subtle to most, but obvious to Harry, who was watching for it all the while. The way she moved, smiled, and laughed, always at the perfect moment; everything was just so plainly orchestrated by Riddle the whole journey, even though Harry suspected he was the only one to realize. Well, him and Dorea, perhaps, but whether she saw it or simply suspected it on principle was another matter altogether.

It was another snowy day to cap off a snow-filled week. It crunched and gave way beneath Harry’s feet but all that was revealed was more of it below. Banks of it rose high on either side of Hogsmeade’s twisting main road, obscuring some of the shop windows from view of those on the banks’ other side. There was more snow than Harry could ever remember seeing. He wondered if that was a coincidence or whether global warming really had been as impactful as some media sources had begun to suggest fifty years from now. That thought brought a small smile to Harry’s lips. Uncle Vernon would be livid if they were proven right; Harry could remember a number of his rants any time the topic arose.

“This way,” Riddle said, moving towards one of the unoccupied carriages waiting near the edge of the village. 

“Pick a different direction,” came a drawling voice from up ahead. Harry saw several members of this group reach for his wand. He was forced to step up beside Riddle to see what was happening; she was still much taller than him and had been blocking his view.

Abraxas Malfoy stood arm in arm with a raven-haired girl Harry had seen off and on in the Slytherin common room. It took him a moment to remember who she was, but the answer came when he glanced back at the posse around him and Riddle. There were remarkable similarities between this girl and one in their number and that was when Harry realized the girl was Virgo Parkinson — older sister of Marianna; the girl Riddle had beaten in the first round of duels with Professor Merrythought. She reminded Harry more of Pansy than her younger sister. Both sisters had a perpetually haughty look about them, but Virgo had an air of condescension her younger sister lacked. Her posture was regal, her eyes were uncaring, her expression contemptuous.

Another dark-haired girl — Travers, Harry thought her name was — stood beside Edward Nott, who sneered at the lot of them in a way that reminded Harry painfully of his former Potions Master.

A beat of silence stretched between the two groups. “There are plenty of other carriages, Abraxas,” Riddle said softly. “Why don’t you pick one of them?”

“I could ask the same thing of you,” he returned. 

“You could, but that would be quite rude of you. Courtesy dictates ladies first, does it not?”

“Do not dare reference customs that are above your station to make points,” Nott hissed, his own hand drifting towards his wand. Harry tensed, ready to summon his own. He almost did when something brushed his arm. Realizing it was Riddle did not help but a split-second later, Harry pieced together what it meant — Riddle wished for him to remain unarmed.

“Can you cite me a law that dictates who can and cannot abide by ancient customs, Edward?” Riddle asked, a smile in her voice. “Is it not those customs you cling so desperately to in your crusade to justify the importance of blood and its purity?”

“You dare?” Nott hissed, properly going for his wand now.

Malfoy grabbed hold of his wrist before he could. Riddle’s signal to Harry had been subtle, but this was anything but. “She’s right, of course, Edward,” he said with a stiff bow. “Take the carriage, Riddle; I had only hoped you would be gracious enough to step aside. Virgo is quite displeased by the cold and I had hoped to get her out of it at the first opportunity.”

“They’re going to be trouble,” Harry muttered as they moved away, walking towards one of the other carriages some fifteen metres away.

“No,” said Riddle, “they won’t be, but they’ll certainly try.”

February 18, 1943

Albus Dumbledore’s Office

9:24 PM

“This is marvellous work,” Dumbledore praised, holding up a conjured mirror for Harry to see the fruits of his labour. He had been tasked with colouring his eyebrows blond. Several weeks ago, Harry would have baulked at the idea. That was human transfiguration — something was not normally covered until a student’s sixth year N.E.W.T class.

The last several weeks had changed Harry’s perspective, though. Both him and Dumbledore had known he had a natural talent for Transfiguration, but neither of them had realized quite how far that stretched. Harry had breezed through the fifth-year material with such speed, he began to think mastering the N.E.W.T-level magic by the end of the year might actually be easy. It was a stark contrast to how he had felt the moment Dumbledore announced having Harry do just that was his intention. 

Harry had backed down on that a little bit in the last week or so. Mastering this — the first minor introduction to human transfiguration — had been exponentially more difficult than anything else Dumbledore had tasked Harry with. It was extraordinarily challenging and Harry swiftly found his confidence waning.

Yet here it was — proof that perhaps, he really was as talented as he had believed a little over a week ago.

“This truly is remarkable,” Dumbledore was saying. “Why, I’m unsure if I’ve ever taught anyone with such skill.”

Harry felt himself swell with praise, but he forced the feelings down. He would not allow himself that victory unless his next question was answered in a very particular way.

“Sir, does that include Riddle?”

There was something in Dumbledore’s eyes for a moment, but it was gone faster than the mirror he vanished a second later. “I think so, yes,” he said, and only then did Harry let his joy spread. This was his calling! Here was something he outstripped even Riddle. At long last, Harry had an advantage; now, it was about widening the gap and finding ways in which that advantage could be leveraged in his favour.

“You seem pleased to hear that,” Dumbledore observed, voice measured.

“Yes, sir,” Harry admitted.

Dumbledore furrowed his brow. “May I ask why?”

“It’s complicated, sir.”

“I see.” Harry thought Dumbledore looked oddly troubled. Had he said something wrong? “You best be getting back to your common room,” he said. “Next time we meet, I plan to begin teaching you something more challenging than anything we have covered thus far.”

“Can I ask what that is, sir?”

“You may.”

It took Harry a moment to realize what Dumbledore had just said. When he did, he blushed, but soldiered on. “What will you be teaching me next week, Professor?”

“I will begin attempting to teach you non-verbal spellcasting.” Harry’s eyes widened. “Be warned,” Dumbledore continued, “that this particular facet of magic takes most sixth years the best part of that school year to master. My hope is that you will be casting spells without incantations by the year’s end, but I do not expect this to happen overnight.”

“I can’t wait, sir.” It was true; Charlus duelled non-verbally and it was a massive advantage. Non-verbal spellcasting mixed with his aptitude for Transfiguration… yes, Harry thought he could make something of that.

Minutes later…

Harry noticed something odd the moment he strolled into the Slytherin common room. Riddle and her group were sitting in their usual spots, but they were more tightly pressed together, almost as though encircling a central point. Harry frowned and made his way over, focusing on all senses to try and puzzle out whether something obvious was out of the ordinary.

That something obvious revealed itself when he took a seat between Dorea and Elena, who were sitting as far away from Riddle as possible. Riddle herself was their central point — or, she was one of them, anyway. The group’s leader was crouched over Marianna, a hand on her shoulder as the girl sobbed.

“What’s up with her?” Harry whispered to Dorea, who was watching the whole ordeal with an expression so detached any Black lord would be proud.

“No idea,” Dorea whispered back. “She burst in a few minutes before you and has been bawling ever since. Riddle’s only now getting her to calm down a bit.” If this was Dorea’s idea of calmed down, Harry feared to imagine what Marianna had looked like when she had first entered their circle.

“What is it?” Riddle was asking, speaking more softly than Harry had ever heard before. She was rubbing wide circles on Marianna’s back, soothing the girl whose sobs were quieting.

“It’s-it’s…” she trailed off at the sound of the common room door opening and whimpered. Harry glanced back over his shoulder and saw the same quartet who had accosted them in Hogsmeade. They were coming straight towards them.

“Something’s off here,” Dorea muttered, eyes watching the same figures. Harry nodded; there was something about the purpose with which they moved. Something told Harry this would not result in Abraxas so politely backing down.

“What have they done to you?” Riddle asked, tightly clutching Marianna’s shoulder. The girl just whimpered, but Riddle’s grip tightened, her knuckles somehow growing paler. “Marianna…”

“She-she, forbid me from ever speaking to you.”

Everyone in the circle tensed. “She?” Harry mimed at Dorea, who gestured subtly towards Virgo. She was glaring at all of them as her, Travers, and their boyfriends drew closer.

“Can she even do that?” Harry whispered, using Marianna’s renews sobs to cover his words.

“Yes,” Elena answered, looking nervous. “She’s the heiress to the family. She can’t decide marriages, but she can forbid relationships at least until it’s been taken up with the family’s lord.”

Harry’s expression darkened. Merlin, he hated pureblood politics. He was pretty sure this sort of thing had been abolished by the time he’d attended Hogwarts in his own reality, but it was impossible to tell; he had been as ignorant as a newborn about things like this. It was sickening either way, as was the mere idea people would fight to defend this sort of garbage. 

One way or the other, he had been right about one thing; something was about to happen and soon, for the quartet stopped feet from the outer edge of their circle, all of them looking towards Marianna.

“Marianna,” snapped Virgo, “I gave you an order.”

“An order that you are going to rescind.” Riddle’s voice was deathly calm as she removed her hand from Marianna’s shoulder and climbed to her feet, staring down the quartet with icy eyes. Harry knew that stare and its intensity well, but Merlin, Riddle had never looked at him like that…

“Be careful, Riddle,” Abraxas said softly. “That sounds awfully like you’re claiming Virgo can’t exercise her right via the old customs.”

Harry noticed for the first time how quiet the common room had grown. Nobody appeared to move, all of them transfixed by the confrontation that had been building for months. Harry noticed that many of the older students had their wands in hand. He cursed internally. This was a setup; Abraxas and his ilk had gained support for this. Everything they were doing was designed to cause a confrontation during which Riddle, Harry, and everyone else gathered around Marianna would be bludgeoned. He grimaced; this was probably going to turn ugly.

Harry began running plans through his mind. He could conjure a wall of stone without thought. That would be a solid opening move. It would at least buy everyone around him a moment to prepare themselves. If they were especially fortunate, a few of them might even be able to take down some of the attackers in the chaos. 

“In this case, Abraxas, I think you’ll find that she can’t.” Robes rustled from the corners of the room as even more wands were drawn. Cassie went for hers, as did Dolohov and Rosier. “No!” Emily said sharply. “Stand down; none of you will be harmed.”

“You’re bold for someone spitting in tradition’s face in a room full of traditionalists,” Nott sneered.

“I’m doing no such thing, Edward. I have the utmost respect for most of the traditions.”

Nott’s eyes narrowed. “Most of them?”

“Yes, most of them. I think you’ll find that this particular tradition is based solely on the power wielded by a family’s heiress.”

Nott frowned, looking confused, but Malfoy stepped in again. “I know you’re of questionable stock and upbringing, Riddle, but that is exactly the point.”

“Well then,” Riddle said pleasantly, “the premise is fundamentally flawed.”

Malfoy’s eyes narrowed. “How so?”

“Well, what good are customs based on power imbalances if the one who once had power suddenly becomes powerless?” Malfoy suddenly looked as confused as Nott, who was going for his wand, but both of them were too slow. “Awaken and seize them all!”

Harry’s breath caught as people gasped around him and most in the room froze. Riddle had used Parseltongue in plain sight of everyone in the common room. It was such a shock to most that many had completely stopped moving, abandoning all other plans to stare blankly at Riddle like she had tumbled from the heavens.

That was the mistake that cost them.

With a unified hiss so loud that the walls seemed to rattle, every bit of serpentine imagery came alive. All the furniture was decorated with it so within seconds, most of Malfoy’s supporters were pinned to their chairs by animated serpents who hissed and bit at those who would not yield. 

“Leave them,” Riddle hissed to the snakes that rose up around her friends, “strike the other four.” Parkinson and Travers screamed as a pair of eight-foot long snakes lunged towards them. Malfoy cursed and aimed his wand at Riddle, but Nott had turned away to help Travers. That proved to be costly, as Riddle sent an unprepared Malfoy sailing across the common room and slamming into the opposite wall with a sudden flick of her hand. Harry’s eyes widened. He had never seen anyone use magic like that before. Riddle’s wand hadn’t even been in her hand.

Nott’s head raised at the sound, but Riddle was on him before he could move. She jerked her upwards and Nott was tossed up into the air and slammed so hard into the wall that Harry heard something crack. He cried out in pain and struggled, but invisible restraints seemed to hold him in place no matter how hard he fought against them, he was held firmly against the wall.

The entire scuffle lasted no more than half a dozen seconds. All was quiet by then as people realized struggling was futile and that every single one of them was hopelessly outmatched. Even on the winning side, Harry felt it. He tried to fight the sensation, but never before had he felt so helpless and insignificant. How had he ever planned to fight against this?

“Do all of you see the problem with the society your ancestors built now?” Riddle asked into the silence of the room. Her voice was calm and had a terrible sweetness to it that made Harry’s skin crawl. “You have designed a world in which nothing matters but power. You all perceive power to mean purity of blood, but do you see what happens when someone superior shows you how meaningless your status symbols are when faced with true power?” Nobody spoke. “Allow me to demonstrate,” Riddle said, crouching before Virgo, sliding a pale hand under her chin and tilting her head up so that she met Riddle’s eyes. The girl looked terrified and was breathing in such swift and shallow breaths that Harry thought she might feint. “Virgo, you are going to revoke the order you gave Marianna. You will then apologize for abusing your power so grossly. If you fail to comply, I will show you just how grossly my kind of power can be abused. Do we have an agreement?” 

Virgo nodded, shaking like a leaf, breaths still coming short and fast. “Good,” said Riddle, patting Virgo on the cheek before standing and addressing the room once more. “You have all forgotten what true power is and how useless your symbols of status are when faced with it. How many nations centring on the purity of blood has Grindelwald conquered? How well have the traditions served those under his rule?” No one answered. “Think on all of this,” said Riddle, “because if your delusions of what real power is trouble me again, “I will do more than show off. Am I understood?” Heads all around the room nodded. “Good. Now, rest.

All around the room, snakes settled back into their chairs and students scrambled to their feet, rushing towards the doors. Any other night, Harry might have feared them running off to a professor, but he knew there was no risk of that. Suddenly, Harry understood exactly how Riddle had cowed everyone into submission and he suspected from now on everyone in this room would be hers to do with as she pleased.

No… that wasn’t quite right. Everyone in this room but him! He had become lost in her show, but he could overcome even this. He too was a Parselmouth and wandless magic was impressive, but not unbeatable.

Yes, Harry could conquer this… he just had to work out exactly how that could be done.

Author’s Endnote:

I’m a bit nervous about how that last scene will go over, but I was reasonably happy with it. It’s one I’ve been building towards for quite some time and it will set into motion the arc that will see us through to the end of the school year. 

Please read and review.

PS: The next password will be released in two weeks. THE NEXT NINE CHAPTERS ARE AVAILABLE RIGHT NOW FOR PATRONS! There are only two more chapters until CoP’s first year wraps up to write, so the next time I visit this fic, I will be finishing year 1 with a bang! If you’d like to read all those chapters early, feel free to sign up to my Patreon page.

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