CoP 32

Conjoining of Paragons

Chapter 32: Best Laid Plans

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 Hope, as well as my betas 3CP, Luq707, Raven0900, Regress, Thanos, and Yoshi89 for their work on this story.

Self-Promotion: I have a Discord server where you can chat and read all of my chapters early. ANYONE WHO JOINS THE DISCORD SERVER CAN READ THE NEXT THREE CHAPTERS RIGHT NOW! THE NEXT CHAPTER RELEASES ON THERE NEXT WEDNESDAY, MEANING DISCORD MEMBERS WILL SPEND HALF THE TIME BETWEEN FFN UPLOADS BEING FOUR CHAPTERS AHEAD! If you would like to join, simply copy the link on my profile. You can do likewise to check out the ACI100 Twitter account — @ACI_100 — for live updates, as well as my official website.

If you like what you read and wish to generously support me directly, I also have a P*T*E*N page, where you can support me in exchange for exclusive, Patron-only benefits. Patrons at the $5 tier or higher get access to all of my chapters many weeks in advance of even Discord, who in turn get chapters long before FFN and AO3. ANYONE WHO SIGNS UP TO THAT PAGE WILL IMMEDIATELY GAIN ACCESS TO THE NEXT NINE CHAPTERS RIGHT NOW, WHICH INCLUDES THE REST OF COP YEAR 1, PLUS THE FIRST EIGHT CHAPTERS OF COP YEAR 2! Two more will also be posted on there this week.

May 14, 1943

The Dungeons

10:13 PM

Emily Riddle had learned that suffering bitter defeat was a much easier pill to swallow when she was just days away from winning a much grander victory.

The duel still soured her mood, but it was naught but a footnote. Tonight was all that mattered — tonight she would have everything she had wanted for a year and begin the long path to forging a better world.

It should not have taken half so long as it had. The plan was perfect and she had been so sure it would all go off without a hitch. 

Until Hadrian Pavonis had shown up at Hogwarts and thrown everything into disarray. Emily had always been a cut above, but Pavonis made her nervous. First he had found the chamber faster than her, then he had shrugged off her Legilimency attack, and finally he had won the duel. No, you lost the duel because of a magical anomaly. That isn’t the same as Pavonis winning. No one here is on your level. 

But the duel is only a part of it. Patterns were patterns. She had always seen patterns others missed, always observed things no one else had noticed. There were too many patterns involving Pavonis that twisted themselves in circles and led to no logical conclusion. It vexed her more than losing the duel, almost more than the delaying of her plans. 

I should loathe him. But she didn’t. Pavonis wasn’t like the others. Men like Dumbledore hung onto their loathing like a lifeline, but Pavonis had seen reason. Pavonis treated her differently. He was different, she just didn’t know why. The more Emily thought about him, the more she…

Emily cleared her mind. Why am I nervous? The plan is perfect. See it through and worry about Pavonis and your feelings when he is all but yours. Any lingering doubts he had would shatter tonight when he learned the truth. Her stomach twisted into anxious knots even as she thought it. Most would not understand. He will. He’s not like the others. 

Emily refocused on the corridor ahead. It was so deep in the dungeons that torches no longer hung along the walls. A glowing sphere of magic drifted behind her, floating through the blackness like a distant lighthouse in the middle of a dark, open sea.

Another annoyance. Being forced to trudge through unknown corridors was an insult, a reminder how long overdue this meeting was.

Always she had imagined this day would unfold on her terms, but it was not to be. Everything will be worth it; it’s all part of the plan.

Up ahead, the corridor ended in a sheer face of stone, forking off in two diagonal halls leading in opposite directions. Emily stopped just short of the fork and waited, her heart racing. Why does it suddenly feel so cold?

“You have come?” a voice hissed from behind the stones.

Emily made herself smile and took great care to sound as confident as she could. “Of course. This has all been my plan since the beginning.” 

Soon after, in the Chamber of Secrets…

Adrenaline still coursed through Harry’s veins despite the fact that the skirmish had ended. Harry had spent some time just standing in that corridor, surrounded by billowing dust from the broken wall.

It had all felt so natural at the time. Harry really had pushed himself hard this year. Every exchange had felt like second nature. Harry moved without thinking and cast without doubt even when faced with the worst magic had to offer.

That thought made him shudder.

The Unforgivable Curses. 

Harry had fought against the Unforgivable Curses and won. He remembered how disturbing it had been seeing that sickening green light back in September. 

So much has changed.

Harry’s musings had not lasted long. If Abraxas is trying attacks like that, it means he’s desperate. It excited and unnerved him all at once. It means we’re close, but he’s probably even more dangerous now. That was when he thought of Dorea and Elena, lying prone in the hospital wing where Abraxas had already tried attacking once.

Oh, Merlin…

He ran faster than he had ever run before. Torches flashed by, a thousand orange blurs as he sprinted around corners and flew down long, open corridors. It was like fleeing the library in first year all over again — he never felt his feet hit the floor, nor did he consider how fast his heart was beating, or even where he was. 

Harry burst into the hospital wing, panting and exhausted. Disillusioned, he crept toward and peeled back his friends’ curtains. There they lay, alive but unmoving, their chests still rising with each and every breath. We need to stop Abraxas before that changes. Harry’s hand gripped Elena’s so tight his knuckles turned white. I won’t lose anyone else, not after last year. 

It took mere minutes to reach the Chamber of Secrets, but it felt like hours. It was like moving through a dream, never fast enough to escape the horrors behind you.

“Cerastes!” Harry called when the statue’s jaw unhinged. “CERASTES!”

“I am here,” the basilisk hissed, falling to the chamber floor with a thump. “What is it?” 

“The newest pretender attacked me tonight with two of his friends. They meant to kill me. He’s become desperate; he knows it’s Azkaban if he’s caught.”


“Good?” Harry hissed back. “What do you mean ‘good’? Do you understand what this means?”

“That the time for action has come.”

“Yes, but he’s probably thinking the same thing. My friends are still petrified in the hospital wing. The pretender will make his move tonight, and if we’re not fast enough to stop it…”

“It will be stopped.” 

Easy to be confident when you’re a sixty-foot killing machine whose friends’ lives aren’t on the line. “I hope so. Reckless means dangerous.”

“And dangerous means vulnerable. The best way to thwart danger is not to hide in the shadows — it is to strike so fiercely the threat is removed.”

He really does think like a predator. Harry was slowly coming to think the same way. Defence meant only stalemates more often than not — sometimes, initiative was needed. 

“Time to move, then?” Harry asked, recalling the plan they’d hatched days earlier.

Harry knew Cerastes wanted something bolder. The basilisk would have killed Abraxas if he had his way and, for a heartbeat, Harry considered it.  “Yes,” Cerastes hissed, “at last, it is time.”

Minutes later, in the Slytherin dorms…

Abraxas trembled as if wracked by cold. His eyes stung and his face felt swollen. His knees grew weak, almost buckling beneath the weight of it all.

Tonight was it. Abraxas had made one last desperate strike against Pavonis, but it had failed.

How is he so fucking good?

Abraxas had never seen anything like it before. A fourteen-year-old boy defending against Unforgivable Curses as if they were nothing more than Stunners? A fourteen-year-old boy defeating all three of them as if it was nothing? A fourteen-year-old boy single-handedly foiling the best-laid plans?

It was ridiculous. That was the sort of plot written about in children’s books, but Abraxas was watching it unfold right before his eyes. Or, he supposed, fold around him. It drove the air from his lungs and the will from his heart as he realized how inevitable his fate now was.

All they had to do was check his wand. They would find not one, but two Unforgivable Curses. Then there was the hall, so clearly blown apart by the Killing Curse. How much else does he know? Has he figured out the Draught of Living Death? Does he know the real reason I was near the hospital wing the first night we duelled?

Azkaban awaited him regardless, but Abraxas hoped he didn’t know. Just thinking about that boy made his skin crawl. Let him take me quietly; spare me this one, last mercy. The cell awaiting him was bad enough. Abraxas had no need for further torment. 

Just knowing his family would end with him was bad enough. Maybe Father could sire one more son with a younger wife, but Mother would need to… what am I thinking?

Why was he pondering his mother being murdered by his father? The better question is why I don’t feel sick just thinking it. 

I’m broken… fuck them all! It was all their fault. His father had been the one to push him down this path. Reports of Riddle’s prowess scared him and the way she had dismissed the purity of blood scared him worse. “You don’t understand how threatening that is,” his father had said. “People like her change the world, Abraxas. What changes do you think that mudblood will make?”

Wanting to save their society was noble, but why did it have to be him? Why was an eighteen-year-old boy expected to fix everything? 

Everything is so unfair! Why was his life on the brink of ruin all for doing the right thing? Why was his life unravelling all because he tried to save their kind? None of this is fair!

Abraxas took a shaky breath and stared out the porthole in his dormitory. There was nothing beyond it but blackness, hidden depths every bit as bleak as his future.

There was something he could do, but was it worth it? Did his father deserve a second chance after throwing his son and heir away? Did Abraxas even want his father to succeed anymore? 

He bit down so hard on his lip that a coppery tang filled his mouth. Blood unnerved some. His lip stung, but it cleared his mind tonight. A thin stream of crimson rolled down his lip and dribbled onto his chin.

It’s not about Father, it’s bigger than him. His father could burn in the worst of hells and Riddle was a jumped-up mudblood with delusions of grandeur.

But Pavonis…

There was something different about him. Riddle was talented, but she wielded that talent like a brat showing off her toy. Pavonis… Abraxas shuddered. Something had lurked behind those eyes like a great, dark beast. It had been coiled there unwillingly, but one day it would strike. 

If anything can break the world, it’s whatever that is.

Hadrian Pavonis was dangerous — perhaps the greatest threat Britain had faced since Emeric the Evil. If his father perished at the boy’s hands, so be it, but Abraxas would not condemn their world or their culture. They would know what was coming — that was all he could give them now.

Abraxas raised his wand to summon some parchment, but a sound from behind him chilled his blood. He had heard the dorm room’s entrance open thousands of times, but this once, it unnerved him. Edward and the others knew not to disturb him and there had been layers of wards upon that door. 

That meant…


Abraxas whirled to face the aurors, but they were not there. In their place was a tall girl with pale skin and dark hair whose eyes burned… burned with something akin to what Abraxas had seen whilst duelling Pavonis.

Wrong again, he mused just as Riddle raised her wand.


Back in the Chamber of Secrets…

Waiting was agony.

Harry would rather have been hit with the Cruciatus Curse than waited another moment in that blasted chamber!

His wand twirled around his fingers as he paced back and forth. What was taking Cerastes so long? How difficult was it to scare the daylight out of Malfoy and lead him towards the girls’ bathroom? Why in Merlin’s name was Harry kept waiting for so long? At this rate, he ought to have just done the thing himself. Did Cerastes have no—

“It is done.”

Harry looked wildly around before mentally chastising himself and slamming his eyes shut. Stupid! He was far too emotional. Simple mistakes like that could kill him. A single slip up in the bathroom and Harry could join his parents and everyone else who vanished in that cursed green light.

Harry was glad Cerastes was nowhere in sight — Harry would be dead had he been — but where was he? Close enough to be heard but nowhere in sight? Did he just hiss down the pipe when he got to the bathroom? That must be it. He realizes I’m stressed and in a hurry. Guilt gnawed at him. I was just cursing him out a minute ago… stupid.

Harry crushed those thoughts. Guilt was unhelpful right now and he could not afford mistakes.

His heart pounded in his ears as he ascended up towards the bathroom. What did ‘it is done’ mean? It was oddly final. Did that mean Abraxas was already in the bathroom? How did Cerastes know he would remain there? Or did it just mean the task was done? How close was he if that was true? How much time would Harry have?

He burst out into the bathroom and conjured a wall of stone, crouching behind it. Water dripped from a nearby tap, splashing against the bright, marble sink. All else was still.

Harry cast a wordless Homenum Revelio that came up empty. No Abraxas yet; good. There was still time to plan an ambush. Confidence filled him for the first time all night. All he had to do was disarm him — then he could take his wand to Dippet and, once shown the site of their last duel, the old man would have no choice but to…

Something moved on the other side of Harry’s stone wall and he froze. That’s impossible. The Homenum Revelio Charm had never been wrong!

Harry waited but heard no other sounds. “Who’s there!” he asked. Again, he waited. Again, no one answered.

Fuck it!

Harry vanished his wall of stone and lunged forward, spinning on his heel with his wand raised and ready to strike.

His heart stopped beating. A dark shape loomed against the room’s back wall, coiled so tightly it was hard to tell one part of the snake from the others. Cerastes barely fit in the bathroom — why the hell was he here in the first place — but his head was turned towards Harry, who wouldn’t have enough time to close his eyes. Fuck… I’m dead…

The basilisk’s eyes were closed. Harry’s shoulders shook, struck by a crazed urge to laugh. He crushed it. “How long?” 

Cerastes cocked his head. “Long?” 

“Yes, long! How long until Malfoy gets here?” Cerastes lay motionless against the wall, unanswering. “CERASTES—“

“Behind you.”

Harry whirled, fearing that Malfoy had somehow fooled his charm and found some hidden passageway into the room.

“What… what the fuck?”

Abraxas Malfoy laid face up upon the bathroom floor. His robes were as pristine as ever, his hair splayed around him. Yet his eyes were different. The storm behind them had been quelled and now, they looked unseeingly up towards the ceiling, all life snuffed out from them… all life snuffed out by the snake who loomed behind him…

Author’s Endnote:

Don’t be alarmed if you’re confused or unsure what’s happening — that is precisely the point. The goal is for the readers to feel some of what Harry is feeling when standing in that bathroom. 

This year’s finale will be uploaded in two weeks but, if you don’t want to wait you can join my Discord server via the link on my profile. If that link doesn’t work, Google my pen name and use the one on my website’s homepage. 

Please read and review.

PS: The next chapter will be posted in exactly two weeks. It will be released here for readers on Wednesday, September 21st, 2022. IT IS AVAILABLE RIGHT NOW FOR ANYONE WHO JOINS MY DISCORD SERVER, AS ARE CHAPTERS 34 AND 35! Chapter 36 will also be made available to Discord members next Wednesday. THOSE WHO SIGN UP TO MY P*T*E*N PAGE WILL GAIN IMMEDIATE ACCESS TO THE NEXT NINE CHAPTERS. THAT IS THE ENTIRE REMAINDER OF COP’S FIRST YEAR, PLUS THE FIRST EIGHT CHAPTERS OF SECOND YEAR! At least two more chapters will be posted there this week. Both of those links can be found on my profile. If you have trouble with either of them, a generic search of my pen name will bring up my website, and direct links to both can be found via the home page.

Get new content delivered directly to your inbox.

%d bloggers like this: