PoP 26

Harry Potter and the Perversion of Purity

Year 2: The Advancing of Shadows

Chapter 13: Secrets and Songs

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 Fezzik, as well as my other betas Athena Hope, Mr. 3CP, Luq707, Raven, Regress, and Yoshi89 for their incredible work on this story.

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November 7, 1992

The Slytherin Changing Room

8:56 AM

Waves of noise seemed to crash against the changing room’s outer walls like water slamming against a shore carved from sharp and jagged rock. It reminded Harry of the night Hagrid had found him and the storm that had raged outside all the while. 

The walls suppressed the noise enough so that none inside could hear anything that was being said. Or perhaps that had less to do with the walls and more to do with the fact that there were just so many voices. It was a constant, indiscernible drone, yet the walls quieted it some.

Harry was grateful for that at least. It was set to be his first ever Quidditch match and he could not remember a time he had felt so sick. The day he had sat atop the spindle-legged stool and been sorted was the closest comparable he could come up with offhandedly. There was just so much riding on this game.

Tensions had been at an all-time high within the castle. It was like the very halls were at war. One wearing either green or silver robes never knew what might await them around each and every corner. Harry had been told that the week or so leading up to any Quidditch match between the two rival houses was a week wrought with tension and conflict, but the horrors of Samhain had added another depth to this particular clash.

The school was in a state of disarray and Harry had never seen the houses so divided. Almost the whole of Slytherin House had been loudly parading around the castle preaching to anyone who would listen that it had been the blood traitor Weasley and the mudblood Granger who had petrified the Caretaker’s cat. They had not been at the feast, they would say, and the two of them had reasons to detest Slytherin House. What with the way Draco had gotten them into such trouble last May and after the incident on the Quidditch pitch earlier that year. If you asked any Slytherin worth their green and silver robes, they would tell you that it was a poorly attempted frame job in the hopes of tarnishing their house’s reputation or maybe even getting one of its members falsely accused.

The Gryffindors saw things quite differently. They all seemed to universally defend Weasley and Granger. Weasley — in particular, being their seeker — was scarcely seen without some sort of honour guard nowadays. It appeared that Oliver Wood had put many of the older students up to following the red-headed second year like preying vultures.

Yet the Gryffindors went beyond simply protecting their own. They seemed to have taken Slytherin’s accusations as an open challenge. More duels had broken out that week in the halls than Harry could count. The Weasley twins had been especially vicious. Their various antics had left no less than eight Slytherins in the hospital wing. Of course, no one had thus far proven they had been involved in any of them, but Harry thought it was glaringly obvious to anyone with a working brain and set of eyes.

Flint had seen the way Weasley was guarded so carefully and mimicked the gesture with the younger players of the Slytherin team. This had led to a number of very awkward walks to classes and the like during which Harry and Draco had stood scant metres apart. Neither of them had said a word on any of these occasions, but Harry felt as though the very air seemed to suffocate him each and every time.

The Hufflepuffs and the Ravenclaws were as divided as ever, but neither house seemed to want anything to do with the mess. Harry could not blame them. He wanted nothing to do with it himself. The match was going to be fun, he hoped, but it surely wouldn’t be worth needing to glance over his shoulder at all hours of the day. 

The bitter rivalry had elevated this match. As the seeker, Harry knew that better than anyone. He had lost count of the number of Slytherins who had approached him over the week. Most of them had told him, in one way or another, that he had better win the match. Some of them were much kinder about it than others — some even went as far as to make outright threats.

Not only would losing the match give Gryffindor a leg up in the ruthless back and forth their houses were locked in, but Harry feared it may put him right back into a compromising position. He had enjoyed his peace ever since falling in with Daphne had her group of friends, minus the morning when someone had decided to send him an envelope full of bubotuber pus. Daphne still vowed she would find the culprit, for she was sure it had been a Hogwarts student, though she had so far been unsuccessful.

Her presence in particular offered him a certain degree of protection against the bigots in the upper years. He hoped that through his gruelling nights practicing with Cassie, he would be able to defend himself from any upper year in the school before too long, but he was not unrealistic in his expectations. He hoped that day would come but if it did, he knew its arrival was still a long time away. Worse was the worry that Daphne’s presence would not be enough to dissuade the upper years if Harry allowed Ron Weasley to beat him to the snitch. 

And if all of that had not been enough, Snape had apparently seen fit to add to his stress the day before. 

The previous day, in the Potions Classroom…

The class had been a complete and total disaster. Many in the dungeon were still choking. Horrid purple smoke had flowed through the room fast as a swiftly-blowing wind not seconds earlier, but Snape had vanished it soon after it had appeared. Harry had seen how it had happened and was only grateful it had not been him on the receiving end of Weasley’s sabotage. The boy had thrown… something into Draco’s cauldron. There had been an explosion which had caused a violent reaction that melted the cauldron into a twisted glob of molten pewter on the floor while the toxic-smelling fumes wafted into the air like columns of billowing steam. 

Harry had been glaring at Weasley in the beginning, but something nagged at him. He felt… something. A gentle nudge at the corners of his mind. It was not unlike how Dumbledore had described a Legilimency attack, though Harry had not yet reached the point at which he would experience one, though he was drawing close. 

He turned his head to the right on instinct alone and saw it. The hem of robes disappearing as its owner stepped into Snape’s office. His eyes narrowed as he carefully watched the door until Hermione Granger stepped out a few minutes later, unnoticed by most of the class.

“What is she up to?” Daphne asked from beside him. Whether she had spotted Granger herself or simply noticed where her partner had been looking, Harry did not know.

“No idea,” he answered. “It was definitely set up, though.”

Daphne looked at him as though he were a slow child. “I’m not Crabbe or Goyle,” she told him. “You don’t need to lay out things to me that are as obvious as the sun rising in the east and setting in the west.”

Harry fought against the flush that rose to his cheeks as Snape finished vanishing whatever Weasley had sent up into the air from Draco’s cauldron. Harry and Daphne were about as far as they could get from Draco whilst still remaining on the Slytherin’s side of the classroom, so they were mostly unaffected.

“Potter!” Snape called minutes later and right before the class was set to end. “Stay behind!”

Harry almost sighed aloud. Snape had been far from pleasant last year. He had showered every Slytherin not named Harry with points every time they so much as breathed, it seemed, yet Harry had not been awarded a point all year. It was true that Potions was not his best subject, even now. He had been worse at it last year before having the help of Daphne and the temporary necessity to improve that had been imposed upon him by his short-lived partnership with Crabbe. Yet still he had been competent. Never talented, but adequate. He had brewed many potions better than others who had been awarded points for their efforts, but Snape had ignored him each and every time. After that first day, that seemed to have been his policy regarding Harry in general. It was better than outright torment, but it had left a bitter taste in the then first year’s mouth.

This year, things had only become worse. Snape seemed to have developed a vendetta against Harry over the summer. He could not imagine why. He didn’t know why Snape had disliked him in the first place, but this was a whole different thing altogether? And why? He had never done anything to anger Snape. He had done his best to keep his head down around the man, if anything, and his reward had been venomous glares, poisoned words, and a partnership with a partner who had been meant to be his undoing before Daphne had basically rescued him from that predicament.

He felt apprehension rise within him once the bell rang and the room began to thin. It was the first time he had been alone with Snape since the Potion Master’s sudden change of heart towards him.

“You told me to stay behind, sir?”

Snape looked up from the vial he was studying and sneered at him. “Do not ask me questions you already know the answer to, Potter. You may be plagued by a countless number of personal flaws, but you are no half-wit and I believe your hearing is perfectly adequate.”

Harry ground his teeth together. “Yes, sir.”

Snape studied him. “How do you feel, Potter?”

Harry startled at the question, nearly losing the grip he had on his school bag. “Sir?”

“I said, how do you feel, Potter?”

“I’m… all right, sir.”

“Tomorrow, you will need to be more than all right. I will not have you embarrassing Slytherin House out on the Quidditch pitch.” His expression darkened. “Your father was a pathetic braggart with a head bigger than Hagrid, but Quidditch was the one thing no one could say James Potter did not do well. I expect you to be every bit as magnificent tomorrow as he ever was.” Their eyes met. “I will be… most displeased if you do not live up to my expectations.”

Harry resisted the urge to gulp. “I understand, sir,” he said, looking hastily away from Snape. 

“Dismissed,” said the Potions Master, waving his hand and returning to the vial he had been studying before Harry had drawn his attention.

Back in the present…

All of it was a weight on his shoulders so heavy that Harry felt like his knees would buckle the second he rose to his feet to begin the exit out onto the field. Most around him looked every bit as anxious as he was. Draco had not risen his stare from the floor since he had entered the room. He was running a hand up and down his Nimbus 2001 in a way that was almost rhythmic. Cassius’s foot was tapping faster and faster on the changing room’s floor as the game drew closer and his eyes were fixed upon the wall in front of him. Derrick and Bole were both stretching, but as they did, Harry noticed a great deal of tension within them. Flint was stone-faced but resolute, and Miles Bletchley was pacing about the room like a caged animal itching to be loosed.

The oppressive tension hanging in the air like precipitation was such that Harry could hardly believe it had not blasted the changing room’s door from its hinges yet. Surely this room could not contain all of it.

And then, they heard it.


Lee Jordan’s magically amplified voice was somewhat muffled by the walls, like the rest of the noise, but they still had no trouble making out every word. The unanimous roar of approval from the crowd penetrated the room just as effectively and Harry could feel his heart begin to quicken. It was as though his heart was but a drum, and the cry of the audience had been the cue for the drummer to begin playing a song that required an unreasonably fast cadence as he beat upon the instrument.

“Everybody up.” Flint’s voice was as diamond and as unyielding as iron. He might not have been one for pre-match speeches, but when Marcus Flint spoke, people listened.

The team took to their feet and arranged themselves in a single-file line facing the changing room’s exit, which Flint opened with a wave of his wand. Jordan was introducing the Gryffindor team. Harry saw the looks of twisted bitterness and poorly masked fury on many of his teammates’ faces when the lions were introduced as the defending champions. Last year had been the first in more than half a decade in which Slytherin had not captured the Quidditch cup.

The lions’ team was unchanged from the previous year. Their captain would still man the goals, the Weasley twins were still the most terrifying pair of beaters Hogwarts had seen in years, Johnson, Bell, and Spinnet were presumably still the well-oiled machine Harry had remembered, and Ron Weasley was the youngest seeker in a century. It was going to take a Herculean effort to take down the Gryffindors; Nimbus 2001s or not.


The wind slammed into Harry with enough force to snap his head back as he soared out the changing room. The feeling of acceleration on a broomstick was among his favourite sensations in the world. There’s a moment when one’s stomach seems to fall from their body and one’s heart leaps up into their throat. It was one of the things Harry most enjoyed and all at once, he found himself no longer nervous about the game to come.

The teams were lined up at centre field in short order. Harry watched as Wood and Flint seemed to try and break the other’s hand. He never understood why captains bothered exerting the energy for such things. If one of them ever actually managed the feat, Harry thought he may reconsider his stance.

The whistle’s blast cut through the morning air like a sharp-edged sword. Harry rocked skywards once more and immediately realized he had the advantage over Weasley — who had been glaring at him as though Harry had done something personally offensive to his mother or some nonsense. He and Weasley didn’t even particularly dislike each other; best as Harry could tell, the boy was just a Gryffindor who had the typical lion’s competitive streak. 

His broom rose faster than Weasley’s, but he had to dodge a bludger almost at once. The dodge wasn’t difficult, but it did divert his path. Harry was grateful for it. Being struck by a bludger at high speeds had been one of the things Harry had been most worried about when he had begun properly practicing Quidditch. To have it out of the way so early was nice; he knew that he could dodge them now.

He heard something whistling through the air towards him and rolled on instinct alone. The same bludger sped past him. Harry saw it invert in the air this time before rocketing back towards him. His eyes widened; what in Merlin’s name was going on?

He dodged once more and flew towards his beaters at top speed. Derrick and Bole had seen him by now and knew what he was doing. Harry flew straight past them, leading the bludger into a well-placed strike with the bat. Harry sighed, happy to finally have a break.

“What in the hell?” he heard Derrick call and all of a sudden, he was dodging again. 

“Somebody’s fucked with the bludger!” called Bole. 

Harry knew at once that it was true. Bludgers weren’t supposed to focus on any one player. They were not supposed to hone in on a target, but try and unseat any player within striking range. Harry was not the most well-read player on the pitch in regards to Quidditch, but he had never heard of anything like this happening. He wondered whether or not it might be some sort of plot by one of the upper years. Perhaps it was even the same student who had sent him the bubotuber pus. He had no idea how hard it was to enchant something like a bludger. He imagined it was a bit above fourth-year level magic or he might have suspected the Weasley twins. Something so outlandish and ill thought would have perfectly matched the tone of all their other antics during the past week or so since Mrs. Norris had turned up petrified.

Harry jerked his broom up and shot skywards. He flew high above the pitch, dodging the bludger at each and every turn as he scanned for any sign of the elusive golden snitch. He was a good flyer, he knew, but he was beginning to see how this game would play out. The bludger would follow him at all costs and eventually, he would tire. Fatigued tended to lead to mistakes, and Harry could not afford to make one.

Derrick and Bole were both pursuing the bludger and doing their best to keep it away from Harry, but they were only partially successful. They did manage to knock it away for a moment, which gave Harry time to scan the pitch. It was a bright and cloudless morning. The sun shone down and caused the dew far below to sparkle on the grass like liquid diamonds. It reflected the sunlight in all sorts of ways that would make finding the snitch an absolute bitch if it was too close to the ground. Harry would have to hope it flew high, especially because Weasley seemed to be playing as something like a fourth chaser. The Gryffindors probably suspected his chances of catching the snitch with his beaters and the bludger impeding his path to be slim at best. Why not run up the score before their own seeker made the easiest catch of his life? It made too much sense — enough that Harry signalled to Flint at the first available opportunity. The captain mercifully heeded his plea and called for a time out.

Harry had been the highest in the sky and had to avoid the bludger on his way down, so he was the last to land. The thing tried to behead him even when Harry stepped off of his broom, but Bole tackled it out of the air. He was grunting and Harry could hear him scrambling every few seconds as he tried his best to pin the bludger down.

They were drawing attention from the crowd now. Those who had not yet realized the bludger seemed to be in a murderous rage were seeing it now. 

Flint seemed unphased. “What is it, Potter?”

“The bludger is trying to kill me.”

“Make it work,” said Flint. “I won’t have us losing this match. Not when we have better brooms and not with everything that’s at stake. If we lose this after all that’s happened, it’s going to be a nightmare.”

Harry didn’t know why the words stung so fiercely. It was like Flint had slapped him on the coldest day of winter and the wind’s bite was exacerbating the sting. He should not have been surprised. Marcus Flint was not known for his kindness, especially to those born of anything less than the purest of unions.

“If you want me to win the damn match, tell Derrick and Bole to leave me alone. I’m wasting my time trying to catch the snitch if they just keep getting in the day.”

“Don’t be an idiot,” snapped Cassius, “that thing will kill you.”

“Not if I can catch the stupid snitch quickly.”

“With a bludger chasing you the whole game?”

Harry stuck up his chin in his best imitation of Draco. The blond watched him interact with the rest quietly. His expression gave nothing away and he made no move to speak.

“You’re the one who told me I would be good enough to make the team,” Harry reminded Cassius. “I’m either good enough or I’m not.”

“Or you can just stop this madness,” Cassius argued.

“Are you suggesting we forfeit, Warrington?” Flint’s eyes sparkled with something deadly as he stared down Cassius.

To his credit, Harry’s older friend did not so much as flinch. “Look, I like Harry more than anyone on this team. If he manages to prove me wrong, all the more power to him, but I don’t see how he can catch the snitch with the bludger trying to kill him. That just lets Weasley play chaser and our brooms don’t make up for being a man down. We’re already down by thirty, Flint, and we both know it’s going to get worse if something doesn’t change fast. Better to give it up now and keep all of our players alive.”

“Where’s your ambition, Warrington?”

Cassius ground his teeth together. “You want to lecture me about Slytherin traits, Flint? Use that brain of yours and stop acting like a Gryffindor. There’s more to being in Slytherin and living life than not losing. It’s called a tactical retreat for a reason.”

“No!” Both boys looked sharply at Harry; Cassius looked as though he might burst with frustration at any moment. “I’m not forfeiting.” He worried what would happen in Slytherin if he lost the match. He did not want to imagine what might become of him and his status if they forfeited because of him. That would be an entirely different level of vitriol; one he wasn’t sure he was equipped to deal with. “Call off Derrick and Bole,” he told Flint. “At least let me try and win this.”

“And don’t worry about Weasley.” It was Draco who had spoken. Harry looked at him properly for the first time that day. He recognized that look in his former friend’s eyes; it was the same look he had worn before goading Weasley into the midnight duel and the same look he had worn the morning after Hagrid had been caught with the dragon. “I have a plan for Weasley.”

“Gentlemen!” Madam Hooch’s voice brought them all back to the present. “Are you all ready to resume?”

“We are,” said Flint before Cassius could get in another word. He cast glances towards both Derrick and Bole. “Leave Potter alone. Deal with the chasers and Weasley the best you can.”

Cassius was seething by the time they took to the air again. Harry wondered what his friends, both older and younger, thought of what was going on from their view in the stands but he had no time to consider the matter — the bludger was on him again.

Harry evaded once, twice, three times as he shot skywards. He wondered if this was how the birds near the Black Lake felt in the warmer months of the year when students pelted them with any number of things to make them go away.

It was more exhausting now than it had been before. Flying a broom may not have taken great deals of energy, but the constant leaning from one side to the other while maintaining his grip was beginning to wear on Harry. His fingers were growing sore from how hard he had been clutching the broom not to fall off and his back was beginning to stiffen. Probably from throwing his body from one side to the other so recklessly and so often. 

Weasley dove back down towards the cluster of chasers below, clearly intent on rejoining the play. Harry saw Draco waving at the crowd while he passed the quaffle to Cassius. Harry seethed for a moment. He could not imagine why Draco was gloating while Slytherin was trailing the lions, but he didn’t have much time to dwell on his annoyance; the bludger was coming again.

A din of noise began to rise from the crowd as he evaded another attempt at his life. The sound wafted up into the air, but it didn’t quite reach Harry, so far he was above the stands. He debated diving down, but the bludger was coming in again and the chant was rising. It must have been started by a smaller contingent and picked up by others, for soon, Harry could hear every word of it without fail.

“Weasley cannot catch the snitch

He flies all round and round the pitch

As good a seeker as he’s rich,

Weasley is our favourite witch!

Weasley was born in a bin, 

He doesn’t let the riff raff in,

Weasley will make sure we win,

Weasley is our King! 

Weasley is our King!

Weasley is our King!

He doesn’t let the riff raff in, 

Weasley is our King!”

His jaw nearly fell agape. 

The first few choruses of the song were sung mostly by the younger Slytherins. First, second, and third years screamed every syllable as though they were using their dying breath, but many of the upper years clearly hadn’t heard it yet. After a certain number of rounds, however, each and every single member of Slytherin House seemed to be screaming the words for all to hear.

“Weasley cannot catch the snitch

He flies all round and round the pitch

As good a seeker as he’s rich,

Weasley is our favourite witch!

Weasley was born in a bin, 

He doesn’t let the riff raff in,

Weasley will make sure we win,

Weasley is our King! 

Weasley is our King!

Weasley is our King!

He doesn’t let the riff raff in, 

Weasley is our King!”

This was Draco’s work, Harry knew. He had no doubt of it. The bit about Weasley being born in a bin was straight from the youngest Malfoy’s playbook and the line about being a witch was much too juvenile to have been devised by an upper year. 

But there was some cunning hidden behind the childish jabs.

He doesn’t let the riff raff in…

It was brilliant, in its own way. Many at the school thought Weasley the culprit from Samhain and it bothered both him and his house immensely. Anybody who knew the story of the Chamber of Secrets would know exactly what was being implied. 

It was clear that Weasley knew, for the quaffle flew amiss when he tried a pass to Katie Bell. Seekers could handle the quaffle without issue; most of them just chose not to because of the risks. Seeing as Harry had spent the better part of the match trying not to die, he could hardly blame Weasley for thinking it an opportune game to play as offensively as he wished.

Weasley tried to intercept a pass from Draco to Flint, but he hadn’t been watching Angelina Johnson try to do the same thing. The two of them collided hard, and Harry could see a thin trickle of blood flowing from Weasley’s nose as he disentangled himself from his chaser. The blood seemed to paint a line of crimson in the air as it flowed towards the ground below. Weasley had seen it, too. He froze at the sight of it, and that was when Harry saw the sparkle of gold.

It was closer to Weasley than it was him, but he could not afford to wait. He had been moving through the air as though he was performing some sort of choreographed dance on his broomstick. It had been the only way to avoid the bludger and fatigue was well and truly setting in now. He needed to catch the snitch or he would not be staying on his broom for long.

He dove, adding a line of green and silver to the world’s morning canvas as he shot towards the ground like an emerald arrow with a black tip where his hair fanned out in the wind. Weasley only saw him diving when the distance between Harry and the snitch had closed. Harry saw out of the corner of his eye Weasley wheel his broom about and fly towards the snitch. It was going to be close; Weasley was closer but Harry had the faster broom. He was closing fast, but not fast enough. Weasley was going to get it, he was about to reach for it, the match would be over at any moment…

“Weasley cannot catch the snitch

He flies all round and round the pitch

As good a seeker as he’s rich,

Weasley is our favourite witch!

Weasley was born in a bin, 

He doesn’t let the riff raff in,

Weasley will make sure we win,

Weasley is our King! 

Weasley is our King!

Weasley is our King!

He doesn’t let the riff raff in, 

Weasley is our King!”

The snitch floated through Weasley’s fumbling fingers and Harry leant so far forward on his broom, he feared he might fall. 

His fears proved themselves well founded.

The bludger slammed into his shoulder from behind. Harry heard the crunch of bone giving way against the flying ball’s concussive force and he felt weightless as he fell, but there had been another sensation just seconds before. The feeling of metal against his palm and the rush of victory as his fingers had snatched the snitch from right under Weasley’s nose as he fumbled aimlessly, desperately trying to remedy the mistake that would cost him his first ever loss out on the Quidditch pitch.

Harry hit the ground so hard that he felt other things give way. His ribs seemed to ripple beneath his skin as though they weren’t held in place and his lungs contracted as air was torn ruthlessly from his body. Everything ached as black spots danced before his eyes. The last thought Harry had before falling to unconsciousness was that he wasn’t sure which bothered him more — the searing pain in his ribs, shoulder, arm, and chest, or the mousy-haired boy running forward and taking pictures so fast that Harry thought his camera might explode.

That night, in the hospital wing…

All was dark when Harry next woke. He cast his eyes around the room, but he wore no glasses. They had been removed at some point whilst he was sleeping. His whole body did not just ache, but it burned and the skin itched. He reached over to scratch his arm, but he recoiled his hand at once. The bones under his skin felt… wrong. It was not a solid mass, but separate and disjointed pieces that moved under his skin at the barest touch. His mind flashed back to the bits of bone floating inside the soup-like substance contained within Willa Nurmen’s skull after the stoning and he very nearly vomited.

Fortunately he didn’t, for footsteps could be heard within seconds of his waking. He thought at first that it must be Madam Pomfrey coming to check on him. He fumbled quietly for his glasses and found them before the footsteps drew too near. Jamming them onto his face, he rolled over so he could act as though he was sleeping, but his eyes were open just enough to see what was going on.

Even in the dark, there was no mistaking Dumbledore’s silvery beard. It shone almost as brightly as the ghosts and there was a certain air about the Headmaster that was just impossible to ignore. It was hard to see whilst squinting, but Harry thought the figure who followed him into the room was Professor McGonagall.

Then, he saw the other body. It was floating in the air as if it was on an invisible stretcher. Harry had to try hard not to gasp — he could not tell whether the motionless figure was alive or dead.

“Get Madam Pomfrey,” Dumbledore whispered and the other made off towards the matron’s office. 

The body had been levitated onto one of the other beds by the time McGonagall and Pomfrey returned. “Dear Merlin,” breathed the matron, “what happened?”

“We think he was sneaking up to see Potter,” said McGonagall, holding up a small basket of sweets. “These were beside him and he was seen trying to follow Potter up to the hospital wing. The boy was unconscious, but still he wanted to take his pictures and say his words.”

“Let us not forget about this.” Dumbledore spoke softly as he held up Colin Creevey’s camera, but Harry could hear the note of tension in the old man’s voice. He opened the camera but almost immediately dropped it. A thick cloud of billowing smoke rose from it. It filled the room and seemed to thicken the very air. Breathing was altogether more difficult for a moment before the smoke had been dispersed. 

“Merlin’s beard,” said McGonagall, her voice nearly impossible to hear. “It’s… melted.” Harry could not see from his vantage point, but he could only assume she was talking about the film. “Albus… what does this mean?”

Dumbledore did not answer for a moment. Harry thought he could feel the Headmaster’s eyes on him, but he was now looking in the other direction and very much hoped he was imagining it.

“It means,” said Dumbledore, “that the Chamber of Secrets has indeed been opened once again.”

Harry found sleep would not come easily after that revelation. Much of the school had outright dismissed the possibility of the Chamber of Secrets actually being open once more, but Harry felt more inclined to believe Dumbledore than any of them. It made him uneasy to think that it could well be one of his housemates. The type to do such things seemed exactly like those who had been trying to make his life a living hell before he had befriended Daphne. For all he knew, whatever the boy’s name had been had only been petrified on the way to the hospital because the Heir of Slytherin had sent the monster after Harry and the young, mousy-haired Gryffindor had gotten in the way.

He almost slept some time later. He drifted in and out of the strange place between waking and sleeping for some time before he heard something shuffle near his bed. He was well attuned to waking quickly after years of Petunia’s sharp knocks on his cupboard and demands for him to have started on their breakfast by the time she returned from the bathroom.

He rolled over and opened his eyes. This time, his visitor did not fail to notice. A loud squeak pierced the air and the sound of running feet echoed through the hospital wing before a resounding CRACK took its place and all was silent. 

Harry heard the matron stir in her office and rolled over once more, hoping for sleep and safety, but he was much less unaware than she would be once she reached him. He had seen the ears flap as the creature ran from the room, he had seen the battered pillowcase it wore, and he had seen its large, tennis-ball like eyes that were oh so familiar to him. 

After all, this was not the first time the Malfoys’ elf had visited him before the sun had risen. 

Author’s Note:

The pace of this story is going to pick up now that most of the pieces are on the board. The start of each school year can be quite cumbersome, but I am ready to begin speeding through the timeline a little bit. I did promise years with reasonable word counts, after all. This will be longer than CoS, quite obviously, but I do promise you all it won’t border on anything like OotP. 

Also, apologies for the excess of Quidditch for those who are not fans. It won’t come up much, but this match was important. Also, regarding Ron, I think this should put some of your guys’ fears at ease. He is not a different person in this story; he is just different because Harry isn’t around him at all hours of the day. He can still crack under pressure and all the rest; the only reason he hadn’t yet in Quidditch is because an eleven or twelve-year-old doesn’t tend to overthink things the same way a fifteen or sixteen-year-old does. 

Anyway, hope you all enjoyed.

Please read and review.

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