Chapter 15 : Spiders and Snake
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When the scene settles around them, the travelers immediately notice that something is off. It could be the stillness of the empty grounds or the dull colors of the grass and trees. Even the sun’ shine looks fake to the cousins’ eyes. They notice the two young boys walking near the edge of the forest and decide to reach them.
“May 25th,” Ron’s booming voice fills the empty air of the scene. “Dear Dad, I don’t really know how to say this but, I had the strangest encounter with the car yesterday. See Harry and I were strolling near the forest when we saw lights between the trees, not too far from us.”
“Is it just me or does this story sound a little farfetched?” Al frowns when they reach Ron and Harry. The two boys suddenly stop and Ron points at a faint light between two trees.
“Look,” he says in a voice empty of all emotion, “it’s the car.”
“It is,” Harry nods in the same mechanical voice. “We should go and drive it back.”
“Alright,” Ron agrees. The boys start walking toward the car but it rolls backward, its heavy engine’s throb breaking the silence of the scene, as if the car is telling the boys it refuses to follow them.
“Believe it or not, it was the car! It’s working great but, on its own so it’s very strange. Did you know that this was a possibility when you tinkered with it?”
“It looks like it came to life and refuses to come back to us,” Ron declares, his face still not showing any emotion.
“How can it still roll? It should have run out of gas by now,” Harry says, standing still next to his friend.
“It works on magic, Harry; the place is full of it so it must recharge on its own,” Ron answers.
“Is there anything we can do then?”
“Car!” Ron calls in a louder voice, although not quite a yell, “car! Come back here!”
“It went away,” Harry declares.
“Then there is nothing we can do,” Ron concludes. The two boys turn around and walk away from the forest as if nothing happened.
“It was like it had become a wild animal, one made of metal that is! Anyway, it refused to come with us so, once again, I’m really sorry for what I did but at least, we know where it is, right? Love, Ron.”
“That was the lamest excuse I’ve ever seen,” Lily shakes her head in disbelief. “Doesn’t Uncle Ron have more imagination then that?”
“I wonder if we’ll get to see the real story,” Rose asks as the scene is taken away by a great gush of wind only to be replaced by complete darkness.
“Err,” Lily starts but Hugo interrupts her.
“Shush, listen.” Sure enough, they can hear some sort of rattling sound near them, followed by the clear sound of breaking twig.
“Are we in the forest?” Rose asks, her voice barely more than a whisper.
“I think so,” Hugo answers in the same voice. As their eyes slowly grow accustomed to the darkness, they begin to notice the tall and large tree shapes around them. Then, a wand light appears to dance at a distance, slowly growing stronger as the holder makes his way toward the point where the cousins stand. A minute later, the cousins aren’t surprised to see Harry and Ron walk pass them, accompanied by a large dog.
“Alone at night in the Forest?” Al says, his eyebrows raised, “and they tell me to follow the rules?
“May 25th, Dear Ginny, I swear that I will murder the Heir of Slytherin with my bare hands when we find out who it is. See we got another lead not so long ago and yesterday, Harry and I went to check it in the forbidden forest.”
“Bit of a departure from the original story,” Rose scoffs as they join the boys’ slow march.
“Is this the normal way spiders act?” Ron asks Harry, directing the travelers’ attention to the ground.
“Merlin,” Al exclaims, “that is a lot of spiders!”
“I don’t think so,” Harry shakes his head, “I’ve never seen so many spiders following the same direction at the same time.”
“Shush Fang,” Ron scolds the whimpering dog, “I know how you feel, believe me, but we don’t want to attract too much attention.”
“Is it just my imagination or are the spiders growing in size?” Rose asks in a shaky voice.
“No, it’s not,” Lily’s answer is cut short by Fang’s loud bark that makes the six kids stop dead in their tracks.
“Merlin, something is moving over there,” Rose cries in a high pitched voice, echoing the younger version of her father’s words.
“It can’t do anything to you Rose, remember? We’re in a memory,” Hugo calmly reminds his older sister.
“But it can do something to Dad and Uncle Harry!” She squeals, pointing at a very panicked Ron and a practically equally agitated Harry.
“Liar,” Hugo mutters with a cheeky smile, earning himself a punch on the arm by Rose. The rumbling sounds are getting stronger and evidently getting closer to the group. None of the kids are moving, not even daring to breathe when a sudden, blinding light engulfs them.
“Now that is a more believable story,” Al calls in evident relief when they realize that the unknown monster was only the car. The five others let out the breath they were all holding, sharing Al’s feeling of relief as they walk closer to the old Ford Anglia.
“I can’t believe it’s been here all this time!” Ron says, delighted, as he walks around the car, patting its sides happily.
“It doesn’t look much like it did before,” Lily says, looking at the long scratches in the paint and most of the car was covered in dried up mud.
“Uncle Ron is right, it does look like it turned wild,” Al agrees.
“What’s up with Da - Oh Merlin,” Rose suddenly breathes in terror, following Ron’s gaze.
“What?” The three others asks, scared by her sudden change of tone. She points at a large dark shape a couple feet over their heads and the others don’t even have time to react before a couple spiders about the size of carthorses grab Ron, Harry and Fang by the waist and dash through the forest, carrying the boys with them.
“Please tell me that this was all Uncle Ron’s imagination and that it really was just tiny little spiders,” Al says, frozen in place.
“Somehow, I don’t think it is,” Hugo whispers, still very shocked by what just happened. “We have to follow them!”
“Right,” Lily nods, her eyes still fixed on the point where the boys disappeared.
Hugo and Al, knowing Rose’s fear of spiders, each take one of her arms and pull her along, fearing that she might not follow on her own. For over ten minutes, they run through the trees, falling on exposed roots and following the disturbing clicking noises the giant spiders are making. They finally reach an exposed clearing enlighten by the soft light of the moon and stars, where they find their fathers looking like the exact definition of terror. They are both frozen on their knees, mouths opened in a silent screams and eyes popping dangerously. Both are extremely pale under the dirt that covers their cheeks and grow even paler when they look around them to see that they are completely surrounded by the giant, hairy spiders.
“This is like walking into a nightmare,” Rose whispers, silent tears rolling down her cheeks.
“How the heck did they walk out of there alive?” Lily wonders, shaking from head to toes.
“I was the most horrifying thing, Gin. There were spiders as big as a car and I’m not exaggerating, we could compare since Dad’s car happened to be there as well,” Ron’s shaky narrative voice calls over the clicking noises.
“Are they talking?” Hugo slowly asks, concentrating hard on the clicking noises.
“I think they are!” Al exclaims, surprised. “Wait, they know Hagrid?”
“How can Uncle Harry talk to them? He can’t even stand up so much that he is scared,” Hugo says in disbelief, watching his Uncle try to convince an old looking spider of their good intentions.
“He has to, doesn’t he? Otherwise the spider will order their death,” Al says.
“Still, would you have done it?” Hugo questions his cousin, “I would never be able to; I’d be like Dad, frozen in fear.”
“I honestly don’t know,” Al shrugs, still concentrating on the conversation.
“It’s not the monster from the Chamber,” Lily whispers suddenly. “It’s something else. Hagrid had nothing to do with it.”
“Of course Hagrid had nothing to do with it, that wasn’t even a question,” Hugo says, thinking hard about what else could be in the Chamber. “This spider never attacked humans because of its loyalty to Hagrid; that is quite a power.”
“They fear it so much they don’t speak of it,” Al sums up the spider’s information, “kind of like how the wizards used to act toward Voldemort.”
“Alright, time to go now boys, the spiders are getting a little too excited,” Lily declares when she sees the spiders closing ever so slowly around the boys and the dog, keeping them from getting away.
“We did learn some important stuff but I don’t think I’ll be able to sleep ever again after seeing those creepy things,” Ron’s booming voice says, a slight note of fear audible through the anger. Clearly, the boy did not easily move on from that experience.
“Neither will I,” Rose whispers, still shaking and unable to keep the tears of terror from escaping her.
In an effort to comfort her cousin, Lily takes her hand but Rose is so overwhelmed at that point that she involuntarily crushes Lily’s fingers. Mouth opened wide in pain, Lily tries to take out her hand from Rose’s tight grip. The older girl doesn’t even notice her cousin’s distress but when the loud engine rumble echoes near them and before the clearing is flooded by the electric lights of the Ford Anglia, Rose brings her hands up to her mouth, letting go of Lily at the same time. Excited to see that her father and godfather have found a way to escape, Rose snaps out of her terror filled state.
“The car! It will drive them out of the forest!” She shouts excitedly, watching Harry and Ron dash for the car, Ron taking Fang with him.
“I think you broke my fingers,” Lily angrily tells Rose, carefully holding her painful hand.
“What?” Rose asks her, confused.
“Doesn’t matter,” Al shouts at the girls, pointing at the accelerating car, “we have to follow the car!”
Before they have time to make a move though, the scene melts away and the cousins find themselves back where they began, at the edge of the forest where the car quietly rolls out of the trees. In silence, the four cousins watch Harry stumble out of the car and open the door to Fang. The dog bounces out immediately and runs to his master’s hut, tail between his legs and whimpering loudly. Harry follows the dog in a shaky walk and opens the door before walking inside. Ron, on the other hand, doesn’t seem able to move yet. He sits in the car for a long time, his eyes fixed on the forest and still popping out of his skull. After a minute or two, he stumbles out of the car only to vomit violently on the ground. The car’s doors close on their own and it simply rolls back into the forest, disappearing from view in a matter of seconds.
“This is all the Heir’s fault; I hate that guy and I’ve never wanted someone to be punished or hurt like I want this guy to be. I hate that person more than I hate Malfoy. I hope the Heir gets eaten by his monster. Take care of yourself Gin, love, Ron.” The letter concludes as the smell of sickness gets replaced by the one of parchment and before they know it, the cousins find themselves in the Gryffindor common room.
The room is disturbingly quiet when they cousins arrive there. There are a few students scattered around but they seem to keep as far away as possible from the group of red-headed boys that sit near the fire. The four brothers wear identical expressions of shock and sadness. Even Harry, the only non official member of the family that sits with them, seems to share their pain.
“May 29th, Dear Ginny. I write this letter because I know you will get to read it. I hope you are ok.” Ron’s weak and distressed voice quietly fills the silence.
“Something happened to Mum?” Lily asks in concern, looking desperately at her older brother. Al shakes his head in answer, his expression mirroring Lily’s.
“I don’t know what they are talking about either,” he answers.
“I, I need to go write to mother and father,” Percy says, his small voice craking. The eldest boy slowly gets up and the cousins can see his hand shaking as he mechanically cleans his glasses with the hem of his robes.
“McGonagall said Dumbledore would inform them,” one of the twins tells Percy. The Prefect shrugs dismissively before making his way to the dormitory.
“Leave it Fred, he just wanted an excuse to be alone,” George tells his brother in a hollow sort of voice.
“What do you think they’ll do?” Ron asks in a weak, desperate voice. His brothers only shrug, having no answer to give.
“They don’t know where the Chamber of Secrets is, what can they do?” George mutters angrily.
“Don’t say that,” Fred snaps, “Ginny’s strong, and she won’t let herself die.”
“I know you are strong and you will punch the Heir in the face and escape. You won’t let yourself get hurt Gin, I know you won’t.”
“But why? Why did she even get taken in the first place? She is a pureblood, we all are,” Ron presses.
“I don’t know Ron,” George answers his brother a bit sharply, “maybe the Heir got bored and decided he wanted to see if the purebloods really are better than the muggleborns.”
“Her skeleton will lie there forever,” Fred murmurs, his hands pressed hard on his face. The cousins all shivered violently upon hearing that. They had never imagined this year would turn out to be so dramatic.
“She’s alright,” Lily whispers, trying to convince herself, “she made it out, there is nothing to worry about.”
“Right Lils, you’re right,” Al nods in the same manner, “nothing horrible happened to her.”
“We need to do something,” Ron pleads, looking at his older brothers in turn before looking pointedly at Harry.
“There’s nothing we can do Ron, unless you know where the Chamber is,” George says, annoyed. “Do you know where it is?”
“No,” Ron whispers, looking down at his hands.
“Thought so, now shut it, I’m not in the mood for answering questions,” George finishes.
“We have a good idea though,” Harry whispers to Ron. With one last look at his brothers, Ron gets up and motions for Harry to follow him a bit further so the twins would not hear their conversation.
“Are we sure though? That it’s in Moaning Myrtle’s bathroom?” Ron asks Harry.
“No but everything points to it,” Harry says, marking his points with his fingers. “The girl that died fifty years ago, the word ‘pipes’ written on the paper we found in Hermione’s hand, the fact that this is where we found the diary the last time.”
“But a basilisk, we can’t face that on our own,” Ron says.
“We were going to tell McGonagall earlier, maybe we should do that now.”
*“Harry, do you think there’s a chance that she’s not, you know,”* Ron trails. Harry’s unconvinced shrug seems to push Ron to his last resort.
“Of course she’s still alive,” Rose yells at the two boys, “how can they even think otherwise?”
“Did Dad just suggest that they go see Lockhart?” Hugo questions the others to be sure he heard right, “that guy is the biggest fraud on the planet!”
“I didn’t get the chance to tell you that we’ve found new things and that we know where the entrance to the chamber is. Harry and I, we know where you are Gin and we’re coming to get you,” Ron’s narrative voice says in a determined manner.
In an equally determined manner, Ron and Harry nod at each other and make their way out of the common room without anybody even trying to stop them. The four cousins follow them through the eerily empty school until they reach the Defence against the Dark Arts’ teacher’s office. They enter without knocking and find Professor Lockhart hastily packing his things.
“Is he leaving?” Al asks in a disbelieving tone.
“Looks like it,” Hugo nods angrily, “what a horrible person; he said he’d look for aunt Ginny but instead he tries to make a quick exit.”
“At least he admits he’s a fraud,” Al spits, just as angry as his cousin before shouting angrily at the Professor. “Self-centered, arrogant and manipulative fraud of a man!”
“He can’t hear you, Al,” Rose says, trying to bring her cousin back to reason, seeing as he seems about to explode in anger.
“I know that! It just felt good to scream it out,” Al retorts a bit harshly. “See, even Dad is doing it now.”
“He’s going to curse them!” Hugo shouts, disgusted, “they’re two second year! How can you think of – oh,” he stops, surprised, when Harry casted his disarming spell first.
“Overpowered by two second year. Ha!” Al laughs at the small victory of his father.
“Why in the world did Dad throw Lockhart’s wand out of the window? His own wand doesn’t work well, he could have used it instead,” Rose shakes her head in disbelief.
“Dad and his impulsive behaviours,” Hugo shakes his head as well. “I bet he didn’t even think about it until he needed to use his wand.”
For the second time in a short while, the four travelers follow the younger version of their fathers through the school corridors only this time, the fact that they have Professor Lockhart at wand point is a definitive improvement to the general mood. Quickly enough, they reach Moaning Myrtle’s bathroom on the second floor and after confirming that she is indeed the girl that was killed by the monster fifty years ago, Harry gives a closer inspection to the sink. The four cousins close around him, trying to see what he is looking for.
“It’s there, a small snake engraved in the tap,” Lily exclaims excitedly even before young Harry sees it. “Proves that the entry is there!”
“And that Slytherins are horribly bad at hiding their tracks,” Hugo adds, making his cousins chuckle while his sister glares at him. “What? I’m not allowed to joke from time to time?”
“It’s also a clue that the chamber opens up to a Parselmouth, like Dad is suggesting it,” Rose answers haughtily before turning her attention back to the two second years. They all watch in apprehension as Harry tries to get the tap to move, all but Lockhart who looks like he is praying for it to fail. After a couple attempts in English, Harry finally manages to speak Parseltongue and, as Ron suggested it, the tap begins to move, revealing a wide pipe in the floor.
“This is the creepiest language I’ve ever heard,” Lily shivers while the three others nod.
“Should we go as well?” Rose asks as she watches her father push Lockhart down the pipe. Harry follows quickly and without a second of hesitation, so does Ron.
“I’m going,” Al says as he jumps into the hole. The three others share a worried look before following as well. For what feels like minutes, they fall through the pipe, going deeper and deeper under the school, twisting around and hitting their elbows on the sides before coming to a sudden halt as they fall to their knees on a carpet of bones and slime. As they get back up to their feet, they notice that Lockhart and the two second year try to take away as much of the slime as they can out of their robes but the travelers are happy to see that nothing stuck to them.
“Can we do it again?” Lily asks, her eyes bright with excitement.
“Honestly,” Al rolls his eyes at his sister.
“That does bring up the question, how are we going to get out of here?” Hugo asks, looking back up the pipe. “It’s pretty steep and all slimy; there is no way we can climb back up.”
“Doesn’t matter for now,” Rose pulls her brother’s arm, “there’s leaving.”
Sure enough, the three rescuers are now walking deeper into the cave, Lockhart rather reluctantly, seeing as he is still held at wand point by Ron. They slow down considerably after a short while, allowing the four cousins to catch up with them and as soon as they arrive at the scene, the cousins understand what has caught the others’ attention. Across the tunnel, a horrifyingly long, sickly green snakeskin lay forgotten, recently shed by a twenty something feet long monster.
“Is this what awaits them at the end of the tunnel?” Rose whispers, suddenly very pale. Echoing her feeling, Professor Lockhart falls to the ground, apparently unconscious.
“What a wuss,” Al spits, still disgusted by the man’s behaviour. Lockhart though, has not really fallen unconscious for he tackles Ron to the ground and takes the broken wand out of his hand.
*“The adventure ends here boys,” the Professor tells the two second years, “I shall take a bit of this skin back up to the school, tell them I was too late to save the girl, and that you two tragically lost your minds at the sight of her mangled body – say goodbye to your memories,”* the man holds the wand high and, pointing it at both boys, he shouts the spell to take away their memories.
“No!” The four cousins shout together, ready to jump at the man to stop him although it would not have helped much. Their fears however, do not really turn into reality and as the spell shoots backward, hitting Lockhart instead, their screams turn into shouts of joy. Until the world around them begins to shake, that is.
“Watch out! The roof is caving in!” Al shouts, grabbing his sister by the waist.
“Erm, thanks,” she tells him with a slight smirk after he tackled her to the ground, “we’re in a memory, remember? We can’t get hurt? But I appreciate the thought, Al.”
“Sorry, I panicked,” the teenager blushes at his mistake.
“Where’s Uncle Harry?” Hugo suddenly asks, looking everywhere but seeing only his relatives, the younger version of his father and Professor Lockhart. These two are apparently having a heated conversation, Lockhart trying to keep Ron from climbing the rock pile. Having finally enough of this, Ron hits the Professor on the head and leaves him to fall to the ground.
“He must have gotten out of the way, right? He would have died if that had fallen on him,” Al frowns, following his Uncle Ron who is now climbing the rumble, shouting Harry’s name.
“Wait, I can hear him,” Rose says, silencing them all. Faintly, they can hear Harry’s voice from the other side of the rock pile.
“I’ll make a way for you guys to come back through, alright Harry? The two of you,” Ron shouts through a small opening in the rocks, his voice shaking in distress.
“Poor Dad,” Rose whispers, looking at thirteen years old Ron sitting on a pile of rock, his eyes full of tears in fear for his sister’s safety, and the one of his best friend. Taking a deep, steadying breath, Ron gives one last look at the unconscious Professor on the floor before he starts to shift some of the rock on the side, working on enlarging the small opening.
“Be strong and wait for us, we’ll be as fast as possible. I love you Ginny and I won’t let some crazy Slytherin hurt you. Ron.” On those determined words, the scene melts away. The strong smell of medicinal potions reaches the four travelers’ nostrils before the Hospital wing appears and, although a bit disappointed that they do not get to see what happened in the chamber, the cousins are happy to see that everyone made it out alive. Ron sits at the foot of Hermione’s bed, right next to Ginny’s bed. The younger girl seems asleep while the older one attentively listens to Ron.
“When we made it out of the forest alive, I was shocked,” Ron is saying, shaking his head in disbelief. “I really thought they were going to eat us. We finally worked out that the girl who died fifty years ago was Myrtle and, Merlin, you should have seen her face when Harry asked her how she died; it looked like it was the nicest thing anyone had ever asked her!”
“It probably was,” Hermione chuckled lightly.
“But the best part thought, was when she offered Harry the possibility to share her bathroom, should he die in the chamber. His face was so red, it was hilarious!”
“I wish I had seen that. So what happened next? You guys went into the chamber?”
"June 5th, Dear Ginny," the letter begins softly, "I know everything isn't alright but you're back with us so, it will be, eventually."
“I didn’t see that, how can Uncle Ron have forgotten that in his previous memory?” Lily exclaims, looking at the others who simply shrug. “I’m so going to bring that back to Dad.”
“Not yet,” Ron shakes his head, “first, we jumped through some huge pipe and fell so deep under the castle, I think we were actually under the lake. We had to make our way through a layer of rat bones and slime before we stumbled on the biggest snakeskin I had ever seen; it was at least twenty feet long.”
“Aren’t you exaggerating a bit, Ron? That’s hardly possible because it would mean that the snake that shed it would be close to thirty feet long,” Hermione says, clearly doubting her friend.
“Just ask Harry then,” Ron shrugs lightly, “or Lockhart if you could. When he saw this, he faked falling unconscious and jumped at me, taking my wand.”
“Your wand? The broken one?”
“Precisely that wand,” Ron nods with a small smile, “he tried to Obliviate us both –“
“He what?” Hermione shouts, interrupting Ron.
“Not so great anymore your pretty boy, right Aunt Hermione?” Al chuckles at the look of disbelief on his aunt’s face.
“Tired to Obliviate us,” Ron repeats, “but since it was my wand he had, the spell backfired and he erased his own memory instead of ours. I’d feel bad for him but, considering it was out minds he wanted to clear in the first place, I find it hard to have any compassion toward him.”
“Do you think there is a way to get his memory back?” Hermione asks.
“Why would you want such a fraud to get his memory back? What good will that be to the world?” Hugo asks.
“Plus, it’s not like his good looks have been affected, Mum,” Rose says with a cheeky smile.
“They never found a way to cure all those people whose memory he erased so I’m pretty sure they won’t find anything for him either,” Ron says, undisturbed by the situation. “So, anyway, the force of the spell made the room cave in and a large amount of rock fell from the roof, separating Harry from me and the idiot. There was no way for me to join Harry so, I stayed behind and worked on making a passage way for when they would come back.”
"Harry must have been brilliant, killing that snake and fightiting off young You-Know-Who; better than Lockhart that's for sure! Better then me as well..." Ron trails, a sad note to his voice.
“Oh Ron, that must have been horribly hard for you,” Hermione says, taking her friend’s shaky hand.
“There was nothing more I could do to save her, I had to abandon her – and Harry as well,” Ron whispers, looking at the sleeping form of his sister on the next bed.
“Abandon her? How did he get to that?” Lily frowns, not understanding her uncle’s logic.
“You didn’t abandon her, Ron. You did everything you could, starting with getting things in motion. Didn’t you say it was you that convinced Harry to go and talk with Professor Lockhart?”
“And what a great idea that was, right? He tried to erase our memories,” Ron snorts angrily, looking at the ground and working hard not to let tears escape his wet eyes.
“Maybe, but it motivated Harry to go down into the chamber and help save Ginny. If you hadn’t suggested it in the first place, none of you would have gone down and Ginny would still be there, alone,” Hermione explains, trying to raise Ron’s spirits. He finally looks up at her, eyes full of tears and blushes creeping up his neck and ears.
“You really think so?” He asks in a weak voice, a stray tear finally rolling down his cheek.
“Of course Ron and she thinks so as well,” Hermione smiles confidently, nodding toward Ginny.
“Thanks for saying that,” he squeezes her hand before letting go to wipe the tears from his face.
“Mum already knew what to say to make him feel better,” Rose smiles, her eyes just as wet as the younger version of her father’s.
“What surprises me is that he was able to talk about such difficult emotions to her; he’s so bad at it usually,” Hugo says before answering his own doubts, “he probably grew shyer about it as he grew up; most people tend to do that, close up on themselves.”
“It’s the truth,” she shrugs, “so, what happened next?”
“Well, I waited for about an hour and Harry had told me that if he wasn’t back by then, I had to go and get a teacher. I was so worried, I couldn’t think straight and Lockhart kept asking stupid questions about where he was and who is was. Plus, I had to figure out a way to get back up the pipe when I heard Harry calling. When he said that Ginny as alright I, I couldn’t believe it,” he chokes up, once again.
“Did he say what happened in there?” Hermione questions him.
“It was Ginny,” Ron nods, taking a deep breath. “Remember that journal we found? It was written by You-Know-Who when he was a teenager and with that, he could possess the owner, it was Ginny. He made her write those things on the wall and attack those students but she doesn’t really remember any of it. She knew it was her doing but she didn’t know how and why.”
“That’s horrible,” Hermione whispers, looking at the small girl next to her.
“Merlin,” Al breathes, taking in what he just heard. “No wonder they never told us about that year.”
“Mum did all that?” Lily questions, looking at the sleeping form of Ginny.
“It gets worst,” Ron mutters, “see he could drain energy from her. He was taking her life force or something like that and the weaker she got, the closer to coming back to life he got as well. Harry said that, when he entered the chamber, Ginny was almost dead already and Tom, You-Know-Who, he was almost completely, you know, physical.”
“You mean he could talk and walk?”
“Oh God,” Rose chokes up, putting an arm around Lily’s shoulder, seeing as she looks about ready to faint.
“And touch things as well; he stole Harry’s wand at some point,” Ron nods, his eyes wide. “Harry said that Tom called the snake and it was just as gigantic as you can imagine. Harry also says that Fawkes, Dumbledore’s phoenix, arrived in the chamber at that moment, carrying the Sorting hat.”
“The Sorting hat? Whatever for?” Hermione snorts, scratching her head to find what it could be used for.
“Yeah, I know! So the phoenix charged the snake and pierced his eyes,” Ron continues but Hermione interrupts him once again.
“So he could not petrify Harry, good thinking.” Hermione and Hugo nod, understanding at the same time.
“Exactly,” Ron nods, “Harry said that he had no idea what to do so he put the hat on and asked for help and then, the most amazing thing happened. A sword fell on his head, almost knocking him unconscious.”
“A sword?” Hermione whispers, intrigued.
“Not any old sword, it was Godric Gryffindor’s sword. Goblin-made and incrusted with precious gems.”
“Whoa, I wish I could see that. It was believed to be lost, you know?” She says, her eyes wide in excitement.
“I don’t know what they’ll do with it,” Ron frowns, “Dumbledore will probably keep it safe somewhere. Lots of people would surely love to get their hands on it.”
“So, did Harry use the sword to kill the snake?”
“He did! After a little battle, he managed to stab the snake in the mouth, obviously getting himself stabbed in the arm by one of the fangs.”
“But, they’re poisonous,” Hermione exclaims.
“Try really badly poisonous,” Rose says, getting agitated by the story, although keeping an eye on her two very quiet and pale cousins.
“They are, but they do have one anti-poison.”
“Phoenix tears,” Hermione and Hugo whisper at the same time, identical knowing smiles creeping on their faces.
“Yep,” Ron nods confidently, “Fawkes cried on Harry’s arm and he got better so he used the fang and pierced the journal a couple times with it. Harry said that ink flowed out of the holes and, as the ink flowed out, Tom began to disappear and Ginny suddenly woke up.”
“She had gotten her life force back,” Hermione says, smiling.
“So Dad really did act the hero,” Al whispers with a small smile, remembering all those times his mother called Harry ‘Her Hero’; there was a reason behind that after all.
“Then, we all got back up together – Fawkes flew us up the pipe – and we got to Dumbledore’s office. I thought he was going to expel us when we told him our story but he didn’t. He even said we would get an Award for Services to the school! None of my brothers have ever gotten that!”
“Congratulations,” Hermione smiled widely at Ron, knowing how much this meant to him, “what about Ginny, will she have consequences?”
“No, she wasn’t herself back then,” Ron says, suddenly more serious, “but I don’t know how she’ll deal with all that. I think she probably will have some after-effects. I know I will. I can’t believe I’ve been so blind, not seeing that something was happening to her. I’m her brother! I should have seen it; I should have helped her before it was too late!”
"I'll be here for you though this time. I'll be there to help you through that and do my best to let you know that you can count on me again, I promise. Love, Ron."
“Why are you being so hard on yourself Ron? What about your other brothers, they didn’t see anything either,” Hermione says.
“They don’t have the same responsibility toward her as I do,” Ron shakes his head dismissively, “I’m her closest brother, it was my job to keep her safe.”
“Oh Ron,” a voice whispers sadly behind him, making the two second year jump, as well as the four cousins, who had been so taken with the story, they never noticed someone was getting closer.
“Mum? Have you been there long?” Ron’s stutters as he turns around. Molly Weasley just shakes her head, her red eyes so full of love toward her youngest son at that moment, that Hermione blushes, trying to make herself invisible in the bed to give them a sense of privacy.
“I’m glad to see you are doing well, Hermione,” Molly tells the girl before looking back at her son. “Would you come with me for a moment Ron, I think we need to have a talk, you and I.”
“Alright,” he mutters, uncomfortable. “I’ll see you later Hermione.”
“Looks to me like it was way easier for Dad to talk to Mum rather than to G-Mum,” Rose snorts.
“He probably thought he was going to get scolded,” Hugo says, “and I’m pretty sure he wasn’t at all. Clearly, he’s putting way more pressure on himself then the others are.”
“No he’s right,” Lily says in a hollow sort of voice, talking for the first time since she heard what really happened to her mother, “he should have paid more attention to Mum. He knew her best, he should have seen that she wasn’t acting like herself.”
“Lil, he was just twelve, that’s a lot to ask of someone,” Rose says, a bit uncomfortable as she doesn’t understand her cousin’s attitude in the matter.
“Aunt Ginny could have said something as well,” Hugo points out, “we saw Dad asking her a couple times if something was wrong and she never said a thing. How was he supposed to know?”
“He should have,” she simply answers, as if closing the matter. The scene changes suddenly to show the very bright and lively grounds. Ron, Harry, Hermione and Neville sit by a large rock apparently engrossed in a deep discussion.
“No Ron, it was more like this,” Harry says, flourishing his wand.
“I’m pretty sure you had to make a longer move to the left,” Neville argues, showing the move.
“June 10th, dear Mum and Dad, things have gone back to normal over here. Ginny seems to be doing better a bit, Hermione has gone crazy with wanting us to teach her everything she missed when she was petrified, and people have stopped being so rude to Harry.”
“The book says it should be like this though,” Hermione says, looking at the opened ‘Standard Book of Spells Grade 2’, before trying it herself.
“That book is wrong,” Ron shakes his head, “Flitwick clearly said that the move was slightly different than the one the book tells you. I just don’t really remember how since I couldn’t do it.”
“I hope you get a new wand next year,” Neville says, companionate.
“So do I but, I’m not really counting on it,” Ron blushes, apparently thinking that his parents might not have enough money to buy something like that.
“Since the exams have been cancelled and that we no longer have a Defence teacher, we have a lot of free time to just relax and try to forget the year’s events. I will see you in a couple days, love, Ron.”
“Hermione, can we drop this?” Ron asks her, looking very bored by her choice of activity.
“Yeah, we should be using this free time to have fun, not work on our spell work,” Harry agrees.
“You guys can go, I want to master this, I missed so much classes this year, I have no idea how I’ll be able to follow the classes next year!” Hermione dismisses them, an anxious look on her face.
“Like she could ever be behind,” the travelers laugh while the three boys run away, laughing, probably thinking the same. The scent of parchment reaches their nostrils suddenly and the scene vanishes only to be replaced by the very first scene the cousins saw that year; the boys’ dormitory.
“We went through the year, now we’ve got to face our parents,” Rose declares, taking out her want. The other three follow her lead and together they call, “Finite!”
The sentence between little ** are taken from the following book : Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, p. 294 and p. 302, Bloomsbury, 1999
So. how was it? Please let me know what you thought of this chapter or the second year as a whole in the review box. Also, if you have ideas of questions for the next chapter, I will gladly take them and credit your help (remember that they will confront their parents about the two first years!).
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