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Chapter 18 : Chapter Eighteen: His Fears
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With a thud that echoed throughout the Chamber Harry fell onto the pile of bones awaiting for him, and winced as some sharp edged ones poked at his skin. Remus grabbed his arm and helped him up, keeping his grip on Harry as he looked around the Chamber full of bones and rubble, his eyes wide. Next came Dumbledore, still clutching the Sword tightly in his wrinkled hand, and used the Sword to quickly haul himself up and brushed some dirt off his robes. He then joined Harry and Remus, and all three of them waiting patiently for Sirius and Tonks. Sirius came after a minute, swearing under his breath as he got off the pile of bones and held his arm were the bones sliced his skin.
Remus snorted and quickly tried to hide it with a fake cough, but Sirius glared at him as he used his wand to clean and heal his wound. By the time Sirius finished Tonks came down and ungracefully fell in the pile of bones like the rest of them, muttering about filth as she gripped Sirius' hand and stood up.
"It's straight ahead." Harry muttered after a minute, tired of watching them look around the chamber.
Dumbledore nodded and started walking towards ahead, with Sirius, Harry, Remus and Tonks following behind him. After a minute Harry could see more of rubble that fell between him and Ron the last time he was down here, but the Basilisk's snake skin still covered the ground.
"Bloody Hell! How big was the snake?!" Sirius exclaimed, studying the snake skin with Dumbledore.
Harry ran his hand through his hair, watching as Remus and Tonks join Sirius and Dumbledore.
"Never did I expect the Basilisk to be this large..." Dumbledore muttered, running his hand over the skin.
Harry, who felt his patience thinning by the second, gave a sigh and hurried down the rest of the way until he was met with the doors that entered into the Chamber.
"I'm ready whenever you lot are." He called to the adults, a hint of frustration in his voice.
Picking up on what he thought was nerves, Remus managed to separate Sirius and Dumbledore from the skin and walked with Tonks by his side over to Harry.
"Open," Harry hissed, making himself believe the snakes on the door were alive, and stepped back as he heard the door opening.
Sirius pulled on his arm and led Harry to his side, keeping a protective hold on him as the Chamber came into full view, the smell of dirt and decay invading their noses. Dumbledore was the first to fully enter, his eyes wide as he examined a piece of Hogwarts he had never actually seen before. Harry smiled weakly at Sirius, Remus, and Tonks, who had turned to look at him warily, knowing the horrors he experienced in the Chamber.
"I'll be fine, lets go destroy this bloody Horcrux." Harry finally said after an awkward moment, and brushed past them before anyone could say anything.
Harry walked in and stood next to Dumbledore, letting himself look more closely at the Chamber, picking up on more details than he did before when he and Ginny were there three years ago. A shudder ran through him at the thought. Suddenly he heard the intake of breath behind him and knew the rest of them finally entered. Harry turned around just as Sirius cursed a long string of words, and was actually stunned when neither Tonks or Remus hit him for it.
But as he followed their gaze, he found himself staring at the remains of the beast he had killed to save himself and Ginny. Another shudder ran through him, and he felt his breath hitch as he realized how close Ginny had been to being crushed by the snake. Tonks walked over to him then and squeezed his shoulder, misinterpreting his behavior as distress.
"It's okay, "She whispered gently, "It's all over now."
Instead of feeling annoyed as he thought he would, Harry actually felt comforted at her words, like a mother would comfort her child. For once, he let someone get away with it. Remus walked closer to the skeleton of the Basilisk and hesitantly touched the bones, studying them close as he did. Suddenly wanting a closer look a well, Harry shrugged off Tonks hand and hurried towards Remus, ignoring Sirius who called him back.
"How on earth did you survive against this? At twelve years old?" Remus asked as he stared at Harry in wonder.
"I barely did," Harry murmured back, not noticing the other three adults join them, "If Fawkes hadn't been their to heal me the poison would of killed me."
"It bit you?" Sirius asked behind him, sounding furious.
Harry turned around and looked at both Sirius and Dumbledore.
"I thought you knew, I thought Dumbledore would of told you." Harry stated.
"I would of told Sirius if I would of known you were bitten, Harry." Dumbledore told him, looking as surprised as Sirius.
"But I thought you saw the blood on my robes and the hole in my robes were I was bitten." Harry said incredulously.
Dumbledore shook his head, "I assumed the blood was from the snake, and since your robes were ruined all over I didn't even see it. You also said nothing of being bitten in your story." Dumbledore answered, sounding disappointed.
"That's because Ginny was there - never mind, we need to focus on the Horcrux."
Dumbledore nodded, but Sirius started to open his mouth to protest, but stopped at the look Harry gave him. Angrily he pulled out the Horcrux instead, glaring at it as if it was the reason his godson had been hurt in the first place. Harry glance over at the Basilisk and noticed the missing tooth from the rows that stuck out of its jaw, and decided to go for it. Without voicing his plan to the adults Harry walked away from them as they studied the locket closely, muttering on how they should go about destroying it.
Harry stopped within distance of the fangs and gingerly held his hand out towards one, not really knowing what would happen if he did touch it. Summoning his Gryffindor courage Harry grabbed a hold of the closest fang, and held it as he waited for something to happen. But nothing did. Smiling to himself Harry gripped the fang tightly and pulled with all his might, a grunt leaving his lips as he pulled the fang out.
"What are you doing?" Remus suddenly asked, looking up when he heard Harry grunt.
"I thought we were using the fangs to destroy it?"
Harry walked over with the fang gripped in his hand, and held it up for everyone to see.
"Well we were going to see, but we don't know if any venom is left." Remus explained.
"I bet all the galleons in my vault that the fangs still have venom left in them, because when I was bitten that tooth held a lot of poison in it, and trust me when I say that." Harry pulled back his sleeve and quickly showed them the scar he had from the fang to prove his point.
"But how would that destroy the locket? Look at the outer shell, its made of goblin metal." Sirius said, holding the locket up to show.
Dumbledore walked over to Sirius and gently took the locket out of his hand, his blue twinkling eyes searching for any weakness. Harry could literally see the gears working in Dumbledore's brain as he conjured up a plan.
"If we open the locket we can stab the Horcrux inside, but the question is, how do we get it open?" Dumbledore questioned, almost to himself.
Harry looked down at the locket and saw that Dumbledore's fingers were prying at the locket opening, but it didn't even bulge.
"Maybe a spell could open it?" Tonks suggested half heartedly.
"No," Sirius quickly answered her, "When I got bored at Grimmauld Place I tried everything I knew to open it, even a few Dark Spells I learned from my dear parents, but nothing worked."
As if the words snapped something in Dumbledore's brain, a look of realization had drawn on his face as he glanced down at the locket.
"Of course..." He muttered under his breath.
"What is it, Albus?" Remus asked.
But the look on Dumbledore's face made Harry wish he wouldn't answer.
"Voldemort would do anything to protect his Horcruxes, he would use his own powers and advantages to secure their safety. He used Parseltongue as a password to open this Horcrux." Dumbledore said slowly, glancing over at Harry.
"No," Both Remus and Sirius said at the same time, understanding what Dumbledore was about to ask.
"I don't want Harry anywhere near that damned thing when it opens! Who knows what'll come out of it." Sirius said angrily.
As Remus and Sirius continued with their little argument Harry watched with frustration surging through him. They didn't even bother asking if Harry wanted to do it, or how he even felt about it. He understood that Sirius was his godfather and Remus was like a second godfather, but Harry didn't like the idea of them deciding for him, no matter who they were.
"- I don't care how long it would take to destroy the bloody thing! As long as Harry-"
"Enough!" Harry cut off Remus.
Remus, Sirius, and Tonks all looked at him incredulously, while Dumbledore looked at him and cocked his head.
"Don't act as if I'm not in the room, I can make my own decisions." Harry started, his anger rising along with his voice, " As long as I have something to destroy the Horcrux with I'll do it."
"Harry," Sirius began to protest.
"I'll be fine Sirius," Harry said quickly, seeing to torn look on his face, "I'm not 'The-Boy-Who-Lived' for nothing." He added.
Remus and Sirius both shared a look before they glanced over at Tonks, who looked at them both with a grim expression, but nodded.
"Even though I know you want to do this Harry, I will only let you with your godfathers permission." Dumbledore told him, watching Sirius.
Harry could see that Sirius was hesitant, debating wither he should allow Harry to do this or not. Harry gave an encouraging smile to prove he wasn't scared and was ready to help convince Sirius, but it was the exact opposite of what he felt. In truth he was only doing this so that he was one step closer to getting rid of Voldemort, but he was wary of what would happen as soon as that locket opened.
"Fine." Sirius finally said with a huff, "But as soon as something goes wrong I won't hesitate to interfere."
Harry nodded and walked over to Dumbledore, holding his hand out in front of him. Dumbledore gave him a small smile as he dropped the locket into Harry's hand, who tried to suppress the shudder that ran through him as soon as the cold metal contacted with his skin. Clenching in tightly in his hand Harry walked to the middle of the room and set the locket down at his feet, looking down at his weapon of choice.
"Harry," Dumbledore started, holding the sword in front of him, "Would you mind by testing a theory I have about this sword? I believe that it might have some venom from the snake in it."
Without answering Harry quickly walked back to Dumbledore and exchanged the fang from the sword, taking a moment to get used to its weight before he walked back over to the locket, his heart racing as he prepared himself.
"Stand back." He called out, hoping his voice didn't betray his nerves.
Harry took a deep breath and held the sword out in front of him, his plan to hit the locket with the blade as soon as he opened it.
"Open up." Harry hissed in parseltongue.
And with a flash of bright light the locket opened.
It was almost as if a small bomb went off, sending everyone within ten feet off their feet, landing painfully on the ground. Harry supported himself on his elbows and adjusted his glasses, only to have his eyes widen in shock at what was in front of him. It looked as if a small tornado formed in front of him with the dust forming Voldemort's face before he became snake-like. Harry started in horror as the cold smile grew on the face, watching him with emotionless eyes.
"Harry Potter," The face said, making Harry shiver, unaware of the gust of wind circling around himself and the face, "I have seen your dreams and your fears, and I can destroy you with both."
A flash of sickening green light shot through the wind that made up Voldemort, only to be replaced with the bodies of his parents, their open dead eyes looking straight at him. Harry felt his breath catch in his throat as he stared at them, his nightmares coming back to haunt him. Another flash of light and Sirius joined them, flash, Remus fell next to the pile. Unaware of the voices calling out to him and the people trying to reach out for him, Harry dropped the sword to his side as his anguish overtook him, hitting him like a bolt of lightening.
"Love will be your downfall." Voldemort whispered as another flash shot through the wind.
Ginny. Harry felt himself start to shake, her body laying there reminding him vividly of her in the Chamber at eleven, the life being drained from her body... Flash, Ron landed in the pile. Flash, Hermione fell next to him. Harry tried to move away, but his feet wouldn't obey his mind, his eyes glued to the rapidly growing pile.
"Harry! It's not real!" Sirius shouted at the top of his lungs, but Harry couldn't think straight.
As more bodies were added to the large amount already there Harry fell to his knees and felt tears well up in his eyes.
"Love makes you weak, love makes you vulnerable. Everyone around you dies, and it's your fault." The face taunted.
Harry hid his face in his hands as the tears escaped his eyes, not wanting the face to see them, knowing they showed the weakness he felt. This can't be real, it's not possible. He thought repeatedly, refusing to believe what was in front of his eyes. Collecting his thoughts and emotions, Harry took his hands off his face and quickly turned his eyes away from the tornado surrounding him, and could see Remus, Tonks, and Sirius trying to find a way to enter as they screamed his name and curse words. Just the sight of them breathing and moving gave Harry enough strength to grip the sword in his hands and shakily get back on his feet.
"You could of been free from this pain if you had chosen to join me instead of that old fool, you could of been powerful." The face of Voldemort told him.
Harry called Voldemort something vulgar as he lifted the sword over his shoulder and lined it up with the Horcrux, and with everything he had swung it right in the middle of the locket. As the venom-embedded sword connected with the cold metal a loud, pain filled scream echoed through the chamber as the piece of Voldemort's soul was destroyed. As soon as the scream died out Harry dropped the sword and fell to his knees, the wind and pile of bodies leaving as he did.
Remus and Sirius instantly rushed to Harry as Tonks made her way to the Horcrux to make sure it wasn't a threat anymore, trusting Sirius and Remus to take good care of Harry. As a sob escaped Harry's lips he found his head laying on Sirius' chest and he held Harry to him, comforting him the best he could as he tried to collect his own emotions. Remus rubbed his back and muttered comforting words, putting Harry before his own emotions, as he always had with anyone else. Finally Tonks walked over with the broken locket tucked away in her robes, and joined in on the small group hug.
"It's all over, Harry. It wasn't real." She muttered.
"It could be." Harry responded.
"Don't talk like that," Remus snapped, "You will never be left alone, never again."
Harry took in a shaky breath and closed his eyes, soaking in the comfort they gave. They all sat on the chamber floor until everyone was calmed down enough. Remus gripped Harry's arms and helped him up as Sirius grabbed Tonks hand, and together they walked over to Dumbledore, who had kept his distance during the interaction, and made their way out of the chamber to where Fawkes was waiting for them, wanting to forget everything they were forced to see.
Harry woke up to the sun shining in his eyes, irritating him instantly, and rolled away from it. He pulled the covers over his body to escape the cold air, keeping his eyes closed so he could fall asleep again. But as the minutes passed his thoughts kept him from sleeping, and with an annoyed groan he opened his eyes and sat up. As he stretched he pulled the curtains away and expected to see the other boys in the room, and found every single one of them gone. Harry grabbed his glasses and looked over at the Muggle alarm clock he had, and found it was a little after twelve in the afternoon. Cursing under his breath he got put of his bed and searched for his socks under the bed and then quickly dressed, and pointlessly put a wet comb through his hair before he made his way to the Common Room. As he entered he saw people coming in through the entrance from lunch, and sat down on the couch closest to the fire as he waited for his friends to return. Surprisingly enough it was Ginny that came back first, who usually sat at the table with girls in her grade until the food cleared, and sat right next to Harry on the couch.
"Long night?" She asked, looking at his tired eyes.
"You have no idea." He muttered as he rubbed his eyes.
Ginny laughed and reached her hand towards him, and plucked a stray eyelash off of his face.
"You look like hell, no offence." Ginny said, looking more closely at him.
Now it was Harry who laughed, and rolled his eyes at her.
"Thanks for the flattering comment."
She smacked his arm playfully, "You know what I mean you prat." She said with a small laugh.
"Your easy to mess with, you know that right?" Harry teased.
"A Bat-Boogy Hex is easy to conjure, you know that right?"
Harry held his hands up in surrender, "I take that back. My apology's to Princess Ginerva."
Ginny scroffed playfully, "Call me Ginerva again and I'll have Hagrid unleash one of his pets on you."
Harry raised an eyebrow, "Is that so?"
"That's right Potter, and don't you forget it."
They both erupted into laughter at the same time, unaware of Ron and Hermione entering the room and walking towards them. But when they felt the couch dip in added weight they looked at them, smiles on both their faces.
"What did we miss?" Hermione asked with a sideways glance at Harry.
"Harry doesn't know what to take a compliment."
Oi! Like that was a compliment! 'You look like hell Harry.'" He quoted.
Ron chuckled as Hermione shook her head, "Well..." He started.
Harry didn't let him finish as he grabbed a worn couch pillow and swung it at Ron's face, muffling the rest of the comment and the yelp of surprise. They all couldn't help but laugh at look on Ron's face as the pillow fell, and weren't prepared as Ron quickly grabbed the pillow and retaliated by smacking Harry with it, turning it into an all-out war with the boys as Hermione and Ginny laughed at them, which lead to them being mixed in the cross fire.
"What's up with you lot?" George asked as him and Fred walked down from the boys dorm, fidgeting with their singed sleeves.
"Either Ron or Harry insulted one another, it's obvious Georgie." Fred replied, sitting on the ground by Hermione.
"No, Ron agreed with Ginny's insult." Hermione answered, ducking her head as Ron went to hit Harry.
"Shut it, carrot head." Ginny teased, poking her brothers head with her big toe.
Fred cringed back and ran his hand over his head, and then wiped his hand off on the floor.
"Merlin Ginny, get those dirty smelling feet away from my precious hair!"
As Ginny laughed Ron and Harry gave up on their ridiculous fight, both winded and slightly sweaty as they sat back down.
"So," George started, "What are you doing today? And don't say homework, because I might be physically sick if I see another piece of homework."
Harry looked at Ginny at confusion, and they both were surprised when Ron and Hermione shared a knowing look.
"Have the teachers started lecturing you about N.E.W.T's?" Hermione asked.
Fred and George answered with strangled groans.
"What are "N.E.W.T's?" Harry asked, looking towards the twins.
"Ugh, where's Percy The Prat when you need him? N.E.W.T stands for Nastily Exhausting Wizarding Test's, and they determine which kind of job's you can get after you graduate." Fred replied.
"Fantastic name to give a test." Harry sarcastically said, "I mean, who in the hell picked that name?"
Everyone gave a chuckle and shook their heads, none of them knowing the answer.
The week past quickly and Harry found himself making his way down to the Great Hall for dinner, wanting to grab something small he could stomach before he got started on the pile of homework he had waiting for him upstairs. For the past week the events from both times he had been in the Chamber of Secrets haunted him, along with the dream of the corridor he always found himself in. It both confused and scared the hell out of him, and wanted nothing more than to forgot both. Harry found himself eating less too, hardly being able to stomach his food without raising suspicion, on his appetite and vomiting at the same time.
He already knew Tonks was keeping her eye on him, no doubt Sirius or Remus or even both asked her to, or maybe she wanted to, he didn't care to ask. He didn't want to be trapped alone in the room with her, because he knew what she would want to talk about. Harry wasn't ready to talk though, and he thought he might never be ready. None of them understood how horrifying it had been for him to stare at the growing pile of bodies of the people he loved, for the truth of what could happen to be thrust upon him. Stop thinking about it, he told himself, and quickened his pace to the Great Hall.
As Harry thrust his hand out to open the door, Cho Chang opened it herself and found herself face to face with Harry, alone. As they both realized this Harry paled and Cho flushed, tucking piece of her black hair behind her ear.
"Hey Harry-" She started, but Harry quickly pasted her.
"Hi, sorry, Ron and Hermione are expecting me." He said hastily as he walked through the doors, not noticing her disappointed look.
Harry knew that he was avoiding her, hell, who wasn't he avoiding this week? But he didn't want to talk to her about Cedric, it was still too hard and too fresh in his mind. Harry walked over to the Gryffindor table and sat down in his seat, scanning the table for fast and easy food, and grabbed a roll, apple, a drum stick and a glass of pumpkin juice before he sat back up and started towards the doors again.
"Where are you going?" Ron asked, grabbing a piece of chicken for himself.
"I got homework to do." Harry muttered, averting his gaze from Ron's eyes.
It wasn't surprising that Ron and Hermione were catching on that something was wrong, since Harry was finding stuff to do instead of hanging out with them, like reading or his homework, but he knew it had to be like that. After waking up from his nightmares for the forth time in a row last night, Harry had sat on his bed and tried to calm himself down and thought of ways to help get rid of the nightmares. That was when he concluded that, if he distanced himself from his friends and family, that when the time Voldemort wouldn't target them.
"You sound like Hermione, but even she eats more than that and works less. What's gotten into you? You look dead on your feet and incredibly skinny, when's the last time you've had a decent meal?"
"I'm fine, Ron." Harry snapped, trying to hitch his bag over his shoulder without spilling his pumpkin juice.
"Don't try to feed me that shit! You have bags under your eyes and I've heard you walking around at night! Are your nightmares back again?"
Harry felt himself pale at the mention of his nightmares. Not wanting to deal with Ron, Harry gripped his napkin of food and cup and turned away from him, walking towards the doors that led out of the Great Hall, leaving Ron watching him with disbelief and worry.
Hermione then walked in, her head turned behind her shoulder as she watched Harry storm off, then turned to see Ron staring in her direction and quickly made her way over to him.
"What's going on? What did you say to him?" Hermione asked as she sat down next to him, her voice non-accusing.
"I just asked him what was wrong and he snapped at me! We both know something is wrong, he looks like a ghost! Or he's seen one for the first time." Ron added.
Hermione sighed as she started to spoon food onto her plate, "I've known something was wrong since Sunday. Harry was too giddy and joking, which he never does and people usually joke to hid their emotions, and then Monday he was only speaking when he was spoke to. And then Wednesday, something changed because he stopped hanging out with us and was working more, I don't know what caused it. I know he won't open up to us since he's been avoiding us, so I decided to contact Sirius. I just sent him my letter and hopefully he'll be able to get Harry to open up."
Ron nodded, glad Hermione had thought of something that would actually help Harry instead of them fighting with him to open up and tell them.
"That was a brilliant idea." Ron praised as he cut up his chicken.
Since Ron didn't have his attention on her he didn't notice when Hermione blushed.
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