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Chapter 13 : The Chamber
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Scorpius strained his eyes in the dark as he looked around for such a thing. “Got one!”
He gave the stick to Omega, who lifted it and aimed it at the trunk of the Whomping Willow. Bemused, Scorpius watched as his friend gave the trunk a sharp poke.
Scorpius flinched away, scared that the tree would lash out at them even more, but instead the complete opposite happened – the tree froze completely. Omega dropped the branch on the ground, wiped his hands on his robe, and beckoned to Scorpius. “Come on, Scorp. Down here.”
Omega dropped to all fours and crawled towards the roots of the Willow. Scorpius watched in half-fear and half-amazement as Omega got closer and closer to the roots – and then he disappeared. Scorpius ran forwards and saw a dark hole, and Omega’s wand light some feet within. After hesitating only a moment, Scorpius followed Omega into the tunnel.
Behind them, a shadow without a body followed.
“Where did Albus go?” asked Dillon when they re-grouped.
“He went to follow Gaunt and Malfoy,” Severus told her. “Any sign of Daegan?”
“No, but I found this in Keane’s desk.” Rose held up a piece of parchment. On it was a drawing of a sink and a large coiled snake below it. The sink was labelled ‘Entrance’ and the snake was labelled ‘D’.
“’D’ for Daegan?” asked Severus.
“I guess so,” said Rose, “but why has he drawn him as a snake?”
“I don’t know,” said Severus slowly as realisation dawned. “But I know where that is. Come on!” he turned around and sprinted up the stairs, Dillon and Rose hot on his heels.
Scorpius followed Omega down the tunnel. Every so often he heard noises behind him, but Omega reassured him that it was only his imagination, or mice.
Scorpius wasn’t too reassured by that.
“Nearly there,” called Omega from up front. The two hurried their pace and soon came to a door. They went through the door and stepped through into a large, dusty room. Scorpius could see what looked like the back of a chair and a curtain on the floor. The only piece of intact furniture in the room was a pristine leather armchair, out of place among the broken pieces. Sitting on the chair was a man dressed all in dark, deep green.
“Son,” said Lord Alpha. “You’re early.”
Severus led the girls to the bathroom. He walked forward and was about to push the door open when Dillon hissed, “Stop!”
“What?” whispered Severus, turning his head. “If you think I’m not going to go in there because it’s a girls’ bathroom, you’ve got another think coming.”
“No, I was going to say that if Keane’s really in there, is it really wise to barge straight in?”
“Good point.” Severus pulled his Invisibility Cloak out of his pocket where he always kept it and threw it over himself, Rose and Dillon. Luckily the three of them fitted. Dillon pushed the door open as quietly as she could and they crept inside.
Scorpius heard a gasp behind him but when he turned around there was no one there. “Keane sent us early, father,” he heard Omega say. “The whole plan is going ahead an hour early. Keane thought the Potter boys were getting too nosy.”
Lord Alpha made a grunting sound and stood up. His impossible height made Scorpius shy away from him. Unfortunately, Lord Alpha saw the movement and laughed.
“Why, Scorpius, you’re afraid of me. I was rather hoping you’d accompany me and my son in our quest, but feel free to leave.”
Scorpius looked at Omega, standing proud beside his father. Scorpius thought of his father, how much Draco had risked to protect Scorpius. Scorpius thought of Severus Potter.
And he was decided.
To their surprise, there was nobody in the bathroom. No snakes, no Keane, no Daegan – no one. There was something odd, though. The sinks were all lined up neatly, but there was a large gap between two sinks that looked out of place. On further inspection, Severus saw a large hole in the wall. He crawled in a small way, and saw that the tunnel led downwards. It was a slide.
He scrambled out backwards. Rose was talking to Myrtle, so he got up and joined them.
“Have you seen Professor Keane or Daegan Black?” demanded Rose.
“I’ve seen them, yes, but I can’t tell you what they were doing,” said Myrtle. She cackled. “Figure that out for yourself!” Myrtle flew right through the wall and disappeared.
“They’ve been here,” breathed Dillon. “Where are they now?”
Severus pointed towards the slide. “I know. They went down that hole. They opened the Chamber of Secrets.”
Scorpius trotted along behind the Gaunts, struggling to keep up. He had always been short, but it had never bothered him this much before.
By now they were above ground, heading towards the school. Suddenly Alpha stopped.
“Boys, I’m going to cast a Disillusionment Charm on myself,” Alpha told them. “Just walk around normally, and take me to Moaning Myrtle’s bathroom.”
“Okay,” said Omega happily. He looked changed, thought Scorpius, a different person. No longer was he subdued, haughty, aloof. His eyes were now wild, with a mad glint in them. He was beaming from ear to ear, but it didn’t look happy. It looked deranged. For the first time, Scorpius was afraid of his friend.
But because of Severus Potter, he kept going.
Severus prepared to go down the slide after the girls when he heard a voice calling to him. He peered around and saw Moaning Myrtle staring at him. “You look a lot like Harry,” said Myrtle. “You’re always welcome to share my toilet if you die.”
Severus gulped. “Um, thanks for the offer, Myrtle.” Severus pushed off and slid down.
The ride was fast and slippery. One moment he was talking to Myrtle, the next he was shooting out of the slide and sitting on a pile of crunchy white things. “Are these bones?” he asked, horrified.
“Shh!” hissed Rose. “I can hear Keane!”
Sure enough, when Severus strained his ears he could hear Keane muttering, “He’ll be here soon, don’t worry. He’ll be here soon and then that boy will be too, him and his friends if we’re lucky. The ginger is pretty valuable too. He’ll be here soon…”
Severus glanced at Rose. She had to be ‘the ginger’ Keane was talking about.
The three of them ducked under the Cloak again and slowly advanced through the tunnels towards the Chamber.
Scorpius and Omega walked speedily up the stairs and towards the bathroom. Upon entering, Alpha muttered something and suddenly came back into view. “Good work, boys. You may go if you wish.”
“I’m staying,” said Omega immediately.
“Me too,” said Scorpius firmly.
“What’s that?” shouted Keane. “Who’s there?”
Keane stood in front of a giant statue of Salazar Slytherin. A great green snake curled slowly in a figure of eight pattern in front of him. Severus reached out with his mind only to have his fears confirmed: Daegan was the snake. How, he didn’t know.
Severus pulled the Cloak off and yelled, “What have you done to Daegan?”
Keane smiled sickly at Severus. “I haven’t done anything, dear boy. He turned himself into a snake.” Keane raised his wand and before Severus could react he found his arms pinned to his sides, his legs locked together. Severus’s eyes widened as he toppled over, unable to stop himself. He heard two other thuds as bodies hit the floor – Rose and Dillon – and wished he could move his head to check on them. But his muscles were frozen, bound together. Severus knew what had happened, having been on the receiving end of many of James’s curses, but he didn’t know how to counter it. He was powerless.
Scorpius followed Alpha and Omega, feeling scared and terrified. At first it had been an honour to play spy for the self-proclaimed Lord, but that was before Scorpius had met the man, before he had truly understood the plan which he was to carry out. And now… now he was too far in to back out. He knew too much. Alpha might have offered him the choice of staying or leaving, but Scorpius knew enough about Voldemort, enough about his own father’s life to understand that it was a Hobson’s choice, that really, it was no choice at all. So here Scorpius was, following a boy and his father through tunnels littered with the bones of animals.
“Nearly here now!” Alpha told Omega and Scorpius. Then he yelled into the tunnel, “Andrew! Do you have the boy?”
There was the sound of running footsteps and Scorpius watched at Professor Keane came running towards them. The animal bones didn’t seem to bother him at all. “Yes, I have the boy,” he said, slowing. “And the two girls, and the Moon. They came under the third Hallow. It’s even more brilliant than we could have hoped for!” Keane rubbed his hands together with glee.
Scorpius hadn’t understood a word of that. Third Hallow? The Moon? What was his teacher talking about?
Omega seemed to be just as confused as Scorpius. “How can you have the Moon, father?” he asked, tugging at Alpha’s robes. Scorpius got the same feeling he’d had when Omega poked the Whomping Willow.
“Shush boy,” snapped Alpha. They picked up the pace and emerged from the disgusting tunnel into a huge, water-filled, greenish chamber.
“Welcome, Omega” said Alpha grandly, “to your inheritance.”
The Moon? Was that a reference to Daegan?
Albus moved as quietly as he could towards the three bodies at the other end of the Chamber, trying not to make a sound. He could only imagine why Severus, Rose and Dillon were lying immobile on the ground – and his imagination was taking ‘running wild’ to a whole new level.
On trembling legs, Albus approached the body – Albus approached his brother and dropped to his knees. He was worried when he got no reaction and then remembered that he was invisible. There was no need to worry, not yet. He could always hope.
Albus watched at Severus’s eyes widened and flickered around madly, looking for Albus. Albus sighed with relief as he realised that Keane had simply placed them all under Body-Bind curses. They weren’t dead. Albus’s imagination stopped running and strolled meekly back. They were fine. His cousin, brother and friend were fine.
Al? Where are you? Severus’s called pleadingly.
I’m under my Cloak, Albus told him. I’m right beside you. Severus’s eyes flickered to the side. Other side.
Severus looked at Albus. What are they planning? Have you heard their thoughts?
No, they’re not thinking loud enough, thought Albus with regret.
“Welcome, Omega, to your inheritance,” said Alpha at the entrance to the Chamber. Albus ignored him and thought, Where’s Daegan? What’s Keane done with him?
Severus’s eyes flickered. The snake, Al. Daegan is the snake. I don’t know how, but I know that he helped Keane get in here. I don’t know why.
Albus turned around as quietly as he could and then he saw it: a great green snake, lying lazily on the ground. Its tongue flicked in and out of its mouth. Albus reached out and probed its mind gently. Severus was right, the snake was Daegan.
Albus saw the moment Daegan realised his mind was being probed. One second he was lying calmly on the floor, the next he twitched his head to the side, stuck his tongue out, and propelled himself towards Albus and Severus.
Albus stood up quickly, trying to keep the Cloak covering all of him, and backed away quickly. He knew it was Daegan, but the snake looked dangerous.
Albus backed up further and tripped up. He stopped himself yelling out in surprise, but when he threw out his hand to catch himself it flashed out from under the Cloak. The snake – Daegan – focused his eyes on the hand and sped up, aiming for it. Albus found he was unable to move away as he watched the snake, his friend, come towards him, jaws opening, ready to bite. His nightmare was coming true, in a way.
Daegan was nearly on Albus when a voice yelled out “Stop!” The command halted everyone, including Daegan, so clear and loud it was. Albus froze, and then realised how silly that was. He didn’t need to stop moving, nobody could see him. Well, they could see his hand, a fact that Albus quickly remedied. The snake – Daegan – didn’t notice.
Albus heard the sound of footsteps, amplified by the vast Chamber, coming towards him. A tall figure, its features hidden by a dark-green cloak, came into view and stretched out to pick up Daegan. Albus watched in horror as the figure wrapped Daegan around its shoulders. The figure moved away, stroking Daegan on the head, and made hissing noises. A Parseltongue.
“Andrew, revive the Moon,” ordered the figure, a man.
Albus wondered what the man meant by ‘Moon’. How do you revive the moon?
Keane walked over to Severus and took out his wand. He waved it over Severus and the boy sat up immediately, wand out and pointed at Keane. Albus sent encouraging thoughts, willing his brother to win, to get away from Keane. Albus didn’t know when Keane had turned from teacher to enemy. Probably the moment he cast a Body-Bind Curse on Severus, Rose and Dillon, and did something awful to Daegan.
Keane merely laughed and with a flick of his wand sent Severus’s flying. It clattered down near where Rose was lying. Severus made a grab for Keane’s wand but Keane pulled his arm back. “Stop resisting!” commanded Keane. “We have your brother and if you resist we’ll hurt him!”
Albus knew Severus knew that wasn’t true, but he sent out anyway, Don’t do anything! If you do they’ll know something’s up. Stay calm, I’ll get your wand and help get us out of here.
If you’re sure, Al. Albus could hear the doubt in his brother’s thoughts, but true to his word Severus didn’t resist anymore. He brought his knees up to his chest and wrapped his arms around them. “Don’t hurt Albus,” pleaded Severus. I hope you’ve got a plan.
I do, insisted Albus. He began to stand up and slowly moved towards Rose and Dillon. Just wait.
“We won’t hurt him if you cooperate,” snarled Keane. “Get up.” Severus got up. “Go and stand by the statue’s right foot. Good.” Keane watched Severus stand still for a minute and then suddenly spun around and pointed at Scorpius. “Stupefy!” Before he knew what was happening, Scorpius crumpled to the ground, unconscious. Gaunt, who was standing beside the cloaked man, didn’t even flinch. Keane turned back to Severus, acting like nothing had happened, and said, “Now, listen up and listen well: the Lord, his son and I are going to leave the room. The Lord will be keeping an eye on you, so don’t think of trying anything.”
‘Lord’. Keane had called the tall man ‘Lord’. Could it be Lord Alpha?
Severus nodded curtly and fixed his gaze on the wall across from him. Al? What’s the plan?
Albus ignored his brother and watched as Lord Alpha and Gaunt exited the Chamber quickly, splashing through the water. They disappeared through a big hole in the wall and once Albus could no longer hear their footsteps he bent down over Rose and drew his wand. Sev, can you remember what Keane said to undo the Body-Bind?
He did it non-verbally, thought Severus apologetically. Sorry, Al, but-
Shh! Albus held up a hand and then realised Severus couldn’t see it. Forget that, he thought. The buzzing was back, the buzzing he got when he was hearing someone’s thoughts. He focused on it and gradually it became words, organised sounds.
This was never part of the plan! What is Keane doing, we don’t need the Sun, it was only the Moon where things went wrong… the Sun was never meant to be a part of this… what does he think he’s doing…
The Sun? That was obviously linked to the Moon, and Albus had a shrewd suspicion that ‘the Moon’ referred to Severus. Did that make Albus the Sun?
There was more to Alpha’s thoughts, but Albus had heard enough. He ran over to Severus, ignoring the echoing sounds his steps made – Alpha was too wrapped up in his own thoughts to notice. Quickly Sev! Get under the Cloak! We need to swap places, I just heard it in Alpha’s thoughts, come on, quickly!
Albus stood beside his brother and covered them both with the Cloak. For a moment they were both invisible but then Albus stepped out from underneath. He took off his glasses and stuffed them in his pocket, praying neither Keane nor Alpha would notice the bulge they made. Sev, you need to go to Rose, try and connect with her mind. Ask her if she knows the counter-curse.
Severus started to protest but Albus sent a glare in his rough direction. Alright, I’m going! Albus heard Severus’s footsteps and he fixed his gaze on the wall.
Sev, before you do that, get your mirror and tell dad we’re down here. He can get help. Tell him Alpha’s here too.
Roger, confirmed Severus.
Keep really quiet, and tell Dad that too. Hey, do you think you could write on the mirror instead of talk? That way Alpha wouldn’t hear a thing.
You mean breathe on it and write in the condensation? I can do that, but there’s always the risk of Alpha hearing my finger squeak.
Ha ha. Hurry up Sev, Keane won’t be gone for long once he realises I’m not in the common room.
Albus heard Severus mutter “Harry Potter” quietly. Sure enough, there was a slight squeak, but nothing Alpha would notice unless he was listening for it, which he wouldn’t be. A few minutes later, the squeaking stopped. I’ve told him, Severus thought. He says he can be here with a bunch of Aurors in about ten to fifteen minutes.
Great, thought Albus. Get to work on Rose, and make sure she keeps quiet.
Roger, thought Severus again.
Harry put down the mirror and then changed his mind. He stuck the mirror in the pocket of his robes and drew his cloak around his shoulders. “Ginny, the twins are in trouble!” he yelled to the house. “I’m going to the school!”
“What’ve they done now?” Ginny strolled into the kitchen, a half-smile on her face. Lily trailed in her wake, beaming happily.
Harry, however, remained serious. “Not like that, not like detention trouble.” Harry strode over to Lily and covered her ears with his hands. “Alpha’s there, in the school. He’s taken them, Rosie and two others to the Chamber.”
Ginny paled, the smile vanished from her lips. Both of them remembered the last time they visited the Chamber of Secrets. “Go, quickly,” she told Harry, her voice shaking. “Go straight to the school. I’ll Floo Ron, tell him to get the Aurors on it.”
Harry nodded once and Disapparated.
“Now, Potter, we are going to begin the ceremony shortly,” said Alpha, emerging from the tunnel he’d been in. Gaunt didn’t emerge.
Albus swallowed. Ceremony? He tried to break into Alpha’s mind, to hear his thoughts, but he couldn’t.
“If Andrew doesn’t come back soon, we’ll just have to start without him…” Alpha glanced towards the entrance where, as if on cue, Keane appeared, red-faced and angry.
“He’s not there! The Sun is not there!” fumed Keane. “My Lord, what-”
“Silence,” snarled Alpha. “We don’t need the Sun. He was always meant to be a Lion’s child. No, this boy, the Moon, the Hat was wrong here. He is a Snake.” Alpha studied Albus and drew his wand. Albus stared at it, his heart racing. He hoped Harry would get there sooner.
Alpha held out a hand and clicked his fingers. “The Hat,” he snapped.
Keane walked forward and handed Alpha something. Albus recognised it as the Sorting Hat. Alpha took it and placed it on Albus’s head. “Now, we will witness the re-Sorting of Severus Potter, the greatest Dark wizard ever to be born.”
Albus heard a thud and he knew Severus had fallen to his knees.
“And to make sure you don’t argue with the Hat this time-” Alpha drew his wand and pointed it at Albus. “Nihil cogitaret!”
Albus frowned. He was losing control of his thoughts… he couldn’t think… what… why was he in… couldn’t remember…
Albus’s eyes glassed over. His mouth dropped open slightly. He heard the Hat say something but he couldn’t process the words, couldn’t hold on long enough to them to remember. He saw Alpha frown, wondered why, and then let go of the thought. Did it matter? He didn’t know, didn’t care… what was he thinking about?
Albus started swaying on the spot. He felt dizzy. His brain was too empty. He didn’t like it, didn’t like it at all. The ground came up to meet him, cold but comfortable, and the last thing Albus heard before he blacked out was the pounding of footsteps and an angry shout.
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