|SIYE Time:17:30 on 21st June 2018|
Harry Potter And The Twists Of Fate
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Category: Alternate Universe
Genres: Action/Adventure, Drama, Fluff, Humor
Warnings: Extreme Language, Sexual Situations, Violence
Story is Complete
Summary: What if the fates let Harry's parents live that night he got his scar, plus gave him a younger sister and become friends with the Weasleys, especially Ron earlier. What would be different?
Hitcount: Story Total: 209856; Chapter Total: 6314
Chapter 15: Finding the Chamber
Harry and Rose stared at the letters spelling Hagrid’s name for a few moments. Then, Rose jumped up from the bench and faced Harry. “That’s not true! It can’t be!”
Harry grabbed her hands and pulled her back down to the bench, nervously looking around. Fortunately, the only other student around was Ron, who was hurrying toward them, puzzlement and curiosity on his face.
Rose was starting to cry. Harry felt uncomfortable. It’s been years seen he’d seen her cry and it had always been one of his parents who would comfort her. Finally, just as Ron neared them, Harry pulled Rose into his arms and awkwardly rubbed her back.
“It’ll be all right, sis” Harry said.
“How can you say that?” Rose said, sniffing, “I mean, we’ve known Hagrid for years, practically all our lives. How can he be the one who opened the Chamber all those years ago.” Harry barely heard Ron’s gasp as he sat beside the Potter siblings.
Harry pulled back to look at his sister. “Look, sis, all Dad said was that Hagrid was the suspect at that time, not that he was the one,” Harry said, “He was not convicted. Otherwise, he’d be in Azkaban. I, for one, don’t believe he could do that. I doubt he’s the Heir of Slytherin.”
“Harry,” Ron said, “You do know Hagrid has a thing for creatures a tad dangerous. Just last year, he had Fluffy and that dragon baby.”
Harry glared at Ron as Rose started to cry again, “Thanks a lot, Ron.”
The other boy’s face turned red with embarrassment. “Oops, sorry. Er, Harry’s right, Rose. Even if he likes, um, more lively creatures, Hagrid would never intentionally hurt anyone.”
“Ron’s right, sis,” Harry said, “You, me, Ron and Ginny have known him for years. You know what a kind heart he has.”
Rose finally stopped sniffing and wiped her eyes on her sleeve. “Yeah, for someone so big, he’s surprisingly gentle.”
Harry smiled at her, “There, see, we know better than anyone else that Hagrid’s not capable of trying to harm students. However, he may still know something about what happened then.”
“How do we find out then?” Ron asked.
“We’ll have to ask him soon,” Harry said. Then, looking at his watch, he jumped up, “Yipes, we’d better move. We’ll be late for class.” He helped Rose up. “Are you going to be all right now, sis?”
“Yes, thanks, bro. I’ll fill Ginny in on this. She hates not knowing what’s going on. See you later.”
Harry watched her walk back to the castle then hefted his bag on to his shoulder. Together, he and Ron headed for the greenhouses for Herbology.
Two nights later, Harry and Ron slipped out of Gryffindor Tower, concealed in Harry’s invisibility cloak, with the Marauder’s Map in one hand. They went outside and headed for Hagrid’s hut.
Knocking on the door, they heard the frantic barking of Fang, Hagrid’s hound, followed by Hagrid’s admonishment to the hound to stop barking.
“Who’s there?” Hagrid said, his voice muffled by the door.
Harry pulled the cloak off their heads. “Hagrid,” Harry said, “it’s me and Ron. Let us in. We have to ask you something.”
Hagrid cautiously opened the door, “Oh, it’s you two. Come on in, quick.” As they entered, they saw the large crossbow in Hagrid’s hands.
“Um, Hagrid,” Harry said, pointing to the weapon, “what’s that for?”
Hagrid looked down at the crossbow as if it was the first time he had seen it, “Well, um, I’ve bin expectin’ — never mind — sit down, yeh two, and have some tea.”
Harry and Ron sat down, accepting the teacups from Hagrid, who almost spilled the tea as his hand was trembling.
Harry and Ron exchanged a look then Harry cleared his throat. “Um, Hagrid, we think we know why you were expelled from Hogwarts.”
Hagrid almost dropped the kettle he was holding, “You, you do?”
“It had something to do with the Chamber of Secrets, didn’t it?” Harry asked.
Hagrid slumped back into the huge armchair opposite them and bowed his head. His shoulders started shaking and Harry and Ron realized that he was crying.
Harry got up and placed a hand on Hagrid’s shoulder, squeezing it gently, “It’s okay, Hagrid. I don’t believe you were responsible for whatever happened then.”
Hagrid looked up, hope in his eyes, “Yeh don’?”
Harry shook his head and smiled a little. He looked at Ron and was relieved to see that the redhead was smiling at Hagrid also.
“Now, why don’t you tell us about it? We may be able to figure out who had done it and what kind of monster is in that room.”
Hagrid slumped back into the armchair, his beard moving and his eyes squinting as he concentrated on remembering the events of fifty years before.
After several minutes of silence, Hagrid finally said, “Firs’ of all, Harry, Ron, you have to believe me that Aragog had nothing to do with it.”
“Aragog?” Harry asked, “who or what is Aragog?”
Hagrid looked sheepishly at them, “Aragog’s a pet I had in when I was a student ‘ere at Hogwarts.”
“A pet?” Ron said, “What kind of pet was it?”
Hagrid looked uncomfortable, “’e was a spider,” he said, not noticing the look of horror on Ron’s face, “I bought him from a traveler from Africa in my thir’ year, kep’ him in a box and feed ‘im on scraps fer weeks. He grew quite fast, almos’ five feet across by the time those attacks began.”
Harry was trying hard not to laugh at Ron for the look on his face. He cleared his throat to stifle his mirth. Ron just gave him a dirty look.
“So, Hagrid,” Harry said, “I guess someone accused Aragog of being responsible for attacking students.”
“Yeah,” Hagrid said, “I tol’ him that it wasn’t him, that it never killed no one.”
“Who was it, Hagrid?” Harry said, “who blamed your pet?”
“It was that damned Tom,” Hagrid said, his voice angry.
“Tom?” Harry said.
“His full name was Tom Marvolo Riddle,” Hagrid said, “He was a Slytherin about two years older’n me an’ a prefect.”
“Hey,” Ron said, “I’ve seen that name on the list of prefects in the Trophy room. He was even Head boy and received a special award for school services.”
Hagrid gave a snort, “Yeah, he got that award fer turnin’ me in.”
“How’d he know about that, that spider?” Ron asked, his voice momentarily breaking.
“He got a glimpse o’ it,” Hagrid said, “once, since I was keepin’ it near the Dungeons.”
“Hagrid,” Harry said, “what happened to Aragog?’
“Good ol’ Tom tried to blast him after that girl was killed.” Hagrid said, “but Aragog got away.”
“Where, where is he now?” Ron asked, looking around nervously.
“Oh, he’s safe.” Hagrid said, “I found him not long after Dumbledore got me ta be the assistan’ fer Jack Fergis, the old gameskeeper. He’s in a hollow in the middle of the Forbidden Forest. Got himself a family of ‘is own.” Hagrid didn’t notice Ron looking nervously out the window, as if expecting Aragog to peer into Hagrid’s hut. “He jus’ stays thar, never ventures outta da Forest.” Ron breathed a sigh of relief.
Harry placed a hand on his mouth to keep from bursting out with laughter. After a few seconds, he said, “Hagrid, you said a girl was killed. How many students were attacked?”
Hagrid blew a breath out, “I’d say ‘bout five students were attacked, all muggleborn. That girl, Myrtle, was the only one who died, killed in a bathroom. It was ‘orrible. Thought Hogwarts was gonna close. Then, Tom turned me in and I got expelled. Funny thing is, it all stopped after that.” Hagrid then looked at Harry and Ron, a desperate look in his eyes, “I hope you two don’ think I was responsible fer those attacks.”
Harry placed a hand on Hagrid’s shoulder, “Of course not, Hagrid,” he looked back at Ron. “right, Ron?”
“Oh. Oh, yeah,” Ron said, “we know you too well to think that.”
Hagrid smiled, “Great.”
“Hagrid,” Harry said, “do you have any idea what kind of monster was responsible for those attacks?”
Hagrid looked thoughtful for a while, “Well, Harry, I’m not sure what it was. One thing’s fer sure, whatever it was, Aragog was scared of it, kep’ pleadin’ with me ta let him leave.”
Harry then looked at his watch, “It’s getting late, Hagrid. We’d better head back to the castle. Thanks for talking to us.”
“It’s a relief really, Harry,” Hagrid said, “I been afraid all these years for someone to find out abou’ this. I’m just glad you two accept that I’m innocent.”
Harry and Ron smiled and reassured Hagrid that they still trusted him. They slipped under the invisibility cloak again and left Hagrid’s hut.
As they were walking through the grounds, Ron whispered, “Bloody hell, Harry, what can scare a five foot wide spider?”
Harry stopped walking. “Ron, remember,” he whispered back, “that night we found the writing on the wall, we saw those spiders rushing to leave through one little hole.”
“Blimey, Harry,” Ron said, “you’re right. So, it’s something that all spiders are scared off. I wish Hermione could have heard this. I bet she could figure out what it is.”
“I think that’s why she was on her way to the library,” Harry said, “when she was attacked. Hang on, she talked to Rose just before running off that morning. Maybe she said something to Rose that helped her figure it out. We’ll ask Rose tomorrow about it.”
They resumed walking and slipped into the castle, reaching Gryffindor tower without incident. When they passed through the portrait hole, they were surprised to find Rose and a nervous-looking Ginny in the otherwise empty common room, waiting for them.
“All right, bro,” Rose said, “what did Hagrid say?”
“Well,” Harry began, as the boys sat opposite the girls, “he said that he was accused of opening the Chamber because he had a pet that was accused of attacking the students then.”
“What kind of pet was it?” Rose asked, “Knowing Hagrid, it was something unique.”
“It was a g-g-giant sp-sp-spider,” Ron said, “Can you believe that? He even gave it a name, Aragog. Really mental he is. And that thing is still out there, in the Forbidden Forest, with children.” Ron blew out a breath, “I’m glad we didn’t run into any of those when he brought us there last year looking for that unicorn. I’m never going into that place again.”
By now, Rose and Ginny were trying hard to suppress their amusement at Ron’s outburst.
Harry grinned at Ron.
“Anyway,” Harry said, his face assuming a neutral expression, “The spider couldn’t have been the one responsible for the attacks. I’ve never heard of a spider petrifying anything. It was something different, something that spiders fear very much. Hagrid said even Aragog was afraid of it and didn’t want to remain in the castle.”
Rose gave a low whistle, “It must be something really bad for a huge spider to fear it.”
Harry turned fully to Rose, “Sis, that morning Hermione was attacked, she talked to you before running off toward the library. What was it about?”
“Oh,” Rose said, “I almost forgot about that. All she said was that you had heard the voice again and asked me again if I had heard it. I just told her I’ve never heard it.”
Harry’s brow furrowed in puzzlement. What was significant about that? “That’s all she asked of you? She didn’t say anything else?”
Rose screwed her face up in concentration as she tried to remember, a habit she had inherited from her father. After a minute, she said, “I think so. Oh, wait a moment, as she moved away from me, she was mumbling something about you being the only one who understood it.” She turned her head to Harry, “What did she mean by that?”
“I’m not sure,” Harry said, “Understood what?”
The group was silent for a while then Rose’s face suddenly brightened, “Wait a minute, Harry. What is the one language you found out you could understand but no one else can?”
Harry raised an eyebrow, “I don’t know. I only know English and anyone here can understand that.” Then, his eyes widened, “Hang on, do you mean Parseltongue?”
Rose nodded her head, “Yes, I think so. That voice was probably just hissing. No one else would have noticed it. Yet, you heard it clearly.”
“That means the monster is some kind of snake,” Ginny said, finally. The others jumped slightly, having forgotten that she was there.
“Blimey, Harry,” Ron said, “if it is some kind of snake, what snake can petrify things?”
“We’ll just have to search for it in the library,” Rose said, “That’s where Hermione was headed for, so it should be a good place to look, probably in some book on magical creatures.”
“That’s a good idea, sis,” Harry said, “We’ll try it during our free time.”
“By the way, bro,” Rose said, “who accused Hagrid? Was it a professor or a student?”
“It was a student,” Harry said.
“Yeah,” Ron said, “a no good Slytherin prefect, the slimy git.”
“A Slytherin?” Ginny asked, “Did Hagrid say what his name was?”
Harry thought for a moment, “It was Tom, something. Oh yeah, it was Tom Marvolo Riddle.” Harry barely heard the gasp from Ginny’s lips. “What a strange middle name, Marvolo.”
Ginny quickly got up and headed toward the stairs to the dorms, muttering something about it being sleepy.
Harry saw a look of fury pass over Rose’s face as she watched Ginny climb the stairs. “Hey, sis, is something wrong with Ginny? Did you guys have a fight?”
Rose just sighed and shook her head, “No, Harry. Don’t worry about her. It’s a girl thing.” She got up from the couch, “Well, I have to get some sleep, too or I’ll fall asleep in class.” She then followed Ginny up to the dorm.
Harry frowned but didn’t say anything. Harry sensed that something was going on between the two, but he knew they wouldn’t say anything to him. The two girls had had the occasional fights between friends over the years and Harry had learned the hard way to let them work it out. He led Ron back to their dorms and the two boys soon fell into an exhausted sleep.
The next afternoon, as Harry, Ron and Neville were headed for the Great Hall for dinner, they ran into Rose, who was beaming and seemed excited.
“Harry, Ron,” she said, “I think I know what the creature is.” She showed them a piece of parchment, apparently torn from an old library book. “It’s a basilisk.”
Harry and Ron read the text on the page, taking note of the attributes of a basilisk — called King of Serpents, can reach gigantic size, can live hundreds of years, has lethal venom, murderous stare, feared by spiders, crowing of the rooster fatal to it.
“Uh, guys,” Neville said, “are you guys talking about the monster in the Chamber of Secrets?” He looked at Rose, “Is this a page from a library book? Madame Pince will go spare.” Rose’s eyes widened and her face darkened as if she hadn’t noticed that Neville was with Harry and Ron, which she probably didn’t due to her excitement.
“Yeah, Nev,” Harry said, drawing Neville’s attention from Rose, “we’ve been trying to find out what it is. That way, we can help the professors find it. I ran into Hagrid holding a couple of dead roosters soon after the writing appeared on the wall. Then, there’s the voice. I was the only one who heard it because I was the only one who could understand it since I can speak Parseltongue. It all fits.”
“Harry,” Neville said, “what voice are you talking about?”
Harry sighed and pulled the other three into an empty classroom. He then explained to Neville about the voice he had been hearing. Neville listened wide-eyed but stayed put.
Finally, he said, “Wow, that’s really something. So, it seems that the monster responsible for these attacks is a basilisk?”
“It seems so, based on what we know,” Harry said.
“But, Harry,” Ron said, “why aren’t any of the one who were attacked dead? They’re just petrified.”
Harry thought for a moment, “Well, I think none of them looked at it straight in the eye. Justin and Mrs. Norris probably saw it reflected in the pools of water, Colin through his camera and Hermione and that Ravenclaw prefect saw it through Nearly Headless Nick, who probably took the full blast but then he’s already dead.”
“So, it’s a basilisk,” Neville said, “what do we do now?”
“Well, we should tell the professors,” Harry said.
“Can we do it after dinner, Harry?” Ron said, “I’m starving. Surely, it can wait for a while.” His stomach then growled quite loudly and the other three laughed.
“All right, Ron,” Harry said, “We’ll have dinner first. Hey, sis, where’s Ginny?”
Rose’s face clouded for a moment before she answered, “Um, she brought our things up to the dorm. I better go see if she’s still there. See you guys.”
They parted ways, the boys continuing to head for the Great Hall and Rose headed back to Gryffindor Tower.
As they passed through the Entrance Hall, they saw three men standing there with Professor Dumbledore and Hagrid. One of them, to Harry’s surprise and apprehension was his father.
“Dad,” Harry called out as he approached them, “what are you doing here?” He then recognized the other two men — Frank Longbottom, Neville’s dad and Cornelius Fudge, the Minister of Magic.
James and Frank looked uncomfortable as he watched the boys approach them. “Hi, son. Hello, Ron, Neville,” James said, “Now, I know you’re wondering why we are here. We just came to accompany Hagrid to the Ministry.”
“The Ministry?” Harry said, “You’re arresting him?! How could you? He’s your friend!”
Neville looked at his own dad with fury but remained silent. Ron looked shocked.
James and Frank looked down at their shoes, ashamed to face their sons. Fudge stepped in just then, stepping between father and son. “Now, Harry, these attacks are getting worse. People are worried. The Ministry has to do something to put a stop to the whole thing. Hagrid’s record is against him.”
“But he’s innocent!” Harry shouted, “There is no way that he could be responsible for those attacks. He’s no descendent of Slytherin.”
Just then, Dumbledore cleared his throat, “That’s what I told the Minister, Harry. Taking Hagrid will not stop these attacks.” The headmaster’s blue eyes were lit with a fire Harry had never seen before.
“Come now, Albus,” Fudge said, his hands fidgeting with the lime-green bowler hat he always wore, “I have to be seen to be doing something. I’m under a lot of pressure to do something. The school governors have been sending owls all day.”
Harry then stormed off, furious at Fudge and his father. He moved to the stairs but didn’t notice that his father had followed him.
“Harry,” James placed a hand on Harry’s shoulder, but Harry shook it off. “Look, son. As much as I believe Hagrid is innocent, I have to follow orders. It’ll be all right. I volunteered with Frank to be here to make sure Hagrid is treated right. Don’t worry. We’ll just put him in a holding cell at the Ministry until this is sorted out. He won’t be going to Azkaban, at least not without a proper trial.” He sent a glare at the Minister as he said the last sentence.
Harry looked warily at his father, “Promise?”
James smiled a little, “Yes. Now, you and Ron head back to Gryffindor Tower. Don’t worry about Hagrid.”
Then, James turned his head back to the other men and exclaimed, “Bloody hell.” Harry turned to where his father’s gaze was fixed and saw the hated figure of Lucius Malfoy talking to Dumbledore.
Potter father and son immediately moved toward them. They just heard Malfoy say, “Yes, Dumbledore. All twelve of us have voted on it. You’re out as of right now.”
“Just what are you on about, Malfoy,” James said.
“Ah, Potter, come to take custody of the perpetrator of these ghastly attacks, I see,” Malfoy said, a sneer on his face.
“Hagrid is still considered innocent, Malfoy,” James said, “The minister just wanted to take him in for questioning. He’ll be back here in a day or two. Now, what’s your business here?”
Malfoy smirked, “I have the unhappy task, as one of the school’s governors of relieving Professor Dumbledore as Headmaster. We of the board are of the opinion that he has lost his touch. He’s not been able to stop these dreadful attacks, so we have voted to relieve him.”
“How many did you threaten or blackmail before they agreed with you, Malfoy?” James said.
“Now, now, Potter,” Malfoy said, “that can be taken as slander.”
“Enough, Lucius,” Dumbledore said, “If the school’s governors have all agreed on this, I will step aside.”
“No!” Harry, Ron, Neville and Hagrid all shouted.
“However,” Dumbledore said, slowly and clearly, “you will find that I will only truly have left this school when none are left that are loyal to me, and help will always be given at Hogworts to those who ask for it.
“Admirable sentiments,” Malfoy said, “I hope your successor has better luck preventing any more attacks.”
Dumbledore turned to Harry, Neville and Ron, a kind smile on his face. “It is dinnertime already, boys. You better get over to the Great Hall. Don’t worry about me or Hagrid.”
The boys exchanged looks and sighed. They headed for the Great Hall, looking back one last time as the six men walked out the entrance doors.
It didn’t take long for the news to spread among the students. Without Dumbledore, they didn’t know who would protect them. Harry and his two friends didn’t have any appetite after what they had witnessed.
“Damn,” Harry said, “In all the excitement I forgot to tell Dad what we think the monster in the Chamber is. We have to tell one of the professors.”
“Harry,” Ron said, “if it is a basilisk, how is it getting around? I mean, how can you hide a giant snake?”
Harry thought for a moment, “That time I followed the voice before we found the writing and when I found Justin, there was a lot of water in puddles on the floor. How did the water get on the floor?”
“The only source for that much water is the bathrooms,” Neville said.
“Of course!” Harry said, “It’s using the plumbing to go around the school.”
“Then the entrance to the Chamber must be in a bathroom,” Ron said.
“But which one?” Neville said, “There are dozens here.”
“It has to be one that people seldom go to,” Harry said, “Otherwise, there’d be more attacks.”
“Wait a minute, Harry,” Ron said, “Didn’t Hagrid say that the girl who was killed was called Myrtle and she died in a bathroom. What if she never left that bathroom?”
“Then, the entrance must be..” Harry said.
“In Moaning Myrtle’s bathroom,” Harry and Ron said together.
Neville looked at them in confusion, “Who’s Moaning Myrtle?”
Just then, McGonagall stood up at the Head table, a megaphone in one hand. She placed it on her mouth, amplifying her voice, “Your attention, please. All students are to return at once to their dormitories. All professors will please proceed to the second floor corridor.”
Harry beckoned to the two boys to get closer to him then he said, “Something’s up. Isn’t that the corridor where the writing is still on the wall? We’d better check it out. Let’s let the other students get ahead of us. Luckily, I have my dad’s cloak in my robe’s pocket.”
The three boys lagged behind the other students as the student population headed back to their dormitories. They ducked into a side corridor and waited until the halls were deserted. Then, throwing Harry’s cloak over themselves, they moved to the second floor corridor.
When they got to the last corner before the area where the blood writing was placed, they carefully looked around the corner. The teachers were all massed in front of the writing. Now, there was a new sentence under the previous words. It read:
Her skeleton will lie in the Chamber forever.
Then they heard Flitwick ask, “so, Minerva, who is the girl taken into the chamber?”
McGonagall sighed and said, “Ginny Weasley.”
Harry and Neville heard Ron gasp beside them. Harry himself felt a churning in his stomach. They saw McGonagall turn to Lockhart.
“Well, Gilderoy, now is your chance to prove what you can do.”
“Pardon?” Lockhart said, “What do you mean, Minerva?”
“Well, you’ve been saying for weeks that you know where the entrance to the Chamber is and what the monster is. You said you just needed a chance to prove it. Well, here is your chance. Go and get the girl back.”
For a moment, Lockhart looked stunned but then, he stood straight and said, “Right, of course. I’m the Defense against the Dark Arts teacher. Okay, I’ll just go get ready, shan’t I?” He turned around and strode away, passing the three hidden boys.
The three boys exchanged looks and followed Lockhart. Then, just before they reached the Defense classroom, Harry pulled them aside into another classroom.
Ron looked at Harry, puzzled, “What is it, Harry? We’ve got to talk to Lockhart, tell him all we know.”
Harry turned around, “Nope, we don’t. After all that’s been happening, I don’t think that git will give us any help. I mean, he made my arm bones disappear and let those pixies loose in class. No, we’re saving Ginny ourselves.”
Ron and Neville looked at each other and then at Harry. Seeing the determined look in his eyes, they nodded.
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