Hey everyone, I'm back! I am so, so sorry for the long wait! I tried to write as much as I could and update earlier, but my teachers started handing out more and more homework, and swimming started, so I was busier than ever. I'll try to update sooner in the future, but school is and always will be my number one priority, so updates will probably be pretty irregular. Sorry!

Anyway, thanks to everyone who followed, favorited, and reviewed this! Seeing those notifications in my inbox really makes my day.

I realized that I didn't put one in the previous chapter, so here's my disclaimer: I don't own Harry Potter.


Chapter Two: In Which Harry Really Hates Gilderoy Lockhart

It had only been a few hours since Harry had gotten to the hospital wing and had been force-fed Skele-Gro by Madam Pomfrey, and yet he was already hating life.

For starters, why couldn't that git Lockhart have just let Madam Pomfrey do her job? That way, he wouldn't be stuck in this mess, and he would still have the bones in his arm! At this moment, Harry felt like going to Lockhart (no matter what time it was) and punching him in the face. Alas, he had a very good reason why he had to stay on Lockhart's good side, but it stung to see him so happy even after his stupidity had flooded Hogwarts and captivated any available witch (or wizard, for that matter).

Harry sighed and rolled over a little, trying to fall asleep again.

Harry awoke just a little while later. For a moment, he wondered what had awoken him so suddenly, until he registered the shooting and stabbing pain that was in his arm. Then, he realized that someone was on his bed and they were sponging his forehead in the dark. Harry panicked for a second before he caught the large green eyes shining in the moonlight and the long blond hair hanging down like a curtain.

"What the- get off, Dobby!"

The house-elf was looking at him sadly, his eyes almost glowing in the darkness. A single tear ran down his perfectly straight nose.

"Dobby tried to warn Harry Potter, sir, he did," whispered Dobby, almost whimpering. "But why, oh why did Harry Potter come back to Hogwarts? Why didn't you go back home when you missed the train?"

Harry slowly pushed himself up on the bed, suspicion filling his mind. "Wait a minute," he said. "It was you! You stopped the barrier from letting us through!"

Dobby trembled like a leaf in the wind. "Oh, yes, sir," he whispered. Showing Harry ten long fingers with perfect nails peeking out oddly from behind bandages, "Dobby had to iron his fingers later, sir, but Dobby didn't care, sir, because Harry Potter was safe! Dobby did not think that Harry Potter was so persistent!"

He had curled up into a ball and shivering, and seemed to be on the verge of tears again.

At this, Harry became even more angry. "Dobby, you almost got me and Ron expelled! You'd better leave before my bones regrow, or else I might strangle you."

Dobby shook his head and smiled a little. "Dobby is used to death threats, sir; he gets them five times a day at home."

He wiped his tears away with the pillowcase he wore, making it ride up a bit. Harry averted his eyes; more of the elf was the last thing he wanted to see in the middle of the night. Despite this, he felt his anger leave him. Seeing Dobby wipe his face, Harry was reminded of what he had asked Hermione earlier in the year.

"Hey, Hermione? D'you know what house-elves mean when they say 'my family' and 'my masters'?" Harry asked.

Hermione blinked at the odd question and said, "I don't know, but I'll look it up in the library."

At this point, Ron jumped in. "Well, what do you mean, Harry? House-elves are slaves, of course."

"Slaves?!" Harry and Hermione exclaimed at the same time. Ron proceeded to explain the specifics of house-elf enslavement, much to their horror.

After learning about this, Harry concluded that Dobby had absolutely awful masters, and that he shouldn't be too angry at him, because he had such a horrible life already. Still, that resolution didn't stop Harry from being annoyed.

Dobby, still dabbing at his eyes, said, "Dobby thought that his bludger would be enough to turn Harry Potter away, but-"

"Your bludger!" Harry interrupted, the fury rising up in him like a wave. "You made that bludger try to kill me!"

"Not kill, sir. Just maim, or seriously injure, enough to be sent home," said Dobby a little sheepishly.

"Oh, I didn't realize it was just that," said Harry angrily. "Do tell why you want me sent home in pieces."

"Oh, if only Harry Potter knew," said Dobby, his hair blowing in what seemed to be a slight breeze, though Harry felt nothing. "If only Harry Potter knew what he meant to us, the magical creatures of the world! We remember what life was like when He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named was at the height of power! Harry Potter is a beacon of light in a dark night for all of us, and now with the terrible things happening at Hogwarts, now that the Chamber of Secrets is open again-"

He cut himself off as though he crossed some invisible boundary, began smashing his head with the water jug off of Harry's bedside table, and fell off the bed. A second later, he was crawling back on like some long-legged, blond spider. He crouched over Harry again, almost in the fetal position.

"Oh, so there is a Chamber of Secrets! And it's been opened before?!" Harry whisper-screamed into Dobby's pointed ears. "Tell me, Dobby!"

Harry noticed that Dobby's hand was inching towards the water jug again and quickly grabbed it, squeezing his wrist tightly. "But Dobby, I'm not a Muggle-born. How am I the one in danger?"

"Ah sir, please ask no more of Dobby," the elf said mournfully, his eyes wide and practically glowing in the dark. "Dark deeds are planned in this place, and Harry Potter must not be here when they happen...go home, sir, go home!"

"No!" growled Harry. "One of my best friends is here, and she's a Muggle-born! If I leave, she'll be the first in line for whatever's in the Chamber to take-"

Dobby moaned miserably and said, "Harry Potter risks his own life for his friends! How noble sir, how noble! But sir, save yourself, you must, Harry Potter sir must not-"

He froze, his pointed ears seemingly becoming even more pointed and stretching out to be able to hear better. Harry heard it as well- there were footsteps in the passage outside.

"Oh no. Dobby must go!" whispered the elf, terrified. There was an almost silent pop, and suddenly Harry's fist was clenched, not around Dobby's wrist, but around nothing but thin air. The footsteps grew closer, and Harry fell back on the bed, feigning sleep.

In the next second, Dumbledore appeared, backing into the hospital wing in what seemed to be his nightclothes. Oddly enough, he was carrying one end of a statue, with Professor McGonagall carrying the other end. Together, they gently put it onto a bed, with Professor McGonagall hurrying past Harry's bed to get Madam Pomfrey. He heard urgent whispering, and then Professor McGonagall and Madam Pomfrey swept past Harry's bed in a flutter of tartan and cardigans. He heard Madam Pomfrey gasp.

"What on Earth happened?" asked Madam Pomfrey, bending over the statue.

Dumbledore sighed and said, "Another attack. Minerva found him on the stairs with a bunch of grapes next to him. We think he was trying to sneak up to visit Potter."

Leaning slightly to get a better look, Harry realized that it wasn't a statue at all, but a petrified Colin Creevey, wide eyed and with his camera sticking out in front of him.

Harry really hated Gilderoy Lockhart.

Next chapter's when the story'll really start to diverge from canon. Hope you liked it!