Disclaimer: I do not own, nor do I claim ownership of anything that I write about which is previously claimed by J.K. Rowling. I am writing this piece of fiction solely for the purpose of writing and am gaining nothing from this in the way of compensation.
Hello there! This is the second chapter of the day, so enjoy!
The woman stepped towards him, even as his mind blanked to prevent him from giving anything away. He pulled his magic out of its reservoirs and let it begin to swirl through his body in preparation for anything that may happen. She looked slightly amused as he did so, most likely noticing the faint aura he exuded whenever he did this.
Her smirk grew slightly, here eyes retaining the faint amusement. "Now, now, there's no reason to be so tense." She flicked her wrist, causing a light shimmer to form on the walls "Now those two friends of yours won't be eavesdropping so easily."
He mentally cursed, so it had been a silencing barrier she had erected. Though he did tense lightly at the casual display of wandless magic, a discipline that was unbearably difficult to master to a degree to do what she had done.
Coming to a stop a couple feet from him, her playful, yet dangerous expression closed off to one he was far more familiar with.
"There are things that we must discuss concerning the school, things that only heirs and heiresses of the Founders can truly understand." She turned on a heel and strode off towards a door at the back of the room, a hand gesturing to follow.
He did so, ending up in an office that was decorated in the Hufflepuff colors tastefully, though it wasn't as grand as some of the rooms he had seen. She sat behind her desk and pulled her wand from her long sleeve as he sat, making him pause and eye her keenly.
She rolled her eyes at him, before tapping a sequence of taps on a kettle set on the edge of the desk, swishing her wand afterwards to make china appear for the tea she planned for them to have.
The silence was thick, as he sat stiffly in his chair under the solid mustard stare. It was broken by the whistling of the kettle, which make her turn her focus to preparing the refreshments.
As he took his tea to his liking, he focused all attention on her while releasing his Occlumency to give him more room to think. She must have noticed his slight shift in demeanor for she took a deliberate sip before setting the cup into its saucer.
"I must assume that you realise who I am, and by extension, know that I realise who you are?" Her tone was hard to read, guarded but neutral.
He simply nodded, so she spoke again. "Then there is no need to beat around the bush as they say. I have been waiting for years for another heir with strong enough connections to their familial magic to return to this school, as there are situation that require more than one her or heiress to handle alone."
He looked at her quizzically. "What situations are there that require our attention, then?" His voice was tight with tension.
She seemed to wilt slightly in exhaustion, surprising him as he had never seen the woman without a straight back and stiff shoulders. "If you know who you are, then you must know of the background of our ancestors." He nodded. "Then you must also know of the great conflict that ended their alliance some years after the opening of Hogwarts."
Again he nodded, wondering where she was taking this. She continued on. "I can guess who your family is based on your house-" He decided to throw her and gain an advantage in this situation he found himself in.
"Actually no, I am not descended from Salazar Slytherin, though we had a common ancestor. I am of Godric, Lady Smith" He felt satisfaction when her eyes widened, but was surprised when her expression brightened considerably.
He looked at her curiously, which she noticed and gave a slight smile. "I know who the Gaunt family ran through, Mr. Potter. I acted so cooly with you because I assumed you may have been associated with him in some way, his attack against your family or not." She finished grimly.
He grimaced, bristling in his mind, at the thought that he and Voldemort had any connection past their past ancestors. He shot her a dirty look, which just made her raise a dry eyebrow in his direction,
"What? There were only so many conclusions I could jump to given your house placement and what it typically means to those who are heirs." He nodded grudgingly at that, his magical reappearance in the world probably not aiding his case with his fellow heir, heiress in her case.
And hadn't that been fun? His inner sarcasm reared its head. The day after the tiring reveal in the common room had been explosive to say the least. The students, and some of the staff from the looks Flitwick gave him, treated him as if he were the cure for Hag's rash, looking at him with reverence.
Well, they looked at him that way until they saw the green crest and tie, remembering where he was sorted the previous night. Then they gave his the expected apprehension.
The paper was just as annoying as he had expected it to be. Some woman named Skeeter had ran this list of conspiracy theories ranging from abduction by Dumbledore, to suckling Morgana's evil teet. It hadn't helped that he could feel eyes heavily resting upon him, only to look up and see Weasley-the-youngest giving him a shady look over a mangled sausage.
Desiring to get away from those thoughts before he delved into the horror of meeting Cornelius Fudge, he brought his focus on the woman who was silently studying him.
"There is a reason for my placement, but I won't reveal more without an oath of secrecy." He laid it out nice and clear to the practical stranger who'd given him no reason to trust her.
Her wand was in-hand almost immediately after he stopped speaking, touching the spot above her heart, the main magical reservoir.
"I, Nikita Smith, hereby vow myself to secrecy regarding all information given to my by Harry Potter in confidence. This I swear by the Ancient Majik." As this was said, a thin string of magic was shown connecting the spaces above their hearts, sealing the ancient bond of oath-bearer and oath-receiver.
Putting her wand on the desk, she looked at him in all seriousness of the given circumstances. "As you can see, I speak the truth when I say that I require your aid. I've been waiting too many years to allow this opportunity to bypass me."
As shocked as he was at her instant compliance to an offhanded remark, he took it is stride, knowing it must be serious if she was this eager.
He nodded, before going on to explain the circumstances of the night of the attack and his heirship of his two houses, his holding of all of the family magic. Throughout his explanation, he watched her face go through different expressions ranging from shock to incredulity.
He gave her time to think through the revelations, waiting to see what she would do with the information. She looked down at her desk in contemplation before nodding once, seemingly to herself.
Looking up, she spoke again. "Then we are in luck." At his questioning look, she replied with some excitement in her eyes. "All four of the houses have heirs and heiresses at the school."
He studied her for a moment before responding. "Hermione..."
She nodded, looking pleased. "Yes, I believe Miss Granger to be Ravenclaw's, or Dagworth-Granger's, heiress. But she seems to not have realised this from what i have observed, not to mention her magical aura is much lighter than one who would hold the power of such powerful family magic."
He nodded, understanding and thinking the same with his own conclusions.
He spoke this time. "For her to access the connection she possess, she would have to believe herself to be the heiress." Here he looked mildly annoyed. "But, she has a slight inferiority complex due to years of being belittled by others from what she's told me. Getting her to actually, truly believe it would be difficult."
Now she looked mildly annoyed, most likely thinking this an obstacle towards her, currently unknown, plans.
"You'll have to work with her on that front; she's totally terrified by me." She sighed. "But it is fortunate that the Headmaster knows of your situation. With him, when she does believe and open the connection to the magic, he will be able to allow us to travel to Gringotts to perform the testing ceremony."
He hummed in agreement, but he knew that it would be a tedious process given the fact that their friendship was still rather new and fragile. He'd have to be delicate in approach and practice if he didn't want to alienate her and ruin her chances.
He focused on the professor again, thinking of something that slightly confused him.
"Does Zacharias have such differing features than you because his gender disallows him the titles of the family name?" It would make sense as to why she didn't allow him to be the one to approach Harry.
She looked startled for a moment at the abrupt change in topic, but then nodded tiredly. "Yes, and the disappointment of it has left him bitter and resentful of others who are heirs to old families. Though, he still holds the arrogance of our family name, causing quite a bit of trouble with others and isolating himself."
He felt slightly bad for the woman, losing a bit of his wariness in the face of such open honesty. He decided to get to the whole point of this conversation which needed to end soon before his friends called in the cavalry, thinking she was doing terrible things to him in body or mind or both. The minds of pre-teens were quite imaginative, as he knew quite well.
He cleared his throat, before he spoke. "What is it that required you to approach me? It seemed very urgent earlier and we are straining our time." She grimaced in realization that this conversation had gone on longer than she realized.
She straightened into a more rigid posture, which he was more used to. "I didn't believe it before now, but you have confirmed it for me. Voldemort" He was surprised at the name, given the general reaction to the resident boogeyman. "is out there, meaning that it is entirely possible that he will rise to power before he can be found and destroyed in his weakened, bodiless state. The wards and protections around and in the school can only be strengthened when two or more of the heirs are here. Though, with all four represented here, we have a greater ability to do so."
Her eyes gained a hateful, desperate edge to them, startling him. "That monster will not enter this school full of innocents; he will not. Harm. My. Son. I lost my beloved husband, my Richard, to the creature, and I won't lose anyone else, these children that and colleagues that I've grown to care for included."
"That is why I need you, and Miss Granger now, to help me. With all four of us, he won't stand a chance!"
And he knew in that moment, that he had just gained a valuable ally, maybe even a friend.
When he finally exited the classroom, he was instantly harassed by a babbling Hermione, a stoic Theo looking at him intensely. He managed to calm Hermione enough for him to tell her that Professor Smith just wanted to speak to him about his essay, where they got caught up in a discussion about what they were currently learning.
Neither of the two looked like they bought it, but they gave it up for the moment as they had very little time to make it to Potions, having spent their small break outside and inside the classroom respectively. They walked briskly towards the dungeons from the third floor, entering the classroom just moments before Professor Snape came out of a door near the back of the room, presumably his office.
The class passed by quickly with them learning the properties of and steps to the tongue-swelling solution, apparently good in low-level combat to prevent vocal casting.
The three headed out to the edge of the lake where they cast liberal warming charms around the area, the cold of October chilling them. They sat around, doing homework and chatting almost automatically, their minds all on different things, Harry the new information he had about the Hufflepuff heiress, the other two about their friend's, and Theo thought that was an amazing word to connect to himself and another, strange attitude from earlier.
Finally the typically silent boy decided to bring it up as casually as he could, which was as opaque to the two who knew him the best that it was laughable. Harry sighed, before deciding that he could trust them with some information, not only to sate their curiosity but to strengthen their bonds as well.
He looked at the two, staring into their eyes meaningfully. "Before we begin, I'm going to need an oath of privacy." He said privacy because it was less restricting than an oath of secrecy, which would rend the magic of an oath-breaker from their body, an experience similar to the Dementor's kiss.
While Hermione looked confused, as he expected, and Theo looked at him with more intensity in his usually blank or bored gaze than he'd seen before, which was also expected.
Hermione noticed the heavy look in Theo's eyes and spoke up. "What is a privacy oath? Is it similar to an unbreakable vow?" She looked at Harry suspiciously at that, knowing how serious such magic was, how dangerous.
Harry looked at her. "No, they aren't very similar. An oath and a vow are two different pieces of magic, one far more sinister. The only vow known is the unbreakable vow, which is a totally binding magical contract. Should it be broken, its punishment is..."
She whispered softly. "Death"
He nodded solemnly. "True, but an oath is different in the fact that it is breakable by the oath-receiver, and the consequences are much less severe, though still harsh, based on the level of the oath."
Theo took over next. "An oath of privacy is vowed upon one's honor. If they break it, then they will never be trusted by anyone ever again, even those who would trust you implicitly." He never once broke his stare towards Harry.
Harry, again, nodded solemnly, as the weight of the information she they were asking for hit her as it had Theo.
There was silent contemplation by the two, before they both reluctantly decided that they wished to hear it and made the oath, Hermione being guided by Theo's example.
Harry knew he couldn't reveal everything yet, as he knew Hermione wouldn't have the skills necessary to prevent legilimency yet, though Theo might. So he decided to go with the basics, well basic to him.
And so, he told them.
That night, sitting in his shared dorm with the other first year boys sans Harry, he contemplated the information he'd been too shocked to truly comprehend earlier.
The Dark Lord was still alive.
He was likely going to return to full strength relatively soon.
He was immortal due to, he shivered, Black Magick.
He was likely going to go after Harry in revenge, and thus his friends, including him.
This all raced through his mind, as this information was extremely relevant to him for the future. Not only was he the friend, something he'd always wished for secretly, of possibly the main target of an insane Warlock, but he might be forced into joining his ranks in the future.
The bile suddenly felt like it was trying to escape his throat; he swallowed it back.
Even though it was never explicitly mentioned, the Dark propaganda had been a heavy influence on his home life. His father was never convicted, using the same excuse as many other Lords and purebloods, but Theo knew his father was a loyal Death Eater. His mother, praise her strength, had always come to him after his father's grand speeches about the family and their superiority over others, calming him and delivering rational arguments against her husbands sermon. She had been the one to practically raise him, instead of his father's attempts to groom him into the proper heir.
She was the one who taught him to follow his instincts to keep himself safe and aware, to never allow another to dictate his decisions. He could imagine his father's wrath had he ever found out about his wife's 'betrayal'.
What would he do with the information he gained today? It wasn't as if he had any external resources or outstanding power to use to his gain, so what were his options?
He already knew the answer before the question finished forming.
He had been saved from his pit of loneliness that he had found himself sinking deeper into during his second week. His second week of others using false compliments and platitudes to try and gain favor with his esteemed family. His second week of contemplating taking his own life to escape the fathomless ache that resounded through him at the sight of others in the same situation as he, meer puppets for their similarly puppet fathers. Artificial, cold, unfeeling, the emotionless mask he was forced to wear to keep under his father's suspicion was forcing him into the black slowly but surely.
Then Harry Potter finessed his way into his life like a seasoned professional.
Of course he was interested in the phenomenon of the deceased hero miraculously returning to life, joining the house of his families murderer none-the-less. The boy was obviously talented from the ease at which his magic responded to his every whim, and he was startlingly attractive with the classic features of the Greeks and the coloring of a noble. HIs slight accent and otherworldly eyes gave him new facets that seemed to make up the mystery child to be a fascinating, undiscovered gem found shaped to perfection naturally.
And he decided, ceremoniously, that plain, boring, Theodore Nott was going to be his friend.
Of course, it was he that started their contact on that night in the library, but that was just his curiosity getting the better of him at seeing the famous boy chatting with the genius muggleborn.
It had been the best decision of his short life.
Harry had taken him into his small circle of friends, which was a place many wanted to be but were too afraid to approach the seemingly unapproachable. But now that Theo was there, he had found a breath of fresh hope that had slowly lulled him out of his depressed state. His new friend, friend, was unlike anything he'd seen before. He held the cunning of their house, the work ethic of the 'Puffs, the attitude when in private of the lions, and the intelligence of a 'Claw.
He was everything that a friend could be to Theo, matching him pace for pace with Granger keeping up admirably with her lack of magical background.
And now he would be a place to hide from the demons of his future, a place that Theo could defend if necessary when the times got rough. He would be, and is, Theo's rock, so he would and will always choose Harry Potter.
It would be his biggest regret if he didn't.
Harry was walking along with Nagini through the halls before curfew, having rarely gotten to spend time with his beloved friend outside the Slytherin common room and his chambers. She seemed to be enjoying the feeling of the magically-warmed stone on he soft underside. He snorted at the pleased sounds she was making, he not even caring about his cheek when she was finally able to come outside for the first time in a while.
They were on the second floor when they passed by a doorway that made Nagini stop in her tracks. Looking at her still position and wildly-scenting tongue, he knew she had sensed something here. She startled slightly, looking awkward for the large snake, but she began to hiss excitedly, heading through the slight opening from the ajar door.
Going in after her, wanting to see what had her in such an unusual state, he realized that she had led him into what looked to be a bathroom.
A female bathroom.
Color faintly dusting his pale cheeks, he was about to hiss at her that they needed to leave, before he heard her over by a set of sink vanities.
-Hatchling! Hatchling! You mussst come here quickly! I have remembered sssomething importaint.-
Not wanting to disagree with her as he trusted her judgment, he followed around to where Nagini had risen her large head to focus intently on the tap of one of the sinks. Following her gaze, he saw the smallest carving of a snake etched into the side. Intrigued, he turned to her.
-What isss it Nagini? What isss imprtant about thisss sssnake?-
She looked to be nearly frozen with how still her body had become, worrying him slightly. -It isss a lock.- That confused him.
-A lock? A lock for what?-
She turned towards him slowly, before responding. -The entrance to the Chamber of Sssecretsss.-
He was floored. The Chamber of Secrets
HIs thoughts went into overdrive as his own excitement grew to tremendous heights. Salazar had completely refused to tell him the entrance to the infamous mystery chamber of the founder, neither denying its existence nor proving it. He was going to thoroughly enjoy rubbing this in the sour man's face after all the dung he'd been spewing. He had the sudden urge to cackle, but held it in.
Deciding to get to the point, which was opening the entrance, he turned to his companion and asked the most important question.
-How do we open it?-
-Command it to open in our language. You mussst wisssh it to be open for it to do ssso.- Well that was straight forward enough.
He took in a breath at this monumental occasion, before speaking the simple command.
After a moment, in which he was about to become severely disappointed, a great grinding noise of stone on stone was heard as the sink lowered into the ground, the others expanding outwards to make space. As he was about to ask if it was seriously a drainage pipe, Nagini had already slithered in with him only catching sight of the end of her tail leaving the edge.
Deciding that she had been here before, so she would know how to enter it safely, he followed her by jumping down, never seeing the transparent figure watching from over the edge of one of the cubicles.
After cursing his familiar for not warning him of his less that hygienic, or safe for that matter, trip down the pipe, he and she made their way by a shed skin that sent adrenaline through his system just at the sight of such a large shed.
They came upon a door, much like one would see in a vault, at which he hissed the same command from earlier. His heartbeat kicked up a few paces as the metal serpent unlocked the door on its journey, said door creaking open loudly into a dark room.
It was breath-taking.
Columns stood everywhere, covered in carvings and paintings of different snakes, statues of a similar manner were everywhere. There was also a disturbing statue of what seemed to be an older, much uglier Salazar that made him freeze in his tracks.
It was probably the funniest thing he had ever seen, and he could only imagine how he could torment the portrait with the knowledge that his likeness bore more resemblance to a monkey that Salazar himself. But that was beside the point.
He was here to see the Basilisk.
He could only imagine how large it would be after one-thousand years of constant growth. The only Basilisks he had seen were either statues or pictures, so he was getting slightly hyper at the prospect. He was, after all, and animal lover and tamer at heart.
That was another reason he had wanted to see the Basilisk; to see if his power over the Gaunt magic allowed him control over the beast or if it had been tied into loyalty some by other means.
Thinking out loud, he spoke in parseltongue without noticing, the ability activating in the face of so many serpents. -How do I get to it?-
He was broken from those thoughts by the sound of stone grinding again, only this time it was the base of the statue opening. All thoughts were wiped from his mind by the sight of a snake exiting the opening, its size causing him to stare in pure shock and awe. He realized he should have felt fear, but this was just too amazing for him-
-Who are you, sssnake-child?-
He was startled by a deep, masculine voice hissing out to him that sounded ancient.
Looking up into poisonous-yellow eyes, he knew that he'd just made his own year.