Christmas had been uneventful. Harry was glad to have received gifts from Draco and Hermione, and he had purchased a wand care kit for Tom, even though he knew that the gesture wouldn't be reciprocated. It was nearing the New Year, and again Harry and Tom had received invitations to the Malfoys' New Year's Eve party, but had declined them. Harry found it too tiring, and he had a feeling that Tom wasn't willing to go to the party alone, especially because of his grudge with Harry.

This, of course, was much to Draco's annoyance. He had begged them to go, but Harry had found the entire ordeal tiring the past year, so he opted out. To add to that, Tom had withdrawn into an obsessive state. Although the tension between he and Harry had lowered a bit, the only time Tom spoke to Harry was to ask if he had seen the diary recently.

Hermione had also been acting a bit strange. Given that Harry was in Slytherin and Hermione was in Gryffindor, aside from classes and mealtimes, he didn't get the chance to see her often. When he did, though, she looked anxious, periodically scurrying off, likely to that same lavatory she'd been brewing the potion in. Harry brushed off her strange behavior, having more pressing matters to deal with at the moment. After all, Transfiguration class was getting more difficult, and Harry wanted to get at least an E in the class.

That evening, after listening to Draco talk about the Department of Mysteries and what could possibly be hidden there, Harry retreated to the common room, trying unsuccessfully to focus on his homework.

Harry looked up just in time to see Crabbe, Goyle, and Pansy Parkinson walk stiffly into the room and seat themselves on the sofa opposite the chair Harry was on. Out of the corner of his eye, Harry could see Tom's eyes scanning the situation, before he surprisingly came over to sit on one of the armchairs.

"Hello, Harry," Pansy said, her voice strangely calm compared to her regular high-pitched squeal.

"Erm, hello," Harry replied, looking at her questioningly. "What is it?"

At that moment, Crabbe decided to butt in: "That whole Chamber of Secrets thing sure is crazy, huh?"

This was even stranger than Pansy's apparent voice change. Crabbe never spoke...this Harry knew. He'd heard enough complaining from Draco about how dumb the other boy was.

Tom obviously sensed this too. "I suppose it is rather odd. I just wish I knew who the Heir was."

"You don't know?!" Goyle exclaimed, springing up before he was promptly shoved down by Pansy. Had the two even talked with each other before? Harry didn't think so. So why were they suddenly so comfortable with each other?

A period of silence followed. "No, neither of us know. If we did, we'd have done something about it by now," answered Harry.

"Hey Malfoy-er, Draco," Goyle said again. "Do you know anything about the Chamber?"

Draco had previously trying to seem like he wasn't listening attentively, even though he was. Now, sensing his chance, he walked over, puffing out his chest haughtily. "Well, I only know what my Father has told me, but apparently, it was opened in the past by another student."

"That's it?" Crabbe said, but he was quickly pulled away from the sofa by Pansy, who pulled Goyle along with her.

In an instant, they were out of the common room, not even bothering to listen to Draco's insistent "But it's past curfew."

Quickly, Harry dragged Tom to the common room, ignoring the glare he received. Draco, sensing the mood, curiously watched them, but thankfully decided to stay behind.

"What was that? Why were they acting like that?" Harry asked.

"That was not Crabbe, Goyle, and Pansy. I'm not sure who they were yet, but based on their mannerisms and behavior, they were not who they appeared to be." Tom sat on his bed, running his hand through his hair.

Harry sat silently, trying to connect this new development to what he'd seen before. Suddenly, it dawned on him. He'd seen Hermione in the bathroom, brewing a potion that Harry had never seen before. Somehow, he knew that this was linked. What potion can change people's identities?

"What potion?" Harry thought aloud. "...changes people's identities...takes a while to brew…"

Tom stood up. "Polyjuice," he said firmly. "Polyjuice Potion."

"I saw Hermione in the bathroom a while ago...the same one I found the diary in. She was brewing something there, and I could tell that she wanted to keep it a secret."

Tom considered the new information Harry had presented him. "That settles it. Hermione was impersonating Parkinson, and I'm willing to bet Weasley was either Crabbe or Goyle. But who would be the third?"

"Obviously a Gryffindor boy in our year," Harry provided. "Longbottom? I don't think he has the guts. Maybe Finnegan? Or Dean Thomas?"

"At any rate, that's not what's important right now. They were trying to get evidence that one of us is the Heir. I need to prove that it's Voldemort doing this, not me."

"Do you have any idea what Slytherin's monster is?"

"It can both Petrify and kill people, and given Slytherin's talent of Parseltongue, I'd say it's something snakeline, or at the very least reptilian," Tom said. "I'm going to check out a book about magical creatures from the library tomorrow. Not exactly my area of interest, but it should prove to be useful."

"That sounds good. The sooner we can end this, the better." Harry was glad that Tom was finally working with him again. Even if the other had never truly apologized, which Harry doubted he would ever do, something told Harry that Tom had gotten over his grudge.

Nevertheless, Tom, finally seeming to come to his senses and take in his surroundings, immediately went to bed once he realized that he had cooperated with Harry in the first time in over a month.

Harry decided that Valentine's Day was the worst holiday ever created. February 14 was turning out to be absolutely horrible, mainly because of Lockhart and his atrocious pink decorations and outfit. The only person who seemed to be more peterved than Harry was Tom, whose deep scowl kept everyone from trying to approach him.

Lockhart had even arranged for small dwarves dressed as cupids to deliver valentines to students. So far, both Harry and Tom had been saved from the embarrassment of receiving one. Currently, Harry was leaning against the wall outside the Charms classroom, Tom and Draco nearby.

Harry's stomach dropped when he saw a dwarf approaching them, envelopes in its hand. "I've got a valentine for 'Arry Potter and a musical message for one Tom Riddle," it declared.

Tom's face went ashen, even more pale than it usually was. Just as his cheeks were beginning to get rosy (Harry's were already tomato red), he turned on his heel and dashed away, mumbling some excuse about forgetting his Charms notebook.

He was almost out of the corridor when someone's foot jutted out, causing Tom to trip. Harry saw the passing fourth year who did it chuckle a bit, but the smile was wiped off his face when Tom stared at him coldly and began to say "I will murder y-" before the dwarf cupid caught up to him.

Meanwhile, Harry stood in shock while all of these events were playing out, the envelope he had been delivered crumpling in his hand. Draco looked caught between laughing now (later receiving Tom's wrath) and keeping silent.

The dwarf had begun singing.

"With the deepest of eyes and the darkest of hair,
The highest of smarts and good looks to spare,
A personality of silver and charm of gold,
He's a mystery, an enigma, and a Riddle untold."

At this point, Tom was practically seething with a mixture of embarrassment and fury. He liked to be in control, and Harry could tell that this situation bothered him like no other. As soon as the door to the classroom opened, Tom rushed in, slamming his books on an empty desk. No one, except for Harry, had the courage to sit next to him.

"C'mon, Tom, it was just a silly valentine. By tomorrow morning, everyone will have forgotten about it."

"I'm sure," Tom said dryly, angrily flipping through his textbook. "What did yours say?"

"My what?" Harry blurted.

"Your valentine, idiot. The one that's currently crumpled into a ball in your left hand."

"Oh, erm, let me see." Harry attempted to flatten it out on his desk before tearing the pink envelope open. Inside was a handwritten note.

"Just another poem," Harry said. It read:

His eyes are as green as a fresh pickled toad,
His hair is as black as a blackboard,
I wish he was mine, he's really divine,
The hero who conquered the Dark Lord.

Tom silently read the note. "We need to identify this handwriting. It's the same person." He carefully took the note and folded it, then placed it in his pocket.

Harry didn't have a chance to reply before Flitwick began "teaching" the class.

On Saturday, Harry sat watching Tom as he snuck around the dormitory, comparing the note to everyone's handwriting. Luckily, the common room and dormitories were empty because everyone was at the Ravenclaw-Hufflepuff Quidditch game. Harry had told him not to bother with the boys, especially because he felt that the handwriting somehow looked like a girl's, but Tom was so paranoid that he checked the penmanship of everyone in Slytherin. An exasperated huff let him know that Tom hadn't made any significant developments.

"They could have changed their handwriting for the note," Harry pointed out to an annoyed Tom. "If I were the one writing it, I wouldn't want the person I gave it to to recognize me."

"That's another possibility, yes, but I need to keep going until I've seen the handwriting of everyone in this school."

"Well, have fun with that—" Harry tried to say, but he was cut off.

"—You're going to help me. We need to get into Gryffindor next. Now, all I need is the password. They should be at the game for another hour."

"Don't be so sure about that. There's no set time for Quidditch, remember?" Harry added helpfully.

"Yes, well, it's raining, so it'll be harder for them to play, they're both well-matched teams, and we're going to have the Invisibility Cloak. I'm not stupid," Tom muttered.

"You always say that last bit — you sure you're not stupid? I mean, you have to tell me, and I know you best, so—" Tom interrupted Harry's sarcasm with a slight whack to the head with the folded poem.

"Come on, Harry," he said, sighing.

They'd been waiting for fifteen minutes outside the Gryffindor common room, unable to figure out a way to get inside. Harry was growing antsy, tired of waiting for nothing.

"I'm going to the toilet," he declared, stepping out from under the Invisibility Cloak.

"Seriously?" he heard Tom say. "Just be fast."

Because there was practically no one around in the school, Harry was able to run on his way to the lavatory. On the way out, though, he noticed something strange. Bending down, he saw and picked up a piece of paper labelled with some dates and strange words.

Trying to figure out what it was, he quickly walked back to where he knew Tom was. "Hooked nose? What?" he read aloud in confusion.

To his shock, the common room door swung right open, the painting of the Fat Lady glaring a bit at him in distaste. Quickly, he scurried under the protection of the Invisibility Cloak.

"How did you do that?" Tom questioned in shock. Noticing the paper in Harry's hand, he asked, "What is that?"

"I don't really know," Harry replied. "I just found it on the floor of the lavatory. I guess it was a list of passwords."

Tom grabbed the sheet to look at it carefully. "Neville Longbottom. I had to sit next to him once in Charms class. It's definitely his handwriting — figures that he'd be the one to have to write down the passwords to remember them."

Harry, whose mind didn't work exactly like Tom's, was a bit bored from listening to his reasoning. "Can we just go inside now?"

Finally, Tom nodded and they stepped into the common room; the door swung shut behind them.

"We'll start with the girls' things. Find as many different notebooks as you can," Tom instructed Harry. "If you hear the door open, quickly hide under the cloak again."

Harry nodded and began searching. After a while, they had accumulated a large pile of notebooks to check. Thankfully, most of the girls had left at least one notebook or piece of homework around the common room, because Harry didn't think they would be able to make it into the girls' actual dormitories.

Tom was making his way through the pile of handwriting samples in good time. There was only one poem to look off of, not to mention the fact that Tom liked to be in control, so Harry simply sat there watching the process.

Finally, it seemed that Tom had successfully matched the writing. "I should have known," he grumbled.

"Well, whose is it?!" Harry asked, excited that they had finally figured it out.

"Ginny Weasley. Either she's too stupid to realize that she should change her handwriting for something like this or she wanted us to figure out it was her. I'm leaning towards the former option. She's a Weasley, after all."

"Hey, don't be like that, Tom," Harry lightly scolded. "We've figured it out, which is good. Also, how can you be sure that the poems were written by the same person. After all, yours was a singing one and mine was written."

Tom scowled. "They're essentially the same format, first of all. I highly doubt that two students could coincidentally create two poems. Second of all," Tom had a smug grin on his face, "I saw the handwriting of the poem that 'cupid' was reading off of. Same handwriting."

"Fine," Harry conceded. They carefully put each and every notebook and paper back where they had found them. It was a bit difficult for Harry because he hadn't focused on remembering their former locations. Eventually, though, they finished and were able to return to the Slytherin common room. Harry took the list of passwords with him.