I own nothing.
Si Vis Pacem, Para Bellum
Harry Potter leaned back in his seat and stared out the window of his compartment on the Hogwarts Expressed. It had been a good summer. No, it had been a wonderful summer. Possibly, the most wonderful summer. "Something wrong Harry?" Ron Weasley asked.
"Nothing's wrong," Harry replied. His best male friend looked unconvinced as the door slid open.
"Hey. . .what's wrong Harry?" Hermione Granger asked.
"Nothing. . ."
"He won't say," Ron interrupted.
"He won't?" Hermione asked.
"Nothing's wrong," Harry insisted.
"What do you think's wrong?" Hermione asked.
"Don't you ignore me," Harry growled.
"I don't know," Ron replied, easily ignoring Harry. They both turned to Harry and he realized that nothing short of the truth would placate them.
"I was thinking about the summer," he admitted.
"You're worried about the Death Eaters?" Hermione asked.
"So, you're worried about the Dark Mark," Ron said, nodding sagely.
"No!" Harry insisted. "I'm just thinking about the fact that this was the greatest summer I've ever had." He tried to arrange his thoughts into something vaguely understandable. "I was just wondering, what a normal school year would be like."
"Oh, come now Harry!" Hermione replied. "You can have a normal school year this year." She turned to their redheaded friend. "Right Ron?"
"Uh. . .sure," the youngest male Weasley replied unconvincingly. "After all, you can't know that it won't be a normal year until something happens."
"That's less than helpful," Hermione stated, glaring at the boy.
"Maybe, but it's much more likely," Ron replied.
"Thanks," Harry stated, touched by the boy's honesty. "I just want one normal year at Hogwarts. Just one year where bad grades are more troubling than threats against my life."
"I suppose that's understandable," Hermione allowed thoughtfully. "Nothing is more important than grades." Ron and Harry shared a look.
"What do you think it'll be this year?" the redhead asked.
"I don't know," Harry admitted.
"Maybe the Defense Against the Dark Arts teacher again," Ron suggested with a laugh that sounded rather forced.
"Honestly Ron, the Defense Against the Dark Arts teacher doesn't always try to kill Harry!" Hermione exclaimed.
"I suppose that's true," Harry admitted.
"My God, you've still got a crush on Lockhart," Ron added. "He tried to destroy our memories for Merlin's sake." Hermione blushed scarlet and sank back into her corner muttering about how Lockhart had had marvelous teeth. "Anyway, first year it was Quirrell, but you burned him to death with your hands and I don't think there's any coming back from that."
"Second year was. . ." Hermione trailed off and they all looked at each other.
"The Chamber of Secrets," Harry stated.
"The professors must have checked it out, right?" Ron asked.
"Are any of the professors parsletongues?" Harry pressed.
"I don't think so," Hermione stated, "though, that's not really something that witches and wizards advertise nowadays. Well, at least, not after the last few dark lords." That was when the door to their compartment slid open to reveal three of their classmates.
"Potter," Draco Malfoy stated.
"Malfoy," Harry replied. "Sorry, we're a little busy right now and we already had our usual conversation at the World Cup, so. . .Ron?"
"My pleasure, mate," the boy stated as he slid the door shut with his foot. It only took a moment for the blonde to slam the door back open.
"How dare. . ."
"Honestly Malfoy," Hermione interrupted, "you'd think a pure blood would be more polite. Ron?" The redhead shut the door again and Hermione placed a locking charm on it. "Anyway, would it make you feel better if we checked the Chamber of Secrets again?"
"Yeah," Harry admitted, ignoring the sounds of Malfoy's two manservants trying to pull the door open. "Although, I'm not going down there without Fawkes and the Sword of Gryffindor at my side."
"The feast would be your best bet to get them both," Ron commented. "That's the only time we can guarantee that Dumbledore will be away from his office."
"Ron's right," Hermione commented. "Oh for Pete's sake!" She unlocked the door and it flew open causing Crabbe and Goyle to stumble to the ground. "You know Malfoy, if you were a real pure blood, you'd wouldn't have so much trouble with a simple locking charm." She slid the door shut on Malfoy's shocked face and locked it again.
"You know, that's not a simple locking charm," Ron commented.
"Of course not," Hermione replied, "but it wouldn't have been so insulting if I hadn't said that."
"Girls are mean," Harry said.
"Too right mate," Ron replied.
"I may have taken some offense to what Malfoy said at the world cup," Hermione admitted.
"So, we get to the castle and slip away. We can grab the bird and the sword and head to the chamber with a minimum of hassle, sound good?"
"Sounds like a plan," Harry replied.
Harry stared at the gargoyle guarding the headmaster's office. "So much for a minimum of hassle," Ron commented
"Uh. . .lemon drop?" Harry ventured. The gargoyle didn't budge. He glanced at his friends.
"Celery?" Hermione ventured, earning herself incredulous stares from both her friends. "My parents are dentists!"
"Chocolate frogs?" Ron supplied. The gargoyle remained unmoved.
"Cockroach clusters?" Harry suggested in desperation. The stone creature immediately stepped aside. "Really?"
"Huh," Hermione grunted.
"Why's that weird?" Ron asked. "They're pretty good."
"They're real?" Harry asked.
"Of course!" Ron stated. "Why would you mention them if they weren't real?" Harry and Hermione glanced at each other.
"Never mind." Harry turned and walked into the office beyond.
"Students in the headmaster's office!" one of the portrait's shrieked.
"We're just here to borrow some things," Harry said. He glanced at the crimson bird perched in the office. "Hey Fawkes. We're checking out the Chamber of Secrets. Want to come with us?" The bird trilled shrilly and flapped over to land of Harry's shoulder. "Thanks."
"Here's the sword Harry," Ron reported. Harry glanced over and saw the rather ornate sword sitting on a presentation stand.
"Good." Harry hefted the sword and smiled at the somewhat familiar weight.
"Did you say Chamber of Secrets?" one of the portraits demanded.
"Yes sir," Harry replied. "We just want to check it out again and make sure there's not another basilisk down there."
"Ah!" the painted man replied. "In that case, the frog and sheathe are over there."
"Frog?" Harry asked blankly, glancing at his friends. Both of them just shrugged.
"I told you that you should never have stopped teaching the proper wearing of a sword Mary," the painting grumbled.
"The simple fact that you had a class for the wearing of a sword, but not a class for the using of one makes it pretty obvious how ridiculous the whole thing was!" Harry glanced back at his friend and nodded. They nodded back and the whole group slipped away as the portraits all began arguing.
"Here we are," Harry stated as he stared at the door before him.
"Here you are," a strange voice agreed, causing all three of them to jump and turn. "Hello!"
"Who are you?" Harry demanded, regarding the strange blonde haired girl.
"That's Loony Lovegood, mate," Ron whispered. "She's a Ravenclaw. Ginny had a class or two with her."
"Be nice Ron," Hermione ordered before turning on the girl. "What are you doing here?"
"What are you doing here?" the girl replied dreamily, staring at something just over Hermione's left shoulder. "I'm here because this is the easiest time to sneak around."
"Why would you need to sneak around?" Ron demanded suspiciously.
"I need to sneak around because I'm writing an investigative piece about the dark dealings going on at Hogwarts!" the girl stated. "Your turn. What are you doing here?"
"We're making sure that there isn't another basilisk in the Chamber of Secrets," Harry answered.
"Basilisk?" the girl asked. "I love basilisks! Father and I tracked one of them in the Amazon."
"Really?" Harry asked in shock. "Why?"
"It was terrorizing a village," the girl stated. "Father decided that the only way to protect the villagers was to destroy it."
"So your father took you along to hunt down a basilisk?" Harry asked in disbelief.
"Loony Lovegoods mate," Ron corrected lowly. Harry glanced at the boy, who just shrugged. "She's got the experience. Never hurts to have another set of eyes."
"She's two years older than when you two rescued me from that troll," Hermione supplied, "and a year older than the last time you fought a basilisk."
"Fair enough," Harry allowed. "How would you like to join us, Miss Lovegood?"
"Luna," the girl stated happily, "and I'd love to join you. You do have a plan right?" Harry glanced at his friends and received blank looks in reply.
"Plans have never really worked out for us," he admitted.
"Well, never too late to try," Luna supplied. "Unless it is, of course."
"I. . .I can blind it," Hermione commented hesitantly.
"That works," Harry said. "If there's a basilisk, Hermione will blind it and Fawkes will take care of its eyes." The phoenix trilled happily.
"Charlie taught me a piercing spell that can bring down a dragon," Ron added. "It should be able to bring down a basilisk. I can try to wing it a few times as we run."
"Alright. Blind it, take out its eyes and distract it while we run," Harry summarized. "Sound good?" The others agreed and Harry pushed open the bathroom door.
"Hello Harry. What are you doing here?"
"Hi Myrtle," Harry replied as he made his way over to the proper sink. "We're just making sure that there isn't another basilisk."
"That sounds dangerous," the ghost commented. "You know, if you all die, you can come join me."
"We'll. . .keep that in mind," Hermione said with a forced smile. Harry gave the proper command and the sink sank down into the floor.
"Ah, parsletongue!" Luna exclaimed as she scribbled something down in a notebook she had produced. "That makes sense."
"I suppose," Harry allowed.
"Would you two stop hissing at each other?" Ron demanded. "It's creepy."
"Hissing?" Harry asked. His eyes widened and he turned back to the girl who just smiled.
"I'm also fluent in Mermish and Gobbledegook!" she chirped, "as well as half a dozen human languages!"
"Oh," Harry stated simply.
"Quite useful that is," Ron added as they gathered around the opening.
"I'll. . ."
"I'll go first," Hermione interrupted.
"But. . ."
"I need to blind the snake," she said simply as she raised her wand. "Lumos."
"She's right," Ron said.
"Fine, but I'm. . ."
"I'm next," Ron interrupted. "I want as clear a line of fire as possible."
"Then me," Harry gritted, annoyed that he couldn't come up with an argument. "Unless you're interested Luna?"
"Oh, no. I'll watch behind us," the blond said happily. Harry nodded and turned back to Hermione.
"Lead the way."
The slide down into the depths of the castle was much as Harry remembered it, including the rather abrupt end. "Everyone okay?"
"That was. . .interesting," Hermione commented.
"That was fun!" Luna cheered.
"You have an odd definition of fun," Harry grunted as he tried to wipe some of the slime off his robes. He gave up in annoyance and pulled out the sheathed Sword of Gryffindor and the frog. "Now, how does this work?"
"You don't know how to wear a sword?" Luna asked.
"I guess I must have been sick the day they taught that," Harry sniped in annoyance. Maybe bringing the girl had been a mistake.
"Oh, that's a shame. Hold still." Harry did and watched curiously as the girl threaded the frog onto his belt and slid the sheathed sword into it. "There you go."
"Uh, thanks." He glanced at the other two. "Ready?" They nodded and Hermione once again took the lead. They made their way as quietly as they could through the cold slimy passage until they found the cave in that obscured most of the hallway. "Did this hole used to be bigger?"
"We used to be smaller," Ron replied n a tight voice. "I'll. . ." He trailed off as Hermione ignored him and crawled through the hole. Ron crawled through quickly as soon she was out of the way and Harry followed him. "If we find a basilisk it'll be hard to get through that hole in a hurry."
"I thought we were hunting the basilisk," Luna commented.
"No, we're investigating," Harry managed through his constricted throat. "If we actually think there's a giant murder snake here, we are going to all move quickly back to the hole and get out."
"That's no fun."
"Nope," Ron agreed. "It's nice and boring."
"And safe," Harry added. They started moving again and soon found themselves in the chamber proper.
"Oh my God," Hermione murmured. There was a bright flash of light and they all turned to see Luna holding a camera.
"Really?" Ron asked blankly. There was a hiss like a steam train about to explode and Harry didn't need to be a parsletongue to understand. There was another basilisk and it was pissed. "Hermione!"
"Cover your eyes! Apricum!" Harry raised his forearm, but even then the light nearly blinded him. There was a shrill war cry and Fawkes's near insignificant weight disappeared from his shoulder.
"My eyes!" a strange voice screamed.
"Ron. Get it!" Harry ordered as he dropped his arm. Ron raised his glowing wand and a fist sized hole appeared in a spray of blood in the giant snake's swaying torso. "Again!" Another hole appeared. "Until it stops moving!" Several more holes appeared and the basilisk toppled to the ground. The chamber was silent for five minutes before anyone dared speak.
"Do you think it's dead?" Ron asked finally.
"Looks dead," Harry stated as he drew the Sword of Gryffindor, "better make sure."
"Too right. I've got you covered." Harry hesitantly stepped up to the immobile mass and beheaded it with a single swing, the sword easily embedding itself into stone beneath the reptile. "Now I'm sure."
"Yeah," Hermione agreed. Harry quickly sat down before his legs could give out and he blew out a breath he hadn't really realized he had been holding. Ron sat next to him.
"You fought one of those two years ago to save my sister?"
"Anything you ever need, just ask."
"The last one was a female, right?" Luna asked as another flashbulb went off.
"What?" Harry asked.
"The last one was female, right?" Luna asked.
"How can you tell?" Harry asked.
"The males have this crest," Luna explained as she pointed to the basilisk's severed head. "The last one didn't have a crest, right?"
"I can honestly say that I didn't notice whether it did or did not have a crest while it was trying to kill me," Harry stated.
"Oh." Luna studied the other dead, semi rotted basilisk. "The tail is thinner and shorter on this one. It was a female."
"Aren't snakes all tail?" Ron asked.
"So, you think Slytherin was experimenting with breeding basilisks?" Harry asked, ignoring his friend with the ease of long practice.
"Basilisks can't breed," Hermione stated. "Basilisks can only be created by hatching a chicken egg under a toad."
"That's why it would be an experiment," Harry stated. Hermione stared at him for a moment before stalking off in a huff. Ron covertly held out his hand and Harry bumped knuckles with him. He loved Hermione dearly, but shutting her down was always an experience to be celebrated. That brought them to something that Harry had been fretting about. He stood up and brushed off his legs, before giving up on further procrastination. "So, Luna."
"Yes?" Luna asked and Harry flinched. She just looked so happy.
"If you ever endanger my friends again, I'll kill you." Luna's smile dropped in a heartbeat and her eyes filled with tears.
"I'm sorry, but. . ." he was cut off as a pair of arms wrapped around his middle.
"My first death threat! I'm a real investigative reporter now!" Luna sobbed. "I'm so happy. Thank you Harry!"
"Don't mention it," Harry replied, awkwardly patting the blonde on the head. She released him off and ran off to take more pictures. "What just happened?"
"Loony Lovegood," Hermione stated. Ron just nodded wordlessly.
"So, let's get out of here," Harry said.
"What about the venom?" Luna asked.
"What about the venom?" Harry asked.
"Basilisk venom is one thousand galleons per fluid dram to dealers," Luna stated happily.
"What?" Ron asked blankly.
"Basilisk venom is. . ."
"How much venom does a basilisk have?" Harry interrupted.
"One thousand and eighty two fluid drams," Luna chirped, "generally anyway."
"One thousand and eighty two times one thousand is one million and eighty two thousand," Hermione stated.
"This thing is worth one million and eighty two thousand galleons?" Ron asked blankly.
"No, just the venom. I'm not sure how much basilisk skin goes for on the market," Luna replied. She produced a knife from somewhere about her person. "I say we skin it and see."
"Sounds good to me," Harry replied.
Minerva McGonagall could only sigh as her three missing Gryffindors burst into the Great Hall and made a beeline for the Gryffindor table. "Just in time for breakfast." She squinted at the filthy, blood splattered group and frowned as she noticed a smaller, blond figure with a crimson bird perched on her head with them. "Isn't that one of your Filius?"
"Hm?" Filius Flitwick hummed, glancing up. "Oh, yes. That's Miss Lovegood."
"I didn't know that one of yours had gone missing as well."
"If I sounded the alarm every time Miss Lovegood wondered off, this castle would never get any rest," Filius said. "Although, if she's going to be running with your merry band of troublemakers, I'll probably have to keep a closer eye on her."
"Does this happen often?" Alastor Moody asked.
"Usually not this early," Minerva replied.
"At least they made it on the train this time," Pomona Sprout muttered, "unlike their second year. And they didn't get attacked on the train, like last year."
"Fair enough," Minerva allowed. She glanced around and noticed that the school healer had begun shoveling as much of her breakfast into her mouth as she could. "Poppy?"
"I'm going to lock the lot of them up in observation and throw away the key," Poppy Pomfrey stated thickly before drinking from her goblet and standing. "You wouldn't happen to know who their first class is with, would you?"
"Miss Lovegood would be in Care of Magical Creatures," Filius replied.
"The rest are with me," Pomona Sprout said. "I didn't plan anything too complicated today, so feel free."
"Agreed," Rubeus Hagrid said around an entire leg of lamb he had been working on.
"Excellent," Poppy said.
"And to think, I thought this was going to be boring," Alastor commented.
-Author's notes. Howdy. My name is Jack T. Cynical and welcome to my world. If you're one of my regulars, then welcome back.
So, another new story and another new fandom. Not gonna lie, been wanting to write something for Harry Potter for a while. This idea just kind of came up and I've been playing with it for a while. Figured, what the hell? New year, new story. What do you guys think? Please keep in mind, I'm American. Everything I learned about talking British I learned from Top Gear. I'm gonna try, but keep expectation low.
Updates for this will be relatively sparse. I'm actually in college right now, heading into my last semester and I'm basically getting ready to be in school forty-eight hours a week, so. . .yeah. I'm hoping for one a month, but no promises.
Now, I have an old tradition I do at the end of every chapter. Basically, I tell an interesting story that happened to me, usually involving booze, but not always. Now to preface this story, I'm a paramedic student. The program I'm in has us work shifts in the hospital to get experience, without having to get it on the side of the road at midnight during a blizzard. Anyway, so me and my partner have a patient come in. My partner is helping the doctors and nurses and I'm standing back writing vitals for her. The patient wakes up and as far as she can figure, there's a blue-eyed guy standing in the back of the room dressed in all black that no one else is noticing. Apparently, in her culture, that officially makes me Death. Yup. That went about as well as you can imagine. She started screamed, which scared the shit out of the residents and nurses. When her daughter explained the whole fiasco later, I got a raft of shit from my partner. She still calls me Death to annoy me sometimes.