January 9, 1997
Before he started going to Hogwarts, Harvey remembered how excited he was when his dad told him about Defence Against the Dark Arts. James would often tell him how much he had enjoyed the subject and the great memories he had from that class. Harvey had been excited to learn what he would be learning, but his first year hadn't been what he'd expected. Quirrell had been a strange professor, and sometimes his stutter made it difficult to keep up with him. And then he tried to kill Harvey and Harry, so they dealt with a temporary teacher for the rest of his first year, one who hadn't been as knowledgeable in the subject.
And now, here he was. His second year at Hogwarts and he had to listen to the prancing pixie that was Lockhart. They should have been going over werewolves; instead, they were given a reenactment of Lockhart's book, Wanderings with Werewolves.
Lockhart was standing at the front of the class, lost in his tale, while most of the second-year class muttered to one another or, if you were Hermione, working on their homework for their other subjects. Harvey had decided to try and do something similar, and he was reviewing his charms work. He was very proud of his advancement in Charms; Flitwick complimented him and told him he was just as talented as his mum, so he had started putting even more effort into the subject.
Harvey glanced up from his essay when he heard Lockhart's voice stop. He'd been midsentence, and he let out a squeaky huff.
"Professor Snape," said Lockhart, emphasising the 'p' as he spoke.
"I need Potter and Granger," said Snape.
Lockhart sighed, his shoulders sagging. "Very well. Harvey, Hermione. Off you go."
Harvey felt a small sense of relief to escape the lesson, even if it was Snape who was pulling them out of their class. He quickly put his stuff into his bag and followed Hermione over to the door. Snape held the door open as they walked passed before swishing past them down the hall.
"Professor, where are we going?" asked Hermione.
"Professor Dumbledore needs to speak with you." Snape's pace increased, forcing Harvey and Hermione to almost run after him.
Harvey glanced at Hermione and saw her confused expression. They hadn't done anything they shouldn't have, except for the potion brewing in the girl's bathroom, but no one went in there because of Myrtle—Hermione was sure of that—unless Myrtle had spilt their secret.
They walked through the halls, which were barren of all sources of life. No students or prefects were allowed to wander the halls, so it was creepily quiet. When they reached the gargoyle that guarded Dumbledore's office, Snape finally slowed.
"Lemon Drop," said Snape.
The gargoyle eyed Snape for a moment before it shifted and allowed them entrance. Snape looked at them and nodded at the door, meaning for them to enter first. Harvey followed Hermione into Dumbledore's office. Inside they were met by not only Dumbledore but McGonagall and Ron.
McGonagall was standing to the side of Dumbledore's desk with a disappointed frown. Dumbledore was sitting at his desk, his hand stroking his phoenix that had perched itself on a small pile of papers. And Ron was sitting in one of the chairs, his eyes glued firmly to the ground.
"As requested, Professor," said Snape.
"Thank you, Severus. Good afternoon, children." Dumbledore offered them a kind smile. "Do you have any idea why you have been brought here today?"
Harvey didn't know what to say. Seeing as Ron was sitting there, he just knew it had to be about the potion.
When neither of them provided a response, Dumbledore sighed. He said, "Professor Snape has informed me that he discovered Mr Weasley going into the girl's bathroom on the second floor. Upon following Mr Weasley into the bathroom, he discovered a potion being brewed. Looked to be a Polyjuice potion."
"An in-progress one," added Snape. "And considering Weasley's potions ability, I know he wasn't doing it alone."
"Severus." Dumbledore frowned at him slightly. "Do you two have anything to say for yourselves?"
This had been one of the reasons he had said no. He wanted to avoid more trouble, not cause more chaos. He already knew that Harry would be pissed, and what would his parents say. His mum was heavily pregnant and wouldn't need the stress of him getting into trouble.
"I was helping Ron, Professor," said Hermione, "but Harvey had nothing to do with it."
Harvey glanced up surprised, as did Ron, but he looked furious.
Snape scoffed. "You think we would believe that Harvey wasn't involved. You three do everything together."
"Not this, Professor," said Hermione. "Harvey explained that he didn't want to get involved since he made a promise to his family, so we didn't include him."
Snape sneered. "You can't believe that." He glanced between Dumbledore and McGonagall.
"Severus, please." Dumbledore stood from his chair.
"What would make you want to try to brew such a potion?" asked McGonagall.
"Malfoy's the Slytherin heir," grumbled Ron. "I was going to make the snake admit it."
"You believe Mr Malfoy is responsible for everything happening at Hogwarts," asked McGonagall.
"Your damn straight I do. It's either him or…him!" He jabbed his finger in Harvey's direction.
Harvey frowned at him. "I am not doing this, Ron. Why do you have to be such an ass?"
Ron shot up from his chair.
"Enough!" declared McGonagall. "Mr Weasley, sit down. And Mr Potter, I expect better from you. There is no need for that language."
"Sorry, Professor." Harvey dropped his head.
"And you, Mr Weasley, need to calm yourself. Discovering who is behind these attacks is not something you should concern yourself with. Any of you."
"Professor McGonagall is correct," said Dumbledore. He ran his hand down his beard. "I don't want to hear that any of you are involved in anything further."
Harvey nodded. He would make sure to stay out of it.
"Now, Mr Weasley and Miss Granger. As you both have admitted to brewing the potion and admitting to breaking a number of school rules, you will both receive detention for the remainder of the school year."
"Seriously?" Ron groaned.
Hermione let out a small huff but seemed to accept her fate.
"Be glad that you aren't getting expelled, Mr Weasley," said McGonagall.
"Mr Potter," continued Dumbledore, "while you weren't involved in the brewing of the potion, you were aware of the situation and did not come forth. Therefore you shall also receive a month of detention."
Harvey nodded, relieved that it wasn't any worse. He looked up, and as Dumbledore sat back down, he noticed a diary in front of him. It looked just like Ginny's.
"Now, I believe you all have classes that you should be attending. Severus, if you could please escort these three to their Herbology class," said Dumbledore.
Snape moved towards the door without a word, Ron stomping after him. Hermione gave a small smile to both Professors before following.
"Harvey?" said Dumbledore.
He looked away from the diary and up at the Headmaster. "Yes, Professor?"
"Something bothering you?"
"That diary? Where did you get it?"
"Professor Snape found it on the floor in the girl's bathroom. Do you know who it belongs to?"
Harvey shook his head. "No, Professor. Just reminded me of a diary that I've seen someone using, that's all."
"And who would that be?"
The question didn't sit right with Harvey. The way Dumbledore leaned forward and placed his hand on the book made Harvey's stomach turn. He knew that Ginny's diary wasn't normal; it had some form of charm on it. And he also knew that it originally belonged to the Malfoy's. Dumbledore seemed almost desperate to know whose the diary was, which could mean that maybe the spell on it was dangerous, and Ginny didn't deserve to get in trouble for a diary when she had no idea
"I'm sorry, Professor. I don't remember."
Dumbledore sighed. "Very well. You best catch up with Professor Snape."
Harvey nodded and quickly rushed out of the office. He didn't know if he should tell Ginny. Their Headmaster could know anything she had written inside it if it was her diary. He was clever enough that he probably be able to get the book to reveal what had been written. But if he had, he wouldn't have needed to ask Harvey who it belonged to. Either way, Ginny would probably needlessly panic if she knew.
Harry's thumb tapped on the edge of his desk. His teeth her clenched, and the essay in front of him he had barely been able to focus on besides knowing it was Neville Longbottoms. Whatever it said, Harry already knew it wouldn't get anything higher than an Acceptable, but most likely a Poor. Still, he believed that any student – no matter how incompetent Snape believed them to be – should get his full attention when grading. It just seemed impossible for him to concentrate.
It had been three days since Fleur had spoken to him. He had tried twice to contact her through the mirror, but she had never picked up. So a letter it was. Harry kept it simple, wanting to apologise properly face to face, but he couldn't do that if she ignored him. He had sent Hedwig off that morning and was anxiously waiting for a reply, but it could take Hedwig a few days before she would make it back.
Harry regretted his outburst as soon as it happened. He had already been feeling on edge with everything, and Fleur seemed to hit tender nerves. He understood she was trying to help, and his reaction had been over the top; he felt like she would never really understand what he was trying to work through. Fleur had supported him through everything since they'd met, but this wasn't something he believed she could help with.
'If you continue to tap that finger, I'll remove it.'
Harry's thumb froze and he glanced at Snape. He stood behind one of three cauldrons he had brewing and was carefully pouring in ingredients.
'Threatening to remove a student's thumb is harsh,' said Harry.
Snape didn't even acknowledge him. His eyes were locked on the green liquid as he poured.
Harry sighed and glanced down at the essay. He would be getting any grading done, so he moved to pack it up. As he pulled a few essays into a neat stack, he stopped when he spotted a black diary. It was sitting in a mix of other things on the desk. Harry reached out to pick it up and, flipping it over, realised it was Ginny's diary.
'Professor, where did you find this diary?' he asked.
Snape's eyes snapped to him. 'I located it on the floor in the girl's bathroom.'
Harry frowned. What an odd place to find a diary.
'After I apprehended Ronald Weasley as he snuck in to check on a potion that he and Miss Granger were working on.'
A potion? Harry's frown deepened. What were they up to now? 'What kind of potion?'
'You should ask your brother.' Snape pulled out his wand and waved it over his cauldron before walking out of the room.
Harry rolled his eyes and looked down at the diary. It was safe in Snape's hands, at least; he believed it should be. Snape knew the Malfoy's well and would likely know it belonged to Lucius.
Putting the diary back down, Harry started packing up his things. He would need to make an effort to speak to Harvey to find out what had happened exactly because it seemed his sibling was up to no good again. Then again, Snape had only mentioned Ron and Hermione, so Harvey might have been behaving himself.
He reached across the table to grab his bag and accidentally knocked over the ink pot. Harry groaned as it sloshed over the bench. It avoided most things but did get the diary. Dropping his bag on the chair, Harry grabbed the diary and shook the ink from its cover before placing it down to clear the ink from its pages. It fell open to a random page, and as Harry pulled out his wand to clear it, he watched as the ink seeped into the edges of the paper before disappearing. It was something Harry had never seen before. There was no trace of ink on the page; it was completely untouched.
Harry ran his hand over the page, but it was dry.
Ginny had told him that the diary had written back, that Tom had written back.
Flipping through the blank pages, Harry wondered, was it possible that the diary was blank because all of the ink was absorbed into the page?
He decided to test the theory and grabbed his quill. A drop of ink fell onto the page, and after a moment, it faded away. Harry wrote, 'Hello?' He watched the words absorb into the page and then waited. Then it appeared.
Harry's eyes widened. It did talk back. He wrote, 'Who are you?'
'My name is Tom Riddle. Who are you?'
'My name is Harrison Black.'
'How did your diary come into the possession of the Malfoy family?'
'I do not know. I seem to pass from person to person. Probably because not many would wish to learn what I hold within my diary.'
'And what would that be?'
'This diary holds memories of terrible things. Things which were covered up. Things which happened at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry.'
That seemed peculiar to Harry. The diary seemed to be almost keen on sharing its secrets. He wrote, 'And what kind of things were covered up?'
'Have you ever heard of the Chamber of Secrets?'
'Then you have been told the legend. In my day, they told us that it did not exist. But this was a lie. In my fifth year, the Chamber was opened and the monster attacked several students, finally killing one. I caught the person who'd opened the Chamber and he was expelled. But the Headmaster, Professor Dippet, ashamed that such a thing had happened at Hogwarts, forbade me to tell the truth. A story was given out that the girl had died in a freak accident. They gave me a nice, shiny, engraved trophy for my trouble and warned me to keep my mouth shut. But I knew it could happen again. The monster lived on, and the one who had the power to realise it was not imprisoned.'
Sitting back in his chair, Harry put down his quill. This diary seemed almost too good to be true. It was spilling secrets about the Chamber, almost desperately so. What Harry didn't understand was why? Why was it so willing?
Harry wrote, 'Why tell me all of this?'
'Because someone needs to make sure it doesn't happen again. Someone needs to stop the monster.'
Was it possible that the diary was only trying to help? Perhaps this Tom Riddle created his diary to warn those who faced the same terrible threat of the Chambers monster. After all, it was clear that the last person to open the Chamber was only the beginning. If this was someone whose family was determined to purify the school, just like Slytherin had intended, then every generation could have the chance to do so. But who would do such a thing? Families like the Malfoy's did pop up first in Harry's mind; they were purebloods, and while Carlisle could care less about another person's blood, he knew that Lucius and Draco very much believed in blood purity. The same could be said for many of the purebloods in Slytherin. But there wasn't one that he knew of that were a direct descendant of Slytherin. If they were, he knew they would have boasted about it by now.
Harry decided to see what the diary would say. 'Who opened the Chamber the last time?'
'How about I show you?'
Before Harry could respond, the diary moved. The pages began to blow as though a gale-force wind came through the window, stopping on a blank page. The date June thirteenth appeared on the page. The ink seemed to flicker, the colour black changing colour slightly. Harry leant closer, peering at the word when he felt it. His body was pulled forward, the words grew bigger, and the chair beneath him disappeared as he was yanked into the pages.
He managed to turn himself, and the next second, he landed on his feet, his shoes hitting the ground with a small thud. The room spun for a moment before the image around him cleared, and he knew immediately where he was.
The circular room with the sleeping portraits was none other than the Headmaster's office or Dumbledore's office, but the room appeared different. There were less portraits on the wall and notably, it wasn't Dumbledore sitting behind the desk. Instead, a wizened, frail-looking wizard, bald except for a few wisps of white hair, was reading a letter by candlelight. There was something about him that seemed familiar, but Harry couldn't place it.
The wizard hadn't looked up upon Harry's arrival, so Harry assumed he couldn't be seen. It seemed that the diary had pulled him into a memory, something similar to a Pensieve.
The wizard continued to read his letter and frowned slightly before folding up the letter. He stood from his desk and let out a sigh before crossing the room, passing Harry, and drew the curtains closed before returning to his desk. He twiddled his thumbs and turned his eyes towards the door.
Harry turned to the door as someone knocked on it.
'Enter,' said the old wizard.
A boy, the same age as Harry, entered. A silver Prefect's badge was glinting on his chest. He was slightly taller than Harry and had dark hair.
'Ah, Riddle,' said the wizard.
'You wanted to see me, Professor Dippet?' said Riddle. Harry noted the nervous look upon his face.
'Sit down,' said Dippet. 'I've just been reading the letter you sent me.'
'Oh,' said Riddle. He sat down.
'My dear boy,' said Dippet kindly, 'I cannot possibly let you stay at school over the summer. Surely, you want to go home for the holidays?'
'No,' said Riddle, rather quickly, 'I'd much rather stay at Hogwarts than go back to that – to that –'
'You live in a Muggle orphanage during the holidays, I believe?' said Dippet curiously.
'Yes, sir,' said Riddle. His cheeks became slightly red.
'You are a Muggle-born?'
'Half-blood, sir,' said Riddle. 'Muggle father, witch mother.'
'And are both your parents –?'
'My mother died just after I was born, sir. They told me at the orphanage she lived just long enough to name me: Tom after my father, Marvolo after my grandfather.'
Dippet clucked his tongue sympathetically.
'The thing is, Tom,' he sighed, 'special arrangements might have been made for you, but in the current circumstances….'
'You mean all these attacks, sir?' said Riddle.
Harry's interest peaked. He had wondered where it had been going.
'Precisely,' said the Headmaster. 'My dear boy, you must see how foolish it would be of me to allow you to remain at the castle when term ends. Particularly in the light of the recent tragedy…the death of that poor little girl…You will be safer by far at your orphanage. As a matter of fact, the Ministry of Magic is even now talking about closing the school. We are no nearer locating the – er – source of all this unpleasantness….'
It seemed that Hogwarts was back in the same situation. History repeating itself.
Riddle's eyes had widened.
'Sir – if the person was caught… If it all stopped…'
'What do you mean?' said Dippet. He sat up in his chair. 'Riddle, do you mean you know something about these attacks?'
'No, sir,' said Riddle quickly.
Harry frowned and crossed his arms. He was lying to the Headmaster.
Dippet sank into his chair. 'You may go, Tom.'
Riddle slid off his chair and stumped out of the room. Harry gave the old headmaster one last glance before turning to follow Riddle.
Down the moving spiral staircase they went, emerging next to the gargoyle in the darkening corridor. Riddle stopped and Harry took a moment to look him up and down. His furrowed forehead told Harry that he was considering something.
Harry found it strange that Riddle of all people knew who had opened the Chamber. How was he able to figure it out but not any of the Professor? He knew that things weren't always clear to everyone, but this was rubbing him the wrong way.
Riddle seemed to make up his mind because he took off. Harry followed him, making their way down the corridor into the Entrance Hall, when a tall wizard with long, sweeping auburn hair and beard called to Riddle.
'What are you doing, wandering around this late, Tom?'
Harry took in a fifty-year-younger Dumbledore.
'I had to see the Headmaster, sir,' said Riddle.
'Well, hurry off to bed,' said Dumbledore, giving Riddle exactly the kind of penetrating stare Harry had seen before. 'Best not to roam the corridors these days.'
He sighed heavily, bade Riddle goodnight and strode off. Riddle watched him out of sight and then headed straight down the steps to the dungeon. Harry followed, curious to see where Riddle would go, but it wasn't to the Slytherin common room. He twisted and turned before coming to an end of a corridor. One that in Harry's day, was used for storage.
Tom pulled out his wand and shoved open the door.
Turning around quickly was a huge boy, he was crouching in the room in front of a very large box.
'Evening, Rubeus,' said Riddle sharply. The somewhat meek boy that had spoken to Dippet was gone.
The boy slammed the lid of the box shut and stood. 'What yer doin' down here, Tom?'
Riddle kept up his wand and stepped closer.
Harry peered over and took in a young Hagrid. He had always been curious how the half giant had been expelled from Hogwarts but had never thought it polite to ask.
'It's all over,' he said, 'I'm turning you in. They might close Hogwarts if you don't stop these attacks.'
'What d'yeh –'
'I don't think you meant to kill anyone. But monsters don't make good pets. I suppose you just let it out for exercise and –'
'It never killed no one!' said Hagrid. He stepped forward, blocking Riddle from getting near the box.
'Come on, Rubeus,' said Riddle. 'The dead girl's parents will be here tomorrow. the least Hogwarts can do is make sure that the thing that killed their daughter is slaughtered.'
'It wasn' him!' roared Hagrid.
Riddle sighed. 'Stand aside!' With a flick of his wand, the lid of the bock flew open, smacking up against the wall and shattered into splinters. Out of the boy crawled a vast, low-slung, hair body with a tangle of black legs, gleaming eyes and a pair of razor-sharp pincers. Riddle raised his wand again, but as he did, Hagrid reached out and grasped his arms.
The creature took its chance and scuttled away, tearing past Riddle and down the corridor out of sight. Riddle grunted and threw Hagrid off of him before letting out a shout of frustration.
'You will be expelled for this,' said Riddle.
The floor beneath Harry's feet began to shift. The memory was over and after a moment it threw him out and back into his chair. It rocked beneath Harry and the diary snapped itself shut.
It was ridiculous, absolutely ridiculous, he thought to himself. Harry stood and picked up the diary. This Tom Riddle wanted to blame it all on Hagrid, but that was ludicrous.