Ch.1 The Battle of the Chamber.
"This is what Dumbledore sends his defender! A songbird and an old hat! Do you feel brave, Harry Potter? Do you feel safe now?" Harry didn't answer. He might not see what use Fawkes or the Sorting Hat were, but he was no longer alone, and he waited for Riddle to stop laughing with his courage mounting.
"To business, Harry," said Riddle, still smiling broadly. "Twice — in your past, in my future — we have met. And twice I failed to kill you. How did you survive? Tell me everything. The longer you talk," he added softly, "the longer you stay alive."
Harry was thinking fast, weighing his chances. Riddle had the wand. He had Fawkes and the Sorting Hat, neither of which would be much good in a duel. It looked bad, all right.… but the longer Riddle stood there, the more life was dwindling out of Ginny.… and in the meantime, Harry noticed suddenly, Riddle's outline was becoming clearer, more solid.… If it had to be a fight between him and Riddle, better sooner than later.
"No one knows why you lost your powers when you attacked me," said Harry abruptly. "I don't know myself. But I know why you couldn't kill me. Because my mother died to save me. My common Muggle-born mother," he added, shaking with suppressed rage. "She stopped you killing me. And I've seen the real you, I saw you last year. You're a wreck. You're barely alive. That's where all your power got you. You're in hiding. You're ugly, you are foul —"
Riddle's face contorted. Then he forced it into an awful smile. "So. Your mother died to save you. Yes, that's a powerful countercharm. I can see now…. there is nothing special about you, after all. I wondered, you see. There are strange likenesses between us, after all. Even you must have noticed. Both half-bloods, orphans, raised by Muggles. Probably the only two Parselmouth to come to Hogwarts since the great Slytherin himself. We even look something alike …. but after all, it was merely a lucky chance that saved you from me. That's all I wanted to know."
Harry stood, tense, waiting for Riddle to raise his wand. But Riddle's twisted smile was widening again. "Now, Harry, I'm going to teach you a little lesson. Let's match the powers of Lord Voldemort, Heir of Salazar Slytherin, against famous Harry Potter, and the best weapons Dumbledore can give him…."
He cast an amused eye over Fawkes and the Sorting Hat, then walked away. Harry, fear spreading up his numb legs, watched Riddle stop between the high pillars and look up into the stone face of Slytherin, high above him in the half-darkness. Riddle opened his mouth wide and hissed — but Harry understood what he was saying,
"Speak to me, Slytherin, greatest of the Hogwarts Four."
Harry wheeled around to look up at the statue, Fawkes swaying on his shoulder. Slytherin's gigantic stone face was moving. Horrorstruck, Harry saw his mouth opening, wider and wider, to make a huge black hole. And something was stirring inside the statue's mouth. Something was slithering up from its depths.
He wondered if he could convince the Basilisk to leave him alone. "$Go back noble serpent. Go to sleep.$" He hissed.
"It won't listen to you, Potter! It only takes orders from me." Riddle cackled.
Harry backed away until he hit the dark Chamber wall, and as he shut his eyes tight he felt Fawkes' wing sweep his cheek as he took flight. Harry wanted to shout, "Don't leave me!" but what chance did a phoenix have against the king of serpents?
Something huge hit the stone floor of the Chamber. Harry felt it shudder — he knew what was happening, he could sense it, could almost see the giant serpent uncoiling itself from Slytherin's mouth. Then he heard Riddle's hissing voice: "Kill him."
The Basilisk was moving toward Harry; he could hear its heavy body slithering heavily across the dusty floor. Eyes still tightly shut, Harry began to run blindly sideways, his hands outstretched, feeling his way — Voldemort was laughing.
Harry tripped. He fell hard onto the stone and tasted blood. The serpent was barely feet from him. He could hear it coming. There was a loud, explosive spitting sound right above him, and then something heavy hit Harry so hard that he smashed into the wall. Waiting for fangs to sink through him he heard more mad hissing, something thrashing wildly off the pillars.
He couldn't help it — he opened his eyes wide enough to squint at what was going on. The enormous serpent, bright, poisonous green, thick as an oak trunk, had raised itself high in the air and its great blunt head was weaving drunkenly between the pillars. As Harry trembled, ready to close his eyes if it turned, he saw what had distracted the snake.
Fawkes was soaring around its head, and the Basilisk was snapping furiously at him with fangs long and thin as sabers Fawkes dived. His long golden beak sank out of sight. A sudden shower of dark blood spattered the floor. The snake's tail thrashed, narrowly missing Harry, and before Harry could shut his eyes, it turned — Harry looked straight into its face and saw that its eyes, both its great, bulbous yellow eyes, had been punctured by the phoenix; blood was streaming to the floor, and the snake was spitting in agony.
"NO!" Harry heard Riddle screaming. "LEAVE THE BIRD! LEAVE THE BIRD! THE BOY IS BEHIND YOU. YOU CAN STILL SMELL HIM. KILL HIM!"
The blinded serpent swayed, confused, still deadly. Fawkes was circling its head, piping his eerie song, jabbing here and there at its scaly nose as the blood poured from its ruined eyes.
"Help me, help me," Harry muttered wildly, "someone — anyone…."
The snake's tail whipped across the floor again. Harry ducked. Something soft hit his face. The Basilisk had swept the Sorting Hat into Harry's arms. Harry seized it. It was all he had left, his only chance — he rammed it onto his head and threw himself flat onto the floor as the Basilisk's tail swung over him again.
'Help me — help me —' Harry thought, his eyes screwed tight under the hat. Please help me. There was no answering voice. Instead, the hat contracted, as though an invisible hand was squeezing it very tightly. Something very hard and heavy thudded onto the top of Harry's head, almost knocking him out. Stars winking in front of his eyes, he grabbed the top of the hat to pull it off and felt something long and hard beneath it.
A gleaming silver sword had appeared inside the hat, its handle glittering with rubies the size of eggs.
"KILL THE BOY! LEAVE THE BIRD! THE BOY IS BEHIND YOU. SNIFF — SMELL HIM."
Harry was on his feet, ready. The Basilisk's head was falling, its body coiling around, hitting pillars as it twisted to face him. He could see the vast, bloody eye sockets, see the mouth stretching wide, wide enough to swallow him whole, lined with fangs long as his sword, thin, glittering, venomous —It lunged blindly — Harry dodged. It hit the Chamber wall.
It lunged again, and its forked tongue lashed Harry's side. He raised the sword in both his hands — The basilisk lunged again, and this time its aim was true — Harry threw his whole weight behind the sword and drove it to the hilt into the roof of the serpent's mouth —But as warm blood drenched Harry's arms, he felt a searing pain just above his elbow and his head, exactly where his famous scar was. One long, poisonous fang was sinking deeper and deeper into his arm. It splintered as the Basilisk keeled over sideways and fell, twitching, to the floor.
Harry slid down the wall. He gripped the fang that was spreading poison through his body and wrenched it out of his arm. But he knew it was too late. White-hot pain was spreading slowly and steadily from the wound in his arm and he was getting a blinding headache from the scar, much worse than the moment when he had confronted Voldemort's shade. Even as he dropped the fang and watched his blood soaking his robes, his vision went foggy. The Chamber was dissolving in a whirl of dull color.
A patch of scarlet swam past, and Harry heard a soft clatter of claws beside him. "Fawkes," said Harry thickly. "You were fantastic, Fawkes…."
He felt the bird lay its beautiful head on the spot where the serpent's fang had pierced him. He could hear echoing footsteps. Then a dark shadow moved in front of him.
"You're dead, Harry Potter," said Riddle's voice above him. "Dead. Even Dumbledore's bird knows it. Do you see what he's doing, Potter? He's crying."
Harry blinked. Fawkes's head slid in and out of focus. Thick, pearly tears were trickling down the glossy feathers.
"I'm going to sit here and watch you die, Harry Potter. Take your time. I'm in no hurry."
Harry felt drowsy. Everything around him seemed to be spinning. "So ends the famous Harry Potter," said Riddle's distant voice. "Alone in the Chamber of Secrets, forsaken by his friends, defeated at last by the Dark Lord he so unwisely challenged. You'll be back with your dear Mudblood mother soon, Harry…. She bought you twelve years of borrowed time….but Lord Voldemort got you in the end, as you knew he must…."
Everything went black.
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