Screams and Whispers

Sequel to As It Began; Harry begins his second year of Hogwarts with Snape as his guardian. When strange things begin to happen to Hogwarts students, some his closest friends, Harry must find a way to stop it before the damage becomes irreversible.

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16. Chapter 16

    Severus cautiously stepped forward and bent to pick up Harry’s wand. His eyes did not leave Harry’s the entire time. When Snape edged to the side to pick up Ron’s, Harry moved quick as a flash.

    “Hold,” he shouted in parseltongue as he slid off his formerly invisible birthday present. Before Severus could react, Harry flung the bracelet at Severus’s wand hand that was still pointed in his direction. He hoped that it would meet its mark. 

    In midair, the snake became animate and caught onto the handle of Severus’s wand. He made a move to shake it off, but it held firm. Severus readied a spell but before he could cast it, the snake had wrapped around his hand. The bracelet pulled right hand towards his left and twined them together. Snape still had hold of his and Harry’s wands and he attempted to fire a double spell. All that came out was a wisp of harmless smoke. 

    Harry stepped forward and took the wand from a seething Snape. He attempted to lunge at him but the snake was growing longer and thicker and the heavy metal weighed him down. Harry shot a silencing spell at his guardian. He did not want to hear his voice at the moment. He stepped up so that they were so close, their noses almost touched.

    “Who are you?” Harry said with narrowed eyes. “I should have said no the moment you told me you were a death eater.”

    Harry turned away. “Ron, stay here and watch him, will you? I’ll get Draco.”

    “By yourself?” Ron asked. Though he sounded worried, he did not show any inclination of wanting to go along. “Be careful. I don’t want you to end up like Myrtle.”

    Harry gave a humorless smile. He took a deep breath and started down the corridor. He walked slowly for a few minutes before he saw torches burning up ahead.His footsteps picked up as he approached a circular metal door adorned with freakishly real looking snakes. He pressed his hand against the door, hoping it would open. As expected, it did not. Figuring that it wouldn’t hurt to try the same thing that got them down here, Harry spoke in parseltongue.

    “Open,” he said. The snakes shifted and slithered away from the edges. The door swing eerily inward. Harry stepped inside and it slammed behind him ominously. He gulped. The floor was wet and Harry found himself on a long boardwalk style platform. Huge snake statues rose from the sides, almost looking respectful, as if intended to honor however walked down this stretch of brick. As Harry started walking, he the damp fog cleared enough that he could see a giant head of a bearded man carved out of the stone at the end of his path. Before it was a large platform of stone on which lay something that Harry had to squint to see.

    “Draco?” he called as he broke into a jog. When he reached his friend and skidded to a stop, he checked his pulse. It was so faint that Harry had almost missed it. The blonde boy was unconscious and despite Harry’s shakes, would remain so. The diary lay beside him.

    “You’re too late,” a voice said from behind Harry.

    “Who are you?” Harry asked, wand raised.

    “Tom Riddle,” he responded.

    “Help me save him!” Harry pleaded, even though he knew that at least part of this problem stemmed from Tom’s diary.

    Tom laughed a truly frightening laugh. “Why would I do that?” he said while fingering Draco’s wand. “Saving him would mean sacrificing myself just as I am about to be reborn. Expelliarmus.”

    Caught off guard, Harry’s wand flew from his hand. Tom grinned. “So easy. How did you ever escape me?”

    “Escape you?” Harry asked, confused. “What?”

    “And as a baby nonetheless,” he said, half to himself. He waved Draco’s wand and fiery letters appeared in the air.

 

    TOM MARVOLO RIDDLE

 

    Harry watched as, with another wave, they rearranged themselves.

 

    I AM LORD VOLDEMORT

 

    “Do you see now?” he asked casually. “You cannot save Draco because he has given himself to me. Inadvertently, perhaps, but he poured his soul into that book. A Slytherin in Gryffindor, hated by his dad, not good enough for his friends, only a reserve on the Quidditch team... With every secret, I grew stronger. I wanted his soul to bring me back. And Lord Voldemort always gets what he wants,” he said menacingly. “And I want you dead.”

    Tom spun and faced the statue of the breaded man’s face. “Speak to me, greatest of Hogwarts four!”

    There was a rumble within the stone and Tom turned back to Harry.

    “I am the greatest wizard who ever lived. You are nothing. Prepare to die a death more honorable than you deserve.”

    Finally, Harry gathered the voice to speak. “You aren’t the greatest wizard who ever lived, Dumbledore is!” He defiantly spat at Tom’s feet.

    The creepy grin morphed into one of unconcealed anger. 

    “Kill him,” he said in parseltongue.

    Harry didn’t know who he was talking to. That was, until he looked up and found an outrageously large snake crawling out of Salazar Slytherin’s mouth. Harry assumed that was a basilisk. He closed his eyes. With a bird-like screech, something soft landed on Harry’s head. He felt around and pulled it off, still not wanting to risk opening his eyes. It felt like worn leather. Before Harry could puzzle out what it was, an injured hiss came from the basilisk.

    “Stupid bird!” Tom cried, furious. “You’ve blinded her!”

    Harry’s eyes shot open. He saw the snake careen wildly with pain and Fawkes fly to the ceiling where he could not be seen or harmed by Tom. Harry looked down at his hands and saw the Sorting Hat. He was confused.

    The basilisk got over its pain quickly enough and stopped, waiting for something to move.

    “Down here” Riddle said, then moved away from Harry.

    Harry scrambled up as the snake shot his way. He ran towards the base of the statue, trying to draw the basilisk away from Draco’s prone and lifeless body. He huddled in one of the folds of Slytherin’s beard as the snake came closer. Eventually, hearing nothing, it began to slither away. Harry let out a silent breath and examines the hat that was still in his hand. Nothing was inside it. He put it on, hoping for some advice. The only thing that came was something very hard falling on Harry’s head. He took off the hat and a sword clattered to the floor. 

    The basilisk froze. Panicking, Harry dropped the hat, grabbed the hilt of the sword and exited his hole. He actually stepped on the basilisk’s thick midsection to boost him high enough to reach the statue, being so large, it did not even notice. He tried to stab it but the sword simply glanced off of its hard scales. The snake could hear him now and it reared its head up towards Harry. He climbed faster. By the time he made it to the relatively flat spot at the top, the basilisk had pinpointed his position.

    Its head shot out astonishingly quick and sunk its fangs into Harry’s ankle. He screamed in pain. The adrenaline coursing through his body allowed him to ignore it as he twisted around and shifted the sword in his hand. He winced as it pulled on his leg. With one final burst of energy, Harry reached out with all his might and stabbed the snake through the eye socket. It tossed its head, breaking off its tooth in Harry’s leg. After wavering in the air a moment, it fell to the floor and did not move again. 

    Tom roared in anger as Harry carefully slid down the statue, his strength waning. His vision went fuzzy as he crawled over to where Draco and the diary lay. He pulled the fang out of his leg and gripped it tightly to fight the pain.

    “You may have killed her,” Tom said, “but not before she killed you. Basilisk venom is poisonous, Harry. You’ll be dead in minutes.”

    Harry shook his head though he knew it was true.

    “Yes, back with your dear mommy and daddy, isn’t that what you want? A family?” 

    “I... have a... family,” Harry said through gritted teeth. Moved by some unknown instinct, he dug the fang into the book laying beside him. Tom’s screams chilled him to the bone as they echoed throughout the chamber. He pushed harder. Light seemed to shatter him from within as he lunged toward Harry. With one final push and one final burst, he was shattered and gone. Harry looked down and found ink soaking the stone and his hands.

    Draco gave a shuddering gasp. “Harry?” 

    Harry smiled weakly. “Ron... will take... you out.”

    “Harry!” he said, concerned. He rushed to his side and found the bloody and infected wound.
    Harry’s eyes drifted closed as once more, he heard a shriek of a bird. Hot acid seemed to fall on Harry’s leg and he assumed that it was the final stages of the venom killing him. They kept coming and Harry’s eyes grew less tired. His breathing became more regular and he opened his eyes again. Fawkes was crying into his wound. Actually, the wound was gone, fresh skin in its place. Harry smiled. 

    “Thanks, Fawkes,” he said.

    Draco helped him up. “Thanks for saving me, Harry,” he said sheepishly. “I was an idiot. I don’t deserve to be your friend.”

    “Shut up, Draco, your welcome. Now can we please get out of this place?” Harry asked. He gathered the Sorting Hat, sword and both of their wands. He gave Draco his back. On a whim, he also brought the diary and the basilisk fang.

    Harry led Draco out of the cavern and the circular metal door opened easily for them with a parseltongue command. Harry and Draco stepped into the room where they left Ron, wholly unprepared for what they saw.

 

---{}-{}-{}---

 

    “YOU!” Draco screamed, raising his wand. “What are you doing here?”

    “What are you doing here?” Harry asked, equally as enraged. He looked to Ron.

    Ron looked really freaked out. “He just morphed into him about five minutes ago. Like we did after the polyjuice.”

    Harry’s heart dropped. “How long have you been Severus?”

    Lucius Malfoy gave a wicked grin. “Since the first human attack,” he laughed. “You and Severus are so touching, you know.”

    Harry shot a wicked curse his way, intended to miss by only inches. “Where is he?” Harry demanded. 

    “Don’t you see?” he asked, insanely playful. “He was attacked. Unless something was reflected, he is dead.”

    “No,” Harry said in disbelief. “No, he can’t be dead.”

    Draco stepped forward and punched his father in the face.

    “Is that any way to treat your dear old father?” Lucius asked. 

    Draco shot a hex at him that left him immobile. “Let’s see how he likes it.”

    Harry joined, shrinking Lucius down and slipping him into his pocket. Fawkes flew above him, indicating with his tail that they should grab on. The three did so and he flew them up toward the open air where their next task would be to find Harry’s guardian.

 

---{}-{}-{}---

    Harry and Ron were searching Snape’s office when Draco returned with Dumbledore. He took in the sight of the three of them and shook his head in both an impressed and admiring way.

    “Where is Lucius?” Dumbledore asked.
    Harry fished him out of his pocket and Dumbledore returned him to normal size but did not allow him to move.

    “We were trying to find something that would make him tell us where Severus is,” Harry explained. 

    Dumbledore nodded. “Accio veritaserum.”

    A cabinet rattled then opened and a small clear bottle flew to the professor’s hand. he released Draco’s spell on Lucius and forced him to drink.

    “Is Severus Snape alive?”

    “Yes.”

    “Where is Severus Snape?” he asked after it had taken effect.

    “In the boy’s room of his chambers,” he responded in a monotone.

    Dumbledore nodded to the boys. “Go get him and take him to the hospital wing. I have a few more questions for our friend here.”

    Harry nodded eagerly and went, at last, to retrieve his real guardian.

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