Harry Crow

What will happen when a goblin-raised Harry arrives at Hogwarts. A Harry who has received training, already knows the prophecy and has no scar. With the backing of the goblin nation and Hogwarts herself. Complete.

https://www.fanfiction.net/s/8186071/1/Harry-Crow

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45. Enter the Basilisk

The stately elegance and sheer opulence of the room the young witch was inviting the wizard into was currently being totally ignored by the couple. This was more about the subject matter they were discussing claiming all of their attention, rather than any form of indifference or complacency.

"I was beginning to think you weren't going to be allowed to floo over. I really miss seeing you every day."

"I'm really glad of a break from the Manor, things are pretty intense at home right now. Mother and father are both furious at each other, kinda makes me wish I was back at Hogwarts too."

Pansy was shaking her head at that idea as she led Draco to the sofa. "Not if it could get us killed. My mother and father are furious that this thing can attack purebloods, and the fact your father never warned anyone of what he was doing."

"The same rules still apply, Pansy. If my father gets caught, anyone who knew about whatever scheme he's up to will find at the very least their Gringotts vaults closed. Trust me, you wouldn't want to be in the same situation as us."

"So, you still don't know what he's done?"

Draco remained adamant in his opinion. "No, and I don't want to either. Even mother doesn't know what he'd been up to, just that we were in the same danger as everyone else. That's why she came to Hogwarts and dragged me out of there."

"I think my parents are frightened that, if your father gets caught, he might pull others down with him. I will of course truthfully claim I simply didn't want to be at Hogwarts without you. That's why I sent a letter home asking my parents to collect me."

It was then Draco dropped the bombshell. "My father had no intention of getting me out of there, mother had to draw her wand so he wouldn't stop her heading for Hogwarts. He's absolutely livid that she might have pointed the Ministry in his direction, while she is furious that he put me in such danger. It's quite a shock to discover your father places some form of revenge over the value of his only child's life."

Pansy didn't know how to answer that, who would.

Draco took her silence as a sign to continue, he was speaking his recent thoughts out loud for the first time - showing just how concerned Draco was at the current situation. "I am starting to question everything my father has taught me. He claims Malfoys bow to no one, yet he then sullied our ancestry by calling a man with a muggle father his master. He projects an image of power, yet last year an eleven year old Harry Crow destroyed him -before his goblin father finished the job. He preaches nothing is more important than family, then leaves his own son in a deadly situation - a situation which he deliberately created. I just don't know which way is up at the moment, Pansy."

She laid Draco's head on her lap and encouraged him to stretch out on the sofa. As Pansy ran her fingers through Draco's hair, he closed his eyes and considered the other side of the coin. "Crow is supposed to be my enemy yet he confuses the hell out of me. That day in the great hall when I called him a thieving goblin bastard, he had me. Reporting that to his father would have seen me barred from Gringotts, and we both know what that would mean. I got the impression Crow understood exactly what that would mean too, yet he gave me an easy out. We both also know we would only need to ask and defence lessons from Professor Weasley would be available too, it was our choice to give it a miss. Then there was the Merlin Ball..."

Pansy held her silence, knowing Draco needed to get this off his chest. "We both know I wouldn't have stood an earthly of receiving any new dress robes from home, while Ron Weasley would probably been able to afford a set now. Crow provided tailoring for all of us so everyone was the same, and must have paid out a fortune to do so. Pansy, that was one of the best parties I've ever attended, everyone had a great time. Blaise even managed to bag a seat at Crow's table, and he was welcomed there."

All the Slytherins had noticed the changes in the castle this year, and not all of them were against those changes. Draco appeared to be slowly coming around to that point of view. "Everyone who has gone up against Crow has come off worse. My father, Slughorn, that massive goblin with the axe, even Dumbledore has seen his reputation destroyed. Kicked out of the Wizengamot and now Hogwarts. Crow has an untouchable power base and could easily lord it over Hogwarts, yet he seems to have no interest in doing so. All he does is train and train, and that worries me..."

He needed a moment to consider how far he wanted to take this. Since he'd started unburdening his soul, Draco was actually feeling better. This step though was tantamount to blasphemy, the kind of sin that could see you burned at the stake - or tortured to death. "We have been taught that the dark lord is all powerful, all the evidence we've learned lately points to that not being true. It's now an established fact his father was a muggle, and not even my father disputes a fifteen month old Harry Potter defeated Voldemort."

The confused wizard needed a moment before continuing. "Crow can do things with those blades of his that scares the shit out of me, and I certainly believe him when he says the goblins and the ministry will back him in his fight against the dark lord. What if he wins?"

"I don't understand, Draco."

"If he defeats the dark lord for a second time, they will probably make him King or something. Whatever they do, he would certainly not be someone you wanted as an enemy. Father thinks he's being so clever, yet the people Crow has behind him destroyed Dumbledore - something neither Voldemort or Grindelwald were able to do at the height of their powers."

This just confused Pansy even more. "I still don't understand what you're getting at, Draco."

"Whatever father has done, I believe he's going to be caught. Between the more efficient ministry and this new alliance with the goblins, everything points to that outcome - with only my father not being able to recognise this. I also think mother and I have to give him the same support he gave me at Hogwarts over this scheme of his - none. He left me to face whatever he's unleashed in that castle, we'll need to leave him to face the backlash of those actions alone. I just hope mother and I can survive it, and then choose the right side."

Rita had followed her instincts, as well as Draco through the floo. Those instincts were now paying dividends. With the two senior Malfoys barely speaking to each other, there was nothing for her to overhear. Today had been a pure mine of information, just not a rich enough seam yet to supply her with those ten thousand golden galleons. Rita was confident though there would be a break in this story soon.

-oOoOo-

It was an angry Neville who broke the silence in Myrtle's toilet, stoutly springing to Padma's defence. "That's impossible! When Luna was petrified, Padma wasn't even in Scotland. She spent Halloween dancing with me at Longbottom Manor. We were all there, even Professor Hobson. I don't know who you saw but it certainly wasn't Padma."

Myrtle didn't take too kindly to her word being questioned, especially in her own patch - and in front of Harry too. "I know exactly what I saw! She hissed at that sink and it opened, then she and that ruddy giant snake went down the hole..." This saw the ghost pause at the glaring inconsistency in her story. "...but then, how could she be standing here if she's down there?"

The obvious solution hit all of them at the same time. With a scream of 'PAV!' Padma dived at the construction and attempted to rip a sink off the stone structure with her bare hands. After having no success, she was reaching for her wand when Neville and Harry grabbed her arms and pulled her back.

"Let me go, let me go - my sister is down there!"

Hermione tried to reason with her. "We know, Padma, but what does Professor Weasley always say is our most powerful weapon - our minds. We're going to need all our weapons if we're to get Parvati out of there."

Padma looked at her friends and asked the question. "You're going to help?"

Harry was deadly serious. "I count you as family, Padma, and Parvati is your sister - that makes her family too. Whatever or whoever is controlling her has also attacked Luna, Susan and Hannah - they're not getting away with it."

The auror in Tonks made her ask the next question. "Harry, how do you know someone is controlling this girl?"

It was just as well both Harry and Neville still had hold of Padma, she was ready to spring at the auror. She settled for sending a verbal blast in her direction. "My sister is not a Parselmouth, which is why there was hissing at the sink. You also need that skill to control the basilisk..."

Both Tonks and Henrica were shocked at that revelation, leaving Harry to regret not approaching the veela last night with their theory.

"Okay, time to send for help." Harry removed his dagger and sent the come running signal to his father. "Auror Tonks, how much help can we expect from the aurors?"

"Quite a few of the aurors in the castle are trainees, I noticed at least one of the trainees petrified in the corridor. If this situation should arise, our very specific orders left no room for any misunderstandings. The castle has to be evacuated, and everyone escorted down to Hogsmeade. That will be the auror force's top priority, only after that has been accomplished are they allowed to do any investigating."

Henrica chipped in with her take on the evacuation. "I told McGonagall I would get you four out of here, so they will only be missing one student."

Tonks then gave her professional opinion of the current situation. "They won't halt the evacuation for one missing student, rather get everyone else to Hogsmeade and then send a squad back to search for her."

"It will take my father the best part of an hour to gather squads and then get to Hogwarts."

"Pav might not have that long, Harry."

"We're not going to be standing about doing nothing, Padma..."

It was Henrica who interrupted. "Harry, we need to wait until the others get here..."

"We need to get this thing open. Until we do, there's no point in arguing over anything else at the moment."

Everyone could see the merit in Harry's argument but it was Hermione who pointed out the obvious. "You're right, but how do we get it open? None of us speak Parseltongue."

The Lady Helena then provided Hermione with an answer. "Harry is Hogwarts' Champion, all doors should open for him - even ancient ones."

Deciding to give it a try, Harry placed his hands on the nearest sink before issuing a demand. "Hogwarts, your champion commands this door to open."

They all heard the screech of stone straining to move against stone, but the sinks didn't budge an inch. Harry again commanded the door to open, again the screeching but no opening.

Harry drew his sword and held it vertically in front of him, almost as a badge of office. "Hogwarts, your champion commands this door to open." This time magic sparked from the sword to battle the ancient parseltongue magic that was denying access, brilliant colourful flashes of magic continually jumped between the sword and the stone structure containing the sinks. It slowly crept open as the maelstrom of wild magic lit up the entire toilet.

Every hair on Tonks' body was standing to attention from the amount of magic that was in the air, she'd never even heard of such power before - far less witnessed it. "Harry, what kind of spell was that? I've never seen anything like it!"

"That wasn't a spell, and it wasn't me. Hogwarts just channeled magic through Godric's blade to overpower the Parselmouth enchantment that secured the opening. Now, I need everyone to cast their strongest shields."

The auror was about to ask why when she noticed that everyone else just obeyed Harry's order, she followed suit. As the last piece of the structure was about to sink into the floor, a surge of magic from Harry's sword blasted it to pieces. Pieces of stone that rained down on the shields they had erected, his three friends ensuring their shields overlapped to cover Harry too.

"That should stop it closing and now we can argue about what comes next." Harry hardly had the words out his mouth before Padma butted in.

"That's my sister down there, no one is stopping me going down after her."

"No one is trying to stop you, Padma, what we need though is a plan that's more evolved than jumping in there and shouting for Parvati at the top of your voice. If we don't have one, then we need to wait for reinforcements." Padma was smart enough to understand Harry's reasoning, she still didn't like it though.

Tonks didn't like this idea of entering the chamber at all, and tried to dissuade Harry. "We don't know what's down there, or have any idea of what we'll face. It's madness to go any further without reinforcements."

"My sister might not have that time to wait, we saw the message written on the corridor wall. Just whose skeleton do you think that message was referring to?"

"Auror Tonks, we will need someone to stay behind and lead the others to us. My father will bring every blade he can while Amelia will want a piece of whatever did that to Susan."

Harry's words hit Tonks where it hurt. "If you think this auror is going to stand here while four kids go down there without her, then you're crazier than a drunk Peeves."

Henrica tried to reason with him. "Harry, the parents are going to hit the roof if you pull this stunt. It will make that incident this summer seem like a picnic!" She was focusing on his mate, and trying to make him see the consequences of this. His mate though had not been idle, Hermione was working on a viable solution to their basilisk problem. She'd transfigured one of the stones Harry had shattered into something they all recognised from their holidays over the summer.

The witch in question slipped on the pair of mirror sunglasses she'd just transfigured. "If we can create a strong enough light to temporally blind it, that should also disrupt the magical focus of its eyes. We all studied and practiced that spell Slughorn cast on you, that should certainly disrupt it for a moment or two. Then, it's a speed and accuracy drill as we aim for its eyes."

Harry so wanted to hug his mate, but Padma beat him to it. "Hermione, that's so bloody crazy it just might work!" Hermione's attention though was still focused on Harry. "You need me down there, Harry. Apart from its eyes, this thing will be practically impervious to magic. We're gonna need our swords to fight this thing, and I'm never passing mine off to anyone else."

With a nod, Harry turned his attention to Neville. The Gryffindor had his answer all ready. "I would rather face what's down there than be left up here to tell Barchoke and Amelia you three jumped into that."

Henrica didn't even give Harry time to attempt to sideline her. "This is Hogwarts and I am a professor, technically in charge of you lot. I may not be able to stop you going, but I can at least go with you to help keep you four out of trouble - down there and when we come back up."

All four appreciated that, they knew the trouble that would await when their parents caught up with the group. The Lady Ravenclaw solved their other problem.

"The Baron will lead the rescue parties here, while I will accompany you. Since the basilisk cannot kill me, I shall take the lead and hope to supply you with at least a warning."

Hermione was dishing out the pairs of mirror sunglasses she'd transfigured and, as they got ready to slide down the chute, even Tonks had to admit they had a plan of action that was better than anything she could come up with on the spur of the moment.

With the Ravenclaw ghost taking the lead, Tonks was going to bring up the rear - hoping to ensure they didn't get ambushed from behind. She understood what Henrica was doing by talking about the trouble they would be in when they came back up. Personally, the auror thought it would be a miracle if they all came out of this alive. She really wished they would wait for the reinforcements to get here but Tonks was under no illusion she could actually stop them. She'd watched Harry and Hermione train with those blades or magic every morning, add in their two friends and Henrica and Tonks knew she would be quickly overpowered. The best she could do was try and keep them safe, and hope the help got here as quickly as possible.

-oOoOo-

The mass goblin arrival outside Hogwarts was actually greeted with cheers from the students who were being led down to Hogsmeade. The seventy goblins Barchoke had brought with him were in full armour, and ready for battle - they were indeed a stirring sight.

The sight that stopped this force in their tracks was the petrified children being levitated toward the village, Barchoke couldn't fail to notice Susan and Hannah amongst the victims. Amelia storming toward him with a dozen aurors in tow was pretty unmissable too, she appeared ready, willing and able to tackle a dragon with her bare hands.

Stopping only to confirm the victims were indeed petrified, and therefore still alive, she and her aurors headed straight for Barchoke's force. The Goblin Ambassador bowed to the lady warrior. "Madam Bones - Amelia, I want you to know we are desperately sorry for what happened here and stand ready to help in any way we can. The nation also has a slight stock of the mandrake potion, enough to see all the children back to normal before this day is out. Your aurors may have to wait a day or two until we can acquire some more mature mandrake."

"On behalf of all the parents, and the ministry, you have my thanks." Amelia had learned enough about Barchoke during the summer to know the thanks of the parents would mean a lot more to him than any words the ministry had. Looking at the force he had assembled, she had to ask the obvious. "Have you any idea what caused this?"

"Sorry, but no. Harry transmitted our strongest emergency signal, it basically means 'grab as many warriors as you can and get here quickly'. I can only assume he knows what we'll be facing, but see no sign of him or the others." Both knew where Harry went, the other three wouldn't be far behind.

Amelia made the only decision she could. "I can't take any aurors away from escorting the students to Hogsmeade, this squad was all I could muster from the ministry at short notice. The minister is gathering a larger force and will be here in an hour or so. We are merely an advanced party and would certainly be prepared to follow your lead in this matter."

They resumed marching toward the castle, both knowing they would need more information before making further plans. Minerva McGonagall was bringing up the rear of the train of students winding their way down to Hogsmeade, the clearly agitated witch rushed toward them.

"Barchoke, I think Harry and his friends are still in the castle. The alarm sounded when they would have been exercising. Padma and Neville made sure Luna and Colin got down to the hall before leaving with Henrica to search for them. All three point blank refused to leave the castle without Harry and Hermione."

This was not a shock to the goblin, he'd been expecting his son to be in the thick of it. Harry would never have sent that level of distress call otherwise. "Professor, Sirius arranged with Auror Tonks that she would accompany the pair to and from their morning training. Wherever they are, they have Henrica and the auror for company. Is there anyone else missing?"

"Miss Brown reported Parvati Patil was feeling under the weather this morning and rushed into a bathroom as they made their way down from the great hall. She's unaccounted for and a message was left on the corridor wall, again in blood. Her skeleton will lie in the chamber for eternity. Since she is the only student unaccounted for, I fear she has been taken."

"Harry will be going after her, I just hope he can talk his friends out of accompanying him. I fear though that Padma will never accept that - and the other two will be just as stubborn."

Both Minerva and Amelia now stared at the goblin as if he was crazy, Barchoke though knew his son. "His message was our highest priority call for help, it makes sense now. We'll have to hurry and just hope we're not to late, where is this bathroom?"

"It's the one that Myrtle haunts, it's on..."

"It's okay, Professor, I know exactly where it is. I can lead us straight there." Bill had been heading to the castle for his usual Saturday morning lesson when he'd came upon the evacuation. Seeing Percy riding herd on his four younger siblings meant the prefect was going to be receiving an extra special Christmas gift from his eldest brother this year. Now that his heart was once more beating normally, Bill had rushed toward the castle, coming upon the present group just as Barchoke was speculating Harry had went after the lost girl. He also thought that was the most likely outcome, and agreed with Barchoke that the other three wouldn't let him go alone. With Bill now beside his boss and Amelia, they raced for the castle gates.

-oOoOo-

The bones crunching under their feet meant that any attempt at stealth was doomed to failure. Harry though was pleased with this, explaining to the group that this effect worked both ways. He was a lot more worried about a basilisk sneaking up on them than making a noise as they made their way down the tunnel.

Tonks was bringing up the rear and drew comfort from that remark. She was forced to acknowledge to herself that Harry was in command here, from the simple fact that the rest of them followed his orders without question. She would have been pelted with rocks from the explosion in the bathroom if she'd wasted time questioning his order. Tonks was relieved to see though that Harry took to command as if born to it.

That relief vanished when Helena let out a shriek, closely followed by her assurance that she was alright. When Tonks finally came upon the shed skin of the beast, the auror though it was easily scary enough to frighten a ghost - it scared the shit out of her.

Harry had his sword out, examining the skin closely. His swipe easily cut through the skin, and then he invited Hermione to do the same. "This is an old skin, so the actual basilisk will be bigger than this. Once we take out its eyes, we need to stay away from its head, one scratch from those fangs and it's all over. This is going to be brutal, we'll need to take this down a piece at a time. Attack and withdraw until blood loss slows it down enough and allows us the opportunity to administer a killing stroke."

Hermione knew Harry was basically asking her if she had the stomach for this, she took out her blade and sliced at the skin. It certainly took more effort than practicing with the dummies, and she was sure this would give her nightmares for years, but she had every intention of fighting at Harry's side today. This was why Hermione trained so hard, she never wanted to stand there helpless again while Harry was forced to fight for their lives.

"I can do this, Harry."

Padma then added her two knuts worth. "We can act as decoys, get it chasing after us and then you can attack it."

"That's too dangerous, Padma. This thing is a killing machine..."

"...which is going to forget all about annoying little old me the moment one of you two sticks their sword into its gut. You will then need us again to pull it off you, before the other one stabs the bugger again. Like Hermione said, we can do this, Harry."

Harry's nod of agreement to Padma saw Tonks lose her temper. "This is bloody crazy! It's one thing to cut up a chunk of dead skin, your going to be taking on a deadly creature in its own home..."

"We know that, Auror Tonks. We are also aware a plan rarely survives past the initial contact. It is always better though to have a plan you can adapt, rather than step into the unknown with nothing. Do you have any better suggestions, other than stand here and hope help arrives soon enough to save Parvati?" Tonks had no answer for Harry, he didn't think she would have. "This is purely a rescue mission, Auror, if we can grab Parvati and get the hell out of here without fighting anything - that's exactly what we'll do. Let whoever likes deal with the bloody thing. As a centurion, I have to plan for all foreseeable eventualities. That's what we're doing here."

Tonks looked toward Henrica for support but found none. "I am in the process of writing a book on goblin culture and their civilisation. Harry is a centurion and in command of this situation, I know he'll do everything in his power to get us all out of here in one piece. I also know he'll do a more capable job of that task than I could."

With that matter decided, they pushed on once more. It wasn't long before they were faced with a massive circular door, a door that was covered in carved snakes - and of course securely locked.

"This is just like the sinks in the bathroom, Harry. It's not only been locked by a Parselmouth, I can't pass through it either." It was strange for Helena to meet something 'solid' but that's exactly what this door and the surrounding walls felt like.

Harry again called on Hogwarts assistance and this time the wild magic swirled around the tunnel, all could see it was taking a lot more effort to open this door. The 'whump' behind them had all eyes and wands focused in that direction, all except Harry's. "That's a cave-in, these tunnels haven't been maintained for a millennium and I was worried about that." As the door finally swung open, Harry transfigured some bones into iron bars - using them to jam the door mechanism. "I didn't want to blast this door, that just might bring the entire roof down on us. Could you take a quick look, Auror Tonks, just to see how far away the cave-in is - and how bad?"

Tonks was back in under two minutes. "It's just around the corner, we should be able to move some of it - enough for us to squeeze through anyway."

"That will only hold my father up by a matter of minutes, are we ready to do this?"

Each person nodded to Harry as they then entered the fabled chamber of secrets.

-oOoOo-

As they entered the castle, the rescue group found a ghostly guide waiting on them. "Sir, your son discovered the entrance to the chamber of secrets, they entered in the hope of saving the young Patil witch taken down there. He jammed the entrance open so you could follow him down, and asked me to warn you the creature attacking Hogwarts students is a basilisk."

There was no face palming, whining or even questioning that information, there was though a noticeable speeding up as they raced to the entrance. As they past the afflicted ghosts, the Baron gave the company a bit more hope. "The Lady Helena accompanied them into the chamber, she intended to lead the way - offering some protection and at least a warning to the group. I hope you will allow me to do the same for you."

Barchoke quickly agreed, before coming to a stop as they shot into the bathroom. Hermione had stuck a pair of mirror sunglasses to the wall nearest the sink, and the Baron quickly explained their plan for dealing with the creature. Amelia was most impressed, agreeing they should do the same.

"If we meet this creature, we will attempt to blind it and then provide cover while your blades bring it down."

That was the type of cooperation Barchoke liked, each playing to their strengths. They would struggle to deal with the creature's deathly gaze, while the aurors wouldn't be able to penetrate the basilisk's hide with magic.

They were soon sliding down the chute and forming ranks inside the tunnel. They proceeded cautiously until discovering the shed skin. At that point, Barchoke broke into a full run - right up until he found the cave-in. They were busily clearing a path through the rubble when a primal scream chilled everyone who heard it to their very bones.

The only shred of comfort available to the worried goblin father was that no human throat could possibly produce that sound. He scrambled through the instant the hole was big enough to allow him passage, and soon discovered Harry had jammed the next door open too. Before Barchoke could enter the chamber properly, another scream reverberated off the stone walls. Unfortunately, this one was human.

-oOoOo-

The chamber was long and dimly lit, with massive stone columns supporting a ceiling that was so high, it became lost in the darkness. These columns had snakes carved all around them, Harry though was far more interested in the cover they should hopefully provide to the rescuers, rather than any decorative function. A shiver of dread ran up his spine at the thought of playing a deadly bout of hide and seek here, weaving their way through these dimly lit columns - with a giant basilisk in lethal pursuit.

Their footsteps echoed for all to hear as they carefully progressed through these supports, eventually revealing a statue as high as the the dim and dank chamber against the back wall. Craning his neck, Harry was able to make out an ancient and almost monkeyish face. The mystery of why there were no portraits of Salazar Slytherin was now solved as far as Harry was concerned, who the hell would want to paint this ugly bugger! It was only when he spotted what was lying between the statue's massive stone feet that he knew for certain they were in serious trouble.

With a cry of 'PAV!', Padma sprinted toward her sister, dropping to her knees beside the prone figure. Henrica went with Padma as Harry directed the rest of the group to form a protective perimeter around the trio of witches while Parvati's condition was being assessed.

"Pav - don't be dead - please don't be dead " Padma grabbed her twin's shoulders and turned her over. Her face was pale and cold, yet her eyes were closed. If she wasn't petrified, then she must be... "Pav, please wake up," Muttering desperately, panic saw Padma shaking her twin. Parvati's head lolled hopelessly from side to side.

Henrica began casting the few general health diagnostic spells she knew. "Parvati's alive but very weak. I can't find any reason for her being unconscious so suggest we get her to a healer as quickly as possible."

"She won't wake," said a soft voice.

Tonks almost jumped out her skin. She was watching this area yet the dark haired Slytherin student had appeared out of nowhere. The prefect badge made him at least fifth year though he looked somewhat older, he also looked as if he wasn't quite solid. His identity was soon confirmed in the most unusual manner possible, Tonks could only equate the sound of one ghost slapping another as being similar to her wet bathing costume hitting a stone floor while she changed after swimming.

Helena was absolutely livid. "Tom Riddle, you utter bastard. What have you done to that poor girl?"

Harry knew at once who had been controlling Parvati, he switched to goblin and began shouting instructions - thankful that Henrica received the charm from Hermione last weekend. ""Henrica, Padma, only a horcrux could be responsible for this. He's trying to drain Parvati's soul and restore his own. She must have it on her, we need to find it - and then destroy the bloody thing. Looking at Riddle, and with how weak Parvati is, we don't have much time.""

Tom was actually laughing at Helena's tirade. "The daughter of the great Rowena Ravenclaw, just as gullible as the little tramp lying over there. She wanted to be smart like her sister, all so she could get a boyfriend - pathetic creature..."

It was then Tom noticed they were searching the unconscious girl, and they appeared to know what they were looking for. "Get away from her, leave her alone." He had drawn Parvati's wand, and that was the signal for Harry to spring into action.

"Stupid boy, your sword can't hurt me, Potter."

Harry's blade swished through the air, and proved Tom right. Tom though wasn't the blade's intended target, Parvati would be requiring a new wand as Harry just cut straight through hers. He privately swore to replace it, but they would all need to come through this in one piece first.

A shout from Padma alerted him they'd found something. ""We have an old black book here that certainly didn't belong to Pav."" Both she and Henrica cast spells at it, without doing any damage. ""This must be it, not a bloody scratch on the thing! How are we going to destroy it?""

Hermione offered a frightening solution. ""Basilisk venom is one of the most deadly substances known, it will kill anything!""

Tom could clearly see what they were attempting to do, but couldn't understand a word they were saying. He threw the now useless bit of wand away. The Heir of Slytherin had intended to gloat for a while yet, inform these people of his brilliance before watching them die. They left him no choice though, but to proceed directly to the main event.

"Now, Harry, just for that, 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 Crow, and the best weapon Hogwarts can give its mischosen champion."

Helena attempted to stop him but the best she could do was slow Tom down a touch. He was soon standing in front of the ugly statue and hissing away.

Harry meanwhile was rallying his troops. ""Get Parvati up against the wall, she should be safe there. Tom won't want anything happening to her, that would certainly screw up his ritual. Remember the plan and good luck, we're going to need it.""

Neville lifted Parvati and placed her as close to the wall as he could, Henrica conjured a small wall in front of the unconscious girl for added protection.

Changing to English, he shouted to Tonks. "Auror, if you have any improvements to our ideas, now would be a good time to tell us."

Looking at how solid Tom Riddle was becoming, Tonks now realised waiting on reinforcements would have cost the girl her life - and left them facing a restored Lord Voldemort. "We three take the left, the other three have the right. Aim true, hit hard - and good luck!"

That made sense to Harry as Hermione joined him, a quick kiss and they were ready to face this together.

As Padma, Neville and Henrica prepared to fire on the basilisk's right eye, Padma grabbed Neville and kissed him too, whispering 'for luck'. Both knew how dangerous the next few minutes would be, they could talk about what that kiss meant later - hopefully.

All were wearing their mirror sunglasses but under no illusion that the situation wasn't now much more dangerous than they first perceived. Should they fail to take out these eyes and end up petrified, a revitalised Lord Voldemort would soon be joining them in the chamber. None of them would be leaving here alive if that happened. Harry at least had the consolation of knowing his father was on his way here, and would certainly make a concerted effort to avenge him.

As the stone mouth of the ugly statue creaked open, they could hear the creature making its way out of its lair.

Harry steadied his troops. "Hold on people, we're only going to get one shot at this. Wait for my command ...wait ...wait ...NOW!"

Just as its snout began to appear from the mouth, six starburst charms exploded right in front of the basilisk's face. That part of their plan worked to perfection, the rest of it though quickly fell apart. The basilisk was thrashing about in agony, throwing its head about far quicker than any dummy they had ever practiced on. With more luck than skill, the group managed to burst the left eye, they could all see the basilisk recovering though and rather hopefully cast more starburst spells.

Henrica decided it was time for a different approach, she just hoped her protective mirror sunglasses transfigured along with her. She transformed into her veela avian form and shot toward the basilisk, her scaly wings soon bringing her level with the basilisk's head. Using her claws to latch on to the giant creature, a fireball left her clawed hand directly into the as yet undamaged eye. Unfortunately, having to be this close meant Henrica couldn't avoid looking into the large yellow eye. She lost consciousness, and her grip as the now blinded basilisk violently thrashed its head from side to side in severe pain.

Harry barely had time to scream 'cease fire' as Henrica in her veela form launched herself at the basilisk, and Tonks was reacting before anyone needed to tell her. She caught Henrica before the still transformed veela could hit the stone floor, and quickly levitated her over beside Parvati.

Tom was incensed, and Helena wasn't slow to push his buttons.

"Your powers don't seem that great now, do they Tom? I think our chosen champion and his friends have just acquitted themselves rather well."

An enraged Tom Riddle began screaming at the Basilisk, and you didn't need to speak parceltongue to understand the message being sent. KILL THEM!

The four friends received a jolt of positive emotion when Tonks shouted her discovery across the chamber. "Henrica's petrified, but alive!"

Harry shouted reply also contained an order. "Auror Tonks, stay there and protect those two. We'll handle the rest - you are our new plan B for Tom!" Hoping the auror was quick enough to decipher his cryptic message, he then switched to goblin.

""Padma, you're with me. Neville, your job is to pull the basilisk off Hermione."" Harry hated handing his mate's safety over to anyone else but was left with no other choice, they needed to work as a team now more than ever. The four made a lot of noise as they entered the pillars, making sure the creature knew where they were and would follow them. Helena was doing her best to antagonise Riddle, distracting him from offering any directions or instructions to the beast.

Their first trap was almost their last, this creature was amazingly quick. Only Harry's armour enhanced speed saw his blade bite into the creature's side before its jaws would have snapped on Neville. He then melted into the maze of columns as Padma started shouting and firing curses at the beast from a different angle. As the enraged creature followed its natural instincts and lunged in the direction where it perceived this latest threat to be, Hermione emerged from behind another pillar to inflict a wound on the creature's other side. Neville then took over, drawing the deadly creature's attention away from Hermione and positioning the beast where Harry was ready to strike again. Padma would then play her part as the cycle repeated itself.

They were leading the basilisk by the nose, like Matadors working a bull and gradually reducing a magnificent animal to nothing more than meat for butchering. Their hit and run tactics were working perfectly, the basilisk was beginning to slow down from severe loss of blood. This factor actually proved to be their undoing though as Hermione opened another deep wound in the creature before slipping on the now bloody stone floor.

The great fanged head turned around to face her and neither Padma nor Neville could convince it to change direction once the ancient creature had locked on to its now vulnerable prey. Hermione was rather inelegantly parked on her bum, trying to push herself backwards and away from the approaching basilisk with her flailing legs and arms finding little purchase on the now slippery floor.

Harry was forced to act, he raced forward and imbedded the sword of Gryffindor into the beast right up to the blade's hilt. He then used this fabled sword to cast his most powerful blasting curse. The basilisk may have skin that was incredibly resistant to magic, but the sword was actually inside its body. A horrible scream was emitted from the beast as internal organs were reduced to mush but Harry didn't hear it.

When he used this attack on the dummies, by bracing himself it was the dummies that ended up flying across the room. Here, the sheer mass of the basilisk meant it was always going to be Harry who received the backlash from his spell, this backlash blew a large hole in the creature and saw him thrown right along the chamber. He smacked into the floor with an almighty clatter, his body being twisted into unnatural shapes as it skimmed and skidded along. Only crashing heavily into the wall finally halted his momentum.

The blast that killed the basilisk saw its head shoot forward in its death throes, unfortunately landing on the still prone Hermione's legs - crushing both and pinning her under the creature.

Tom was jubilant, the basilisk may be dead but he had still won - and that was all that mattered. He walked over as Harry fought a losing battle to remain conscious. "I'm going to stand here and watch you die, Harry Potter. Take your time, I'm in no hurry. Your last thought will be that I, as we all knew I would, have won. You and all your friends will soon be dead..."

"Hey Tom, you don't half talk a load of shit!"

Tom spun around to see the Longbottom boy had used that little witch's sword to hack a fang out of the basilisk's jaw, and was now removing a certain black book from his pocket.

"You should know that Harry doesn't stand alone against you, his friends always have his back covered. This one's for both of our parents, stay dead you murdering bastard!"

Tom managed to shout 'stop' but Neville paid him no mind, slamming the point of the basilisk fang into the diary.

There was a long, dreadful, piercing scream. Ink spurted out of the diary in torrents, running all over Neville's hands, and forming a large puddle on the floor. Tom was writhing and twisting, screaming and flailing and then - silence!

Neville dropped the fang and raced over to Harry, he was kneeling beside his friend as he muttered the question Neville knew was coming.

"Hermione?"

"The basilisk landed on her legs, probably breaking both of them. Padma's with her now and Hermione's far more worried about you."

Harry managed an 'I'm fine' before passing out. Helena couldn't miss the worry on Neville's face and offered up some reassurance.

"That magnificent armour our champion possesses has just saved his life, he'll certainly need to visit the infirmary but both he and his mate will be ready to dance again by this time next week."

Knowing both girls would be desperate to hear from him, Neville shouted the news over since the body of the basilisk was hiding them from his line of sight. "Harry's battered and bruised, possibly a few broken bones but his armour protected him from more serious injury. He's just passed out."

Hermione's head was now being gently cradled on Padma's lap as her friend also held onto her hand. While Padma was doing her best to offer some comfort, Hermione understood that not knowing her sister's fate must be eating away at the witch. "Go and check on Parvati, I'll still be here when you get back!"

"Hey Granger, I do the jokes, you slice up the massive deadly beasts - that's the deal, remember."

Tonks voice then rang around the chamber. "Parvati's beginning to wake up, I think she's going to be okay."

This proved to be the trigger for both girls to release their tears, Hermione might be in a lot of pain but the tears flowing down her cheeks were those of relief. They may not all be walking out of here but they were all alive, none of them really believed that outcome was likely - or even if it was remotely possible.

She found her other hand now being held by Barchoke, the goblin making no attempt to hide his own tears. ""Well met, father, I can't tell you how happy I am to see you again. Please check on our Harry, I can't see him from here and it's driving me crazy.""

With extreme care, the goblin very gently traded places with Padma, releasing her to race over and check on her twin. ""I'm staying right here my oh so brave daughter, there are two healers currently checking on him. Amelia is also here with her aurors, so everyone will be okay. The healers will be with you soon, we just need to work out the best way to get this thing off of you first.""

Harry was then carried over on a stretcher by four centurions and placed beside his still trapped mate. This was a heartfelt tribute of respect by their comrades - saluting their courage for tackling and then defeating a beast such as this. Both the centurion and his mate were covered in the residue of what must have been a titanic battle, and their bloody swords were respectfully positioned between them.

The looks of appreciation and even awe heading in the direction of the father and his two children from those in the chamber were something that should have been savoured. Barchoke though never took his gaze from his son and daughter as solutions were being feverishly discussed on how to move the biggest bloody basilisk in recorded history off Hermione.

Harry was still unconscious but just seeing he was alive settled Hermione. None of the people urgently milling around them mattered now, Harry was back where he belonged - beside her.

Their father had brought enough goblins along to physically lift this bloody thing off her if they had to, now all she and Harry needed to worry about was telling their mum and dad.

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