A/N: Chapter eleven is out! So, the chamber has been opened and Draco is finally returning to Hogwarts after leaving for a short while. I really don't know where I was going with this chapter but I'm still happy with how it turned out. Happy reading!
It had been a little over a day since Hermione had owled Draco when she was called up to the Headmistress' office. She felt nervous climbing up the spiralling stone stairs, the sound of her footsteps echoing around her. The last time she had visited McGonagall, she had received news of Narcissa Malfoy's passing and Draco had departed Hogwarts, and the visit before that, she had received a horrible lecture about her mortifying fall in front of the whole school.
"Headmistress?" Hermione asked, lightly knocking the door to announce her arrival. She heard the squeaking of a chair being pushed and a voice from inside replied.
"You may enter, Miss Granger." Hermione was puzzled at the sound of the voice. It was smooth and clearly belonged to a male. However, she realised the air of confidence the voice carried could only belong to one person.
"Draco!" she cried, flying into the room to find Draco, leaning back into an armchair, arms crossed over his chest relaxedly while McGonagall sat in the chair across from him. It wasn't the reunion she quite expected, but nevertheless, she flung herself into his arms for a quick embrace. "Headmistress," Hermione said, only just realising McGonagall's stiff presence in the room and her address was replied with a curt nod.
"Good to see you too, Hermione," Draco said, a smile across his face. McGonagall cleared her throat awkwardly.
"Miss Granger, Mister Malfoy," she said. "I trust you two know why I called you into my office?" She raised an eyebrow and Hermione nodded. "Draco, we have reason to believe that your father, who recently escaped from Azkaban, is behind the missing Runespoor, abducted student and opening of the Chamber of Secrets." Draco scoffed.
"I'm not surprised," he muttered.
"We're going to send a team down into the Chamber of Secrets," McGonagall informed them. "However, there's only one problem." She paused. "We need a parseltongue in order to open the chamber." She gave Hermione a knowing look and she instantly knew who the Headmistress had in mind.
"Harry," Hermione stated.
"Sorry?" Draco said, straightening himself into an upright position.
"Harry's a parseltongue," Hermione said. "I will owl him, but I'm not sure if he can come over or not. He's doing Auror training at the moment."
"As you two are Head boy and girl, I will need you to take command over the students while I am absent," McGonagall said before Draco and Hermione's outburst.
"He's my father!" Draco fumed, suddenly slamming his fist onto the table and McGonagall flinched. "There's no way you're going into the chamber without me!" Normally, Hermione would've been appalled at the way Draco was speaking to a Professor, but she didn't take notice as she was equally as furious.
"I've been down into the chamber before and I helped Harry find it!" Hermione protested. "I refuse to sit by while everyone else goes." McGonagall sighed. She should've expected it. She didn't expect two of Hogwarts' brightest students to sit by while others put their lives in risk, or, in Draco's case, investigate one's criminal parent.
"I will talk to the Ministry," McGonagall said plainly. "But mark my words, if I hear that you two have been investigating down there, there will be consequences."
"Yes, miss," Hermione and Draco grumbled, shooting each other a knowing look. McGonagall surveyed them, noting their hesitation before agreeing. Reluctantly, she dismissed them.
"You two may leave now," she said. It wasn't the first time she had dealt with any of Hermione or her friends' shenanigans.
Draco grabbed Hermione's wrist and gently pulled her out of the office, closing the doors on his way out. When, he was sure they were out of earshot, he began to speak.
"We're going to investigate, aren't we?" he asked.
"I don't see why not," Hermione replied. "Apart from the consequences McGonagall mentioned, there seems to be nothing stopping us." She laughed, but she was wracked with worry over Iris. Instantly, Draco seemed to notice her change in emotion.
"The girl that is missing," he began, slowly down his pace as he noticed her struggling to keep up with his long strides. "You know her, don't you? Iris Jung, I believe is her name." Hermione could only nod numbly, squeezing Draco's hand tightly. She had only known Iris for a few months, but she had already come to grow quite fond of the clever, young girl.
"Hey, Hermione, look at me," Draco said, spinning her around to face him. "It's going to be alright." He wrapped his arms over her shoulders and gave her a comforting hug. Hermione was tempted to question him, or to say something like 'how do you know?', but she accepted his comfort.
"Tonight, let's investigate," she finally said. "During our night patrol let's go down into Myrtle's bathroom and have a look for a clue or two." It felt weird to go exploring around Hogwarts and breaking rules without the rest of the Golden Trio, but Hermione was determined to find Iris.
"That's my Hermione." She blushed at the mention of her name and he leant in to give her a light peck on the cheek.
"That sounds like a plan," Draco agreed. "Meet you at night?" Hermione nodded and the two parted ways into their separate lessons.
Usually, Hermione adored Arithmancy with Professor Vector. It was her favourite subject of all, there was something about it; working with numerology and a more 'refined' branch of Divination. However, she found it difficult to concentrate to Professor Vector's lecture today knowing that an adventure with Draco awaited her at the end of the day.
"Hermione," snapped a firm, female voice from next to her. Hermione mumbled an unintelligible reply, while struggling to keep her eyes trained on the numbers the professor was drawing on the blackboard.
"Hermione," the voice repeat and Hermione replied with an offhand 'yep'. She looked back down on her parchment, copying down the diagram on the board.
"Ow!" she cried, when she felt a sharp pinch on her shoulder and turned around accusingly to face Ginny. "What was that for?"
"What's up with you today, Hermione?" Ginny asked, concerned for her friend's lack of attention in class. "You're here in class, but you're not really here." She gestured towards the blackboard and Hermione's work which was evidently not as thorough as usual.
Hermione sighed. "You have heard about the chamber, haven't you?" Ginny nodded.
"At least it's a Runespoor this time instead of a basilisk," she replied and shivered at the thought of the Chamber of Secrets being re-opened. "Why can't the damn thing just stay shut?" Ginny laughed at her joke, but Hermione knew she had a nagging sense of insecurity.
"Hey, Gin," she said. "Draco and I are going down to investigate tonight. It'll be fine." She had expected this news to calm down her friend, but instead Ginny stood up in the middle of class, furious.
"OH HELL NO!" she yelled suddenly, and Hermione recoiled.
"Miss Weasley!" cried Professor Vector, her attention turned on Ginny instead of the black board. Ginny flushed with embarrassment and muttered an apology as she sat back down in her seat.
"No way in hell are you going down there without me," she whispered angrily to Hermione, ignoring the questioning gazes of all their classmates. "I'm going down with you, Hermione Granger, whether you like it or not." Hermione was prepared to protest against Ginny, but saw the fiery look in her eyes. There was no way she was budging. Hermione cursed her attempt at comfort. Draco would be furious if he knew she had told Ginny.
"Fine," Hermione muttered, utterly defeated. "But not a word to anybody else!" Ginny smirked at her victory.
"Not a word," she answered confidently, shutting her Arithmancy book when Professor Vector announced the end of the lesson. "See you later, Hermione."
Hermione couldn't concentrate in the rest of her lessons. She felt eager to investigate and in contrast to doing that, sitting in a classroom felt dull. The lessons went by slower than usual due to her lack of enthusiasm, but, finally, it was time for her night patrol with Draco (and, unexpectedly, Ginny).
She had arranged to meet Draco in the Common Room of their dorm by ten o'clock sharp, but expected to only see him, she was taken aback at the sight of three people in the room. Draco was perched on the end of a couch, a surly expression on his face, while Hermione noticed Ginny and Blaise sitting on armchairs, faces eager for adventure.
"Hermione," Draco said stiffly, nodded in her direction when she entered in the room. "What's Zabini and Weasley doing here?" Blaise moaned at Draco's formal address of him.
"Come on, Draco!" he said, standing up from his armchair. "We're going to go investigating. How fun!" Draco groaned, placing his head in his arms, muttering a string of colourful curses.
"I might of let it slip," Ginny admitted sheepishly, standing up from her armchair. "He just kept bugging me on where I was going instead of patrolling with him. I tried lying but he sniffed it out in record time."
"Well, four's better than two, right, Draco?" Hermione said, trying to lighten the atmosphere, Draco gave a small grunt in reply and hopped off the couch.
"Let's go," he said. The unlikely group exited the Common Room, whispering amongst themselves.
"Where to first?" Ginny asked quietly, walking alongside Hermione.
"Myrtle's bathroom," she said. "If Lucius got into the Chamber, that's the only entrance he could go through."
"We could ask Myrtle if she saw him," Blaise added hopefully and they nodded in agreement.
They travelled across the school, walking quietly, but quickly, towards the second-floor girl's bathroom. The bathroom looked depressing as usual. Broken toilet doors hung on rusting hinges l and pools of murky water sat on the tiled floor. Even though it was hardly ever used, the bathroom had a disgusting stench and Blaise covered his mouth with his jacket sleeve.
"Gross…" he muttered, his voice muffled by his sleeve. "It smells like somebody died in here." He suddenly took a step back and Hermione followed his shock gaze to find Moaning Myrtle floating above them.
"That's because somebody did!" she cried, placing her hands on her hips. "How insensitive." Blaise rolled his eyes and apologised.
"Draco!" Myrtle suddenly said, zooming towards the platinum-blonde Head boy. "Did you find what you were looking for?" Draco gave her a questioning look.
"What?" he said, obviously confused with Myrtle's question.
"Don't you remember?" she asked, almost as equally baffled. "You came here a few days ago, went down that disgusting chamber to look for something. Never noticed you come out, though."
Hermione interjected. "Myrtle. You couldn't mean the Chamber of Secrets, could you?" Myrtle nodded her head.
"What other chamber would there be?" she asked, shrugging.
"You went down into the Chamber of Secrets without me, Draco?" Blaise asked accusingly, shooting daggers at his friend.
"And his lady friend," Myrtle said with a wink, and Hermione gave Draco a harsh stare.
"I wasn't here until today!" Draco cried furiously. "Myrtle. Tell me everything you saw the day I supposedly came to your bathroom."
"It was a lonely day, I had just been flushed down the toilet again by some annoying second-years," Myrtle began. "That's when you arrived." She air-quoted the word 'you', directed at Draco. "I'm not blind or anything, the person who entered looked exactly like you. There was also a girl." Hermione shot Draco a dark look. "A little one, a little toddler. Maybe about two years old?"
"What on Earth were you doing with a toddler, Draco?" Blaise asked and Myrtle cleared her throat. "Right, continue."
"The little baby made a weird hissing sound, like a snake," Myrtle continued and Hermione quickly realised she was talking about parseltongue. "Then a tunnel came out of nowhere and in you went, just like Harry and the blonde one with the dashing smile did a few years back."
"Blonde one with the dashing smile?" Hermione asked, confused.
"Gilderoy Lockhart," Ginny replied with a giggle.
"Never saw you or that little girl come back up again," Myrtle said directed to Draco, finishing her explanation.
"Care to explain, Malfoy?" Ginny asked, crossing her arms over her chest and facing Draco.
"I only came back today!" he replied angrily. "There's no way that was me."
"Unless…" Blaise said, trailing off.
"Unless what?" Hermione asked, egging him to continue his statement.
"I was waiting for inspiration to strike halfway through the sentence," he said. "It didn't work." Hermione groaned in frustration. Draco kicked a stall door in anger and the door fell off its hinges, landing with a loud bang causing Blaise to wince at the sound. Hermione noticed that stall. It was the very same one she had spent hours crouching down in as a young girl, brewing the Polyjuice potion.
"The Polyjuice potion!" Hermione suddenly cried and her companions gave her a confused stare. "Draco, your father would most likely have a hair of yours, right?" Draco nodded. "Then he could've brewed the potion and gotten past Myrtle using it!"
"No wonder why Draco was acting so weird that day," Myrtle added thoughtfully, a light blush on her cheeks in embarrassment for not noticing his odd behaviour earlier.
"But how did he get out?" Ginny asked. "Myrtle said she hadn't noticed him leaving the chamber, and I highly doubt he would hang around for a few days."
"Maybe McGonagall would know," she asked. "We should go tell her what we've discovered." The group ran off, leaving Myrtle alone in their wake, to inform the Headmistress of their discoveries.
A/N: I hope you enjoyed this chapter. I'm sorry if the plot feels a bit weird to you. I'm not really planning this story out, I'm just seeing where my creativity will get me. I'm trying to end this story in a few chapters because I really don't think I'm going to carry it all the way to the school year. Apologies for my absence on this story, I have started writing two other stories on a whim, but I am now focusing back on this story so stay tuned for more! Please favourite, follow and review this story! I appreciate all your support x
Word Count: 2285 (not bad, not bad at all)