Four days in, and Theodore still had no clue as to where the Chamber of Secrets could have been hidden. During the lunch hours, he would excuse himself from the others, trying to find any secret passageway that would lead to such a place. Of course, there were multiple tunnels and doors that led to different parts of the school but none of them screamed 'Chamber of Secrets'. This however, was not going to deter the young heir as he was certain that he was capable of finding the hidden chamber. Not to purge the school of Muggle-borns like Slytherin intended, but just out of grand curiosity.
The second-year Gryffindors were sat in the Great Hall on the first Friday afternoon, starting on the strenuous homework that had been dumped on them, most of the weight coming from Snape and McGonagall. They were all huddled up against each other, arguing over who got a question wrong and why they were right themselves, then turning to Theodore and Hermione to see if they were correct. Hermione was more than happy to help but Theodore was adamant on not helping anybody. The Chamber and his father's diary occupied most of his thinking space, not concerning himself with the homework that had been handed to him.
"Are you listening to me? Theodore!" Hermione snapped her fingers in front of the dazed boy's nose, forcing him to listen. "What's wrong with you? Are you feeling ill?"
"What? No, nothing like that. Just got something on the brain, that's all." Theodore replied as he returned back to his contemplation. Another snap of the fingers.
"Well, don't doze off, you have homework to do."
"I'll do it later." Hermione placed a hand on Theodore's forehead, making him flinch backwards at the sudden contact. "I said I'm not ill, Hermione. I'm fine."
"You of all people, don't want to do your homework? That's a first! But you really should do it. Professor McGonagall gave us an essay task to give in next Monday, and I know that you don't want to upset her." Theodore nodded then sighed. He opened up his parchment roll, dipped his quill in ink and started to write the essay. As he pressed the tip of the quill against the parchment, his hand remained frozen for a horrible thought came to mind. What if Slytherin had left a clue for his heir, but it was inside the Slytherin dormitory? What if he could never get to it because of the absurd sorting that had occurred last year? He blinked furiously as many other questions flicked through his mind. What he didn't notice was that the ink had mostly soiled the parchment as it was leaking along the table.
"Theo, man! Look at what you're doing!" Seamus said as he watched the ink drip onto the floor. Theodore quickly used his robe to clear the mess and carefully folded the ruined parchment.
"Are you sure you're not ill," asked Hermione as a look of concern was upon her face. Theodore simply nodded and rotated his things around for Ron to sit next to him. Harry sat beside Hermione and the two of them slammed their mountainous stack of books down.
"Good," sighed Ron, "you're both here. Let's get this stupid essay out of the way so that we can relax. What's all this gunk?" Theodore apologised and wiped the spare ink away.
"Did you see how much work Snape loaded onto us? The guy is probably still sore about how we weren't expelled for our entrance." Harry complained as he flipped through a Potions worksheet.
"Don't worry, it's all easy stuff. I'll help you."
"Thanks, Hermione." Ron turned his head to Theodore and tried to give Theodore a sympathetic look to try and persuade him, but Theodore just thought he looked confused.
"You going to help a red head out? Snape's just doing my head in." Theodore brought his face a bit closer to Ron, signalling him that he had something important to say.
"You know Ginny? Do you know if she keeps a diary with her? Like recently?"
"A bit of an odd question to ask. Most little girls have diaries these days, maybe even Hermione."
"I meant a diary that's not really… hers." Ron's facial expression now matched his current emotion as he was puzzled by Theodore's question.
"Theo, you're not trying to… you know…" Theodore shook his head and palms in an offended manner.
"What, no! That's your sister! She's eleven and I'm twelve, for God's sake! Why would you think- wait, there's Ginny now!" Theodore collected his things quickly as he abandoned Ron to complete the homework himself. Ginny was leaving the Great Hall by herself, holding something black against her chest. Theodore immediately thought that it was the diary and practically ran after her, before almost crashing into Professor McGonagall.
"Good Lord, Mr Riddle! Do not run when there are tight corners!"
"Sorry, Professor," said the boy quickly as he attempted to stop Ginny but McGonagall held him in place.
"Ah ah ah! I was coming down for you. The headmaster wanted to see you. Said that he wanted to catch up with you, seeing as you barely interacted during the summer." Theodore bit his lip as he watched the red headed girl disappear around the corner and blew out of his nostrils loudly. He reluctantly agreed to see Dumbledore and made his way up the castle. Just before he left, McGonagall had told him that the password was 'Acid Pops', not wanting the boy to stay locked from the outside without no way to enter.
The journey to the Headmaster's Office felt shorter than last year as he felt as if his legs became stronger as a result. He reached the gargoyle and spoke the password, allowing him to enter. Dumbledore's office still looked zany, possibly a reflection of the old man himself, and still housed the magnificent phoenix, Fawkes. The bird looked spry, much more healthy and a lot more lively as well. He gurgled at Theodore softly, probably greeting the boy in his own language. Theodore came closer to look at the bird when he heard the voice, coming from the other end of the office.
"Good to see you again, Theodore!"
"Hello, Professor." Theodore turned away from Fawkes and sat down on the chair opposite to Dumbledore. The man did not wear his spectacles and his wizard hat was hanging off the side of his chair, revealing the silvery glowing locks of hair that resided on his head. Dumbledore looked quite pleased to see the boy.
"I hope the first week has treated you well. How was it?"
"It was fine, I guess. I've got way too much homework, but I'll manage. Especially from Professor Snape." Dumbledore's chuckles felt like music in Theodore's ears. He had to admit that it was good to see him as well.
"Ahh, how the young mind grows. Such a wonder. So, from what I've heard, you returned to Stuggle's a few days before school started, am I correct?" Theodore nodded. "Whether you followed my advice or not, I'm happy that you made the right choice in the end. Do not think of this as a punishment, dear boy. Dark forces are arising as we must protect our own. You understand?"
"Good. And I almost forgot, Professor Snape has still kept your position as his apprentice open, if you still want it. I would highly recommend that you'd do so. I can see you achieving the highest number of N.E.W.T's available in your seventh year, if you keep with your duties."
"You think so," asked Theodore curiously. He remembered how the seventh-year students from last year broke down into tears and fits of anger during their final exams. Didn't seem like a big deal to him but he wasn't so keen on throwing himself into table as well.
"Of course! If you allow your distractions to become distracted, then you will achieve anything, I promise you dear boy."
"How can you make your distractions become… you know what? I'll just keep that for later. May I be excused?" Dumbledore allowed the boy to leave the room and bade him farewell with a bag of sherbet lemons in his hands. Odd but wonderful, that was Dumbledore in his entirety.
The first weekend had arrived and Theodore was sleeping peacefully in the early Autumn morning, aside from all of the shuffling Oliver and the Quidditch team made. He heard a lot of groans as Oliver barked at his team players to wake up at the very early morn. Theodore lazily eyed every single one of them trudge down the spiral staircase, some even tripping downwards, although the sniggering twins may have been responsible for it. Everything seemed to calm down when Theodore felt something nibble against his right ear. He ignored it briefly until the thing decided to stop nibbling, and to start screeching. Theodore shot up straight from his bed as Sawer stopped the racket with a letter attached to his leg.
"Stupid bird. You should've waited for me to get up first, instead of screaming in my ear." Looking the exact opposite of offended, Sawer hooted happily as Theodore detached the letter and read it in his head:
I'm glad that you're having fun over there. I'm having the time of my life here (but not that much!) and I can't wait until Christmas time comes along! We probably might not see each other then but at least we're still talking. I'll do my absolute best to send you something (remember, I said my best).
Anyways, I overheard the Reagul's talking with the Madam over the phone about you apparently running away from Stuggle's. I don't know what awful thing had happened to you for you to do something like that. Gretchen couldn't be that mean, could she?
But what I really wanted to tell you was that starting next summer, Mr&Mrs Reagul and I, are going for a worldwide cruise, stopping at almost every country imaginable! Can you believe it? They said that it could take probably almost half a year but that it would be worth it. I seriously wish that you could be here with me. It's not the same without you.
From Louise, still Free. XXX
P.S. Thanks for the sweets! Love them! I also put a picture of myself inside the letter, so you should keep yours coming.
It was funny how the two thought that Theodore would've gotten adopted first, yet Theodore had nobody to speak of who genuinely wanted him to live with them. All he knew was that Louise deserved every second of it, much more than he did.
He picked up the photograph from inside the letter and gazed upon the smiling girl. This time, Louise had her hair free and wild, resembling the way that she used to keep her hair. She was standing underneath an umbrella and was wearing an expensive-looking coat along with sleek black leather gloves. How could a girl of twelve years old be so photogenic? He carried on staring at the eyes that he missed so much, until he remembered what he had planned to do on the weekend. The photograph was placed in the photobook and the letter was sided in the bag.
After getting clean for the day, Theodore entered the main part of the common room and saw Harry trying to resist Colin's attempts to gain another photograph from him. Harry looked like he was on the verge of cursing the small boy out when he noticed Theodore leaning against the red comfy chair, doing his best to contain his laughter to which he failed.
"I don't know why you're trying to get away, Harry." Theodore said through snorting snickers. "You are a celebrity after all." Harry weaved around Colin and stood behind Theodore. He seemed to have a certain plan in mind which confused the Parselmouth.
"Great! I can get a shot with your best friend! Say cheese!" Theodore gave the boy a venomous stare which almost petrified him. Colin lowered his camera slowly and frowned a little. "Or I could just get one later. I don't mind…"
"Have fun playing Quidditch with your new friend, Harry!" Theodore shouted as Harry jumped through the portrait hole. Colin tripped over as he ran after him, asking multiple questions before closing the portrait behind him. After retrieving the Founders book along with his wand, Theodore journeyed over to the Great Hall to fill himself up before he would resume his search for the hidden chamber. He had to search behind every single crevasse of the castle, look into every room, even the teachers' bedrooms if he had to. The chamber had to be real, no way it could've only been a legend.
The Great Hall was fairly empty as it was mostly occupied with seventh year students, doing early morning revision among themselves. Some were curious as to why a second year was up so early. Theodore sat near the further end and filled up his plate with stacks of pancakes, scrambled eggs on the side with baked beans, buttered and jam toast, a plate of waffles and a nice large goblet full of refilling orange juice. He was aware that most people were watching him eat a ridiculous amount of food but he honestly didn't care. A couple of older girls 'aww' him but the sensation of his enormous breakfast felt too good to even notice. How he remained skinny was probably a bigger mystery than where the Chamber of Secrets was.
"Morning, Theo!" Ron called from the Great Hall doors. Hermione was walking alongside him as they both were in casual clothing. They both sat either side to the hazel-eyed boy and began to discuss Theodore's eating habits.
"Did you eat all of that?" Hermione asked in shock. Theodore nodded as he covered his mouth to mask a rising burp.
"Wow! You should come over to my house sometime! My mum would cook up an entire feast just for you!"
"You think," said Theodore excitedly. With the amount of children that were inside the Weasley family, he would expect the meals to be quite grand.
"Yeah! So, are you coming with us to watch Harry play Quidditch? I know you don't like it but it'll be fun." Theodore hadn't forgotten about what he was planning to do.
"I'm sorry, I can't. I'm still doing that apprentice thing with Snape. I have to be in the dungeons for the entire morning." Theodore lied.
"We'll have marmalade toast and bacon sandwiches," protested Hermione. "It's literally the first weekend. Even I'm not doing anything school related today!" The day wasn't going anywhere. And Hermione was right, it was the beginning of the school year. But obsession was the dominant force in this situation and Theodore knew that it wouldn't go away until he would achieve his goals.
"I'll go for five minutes. Then I'll leave." Theodore decided.
"Awesome. We can go right now. Also, were you okay yesterday night? I heard some hissing coming from your corner." Ron said.
"Uh, yeah. I'm fine. It was probably just my snake."
"You have a snake?!" The trio walked out of the Great Hall, talking about Viripin and how dangerous it was to have her inside of the dormitory. Ron was absolutely against it while Theodore was the opposite. Hermione was the middle man and played a lot of good points either side but Ron accused her of leaning towards Theodore, which he correctly suspected. They walked out of the castle and across the grounds until they reached the Quidditch fields. The stands were trouble to walk up as they were many stories up in the air. They settled in as Hermione handed out marmalade-spread toast to both of the boys. Theodore watched Harry soar and dive in the fresh sunny morning, with Oliver barking at the twins who taunted the captain to chase them. One minute passed.
"I've been thinking about taking Arithmancy and Study of Ancient Runes next year but I also want to take Muggle Studies as well, since it would probably be the easiest for me. Of course, Divination is also a choice but I think it's rather useless. I've heard that the teacher for the class is quite looney and- Theodore? Theodore!"
"Yes Hermione, I heard everything that you had to say! You don't have to keep on poking me in my arm!"
"You've been awfully distracted all week. What's the matter? Tell me, now." Hermione instructed. Theodore wasn't going to tell her the truth but she'd know if he was telling a lie. He might as well. He couldn't have her trying to convince him every passing second that he was doing the wrong thing. This was for him, only. Two minutes passed.
"It's nothing. I was just… thinking about something. But I'm over it, don't worry." Hermione was burning into him. He remained still and calm for the predator that was called Hermione could pounce at any sign of weakness. She carried on looking at the closed off boy with suspicion as she knew that he was lying. Hermione opened her mouth to say something but then closed it. If she carried on pestering him into asking what was the problem, it would've probably grown into a full on argument between the two. It was too early for that.
"Colin, stop taking pictures of Harry! He doesn't want to!" Ron said from around the corner. The red headed boy had scolded Colin for snapping secret pictures of Harry flying the air and was about to snatch his camera when he groaned loudly. Hermione and Theodore asked him what was wrong when Ron pointed to the lower field. Theodore could make out a few people walking on the pitch with emerald robes and sleek black broomsticks in their hands. No doubt were they the Slytherin Quidditch team, and no doubt would there be trouble kicking off between them and Gryffindor. Three minutes passed.
The trio and Colin rushed into the field to see the two captains butt heads with each other. It seemed that Slytherins had apparently booked the fields with special permission from Snape himself. Theodore didn't think that the suspicious professor held so much weight in something as useless as Quidditch but still felt annoyed for some reason. Maybe because he wasn't looking for the Chamber.
"Who's your new Seeker?" Oliver said as he peered around the cluster of Slytherins. They all paved way for Draco to walk through dramatically as he smirked iconically. Theodore remembered that Draco must've gotten a broomstick the day he went with the Malfoy's to Diagon Alley. Guess he wasn't going to use it for show. Four minutes passed.
"No need to look so stupid, Weasley. This really is happening."
"Since when did you care about playing for the team, Malfoy?" Ron gritted.
"Ever since I got this broom. You like it? Courtesy of my father. He supplied the entire team with Nimbus Two Thousand and Ones. The privileges of having wealth on your side. What could YOUR father buy for you anyways?" Theodore stopped Ron from lunging at Draco as the blonde boy's attention turned to him. "You alright, Theo? Father says that he's happy that you liked the gift."
"Malfoy giving you gifts now," muttered Ron under his breath. Theodore sensed a bit of spite in his voice but simply ignored it. A disaster was just waiting to spiral out onto the field.
"The pitch is ours, Wood," said Flint nastily, "so you can go take the little pussies you call a team, out of here."
"You watch your dirty mouth, Flint! Or I'll punch it off clean!" Oliver growled. Fred and George held Oliver back from doing anything stupid and proceeded to walk away with the rest of the team. Theodore followed suit and told Harry, Ron and Hermione that he was leaving. He had wasted enough time already. Five minutes passed.
"Theodore! Wait up!" Draco was walking towards the boy he called out for and had a secretive look upon his face. Theodore was not liking these sudden interactions in front of everyone else. He turned around and waited on the spot for Draco to come towards him.
"Yes, Draco? I need to be somewhere, it's urgent."
"Then I'll be quick. My father-" Hermione was suddenly by Theodore's side as she held onto his wrist tightly with slight anger on her face.
"Come on, Theodore. We're leaving."
"I'll be just a second, just-"
"Now!" Theodore's face darkened. Hermione was usually bossy around him and the others but she needed to put herself in check right now. Nobody told Theodore what to do like that. He took her hand off his wrist and turned to Draco.
"I said that I'll be just a second. Go." He said quietly.
"Theodore, I'm not going-"
"He told you to leave!" Draco shouted. Hermione frowned as she looked at the smug boy.
"Piss off, Malfoy." Draco and Theodore were taken back by Hermione's choice of words. She never said anything like that, not even close. Everything would've been fine, if she walked away the first time or if Malfoy had kept his mouth shut.
"Don't you ever say that to me, dirty little Mudblood!"
And everything was spiralling out of control like Theodore had predicted. Apparently, both teams had been listening to their conversation from afar, and had caught on to every single word that they had to say, including Draco's. Ron came sprinting over as did the other Gryffindors, and was shrieking curse words to Draco. Theodore too, was livid at Draco and held him by the scruff of his neck.
"Take that back, Draco! Take it back!" Theodore was suddenly tackled by Flint as he felt his entire body slam onto the ground. He hit his head pretty hard against the pitch grounds but was lucky that it wasn't wintertime. Hermione helped him up to his feet as he furiously searched for his wand. He grabbed it and aimed at Flint, who genuinely looked afraid at the second-year's fury. Normally, he'd laugh at the given situation but when he saw a flash of crimson appear in his eyes, he took a few steps backwards.
"Theo, put it down, he's not worth it!" Hermione shouted. Emotions were flying around Theodore's head. He was too amped up on rage to not curse the ugly captain. He would've followed through had Ron not made a fool out of himself while trying to curse Draco.
Everyone else except Theodore and Flint ran to Ron as he was hit by a rebounding spell from his broken wand. Theodore breathed out heavily and lowered his wand to go aid his friend. Theodore was walking directly to the clumped Gryffindors and was going to ask if Ron was alright when everybody broke apart immediately. Theodore rushed to Ron, thinking that something serious might've happened to him.
"Ron! Ron! Why would you try curse Malfoy, you're wand is- oh my god!" Theodore backed up quickly as Ron burped up a stomach-full of slugs onto his lap. The Parselmouth was disgusted. "The Slug-Vomiting Charm… nice one, Ron."
"Shut up and help-" Ron vomited a few more as the Gryffindors cringed while the Slytherins laughed. Harry told him and Hermione that they should take him to Hagrid's Hut, as it was much closer than the infirmary. The two agreed and proceeded to lift Ron up from his arms and legs. Harry and Hermione held him under each armpit while Theodore held his slime-ridden legs. He was not happy at all.
After telling Colin to go away, and after quickly dodging Lockhart who was visiting Hagrid for some reason, the trio held a slumped Ron to the half-giant's door and knocked rapidly. Hagrid opened the door and was overjoyed to see them but was ignored as they rushed inside to throw Ron on Hagrid's high chair.
"Now why would yer try ter use a broken wand, Ron? They aren't the best ones ter use, yer know."
"Is there anything to stop this from happening, Hagrid?" Hermione asked nervously as she patted Ron on the back. He was given a bucket to release all the slugs his body could produce, and it all looked painful.
"Nothin' like good ol' treacle fudge can't fix. I'll fix it up for yer." Hagrid said happily as he opened up a large tin can, the size of a pumpkin. Ron thanked him before burping up another shower of slugs. Harry asked why Lockhart was coming from his hut's direction and Hagrid suddenly became furious. "The idiot wanted ter 'help' me catch kelpies in a well! Thinks I don't know how ter run the place! Gets me mad, thinkin' bout it."
"I'm sure he was just trying to help," said Hermione softly. "Dumbledore hired him so he must be good."
"Nonsense! You can't look me in the eye and tell me that there was nobody better than Lockhart! Hell, I think that Theo could be a better teacher than him, and I mean it! It mostly bin like this, teachers coming in and out. DADA is a strange post to take up, these days. So, why'd you try to curse somebody with your broken wand, Ron? Must've had a good reason."
"It was Draco," said Theodore from the corner darkly. He was busy looking out of the window as he listened to what Hagrid had to say about Lockhart. "Called her a Mudblood."
"NO!" Hagrid shouted. The little exposure of skin that his bearded face would allow turned pink as his eyes grew wide with anger. "How dare he! He should be expelled for that!"
"Um, I don't know what that means. But it must be bad, judging from how everyone reacted. Including Theodore." Hagrid turned to the boy who was still looking outside the window.
"It means- 'urggh' dirty blood. Used for Muggle-borns. They say Mudblood because- 'urggh' some wizarding families think that Muggle-borns are inferior compared to them. Because they haven't got any real- 'urggh' magic blood. But we all know that doesn't matter." Ron explained.
"He's right. Blood status doesn't mean a single thing. Look at you, Hermione. You're a Muggle-born yet you're better than Malfoy. He couldn't do half the things you can in class, I'm sure of it." Harry stated. Hermione smiled as she went a bit red.
"Thank you." She said quietly. Hagrid held her tiny hands in his immensely large ones. All anger had been replaced by sincerity and ease.
"You don't ever, and I mean EVER, think that yer are lower than anyone else. You're a brilliant, smart young girl who could fight the world if you could. You are amazing, you hear me? Amazing!" Hermione went into a deeper shade of red as she smiled at Hagrid's encouragement. Theodore was still not looking but slightly admired that Hagrid did not have a single bad bone in his body. He tapped against the window, looking at the larger than usual pumpkins that were growing in Hagrid's garden. He felt like a traitor, being friends with Draco. Well, they were friends. Theodore was going to cut off all ties with him, no way was he going to be friends with him again.
"Why did he even call you that anyways?" Hagrid asked. Hermione looked at Theodore then back to Hagrid.
"He… wanted to tell Theo something. I thought that it was just something nasty but…" She looked at the boy again. "I guess he didn't want me in the conversation."
"This true, Theo?" Theodore turned to them, then nodded. "Yer shouldn't get involved with those folks, Theo. Draco's father ain't the type of person that yer would want ter be around as a friend. Stay away from him, okay?" Theodore nodded once more. As Hagrid and Harry helped Ron with the full bucket and fudge, Hermione walked over to Theodore, looking quite saddened by what happened.
"Are you okay?"
"I'll be fine. Are you okay? You took quite of a hit back there. Wait, your lip, it's bleeding!" Theodore pressed his finger against his bottom lip and saw that he was indeed bleeding. He sucked the cut and resumed talking.
"Just a small cut. It'll be fine."
"Are you really going to stop being friends with Malfoy?"
"Yeah, I promise… I'm sorry for not following you back there. If I did, then he wouldn't have called you a… you know." Hermione held Theodore's right hand with her both of hers. They were soft and warm, just like Hermione's eyes, despite the redness from before.
"Don't be. I have to admit, it was nice seeing you stick up for me, even though I wouldn't want you to get into trouble. You looked like you were going to seriously curse Flint."
"Oh! Don't you have to go somewhere?" Hermione squealed. Theodore looked over to see Harry stuffing fudge down Ron's mouth then Hagrid slapping his back after choking. Ron flew across the room but luckily landed on Hagrid's wide bed.
"Actually, I think I'll stay. It's only the first week after all." Theodore showed Hermione his rare genuine smiles, causing her to redden so quickly. She released his hand from her grasp and quickly followed the other three outside to look at Hagrid's abnormally large pumpkins. All four children were impressed by the size of them and was eager to ask how he got them to grow so big when Ron burped up another handful of slugs near the pumpkins. Hagrid picked the red headed boy up like a doll and placed him far away from his garden. The other three laughed at Hagrid's worried face and soon enough, they all said goodbye to the half-giant and was all set to feast on the awaited lunch ahead of them.
But out of nowhere, the four children were intercepted by McGonagall within the open corridors and were told disheartening news. Well, for Harry and Ron that is.
"Please, Professor! I'll do it next Saturday! Even in the break of dawn!" Harry protested. "Please, just… don't make me stay with Professor Lockhart!"
"My decision is final, Potter, and you'll help him with his fan mail. The more you detest the punishment given to you, the better it is for those who suffered." McGonagall said strictly.
"Please? Not even Friday? I'll stay up as late as you want me to. Please?" McGonagall was about to quickly chastise the boy for trying to make a deal with her, but then allowed the detention to pushed further back.
"But you will stay up for the entire night, Potter! Including you, Weasley. Don't think of this as leniency. You both are still in deep, deep trouble. Now, off you go." Theodore could see the two cheer on the inside as they managed to sway the immovable object known as McGonagall, and followed behind them until McGonagall held Theodore to the side.
"Yes, Professor? Is there something wrong?" The deputy headmaster had a rare softness across her face as Theodore felt confused. She leaned in a little and spoke in a whisper so quiet that Theodore could barely hear her.
"Is Miss Granger alright? I noticed that she had a tear in her eye and I'm certain that allergies has nothing to do with it." Hermione was standing around the corner with the boys, waiting for Theodore as she seemed to be arguing with Ron about 'evading' the detention.
"She's fine, Professor. Something was bothering her but she's fine now, no need to worry." McGonagall had a sigh of relief and leaned backwards.
"That's good. For a second, I thought that she was… I'm glad that she's okay. Now, off you go. Lunch will be ready now." Theodore said goodbye and rejoined his friends as they walked to the Great Hall. Ron and Harry had a victorious look upon their faces but Theodore knew that it wouldn't last long as the week would surely speed up, just for them. The two rule-breakers just didn't know it yet.
Theodore did his best to try and avoid Draco after the skirmish on Saturday. He stuck to his word and used every opportunity to dive into a nearby classroom that were full of older children, even Filch's grubby closet, just to get away from him. It didn't even look like Draco wanted to talk to him as Theodore could see him from the corner of his eye, burning his stare into the back of his skull. It was probably for the best. Draco had crossed over the line by a mile after calling Hermione a Mudblood, and Theodore couldn't let that slide. No, he would just have to carry on doing this for the next five years. If only it were that easy.
The young Parselmouth exited the dungeons as he had finished working with Snape on recording the ingredients within the Potions Cupboard. The tasks felt a little more meaningful than those of last year but he knew that he could be doing more. Snape knew that as well but obviously, why would he help a student who was not in his own house excel? Wasn't like the professor at all. Theodore walked up the moving steps of the castle to reach the second floor corridor, as it was quickest way to Lockhart's classroom to hand in the 'special' essay about Lockhart's school life. Unfortunately, the self-obsessed 'professor' had suddenly taken an interest in Theodore as well, recognising the attention that Theodore had gained from the female students. Lockhart had decided to take Theodore under his wing and would give him useless tips on how to 'keep them wanting more'. Theodore had no clue as to what he meant by that and refused to understand anything that the man had to say to him. He must've been blinder than the most decrepit bat if anything Hermione said about him was true.
He finally reached the second floor corridor and paced quickly along, wishing that he could be in and out with Lockhart, but the person that he dared not to meet, instantly appeared around the corner with Crabbe and Goyle by his side.
"You watch me on the next game, guys. Potter is going to have two scars on his forehead by the time I'm done with him. He won't see it coming!" Draco bragged as he walked down the corridor.
"Hey, d'you think he'll fall off his broom this time," said Goyle stupidly. "The skinny git would break like a twig if he smashes against the floor." Both he and Crabbe laughed horribly as they followed the smaller blonde boy. Draco chuckled at the horrid comment and carried on walking when he stopped by the second floor bathroom doors.
"What's wrong, Draco?"
"Yeah, what's wrong?" Draco peered inside the ajar door of the abandoned girls' bathroom, squinting in between the opening.
"I could've sworn I heard somebody walk inside there…" Crabbe and Goyle towered over Draco and peered into the crack as well. "Do you guys know why this place was left alone?" The burly pair shook their heads. "Of course, you wouldn't. Around fifty years ago, a Mudblood died in that very bathroom."
"How," asked Crabbe.
"Some say that it was a monster from inside of the school that killed her. A monster that lives somewhere in the school."
"Where?" Draco hit Goyle around his ear.
"Stop being an idiot! How could I know where it lives? Come on, we stayed here long enough. I shouldn't be anywhere near a Mudblood's tomb."
Theodore hid himself right behind the very door that the three Slytherins had talked behind. Every single word from Draco had been etched into his mind, further adding on to what he had already known. Not only has the Chamber been opened recently, but a Heir of Slytherin had successfully used whatever the hell lived in there, and actually killed a Muggle-born. Right in this very place. He should've been disgusted to the hairs on his head but curiosity once again, got the better of him as he walked around the bathroom. It was somewhat circular with a diverging aisle of cubicles leading to the other end of the bathroom. Most of the doors looked worn and old with flaking green paint and the sinks had all grown cities of black masses, forming inside and under. The tiles on the floor were dusty and cracked and the ceiling seemingly reflected all of that. This was definitely a place where somebody could've died. However, the most out of place thing inside the locked off bathroom was the central collection of sinks that looked pristine compared to everything else.
"Hello," said the boy to himself as he walked closer to it, "what do we have here?" He looked at himself through the slight soiled mirror and took a while to take in what he saw. He couldn't see why girls were so infatuated with him but he could see his mother through himself. He pressed his cheeks with his cold fingertips and breathed heavily. He shouldn't be feeling sentimental at an urgent time like this. The Chamber was all that mattered now. Not his mother.
"I WON'T DO IT!"
Theodore spun around quickly as the shrill voice snapped inside his ears. He looked around everywhere as nobody came into his line of vision, but he was certain that it was real. Somebody else was inside the bathroom but decided to toy with the boy by hiding somewhere. Theodore sucked in a good portion of air and spoke out loud.
"Come out and face me… if you're brave enough. Come out-" Ginny dashed out from one of the cubicles near the end of the bathroom and quickly cowered behind Theodore, like she was running from somebody, or something. Theodore pulled her off himself and sternly asked her if it was she that screamed.
"I-I… I'm so sorry Theodore… so sorry…" Ginny was beginning to look queasy as her face turned into a nasty shade of green. Theodore lowered himself slightly to come face to face with the shorter girl.
"Ginny, are you okay? Hey, look at me. Are you okay? What's the-" Theodore looked down to her hands as she clenched the diary from before, tightly in her grasp. Theodore stared at it some more and looked back up to her. "Ginny, talk to me. Why do have that diary? And why do you look deathly ill?" Ginny raised her quivering hands to Theodore as she presented the diary to him. A few tears were streaming down her face, replacing her green shade to a deep magenta.
"Take it… he wanted you to have it… please, take it… please…" Ginny looked like she had maimed a baby and was destroyed by her guilt. Theodore had no idea why she was giving him the diary or why she said 'he wanted him to have it'. Did she mean his father? She shouldn't even have any idea as to who his parents were. Theodore held onto the diary and tugged it away from the girl, who was still clutching onto the diary as hard as she could. With one final tug, the diary was now in Theodore's possession, where it finally belonged.
Ginny shook her head as her body shuddered a little before she suddenly ran outside of the bathroom. Theodore watched her leave without thinking of stopping her and instead gazed at the diary instead. It was warm, a different type of warm of when somebody would hold onto it for a long period of time. It had a warmth which felt… alive. It felt… alive. Theodore closed his eyes as he could feel something quickly conduct through his nerves at lightning speed. Whatever that was, it felt good. Too good. Maybe the Chamber of Secrets could wait out a little longer this time.
"Snape is not going to let us be partners again this year. Did you know that he partnered you up with Malfoy?" Hermione said from the other side of the sofa. Theodore was sat cross-legged on the floor, his father's diary spread wide open on the table in front of the crackling fire. He didn't respond to his friend's question and carried on looking.
"He's gone off again." Ron said as he refitted a new coating of sellotape along his wand. "You should just leave him. He's obviously in shock about working with Malfoy." Hermione didn't agree and instead knelt down next to the silent boy and jogged his shoulder.
"Did you hear what I just said?" Theodore looked at her confused and scratched his temple. He was out of it for a good half hour.
"No, I didn't. What was it again?" Hermione looked up to Harry, who looked equally as concerned. "What?"
"Theodore, what's so important about that diary in front of you?" Theodore closed it immediately and stood up from the ground. He felt hopelessly drained and needed some sleep.
"Nothing. It's uh… it belonged to my father. I'm going to sleep now. I feel tired. Goodnight guys." He walked over to the boys' dormitory stairway when Hermione held him back gently with a hand to the forearm. She looked at him like he was troubled close one that had refused to rehabilitate himself from a destructive addiction.
"I'm fine, Hermione. Really. I just need to sleep that's all." Theodore released himself from her grip and walked up the stairs while catching a glimpse of Ginny staring at him intently. He walked over to his bed and got underneath the sheets with the diary still in hand. After looking through it countless of times, Theodore was perplexed as to why it was completely empty. Not a single entry at all. Not 'the very first day of Hogwarts' or 'aced all of my N.E.W.T's', nothing. Completely vacant. Theodore refused to believe that this diary was ordinary. Ginny held onto it like her life depended on it, and now he could feel something 'move' from within it.
"What's inside of here, Dad? What does this diary mean?" He whispered. Viripin placed her head upon Theodore's lap and greeted him tiredly.
"Are you going to sleep soon?"
"Uh… yes. In fact, I'm going to sleep right now. I feel so tired and I don't know why." He yawned noisily as he chucked the diary near the edge of his bed and slammed the back of his head onto the pillow. His sudden weariness sent him straight to sleep, not bothered to say goodnight to Viripin. All he could think about was his father, the Chamber and dead Muggle-born in the abandoned bathroom.
Theodore was inside the bathroom once more. He didn't know how he got there, or what was even the time. The windows were purely white as was behind the door which led to pretty much nowhere. The entire bathroom looked freshly constructed, not a single crack, stain or smudge anywhere. The cubicles looked clean, the tiles looked clean, everything was clean. Except the central sinks. Dirty green moss had infected them, growing in the oddest shapes possible. As Theodore looked more carefully, he noticed that little snakes began to spurt out from the moss, telling him to 'Open it' again and again and again. Theodore didn't understand.
"Open what? What do you want me to open?"
"Here…" A voice called out to him from the sinks. He circled around them slowly, staring at his reflection through each mirror until he paused at a certain one. The boy in the mirror was not him. He looked almost identical to him, but it wasn't him. He had a stronger looking jawline, his hair was the right mixture of messy and neat, his face was sharp and pale, and his hazel eyes- wait. It was him. Only a few years older. Theodore looked at his older reflection, who had cunning written all over his face. He wore the Slytherin Hogwarts robes and was smiling deviously.
"Fresh blood… Slytherin's blood.. our blood. Open it, Theodore. Do it!"
"The… the Chamber? You want me to open the Chamber of Secrets?" The elder Theodore nodded maliciously as his eyes turned red. Theodore looked fearful of his reflection as he began to back away slowly. The elder Theodore began to laugh in a high voice, slowly morphing out through the mirror while beckoning forwards. Theodore watched in horror as his older self began to change. His skin started to become waxy and scaly, shifting into a bone-white tone. His lips became thin slowly until they were nonexistent. The hair on his head shrunk, leaving behind a pale scalp with blue veins running across. His nose was pushed back into his face until all that was left were two slits. The elder Theodore pierced into the younger one's eyes with his own slits and carried on laughing till he stopped abruptly. He stopped until they were face to face, mere inches away from each other, looking with silence holding their tongues.
Theodore snapped back into reality, breathing profoundly as he tried to recover from the nightmare. He saw himself change into that 'thing'. That 'thing' was something that he saw from before. Something from last year. Theodore felt a shiver coming from his feet as he realised that he was not inside his bed. Standing upright, he was inside the second floor bathroom at god knows what time. The moonlight shone upon the central sinks as they beamed the reflections all across the bathroom like a disco ball.
'How did I even get- what… the fuck? Why do I have the diary in my hand?'
Tom Riddle's diary was in his grip, somehow. Theodore was starting to freak out a little. He had a dream about suddenly waking up inside of the creepy bathroom and here he actually was. This was no dream, for sure. He could feel the cold tiles against his bare feet, the air from the open windows flowing against his skin. This was real.
'Did I sleepwalk? I've never sleepwalked in my life. What the hell is going on?!'
A sudden urge fell over Theodore as he felt compelled to move towards the central sinks. He was drawn towards it. Something about them attracted him. He could feel something… something that needed him. Theodore slowly walked to the same mirror in his dream and looked at himself. A perfect reflection. He looked around the sinks, searching through every gap and every tap for that one thing. There it was. Etched on the side of the tap was an engraved snake, winding in a 'S' shape. Theodore traced it until he realised what this was. This…
"The Chamber of Secrets… it's here." Theodore quickly turned the tap to see no water run from it. His obsession had grown exponentially as he knocked on every corner of the tap. The entrance had to be there somewhere. It had to.
Theodore took a step back and thought for a second. He faced the tap silently, then said what he needed to.
"Open." He hissed in Parseltongue. There was a click as the sinks began to rotate anti-clockwise. After three rotations, the sink that had the snake-engraved tap sunk down into the ground as the others moved further away to reveal a hole inside of the ground. Theodore wanted to shout in victory as he found it. It had barely been two weeks and he found the entrance of the Chamber. He didn't know how exactly he made it to the bathroom but he was sure that his intuition was strong enough to lift him to the very place. He was brilliant in that way.
Theodore walked over to the pipe and stared downwards. A black hole. He didn't know if there was any way back up but if Slytherin was as great as Theodore thought he would be, he would have nothing to worry about. Theodore was about to jump straight inside until he felt something rigid in his pyjama pocket. His wand. Good. He was glad that he unconsciously thought to bring some protection as well. Who knew what was down there. Holding on tightly to the diary and his wand, Theodore gave a good lift against the ground and plummeted straight down.
The pipe twisted and turned at violent corners, it's slime reducing the friction between the boy and the pipe itself, sending him faster and faster downwards. As he raced deeper down the school, he could see diverging tunnels that looked smaller than the main one, probably going off to the other parts of the castle. After two more minutes of sliding through, the pipe shot the Parselmouth right out, sending him rolling across a damp, stoned floor with rough edges. Theodore wheezed as he felt a gashing pain form on his right shoulder. He winced as he pressed against it and was sure that it was deep wound. He grabbed his wand and pointed it at the cut, trying to remember the spell that Dumbledore had used last year when he scraped his palms.
"Uh… uh… Vulnera Sanentur!" Theodore could feel his shoulder knit back together as the pain subsided. Sighing in relief, he pocketed his wand but realised that the diary had fell out of his hand. Wherever he was, it had no light whatsoever and was so humid, he felt like drowning any second now. He casted a charm which lit the tip of his wand so brightly that it filled the corners of the room. The diary was beneath his feet and the second he picked it right up, the unexplained sensation fell over him again.
Go through… the tunnel…
Theodore pointed his wand towards the tunnel on the far end and followed through with his unusually loud 'sixth sense'. Theodore walked slowly, casually observing the slime that hung off the walls. He must've been underneath someplace with a lot of water, probably the Black Lake. He continued forward until he felt a searing pain of something pricking the soles of his feet. He hopped backwards and pointed his wand towards the ground. Hundreds, probably thousands, of small animal bones laid all in front of him, rats mostly. Theodore instinctively knew what do.
"Ventus!" Instead of precise streams of air being released, a wide spread of a powerful gust blew out from Theodore's wand, creating a wide pathway for him to walk through. Impressed with himself and his power, Theodore strolled forwards, keeping his wand and diary close to him.
'I can't believe it. I actually found the Chamber of Secrets! This is… this is…'
"Yes… my birthright…"
The tunnel lead on and on until he reached the end. The Heir of Slytherin faced the circular door made of rusted steel, holding seven faded-green snakes that were aligned with each other. Theodore touched the lowest snake and closed his eyes. Behind this door was the real thing. His destiny, his heritage, his blood… all that belonged to him, behind the snake door. He swallowed for he wanted his pronunciation to be absolute perfection. Theodore inhaled, then hissed once more.
An eighth snake slithered from the hinge area as it moved across the edges of the circular door. As it passed one of the stationary snakes, it would force them to snap backwards, repeating with each one until the seventh had assumed its position. Theodore stepped backwards as the door swung open, screeching, for it had been still for so long.
Go, Theodore… go…
Theodore was inside. Slytherin's heir was inside, just like he would've wanted. The boy ignored the water beneath his feet as he was overwhelmed by what he saw. A green tinted chamber, reaching out so far that one would have to squint to see the other end. Silver serpents acted as pillars, supporting the rough ceiling as they were half submerged in water on either side. Theodore couldn't help but feel like a prince who had found his hidden palace and had finally ascended to true power as a king. Theodore walked down the central pathway, occasionally splashing into puddles of slimy water. He didn't mind. The air was thick and damp but he loved it for some reason. Closer and closer, he got to the end. The features of the marvellous statue in front of him became clear, in vision and in mind. It was of a man, who had something primal within his face. A bald head, a thin beard that sunk into the water below it and eyes of fury which invigorated Theodore. His ancestor…
"Master… is that… master?" Theodore shot backwards by so much that he fell into a large puddle, drenching himself in the process. Something in the mouth just spoke to him. The Parselmouth quickly got up and picked the diary but not his wand. Staying in his spot, Theodore spoke aloud, only in Parseltongue.
"I… I am not Salazar Slytherin… but I am his heir…"
"Prove it…" Theodore came closer to the statue's mouth, pressing his forehead against his ancestor's bottom lip.
"You're a snake aren't you? That's why I can understand you. This is Parseltongue, our language. I know that you can smell me. Go ahead, do it…" A brief flicker of a tongue and a deathly hiss vibrated against Slytherin's mouth.
"Half-blood… filthy half-blood… you're like the other one… only a bit purer… master made me for the pure… only the pure…"
"I am Slytherin's heir, therefore you will listen to me. Are you listening… I said are you listening?! You answer to me! I am the Heir of Slytherin and you answer to me!" Theodore shouted. He didn't know where this anger came from but he liked it. He held onto the diary as he waited for the creature's reply. The beast said nothing. "Creature, I command you to yield to me. Tell me who your master is."
"You, humble master."
"Good. The purity of my blood doesn't not matter if it is of Slytherin's. I am the heir and you will obey me." The creature hissed from behind the wall in submission as it devoted itself entirely to the twelve year old boy. Theodore grinned almost malevolently as he gained what he wanted. The beast was under his control. He could do whatever he wanted. He could finally reveal to everyone that he was the new Heir of Slytherin, demanding that he should change to the appropriate house, he could use the Chamber as hiding place for any practice of the Dark Arts that he encountered over the summer, or he could complete his ancestor's work and rid the school of every filthy Mudblood that polluted the great school that was-
Theodore rubbed his forehead viciously as a few drops of water fell from high above. He was losing the main objective. He said he'd find the Chamber, he never actually said that he was going to use the monster as his ancestor planned. This was all to see if the myths were true and he found them. He rediscovered the Chamber.
"Creature, I want to see you with my own eyes. I command you to come into the light, now!"
"Close your eyes..."
Theodore shut his eyes as he stepped backwards. The ground beneath him shuddered as excess water flowed across his damp feet. He could feel the shifting of stone grinding against each other before something heavy hit the ground. The beast slithered towards the boy and circled right around him as it kept its head posed in the air. Theodore was breathing loudly as he dug his nails into the diary. The book seemed to respond to the boy's uneasiness as it sent a feeling of warmth throughout Theodore's body, suppressing his fear.
"Open… master…" The Beast of Slytherin said. Theodore slowly opened his eyes to see the feared monster that he had heard all about but did not know of. The hide of vivid emerald scales belonged to a colossal serpent that had winded itself around the boy. Its body had the thickness of a hundred year old oak tree and probably possessed the weight as well. Theodore could not see the head of the giant serpent for he heard it hiss behind his head, its hot, stinging breath hitting the back of his neck. He didn't dare turn around.
"Wait," whispered the boy in Parseltongue. "I know what you are… you don't want me to look you in your eyes because… you're a Basilisk." The serpent brought the front his head in front of Theodore's eyes, but was careful to not go to far. It had no purpose if she killed those that it was created to serve. Theodore observed its slimy mouth as its forked tongue slowly flicked out I front of his face.
"Yes… Basilisk… First Master chose me for my power… for I am… power…" It was a basilisk the whole time. It made sense, all of it. A feared and dangerous beast which could kill with a single glance. A serpent which would only follow Slytherin's blood. A creature that was under Theodore' control. He felt hungry, hungry to see what the serpent was capable of right in front of him. He had to see if it truly held up to its name and if it was truly the King of Serpents. Anger and hatred filled his heart as he became desperate. Theodore couldn't see it but his eyes had turned red for an influence was beginning to infect him.
'I shouldn't, but I must. I was born with a purpose. To carry out Slytherin's plan. I must, I should… I will. I'll will purge the school of the unworthy and will uphold the glory that is Salazar Slytherin, on high! I will-"
Theodore threw the diary away from him as he felt a stab cut through his chest. He felt something sever as he screamed in pain. Brought to his knees, the boy's screams filled the hidden chamber as the basilisk loomed over him, unsure as to why its master began to cry in pain. One knife drove into his body from the back, another from the front. It was just like last year when he slaughtered Quirrell. His soul was tearing again. He hasn't killed anyone but it was ripping at every passing scream. Theodore's lungs shut down as he instantly passed out on the ground, unable to breath or move. As he choked on the ground, probably dying, he could barely make out the basilisk as it hung over him, completely silent.
"Fresh blood… Slytherin's blood… my blood…"
I was so tired with writing this chapter that I think I threw in a lot of bullshit lol. From here on out, the story is mostly going to be through Theodore's eyes with a little from Harry, Dumbledore and Hermione. Those four are the main characters that I picked after all. I noticed that I haven't really refined Theodore's character yet but I guess that's the point of character development, you can't rush into it. So yeah, I'm pretty sure that there are no spelling mistakes and poor grammar(I hope so), so enjoy this chapter. Later.
caveydude: Thank you so much :)
DreaminginGreyscale: sure, why not