The Golden Thread::Book Two::Chamber of Secrets::

The Worst Kept Gryffindor Secret

That night Harry was woken up by a small whimper from beside him. He was sleeping between Ron and Hermione he sat up wondering where the noise was coming from. It was Hermione. She was twitching slightly in her sleep. She made another small whining noise. Harry, who was usually the one with the nightmares, watched her in surprise for a second.

"No..leave me alone..." Hermione whined..her voice was barely more than a whisper so only Harry could hear her. He had a guess what she was dreaming about. He shook her shoulders slightly

'Mione..c'mon now. Wake up.

Hermione's eyes shot open and Harry's thought had also woken Ron who sat up as well. Hermione clung to Harry, shivering.

What's wrong 'Mione... Ron thought as Harry held her, stroking her hair

Hermione shook her head and sniffled softly

I..it..the chamber..and the monster... She thought.

Shhh...it's okay.. Ron soothed

Yeah.. Harry added You don't need to worry...we won't let anything bad happen to you..

Hermione sniffled again, tears running down her face Promise?

Promise. Harry and Ron answered together. This was the first time they'd actually stopped to think this bit through, the two of them were a pureblood and a halfbood, making the chances of them being in danger from the monster low..Hermione was a different story altogether.

Hey guys... Hermione thought

Yeah? Harry asked

Do you mind if I..if I sleep in the middle for the rest of the night?

'Course not. Ron answered. Hermione and Harry slipped quietly out of bed and switched places. Both boys put an arm around Hermione and she hid her face in Ron's chest. Harry and Ron looked at each other over her head, their eyes met and they made a silent agreement. If they could help it Hermione wouldn't be out of their sight until all this was over.

Over the next few days they made a plan. Next defense lesson Hermione would ask Lockhart for the note they needed for the advanced potions book in the restricted section of the library. She would come up with some excuse and hope he didn't ask many questions (Harry and Ron seriously doubted he would).

The night before their next defense against the dark arts lesson when they were going to put their plan into action Hermione was sitting in her own dorm, waiting, as usual, for it to be late enough that everyone was in bed. Lavender and Parvarti had both fallen asleep already. Hermione had hated nights ever since she'd heard the story of the chamber of secrets in History of Magic. She'd always hated the dark but now it was even worse. Every noise in the old castle sounded like a growl or a hiss. Every creak sounded like the monster coming after her. She was anxious to get to her boys. Surly enough time had passed now. She crept out of bed and down the stairs, usually she checked the common room carefully from close to the bottom of the stairs before sneaking over to the boys dorm but she was so jumpy tonight that she went straight across the common room and up the boys' staircase. She was so worried about getting to Harry and Ron that she missed Percy..he was in the common room doing a bit of late night studying. He spotted her however and quietly followed her up the stairs to find out what she was doing. He watched as she slipped into the second-year boys' dorm and made her way quickly past all the sleeping boys..or if they were awake they at least didn't react..to the last bed on the left, opened the hangings, and climbed inside.

Percy followed her. He opened the hangings behind her and his mouth fell open. Harry Ron and Hermione were all cuddled together, Hermione had wriggled her way between the boys and Harry and Ron both had arms around her. Their eyes went wide as they spotted Percy.

"Common Room. All three of you. Now." Percy hissed, pointing at the door. The other second years were awake now. They'd pulled their hangings open and were shooting anxious glaces at each other.

Harry, Ron and Hermione nervously made their way out of the common room and downstairs. They didn't talk. They'd finally been busted. What would happen now? Percy glared at them

"You three must be out of your minds!" He shouted. He was making such a fuss that the other Gryffindors were making their way downstairs. Great. A crowd. This was sure to be embarrassing.

"First you sneak around on the second floor and now you're sharing a bed! What is wrong with you!"

"Percy..."

"Quiet, Ron." Percy snapped "I don't want to hear it."

All the other second years were standing in a knot in the corner, whispering together. Fred and George looked like they wanted to say something but stayed quiet.

"Okay..Everyone back to bed." Percy snapped finally "And you three...no more of that nonsense." The curious crowd of Gryffindors dispersed. Percy even went so far as to follow Harry and Ron upstairs to make sure they got in their own beds. Dean, Neville and Seamus glared at him. This was an intrusion into their routine that they resented. Once Percy was gone Neville got up and walked to the two end beds.

"You guys alright?" He asked, looking from Harry to Ron

"Not really." Ron said, his face was flushed with embarrassment and he felt cold and alone. They tried their best to fall asleep and eventually they did. Meanwhile in the girls dorm Hermione also managed to get to sleep...

They all had nightmares. Hermione dreamed of dark corridors and creeping beasts. Ron had visions of Hermione petrified in a bed in the hospital wing. Harry heard cold voices hissing to him about heirs and the fact that his true destiny was in Slytherin. Then the screaming started.

It was enough to wake the whole tower yet again. Everyone came out of their dorms, looking around. Neville Dean and Seamus managed to wake Harry and Ron and the two boys clung to each other as they made their way down the stairs. Parvarti and Lavender had their arms around a shaking Hermione as they brought her down as well. Hermione wrenched her way out of their grasp as soon as she saw Harry and Ron and ran to them. The Gryffindors watched as the three second years huddled together, they started to make small shushing sounds to one another. Once they calmed down a bit they turned and walked up the boys' staircase. Percy watched them go, even after everything that just happened he seemed about ready to go tell them off again.

Fred and George blocked his way to the staircase "Just leave it, Perce." Fred said.

"But I can't.." Percy began

"Stop." George said "Didn't you hear those screams?"

"Yeah of course I did..."

"Let them go." George said.

"They're clearly breaking the rules." Percy snapped.

"What's the harm." Angelina Johnson joined the conversation "They're second years."

"Think for a minute Percy." George snapped, he was uncharacteristically angry "They almost died together last year, you know what Harry's been through too."

"On top of that..you saw the writing on the wall. You heard the story of that chamber..." Angelina said "You know Hermione's a muggle born. They're hardly ever seen apart and Hermione's probably scared out of her wits..of course she wants to be with them."

"Just leave them alone." George said again and turned to walk up the staircase. Fred gave Percy one last glare and followed his twin.

"Some rules are worth breaking." Angelina said as she wandered off up the girls' staircase. Everyone else began to go back to bed as well.

Percy sighed..perhaps they were right. He thought for another moment and made his choice. He would stay quiet..at least for now.

It seemed as if this would become the worst kept secret Gryffindor tower had ever had.