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

The Photographer's Statue

When Harry came to he was still on the field. His teammates, Ron and Hermione were gathered around him, along with plenty more Gryffindors in the background despite his injury they were all smiling . Harry smiled back at then and then noticed someone else was there as well. It was Lockhart..

"No.." He mumbled

"Must've hit his head." Lockhart said "Doesn't know what he's saying. I'm going to fix that arm of yours, Harry."

"No thanks.." Harry said quickly. As he tried to sit up he heard a familiar sound. A camera clicking "Collin..no photos right now please!" he yelled.

"Don't worry Harry I've done this dozens of times." Lockhart said brightly taking out his wand.

"I'd rather go to the hospital wing." Harry said

"Yeah he really should, professor." Said Wood, who was spattered with mud and still grinning "Great flying, munchkin. Your best capture yet."

Harry couldn't help but try and grin back although it probably looked more like a grimace of pain. He also saw Fred and George fighting the rouge bludger back into the box.

he turned his attention back to Lockhart who was rolling up his sleeves and preparing to cast (or attempt to cast) a charm to heal his arm. Despite Harry's protests he waved his wand and pointed it at Harry's arm. He felt a strange sensation from his shoulder down that was quite unpleasant Collin started to click away madly, several people gasped, Ron swore. Harry's arm no longer hurt. But it didn't feel like an arm anymore either. He braced himself and looked down. He nearly passed out again. His arm looked like a flesh colored glove. Lockhart hadn't fixed Harry's bones..he'd removed them completely. Harry couldn't move his arm at all and when he stood up he felt lopsided.

"Yes well. That can happen." Said Lockhart "Miss Granger, Mr. Weasley, why don't you two take Harry up to the hospital wing so Madame Pomfrey can tidy him up a bit."

Ron, glaring at Lockhart, slung an arm around Harry and steered him off the pitch and back towards the castle Hermione following closely.

Madame Pomfrey was livid. She told them that she'd be able to grow Harry's bones back but that it would be painful and Harry would have to spend the night in the hospital wing. Ron had to help him into his pajamas due to his useless arm. It took awhile.

How can you take up for Lockhart now 'Mione. Ron snarled

Mistakes happen. Hermione answered And besides, it doesn't hurt anymore, does it Harry.

Harry felt annoyed. How could Hermione stick up for Lockhart when he had just de-boned Harry's arm. He'd expected her to finally be on his side and the fact that she wasn't made him a upset. More upset than he'd ever admit.

No..but it doesn't do anything else either. He thought.

After he'd gotten into bed Harry had to take a nasty potion called skele-gro to help his bones grow back.

"We still won though!" Ron said, taking Harry's good hand and grinning "Malfoy looked like he was ready to kill someone."

"I want to know how he manged to tamper with the bludger." Said Hermione, her eyes narrowed

Well that's something else we can ask him when the polyjuice potion is ready. Harry thought

His teammates arrived a short time later. All of them were congratulating him on his excellent capture.

"You rock, munchkin." George said, ruffling his hair

"Yeah, that was the best flying I've ever seen!" Katie added.

Angelina grinned broadly "You may be nuts, munchkin, but you're still brilliant."

Alicia clapped, bouncing up and down "Can't believe we did it!" she squealed

"You showed 'em, munchkin, catching the snitch with your arm broken. People will talk about that one for years." Oliver added, looking like a proud older brother.

Fred and George had manged to procure snacks and pumpkin juice and the team, Ron and Hermione were just starting on what was sure to be an excellent party around Harry's bed when Madame Pomfrey swept over and chased them off saying Harry needed his rest because he had thirty three bones to regrow.

Harry's teammates grumbled a bit and left the wing. Ron and Hermione lingered. When Madame Pomfrey glared at them Ron gave her an innocent little shrug and took half a step towards Harry's bed, the nurse got the hint at once. She had, after all, let the three sleep together after the Sorcerer's Stone incident last year.

"Oh no. Not this time." She said sharply "I only let that slide because you all nearly died. He'll be out tomorrow. Off you go."

Ron and Hermione pouted. They both gave Harry hugs and left for Gryffindor tower. Now that he was alone Harry had nothing to distract him from the new stabbing pains in his arm. Hours later Harry woke up with a start. He felt like there were large splinters in his arm. He thought that that was what had woken him but then he realized someone was sponging off his forehead in the dark.

"Get off me..." He snapped with a horrified gasp and then, "Dobby?"

The elf gave him a watery smile

"Ahh, Harry Potter sir. You came back to school.." He said, shaking his head sadly "Why didn't you go home when you missed the train?"

Harry sat up with difficulty, and then the impact of what Dobby had just said hit him.

"You!" Harry snapped "It was you who stopped the barrier from letting us through."

"Yes, sir. Dobby hid and waited for Harry Potter and then sealed the barrier. Dobby had to iron his hands afterwards." He showed Harry his fingers. All of them were bandaged "When Dobby heard Harry Potter had gotten to school another way he let his master's dinner burn..never before has Dobby had such a flogging." Harry flinched at Dobby's last words. He knew that feeling only too well. But still:

"You nearly got Ron and me expelled!" Harry hissed "If you don't get out of here before my bones come back I'll strangle you."

Dobby gave him a small smile "Dobby gets death threats five times a day at home. He is used to them."

He blew his nose on his filthy pillowcase and he looked so pathetic that Harry felt another twinge of sympathy in spite of himself.

"Why do you wear that." He asked

Dobby explained that it was a mark of his enslavement and that he could only be set free if his masters gave him clothes.

"Harry Potter must go home!" Dobby said suddenly, his eyes wide and pleading "Dobby thought that his bludger would be enough to-"

Harry got angry again "Your bludger? You made that bludger chase me? You could have killed me."

"Not kill you sir! Never kill you. Dobby just wanted Harry Potter injured enough to be sent home."

"Oh..is that all then." Harry snapped angrily "I don't suppose you're going to tell me why you wanted me sent back to the Burrow in pieces."

"Horrible things are going to happen..or maybe they already are happening." Dobby said, shaking his head again, making his ears flap "Dobby cannot let Harry Potter stay here now that history will repeat itself..now that the chamber of secrets has been opened again." Dobby looked horrified. He grabbed the water jug from Harry's bedside table and smashed it over his own head. He toppled out of sight and reappeared a minute later, climbing back onto the bed muttering "Bad Dobby."

Harry stared at him "So..it's true. There is a chamber of secrets, and it's been opened before?" Harry seized Dobby by the wrist as he reached for the water jug again "Tell me Dobby..who opened the chamber before and who's doing it now? I'm not muggle born why so how can I be in danger?"

"Dobby cannot say...Dobby must not tell..ask no more, sir." Dobby said "Dobby only wants Harry Potter to be safe. Go home Harry Potter.."

Harry narrowed his eyes "I'm not going anywhere.." he snarled "My...umm..someone I really care about is muggle born and she'll be first in line if the chamber's been opened." The very thought made Harry feel sick.

"Ahh Harry Potter thinks of others first..so noble..however this is a danger he must not face..he must-" Dobby stopped mid-sentence, his ears quivering. Harry could hear it too. Footsteps.

"Someone is coming. Dobby must go." squeaked Dobby, looking terrified and with a whip-like crack he was gone. The footsteps grew nearer. Harry quickly pretended to be asleep as Dumbldore backed into the room carrying what looked like the feet of a statue and Professor McGonnagall appeared a second later, holding it by the shoulders. Together the two teachers laid the statue on a bed and McGonagall ran off to get Madame Pomfrey who bustled over instantly.

"What happened?" She asked with a sharp gasp

"There's been another attack." Dumbldore said gravely

"I found him on the stairs." McGonagall said "He had a bunch of grapes with him. I suspect he was trying to get over here to visit Potter."

Harry felt his heart sink. He raised himself ever so slightly on his elbows to look at the statue on the bed..it was Collin Creevey. He had his camera raised, eyes wide and staring without seeing.

Dumbldore took the camera from Collin's grip and opened it. A puff of smoke raised out of it and Harry smelled burnt plastic. The film was melted.

"What does this mean, Albus?" McGonagall asked

"It means...that the chamber of secrets is indeed open again." Dumbledore answered.

"But..Albus..who..."

"The question is not who..the question is how."

The look on McGonagall's face told Harry that she didn't understand this any better than he did.