Sense of Belonging

Chapter 14

Disclaimer: I do not own Harry Potter (that magic belongs to J.K. Rowling).

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Izzy got her first answer about the Chamber only a few minutes later. One of the fourth years sitting near the fire in the Slytherin common room was holding a book and searching through it. Catching the cover and recognizing it as Hogwarts: A History, she realized what the girl was doing and ran upstairs to get her own copy from her trunk. Returning to her seat by the fire, Iz flipped through the pages until she found what she was looking for.

"Found it!" Isabelle said in an excited tone, glancing up as a few other Slytherins nearby listened in.

"Page 277, at the bottom. The legend of the Chamber of Secrets. When the Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry was founded, the four founders (Godric Gryffindor, Helga Hufflepuff, Rowena Ravenclaw, and Salazar Slytherin) built a castle together, far from prying Muggle eyes. This is still the same location and building used for the school today. For the first few years, the founders worked in harmony together, seeking out youngsters who showed signs of magic – "

"Skip ahead to the part about the Chamber!" Pansy demanded, joining the group now listening to Izzy reading.

"Not yet. So the founders recruited young people who showed signs of magical abilities and brought them to Hogwarts to be educated. But disagreements began to appear between Slytherin and the others. Slytherin wanted to be more selective about the students admitted to the magical school. He believed that magical learning should be kept within all-magic families only. He disliked – "

"Come on, Isabelle!"

"Fine, fine… Here. After a while, there was a serious argument on the subject between two of the founders, Slytherin and Gryffindor, and Slytherin left the school. But before the powerful wizard left, Slytherin made sure to seal the hidden chamber he had built so that none other than his own true heir arrived at the school.

The chamber remained a secret whispered through the halls of the school and none of the other founders nor any wizard or witch to date has found an entrance to the supposed hideaway. Once Slytherin's heir arrived at Hogwarts, only they alone would be able to unseal the Chamber of Secrets, unleash the horror within, and use it to purge the school of all who were unworthy to study magic."

There was a slight pause of silence before the Slytherin students all went back to talking in their own groups. Pansy snatched the book from Izzy's lap and looked over the page she had just read, as if Iz had left out some of the details.

"Ugh!" The spiky-haired girl sighed angrily, practically throwing the book back at her suitemate. "It doesn't even say what this 'horror' in the Chamber is. It's a load of – "

"What if it's a monster with lots of pointed teeth and claws and poison and it comes to kill us all?!" Tracey asked in a slight panic, eyes wide. She glanced over to Millicent, both wondering if they would be targets.

"It's not going to do that. Plus, it's only going to go after Muggleborns, and you both are half-bloods AND in Slytherin House." Daphne reassured the two girls matter-of-factly before going back to re-read what the text said.

"So the next question is," Isabelle replied, somewhat serious but also pausing for dramatic effect, "/who/ exactly is the heir of Slytherin?" All five girls glanced around the common room as if trying to decide who was most likely to be said heir.

"It could be one of the older students…" Millicent suggested, looking at a group of sixth years who she was always afraid of.

"But if it was an older student, why wait until this year to open the Chamber?" Iz mused, glancing over the group but deciding no one looked worthy enough of being a Hogwarts founder's heir.

"You don't really think it's a First Year, do you, Izzy? Maybe the heir just needed to better their magic, hone it so they could control the horror from the Chamber?" Daphne replied, finally looking up from the book again.

"I guess so…" Isabelle shrugged, still looking around the common room and deciding on likely suspects.

"Hey! What…" Pansy leaned closer to the group of girls and said in a low but dramatic voice, "if it's Draco!"

All five girls looked to where the second-year was sitting with the other boys. He could not even sit in the armchair properly, his legs draped over the side and munching on some chocolate tarts he or one of the others had brought up from the feast. As they watched him for a moment, they all witnessed him missing his mouth with one of the tarts, it falling onto his robe, and him licking his finger to eat the frosting off his clothing.

"Pansy, I don't think – " Tracey started in a doubtful tone.

"No, listen! He's smart, he's clever, he knew exactly what the message on the wall had meant. Plus, he was just learning magic last year so he couldn't have opened the Chamber!" Pansy finished confidently, still staring in Izzy's brother's direction.

"Okay, but Pansy? If Draco is the heir of Slytherin, that would mean that I am too." Iz clarified, lifting her eyebrows slightly to show how ridiculous that idea was. The other three girls, however, turned to look at her inquisitively, as if trying to decide.

"You know, Izzy, you /could/ be an heir of Salazar Slytherin. The Malfoy bloodline goes back hundreds of years, your entire family is pureblooded. Plus, you always get good marks in classes…" Daphne thought out loud, somewhat jokingly but also appearing to actually take herself seriously. Tracey and Millicent both nodded, Pansy ignoring the other girls.

"That's absolutely ridiculous." Isabelle shook her head, but the girls were still staring at her. "I didn't even know there was a Chamber of Secrets and I have no idea how to open it or whatever. And I can tell you that Draco wouldn't know either."

"But would you, Izzy? I mean, your parents might just not have told you. Plus, you and Draco haven't really been talking since…well, for a while." Millicent continued hesitantly, knowing the subject made her suitemate prickly and temperamental.

"I think I would know if my own brother was the heir of Slytherin!" Iz stated as confidently as she could, but doubt had crossed her mind as she had just remembered where she had heard the phrase before…

The dark-haired Malfoy stood suddenly and walked purposefully over to where Draco was lounging. The boys were talking about something completely different, Quidditch or some other nonsense that Iz did not care to pay attention to – they seemed to have quickly lost interest in the whole Chamber business, unlike much of the rest of the Slytherin common room.

"Draco. A word." Isabelle gave no room in her voice for an argument but did not say it in the same annoyed tone she had been using with him since he had called her a 'bloodtraitor.' He looked up, surprised but then glowered a bit at his friends for show. Without saying anything, he stood and followed his sister to a more secluded area of the common room.

"What is it?" The older Malfoy's tone showed only annoyance, not giving away any other emotion.

"Well, a couple of things. First, Pansy – and now the rest of the second-year girls and I think a few others – think you're the heir of Slytherin who opened the Chamber of Secrets." Izzy stated this matter-of-factly but gave him a questioning look as if to just confirm he had heard her.

"Oh really?" Draco smirked, ideas popping into his head about how he could spin such a rumor to his advantage.

"Draco, be serious!" Iz whacked him gently in the arm so that he would refocus on her. "Just so we are clear, we /aren't/ heirs of Slytherin, right?" She bit her lip slightly, as if nervous to hear the answer, doubt clear in her voice.

"I don't know, Izzy, how would I? You're the one who's memorized all the family trees…" Her brother shrugged non-committedly, obviously still thinking about what he could do with the rumor.

"Well, I just didn't know if Father had told you something that he didn't tell me…" She waited a moment, but Draco didn't add anything. "Fine. I only bring it up because of what I was trying to tell you a few weeks ago, that Mother and Father are keeping a secret from us. But then I also – "

"Not this again – Isabelle, they aren't keeping anything from us! And if they are, then we don't need to know." Draco said firmly, crossing his arms.

"No, listen! Remember when we were in Knockturn Alley? In that shop with all the skulls and shrunken heads and stuff? Father was trying to get rid of some items from the House, something /illegal/, I think, that the Ministry shouldn't find or something. Anyways, I heard him and Mother talking in his study just before we left for the train and Father said all of the things were gone and nothing would connect us to some person or the /heir of Slytherin/!" Isabelle finished in almost a hiss, not wanting to give away any information to a pair of Fifth Years who were sitting nearby. Draco, in turn, merely stared at her trying to comprehend what she had just said.

"…so you heard Father say that we wouldn't be connected to the heir of Slytherin anymore? So then we aren't heirs – but maybe we're related to them? Or…or something?" The blond-haired boy attempted to fit the puzzle pieces together, his eyebrows scrunched together in deep thought.

"I'm not sure. But our parents know something about the heir – and they are keeping a secret from us, something Mother was supposed to tell me last year when I turned eleven." Izzy silently added that she hoped, like last year, that Narcissa would come to Hogwarts to surprise her on her birthday and she could ask her mother in person.

"Yeah, well…I don't know." Draco glanced back over to where his friends were sitting, now laughing at some stupid trick Crabbe was doing. "Anything else?" He asked impatiently, still staring towards the fire.

"Yeah, yes, um…" Taking a deep breath and making a decision, she stepped closer to him to get his attention and so that he could see she was serious. "Draco, I don't want us to be fighting anymore. I miss…I miss us talking. And just being siblings, and being annoying – but not like this, like you hate me." Iz stopped for a moment, swallowing her desire to go off about the blood status comments. "I want us to just be brother and sister again."

Her brother's grey eyes turned back to meet her hazel-green ones. Izzy could see him hesitate in his response and, for a split second, she could see his own longing to put their fight aside. But his gaze hardened and he frowned ever so slightly.

"We are siblings, Isabelle. But until you realize that you're a /Malfoy/ and that you shouldn't be hanging around with undesirables like Granger and Moreau, I don't think there is anything for us to talk about."

Leaving it at that and ignoring his sister's stunned look, he turned and walked back to his group without glancing back. Iz stood there for a moment in surprise, it having taken a lot for her to swallow her pride and her temper to argue the matter further. She had thought, especially with the pie incident at the feast earlier, that Draco might have been softening on the whole issue. At least, she had hoped they could agree to disagree and move on. For Merlin's sake, her birthday was tomorrow!

Hiding her emotions as best she could so as not to give Pansy the satisfaction nor Daphne any worry, Isabelle returned to the second-year girls. When asked, she confirmed that Draco had /not/ opened the Chamber and that she really doubted they were related to Slytherin in any way.

As they veered the conversation towards the fall fashion magazine Pansy had gotten in the mail earlier, Izzy decided to head upstairs to go to bed. The young Slytherin climbed under her sheets and closed her curtains, curling into a comfortable sleeping position and wishing with all her heart that she would have a good twelfth birthday.