Oh God Not Again! - Kapitola 24

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Note: Okay, last chapter there was some confusion about why Draco was willing to lie to his father when Lucius was only at Hogwarts on Draco's information. Draco didn't actually tell Lucius anything; Lucius knew that there should be attacks going on since he slipped Ginny the Diary and has no idea why he hasn't heard anything about them. He knew that the Diary would open the Chamber of Secrets but didn't know that the monster was a basilisk until Harry mentioned it in Hagrid's hut. Draco was willing to lie to his father because he knew that there wasn't any proof of the Cfhamber opening and even if they were willing to wait around for another attack, Harry and co. could just cover it up, like they did with him and Cedric. As a Slytherin, Draco realizes that if he came clean, he would be the only one who would and so his testimony wouldn't be enough to go on (particularly as he kept claiming to be the Heir himself) and everyone would be mad at him for getting the Ministry involved in Hogwarts, as nothing good ever comes from their interference. Ever.
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A week before finals, Pettigrew was still on the loose, annoying everyone greatly by having petrified everyone at least once (except Harry, who he seemed to be avoiding) and occasionally leaving graffiti messages around the school, warning people about the 'Heir'. These messages only served to irritate Filch, however, which in turn served to irritate everyone else because, really, who likes a cantankerous caretaker on the warpath? And Filch certainly seemed to take every painted message as a personal affront.
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Harry was just on his way back from another grueling session of refusing to study for finals like everyone else and was feeling quite pleased that he'd managed to run away from the library the minute Hermione's back was turned. He glanced at the wall idly as he noticed there was a new message and then froze.
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Their skeletons will lie in the Chamber forever.
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Their? As in, more than one person he'd have to go rescue now? Harry groaned. He hated multi-people rescues. After all, the more people the more complaints he got for not doing it heroically enough and the more suspicions about how he somehow knew exactly what to do. Fortunately, he appeared to be the first one to have seen this new threat, or one of the first, anyway, as a lockdown hadn't been initiated yet. That gave him a little time.
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He headed immediately to Lockhart's office.
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"Professor, do you still have that rooster I sto-er, borrowed from Hagrid?" Harry demanded, barging right in and hoping Lockhart didn't have company.
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Fortunately, Lockhart was alone. "Of course I do; you said it would allow us to slay the basilisk without actually risking our lives."
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"Without unduly risking our lives," Harry corrected. "We are still dealing with a basilisk here and that is always very dangerous. On the other hand, we've lasted seven months with it running around and petrifying people every time we turn around, so we should be fine."
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Lockhart nodded. "I've been petrified four times already; what's one more?"
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"Exactly," Harry agreed. "Now, apparently at least two people have been taken down to the Chamber, possibly more. This means that that stupid Diary will also be down there and the students were taken hostage to lure me down there. I seem to have a reputation as a saving-people person," he explained.
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"You don't say," Lockhart said dryly.
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"Now, no matter what happens down there, I need you to stick to the plan. Things are probably going to get a little weird and chances are the perpetrator is really crazy. Just act like you know what you're doing, let me taunt them a little, and then the minute it looks like the basilisk is going to make an appearance, get the rooster to crow. I can take care of everything else," Harry said, pulling out his Invisibility Cloak.
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"This looks valuable," Lockhart said, fingering the material longingly.
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"It is," Harry said grimly. "It's also an heirloom, so don't even think about it. Besides, I have two dozen people who can vouch that I do, in fact, own this and I'm not telling you who, so you wouldn't be able to get them all. Now get under it so we can go."
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They silently proceeded to Myrtle's bathroom and pointedly ignored Dumbledore's announcement that everyone was to return to their Common Rooms. Once they had arrived, Harry went straight to the sinks to search for the serpent scratched on the surface of one of them while Lockhart talking Myrtle into letting him autograph her stall. Harry was really starting to wonder if it was actually possible for his vain professor to go longer than twenty minutes without feeling the need to sign something.
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Lockhart came over and peered into the darkness uncertainly. "Please tell me you can make stairs appear."
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"How could I possibly make stairs appear?" Harry asked logically. "I don't have a bloody manual, you know. Besides, if there were stairs to be had, why in the world wouldn't they be here already? The fact you need to speak Parseltongue to get this far should mean that Slytherin wouldn't bother to make the stairs only appear if you ask for them. He's supposed to be more sensible than Gryffindor, after all."
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"If you say so…But really, what's down there? We have no way of knowing how far down it is and it's probably filthy." Lockhart wrinkled his nose at the thought.
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Harry sighed. Seriously, they had bigger problems than sanitation right now. Like the two-possibly-more hostages down in the Chamber with Pettigrew and Voldemort's Horcrux. "Tell you what," he said finally. "You jump down and I'll cast a cushioning charm to soften the fall."
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"That won't help with whatever dirt or grime that has got to be down there after a thousand years or so," Lockhart pointed out.
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"Well that's the best you're going to get, so I suggest you take it," Harry growled. God, this was taking longer than just threatening him, as he and Ron had done last time.
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"But I have to look my best for when we're done with this and return triumphantly to Dumbledore and the Media," Lockhart protested.
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"The grime will add authenticity," Harry shot back.
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"Just go," Harry said, shoving him down into the darkness and casting a quick cushioning charm, like he promised. "That does remind me, though." He took out his mirror. "Oi, Sirius."
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