[Fanfic] Out of Shadows – Chapter 28

Out of Shadows

Chapter 28

Writter: fall shadow

Summary: Harry has been raised to follow a path of darkness, but when he meets Hermione things start to change and he finds out everything he has been led to believe is a lie. Now, with a strengthened resolve, he must do whatever it takes to stop the one he once considered his master.

Source: here

OutOfShadow_28

When they reached the previous Headmistress’s office, they were mildly surprised to find that no one was there.

“She might be out checking the halls since it’s just about curfew ,” Hermione explained quietly .

Harry looked around the room with interest. There were a few small bookshelves and one larger one against the back wall of the room behind a neatly arranged desk. Before he had a chance to look around any further , Harry heard footsteps coming from somewhere down the hall.

He glanced at Hermione, who looked uncertain, and pulled her over against the wall next to the doorway , glad that they had left the cloak on. Harry was standing mostly behind Hermione under the cloak with his eyes staring hard at the doorway as the noise grew louder .

A man in a dark robe appeared in the doorway without warning. Harry tried to discern his features, and was startled to find that he recognized him from his time at the Malfoys. He looked their way with cold, searching eyes, and the name came to him- Amycus Carrow .
Feeling Hermione tense in front of him, Harry lightly put a hand on her arm in an attempt to calm her .

Despite the empty room, the man didn’t seem satisfied. He walked in, his eyes narrowing as he looked around suspiciously .

Wanting to get as far away from the Death Eater as possible, Harry gently placed his other hand on Hermione’s waist and pulled her with him as he slowly backed up toward the corner of the room.

There was a noise somewhere down the corridor , and the man paused, looking toward it, before slipping quickly from the office and out of sight.

Harry and Hermione both let out a relieved breath, but otherwise stayed quiet. After a few seconds, Harry became aware of just how close they were standing. Feeling his face heat up, he made to slowly take his hands off her , but the sound of footsteps stopped him in his tracks. They tensed again, waiting.

This time, it was Professor McGonagall who entered the room, and Harry could almost feel the tension leave Hermione’s body . The professor shut the door to her office and walked over to the desk.

“Professor McGonagall,” Hermione spoke quietly , trying not to startle with woman with mild success.

She flinched and turned around as Hermione revealed herself from under the cloak.

“Miss Granger ,” McGonagall said, astounded, “what are you doing here?”

Hermione walked forward and the cloak slipped off Harry , too.

“We,” at this McGonagall’s eyes flicked to Harry briefly , “came here to check on Dobby- he was hurt badly helping us with something – and we wanted to see what was going on at Hogwarts and if we could do anything to help.”

“Good to see you again, Mr . Potter ,” McGonagall addressed him first, nodding in his direction. “Unfortunately , right now , Hogwarts is not safe,” she told them seriously .
“Neville told us there is a rumor about people disappearing…” Hermione brought up hesitantly .

Harry’s thoughts went back to Ginny and Malfoy .

“Yes,” the older witch said cautiously after a few moments; it seemed like she was debating how much to reveal to them. “There have been several students reported missing in the last few weeks.”

“Is there anything else you can tell us?” Hermione asked.

“They have all been muggle-borns,” McGonagall told her , regret evident in her eyes.

“Since they started going around trying to check everyone’s blood status, I have been doing what I can to point students I thought would be in danger in the right direction, but… it is no longer safe here.”

“If we stay here for a little while, we might be able to help out,” Hermione said. Remembering other things they wanted to bring up, she looked over at Harry , not sure how much information he would be alright with her sharing.

“We’ve got a map,” Harry said, wanting to get help for Hermione’s friend if he could, “that shows us where everyone is in the school at that exact moment. We can show you.”

T aking the lead, Hermione brought out the map, explaining the situation as she did so.

“Before we came to see you, we were going to get Ginny . She left the hideout to go and look for Colin, but she hadn’t come back. We checked and found her on the map, just there,” Hermione, who now had the map out, pointed to the spot where they had seen Ginny Weasley’s name, “and we were going to go and get her , but then when I checked the map a minute later , she was gone, and I couldn’t find her name anywhere.”

“I’m afraid I can’t offer you an explanation,” the woman told them. “If the map is as accurate as you say , then I’m not sure what could have happened. It is possible that there is another hidden room like the Room of Requirement that was not discovered at the time of the map. That might explain the missing students,” Professor McGonagall reasoned.

“And while I appreciate your offer to help, I must insist that you do not stay here longer than absolutely necessary .”

“I understand, Professor ,” Hermione answered, “but while we’re here I would like to at least try to do some good.”

“I’m sure you will,” McGonagall answered with a small smile.

“Have you heard anything about Dobby?” Harry asked after a moment.

“Y es, I have. Madame Pomphrey said she found him the other night outside the hospital wing alone. He was severely injured when she took him in, but the last time I heard from her , she is hopeful that he might pull through.”

“That’s good to hear ,” Hermione said, focusing on the positive.

“I would ask for an explanation, but the two of you should really be going. It is already past curfew , and it isn’t safe to be out this time of night.”

They nodded and Professor McGonagall escorted them to her door .

Harry suddenly jumped as a shiver ran through his body .

“Did you hear that?” Harry asked quietly as they walked along under the cloak. Hermione could hear the panic evident in his voice.

“Hear what?” Hermione asked, turning her head to look at him.

“I don’t know…” Harry answered uncertainly , “I thought I heard a voice or something.” His eyes were darting around the corridor , but he couldn’t see anything.

Hermione frowned next to him and opened the map.

They checked it twice, but there was no one close to their location.

After reluctantly agreeing that it would be safest to just return to the Room of Requirement for the night, Harry and Hermione went back and told the others what had happened. The Room had added two cots off to one side for them, apart from the others, which Harry was thankful for .

Once they said ‘goodnight’, it wasn’t too long before Hermione fell asleep. Harry , however , couldn’t quite relax. In a room of so many strangers, he didn’t trust letting himself fall asleep. How easy would it be for one of the others to turn on them in the night? What if someone was an imposter?

But eventually , fatigue overrode his fears and Harry fell into a restless sleep.

A dark, cloaked figure stalks down a hallway . The tip of the wand in his hand is dimly lit- this is the only source of light. He is clearly searching for something or someone.

“Kill… Time to kill…” his voice is a quiet whisper , but his words and intentions are clear. He intends to kill whoever he finds.

“Kill…”

Harry’s eyes opened and he felt a shiver up his spine as the hairs on the back of his neck stood up. Weird dream.

Before he had time to think about it any further , sleep overtook him again.

The next morning found them back in the same area on the first floor , while most of the other students were having breakfast before classes. With the cover of the cloak, they thought it would be safe as long as they got back to the Room before everyone was finished breakfast.

There was nothing near them on the map, but Harry swore he heard something again.

“Come on, I know I heard something,” he insisted urgently , grabbing her hand. “It was this way .”

“Harry!” Hermione whispered loudly in his ear as he pulled her along.

They continued in the direction for a while, but there was nothing there.

They rounded another corner , with Harry staring at the ground lost in frustration and thought. Hermione was right on his heels.

Suddenly , she grabbed his arm with her other hand to stop him. He glanced over at her , confused. When he noticed the stunned look on her face, he followed her line of vision.

There, on the wall, was a message written in what appeared to be blood…

‘Those not worthy will find their place in the Chamber of Secrets.’

For a minute, they stood there, frozen in shock.

“Hermione, what is the Chamber of Secrets?” Harry asked, looking at the brilliant witch next to him with a strong sense of dread.

She stood there in silence, her eyes glued to the blood-red words.

Hearing the noise of approaching voices, Harry took hold of Hermione led her into a side corridor that didn’t seem like it was used often.

“Hermione, what is the Chamber of Secrets?” Harry asked again, trying to get her to look at him.

“It isn’t supposed to exist- nearly every Headmaster has looked for it- it’s supposed to just be a legend. But if it is real…” her face looked a bit pale, “this is very bad.”

“What do you mean?” Harry asked.

“I came across something about it in the library . Salazar Slytherin, the founder of Slytherin house, didn’t agree with the other three that muggle-borns should be allowed into Hogwarts. The legend says that he created a chamber , without the knowledge of the other founders, which would house a terrible monster . It was said that only Slytherin himself, or one of his heirs, could control the beast. Once an heir came to the school, they would be able to open the chamber and release the monster , using it to purge the school of all muggle-borns,” Hermione explained.

Harry watched her sad eyes as she told him the legend and when she was done, he couldn’t hold her gaze.

The idea of muggle-borns being rounded up and killed by some monster out of prejudice made Harry tense in anger .

But then memories of when he first met Hermione came back to him. He had called her a Mudblood; he had used the filthy slur on her . Guilt and shame quickly replaced most of the anger he felt. What right did he have to be furious at the thought of someone killing muggle-borns when he had treated them badly , too? He had never enjoyed it, but after being taught by the Death Eaters, at least part of him had thought their biases might be true.

“Harry?” Hermione quietly spoke him name.

He met her eyes again. She had seen the drastic change of emotions play across his face and gave him a questioning look.

“I’m just…” he looked away again, unable to face her as he thought of his past, “…so sorry about how I treated you, at first.”

“Y ou mean how you shared your food with me? Or tied my bonds loose before Bellatrix interrogated me?” At his surprised glance, she confirmed, “Y es, I realized that you had tied it loose. Y ou would have to be either extremely clumsy or extremely careless for it to have been that easy to get my hands free if it was an accident,” she told him, “and neither of those seem to be true.”

Harry looked away uncomfortably , not sure what to say .

“Not to mention the fact that you saved my life,” she continued. “All you knew about me then was that I was muggle-born, Harry . Y ou aren’t like them.”

“How do you always do that?” Harry asked suddenly with a perplexed face, having wondered the question for quite some time. “How do you always just seem to… know what I’m thinking?”

Hermione smiled but said nothing, looking back toward the hallway .

“We should get going before everyone leaves the Great Hall to go to their classes. But tonight we should try to come back after curfew; we need to talk to Professor McGonagall about this.”

Harry simply nodded. He knew they would be talking about this more once they got back to the Room of Requirement safely .

All day , there was buzz about the Chamber , the legend, who could’ve opened it and how . Several of the students were convinced that it couldn’t be real, knowing that Dumbledore himself had searched for the hidden area of Hogwarts and whatever beast lie within.

Finally , he and Hermione were left alone in the corner by their cots.

“So, what do you think?” Harry asked her quietly .

“I don’t know ,” Hermione admitted, distractedly . Harry could tell she was worried. “It seems unlikely that there would be a part of Hogwarts that no one has been able to find, especially because so many of the Headmasters have looked for it specifically . But if it does exist, and somehow only heirs of Slytherin can access it, then I just don’t know…”

“It could be Malfoy ,” Harry suggested, “the heir . We saw him right around where Ginny was before they both just disappeared. Maybe if there is a Chamber , it’s not on the map because it’s never been found.”

“Maybe…” Hermione said, but she looked skeptical, “but do you really think it would be Malfoy? He did let us go… and I’m not sure if he would be the heir of Slytherin.”

“Hermione, it definitely could be him,” Harry told her . “I know he let us go, but that doesn’t mean he isn’t up to anything. Didn’t he say something about having a job to do at Hogwarts? Then Bellatrix taunted him because he failed in his mission before.”

“He did say something like that, but he might have just been bluffing. We don’t even know if the Chamber of Secrets is real,” Hermione pointed out.

Still suspicious of Malfoy and not having anything better to do, Harry took out the Marauder’s Map. He settled onto his cot with it spread out before him, determined to follow around Malfoy’s name. At least then it might feel like he was doing something useful.
Hermione pulled out a book to read, sitting on her own cot.

After watching Draco’s dot do nothing out of the ordinary for what seemed like hours, Harry’s eyes were glazed over . He was trying to keep himself awake, but it was incredibly boring waiting for something that may not even happen. Malfoy’s dot had been in the dungeons for a while now , not even moving.

“Harry , do you think we should go and see Professor McGonagall soon?” Hermione asked.

“It’s almost curfew .”

Harry blinked, looking over at her after jumping a bit when she said his name, being him out of his stupor .

“Oh, err , sure,” he answered, “I guess we should.”

Hermione nodded and put her book away , standing up from her cot.

Stretching out his arms and legs, Harry followed her example.

A quarter of an hour later , they were standing in Professor McGonagall’s office, listening to the concerned witch tell them that she didn’t know what to make of the message. She told them it could very well be a student who believed in pureblood supremacy simply trying to scare the muggle-borns. They discussed it further , but found that the rightful Headmistress didn’t know much more about the Chamber of Secrets than they did.

“Is it alright if I look through one of your books for a minute?” Hermione asked. “I remember seeing something I wanted to read about in here before the holidays.”

Professor McGonagall told her that it was fine, and Hermione walked over to one of the shelves farther into the room.

Harry , who was left with the professor , wasn’t sure what to say .

“Y ou have quite a story , Mr . Potter ,” she commented. “It’s a wonder you are here with us today . I am sorry that we were unable to find you… I never thought you should have been left with those muggles in the first place.”

There was a note of contempt in her voice that Harry noticed, and some of his discomfort eased.

“Then to find out how you were stolen and raised… I am surprised you are here without the Mark on your arm.”

Without really understanding why , Harry felt as though he could trust the older witch, perhaps because Hermione seemed to respect her and rely on her when she needed advice.

“I wish you could have come to Hogwarts,” she said with a thin smile, “it would have been interesting to see which house you were sorted into.”

“I honestly think he would’ve been in Gryffindor ,” Hermione remarked as she walked to another shelf. Apparently she had heard at least part of their conversation as she crossed the room, passing by them.

Professor McGonagall looked him over , as if appraising whether or not he would have been a good addition to her house. Harry shifted and looked away self-consciously.

“I think you would have made a fine Gryffindor ,” she eventually told him. “However , I have a feeling you would have gotten yourself into trouble a fair amount, too.”

Harry smiled awkwardly , realizing that she was partly making fun of him, and thinking she was probably not wrong.

“It’s not like I look for trouble,” Harry weakly defended, “it just seems to find me.” After a moment’s thought, he added, “I really would like to know which house I would have been in, though…”

He knew his parents had been in Gryffindor , and Sirius and Remus, and Hermione and most of her friends were in Gryffindor… What if he wasn’t? He had heard bad things about Slytherin- “good” things he’d overheard from the others, mostly Malfoy , which he considered bad.

He didn’t feel strongly about either of the other two houses; he doubted he would’ve been in Ravenclaw – he wasn’t really that smart- and he wasn’t sure what he thought of Hufflepuff. Frowning, he tried to remember what Hufflepuff stood for… was it loyalty?

Seeing how interested Harry seemed, Professor McGonagall offered to let him see the Sorting Hat.

Hermione, who had just walked back over to them after scanning through several books, brightened at the idea.

“I think that’s a great idea,” she said.

Harry had a suspicion that she might be supporting the idea as much for her own curiosity as his.

McGonagall walked over to the bookcase behind her desk and did something Harry couldn’t see. Suddenly , the bookcase moved and she stepped back as it slowly swung forward. She disappeared into the room on the other side before returning with what looked like a patched, old witch’s hat.

The professor began speaking again, but Harry only caught a few of the words before he heard something that completely took his attention.

“Kill…”

Harry’s eyes widened. The voice was weak, as if it was some distance away , but it was definitely there.

He looked at the two witches, who were conversing normally as if they hadn’t heard anything.

“I smell blood…”

A shiver rippled through Harry as he heard the words.

“Hermione,” Harry said, not caring anymore about interrupting them, “did you hear that?”

The puzzled look he got in response told him that she hadn’t.

“Hear what, Harry?”

“Time to kill…”

“That voice,” Harry said, hearing his own voice sound panicked, “it- it’s going to kill.”

Professor McGonagall wore a startled expression, and Hermione looked troubled.

“What voice?” Hermione asked slowly . “There was no voice, Harry…” Her eyes shifted to McGonagall to confirm that she hadn’t heard it, either .

“Y es,” Harry answered quickly , “yes, there was. It wasn’t loud, but it was definitely there. It said something about blood and killing.”

Hermione and her professor shared a concerned look.

“Maybe we should just go,” Hermione suggested.

“Y es, that might be for the best,” the older witch agreed. She looked between them for a moment, debating, before she said, “Mr . Potter , I will let you borrow the Sorting Hat for now . Feel try to try it on when you are ready .

But be sure to either return it to me or leave it with a trust-worthy Gryffindor .”

Harry nodded, thanking her and taking the hat gently .

“I will make sure it gets back to you, Professor ,” Hermione promised.

“Be careful, and if you need anything,” she said, looking at Hermione, “you know where to find me. My door is always open.”

After thanking Professor McGonagall again, they slipped the cloak back on and moved out into the hallway . They made it back to the room without incident and once they got to their cots, Harry checked the map for Malfoy again: his name wasn’t there. He showed Hermione and they decided to watch his name tomorrow after curfew .

For a while that night, Harry sat holding the Sorting Hat, thinking about what it might say . Hermione had told him before that it spoke to the person once they put it on and gave its opinion on which house it felt they belonged.

Deciding that he felt too tired and nervous to try the hat on then, Harry hid it under the pillow on his cot and went to sleep.

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