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To Catch A Thief

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Severus was watching Harry. The boy's leg was bouncing as he was sitting on the couch speaking to a bat. The bat had been in a birdcage until Harry informed Severus that the bat didn't like the cage and preferred the high beam in his lab and wanted a bat house. Harry and the bat had gone back and forth with Severus finally agreeing to a nest and what the bat wanted in return for the bat supplying some ingredients including pollen. Right now, Harry was discussing with the bat the possibilities of other bats donating some things from dead bats like their spleens.

Severus had already had Harry speak to most of the animals in his lab. All of them agreed to aid him after he provided some better living conditions. He never knew how much of a primadonna some of his snakes could be. He would set things up for them and one would see something another snake had and it would want the same things. He just finally arranged all of the snakes' enclosures the same exact way. He only got the hisses of approval when Harry told them that Severus would make sure they all got everything equally and if they had any complaints, he was sure the King would love to discuss things with them. Severus knew the King was a snake that Amber had mentioned before. Severus watched the bat fly into his lab heading up his new bat house. He still couldn't believe that he bought a bat house. "So, I take it your friend is happy now?" The fruit bat was the only bat he had ever kept. He only kept him because he had found him hurt as a baby.

"His name is Montego."

Harry was up and moving around his quarters. He wondered if they had time to do a duel so that Harry could burn off his excitement. He glanced at the clock on the mantel. No, they didn't. Perhaps they could discuss it. "Harry, what has you so excited?" Severus knew it wasn't the boy's normal energy. Something happened to make him excited. Harry had been almost smiling the whole time.

"I have some great news which I want to share with you but you can't share it with Dumbledore." Harry stopped, turned to look at Severus. "You would love to see it." Harry went to the bookcase and attempted to scan the titles.

Severus was a bit puzzled but he could see Amber was nodding her agreement. Amber was curled up with Sofia, Nanook, and Midnight on the couch. He wondered where the others were. Mrs. Norris had been drinking some cream he had put on the floor when all the cats had arrived but he didn't even see her leave. "I promise not to tell Dumbledore unless it's something dangerous to the residents of Hogwarts."

"It's not." Harry almost bounced to the chair opposite Severus. "We can't go there today because it's almost dinner time but we can go there this weekend."

"Go where?" Severus was a bit confused. He knew Harry hadn't left Hogwarts. Harry's magical energy was vibrating. He wasn't worried about Dumbledore seeing it. Dumbledore's glasses looked at a magical core to see if it was light, dark, or grey.

Harry leaned forward. "To the Chamber of Secrets. Salazar Slytherin's chambers. He has so many books about potions."

Severus wasn't sure he heard Harry correctly but Harry and Amber were bobbing their heads in amazement. Sofia looked annoyed at Amber moving but she went back to sleep. "The Chamber?"

"Yes, Storm said we could bring you down. Fawkes agreed to take all of us."

"Storm?" Severus had never seen Harry so excited. Harry wasn't even this excited when he learned that Minerva was the cat he stole and wanted to discover how it was done. He wondered what was down in the Chamber. Harry mentioned books but he had a feeling there was more. He also wondered if there was any truth to the rumors about a monster being down there. Was Storm the monster?

"He's the King. The one Amber has been mentioning. He said we could bring you down there." Harry was back up and walking around the room. "The books, the potions mentioned in books were amazing. You are going to have to review the ingredients to see if the names have changed since then."

Severus let go of the tension he hadn't realized he had in him. So Storm was the King. The King was a snake which explained while it was in the Chamber. Severus had a feeling there was more to this than the discovery of the Chamber and the books. He could never claim he knew everything about Harry but he had seen Harry reaction to new discoveries and this wasn't it. Harry was a bit too excited. He also realized Harry would never speak of whatever it was until he was ready so he didn't push. "Why don't you go for a run? You need to burn off some energy and you have time before dinner to shower."

Harry didn't even glance at the clock before he was at the door. "See you at dinner." Severus felt himself getting a bit excited about seeing the fabled Chamber of Secrets.

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Harry walked with Draco into the Great Hall. Dinner was due to start. Harry noticed there was a large debate forming at the Gryffindor table. Granger was in lecture mode. He saw three more students from the Hufflepuff table turned to face Granger. "Why is the Rule Lover giving a lecture?" The Slytherins were watching and listening with interest. The Ravenclaws had their books out as well as parchment for writing notes down.

"She was trying to defend Weasley's apology." Draco rolled his eyes. "Many of pure-bloods were saying how it wasn't a formal apology while we were in the library and that it didn't even merit being an apology at all. It started when some of the muggle-born and half-bloods who grew up in the muggle world had some questions about a formal apology. When someone asked Granger how could she defend the lack of apology from Weasley, she went into a lecturing mode and I see she is still at it. She said that in the muggle world no one really apologizes. It led to the current debate." They made it to the table before Draco's had finished speaking.

"How can she defend that sorry attempt at an apology?" Theo and the rest of the Slytherin weren't happy with the sad excuse of an apology but they knew Dumbledore wouldn't do anything since the Weasleys were his supporters and in Gryffindor.

Harry could see the twins and Percy was actually against their brother and Granger. He saw there was a book in Percy's hand and he was pointing out something. "The older Weasleys?" He hadn't really spoken to the twins since the court case. The twins and Percy had made it known it wasn't Harry's fault and that they didn't blame him.

"They are mad at their brother. I heard a group of Gryffindors discussing the issue. It seems that they blame their brother and they are worried about losing their home. Weasley tried to say it wasn't his fault but the twins and Percy said that he should be thankful that Harry's relatives didn't do something like suing the family for the loss of honor." Blaise was staring at Granger. "I hope she isn't using Gilbert's book on How to Interact with Muggles. It's outdated and it was never accurate to being with."

"Yes, my parents discovered that before I was born on one of their dates." Pansy laughed a bit.

Harry ignored Pansy and Blaise. He wanted to find out what Blaise's comment about honor. "They can do that? They can sue about the loss of honor?" Harry still had a lot to learn regarding the pure-blood culture. He had started to read the books but it would take years for him to finish even half of the books on the basics.

"Yes, the Weasley family is a pure-blood family but not part of the Sacred 28. The Potter and Black families are. So, therefore, it's a stain on the honor of the houses." Draco looked at Harry. "I'm a bit surprised that Dumbledore or Arthur Weasley hasn't said anything to Weasley about the apology. They know about the code of honor."

"They might be counting on Harry's ignorance of many of the rules regarding honor and the different aspects of pure-bloods. Most of us grew up learning this stuff and we can't say we know it all. They don't teach it at Hogwarts." One of the older years spoke. "I know Percy had a lot of questions even before the court case was settled. He was researching what might have happened."

"What do you mean what might have happened?" Harry made a mental note to ask Severus about the Sacred 28.

"Well, since your family original had their roots here and you are part of the Sacred 28, they could have demanded that the head of the Weasley house disown or even remove him from the family for the stain of dishonoring the family after the ruling. They also could have demanded financial damage. Yes, they got fined but the Ministry will be receiving those funds. It could have been a lot worse. Percy has been trying to get Granger and his brother to realize that. However, Weasley keeps saying it's all Harry's fault. I thought Percy was going to hit him at one point outside yesterday when Weasley started screaming at his brothers that Harry was ruining their family." The older year looked at Harry. "I have some books that you can borrow that will give you a basic idea of the rules regarding the Sacred 28."

"Thank you. It will help." Harry glanced at Gryffindor table as Dumbledore entered. The debate was louder and had grown in the short time he had been here. Dumbledore was smiling as he walked toward the large group. He wasn't sure what Dumbledore said but everyone went back to their seats with Percy and the twins sending Dumbledore strange look of unease. Harry watched Dumbledore quietly speaking to Weasley and Granger. Granger nodded her agreement but Weasley looked mad before he nodded.

"You know he probably told them to not argue with everyone as all it would do is give Harry ideas." Draco ignored the look that Weasley and Granger were sending their way.

"I do believe you are correct. Weasley looks ready to kill Harry." Theo and the rest of his year mates had listened to Weasley's rants for the last two years. They knew Weasley was a bully and that he blamed everything that happened on Harry.

"He always does." Draco saw that Dumbledore stopped by Severus' chair. He nudged Harry and tilted his head. Harry looked up and groaned as Severus glared at Dumbledore. "Another conversation with the Headmaster."

It was Harry's turn to do the eye roll.

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Severus glared at Dumbledore as he returned to his seat. He turned his glare to Weasley and Granger. Dumbledore wanted to make sure that Harry didn't learn about his family being part of the Sacred 28 and that Harry wasn't aware of any of the pure-blood rules and customs. Severus wondered how Dumbledore was going to stop it. His house was mostly pure-bloods who would gladly inform Harry what he was missing in his education.

He glanced at Harry and Draco. Didn't Dumbledore see who Harry was friends with? Draco and Harry were best mates and he didn't see that change in the near future. Theo and Blaise were also close to the duo. Usually, the four would study together. Blaise' mother specialized in using the law to escape any type of investigation regarding the mysterious demise of her former husbands. Theo's grandfather used the law to keep custody of Theo after his son was put in Azkaban.

His attention went back to Dumbledore. He was beginning to wonder if perhaps it was time to think about another side in the war. Harry wasn't going to join either Dumbledore or the Dark Lord. He also knew a lot of people didn't want to join either man. He would have to be subtle about it but he believed it would be possible. He still wasn't sure if the Dark Lord was actually coming back or when. He glanced at the rest of his snakes. Yes, it was time to do something about getting his snakes ready for whatever either lunatic decided to do. He knew Dumbledore never paid attention to his snakes and the Dark Lord would only care if they were pureblood children of his followers. He would speak to Lucius. Lucius didn't want the return of the nut job. Harry was the key to all of it though. People would rally behind Harry before Dumbledore and Dumbledore had been counting on that.

Severus was also aware of one big factor that Dumbledore always ignored. Dumbledore ignored that not all people believed exactly as he did and just because they didn't think as he did didn't mean they were evil or dark. Dumbledore and the Dark Lord may have different views of their world but both had a few things in common. They liked to believe they were always right, believed they knew the best course of action for their world, and their views were either you were for me or against me. Neither had a middle ground. Dumbledore used the grandfather act to get his way as well as Harry's name. The Dark Lord his wand to enforce his views. Yes, perhaps it's time to add another side.