Hedwig and the Owlery Pt. 4

I hope everyone has had an exemplary weekend. This Sunday, Hedwig fights Slytherin’s monster in the Chamber of Secrets and has help from some surprising new friends. You can find the last episode here. And the first one here.

Hedwig and the Owlery

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Image Source: Flickr

The term ended and summer passed. Hedwig hated being locked up by Aunt Petunia. She pretended to be brave and irate, but in reality, knew enough magic to escape while everyone else slept. The Ministry would not notice the subtly of owl charms. House Elves were reckless in their practice of magic. Dobby should have known better before dropping the pudding. She had tried to tell him it was a mistake. He did not speak owlish however and seemed to welcome the noise.

She later blamed him for the Whomping Willow as much as she did Harry. How inept could a boy wizard be? First, he misses the train, flies her through the freezing air, and then crashes into the most diabolical tree the Hogwarts grounds had ever known? She didn’t know if she could forgive him this time. It would take several owl treats to make up for the injustice.

Thankfully, Harry did provide various owl treats. He was always willing to share some of his dinner with her. Human food was disgusting but she appreciated the sentiment. Why didn’t they eat dead mice like normal creatures? Puddings, sugars, and other compilations of barely edible and impure garbage disgusted her.

Near the end of the term, Hedwig got a sick feeling that was not treacle pudding. Her and Harry were starting to get along much better, but darkness had descended on the grounds. The adults were letting good humans get hurt and doing little to stop it. She contemplated finding the giant serpent herself and pecking it. The width of the pipes it crawled through however was problematic.

It was with great consternation that she learned of the Chamber of Secrets. How had it eluded the teachers when every owl knew where to find it? Whether or not the headmaster listened, Hedwig knew she had to rescue Ginny Weasley before her pet did something stupid.

“Francis, I need you to get the Sorting Hat,” Hedwig told a collection of owls. “Jenny,” she motioned toward the tawny who had warned her about Quirrel. “I need you to warn Dumbledore.”

“What about you, ‘Wig?” Francis asked. “What will you do?”

“I’m going to free Fawkes. I’m the only one with enough magic to manage it.”

Hedwig took her leave and flew toward the gargoyle guarding the Headmaster’s office. “Sherbert lemon,” she told it. Hedwig heard much gossip among the other owls and was not surprised as the staircase appeared.

Secrecy sensors and other dark detectors were strewn about, but Hedwig ignored them. Fawkes’ cage was to the right and he appeared indignant.

“What in bleeding earth are you doing? It’s nearly mornin’!”

“Harry went down into the Chamber of Secrets to save Ginny.”

“Piss off. Why would he do that?”

“He has a bit of a hero complex and a complete lack of self-preservation.”

“Not to mention the smarts of a bleedin’ bludger. I suppose we better help him, eh?”

“That’s why I’m here. I need you to cry.”

“I ain’t cryin’ for nobody, sweetheart.”

“His life depends on it, Fawkes!”

“Fine, I’ll do it, I will. But don’t tell the other birds. I’ve got a reputation to live up to.”

“Not a word,” Hedwig told him before tapping the lock. The cage flicked open and both of them rushed to the girl’s bathroom.

“How do we get in?” Fawkes asked. “Speak parseltongue?”

“No, Slytherin was nowhere near that intelligent. People just give him a lot of credit by going through with it.”

Hedwig squawked loudly at the sink. It moved exposing a pipe large enough for several birds.

“Blimey. You’d think every girl who came in here screaming would find it.”

“Many have but no believed them. It’s kind of like an urban legend. Let’s go.”

They glided down the slide, grateful for flight. The darkness appeared problematic for Fawkes but Hedwig guided him.

“Can you see anything, darling?” Fawkes asked.

She hated his tone but tried to ignore it. She saw everything as clear as day. Professor Lockhart was passed out behind a wall of stone with Ron Weasley.

“The usual,” Hedwig told him.

“Pity,” Fawkes replied. “I would have liked extraordinary.”

There was a small enough gap near the top for both of them to get through. It would be a tight fit but they could manage.

“We need to squeeze through these piles of rock,” she told the phoenix.

“Lead the way,” he replied with his usual air of ambivalence.

Inside was Harry, Ginny and a tall black-haired boy Hedwig did not recognize. He appeared blurred around the edges like the sheen off her cage. Ginny lay on the floor with Harry looking over her.

The conversation between Harry and who she soon discovered to be Lord Voldemort incensed her. How dare he unleash a monster and endanger everyone, including owls.

“Fawkes, did you get the sorting hat from Francis?” She asked.

“Of course I did. I don’t bloody know why.”

“I need you to drop it over Harry so he can pull out a sword.”

“Why can’t we just take the sword and chop its bleedin’ head off?”

“We can take on the snake, but he needs something to defend himself in the meantime.”

Fawkes conceded as he flew over Harry and the basilisk. Hedwig surveyed the scene, practicing her rooster crow. If she could get it right, she could save everyone. Rooster crows were fatal to basilisks.

Harry never heard Hedwig in the great commotion that followed Fawkes diving. The phoenix struggled in battle as Hedwig tried to mimic the right sound.

His claws scratched its left eye and Hedwig crowed. She crowed with everything she had. The basilisk contorted under the agony and Fawkes blinded it for good. Tom Riddle seized the opportunity and raised Harry’s wand. It was an immensely poor decision. Hedwig and Fawkes realized he was vulnerable.

They flew toward him as Harry stabbed the diary. Francis and Jenny arrived with the rest of the owlery and they pecked every inch of his newly materialized body. He screamed and wailed before he decided that being a second-class Voldemort wasn’t really worth the effort.

Harry’s wand hit the floor with a thud and the owls cheered. Fawkes went to cry on Harry as Francis embraced Hedwig.

“We did it, ‘Wig!” Their beaks touched as the others looked on.

Hedwig paused and put her wing feather to his bill.

“There is no way, Francis,” she told him softly before flying out of the chamber. Snickers followed her, and she felt slightly bad for him. There would be time to spare his feelings after meeting the headmaster.

She found him in the hospital wing next to Harry. The same thoughtful expression filled his face and blue eyes.

“So,” Hedwig asked Albus Dumbledore, “you let a giant serpent take a girl into the dungeons and then let another student save her? I’m beginning to think I’m the only adult at this school who is not psychotic.”

“Understand, Hedwig,” Dumbledore replied, “the boy had to do this. It is his destiny.”

“It is not his destiny to die, no more than it is yours. Are orphans so expendable at Hogwarts?”

“You dare?”

“Yes I dare. If you don’t look after your students, mark my words, I will shut Hogwarts down myself.” Hedwig flew out the hospital window. She wasn’t sure where she headed but it didn’t matter. The summer would be more promising, thought Hedwig.

***

You can find the next episode here.

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