Harry is released from the hospital wing the next morning. He heads off to tell Ron and Hermione what he's learned, but can't find them until Percy comments that he hopes Ron isn't in a girls' bathroom again. Lo and behold, Harry finds Ron and Hermione in Moaning Myrtle's bathroom. It turns out they thought it was the safest place to brew Polyjuice Potion in secret. When Harry explains how Dobby has been trying to "save" him all this time, Ron replies "You know what, Harry? If he doesn't stop trying to save your life he's going to kill you."

The terror inside the school increases as the news about Colin spreads. Once again, [[{{Foreshadowing}} Ginny is particularly distressed]]. When the Trio hears Malfoy is staying at school for the winter holidays, they decide that's when they will use the Polyjuice Potion. However, they still need a couple ingredients which can only be acquired from robbing Snape's office. Hermione plans that the boys will cause a diversion in Potions class while she sneaks into Snape's office. Harry privately thinks that "deliberately causing mayhem in Snape's Potions class [i]s about as safe as poking a sleeping dragon in the eye", but the heist is nevertheless successful.

A week later, a Duelling Club is announced and our heroes sign up. To Harry and Ron's horror, it turns out the Duelling Club is taught by Lockhart with Snape as his "assistant". In a CrowningMomentOfAwesome, Snape lets Lockhart do all the talking, giving him enough rope to hang himself, and then blasts him across the room with a [[ChekhovsSkill Disarming Charm]] when it's time for a demonstration. Lockhart naturally claims he could have effortlessly stopped Snape if he had wanted to. The students are paired off and Harry ends up with Malfoy. Chaos ensues. Eventually, Snape puts an end to it and suggests that they use Harry and Malfoy to demonstrate how to block unfriendly spells. Lockhart illustrates a blocking spell for Harry which appears to consist of dropping your wand on the floor. Snape confers with Malfoy, apparently suggesting a spell to use against Harry.

Malfoy's spell conjures a snake which turns on Justin Finch-Fletchley. Harry unthinkingly shouts "Leave him alone!" at the snake and it miraculously slumps to the floor. To Harry's puzzlement, this causes everyone to look terrified of him. Ron and Hermione take him up to the Gryffindor common room and explain that he's a Parselmouth or a wizard who can talk to snakes. Harry knows this from the events of "[[Recap/HarryPotterAndThePhilosophersStoneC2TheVanishingGlass The Vanishing Glass]]", but he [[IThoughtEveryoneCouldDoThat Thought Everyone Could Do That]] and doesn't see what the big deal is. The big deal is that only Harry understands Parseltongue, so to everyone else it looked very much like he was egging the snake on. Furthermore, Parseltongue is associated with Salazar Slytherin and so now the whole school will think Harry's the Heir of Slytherin for sure. That night, Harry himself wonders if that could be so.

The next day, Harry encounters a group of Hufflepuffs in the library and eavesdrops as they discuss the possibility of him being the Heir. Harry confronts them and argues his case, but they don't believe him. He leaves the library in a huff and runs into Hagrid, who [[{{Foreshadowing}} mentions two of his roosters have mysteriously been killed this year]]. After leaving Hagrid, Harry encounters the Petrified bodies of Justin Finch-Fletchley and Nearly Headless Nick. While Harry is still panicking and wondering what to do, Peeves flies in, sees the sight, and yells at the top of his lungs that there's been another attack. People flood in and Ernie Macmillan, one of the Hufflepuffs from the library, points his hand at Harry and yells "Caught in the act!"

Once Justin and Nick have been moved to the hospital wing, Professor [=McGonagall=] leads Harry away. He insists he didn't do anything, but she only replies "This is out of my hands, Potter." They reach a stone gargoyle, which steps aside to reveal a moving staircase leading up to Dumbledore's office.
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