Dumbledore's office is deserted, unless you count the Sorting Hat. Harry tries on the Sorting Hat and mentions his doubts about belonging in Gryffindor. The Hat replies it stands by [[Recap/HarryPotterAndThePhilosophersStoneC7TheSortingHat its previous advice]] that he "would have done well in Slytherin". After Harry puts it away, Dumbledore's sickly pet bird bursts into fire. Dumbledore enters and doesn't seem fazed by his bird's demise. He explained that the pet bird Fawkes is a phoenix. At old age, they burst into flames and are reborn from the ashes. He mentions that phoenix's have many magical powers: [[ChekhovsGun they can carry heavy loads, and their tears have healing powers]]. Hagrid bursts in, carrying another dead rooster and doggedly insisting that Harry is innocent. Dumbledore replies he agrees. Dumbledore then asks Harry if he has anything he would like to ask about. Harry says no.
Harry is having to deal with much of the school thinking that he's the heir of Slytherin. Harry actually doesn't mind that Fred and George keep mocking the idea. Ginny still seems deeply troubled. As the holidays arrive and almost all other students depart, Hermione announces that the Polyjuice Potion is nearly ready. On Christmas Day, she announces it is ready. All they need now is to add a piece of the person they are turning into. Hermione already has some hairs that she found on Millicent Bullstrode's robes after the scene at the Duelling Club. The real Bullstrode is away on holiday. She also gives Harry and Ron cakes laced with sleeping potion to give to Crabbe and Goyle, so that they can obtain their hairs and keep them at bay for an hour or so.
Harry and Ron place the cakes in the Entrance Hall just before Crabbe and Goyle arrive. Crabbe and Goyle fall for it quite easily and fall asleep. Harry and Ron put them away in a broom cupboard and take their hair and shoes. In Myrtle's bathroom, the trio take a sample of the potion, add the hairs, drink their doses and then run into toilet cubicles to transform. Harry and Ron emerge, having transformed into Crabbe and Goyle's appearances. For some reason, Hermione won't follow so they race out ahead with about an hour to act.
They go down into the dungeons in search of the Slytherin common room. They are confronted by Percy, but found by Malfoy. Malfoy leads them to the Slytherin common room. There, Malfoy shows them a newspaper article which reveals that Mr Weasley was fined for bewitching the flying car. They discuss the Chamber of Secrets attacks. Malfoy relishes seeing Muggle-borns attacked but he says he doesn't know who's behind it. He mentions what he knows from his father: that the Chamber of Secrets was last opened fifty years ago, that one student was actually killed, and that the culprit was caught and expelled. Harry and Ron realise they are returning to their normal appearances and flee.
They return to the bathroom, the potion having worn off. Hermione reveals why she didn't come. The Polyjuice Potion only works properly for human transformations, which is a pity because the hairs Hermione used turned out to be cat hairs. She has been partially turned into a cat. After about an hour of trying, they eventually manage to persuade her to head for the hospital wing.