Sirius’ trial had caused quite the up roar and sent shockwaves, not only in the British Wizarding community, but also throughout the entire magical world. Four illegal Animagi had been sitting directly in front of the entire Wizengamot, yet not a signal person had known it. Ministries all across the globe were devoting entire departments to try to come up with a method to track Animagi, legal or otherwise. However, this proved to be easier said then done since Animagus transformations were a branch of Wandless magic similar to elemental magic, making it impossible for any known magical device to track.
The press was having a field day with the entire situation. The fact that an innocent man imprisoned for twelve years without a trial while a mass murderer had run free; undetected and even honored as a hero reeked of scandal. While Harry, Hermione, and Sirius had become celebrities in the eyes of the press, Rita Skeeter’s ability had made her infamous.
The Daily Prophet had sacked Skeeter quicker then you could say ‘scandal’ and since then, the only ‘news article’ who would even touch her was The Quibbler. Luna had told them that her father had signed her up as a junior editor on probation. Her last article had been about the rumored existence of Fire Sprits in the Antarctica.
As Dumbledore had expected, upon the twins return to school McGonagall had praised them for their achievement; then quickly scolded them for their stupidity at attempting such dangerous magic on their own.
With all the publicity Harry and Hermione were getting, both from the press and from their peers, Harry could literally see the jealousy building in his best mate’s eyes every time the Potter twins were asked to show their forms. In order to defuse an incident before it even started heating up, Harry had pulled Ron aside and reminded him that the only reason they had revealed their forms was to collaborate Sirius’ story that it was indeed possible to become an Animagus without the Ministry finding out. That both he and Hermione would rather no one knew about their forms and that if Ron all of a suddenly revealed he was also an Animagi, it wouldn’t take people long to figure out who the Marauders were. As it was, most the student body already had a good idea whom Nightwing and Mimir truly were and by extension the rest of the Marauders. In the end, Ron understood and backed down.
It also helped that Ron and the rest of the Marauders were now able to use their forms on a regular basis by stretching their legs under the full moon.
After break had ended, Hermione had confronted Harry on Remus’ ‘fury little problem’. Harry was actually surprised she hadn’t already figured it out herself. After all, in the previous timeline, she had figured it out before Christmas and that was while she was in a sleep-deprived state. Hermione also managed to drag the fact out of him that both he and Sirius had been spending the full moons with Moony all last term. During the January full moon, Hermione had joined them; by April, so had the rest of the Marauders.
Remus’ ‘fury problem’ had also made it into the headlines, though granted not until well after the holidays. Reaction, both by the public and by the students, varied. Many were afraid of having a werewolf so close to their children. Others, who had known Remus during school and the majority of his students, were indifferent.
Dumbledore was in the middle of a sticky situation. Many parents threatened to pull their children out of school if Remus continued to teach. Harry publicly announced he would withdraw from Hogwarts and finish his education elsewhere if they sacked Remus and many others soon made similar announcements. Notably included were the Hermione, Neville, Luna, Susan Bones, Cedric Diggory, Su Li, Padma Patil, Blaise Zabini, and the Weasleys.
In the end, both sides compromised. Remus would finish out the year as a professor, then he would be let go at the end of term; mirroring the previous timeline.
There had still been the problem of Wormtail. Harry had had a hard time finding a way to reveal Scabbers for who he was, while making it convincing that he hadn’t already known the truth.
The chance finally came when Hermione had been entertaining the common room with aerial maneuvers. Harry had called her a showoff so Hermione had decided to leave a present for Harry on his shoulder, then flew off to a chair where Scabbers was snoozing lazily. Harry took out his wand a shot a spell at the chair that would reverse the Animagus transformation. Predictably, Hermione took flight to avoid the spell… only it wasn’t aimed at her.
The common room watched in undisguised shock as a fat, balding man suddenly appeared on the chair.
Neville had recognized the man immediately and shouted it out for the whole room to hear.
A girl’s scream awoke the still slumbering Animagus. Several people had scrambled towards the exit while others drew their wands. Pettigrew quickly re-transformed and spent the next several minutes playing a dangerous game of dodge ball as the Gryffindors hurled curse after curse at the rat. Pettigrew was finally able to slip out of the room when McGonagall, Snape, Dumbledore, and Remus arrived.
It had taken the school ten minutes to achieve total lockdown, by which time Pettigrew was long gone and on his way back to his master, ensuring that the timeline stayed on course.
One thing Harry was doing his utmost to ensure was that the timeline remained as pure as possible for as long as possible. He had already experienced two nasty side effects of what happens when you alter the future and the timeline tries to correct it’s self.
However, not all side effects where bad. After all, he could think of three positive things so far that out weighed the negatives in his mind: playing for the Kestrels, dating Ginny already, and a free Sirius.
Harry knew, though, that after next year, things would begin to deviate and deviate rapidly.
As winter turned into spring, the fifth and seventh years began to ‘put their noses to the grinding stone’… that is with the exception of Fred and George.
Even though Hermione was mellower at this point then she had been last time, she was still a stickler when it came to grades and after the fourth argument with the twins in less then two weeks, Harry decided to intervene.
Harry had taken the twins to the Marauders HQ, formerly known as the Weasley’s Sanctuary. Harry told them that he knew what their plans after school were and that he knew they were going to fail their O.W.L.’s on purpose in hopes of getting their mum off their backs about working at the Ministry. When asked how he knew, Harry dished them back their favorite line.
Harry then made them an offer they couldn’t refuse. He told them that if they got a combined seven O.W.L.’s on their exam, he would fully finance Weasley’s Wizards Wheezes. That included supplies, advertisement, and rent on their store for an entire year with zero re-imbursement in return for twenty-five percent of the stores profits. The twins were flabbergasted at Harry’s proposal. When questioned, Harry said he was merely investing into a company that he foresaw to be very profitable and that if the shop failed, at least they would have decent grades that would enable them to get a job at the Ministry.
Afterwards, the twins had stepped up their studying. They were not spending every waking moment in the library, like some of their peers; but they were working hard enough that Hermione backed off a bit.
The Quidditch season continued as it always did. With out Malfoy being able to fake an injury and therefore getting Slytherin a buy, Slytherin lost to Gryffindor and then again to Hufflepuff a month later. However, Slytherin beat Ravenclaw who beat Hufflepuff but lost to Gryffindor. Ravenclaw then lost to Slytherin in a tiebreaker game therefore giving Slytherin shot at the cup for the eleventh year in a row.
The game had been an entertaining one as it quickly became clear that the winner would be the team that caught the snitch first, since Gryffindor and Slytherin had entered the game tied for total points and kept matching each other, goal for goal.
Malfoy was faster then Harry remembered him being, but a Nimbus of any model could not hold a candle to the Firebolt and as a result, Harry was able to fly circles around the ‘Prince Slytherin’. Harry continually forced Malfoy into feints Harry knew a Nimbus 2001 would not be able to pull out of causing Malfoy to hit the ground on several occasions. The final score was 670-510 winning Gryffindor the Quidditch and House Cups.
What had surprised Harry was that even though the Dementors still attacked the pitch, it was three games later then it should have been. This confused Harry because he really didn’t think he had done anything to warrant such a change. Granted, he might have scared them off longer by destroying one of the Dementors on the train, but apparently, it wasn’t enough to make them completely ignore the urge. As a result, they swarmed the pitch during the Gryffindor/Ravenclaw match.
Harry had just caught the snitch when they arrived and once he had saved Cho, who had fallen off her broom during the attack, Harry gave the Dementors a lesson that neither they nor anyone who had witnessed the event would ever forget. Harry had destroyed so many of them that day, that the sky had turned gray and snowed ash down on the heads of the spectators. The sheer magnitude of power Harry had displayed had been enough to make people avoid him like the plague for almost a month. It had also been enough for Albus Dumbledore to believe what Remus had told him at the beginning of the year. From that point on, Dumbledore kept a very close eye on Harry.
The most ironic part of the whole situation was that Harry thought he might have inadvertently caused Cho to develop a slight crush on him. Instead of him watching her from a distance, he noticed her watching him.
It was shortly after the incident on the Quidditch pitch that the Ministry was forced… I mean ‘decided’ to remove the Dementors from Hogwarts since Sirius was cleared.
Sirius had celebrated his new freedom with an extra long holiday, which had lasted until the first week in February. Afterwards, Sirius decided he should probably see about getting his old job back.
Rufus Scrimgeour was happy to accept Sirius back into the Auror ranks; he viewed it as being a good show of public relations to counter the nightmare the whole DMLE had been experiencing since Sirius had been found innocent.
Fudge had been angry about the whole thing, complaining that having a wizard who had spent time in Azkaban be a member of the Wizarding World’s police force would not help sway the publics view on their competence.
Scrimgeour ignored Fudge and appointed Sirius as a regular officer at first, telling Sirius that he would regain his pre-incarceration rank of Lieutenant after a probationary period.
Tonks enjoyed having seniority over Sirius during this time, since she’d just been promoted to Detective Tonks only the week before after a bust involving cursed hair dryers that actually set your hair on fire. However, Sirius only needed to talk to Commander Shacklebolt to have Tonks brought down a few pegs.
Before Sirius could return to active duty, he needed to pass psychological and physical fitness tests.
Amelia Bones had ordered Sirius to undergo psychoanalysis to determine whether he had any psychological trauma from his incarceration. While the Healer had approved Sirius’ mental stability, he had recommended that Sirius not to be placed on guard duty at Azkaban due to his overwhelming combination of hatred and fear towards the Dementors.
His physical fitness test, however, had been a completely different story. While Sirius had passed with flying colors, due partly to dueling Harry quite frequently, the twenty-eight year old Healer have given Sirius an ultimatum. Either Sirius would take her on a date, or she would fail him. She had some how managed to get him to agree to go out on Valentines Day before quickly shoving Sirius out of the room to move on to another hopeful Auror-in-training.
Sirius had later written to Harry that the encounter had left him thinking ‘What just happened’.
Regardless of how the date had been set up, it had apparently had a good enough outcome for the two of them to want a second date a week later.
In April, Sirius sent a letter telling Harry they were officially dating. It also contained some of Sirius’ concerns about the budding relationship. There was the age difference of six years, for one thing. There was also the fact that Sirius wasn’t sure whether he wanted a relationship at this time. He had been a ‘player’ back in his ‘prime’ and he wasn’t sure if he could still get away with that sort of thing at his ripe old age of thirty-four.
Lastly, Sirius was concerned how Harry would take having to share him with someone else. The girls thought it was sweet that Sirius was thinking of Harry first, when Harry had showed them the letter.
Harry privately thought it was ridiculous that Sirius would be worrying about how he would handle it. So Sirius wanted a girlfriend, big deal. After twelve years in Azkaban, he was entitled to have one.
However, that was nineteen-year-old Harry’s thoughts.
Thirteen-year-old Harry had a different prospective.
While it didn’t change his initial thoughts, it did help him see why Sirius would be concerned.
Take a thirteen-year-old who has known almost nothing but abuse and neglect, and then suddenly introduce him to a parent-like figure along with love from said parent-like figure. Next, throw a person who is interested in the parent-like figure. With this person, who would force the parent-like figure into dividing his time between his godson and his girlfriend, added into the mix, Harry could see why Sirius was hesitant about becoming serious with anyone.
Harry had then sat down and countered all of Sirius’ concerns. Explaining that this relationship had already lasted longer then any he had told Harry that he had had back in his ‘prime’ and that six years wasn’t that much of a difference at their age, anyways. Harry closed by telling Sirius that if he screwed up a perfectly good relationship because of him, then Sirius was mental.
Just before school got out, Sirius had told Harry that she would be at the station with him to meet Harry when he got off the train, before Harry went to spend his two weeks at the Dursleys.
On a Thursday evening in May the Irish National team, which consisted of the same players as the Kestrels, battled it out on the continent against the French National team.
At first, the French ploughed through the Irish creating a tremendous lead and within the first three hours, were beating the Irish by two hundred and eighty points. The Irish called a timeout and managed to re-group, scoring two goals for everyone scored on them. When they had finally gotten within a hundred points of the French, Harry and the French Seeker spotted the Snitch and dove. The two Seekers went into a seventy-five degree dive, which normally would not have been too spectacular… except that Harry had been inverted. Due to his size and the superior speed of the Firebolt, Harry was able to reach the Snitch first ensuring victory and a shot at the World Cup in July.
When Harry had arrived back at Hogwarts the following day, it was to a celebratory party that was still going on with no sign of stopping and it continued for the rest of the weekend.
The rest of the year had been quite normal. The Defense Association continued to flourish as it now contained members from every house and year. Harry remained the instructor without be questioned about his leadership by the older students. This only happened after Harry had disarmed four seventh years who thought they would be better candidates at leading the group then he would. After them, no tried ever to attempt in taking the pedestal from Harry again. After the incident on the Quidditch pitch, Harry began teaching the group how to perform the Patronus Charm and by the end of the year, just about everyone from third year up could produce a shield. All the sixth and seventh years could produce Corporal Patronus’ as well as about half the fifth years and Hermione.
The group had thanked Harry at the end of the year by buying him a dragon-skin wand hoister for which he was truly thankful to receive.
Harry was shakened from his musings as the train started to slow down and knew they must be pulling into the station. He looked at Ron and Hermione who were just waking up and realizing they were leaning against each other. Both of them quickly jumped up, blushing and Harry just shook his head with a slight smile on his face.
They gathered their things and made their way off the train on to the bustling platform. Lucky, all of their parents/guardians had decided it was smarter just to group together and wait for their children.
Harry smiled at the young woman standing nervously beside Sirius. She had light brown hair, blue eyes, and was only about a half a foot taller than Harry was.
“Harry, I’d like you to meet Samantha Rogers. Sam, this is my godson, Harry,” smiled Sirius.
“It’s a pleasure to meet you,” said Samantha, extending her hand.
Harry just continued to look her up and down before he looked at Sirius and said “I approve,” taking the offered hand.
Sirius let loose with his bark-like laugh as Samantha sighed with a smile.
“It’s good to meet you,” said Harry.
“Likewise,” replied Samantha “Sirius has told me all about you,”
“Not everything, I hope,” smiled Harry as Samantha giggled and Sirius rolled his eyes.
“So,” said Harry, turning back to his friends “see you at the World Cup, then?”
“Wouldn’t miss it for the world, mate,” grinned Ron and the others nodded in agreement.
They all exchanged hugs, Harry and Ginny lingering longer then most but that went unnoticed as a blushing Luna gave Neville a peck on the lips.
“When did this happen?” asked Hermione with raised eyebrows.
Neville blushed as he mumbled, “Last Hogsmeade trip,”
The twins began to make little jabs at them, but were silenced by the glares coming from Hermione, Ginny, and their mum. They all finished their good byes, and broke off with their respective families. On the other side of the platform, the Dursleys were waiting for Harry.
“See you in two weeks, kiddo,” promised Sirius.
“I’ll be counting the days,” replied Harry before turning to Samantha “I hope we’ll be seeing more of each other,”
“As do I,” smiled Samantha.
Harry made his way towards the Dursleys. For now, things were going good. Next year, however, was the Tri-Wizard Tournament with all its trials and tribulations. Harry was actually toying with the idea of just confounding the Goblet to think he was the only entrance for Gryffindor. At least then, he could claim responsibility for his participation. That would save Cedric’s life, but also put Barty Crouch Jr. on his toes. Regardless, Harry still had a few months to decide and for now he was content with just going with the flow of things and like Sirius frequently told him, ‘Life is the ultimate game; make your own rules where you can. Cheat where you can't!’