Classes get underway and Harry conducts a revealing demonstration for his Sixth years.
Chapter Seven: A Room With A View
Harry leaned back against his desk and watched as his fifth year class crammed their way through the door. He smiled to himself and wondered if the students left every class like somebody had shouted 'FIRE!' or if it was just his. The smile dropped away though as he looked at the last two students leaving. Ginny Weasley's hair looked like it hadn't been brushed since she arrived and her robes were askew and wrinkled, like they had been slept in. Luna walked next to her protectively - whoever would have thought of Loony Luna Lovegood as protective of anything? Harry again glared at the string she wore around her neck, crowded with butterbeer caps and promised himself a visit to Honeydukes this weekend.
He quickly pushed these thoughts out of his mind to prepare for his next class: sixth year NEWT level Defense. He piled the parchments up neatly that lay across his desk and placed them in a leather satchel. He sat on the desktop and placed his wand next to him. As the students began to file in he unconsciously straightened his maroon knit tie and watched.
In a note attached to all the schedules of the sixth year's taking Defense Against the Dark Arts, Harry had asked that any student having a pet here at school bring them to their first class. It wasn't explained why and Harry was sure that they would all be curious. He watched Draco stroll into the room followed by Pansy Parkinson, who was holding a regal looking cat. It was a Persian with bright blue eyes and severely overweight. The Patil twins followed with an owl. Most of the students came empty-handed but Harry smiled as Hermione came in with Crookshanks and sat in the front row. Ron followed a minute later carrying a small cage. Harry wanted to leap out and snatch it away immediately but he knew he had to play this out calmly if he was going to get away with his secrets intact. It had to look like a surprise.
Just as the bell rang, a graying tabby cat with odd rectangular marking around its eyes walked up the aisle and leapt neatly onto his desk. It sat stiffly, as if it were at parade rest. Harry reached out to scratch it behind the ears but the cat swatted his hand away with its claws only slightly extended. Harry arched his eyebrows in return but said nothing. Instead, he left his desk to close the door, no one noticed the locking charm he added silently.
"Good morning everyone," he said cheerfully. "I see you all got my note about bringing your pets along for the first class. Excellent. So, why don't we get started."
Harry returned to his desk and leaned against it. "Firstly, my name is Professor Odysseus Harris and I asked you all to bring your pets today for what I hope will be a very interesting demonstration."
"But aren't you going to call the roll first, Professor?" asked a rather buxom blonde in Gryffindor robes.
"Not to worry, Miss Brown, that's already been taken care of." Harry turned away to hide his smirk as Lavender and Parvati Patil immediately fell to whispering.
"Now, since we all want to be able to see our little demonstration, I'm going to ask all of you who have brought animals with you today to come down to the first row." Students reluctantly began to change their seats. Pansy perched herself directly in front of Draco and placed a small satin pillow down for her cat to lay on. Hermione remained in her seat with a superior look on her face, as if she knew all along that this was where she was supposed to sit. Ron hung back.
"Come along now, Mr. Weasely, is it? Up you get!"
Ron reluctantly took the seat next to Hermione, the last one left empty and didn't notice Harry shielding his wand with his cloak as he cast a sleeping spell on the cage Ron held. Harry sat back on his desk and began to move his hand to scratch the cat still sitting there before he thought better of it.
"Now, can any of you venture a guess as to what we will be doing today?" Harry looked around the room but no one, not even Hermione, seemed willing to say anything. "No one, eh?" Harry chuckled.
"Well, in that case, can any of you tell me what it is that all of these visitors today have in common?"
Hermione's hand went up as she spoke, "Sir, they're all animals." Ron glared at her for saying something so simple but Harry smiled.
"Are they?" he said quietly.
"Well, o'course they are. That's what ya told us to bring, innit?" Ron mumbled.
Harry shot him a look that made him fidget. "And all animals are created equal, right? It's just that some are more equal than others."
Hermione smothered a giggle at this and Harry rewarded her with a smile. "A point for Gryffindor, Miss Granger, for being well read." Hermione beamed and Ron looked confused.
Harry looked back at the class as a whole. "So, Mr. Weasely here has postulated that all of our visitors today are animals. Any comments?"
Hermione stared intently at the cat sitting stiffly on the desk for a moment and raised her hand. Harry motioned for her to lower it but not speak. "Anyone else?"
Padma looked around before raising her hand. At a nod from Harry, she spoke. "Well, sir, we've all seen each others pets for years now so the only one that could be different is yours?"
"Mine?" he answered with a wide-eyed look.
"Yes, Professor, your cat there."
Harry looked at the tabby who sat there even more stiffly, if that were possible. "What makes you think that this is my cat?"
"Well, you brought it in," Padma said, beginning to get confused.
"Did I? Did any of you see me bring it in?" The class all shook their heads, with the exception of Hermione who seemed to be sitting on her hands to prevent them from shooting into the air.
"I... I just assumed it since it is sitting on your desk."
"Assumptions are very dangerous things, Miss Patil. We should avoid them whenever possible, and when we must make them they should be questioned and re-questioned at every opportunity."
At this Harry turned and pinned the entire class with his gaze. "Well?"
Like a dam bursting, Hermione's hand shot back into the air as she bounced on her seat and chimed in, "Sir, that's not a normal cat. It's an Animagus! It's Professor McGonagall!"
Before Harry could say a word, the tabby beside him morphed back into the form of the stern Transfigurations Professor.
"Very observant, Miss Granger. Take five points for Gryffindor." Hermione's face shone with pride as Ron inched a bit away from her.
"But what does this have to do with the Dark Arts?" Draco said with a sneer. Harry looked over at the blonde would-be Death Eater and saw the same animosity in his eyes that he always saw there. Some things never changed, he thought to himself. McGonagall looked about to take him to task but Harry stopped her with a hand to her elbow.
"Indeed, a good question, Mr. Malfoy," Harry said, walking over to stand in front of Draco. "You are, of course, familiar with the adage: Keep your friends close, but your enemies closer."
Draco nodded with a superior smirk and Harry continued, "But that is only applicable when you know how close your enemy is, isn't that right?" Now Draco just looked confused.
"Mr. Malfoy, do you know how close your own enemies are? How close they really are?"
No comment from the blonde Slytherin.
"How would you react if you found out that you had a deadly enemy sitting right next to you and you didn't know? Or a spy hiding under the table as you discussed whatever plans you may be hatching in your common room?"
At this Draco began to look around nervously and Harry recalled all the plans that the git was indeed hatching. Harry turned away from him before he hexed the little bastard.
"Miss Granger, how did you know that the cat you first saw was our esteemed Professor of Transfiguration?"
"I recognized her markings, sir. When we studied the Animagus transformation is class, I looked it up. All Animagi have distinctive markings and they are on record with the Ministry. Professor McGonagall's records show hers to be rectangular markings around each eye resembling her spectacles."
Hermione looked smug and seemed to be expecting more house points to be awarded for her extra effort. Professor McGonagall even seemed about to do so when Harry cut her off.
"That is incorrect, Miss Granger, and a mistake that could get you killed."
Minerva looked annoyed and asked, "What exactly was incorrect about Miss Granger's statement?"
Harry returned her scowl with a grin and said, "A good question, if you'd care to take a seat with the rest of the class I'll explain." McGonagall at first looked angry at being spoken to thusly but quickly realized that she shouldn't have tried to take over another teacher's class. Although she didn't sit, she did move behind the desk and out of the way.
"Before I explain though, Miss Granger, can you see the fault in your statement?"
Hermione shook her head in denial. "Ministry regulations state that all Animagi must be registered and a part of that registration is to list the individual, distinctive markings."
"And so, all Animagi are registered?"
"Of course, it's the law!"
Harry looked down at the girl. "So, if, let's say, I were an Animagus, you would expect to find me in the public records at the Ministry?" She nodded. "Even if I intended to use that skill for nefarious purposes?" He watched as Hermione's mouth opened and closed like a goldfish. "Mr. Malfoy?" he called without turning his head.
"Of course not! Only a fool would give away such an advantage."
"And if you were an Animagus, Mr. Malfoy, would you register yourself?"
"I'm not a fool."
"A point for Slytherin."
Harry stepped back to the center of the class and continued his lecture, "If I were a common cutpurse operating in Diagon Alley, would I be more able to escape a pursuing Auror, not to mention my victim, by running on two feet with my robes flapping about my knees or on four feet as a dog?" He didn't bother waiting for an answer. "If I were a reporter looking for a scoop, or at least some bit of juicy gossip, would I be more likely to overhear it sitting openly at a table in the Leaky Cauldron or lurking in a bush somewhere in the form of a beetle? Or, let's say I was a Death Eater, shall we?" He stopped to lock eyes with Hermione. "How would I be best suited to sneaking into a filthy mudblood's home to slaughter her and her entire family; dressed in my black robes and white mask or slithering along in the dirt as a snake?" Hermione's face had gone chalk white and her eyes glistened. Harry spun around to see the entire class. "If I was intent on breaking the law anyway then why would I bother to register my abilities with the Ministry? After all, not registering would be just another law I was breaking?"
"But the law..." Hermione began weakly.
"The law is just a convenience used by the government in their drive to control the populace. It does not guarantee justice or even fairness. But to get back on topic." Harry turned back to Professor McGonagall. "If you would indulge us, Professor?"
The stern witch glared at him but changed back into the form of a cat. Harry took up his wand and pointed it. Waiting until he received a nod from the feline, he incanted, "Revealus", and a bright purple glow surrounded the cat.
"This charm," Harry said to the class to begin his lecture, "will provide a visible representation of any magic that a creature or any living being may possess. As you can see, Professor McGonagall possesses quite a bit of magic and it shows itself in the visible aura." Harry walked back and stood in front of Pansy. He cast the spell again while pointing his wand at her cat with no results. "Aw," he said with mock sadness, "just a run of the mill pussycat."
He moved over to where the Patil twins were sitting, ignoring the hurt look on Pansy's face, and performed the spell again, this time the owl glowed with a faint yellow light. "Ah, here we go. As you can all see, this animal does have some magic indicated. All post owls are magical, how else could they find the addressees of our letters. Has anyone noticed anything else?"
Padma looked up at him. "Please, sir, the Professor's aura was far more intense and a different color."
"Indeed it was, Miss Patil, indeed it was. The intensity of the aura gives some indication of the amount of magic present, although it is not an absolute measure since the strength of the caster and other factors come into play. So, although your owl there is indeed magical, I think we all will admit that the Deputy Headmistress possesses just a bit more." The students twittered politely as Harry gave a nod of the head to his colleague. She returned the gesture in kind.
"Professor, does the color of the aura tell us anything?" Hermione asked then belatedly raised her hand.
"There is some belief that the color or colors shown have some significance, however there are so many variables that I can't recall anyone being able to meaningfully categorize them."
Hermione's head immediately bent over her parchment as she began to jot down notes furiously, obviously planning on doing some research of her own, perhaps even a paper for extra credit.
"Now why don't those of you with pets try the charm for yourselves? Miss Granger, if you would lead us off?"
Hermione seemed startled for a moment then dropped her quill and picked up her wand. Pointing it at Crookshanks she looked up at Harry.
"Revealus," Harry softly encouraged.
"Revealus," Hermione said firmly, and as usual the charm worked the first time. An orange glow surrounded her cat and she gazed down at it in surprise.
"And we have another winner!" Harry called. He looked at the startled expression on the girl's face and asked, "Didn't you know?"
Hermione shook her head and answered, "No, I always thought that he was just a cat. The man at the pet shop in Diagon Alley didn't say anything about him being special."
Harry smiled at her. "Well, evidently he is. That is not an ordinary cat, Miss Granger, I'd expect that it is a Kneazle cross. Perhaps as much as half-Kneazle." Hermione beamed at the news and Harry noticed that Ron was scowling. "You'd best do a little research to see what he is capable of. Perhaps Professor Hagrid could be of assistance?" From the shocked and somewhat frightened look on the girl's face Harry could tell that in this world she had never befriended the gentle half-giant. Her loss, he thought.
Harry moved a step further along the row of desks, his stomach bucking against his diaphragm as his lunch tried to escape. It was time to see if he could have an impact, really change things for the better in this world, or if his life was truly pointless.
Harry hoped that none of his nervousness showed through in his voice. "Well, Mr. Weasley, your turn."
Ron shrugged his shoulders as if he didn't think it worth the effort then drew his wand and muttered, "revel us." There was, predictably, no response from the sleeping rat.
Ron looked up at him with another shrug.
"Revealus, Mr. Weasley, speak the incantation clearly." Harry tried to speak calmly but inside he was raging: 'Come on you worthless git. Get it right for a change. I need you, for once in your miserable life, to do a spell right!'
Ron tried again with a similar lack of results.
Harry was about to just do it himself when the ever-bossy Hermione came to his rescue. "Oh really, Ronald." She jabbed her wand at Scabbers. "It's pronounced Revealus!"
Harry could have kissed the know-it-all bint as a deep indigo aura appeared and Ron gaped down at it. Any derisive remark he might have made was choked off in his amazement.
"But Scabbers has never done anything magical. I've had him for years and all he's ever done is sleep."
Harry was about to respond when Hermione piped in, "Professor, didn't Professor McGonagall glow like that when you cast the spell on her? Could Scabbers be an..."
"NO!" Ron shouted and moved to snatch up Scabbers' cage when Harry stopped him. "He couldn't be, he's been in my family for years!"
"How many years exactly?" Harry snapped, glad that with the commotion now in the room he could relax his own hold on his emotions slightly.
"Percy had him even before he started at Hogwarts, he's always been in the family as far back as I can remember, so twelve or thirteen years at least."
Harry reached into the cage and lifted the mangy rodent by its tail and placed it, still asleep, on the center of his desk. He glanced at Professor McGonagall. "You know the spell?" he asked, meaning the spell to force an Animagus back into its human form. She understood and nodded. With a scowl she drew out her wand and cast a silent spell at the rat. There was a shimmer in the air around it as it grew and took on the form of a short and somewhat flabby man that snorted and sniffled as the change woke him from his enchanted sleep. Harry had his wand trained on the man who betrayed his parents and sent his godfather to Azkaban. Wormtail wouldn't be going free today.
"Who are you?" McGonagall fairly screeched. She must have been quite offended that someone had been hiding inside her very own house for almost a decade.
Pettigrew skittered up onto his hands and knees, not quite grasping the fact that he was now human again for the first time in almost 15 years. As the discomfort of his position sank in he looked down at the hands, and the fact that he had been found out finally sank in. He looked up at McGonagall's stern face and cowered back, almost falling off the desktop in the process.
Minerva looked as if she almost recognized the man but not quite. "Who are you?" she repeated, as if having to ask a question twice was not something she was used to needing to do.
Pettigrew looked around the class franticly. He looked at Ron and his hands went out as if in some plea but Ron drew back in revulsion. Wormtail then saw Harry standing there with his wand in his hand. "Jam...." he began before Harry cut him off with a wave of his wand that threw the man towards the wall. As Wormtail flew through the air, Harry managed to cast a strong sticking charm on the wall but, regrettably he would have said if anyone asked, he did not have time to cast a cushioning charm. Peter's head struck the wall with a resounding thunk.
"That's not Scabbers," Ron almost wailed. "Who is he?"
Harry stepped up calmly and examined the man hanging there. "I notice he seems to be missing a finger from his right hand."
"Scabbers was... was missing one of his toes from his right front foot," Ron stammered out.
Harry reached out and tore the left sleeve from the man's worn robes revealing the black tattoo hidden there. Harry turned and quirked an eyebrow at Ron who looked as if he were going to be sick..
"Miss Patil," Minerva said, stepping forward to take charge, "run up to the Headmaster's office and tell him he is needed here immediately." Parvati got up and was halfway to the door when Harry stopped her.
"You might also want to tell him to fetch along some Aurors as well," he added to her charge.
"Minerva," Harry continued once Parvati had left the room, "you've been a teacher here for a bit, do you recognize this man as a past student?" He was hoping that she would as it would greatly simplify things for freeing Sirius.
Minerva stared at the wreck of a wizard stuck to the wall like a fly in a web. She squinted as if trying to see through the years back to the boy he could have been. Finally, she shook her head. "I'm not sure," she muttered. Then more firmly she said, "Miss Granger, run and find Mister Potter, he would be able to be certain." She thought for a moment longer as Hermione gathered up her books. "On second thought, get Professor Potter as well. She would also know. They were such close friends."
It took only four minutes for Albus to arrive, and Harry was extremely annoyed to see that Snivellus had tagged along. The Headmaster tried to get Harry to release the sticking charm, but he absolutely refused to until the Aurors showed up to take possession of the prisoner. Snape hung back in the shadows, contributing nothing but observing all that happened. Albus calmly told the remaining students to leave and not speak of what they saw. Harry pointed sharply to Ron, signaling him to remain behind.
Minerva, noticing this action, asked, "Is there a reason, Professor Harris, for having that particular student to remain?"
"Indeed there is, Minerva," Harry said calmly. "This person has been, shall we say, in residence with Mr. Weasley and his family for quite some time and so he may be able to shed some light onto the matter."
McGonagall seemed about to protest further when the Headmaster placed a hand on her arm, stilling her. Turning to the teen he said simply, "Please, remain quiet and only speak should you be directly asked a question."
Ron nodded and took an empty seat at the rear of the room. A few minutes later, James and Lily Potter entered with Hermione, three Aurors close on their heels. Hermione also took a seat in the back to watch and Harry couldn't help but notice that she left three empty desks between herself and Ron.
"What's all this then?" one of them, who Harry recognized with distaste, called.
"And you are?" Harry asked in response.
The short man with iron gray hair puffed out his chest and pointed to the badge on his cloak with the tip of his wand. "Senior Auror Dawlish, we were assigned to investigate an alleged Death Eater sighting at this location."
"Well, you can drop the 'alleged' now I think," Harry said pointing out the Dark Mark on Pettigrew's arm. The little man cringed back as far as he could being stuck to the wall.
James Potter stepped forward and grabbed Peter by the chin and turned his head this way and that in scrutiny. "It can't be," he muttered to himself over and over again. "It just can't be."
Dawlish was starting to get annoyed at not being the center of the action and broke in, "Does anyone here know this man's name?"
"His name is Peter Pettigrew," Dumbledore said quietly. "And until today, he had been thought dead."
"NO," Lily shouted, "It can't be Peter. He was killed by... by... He was killed years ago!"
"Evidently not," Harry said dryly.
"Pettigrew?" Dawlish asked.
Harry watched as Albus, James and Lily all found other things to do than answer the question. After a few seconds he grew tired of waiting and spoke up himself, "Peter Pettigrew was thought to have been killed by Sirius Black approximately 15 years ago. Black has been in Azkaban for the crime ever since."
"But if this Pettigrew person is alive?" Dawlish asked, evidently getting to the gist of the problem before anyone with an emotional stake in it.
"Then Sirius is innocent and ought to be released," Harry stated calmly. "And since Peter here bears the Dark Mark we can assume that the whole incident was set up at the direction of Voldemort."
"If he is, indeed, a servant of the Dark Lord," Albus said, taking control of the situation, "then we need to question him to find out what he knows and what he is doing here at Hogwarts." He turned to his Potions Master, still lurking in the corner. "Severus, if you would be so kind as to fetch some Veritaserum we can get to the bottom of this."
As Snape reached into one of the hidden pockets of his robes, Harry sidled over to stand next to the Aurors.
"You know, that might not be such a good idea," he said softly.
All three Aurors turned at his comment. "And why is that?" Dawlish asked.
"A Death Eater captured alive could be a valuable source of information to the Ministry, it wouldn't do for him to be accidentally poisoned before any questioning could be properly conducted."
Dawlish's eyes grew glinty at the thought of the praise he would receive for being the one to bring in such a valuable asset, and fear of the response should he bring in a corpse instead. Dumbledore had also overheard this exchange and sought to regain control.
"Professor Snape is a certified Potions Master, he has brewed the potion many times, I'm sure there is nothing to fear."
Before Dawlish or anyone else could agree, Harry answered. "Snape is also a known Death Eater." The Aurors eyes, and wands, snapped to point at the man in question. "Or at least a known former Death Eater. He may consider it to his personal advantage to prevent another captured Death Eater from telling any tales."
Dawlish appeared about to give some orders to his men when Dumbledore cut him off. "I think it may be better if we continued this discussion on my office. Why don't we all just think about things until we get there."
"I'm not going anywhere without my prisoner," Dawlish stated emphatically.
"And I have no intention of releasing him until the Aurors are ready to transport him away. He has already proven that he is quite skilled at escape and evasion."
Snape sneered back and said, "And just how has this pathetic looking excuse for a wizard done that?"
Harry returned the sneer with one of his own. "He has successfully avoided detection by both the Ministry and Voldemort for the last fifteen years, hasn't he? The last ten of them right under your oh-so-prominent nose. Why would anyone trust you to keep him secured with a history like that? No, I think the little rat is going to stay stuck right there where I can keep an eye on him until he's ready to go to the Ministry."
"My dear Professor Harris," Albus said in the calm rational tone that always led to his convincing someone to do exactly what he wanted all along, "we mustn't let any personal animosity amongst ourselves get in the way of uncovering what Voldemort's plans may be."
Harry wasn't buying it today, however. "My dear Headmaster, since Mr. Pettigrew here has been in hiding for more than a decade, likely since Voldemort's first disappearance, then there is likely not going to be any valuable evidence he would possess on his current plans. More likely, he will be able to increase our understanding of how the last war was fought..." Now Harry turned to face Snape directly. "And perhaps verify who exactly was on who's side of it."
Snape returned his look with a glare that would have melted stone, but Harry was far beyond caring how the Potions Master felt. Dumbledore looked about to try to push things his own way again when Dawlish stepped forward to end the debate.
"Regardless, this man is a Death Eater and under arrest by order of the Ministry. We will transport him directly to the Department of Magical Law Enforcement and any questioning to be done will be done there, under Ministry supervision. This way the chain of evidence is clear-cut and above reproach."
Albus nodded, albeit reluctantly, and agreed. "Perhaps you are right, Auror Dawlish."
Dawlish nodded in return and turned towards Harry. "If you will release him?"
"Auror Dawlish," Harry replied cautiously, "far be it from me to tell you how to do your job, but this man is an Animagus, with the form of a rat. It would be a most easy thing for him to transform and escape through even the tiniest crack in the wall if given the opportunity."
Dawlish frowned at this. He didn't want such a valuable prisoner to get away, especially from him. Harry smiled before continuing. "If I may suggest that he be stunned, transformed back into the form of a rat, and transported in his cage?"
The Auror looked at the small cage still sitting on the desk in front of him and nodded. With a silent spell he stunned Pettigrew then Harry released him from the wall. As the traitor slipped bonelessly to the ground, McGonagall cast the spell to force him back into his rat form and Harry, none too delicately, picked him up by the tail and dropped him in his cage. One of the Aurors cast a series of security and unbreakable charms on the cage and Pettigrew was taken away.
Harry looked at the group that was left behind. Lily was in tears with James looking not too far behind her. McGonagall was furious at the implications of what was going on and Snape was just furious. Dumbledore, however, looked as calm and unflappable as ever as he returned Harry's gaze without the trace of a twinkle in his eyes.
A/N: The bit about Lavender asking about Harry taking the roll and Harry's response that he already had is a tip of the hat to another story, although, fool that I am, I can't remember the title or author. It had Harry going back in time to become the Divination Professor and impressing the dickens out of the NEWT class by knowing all of them already. If anyone can remind me of the name I will be more than happy to give proper credit.