Categories > Books > Harry Potter > We're In This Together

Not With a Bang but a Whimper

by zugrian 0 reviews

The long awaited confrontation with Sirius Black.

Category: Harry Potter - Rating: R - Genres: Drama,Romance - Characters: Dobby,Harry,Hermione,Pansy,Sirius - Warnings: [!!!] - Published: 2018-11-29 - 9842 words

Disclaimer: My fairy godmother still hasn't given me ownership of Harry Potter, but maybe I'll get lucky for Christmas?

Author's Note: I'm glad people enjoyed Pansy's wicked retribution against the Dursleys. Thanks again for all the support. One more chapter should finish off the school year, then we'll have a summer interlude while Harry and Pansy get to enjoy things in the muggle world before the Goblet of Fire plot lines start to pick up.

Also, quick note about the Fidelius- in the Deathly Hallows, Bill Weasley is the secret keeper for Shell Cottage and Arthur is the secret keeper for the Burrow, so according to canon there was no reason that James or Lily couldn't have been the secret keeper for their home in Godric's Hollow.


The laughing girl really brought home the difference a day could make.

The night before, Harry had finally seen and understood the lengths Pansy would go to for him. It really shouldn't have surprised him, not after what he had done to destroy her father. The damage of the years with the Dursleys would still need a lot of work to be completely undone, but that night had gone as far as any one night could in the process.

If Harry thought he loved her before, then whatever this feeling was must be closer to worship. Pansy was his very own avenging angel. If she would smite his enemies like that, then Harry was pretty sure he would do absolutely anything for her. If she told him to completely cut Ron out of his life, despite all his efforts at trying to get his oldest friend to grow up, Harry doubted he could say no.

But today, all they were doing was watching Luna giddily riding Buckbeak.

It was a warm enough day, but there were never that many students brave enough to hang out around Hagrid and all his 'interesting' creatures. Harry was glad that he had introduced Luna to him. As strange as she could sometimes be, she was also open-minded as well as fearless around magical creatures, which made her a great companion to Hagrid.

The visual contrast between the petite blonde and the black-haired giant was amusing as hell too.

Seeing the two of them occupied in a conversation as Luna was finally dismounting the hippogriff and helping Hagrid to feed him, Harry reached down and gave Pansy's hand a squeeze. They were isolated enough that she responded with a smile without even looking around.

Harry felt so wonderful today. And the brilliant, beautiful, vicious girl next to him was the reason why.

It made him so happy that she was developing a friendship with Luna too. He knew that she wasn't too fond of many people, but he was starting to see that she at least understood his own kinship with Luna and seemed to have a similar appreciation for her irreverence and good humor. As cynical and sarcastic as he and Pansy both were, someone so lighthearted and open as Luna was a very nice balance.

Plus, she drove Hermione nuts, and he knew Pansy loved that about her.

Spring was here, the weather was lovely, nature was in bloom, and his friendships all were doing well as even Ron had (sort of) apologized to Hermione. Harry was happily in love with a girl that had proven beyond a shadow of a doubt just how much he meant to her.

In other words, life was good.

As usual, this was never going to last for Harry Potter.


Another week passed by and they were once again on the way down to Hogsmeade. This time, everyone could see the thestrals pulling the carriages. Professor McGonagall had suggested that Hagrid give all of his classes a crash course on them after Harry's duel with the elder Malfoy. They were pretty fascinating, and despite their ghastly appearance, they were much more friendly and docile than almost any other creature that Hagrid enjoyed teaching them about.

Still, a lot of people found them unsettling. Parvati and Lavender whispered about how Trelawney had spoken of them being omens of death, cousins to the mythical grim in that regard. Of course, from everything he heard of the Divination teacher, omens of death were one of her favorite things.

He was so glad he hadn't wasted his time with that stupid class.

It was no surprise that Pansy liked the skeletal horses. Harry thought that the next time she wanted to watch a movie he should probably try something from the horror section. Muggles didn't have thestrals, but it would be interesting to see how a witch would respond to something like Dracula or Frankenstein.

That reminded him that they would need to get a television and VCR for the flat.

His attention was brought back to the present as the carriage slowed to a halt as they reached the village.

He held out his hand to help all the girls down from the carriage. Today, he was alone among them as the tentative peace between Ron and Hermione wasn't yet to the level of them hanging out at Hogsmeade all day together. Parvati and Lavender were soon off together, and Harry was unusually pleased when Pansy went with them leaving him alone with Hermione. As much as he loved time alone with Pansy, he was happy to see her developing friendships with the girls.

"So, Hermione, what would you like to do first today?"

"I'm surprised to see Pansy go off on her own. Did you know that some people call her your shadow as a joke?"

"I've heard that, yes."

"Doesn't that bother you?"

"Considering all the other things people have said about me behind my back? That's pretty minor. We've got a couple of hours free before we need to head to the Three Broomsticks for lunch. I'll have to leave you at that point."


"Pansy and I are meeting her great uncle, Malcolm Parkinson."

"I see. I can understand you wanting privacy for that conversation. Well, until then, you'll just have to go to the book store with me I suppose."

"If I must," he chuckled. Harry raised his arm. "Shall we, milady?"

"We shall, good sir," she answered as she took up his offer and replied in her own snooty voice.

Harry smiled. That was much better. He'd have to remember that books were what made Hermione relax. He hoped there was something else as well.

"Hermione, did you have any other hobbies before you came to Hogwarts?"

"What do you mean?"

"Well, other than reading or studying? What else did you do for fun?"

"I... I guess not a lot. I was an only child and I never did do very well socializing with other kids my age."

'Imagine that,' he thought. "So you lost yourself in books instead?"

"That's one way to put it."

"I see."

"Did you have any hobbies, Harry?"

"I never really had any time for them. Can I give you a piece of advice, Hermione?"


"Don't take this personally, but I think there is something you could do to have the other students like you more. In class, you are very eager to prove yourself. Too eager, some would say. I'm sure you've been called a teacher's pet before. I think if you would let up a bit, the other students would find you more approachable."

"I'm not going to change who I am, Harry."

"There's a difference between changing who you are and just being less intense. Would it kill you to let someone else answer a question or two in class? Look, I'm really not trying to pick on you about this. You're my best friend. But I think other people would like you more if you didn't come off as-"

"As a know-it-all?" she asked in a whisper.

"Well, yes. You're brilliant, and I think everyone knows that you're the top of our class. You don't have to try to continue to prove that every day for the rest of our time here at Hogwarts."

Harry realized they had slowed to a stop. He turned to look at his best friend, who was trying not to be too upset. He pulled her into a hug.

"I love you, Hermione. That's not going to change, no matter how well you do in any class. I just want you to have a chance to let other people like you as much as I do." He patted her softly on the back.

"Think of it this way. Until recently, you pretty much spent all your time with Ron and I. That's not necessarily a bad thing, but I'm guessing that at some point you'll want some girl time. And I don't think either of us want to see Ron in a dress."

"I think you could pull it off, though," she giggled.

"I'm Harry Potter; I can pull off anything," he said with a smirk. They both started to laugh.

"I'm just saying that you could be off with Pansy, Parvati, and Lavender if you wanted. They all look better than I would in a dress. All it would take is a bit of effort. You're smart enough to learn anything. I'm sure you can figure out how to be more social too."

"Do you have any suggestions?"

"I'm not the most social guy, myself," he snorted. "But I would recommend using your observational skills. Watch how they interact if you want to get along better with them."

"Alright, I'll give it a try." Hermione still looked a bit unsure though.

"You don't have to do it for my sake. It won't matter to me if you're never friends with Lavender Brown. But if you do want to be friends with some other girls, I just thought I should try to give you some advice."

"You do have a lot of girlfriends," she snickered.

"Well, not that many, but I do seem to get along pretty well with girls this year. Mostly girls, really, since Ron's been... well, whatever."

"What are we going to do about him?"

"We don't have to do anything. I've given him a lot of chances. I've even tried to give him some hints and pushes at being less of an insensitive, immature prat. If he wants to be my friend again, then it's up to him at this point.

"As for you, that's your decision to make. Ron has treated you terribly, and not just this year either. I think he needs to be a lot nicer to you if he wants to be your friend. But that's not my call, so I can only offer you my opinion."

"We were such good friends, and I haven't had many of them."

"You can always make more friends, Hermione. Ron hasn't been a good friend this year. Maybe he can be again, but you shouldn't be the only one who makes an effort at trying to repair that friendship."

"He did apologize," she countered.

"Barely," Harry snorted. "Setting my own relationship with him aside, I think you've given a lot more than he has. Friendship is supposed to be both give and take. Ron has taken advantage of you. How many times have you basically done all his work for him? And what has he done for you in thanks? Called you mental for wanting to study hard."

"I've spent a lot of time helping you with assignments too."

"And I try to remember to thank you for that. But more importantly, I'm pretty sure I've never yelled at you or made you cry.

"Look, like I said, I'm not trying to tell you what to do, but Ron has been rude, at best, towards you, Luna, and Pansy. The three of you are my best friends at this point. Ron will have to seriously improve his behavior towards all of you if he wants to be my friend again. That's what I'm going to do about him.

"Now then, I believe we have reached your destination, my dear," Harry finished as Hermione looked up with a smile, realizing they were in front of the bookstore.


Two hours later, Harry was just barely able to drag Hermione off to the Three Broomsticks. He had convinced her to try to chat with Parvati and Lavender at lunch while he and Pansy met with Malcolm Parkinson. She wasn't excited by it, but Harry suggested Hermione use the opportunity like an experiment to see if she could learn how to get along better with her dorm mates.

Pansy was waiting by the door outside for him.

"Everything go alright today?" he asked.

"Fine, Harry. I just wanted to wait for you."

"I'll talk to you later, Harry," Hermione said as Harry held the door open for her. "Good luck with everything, Pansy."

"Thanks," Pansy answered neutrally.

"He's already here then?"

"Yes. He does seem eager to want to build some sort of relationship with me. I just hope we can trust him."

"We'll take it one step at a time. That's why we're meeting in public today. And I'll be with you. Okay?"

"Okay, I'm ready."

They entered the inn, and sure enough, waiting at a corner table was Malcolm Parkinson. They walked across the room to join him.

"Pansy, it's good to see you again. Mr. Potter, thank you for arranging this meeting."

"You're welcome, Mr. Parkinson. If you wouldn't mind, why don't we order first and then set up some privacy charms before we begin discussing anything personal?"

"That works for me. I hope you two are hungry."

"I'm not too famished, but I did have a big breakfast. How about you, Harry?"

"I could eat. I might have worked up a bit more of an appetite."

"How many books was that Granger made you carry?"

"Only seven, and she didn't make me carry them. I was being gentlemanly. Besides, two of them were books on runes."

Pansy laughed as Harry smiled. Malcolm raised an eyebrow and she answered him.

"Harry really loves Runes."

"It's by far the most interesting of our electives. Don't tell Hagrid I said that though."

"Are you two taking the same classes then?"

"Yes. I'll have to agree with him too. Arithmancy is rather dry and Care of Magical Creatures is... uneven."

"Uneven?" Malcolm asked.

"Well, Hagrid definitely knows his stuff, but he obviously isn't very polished as a teacher," Harry replied.

"That's putting it mildly," Pansy smirked.

"I can believe that," Malcolm responded. "I'm a bit surprised that Hagrid became a professor, actually."

"Harry likes him. Some of the lessons are pretty interesting."

Finally, a waitress came over and took their orders. They made small talk about their classes while they ate, but eventually as they finished and sipped on some drinks, Malcolm did cast some privacy charms.

"Now, I do have a few things I'd like to ask you. Both of you, really. Mr. Potter, I'll start with you, if you don't mind.

"I know that officially you are responsible for my niece. That being said, I assume you are going to continue her education here at Hogwarts with you?"

"Of course."

"That's good. I would like to contribute. The Parkinson family wealth is all in my name now. While it could raise some eyebrows if I tried to pay for Pansy's tuition, no one would have to know anything if I just gave you a payment while we were both at Gringotts some time this summer."

"That's very generous."

"Yes, thank you, uncle Malcolm."

"You're welcome, Pansy. I know we haven't been close in the past, but I would like a chance to make up for that. Especially after all that I've learned of your father. I'm sorry I haven't done more before now. Besides, I don't have any other family left. Whenever I go, whatever is left will be yours."

Harry looked over at Pansy, who was surprised by this.

"I'm not a Parkinson anymore," she said after a moment.

"Not officially, but you're still my niece, and that's all that matters to me. Speaking of family matters, there is the question of what to do with your parents' home. I wanted to talk to you about it. I didn't know if you would want to live there again, or if I should sell it."

"Sell it." The reply was very quick.

"Are you sure? It's a large and quite nice manor home. It's in good condition."

"Except for my old room."

"How did you know that?"

Oh crap.

Pansy looked over to Harry. What should they say? Harry finally broke the silence.

"Last fall, after I claimed Pansy, her father was obviously angry. Some time later, we received a warning from Leddy."


"Their house-elf. Apparently, he went home at some point and destroyed or at least damaged Pansy's old room. Leddy told us he was enraged and he used some sort of magic to hurt her. She didn't say what specifically, but I believe it was the Cruciatus, as she was trembling. Leddy came to warn us because she was afraid Edmund might try to harm Pansy."

"I see. What happened to Leddy?"

"We... we believe that he killed her," Pansy said in a low voice. "I tried calling for her after father's death, but there was no response. If he killed my mother, then I would be surprised if he would spare a house-elf."

"That seems likely. I'm sorry. I can see why you wouldn't want to live there. I will look into selling it then. I'm in no hurry, so let me know if you change your mind for some reason."

"We will. Thank you, uncle Malcolm."

"The next thing I wanted to let you know was that your father was buried with his parents. I assume you remember the cemetery. I can understand that you may not want to pay your respects, especially after the way things ended, but you may want to visit at some point. Getting some closure might help.

"Speaking of which, your mother is going to be buried with her parents in late June. I believe it's at her mother's home town as I recall. Some of her family from France is arranging the funeral, cousins I suppose. They had to contact me about it since it is a rather unusual circumstance. Have you heard from them?"

"Yes. We've owled back and forth a couple of times."

"Excellent. The next time you write to them, please extend my condolences and ask if they would be bothered by my presence. I was not close with Dahlia, but I am saddened by her passing and I would like to be there to support you as well."

"That shouldn't be a problem."

"Good. I don't believe I know any of them, although I might have met a few years ago at the wedding. But that has been nearly two decades. Merlin, that makes me feel old," he chuckled. "Please let me know and I will be glad to arrange for an international port key."

"That would be much appreciated, uncle Malcolm. So, how have you been?"

"Isn't that supposed to be my line?" he chuckled warmly.

"Well, after all Harry's told me, you have been keeping up with what has gone on in my life, if only second hand, while I haven't heard anything about you since... oh, two summers ago I guess."

"True enough. Well, let's see..."


The conversation with Malcolm Parkinson had been pleasant enough. Harry had little to contribute, so he mostly just sat by watching the man for any hints of something to worry about. But Malcolm once again came off as genuine and Harry could tell that Pansy seemed to enjoy speaking with him also. She told him of her project to make Neville over so he could try to woo Hermione, and despite the aborted end of that plot, Malcolm was amused by Pansy's actions, even her rather wicked role in Neville learning how to kiss.

"It sounds like a better way to learn than how I fumbled about after a dare in a dark broom closet," he had said.

Which reminded Harry that they needed to sneak off into such a closet at least one more time before the end of the year. Not that it was necessary for them, but it felt like a part of the Hogwarts traditions that they were missing out on.

He noticed that Pansy mostly stuck to talking about things that featured people other than just her and Harry, as if she did not want to draw too much scrutiny to their own relationship. He thought they did a fairly good job over all at maintaining the illusion of being nothing more than friends now brought together by both being orphans.

If Malcolm did suspect anything more was going on, he did not show it.

There was one other thing that Harry did ask about while he had the two purebloods for perspective.

Malcolm had said something about how having all four magical grandparents was enough for the traditional view to be considered a pureblood. Harry thought he remembered Pansy saying something similar once, so he asked why this was the case.

The answer was simple enough. Magical people were able to live much longer than muggles on average. Without a muggle parent or grandparent's influence, there would be little exposure to the muggle world. And any exposure for such a child would still be seen through the lens of how the magical adults dealt with the muggle world.

How many people in the non-magical world lived long enough to know their great grandchildren after all? Hell, all four of Harry's grandparents had died before he was born, across both worlds.

A cynical view might say that without a muggle ancestor still around to infect them, the child would be purely a part of the magical world even if their 'blood' was only three fourths magical. But then, Harry was a cynic.

It made him wonder- how truly pure was the blood of someone like Draco?

Unfortunately, that reminded him of Narcissa.

He had written an apology to her after her son's death, but she had not responded. Not that he really expected her to. He had been sorry for her loss, no matter how much he had loathed Draco.

That it was his fault must have made everything that much more complicated for her.

Between the events of New Year's Eve and then ridding her of Lucius, but now contrasted with Draco's demise, Harry was bound to be a very sensitive spot for Narcissa. He had a feeling that they would not cross paths again for some time.

That was definitely for the best, all things considered.

Harry's relationship with Pansy was much better with Narcissa's shadow fading into the distance.


Hermione had been complaining much more this term about the Divination professor. Harry found this amusing, as she was not one to usually speak ill of any teacher, not even Snape. However, apparently, this Trelawney person had been moaning about Harry being the only Gryffindor not in her class and predicting that he was in grave danger ever since the February break in. She was trying to pass a warning on, according to Parvati.

She was a pathetic fraud, according to Hermione.

Things came to a head the next Thursday afternoon.

Harry and Pansy had a free period, so they had stopped by the library briefly before heading back to the Gryffindor tower.

Along the corridor leading to the Fat Lady's portrait, Harry spotted Hermione angrily stomping ahead of them.

"Hermione? What are you doing here?"

She turned to his voice with a scowl on her face.

"That silly old drunk went too far this time!"

"Drunk?" Pansy asked.

"What would you call it when someone reeks of cooking sherry, even over the smoky incense choking the room?"

Harry snorted, but Hermione's glower remained.

"Why don't we go for a walk and you can tell me all about it? It might help you feel better too." Harry noticed she wasn't carrying her bag or any books, which was shockingly unusual.

Hermione nodded and hurried back in the other direction, quickly passing Harry and Pansy.

"I don't think that pace is going to help her calm down any." Harry shook his head as Pansy smirked.

"I've got to figure out something to do about her," he said as he sped up. "It's too bad she's not a cat animagus like McGonagall. Some catnip might do her good."

"I think there's some sort of charm that acts like a calming draught," Pansy suggested.

"Even then, I might need to use all my power to get her nice and mellow."

"I can't imagine Granger ever being mellow."

"Well, what is she when she's reading then?"

"Still intense. Look at her face the next time she's buried in a book. You're going to owe me for chasing after her like this."

"I'm sure we can come to some sort of arrangement."

They finally caught up with Hermione just outside the main door to the castle. Harry stopped and Pansy caught her breath.

"Hermione, when I said we should go for a walk, that didn't mean we needed to race outside." Hermione's face was flushed too.

"Sorry, Harry, I was just so aggravated."

"It's alright. But from now on, we're going with a leisurely stroll."

Hermione nodded. Harry raised his left arm, which she took.

"Pansy?" She gave him a little smile as she took his right arm, and the trio walked much more slowly across the grounds. It was a lovely spring day, with a few clouds spread over the sky that the sun would occasionally dodge behind.

"So, what happened?"

"Professor Trelawney started in on how you were in mortal peril again. That Sirius Black was going to come back and attack you again. I'm just so sick of it. Your life being in danger is not funny."

"Hey, I agree one hundred percent. I've had more than enough people and things attacking me. I'd love a nice, calm, boring year. Hell, I'd settle for a month like that at this point."

"Just a month, Harry?" Pansy teased.

"Well, let's go back over this year. September started with a dementor attacking me on the train. October had Black's first break in. November had the dementors attacking during the quidditch match. I wasn't attacked during December, but it did feature your father's death, which was plenty stressful. January had Malfoy showing up to challenge me to a duel. February had Black's second break in. March had Draco trying to avenge his father.

"We're now most of the way through April. I don't want to be greedy, so a quiet month would be a nice start. Maybe by fifth or sixth year I could work my way up to an entire term that was peaceful and easy."

"That would be such a pleasant change," Hermione agreed. "This year has been very stressful."

"True. And I'm not even buried under quite as full a schedule as you are."

Pansy chuckled at that.

"We're getting close to Hagrid's. Want to stop by and say hello?" Harry asked.

"Sure," Hermione replied with a smile.

"If we must," Pansy added with a roll of her eyes.

A deep voice answered the knock at his door, and their largest professor invited them inside.

"What're all of yeh doin' here? Shouldn't yeh be in class?"

"Pansy and I have a free period. As for Hermione-"

"I just couldn't stand it, Hagrid!" It wasn't quite a shout, but she was still obviously mad.

"What's wrong, Hermione?"

"That awful woman. Almost every class she just rambles on and on about all the dangers constantly surrounding us. Which would be bad enough, mind you, but lately she's taken to talking about how Sirius Black is going to come back again to try to kill Harry. I'm sick of people trying to kill Harry."

"Me too," Pansy agreed. "There's been far too much danger in Harry's life. We should take a vacation. Somewhere tropical, maybe."

Harry snorted.

"I'd settle for anywhere at this point. I've never been on a vacation. But I think Hermione could use one just as much right now."

"Yeh shouldn't take professor Trelawney too seriously, Hermione. She's always tryin' ter predict doom an gloom. I wouldn't worry about 'er. I don't remember a single bloody thing she's spouted over the years that's come true.

"Harry'll be fine. He's always come through okay."

"Thanks for the confidence, Hagrid." He smiled at his largest teacher and friend. It was hard for him to be mad around Hagrid.

"No problem, Harry. Why don't you have some tea, Hermione? That'll help ter calm yeh right down. Always does for me."

She agreed and they all sat down around the table as Hagrid poured some tea for everyone.

There was an odd little squeak.

"Oh, that reminds me," Hagrid started as he stepped over to a shelf. "I found someone that ought ter cheer Ron right up."

He sat a small cage down on the table, and sure enough, inside was the missing, and supposedly dead, Scabbers.

"It looks like Weasley got his knickers in a twist over nothing," Pansy said. "Maybe he even faked his pet's death just to be more of a prat."

Harry was surprised that she was able to keep from calling him any worse names, but they were in the presence of a teacher.

"Now, Pansy, Ron ain't so bad. Jus' got a bit outta shape over thinkin' this little fella was gone. I bet Harry'd be mighty upset if somethin' happened ter Hedwig."

"That's true, but the problem with Ron was how he treated Hermione.," Harry replied. "You were smart enough to put a rat in a cage. If Ron really wanted to keep Scabbers safe, he could have done the same thing instead of yelling at Hermione to lock up her cat. And he was totally out of line with some of the things he's said this year.

"I guess we should take the rat back to him though."

"Don't look at me," Pansy said. "I hate that nasty little vermin, I'm not carrying it, even if it is locked up."

"Oh, for Pete's sake!" Hermione grunted as she lifted the cage. "Let's go."

She was immediately off her feet, tea and relaxation forgotten.

"Sorry, Hagrid, look's like we're off," Harry said as he took one last drink. Hagrid's cooking might have been hard to take, but his tea was always good.

Harry held the door for Pansy as Hagrid said goodbye.

Hermione had a head start on them, and once again, her temper led her to striding much faster than she normally would. She was easily twenty yards ahead of them, and Pansy did not seem willing to try to chase her down again, so Harry matched the pace of his girlfriend instead of hurrying after Hermione.

Until the cat appeared.

"What are you doing here, Crookshanks?" Harry asked as the ginger furball leapt out in front of him. It looked back at him briefly then tore across the lawn and quickly caught up with its owner. Hermione was distracted and came to a halt. Harry thought this would give him a chance to join her.

But then, an enormous black dog emerged from the shadows under the Whomping Willow and headed straight for his best friend.

"Hermione!" he shouted, trying to warn her, but the canine was faster and closer. It vaulted over to her and Hermione was knocked over as the dog tumbled into her legs. She was still holding onto the cage with Scabbers as the dog dragged her under the branches of the usually violent tree.

Harry broke into a run after her, and Pansy followed behind.

As they approached the tree, they saw Hermione and the animals disappear into a hole hidden in the roots at the base of the Willow's trunk, just under a large knot.

Harry jumped down and saw a tunnel that he remembered from the Marauder's Map. Unfortunately, he did not know where it led. He turned and held out his hand to help Pansy climb down to join him.

The tunnel grew dark not far ahead of them.

"I'll use my wand for light, you keep yours out to blast that thing," Pansy said.

"Good idea. Dobby!" The house-elf popped in. "Do you know where this tunnel leads?"

"No master Harry."

"Alright, well this huge dog grabbed Hermione and dragged her off down here. We're on a rescue mission. Stay hidden unless we need you, okay?"

"Dobby can do that. Be careful, master Harry."

"That's an even better idea, Harry. I always feel better when we've got Dobby watching our backs."

"Me too. Let's see where this goes."

They followed the earthen path quietly, listening for any clues as to what was going on. Harry thought they might have gone a kilometer by the time they came to the end of the tunnel, which led up into a very dusty, dirty old house.

It was dark inside, with boards on the windows, which were about the only things that didn't look like they had been smashed or broken. There was a lot of furniture in bad disrepair.

At first, it seemed there was no sign of Hermione.

"Harry, look." Pansy pointed over to the stairs, and the footprints leading up.

Two obviously different sets of footprints. There was a larger set to the left of what Harry guessed was Hermione's.

"It might be Black in here," he whispered. "Lose the light."

Pansy nodded. "Let's wait a moment to let our eyes adjust."

Thankfully, there was still a bit of daylight peaking through the cracks in the windows. They each cast spells to muffle their footsteps and then Harry led the way up the stairs.

The footprints took them to a room just down the upper hallway. The door was ajar.

Pansy grabbed his arm and pulled him back down the hall. She slowly opened a door to a different room and motioned Harry inside. Closing the door behind them, she quietly put up an Imperturbable charm to keep sound from escaping down the hall.

"Let's make a plan before we go in there."

"Right. Dobby, go get the invisibility cloak." Two quick pops later, Harry took it from the elf and handed it to Pansy. "Cover yourself with the cloak. It's me that Black's supposed to be after. While I deal with him, I want you to get Hermione out of there. Dobby you make sure Pansy is safe. Both of you stay invisible unless necessary. Let's all be careful and take this bastard down."

Pansy pulled him to her and kissed Harry. "For luck."

She removed the charm from the door and put on the invisibility cloak. Dobby disappeared as well and Harry crept down the hall.

It probably only took thirty seconds to reach the room where Harry knew Hermione was, but they were a very long thirty seconds. His heart was racing.

The last thing he expected to see when he pushed the door open was a filthy man pointing a wand at a rat in a cage.

Harry lowered his wand slightly at the surprising scene.

He felt Pansy's hand push him forward lightly. She needed to get by him- it brought Harry's mind back to focus. He raised his wand.

"What's going on?" he asked Black.

"I've finally tracked him down," he cackled. "It's good that you're here, Harry. You should see this. Your parents will finally be avenged."

The man was clearly a lunatic.

"The rat? You broke out of prison to kill a rat?"

"He's not just a rat, Harry. He's the rat that betrayed us all."

"Alright, drop the wand nutball before I blast you."

"As long as you'll listen to my story," Black said as he tossed aside the wand. Harry picked it up and took a couple of steps further into the room. He could see Black to his right, and Hermione was laying on a bed to his left.

"Are you alright, Hermione?"

"Hand me my wand, Harry. My leg's hurt, but I can at least keep Black covered if you want to listen to whatever he has to say."

Harry shuffled over to her as he kept his eyes on Black, who was still paying more attention to Scabbers than the rest of the room. Hermione took her wand from him and pointed it at Black.

The plan had gone belly up, so Pansy threw back the invisibility cloak.

"I'm not going to be able to move her, Harry. Her ankle is at least sprained if not broken, never mind the bite."

"Sorry about that," Black croaked. "I guess I forgot my own strength."

"He's an animagus, Harry," Hermione added.

"You were the dog."

"Precisely. Just as Peter here is a rat."

"Peter, as in Peter Pettigrew? Isn't he supposed to be dead?"

"For twelve years now, but instead he's been hiding out as a rat."

"The Weasleys did have Scabbers for longer than a rat normally lives."

"It wasn't me that betrayed James and Lily, Harry. It was Peter. Your father was the best friend I ever had. I would have died before betraying him."

"If that's true, why didn't you just say that at your trial?"

"There never was a trial. I went after Peter when your parents were killed. He blew up a street full of muggles to frame me. He cut off his own finger then disappeared into the sewers as the rat. I hit my head in the explosion and came to with blood all around me. The aurors showed up and took me straight to Azkaban. No questions, no trial, just twelve years locked away."

"Why did you break out?"

"I saw a picture in the Daily Prophet- look." Black pulled out a crumpled piece of paper which Harry levitated over to his empty hand. It was a picture from last summer of the Weasleys after they had won the drawing that let them go on their trip to Egypt.

"And you recognized the rat in the picture."

"Look close and you'll see the missing toe on his paw. Besides, I spent years around Wormtail; I'd know him from any other rat in the world."


"It was his nickname."

"You were the Marauders?"

"You've heard of us?"

"I've seen the map."

"I'm Padfoot. Your father was Prongs. And Lupin is Moony."

"Moony for a werewolf." Harry rolled his eyes and he just knew that Pansy was doing the same. Well, they were just a bunch of teenagers.

"So, how exactly did he betray my parents?"

"When your parents went into hiding, I would have been the obvious choice to be their secret keeper. I thought I was being so clever when I suggested using Peter instead. Voldemort was sure to go after me. Especially after we let it be known that I was supposed to be the secret keeper. But I was a fool. Peter was a spy the whole time."

"They used the Fidelius charm then?"

"Yes. I'm so sorry, Harry. It's all my fault."

"Jesus fucking Christ," Harry groaned. "Were you all idiots?"

"What?" Black's raspy voice actually cracked.

"First of all, if you want to keep something secret, you don't drop a bunch of clues or walk around telling people that you know a secret. Letting it be known that there was a secret was moronic.

"Secondly, why wasn't my mother or father the secret keeper? There was no reason to rely on someone else.

"And thirdly, if they were going into hiding, then why did my father have the brilliant idea to let Dumbledore borrow something as useful as an invisibility cloak? Might want to keep that to use if you need to run out and get supplies or need to escape from a madman that is after your family."

"I, I don't know," Black stammered out.

"Dobby? Can you take Hermione back to the castle so she can get her leg healed?"

"No, master Harry, sir."

Harry spun around to look at the elf.

"Why not?"

"Dobby will not leave while master Harry and miss Pansy are in danger." The elf looked like it hurt him to say this, but he was equally resolute.

"Dobby, Sirius Black isn't a danger. He's just an idiot."


"Dobby will not leave until Dobby knows that everyone is safe."

"Fine." Harry turned back to Black and Scabbers. "How can you prove that the rat really is Pettigrew?"

"There's a spell. Give me your wand and I'll force him back into his human form."

"Yeah, that's not going to happen. See Dobby, he's an idiot if he thinks I'll hand over my wand. Why don't you tell me how to do the spell and I'll turn him back?"

"Okay, but you'll need to get him out of the cage first."

"Set it down," Harry said. He then floated the cage over and cast a stunner at Scabbers before pulling the unconscious rat out and setting it at the foot of the bed that Hermione was laying on. "Now what?"

Black proceeded to describe how to do the spell.

"Hermione, think you can cast that?"

"Sure, Harry."

"Good, then you do it and I'll be ready to stun him again. Pansy and Dobby can keep an eye on Black."

Hermione turned the rat back into a human shape. Even then, Pettigrew looked very rat like. He had a couple of bald spots that matched the patchy areas of the rat's fur and the overbite also was reminiscent of the rodent.

He did not stir even as he shifted though. Harry hit him with a Petrificus Totalis just to be sure.

"Well, I guess we're done here."

"Harry?" Hermione asked.

"What? We need to get you off to see Madam Pomfrey."

"What about them?"

"Oh, right." Harry looked around the room for a moment before he spotted a familiar knife lying on a shelf. He floated it over to a table near Black.

"Let me get Hermione up and out of the way before you use that."


Both girls looked shocked.


"You can't just let him kill Pettigrew," Hermione said.

"Sure I can. You heard Black, that's why he broke out of prison."

"Finally, I'll have my revenge. Thank you, Harry."

"Right, so let's go."

"But he needs to stand trial. You can't just let him be executed," Hermione argued.

"Why not?"

"You have to summon the aurors. They can arrest them and find out the truth."

"There's an easy way to settle this. Diffindo!" Pansy cast the cutting spell at Pettigrew's left sleeve, which fell away to show a faded tattoo.

"That's the Dark Mark, Granger. Believe me when I say that no one that has the Dark Lord's mark is in any way innocent. It's all the proof I need."

"I agree. Let's get you back to the school, Hermione."

"But the aurors need to capture him so that Mr. Black can be proven innocent."

"Why?" Harry asked in an annoyed tone.

"What do you mean why? To correct a great injustice."

"No, I think you miss my meaning, Hermione. You heard what Black said. He broke out to kill the rat. Once he gets his revenge, he'll be guilty of one of the murders he was thrown in Azkaban for. He'll probably be sent back to his old cell. Black's not important, but you are. So let me help get you to Madam Pomfrey so that she can fix up your leg."

"Harry, you think this isn't important? He betrayed your parents. Don't you want to see him pay for his crimes?" Black rasped out with confusion on his face.

"I've seen an evil man die before. I don't need to watch it again. Do what you will. Goodbye, Black."

"Harry, wait! I don't know if you've heard, but I'm your godfather. I'm sorry I haven't been a part of your life all these years, but I'd like to make up for that."

"You're not my godfather," Harry said flatly.

"Your parents made me your godfather when you were born, Harry. You can ask Moony, or even any of the other teachers if you like. You have to believe me. I've loved you since you were born. I was never prouder than when James put you in my arms and asked me to be your godfather."

Black looked expectant for a positive response, but Harry merely gave him a cold glare.

"Oh, I believe that may have been true. But you're mistaken if you think I care.

"You see, Hagrid will tell you anything you want if you just ask him the right way. So I know for a fact that you were there the night my parents were killed.

"Tell me something, Black. What were you supposed to do as my godfather if something happened to my parents?"

"Harry, I know I-" Black started to answer but Harry cut him off.

"What you were supposed to do was take care of me. So, when a fifteen month old infant was crying over his mother's dead body and bleeding from a head wound, what did you do? You let a simple-minded man who couldn't use magic kidnap me while you decided revenge was more important than your duty. You gave up the right to call yourself my godfather when you abandoned me when I needed you most.

"Now all you are is even more proof that my parents had awful disappointments for friends."

There were tears in the eyes of the filthy escaped convict.

"There's the knife and Pettigrew. Take your revenge and get out of my life."

"Harry, I'm sorry. You're right; I made a terrible mistake that night. I should have chosen you, but I thought Hagrid would keep you safe and then-"

"Just more proof that you're an idiot. I did just mention that Hagrid can't use magic, right? On a night when the Dark Lord himself came to wipe out the Potters, when he had untold numbers of Death Eaters out there waiting for him, you thought an already injured baby would be safe with someone without a wand. That's just brilliant."

"I'm sorry, Harry. Please forgive me. I lost twelve years, just give me a chance to make up for that lost time."

"Yes, you lost some time. I lost my entire childhood that night. You're to blame just as much as Pettigrew, or Voldemort, or even Dumbledore. So I hope you suffered in Azkaban."

"Harry, that's awful," Hermione interjected.

"You have no idea what my life was like before I came to Hogwarts, Hermione, so don't you dare get self-righteous on me. As for you, Black, you've already admitted what your priorities are- you broke out of Azkaban to hunt down Pettigrew. You didn't break out to find me, to make sure my life was going well or to find out who ended up raising me after you ran away your responsibility."

Harry stepped over to Black, picked up the knife from the table and pressed it flat against the man's chest, with the handle up so he could grab it.

"I'm even putting your revenge literally at your fingertips, so you can just say 'thank you, Harry' and then we can both get on with our lives."

"Harry, are you sure?" Pansy asked. Her voice was soft, but her eyes looked harshly at Black as she pointed her wand at him.

"You're right, Harry," Black sobbed. "I put my need for vengeance ahead of caring for you. I'm so sorry for that. I won't make that mistake again tonight. Call the aurors and let them have Pettigrew."

"Harry, please get the aurors. Let people know the truth; it's the right thing to do," Hermione pleaded.

Of course she would be for the less blood thirsty option. Harry actually wouldn't have minded watching the rat get cut open. Traitors didn't deserve anything better. If it could have let him be rid of Black for good, that would have been all the better.

He let out a sigh.

"Fine. Pansy, there should be an auror or two in Hogsmeade. Dobby go with her to keep an eye out. I'll stay here and watch over Hermione and everything."

"I'll be quick," Pansy said as she hurried out the door.


It took her a few moments to make it into the village, and as night was falling there weren't too many people out on the streets. Pansy checked in at the Three Broomsticks, and thankfully found auror Richmond, whom she had met when Draco tried to kill Harry.

"Auror Richmond, I need your help," she said as she strode over to the bar where he sat.

"What can I do for you, young lady?"

"I'm a friend of Harry Potter's and we've got a situation. Not only have we found Sirius Black, but also the supposedly dead Peter Pettigrew. Black claims Pettigrew framed him, and the faded Dark Mark on his arm suggests Black is telling the truth."

"Holy crap," he answered. "I'll need to get some help on something this big. Hold on a second."

He looked around the large open room.

"Hey, Shacklebolt," he yelled, calling a tall black man over, also in auror uniform.

"Richmond, where's the fire?" he answered as he joined them at the bar.

"We're going to need some serious back up. Get to the ministry and get Scrimgeour if he's there. Hell, get Bones if she's there too. We've got a Black sighting, possibly still in the area, but even more than that, we've got a claim that Pettigrew is alive and found as well."

"That will complicate things. If Pettigrew is alive, then..."

"Then Black is apparently claiming that Pettigrew faked his death to frame Black. That's why we need someone from the top."

"I'm on it."




"You know, Harry, you're not what I expected?"

Harry snorted.

"What exactly did you expect?"

"I don't know. I guess that since you look so much like James that you would act more like him. But you remind me more of Lily tonight."

"Alright, I'll humor you. How do I remind you of my mother?"

"Lily had a wicked temper. And she could really hold a grudge too," Black chuckled to himself. "She was friends with Snivellus when we went to school for the first few years."

"Snivellus, huh? I like that." Harry smiled briefly while Hermione rolled her eyes. At least she didn't interrupt to try to suggest they be respectful towards Snape.

"Yes, well, we really didn't get along. He was a nasty piece of work. A Slytherin of course, he knew tons about the Dark Arts even as a firstie, and it was no surprise that he hung around a whole bunch of little psychos that all grew up to be Death Eaters. The only unusual thing was that he was friends with Lily. As you can guess, a wannabe Death Eater spending time with a muggle born witch raised a lot of eyebrows.

"Of course, I'm sure the fact that she was a total babe clued most people in on what Snape was after."

"Gross. Please don't tell me they ever dated."

"No, he was just a friend to her, at least until one day when he called her a mudblood. Lily never spoke to him again other than to hex him when he and his buddies tried picking on others, usually younger students. Looking back, it's almost surprising that we never had an out right battle at school. It seemed like the older Slytherins were actively recruiting for the Death Eaters. Anyway, like I said, Lily could get mean, and the more Snape hung out with the rest of the thugs and bullies, the more she came to loathe him. She could really hold a grudge.

"I guess I can't blame you for being like that too. I should have thought of you first, but I was young and foolish and impulsive."

Harry just nodded as he sat down by Hermione.

"How's the leg feeling?"

"Not too bad. I think it would hurt a lot more if I tried to stand or put weight on it."

"Well, as soon as we're done here, I'll give you your choice of ride up to the school."

"What choice?"

"I could levitate you, or we could go with the more hands on approach," he said with an exaggerated waggle of his eyebrows.

"Harry, now is really not the time for that," Hermione chided, but Harry smiled as he watched her stifle a laugh.

Black didn't hold his amusement back.

"I really blew it tonight, huh? Not only did I make a terrible first impression, but I bit your girlfriend."

"Oh no, I'm not Harry's girlfriend. We're just best friends, that's all."

"Methinks the lady doth protest too much," Black joked.

"No, she's telling the truth. I just tease her a lot to try to get her to lighten up. There's not nearly enough silliness in the life of Hermione Granger.

"So, what'll it be my lady?"

"I really don't think you could carry me all the way back to Hogwarts."

"Now that sounds like a challenge," Harry replied. "I did piggyback you up a few flights of stairs last fall. I'm not as short and scrawny as I used to be, and you, thankfully, haven't had any growth spurts this year. So, what do I get if I can carry you all the way?"

"I'm not going to wager on your endurance, Harry."

"Pity. I would win," he muttered. Black let out a guffaw.

"I would prefer to be levitated anyway, and I do trust your magical skill more than your muscles."

"Well, that was almost a compliment, so I'll take it."

Hermione rolled her eyes, which felt even more like a victory to Harry, who smiled in return. Black broke the brief moment of silence.

"I still can't believe Snivellus of all people is a teacher. Especially not with him working opposite Moony."

"Well, I wouldn't call what he does teaching," Harry responded. "More like abuse his authority to sabotage and bully children because he's an awful, petty, pathetic excuse for a man."

Black really started to laugh at that.

"Now that sounds more like your dad. James couldn't stand Snape. And the feeling was mutual, let me tell you. It got even worse after Lily finally agreed to go out with him. I can't even count the amount of times Snivellus tried to curse him in the back. Which must have made the fact that your dad saved his life sting that much more."

"My dad saved Snape's life? Why?"

"James always was a rather noble sort. It was partly my fault. You see, Snivellus used to always sneak around, trying to get the Marauders into trouble. One night when he was being extra obnoxious about it, I let him over hear me talking about the secret path under the Whomping Willow that leads here. The Shrieking Shack never really was haunted. It got the reputation from Moony coming here to transform so he wouldn't be a danger to the other students.

"Anyway, James barely stopped Snape from getting to Remus. If not for that, we might have had two werewolves."

"Or the ministry could have had professor Lupin killed," Hermione interrupted. "The laws are rather harsh for werewolves that are involved in attacking another wizard. I looked them up earlier this year."

"Of course you did," Harry giggled.

"What's that supposed to mean?"

"I told Pansy you would figure it out too."

"You mean about professor Lupin being a werewolf?"


"When did you figure it out, Harry?"

"That day when Snape went on his big lecture as a substitute. Three straight months, someone gets a 'mysterious illness' right at the full moon, on top of the rather blatant clues Snape was dropping. It wasn't hard to puzzle it all out."

"I don't know that many other students worked it out, but I am pleased that you did. I guess you really are thinking more critically about things this year."

"Well, since I keep getting into scrapes almost constantly, I thought that I shouldn't keep relying on you figuring everything out to try to keep myself and others alive. You never know, I might not have you around all the time, Hermione."

"I'm not that easy to get rid of, Harry."

"Who said I wanted to get rid of you? I'm just glad I haven't been attacked while I was on vacation yet."

Footsteps and voices coming down the hall interrupted them at that point.

A couple of aurors entered the room, wands first.

"Auror Richmond, as I recall," Harry said as the man in question nodded in agreement. "May I present to you Peter Pettigrew and Sirius Black. One of whom is supposed to be dead and the other who is apparently terrible at committing murder."

The aurors stepped into the room slowly, and Richmond raised his eyebrows at Harry's glib introduction.

"Well, that does appear to be Pettigrew," he agreed. "This is definitely going to make things complicated when we get back to the ministry. Madam Bones?"

The middle aged witch that Harry had met at Narcissa's New Year's Eve party a few months ago stepped forward.

"Alright, we'll do this by the book. Magical suppressing cuffs on them both. Looks like we're going to have a new trial for Black."

"A first trial, you mean," he replied. "I've never had one. I just woke up in Azkaban after being stunned in the street."

"If that's true this is going to be even more of a nightmare. Alright, Shacklebolt, you'll take the front. Richmond, you'll take the witness statements. I want two men on each of the prisoners. Mr. Potter, it looks like we are in your debt once again."

"You're welcome, Madam Bones," Harry said with a genuine smile. It was maybe the first time someone in authority actually thanked him for doing their job for them. "Auror Richmond, would you mind if we conduct this interview back at the school? I need to get Hermione's leg looked at by Madam Pomfrey."

"No problem, Mr. Potter. Let's get you out of here, miss."

The procession made it's way out of the Shrieking Shack and into Hogsmeade before splitting in two. Most of them headed off to the ministry, while Richmond took Hermione back to school. Harry and Pansy dropped back a bit as they followed him.

"We need to talk later," Harry whispered to her.


"I learned something interesting about our least favorite professor."

"Which one?" she asked sarcastically.

Harry only answered with a sneer, but Pansy saw it and replied with a wicked grin of her own.
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