Can't Have It Both Ways

If you are forced to participate in a competition that's reserved for adults only, doesn't that mean you should be considered an adult? Harry gets some much needed help and advice before having some fun by allowing his marauder heritage out to play. H/Hr

https://www.fanfiction.net/s/5402315/1/Can-t-Have-It-Both-Ways

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6. Chapter 6

It was quite a sombre group who sat at the breakfast table awaiting Hedwig's arrival with the latest Quibbler, they decided that would be their signal to leave for Hogwarts. The snowy owl was the only bird keyed to their accommodation as she swept in through a magical skylight to deliver these important papers to her wizard, holding her leg out to Harry as he relieved his familiar's burden. One look at the headline had Harry emitting a low whistle. "Luna, your dad has done us proud. This is going to blow the wizarding world wide open, and make our task this morning so much easier."

Sirius Black Innocent – Cornelius Fudge Guilty!

Sirius Black, the man who spent eleven years in Azkaban without a trial or even being charged is innocent!

Our esteemed minister of magic meanwhile was heavily involved in Black's illegal incarceration while filling his pockets with death eater gold so his 'friends' could avoid trial. No crimes were considered too evil, they just cost more in bribes to cover up.

Unlike the ministry under Fudge's tenure, this newspaper takes its responsibility to tell the truth seriously. Therefore has sent all of our evidence listed here to the head of the DMLE.

The case against the minister has been brought to our attention by an enraged goblin nation, angered by two specific events, their spokesperson had this to say.

"Goblins would normally not become involved in the affairs of wizards but events recently have left us without a choice. Our champion and even our way of life have been put under threat by the latest ministrations by the minster and his associate, Lucius Malfoy.

Yesterday Lord Potter, his betrothed and Head of Ravenclaw House, Professor Filius Flitwick, aborted the attempted rape of a thirteen-year-old witch inside Hogwarts castle by the Malfoy heir and two of his friends. Instead of being hailed as heroes, the minister has demanded Lord Potter and his betrothed's arrest for attacking a Malfoy while claiming Professor Flitwick was confounded by these two wizarding teenagers. This travesty of justice cannot be allowed to continue for two reasons. As the headline proclaims, Sirius Black is innocent yet still went to Azkaban. We will not allow this fate to befall our champion.

Secondly, and even more importantly, the idea that a couple of teenagers could confound someone of goblin decent is not only preposterous but insulting and very bad for business. Would you trust your gold to Gringotts if a simple charm like that could undo the guardian of your fortune?

Goblins are immune to this charm and anyone attempting to cast it on a member of Gringotts will find themselves cleaning out our dragon pens deep in the catacombs for a very long time.

Only this direct threat to our champion and goblin business empire have forced us to release the financial dealings of a corrupt minister of magic. Every large deposit listed here ties directly to a person escaping trial or a piece of legislation forced through the Wizengamot. Printed in this newspaper are the secret and underhanded financial dealings of an unscrupulous man, we leave the rest up to the wizarding authorities."

There then followed a list of quite substantial amounts deposited over a number of years, the last being yesterday as obvious payment for Draco's cover-up and Harry's arrest. The article continued its attack.

The amount of evidence for Sirius Black being innocent is in direct contrast to the total lack of any proof of his guilt, the real criminal is a very much alive Peter Pettigrew. This posthumous Order of Merlin winner has been living amongst us as an unregistered animagus, his form is rather ironically that of a rat who has actually had his picture printed on the front page of the Prophet! Pettigrew found himself confronted by Lord Potter and others this May in the infamous 'shrieking shack,' after having unrestricted access to Hogwarts for many years.

He was captured and confessed to his crimes before escaping as Lord Potter's party was attacked by an army of Dementors the minister had insisted be paced at a school. The same minister refused to believe anything other than Sirius Black was guilty and ordered the man, who'd never even been given a trial, kissed immediately.

Lord Potter had this to say -

"I was attacked by the ministry's Dementors on the Hogwarts express, again during a Quidditch match and finally on Hogwarts grounds last term. Yet throughout the minister maintained they were there for my safety? When we informed him that Sirius Black was innocent and Pettigrew alive, he claimed we were cofounded. Apparently I'm the one now doing the confounding!

Since the ministry refuses to believe that Pettigrew is alive, and therefore won't search for him, I'm offering one hundred thousand galleons for his capture. This is no gimmick as the gold is already in a Gringotts vault with the key awaiting whoever hands the murder over to the goblins. For obvious reasons, I don't trust the ministry under Fudge to deal with this.

If it takes parading Peter Pettigrew up and down the length of Diagon Alley for the entire wizarding world to realise the truth, then that is what I will do. This appears to be the only way to prove my godfather's innocence."

There was a picture of his rat form with the missing toe but also one featuring a very much alive Peter from the shrieking shack, Harry wondered how Xeno got hold of until Luna offered an explanation. "My father has a pensieve which he can take pictures in, that must be Professor Lupin's memory."

Hermione couldn't contain her glee, "Barchoke has also done us proud. This could finish Fudge and hurt Malfoy by association, and you know most of that gold had to come out of the Malfoy vault."

Harry stood up from the table. "If this has just been delivered to the great hall then I think it's time for us to make an appearance."

Hermione and Luna joined him before all three were grabbed by an emotional Emma Granger, she'd heard from Sirius that neither Harry nor Luna had a mother so engulfed the trio before kissing them on the cheek and extracting promises that they would be careful.

-oOoOo-

Luna's prediction had proved accurate. The great hall was packed as all staff and every student, including the two visiting schools and their heads were all at breakfast when Cornelius Fudge had made his grand entrance. With Malfoy strutting by his side and ten aurors behind him, the minister looked ridiculous when you considered they were here to arrest a fourteen-year-old boy.

Unbeknown to those in the hall, Cornelius had almost the entire auror corps between Potter's dwelling and Hogwarts He had no intention of letting the brat garner any sympathy by being dragged out the great hall with the entire school watching. Lucius wanted this done quickly and quietly, he had paid handsomely for that service and his job was to deliver it.

That idea disappeared like a puff of smoke in a hurricane when a flock of owls swept into the hall with the Quibbler, whose subscriptions had skyrocketed due to the Potter deal. Fudge was a political animal with finely tuned survival instincts that quickly picked up on the hostility starting to be radiated towards him, the headline almost had Cornelius vomiting in his green bowler hat before he screamed at the auror's present. "Go and arrest Potter now and don't take any shit from the goblins, we'll deal with this pack of lies later."

Dumbledore read the article as a state of dread began overtaking his body. If Harry's advisors could take down the minister, and possibly Malfoy with him, then Albus wouldn't have an earthly of regaining control of the boy. His gaze shifted towards the end of the Slytherin table where a theatrically bandaged Malfoy sat smirking with his two brainless buddies. It was quite noticeable that the rest of the house were trying to keep their distance from him with even Miss Parkinson sitting at the opposite end of the table. Albus also noticed a lot of activity amongst the students regarding those blasted badges but was too far away to read what they were saying now.

A couple of Ravenclaws had deciphered the charms used and quickly came up with a spell to alter them. Since the only things that travelled faster than light were rumours, scandal or secrets inside Hogwarts everyone soon knew it. The older students were assisting the younger ones as the badges were now proclaiming 'I stand with Harry!'

It was into this atmosphere that the trio portkeyed directly into the great hall, and the headmaster nearly fell off his golden throne in shock.

Fudge was livid, "Potter how did you get in here? You're under arrest!"

"That's Lord Potter to you and I would advise you not to reach for your wand, though Malfoy here is welcome to fire as many curses at us as he wants."

"I will ruin you boy, and the rag that printed these lies!" Malfoy was desperate to go for his wand.

"Well we could always claim we were under the Imperius curse, then fill Cornelius's bowler hat with gold. After all, it worked for you… WHAT THE FUCK ARE THEY DOING SITING THERE?" Harry had just caught sight of the three arseholes at the end of the Slytherin table, his 'question' was screamed directly at Dumbledore.

Albus shrugged his shoulders, "My hands are tied Harry, there's nothing I can do!"

"I think you'll find that was Luna's predicament." Harry pointed towards the enchanted ceiling and it began displaying the scene from yesterday. The entire hall watched on in horror as Luna was dragged into the toilet where Draco was waiting for her. As she struggled in vain to escape, he started to loosen the terrified girl's buttons while the mood inside the hall turned ugly. The cheering was deafening as Malfoy went flying off the 'screen' and Luna rushed into the arms of her rescuers.

"You must be so proud of your son Lucius? He really is a chip of the old block! Dumbledore you have let the students of Hogwarts down for the last time, your hands may be tied but mine aren't."

The gem counter for Slytherin house exploded, raining down semi-precious stones on the three stooges who sought shelter under the table. All Slytherin banners in the hall fell to the floor as trunks containing students belongings began to pile up at the doors. A massive crack started at Malfoy's end of the house table and quickly raced along the enormous block of wood, splitting the table in half as Draco was again squealing like a little piglet.

"Hogwarts stop!" Harry shouted, "I will not have the entire house punished because of some individuals." Every pair of eyes in the hall was now focused on him so it was time for the truth, "I am the Heir of Slytherin…" this was all he managed to say before being rudely interrupted.

Ron had watched this morning's proceedings and was on the verge of admitting to himself he might have been wrong about how he treated his friends when the red mist descended once more. Some things were unforgivable to the Gryffindor. "Potter you slimy Slytherin bastard, I took you into my home and now we'll need to fumigate it!" Two red headed twins pounced on their brother and dragged him to the ground as an embarrassed Ginny tried to apologise.

"Sorry Harry, you and Hermione are always welcome at the Burrow. Don't listen to this arse!"

Harry nodded in thanks. "As I was saying, I am the Heir of Slytherin by conquest! I have defeated the half blood bastard Tom Marvolo Riddle three times – for the Ravenclaws amongst us it's an anagram I'm sure you'll work out. I thwarted him as a toddler, only a sick puppy could aim a killing curse at a baby – you ever try that Lucius? I defeated him again when he was growing out the back of Quirrell's head, yes he taught here for a year thanks to our headmaster. The third time was in the chamber of secrets when a cursed diary was set on a first year by Lucius Malfoy. In response the minister sent Hagrid to Azkaban. Anyone else seeing a pattern here? Did you even get an apology Hagrid? "

The large man's "NO!" was more of a growl than anything else.

"Salazar Slytherin despises Riddle with unbridled passion for what he's done to his once proud house. He took the noble pursuits of ambition and cunning, bastardising them to cheating, lying, stealing, blackmailing, torturing and killing anyone who didn't agree with his views. Riddle believes that there is no good or evil, just power and those too weak to seize it! He told me this himself, just before I banished him for the second time. The house that bears his name has lost its honour and has until Christmas to regain it or Salazar will withdraw his support from Hogwarts all together. We've already been given a small taste of what that means."

The Bloody Baron approached Harry and bowed, for the first time in living memory the ghost spoke. "Thank you my Lord, I long for the day when my house can actually achieve something on its own merits rather than by the belittlement of others. I knew Salazar and can understand his shame as I too have felt it."

Harry's ring hissed loud enough for those around him to hear. "Salazar thanks you Phillip and asks for your assistance in rebuilding his house. He also suggests you speak to Helena, a millennium is a long time for both of you to be carrying this pain around."

The ghost's bow was even deeper this time as the Slytherin banners returned to their previous position while the table and house points indicator repaired themselves. All but three of the trunks returned themselves to the Slytherin dorms. "To help facilitate this change of direction Severus Snape is no longer head of Slytherin and he, along with Malfoy, Crabbe and Goyle will never set foot in this castle again."

The cheering was rapturous but Dumbledore was on his feet, trying to shout above the noise, though eventually he needed a sonorus charm to achieve it. "Mr Potter I must object, I am headmaster here and you have no right to expel students or dismiss professors…"

Harry held his arm straight up and the sword of Gryffindor appeared in his hand. "I am the Heir of Slytherin by conquest but the Heir of Gryffindor by birth, the days of my enemies being allowed to wander freely around this castle ends now!" With that he drove the sword halfway into the floor of the hall and a flash spread out from the point of impact. The immediate consequences were that both Lucius Malfoy and Igor Karkaroff collapsed in agony, clutching their left forearms, somewhat surprisingly so did Professor Moody.

-oOoOo-

Barchoke was outside the Potter accommodation module and preparing his troops for battle, the aurors were determined they were going to gain access while the goblin force had no intention of allowing that to happen whilst one of them still stood. A glorious bloodbath looked imminent until the authoritative shout of "Aurors stand down!" saved many lives.

Amelia Bones came striding through and spoke to the auror in charge. "Dawlish, what in Merlin's name is going on here?"

"Madam Bones, I was given a direct order from minister Fudge to gain access to this building and arrest Potter. Those orders also included dealing with any goblin interference."

"You were about to decimate my auror force and plunge us into a war with the goblin nation! All to arrest a fourteen-year-old boy who's only crime would appear to be that he's more popular than Fudge. I have a warrant for the minister's arrest on corruption charges so you just lost your protection. I hereby suspend auror Dawlish, without pay, until complaints filed against him have been properly investigated. You no longer have any business here so leave now, do not attempt to leave the country though."

Amelia walked calmly towards the goblins and spoke to whom she reckoned was in charge. "I'm Amelia Bones, head of the DMLE, and I would like to apologise for what happened here this morning. We have no right to demand entry here no matter who gives the order. I would like to speak with those inside and am quite prepared to surrender my wand if allowed access."

Barchoke answered, "Madam Bones, you're renowned amongst the goblins for your fairness but all I can do is submit your request, Dobby!"

The little elf appeared and answered the question before even being asked. "The three have already left for the great hall, only Miss Mione's parents and the dog are here."

"Could I speak to her parents, I understand two of Fudge's lackeys went to their place of work and harassed them. I'm assuming they had been provided with emergency portkeys?"

Barchoke nodded before speaking to Dobby. "Please tell them we'll be coming in Dobby and to keep that mutt under control." The elf popped away to make sure it was Padfoot who greeted Madam Bones and not Sirius Black.

Amelia was very impressed by the interior but immediately spotted the apprehension from the two parents. "Mr and Mrs Granger I presume? Please accept my apology for those two goons who turned up at your work yesterday, you have my assurance none of your family are facing any charges whatsoever."

Emma was in no mood to accept platitudes from this stranger. "What about Harry, or Dumbledore using spells on my husband? Is Luna going to see justice done or is this boy's father going to be able to buy his way out of trouble again? All three of them are at present in that bloody castle and we're going nuts stuck here while wondering what's happening to them."

"That is my next port of call where I am going to arrest Cornelius Fudge. Neither Harry nor your daughter will get any trouble from me but Luna's case has to be brought to my department by the school. Hogwarts actually pre-dates the ministry and wizarding law doesn't always apply in the castle as it does everywhere else. I invite you to join me and on the way we can discuss what Dumbledore has been up to now."

-oOoOo-

Harry was certain the new wards would affect Lucius Malfoy because it prevented anyone with a dark mark entering the castle and caused great pain to any who managed to breech the defences. Karkaroff was a bit of a surprise but Moody was a total shock, Hermione as usual was first to formulate a solution. Knowing beforehand the wards Harry had erected were triggered by the dark mark, and that Professor Moody hated dark wizards with a vengeance, she summoned his ever-present flask.

One sniff of the contents was all she needed to confirm her suspicions. "It's polyjuice Harry, whoever that is they're not Professor Moody."

Harry stunned both Malfoy and the imposter before addressing the Drumstrang students. "That ward Hogwarts just erected reacts to people carrying Riddle's dark mark, I need to stun your headmaster until we can get this sorted out." The last thing he wanted was a war with the best students of Drumstrang in the middle of the great hall.

After stunning Karkaroff, Harry whirled to face Dumbledore. "Did you know their headmaster was a death eater?" Albus didn't have to answer, it was written all over his normally indecipherable face. Harry's temper was starting to get away from him. "So we have a visiting death eater headmaster, a death eater head of Slytherin, a death eater friend of the minister of magic and now a death eater impersonating our defence professor. Why didn't you contact Pettigrew and Riddle and they could have had a reunion? Slaughter all the non-pureblood first year's for old time's sake or just to get back into the swing of things. These people maimed, raped and murdered but were given a slap on the wrist and told not to be a bad boy again. Is it any wonder you have death eaters causing havoc at the world cup? You didn't deal with it last time and its coming back to bite you again."

Harry turned his attention to Fudge. "Was my godfather the only one to end up in Azkaban over this?"

Cornelius was hardly listening, he was too busy staring at the now stunned Malfoy who was still clutching his arm. That fact, combined with the financial irregularities printed today would see both of them finished.

Dumbledore tried to wrestle back control of the morning, he'd felt the wards leave him when Harry drove the sword into the stone floor but bluffing was something that came naturally to the old man. "Harry, you need to release these men now. This can all then be dealt with by the proper authorities."

"Albus Dumbledore, that is no concern of yours since you are no longer Headmaster of Hogwarts. Both Salazar and Godric consider you to be the worst headmaster in the history of the school. The wellbeing of the students inside this castle should always be the headmaster's main concern, you subjected them to years of bad teachers and repeatedly endangered every one of them because it suited your private agenda. For the greater good of wizarding Britain this can no longer be tolerated. The students in this hall are the future of our world and deserve the best, you may be a superb teacher and a great wizard but you're a shit headmaster."

Even the Hogwarts' staff were shocked by this statement, they may have privately agreed with it but none of them ever had the stones to say it to Dumbledore's face.

"Professor McGonagall, would you consider becoming the new headmaster?"

Harry's request dragged Minerva back to reality, she could have sworn the lad had just told Albus he was a shit headmaster, and she'd wanted to do that for years. "Under what conditions would I be working Harry? If I had to defer every decision to you then I don't think it would work."

Harry displayed his first smile of the morning, "Straight to the point as usual professor, it's so refreshing after dealing with your predecessor. I want the best teachers possible in the classrooms, a fair and just discipline policy that applies equally to all students with a clearly defined line that crossing gets you expelled. Those three over there are not your concern as they crossed way over the line before you were appointed and their punishment is to be expelled while being reported to the DMLE. I have no intention of trying to tell you how to do the job but Hogwarts has assured me she will offer you every assistance. The new improved wards are non-negotiable though."

"I would like to talk it over with you later but in principle I'll agree for now, would you have any objections to me retaining Dumbledore's services to teach potions?"

"As I have said ma'am, the professor was considered a superb teacher. If I remember my chocolate frog cards correctly, was an alchemist of some renown that worked closely with Nicolas Flamel. Let's face it, he's got to be an improvement on Snape. Not head of Slytherin though."

Albus sat just that little bit straighter, he was still in the game. When the wards left him he knew his tenure as headmaster was over but thought he was going to be banished from the castle like Severus. This gave him opportunities to try and win his way back into Harry's trust.

It was this moment that the polyjuice effect ran out on Moody, revealing Barty Crouch Jr. to gasps of astonishment from the staff who knew him.

"Albus, how is this possible? He's supposed to have died in Azkaban!" Minerva had her wand directed at the transformed death eater.

"I have no idea headmistress, like everyone else I thought he was dead."

"Can you people do nothing right?" Hermione's comment drew everyone's attention so she started counting them out on her fingers. "First we have our resident death eater Snape, then we had the chief death eater, the supposed dead Riddle teach here. Thirdly Malfoy's diary attack released a basilisk and brought Riddle back into the castle. Then we had the non death eater Sirius and the rat, supposedly deceased death eater Pettigrew. Now we have a headmaster whose a death eater and a professor whose not a professor but a dead and already buried death eater. This is meant to be a bloody school!"

While people contemplated Hermione's rant, Hogwarts informed Harry there were visitors at the door, he allowed them access since the Grangers were with them.

Amelia's attention was immediately drawn to the three prone figures as she entered the hall, her eyes did a double-take though as she focused on one of them. Her wand was in her hand before Amelia realised that she's just made a mistake, she stopped moving and slowly turned her head from side to side. A sea of pointed wands greeted her.

She was about to start barking orders when she discovered that one of those wands belonged to her niece. Susan may have had tears in her eyes while pointing her wand at her but there was absolute determination there as well, Susan may not like what she was about to do but that wouldn't stop her. "Susan?"

"I'm sorry auntie but we can't let you take him. That could just as easily have been me in that toilet and I can only pray that he would come to my defence just as quickly. If you arrest Harry for this then no girl will be safe in this castle. No one else will lift a finger to help because they could end up in Azkaban." Susan now had tears streaming down her face but her wand never wavered, Amelia had never been prouder of her niece.

"I am not here to arrest Harry Potter and commend you all for standing up, not only for your friend but for what is right. Could we please put the wands away though before we have an accident?" Susan rushed into her aunt's arms, her tears were now ones of relief as Amelia comforted her distraught niece. It was bad enough to have to draw your wand on an auror but when it was your guardian as well, it proved a bit too much for the young girl.

Harry was amazed and humbled by the show of support, even half of the Slytherins had stood in support of him, or at least against Malfoy. Hermione and Luna headed towards her relieved parents while Harry found himself joined by a black dog and Barchoke. Harry thought this was a prank worth of a marauder, the most wanted man in Britain to be led into the great hall by the head of the DMLE. That was until Padfoot took it to a whole new level by lifting his leg and pissing on the unconscious Malfoy, the Grangers physically had to hold both girls up as they were almost involuntary repeating said act due to the fact they were laughing uncontrollably. Sal's comment that this was revenge worthy of a Slytherin was not lost on Harry, he only kept himself together by imagining how distraught Moony would be at missing this.

Amelia was now by his side. "Lord Potter it would appear your dog is not housebroken." The humour in her voice was unmistakable.

Harry was still trying to hold it together as the big dog was now looking right into his face, the laughter in its eyes unmistakable. "He normally does his business on the compost heap, he obviously recognised Lucius here as garbage. Do you have any truth serum on you Madam Bones?"

Amelia glanced towards Albus before Harry interrupted her. "Professor Dumbledore is no longer in charge here, in matters of Hogwarts safety the school takes precedent over ministry laws. I am a duel founder's heir and want to know why we have three death eaters in the great hall, I am allowed to question them on activities relating to the school." Both fabled rings were now clearly visible on Harry's fingers, cementing his claim.

A shocked Amelia Bones was falling over herself in an attempt to get some serum there as quickly as possible, it was one of her greatest wishes to get three drops of that into Malfoy so her elf was back in seconds with phials of the restricted potion.

Harry was again speaking to the students of Drumstrang. "My intention is to ask your headmaster if he put my name in the cup and if he has any objectives here other than seeing Victor winning the tri-wizard tournament. I expect the answer to both of those questions to be no, at which point I will release him and quickly provide his exit from the castle, unfortunately never to return. I would like to ensure Drumstrang that this move is purely for the safety of those in the castle and unmarked staff and students will always be welcome in Hogwarts."

He dealt with Karkaroff first, figuring to get it over and refine their procedure. He was placed in a chair in front of the great hall before being revived, the veritaserum helped with the pain and two quick 'no's' later Harry handed the wizard a spoon from the table that he'd turned into a portkey. The Drumstrang headmaster left the hall to appear pain-free outside Hagrid's hut.

Now it was time to deal with Lucius Malfoy.

Lucius awoke to find himself bound to a chair with the sleeve of his robe missing, displaying his painful dark mark for everyone to see. He looked towards Fudge for help and quickly realised the bastard was trying to turn this whole thing around in the hope of saving his own worthless arse.

Amelia was taking her time, savouring the moment as well as the pain clearly etched on this bastard's face. Malfoy thought he was untouchable but was sitting here at her mercy, all she needed was enough to get the same position in front of the Wizengamot and she would be one seriously happy witch. She applied the three drops required to make Malfoy tell the truth.

Harry's first question almost granted her wish but by the end Malfoy was done for. She wanted to jump up and down like a teen at a Quidditch match whose team had just won the world cup, outside she may have been calm and business like but inside all she could think was 'Gotcha you murdering bastard!"

"Why are you in Hogwarts today?"

Malfoy's voice was devoid of emotion as the potion compelled him to speak the truth. "I bribed the minister to save Draco, the stupid arse can't even rape someone without getting caught. I came to make sure the job was done properly, with Potter and his mudblood arrested for daring to interfere!"

"Did you plan that the basilisk would be let loose in Hogwarts?"

"Yes"

The reek of dog pish wafting from Malfoy was probably the only thing stopping Harry from pouncing on the ponce and punching his face in. "Why?"

"I had two goals, to rid Hogwarts of the filth polluting it and discredit that disgrace Weasley."

Harry wanted there to be no ambiguity whatsoever, this slippery bastard was going down. "How were you going to end the pollution at Hogwarts?"

Malfoy condemned himself with his own words, "By killing all the mudbloods and half bloods, thus purifying the castle!"

The sword of Gryffindor shot out the floor and straight into Harry's hand. "Getting rid of the filth from Hogwarts is my job, that's why there will be no more Malfoy's in the castle – EVER!" Harry glowed brightly signifying the castle agreed with him and the decree had been passed, though it still hadn't been established if Hermione's actions yesterday left any ability for there to BE any more Malfoys.

"Madam Bones, please tell me you have enough to put this bastard in Azkaban, otherwise I'm going to kill him right here and now! After seeing the beast, everyone here now understands just what damage it could have done."

"Lord Potter, Gringotts doesn't contain enough gold to buy his way out of this one. Over half the Wizengamot had relations at Hogwarts during that fiasco, the whole incident will be investigated, including innocent people being shipped to Azkaban while this piece of filth strutted about as if he owned the place."

Harry still had his sword in hand when he had an idea, "Sir Nicolas?"

The Gryffindor ghost floated over. "I know what your greatest wish is my friend. This is a magical sword I have in my hand, would you like me to make the attempt?"

Nick quickly grabbed his hair and pulled until the remaining piece of sinew was stretched taut. After all, the worse that could happen was his head would be cut off.

Harry carefully placed the blade against the attached piece of Nick's neck and it parted at once, Nick was pulling it so tight though that his released head shot out his grip and travelled across the hall. His laughter plus the sight of his now headless body with its arms out in front of it, staggering about brought some light relief to the morning.

"Oh thank you my boy, that half-inch has ruined my death. I can't wait to give Sir Patrick my head though it's going to take a bit of getting used to first."

Not for the first time the great hall was interrupted by Peeves, but this was a different poltergeist. "Oh wee Potty, Peeves promises to be good. Don't use nasty sword on poor wee peevesy, I will be a good poltergeist. Peeves promises!"

Harry was laughing now. "Peeves, don't go making promises you can't keep. Stop picking on the first years and you won't have a problem with me."

Peeves actually saluted before shooting out of there.

Lucius Malfoy was now stunned, in magical inhibiting manacles and tightly bound. Amelia wasn't taking any chances. She replaced him in the chair with Barty Jr. "Lord Potter this man has already been sentenced to life in Azkaban and will be facing a dementor for escaping, would you mind if I carried out the questioning?"

"As long as we discover what his purpose was in the school I'm quite happy to defer to your expertise in this situation. The only reason I asked the others was that it would have been illegal for you to do so and I want this one here in prison. His plot nearly cost me, my betrothed and more than a few friends of mine their lives."

Amelia skilfully had Barty confessing how he escaped, first from Azkaban then his father's control, joining with his master and Pettigrew, putting Harry's name in the goblet and confirming his master had plans for Harry that he wasn't privy to. The entire hall was in shock at the level of corruption, conspiracy and just plain terror at the thought of Voldemort not being dead. Harry had spent the time whispering with Barchoke, Padfoot had been listening in and his wagging tail demonstrated his agreement.

A re-stunned Barty Jr. was wrapped up next to Malfoy as Amelia dispatched aurors to arrest Barty Snr. and free the real Mad-eye from his trunk.

"Madam Bones I would like to officially report three Hogwarts students for the attempted rape of another." Harry pointed his hand towards the ceiling and the scene played out again, if anything it was even more shocking for those witnessing it for the second time. Dan Granger had his arms comfortingly around both Hermione and Luna as his emotions ran rampant. One part wanted to strangle the three bastards that attacked Luna while the other wanted to get down on his knees and give thanks for the ring that kept his daughter safe. A quick glance at his wife showed shared sentiments concerning their daughter and her boyfriend. The fact that both privately thought that, had it been Hermione being molested, all three boys would have died at Harry's hands would never be spoken of.

The aurors were moving to arrest the three before Amelia gave the order. Cool, confident Draco had been replaced by a frightened and crying spoilt little boy, his two companions were too stupid to realise just how much trouble they were in.

It was a very nervous Harry who decided to go for broke. "Madam Bones, we have all heard that Pettigrew is alive. I, along with others in this hall have actually spoken to the rat, how can I get my godfather a trial?"

"Lord Potter he would need to surrender himself to the ministry and undergo questioning under truth serum. If that proved his innocence, I can see no alternative other than to grant him a pardon. Actually, I can't pardon him since he was never actually charged with any crime."

Harry pushed forward. "Since we have truth serum, the head of the DMLA, head of the Wizengamot and the minister for magic all present, would it be acceptable if he asked Hogwarts for sanctuary and we held the questioning here?"

"Yes but…" Amelia was about to say that she was here to arrest Fudge when those words died in her throat. The big black dog, whose head she'd been patting earlier, just turned into Sirius Black.

"I request sanctuary of Hogwarts!"

"Granted!" Harry very quickly placed Sirius under the castles protection, legally Amelia couldn't touch him now.

"I gladly submit to questioning under veritaserum, I've waited thirteen years on this happening." Sirius stuck out his tongue as Amelia pulled herself together. She was aware that she had rather beautifully been manipulated into this position but, since she was asking the questions and the serum would allow no lies, she administered three drops.

After establishing that he was indeed Sirius Black, the serious questions began.

"Have you ever been a death eater?"

"No."

"Were you the Potter's secret keeper?"

"No, that was Peter."

"Did you kill those twelve muggles?"

"No, that was Peter, the rat escaped down a sewer."

"How did you escape from Azkaban?"

"As a dog, Peter was in the Gryffindor dorm with Harry."

"How did you escape from Hogwarts?"

"My godson and his betrothed helped me."

"Madam Bones, I think we have all heard enough to establish my godfather's innocence."

Amelia administered the antidote as a beaming Sirius asked "Yes?"

"I can see no other course of action but to grant an immediate apology to Sirius Black and declare him a free man…" Barchoke handed her the appropriate paperwork awaiting signature.

Dumbledore signed it immediately, anything that made him appear in a good light to Harry was always going to get done now. Cornelius was delighted to be signing, unaware that this was his last act as minister of magic. Amelia rounded off a quite wonderful morning by signing the parchment, arresting Fudge, warning Dumbledore he was under investigation before leaving with six prisoners. She even got a farewell hug from Susan.

McGonagall noticed it was now approaching lunchtime but had no qualms about the students missing classes this morning, the happenings in the great hall had definitely been educational.

Victor was amazed at this boy and what he achieved here this morning, he now reckoned Harry Potter was his main competition in the tri-wiz and could only hope he didn't play Quidditch. Victor got the impression that this lad would bring the same intensity to everything that he did.

Cedric was delighted that everyone now knew for certain Harry didn't enter his name into the goblet, it could have been quite embarrassing if Hufflepuff house had shunned the lad because his name had come out the cup. The change in headmasters was a welcome one since the vast majority of the students only saw Dumbledore at mealtimes. Cedric had always felt the old wizard had too many irons in the fire and the school should actually benefit from having a full time headmistress, especially one who still taught students. Now all he had to worry about was the first task in a couple of weeks.

Fleur watched the proceedings and it only made Harry more attractive to her, he was already rich and powerful, add double Hogwarts heir with the ability to disregard her Veela charm and you had an individual that any of her kind would go crazy over. By their very nature, Veela were always on the lookout for the best mate, they would have to look long and hard to find a better candidate than Harry Potter. What Fleur failed to notice was the glares she was receiving from the Gryffindor girls, Neville had spoken of the corridor incident and no-one poached a boyfriend from a Gryffindor girl. Fleur was going to be having another corridor incident where a few facts of Hogwarts life would be explained to her.

Ron had no appetite, even watching Malfoy and his conies expelled couldn't improve his mood. If only he had waited until Potter revealed he was the heir of Gryffindor but no, he had to stand up and shout out in front of everyone again! Not only had this driven a wedge further between him and his former friends but the whole of Gryffindor would no longer be speaking to him. They now had proof Harry didn't enter his name so he had been wrong about everything since Halloween. Hearing that the Veela was after him and Harry wasn't interested baffled Ron more than anything, how could he choose Hermione over Fleur? Ron was going to give lunch a miss and concentrate on that problem, he felt the answer to that question would also provide answers to his problems.

Harry sat at lunch as Hermione introduced her parents to their friends, he was knackered and McGonagall had asked to meet with them after lunch. He enjoyed watching Sirius eat his first meal as a free man while chatting to the Gryffindors. He was obviously remembering better times spent at this table with another Potter but they couldn't look back, only forward to hopefully a better future.

-oOoOo-

Barchoke was back in Gringotts after reducing the number of guards at the module, he decided to leave the ones at the Quibbler for now. Young Miss Lovegood was already penning this morning's event for the next issue, an issue which should be just as explosive. The knock on his door was followed by a request for his presence on the bank main floor, the sight that greeted him was totally unexpected.

There were twenty seven witches and wizards, of all ages and every walk of life waiting on him. They all had two things in common though, the unmistakable gleam of greed in their eyes and a dead rat in their hands. They should have printed the fact that when an animagus is killed they revert back to their human form. Barchoke couldn't help but think the rat population in Britain was heading for a downturn in numbers.

-oOoOo-

Peter was staring at himself looking back at him from the front page of the Quibbler, the hundred thousand galleon reward almost caused him to throw up there and then. Most of the death eaters he'd met would sell their entire families for a lot less than that, even his rat form no longer offered him any protection. He was going to have to stick close to his master from now on, things were really bad when that was his safest option.

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