In this World and the Next

Not for Weasley fans, dark beginning and rating is for safety. A Re-do with payback on the menu H/Hr Complete

https://www.fanfiction.net/s/5627314/1/In-this-World-and-the-Next

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22. Chapter 22

By the time Ginny and Luna made it back to their house, there was a visitor waiting on them. With a squeal of 'Charlie!', Ginny had pounced into her brother's arms before realising how serious her normally laid back brother appeared.

Xeno was glad Charlie was there, "Girls, you shot out of here before I could tell you the full story. Sit down as we both need to speak to you."

Charlie sat with his sister on his knee, his dad wanted to be the one to tell her the full story and the dragon handler was glad he didn't have to face that. "Listen Ginny, the troll that was let into Hogwarts found Ron in a toilet. He's in St. Mungo's badly injured with mum and dad at his bedside. Hogwarts is being closed for now and I'm picking the twins up later, do you want to go to the hospital to see everyone?"

Ginny was nodding silently, visibly upset at that news. The girls had clearly been excited about something when they entered the house, Xeno saw Luna's excitement disappear as she became concerned for her friend. Then he noticed the letter in his daughter's hand. "Luna, who wrote to you?"

Luna tried to pass it off as nothing, "It's from Hermione but it's not important."

Ginny wasn't letting her friend away with that. "Luna, just because I may not be able to go now doesn't mean you shouldn't. If Hogwarts doesn't reopen then I could be heading to Egypt and you would be left here by yourself. Go with Harry and Hermione, we both know that's what's best."

Xeno interrupted, "Luna, why don't you tell us what this is about and then we can all decide what's for the best."

Luna fought back the tears, the thought of being alone again terrified her. "Harry and Hermione have left the country, he's still not woke up yet but Hermione says he'll be fine. The whole family are moving to their Australian home and have invited us along for a holiday. It's summer there at the moment and we have our own room built in that house as well, we could stay until Christmas."

Charlie saw the problem, Ginny had instantly assumed she couldn't go. "Ginny, at the moment we have no idea what's happening. Ron will definitely be going home to Cairo with mum and dad but the twins' situation will depend on Hogwarts. When do you have to let them know if you're going?"

It was Luna who answered, it was clear to all that this was something she really wanted. "Sirius is going to call in and see us on Monday, he will let us know the arrangements then. I think we would be leaving soon after that but we won't know until Monday."

Today was Friday, Charlie understood his parents were on a shoestring budget. They couldn't afford to stay too long at the Leaky Cauldron, financial necessity would force them back to Cairo soon. He tried to explain to his sister as best he could without alarming her too much. With the news about Percy to come as well, it might even be better for her to get away from Britain for a while. "Ginny, Ron's not the same person he used to be. Mum will need to spend a lot of time with him to nurse him back to health. She might think it would be better for you to stay with Luna in the meantime. If this is what both you girls want, I will try to convince mum and dad it's for the best."

Ginny felt guilty, thinking of herself at a time like this. Xeno though, correctly read her emotional state and tried to reassure her. "Ginny, knowing you are cared for and happy will take a great weight off your parents minds, especially since they aren't currently in a position to do it themselves. This is a fabulous opportunity for both of you and Luna has not only my permission but my blessing as well. Having met Dan, Emma and Sirius, I have no qualms about their ability to look after you both as well as their own children."

Ginny looked to Charlie, "Will they let me in to see Ron?"

Charlie smiled and nodded, "Mum and dad would love to see you as well. I'm meeting the twins off the train this afternoon so we could go now if you like?"

Ginny didn't answer, she just raced away to get changed. Charlie apologised to Luna, "Sorry but they are only letting family visit at the moment, I'll probably bring her back after I collect the twins."

Xeno held his daughter as they watched both Weasleys floo to St Mungo's. He was proud of his daughter for the way she was prepared to pass-up this chance of a holiday, rather than see her friend being the only one who couldn't go. Xeno couldn't allow that to happen, an Australian holiday with the Potters was an opportunity Luna couldn't and wouldn't be passing up. If Ginny had to move to Egypt, Luna was going to be lonely enough without missing her other two friends as well.

-oOoOo-

Ginny rushed straight into her father's arms as he tried to juggle the coffee and sandwiches he was holding, Charlie thankfully took them off his father before it could spill. Arthur held his daughter tight, he'd really missed her in the time they'd been apart. They took the refreshments into Molly as she'd refused to leave her child's side. One look at her battered and bruised sibling had Ginny in tears, she didn't even resist as her mother smothered her in a hug.

She ended up on her father's knee with her mum holding her hand, "Is Ron going to be alright?"

Arthur knew this was going to be hard to explain to a ten-year-old. "Ginny, you know the differences between boys and girls?" Ginny blushed deeply as she nodded to her father.

Arthur continued, "The troll damaged Ron's boy bits so badly, they had to be removed. It also damaged his magical core and we don't know if it will recover. We were left with some really hard choices and the one we decided on was to raise him as a girl. The operation was a complete success and your mother named her Ronda, though we're calling her Ronnie for now. She obviously can't stay in Britain anymore so will be returning with us as soon as she's fit to travel."

Ginny's eyes were nearly bulging out her head as she discovered she had a new big sister, "They can do that?"

Arthur well understood his little girl's disbelief, he didn't quite believe it himself yet. "Yes princess, they can do that. She'll never be able to have children but that was the case no matter what option we chose."

Ginny was clearly struggling to get her head around this and Arthur hated to give her more bad news but he didn't want her picking it up elsewhere. "There's more we need to tell you, they found out what happened to Percy. He never left Hogwarts but got caught in a trap Dumbledore set in the school. He's been dead all this time."

Ginny was now sobbing into her father's chest, everything else forgotten about. She was ashamed that she'd been having such a good time she'd rarely thought of her missing brother, Percy deserved better than that.

Everyone in the room was shedding their own tears, the grieving process curtailed on account of the person still alive but needing their help. Arthur let her cry it out, it took a while before he was able to speak with her again. He tried to change the subject, "I heard from Amelia Bones that your friend Harry was hurt too, have you heard from him?"

Ginny slowly told her father about the letter and the offer to travel to Australia.

As usual, Arthur tried to be honest with his children. "At the moment Ginny, we're in two rooms at the Leaky Cauldron. We need you to stay with Luna because we can't afford to rent three. When Ronnie is well enough to travel, we need to get back to Cairo. If Hogwarts isn't reopened by then, we will be forced to take Fred and George with us. Money is so tight it might be best if you stayed with Luna until we can afford to send for you. I'm only saying this because I know you're happy there, otherwise I would be doing everything in my power to take you with us. We're building a good business and a nice home there, in a year or two we will all be together again and all this struggle will be worth it."

He looked at his child lying on the hospital bed, "If anything, it's even more important now we make a success of this. It will give Ronnie some security and a job for life as she gets older. You stay with Luna and go visit your friends in Australia, seeing you safe and happy is all we've ever wanted."

She hugged her dad tight before glancing toward her mother, Molly opened her arms and Ginny went to her without hesitation. Molly felt as if she'd got two of her children back, both of them girls. "We can't do anything about Percy at the moment, we don't even have a body to bury. We plan on holding a service when the whole family gets together during the summer holidays. At the moment we have to concentrate on those who need us most. Bill is trying to hold down the business on his own and Ronnie will need us all to be strong for her when she leaves here."

Molly was clearly fighting back the tears, it was also clear she was fighting a losing battle. "Percy lost his badge because of me and I started this whole business, you'll have a new mother as well as a new sister Ginny. I promise you that! I've already lost one of my babies through my stupidity, I can't lose anymore." with that she finally lost the battle, mother and daughter cried in each other's arms.

Arthur was pleased to hear his wife finally accept the blame for all the trouble that had befell their family though there was one name he would never forgive. "You stick with your friends Ginny, they seem really nice people. We trusted Dumbledore and look what it cost us, two of our boys! I intend to be at that trial on Monday and hope to see justice done."

Charlie subtly changed the subject and they settled down to chatting about what they had been up to since the last time they all met. Ginny wanted to hear everything about Cairo while Arthur was astonished at his daughter's forays into the muggle world, the concept of a roller coaster left him dumbfounded.

-oOoOo-

Charlie stood with Ginny as they waited on the twins getting off the train, he found himself being amazed yet saddened at the same time. Amazed at the number of students who clearly knew Ginny, there must have been upward of twenty who approached her while they waited. Saddened that they all wanted news of the Potters while not one asked how Ron was. Charlie had seen who his youngest brother hung out with and heard from the twins Ron wasn't Mr Popular but this just drove the point home. These kids weren't deliberately being mean, they were genuinely concerned for their friends. It just hurt that Ron didn't have any friends who felt the same about him.

It was sombre twins who each hugged their sister, George held her while Fred spoke to Charlie. "There were rumours flying all over the school so McGonagall pulled us in and gave us the news about Percy. He got passed the Cerberus but the second trap got him."

It was only their serious expressions that convinced Charlie they weren't playing a prank on him. The questions were flying from him, "A Cerberus? What the hell was a giant three-headed-dog doing inside a school and how do you know about it?"

Fred answered as if it was the most obvious thing in the world. "Dumbledore told everyone not to go there so that was the first place we headed. A simple unlocking charm and you were face to faces with the beast. We knew it must be hiding something good and were researching how to get past it, so were quite a few others."

Charlie shook his head in disbelief, "Dumbledore must really have lost his marbles, a class one dangerous creature inside a school?"

"How's Ron?" George asked.

Fred felt Ginny hold him tighter so already knew this was not good news. "We saw him briefly just before he was whisked away to St. Mungo's, no protective cup was ever going to save him."

Charlie thought it would be best to tell them now as trying to predict how the twins would react was pointless, they were a unique entity. "As you've already guessed, he won't be Ron anymore, what you don't know though is the healers have made him into a girl. Mum named her Ronda but we're all calling her Ronnie until she gets used to it!"

Fred still had his arm around Ginny when he spoke, "That's it George, Draco has got to go."

"Too true brother, no way is that ponce getting anywhere near a sister of ours."

Charlie could see the hurt behind their eyes but he wondered if anyone ever got to see the true twins, they had such an act going portraying lovable jokers that the real Fred and George got buried deep. The jokes got wilder and ruder as they made their way to the Leaky Cauldron. At least they had the sense to wait until Ginny had flooed back to the Lovegoods before releasing the worst one.

"So is Ronnie looking really thin now?"

"Yea, I mean she's lost a couple of stones!"

Charlie understood this was their way of dealing with the situation, he also understood they would behave around their mother. He was also aware that to laugh would just encourage them but he couldn't help himself. Charlie also couldn't help but think the Weasley family would always survive as long as they had the twins, for the first time he thought there may be some light at the end of the tunnel. All three then flooed to the hospital.

Charlie wanted a word with his dad in private to explain that the twins and others had also looked inside that room, Amelia Bones needed to be told that piece of information.

-oOoOo-

Ron was stuck in the bathroom, wondering what he had eaten to cause this. Every time he thought his work was done and went to rise, the crams would swiftly return and he would empty out some more. He was aware he was missing the feast but was powerless to do anything about it at the moment.

The smell was awful at first though he supposed he must have become used to it. When someone else entered the toilet smelling worse than him, Ron was positive it must have been the pork pies at lunch. At least he made it here before having an accident.

"Hey, don't worry about it mate. I nearly didn't make it here myself. You might as well settle down, if you ate the same as me, you'll be here for a while."

This was met by a loud grunt, which didn't please Ron. "There's no need to take it like that, these little accidents can happen to anyone."

This comment was answered by the stall Ron was sitting in exploding around him. Only the fact that he was sitting down saved his life, the massive speeding club passing mere inches above his head. Since the top half of the stall was now missing, Ron could see what was on the other end of that club. He screamed louder than he thought was possible.

The troll reached in and grabbed him by the robes, Ron was left dangling with his underwear at his ankles. He screamed even louder.

The troll shook him like a terrier with a rat in its jaws, leaving him totally disorientated before the excruciating pain exploded in his hips. Ron screamed and screamed until he heard a wished for voice telling him everything was going to be ok.

His eyes sprung open and for an instant Ron thought the whole thing had been a dream, that lasted until he felt the pain and noticed his surroundings. Even with all that, Ron had only one thing on his mind. His voice was scratchy and hoarse but it got the vital message across.

"Mum, I never want to go back there. Please don't make me. I'll do anything if I can go with you and dad."

Molly was running her fingers through her child's hair, "Ronnie relax, mummy's here. You will be coming to Cairo with us when you're well enough to make the journey."

This welcome news calmed and relaxed Ronnie, now it was time for the next bit. "Do you remember what happened?"

Ronnie slowly nodded, "The cup didn't work, did it? A suit of armour wouldn't have worked against that thing."

"I'm sorry Ronnie, there was nothing they could save." Molly gave this a few moments to sink in before continuing. "The healers performed an operation to physically make you into a girl. To complete the conversion, you will have to take potions for a few years. These potions will physically change your body as you grow into a young woman. The choice is yours but we'll be permanently leaving Britain for Cairo whatever you decide."

Ronnie was now crying in Molly's arms as she tried to comfort her child. The reality of the situation began to hit home and the tears increased in both numbers and volume. His mother running her fingers through his hair was helping soothe his nerves though as he attempted to list all the things he would miss about being Ronald Weasley. He quickly discovered it was a very short list.

He wouldn't miss his friends for the simple reason that he didn't have any, he certainly wouldn't miss trying to live up to his older brothers. He wondered if it would be easier being the eldest sister as opposed to the youngest brother? It's not as if he had started hankering over girls yet and he certainly wouldn't miss the indescribable pain from getting repeatedly smacked in the groin. He was slowly crying himself to sleep while gradually accepting the situation. His last thought before falling asleep almost made him smile. He'd always expected that one day he would get his hands on a pair of tits, he just never in his wildest dreams thought they would be his own!

Molly held her child as he fell asleep, the healers had advised not to give Ronnie all the bad news in one go. Next they would tell her about her magic before breaking the bad news about Percy. Molly quietly shed tears for the two sons she'd lost while rejoicing that the Weasleys had a new female member.

Ginny had struggled with the entire concept of having a new big sister, coming along with the news of Percy it was hardly surprising. Arthur and Charlie had recommended she continue to stay with Luna and Molly had to reluctantly agree. They would all have their hands full with work and looking after Ronnie. Hitting puberty was bad enough for any child without the added complication of changing gender just before you reached it.

Arthur watched his wife hold their new daughter and couldn't help but agree with Charlie, the Weasleys may have just turned the corner. He was unable at the moment to grieve for his dead son for two reasons. Ronnie needed their support and he was consumed with anger at that bastard Dumbledore. When he had informed Amelia that other students had stuck their heads in that room, she had blown her top. She had promised to speak with the twins to try to find out who else had opened that door, Amelia also swore Dumbledore was going down!

-oOoOo-

Draco had no mother's arms to fall asleep in and didn't think there was any lower for him to fall either. All his worldly possessions were contained in his school trunk. His father had gifted the new brooms to Slytherin house so he didn't even have one of them to sell. Five students had stood on the platform without family to meet them, former pureblood princes all. They were now consigned to an orphanage and only this year's tuition to Hogwarts was paid for.

They had all witnessed the scene where the supposedly all-powerful dark lord was exposed as nothing more than a parasite, hiding underneath a smelly turban. They watched in awe as Voldemort was once more defeated, by children no less. If it was blatantly obvious to them which side needed to be chosen for survival, how could their parents have gotten it so wrong and ruined their lives as well.

With no money, no name and an icicle's chance in Hell of being adopted, Draco had no future and no clue how to change things for the better. His only hope appeared to be writing to an aunt he'd never met, an aunt who was cast out the family for marrying a muggle born.

Considering that both her sisters had went along with their family's wishes and those same sisters now lived in Azkaban, you didn't have to be a genius to figure out who the smart one was.

This was not an option Draco Malfoy would ever have considered but Draco No-Name couldn't afford luxuries like pride. He would clutch at any straw if it got him away from here, even a few hours in the orphanage was long enough for Draco to know this was to be avoided at all costs.

-oOoOo-

Neville was struggling to cope with life, back living with his grandmother. He had gotten so used to having his friends around him all the time that being alone again was hard to take. A pecking noise from his window heralded the arrival of an owl carrying a note from Millie, this put a smile on his face. He was not the shy, lonely boy who left this place a few months ago to make the terrifying journey to Hogwarts, he now had friends.

Hearing that two of those friends were all right had lifted the mood of the entire group at the station. He couldn't blame Harry and Hermione for staying away while Dumbledore was obsessively hunting them, he'd seen the old wizard lose it and wouldn't put anything past the crazy old goat.

Neville understood why they had acted quickly to contact Luna and Ginny. If the first Neville had heard of the commotion at Hogwarts was the headline screaming at him from the front page of the Daily Prophet, he would have been worried sick.

He also understood that his two friends would write to him as soon as they knew what was happening, after all they'd done it before. McGonagall had apparently mentioned to his gran that he had stood with Harry and fired curses against Voldemort, she kept glancing at him as if to see he was still the same boy and had even said she was proud of him.

He read again the letter from Millie before climbing into bed with a smile on his face, he would write back to her tomorrow. He would also write a few of his other friends, no one knew how long Hogwarts was going to be closed and they were all determined to keep in touch. He wouldn't write to Harry and Hermione as they would probably be hidden from owls, he could only hope they were ok.

-oOoOo-

Harry was also struggling to cope with his change of environment, he was currently trying not to breathe in as the wave crashed over him. When his head broke the surface, he spluttered and spat out the salt water while being taunted by his wife's giggling. "You're supposed to surf on the wave love, not through it!"

Harry was wearing a fake pout, "How can you be terrified on a broom yet fly on the waves?"

"I'm not terrified on a broom, I'm terrified of being high-up in the air on a broom. If I fall off my board I only get wet, if I fall off a broom I get splattered!"

Harry now had a grin that puzzled Hermione, "I think I've got a new patronus worthy thought, you on a broom wearing that bikini. Prongs would be powerful enough to clear out Azkaban with an image like that!"

He found himself again struggling to breathe as Hermione pushed his head under the water, her giggles turned to squeals as Harry picked her up and playfully threatened to throw her head-first into the next wave.

On the beach, Emma, Dan and Sirius were sitting together under the welcome shade of a palm leaf parasol. Emma thought she could quickly get used to this life. "It's so good to see them behaving like kids, instead of people with the weight of the world on their shoulders."

Dan wholeheartedly agreed with his wife. "Yeah, this was a brilliant idea Sirius. It gives them time to unwind before we head off to Australia on Wednesday." It was easy to see Sirius had other things on his mind at the moment, both Grangers were sure they knew what it was. "Don't worry Sirius, she'll come with us."

"I must really be losing my touch if I'm that transparent. I'm asking a lot without being ready to ask the one question she probably wants to hear. I don't know Dan, Hestia's a classy lady. Asking her to uproot her life to come half way around the world with me, just so we can get to know one another better doesn't seem like much of an offer to me."

Emma was watching her two kids playing in the surf, "I wouldn't worry about it Sirius, the last couple I know who tried that turned out pretty well. I agree that Hestia is very 'classy' but don't sell yourself short."

Their eyes were drawn to the young couple that meant so much to them, "I think that comparison makes it worse Emma. I look at those two and see how right they are for each other, I want to find the same. That's quite a high standard to set yourself!"

"That's what everyone wants Sirius, it doesn't happen overnight though. What you see out there is the result of those two being together almost every day for eight years, and some of them were very, very bad days."

Sirius could only nod in agreement with Emma, he really liked Hestia but felt they were a bit away from being able to talk about spending the rest of their lives together. He certainly hoped they had a long future together and would tell her so. He'd decided to be honest with her and expected the same in return, neither were looking at this as a casual relationship.

Dan interrupted his thoughts, "We're all agreed though that those two don't return to Britain until Albus Dumbledore is no longer a threat?"

"Yes Dan, I'll handle the trial and set the portkey to take us directly to the airport. I can only hope there's more than five of us on that plane, you're sure you wouldn't rather travel by international portkey?"

Emma was adamant, "This way should be safer, we'll hire a couple of cars until we can buy some. That should make us pretty untraceable to that crazy old man."

There was a pause until Dan asked the next question, "How do you think Harry will react to being told he's not going to the trial?"

Sirius just chuckled, "He would probably explode if you put it like that, I have no intention of doing so. I was thinking more along the lines of 'Harry, would you like to attend a trial where you will be gawked at by everyone or spend the day on the beach with Hermione?' What do you think his answer will be?"

The sound of laughter coming from the surf gave them all a big clue to what answer they would receive.

-oOoOo-

Albus Dumbledore was searching for answers and frustratingly coming up with nothing. He was currently eating a tin of cold soup as he daren't use even a little magic to heat it with the entire country searching for him.

This decision was forced on him after eight aurors had appeared seconds after the last time he'd used magic. He was forced to apparate away and then played hide and seek the length and breadth of Britain to throw them off his tail. He'd been using a mixture of apparating and portkeying but still they tracked him, Albus would have liked to have seen their faces when he sent that sheep by portkey into the ministry atrium. If they hadn't backed off, he was prepared to send flocks of them to locations that would embarrass the ministry. He would have made them so busy obliviating muggles that they wouldn't have time to look for him.

Albus knew he would still have supporters out there who would believe in him, after he killed the new incarnation of Voldemort the entire country would worship his greatness once more.

Harry Potter always had to die, it was his destiny. Albus actually felt sorrow that the task was falling to him, but he could not shirk his destiny anymore than Potter could avoid his. If only he'd taken action against the original Tom Riddle while the boy was still at Hogwarts, all those deaths could have been avoided. It was a mistake Albus would never make again.

Albus had no intention of attending his sham of a trial, Potter would be too well guarded for him to make an effective strike. He could be a patient man, all he had to do was bide his time and wait for that one mistake. He only needed that one mistake to finish the job for good and rid the world of Voldemort. The name of Albus Dumbledore would go down in history, he would be remembered!

-oOoOo-

Albus was unaware there was one thing that he, Amelia and Cornelius were all in agreement on, Dumbledore still had support out there. It didn't help that the Prophet's reputation for factual journalism wasn't the best. The ministry needed this trial to tear down the Dumbledore myth as much as find the old wizard guilty of the crimes he had committed. Amelia was therefore disappointed to see Sirius striding into the court unaccompanied by his godson, the only person with a big enough reputation to do a number on Albus.

"Lord Black, may I ask where Lord Potter is?"

"Madam Bones, may I ask where Albus Dumbledore is?"

Amelia understood at once, "Unfortunately we have not been able to locate him yet."

"That man has sworn to kill my godson, until that threat can be removed Harry will not set foot in Britain."

The full Wizengamot were hearing this trial now and it was the minister who answered Sirius. "Lord Black, I was present when Dumbledore made that threat and I for one think your decision is a sensible precaution. Do you have any objections to the events of this Halloween being included in his trial?"

"Minister, I feel we should start there as both Halloweens are inexorably and undeniably linked to why we are all here today. I have heard the headmaster made some very serious, but utterly ludicrous clams against my godson. It is my intention that the entire truth will be told for the first time here today and I hope we can show that many crimes were committed on both occasions. If there is a dark lord still at large then his name is Dumbledore, I hope most of this chamber will agree with me by the end of this trial."

Amelia quickly agreed with Sirius, the Dumbledore supporters were outraged at Lord Black's words and needed to see for themselves how far their champion had fallen. She called Auror Tonks to the stand.

Tonks marched in, resplendent in her dress robes and gave her memory of the first part inside Hogwarts. They watched the images from the moment of both their arrivals in the Hogwarts Great Hall to Sirius making the decision to get both kids out of there.

There then had to be a short pause until everyone got their breath back. For a group of people who were so scared, they wouldn't say the name Voldemort out loud, watching that memory was traumatic. Amelia got the ball rolling again by direction a question toward Sirius. "Lord Black, has Lord Potter given any reason why he ran over to Professor Quirrell?"

"Madam Bones, it was apparent to the entire hall that man was faking. Harry wanted to expose the fraud in the hope they would get a decent defence teacher. I think he hoped Remus Lupin would be offered the job as he already gives the first years defence lessons in his spare time."

To Amelia, that made sense. "Having seen the current first years in action, I think that would be a wise appointment. Do you have any theories as to why Lord Potter had that effect on Voldemort?"

Sirius shook his head, "The best we've been able to come up with is the protection that originally saved him from the killing curse was still active. Voldemort literally couldn't survive being touched by Harry."

Amelia now asked the big question. "Lord Black, do you know what Voldemort meant by his anchors were all gone?"

"Yes, but before I answer, would it be possible to see what transpired in the hall after we left?"

Amelia had no problem with that and Tonks once more supplied the memory. The chamber watched as Albus made his allegations before knocking them all on their arses and portkeying out of Hogwarts. All eyes now switched to Sirius as Amelia knew he would have to refute those allegations.

Sirius took his time, allowing the tension to build. "Albus Dumbledore has taken the few facts in his possession and reached a conclusion that has shocked me in its stupidity."

This again drew murmurings of dissent from the Wizengamot members while the public gallery appeared to be keeping a more open mind for now.

Sirius continued telling mostly the truth, though he had absolutely no intention of mentioning the name Malfoy or a certain diary. "Voldemort's anchors were horcruxes that he imbedded into items and hid. We were alerted to this by my dead brother, Regulus gave his life to get one of these things away from Voldemort and it lay in my ancestral home while I was enduring alternative accommodation." He removed Slytherin's locket from a bag he'd brought and placed it on the table in front of him.

"We didn't know how to destroy the horcrux and couldn't trust the ministry as there were still death eaters walking about free at that time. We consulted our friends at Gringotts and were delighted to discover the goblins have a procedure that deals permanently with the soul piece without damaging the item. If Harry had one inside his head, we would soon have had it removed. The goblins were disgusted that a wizard would do something like this and scanned the vaults of convicted death eaters in case their bank was unknowingly harbouring one of these abominations. They found one and destroyed the soul piece without damaging the item, a cup that belonged to Helga Hufflepuff. It has been returned to the vault and they intend to heavily fine the vault owners, should they ever be released from Azkaban."

Sirius now had their complete and undivided attention as he continued his tale. "With two horcruxes being encased in Hogwarts founder's items, our research moved in that direction as well as looking into Voldemort's background. Tom Marvolo Riddle is the illegitimate child of muggle Tom Riddle and Merope Gaunt, a rather unattractive witch who used a love potion on the local squire's son. Yes, Voldemort is a half blood but that's not important here. Harry purchased both the Riddle estate and the Gaunt shack which was adjacent to it and paid the goblins to pull them down and sift through the rubble. They found this!"

Sirius placed the Gaunt ring on the table, "The Gaunts were direct descendants from Salazar Slytherin which again highlights the founders connection. Our research now focused on any missing founders items and we actually struck gold hidden inside Hogwarts. The Ravenclaws amongst you may recognise this!"

The diadem being placed on the table drew gasps from the captive audience.

"We were actively searching for the sword of Godric Gryffindor when the Halloween incident occurred. We had no idea how many Voldemort had made but were delighted to hear we'd got all of them. The idea that my godson is one and needs to die is nothing more than the ravings of a demented old man!"

A voice from the Wizengamot shouted at him, "You have shown us nothing to support that view. Pulling bits of jewellery out a bag is not proof of this improbable story, what right do you have to slander a great man?"

Sirius appeared resigned to this reaction and began returning the items to his bag, "That 'great man' took my godson from me and left him on a muggle doorstep to be abused for ten years. That 'great man' denied me a trial and condemned me to Azkaban for ten years. Your great Albus Dumbledore was only stopped from killing my unconscious eleven year old godson by wards the goblins erected. All because of a prophecy he heard and slavishly followed his interpretation of like it was the Holy Grail. What has this wizard done to justify this unquestioning adulation? It was plain to everyone who watched that memory that Dumbledore knew what Voldemort meant by his anchors, what had he done about it? In a couple of months we found and destroyed all of them. My godson has now banished Voldemort twice and spent a fortune tracking down and destroying his anchors. Where is his adulation? What was his reward? A crazy old man determined to kill him! We thought this country had changed but apparently we were wrong, the Blacks and the Potters will be leaving Britain in the next few days."

As Sirius rose to leave, the voice was indignant. "Where do you think you're going?"

Before Sirius could answer, the minister interrupted. "Lord Black is not the one on trial here and has answered every question we have asked. I for one am eternally grateful for both his family and the Potters actions against the evil that was Voldemort. I have not forgotten about the aid given by our friends at Gringotts either. I feel sure there will be awards coming your way in the very near future for your courageous actions."

Sirius bowed toward Cornelius, "Thank you minister but I would respectfully request no awards for any of us. All my godson and his lovely wife wish is the right to attend school with their friends without the danger of being murdered. Seeing justice done here today would go a long way to granting those wishes."

Sirius left to face Hestia as Cornelius rounded on the Wizengamot. "Albus Dumbledore set a trap for Voldemort inside the school containing all our children. One is currently in St. Mungo's with their life altered forever while another lost his life, tragically both are from the same family. Does this sound like the great man you revere so much?"

Arthur Weasley watched from the gallery, hardly recognising the man who led their government. Amelia called Minerva to the stand as they proceeded to hammer more nails into Dumbledore's coffin, even his staunchest supporter had to see there was something seriously wrong with the man's actions.

-oOoOo-

Harry and Hermione were currently lying on the beach, though their minds were clearly elsewhere. Harry saw his wife nibbling her bottom lip and knew she only did this when deep in thought or worried about something. "What's the matter love?"

"Oh I just keep playing everything over and over in my head and wondering if we did the right thing."

"OK, I know you love your lists so let's make a couple."

Harry sat up and conjured some writing materials, he split the page into two and headed them 'Dead' and 'Alive'.

"This will be for differences in the timelines, we'll start with the 'Dead' column. Umbridge, sorry but no tears from me for that bitch! Percy, we could have dealt with differently but he was the one who came after us. Tom doesn't really count since he died in both."

Harry then moved to the 'Alive' column and began quietly writing down names. Bertha Jorkins, Riddle's muggle caretaker, Cedric, Sirius, Dumbledore, Professor Burbage, Amelia Bones, Mad-eye, Scrimgeour, Bathilda Bagshot, Ted Tonks, Remus, Tonks, Colin, Fred Weasley, Snape.

Harry paused for a moment as Hermione stared unbelievably at the massive discrepancy in the length of the lists. Harry then wrote Hermione Jane Potter and Harry James Potter, this had tears in his wife's eyes.

"We both know there are a lot of names not on that list, some we didn't know about and others I've forgotten for a moment as this is just off the top of my head. We don't know Ron's fate yet but I suspect he'll never bother women again, I can live with that. Add to the list that the death eaters have been dealt with, we have a ministry that get things done and Hogwarts is better than at any time we ever attended it. Taking all that into consideration, I think the answer to your question has to be yes."

Hermione was staring at Harry as if it was the first time she'd seen him, "When did you get so smart?"

He gave Hermione that smile, the one that melted her heart. "I married the smartest witch in the world and didn't want to let her down, she means the world to me!"

That was too much for Hermione. She pounced on Harry, pushing him back into the sand and began to kiss him senseless.

The parchment lay forgotten and was eventually blown into the sea, the salt water soon had the ink merging into nothing more than a meaningless blob. There was no 'other timeline' only now. Lying entwined on the sand, both Potters were definitely making the most of the now.

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