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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8. Chapter 8

Lucius Malfoy was mulling over the parchment he'd received from his son, once more thanking Merlin he didn't go angrily barging into that school to challenge Potter's rant against him. The boy was rampaging through the magical world like a horde of giants, flattening all who stood against him. Lucius was only a few school board votes short of being able to turf Dumbledore out of Hogwarts, these latest revelations alone wouldn't quite push his swaying supporters off the fence but it set the old fool up nicely for the biggest fall from grace ever seen.

He may have to allow Severus to take the fall as well though, in the grand scheme of things, this would be acceptable losses. The potion master's main duties were to spy on the old fool; if Dumbledore no longer resided in the castle then Severus would be free to use his talents exclusively for brewing more financially lucrative, totally illegal potions.

Lucius could construct a lab in the manor and use his contacts to procure the more exotic ingredients, while taking a percentage at every turn. Dumbledore would be gone, Severus would be looked after and the Malfoys would make even more gold, that was how a Slytherin operated.

-oOoOo-

Dan answered the door to find an imposing woman standing there with an entourage, "Mr Granger I presume? I'm Amelia Bones and these ladies and gentlemen are members of the Magical Law Enforcement Department. Could we please speak with Sirius Black?"

He couldn't think what else to do so led them into the kitchen where Emma was preparing breakfast.

Sirius shot to his feet at the first sight of their unexpected guests, "Amelia, is there trouble with Harry and Hermione?"

Amelia smiled, "Take it easy Sirius, as far as I know everything is fine with them. I received a rather strange note from your godson, requesting my immediate presence at Hogwarts in my official capacity. It also suggested that I turn up 'mob handed' and asked if I could bring you along as well. I was hoping you might be able to throw some light on the matter but I can see you're as much in the dark as we are. Would you like to finish your breakfast or head straight there?"

Sirius was already moving, "I'll get my cloak."

Emma was still worried though, "How can we find out if they're ok? I really didn't want them to go back to that place."

Dan had his arm comfortingly around his wife's shoulder, "Don't worry love, you know they'll look after each other. If they were in any trouble, Hedwig would have been waking us up this morning, not Amelia here."

Since she had the opportunity Amelia asked a question that was puzzling her, "Mrs Granger, you seem to be taking the children being married in your stride, I am guardian to my niece who's the same age and I don't know how I would react in similar circumstances."

Amelia Bones had built a career on being able to read people so could say with a degree of certainty that the smile which illuminated the woman's face was as genuine as any she'd ever seen. "Ah but that's purely down to the young man who capture my daughter's heart years ago, they've been best friends for a long time and anyone could see they were perfect for each other. Hermione had numerous educational choices available to her as she registers near the very top of the intelligence scale, when given the opportunity to study magic with Harry her mind was instantly made up. As a mother, Harry is everything I could want for my daughter, I wish they were a bit older but you can't have it all."

Dan agreed with his wife, "The day Harry confessed how his relatives treated him; we jumped in the car and went straight over there. The kids maybe adults in your world but they are still considered minors in ours, our lawyers are currently perusing having us declared as his legal guardians. No matter what, he will never set foot in that house again."

Amelia's gaze shifted from the Grangers to Sirius as he hurried down the stairs, she was delighted to see that Harry now had caring adults in his life.

The group portkeyed from the Granger's directly to Hogsmead and made their way to the castle, leaving behind a couple of anxious parents.

-oOoOo-

Albus was at his breakfast when Amelia entered the great hall, accompanied by Remus, Sirius and half a dozen aurors. The chill of dread that spread through him was intensified when the Potters rose to meet the group, Harry produced a piece of parchment which resulted in six aurors following Sirius and Remus out the door at speeds that would have earned students a detention. Ominously Amelia and the Potters approached the staff table as the hall's occupants once more anticipated the entertainment about to be provided.

"Albus Dumbledore it would appear that Slytherin house is harbouring a dangerous death eater, once again the safety of Hogwarts students is being compromised."

"Amelia I can assure you, Professor Snape is no threat to the students of Hogwarts. He has my complete trust and I find your accusations unfounded and offensive."

She couldn't hide her smirk, "I never mentioned Professor Snape, since you automatically jumped to his defence it makes me wonder why you immediately thought of him. This bears further investigation but I was actually referring to a different dangerous death eater who's currently hiding in the Slytherin dorms."

Snape couldn't keep quiet any longer, "Preposterous, more of Potter's lies aimed to discredit me. I want him charged with slander, libel and defamation of character."

Harry was enjoying himself, "I will agree to that if, when we find this death eater in the Slytherin dorm, Snape here is charged with aiding and abetting a wanted criminal."

"There are no wanted criminals in Slytherin!" Snape was now shouting.

McGonagall decided to stir the cauldron, "Mr Potter, I fail to see what your involvement in this matter is?"

"If you would accompany us down to the Slytherin dorm I'm sure you'll understand why it concerns me professor, I made the discovery using a family heirloom and contacted someone I trust to deal with the matter. Which reminds me, headmaster, you have a Potter family heirloom that my father loaned you. Please see it returned to me before I have to add that to the growing list of charges we will be bringing against you."

Snape was on his feet, "No one will be entering the Slytherin dorms without me being there!"

Hermione smiled sweetly at the angry man, "Wouldn't dream of it professor, we want you to see for yourself just how wrong you are."

Snape stormed from the hall with Amelia, the Potters, Minerva and Albus following close behind. Before leaving, the head of the DMLE gave an order that brokered no argument. "Everyone is to stay in the hall until we return. Anyone who doesn't will find themselves in serious trouble, and I'm not talking house points."

They found the marauders and aurors waiting for them outside the snake's den, it was time to spring the rat trap.

-oOoOo-

Peter Pettigrew was currently a dirty rat, ever since he'd entered the Slytherin dorm Wormtail had been shitting himself. His new owner Ron was not too concerned about taking care of his own personal hygiene, far less expend the time and effort to clean out his pet's cage.

The boy had also kept the cage locked tight as his dorm mates had threatened to decorate Ron's bed with rat entrails, the certainty that they weren't joking led directly to Peter's condition. The moment the cage was open he would be off and running, until then he was a trapped rat as he couldn't transform back to human while confined.

His dreams of freedom were shattered by a voice he hadn't heard for over a decade, "Hello Peter, surely you knew if the death eaters didn't kill you then we would."

Harry interrupted his godfather, "Madam Bones, can I have your personal assurance that Peter Pettigrew will see justice administered swiftly? Otherwise we are going to kill a rat right now."

The rodent cowering in the corner of the smelly cage had Amelia wanting to kill the creature herself, that it had instantly reacted in fear at the sound of Sirius's voice convinced her this was indeed Peter Pettigrew. "You have my word he will be tried today if we can manage it, tomorrow at the latest. He will be guarded around the clock and we'll even include a few kneazle minders as well."

Sirius stunned the rat before unlocking the cage and levitating the rodent onto the floor, He and Remus performed the spell together that transformed the rat into Peter.

Remus cast a spell to disarm the unconscious death eater when two wands shot into his hand, Harry hadn't expected this turn of events and had to be restrained by Hermione.

Sirius caught his actions and wondered what the problem was, "What's the matter kiddo?"

"That's Voldemort's wand, this piece of filth must have been in the house that night when his master killed mum and dad. I vote we do him now!"

Dumbledore felt as if he was drowning, the shocks were hitting like waves and just seemed to keep on coming, "How could you possibly know that Harry?"

Harry had to think on his feet, "I remember my mother begging with Voldemort to kill her instead of me, when she wouldn't step aside, that wand cast a green curse at her. It then cast a green curse at me, I would know that wand anywhere."

His revelation had shocked everyone, Harry used those few seconds to grab the wand out of Remus's hand and snap it. Ensuring that it broke cleanly and couldn't be repaired, not even by Dumbledore using the elder wand.

Amelia's tone was cold as ice, "Mr Potter, you have just destroyed evidence!"

"No I haven't, it is still clearly Voldemort's wand. I just made sure it would never be used to harm another person again, if anyone has the right to snap his wand then it's me." Amelia had also lost family to this wand and, the more she thought about it was actually delighted it would never be used again.

Harry turned to the head of Slytherin, "There is your death eater Snape, hiding in the Slytherin dorm. Makes a mockery of your slander claim, don't you think?" Harry wasn't supposed to know that the rat had spent the last four years in the Gryffindor dorm so was saying nothing.

The aurors were fitting multiple restraints to Pettigrew and stunned him again for good measure before Amelia dropped the bombshell, "Professor Snape, I'm going to have to ask you to accompany me to the ministry and undergo questioning."

Snape's face drained of colour as Albus tried to save him, "Amelia I hardly see the need for that, I trust Severus…"

Dumbledore was interrupted by the head of the DMLE, "That is neither here nor there Albus, I have a wanted death eater found hiding in a facility that is supervised by a known 'former' death eater. There is no room for manoeuvre here, Severus will be questioned. To whom does this creature belong?"

Snape was once more wondering why the world hated him so much, the first ever Weasley sorted into Slytherin and he brings a pet death eater along to keep him company! "Ronald Weasley."

Amelia was left shaking her head, poor Arthur just couldn't catch a break. "Well since his parents are out off the country and his head of house is also under suspicion, I need to know what other options we have available?"

Minerva supplied the necessary information, "Arthur Weasley nominated Muriel Prewett to act on his children's behalf while he and Molly are out of the country."

The grimace on Amelia's face told its own story, "I will ensure she is contacted as we'll have to take the boy for questioning as well."

"I shall go and fetch my cloak," Snape left before Harry drew Amelia's attention to something.

"Madam Bones, is it possible to counter the effects of veritaserum and would a potion's master know how to do it?"

A pair of aurors raced after Snape without having to be told, "Yes Mr Potter, it is indeed possible. The defence against this is to keep the suspect isolated and administer flushing potion for three days. I think Hogwarts is going to be missing its potions professor until at least the weekend."

Albus was still concentrating on what Harry said earlier to be too bothered by that statement, "Mr Potter, would you really have killed Peter Pettigrew?"

Harry was still angry at the discovery that Peter was there that horrific Halloween to pander to Dumbledore's feelings and beliefs, "I'll answer that question with one of my own, is there anyone in this room that believes Lucius Malfoy is not a death eater?"

"I fail to understand…"

Harry cut him off, "Lucius Malfoy IS a death eater yet escaped justice, this thing lying here helped murder my parents yet my godfather was the one who ended up in Azkaban. The only reason he's still alive is that I trust Madam Bones, otherwise I would have exterminated the rat and lost no sleep over it whatsoever."

Dumbledore was staring at Harry as if he were Tom Riddle reincarnated, he decided to burst te old goat's bubble. "In the environment you personally placed me to be raised, there was no forgiveness practiced anywhere in that house. That was where I learned the lessons that I will live my life by. I will deal with people according to their behaviour toward me and my family, and so their actions will determine how I treat them. By his own standards Pettigrew doesn't deserve to live. I will never be the aggressor but if someone hurts me or mine then I will respond in kind."

Hermione interrupted him, "Now Harry, you know that's not right. It should be my wife and I will respond in kind!"

Albus had thought for a moment that Mrs Potter was going to contradict her husband, instead, she intended to be by his side as they seek retribution on those who did them harm. "Having no forgiveness in your heart is the first step on the road to darkness."

Hermione was ready for him, "The other side of the coin is that if you forgive everyone, no matter how feeble their excuse, then the whole concept of justice is eroded to the point of collapse. When you start 'rewarding' people by making twenty-year-olds, with no teaching experience, head of a Hogwarts house then that takes forgiveness to a whole new extreme. We have worked within the laws of the land to ensure anyone doing the Potters wrong, including you headmaster, won't get away with it. "

A female auror entered with Ron, whose gaze immediately noticed the empty cage. "What the bloody hell happened to Scabbers and who is he?"

Amelia pinned him with a stare, "He, Mr Weasley is an illegal animagus who was masquerading as your pet, I really need to hear how he came to be in your possession."

Ron looked ready to lose his breakfast at the thought of this balding man sharing a room with him, "I got Scabbers off my brother Percy, he had him for years but now has an owl."

"We will collect your brother on the way out, you will be accompanying us to the ministry." Amelia led them back to the main hall, they would be portkeying as a group directly to the ministry. Sirius was going to walk to Hogsmead and then apparate back to the Grangers, they would be desperate for news. He couldn't help but hug both Potters, not only was he now free but the rat was well and truly caught. He whispered a 'thank you' as he pulled them close, now all he had to do was work out who this mysterious woman was that Moony marries.

-oOoOo-

Cornelius was reading the report Amelia had just handed him and all he could think of was 'thank Merlin we have a scapegoat!'

"So Pettigrew has spent the last four years living at Hogwarts, right under Albus Dumbledore's massive nose. Only the fact that the rat was gifted to a younger brother, who was then sorted into Slytherin, saved us the embarrassment of having a death eater sharing a dorm with Harry Potter. What was the result of Snape's questioning under truth serum, did he know Pettigrew was in the castle?"

"We're not sure whether he managed to take anything that would counteract the effects of veritaserum so he's isolated in a cell, on a purge program for three days."

This raised fudge's eyebrows before Amelia explained, "We never had a chance to question him before, Dumbledore blocked us at every turn. He may trust Snape without divulging the reason why but with the Potters now at Hogwarts I think we need to have that information. If things go pear shaped then I want the ministry to be able to honestly say we did everything in our power to prevent it. As far as I'm concerned Dumbledore's word is no longer a good enough reason for someone being declared innocent."

Cornelius was quite happy to see Dumbledore brought to heel in the name of protecting Harry Potter, his popularity as minister had never been so high since the lad gave him his public support. "So Pettigrew's trial is first thing tomorrow morning, I'm assuming he's well guarded?"

"He's terrified to move, selling out the Potters and having you-know-who's wand on his person means my auror's will hex him if he so much as raises an eyebrow. He may eat breakfast but I very much doubt he'll see lunch!"

This pleased Cornelius, more positive proof that his ministry was decisive and just in its protection of the magical world. Being able to publicly poke Albus one in the eye at the same time was just the cherry on top.

Two Weasley brothers had spent the day being questioned by aurors before being interrogated by their Auntie Muriel, both knew which one had been worse. At least the aurors didn't criticize their parents and wild upbringing every second sentence. With the castle now in sight, the two brothers could finally see an end to the constant verbal blitzkrieg from the woman who was accompanying them.

Instead of feeling relief that their ordeal was almost over, Percy and Ron had both independently came to the conclusion that this was one more stain on them and their family from the Potters. The Potters mere presence in the Slytherin dorm was enough to make it all their fault in the eyes of these two jealous redheads.

Their feelings of anger, leaning toward hatred, may not be based on fact but that didn't make their venom any less toxic. Any opportunity for some payback on the Potters would be grasped with both hands.

-oOoOo-

Horace Slughorn was enjoying his return to Hogwarts, though staying at the Three Broomsticks for now. He was the quintessential Slytherin who used his contacts and influence to get what he wanted. Horace had the biggest prize in the wizarding world within his grasp so was proceeding very cautiously.

His original intention to tutor the Potters and a few of their friends was rapidly heading toward a full time teaching position with the arrest of Snape. Minerva seemed to think she had a ready made replacement though he wasn't sure whether that would be counterproductive to his main goal, adding Harry Potter to the 'Slug Club'.

The enmity between the Potters and the Slytherins was there for all to see, Horace was sure becoming head of that house would have a detrimental effect on his fledgling relationship with the boy. Since he had a prior contract with the Potters he was forced to honour it, therefore excluding the Slytherins from the potions lesson the Potters were paying for.

If Snape wasn't allowed to return then that would be Minerva's problem, he had a signed contract with the Potters to teach them potions at a certain, pre-agreed time and would not be breaking it. She would just have to reschedule the Slytherin's lessons.

Both Potters had impressed Horace with their aptitude and knowledge of potions, with their friends also willing to learn, it quickly became one of the most pleasant first year lessons he could remember teaching.

Hermione was forced to keep a close eye on Harry during potions as his temper was very near the surface, it wasn't as bad as their defence lesson with Quirrell but came close.

Here was the man who knew what Tom Riddle was up to yet never said a word, had he mentioned horcruxes to Dumbledore then the old wizard would have been certain Voldemort wasn't dead and had an extra decade to search for them. Instead he'd lied and even falsified his memory in order to protect his image as a jovial host who everyone wanted to know.

In all honesty the man made Hermione feel sick, she could forgive incompetence, even understand greed but to allow a murdering megalomaniac to survive over some weird kind of vanity almost had her vomiting. That phony smile behind those calculator eyes really turned her stomach.

Still, anything was better than listening to Snape boast how he could teach them how to bottle fame, and if they didn't learn that skill it was their own fault!

-oOoOo-

Albus Dumbledore was having trouble sleeping. It wasn't so much a guilty conscience keeping him awake, more that some of his secrets were going to be revealed when they eventually questioned Severus. While his potions professor's involvement in the Potter deaths would not be well received, the revelation that there was a prophecy in play would be a disaster for Albus.

Having this information, Albus knowingly placing the chosen one into an environment where he would be denied knowledge of magic was indefensible. Not unless he wanted to mention that their saviour had to die because the lad had a bit of Voldemort's soul in his head. Albus really didn't want it becoming known that the only plan he had involved manipulating Harry Potter into willingly letting Voldemort kill the lad.

He'd spent the last two days calling in every favour he was owed to no avail, Amelia was relentless on the need for Severus to face questioning under truth serum and Cornelius was backing her stance. Pettigrew's trial and sentence were quickly dealt with and the former Gryffindor wailed like a baby as he was led to the dementor. Remus Lupin and Sirius Black had sat unmoved as their former friend was half dragged, half carried toward his fate.

Their swift and decisive action won Amelia and Cornelius many plaudits in the press, which also severely hindered his efforts. No one in the ministry or Wizengamot wanted to get caught in the middle of a power struggle between those two and Albus, so the old wizard found himself helpless to intervene.

That the press had apparently declared open season on the headmaster after it was discovered that Pettigrew had been in the castle for the last four years didn't help him either. Albus was dreading people's reactions from Severus being questioned, with even Minierva now standing up to him, things could only get worse.

He'd planned to try to ingratiate himself with the Potters by returning James's cloak, only for Minerva to piss all over that plan. She'd less than politely advised him that the Potter's wanted nothing to do with him and that she would personally pass the cloak onto them. Minerva then told him their plans for flying lessons this week, he was only being informed as he was the headmaster since the deputy headmistress had already decided to allow it.

Harry Potter was bright, powerful, confident, married and had already bonded with his Gryffindor classmates. Both he and his wife looked set to shatter all Hogwarts academic records and were taking the rest of the first year Gryffindors along with them. Augusta Longbottom was worried her grandson may be a squib but the evidence was now clearly stacked against that assumption, how the hell had all this happened?

He had expected a demure, polite, impressionable lad who he would be able to control without any problems, instead his nice stable world had been in a constant state of flux since the sorting.

Now he was going to be forced to approach the boy, cap in hand, and ask if he would be willing to save Severus. If the revelations he expected came to pass, there would be a trial with Harry having a major input to Snape's sentence. If the lad really pushed for it Albus was in no doubt he could see Severus kissed, given the Potters reaction to Peter Pettigrew, Albus feared for his friend's life.

He would try and have a word with them after their flying lesson tomorrow, the trial could be as soon as Monday, given the speed the ministry was working at these days. Albus would need to lay a little groundwork before then.

Presenting Severus in a good light was going to be quite the challenge, were he to stretch certain details and events to suit his case, Sirius and Remus would simply supply the truth of the matter. This would leave Severus and himself in even hotter water, was it any wonder he was unable to sleep?

-oOoOo-

Hermione could actually feel the excitement radiating off her husband as she woke, "What's got you in such a good mood this morning?"

His eyes were almost glowing, "Hermione, not only is this the day we learn to fly a broom but we get to go home for the weekend straight after it! It doesn't get much better than that."

"Am I to assume Neville won't be breaking anything today?"

"Oh Neville won't but that doesn't mean Madam Pomfrey's services will not be required."

She snuggled into him, "Are you going to get yourself placed on the Quidditch team this time around?"

He thought for a moment before answering, "I don't think so, it was always flying I loved, Quidditch just gave me that opportunity. When the new house is finished I'll be able to fly every weekend and at the holidays, I could do without all the injuries I received the last time."

"I for one won't miss sitting in the stand, biting my nails while you almost get yourself killed. We had Riddle jinxing your broom, Dobby jinxing a bludger and not forgetting the special guest appearance by the dementors. All that before we get to the dirty tricks by the Slytherins and Cho making cow eyes at you. I think I'd rather be at home with my husband than watch him defying death to try and win a bit of tin."

Harry couldn't help but chuckle, after the life they'd led a school game of Quidditch just didn't seem so important any more. "What would you like to bet the old man objects to my Gryffindor offer?"

"Well I would say that was as likely as a certain Weasley spending Friday night in the infirmary."

Harry kissed his wife, "You know me too well love, I suppose we'd better get up and start the day?"

Draco had finally begun to act like a Slytherin, instead of continually confronting Potter, he just wound the Weasley prat up like a clockwork toy and pointed him in their direction. Whether Weasley won or lost, it was all good to Draco Malfoy. With the flying lessons today, the weasel thought he finally had something that he could do better than the Potters. They may have read more books than Ron knew existed but that would be merely excess baggage when trying to fly a broom.

The redhead had boasted and niggled at them all day, he wasn't stupid enough to say anything that could be interpreted as a challenge by Potter but he sailed close to the edge once or twice. The entire school knew the story of what Harry had done to Umbridge in the ministry, they didn't know who she was but defeating the undersecretary to the minister of magic was a good enough reason for them to leave the Potters alone.

When the time came to head out onto the grounds, Harry couldn't hide his disappointment at the brooms laying there waiting for them. He was certain the old man would object but thought McGonagall would have been able to force it through.

"Well, what are you waiting for?" Madam Hooch barked, "Everyone stand by a broomstick. Come on, hurry up."

It was like the showdown at the O.K. corral as the Gryffindors lined up opposite the Slytherins, only this time Wyatt Earp was intending to use some wandless magic to clean up Tombstone!

"Stick out your right hand over the broom and say, UP!"

Cries of "UP!" rang out along both lines until broken by Ron's sarcastic laughter, "What's the matter Longbottom? Oh sorry, I forgot squibs can't fly brooms."

Malfoy and his goons joined in Ron's laughter until Neville practically growled "UP!" causing his broom to move with speed and force. It didn't actually move up though, instead it shot straight forward and struck its target with amazing accuracy.

Both the distance and quality of broom involved meant that it probably only just reached into double figures for miles per hour, this proved quite fast enough for Ron Weasley as the end of the broom impacted with his groin.

The lanky redhead seemed to collapse to the ground in slow motion, it was also weird to see his mouth wide open with no sound coming out, or food going in. He just lay there quietly, making no noise and not moving an inch, with tears streaming down his cheeks.

Lavender and Parvati were trying to hold back their giggling but none of the guys laughed, Neville though soon changed that. "Oh that must have hurt! Is that why there are cushioning charms on brooms?"

Even the Slytherins were laughing at Madam Hooch's attempts to get Ron to stand on his feet, they were silenced by the appearance of Professor McGonagall.

"It would appear that your concerns over the quality of the brooms available is justified Mr Potter."

Hooch was ready for a rant, "I complain to the headmaster about these every year, and every year I'm told there is no money in the budget to replace brooms. These are the best we have available but I fear it's going to take a student being seriously injured before something is done about this."

Minerva removed a shrunken holdall from her pocket, "Mr Potter has provided brooms for his housemates to learn with, after hearing stories of how bad the school brooms were he purchased a set for Gryffindor. I wanted to see for myself how bad the situation was and am now convinced we need to search for patrons to do the same for the other three houses."

After unshrinking the bag, Minerva began distributing new brooms to her house.

Draco of course couldn't keep his mouth shut, "Cleansweep's Potter? My father would have bought Nimbus two thousand's for Slytherin."

Before any of the staff could say anything, Harry cut Malfoy down to size. "Well that makes your father an idiot, then again we had wondered where you got it from. Giving students who've never flown before top-of-the-line racing brooms is more likely to get them killed than flying the crappy thing you're using."

Madam Hooch agreed, "Mr Potter is quite correct, the Cleansweep is an excellent broom for beginners and I wouldn't allow a novice to sit on a Nimbus. Now mount your brooms and show me your grip."

Professor McGonagall headed off with Ron to the infirmary while Hooch had them all gently kick off and land again. As the lesson progressed, the Gryffindors were growing in confidence. Harry stayed between Hermione and Neville though still managed to keep an eye on the other four and pass on helpful suggestions.

They were about thirty feet of the ground and flying in a very wide circle when Draco dive-bombed the end of their line from above, he was climbing back up when his laughter was terminated by an audible crack. His broom split in two as Draco fell from the sky, making a detour through a tree's branches en route to his painful meeting with the ground.

Hooch ordered them all down when Tracy Davis's ancient broom chose that precise moment to fail without any assistance from Harry, she screamed almost as loud as Malfoy when gravity exerted its fatal pull on her body.

Harry took off like a heat-seeking missile in an attempt to intercept the girl before her face hit the grass, everyone else could only watch in wonder at the scene playing out at speed before them.

Tracy thought she was a goner, her whole life flashed before her eyes and it didn't bloody take long, there was so much more she wanted to do. Suddenly she wasn't falling anymore but looking into the greenest pair of eyes she'd ever seen, Tracy was somehow lying across Harry Potter's broom and his arm was wrapped around her. She realised that the screaming she could hear was coming from her and closed her mouth, there was nothing she could say to this boy that could in any way express her gratitude.

Harry brought them both into land and Tracy was engulfed in a hug from her best friend Daphne, Harry found himself being shouted at by Pansy Parkinson.

"You save her Potter yet let my poor Draco fall, what are you playing at?"

Harry's eyes bored right through the girl, "Your 'poor Draco' was attempting to unseat some of my friends, he attempted a dangerous manoeuvre that the old broom couldn't handle. Him lying there is entirely his own fault. Tracy on the other hand was just quietly flying along when her broom stopped working, that is why I provided new brooms for my friends."

Tracy Davis came over and knelt at Harry's feet, "Lord Potter, I owe you a life debt and await your request for payment of that debt."

Harry stood straighter, "Miss Davis, as Lord Potter I recognise that debt. As payment, from this day onward, you shall repay that debt by calling me Harry."

He helped an astonished Tracy to her feet, he could have asked anything of her, or the Davis family, yet granted her an easy out. Her eyes sought out Hermione for permission to thank her husband, with a smile and a nod she granted her wish. Tracy kissed Harry Potter on the cheek, "Thank you Harry, you are a gentleman in more ways than one. Hermione is a lucky witch!"

Harry was actually blushing, he pulled Hermione to him. "No Tracy, I'm the lucky one."

None of them had seen McGonagall return and almost jumped when she spoke, "Personally I think Miss Davis is the lucky one. Madam Hooch, I am suspending all flying using school brooms until they can be replaced. Mr Potter your rescue and reactions afterwards are to be commended. Fifty points to Gryffindor for saving a fellow student, protecting your friends with the gift of brooms, promoting house unity and your actions afterwards that were exemplarily."

Harry was really blushing now, McGonagall almost smiled. "I know you both are setting off home now but please come and see me first thing Monday morning, I need to introduce you to Oliver Wood."

As McGonagall assisted Hooch in getting Draco to the infirmary, Hermione was trying not to laugh. It would seem the more things change, the more they stay the same.

-oOoOo-

Albus was lying in wait for them as the two happy students joked with each other along the corridor.

"Mr Potter, could I have a quick word?"

Harry stopped and gave the old man a hard stare before giving a one word answer.

"Velocity"

The Potters walked away from the confused old man, silently wondering if he'd still be standing there when they returned on Monday.

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