Knowledge is Power

When Hermione gets cursed at the Ministry, Harry and the Death Eaters discover the power he knows not. Unleashing this power has far reaching consequences. Weasley and Dumbledore bashing – time travel story that's hopefully different.

https://www.fanfiction.net/s/4612714/1/Knowledge-is-Power

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24. Chapter 24

Harry and Hermione walked arm in arm along their beach as the sun set over the Mediterranean, the melody of the waves was continually interrupted by the delightful sound of their daughter laughing as she played the strangest game of tag ever seen with Hedwig. The noises coming from the snowy owl's beak could be mistaken for chuckling as she flew around the little girl, both of their familiars adored Joan but Crookshanks didn't love anyone enough to come this close to the sea.

Jillian Green had remarked on how surprised, yet delighted she was with the obvious changes in Joan, before meeting them she was a shy, quiet child who'd somehow mustered up the courage to ask Harry to sign her prize possession. Now she was so demonstrative and outgoing, seemingly intent on grabbing life with both hands to make up for lost time.

Harry was sure he understood the reason for this as Joan, like himself, wasn't sure how long all her good fortune was going to last so was making the best of it before someone shouted 'times up' and she was forced to return to her old life. Harry felt the same way every morning he woke up with Hermione in his arms, he knew the request he was about to make would be a hopeless one but he felt he had to bring it up.

"Are you sure about this love, things have changed since we made our plans."

Hermione shut Harry up by kissing him fiercely, when they came up for air she gave him the answer he was expecting. "Some things will never change, we agreed to be together forever and that's the way it's going to be my Lord Potter. Side by side no matter what comes our way."

He just held onto this wonderful girl who'd been at his side and, despite the repeated dangers refusing to move since he was eleven, he didn't expect she would change now but as his eyes drifted to their daughter Harry had felt he needed to try.

-oOoOo-

Cedric was beginning to regret choosing the three broomsticks over Madam Puddlefoots as he couldn't get any time to be alone with Cho for students constantly interrupting, demanding details of the Potter Institute, he eventually relented and they found themselves surrounded by about twenty students.

"Ok I didn't want to say anything because you lot have to go back to Hogwarts but the Institute beats the castle in everyway imaginable. Accommodation, climate, professors and courses are all far superior to what Hogwarts provides, their library is building up to be one of the best in Europe and meanwhile I get use of their personal one at Potter Manor."

"But they don't have any Quidditch or even houses," moaned Ron

"There's a group that does intense training every morning and then some of them fly, this morning the three girls, Roger and I challenged them to a friendly pick-up game and got slaughtered. Ginny Pomfrey was Seeker, Harry, Hermione and Luna Lovegood were the Chasers with Neville Longbottom as keeper and they were awesome. Harry and Hermione are the best two fliers I've ever seen and I include Krum in that."

Ron was about to explode at the ludicrous comparison of Granger with his hero when he felt Millie's hand tighten on his arm as she spoke, "we saw the two of them in action at Sirius Black's trial, they saved minister Bones before stunning all those death eaters and finishing off with an auror for good measure. When Harry stuck that thing in the death eater's mouth to blow the back of his head off I'd never seen anything like it." Millie was almost whispering by the time she was finished and the pressure on Ron's arm told him they would be leaving soon, he just hoped they didn't get caught.

"What about the Tri-wizard Tournament? You're going to miss it," Marietta said.

"There's no way I would ever have entered that competition unless someone cast the same spells on me that Woods was under. 'Eternal Glory?' Can anyone here name me a previous winner?" the very loud silence answered his question, "When was the last time the Cannon's won the league?"

Ron's shout of "1892" as Millie dragged him out the door had everyone laughing.

"Now that's eternal glory," joked Cedric before becoming serious again, "a thousand galleons is a lot of money but you have to compare that against the impact being chosen would have on your NEWT's, the Tri-wiz will soon be forgotten but those scores are with you for the rest of your life and let's not forget to mention the 'extremely dangerous' part."

Marietta came back at him, "what about the honour of Hogwarts?"

Cedric just stared at her until she was blushing, "everyone knows you tried everything to get out of Hogwarts but the Institute wouldn't accept you, do I really have to answer the 'honour' bit? I actually hadn't realised just how bad things had become until I set foot in the Institute, the atmosphere there just lifts your spirits and makes you want to do your best."

He could see the confused looks so tried his best to explain by giving an example, "the Institute currently has all the kids from an orphanage staying there while the Potter's prepare a new building for them, yesterday I sat having lunch with two nine-year-old orphans who worship Harry and Hermione and not because of that boy-who-lived bullshit. It isn't even anything to do with the fact that their clothes, meals and even the roof over their heads were all provided by them. It was purely down to the fact that they had spent time with the kids and were even teaching them to fly a broom, I thought at first it was hope that these kids now had before realizing that it was even stronger than that. Harry and Hermione, just by being who they are quite literally install belief that things will get better and every single person in the Institute responds to that. It really is quite difficult to explain other than they are now the leaders Dumbledore only thinks he is."

The mutterings from these revelations would continue for days as Cedric's words sank in, almost all seventh year students already agreed with him over the NEWT's issue and it really would be interesting to see who the Hogwarts champion would be.

Cedric finally broke away from the group and with Cho on his arm slipped up a side alley for some alone time, unfortunately for the young couple they choose the same alley that Mille had dragged Ron up earlier. Cedric had other things on his mind and was on top of the situation before realizing it, he moved in front of Cho to protect her but his ears were soon ringing from the pretty Ravenclaw's screams.

-oOoOo-

Wormtail had dogged the Weasley boy's steps all day but the large Slytherin seemed to be attached to him, when they had entered the alley he thought Christmas had come early only to turn the corner and find the large Slytherin was now actually attached to the boy. That sight would haunt Peter Pettigrew for the rest of his life, he hid while waiting on the couple finishing their business and almost offered thanks to Sirius for the fact he no longer slept in the boy's bedroom.

When the horrible noises had died down Peter swung round the corner and fired off two stunners, as both his targets fell to the ground the death eater found himself staring at Cedric Diggory and Cho Chang. He immediately fired a cutting curse, which hit the boy's chest and started his girlfriend screaming like a banshee, Peter panicked and fired off another three curses at the couple but they disappeared before his spells could even reach them. This seemed like the proverbial good idea to the not so bright death eater so he activated his portkey taking the unconscious couple with him as he headed back to his master.

-oOoOo-

Cho's screams had the whole Institute rushing to see what the commotion was; Cedric's injury had activated his portkey, which had brought both of them back to Italy.

Harry just stood and stared at Cedric as Poppy worked feverishly to prevent the boy bleeding to death, Cho had passed out and the staff were clearing everyone else away from the area. Hermione and Joan had their arms around Harry who couldn't believe this was happening, Cedric was out the tournament and supposed to be safe so what the bloody hell went wrong?

"I think he's going to be ok now but that portkey saved his life, even ten minutes later and I wouldn't have been able to help him," Poppy had managed to close the wound and administer blood replenishing potion to stabilise his condition. Cho was revived and found to be in shock so was given a mild sedative and placed in the bed next to Cedric's.

Harry felt he could breath again, seeing Cedric lying like that had caused a whole load of painful memories to surface but Hermione was helping through the bond and Joan just seemed to instinctively know her dad needed a hug. "When will we be able to ask one of them what happened?" Harry asked the healer.

Poppy considered the question for a moment before giving her answer, "it will probably be Cedric who wakes first, Miss Chang has had quite a scare and will have to be brought back to consciousness slowly, preferably with her boyfriend awake and well beforehand. If it's really urgent I could wake Cedric for a short while in about an hour?"

"Yes please Poppy," answered Harry "I have a really bad feeling about this and need to know quickly."

-oOoOo-

Ron was revived to find himself staring into the faces of Peter Pettigrew and Bellatrix Lestrange, a quick exclamation of "bloody hell!" and the red haired Gryffindor fainted back into unconsciousness.

"Oh heart of a lion this one, are you sure you got the right boy?" Bella taunted Peter "perhaps we should recommend using the girl, she at least is a Slytherin and has to have more pluck than him."

Peter could only shake his head as his complexion started to turn green, their master wouldn't be very pleased with this but perhaps he could keep the boy unconscious until it was time to perform the ceremony. The more he thought about it he realised the problem would be keeping him awake long enough to perform the ceremony.

-oOoOo-

Back at the castle Albus had Percy and Penelope run off their feet arranging tonight's ceremony while Horace was otherwise engaged, they didn't count their returning students and were unaware that Hogwarts was currently missing a member of Gryffindor, Slytherin and Ravenclaw.

-oOoOo-

Cedric Diggory woke slowly, seeing his bed surrounded by people brought everything rushing back, "Cho?"

She's fine Cedric, just got a bit of a shock and sleeping it off in the bed next to you. Can you tell us what happened?" Pomona asked.

"We walked round a corner to find a man stunning Ron Weasley and Millicent Bulstrode, I just had time to get in front of Cho before being hit by a curse. Apart from hearing Cho screaming the next thing I remember is waking up here."

Pomona had been his head of house for six years before joining the institute and Cedric had grown into a fine young wizard in her opinion, she could guess why they were going 'round a corner' but didn't want to embarrass Cedric.

"Do you think we could look at your memory in a pensive to see if we can figure out who attacked you?" she asked.

"I can tell you exactly who attacked me, I recognised him straight away from his picture in the Quibbler. It was Peter Pettigrew and he really does look like a rat."

The irony that Pettigrew once again had attacked Cedric was not lost on Harry and Hermione, at least this time the former Huffelpuff had survived but it left them with the question why stun the other two. It hit both of them at the same time, "shit, we need a meeting NOW!" they could hear the panic in Harry's voice so everyone headed straight out of the infirmary and into an unused classroom while the missing members were summoned.

Pomona was there because she now knew the full story, Ginny was asked to attend as Ron was involved while they included Amber as she would have been the only one left out. Joan was sitting on Hermione's knee, refusing to leave her parents so they let her sit quietly as they discussed what to do next.

Harry started off, "we think Voldemort is going to use Ron to get himself a new body but when he finds that grave empty, who knows what he'll do."

The two marauders exchanged glances before Sirius spoke, "eh Harry, you never said you wanted that grave empty."

Harry's eyes bored into his godfather, "please tell me you took out his father's bones."

"Of course we did, Remus configured them into a walking stick which is currently in the umbrella stand at the Grangers."

"Why do I feel there's a 'but' coming here?" Harry asked.

"As I said you never mentioned that we had to leave the grave empty, we left a dead squirrel there transfigured to look like a human skeleton."

Harry's eyes never left his godfather as a myriad of emotions coursed through his body but eventually there could only be one winner, he burst into uncontrollable laughter, which was soon followed by Hermione while the rest played catch-up.

"Could someone please explain to me just what the hell is going on here?" asked a totally bemused Ginny.

It was Hermione who was first to get herself back under control, "Voldemort is going to attempt a ritual using a bone from his father, flesh from a servant and blood of an enemy. Peter will be the servant but he now has Ron as the enemy because he couldn't get to Harry and a squirrel bone in place of his father's which these two switched." She just couldn't resist the joke, "this will drive Voldemort nuts!"

"That still leaves us with the problem that there are two children who have been kidnapped by that monster." Pomona's point quickly put paid to the laughter in the room.

"I know we'll eventually have to take him on but I'll be honest here and say I'm not comfortable risking our lives to rescue the arsehole who wanted to harm my daughter," Dan looked to Ginny who nodded that she could understand his position, she also knew if it was her that had been taken they would already be in armour and on their way to rescue her.

"I'm afraid that until we get that snake, me killing him would be a disaster. Our plan is still in place where we should be able to do this without injuries to our party; finishing off Voldemort and loosing someone sitting here would not be a victory but a tragedy. If we go against him tonight he's going to have a body of sorts with a raging temper that will see him attacking like a lunatic. The question we need to ask ourselves is can we sit here and allow those two to be murdered when we know exactly where they are." Harry's question had everyone searching their conscience.

It was Joan who broke the silence, "can't the aurors go and get them if you tell them where they are?" the little girl was desperate for her parents not to be involved in this.

Hermione held her tight as she explained the problem, "you've seen what the aurors are like sweetie, Ron and Millicent would be killed for sure as well as some of the aurors. At the moment we're the only people who can help."

Luna was next to speak, "if Harry couldn't leave Malfoy to his fate then I don't think we can abandon these two, Millicent's only fault was getting betrothed to the arse."

Harry made the decision, "we make a rescue attempt but everyone needs to remember it's a rescue, we're not there to take casualties. We portkey in on the road at the cemetery and proceed very carefully, can we all live with that?"

There were nods around the room as they started moving to get ready, Harry and Hermione didn't want to be anywhere near Voldemort tonight but fate hadn't exactly been on their side so far. Joan clung to her aunt Ginny as her parents went to put their armour on. Harry asked his wife over their bond if he wasn't taking this saving people thing too far, her only answer was to kiss him.

-oOoOo-

Ron regained consciousness to find himself in a graveyard and being held by a stone figure, his vision was suddenly full of an angry Peter Pettigrew's face.

"Listen to me very carefully boy and you might live to see the sunrise," Peter knew there was no way the red head would make it through the night, his master would want to kill someone as soon as he got his new body and as far as the death eater was concerned better the boy than him.

"We are going to hold a ritual here and you will watch it all, to complete the ritual I have to take some of your blood. If you do what you're told I'll make a small cut on your arm, you embarrass me by passing out and I'll gut you like a fish. Do you understand me?"

Ron could only nod as he'd lost the power of speech. The trembling red head watched Peter go and move the largest cauldron he'd ever seen onto a fire, the ugliest baby he'd ever seen was then placed into the water filled cauldron as Ron prayed it couldn't swim. He soon found his voice again though as the ground in front of him started churning up and a coffin emerged, the terrified Gryffindor could only look on in horror as Peter forced the lid open and removed a bone, which he then placed in the cauldron.

When the death eater pulled out the wicked knife Ron was struggling like mad to escape though with Bellatrix Lestrange standing next to him this was not perhaps the brightest thing to do. When Peter used the blade to slice off his own hand, which plopped into the cauldron, Ron totally lost it and began screaming blue murder.

Ron's body eventually reacted as he had to stop screaming to breath, by now a bleeding Peter was standing in front of him holding the blade he'd used to cut off his other hand. As the blade inched towards him Ron was again screaming his lungs out, as the blade cut into his flesh he pissed himself before passing out from either fear or lack of oxygen.

Bella watched as Wormtail dripped the boys blood into the cauldron hoping her master wouldn't inherit the boy's bravery, with the ritual complete there was a flash, lots of mist as the cauldron cracked in half. The pureblood couldn't believe the sight in front of her, now standing upright was the biggest red squirrel in the whole frigging world. When the creature started screeching at Wormtail in a voice so high she wondered if he'd lost his nuts, Bella was seriously freaked out.

She was so freaked out that she just caught a glimpse of the blow heading her way, Bella instinctively threw up her arm to protect her head but chose the wrong arm which left the witch missing teeth as she hit the deck, dead to the world.

-oOoOo-

Millie awoke in a graveyard and immediately looked for her betrothed, not finding him had the witch panicking and the bonds placed on her were no match for the large Slytherin in this condition. Discovering that her wand was gone she looked around for something that could be used as a weapon, settling on a fallen tree branch that she quickly snapped to a length that gave her a rudimentary club. The hiss behind her had Millie spinning with a speed that bellied her size, the club connected with the snake's head with a hit that would have had them on their feet at Yankee Stadium.

It might not have gained her a home run but one large snake bit the dust though Millie didn't hear the horcrux scream as those coming from her betrothed drowned it out. It was an extremely pissed Millicent Bulstrode who went looking for her betrothed, he belonged to her and anyone damaging her property was going to pay.

When Ron screamed again she knew that she was much closer, then Millie spied the red hair and made her way towards it. A commotion elsewhere had distracted the bitch who was guarding her Ronald and that was going to cost the witch dearly, Millie swung the club again but the bitch had started to move though the solid 'thunk' as it impacted with her jaw meant she wouldn't be moving again for a good while yet.

Using the club as a lever she soon had her wizard free and flung over her shoulder like a sack of spuds before noticing what the bitch had been watching, a six foot squirrel was using a wand to place the cruciatus curse on a man who was covered in blood and beginning to foam at the mouth. Millie had no idea what type of perversion they had found themselves in the middle of and no intention of hanging around to find out, she hefted her burden and headed in the opposite direction from the creature with the wand, which was thankfully downhill.

-oOoOo-

The eight had made their way inside the cemetery gate and were slowly moving upwards when Millicent, with Ron dangling over her shoulder crested the hill, heading straight towards them.

Hermione was just thinking this was too easy when Riddle the squirrel hopped into the picture, he was screaming curses at the pair in a voice that would immediately have gotten him a staring role alongside Chip & Dale. The grotesque sight of a snarling squirrel froze them as much as the fact it was talking and throwing curses at the running figures though it was Emma who reacted first. She knew it was extreme range for her pump action but every pellet that hit would sting like a bitch.

The creature squealed in pain as Emma pumped shot after shot in it's direction while Millie increased her pace now that help was at hand, the pureblood had only heard a sound like that once before and knew that Harry Potter had come to save his friend.

Harry and Hermione held hands before jointly casting Expelliarmus at the squirrel, which blew it twenty feet into the air, lodging it up a tree. Riddle's wand flew out his paw in their direction and Harry's seeker reflexes were once again evident as he plucked it out the air, the other team grabbed a now exhausted Millie and the ten portkeyed back to Italy, mission accomplished.

-oOoOo-

Albus had drawn out the tension as long as he dared and now approached the goblet for the first name while all eyes were on him and he was revelling from being in the spotlight once more, the parchment was spat out of the flames and glided into the old wizards hand.

He read the parchment before making the announcement, "the champion for Durmstrang is Victor Krum!"

Loud cheering rang through the great hall for the first time this term as Albus waited on the next name.

"The Beauxbatons champion is Fleur Delacour!" More cheers followed though everyone was now waiting on the Hogwarts champion.

When the next piece of parchment came out Albus was livid, how could the selfish bastards put their NEWT scores before HIS honour. Didn't they care this would reflect badly on him? He almost didn't want to read the name but with so many compulsions on the goblet he couldn't do a thing about it. "The Hogwarts champion is Barnabas Bole."

Dumbledore was sure there was laughter mixed in with cheering at the Slytherin beaters name, maybe he could change the rules and allow him to use a beaters bat instead of his wand, he would be a dammed sight better with it. Albus knew the next bit would stop the laughter though he would have to remember to look surprised, especially with that bitch Bones here.

You could have heard a pin drop as the fourth piece of parchment was spat out the goblet, when the headmaster announced "Harry Potter" the resulting noise was cut short by Amelia who was now on her feet.

"How is that possible?" she demanded, "the Institute didn't enter the competition and I know for a fact Lord Potter is in Italy and has been since the goblet was lit."

It took all Dumbledore's experience to keep the smirk off his face, "it doesn't matter minister, his name came out the goblet therefore he must compete or lose his magic."

Amelia glared at the ministry officials in charge of the tournament who just sat with their heads down, confirming her fears.

Smirking was the last thing on Dumbledore's mind as the goblet spat out another name, he didn't have to fake surprise or shock this time. He couldn't believe it as he read the name, how could that happen without him knowing?

"Lady Hermione Jean Potter."

Amelia was incensed, "just what are you trying to pull here Dumbledore?"

For once Albus could answer with total honesty, a very rare occurrence these days. "Madam minister I can assure you I didn't even know they were married." How was he supposed to get the arse to sacrifice himself, never mind his hands on the Potter fortune now?

Everything stopped as another name came out the goblet and Albus realized just how much he'd been played, the old even recognised the handwriting from monitoring the boy's mail. This would even satisfy the terms of the prophecy as it was clearly by his hand but with a horcrux in his head Potter was already dead.

"Tom Marvolo Riddle" brought the house down until the main doors crashing open once more introduced silence to the hall.

-oOoOo-

They arrived at the Institute to what Millicent would consider chaos, professor Sprout was snogging professor Lupin, Lord Black had a young woman all over him while Ginny and a young girl she didn't know were dashing about hugging and kissing everyone. Madam Pomfrey led her, still carrying Ronald into what was obviously their infirmary and Ginny came in behind them. Ron was still unconscious but Poppy wasn't worried and quickly healed the cut on his arm. A scourgify charm on Ron would have to do for now but she asked Ginny to take Millicent and let her have a shower, Millie followed the girl who would have been her future sister-in-law into their apartment as Ginny pointed to the bathroom while looking out some clothes she could transfigure to fit.

Millie was still carrying the club and left it leaning on the wall outside the shower room where Ginny noticed the blood on the end of it.

The water was running as Ginny asked, "just who did you hit with the stick?"

Millie answered, "I hit that bitch Lestrange right on the mouth, oh and the bloody biggest snake I've ever seen."

The last words were hardly out her mouth when the shower door slid back and an astonished Ginny was standing there, "did you say snake? Do you think you killed it?"

"Oh it was definitely dead, crushed it's skull," answered the unabashed girl who couldn't understand why Ginny was bobbing up and down with excitement, one red head in her life was definitely enough.

"I need to go and get Harry right away, this is just the best news."

"Em Ginny, would you mind if I finished my shower first?" the bright red colour that the girl turned cleared up any misunderstandings.

"Oh I'm so sorry Millicent, I just forgot everything when I heard you hit the snake. I'll make sure you get time to finish your shower but this is great news." She rushed away leaving Millie wondering just what was so special about the beast.

Millie came out the shower and put on the clothes Ginny had transfigured for her, she would have to ask where the girl did her shopping because these were better than anything she owned.

Ginny led her into a room that held the people who rescued her along with a couple of others, her eyes were immediately drawn to the beautiful little girl who seemed to have calmed down some but was clinging to Hermione.

It was a delighted Harry that spoke first, "Millicent, you have done us a great favour tonight and I could kiss you for it but after hearing what you did to Bellatrix Lestrange I'm terrified to attempt it."

The large Slytherin just laughed, "you're most welcome Lord Potter, I'm just so glad you showed up to rescue your friend."

The silence that followed that remark actually unnerved the girl until Harry tried to explain, "Millicent had Ron been there alone tonight I don't know if we would have left this building, the Weasley family had plans for me and Ron was part of it. He was going to use a love potion on my wife here, not because he has any feelings for her but just purely to take her away from me. I was supposed to marry another according to the manipulations of the Weasleys and Dumbledore."

Ginny actually had to help the girl to a seat before she fell down, "my family and the headmaster wanted me with Harry so they could control him and steal even more of his gold. When that plan didn't work they sold me but Harry and Hermione tricked them and I ended up being adopted and am now Ginny Heather Pomfrey."

Hermione walked over with Joan in her arms, "Millicent it was always Harry for me, never at any time did I consider Ron as anything more than a friend. We fought all the time and couldn't agree on anything, I know this must be a shock to you but considering this is the boy you want to spend the rest of your life with then it really is something you need to talk about with him."

Millie took a few deep breaths before speaking, her revulsion there for all to see. "Lord and Lady Potter please believe me when I say how much that I abhor those potions, I have had to put up with people saying that I made use of them to get Ron to be my betrothed. The only excuse I can offer is that he's not the sharpest tool in the box and easily led, he would have done whatever his mother told him to do without question. On behalf of both of us I would like to offer my sincerest apologies."

"You have nothing to apologise for Millicent, we owe you a great debt for tonight and anything we can do for you only requires a request."

"Lord Potter if I could find out where these clothes were bought that would be reward enough."

"The name is Harry and I think we can do better than that, we'll make arrangements for these four young ladies to take you shopping in Naples and I'll pick up the tab."

Millicent was about to protest that she didn't want to inconvenience anyone when Ginny and Luna pounced on Harry with hugs and kisses, the little girl also looked very excited but her words shocked the witch.

"Mum can I really come to?"

Hermione held her daughter tighter, "of course you can sweetie, and you were a very brave girl tonight." She caught the look of confusion on the Slytherin's face, "sorry Millicent, this lovely young lady is our daughter Joan."

Joan, having been introduced to the newcomer was now off and running, "oh I'm so happy you'll get to come shopping with us, aunt Ginny and aunt Luna just love it but you wouldn't believe the time they take to pick some underwear, the only thing that gets them out of that shop is the promise of pizza and coke." The accompanying laughter had the two girls blushing and aiming pretend scowls at the person revealing their secrets.

Millie couldn't help but smile at the delightful child who had managed to say all that in just one breath, "thank you Harry and I would be delighted to go shopping with Joan." The little girl's eyes lit up at the compliment and Millie knew she'd made a friend.

"Ok we'll get some dates sorted soon but could you tell us what happened today, don't miss anything out."

Millie didn't take Harry's words literally as she had no intention of explaining what she and Ron were doing up that alley but recounted every detail from when she woke up in the graveyard.

The broad smiles when she described the fate of the snake still confused her and the explanation that it was Voldemort's familiar felt like a half-truth. She was amazed by the dynamic of the group though, which consisted of the headmistress, professors, muggle parents, students and a child, with a couple of lords and a lady thrown in for good measure yet there was no posturing for position evident at all. The only brinkmanship on display was good-natured and seemed to switch targets haphazardly, the thought that her betrothed was part of this and threw it away chasing gold he had no right to ignited Millie's anger.

She would give anything to be part of a group like this, not for fame or finance but because friends were worth much more than those trinkets. Neither fame or finance had saved them tonight, these people who her betrothed had betrayed in the worst way possible still risked their lives to come to their rescue and that was worth way more than gold. The fact that Ron didn't understand that meant she was going to have to do some re-educating of her own, perhaps she would hold on to that stick for now.

Millie was sitting in clothes that made her feel more like a girl than at anytime in her life while the conversation around her jumped from subject to subject but always seemed laced with laughter, this must be what it's like to be normal she thought.

She now understood what Cedric was trying to tell them in the Three Broomsticks today, Millie hadn't been here three hours and already had been treated better than in her three years at Hogwarts.

Had Ron actually used that potion against someone she would be kicking his arse out of bed and telling the prat to get lost, even though she loved him dearly that would have been an unforgivable act in her eyes. Millie was about to have a long and serious conversation with Ronald that was going to determine their future together, she excused herself and headed off to the infirmary to confront the love of her life.

-oOoOo-

Bella came round in great pain with a large squirrel's face filling her vision, as the creature touched her cheek she screamed at the top of her lungs, "get your paws off me you frigging freak!"

The only thing that saved her life was that with her jaw broke and multiple teeth missing she could have been singing 'Rule Britannia' and not a word would have been understood. Between her gurgles and Voldemort's helium vocals they sounded more like a comedy duo than a dark lord and his evil sidekick, 'Riddle the squirrel and the one-armed toothless witch' had a catchy ring to it that should wow the punters on the cabaret circuit.

Bella's ear was beginning to be able to decipher the creatures ramblings, enough to understand that the group she'd met in the Black family home had turned up and 'luckily' defeated the bushy tailed rodent, she could see lumps all over it's body that looked as if multiple stinging hexes had hit.

She was in a lot of pain but couldn't help wondering how Bellatrix Black, the queen of pureblood supremacy, came to be lying spitting teeth in a bone yard with a couple of rodents for company. When she caught sight of Peter she had to change that assessment, Wormtail had met his death at the wand of a squirrel. Bella knew she was loosing it and needed to get away from this thing that was still spouting about purebloods kneeling before him, he had a frigging snout and tail for Merlin's sake.

She noticed he was using Peter's wand to try and repair her jaw meaning he'd been disarmed; she was surprised they hadn't finished the job and was sure next time there would be no escape. The creature laid it's paw on her arm and before her revulsion had a chance to register he aparated them both out of there.

-oOoOo-

Harry had Sirius in a one-arm hug, "the marauders rode again tonight with their greatest ever prank, Prongs and Regulus got some revenge when you gave Riddle that bushy tail. You have totally destroyed his credibility with the British purebloods forever and Peter died like the rat he was; if our plan has worked Voldemort will be losing his magic in the next few weeks to boot. I think a little visit to uncle Albus is in order tonight, they must have the search parties out by now."

"Do you think they'll have noticed that three students are missing?" Neville asked jokingly.

Harry wasn't joking with his answer, "they better have, Amelia's there tonight and she'll tear Albus a new one if he hasn't."

They decided to go mob handed with even Joan tagging along.

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