Harry Potter and Future's Past

Starts out the day after the Battle of Hogwarts. Harry and Hermione meet the Goddess of Love, and she offers to let them go back in time. Strictly Harry and Hermione. Minor - well maybe major Ginny, Ron and Dumbledore Bashing. Soul Bond - Time Travel

https://www.fanfiction.net/s/5664828/1/Harry-Potter-and-Future-s-Past

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18. Chapter 18 A Rat and A Beetle

June 19th Continued

"So how do we do this?" Harry asked as they looked at the unconscious form of Peter Pettigrew. He had several red marks and swellings on his forehead as Winky had decided to use a pot rather than magic to keep Pettigrew unconscious.

"Let's call Sirius first," Hermione suggested. "This should be as much his decision as ours. This man betrayed him as well as your parents, caused him to be locked away in Azkaban and in the last timeline, that all ended up with him being dead."

Harry looked at his wife and with a small smile he nodded and pulled out the ever present mirror. "Sirius Black," This time it took a minute for him to respond. When he did, they could see he was in one of the bathrooms at Grimmauld place.

"How's your evening going Pup?"

"Oh the same old stuff, a little of this and that. Got married…you know all the usual."

"Got married?" Sirius asked in a confused voice. "But…but I thought..."

"It was a joke by Neville and Luna. Now if I happen to slip up and say Hermione's my wife they'll not even think about it," Harry explained. "In fact half the school is addressing us as Mr. and Mrs. Potter now."

"So the truth disguised as a joke?" Sirius asked with a glint in his eyes. "Now that's true Marauder style."

"Like I said it was Luna and Neville," Harry said. "Now the reason for the call, we've got Peter here," Harry turned the mirror down so Sirius could see the traitor. "Hermione had a great idea but we wanted ask your thoughts about it."

"What is it?"

"As you know one of the things we have to do is find a logical reason to be looking for a Horcrux in the Room of Requirements," Harry started.

"So we thought we'd change Pettigrew's memories so he thinks that's the mission he was sent to Hogwarts to do; to steal the Diadem," Hermione continued. "It will put another Horcrux in Dumbledore's hands and maybe give us the opening for him to explain them to us."

"Think he will?"

"I stood up to him in the middle of the Great Hall this evening because of Malfoy," Harry said. "He tried to tell me to let Draco run his mouth off like he always does. I explained that doing that only allows the bigotry to continue in the castle. He has got to know by now that I'm not going to roll over and play docile little Harry Potter anymore."

"Just be careful," Sirius said. "The more you argue with him the more you're likely to say something you shouldn't."

"Yeah I know," Harry sighed. "It...it's just the last time he played me; he used my emotions against me. He used your death to further his…his I don't even know what to call it. A game, a plan?" Harry took a couple of breaths before continuing. "For two years after this time I believed in him, believed everything he ever told me. Now knowing what's really happening behind those eyes of his I find it very infuriating."

Hermione wrapped her arms around her husband. "He's a man who's lost sight of the trees because he can only see the forest. He's so wrapped up in Voldemort, he no longer sees anything but him."

Harry sighed again. "I know," He said as he gave his wife a small smile before looking back at the mirror. "So do you agree with the plan to turn him over to Dumbledore? Or do you want a chance at Pettigrew?"

Sirius didn't speak for several seconds but finally he replied. "Just do me a favor will you, ask Fudge and Bones to make sure he's put in my old cell in Azkaban."

"Sure thing Padfoot," Then Harry remembered what happened the last time he had seen Pettigrew. "Of course, it's possible that he might never survive. His hand might kill him again if he tells Dumbledore anything."

"I won't weep if it does," Sirius replied with a shrug. "Just let me know how it goes."

"We will," Harry replied and the mirror went dark. He looked again at Hermione. "So how are we going to do this? I would have said we spotted him on the Marauder's Map but I don't want Dumbledore to know about it."

"We spotted a silver pawed rat?"

"But he's not in his animagus form so how would we explain him not being in his form? Unless you know the animagus reversal spell Sirius and Remus did?" At his own use of his godfather's name he rolled his eyes at himself and pulled back out the mirror. Ten minutes later they knew the spell to reverse the animagus form if someone asked them.

After Hermione made the corrections to Pettigrew's memories, they had Dobby and Winky apparate them to right outside of the Room of Requirements. With a quick look around to make sure no one saw them, Hermione raced off toward McGonagall's office.

"Professor!" She exclaimed as she ran into their Head of House's office without even knocking a short time later. "We got him," She was breathing hard as she had run the entire way to make it very realistic. "We got him."

"Got whom Mis..Mrs Potter?"

"Pettigrew!" Hermione said excitedly. "Harry and I were…were going to the Room of Requirements and we noticed something glinting in the light. It was a rat…I mean the paw of a rat. Harry stunned him...we got him."

"Peter Pettigrew?"

"Yes Ma'am. Can you come? Maybe ask Professor Dumbledore to come as well?"

"Most certainly," McGonagall replied. She quickly moved to her fireplace and threw in some floo powder. "Headmaster's office," She said. "When the flames turned green she continued. "Albus, M..Miss Granger is in my office and she says she and Mr. Potter captured Peter Pettigrew inside the castle," She looked back questioningly at Hermione.

"Seventh floor ma'am. Right outside the Room of Requirements."

"Did you hear her Albus?"

"I shall meet you there," Dumbledore replied and the green flames disappeared.

"McGonagall and I are meeting Dumbledore there," Hermione said to Harry.

Less than five minutes later everyone had grouped around the smallish man lying unconscious on the hall floor. Harry was telling Dumbledore the story. "Something metallic glinted in the hallway and it caught my eye. I looked and saw a rat, but then I noticed the rat had a silver paw. I thought it must be Pettigrew so I stunned him. Hermione and I forced him out of his form by the animagus reversal spell that Remus and Sirius used two years ago."

"I wonder why he's here," McGonagall said. "And what's with the red welts on his head?"

"I wonder myself," Dumbledore replied with a contemplative look on his face. "As for the marks, it's possible Voldemort has found a new way to torture his servants."

"Should we call Madam Bones?" Harry asked. He pulled out his mirror. "I can get Sirius to do it."

"Let's wait on that Harry," The Headmaster suggested. "I'd like to question Peter first. He wouldn't be here without orders from Riddle and I'd like to find out what those were."

"Of course Professor," Harry agreed. "But I'm going to be there."

"That's not necessary."

"Sir, this man betrayed my parents and the entire wizarding world. I watched him escape two years ago and that allowed Voldemort to return. I will not let that happen again," Harry said in a very defiant tone.

"Do you really think he could escape from me?" Dumbledore asked.

"If you didn't wish him to escape, probably not," Harry replied as he eyed the Headmaster. "But I'm not so sure that's the case."

"And why would I want a Death Eater to escape?"

"I'm not sure sir, but you haven't been trying very hard to capture him. Hermione and I were discussing the fact that you've had Snape as your spy ever since Voldemort returned. Surely he must have known where Pettigrew was hiding."

"Even if he did know, he could not divulge the information. Tom uses various means to hide himself."

"That was an interesting non-answer to a question sir," Hermione said. "You mean you could think of no way for Severus to lure Pettigrew out?"

"I could never jeopardize Severus for a single Death Eater," Albus explained. "What he does is too valuable for our cause."

"For his own cause you mean, but you'd never believe it," Harry thought before responding. "It's a moot point now. But I still would like to hear what he has to say. If he was here to try to get to me, I'd like to know and no, I would not trust you to tell me if he was."

"Harry I beg of you to consider this attitude of yours," Dumbledore pleaded. "I cannot allow you to keep acting this way. I've allowed you some latitude, but I must insist it stop. I am Headmaster of this school and you must show the proper respect to me and my professors."

Harry stared at the Headmaster for a few seconds before turning to McGonagall. "Ma'am, could you compile mine and Hermione's school records. We will not be returning next year." He looked back at Dumbledore. "Shall we leave now or do you wish us to wait and leave on the train?"

"Really now Mr. Potter is that really called for?" The Deputy Headmistress asked. "The Headmaster does have a point."

"If you knew the whole story you wouldn't be answering that way," Harry replied coolly. "I told him this morning that I refuse to keep playing the same game he's been playing at ever since I was born."

"What do you mean?"

Harry looked at the Headmaster with a quizzical look. "Professor?"

Dumbledore had been trying to find a way to argue his way back into an advantageous position with Harry but he couldn't find one. As he looked into Harry's green eyes he could see the determination that had led the young man through the struggles of the last few years. But he also noticed the eyes had a look of fatigue as well. He could only surmise the young man was truly on the verge of breaking from Hogwarts and possibly magical Britain altogether. Finally he sighed and said. "Follow me then Mr. Potter, Miss Granger. We shall see what Pettigrew has to say," He looked at McGonagall. "Minerva, I'd like to do this privately. Thank you for your assistance and I'll call for you later."

McGonagall glanced from Harry to Dumbledore before finally nodding. "I shall be in my office," She said.

"I'd like to call Sirius. I'm sure he'd like to know we have Wormtail," Harry said as Dumbledore levitated the unconscious traitor and started toward his office.

"I'd prefer that you wait until we hear what Peter has to say," Dumbledore replied. "Though if Sirius were to attempt to assault Pettigrew in revenge, it would allow me to show the Minister that he is unsuitable to be Harry's guardian and guardianship could be returned to the Dursleys," Dumbledore glanced at Harry as they walked down the corridor. "I'm sure that we can invite Sirius to my office before we call the authorities though."

"Thank you sir," Harry answered automatically but looked at Hermione who was walking beside him holding his hand. "Did I mention inviting Sirius here? I only wanted to tell him."

"Probably trying to make an overture to you," Hermione replied. "Make it seems he's giving you more than you asked for."

"I guess."

They walked silently along the corridors and steps, passing a few students who looked curiously at the group. Harry and Hermione were going over the story they had made up just to make sure they were ready for any explanations required. As they passed the Gargoyle and started up the steps, Harry grinned at the thought of Sirius finally getting to see Pettigrew and knowing that he would be there when Wormtail was turned over to the DMLE.

"I just wished Sirius would have had a chance at him. After all of those years in Azkaban he should but we really need this for now. But Peter being in his old cell will feel pretty good for him too. Though I think if he had an equal choice he'd prefer to rip the rat to pieces and feed him to an Acromantula," Harry thought to Hermione.

"We need to stop thinking like that," Hermione insisted. "Yes Peter might deserve it, but I'm afraid if we let revenge start controlling our thoughts we will lose ourselves. Yes those who we know will murder innocent people later need to be dealt with and I imagine we will be responsible for a few more deaths, but we can't start killing people purely for revenge. Besides Pettigrew has done much worse than just betraying Sirius and your parents, he betrayed everyone. He really does need a public trial; let everyone hear from his own mouth what he did."

"You're right," Harry admitted after a couple of seconds. "Though if Dumbledore is going to invite Sirius in, maybe he can at least give the rat a good thumping before the Aurors show up," Harry smiled as he thought of the look on Dumbledore's face if Sirius were to punch the traitor right in front of him. He knew Dumbledore would never allow it to continue and would stop Sirius from actually killing Peter. Harry stumbled as the steps made it to the level of Dumbledore's office as he realized what would happen next. "Love, what do you think Dumbledore would do if Sirius were to attack Peter in his office?"

"He'd stop him of course."

"And…"

Hermione looked at Harry questioningly and then her eyes flew open as she made the same logical conclusion. "He might turn him over to Madam Bones to be prosecuted and that would leave a pathway…"

"For me to return to the Dursleys."

"We're starting to get paranoid now," Hermione said. "He wouldn't really stoop that low would he?"

"Maybe we are," Harry agreed. "But we need to be on guard anytime we're around Dumbledore. I hope once those damn blood wards fail, he'll stop trying to get control of me."

"We can hope."

"Now if you're going to be here," Dumbledore started as he put Pettigrew in a chair and magically bound him. "You must not mention Severus. That's why I did not request Veritaserum from him. There are spies in the Ministry that would hear if Peter tells people that Professor Snape helped me in questioning him."

Harry and Hermione both nodded. They could understand the necessity to leave Snape out of this questioning unlike the end of the fourth year when he helped question Crouch Junior. At that time Snape had not rejoined Voldemort and no one was quite sure what had happened.

The office door closed and the lock sounded with a loud click as Dumbledore sealed his office. "I'm going to bring him around now," Dumbledore said. With a flick of his wand and a softly spoken 'Ennervate' Peter started stirring.

Peter Pettigrew's eyes opened slowly, sluggishly but when he saw the long grey beard of the person in front of him he instantly tried to change into his animagus form.

"Hello Peter," Dumbledore said. "While bound in that chair, you will not be able to change so it does no good to keep trying."

Pettigrew's eyes looked around the room in panic and came to rest on Harry and Hermione. "Harry, so like your father…."

"Shove it Wormtail," Harry snarled. "Yes I'm like my father and if he was here right now, I'm sure he'd kill you on the spot. I should have let Sirius and Remus kill you two years ago. You betrayed your friends."

"I…I had no choice," Peter whined.

"And you had no choice last year, bringing Voldemort back to life?" Harry asked. "Every death that has happened or will happen because of Voldemort is your responsibility and that doesn't even include Cedric Diggory, the young man who came to the cemetery last year that you killed. You are a traitor, traitor to your friends and a traitor to every good witch and wizard who now has to live in fear."

Peter became agitated and began to struggle against the bindings.

"You can struggle all you want, but you will not get free. Now Peter, maybe you can tell me why you're in my castle?" Dumbledore asked. His voice was soft but his blue eyes were hard and focused.

Peter stopped struggling and looked at the floor. No words came from his tightly sealed lips as he shook his head.

"Peter, you will talk eventually," Dumbledore said. "I will be handing you over to the Ministry shortly and they will interrogate you with Veritaserum."

"If you don't start talking," Harry added. "I will personally make sure that your soul finds its way into a Dementor. The Minister is especially willing to listen to me right now."

"I read the Prophet Harry," Pettigrew scoffed as a bit of defiance rose in him. "I know the Minister doesn't like you, either of you," He nodded toward Dumbledore as well.

"Headmaster, do you have the paper from this afternoon?" Hermione asked.

Dumbledore looked at the muggleborn witch and nodded. He reached over to his desk and picked up the paper and handed it to her. She quickly turned to a picture of the Minister shaking Harry's hand.

"The Minister is indebted to Harry right now," She said as she showed Pettigrew the picture. She then turned to the front page. "And if you don't know, your master lost to Harry this morning," She turned to the front page that showed the two battling in the Ministry. "All but one of the Death Eaters he sent to the Ministry died or was captured."

Pettigrew looked at the picture of Harry dueling Voldemort and he recognized the same golden cage that had happened last year in the graveyard. A sense of hopelessness passed through him. He looked up at Harry and then at Dumbledore. "I…I was sent to get something for my master," He said as the memories Hermione had placed in him took over.

"What did he need from Hogwarts?"

"He...he said I was to find a special room on the seventh floor and…" his voice trailed off as he looked down at his arm in horror. The silver hand was struggling to raise his arm toward his neck but the magical bindings were keeping the arm from moving. A 'crack' was heard as Pettigrew's wrist snapped. The rat faced man cried out in pain as the silver hand continued to try to fight its way loose.

Harry had thought that the bindings that held the arm in place would prevent the hand from exacting penance from Wormtail this time, but Voldemort's magic had other plans. He and Hermione now watched in horror as the silver hand was literally ripping itself off of Pettigrew's arm to accomplish its task.

"HELP ME!" Wormtail screamed in horror and pain as he watched his wrist separate. The magical silver hand started climbing his arm dragging blood, bone and muscles with it while blood continued to spurt from his open arm. His screams grew louder and louder until suddenly the hand went flying across the room.

Harry looked from Wormtail to the Headmaster and saw him standing there with the Elder wand in his hand. He watched Dumbledore send another hex toward the hand but missed as it had recovered and was scurrying like some grotesque bloody insect back toward Pettigrew. Harry and Hermione pulled out their wands and sent bludgeoning hexes at it as well. Harry hit it with a well-aimed hex that threw it back against a wall and Dumbledore followed up with some kind of yellow spell that caused the hand to melt into a silver puddle.

Dumbledore moved quickly to Pettigrew and started examining the bloody wrist which was bleeding profusely. He turned to the teens. "Get Madam Pomfrey in the floo and tell her we have an emergency," As Harry and Hermione raced to do as instructed, Dumbledore turned back to Pettigrew. He sent a shrinking spell at the cuff of Pettigrew's shirt. As he continued to shrink it, the cuff began to serve as a tourniquet until the blood ceased to flow.

It was another twenty minutes before Pomfrey left the Headmaster's office. Pettigrew's stump was sealed and bandaged; he'd been given Blood Replenishing and pain relief potions. She'd even healed the pot induced welts on the rat's forehead. The blood had been vanished from the floor and the adrenaline had settled down.

"Well Peter, that's the gratitude from your master for your sacrifice and dedication," Dumbledore said as he nodded toward silver puddle on the floor.

Peter eyed the puddle nervously like it was going to transform back into a hand and continue the attack, but he'd lost all of his nerves. "I…I was sent to steal a crown like thing. He called it a diadem," He sputtered. "My…my master said it was very important for him to have it, that he'd left it here many years ago."

Harry glanced at Hermione and gave her a silent 'well done'. Her memory modifications were working perfectly.

Dumbledore was staring at the traitor bound in the chair but his mind was elsewhere. He'd long suspected that Voldemort had used founder's objects to hide his horcruxes. He thought of the memories from Hokey the house-elf that showed the cup of Hufflepuff not to mention the locket that had he'd been handed two weeks ago. He had known instantly what the locket was and what it probably contained in it. He'd yet been able to destroy it though. If Riddle had come across the long lost Diadem of Ravenclaw it would be exactly what he'd use for a Horcrux. "I might be jumping to conclusions. It might not be that Diadem. It might be anything," He thought as he refocused on Pettigrew. "Tell us where this object is supposed to be."

"He'll kill me if I tell you," Peter cried.

"He's already tried to kill you," Dumbledore said as he nodded again toward the silver puddle.

Peter stared at the silvery spot on the floor for a full minute before continuing. "He said that it was a hidden room; one that only he had ever discovered in this castle. I…I had to go the seventh floor and walk in front of a blank wall area while asking for a room to store things in."

"Did he say anything else?"

"He...he said it was a very large room and I was to stay there until I found it."

Harry used those words as an opening. "Sir, that's got to be the Room of Requirements."

"I agree."

"Whatever this diadem thing is, Hermione and I will be glad to go look for it," Harry continued. "I mean if it might take several days, we really don't have anything to do right now until the end of the year."

Dumbledore was about to reject Harry's offer as he turned to look at him, but as he did, he found the emerald eyes that belonged to Lily Potter and the face that was so like James Potter looking back at him. A series of memories flooded through his mind. Memories of the night he found James and Lily dead, memories of a young man only eleven years old desperately fighting to keep the Philosopher's Stone out of Voldemort's hands, of a twelve year old boy stumbling wearily into McGonagall's office with a sword in his hand and a missing young girl beside him having faced a horror fully grown wizards would have ran from, of a young man who risked the perils of time to save his godfather while at the same time driving off Dementors with a Patronus spell that was well above what he should have been able to do, and finally of a young man materializing at the end of the Triwizard tournament clutching the dead body of a friend after having battled Voldemort. A final memory of the confrontation with Harry at dinner this previous evening and what he'd said.

"They are not innocent children. They are old enough to become Death Eaters themselves and unless you do something that's what will eventually happen."

It was at that moment when Dumbledore realized he might have been wrong about Harry. As he studied the young man, he wondered if in that same sentence Harry had proclaimed he was ready to fight as well. "Maybe it is time, at least for a small amount of what he needs to know," He thought before returning his attention back to the two teens. "Very well Harry," Dumbledore said finally. "But I think we need to discuss a few things before you do, but it is late tonight and we need to turn Peter over to the proper authorities. Could I ask that you and Miss Granger come back tomorrow morning?"

Harry looked at Hermione. "Do you think he plans to tell us?"

"We can hope so," Hermione replied before she answered for both of them. "Yes sir. We'll be here sir."

"I think you can also tell Sirius we have Pettigrew, but maybe it'd be for the best if he waits until he's in the Ministry's custody before he attempts to see him," Dumbledore said as he finally admitted to himself that he'd have to offer the Dursleys protection in some other way.

"Yes sir," Harry replied. He pulled out his mirror and as soon as his godfather's face showed, he spoke quickly to make sure Sirius realized the situation. "Sirius, we caught Pettigrew. We're in Dumbledore's office questioning him."

"Wormtail?" Sirius asked as if he didn't already know. "You caught the traitor?"

"Yeah it seems he was sent here for…" Harry looked at Dumbledore who was shaking his head slightly, "for something. Hermione and I caught a glimpse of his silver paw and were able to capture him."

"I'll be right over," Sirius exclaimed. "I would like to speak to my old friend."

"Professor Dumbledore is suggesting you wait until he's at the Ministry."

"But...yeah okay. Just make sure he doesn't escape again," Sirius replied. "Can you turn the mirror toward him?"

"Sure," Harry said as he turned the mirror to face Pettigrew.

"Hello Wormtail."

"Pa…Padfoot," Pettigrew whimpered.

"The day you are sitting in my old Azkaban cell will be the happiest day of my life," Sirius said. "Can you think of the horrors you have done in your Master's name. What you did to James and Lily? Can you imagine reliving those memories day after day? That's what you have in store for the remainder of your life."

"And then it gets worse for him," The cheery voice of the Goddess of Love came through to Harry and Hermione. "Another Death Eater for Death to enjoy. I don't think Pettigrew will last long in Azkaban though."

"Why do you say that?"

"Because I saw Death just now starting to put together a room filled with mouse traps," Miranda replied. "He was whistling merrily away as he did it."

Harry got an image in his mind of a skeleton wearing a cloak sitting on the floor of a room setting out mousetraps, his scythe lying beside him.

"Oh he only uses the skeleton look when he wants to terrify people," Miranda said. "He's actually quite handsome. I've tried to set him up several times with Trareatha."

"Who's Trareatha?" Hermione asked and then thought better of it. "Maybe knowing the love lives of gods and goddesses isn't the best thing."

"Oh pooh," Miranda said. "Tareatha is the Goddess of the Winds."

"But…but I thought it was a GOD of…oh never mind," Hermione said as she mentally swore that she'd throw away every single mythology book in her collection when she got a chance.

"Yes well how would you like to be teased all the time about 'breaking wind'? Poor dear, she won't even come to any of our gatherings any more. That's why I always thought Death would be good for her. He wouldn't let those idiots pick on her. Now you need to get back to your conversation before you're missed.

Harry and Hermione realized that they had been silent for too long, but they soon realized that Sirius was still speaking to Wormtail. "…James and Lily trusted you, we were your friends. You betrayed us, you betrayed Harry and you betrayed everyone in letting Voldemort return."

"Yes well, I think we need to turn Peter over to the authorities now," Dumbledore said.

"Of course Albus," Sirius replied.

When Sirius had vanished from the mirror, Dumbledore turned to Harry and Hermione. After putting up a privacy charm between them and Pettigrew he said. "I understand you have had concerns with my modifying the memories of people but I hope you understand why I did it. Now I plan on removing this interrogation and the reason for Pettigrew being in the castle from his memories. If that Diadem is what I think it is, it must not become part of public records. I just ask that you allow me to explain tomorrow morning. "

Harry glanced at Hermione and wanted to smile but held it in check. After a quick mental agreement she nodded to him. "Till tomorrow sir."

Dumbledore sighed in relief. He'd expected Harry and Hermione to argue. He hoped it was a sign that maybe all was not lost in them trusting him. He turned back to Peter and after a few seconds of concentration, he brought his wand up and said. "Obliviate."

Peter's eyes lost focus for a few seconds and then flew open wide as he looked around the office. "Harry Potter? Dumbledore? How? What?" He looked down at his arm. "What happened to my hand?" He cried out in horror.

"Good evening Peter," Dumbledore said. "We are about to call the Ministry. As for your hand, it tried to kill you," He nodded at the silver puddle on the floor before looking again at Pettigrew whose eyes had followed his. "I think the trauma from that seems to have caused you some troubles."

The rest of the evening went quickly as Dumbledore contacted Amelia Bones at her home. She was not pleased to be disturbed at home twice in one day, but when she was told what it was concerning, she immediately went into action. She knew to have Pettigrew, the one responsible for the return of Voldemort on trial would be a huge matter for the Ministry. She fully expected the Minister of Magic to pull out all the strings for a public trial to show the Ministry was acting quickly in dealing with matters. In less than twenty minutes, Bones, Scrimgeour and four other Aurors were in Dumbledore's office.

"So Mr. Potter and Miss Granger spotted a rat with a silver claw and suspected it was Pettigrew?" Madam Bones asked.

"Yes Amelia," Dumbledore replied. "I wanted to ask him some questions..."

"You should have waited Albus," Rufus Scrimgeour remarked. "We have expert interrogators."

"Yes, I apologize, but I wanted to know why he was in my castle, to know if there were additional Death Eaters to be concerned about," Dumbledore lied very convincingly.

"And what did he tell you?"

"He was only able to say he had come alone before the hand Voldemort had given him attacked and tried to kill him," Albus nodded toward the silver puddle on the floor. There were still blood, skin and muscle tissue next to it. "We were able to destroy it, but it appears something also caused Peter to lose his memories of what happened and why he was in the castle. I suspect some kind of magic used by Voldemort to conceal his intentions or possibly the trauma of having his hand rip itself off and try to kill him."

"Do you think there is further danger in the castle?" Amelia asked. "I can have my Aurors do a search if you want them to."

"I am confident that he was here alone, but my professors and I will conduct a sweep once you are gone," Dumbledore said. "I fear that an Auror presence may cause unfounded concern and panic amongst the students."

"Very well," Amelia replied. "We'll take our leave now."

"Remember that he is an animagus," Harry said. "Please make sure he is kept where a rat can't escape."

"Mr. Potter I will give you my personal word that this man will face justice," Madam Bones said. "If he were to escape, I doubt neither I nor Rufus would have a job the day after."

"Thank you."

It wasn't long before Harry and Hermione were on their way back to the Gryffindor tower.

"I can't believe it worked so well," Hermione said. "I hadn't thought about Peter saying something at his trial about the Diadem. Even that worked well. Now if someone finds a memory charm on him Dumbledore will presume it's his. It looks like Dumbledore is also going to tell us about the Horcruxes."

"Yes it does, but let's just hope he doesn't change his mind before tomorrow morning," Harry replied. "You do realize the best part don't you?"

"What?"

"We now have the Headmaster's permission to spend the rest of our time here at Hogwarts in the Room of Requirements," Harry said with a smirk. "I even think he'll understand by the size of the room if we eat and sleep in there."

Hermione stopped and looked at her husband. A smile crossed her face as she thought of their next week. "I just wished we could start tonight," She replied. "I love sleeping next to you."

"And I love being with you," Harry replied. They walked along quietly the rest of the way to the tower. It was well past curfew by then and the halls were empty except a ghost appearing now and again. As they neared the Gryffindor tower a beetle came zooming at them. Harry sighed. "Hello Rita," He said.

"Good evening Mr. Potter, Miss Granger," The newly rehired to the Daily Prophet reporter said after she changed from her animagus form. "I do believe I was promised an interview this morning. I've been working with Mr. Lovegood all day to arrange a special edition of the Quibbler just for this story. The man wanted to wait until he had some more information on some kind of animal; a crimmel or some ridiculous thing like that."

"Please do not insult Mr. Lovegood," Harry said sternly. "You'll find our cooperation will drop very quickly if you do so. Remember that his daughter is one of our best friends and also one who is a part of this story."

Rita cleared her throat and swallowed hard. "Yes, well, uh...of course."

"So how'd you convince him? To go ahead with the special edition I mean?"

"I arranged for the Daily Prophet to purchase your interview from earlier in the year," Rita explained. "He now has enough money to find as many creatures as he wants this summer."

"I presume you got a cut of it though didn't you?" Hermione asked.

"I did write the story," Rita answered nonplussed. "I only took thirty percent which I thought was more than fair. I'm also back working at the Prophet with a significant raise. Now about that interview?"

Harry looked at Hermione and they shrugged their shoulders at each other. They turned back to Skeeter. "Okay, let's get this over with," Harry said. "But I want Neville and Luna here as well. They're as much a part of this as we are. As I said this morning, I did not do this alone. We fought as a team."

"Yes of course, of course," Rita replied.

"I'll go get them," Hermione said. "They are very close," As soon as she was out of sight, she called Dobby and Winky and asked that they get their friends and bring them back there as quickly as they could. Less than five minutes later the three of them had rejoined Harry and Rita. Harry was busy telling Skeeter about the discovery of Pettigrew that evening. Her eyes gleamed as she thought about being the first person to break that story. She also knew that the trial of Peter Pettigrew would be an extravagant affair and she already planned to start working the editor first thing in the morning about her having exclusive Daily Prophet coverage of it.

The interview went quickly enough. Harry and Hermione kept a mental chat to insure they kept to the correct story that they had given the Minister and Madam Bones while Neville and Luna followed their leads in responding to questions. As they were about to conclude, Harry got an idea.

"What about giving Snape some difficulties?"

"How?"

Harry quickly shared his idea and Hermione agreed. He turned to Rita, "The only thing I really don't understand is how Voldemort knew we were coming, but I guess he has his ways," He paused before continuing. "I guess I should be glad that Severus Snape let Dumbledore's Order know since he was the only one that could have. He's the only one who knew I had planned on going. Of course I wished he'd told them a lot sooner. I think he must have waited four or five hours before he finally let them know."

"Severus Snape? Your potions professor?"

"Yes."

"He was the ONLY one who knew?"

"Yes, he overheard us talking about it," Harry explained.

"Hmmm...you do know that Snape was a Death Eater?"

"Professor Snape was a Death Eater?" Hermione feigned astonishment.

"Yes, it seems Professor Dumbledore vouched for him following the..." She realized who she was speaking to, "following the night You-Know-Who was vanquished."

"I'm sure he had good reasons too," Harry said.

"Yes, I suppose so," Rita agreed but she had a far off look in her eyes.

As Harry was about to leave the Reporter, he got one last idea. "Ms. Skeeter," He started. "Are you planning on writing more stories on Sirius Black?"

"Of course," Rita replied. "Your godfather is he? Reason for you to be in the Ministry? Innocent but falsely imprisoned? We've only scratched the surface with all the story potential there."

"How would you like a personal photo of him?" Harry asked. "I have one of him and my parents at their wedding."

"You don't say?" Rita's eyes lit up. "I'd love to have it."

Harry made a dash to his dorm and pulled out the book of photos Hagrid had made for him. He took it back and handed it to Rita. "This is very very important to me," He said slightly out of breath. "Please do not lose it."

** E E **

"Hermione?" A voice sounded from another bed as Hermione climbed into her own bed a little later. Hermione's hand instantly clutched her wand but realized whose voice she was hearing.

"Yes Lavender?" Hermione whispered. "I didn't think anyone was still awake."

"I've been awake thinking. I know we're not close friends or anything but can…can I ask you a question?"

"Besides the one you just asked?" Hermione thought before replying. "Of course."

"What happened between you, Harry and Ron? I mean you were best friends for so many years."

Hermione sighed. She laid there silently trying to put into words what she could say and how she would say it. As much as she would have loved to have Ron being called Won-Won again, it really wouldn't be fair to not give Lavender some of what she knew. "Well you know that Harry and I are now together."

Lavender snorted. "Been a little hard to miss. I even heard you had a wedding after I left dinner. Though we were hardly surprised."

"We?"

"Us girls. You know we gossip some and we always wondered if you two would get together. You've always seemed so natural together. It seems like you read each other's mind sometimes."

Hermione smiled in the dark. "If she only knew now that we can," She thought as she sent a quick goodnight and an 'I love you' to her husband before replying. "I guess Ron had other thoughts, he…he wanted me, actually I think he wanted who he thought Harry really wanted."

"But that's…never mind go ahead," Lavender replied with a hint of confused anger in her voice.

"What? What were you going to say?"

"Oh, it's…it's that Ron said he turned you down after you had made a big deal about him winning the Quidditch Cup. He claimed he told you he wasn't interested in people who only dated Quidditch stars. He even pointed out how you dated Krum. He then said…" Lavender paused before finishing the sentence, "he said that you turned to Harry after that to try to make him jealous."

Hermione almost laughed at the irony of that. She couldn't even feel anger at Ron about the lie; she just shook her head before replying. "And you believed him?"

"With you and Harry getting together like you did, I mean right after the match there wasn't anything it seemed, but the next morning… the next morning you two were all over each other," Lavender explained. "It wasn't that hard to believe. At least when I think I wanted to believe it."

Hermione, looking at it from Lavender's point of view could see how the fib could be believed. "I guess I can see that, but believe me that's not the case. Harry and I realized we were more than friends. We realized we truly love each other."

"Love? Real love?"

It seemed so strange to Hermione to be chatting with Lavender, especially discussing boys and love, but then she remembered the girl she was chatting with falling from a balcony in the final battle and then getting mauled by Greyback. Lavender had fought for the castle, had fought for what she believed in. She was someone else that they were saving. "Yes it's real love," Hermione answered.

"How do you know? I mean what real love is?" Lavender asked softly.

"You know you're truly in love when you'd do anything to make the person you love happy," Hermione replied. "It means they are more important than anything else, including your very life. You'd even watch him love another, quietly from afar if that truly is what makes him happy. I guess that's a little more poetic than you wanted, but I hope you understand."

"I…I guess," Lavender replied. There were a few seconds of silence before she asked again. "So what happened with Ron?"

"Like I said, Ron didn't like me and Harry together. He even went so far as to accuse Harry of stealing his girl," Hermione replied. "I'm not sure what else to add. I guess I could say that surprisingly, we're not really missing him. Why are you asking me all of this? I thought you were his girlfriend now?"

"I'm having second thoughts," Lavender replied honestly. "He was the hero of the Quidditch match and he's done so much with you and Harry that I thought…"

"He's the next best thing to Harry?"

"Maybe," Lavender admitted. "But I really think he's cute in a way, but after dinner I wanted to talk to him and ask why he said what he said. It wouldn't have mattered to me, not really. I know he boasts sometimes but...but he just ignored me."

"I'll tell you what I know about him," Hermione said. "Currently he is very immature. He wants great things but won't put serious effort into achieving them. He has a very domineering mother and five brothers and a sister as you know. He loses his temper quickly, can't keep his foot out of his mouth and will eat anything in front of him or anyone else. He is the type who will always see greener pastures elsewhere. Truthfully I don't think he'll ever think of anyone more than himself at least not over a long period of time. Though if you really want to date him I wish you the best, I really do. Maybe with a push from the right woman he'll grow up. I will also say that if you do date him, I'd expect in the short time you'll have a lot more tears than you'll have smiles," Hermione stopped for a few breathes before continuing. "But Lavender, truthfully I really think you can do better than Ron. Don't sell yourself short; you're obviously very pretty and brave."

"You…you really think so?" Lavender asked.

"Honestly, I think you're a bit over the top with the gossiping and stylish things, but that is probably because I've never really been interested in those types of things, but yes I do think you have a lot going for you."

"Thanks. I never expected to hear you say something like that about me."

"Let's say I've seen a few things differently recently," Hermione responded. "If you ever want to talk again, I'll be glad to, but Harry and I have to see the Headmaster in the morning and I need to get to sleep."

*** June 20th 1996 ***

The next morning Harry and Hermione were sitting eating breakfast with Neville and Luna when Lavender yelled. "HERMIONE WAS RIGHT! I CAN DO MUCH BETTER THAN YOU!" from further down the table. All eyes turned to see Lavender get up from beside Ron and storm out of the Great Hall. All eyes then turned back to a quickly reddening Ron Weasley. Ron took two more bites of food before he got up and started out himself only to stop by Harry and Hermione.

"You just can't stand for me to have anything can you?" He said in a raised voice to Harry. "Told your girlfriend to make me look bad to Lavender didn't you?"

Harry looked up and stared at the person who had been his friend for so many years. "Ron, I think you did that yourself. Grow up will you."

Ron's hand twitched as if he wanted to reach for his wand, but he could see Harry, Hermione, Neville and Luna already had their hands on theirs. He glowered at Harry for a few more seconds as his face reddened further he finally turned and walked away.

Harry looked at Hermione after Ron had left. "Did you say something to Lavender?"

"She and I had a discussion last night about Ron," Hermione admitted. "I told her my honest opinion. Remember that she was there in the final battle and got bitten by Greyback. I couldn't be dishonest with her," She finished silently to him.

"I remember and you're right," Harry replied. "I guess it's his own fault," He said out loud.

"I don't know exactly what set them off this morning but..." Hermione shrugged.

"How about him and Romilda?" Harry suggested with a wry grin to his wife. "He did pine for her in the last timeline."

"Hmmm...that could be an interesting couple. Thinking of love potions though, we need to do something about Ginny soon," Hermione said and they both turned and looked at the youngest Weasley. "I think I'll have Winky take me to where she's brewing her potions so I can get an idea of when they'll be ready," She paused for a second. "I'm concerned about you this summer. Stuck in Grimmauld place with her and Ron."

"With Sirius still alive we will still be there won't we? They won't need to move the Order Headquarters," Harry thought of a whole summer with the two youngest Weasleys before continuing. "You know, maybe the Dursley's wouldn't be so bad after all."

"I can't visit you at the Dursleys. Well not without hexing them into oblivion anyway."

"I was just kidding," Harry said. "Between Sirius, myself, you and Kreacher we should be able to keep them under control. If we can catch her in front of Molly or Arthur they can deal with her," He took her hand. "Let's go see Dumbledore and see if he's ready to tell us about the Horcruxes."

 
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