Disclimer: I do not own Harry Potter!
Friday night in the Great Hall, Edward smiled slightly at the sight of Parkinson glaring daggers at Hermione, who ate while ignoring the other girl. With a chuckle, Edward got up to leave, nodding to the Headmaster as he walked by. Getting to his office, he entered and went straight to his desk, pulling out a piece of folded up parchment. He tapped it with his wand. "I solemnly swear that I am up to no good." He then stored the map on the inside of his cloak and left the office to begin his patrol. The Marauders Map that he carried was not the original. The original map had been confiscated by Filtch years before. Edward had long thought of retrieving it but had decided to leave it and decided to create new maps for the group. Together, the four of them, with some input from Lily, had created the new maps. The main reason for each member having one, was so that if they needed to get to Hogwarts for any reason, they'd come in handy. He knew for a fact that Lily had a habit of using her husband's map to watch Harry's dot on the map throughout the day. But a couple of years ago, he had discovered that the Weasley Twins had taken the original map from Filtch's office and were using it in their pranks. Edward could've confiscated it, but decided against it and allowed the pranksters to do their work so long as they didn't get caught.
Edward watched as the hours wound down until the hallways were dark and empty. He patrolled these empty hallways, making sure that no student was out and about when they weren't supposed to be. Tonight, however, was a different matter. He had spotted the Weasley twins on his map heading towards the one of the secret tunnels that ended up outside. He grunted in irritation that his sleep would get cut down on since this was extra work. They better hope I don't catch them, or there will be hell to pay. So, with a sigh, he made his way out of the castle, determined to make sure the twins weren't doing anything foolish in the forbidden forest. Not for the first time did he curse himself for not actually bringing his own map from his office. As he made his way onto the grounds, he stopped cold, a feeling of dread in his stomach. He turned to see a dark figure staring out at him from the forest. "Well now, this is a surprise."
The figure said nothing and Edward could feel the hairs on the back of his neck rise up. He knew exactly who this was and refused to show even an ounce of fear. "I don't know why you came, the stone isn't here." The creature jerked back in surprise which gave Edward a grim sort of satisfaction. So I'm right after all. "Did you really think that I'd allow Albus to hide it here? In a school? I didn't know that you were that foolish." A low growl could be heard from underneath the hood. Edward merely smiled coldly. "Don't like that do you? Well bloody do something about it. No? That's what I though." The creature glared daggers at him, at least that's what he thought it was doing since he couldn't see a face. "So leave, and if I see you again I'll make you bodiless once more. I'm not the child I was the last time we fought, and you are much weaker than you were then. So go, you filthy little parasite before I change my mind!" The growling got louder but the creature backed away into the forest, disappearing from sight.
Edward heaved a sigh before continuing on his way, he'd make sure to report this to Albus in the morning.
The next day…
"You're telling me that you actually saw Voldemort here last night?"
"I think it was Voldemort. If felt like him although how he obtained a body I'm not sure."
"It's possible he was possessing someone or something."
"That was my thought as well."
Albus sighed tiredly. "Well, in any case, I'm glad it was you who saw him and not a student. Or Hagrid, for that matter."
Edward smiled. "I'm glad you put such faith in me Headmaster."
"Indeed, you're not easily frightened."
"You can't afford to be when you've seen some of the things I've seen."
"No, I imagine not."
Edward nodded and was about to leave when the headmaster stopped him. "I'd actually like your opinion on another matter Edward. You see, Professor Collins is leaving us at the end of the year and I'll need a new Muggle Studies Professor to replace him for the coming year."
Edward raised a brow, not sure why Dumbledore was coming to him about staffing issues. "Well, I suppose as long as he or she is muggleborn it should be fine. You know the last several professors were pureblood, and it makes more sense to have it be a muggleborn since, you know, they were born and raised in that world."
Albus nodded thoughtfully. "Agreed. I thought you'd feel the same way so I took the liberty of hiring miss Laura Baxter. She was the only muggleborn applicant and was also at the top of her classes in her year. She is however, only four years out of school so she's quite young."
Edward shrugged. "I was also pretty young if you remember. But I also think that she'll be able to better relate to the muggleborn students since she's still young. But why ask me to begin with?"
The old man beamed at this. "I wanted to be sure that I was not the only one who felt that way. But indeed, her age is no issue, however, perhaps you could show her around over the summer? I'd ask Severus, but you're a bit more personable than he is."
Edward just rolled his eyes and waved his hand in dismissal. "Sure, no problem Albus. Now, if you'll excuse me, I need to go grade reports." Albus nodded as the younger man left, a small smile on his face.
Harry, Draco, and Cassie made their way to Hagrid's hut after they had finished their weekend homework. "I wonder if he has his pumpkins for Halloween planted yet?" Harry wondered aloud.
"Knowing Hagrid, most definitely. I can't wait to see how big they get!" Cassie said excitedly.
Draco strode ahead and knocked on Hagrid's door. They heard a dog barking from within the hut. "Down Fang! Be quiet boy!" The door opened and Hagrid looked out at them, a wide smile appeared on his face. "Hello you lot! It's about time you came for a visit! Come in! Come in and I'll get you all a spot of tea." Hagrid moved to his stove, putting the kettle on and waited for the water to boil. "So, how's classes going?"
Harry spoke up first. "Great so far. Although history of magic could be better."
"Yeah, old Binns has been at it for a while. Eddie has tried to get Professor Dumbledore to replace him for years but the Headmaster won't do it. Said it wouldn't be right to defy a man's last wishes to continue teaching."
"Even if their lessons are practically useless." It was Draco that spoke up this time.
Hagrid chuckled. "Yeah, most students do their own reading and studying."
"I guess that's just what we'll have to do that as well." Cassie shrugged.
The tea kettle shrieked and Hagrid poured up the tea, distributing it to his three guests. Harry noticed the headline on the Daily Prophet and frowned. "Someone tried to rob Gringotts?"
Hagrid looked confused for a moment before realizing what Harry was talking about. "Oh, yea. Don't know who'd be crazy enough to do that."
Cassie snatched the paper away from Harry, ignoring his protests, and read through it. "It says that the vault was already empty. Why would someone try to get into an empty vault?"
"Oh I don't know genius; they must have thought something was in there." Draco answered sarcastically.
Cassie narrowed her eyes at the boy, but before she could respond, Hagrid spoke up. "Well the fact is, they didn't get anything. I'm sure Gringotts and the Ministry will figure it out eventually." The three students nodded and continued drinking their tea, telling Hagrid about their week and completely forgetting about the discarded paper.
Edward on the other hand, was not forgetting about the paper, slamming it on Severus' desk furiously. "How in the bloody hell did he get past the goblins!?" Severus just shrugged in response whilst Edward paced around the office. "You'd think that they'd have stronger protections than that with all the money they have!"
"I don't suppose you're going to calm down any time soon?" Edward glared at the man, still pacing. "Well would you at least quit pacing, it's giving me a headache." Edward snorted but still complied. "I don't see why this is such a big deal, it's not like the stone was actually there."
"Maybe not, but what if it had? What if Albus had been foolish enough to actually accept the stone? Voldemort may very well have the stone by now!"
"But he doesn't. So, there's no point in dwelling on it now." Edward scowled but nodded. "Besides, the stone isn't here, so what is there to be worried about."
Edward sighed, shaking his head to clear it. "You're right of course. I just worry about him coming back. I know he'll find a way eventually, but it worries me immensely."
Severus frowned. "You're afraid you won't be able to stand up to him?" Edward just smiled tiredly at him in response. "Hmm, I'm surprised. But being afraid is intelligent. We are talking about one of the most powerful dark lords in history. But you're much more powerful than you were the last time you fought him."
"Perhaps, but it doesn't stop me from worrying. I don't know how much stronger I've become and I won't know how powerful he really is until I face him. And I don't know if I'll be able to beat him. He's the biggest ghost of my past. He is my demon. In order to prove that I'm not my father, in order to prove that I am better than him, I have to be able to beat him. I have to topple my fear, and I'm not sure I can do that." At that, Severus had nothing to say.
Neville was having a rather rough first year. Two of his best friends were in a completely different house than him and he often found himself alone. Granted, he had Ron who hung out with him often, and Hermione was a good friend as well. But they didn't really share the same interests as he did. He didn't see himself as all that brave or studious. But he did his best not to isolate himself. He tried his best to fit in with them.
The worst part of the year though, had been Potions class hands down. He didn't think there was a meaner person alive other than Severus Snape. He was always breathing down his neck and belittled him constantly and at every turn! Of course, he wasn't the only one that Snape picked on, he hated all Gryffindors. He always took points from them and he favored the Slytherins heavily, giving them points for anything under the sun.
McGonagall on the other hand, was fair. Even though she was head of Gryffindor, she displayed equal treatment to all. But she clearly had her favorites. While she was nice to him, and helped him as much as she could, she clearly favored Harry and Cassie over anyone else. Neville figured it had something to do with their fathers being James Potter and Sirius Black more than anything else. Of course, them being very good at Transfiguration probably didn't hurt either.
Charms was rather fun, even if he rarely ever got a spell to work. Flitwick was a patient teacher, always smiling no matter how clumsy he was. The only class that Neville excelled at was Herbology, a class that few others took seriously at all.
Neville sighed to himself as he turned a corner, nearly running right in to Professor Riddle. "Oomph, sorry professor, I wasn't paying much attention there."
The Professor just smiled. "Fear not Longbottom, no harm was done. Though I must ask, what has you so deep in thought?"
Neville blushed in embarrassment. "I was just thinking about how disappointed Mum and Dad would be right now." He muttered but the Professor frowned, worry creasing his brow.
"Why in the name of Merlin would you think that?"
At that point, Neville got irritated. "Because I'm a bloody failure! I can't do anything, I can't cast anything, I can't brew potions! The only bloody thing I'm even half decent at is Herbology! Everyone has these big expectations for me because of something I can't even remember doing! They think I'm some great wizard. Well I'm not! I'm just Neville! I'm an invalid who's not even worth wasting a new wand on!"
Neville was breathing heavily, trying to regain his composure when, "Are you quite finished now? Because I don't want to hear your pity party. So what if you're only good at Herbology? Embrace it! Be the best you can be at it! But don't bloody give up. You're afraid of disappointing your parents? Well they really would be disappointed if you didn't at least try! No one who matters expects you to be anything other than yourself. And if this is coming on because of Professor Snape then I'll have a nice conversation with him about bullying if I have to! You're a great kid Neville, and I know that your parents are proud of you."
"Gram doesn't think so." Neville muttered dejectedly.
"Well then she doesn't matter. Just continue being you. Be confident in yourself and the rest will come to you. One day she'll see you as her grandson, Neville Longbottom, not as some reincarnation of her son. And if I have to get Lily to guilt trip her into getting you your own damn wand then I will."
Neville smiled at him. "Mrs. Potter won't like you cursing."
Edward smiled back. "Well if you don't tell her about mine, I won't tell her about yours."
Neville grinned. "Thanks Professor, I really needed that."
"That's what I'm here for Mr. Longbottom. Now, off you go." Neville was smiling as he walked away, smiling for the first time in what seemed like a long time.
Edward was walking back towards his classroom where his office was, when he came upon another student. "Mr. Weasley, what are you doing all by yourself?"
The boy huffed, trying to regain his breath. "I was…. trying to…. find Neville…sir."
Edward chuckled. "I just passed by him a moment ago, going around that corner there. If you hurry, you'll probably catch him."
Edward noticed the boy's rat squirming and noticed something odd. "Mr. Weasley, didn't your brother Percy have a rat like that one?"
"Yes sir! He gave it to me for my first year. I think he's rather pathetic myself sir, but he's alright. Likes my sister Ginny a lot though which is kind of weird since she absolutely hates him. Gives her the creeps."
Edwards mind was working in overdrive at this point. Bloody hell that rat must be at least 10 years old! Wait, Percy had him as a first year which was five years ago. "Ron, when did your brother first find Scabbers?"
Ron frowned in thought. "Must've been…10 years ago now."
Edwards blood ran cold as he took in the rat's appearance. He was brown with several spots of grey, a little plump but not overly so. Finally, what caught his eye was the right front paw. He was missing a finger. "Mr. Weasley, can I see him for a moment?" Confused, Ron nodded as he handed the rat over. Edward carefully, yet firmly, gripped the animal as it squirmed to get away, far more so now than before, thrashing wildly, but Edward's grip was like iron as he became more and more convinced that his hunch was correct. The little beast had been hiding up under his nose all this time. All the times when he and Sirius visited the Burrow and the rat was nowhere to be found, Percy looking for it relentlessly. All the times that it always seemed to disappear when Percy came to Hogwarts all made sense now. There are no such thing as magical rats, and rats certainly don't live for ten years or more. "Let me show you an interesting spell Mr. Weasley, one that you can do on any animal you find."
Ron looked interested now. "Really Professor? It won't hurt him, will it?"
"Oh no Mr. Weasley." Oh, how he wished he could make it hurt. "But it's really simple and it's paramount to use this to ensure you are not being watched unknowingly." Ron looked really excited now as he nodded. Oh, how his world was about to shatter. Edward pointed his wand at the squirming rat in his hand and spoke the incantation. "Hormorphus!" Edward had to drop the rat as paws became arms and hands, the tail disappeared, and the rat grew and changed until it was no longer a rat, but a man. A man that found himself staring at the end of Edward's wand. "Hello Peter, my old friend." His voice was dangerous and what were once blue eyes were now crimson red as blood turned to rage. This was the man that had betrayed his best friends to Voldemort. This is the man that had been fine with seeing the death of an innocent child. This is the man that had caused the deaths of so many. All to save his own, wretched hide.
Before the sad, pathetic little man could even speak, he was stunned. "And that, Mr. Weasley, is the animagus revealing charm, Hormorphus." Ron stood there, horror etched on his face. "Don't fret if you don't remember it this time, I imagine that you're in quite a shock. But I will teach it to you again in your third year and Flitwick will probably teach it to you in your fifth year, if he doesn't retire after next year. Anyway, you should probably come with me and this traitor up to Professor Dumbledore's office. He'll be interested to know how you helped me apprehend this traitor." Ron seemed to shake himself out of his stupor and simply nodded as Edward turned, grabbing the little man on the ground and drug him as Ron hurried to follow him.
The next three hours went by in a flurry of activity. Ron had forgotten what he had even been trying to do beforehand. Several aurors had arrived. Among them, Harry and Cassie's dads were there along with their friend Remus Lupin. It was obvious why they'd be there, Peter had been their friend. It had been them, more than anyone else, that the rat had betrayed. Ron thought that if not for Dumbledore and Amelia Bones, the head of magical law enforcement, being there, Potter and Black may have killed their former friend.
But Ron remembered most clearly still, the look his defense Professor had on his face when they had first caught Peter, the danger in his voice, and the way his eyes had changed. Ron wondered if that had been the face deatheaters had been privy to in the first war. He shivered at the thought of facing anything like that and gained a new respect for the Professor. He also made sure to remember that spell. He'd master it and surprise Professor Riddle in two years when he would teach it to them and find that Ron had indeed remembered that moment.
Edward was certain that Sirius was going to kill Peter before they got him in his cell to await trial. The look on the man's face was the picture of absolute rage. He sighed and caught Remus' eye. They'd have to alert Walburga so she could calm him down, it wouldn't do for Peter to die before he could face what he had done.
On the other hand, he sympathized with Sirius. Because of Peter's betrayal, Cassie did not have a mother. Because of peter, Sirius lost half of his being. At least the woman Edward loved was still alive, even if the situation was impossible, she was still there, breathing. While poor Marlene was dead, gone from the world forever. Edward still remembered the wedding, as grand as Sirius' ego could be, but he had done it all for her. Walburga had been insistent on lavishing the bride to be with whatever she wanted, if only to make her dead husband roll in his grave. Sirius had been beside himself with joy, happier than Edward had ever seen him before and would only be rivaled with the arrival of his daughter not two years later, just before James and Lily would bring Harry into the world. Sirius had never been as happy since then, and Edward suspected that he'd never find that true happiness again.
So, it made perfect sense that Sirius would be eager for revenge, so Edward took it upon himself to remind Sirius why he decided to become an auror in the first place. So, he pulled his best friend aside. "Can you believe we finally have him!?" Sirius exclaimed excitedly.
"Hard to believe, isn't it?" Sirius just nodded, glaring at Peter as he was escorted to the apparition point in Hogsmeade. "Sirius, you aren't thinking of doing something rash, are you?"
Sirius looked at him confused. "What do you-oh." Edward watched as the realization dawned on him. Sirius wasn't nearly as dim witted as some people thought he was. Sirius was extremely intelligent, and could be very sharp and calculating when the situation called for it. Sirius sighed and answered him. I thought about it, when we first found out that you had him, good on you by the way mate. But then I remembered that I joined the aurors for justice, so that Marlene's death wouldn't be in vain. There have been nights when I've dreamt of nothing else but to murder the little bastard, but I know that Marlene wouldn't like that." Sirius looked tired, but there was a new light in his eyes. "I can rest now, knowing that the reason she died will face the justice he so rightly deserves."
Edward smiled at his brother and clapped him on the shoulder. "Fatherhood has done you good my friend." Sirius snorted. "That and knowing that Lily would do far worse to me if I ever dishonored Marlene's memory." Edward laughed then, harder than he had in years. "That she would mate, that she would." Sirius then too dissolved into laughter, failing to notice the woman approaching them until she cleared her throat. Sirius, seeing who it was, gained control of himself and straightened immediately while Edward took a moment longer to regain his normal composure.
"Madam Bones." They chorused.
"I'm glad to see you two enjoying yourselves so much." The two men blushed. "No worries though, it's been a long road for you four. I think I'll give you a few days off Sirius. You, James, and Remus have earned the time. Robards can hold the fort while you get ready for the trial." She turned her attention to Edward. "You however, are not going to be pleased." Edward frowned, but motioned for her to continue. "You see, I've just gotten a firecall from Minister Fudge, the Wizengamot wants you, and you alone to testify against Peter Pettigrew."
"What! Why?" Sirius was indignant while Edward just stood thoughtfully.
"They feel like he has the most to give. He was there when you decided on him as secret keeper, and he was pivotal in stopping Voldemort that fateful night at the Potters' home."
Sirius made another indignant noise while Edward looked irritated. "Very well Madam Bones, I'll testify on one condition." Amelia gave him the go ahead. "I'll testify, but not alone. Tell the Wizengamot that anyone who knew Peter should be given the opportunity to testify."
Amelia nodded in agreement. "Of course, I'll make sure that is made clear to them. Thank you for your time Professor." Edward nodded as Bones walked away.
Sirius turned to his friend. "Are you sure about this?"
Edward nodded. "Yes I am. You should get the chance to testify. If anyone deserves it, it's you my friend."
Sirius suddenly looked very emotional. "Thank you Eddie, thank you so much for this." Edward could only smile. While he wasn't particularly looking forward to the trial, he was glad that Sirius, James, and Remus would get their closure, and that is what was really important here, not only justice, but closure.
Happy Halloween everyone! I know it's tomorrow, not today, but I figured I'd give you an early Halloween gift, a new chapter! Just finished it today in fact. This one I think had a little more emotion in it because yes, closure is so important. I had to deal with Neville feeling inferior. Plus, Edward's own fears. Anyway, Peter has been caught! But the trial is still to come! Next chapter, you'll find out what happened on that fated night! Please review and leave any questions you may have in a PM! I know Harry hasn't much been featured so far but this is a very OC centric story. But I promise, I'll have more Harry in future chapters, especially once Ginny properly joins us in year 2! I hope you guys like this chapter! Have a great week and a fun, happy Halloween!