Edward cracked his neck as he stood outside the courtroom next to his friends, and a few others who were set to testify. Minerva was there as was Snape, and a few others he didn't recognize. Amelia was confident they'd get a strong guilty verdict. No one had come forward to defend Peter and veritaserum had been deemed unnecessary by a vote, which gave Edward pause as he remembered that many in that room had been former deatheaters who still very strongly believed in their pureblood dogma. They were the ones that had gotten away by pleading imperius. It had frustrated him to no end that those cretins got to influence the world the way they did. But it also showed how little loyalty mattered to them.
Edward was pulled out of his reverie by the doors opening and they were ushered inside. The courtroom was large and circular, allowing for the press to get in along with quite a few people from the wizarding public. Up on a raised platform sat the Wizengamot, all dressed in black robes and wearing serious looks on their faces. Edward had never liked courtrooms, even less so than the hospitals that so often smelled like death. Courtrooms embodied hopelessness and fear. Young men who had been forced by circumstances beyond their control to do things that they wouldn't normally do, Edward had seen many of them right where Peter was now sitting, chained to the chair with a look of absolute dread on his face. Except Peter was getting what he deserved, even if Edward wouldn't wish Peter's fate on his worst enemy. Peter was worse than that though, he was a betrayer, a coward of the worst kind. Willing to sacrifice others so that he may live.
With a sigh, Edward took his place next to Sirius as the trial began. Albus stood from his spot as Chief Warlock and cleared his throat to speak. "Friends, we are gathered here today to discuss the level of guilt, and ultimately the fate of Peter Pettigrew." The crowd whispered loudly at that but Albus held up a hand to silence them. "Bring in the witnesses." The aurors gestured and the group of people who were to testify against Peter, or to give some sort of testimony, entered into the courtroom. Edward glanced at the crowd, noting several students in the crowd, children of prominent pureblood families. The one that stood out the most in that moment, was Neville. His face was pale, as if he were a muggle seeing a ghost for the first time. And he could see Augusta sitting next to him, clutching his hand tightly. Her lips were a thin line as she glared daggers at the rodent that had betrayed her son and his wife.
Edward brought his eyes to the front of him, determined not to show weakness. The group came to a special section of seats where the witnesses were to be sat. As Edward took his seat, he caught Peter looking his and Sirius' way, pleading evident on his face. Edward gave no outward sign as he took his seat, shoving his boiling anger into a pot to sit. He glanced at Albus, who looked at Peter, a sadness etched into his face as he looked at his formal pupil. Edward felt no such sadness, only the regret that he had not caught the little rat sooner.
He looked to his left where Lily sat with Harry, Emma, and Cassie next to the Weasleys, who were even paler than Neville if it were possible. Lily was consoling Molly while Arthur sat, gripping the shoulders of Ron and Percy. Ginny was the strongest of the group. Her little head was held high as she glared at the man who had been squatting under her family's roof for the last 10 years. Edward knew that if looks could kill, Peter would be dead 10 times over. "Now that we are all assembled here, let the trial of Peter Pettigrew begin!"
The time passed by, hours it seemed, as testimony after testimony was given. Some were given with tears, some with anger, and some with hatred. But they were given all the same. Minerva McGonagall gave it, looking down her nose at Peter the entire time like she had caught him doing something he shouldn't and was about to give him detention. Snape gave his calmly, a look of absolute contempt on his face. James and Remus gave theirs calmly, yet there was a shaking anger there. Remus admitted that he had little contact with Peter after graduation because of his duties for the Order in trying to get the Werewolf packs away from Greyback's influence. But he spoke of their time in school, and about how Peter had always been a bit of a coward on his own, seeking glory behind James and Sirius.
Sirius was perhaps the most heartbreaking. He didn't yell or scream. He didn't use profanity; which Edward knew Lily was happy for. But there was a heavy grief in his voice, a sadness that struck almost every member of the Wizengamot. He even described the meeting where they had announced that Marlene was pregnant, and the one when they found out that Marlene and her parents had been killed in their home. Peter had been missing that night. Edward suspected that Peter had probably even been there.
In the end, though, it all came down to him. He stood and made his way to the witness chair, sitting in it with care. He finally began to show some emotion. It wasn't grief for Peter or whatever friendship they might have had, it was for all the people that had died because of him. "Edward, can you please describe to us the night of October 31st, 1981?"
Edward nodded and dredged up those haunted memories and began reliving them. "Sirius and I had always planned on visiting him on a weekly basis, to make sure he was doing alright and to make sure he had everything he needed. That night, we got there earlier than normal to find the house empty. There was no sign of struggle. Peter it seemed, had left on his own accord. The first thing we thought was perhaps he had been hungry and had decided to get something to eat, so we waited. An hour later when he didn't show, we apparated to Godric's Hallow to check on the Potters."
"James! Lily!" Sirius burst into the little home, Edward right behind him.
"Sirius, what in the world is going on?" Lily cried as they came into the sitting room. James was confused but Harry was giggling, reaching for Sirius. Sirius' worried face broke out into a small grin as he lifted his Godson off the couch. "We need to get you three to a safe place. Peter has gone missing."
"Missing? What do you mean missing?"
"He's gone James, poof, disappeared, vanished!"
Edward, having been quiet up to that point, spoke up. "I don't think he's vanished, but I do think we need to get you to safety. If Peter has been compromised, then there's no telling how long we have." Just then the door burst open, causing every adult in the room to whip their wands out, only to put them away as a haggard Remus entered the room.
"Remus mate, what's wrong with you?"
"There's news James!" Remus paused to catch his breath. "Voldemort is making his move tonight….a spy they say….has given him your location!"
"B-but that would mean…"
"That Peter was the traitor this entire time." Edward finished grimly.
Remus frowned. "I thought it was Sirius..." Remus trailed off, clearly confused.
"That was the original plan, but we decided to play a prank on old voldyshorts. Though it looks like the joke is on us Mooney." Sirius had a grim look on his face.
Remus scowled. "We'll talk about this later, but right now we need to move." Suddenly, the hairs on Edwards neck stood straight as the feeling of anti-apparition and anti portkey wards fell into place.
"Blast it! He's here!" Raising his wand, he brought it down with a snarl, tearing the wards down as they went up. "Padfoot, get them the portkey and get them the bloody hell out of here now! Remus, with me." The two of them stood ready in front of the door, waiting for their enemy to blast it down, when the woosh of a portkey activation happened and Padfoot and James joined them. "You two should have gone with them."
James scowled. "We're not leaving you to face him alone. We're brothers and brothers stick together."
Edward rolled his eyes but a smile crept onto his face. "As the muggle saying goes, All for one and one for all."
"Now you've got it!" The grin on James' face was infectious though the worry was still there.
Their moment was torn away as the door literally disintegrated in front of them. Before them stood Voldemort, a look of surprise on his face. "Well now, how unexpected."
Edward responded by sending a blasting hex at his father and the 4 on 1 duel began.
Remus and Edward took the front as James and Sirius spread out on either side, hoping that one of their spells would catch him. The sky was alight with flashes and bangs as the duel went on. "You fools cannot hope to defeat me!" None of them rose to the verbal bait. Remus dodged a curse and sent a patronus message off to alert the order when another hex caught him unawares, flinging him into the stone graveyard wall.
"Remus!" James roared as he hurled more curses at Voldemort, he made his way to an unconscious Remus.
"One down, and only three to go!" Voldemort had a delighted look on his face.
"Perhaps a few more than 3 Tom." Surprised, Voldemort barely dodged the disembowelment curse that Edward had thrown at him.
"Dumbledore!" Voldemort snarled as he twisted and apparated away.
"Mrs. Tonks, if you will go see to Remus."
Andromeda nodded as she made her way to Remus, glaring at Sirius who immediately realized that there were a lot of wands pointing at him, he immediately panicked and apparated away. "Sirius wait!" James too apparated after his friend.
Edward shook his head, knowing that he'd have to have that conversation with Dumbledore later. "Albus, there's no time to waste, we need to check on the Longbottoms!" Without waiting for a reply, Edward apparated to where the Longbottoms were staying. A small cottage not far from Godric's Hallow situated in the corner of the neighborhood. Edward made his way to the door, which was hanging off of one hinged. He stepped through to find Frank lying face down in the hall, dead. His eyes were vacant. Edward swallowed the lump in his throat, and walked to the nursery, afraid of what he would see.
Pushing the door open, he saw Alice on the ground, eyes also unseeing and vacant. In front of her body lay a bundle of black robes littered with ash. "His own curse rebounded." Edward muttered to himself. A baby's cry led him to the crib where baby Neville stood, reaching for his mother, crying. It was a scene which would haunt Edward's nightmares for years to come.
"I'll never forget that scene for as long as I live. Afterward, I spoke with Dumbledore and told him about how Sirius and Peter had switched places to throw off Voldemort. Of course, we found out that is exactly what he had hoped would happen." Edward took that moment to look Peter right in his beady eyes. "I hope you remember Peter. At night when you're cowering in your cell, I hope you remember what you caused. I hope you remember the pain your cowardice brought. And I hope that every time the dementors cross your cell door, I hope that you hear the screams of everyone that died because of you. That is what I hope for you. That is the only thing you deserve for your sins. I want you to remember though, that I never trusted you, no matter what James or Sirius told me. I never really trusted you. And I want you to know that my mistrust was justified, and that in the end, you proved me right about you all along." And with that, Edward nodded to Albus, who nodded back, and was allowed to go back to his seat.
The rest of the trial ended rather quickly. After conferring for a 30-minute period, Albus stood back up on his podium. "All in favor of a guilty verdict, raise your wand arms." Every arm in the Wizengamot went up. Edward spotted Malfoy looking at Peter with a cold and calculating stare. After the hands went down Albus spoke again. "All opposed?" When no arm went up, Albus nodded. "Very well, Peter Pettigrew, I sentence you to 20 years in Azkaban Prison. After which, you will be given the dementor's kiss for your heinous crimes."
The aurors, which had been standing solid still since the beginning of the trial, sprang to life. They grabbed Peter in vice grips as the prisoner plead. "Please no! Please I beg of you! Have mercy!" Edward just watched as the man whom he had once called friend was drug away to face what he had done. Afterward, he hurried away before he could be stopped and apparated back to Hogwarts.
Later that night, Edward sat in his office, the door shut to all who would wish to enter. He nursed a glass of firewhiskey, not really drinking it, just reflecting. The truth was, he had trusted Peter. Perhaps not the way that James and Sirius had done so, but he had. Edward's head shot up as the lock on the door clicked and opened, revealing Lily standing on the other side. Edward sighed. "You would be the one to figure out the password on that door."
She only looked at him sadly for a moment. "Hey big brother." It was the nickname she had given him in their younger years. He had been one of the few Slytherins who had been friendly to her and she clung to that friendship. She had friends in Gryffindor of course, but Edward had always acted the part of older brother. Edward closed his eyes as the tears came. "I don't know why I'm crying, it's not like he didn't deserve it." Lily only came forward and rested his head on her. "The truth is, I did trust him. Not at first of course. It took me years to start liking him. But when I did, I had finally learned to trust him. He seemed to mean well, to be a good friend. But it was all a lie. I said those things to hurt him, but in the end, it doesn't compare to what he's done."
"No, it doesn't." And they sat there for what seemed like ages, until Edward stood with a sigh.
"I can't stay here all night I'm afraid. Work to do and all that." Lily nodded sadly. "Don't worry Lily, I'll be alright. We all will. It'll just take some time." He smiled at her one more time before he turned and made his way to patrol, turning the page and closing the book on the part of his life that was Peter Pettigrew.
The school, it seemed, was not as willing to let it lie. The Weasleys were hearing it from all sides. Of course, the twins were safe, no one in their right minds would antagonize them. But Percy and Ron caught it the worst, Ron more so than Percy because of Percy's prefect status. Harry sat at their table, watching as Ron picked at his food, Neville and Hermione on either side of him. "I can't believe people are still talking about this."
Cassie sighed but it was Draco who answered. "They had a deatheater living in their home for 10 years mate, even if they didn't know about it, it's still news worthy."
"We've been over this several times Harry." Cassie smacked Harry lightly on the head which earned her a half-hearted glare.
"I know, but I feel horrible for the guy."
"I know you do Harry, but what can we do?" Harry thought on that as Ron got up to leave, the eyes of his friends following him sadly as he left. But Harry also noted the group of Hufflepuffs that followed him and had an idea. "I've got it!"
Ron Weasley was normally an up bright child. But at that moment, he was feeling most despondent as he wondered the halls. He couldn't believe that a deatheater had been hiding under their roof all this time! What did that say about his family?
Ron was so lost in thought that he didn't notice that he had followers until—
"Hey Weasley! Where's your rat?" Ron just ground his teeth but said nothing. "I bet your parents are closet deatheaters who bring out their masks and cry over them every Halloween!" The taunts kept coming, trying to goad a reaction of the boy, and it was beginning to work. Ron's face got red, red enough to match his hair. His fists started to shake and he whipped around to retaliate.
"Oh so it's 5 on 1 now? How brave of you."
"Now Harry, you know that bravery is a Gryffindor trait. Cowardice is more the Hufflepuff way."
"I thought loyalty was?" Draco asked.
"Hmm, perhaps you're right. Let's see, if Gryffindors are brave, Slytherins are cunning, Ravenclaws are intelligent, and Hufflepuffs are loyal, then what does that make them?" Cassie pointed at the now red faced and glaring group of Hufflepuffs.
"They certainly can't be brave." Draco pointed out.
"No I suppose you're both right. That would mean that they don't go in any house then. Which would make them nobody's." By this point, the three Slytherins were almost nose to nose with the Hufflepuffs when Harry whipped out his own wand and aimed it right between the eyes of the apparent leader. "Now let me explain this to you, really slowly, so that even you will understand. My father is Head of the Auror department, my Godfather who also happens to be her father," He pointed at Cassie with his free hand. "is also an Auror and is Lord of the Black family. His father," now pointing at Draco. "was an actual deatheater. And if I'm not mistaken, his brother," nodding towards Ron. "is a curse breaker. He has another brother who is a dragon tamer. And let's not forget he's the brother of Fred and George Weasley so I'm sure he knows a thing or two about cursing idiotic Hufflepuffs. So, if you value your sanity, and indeed, your lives, you'll leave well enough alone and you'll also discourage anyone else from making the same lame jokes or creating new ones. Is that clear? Otherwise, I'll personally show you some of the interesting curse I know." An almost evil glint was in his eyes by the time he was finished, daring them to do anything but comply.
But he needn't worry about that because at this point, the group of Hufflepuffs were pale faced and too frightened to do anything but nod and hurry away like roaches, leaving a very relieved looking Ron behind. "Gee, uh, thanks. You didn't have to do that."
Harry just grinned. "Course I did mate. That's what friends do right?"
Ron at this point, was dumb struck. But soon enough a broad grin stretched out on his face. "Yea, I guess they do."
Edward watched the entire exchange with a smile on his face. Snape just scowled. "He should have just cursed them and had been done with it."
"Oh, no my friend, he handled that just right."
"He threw them off with the insults by implying that they were not true Hufflepuffs, then he just insulted them for going in 5 on 1. Then he threatened them in a way that will keep Mr. Weasley out of theirs, and probably anyone else's crosshairs for some time. I thought it was quite marvelous."
"Yes, I suppose that's true. But you have to admit, getting them to bugger off without any curses being thrown was very clever."
"Perhaps, we shall see how long it lasts."
Edward sighed. "You just hate to admit when you're clearly wrong don't you?"
"I so rarely am, I must be out of practice."
Edward snorted derisively. "How humble you are."
"Now that you could never accuse me of."
"That's God's own truth."
Later that night, a cloaked figure made its way into the castle, climbing the stairs slowly so as not to alert anyone of its presence. It made its way to the third floor and crept down the corridor, looking for any signs of a door that might be locked. It got to the end of the corridor where a single door stood. The figure tried it, opening the door to find the room beyond empty. "You know that's where they had planned on putting it." The figure jumped, turning around to find a man not 15 feet away. Edward just looked at the figure with obvious contempt. "There was even a trap door fashioned and extra rooms planned. I think Albus had planned on using Hagrid's Cerberus to guard it. Of course, I quickly put a stop to those plans. Of course I've already told you that haven't I. Just like I also told you that I'd make you bodiless once more if I saw you here again."
Edward grimly drew his wand with a flick of his wrist. The figure in front of him bolted down a side corridor, with Edward close behind him. The cloaked person was breathing raggedly as it made its way back around to the stairs but Edward had yet to even start breathing outside of normal.
Up the stairs they went bypassing 3 floors until they got to the 7th and the figure realized it wasn't going to outrun Edward on the stairs. It ran down the corridor while Edward slowed his speed. There was only one way out of the corridor and he was certain that this person had no idea where they were headed. The figure had also slowed considerably, though from near exhaustion more than anything. It got to what was known as the Fat Lady's Hall where a young first year was standing outside of his dormitories trying to remember the password. Neville!
The figure had also seen the boy and slowed to a stop a few feet away. Neville turned, having heard the noise, and immediately stepped back in surprise. "Neville Longbottom." The figure which at this point Edward had deduced was male, spoke. "My master didn't think you'd be here. My how the years have flown." The man reached forward as if to grab Neville.
"Don't you dare touch him." Edward's voice was deathly calm. His wand was leveled at his enemy. "Do so and it will be at the cost of your own life."
"Oh? Is that so? But we have so much history together!" The voice was different, barely above a whisper and was nearly a hiss. "Let me see him." The man reached up and pulled the hood down to reveal a man with the face of Voldemort sticking out of the back of his head. "Do you like my new servant Edward? I found him in Albania. He was a lost soul looking for purpose and I gave it to him. He has been most faithful to me."
"I wonder then, if you have made him aware of what will happen when you exit his body?"
"Master, what is he talking about?"
"Silence fool!" Voldemort sneered at his servant's question before returning to Edward. "So intelligent yet so stubborn. Just like your mother."
"She was smart enough to realize her mistake and she was smart enough to stay away from you. But she was too stubborn to run when the time came."
"And are you that stubborn my son?"
Edward smiled grimly. "I don't need to be stubborn. I'm smart enough to know that you are barely even a shade of your former self, and I am far more powerful than I was 10 years ago, father." With that, Edward slashed his wand diagonally, opening up the now surprised host of Voldemort from shoulder to hip. He fell, his innards spilling out all over the floor. Voldemort screamed with rage as he took flight, right at Neville. "Neville, down!" But Neville was frozen in fright as the spirit passed right through him and out a window into the night. Neville was sent backward a few feet, landing on his back. Edward raced to check on Neville, sending a message to Albus as he went. When he got there, Neville had already succumbed to blackness as unconsciousness took over.
Albus arrived with Severus not long after and they cleaned up the mess and got Neville to the hospital wing. Later on, Albus met with three of his four heads of house. Flitwick was the only one missing. There, Edward explained to them what had happened and when he was done, there was not a smiling face in the room. Albus cleared his throat. "Why didn't you allow Neville to be touched? You know what would have happened."
"As if I'd allow Neville to get blood on his hands. Even if he was Voldemort's servant, the boy would have felt guilty and it'd have eaten away at him for years. For merlin's sakes Albus, he's only 11!"
Albus smiled at that, eyes twinkling in the way that irritated Edward to no end, as if he knew something Edward didn't. "My thought's exactly my boy, my thoughts exactly."
Minerva just rolled her eyes, not even bothering to respond. Severus just sat there in a huff.
After the whole exchange the three teachers were heading down the corridor from the headmaster's office in silence, when Minerva finally spoke. "Of course, this proves that You-know-Who isn't really dead, not sure why Albus had to explain that."
"He likes to make sure we're all on the same page. I think though, in some way, Albus can't help but treat us like students because he has taught all three of us at some point."
"Well he can keep it to himself. I don't appreciate being talked to as if I don't know what's going on. And what was that about why you didn't let You-Know-Who's servant die at Neville's touch? As if you'd ever allow that to happen!"
"He likes to play games with people, I don't think he ever means it in a condescending way. But it can be annoying at times."
Severus chose this moment to speak. "I hate to interrupt but we do have a major problem here, how is the Dark Lord still alive?"
Edward frowned in thought. "The answer to that is very dark and it's on the tip of my tongue, as if the answer is so obvious but it's so evil my mind won't bring it up. I'll have a look at Grimmauld place as well as in Salazar's own books to see if the answer is there."
"Do you need help?"
"I'm afraid not Severus. You and Sirius in the same house is never good and the Slytherin texts are all charmed so that only a Parselmouth can read them. No, I'm afraid that I'm on my own here." The potions master nodded grimly.
"Well gentlemen, I shall leave you here. I have reports to grade and I'm sure you two have things to do. Let me know what you find Edward." Minerva nodded at the two men and made her way back to her office.
Severus snorted. "She never changes."
Edward chuckled at that. "No indeed my friend. She certainly doesn't." And with that, the two separated to do what they needed to do.
And cut! Whew that was fun. Sorry I'm a little later than normal but I posted early last month so I figured it'd be ok if I was a day late. We have about one chapter to go before second year starts and I have a little poll I'm putting up. Until recently, I was sure that Emma was going to Slytherin but now…I'm not so sure. Is it really that realistic to have them both go to Slytherin? I'm not so sure now. So, I'll have a vote that'll be open until I post the next chapter! So please, contribute to the cause and vote!
Now, on to other business. You may have noticed that I've made Neville and Ron a bit different in this story than in its original incarnation. To answer that, I'll say this. I just didn't feel right. It didn't seem realistic for Ron and Harry to dislike each other. Not to say that Ron won't be a little wary with Draco, because him being friendly with a Malfoy might be pushing the boundaries of reality, but otherwise he and Harry will be friends. I might put a little friction there for year 2 because that friction will be normal. Which leads us to Ginny. Yes, she will be in Slytherin. That was never in doubt for me because I'm a huge Hinny shipper. That and I could see Ginny in Slytherin considering how she is in canon. To be honest, I could see the twins in Slytherin too but I decided to leave that alone in this story.
So, in closing, please review! I enjoy reading and responding to them so don't deprive me of that joy! Anyway, I hope you enjoy!
P.S.: I saw Fantastic Beasts recently and it was amazing. If you really haven't seen it yet, you really should!