Ron was the first one to react, surprisingly enough, looking at the rat in his hands with horror and disgust. After everything that they had gone through during their time at Hogwarts and everything that they had seen during their ill begotten adventures, it seemed that the redhead was easily able to accept the truth about the rat that had lived in his family for twelve years. Harry couldn't help but be proud of his friend for that fact. Just looking at the redhead's face, however, told him that Ron wasn't all that far from throwing the rat across the room to get it away from him. Harry and Gabriel didn't blame him and if anything, Harry wanted that little rat away from his best friend as much as Ron himself did if not more. 'Little bastard,' Gabriel snarled as they gazed a Pettigrew.
It seemed that they were both in agreement on what their thoughts of Pettigrew were. The little bastard had not only betrayed his parents and gotten them killed but he had put Ron in danger by hiding with the redhead's family. Harry had no doubt that the rat would have killed all the Weasley's in the Burrow as soon as he heard news of Voldemort returning. That was just the kind of person he pictured Pettigrew as being and Gabriel didn't protest against his thoughts, which only cemented his analysis in his head.
Hermione, however, seemed to be in a sort of shock. Her wand, trained on the no longer squirming rat, shook from the trembling in her hand. Harry had no doubt that the frizzy haired brunet was currently wishing that Crookshanks had managed to kill the rat during his numerous attempts. It also explained why such a well mannered cat was so determined to kill that one rat. Harry would have to pamper him when they got back to the castle.
Black seemed to choose that moment to come out of his stunned stupor. His own wand trained on the rat, Harry barely had enough time to cast a disarming spell at him before the man could curse the little bastard.
Black stared at his hand, his eyes quickly refocusing on the wand that now sat in Harry's left hand. Somewhat crazed black eyes shifted to his face before the man rasped. "Why?"
"That," Harry gestured to the rat in Ron's hands, "Does not deserve the luxury of being killed."
Betrayal still sat in heavily in Harry mind, his anger and Gabriel's anger merging into one and flaring their wings in a way that would cause anyone that could see the appendages to cower in fear. Harry had the memories of many different live and he had the memories of the emotions behind them, however here in this moment, Harry's anger was deeper and more dangerous than he could ever remember it being. Instead of being an observer, instead of having the luxury of being detached from the situation as a whole, they were smack dab in the middle of it and Harry could only just hold himself back from attacking the rat.
When he had learned that his parents had been betrayed, Harry had known that there was more to the story than what he was being told. Something about it had seemed wrong to him and Gabriel had concurred, so the anger he had felt had barely been noticeable. Now, that anger was there full force and he would be damned if Pettigrew had it easy. Sure, he would go to hell when he died and he would spend the rest of eternity being tortured but Harry wanted him to suffer before then.
Black was looking at him in interest now, the crazed look in his eye intensified and was joined with interest. Black's magic turned cold and menacing as the man focused on him. "What do you suggest?"
"We give him to the Dementors," Harry said, causing Ron to stiffen and Hermione to shoot a quick glance in his direction, her trembling stopping to be replaced with stunned disbelief. After his attack by those monsters, Harry had made it no secret that he absolutely hated the things.. The fact that he wanted to hand Pettigrew over to them spoke volumes of the anger he was currently feeling towards the rat and his friends knew that. "I'm sure the ministry will love to hand over the real murderer to them."
He was Harry Potter and while he hated the attention that he got from being the Boy-Who-Lived, he could use that fame to his advantage. The Ministry won't want to admit that they made a mistake with Black but Harry knew that if he demanded a trail for Pettigrew and also went public with the story, they would have no choice but to comply to stop the public backlash. If being in the presence of Dementors was hell for the innocent then Harry had no doubt that it would be even worse for someone who actually guilty.
Black nodded slowly, probably coming to the same conclusion as Harry had. While Harry had lost his parents and had been doomed to a life with the Dursley's by Pettigrew's actions, Black had lost twelve years of his life in the presence of Dementors, his best friends, his freedom, and his godson. In comparison, the betrayal Harry was feeling was probably nothing compared to the man that had actually been friends with the traitor.
And in that moment, it was decided.
Albus Dumbledore raced through the castle, moving faster than his old bones should have been forced to go for the second time in this school year. And once again, the reason centered around Harry Potter.
Prefect Percy Weasley had reported two hours ago that Harry, Ms. Granger, and Mr. Weasley had failed to show up for curfew and that no one remembered seeing either of the three since dinner. He had immediately started a search for them, alerting all of the staff to keep an eye out for them as he went to check at Hagrid's to see if they were there and had just lost track of time. It was not to be, for according to Hagrid, the three had left a half hour earlier for the castle.
The staff immediately went on red alert, Lupin leading the search for the missing Gryffindors in the Forbidden Forest while Minerva led the search in the castle. Then, only ten minutes ago, the trio had entered the Hospital wing. Ron Weasley was suffering from a broken leg and was clutching a rat between his hands. Hermione Granger and Harry himself were shaken but had no injuries.
While the youngest Weasley was tended by nurse, Harry and his female friend had explained what had happened to a frantic Minerva. According to them, they were attacked by a large black dog. The dog had gone straight for Mr. Weasley and had latched onto the redhead's leg and had pulled him into a tunnel at the base of the Whomping Willow. Harry and Ms. Granger had immediately followed suite and had located their friend in the Shrieking Shack only to discover that the dog was none other than Sirius Black.
That was where their story to an interesting turn, Albus thought as he shouted the password to the Gargoyle guarding the stairs to his office. Black didn't attack them at all, in fact when questioned, the man admitted to have been aiming for Mr. Weasley's pet rat of all things, claiming that the rat was in fact Peter Pettigrew.
According to Ms. Granger, in the time honored practice of 'humoring the crazy person', she had immediately turned her wand on the rat and had been shocked to find that 'Scabbers' actually reacted to her wand and stilled completely. Suspicious, Harry had managed to convince Black to allow them to turn 'Pettigrew' over to the Dementors and return to the castle.
That was when Albus had entered the room and was treated to Minerva casting the Animagus detection spell on the rat. It reacted positive and suddenly, Albus once again felt far too old. A quick reversal spell revealed that the rat was indeed Peter Pettigrew.
"Ministry of Magic Department of Magical Law Enforcement," he intoned gravely into the fire place, the floo powder quickly turning the fire green.
Amelia Bones greeted him on the other end. "Albus! What can I do for you?" she asked, smiling.
"I need yourself and a team of aurors to come through," he told her, not wasting anytime on pleasantries like he had in the past. This was no time to catch up. "Make sure to bring Veritaserum."
Amelia's posture immediately changed. "I'll be through in just a moment," she told him.
And it was just a moment. Albus had only just unlocked the floo network to allow them through when Amelia and two aurors stepped through, Veritaserum in hand. "Follow me," he told them and led them out of his office.
On the way to the Hospital Wing, Amelia began questioning him. "Just what is going on?"
"I'm afraid that a terrible mistake has been made," he told her before explaining exactly what had led to him calling her. As he told his tale, Amelia and her accompanying aurors turned more and more pale. By the time they reached the Hospital Wing where Pettigrew was being held, the Head of the DMLE was vibrating with fury.
A half hour later, Amelia Bones seemed to be exuding rage and Albus was feeling older than he had ever felt. Pettigrew, under Veritaserum, confessed to the killing of the muggles, the betrayal of the Potters, numerous other unsolved murders, the fact that he was a Death Eater and had been since graduating Hogwarts, and to the framing of Sirius Black. The severe miscarriage of justice that had revealed itself had Albus questioning everything he had believed in. Arresting Pettigrew as well as taking statements form himself, the trio of Gryffindors, and Minerva, Amelia and her aurors left.
Leaving Albus to wallow in his guilt for his own role in this injustice. "Albus?" the voice of Remus Lupin broke through his thoughts.
And, Albus reflected as he turned to look at the DADA professor, leaving him with the unfortunate task of breaking the news to the Potter's only other remaining friend.
Sirius Black Innocent!
By Rita Skeeter
Everyone knows the story of Sirius Black. Best friend and Secret Keeper to the Potters, Black betrayed them to You-Know-Who and before he was apprehended, killed thirteen muggles and Peter Pettigrew. Justice was severed swiftly and Black was sentenced to life in Azkaban Prison until he broke out during this summer.
However in a twist the will shock you, my dear readers, to the core, Sirius Black was declared innocent by the Ministry of Magic just hours ago. What lead to such a declaration, you might wonder?
Last night at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, Peter Pettigrew was discovered alive. Pettigrew, it seems, was a rat animagus and had been living with the Weasley family as their children's pet rat for the last twelve years. How was this discovered, you ask?
Sirius Black, it turns out, is a dog animagus. As young Hermione Granger, Harry Potter, and Ron Weasley returned to the castle after visiting the Grounds Keeper, Rubeus Hagrid, Sirius Black recognized Peter Pettigrew in Ron Weasley's hand. Attacking, Black grabbed and dragged Ron Weasley through a secret tunnel that connected to the Shrieking Shack in Hogsmeade Village. Chased by Harry Potter and Hermione Granger, Black admitted to having been after the rat, which was in fact Peter Pettigrew.
Skeptical of what they were told, the three Gryffindors managed to convince Black to let them turn Pettigrew in. Once back at the castle, the teachers were horrified to discover that Black had been telling the truth. Alerting the aurors, Pettigrew was interrogated under Veritaserum by the Head of the DMLE Amelia Bones.
Pettigrew confessed to not only betraying the Potters, killing the thirteen muggles and framing Sirius Black but of the murders of Madame Lu Sung (pureblood, died 1979), eighteen unsolved muggle killings, the death of Gideon and Fabian Prewitt, Amy Rose (muggleborn, died 1978), Louise Rosier (pureblood, died 1977) and Terance Smith (muggleborn, died 1978). Pettigrew was sentence to life in Azkaban Prison, the maximum security ward in the emergency Wizengamot meeting that was called at 9:00 am this morning and has already been delivered to his new cell within the prison.
That is not all, my dear readers. The tragedy of this case only gets worse. Minister Fudge, shocked by the miscarriage of justice Sirius Black received, immediately went to investigate how this could have possibly happened. Needless to say the Minister was horrified to discover that Black was never given a trial! During the chaos that descended after the war, Black's case was pushed back until it was forgotten about, allowing Black to suffer twelve years in Azkaban when he was, in fact, innocent.
The head of the DMLE at the time, Bartemius Crouch, has been called into questioning to see how many other cases might have possibly been mismanaged during the after war chaos. Crouch was unavailable for comments.
Yet why is it only now that this is coming to light? Why is it that Sirius Black only now decided to break out of Azkaban? The answer will shock you all.
You might remember the article this summer that feature the entire Weasley family after they were fortunate enough to win the Wizarding Lottery. One the same day, Minister Fudge was reading the paper during his routine check of Azkaban. When he passed the cell of Sirius Black, Black requested that he be allowed to read the paper. The Minister allowed it and in what must be the most bizarre coincidence in the history of our world, Black recognized Pettigrew in his animagus form where he was perched on the shoulder of the youngest Weasley child. Black, immediately realizing that Pettigrew, a Death Eater, was in Hogwarts with no one aware of it, broke out of Azkaban a few days later. It is because of Sirius Black's heroic actions that Peter Pettigrew as discovered and apprehended and this reporter can only thank the man with all her heart.
What of the Weasley's, who unknowingly harbored a Death Eater for the past twelve years? This reporter tired to gain an interview with Arthur and Molly Weasley however the Weasley matriarch began hysterically crying before I could gain any information. Arthur Weasley only had this to say: "We had no idea. One day twelve years ago, my son Percy found an injured rat in our garden and asked to keep. We saw no harm in it and eventually, Percy passed the rat on to Ron. To think that we've had a Death Eater living under our roof with our children…" Arthur Weasley proceeded to break down. This reporter can only express her sympathies to the family, who are shaken. Molly Weasley was eventually given calming potion and was escorted home by her husband.
Sirius Black is asked to turn himself in to St. Mungos for medical treatment as well as to be formally cleared of all charges and to be rewarded monetary reimbursement. The Daily Prophet would like to wish Black well and congratulates him on his freedom.
For more on Sirius Black, see page 4
For more on the Fidelius Charm, see page 9
For more on Peter Pettigrew, see page 12