Disclaimer: I feel like I've been reading too much Harry Potter and watching too much of A Very Potter Sequel recently, probably 'cause I'm trying to fill the gap left in me by a distinct lack of Doctor Who until November, though I could totally try playing some Pokémon for a change, I've never actually read Animorphs but I know it's a thing that exists, and I've definitely been listening to way too much PotterFicWeekly to try to drown out the wasp that's trapped in my wall. I also don't own an almanac, that's what the internet's for (and making sure the info's in fact correct shut up). Though I'm sure that kind of information would be pretty easy to access in any case. At any time. In probably any library. EASILY. (which is where I probably should've checked to start with again shut up)
Hermione joined them at the foot of the ladder to Professor Trelawney's classroom twenty minutes later, looking extremely harassed.
"I can't believe I missed Cheering Charms! And I bet they come up in our exams; Professor Flitwick hinted they might!"
"That's okay," said Harry, "just let us know when you have a lull in our workload and we can teach you exactly how to do it."
"Yeah, both of us actually got this one down in the first class we learned it for once," said Ron encouragingly. "You'll probably get it in five minutes! Less, I bet!"
"You guys," sobbed Hermione, smiling tearfully at them, and they hurriedly climbed the ladder before she could hug either of them again.
HOLY SHITBALLS NEVILLE'S LAST NAME IS LONGBOTTOM I HAD NO IDEA THIS IS MAJOR NEWS EVERYONE CELEBRATE THIS SUDDEN INFLUX OF BRAND-NEW INFORMATION.
We are really incapable of learning Lee's last name, ain't we. We're reminded of it four entire times throughout the Quidditch Final, and also apparently we need to be constantly reminded as usual that Fred and George are, in fact, Weasleys.
Horrified, Harry looked around. Malfoy had thrown himself forward, grabbed hold of the Firebolt's tail, and was pulling it back.
"Penalty! Penalty to Gryffindor! I've never seen such tactics! Somehow! Even though it seems like kind of a basic thing to do in circumstances like this!" Madam Hooch screeched.
"Excellent, Harry," Lupin muttered as Harry climbed out of the trunk that was probably a TARDIS, grinning. "Full marks. Tell me, how did you manage to beat a dementor-boggart, how do you make that funny?"
"That is an excellent question, Professor Lupin!" said Harry cheerfully.
"I LIKE MOO COW."
"…Good for you, Harry."
"Scabbers!" said Ron blankly. "Scabbers, what are you doing here? Why the hell didn't you leave Hogwarts altogether so Sirius would've had absolutely no way of tracking you down?"
"Not to mention you knew I had the cloak and probably heard us talking about the map as soon as I got it," Harry added. "Why did we never come up to the dormitory to find the map ripped to shreds and the cloak missing?"
"Hell, you probably overheard Fred and George talking about the map once they'd first got a hold of it," Ron went on. "Why didn't you get rid of it then in case they ever caught sight of you and questioned why you were following Percy around when they couldn't see anyone with him?"
"There's never a straight answer with you, is there."
And there, at the base of the trunk, was the dog, who miraculously dodged all of the Whomping Willow's attacks despite not being fast as it once was even if it did know the tree's pattern — Ron was fighting furiously, but for some reason he was still keeping a tight grip on Scabbers, who apparently was not taking advantage of Ron's distress to escape the thing that had been hunting him all year in any way. Maybe if Ron had let the rat bastard go, his head and torso wouldn't be slipping out of sight — Why didn't anyone make some kind of alarm go off or block up the trunk altogether since everyone knew Black knew about that tunnel and could've been hiding there this whole time—
…How did the bed go untouched, how did a fully-grown rampaging werewolf trapped in a tiny-ass house conveniently miss the bedroom.
Dude stop killing your godson.
"HE KILLED MY MUM AND DAD!" Harry roared…There is a lot of yelling, shouting, screaming, roaring, and dare I say shrieking going on in the Shrieking Shack tonight, and none of it was the incoherent screams of agony from fifteen-ish years ago. You'd think phrases like "HE KILLED MY MUM AND DAD!" and "WE'RE UP HERE — SIRIUS BLACK — QUICK!" and
"GET OUT OF THE WAY, POTTER!" would raise a few eyebrows down in Hogsmeade and perhaps prompt some people to contact the Ministry or something responsible like that—I'm sorry, I couldn't finish that with a straight face.
Harry raised the wand. Now was the moment to do it. Now was the moment to avenge his mother and father. He was going to kill Black. He had to kill Black. This was his chance…
Only he had no idea how to do it magically short of a diffindo to the jugular; in fact he might not even know that yet. He was better off beating Black to death with his fists earlier. Maybe he should go back to that…
"Professor," Harry interrupted loudly, "what's going on—?"
But he never finished the question, because what he saw made his voice die in his throat. Lupin was lowering his wand, gazing fixedly at Black. The Professor walked to Black's side, seized his hand, pulled him to his feet so that Crookshanks fell to the floor, and began snogging him passionately while ripping off both their clothes.
Harry felt as though the bottom had dropped out of his stomach as he watched one of the few adults he'd ever trusted furiously shagging the man who'd destroyed his life.
"THIS IS THE HOTTEST THING I'VE EVER SEEN!" Hermione screamed.
…Fuck you, Ron.
Lupin stopped dead. Then, with an obvious effort, he turned to Hermione and said, "How long have you known?"
"Ages," Hermione whispered. "Since I did Professor Snape's essay—"
"I'm sorry, I seem to have misheard that," Black cut in. "Can you repeat that, please, miss? In English this time?"
"…Since I did Professor Snape's essay?" Hermione repeated hesitantly.
"…Nope, still didn't catch that."
"Severus is teaching Potions, Sirius," Lupin explained tiredly.
"…Think I might've just choked on my own vomit," muttered Black.
"ADOPT ME," shouted Harry.
"There," said Lupin, sticking his own wand back into his belt. "You're armed, we're not. Now will you listen?"
Harry didn't know what to think. Was it a trick?
"Only bad guys ever explain anything flat-out to me," he said. "I have to overhear things from my own side to get any kind of exposition whatsoever. So…you're really not helping your case if you're trying to convince us you're good guys."
"Or we could be the only adults in the whole series who actually treat you like a young adult instead of a five-year-old and trust you to act responsibly with the information we give you," said Black reasonably.
"STOP MAKING ME LIKE YOU."
"The important thing is, I was watching the map carefully this evening, because I had an idea that you, Ron, and Hermione might try and sneak out of the castle to visit Hagrid before his hippogriff was executed. Admittedly I thought something was seriously wrong with the map since there was another Harry and Hermione wandering around the edge of Hagrid's Hut so I almost couldn't believe what I was seeing at first, but I wasn't about to take any chances when I saw Sirius Black attack Ron and possibly someone else and bring them down here so I left anyway. Probably should've wiped it clean first, but cut me some slack, it's been a while since it's been in my possession, when you're not in the habit of doing something you tend to forget things."
…I wonder if while Percy still had Scabbers, Molly neutered him at any point. XP
Black stopped struggling, though his hollowed eyes were still fixed on Scabbers, who was clamped tightly under Ron's bitten, scratched, and bleeding hands.
"…Could you Stun him at least so he doesn't get away while you exposit and so he doesn't hurt that boy anymore," said Black grudgingly.
"That idea's dumb and so are you," said Lupin firmly.
"Why do we hang out."
"Because…because people would know if Peter Pettigrew had been an Animagus. We did Animagi in class with Professor McGonagall. And I looked them up when I did my homework — and the Ministry of Magic keeps tabs on witches and wizards who can become animals; there's a register showing what animal they become, and their markings and things…and since turning into an animal is most every Muggle child's dream which is why the Animorphs series was so popular when iheart was a baby kid, it would probably stand to reason that magical children would love to do it too, not to mention depending on the animal you could get away with so many things and break the law all the time and never get caught but of course no one would ever dream of breaking the rules like that so obviously everyone would register properly and legally…and I went and looked Professor McGonagall up on the register, and there have been only seven Animagi that registered legally this century, and Pettigrew's name wasn't on the list—"
Harry had barely had time to marvel inwardly at the effort Hermione put into her homework when Black spoke up.
"Was I on that list?" he asked.
"Yet you know I can turn into a dog at will."
"…That may be, but—"
"So it stands to reason that others can also turn into animals and not be on that list, correct?"
"…I suppose so..."
"Then shut the fuck up."
Lupin broke off. There had been a loud creak behind him. The bedroom door had opened of its own accord. All five of them stared at it. Then Lupin strode toward it and looked out into the landing.
"No one there…"
"This place is haunted!" said Ron.
"It's not," said Lupin, drawing his wand. "Homenum revelio!"
A bright orange arrow appeared over their heads, pointing downward at a blank space near the opposite wall. Lupin crept over, stretched out his hand, and ripped Harry's Invisibility Cloak off of Professor Snape. Everyone stared at him in silence while he glared alternatively at Lupin, Black, and Harry.
"…Why didn't you just listen in from outside so you wouldn't alert anyone to your presence?" asked Lupin.
"Fuck you, that's why."
"Hurry up, Remus," snarled Black, who was still watching Scabbers with a horrible sort of hunger on his face. "And could you possibly condense it a bit, no one wants to hear your life story, which is why they cut it from the film because who cares about making things make sense."
"I'm getting there, Sirius, I'm getting there…and I am keeping it short, there's got to be something I'm not mentioning that'll appear on Pottermore in a few years!"
"Nah, it's probably just going to be a summary of this while maybe mentioning where you've been the past twelve years."
"And there is absolutely no way we're going to be that lucky."
"Not a chance in hell."
Black made a derisive noise.
"It served him right," he sneered. "Sneaking around, trying to find out what we were up to…hoping he could get us expelled…"
"So you attempted to murder him?" said Harry in disbelief. "Just because he was following you around all the time?"
"I am back to disliking you heavily."
"Severus was very interested in where I went every month," Lupin told Harry, Ron, and Hermione, the latter of which was now convinced that Snape fancied Lupin and didn't know any other way to express it beyond stalking. "We were in the same year, you know, and we — er — didn't like each other very much. He especially disliked James. Jealous, I think, of James's talent on the Quidditch field—"
"No, James hated Snivellus for being friends with Lily and getting his grease all over her," said Black, "and Snivelly's just a slimy git like that."
"Snape was friends with my mum?" cried Harry.
"Yeah, 'course they were, they never exactly hid it. Then he called her a Mudblood and she rightfully chucked the Death Eating bastard."
"Dumbledore wouldn't trust him so much if he was a Death Eater," said Lupin tiredly.
"He's certainly evil enough to be one…"
"What's a Death Eater?" asked the trio.
"We are getting so off-topic right now…" muttered Lupin.
Severus Snape was pulling off the Invisibility Cloak, his wand pointing directly at Lupin. And not Black for some reason even though he's the one who supposedly betrayed Lily to Voldemort and he's the guy who Snape probably despises more.
Snape was slightly breathless, but his face was full of suppressed triumph. "You're wondering, perhaps, how I knew you were here?" he said, his eyes glittering. "I've just been in your office, Lupin. You forgot to take your potion tonight, so I took a gobletful along."
"Did you bring it with you?" said Lupin quickly, turning white.
"…I did not."
"Oh." Lupin looked resigned. "I suppose that's all right, the full moon's…not even for another two weeks plus, why are we freaking out, I don't even need the potion at all this week. Thank God, too, that stuff's nasty."
"…The full moon's tonight, though."
"No it isn't."
"…Yes it really is."
"Today's the sixth, the full moon's on the twenty-second."
"I like to think I know a little more about this than you, Severus."
"…Was I thinking of last year?"
"When it was on the fourth and therefore wouldn't matter since it would've been two nights ago?"
"What, no three day thing?"
"Of course not, why would you even think that was a thing?"
BANG! Thin, snakelike cords burst from the end of Snape's wand and twisted themselves around Lupin's mouth, wrists, and ankles; he overbalanced and fell to the floor, unable to move. With a roar of rage, Black started toward Snape, but Snape pointed his wand straight between Black's eyes.
"Why am I not instantly tying you up as well," he whispered. "In fact, why didn't I Stun both you and Lupin when I was still invisible."
"Come on, all of you," said Snape. He clicked his fingers, and the ends of the cords that bound Lupin flew to his hands. "I'll drag the werewolf out into the open when the moon is full tonight and a cloud will shift any second now so really I'm suggesting putting all of you in more danger than anything else right now."
"YOU'RE PATHETIC!" Harry yelled. "JUST BECAUSE THEY ATTEMPTED TO MURDER YOU AT SCHOOL YOU WON'T EVEN LISTEN—"
"You shouldn't have done that," said Black, looking at Harry. "You should have left him to me…"
"Yes, because you totally had a wand."
"I HAD EVERYTHING UNDER CONTROL."
"I'm sure you did."
"We attacked a teacher…We attacked a teacher," whispered the girl who once set said teacher on fire which could be considered more horrible than just knocking him out, staring at the lifeless Snape with frightened eyes. "Oh, we're going to be in so much trouble—"
"How did you get this?" Lupin asked Black, thunderstruck.
"Fudge," said Black. "When he came to inspect Azkaban last year, he gave me his paper. For some reason. And there was Peter, conveniently on the front page…must've been a slow news day…"
"I need to read the Prophet more often," Lupin muttered to himself.
Pettigrew was muttering distractedly; Harry caught words like "far-fetched" and "lunacy," but he couldn't help paying more attention to the ashen color of Pettigrew's face and the way his eyes continued to dart toward the windows and door. Why he didn't just transform again and attempt to make a break for it? And why weren't Black and Lupin using petrificus totalus on him to make sure he didn't get away? Hell, why wasn't Harry?! Or Hermione, she was great at that spell…Ron was injured and in shock, he was excused, but the other four sure as hell weren't.
"Well — Scabbers — I mean, this — this man — he's been sleeping in Harry's dormitory for three years," said Hermione as Harry and Ron shuddered violently at all the implications that prompted. "If he's working for You-Know-Who, how come he never tried to hurt Harry before now?"
"There!" said Pettigrew shrilly, pointing at Ron with his maimed hand even though Hermione had been the one talking.
But Ron was staring at Pettigrew with the utmost revulsion.
"I let you sleep in my bed!" he said. "You've listened to all of our private conversations since we got to Hogwarts, probably even before that! You've seen us naked! I'VE HAD TO CLEAN UP YOUR SHIT AND PISS FOR THE LAST THREE YEARS!" Ron scrambled to the other side of the bed and began vomiting violently.
"…Why do I never tell the Dark Lord about any of this probably coveted information concerning the private life of the Boy Who Lived," Pettigrew muttered to himself.
"Get off me," Harry spat, throwing Pettigrew's hands off him in disgust. "I'm not doing this for you. I'm doing it because — I don't reckon my dad would've wanted them to become killers — just for you."
No one moved or made a sound except Pettigrew, whose breath was coming in wheezes as he clutched his chest. Black and Lupin were looking at each other.
"…We were in a war, Harry," Black said at length. "There are a lot of things you usually wouldn't do, but sometimes desperate circumstances call for really desperate measures."
"And I definitely don't seem averse to killing four years from now, do I," Lupin reasoned.
"Self-defense good," Harry agreed. "Cold-blooded revenge murder when the other dude's unarmed, begging for mercy, and not fighting back in any way, bad."
"…You're no fun," grumbled Black, then jerked his head up. "Hey, you just tried to kill me! Why want to murder me and not the actual dude who ruined all our lives?"
"'Cause you were fighting back still and were not giving off any signs you were innocent or regretful in any way."
"But I was begging to tell you what really happened, though!"
"BECAUSE THE PLOT SAID SO, NOW SHUT UP."
"Very well," said Lupin. "Stand aside, Harry."
"I'm going to tie him up," said Lupin. "That's all, I swear."
"You might want to Stun or Petrify him as well," said Black reasonably. "Just to make sure he doesn't transform and escape on us."
"That's dumb and you're dumb for thinking it."
"We are such idiots."
Lupin hurried over to Ron, bent down, tapped Ron's leg with his wand, and muttered, "Ferula." Bandages spun up Ron's leg, strapping it tightly to a splint. Lupin helped him to his feet. Ron put his weight gingerly on the leg and didn't wince.
"That's better," he said. "This seems like a really useful spell, really. I can't wait to see it used to its full potential when Harry gets his leg broken by that acromantula since there's no way Dumbledore would just drag him around most of the castle expecting him to just hobble around and milk him for information before he even thinks about bothering to heal him—"
"Get the fuck outta my school," said Dumbledore mildly.
"There's nothing seriously wrong with him," said Lupin, bending over Snape and checking his pulse. "You were just a little — overenthusiastic. Still out cold. Er — perhaps it will be best if we don't give him any evidence that we were right so he could help us make our case since even though we have evidence we're also just a group of wanted criminals, werewolves, and children so we really need all the help we can get. But that would be smart so fuck it."
"And two of us should be chained to this," said Black, nudging Pettigrew with his toe.
"I'll do it," said Lupin. "This is so much better than Stunning him as well and levitating both him and Severus out of here!"
"And I'm incredibly injured so he'll be able to escape from me easily!" Ron volunteered, limping forward.
"THIS IS THE BESTEST SMARTEST GROUP WE HAVE EVER BEEN A PART OF," cried Harry and Hermione.
Harry went right after Black, who was still making Snape drift along ahead of him; he kept bumping his lolling head on the low ceiling. Clearly Harry, Ron, and Hermione would have to crawl through this tunnel in four years, it was so low, which is why Black, Lupin, Pettigrew, and even Ron were wandering down it with relative ease. Hell, I'm pretty sure Prongs could get through this shit, how else were they going to sneak Moony out if they didn't all transform at once?!
"Of course, I thought you wouldn't want to," said Black quickly. "I understand, I just thought I'd—"
"Are you insane?" said Harry, his voice easily as croaky as Black's. "Of course I want to leave the Dursleys! Have you got a house? When can I move in?"
Black turned right around to look at him; Snape's head was scraping the ceiling but Black didn't seem to care.
"…Harry, why are you so eager to live with someone you just met and whom you just tried to murder?"
Silently they tramped through the grounds, the castle lights growing slightly larger. Snape was still drifting weirdly ahead of Black, his chin bumping on his chest. And then—
A cloud shifted. There were suddenly dim shadows on the ground. Their party was bathed in starlight. But since the moon was just a sliver in the sky, they eventually made their way back to the castle, explained their case, and Dumbledore managed to convince Fudge to clear Black's name by reminding him that Black had been imprisoned during the previous administration so he was merely trying to right an atrocious wrong that had been committed before his time.
Harry still had to live with the Dursleys for the first couple of weeks every summer, but they were much more enjoyable than before now that he had a large black dog to play with, and after a fortnight, the dog would disappear and a man with long black hair would show up, riding a large motorbike and taking Harry to a lovely summer home out in the country where they spent their days talking about their respective years at Hogwarts and making up for lost time.
Professor Lupin often came to visit, and was soon known throughout the wizarding world as the first Defense Against the Dark Arts teacher in over forty years to retain the job for more than one year…until Snape got fed up and announced his condition to his House on Christmas the following year, but over three quarters of the student body rose as one to defend him and he was able to stay on despite the naysayers.
Aaaand Buckbeak actually got killeded. All was well.
Review or I'll follow up on that slash section in graphic detail. X3