Disclaimer: The Harry Potter universe belongs to the proverbial Duchess of Magic, JK Rowling, Scholastic, Bloomsbury, Warner Bros and some other high falutin' companies. No matter how much I whine about not owning anything related to the HP universe, other than a few fanfic plots, I do not profess to own - and would never dream of making any money off - JKR's wonderful world... Damn it!
Chapter Two - Singing 'Another One Bites the Dust'
"Three weeks later to the day, it's the twenty eighth of May," continued Memory-Harry. "Ron and I had just managed to work out what was going on from all the various clues."
With a snort he corrected himself, "Well, not really. I figured it out, with Ron still trying to drag me off to play chess and otherwise skive off doing homework.
"The main one was that very day finding a torn page from a book in petrified Hermione's hand that described basilisks. Under that, in her own neat script, was written one word - Pipes.
"Ron had also just discovered his little sister, Ginny, had gone missing; and he was frantic to get my help in finding her. We were down on that same second floor corridor outside that same bathroom when we saw another message had been written below the Heir of Slytherin message, 'Her skeleton will lie in the Chamber forever'.
"Ron panicked, of course. So would you if you'd just discovered something like that about your own baby sister. At least he'd finally decided to put in some effort to figure out what was going on. He'd found his motivation. To me, it was far too little; far too late.
"However, just like the previous year, we were determined to take the matter to an adult witch of wizard. I wanted to give McGonagall the benefit of the doubt and get her help. Maybe this time she'd do the right thing. However, Ron forced on me the choice of Gilderoy 'The Fraud' Lockhart.
"When we ran to and burst into the office of The Fraud, he was in the process of packing with the intention of running away as fast as he could. So, yes, The Fraud could now be known as The Cowardly Fraud.
"However, since he claimed to be this all-powerful vanquisher of dark creatures, as written in his novels - sorry, texts - we were having none of that. We forced him to come down to the Chamber with us. And I had a pretty good idea where it was.
"The final clue that gave me the probable location was that, when the Chamber was last opened in the early 1940s, a student was killed. Her name was Myrtle. You know her today as the ghost, Moaning Myrtle.
"We then headed for the very same girls' bathroom, once again. Once inside I found a carving of a snake on one of the taps in the circle of sinks in the middle of the floor.
"A quick whisper of parseltongue, and I had the entrance open.
"With The Cowardly Fraud going first - whether he liked it or not - we slid down the pipe entrance all the way to the bottom. We were now deep under the school and likely under the lake.
"With wand tips lit we walked from the bottom of the pipe in the only direction we could; through a long cave.
"Partway along, we came across a shed snake skin. It was about fifty feet long.
"While hurriedly discussing what to do next, The Cowardly Fraud had a moment of bravery and lunged at Ron stripping him of his wand. How about that. For the past twenty minutes, The Cowardly Fraud couldn't even take hold of his bollocks enough to jump a twelve year old until then.
"Fraudhart them had us both at wand point and began bragging about how he was going to claim he would write a new book about this, claim he was unable to save Ginny from the basilisk, but had rescued the two of us. Then he attempted to cast the only charm upon us he was quite the expert at - the Obliviation charm.
"The trouble for him was, Ron's wand was broken and held together with Spellotape. The Obliviation charm backfired on him, and threw him across the cave. However, the attempt also managed to bring down the roof of the cave on us.
"After Ron and I dived in opposite directions to avoid all the falling rocks we ended up on different sides of the cave-in that now filled the cave at that point.
"Only I could go on, while Ron would work at clearing some of the rocks away enough for me to get out once I got Ginny. Fraudhart was barely lucid and didn't even remember his own name; so, he was no help.
"And that brings us to the next important memory. This one is going to have quite a number of shocks. If you have a poor constitution I suggest you quickly, but quietly, leave right now. Once I start the memory I have no intention of stopping, restarting or pausing it. If you miss anything, too bad. You should have been paying attention in the first place.
"Right. Here we go."
Memory-Harry faded out and the memory opened with twelve-year-old Harry walking up to the massive stone door protecting the Chamber of Secrets. Him opening it, and walking inside. Having a look about as we walked deeper within. Finally seeing and rushing up to the unconscious form of Ginny Weasley lying on the floor at the base of the very large statue of who everyone assumed was Salazaar Slytherin and foolishly dropping his wand on the way. Him trying to wake her. The nearly corporeal form of Tom Riddle walking out of the shadows and picking up his wand.
Then the whole discussion, where 'Tom' reveals himself to be both Tom Marvolo Riddle and Voldemort - which had many in the audience gasping in shock or try to cry out in disbelief. Riddle's true bloodline. More outcries of disbelief.
Real-Harry, once he felt the audience had become noisy enough, glared at the general audience, put his book down and stood.
He roared out, "Who's magic am I getting the Goblet to strip?"
That silenced the audience again.
He glared about for a few moments longer, and retook his seat on the sun lounge, picking up his book as he did so.
Meanwhile, the memory went through Riddle's bragging, how the diary was leeching Ginny's life force, and Harry's defiance.
Finally, Riddle called forth the basilisk.
That had just about everyone in the audience scream out in fearful shock.
Real-Harry, again, surged to his feet to glare about, this time with his wand in hand. And, again, he got almost immediate silence.
Memory-Harry's running to avoid the basilisk. The arrival of Fawkes with the Sorting Hat in his claws that he then dropped in to Harry's arms; and who then attacked the eyes of the basilisk. The blinding of the basilisk.
Harry finding the Sword of Gryffindor in the Sorting Hat. Harry fighting the blinded basilisk with the sword. Harry killing the basilisk while also being bitten by it. And the basilisk thrashing its head about in its death throes before finally dying.
The return of Fawkes, a dying Harry being saved by Fawkes's tears and Riddle trying to blast the bird away with Harry's wand. Harry then using the broken fang of the basilisk he pulled out of his arm to repeatedly stab the diary. Near-corporeal Riddle being blasted apart. Ginny waking. And the two of them leaving.
When the memory ended, Memory-Harry returned and quietly said, "I told you it would be shocking."
Giving that a long moment to settle, he continued, "Before I give you the highlights you should know that wasn't the last time that evening my life was in peril."
After he knew there'd be a few more gasps, and were, he continued, "After I helped Ginny out of the Chamber, we returned to the cave-in. Ron had managed to clear away enough rocks for the two of us to scramble through.
"Once on the other side, Ron and his sister had a bit of a heartfelt reunion while I checked out Lockhart. He was still out to it and seemed to only have memories up to when he was a small child. He thought he was still a small child.
"Fawkes returned to us and, using his flame-travel powers, soon saw the four of us back up in the girls' bathroom on the second floor.
"Now, instead of taking us direct to the Infirmary, Fawkes took us back to Minerva McGonagall's office. Inside were McGonagall, Dumbledore and the Weasley parents.
"At this point, the adults should have thought to themselves, 'They could be injured. We should see to their health, first.' But, no. No, we started to get questions barked at us about everything; as if their getting information was more important than our health.
"For those who don't yet understand, that's known as 'child neglect' and is a crime. At least, it's a crime in the muggle world.
"By now I'd become pretty inured to just how stupid the magical-raised could be. They just... don't... think.
"More and more questions were being asked - more like, demands for information. Even when they learned I'd been bitten by a basilisk and showed them the healing wound, not one of these so-called responsible adults immediately dragged me off to the Infirmary. No, them getting immediate answers was clearly more important than my health.
"Well, fuck you very much! I've well learned my lesson from that. Both my Headmaster and Head of House truly don't give a shit about me."
"However, Dumbledore, at his supposed magnanimous best, did decide to give both Ron and me two hundred points, apiece; and special awards for services to the school. Whoop-de-friggin'-do!
"From what I've read up on what past holders of the Order of Merlin achieved to get them, it wasn't hard to figure out slaying a thousand year old basilisk to save a young pre-teen witch's life ranked pretty high up in comparison. But, was one even considered? Fuck no!"
Giving a disappointed sigh and letting that settle for a long moment, he continued, "As I mentioned earlier that wasn't the only threat to my life, that day. Nor was it my health being ignored by the adults who should have known better. No, the next direct threat came that evening in the Deputy Headmistress's office and then immediately outside in the corridor. Watch."
The memory showed Harry and Dumbledore still in McGonagall's office when Lucius Malfoy slammed the door open and strolled in as if he owned the place. Dobby was at his heels.
After the exchange of veiled threats masked as pleasantries between Malfoy and Dumbledore, Malfoy stormed out of the room.
Harry grabbed the diary back off Dumbledore, pulled one of his shoes off, ripped his sock off, stuffed it in the diary, and pulled his shoe back on his sockless foot.
Next part was Harry, out in the corridor, forcing Malfoy senior to take back the diary; him then forcing it into the hands of Dobby; Harry indicating to Dobby to open it and Dobby discovering he'd just been handed clothes by his master, thereby freeing him.
Malfoy, discovering what Harry had done, pulled his wand on him. About to curse Harry, by snarling out, "Avada―" and Dobby banishing his now old master down the corridor.
The memory then ended with Memory-Harry putting in an appearance.
"And there you have Lucy Malfoy in the process of attempting to curse an unarmed twelve year old boy with the Killing curse." His voice dropped into a full sarcastic snark. "What a naffing hero!" And returned back to what it was. "From that, I easily understand how his son turned out to be such a... doofus."
Real-Harry did not need to look into the stands to know Malfoy junior would be red with rage, but unable to act upon it as he wanted. His fear he just might lose his magic, no matter how slim or unlikely, stayed his hand and tongue.
"Now, a review of the year," continued Memory-Harry. "Dumbledore hires a man clearly incompetent and unqualified for the position as Professor of Defence Against the Dark Arts. Even the Voldemort-possessed Quirrell was a better choice than that. The idiot teaches us nothing. Well, what he teaches us has nothing to do with the subject, at any rate. I don't think we really needed to know what hair products and teeth whitening potions the popinjay used.
"Filch's cat got petrified by, at that point, an unknown assailant. Because I'm one of the first on the scene, I immediately get the blame.
"That then starts me being bullied by the majority of the school, including the passive-aggressive shit the teaching staff and the caretaker aimed at me, for the next eight months.
"A week later, Creevey is petrified while I have an ironclad alibi being laid up in the Infirmary under Pomfrey's care. The same ironclad alibi ignored by both students and staff less than two weeks later.
"Next it's discovered, even by me, that I'm a parselmouth. From that everyone immediately and erroneously assumes I'm evil. Refer back to Filch's cat.
"Finch-Fletchley is attacked and I'm blamed for it. Refer back to Colin Creevey and me simultaneously being in the Infirmary less than two weeks earlier.
"A half year break, Hermione and Clearwater are petrified while I'm down at the Quidditch pitch. This, once again, proves it couldn't have been me. However, this time the populace of the castle finally figure that out for themselves. All the evidence was there conclusively proving I didn't do it, but it took the petrification of my best friend for them to finally take that bare moment needed to work out it wasn't me.
"Three weeks after that Ron and I force Fraudhart down into the entrance to the Chamber.
"We get separated and I go on. I face, yet again, the spirit of Voldemort trying to come back to life. I battle a one thousand year old gi-normous basilisk in battle. And I save the life of Ginny Weasley.
"Fawkes helps the four of us back up into the school proper. Before we even get a chance to go see to our injuries in the Infirmary Dumbledore, McGonagall and Arthur and Molly Weasley begin to interrogate the shit out of us.
"After over an hour, Dumbledore finally states Ginny needs to visit the Infirmary. Mister and Missus Weasley leave with Ginny to go and do just that; and take Ron with them. In other words, Harry was bitten by a basilisk - which I had only just gotten through telling them about - but, according to all the adults there, fuck him! He doesn't need to go to the Infirmary. Nor does the fraud, Lockhart, who managed to almost completely Obliviate himself all the way back to his young childhood.
"Still before I can finally get to the Infirmary, Lucy Malfoy turns up. I manage to trick the idiot into freeing his house elf. So, in return, he tries to hex/curse me with the Killing Curse. The schmuck gets smacked down by his now ex-house elf, in saving my life.
"That evening those who were petrified, including Mrs Norris, are unpetrified.
"It's now two weeks to go until the end of term. Dumbledore decides to cancel exams. Personally, if I was a fifth or seventh year supposedly about to sit my OWLs or NEWTs, I'd be ropeable. There was no notice he was going to do this. He gave no one a chance to disagree. He just did it. Talk about an abrogation of his responsibilities to the students!
"Finally, we're sent home for the summer. And that brings to a close second year.
"Oh, and just so you know, I never did get sent to the Infirmary to have Madam Pomfrey take a look at the basilisk bite. Obviously, Albus Dumbledore is that brilliant a wizard he never had to take even the apprenticeship for healing to be determined a fully qualified master healer. And, even then, didn't need to inspect the wound to declare me fit and healed.
"Albus Dumbledore, at the time, claimed himself to be my magical guardian, Madam Bones," said Memory-Harry, looking as if he was facing the VIP table in the stands. "That he knew I'd been injured by a bite that kills, and never did anything about it, is a crime. It's neglect of a child under your care. As Professor McGonagall is supposed to be my Head of House, the same charge could be levelled against her. The same charge could also be levelled against both of them for the professor-student relationship."
Up in the VIP section, Madam Bones muttered, "Already noted, Mister Potter."
Outside the champions' tent, but between it and the gate into the arena, Barty Crouch Junior, Polyjuiced as Alastor 'Mad-Eye' Moody, was getting quite worried. As far as he was concerned, Potter was taking his own sweet time in getting his egg and being done with it. Now, he had to wait him out; just like everyone else was doing. His problem was, he was quickly running out of on-hand Polyjuice and he had no idea just what Harry was doing.
Moody's anti-poison potion flask, that he now used to carry around the Polyjuice potion, was too small to carry more than about ninety minutes worth. That time was rapidly approaching and he was almost out.
His problem: He couldn't leave before Potter did or it would look suspicious.
Back in the arena, while Real-Harry continued to lounge on the lounger while pretending to read a book, Memory-Harry was ready to move on.
"It's now another summer at Durzkaban - where I was worked harder than a house elf. When not forced to work I was locked into my room with bars on the window, fed insufficient food to feed a three year old through a cat-flap in the bottom of the door and... well... you get the idea. Vernon's sister, whom I unlovingly refer to as 'Marge the Barge', pays her somewhat annual visit.
"Marge the Barge has a pet supposedly prize-winning bulldog named Ripper. She's trained it to attack me pretty much on sight. I have the scars on my lower legs to prove it.
"During dinner - which, though I cooked, I was not allowed to partake of it much - The Barge just kept insulting my parents. She, the fat obnoxious bitch that she is, claimed that my father was a drunk who should have been locked away long before I was even born, and my mother should have been put to death because she was obviously unable to breed anything worthwhile. No second guesses for who she meant by breed.
"And, from that, I had one of the strongest bouts of accidental magic I've ever had. I caused her to inflate like a balloon. She drifted out the door and away into the night.
"Of course, I knew what would happen if I remained. Or, at least I thought I did. The first part would be my fat uncle again attempting to beat me to death. The second, would be ignorant naffwits from the Ministry turning up to snap my wand.
"So, I fled. Both in fear of my life and fear of losing the only part of my life that mattered - my life in the wizarding world.
"I quickly grabbed my cloak, my school trunk and the very few and meagre muggle possessions I own, plus Hedwig's cage. Hedwig's my owl. I sent her off telling her to find me later. And, dragging my trunk down the stairs and out the front door as quickly as I could, I took off into the night.
"Accidentally, I summoned the Knight Bus and used that to go to the Leaky Cauldron. There, I met for the first time Cornelius Fudge. How the Hell he knew that would be where I was heading, I have no clue. But, he clearly did.
"He told me I wasn't in trouble for what had happened, but I was to stay at the Leaky for the remainder of summer. He mentioned something about Black, but I was so relieved not to have to return to the Hell that was the Dursleys I wasn't really paying as much attention as I should.
"The big advantage of staying at the Leaky, though, was I now had weeks to stay in the wizarding world without the constant threat of Dumbledore watching every move I made. And I made very good use of the time.
"The next day after arriving at the Leaky I went directly to Gringotts. And there I learned just how much of a thief Dumbledore was. And just why he was making such a big effort to keep me away from the wizarding world when not at Hogwarts, and clueless of my true heritage.
"From the goblins I learned the so-called Leader of the Light was, in fact, my Ministry-appointed magical guardian. It was the first time I'd been told.
"Yet another question: Why didn't anyone tell me before that? Apparently all the teaching staff of Hogwarts knew, as did all the sitting members of the thrice-damned Wizengamot of November 1981, plus everyone who read the Daily Prophet of the next day. And not one of them bothered to let me know Albus 'He-Who-is-Above-the-Law' Dumbledore was my magical guardian? Really? Personally, I find that both hard to believe and suspect magical compulsions not to tell me, in play.
"From the goblins I learned the old bastard was then using that authority to drain the Potter accounts dry. I learned of my parents' wills - which Dumbledore, using his authority as Chief Warlock of the Wizengamot, had sealed - and their express wishes for dispensation of their assets and me. They were blatantly ignored.
"I learned that my true and rightful magical guardian, the one who swore the Godfather's Oath before both my parents and Dumbledore himself, was in fact Sirius Black. The same Sirius Black who had been thrown into Azkaban, without even a naffing trial, at the express orders of then Minister Bagnold, Director of the DMLE Bartemius Crouch Senior and - you guessed it - Albus frigging Dumbledore!
"Are you starting to see a pattern here? I bet not."
"It quickly became obvious to me Dumbledore wanted Sirius out of the way so he had control of me and my assets. However, by this time I was not surprised at just what Dumbledore seemed to be up to. You'll learn more of just what steps Dumbledore is, or was, willing to go in a little while.
"Oh - and, Madam Bones - I have the full goblin-certified records of everything to hand to you once I'm finished here. Have no fear of that."
Up in the VIP box, Dumbledore closed his eyes, groaned and slumped his shoulders forward.
Amelia Bones viciously grinned at his back. The young Mister Potter, whatever his reasons, had just well and truly destroyed Dumbledore's reputation. The old man would be very lucky to escape a period of long term incarceration in Azkaban for this. Merlin, she thought the boy was leading up to evidence that would see the old codger forcefully tossed through the Veil.
He also seemed to be destroying not a few other reputations, while he was at it. Minerva McGonagall, Filius Flitwick, Pomona Sprout, Severus Snape and Rubeus Hagrid would also be answering rather direct and pointed questions of their own roles; especially McGonagall and Hagrid.
If he kept it up, Hogwarts might well have to close its doors for the foreseeable future.
That he had decided to use a situation where he had both a large audience and no one could lift a finger to stop him or risk their magic, she thought, was astounding.
She quietly muttered, "The boy is more Slytherin than any Slytherin I know."
"Anyways," continued Memory-Harry, "I was being told Sirius Black, the Azkaban escapee, was loose and looking to find me to kill me. After reading he was both my godfather and had taken the Godfather's Oath, I knew the second part of that wasn't true.
"I also knew that, while he had escaped Azkaban, he was not a convicted felon. As such, and according to law, all he did was escape from illegal incarceration. And that, I assure you, is not an illegal act. Check your own laws and records for proof of what I'm telling you."
After a pause to allow that to sink in, he continued, "After my three weeks of freedom in Diagon Alley, I was now better informed of just what was going on. And it was also time to return to Hogwarts.
"On the first of September we, of course, boarded the Express back to Hogwarts. We had our usual visit from Malfunction Malfoy and his two human bookends looking to make trouble before we even left the metropolitan area of Greater London. Then we settled back to relax for the rest of the journey.
"Of course, as most of you know, we were boarded by dementors. I had no idea why they had such an interest in me, but one of them entered our compartment; where it proceeded to suck all the happiness out of us.
"Luckily, Professor Remus Lupin was also in the compartment, and he drove it off before it could suck my soul out, which it was looking to do.
"Kind of ironic, isn't it? The dementors were supposed to be there to protect us, especially me; and yet, at its first opportunity, one of them immediately attacked me. The dementors are supposed to be under the direct control of the Ministry. Therefore, as the living embodiment of the Ministry, I hold Minister Cornelius Fudge solely and completely responsible for that.
"And that was only the first of three times the dementors tried to snack on my soul that school year."
It was Cornelius Fudge's turn to groan and slump forward a bit. He'd worked hard to make sure news of the attacks by the dementors had been hushed-up in the media. If it got out that one of the dementors attacked the 'Hero of the Wizarding World', Harry Potter, and that they did it due to something he caused to happen, he knew his career would be over.
Now that Potter had made it very public, it wouldn't be long before it also became public he'd hushed-up the attacks immediately after they had happened.
His career was over; and he knew it.
Madam Bones, from where she sat, looked across to Fudge and saw him slump forward in defeat. She smirked. She, too, knew the man's career as Minister was over.
The words of a muggle song of a muggle singing group, of which she was a secret fan, echoed through her mind. 'Another one bites the dust'.
Meanwhile, Memory-Harry had continued. "For the most part, my third year - last year - was a great deal less life-threatening than the first two. However, there were a few notable exceptions to that through the year.
"The second attempt by the dementors to suck on my soul came in early November, when the dementors used the cover of low clouds to come onto the grounds of Hogwarts and over the Quidditch pitch. That time, it was about a half-dozen that attacked me. Their attack rendered me unconscious and I fell from my broom from a height of about three hundred feet.
"I was saved by an Arrest Momentum charm from serious injury, if not death, from the fall.
"In mid-December I'm finally 'informed' - if you can call it that - that Sirius Black is supposed to have double-crossed my parents and led Voldemort to our hiding place in Godric's Hollow. I had to pretend it was the first time I learned of that, so as not to alert Dumbledore I already knew of that particular lie.
"The reason I did not want Dumbledore to know I knew of that will become apparent later in this presentation.
"And, yes, it was a lie. I know people believe it to be true. However, it is not. My parents, Sirius Black and Peter Pettigrew pulled a fast one over everyone. They made it look like Sirius was the Fidelius charm Secret Keeper, but it was actually Peter Pettigrew. And Dumbledore, being the one who cast the Fidelius, knew it was Pettigrew and not Sirius.
"And that means Albus Dumbledore knew damned well - or at least had direct knowledge of - the fact Sirius Black is innocent of the crimes to which he was unjustly dumped into Azkaban... and hasn't said one bloody word of it to anyone, let alone someone who could have done something about it. Hell, as Chief Warlock, he is well positioned to do something about it, himself - and hasn't.
Mightily frowning in barely concealed fury, Madam Bones leaned forward to whisper-snarl in Dumbledore's ear. "At the end of Mister Potter's little presentation, as Director of the DMLE, I'm formally suspending you as both Chief Warlock and as Britain's representative on the ICW - which means your position as Supreme Mugwump is also suspended - and banning you from sitting on the Wizengamot until such time as my investigations into Mister Potter's... allegations... are concluded.
"You can, of course, appeal my decision. However, Cornelius Fudge will also be suspended from his position as Minister of Magic; so, he will be unable to aid you. Your only option will be to take the matter to the full Wizengamot; and I doubt they'll want to aid you when all this hits the Daily Prophet and the WWN by this evening at the latest.
"If I can manage it, I'll also be standing you down as Headmaster. I believe I might have enough already with what he's already told us. But, more won't hurt. And I don't think he's done yet - not by a long shot."
Unable to do anything to interrupt the Potter boy's presentation and what he felt was a very well-executed character assassination, Dumbledore could only give a slight pained expression and close his eyes. He already knew that, if Harry gave away any more secrets - including his role in Sirius's escape from the tower the night he was supposed to be executed by Dementor's Kiss - there would be no chance of the Wizengamot voting to return him to his positions.
'Why the Hell didn't I back the boy and rule his admission to this now clearly be-damned Tournament illegal when I had the chance?' he thought. 'I just had to use his entrance as yet another method to draw out Tom. Foolishness!
'Well, it's clearly coming back to bite me on the bum now.'
Having paused a few moments to take a sip of something from a glass that looked like water, Memory-Harry continued. "Things happened as they happened for most of the rest of the school year.
"And, finally, it's June once more. Sirius Black, apparently, finally makes his move and kidnaps Ron Weasley - not me - by dragging him out of Hogwarts's grounds by way of a secret passage to the Shrieking Shack. Well, he was actually trying to get the rat out Ron Weasley's hands - as that was his real target - but Ron wouldn't release the rat, so Sirius took them both.
"That secret passage, seeing as he was the one who made it, Albus Dumbledore knew full well about. In other words, Albus Dumbledore left in place a secret passage he, himself, made - and also knew Sirius Black was aware of - and did nothing about blocking Black from using it.
"Consider that, too, won't you?
"This is what happened in the Shack when Hermione and I, again not able to find a professor to help and having to go ourselves to rescue our friend, burst into the Shack with wands drawn."
Again Memory-Harry faded away to be replaced with the memory described.
Harry and Hermione entered the secret passage under the Whomping Willow, having to dodge the branches of the tree because they didn't know how to stop the swinging of the branches by whacking the knot on the trunk; down the dark, rough-hewn passage to the basement of the shrieking shack; and quietly making their way up the ladder and gently entering the ground floor cupboard through the trapdoor.
Once inside, they heard voices - one was Ron's, whining. Quietly, they made their way to one of the front rooms from where they they heard the voices originate.
Peeking inside, they saw Ron sprawled on the floor with his back against a wall. He was cradling Scabbers - who appeared to be trying to fight to get away - while one of his legs appeared to be broken. A man was pacing back and forth in the middle of the room, appearing to rant at Ron while calling him Wormtail.
He was wearing horridly torn and dirty vertically-striped robes. His hair was long, dirty and unkempt, as was his long untrimmed beard. And he appeared both emaciated and of unsound mind. Worst still, he was waving Ron's near-new wand about. All up, he was clearly a dangerous individual.
Harry and Hermione both glanced at one another before both, together, stepped into the room. Harry immediately cast a disarming hex at the man to get Ron's wand off him. It worked, and Harry immediately caught it in his off-hand as Black dived towards Ron.
What followed was almost a Mexican stand-off. Ron was on the floor cradling the rat. Black, as they now recognised him to be, had immediately moved to use Ron as a shield while arguing with Harry and Hermione how he was innocent.
Black then went into his history and the history of what happened in Godric's Hollow on that fateful night.
Next to enter was Remus Lupin. He also held a wand on Black until Black indicated the rat, still struggling in Ron's arms, and stated the rat was Peter Pettigrew.
Not too long afterwards, Black again had Ron's wand and, together with Lupin, cast the animagus forced-reversion charm on the rat as it tried to escape.
They'd no sooner got Pettigrew untransformed and pleading for his life from Harry that Snape entered and divested almost everyone of their wands.
Eventually, Snape was overpowered and the small group began to make their way back to the castle.
That's where that memory ended and Memory-Harry returned.
"On the way back to the castle, Pettigrew managed to escape. In the kerfuffle Lupin had to flee, possibly chasing after Pettigrew.
"However, we weren't safe yet. On my direction, Hermione levitated Ron and raced with him back to the castle. I went after my godfather, Sirius Black. I finally caught up with him down by the edge of the Black Lake. And, there, we were attacked by dementors. This was third time I'm attacked by them that I alluded to earlier."
Memory-Harry faded away and the next memory was of Harry and Sirius fleeing dementors and being attacked by them down near the Black Lake. Sirius almost got his soul sucked out, with Harry almost unconscious himself, but both were saved by the appearance of what Harry thought was the ghost of his father in his animagus form. It was a massively powerful Patronus; and Harry passes out.
Harry then wakes up in the Infirmary to news Sirius was locked in Professor Flitwick's office, and Fudge was ordering in the dementors to suck out his soul.
Ron is unconscious but both Hermione and Harry try to tell Fudge the truth of what happened. However, Fudge accuses them of being 'confounded' that is, cursed with the Confundus charm - and refuses to listen to either before then storming out.
Dumbledore then gives them the hint about the time turner and how many turns of it should do for what they needed to accomplish, then begins to leave before hesitating just outside the door.
Hermione shows Harry the time turner, loops the chain over both their necks, turns the time turner to go back three hours and they disappear.
The memory fades away before Memory-Harry reappears. "As you can see, 'Fumbling Fudge' accused us of being confounded and refused to hear any more of what happened. By law, he was required to take the matter to the DMLE, specifically to Amelia Bones as Director of the DMLE, and didn't.
"Plus, you also saw Dumbledore send a thirteen and fourteen year old off on yet another adventure, as if we hadn't already had one that night.
"Once back in time the two of us moved to free Buckbeak and hide him away in the Forbidden Forest for later. You'll see why in the next memory. Then we headed for a spot where we could watch the Whomping Willow and wait for our now-younger selves to once more emerge from the underground passageway. We were there to try and catch Peter Pettigrew after he managed to give our younger selves, Sirius Black and company the slip. Because we did not know in the first time through that Pettigrew had managed to escape after all, we figured that if we caught him again the second time through it would not cause a temporal paradox.
"Watch what actually happens."
The new memory showed everything that happened right up to Harry and Hermione coming up on the small lake from the other side just as the Dementors began to bombard 'Previous' Harry and Sirius.
'Current' Harry was expecting the ghost of his father to arrive and save them. However, realising it was actually him on the second go through that saved him on the first go through, he cast the massive Patronus driving all the dementors away just as 'Previous' Harry collapsed unconscious next to his godfather.
Already knowing 'Previous' Harry and Sirius would end up back at the castle and safe for Harry, but locked in the tower for Sirius, the 'Current' Harry and Hermione tried everything they could to track down Pettigrew. However, they had no luck and rightfully suspected the traitorous little man had reached the edge of the wards and apparated away.
Harry had originally thought of ending the memory there, but decided to show the rest of it.
The next scene was of Harry and Hermione, with Buckbeak's help, going to the castle to rescue Sirius from the Charms Master's office via the window. And Sirius then flying away after first dropping the two teens off on the astronomy tower. And the two teens making their way back to the Infirmary. And, finally, Dumbledore ushering them inside before locking the door.
When that memory faded and Memory-Harry returned he said, "Now, you may be sitting there believing Hermione and I have broken the law by freeing an escaped convict after he was again caught. However, you'd be wrong.
"For Sirius to have been properly considered an escaped convict he would have had to have been convicted. As he was never tried, he was never convicted. As such, he was not an escaped convict. Instead, Sirius escaped illegal incarceration; on the second time we aided him in that.
"The law states quite clearly that a person arrested of a crime must, within one month of their arrest at the latest, be given a trial. If at the end of that month they have not been tried, they must be released. The Ministry did not do that. In effect, after the thirty days had expired, Sirius Black had been kidnapped by the Ministry. All he did was what he was legally allowed - even encouraged - to do. He freed himself.
"He did nothing wrong or illegal by escaping his illegal incarceration. And Hermione and I did nothing wrong or illegal by aiding in his second escape from illegal incarceration. If anything, Cornelius 'Fumbling' Fudge again abused his authority as Minister by kidnapping - not just the person known as Sirius Black - but, the rightful Lord of the Noble and Most Ancient House of Black. And then compounded his crime by bypassing lawful procedure and attempting to murder Sirius Black by having him kissed by Dementor. That would class it as attempted assassination.
"Hermione and I, with Buckbeak's help, saved him from that attempted murder - that attempt to kill him in cold blood.
"I certainly hope the Ministry's aurors will take that into consideration should they foolishly think that arresting either myself or Miss Granger for that is warranted. For the both or either of us I will thoroughly enjoy seeking lawful recompense from any auror so involved through the correct legal channels."
From where she was sitting in the VIP box, Bones glared at a completely wilted Fudge and snarled, "He's right, you stupid shit. You had him in custody and still tried to have him Kissed. That is definitely attempted murder; and adds yet another major crime to the list I'm already compiling against you."
Fudge could only cower away from the irate Director of the DMLE. He now knew he was definitely not going to be saving his job. He now doubted he'd be escaping his own sentence to Azkaban.
Unaware of Bones's quiet berating of the soon-to-be ex-Minister, Harry continued, "After that, Hermione and I raced back to the Infirmary. We arrived at the doors at almost the exact moment the original of us time-turnered out. Dumbledore immediately let us in and we scuttled back to our beds.
"Less than five minutes later..." he paused and smiled. "Well, see for yourself."
Memory-Harry faded out and a new memory began. This one started as Memory-Harry's explanation cut off.
It showed Snape storming in, in a foul mood, with Fudge and Dumbledore on his heels. Fudge looked confused and Dumbledore looked somewhat amused.
Snape stormed over to Harry's bed and, with spittle flying out of his mouth, began to berate a 'bed-ridden' Harry. Snape was accusing Harry and Hermione of 'somehow' getting Sirius free. That he was right was quite irrelevant. He really had no evidence to support his claims.
After Dumbledore asked Pomfrey if either teen had been out of bed she appeared scandalised and stated they weren't. Then Snape, now even clear to him that he had no evidence to support his claims, wheeled about and stormed from the room once more.
Fudge then stated to Dumbledore he believed Snape was mentally unbalanced before then complying with removing the Dementors from the school boundaries. The both of them then left.
And the memory ended.
Memory-Harry returned and said, "Of course, with Sirius's rightful and recognised exoneration of any guilt in the murder of my parents, the murder of the twelve muggles and the murder of Pettigrew, I would have been free to stay with him over summer. However, as Pettigrew escaped because of Snape's idiocy - or deliberate sabotage, it matters not which - Dumbledore yet again forced me to to stay with my abusive muggle relatives.
"Did you also notice that Snape said not a word about him also seeing a very much alive Peter Pettigrew? Snape is a Master Occlumens, Fudge would not have been able to claim the man had been confounded if he'd spoken up. But, no; Snape never said a word about it when he knew the truth.
"This time my summer in Surrey wasn't, yet again, somewhat of a Hell on Earth. I lied to my relatives and told them that my 'escaped convict of a mass-murdering godfather', Sirius Black, insisted I keep in contact with him to let him know how I was getting on. That threat was enough to ensure I wasn't abused by any of them as badly as I had been in the past.
"I was forced by Dumbledore to remain with my muggle relatives for almost eight weeks - and it was forced, as I truly had no desire to be there and believed I had nowhere else to go - until I was picked up by Arthur Weasley and his boys and was taken to their home, The Burrow, in Ottery Saint Catchpole about a week after my birthday."
Memory-Harry paused for a moment before he continued. "I stayed with the Weasleys for the last few weeks of the summer break. And, yes, as everyone no doubt knows by now, I did attend the World Cup. By now, everyone has a... belief... as to what happened a couple hours after the Cup finished.
"As per usual, your belief has been skewed by outside forces; forces, that don't want you to know the truth. The Ministry don't want you to know the truth because they'd rather you be ill-informed and happy, than properly informed and worried. Here's what happened according to my memories of the event."
Memory-Harry faded out and the next memory started. Just as Memory-Harry attested, the memory showed what happened after the Cup from the point of Harry being woken to when they finally returned to the tent. Then returned to Memory-Harry.
"And that brought us up to returning to here, Hogwarts, on the First," said Memory-Harry.
He paused for a long moment before his expression turned almost feral as his posture shifted until he stood more upright, more proud. And he smirked.
It gave him an appearance none of them had seen of him before. It was quite pureblood in appearance, the way he stood. Those who had met James Potter while he was alive immediately recognised it. Here stood a true Potter.
From where he still sat in the VIP and judges area and unable to do anything, as soon as he saw the shift in Harry's demeanour, stance and saw the expression on the boy's face, Dumbledore felt a moment of prescience as dread passed through his veins. And he shuddered in fear as to what it meant.
Back in the arena Memory-Harry 'looked' up to the VIP stand and spoke in a voice that exuded confidence, authority and power. "Madam Bones, if you haven't already guessed, now is the time to keep your attention focussed on Dumbledore. He's about to hear information that will show him he has greatly underestimated me. The information you are all about to hear, especially him, will show just how badly I've been underestimated by everyone. The information I'm about to impart upon you all will completely change your world-view of both myself and events that have surrounded me.
"Many of you will have a hard time believing what I'm about to tell you; and, via memories, show you. At this time I remind you that I - or, rather, Harry down there..." and gestured to where Real-Harry was apparently still reading a novel as he relaxed on the sun lounge, "... Swore a magical oath on his magic, his life and his very soul that what memories you are shown through this pensieve are a true and accurate account."
Again Memory-Harry paused for a long moment.
Meanwhile, up in the stands, everyone remained completely silent. Though they'd now been sitting there for over two hours, no one wanted to leave. They all instinctively understood that what they were about to learn would be true; and, would indeed, shake the foundations of their beliefs.
Even though Potter had threatened them with stripping them of their magic if they so much as made too much noise, they now no longer cared. No one wanted to miss what would happen next.
Very few gave any thought any longer to there still being a Hungarian Horntail dragon at the other end of the arena. The dragon was now lying in wary repose, curled up as close as it could get to its nest while keeping an eye on the little human wizard at the other end with its magical device showing scenes of different things. Soon after it entered the little wizard made no moves towards it or its eggs, so it made no aggressive moves back. It would conserve its energy for if it would be needed later.
Memory-Harry held the smirk and the apparent stare at the VIP stand for a long couple of seconds before he began to speak again.
"'Everyone knows' is a term I hear far too many wizards and witches say," he said. "Everyone knows what befell the Potters in Godric's Hollow on the evening of the thirty-first of October, 1981. Everyone knows the Killing Curse rips the soul from the victim, while also leaving no mark upon the victim's body. Everyone knows Sirius Black betrayed them, led He-Who to their cottage, then went on to kill Peter Pettigrew and a dozen muggles a few days later. Everyone knows―"
He gave a snort and said, "But I know that everyone is wrong!
"I've already shown you evidence that Peter Pettigrew is alive... or, was at least alive on the ninth of June, earlier this year. At that same time I also showed you that Sirius Black is completely innocent of the crimes for which he was dumped into Azkaban without even a trial. So, that shows you quite a significant portion of what you believe to have happened that night in Godric's Hollow - and what happened a few days later regarding the supposed death of Peter Pettigrew and those muggles - is wrong. You now know that what 'everyone knows' is wrong. It is a lie!
"Now for the second point I raised; that 'everyone knows' the Killing Curse rips the soul from the body.
"Well... news flash, people: that's not true, either."
Memory-Harry gave that a while to sink into the consciousness of 'his' audience before he continued. And, just as Harry thought it would, it caused a mass gasp of shock and surprise among those watching from the stands.
"You, see," he began again, "What the Killing Curse does is strip the mind of every piece of knowledge. It wipes the mind bank - including all the autonomic systems. The brain forgets to send the information it needs to run the automatic biological systems; the heart to pump, the diaphragm to cause the lungs to regularly inflate and deflate, the stomach and intestines to process food and waste, the consciousness to receive information from the five senses, etcetera. Without the heart beating, without the lungs pumping, the body dies.
"In pure essence, the Killing Curse is nothing more than a very high powered Obliviation charm. That's why the Killing Curse, just like the Obliviation charm, leaves no physical mark on the body.
"And it's that knowledge that leads to the answer - the riddle, if you will, that has plagued the wizarding world since that horrid night - as to why I managed to survive being hit with the Killing Curse."
Again he paused and smirked, before aiming that smirk directly at the VIP seats.
"You see," he began as his smirk widened into a grin, "I'm immune to any and all mind-controlling magic; including the Killing Curse, the Confundus Charm, other Compulsion Charms and... the Obliviation Charm."
Up in the stand Dumbledore gave a physical start, which had Bones again firmly jab her wand tip into the back of his neck. He didn't even feel it.
'Oh, shyte!' he thought, as all colour drained from his face and he began to feel quite sick and faint.
He now knew what the Potter boy's plan was. Though loathe to, he had to admit it was brilliant.