"What happened last night was a crime and a travesty," Rowle said. "You never should have been put in that situation."

He looked liked he'd aged a decade overnight. He'd returned overnight as soon as he'd heard about what had happened, although it had been far too late to do anything.

"Nevertheless, I am proud of all of you," he said. "You protected yourselves and each other, and you went beyond what students of your age should ever be asked to do."

The professors had all returned overnight, likely due to the multiple emergencies.

"This will not happen again," he said. "As of this morning, the Dementors have all been returned to Azkaban. There will be an investigation... given the circumstances, it may take time, but I assure you that I will demand an accounting."

The Ministry was in disarray.

Dumbledore had arrived at the head of an army of aurors, and he'd driven Voldemort away. The Daily Prophet was screaming about how he'd saved everyone, and there was growing pressure that he should become Minister now that two Ministers in a row had been assassinated.

I still wasn't sure he would do it.

He seemed afraid of power; afraid of himself. Perhaps he feared power would corrupt him, although I didn't really see what he was worried about. He already held half the high offices in the government; would Minister actually make him that much more powerful?

People listened to him, and if he really wanted something, he'd be able to get it, assuming he was willing to set aside his morals.

Hermione leaned next to me.

"Luna and her dad did a good job, didn't they?"

The Quibbler was spread out in front of her, and the entire from page was covered with pictures of us battling the dementors. They'd missed the attack on the Ministry, and I was afraid that story would overshadow ours, but the Quibbler's audience had grown to a point that it had to make a difference.

The Prophet hadn't even mentioned the attack, which didn't surprise me.

"What they wrote was pretty good too," I said.

I didn't know Mr. Lovegood, and a lot of his articles seemed... strange. He reminded me of an American conspiracy theorist writing an underground newspaper. I'd have preferred to have had this published in the Prophet, but that wasn't going to happen.

I'd hidden the Time Turners; some were in the Chamber of Secrets, and some were hidden deep within the air vents, carried by my bugs. The last thing I needed was for an auror to come and look through my bag and find any damning evidence.

I also wanted them in different places so that if one stash was found or broken, I'd still had a reserve. It had been stupid for the Ministry to keep them all in one place, unless they were simply considered so dangerous that they hadn't wanted to separate them.

If that was true, they should have protected them better.

"The aurors are here to take your statements," Rowle said. "Giving honest and true answers will be the first step in getting justice for what happened."


Considering that the Ministry had been attacked, I was surprised that it was happening this quickly. It seemed likely that someone was suspicious, and they wanted to find a way to point blame at me, or at least at the muggleborn.

I'd worked with the boys on interrogation techniques, but I couldn't be sure that they wouldn't break. To that end, I'd be listening in on their interrogation sessions. If they did break, I'd enact the second part of my plan.

Now that the Trace was gone, I needed to get the entire group of muggleborns out of the country. I'd found a floo location near the ferry; we'd have to disillusion all of us, which wouldn't be easy and would take time. Getting everyone through the secret passage to Hogsmeade would be a nightmare, but I'd practiced the plan with them.

The only ones I was worried about was the first years who hadn't joined our group. They hadn't had the training and were the most likely to give us away if something went wrong.

The complicated thing would be surviving in France. Feeding this many children would be difficult by itself, without the extra challenge of hiding in a foreign country where most of us didn't even speak the language.

"Miss Hebert?" I heard a voice say.

I looked up, and I saw a young auror standing behind me. I'd sensed him coming, of course, but I didn't want to look like I knew too much.

"So I'm first," I said.

"You lead the defense," the man murmured. "So it would seem that you have the most to discuss."

I followed him through the doors of the Great Hall. There were still traces of the containment foam on the floor; it hadn't dissolved as well as the genuine foam would. It was possible that my transfigured version wasn't perfect, and that there were some differences.

I was led into an empty classroom, where I saw Moody, Snape, two aurors I didn't know, and what looked like a Ministry employee.

They were sitting behind a long table that looked familiar; it was the one the Professors usually ate at.

A chair had been placed sitting directly across from them; clearly it was designed to put whoever was in the chair at a disadvantage. Was this an inquisition?

I sat down in the chair, and I pushed my emotions into my bugs. I'd need to be clear headed and focused.

"Miss Hebert," the Ministry man said. He didn't bother to introduce himself. Maybe he assumed that I'd already know who he was, either through some outsized sense of his own importance, or because of my purported seer's ability."We are here to discuss the events of last night."

I nodded calmly.

"What do you want to know?"

"First, we need to have a timeline of events," the man said. "When did you know that the attack would happen?"

"After the first attack, it was obvious," I said. "The Ministry wanted us dead, and they were going to keep attacking until they were successful."

"The Ministry did not want the muggleborn dead," the man said sharply. "Those are unsubstantiated rumors."

"Calling the people who were supposed to protect us away... that couldn't have just been the Minister," I said. "That had to involve other people in the Ministry cooperating with her."

"Coincidence!" the man snapped.

"It was obvious enough that I didn't need to be a seer to know when the attack would happen," I said. "Anybody with half a brain could have seen it... which is why I have to wonder why the people supposedly trying to see us safe didn't... unless they wanted us all dead."

The man's lips tightened.

He was thin, with a face that reminded me a little of a rodent's.

"It's clear that this line of questioning will get us nowhere," he said. "How did you get a group of schoolchildren to defend themselves from the dementors."

"Training," I said. "People think that muggleborns can't do magic, but we're just as smart and magically gifted as the rest of you."

Smarter sometimes, although I didn't say so.

"So you deliberately created an army. Were you intending to overthrow the Ministry?"

"I hardly think I'd need to," I said mildly. "You lot seem to be doing an excellent job of it yourselves."

His face turned red.

"The answer is no," I said. "I wanted to protect my friends and classmates, and that was the best way I knew how to do it."

"Arming them?" the man said.

As though every Wizard, down to the smallest First Year wasn't armed. The only question was whether they knew what they were doing.

"When government won't protect people, it's up to them to protect themselves," I said. "And your government doesn't seem to be doing a very good job of it right now."

"Do you know who I am, Miss Hebert?" the man asked, angrily.

I shrugged.

"Nobody I'm particularly interested in knowing," I said.

"I am Roland Harrington, the Senior Undersecretary for the Minister of Magic," the man said. "And you will speak to me with respect."

"Miss Hebert," Snape drawled. "You will give this man the respect he deserves."

There was something about his expression that indicated that he didn't think any more of the man than I did, but that I had best at least give the appearance of respect.

"We did what we had to do," I said.

"Where did you learn to make that... substance," the younger auror asked enthusiastically. He'd been looking like he wanted to speak the whole time.

"I call it containment foam," I said. "I stumbled on it by accident, while trying to transfigure... something else. I got help from the senior students to refine the technique and make it better, so I guess you'd say it was a group effort."

"And what are the qualities of the foam?" he asked.

"Living creatures can breathe in it," I said. "Although you probably wouldn't want to."

We'd tried the foam on rats and other pests, and eventually on Ron Weasley. His brothers had said he'd volunteered; I hadn't found out until afterwards that he hadn't. Apparently he was a little claustrophobic, and hadn't appreciated being trapped inside at all.

"This could be a breakthrough in aurors defending against multiple attackers," the man said. "The Department of Mysteries will be very interested in..."

"We aren't here for that," Mr. Harrington said sharply. "We are here to determine Miss Hebert's role in what happened last night."

"I thought you knew," I said. "I led the others. I can't cast a patronus myself... too young and all."

Considering that there were a few others my age that could generate at least a silvery mist, it was a little humiliating to admit.

"So why would the others listen to you?" the man almost sneered. "A disturbed second year."

"Because they didn't want to die," I said simply. "And I knew how to keep that from happening."

Moody leaned forward.

"Were you at the Ministry last night?"

"What?" I asked, pretending to be startled.

I could tell that Snape at least didn't believe me, but I couldn't be sure about the others.

"There was a young girl's voice that warned the members of the Ministry that the Death Eaters were attacking," Moody said. "And none of the employees had brought their children with them."

"Am I the only young girl in Wizarding Britain?" I asked. "Are you sire it was even a child at all? Some young woman have childish voices."

"Answer the question!" Harrington demanded.

"Your own aurors had me locked in the infirmary until this morning, under guard. How could I have possibly been at the Ministry?"

"And you were here at the time of the attack on the Ministry?" Harrington demanded.

"Absolutely," I said, looking them each in the eye. It even had the advantage of being true. As long as they didn't ask me about the stolen time turners, I would be fine.

"Are you a member of the Muggleborn Liberation Front?" Mr. Harrington asked suddenly.

They were changing subjects quickly; almost like they were wanting me to lose my composure. Snape and Moody knew me better than that, but Harrington apparently expected to be able to browbeat me like he would any other twelve year old.

"I'm not even sure that's a real organization," I said. "After all, the Ministry covered up the attack on the train at the end of the last school year and said it was werewolf terrorists, when we all know it was Death Eaters."

"We do not," Harrington said. He sniffed. "I do not know what kind of training muggles give their children, but it is clearly inferior in manners."

His manners didn't seem particularly good to me either. The man was easy to antagonize; the more I kept him focused on his own outrage, the less likely he was to ask questions that I did not want to answer. As a government official, he was undoubtedly used to people bowing and scraping before him.

The fact that I was a child had to make it worse. Disrespect from a child was a button for some people; apparently he was one of them.

The problem was Moody and Snape, with the other aurors an unknown quantity. They were the ones more likely to see through my act; the question was whether they would attack me for it. The youngest auror probably wouldn't be a problem; he seemed to want to talk to me desperately.

He was probably a spell research nerd, likely someone who wanted to be transferred to the Department of Mysteries. He was as young as Tonks, which meant he was probably inadequately trained, and he likely hadn't gotten into his preferred department because the Ministry was hemorrhaging aurors.

"They might have done a better job if they weren't dead," I said.

"Miss Hebert," Snape said warningly.

"I'm not a member of the Muggleborn Liberation Front," I said firmly. "I have never been, and do not have any plans on joining."

"Are you a dark lady?" Harrington asked.

I stared at him, and then I laughed.

"I'm twelve years old. If you want to know who the dark lady was, ask your old boss. She was working with the Death Eaters to kill all the Muggleborns."

"Unsubstantiated paranoia will not be tolerated," Harrington said. "If... and I do mean if there was a conspiracy, it originated from lower in the organization. Madam Umbridge was a paragon."

"So it could have originated from the office of the Undersecretary?" I asked.

Harrington's face reddened and he stood up.

"You dare to accuse me?" he sputtered. "I am a member of your government."

I could have mentioned that he wasn't a member of my government, but that might encourage him to threaten to have me deported.

"Umbridge was responsible," I insisted.

An auror stepped into the room and stepped up to Moody, whispering in his ear. Moody's normal eye widened.

"Apparently Dumbledore has found documents linking Dolores Umbridge to the Death Eaters," he said. He turned to Harrington. "Which brings up questions about your involvement."

Only my emotion suppression kept the surprise off my face. I strongly doubted that such documents existed. It was more likely that Dumbledore had manufactured them as a way of swaying the Wizengamot in his direction.

It was a risky move; if the counterfeit was discovered, then his whole plan would fall apart, along with his credibility. If it worked, then it, along with the attack on the Ministry might push those who had been on the fence in his direction.

"That's what they've been trying to do," I said. "Push responsibility off onto the werewolves, onto the muggleborn... anyone they can to hide their corrupt activities. Who else would want the muggleborn dead other than the Death Eaters... and who would have had to give the orders."

"Miss Hebert," Snape said. "It might be best if you were to stay outside."

Harrington leapt to his feet, grabbing for his wand, but he fell back as I hit him in the face with a stunner.

"He was going for his wand," I said unnecessarily. The others had seen it as well.

Although it happened to be true, only Moody had managed to get his wand up in time. The others stared at me.

I'd had bugs on him, and they'd felt his muscles tensing so I'd had ample warning.

Still, I imagined that it looked pretty impressive.

They all looked down to where his wand had fallen.

"Constant vigilance, right Mr. Moody?" I asked.

With that, I left the room. I regretted the fact that I'd pushed my emotions away, because I imagined that I'd have had a strong sense of satisfaction.

The interviews took the rest of the day, but Harrington wasn't involved in any of them. The boys managed to get through the interviews with flying colors, most likely because Moody had left before they were interviewed, as had Snape. Their own heads of houses were the ones who oversaw their interviews.

Given Snape's predilection for mind-reading, I was glad that I was the only Slytherin involved in all of this.

Ultimately, it was decided that we would continue to stay in Hogwarts over the Holidays; as racist as Umbridge had been, she was right that going home would have led to us being picked off one by one.

I was worried about what would happen during the summer. A lot depended on who succeeded Umbridge in the government, and what policies the new Minister would enact. Would they be favorable to us, or would they be our enemies?

The last thing I needed was to have to assassinate yet another Minister; for one thing, I imagined that security would be better the next time, and for another, I doubted that the Ministry could survive one more assassination.

The government was on the brink of collapse at the moment even without that, and I'd seen what happened in my world when governments collapsed.

Warlords took over, and battles and skirmishes became the order of the day.

We wouldn't just be dealing with a single dark lord, we'd be dealing with a dozen. Without the government, the Wizarding world would be revealed to the muggles.

There'd been a time where I'd thought that the Wizards were silly to hide themselves away; my world had dealt with Capes just fine.

However, my world had had the Protectorate and Cauldron managing the reputation about capes, framing them as Superheros so that they were popular.

If the muggles of this world were as bad as the Wizards, there really would be witch hunts, and I wasn't certain that the Wizards would be smart enough to survive.

As I went to bed that night, I saw the bodies of everyone I'd ever known piled in the corner.

"Riddikulus," I said, pointing my wand.

The boggart skittered away and I went to sleep. My dreams weren't good.