* * * Beetles * * *

I awoke to somebody shaking me. I pull the covers a bit to see Percy.

"What is it? It's early." I say. I see a beetle on his shoulder. "Percy, can you drop that beetle out the window please?"

"What, a beetle!" says Percy as he notices it. He's a bit slow so I stun the beetle. "Yikes! Why'd you do that? You've never been afraid of beetles."

I say, "Normally I don't mind them, but that particular beetle keeps showing up. It's Rita Skeeter, she's an Animagus."

Percy says, "That can't be, there's only been seven in the past century. Rita Skeeter is not on the list."

I say, "Percy, she's not registered. I mean, come on, how can she be a good undercover reporter if everybody knows she can be a beetle? I know of at least four Animagus so far this past century that never registered, she's one of them. I won't be the least surprised to find others."

"Four? You already know of four?" asks Percy.

"Yes, one was our pet rat for a while." I say.

"Scabbers? An Animagus? Why did he never show?" asks Percy.

I reply, "He was hiding from the Death Eaters. As a rat, hardly anybody suspected him since he was supposed to be dead. Anyways, why'd wake me?"

Percy says, "It's well past ten. I've spent time with Hagrid and Lupin and they've filled me in on some things. I was amazed by how many scandals and rumors you are involved in, until now and I can see why."

I realize that my head is still on Hermione's breast and that Percy sees some of her skin and I ask, "How are you and Penelope getting along?"

"We broke up, remember? You seem to have gotten farther." says Percy.

"Correction, Ron has friends that trust him." says Harry, pulling the covers to expose his head. "Coming to spy?"

"Harry, nice to see you." says Percy. "Guess its Order of Merlin during the day and Order of Orgy at night."

I say, "Percy, have you seen what's outside this castle? How do you expect us to protect the girls? What if Voldemort enters this room right now? They're much better off with us shielding them."

Hermione snorts at this.

Percy says, "And the wisdom of letting teenagers sleep together naked? Know what Mum would say Ron?"

Hermione says, "Percy, I trust them! It's a mutual trust." She removes the covers enough to reveal her head.

"Blimey! I can sleep with Hermione as we please." I say.

"Ron, language!" says Percy.

Harry says, "Ron, gotta admit, Percy takes his role as ex-Prefect seriously. He enforced the rulebook much more than the current Prefect."

"Why thank you Harry." says Percy.

"I assume that didn't matter with George and Fred though." says Gia from under the covers. Funny, I can see Percy's eyes getting wider with each new voice.

Percy says, "No, they still manage to make trouble. Gia isn't it? How is their silly joke shop idea coming along?"

Ron says, "Oh, it's definitely proceeding. Dunno if any of us can figure out how they're affording it. I mean, starting this past summer, they've gotten very ambitious. Their bet with Bagman couldn't of covered everything."

Percy says, "I hope it wasn't a loan from Gringotts, but they might have."

I ask, "With a year left of school? If they took out a loan, it'd be now. Harry, any ideas?"

"I'm going to stay out of this." says Harry.

"Have they told you?" I ask.

"No." says Harry.

I say, "Come-on, with them, this has been the mystery of the year! Surely, you're curious. Mum's was wondering too."

"Just the thousand galleons, right?" says Harry.

Percy says, "Just a thousand? How did they get a thousand and why do you know the amount?"

Harry says, "I've said too much, sorry. I hope the joke shop succeeds."

I exclaim, "A thousand! No wonder they could afford the new dress robes for me. What part did you play Harry?"

Hermione says, "Wait a minute. Harry, what did you do with your Tri-wizard winnings from last year?"

Harry realizes he can't escape this line of questioning with us holding him down. He's obviously trying to avoid something when he says, "Um, invested it in happiness."

I ask, "You gave the twins a thousand galleons?"

Harry says, "Ron, you must realize that to me that was blood money. I couldn't keep it. Voldemort entered me into that tournament. To have kept it would have condoned his actions." Percy retreats a bit, realizing the ensuing topic.

"It'd be nice to rich enough to just give away a thousand galleons and not think twice!" I say.

Harry asks, "How much would accept from Voldemort? A thousand galleons? Ten thousand? Would you accept a bribe from the Malfoys in lieu of your Mum?" My blood nearly boiled at that. He says, "True, I do have a vault at Gringotts, but I do not treasure it. I'd give away the entire vault if it'd get you your Mum back, or my parents."

Percy says, "Ron, where is Harry now?" Guess he's right about that. He says, "Anyways, its probably about time we start thinking about returning to the Burrow."

"If you'll excuse us." I say.

Percy says, "Certainly, I'll be waiting down in the common room. Grab your things as well." Percy exits the room.

"I can't believe it. I'm sleeping with two wizards and a witch, and nobody bothers to lock the door!" exclaims Gia.

"Percy is a wizard so locking the door won't keep him out." says Hermione.

Harry maneuvers around and turns over onto Gia. I move onto Hermione so we can start kissing. We continue for a bit.

Percy then shouts up the stairwell. "What's taking you so long? Lemme guess."

Finally, we carefully sit up and untangle ourselves. We dress while swapping clothes a bit. We pack the pair of backpacks and grab our wands. We exit the dormitory and head down the stairs.

* * * Legends * * *

Harry, Ron, Gia, and Hermione enter the Gryffindor Common Room. Percy and Snuffles are waiting.

Percy says, "There you are! I'm not going to ask. I suppose you've already adopted your summer schedules."

Ron says, "Of course. The term ended a while ago."

Percy asks, "Are you serious about that beetle being Rita Skeeter?"

Hermione says, "She's another unregistered Animagus. Quite useful for a unscrupulous reporter."

"If only I was faster with that insecticide." says Gia. They laugh.

Ron says, "Percy, you need to know the truth about our ex-pet rat, Wormtail aka Scabbers. Funny how many unregistered Animagus there are."

Snuffles growls.

Percy asks, "What about Scabbers? Ron, you said he was an Animagus. If so, why didn't he show?"

Harry says, "Simple Percy. Because of Wormtail's actions, all the Death Eaters would have killed him. However, they thought he was dead. I don't fault him for wanting to hide, but he let his ex-friend take the heat. With another action, he's unforgivable but still I couldn't kill him though."

Ron asks, "Why?"

Harry replies, "Simple actually. To kill out of hatred or revenge is the trap of the Dark Arts. I will not kill when any alternative remains available. Even with what Wormtail did, I still won't. ... If I had killed Voldemort or Wormtail, then I'd be letting Wormtail's betrayal succeed."

Ron asks, "So Percy, how much are you aware of?"

Percy says, "Mum got Scabbers for me, don't remember how. Then of course, you got Scabbers when you started Hogwarts. I was actually upset when Scabbers disappeared. This morning, you claim Scabbers is an Animagus."

"And about Peter Pettigrew or Sirius Black?" asks Harry.

Percy says, "Don't you know Harry? About Black betraying your parents or Peter getting himself killed when Black blew out that muggle village?"

Harry says, "That is what most people believe, but they're wrong. Pettigrew lives. He's an unregistered Animagus, your Scabbers for a while."

Ron says, "Perhaps we should start at the beginning. When Lupin attended Hogwarts, he group of friends included three others. The others were James Potter, Sirius Black, and Peter Pettigrew."

Percy says, "Their rule-breaking is legendary, with you possibly rivaling them. You are notorious with that Daily Prophet adding to that."

They laugh a bit. Hermione says, "Yes, looks like their record may be in jeopardy. Pettigrew became an Animagus during their time at Hogwarts, a rat. He never told the Ministry. We trust that you won't either."

Percy swallows a bit, "Sure, but if it helps?"

Ron says, "Wormtail is still in a position to others in jeopardy. As you're aware, the Potters knew that Voldemort was after them and Harry. They hid. Everyone thought Sirius was their secret keeper."

Harry says, "However, Sirius convinced my father to switch to Peter. For that switch, Sirius feels responsible for my parents' deaths. Though I don't blame him. See, they knew that somebody was a Voldemort spy, they didn't know who."

Ron says, "Then of course, James and Lily are killed. Several years ago, after Sirius escaped Azkaban, we learned the truth."

Percy says, "It still amazes me that somebody can escape Azkaban. Black's still loose, isn't he?"

Ron says, "Yes, he is still on the loose and I hope it stays that way. Harry, Hermione, and I first met Sirius a couple of years ago. We also saw Scabbers transform back into Peter."

"But his mother was given his finger!" says Percy.

Ron says, "Peter cut it off himself. He faked his death when Sirius cornered him. Peter blew up his wand and transformed into a rat. The Muggles saw Peter disappear didn't they? Transforming to a rat accomplishes that."

"But the trial for Black!" says Percy.

Harry says, "There was no trial. He was convicted on the circumstantial evidence, and handed him to the demeantors. You have to understand that then, Voldemort was really increasing in power and the Ministry was desperate. Unfortunately, that meant innocent people were being sent to Azkaban. Like with that snake several years ago, Fudge still sent Hagrid there without any real proof."

Hermione says, "As you can tell, Harry grasps it."

Harry says, "Percy, unfortunately without Pettigrew in our possession, we can't get Sirius' name officially cleared. With Pettigrew aka Scabbers aka Wormtail is now Voldemort's right-hand servant, he has enough cowardice to survive Voldemort's ill-fated plans."

Ron says, "It's funny how, whenever Harry and I do something, we have to take into account politics and other seemingly unimportant current events. I mean, teenagers skinny dipping in a hot tub normally does not make the front page."

Percy laughs and says, "Of course, I'll need proof before I'll truly believe your story. I am certain that the proof has convinced all of you."

Harry asks, "Let me add a bit more. If Sirius is dangerous, would you be safe if he were to be, say walking behind you?"

Percy looks over his shoulder and says, "Of course not, but your dog is the only one behind me."

Ron says, "Percy, Mum trusted Sirius, rightly so. Anyways, we're next to the trophy room, lets show you something." Harry and Ron exchange looks.

They parade Percy into the trophy room.

"Now look, at this Head Boy from the 1940's. Know who he is?" asks Harry.

Ron says, "Percy, you've always been a stickler for the rules and authority. We're worried you might be tempted by the same path as Tom Riddle."

"Head Boy, so what?" say Percy.

Ron says, "He's changed his name and appearance since then, he's known by another name nowadays."

"Voldemort." says Harry. Lupin's a bit startled by what they're doing to Percy.

Percy says, "Ridiculous."

Hermione says, "It's correct. Dumbledore was a teacher at that time. Tom Riddle became Voldemort."

Ron says, "Even if you don't follow that path, we're worried that you aren't enjoying life. Look at all the names. Your's is only that of Head Boy, one of a thousand others."

Harry says, "Percy, If anybody remembers you, it's as a head boy who worked for the Ministry. Sounds a bit dull in our opinion."

"What I do with my life is up to me." says Percy.

Ron says, "Of course it is. I just don't want to see you as some cranky old man whining about how he never had any fun."

Harry says, "Now, here, look at your brothers Fred and George. They are on a number of the Quidditch cup trophies and they have their own drawer in Filch's office. Somebody in ten or twenty years could tell they enjoyed Hogwarts from those records. With you, I could only tell that you got some OWLs, NEWTs, and was the Head boy."

Ron says, "Percy, it's more that just academics here. It's about friends and having fun. You know, do a bit of Potions, visit a three headed dog, wrestle trolls, visit the forest, that sort of thing."

Percy looks at the Special Service Medals and says, "I can definitely tell that you two have been here. Is there a rule you haven't broken?"

Ron says, "Sorry Perce, I can't answer that question."

* * * Departing Hogwarts * * *

They walk to the Entrance Hall. Dumbledore, Hagrid, and McGonagall are waiting.

Dumbledore says, "Until the fall. ... Hagrid will escort our guests to Hogsmeade."

"Certainly." says Hagrid.

"Snuffles, come on." says Dumbledore. Snuffles and him walk up the stairwell and out of sight.

McGonagall says, "See you in the fall. ... PEEVES!"

Peeves just crashed a suit of armor on the floor. He sees them and says,"Potty Potter!" A water balloon barely missed Ron and splashes everyone. Harry is laughing and Peeves wanders off while being chased by McGonagall.

They exit the castle.

Hagrid says and jokes, "Nice of yeh to visit. As your tour has shown yeh, this castle can be an excellent place to live. It can be yours with the right offer."

They laugh.

Hagrid then offers, "Um, if you need a place to ... um ... have fun next year, my hut is available. It has a bit more privacy than your dormitory."

Percy is appalled by this and says, "Maybe you need a lecture with Madam Pomfrey Harry."

Harry says, "No, we've got that all sorted out. I'm a boy and Gia's a girl."

Percy snorts and says, "Ron, you usually are overshadowed, but can you imagine how bad a time Edward's going to have?"

Ron says, "Only if he worries about it. He is going to have a hard time outdoing me in a hot tub on the front page."

About halfway to Hogsmeade, a small band of demeantors approach. Percy retreats behind Hagrid. Harry and Ron grab their wands and yell, "EXPECTO PATRUM!"

The stag leaps from Harry's wand and the swan flies out of Ron's wand. They chase away the demeantors.

Percy exclaims, "Wow! You're good little brother."

Hermione says, "I probably don't want to know Ron."

Ron asks, "What's wrong with using your beauty to conjure a patronus?"

Percy tries to control the topic and asks, "I assume Harry taught you?"

Harry says, "Yes and Ron got it on the second try."

Percy says, "That's fast."

Ron says, "Well, with those demeantors surrounding us, failure was not an option."

Percy says, "Under pressure? I'm amazed. How did you find that thought quickly?"

Harry says, "I suggested strong one I knew he had and that was easier than having him search for one. Its funny, we tend to master spells if there's a sense of urgency. Like the troll the first year, or the dragon for me last year."

Percy asks, "Why do you think teachers give you deadlines?"

They approach the Three Broomsticks.

Harry says, "At least there's no minimum age here."

Hagrid says, "Tell yeh what, I buy you something for the Burrow. "I'm not good with flowers and I still want to send a gift to your family Ron."

They enter the Three Broomsticks and sit at a table. Madam Roseretta says, "Nice to see you Hagrid." Then she jokes, "Well if it isn't the naked teenage crusaders."

Harry says, "Yes. We snog in front of Voldemort and he scampers away." Roseretta flinched at the name. He says, "Hey, I've got a right to say the damn name!"

Hagrid says, "Drinks if you would."

Roseretta comes over and gives them the drinks.

Ron says, "Percy, if he can't stand the four of us aiming wands at him, what's so scary about him?"

Percy says, "Gia is a muggle, where did she get a wand?" asks Percy.

Hermione says, "That was Voldemort's wand actually. When Harry barged in, he disarmed the wand. Ron picked it up and gave it to Gia."

Percy asks, "Let me get this straight, a Muggle was holding You-Know-Who's wand? Now that's a very good insult to him.

Ron says, "harry even used Wandless magic."

Harry says, "Of course, I know my wand would have been useless."

Percy says, "Is it broken? Maybe you should go to Olivander's."

Harry says, "It works fine. It's just that my wand and Voldemort's don't always work properly against each other. That's why he carried that spare wand for the Quidditch cup. Voldemort will need another one now that Dumbledore has his."

Hagrid says, "Well, as fun as it is to chat, I have things that need to get done and you should be headed for a nice summer holiday. Hot tubs and beds are missing your presence."

Hagrid lifts a case of Butterbeer onto the table and says with a smile, "This is for you Ron and Percy. Enjoy it with your family. ... Enjoy it Ron."

Ron says, "Thanks. Okay, I'll go through the Floo Network first to make sure it's safe. You follow in a minute or two."

Ron walk into to the fireplace with the Butterbeer and exclaims "The Burrow!"

* * * Breaking Records * * *

Midday Sunday, the Weasley's settle down about the table. Ginny gets the Daily Prophet and brings it to the table. They eat the lunch that Dobby prepared.

"Quite useful, having Dobby around. Mum always wanted a house-elf." says Bill.

"Yeah, she always wanted one. However, Dumbledore is just lending Dobby for the summer to help us out for a while." says Arthur.

"Any word from Ron?" asks Charlie.

"Nothing since that letter. He simply said they were fine and found Percy, they might send word later. With the troubles at the Ministry, it probably won't make the Daily Prophet. With that we could read between the lines for clues. Fortunately, I haven't seen his clock hand at mortal peril since then."

George asks, "I don't suppose they found another hot tub." They all laugh.

Bill asks, "What's this with Percy anyways? I thought he was away on assignment, foreign travel."

Arthur says, "That is what the Ministry claims, but I don't believe them. If Ron claims to have found Percy, that is good news. I hope it is." He trembles with a sudden foreboding.

Just then, they notice activity in the fireplace. The Floo Network seemed to be active. Arthur grabs his wand and aims it at the fireplace.

Ron steps out of the fireplace, and starts complaining. "Keeping this family safe is just soo difficult. Ginny brings a pet snake to school, becomes trapped in some chamber, and have to rescue her. Edward, have to protect him from Death Eaters! Then of course, we have Percy! Harry and I go to Hogwarts for a swim, and we have to rescue him! Blimey! Of course, go for a night dip and it winds up on the front page! Then, we seek out a secluded location, Hogwarts. Have to sneak around! Of course that will probably still make the front page. You'd think Skeeter have something better to gawk at than teenagers in a tub!" Ron looks around and asks, "Anything interesting happen? It seems George and Fred found their clothes. How's the weather?"

At that point, Harry, Hermione, Gia, and Percy step out of the fireplace.

Ginny doesn't pay attention to this. Instead, she's looking at the front page of the paper with her jaw dropped. She exclaims, "Looks like Ron's okay!"

Ron says, "Of course I"m okay you git. Unless I'm in the obituary section, you should be able to see me just fine! Having a nice day?"

George asks, "Why the sad face Perce? Did Ron endanger your OWL record? Get fired from the Ministry?"

Fred grabs the Daily Prophet from Ginny and takes a look. His eyes go wide and says, "Take it easy George. Percy's upset because Fudge has resigned from Minister of Magic. Dad, why don't you apply?"

Charlie grabs the paper, quickly scans with great interest. "You're right George, Ron's shattered Percy's record. Nice touch, Order of Merlin."

Bill grabs the paper and says, "This photo will go nicely with the other. Don't you agree Dad?"

Bill hands Arthur the paper. Arthur reads it with interest.

The teens and Percy sit down at the table and start eating, they're a bit hungry. Ron sets the case of Butterbeers onto the table and pass it around.

As if he is describing a day at the office, Ron calmly says, "Oh Fred, You-Know-Who indeed has red eyes. You would think he could find a decent hairpiece."

Fred nearly drops his Butterbeer in utter surprise.

Ron then says, "Dad, Lucius Malfoy is dead. It might be their family tradition. ... Oh, they car is okay and still living in the forest."

Ron then gets up and asks, "Anyone wanna play Quidditch? Harry? Bill? Charlie? Fred? George?"

The Weasley sons exit the house. Harry and Ron with their Firebolts. Ginny, Hermione, Gia, and Colin tag along to watch.

Arthur Weasley sets the paper down and is happy. He holds Edward and thinks, Sure, Molly is gone, but they must have succeeded in some way. How this will impact Edward? We managed to raise a son who can leap from danger to fun, make a difference but is caught skinny dipping, is a miracle. Ronald Weasley, is so overshadowed but so very different, a teenage boy who enjoys life. Molly and I are proud to call our son.

THE END of this installment.

Author's Note:
A sequel may be written and posted; but that depends on the feedback that I receive. This story constitutes my first effort at a novel, so I apologize for the rough edges and wills strive to improve. If and when I write about the sixth year, I will make a note here and will likely post to fanfiction.net.

Update:
I have started a sequal called In the Crosshairs and have posted the first chapter as a teaser. The fan fiction story id is 1362834 .