Author's Notes: This is the last chapter, for now. Originally I was going to divide this into two chapters, but I realized how short they would be, so I combined them. Thank you all for reading. As I said last time, I'm taking a break from HP fandom for a while. I need some time to organize my life. In time I may come back and flush out what needs to be flushed out and fix the plot holes, but for the moment I need a break. Thank you once again.
With Harry and Draco gone to another part of the manor to explain to Narcissa what was going on, the remaining rescue party began sifting through the rubble. They pulled Death Eaters out from under the dead and broken furniture. Ron took charge of Lucius, restraining him with several different curses and removing both wands from his person. He'd return Cassie's to her later. As an after thought he transfigured a scrap of cushion into rope and tied him up. Unless he was an animagus, he wasn't going anywhere.
After making a few more modifications to make sure his prisoner stayed put, Ron went to join the others. Neville was alerting all the conscious Death Eaters that they were under arrest and that it was better to stay put. No one argued; they simply waited to be spelled so they couldn't feel the pain anymore. Hermione quickly deduced that there was no point checking for survivors around the Louis XIV chair, they were all dead. Instead they focused their attention on the edges of the room. Working in an inward moving spiral pattern the group hauled the living to a section, which Lupin and Snape were clearing.
"It looks like a storm of cataclysmic proportions went through here." Lupin commented levitating shards of what had been a marble pillar out of the way.
"Somethin' tells me I'll be writin' Trina a thank you note." Heather replied bandaging one man's arm so it wouldn't flop around when they moved him again.
"Trina?" Snape asked arching an eyebrow. Heather smiled.
"Our neighbor in New Zealand. She's tha one who taught us all those lovely curses you've been admirin'."
Snape smiled. He may have to send Trina a thank you letter.
"She gave Draco an heirloom from 'er grandma, said it'd protect him." The woman continued. "An' he gave it ta Cassie."
"It seemed to do the job well." Lupin remarked waving his hand at the surroundings. Whatever spell had been placed on that talisman was certainly powerful. He was surprised anything had lived through it, but a few had and they had to deal with them. Especially a certain one that he still hadn't located yet. Glancing over to where Black was working, he paused. "Sirius, what are you doing?" He asked noticing his friend using his fist to break through some rubble.
The escaped convict grinned manically. "Just paying back an old friend."
"Black! You need him alive! How else are we going to clear your name?" Hermione scolded hurrying over to try and stop him.
"Oh he'll be alive, just making sure he doesn't crawl off into a sewer." He replied cheerfully as his fist connected with Pettigrew's face again. The woman sighed as Ron came over to check to make sure the Death Eater was still breathing. Pettigrew was and he was in the outer part of their search area, so he was more or less whole. Which was why Black was making sure he didn't move.
Snape shook his head transporting another pile of debris away from the entrance. The Death Eater who'd been trapped under the door was still breathing; she'd been tromped on by several different people, but wasn't dead. Lifting her body, he levitated her next to the others.
"So you did join the minions of good." Lucius snarled from his tether just inside of the door. Snape smirked.
"In the long run its healthier." He retorted. Lucius glared as Snape proceeded to ignore him.
It was twenty minutes before Harry and Draco returned to the room, minus Cassie. Harry had apparently requested back up from the Ministry and that it was on its way. Narcissa had decided to remain in the drawing room with her granddaughter until everything was over to rest her nerves. No one blamed her and they'd all rather not have Cassie in here with all the dead bodies. Currently they were trying to identify as many as possible. Pettigrew had been rescued from Black, but suffered from a broken nose and two black eyes along with his multiple contusions from the initial blast. He was tethered next to Lucius and they were commiserating silently.
Pulling back a hood on the corpse nearest the Louis XIV chair, Percy paused. Snatching the mask off, he narrowed his eyes.
"I KNEW there was something fishy going on!" He cried his face turning red. "I KNEW there had to be a reason I wasn't being promoted." Startled by his out burst, everyone turned their attention his direction.
"Knew what Percy?" Ron asked coming over. His older brother pointed at the corpse and Ron gasped in recognition.
"So who is it?" Hermione demanded, hands on her hips.
"You won't believe it." Ron stated.
"Who is it?" Lupin parroted.
"Well, that explains a lot." Black growled. The others nodded. It appeared that the Ministry of Magic was out one minister and several personal. As the death toll rose, the other Aurors appeared. It took Harry, Ron and Neville several minutes to convince them not to arrest Black and to arrest Lucius and the remaining alive Death Eaters. They were still skeptical, but since the famous Harry Potter trusted the escaped convict, they had to give him some leeway. Unfortunately, they hadn't found the one corpse they prized over all. Lord Voldemort was no where to be found.
Peace had returned to the halls of Hogwarts, well as much peace as one could find at the school. Percy was grousing about his inept students, while Draco corrected grammar in an essay on how to avoid an infestation of Chizpurfles. Snape was downstairs in the Potion's room striking fear in the hearts of students who were suddenly calling him the best undercover agent ever. He wasn't handling it well.
Ron and Natalie had left with Ginny a week ago. Neville had returned to the main Auror office the day after the incident at Malfoy Manor along with Harry to smooth things over. Harry had been flying back and forth since that with messages and news ever since.
Black had been acquitted of all wrong doings in the death of the twelve Muggles and the sentence for his escape had been commuted to time served. They'd been fortunate that the judge had wanted this taken care of right away before all the trials for the Death Eaters began. Pettigrew's was starting next Thursday, but he'd confessed to everything already so it'd be speedy.
Draco glanced up from his work as the Teacher's Lounge door opened and Cassie peeked in.
"Daddy?" She asked.
She was wearing one of the tamer outfits Narcissa had bought for her. The day after most of the Death Eaters had been wiped out, she'd taken her son, her son's boyfriend and granddaughter on a shopping trip to Diagon Alley. There she lavished presents on them. Cassie wasn't fond of all the bows and ruffles on the dresses, but she bore it well. Draco and Harry had both gotten splendid new 'special occasion' clothes, as Harry termed them. The one she was wearing was a simple corduroy burgundy jumper with white turtleneck infused with glittery thread here and there.
"Daddy, Mr. Peeves told me something." Draco arched his eyebrow wondering what the poltergeist had told her this time. Normally he tried to keep her away from him. "Well…" she began.
Harry had returned to Hogwarts with the new Minister of Magic in tow. He was supposed to introduce the man to Dumbledore formally before escorting him around the school. He wanted to meet everyone involved in the Malfoy Manor incident and personally give them his thanks. Voldemort was still missing, but from what they now knew, he wasn't a threat. Half the survivors, those closer to the blast, were permanent residents of St. Mungo's Hospital. Gibbering vegetables couldn't cause trouble.
As he turned a corner he saw a most peculiar sight. Peeves was hiding behind a statue whimpering with Draco in front of him wand drawn and making threats. Cassie stood off to the side looking confused. Upon spotting Harry, she darted over.
"Papa! Papa!" She grabbed the edge of his cloak and tugged. "Daddy's acting weird."
Harry shot the Minister an apologetic look and he smiled understanding that parental duties came first. "Why has Daddy cornered Peeves?"
"I don't know." Cassie replied. "All I said was that Mr. Peeves told me that he was glad his matchmaking was a success. Although he was upset that it took so long for you and Daddy to get around to smooching again. Then he started saying Professor Lilium never noticed it gone. I don't know who Professor Lilium is, do you?"
Harry bit the inside of his lip.
"She was the DADA teacher when Daddy and I were in school." He explained slowly furrowing his brows. "Excuse me Cassie, I need to have a word with Draco and Peeves." He turned to the Minister. "You'll have to excuse me, this is rather important."
"I see." Gildroy Lockhart replied glancing down at the little girl. "Perhaps your daughter could show me to the Teacher's lounge. I can wait for you there."
"Thank you." Harry answered ushering Cassie to the man. He'd certainly improved after he'd erased his memory. "Mr. Malfoy and I appreciate it." Lockhart nodded and quietly asked Cassie if she'd be his tour guide. For a moment she wavered whether or not to go with the man, but he smiled and she decided it was a nice smile. If Harry trusted him, then she could.
They left swiftly allowing Harry and Draco to have some quality time with Peeves.