Chapter Eighteen

Previous Chapter: Harry pushed past the Minister and went to the Head table, leaning his hands on the table and staring at the Headmaster. "We need to talk."

Dumbledore gave the boy before him a piercing gaze, gently probing into his mind as to not alarm him. Harrison looked away and the Headmaster sighed in defeat. "About what?" he queried, not letting any of the previous failed interaction show on his face. It frustrated him greatly that the boy was so aware of his Legilimency. He has obviously encountered it before, but where? And why?

"Could we go somewhere a bit more … secure," Harrison asked, lowering his voice. Crouch overheard him anyway.

"Anything you have to say about Professor Huffman can be said to all of us," he declared imperiously.

Harrison shot Dumbledore a pleading look, but he just shook his head. "Go ahead."

"That man is a danger to us all," he blurted out, looking pained. Dumbledore raised his eyebrows in surprise.

Crouch stepped up to the table and grabbed Harrison roughly by his elbow. He flinched and tried to wrench his arm away, but Crouch held it steadfastly. "The only one who is any danger here," he spat, "is you."

"Professor Huffman is a respected wizard, Mr. Harrison," Dumbledore soothed him. "He is not going to bring anyone to harm."

"He's not Professor Huffman!" he yelled, finally jerking his arm out of Crouch's grip.

Dumbledore swiftly stood and moved around the table, standing in front of the irate teenager. "What makes you say that?"

Harrison hesitated. "I just … I just know, Headmaster." Crouch snorted.

"Listen to him, Albus. This boy is clearly delusional."

"Was it one of your visions," Dumbledore gently prodded.

"Something like that," nodded Harrison.

"Who is he?" Harrison looked towards the floor. "Mr. Harrison, who is that man?" But he did not answer.

"He is clearly making this all up!" raved Crouch. "I think it is time we remove him from this school!"

Harrison's head shot back up. "What?"

Dumbledore reached out, putting a hand on his shoulder. "We believe it would be in your best interests if you were taken to a safer location, Zachary. You are quite clearly a target for Lord Voldemort and –"

"I'm not leaving!" he insisted.

"We could take precautions – "

"What sort of precautions?"

Dumbledore was a bit startled. "We were considering casting a Fidelius charm to guard your location until we can find a more permanent solution."

"The Fidelius charm isn't foolproof, Dumbledore, as I am sure you remember quite well."

The grip on Harrison's shoulder tightened and a look of guilt came in to the Headmaster's eyes. How does he know … ?

"I am not leaving," he repeated, before his eyes widened. Two Aurors stood at either side of him, grasping his arms tightly. Dumbledore stood still as he watched them drag the struggling boy away. "No, Headmaster!" he screamed. "He's dangerous! Don't trust him! Please!"

And then he was gone.

"Where are they taking him?" Severus was at his side instantly, harshly demanding in his ear.

"He'll be staying in a safe room here at the castle tonight," Dumbledore said calmly, not letting the remorse show on his face. "We will move him tomorrow."

Severus glanced at the door Harrison had just exited. "I think you are making a mistake, Albus."

"So do I, Severus. So do I."

Harry pushed himself up off the hard, cold floor of one of the dungeon rooms. He surveyed his surroundings. I have got to get myself out of here, he thought frantically. He'll kill them if I don't … If only there was a way to warn them.

He peered through the thin slit of the wooden door blocking his way. A young guard lay asleep in the chair on the other side of the hall. His wand lay on the table next to her.

Harry put his hands on the door and shoved all his weight against it. No budge. He pushed even hard, pressing with all his might.

I need to get out of here, I need to get out, I need to get out, get out!

A warm feeling spread through his fingertips and the door zapped him. Harry flew backwards in to a stone wall. Groaning, he sat up, rubbing his aching leg.

But the door creaked open.

Snape's eyes remained on the mysterious Professor throughout dinner that night. He hand was wrapped around his wand in his pocket. One wrong move …

"Relax, Severus," Minerva leaned over and whispered to him as he watched the Professor stand with the Minister and begin to leave. "Even if he is a threat, he wouldn't dare try something with so many people around."

Severus risked a glance at her and reluctantly calmed a bit. "I suppose you might be right – "

He stopped as all the doors to the Hall slammed shut. Among the sharp screams and chatter of the dinners, there was a loud maniacal laugh.

Professor Huffman held his wand aloft, pressed threateningly against the right temple of a frightened looking Minister Bagnold. He shot them an icy smile.

"You should have listened to the kid."

Harry limped towards the Great Hall, his anxiety increasing the closer he got. Nobody was passing by him; they were all in the Hall. A perfect target.

He ran faster.

Skidding to a halt, he grasped the handle to the main door and pulled. Nothing. Everyone was locked inside.

He leaned against a wall, slowly sliding down it in despair. He was too late. Harry smacked himself in the forehead and –


He smacked himself in the head again and began to laugh.

Gaining strength he stood up and called out. "Elf!" A sharp crack filled the air and a small House Elf appeared.

"Can Mimsy help you, sir?" she asked timidly. Harry bent down to her height and she took a step back, surprised.

"Yes. Are there any other ways into the Great Hall?" he asked politely. "The ones I know about seem to be locked up."

She shyly nodded. "Mimsy could show sir one."

"That would be great."

"Everyone take out their wands and put them on the table," barked out Huffman. "Now!" The students did it immediately, the others reluctantly, but soon Huffman was able to summon a large pile of them behind him. Severus watched with slight interest as his hand shone bright silver as he did this, never moving his wand from the Minister's neck. "Great, now wasn't that easy?"

"What do you want?" Dumbledore asked, standing from his seat.

"Stay back, Headmaster." For the first time, there was a waver in Huffman's voice. "I'll kill her." The Minister took a shuddering breath.

"No you won't," said a voice from the other side of the room. Severus glanced over. Zachary Harrison stood there, wand raised in front of him, a note of steel in his words.

And he looked pissed.

"If you were just here to kill the Minister, you would have done it already," he explained as he moved closer, coming to rest fifteen feet in front of Huffman and his captive.

"I was wondering how long it would take you to arrive," Huffman said, smiling. "You were starting to worry me."

Harrison raised an eyebrow. "What are you doing here?"

"My Master wishes you speak with you."

"You went through all this trouble for little old me? I'm flattered."

Severus stared at him in surprise. He looked unconcerned, relaxed … like he had been in this situation way too many times before.

Huffman smirked and motioned to Harrison's robes. "Nice crest."

"What better way to defeat a rat than to use a snake, Pettigrew?"

A ripple of gasps rang through out the room and Huffman – no, Pettigrew, Snape remembered incredulously – laughed again. He raised his silver hand to his face and the mask melted away. There, an evil glint in his eye, stood his long-dead classmate Peter Pettigrew.

"Peter!" Minerva shrieked, forgetting her fear and jumping up in her chair. Her eyes were wide with unshed tears at the sight of her former student. "But – but – you're dead!"

"Not quite," he answered, not taking his eyes off Harrison's face.

"Black ki-killed you!" she stuttered. "He killed you and … he didn't kill anyone, did he?"

In response, Pettigrew just smiled wider. From his seat, Severus could see the Headmaster shaking with controlled fury.

Minerva shook her head, trying to piece everything together. "But why would you go after him then? Just to frame him? He was already on his way to jail for betraying Lilly and James!"

"He didn't." Harrison's cold, crisp voice cut through the hall. "Sirius didn't betray anyone."

"But he was their Secret Keeper. He told the Dark Lord where to find them."

"No," Pettigrew chuckled. "I was their Secret Keeper. I told the Dark Lord where they were."

"You framed him for everything?" The tears were flowing freely now as a look of dawning appeared on her face.

"And he spent the next thirteen years in Azkaban for it!" Lupin shouted from his spot, his teeth bared in a feral snarl.

Pettigrew shrugged, unconcerned at his old friend's reaction, and took a step closer to Harrison. The Minister saw her chance and started to run. "Don't move!" he ordered and she froze in place. He moved to stand next to her and kept his wand trained there. "We'll need to be leaving soon," he said pleasantly. "We wouldn't want to keep the Dark Lord waiting."

"You're scum," Harrison bit out.

"Did talking about your dear, dead godfather touch a nerve, Potter?"

Severus stopped breathing as Zachary Harrison slowly changed. The angles of his face straightened, his forehead shifted, and his blue eyes morphed back in to a very familiar looking green. Harry Potter tightened his grip on his wand, but didn't respond.

Pettigrew ignored the effect this was having on the Hall and reached into his robe. He pulled out a small, round object and floated it in front of him as it started glowing. "A Portkey," he answered the unasked question. "Straight to your meeting with the Dark Lord."

"What makes you think I'd go willingly?" Severus started. His looks may have changed, but the voice – that dark, brooding tone – remained the same.

Pettigrew chuckled. "The way I see it, you only have two choices. Either come right now or you try to hex me and I kill her first." The Minister's eyes darted around wildly, though the rest of her was still frozen. "So what will it be, Harry? You or her?"

Severus watched Harry glance towards the terrified woman and lower his wand.

"Harry! No!" Lupin shouted and started forward, but Pettigrew raised his hand and Lupin hit an invisible wall.

"Stay out of this one, Lupin."

Harry shot him an apologetic glance. "Don't worry, Remus. I'll be fine."

"Harry," Dumbledore began and Severus started; the man had remained unnervingly quiet throughout the proceedings.

"No." His firm rebuttal cut off whatever the Headmaster was going to say. Harry walked towards the orb and outstretched his hand.

Three things seemed to happened simultaneously. A beam of light shot out of Harry's hand, knocking the orb against Pettigrew's stomach. He let out a guttural roar and shot a curse towards the Minister as he was swept away. And the curse, a bright and deadly green, collided with Harry Potter as he jumped in front of the Minister.

He hit the ground with a deafening thud.