Harry, Ron, Hermione and Sirius carrying Pettigrew raced away. The savage cries of the beasts behind them did not improve the mood. Worse, a dark cloud of Dementors were following them.
Somehow, Harry didn't know how, they made it to the doors of the Entrance Hall. Two guards stood and saluted them when they passed. Upon being asked why exactly, they cryptically replied that 'their captain had told them to and that the hall and the path towards Dumbledore's office were clear.'
Giving their thanks, the odd group ran for the office.
Gai and Hayate cursed as they searched the grounds. They had been amazed of course, when Kakashi's prone white furred form, bleeding, had been found. The wolf had raised his tail slightly as he saw them, but made no move to rise.
"KAKASHI!" Gai called out, worried. His manner was serious, of which Hayate was glad for. The ANBU Wolf tried to wag his tail and failed.
"What happened?" Hayate managed to blurt out in between coughs. Wolf Kakashi began to shake, and soon Kakashi the ANBU was sitting on the blood soaked ground.
"I stopped him. I really did. When he was towering over me….something distracted him." Kakashi began. There was a bleeding gash on his face that went from his cheek over his nose and ended at the other end. Kakashi could taste the saltiness of his blood, but made to go on. "I did it. I gave them time…"
Gai frowned. "You're not going to die, are you?" He reached out and took Kakashi up in his arms. The other man was very light, and this troubled Gai. Kakashi made no move to tell him off. His eyes were seemingly looking at something else over Hayate's shoulder.
"The children…did they...?" Kakashi asked. Hayate gave a nod. "Yes. We've cleared the path to Dumbledore's office."
Gai smiled slightly. "You did good, my eternal rival. Konoha will be proud."
Kakashi gave a tired smile.
"I need proof of Sirius Black's innocence!" Fudge growled, face turning to the color of puce. "Where is it?"
Dumbledore smiled, eyes twinkling. "It will come soon."
Bursting into Dumbledore's office, the group was not surprised when they saw Fudge's head in the fireplace. The man told them to prove it to him, and soon they did.
"BLACK!" Fudge screamed. "WE FINALLY CAUGHT YOU!" Sirius blinked right before tossing Pettigrew casually at the Minister's face. The rat landed with a thump in front of the fireplace.
"WHAT? WHO IS THIS?" Fudge asked, stepping out of the fireplace.
"Pettigrew." Sirius explained casually.
"Really now?" Fudge asked. "Why don't you prove it?"
"Gladly." Said Sirius and then he turned to Dumbledore. "With your permission, headmaster, could we use some Veritaserum?"
"Of course." Said Dumbledore, eyes twinkling as he took out a vial from a drawer on his desk and handed it to Sirius. Sirius held the vial carefully and allowed one drop of it to fall into Peter's mouth.
Like a bird under the questioning, Peter began to sing. The whole story came out in front of the shocked minister as Pettigrew's information suddenly made sense. Soon, Aurors began to troop out of the fireplace as Fudge saw a way to take advantage of this information.
"I will need other witnesses of course." Said Fudge. "But then until then, Black is under suspicion, but at least, he is no longer under the pain of the Dementor's Kiss. We have no further proof except the word of a supposedly dead man. I expect that your 'guards' will be in court under Veritaserum to testify."
"Not right now." Dumbledore pointed out. "I will serve as a willing witness as well. If you'd like, and be aware that I'll save this memory in my Pensive for all to view."
Fudge did not look too happy, but at least he thought he still had control over this, because Dumbledore was releasing Pettigrew into his hands and Black seemed to be willing to give credit into his hands for the traitor's capture. He could use this to his credit in the Wizengamot. After all, this would make him a hero. So now, how to make this news best fit him?
They had taken Peter away through the fireplace. Harry was smiling as Sirius hugged him. He was going to live with his godfather! Harry hugged Sirius back. Already, the now innocent man looked more like his old self when he smiled.
Dumbledore's voice interrupted them.
"What we need, is more time." Dumbledore began. "You can still save one more innocent life. Miss Granger, two turns will do it. Be back in the Gryffindor Common Room before five minutes to midnight. You know the rules, Miss Granger. You must not be seen!"
That said, Dumbledore turned and walked out of his own office, leaving the four of them behind.
Hermione was digging something out of the neck of her robes. As she did so, she was speaking.
"Ron, hurry back to the Gryffindor Common Room. Mister Black, Harry, please come closer. Quick!"
As her tone of voice made it very clear that she expected them to do what she said, they neared her as Ron shuffled outside towards Gryffindor tower. There was a tiny hourglass in her fingers and as soon as Sirius and Harry came near, she threw the gold chain over their heads so that in a sense, they were wearing it too. She then turned it three times.
The room disappeared. Harry tried to scream, but couldn't as his feet soon hit solid ground.
"We've gone back in time." Hermione said, lifting the chain off Harry and Sirius' necks. "Two hours back…"
Harry's hand traveled up his other shoulder and he gave himself a pinch. It hurt a lot, but it also meant everything was real. He was in Dumbledore's office, and it was empty, save for them.
There were footsteps outside, and soon they found themselves staring at the faces of the two foreigners.
"There you are." The sickly one said, stuffing something on a fine gold chain just like Hermione's down his own shirt. "Good. Makes things cough, cough a lot easier. Gekkou Hayate at your service and this is Maito Gai." Hayate pointed to the green spandex clad man behind him. "We're here to help with the cough, cough creature's rescue."
"You mean Buckbeak?" Harry asked. It made sense of course! He had to save Buckbeak!
Sirius nodded. "I see. So how do we do this?"
Hayate looked around and nodded. "Coast should be clear. Dumbledore told us this place would be empty. Come along then."
Stealthily, they made their way outside. Always the sickly one seemed attuned to his surroundings and warned them always if there was someone coming. Always just in time, Maito Gai had already found a place to hide. So in no time at all, they had arrive din the grounds, currently taking shelter behind Hagrid's hut, giving them a clear view of Buckbeak.
Hayate nodded and took out a kunai. He edged closer, bowed and watched as Buckbeak returned the gesture. Everyone else could hear their other selves outside, and were suddenly glad that Hayate's other self was stalling the entire world in general.
"----That this cough, cough storm grey Hippo- cough, cough -griff with black wingtip markings will be executed this time today…Dumbledore-san, the time…" Hayate's voice drifted out the window. They all knew they had plenty of time as they watched Hayate slowly coax Buckbeak to their hiding place.
"That's done." Gai whispered. "Now, we must make it seem…Hayate, if you will make it so?"
Hayate nodded and searched somewhere in one of the numerous pockets on his green flak jacket. Soon he had taken out a scroll and in no time at all had summoned a huge eagle the size of Buckbeak. Hayate made a seal and soon the eagle was in Buckbeak's image.
"Genjutsu." Hayate explained as he petted the eagle a bit before sending it flying. Not a second later, there was a shriek of outrage, and Fudge ran outside and spotted Buckbeak's clone flying far off.
Hayate's other self spotted it quickly, and threw a shuriken at it. It hit and soon Buckbeak's clone was spiraling downward and hit the Lake with a very real splash.
Hayate returned the summoning scroll to his pocket. "Good, good."
Gai shepherded them off, keeping a careful eye at the grounds. They stayed in the forest when night fell, and soon they heard Lupin's telltale howl.
"Good." Gai said, and then he howled like a wolf. That drew Lupin's attention, and soon he was standing in front of them. Lupin gave a snarl and leapt for him, but Buckbeak intervened and knocked Lupin away, hitting him in the skull.
"He'll be out for a few minutes. Let's go." Gai said. "We have one more thing to do, so go back to the tower."
Harry, Sirius and Hermione made their way back to the Castle and into the Gryffindor Common Room.
Ron was waiting with Professor Dumbledore. He smiled as he saw them. The guard was already there, supported by his friends. Though his face had been marred, the guard was smiling a boyish smile.
"I take it all went well." Dumbledore said, smiling as he handed Sirius a bunch of papers. "Here are Harry's adoption papers, and your papers for your release."
Sirius gave a tired smile as he took them. "Thank you all." He simply said before taking Harry in a one-armed hug.
"James was right making you Harry's godfather." Dumbledore said just as Lupin clambered in from the portrait hole. "Harry will be very happy in your care."
"And mine." Lupin said brightly. "I'll be living with you, Harry. Someone has to make sure that your godfather…" He gave Sirius a nudge. "Doesn't spoil you too much."
Dumbledore turned to the guards. "As per agreement with Konohagakure no Sato, I have sent payment to your Hokage. Thank you for your services."
The three nodded as they received a letter. "To your Hokage." Dumbledore said, smiling slightly.
During breakfast, Snape finally snapped out of the illusion the guard had put him under, and lo! The explosion that ensued when he read the news that Peter Pettigrew had been taken into custody, Black a free man and with custody of one Harry Potter.
The guard had dragged a kicking and screaming Snape out of the hall, leaving a shocked populace. Slytherins and all, staring at him as if he'd lost his mind. There were even pictures on the news of a pathetic Pettigrew clutching with his four fingered hand at the bars of a cage.
Harry was in a wonderful mood. After all, he'd no longer have to live with the Dursleys, he could study magic without being scorned, his godfather, from what he had seen in their time together after Pettigrew had been taken away seemed to be a decent man and actually cared about him! And, to top it all off, Snape had just blown his top off in public!
The day was slightly marred, however, with the guard's goodbye.
"I will be leaving for my home." Said the guard, standing right beside the door to the Entrance Hall. "This year has been eventful, but all good things must come to an end. Before I go I leave you with the information you have worked so hard to uncover…"
The three in front of him held their breath. Lupin and Sirius beside them looked interested.
"My name is Hatake Kakashi, and I also doubled as your DADA teacher."
Lupin was stunned. "Y-you were my assistant teacher?"
Kakashi gave a smile. "Yes. And I apologize, Lupin-san, for my previous prejudice. Maybe I should have not been so quick to assume you are all alike. You care about the children more than Snape-san did. That is a credit to you, but I am afraid your other nature worries me. Is there any way for you to coexist during the full moon without attacking anyone."
Lupin gave a smile. "Fortunately, yes. There is a potion called the Wolfsbane Potion which allows me to transform and lets me keep my mind when I take it. Unfortunately on that day, I had not taken it yet, so again, I am sorry, Kakashi."
"Well I suppose you can't help it." The guard looked resigned more than anything. "But I will be having someone keep an eye on you just in case. You may not be the Kyubi, but that other form of yours is dangerous enough."
Kakashi dug a hand into his cloak. "Come around, the three of you. I have something to give."
Perplexed, the trio neared him. Kakashi dug out a mask similar to the one he wears.
"Harry, this is yours." Harry took it. "It's a mark of status where I come from. The ANBU or rather elite forces, similar to your Aurors, wear that. Keep it close and do not wear it. I hate to see someone attacking you because they thought you are me." Kakashi ruffled Harry's hair before moving on.
"Ron, I'm sorry about what happened to your rat. I hope that this owl will make up for the amount of trauma the creature gave you. At least you know this will not transform into a human being." He took out a bone white whistle and blew. Almost immediately, an eagle owl came swooping inside and landed on Ron's shoulder, carefully, trying not to claw him.
"She is called Rin, after my old teammate. Take care of her." Giving the bone whistle to an overjoyed Ron, he turned finally to Hermione and gave her a scroll bound with a red ribbon.
"In the hopes that you can translate this, it contains certain saying by the wise men of my country. If you can also translate it, you will find my friend's famed saying. Take care of your comrades, Hermione-kun." He gently patted her on the head.
The train ride home was one Harry would never, ever forget.
Right now, Harry was content to lean on his godfather. Sirius, once he had gotten himself cleaned up, almost looked like his old self. On the floor were numerous wrappers, from Lupin's attempts to fatten godfather and godson.
Dumbledore had sent word ahead. Number 12 Grimmauld Place, Sirius' ancestral home, had been cleaned up and redecorated. The Dursleys seemed happy that Harry had gone off to live with his godfather, and made no more to regain custody.
All in all, Harry decided it was a good year as his eyes slowly shut to the rhythmic swaying of the train and to the sound of his godfather's beating heart.