Bryt turned towards her friends and noticed Hermione was staring anxiously at her watch. Bryt was just about to ask how much time they had when Hermione answered the unspoken question.
"We've got exactly ten minutes to get back down to the hospital wing without anybody seeing us—before Dumbledore locks the door—"
"Okay," Harry said with a nod, "Let's go."
Bryt, Harry, and Hermione slipped inside and started down the narrow, spiraling stairs. They were near the bottom when they heard voices and stopped suddenly, trying to hide out of view on the staircase.
"...only hope Dumbledore's not going to make difficulties," Snape was saying, "The Kiss will be performed immediately?"
Bryt smirked a little, wishing she could see the look on Snape's face once he realized Sirius had, once again, managed to escape capture.
"As soon as Macnair returns with the dementors," Fudge said, "This whole Black affair has been highly embarrassing. I can't tell you how much I'm looking forward to informing the Daily Prophet that we've got him at last...I daresay they'll want to interview you, Snape...and once young Harry's back in his right mind, I expect he'll want to tell the Prophetexactly how you saved him..."
Bryt rolled her eyes, knowing that situation would never happen. Even if in some bizarre universe that Snape had saved their lives, she knew none of them, especially Harry, would ever give their praises about it.
Snape and Fudge's footsteps faded away on the other end of the hall and Bryt, Harry, and Hermione slipped from their hiding place, heading off in the opposite direction. They had barely made it a few floors before they heard a familiar laugh up ahead of them.
"Peeves!" Harry said, grabbing onto Hermione and Bryt's arms, pulling them into a nearby classroom. Harry closed the door and the three held their breaths, listening to Peeves' laughing.
'I hate that ghost,' Bryt thought sourly, glaring at the door.
"Oh, he's horrible," Hermione whispered, "I bet he's all excited because he thinks the dementors are going to finish off Sirius..."
"Wish I could see his reaction when he realizes he's wrong," Bryt said, looking at her watch, "Damn, three minutes..."
As soon as they could no longer hear Peeves, the three slipped out of the room and hurried down the hallway, running as fast as they could in an attempt to reach the hospital wing in time.
"What'll happen—if we don't get back inside—before Dumbledore locks the door?" Harry asked between pants.
"I don't want to think about it!" Hermione replied, looking at her watch as she ran, "One minute!"
Bryt was struggling to breathe as they reached the corridor that the hospital wing sat on. Bryt could hear Dumbledore up ahead, they were almost there...
Dumbledore came into sight up ahead, informing the Hermione currently in the hospital wing of the time and how many turns to use on the time turner. He had closed the door and pulled out his wand just as Hermione, Bryt, and Harry stumbled to a stop next to him, all nearly out of breath.
"Well?" Dumbledore asked, grinning as he noticed them.
"We did it!" Hermione said, "Sirius has gone, on Buckbeak..."
"Well done. I think—" Dumbledore turned to the hospital wing door for a second, "Yes, I think you've gone too—get inside—I'll lock you in."
The three friends slipped into the room as quietly as they could, noticing the only person there was Ron, who was unconscious. Bryt, Harry, and Hermione went to their beds, all very glad to get back on the welcoming, soft beds and pull the blankets over their laps.
Just as they got settled, Madam Pomfrey came back into the room, looking extremely annoyed.
"Did I hear the headmaster leaving? Am I allowed to look after my patients now?"
Bryt knew better than to argue with anything Madam Pomfrey said now, so she accepted the chocolate Madam Pomfrey gave without any fuss. She was halfway through the fourth piece of chocolate when she suddenly heard yelling from a room several floors up.
"What was all that?" Madam Pomfrey asked, looking up, then started towards the door as the voices grew louder and closer, "Really—they'll wake everybody up! What do they think they're doing?"
Bryt stared at the door, her head tilted slightly as she tried to hear what was being said.
"He must have Disapparated, Severus," Fudge's voice drifted into the room from the hall, "We should have left somebody in the room with him. When this gets out—"
"HE DIDN'T DISAPPARATE! YOU CAN'T APPARATE OR DISAPPARATE INSIDE THIS CASTLE! THIS—HAS—SOMETHING—TO—DO—WITH—POTTER!"
"Severus—be reasonable—Harry has been locked up—"
The door flew open and Snape came in with Fudge and Dumbledore. Their headmaster looked quite amused while Fudge was angry, though he looked completely calm compared to Snape, who was looking angrier than Bryt thought was possible for any living creature. It was almost to the point that Snape looked completely insane.
"OUT WITH IT, POTTER!" Snape screamed, "WHAT DID YOU DO?"
"Professor Snape!" Madam Pomfrey yelled, "Control yourself!"
"See here, Snape, be reasonable," Fudge said, "This door's been locked, we just saw—"
"THEY HELPED HIM ESCAPE, I KNOW IT!"
As Snape pointed towards Bryt, Hermione, and Harry, Bryt managed to keep her expression confused and innocent, acting as if she had no clue why her teacher was screaming at them. Though it was increasingly hard to keep herself from giggling over how insane Snape was acting.
"Calm down, man!" Fudge said, "You're talking nonsense!"
"YOU DON'T KNOW POTTER! HE DID IT, I KNOW HE DID IT—"
"That will do, Severus," Dumbledore said, and Bryt was surprised that Snape cut himself off, especially with how quiet Dumbledore had spoken up, "Think about what you are saying. This door has been locked since I left the ward ten minutes ago. Madam Pomfrey, have these students left their beds?"
"Of course not! I would have heard them!"
"Well, there you have it, Severus," Dumbledore said, turning back to Snape, "Unless you are suggesting Harry, Hermione, and Bryt are able to be in two places at once, I'm afraid I don't see any point in troubling them further."
Snape looked, if possible, even angrier. He looked between Fudge and Dumbledore before turning, and stomping out of the room.
"Fellow seems quite unbalanced," Fudge said and Bryt gave a snort that she managed to turn into a cough, then had to bite the inside of her cheek to keep from bursting into laughter over the statement. Snape going mental was definitely an understatement on his reaction to Sirius escaping again.
"Oh, he's not unbalanced," Dumbledore said in a very amused tone, "He's just suffered a severe disappointment."
"He's not the only one! The Daily Prophet's going to have a field day! We had Black cornered and he slipped through our fingers yet again! All it needs now is for the story of that hippogriff's escape to get out, and I'll be a laughingstock! Well...I'd better go and notify the Ministry..."
"And the dementors? They will be removed from the school, I trust?"
"Oh yes, they'll have to go. Never dreamed they'd attempt to administer the Kiss on an innocent boy...Completely out of control...no, I'll have them packed off back to Azkaban tonight...Perhaps we should think about dragons at the school entrance..."
"Hagrid would like that," Dumbledore said, turning slightly to grin at Harry, Bryt, and Hermione.
Bryt leaned back into her pillow, grinning herself. Even though she knew dragons would never be stationed at Hogwarts, it was still fun imagining what it would be like with two of the creatures guarding the gates.
'And all the wizards it would take to handle them,' Bryt thought.
Madam Pomfrey was muttering angrily under her breath, too low for Bryt to understand what she was saying, as she locked the door after Fudge and Dumbledore left. She continued mumbling as she disappeared back into her office, slamming the door behind her.
A groan came from Bryt's right and she turned to see Ron was coming to. He started to sit up, rubbing his head.
"Welcome back to the world of the livin', Ron," Bryt said, laughing at the confused look her friend gave her in return.
"What—what happened?" Ron asked, looking around, as if just realizing where they were, "Why're we in here? Where's Sirius? Where's Lupin? What's going on?"
Bryt, Harry, and Hermione all looked at each other for a brief moment before Harry told them to explain it as he grabbed another piece of chocolate. Bryt rolled her eyes, but moved over and sat on the edge of Ron's bed as she and Hermione began telling Ron what had happened after Ron had been attacked.
The next morning, Bryt was eager to get out of the hospital wing, but Madam Pomfrey was reluctant to let them go. It wasn't until after lunch that they were finally released and, heading through the stiffly warm castle, they realized most everyone was enjoying the pleasant weather, with third years and up at Hogsmeade for the last visit of the year.
Bryt had just entered the entrance hall with her friends when Terry came running up to her and Bryt grinned, glad to see him.
"Are you okay?" Terry asked, "You never showed up for heading to Hogsmeade, so I asked around and found out you never went to the Gryffindor common room last night. I checked at the hospital wing, but Madam Pomfrey wouldn't let me in."
"I'm fine, Ter," Bryt said, grinning more, then using the excuse Hermione had helped her come up with the night before, "I tripped on a stairway on the way to the common room and fell. Madam Pomfrey wanted me to stay overnight to make sure I didn't get a concussion or anythin'."
Terry looked relieved, running his hand through his hair and glancing towards Harry, Ron, and Hermione. Bryt looked over her shoulder to see Harry was looking extremely amused, Hermione was grinning while making a point not to look at them, and Ron had his arms crossed over his chest, glaring at a spot on the ground.
"Er, I'm guessing you won't want to go to Hogsmeade, but do you want to take a walk?" Terry asked and Bryt turned to Terry, nodded, then looked back at her friends.
"I'll catch up with you three later, okay?"
"Sure, have fun snogging," Harry said and Bryt went red.
"Don't make me hurt you," Bryt said with a glare before she took Terry by the hand, heading outside with him, "Sorry about that."
"Don't worry," Terry said with a laugh, "Michael and Anthony are a lot worse, trust me."
"Oh, I believe it," Bryt said.
"By the way, did you hear about Professor Lupin?" Terry asked.
Bryt looked up in surprise and worry, wondering if something had happened the night before, if Lupin had accidentally bitten someone, or worse...
"What happened?" Bryt finally asked as they stopped in the shade of a tree.
"He's a werewolf!" Terry said, "It's all over the school, can you believe it?"
Bryt swallowed, staring at Terry. It didn't take long for her to realize that Snape must have 'accidentally' let it slip about what Lupin was. It must have been his way of revenge for what happened the night before.
"Yeah, I couldn't believe it, either," Terry said, obviously taking Bryt's surprised silence as a reaction to his news and not what was going though her mind, "Professor Lupin is a great teacher, but parents aren't going to want him to stay once this gets out."
"What, they're firing him?" Bryt asked, though she really shouldn't be surprised considering most wizards' hatred towards werewolves.
"No, apparently he resigned," Terry said with a sigh, "Shame, best Defense Against the Dark Arts teacher we've had. Wonder who they'll give us next..."
"Whoever it is, I doubt they'll make it through the year," Bryt said, her good mood gone.
"That does seem to be the pattern, doesn't it? Maybe the job's cursed."
"Maybe," Bryt said, looking across the grounds, her conversation with Terry falling silent.
The next day, Bryt learned that Lupin had given Harry back both his Invisibility Cloak, as well as the Marauder's Map, which Bryt knew would definitely come in handy in the next few years.
And with the next edition of the Daily Prophet, the school knew about Sirius and Buckbeak's escapes. Theories began coming up, each more unbelievable than the last. Bryt had listened to Terry's constantly changing theories one afternoon, managing to get herself to agree with him and come up with her own 'wild theory'. She hated having to lie to Terry about what really happened that night, but with Sirius still being a convicted murderer, Hermione had convinced Bryt it was for the best that they didn't tell Terry the truth.
The last day of the term, they finally received their exam results. Bryt was relieved that she managed to pass every class. Though, like every year, Bryt's grades in History of Magic and Transfiguration were just barely passing, while her Potions grade rivaled Hermione's, who, once again, was the top of the class.
The exam results already had Bryt in a good enough mood, but it was made even better with the end-of-year feast. Due to the amazing Quidditch wins, Gryffindor had won the House Cup, so the Great Hall was decorated in the gold and red Gryffindor banners. Bryt spent most of the dinner talking with Hermione about their upcoming summer in the States and how they were both looking forward to it.
With the summer overseas ahead, Bryt was ready to get home. She said goodbye to Terry before boarding the Hogwarts Express, giving him a kiss and promising to write to him when she could, though explained the letters would be rare. After one last kiss, Bryt turned to find her friends, ignoring Ron's annoyed looks when she finally came back and she sat down next to him.
"I went to Professor McGonagall this morning," Hermione said once the train started moving, "Just before breakfast. I've decided to drop Muggle Studies."
"About time," Bryt said, "There ain't any point to a Muggleborn takin' that class."
"Except that it's a really easy pass," Ron pointed out.
"And it'd be massively borin'," Bryt countered.
"Anyway," Hermione cut in, giving Ron and Bryt a stern look, "I've handed in the Time Turner, it was driving me mad. Without Muggle Studies and Divination, I'll be able to have a normal schedule next year."
"I still can't believe you told Bryt about that thing, but not us," Ron motioned between him and Harry, "We're all your friends."
"Hermione wasn't supposed to tell me," Bryt said in defense, "I didn't give her a choice, though."
"Oh, cheer up, Harry!"
Bryt looked over to see Hermione was watching Harry, who was staring out the window.
"I'm okay," Harry said quickly, turning to them, "I'm just thinking about the holidays."
Bryt frowned, suddenly feeling guilty about how she and Hermione would be leaving in two weeks to spend the rest of their summer break with Sofí and Julio. And even more guilt as she thought about the fact that Harry would be going to the Dursleys when he could have had a real home, spending his summer with a godfather who would actually care about him.
'If I ever see Pettigrew again...' Bryt thought, catching Hermione looking at her from the corner of her eye. Bryt looked away, turning to Ron as he spoke up.
"Yeah, I've been thinking about them too," Ron said, "Harry, you've got to come and stay with us. I'll fix it up with Mum and Dad, then I'll call you. I know how to use the fellytone now—"
"A telephone, Ron," Hermione corrected with a sigh as Bryt giggled, "Honestly, you should take Muggle Studies next year..."
"It's the Quidditch World Cup this summer!" Ron went on, obviously ignoring Hermione, "How about it, Harry? Come and stay, and we'll go and see it! Dad can usually get tickets from work."
"We can all go," Bryt spoke up, grinning, "Mr. García is a big Quidditch fan, and runs a supply store. I'm sure he'd have some connections to get tickets as well."
Harry agreed that the idea sounded great and seemed a lot more cheerful after that as they talked and played Exploding Snap.
Sometime after lunch, Hermione suddenly pointed to the window, wondering out loud what it was. Bryt looked up to see something small and gray kept bobbing in and out of sight like a very large dust ball that somehow learned to fly and was trying to keep up with the train. Harry got up, opening the window, and grabbed the creature, and pulled him in. It was then that Bryt realized it was a miniature owl, carrying an envelope much bigger than it in its beak. The owl suddenly dropped the letter before flying round the room, as if celebrating the successful delivery. Joey began hooting in annoyance and Hedwig clicked her beak, obviously not agreeing with the small owl, either. Crookshanks began watching the small creature as well, so Ron stood up and grabbed the owl, holding it between his hands.
"It's from Sirius!" Harry exclaimed, opening the letter.
"What? Read it out loud!" Ron said excitedly.
"'I hope this finds you before you reach your aunt and uncle. I don't know whether they're used to owl post.
"'Buckbeak and I are in hiding. I won't tell you where, in case this own falls into the wrong hands. I have some doubt about his reliability, but he is the best I could find, and he did seem eager for the job.'"
"No kiddin'," Bryt said, looking at the owl hooting happily in Ron's hangs.
"'I believe the dementors are still searching for me'," Harry read on, "'but they haven't a hope of finding me here. I am planning to allow some Muggles to glimpse me soon, a long way from Hogwarts, so that the security on the castle will be lifted.
"'There is something I never got around to telling you during our brief meeting. It was I who sent you the Firebolt—'"
"We were right!" Bryt said.
"Yes, but he hadn't jinxed it, had he?" Ron asked smugly, "Ouch!"
Bryt looked to see the owl had bit Ron's finger, apparently in what was supposed to be an affectionate way. Bryt started giggling.
"'Crookshanks took the order to the Owl Office for me,'" Harry read, "'I used your name, but told them to take the gold from my own Gringotts vault. Please consider it as thirteen birthdays' worth of presents from your godfather.
"'I would also like to apologize for the fright I think I have you that night last year when you left your uncle's house. I had only hoped to get a glimpse of you before starting my journey north, but I think the sight of me alarmed you.
"'I am enclosing something else for you, which I think will make your next year at Hogwarts more enjoyable.
"'If you ever need me, send word. Your owl will find me.
"'I'll write again. Sirius'."
Harry eagerly looked in the envelope and pulled out a second piece of paper, reading over it, and grinning brighter than Bryt had seen him do in a long time. He held out the paper and Bryt leaned forward with Ron and Hermione to read the parchment:
I, Sirius Black, Harry Potter's godfather, hereby give him permission to visit Hogsmeade on weekends.
"That'll be good enough for Dumbledore!" Harry said as Bryt leaned back, grinning. Harry would be able to visit Hogsmeade without having to sneak around.
"Wait, there's a PS..." Harry said after looking back at the letter, "'I thought your friend Ron might like to keep this owl, as it's my fault he no longer has a rat.'"
Ron's eyes went wide as he looked down to the small, fluffy owl in his hands.
"Keep him?" Ron asked, studying the creature. Then, taking Bryt by surprise, he held the owl out to Crookshanks, "What do you reckon? Definitely an owl?"
Crookshanks started purring, as if answering Ron's question.
"That's good enough for me," Ron said happily as he leaned back, "He's mine."
Bryt grinned at Ron, glad he had his own owl now. Though Joey and Hedwig obviously didn't approve of him. While Harry preoccupied himself with reading Sirius's letter, Bryt talked with Ron and Hermione about the Quidditch World Cup and what Hermione and Bryt would be doing in Charleston over the summer. They were still talking excitedly about their plans when the train pulled to a stop at platform nine and three-quarters and they made their way through the barrier to head their separate ways.
Bryt noticed her mother waiting with her brothers and gave Hermione, Harry, and Ron hugs, promising to write when she could to Harry and squeeze in a phone call to Ron, then promised to see Hermione in a couple of weeks for their flight to Charleston. Turning, Bryt pushed her trolley towards her family, minus her father, who was apparently working late that day.
'Damn, my brothers are gettin' taller,' Bryt thought as she ended up in a double-hug from them. She was, luckily, still taller than them, though only by about half a foot and she doubted that she'd still be taller than them by the time they hit their mid-teens.
"Did you do anythin' excitin' this year?" Drew asked immediately, "Like goin' after that stone or savin' your friend's sister from the basilisk?"
"Now, Drew, those are just stories," Mrs. Watkins said sternly as Bryt laughed, ruffling her brother's hair.
"Not every year can be excitin', Drew," Bryt said.
"Maybe next year!" Mike said.
"And maybe we'll get letters and go to Hogwarts ourselves!" Drew said, "We did turn eleven this year!"
Bryt grinned at her brothers as she followed them and her mother to the family van, finding herself actually hoping that her brothers would be accepted to Hogwarts. She couldn't imagine anything better than getting to share the magical world with them.