A:N: This is the last chapter of Traitor. Thank you for the reviews that you have left during the course of this story and thanks to my beta Arnel.
Unfortunatly, I have not yet finished writing the final book. So I have to reduce my rate of posting to once every two weeks. So next week there will be no chapter, and then the week after I will start posting the final book of the series which is titled Sacrifice. Once I finish the next book I will accelerate posting to once every week.
June 17th 1997
The first tendrils of worry began to form in Ginny's stomach when Adam wasn't waiting to meet her for breakfast the next morning.
Okay, Ginny, she tried to reassure herself. Calm down, maybe he just got back late and is sleeping in.
So, once Ginny had ensured all the other fifth year boys had left their dorm room, she sprinted upstairs.
Adam's bed was empty and it looked to her as if it hadn't been slept in. Fighting down the panic she felt, Ginny quickly opened his trunk and went straight for the spot where she knew Adam hid the Marauders Map.
"I solemnly swear that I am up to no good."
The map quickly materialised in front of her and Ginny scanned it. There was no sign of Adam, or rather Harry, on the map. There were, however, several names that she knew shouldn't be at Hogwarts, including Kingsley Shacklebolt, Dawlish and Gawain Robards, all clustered in the Great Hall.
Looking at the map, Ginny also realised she was one of the few students not in the Great Hall. So, trying to suppress her growing worry, she quickly closed the map, stuffed it into her bag and dashed downstairs to breakfast.
They're probably just late. Adam will turn up soon. She reassured herself as she ran.
When she arrived, she sat down next to Hermione, Ron and Neville.
"Something's going on," Hermione commented. "They haven't served breakfast yet. They just seem to be waiting for everyone to get here."
"Where's Adam?" Ron asked.
"I-I don't know," Ginny said in a small voice. "He's disappeared."
Ginny sat there for several minutes, worry continuing to build within her.
Please say nothing happened to him last night! But, Ginny consoled herself. If something had happened Professor Dumbledore would have come and told me.
"May I have you attention, please," Umbridge announced from the Headmasters podium. "As you are all aware, Professor Dumbledore was recently suspended from his position at Hogwarts. He was still, however, held dear to very many of us," she paused. "I'm afraid I have some bad news. It is my duty to inform you that Albus Dumbledore was, very tragically, killed late last night."
The Great Hall erupted into chaos, cries of grief, distress and shock coming from all sides. Ginny just stopped and stared straight ahead, feeling completely and utterly numb. She felt tears forming, thick and fast in her eyes.
The next announcement she knew would be to announce that Adam too had been killed. If Professor Dumbledore had died there could be no way that Adam had survived!
"I am sad to tell you that the prime suspect for this tragic murder was one of our own, Adam Winters of Gryffindor. Many of you will be questioned today by Aurors in connection with this evil crime."
At this proclamation Ginny felt her heart leap. Adam was alive! Then she gave a hysterical laugh. Her boyfriend killing Professor Dumbledore? It was ludicrous.
Then, once the rest of the school had absorbed this, they turned, nearly as one, to face her and Ginny suddenly became aware of the stares that were fixed on her. They all knew she and Adam did everything together.
"Ginny..." Hermione said faintly.
Ginny shook her head frantically. "He couldn't. He didn't!" she snapped angrily.
The hall was still filled with sounds of distress, anger, and just plain confusion, but all of it seemed to be now focused on Ginny. She looked at the three Gryffindors sitting nearest to her. Neville looked confused, Ron conflicted, and Hermione was just staring at her with concern. The rest of the school, even the other Gryffindors seemed to by eyeing her warily.
"There is no way this is true!" she spat furiously to those around her, none of whom seemed to be coming to Adam's defence. "You lived with him for years. You know he wouldn't do this!" She practically screamed.
Unable to take the stares anymore, Ginny shot up off her bench and dashed out of the Great Hall. She wasn't going to cry in front of all those people. She couldn't believe that so many people would believe Umbridge over Adam!
Before she had even gotten ten paces outside the doors she felt a strong hand on her shoulder holding her back.
"What!" She spat as she spun around.
"Miss Weasley," Kingsley Shacklebolt said, looking down at her sympathetically. "I have been ordered to bring you in for questioning. You are to accompany me back to the Ministry of Magic."
"Why?" Ginny enquired, horrified. "Adam didn't do this!"
"Miss Weasley," Kingsley repeated. "It is not relevant what my opinion is. Two witnesses have come forward."
Ginny was panicking now. What had happened? She knew with absolute certainty that Adam had not killed Professor Dumbledore, but what had happened to make everyone think he had?
"Miss Weasley," Kingsley said. "Please follow me."
Ginny walked timidly down towards the school gate by Kingsley's side. She could feel the stares of the few others that had drifted out of the Great Hall.
The fact that she was being taken away would make them believe that Adam was guilty, she thought bitterly.
As she walked she kept her eyes peeled for any clues as to what might have happened. The only thing she saw was two craters, one about as large as a hoop on the Quidditch goal, about half way between Hagrid's hut and the gates.
As they approached the gates Kingsley stopped.
He raised his wand towards her and whispered, "I am pretending to search you. As you soon as you arrive at the Ministry ask for your father. If you ask, then he must be present before they question you, but you only have that right if you ask for it."
Ginny nodded numbly and allowed Kingsley to lead her towards the gate. When they arrived, they were met by a man who had long bushy hair streaked with grey and large bushy eyebrows.
"Director Scrimgeour," Kingsley said. "Here is Miss Weasley as ordered."
"Very good, Kingsley," Scrimgeour replied. "Miss Weasley, we will now be travelling to the Ministry via Portkey. It is my duty to inform you that you are being taken for formal questioning regarding the murder of Albus Dumbledore. You are not under arrest, but if you give us false evidence it can lead to your imprisonment."
Ginny nodded numbly.
"Please take hold of this Portkey, Miss Weasley."
Ginny held out her hand and touched the object. She felt the familiar tug and, before she knew it, she landed in a metal room. The only things in the room were a table and several chairs arrayed on either side of the table.
Scrimgeour appeared in the room a few seconds later.
"Well, Miss Weasley, we shall begin," he said briskly.
Ginny stood stock still and stated. "I want my dad."
Ginny felt a small surge of pleasure as an incredibly exasperated look crossed Scrimgeour's face.
"Very well," he replied. "I will send him in and allow you a few moments alone. It is your right."
Ginny waited for what seemed an eternity, standing and staring at the single door into the room because she refused to sit down.
Eventually the door opened and her dad entered.
"Dad!" Ginny cried and ran forward and wrapped her father in a hug.
"Ginny!" Dad replied. "It's okay, it's okay."
"Dad! He didn't do it! I know he didn't... he couldn't... he wouldn't!"
"I know, sweetheart," Dad replied. "I know."
"Well, now we will get started," Scrimgeour demanded in a loud voice as he entered the room. "Please sit down."
Ginny and her dad went and sat on two chairs opposite Scrimgeour.
"Rufus," Dad began. "Why are you investigating this yourself?"
"Arthur," Scrimgeour's reply was terse. "This is the biggest murder case in recent history. The Minister has demanded my personal involvement."
"Go on, then, Rufus. You may question Ginny," Dad told Scrimgeour.
"Will you confirm for me that your full name is Ginevra Molly Weasley?" Scrimgeour asked her.
"Yes," Ginny replied.
"And where were you at half past midnight last night?"
"And when was the last time you saw Adam Winters?"
"At what time?"
"Emmm, about half seven..."
"And what was he doing between that time and curfew."
Ginny hesitated. She couldn't tell him about Dumbledore's mission. That would lead to the Horcruxes and him being Harry Potter.
"I... I don't know, I think he was going to get an early night."
"Right, so you are saying that you have no way of knowing what Mr. Winters was doing after seven thirty?"
"Yes," Ginny began. "But... No, I know he wouldn't do that! He's not a killer!"
"Your opinion is irrelevant Miss Weasley. Adam Winters has no alibi, and we have Dolores Umbridge and Severus Snape, who both witnessed him killing Albus Dumbledore. They both confirm that Mr Winters then proceeded to attack them and flee."
"No!" Ginny exclaimed. "He wouldn't! You're lying!"
"Thank your for testimony, Miss Weasley. It has helped confirm the testimony of our other witnesses."
"No!" Ginny screamed. "Dad! Do something!" she pleaded turning to her father.
All her dad could do was squeeze her hand. Not even he could help her now.
"I have no further questions for you, Miss Weasley. You have been very helpful," Scrimgeour handed her the same rod that she had been brought here with. "This Portkey will return you to Hogwarts when you are ready."
With the interview concluded, Ginny allowed her farther to guide her out of the Department for Magical Law Enforcement. Ginny herself was in a daze. How could everything have gone so wrong in just one night!? The only good thing she could think of was that they hadn't caught Adam.
"Ginny," her dad said, kneeling down in front of her once they arrived back in the Atrium. "Just so you know, I don't believe he did it either and I'll do everything I can to help."
"Thanks," Ginny replied tiredly.
"Ginny," her dad continued. "If you don't want to go back to school you don't have to. You can come home if you want."
Ginny hesitated. If she disappeared everyone would think she had been taken away and arrested.
"I'll go back to school," Ginny said faintly.
"You're very brave, sweetheart, " he wrapped her in a hug. "We'll get through this. I promise."
Ginny, taking one last look at her dad, took the Portkey and touching her wand to it, felt the familiar tug as it took her back to Hogwarts.
Once she arrived back at the school, Ginny moved quickly back through the corridors ignoring the other students' stares as she walked past. The school seemed unusually busy, and Ginny guessed that the lessons today had been cancelled.
All Ginny wanted was to get back to Gryffindor tower. She hoped that at least the Gryffindors would stick up for Adam. When she arrived back in the common room, it was bursting to the seams. It seemed as if the entirety of Gryffindor was there.
As she stepped in through the portrait, someone shouted. "There she is!"
Silence fell in the common room and Ginny froze and felt a surge of anger as everyone turned to face her.
"He didn't do it, you know!" Ginny snapped.
"But Umbridge and the Aurors said..." one of the first years asked.
"So what! He's a Gryffindor! You all knew him. Did you really think he would do this? Was he capable of killing someone?" Ginny raged at them.
"If he was innocent why has he disappeared?" Seamus Finnegan shouted.
"He ran because people are trying to frame him!" she shouted back.
Not wanting to hear the other Gryffindors accusing Adam, Ginny dashed up the stairs to her room, flung herself down on her bed and screamed in frustration and anger into her pillow. She lay there for a few minutes trying to make sense of what had happened.
"Ginny..." Hermione's voice came from the doorway a short time later, disturbing her from her thoughts.
"Come in," Ginny sighed tiredly.
"Ginny, I've been thinking."
"Really?" Ginny snapped. Then sighed when she saw Hermione's offended look. "Sorry."
"What happened? Where did they take you?" Hermione asked, coming to sit next to her on the bed.
Ginny retold the story of her interview with Scrimgeour, furious at how he had managed to twist her account to support Adam's guilt.
"None of this makes sense," Hermione stated once Ginny had finished.
"What I mean is you told me Snape knows that Adam is Harry?"
"Yes, I did," Ginny replied.
"So why hasn't he told the Aurors that?"
"You're right," Ginny said, amazed that she hadn't thought of that.
"And I think it's strange that everyone is so sure that he did it, only hours after the event."
Ginny nodded numbly. "I hope Adam's okay," she said faintly.
"I'm sure he is," Hermione answered. "If he's got a lick of sense he's hiding as, well... Harry."
Plus he's got the cloak Ginny remembered.
"He'll be fine," Ginny said with more strength now. "In fact, I wouldn't be surprised if he tries to sneak back into the school."
Suddenly she knew what she had to do. She would have to keep her eyes on the map and, if he appeared, she would need to help him in any way she could.
June 21st 1997
Professor Dumbledore's funeral was held three days later in the grounds at Hogwarts. Ginny was sitting with the other Gryffindors near the back of the rows of chairs that had been put out for the funeral.
For Ginny, the previous days had been trying. Her worry over Adam's safety had given way to anger: anger at Snape and Umbridge for whatever they had done to contribute to Adam being framed, anger at the rest of school for not believing that it simply wasn't possible for Adam to have done what they had accused him of and anger at Dumbledore for putting them in the position in the first place.
There had been much talk in the previous few days about closing the school a week early and sending everyone home. Ginny secretly hoped that they would; she would never leave the school voluntarily—that would be as good as admitting Adam's guilt to her fellow classmates—but if she had the chance to go home early she would take it.
The funeral began just after eleven and the one thing that struck Ginny immediately about it was the hypocrisy of the Ministry. Only a few months ago they had ousted Professor Dumbledore from the school, and now they were singing his praises. Phrases such as 'While we may not have agreed with his methods, we can never doubt his good intentions' had been thrown around. They had even made a massive show of graciously allowing his funeral to be held at Hogwarts.
As the funeral progressed, Ginny looked around for anyone she recognised. Professor McGonagall had returned, in a wheelchair, from St Mungo's for the occasion, and Ginny had watched as she was wheeled into a position with the rest of the school staff, but so far Ginny had been unable to speak her. She had seen her mum and dad arrive with many other members of the Order of the Phoenix. A host of magical creatures had also gathered, away from the celebrations proper, but there all the same: Merpeople and Centaurs come to pay their tributes to Albus Dumbledore.
As Ginny turned to look behind her she saw him, Adam, and her heart leapt. He was standing there, his black hair sticking up in its typical unruly mess wearing a set of robes that she hadn't seen before. Their eyes met for a second and she saw a massive grin appear on his face and she felt the same appear on hers.
She very nearly dashed out of her seat to get to him, but restrained herself. Doing that would blow everything!
So Ginny sat through the long service. As she sat there she remembered the various encounters she'd had with Professor Dumbledore over the years and she replayed them in her head. She remembered bitterly how he had nearly expelled Adam in her first year and how he had hidden Adam's identity from him. But then last year, how he had helped her through the torment following Adam's kidnapping and despite herself Ginny felt her eyes filling with tears. He had been good to them too this year; he had encouraged them to start Dumbledore's Army, one of the best things she had ever done. He had taken the blame when she and Hermione were nearly expelled and he had taught Adam so much.
Then suddenly something struck her. With a spike of terror rushing through her, she realised that she and Adam were now, in all likeliness, the only people that knew about the Horcruxes.
How could they even hope to find them without Professor Dumbledore? How could he have left this job to us?
Suddenly, Ginny realised everyone had gone very still and turned her attention back to the funeral. The little man in the black, the one that had been droning on while she was occupied with her own thoughts, had sat down and no one else had gotten up to speak. Suddenly, several of the younger students screamed. Bright, white flames had erupted around Dumbledore's body, flames that seemed to consume the body obscuring it from view. White smoke spiralled into the air and made strange shapes, and then the fire had vanished. Leaving in its place a white marble casket that encased Dumbledore's body.
There were a few more cries of shock as a shower of arrows soared through the air, but they fell far short of the crowd. Ginny suddenly realised it was the centaurs' tribute. Their send off now finished, she saw them turn tail and disappear back into the trees.
Then the assembled mourners started to disperse. None of the students moved and Ginny silently cursed, she couldn't leave until the other students began drifting away. What were they waiting for!?
Ginny's heart sank even more when she heard the Minister's voice calling. "Potter, Mr. Potter! Please wait! I must speak with you!"
At the sound of the Minister's voice, excitement broke out amongst the student body and suddenly many turned, trying to catch a glimpse of the illusive Harry Potter.
Ginny felt herself sag with disappointment. Adam would have to make an escape now and she wouldn't get to see him.
When Ginny was finally able to extricate herself from the crowd of students, Adam was nowhere to be seen. Her last hope was that he was still somewhere in the school grounds, so once she had found a secluded spot, Ginny pulled out the map.
She heaved a sigh of relief when she saw Harry's name up on the seventh floor. Putting the map away, Ginny sprinted up the stairs, carefully making sure that she wasn't followed, until she reached the seventh floor. Once there she followed the map to the place where Adam was waiting, which, if she was correct, was just outside the Room of Requirement.
"In the room," A faint voice whispered as she rounded the corner.
Ginny opened the door, and it provided for them a near replica of the Gryffindor common room.
Once inside, with the door securely closed, Adam pulled off his cloak and Ginny threw herself at him, hugging him fiercely.
"Oh, Adam!" She exclaimed. "What happened? What happened?"
"I didn't do it!" He blurted frantically, as if seeking her forgiveness. "I didn't do it!"
"Oh, Adam," Ginny replied, still clinging to him. "I know you didn't. But what happened?"
"It was Snape!" Adam said, anger clearly audible in his voice.
"What?" Ginny exclaimed, stepping back. "Snape killed Dumbledore?"
"Not exactly," Adam sighed. "Dumbledore was badly hurt when we went to get the Horcrux. The Horcrux was a ring and he put the ring on! I told him not to, but he did anyway," he paused. "Once we got back to the school, he sent me to fetch Snape and a Basilisk fang. When I got back with the fang Snape had already seen Dumbledore. He told me that I had to stab the ring with the fang and I did but–" Adam looked down at the floor. "... but he just died..."
"Oh, Adam," Ginny said gently, squeezing his hand. "What happened then?"
"Snape came back, saying all this stuff about how I'd killed Dumbledore and then Umbridge burst in. They attacked me and I had to fight back to escape."
"Oh, Adam!" Ginny exclaimed, hugging him again. "I never thought you'd done it. Not even for a second."
"Thanks, Ginny," Adam replied. Ginny could feel a smile forming on his face as it pressed against her neck.
"Hermione noticed something, though," Ginny continued, breaking the hug, but still clinging on to him. "Even though Snape knows who you are no mention has been made about Harry Potter in all this."
"I realised that yesterday," Adam said. "It was why I risked coming back into the school today. I think it will be safer for me to just be Harry Potter for a time. I mean," Adam hesitated, "the Ministry are after me for what Dumbledore was up to before he died, but at least Harry isn't wanted for murder!"
"We have to clear your name!" Ginny exclaimed.
"I can't see how," Adam said tiredly. "Snape was the only one other than me and Professor Dumbledore actually there and everyone believes him," Adam spat bitterly. "Have you seen the paper?"
Ginny shook her head.
"It's like I've already been found guilty," he said dismally. "Adam Winters - Murderer."
"We can clear your name!" Ginny exclaimed. "Dad believes me! Come back to the Burrow, you can hide out there!"
"Ginny," Adam said. "I can't ask your family to put themselves at risk. They could be arrested."
"They want to help, Adam! I want to help!"
"No!" Adam retorted loudly. "I can't come back to the Burrow. I think for now it is easier for me just to be Harry and–" He paused. "I have to finish what Dumbledore started."
"The Horcruxes–" Ginny said softly.
"Yes. Two have been destroyed now, but there are still the rest to find."
"Right," Ginny replied. "Where do we start?"
"We?" Adam stammered, staring blankly at her.
No way was Adam, going to do this on his own! Ginny thought fiercely.
"Yes, we," Ginny snapped back. "Do you think I'm going to let you go off on your own?"
"Ginny, you have to!"
"NO!" Ginny roared. "We've been a team since the day we met on the Hogwarts Express nearly five years ago! We're in this together!"
"Ginny, I can't even do magic yet outside school! Neither can you!"
"Exactly!" Ginny replied. "You need me!"
"Huh?" Adam exclaimed, not seeming to grasp her logic.
"I can help you. I can get the things that we will need. Then we can meet up."
"But–" Adam protested. "It's dangerous..."
Ginny knew now she had won, Adam was sounding almost as if he wanted to be convinced.
"Adam, we've always done everything together. We're stronger together!"
Adam seemed to almost deflate in front of her.
"Okay" he conceded. "But you still need to go home first."
"What?" She exclaimed.
"If you just vanish from school people will think I've kidnapped you. If you leave from home maybe your family can cover up you've come to join me."
"I'll make something up, so they know I'm with you but not why!" Ginny exclaimed. "And I can use the time to get us whatever we need!"
Adam nodded eagerly. "But we need to find a way so that you can do magic," he added.
"Wormtail did it with you," Ginny mused. "It can't be impossible."
"I was planning to hide in the school and stowaway on the Hogwarts Express to get back to London. Once there I can hide in the Muggle world. While I'm stuck here I'll look in the library."
Ginny took his hand. "Don't get caught."
"I won't," he replied with a smile. "But I-I don't know if it's safe for us to meet again."
"I understand," Ginny said faintly. "When will we meet up once you're back in London?"
"I'll have to get a message to you," Adam said hesitantly.
Ginny pulled him into a hug and kissed him.
"Promise me," she said, suddenly feeling vulnerable, "promise me you won't go off on your own?"
Adam lent down and kissed her again. "I promise. Once I get back to London and things are sorted I'll contact you."
They broke apart.
"You better get going. I expect Umbridge is keeping a close eye on you," Adam said softly.
Ginny nodded, and with one last look at Adam, left the Room of Requirement.
As she made her way back to Gryffindor tower she felt far happier than she had in days. Things were still bad, but at least now she and Adam had a plan.
Professor Dumbledore had left the task of defeating Voldemort to Adam and she was going to help him.