The patronus some days ago had been painful for him and then there had been those strange warm sensations when she had been next to the Lovegood girl. His charge was growing up every day becoming more a woman and he didn't feel any need to dwell on that.
He kept himself in the background as always watching from a distance and wishing he could reach out and strike down her enemies. He had been half asleep himself late that night when the cat came, but then there was the revelation on the map.
The name clicked in his mind…a sniveling coward of a man who had served that other part of himself. The weak willed fool who had told everything about her parents and thus ensured their deaths. That man was on the grounds of Hogwarts most likely searching for Harriett. Trying to finish that old job, but he wouldn't let that happen. No….Pettigrew had to die along with all those who dared step in the way of his charge…his..daughter…
He surged forward and through a haze of tiredness she slumped into sleep while he crept along the hallways under the invisibility cloak. Carefully ever so carefully he crept along the passageways until he found the room where the map said Pettigrew should be.
But, the man was not there. He looked at the map again wondering if it was somehow faulty or defective…no that couldn't be right he was missing something, but what was it? If only he could remember, but he couldn't. He gritted her teeth with rage and slowly stalked back to her dorm midway back sliding deep into the recesses of her mind.
Sleepily she said, "Not very nice Shadow…didn't find him though did we. Still it means everything we know about Sirius Black might just be a lie."
Even as she got back to the Gryffindor dorms she realized one last thing, "Crap we never did find that rat…"
She sighed and said, "Oh well have to explain things to Ron tomorrow and apologize."
The next day she did exactly that explaining that she was dreadfully sorry and that she would help Ron find his rat. The Weasley boy was very unhappy with her and shouted, "No thank you. I don't need your cat or you near my rat again!"
"Fine, fine Ron. Again, I'm sorry…"
"Hey it's my Cat!"
The red haired boy shouted, "Well I don't want you or your friend or your cat near my rat! You hear me he's very old and doesn't need to be chased about the whole castle."
"Fine Ron! Whatever you want." The bushy haired girl replied and then stalked off with Harriett in tow.
Even as they departed Neville said, "Huh I guess cats don't like toads much. He never even came near Trevor or any of the other toads."
Ron stared at him still fuming, "Oh be quiet Neville!"
Everyone then went their ways meeting up again in Potions where Ron pointedly ignored Hermione even though she was his partner and Harriett spent yet another period correcting for Neville's mistakes.
It was later that evening when Harriett spoke to Hermione about her discovery. Opening the map she showed the other girl what it contained when the both of them gasped. Outside the Gryffindor dorm and coming closer was Sirius Black and he was soon going to be behind Parvati. Harriett grabbed her wand and quickly rushed down the stairs as the door opened she rushed out and pointed her wand down the hallway.
Parvati stared at her and Hermione who was also at the door by then and said, "Whoa! Okay so I'm a bit late…I was uhm studying…"
As the other girl spoke a dark form skittered away at high speed and the two girls ignored their flustered housemate and stared down the hallway. "Right, well why don't you two do whatever it is you're doing and I'll just go in."
"Good idea." Harriett said as she stalked slowly down the hallway with Hermione on her heels. Parvati slid inside and the green eyed girl looked at the map. "He's not far at all come on we can catch up."
She rushed along with Hermione behind her dashing through the castle and using the map to get ahead of their quarry while avoiding discovery. Until, finally, they found themselves at a dead end where a large black dog was under a bench. She stared at the creature approaching it slowly as she looked at the map, "Sirius Black I presume? Why don't you come out of there and we talk?"
The dog whined and titled its head in doggy way that said, 'Hey I'm just a dumb dog and I don't understand you.' Harriett frowned and said, "Don't make me hurt you. Come out we'll find a spot and talk. I've seen quite a bit of evidence that suggests you just might be innocent."
The dog slunk forward and Hermione pointed at the map, "There that looks like the Transfiguration classroom and no one's using it now."
"Okay, let's go." She pointed her wand at the dog and gestured. The creature began walking with her behind it and Hermione behind them.
Once in the room with the door closed the creature transformed to a malnourished pale skinned man with ratty clothes and unwashed black hair and an unshaven beard. He looked at Harriett with brown caring eyes and said, "Gods you look just like her. Brown hair and those green eyes so piercing and deep…oh James…Lilly look at your daughter. I'm so sorry…"
She stared at him compassion flooding through her as she realized that this man this broken man couldn't be guilty. "What happened?"
He sighed sadly and spoke, "It was supposed to me. James and Lilly thought it would be me and then we realized that everyone would think the same thing. James best friend for so long and the Potter's staunchest ally, everyone would think it was me so we thought we'd trick them. James and Lilly made Peter the secret keeper."
Tear streaked down the man's eyes as he cried, "What could I do…I came back and it was destroyed…rubble….I had to find Peter…the man who betrayed us all. It was his fault all his fault and I found him. I fought him on the street, but he blew everything up…"
The man muttered and grumbled his eyes alight with anger and grief, "They took me away and locked me up. I deserved it…I failed my friends…failed everyone who was important, but then I saw the news."
His eyes met Harriett's, "The Girl-Who-Lived, but by then it was too late. I was in that hell hole no escape, no pardon, the screeching of the Dementors in your mind. Good memories fade away in there…Lilly…I'm so sorry Lilly."
He held her hand looking into her eyes, "I saw the paper with the Rat…Wormtail…I knew he'd be here to try and kill your daughter. So I figured out a way to escape and took it. Came here to protect her Lilly…"
Harriett touched the man who was at her knees begging for pardon and forgiveness from a dead woman, a woman who had looked very much like she did, and did the only thing she could do. "It's okay. I forgive you."
The emotional strain was so much that he transformed to his doggy self in defense and then his eyes rolled into his head and he fell to the floor. Hermione looked at her friend who had been dragged through this emotional roller coaster and said, "Harriett…Harry what do we do now?"
The green eyed girl looked at her friend and said, "Find out just what the school policy is on having a pet dog."
"I forgive you." His dreams were so pleasant and free. Lilly kept saying it over and over in his mind she forgave him. Forgave him for failing it felt so wonderful….and then he opened his eyes. A green eyed girl was staring at him, but she wasn't Lilly.
"Took you long enough, do you even know how hard it is to levitate you? Plus, I'm still trying to get permission for you as my familiar. There's some call for it since Reginald Carolinus had a dog seventy years ago, but still this is not something I was expecting."
He gave her a doggy shrug and she sighed saying, "You don't know or does that mean something else? Plus you can't transform in the girls dorm the wards would kick you straight out. So communication will just have to wait I suppose. In the mean time you can stay here in this room and be a good doggy make sure you play nice with Crookshanks too."
She tossed her head and stalked out of the room followed by a bushy haired girl. Moments after they left a cat came sauntering up to his nose and sniffed it, then sneezed. He stared at the creature and it stared back, then tilted its head and meowed once. He shrugged at it and it walked over to his side, climbed up and promptly fell asleep on his back.
He realized that it hadn't been Lilly the other night, no it had been Harriet herself who forgave him and who was now hiding him in her room trying to pass him off as her pet dog. The situation was good and bad he felt. Good in that he could now ensure that Pettigrew couldn't hurt her in her rooms, but bad in that he was not currently able to keep her safe outside of her rooms. Still the entire situation was now better than it had been, so he tucked his nose under a paw and went back to sleep.
"…..and that's why I should be allowed to have a dog." Harriett finished speaking to Professor McGonagall who was perhaps a bit bleary eyed due to the early hour.
The Deputy Headmistress hadn't really heard most of the numerous arguments and blandishments from her young charge, but the request was generally simple. She nodded her head and said, "Very well Miss Potter. The animal is your responsibility and we expect you to care for it just as the other students care for their animals."
Harriett departed with a smile on her lips and went immediately to her next class where she found Hermione and told her that the mission was accomplished. The brown haired girl nodded and handed a piece of paper to Harriet who said, "Pettigrew not found yet."
Harriett nodded and proceeded to get lost in class work. Between classes Hermione traded the map back to the green eyed friend who checked it, but was unable to find Pettigrew anywhere on it at all. The search continued between classes throughout the day and until Lunch when both girls took their new dog for a walk.
They found a good brush covered area and stopped. Harriett looked at the large black dog and said, "Okay I think I deserve some answers."
The dog transformed into a gaunt man with ripped clothing, stringy hair, and a scraggly dark beard. "I'm your godfather Harriett. Sirius Black is my name and I never betrayed your parents. I wasn't the secret keeper for the fidelius, Peter was. When I found the destruction I went after him…I was angry and not thinking. There was an explosion and I was blamed for everything. I was sent to Azkaban without even a trial."
Hermione gasped and said, "But, that's against the law!"
Sirius shrugged and said, "I guess no one much cared."
Harriett frowned thinking a bit. "Well, we can't just bring you to the Ministry because they'll have you taken back and I don't have the slightest clue how to smuggle you out of country. Our best bet is to continue as we are now and hope that we can catch Peter. We could take him to the ministry and that would, hopefully, initiate some sort of new trial for you." Sirius nodded and transformed back into a big black dog. The three then continued into the great hall and ate lunch.
It was perhaps not a surprise when they met Luna eating her lunch. After getting their own and sitting with the younger girl they were met with a look to Harriet and, "I see that the professor was accurate. You are indeed being followed by a grim."
Harriett nodded, "I suppose I am he's my new familiar I guess. Which professor was telling everyone?"
"Professor Trelawney, she's usually not very good with her prophesizing and I think most of the other students take her class because it is an easy grade. Personally, I think they are just missing out on the subtle possibilities."
Hermione stared and was about to say something when Luna interjected, "Yes I know you think it's fake."
"You just knew I would say that based on previous experience."
Luna gave a small smile, "Yes, but isn't that what prophecy is? Telling the future based on the present. If we know enough about all of the actors then we can provide an image of what may come to pass. The teas, cards, palms and everything else are just devices to focus on while our minds make the connections."
Hermione blinked as it made sense in some way while Harriett added, "If we add magic in to the mix with that it does make sense that predictions and prophecies could come true or be right."
Luna nodded and smiled happily.
Changing the subject Harriett looked about and said, "Do either of you know what potion Snape has been giving Professor Lupin? I don't trust him to do it right."
The other two girls shook their heads, but were more than willing to participate in some brainstorming.
Snape poured the polyjuice down her throat and she changed her body becoming that of her daughters and then he pounced. Pain was all she felt for a long time afterwards suffused by direct orders which made her suddenly cry out in passion only to fall back into pain.
She was half conscious when she heard him muttering and examining books and histories. She heard him speaking half to her and half to himself as he pieced together Tom Riddle's history or as much as he could. Speaking of artifacts foul beyond compare made from what had previously been wondrous. A cup, a locket, a ring and more. "What a fool he was, immortality not really. A living hell for his spirit and powerful devices for me to capture his magic. True immortality is found in other ways and other paths. Wouldn't you agree my love?"
She did agree, but even that positive reply wasn't truly her own. "Well I have an idea about this. The Gaunt house and a certain cave he was not as secretive as he should have been. The cave first I believe and you will be accompanying me yes?"
She nodded even as he forced a different polyjuice down her throat turning her into someone else yet again. He took her hand and apparated them. She stared at the beach and the cave one that would assuredly be covered when high tide came in.
"There…I can feel the wards already." He spoke even as he worked slowly pulling apart ward schemes and walking into the cave. Inside was a moat surrounding a small island with some sort of cup on it. In the moat was a single skiff. The two took the skiff out to the cup which seemed more like a large basin now that they were next to it. Then came the pain, more pain, more despair, aching horrible things that violated her throat and her stomach as she drank.
She woke again in her room and naked feeling his body on hers and his hot rancid breath on her neck. She knew what would happen next and it did the order came and suddenly she felt it a small capability. She couldn't say "no" or resist, but she could fake it her body didn't have to react and she suddenly felt just a bit less shame…along with that was some small elation as she heard him complaining about not finding the object he had been looking for.
Snape himself hardly noticed and made ready for his classes even if he was upset about the locket he was still on track for finding an item at the Guant house which he suspected was a ring. He stalked away and to the floo where he travelled to his quarters in the dungeon. From there he went on to teaching his classes.
When his quarry's class began he saw the creature. A black grim at the door that sat there and looked in at him with a small growl before the door closed. He couldn't quite recall where he had seen the creature before. Still, he knew somehow that it would put an extra damper on his attempts to take the Potter girl for his own.
She sat in the library staring at books of wizarding law until finally it came to her. She looked up from her book at Luna and Hermione who were sprawled sleeping among scattered books and even her…well dog was sleeping with Hermione's cat on top of him.
Still the solution was elegant. If she freed the hippogriff no one could put it to death and as long as she wasn't caught there would be no legal repercussions. With that in mind she roused her friends and got everyone to their dorms waiting for Hermione and Sirius to fall asleep again she soon departed with her cloak on.
Unlike the challenges for the stone or even the Chamber of Secrets the way was simple. No guards were even in her way just a single chain and Buckbeak. She cut the chain with a simple cutting curse, opened the door and let him fly free. After that she departed invisibly knowing that she had done the right thing despite the laws.
As she walked back to her dorm room she saw Lupin hastily walking towards the Whomping Willow chasing after what looked to be Ron's rat. She caught up to him just as the rat dove under some roots and he cursed saying, "Peter...I know it's you. I can smell you!"
The Willow swung it's limbs wildly and he pressed a knot stilling the giant plant, then going under the roots as well on all fours. "I smell you Peter…and Sirius was here too. He's not the betrayer is he!? You…"
She followed after wanting to know more perhaps desperately needing to know more. Ahead of her Lupin was crashing about and yelling incoherently. He was wild and fierce almost insane with anger yelling things and then he caught the rat. "Youuu!"
His yell turned into a throaty howl and he transformed into a werewolf right there. The transformation gave the rat time to escape his grip, but Harriett was fast as well diving to catch him heedless of losing her invisibility cloak. Rat in hand she turned and the monster was before her red eyes wild with berserk malice. It let loose a raw primal howl in her face and she saw its claws rise and knew there was only one solution. She let go and gave herself to her shadow.
He woke from reverie of what his daughter could become, woke from his depths to see the red eyes of a monster, but it was nothing compared to him. He stared at it raising his wand and shielding the body. The creature attacked with powerful fury, but was no match for this dark shield. He pointed the wand at it not even vocalizing the body bind spell subtly altering it to wrap the creature up in silver ropes.
When that was done he transfigured a rock into a cage then shoved the rat inside. Business accomplished he walked away rat in hand as the werewolf screamed in pain from the burning silver ropes. He didn't care the creature was lucky not to be dead.
She woke the next morning in her bed the rat in a transfigured cage and a quest at hand. She got herself ready and grabbed her prize smug in her satisfaction of a job well done right up until she ran into Hermione.
The bushy haired girl stood in front of her tapping her foot and staring at the cage, "Harriet just what have you been up to?"
She was tempted to dissemble, but this was Hermione her best friend and so she told the complete unadorned truth. This immediately led to scolding about going off on her own and then worries about Professor Lupin's fate.
All in all the entire affair meant she was taking Hermione to the Deputy Headmistress along with a certain rat. The elderly witch examined the rat and said, "Well if this is an Animagus then there is a spell that will force them into their natural form, just let me stun it first. It would not do to let it fly off like the Hippogriff did last night. You wouldn't know anything about that would you Miss Potter?"
Harriett shrugged and the elderly witch stunned the rat in its cage, then opened said cage, let the rat out and cast her spell. This revealed the creature as Peter Pettigrew at which point Mrs. McGonagall immediately stunned it again and user her floo to call the Aurors.
When the Aurors arrived they took Pettigrew into custody and departed with Harriet watching them go and saying, "You know it could be that he released that hippogriff."
Soon after that she found herself in the headmasters office where she was questioned about what she had found and how. Thus she explained to him and Mrs. McGonagall, "Well Luna mentioned that my…er..Hermione's cat might be part Sneazle and that as such he could detect animagus transformations and hostile intent. The cat went after the rat a number of times leaving other prey such as Toads and other familiars quite alone. Thus I endeavored to catch the rat and bring it to the Deputy Headmistress whereupon she cast her spell and confirmed my suspicions."
"What about the hippogriff Harriet?"
She shrugged looked at the headmaster and said, "Perhaps Mister Pettigrew freed it."
The older man's eyes twinkled and she focused on her inner light peacefulness, warmth and joy. There were few further questions and she was allowed to return to her classes for the day.
Sometime later Harriett was relating her tale to Neville and Luna leaving out some bits about her shadow and Professor Lupin with a frowning dog at her side. That was when the professor himself came into the lunch room and walked towards the group.
"Miss Potter if I may have a few words with you? Oh and if you will could you bring your familiar?"
Harriett nodded and said her goodbyes to her friends whom she could hear plotting with Hermione to ensure that Harriett never went off on some fool stunt on her own again.
In Lupin's office the man sat down and offered her a seat as well. "I owe you an apology both of you."
The black dog looked up at him and he continued. "I…was wrong about you Sirius for so many years I carried anger and more towards you for what I thought you had done. I was wrong in that anger and I'm sorry I allowed my anger and rage at what I perceived to be your betrayal to prevent me from looking further into the details of your imprisonment"
The black dog nodded and gave a soft woof nosing Lupin's hand. The man then looked at Harriet and said, "You I owe an apology for attacking you and for not believing your distrust of Snape. I can't prove it, but I think the wolfs bane he gave me was of poor or even non-existent quality."
She nodded and said, "What now?"
He pondered and said, "I believe I will learn to brew it myself, but in the meantime I will have to depart the school. I don't want anyone else hurt by me…"
He paused then looked at her directly straight into her green eyes. The same eyes as her mother, "Thank you for stopping me Harriett. Your silver roped body bind may have seemed cruel, but it didn't kill me and it was exactly what was needed to stop the beast within."
She smiled at him brightly happy that her shadow hadn't killed him. "I will miss you professor Lupin and I hope you will keep in touch with me. I would love to learn more about my parents and yourself."
He smiled back at her and said, "I would be happy to do that Harriett. Very happy indeed."
The rest of the year went rather uneventfully. Harriett, Hermione, Luna and Neville growing closer as friends and Snape failing to gather courage to attempt more plots on school grounds. The ministry removed the dementors and Snuffles the dog became well known around the school.
The school year ended and everyone went home. Snape on the other hand visited a certain house of Gaunt. There he found yet another of the items he sought and drained its power for his own.
To Be Continued….
Author's Notes: The end is less than what I would have hoped for, but my mind is running already into the next book and plotting for the inevitableness that is the Goblet of fire. How will Harriett take that challenge on and what about Snape will he attempt to further his vile plans?
What about Sirius he's stuck being a dog at the school. Will he stay that way or will he perhaps decide to flee and live as a man?
There is much more to come and despite the end here being slow. I think the next chapters of this journey are filled with a grand adventure…
Thanks for reading