Harry watched as the person behind the door stepped into the room, and couldn't believe his eyes.
"Tytros!" he said, almost laughing with relief. "How did you find me? Where are we?" he asked quickly. Tytros closed the door behind him and turned to face Harry.
"We are in Tom Riddle's father's house, this is his old study, and I've known you were here since last night," he replied quietly.
Harry looked at him, confused.
"But, then…does anyone else know I'm here? Did you tell Dumbledore, or anyone?"
"The only people who know you're here are the ones that need to. You have control over the knowledge now, don't you?"
Harry stared at him with a sinking feeling in his stomach. Why was he acting so strange?
"I think so," he answered quietly.
"You know you do," Tytros said.
"I thought I was going to transfer it to you…"
"No, that's not going to happen. You are going to perform the spell that Voldemort needs and then you will die, and I can bring the knowledge back to my people by means of your dead body."
Harry couldn't believe what he was hearing. He gaped at Tytros and felt hot anger rising within him.
"I trusted you…"
"Because I needed you to," Tytros cut him off. "I have been helping Voldemort since the beginning. Before you apparated from the forest when Forden was going to have you killed, I thought I was going to have to do something, but you managed to get away on your own. Then later when they tried to take you at the school, and they took me instead, Voldemort sent several death eaters to help me escape. I had given you the Pyromus then as well. I was the one who gave Pettigrew the charm to watch for the other Zlam so that you would not be taken by surprise again. I've been keeping you alive this entire year, so that you could extract your blood from the dark lord. Now finally everything is falling into place, and you will play your part."
Tytros just stared at him evenly, not showing any sign of gloating or happiness. No emotion at all.
Harry felt as if he had been punched in the stomach, and fought to stop the despair he was feeling take over. He looked into Tytros' dark eyes.
"Why?" he whispered.
Tytros just looked at him for a moment, as if thinking how he wanted to explain.
"I had to choose which side I was on," he said finally. "Normally the Zlam do not interfere with the business of witches and wizards. When it became known among my people that Voldemort was looking for us to gain access to the spell he needed, most of us thought the best thing to do would be keep it from him. Corfay is the only one who took action; by taking the knowledge away from the one who Voldemort knew had it. But by giving it to you, he only delayed the inevitable."
"The inevitable?" Harry asked.
"I believe, that if it comes down to a battle between Voldemort with his followers, and anyone who is foolish enough to stand against him, he will be victorious. All I am trying to do is make it so the Zlam are on the side of the victor. If we kept the knowledge from him, he would see it as siding with you. Then when he gets rid of all of his obstacles, he would see us, as enemies, and I didn't want that to happen. So I offered my services to him, without letting any of my people know. In exchange for helping him get you, he will leave us alone, which is all we wanted to begin with. I have nothing against you, personally. If Corfay hadn't acted in haste you would not have been involved at all."
Harry glared at him in hatred. He didn't care if it was personal or not, he had trusted Tytros, only to be betrayed by him.
"But your people don't trust you anymore. You'll never be accepted back in."
"When I bring you to them, with the knowledge, they will gladly welcome me back."
"Why didn't you just go to Dumbledore? He would have sided with you at the beginning and helped you fight Voldemort."
"We do not interfere with your battles. As I said before, you never would have been involved if Corfay hadn't done what he did."
"What you're doing seems like interfering to me," Harry answered quickly.
"Only to avoid a larger battle later. If we had sided with you and Voldemort came after us as punishment, we most likely still would've been able to defeat him, but not without a severe loss of life. My interference in this will prevent that from ever happening."
"So then everything you said the entire time at the school was a lie?" Harry asked.
"No. I told you I was doing what I felt I had to and that is the truth, just a different truth from what you thought it was. I also said I don't believe that you deserve to die, and that is true too. Unfortunately it is not something I can prevent at this point. I am quite sorry that it has to end like this for you."
"I'll bet you are," Harry said icily. He was feeling nothing except anger now. He felt that if he had a wand, he could've done exactly what he said he would never be able to right now. He glared at Tytros in silence, having nothing to say to him whatsoever.
"I only came today, because I thought you would want to know," Tytros said.
"Yeah, well thanks for that. Please don't do me any more favors," he spat. What was he waiting around for? Did he expect that Harry would forgive him after he explained his reasons?
He looked up when he heard the door open again, and Wormtail entered the room and went to Tytros. The two of them spoke silently for a moment as Harry looked on, then Tytros turned to him.
"You will come with us now," he said.
Harry didn't want to do anything he said, but knew that it would do no good to fight it, as ultimately there was nothing he could do to stop them. He nodded stiffly and walked with them out of the room.
They went through the dark hallways of the house; death eaters and shapeshifters were everywhere. Harry just kept his eyes in front of him, trying to figure out what he could possibly do to get out of this. They came to a set of stairs and Wormtail went first, followed by Harry, then Tytros. As they got halfway down, Harry's scar suddenly exploded with pain, and he lurched forward. He flung his arms out in front of him, but felt himself grabbed from behind. Tytros had caught him by the shoulder and steadied him. Harry shrugged his hand off and clung tightly to the banister that was next to him. He clenched his teeth trying not to think about the pain, and kept walking.
When they were finally all the way downstairs, Harry's head was in so much pain he could barely remain standing. He looked thru watery eyes around the room they were now in, but his eyes focused on the person standing near one of the barred windows. Voldemort.
"I'm glad you could join us tonight, Mr. Potter," Voldemort said in his high, cold voice that Harry could never forget. "And this time, there will be no friends to save you."
Harry just looked at him; trying not to show how much agony his scar was causing him. Voldemort stepped away from the window, and walked to where Harry was standing. He reached his hand up and Harry flinched backwards, knowing what was coming. But Tytros grabbed him roughly and forced him to stay in place. Voldemort just looked at him, smirking, it seemed, then brought his hand up again and ran one cold finger down Harry's face.
Harry used all of his will to stop from crying out the pain was so intense. Tears of agony were running down his face and he squinted his eyes shut hard. When Voldemort finally moved away, Harry opened his eyes and glared hatefully at him. He glanced around the room, as Tytros let go of him, and noticed now that there were several other death eaters there with them. Then Voldemort spoke again.
"You're very clever you know, prolonging your life much longer than I had intended. After we were able to make your secret keeper tell us what we needed to know, with the use of Veritaserum, Lucius went after you. But he failed, and I was greatly disappointed in him. How could a death eater be unable to overpower a young wizard who was not fully trained?"
Harry followed his gaze at one of the death eaters who hung his head lower than the others, then looked back at Voldemort.
"With that chance past, and you at that cursed school under that old muggle loving fool's watch, it would be much harder to get to you. To top it off, my other plan, to use the knowledge of the Zlam, was not going as smoothly as I'd hoped when one of them escaped with it. So imagine my happiness when I found out he had given it to you. It was then that Tytros came to me to offer his assistance, and I accepted. All I had to do was wait, until you had use of that which I needed the most."
"Why did you send Fudge after me so early?" Harry asked quietly. "You must've known it wouldn't have worked then."
Voldemort seemed to take on a very angry expression before continuing.
"Fudge, yes, another disappointment. I had intended to use him for the unlimited access he has to all functions of the ministry and because he was able to enter Hogwart's without question. He, of course was very unwilling to participate at first, but I made him see things from my point of view. It seemed everything was going to go as planned, but no, he panicked, and decided to go for you too early," he said shaking his head in disgust.
"He was stopped, apparently, by Sirius Black…and a house elf. When he arrived back in this basement, unexpectedly one day, I was none too pleased with his failure, so I had to punish him."
"You made him insane," Harry said coldly. He didn't have any particular affection for Fudge, but no one deserved that. Voldemort just smiled.
"Yes well, after him I had only one chance left. Tytros. He was able to gain your trust and I was quite impressed with that. Especially after all the reasons you had to distrust him. The Pyromus was a brilliant idea on his part, if only that mudblood hadn't figured it out."
Harry felt another surge of anger run through him when he referred to Hermione that way, but stayed silent.
"Why would you give me Pyromus if you didn't want me dead?" he asked through clenched teeth.
"It wouldn't have killed you. Because of the slight alterations to your body due to the knowledge, you wouldn't feel the heat that normally would cause the death of any other infected person. The intention was to split you up from your friends. The anger would still affect you and eventually you would have isolated yourself from them, making you an easier target. But when it was discovered that Pyromus had been used, and they gave you the potion, Tytros had to intervene immediately. Your idiot friends had no idea they were killing you by giving you the potion."
Harry's head was spinning from everything he was hearing. He didn't say anything, just stared at the floor.
"Come," Voldemort said to the death eaters. "I'm finished with him for now. We will begin tonight, as he will definitely be ready by then." They all started to walk, one at a time, up the stairs. "I'm sure you'll be most comfortable here," he said smiling evilly at Harry.
Harry just stood there, not moving, feeling numb from everything that had happened. His scar was still hurting very badly and he felt completely powerless to do anything about his situation. He looked up finally and saw Tytros was still standing there next to him. Anger, such as he hadn't felt before began to fill him. He glanced quickly to his left and saw Wormtail just beginning to turn towards the stairs.
Without a second thought, Harry lunged at Wormtail, knocking him sideways. He reached into Wormtail's robes and brought out his wand, then spun at Tytros. The two of them stood, in tense silence, unmoving. Voldemort just stood by, watching in interest.
"Are you going to kill me?" Tytros asked. "Because if you are you better do it now, before you lose your nerve."
Harry raised the wand, ready to do just that, and found he couldn't say it. Maybe it was because he knew it wouldn't help anything. He would still be outnumbered and overpowered before he could do anything else, so if he killed Tytros, it wouldn't be out of necessity, but just because he wanted to. He began to lower the wand.
Wormtail had gotten up by this point and moved quickly towards Harry, grabbing him roughly from behind, when suddenly something happened. Harry let the wand fall from his grasp and spun to face Wormtail head on. He grabbed the older mans arms and held on. The two of them were illuminated in the darkness as what looked like electricity began to flow from Harry's arms and into Wormtail. Neither of them could hear the screaming of Voldemort at the other death eaters to stop them. They also never felt it as several of them tried to pull the two apart only to be thrown backwards from the force of what was happening.
After a moment that felt like an eternity the both of them finally separated, each falling to the floor. Harry looked around groggily at all the people lying strewn on the floor, but didn't have the strength to get up.
"What just happened?" Voldemort screamed, full of rage. He appeared ready to kill the first person that dared to speak, so for a moment no one did.
"It appears that Harry has given the knowledge to Mr. Pettigrew," Tytros answered calmly. Voldemort looked at him furiously, then turned and stood over Harry.
"You will regret that," he said in an icy voice. But Harry barely heard him as the same drained feeling began to overtake him, and he slipped into darkness.
When Harry woke up this time, he immediately felt wrong. He was leaning against a wall and he saw that his wrists were in shackles above him. As he began to pull at them, to see if they might give at all, he heard someone laughing, cruelly. He looked around the room to see that he wasn't alone. Voldemort, Tytros, and a few death eaters were there with him.
"Go ahead and struggle, for all the good it'll do you," Voldemort said coldly. A few of the death eaters laughed at him, but Harry didn't say anything; everything that had happened earlier was all coming back to him slowly.
"Did you think by transferring the knowledge to someone else you'd be saving yourself? I can assure you that won't be the case. You will witness the spell tonight and then I will take pleasure in killing you."
Harry just looked at him. He didn't know why, but the simple fact that he wouldn't be the one to perform the spell made him feel better. Even though he knew the situation hadn't improved in the least.
"It is most unfortunate that Wormtail will be sacrificed because of this unexpected turn of events," Voldemort continued sounding more infuriated than a moment ago. "I wasn't finished with him yet and you will suffer for your mistake," he said raising his wand. Harry braced himself for what he knew was coming.
The pain engulfed him once more and he fought with all he had to not cry out. When it stopped his knees buckled and he hung limply by his wrists.
"You will stay here until it is time," Voldemort spoke again. Then you will have the privilege to watch, as I am made…invincible. But not outside, you will watch from in here. I won't take the chance that you ruin everything again, like last year." He smiled wickedly at Harry before turning his back on him.
Harry was pulling himself back up onto his feet painfully. He watched as Voldemort and the others walked back up the stairs and when the last one was gone he heard the door slam shut. So he's going to become invincible when my blood is extracted, he thought to himself, leaning back against the wall for support. He almost didn't care that he was going to die. He knew there was no way out and no one knew he was here. All he wanted was for someone to warn Dumbledore and the others of what was happening. He had no idea if they'd be able to stop Voldemort after tonight, but he didn't want them to be taken by surprise.
He sighed in despair and looked at the window. It was still light out, but not by much. Sunset was close and he didn't know how long it would be until they began.
Several hours later, Harry heard the door to the basement open. He looked up to see Tytros coming downstairs. Harry glared at him as he grabbed a key from a hook near the door, walked over to him with it, reached up and unlocked the shackles. Harry stayed leaning against the wall for a moment before moving, as his legs were numb from being forced to pretty much stand on them for hours.
Tytros turned away and hung the key up again while Harry just watched him, massaging his wrists.
"You can see everything from here," Tytros said pointing to the window. Harry didn't say anything, but walked carefully over to the one window with bars on it. He wasn't sure that he wanted to see whatever was going to happen, but for the moment he didn't argue.
"Why did you give Mr. Pettigrew the knowledge?" Tytros asked quietly.
"Why do you care?" Harry snapped, giving him a vicious look.
"I don't care. Not about Pettigrew anyway. I would have thought you'd give it to me. I know you wanted to kill me, I could feel it. That would have been a way to make sure it happened."
Harry thought for a moment before answering.
"I was going to kill you, you're right. That's the only thing I was thinking. But I couldn't do it. It wouldn't have gotten me any closer to escaping, so I didn't see the need."
"But by giving it to Pettigrew, you have essentially killed him. You know that once he performs the spell, he will die."
"Wormtail deserves it," Harry said icily. "At least this way, I'm not killing him directly."
"Deserves it?" Tytros asked.
"He is the reason my parents are dead. My godfather spent twelve years in jail for thirteen murders he didn't commit. Wormtail killed those people and faked his own death. When I found out the truth three years ago, I stopped my godfather and his friend from killing him on the spot. But that was a big mistake because he escaped, found Voldemort, and helped him regain his strength."
"Well, then I can understand why you did it."
Harry just looked away from Tytros, and out the window. A crowd of death eaters had gathered and Wormtail was standing on a platform behind them so Harry could see him clearly enough. He looked absolutely terrified. After a few moments, Voldemort appeared on the platform as well. This was it; it was about to happen.
Harry and Tytros watched as Wormtail, who was white as a sheet, stepped forward. He looked at the crowd of death eaters and then at Voldemort. He said something to him, which Harry could barely hear and Voldemort whipped out his wand and pointed it at Wormtail, threateningly.
"Looks like he doesn't want to do the spell, even for his master," Tytros commented.
"Who would?" Harry asked quietly. "But he's too much of a coward to go against anything Voldemort asks of him. Even with the knowledge."
They both continued to watch as Wormtail backed away from Voldemort with his hands out in front of him, as if to defend himself. He looked almost as if he'd been crying, Harry noticed. But he didn't feel sorry for him; he was just making an observation.
Then Wormtail began to speak, loudly. He was speaking in a language Harry had never heard before, and as he went on he spoke faster and faster. It would have looked comical if the situation hadn't been so grim. A short, chubby, balding man standing on a platform with a bunch of men in black robes staring at him, while he shouted nonsense like a raving lunatic. Harry wondered briefly if the noise might draw attention from any muggles, but knew better. Voldemort would have set up some enchantment to prevent that from happening. And even if he hadn't, anyone who showed up certainly wouldn't be leaving.
It went on like this for several minutes, with nothing happening. Harry grabbed the watch out of his pocket on impulse, and saw it was just past midnight. Long way off from 5:09am. He dropped the watch into his pocket again and looked back out the window, but now something was happening.
Wormtail had stopped speaking and seemed to be choking or gagging on something. He was turning blue in the face when suddenly, his mouth opened wide and a long red creature slithered out. It looked like a snake, except it's head was like the face of a human. It had large black eyes and an elongated nose, but all of the other features resembled a human face.
Harry stared in horror, wanting to turn away, but unable, as the creature kept coming out of Wormtail's mouth, it seemed like it would never stop. The front half was now moving quickly towards Voldemort as Wormtail continued to gag on it; when it reached him, it quickly slithered up around his body and stopped in front of his face for just a moment, before plunging itself down his throat.
The creature now connected both of them, and it looked very painful. Wormtail's eyes appeared to be bulging out of his head, while Voldemort's were tightly squeezed shut. It was impossible to tell how far down it went in either of them, but it remained like this for almost a quarter of an hour.
Finally, when Harry couldn't bear to watch any longer, it pulled out of Wormtail who immediately slumped to the floor, but instead of doing the same for Voldemort, it only pushed itself further down his throat, until it was completely gone from sight. Voldemort stood for a moment, swaying on the spot, then became perfectly still. He opened his eyes at last and looked around him, none of the death eaters dared to make a move and you could cut the tension in the air with a knife.
He spoke then, once again too quietly for Harry to hear anything, but the spell seemed to be finished and Voldemort looked quite pleased. After another few minutes, several of the death eaters moved forward to grab Wormtail, and they all moved back towards the house.
Harry heard the door to the basement open once again and knew, as his scar began to seer with pain, that his time had run out. He looked around the room again, but didn't see anything that he hadn't been looking at all day. The floor was dirty and junk was lying about here and there, but nothing looked as if it'd be particularly useful in helping him escape. Soon there were death eaters gathered all around him, the few that came in last were all in a group. Harry could see they were carrying something, as they moved closer he saw what it was. They dumped the body of Peter Pettigrew on the floor next to Harry. When they moved aside, Voldemort was standing in front of him once more.
"Finally," he said. "After two years of mistakes and disappointments, I am whole again. Now there is only one thing left, something I've wanted for much, much longer," he hissed, looking at Harry.
Harry cast a look around again, looking for anything that might help him, but all he could see was the window to his left and death eaters a few feet to his right. Tytros he noticed had moved back near the staircase. There was no escape.
"I'm going after your friends first," Voldemort whispered, smiling at Harry. "I will kill them quickly, as they are not worth my time and once that pitiful school is destroyed and the old man in charge is gone, there will be no one who can stop me."
"You will never be able to defeat Dumbledore," Harry said without the slightest trace of doubt. "You were scared of him fifteen years ago, and you're still scared of him now. That's why you never come near Hogwart's; you're always sending your lackeys in for you. You're a coward," he said evenly, looking straight into Voldemort's eyes and ignoring the pain in his scar completely.
"You, however," Voldemort said furiously, "will not have a quick death. Rather a very slow and painful one as payback for all the agony I experienced during those thirteen years." He brought his wand up and hit Harry with the Cruciatus Curse yet again. Harry didn't have the strength to fight anymore after all he had been through in the last twenty-four hours, and collapsed immediately to the floor. He was unable to stop from screaming as the pain went on and on. Voldemort would keep stopping the curse long enough for Harry to remain conscious, before starting it again.
After several minutes, which felt like days to Harry the curse stopped and no one moved. Harry felt the after affects of the pain still running through him, but his right arm was hurting more than anything else. He was vaguely aware that Voldemort was speaking as he looked down and saw several large shards of glass protruding from his arm. He grimaced as he pushed himself into a sitting position and looked down at the floor. When he had fallen he'd landed on an old potion bottle, and smashed the top of it thoroughly, but the bottom was still intact. Harry stared at it for a few moments when he was struck with a sudden realization.
Voldemort said earlier, that Fudge had appeared here the night he had tried to kidnap Harry. So if Sirius hadn't come, Harry would have ended up here as well. The bottle he was looking at had the same shape as the one that had been turned into a portkey back then. Unfortunately as it was smashed, it would be completely useless as the original spell would be broken. He started searching the ground frantically, completely oblivious to the fact that Voldemort was talking to him, much louder now.
He looked over his left shoulder, and jumped when he saw he was directly next to Wormtail, but there was no time to think about that now. He started pushing the dust with his hand and was about to go back to the right again when he spotted it. The cork that was supposed to bring him here that night was lying less than a foot from his reach. He kept his hand right next to it and looked up at Voldemort who was staring at him strangely.
"What are you doing?" he asked slowly.
"Nothing," Harry said flatly. Voldemort's eyes flashed with anger.
"I don't appreciate being lied to, nor do I like being ignored. I am done with these games," he paused before speaking again. "You will die now." He said icily as he raised his wand again and pointed it at Harry. "Anything you want to say, last words, perhaps?"
Harry looked at him for just a second before smirking at him.
"Yes, actually. For someone who claims to be the most powerful wizard in the world, do you think you'll ever learn anything besides the Cruciatus Curse?"
He didn't wait to see the reaction to this, hearing the enraged cry was quite enough, he grabbed Wormtail's arm a split second before he snatched up the cork. He prayed fervently that it was the right one when he felt the familiar tug just behind his navel and his feet left the ground in a swirl of color and shouting.
When Harry's feet reconnected with the ground again, he overbalanced and fell to his knees. He stayed there for a moment, shaking, trying to comprehend what just happened. Not ten minutes ago he never would've believed he could escape from that house, from Voldemort. Yet here he was, back in Hogwart's, and alive. He looked to his side and saw Wormtail's body sprawled out on the floor next to him. This was the first time he really looked at him since transferring the knowledge. His eyes were wide open bulging out of his head, and his skin had a nasty, pasty look to it.
Harry stood up slowly and backed away from the corpse. He wanted to get far away from it as soon as possible; the only reason he had taken it with him was in hopes that it could be used to help Sirius. He looked down at his hand, still holding the cork, then quickly around him for someplace to put it that was out of site. He was in the same classroom that Fudge had taken him to so many months ago. As he came to the front of the room he saw that the larger desk had one drawer, he yanked it open, tossed in the cork and slammed it shut. With one last glance at the body, Harry headed for the door and out into the hallway in the direction of Dumbledore's office.
Walking as fast as he could, which was taking much effort; he went through the halls. The Cruciatus Curse had been done to him for so long this time that the after affects were not wearing off as quickly as usual. The parts of him that weren't in agony were numb, which he was glad of for the moment, because he was sure they would be the ones that hurt the worst later.
After a longer walk than he would've liked, he came to the statue for Dumbledore's office. When he went through and started up the stairs, he heard people talking. He hoped he wasn't barging in on another teacher's conference, but he really had no choice. Then just as he was about to come into the view of anyone in the office, he heard a familiar voice that made him stop cold.
"Professor, I haven't seen him for days, I have no idea where he could be."
"I don't want to worry you, and we're probably overreacting, but Tytros seemed sure that you would have control of the knowledge by last week. Up until the night before last, he's checked in with us regularly, but he hasn't since then. If he doesn't show up soon…" Dumbledore trailed off. Harry knew at once that the shapeshifter was there, and they believed it was him. He took a deep breath and stepped fully into the office.
"Tytros was right," he said quietly, staring at the shapeshifter, then looked up at the completely shocked faces in the office. Besides Dumbledore there was Sirius, Lupin, McGonagall and Snape. The shapeshifter jumped out of the chair he was sitting in and pulled out Harry's wand, pointing at him.
"Who are you?" he asked. Harry just stared at him in disbelief.
"Are you serious? You're the shapeshifter," he said in a high voice.
"Harry," Dumbledore interrupted. Harry looked up at him and was shocked to see he was looking at the shapeshifter. "Give me your wand," he said. The shapeshifter looked at him distrustfully, and didn't move.
"But," he began pointing the wand towards Harry. He obviously didn't want to let go of his only weapon. After a tense moment, the shapeshifter decided to give up the façade. He took off towards the door, which Harry was standing directly in front of. Harry felt it slam into him and his back was driven into the wall. He grabbed the shapeshifters arm before it was out of reach, and snatched his wand away from it. If he hadn't been feeling so weak he would've tried to stop him completely, but he just didn't have the strength.
He stood leaning against the wall with his eyes closed holding his wand closely to him.
"Harry," Sirius began coming over to him, looking both confused and concerned. "What happened?"
Harry just looked at him for a moment and suppressed the overwhelming urge to laugh at that question. Instead he closed his eyes again and lowered his head. Sirius put his hand on his shoulder and led him over to a chair. He gasped when he saw the glass that was jammed into Harry's right arm. But Harry couldn't feel it anymore and had forgotten it was even there.
"Maybe he should go to the hospital wing first," Lupin suggested coming over to where Harry was sitting.
"No!" Harry replied looking up quickly. "I mean yes I'll go but…" He looked around at their confused faces. None of them had any idea what had happened. The shapeshifter had obviously been very convincing. "Something horrible has happened," he said in a very small voice. He took a deep breath and began talking.
Harry began with leaving Ron and Hermione in the library and running into the Zlam. He explained how he got rid of them and then told about the duel with Malfoy. He didn't like to feel as if he was telling on someone, even Malfoy, but he had to in order for them to know why he'd been outside.
"Once the duel was finished, I felt the knowledge, I finally had control of it," Harry said.
"Does Tytros know?" Sirius asked quickly. "Because if you felt it that long ago then we need to find him now, immediately…"
"Sirius!" Harry said. "I'll explain, please just listen." Sirius looked as if he was going to argue, but instead nodded and Harry continued. He told them how Lucius Malfoy showed up and about the shapeshifter becoming him so no one at the school would know he was gone.
"I don't know how we got there because after the shapeshifter touched me…I, well…couldn't stay awake. It's like all the strength is taken out of you, but when I woke up, I was at the Riddle house." Harry said.
"How do you know that's where you were?" Lupin asked.
"Because…Tytros told me. He was there almost immediately after I was awake, and told me he had been working for Voldemort the whole time."
"What!" Sirius yelled, clearly furious. Harry glanced at him quickly before continuing, telling them everything that Tytros had really been doing since he arrived, and how he escaped from the other Zlam that originally came for Harry. He went on about meeting with Voldemort in the basement and how he was able to get Wormtail's wand from him.
"I wanted to kill Tytros," he said guiltily, looking at Dumbledore. "I was going to."
Dumbledore, who had been silent through the entire discussion looked into Harry's eyes.
"Did you?" he asked. Harry shook his head.
"I couldn't, do it. Not if the only reason was to take his life," Harry explained. "I didn't see how that would get me out of there any easier."
Dumbledore nodded at him, and Harry thought he might be smiling, but wasn't sure.
"I did something else though," Harry said in an empty voice. "Something that might be worse."
He told them how he had turned on Wormtail when he tried to take his wand back, and transferred the knowledge to him. Then before anyone could interrupt rushed forward. Voldemort using the Cruciatus Curse on him being furious over what he'd done, waking up chained to the wall, and being hit with the curse again. He was remembering every detail of every word that was spoken.
Harry went on and told about Tytros finally coming downstairs and unchaining him, as Voldemort wanted him to see everything. When he explained the details of the spell, and what the serpent that came out of Wormtail looked like, he shuddered in revulsion. It was an image he was afraid he'd never be able to forget,
Once the spell was complete, he finished the story, telling how they all came back inside, and Voldemort used the Cruciatus Curse yet again, but this time being worse than all the others. He explained how when he saw the glass in his arm he figured out from what Voldemort had told him earlier that it was Fudge's portkey, and how he found the cork nearby, used it to escape, and taken Wormtail with him.
When he was done, Harry just leaned back in the chair he was in, on his arm that wasn't bleeding, and put his head down. He didn't feel afraid, or mad or anything at this moment. Just empty.
Dumbledore stood up when Harry had finished and began speaking.
"Severus, Remus, I want the two of you to go to the classroom where Peter is and bring him back here. Make sure you dispel the portkey so no one unknowingly touches it." The two of them nodded, and without argument, stood up and left the office.
"Minerva, please go notify the other instructors that I need them to meet me here in one hour." She nodded at him then turned and hurried out of the office. Dumbledore turned to look at Sirius, who had been shocked to silence ever since he heard Wormtail was here.
"I intend to bring this up with the Ministry this evening, after I meet with the other instructors," Dumbledore said then paused before continuing. "We will clear your name, Sirius."
Sirius looked at him with a mixing of emotions ranging from joy to fear to hope. He had already come so close to gaining his freedom just three years earlier, only to have it ripped out from under him. He looked over at Harry, who was just staring up at the ceiling, and quickly snapped back to the present.
"Harry, come on. We need to get you to the hospital wing," he said rushing over to his godson's side. He had never seen him this way before, and wished he would show some emotion, whether happy or sad. Anything would be better than the blank stare he'd had for the majority of time he'd been there. Sirius glanced again at Harry's arm, and knew that the wounds needed to be treated as soon as possible.
"Sirius is right, Harry," Dumbledore started. "It would really be best if you went down to the hospital wing now. I will come and look in on you later." Harry looked up at the two men and then slowly pushed himself forward on the chair.
"I killed him," he said in a low voice.
"What do you mean?" Sirius asked. "Killed who."
"Wormtail. Peter Pettigrew. I killed him and I don't even care."
Sirius looked at Harry in confusion. He turned to Dumbledore assistance and was shocked to see he looked relieved.
"You didn't kill anyone Harry. Voldemort is responsible for Peter's death. The fact that this even upsets you shows that you do care."
"But if I didn't transfer the knowledge…"
"Then you would be dead and we would be sitting here talking to a shapeshifter right now."
"It still doesn't feel right. I watched him die, horribly. And while it disgusted me, I didn't feel sorry for him. Not at all."
"And do you now?" Dumbledore asked.
"I feel a little sad, but mostly just anger. He…he got what he deserved."
"That's right, he did," Sirius spoke up. "Harry, what do you think would have happened if you or one of your friends had managed to catch Wormtail? I know you've seen him a several times in the past few years. What if one of those times you'd been successful in catching him?"
"We would've turned him in to the ministry, so you could be cleared."
"That's right. And if he was convicted, what do you think would've happened then?"
Harry just looked at him.
"The dementor's kiss?" he asked. Sirius nodded slowly.
"If that had happened, and you had been the one to catch him, you certainly wouldn't have held yourself responsible for that would you?"
Harry shook his head no.
"So don't blame yourself for this. If any of us had ever caught Wormtail, his fate would have been the same."
"I understand what you're saying, and it does make sense…" Harry trailed off.
"And you must always believe it is true," Dumbledore said. "You were incredibly brave for what you had to do, and I am truly proud of you." Harry cracked the smallest smile at that and Sirius was obviously relieved to see this.
"Okay then Mr. Potter," he said, off to the hospital wing with you."
Harry walked slowly through the hallways, thinking about that night. He wasn't sure why he felt so dazed. It must have something to do with the events of the night, maybe even being hit with the Cruciatus Curse for so long. In any case he was actually looking forward to the sleeping potion that Madam Pomfrey would give him.
He came to the end of the hall he was in and was about to turn the corner when the charm around his neck lit up. Harry looked up and saw Tytros step out from behind the corner, less than 5 feet from where he was standing. He staggered backwards and began to reach his hand into his robe when he discovered he couldn't. His arms were pinned to his sides, as if he were in the body bind only it was just his arms.
"What do you want?" he asked glaring at Tytros.
"To speak with you."
"I don't have the knowledge anymore and I have nothing to say to you," Harry spat. He began to step away from Tytros when suddenly he couldn't lift his feet from the floor. He was stuck there, unable to run or protect himself.
"I am not here to harm you."
"This is a great way to convince me of that," Harry replied. "So you aren't going to harm me, but let's see, you're going to take me back to Voldemort?"
"No. I have no intention of bringing you anywhere. I just need to speak with you."
"Normally when people speak to each other one of them doesn't make it so the other one can't move first. They just talk."
"You would not have listened."
Harry had no reply for that because it was the truth. He would've tried anything possible to get away from him.
Tytros walked past him and without warning Harry felt himself lifted from the ground. He was floating down the hall behind Tytros who went into the nearest classroom. Harry was moved through the air over to the nearest chair, and made to sit in it. As soon as he felt gravity working for him again he tried to move his arms, but still they wouldn't budge. He was getting very tired of all of this. All he could feel was the sharp pain in his arm where the glass was still imbedded deep into his shoulder and being stuck in one position wasn't helping any. Finally he gave up trying to move and looked at Tytros who was staring back at him, expectantly.
"Well, I'm listening now," Harry said angrily. "So talk, what is it you need to speak to me about?"
"I needed to speak to you, and I had to make sure you were alone. I know that I could not hope to overpower all of the instructors in this school on my own. When I arrived you were in the middle of your explanation of the past day's events."
"You were in the office?" Harry interrupted. "Then how come…?"
"I was not in the office but I was within enough range to hear what you were saying and to not let your charm alert you to my presence. The only thing I was there for was to make sure you left by yourself."
"What?" Harry asked.
"Look at you, you never would have been allowed to walk through the halls after what just happened to you alone."
Harry stared at Tytros, realizing what he was saying.
"I just gave your friends the 'idea' that you would be safe on your own. As I said, I needed to speak to you alone first."
"Okay, well here I am, not going anywhere, all alone just as you would have it, so please tell me what it is you want."
"After you…left, unexpectedly, everything was less than pleasant in that basement. You enraged Voldemort to the point where he killed two of his followers…"
"Wow, this is making me feel so much better," Harry interrupted. "I'm glad we could have this talk."
"Listen to me. It made me realize how easy he could be to defeat. Anyone who would take the life of someone who was loyal to them, for nothing more than anger, is not someone the Zlam would consider a difficult opponent."
"So you're telling me you don't want to help Voldemort anymore?"
"Yes, but I can only speak for myself. I can't speak for my people but I believe that you would have more of a chance of beating him now than I thought before."
"All this just because he killed two of his death eaters?"
"That was not the only thing I am basing my decision on. You also had the chance to kill last night. You had all of the knowledge at your disposal and you had gotten hold of a wand. You could have killed me, but you didn't. And your reason was simply because you had nothing to gain from it."
"Why should I believe you? You've given my absolutely no reason to trust you and I wouldn't' consider this a friendly chat," Harry asked sardonically while trying to move his arms again. Tytros shook his head and looked at Harry, then turned away. Harry instantly felt the hold on him released and he jumped out of the seat. He pulled his wand out and pointed it at Tytros.
"I did not come here to fight you Harry, I needed to let you know my decision face to face."
"So you didn't come to get your knowledge back then?"
"Yes I did," Tytros began and Harry narrowed his eyes. He was not about to let Wormtail be taken out of the school, not when it was the only way Sirius could ever be cleared of the charges against him. "But," he continued. "I also know of the reasons that you need him. I will return to my people and tell them of what has happened. It is Forden's decision from there what is to be done."
"I thought they were against you too. After you fought against them that night. Won't they capture you?"
"Zlam don't like to kill unless absolutely necessary. Just like you. They will hear me out before a decision is made." Tytros looked at Harry for another moment before turning and heading for the door.
"Tytros," Harry called. He turned around at the door and looked back at Harry. "Were you telling the truth, about everything?"
Tytros nodded, "Yes."
Harry just looked at him, keeping his wand pointed. He nodded briefly and Tytros left without another sound. He wasn't completely sure whether or not he trusted him, but the fact that he hadn't done anything besides talk, even if it hadn't started out in the best way, was definitely a good thing.
Harry walked out into the hall and once again set off for the hospital wing.
The next twenty-four hours were a blur for Harry. He explained what had happened with Tytros to Dumbledore, who actually seemed to take it as a good sign. Sirius, however, was definitely not ready to accept him as an ally just yet. When his friends came to see him he once again was asked to relive the horrible events he had just experienced. He couldn't understand it but it was harder to tell the story the second time around. The daze he'd felt he had been in since he got back was mostly gone, and he still had no idea what had caused it. The best guess he had was it must be connected to the knowledge, but he had no way to confirm that.
By the end of that week they were all done with exams. Harry was visiting Dumbledore's office everyday for any word from the ministry. He wanted so badly for everything to work out.
"Good news, Harry," Dumbledore said one day when he stopped in to his office. "Mr. Thurston has agreed to meet with me next week. I will be talking with him about Peter and Sirius. With any luck we may get a trial for Sirius."
"A trial?" Harry asked. "Why would we need a trial? Doesn't the fact that Sirius didn't kill Wormtail all those years ago prove anything? Wouldn't that be enough?"
"I wish I could say it was, but unfortunately that usually isn't the way things turn out. I will let you know what happens when I return, as you will still be here then."
Harry felt a bit of sadness as he was reminded he wouldn't be leaving the next day with everyone else. It wasn't as if he wanted to return to the Dursley's by any means, but he knew that this would mean no Hogwart's Express yet again. And if he was here the entire summer, he wouldn't get to take it back either. He didn't complain though; he just thanked Dumbledore and left the office to find his friends.
Harry, Ron, Hermione and Cho spent the last day at school together, out in the sun, walking the grounds. It was far too nice out to be inside. They were able to talk Madam Hooch into letting them use the quidditch pitch under her supervision and played a non-bludger version of the game. That night they watched the sunset before they went back inside. Harry hated the fact that the curfew was still in place, as it meant his time with Cho was shorter still. He walked her to her dorm for the last time, as she wouldn't be returning next year, and kissed her goodnight. She promised that if there were any chance over the summer that Dumbledore would allow it, she would come visit.
The next day he went with all of them down to the Hogwart's express, to see them off. He waved as the train pulled out of the station and stayed there until it was completely out of view. Then he and Dumbledore went back to the school together.