Harry Potter: Heir of the Founders – Chapter 1

Disclaimer: Everything is owned by J.K. Rowling. Only the story ideas or OC's are mine.
A/N- The things marked in bold are J.K.'s words, not mine.

Harry, Ron and Hermione made their way slowly up the hill from Hagrid's hut with Hermione crying over Buckbeak's fate.

'How – could – they?' she choked. 'How could they?'

'Come on,' said Ron, who's teeth seemed to be chattering.

They set off back towards the castle, walking slowly to keep themselves hidden under the Cloak. Light was fading fast now. By the time they reached open ground, darkness was settling like a spell around them.

'Scabbers, keep still,' Ron hissed, clamping his hand over his chest. The rat was wriggling madly. Ron came to a sudden halt, trying to force Scabbers deeper into his pocket. 'What's the matter with you, you stupid rat? Stay still – OUCH! He bit me!'

'Ron, be quiet!' Hermione whispered urgently. 'Fudge'll be out here in a minute –'

'He won't – stay – put –'

Scabbers was plainly terrified. He was writhing with all his might, trying to break free of Ron's grip.

'What's the matter with him?'

But Harry could plainly see what the matter was. With wide, yellow eyes glinting eerily in the oblivion, Crookshanks was stealthily making his way towards their group. Ron noticed Crookshanks and loosened his grip just for a split second to adjust his hands, but Scabbers had already taken his chance and leapt out from Ron's pocket before scampering into the darkness.

Crookshanks raced after him and Ron threw the Cloak off himself and he too gave chase in order to save his pet. Harry and Hermione had a silent conversation with their eyes before racing after him still under the Cloak.

They had run a short distance when Ron finally managed to retrieve Scabbers before a tree branch came from no-where and struck him in the side of the head. The hit knocked him out cold but fortunately he retained his grip on Scabbers, and was not letting go. Almost immediately an immense black dog came out from the roots of the tree and raced out towards Ron.

The dog grabbed Ron's leg in its mouth before dragging him back into the roots of the tree. Harry and Hermione would have stopped him but they could not get any closer because of the now wildly swinging branches of the Whomping Willow. Harry and Hermione decided to try and save Ron but before they went for the hole Harry grabbed her and passionately kissed her, and, slightly surprised, she kissed him right back. As they kissed, a bright white light encircled them and as soon as it disappeared, a ring appeared on both of their fingers. Harry's was a deep red and had the Potter crest of a Lion and a Griffin facing each other with a Silver sword encrusted with rubies down the middle and a gold phoenix perched on the handle. Hermione had a rather more petite version of the same ring He told her to keep safe and the two of them ran at the tree.

Harry was almost at the hole when a branch thumped him in the stomach and he flew thirty feet towards the castle. After a short while both of them had made it in and Harry lit his wand before they both made their way down the secret passage.

Harry crawled forwards, headfirst,and soon he was in a tunnel large enough for Hagrid to walk in. Hermione followed seconds later and slid down the earthy slope towards him. Harry lit his wand and the bright light penetrated the darkness, shining the way forwards.

'Where does this tunnel come out?' Hermione asked breathlessly.

'I don't know ... it's marked on the Marauder's Map but Fred and George said no one's ever got into it. It goes off the edge of the map, but it looked like it ended up in Hogsmeade ...'

The two of them moved as fast as they could with Crookshanks leading them and his tail bobbed in and out of view. Harry's mind was filled with images of what the dog might do to Ron and he ran even faster than before.

The tunnel soon began to rise, a few moments later it twisted to show a dim light and Harry was filled with hope that they would be able to save Ron.

The two of them burst into the flickering light and the both raised their wands' to see what lay beyond. They could hear Ron's moans from one of the rooms in the shack and raced towards the sound, passing boarded up windows and peeling wallpaper as they went. They arrived in the room and as Ron saw them his eyes opened wide and he murmured 'No, no Harry. It's a trap. He's the dog. He's an animagus,'

Harry looked over his shoulder and standing there was the gaunt figure of Sirius Black. He reached over to the door and it shut with a slam.

'Hello Harry, it's so nice to see you again after all these years. It's good of you not to have gone and got a teacher. It will make this all so much easier, it's the kind of thing your father would have done' he croaked.

That last comment about his father rang in his ears as if Black had bellowed it at him. A screaming hatred billowed up in Harry's chest and the fear was replaced with anger. He raised his wand once again and for the first time he wanted not to defend himself, but to attack and kill but before he could throw a single spell Black exclaimed the disarming spell and took the wands from him and Hermione, having already taken Ron's. This action just made Harry even angrier and he let out a roar before charging at Black, just wanting to hurt him as much as possible. Before he could however Hermione hugged him from behind and pulled him onto the bed Ron was lying on.

'Now listen here Harry, I will let you attack me as much as you want, heck, I'll even let you kill me, just hear me out first. I admit that I as good as killed your parents, but not all the blame lies with me,' Black said slowly.

'No, part of it lies with your master Voldemort, doesn't it?' Harry spat at him.

'That bastard Voldemort was never my Master! I hate him! Him and his little Death Eater servant –' but he got no further as the door slammed open and Lupin barged in with an 'Expelliarmus' on his lips. He took the wands Black was carrying before warmly embracing him, crying.

'I'm so sorry for it all Sirius. I'm so sorry I didn't believe you and suspected you of being the spy! I should have known that you would never betray Lily and James. As soon as I saw Pettigrew's name on our old map this evening I realised you must have been telling the truth all along.' Lupin sobbed

'Wait, your old map as in the Marauder's Map?'

'Yes, our old map. The four of us, James, Remus and Pettigrew and I were the Marauder's. We were quite the catch too. Our names were all based upon our Animagus forms. Your father, as a stag, was nicknamed Prongs, Remus as a wolf, was Moony, I, as a Grim, was Padfoot and of course Pettigrew as the rat he was, is, was Wormtail,' Black replied, pointedly looking at the rat in Ron's hands as he said this.

Scabbers had stayed quite still in Ron's grip as if he was trying not to attract attention to himself but after that last statement he began squeaking wildly and trying to escape from his hands.

'That rat you have there Ron, is not any ordinary rat. He is an animagus. That rat is Peter Pettigrew. Have you not ever wondered why he has lived so long as he has, just a common, ordinary garden rat with no apparent magical powers?' Black asked.

'He's just healthy. That's all. He just a healthy and well looked after rat. He's happy and healthy and just has a long life span.'

'But he hasn't been happy or healthy all year has he Ron. Haven't you noticed that since news of Black' escape he has been losing fur and become more agitated than ever before? Isn't this term the first time he's ever run away for any length of time, and bitten you?'

'Come on Ron, give me that rat,' Professor Lupin said softly. 'Let me just cast the Animagus revealing spell on him just to see if he really is Pettigrew. If he's not an Animagus, he won't be hurt, although of he is, well, he deserves it,'

Ron began to hand over his rat and said uncertainly:

'And you're sure it won't hurt him if he really is a rat?'

'Absolutely. If he is a rat, it won't affect him in the slightest,'

'Well, if you're sure, it can't hurt to try,' Ron said, before finally handing over the frantic rat into Lupin's hands. Lupin stunned the rat quickly before conjuring an unbreakable cage and stuffing him in it. He was then about to lock the door to the room and make it impenetrable when someone burst in underneath an Invisibility cloak and ripped it off.

'Snape!' the trio and Black exclaimed, the latter in disgust.

'Yes, it is I.' Snape said, keeping his wand very carefully trained on Lupin's torso and head. 'I found this very useful, Potter,' he said, holding up Harry's invisibility cloak, 'Thank you. I found this at the base of the Whomping Willow, you really ought to be more careful with your most precious possessions,' he said snidely.

Snape was slightly breathless, his face full of barely suppressed triumph and glee.

'I suppose you are wondering, perhaps, how I knew you were here?' he said with glittering eyes. 'Fortunately,' he said, gesturing casually towards Lupin with his wand, 'you forgot to take you potion tonight, so I thought I would take a goblet full along for you, purely for my students sake, you understand. It was very lucky I did, lucky for me, I mean. Lying there on your desk was a certain map, one that showed you running along this passageway and out of sight,'

'Never in my wildest dreams did I think that you would have the nerve to use this old place as your hideout. I've told the headmaster again and again over the course of this year that you've been helping Black get into the castle, and now I finally have proof. The werewolf and the mutt will soon be both on their way to Azkaban,' Snape spat maliciously.

'What!' Harry and Ron shouted as one.

'Yes, he's a werewolf,' Hermione said quietly. 'I've known since Professor Snape set the werewolf essay and I've covered up for him. I should have told you, I know, so that you could be on your guard as I have been, but I thought was his secret to tell,'

'Oh, I am delighted. I set that essay with the hopes that someone would realise what all of Lupin's absences meant and he would have to be sacked due to all the complaints that Dumbledore was receiving, but I suppose it's just my luck that the one person who figured it out happened to be the one person who wouldn't do anything but just sit quietly and hope for the best,' he sneered.

'Dumbledore really will be disappointed. He thought his pet werewolf really was quite tame... harmless really, you know Lupin. Anyway, it won't matter when you are in Azkaban, Black is tied up, receiving the Kiss and I shall be triumphant!' he exclaimed

'Come now, Severus, you fool. Don't let a school boy grudge send an innocent man to his death, and another to his own hell,' Remus whispered softly.

'AES FUNEM!' Thin, metal, snake-like cords shot out of the end of Snape's wand towards Lupin and wrapped themselves around him. Black started towards Snape but he brought his wand up to rest between Black's eyebrows.

'Give me a reason,' he softly whispered. 'Give me a reason, and I swear to Merlin I will do it,'

Harry was worried by now as the metal cords wrapped around Lupin seemed to be burning his flesh wherever it touched him and slowly killing him.

'EXPELLIARMUS!' Harry yelled – although his wasn't the only voice that had sounded. It seemed that Ron and Hermione had had the same thought at the same time and there were now three twin bolts of jagged blue light racing towards Snape. They hit as one and there was a strange glow before Snape's wand flew towards Harry, and Snape flew backwards into the wall, with a trickle of blood coming out of his hair.

'Oh my God!' Hermione screamed. 'We've just attacked a teacher!' This seemed to sink in and Hermione sat down on the bed, slowly rocking back and forth whimpering: 'We just attacked a teacher... we just attacked a teacher... oh my God... oh, we're going to be in so much trouble –'

Lupin was lying on the floor struggling against his bonds and Harry was suddenly reminded of the fact that Lupin was a werewolf, and silver burnt them as soon as he smelt the disgusting smell of cooking human flesh.

Lupin took out his wand and cast the spells he had attempted to do five minutes earlier, this time without interruptions. When he was finished the room they were in was all but impossible to leave, especially if you were an Animagus who went by the name of Peter Pettigrew.

'Animagus Revelio!' Lupin suddenly exclaimed, turning his wand on Pettigrew. The spell hit him and the result was horrible. The unbreakable charm on the cage held and the pitiful little man pressed against the bars receiving cuts all over, flesh bursting out of the wounds.

'Stop it!' Hermione screamed. 'Just stop it, you're killing him. Can't you see he's in horrible pain?' Lupin privately agreed with her so he took the Unbreakable charm of the cage and the metal bars flew everywhere, almost impaling Harry in the chest.

The pathetic little man lay on the floor quivering, the only sound he made, a quite moaning. The blood from his wounds flooded out, seeping through the floor around him.

'Ummm, Remus? I think you should probably heal the little shit before he dies. I do actually need him alive to be pronounced innocent you know,' said Black nervously.

'No! I want to see him suffer! I want him to feel the same pain I did all these years, when I thought he was dead, and you were the betrayer! I want him to feel the pain I did when I found out about Lily and James! You have no idea how much I suffered, the whole Wizarding world shunned me. I lost my entire family in the war, and without you and James I couldn't even get a job! I was out, Sirius. I was chucked out of the Wizarding world, like the disgusting beast that I am. I spent nine years in the Muggle world, I can count the number of times I used magic during that time on one hand. I never could hold a job for more than 3 weeks and I could hardly every afford to eat. I had to scavenge through dustbins, eating the food others deemed not good enough for consumption. I haven't had a life for these past nine years, I've barely had even an existence,' Remus said, calming down slightly and descending into tears.

'And you think you're the only one who suffered? I've been waiting for my chance to be free! I've done my waiting! Twelve years of it! In Azkaban! That place is hell on Earth! You got to grieve in relative luxury to me! My grieving was mixed with my forced re-living of every single bad thing that ever happened to me in my entire life! My mother beating me, check. My mother throwing me in the basement without food for a week, check. My father dying, check. My brother dying, check. James and Lily dying, check. My life has been worse than the worst you could possibly imagine for 12 years, and when I escaped this summer I vowed that it would be the last time I ever went there. Leave that bastard on the floor alone and heal him before I have to make you. Unfortunately, I need that piece of filth alive before the Wizengamot can declare me officially innocent, all though to be fair, I am in a way. I was never declared guilty and so therefore must be innocent! Anyway, heal him before he dies, I want to be innocent of the crimes that I was accused of all those years ago,' Sirius said.

Remus finally gave in to Sirius' demands so he cast charm after charm at Pettigrew and the skin on nearly all his wounds began to knit together, as if by magic. In almost no time at all Pettigrew was healed and no longer spilling flesh and blood all over the floor so they decided to head back up to the castle.

'Right, who's going to chain themselves to Pettigrew to make sure he can't runaway or transform?' Sirius asked. Ron and Remus volunteered straight away before Harry shot that idea down.

'Uh uh, Professor. You aren't going anywhere. Tonight is the full-moon, remember? And you're a werewolf, correct? You are going to be staying right here where you can't harm anyone. Actually no, scrap that. We're gonna leave Snape here with you, as a little bit of a toy for Moony. I mean, no-one is really going to miss him, and there's no proof that he's come down here at all,

'Right, forgot about the whole 'full-moon' thing. But you're going to take Severus with you. I couldn't bear it if Moony hurt someone,'

'Dammit,' Harry said, 'it was worth a try. I think instead, no offence Ron, Hermione and I should be chained to Pettigrew as neither of us are criminals or have broken limbs and then you can carry Snape along with a 'Mobilicorpus' spell,'

'Oh well that's fair enough,' Ron said, sounding a bit dejected. With everything sorted Sirius took Harry's wand and conjured chains which then wrapped themselves very tightly around Pettigrew and rather looser around Harry and Hermione's waists. The chains had wrapped around the entirety of Pettigrew's down to the knees so he couldn't move his hands or arms and the best walk he could manage was a slow shuffle. Ron cast Mobilicorpus or Snape, lifting his body a few inches of the ground.

The rather odd looking group left Remus in the Shrieking Shack and were about to set off down the tunnel to the Whomping Willow when Sirius said,

'Hang on a sec. There's a tunnel behind that portrait over there that goes straight to the Hospital Wing. Madam Pomfrey used to use it all the time after the full-moon to come and get Remus after our nights running through the Forbidden Forest. It was hard work though, trying to get back in here before Pomfrey could,' Sirius said.

He walked up to the portrait and tapped it three times with Harry's wand saying 'Apereto Affegio'. The portrait slowly creaked open on invisible hinges and opened on to a tunnel even larger then some of the corridors at Hogwarts. You could walk through three a-breast comfortably, or four if you really squeezed and even a tall man of Sirius' size (6'2'') could walk through without bowing his head.

No matter how wide the tunnel was, it didn't stop Ron from 'accidently' jiggling his wand about and smashing Snape into the walls and floor before Hermione issued a harsh 'Stop it now, Ronald. We don't want to kill the man,'

The tunnel began to get thinner and steeper as it led up to the hospital wing so Sirius had to sever Hermione from the chains so the Pettigrew and Harry could still walk side-by-side. They eventually made it to a portrait so Hermione, who was leading the way, gingerly pushed it open into Madam Pomfrey's office. Just before she could however, Sirius positioned his body so that he was hiding them from view of Ron and gave the two of them the Black heir rings.

'I approve Harry. You have excellent choice, just like your father did. These rings I am giving you are for your protection. They will block most minor curses or hexes and will protect your mind from any invasions, such as Legilimency or and Obliviate spell. The Blacks are very paranoid people, I mean, we did invent 'death wards' and we are the only people known to have made them, Anyway, Dumbledore knew I was innocent and did nothing, so I suspect he will try something to stop you from remembering about tonight, or believing I am guilty once again. These two rings are the only things that will prevent that from happening so put them on and leave them on,' he said.

'Hey, what's the hold up?' Ron shouted, worried they would have to turn back and walk even further

'Nothing, I just had to open the portrait Ron,' Hermione shouted back. She sheepishly pushed open the portrait into Madam Pomfrey's office and just gingerly grinned at he as she stared in shock.

5 minutes later Harry, Sirius, Ron and Hermione had just finished telling the tale of what had happened, with Sirius doing most of the talking as he knew the most about it when the Headmaster had just come down to the Hospital Wing. Sirius laid eyes upon the frail old man and his eyes lit up in a fire of rage.

'You!' he yelled. 'You did this! James and Lily's deaths, my going to Azkaban! You knew and you said nothing! This is all your fault!'

'Yes, me,' Dumbledore calmly replied. 'I assure you, Voldemort and yourself killed James and Lily, not I. As to what I knew, and did nothing about, I am not quite sure what you mean,' he said. With a flick of Dumbledore's wand Sirius was Stunned and trussed up, Pettigrew was turned back into a rat and banished to Nigeria and he cast an Obliviate on everyone present so that they would once again believe that Sirius was guilty of all crimes he was accused of.

'Well,' said Dumbledore, looking quite obviously annoyed. 'Well done you three for capturing Sirius Black, however I'm afraid you will have to be punished for being out after curfew. Other than that, I'm sure you'll all get an Order of Merlin, Third Class. Maybe second if I can manage it,' he said, having calmed down slightly. With that, Dumbledore through some Floo powder into the fire of Pomfrey's office and fire-called Madam Bones, a no nonsense kind of a woman, to explain to her what had happened and to tell her to come and collect Sirius Black and take him back to Azkaban. She flooed in almost immediately with five Azkaban Guards and said:

'Albus, we'll take it from here. How the hell could you let a criminal onto Hogwarts grounds? The place where my niece and many of her friends go to school? How the hell could a mass murderer get onto the grounds of a school, especially a school like this, with such powerful wards AND Dementors stationed at every entrance points and all through the forest? How could you let this happen Albus? Hundreds of magical children could have been killed!' Madam Bones was beyond livid. 'I will see you punished, Headmaster. And I will see you thrown off every Ministry board or occupation you have and have my best Aurors investigate your WHOLE life. You WILL go to prison as long as I have something to do with it. Aurors,' she said to her men now, 'take Black away, lock him up in the most heavily guarded part of Azkaban, and throw away the key. I want guards and Dementors outside of his cell 24/7. He is not to escape again, am I clear?' With that, the troupe of Azkaban guards and Madam Bones flooed out of the Hospital wing and left the room in a rather awkward silence. Harry and Hermione were trying not to laugh at the dressing down the Headmaster had been given when he spoke.

'Chop chop, then, you three. Off to bed with you, it is after curfew after all,' he said, interrupting the silence. The trio then rushed off back to Gryffindor Tower, with Harry and Hermione walking slightly behind Ron. Harry cast a silencing spell between them and him so that they could talk about Sirius without Ron hearing.

'What are we going to do about it, Harry? I mean, we can't just leave an innocent man to rot in Azkaban, can we?' Hermione questioned.

'I'm way ahead of you my dear. The rings Sirius gave us, although I'm not quite sure how he got them, gave me rather intimate knowledge of the Black family, if you know what I mean. I feel as if I've grown up with it. I know how everything is done, how it all works, and what properties we might go to. It seems that I am Sirius' heir, and as he is Lord Black, I am the future Lord of Black. I mean, the Blacks aren't going to let their future Lord go on without knowledge of any pureblood customs. It seems that Sirius owns a rather nice apartment in the centre of the Wizarding sector of Madrid, and we are going to go there. We've already had our end of year exams, and school breaks up in 3 days. Once we're back at Kings Cross we can talk to your parents and then go to the Ministry for an International Portkey, or we can go across the Muggle way. Either way, I will get to Madrid somehow and once I am there, I will get Sirius a trial,' he said, his voice thick with emotion,

'Oh Harry,' Hermione gasped and shoved him against a wall before snogging the life out of him. This rather passionate kiss basically destroyed Harry's concentration so the Silencing spell he had up failed and it just so happened that Ron turned around at that exact moment, saw his two friends kissing, scowled angrily, and rushed back off to the dormitories.

'I guess this means you're my girlfriend now?' he asked sheepishly.

'Of course it does, you silly man. I think I might love you and want to spend my life with you. I am so coming to Madrid with you, I don't think you could leave me behind,' she said forcefully, before the two of them carried on their way to the Gryffindor common room.

That evening before they went to bed, both Harry had Hermione wrote letters to their respective guardians. Harry's said

Dear Uncle Vernon,

I won't be coming back to Privet Drive this summer so you won't need to come and collect me from Kings Cross on the 31st.

Your Nephew,

Harry

Hermione's was rather longer and more informative than Harry's, seeing as she liked her family more than Harry liked his.

Dear Mum and Dad,

How've you all been since my last letter? I've been fine, in fact, even better than fine. I think I may have a boyfriend! Anyway, I'm writing to ask you if we can go with him on holiday this summer, just for the first two weeks. He has an apartment in Madrid and he's hoping to see the Spanish Minister of Magic to gain Dual-Citizenship for both himself and his Godfather, who is illegally in Azkaban (the Wizarding Prison). His Godfather is innocent of the crimes he is in there for and Dumbledore, the Headmaster and basically the leader of the Magical Government, knew this but still sent him to Prison which, due to the Dementors that suck out all happy feelings, is basically Hell on Earth. Harry wants to go to Spain because the Blacks have a lot of connections, both in the Magical and non-Magical parts of Spain. Anyway, its late now so I have to go. Please write back soon

Your Loving Daughter,

Hermione x

Hermione immediately borrowed an owl from one of her dorm mates and sent the beautiful white bird off into the cold, dark night.

The very next day at breakfast the owl Hermione had sent off the night before returned with a letter from her parents.

Dear Hermione, it said.

Thank you for your letter last night. We're all fine here. I've discussed it with your father and he and I have both agreed that if you've got a boyfriend, and he wants to treat us to a luxury holiday in Spain, who are we to say no? We have purchased tickets for the Eurostar on 12th, 3 days after you get to Kings Cross on the 9th. This will give us an opportunity for you and Harry to both buy new things in Diagon Alley, as well as things in Muggle London. It will also give us time to spend with you, and for us to get to know Harry before our trip. We look forward to seeing you again.

Lots of Love,

Emma x

Hermione also received her copy of the Daily Prophet that morning, with devastating news.

Mass Breakout At Azkaban!
By Rita Skeeter

It this reporter's unfortunate duty to inform you of the devastating truth. Two weeks ago to this very day, on Saturday 22nd May, Bellatrix Lestrange, you-know-who's chief supporter, and a number of other high-profile Death Eaters escaped from Azkaban. It is suspected that Sirius Black, Lestrange's cousin, is the man responsible for these breakouts.

It is, however, my pleasent duty to inform you that last night Sirius Black was apprehended by three third year students and Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, Harry Potter, and two of his friends, as he attempted to get onto the grounds.

We ask you be vigilant in this time of trouble and if anyone spots one of these highly dangerous criminals we discourage you from attempting to apprehend them, and instead place a fire-call to the Auror office who will promptly deal with any difficulties you may have.

Here is a full list of those escapees:

Bellatrix Lestrange
Rudolphus Lestrange
Rabastan Lestrange
Augustus Rookwood
Theodore Avery
Thomas Nott
Gregory Goyle sr.
Vincent Crabbe sr.

This news brought a lot of talk to the Great Hall, but the bad news couldn't ruin the fantastic atmosphere that was brought by the baking summer weather and the soon to be end of the School Year.

3 days later, after a rather romantic few days, just the two of them together they arrived in Kings Cross. They had spent half the journey just the two of them, as Ron said that he didn't want to be around them, and then spent the second half of the journey with Neville and Luna as they'd left Ginny and her latest boyfriend who had been devouring each other's faces in their compartment.

Harry lifted both his and Hermione's trunks down from the racks above their heads as the train pulled to a stop and the two of them said good-bye to Neville and Luna, who were now sitting rather closer together than they were before with Luna almost on Neville's lap.

'Well good-bye for now Neville, Luna. We'll see you next year, although I wouldn't be surprised if there are some rather large changes going on over the course of the Summer. Anyway, I'll be seeing you,' said Harry.

'The same to you, Harry. Bye,' said Neville, slightly perplexed at what changes these were going to be. Neville wasn't sure what he meant, but he was sure that they were going to be big.

A/N- I know the Eurostar wasn't open until about 1999, but for the purposes of this story, what-ever I want to exist, be that events that haven't happened or technology that hasn't yet been invented, will exist

Please, please, please review. But no flames.