Thank you for adding your view to the poll. By an overwhelming 72% - we will follow the Potters.
"I've just met you and you're off again." Albus sighed, "I so wish things were different."
"I can't stay." Harry sighed, "I'd love to learn anything you could teach me. Maybe you can come and visit in the summers?"
"Or maybe we can come stay the summer at Hogwarts." Sirius suggested, "Wait until all the undesirables are gone then slip in."
"Snape can't be there." Harry stated.
"I know." Albus smiled, "But he really is on the side of the light."
"Yes but I'm also James Potter's child. While he was friends with my mother, he hated my father." Harry pointed out.
"How did you know that?" Sirius asked.
"Peter used to try and tell me about you all." He frowned, "He'd gloat about how smart he was and how he got a prank over on all of you. I always thought he was a waste of space."
"Remus maybe you and I should stay here and take care of the vermin problem." Sirius had a hard look on his face.
"No it's best if I handle that problem." Albus frowned at him, "We need you in one piece to help Harry with his classes. I'll make sure he is caught and punished properly."
It took the Tonks longer to return then it did the others which Andromeda explained when they arrived, "I had to give notice at St. Mungo's. They didn't like it but they understood."
"Moody isn't happy about losing some of his aurors either. But at least he had some warning that something was happening." Nymphadora sighed, "What did you say to him Sirius?"
"I told him to expect one or two others to quit when I did yesterday." Sirius explained, "I didn't tell him why, did you?"
"No just took a leave of absence." She replied, "I figured it was up to James to explain it to him."
"I haven't said anything." James grimaced, "I'm not sure what it is safe to say."
"Tell him a family emergency." Lily instructed, "That way they may just think I wanted to leave to try to recover from Bellatrix's spell."
The fire flared and out walked the man in question, "I was hoping you would still be here. What in blazes is going on?"
Before anyone answered they asked the man a series of questions to determine he really was Moody. Once they finished the explanation began.
"The official story is that we're going to travel to see if we can find out what is wrong with Lily." James stated, "Sirius and Remus are going with us as moral support. We decided two weeks ago and left last night."
"And the Tonks family?" he turned to the other group.
"I'm sick and magic can't cure me." Ted repeated what he told his own boss, "We're going to spend the rest of my short life traveling as a family. With any luck we'll find a cure. We're heading out in a few weeks but are visiting some of my muggle family before that."
"Alright so what's really happening?" the grizzled old auror asked.
"Harry has been found." James smiled as Harry stepped out from behind him.
Moody looked at the boy and then to James and then back again, "Are you sure?"
"Goblin verified." Sirius replied.
"Where were you and how did you get here?" the man started his questioning.
Over the next hour Harry told the man about his life. He explained about his mother and how he found out he was abducted. He even told them all about Peter, even his animagus form. The men were frowning and the women were crying by the end of his story, although Nymphadora was trying very hard not to let anyone see her crying. When he was finished Moody stood up and paced for several minutes.
"What are we going to do about the rat?" he finally asked.
"Roast him, toast him and chop him into potion ingredients." Lily was the first to respond.
"Flambé anyone?" Sirius offered.
"Hippogryph lunch?" James added.
"Kneazel." Ted stated.
"Kneazel?" several questioned.
"Magical cats that are good at understanding human speech." He replied, "We can find us one and post it around the Potter's house and it can watch to see if he comes around."
"He won't go near their house." Harry stated then pointed at Moody, "He has been known to hang around yours though. He always comes back sick when he's been there, nervous stomach."
"I'm not fond of cats." Moody grumbled, "But if it will catch him I'll deal with it."
"Check the magical menagerie." Ted suggested, "If they still have that orange one it's big enough to take him."
"Will it kill him?" James asked, "Because I'd rather do that myself."
"We can ask it not to but if it's the only way to keep him from escaping I say let the cat have him for dinner." Ted suggested.
"Might cause it some indigestion." Sirius muttered.
If Peter had a laugh in rat form you would have been hearing it. In the last twenty four hours he had witnessed Bellatrix, both Lestrange brothers and Lucius Malfoy all getting their comeuppance. The Potter brat had escaped them when they were on the verge of victory. Just a few short days ago they had spent the day planning what Bellatrix would teach the boy. She had gone out the next day to grab some of the darkest books she had out of her Gringotts vault. When she had returned to begin his instruction he was gone. She had called her husband to help look for him and in turn he had called his brother and Lucius. All of them had a stake in the boy's disappearance since they had been responsible for him. Peter had never been so glad that the boy didn't like him. But that was over and now his current assignment was to find out where the boy had gone.
The first place Peter tried was Hogwarts. He had started the day after Volans or rather Harry had been discovered missing. He hadn't thought of Hogwarts himself of course. Lucius had thrown it out as a suggestion during his torture/punishment. He was wandering around Hogwarts lingering in the shadows when he heard the children talk about the extra kid at the sorting the night before. Everyone was wondering what had happened to him. No one seemed to know anything. All sorts of speculations were roaming around but Peter couldn't decide which one was true. In the end he made his way to the headmaster's office, with only a brief stop off at the kitchens to get some food to hold him while he spied.
He spent the rest of the day of September third just sitting in the headmaster's empty office waiting for news. Very late that evening the man returned to his office. He didn't stop in that room though. He went right back to his private chambers and was in bed asleep in no time. Peter was sure the old man knew something so he decided to stick around for a while longer. The rat found a nice warm spot by the fire, he was out of sight but close enough to hear news. He then curled up and went to sleep. He didn't wake until the fire flared the next morning. He realized that Dumbledore was already at his desk so he didn't move. The person who had entered was none other than Auror Moody, he had been listed as Peter's second stop in case he didn't find out anything here at the school.
"I've got it." Moody sat a box on the desk but he was blocking Peter's view so he had no idea what was in it.
"Very well, I do wish there was another way." Albus was peeking into the box, "How do we do this?"
"The man said to just pull him out of the box and let him go. He already helped me explain everything." The Auror growled.
"Let's see him, does he have a name?" Albus reached into the box.
"Crookshanks." Moody stepped back and Peter was able to see a very large orange cat.
Peter let out a shocked squeak which caused the cat to look right at him. Before he could blink the cat was out of Albus' hands and on top of him. First thing through his mind was that he was dead at the hands of a cat. But it was pulled off after a few seconds and he thought he was saved until Moody picked him up by the scruff of the neck.
"Cat, I may have to keep you around. Not even I can catch Death Eater scum that quick." He then faced the rat, "Hello Peter, so good to see you again." The rat shivered just before the stunner hit him.
"I think I have a better idea if you would permit." Albus looked at the cat with a calculated gaze.
"I cannot believe this." Sirius looked at the note in his hand, "We've not been here one whole day and Albus is already on me to come back and get something."
"What did you forget?" Lily asked as she sat Harry's breakfast down.
"Thanks Mum, smells delicious." His smile threatened to take over his whole face.
"I didn't forget anything." Sirius continued to read the letter, "He just wants me to come back and get something he didn't get to give us before we left."
"What is it Padfoot?" Harry asked.
"A surprise of some sort." He replied distractedly, "Albus says this is something we shouldn't live without."
"When are you leaving?" he asked mildly concerned.
"After breakfast I guess." He dropped the letter, "It's a portkey to his office. If I go after breakfast it will after dinner there and he won't want me to stay a long time."
"Hurry back then." Harry admonished.
"I shan't be more than an hour." He proclaimed with a regal air.
It was actually less than that when he returned carrying a large box with holes in the lid. Sirius called the whole group together and prepared to make a big announcement.
"You will be very glad to know that Peter has been apprehended." He grinned madly as everyone cheered wildly. He waited a few minutes and when they were still celebrating he set off a firecracker from his wand, "I have more news."
"Sorry." James said as he put Lily down and quit yelling.
"Me too." Harry yelled from Moony's shoulders.
"Put the kid down Moony, Albus has sent him a present and he needs to open it." Sirius laughed as Harry practically jumped off the man and stood at the box, "Careful now."
He helped Harry pull off the lid and watched as the boy reached in and pulled out the large orange cat that weighed almost as much as he did, "He got me a pet."
"Not just any pet. That there is a kneazle, it is THE kneazle." Sirius grinned, "He caught Peter in Dumbledore's office just this morning. His name is Crookshanks."
Harry hugged the cat to his chest and buried his face in its fur. Sirius barely heard his muffled words, "Thank you Crookshanks. You are the best kneazle ever."
The rest of them took turns petting the cat and thanking him before Sirius explained further, "Albus has asked Crookshanks to keep an eye out for more animagi that might find their way onto the island. We're supposed to show him our forms so he knows which animagi are supposed to be here and which aren't."
The group had a fun day playing on the sunny beach with a kneazle, a dog and a stag. It wasn't until much later that night when Harry was in his room with Crookshanks laying on his feet that he decided to talk to the cat.
"Sirius says you're a good kneazle but I think you should know I'm not really a good person." Harry stroked the cats head as he whispered to it, "See I can't seem to trust anyone with all my secrets. Mother certainly couldn't know she would have killed me for some of them. I just don't know about the others here. They seem to love me but I guess I just can't trust my own judgment." The cat rubbed against his chest as he talked, "I've never had a pet, always wanted one but Mother, I mean Bellatrix hated animals other than owls. I didn't even ask for one because I knew she'd end up torturing and killing it. Anyway I always wanted to have one so I could confess all my secrets to it and know that it wouldn't tell anyone. So here goes. I kept three big secrets from Bellatrix. One was that I wanted the Dark, I mean Voldemort to lose."
Harry paused as the cat began to purr and rub even harder on his chest.
"I'm glad you approve. That one I knew I could tell here. The next two I've not even told anyone here. I can do much more with my metamorphic abilities then I let on. I didn't find out until just the last couple of years but I can do just as much as Dora can, possibly more. I'm too scared to show anyone else but I'll show you ok?"
Harry changed himself until he looked just like Sirius. The cat sat on his haunches and just watched the boy change and then go back to his original self. The cat went back to purring and rubbing on the boy.
"Well that's not even the coolest thing. The last and biggest secret is that…" Harry paused and slipped over to his door and peeked out. He returned to the bed and grinned, "I'm an animagus too."
Harry stretched out on the bed and in a few moments a huge tiger was sitting in his place.
"That is cool." He heard a voice.
In his mind he thought, "Who 's there?"
"Just me." And an orange paw patted his face.
"Crookshanks?" he asked.
"Yep." He rubbed his face against Harry's larger cat face.
"Can you talk to dad and Sirius like this?" Harry asked worriedly.
"Probably not, but I won't tell them anything." He said, "Beside they really are trustworthy."
Both cats' ears moved as they picked up a sound. Harry quickly changed back to his human form and dove under the covers just as he heard the creak of a door from down the hall. He quickly stilled his rapid breathing as footsteps sounded in the hall. By the time his door opened he looked to be perfectly asleep with Crookshanks curled into his side.
"See he's fine." His dad's voice whispered, "No one can get him here and Crookshanks will make a racket if they try."
"I know." His mum's voice whispered back, "I'm just terrified I'll wake up and this will all have been a wonderful dream and we'll be back in the nightmare."
"Well if this is a dream when we wake up we'll storm Lestrange manor and see if he is there." James whisper sounded very confident, "We'll break it down to the foundation if we have to. But we won't have to because this is real and Harry's home and we're finally a family again."
"We never stopped being a family." Lily scolded, "We were just missing a big piece."
The door was shut as she said those words. At hearing them Harry's heart broke a little that he wasn't willing to show them his secrets. He squeezed the cat and whispered, "If it works out I'll tell them."
The cat looked him in the eyes and nodded. The days on the island were flying by. Harry had lessons during the day and it wasn't only magical stuff. He learned a lot about the muggle world. His favorite part was when they actually got to walk around with muggles and see the way they lived. Harry was fascinated about living without magic. They had only been in hiding for a few weeks when something astounding happened. Lily and Harry were at a muggle market on a nearby island when he spotted something that made his heart almost stop.
"Mum it's her she's here!" Harry whispered frantically pointing to a woman walking up the street.
Sure enough Bellatrix Lestrange was marching through the market looking menacing. They started to move away from her only to realize the Lestrange brothers were coming the other way. The two of them were trapped.
"Quick Harry, hide yourself." She shoved him behind the counter of the stall they were at.
"But they'll see you." He argued.
"If they get me then go to your dad." She whispered, "Whatever you do, don't let them see you."
Harry was in a panic and grabbed his mother's hand and set himself to one of the forms none of them knew he could do. He made himself look like a young version of the man operating the stall, his back was to them and they were mostly hidden from view. A few seconds later Bellatrix walked right by and even looked Lily in the face but didn't stop and there was no sign on recognition on her face. She soon met up with the two brothers and they moved away. As Lily was watching them go she happened to catch a glimpse of herself on a shiny surface. She looked like a local. Her red hair and green eyes were gone and in their place was black hair and brown eyes. She glanced down at Harry who was sitting just inside the stall crouched down with his eyes squeezed shut still gripping her hand. He looked just like one of the boys who were playing on the street. It took a few moments but she bent down and whispered to the boy.
"They're gone." She rubbed the hair on his head as he looked up and then got a questioning look on his face.
"I didn't think you had time to do human transfiguration." He stated.
"I didn't but you did." She laughed, "What's say we go home yea?"
"Good idea." He decided to put his questions off until later.