James has a headache.
No, he wasn't sick, and he didn't have an hangover.
The reason he has a headache is this letter from Gringotts.
Getting a letter from Gringottsis never good, they aren't like muggle bankers, as Lily loves telling him.
Gringotts don't care for their clients, they don't give monthly information on the state of your gold, nor do they give financial advice.
They keep your gold, and that's it.
The only reason they would ever send you a letter, is if your gold has lessen or grown considerably.
And his didn't grow.
The letter, which he read more then a few times, went like that:
'Dear mr. Potter,
Your gold has decreased pass the minimum requirement for our deep end vaults, there for has been moved to one of our upper vaults.
Your new vault is 1268.
Pleasure to do business with you.
He couldn't wrap his head around it, how could this happen?
The Potter family was always wealthy, and even if the past two wars had drained the wealth considerably, the defeat of Voldemort by Marcus hand gave it all back, and more.
People all around the country sent them gifts, dying people with no descendants gave them their wealth, they grew in wealth to the point they were as rich as the Malfoy were!
And yes, they might have threw around their money, getting the best of everything, but they deserved it!
Not to mention that with his job as an auror, he should have covered most of their expenses, and Lily's current job also pays nicely, making it even less reasonable for them to be in this situation.
Something is wrong, something isn't right, he needs to go to Gringotts as soon as possible.
Just as he was about to get out from his and Lily's room, planning to get out of Hogwarts before appariting, Remus' patronus came to him.
"James, I found a part of the map," Remus' voice came out of the wolf. "Sirius is in the Shrieking Shack with Marcus' friend, and Wormtail, I don't know how, but he is alive, come quickly!"
The patronus disappeared, leaving the room alone with only James in a shocked state for a second, before he started to run as quick as possible, forgetting about his money for the time being.
As he requested, Gai kept him updated on all of the player's movements.
It told him about the entry of Marcus and his friends under the Whomping Willow to save Ron, it told him about Dumbledore not leaving his office, about Professor Snape going near Lupin's office, and about James Potter sprinting toward their location.
Reaching to the Shrieking Shack together with Lupin, he could hear Sirius say "You've got to listen to me," Harry could almost smell the urgency in his voice now. "You'll regret it if you don't.... You don't understand...."
"I understand a lot better than you think," Harry recognized this voice as Marcus, whose voice shook more than ever. "You never saw my father on July 23, the day his parents took you home, never saw his face full of tears as he thinks of his brother in all but blood, who betrayed him.
You never saw him on November 3, when he cry and drink himself to sleep as he keeps telling me stories about Wormtail, my godfather, who you killed.
You haven't seen my mother, every Halloween, trying as hard as she can to understand how I survived, you haven't heard her talking about friends, how uncomfortable she feels around people who aren't family, and all of this is because you betrayed them."
Harry almost laughed, it seemed this day is full of information, not only about their suffering, something that made him extremely happy, but also the fact that no one knows how they managed to survive the killing curse, as it was something that worried him, as it couldn't be like the original, where the reason for survival is the sacrifice of Lily, and made him add another project to his list.
Although Harry stopped to listen, Lupin didn't, yet the screaming of Marcus managed to prevent the souls of his run from being heard, which is why when the door was opened so quickly and an Expelliarmus was shouted, it managed to scare everybody, except Harry who seconds before had Gai telling him Lupin was about to enter.
Deciding it was the best time to enter, Harry summoned a stick, and went inside, managing to listen to the conversation.
"Where is he, Sirius?" The silence was prominent
"But then..." Lupin muttered, "why hasn't he shown himself before now? Unless... unless he was the one... unless you switched... memory charms.... without telling me?"
By the time Lupin understood Harry arrived to the Shrieking Shack, feeling sorry he has no popcorn as he watch the story rolling.
"Uncle Moony," Marcus interrupted loudly, "what's going on?"
As the two friends watched each other intensely for a second before Lupin lowered his wand, Harry felt like they are about to kiss, yet instead, Lupin just pulled Sirius up in to a hug, making Granger scream.
"I DON'T BELIEVE IT! You... you..."
"...you and him!"
"Hermione, calm down..."
Hermione shrieked. "I've been covering up for you..."
"Hermione, listen to me, please'" Lupin shouted. "I can explain..."
"HOW COULD YOU? My father and mother cared for you! I cared for you! Why would you do it? Why betray us? Is it just because you are a werewolf?"
The hurt look on Lupin's face was entertaining enough to watch, as the racist comment seemed to stab him in the heart.
The knowledge of Lupin's disease seemed to take everyone by surprise with the exception of Hermione and Sirius, making Neville back away and Ron trying to, only to whimper of pain. Lupin made toward him, looking concerned, yet before he had a chance, James Potter jumped through the open door with his wand up.
"Get away from him Moony, or I will hurt you."
"James, you don't understand, he is innocent."
"Don't tell me he is innocent! He betrayed us to Voldemort, he killed Wormtail!"
"No, he didn't, Wormtail is alive, haven't you heard the patronus?"
"I...I might have blanked out midway... but he still betrayed us to Voldemort! He was our secret keeper!"
"No i wasn't!" For the first time since Lupin came in Sirius talked. "We switched, you said it was the best prank ever, someone must have memory charmed you!"
"But..." not having any way to refute, Potter senior said "Wormtail, where is he?" The two friends pointed at the same person- Ron Weasley
"Take out the rat." Sirius said coldly.
"What?" said Ron. "What's Scabbers got to do with it?"
"Everything," said Lupin. "Could we see him, please?"
Ron hesitated, looked toward James Potter who nodded, then put a hand inside his robes. Scabbers emerged, thrashing desperately; Ron had to seize his long bald tail to stop him escaping.
"Shit, shit shit shit, the missing bloody toe!" James started to curse as he noticed the rat's looks.
"What?" Ron said again, holding Scabbers close to him, looking scared, now from auror too. "What's my rat got to do with anything?"
"That's not a rat," croaked Sirius Black suddenly.
"What d'you mean -- of course he's a rat --"
"No, he's not," said Lupin quietly. "He's a wizard."
"An Animagus," said Black, "by the name of Peter Pettigrew."
Harry had to admit, for two people who hasn't met in a long time they can complete each other's sentences almost as good as the twins.
"You're both mental." Ron yelled
"Ridiculous!" said Hermione faintly.
"Peter Pettigrew's dead!" said Marcus. "He killed him twelve years ago!" He pointed at Black, whose face twitched convulsively.
"I meant to," he growled, his yellow teeth bared, "but little Peter got the better of me... not this time, though!"
And Crookshanks was thrown to the floor as Sirius lunged at Scabbers; Ron yelled with pain as Sirius's weight fell on his broken leg.
"Sirius, NO!" Lupin yelled, launching himself forwards and dragging Sirius away from Ron again, "WAIT! You can't do it just like that... they need to understand... we've got to explain... James need answers!"
The last one calmed Sirius down "All right, then," he said, without taking his eyes off the rat.
"Make him appear, show the proof they need. But make it quick, Remus. I want to commit the murder I was imprisoned for..."
"I will do it quickly."
A flash of blue-white light erupted from his wands; for a moment, the rat was frozen in midair, his small gray form twisting madly -- Ron yelled, the rat fell and hit the floor. There was another blinding flash of light and then, as Harry has seen once already, the rat has changed shape into a man, Peter, the one person in this place who would do what he think is right and not what's easy, even if it means betraying his friends.
He looked around at them all, his breathing fast and shallow, Harry saw his eyes dart to the door and back again, searching for an escape as he knew he has a job to do.
"Well, hello, Peter," said Lupin pleasantly, as though rats frequently erupted into old school friends around him. "Long time, no see.
"S -- Sirius... R -- Remus...James" Even Pettigrew's voice was squeaky, as he kept maintaining his act, if Harry hadn't questioned him already, he would believe the man. Again, his eyes darted toward the door. "My friends... my old friends..."
Sirius's wand arm rose, but Lupin seized him around the wrist, gave him a warning took, then turned again to Pettigrew, his voice light and casual.
"We've been having a little chat, Peter, about what happened the night you 'died'. Would you mind explaining us how you didn't?"
"Remus," gasped Pettigrew, and Harry could see beads of sweat breaking out over his pasty face, making him impressed, how good of an actor can one be? "you don't believe him, do you...? He tried to kill me, James...."
"So we've heard," said James coldly. "I'd like to clear up one or two little matters with you, Peter, if you'll be so..."
"He's come to try and kill me again!" Pettigrew squeaked suddenly, pointing at Sirius and seeing James indifferent eyes, making his decision to whom to talk to easier. "He tried to kill Lily and James, tried to kill the twins, tried to kill me, and now he's going to try again.... You've got to help me, Remus...."
"No one's going to try and kill you until we've sorted a few things out," said Lupin.
"Sorted things out?" squealed Pettigrew, looking wildly about him once more, eyes taking in the boarded windows and, again' the only door. "I knew he'd come after me! I knew he'd be back for me! I've been waiting for this for twelve years!" Harry felt like Peter wasn't really trying to convince anyone, only to buy time, something he didn't really need to do as according to Gai, Professor Snape has arrived.
"You knew Sirius was going to break out of Azkaban?" said Lupin, his brow furrowed. "When nobody has ever done it before?"
"He's got dark powers the rest of us can only dream of!" Pettigrew shouted shrilly. "How else did he get out of there? I suppose He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named taught him a few tricks!"
Before anyone could say something else three Expelliarmuses were shot from an empty spot, where Professor Snape appeared from a second later.
The potions Professor was was slightly breathless, but his face was full of suppressed triumph. "You're wondering, perhaps, how I knew you were here?" he said, his eyes glittering. "I've just been to your office, Lupin. You forgot to take your potion tonight, so I took a gobletful along. And very lucky I did... lucky for me, I mean. Lying on your desk was a certain map. One glance at it told me all I needed to know. I saw you running along this passageway and out of sight."
"Severus..." Lupin began, but Snape overrode him.
"I've told the headmaster again and again that you two are helping your old friend Black into the castle, Lupin and Potter, and here's the proof. Not even I dreamed you would have the nerve to use this old place as your hideout."
"Snape, you're making a mistake," said James urgently. "You haven't heard everything, Sirius is not here to kill Marcus..."
"Oh, I heard enough, he is here to kill Pettigrew, who, according to black, is the true betrayer, don't worry, I will get everything straight, justice would be served," The look of hope on all of the Marauders' fave was hilarious, especially as Harry could almost taste how Professor Snape was going to continue his sentence. "Pettigrew would go to Azkaban, and Black would get his kiss."
What little color there was in Sirius' face left it.
"But... but I didn't do anything!"
"Didn't you? At the very least you tried to turn me into a werewolf, not to mention kill me."
The fire of hate the man had for this person felt as great as the hate Harry felt for the Potters.
"I call upon your life debt," James said, "leave this place for tonight."
It felt as if someone just cursed the man, not as if he was actually cursed to do as asked, there was no magic in this debt, yet Harry could see that the honor of the potion Professor demanded he would listen.
"Fine, I would clean this debt to you!" He tossed the captured wands toward their owners and with a swirl of his robes the Professor left, not before taking a glance toward where Harry was and smirking.
"Let's continue, would you mind mind tell us, Peter, why have you made all of us think you are dead? Even if he was taught tricks, why would he come after you? Why won't he go after James? Lily? Marcus? Why you? Why would an innocent man would want to spend twelve years as a rat?"
"Innocent, but scared!" squealed Pettigrew. "If Voldemort's supporters were after me, it was because I put one of their best men in Azkaban... the spy, Sirius Black!"
"How dare you," Sirius growled, sounding suddenly like the bearsized dog he had been. "I, a spy for Voldemort? When did I ever sneak around people who were stronger and more powerful than myself? But you, Peter... I'll never understand why I didn't see you were the spy from the start. You always liked big friends who'd look after you, didn't you? It used to be us... me, Remus and James."
Peter wiped his face again; he was almost panting for breath.
"Me, a spy... must be out of your mind... never... even James can tell you were the secret keeper!"
" I supposed to be, Lily and James only made you Secret-Keeper because I suggested it," Sirius hissed, so venomously that the rat animagus took a step backward. "I thought it was the perfect plan... a bluff... Voldemort would be sure to come after me, would never dream they'd use a weak, talentless thing like you.... It must have been the finest moment of your miserable life, telling Voldemort you could hand him the Potters."
"Mr. Potter, Professor Lupin?" said Granger timidly. "Can - can I say something?"
"Certainly, Hermione," said Lupin courteously.
"Well... Scabbers... I mean, this- this man, he's been sleeping in Marcus' dormitory for three years. If he's working for You-Know-Who, how come he never tried to hurt Marcus before now?"
"There!" said Pettigrew shrilly, pointing at Ron with his maimed hand. "Thank you! You see, Remus? I have never hurt a hair of Marcus' head! Why should I?"
"I'll tell you why," said Sirius. "Because you never did anything for anyone unless you could see what was in it for you. Voldemort's been in hiding for fifteen years, they say he's half dead. You weren't about to commit murder right under Albus Dumbledore's nose, for a wreck of a wizard who'd lost all of his power, were you? You'd want to be quite sure he was the biggest bully in the playground before you went back to him, wouldn't you? Why else did you find a wizard family to take you in? Keeping an ear out for news, weren't YOU, Peter? Just in case your old protector regained strength, and it was safe to rejoin him...."
As the conversation continued, Sirius telling all of them if the escape, Harry made his way to the exit as he finally understood why he couldn't shake the feeling that Pettigrew was making sure to keep this conversation as long as possible, planning his escape.
He was waiting for Lupin's transformation, planning to escape just as he did in the books, and Harry needed to prepare to it.
The timing changed, Professor Snape came after Peter’s transformation and Peter isn’t the idiotic cowered he looks like in the books
Creation is hard, cheer me up! VOTE for me!
More Privileged Chapters
Download the app and become a privileged reader today! Come take a sneak peek at our author's stockpiled chapters!Download
This's an experimental test for reading assistance in case.
We highly recommend you to enjoy the beauty of the original words.