Content Harry Potter Naruto Buffy the Vampire Slayer XMen Translations

Author Notes:

Thanks to Kokopelli for betaing this for me.

Severus entered the Slytherin Common Room to pass on a message to the Second years, when he felt a slight breeze brush past him.

He looked over at Harry and Wednesday.  They were standing next to Pugsley, Ginny and Hermione, next to a few wooden chairs and a large cauldron.  There was a fire under the cauldron.

Behind Wednesday, a shape suddenly materialised and lunged at her.

Harry’s hand shot out, catching the attacker’s arm.  He twisted it violently, throwing the assailant to the floor, while kicking a nearby wooden chair violently.  The chair splintered, parts of it flying in to the air.

Harry grabbed one of the large pieces and rammed it down, stopping just above the chest of the figure on the floor.

“Marcus,” Harry sighed.

Marcus grinned.  “I got you to do something!” he said happily. 

“Nothing that Snape hasn’t already seen,” Wednesday replied, an amused tone in her voice.

“Why are you here?” Harry asked.

“Could you let me up?”

“No.  I’ve yet to decide the punishment for breaking my rule.”

“I’ve attacked Wednesday before,” Marcus pouted.

“The other rule.”

“Oh, that one.”

“Talk.”

“Lucius Malfoy tried to break into the Ministry of Magic’s Department of Mysteries last night.  He was trying to enter the Prophecy room.”

“Hmm,” Harry said, as he stood and repaired the chair.

Marcus seemed to flow to his feet.

Severus walked over.  “Marcus.”

“Severus.”

“Any ideas?” Harry asked.

Snape winced.  “I’d forgotten about that.  There was a prophecy made with your name in it.”

“The one you told Voldemort about that made him attack James and Lily.”

It took all of Severus’ self control not to either blush or gape.  He nodded, extremely embarrassed. 

“It might be more important than I thought,” Harry mused.

Marcus frowned and sniffed.  “That smell is familiar.”

“It should be,” Wednesday muttered.

“It’s Grandmama’s secret recipe!” he said.  “How did you get hold of it?”

“We didn’t,” Wednesday replied.  “It’s been passed on to Ginny.”

“No fair,” Marcus pouted.  “Can I have some?” he asked as he reached forward.

Ginny smacked his hands with her ladle.  “No!” she said firmly.  “Bad Vampire.”

Marcus pouted again, and then looked surprised as there were a couple of screams of terror from the other children.  “Oh please,” he sniffed derisively, “Its obvious I work for Harry and Wednesday, and I’m hardly going to just walk in like this while they are here and kill you, am I?”

The students who had screamed had the grace to look embarrassed.

“Unless Harry wants me to,” Marcus finished hopefully.

“Everyone’s being wonderfully open-minded recently,” Harry said dryly.

“I never get any fun.”

The door to the Common Room opened, and Albus, Minerva, and a couple of Aurors dashed in, wands at the ready.

“There’s a Vampire in Hogwarts,” Minerva called

“Freeze,” One of the Aurors shouted, pointing his wand at Snape.

“Imbecile,” Snape snarled, trying hard to ignore Pugsley giggling quietly.

“That’s Snape, you idiot,” the other Auror said.

“It’s good to see that the legendary security of Hogwarts is still protecting the sanctity of Hogwarts.  Why, several minutes after a vampire has made his way to one of the Common rooms, and had time for a chat, the Headmaster, Deputy, an Auror and an idiot show up,” Harry noted.  “Fortunately, this Vampire happens to be working for me.  Marcus, disarm the Aurors.”

Marcus blurred, and when he reappeared, he had two wands in his hand.

The Aurors blanched.

Harry shook his head pityingly.  Wednesday waved her wand, sending a messenger Patronus.

“Harry,” Albus started.

“Headmaster,” Harry interrupted.  “We were just talking about you.  Exactly what is the content of the prophecy you heard from Professor Trelawney about me?”

Albus froze.  “That is not information I can share,” he eventually said.  “Perhaps when you’re older.”

“Ooo,” Marcus said, “bad move.  Harry and Wednesday work on trust, and you’re blowing any trust you might have out the window.”

“Shush, Marcus,” Wednesday said.

Harry was looking directly into Dumbledore’s eyes, Dumbledore wasn’t looking away.

After thirty seconds, Harry sighed and looked away.  “You willingly withhold information from me,” he stated.  “That is not something I can accept.”

“It is for the best,” Albus replied sadly.

“We’ve been here for over two and a half years and you still have no idea, do you,” Wednesday said.  “You still think we will eventually act however you dreamed?”

“This is the last time I will say this,” Pugsley said, his eyes were dark, his voice harsh.  “We are Addams.”

Kingsley interrupted before Albus could respond by bursting into the Common Room.  “I swear that I need to install some brooms by the gate so I don’t have to run.  I’m positive that the distance is getting longer.

“Collins, would you care to explain just why a Vampire is holding your wand?”

“He took them, sir,” Collins replied.

“Oh,” Kingsley replied.  “That’s alright then.  As long as our wands are taken away from us, we should always just stand around looking really useless.  It impresses people to no end.  But at least you have your back up wand, right?”

Collins looked down and shook his head.

“My office, both of you,” Kingsley ordered, his voice turning harsh.

The two Aurors turned and marched out.

“Harry,” Kingsley continued, “you do know that there’s a vampire standing next to you?”

“Marcus, Kingsley,” Harry said.  “Kingsley, Marcus.”

“Hi,” Marcus said, giving a small wave.

“Don’t I know you?” Kingsley asked.

Marcus shrugged.

“You’re the one who stopped me falling off of that bridge when I was chasing Malfoy.”

Marcus wrinkled his nose.  “Harry said you were a good cop.  He dislikes incompetence.”

“Auror,” Hermione corrected absently.  “`Cop` is an Americanism.”

“I am an American,” Marcus pointed.

“And an Armenian, an African, an Australian,” Pugsley started to list.

“Yes, thank you,” Marcus replied frostily.  “I’ve been around a bit.”

“So I hear,” Wednesday murmured.

“Stop that!”

Wednesday allowed a tiny expression of amusement to flicker over her face.

“Enough,” Minerva said.  “I was under the impression that Vampires could not enter Hogwarts.”

“True,” Marcus agreed cheerfully.  “I’m glad we got that sorted.”

Minerva glared at him, utilising the glare that Snape had last seen her use when the Weasleys had turned her hair Slytherin green.

“Damn, she’s hot,” Marcus said admiringly, in an audible whisper to Harry.  “I’ll bet she fucks like a demented mink.”

Minerva went white, and then red, and then white again, as everyone looked on in absolute shock.

“Marcus,” Pugsley said slowly, “you are possibly the bravest man I’ve ever met.”

“What?” Marcus asked.

Minerva suddenly growled and pulled out her wand.  She yanked several hairs from Albus’s beard and transfigured them in to a stake.  “Come here,” she ordered in a terrifyingly quiet voice.

“Run,” Pugsley advised.

Marcus grinned and vanished.

Minerva sniffed, and stabbed out.  A piece of Marcus’ cloak appeared in her hands.  She turned and started to run out, the Common Room door closing behind her.

Pugsley dropped to his knees and started to laugh, hard.  He was quickly joined by, Ginny and Hermione – even Harry and Wednesday smiled, as the other students broke into laughter as well.

Kingsley was rolling on the floor, clutching his stomach.

Albus’s eyes were twinkling in amusement, but he was rubbing his chin where he had several hairs forcibly removed.

“We’ve yet to ascertain why there is a Vampire in my school,” Albus pointed out.

“And we’ve yet to discover the contents of the prophecy you know about me,” Harry replied, his amusement fading like the mist on a summer’s day.

“The safety of the students is paramount,” Albus replied.

“Which is why you hid the Philosopher’s stone here?” Daphne asked from a group of children.  “And why you hired a professor possessed by Voldemort, tried to send us to our deaths, allowed Umbridge to torture a couple of us, and didn’t close the school when there was a Basilisk running around, and why you did nothing to protect us from the Dementors?”

“Miss Greengrass,” Albus said warningly.

Snape hid a smile; that tone of voice never worked on his Goddaughter.  He suspected that Daphne was using this opportunity to score a few points for herself.

Daphne rolled her eyes at him.  “The only person with the problem with the Vampire seems to be you,” she retorted.  “Just because he’s a dark creature doesn’t make him evil!”

“Kingsley,” Albus started.

“Don’t look at me,” Kingsley replied.  “Any man brave enough to say that to Professor McGonagall is far too much of a man for me – even if he is a Vampire.  Harry, he’s cool, right?”

“I wouldn’t say cool,” Pugsley muttered.

Harry snorted in amusement.  “He is.”

“Thought so,” Kingsley said.  “I don’t suppose you could persuade him to pop by and see me some time?  I think some of the Aurors need some more training.”

Harry nodded.  “I’m going to lend him to Remus first; he broke my rule about coming here.”

“Which was?” Kingsley asked.

“Don’t,” Wednesday replied bluntly.

Kingsley sniggered.  “Well, send him over when you get the chance.”

Harry nodded, and Kingsley nodded to the Headmaster, “Albus,” he said, as he wandered out, leaving the old man on his own.

Albus sighed and followed him out the door.

“I think I’ll go and talk to him,” Snape said softly.

“Try it,” Harry advised.  “People who can’t change are useless to us.”

Snape decided he really didn’t want to know what that meant, and followed the Headmaster into his office.  To try and cheer Dumbledore up, he even accepted a lemon drop.

They really were foul.

“What are you playing at, Albus?”

The Headmaster sighed.  “I no longer know,” he confessed.  “This is not how it is supposed to be, and I find myself unable to catch-up like I used to.”

“Stop playing,” Severus advised.  “Harry and Wednesday are countering you the same way that they are dealing with the Ministry, by making everything public.  Any manipulation on your part is heard by everyone, and they are decided that you are wrong.”

“They don’t know the whole story,” Albus protested.

“Exactly,” Severus agreed.  “They only have the information from one side.   And because of that, you are losing.  Students are openly discussing when you are going to retire.”

“Retire?” Albus asked, looking completely shocked.

“Indeed,” Severus said as gently as he could.  “Your meddling and playing is making people think that you are senile – and your refusal to treat Harry and Wednesday differently is backing that up.”

“They are children!”

“No, they’re not,” Severus growled.  “They have been through more things than you can imagine, seen things you can not believe, that I can not believe and I was there!  They are adults trapped in children’s bodies.”

Albus shook his head, “I have to, I have to do what is for the best.”

“Albus,” Snape said, as he stood.  “I’m begging you to change your ways, I have seen how they deal with people who block them, and you do not deserve that – yet.”

“I think I will be fine,” Albus replied frostily.

Severus sighed.  “Lucius Malfoy was found at the Ministry, looking for a prophecy last night,” he said, before nodding at Albus sadly, and made his way out of the room.  It wasn’t the first time he had tried, but it was surely going to be the last.  That was also the last piece of information he would give him.

He made his way toward his office, planning on calling it a night.

“Uncle Sev!”

Severus paused and turned.  “Daphne?” He asked, wondering exactly why his goddaughter had called him that.

Daphne cast a reasonably good privacy spell.  He smiled faintly and doubled its effectiveness.  “Harry’s decided that he wants to know what is in that prophecy,” she said rapidly.  “They’re going to the Ministry to get it.”

“And you want me to stop it?” he asked curiously.

“No, I want you to come so I can tag along!”

“They’re going to break into the Ministry,” he pointed out.  “Hardly something your mother would approve of me helping.”

Daphne smiled innocently and batted her eyelids at him.  “I won’t tell her if you don’t,” she said.  “You aren’t planning on letting them go alone, are you?”

“You will do exactly what you are told,” he said as he gave in.  “You don’t, and you will see why I have the reputation I do at this school, and being my goddaughter will not save you, understood?”

Daphne paled and nodded.

“Let’s go,” he said.  “Where are they?”

“Stealing the invisible horses.”

“The Thestrals?”

Daphne nodded.

“Follow me.”  He strode out, disabling the wards that stopped students from exiting, and walked toward the paddock where they were kept.

Marcus and Harry were the only people not on Thestrals.  Pugsley had Hermione behind him, and she was holding on to him tightly.  Wednesday had Ginny.

Harry looked at the two of them.  “You are vouching for her?”

“I am,” he replied.

“Don’t let me down,” Harry said in a low voice.

Snape swallowed and nodded.  

Harry clicked his fingers and a Thestral walked over to them.

He took a few steps forward and slid on to the creature, before holding a hand down to Daphne.  She grinned and pulled on his arm as she jumped.

Harry turned and jumped onto the back of the biggest Thestral.  It reared back dramatically, before expanding its wings and taking off in one go. 

Marcus smiled and vanished.

Wednesday and Pugsley gave identical yells, and their horses took off after the Alpha Thestral.  A second later, his own Thestral followed – with no prodding from him.

“Uncle Sev,” Daphne called.  “What did Harry mean by that?”

He turned his head.  “It means that if you do anything wrong, I’ll pay the price.”

“I won’t let you down,” she swore.

“If I thought you would, you wouldn’t be here.”

Daphne responded by hugging him and going quiet.  He cast a warming charm on them, and settled in for a long ride.  He’d not been on the back of a horse for a long time, and hoped he had a decent potion to deal with the effects.

The Thestral’s speed was incredible as they flew over the country side.  Up ahead, he could see that while Hermione wasn’t enjoying it, Ginny was loving it.  She had her hands in the air, and she was yelling.

Wednesday had a faint smile on her face, and was making her Thestral to swerve all over the place.  Pugsley had a faintly resigned air to him as he kept his horse straight and level.

In the front, Harry seemed to be having a conversation, possibly with Marcus.

After a while, Harry swooped down, and they flew along a river.  The river quickly expanded as they entered London, and it wasn’t long before they landed near the Telephone box.

Marcus appeared next to them, as they dismounted.  Harry said something to the lead Thestral, and they took off into the air.

“Ready?” Wednesday asked.

As everyone nodded, they all crammed into the telephone booth, apart from Marcus, who had vanished again.

“Useful trick, that,” Daphne muttered.

“Indeed,” Pugsley agreed.

Severus punched the numbers for the entry, and they soon descended.

Marcus reappeared at the bottom, as they entered the Atrium.  “This way,” he said cheerfully in a whisper. 

“Does it strike anyone else how easy it is to break into here?” Daphne asked.

“There should be a guard,” Harry said calmly.  “He’s currently unconscious.”

“The advantage of having a vampire on the staff,” Marcus added.

“I’ll shut up now,” Daphne said.

“Wise move,” Pugsley muttered.

“Silence the lift,” Harry ordered, as they entered.

Pugsley nodded and cast a charm, and the doors slid shut in absolute silence.  Wednesday pressed the button for the Department of Mysteries, and they quickly descended.

They emerged into a circular room with doors at each side.  As they shut the door behind them the room seemed to blur.

“Cute,” Wednesday noted.  “Hermione?”

Hermione shook herself and then pointed to the right.

“Good,” Wednesday praised.

Hermione smiled massively and looked pleased.  He could see Daphne looking confused.

“There’s a charm that randomises the door,” he whispered to her.  “Wednesday was seeing if Hermione’s been keeping up on her mental protection.”

They entered a huge room with thousands of clocks.  All types of clocks, from Grandfather to carriage clocks.  At the far end of the room was a towering crystal bell jar, that gave off a dancing diamond bright light.

Harry walked off slowly, before he stopped.  “Silence,” he whispered.

Up ahead, they heard something fall, before there was a scream of terror followed by a hissing noise.

Harry started to run, Wednesday loping beside him.  They turned a corner to find a wide corridor.  Further down, a giant snake reared over a fallen person.  “Nagini,” he said.

Harry hissed something loudly as they moved nearer the snake.  Nagini hissed something back, only for Wednesday to cast a cutting curse at it.

Nagini ducked and slithered away. 

Harry dropped to his knees and slid, stopping next to the man.

“Dad!” Ginny cried.

Harry sighed and cast a healing charm, followed by a freezing charm.  “Ginny, he’s been bitten.  I’ve frozen him, and stopped the poison temporarily.  He’ll need proper treatment, when we’ve finished.”

Ginny lightly touched her father's face.  “Thank you,” she said gratefully to Harry.

“Split up, find the snake,” Harry ordered.

They all took different directions, and spread out.  Daphne started down one corridor, but he grabbed her shoulder.  “We stick together,” he ordered.  “Nagini is Voldemort’s snake.”

Daphne gulped and nodded.

As silently as they could, their wands at the ready, they started down.  The light was annoying inconsistent, making shadows into fake-snakes. 

“Diffindo,” Daphne chanted, only to hit a shadow and slice a large hole into the marble floor.

“Easy,” Snape advised.

From under one of the shelves, a shape launched itself at them, moving faster than he thought possible.

He barely had time to cast a shield spell, as Daphne managed to hit it with another Diffindo.  It was a glancing spell, but it was enough to slow the snake down a little.

“Well done.”

She smiled.

The Snake reared back to strike again, when it jerked forward.  It thrashed, throwing off its assailant.  Wednesday landed like a cat, and jumped forward, her knife flashing in the diamond light. 

Nagini made a strange hissing sound, like air escaping from a balloon, as she collapsed down, her throat cut.

Wednesday wipe her blade on the snake and nodded.  “Good shot,” she said to Daphne.

“You get all the fun,” Marcus complained, as everyone else arrived.

“I do,” Wednesday agreed.

Harry moved over to the dead snake and took a vial out of his pocket.  He dumped the contents on Nagini’s head, and nodded as it started to smoke.

“Let’s keep moving,” he ordered.

The next room was cold, much colder than the previous, and was dominated by row after row of huge shelves, each with hundreds of small dusty glass orbs.

“Point me, Harry Potter Prophecy,” Harry muttered.  His wand spun before pointing down the aisle.

Harry started to run, Wednesday again loping beside him, her wand in one hand, and her knife in the other.

They stopped by number ninety-three, and Harry moved down the aisle slowly, until he peered up.  Wednesday climbed up the shelves and grabbed a dusty globe.  She chucked it to Harry as he caught it, a drawling voice spoke.

“Very good, Potter.  Now turn around, nice and slowly, and give that to me.”

What ever Lucius expected to happen, it probably wasn’t what did – Wednesday’s knife flying through the air at him.

Lucius jumped to the side, and slammed into one of the shelves.  Other black shapes emerged.  “Potty,” one of the Death Eaters said in a baby voice.  “Give us the prophecy, we need to know what it says.”

“Bellatrix Lestrange,” Harry said in a cold voice.  “I’m glad you’re here, I needed a present for Wednesday.  Your slow death and the symphonies of agonies you will sing will become legend.”

Bellatrix gaped at him, as Wednesday gently kissed Harry on the cheek.  “Thank you,” Wednesday said gratefully.  She looked up.  “Come here,” she said, her voice suddenly acquiring an underlay of power.

Bellatrix’s eyes went blank as she took several steps forward.

“Bellatrix,” Malfoy snapped.

Bellatrix shook her head and paused.

“Snape,” Malfoy sneered.  “Our Lord will make you pay for your betrayal.”

“Your lord will be dead long before then,” Harry said, his voice still cold.  “Snape is one of us now.”

Snape nodded in agreement.  He was a born follower, and he was okay with that now.  He preferred following the Clan leader to the Dark Lord or the Light Lord.

“Hmm,” Harry said, “twelve of you, eight of us.  There’s only one thing to do at a time like this.”

“Surrender,” Malfoy suggested, raising his wand again.

“Not even close,” Harry replied.  “Kill them all.”

Out of nowhere, Marcus appeared and ripped open the throat of the nearest Death Eater.  Blood spurted into the air, landing on Malfoy, who flinched back.

“A vampire!” one of the other death eaters – a Lestrange if he recognised the voice correctly – shouted. 

“Diffindo!” Bellatrix shouted.  Harry swayed calmly, only for the shelf behind them to be hit.  The spell must have caught something important, as the top half of the shelves teetered backward, before collapsing into the next row of shelves, starting a chain reaction like dominoes. 

“Run,” Harry ordered.  “Back to the door.”

Together they sprinted, Ginny and Pugsley in the lead, Harry and Wednesday at the back.  They were launching curses as they ran, each of them as dark as the ones the Death Eaters were casting. 

“Alohomora,” Snape yelled, opening the door long before they could get there.  They skidded through the doorway, and into the room with all the clocks. 

“Colloportus,” Harry said, locking the door behind them.  “Ginny, pick up your father, Pugsley, you help her.  In the next room, you go to the left, second door.  There’s a large water tank in there.  If any of the Death Eaters come after you, destroy it and enjoy what happens.”

“Yes, Harry,” Pugsley agreed.  His eyes where shining darkly.

“Pugsley,” Harry called.  “Don’t forget what we’re doing here.”

“I won’t, clan leader,” Pugsley said formally.

“Good.”  Harry replied.  He looked at everyone else.  “You lot are with us.  We’re going right, first door.”

“Good idea,” Marcus agreed.

“You have blood on your chin,” Hermione pointed out. 

“Sorry,” he apologised, wiping his chin with his robe.

They entered the main room with all the doors in it, and split into the two groups.

He followed Harry and Wednesday into a much larger room, with a huge gateway standing in the middle.  There was a strange whispering in the background.

“Ignore the whispering,” Harry said, “it’s just the dead.”

“Just the dead,” Daphne muttered sarcastically.

Harry moved over to them.  “They’ll be here shortly.  When you start to fight, fight, none of this weak cursing business.  No stunners, no stupefy spells, use the blackest curses you know – apart from on Bellatrix and Malfoy, they are not to be touched – understood?”

“Yes, clan leader,” Severus replied automatically.

There was a whooshing sound, and Harry dived to the right, rolling smoothly, and as he came to his feet he launched a vicious blood-boiling curse.  As the Death Eater died, his mask fell off, revealing the face of Dolohov.

“You’re not supposed to kill him!” another Death Eater – Nott, by the sounds of it – yelled.

“Kill them all!” Harry ordered.

There was a huge volley of curses; that was quickly returned by the Death Eaters.  Snape pushed Daphne to one side, and returned some of his own.  He knew how the Death Eaters fought, he had been one for long enough.

The two Death Eaters turned to him, ignoring Daphne.  The first curse she cast decapitated the nearest, and as the Death Eater looked at his colleague, Snape’s own curses ended his.

Daphne paled dramatically and looked at her wand.  She stood stock still, in complete shock at what she had done.

Harry appeared beside her, and grabbed her face, forcing her to look into his eyes.  Almost impossible, his Goddaughter paled even more.  Wednesday appeared behind them, creating a shield with one hand, while firing curses with her wand in her other.

Colour returned with a flood into Daphne’s face and she nodded firmly at Harry.

Harry turned without a word, and took over the shield.  Wednesday grinned happily and launched herself forward.  She twisted, spinning in the air, her knife appearing in her hand as she stabbed the first Death Eater she came across, before back-flipping over another curse and landing by the feet of another.  She ducked and span, her foot lashing out, knocking the Death Eater to the floor.  As he fell, she buried her knife deep into his heart.

Snape looked around, to see that there were only two Death Eaters left.

Bellatrix had lost her mask, and was looking almost sane in her shock.  Wednesday ran toward her, as Harry aimed a curse at Malfoy’s leg.  It hit, causing Malfoy to fall to the floor.

Bellatrix screamed in rage, and vanished.

“Throw up an anti-apparition ward,” Harry ordered.

Snape did as he was told.  He tried to ignore the cheerful vampire playing with his food in the corner.  Hermione was pale, but had a triumphant look on her face.  There was a dead body by her feet, the missing head was several yards away.

Harry walked over to Lucius, who was snarling with pain.  He looked down for a moment, before looking directly at Snape. 

Harry held out his hand to Wednesday.  Wednesday moved and looked into Harry’s eyes for a long moment, studying him.

Harry met her eyes equally, with no expression.  Almost reluctantly, she handed him a knife.  Snape noticed it wasn’t her normal one; it was a dull blade that looked like it came from the walls of the Slytherin dungeon.

Harry knelt, and with no visible hesitation thrust the knife into Lucius Malfoy’s heart.  Lucius exhaled once, before his eyes rolled into the back of his head.

“It’s over,” Harry said quietly.  “Let’s get out of here.”

“Bellatrix got away,” Daphne pointed out.

“Yes,” Harry said with a small smile.  “She did, didn’t she?  Hermione?”

Hermione walked over to them.

Harry stood and hugged her, before he kissed her, firmly.  “Welcome to the clan, friend,” he intoned solemnly, before releasing her.

Wednesday moved forward next, and kissed her as well.  “Welcome to the clan, friend,” she echoed.

Hermione’s face lit up like never before.  “Thank you,” she whispered, in a profoundly awed voice.  “Thank you.”

“You are an Addams now,” Harry stated.

“I am,” she agreed proudly.

“And the clan expands again,” Marcus said softly.  “Welcome, Hermione.”  He kissed her as well.

Hermione grinned at him.

“We will speak with you later about the death,” Harry said softly. 

Hermione nodded and opened the door to the exit.

“I was expecting Black to turn up,” Severus said, as they headed toward the room with Pugsley, Ginny and Arthur in it.  They left behind Lucius body, the dagger still embedded in his heart.

“He’s not due home from Belgium for another month,” Harry said absently.

Snape almost stumbled.  “Did Black escape from prison late last year?”

“Of course not,” Wednesday snorted.  “He’s been out for seven years.”

Severus laughed, not as surprised as he should have been.

Harry knocked on the door, a short rap, followed by a series of longer ones.  The door opened, and Pugsley and Ginny walked out, followed by a floating Arthur Weasley.

Behind them, the floor was wet and there was a body covered in strange substance that looked like a brain.

“Don’t even threaten her family,” Pugsley advised with a grin.  “She hit him with a nasty bat-bogey hex and waited until he smacked into the glass before breaking it.”

Ginny smiled innocently.  “Family is everything.”

Wednesday moved forward and lightly hugged her.  “Good work,” she praised.

Ginny’s smile seemed to go up a notch in brilliance.

“Marcus, take Arthur back to Hogwarts.  We’ll be there shortly.”

“Will do,” Marcus said, with a casual salute.

“Oh, Marcus,” Harry called.

The vampire half-turned.

“You did well.”

Marcus grinned, showing his blood stained fangs, and vanished with the frozen Arthur Weasley.

“Let’s get moving,” Harry ordered. 

The flight back to Hogwarts was somewhat anti-climatic.  The ease in which they left the Ministry of Magic was disturbing in its own right.

They arrived back at Hogwarts and went straight to the infirmary.  Marcus was lounging on a bed, ignoring the glares he was receiving from Minerva.  Albus and Molly were sat each side of Arthur, who had some colour to his cheeks but wasn’t awake.

Molly looked up as they entered, and stormed to her feet.  She marched around the bed and approached them.  Her hands were itching, but she managed to stop before she reached Harry.  She looked around desperately, and grabbed the nearest child – which happened to be Pugsley.  She hugged him tightly, while looked directly at Harry.  “Thank you,” she whispered.  “Thank you for saving my husband.”

Harry inclined his head gracefully.

Molly released Pugsley, who had an amused look on his face.  “Thanks,” she whispered to him, before turning and grabbing Ginny. 

Ginny was soon struggling slightly against the huge hug of her mother. 

“Are you okay?”

Ginny nodded and took several deep breaths, before she grinned.  “Yup.”

“You’re all grown up,” Molly said sadly.

“Not quite, Mum,” Ginny replied.  “I’ve got a few more years yet.”

Molly smiled and released her; she retook her seat as Arthur started to stir.

“Out the way,” Poppy ordered as she bustled in.  She scanned Arthur with her wand, before passing him a potion.

Arthur drank it weakly, before he sat up and looked around.  Colour returned to his face, and he started to look a lot better.

“It wasn’t a delusion then; my daughter and her friends really did rescue me from a giant snake at the Ministry,” he said as he looked around the room.

“What were you doing there?” Harry asked.

“Albus asked me to check out a prophecy.”

“On your own?” Wednesday asked coldly.

Arthur nodded warily.

“No friend of an Addams ever stands alone,” Pugsley growled, staring at the Headmaster.

“You knew Death Eaters were poking around,” Harry said softly.  “We do not accept that.”

“Excuse me,” Molly said softly, “but what prophecy?”

Harry reached into his pocket.  “This one,” he said, holding the small orb thoughtfully.

“Harry,” Albus called.

Harry ignored him and dropped it to the floor, where it smashed.  The wavering voice of Sybil Trelawney echoed around the room.

The one with the power to vanquish the Dark Lord approaches…born to those who have thrice defied him, born as the seventh month dies… and the Dark Lord will mark him as his equal, but he will have power the Dark Lord knows not…. and either must die at the hand of the other for neither can live while the other survives… the one with the power to vanquish the Dark Lord will be born as the seventh month dies….

“That’s it?” Pugsley asked.  “Harry has to kill Voldemort?  But we knew that already.  What a waste of an evening.”

Albus gaped at him.

“It wasn’t a total waste, Pugs, at least we killed some Death Eaters,” Wednesday muttered. 

“I’m glad Mr Weasley is all right,” Harry said to Molly.  “Stay here tonight, and you can talk to Ginny in the morning.  We’ll have a chat about what happened today before we go to sleep.”

“I’ll catch some sleep here,” Marcus added.  “Unless Minnie has a better idea.”

‘Minnie’ seemed to have a much better idea, one that involved Marcus and a wooden stake through his heart. 

“Night,” Harry replied, and they trooped out.

“Daphne,” Harry said, as they walked toward the dungeon, “you did well.”

“Thank you,” Daphne replied, smiling brightly.  “And thanks, for what you did.”

He nodded.

“Come with me,” Severus said to Daphne, as they separated.

“Severus?”

Snape turned to look at Marcus.

Marcus punched him in the nose, he felt the cartilage break.  Marcus reached up and pulled on his nose, until it cracked again.  “You’re welcome,” the Vampire said cheerfully, as he vanished after casting at spell at his nose that eliminated the pain.

Severus stumbled into his room, followed by a smirking Daphne, and collapsed into a chair.  For now, he decided to ignore the sucker-punch, until he could pin Marcus down, and extract an apology out of him, using nothing more than a pair of pliers and a couple of pain enhancement potions.

He poured two glasses of fire whiskey, and concentrated on something slightly more important than revenge.  “How are you feeling?”

“Considering that I killed someone less than an hour ago?” she asked.  “Pretty damn good.”

“Oh?”

She curled up on the chair and sipped the whiskey.  She coughed as she swallowed, but took another swallow anyway.

“Harry did that mind-thingy you do.”

“Legilimency?”

“Yeah, that one.  He went straight into my brain, and talked to me.  Made me see that it was them or me, and I’d much rather it was them.  It seemed liked we talked for hours.”  She looked at him and sighed.  “I have to talk to Wednesday now.  I’ve been putting it off.”

“Be honest,” he advised.

She nodded and finished off the drink.  “Now that you’re happy that I’m mentally okay, can I go to bed?”

“Get,” he ordered, pointing at the door.

She grinned and moved over to hug him.  “Thanks,” she said, before she went out.  She paused in the door way.  “Your nose does look better now,” she added cheekily.

Severus moved over to the mirror and looked at himself.  He blinked several times, his nose looked normal.  The hook he’d endured all his life was completely gone.

As he lay in bed that night, Severus thought about the last thing that had happened.  He was trying to work out just why Harry had killed Lucius.

The answer came to him just before sleep.

Harry had done it for him – so that he would have a chance with Narcissa.

He groaned as he realised that was why also Marcus had engineered his nasal reconstruction.  He wasn’t going to say thank you, he’d just settle for some lighter revenge than he had originally planned.

The morning arrived far too early for his liking.  The charm on his radio turned it on at six-fifteen, and he reluctantly rolled out of bed and into the shower.

Clean, he dressed and made his way toward the common room.  He rounded a corner, to find Daphne sitting on the floor, leaning against a wall with a distant look on her face.

“Daph?” he asked gently.

She smiled up at him and stood.  “We’re wanted in the Headmaster’s office,” she told him.  “Harry told me not to wake you early, so I waited.  I didn’t mind, it gave me a chance to think.”

“You talked to Wednesday?”

She nodded.  “Yeah.  Wednesday told me the price.  Uncle Sev?”

“Yes?” he asked, absently creating a privacy spell around them.

“Why have you encouraged me to join?”

He sighed.  “Because I think the positives outweigh the negatives.  You have potential, Daphne, and I’d hate to see it wasted.  With them, you’ll never be ordinary.  You’ll never settle for a life that’s just a husband, two kids, and a dull job.  You might be scared, you might feel fear, and you might feel pleasure like you can’t imagine, but you will live.  You will live life to the full.”

Daphne nodded slowly.  “Wednesday said something, that there is no difference between good and evil, between pleasure and pain.  All are experiences and experiences are what count.”

He smiled faintly.  “That sounds like her,” he agreed.

“I’m scared,” she said.  “I’m thirteen years old, and yet I can see two paths in front of me.  I can see the white picket fence and the husband.  And I can see another path that is dark and mysterious.

“Part of me wants to go the easy route.  Part of me doesn’t want to make this decision now.  But I know that if I don’t, it will never be the same.  Joining them is as much a test of my courage as it is of everything else, and that is different.”  She took a deep breath, and then released it.

“Why did you join the Death Eaters?  Why did you keep going back, when Voldemort would torture you?  You never truly agreed with his goals, did you?”

Severus paused, and moved them into the nearest classroom so that they could sit.  He perched on the edge of the desk and looked down at her.

“Voldemort, when he was younger, was a lot like Harry.  Charismatic, when he wanted to be, deadly, powerful, and they both have this aura around them.  Last night, I did exactly what Harry told me to – we all did, even Marcus who’s over two hundred years old, and we did it because we knew he was the leader.  They both have a deep desire and a drive.  But where as Voldemort has hate driving him, Harry has an unquenchable thirst for knowledge driving him. 

“But the biggest thing they share is the understanding of pain.  Pain is glorious, Daphne.  It touches you like nothing else.  The Cruciatus curse is such pure agony that it transcends itself and it becomes pleasure.  And I started to crave it, as much as I hated what I was doing and what I had become, I was addicted to the pain. 

“I assuaged my conscience by reporting to Dumbledore, but he couldn’t understand the agony and the ecstasy that was my life.

“And then Voldemort tried to kill Harry, and I hated Harry for surviving.  My link to the experience was gone.  I had to go without, cold turkey, and I hated it with a passion.  I hated Harry even more for taking Voldemort away from me.

“It took me a while, but I eventually got over it. 

“And now, I have chosen another master, one who rules differently, one who offers me more and less.  Harry will never use the curse on me; he will never make me beg.  He will demand that I follow his rules, and he will show me things that I want to see, that I need to see.

“I gave up on a normal life long ago, even now, when my clan leader killed for me, the woman I want is not normal, I know she understands this.  I know that if I succeed, she will accompany me.

“Daphne, I was a little flippant before, and I assure you that I will not think less of you if you chose the light path.  In a way, it takes more courage to go down that route.  I will still love you.  This has to be your decision, and you have to make it with your heart and your soul, you must embrace it with everything you have.”

“Thank you, uncle Sev,” Daphne said softly.  “That helps.”

He smiled at her and held out his arms.

She hugged him tightly.  “Come on,” she said as she broke the hug.  “We don’t want to keep them waiting any more.”

He followed her out of the class room and to Albus’ office.  The room had been expanded and there was a large table in the middle.  Harry and Wednesday sat comfortably at one end, Pugsley and Hermione flanking them.  Ginny was next, opposite her was her mother.  Daphne sat next to Ginny, and he sat between her and Filius, opposite Minerva.  Marcus was next to her, completing the table.  Albus sat as head.

“Why are we here?” Harry asked.

“To discuss last night,” Albus replied, his eyes twinkling.

Harry sighed.  “I don’t know what there is left to discuss, but we’ll answer a few questions.  I don’t intend on missing breakfast.”

Albus frowned.  “Why did you go to the Ministry last night?”

“I was under the impression that the prophecy was important.  A mistake I won’t make again.”

“It is important,” Albus said.

“Really?” Harry asked dryly.  “I’ve yet to see a single prophecy worth the globe it is stored in.”

Albus looked blankly at him, and then tried a different track.  “Did you have to kill the Death Eaters?”

“No,” Harry replied.

“Then why did you?”

“What else would we do with them?  Arrest them so they can escape again?”

“Yes, no – we could have dealt with them.”

“How, by letting them bribe their way to freedom or by handing them to your pet soul-suckers?” Harry asked.  “The soul-suckers who have a marked preference for untainted souls and dislike tainted souls?

“But this is a ridiculous conversation.  Those Death Eaters chose their fate when they attacked us.  They will never attack us again.”

Albus frowned at them.

“What about Bellatrix Lestrange?”

“It’s just Bellatrix no-last-name now,” Harry said.  “With her husband dead, the marriage contract is broken, and she loses the name.  She has been expelled from the House of Black, so she is nameless.”

Minerva opened her mouth, and shut it again. 

“As we all know,” Harry continued, “Voldemort is still a spirit.  He needs to regain a human form before we can kill him.  That means he needs someone vaguely competent enough to fulfil the requirements.

“Bellatrix will do anything to return him.  It was far easier for us to just let her do all the work, than try and do it ourselves.”

“You let the Death Eater go so she could resurrect Voldemort so that you can kill Voldemort properly?” Snape asked to clarify.

Harry nodded.

“Damn,” Marcus whispered.  “And some wonder why I follow you.”

“You like the view from behind?” Wednesday suggested.

“Great,” Marcus muttered, “she kills a few people and she’s in a great mood the next day.”

Wednesday nodded.

“Harry, there is going to be an investigation about this,” Albus said, “I won’t be able to protect you.”

Harry looked at him blankly.  “We would really appreciate it if you didn’t try to interfere,” he said bluntly.  “We do not want, or need, your protection.”  He stood.  “Breakfast,” he said to the others and walked out, Wednesday by his side.

“You really like putting your beak into things that don’t concern you, don’t you?” Marcus said to Albus.  “They’ve been planning for this for years, and they don’t believe in second chances.  You’d do well to remember that.”

“I’ve warned you,” Snape said softly.  “Stop playing, you won’t win.  Too many people have been co-opted to their side.”

“Even you?”

“Absolutely,” Snape said as he walked out.  He wanted breakfast as well.

In the Great Hall, Molly and Arthur were talking to Percy, Fred, George, and Ron.  Ron and Percy looked at each other, as Molly finished speaking, before they turned and walked over to the Slytherin table.

They stopped behind Harry and Wednesday, who turned to look at them.

“Harry, Wednesday,” Ron said, a little stiffly.  “Thank you for saving my father last night and I apologise for my behaviour.”

“Yes,” Percy said.  “Thank you for what you did.”

Harry and Wednesday looked at the two of them for a long minute.

“You weren’t told to do that,” Harry eventually said.  “Independent thought.”

“Perhaps,” Wednesday said, “there is hope for you after all.”

“You are welcome,” Harry replied formally.

Percy and Ron both half-bowed, before they walked back to their parents.  Harry looked at Ginny, who grinned, and dashed after them – giving both her brothers a big hug.

Ron and Percy looked a lot happier after that, and Ginny moved over to the Gryffindor table for breakfast.

For the first time, Harry and Wednesday ate everything put in front of them.

Albus and Minerva joined them for lunch, and Marcus wandered in and sat in Ginny’s vacated place.

Severus looked up; he could almost see the rumours about what had happened the night before spread from the Gryffindor table and around the room.  He suspected that the way and the reason Harry had killed Lucius was not part of that rumour.

He ate his breakfast, the exertions of the night before ensuring he had a large appetite, and had just finished when the doors opened.

He looked up.  Cornelius Fudge, an assistant, two Aurors and a Dementor entered the hall.

There was a strange whooshing sound as the entire school drew their wands and pointed them at the Dementor.

The Dementor stood stock still, hardly emanating any of its usual miasmas of fear.

Fudge looked surprised, and then frowned.

Albus frowned and stood, his spread his hands and the children were magically moved away from the Dementor, creating a circle in the middle of the Great Hall.

Severus smiled faintly, that was a move that would win him back some supporters.

“Cornelius,” Dumbledore said, his voice harsh, “Exactly why have you seen fit to break our agreement and bring a Dementor into the school?”

“Now, see here, Dumbledore,” Fudge blustered.  “I’m here on much more important business.”

“Do tell,” Albus invited him.

“Last night,” Fudge said, “somebody broke into the Ministry of Magic, and killed Lucius Malfoy!”

Fudge looked like he expected something to happen with the name.  What he got was largely indifference.

“Mr Malfoy was an important member of the Ministry!” Fudge added.

“I don’t remember being able to vote for him,” Severus said.  “Please explain his importance.”

“He was my advisor,” Fudge said, “and I am Minister for Magic.”

“And?”

“And your position isn’t as secure as you might think,” Fudge retorted.  “The killer,” he continued in a rush, “made one fatal mistake.  They left behind the murder weapon.”

“Did you check his arm for the Dark Mark?” Severus asked curiously.

Fudge looked insulted.  “How dare you bad-mouth the name of a great man!”  Again, he continued in a rush.  “And Felix, here, recognised the knife as something he had seen in the Slytherin Common Room.  Whose knife is it?”  He pulled a transparent bag from his pocket, and held it up.

Harry whispered something to Pugsley, who looked shocked for a moment.  Harry said something else sharply and Pugsley jerked back before nodding.

“It’s mine,” Wednesday announced, as she walked forward with Harry.

Fudge smiled triumphantly.  “I thought as much,” he crowed.

Pugsley started to talk to people next to him, who all immediately turned and passed his message on.

“You are in trouble, young Miss, and don’t think your age will save you!”

“I hardly think it’s a problem,” Harry said with a completely out-of-character supercilious sneer, “you’ve not got the evidence to do anything, and besides, as soon as her father gets here, he’ll own the Ministry by the time he’s finished.

“Face it, fat-boy, you’ve already lost and there’s nothing you can do about it.”

The message reached the Gryffindors, and a shocked look appeared on Molly’s face.  Ginny leaned over and started to whisper to her mother.

Molly nodded and sat back, glaring at Fudge.

“Oh, I have plenty of evidence,” Fudge retorted slyly.  “Including a survivor and several destroyed rooms in the Department of Mysteries.”

Harry affected an over-blown sneer; the expression was totally out of place on his face, but it looked like Fudge, the assistant and the Aurors believed it.

“Your survivor can’t even remember his own name,” Harry replied.  “You’ll have Wednesday in custody for less than a few hours before we get her out with an official apology for you.  And then, just for kicks, I’m gonna give an interview with every little secret we’ve found out about you.

“You’re going down pudgy, and you’re going to lose your mansion.”

Pugsley was trying to meet Severus’ eyes, so Snape looked at him, and then tried a tendril of Legilimency. 

“Don’t interfere, no matter what… don’t interfere, no matter what…”

Severus nodded, and whispered the message along the Professor’s table.

“You forget who you are dealing with,” Fudge said, his bowler had in his hands.  “I am still Minister, and my word goes.”

“Your word is useless,” Harry replied.  “And we’ll humiliate you later!”

“I am Minister!” Fudge screamed, going red.

“Bite me.”

“How dare you,” the assistant added, and moved forward to slap Harry.

Wednesday caught his arm, twisted it to lock it, and then smashed her hand into his elbow.  There was a vicious crack that echoed around the room, as Wednesday finished by kicking the assistant in the face, knocking him into unconsciousness.

“Attempted assault on a minor?” Harry sneered.  “Bad move, Fudgey.”

Fudge pulled out his wand, and pointed it at Wednesday.  “You make one word, and she’s dead,” he blustered.  “Grab him.”

The two Aurors ran forward and took a hold of Harry, who made some pitiful movements to try and get free.

“You,” Fudge screamed at the Dementor.  “Kiss her!”

“No!” Harry cried, as Wednesday swayed on her feet.

Dumbledore shot to his feet, but before he could say anything, he was hit by four silent stunners – from Ginny, Hermione, Pugsley, and Daphne.  He collapsed back into his chair silently.

“Not so tough now, are you,” Fudge crowed.  “Never forget that I am Minister, and that I am in charge.”  He kept his wand on Wednesday as he moved behind her.  “Move!”

Wednesday half stumbled in fear as she moved toward the gliding dementor.

“No!” Harry cried in desperation.

A lot of the students were looking at Pugsley, who slowly put his wand away, his face expressionless.

“Severus,” Minerva whispered.

“I don’t know what is going on,” he replied.  “They do; let it play out.  Harry left that knife there last night for a reason!”

Minerva swallowed and went quiet.

Ginny was practically sitting on her mother, keeping her from interfering.

“Watch,” Fudge yelled.  “Watch what happens when you cross the Minister.”

The pull of the Dementor started in earnest – some of the students started to moan.  The Dementor pulled back his hood as he leaned down.  There seemed to be a strange sucking effect, pulling Wednesday’s face toward it.

Harry was still struggling ineffectively.

The Dementor clamped its lips over Wednesday’s mouth.  Gasps of horror and disbelief echoed around the Hall.

Only something strange happened. 

Wednesday’s necklace, the inverted silver cross, started to glow.  At the same time, her right hand went behind her back, and pulled out the knife Harry had given her for Christmas the year before.  She twirled it in her fingers, before jamming it into the Dementor’s chest.

The Dementor broke the Kiss, and its head flew back as it screamed.  Wednesday pulled her hand back and rammed it forward again.

The Dementor wailed loudly, before it collapsed to the floor.

Wednesday kicked it firmly, before she turned to face Harry.  “See,” she said, “I can kill them!”  Her expression slowly changed, to one of abject revulsion as she wiped her lips with her sleeve, “Ewww, gross!”

Harry was standing still; the two Aurors who had been holding him were unconscious – or dead – on the floor.

Fudge was staring at them in shock and horror.

“Cornelius Fudge,” Harry said, his supercilious act completely gone.  “You are an enemy of the Addams.  The rest of your short life will be spent in torment.”

“All right,” Marcus cheered.

“You can’t,” Fudge shouted, “I’m the Minister.  She should be soul-less!”

Harry’s expression didn’t change.  “You attempted to murder my intended.  The punishment is death.  You may go.”

Marcus vanished from where he was sat, and appeared next to Fudge – his fangs out, who took one look at him, squealed, and fainted.

“Harry,” Severus called, “how did you know the necklace would save Wednesday?”

Harry moved over to Wednesday, and conjured a handkerchief.  With incredible tenderness he cleaned her face.

“I didn’t,” he replied.  “I was as surprised as you were when it kicked in.”

“Then how…” Severus asked.

Wednesday looked at him.  “You know the answer.  Hermione told you the story.”

Severus frowned in thought.  Part of a conversation flew through his mind.

“I want your soul, Wednesday, and I want you to give it to me.”

“It’s mine, though.”

“Not any more. I’ll take it for safe keeping, and store it with my own.”

He collapsed back and shook his head in absolute amazement.

Wednesday smiled her brief little smile.

“Harry,” Marcus called, he was now by the door.

Harry turned.

“The Dementors are coming.”

“How many?” Harry asked.

Marcus smiled slightly.  “All of them.”

In times past, everyone would have looked toward Albus for leadership.  Not in this time.  Everyone, with the sole exception of Albus, looked toward Harry and Wednesday.

“Expecto Patronum,” Harry and Wednesday called.  Wednesday’s Nundu shot out of her wand like it had exploded from a canon, and ran straight outside.

Harry’s Patronus, a giant dragon, seemed to hover in the air for a second, its wings spread wide, before it flew straight up through the ceiling.

As everyone watched, Harry turned to Wednesday and gently raised his right hand, holding her chin so that she was looking into his eyes.

Everyone looked at Pugsley, who tilted his head, before he suddenly started to beam excitedly.  “Please, please,” he whispered, almost vibrating.

“What?” Hermione asked, barely audibly.

“I think he’s removing her blocks!”

“Blocks?” Hermione asked.

“Why are you whispering?” Marcus asked.  “Those two are so deep you could drain a fish-wife in front of them and they wouldn’t notice.”

“What’s going on?” Ginny asked.

“A few years ago, Wends got a little trigger happy…” Pugsley started.

“A little trigger happy?” Marcus demanded.  “She broke my left leg, both my arms and my nose!”

“You’re a vampire, you don’t count,” Pugsley retorted with a grin.  “Anyway, they agreed that Harry would put some blocks on her, and in return, he’d make sure that she was looked after.

“He’s removing those blocks.”

Harry stepped back slightly, his hands dropping to his sides, before he reached up and slowly undid Wednesday’s robes.  With a sort of ritual calmness, he moved behind her and helped her out of them.  He placed them neatly on the floor, and moved around to her front again.

Wednesday held out her hands to the side as Harry undid the buttons of her shirt.  As before, he moved around and helped her out of the shirt, leaving her in a white camisole.

A lot of the boys were now paying extremely close attention.

Harry pulled out his wand and stepped back, and to the disappointment of more of the students than expected, he transfigured her skirt and camisole into a short, simple form-fitting dress.  Underneath the skirt, a pair of skin-tight shorts peeked out of the bottom.

Wednesday moved her hands out to the side again, as Harry pulled his wand out.  He whispered something under his breath, and his hands started to glow.  With his wand back in his pocket, he placed his hands on Wednesday’s left shoulder, and drew them down her arm.

As he moved, Wednesday’s arm glowed the same golden colour, before it faded.

Harry repeated the action on her right arm, before he ran his hands down her side, and then her front.

He knelt on one knee, and slid his hands under her dress, running his hands down each of her legs.  Still kneeling, he grabbed his wand and transfigured her shoes into hiking boots.

He stood and stepped in, doing her back.  Wednesday hefted her knife in her left hand, before she threw it, high into the air.

The knife twisted in the air, seeming to hover for a second, before gravity took its course and it fell down.

With her eyes firmly on Harry, she held out her arm, and allowed the sharp blade of the knife to land on it.

There was a small chinking sound, and the knife bounced off.

Harry’s right hand flew out, and he caught the knife, handing it back to her.

Wednesday’s face was the most alive Snape had seen it, like Pugsley, she was practically vibrating with excitement.

Severus smiled slightly, when he was a boy, he had read stories about how the fair maiden would help the hero with his armour, before he went out to battle.  The ritual before them was the same thing, with a twist.  Harry was preparing Wednesday for a fight.

Exactly why, he wasn’t sure, with over a thousand people capable of the Patronus spell on hand, they could easily deal with the Dementors.

Harry turned and walked toward the doors.  They opened before him, as Wednesday bounced along behind him.

There was a pause, before Pugsley and Marcus managed to beat everyone else out of the Hall, as all the students followed them.

Snape grumbled to himself as he had to wait to get out on to the front of the school.  When he did, and pushed to the front, Harry and Wednesday were standing on their own, watching the Dementors – who had stopped a few hundred metres away and were milling around.

Harry’s Patronus had forced the floating Dementor’s down to the ground, and Wednesday’s was corralling them.

“Wednesday,” Harry said.  He waved his wand, and a box appeared in his hand.  He opened it, and withdrew a sword.  He offered it to Wednesday, who drew the slightly curved blade from its scabbard.

“Yes, my love?”

“Kill them – kill them all.” 

Wednesday handed Harry her wand.  He held it in his left hand, and started to direct the two Patronuses.

Wednesday started to lope toward the Dementors.  They turned to face her, their arms out, beckoning her closer.

She jumped as she arrived, catching the first Dementor in the face.  As it fell to the ground, she stabbed it with her knife.

The Dementor wailed, before it went still.

Wednesday smiled.

There was a pause.

And she attacked again.  Like a whirling dervish, she tore through the Dementors, her hands and feet almost as deadly as her two flashing blades.  Dementors fell before her and to the side as she jumped and span.

Three of them caught her, dragging her to the floor, but they exploded into the air a second later.  Harry smiled faintly and directed his dragon.  It opened its mouth and bit the first Dementor in half.

Wednesday caught the other two with her sword as they landed, decapitating one, and splitting the other in twain.

“Beautiful and deadly,” Remus said softly.  “Such grace combined with such ability to kill.”

“Makes you glad she’s on our side,” Severus said back with a small smirk.

“She’s not, not really.”

“On our side?” Severus asked.

“Yeah.  She’s on Harry’s side.  It’s not much of a difference, but she will be his clan-enforcer.  Harry would never touch one of us, but she would, if it was needed.”

“I dunno,” Marcus said – Snape hadn’t heard him arrive – “family and the clan mean everything to her, I think.  The people who would get her attention that way wouldn’t be worthy of being in the clan.”

The dark-haired girl launched a crescent kick that knocked one Dementor onto its back, while stabbing out with her knife.  She reversed her sword and stabbed it backward, catching one of them who was trying to grab her from behind.

“Hmm,” Marcus said.  “Harry, can I borrow one of them?”

He nodded.

Marcus blurred and appeared in front of a Dementor.  It turned to face him, and he twisted, jumping half way through and launching his foot out.  The Dementor flew back into its fellows, and Marcus returned.

“They’re strong,” he said calmly.  “Close to Vampire or Werewolf strength.  If I’d hit a human like that, they’d be in two pieces.  So, Remus, how come you think they can’t be killed?”

“Erm, human arrogance?” he suggested.  “The fact that normal people can’t get close to them because of their soul-sucking affect?”

Marcus nodded.  “I wonder if she’s had her fun yet.  If you’ll excuse me…”  He walked over to Harry.

“Clan leader, may I join in.”

Harry didn’t take his eyes from Wednesday.  “Yes,” he eventually decided.

“Woo hoo!” Marcus shouted, and blurred.  His progress through the Dementors was marked by an explosion of black cloaks.

“Harry,” Pugsley called.  The boy was sitting on his pet canon.

“Where does he keep that?” Remus muttered.

Harry took a step to one side so that he could keep an eye on Wednesday. 

“Daph had an idea,” he continued.  “Hermione, Ginny, Fred and George helped work it out.  He pointed to his feet, where there were four glowing cannon-balls.  “Patronus cannon balls,” he explained.

“Go for it”

“Alright!” Pugsley cheered as he jumped off the canon. 

He picked up one of the balls and shoved it down the front of the canon.  He touched his wand to the wick, and it started to sizzle. 

“Fire in the hole!” Harry yelled.

Wednesday didn’t stop moving, as Pugsley’s canon boomed.  The ball shot through several Dementors, killing them instantly.

“Pugsley,” Harry called.

“Yes, clan leader?”

“You need shrapnel.”

“I love him,” Pugsley said to the others.  “Ideas?”

The students gathered around the remaining canon balls.

Wednesday was still flowing from one movement to the next, a wide and happy smile on her face.  Marcus was in full flow as well, and the Dementors on the floor seemed to be about half of the total.

“I keep expecting her to start singing,” Remus mumbled.

“Kingsley’s here, with Amelia,” Snape said, as he watched the two, accompanied by a whole squad of Aurors staring in disbelief.

“Amelia Bones?” Remus asked.

“Head of Law Enforcement.  If you’ll excuse me.”  He started to jog over to her, being sure not to get between Harry and his control of the two Patronus.

“Sev,” Kingsley said.  “You normally know what’s going on.”

Severus smiled faintly.

“What happened to Fudge?  Why is Wednesday killing all the Dementors?  How is Wednesday killing said soul-suckers?  Where’s Dumbledore?  Did Harry talk to Marcus about letting me borrow him?  Oh, and did you have to destroy all those pretty baubles last night?”

“Which order would you like the answers?” Snape asked dryly.

“Any, as long as we get something,” Amelia replied sternly.

“Well, Fudge turned up this morning, rather upset that we killed Lucius last night.  Harry pointed out that Lucius was a Death Eater, and taunted Fudge a few times.  Fudge’s assistant tried to hit Harry – Wednesday objected strenuously, Fudge objected to the objection, and ordered Wednesday kissed.”

Amelia hissed.  “I don’t even know where to start with that.  Killing Death Eaters is not actually illegal at the moment.  Killing a member of an illegal terrorist organisation is still rewarded with a thousand galleons.  Fudge does not have the power to unilaterally order someone’s death!”

“I note,” Kingsley said, “that Wednesday still appears to have her soul, as well as a really bad attitude about Dementors.”

“Well, it seems that Harry wanted this reaction from Fudge, and they let Wednesday be kissed.  While she was being kissed, Wednesday stabbed it with her knife a few times, and then pointed out that it could be killed.  If you can ignore the effect they have on you, and the fact that they’re about as strong as Vampire or Werewolf, then they can be killed like any other creature.”

“Wednesday, Marcus,” Harry roared.  “Hit the deck!”

In them middle of the Dementors, Wednesday dived forward.  There was another boom from Pugsley’s canon, but this time, the canon ball exploded, sending glowing white shards everywhere, cutting down and wounding many more than last time.

Wednesday jumped to her feet, the sword whirling as she stabbed three more Dementors in quick succession.

“Anyway,” Severus continued, “Harry did something to two of your Aurors, he objects to being touched, doubly so when someone is trying to kill his intended, and then he sentenced Fudge to death by making him an enemy of the clan.

“Albus, I think he’s still in the Great Hall, we all came out to watch the show.”

“Down!”

Pugsley’s canon boomed again, with a similar effect to last time.

“No, I don’t think Harry’s talked to Marcus yet – and Marcus is a bit busy killing Dementors at the moment.

“And as for your baubles, that was Bellatrix, not us.”

“What were you doing there?” Amelia asked.

“There was a prophecy that Harry wanted to know the contents of.  Dumbledore seemed to deem it important.”

“Was it?”

“Not really, it just said that Harry had to kill Voldemort – something he seemed to already know.”

Amelia shook her head.  “We’re here to arrest Fudge,” she said.  “And to try and find where all the Dementors went.  Not that it matters.  We know the Addams clan got to Umbridge, but we don’t know how, and I suspect we won’t have a Dementor problem to worry about shortly.” 

She looked at the carnage Wednesday was creating, and smiled faintly.  “Which is a good thing,” she added.  “We’ll talk about your adventures last night at a later date.”

“And I want a word with my colleagues,” Kingsley added.  “We don’t appreciate ad-hoc justice.  Do you think Harry would ask Wednesday to stop killing them?”

“No,” Snape replied, and then turned as something caught his attention.

“Harry,” a group of students, led by Penelope approached the dark-haired wizard.  “Can we try a spell on them?  Percy remembered reading about it, and fetched the spell from the library.  We’ve all played with it a little, so we can cast it together using those power-sharing spells you taught us the Patronus with.  It won’t hurt Wednesday, although we don’t know about Marcus.”

“Marcus, fall back,” Harry roared.

“Kingsley,” Marcus said as he appeared in front of them, his cloak in tatters.  “You look like a man who knows a good tailor.  I’m in need of a new cloak.”

“I do,” Kingsley agreed.  “This is my boss, Amelia.”

“Charmed,” Marcus said with a flourishing bow.

“Wednesday, close your eyes,” Harry shouted.

“Expecto Illumini!” a group of Seventh year students called.

A burst of pure white light swept the field, and when it vanished, over half of the remaining Dementors were on the floor.  It only left around thirty, who were still mindlessly closing in on Wednesday.

“If you’ll excuse me,” Marcus said, “I’ve not had a fight like this in … well, ever!”

The students who had cast the spell were on their knees, breathing heavily.

Pugsley, Hermione, Ginny and Daphne had been joined by all the Weasleys, and they were all sitting on the grass, watching and talking.

“Kingsley, if you were ordered to arrest Wednesday or Harry, what would you do?” Amelia asked.

“I’d get right on it,” Kingsley said blandly.  “And I’d even ask them nicely to come with me.”

“And if they said no?”

“I’d quite definitely tell you that and let you handle it, while I reported in sick.”

Amelia chuckled.  “I can’t see any Auror with intelligence deliberately try and antagonise a girl who can do that.”

“Damn right,” Kingsley agreed.  “And never mind Marcus helping us train; I’ll ask her.”

“Can Harry fight like that?” Amelia asked.

“Wouldn’t we like to know?” Snape muttered rhetorically to himself.  “We don’t know.”

With one final keening wail, the last Dementor fell.

Wednesday stood in the middle, surrounded by dead creatures.  In one hand, her sword dripped black ichor, in her other, her knife gleaming brightly.

Her long hair was wild around her face, and her eyes glowed with power and happiness.

She flicked her hands, and both weapons vanished.  She ran her fingers through her long and loose hair, before she bounced over to Harry.

“Proud of me?” she asked.

Harry moved toward her, catching her as she jumped at him and wrapped her legs around his waist.

“More than you can believe,” he said solemnly.

“Tired now,” she announced.

“I know, my love.  I know.”

The two Patronuses faded from view, and Marcus walked around the field, checking that the Dementors were dead.

“Everyone inside,” Harry ordered.  He slid Wednesday around so that he had an arm under her knees and his other around her shoulders, and carried her into Hogwarts.

“Did he mean us as well?” Amelia asked.

Severus paused, and looked at Kingsley who had also started to walk.  “Yes, he did.”

“Thought so,” Amelia muttered, and motioned to the Aurors.  They traipsed in after the students.

In the Great Hall, Albus was sat in his position at the Great Hall, an extremely thoughtful look on his face.

The children retook their seats at each of the house tables, around the new circular space.

Kingsley moved forward and checked the two Aurors.  “Thanks,” he said to Harry.  “They’ll learn or no longer be Aurors.”

Harry nodded. 

Amelia Bones walked over to the unconscious Fudge, but before she could say anything, a familiar tune started from the side of the Great Hall.

Harry tensed for a second, before he turned.  “Kingsley, Severus, with the exception of Pugsley, Wednesday and me, put everyone under the age of nineteen to sleep,” he whispered.

Kingsley blinked.

“I think we can do it in one spell,” Snape said to the Auror.  “If Amelia will help.”

Amelia had gone completely white.  She beckoned the other Aurors closer, and ordered them to help put the students to sleep. 

“On three,” Severus said, “One, two… three!”

Around the Hall, the students fell asleep.  Wednesday cast a spell to catch Daphne and Hermione as Pugsley caught Ginny.  They floated the three to one side.

“What is going on?” Albus demanded.

Amelia turned to her Aurors.  “All of you get out of this circle.  Do not react, no matter what happens.  That is an order, understood?”

“Amelia?” Kingsley asked in shock.

“She’s a wise woman,” Marcus said.  “I’m going to go hide.”

Kingsley gulped and followed the Aurors out. 

The remaining professors hurried to their seats.

A solemn bell tolled, and part of the Hall descended into darkness.

From the impenetrable darkness a familiar figure appeared.

The Aurors raised their wands.

“Put your wands down, you idiots,” Amelia hissed.

Harry put Wednesday down, and they both knelt down on one knee.

Pugsley moved near Marcus, who put an arm around him.

“Hogwarts,” Pinhead said as he looked around incuriously.

Wednesday and Harry didn’t move.

“Stand,” Pinhead ordered.

They stood and looked at him calmly.

As he had before, Pinhead started to pace around them.  “You have completed your task,” he announced.  “Congratulations.”

“Our thanks,” Harry replied formally.

Pinhead stopped as he stared at the unconscious form of the Minister of Magic.  “Awake.”

Fudge slowly started to move, before he shook his head and climbed to his feet.  He spotted Harry and Wednesday.

“You assaulted me,” the Minister shouted.  “You’ll suffer for this!”

“Suffer?” Pinhead asked.

Fudge sneered as he turned to the voice, before he paled dramatically.  He fell on his behind, and started to scramble away.

A single chain flew out of the darkness and rushed past Fudge’s left ear, before it smashed into the floor.

Cornelius froze.

“What do you know of suffering?” Pinhead demanded.  “What do you know of pain and sacrifice?”

Fudge didn’t seem to be able to reply.

“An eternity ago, I was a distant cousin to those that you threaten, like a small child threatening a dragon.  In your ignorance and arrogance you assume power you do not possess. 

“By ancient Compact, I can cause no harm to you humans, unless summoned.  I was not summoned.”

Fudge started to look relieved.

“And yet,” Pinhead continued, “all Compact’s have loopholes.  You are an enemy of the Addams.  I claim kinship to the Addams.  Shall we see if that is enough?”

Fudge shook his head negatively, hard.

Pinhead smirked.  Four chains rushed out of the darkness.  Fudge screamed in agony as they ripped into his body.  They lifted him in to the air.

“Stop,” Dumbledore ordered.

Harry and Wednesday moved, each turning and firing a curse at the Headmaster.  Albus tried to shield from both – and succeeded, but could do nothing about Marcus punching him in the back of the head.

“Pity,” Pinhead murmured.  “Attacking me is another loophole.”  He lowered the chains so that Fudge was eye to eye to him.  “I’ll see you later,” he promised, and the Minister of Magic vanished into the darkness.  His scream echoed around the corner before it was cut off with a devastating finality.

As if nothing had happened, Pinhead continued his circling of Harry and Wednesday.  “Our deal is done,” he announced.  “I release my claims to you in return for those that escaped my dominion.”

“The souls they stole?” Harry asked.

“Some have stayed; others have gone to their rightful destination.  The choice was theirs, as it should have been from the start.”

“Our thanks.”

“It was the deal,” Pinhead said, waving his hand.  In it, a small, intricately patterned silver box appeared.  He gave it to Harry.  “You have given me another gift today, and will soon complete the original gift.  You may call on me.”

Harry and Wednesday kneeled in front of him again, their heads bowed.

Pinhead stopped in front of them.  A slow smile appeared on his face, it was a smile of mockery and cynicism; not aimed at the children before him, but aimed at others. 

He moved his hands slowly, in the form of an inverted cross.  “My blessing; may the light and the dark show you the way to your goals.”

Harry and Wednesday glowed briefly, and Pinhead turned and walked away.

“Pinhead,” Harry called. 

Pinhead paused and turned.

Harry held out Wednesday’s necklace.

Pinhead smiled faintly.  “It has more properties than keeping a soul,” he said.  “And it was a gift; one should never rescind a gift.”

The darkness vanished with him, as the music stopped.

One of the Aurors turned and vomited.

Wednesday moved into Harry’s embrace, as Harry put the cube Pinhead had left into his pocket.

“He is not a myth then,” Amelia said softly.

“No, the Dark Pope is not a myth,” Harry agreed formally.

“Harry,” Albus started.

“Shut the hell up, Albus,” Amelia ordered without looking away from Harry and Wednesday.  “I am…”

“Amelia Bones, head of Magical Law Enforcement, and one of the few competent officials in the Ministry.”

“I was also a member of the Department of Mysteries for far too many years, which is where I heard rumours about Pinhead.”  Amelia conjured a two person sofa and a single chair for herself.  “You look like you’re about to collapse.”

Harry sat with Wednesday, who sat over his lap, her head on his shoulder.  “Controlling two Patronuses is difficult, and obviously, Wednesday was a little busy.”

Amelia nodded.  “May I ask how you met him?”

“When Voldemort tried to kill me, he left behind a fragment of his soul inside me.  Morticia found a way to remove it without killing me, but it sent us on a journey.  Part of that journey sent us to the Dark Pope’s domain.  He was still quite new back then, and had still recognised the name of Captain Spenser. 

“After a few years in his company and his control, we managed to negotiate our freedom, calling on the bonds of family.  In return for his escaped souls – the Dementors – we would have our freedom.”

Amelia nodded slowly.  “You spent a few years with him?”

Harry nodded, as Wednesday curled up tighter against him.  “They are not memories we enjoy.”

“How did you keep your sanity?”

“Some would say we didn’t,” Harry replied.

Amelia smiled.  “My niece has given me many reports on you.”

“Susan,” Harry said.  “A competent and open-minded witch.  She is a credit to the Hufflepuff house.”

Amelia inclined her head.  “Thank you.  I believe that we will say that Fudge has vanished.”

“Which is the truth,” Harry agreed.

“As for last night,” Amelia said slowly, “we have enough dead Death Eaters to blame the whole thing on them.  This I will do, on one condition.  That next time you want some information, try asking first.”

“We did.”

Amelia turned and glared at Dumbledore.  “I promise I will answer any question you have.”

Harry nodded slowly.  “We will ask you first, next time.”

Amelia smiled at him.  “Well, our business here is done.  I have prison guards to hire, and some Aurors to counsel.  It was nice meeting you, Harry, Wednesday.”

“Likewise,” Harry replied.  He stood, lifting Wednesday as he did, and looked at the Professors.  “Sev, Pugs, Marcus, stay and answer the questions, then wake the kids.”

“Yes, clan leader,” Pugsley replied.

Harry walked out with Wednesday.  They were soon followed by Amelia, the Aurors (including the two under arrest and Fudge’s still unconscious assistant).

“If you think that we’re standing here and answering you like it’s some sort of review board, you’re wrong,” Severus stated firmly.  “If you want answers you can come and sit on our level.”

He created several seats for himself, Pugsley and Marcus, and waited.

Minerva was the first person on the floor, and she conjured an arm chair for herself.  The other professors soon followed, including Albus.

Molly moved over from the Gryffindor table.  She had tear tracks running down her cheeks, and a strange look in her eyes.  Severus winced internally, he hadn’t realised she had seen all of that.

Pugsley moved over and hugged her.  She hugged him back tightly.  When she had regained her self control, she released him and tousled his hair.  “Thanks, Pugs.”

He grinned at her and retook his seat.

“Questions?” Severus asked.

“Is it true?” Molly asked.  “That they spent years with… with that!”

“Yeah,” Pugsley said.  “We knew something happened, but not that they’d visited him!”

“Who was he?” Minerva asked.

“A demon,” Pugsley said with a shrug.  “Or rather, a human who became a demon.  Mom and Dad know more about him, but basically he’s the one who taught them the advanced lessons on pain and pleasure being interchangeable.  It’s something that I’ve always known, just not to their level.  Like in the first year, when we walked through Sev’s magical fire.  It didn’t bother them at all – me, I thought it bloody awful.  Having seen him though, I’m quite glad I’ve not been through it.”

“He’s powerful then?” Minerva asked.

“Minnie,” Marcus said, shaking his head.  “If Albus hadn’t been stopped you’d be looking for a new Headmaster about now.  He’s the Black Pope, he rules Hell.”

Albus frowned.  “And what was he doing in my school.”

“Are you sure it’s not time for him to retire?” Marcus asked Severus. 

Severus smiled faintly.

“That is a good point,” Molly said.  “If even I can change, why exactly are you not doing so?”

Albus looked surprised as he looked at the Weasley Matriarch.

“You seem determined to treat them as normal students, when they are clearly not!”

“They are still children!”

“Bollocks,” Molly said, to the complete shock of some people.  “Is your hearing going?”

“My hearing is fine,” Albus replied icily.

“Then you heard them say that they spent years in Hell?”

Albus nodded.

“And that was part of their journey,” she continued.

He nodded again.

“Then they are not children!”

“Actually,” Marcus added cheerfully, “from what I’ve gleaned from listening to them talk over the past few years, I reckon they’re around twenty-two.”

Everyone turned to stare at the vampire.

“Which sucks for them, because they’re going through puberty as adults – not something that I think anyone would wish to experience.”

“Quite,” Pomona muttered.

“I think, Albus, that I will give you next year to improve,” Molly said firmly.  “If not, then I will be speaking to the Governors about requesting your retirement, and I will not be the only parent doing so.”

“Indeed,” Pugsley said softly.  He sat up straighter.  “On behalf of the Addams, I state that we will follow Molly Weasley’s lead in this matter.”

Molly looked surprised, before she smiled at Pugsley.  “Thank you.”

Pugsley grinned at her and slumped back down.

“I will try,” Albus said with a long sigh.

“Do so,” Molly said.  “Now, I suggest that we wake the children and tell them a version of the truth.”

“Like what, Molly?”

“That they were put to sleep for their own good and that Fudge has gone missing.”

Pugsley nodded.  “I can get them to accept that.”

“Really?” Minerva asked doubtfully.  “I’ve found that avoiding telling the truth like that only leads to more questions.”

“Yeah, I can.”  He looked at the teachers.  “And if any of you need to talk about what you’ve seen today, I’ll ask Harry nicely for you.”

“Thank you, Pugsley,” Molly said.  “I have seen something today I can scarcely believe, but in a way, I have found it reassuring.”

“Molly?” Minerva asked.

Molly smiled faintly.  “Do you really think that Voldemort is going to be much of a threat to two people who have lived through years with the Dark Pope of Hell?”

“Tomorrow, that may console me,” Minerva said softly.  “Tonight, I will be requesting Dreamless Sleep potion.”

There was a general murmur of assent.

Pugsley stood and stretched.  “Still, it doesn’t take away from the best thing that happened today.  We got to see Wednesday go all out!”

“She was amazing,” Molly agreed.  “So graceful and so deadly.”

“She’s been training all her life,” Pugsley said proudly.

“As has Harry,” Marcus added dourly.

“Marcus?” Remus asked hopefully.

“I’m under a bloody spell,” he groused.  “And they’ve got me using that word as well!  As soon as the training finishes, I forget if Harry participated or if he just sat there.”

“Excuse me?” Molly asked.

“Long running argument,” Pugsley said.  “They don’t know if Harry can actually fight and is as powerful as Wednesday or if he is just a gifted leader who gets us to do what is needed.”

“He’s powerful,” Minerva said, “we’ve all felt his magic when he’s angry.”

“The swirling thingy he does?” Pugsley asked.

“Exactly, like last year, the morning after Dolores Umbridge marked Wednesday,” Minerva said, offering an example.

“Oh, yeah,” Pugsley said.  “He did radiate power then.”

“Really?” Marcus asked eagerly.

“Of course, you can mimic that effect with a spell,” he added with a grin.

“What!”

“Yeah.”  Pugsley pulled out his wand and cast a spell.  He started to radiate a deep and intense magic that swirled around him.  He cancelled the spell and grinned.  “Fun, isn’t it.  Of course, I dunno if Harry used it or not.”

As one, every teacher turned to look at Dumbledore, who blushed and looked down.

“Anyway,” Pugsley said, “let’s wake everyone up and I’ll do the explaining.”

“Pugsley?” Minerva asked.

“Trust me,” he said.

Snape stood and vanished his chair.  “Min, will you help me with the waking spell?”

“Of course.”

The professors all stood and removed their chairs, and re-took their seats.  Together, Minerva and Severus woke the children, before retaking their seats, leaving Pugsley in the middle.

As it was a magically induced sleep, everyone woke pretty much instantly.

“What the hell?” Ron was the first to ask.

“Language, Ronald,” Molly snapped.

“Sorry, Mum.”

Pugsley smiled slightly.  “As you’ve no doubt all noticed, Madame Bones and the Aurors have vanished, as has the Minister, the two other Aurors and that stupid assistant.  And you’re now wondering exactly why you were put asleep to miss the cool stuff, right?”

There was a lot of nodding.

“Well, basically the only person who I have ever seen scare Mom and Dad popped in to have a talk with Harry and Wednesday.  If you look at the faces of your professors, you’ll understand just how bad it was.  Harry ordered you to be put asleep so that you wouldn’t have nightmares about it.

“Hermione, Ginny, you actually met him last summer, he is the one you saw when the Dementors came near you.”

“Oh, crap,” Ginny whispered, going white.  Molly didn’t say anything about her child’s language this time.

“Dad helped you hide the memories so that you’ll never access them again.”

“Thank Merlin,” Hermione said devoutly.  “I have never been as scared as when I felt like I remembered him.”

“Yeah, me neither,” Pugsley said.  “I’d strongly advise not trying to find out what happened, and if you do, don’t expect any of us to help you.  You make your own decisions.  As for me.”  He took a deep breath.  “I’m going to go and cry on Harry and Wednesday’s shoulder, then take some sleep potion, and dream about my sister beating the crap out of all those Dementors and try and forget what just happened!”

He walked out slowly, and was quickly surrounded by Hermione and Ginny, with Daphne walking behind them.

“It’s been an interesting morning,” Severus said as he walked into the middle where Pugsley had been standing.  “Some of our long-held beliefs have been challenged, and your Head of Houses will be happy to talk to any of you about what has happened today.

“Lessons are cancelled; please go to your Common Rooms.”



The rest of the school year was back to normal.  Rumours spread about what had happened when the children were asleep.  None of them came close.

Some of the students wanted to try and find out what had happened, but that quickly failed, as most people took Pugsley’s words to heart.

Daphne accepted the price that Wednesday demanded.  Snape never asked what it was, nor did he care.  Daphne was happier than he remembered, as she was now part of the group.  The group dynamics had changed slightly with her addition.

Harry and Wednesday were still connected to Pugsley first and foremost; he was their first lieutenant, joined by blood as well as belief.  Hermione was connected to Pugsley and Harry and Wednesday in equal amounts, while Ginny was still mainly connected to Pugsley.

Daphne was connected directly to Harry and Wednesday, but not as closely as Pugsley.

Severus himself was connected in a similar way, but he suspected they had already decided his long term role, they just hadn’t told him yet.  He was in the same orbit as Remus and Marcus, and probably Sirius Black.

And as Black was definitely back, he had prepared a few (hundred) pranks.  Just in case.

Harry and Wednesday had appeared back in school a few days after the End of the Dementors. And it was with tentative smiles, although no thawing of attitudes.

The press had gone completely nuts over what had happened, and were calling for Harry and Wednesday to receive the Order of Merlin.  The search for Fudge was half-hearted, until Amelia announced that he had been found, drowned in a small puddle of magical sand.

No one seemed surprised.

The lack of Dementors was treated as an excuse for a party, and the hunt for Fudge’s successor began.

It was only when Sirius Black was decreed innocent, and turned up at several high-profile parties, that Severus began to dread the unfounded idea of what the Addams Family might have in store for Black.

As always, there was time for him to receive his instructions before the end of the school year.



He looked up as there was a knock on his door.  “Come.”

Harry and Wednesday walked in and sat opposite his desk.  Their whole demeanour screamed ‘formal’.

“Drink?”

“No, thank you,” Harry replied.

“What can I do for you?”

“Remus will not be coming back next year,” Harry announced.  “We need him with Sirius.”

Snape nodded slowly.

“Marcus will still be floating around.”

“And me?”

“After your holiday, sort out your personal life.  We will expect you at the Mansion within three works, with Narcissa.  The end game is close at hand, and we will be prepared.”

“Okay.”  He recognised an order when one was given to him.

Harry relaxed, and Wednesday smiled faintly.  “We’ll have that drink now.”

Severus smiled and pulled out his bottle of Fire Whiskey.  He poured three glasses and handed two to his guests. 

He suspected that he had switched roles now, and no longer was he working for them, he was now their confidant.

“You’ve been happier recently.”

“Severus,” Wednesday chided lightly.  “That’s an observation, not a question.”

He raised his glass to her in a mock salute.  “So, why are you two suddenly doing the facial equivalent of the can-can in the Great Hall while half-naked and covered in whipped cream?”

Wednesday suddenly paled causing Harry to look at her.

“I just got the image of Dumbledore and Professor McGonagall doing all that.”

Severus shuddered.  “Okay, bad analogy,” he agreed.  “Let us never mention it again.  But my question stands.  I’ve seen actual smiles and even the odd frown.”

“We’re free,” Harry said softly.

“Ahh, from Pinhead?”

Harry nodded.  “We’ve lived for four years knowing that if we couldn’t find a way to kill the Dementors we’d end up back with him.”

“Which you don’t want?”

“No.”

“When he came to your birthday, you didn’t seem that worried.”

Wednesday smiled a sad little smile.  “When you’ve felt your muscles be cut away from your bones with barbed wire, and had every one of your vertebrae shattered one after the other by someone’s fist, and felt pain that makes the Cruciatus feel like a stubbed toe.  When you’ve screamed so hard that your vocal chords have snapped, and when you can no longer tell the difference between what feels good and what feels bad, then you will be within a distance of what we experienced at his, and his disciples’ hand.”

Harry gently took Wednesday’s hand.  “I’ve seen what the Death Eaters have done, and they are rank amateurs compared to true connoisseurs of experience.”

Wednesday nodded in agreement.  “They have no idea what true pain is, or what true pleasure is.  They are contemptible.  When we came back from his domain, I wasn’t quite here.”

“Sure you were,” Harry said.

She smiled softly at him.  “I wasn’t,” she said softly.  “Like Harry said, I was broken; I couldn’t handle the thought of going back.”

“Neither could I.  It was too much for us.”

The two of them went silent for a few minutes.

“So what changed?”

Wednesday smiled at Harry again.  “Harry did.  He is the strongest person I have ever met, and I always knew the only man for me would be the one stronger than Dad.”

Harry blushed faintly.

“One morning, before I put my mask on, he looked me in the eye, and told me that this was ridiculous.”

Harry’s blush faded.

“And I’ll never forget the words he said next.  ‘If we go back, and if he takes us, then we will survive, we will learn, and then we will take over.  We will rule, not him.’”  Wednesday was looking at Harry with pride.  “And that was enough.” 

They stood and walked to the door. 

“I don’t understand,” he called after them.

Wednesday went through the door.  Harry paused and turned to look at him.

“It wasn’t the pain that we hated,” he whispered.

“It was being out of control.”

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Author Notes:

Thoughts on Hermione's character are in Year 4.

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