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Author Notes:

I wrote none of the songs in this chapter.

Chapter 45: Reap What You Sow

Leticia Halcyon had seldom been so confused in her life, and she didn’t like it.

She stood with Amelia Bones, Kingsley Shacklebolt, and two other Aurors, whom she vaguely recognized but couldn’t put names to, while Sirius Black and his wife held up a sheet screening off Remus Lupin and his wife from view, though they were allowing Andromeda Tonks to see what was behind it.

Let was just as happy. She had no wish to see a man transformed against his will. And she didn’t understand why the four prisoners were suddenly acting like everything was all right. A werewolf was a werewolf, whether his wife was awake or not.

But, still, if the reports she had read were correct, the four of them lived in the same house, raised children together, and had for several years. So if they thought there was no danger, maybe they were correct...

Healer Tonks began scribbling notes at a furious rate as, Let assumed, the moon made its way above the horizon, triggering the lycanthropic transformation. After a few moments, Black and Freeman-Black lowered the sheet to reveal Granger-Lupin kneeling on the floor, stroking the head of a grey wolf, which regarded them all with mildly amused blue eyes, as if to say, "What are you looking at?"

"Unbelievable," Bones said quietly. "Simply unbelievable."

Privately, Let agreed.

"Madam Bones?" Andromeda Tonks rose from her place against the wall. "May I have a word with you?"

"Of course. Shacklebolt, Williamson, Narpin, thank you, you’re dismissed. Halcyon, you too."

"No — if she could stay? She should hear what I have to say."

"All right."

The other Aurors departed, the smallest of them (now identified for Let as Narpin) casting an unbelieving glance over his shoulder as he went, with the consequence that he ran himself into the corner he was trying to turn, making Black snicker and Freeman-Black smile.

Tonks looked at Black, who nodded to her. "I’m afraid you moved these people together under false pretenses," she said. "The fact is, I wasn’t really a hostage. I agreed to play the part in order to get Mrs. Granger-Lupin to her husband in time for moonrise."

Bones looked like Let felt — stunned.

"I’m very sorry for deceiving you, I understand it might even be a criminal offense, but in all honesty, would you have moved them together if I’d just asked?"

Slowly, Bones shook her head.

"That’s what I thought. And the situation truly was desperate. If I’ve broken the law, I’ll be glad to take the punishment for it — I don’t want to get Sirius in any more trouble than he’s already in."

"You may be the only person in England who takes that stance," Black said dryly. "So thank you."

Bones looked from one of them to the other. "You knew what he was going to do?" she asked Tonks. "You agreed?"

"Yes, ma’am."

Bones looked back at Let and sighed. "None of this ever happened," she said. "I gave the authorization, at Healer Tonks’ and Auror Halcyon’s request, that these four people be housed in one cell for the night, for medical reasons. Clear?"

"Yes, ma’am," Let said thankfully as Tonks nodded.

"I’ll catch those other three before they can talk to reporters," Bones said, turning to go. "With any luck, we can keep this under wraps."

Let kept her mouth carefully closed as she watched the Head of her Department walk away.

"I wonder why she did that," said Granger-Lupin thoughtfully.

"She just doesn’t want to do the paperwork," Freeman-Black said positively, making the other three laugh. Even the werewolf made a barking sound that had the feeling of a laugh to it.

Tonks laughed as well. "I should get back to the hospital," she said regretfully. "I’ve overstayed my time, they’ll be wondering what’s keeping me..."

"As long as you don’t tell them it was me," Black said with a roguish grin that made him look like an oversized schoolboy.

"Don’t worry, I won’t. I’ll see you all tomorrow."

A round of "Good-bye" followed her down the corridor.

"Quote, it’s nice to know we’ll have one guaranteed fan in the audience," Granger-Lupin said.

"True enough," Black responded — looking at the werewolf.

Let pulled herself together and cleared her throat. No matter how strange this is, I still have my duties. "Dinner comes around six," she said. "Do any of you have... special... dietary needs?"

"No, Remus can eat whatever we do," Granger-Lupin answered. "We would like an extra mattress and a few more blankets and pillows, though, since we’ll all be sleeping in here."

"And a table," Freeman-Black added.

"A table?" Let repeated.

"Yes, table," Black said. "You eat on it, write on it, dance on it if you’re smashed enough."

The comment surprised a laugh out of Let as Freeman-Black shoved Black affectionately. "About six feet by six feet would be ideal," she said, "and it’s not necessary, but it would be very nice to have."

Let pulled out her wand and, concentrating hard, conjured a large wooden table in the middle of their cell.

"Oh, that’s perfect," Freeman-Black said. "Thank you, Auror..."


Freeman-Black smiled. "Auror Halcyon. Thank you."

I feel like a bloody stewardess, Let griped to herself as she shrank a mattress to hand-size in the next cell. This was not in the job description.

But she didn’t really mind. It made a nice change to have people in the holding cells who weren’t drunk or belligerent.

As she turned to leave the cell, a burst of sound made her jump.


Sun’ll come out tomorrow,

Betcher bottom —


There were smacking noises and protestations from the occupied cell. And giggling. A great deal of giggling.

Let had to remind herself firmly that Aurors were not supposed to get emotionally involved. It was difficult, when one was watching the man who was supposedly the worst criminal Azkaban had ever held, being beaten up by two women with pillows.

"I hate that song," Freeman-Black said firmly, in between thumping her husband. "And it was written for someone Neenie’s age. Which you are not. And for a girl, which you also are not."

"Ow — Merlin’s beard, Danger, get off, I can’t breathe — fine, fine, I won’t sing it any more."

"Good," Granger-Lupin said, getting off Black’s chest.

Well, not belligerent towards me, at any rate.

Let slid the mattress into the cell and restored it to full size, complete with blankets and pillows. "Excellent," Black said, shoving it under the table. "Thanks."

"Will you be needing anything else?" Let said, giving in to the temptation to use a perky flight-attendant voice.

"No, I don’t think so," Freeman-Black said.

"If we do, we’ll ring for you," Black added.

Let rolled her eyes. Just my luck, to run into a wizard who’s flown on a Muggle airplane.

A pillow flew across the cell and hit Black in the back of the head.

"Quote, don’t antagonize the lady with the wand," Granger-Lupin said sweetly.

Black picked up the pillow, which had teeth marks in one end. The werewolf, sitting on the bed, allowed its tongue to loll out in an excellent approximation of a grin.

Let decided to leave before anyone could see how close she was to laughing her head off.


Luna sat at the Weasleys’ secondhand piano, kept carefully tuned and lovingly polished, playing the accompaniment of a Christmas song. Ron added a soft beat on his hand drum, putting gentle syncopation into the music. Ginny stood beside them, waiting for her cue.

The music room floor had been cleared of furniture and the various assorted junk that hung around the Burrow. Meghan stood at one edge of the clear area, breathing with the beat, poised, ready.

Ginny began to sing.

O holy night, the stars are brightly shining,

It is the night of our dear Savior’s birth.

Meghan seemed to float across the floor. The other cubs, curled in a corner out of her way, watched almost reverently as their sister lost herself in her dance.

Long lay the world in sin and error pining

Till he appeared and the soul felt its worth.

Ginny’s good, Draco commented.

So’s Luna, Harry answered.

Hermione’s purr, which had been keeping time with the music, faltered ever so slightly. Ron’s all right, she said after a moment. But let’s watch Meghan.

A thrill of hope; the weary world rejoices,

For yonder breaks a new and glorious morn.

Ginny’s voice soared.

Fall on your knees;

Meghan sank gracefully to the floor, in perfect time.

Oh, hear the angel voices.

The little girl’s arms were uplifted, her face rapturous.

O night divine, O night when Christ was born,

Draco gave a slight yip of surprise. My paw feels funny, he said.

Mine too, Harry said, noticing a tingling sensation in his left front paw, which had actually been going on for quite some time.

Will you two be quiet? Hermione demanded.

O night, O holy night...

Ginny lingered for a long moment on the highest note in the piece, then came down to finish.

O night divine.

The cubs howled (in Harry and Draco’s cases) or yowled (Hermione) their appreciation.


"Can I call you back in five minutes? Thank you." Dorothy Boot came into her living room, flopped down in a chair, and sighed.

"What’s wrong, Mum?" asked her son Terry, looking up from his book.

"Oh, there’s a special session of court tomorrow, and they want me to come in and scribe for them," Dorothy said dejectedly. "They’ll pay me overtime, and heaven knows we need the money, but I hate leaving you here all by yourself on Christmas Eve."

"You could ask Gran to come and stay with me," Terry suggested. "Or I could come with you."

"Of course, Mum," Dorothy said, slapping herself on the forehead. "I’m so daft — thank you, little love, I’ll give her a call right away."

Terry waited until his mother was out of the room before making a face.

I should have just said "I could come with you." I shouldn’t have suggested Gran. Now I won’t get to go.

Unless Gran could take me...

"Mum?" Terry asked, meandering into the kitchen.

"Not now, I’m on the phone. Hello? Mum, it’s me. Yes, Happy Christmas, yes, I was going to call today or tomorrow, but I’ve got a bit of an emergency here. What? Yes, I can hold." Dorothy put her hand over the phone. "What is it, Terry?"

"Can Muggles use the Floo Network?"

"Well, not by themselves, but they can Floo with a wizard or witch, two at a time — why?"

"Just wondering," Terry said, nipping quickly back out of the room before his mother could wonder why he was wondering.

I can always get around Gran.

Now I’ll finally get to see what Mum does for a living.


Just as her shift was ending, Let heard a sound echoing down the corridors. It was a woman’s voice, singing.

Edelweiss, edelweiss,

Every morning you greet me,

Small and white, clean and bright,

You look happy to meet me.

A man’s voice took over.

Blossom of snow, may you bloom and grow,

Bloom and grow forever,

Edelweiss, edelweiss,

Bless my homeland forever.

They sang it again, this time together, sometimes in unison, sometimes in harmony.

God, that’s beautiful. There’s something about these people...

Let made up her mind to get to the trial the next day, if she possibly could.


When everyone was in bed that night (the animal-cubs had claimed the lower half of Meghan’s bed), Harry decided to have a look at his paw. He tugged at the bandage with his teeth until it came off.

That’s funny.

His paw pad was smooth and unmarked, as if it had never been cut.

He shrugged. It doesn’t matter. It’s actually a help. We’ll have enough to worry about tomorrow without having to think about hurt feet, hands, paws, whatever.

But we are going to save the Pack.

Because we have to.

There isn’t anybody else who can.


At the Leaky Cauldron, Tom looked up as a woman entered the pub, carrying a suitcase. "May I help you, ma’am?" he asked.

"I’d like a room for the night," she said with an accent. "And directions to Gringotts, please."


Sirius awakened from an unpleasant dream about his big cousin Bella and the time when he’d been seven that she’d managed to tie him up and stuff him into the linen closet. It had been two hours before anyone had found him. He’d never liked enclosed spaces much since then.

But this, I don’t mind. Contradictions, much?

The beds were made up with two flat sheets, rather than one flat and one fitted. Consequently, there were four sheets for the Pack to use in making their den for the night. Aletha had used two of them and the table to make a tent, giving the Pack some privacy for sleeping.

Which is even more welcome because of our sleeping attire.

Their arrests had been fairly hurried, so they hadn’t had time to pack changes of clothes. To save their robes for the trial, they were sleeping in their underwear.

And of all the days to wear the Christmas tree boxers...

At least they weren’t the ones with the little yellow duckies.

Aletha made her faint "but-I-don’t-want-to-wake-up" sound. Sirius looked at his watch.

Eight-forty-five. The trial starts at ten-thirty. We have time.

He spent a few moments studying the beautiful face before him, wishing he could permanently engrave the lines into his mind, just in case something terrible happened.

If we’re going to talk about fears, I side with Moony — losing Letha’s right up there for me. But I might — MIGHT — be able to handle it. I don’t want to, I’m not hoping for it, but I might be able to take it. As long as I wasn’t alone.

He stopped, surprised by his own thoughts. It’s official, then. I don’t even fear Azkaban as much as I fear being alone.

He smiled grimly. Though the two do sort of go hand in hand.

Trying to steer his thoughts onto a more positive track, he looked over at Moony, still in wolf form since the moon hadn’t set quite yet, sleeping in Danger’s arms. The Founders. Debts. Gifts. It’s almost too weird to believe...

Except for the evidence.

The lights in the prison cells went out at nine. The Pack had wanted to stay up and talk. Danger had closed her eyes and concentrated, and a tiny, smokeless ball of fire had appeared inside the tent, casting enough light to see by, possibly enough to read by, if there had been anything to read.

And the Pack-pendants certainly behaved as Danger said they should. Sirius had tested his own — the chain lengthened or shortened at his wish, the clasp came undone with a pull and redid itself if he simply put the two ends of the chain together, it passed through his clothing if he willed it to, and when Danger had tossed her own chain over his head, Aletha’s, and Remus’, he’d been able to hear everyone’s thoughts as if they were spoken words.

And it only picks up the thoughts you want to send to the other people. Which is nice. I have a lot of thoughts I wouldn’t want shared even with my Pack.

Friendship, after all, only went so far.

And Remus would probably not be too happy to hear Sirius’ frank appraisal of Danger in her undergarments, Pack-sister or no Pack-sister.

He’s very lucky Letha had a prior claim on my affections, or he would have had serious competition.

No pun intended.

Aletha gasped as her eyes flew open. "Sirius!"

"I’m here," Sirius said quickly, returning to his place beside her. "What’s wrong?"

"Oh... nothing." Her breathing was returning to normal. "Just a bad dream."

"You too? Seems to be contagious."

Aletha shivered. "Hold me," she whispered. Sirius slid down beside her, pulled a blanket over both of them, and embraced her, focusing carefully on her needs rather than his own.

"I dreamed they took you away," she murmured, her face resting on his shoulder. "I dreamed we never saw you again."

Well, there’s a mood-killer for you.

"Then it’s a good thing you’re not the one in this Pack with prophetic dreams, now isn’t it," Sirius said lightly.

"Yes. A very good thing."

A shifting sound from the other end of the tent made them both look up.

The moon must have set. Remus’ form was blurring, changing from gray wolf to black-clad human, since of course he hadn’t thought to take his robes off before transforming. As Sirius watched, Remus stretched slightly and readjusted his position into something more comfortable for a human, and Danger shifted to accommodate him.

All without ever waking up.

Damn, but they’re cute.

He felt something brush past his face.

I love you, Sirius Black, Aletha’s voice said in his mind. And I won’t let anything happen to you.

Sirius turned back over to face his gorgeous wife, whose chain now rested around both their necks. That’s good to know, he answered, pulling her closer to him, luxuriating in the touch of her skin, perhaps all the more because he was fully aware it might be one of the last times they ever held one another. With you, I think I could face anything.

Including being tried for crimes you didn’t commit?

Especially that. Sirius moved in for a kiss. Because I know you’ll be there by my side, telling the world the truth.

Yes. It will be nice to finally be able to tell everyone the truth.


At 9:30, the guest staying at the Leaky Cauldron bought a copy of the Daily Prophet and began to peruse it carefully.

She was reading, both to see what it said, and to see what it didn’t say.


At 9:45, Molly Weasley was startled by a scream. She jumped to her feet and ran into the living room, where she found Meghan Black, lying on the floor alone, screaming at the top of her lungs. "I WANT MY MUM!" the girl was screaming, drumming her feet against the floor. "I WANT MY DAD!"

Oh, dear, Molly thought with a sigh. It wasn’t that she didn’t know, perfectly well, how to deal with temper tantrums. But this girl was not her child. Her usual methods might be frowned upon by the girl’s parents.

Supposing they ever come back.

Molly suppressed that thought and knelt beside the girl. "Meghan, please, love, calm down."

"NO!" Meghan screamed. "NO, NO, NO, I WON’T, I WON’T!"


Unbeknownst to Molly Weasley, that phrase was a signal.


Hagrid stood in the Atrium of the Ministry of Magic, looking around nervously at the crowds exiting the Floo fireplaces, and the people popping in out of thin air. An older woman stumbled out of one fireplace with a boy about the age of the older cubs clutching her waist. One or the other of them’s not magic, Hagrid thought.

Then someone tugged on his coat. He turned around.

Three children stood there, two with red hair, one a frizzy blonde who looked a bit lost. She was clutching a grey kitten, while the red-haired girl held a small white fox. Ron had a wolf beside him — a wolf with green eyes — and a cage in his hands.

"He still asleep?" Hagrid asked.

"Never moved," Ron confirmed, handing the cage over. "Will she be here soon?"

"Should be — she said ten, it’s nearly tha’ now — c’mon, let’s get out o’ the crowd a bit." Hagrid led the way to a slightly more secluded corner of the Atrium. Ron started pacing as soon as he had a clear bit of floor. The red-haired girl had a finger in her mouth — probably biting her nails, Hagrid thought. The blonde seemed unconcerned, trading kitten for fox and sitting down on the floor with the kit in her lap.

It was probably only a few minutes, but seemed like a lot longer, before Minerva McGonagall found them.


"Well, here I am," said Minerva, slightly breathless from fighting through the crowd. "So what was so urgent that you couldn’t even write about it in a letter?" She was feeling a trifle testy, having woken up at six, realized what day it was, and been unable to get back to sleep.

"Would yeh mind, Professor," said Hagrid carefully, "changin’ forms and tellin’ me if any o’ these—" He waved at the cat, fox, dog or wolf or whatever it was, and the rat in the cage. "—would happen t’be human bein’s?"

"Human beings—" Minerva broke off, staring at the rat.

The rat.

Hurriedly, she changed forms.

And changed back immediately, feeling her heart racing.

"They all are," she said incredulously. "All of them. Hagrid — is that who I think it is?"

Hagrid grinned fiercely and nodded.

Minerva felt a similar grin crease her own face. Huzzah. Justice will be done at last. "But — who are these?" she asked, looking at the other animals.

The wolf nudged her hand, and when she looked down, lifted a paw and clumsily indicated its forehead.

Forehead — my God, it has green eyes —

"Harry?" she breathed.

The wolf nodded.

"That’s why no one could find them, Professor," said the red-haired girl, who must be Molly Weasley’s youngest, as her brother nodded agreement. "Can you change them back?"

"Not here," Minerva said, making up her mind. "Not here. And not now. Hagrid, can you hide them? In your pockets, or inside your coat?"

"O’ course." Hagrid opened a large pocket on one side of his coat and scooped up the kitten, who Minerva assumed was Hermione, depositing her within. The fox — probably Draco — got similar treatment on the other side. "Harry c’n go in here." He lifted the wolf easily with one hand, hiding it inside his coat.

"We’d better get home, then," said the Weasley boy.

"Home?" Minerva said, feeling again the surge of lawbreaking spirit that had got her into this in the first place. Only now, she knew she could get away with what she was about to do. "Oh, no, Mr. Weasley. You’re not going home."

"What?" the boy said in bewilderment.

"You’ve come this far," Minerva said, allowing herself a small smile. "Don’t you want to see the end?"

"Are you going to take us to the trial?" the blonde girl asked.

"Yes. If you want to go, of course, I won’t force you."

"Want to?" the red-haired girl burst out. "Of course we want to, our mum said we were too young, but she let everyone else go and we know about Wormtail and they’re our best friends, of course we want to!"

Minerva smiled in satisfaction. Yes, I foresee a fine crop of Gryffindors indeed for the next few years. "Come along, then."


Severus Snape sat in the courtroom, which was already almost full. Black may be innocent, but he will have a very difficult time proving it. And anything that gives Black a difficult time is perfectly fine in my book.

A commotion at the door heralded the arrival of Minerva McGonagall and Hagrid, who looked a bit flushed. Perhaps it was because he hadn’t taken off his moleskin overcoat. They edged along the row of seats where Snape sat. McGonagall passed him by with only a nod. But as Hagrid sidled behind him —

"Ah!" Snape clapped a hand to the back of his neck at the sudden burning pain there. It came away bloody. "Watch where you’re going, you great oaf," he snapped at the gamekeeper, fishing in his pocket for his handkerchief.

"Sorry, Professor," Hagrid said, looking a bit confused as he moved on down the row.


I’ve been wanting to do that for years, Hermione broadcast, purring smugly.

She began to tread the inner lining of Hagrid’s pocket to clean her claws.


Molly Weasley looked up from comforting the sobbing Meghan as her Floo chimed (she’d had Carrie teach her the charm a few days after she’d learned about it). "I have to get that, dear," she told the girl. "I’ll be right back — or you can come with me..."

Meghan sniffled. "I’ll stay here," she said.

Molly rose and went into the kitchen, where a dark-skinned, white-haired woman was brushing off her robes. "Molly Weasley?" she asked in an accented voice, looking up. "Look, I’m sorry to just barge in like this, but I’m looking for a little girl named Meghan Black, and I thought she might be here—"

"What do you want with Meghan?" Molly asked, crossing her arms. She was entrusted to me, and no American witch is going to waltz in here and simply take her away...


Albus Dumbledore was just fastening his plum-colored robes when he heard a ripple of surprise moving through the Wizengamot’s waiting room. He turned to see what it was.

A small silver cat galloped through the air and did a tiny dance in front of him. He recognized it immediately — it was Minerva’s Order signal, and the dance was the one that indicated she had a message for him. Carefully, he went to the door that led into the courtroom and opened it a crack.

Ah, there she is. With Hagrid. And... are those Weasleys? He looked closer and satisfied himself that Ronald and Ginevra Weasley, and Luna Lovegood, were indeed sitting between Minerva and Hagrid, looking elated and scared at the same time.

I wonder what Minerva is so pleased about. I can see the yellow feathers around her mouth from here.

Just then, Ron Weasley noticed him, and pointed him out to Minerva, who looked up and smiled, though it looked more as if she were baring her teeth. Very deliberately, she held up a wooden cage and shook it slightly.

It contained something grey and furry, with a long, naked tail...

Dumbledore nodded slowly to tell Minerva he understood and closed the door, taking a deep breath.

"Dumbledore, do you feel all right?" asked the slightly overbearing voice of Minister of Magic Vilias.

"I am quite well, thank you, Lars."

I cannot recall ever feeling quite so well.

An innocent man will be cleared today, the guilty brought to justice, and a family reunited.

It will, indeed, be a happy Christmas.

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