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Chapter 46: Vindication

You’re sure? Sirius asked Danger nervously one last time, as they were escorted out of their cell by Aurors. They were all wearing his chain, which he had willed intangible to everything and everyone except the four of them. You’re sure about the happy ending?

Positive. Something good is going to happen, and we are getting out of this all right. All of us. Her voice rose in frustration. But I just don’t remember what, or how!

You’ll have to scold the Founders about that the next time you see them, Aletha said cheerfully.

Assuming there is a next time, Danger grumbled. Curse you, Godric Gryffindor, and all your descendants after you. May you sleep late on Christmas morning and wake up to find your best present already opened.

Not much of a curse, Remus noted.

I’m not all that angry. They did let me come back, after all.

Good point.


She sat in the front row, next to her master, her face covered with a huge smile. After Black was convicted and returned to Azkaban, everyone would want to know — who had found him? Who had solved the mystery? Who had avenged poor little Harry Potter at last? And he would take the credit, and gain recognition, and admiration, and glory, and begin his rise to power anew...

Never mind that she had done the work. Never mind that she had found the slip of parchment, that she had done the investigative digging to be sure of the claim before they took it to the authorities, including interviewing that disgusting little house elf, which, truth be told, had been only too happy to take advantage of the fact that it had been ordered "not to tell anyone we are here", which didn’t cover revealing that its Master, and quite a number of other people, had been there and gone again.

It was all for him. Everything was for him.

Except what she held in her hand now. That was for her. That she would do for her own satisfaction.

The door into the courtroom opened. Every head turned.


As Sirius entered the courtroom, people began to mutter to one another.

"... looks so normal, you’d never dream..."

"... hope they give him the Kiss..."

"... no trace of Harry Potter..."

"... hope he didn’t suffer..."

A small woman stood up in the front row, a grin of glee on her wide, flat face. Sirius flinched as he saw what she was holding. Oh, come on. How medieval can you get?

With a small whooshing sound, the bottom of the woman’s lime-green cardigan caught fire. She shrieked and dropped the tomato to beat at the flames with her hands. They promptly went out.

I can see the headline now, Remus said blandly. "Study Shows Threatening to Throw Vegetables Increases Risk of Spontaneous Combustion."

That was you, then.

You know anyone else with wandless fire magic?

Well, it could have been Danger. But thank you.

You’re welcome.

The Pack-adults sat in the four chained chairs provided for them.

Here comes the nasty part, Sirius said with a mental wince as the chains glowed gold and wrapped around their arms. God, I hate being tied up.

It won’t be for long, Aletha reminded him. The truth is on our side.

You’re not kidding, Danger said lightly. You being the truth.

Aletha sighed. I’d hit you if I could reach you.


Albus Dumbledore looked calmly down at his four friends from his place in the front row of the judges’ bench. I wish I had some way to reassure them. But they seem to be doing quite well.

On with the show, then.

"State your full names for the record," he said politely, looking at Danger to indicate she was to start.

"Gertrude Kelly Granger-Lupin."

"Remus John Lupin."

"Aletha Carina Freeman-Black."

Sirius grimaced slightly. "Sirius Valentine Black."

The courtroom murmured. Dumbledore waited for the noise to die down, then nodded politely to Lars Vilias, who rose.

"The charges are as follows," he read loudly from his scroll. "Sirius Black, thirteen counts of murder. Treason, in the form of serving He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named. Two counts of accessory to murder. Escaping from Azkaban prison. Evading justice. Abduction, of one Harry James Potter." He had to pause to allow the noise of the angry crowd to die down. "And burglarizing the Museum of Magical Curiosities."

"That’s a new one," Sirius said in surprise.

Vilias looked down his nose at Sirius. "It was discovered, upon examination of your personal effects, that your wand was in fact the same one supposedly at said museum. That exhibit was found to be a transfigured stick."

Sirius nodded, and Vilias went on. "Aletha Freeman-Black, aiding and abetting a fugitive from justice. Remus Lupin, Gertrude Granger-Lupin, the same." He rolled up his scroll and looked hard at them. "How do you plead, Mr. Black?"

"Not guilty," Sirius said levelly.

Vilias stared at him for a moment, his face contorted with anger. "How, in the name of Merlin, can you sit there and say that?"


Well, I can’t very well sit anywhere else and say it.

You know, I’m very glad we remembered to link up, Remus remarked. Otherwise you’d be saying these things aloud, and you really don’t need contempt of court added to that very impressive list of charges.

Oh, shut up.


"I can say it because it’s true," Sirius said with just a trace of sarcasm in his voice. "The only one of those things I actually did was escaping from Azkaban, and that wasn’t a crime, because I’m not guilty of anything, so I was unlawfully imprisoned and within my rights to escape."

Vilias gaped at him.

"Sit down, Lars," Dumbledore recommended quietly. "Let Amelia handle things for a minute."

Vilias sank gratefully into his chair as Amelia Bones took over. "Mr. Black," she said in her booming voice. "If you are not guilty of these crimes, then who is?"

"My wife — Ms. Freeman-Black — stole my wand from the Museum," Sirius said after a moment of silence. "And it was Remus Lupin and his wife — Gertrude — who took Harry Potter from his relatives."

"Is this true?" Amelia asked the three.

"Yes, ma’am," Aletha replied.

"Certainly," Remus said as Danger nodded.

"Adjust the record accordingly," Amelia said to the Court Scribe, Madame Boot, who nodded and made a few notations. "How do you plead to the charges against you, then, Ms. Freeman-Black?" Her voice seemed a trifle bitter, and suddenly Dumbledore remembered that Aletha had once worked for Amelia, been her secretary in fact...

"Not guilty, by virtue of extenuating circumstances," Aletha replied calmly.

Remus and Danger each gave the same reply when asked.

"Very well," Amelia said when that was finished. "Let the record show that the defendants have pleaded not guilty to all charges." She sat down.

"Mr. Black." Vilias was recovered and ready for more. "How, exactly, did you escape from Azkaban?"

Sirius turned his head slightly to look over at Remus, then turned back to Vilias. "Can I pass on this question?"

"No, you cannot pass on this question!" Vilias barked. "Answer it!"

"Your Honor—" Sirius looked directly at Dumbledore. "May I waive this question with the understanding that I will answer it if I am convicted, so that my escape will not be repeated?"

"I believe that would be acceptable," Dumbledore said with a small smile, ignoring Vilias’ sputter.

"Where did you live after you escaped from Azkaban, Mr. Black?" Amelia took over again, since Vilias seemed unable to speak for the moment.

"In London, at numbers 71 and 73, Crozer Street."

"Numbers 71 and 73?"

"The house is a semidetached. At that time, it was owned by Aletha Freeman. She lived in one half and rented out the other."

"To whom?"

"To Remus Lupin and his wife Gertrude."

Amelia sorted through her papers. "According to our files, Mr. Lupin disappeared almost nine years ago, shortly after your escape. There is no record of him ever living at a London address."

"They were using false names to avoid detection," Sirius said. "They called themselves John and Kelly White."

"False names," Amelia repeated. "I see. And how did you avoid detection, Mr. Black?"

Sirius shrugged as well as he could with his arms held down. "I stayed indoors a lot, and wore a glamour charm when I went out."

"Very well. Do you have a witness you could call, someone who can testify that people with that name did in fact live at that address?"

"I don’t think so," Sirius said, looking slightly worried. "We really didn’t have many friends outside the family..."

"I can testify to that," a voice rang out across the courtroom.

Remus jumped and twisted to see the speaker. The Court Scribe dropped her quill.

"If you would come forward, please," Amelia said.

The woman did, making her way carefully down through the rows of people until she stood just in front of the Pack, facing the judges’ bench.

"Have a seat, madam," Dumbledore said, conjuring a chair for her. "And state your name, please."

"Susan Mary Robertson," the woman said evenly. "I’m a Muggle."

This caused more murmuring than almost anything except Sirius’ declaration that he wasn’t guilty.

"And how is it that you are here today?" Vilias asked, with just the faintest tinge of distaste in his tone.

"My daughter’s a witch and my grandson’s a wizard," the woman said, looking at him squarely, "and he wheedled me into bringing him here today, and now I’m glad I did. I always did wonder where you ran off to," she said to Remus, who looked half-embarrassed, half-pleased to see her.

Dumbledore allowed himself a small smile. "What was your relationship with the defendants, Ms. Robertson?"

"I worked with — what is your name, really?" she demanded in the same direction as before.

"It’s Remus."

"I worked with Remus, then, for five years. I knew him as John, and his wife as Kelly. Good people, friendly, the kind you’d want in your neighborhood. I knew Ms. Freeman — Freeman-Black, is it now? — slightly, by association, since she was their landlady and a friend of theirs. I never met Mr. Black, though. But the three of them," she indicated Aletha, Remus, and Danger, "definitely lived at that address you mentioned."

"Is there anything else you’d like to say?" Dumbledore asked.

"Only this — their children were happy. I’ve always remembered that. They had some of the happiest children I’ve ever seen."

Dumbledore lifted his hand for quiet as the courtroom rumbled. "Tell us about their children," he said.

"Well, the Whites had two of their own. Twins. James and Jane. They were seven, or getting close to it, when the family disappeared. And then they’d taken in a cousin of theirs, Reggie, he was the same age as the twins — they said his parents died in a car accident. And Ms. Freeman had a daughter Meghan, a few years younger than the Whites’."

"Thank you, Ms. Robertson," Dumbledore said. "You may step down."

The woman returned to her seat, flashing a quick smile in Remus’ direction as she did.


Well, that was unexpected, Remus said in bewilderment. Sue — here — and testifying for us —

I just hope they don’t throw her testimony out because she’s a Muggle, Aletha said grimly.

Dumbledore wouldn’t do that, said Sirius. At least, I doubt it.

Dumbledore and Amelia Bones were whispering together. Finally Bones straightened up.

"Ms. Freeman-Black," she said. "You claimed when you worked at the Ministry that your daughter Meghan was adopted. Is this true?"

Aletha smiled. Finally, something I’m glad to tell. "No, ma’am, that’s not true. Meghan is my blood daughter."

"And who is her father?"

Aletha lifted her eyebrows. "My husband," she said, in a distinct tone of "who-were-you-expecting."

Murmurs broke out everywhere.

"Quiet, please," Dumbledore said amiably. "Is your daughter present today, Mrs. Freeman-Black?"

Oh, what a nice touch, Danger commented. He’s the only one so far who’s called you Mrs.

"No, she’s not," Aletha said.

"She is," a voice contradicted from the benches. A voice with an accent. And a familiar voice.

It was Aletha’s turn to jump and twist in her seat. Aunt Amy? What’s she doing here?

I suppose she came when her niece got arrested, Sirius said with a trace of humor.

Amy Freeman was working her way down the rows of seats, one hand held trustingly by a small person walking behind her.

Meghan, Sirius said thankfully. She’s all right, she’s alive, nothing happened to her...

Uh-oh, Remus said suddenly. She’s not going to react well to this.

To what? asked at least two other voices.

Shh, Danger said as Amy and Meghan reached floor level.


He was enjoying the trial, even if it wasn’t going as he’d expected. Black’s "not guilty" gambit was brave, but it wouldn’t work in the end. He’d be convicted, no doubt, and either sent back where he belonged or simply taken care of altogether...

And as the man who found him, who tipped the authorities off, I will be back on my way...

"State your name, please," Dumbledore said to the dark-skinned American woman, who was now sitting in the witness chair with a little girl of about seven, similarly colored, on her lap.

"I’m Amy Freeman. Amy Judith Freeman, since you people seem to like middle names."

There was a ripple of laughter.

"And your relationship to the defendants."

"I’m Mrs. Freeman-Black’s aunt, her father was my brother."

"Very good." Dumbledore sat back, and Lars Vilias took over.

"Ms. Freeman," he said, with just a touch of condescension. "Are you also a Muggle?"

"No, I’m a witch. I work for Noxet Bank of America."

Good God, that’s where I’ve heard the name — the highest-ranked human in any wizarding bank in the world, here?

"How did you get here on such short notice?"

"You’d be amazed what goblins can do if they feel like it," Freeman said with a slightly challenging air to her.

Vilias looked nonplussed for an instant, then recovered. "So you are this child’s great-aunt," he said, pointing to the little girl, who was looking at Black and the others with distress obvious on her face. "Why did you never intervene in her life?"

"Should I have?"

"Her parents seem to frighten her," Vilias pointed out. "She looks very unhappy to see them."

The girl began to whisper urgently to Freeman.

"Meghan is only young, Minister, not stupid," Freeman said loudly after a moment, cutting through the murmurs which were saying that yes, of course, it only made sense that Sirius Black’s daughter would be afraid of him. "She knows what’s going on here, and what could happen. She’s not afraid of her parents. She’s afraid for them."

"Mrs. Freeman-Black, may we question Meghan?" Dumbledore asked. Freeman-Black nodded curtly, then returned her attention to her daughter.

"What is your full name?" Dumbledore asked the child.

"Meghan Lily Black," the answer rang out, causing a wave of whispering.

"Bad enough he betrayed the Potters," the watcher heard a woman say behind him, "now he’s naming his child after them?"

"And how old are you, Meghan?"

"Seven and a half."

"Old enough to know the difference between right and wrong. Tell me, Meghan, has your father ever done anything wrong to you? Has he ever hurt you, or made you afraid?"

"No." The answer was clear and definite.

"Has your mother?"


"Have any of these four people ever hurt you in any way?"

"No." The child looked half scornful, half angry. "Why are they all chained down? They didn’t do anything wrong."

"They are accused of doing wrong things," Dumbledore said. "That means people are saying that they have done wrong. Your father is being accused of having betrayed James and Lily Potter to Lord Voldemort."

The watcher shuddered as little gasps and exclamations of horror swept the courtroom. The girl didn’t even flinch. "He didn’t," she said as the noise died down. Her eyes flicked towards Black for a moment, then back to Dumbledore, and she got to her feet and held herself proudly. "It was Wormtail who did."

A dead silence fell.

"Who is Wormtail, Meghan?" Dumbledore said soothingly.

"His real name’s Peter Pettigrew. He was the traitor. And he killed all those people. Not my dad."

"Is this true?" Dumbledore asked Black.

"Yes," Black said savagely. "Peter Pettigrew was the real traitor. He betrayed the Potters, he killed twelve Muggles, and he framed me for it."

"Of course, you were framed," Vilias said overbearingly. "Honestly, Black, first you refuse to tell us how you escaped, now some cockamamie story about Peter Pettigrew — and we’re supposed to believe this without a shred of evidence?"

"Evidence exists," a clear voice rang out in the courtroom, for the third time that day.

Everyone’s heads turned.

"The court recognizes Minerva McGonagall, Professor of Transfiguration at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry," Dumbledore said.

"Evidence exists to support this story," the witch repeated, her appearance every bit as pristinely correct as usual. "May I introduce this evidence at this time?"

"You may," Dumbledore said.

McGonagall came down onto the floor, closely trailed by three children and —

"Oh, for... this is a trial, not a circus," Vilias protested as three small animals followed McGonagall out. And two of the children were carrying something — the boy had a cage and the blonde girl what looked like a scroll...

"These animals are not animals," McGonagall said crisply. "They are transfigured humans, and key witnesses in this case. If I may have the court’s permission to Untransfigure them, that being my area of expertise?"

"You may," Dumbledore said again.

Everyone leaned forward to watch.


Oh my Lord, Danger said faintly. Remus, you know how you call Hermione Kitten?

Yes... oh, no. You’re not saying...

And we all call Draco "little fox," Aletha said with a mental chuckle.

Is this why the Aurors didn’t see them leave, Sirius said, his tone indicating equal parts astonishment and chagrin. Because they were looking for humans, not animals. Nice one, Danger.

Thank you.

McGonagall Untransfigured the cat first, and Danger smiled joyfully as her sister’s form solidified in front of her. Neenie, oh, Neenie, you’re all right...

Draco was next, and as he took form, Sirius groaned mentally. His glamour won’t be active...

Just as well, Remus said with a sigh. Get it all over with now.

The courtroom erupted into whispers at the sight of the silver-blond child. The name "Malfoy" was audible in many places. Draco set his shoulders back and looked forward, at the bench.

Finally, McGonagall Untransfigured Harry, and the whispers became murmurs.

"Is that..."

"I think it is..."

"... just like his father..."

Luna handed Draco the scroll she was carrying, and Ron gave Harry the cage...

The cage?

No one was quite sure who had said it, and no one cared. Because everyone could see the cage, and what was in it. Danger was sure that Harry was holding it slightly off to one side on purpose.

There was a mental yell of pure savage joy.

Ow, Sirius!

That hurt!

Sorry, Sirius said, not sounding like it, but no one cared. I don’t believe it. They did it. They DID it. They FOUND the bastard!

Shh, Remus said, grinning himself. Here we go.


Dumbledore leaned forward, looking down at his three favorite children. Four, as Meghan came to stand next to them. Be brave and truthful, and you will be in your parents’ arms soon, little cubs... "State your names."

"Hermione Jane Granger." Some whispering.

"Draco Regulus Black." Murmuring, mostly confused, with the words "Black" and "Malfoy" audible.

"Harry James Potter." A burst of astonished noise.

"Have you ever used other names?" Amelia asked, in a tone of wanting clarification.

"When we lived in London, we were James and Jane White and Reggie Gray," Harry said, indicating himself, Hermione, and Draco respectively.

Amelia nodded in satisfaction.

Dumbledore asked the next usual question. "What is your relationship to the defendants?"

The cubs looked at one another, then huddled up for a moment, whispering. "They are our guardians," Hermione said clearly when they split up. "They take care of us."

"Are they your legal guardians?" Dumbledore asked, hoping they knew the correct answer.

"Yes," Draco said simply.

Vilias made an incoherent spluttering sound. Dumbledore turned to him.

"How—" the man managed to articulate.

"How can they be, is that what you want to ask?" Dumbledore queried, feeling an intense wish to laugh and very carefully repressing it.

Vilias nodded. Dumbledore turned back to the cubs. "Which of them are your guardians, and why?"

They huddled again briefly. "Mrs. Granger-Lupin is my older sister," Hermione began when they were finished. "She has been my guardian since I was one year old, when our parents died."

"Sirius Black is my godfather," Harry said almost defiantly. "He was the guardian my parents wanted for me if anything happened to them."

Draco stepped forward. "I have something here you should see," he said softly, under the crowd noise at Harry’s declaration. Dumbledore nodded and Summoned the scroll Draco was holding.

"It’s a contract," Draco went on, pitching his voice to carry. "Signed by my birth mother, Narcissa Black Malfoy, and all four of my guardians, transferring parental rights to them. And it is magically binding."

"Signed in blood," Amelia said, looking over Dumbledore’s shoulder. "So it is."

"The legal guardianship of these children is not in question here," Vilias sputtered out. "What is in question is whether or not Sirius Black is a traitor and a murderer!"

"He’s not," Harry said fiercely. "And we can prove it."

"Then do so," Dumbledore said over the crowd noise.

Harry stepped forward, holding up the cage. "This rat is not a rat," he said loudly, first to the Wizengamot, then turning to face the rest of the courtroom. "This rat is an Animagus. His name is Peter Pettigrew. And he is the traitor and the murderer, not Sirius Black." He turned to Minerva. "Professor, can you turn him back?"

"I most certainly can," Minerva said, extending her hand for the cage.

"Wait," Amelia said. "If this story is true — I’m not going to say that I do or don’t believe you, Mr. Potter, until I see some proof — but if this story is true, wouldn’t Pettigrew be a flight risk?"

"He’s asleep," Draco said. "He’ll be asleep until three o’clock this afternoon."

"Hagrid gave him a potion to make him sleep," Meghan chimed in.

"Very well," Amelia said, sitting back. "Proceed, Professor."

Minerva accepted the cage from Harry, unlatched it, and unceremoniously dumped the rat out, then pointed her wand at the small mound of fur and concentrated.

The entire courtroom seemed to be holding its breath.

Hermione and Harry sprang back as the rat twisted and grew into a small, fat, balding man, snoring loudly as he lay on the courtroom floor.

The court exploded with noise. Sirius and Remus were staring at the man with identical expressions of loathing. Dumbledore could sympathize. Knowing Pettigrew was a traitor is one thing. Seeing him again is provoking emotions in me that I would rather not acknowledge I own...

"Pettigrew!" Vilias gasped, staring at the sleeping man.

"Aurors," Amelia called in her carrying way. "Take this man into custody. I believe this bears out Mr. Black’s story fully?" she asked Dumbledore quietly.

"Indeed it does." Dumbledore turned around, getting a touch of guilty pleasure from the bafflement on the faces of most of the Wizengamot. "This evidence having been presented, those in favor of clearing the defendants of all charges?" he asked softly, noting the show of hands. "And those against?"

Amelia smiled as she cast her vote.

"Very well." Dumbledore turned back to the courtroom. "By a unanimous vote of the Wizengamot," he said, his voice having an instant quieting effect on the crowd, "these four people are cleared of all charges." He drew his wand and triggered the unbinding charms on the chairs. "You are free to go," he said to the Pack.


Sirius sprang up from his chair and dashed forward. Falling to his knees, he snatched all four cubs into an embrace, sobbing unabashedly as they all hugged him and tried to talk to him at the same time. The rest of the Pack joined him quickly, and Dumbledore found himself having to turn away so as not to be seen crying in public.

How we have hoped for this day.

And how right to have it be Christmas Eve... a day of hope, and promise for a better life to come...


"You did it," Sirius told his cubs, tears streaming down his cheeks and telling a wildly different story than the smile he could feel stretching his face out of shape. "You really did it!"

He released them so that Aletha, sobbing herself with joy, could snatch Meghan up and kiss her ten or fifteen times; so that Danger could pull Neenie into a twirling dance, laughing wildly; and so that Remus could embrace Draco and tell him how proud he was, how proud they all were...

But none of that mattered to Sirius. All that mattered was the boy still in his arms.


His Harry.

And now the world can finally know it.

"Pa-foot, no c’y," Harry said in an imitation of a little-baby voice, smiling through his own tears.

Sirius laughed. "Not a chance, Greeneyes," he said hoarsely. "Not this time."

He held the boy tightly in his arms, remembering that long-ago reunion.

But this one is better.

Because now there’s no way we can be parted, ever again.


Severus Snape was making his way toward the exit when he heard his name called.

"Severus! A word with you?"

He turned back automatically and wished he hadn’t. Lupin was standing at the entrance to the spectators’ galleries, his arm around his "daughter," grinning.

"What do you want?" Snape asked, making his way down to them and keeping his tone just barely on the polite side.

"Just to give you a word of advice." Lupin looked casually at the stained handkerchief Severus was holding. "Never anger a Granger woman if you can help it, Severus. They have very long memories. And even longer fingernails."

The girl waggled her fingers at him flirtatiously, and the two of them ran back towards the rest of their freakish family, laughing like maniacs.

Severus watched them go, brow lowered and a scowl on his face.

I wonder if homicide is justifiable if one argues that one was provoked.


I gave Sue our phone number, Danger announced to Remus as he rejoined the Pack and finally took his turn hugging Harry. Sirius had reclaimed his chain when the verdict was announced, so the Pack was back to normal methods of communication. Amy said she’ll come over later today. And we’re about to be invaded by a horde of locusts.

A what? Remus turned to the courtroom door, where about ten shouting people were trying to get in against the tide of those trying to get out. Oh. Reporters. Wonderful — we’re in no shape to give interviews now —

"Would you care to leave before the newspeople arrive?" Dumbledore asked from the bench.

"That wouldn’t do any good, they’d just follow us home," Aletha said in disgust.

"I have an idea," Remus said. "Headmaster, may we—" He stepped close to the bench and held a low-voiced colloquy with Dumbledore.

The reporters finally made it into the courtroom. Foremost among them was a bleached blonde woman in electric blue robes, holding an acid-green quill. They had barely entered before they began shouting questions.

"Mr. Black, is it true—"

"Harry, can you tell us—"

"Mr. Malfoy, how long have you—"

Draco rolled his eyes and pointedly turned his back on them, as did Harry.

"Ladies and gentlemen, please," Remus said loudly, managing to get some of their attention. "We will not be answering questions now."

The reporters looked stunned, as if it had never occurred to them that people existed for any reason other than to answer their questions.

"We would like to have a peaceful Christmas," Remus went on. "So we ask that you leave us alone for two days. On Boxing Day, we will be at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, in the Great Hall, at 10 o’clock, to give interviews and answer questions. If—" He raised his hand as the reporters all began to talk at once. "If any of you try to come to our house, or owl us, or bother us in any way, we will not consent to be interviewed by you. Two days. That’s all we ask."

"So what are we supposed to write about, then?" a disgruntled voice asked from the back of the crowd.

"You could always interview Pettigrew," Sirius suggested.

"Two days, ladies and gentlemen," Remus said in tones of finality. "Boxing Day, the Great Hall at Hogwarts, 10 A.M. We will see you then."

Dumbledore handed Danger Draco’s contract, which he had unrolled to its fullest extent. "This will take you home," he said softly. "Congratulations."

"Thanks," Danger said, as the Pack took hold of the Portkey. "For everything."

Dumbledore nodded. "One... two... three..." he counted softly...

And the Pack was traveling, flying through swirls of color and sound — just like my dreams.

Except this is for real.

And we’re going home.

All of us.

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