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â€œI found this at the base of the Whomping Willow,â€ said Snape, throwing the cloak aside, careful to keep this wand pointing directly at Lupin's chest. â€œVery useful, Potter, I thank youâ€¦.â€ .cartier love bracelet replica.
Snape was slightly breathless, but his face was full of suppressed triumph. â€œYou're wondering, perhaps, how I knew you were here?â€ he said, his eyes glittering. â€œI've just been to your office, Lupin. You forgot to take your potion tonight, so I took a gobletful along. And very lucky I didâ€¦lucky for me, I mean. Lying on your desk was a certain map. One glance at it told me all I needed to know. I saw you running along this passageway and out of sight.â€ .Cartier Love Bracelet Replica.
â€œSeverus â€”â€ Lupin began, but Snape overrode him. .Cartier love bracelet replica.
â€œI've told the headmaster again and again that you're helping your old friend Black into the castle, Lupin, and here's the proof. Not even I dreamed you would have the nerve to use this old place as your hideout â€”â€ .Christian Louboutin Outlet Online.
â€œSeverus, you're making a mistake,â€ said Lupin urgently. â€œYou haven't heard everything â€” I can explain â€” Sirius is not here to kill Harry â€”â€ .Giuseppe Zanotti replica.
â€œTwo more for Azkaban tonight,â€ said Snape, his eyes now gleaming fanatically. â€œI shall be interested to see how Dumbledore takes thisâ€¦He was quite convinced you were harmless, you know, Lupinâ€¦a tame werewolf â€”â€ .christian louboutin replica.
â€œYou fool,â€ said Lupin softly. â€œIs a schoolboy grudge worth putting an innocent man back inside Azkaban?â€ .cheap christian louboutin.
BANG! Thin, snakelike cords burst from the end of Snape's wand and twisted themselves around Lupin's mouth, wrists, and ankles; he overbalanced and fell to the floor, unable to move. With a roar of rage, Black started toward Snape, but Snape pointed his wand straight between Black's eyes. .cartier love bracelet replica.
â€œGive me a reason,â€ he whispered. â€œGive me a reason to do it, and I swear I will.â€ .moncler outlet online.
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Harry stood there, paralyzed, not knowing what to do or whom to believe. He glanced around at Ron and Hermione. Ron looked just as confused as he did, still fighting to keep hold on the struggling Scabbers. Hermione, however, took an uncertain step toward Snape and said, in a very breathless voice, â€œProfessor Snape â€” it wouldn't hurt to hear what they've got to say, w-would it?â€ .Replica Bvlgari Rings.
â€œMiss Granger, you are already facing suspension from this school,â€ Snape spat. â€œYou, Potter, and Weasley are out-of-bounds, in the company of a convicted murderer and a werewolf. For once in your life, hold your tongue.â€ .moncler outlet online.
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â€œKEEP QUIET, YOU STUPID GIRL!â€ Snape shouted, looking suddenly quite deranged. â€œDON'T TALK ABOUT WHAT YOU DON'T UNDERSTAND!â€ A few sparks shot out of the end of his wand, which was still pointed at Black's face. Hermione fell silent. .moncler outlet.
â€œVengeance is very sweet,â€ Snape breathed at Black. â€œHow I hoped I would be the one to catch youâ€¦.â€
â€œThe joke's on you again, Severus,â€ Black snarled. â€œAs long as this boy brings his rat up to the castleâ€ â€” he jerked his head at Ron â€” â€œI'll come quietlyâ€¦.â€
â€œUp to the castle?â€ said Snape silkily. â€œI don't think we need to go that far. All I have to do is call the Dementors once we get out of the Willow. They'll be very pleased to see you, Blackâ€¦pleased enough to give you a little kiss, I daresayâ€¦I â€”â€
What little color there was in Black's face left it.
â€œYou -you've got to hear me out,â€ he croaked. â€œThe rat â€” look at the rat â€”â€
But there was a mad glint in Snape's eyes that Harry had never seen before. He seemed beyond reason.
â€œCome on, all of you,â€ he said. He clicked his fingers, and the ends of the cords that bound Lupin flew to his hands. â€œI'll drag the werewolf. Perhaps the Dementors will have a kiss for him too â€”â€
Before he knew what he was doing, Harry had crossed the room in three strides and blocked the door.
â€œGet out of the way, Potter, you're in enough trouble already,â€ snarled Snape. â€œIf I hadn't been here to save your skin â€”â€
â€œProfessor Lupin could have killed me about a hundred times this year,â€ Harry said. â€œI've been alone with him loads of times, having defense lessons against the Dementors. If he was helping Black, why didn't he just finish me off then?â€
â€œDon't ask me to fathom the way a werewolf's mind works,â€ hissed Snape. â€œGet out of the way, Potter.â€
â€œYOU'RE PATHETIC!â€ Harry yelled. â€œJUST BECAUSE THEY MADE A FOOL OF YOU AT SCHOOL YOU WON'T EVEN LISTEN â€”â€
â€œSILENCE! I WILL NOT BE SPOKEN TO LIKE THAT!â€ Snape shrieked, looking madder than ever. â€œLike father, like son, Potter! I have just saved your neck; you should be thanking me on bended knee! You would have been well served if he'd killed you! You'd have died like your father, too arrogant to believe you might be mistaken in Black â€” now get out of the way, or I will make you. GET OUT OF THE WAY, POTTER!â€
Harry made up his mind in a split second. Before Snape could take even one step toward him, he had raised his wand.
â€œExpelliarmus!â€ he yelled â€” except that his wasn't the only voice that shouted. There was a blast that made the door rattle on its hinges; Snape was lifted off his feet and slammed into the wall, then slid down it to the floor, a trickle of blood oozing from under his hair. He had been knocked out.
Harry looked around. Both Ron and Hermione had tried to disarm Snape at exactly the same moment. Snape's wand soared in a high arc and landed on the bed next to Crookshanks.
â€œYou shouldn't have done that,â€ said Black, looking at Harry.
â€œYou should have left him to meâ€¦.â€
Harry avoided Black's eyes. He wasn't sure, even now, that he'd done the right thing.
â€œWe attacked a teacherâ€¦We attacked a teacherâ€¦â€ Hermione whimpered, staring at the lifeless Snape with frightened eyes. â€œOh, we're going to be in so much trouble â€”â€
Lupin was struggling against his bonds. Black bent down quickly and untied him. Lupin straightened up, rubbing his arms where the ropes had cut into them.
â€œThank you, Harry,â€ he said.
â€œI'm still not saying I believe you,â€ he told Lupin.
â€œThen it's time we offered you some proof,â€ said Lupin. â€œYou, boy â€” give me Peter, please. Now.â€
Ron clutched Scabbers closer to his chest.
â€œCome off it,â€ he said weakly. â€œAre you trying to say he broke out of Azkaban just to get his hands on Scabbers? I meanâ€¦â€ He looked up at Harry and Hermione for support, â€œOkay, say Pettigrew could turn into a rat â€” there are millions of rats â€” how's he supposed to know which one he is after if he was locked up in Azkaban?â€
â€œYou know, Sirius, that's a fair question,â€ said Lupin, turning to Black and frowning slightly. â€œHow did you find out where he was?â€
Black put one of his claw-like hands inside his robes and took out a crumpled piece of paper, which he smoothed flat and held out to show the others.
It was the photograph of Ron and his family that had appeared in the Daily Prophet the previous summer, and there, on Ron's shoulder, was Scabbers.
â€œHow did you get this?â€ Lupin asked Black, thunderstruck.
â€œFudge,â€ said Black. â€œWhen he came to inspect Azkaban last year, he gave me his paper. And there was Peter, on the front page on this boy's shoulderâ€¦I knew him at onceâ€¦how many times had I seen him transform? And the caption said the boy would be going back to Hogwartsâ€¦to where Harry wasâ€¦â€
â€œMy God,â€ said Lupin softly, staring from Scabbers to the picture in the paper and back again. â€œHis front pawâ€¦â€
â€œWhat about it?â€ said Ron defiantly.
â€œHe's got a toe missing,â€ said Black.
â€œOf course,â€ Lupin breathed. â€œSo simpleâ€¦so brilliantâ€¦he cut it off himself?â€
â€œJust before he transformed,â€ said Black. â€œWhen I cornered him, he yelled for the whole street to hear that I'd betrayed Lily and James. Then, before I could curse him, he blew apart the street with the wand behind his back, killed everyone within twenty feet of himself â€” and sped down into the sewer with the other ratsâ€¦.â€
â€œDidn't you ever hear, Ron?â€ said Lupin. â€œThe biggest bit of Peter they found was his finger.â€
â€œLook, Scabbers probably had a fight with another rat or something! He's been in my family for ages, right â€”â€
â€œTwelve years, in fact,â€ said Lupin. â€œDidn't you ever wonder why he was living so long?â€
â€œWe â€” we've been taking good care of him!â€ said Ron.
â€œNot looking too good at the moment, though, is he?â€ said Lupin. â€œI'd guess he's been losing weight ever since he heard Sirius was on the loose againâ€¦.â€
â€œHe's been scared of that mad cat!â€ said Ron, nodding toward Crookshanks, who was still purring on the bed.
But that wasn't right, Harry thought suddenlyâ€¦Scabbers had been looking ill before he met Crookshanksâ€¦ ever since Ron's return from Egyptâ€¦since the time when Black had escapedâ€¦.
â€œThis cat isn't mad,â€ said Black hoarsely. He reached out a bony hand and stroked Crookshanks's fluffy head. â€œHe's the most intelligent of his kind I've ever met. He recognized Peter for what he was right away. And when he met me, he knew I was no dog. It was a while before he trusted meâ€¦Finally, I managed to communicate to him what I was after, and he's been helping meâ€¦â€
â€œWhat do you mean?â€ breathed Hermione.
â€œHe tried to bring Peter to me, but couldn'tâ€¦so he stole the passwords into Gryffindor Tower for meâ€¦As I understand it, he took them from a boy's bedside tableâ€¦â€
Harry's brain seemed to be sagging under the weight of what he was hearing. It was absurdâ€¦and yetâ€¦
â€œBut Peter got wind of what was going on and ran for it.â€ croaked Black. â€œThis cat â€” Crookshanks, did you call him? â€” told me Peter had left blood on the sheetsâ€¦I supposed he bit himselfâ€¦Well, faking his own death had worked once.â€
These words jolted Harry to his senses.
â€œAnd why did he fake his death?â€ he said furiously. â€œBecause he knew you were about to kill him like you killed my parents!â€
â€œNo,â€ said Lupin, â€œHarryâ€”â€
â€œAnd now you've come to finish him off!â€
â€œYes, I have,â€ said Black, with an evil look at Scabbers.
â€œThen I should've let Snape take you!â€ Harry shouted.
â€œHarry,â€ said Lupin hurriedly, â€œdon't you see? All this time we've thought Sirius betrayed your parents, and Peter tracked him down â€” but it was the other way around, don't you see? Peter betrayed your mother and father â€” Sirius tracked Peter down â€”â€
â€œTHAT'S NOT TRUE!â€ Harry yelled. â€œHE WAS THEIR SECRET-KEEPER! HE SAID SO BEFORE YOU TURNED UP. HE SAID HE KILLED THEM!â€
He was pointing at Black, who shook his head slowly; the sunken eyes were suddenly over bright.
â€œHarryâ€¦I as good as killed them,â€ he croaked. â€œI persuaded Lily and James to change to Peter at the last moment, persuaded them to use him as Secret-Keeper instead of meâ€¦I'm to blame, I know itâ€¦The night they died, I'd arranged to check on Peter, make sure he was still safe, but when I arrived at his hiding place, he'd gone. Yet there was no sign of a struggle. It didn't feel right. I was scared. I set out for your parentsâ€™ house straight away. And when I saw their house, destroyed, and their bodiesâ€¦I realized what Peter must've doneâ€¦what I'd doneâ€¦.â€
His voice broke. He turned away.
â€œEnough of this,â€ said Lupin, and there was a steely note in his voice Harry had never heard before. â€œThere's one certain way to prove what really happened. Ron, give me that rat.â€
â€œWhat are you going to do with him if I give him to you?â€ Ron asked Lupin tensely.
â€œForce him to show himself,â€ said Lupin. â€œIf he really is a rat, it won't hurt him.â€
Ron hesitated. Then at long last, he held out Scabbers and Lupin took him. Scabbers began to squeak without stopping, twisting and turning, his tiny black eyes bulging in his head. â€œReady, Sirius?â€ said Lupin.
Black had already retrieved Snape's wand from the bed. He approached Lupin and the struggling rat, and his wet eyes suddenly seemed to be burning in his face.
â€œTogether?â€ he said quietly.
â€œI think soâ€, said Lupin, holding Scabbers tightly in one hand and his wand in the other. â€œOn the count of three. One â€” two â€” THREE!â€
A flash of blue-white light erupted from both wands; for a moment, Scabbers was frozen in midair, his small gray form twisting madly â€” Ron yelled â€” the rat fell and hit the floor. There was another blinding flash of light and then â€”
It was like watching a speeded-up film of a growing tree. A head was shooting upward from the ground; limbs were sprouting; a moment later, a man was standing where Scabbers had been, cringing and wringing his hands. Crookshanks was spitting and snarling on the bed; the hair on his back was standing up.
He was a very short man, hardly taller than Harry and Hermione. His thin, colorless hair was unkempt and there was a large bald patch on top. He had the shrunken appearance of a plump man who has lost a lot of weight in a short time. His skin looked grubby, almost like Scabbers's fur, and something of the rat lingered around his pointed nose and his very small, watery eyes. He looked around at them all, his breathing fast and shallow. Harry saw his eyes dart to the door and back again.
â€œWell, hello, Peter,â€ said Lupin pleasantly, as though rats frequently erupted into old school friends around him. â€œLong time, no see.â€
â€œSâ€”Siriusâ€¦Râ€”Remusâ€¦â€ Even Pettigrew's voice was squeaky. Again, his eyes darted toward the door. â€œMy friendsâ€¦my old friendsâ€¦â€
Black's wand arm rose, but Lupin seized him around the wrist, gave him a warning took, then turned again to Pettigrew, his voice light and casual.
â€œWe've been having a little chat, Peter, about what happened the night Lily and James died. You might have missed the finer points while you were squeaking around down there on the bed â€”â€
â€œRemus,â€ gasped Pettigrew, and Harry could see beads of sweat breaking out over his pasty face, â€œyou don't believe him, do youâ€¦? He tried to kill me, Remusâ€¦.â€
â€œSo we've heard,â€ said Lupin, more coldly. â€œI'd like to clear up one or two little matters with you, Peter, if you'll be so â€”â€
â€œHe's come to try and kill me again!â€ Pettigrew squeaked suddenly, pointing at Black, and Harry saw that he used his middle finger, because his index was missing. â€œHe killed Lily and James and now he's going to kill me tooâ€¦You've got to help me, Remusâ€¦.â€
Black's face looked more skull-like than ever as he stared at Pettigrew with his fathomless eyes.
â€œNo one's going to try and kill you until we've sorted a few things out,â€ said Lupin.
â€œSorted things out?â€ squealed Pettigrew, looking wildly about him once more, eyes taking in the boarded windows and, again, the only door. â€œI knew he'd come after me! I knew he'd be back for me! I've been waiting for this for twelve years!â€
â€œYou knew Sirius was going to break out of Azkaban?â€ said Lupin, his brow furrowed. â€œWhen nobody has ever done it before?â€
â€œHe's got dark powers the rest of us can only dream of!â€ Pettigrew shouted shrilly. â€œHow else did he get out of there? I suppose He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named taught him a few tricks!â€
Black started to laugh, a horrible, mirthless laugh that filled the whole room.
â€œVoldemort, teach me tricks?â€ he said.
Pettigrew flinched as though Black had brandished a whip at him.
â€œWhat, scared to hear your old master's name?â€ said Black. â€œI don't blame you, Peter. His lot aren't very happy with you, are they?â€
â€œDon't know what you mean, Sirius â€”â€ muttered Pettigrew, his breathing faster than ever. His whole face was shining with sweat now.
â€œYou haven't been hiding from me for twelve years,â€ said Black. â€œYou've been hiding from Voldemort's old supporters. I heard things in Azkaban, Peterâ€¦They all think you're dead, or you'd have to answer to themâ€¦I've heard them screaming all sorts of things in their sleep. Sounds like they think the double-crosser double-crossed them. Voldemort went to the Pottersâ€™ on your informationâ€¦and Voldemort met his downfall there. And not all Voldemort's supporters ended up in Azkaban, did they? There are still plenty out here, biding their time, pretending they've seen the error of their ways. If they ever got wind that you were still alive, Peter â€”â€
â€œDon't knowâ€¦what you're talking aboutâ€¦â€ said Pettigrew again, more shrilly than ever. He wiped his face on his sleeve and looked up at Lupin. â€œYou don't believe this â€” this madness, Remus â€”â€
â€œI must admit, Peter, I have difficulty in understanding why an innocent man would want to spend twelve years as a rat,â€ said Lupin evenly.
â€œInnocent, but scared!â€ squealed Pettigrew. â€œIf Voldemort's supporters were after me, it was because I put one of their best men in Azkaban â€” the spy, Sirius Black!â€
Black's face contorted.
â€œHow dare you,â€ he growled, sounding suddenly like the bearsized dog he had been. â€œI, a spy for Voldemort? When did I ever sneak around people who were stronger and more powerful than myself? But you, Peter â€” I'll never understand why I didn't see you were the spy from the start. You always liked big friends who'd look after you, didn't you? It used to be usâ€¦me and Remusâ€¦and Jamesâ€¦â€
Pettigrew wiped his face again; he was almost panting for breath.
â€œMe, a spyâ€¦must be out of your mindâ€¦neverâ€¦don't know how you can say such a â€”â€
â€œLily and James only made you Secret-Keeper because I suggested it,â€ Black hissed, so venomously that Pettigrew took a step backward. â€œI thought it was the perfect planâ€¦a bluffâ€¦Voldemort would be sure to come after me, would never dream they'd use a weak, talentless thing like youâ€¦It must have been the finest moment of your miserable life, telling Voldemort you could hand him the Potters.â€
Pettigrew was muttering distractedly; Harry caught words like â€œfar-fetchedâ€ and â€œlunacy,â€ but he couldn't help paying more attention to the ashen color of Pettigrew's face and the way his eyes continued to dart toward the windows and door.
â€œProfessor Lupin?â€ said Hermione timidly. â€œCan â€” can I say something?â€
â€œCertainly, Hermione,â€ said Lupin courteously.
â€œWell â€” Scabbers â€” I mean, this â€” this man â€” he's been sleeping in Harry's dormitory for three years. If he's working for You-Know-Who, how come he never tried to hurt Harry before now?â€
â€œThere!â€ said Pettigrew shrilly, pointing at Ron with his maimed hand. â€œThank you! You see, Remus? I have never hurt a hair of Harry's head! Why should I?â€
â€œI'll tell you why,â€ said Black. â€œBecause you never did anything for anyone unless you could see what was in it for you. Voldemort's been in hiding for fifteen years, they say he's half dead. You weren't about to commit murder right under Albus Dumbledore's nose, for a wreck of a wizard who'd lost all of his power, were you? You'd want to be quite sure he was the biggest bully in the playground before you went back to him, wouldn't you? Why else did you find a wizard family to take you in? Keeping an ear out for news, weren't you, Peter? Just in case your old protector regained strength, and it was safe to rejoin himâ€¦.â€
Pettigrew opened his mouth and closed it several times. He seemed to have lost the ability to talk.
â€œEr â€” Mr. Black â€” Sirius?â€ said Hermione.
Black jumped at being addressed like this and stared at Hermione as though he had never seen anything quite like her.
â€œIf you don't mind me asking, how â€” how did you get out of Azkaban, if you didn't use Dark Magic?â€
â€œThank you!â€ gasped Pettigrew, nodding frantically at her. â€œExactly! Precisely what I â€”â€
But Lupin silenced him with a look. Black was frowning slightly at Hermione, but not as though he were annoyed with her. He seemed to be pondering his answer.
â€œI don't know how I did it,â€ he said slowly. â€œI think the only reason I never lost my mind is that I knew I was innocent. That wasn't a happy thought, so the Dementors couldn't suck it out of meâ€¦but it kept me sane and knowing who I amâ€¦helped me keep my powersâ€¦so when it all becameâ€¦too muchâ€¦I could transform in my cellâ€¦become a dog. Dementors can't see, you knowâ€¦â€ He swallowed. â€œThey feel their way toward people by feeding off their emotionsâ€¦They could tell that my feelings were less â€” less human, less complex when I was a dogâ€¦but they thought, of course, that I was losing my mind like everyone else in there, so it didn't trouble them. But I was weak, very weak, and I had no hope of driving them away from me without a wandâ€¦.â€
â€œBut then I saw Peter in that pictureâ€¦I realized he was at Hogwarts with Harryâ€¦perfectly positioned to act, if one hint reached his ears that the Dark Side was gathering strength againâ€¦â€
Pettigrew was shaking his head, mouthing noiselessly, but staring all the while at Black as though hypnotized.
â€œâ€¦ready to strike at the moment he could be sure of alliesâ€¦and to deliver the last Potter to them. if he gave them Harry, who'd dare say he'd betrayed Lord Voldemort? He'd be welcomed back with honorsâ€¦.â€
â€œSo you see, I had to do something. I was the only one who knew Peter was still aliveâ€¦â€
Harry remembered what Mr. Weasley had told Mrs. Wealsey. â€˜The guards say he's been talking in his sleepâ€¦ always the same wordsâ€¦ â€˜He's at Hogwarts.'â€™
â€œIt was as if someone had lit a fire In my head, and the Dementors couldn't destroy itâ€¦It wasn't a happy feelingâ€¦it was an obsessionâ€¦but it gave me strength, it cleared my mind. So, one night when they opened my door to bring food, I slipped past them as a dogâ€¦It's so much harder for them to sense animal emotions that they were confusedâ€¦I was thin, very thinâ€¦thin enough to slip through the barsâ€¦I swam as a dog back to the mainland â€¦I journeyed north and slipped into the Hogwarts grounds as a dog. I've been living in the forest ever since, except when I came to watch the Quidditch, of course. You fly as well as your father did, Harryâ€¦.â€
He looked at Harry, who did not look away.
â€œBelieve me,â€ croaked Black. â€œBelieve me, Harry. I never betrayed James and Lily. I would have died before I betrayed them.â€
And at long last, Harry believed him. Throat too tight to speak, he nodded.
Pettigrew had fallen to his knees as though Harry's nod had been his own death sentence. He shuffled forward on his knees, groveling, his hands clasped in front of him as though praying.
â€œSirius â€” it's meâ€¦it's Peterâ€¦your friendâ€¦you wouldn't â€”â€
Black kicked out and Pettigrew recoiled.
â€œThere's enough filth on my robes without you touching them,â€ said Black.
â€œRemus!â€ Pettigrew squeaked, turning to Lupin instead, writhing imploringly in front of him. â€œYou don't believe this â€” wouldn't Sirius have told you they'd changed the plan?â€
â€œNot if he thought I was the spy, Peter,â€ said Lupin. â€œI assume that's why you didn't tell me, Sirius?â€ he said casually over Pettigrew's head.
â€œForgive me, Remus,â€ said Black.
â€œNot at all, Padfoot, old friend,â€ said Lupin, who was now rolling up his sleeves. â€œAnd will you, in turn, forgive me for believing you were the spy?â€
â€œOf course,â€ said Black, and the ghost of a grin flitted across his gaunt face. He, too, began rolling up his sleeves. â€œShall we kill him together?â€
â€œYes, I think so,â€ said Lupin grimly.
â€œYou wouldn'tâ€¦you won'tâ€¦â€ gasped Pettigrew. And he scrambled around to Ron.
â€œRonâ€¦haven't I been a good friendâ€¦a good pet? You won't let them kill me, Ron, will youâ€¦you're on my side, aren't you?â€
But Ron was staring at Pettigrew with the utmost revulsion.
â€œI let you sleep in my bed!â€ he said.
â€œKind boyâ€¦kind masterâ€¦â€ Pettigrew crawled toward Ron â€œYou won't let them do itâ€¦I was your ratâ€¦I was a good petâ€¦.â€
â€œIf you made a better rat than a human, it's not much to boast about, Peter,â€ said Black harshly. Ron, going still paler with pain, wrenched his broken leg out of Pettigrew's reach. Pettigrew turned on his knees, staggered forward, and seized the hem of Hermione's robes.
â€œSweet girlâ€¦clever girlâ€¦you â€” you won't let themâ€¦Help meâ€¦.â€
Hermione pulled her robes out of Pettigrew's clutching hands and backed away against the wall, looking horrified.
Pettigrew knelt, trembling uncontrollably, and turned his head slowly toward Harry.
â€œHarryâ€¦Harryâ€¦you look just like your fatherâ€¦just like himâ€¦â€
â€œHOW DARE YOU SPEAK TO HARRY?â€ roared Black. â€œHOW DARE YOU FACE HIM? HOW DARE YOU TALK ABOUT JAMES IN FRONT OF HIM?â€
â€œHarry,â€ whispered Pettigrew, shuffling toward him, hands outstretched. â€œHarry, James wouldn't have wanted me killedâ€¦James would have understood, Harryâ€¦he would have shown me mercyâ€¦â€
Both Black and Lupin strode forward, seized Pettigrew's shoulders, and threw him backward onto the floor. He sat there, twitching with terror, staring up at them.
â€œYou sold Lily and James to Voldemort,â€ said Black, who was shaking too. â€œDo you deny it?â€
Pettigrew burst into tears. It was horrible to watch, like an oversized, balding baby, cowering on the floor.
â€œSirius, Sirius, what could I have done? The Dark Lordâ€¦you have no ideaâ€¦he has weapons you can't imagine â€¦I was scared, Sirius, I was never brave like you and Remus and James. I never meant it to happenâ€¦He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named forced me â€”â€
â€œDON'T LIE!â€ bellowed Black. â€œYOU'D BEEN PASSING INFORMATION TO HIM FOR A YEAR BEFORE LILY AND JAMES DIED! YOU WERE HIS SPY!â€
â€œHe â€” he was taking over everywhere!â€ gasped Pettigrew. â€œWh-what was there to be gained by refusing him?â€
â€œWhat was there to be gained by fighting the most evil wizard who has ever existed?â€ said Black, with a terrible fury in his face. â€œOnly innocent lives, Peter!â€
â€œYou don't understand!â€ whined Pettigrew. â€œHe would have killed me, Sirius!â€
â€œTHEN YOU SHOULD HAVE DIED!â€ roared Black. â€œDIED RATHER THAN BETRAY YOUR FRIENDS, AS WE WOULD HAVE DONE FOR YOU!â€
Black and Lupin stood shoulder to shoulder, wands raised.
â€œYou should have realized,â€ said Lupin quietly, â€œif Voldemort didn't kill you, we would. Good-bye, Peter.â€
Hermione covered her face with her hands and turned to the wall.
â€œNO!â€ Harry yelled. He ran forward, placing himself in front Pettigrew, facing the wands. â€œYou can't kill him,â€ he said breathlessly. â€œYou can't.â€
Black and Lupin both looked staggered.
â€œHarry, this piece of vermin is the reason you have no parents,â€ Black snarled. â€œThis cringing bit of filth would have seen you die too, without turning a hair. You heard him. His own stinking skin meant more to him than your whole family.â€
â€œI know,â€ Harry panted. â€œWe'll take him up to the castle. We'll hand him over to the Dementorsâ€¦He can go to Azkabanâ€¦but don't kill him.â€
â€œHarry!â€ gasped Pettigrew, and he flung his arms around Harry's knees. â€œYou â€” thank you â€” it's more than I deserve â€” thank you â€”â€
â€œGet off me,â€ Harry spat, throwing Pettigrew's hands off him in disgust. â€œI'm not doing this for you. I'm doing it because â€” I don't reckon my dad would've wanted them to become killers â€” just for you.â€
No one moved or made a sound except Pettigrew, whose breath was coming in wheezes as he clutched his chest. Black and Lupin were looking at each other. Then, with one movement, they lowered their wands.
â€œYou're the only person who has the right to decide, Harry,â€ said Black. â€œBut thinkâ€¦ think what he didâ€¦.â€
â€œHe can go to Azkaban,â€ Harry repeated. â€œIf anyone deserves that place, he doesâ€¦.â€
Pettigrew was still wheezing behind him.
â€œVery well,â€ said Lupin. â€œStand aside, Harry.â€
â€œI'm going to tie him up,â€ said Lupin. â€œThat's all, I swear.â€
Harry stepped out of the way. Thin cords shot from Lupin's wand this time, and next moment, Pettigrew was wriggling on the floor, bound and gagged.
â€œBut if you transform, Peter,â€ growled Black, his own wand pointing at Pettigrew too, â€œwe will kill you. You agree, Harry?â€
Harry looked down at the pitiful figure on the floor and nodded so that Pettigrew could see him.
â€œRight,â€ said Lupin, suddenly businesslike. â€œRon, I can't mend bones nearly as well as Madam Pomfrey, so I think it's best if we just strap your leg up until we can get you to the hospital wing.â€
He hurried over to Ron, bent down, tapped Ron's leg with his wand, and muttered, â€œFerula.â€ Bandages spun up Ron's leg, strapping it tightly to a splint. Lupin helped him to his feet; Ron put his weight gingerly on the leg and didn't wince.
â€œThat's better,â€ he said. â€œThanks.â€
â€œWhat about Professor Snape?â€ said Hermione in a small voice, looking down at Snape's prone figure.
â€œThere's nothing seriously wrong with him,â€ said Lupin, bending over Snape and checking his pulse. â€œYou were just a little â€” overenthusiastic. Still out cold. Er â€” perhaps it will be best if we don't revive him until we're safety back in the castle. We can take him like thisâ€¦.â€
He muttered, â€œMobilicorpus.â€ As though invisible strings were tied to Snape's wrists, neck, and knees, he was pulled into a standing position, head still lolling unpleasantly, like a grotesque puppet. He hung a few inches above the ground, his limp feet dangling. Lupin picked up the Invisibility Cloak and tucked it safely into his pocket.
â€œAnd two of us should be chained to this,â€ said Black, nudging Pettigrew with his toe. â€œJust to make sure.â€
â€œI'll do it,â€ said Lupin.
â€œAnd me,â€ said Ron savagely, limping forward.
Black conjured heavy manacles from thin air; soon Pettigrew was upright again, left arm chained to Lupin's right, right arm to Ron's left. Ron's face was set. He seemed to have taken Scabbers's true identity as a personal insult. Crookshanks leapt lightly off the bed and led the way out of the room, his bottlebrush tail held jauntily high.
The Prisoner of Azkaban
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