Disclaimer: I'm too young to be Rowling so there is sadly no way Harry Potter is mine…

Inspired by Mono Inc.'s "Potter's Field"; excerpts from Sabaton's song "A Lifetime of War"

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IN FRONT OF THE INTERROGATION ROOM

… … …

When they face death they're all alike
No right or wrong,
rich or poor

… … …

Amelia Bones stepped out of the interrogation room. Inside, Peter Pettigrew was bound in anti-animagus shackles and further interrogated before he would be readied for an immediate transport back to the Ministry holding cells. Amelia, on the other hand, couldn't stay any minute longer in the same room as the traitor.

Shacklebolt had accepted her leaving without Amelia having to say anything.

Amelia stepped out of the room, intending to return to the interrogation room they had left Tom Riddle in. The man wasn't a suspect any longer and Amelia saw no reason to aggravate Potter's Field by treating him as such. In the end, they had left him in the interrogation room to talk to Pettigrew instead.

But Amelia had left interrogation early, so there was also no reason not to return to the interrogation room they had left Tom Riddle in. To her surprise, she didn't have to walk that far to see the man again.

Next to the door, Tom Riddle was leaning against the wall, waiting. He had his arms crossed and was emotionlessly looking down the corridor.

"He confessed, I guess," he greeted Amelia calmly.

"Veritaserum ensures that he did," she told him a bit amused. "That's why we use it, after all." Even though that meant hearing things that she might have been better of not knowing.

Tom hummed thoughtfully. "For most, it's unstoppable as far as I understood." The way he said it, it clearly showed that he wasn't too sure about that thought, but then, unlike for others, veritasserum didn't fully stop Tom from lying. After all, stopping his vitals also stopped the potion's effect for him.

"Well, not a lot of people are dead," Amelia pointed out dryly.

Tom raised an eyebrow at that exclamation. "I'm quite sure, it's the opposite," he said. "It's just that you living usually don't count the dead and therefore aren't aware how many we are."

Which was true if you counted those buried in the earth, but not what Amelia had meant.

"Most of the dead don't walk among the living," she countered. "I was thinking about those, when I said that there're not a lot of people who are dead."

Tom hmm'd, his eyes distant. "We're enough," he said. "It's still the beginning. Potter's Field is just about to return to the living. And while there aren't a lot of us now, there are more of us now than there were yesterday and there will be even more of us tomorrow."

Amelia shuddered. She knew – or at least she guessed – Tom hadn't meant it as a threat, but that didn't mean that it wasn't a chilling thought on its own, nevertheless.

"So… Potter's Field is growing," she said, not sure what to think about the fact that there might be more than one person out there who had died and were now back among the living. Of course, she remembered that Tom had said that only Harry Potter could give his memory of what happened in the potter's field in Little Hangleton, but she still hoped that the only reason Cedric Diggory was unable to hand over his memories was because he lost consciousness and not that he had died and returned to the living.

But even if Diggory, against her hope, was part of the dead, he still wouldn't be counted as a new living dead, since he would have had returned from death together or nearly at the same time as Riddle.

"Potter's Field isn't growing," Tom corrected her in that moment. "We're just returning. We've always existed beyond the veil. It's just time for us to come to this side and remind you that we still exist."

Amelia rubbed her upper arms and then slowly asked, "why?"

For a second Tom's lips twitched in grim amusement, his eyes cooling when they fixated on Amelia.

"Because it's time," he said and there was coldness in his voice as well. "High time that we return."

Amelia shuddered under his gaze.

"Why?" she repeated at the evasion, quite sure that she wouldn't like what Tom hadn't said right now. "I know some stories, but those don't explain why…"

For a moment, Tom assessed her thoughtfully. Then he sighed and closed his eyes for a second.

"It's not pretty – not for you, the living, at least," he cautioned her.

Amelia squared her shoulders, ready to tell him that she knew but wanted to know anyway, but apparently her body language said it all for her, because Tom continued before she could even utter one word.

"We had a treaty, Madam Bones," Tom replied and leaned forward. His eyes were cold and hard and looked nearly black and for a moment there was an odd red gleam in their depths. "Your world and Potter's Field exist in a precarious balance. We're one people, divided by our alliance. We are governed by treaties far older than you and me – and Potter's Field has kept its promises."

Unlike you.

Tom hadn't said those words, but Amelia had heard them nevertheless.

"We've been taking care of murderers and others as best as we can," Amelia tried to reason, not really sure what promises in Potter Field's eyes had been broken by them."

Tom raised an eyebrow, his lips twitched in grim amusement. "You took care of murderers like you took care of my progeny?"

Amelia opened her mouth, but couldn't actually say anything about that accusation. He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named had returned – and it had been Potter's Field who delivered the evidence of that to her this evening.

"Potter's Field," she said slowly, her eyes wandering to the door she had just stepped out. Her thoughts turned to Pettigrew and his confession. Her thoughts turned to his master and his deeds. "You… Potter's Field came back… because of him, didn't you?"

Tom crooked his head, his face thoughtful. "Him?"

"He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named," she said. "Your son."

Tom waved his hand in a so-so gesture.

"Yes and no," he said. "My Lord Potter is by nature tasked to deal with people who break our laws – but the laws of Potter's Field that my son, for all that I had nothing to do with raising him, has broken are… fluent. It's more the way he broke them when he resurrected himself that we took offence to."

Amelia frowned. That was a particular way to put it. "So, You-Know-Who already broke your laws long before today – and yet, you're only engaging him now?"

"Some laws of Potter's Field are set in stone. Some are more open for interpretation. We left him to you because his deeds were to the living – and we won't leave him to you now that his deeds were to one of ours. We stepped in the moment our Lord declared it was enough," Tom replied unbothered. "We're ruled by the laws of Potter's Field and the treaties that connect our realms. Potter's Field is usually willing to step back and let you take point when it comes to the more fluent ones of our laws – but enough is enough!"

There was fire in his eyes.

"We've stepped back for decades and watched! You didn't step up! So, the Lord of Potter's Field revived, and like ambers, his will rekindled us into flames," there was something akin to amusement in his eyes. "Some of your people won't like it, but our Lord took exception of your disinterest in our treaty yesterday when my progeny decided to attack him, making his deeds an issue of Potter's Field by drawing us into the conflict. For all that my son got away with his deeds until now, now, that the eyes of Potter's Field have returned to your world, he won't get away with it any longer."

"Which is why you came here, to the Ministry, after the dead took revenge," Amelia concluded. "I'm not sure why you brought Pettigrew to us alive, but you came here to tell us that you're back. You gave us the Death Eaters to tell us that He-Whom-Must-Not-Be-Named is back."

"You're wrong," Tom said and there was a coldness in his eyes that made Amelia shiver. "It's not our duty to tell you that my progeny is back. The Minister was informed in other ways and those had nothing to do with me.

"No, I brought you Pettigrew alive to ensure that there's justice for the innocent. I brought you the Death Eaters, to tell you that from this moment onwards, my son is ours to deal with." He leaned closer to her. "And I talk to you, because not one of us trusts the Minister to do the right thing but some of us have at least faith in you." His eyes met hers. "This is our last warning. You broke the treaty – and we're only willing to let it slight so long before we sanction you."

Amelia shivered. Tom's eyes told her that Potter's Field meant it. Whatever treaty he was talking about, there were consequences for breaking it, now. "I… I need to talk to the Minister," she said, feeling chilled to the bone. "He needs to know about you and about He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named."

"He won't listen," Tom replied and he sounded as if he knew what he was talking about. There was something final in his voice, something understanding but resigned.

Amelia felt chilled at the tone of his voice. It was incomprehensible for her. Tom had never met the Minister, so the fact that he was so sure was disconcerting in a way that Amelia had never felt before.

"Pettigrew… he confessed," she tried to reason with Tom hesitatingly. "Why would the Minister disagree with what we heard from Pettigrew's lips?"

Her eyes met Tom's expressionless ones. Tom hmm'd, unconvinced by her reasoning.

"I have another question you should think about instead," he then said. "Why would the Minister prefer the destruction of another man's soul to the truth if he was presented with the same evidence you got from me instead of confronting the truth of what happened?"

Amelia opened her mouth, registered what Tom had said and closed her mouth again to digest what he had told her right now. "The Minister would do what?" she asked, thrown by the words of the man in front of her.

How could Tom know that? He had been here with her and she doubted that he had any contact with the outside world. She also knew that the Minister was currently at Hogwarts, so how should he have been able to meet a Death Eater and kill him with a dementor? Or was it meant as a possible happenstance? Was Tom a seer and had seen a possibility for something like that to happen?

Tom sighed. "I have no evidence for his reaction," he said. "But believe me if I say that I know what he'd do. I know him enough to know what happened – can you say the same? But, be my guest and talk to your Minister – and then talk to some others as well to be sure he said the truth. I gave you Pettigrew for the truth, everything else, you have to find out yourself."

Amelia guessed that he meant that. She closed her eyes and felt a headache pending at the thought of having to converse with the Minister. That man had always been difficult and while she couldn't yet believe that the Minister would do what Tom accused him off, she was also well aware that it would be an uphill battle to talk to him about the return of You-Know-Who nevertheless.

"Why are you so sure that the Minister would deny the truth?" she asked Tom instead with closed eyes. Her head pounded. "From what you told me, it didn't sound as if you ever met him. You said it yourself; you came straight here from wherever the Death Eaters attacked and He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named resurrected – so how can you be sure what the Minister is like?"

Tom scoffed. "I am from Potter's Field," he said and something in his voice made Amelia open her eyes again. "We have our ways." For a moment, he tapped on the index finger of his left hand. A ring with a black stone flashed into being for a second before it vanished again as if it had never been there before.

Amelia was sure that the ring meant something. Just the short gaze when she laid eyes on it made her shudder when a chill ran down his back.

"So, you haven't met him yet and judge him anyway," she concluded.

Tom's mouth twitched in amusement. "I saw his deeds for myself a short while ago," he told her calmly as if he was talking about the weather. "I was here while he did them, but that doesn't mean that I don't know what he did or would do." He shook his head.

"We're of Potter's Field," he added. "We feel if a soul is lost, no matter where we are, and we know how it was lost. The servants of the Potterer are all connected. I know the Minister because Potter's Field knows what he did. I don't need to know him myself to know that it's him I need to blame if a soul is lost because of his deeds."

Tom's sharp eyes met Amelia's.

"If your Minister sticks his head in the sand and refuses to see the truth." His gaze made her shiver. "Then I fear you will have to make the hard choice, Madam Bones. I gave you the opportunity to find out the truth. I gave you the tools to decide the truth for yourself. I will be disappointed if you don't look into it, if you ignore what you found out in there right now." He pointed at the room where Pettigrew had been interviewed by Amelia just minutes ago.

"It's your choice now. I gave you the information and I gave you our warning. What you will do with it, is your responsibility – just don't forget that we will judge you just as harshly as the Minister if you turn out just like him."

It was said calmly as if he wasn't bothered by the idea that she might reject every evidence that he had presented her. The fact that he was unbothered made her fear him because it spoke of his strength – it spoke of the strength of Potter's Field.

She closed her eyes when she finally connected the dots.

"You're threatening us," Amelia concluded and she straightened her back. "You were sent here to threaten the Ministry and–"

"No," Tom countered, his mouth twitching in something akin to a repressed and yet grim smile. "Though I don't doubt that the current Minister will draw the same conclusion when he hears that Potter's Field returned. But no, you're wrong, Madam Bones, we don't threaten."

Then he crooked his head thoughtfully.

"Well, we actually do," he amended a second later before Amelia could even think about countering his words. "But we don't threaten in the way you implied."

Amelia scoffed. "As far as I know, threatening someone is always done the same way."

Tom crooked his head in a gesture that would have looked thoughtful if his eyes hadn't been black and cold. "I'm here to give you a fair warning," he said unbothered. "We care for your people. In a way, they are our people as well–"

"We're not your people!" Amelia interrupted him heatedly. She might have to let him threaten her to keep the peace, but she wasn't about to let him claim the living for Potter's Field as well.

"Potter's Field is intertwined with your world just like your world is intertwined with Potter's Field," Tom countered, his voice like ice. "Those who leave this world end up part of Potter's Field and Potter's Field in return is watching out for the living–"

"You're watching out for the living?" Amelia blurted out, but explained like that, Tom's interpretation actually started to sound reasonable.

"No matter our alliance, we're still one people," Tom reminded her calmly. "When we leave, we leave our children behind, our spouses, our mothers, fathers, brothers and sisters, our friends, cousins, aunts and uncles. Not a lot of us leave your world without leaving at least some people we want to protect behind."

That… Amelia couldn't object to that. And it actually explained a lot when it came to Potter's Field's view of them being a people.

"Be happy, Madam Bones, that we think of you as our people. If we didn't, I wouldn't be here and try the diplomatic version at all." Tom glared at her. "We would have just gone and straight out sanctioned you instead."

"S… sanctioned?" Amelia blinked. That sounded surprisingly official for a threat.

Tom hmm'd.

"I told you before, we of Potter's Field, have a treaty with you, the living world," he said. "Our side takes in everyone that dies, no matter their alliance, their religion, their goals or beliefs. Our side will keep your side safe from the dead and–"

"What about Inferi?" Amelia immediately interrupted. "When Voldemort created Inferi in the first wizarding war against him you didn't do anything!"

Tom snorted. "Inferi count to our fluent laws. By our treaty, they are nothing," he said. "While we can count them to the dead, they're actually not really part of our agreement. The dead, we are meant to keep away from the living world, are those who actually have agency. While we can argue that a resurrected body might be counted as part of the agreement if we want to, fact is, that Inferi don't have souls which means that they're not explicitly part of our agreement."

In other words, Amelia concluded, Potter's Field would only count the construction of Inferi in the loosest sense of the word to their world. She had the terrifying revelation that it most likely would be better if Potter's Field wouldn't count the Inferi, but she doubted that Potter's Field was currently willing to show such mercy to the living world.

She swallowed.

"But You-Know-Who's resurrection counted?" she assured herself.

Tom waved his hand in a so-so motion. "If he had just resurrected himself, it would have had nothing to do with us just like Inferi have nothing to do with us. My progeny wasn't really dead, yet, hence, he wasn't yet our problem."

Then, he leaned back, looking suddenly relaxed. "It's more of a case of three strikes and you're out in my progeny's case." He looked back towards her. "And if you're not careful, it will be the same with the Ministry."

That was a chilling thought. Amelia put it in the back of her mind to concentrate on something else.

"So, you're saying that even with the existence of Inferi, you, Potter's Field, haven't broken that part of the treaty, yet," she concluded.

"We haven't," Tom agreed. "Just like we didn't break that part where we agreed to come and help in other matters of the dead."

"What kind of matters would count to matters of the dead here?" Amelia wanted to know. She was certain that anything to do with the dead was part of Potter's Field…

Tom's mouth twitched with a supressed smile again. "Inferi."

Because Inferi were dead but soulless and hence not part of Potter's Field's purview.

Amelia was sure, that he might have said the truth, but she was also sure that he had not at all said the whole truth right now – but it was also clear that he wouldn't say more. And truthfully? What he had said, was enough already.

"We could have asked," Amelia closed her eyes at that revelation. They could have asked Potter's Field to step in when they had fought the Inferi in the last conflict with Voldemort.

"You didn't, so we didn't step in," Tom said unbothered by the fact that Amelia's world was right now crashing down all around her. "Of course, not stepping in is also part of our treaty."

Amelia frowned. "In what way…?"

"Potter's Field has sworn to keep out of the business of the living world – as long as you don't pull us into your conflict first," Tom explained calmly.

Which also meant that Potter's Field had most likely not stepped in with Grindelwald and He-Must-Not-Be-Named because the treaty stated that they'd stay out of it.

"Why… the treaty… if you're so powerful, why did our side ever insist that you stay out of our business?" Amelia inquired, not sure if she really wanted to know the answer, but sure that she needed it for the sake of her own mind.

Tom hmm'ed. "Believe me if I tell you, you don't want us to step in," he said calmly. "While I look human, I'm sure that my morals aren't… well, you'd see them as questionable, I'd think."

Amelia frowned and opened her mouth to object when Tom continued. "It's a fact of Potter's Field that we don't keep to the morals that we had as a living. For you, death is horrible and something avoided, for me, it's a state of being. I'm not bothered by it. I'm not bothered by the fact that those Death Eaters that I brought here died. It was a quick and mostly clean death. It's better than a lot of their victims got."

"You said the dead took revenge," Amelia reminded him.

"They did," Tom immediately agreed. "But their revenge was aimed at my progeny. The Death Eaters died because it weakened my progeny's forces. They didn't die because the dead were taking revenge on them. If our aim had been them, they would have still been alive. As it is, their death was a way to our goal, not the goal in itself which is why the Death Eaters had a quick and clean death at the hands of the dead."

The way Tom explained it, it sounded cold and heartless. There was no emotion in his voice, instead, he could have been talking about the weather. It was Tom's emotionless voice more than anything that convinced Amelia that there was a good reason why the treaty stated that Potter's Field would stay out of the livings' business.

"You said we broke the treaty."

Just like He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named had broken the treaty.

Amelia wondered if their destiny would be the same as the destiny of those dead Death Eaters – killed cleanly and quickly because they were in the way.

"The eldritch beings you keep in Azkaban," Tom said. "Dementors, I believe you call them."

Amelia frowned. "What about them?" she asked. "They guard the prison of Azkaban."

"They do," Tom said. "And it was understood that when we agreed to leave them in the world of the living that you would never break your treaty with us by allowing them to perform their worst punishment."

It took only a second for Amelia to understand what he was implying. "The Dementor's Kiss," she said and felt chilled to her bones.

Tom inclined his head. "It destroys the soul. The treaty states that you can't destroy a living being's soul, no matter what said being did. Even if you just attempt to destroy a living being's soul, it will be seen as a breach to the treaty." There was a graveness in his voice that made Amelia worry for the future of the Ministry and the living world as a whole. "The Dementors were left in your hands in good faith, and you kept said faith for hundreds of years… and yet, last year–"

"Minister Fudge ordered Sirius Black to be kissed on sight," Amelia concluded, her face pale now. "But, if he ordered that last year, why are you only stepping in now?"

"My Lord thought to let it slight," Tom said. "We have been gritting our teeth and agreed to sit tight for the sake of our good relations. We sat by when my progeny and the dark lord before him came close to breaking the treaty or even broke it since they were alive and you were working against them. We were about to let that order fall under the table as well – and then, my progeny decided to pull Potter's Field into the war by bringing the war to our doorstep."

"But then, if it was He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named who made you actually appear right now, why are you here now?"

"Because we have no choice, anymore," Tom said. "My progeny dragged us into your war, but that also means that we can't let things like your kiss-on-sight order slight anymore. The next time, your people break the treaty and destroy a soul – and it doesn't matter if they do it with a curse like the killing curse or by ordering a dementor to do it in their stet – we will have to react. The treaty between us is already broken, but we're willing to keep from sanctioning you if you don't break it further."

Amelia shivered. For the first time, she understood how precarious their position actually was. Tom had been sent in good faith, a last resort to keep the peace between their people – even though the Ministry had already broken the treaty by ordering the Dementor's kiss.

"What happens otherwise?" Amelia inquired; her mouth dry.

Tom looked at her, his eyes dark and forbidding. "Like I said, there will be sanctions."

There was something casual in the way he said those words, but Amelia wasn't fooled. She doubted that any kind of sanction Potter's Field could enact would be in any way good for the living world.

"Sanctions of what kind?"

Tom waved it off. "The usual ones," he said. "A refusal of lenience which we will already enact thanks to us being drawn into your war. If it gets worse, we will most likely stop trade between our worlds for a time being."

"Trade?" It wouldn't have sounded that bad if Potter's Field would have been any other nation. It might have hurt wizarding Britain, but it would have been survivable. But by threatening to stop trade if you were the land of the dead…

"What exactly are we trading with you?" Amelia inquired concerned.

Tom smiled grimly. "Souls," he said. "If we stop the trade, no soul of wizarding Britain that died will cross over to Potter's Field – and no soul from Potter's Field will cross over to yours."

He raised one of his shoulders in a way that would have most likely been a shrug in any other person. For him, it looked regal. "A soul in the living world automatically craves a living body. If they aren't bound to something or aren't an echo like ghosts are, that means that they will either have to cross to Potter's Field or they will start possessing living people in an attempt to regain the body they crave that they lost."

Amelia shuddered, horrified beyond belief.

"As for souls crossing from Potter's Field to your world… well, the consequence would be any pregnancy ending in stillbirth. Potter's Field usually gives you the sparks that end up the souls of the children born to you. If we stop trading the sparks against the souls of your dead, your unborn won't have souls and therefore won't survive. A body can't survive without a soul." Tom sighed. "Of course, if our sanctions won't ensure that you will follow the treaty again, then that will mean war as the last consequence. You might be our people, but we refuse to be ignored any longer. We were lenient until now, we won't be from now on."

Amelia felt overwhelmed, but she also believed him immediately.

Potter's Field meant it.

Apparently, with He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named crossing the line, Potter's Field had finally enough when it came to the Ministry's antics as well.

"Why are you coming to me?" Amelia asked. "I might be the Director of the DMLE, but I'm not the Minister. I can't bring everyone back into line."

"We know," Tom agreed gravely, but before he could say anything else, Kingsley Shacklebolt stepped out of the room behind them. Apparently, the interrogation of Pettigrew had finally ended.

"Director," Shacklebolt said. He sounded surprised, clearly not having expected that Amelia was still in front of the door. "Didn't you–?"

Then he saw Tom.

"Ah." Shacklebolt hesitated. "I guess you're out here because our guest left the room we left him in?"

"You didn't tell me you expected me to stay in there while you interrogate the traitor," Tom pointed out, not at all bothered by the hidden accusation thrown at him by Kingsley.

"We didn't, that's true," Kingsley Shacklebolt agreed. "But nevertheless, manners would have dictated that–"

"Manners would have also dictated that you didn't leave me alone for the hour it took you to interrogate the traitor," Tom countered.

Shacklebolt sighed and rubbed his face with his hand. "We didn't expect the interrogation to take that long. I apologize."

Tom hmm'd, but the way he crooked his head, Amelia could already see that he disagreed with Shacklebolt's assessment of the situation. "Betrayal is never easy nor easy to uncover," he said, his voice calm though it still felt a bit like he was reprimanding the other wizard. "You didn't really expect that the traitor started his betrayal with selling out the Potters, did you?"

Shacklebolt and Amelia both winced. In hindsight, they should have guessed that the chance that Pettigrew's betrayal starting with the Potters was small, but even then, Amelia hadn't expected the breadth of betrayal they had uncovered.

"We didn't expect that many victims," Amelia said with a sigh.

Tom raised an eyebrow, but there was something like understanding in his eyes as well.

"You didn't expect your family being part of the people he betrayed." It was a statement, not a question and it hurt more than Amelia thought it would that Tom was so matter-of-factly when it came to the death of Amelia's brother, his wife and his children.

"Edgar… was unexpected," she agreed with a grimace.

"So were the Prewetts," Shacklebolt added with a sigh. "I will have to tell Arthur and Molly about that."

"At least, you should be able to bury Marlene," Tom said and Amelia froze.

"Marlene?" she repeated.

"Marlene McKinnon," Tom said. "She was never buried."

The way he said it, it seemed more important to him that she hadn't been buried than the fact that they had just found one of her murderers.

"That's what you care for?" Shacklebolt didn't sound happy at all. "Her burial? What about the other murders that happened because of Pettigrew? What about the people he killed?!"

"They're dead," Tom countered calmly. "And they were all laid to rest. They're fine. The only one who wasn't laid to rest was Marlene."

Shacklebolt opened his mouth, clearly about to argue when Amelia reached out and put a hand on his arm. He stopped and turned towards her.

"We care about getting justice for those who died through Pettigrew," she reminded Shacklebolt. "It's part of our duty and culture. But Mr. Riddle is part of Potter's Field – and as such, he has other priorities than we do. Obviously, a burial is more important than a murder in his culture."

Both, Tom and Shacklebolt looked to be a bit taken aback by her words, then Tom sighed.

"Right," he said, clearly trying to centre himself. "The living world." He shook his head and then closed his eyes for a second before opening them again. "I forgot the horror that comes with a cruel death in the living world."

"You forgot?" Shacklebolt exclaimed. "How can you forget–?"

"I was murdered," Tom reminded him coolly. "And I was lucky. A properly cast killing curse, often enough, is a soul stealer, a soul destroyer. My parents never made it to Potter's Field. Their souls were destroyed when the killing curse hit them.

"Only one out of twenty souls manages to cling to themselves enough to keep their essence intact; out of those, only one out of ten doesn't get stuck in the wand that killed them but reaches Potter's Field – and of those who reach Potter's Field, not one of them is whole or unhurt in their essence."

Amelia winced at that explanation.

"The killing curse destroys the soul?" Shaklebolt asked warily. He was unusually pale at that thought.

"It can, but it doesn't always," Tom replied. "And Potter's Field only sees those curses that destroy the soul as a breach of the treaty. Aurors, for the most parts in the last six hundred years, never really cast the killing curse in a way that ended up with the destruction of the soul and those Aurors that actually managed usually were hunted down and judged by their peers before Potter's Field had to step in. We dismissed their actions just like we dismiss the actions of Dark Lords as long as you actively work on stopping them."

"So… the killing curses some of our Aurors used in the last war with Voldemort… didn't destroy the soul of their opponent?" Amelia assured herself.

"It's a matter of your will and wishes," Tom explained calmly. "Aurors usually cast the killing curse in defence of themselves or others. It's a last resort. They don't want to kill, they have to, to survive. Not even all murderers manage to cast it properly. Most Death Eaters don't because they simply don't care enough about their victim to destroy it fully. But there are always exceptions. There are people who revel in killing others. Those? Those are the ones who cast the curse and destroy a soul."

"Like You-Know-Who," Amelia concluded darkly.

"And some others," Tom agreed. "But all in all, only one of about fifty magical murderers can actually properly cast a killing curse. Like I said, most Death Eaters who cast killing curses don't do it properly. Their victim simply dies. Their soul is evicted from the body and they go to Potter's Field."

Tom waved their deaths of with a wave of his hand. "It's one of the better ways to die since most dark wizards prefer to torture their victim to death instead of using the killing curse."

Shacklebolt scowled. "That's still no reason to dismiss their deaths! Do you know how many people died in the last war against You-Know-Who? Do you know how many of those were killed by Death Eaters?"

"Do you know how many of those were killed by killing curses?" Tom interrupted him. "It was negligible. Compared to all those who are murdered each day, the dead of your war were barely a ripple in the pond."

He shook his head. "There have been billion of dead who were murdered. It happens, it's nothing special," he said. "You might rage against it, but for us? It's simply a part of Potter's Field. But not being buried? That happens less and it's horrible because those people for the most part will never have the chance to serve the Potterer like I do. Believe me if I say that being denied a possibility just because you weren't buried is worse than being murdered."

Shaklebolt opened his mouth, either to comment or to object, but Tom didn't let him get out even one word.

"So, please, do us a favour and give Marlene a chance to find rest. Bury her, like she should have been buried all along."

"We will," Amelia agreed. They would have buried the woman anyway, but she guessed that her being buried was more important to Potter's Field than the living.

It seemed to be a good example for different priorities.

Amelia sighed and dismissed that thought in favour of turning to Shacklebolt. "We will need to hold a trial for Pettigrew the moment we have more evidence than just his word alone."

Shacklebolt inclined his head, his eyes still fixed on Tom for a moment, before he actually looked at her. "We finished with his interrogation. We should have hard evidence of his deeds within the next few days."

It was better than what they had had for most Death Eaters after the last war, but then, back then they had been prohibited to use veritasserum on any of them as long as there wasn't already evidence of their deeds present when they were caught. Using the fact that Pettigrew broke the law and became an unregistered animagus as a base for an interrogation with veritasserum might be questionable and standing on shaky legs when it came to the law, but since Pettigrew was a half-blood, Amelia was sure that it would hold in court. It was a biased law, but in this case, it actually worked in their favour, no matter that Amelia hated to use the bias of the magical world to get evidence so that she could imprison a traitor and murderer while others had walked free because of the same law.

It were those thoughts that brought her back to her brother and something else that Tom had said.

"You said you came to me because some of you trust me," she said, a sudden understanding in her voice. "You also said we were one people because the dead don't forget the living. Does that mean that Edgar was the one who suggested me?"

Her heart beat faster. She had lost her brother years ago, but now, knowing that Potter's Field housed the death and that maybe her brother…

Tom didn't answer, in the depths of his eyes, a red gleam made them look supernatural and strange while he scrutinized her. But his silence was enough.

Amelia's heart fluttered. It had been years, but she still remembered the brother she loved. She had lost him more than a decade ago, to know that he still trusted her squeezed her heard tightly.

Next to her, Shacklebolt's eyes had widened. Before he could say anything, though, the Minister rounded the corner.

"Bones!" he called. Sweat was running down his forehead and he didn't look happy at all. "Bones! What are you do here? What is that I heard about Pettigrew being alive?"

Because of course, the man had already heard that they had Pettigrew in their custody.

Amelia sighed while Tom just scrutinized the approaching man, distaste on his face. Shacklebolt next to her had stiffened and to Amelia's amusement, he had stepped in front of the door to the interrogation room that still housed Pettigrew. Apparently, he wasn't too sure if he wanted to Minister anywhere near Pettigrew, though Amelia was unsure if it was because he didn't trust Pettigrew – or if he didn't trust the Minister.

Fudge, meanwhile, looked at Tom for a moment, confusion on his face and clearly unable to place him, but then he turned back to Amelia, to continue his rant.

"I can't believe that I come back from Hogwarts just to find out that Pettigrew is in custody!" he exclaimed. "Pettigrew! That man has been dead for more than a decade!"

"Obviously not," Tom said dryly. "Otherwise, he wouldn't be here."

Then he crooked his head thoughtfully.

"Well, maybe he would be here anyway," he amended his words. "My Lord might have forced him back to life for justice anyway. But if he had been dead, he wouldn't be here now. It's too early for my Lord to have control like that over the dead."

Which was a chilling remark, quiet as it was, but it showed that that the Potterer seemed to have a personal grudge against Pettigrew at least.

Minister Fudge apparently either hadn't heard Tom's remark or ignored it, because he continued with his rant as if he had never been interrupted in the first place.

"Really, Bones! There's no way that this is Pettigrew! The man died a hero!"

"That man has the Dark Mark on his arm," Amelia said coolly. "And it is him. We compared his appearance to old photos and also checked his lineage. He's Peter Pettigrew."

"Impossible!" Fudge immediately denied her claim. "The man was a hero! Black–"

"Black is innocent," Amelia interrupted him coolly. "We interviewed Pettigrew with veritasserum. He confessed that he was the one who betrayed the Potters and it was him who blew up the street and killed those people in 1981."

"With veritasserum? On what grounds?" Fudge asked confused. "He's a hero. He–"

"Was in the company of Death Eaters, Minister," Shacklebolt spoke up with a frown. "The others might have been dead, but they wore Death Eater clothes and were marked."

"We all know that more than one so called Death Eater was under the Imperius Curse!" Fudge immediately objected. "That doesn't mean anything! Veritasserum is only used for cases in which it is clear that someone is the perpetrator!"

"Pettigrew is an unregistered animagus," Amelia said coolly. "He changed into a rat and tried to ran away when Shacklebolt wasn't careful enough."

Tom next to her stiffened, his gaze turned towards Shacklebolt and for a moment, Amelia was sure that there was fury hidden in the depths of his eyes. She winced. She hadn't planned to tell Tom that – not when the Potterer had a personal reason for hating Pettigrew; not when she had promised Tom to ensure that Pettigrew wouldn't flee.

"While that is certainly a crime, you can't just–" Fudge spluttered, but Shacklebolt interrupted him before he could even finish his sentence.

"He's a half-blood, Minister," he countered. "We can and we have. Pettigrew confessed. He's guilty and his deeds are anything but negligible."

No, they weren't – and even if they had been, Amelia would have never forgiven Pettigrew for getting her brother and his family killed.

Fudge stared at Shacklebolt as if he had lost his mind. Then he turned and started to walk agitatedly up and down the corridor.

"This can't happen!" he exclaimed. "First Black – now this!"

He gestured wildly towards nothing. "Pettigrew was declared a hero! He shouldn't return and turn out a Death Eater!" For a moment, the man wrung his hands, then he turned towards Amelia with fire in his eyes. "We need to hide this!" he said. "The people can't know! I… I can get a dementor. It can be an accident – just like Crouch was an accident. It will be over fast and nobody needs to know!"

The man looked half-wild. Amelia stared at him before she looked at Shacklebolt in concern.

"Everyone already knows that Pettigrew is dead, nobody would miss him…"

"What about the fact that Pettigrew said that You-Know-Who is back?" Shacklebolt asked in concern.

Fudge shook his head, denial on his face. "He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named is not back!" The Minister's hands trembled. "Obviously, whatever happened to Pettigrew in the last ten years drove him mad! We can't listening to the ramblings of a mad man or a similarly mad boy just because a senile old man decided to spook the magical world with his nonsense!"

"What are you talking about, Minister?" Amelia inquired a bit confused.

"Dumbledore!" Fudge waved it off. "He called me into the castle and presented me with Crouch Jr before telling me the same rubbish! That old coot just wants to gain influence by saying that He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named is back! But he isn't! He can't be!"

"I warned you," the voice startled Amelia and Shacklebolt both, even though it was nearly drowned out by Fudge's rant. "If you don't take action, we will."

Amelia shivered and looked towards the wall where Tom Riddle was still leaning. The man was watching Fudge's rant with hooded eyes while now being absolutely ignored by the Minister of Magic. Tom seemed oddly shadowed, suddenly, as if his body had turned into part of the shadows that darkened the hallway. Only his eyes were gleaming red.

"We will take action," Amelia assured Tom. There was no way that she would let Potter's Field sanction them if she could help it.

Unlike Tom's voice, hers seemed to have reached the Minister's ear. "We will," Cornelius Fudge agreed. "We can't let Dumbledore turn the populace against us! He and Potter have to be stopped!"

"Minister," Amelia tried to interject with a wince. "I don't think it's a good idea to dismiss…"

"We have to ensure that nobody will believe Potter and Dumbledore!" Fudge interrupted her heatedly. "And we need to act now! If we wait, Potter and Dumbledore will turn the public against us and we will lose the power we have right now!"

That was definitely not what they should do if they wanted to keep the treaty with Potter's Field.

"Minister… this isn't about power…!" Amelia objected, but Fudge ignored her.

"He won't listen," Tom said quietly. "He doesn't want to listen. He's afraid – too afraid to even consider the possible truth."

"We have evidence!" Shacklebolt objected and turned to glare at Tom. "The Death Eaters – while most of them are dead, there's still Pettigrew!"

"Pettigrew is most likely mad thanks to whatever happened to him," Fudge said. "You-Know-Who isn't back! He can't be back! And if someone says the opposite, then clearly, they're mad!"

There was no reasoning with the Minister.

It was a bitter realisation.

Amelia looked at Shacklebolt and then at Tom. Tom smiled grimly.

"I warned you, Amelia Bones," he told her calmly, on his finger the black stone of a ring gleamed. His eyes bled red. "I told you, the Minister won't listen – and if you can't get him to listen soon, then it is you who will have to take action."

The shadows strengthened around him, as if he was slowly swallowed by them.

"You have enough influence to change the course of the Ministry. It's in your hands now." He looked at the still ranting Fudge with distaste in his eyes. "And if you refuse…"

Tom shrugged. "Well," he said. "Potter's Field has billions of souls that are just waiting to wake the moment my Lord Potter calls." His words chilled Amelia to the bone. His red eyes met hers and he inclined his head.

"I'm taking my leave now, Madam Bones. Let's hope, our next meeting will end on a better note."

With that, his form blurred. The craw of a crow or raven could be heard and suddenly, a murder of crows flew out of the shadows where Tom had been a second ago. The crows' eyes were gleaming ominously red and their bodies were more shadows than real.

The heavy feeling of death penetrated the air.

Fudge screeched and then hastily ducked while the spectral crows shot over his head and towards the entrance to the ministry.

"Where… where did those come from?" Fudge turned to look after the crows in confusion. Amelia on the other hand was frozen on the spot.

'Don't fear the grim,' her grandmother had once told her after her grandfather had told her legends of Potter's Field that made her hide beneath her duvet. 'It's duty is to Potter's Field and it's shape is the Potterer's soul. It's not an omen of death but there to guide you home.'

Her grandmother had been right.

The grim had come and it had guided her. It had given her a choice – and only now, after Amelia had understood the burden it had places on her should it had revealed itself for what it was. A grim in human form. A guide to guide her home.

… … …

No matter who they served before
Good or bad
They're all the same
Rest side by side now.

… … …

… … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … …

Guess I finally managed to add another chapter. It took quite a while until I was satisfied with it, I'm sorry. Tom is just… well, I fear he likes to be far more cryptic than he should and far more of a bastard than I want. *sigh* Baaad Tom… lol

Hope you liked it.

'Till next time.

Ebenbild