Title: Baker Street Irregulars

Author: Kneazle

Disclaimer: Don't own Potter. Try not to take weapons – I've worked hard on them with friends. Basic revenge plot from Alexandre Dumas's Count of Monte Cristo (also a wicked movie), and scenes shamelessly stolen from Indiana Jones, Kill Bill, Pirates of the Caribbean and much more.

Chapter Three: Jailbreak

FEB. 4, 1997

The Boy-Who-Lived in Jail - Conspiracy to Imprison Innocent Wizards?

RITA SKEETER - LONDON.

It's 11:00 pm on Wednesday, July 31st, and do you know where your local hero is? No? Well, let me give you some clues. Today's his birthday, the day when he turns sixteen. He used to live with his Muggle relations but currently his place of residence is Azkaban Prison. Give up yet? I'm talking about Harry Potter, the Boy-Who-Lived, and all-round hero and scapegoat of the wizarding world.

Early this afternoon Mr. Potter was charged with the homicide of Pierre Laroux, emissary to England's Ministry of Magic to talk to Fudge in lieu of the French Minister of Magic. Mr. Potter was taken straight into custody of the Aurors who arrived at his secret Muggle home, taking his wand and reading him his rights before taking him into the interrogation room. There, he was threatened under torture and was forced to waive his rights for a lawyer and jury. He will be given a bench trial early tomorrow morning.

Mr. Potter came out of the Ministry criminal holding cells shaken and pale with two Dementors flanking him, but in the safe protection of werewolf and Werewolf's Rights Activist, Remus Lupin, close friend of the late Potter family. Both Albus Dumbledore, Headmaster of the Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, and Cornelius Fudge, Minister for Magic, kept their distance from their favourite boy. A sad situation indeed, as it seems that Harry Potter's magical charm has finally worn off.

When asked about the charges and proof to testify against Mr. Potter, Percy Weasley, personal assistant to the Minister of Magic, replied, "Mr. Potter has been the bane of the wizarding world from the moment he arrived six years ago. Because of him, the safety of Hogwarts had been twice compromised by Death Eaters – who posed as professors of the school – and twice by even He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named himself. It was also a known fact that Hogwarts had hosted a dangerous werewolf and a notorious escaped convict on its grounds – the latter whom Mr. Potter was alleged to have had repeated contact with. It seems he had had contact with all the aforementioned."

"It is a shame that the son of Lily and James Potter has turned out this way," says one parent of a child who goes to Hogwarts and wishes to remain anonymous. "All of us had such high hopes for the boy, but well –I guess it's all that Muggle background, it is."

The trial is scheduled for tomorrow morning at 9:00 am, but this reporter believes it's all a hoax. Knowing Mr. Potter personally to a degree, this reporter can say that he was never crazy, and never wanted the attention that the press and schoolmates gave to him.

A new Head for the Auror Division was also chosen: Rufus Scrimgeour. Since his promotion, several wizards and witches have found themselves locked up in Azkaban without trials as well.

Through contacts and personal research, this reporter has found some important documents that make her believe that Mr. Potter's arrest is the work of our Prime Minister himself, and You-Know-Who. Some of this evidence is based on…

"Well, at least she's on our side," sighed Hermione. She folded up the Daily Prophet without reading the rest of the article. She had read it over and over again in the sixth year Gryffindor boy's dorm room often enough.

Half a year had gone by since Harry's incarceration, and Hermione didn't know what to think or believe anymore. She knew Harry was innocent, yet Dumbledore refused to do anything. Hedwig had become her owl, and she used her as often as she could to send Remus information of what people in the school were doing. He, in turn, would send in outside information. Every once in a while Hermione, Ron, Luna and Neville would meet Rita Skeeter in the Shrieking Shack, who would give them information in return for some juicy school gossip. Fortunately no student had yet been caught giving away information.

Fred and George had all but consumed themselves in their store, setting up displays and making more joke items, but spent a majority of their time when the store was closed in the back room. Remus said he had no idea what they were up to. Hermione didn't want to guess, either.

All Hermione really knew was that she missed Harry. Missed him a bit more than a best friend and pseudo-sister should miss him. However, Hermione rationalized that it was just the typical Harry-Potter-syndrome and she would get over it once they figured out a way to save him.

"You know," began Dean, from where he lay on his bed, facing the ceiling as he played with a Rubik's Cube, "It's pretty sad that Azkaban is so well fortified. If we had someone on the inside we could do a jailbreak."

"Unlikely," Seamus snorted. "Me mam's said that Azkaban's got tons more enchantments than Hogwarts, and it's near impossible to get the floor plans."

Hermione, who had looked up at Dean's statement, found herself suddenly enthralled. Her mouth dropped open and her eyes turned strangely glassy.

"But there are floor plans, right?" she asked, breathlessly. She sat up a bit straighter and waved her hand for Seamus to continue. "What else do you know?"

Seamus paused. "Well, the floor plans are real enough, me mam's seen them. Say's they are a part of the Unspeakables department. So, the Department of Mysteries."

Hermione and Ron exchanged a quick glance with Neville.

"Apparently, "Dean continued, "That place is nearly impossibly to break into. Or as far as so the rumors go."

Hermione grinned. "Nothing is impossible."

Dean and Seamus quirked their eyebrows in Hermione's direction. "What are you talking about, 'Mione?"

"Ron, Neville and I have been in the Department of Mysteries," she revealed. "And if we've gotten in once, we'll get in again."

"No," inputted Neville, "they've got wards stopping us from getting in." Hermione's eyes glazed over because taking on a speculative gleam. Neville continued nervously, "I heard Gran talking about it over the summer, right after Harry's interrogation."

"Us specifically, or the Grangers, Weasleys, Longbottoms and Lovegoods?"

Neville swallowed. "Us specifically."

A wide smile broke over Hermione's face. "Right. Ron, send Remus an owl. Let him know about the wards. Tell him to send the twins over. He'll know what it's about."

Ron raised his own red eyebrows but nodded, whistling for Pig, who was sitting on his perch in their room (Pig had delivered a letter from Ron's mother earlier). "I think 'Mione's got a plan," he said in a singsong voice.

The only reply he got was a mysterious smile.

MARCH, 1999

Harry wasn't having much luck sleeping. Voldemort had decided to play a little game of hide-and-seek involving a specially designed maze with the Muggles and his Death Eaters as the players. So far the score was Death Eaters: 5, Muggles: Dead.

He wasn't quite sure how much time had passed during his time in Azkaban prison, either. Sometimes he thought it was only a few days, and on other days when the Dementors weren't near him and he wasn't quite so wonky, he believed it to be nearly, in total, a year. And, if that was the case, he ought to have wasted away when he was going insane. His ebony hair was much longer, becoming quite the shag, but – here, Harry smirked – everything else was in tip-top shape – how, the guards didn't know. But the rest was Harry's secret.

Glancing from the corner of his extremely narrow cell (Harry could only stretch his legs out when he was on the ledge of rock that served as his bed), Harry saw that his lunch had been brought to him. He crawled toward it, and gathered his loaf of bread in his shaking hands. It had been a few weeks since his last good meal. Not that the guards knew that, or the other prisoners. Harry was quite adapt at hiding the truth now.

"Pitiful, Potter. And here I thought that living with your Muggle relatives would condition you to this form of starvation."

Harry grinned. He couldn't help it; because there was only one person he knew who would act that way.

"Professor."

His voice was hoarse from his sudden disuse and his throat felt dry; until he felt something warm and slow tickle its way down the back of his throat. With a start, he realized it was actually bleeding. Surprised, Harry realized it hadn't been so long since his last bout of spilled blood. Oh well, the young man reckoned it would have to happen soon enough.

Severus Snape stood outside Harry's cell, arms crossed and one foot tapping in visible impatience, something slightly uncharacteristic of him. He scowled.

"Indeed. Anyway; I was sent here to check up on you by your mutt," he said. Harry's brain began to work.

Mutt? What mutt? I don't own a dog. Sirius was a dog. Animagus. Dog… family of dog. Wolf. Werewolf? Remus!

In the span of three seconds, Harry nodded and the flood of questions came pouring in. "Is he all right, then? And Hermione? Ron? Was Ron mad? Are you okay? What's Voldemort planning? Why was Draco looking at me like that? What's going on?"

"Pity you never seemed to ask questions in potions. You could have received more answers and better marks that way," Snape sighed, but readied himself for a brief description. "Now, listen here and listen well, lad, because I'm not going to repeat myself. It's been two years since your incarceration."

TWO FUCKING YEARS?

Harry gaped at him.

He's got to be shitting me. Wait, this is Snape. Harry frowned. He hadn't realized he had lost so much time.

"Wow," Harry murmured, sliding to the floor. His voice was whispery and soft, spoken lightly to alleviate the pain from talking a normal voice brought to him.

Snape's eyebrows rose. "Granger and Weasley-boy have been working with their… ah, study group, to find ways to get you out of Azkaban. Granger seems to be onto something as well."

"That's good."

Snap paused, looked Harry up and down and said, in surprise, "You look well." In fact, Potter looked better than well – he was toned and filled out – something that ought to be impossible with the miniscule amount of gruel prisoners get to eat – and wasn't insane. Well, a bit perhaps, but not fully insane.

Harry grinned up at his old professor. "Thanks."

Shaking his head, Snape continued.

"Apparently Mr. Weasley believes in authority figures but Ms. Granger made him change his mind after a few chosen words. Bloody funny really, considering what a stickler Granger is for rules… Draco was forced to take the Mark on the evening of his father's… um, how shall I put this? On the, ah, evening of his father's removal of the Death Eaters in the Department of Mysteries two years and some ago. Malfoy senior took quite a blow, but managed to come out victorious, yet again."

"Nothing new there," Harry murmured, taking a bite out of his loaf of bread.

"Yes, well, it's Malfoy," Snape agreed. "Anyway. Lupin wanted me to give you something."

Harry's emerald eyes locked with Snape's onyx. "What is it? A skeleton key?"

"A what?"

"Muggle thing. A skeleton key is a key that can fit into any lock. I would have liked one of those so I could get myself out," explained Harry, now done half of his loaf. He brushed his fringe away from his eyes. "Or something to do. It gets fairly boring here."

"I can imagine," said Snape dryly. Instead, he reached into his robes and pulled out a leather square.

Oh. Book.

"What is it about?" Harry asked, standing now. The remaining pieces of his bread lay unfinished on the ground.

"It's your sixth and seventh year curriculum. Lupin and I figured that if you do escape –"

"When!"

"—Then you'll want to know everything your classmates know, and maybe more. Apparently, it's based on the idea of that dratted map of your father's," continued Snape, ignoring Harry's interruption. "All your books are in here: just look at the index and study. I'll be back when I can. The Dark Lord mustn't know of my being involved."

Harry suddenly looked pensive. "Professor Snape –" he stammered, "when I get out, if you ever need help… well, find me. I'll do whatever is in my power."

Snape's eyebrows shot up but he said nothing. He barely nodded, acknowledging Harry's offer, and then turned with a swirl of his robes, and left the building.

Odd, that one is.

Harry, picking up his unfinished loaf, munched on it unconsciously as he opened the book to the first page and began reading.

MAY 23, 1999

Fred and George Weasley were completely identical down to the scruffy-looking goatees they were sporting. Both of them had blue eyes, light auburn hair, and exactly eighty-nine freckles on their cheeks. Both wore medium-sized Quidditch jerseys, and both enjoyed foreign films over British films. They were able to finish each other's sentences and were even known from time to time to wear each other's clothes in an effort to fool their family and friends – which worked remarkably well.

When the Weasley Twins had been in Hogwarts, they were considered to be the reincarnates of the Marauders, mischief-makers extraordinaire. They left Hogwarts in their seventh year with a bang, and no one could ever accuse them of not being intelligent enough to plan their pranks and escape.

They were immensely smart, and were able to be quite devious and Slytherin in nature, and they were extremely loyal to Harry Potter. He had given them the first down payment to their joke shop, Weasley's Wizard Wheezes, and had always been there for them and their family. It was because of this amount of loyalty and kindness that Harry had shown them that the twins were doing what they were doing as a favour to Remus, Hermione and more importantly, Harry.

So when they received Hermione's forwarded letter from Remus Lupin nearly a year and half ago, the twins had dedicated as much time as they could to trying to figure out ways that could help Harry. They had created many prototypes that would be of use later on – hopefully – but they were now nearing the completion of their mission.

"I can't believe it took us this long!" complained Fred. "You're supposed to be the smart twin, anyway. Why haven't we found what we're looking for yet?"

George sighed and rolled his eyes. "Gred, Gred, really… patience is a virtue, as our dear Know-It-All would tell us. We're just doing what we do best."

"Which is…?"

George frowned. "Well… we're breaking into the Department of Mysteries. Ergo, we are using our skills acquired through the fabulous use of a special map by equally special creators."

"Oh. You mean we're breaking into a highly dangerous and guarded Ministry department because our younger brother's best friend thinks we're the only ones who can do this?" Fred clarified, dropping his voice to a whisper as they entered the telephone booth that would lead to the Ministry of Magic.

"Yes," answered George, punching in 62442. "That's exactly it."

An instant later, a monotonous voice sounded from the telephone. "Welcome to the Ministry of Magic. Please state your name and business."

Fred and George shared a wicked grin before announcing together, "Fred and George Weasley, here to steal very important documents from the Department of Mysteries."

"Thank you. Visitors, please take the badges and attach them to the front of your robes."

Out of the coin return slot came two badges that George and Fred eagerly clamored for, gibbering at what was written on them. George held his up to the light and crowed, "George Weasley—"

"—Professional Borrower!" roared Fred.

They shared a hearty laugh, before descending into the bowels of the Ministry of Magic, bypassing the Aurors and wand weighing and the crush of people trying to go to work.

They kept their heads down and put on hats to cover their red hair, moving swiftly to the elevators, avoiding the flying messages as they did so. They just hoped that they wouldn't run into anyone they knew.

"Where to?" a kind looking woman asked them as they stepped in.

"Department of Mysteries," Fred said in what he hoped was the clipped tone of an Unspeakable.

The woman nodded, her lips pinched in a straight line, which reminded the twins greatly of McGonagall.

She got off a level before them, and with no one else in the elevator, the two were able to toss their hats and transfigure them back into a box. While Fred undid the lid of the box, George hit a red button near the elevator's floor buttons that stopped the elevator completely.

"We've got about a minute to do this," George informed his twin. "Are you ready?" the twinkle of mischief was gone from his eyes as he stared at his older brother seriously. They had never done this sort of thing before; in fact, George was sure that if he and Fred had decided to join the Order of the Phoenix when they were given a chance to two years ago, they wouldn't be doing this either.

Fred nodded, solemn. "I've never been more ready than I am now. For Harry."

George nodded back, and helped his brother unpack the contents of the box. He pulled out a mobile phone, six electronic dogs that had been modified to yap and do back flips and something extra, ten necklaces that had bottle cap pendants hanging from the string with swirling white clouds in the caps, and a pair of sunglasses for each twin.

While George continued to remove items from the box, Fred was muttering under his breath and flicking his wand back and forth. Sweat began to bead on his forehead as he continued mumbling continuously, hoping to get rid of the majority of the spells that surrounded the entrance to the Department of Mysteries.

The elevator gave a shudder and began to move again, making Fred and George glance at each other while hastily putting the sunglasses on. Fred gave one last flourish of his wand before pocketing it. They then gathered the small dogs – three in each arm – and the mobile was stuffed into George's pocket. They rushed to put on their necklaces, and when they did, they quickly dropped one dog each. George then pointed his wand at them and shouted, "Activus!"

The dogs began to yap, walking on their tiny legs out toward the Aurors who were guarding the rotating doors in the Department of Mysteries. Fred and George had spent the last seconds placing themselves flat against the elevator panels so they were out of the view of the doors.

Fred's countdown was cut off as the twins heard the yapping stop, and an Auror say, "What the?" before a loud explosion rocked the department, making the elevator shudder and groan.

Immediately, sirens blared and a grid began to fall in front of the elevator. George crouched and then rolled out from under the grid while Fred crawled forward quickly on his hands and knees.

Both Aurors were on the ground, their faces bruised and bloodied with pieces of their skin flapping off from the force of the explosion. Plaster had fallen from the ceiling, and there was a feeling of residual magic that was being leaked. Some tiles where the dogs had been were blackened by the blast, and there was an odd ringing in the twin's ears.

Fred winced, "Oops."

"Gruesome," sighed George. "Sometime I wish wizards weren't so inquisitive about Muggle toys. So, which door?"

His twin shrugged. "We need those Azkaban papers. And quick."

As soon as the words left his mouth, the doors stopped spinning and the one directly in front of them began to glow. Fred and George shared a wary glance, but hesitantly stepped forward. They knew that Ron had been attacked behind one of these doors, but they forced themselves to be steeled and opened the glowing door.

George glanced up at the ceiling, wincing as the sirens continued. "Can't you shut those up?"

Fred shook his head. "I didn't get time to do those." He then pointed his wand at the door in front of the two and began pinpointing the wards that surrounded the doors. George glanced at his wristwatch and began murmuring, "come on, come on!"

Fred, after a minute of spellcasting, finally jerked his wand away from the door, a gleeful, "ah-ha!" erupting from his mouth. "We're in!"

The room was dark and circular, but as they stepped in torches flare to life, going around clockwise from Fred's left. Once the room was completely lit up, George whistled.

Papers of everything and anything littered the tables, walls, and chairs. Scrolls were rolled up or half-stretched out. A light coating of dust enveloped everything.

"Well," said George with a slight smile on his face. "How much time do you think we have before someone comes and investigate that blast?"

"Oh, maybe two minutes at the most," replied Fred, his eyes greedily taking in his surrounding. "Shall we begin, brother of mine?"

"Yes!" George agreed, pointing his wand at the center of the room, before murmuring, "Accio Azkaban blueprints!"

Amazingly, three rolled-up scrolls from a very dark and forgotten corner hovered and zoomed into George's outstretched hand. He passed them to Fred who murmured a copying charm, and then shrunk the newly copied papers. George then banished the scrolls back to their proper place.

"Anything else we might find interesting?" Fred wondered out loud. He and George shared a wicked grin before calling out accio's to several places, including the Malfoy residence, the Ministry of Magic, and Fudge's summer home. After copying, they nodded in grim satisfaction and turned on their heels to leave.

As they entered the room with the doors, they heard the clank and grinding of the elevator as it came down the shaft to the Department over the wail of the alarm.

George looked around the room, wondering where to hide. Fred grabbed his upper arm, through his jacket as he pointed directly up. "There, an air duct! Think we can fit in it?"

George nodded. "I'll levitate you up, undo the screws or whatever, and then levitate me up once you're in it. Hurry!"

Following his brother's plan, Fred climbed into the dusty and dark tunnel, pointed his wand at his brother as the elevator clanged and announced its destination. Eyes widening, he hurriedly whispered the incantation.

George zoomed upward, catching the edge of the air duct and swiftly pulled himself in, rolling on his side and opposite his twin as they replaced the grid that was serving as the bars to the duct. They then settled in to watch who would show up.

First to exit were Tonks and Kingsley followed by five other Aurors. They kneeled down beside their obviously dead comrades, looking around and tracing the room for hidden enemies. Fudge came out with Albus Dumbledore, looking around the room and bemoaning.

"Albus!" he asked, flustered. "What the Devil has been going on here? Who would do such a terrible thing?" He twisted his bowler hat uneasily in his hands, and then wiped the sweat from his forehead with the back of his hand.

"I do not know, Cornelius," replied Albus, his eyes devoid of any twinkle. "It seems too… hurried, rushed to be a Death Eater attack."

"Could—could it be supporters of that boy, Potter?" stammered Fudge, turning pale at the sight of the bloody bodies.

Albus frowned. "I don't know."

"Well, you'd best find out, Albus! They could be students of yours!" Fudge shouted, his face turning an ugly shade of red.

Albus sighed. "School is in session, Cornelius. None of Harry's supporters can be out of class right now without the professors noticing. I assure you, that this was done by no current student of mine."

"Current?"

"Yes. These tricks look rather… familiar."

In the air duct, Fred and George shared an amused, but worried glance before opening the stolen Ministry of Magic layout. They quickly found where they were and began crawling away from that level on the Department of Mysteries, stopping every once in a while to look at the map again.

"I can't believe we're crawling around in dirty air ducts," grumbled Fred, folding the map up.

George whacked his brother's calves. "We're doing this for Harry. Come on, we need to hurry back to the store so Dumbledore doesn't think it was us."

"We can apparate at the next corner," informed Fred, coming across a split in the ducts. "Here!"

Both concentrated and ended up in their storeroom in the 3W. Both were covered in dust and powder from the ducts and Ministry attack.

"Shall we blow something up so this is covered?" asked Fred with a grin. George nodded back, an identical wicked grin on his face.

Fred walked to a workbench in the back of a square room, opened a wooden case and pulled out a handful of marbles.

"Be careful with those, brother," said George. "They're highly reactive."

Fred smirked. "That's why we're going to use them." He then let it drop and took a running dive behind a sofa. George turned on his heel and ducked under a table when a loud explosion sounded and puff of pink smoke obscured the twin's vision. They stood coughing, waving the smoke away with their hands, only to hear someone banging on their shop door, followed by silence.

The two left the storage and workroom, only to see Dumbledore standing casually at the register table.

"Hello," he said kindly. Immediately, Fred and George knew that Dumbledore was there to question them.

"Hello Headmaster," they replied in kind together.

Albus smiled and asked them the question they knew was coming, "have you two been here all day?"

George laughed. "We came up with a new prank, Headmaster. Only… it didn't work the way we thought it would." He indicated with a lazy hand the storeroom door, where pink smoke was wafting out of the room and slowly into the shop.

The twinkle seemed to return to Dumbledore's eyes. He frowned thoughtfully, and replied, "Glad to hear. We'll see you again soon at Grimmauld Place for the weekly Weasley dinner, I hope?"

Fred and George nodded, saying their goodbye's to the Professor when he disapparated. They then looked at each other and smirked.

"Git."

JUNE 30, 1999

Hermione was just finishing getting ready when a knock on her bedroom door forced her to look up from the black Lycra bands she was wrapping around her wrists.

"Come in!" she called.

Remus Lupin strode into the room, looking around Hermione's nicely furnished bedroom. She had managed to find the townhouse all on her own, and even managed to manipulate the stock market to a degree. He was so very proud of the young woman who was risking everything to save the only young man in the world Remus loved more than anything.

"Is everything prepared?" he asked.

Hermione nodded. Now eighteen, she had changed from the bushy-haired fifteen-year-old. Her hair though tamer, was no less thick. Her body was lean and toned from various sports she played to keep in shape, yet her mind was still as brilliant as ever. "Have Fred and George rung in yet?"

Remus shook his head. "You know what those two are like. They're still at the mansion going over their new experiments. They swear they've come up with something, and I quote, 'positively charming.'"

"I'm scared," Hermione stated calmly at Remus's replayed words. "Oh, well. What about the others? Are they ready?"

Remus nodded. "Good luck, Hermione."

She smiled at the older man. "Harry will be coming home tonight, Remus. We're not leaving Azkaban without him."

Draco's pale blond hair glittered off the moonlight as his voice traveled over the purr of the tugboat's engine. "I can't believe you got me involved in this Granger! Potter thinks I'm an evil, bouncing ferret, anyway."

"Well, now is a great way to show him you've changed!" put in Fred as he looked up from the knot he was tying to secure a bowtie to, something that was covered in shadows.

Draco rolled his eyes and looked off in the horizon. The group that consisted of Draco, Fred, Hermione, Luna, George, Neville, Ginny and Colin had procured a tugboat and were currently heading as far North as they could, each of them could feel the cold and despairing thoughts creeping closer as they neared Azkaban Island.

"Why couldn't Harry just pretend he was dead and get this all over with like Edmund Dantès?" griped Colin, shivering, as he looked frighteningly up at the large hooks that fishing nets were attached to. Tonight, there would be no fishing net but Colin attached to them.

"Who?" asked Luna, looking up from a long parchment that she was editing for The Quibbler. She was absently patting her head every once in a while, wishing she still had her feathered hat on. She was rather fond of it.

Colin shook his head. "Never mind."

"Potter had better appreciate this," muttered Draco, as Azkaban loomed silently over them.

"Once we're there, there's no going back. We're moving right in. Does everyone understand this?" Hermione asked from where she stood with one pale hand in front of her, and her other encased in a rounded-off mitten. Everyone looked up from what they were doing and nodded.

George cut the engine, and dropped the anchor only a couple yards from the dock of Azkaban Prison. The boat bobbed gently in the dark, murky waters, their lights extinguished in an attempt to prevent any of the guards from catching a glimpse of it.

Neville held up two pieces of wood tied crudely together in the shape of a cross. The top half of the wood on the cross had a watermelon driven onto the stake, and Luna's feathered hat covered it. Draco was loath to give up his hundred-plus pound Oakley sunglasses, but by a sticking charm, they had served their purpose on the watermelon. One of Hermione's mittens was on the left end of the cross' stick, and George's fingered glove was on the opposite end. Fred had tied his bowtie around the neck of the scarecrow, and poor Colin stood shivering on deck without his rain slicker on. In his hands were one of Ginny's yellow bucket boots, and Neville's trainer.

"Why me?" he moaned, closing his eyes tightly as he felt someone secure the rope that was tied around his waist. He was lifted into the air and spun slowly out over the water, where he finally opened his eyes.

Floating in the air along side him was the mixed-and-match scarecrow. Colin whimpered again, but remembered his duty to Harry and was cranked out to the dock where he sprinted across the Azkaban grounds. He stopped only a couple meters from the main doors, and spurred on by panic and growing numbness from Dementors, drove the hovering scarecrow into the hard earth, tossed the two footwear pieces to the ground and ran.

He jumped into the icy water surrounding Azkaban from off the dock and began dog-paddling all the way back to the boat. "Let me on, let me on!" he cried.

As soon as he reached the boat, Fred and Draco hauled him over, and Hermione wrapped him in a soft blanket.

"Ready?" she murmured, fingering the necklace Fred and George had given everyone. This had been one of their greater achievements.

Everyone nodded grimly back, except Colin whose teeth were chattering and whose body was shivering dreadfully. They climbed into a tiny dinghy and started the engine to Azkaban, their determination and fear calling some of the more curious Dementors toward them.

Luna was the first to use one of the pendants on her necklace, ripping it from the chain and tossing it at the Dementors. The six that gathered around the pendant stared at it, as it began glowing, until a bright, pure white light shrouded the Dementors and decimated them to a smoldering pile of black robes and bones.

"Well," Luna decided finally, with clarity, "I think we can safely say these necklaces work."

While Luna, Hermione, Draco, Ginny and Neville were standing ahead of Fred and George, waiting for the Dementors to come closer to them, the twins had begun to move their wands about in complicated wrist movements, removing the wards one-by-one so their attack on the impenetrable fortress would not be noticed. Once done, they nodded at Hermione to let her know they had managed to remove most of the wards and charms.

Hermione stepped forward and wound up a couple yapping dogs she had brought with her. "Let's stand back and watch this show!"

The others dropped to their knees and each helped to wind up dogs of their own. Once they were done and the dogs had started yapping and walking toward the Azkaban doors, Hermione muttered, "Alohomora." The doors immediately opened.

The group of eight moved steadily forward but far enough from the dogs. They heard the exclamation of the human guards at the sight of electronic Muggle dogs walking through their front door, and a while later, their short screams of pain when the dogs spontaneously and simultaneously stopped yapping and blew up.

After the explosion, the group ran into Azkaban's front entrance and surveyed the damage. The whole area around the doors was blackened and there were pieces of charred human flesh and bones – the guards had been too close.

The screams had alerted the Dementors, who came swooping from the Prison cells. Everyone, at once, ripped pendants from their necklaces and surged forward, tossing them around as the light enshrouded the Dementors and left no trace of them Hermione left the group as she turned down a hallway she had memorized from Fred and George's copied Azkaban floor plans, counting the cell numbers until she came to the one she wanted.

"Harry!" she cried, seeing her best friend lying on a stone slab that was cut into the wall. The figure stirred slightly, moaning as though in a throes of a nightmare.

"S-Si'rus?" A dry raspy voice asked

Hermione gave a dry sob and clutched the bars. "Stay back Harry, I'm going to blow open the cell, okay?"

Harry didn't reply, and Hermione didn't know what to think, but she took out a marble and held it between her index and forefinger. She then tossed it to the ground, jumping back as she did so. The cell door exploded with a loud crash, but was then surrounded by a bright light that raced up the edges of the cell's structure.

She landed painfully on her side, elbows scraping the hard rock floor as she covered her face. When the pink smoke cleared, Hermione stood and looked at the non-existent bars to Harry's cell.

He had sat up now, clutching a book to his chest, and hacking profusely. But then, he fell back, unconscious.

"Harry!" Hermione cried, rushing forward, only to be thrown back as she hit an invisible barrier. Sitting gingerly up from where she landed across from the entrance to the cell, she watched in awe and horror as shards of white light criss-crossed and formed a chain-link barrier of magic between her and Harry.

Resolutely, Hermione whipped her wand out and began to determine what spells were holding her best friend in. After revealing numerous hexes and charms that would keep a dragon in its pen, Hermione began the laborious work of removing the spells singularly, hoping against all hope that a Dementor would not come by.

Luckily, she managed, and five minutes later she rushed into the cell, checking the side of Harry's neck for a pulse. Feeling a strong one, Hermione gave a sigh of relief and then proceeded to gaze hungrily at her best friend, taking the chance to see how his three years in Azkaban had changed him.

Harry's hair was long and covered most of his face, hanging down slightly past his shoulders; his skin, however, was a healthy tan and developed. Hermione could see his aristocratic cheekbones, long, hard lines of his cheeks and a strong jaw. Confused, Hermione sighed.

"Oh, Harry," she whispered, leaning down to cover him in his tattered – but well made – clothes, wrapping her arms around him. As she did this, she noticed how well toned his muscles were and how hard his body felt. Hermione sat up slightly; frowning as she looked over his body; from the green tunic-like top he wore to his soft felt-like brown pants, but dismissed it as her imagination. She then brushed a lock of his hair from is forehead, looking at the scar, which had started everything.

"Hermione!" she heard a voice shout from down the hall. It echoed around the rock building, but the sound of running footsteps came closer and Hermione looked up and over her shoulder to see Draco, George, and Ginny appear.

Ginny stopped short of the cell, one hand to her mouth while Draco placed a comforting hand on her shoulder.

George took a step forward and swallowed before asking, "Is… is he okay? Is…?"

Hermione forced a small smile. "He called out Sirius' name when I got to him. He was awake but fell back into unconsciousness. We need to get him out of here before the Ministry is alerted at the fallen wards."

George nodded and helped Hermione bring Harry into a sitting position. Draco immediately moved forward and wrapped a hand around Harry's waist. "We'll haul him if we have to," he grunted, standing carefully with George on his other side. He was glad that he and the Weasley twin were relatively the same height – and that Harry was the taller one of the three. Ginny took Harry's book.

They moved slowly down the hallway, tossing pendant stones behind them at the screeching sound of the Dementors or ahead if they needed to "see" around corners. Finally, they arrived back in the blackened and sooty entrance hall.

There, Luna and Fred, helping the others make it back swiftly to the dinghy. Neville yanked the engine's cord, and the engine sputtered to life. "Hurry!" he shouted, waving his hands to catch the groups' attention: Dementors were closing in on them.

The group managed to arrive at the dock and piled into the dinghy, quickly making their way back to the tugboat. Colin had already started the engine there, and as soon as the eight of them climbed onboard, he lifted the anchor and the boat speedily turned away from Azkaban Prison.

Fred and George were sitting on a fishing crate against one white wall of the boat, in the galley, while Ginny and Draco sat at the breakfast table with Neville and Luna across from them. Colin stayed on top, watching the horizon and checking the now-working GPS that they had installed. It had conked out when they arrived in Azkaban's wards.

Hermione, however, sat on the floor, surrounded by pillows and had Harry wrapped loosely in a blanket. His head was resting in her lap, and she had her hands running through his ebony hair.

Suddenly, his breathing quickened and then evened out, and his eyelids fluttered. Emerald eyes met soft and warm chocolate ones.

"Hi, Hermione," he whispered hoarsely.

Hermione smiled, feeling tears well up in her eyes.

"Hello Harry."

AN Kneazle: chapter revision Oct.03.06