146 Black And Potter 2
"Black betrayed them?" breathed Madam Rosmerta.
"He did indeed. Black was tired of his double-agent role, he was ready to declare his support openly for You-Know-Who, and he seems to have planned this for the moment of the Potters' death. But, as we all know, You-Know-Who met his downfall in little Harry Potter. Powers gone, horribly weakened, he fled. And this left Black in a very nasty position indeed. His master had fallen at the very moment when he, Black, had shown his true colors as a traitor. He had no choice but to run for it —"
"Filthy, stinkin' turncoat!" Hagrid said, so loudly that half the bar went quiet.
"Shh!" said Professor McGonagall.
"I met him!" growled Hagrid. "I musta bin the last ter see him before he killed all the people! It was me what rescued Harry from Lily an' James's house after they were killed! Jus' got him outta the ruins, poor little thing, with a great slash across his forehead, an' his parents dead... an' Sirius Black turns up, on that flyin' motorbike he used ter ride. Never occurred ter me what he was doin' there. I didn' know he'd bin Lily an' James's Secret-Keeper. Though he'd jus' heard the news o' You-Know-Who's attack an' come ter see what he could do. White an' shakin', he was. An' yeh know what I did? I COMFORTED THE MURDERIN' TRAITOR!" Hagrid roared.
"Hagrid, please!" said Professor McGonagall. "Keep your voice down!"
"How was I ter know he wasn' upset abou' Lily an' James? It was You-Know-Who he cared abou'! An' then he says, 'Give Harry ter me, Hagrid, I'm his godfather, I'll look after him —' Ha! But I'd had me orders from Dumbledore, an' I told Black no, Dumbledore said Harry was ter go ter his aunt an' uncle's. Black argued, but in the end, he gave in. Told meter take his motorbike ter get Harry there. 'I won't need it anymore,' he says. I shoulda known there was somethin' fishy goin' on then. He loved that motorbike, what was he givin' it ter me for? Why wouldn' he need it anymore? Fact was, it was too easy ter trace. Dumbledore knew he'd bin the Potters' Secret-Keeper. Black knew he was goin' ter have ter run fer it that night, knew it was a matter o' hours before the Ministry was after him. But what if I'd given Harry to him, eh? I bet he'd've pitched him off the bike halfway out ter sea. His best' friends' son! But when a wizard goes over ter the Dark Side, there's nothin' and no one that matters to 'em anymore..."
A long silence followed Hagrid's story. Then Madam Rosmerta said with some satisfaction, "But he didn't manage to disappear, did he? The Ministry of Magic caught up with him next day!"
"Alas, if only we had," said Fudge bitterly. "It was not we who found him. It was little Peter Pettigrew — another of the Potters' friends. Maddened by grief, no doubt, and knowing that Black had been the Potters' Secret-Keeper, he went after Black himself."
"Pettigrew . . . that fat little boy who was always tagging around after them at Hogwarts?" said Madam Rosmerta.
"Hero-worshipped Black and Potter," said Professor McGonagall. "Never quite in their league, talent-wise. I was often rather sharp with him. You can imagine how I — how I regret that now. . . ." She sounded as though she had a sudden head cold.
"There, now, Minerva," said Fudge kindly, "Pettigrew died a hero's death. Eyewitnesses — Muggles, of course, we wiped their memories later — told us how Pettigrew cornered Black. They say he was sobbing, 'Lily and James, Sirius! How could you?' And then he went for his wand. Well, of course, Black was quicker. Blew Pettigrew to smithereens..."
Professor McGonagall blew her nose and said thickly, "Stupid boy... foolish boy... he was always hopeless at dueling... should have left it to the Ministry..."
"I tell yeh, if I'd gotten Black before little Pettigrew did, I wouldn't've messed around with wands — I'd ripped him limb — from — limb," Hagrid growled.
"You don't know what you're talking about, Hagrid," said Fudge sharply. "Nobody but trained Hit Wizards from the Magical Law Enforcement Squad would have stood a chance against Black once he was cornered. I was Junior Minister in the Department of Magical Catastrophes at the time, and I was one of the first on the scene after Black murdered all those people. I will never forget it. I still dream about it sometimes. A crater in the middle of the street, so deep it had cracked the sewer below. Bodies everywhere. Muggles screaming. And Black standing there laughing, with what has left of Pettigrew in front of him... a heap of bloodstained robes and a few — a few fragments —"
Fudge's voice stopped abruptly. There was the sound of five noses being blown.
"Well, there you have it, Rosmerta," said Fudge thickly. "Black was taken away by twenty members of the Magical Law Enforcement Squad and Pettigrew received the Order of Merlin, First Class, which I think was some comfort to his poor mother. Black's been in Azkaban ever since."