- Character Bashing
- Death-Minor Character
- Discussion-Child Abuse
- Hate Crimes
- Alternate Universe
- Fix It
First week of August 2007
Sirius Black was dreaming, and he knew it. It was a lovely dream. In it, Lily and James were smiling at him. They were all sitting around the kitchen table at Potter Manor. The room was light and airy and the scent of tea and biscuits were in the air. It smelled like home. The sun fell across his shoulders, and Sirius felt warm for what felt like the first time in years. Azkaban was always freezing and damp.
“Hello, old friend,” James said with a grin. You don’t look so great.”
Lily glared at her husband. Then squeezed his hand gently and gave him a big smile “Sirius, it’s so good to see you. Azkaban clearly hasn’t been kind, but that’s to be expected.”
“Hello Prongs Lily. It’s good to see you both,” Sirius said. “This is a nice dream. Bes I’ve had in a while.” Usually the dementors guaranteed the inmates had nothing but nightmares.
He grinned at Lily and winked. “You look beautiful as ever Lily.” It was true she looked just like the last time he’d seen her, but the lines of exhaustion and worry were gone. Both his old friends looked well and happy.
Lily laughed lightly. “Still a flirt I see,” she teased her eyes sparkled with amusement.
James grinned. “Some things never change, my love.”
Sirius found himself staring. He didn’t want to wake up. “It’s so good to see you both.” He looked around. “It’s good to be home. I never thought I’d see it again.”
Lily’s smile faded. “I’m so sorry for all you’ve suffered Sirius. You don’t deserve to be sitting in that prison cell.”
Sirius felt a pang. “I do. I let you both down.”
Lily shook her head. “You didn’t. Peter is the one who betrayed us all.”
Sirius looked away. “If I’d been thinking clearly this wouldn’t have happened. I shouldn’t have gone after him. Harry should have been my first priority.” Sirius had had a lot of time to think about his actions that night.
Lily nodded. “You didn’t think you, just reacted. I always told you it would get you into trouble someday.” She smiled and squeezed his hand again, taking some of the sting out of the words.
“You didn’t mean any harm to Harry. We know that,” James added.
Sirius reached out and took James’ hands in his right one. “I really wish you understood. I wish… I wish this were real.”
“What makes you think it isn’t?” James asked. “The Great Lady works in mysterious ways.”
Sirius blinked in surprise. Before he could say anything though, Lily turned to James. “Stop teasing him. We don’t have much time.”
James nodded and turned back to Sirius looking suddenly grave. “Things are changing, Sirius. We both know you were betrayed not only by Peter but by Dumbledore as well.”
Sirius shook his head. “Dumbdore didn’t betray us. He explained that given the evidence against me there was nothing he could do. He made sure I wasn’t executed. I know he tried his best.”
“Bull shit!” Lily said. She released his hand and punched her fist against the table. Sirius stared at her. The Lily he remembered never swore, at least not since becoming a mother. She’d even set up a swear jar, and Sirius had contributed quite a few coins to it.
Lily continued, “That bastard threw you in prison and he’s letting you rot.”
Sirius stared at Lily “What do you mean? Albus wouldn’t do that.”
“He did do that!” James growled his eyes flashing with anger. “He took advantage of your grief.”
“But why?” Sirius asked bewildered. Surely this couldn’t be true. It was only a dream after all. James and Lily weren’t really here.
Lily sighed. “Think about it Siri, if you’re in prison, then that old bastard can do whatever he wants with my child.”
James moved his chair closer to Lily and put his arm around her. “It’s alright, dearest. Harry won’t remember any of it.”
Lily turned to glare at James. She brushed a tear from her cheek. “It is not. That bastard gave my sweet little boy to my sister. I will never forgive him for that.”
Sirius’ stomach dropped. Petunia was bigoted and cruel. She gave all muggles a bad name. “That can’t be true. No one in their right mind would leave a child with that woman.”
Both James and Lily nodded grimly. Dear Merlin. What fate had Sirius condemned Harry to?
His mind raced. “I have to get out of Azkaban. I have to find Harry.” The dream was turning into a nightmare. If Dumbledore had really done this, he’d pay.
Lily smiled tearfully and got up. As she did so did James and Sirius. She came over and pulled Sirius into a hug. “Thank you for worrying after Harry, but he’s safe I promise. He’s with my cousin. You might remember me mentioning him Tony DiNozzo.
Sirius thought for a moment “Ah yes the hot American muggle. Of course, I remember.”
Lily chuckled. “Yes, the hot American. Trust you to remember his attractiveness. He has Harry, and my little boy is safe and happy.”
Sirius blew out a breath. “Thank, Merlin.” Sirius was relieved, but he couldn’t help but wish he was the one looking after Harry. He was Harry’s godfather after all.
James nodded, “Yes, he’s a good man, and he loves Harry, but he’s a muggle, Sirius. You know how the purebloods are. Our legal system is inherently biased against them. He needs your help; you must intervene before it’s too late. You must use all the power and influence you can muster. No one would dare cross the House of Black.”
Sirius grimaced. “I can’t. I’ve tarnished the family name. What was left after my father got done with it anyway. Besides, how will I escape? No one has ever escaped Azkaban. It’s only Padfoot that makes being here day after day bearable.”
James squeezed his shoulder “I know, but help is coming. A man is coming to speak to you, you can trust him. Tell him everything.”
“You can trust Tony too,” Lily added. “You must protect Harry and Tony from Dumbledore’s machinations. You are stronger together. Together you will achieve more than you can imagine.”
Sirius nodded. “I will. I’ll take care of them,” he promised. It was silly, of course as this was only a dream, but he promised anyway. He even meant it. If Sirius was honest with himself, it felt like a lot more.
Lily smiled and kissed his cheek. “Thank you, Siri.” Then she frowned at him and poked him in the chest. “No broom until he’s ten. I mean it.”
Sirius looked at James. Their eyes met, and James winked. Sirius turned back to Lily. “Oh come on, Lily. I got my first broom when I was three. I planned to get Harry one in a year or so.”
She poked him again. “Ten or I will find a way to haunt you. I know Tony will back me up. He won’t put up with any of your crap. Your charm won’t work.”
Sirius held back a snort. His charm worked on everyone. Sirius was sure he could persuade DiNozzo otherwise if it came to it. Still, he knew better than to argue with Lily Evens. He raised his hands in surrender. “Okay, okay. Ten it is.”
James stepped forward and gave Sirius a hug. “Give Tony a chance. I think you’re going to like him.” He whispered so only Sirius heard him.
Sirius ignored him and hugged James tight. Just like Lily’s, the hug felt solid and real. “You’re still my best friend, Padfoot.”
Sirius felt tears sting his eyes. “You too,” he said.
“We have to go now. Our time is up,” James said.
The room started to fade. “No wait,” Sirius said. He didn’t want to go back to being alone.
“I’m sorry we have no choice. You won’t be alone for long I promise,” Lily assured him.
“You need to wake up, now. Good luck, Padfoot.” The dream faded into blackness.
Sirius woke up shivering. All the lovely warmth from the dream faded away. He was lying on the floor in his dog form. It had been good to see James and Lily again. The dream had seemed so real. He wondered what his subconscious had been trying to tell him. Could Harry be living with Petunia? Surely not, he’d seen James and Lily’s will. Surely Harry was safe with Lily’s attractive muggle cousin.
A noise at the door startled Sirius. Then he heard the sound of a bar being raised, and a key turning in a lock. There was someone at the door. How strange. Sirius hadn’t seen anyone the entire time he’d been her. Their meals were shoved in through a slot in the door. He changed back into his human form and stood. He quickly wrapped the thin blanket the prisoners were provided around himself. Hopefully, his visitor wouldn’t notice the dog hair.
Two men entered the room. One was an Azkaban guard. The wizard guards mostly stayed on the perimeter of the prison. They manned the front gate and the boats that ferried people on and off the island.
The other was a tall man in black robes and an expensive suit. He looked to be about the same age as Sirius.The man entered the room and nodded to the guard.
The guard glared at Sirius. “Behave yourself,” he ordered Sirius and then walked out. The door closed and locked behind him with a couple of loud bangs.
The man looked around him and frowned for a moment before he schooled his face and looked over at Sirius. He stepped forward and held out his hand. “Lord Sirius Black?” he asked. “My name is Mage Andre Langdon. I am with the ISC’s War Mages and Auror Division. I am here on behalf of Tony DiNozzo. He is the current guardian of your godson Harold James Potter.”
Sirius felt his mouth fall open. The International Security Council. What on earth was a war mage doing here? He remembered the dream. James and Lily had told him someone was coming. His heart leaped perhaps the dream had been more than it had seemed after all.
“Yes I’m Sirius Black,” he said. “Is Harry alright?”
Andre nodded. “Yes, he’s fine. He is currently living with Tony in France.”
Sirius nodded. “He wasn’t placed with Petunia then. Thank Merlin.” This was a test. He wasn’t sure what he hoped the answer would be. He waited to see what Langdon would say.
Langdon grimaced. “He was in the Durselys’ care for a few months, unfortunately, but the situation has been remedied.”
Sirius released a breath he hadn’t realized he was holding. “I’m glad to know Harry is safe.”
Just as James and Lily had said. If Sirius ever saw Dumbledore again, he’d curse the man into oblivion. Sirius nodded. “I see. I’m glad to hear it. What can I do for you, Mage Langdon?” He kept the anger from his voice.
Andre sighed looking around the cell again. “I’m sorry. This is worse than I ever imagined. I wanted to bring you some clothes and food, but they were confiscated at the gate.”
Sirius waved that away. He wasn’t sure he’d be able to keep real food down anyway. “It’s fine. I understand. I’d offer you a seat but…” Sirius let his voice trail off. There was nowhere to sit but the bed.
“I appreciate the thought,” Langdon said. “But I prefer to stand.”
“I have to ask why is a War mfe interested in me?”
Andre sighed. “Minerva McGonnegal brought your situation to our attention.
Sirius laced his fingers behind his back. So Minerva was trying to help him. Why now? “I see. I’ve never had a visitor before. What can I do for you?”
Andre met his gaze. “I don’t have a lot of time so I’ll be frank. After a thorough investigation, we discovered several irregularities in the handling of your case. Irregularities I find professionally and personally offensive. What’s more, we believe you were sentenced without trial. We’re interested in making sure you receive the justice you were denied.”
Sirius sneered. What game was this man playing? “You want to help a murder?” he asked.
Andre looked at him for a long moment. “Are you a murder?” he finally asked quietly.
Sirius opened his mouth to confirm it. When he’d been thrown in Azkaban, he hadn’t protested. In his grief, he’d thought he deserved to be punished for letting James and Lily down, for abandoning Harry. He realized now he’d been selfish. He never should have left Harry alone. He wouldn’t ever do it again. Trust him James had said. Sirius took a leap of faith.
“No, I’m not. I’ve never killed anyone outside of battle. I didn‘t murder Peter Pettigrew or all those poor muggles.”
Andre nodded. “That’s a start. Would you be willing to tell me what happened under veritaserum?”
Sirius didn’t hesitate “Yes. I have nothing to hide.”
Andre grinned “Good.” He wiggled his fingers and tapped his wrist with his index finger. A silver bracelet appeared on his wrist. “They have my wand,” he explained. “He took out a small vial and held it out to Sirius.
Sirius took it and downed the liquid in one long swallow. After a couple of minutes, he felt the serum take effect. A feeling of calm swept over him. Andre asked him so test questions and then fired off his questions in rapid succession.
“Tell me Sirius did you murder Peter Pettigrew?”
“No, I did not. I believe Peter killed himself.”
“Did you cause the explosion that killed twelve muggles?”
“No, I did not. Peter did He set off the explosion with a potion I’d never seen before.”
“Were you the Potters’ Secret Keeper?”
“No James chose Peter instead. He thought Peter would be safest. Everyone would assume it was me, you see.”
“Did Dumbledore know Peter was the secret keeper?”
“Yes,” Sirius replied.
“Good, that’s all I need for now,” Andre said. He removed another vial from his bracelet. “There may be more question later, but here’s the antidote for now.”
Andre gave Sirius a small vial filled with golden liquid, and Sirius took it.
The effects of the veritaserum drained away, and Sirius gagged in reaction. He resisted the urge to empty his stomach. “Will you help me?” he asked when he could speak again.
Andre grinned. “Oh yes. But we need help. We have to prove you deserve a real trial so we can present the proof of your innocence in court. Only a family member or another peer can get the Wizagamon to listen.”
Sirius’ heart sank. There was only one person he could think of, though Sirius hated to ask him for help. There was no choice. He took a deep breath to steady himself. “Contact my Grandfather Arcturus Black. He is the head of our house. He he never followed the Dark Lord. If you tell him I’m innocent and show him your memories of this conversation. He will help.”
Andre nodded. “Excellent. We’ll get you released as soon as we can.”
“What if the Wizagamon won’t listen?’ he asked. No one would want to admit that a peer had been incarcerated with out trial, particularly an innocent one.
“Well then the head of then Agnes Gueron herself will bring your situation to the attention of the world court. We’d like to handle this without involving the ICW if possible. Less messy that way.”
Sirius felt his eyes widen. Agnes Gueron was a legend. He wanted to ask so many questions but now wasn’t the time. “Thank you. Thank you so much. You’ll never know what this means to me.”
I’m coming, Harry. He promised silently.