|Back Again? Siriusly?
Author: Manchester PM
The concept of the 'do-over' is used in, at the very least, hundreds of Harry Potter stories. Here's my own take, using a HP character that actually has a good reason for getting another chance to make things better.Rated: Fiction T - English - Sirius B. - Chapters: 26 - Words: 77,704 - Reviews: 190 - Favs: 236 - Follows: 329 - Updated: 05-19-12 - Published: 07-16-11 - id: 7185731
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
Startled, Petunia Dursley turned her head to stare at the now-open doorway. There, a darkly-handsome, dapper young man with not a single hair out of place and elegantly wearing from London's Savile Row a magnificent midnight-black business suit (in which Petunia dazedly estimated had to cost, at a minimum, several thousand guineas) was at this point angrily eyeing the seated woman gaping back at this vision in gentlemen's fashion.
After a moment of absolute silence, the stranger stalked into the detainee lounge, bringing along with him two other people in the room from where they'd previously been concealed from sight in the corridor outside. Following directly behind, these other individuals were in order: another, decades-older man with a somber face and clad in a much less lavish suit (while still giving off a perfectly staid manner of professional competence) and currently carrying a thin leather briefcase in one hand. All in all, this person was somehow silently identifying himself as "lawyer!" during every plodding step. In the rear behind the aged male was the last of their number. Whom turned out to be a kindly-looking, mature woman with silvery hair perhaps a generation older than Petunia. Sending a keen glance at both the stunned other female and the little boy sleeping on the couch with her, this unknown lady accompanying the two men was decorously dressed in a dark brown, floor-length robe which flattered her full-figured body.
Coming to a simultaneous stop before a bewildered Petunia still clutching at a slumbering Harry, this odd trio had their debonair leader start to speak. Before he could actually say anything further, an abrupt honking noise diverted everyone's attention to where Vernon was stirring on the other couch. Obviously beginning to awaken due to sensing the newcomers' presence, this pudgy man smacked his lips, and his eyes started to flutter open.
With a flick of his wrist, the stylish man produced a short wooden stick from out of his sumptuous suit's right sleeve, and he then waved this small implement in Vernon's direction, all while muttering a short phrase under his breath that caused a beam of red light to shoot from the tip of the stick directly at the larger man's head. In response to this, the Dursley father let out a loud snore, and he slumped back into the couch, clearly fast asleep once more. A suddenly-terrified Petunia was too frozen in fear to do anything but to watch, when the stick pointed again, and the muffled words were repeated again with accompanying flashes of red light, towards a squirming Dudley who also became utterly unconscious, and then Harry. His aunt felt the toddler's tiny body become completely limp under her arm curled protectively around him.
Tucking the wand back into his sleeve, the wizard sternly regarded the trembling woman on the couch presently facing her worse nightmare. Again opening his mouth, this young man paused, as if he'd abruptly realized something. Glancing over his shoulder, the daunting visitor nodded briskly once at the gloomy-featured subordinate. Without a word, this commanded underling opened his briefcase and he reached into it with his free hand, incredibly putting his entire arm inside the small leather case. Apparently finding what he'd sought, the lawyer removed his arm and handed over something hidden from Petunia's view by the body of the other pairs' leader, who'd turned to collect this.
Bringing around his impeccably-clad upper torso, the dark stranger smoothly extended his own arm, holding in a steady hand a delicate white china saucer with a gold-rimmed edge. Resting atop the saucer was an identically designed dainty cup filled with a steaming brown liquid, which was now offered right in front of Petunia's surprised face. A heavenly scent came wafting from the cup.
The mysterious newcomer then cleared his throat, and he calmly inquired, "Tea?"
Sirius Black stirred his tea.
The soft clinking of the spoon against the inner sides of the cup was the only sound in the lounge, until the wizard removed his silver utensil from the warm drink. Placing the spoon upon the matching saucer, Sirius picked up his teacup and he sipped from it, seemingly keeping his complete attention on these actions. In fact, the Marauder was surreptitiously watching over his cup the numb woman across the small table they were sharing in the farthest corner of the room.
Petunia Dursley was dully gripping her own teacup in both hands, cradling the little container as if it was the most important thing in the word. From her haggard appearance and continuing air of fragility, she'd had far too many shocks in the last few minutes, which hadn't been helped any by the woman's total exhaustion due to an arduous trip from England. This fleeing journey had been made in the first place in an apparently futile attempt to escape from the frightful dangers of a magical world now horrifyingly represented by the forbidding man sitting at the other end of their table.
*Good,* decisively though Sirius, not letting his grim mien alter the slightest. *The more she stays off balance, the better.*
Judging that he had a few moments more to prepare, the British wizard glanced from out of the corner of his eye towards the rest of the room. The back of Vernon Dursley's sagging head showed over the rear part of a couch where he and his son lower down on the cushions were both still deeply dozing under the Stupefy spell.
Past the now-unoccupied second couch where Petunia had been sitting just a few minutes ago, Bernard Ackroyd, the lawyer from Flint, Gannet, and Lochwell was seated at the lounge's other table. More than far away enough to provide his client and Lord Black's companion with their privacy, this legal adviser was extracting from his magical briefcase several documents and tidily laying out these papers upon the tabletop. It clearly appeared that when the time hopefully came to present those documents, Mr. Ackroyd was determined he wouldn't be caught unprepared.
Out of nowhere, a sudden wave of mental anguish nearly overwhelmed Sirius, over who else wasn't now in the room. This distress was almost as bad as the earlier inner agony of a mere minute before, when Sirius had to impassively stand by and merely watch Olivia Davis of the New York Wizarding Children's Protective Services use the firm authority common to all medi-witches to get Petunia to let go of Harry. Once this had been accomplished, the medical specialist picked up the sleeping toddler and she carried him out of the lounge for a thorough physical examination in a neighboring room.
In a lifetime filled with unpleasant moments for the Black heir, this had been one of the worst in Sirius' entire existence. He'd continually plotted and schemed for the last couple of weeks, simply to get this close to his beloved godson, and then Padfoot had to restrain himself from personally snatching Harry away from Nurse Davis and running like hell.
But, he couldn't. Not when this would've defeated his whole purpose here, for which the Black family had discreetly brought up a controlling interest in Grunnings. After this, they'd arranged for one of the drill manufacturing company's English managers to be offered a transfer to America. A little more influence by the clan had then made sure the Dursleys were detained without any explanation when this dead-tired group wound up at JFK Airport in New York. Only to be taken completely unawares by the abrupt arrival of a sinister aristocratic wizarding guardian quite willing to become extremely nasty over the supposed kidnapping of his young ward.
When Sirius and his kin had commenced their strategy weeks ago, it'd been reluctantly accepted by all there that however complicated this method might turn out, it still had a far better chance of working than what would normally be the easiest approach.
Oh, the actual effort of removing Harry from the Dursley home would've been straightforward enough and accomplished in a snap of a wizened mannikin's skeletal fingers. Given in Sirius' past life a certain Dobby the house-elf had gone through without any problems the Blood Wards which Albus Dumbledore had set up to conceal a prophesied child from the Order of the Phoenix's enemies, another house-elf shouldn't have any trouble copying this. Which had turned out to be exactly the case, except it'd also presented Sirius with a heartbreaking temptation. Just one little command, and Kreacher would gladly steal master's godson away from those disgusting Muggles…
Steal. That word had been the whole sticking point. Abducting Harry Potter was in no way any kind of good idea, despite how much Sirius privately longed for this. Simply put, just because Kreacher could come and go as he pleased through the Blood Wards on the house and inhabitants at Privet Drive, it didn't necessarily mean the little inhuman could indeed bring Harry along with him. The only way to test this would be to try it for real, and regardless of this action's success or failure, there was the distinct possibility of Dumbledore being alerted at once by his wizarding connection to the wards he'd created that there'd been a magical attempt to make off with Harry. It also meant that notwithstanding Sirius having been gifted with a share of Kreacher's powers several weeks ago, this wizard didn't dare to try it himself.
Unfortunately, there'd been a real dearth of information concerning the spell known as the Blood Wards among the ancestral Black archives. Save for a rare mention in passing among the centuries-old chronicles kept by their clan, the Blacks had otherwise never encountered this extremely obscure casting, much less ever used it on their own. During the unsuccessful search through their records, Sirius couldn't help but cynically think to himself this was perhaps due to his forebears by and large possessing a manifest lack of happy families among themselves while living together over the years. Loyalty, not love, had usually been the byword for the Blacks.
The only good thing to come out of the entire frustrating episode was Kreacher's reports on the Blood Wards. In his close study of the magical shields, the ancient house-elf had noted several disturbing issues about these protections and how they'd been set up. During their private discussions concerning this, a coldly-furious Sirius had a sudden brainwave, and Kreacher had then happily carried out his master's orders. When the proper time came, these petty actions would possibly have an effect far in excess of how much labor the sniggering house-elf had performed.
Yet, Harry still had to remain at the Dursley home for now, no matter how much his godfather hated this. Even if things changed for the worse, or some other unforeseen event occurred there (such as a house fire or an even more unlikely actual Death Eater attack, since neither had happened in Sirius' previous life), and it became absolutely necessary for a watchful Kreacher to at once leave with Harry, all while completely getting away with it in the absolute best case scenario, Padfoot's problems would just be starting.
Sooner or later, the secret of Sirius Black's survival would necessarily come out, and during the expected uproar, things would become even more frenzied if the Noble and Most Ancient House of Black was also discovered to illegally have the Boy-Who-Lived in their safekeeping. Around then, an elderly bastard cloaking his manipulations of the wizarding world under the purpose of the 'greater good' would leap into action, directing both the Ministry and the entire British magical community into obliterating the Black family. Save for a little boy whom for the nonce would be perfectly safe under Albus Dumbledore's protection, with absolute secrecy required, naturally. "…so have a lemon drop, and you needn't concern yourself further about young Harry, who'll go back into the care of some people whom I can assure you, they'll treat him with love and kindness."
However, as much as Sirius considered this last to be the equivalent of enough dragon dung to pack full to the ceilings every single room in the entire Hogwarts castle, there was the delightful consequence of the other You-Know-Who sowing the seeds of his own discomfiture by doing this in the first place. Due to putting Harry into the Dursley's custody after Halloween night (however fraudulently given what Padfoot knew about James and Lily's own wishes), Dumbledore had turned over to the other Muggle family the actual guardianship of the vanquisher of Voldemort. Not that this aged wand-wielder was the least bit concerned a terrified non-magical couple would ever learn of just how much power and influence in the wizarding world these people suddenly acquired when they'd been bullied into accepting their nephew, the sole heir of the Noble and Most Ancient House of Potter.
Nonetheless, given how Petunia Evans Dursley was directly related by blood to Lily Evans Potter and the child of this specific red-haired mother, even the most rabid pureblood wizard and witch would grudgingly admit under their own magical laws and customs, the unaware lady formerly living at 4 Privet Drive possessed all the rights and responsibilities for raising a wizarding child until this minor came into his magic and went off to Hogwarts in his eleventh year. At which time, the Headmaster of this famous school would then become Harry Potter's guardian, and a crack-brained, scheming arsehole's plans would really begin. Assuming, of course, that the other wizarding families didn't find out beforehand about their savior being brought up by a bunch of (ugh!) Muggles, and use every legal trick in the book (including some not so legal and possibly homicidal) to get Harry James Potter into their greedy clutches.
Only the Blacks were going to do it first.
It was still extremely tricky. Yes, the Dursley aunt had the full authority to transfer her custody of Harry to anyone she desired, but this woman had to be legitimately persuaded to do so, without the slightest bit of magical coercion. The only good reason Sirius hadn't already hit her with an Imperius curse, or obliviated her into totally forgetting about his godson or doing a half-dozen other things his devious Marauder brain had already come up with, was ironically the sole motivation for Dumbledore earlier refraining from this, also. In the long run, anybody defending how they'd acquired guardianship of the Potter lad would likely be forced to produce an extremely annoyed Petunia Dursley, who'd then surely be magically examined for any undue influence upon her. Which if found, would instantly invalidate the current custodian's possession of their charge, and just as quickly cause Harry to fall into someone else's hands.
That would happen only over Sirius Black's dead body.
Every one of these considerations had led to his carefully-laid strategy of confronting a woman currently not at her best, while also producing in Petunia Dursley a sense of actual overawe, using all means possible, down to his very appearance and bearing. It'd been thoroughly planned to the absolute last detail. Sirius' cultured clothing and grooming was sure to subconsciously impress and reassure a lady whose last unhappy meeting with a wizard several months ago must've involved a man dressed up in disconcertingly unusual garments and possessing a lengthy beard which brushed the bottom of Dumbledore's multi-colored robes. Moreover, the Headmaster back then had undoubtedly treated the alarmed middle-class couple in his usual condescending style of 'let me be your wise grandfather,' with an additional dash of 'I'm the all-seeing, all-powerful wizard who knows what's best for you,' topped off with a grisly warning of 'death and destruction for your whole family if my orders aren't followed to the letter.'
Ever since he'd appeared in the detainee lounge, Sirius had shown off an entirely different demeanor, one which was certain to resound in Petunia's bourgeois soul. He was now and forever The Black, from centuries of aristocrats, here to claim his godson, and like all of this common woman's groveling ancestors, nothing less would be acceptable to him than her doing what she was bloody well told!
*Right,* thought Sirius to himself in bleak satisfaction, *Let's get on with it.* A truly baleful glower was then bestowed upon Petunia, who had the misfortune to look up and see this menacing expression aimed directly at herself.
Almost dropping her teacup in a sudden panic, Petunia shrank back in her chair. Upon a pale face, the frightened woman's mouth silently opened and closed, her terrified thoughts scattering in all directions until she stumbled upon a long-forgotten memory in her mind. Without meaning to, Petunia blurted out, "I know you! You were in the wedding photograph Lily sent me!"