~~* Getting Away with Murder *~~
Summary: What do you think would change if Harry met Black a little sooner? If Black was more focused on Harry and keeping him safe? A lot of things apparently.
Characters: Harry Potter, Sirius Black, [the Black family], more later on
Warnings: Purebloods. Violence. Plotting. [Am I alone in viewing Purebloods as a warning? It certainly ought to be one.]
Comments, Questions, Guesses, Conspiracy Theories? Put them in your review. I do my best to reply!
AN: I am in a rewrite sort of mood I suppose. [16/09/02]
ANx2: And do keep up the theories guys I love seeing inside your minds. Please feel free to make guesses and ask questions. I try to find the time to reply to you guys as often as I can and I enjoy interacting with my readers. I do, by the way, have the best fans ever. -Pseu
Ever Yours, Pseu [Master of Awesome] And ridiculously good-looking too.
"...I can't go back, the ashes call my name
Pouting the fuel, fanning the flames, breaking the habit and melting the chains
Embracing the fear, chasing the fight, the glow of the fire will light up the night
The bridges are burning, the heat's on my face, making the past an unreachable place
Pouring the fuel, fanning the flames - I know
This is the point of no return..."
-Point of No Return
30 JULY 1993 - 0930 Hrs (9:30am)
4 PRIVET DRIVE - SURREY - DURSLEY RESIDENCE
Harry Potter once thought he would never see a day where he was grateful to be weeding in the garden. Last summer he would have given anything to be let out of his room including weeding. This summer while he had not been locked up he was outside and grateful to be weeding, going as slowly and meticulously as he felt he might get away with.
This summer the Dursley home was invaded. Dudley - Harry's much larger cousin and thank the gods only offspring of Vernon and Petunia Dursley- was gifted a new gaming system for his birthday. Consequently one couldn't go anywhere within the house without risking hearing loss from the booms and crashes and pews pews emitting out of the telly. Harry couldn't remember the last time there was an actual television show on or even the news. In the end it didn't much matter as he wasn't allowed to watch the tv anyway let alone play on the system. He did get the thrill of setting it up for Dudley and then listening to it nearly all day.
You see, Harry was responsible for all of the chores at this particular house on this particular street. Outside looking in it was no different than every other house. Same colour, same size lawn, same sort of car in the drive way. If the grass was always just a bit greener during the summer, if the flowers' blooms just a big larger and brighter...well...it certainly had nothing to do with the dark haired youth tending to the gardens. And the dishes. And the mopping and the dusting and the cooking and serving of food.
Harry did his best to complete any chores that required him to be inside the house as quickly as possible. Sometimes this meant getting up earlier than normal or staying up later to get things done. Honestly -somewhere far in the back of his mind where he was still somewhat an optimist- Harry knew if he had been invited to take part in the video gaming experience he may have weathered the situation with more grace. Or a lot more of it. As it was his cousin took every opportunity to rub it in Harry's face that not only did Dudley receive a gaming console and harry did not, he made certain the younger boy knew he would never get one. Not one from a relative at least nor one from his friends for that matter.
Generally speaking electric gadgets did tend to function properly where his sort of friends were from. Coincidentally the same place Harry spent most of the year. Also known as time spent not being an unpaid servant tipped with threats of bodily harm and insulting comments. At school he got to learn how to brew poisons while Snape snarked -never knew when that might come in handy- and then destroy the man's house team at Quidditch. The wizarding sport.
Harry's a wizard by the way. Huzzah.
30 JULY 1993 - 1745 Hrs (5:45pm)
4 PRIVET DRIVE - SURREY - DURSLEY RESIDENCE
"Are the fillets ready? Harry! She'll be here any minute."
Harry Potter, twelve year old wizard, defeater of Dark Lords, possessed defense instructors, trolls and basilisks, nodded while straightening his very manly and dangerous apron in the Dursley's kitchen. His aunt stood nearby making one sided conversation while periodically peeking around the corner and down the hall. Where the front door was located. While this was uncommon behavior it was not unexpected. Vernon's sister Marge was coming to stay for the week. Petunia like her nearly as much as Harry did himself. Which was not at all.
"Which wine...which wine..." The skinny woman pawed through her cabinets, long neck stretched out to peer along the top most shelf. Not the safest place to store wine really. Harry thought she assumed Harry wouldn't ever be able to get any of it, had he one day the mad urge to risk the death that would assuredly come to him from such an action, seeing as he was rather short for his age and was not able to reach all of the shelves within the cabinet even with the aid of a stool or chair. The only reason she herself was selecting a bottle and not Harry.
It was well known by the both of them that if they succeeded in getting Marge intoxicated as quickly as possible the large woman would pass out shortly afterward. With the small side effect of making her even more loathsome for the duration of the conscious portion of her intoxication. There was no love lost between Harry and his Aunt Petunia but you've probably heard the saying one's enemy of one's enemy is one's temporary ally as convenience allows. Or something to that effect.
Thus the arrival of more hailed the short and shaky alliance between the two of them. Harry did not want to hear say horrid things about his parents or himself. Petunia didn't want her dog running amok and her cigar ash on the carpets any longer than necessary. If they had to trick her into blacking out from too much alcohol to get a reprieve there was certainly no one there to call them out on it. Vernon and Dudley were quite obvious and anyone else would be ignored as they didn't live there and wouldn't much matter. Harry thought feeling guilty about such actions was pointless. He much preferred feeling accomplished and somewhat devious. This was the only time of year he was allowed to be less than perfectly noble and he relished in it.
Harry arranged the meal on the table, cleaning as he went along, the sound of Dudley's dratted video games sounding off in the background. He was certain the only way the boy would leave it -apart from the threat of being denied food- was the presents Marge would no doubt bring along. Not because she favoured Dudley, Harry suspected she didn't particularly like him, but because she shared Dudley's fondness for making Harry miserable. This may have been enough for Dudley and Marge to fake affection toward each other but it was not enough to get her into petunias good graces.
A knock at the door had petunia crossing herself and murmuring a prayer for patience.
"Vernon! Get the dog he's been cooped up far too long. I'll never understand it, forcing him down there with common mongrels. Airplane attendants don't understand good breeding when they see it." Marge Dursley thumped her way into the dining room, drew back a chair with a screech and plopped herself down in it in a manner that had Petunia cringing. The large woman's eyes came to rest on Harry. "Speaking of breeding..."
Petunia handed him the wine. Their morals were awesomely questionable.
30 JULY 1993 - 1904 Hrs (7:04pm)
4 PRIVET DRIVE - SURREY - DURSLEY RESIDENCE
Harry Potter stared at his poorly thought out yet hilarious -if potentially damning- bit of magic. Aunt Marge bobbed in the air above the dining room table with her already massive body expanding by the second. She resembled a distorted human balloon as her features stretched and pulled. He wanted to say he hadn't meant to do it. That would be lying.
"What have you done?" Vernon's mustache quivered above furious lips, between reddening cheeks. "Petunia! Fetch me a rope. We'll pull her down."
Petunia dabbed her napkin against her mouth from her spot at the table. Indifference personified. "I'm afraid I can't remember where I last saw it Vernon." A negligent attempt at a confused expression lay thinly veiled over a generally pleased aura. Amused even. "Boy?"
Harry's shoulders stiffened. "Yes Aunt Petunia?"
"Do you recall seeing any rope when you cleaned out the shed?" She asked it almost innocently, straightening her silverware and avoiding eye contact with Vernon.
"I haven't seen ma'am." Said Harry. He tried to look somewhat upset about it. The rope was in the box under the garden hose. He knew this because he Petunia put it there not four days ago.
This was the final straw for Vernon. The man lunged to his feet causing the table and the chairs to tremble from his tremendous weight being thrown about. Beefy hands yanked Harry up by the collar of a too large shirt.
"You put her right Freak. Fix her."
Harry swallowed. "I...I can't. I don't know how."
"You put her right." Vernon bellowed.
When that failed to produce results the large man proceeded to manhandle his nephew out of the dining room. Just inside the hallway he stopped. Harry was shaken hard enough he thought his eyeballs would pop right out of the back of his head.
"I don't know how!" Harry slapped a hand over his mouth in horror. It was too late. He'd yelled at Uncle Vernon. The man smiled. Crap. His uncle shoved him forward and let him go. Unable to stop his momentum, Harry slammed into the wall just outside his old cupboard. Hard. Harry shut his eyes and gathered a deep breath. It was quieter now/ He wondered what had happened to Marge.
Vernon grasped him under his shoulders, pulled him to his feet then sent him flying into the wall again. And again. The fourth time Harry crumpled to the floor and didn't get up. His emerald eyes flickered to the left. Petunia sat in her chair, calmly finishing her dinner. She didn't look at him once. At the end of the day his aunt was a weak person and cared little enough for him that she couldn't be bothered with acquiring bravery for his sake. He'd known she wouldn't do anything. He'd known.
It hurt anyway.
Harry winced, hunching his shoulders and ducking his head. "No. Please."
His Uncle yanked him up, held him there. They started moving down the hall. Toward the stairs. "No. No...no...no." They were gonna lock him up again. He knew it. They were going to shut him in that room with those locks and that horrid cat flap. Harry couldn't do that again. He just couldn't. He hated being shut in. Trapped. He wouldn't do it.
30 JULY 1993 - 1928 Hrs (7:28pm)
4 PRIVET DRIVE - SURREY - DURSLEY RESIDENCE
Harry Potter snapped.
The entire house shuddered. Once. Just the once. And then again. It didn't stop this time. He couldn't make it stop. Instinctively knew if he stopped it he'd never be able to do what he planned to do next. Pictures in their frames sung on the walls, candlesticks rattled on the mantle above th fireplace. Magazines slid off the table in the living room, plates crashed to the floor in the kitchen. A roar of magic beat against them all. He could hear, barely, his aunt give a frightened shriek and hide herself beneath the table. In the midst of the chaos Harry tumbled to this cupboard, dashing inside to retrieve his trunk. His fingertips were a hairs breath from the knob on the front door when he heard him.
"Where d you think you're going? They won't take you boy. We've asked. They'll bring you back and then you'll be sorry. Even the freaks don't want The Freak." His uncles laughter cut off as Harry opened the door and stepped out, slamming it behind him.
The quiet darkened street was a stark contrast to the storm raging within the walls of the Dursley home. Harry hauled his trunk down the pavement to the end of the street. Far enough away he couldn't see the house anymore. He stood there. Gazing at nothing. Then he dropped the trunk. It banged against the curb. Harry kicked it twice and growled.
"I hate them." He declared.
With that he sat beside his trunk and propped his chin in his hands, careful to avoid the other parts of his face. He ached everywhere. What would he do now? Where would he go? Did you go to Azakaban -the wizarding prison- for blowing up people and destroying homes? You might. It sounded like something you would get in real trouble for whether you were related to the people involved or not. Maybe even more so then. Harry couldn't imagine the muggles would be honest in their recounting of what happened if they were asked by authorities and magical or not his uncle would enjoy talking to anyone who would get Harry in to trouble. No he needed to leave. He needed to get far away from there before someone came looking for him. Where to go? That was the question there. The real one. He'd known that the moment he decided to get his trunk and make a run for it. He was running away. Finally.
Harry took off his glasses and rubbed at his eyes.
A leaf crunched,
Harry's eyes snapped open in alarm. There not ten feet away stood an impossible sized black dog. Harry stared at it. The dog stared at Harry. He thought he'd been hit in the head harder than first imagined when the dogs features began to stretch and bend until it was a man with unkempt black hair in black robes there kneeling in the street. The might-be-hallucination raised his hands slowly. Harry didn't see a wand anywhere.
"Are you...a wizard?" He asked in a sort of autopilot driven daze. The only person he'd ever seen do something remotely like that was his Professor of Transfiguration who could turn into a cat.
The man nodded, pulling one leg beneath and rising. He walked toward Harry. He kept his hands up, gray eyes roaming over the teenage wizard in foreign familiarity. Harry ought to be more cautious he knew. After all a wizard tried to kill him in his first year and another attempted to wipe his memories the year after. The man -wizard- kneeled before him, reaching out with hands surprisingly soft to cup his face.
"What happened?" He rasped.
It took a moment for Harry to realize he must have already formed bruises if not cuts. Harry felt his guard fly up. Instinctual at this point. He was nearly thirteen and it was sad but truth that his interactions with adults up to this point weren't the stuff trust was built on. Suspicion though. Suspicion and distrust and an expectation to come out of the encounter worse for his trouble...those were familiarly feelings in this sort of situation.
"It doesn't matter." Harry murmured." It never does. None of you care."
The strange man frowned. An expression which seemed wrong on a face filled with laugh lines, albeit a dirty face presently.
He let out a laugh that was somewhat hysterical. "This is my life." He choked out. Then to his horror he found himself weeping in front of them man. Harry reach ip to wipe his face and the man caught his hand.
"It doesn't have to be. Harry."
His breath caught. "What do you mean? Explain." Anger roiled in him. Suspicion. Unwilling to let even a glimmer of hope into his veins until he was certain he wasn't about to get let down. Harry had yet to meet a single adult he count on. How many teachers. How many neighbors. Ho man saw him working day after day, saw the way he was treated and spoken to? None of them had ever done anything.
Dumbledore did nothing.
"Do you know me?" The man asked.
Harry studied his face quickly. "No. I don't recognize you."
The wizard murmured something under his breath. "My name is Sirius Black. We are cousins of a sort through your grandmother, Dorea."
Harry sat there in front of him his mind gone blank and still. "I wasn't aware I had any living magical relatives." He said. His voice just as blank as his mind. Somewhere inside of him the information was stored away with care. Somewhere inside of him a part of him clung to the knowledge with a fierce hopefulness Harry tried to shove to the side for the moment. There was no need to indulge in wishes and might-bes just yet. The man seemed sincere in his demeanor so far, the tones of his voice. That didn't mean anything to Harry. His relatives sounded perfectly honest when they told people he was disturbed and they were doing their best but there just wasn't any cure for some people. Everyone believed them because they sounded honest. Honesty was relative.
Speaking of relatives.
The wizard -Black- frowned again. "No? Narcissa and Andromeda are living, last I heard. Bella is...indisposed. You won't have seen her around of course. There are...two younger cousins about your age...Draco and Nymphadora?" The man tried.
Harry choked on some air. "Draco? As in Malfoy? Draco Malfoy?"
"You know him then." The man relaxed a little.
Malfoy was his cousin. He was related to Draco Malfoy. Merlin had the other boy known? Harry stiffened. Oh God no wonder the blonde was so upset. He thought Harry rejected him and favoured Ron over him on purpose...how would that have looked? The entire incident? If the boy thought Harry had known who he was? That they were cousins? How would it have looked it the other kids around watching them? Harry felt guilty. He was strange wasn't he? He felt little to nothing over blowing up Marge yet here he was feeling sorry for hurting Draco Malfoy's feelings.
The blonde was still a spoilt git.
30 JULY 1993 - 1940 Hrs (7:40pm)
4 PRIVET DRIVE - SURREY - DURSLEY RESIDENCE
Black opened his mouth, shut it then opened it again. "I'm your godfather Harry." Just blurting stuff out must run in the family. Wait...
"You..." Harry stared at him. This was too much all at once. Too much. "Why haven't I met you before? Where have you been?"
How many family members did he have running about that he didn't even know about? Why didn't anyone tell him? He could have gotten to know them. Stayed with them over the summer. Had friends growing up. Even the freaks don't want The Freak. His fingers curled into the palms of his hands bitingly. Best not to think on that right now.
"You have." Harry looked up. "You were only a baby then. I was there for your birth and you first birthday party. Your first winter's celebration too."
Harry battled with himself then blurted. "If you're my Godfather and I have other magical relatives than why I am I living with Un...the muggles." He didn't want to think about his uncle.
"I don't know." Black admitted. "I intend to find out." Fingers brushed over Harry's face gently, mindful of his wounds. I am so sorry Harry. I should have been here. " Black stood abruptly and held out his hand. "Do you trust me?"
He blinked. "I...what?"
"Come with me." Black pulled him to his feet. "Quickly. You don't have to stay here. You don't have to go back."
His heart pounded. This wasn't happening. He was passed out on the floor in the hallway. There wasn't any way that his most repeated daydream of some long relative coming to rescue him was coming true. It just wasn't possible. There was a catch. There had to be. He sucked in a breath and let it out. But anywhere was better than there. He could figure out what this man wanted and if he didn't like it he would leave.
"What about Dumbledore?"
Black shrunk Harry's trunk and put it in a pocket hidden within the darkness of his robes. "What about him?"
Harry flicked his eyes around them. Shouldn't someone have come after him by now? How long had they been standing there? The hopeful fluttery feeling in his chest he'd tried to shove aside withered into icy blank nothing. "He informed me I was to stay here. I am not allowed to stay at the school for the summer and have been informed spontaneous excursion to friend's home are...unwise. Unnecessary. The Dursleys are my legal guardians. What if someone comes for me? If they try to being me back?"
Arms wound around him, holding Harry close. "I'd like to see anyone try." Black growled. The air around Harry pressed in on him, squeezing, the world twisted. With a pop they were gone.
Thoughts? Guesses? Questions? Theories? Limericks?