Chapter 1: Sirius Acts
Thanks to my lovely beta, LadyLini, for all her help in making these easier to read for you my readers. She did the first draft; this rewrite is unbetaed. All mistakes are still my own.
Disclaimer: I don't own Harry Potter that pleasure belongs to J.K. Rowling, and all the people who she gave permission to have it make her rich. I just play in her sandbox. This will be the disclaimer for the entire story.
Sirius slumped in a chair at the long table in the semi-clean kitchen at 12 Grimmuald Place. By semi-clean he meant that the surfaces were wiped, but the walls were grimy, and the floor was warped and incrusted with dirt. His lips curled and his nose wrinkled as he looked around. He was never supposed to step foot in this house again, not after he had left at the tender age of 16. However, there was a war going on, again, and he was doing the only thing he could to help.
He had little choice but to hide here, since he was a wanted criminal, who that idiot Minister Fudge used as a scapegoat for everything that went wrong in the Wizarding World.
Some of the things he was accused of doing would have been fun to. He always wanted to stop up the bathrooms in the Ministry. However, he hadn't done anything other than hide since his godson and friend had rescued him just over a year ago. He shuddered as he remembered that he had been minutes away from being Kissed by Dementors. He still had nightmares about that and Azkaban.
When Harry had seen the Dark Lord reborn a few months before, Dumbledore had restarted the group of freedom fighters from the last time that megalomaniac had walked the earth. They were called the Order of the Phoenix, and now they had taken over his house. He had offered it for meetings, but they took that to mean a safe house. The Weasleys and Hermione had moved in once the Fidelius Charm was put in place, for their own protection.
According to Dumbledore they were too close to Harry to be safe elsewhere.
Sirius had no idea how the adult Grangers were taking that. They were probably in just as much danger as their daughter, yet Hermione seemed to be the only one that cared about them. The Order appeared suddenly one day and retrieved her from her home. They left the parents behind, helpless. He didn't think that was right, but since he was being held here, there was only letters to be written, and write them he tried. Yet they never left the house. Someone one always made sure they were destroyed.
He thought he might get out to the muggle world and try to call them, or sneak Hermione to do so. She had to be worried about them too. While he couldn't bring them here, they could flee the country. It was something he was going to have to think about. But right now, he had to worry about these people taking over his house.
Sirius wasn't sure what the Order did, other than make his life miserable. They didn't go out and proactively take down Death Eaters, like they had in the past. The only thing he'd seen them do so far was watch Harry and guard the Prophecy Room in the Department of Mysteries. How that was supposed to stop Voldemort, he didn't know. But still, he wasn't doing any of those things either, no; he was sitting around his childhood home—moping.
Harry, thankfully, was supposed to be here in a few weeks. According to Dumbledore, by then he would have spent enough time at Privet Drive to keep the blood wards stable for another year.
Sirius knew his godson hated it at that house. He wanted to write to him and tell him where he was, but Dumbledore, in all his infinite wisdom, said that Harry needed time to process what had happened to him. Alone… without support. Even so, Sirius had tried to write to him multiple times, like he had the Grangers, but all his letters had been confiscated. He was beginning to get annoyed.
This he could handle, sort of. What he couldn't handle was the way that red-haired harpy was taking over his house. He may not have liked the building, but it was still his and Mrs. Weasley had no right taking over the way she was. It was the only thing he owned, dammit.
He hated this stupid, gloomy, dark house, but he hated that he had to put up with her company more. It wasn't that he had people around; it was what they were doing. They took over every aspect of his life, who he talked to, where he went, even what was going to be kept and what was to be thrown away.
In this old house, was a house elf named Kreacher. Sirius and Kreacher detested each other. Sirius hated that house elf almost as much as he hated Snivellus. Kreacher had spent many years here alone, and he had only gone crazier than before.
Sirius had tried to get him to clean, but Molly informed him that she would be taking over that duty, along with her children and Hermione. She told him that he was an unkind man to make that 'poor old elf' do the housework. He really hated that condescending voice of hers. He already had a mother he disliked; he didn't need another. She was only a few years older than he was for Merlin's sake.
Sirius, on the other hand, knew that if house elves weren't given work, their mind would snap completely. That was why this house was such a mess. That blasted portrait of his mother had kept Kreacher from doing his duty. It was shameful, and now he needed to do something to gain back control over his house and house elf.
He rose from the table and made his way to the library. It was the only room in the house that no one else had access to, much to Dumbledore's displeasure. He had just had an argument with Molly as to where Harry would be sleeping when he got here. She insisted that Harry should sleep with Ron because he needed to be around his friends.
'Yeah, then he'll need his friends,' the dogman thought with a grimace. 'What about earlier this summer? He really could have used someone then. Stupid Headmaster, and his stupid games. I wonder just what that old barmy man is up to.'
Sirius knew that Harry would be angry about the lack of communication and that he would probably want a room he could go to so he would have a place to unwind. He wouldn't be able to do that if he were bunking with Ron. Regulus's room was vacant and there were plenty of other rooms that no one was using. This house had three floors of bedrooms. To pair up the kids was ridiculous. These were teenagers, after all, and they would want their space. Well, maybe not the twins.
He marched to the back of the library, to a room that was hidden there. This room was the reason only a Black could come into the library, unless allowed. It was a ritual room that only the family could use. Many Dark rituals had taken place here, and he had avoided it like the plague. The room itself was harmless, but the things that had gone on in here had left a taint that made his skin crawl. If he could figure out another way to help his godson, and himself, he wouldn't step foot in here now, but needs must.
The room itself was circular, with grey marble walls. It had a large black marble pedestal in the middle that blended with the grey marble floor. The few torches along the walls did little to lighten it. There was a diagram in the center of the floor that was etched into the stone. It was a round circle with runes carved along the outside. The pedestal was smack dab in the middle of the circle. It was used to call on demons for knowledge, among other things. On those grey walls was deep red dried blood from former things done here, that Sirius didn't want to think about. He loathed the Dark Arts that his family loved.
He never wanted to be the Head of House, but if he wanted to protect Harry, and get himself free, he needed the additional power. He entered the room and shuddered; the whole place creeped him out. Still, he needed to do this, so he went to the pedestal.
Slamming down his hand on the small silver spike in the middle of the plinth, he felt the prick that drew blood. The circle changed color as his blood flowed down the inscriptions. The room lit red as magic heeded his call. The smell the copper was strong. He could feel where the needle still impaled his hand, wanting to remove it, but it was still needed there.
Taking a deep breath and he said, "I, Sirius Orion Black, hereby claim the Head of House for the House of Black. Let it be known from this day forth all Blacks will answer to me." Feeling magic wrap around him, judging him, he took another deep breath and waited. His core soon felt the tug of magic, like strings on a windchime.
"I hereby recall all who were cast out to be reinstated, and that they will know the power of the House of Black again," he said, knowing that if the family was to survive he would need those people. "Any Black that kneels to one other than the Head of House is henceforth an Oath Breaker. All rights, privileges and monies will be claimed as forfeit. As is my right, I hereby claim the forfeit of all oath breakers. May their magic be stripped and distributed to each Black that stayed true to themselves by my own discretion."
He felt the magic flow into the pedestal and start to fill him, the red light surrounded his body and then it burst out of him and dispersed into the air, feeling, searching and fulfilling his command. He could feel Andromeda, Tonks, and Harry through the magic, and they were getting stronger. He knew Andromeda and Tonks would know what that meant. Poor Harry would more than likely be scared.
The only reason the boy was getting Black magic was because of the godfather oath that Sirius swore when the child was born. Because the Potters died, Sirius was now his guardian, therefore, magic saw him as Sirius' heir. Harry was distantly related to his second cousin twice removed, via marriage, but he didn't hold Black blood. Sirius thought of changing that, but it would be up to Harry.
Putting aside that wonderful thought, the new Head of House wondered how Bellatrix was doing—he could feel the magic leave her, making her a squib. Would she take her own life now? He didn't care. That crazy bitch needed to be put down like the rabid bitch she was. He did like the fact that all her vaults would now be his and no one could enter until he went to Gringotts and claimed them completely. That blight on his family would be gone, finally.
He relished the power for a moment then turned his thoughts back to the others.
Narcissa was getting a small portion of the magic, as was Draco. It was at his discretion, after all. He did wonder what would happen should they take the Dark Mark, and then brushed those thoughts aside. Some of the more distant cousins, including the Weasleys, not Molly, were getting minute increases as well. It was such a tiny bit; they probably wouldn't even feel it.
"I hereby claim this house to be mine," he uttered steadfastly. "No one will rule but me. It is my duty and privilege to command that it serve me as it's Master. All wards will strengthen and listen only to me. All charms placed on this house are mine to command. Any with ill intent upon the House of Black will henceforth be denied access." He needed to have the control of the wards so that no one would be able to order him around in his house.
The wards flared, and he knew that Snivellus would no longer be allowed in the house. Neither would the thief, Mundungus. That was too bad; Sirius actually liked him. Maybe if he could get him to take a vow to keep his sticky fingers to himself…
Bringing himself back to the task at hand, he felt the Fidelius was now his and he was the Secret Keeper. Dumbledore would not be happy, but he didn't care what that old man thought right now. Trying to keep Harry and him prisoners didn't make Sirius like him all that much. Oh, he respected him and would listen to him about some things, but he didn't like him.
Sirius was tickled that the wards stung Molly but didn't evict her. She had no ill intent; she was just being her overbearing self. She would find, however, that every time she so much as thought Sirius was wrong, she would get pricked again. It was petty, he knew, but it felt good at the same time. However, if she escalated her demands, then the wards might just throw her out, without warning.
Sirius hoped not, he liked the rest of her family, though he really didn't trust them totally. Ron was a bit of a jealous boy. Ginny was always going on about how Harry was the only boy for her. And the twins, while good kids, did tend to be sneaky enough to try and gain knowledge he preferred they left alone. Hermione was a bit bossy, but she did look up to most adults and was mollified when told she couldn't do something. As long as it wasn't Sirius to told her. While she did listen to him, it was reluctantly.
He stopped his mind from drifting again, Azkaban really did a number on his concentration, and he needed to finish what he started. "All servants of the House of Black are called to me this very minute to retake their vows of obedience, that they may be strong and serve the House of Black to their fullest," he said in a demanding voice, his hand still on the pedestal, though the bleeding stopped, it was still taking his magic.
Kreacher popped into the room, looking as if he had fought the magic the entire way. "Blood-traitor Master calls poor old Kreacher? Kreacher is not wanting to serve this Master, but Kreacher must be obeying the call of magic," the wretched creature spoke, his long-crooked nose almost touching the floor as he bowed to the man he despised.
Sirius ignored him and finished the ritual, "Everything I have spoken will remain until I say otherwise, or the next Black is called. So mote it be."
With great relief he took his injured hand off the pedestal. He watched as the wound healed, it was then he noted the House Ring on his right hand. He was tired, that took a lot out of him, but he felt his magic start to come back, so he turned to the house elf groveling on the floor.
In a way he felt pity for the wretched creature. The house elf had lived his whole life to serve the House of Black. Now, that same devotion was being used to make him serve a master he hated.
"Kreacher, you have one choice," he said firmly, making the elf look up at him. "You will serve, or you will die. Your head will not go on the wall, and you will not be remembered as a devoted servant. You will die here in this room, and your body will be banished. Decide!" he ordered; his tone full of power, demanding to be obeyed.
Kreacher was in a quandary—he lived to serve the House of Black, but he reviled this man in front of him with a burning passion. He needed to complete the task set to him by Master Regulus—he was ordered to, and Kreacher did not want to disobey the last order of his beloved Master. Shaking his head back and forth with indecision, he felt his mind nearly snap. He had been too long by himself and, though he wasn't free, he had not served in years. Would he feel better doing what he was supposed to do and serve the House of Black like he had in times past? Was it possible to serve the blood-traitor?
Two minutes passed and neither of the occupants of the room moved from their spot. The house elf's only movement was the head shaking. Kreacher finally looked up and said, "Kreacher will serve the House of Black again. Kreacher lives to serve." He once more bowed and his voice was much more stable.
"Then I hereby claim the house elf Kreacher to be loyal to the House of Black until the day he dies. May he live on the magic of the house he serves," Sirius incanted, putting his hand on the dirty elf's head. There was a blue glow around both of them and then Sirius stood back.
Kreacher was renewed. Though he was still old and didn't change much on the outside, his magic got a boost from the wards, and he felt invigorated. He was no longer as stooped, and his wrinkles lessened.
"Kreacher, you will clean this house," Sirius said, this time softly. He knew what it took for the old elf to make this decision, so he'd meet Kreacher halfway. "Start with the rooms that are used the most and clean a room for my godson. Regulus's room will be best. Take all of Regulus's things and store them in the attic."
"Yes, Master," Kreacher said as he stood.
"Then start taking all the dark objects and put them in a chest, put it in my room," the master added as an afterthought. "And I mean all the dark objects. You will not hide anything. You are my elf now, and you will obey me to the fullest," Sirius ordered. He would send it all to the Department of Mysteries and they could deal with them. He didn't think it was safe to just throw them away, who knew what innocent person could pick them out of the bins.
"Kreacher hears and obeys." With that, the transformed elf popped out of the room.
Still standing in the room of power, he started thinking on what he could do to help this war effort. Stripping Bellatrix of her magic and money was a good start, but what else could he do? He wanted Andromeda and her husband to come and stay here for protection, no matter who protested. He'd ask Tonks to give Andromeda a message with the secret so that she could come if she wanted. Narcissa could take care of herself.