Hi everyone :-)
This is the first story of my own creation that I've posted in more than five years, and the first one in English. I've been back into fanfiction for a few months now, reading and writing, and I figure it's time to get out there ;-) Have fun!
"Harry has to stay with his aunt and uncle. He is safe there. I know you want him with you, Sirius, but I think it is the boy's safety that is of the utmost importance in this case."
Dumbledore's words were still ringing in Sirius' ears when he drove his motorcycle down Privet Drive, the street that Harry lived in. What right had Dumbledore to decide about his godson? Lily had told Sirius enough about her sister to make him consider her with caution. She reminded him of Regulus – he and Lily had once laughed about that. They carried the exact same prejudice with the exact same conviction. The only difference was that they would each regard the other as the worst of human kind. It would have been funny had it not been so sad.
He stopped in front of number four. It was a very neat house with a spotless front garden and a polished car. It looked very foreign to him. He had never been inside a house that made it so incredibly clear that muggles lived in it. In fact, he had hardly ever been in any house that muggles lived in. He had been to Lily's parents' once, a long time ago. This one bore little resemblance to it, though. It was a lot bigger and by the looks of it a lot more expensive.
He got off his bike and looked around. A woman was staring at him from across the street. He wondered what she was thinking. He was in muggle clothes, the leather jacket that had been sitting in an evidence room in the Department for Magical Law Enforcement for the previous seven years. He had not chosen to wear it – it was part of the only outfit he owned. Was it unfashionable now? Back when he had bought it, it had gone well with his motorbike. Lily had laughed when she had seen it and told him that it suited him.
He winked at the woman who turned away in embarrassment and went back to trimming her rose bushes. Sirius grinned to himself for a second – he still had it, even after a few years without practice. Nonetheless, his confidence grew considerably thinner as he walked up to the front door and rang the doorbell. He had just proven to himself that he could still make forty-year-old women blush. That did not mean that he was in any way up to the task he had come here for. At least he was wearing muggle clothes, and it was pure luck that that was the case. Peter had had nosey muggle neighbours and that was the reason why seven years on, he could see Harry. Was that funny? Or ironic? Probably neither.
Maybe there was not even anybody home, he thought to himself. Maybe he would just have to come back another time. At the moment, that did not seem like that much of a bad thing.
Could he really expect Harry to be happy to see him? He had been so small when they had met the last time. He would not remember it. He was eight now. Was that still small enough to be scared of him? Would he even like him? He had no reason to, of course.
He heard someone approaching the door from the other side. Would his aunt and uncle even let Harry talk to him? They might not actually be that bad – after all, they had been looking after him since he had been a baby. He had to be like a son to them.
The door was opened and Sirius found himself face to face with a wide, moustached face. It squinted as its owner looked Sirius up and down. It could not have been plainer that he did not approve of what he saw.
Sirius cleared his throat nervously. 'Hello, Sir. My name is Sirius Black. You must be Mr Dursley?'
The man opposite gave a short nod.
'I came to see Harry Potter. I was a friend of his parents'.'
Mr Dursley's expression changed from disapproving to aggressive in an instant. 'You have no business here.'
Sirius' feeling of dislike grew by the second but he was determined to stay polite. 'I would very much like to see him, so if you would…'
'You're one of their lot, aren't you?' Vernon Dursley interrupted.
Sirius was not entirely sure what was meant by that but he certainly did not like the tone. 'I was the best man at Lily and James' wedding,' he tried to explain, pulling a picture from his pocket and holding it out so that the other man could glare at it.
He had bewitched the photograph so that it would not move. It was a good picture, even Lily had agreed. It showed her in her wedding dress, stood between her new husband and the best man. Both James and Sirius had their arms around her, James' around her waist, Sirius' around the back of her neck with his hand resting on James' shoulder. They had all been so happy that day – it had been a break from the war and all the fighting.
While Mr Dursley was still glaring at the picture, a child entered the hallway to stand behind Mr Dursley. Sirius spotted dark hair but it was too dark in the hall compared to the sunlit front yard to make out anything else.
'So what?' snarled Mr Dursley, drawing Sirius' attention away from the boy in the shadows. 'That doesn't give you a right to see him, does it? Now get lost, and take that ruddy machine with you!' He made to slam the door in Sirius' face but he was not quick enough.
Sirius had stepped forward and in the same second, the child had, too. Sirius froze, his left foot and hand still blocking the door. Now that the boy was no longer standing in his uncle's shadow, Sirius could finally see his face. He looked incredibly like James. His hair was standing up in all directions, he had a face shaped just like Prongs' when he had been little, the same mouth. Nevertheless, there were some of Lily's features, too. Harry stared up at him with her eyes.
It took Sirius a few moments to find his voice. Then he stepped past Vernon Dursley and knelt down – trying to ignore the fact that the muggle was now looming above him – so that Harry's and his face were level. He held out a hand and after clearing his throat said, 'Hello. I'm Sirius.'
The boy shook it tentatively. 'I'm Harry.'
Sirius was not sure what to say next. Had he not been over this in his head? He had imagined the conversation they might have, yet nothing came to mind now. 'I… I know. You… you look just like your dad.' It was probably not a particularly helpful or original thing to say, but Harry's eyes lit up nonetheless.
'You knew my dad?' he asked eagerly.
Sirius nodded, letting out a relieved breath. 'Yes, he was my best friend.'
'Was he nice?'
'Now listen here!' interrupted Mr Dursley before Sirius could answer that, yes, of course Prongs had been very nice indeed. He had closed the door as soon as Sirius had stepped out of the way. 'I don't know what you could possibly want with him but so long as you're in my house…'
Sirius erected himself to his full height again, trying to think of what to do. Somehow, he could understand the other man's reaction. He was a stranger, after all, and it was only natural for an uncle to be protective of his nephew. Still, Sirius still felt he had every right to talk to his godson. He was not going to do him any harm or take him away or anything. He only wanted to get to know him…
'I want to talk to him.' He looked back to Harry. 'Only if you want to talk to me, that is.'
Harry determinedly avoided his uncle's gaze as he nodded.
Sirius' heart lifted a little and he grinned at the boy. 'Great! We…'
'You will not!' shouted Mr Dursley, spewing a few drops of spit at Sirius.
'Try to stop me!' Sirius gave back, and instantly regretted the outburst. 'I'm sorry,' he amended, taking a step back. 'I… Look, I can see you don't trust me with him. I understand. Maybe… Maybe I could have just a few minutes with him? Harry could show me his room and we could have a little chat and then I'll be on my way again…'
Somehow, this suggestion did nothing to appease Mr Dursley. Suddenly, he seemed distraught. 'No! No, I won't have you in the house! Petunia and Dudley will be back soon and…'
'I could take Harry for a walk?' Sirius proposed. 'I'd drop him back here…'
Vernon Dursley considered this, clearly struggling to keep on top of what was going on. Then… 'Fine. Take him then.' He yanked open the door again, almost hitting Sirius.
Sirius looked to Harry who had been watching the exchange in stunned silence. Sirius knelt down again. 'Would you like to go get some ice-cream, Harry? You'd tell me where to get it though – I've never been here before…' He had driven past a park on his way here – it could be no more than a few minutes on foot away. 'We could walk to the park and talk about your parents for a bit. Only if you want to, of course.'
Harry stared at him with those green eyes that made Sirius' stomach churn. He looked so much like Lily. Then, he nodded wildly. 'Yes, of course I want to.'
Sirius grinned and he stepped out onto the front yard. 'Alright. Let's go then.'
Harry shot his uncle a calculating glance and then hurried past him, catching up with Sirius. Behind him, the door slammed. Sirius flinched but Harry barely even noticed. He had spotted the motorbike and now only had eyes for that. 'Is that yours?' he asked in awe.
'Wow.' He walked around it, taking in every angle of the shiny black metal. 'Are we going to go on it?' he asked eagerly.
'No, not today.'
Harry did not answer but cocked his head, watching Sirius' face. Sirius smiled at him nervously, not sure what Harry was expecting or what he had heard in his words.
Together, they started to walk down the road, towards the park.
'So, do you know a good place to have ice-cream?' asked Sirius, breaching a safe topic of conversation.
'There is a café near the playground,' said Harry. 'Aunt Petunia and Dudley have ice-cream there sometimes.'
Sirius frowned a little at this sentence. Why would Harry say that instead of "We have ice-cream there sometimes"? He decided not to pry, however. 'Dudley's your cousin, is he?' he asked instead.
'Is he older or younger than you?'
'A month older. He's a lot bigger and stronger than me but he's not as clever.'
Sirius chuckled. It was easy to believe that Lily and James' son would outshine the offspring of the walrus he had just met in terms of intellectual abilities. 'I'm sure,' he said. 'Do you go to school?'
'Yes, I'm in year four now. We…' Harry broke off and Sirius looked over to see why.
He followed Harry's gaze and spotted a group of boys Harry's age by the set of swings on the playground that they were walking past. Was he embarrassed to be seen with someone looking like him? 'Mates of yours?' he asked lightly.
Harry ducked his head at the question, giving off a rather guilty look. 'Dudley's friends,' he muttered just loud enough for Sirius to hear.
'Do you want to go and say hi? I'm in no hurry.'
'No,' said Harry quickly, shaking his head determinedly. He held his head high but Sirius knew James' face well enough to see past Harry's façade. He was scared though of what exactly he could not tell. Surely, if the boys were friends with Dudley, they would also be on civil terms with Harry, right? They did live in the same house after all. Then again, some of Regulus' school friends had tried to kill Sirius so that was not a foolproof line of reasoning.
They passed unnoticed by the kids and found a place at the last empty table in front of the café. The park was crowded on the sunny day in mid-September, maybe one of the last warm days of the year. Sirius opened the menu and laid it on the table so that they could both read it.
'What are you going to have?' he asked Harry who had relaxed again. This seemed like another safe question to him. He had not dared say much up until now. He was afraid to scare Harry even though he seemed quite brave. He would be, of course, with parents like his.
He was still amazed by how much Harry looked like James. There was of course the scar on Harry's forehead that he had heard a lot about. He was a little startled by the clothes Harry was wearing that seemed to be rather threadbare and far too wide for him. Sirius wondered whether this might be a fashion choice but wasn't eight a little too young for that? Still, what did he know about muggle kids and fashion?
'I don't have any money,' Harry let him know.
'You're invited,' Sirius told him. Had he not made that clear? Had that not been obvious?
Harry nodded earnestly and returned his gaze to the menu. 'What am I allowed to have?' he asked
Sirius was puzzled by this question, too. 'Anything. What would you like?'
'Am I allowed that one?' His finger was pointing at a picture of a sundae.
'Sure, whichever one you like best.'
Harry nodded. 'That one then, please,' he told Sirius, his voice petering off into silence. It was almost as if he was expecting Sirius to change his mind.
The waitress came to their table and Sirius ordered two chocolate sundaes. When she had left, Harry said in a small voice, 'Sirius?' He pronounced the name very carefully, making Sirius smile.
'May I see that picture you showed Uncle Vernon, please?' He cringed a little as he asked, as if afraid of the answer. Sirius immediately jumped at the question, however.
'Yes, of course.' Why had he not thought of this before? He rummaged in his pockets and pulled out the photograph. Harry stared at it.
'Are they my parents?' he asked.
'Yes.' Sirius was once more confused by a question. 'Don't you know what they look like?'
Harry shook his head, cowering a little, expecting to be told off. 'I'm sorry. I can't remember them. I was too small when they died.'
Sirius felt a stab of grief at those words. Even though their death was very present in his mind, especially with Harry sitting in front of him, to hear him say the words was something else entirely.
'I know,' he said as gently as he could. 'But don't you have any pictures of them?'
Harry shook his head again. 'No.'
Sirius did not quite know what to say to that. He could not tell Harry how much this upset him. The thought of Prongs' son not even knowing what he looked like gave him another sharp jab of pain. 'Well,' he said finally, trying to sound as cool as possible. 'You do now. You can keep that one.' It was the only one he owned, the one that had been in his wallet when he had been arrested. It meant a lot to him but Harry deserved it more than he did.
Harry looked up from the picture with glowing eyes. 'Really?'
'Thank you.' Harry stared at the photograph as though it was the greatest treasure he could imagine and every sorrow Sirius had felt at the thought of parting with it instantly disappeared. 'Mum doesn't much look like Aunt Petunia,' he said finally.
'Doesn't she? I've never met your aunt,' said Sirius truthfully. He did however remember the look Lily's face when she had received a letter from her sister that had told her that she would not be coming to her wedding. He had not often seen her that upset.
'No,' said Harry thoughtfully.
'Your mum was one of the nicest and kindest people I've ever met. And, she was the prettiest girl in the whole school,' Sirius remembered and smiled at the thought. How often had James said that sentence? Sirius had not agreed at first but he had learned to see her through Prongs' eyes. There was… had been something about her, something special that made her beautiful in a more solid way than anyone else. 'A lot of boys were in love with her. She was very clever as well.'
Harry kept staring at the picture.
'And your dad was the best mate you could ever imagine. We used to pull pranks on the caretaker and get detention every other week. We would sneak out of the dormitories at night and tiptoe through the castle.'
The waitress came back and set two bowls on the table.
Harry took one more careful look at the picture and then put it in his pocket.
'Which castle?' he asked as he scooped the first spoonful of ice cream in his mouth.
'Hogwarts of course.'
'Yes, of course, Hogwarts.' Sirius smiled but the look on Harry's face was serious. 'You do know Hogwarts, don't you?'
Harry shook his head, looking properly scared now. 'Sorry,' he squeaked.
Sirius smiled at him reassuringly and tried to have his voice sound as calm as possible. 'Well, it's the best school for magic there is. You are going to go there when you turn eleven, just as your parents did.'
Harry stared at him. 'School for what?'
'Magic. Witchcraft and Wizardry.'
The look on Harry's face was apprehensive now. 'Are you pulling my leg?' he asked.
Sirius stared back. If Harry was having him on, he was doing a very good job – but it did not seem like it. This could not be true, though. Had they really not told him? Had those damn muggles never even mentioned it to him? He swallowed all the curses that were quivering on the tip of his tongue and instead said, 'No. You're a wizard, Harry.'
Harry was still staring at him and finally, very sternly said, 'I don't believe in magic anymore. I'm eight.'
Sirius could not help but grin at this even though the thought of Harry not knowing about Hogwarts still felt like a blow to his head. 'I can prove it to you.' He had to think for a second. Doing magic amongst so many muggles was risky. Then he had an idea. 'Would you mind giving me the picture for a moment? Don't worry – I'll give it back to you right away.'
Harry hesitantly took out the photograph and handed it over. Sirius tapped it with his wand under the table and gave it back. It was now moving again. Harry stared at it even more amazed than he had done before. 'But,' he said finally, 'how do you know that I'm a wizard?'
'Because your parents were. Magic parents have magic children.' That was a little oversimplified but it should do for now. He knew that Harry was a wizard because he had seen him summon a cuddly toy towards himself when he had been only a few months old.
Harry did not look convinced.
'Think about it,' said Sirius. 'You must have made something happen. Something you could not explain.'
Harry was silent for a few moments but then a grin crept onto his face. Sirius joined in. 'What does that mean? What does magic really do?'
'Lots of different things. There's not really that much you can do until you go to school and learn to control it. Then there's Transfiguration, for example, turning things into other things, and Potions, learning how to brew all sort of stuff. Witches and wizards can fly on broomsticks.'
'Really? Like in the fairy tales?'
'A little.' Sirius knew what stories Harry was talking about. He had taken muggle studies, if only to annoy his parents. 'Not all of it is true, though. Not all witches have warts and not all wizards have long beards, only some.'
'And… A few months ago, one of my teachers was shouting at me and then his wig turned blue. Was that magic, too?'
'Probably. Magical children can sometimes make things happen unintentionally, mostly when they are upset. It's called accidental magic and it stops happening once you've been properly trained.'
Harry took in that piece of information thoughtfully.
'It's a secret, though. Muggles – that is, non-magic people – aren't supposed to know that wizards and witches are real. That's also why I can't show you any more magic while we're here. Someone might notice and then I'd be in trouble.'
Harry kept pondering this but picked up his spoon again to eat some more ice cream.
Sirius waited for more questions about magic but when none came, he changed the subject. 'So, what did you do for your last birthday?' He could finally remember the questions he had thought of on the way. He had decided that this one was suitable of an eight-year-old whose birthday had been a few weeks earlier.
Harry just shrugged. 'Nothing, really.'
'You must have had a party?'
Harry shook his head. 'No, nobody would come. They're all too scared of Dudley – and Aunt Petunia won't allow that I have one, anyway.'
'How about presents then?' asked Sirius. He was determined to find a positive talking point.
'I got Dudley's trainers,' replied Harry and pointed to his feet. He was wearing shoes that looked as though they might fall apart at the next step.
'And what else?' Sirius kept asking. This had to be one of those times when a child would distort the truth in some way. They did that, right? Tell fibs just for the fun of it or to get attention.
'Nothing. But these shoes are a lot better than my old ones.' He ate another spoonful of his sundae.
Sirius noticed that he was staring at his godson with his mouth open. He could not decide which he disliked more – Harry outright lying to him or his godson being treated as badly as he made out. Neither were cause for celebration but he found himself hoping that Harry was just a little boy prone to fibbing.
'Harry, is that really true?' he asked, trying to keep his voice calm. 'Everything you have told me? I would get mad if it wasn't, I'd just like to know the truth.'
'I don't lie,' said Harry. 'Uncle Vernon says I do but I don't.'
Sirius nodded, struggling to keep his face blank. He would be dangling Albus Dumbledore from the Astronomy Tower for this! How dare he put Harry in this family?
Then again, maybe money was just tight for them. It made sense that Harry wore clothes that his cousin had grown out of if he was indeed that much bigger. Maybe they did everything to avoid having to admit that they were broke. Their house did not look it but appearances could deceive. Sirius did not know enough about the muggle world to judge whether the car in front of the house was expensive – it was clean, that was all he could say for sure. The same went for Vernon Dursley's clothes. He looked a lot better groomed than his nephew but he would not be growing out of the things he wore. Still, it was rather odd.
'Tell you what,' he said. 'When we're done here we're going to a toyshop and I'm gonna buy you a proper birthday present.'
'You are?' Harry looked up from his food.
So, when they had both finished their ice creams, Sirius paid and Harry led the way to his favourite toyshop. It was loud and colourful, filled with plastic dolls and screaming children. He looked around, at a complete loss as to what Harry would enjoy.
'What kind of thing would you like?' he asked therefore.
'A car maybe?' asked Harry tentatively and pointed to a shelf filled with little models.
'Sure. Shall we pick one?' They walked over and looked through the rows of different cars.
Harry ended up picking a little black motorcycle. Sirius could not help but smile – his motor seemed to have made an impression.
On their way back to Privet Drive they came across the little gang of boys Harry had been trying to avoid in the park. Sirius had been walking a few steps behind Harry who was leading the way and had to have made the impression of being out and about on his own.
The boys had spotted him and started pulling faces. 'Oi, Potty!' one of them sneered loudly while they came closer. Harry took an involuntary step back, just into Sirius who laid a hand on his shoulder. So much for civil terms, he thought.
Sirius' height alone was enough to have them stop in their tracks and his expression seemed to do the rest. Harry had flinched at his touch but Sirius did not draw back. 'Harry is under my personal protection,' he said to the boys now staring up at him with big eyes. Children – mean children but just children. 'If you hurt him, I will hurt you. Understood?' He resisted the urge to pick them up by the scruff of their necks and shake them. They already looked as though they were about to wet themselves. 'Now scarper.'
They took off at a run and Sirius sank down on one knee to look at Harry. 'You alright?' he asked.
Harry took a deep breath and nodded. 'I'm fine,' he said. Something other than fear or relief shone in his eyes.
'They're cowards,' said Sirius. 'Five against one, I ask you.' He successfully dismissed the twinge of guilt he felt at his own words, remembering his time at school. Snivellus had gotten what he deserved…
'They're still stronger than me,' muttered Harry.
'Not for long. Wait until you have gone to Hogwarts. You'll be able to turn them into toads in a few years.'
The walked the rest of the way back to Privet Drive in near silence. Harry was deep in thought. He only snapped himself out of it when Sirius swung one leg over his motorcycle. The look of awe was back.
'Are you coming to visit me again?' asked Harry.
'If you want me to.'
Sirius grinned broadly at those words. 'How about I come back next Saturday? Maybe if I get here early we can go for a daytrip? You choose wherever you want to go.'
Harry nodded eagerly. 'Wherever I want to go?' he asked.
'Yeah.' Sirius hesitated. 'Well, maybe we should stay in England – but yes, wherever you want to go.'
He kicked the starter and the bike began to roar. He winked at Harry one last time and drove off down the road. In the mirror, he could see Harry waving.
So, that's it for today. I hope you had as much fun reading as I had writing. If you've got anything to say, please do leave a review. I'd be very glad to get some feedback.