Title: Mirror, Mirror
Summary: Sirius decides to stop brooding and asks a few pointed questions which leads Harry to an interesting choice.
(A/N: Here's something that came to me recently and I wrote most of it in an afternoon. The paragraph with a "*" is quoted from The OotP by JKR.)
Sirius sat slumped in his chair in yet another Order meeting thinking dark thoughts. He was brooding again and he knew it, yet felt he couldn't do much about his mood. He had three reasons for his dark thoughts and he couldn't do much about two of them, but about the third, perhaps, just perhaps... He considered an old idea again in a slightly new light and smiled ever so slightly. He was a Marauder for a reason.
As Dumbledore finished whatever inane thing he had been talking about and Sirius hadn't been listening to, their leader asked, "Is there anything else before we break up for the evening?"
Sirius took a deep breath, mustered his Gryffindor courage, and spoke up for the first time since the meeting had started. "Yes, I have something," he said casually. As heads swiveled to him, he asked, "We've been meeting for nearly a year. When are we going to do something useful?" He looked right at Dumbledore, continuing his casual demeanor on the outside.
It was Snape who answered first with his usual sneer. "You can't do anything useful like the rest of us since you have to stay here."
Sirius lazily gave their spy only the briefest of glances. "I'll get back to you in a moment." He shifted his gaze back and continued to stare mildly at their leader as various members shifted uncomfortably.
Dumbledore gave him a mildly disappointed look, which Sirius ignored. "We have been," was said simply with no elaboration.
After blinking a few times, Sirius gave an enlightened look. "Right, I'd forgotten. We helped Podmore get a six month holiday in Azkaban when he didn't need to go and we got nothing for that," he looked over to the man and nodded, "good to have you back." Turning his gaze to the Weasley parents, "We did ensured Arthur was healed after a near-fatal snake bite he didn't need. Oh, and I probably shouldn't forget helping Harry to avoid Dementors and having his soul sucked out." He glared at Fletcher briefly before returning to Dumbledore. "Hmm, I suppose I need to rephrase my question. When are we going to stop being a social club and do something useful that's positive?"
"Sirius, we don't need dissension," Dumbledore said with mild rebuke.
"All right, let's not worry about doing anything useful; let's discuss security, since Snape over there brought it up." Sirius sat up and leaned forward, his hands clasped and his forearms on the edge of the table. He noticed he had Moody's complete and avid attention now. "I'd really like to avoid losing close friends again while we discuss such sensitive information." He thought, but wasn't sure, he'd kept all the sarcasm out of his voice. "I've noticed we've not required confidential oaths or oaths to make sure we're not working for the other side, something that would have saved James and Lily."
He saw Remus's head go down and hated himself a little for bringing this up, but knew he had to go on. "Therefore, I propose that each of us give an Unbreakable Vow to not disclose confidential information to the other side and also that we don't work for the other side to ensure there are no traitors among us like Pettigrew was. I don't think that'd be too much to ask."
"You just want to get rid of me since you know I can't do that," Snape accused him with an angry edge to his voice.
"If the shoe fits," Sirius said off-handily as he realized that Snape had essentially admitted to giving confidential information to the other side.
"There is no need," Dumbledore replied. "Severus has my full trust."
"I suspect you're the only one," Sirius shot back without hesitation. "Does anyone else trust Snape with your life and the life of your loved ones?" He looked around. "Anyone? Don't be shy."
No one raised a hand or said anything.
"Looks like my suspicion was correct, Albus, you're the only one who trusts him" he said using the man's first name purposefully. "I propose that we all make an Unbreakable Vow for security. Those that can't or won't just don't come to these meetings and they can report directly to you, Albus." He looked back to Fletcher. "For some, I'll also require a promise not to steal from the House of Black."
Fletcher examined his fingernails and wouldn't look up.
"Why are you doing this, Sirius?" Albus asked with a little bit of steel in his voice.
Sirius looked around, appreciating that nearly half of the group had thoughtful looks, and then he stared at the older man. "Because I've finally realized this isn't a game and I don't want to lose anyone we don't have to, starting with Harry. We've lost far too many Potters recently, and I'll include James's parents in that count.
"In addition, all we do is sit around here and talk about things that ultimately aren't meaningful and do nothing. If you wanted to keep whatever it is safe in the Department of Mysteries that you have people guarding, then do something useful with wards or just remove it and quit asking them to give up their time, go to prison which isn't a picnic, or potentially get themselves killed. In short, I want us to do something that's actually meaningful." Sirius noticed Moody nodding in agreement, as were the Weasley twins and a few others.
"We are doing the best we can with what we have," Albus said soothingly. "Very well, let's call it an evening," he said to end the topic.
"If that's the way you feel, then find a new place to meet, Albus." Sirius saw their leader stop as he'd already risen and had to turn back quickly to look at him. "I mean it," he said to avoid the joke with his name so they would take him seriously on this.
"Why?" Albus asked intently.
"Because you've just demonstrated yet again you really don't care by dismissing my concerns and suggestions. You didn't even have any reasonable rebuttal but gave me an answer that was the equivalent to 'because I said so', which isn't a real answer." Sirius stood as well. "If you not going to take this seriously then you can take it somewhere else and without me. Consider this my resignation from the Order."
"I'm sorry you feel that way, but that is your decision," Albus replied and looked sad. "I would suggest you continue to hide until Pettigrew is caught, but it's your life. I suppose I should take the Fidelius down since the Order will no longer be meeting here."
"We can make arrangements for later," Sirius told him while planning on "forgetting". He looked at McGonagall and reached into a pocket. "Minerva, would you give this to Harry please, tonight if at all possible or tomorrow morning at the latest?" He held out an envelope. "If not for me, then for James and Lily?"
Minerva McGonagall smiled slightly and took it. "I'll see that he gets it."
"Thank you," Sirius told her. He was all but certain his letter would be read before it reached Harry, but he wasn't worried as there was little of importance to anyone but Harry.
He looked around at the people who were leaving, or in Remus's case standing there obviously waiting for a private word. As many were leaving in small groups while talking quietly, it was no surprise to see the Weasley twins talking in whispers with heads close.
The twins stopped suddenly and nodded at each other before turning to the leader of the Order of the Phoenix. "Professor, we'd like to turn in our resignation also and for the same reason," one twin said.
Only a few had already left and the rest stopped dead in their tracks to listen.
"We thought," the other twin picked up, "that by joining we'd get to fight the Death Eaters and make a difference, but that's not happened and it appears that won't be happening, at least not anytime soon. If you change how you work and would like us to return, feel free to stop by our shop and let us know and we'll give the offer consideration." The pair looked at Sirius and mouthed, "Later", before they turned and left, leaving a surprised father and gaping mother behind. Dumbledore looked disappointed as he left.
Sirius said softly, "Wait in the parlor," to Remus before he followed everyone else who was leaving slowly; he wanted to ensure they did leave, especially Fletcher.
When he returned, he was carrying two glasses. Pouring a little Firewhisky into each glass, he handed one to his long-time friend before he took a seat. He knew what was coming.
"What's the real reason?" Remus asked before he took a sip and relaxed into his chair.
Sirius took his own sip before he set his glass down. "Remus, I'm stuck here; I'm useless; and I miss Harry. Or really, I should be helping him but I'm not because I can't. Dumbledore isn't doing anything useful, you heard him!" he accused before he relaxed after his little rant, grabbing his glass again. "It's been a year and we have nothing useful to show for it in several ways," he ended quietly.
Remus took another sip and sat for a moment. "I won't deny any of that, but the real reason is Harry, isn't it?"
"I did list him as a reason, but I will find out what's going on soon, even if I have to go up there myself," he vowed.
"Sirius, you can't!"
The man grinned back. "I don't think I'll really have to. Probably wouldn't be too hard though; security is quite lax at the school too." He sighed. "Dumbledore just doesn't really understand."
"I think he understands but he doesn't do what you want because he doesn't want to alienate anyone," Remus countered.
"Why doesn't really matter in the end," Sirius returned. "He's going to get someone killed and then what. Oops? Sorry about that?" he mocked sarcastically.
Remus didn't reply.
"You know you're still welcome to stay here all the time," Sirius told him.
"I know," Remus said noncommittally before he asked, "What are you going to do now? I'll still try to come by but it'll get lonely here very quickly."
"I've decided to work on something new," Sirius said with a grin. "I've got some options being the Head of House Black. In fact, I'll get back to you on that in a few weeks. It'll probably take that long to find some information and determine my response."
"If you're sure?" At Sirius's nod, Remus downed the rest of his glass and rose. "I'll be back to check on you tomorrow night."
"See you then." Sirius watched his old friend leave before he drained his glass and then headed upstairs to his bedroom, feeling the best he had in months after he'd "vented". He was sure Albus probably thought he was being childish about it all, but that wasn't true.
All right, his dug at Snape probably was, but the rest was more fact-finding than anything. He wasn't happy that Albus wasn't taking this war seriously because that put Harry at risk. Sirius didn't know what was so special about the Department of Mysteries, but he suspected the item of interest was a prophecy and also suspected Harry was involved. That was all speculation since Albus kept important information to himself. Sirius believed that would come back and bite the old man and if he helped that along, well, he wasn't too bothered by that since the old busy-body wasn't trying too hard to clear his name.
Reaching the bedroom, he grabbed the mirror on the table there before he headed to the bathroom for a few minutes. If he expected Minerva to give the note to Harry tonight, he better be prepared.
Dumbledore caught up with his assistant just before she reached the opening to Gryffindor Tower. "Minerva, a moment if you please?"
McGonagall stopped and turned. "Yes?"
"What's in the note?" he asked.
"Is it really any of our business?" she replied and started to turn to continue her task.
"We can't be too careful with Harry," he returned. "May I?"
McGonagall looked at him for a moment and then turned the envelope over and looked at it. "It's sealed. If you'll excuse me." She continued on leaving a surprised Headmaster behind.
Inside the common room of her house, she looked around as the conversation stopped at her presence. Seeing him at a table not too far away, she strode over and held it out. "From your godfather," she said softly to the surprised boy and then left.
While she might could understand Albus's curiosity and would admit to having some herself, she fully understood why Sirius had done this. That horrible woman here prevented normal communication that Sirius should have been able to have. Being a "post owl" was simply one way Minerva could strike back.
As for Harry's safety, she had trouble imagining anything in a simple letter – and it was that because it was completely flat – could hurt her student. Deep down she would agree that Sirius had raised some interesting questions tonight; she was disappointed he'd resigned from the Order, but she knew – knew! - he'd never hurt Harry.
Harry watched McGonagall leave with his arm still stretched out, not quite believing what had happened.
"Are you going to look at it?" Hermione asked with a hint of amusement in her voice.
Harry pulled it in front him of himself and saw his name on it. With a shrug, he turned it over and opened it. There was a single page inside.
I'm doing mostly well, I hope you are too. What I'd like to know though is why you haven't opened your Christmas present. You're a kid, how could you not open a Christmas present? Open the damn thing and then let me know what you think of it.
Harry hung his head and let the letter fall to the table, where Hermione snatched it up and read it quickly.
"Well?" Ron asked, being the only other person at the table as they revised for their OWLs that would be starting soon. He took the letter she offered and read it.
Hermione was looking at Harry in worry, so Ron asked in amazement, "You have a Christmas present that you didn't open? Really?"
"Didn't want to get him in trouble; you know, lure him out into the open," Harry said quietly, still looking down.
Ron stared and blinked. "Err, how do you know that would happen? You don't know what it is."
Harry looked up with a fierce look. "Because he said it was so I could tell him if Snape was giving me a hard time. If I did that, you know he'd try to come here."
"Maybe," Hermione said softly, "but maybe not." She paused and glanced at Ron briefly. "Ron's right, you won't know until you open it," as he started to protest she hurried on, "and if you think that's an issue then you can take your time to figure out what to do and we'll help you too. Worst case, don't use it but you should at least look to see what he gave you."
Harry looked back down and dithered for a long moment.
"He made an effort to get it to you and to ask," she pointed out; "it could be important."
"I suppose it doesn't hurt to look," he said tiredly before he looked at the clock. Considering it was only approaching 10pm, he closed his books and repacked his bag. "I'll go look at least."
He walked off not seeing his friends' looks of concern.
A few minutes later, Harry was digging in his trunk to find the package. It was on the bottom in a corner. He kicked off his shoes before he got into bed and pulled the curtains around him for some visual privacy at least.
Tearing the paper off slowly, he was surprised to find a small square mirror. It looked old and was kind of dirty. It wasn't cloudy so it wasn't a Foe Glass. Turning it over he saw a note written on the back.
This is a two-way mirror, I've got the other one of the pair. If you need to speak to me, just say my name into it; you'll appear in my mirror and I'll be able to talk in yours. James and I used to use them when we were in separate detentions.*
Should he do it, that was the question that he pondered. He supposed he could just lie and say Snape was behaving himself. He really wanted to talk to his godfather, so he held it close to his face and whispered, "Sirius."
The mirror went cloudy and then then cleared with Sirius's face visible. "Damn, Harry, your timing is as bad as your father's was sometimes. Hold on a tick; I was just finishing."
The picture moved and the mirror seemed to show the ceiling, indicating it had been set down. A moment later Harry heard a toilet flush and realized what he'd interrupted. When his godfather's face reappeared a moment later, Harry asked, "Why didn't you just not answer if you were, you know..."
"I don't know what you mean, maybe you could explain," Sirius answered with a straight face.
The man gave his barking laughter and smiled broadly. "Gotcha. Are you someplace safe to talk?"
"On my bed and there was no one here when I came in," he replied.
"Do you know the privacy charm to contain sound in an area?" his godfather asked. When Harry shook his head, Sirius taught him and then had him do it.
"There, I feel better." Sirius grinned broadly. "How are you doing?"
"Fine, except that we start our OWLs next week."
"Right, you're busy; I'll try to keep this short then." Sirius scowled at him. "So why in Merlin's name didn't you open this before? I've been wanting to talk to you."
Harry let his head fall back and the mirror fall to his lap, though he still held onto it. "I didn't want to get you into trouble or caught," he said quietly before he tilted the mirror to be more visible.
"I may not be quite all here," Sirius tapped his temple, "but I'd like to think I've learned not be as rash as I used to be."
"But you said you wanted to know if Snape wasn't treating me well and I didn't want you to come here if I said he was," Harry protested.
"Harry, Harry, Harry," Sirius shook his head. "Snape comes here and I could have easily given him an earful without leaving the house."
"Oh," the boy said quietly and hung his head.
"I understand and appreciate you wanting to keep me safe," Sirius said gently. "Let's talk about this summer. Do you want to come live with me?"
"Yes," Harry said instantly and enthusiastically before he wilted a little. "Dumbledore won't like it though."
"Bah," Sirius said and waved it away. "He's your Headmaster not your guardian. I am and it's time I started doing my duty. I'll get Remus to come meet you and bring you here. I have some ideas for us too, but I need to get some more info to make sure we're each safe.
"It's after ten, so get some good rest, revise carefully because OWLs are important, and we'll talk afterwards as I should have the info I'm after by then. In the meantime," Sirius grinned, "if you need to relax a little, I'd suggest a willing female - and as The-Boy-Who-Lived it should be easy for you to find one - and a broom closet for five or ten minutes."
"Sirius!" Harry protested again, but feeling warm in the face this time.
"Also, you can always call me this way. I'll try to keep the mirror near, but if I don't answer, try again five minutes later. I won't be in such a hurry to answer next time if I'm occupied." His godfather grinned at him.
"I can do that."
"Take care, kiddo; we'll talk again soon."
The mirror went dark and Harry relaxed fully and thought it all thru. He'd been a bit stupid by not opening the present. Hermione had been right; he could have opened it and at least seen what it was and not used it if he thought it wasn't safe. What would he have done if he'd opened it back in January? In the end, he shrugged and decided it didn't matter now.
Harry fell out of his chair clutching his head during his History of Magic exam. The dream of Sirius being tortured in the Ministry seemed so real. Yet Sirius had promised he'd stay in the house.
It was History of Magic and he really didn't care about it; so to the examiner's consternation, Harry turned in his test and left before the testing time was over and raced to his room.
Grabbing the magic mirror, he called, "Sirius!" Nothing happened. He started to panic but remembered Sirius said to try again. It was a long five minutes, but he again called, "Sirius!" to the mirror. He was about to give up and try to figure out how to get to the ministry when he heard, "Harry? I thought you were taking a test now?"
He was never more relieved to see his godfather's face. It must have showed.
"What's wrong?" Sirius asked with lots of concern in his voice.
"I, uh, I had a vision during my test," Harry blurted out. "You were being tortured at the Ministry."
Sirius still looked concerned. "Is this still down that corridor you told me about last week?"
"Right, let me get a message to Mooney so he'll come over and I'll tell him." Sirius shook his head. "Maybe this is the time for the Order to really do something."
"You're not going, right?" Harry half-asked, half ordered.
"No, I'm staying right here," the man promised. "In fact, I have some news for you. Give me about fifteen minutes and I'll call you back. All right?"
"Sure." Harry saw the mirror go off and then suddenly realized how relieved he felt … how glad he had the mirror to talk to his godfather.
Harry put up the privacy charm and was ready when Sirius called back. They had a conversation that gave Harry hope. Remus hadn't returned by the time they were done talking, but Harry felt a lot better about most things. A couple of items gave him pause, but as Sirius pointed out, you couldn't always have everything.
The next morning, the Daily Prophet told about a small battle at the Ministry with Voldimort being seen. Harry would tease his godfather about how he was wrong and the Order did actually do something useful. Some of the Order members were hurt and Remus had been injured badly, but he'd recover soon. Also in the news, Bellatrix Lastrange had escaped, but Lucius Malfoy had been killed with his DE mask on him, and nine others had been captured. It was going to be a real black-eye for the Minister, he thought.
Fudge couldn't now deny Voldimort was back and that they were in a war. Harry thought the opinions that Fudge would soon be out of office amusing and served the man right.
Harry smiled as he considered all of that and what Sirius had told him last night. He looked around him and lost some of his enthusiasm; but still, life might actually be looking up for him.
So far, Harry had evaded all of the questions asked about how he would be spending his summer without lying. He still felt a little bad about not telling them everything, but they'd find out soon enough. He'd write in a week; well, or maybe sooner in one case.
Harry had even avoided a talk with Dumbledore at the end of the year. He assumed Dumbledore thought everything would be normal and he'd return to the Dursleys as usual, or so he guessed. Or it could have been just that Dumbledore was too busy to talk to him as he'd been reinstated to the Wizengamot, Fudge had been thrown out sooner than anyone had expected and someone named Scrimgeour had been made interim Minister for Magic, plus the trials of those breaking into the Ministry were about to start.
He got off the train and looked around for a bit before finally spotting Remus Lupin, who was near but not part of a group surrounding his relatives and talking to them. Harry told his friends good-bye and walked over.
"What are they doing?"
Mooney looked over his shoulder and grinned. "Trying to make things better for you. I thought it might be good for your relatives to hear how much we care about you so I didn't stop them."
Harry grinned back and chuckled too.
"Let's go." Harry grabbed Lupin's arm with his free hand while his other hand held onto his trunk. He got a kick out of seeing his aunt's expression as he left. He knew they'd be upset for having to come down here for nothing since he wasn't going with them, but he considered it payback for all they'd done to him over the years.
Landing in the foyer of #12 Grimmauld Place, Harry saw Sirius was standing there waiting in a smart pair of trousers and a button up shirt. The man gave him a hug. "Welcome home, Harry."
Harry just pounded him on the back in return.
"Ready to go?"
"Yes," Harry replied. Looking at Lupin, he asked, "Are you coming too?"
"I'll be a few days behind you," Remus explained. "I think it would be best for you if I was here to explain things to a few people, including your friends. After that, I'll sneak away and follow you. Take care, Harry." Remus gave him a hug then Sirius received one too before Lupin turned to leave.
"Mooney?" Harry said hesitantly, keeping him there a little longer. "If you're going to see my friends, could you give this to Hermione?" He held out a letter he'd written and had almost given to her on the train. He saw Sirius smirk at him but didn't care.
Remus took it and gave a gentle smile. "Of course."
Sirius snorted but didn't respond. He just cast a spell at Harry's trunk, grabbed his own trunk, then Harry suddenly found himself in a small room which led to a busy corridor with lots of people. "Where are we?" he asked as he pulled his lightened trunk behind him.
"Heathrow Airport," Sirius said quietly as they walked. "We'll be traveling Muggle style because no one will be expecting it; Remus helped me set it up. I have travel documents for us; the Goblins charged more than I cared for but we need them. Before you ask, I've already arranged for Political Asylum at our destination, which will be granted with an Unbreakable Vow that I'm innocent. After that, we go into a much looser form of hiding. I've been told we'll be in an out of the way small wizarding town with new names.
"I'll buy us house with enough land we won't have neighbors looking in our windows. We can live there and sit out the coming war; hopefully we'll find a girlfriend each," he added with a grin, "and you can finish school."
"Sounds good except for losing my friends," Harry said neutrally.
"I know, kiddo. Kind of sucks my best friend will be coming along and not yours. But," Sirius smiled again, "Remus will approach your friend Hermione to explain what we're doing and to see if she'd like to join us over here; I'm sure your letter will help. Her coming could be useful if you you'd like to date her." Sirius winked at him. "I know the Weasleys and Longbottoms wouldn't hear of their children not going to Hogwarts.
"We can also go back after you finish school if you like. The war should be over and perhaps Dumbledore will have pulled his head out of his arse by then and be more cooperative … or he might not be around by then either; he is quite old. Well over 100 from what I've heard."
"Or maybe the ICW will step in and help?" Harry asked as they joined the end of the line to get their tickets and check-in their luggage.
"You never know, so we'll just have to wait and see," Sirius answered. "No matter what happens, this has to be better and we get to be a family, just what you've always wanted."
Harry had to smile; he was looking forward to putting Voldemort adventures at school behind him. And a real family that cared about him? Brilliant! He should have opened that Christmas present months ago.
(3 years later)
Sirius heard a knock on the door of their ranch house and looked at the other three. True visitors were rare.
Opening the door only a few inches, Sirius asked, "May I help you?"
"Mr Black, my name is Timothy Landry; I'm from the Department of Magic. May I come in?"
Sirius hesitated a moment before he opened the door. As the burly sandy-haired man dressed in an impeccable suit entered, Sirius looked around outside but saw no one else nor a car, so he closed the door.
"Should I assume you know everyone?" Sirius asked, still harboring some suspicion about this visit.
"I believe so. Mr Lupin, Ms Granger I believe," he received a curt nod, "and of course Mr Potter, who is the person I've actually come to see."
"Why are you here," Sirius asked, still taking the lead.
The government man reached into a side pocket slowly and pulled a letter out. "For you, Mr Potter. This has come via a very circuitous route, if I may say so."
Harry rose and took the letter before rejoining his girlfriend on the couch. She read over his shoulder after he'd opened it.
"Well?" Sirius asked when Harry had finished.
"Apparently, there is a prophecy that says that I'm the only person who can truly kill Voldemort. They also say that he has been captured and they're asking that I come and feed him some poison then shove him thru the Veil of Death." Harry looked back up at the man. "How do we know this is true and not a trap?"
"A good question," Landry said casually. "Our government has volunteered to send a company of fifty Hit Wizards to go with you as an escort and guard. There are also several companies from the ICW already there and they were the force that helped to bring the war to completion. There is also one more bit of good news." He reached back into his pocket and pulled out another letter and handed this one over to his left. "Mr Black?"
Sirius took the letter and opened it. After a long moment, he looked up with a smile. "They caught Pettigrew so I'm officially pardoned; they said it was the easiest thing to do."
His friends rushed over and they gave him a group hug. Sirius looked at his godson. "Well? It's your call."
Hermione whispered in his ear. "Please?" she begged softly.
"I'd like to see some of my friends too." Harry looked at his godfather. "Do you think they'll give us a hard time?"
"If they do and they really mean it, they weren't real friends," his godfather told him.
"I guess we're going back to England," Harry told Landry who smiled.
Harry wasn't sure where he wanted to live after this trip, but he realized he didn't have to have an answer now. It would probably depend on how his old friends treated him and on what Hermione wanted to do. Either way, the freedom he'd felt for the last few years would become permanent and he was happy for that.
(A/N: Yep, I left a few loose ends there, but I hope you enjoyed it. Sorry, I won't be extending or filling it in.
Take a gold star if you caught the Star Trek reference, though obviously I didn't use that plot.
Since there was something like 6 months in the books between when Sirius gave the mirror to Harry and when Sirius died, there had to be multiple Order meetings in that time. So why didn't Sirus send a note with Minerva or Albus to Harry? It really makes me wonder just how much Sirius actually cared about his godson (there are multiple stories out there which take that question and run with it).
Until next time... - Kevin)