By Neurotica


"SIRIUS!" Harry shouted, banging on the window of the joke shop. He'd just witnessed his godfather being hit with a stunning spell by a Death Eater. Shaking, he pushed his way through the crowd of customers that had been watching the battle outside. They'd been locked in the shop by the owner, on Sirius' orders. Harry tried to push and pull the door open—it was still locked.

"Unlock it!" he commanded the shop owner.

"Are you mad, boy?" the elderly shop owner asked. "There's Death Eaters out there! You'll get killed!"

Harry kicked the door before Ron pulled him back. "I'm not staying in here!" Harry yelled furiously.

"There's nothing you can do, mate," Ron said shakily. "It's not like he's dead; he's just stunned."

"But if he stays out there..." Harry trailed off, glaring at the window as if it had stunned Sirius.

"He'll be fine, Harry," Ron said bracingly. "There're other Aurors out there. They won't let him get hurt..."

Harry moved away from his best friend and began to pace between the nose-biting teacups and a bucket of fake galleons. He ran a hand through his hair in frustration. If he could only get outside...

A window in the shop shattered, causing customers to scream and duck as a Reductor curse broke through. A few of the braver customers attempted to defend the others from further attack. While they were occupied, and before Ron could stop him, Harry ran across the shop, pulling out his wand and jumped through the broken window. He didn't stop even as he felt large shards of glass cut deeply into his leg.

He found Sirius in the chaos—he looked to have many bruises and cuts, as a result of Death Eaters running over him intentionally—Harry had seen them at it. Harry pulled his godfather to the side of a building and tried to revive him. It wasn't working—he'd only ever stunned anything, he'd never had to revive someone... He'd have to get one of the Aurors...

"ENNERVATE!" he cried again, his wand pointing at Sirius' chest.


"Dammit," Harry muttered, looking around.

Ron had also left the joke shop and found Harry with Sirius. "Is he okay?" he asked, kneeling beside Harry.

"I think so," Harry said. "He's breathing, at least."

"DUCK!" Ron cried, pushing Harry to the ground as a dark blue jet of light invaded their alley.

"HARRY!" they heard Kingsley call.

"Over here!" Ron called back.

Kingsley skidded into the alley. "He all right?" he asked hurriedly, looking over his shoulder, aiming curses.

"Stunned," Harry said.

Kingsley sighed in relief. "Gimme your shoe," he said.

Without questioning the strange request, Harry pulled off his left shoe and tossed it to Kingsley. "Portus," Kingsley muttered, tapping the shoe with his wand. "You've got five seconds. Make sure you've got a good hold on Sirius."

Harry nodded and caught the portkey as Kingsley threw it back. Ron grabbed one of Sirius' arms and touched the shoe; Harry did the same. A few seconds later, they were flying through a jumble of colors and landed on the cold floor of Number Twelve's kitchen.

Harry caught Sirius' head before it slammed into the ground (He's got enough brain damage, Harry thought with an affectionate smirk) and laid it down gently. He heard a sharp gasp and looked up to see Molly and Arthur rushing down the stairs.

With Ron's help, Harry hurriedly explained what happened in Diagon Alley. Arthur cursed loudly and Flooed immediately to the Leaky Cauldron to help the Aurors. Molly moved Harry and Ron away from Sirius and easily revived him.

Sirius took in a loud, shaky breath and began to cough. Molly turned him on his side and patted him hard on his back. Harry's eyes widened when he saw Sirius was coughing up blood.

"You two, upstairs," Molly said sharply.

"But..." Harry began.

"Go!" Sirius croaked, not looking up. Harry swallowed and allowed Ron to pull him up the stairs.

"Stay still, dear," Molly said soothingly, conjuring a pillow to lay his head on. Sirius winced as he felt a sharp pain in his ribcage. It felt like he had a few broken ribs... "I'll contact Madam Pomfrey, Sirius. You stay there."

Fifteen minutes later, the Hogwarts school nurse had conjured a cot for Sirius to lie on and repaired his bones easily. She spread some sort of fruity-smelling ointment on his bruises, causing a cool sensation to run through his aching body.

Feeling considerably better after a painkilling potion, but still not permitted to move, Sirius asked Molly to let Harry back in. He could see his godson's shadow pacing behind the closed kitchen door. "What happened to your leg?" Sirius asked as Harry limped down the stairs with Ron's help.

"Broken window," Harry muttered, wincing as his leg began to give way. Molly rushed over to help Harry to a chair.

Madam Pomfrey tutted as she moved over to Harry. "Just like your father," she murmured.

Sirius snorted in humor as Harry grinned weakly. The nurse waved her wand over Harry's leg, taking the glass out of the wound, cleaning it, and sealing it.

"Heard from Kingsley?" Ron asked, sitting beside Harry.

"No, but they should be back soon," Sirius said, accepting a mug of tea from Molly. "Thank you," he said to the witch.

Fred, George and Ginny wandered down to the kitchen not much later, unaware of the events in Diagon Alley. "They attacked the joke shop?" George asked loudly. Ron and Harry chuckled slightly—it really was no laughing matter.

"Was anybody hurt?" Ginny asked. "I mean, besides you and Harry, Sirius."

Sirius winked at her. "I don't know," he said honestly. "We'll find out soon, I'm sure."

An hour later, Kingsley, Arthur, and Tonks Flooed back into Headquarters. Kingsley was sporting a bloody nose while Tonks seemed to have broken her ankle—she was being supported by Kingsley and Arthur.

"Tripped over a bloody rock," Tonks grumbled, allowing Pomfrey to sit her next to Sirius on the cot.

"Aw' wight, boss?" Kingsley said thickly to Sirius, pinching his nose closed to stop the blood flow.

"Fine, you?"

Kingsley nodded. "Caught four of dem," he said. "They'we in de howding cells."

"Bellatrix?" Sirius asked hopefully.

"Nobe, she Disabbarated before we could ged her."

Sirius said a few things that caused Molly to slap him in the back of his head. The kids sniggered. Even Madam Pomfrey's lips twitched as she looked at Kingsley's nose.

"We should write Hermione," Ron said quietly to Harry. "Let her know we're all right. She wanted to know all about your Occlumency lessons, anyway."

Harry nodded. "Come on, then," he said. He led the Weasleys up the stairs and out of the kitchen.

Sirius watched the door shut and turned his head quickly back to Kingsley. "Well?" he said expectantly.

"One dead, more than a dozen injured," Kingsley said, his nose repaired.

Sirius shook his head sadly and ran his hands through his hair. "Who died?" he whispered.

"Wizard. Not sure on his name. He was just in the wrong place at the wrong time. Hit by a Cruciatus followed by a Reductor," Kingsley said. Molly gasped; Tonks shook her head in disgust.

"Anything from Remus?" Sirius asked Molly.

To everyone's surprise, Dumbledore answered. "Nothing yet, Sirius," the headmaster said, coming down the stairs. "Are you four all right?" he added. Sirius, Kingsley, Arthur, and Tonks nodded. "And the boys?"

"Harry's leg was a bit cut up, but they're fine now," Sirius said.

Dumbledore nodded and accepted a cup of tea from Molly. Madam Pomfrey excused herself moments later and Flooed back to Hogwarts. Tonks put a pillow in Sirius' lap and lay across it. Sirius raised an eyebrow, but put his arm around her in comfort. "I've just received a letter from Severus," Dumbledore said.

"Yeah? Did he tell you the Death Eaters would be attacking Diagon Alley?" Sirius asked, irritation evident in his voice. "Because it's a bit late for that, you know."

"He had no time, Sirius," Dumbledore said. "The attack was not planned. No, he owled to say that he's been captured by the Ministry of Magic. He is presently being held in the DMLE holding cells."

Sirius resisted the urge to burst out laughing, but just barely.

"He's been captured?" Molly asked, glaring at Sirius for some reason.

"Hey! I had nothing to do with it! I was unconscious, in case you've forgotten," Sirius said heatedly.

"What do we do about it?" Arthur asked Dumbledore.

"At the moment, there is nothing we can do," Dumbledore replied. "If he is freed, the remaining Death Eaters will know about his disloyalty to their side. He will have to be treated like any other prisoner. He will need to be questioned by the right people," he said, looking pointedly at Sirius.

"Oh no," Sirius said loudly. "I'm not questioning him!"

"For one minute, Sirius, think about the good of the Order!" Molly said exasperatedly.

"Thank you, Remus," Sirius muttered sarcastically under his breath. Only Tonks seemed to have heard him—she chuckled quietly. "Fine, I'll do it, but Kingsley comes with me; you're not locking me alone in a room with him."

Sirius could have sworn he saw Dumbledore's lips twitch. "Thank you, Sirius," the old man said. "I must meet with Minister Bones. You know how to contact me, should you need anything."

Tonks and Kingsley stayed the night at Order Headquarters upon Molly's insistence—nobody argued with her, and Sirius didn't dare bring up the fact that it was, in fact, his home...

The Head Auror stayed up late into the night, drinking a bottle of firewhiskey with Kingsley and Arthur while the others went to bed.

"So you saw a flash of red hair and looked away," Kingsley asked, glancing at Arthur.

"It might have been hair, I don't know," Sirius said. "Like I said, too much was going happening to really get a good look. For all I know, it was a spell or something."

"Hmm," Arthur said thoughtfully. "Maybe it was Ron...?"

"No, he was in the joke shop with Harry," Sirius said positively. "Was Percy home?"

"Work," Arthur said, swallowing his drink. "They've been keeping him late recently."

Sirius nodded, exchanging a fleeting glance with Kingsley while Arthur looked away. Everyone was a suspect in this war, and Percy Weasley was no exception...

"Sirius?" yawned a voice from the staircase.

The three wizards looked up to see Harry coming down the stairs, his hair messier than usual. "Hey, kid." Sirius smiled. "Can't sleep?" Harry shook his head, sat beside Sirius and put his head into his folded arms.

"You okay, Harry?" Kingsley asked, his brow furrowing in concern. "You're looking a bit peaky."

Sirius pulled his godson up straight by his shoulders to get a good look at him. He was, indeed, looking quite pale. His normally bright green eyes now looked dull and sickly, and he was covered in a thick layer of cold sweat.

"Bloody hell, Harry," Sirius said, feeling Harry's forehead. "You're burning up." His concern deepened as another thought hit him. "Did you have another nightmare?"

"No," Harry yawned widely.

Sirius nodded. "You shouldn't be down here. Come on, back upstairs with you, or Molly'll have my head."

Arthur and Kingsley laughed as Sirius downed the rest of his firewhiskey and assisted Harry up the stairs. In Harry's bedroom, Sirius turned on the light and helped Harry get into bed. The older wizard tried to cover his godson with blankets, but the teenager kicked them away, claiming it was too hot.

Sirius raised an eyebrow—the room was freezing cold. Giving up on the blankets, Sirius looked over at Harry's bedside table. An empty goblet was sitting next to Harry's lamp. "Did you have water?"

"No, Mrs. Weasley left me a potion before I came up to bed," Harry murmured.

Sirius picked up the goblet and sniffed the remnants. He gagged at the smell—that was no potion that he recognized. "Get some sleep," Sirius said. Suddenly feeling a bit paranoid, he added, "I'm going to lock your door from the inside, okay?"

"Kay," Harry muttered, turning on his side.

Sirius took the goblet from the room, made sure nobody but he could get in, but that Harry could get out, if need be, and headed back downstairs.

As he returned to the kitchen, he noticed Arthur and Kingsley were kneeling before the fire. Dumbledore's head was floating eerily in the orange flames. "Albus," Sirius said surprised. It was—Sirius glanced at his watch—three-thirty in the morning. "What are you doing up so late?"

Sirius realized immediately that there was no twinkle in Dumbledore's blue eyes, no smile playing on his lips. Arthur and Kingsley turned back to Sirius, looking pale and shaken. "What?" Sirius asked quickly. "What's happened?"

"Remus and Emmeline did not meet with Hagrid and Madame Maxime," the Headmaster said quietly. "Hagrid has contacted me with information regarding a broken wand. He believes it to be Remus'. Emmeline's travel bag was also found scattered in the trees."

In the upstairs attic of Number Twelve, Grimmauld Place, a lone house-elf was grinning maniacally. Part one of the plan had been completed. Now that the werewolf was out of the picture, his blood traitor master would be too grief-stricken to worry about his nosy half-breed brat. Oh, how pleased his mistress would be...

In a dark holding cell in the Ministry of Magic, Severus Snape paced back and forth. The meddling Aurors, no doubt on Black's orders, had bound him during the battle without batting an eye—he was still nursing a sprained wrist from where he'd fallen. His "master" would not be pleased that he had momentarily lost his spy...

Stuck inside his own feverish mind, Harry Potter dreamed of white and golden lights, maniacal laughter, and his parents' beaming faces. He was becoming too weak to fight the fever as it took him deeper into his dreams...

In an unknown location, Peter Pettigrew stared unblinkingly at a cement wall opposite him. He began to rock back and forth on his cot, humming tunelessly...

Across the corridor, Lord Voldemort cackled madly. His plan was coming along perfectly. With Harry Potter out of the way, there was nothing remaining to stop him...

That night, as the majority of the wizarding world slept peacefully, they had no idea that the war of their world had grown far worse in the span of only a few hours.