Disclaimer: What if Sirius was five minutes earlier?
Five Minutes, three seconds, and several fidgety little units of measurement that only matter to people with IQs so large they forget how to tie their own shoes.
"I trust Hagrid," Dumbledore said, casually dismissing all of Minerva's well thought out and logical objections to his proposed course of action.
"Still," Minerva said with a frown, "I really don't think this is the sort of environment for a young wizard." She tried appealing to his emotions since reason and logic seemed to have failed.
"You must trust me to know what's best," Dumbledore said with a superior smile that actually made him look a bit constipated rather than the all knowing air he was going for. "ah . . . here comes Hagrid now."
"Evening Headmaster," Hagrid said nervously, wringing his leather riding cap in his hands.
"Let's see young Harry then," Albus demanded, wanting to put his ill conceived and poorly thought out... err, magic inspired plan into action.
"Errr . . . about that . . ."
Amelia awoke with a start to the feeling of someone twisting her arm into a painful lock. With a groan, she tried to twist free.
"It's me," a voice hissed in warning, "I don't want to break your arm but I will."
"Sirius?" Amelia gasped in surprise. "What are you doing?"
A quick twist removed the concealed wand holster on her arm and he tossed it out of her reach, along with the second wand she kept concealed inside her pillow.
"James and Lily are dead," Sirius said with a catch in his voice. He pulled up her sleeve to reveal a bare arm. "Swear on your magic that you don't support the Dark Bastard."
"What about Harry?" Amelia asked, still a bit groggy from being awakened so abruptly and focusing on her godson.
"Swear or so help me I'll . . ."
"I swear on my magic and on my life that I have no love for the so called Dark Lord Voldemort or any supporter of his cause." She felt Sirius's grip loosen as he sighed in relief. "What's going on Sirius?"
"Sorry Amy," he said, "I trust you but I had to be sure. I . . . I can't take any chances anymore."
"Harry's alive then?" She asked hopefully.
"I put him in the crib with Susan," Sirius replied, "I had . . . I'm sorry," Sirius seemed to collapse in on himself, all the anger that had been keeping him going gone, eclipsed by the pain of loss.
"It's okay Sirius," Amy tried to soothe her friend and former partner, "what happened?"
"The wards fell," Sirius said faintly, "I got there as fast as I could but I didn't get there in time to do any good. James . . . Lily, I . . . James held him off while Lily got ready."
"Got ready for what?"
"I don't know," Sirius said, "but she was able to defeat Voldemort before he could get to Harry."
"He's something," Sirius agreed, "I found his wand and robes in a pile of goo. Lily was between that and Harry's crib." Tears were streaming down his face as he told the story. "I gathered up Harry and came here as soon as I could, I didn't know where else to go."
"You're welcome here of course," Amelia assured him.
"I need you to look after Harry," Sirius said suddenly, "I'll tell the Goblins to give you access to my accounts."
"I need to find Peter," Sirius said with a sigh, "either to . . . to give him a decent burial or to . . . to make a burial necessary." The strength of his emotions gave weight to his words.
"He was the secret keeper then?"
"And they either tortured it out of him or he gave it up willingly," Sirius agreed, "I'll either give him last rights and do my best to avenge him or I'll kill the bastard myself."
"Sirius . . ." Amelia looked at her friend for a few seconds. "Get a good night of sleep and we'll talk about it in the morning."
"Thank you Amy."
"What're friends for?"
The next morning, a number of units of time later that the author doesn't feel like keeping track of.
"Why me?" Amelia asked. "Why not another member of Dumbledore's little club?"
"Dumbledore is too focused on the big picture," Sirius said with a grin, "and any of the hard core Death Eaters like my cousin would go through the Order like it didn't exist."
"Why'd you join if you had such a low opinion of their capabilities?"
"When your name is Black," Sirius began, "you must be especially mindful of appearances if you don't want to be branded as a supporter of the Dark Lord."
Sirius got around the problem posed by the Death Eater's refusal to open his mouth by the simple expedient of shattering the man's front teeth and pouring the potion through the gap.
"Where is Peter Pettigrew?" Sirius demanded, as the DE's struggles slowed, the potion taking effect.
"I dun know," the DE lisped, bits of teeth and blood drooling down his chin.
"What do you know about Pettigrew?"
"He h'ng 'ound Potter, B'ack, and the werew'lf in ssschool," Sweat beaded the bastard's brow, as the act of remembering brought out what little fight he had left, to no avail, as his eyes lost focus once more.
"Damn it," Sirius sighed, "do you have any time sensitive information?" He asked, hoping to justify the gold he spent on the potion.
"Yeff," he smiled happily, drolling blood on his robe, the pain from the fight and its aftermath floating away with all his worries and cares.
"What," Sirius asked intently.
Alice Longbottom screamed as they cursed her again, her body was wrapped around her baby in an attempt to shield young Neville from their attackers. She could see Bellatrix's lips moving as the insane woman asked another question and could see those lips twist into an ugly frown when no answer was given. Frank kicked out, hoping to anger the woman so the curse would be directed at himself rather then his wife or young son.
"You'll get your turn," Bella crooned, "no need to be impatient." She turned back to the fallen woman with a crazed smile. "Cru . . ." Bellatrix fell like a puppet with it's strings cut and Alice would remember for the rest of her life the look of surprise on the woman's face as Bella's life blood escaped from a ragged hole in her chest.
Capitalizing on their shock, Sirius hit the Lestrange brothers with a succession of lethal curses. Rabastan's head was reduced to a fine pink mist while Rodolphus suffered from a terminal case of shredded lungs and a fourth death eater learned how it felt to have a thumbnail sized piece of potassium appear in his nasal cavity.
"You okay Frank, Alice?"
"Sirius?" Frank asked weakly. "Bloody hell man, where did you learn those spells?"
"Shouldda seen what I'd have done if I was going all out," Sirius laughed, as he dismissed the ropes holding Frank in place, "one plus of membership in my family I guess."
"Lucky thing you were here," he continued after his wife nodded that the baby was unhurt.
"Luck had nothing to do with it," Sirius replied, "I took a prisoner and while he didn't know a thing about the location of my target . . ."
"He did have an idea of what was going to happen to us right?" Alice asked. "We owe you Sirius . . ."
"You don't . . ." Sirius began, trying to dismiss his actions as unremarkable.
"You saved our baby," Frank said firmly, iron in his voice, "we owe you."
Later, I'm not really sure when, just later, alright?!
"I'm sure you all have questions," Amelia said to the crowd of reporters, "so why don't we begin?"
"Is it true that Harry Potter defeated 'you-know-who' and blocked the killing curse?" One of the reporters asked.
"We have no indication of that," Amelia said with a chuckle, "I'm not sure where you heard that but you can be sure that it wasn't from someone that's had the opportunity to walk through the Potter home."
"Oh?" The reporter asked, surprised that her source was wrong. "Than what happened?"
"We had an Auror on the scene within minutes of the termination of the wards," Amelia began.
"When seconds count, the Aurors are only minutes away." One of the reporters whispered.
"Correct," Amelia said loudly, "which is why the Department of Magical Law Enforcement has always advocated Defense Classes for the public and raising the standards for Defense at Hogwarts. A position that you did not share in your last editorial. If I remember correctly you believed that we would be training the Death Eaters to be more effective? Not to mention your opposition to rapid response teams or your disapproval of changing priorities away from using resources to identify and penalize muggle born underaged magic use to tracking the unforgivables. But that's a conversation for another day, we're talking about what happened at the Potter house." Amelia took a few moments to savor the pleasure of putting the reporter in his place. "As I was saying, our man was the first on the scene."
"Excuse me," the first reporter spoke up, "sorry to interrupt but could we have the Auror's name?"
"Not at this time," Amelia replied, "due to the sensitive nature of the work that he is engaged in, we are withholding his name for his own safety."
"Thank you Madame Bones," the reporter said, "please continue."
"From our investigations of the scene, it looks as if James Potter dueled the Dark Lord in an attempt to buy time for his wife to escape or to do whatever it is that she did." The reporters were furiously scribbling in their notebooks. "After defeating and murdering James, the Dark Lord then confronted Lily Potter in the nursery where Lily managed to do something to defeat the Dark Bastard."
"So he's dead?"
"We aren't sure," Amelia admitted reluctantly, "we didn't find a body. We do know that whatever Lily did managed to hurt him enough to drive him away."
"What about young Harry?"
"He suffered a minor injury and he should make a full recovery," Amelia replied, "no more questions."
Later, just later . . .
"We've identified the fourth Death Eater," Amelia announced as she entered her boss's office.
"Who was it?" Crouch asked with a cruel smile.
"It was your son," Amelia said calmly, "I'm sorry I had to be the one to tell you."
"My . . . son?" Crouch looked like he was going to faint. "It . . . it can't be true."
"Have you informed the press?"
"Please do so," Crouch's eyes were squeezed shut as he gave the order.
"What should I tell them?"
"The truth would be a good place to start," Crouch growled.
"No, I mean . . . well. Lucius Malfoy is claiming that he was forced to be a Death Eater and was under the Imperius while he committed his crimes," Amelia explained, "who's to say your son wasn't also?"
"I . . . no," Crouch said with obvious reluctance, "thank you for the offer Amelia, but a man has to stand by his actions, good or bad."
Time for you to buy a damn watch, that's when!
"Look who's here," Amelia called out.
"Sirius," Harry squealed. The little boy ran out to greet his godfather with Susan close on his heels. "Did you bring us anything?"
"What kind of godfather would I be if I didn't bring you guys something," Sirius demanded. "Here you go, presents for everyone."
"Thank you Sirius," Susan said demurely.
"Yeah," Harry agreed without taking his eyes off the wrapped package in his hands, "thanks Sirius."
"Why don't you children go play with your new things while Sirius and I have a talk?" Amelia suggested. She waited until after the children had left the room before turning back to her friend. "Well?"
"Lost him in Istanbul," Sirius said, "but it wasn't a total loss."
"Not sure he'll be able to use his right hand for a while," Sirius said with a grin, "and I doubt he can cast left handed."
"And the limp?"
"Lost a couple toes," Sirius admitted with a blush, "might be able to re-grow them."
"So what's the real reason you decided to come home?" Amelia asked. "It doesn't have anything to do with the black eye Narcissa Malfoy was sporting at the last St. Mungo's benefit does it?"
"I didn't know about that," Sirius said thoughtfully, "and for your information I was completely honest about my reasons for this visit." Sirius drew himself up to his full height and puffed out his chest, making a mockery of any claims he made.
"This time." She pursed her lips to hide a growing smile.
"This time," Sirius agreed, "however the state of Narcissa's eye does present us with an opportunity."
"What . . . your mother's death?"
"Makes me head of the family," Sirius said with a cruel grin, "making it more then appropriate for me to take offense at what has happened to my dear cousin."
"No one will give a damn about your actual reasons so long as appearances are maintained," Amelia added, "oh and the answer is yes."
"You were going to ask me to be your second weren't you?" Amelia demanded. "You aren't cruel enough to leave me out of this are you?"
"I had thought to ask Andy," Sirius said with an embarrassed smile, "keeping things in the family so to speak."
"Bugger that," Amelia growled, "and bugger yourself if you think I'm not going to be a part of this."
"I'd hoped to have you as the judge," Sirius said quickly.
"Moody'll do," Amelia said with a grin, "or Crouch maybe. I'm sure we can lure either one of them out of retirement for this."
Look outside, it's daytime.
Sirius and Amelia arrived at the site of their duel with the scion of the Malfoy family just ahead of the judges.
"Their side isn't here yet?" Crouch asked as he and Moody arrived.
"Not yet," Amelia replied.
"Protocol says I have to ask you if you're sure about this," Crouch said with a bland look on his face, "and that there is no way that you can work out your differences."
"None I can think of," Sirius agreed cheerfully.
"That's what I thought," Crouch said with a grin, "so I won't bother with that part. I do want to say that despite my personal feelings, I will be scrupulously fair when it comes to judging this duel."
"Wouldn't have it any other way," Sirius said quickly, "when I kill him I want everything to be nice and legal."
"Looks like the other side has finally made their entrance," Moody interrupted. Two figures appeared on the other side of the field and one of them walked towards the small group. "Lucius and Snape," Moody pronounced. "Snape is the one coming this way."
"Severus," Sirius said with a grin, "so good to see you here."
"Black," Snape sneered, "it'll be a pleasure to get a chance to wipe that smirk off your face."
"And it'll be a pleasure to finish the job I started," Sirius retorted, "one must not leave business unfinished overlong."
"Lucius is going to burry you Black," Snape spat, "he promised me that he'll make you scream for mercy before allowing you to die."
"I think Lucius will find a full grown wizard a bit more challenging then a child or a helpless muggle," Sirius laughed, "tell him I don't fear cowards that hide behind a mask."
"Enough posturing," Crouch said sternly. "Does Mr. Malfoy wish to withdraw from the duel?"
"He does not," Snape replied.
"Fine, tell him to come over here and stand on his mark." Without a word, Snape whirled around and stormed back over to Lucius's side.
"Pity we can't get the grease ball too," Sirius said as he took his position. He raised his voice, "ready to begin cousin Lucius."
"Quiet," Crouch growled, "terms are death or surrender. You will begin when I shoot red sparks out of the tip of my wand. Understood?"
"Got it," Sirius said cheerfully.
"Understood," Lucius agreed.
"Is there anything either of you would like to state for the record before I start things off?"
"I want him checked for Polyjuice," Sirius said.
Lucius reddened at the calculated insult. "You dare suggest . . ."
"It is a valid request," Crouch interrupted, "Mad Eye."
"It's him," Moody pronounced after a couple quick charms.
"Satisfied?" Crouch asked.
"Very," Sirius said, "guess he didn't think of it this time."
"Alright then." He stepped back and raised his wand. "You may begin." A stream of red sparks shot out of his wand and the two combatants sprang into action.
"I think you're going to be in for a very unpleasant surprise cousin," Lucius sneered. His look of confidence disappeared along with his wand hand. "Wha?"
"Or not," Sirius said glibly as he shattered the other man's jaw. Another spell pulped Lucius left hand and the next two destroyed the arrogant man's knees. "Bit more difficult when your opponent can fight back isn't it?" Sirius asked. "Bit more difficult when you're not hiding behind a mask." Sirius's expression was blank as he brought the tip of his wand in line with Lucius head. "Goodbye cousin, Reducto."
"Mad Eye," Crouch called out.
"Dead," Moody replied.
"Then I declare this matter resolved," Crouch said. He turned to Snape. "Unless you'd like to contest the result and challenge the victor?"
"No," Snape said, his face ashen.
"Come on Snivelous," Sirius crowed, "for old times sake."
Sometime after the first, but before the second.
"Sirius Black," Lockheart stammered. He well remembered his one attempt at stealing memories from the famous Dark Wizard hunter. "I didn't realize that you were a fan of my books."
"I'm not," Sirius said bluntly, "we're here to get the children their things for Hogwarts."
"Y . . . yes," Lockheart said quickly, "young Harry is entering his first year isn't he?" He withered under the man's flat stare. "I shall look forward to instructing them in Defense."
The second, as promised! I didn't say second what.
"Sirius please," Peter sobbed, "they'd have killed me . . . have mercy."
"Mercy doesn't live here," Sirius growled, lying through his teeth as he beheld the broken man before him, dead inside and in his own hell, but still breathing. With a wave of his wand, he ended the traitor
that was most responsible for the near extinction of the Potter family and offered a silent prayer for the death of his friend, who'd died on that long ago Halloween night with the Potters.
AN: Polish by SlickRCBD, and dogbertcarroll
Omake by meteoricshipyards
"This can't stand, Sue."
"I agree, Harry. Time to raise the Jolly Rogers."
Hermione looked confused. "Jolly Rogers? What does that have to do with what the Slytherins did?"
"The pirate flag that meant 'Surrender or die' was also called the Black Flag or the Skull and Crossbones. With us, it the Black and Bones," Harry explained, with a predatory smile.
"But you're Hufflepuffs! Hufflepuffs don't cause trouble!" the bushy haired witch said, slightly panicked when she saw the same smile on Susan.
"Oh, Hermione! I thought you were smarter than to fall for the propaganda," Susan said, still smiling. "But you'd be surprised at how much damage can be done when you have a lot of friends," she said, glancing at a group of 'Puffs walking together.
Omake by moshehim You are what you eat. No, that ain't right.
"Miss Bones, do you honestly expect us to believe that Lily Potter, a simple muggleborn, was able to kill the Dark Lord, the greates wizard Britain has seen in many centuries?" asked the second reporter.
"I didn't sa she killed him, we don't know that. But she certainly did something to him."
"But she's a muggleborn!"
"So everyone knows they can't hold a candle against pure-bloods!" said the reporter.
"Really? To answer your second question, I don't expect you to believe anything, but with your stated belief in that unbiased pure- blood superiority stupidity and the editorials you wrote trying to sabotage any effort the Ministry made to combat the Death Eaters, I'd say the DMLE might take a closer look into what you DO believe - and what you do about it. Other than that, let me just paraphrase an American... Wizard, you could say, by the name of Woodie Allen. 'You can be Merlin himself, and still father a muggle. And you can be a squib, and still give birth to He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named.
"As you can clearly see, it is all about what YOU are born with, not what your parents were."