Harry Potter is owned by J.K. Rowling, and the rights to all media productions is owned by Warner Brothers. This fanfic is intended for the enjoyment of other fans of this great lady's work and as we wait for book five to be out this summer.
Additionally, This is a continuation of a fic I read a while back that took over my brain just didn't let go. The fic is "Twist of Fate." By Eureka.
If the author of the original fic A) recognizes her/his work and or B) really hates this, sigh, please let me know and I'll remove it from the archive. Thank you Kindly.
Chapter One: New Years Day
Sirius smiled to himself and left the package lying next to Harry where he would find it when he woke in the morning.
He transformed back into the huge black form that was his Animagus self and curled up next to his godson on the sparse mattress on the floor, offering him whatever warmth he could.
Harry awoke the next day before the sun peaked around the patchwork curtain that he had created over the window. He shivered a little in the cold morning air and wrapped himself around his warm furry black friend. Harry smiled as the large dog woke and grumbled a little at him.
"Happy New Year, Padfoot," Harry said to his companion.
The dog yawned an enormous and loud yawn and licked Harry's face.
"Yuck, dog," Harry complained with a laugh as the black furry one continued the nuzzling. "How to get Harry to see his present," Sirius thought to himself. He nudged Harry with his nose towards the package sitting next to Harry's right hand.
"Hey, watch it." Harry said mildly as he scratched behind the dog's ears. The dog whined and nudged him again. This time Harry laughed and stretched. He pushed back the thin cover that served as his blanket and if needed bedroll when the dog nudged his arm again and exasperated he was about to speak sharply at the animal when his hand hit an object.
Harry stopped stretching and looked down where is hand was now touching something he knew wasn't something that had been there the night before.
He looked at it with a wary eye. He glanced at Padfoot, who was lying looking at him with an almost amused expression at the very end of the mattress.
"Where did this come from?" he asked the dog. Padfoot only panted at the child in a very wide doggie smile.
"Well, Saint Nicholas never visited ME before, and he is about a week late, but then I guess anything IS possible," Harry commented and leaned over to look at the package from the right.
He straightened and then looked at the package from the left. He then leaned all the way over the package to look at the opposite side from above. He glanced at the dog, who was looking back at him with speculation in his eyes as if to say, 'what are you doing?'
"Well," Harry explained, "I just want to be careful."
Harry tentatively reach out and nudged the package. Padfoot chuffed in what to Harry, glancing at him, thought was an amused manner. Looking back to the bundle he reached out and pulled it into his lap. It was wrapped in one of those plastic bags that had handles.
It was soft and swishy. Sort of. And there was two of whatever there was in the bag. He opened the plastic carefully and peered inside.
The smile that lit up Harry's face warmed Sirius' heart; he had chosen correctly then.
Harry was hurriedly pulling a pair of multipurpose athletic shoes out of the bag. They were a rough leather tops with thick rubber soles. Perfect for not only the cold weather of December and January, but for running on the hard pavement of London's streets.
Harry's excitement increased when he saw two new pairs of thick socks in the bag as well. He hurriedly pulled both pairs out the sack and sat them down next to the shoes that had been carefully placed in front of him; for a moment or two Harry just looked at the unexpected Christmas present before tearing the worn and hole-infested shoes off his feet. Next the socks that had not been off his body since the weather had turned so cold. Sirius was shocked to see the blisters, dirt, and what else he couldn't guess, that the other shoes, now much to small for Harry's feet, had left on him.
Harry, not realizing the reason for the big black dog's low growl, looked over, shrugged and put on his new socks and shoes. They fit perfectly. Harry quickly stood and tried out his new foot gear. He walked around the small abandoned hotel room and did a few deep knee bends and flexed his feet to find out the stretch of the shoes.
He laughed happily at the sensation. "Oh Padfoot, they're wonderful!" Harry exclaimed and rushed over and hugged the dog.
Sirius was shocked. Did Harry either remember him or think that he as a dog could have brought them. He was relieved a moment later when Harry continued.
"I don't know if I ever believed in St. Nicholas before but I do now! Happy New Year, Padfoot!" Harry enthused as he hugged Padfoot in a near death grip. He released his grip and ran around the room a few more times to get use to his new foot wear.
What happened next took both Padfoot and Harry by surprise.
Harry gave a silent scream of pain, grabbed his head and dropped to his knees.
Sirius was so shocked he transformed in front of the child and encircled the shaking youth with his arms.
"Harry, Harry!" Sirius called to him. But Harry was lost to this reality; what he was seeing was far away.
Harry felt the brief pain that always signaled one of these terrible visions. He didn't even write these ones down, they were that bad. He was pulled out of his hide-out and through the air. He wondered idly where he would end up this time. The last was in an old abandoned mansion far from London.
Harry's heart almost stopped when he realized that he was skimming not over the English countryside but over the rooftops of London. And from the landmarks he was not too far from his hide out. He was even more worried when he felt himself slow and then drop softly into a street only a mile from his abandoned hotel.
There were all the usual characters all in dark robes and masks. Standing in a circle and muttering among themselves. One the nastiest of the lot raised his hand and the muttering stopped. He waited 'til everyone was respectfully silent.
His voice was, as always, oily, polished and posh.
"We have pinpointed the boy's location to this area. Fan out and start here. Check every abandoned building. He won't know that we are seeking him. The Muggle street-people say that he has been in this area for a few months. With winter on he won't want to leave his 'territory.' So as long as we do this quietly," with that he glanced at one of the circle who bowed his head at the glance, before continuing, "we should be able to apprehend him within a day," the posh oily one concluded.
"Then what?" asked another of the masked and hooded figures.
Harry knew that voice. Snape.
"I thought that would be obvious even to you, Snape; then we use the boy to restore our Lord to full strength and health. He will rise again and we will finish what we started."
"And how precisely are you planning on doing this?" Snape persisted.
"The details are unimportant," replied the posh oily one. "Once the boy is in our hands what knowledge we lack the Dark Lord will supply. We need only to capture the boy; once he is ours, the master will forgive us for, as we will present him first with his most hated enemy, the source of power to replenish him. I know what you're thinking my friends, but don't worry about that bumbling old fool Dumbledore. I've set up a secondary plan that will benefit our Lord, defeat the Muggle-lovers, and keep that old fool so busy he won't even realize what happened until after it's all over."
"Brilliant! As always, Lucius," replied the one called Severus.
"Start at once. We should catch him while he is still in his sanctuary. With the weather this foul, he will be loath to leave it today. We'll trap the brat like the little gutter snipe that he is," ordered the oily one with a arrogant smirk in his voice.
Without a sound the circle of dark figures turned and glided into the exits and doorways that littered the ally.
Harry was ready to panic. They were searching for him. He would have to move and quickly. Plans were already half formed in his head when one of the figures returned, stopping his mental gyrations.
The figure moved back to a wall with an almost invisible doorway and pulled something from his robes. Harry looked at him and saw a small globe that glowed blue resting in the palm of his hand.
"Albus, they have pinpointed the boy's location to within twenty city blocks, they are searching for him now." Snape's voice reported quietly into the globe.
"That was to be expected. Nothing you could have done would have stopped it. I'll have trusted agents apparate into the area at once. Try to slow them down if you can, without endangering or revealing yourself. Child come home to us soon and BE CAREFUL," said a voice, 'Albus,' from the glowing ball.
"I'm always careful, Albus," replied Snape coolly and the glowing faded as he replaced the ball into his robes.
Harry watched as Snape blended into the early morning shadows and flowed back out of the alleyway. Then he felt the familiar lurch as he was pulled back into the air and he knew he was pulled flying and returning to his abandoned hotel room.
Sirius was about to panic when he felt Harry go totally still in his arms and gasp an inhaled breath and his eyes snapped open. The Animagus quickly resumed his Animagus shape before his godson could notice.
He needn't have worried. Beyond the fact that Harry realized he was back in his body in the abandoned hotel, he was totally unaware of anything around him. He was processing the information that he had just had thrust at him.
First, those men in the black robes were hunting for someone and, although his name was not mentioned specifically, Snape had been there. He recognized the voice. Now they were looking for a boy. The last time he had 'seen' Snape was in his dreams and Snape was with the men in black robes that had searched his aunt's and uncle's house. The most logical assumption would be that they were most probably looking for him. And they were close, very close.
Second, it seemed that Snape was not what he seemed. He was feeding information to someone called 'Albus' but the implications of this would have to wait. Escape was the first priority.
He had had the escape plan in place the second day he had moved into the hotel. Within three minutes all of his belongings, including the old shoes and anything that could be traced to him was packed into the leather school bag that he had held onto when his Uncle had assisted him out of the family car. He reached out to pull the covering off the window when he stopped himself. If they were looking, the movement might catch their attention. He left the window and turned to the door.
The dog was sitting in front of it. Padfoot didn't look like he was going to move.
In that instant, Harry knew that if he left his friend, he would be killed. And where Harry went, he was going to take Padfoot. Harry looked at the dog and, taking a deep breath, knelt in front of the dog and confided the truth. "There are men in black robes and white masks looking for me. They've never gotten this close before and I have to go. I have an escape plan but I didn't count on having a dog to worry about when I made it. I don't know if you can follow me where I am going," Harry finished worriedly, deciding in that instant that if Padfoot couldn't handle plan number one he would abandon it and come up with escape plan number two. He was not going to leave the overgrown puppy to the black robes; they would kill him.
Harry glanced back at the window and when he turned back to the door found that the dog was now standing next to the door waiting for him to open it. It was if the dog could truly understand him and was ready to handle anything the boy came up with.
Harry snapped out of his self-inflicted trance and surged to and through the door. Instead of going right down the hallway to the staircases he headed left. In the last room on the right he opened the door and rushed across the room. He glanced back; Padfoot had followed him.
The window, oiled with packages of salad oil stolen from a restaurant days after he had found the hotel, and periodically ever since, opened silently, instantly and smoothly when he lifted it. He then turned and pulled an eight foot plank lying next to the wall up and started to slide it across the six foot gap between the hotel and the roof of the neighboring building.
The child looked worriedly at the dog. How could he explain that he needed the animal to go across the plank. Dogs just didn't do things like that. On top of that within just those few moments the plank had been covered with water that was slick and icing up as the sleet that was falling from the sky continued to pour over London. Well, Harry thought, they were right about that then. If he hadn't had the vision he would have stayed inside today.
When the plank was firmly across the gap he looked down at the dog wondering how to push the animal up and out. He knew he couldn't leave the animal here he wouldn't be able to live with himself if the black robes got a hold of him. When Padfoot astounded him; the huge dog bounded of its own accord up to the window sill, then up, out and onto the hastily-made bridge. The dog hurried over the gap and jumped down onto the neighboring roof. Harry shook his head, wiped his fingerprints off the window sill and then, securing his things on his back, crawled quickly over the bridge as well to the next rooftop.
"Good dog," Harry said a little breathlessly; he then turned and pulled the plank onto the new rooftop. He then reached down and picked up a long metal pole. The little street child had spent three days to find and then figure out how to get it up here without anyone seeing him, for just this emergency. He wrapped his hands around the pole he carefully leaned over... bracing his weight against the roof wall and used the pole to push the window on the hotel back down. He pulled the pole back to the roof and walked over to a pipe that was now sticking up on the roof top.
After wiping his fingerprints off the metal he slid the pole down into the dark shaft and grinned when he heard it only make a slight plop when it hit the sawdust he had poured into the bottom over seven months ago.
He then turned and picking up the plank that had insured their get away. "Come on Padfoot. Quietly now," he said to his furry friend and with both hands hefting the long plank onto his shoulder then dashed, well as fast as he could with the load he now carried, to the opposite side of the roof. Harry hoped that Padfoot would continue to follow him; he glanced back and the animal was still with him.
Now the animal surged ahead of him to check things out, it seemed to the child as he and dog hopped over the low walls that separated the buildings' rooftops from each other. Silently, Harry kept hold of the narrow piece of wood that was more than twice his height as the wind seemed to want to rip it either out of his hands or take it and Harry over the edge of the buildings. It was like that for six buildings. Then Sirius realized why the boy had refused to let the plank go. It was needed again to span the five foot gap from the sixth building to the seventh.
Again Harry watched amazed as his silent companion shuffled across the slick makeshift bridge. Once the dog was on the other side Harry shimmied across as well. Pulling the plank and turning Harry carried it over to a broken skylight. Here he dumped the plank onto a pile of others that were sitting next to the skylight. Harry had taken nearly a month to get all of them up here, making seem as if this one was just one more on the pile of abandoned repair items.
Sirius watched impressed. His godson had thought of everything as Harry dropped his plank on the others. Sirius turned and followed Harry as he ran. This time however he didn't go straight across the building he turned and headed north. There he leaned on a roof railing for a moment then scrambled over cross again onto another building.
Sirius looked up and realized that the buildings they were now standing on had two buildings connected to it. A quick glance as he bounded over the low wall showed Sirius all he needed to know. Harry's escape plan led them over rooftops that created a large square of buildings with a central courtyard. Harry, it seemed, was taking them the quickest way to where the buildings were attached to the rest of the city. Sirius marveled again at the boy's level of preparedness. Harry had indeed planned this escape plan well. Three more low walls were hurtled before Harry slowed.
Now instead of running he kept low, nearly bent over, and walked quietly across the building. "These buildings are being used," he explained in gasps quietly to the dog, and methodically he looked before he went over the walls that separated the buildings here. This continued on for eight more buildings. Sirius copied him exactly, realizing that even if it was New Years' Day there might be security guards in the buildings so he mimicked his godson's steps and movements. This was Harry's world and he would take his cue from the silent and slight boy in front of him. He stilled as he saw Harry still as he neared another wall.
Harry looked back at the dog that was following him. He had no reason to trust this dog or even understand how it could 'understand' him, but for some reason, he did. Yet another thing to think about, later. Much later. Harry went over this last wall and signaled the dog to follow. Crouched, they moved on to the new roof. Sirius looked up. This was the last roof he saw. There was no way off this roof, except the way they had come or down.
Glancing at Sirius, Harry motioned him over to the stairwell shed that lead into the depths of the building below them. This is the part that really worried Harry; this building was being used, people were starting to arrive at this time of the day. Harry worried; what if the dog barked or... Harry shook his head; he would have to cross that bridge when he came to it.
Harry moved to the small tilted shed that covered the stairs that led to and from the roof. He placed his hand on the door handle and concentrated. He hadn't had any food this morning and this trick always took a lot out of him even when he had just eaten. The lock clicked open and the handle turned in his hand. He opened the doorway revealing a dark staircase descending into the depths of the building. He looked over at the big dog, motioning with his free hand for the dog to enter the stairway. Harry then wondered how far down the dog would go, and the animal silent as a wraith moved and disappeared into the shadows. The dog it seemed then turned and waited for Harry as all the young boy could see were the eyes glowing up at him from the darkness. Harry wiped his fingerprints from the handle on the outside of the door and slipped down to the first step inside the archway. The eyes of the dog watched Harry.
The child was not looking at Padfoot though. He was pulling the door shut behind them, plunging the pair of them into darkness. He took no notice of the darkness; the darkness wasn't a stranger to him as it was to some. He was worried about what he had to do next. He had wiped the handle on the outside of the door. Now with his hands on the handle on the inside he concentrated. This time it was harder but after a moment or two there was the familiar click; the door had relocked itself. He wiped this one down as well. Light-headed with the effort of unlocking and then locking the door he was grateful for the support of holding up the wall. He breathed heavily for a moment as if he had run a very long way.
There were four stories to get down, four stories to maneuver without running into anyone coming in and deciding not to use the lift today. Or worse a guard. The first two landings they cleared without incident. The child and his dog started to move silently down the third staircase. Just as they reached the second to last landing the door on the second floor opened. Harry and Sirius turned and retreated silently back up the stairs to the comparative safety of the shadows on the staircase above. Peering over the railing the pair watched as a woman wearing a security uniform and caring a few file folders entered the stairway, going down to the first floor.
Listening intently and constantly looking back up the way they had come, the sound of the woman finishing the descent and the door shutting behind her finally reached the duo's ears. Harry waited for a good 30 seconds beyond that before he started downward again.
This time they didn't have any problems to reach the ground floor.
Harry leaned down to the dog on the third to the last step and whispered into his ear. "I hope you can understand this. We have to walk through a hallway. It goes straight to the street but the hallway has glass walls into the lobby. We have to be careful. Once on the street I'll turning left and heading north. I'm going to walk, normal, like I'm heading someplace." Harry glanced at the big dog. "But you'll look out of place."
Before he could loose his nerve Harry reached in to his pack and attached a deep red leash on to the thin flea collar hanging around the dog's neck. "I stole it a week ago just in case. I have to look normal, and I hope you know what to do on a leash."
The huge black dog chuffed at Harry as if Harry had just insulted him. Harry shook his head a little muttering, "This is getting really weird." He straightened his shoulders and confidently moved into the hallway.
Seventeen steps later he was through the door and on the street, it was still cold, wet and sleeting. He turned left and, hunching his shoulders against the oncoming rain and sleet, moved briskly up the street, a great black dog with a deep red leash on his heels.
Chapter Two: A TRIP TO THE ZOO
While Harry let them out of the area where the men in black robes searched for him, other men and women, in many different color robes but each with a small silver bird on their right collar, were arriving. They were here for two reasons: interfere with those in black robes and find a wizard child that had gone missing. No one seemed to notice the small Muggle child out walking his dog. If any of these new robed figures had a fleeting thought, it was more along the lines of 'What was with it with Muggles? Letting their children out on such an awful day."
The men in black robes wouldn't even notice a Muggle child because to them Muggles were of course beneath their notice. So the one that had hung his head earlier as being too noisy didn't blink twice as a Muggle child with a big black dog on a leash passed him on the street. He ground his teeth in frustration; he wasn't having any luck as well in finding his prey. The posh oily voiced one was going to be so mad at him.
Both parties found the hotel room that the boy had been in. The men in black robe found it first. But by the time they reached it, none of the magical spells that they knew tried that could lead them to the child worked. Or rather the spells did work but only so far as to lead the black robes to a window down the hall. A room that had no fire escape. A calm confident voice proved the trail ended there. Even proved it to the others in black robes. Somehow the boy had slipped through their fingers, again. Shouting in rage the oily posh voiced one verbally abused all of those around him and disappeared. The rest argued amongst themselves for a good quarter of an hour before they too disappeared.
The room was empty for a time. Then there was a pop and then one of the men in the black robes was back. But not alone. Now a man with flaming red hair and a small silver bird on his worn robes was with him. They traced the same path to the window. But instead of giving up they, headed over to the next roof. As suspected the confident voice assured the other man they could pick the trail back up from here. But they too lost it when they discovered the plank that the boy had used abandoned on a pile of others. Every board on the pile had the child's signature on them and their trail then went cold. They search for a solid quarter of an hour before they both agreed that they had lost the trail completely. The two men looked at each other with faces covered with both concern and frustration before disappearing off the rooftops of London.
Harry led the dog away from the search area. He nearly bumped into one of the men in the black robes but having the dog on a leash seemed to make him invisible to the man and he ambled by quite quickly. Harry kept moving. In fact he kept the pair of them walking for nearly an hour and half, stopping only when forced to at red traffic lights. Harry knew what to do when you didn't want to attract attention. Act normal.
So Harry had talked to the dog. He stopped to pet 'his' dog at each red light and made comments about how wonderful this Christmas had been, or wonder what mum was making for New Years Day dinner, or how he couldn't wait to play with his new Gameboy®.
Sirius realized what the boy was doing. Blending in. He seemed to be an expert in it. But he did wonder what a Gameboy® was. Harry seemed to know where he was going, even if Sirius didn't so he didn't attempt to steer the child in any major direction. Harry only talked to him when there were Muggles around so he could only wonder what was going through Harry's mind.
What was going through Harry's mind was simple basic survival. Escape, act normal, get light, get someplace safe, then worry. So that is what he did. First he had escaped, to the rest of the world he was acting like any normal kid out walking his dog, which had gotten the pair of them away from danger. Next, he had to get light, well lighter then he was now anyway. Harry kept his eyes open looking for either a dumpster or better yet.
Yes, right there. A barrel with a fire in it and not another street person around.
Harry quickly changed directions to the barrel. He glanced around and dropped the leash and hosted his bag off his shoulder dropping it on the ground next to the barrel. He squatted next to the warmth, turned and opened his bag. All his possessions in the world were in that bag. But he knew he had to get rid of dead weight. The fire would keep anyone else from tracking him through the items. He didn't know why he thought that; he just did. At least he hoped they wouldn't be able to.
The first to get hurled into the flames were the shoes that he had only removed from his feet less then an hour ago. Next out of the bag were the two books he had with him. The first was a history of England school textbook that he had had with him when Uncle Vernon had thrown him out of the car. Harry had taken it home for the weekend to do some homework in his cupboard. Nearly a year and half later he had it memorized. He pitched it into the flames with little concern.
The other book in the bag he wouldn't even consider ridding himself of. It was a basic chemistry book that he had found on a table at a coffee shop near the University. Harry had read it constantly since he had found it; it had kept him sane at some points during the last year. He loved this book, it fascinated him, so it of course went back into the bag. He also kept his notebook and pen. He needed to write this day down for sure. The stinking socks that had been Uncle Vernon's went back into the bag. Harry looked up as Padfoot chuffed at him. "They can be washed," he commented and continued to search around in the bag. Three pairs of socks. Two pairs of underwear.
One school gym uniform, he paused before that went into the flames as well. It didn't fit anymore. The school had made his aunt and uncle buy him his own when after the first day of gym he had shown up in Dudley's oversized castoffs. One sweater three times too large. That he kept, as well as a can opener, a small pen knife, two pencils and three cans of Spam. With the extra space he had created he folded carefully the two thin sheets that made up is bed roll which had been jammed in rather haphazardly earlier and put them into the bag. It carrier now looked a little lumpy but not as badly out of place as he had before.
Standing up, the street child checked that the items he had dumped into the barrel were toast, picked up the leash and without a backward glance, as if he were just walking by, not away from the barrel, started back on his way. He had accomplished the first task. He had gotten lighter. Now he had to get safe. Then he could think, plan, but until then he kept his eyes open and moved.
Next the boy started a winding pattern of movement that was meant to confuse anyone that might be following him. It certainly confused Sirius for a time. Until the Animagus realized the no matter how far they went one way or another it was always in a generally northern pattern. Sirius wondered where Harry was getting all of this energy from.
Harry was wondered the same thing but kept moving anyway. He knew just the place. He had found the wonderful hideout in his second month on the streets over a year and a half ago. But he had also discovered the danger of using it. The police checked it regularly, so he had used it only once more since that first time. He was counting on it not only being empty but locked up for the holiday. Therefore not checked on New Year's Day. If he only had the energy to open the door he and the dog could hideout there for a day, maybe two or three if he was lucky.
Turning into the park the small waif smiled to himself. The park was next to the small zoo that was in the northern part of London and it was practically empty. He was nearly the only one there and he knew he would have to stop and play with the dog for a good half an hour before he tried anything.
Sirius was confused. Harry had led them into a Muggle park. Once there, Harry had leaned down snapped off his 'leash' and said in a firm tone. "There you go, boy, have a good run." Sirius had turned his head up to the boy with clearly a 'what are you doing' look in his eyes. Harry reached down and scratched behind his ears. "We have to blend in. We are just out to play on New Year's Day. Please, please, just run around a little," the boy pleaded.
Understanding the plan but not where his godson was going with it gave a happy doggy bark, turned and dashed away from the boy. Thirty yards away the dog stopped. Barked happily and dropped into a head down and butt up in a 'lets play' stance. Harry heaved a sigh of relief; the dog seemed to understand him or just wanted to let off a little steam. At this point he didn't care. He hitched up his pack and followed the dog across the green. To all outward appearances he was only a boy and his dog playing in the park on New Years' day.
Harry worked at looking like he belonged and for ten minutes or so he just chased the dog around the park. He had nearly reached his limit when luckily the dog ran near the small woods in the park. Harry moved over and picked up a stick then called the dog back.
Sirius did his best to make it look like it was just a boy and his dog in the park. But even from here he could tell that the little trick with the locks and the three hour forced march AKA 'walk' that Harry had imposed on them had tired the boy; he was starting to fade. Sirius tried all the more to look lively for the pair of them. Harry had picked up a stick. Well he had played that game before he could do so again. Harry tossed it. Sirius fetched it. Harry tossed and this time Sirius realized that Harry was moving them toward the other end of the park towards the zoo. Sirius obliged him and happily moved with him going a little further each time Harry 'threw' the stick.
Ten minutes later Sirius was seriously confused. Harry had moved the pair to the far end of the park that touched the farthest end of the zoo. Most of the buildings were painted green on this side of the park so during the summer they would blend in and be invisible to the park. Now in the dead of winter they could be seen, not clearly through the hibernating trees and brush in front of them but seen. For the last five minutes or so he godson had racing forward and back in front of a long row of trees near a long low building.
Harry moved to a specific set of trees. For the last five minutes he had moved from one line of sight to another. If there was anyone in the park they would think that he and his dog were running home and using one of two different gates. Harry slowed and checking to see that no one in the park could see him moved to a specific section of the brush and jumped into the brush.
"Of course,' thought Sirius, 'he's hiding his tracks.' The huge dog jumped as well and silently followed him. Fifteen yards of brush brought them to the back of the zoo building. "Stay," the boy told the 'dog'. Sirius chuffed; Harry grinned back at him. "Okay, okay. You are smarter than that. Sorry." Harry backed out on the tracks he and Padfoot made when they came into the trees.
Picking up one of the downed branches he wiped the tracks in the snow out as he backed to the wall of the building and the black beast that waited there. Dropping the branch Harry turned and followed the wall to the right door with no handle. It seemed to Sirius that this was wherever Harry had been taking them.
Harry knew this last bit was going to be hard. But worth it. He glanced around one last time to check the area for anyone other than his friend. His friend, Harry smiled at that thought. He never had a friend before; Dudley had not allowed it. Harry smiled at Padfoot before he gathered the rest of his strength and put his hands on the lock. He broke out into a cold sweat but kept going. This lock was very complicated, almost there, almost, he concentrated harder and there was the familiar click. Harry glanced down and smiled at Padfoot. Then turned back to the door and changed the concentration and focus, then with his mind pulled. He closed his eyes, put his hand out in front of him palm out towards the door not touching it and concentrating with his mind pulled harder. The door rattled a little then swung out a hair, then a little more then it came out enough that Harry could slip his hand in between door and the frame. He had the present of mind to wipe outside of the door before he opened the door wide enough for he and Padfoot to slip inside.
Padfoot was shocked. Harry was exhausted he couldn't possible try doing wandless magic again today. He watched in concern as Harry became even paler than normal and his face broke out in sweat. The Animagus was relieved when he heard the click of the lock on the door open. But couldn't for the life of him figure out how Harry was going to get them inside. He stared in horrid fascination as Harry simply stood in front of the door and put his hand out to it. He was further shocked when the door shook then opened. He had never in his life seen anyone with wandless magic perform 'Accio' at that level of power. Not even Dumbledore could do it to his knowledge. When the boy had pulled the door open wide enough he slipped inside and found himself in a small windowless room. The door behind him closed throwing the room into darkness. He could hear Harry's panting and the click as the door relocked itself.
Sirius was about to panic; Harry wouldn't be able to help himself with the amount of power he had drained out of himself. Sirius was about to damn the consequences and drop the Animagus form when the room was flooded with light. Harry was leaning on the wall next to the Muggle light switch. "I'm glad it's an automatic lock on the door," He heaved at the dog, dropping his pack next to the door. "I don't think I could do that again today."
Harry grinned at the dog and shakily went over to a sink that was at the wall and turned on the water. He pulled open a cabinet above the sink and pulled out two bowls. Filling the first with water running out of the sink he shakily leaned down and left it on the floor for the dog. Turning, the boy leaned over the rim of the sink and putting his mouth to the faucet's pouring water, drank and drank and drank. He stood up for a second catching his breath before he bent and repeated the process. Sirius could understand and even in his dog form didn't look twice at the bowl of water as he too drank, rather sloppily, as well.
The young boy glanced down, and picking up the empty water bowl, rinsed it and then refilled the bowl for the dog. Harry then turned off the water and moved the now-full bowl to the floor. Next he went over to his bag and lifted out a can of the Spam. He returned to the sink and opened a drawer next to the sink. Drawing out a knife he took a moment and opened the tin of Spam. Harry then cut it into two parts. The larger part went into the second bowl he had taken from the cupboard which was then placed it on the floor next to an empty water bowl. Harry refilled the water bowl for the third time. Then tossed the empty tin into a trash can near the door across from the one they had entered.
Harry picked up the smaller part of Spam eating his portion as he watched Padfoot who was now inhaling the Spam. Smiling at the dog he commented. "Isn't it great?' he asked the dog.
"Water, heat, there is some food too; only an emergency safe spot though... I guess this was it... We just have to be careful... And there is the problem of tracks but if it snows much more... but I think I know how get that, uhh, fix that... and we have a 'til the day after tomorrow, if we're careful..." Harry moved to a small couch across from the sink and sat down. A second later he laid down murmuring "I'll just rest for a minute then..." Harry was asleep in the next instant.
Sirius waited 15 minutes before he transformed back into himself. He had had a good look around as a dog, now he could do it as a human. Harry had brought them to what looked like an employee lounge. It was a very large square. The first or back wall contained the door they had come through. The second wall was long and unbroken. Directly across from the first door was another door. Sirius didn't know where it led but his sense of smell as a dog had been quite clear, snakes or reptiles, yuck.
Next to the reptile door was the third wall. The Muggles had installed a counter top, with a sink, something with round metal wires, and a medium-sized cabinet that was cold inside when you opened the door. There was a medium-sized box on the counter. Sirius opened the door. It was neither cold or warm. Sirius shrugged and looked at the end of the counter that rested on the fourth wall and next to a third door.
There was an 'L' shaped couch in the back corner; Harry was asleep on the long end that ran along the back wall near the door they had come in. He looked around at the sink that Harry had gotten the water from. It had a hot water tap. No wonder Harry liked this place. On the fourth wall behind the short side of the couch was a book case. It contained books of course and that Muggle TV thing, at least that was what Sirius thought it was. Between the bookshelf and the corner that was the end of the long counter top was that third door. Sirius opened it casually, and glanced in. He smirked. Harry was right this was a great place. It had a toilet.
Sirius closed the door behind him.
Harry slept most of the day away. Sirius realized that Harry was suffering from magical exhaustion but he had started to worry; other than keeping the patient warm and fed he was not a medi-wizard and the first aid classes at Hogwarts had been so long ago. Sirius was about to panic, grab the boy and apparate to St. Mungo's no matter the consequences, when Harry woke up. Just about tea time, just like James use to. Typical.
The youngster yawned and stretched, rubbing the sleep from his eyes and looking over at his companion and asked, "Do you need to go out?"
'Out? I don't think so kid. Not after all the trouble you went through to get us here.' Sirius said to himself and went over to pick up his 'doggy' bowl.
"Hungry then, thirsty at least." Harry grinned and went over and filled the water bowl for Padfoot.
Sirius drank as Harry began a one-sided monologue. "I hope you weren't too bored while I slept," 'No,' thought Sirius, 'I checked out the books on the shelf. Found a good murder mystery.'
"How do you like it?" the child waved at the room at large. "We can stay 'til Monday at least. It's a holiday weekend so the zoo won't be open again until then. The keepers will come in at about 2. As seeing how we are still here and its 4, they didn't use the break room, so we're safe 'til tomorrow about 2 again. Then we will have to go out and play in the park. Luckily tomorrow's Sunday. If it had been Monday we would have had problems. School starts on Monday. I'll have to figure out something else by then."
Harry had been rummaging through the cabinets above the counter top, and then below it as he continued to speak. "Well, the first thing is get some food and then figure out what to do next. Don't you think?" the boy asked the dog. Sirius thought this was excellent planning on Harry's part and yipped an agreement. "So glad you agree. Look stew!" the child cried happily presenting a tin of the stuff to the dog. "Would you like it cold or hot?" He asked next. Sirius tilted his head; there was no fire available here. How on earth did the boy think they could have hot food? He growled at the boy who seemed to take it the right way anyway. "Hot it is then. Well I want it hot anyway, don't worry I won't make it too hot for you."
The boy rummaged around in one of the drawers underneath the counter top and pulled out a can opener and started to open the can. Once he had completed his task, he reached back into the cabinets above the counter and pulled two glass bowls out. He then poured the mixture into the first bowl. The can was careful set in the sink and the bowl was put into the strange medium box.
Sirius watched with interest as Harry pushed a few places on the box and the whole thing started to hum and whir. He stepped back and growled ready to get Harry away from the strange Muggle device, but the child just laughed. "Haven't you ever seen a microwave before Padfoot? Well, don't worry, it won't hurt you; just warm the food up." Harry pulled down a second tin and started to open it and fill the second bowl as the other one whirled and turned in the 'microwave'.
Sirius was still unsure of this whole Muggle contraption around his godson.
The thing dinged and Sirius backed up a step wondering what it would do next. Harry just laughed again and opened the small door. Sirius could smell the stew. It was hot and fragrant. Harry looked through the drawers again and pulled out a dish cloth and using it pulled the hot bowl of stew out of the machine. He put the bowl of stew on the floor next to the empty water dish. He picked up the water dish put it on the counter put second bowl of stew into the machine, pushed the buttons again and the machine started to whir once more. The boy then put water into empty water dish and replaced it next to the steaming stew on the floor.
"What's the matter? Is it too hot? Don't you like stew?' Harry asked. Sirius smiled, well, a dog-like smile, at his godson. Harry was a street child, but his mother was coming through; she was the one that always patched the Marauders up. Making sure the little ones in Gryffindor were ok. Now Harry was doing the same. Sirius bent his head and ate his first hot meal since leaving Azkaban.
Harry watched the dog attack the food and smiled. It was nice to have a friend. The microwave binged and he pulled the bowl out of it and took it and a spoon he had found earlier to the low table near the couch and started to eat as well.
Once both the boy and dog were done Harry washed and dried three of the bowls and the spoon and replaced them in the cupboard. Harry refilled the water bowl and went to sit on the couch. He pulled his bag over, opened it, pulling out his notebook and pencil. Harry took a deep breath and shoved them back into the bag.
Noticing the dog looking at him with an almost worried and concerned expression, he smiled at the beast, "You're right of course. I'd be better if I just got it out now." Harry shrugged and pulled the notebook, rummaged for the pencil for a moment, and then settled on the couch. The boy closed his eyes and tried to remember all the sequence of events that had started his wild flight this morning.
After a few moments Harry opened his eyes and started to write.
I had another one of those wake nightmares in the day again today. My scar hurt. I still have a headache. Can't tell Padfoot he would worry. I think I scared Padfoot when it happened. The black robes were looking for someone. I think they were looking for me. The last time I had one of these things was in the spring. There was a man I think his name was Quirill? Anyway, he was supposed to get something for for, well I'm not sure of what his name is, the black robes call him the dark lord. I think he is evil so lord is not what I'm going to call him. So back to the last time, Quirill didn't get what ever it was, a rock I think, and that thing killed him. Green lighted him. I really don't like green light.
So this morning, I had a great morning. Saint Nicholas visited. A week after but who cares. I found new shoes, and socks. I've never had new shoes before. I always go Dudley's hand me downs. They are the right size and everything. I can could run and run. That's' when it happened.
My scar exploded and I was flying again. I wasn't flying over the country side this time, this time it was in London and I didn't go far. It was to the alley behind the old cotton warehouse. The black robes were there. The oily voiced one said that they had tracked to boy to a 20 block area and to spread out and look for him. The old hotel was only ten blocks away. So I guess we got out just in time. I'm so glad that Padfoot was able to follow me. The black robes would have killed him. I know it. I don't want anyone else dead because of me. I think the black robes killed my Aunt Petunia, Uncle Vernon and Cousin Dudley. I had a bad dream about that one too. I really wish I had a bottle of beer tonight I would like not to dream tonight.
I wonder who this Dumbledore? is. I wish I could warn him about the second plan the oily voiced one has in place. And then I have no clue about what to do about HIM he has to be working for this Dumbledude. At least I think he is.
But that doesn't matter as much as figuring out what to do next. I can't stay here. The black robes seem to be able to find me. So did that lady with silvery hair. Can't forget to mention her. Scary part is that she knew my name. Reminds me of a cat that one. So Londonis out and returning to Little Whinging is out too. I'll have to figure out where to go. And soon. I only have the rest of today and tomorrow before the safe spot isn't anymore.
I hate stealing. But I'm going to have to clean out any of the cans of food and dry stuff that I can get here when I take off. Now I have to go where I can hide in plain sight. So It has to be a big city. And someplace they don't expect me. Once there I'll have to stay on the move and leave the city in no more than three months. That way I'll stay out of the way of children services AND the black robes. Services catch me, they'll try to send me back to the Dursleys, like the last time they threw me out. And when they can't they'll stick me in some orphanage or group home. Once I can't move the black robes will come. I'm dead either way I think.
North I think. I've never been north. Wonder what Scotland is like in January? They won't expect that, they'll think I'll stay in the south were the winter isn't so bad.
I'm tired of thinking. I'm hungry, and still have to take Padfoot out before it gets dark.
Harry looked up from his writing. Realizing that he had taken over an hour to write the information out, he stretched and turned to Padfoot.
"Ready to go out for a run, Padfoot?" Harry asked as he started to get ready to go out.
Sirius was frustrated. He wanted, no needed to see what was in that journal. But Harry was getting ready to take is 'dog' out for a run. Lily traits he knew. Always take care of things: people, younger Gryffindors, other houses' youngsters including Slytherin, ghosts, poltergeists, house elves, whatever. And then there was Harry himself. He couldn't—could not—do anymore wandless magic today. It would wipe him out. Sirius watched as Harry went over to one of the drawers on the counter top and pulled out a roll of something silver and smiled at him.
"Duct tape. Did I tell you this place is great or what?" Harry continued to grin as he ripped off a two foot length of the stuff and went over to the door. Sirius could feel the cold oozing in from the out side as Harry opened the door and wrapped the silvery stuff around the middle explaining as he did so. "Look, see. By taping over the dead bolt the door won't lock when it's closed. And..." at these words Harry had started to make a loop out of the silvery stuff, "I can make a handle so I can pull it open from the outside. Cool huh?'
Sirius gave a silent sigh of relief and wagged his tail at the boy.
Within minutes they were outside and Sirius was impressed. The handle was just big enough for a finger or two and if you weren't looking for it on the door you might not see it.
The boy and man spent about an hour in the park before repeating the steps that go them into the zoo without being seen. Sirius watched at Harry pulled the 'duct tape' off the door and wondered why. Harry, it seemed, liked to have someone to talk to. Even if that someone didn't talk back. "Oh, don't look like that. I have to take the tape off. I don't want someone walking in on us, do you? I mean any other street people might wander by. Ok it's not that likely but it Might happen. Dinner?" Harry asked as he carefully put the tape on the counter, and Sirius understood he planned on using it again tomorrow.
The rest of the evening was spent with Harry heating up more food out of the stores in the staff room (beef stew) and washing up the dishes and socks. After dinner, Harry spent the rest of the evening watching the Muggle television, Sirius thought it was television. Harry kept getting up and putting small black boxes into a larger black box under the Muggle machine. All the programs had to do with animals; well, it was a zoo after all. At least, Sirius grinned, it was educational.
Harry fell asleep around 10pm and Sirius waited for half hour after that before transforming back into his normal state.
The large man gently moved over to the boy and wrapped the small comforter that had been across the back of the couch more snuggly around his godson. He then moved to the boy's bag and pulled out the journal. He settled down and opened the small book.
I had another one of those nightmares in the day again today. My scar hurt. I still have a headache. Can't tell Padfoot he would worry. I think I scared Padfoot when it happened.
Well, Harry had been right about that at least; Sirius couldn't remember when he had been more spooked. 'Again.' Now that word worried him. Had Harry had this type of vision before? And he was still worried.
The black robes were looking for someone.
Death Eaters, Sirius thought with disgust.
I think they were looking for me. The last time I had one of these things was in the spring. There was a man I think his name was Quirill? Anyway, he was supposed to get something for for well I'm not sure of what his name is, the black robes call him the dark lord. I think he is evil so lord is not what I'm going to call him.
Sirius grinned. Good boy, he thought and smiled over at his godson.
Anyway Quirill didn't get what ever it was, a rock I think, and that thing killed him. Green lighted him. I really don't like green light.
Sirius sat shocked. First, Harry had had this kind of vision before. And in them he had witnessed Voldemort execute a death eater with Avada Kedavra. The only comfort that he took from the paragraph was that Harry understood just what Voldemort was.
So this morning, I had a great morning. Saint Nicholas visited. A week after but who cares. I found new shoes, and socks. I've never had new shoes before. I always got Dudley's hand me downs. They are the right size and everything. I can could run and run.
A smile spread over the Animagus' face and warmed his heart. Harry had really liked his present. He had chosen correctly.
That's' when it happened. My scar exploded and I flying again. I wasn't flying over the country side this time this time it was in Londonand I didn't go far. It was to the alley behind the old cotton warehouse. The black robes were there. The oily voiced one said that they had tracked to boy to a 20 block area and to spread out and look for him. The old hotel was only ten blocks away.
Sirius took a deep breath pulled his stolen wand and put up five proximity spells in a cold sweat.
So I guess we got out just in time. I'm so glad that Padfoot was able to follow me. The black robes would have killed him. I know it. I don't want anyone else dead because of me. I think the black robes killed my Aunt Petunia Uncle Vernon and Cousin Dudley. I had a bad dream about that one too. I really wish I had a bottle of beer tonight I would like not to dream tonight.
Sirius stared at the last sentence. That was why Harry had been drinking; he didn't have a Muggle drinking problem, he had a wizard vision problem. What kind of life had his little one been forced to suffer while he rotted in Azkaban? Before the guilt could overwhelm him he forced his eyes back to the journal.
I wonder who this Dumbledore is? I wish I could warn him about the second plan the oily voiced one has in place. And then I have no clue about what to do about HIM he has to be working for this Dumbledude. At least I think he is.
Him who's Him Sirius frowned and continued.
But that doesn't matter as much as figuring out what to do next. I can't stay here. The black robes seem to be able to find me. So did that lady with silvery hair. Can't forget to mention her. Scary part is that she knew my name. Reminds me of a cat that one. So Londonis out and returning to Little Whinging is out too. I'll have to figure out where to go. And soon. I only have the rest of today and tomorrow before the safe spot isn't anymore.
This time Sirius did smirk. Harry had the cat comment dead on for Minerva. But the danger the boy and Animagus faced… Well, that wiped the smirk off his face. The assessment of the current situation was eerily correct and Sirius didn't know how the boy could understand so much. Yet have no clue as to what he was.
I hate stealing. But I'm going to have to clean out all of the cans of food and dry stuff that I can get here when I take off. I have to go where I can hide in plain sight. So It has to be a big city. And someplace they don't expect me. Once I'm there I'll have to stay on the move and leave the city in no more than three months. That way I'll stay out of the way of children services AND the black robes.
'children services'? What in the world was that? Sirius cocked his head trying to understand the term.
Services catch me, they'll try to send me back to the Dursley's, like the last time they threw me out. And when they can't they'll stick me in some orphanage or group home. Once I can't move the black robes will come. I'm dead either way I think.
Last time, Sirius fumed. Had Petunia dumped Harry before or had he run away? That was just another question that would have to wait until Sirius could get Harry someplace safe where he could explain things to the boy. The child's analysis of what would happen if he stayed in one place to long was so clear and concise it chilled Sirius to the bone. What to do, there was one option... shaking his head the man kept reading.
North I think. I've never been north. Wonder what Scotland is like in January? They won't expect that, they'll think I'll stay in the south were the winter isn't so bad.
Shaking his head, Sirius contemplated the boy, who seemed to have his mother's intuition. That settled that then. This was really getting weird.
I'm tired of thinking. I'm hungry, and still have to take Padfoot out before it gets dark.
Those Lily traits coming out again made Sirius smile. He spent another hour sitting and watching his godson sleep, not thinking much, just watching him sleep. How often would he get the chance again? He changed back into a huge black dog and hopped on to the couch next to Harry, offering the child comfort and warmth. The boy snuggled up to his godfather and smiled in his sleep.
Chapter Three: PLATFORM 9 AND 3/4
Sunday was spent much as the last half of Saturday had been. Harry took his 'dog' out twice, once in the morning and once in the afternoon. The rest of the day Harry spent going through the cabinets and picking what he would take when the pair would leave in the morning. Or reading what seemed to be his favorite book; Sirius had peered over Harry's shoulder at it but couldn't make head or tails of what the boy was reading. Every now and then the child would stop, look up at the door into the zoo and burst into giggles. Sirius had no idea what was up with that.
Just before the sun went down Harry took his 'dog' out one last time and made dinner for the pair of them when they came in from the cold. Afterward Harry returned to packing and reaching his pack trying to fit in as much food as he could.
Sirius wished he could tell him not to bother; if all went well they would be safely on their way north by 10 am, as he watched Harry re-pack the bag for the seventh time.
Harry smiled at the dog, "I think I have everything in there that can fit, Padfoot. Good thing Saint Nicholas brought me new shoes; I'm going to need them. Now we just have to get out of here by five in the morning. Animals get up earlier than people." Harry yawned as he said it. The boy bedded down very soon after that and Sirius joined him.
The next morning, a noise awoke Sirius who in turn nudged Harry awake as well. The clock read 4:30 am. Harry blinked sleepily at the dog for a second until he too heard the noise.
Harry's eyes snapped open, and he was instantly awake and moving. Harry gently swung up into a sitting position, slipped his new shoes onto his feet and tied the laces. In a second he was at the door and picking up the overstuffed bag. He glanced down and holding a finger to his lips motioned Padfoot to join him at the door. An instant later he was through the door and gone.
Later that day when the zoo keepers came for a break they found that most of the cans of food that they had been storing up gone with a small note apologizing for the theft and a promise to replace and repay the zoo as soon as possible. The keepers called the zoo security, but neither they nor the zoo keepers could ever figure out how the thief had gotten in. Or why he or she who had had free access to some of the most expensive snakes species in the world, that if stolen and sold on the black market could have bought and sold half the zoo with their sale, would only take cans of heat-and-eat food, then apologize about it and promise to replace or pay for the items.
Harry had them out of the park and down two streets and over four before Sirius could get his bearing. This was way too early for getting to the station, but how to get Harry there; that was the problem that Sirius had been confronted with the day before.
"Come on!" Harry hurriedly whispered to the 'dog'. 'It's too early to be out, we'll get picked up for sure," he explained to the Animagus and moved them quickly to a small alley three more streets down.
Harry ducked down a small stairway to a half-buried doorway. Sirius nearly panicked; not more wandless magic, not when Harry would need all his strength today. Again Harry surprised him by pulling a small metal wire out of his thick jacket and sticking it into the door lock. The old Muggle door-opening trick, Sirius chuffed happily at the boy who grinned back at him. An instant later they were through the door and it was locked behind them.
"This is an old bookstore. They won't be in till 8 am so we can get a few more hours sleep," the boy explained to the dog. Sirius twisted his head looking incredulously at the boy. Harry smiled. "The owners know street people sneak in here once and a while; as long as we don't take anything and we're gone when they come through the front door, that way we don't mess it up for anyone else, we'll be okay." Harry said all this as he settled down on what looked like a very old stuffed chair and pulled a very old blanket over himself. He was asleep again before Padfoot could do much more than blink at the boy.
True to his word, Harry woke up at 7 am and stretched and yawned. Padfoot did the same. Harry folded the blanket and in a few minutes the pair were again on their way. This time in a much busier London. "See?" Harry commented to the dog, who was back on his bright red leash, "we don't look at out of place now." Indeed now they just looked like any other pair of Muggle kid and his dog, out for a walk before getting to school.
Sirius knew what was coming, another forced march. But his time he was the one herding the boy, not the other way round. By 9:30, Sirius had skillfully maneuvered the boy to Kings' Cross Station.
"Padfoot!" Harry had never tugged on the red leash before, but he did so now.
Sirius came to a quick stop and looked up at the boy, confused. What could possibly go wrong now?
Harry was scanning the area as if he expected something to jump out at him at any moment. Sirius looked around. He didn't see any thing out of the ordinary. He looked up at Harry and whined his complaint. He didn't want to stop now. They had to get in to the station or miss...
Harry knelt down to the dog's head. "Don't you feel it?" He asked. "There are Black Robes here."
Sirius looked at the boy in shock. But before he could do much more Harry was tugging him away from the station. Harry could sense them? How in the world was that possible? Sirius didn't question that that boy could, it was just a shock to think that Harry possessed aura magic. Which was yet another vary rare wizarding gift. With aura magic the wizard could literally feel or see, or both, the magical bubble that each witch or wizard created around them. He knew that Lily could do it a little but this. Totally shocked the Animagus followed where his godson led.
It took Sirius, the better part of an hour to figure out what had gone wrong with his plan. Then it came to him. Families! Families seeing their children off for the second term of the school year after the Christmas holidays. He knew there had been some names missing from the cells in Azkaban when he had been imprisoned there. Some of them must have escaped the Aurors, or as many of the names were from very old, very very wealthy wizarding families; he bet that the vast majority had bribed their way out of trouble. They had escaped Azkaban, returned to normal society, returned to their wives and children.
Children who would now be old enough to be seen off to school after the Christmas Holidays and Harry could sense them. Minerva had been right; it was much more dangerous out here for Harry then he had previously thought.
The trip away from Kings Cross Station was so fast and furious and Sirius was so deep in his thoughts, that it took a him a moment to realize that they were miles away. It was nearly two hours of hard work to steer the child back to the station. Harry of course was in no mood to return so quickly to an area that he now considered dangerous and Sirius in his current form was unable to explain it to him. But his godfather was insistent and hit Harry with so much puppy dog whining, so much so that Harry slowly followed the dog back to the King Cross Station area.
Once the pair had returned to the same spot that they had fled from over three hours before, Harry stopped and stilled his mind as he reached out with that strange sense he always seemed to have in regards to the Black Robes and looked over the area again. He let out a very heartfelt sigh when he realized that there were no Black Robes here any longer. He still had no idea what was so urgent that the dog wanted them to go to the train station for. He had no money for a train ride let alone pay for the fare for a dog.
Harry did not want to go into the station, but it was obviously where the dog wanted to go so...
Before Harry could complete the thought, Padfoot pulled the young lad into the train station. Now it was a reverse of the early morning dash. Now it was Padfoot who dragged Harry along behind him at top speed using the leash to guide the child to the correct spot. Padfoot didn't stop till he reached the last barrier between platforms nine and ten. Where he came to came to a sudden halt and Harry slid into him, panting at the exertion of running and carrying the load of supplies.
"Okay. We're here. Now what do y..." Harry panted at the dog, reaching out his hand to lean on the barrier to catch his breath.
And fell through nothing.
Sirius grinned as his godson disappeared through the barrier and laughing a very doggy laugh followed him through.
Harry fell hard on his side as he fell through the barrier between platforms nine and ten, emerging through an empty nothing and discovering another train platform where none should be. For a moment he was alone and then Padfoot bounded in from behind him, appearing out of a solid-looking brick wall. Harry shook his head as if to clear it. Shut his eyes and counted to ten.
Yep. Still on a train platform that hadn't been there a moment before and Padfoot was overjoyed to be here.
Harry could tell; it might be the furious running up and down the platform at top speed or it might have been the happy yippy barking that was issuing at full volume from his canine throat. Either way it made the young boy grin.
The grin quickly disappeared when he took a good look around. The pair weren't in the Kings Cross section of London anymore. There was no sign of London; it was as it had vanished without a trace. Harry scanned the view outside of this new train station. He couldn't see a single recognizable landmark. Nor could he see anyone or anything that could harm him in this new place, wherever it was.
Standing up the boy, dropping his pack, took a hard look around at this new situation the dog had led him into. The train station was deserted and it stated in large sign overhead decorated with gold leaf.
PLATFORM 9 3/4 HOGWARTS EXPRESS.
There was only one track and it led north from the look of it. The other end of the line was just that, the end of the line.
A huge block of concrete brightly painted red with the words
END OF THE LINE: Have a good term!
painted in black on them. Harry watched as the words changed before his eyes to say
END OF THE LINE: Have a great holiday!
He shook his head and looked again. Nope, the words were still the same.
Looking over to where his dog was reading the sign for arrivals and departures, Harry ventured over to his friend.
The first column of the sign read:
10 AM Sharp
Hogsmeade and Hogwarts.
To Be Announced.
The second column of the sign was of course for:
JUNE 30th 5:30 PM
Arriving from Hogsmeade and Hogwarts.
To Be Announced.
"So we missed the train because of the Black Robes, then?" Harry asked the dog conversationally, testing the wall with his fingers before leaning his full weight on the wall next to the dog. When he didn't fall, through he put his full weight on the wall as he spoke.
The dog responded with an unhappy whine.
"Isn't that the place the lady that reminds me of a cat wanted me to go?" He asked the dog pointing to the sign that read Hogwarts.
"Where you didn't mind me NOT going before?" Another bark.
"But now I SHOULD go there?" A third bark.
Harry glanced down at the dog who for the strangest reason looked very, very worried. Harry knelt down and wrapped on arm around his friend.
"So, don't worry. There is only one set of tracks, and only one arrival or destination listed, so the tracks only go to this Hogwarts place. Right?" Harry asked.
Padfoot nodded up at the sign.
"So, we'll walk," Harry assured him.
A snort of disbelief.
"You have a better suggestion?" Harry inquired politely.
A disgruntled chuffing sound.
"Right then." Harry turned and started to case the strange train station. "Remind me to ask you how you know what I'm saying one day," Harry muttered to himself and the dog as he started to look around the platform.
Sirius was worried.
Okay, more worried than he had been in the last six months since he had escaped from Azkaban and located his Godson. Now they were in for it, there had always been a second train, the train for the one or two students who missed the first. They always came in late to the start of term feast and got house points taken. But there wasn't one today; this was so not good...
"So we missed the train because of the Black Robes, then?" he heard Harry ask.
"That's right," Sirius replied. What came out of his throat was an unhappy whine.
"Isn't that the place the lady that reminds me of a cat wanted me to go?" Harry questioned.
"Yes," The Animagus replied in a bark, thinking that Harry was spot on with the cat comment. Minerva loved to do the whole change in front of the third years when they started to discuss Animagus in class.
"Where you didn't mind me NOT going before?" came the small voice.
"Yes." Another bark came from Sirius throat as he considered his next options. Nothing. His mind was a blank.
"But now I SHOULD go there?" queried the child.
"Yes," he responded with third bark. It is way too dangerous out here for you. I don't know who is in charge of Hogwarts now, but it can't be all bad, if Minerva is still there. He would have to get him there then leave him. It made his heart wrench. Oh Merlin, how will I go about getting him safe, Sirius worried to himself, then what will happen when I have to leave him there? He felt a warm arm wrap around his canine shoulders.
"So, don't worry. There is only one set of tracks, and only one arrival or destination listed, so the tracks only go to this Hogwarts place. Right?" Harry asked.
Padfoot nodded, looking up at the sign; the witches and wizards of a hundred seventy five years ago had built the great railroad. It was designed for the children to have a central meeting place; it really made things much easier on the parents, students and staff. It was charmed so that it only went from here to Hogwarts and back again.
"So, we'll walk," came a quite firm response.
"Yeh. Right." The kid has to be kidding; walk what, eight hundred miles. Even on a magical train it takes a good 8 hours. All that was heard however was a snort of disbelief.
"You have a better suggestion?" Harry inquired politely.
A disgruntled chuffing sounded in Sirius throat as he admitted that perhaps the boy did have a point.
"Right then." Harry turned and started to case the strange train station. "Remind me to ask you how you know what I'm saying one day," the child muttered to himself and Sirius stared back after his godson in shock. They had just had a conversation and Harry, it appeared, could understand him. This was getting very weird, even by wizard standards.
Chapter Four: THE LONG WALK, Home?
While Sirius toyed with the idea of revealing himself to his godson, said godson was stripping the train station.
Ok. Not really, but he was checking out everything and anything that could help him with a very long walk ahead of him. Opening and shutting every door, checking every room, desk or drawer. Cataloging and planning on what he might take, figuring strategies that would help in making the trip. There was of course the fact that other than the name Hogwarts, whatever it was, he didn't know how faraway that mysterious place was or how long it would take the pair to get there. Or if their food stuffs would hold out. So, better be prepared for anything.
Pity, the street waif thought to himself checking out what seemed to be a ticket center, but it had been stripped bare too. He was about to give up when he tried the last closet door, figuring that there was nothing here that would... Yes this was good, these could just be what he needed. He searched through the pile and picked out the three he thought best. "Jackpot!" the little street child yelled pulling a fourth item from the pile then back to a drawer retrieving a ball of twine he had seen earlier and ran to show Padfoot.
"Padders! Look!" Harry cried at his, if he had but known it, godfather.
Sirius who had been looking up the track still trying to figure out another option, other than a very long walk, that wouldn't bring the Aurors down on him, turned at his godson's happy cry to see a laden figure he could only assume was his godson hurrying towards him. The boy stopped a few feet in front of him and dropped what look to be a pile of cloaks at his feet. A puff of dust mixed with very old mold whooft off the pile as they hit the station floor.
Sirius sneezed. "God bless you." responded Harry as he happily sorted the pile of three cloaks out from each other and the fourth item, an old Macintosh. Harry then pulled his pack over and pulled out his pen knife. Sirius looked confused as Harry started to carefully cut the four large front pockets off the front of the Macintosh, then cut for longish lengths of the twine and put them with the pockets. The after putting the twine into his bag young boy then busied himself with rolling up the largest cloak that Sirius had ever seen, it could have fit Hagrid he thought fondly. Hagrid, now that was a good memory that Sirius had just discovered. He wondered how the gentle giant was doing.
While Sirius was musing in his memories, his godson finished rolling the Macintosh and largest cloak then connected with two more pieces of string. Harry wasn't done yet. Taking each of the four pocket pieces he cut into the small holes around the outside of each pocket making them larger and treaded the twine through them. Sirius was again so lost in his returned happy memories of distant friends when he was startled as his right front paw was touched.
Harry was picking up his front right paw and was quickly securing the Macintosh pocket piece around it then tightened the whole thing down with the strings... Bemused Sirius watched as his godson repeated the procedure for this left front paw. Galoshes? Harry was making him galoshes'? Sirius felt his eyes fill with tears, no one had made him put on his galoshes since Lily had the day before the wedding. It had been pouring outside and she wouldn't let him leave with out putting them on. She had said she didn't want her husband's best man coming down with a cold. And now Harry was doing the same.
The small boy didn't know what was going on inside the huge beast head he only saw the tears forming in his eyes. "I'm sorry Padfoot, but you just have to wear them. The snow and ice will cut your paws if you don't." Harry quickly explained to the anamagis and hugged and patted him trying to do anything to make the very large dog feel better and to understand the serious of this decision. Sirius realized it was his turn to let the boy feel better, so he yipped his happiest yip and licked the child's face. Harry giggled and said "Yuck." then smiled back at the pooch.
A few moments later both of his back paws were also encased in the makeshift goulashes and Harry stood. "Try them out." he thin child urged. Padfoot stood and took a few steps. The new foot wear seemed to be ok and he nodded his head at Harry. The boy smiled and moved over to the two remaining cloaks. The they were both much smaller than the one that Harry had rolled up. Harry took the larger of the two and folding it in half making it a little smaller then moved and draped it over the back of his godfather checking that it was covering all of him and asking if it felt ok before securing the cloak around the animagus' neck.
Sirius barked his approval, the cloak had come with an internal heating charm, and he felt warm for the first time since that morning when they had left the zoo. Had that only been this morning, Sirius wondered to himself. He felt something else being placed on his back and strained around to see. Harry had placed the rolled up Macintosh and final cloak that he had strung together like a saddle bag over his back. "Sorry, but I can't carry it all." Harry explained as he turned to pick up his heavy bag.
Sirius realized with a start that this must have been what Harry had been talking about the day before. Harry's intuition told him that they would be taking a very long walk, that if he had known his godfathers plans to catch the Hogwarts Express would fail, that they would not make the train.
Lily had been like that. She would just prepare for something that no one would think would happen, then bam. The animagus just sat there as Harry put his bag over his shoulder and then picking up the last and smallest cloak, draped it around himself almost drowning in it and starting towards the north end of the track.
"Coming?" Harry called out rather gaily to the huge black dog and hopping off the end of the train platform he started north.
Shaking himself out of his stupor, followed the boy up the tracks north.
For the next five hours the pair walked north. Sirius was glad of his galoshes and Harry was glad for the cloak.
About an half hour before the sun set Harry called a halt and moved them off the track about twenty five yards into a very heavily wooded patch of trees, but so he could still see the train tracks. Sirius watch amazed as Harry went about setting up what would become in the next two weeks a very familiar sight.
First Harry took off the Macintosh and over sized cloak saddle bag affair off Sirius back and setting down the pair and looking around then said "I'll be right back." The boy then took of into the woods, in a few moments he was back caring four very long poles. In moments three were tied together at the top with the twine he retrieved from his bag and setting them up into a tripod. The forth pole he attached the over sized cloak to and heaving it up, for it was a very heavy cloak, placed the fourth pole in place. Harry then pulled the edges of the cloak around the entire structure and secured the front of the cloak closed. Creating an American Indian tepee. Sirius whoffed at the boy in appreciation and the child smiled back.
"Thought you would like it.' Harry went to start collecting wood explaining, "One year Dudley joined the boy scouts, he had a whole stack of books on living outdoors in all kinds of weather, but once Aunt Petunia found out that he was going to have to actually go on these camp outs, she nixed the idea. So all we have to do now is gather some wood. Some for putting on the edges of the cloak to keep the drafts out and a little more for firewood and we are set for the night."
The animagus was happy to help with that little task and soon they had the outside of the tepee anchored down with wood and a rock or two, and a nice stack of firewood inside the door to see them through the night.
Once this was done the pair moved inside the makeshift shelter along taking along Harry's bag. The small child first unrolled the Macintosh on one side of the floor of the makeshift tent, and removing his cloak placed it on the other. In the center he left a bare patch of ground that would as Sirius would soon discover was where the little fire, that really did warm the whole tent, would go.
So that is how it went for the next two weeks, Harry would set up their camp each night, and take it down in the morning. Sirius would go out and find wood for the fire and to anchor for the tent. Each night after a meager dinner out of the cans stolen from the zoo. Harry, exhausted from a long days walk, would quickly fall asleep in the small fire's heat and light. Sirius would set up as many protection spells as he dared with his stolen wand and on the first night double spelled Harry's cloak to be as water tight as the Macintosh and to carry a warming charm like the one Harry had put around his own shoulders.
It was at the start of the third week of their journey that the pair ran into real trouble. First their canned food stuffs had finally run out. Sirius was now hunting for the pair of them during the day, catching a rabbit or duck, which Harry would skin or de-feather and cook for them each night. Second, they were entering an area with little or no trees, so now Harry had started to drag the four poles along with them, slowing their progress even more.
The final problem was the weather. Not being able to catch even one break, it was in Sirius' opinion every dark weather witch in England, Scotland, Ireland and Wales had sent a snow storm to stop them from reaching their destination. The temperature dropped and the snow fell heavily. The wind from the north blew so strong that each step toward was an accomplishment.
For two long days the pair struggled to continue forward, the progress slowed, by lack of food, a cold so insidious that even the heating charms on their cloaks could not keep it out. Added to that was the driving howling wind that seemed to push them back at every turn sapped their energy and almost all their courage. The nights were worse, with no way to carry firewood with them, the wind, seemed to delight in finding every way possible to get into the small tent chilling them to the bone. Neither child or animagus got much sleep both curled up together under both cloaks trying to stay warm during the nights.
Half way through the third day of this weather torture, both were ready to give up and turn off the train tracks to look for shelter. Harry didn't want to, for the past three weeks he had been think about this Hogwarts place and for some reason, even if he couldn't stay he just wished he could see it. Just once Harry wished that things would go his way.
One hundred and seventy five years before when the witches and wizards were building the Great Hogwarts Rail-Line, one very determined witch, who had been working on the project stood only twenty miles from Hogwarts on the crest of the last hill before the empty plain that lead to Hogsmeade their base camp. She wiped her brow looking first to the north at the line that was finished, as it stretched north to Hogwarts, then south to where they would be laying track for the rest of the day, and fell into a vision, the first and last one she would ever have.
Around her all the witches and wizards that were working, that very hot summer day talking and joking unaware of the scene of cold wintery on display playing out in front of her horrified eyes.
A very small child and a very large black dog lost in a sea of white, battling a winter storm of dangerous proportions, struggling to reach to Hogwarts. The scene made her realize that the storm was so great the pair would die before they reached the safety of even Hogsmeade. Her eyes scanned the horizon looking for any help for the tortured pair, first looking to the west and she saw nothing but blackness. Next she turned to the east and saw a small grove of trees with a small wizarding cottage sitting in the middle of it, protected by the trees that surrounded it.
An instant later she was back among the noise of the group of witches and wizards volunteering to this part of the project. She looked to the east again at the bare empty plane that made up this section of the rail-line. She never told anyone about the vision save her family when she was very old, but the witch knew that in a few years she would return to this very spot and plant a tree or two and one day build a little wizarding summer cottage hidden from all but those in need at the center of it. She knew that each year she and her decedents would return to vacation or picnic at this spot. Then never knowing quite why her decedents would check the cottage that she would build here for soundness and wear and fill it with food for the winter.
She didn't know who the little child with big black dog was or when the pair would need her family's help but she did know one day she and her family would be there for them. The red headed witch smiled a little smile to herself and returned to work on the great Hogwarts Rail Line.
Harry had just made his wish for just a little help when the weather beaten pair crested the top of a hill. He looked down the hill and shouted for joy, startling his godfather. A hundred yards ahead on the left side of the tracks was a small group of trees. Harry still pulling the poles behind him, made for the trees hoping and wishing for a little shelter to rest and gathering their strength in so they could continue the journey north. What he found was even better and just the little miracle they needed to survive the night.
First there was a manicured path through the grove, at the center of the grove was a little shack, with what look like a good roof that they could hold up in until the storm blew itself out. Harry hurried his companion to the front of the shack before propping the poles against the roof line. He move to the door and putting his hand on the doorknob found to his relief that it was not locked. He turn the handle, pushed the door open and hurried first the dog in then himself. As if the wind realized that the pair had found safety it howled and blew even harder, Harry had to turn and had to throw his entire body on the door to push it shut against the wind.
Panting and out of breath the young child dropped the bag that was now much lighter than it had been at Platform 9 3/4's and allowed his eyes to adjust to the darkness of the shack. Scratch that, small hotel room with a kitchen? The shack seemed to be larger on the inside than the outside. "Padfoot?" Harry panted at the dog. "Is this shack bigger on the inside than on the outside or did we just fall into a Dr. Who episode?" Sirius to tired to move had collapsed on the rug before the cold fireplace just humpft which came out as a doggy rumble.
Harry' looked at the dog with a smirk then his hard learned basic survival skill kicked in. First he removed his soaked cloak hanging it on a row of hooks near the door. Heat, they would need heat to thaw out and to dry off. The child moved past the small couch that was in front of the fireplace, to start a fire with the wood in the woodbox that sat to its right. Harry glanced around, not seeing any matches pulled out one of his last packs from his front pants pocket and started the fire. In a few minutes cheerily little flames warmed up the room not only with heat but with light.
The heat portion on their needs taken cared of Harry now went to work on Padfoot. First removing the ice coated cloak from the dog's back, hanging next to his upon the hooks near the door. He moved back to the dog and carefully removed all four of the makeshift shoes from the cold paws and hung them over the edge of the woodbox to dry. Sirius was to frozen to truly appreciate what his godson was doing as he slipped into unconsciousness.
The child move next to the small kitchen area, picking up three of the hand towels he found there, returned and started to pat dry the thick black fur. It did indeed take three towels to even start to dry the animal. Harry saw that Padfoot was fast asleep hung the wet towels over the edge of the woodbox.
Next he removed his own soaked footwear and sat them in front of the fire, then his socks, these too joined the rest of the line of wet items hanging on the firewood box. Then added a little more wood to the fire. Moving carefully so as to not wake his companion he sat on small couch, reached his hands out to the fire to warm them and smiled. He was in this position when a flash to his right caught his eye. There next to the couch was a small table holding a small plaque. Harry reach out and picked it up.
The winter storm is raging'
and Hogwarts is your goal,
this is your last stop,
in your long and fruitful toll,
take what you need to see you through,
and when the storm has done,
remember with a little smile,
this cottage as of to Hogwarts you go!
It didn't rhythm. It was an awful poem, but Harry thought as he leaned back into the soft cushions behind him, it might just have been left for him. 'Strange' was the only thought that flitted through his brain before falling fast asleep on the couch before the fire.
The storm rage on for the next week keeping the pair of nomads from leaving the small cottage. Harry became very familiar with it while he was there. There were normal things in the cottage that Harry had no problem relating to.
There was a shelf full of books. Seeing how the child had long ago found that reading was a very quiet hobby, one that did not irritate Aunt Petunia or Uncle Vernon, it only took Harry six days to read and re-read all of them. Most of them were stories about wizards and witches, still others were about things called charms, or herbology and transfiguration. They were fun and easy to read. He quickly memorized them, but Harry still liked his chemistry book best and returned to it or writing in his journal each night.
The rest of shelves held just little nick-nacs from whatever family owned the place, for it was obviously a family summer cottage and the nick-nacs were from places were they had visited, a copy of the Eiffel Tower from Paris, the Roman Coliseum, the great pyramids of Giza, things like that. On the second day he found a chess set. Harry set it up and played with it for hours in the evening when it was to dark to read and to early to go to bed.
There was a second door in the shack that led to half bathroom with what seemed was an never ending supply of hot water and he took full use of it. Washing out first his clothes in the kitchen sink, then himself in the bathroom one, locking the door, much to the dismay of his godfather, in the process having for the first time in nearly two and a half years a bath and clean clothes to put on afterwards.
The strange things in the house amused him more than anything else. The woodbox was the strangest of them, it was constantly refilling itself, as was the small refrigerator that held milk, cheese and eggs. Harry pointed this out to his large black furry friend and it never failed to get an amused chuffing out of the beast. The radio played the strangest music, he really liked the music, but he had never heard of any of the musicians in his life. And every now and then a tune would come on the radio and Padfoot would get up and well there was no other word for it, dance.
And in the evenings before they lay down on a couch, that Harry couldn't see it do it, but swore to the canine that it grew and shrunk at will. The pair would sit in front of the fire and listen to the wind howl. It was on their fourth night after the storm trapped them at the cottage when the storm seemed to grow even worst, and the wind howled like a vicious beast, it was then that Padfoot howled back.
Over the previous few days Harry had watched his companion get quieter and quieter as he did each month since they had joined forces over six or was it seven? months ago. Each month at the full moon, his new friend looked so sad and lonely, and sometimes when no one was around that he could hear him, (or put the boy in danger of been found), he howled. During these times Harry could nothing but hold his new friend, rocking and petting him, and occasionally howling with him.
This night as his black furry friend howled Harry was once again holding him stoking his fur, when the strangest thing happened. This time he had a waking dream that didn't hurt; there were no black robes, no flying anywhere, the view in front of him simply changed from a small cottage fire place to a small brightly lit room. In his eyes he saw a silver wolf, with gold eyes, that seemed so lost, so alone, so sad that it was howling in the dark. While the silver wolf was solid what was beside him was not. There was an transparent image of, Padfoot!
But it was what was behind the two canines that was really striking. Behind the silver wolf was drifting image of a tall thin man with brown hair and kind golden eyes that matched the wolf's. Harry watched as the image of his huge black friend turn into a man. A man with black hair and mischief in his brown eyes, who smiled at the first man and took his hand. The man with brown hair smiled even more if that was possible. "Sirius." The man with golden eyes said "I miss you so much." The huge man that had been Padfoot smiled back. "I miss you too Remus." Together the image of the men seemed to float, shift and drift into nothing. Then the silver wolf was alone again, and he howled.
Harry awoke from his waking dream sitting next to Padfoot. Harry stoked his friend's fur saying quietly, "Its ok Padfoot, we'll find him, soon." Sirius ended his howling abruptly to watch his godson fall over in a dead faint.
Sirius was nearly frozen, even with his fur coat and the extra protection that Harry had insistent on, he was close to collapse he didn't know how his godson was managing. They had slogged their way through this snow storm for two days. He didn't know how long they could continue before they would have to abandon the tracks and look else where for shelter, food. He hadn't found so much as a rat for the last two days.
When the pair had crested the a major hill he knew where he was. There was a grove of trees on the left of the tracks. The Marauders and very many others over the years, had often commented on it as it was the last visual landmark before the forbidden forest to the right side of the tracks and Hogsmeade, it reminded them to get their robes. When he had seen the grove from the top of the hill the magic of the place had tingled up and down his limbs. He realized at that moment that this wasn't just a grove of trees in the middle of no where, it had to be a wizarding summer cottage a few miles outside of Hogsmeade, spelled to only reveal itself to those in need. It was a blessing from Merlin.
The animagus was about to force the child to the summer cottage that had to be at the center of the grove, when he discovered that Harry was already planning something similar and was already heading toward the place. By the time they had reached it, Sirius was so frozen it was all he could do was get to the rug in front of the fireplace and collapse. When he woke, he didn't know how long it had been, he had been striped of his cloak and makeshift galoshes, the fire was burning brightly, he was dry and Harry was asleep on the small couch behind him.
For the next several days the escaped convict watched as Harry tore through every book in the house as if he was starved. He watched the boy laugh and giggle his way as he read through, well he remembered some of them as the intermediate level magic books for fourth and sixth years. A few history books, some on charms, others on herbology or transfiguration, each was read and reread as if the child couldn't get enough information fast enough.
It was clear that the child hadn't made the connection, what with the comments the little one made about the woodbox that refilled itself, and the little ice box that did the same. The wizarding wireless radio was the best, it was on a music only channel and when ever a really good song came on, Sirius couldn't help himself, he got up and danced. Then there was the whole washing business. Harry had found a huge towel to wrap up in and washed all of his clothes one night. In the morning he had gone in and locking the door to the bathroom given himself a sponge bath. The child had come out, still in the towel, pickup his cloths, returned to the bathroom, relocked the door and emerged a few moments later fully dress. Sirius had no idea his godson was so bashful, he was just like his father, the thought of it made him grin.
On the fourth night, it was the full moon. The full moon meant so much to him. The nights running the forbidden forest with his friends. All of them gone now. Progs, Tiger, Moony. He forced that thought away. Wormtail. Now there wasn't a happy memory so the 'guards' couldn't suck that one out of his soul. He knew the slime was out there somewhere, and one day he kill the little rat, for what he did to the rest of them, for Progs, for Tiger, what he done, for what had happened to Harry, what he did to Moony. Always back to Moony. He felt Harry holding him and stroking his fur, and he howled.
It was then that he felt Harry stiffen has he had back in the hotel room. Terror filled his heart as he looked over at his godson. But there was no pain etched in the child face this time only the sweetest smile of understanding and longing. "Its ok Padfoot, we'll find him, soon." Then horrified he watched as Harry just fell over unconscious.
Sirius quickly transformed, and hastily moved the boy to the couch which did indeed have a enlargement charm on it to convert to a larger size when you slept on it. The man covered the child with a blanket and worried. Even if he could appearate the boy to medical help, the closest place to go would be Hogwarts infirmary, and the problem was the same as before. The anti-aperation wards would keep him from getting to the infirmary quickly. Sirius knew he would be caught and sent back to prison, before he could explain, before he could force Dumbledore or McGonagall to listen. In short it was the same problem he had at Platform 9 & 3/4's. That was it, the animagus decided if Harry didn't wake up in ten minutes he was apperating as close as the anti-apperations wards would allow and rush him to the infirmary, whatever the consequences.
Five minutes later the boy woke up. Sirius hadn't even had a warning, suddenly the child was awake and sparkling emeralds were staring up into his eyes, his human eyes.
"Padfoot." Harry murmured contentedly said with a smile and fell back asleep.
Sirius was shocked. He tucked his godchild in a little tighter under the covers and then changed back into his canine form and laying next to the child fell asleep.
The next day Harry woke wondering how he had gotten on the couch.
Then he remembered that he had one of those day-dreams again. Not the day-mares that hurt and showed him the black robes doing bad things but the nice ones that always showed him something that he needed to know. He liked these kind of day-dreams for it never hurt to have them.
The first one he remembered having was on his birthday when he was six, he could see Dudley getting ready with his friend to hurt him, so he went another way home, and got extra chores for being late, but he hadn't been hurt.
The second time was when he was nine. He saw the bus that Aunt Petunia, Dudley and he were getting onto get hit by a truck, he stalled so long they missed the bus. He got even more chores that time, but on the evening news the reported that the bus was hit.
The third time he had a day dream he had been ten. It happened at school, at the end of the school year. This time the dream had been about a boy who had red hair, he was playing ball in a field. The boy ran to join more people with red hair, Harry knew somehow that it was a family out on holiday. Harry never forgot that daydream he hoped one day he would meet them.
In this latest daydream there had been a huge silver wolf, almost as big as Padfoot, who had gold eyes. the only thing that was bad about this daydream was that the silver wolf was so lonely, Harry could feel it coming off him in waves and worried that if they didn't get there soon that the silver wolf would die of a broken heart. He had to get Padfoot home. Padfoot. Yes, that was right he had to get Padfoot to the silver wolf, or was it the men behind the animals. He seemed to remember that they changed into men in his daydream, then, when he woke up, he thought for a minute the man with black hair and mischievous eyes was looking down at him. He had liked that man so much, Harry felt he could trust that man, and wished he could see him again too. So many people Harry wanted to meet, but they were just daydream people, he sighed.
Harry glanced around the cottage. Nope no one here, just Padfoot laying next to him. The child reached down and stroked the soft black fur, feeling as if was missing something, but that if he waited long enough he would figure it out. Well, he did that very well, waiting things out.
With that Harry smiled and slid out of bed without waking the dog to started some breakfast. Pancakes and scrambled eggs, which were his favorites, wondering if Padfoot liked pancakes and scrambled eggs too.
The next three days went by very uneventfully. The storm howled, Padfoot paced or danced if there was a really good song on the radio, and occasionally Harry feeling happy, that he would get Padfoot home soon, would dance with him. The rest of the time Harry spent the days, writing up their journey in his log, leaving out the daydream for some reason he couldn't understand, then finished reading then started to rereading all the funny books on the shelves, but always going back to his chemistry book when he was bored.
The morning of the seventh day at the cottage, the storm had finally wrung itself out and the morning broke clear, clean and beautiful over the crystal clear blue eastern sky.
Harry took a little time to clean and straighten the cottage and left a small note saying thank you to the owners. He then filled the small bag with food stuffs ignoring the cuffing sounds from Padfoot. He collected the makeshift galoshes and reattached them to his furry companion who whined at him. "No, you'll need them, I'll take them off when we get there." Harry replied as he secured the cloak around the dog's shoulders, then the saddle bag affair then placed his own cloak around himself. One last look to make sure that everything was in place he turned and opened the door allowing Padfoot out before him.
The morning was crisp and clear, the sun had been up only a half hour as the two stepped into the new day. Harry turned a dug out from under the snow two of the poles that he dropped outside seven days before. Again Padfoot cuffed at the child, this time Harry just ignored the dog and started north yet again, dragging the two poles behind him. Sirius just shook his head, which in his current form, looked a bit silly and followed his godson across a sea of white.
By noon they were half way point from the cottage to Hogwarts, by Sirius reckoning. Harry had stopped and pulled out some of the bread and cheese from the pack and making a small fire from the light shrubs and small tree there. He toasted the cheese for himself and the dog. The pair rested there for an hour or so until the little fire died away. Sirius barked happily and dashed ahead after Harry had made sure the fire was completely out calling out "Hey! Padfoot! Wait up!" then hurried after him.
The second part of their journey during the afternoon was a bit colder as the waning sun did not warm the air as it had in the morning. The landscaped had changed though and for this Harry was grateful. Instead of a wide expanse of plain there had since noon been a gentle growth of bushes, shrubs and trees. By half way through the afternoon, it was official they were surrounded by forest. But for some strange reason the forest on the right side of the tracks just seemed a little off to Harry, or it might have been the time or two that Padfoot had growled at nothing and then put himself between the young child and the forest on the right side of the track. The sun was starting to slip behind the trees when Harry came to an abrupt halt.
Sirius woke the last morning at the cottage and knew that this was the day. He could get Harry to the safety of Hogwarts no matter what. Then, well McGonagall knew he was an anamagis, so it would be back to Azkaban. But if Dumbledore was still alive, or perhaps even McGonagall, he would force one of them, someone to listen, make them understand about Harry and that muggle family. He'd sign over all of his Gringotts account if only they would find Harry somewhere safe to live and have a normal childhood somewhere with love.
By noon Sirius could almost sense Hogwarts. He could defiantly tell they were on the edge of the forbidden forest. Carefully, he move to keep himself between it and his godson. He waited patiently, when Harry called a halt around noon for a lunch of bread and toasted cheese. But he could stop himself from barking and dashing up and down when Harry wouldn't move until the fire had been completely put out. As soon as the boy said OK he dashed off only to have a laughing little boy shouting at him to wait for him and they were off, it was only a few more hours to Hogwarts.
That had been hours ago, after the original burst after lunch the pair had fallen into a good steady pace not to fast to strain or to slow to be boring. The sun was now nearly gone behind the trees, and the shadows were deepening. Sirius shivered and hurried on. Only an hour to go he estimated and they would be there, in time for supper.
It was just then that he realized that Harry had stopped.
Don't you just LOVE cliff hangers?
Thanks to all that reviewed.
To those who have questions.
Yes, This is a take off on "A Twist of Fate" by Eureka. This one just started to bounce around in head and I had to let it out. Duck. This story starts the last chapter I as aware of which was four I believe.
Yes, I am taking her wonderful, great, brilliant story that you should go off and read (RIGHT NOW, then provide wonderful, thoughtful and intelligent feedback to her!) this off into an entirely different direction.