No, you're not seeing things. I really have (finally) finished the last chapter of Reactions to the Legend. My sincerest apologies for the wait. You have no idea how many times I've re-started this chapter, but I figure it's about damn time I stopped trying to make it perfect and just give it to you.
I do want to sincerely thank every person who has reviewed this fic and who has PM'ed me about it... I truly appreciate it and believe me, it did help me write at times when I thought my muse would never return, or cheered me up when times were tough. I never expected such an amazing response to this fic, and I hope this final installment meets expectations. Enjoy.
"Why, exactly, is Harry flying around on his Firebolt out there?" Remus asked as he walked back into the kitchen, propping the door open.
Sirius, who was sitting at the kitchen table mumbling to himself as he modified the parchment in front of him with his quill, took a sip of coffee before replying. "Because he asked and I said yes."
"Really? Because I could have sworn he was grounded," Remus responded pointedly, pouring a cup of coffee for himself. "For longer than a week," he added, knowing that Sirius would probably use the excuse that Harry hadn't been allowed on his broom for the last week since his two guardians had discovered what he had really been getting up to at school.
"Well, I mean, it's summer, and it's a one-off thing..." Sirius trailed off, refusing to keep eye contact with his best friend.
Remus sighed and said, "He gave you those puppy dog eyes again, didn't he?"
"What? No!" Sirius replied defensively. "I just thought he deserved some fresh air, is all."
"Right," Remus muttered doubtfully, knowing that Sirius had not yet failed to cave when Harry did the puppy-dog eyes. "What are you writing, anyway?" he asked, curiosity overcoming him as Sirius had not put down his quill once during this conversation.
"Nothing important," Sirius responded vaguely.
Remus narrowed his eyes at the dog animagus, his years of friendship letting him realize that the look Sirius had on his face right now meant that he was plotting something. Casually leaning forward as though to get the sugar on the table, he changed direction at the last moment and instead grabbed the parchment.
Ignoring the squawk of protest from his best friend, Remus skimmed the parchment in his hands, his eyebrows getting steadily higher the further down the list he got. "You sent Harry outside so he wouldn't know what you were planning, didn't you?" Remus said accusingly.
"Maybe," Sirius muttered, unsuccessfully making a grab for the parchment.
"You do realize that Harry still has three years of schooling left at Hogwarts and, as interesting as it may be, turning Snape into a fluffy pink gerbil, setting him loose in the forbidden forest and telling Hagrid to rescue him and use him as a specimen for Care of Magical Creatures may not be the best way to make sure those last three years go well."
"Well, it's not like I was going to tell him it was me," Sirius said to him, rolling his eyes.
"Who else would come up with something like this?" Remus replied, snorting as he handed the parchment over.
"Fine," Sirius sighed, grabbing the parchment and scribbling down: 'Proceed with plan after Harry's graduation.' "Now I have to come up with something else for him," he whined.
"Actually, I've already got a potion brewing," Remus admitted somewhat sheepishly. "Tonks suggested it to me when we went to a bar after our guard duty together. Apparently it was something she always wanted to try on Snape but never had the guts to actually go through with."
"Really," Sirius mused. "Alright, then you can take care of Snape, although that does mean I have to find something different for Hagrid..."
"You can't, he's on a mission for the Order, remember?" Remus told him. "You just take care of Dumbledore and the Dursleys, and I'll make another potion for McGonagall – make sure she knows to pay closer attention to what my little cub is up to."
Harry walked into the kitchen, windswept but still feeling deliriously happy. The last week had been immensely boring, as Sirius had held true to his being grounded (though thankfully, he had somewhat relented on the curfew issue). The intermittent lectures weren't the most enjoyable summer activity either. So when Sirius had suggested allowing him a short reprieve from the conditions of his grounding, Harry had jumped at the chance and had not even considered that Sirius might have an ulterior motive.
"Perfect timing Harry, I was just finishing lunch," Remus greeted with a smile.
Harry's returning smile was somewhat fixed – his werewolf guardian seemed determined to make sure Harry gained weight before returning to Hogwarts. Harry didn't think he'd ever been plied with so much healthy food before (at the Dursleys, they hadn't cared what he ate, whilst at Hogwarts he generally avoided most of the vegetables that he disliked.)
"There are some letters on the table for you, by the way," Remus added, gesturing towards the two envelopes lying next to the fruit bowl.
"Thanks," Harry replied, sitting down and grabbing them, knowing they would be from Ron and Hermione. Smirking slightly, he opened the one that had Ron's messy scrawl on it first.
Alright, mate, how the hell did you do it? You know, I was actually going to apologize for getting you in trouble but now? After you changed everything in my room from Chudley Cannons merchandise to Falmouth Falcons? How could you? You know the Falcons they're my least favourite team, and their constantly making fun of the Cannons!
Not to mention the fact that Mum is convinced I'm doing illegal magic outside of school. She made Dad give me a whole lecture on responsibility, and they're making me do all my summer homework now.
You'd better prepare, 'cause I am so getting you back for this!
Harry stifled his giggles, keenly aware of the fact that Remus was still in the room. He had taken the necessary potions from the werewolfs office, and had performed some illegal underage magic of his own to pull it off, but irritating Ron after what his best friend had spilled was well worth it.
Grinning, he opened Hermione's letter, fully expecting to see another indignant rant.
Alright, first of all, I'm sorry for getting you into trouble. I did warn you to be careful what to tell Sirius and Professor Lupin.
Second of all: IT'S NOT FUNNY! I've barely managed to get any of my homework done, so tell Hedwig to bring back ALL of the textbooks she took from my room. I promise I won't even yell at her for dropping my homework in the pond. Just give me my bloody books back!
Harry couldn't help but chuckle at that one, apparently being deprived of her magic books had made Hermione somewhat hysterical.
"Ron and Hermione write something amusing?" Remus asked curiously, placing down a full plate in front of Harry.
"Yep," Harry said, not offering details. "Hey, where's Sirius?" he asked, just realizing that his other guardian had not joined them for the meal.
"Hm? Oh, he just had to take care of some business," Remus answered casually.
"Alright, so you both know what to do?" Sirius double-checked with his partners in crime. His response was a fervent nod from a wide-eyed house-elf, and a quiet trill from an amused phoenix. "Good. Get to it."
Dobby disappeared with a loud crack, more than happy to get away from the man who seemed slightly insane. Sirius had yelled at him for some time, somehow managing to both tell him off and thank him at the same time for his actions towards Harry over the last few years. The man claimed that this potion that Dobby was meant to slip into Professor Snapes drink would also be of service to the boy wizard. Dobby wasn't completely sure of the truthfulness of that statement, but if it kept the crazed ex-convict away from him, and allow him to continue to help Harry, then Dobby would gladly do what the wizard asked of him.
Fawkes also disappeared, although he did so in a mass of flames. He then reappeared upstairs in his companions office. Dumbledore was relaxing in his chair, reading the newest Transfiguration Today journal. Fawkes fluffed up his wings as he warbled desperately, effectively communicating with his companion that there was trouble.
Dumbledore looked up sharply, grabbing his wand as he asked, "What's the matter, Fawkes?"
The phoenix trilled a response which made Dumbledore leap up. "The thestrals? Are you sure?"
The phoenix trilled back in the positive, and then disappeared once more; Dumbledore presumed to the pack of thestrals that Hagrid had left in his care. The old headmaster cursed under his breath, quickly rushing down the steps. Thestrals were temperamental creatures – that was why so few were domesticated. Dumbledore had had several problems with them already, it shouldn't have come as a surprise that another had arisen. He was so focused on getting down to the forest so that whatever problem would not get out of hand that he didn't even notice the slight breeze that indicated someone invisible was entering his office.
"Oh my, I do hope Professor Dumbledore is alright," Madame Pomfrey said, sounding startled at the sight of the headmaster running full pelt towards the forest.
"Probably having problems with the thestrals again," Professor McGonagall said dismissively. The two staff members were heading down to Hogsmeade for a break from being in the castle. What with the beginning of the war, Professor Dumbledore had requested that as many teachers stay at the castle over the summer as possible, so that they could improve security before the student returned in September. Although most of the teachers were content to remain in the place that was, for most of them, their home, they did require a change of scenery every now and then, and so went down to the village every few days.
Chatting amicably, the walk down to Hogsmeade did not take long, and they soon found themselves in the vicinity of the Three Broomsticks. Agreeing to see if their colleagues were there, they stepped into the pub and encountered a sight neither woman would have ever expected. Judging by the stupefied looks on most of their fellow staff members, not to mention the reactions of the patrons and staff of the popular bar, it was just as unexpected for them.
Severus Snape – a self-proclaimed bastard – was dancing in the middle of the room. And singing.
"The hills are alive with the sound of music," the Slytherin belted out, dramatically swaying around. "With songs they have sung for a thousand years..."
After several more minutes of the dancing and the –admittedly good – singing, Minerva managed to recover from her shock. "What in the world?" the transfiguration teacher demanded, her voice uncharacteristically shaken as she recovered from the shock.
"Minerva," Severus yelled, running towards her and falling to his knees in front of her. He switched songs seamlessly, now singing "I'll be your dream, I'll be your wish, I'll be your fantasy, I'll be your hope, I'll be your love, I'll be everything you need. I'll love you more with every breath truly madly deeply."
Minerva found herself turning scarlet, truly mortified for the first time since her school days, especially as her sharp ears picked up comments from some gossiping patrons who had not guessed that the potions teacher was under some kind of spell.
"Severus," Minerva shouted sharply, trying to get him to snap out of it, but his only response was to grab hold of her and drag her around, trying to get her to dance as he continued to sing to her.
"I wanna stand with you on a mountain, I wanna bathe with you in the sea, I wanna lay like this forever," Severus sang out loud, twirling and performing some truly impressive feats with Minerva in his arms, including, at one point, throwing her up in the air, making her squawk in protest and finally breaking through the astonishment on the other professors.
Though not to stop it from happening, Minerva noted peevishly as she kept trying to dislodge Severus' grip while the Hogwarts staff collapsed into laughter at the sight of the distinguished deputy headmistress being serenaded by cold Potions master. By the time Severus dipped her and pulled the woman into a deep and passionate kiss after singing of his eternal love, the entire bar was in hysterics.
Sirius smirked as he bounded up the steps of the huge glass building, imagining all the mayhem that was most likely going on at Hogwarts. He had to try and get someones memory of what was going on with Minerva and Snape – if even Tonks hadn't had the nerve to do it whilst at school then it had to be good.
He just wished that he could have let Snape know why this was happening to him. Although, despite Moony's thoughts, he had little doubt that the Slytherin would guess who was behind it all, his best friend was right in saying that it would be a lot more difficult to prove then had he gone with his original gerbil plan. Still, he'd gotten revenge on Severus for what the man had done to his poor, innocent little godson, and all he had to do was make sure that Harry told him every little thing that Severus did so that he could monitor the situation and make sure it didn't get out of hand next year.
At least with Minerva, he could let her know why he was getting revenge on her without fearing that she would bestow her retribution on Harry. Before leaving the castle he had left a Howler on her desk informing her of what he had done and why, giving her a piece of his mind about what he thought of her caretaking of his godson. He knew that she would have quite a lot to say to him at the next order meeting, but at the same time he knew she would take his criticisms to heart. And hopefully, that meant she would look after Harry better next year.
Dumbledore... well, that old coot deserved everything he had coming to him, and Sirius had no intention of letting Harry attend Hogwarts next year until Dumbledore proved to him that it was completely safe, and also provided him with a room near Gryffindor tower from where he could make sure his baby was alright. (His original plan had been to go to Hogwarts as Harry's pet dog but Remus had said that Harry would likely never speak to him again if he so much as tried something like that and Sirius, not willing to take the risk, had relented.
The ex-convict diverted his attention from his inner musings as he stopped in front of the large board which proclaimed what was housed on each floor of the building. Having been considered one of the most infamous wizards in the wizarding world for over a decade meant he managed to adeptly ignore the stares he was getting from the everybody around him.
Singing loudly to himself, he entered the elevator, smirking as nobody else came on with him. Getting off at the correct floor he entered the office, completely ignoring the spluttering secretary. Stopping at the desk which held the muggle compu-thingy, Sirius discreetly took out his wand, though he knew the secretary was likely calling security at the moment.
Thankfully, Tonks and Kingsley had taught him several spells that could be used on the muggle machine, as they had been taught during auror training. Sirius had not been offered the same training, as muggles had apparently not relied quite so heavily on the information sharing boxes back then. He was pretty sure that he had gotten it right though, as the box glowed slightly in response to his muttered spells and wand movement.
He also moved across to the filing cabinet and with a tap of his wand, the papers housed inside switched around to a completely different order.
Sirius looked around the place slightly regretfully – he would have liked to have done a lot more, but unfortunately he didn't want to make it obvious that what had happened was magical. He wasn't sure how much the Dursley's knew about magic and whether they would attribute this bout of bad luck to their nephews guardians, but just in case, Sirius and Remus had agreed to keep the magic to a minimum. Thankfully, there were other ways to ruin a muggles life.
"Excuse me, sir, we would request that you vacate these premises," the large security man said, politely but firmly.
Sirius turned around to face grinning happily. It wasn't completely fake either – the mans reactions to Sirius purple hair, hot pink baggy jeans, fluorescent orange sweater with red polka dots was certainly worth the embarrassment of wearing such horrific clothes.
Sirius walked out of the office (causing the security man to take a step backward) and, spying the chairman of the company who had just exited his own office, the ex-convict started the show.
Making sure to speak extra loudly so that the boss – and as many other people as possible – heard, he began, "'Ey mate, sorry about the confusion, I'm just waiting for me best mate, Vern. Pretty sure that's his office."
"Do you mean Mr Dursley?"
Sirius could have crowed with glee when the chairman himself came closer to ask the question. The man was obviously quite disgusted with him, but Sirius didn't let it bother him as he turned to address the man directly.
"Yeah, that's right, Dursleys 'is name. Best mates in college and beyond we were. Haven't seen him since I got arrested –"
"Arrested?" The security man asked sharply, one hand on a weapon at his belt.
"Oh, don't worry, I'm legitimately out on parole," Sirius said proudly, forcing himself to stop snickering at the look on peoples faces. "Figured I'd just catch up with ol' Vern. Seems he's doin' well for 'imself. Lucky bastard always did know how to pick his lawyers well."
"Perhaps it would be better if you attempted to catch up with him at his home," the chairman said, remaining coolly polite despite being clearly rattled.
"Yeah, I'll do that, thanks mate," Sirius said cheerfully. "'Ey, you wouldn't mind not mentioning me to 'im, would you? I wanted to surprise him, is all."
"I'm sure he will be thrilled to see you again," the chairman responded dismissively wandering back to his own office, brow furrowed.
"I'll escort you down," the security man said firmly.
"Yeah, 'course," Sirius responded absently. His keen hearing picked up the chairman requesting his secretary to look deeper into Vernons record. Given the look on Tonks' face after Sirius had finished telling her what those bastards had done to Harry, they were sure to find quite a few skeletons buried in Vernons closet.
That, and the rumours that would soon be circulating Privet Drive about the Dursleys (courtesy of Arabella Figg) should have the Dursleys quite mortified.
Sirius grinned just thinking about it.
Dumbledore returned to his office, huffing slightly. Although he was very active despite his advanced age, constantly dealing with thestrals was a little much even for him.
"Rough day?" Dilys asked him conversationally, a slightly manic twinkle in her eye. Armando Dippet looked at her reproachfully, though he did not dare make mention to Dumbledore what lay in store after seeing what had happened to Phineas' second portrait when he had questioned Sirius one too many times.
"Quite," Albus replied heavily, laying his wand down on his desk and collapsing into his chair.
"Perhaps a lemon drop, Albus, those always seem to cheer you up," Dexter Fortescue suggested cheerfully, sharing a look with his neighbouring portrait.
"Quite right, Dexter," Albus murmured, taking a lemon drop from the little bowl on his desk. After several seconds of sucking on it the headmaster blanched and attempted to spit it out, but found himself unable to.
"Something the matter, Albus?" Dilys asked innocently, hiding her snickering. Several other portraits were doing the same, though others (Dippet amongst them) were murmuring in disapproval.
"Ugh, it's a... vomit flavoured Bertie Botts bean," Albus said, shuddering in disgust as he was forced to continue to suck on it since it seemed there was some spell preventing him from taking it out. He went for his wand so he could attempt a counter spell, but found himself unable to pick it up.
He tugged on it, but there appeared to be another spell keeping it firmly on the desk. Furthermore, as he attempted to move he found he was also stuck to the chair. Experimentally, he tried tugging at the journal left abandoned on his desk but found that it, too, refused to budge. Trying to ignore the less-than-stealthy snickering from the portraits, Dumbledore wondered what on earth was going on.
He narrowed his eyes at the portraits and tried to ask if something had occurred while he'd been preoccupied in the forest but to his horror found that all that came out was bleating.
That was enough for the portraits – even those that had yelled disapprovingly at Sirius while he'd set up the enchantments found themselves collapsing in laughter at the sight of the dignified headmaster completely defenceless and bleating like a goat.
Suddenly, a bright red letter appeared and, before Dumbledore had even considered opening it, began to shout out its message.
ALRIGHT YOU MANIPULATIVE OLD GOAT, TIME FOR A REALITY CHECK ON HOW YOU'VE BEEN TREATING MY POOR LITTLE GODSON!
BUT FIRST OF ALL, I WANT TO WISH YOU GOOD LUCK ON GETTING THROUGH TOMORROWS STAFF MEETING WHILE YOU'RE BLEATING LIKE THE BARMY GOAT YOU ARE. ALSO, GOOD LUCK ON GETTING RID OF THE COMPULSION CHARM ON THOSE SWEETS. I HAD THE LOVELY DILYS HELP ME WITH THOSE.
At that, Dumbledore sent a reproachful look at the former headmistress' portrait. Dilys merely shrugged at him through her giggles.
NOW, LET ME TELL YOU WHAT I THINK OF THE DEPLORABLE WAY YOU'VE BEEN RUNNING THAT SCHOOL WHILE MY POOR, LITTLE GODSON HAS BEEN IN ATTENDANCE. I MEAN REALLY, ALBUS, ARE YOU THAT MUCH OF A BLOODY FOOL?
Trying to futilely tug his wand from where it was stuck once again, and when that proved useless tried instead to move his chair away from the booming letter, Dumbledore realised that this was going to be a long, long night.
"Where have you been all day?" Harry asked his godfather curiously from where he was curled up on the couch.
Sirius, who had just entered the house (now garbed in socially acceptable attire), shrugged off his jacket and responded with, "Just needed to take care of some business."
Carelessly throwing his jacket on the back of the couch, Sirius went over to the couch and dropped down beside Harry, throwing an arm around his shoulders and pressing a kiss to the top of his godsons head.
Remus threw a glare at Sirius as he picked up the jacket and hung it up in the hall closet.
"What kind of business?" Harry asked, not willing to let go of the subject that distracted him from the essay Remus was forcing him to finish.
"Just business," Sirius replied. Seeing that this answer did not satisfy his godson he decided to distract him by adding, "But you know what it reminded me of..."
"What's that?" Remus asked, wondering how Sirius was planning to divert Harry's attention.
"That it's someone's birthday coming up..." Sirius teased, grinning down at his godson.
"It is too," Remus declared warmly, staring at Harry.
The boy blushed slightly at the attention, declaring in a small mumble that "It's not that big of a deal."
"Not that big a deal?" Sirius demanded in shock. "Are you kidding? My baby's turning fifteen! That's a huge deal. We'll have to invite all your friends, maybe we can hire a band, and we'll need to get lots of presents, and a huge cake, of course..."
As Sirius continued to ramble on, with Remus chiming in with suggestions, Harry realised that they were determined to spoil him. Although he wasn't one for big parties, being spoiled by his overprotective guardians was better than being lectured by his overprotective guardians.
Sighing happily, Harry snuggled into his godfathers half-hug. Life was good.
Everyone else Sirius had encountered that day begged to differ.
I do hope you enjoyed it and that maybe it was worth the (ridiculously long) wait.
What say you to one last review?
And one last time: my sincerest thank yous for sticking with me through this.