By: Oldach's Dream
Summary: What should have happened after the third book. Wormtail never escaped and Sirius is given a second shot at life. Oneshot.
Disclaimer: The books, movies, video game, pending theme park and all characters and situations stemming from the above mentioned defiantly aren't mine. Did it ever occur to you, though, that J.K. Rowling could probably take over the world of she really wanted to?
A/N: I wrote this years ago, after I first read the fifth book. Sirius' death was heartbreaking, I believe, and so unfair to Harry. The only way I could deal with it, at the time, was to write this. It's been hiding on my laptop ever since. But I recently stumbled across it - and by that, I mean I just got back from seeing the newest movie and was feeling sentimental - edited it and now - obviously - am posting it. I'd love to hear your thoughts on this.
It's basically just a giant piece of fluff, this story, so anything that I may have ignored - the fact that Harry apparently has to live with the Dursley's, namely - was done purely to make this fic as lighthearted as possible. After all, I believe Harry deserves at least that much, does he not?
"... On behalf of The Ministry of Magic, upon the capture and interrogation of one Peter Pettigrew, I must now announce that Sirius Black, escaped Azkaban prisoner, is hereby cleared of all charges brought against him, some thirteen years ago.
"It is with our greatest apologies that we release him today, for it was the Ministry who was tricked by Peter Pettigrew, into believing that Black was a killer. And let it be heard here first, Peter Pettigrew is sentenced to a lifetime stint in Azkaban. For the gruesome murders previously believed to be committed by Black.
Sirius Black is hereby free to go."
Fudge's voice was loud and clear inside the Ministry courthouse; but Harry Potter could not believe what he was hearing. Sirius had been cleared. Cleared of all charges. He was free to go.
Harry felt like getting up out of his chair and letting out a profound 'Whoop!' of celebration. He also felt like turning to the members of the court and shouting his outrage that it had taken them thirteen years to realize that Sirius was innocent. Thirteen years that Harry could have been getting to know his Godfather. Thirteen years that the Ministry had been stupid enough to believe the lie Wormtail had set into place. Thirteen years that Wormtail had been living comfortably under disguise inside the Weasely home while Sirius was suffering in Azkaban.
The more he thought about it, the more Harry saw the injustice of the situation. The Ministry should be on their hands and knees, begging Sirius to forgive then. They should be offering him...something, anything to make up for their horrible mistake.
He glanced up at the Minister of Magic, who was rising to his feet. He looked not at all guilty, only somewhat annoyed. Annoyed that Sirius had gotten away? Annoyed that he had been fooled?
Harry rose to feet as well; ready and set to tell Fudge exactly what he thought of him. Only Mr. Weasley's hand on his shoulder prevented him from doing so.
"Just be glad he's free now." Arthur Weasley mumbled to him.
Harry believed this to be unfair; until he glanced down at Sirius, shaking hands with one of the witches who had been present at the trial. He looked happy.
Harry sighed, if Sirius did not want to fight the injustice of the system, then neither would he. What good would come of it anyway? He asked himself as Mr. Weasley shuffled him out the door. Sirius was free. Harry had a Godfather. And nothing he said or did to the Ministry could get him back those thirteen years that he had lost with his father's best friend. All he could do was be grateful that he had, indeed, gotten him back.
"...of course he was completely cleared..." Mr. Weasley was telling a fretful looking Mrs. Weasley who had been waiting for them right outside the courtroom doors. "There was no chance of him not getting off, what with the testimonies."
"Oh, thank goodness." She reached out and hugged Harry tightly. Harry, who was not at all used to being hugged like this, awkwardly embraced her back.
"Well?" She said, letting go of the gangly teen at last, "Where is he? He's having dinner with us, is he not?"
"He'll be out in just a moment." Mr. Weasely assured his over-excited wife, "Just tying up some loose ends, I'd imagine." But before the whole sentence was even out of his mouth, Sirius was walking towards them, grin never leaving his face.
He looked much different than when Harry had first met him. The grin alone made him look about ten years younger. Add that to the clean shaven face, and short hair - no longer matted with dirt and filth collected from being on the run. Not to mention the fact that it looked like he had gained a good five of ten pounds since their first introduction under the Whomping Willow. He now looked like the best man present in the picture of his parents wedding.
"Good show in there." Mr. Weasley praised Sirius when he approached them.
Sirius' grin widened, "Nothin' to it." He said casually. Although Harry knew this was an act. He had seen him before the trial, alight with nerves, thoroughly convinced that a committee of witches and wizards, whom hated him, would never let him go free without so much a sound of protest.
Oh and how there had been protest! The trial in itself lasted a good two and a half hours. In which time many witches and wizards had argued against Sirius, making many false accusations. Some going so far as to pull out his old Hogwarts school file.
But Sirius had stayed patient, something Harry had never seen him do before. He had laid out his case, plain and simple. And by the end of it, no one had any real proof that he was guilty.
Harry had sat through the whole thing as a spectator, something that was generally not permitted. Given the unusual circumstances, and a word of... encouragement from Dumbledore however, he was allowed to watch, but was forbidden from speaking. Mr. Weasley was there to accompany him only because the Ministry would never let an underage wizard in a court hearing unsupervised.
Throughout the entire ordeal Harry had sat quietly, feeling as though he did not take a proper breath throughout the whole ordeal. His stomach turning to knots whenever a particularly narrow-minded witch tried to send Sirius back to Azkaban on other charges; or a wizard tried to discredit Pettigrew's testimony. (He's obviously insane..." they had said.).
More than once, Harry's name had come up. He wasn't entirely sure if him being the one to discover the truth had helped or hurt Sirius' case. It went a different way with each member of the high council. Some felt his age made the whole thing particularly ludicrous.
Others thought it was just the 'Boy-Who-Lived thinking he could get whatever he wanted'. A few, though, seemed to vote on Sirius' innocence simply because he was Harry Potter, Sirius' Godson and the person who got rid of Voldemort all those years ago.
With willing testimonies from Dumbledore and Professor Lupin on top of Pettigrew's not so willing one... Well Harry thought there was no way he could be found guilty. And, apparently, he had been right.
"... of course, the others wanted to come." Molly was saying now. "But I put my foot down. We had no idea how long this would go on. And a good thing, too. Could you imagine the noise they would have made, stuck out here all this time."
"They'll be just as worried, waiting back at the Burrow." Harry pointed out, without looking at her. He couldn't seem to pull his eyes away from his Godfather. He had a Godfather.
"Yes, but at least there, they won't be able to cause a scene." She shook her head, "Could you imagine Fred and George in this place, waiting it out? Why, the whole lobby'd be a giant swamp by now."
"Might liven things up a little." Sirius pointed out innocently.
Mrs. Weasley sent a half-hearted, disapproving tut in his direction; but Mr. Weasely and Harry grinned broadly. Everything seemed much... lighter now that Sirius was officially free.
"You're still joining us all for dinner, I presume?" She asked unnecessarily.
"Absolutely." He said with earnest. "Can't wait."
"And what about you two?" She addressed the approaching figures, "How would you like to come back to the Burrow for a good meal, goodness knows we all need it, after this ordeal."
"Ah," said Dumbledore wistfully, the Headmaster of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, staring at them through his forever-present half-moon spectacles. "How I would love to. Unfortunately, Molly, I have previous, somewhat, less stimulating plans this evening that can not be rescheduled."
"Oh, I understand." She said "What about you Remus, would you like to join us?"
Harry's most recent Defense Against the Dark Arts teacher ginned wolfishly. "I'd love to."
"Well, I must be going." Dumbledore said his parting words and left with a whoosh of his cloak.
"We better be leaving as well." Mr. Weasley said after a moment of awkward silence. "Or I dear say that old witch may try to throw Sirius back into prison for taking up an unnecessary amount of walking space, or something of that sort ..."
He trailed off as they all turned to see the witch from the trial that had seemed most keen to want Sirius back in prison. Staring at them all with hate and disgust etched so defiantly on her face that the sight of her actually made Harry want to recoil.
Other than the nasty way she was looking at Sirius, she was average looking, about half a head shorter than Sirius, choppy black hair and an angular face. The only thing that was really distinct about her was a small scar, less than half an inch long, over her left eyebrow.
Harry had noticed it when she was trying desperately to convince the rest of the people present that Sirius was a killer, and should not be freed, no matter what anyone said.
It was her who had made Harry more nervous than the rest of them combined.
"Good idea." Lupin mumbled. And with that, they all headed back to the car Mr. Weasley had borrowed from the Ministry.
Harry shook off the weird feeling he got while he'd been staring at the witch. He trotted back to the Ministry car with the others.
While it looked seemingly ordinary from the outside, the inside of the car was bewitched, so that the backseat was as large as a park bench. Sliding in next to Sirius he was assaulted with a rather panicky feeling. He had no idea what to say to his Godfather.
The last real conversation they'd had, had been following their departure of the secret, underground room of the Whomping Willow.
Harry had just found out of Sirius' innocence and his relationship to him, when he asked Harry if he would like to move in with him, after he had been cleared of all charges.
Harry had immediately agreed, thinking he was freed of the Dursley's at last. This had been punctured by Wormtail's almost-escape. Having managed to turn back into a rat while no one was looking. At the same time, people from the ministry had just arrived, on an anonymous tip, to arrest Sirius.
All was chaos for a few hours. Harry had thought for sure that Wormtail had escaped for good and Sirius was going back to jail for the rest of his life. Justice struck, however, around seven that morning. Lupin turned up, having disappeared seconds after Pettigrew escaped, with a quivering rat dangling from his finger tips.
By the next morning, the Ministry had been contacted and Sirius' hearing was set.
Harry, however, never got to see him, having been forced by Dumbledore to return to the Dursley's for the summer. This had put Harry in quite a foul mood until, not two weeks into the holiday; the Weasley's had come to fetch him. Saying that Dumbledore had given the okay for Harry to stay with them during the trial, and for the remainder of the summer. The Dursley's were only too happy to see him go.
Now however, sitting in the backseat of the car, next to the very man he'd been hoping to see for the last two and a half weeks, all he felt was nervous and awkward.
Glancing again at Sirius, he was relieved to see that he was saved from awkward conversation. He and Lupin, who had been best friends in their Hogwarts days, were currently in a discussion about the upcoming full moon. Harry let out an inaudible sigh. This was not what he was supposed to be feeling.
He was saved from examining his own emotions, however, as the car stopped with a bounce.
They had arrived at the Burrow.
In the flurry and commotion of arriving at the Weasley's, Harry and Sirius didn't get a chance to talk to each other at all. They were immediately bombarded with questions regarding the trial and whether or not Sirius had been set free.
"No," said George Weasley sarcastically to Ron when he'd asked that. "He's going back to Azkaban, they just let him come here first incase he wanted to try and escape."
"Yeah," The identical twin added. "Just to give him a fair head start."
Ron turned bright pink at their comments, realizing how stupid his question had been. He soon joined in on the laughter with the others, however. He was as happy as the rest of them.
Hermione surprised everyone by leaping into Sirius' arms, giving him a hug that rivaled the one Harry had received from Mrs. Weasley less than an hour ago. Sirius seemed more shocked by this than anyone else, but nonetheless, hugged her back.
When she pulled away, looking only slightly embarrassed she said, "I'm just glad you don't have to go back." She also mumbled something under her breath that Harry and the others could not hear. They got no hint from Sirius, whose face remained neutral. The only sign that he had understood her at all being the slight nod he gave in her direction.
"Well, what's everyone standing around for?" Mrs. Weasley's voice sounded over the rest of them. "Let's get dinner going."
And with that they all headed inside. Only to be forced to carry plates and such back out, where someone had conjured a long table, for all of them to eat at.
Sirius stayed inside while Ron, Harry, Hermione, Fred, George and Ginny all carried things to the table. Fred and George were talking amongst themselves while Ginny tried to ease-drop, quite obviously.
The commotion they caused left Harry, Hermione and Ron free to speak amongst themselves.
"So have you talked to Sirius at all?" Hermione inquired, quite bluntly.
"About what?" Harry asked, somewhat confused by her question.
"About anything. Particularly, about you going to live with him." She said. "I haven't heard you say a word to him all evening."
"She's got a point, mate." Ron chimed in.
"We only just got back," Harry was quick to defend himself. "We haven't had a chance... And I don't see him rushing to come have a heart to heart with me either."
"Well of course he hasn't. He's nervous." She explained, as if it were the most obvious thing in the world.
"Why would he be nervous?" Ron asked before Harry got the chance.
"The man just got out if the worst place one could ever hope not to go, he's got no family, except Harry." She looked directly at the teen in question, lowering her voice slightly. "He's probably afraid you've changed your mind, or you don't..."
"Don't what?" He asked quickly as she trailed off, hoping to gain a clue into his Godfather's feelings. And perhaps his own, as well.
"Don't want to be a part of his life." She finished.
"But that's not true!" Harry exclaimed quickly, "I'm just... I'm not used to... I guess I'm just not really used to having someone like him around."
Ron and Hermione exchanged looks; they clearly didn't quite understand what he meant.
They were interrupted before he had a chance to explain further, by the sounds of plates crashing in midair. Apparently the Weasley twins thought it would be amusing to see what happened if they whipped two plates at each other. Mrs. Weasley did not share the sentiment.
She came outside, yelling at the twins, who were then forced to stay inside, helping her pick the stringy stuff off the corn on the cob. Seeing how they were not yet of age, and couldn't use magic to assist them in this task, they protested loudly all the way inside.
Sirius came out, just as they were grudgingly following Mrs. Weasley through the front door.
"Those two remind me of James and me when we were their age." He said, chuckling. "Always getting into trouble."
"That's what Hagrid said." Harry mentioned without really thinking about it, remembering the conversation they had overheard in the Three Broomsticks. "That they might've given you guys a run for your money."
"RON!" Mrs. Weasley's voice bellowed out of the house. Ron rolled his eyes at them but made his way inside, Hermione following behind quickly, tossing Harry an encouraging smile as she went.
Before he could process exactly what happened, he was standing, on the Weasley's front lawn, alone with his Godfather, for the first time in weeks. Not counting right before his trial. It had seemed a lot less awkward then; Harry had not had to think about what to say. Words of encouragement seemed the only way to go.
And they had both been so nervous that neither had paid much attention to what the other was really saying. All that had mattered to Harry at the time was that at the end of the trial, he had a Godfather.
Now that that had happened, both seemed to be at a loss about what to say to one another.
The sun was set, just on the horizon. Giving out the last few hours of daylight, preparing to set. The warm summer air and the smell of Mrs. Weasley's wonderful cooking gave the whole evening a somewhat homey feel, in Harry's opinion. It was one of those nights that should be allowed to go on forever.
That's how long the silence seemed to last between Harry and Sirius anyway, forever.
"Has anyone ever told you how much you look like James?" Sirius said at last, his tone wistful.
This was not what Harry had been expecting to hear, but nodded nonetheless.
"My eyes." Harry finished for him. "I know I have my mother's eyes."
He was quoting what he had heard many times before. The only actual evidence he had of this, however, were the pictures Hagrid had given him right after his first year.
"I'm sorry you never got to know them." Sirius' voice was pained. Harry knew he blamed himself for the deaths of Lily and James Potter.
"It wasn't your fault they died." Harry told him, not being able to help himself. "It wasn't." He repeated more firmly when Sirius opened his mouth to argue. He shut it again and nodded. Although the younger man knew he wasn't convinced.
"Listen Harry..." Sirius met his eyes just as Arthur and Molly made their way onto the lawn, behind them were all the kids, carrying plates of food. Fred and George looking particularly disgruntled. "Never mind." Sirius mumbled quickly.
Dinner was extraordinary. Mrs. Weasley was the best cook Harry knew, and he ate his portion of the feast with gusto, having not had a proper meal throughout his entire stay with the Dursley's.
"You don't eat nearly enough." Mrs. Weasley told him, for what seemed like the thousandth time since he'd known her, halfway through diner. "It's why you're so thin."
Harry just grinned at her as she passed him more mashed potatoes.
He was sitting in-between Ron and Hermione and across from Sirius, who was seated next to Lupin. The twins were on Lupin's left, while Mr. And Mrs. Weasley and Ginny were on Sirius' right.
"Any idea who our Defense against the Dark Arts teacher is going to be next year?" Ron asked Lupin, through half a mouth of roast beef.
"Don't be so gross." Ginny said to him. Lupin just smiled.
"I have no idea." Lupin answered. "I think Dumbledore's keeping it under wraps."
"Or he hasn't found one yet." George said.
"Wouldn't be surprising." Fred added "No one's lasted more than a year in ages."
"Well, whoever it is, there's no way they'll be as good as you." Ron told Lupin honestly.
"Yes. You were certainly the most competent teacher we've had in three years." Hermione told him in a matter of fact tone.
"Thanks," Lupin said, ducking his head, Harry assumed, to hide a blush. "But I'm sure whoever Dumbledore chooses will be highly qualified."
"I hope his screening process has gotten better after our first two years." Said Hermione.
"I seem to recall you had no objections to Dumbledore's screening process when he hired Lockhart." Harry pointed out in an innocent voice.
"Yes, I remember you thinking he was 'quite handsome'" Ron said, imitating her swooning.
She scowled, and threw a piece of her dinner roll at both of them. The rest of the table laughed along with them.
"I remember mum was quite taken with him as well." Fred said, although he quickly averted his eyes and stuck a large chunk of meat in his mouth, at his mother's glare. It didn't stop the rest of the table from snickering.
Harry glanced at Sirius. He was laughing like the rest of them, but Harry wondered whether or not he knew exactly what they were talking about. The whole ordeal with Lockhart and the Chamber of Secrets had happened in their second year. Before Sirius had escaped form prison.
Harry wanted to ask him, but thought to do so at the table would cause awkwardness. So he kept quiet and listened to Mr. Weasley fill them all in on the goings on at the Ministry of Magic, where he worked.
"...uproar of Muggle hate crimes." He was saying. "Exploding mailboxes, biting door knobs, reversed toilet jinxes, all that crap."
He paused, right before George said. "No pun intended, right, dad?"
Mr. Weasley chose to ignore his son. "And of course no one wants to do anything about it. Luscious Malfoy especially. You know what he said to me? He said 'those damn Muggles are so stupid I'd doubt they'd notice a few mailboxes exploding, and if they did, they'd just decide that the world was ending, buy some bottled water and hide in their basement for sixty years.'"
"He actually said that?" Sirius asked, frowning slightly at Mr. Weasley.
"Big shock there." Harry snorted sarcastically, something about the presence of Sirius
made him feel more comfortable in sharing his honest feelings when normally, he'd remain silent or just nod in agreement.
"I wouldn't be surprised if he were the one putting curses on all the Muggle's stuff." Ron said.
"Or getting Draco to do it for him." Harry added, still feeling free to share his opinions.
"Oh yeah, I can see that." He said "'Why yes father, I'd love to help you torture innocent Muggles just for the hell of it, do you think it would make me even more of a prat?'" Ron's voice sounded stuck-up and haughty, he even inflated his chest a little, to add to his imitation of Malfoy.
Harry decided to join in, doing his best impression of Malloy Sr., he said in a deep voice "'I doubt it son, your ego's already so inflated you can barley walk through a door.'"
"'But father, how am I ever going to be as big of an ass as you, if I can't even manage to be a prat properly?'" Ron gave his fake-Malfoy answer to Harry's question, running a hand through his hair for affect.
Their imitation conversation had the twins and Ginny roaring with laughter. Sirius and Mr. Weasley were struggling to hide their chuckles by coughing and clearing their throats respectively.
Only Mrs. Weasley seemed to disapprove. And Harry had a feeling that she disapproved more of their use of swear words than of them actually insulting the Malfoy's.
"Don't like the Malfoy's much then, do you?" Sirius asked, trying still to hold back laughter.
"Great lot of stuck up, narrow-minded prats, if you ask me." George answered for them.
"Couldn't of said it better myself." Ron said and Harry nodded.
"I hope we don't have many classes with Slytherin this year." Hermione added. "I couldn't stand it."
They all nodded their agreement and the subject was turned slowly away from the Malfoy's as more light, easy conversation flowed comfortingly around them.
"Where'd everyone go?" Harry had come back outside to retrieve the last of the dishes, only to find that Mrs. Wesley had already cleared them with her wand and disappeared.
"Went inside I'd guess." Sirius answered. He wasn't meeting Harry's eyes, but seemed to be studying the ground with great intensity.
"Right." Harry said stupidly. "Hey, Sirius?"
"What were you going to say earlier?" He looked at him, seemingly confused. "While we were out here, after Fred and George broke the plates?"
"Oh," he said. He scratched his chin, then ran his hand over it, probably not used to not having stubble there. "I… well… It's not important."
Harry could tell he was lying, but did not want to accuse him of anything. So he simply nodded, and turned to go back inside, feeling rather disappointed.
"Harry," Sirius called.
"Yeah?" He asked hopefully, returning to where he'd stood before.
"I was going to say, that if you've..." he stuck his hands in the pockets of his Muggle jeans and looked at him with a blank face. "Well, if you've rethought your decision to move in with me, I'll understand."
"What makes you've think I've rethought anything?" Harry asked, genuinely curious as to where he had come up with that idea.
"I just... I know, when you agreed the first time, the circumstances were somewhat…rushed." He pointed out needlessly; Harry remembered the circumstances very well. "I just wanted you to know, that if you've, well, I mean you've had time to think about it now, and I'd understand if you've well if you've changed your mind."
Harry didn't know what to say for a minute. He thought of telling Sirius that, in the two weeks he had not seen him, all he had been able to think about was the possibility of having him as a Godfather.
He thought about telling him that the closest thing he'd had to human interaction all summer, before the Weasley's had come for him, were the grunts that awaited him from his Aunt and Uncle when he came down for meals, and the torment he received from his Extra-large cousin Dudley, when he cared enough to pull himself away from the television.
Maybe if he explained that to Sirius, he would realize how stupid the question he just asked truly was.
Saying all that, however, seemed a tad melodramatic. He chose to sum it all up by saying, "I haven't changed my mind. Not in the least." He paused. "You still want to me to live with you, right?"
"Absolutely." He answered at once, a grin breaking out, once again, on his rejuvenated face. "As long as it won't be a problem with your Aunt and Uncle, that is."
There was a thought; would it be a problem with the Dursley's? Harry doubted it very much. They had hated him since day one, and were constantly reminding him of what an annoyance he was.
On the off chance that they did, for some reason or another, not want Sirius taking Harry, the words 'long lost Godfather' and 'convicted killer' seemed to go together very well in his head.
Harry's grin matched Sirius'. "Nope, shouldn't be a problem at all."
Sirius shook his head in disbelief, "I never thought I'd see the day." He laughed. "Me, living with James's son. I don't know if I should be telling you this Harry, but I was always a bit more reckless than your dad."
"I thought you both always got into loads of trouble at school?" Harry was not used to talking about his parents so openly like this. Harry's mother and father were a strictly banned subject in the Dursley household.
"Oh, in school we were." He agreed, "But as we grew up. Well, your dad became the responsible one. He was the one always bailing me out of trouble."
Harry laughed at this. Though it had never occurred to him; there was a time period, in which James and Lily had left Hogwarts, gotten married and had Harry.
Harry had always thought of his father in only two ways. Either as a student at Hogwarts, like himself, or the parent. As the father he had only been for a year. The time in between...
Harry now saw living with Sirius was not only a chance to get to know his Godfather, but a chance to learn about his parents, through someone who had really known them.
"I'm glad..." Harry said after a moment. "That you're here." He looked into his eyes, and hoped that his Godfather knew he'd meant what he had said.
A second later Sirius had stepped forward and was giving Harry a hug, patting him on the back in that manly way. This hug was much different than any other Harry had ever received before. He couldn't quite put his finger on the feeling, but he knew it was a good one. As Sirius pulled away, there was no need for words. They each had all that they needed.
Suddenly, heading back into the Weasley home, walking next to his Godfather, he was able to recognize the feeling for what it was. He was home. Home was wherever Sirius was, wherever they could be together.
Harry had heard the saying 'Home is where your heart is' many times before, but never quite understood it. Hogwarts had always felt like his home.
Only now did he truly get it. He hadn't understood before, because they had it wrong. The Muggles, as always, missed something vitally important.
Home is not where your heart is. Home, is where your family is.