Sirius stepped out of the Ministry of Magic, a rare smile crossing his gaunt face. He was free, but more importantly, the Ministry of Magic had allotted him custody of Harry… James's son. His godson.
"Sirius!" a familiar voice called out to him.
Sirius paused long enough to allow Dumbledore to catch up with him before setting off once more. Although he had been out of Azkaban for the past week, he hadn't even had a chance to get home yet. The Ministry officials were using him as a tool to gain more insight about the death eaters, knowing that Sirius would have heard talk from inside the jail. Until he was through meeting with them and giving them all the information that they desired, they refused to talk with him about getting custody of Harry. At this point, he hadn't even been to Diagon Alley to get a wand (his old one had, of course, been snapped in half). He was anxious to get on with his life before he wasted any more time.
"What's the hurry?" Dumbledore asked with a slight laugh, a twinkle lighting his intense blue eyes.
"Headmaster, I have spent the last three years awaiting this day. I'm not about to go lollygagging about now that it has arrived. I have things to do!" Sirius replied, a tad curt. "Besides, it's nice to stretch my legs."
"You have an agenda, then?" Dumbledore was stalling.
"Yes. I have to pick up some things in Diagon Alley- the shopping list tends to build when you've been away for three years. Remus is making me dinner tonight. We've seen each other since I've been out, of course, but not enough to catch up as much as we'd both like. Tomorrow I'll be stopping in at Privet Drive to inform Harry's relatives that I've got custody of him now, and that I'll be picking him up in a weeks time. That'll give them time to say goodbye, and me some time to get his room in order."
Dumbledore nodded. He wanted to contest that particular move, wanted Harry to stay with his aunt and uncle… Sirius knew Dumbledore's wishes, he had made them clear at the hearing, and he wasn't going to exchange words with the man now. Instead, he would work to make sure that Harry would be as safe as possible with his godfather.
"Where will you be staying? Not with Remus, I presume," there was an implication that if Sirius did, in fact, intend to stay with Remus, Dumbledore would object.
Sirius seemed to hold the same views as Dumbledore on this matter, though. "No, of course not. A four year old needs some semblance of stability in his life, which he won't get if we have to leave every full moon, or even if Remus does. We'll be staying at my parents' old house, Grimmauld Place, for the time being. When Harry and I settle in with each other, I may build a house in the country, but I don't want him to be moving around too much. It will be hard enough for him to leave his aunt and uncle without us moving every two weeks."
Dumbledore seemed satisfied with that answer. At least Harry wouldn't be constantly uprooted. He hadn't had a lot of confidence that Sirius would think of that. Sirius wasn't the most adult of all the people Dumbledore knew, and he did tend to do what he wanted, without regard for consequence. Dumbledore could only hope that the past few years had matured Sirius, if nothing else. He didn't want the man going into fatherhood unprepared, and have Harry suffer for it.
That would all come at a later time. For now, Dumbledore had something more pressing on his mind. He frowned, wondering what to say. It was hard for a man to apologize, even a man as old as Dumbledore. He knew that before Sirius had left for Azkaban, he had respected Dumbledore. Yet now, how could he possibly feel the same?
"Three years ago," Dumbledore began with a small sigh, "I testified at your hearing. I gave evidence that you had been the Potter's secret keeper. I assure you that if I had any idea-"
Sirius raised his hand, silencing Dumbledore, "You told them what you knew. I couldn't expect you to have done anything else."
Dumbledore nodded, accepting the unspoken forgiveness. He apparated away, heading back to Hogwarts. The new term would begin in a couple of weeks, and he couldn't afford to be wasting time when he should be preparing. He still had to find a Defense Against the Dark Arts teacher. As for Sirius, he had a lot to do before tomorrow. He started towards the muggle underground; without his want, he was still forced to resort to such means of transportation to reach Diagon Alley.
Sirius stepped off the London underground and made his way to the Leaky Cauldron. This was it, he thought to himself. This was the moment of truth. Stepping out of Azkaban had been the greatest feeling in the world, he recalled, and seeing the sun shine and the outdoors had done him wonders. Still, he had been stuck at Ministry hearings from that point on, and despite that being the greatest feeling, this was the most real. This was the moment when he really stepped back into the Wizarding world, the moment when he really began to get his life back.
As he stepped into the room, he felt every eye upon him. News of his release had, of course, gotten around by now, but that didn't mean that everyone was convinced of his innocence. Sirius had no way of knowing how many would accept him. Until now, he hadn't been forced to deal with the thought. Now, however, in a Leaky Cauldron that was silent for the first time in Sirius's recollection, he found that he was feeling very vulnerable without his want. He swallowed, wondering what was on everyone's mind.
A/N: This is my first fanfiction, and I'm really anxious to see what everyone will think about it. I know this first chapter is really short, but I swear that I'll be updating it frequently. I can't tell yet if my other chapters will be a lot longer, but probably - this is midterms week so I haven't got a lot of time.