Book 3

Chapter 5

… … … … … … … … … … … … …

Once you go Black

… … … … … … … … … … … … …

"So what was that meeting all about?"

"I could ask you the same thing," Xander retorted.

"As your legal guardian I do have a right to know."

Xander snorted.

"I know," Sirius said with a big grin, "I would no more try and force that out of you than I would Dual with Molly Weasley."

Xander barked a laugh. "I had a meeting with the goblins about patenting some new designs of armour and weaponry."

Sirius blinked. "Wow, that's deep."

"Yes." Xander nodded. "One of the things that occurred to me was the lack of armour in the Aurors quarters; they go into a battle virtually unprotected. Sure, a battle suit wouldn't stop an Unforgivable, but it would slow it down and might even buy the wearer some time; it would also protect against guns and knives."

"Guns? Wizards don't use them."

"Most wizards don't, but I wouldn't put it past a few, figuring out that bullets kill just as easily as a spell."

Sirius nodded silently. "Fair enough," he said, taking a sip of his Butterbeer. "Last night Molly exploded."

"I thought I felt the place rumble."

Sirius snorted at Xander's joke.

"She wasn't very impressed about Arthur being your proxy."

Xander shrugged his shoulders; he didn't owe the woman anything, after all.

"She was also upset with Arthur for not telling her," Sirius went on, "but she couldn't argue the fact that he was right and she was wrong. I think that was upset her more; she's so used to getting her way."

Xander cringed. "I can imagine. I, personally, don't trust her and don't want my goings-on being reported back to Dumbledore."

"Why not?"

"The man kept me locked up with the Dursleys for eleven years."

Now it was Sirius's turn to cringe.

"Sirius, could I ask you a favour?"

"Sure, what is it?"

… … … … … … … … … … … … …

Serverus very rarely received mail in the deep, dark dungeon that he called home. He did not receive news because of his current location and his lack of friends, most of whom were now either dead or had disassociated themselves with him. The only one who only bothered to even say 'hello' was dear Lucius.

That was why it came as a surprise when Filch banged loudly on his door; the caretaker limped in and grumbled that Serverus had received a letter.

Serverus looked at the letter and instantly recognised Potter's handwriting; he almost tore up the letter immediately, but curiosity got the better of him. He pulled out the dagger that he kept hidden in the desk and gently broke the seal. Inside the parchment was a piece of picture that fell on the desk and a letter with a yellow Post-It note attached.

Snape took of the note and raised both his eyebrows, it read:

"Thank you."

He turned the letter over and began reading it. When he was finished, his hands were shaking and his face had gone pale. He looked down at the picture and his lips, for the first time in a decade, curled upwards into a smile, albeit a sad, little smile.

… … … … … … … … … … … … …

"Well, I must say the house is certainly coming along."

Albus Dumbledore popped in for a visit by Floo. The first thing Albus noticed on arrival was the cleanliness of the place; there wasn't any dust to be seen and it seemed now that those awful blinds were gone, it was much brighter inside.

The house-elf, Kreacher, appeared with a 'pop', and bowed its head. "Mr Potter and Mr Black are waiting in the kitchen."

"Thank you Kreacher," the elf nodded and showed the headmaster the way. "Sirs, Headmaster Dumbledore."

"Thank you, Kreacher," Xander said with a smile. Sirius merely nodded. The elf disappeared and Albus pulled a seat up to the table.

"The House is certainly looking better."

"The three of us came to an agreement." Xander looked at Sirius who looked away somewhat darkly. "I trust that Professor Snape received my letter?"

Albus smiled. "Yes, I daresay he did; that was most kind of you, Harry."

"I know."

"How did you know about Professor Snape's feelings for your mother?"

"He never insulted her," Xander replied simply. The headmaster cocked his head questioningly. "Not once, during his rants and raving about me, fame, or my father, did even so much as mention her. I figured he had a crush on her."

"Indeed he did, although Serverus would never openly admit that."

"Of course not; he can barely look at me."

"Partly because you remind him of her."

Xander didn't know what to say.

"I trust that now without the distraction of Vernon," Dumbledore said gently, "your homework will improve?"

"Yeah, I've already finished it."

"Ah." The older man's eyes twinkled. Albus had brief look around the house, commented on certain areas, patted Sirius on the back and then left.

Kreacher reappeared with two newspapers, bowed and placed them on the table.

"Kreacher, I'm hungry; would you be able to whip anything up?" asked Xander.

"Of course, Master Potter." The elf popped out of the room instantly.

Xander looked at the paper, flipping through it and soaking up the information; he could easily access the memories later on to get more detailed view of it. Sirius watched the scene quietly. Kreacher appeared again shortly after with two bowls of French Soup. Xander smiled, thanked him, took them, and dipped the bread that had appeared a moment later.

"Apparently, the Ministry's gone public and has declared you innocent and offered a public apology." Sirius looked at him as if he were cracking a joke. Xander chucked him the paper, which the older man grabbed and read.

"I won't be accepting it."

"I don't expect you to; in fact, I have an interview with Miss Skeeter lined up." Sirius looked up. "I'll be giving my full view of things there."


"Oh, yeah," Xander said with a nasty little grin. "The Ministry won't know what hit it; consider this a pre-emptive strike."

… … … … … … … … … … … … …

They rested that day and gradually adjusted to each other's company. For Sirius, it was strange being out of his coffin and back in an older one, one where he'd been forced to do things and think things he didn't want to; one where he'd been the only one to think that Voldemort wasn't all that. Now he was back home, but it was different.

For a start, Kreacher was actually being something that bordered on nice; the old house-elf was cooking food for them and doing the chores that needed doing, as was the other Harry Potter fan, Dobby. Sirius would smile when he thought that, to Dobby, Harry was a knight in shining armour. And then there was the boy himself, the child who had had to grow up under similar circumstances.

From what he could see, Harry did not hold a grudge against the Dursleys; he accepted who and what they were. Harry, himself, was unusual, far older than a child his age should be, wiser beyond his years and yet there was still a bit of innocence there that smiled at the prospect of creating a bit of chaos.

Harry reminded Sirius of a young James Potter.

For Xander, it was a nice change to simply be in a house where he didn't get filthy looks. It was nice being in a house where he could get what he wanted without having to resort to influencing people with his Shadow powers. It was also nice not to have to cloak himself all the time.

The next morning they went shopping, not just for Xander's school supplies, but also for some new clothes for Sirius. The man had been living in rags for the better part of a decade.