Late Night Talks with Padfoot I

Written: Winter 2006

Takes place directly after Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire …

Ginny Weasley walked into number twelve Grimmauld Place and shivered. The house gave off an eerie glow of unwelcome. She ignored her mother who was shifting everyone inside and whispering for them to be quiet and instead looked around. It was dark and dirty. She wrinkled her nose at the dust and instead was drawn to a wall that was covered in two large black curtains. She heard someone trip and fall, knocking over the table next to the door. She'd bet money it was Tonks, the girl was clumsier then she was. Then she covered her ears with her hands as a high pitched screaming began.

"BLOOD TRAITORS! FILTH! HOW DARE YOU STEP INTO THIS HOUSE! THE HOUSE OF MY FATHERS! GET OUT! OUT!"

Ginny realized that it was coming from behind the curtains so she hurried over and struggled to pull them tight. Someone stepped up beside her to help. Once the curtains were closed she turned and got her first look at Sirius Black. She couldn't see much of him because of the darkness, but he was tall and muscular. She figured he was probably handsome as well, as he had been at one time. She wasn't afraid of him. She never had been really. She couldn't explain how she knew, but when she had seen his photograph she knew that he was not evil. It was something that she had always been good at, well, ever since Tom Riddle and the diary, but she had been able to tell when people were lying to her and people's true emotions. Like if they were good people or bad people. And when she had looked at Black's picture, she had seen innate goodness with a small evil streak. But nothing that said he had murdered thirteen people. She gave him a small smile but he was looking around at the rest of the Weasleys.

She grabbed her trunk and began to drag it upstairs after her mother and father. Her brothers, Ron, Fred, and George, closely following behind. Dumbledore had asked them to move in here. She knew it was because of Tom. Just one week ago, Harry had seen him come back to life at the end of the tournament. Now he was back and Dumbledore wanted them all to be safe. He had asked them to move in here with Sirius. She didn't know much about it, her parents had been even more closed-mouth then usual about where they were going. The why had been pretty obvious even if the where wasn't. She dropped her trunk at the foot of the bed in the room she was staying in and look around in disgust.

It was dark and dank. It reminded her of a dungeon. The walls were painted a dark mustard yellow that were stained with something that looked eerily like blood. Dust covered almost every surface. The only thing that actually looked livable was the beds. The room held two queen sized beds covered in fresh linens. She sighed; at least her bed was livable. She didn't bother to unpack, but instead headed downstairs and found her way into the kitchen. Sirius Black was sitting at the kitchen table with Remus Lupin. Her mum was at the stove, muttering to herself.

"Mum, do you need any help?" Ginny asked as she walked around the table towards her mother. She knew that her mum was barely holding herself together with the move and with Percy walking out on the family only the day before.

Mrs. Weasley looked down at Ginny. "Yes, I have to go unpack and start making some of these rooms livable for human beings!" She said with a sniff as she sent a dirty look towards Sirius Black. "Can you please make dinner? I bought food and ingredients for meatloaf, dear. There will be eight of us at least, so make enough."

She hurried out of the kitchen, giving Sirius Black another dirty look before closing the door behind her. Ginny sighed; she wondered why her mother didn't like him. She hummed quietly under her breath as she began the simple chore of making meatloaf. Her hands had just entered into the raw meat when she heard her name.

"Pardon?" She asked.

"I just asked how you've been, Ginny?" Professor Lupin asked.

Ginny smiled. "I've been alright. Been missing having you as a teacher, Professor, as has every other Gryffindor, and most of the Ravenclaws."

Lupin grinned. "Please, call me Remus; I'm not your professor anymore. I'm glad that I'm missed."

Ginny laughed. "Well, you were definitely the best one ever. Though I can't say much for the competition."

Lupin laughed. "True. Ginny, have you met Sirius yet?"

Ginny shook her head. "No we haven't been introduced." She glanced over at him. Now that he was in the light she realized that he was quite handsome. He had thick black hair that just seemed to fall over his face perfectly. He was pale, but she could see that he had once been a very attractive man. "I'm Ginny."

Sirius grinned. "So I've heard. It's nice to meet you."

Ginny smiled. She didn't see why her mum had such a problem with him. "It's nice to meet you too, Mr. Black. Can I ask why you're staying in this place too?"

Sirius grinned. "Just call me Sirius. And I'm staying here because it's my home. And it is now the official headquarters of the Order of the Phoenix."

"What's that?" She asked, as she began to add in a bit more spices before mixing it together again.

Remus grinned. "Your mother didn't tell you?"

Ginny shook her head. "No, she didn't tell us anything. She just said that we were moving somewhere else for the summer for our own safety but that it wasn't safe to talk about at home."

Remus nodded. "Well, I can't tell you much. You'll have to ask your parents and they can decide how much they want to tell you, but the Order of the Phoenix is a secret organization that was started by Dumbledore in the first war to fight against Voldemort and his followers."

Ginny paled a bit. "To fight against Tom? Is that really even possible?"

"Tom?" Sirius asked, looking slightly confused.

Ginny nodded. "Voldemort, yeah."

Remus smiled. "It has to be possible, Ginny, someone has to do it. This is the house that belonged to Sirius' parents and as the only Black left he inherited it. But since he has been in prison so long it hasn't exactly been taken care of. But he offered it to Dumbledore as headquarters."

She nodded and turned back to making the meatloaf as the kitchen door opened and her twin brothers came in. Fred grinned broadly when he seen Ginny working.

"Aww, does Mummy have ickle Ginnikins already working in the kitchen?"

Ginny glared at him. "I volunteered. Mum seemed a little tense."

George grinned. "Yeah, well, actually we need you to do us a favour, Gin?"

Ginny turned to look at her brothers, ignoring the curious looks from Remus and Sirius. "And what would that be?"

Fred grinned. "Well, we snuck in a bunch of our inventions, you know? But Mum doesn't believe us when we told her that we left them at home, and she's going to be searching our room in a bit. We need a place to hide them."

George nodded. "And she would never suspect you."

Ginny laughed. "No, she wouldn't, would she? Alright, I'll hide them for you on one condition?"

"What's that?" Fred asked.

"I get fifteen-percent of all the profits you guys make when you sell it at school this year."

"WHAT?"

"Ginny, that's not fair. We made the products." Fred replied.

Ginny shrugged. "Well, you need someone to continue the mischief at Hogwarts when you two leave. Who else is it going to be? Ron?"

Fred grinned. "Oh yeah … well, mistress of mayhem, you've got yourself a deal. But you need to help us test some of the products sometimes."

"If you want me test the products as well as hide them then I want twenty-percent."

George's mouth dropped open. "You drive a hard bargain."

Sirius grinned. "She's got you two; I think you'd better just agree to it before she wiggles even more out of you."

Fred grinned. "He's got a point, George."

"Aye he does, Fred. Alright, Gin, you win twenty-percent! Now can you hide this stuff for us?!"

Ginny nodded. "I can't leave the kitchen right now. But in the room I'm sleeping in, I noticed that there's a big closet. Put as much as you can in there and anything that you can't shove under the beds. I'll hide it better when I get out of here. But Mum won't look in my room."

George grinned and kissed her cheek. "Thanks Gin."

Fred nodded and the twins raced out of the room and upstairs. Ginny shook her head at them as she continued to make the meatloaf. Remus and Sirius grinned at her.

"You actually conned the masters of mayhem over there." Remus replied. "I believe a congratulations are in order. I'm impressed."

Ginny grinned. "And where do you think I learned it from? Those two know that I'm right that's why they agreed. Ron's never going to follow in their footsteps. I mean, he's not pompous or anything like Percy is but he's not into mischief like the twins. Harry gets into more trouble then Ron does which is why the twins gave Harry the map and not Ron."

"Map?" Sirius asked.

Ginny nodded. "Yeah, the Marauder's Map. Fred and George nicked it out of Filch's office in their first year. Big surprise there. They showed it to me as soon as they came home. I was eight and they made me promise not to tell Ron. They mostly used it for sneaking down into the kitchens."

Remus grinned. "Do Harry, Ron, and Hermione know that you know about this map?"

Ginny laughed. "No. Why would they share anything like that with me?"

Sirius smiled. "Well, they should. Did Fred and George ever learn who made the map?"

Ginny shook her head. "No, but I don't think they really cared. They just liked to use it for mischief. They gave it to Harry two years ago because they had memorized all of the secret passageways and things. They told me that they owed all of their success to Moony, Padfoot, Wormtail, and … Prongs. Yeah, I think that's it. It was a neat map. They gave it to Harry because the Dursleys didn't sign his Hogsmeade form so he could go. But they showed me all of the secrets passageways and things. I didn't realize that Hogwarts had so many."

Sirius grinned. "What would you say if I told you that we know who created the map? And that Harry, Ron, and Hermione do as well."

Ginny shrugged. "I'd ask you to tell me because I've always been fascinated with how it works." She finished putting the last bit of hamburger into the tenth meatloaf pan before she washed her hands and turned to look over at them.

Sirius grinned. "We did. I'm Padfoot, Remus is Moony, Wormtail is Peter Pettigrew, the git that I was accused of killing and who is running as a Death Eater and who Harry says brought Voldemort back to life last week, and Prongs was James Potter."

Ginny grinned. "Really? That's neat. How did you guys make it?"

Remus shrugged. "It wasn't that hard. I came up with the original idea because I'd been drawing a map of Hogwarts, places that I could go when I wanted to be alone. Well, then James got this idea to actually make a map that we could use. So we carefully sketched it all out, sneaking out past bedtime and making sure that we didn't miss anything. Once it was all drawn, Sirius came up with this charm idea to show the people in the school so that we could make sure we didn't run into anyone. It was brilliant."

Sirius grinned. "What can I say? I try. After that, Remus here came up with the idea to put a charm on it so that only we would know how to open it. Therefore if one of the teachers got a hold of it they wouldn't know what it was. I personally came up with the idea for it to insult people when they tried to open it and didn't know how to do it properly."

Remus laughed. "I'll never forget when I caught Harry with that map and Snape was trying to figure out what it was and it was insulting him left and right. I thought he was going to blow his top!"

Ginny laughed. "I can just imagine! He's a git. So who came up with those particular incantations to open it up? I mean 'I solemnly swear that I am up to no good'?"

Sirius grinned. "Well, we were most of the time. At least it was an honest incantation. And that was James' idea."

Ginny laughed just as the kitchen door opened. Mrs. Weasley stood there with a disapproving look on her face.

"Ginny, what are you doing socializing? I asked you to cook dinner!"

"I am, Mum. I just finished the meatloaf and I've got the oven heating up."

Mrs. Weasley gave Sirius another dirty look. "Well, peel some potatoes and carrots. And make a salad."

Ginny nodded and got up to get back to work, wondering again why her mum seemed to have such a problem with Sirius. She thought he seemed like a real great guy.

*********

That evening, Ginny tossed and turned in her bed, memories of the Chamber haunting her as she tried to sleep. Tom was there, smiling at her, touching her in ways no eleven-year-old girl should be touched. He was whispering to her, telling her that he was going to kill her; that he was going to suck the soul from her body so that he could live; that no one would even miss her if she was gone; that no one loved her and that if she disappeared no one would even notice that she was missing or care. She bolted upright, the dream ending just as she had faded into unconsciousness.

She was drenched in sweat and she was shivering. She ran her fingers through her hair and closed her eyes. Why had she dreamed of that? She hadn't dreamed of the Chamber in over a year. She had gotten so good at blocking it out. She stood up quickly as the memory of the dream came back to the surface. She pulled on some pajama bottoms since she had slept in a stolen Pride of Portree jersey from Bill before she headed downstairs.

She didn't want to wake anyone up, but she knew from experience that after a dream like that, she wasn't going back to sleep. She stepped into the kitchen, heading over to rekindle the fire in the hearth before she moved to the stove to make herself some hot chocolate. She heard a sound in the doorway and turned around, surprised to see Sirius standing there.

"Ginny, what are you doing up so late?" He asked as he stepped into the room and took a seat at the table.

Ginny shrugged. "I had a bad dream. I was just making some hot chocolate, would you like a cup?"

Sirius nodded. "Sure, since you're making it."

She nodded and poured them each a cup before she sat across from him. "What are you doing up so late?"

"Same as you." He was quiet for a few moments and then he spoke up. "Ginny, can I ask you something?"

"Of course."

Sirius looked up at her. "It's just earlier when Remus told you that the Order was fighting against Voldemort, you said Tom, why?"

Ginny managed a small smile as her heart thudded painfully in her chest. Her dream was still too close to the surface. "Because that's his name. Tom Marvolo Riddle. At least, that's who he was before he became Lord Voldemort."

Sirius nodded. "I didn't know. How do you?"

Ginny jumped, spilling a bit of her hot chocolate onto the table. "I'm sorry, it's just … well, I guess I should be over it now, it did happen two years ago. It's just, my nightmare, well, it was about … Sirius, when you were at Hogwarts did you ever hear anything about the Chamber of Secrets?"

Sirius nodded. "Yes, I did. It was legend. Salazar Slytherin supposedly built a secret chamber where he did his work and I heard he kept some kind of monster down there."

Ginny nodded. "Well, it's real. The Chamber, the monster, everything. You see, my first year at Hogwarts, I assumed that Fred and George would you know, take me under their wing so to speak like they did at home, but naturally at school they had their own friends. And Ron, well … I couldn't hang out with him. I had … well, I had a terrible crush on Harry when I was eleven. Every time I was in a room with him I would drop something or walk into something. It was terribly embarrassing. And of course it didn't help that my brothers were teasing me."

Sirius smiled. "So because of Harry you couldn't be near Ron."

Ginny nodded, blushing a bit. "Yeah, I mean, I knew Harry wasn't interested in me anyway so the more I embarrassed myself the worst it was. Anyway, when we got home from Diagon Alley, I found this diary in my transfiguration textbook. I didn't think much of it, I mean, I figured since it was in there, my parents must have known, right? Well, I started writing in it. I had just finished my last diary anyway and I needed a new one. This one was empty except for the name Tom Marvolo Riddle written on the back. So I started writing, you know, explaining my problems and how I had a crush on the famous Harry Potter and how he was never going to notice me and the diary wrote back. At first, I panicked. I mean, dad had always warned me not to trust anything that couldn't think for itself. But I just thought, well, he's only answering me and being my friend. He was wonderful. I trusted him with all of my deepest fears and secrets, well, as many as an eleven-year-old can have. He was charming and he made me feel important. But soon I started getting black outs. Like I would find myself in places and not know how I got there and once I found myself covered in blood and feathers. I didn't understand. I talked to Tom and I told him that I thought I was going crazy. He was very supportive and assured me that I wasn't and that I was probably just a little stressed out over school work. Anyway, something in me snapped and I tried to get rid of the diary. You see, people in school were being attacked and on Halloween it said on the wall in blood that the Chamber of Secrets had been opened once more."

"But you got rid of the diary so you were okay?"

Ginny shook her head. "I did get rid of it, yes, but things weren't okay. Everyone in school thought that Harry was the heir of Slytherin because at a dueling club he spoke Parseltongue and everyone thought that he was attacking the students. Then to make matters worse in my life, I lost a bet with Fred and George and I had to send a singing valentine that the twins wrote of course, to Harry. He was so embarrassed when he received it, I mean it didn't have my name on it or anything but it was obvious that it had been from me. I mean, he's thick but not that thick. I was embarrassed but I saw that Harry had the diary that day. I panicked. The only thing I could think of was what if Tom told Harry all of my secrets. So I stole it back and soon it was happening again. Blank spots and I was getting sick. I was pale all the time. Fred and George began to hover a bit and Percy was forcing me to take potions. Then Tom forced me to write my own message on the wall and to come down into the Chamber. I know now that it was some form of possession. Well, he came out of the diary. He was touching me … telling me that I was pretty little girl. He was about sixteen years old. He did … well, it doesn't matter now, but I learned a lot of things that year that I probably shouldn't even know at my age now. The last thing I remember is him fully coming out of the diary, talking to me and then I was unconscious. When I woke up, Harry was kneeling over me, covered in blood and dirt, Dumbledore's phoenix was sitting on his shoulder, the diary had a huge bloody fang through it, Harry had a sword in his hand along with the old sorting hat and there was a huge dead basilisk. I burst into tears. I told him everything and that I had done it. He told me that it wasn't my fault and that everything would be okay. When I was in the hospital Bill teased me about it. Told me I could never do anything half-way. Said that I had to go get the boy that I had a crush on to rescue me. I dream about the Chamber a lot. It was just that I haven't had the dream in so long, and now … this house gives me the creeps."

Sirius nodded. He reached across the table to squeeze her hand gently. "I'm sorry, honey, that you would have to go through something like that. I'm also very honoured that you would tell me. And this house gives me the creeps too. It seems to be bringing back a lot of my old memories as well, ones that I don't want. Can I ask though, how did you find out that Tom Riddle was Voldemort?"

"I didn't, but when Harry was telling Dumbledore the story I found out. I guess Tom told Harry that his name was Tom Marvolo Riddle and when he switched the letters around it spelt I am Lord Voldemort." Ginny shivered. "I was possessed. It was a creepy feeling and really scary."

"I can imagine." He squeezed her hand lightly again.

"Sirius, what was your nightmare about?" Ginny asked.

Sirius hesitated and then he swallowed. "Well, I guess it is only fair that I tell you, after what you just told me." He took a sip of his hot chocolate. "It's about the night Lily and James died. I'm never going to forget it or forgive myself." When Ginny only looked at him oddly, he continued. "James wanted to use me as secret keeper when they went into hiding. I agreed at first because I knew that I would die rather than betray my best friend. But then I thought, well, Voldemort is going to know it's me and come straight after me, so why not throw him off? I convinced James to choose Peter instead. I thought that Voldemort would never think that James and Lily would choose such a weak rat like him. James and Lily agreed and they did the charm. What we didn't know was that Peter was secretly a Death Eater. He went straight to Voldemort and told him where James and Lily were hiding with baby Harry. That night I was doing my check-ups and when I arrived at Peter's flat no one was there. There didn't seem to be any sign of struggle but I was still worried and I was too late. When I arrived at the house in Godric's Hollow, it was destroyed and James and Lily were dead. Hagrid was there, soothing Harry. I couldn't believe that Harry was alive. But I knew that I needed to find Peter because something wasn't right … how did Voldemort find them? I always wake up aching and missing them terribly."

"Were James and Lily Potter as wonderful as everyone always says?" Ginny asked.

Sirius nodded. "Even more so. Lily was beautiful and she was so smart. James had a crush on her for ages but she would never give him the time of day. She told him that he was a prat and that his ego was too big. She couldn't stand him. James never took any of it seriously; he just mooned over her happily. Then at the end of our sixth year he grew up. You know, stopped being a prat, was more mature and Lily started taking that second look at him. By the beginning of seventh year they were together and they were inseparable. They didn't deserve to die so young."

Ginny smiled. "No one deserves to die so young. But at least you have the memories of them. Harry doesn't even have that."

Sirius nodded, and then he tilted his head, giving Ginny a knowing smile. "You still have a crush on Harry, don't you?"

Ginny's mouth fell open in surprise. "Don't be ridiculous. I got over him ages ago."

Sirius grinned as he watched her carefully. "You love him, don't you?"

"What?"

"You love him. Yeah, you got over the crush but fell in love instead. Am I right?"

Ginny shook her head furiously. "N-n-no."

Sirius grinned. "You're not very convincing. Don't worry; I'm not going to tell him. But I think that you're in love with Harry."

"I-I have a boyfriend."

Sirius nodded. "That may be, but it doesn't change your feelings?"

Ginny sighed, she might as well tell him because he could obviously read her too well. "I'm in love with him. But you can't tell anybody. I told Hermione that I'm over him. And I will be. I mean I'll get over him. I have too. He doesn't like me that way. I'm just Ron's little sister in his eyes."

Sirius grinned. "Well, that's his loss, isn't it? Besides, he's probably just starting to look at girls. Don't lose hope. But I think he'll come to his senses eventually."

Ginny glanced over at him with surprise. "Why would you say that?"

Sirius grinned. "Because the Potters tend to like red heads. Give him time, Gin."

She smiled at him, very pleased by the quick shortening of her name. To her, that was what people called her when they were close. "Well, we'll see. Right now, I think it's better if I just try to get over him. He doesn't know I'm alive, anyway."

He grinned at her and decided that it was best to change the subject. "Hey, want to play a game of chess?"

Ginny smiled. "I'd love to."

And after that, Sirius and Ginny became the best of friends.