This chapter is dedicated to CompYES. Thank you for your review :)
Disclaimer: I do not own Harry Potter, and I am not making any money from this.
The first thing Sirius noticed when he stepped out of Dumbledore's floo was the shocked faces of some of his former professors. He had thought that by doing this late at night the office would be empty, and he would be able to seek Dumbledore out. But apparently that was not to be the case.
Sirius tried to ignore the wands trained at him, and said as casually as he could "Sorry to interrupt, but I was wondering if I'd be able to have a word with you Albus? Alone." Okay, so perhaps he should have thought that through better, but planning ahead wasn't his strong suit. And really, what else was he supposed to say?
"Sirius Black!" The voice belonged to his former head of house. Sirius had never seen her quite this severe, though he really wasn't surprised. After all, he was a convicted mass murderer, even if he was innocent.
Sirius held up his hands. "You can take my wand; it's in my left pocket. I'm not here to harm anyone; I just need to speak with Dumbledore."
Minerva's gaze flickered to Dumbledore who gave a small nod of the head. It was hard to read the expression on Dumbledore's face, and he had not yet taken his wand out. Flitwick and Sprout still had their wands trained on Sirius. Minerva stepped forward carefully, quickly taking the wand from Sirius.
"Ah, Minerva if I may?" Dumbledore said, holding his hand out for Sirius' wand. Dumbledore's eyes were hard, but he kept his voice light. "Now, if you may all excuse us, I believe Sirius here wanted a word with me."
This was met with instant protests. "Albus! You cannot be serious! He's dangerous; we have to alert the ministry!"
Dumbledore fixed his gaze on his three employees. "I do believe that I am more than a match for an unarmed wizard. We shall be fine. You may however wait outside if you are so inclined. I will alert the Ministry myself, once I have finished speaking to Sirius."
His tone left no room for argument, and one by one the three of them left the office. "Now Sirius, I do find it curious that a guilty man such as yourself would willingly seek me out and turn over your wand. What exactly did you come here for?"
"To prove my innocence." Sirius said, as he slammed Wormtail, in his rat form, onto Dumbledore's desk. Dumbledore raised an eyebrow at the rat and motioned for Sirius to keep speaking.
The whole story came tumbling out after that. Everything from becoming an animagus in school, to switching to Peter at the last minute, to tracking Peter down and having the rat outsmart him. At the end of the tale, Dumbledore looked decidedly less dangerous and quite a bit more thoughtful. At least Sirius hoped that wasn't just wishful thinking on his part.
"I see. You wouldn't mind of course, if I tested your story?" Dumbledore said, gesturing to Wormtail. "And you would agree to tell your story once more under the influence of Veritaserum?"
Sirius agreed immediately, and Dumbledore wasted no time in reverting Peter back to human form. After that things went quite smoothly. Dumbledore had restrained Peter, to keep him from escaping, and he called Minerva and the others back in. Veritaserum was quickly fetched, the story retold, and ministry representatives were called in to witness the interrogation of both Sirius and Peter.
Since Sirius had never received a trial, and had thus never been formally convicted, the process to exonerate him was quite simple. The story would appear in the next morning's Daily Prophet, and Sirius would receive compensation for his wrongful imprisonment. Of course there were those within the ministry that would protest once they found out, but the fact was that Sirius was innocent. They had enough evidence with Peter in custody, as well as both Sirius and Peter's testimony, that any protests would be overruled.
Sirius was a free man.
Harry hadn't always liked Christmas. There was a time when he hated it, and as he got older and went to Hogwarts he grew to like it. Once he had friends. But Harry had never actually been excited for Christmas before, at least not in the way he was now. It was mid-December and school had just been let out for Christmas break. Although Harry was an adult living in his five year old body he was enjoying his time with his new friends immensely.
That was something he hadn't expected. After all, they were just children. He had thought that he'd be bored out of his mind most of the time, but he wasn't. Harry had been in the past for six months now, and nearly four of those months had been spent getting to know his new friends. He felt close to them, in a different way than he did with Ron, Hermione, and Ginny.
Harry felt quite close to all of them, but he felt especially close to Katie Bell and Tracey Davis. Katie lived in the house directly behind the Dursleys, while Tracey lived in the house directly beside the Dursleys. Dean Thomas lived in the house on the other side of the Dursleys, and Harry quite liked having him there. It was nice to have Dean close by, or Harry would have been surrounded entirely by his female friends. Demelza Robins lived across the street from Harry, as did Hannah Abbot. Megan Jones, Justin Finch-Fletchy, Terry Boot, Mandy Brockleburst, Su Li, and Kevin Entwhistle all lived just down the street from Harry.
Last month Dean had come up with the idea that they should build a club house, a secret one of course. A place where they could meet and play/hang out whenever they wanted. The idea had been a hit; of course five year olds weren't the best at building forts. It had been frustrating for Harry to watch, when he would know exactly what had to be done. But they were just children, and he couldn't expect them to build the kind of fort they wanted. Children had great imaginations after all, but lacked the practical skills necessary to build the kind of fort they had imagined.
That's when Mandy's father had stepped in. He was a construction worker, and Mandy had told him all about the fort they were trying to build. Over the last month he had come every day after work and helped them build. Well, really he did most of the building while the rest of them stood around and passed him nails and things. He brought supplies from various job sites, and occasionally got a co-worker to come help.
They had finished the fort near the end of November, and it was pretty great. It was a multi-level tree fort. It had a ground level, and a top level up in the trees. In between the two levels was a mid-level that was more of a lookout point type of thing. There was a pulley system to get things from the ground level to the top and vice versa. Once it was finished Harry had gone and cast some basic charms on it, for stability, warmth, and various other common charms used on Wizarding buildings. He had also charmed the fort, and surrounding area to ward off anyone other than the twelve of them.
That's where Harry was heading now, along with Katie. It was getting to be quite common to find Katie in the Dursley household, as she often hopped the fence between her house and Harry's to spend time there. Ever since Christmas break had started a few days prior Harry and his group of friends had been spending most of their time at the tree fort.
"We should give it a name!" Katie said excitedly. "We spend so much time there, and it's so neat. It'll be like a real fort if we give it a name, we can make a flag and everything!"
"That's a great idea Katie!"
"What's a great idea?" Asked Tracey, jumping up to Harry and Katie since she was in the middle of a game of hop-scotch with Demelza.
"About time! We've been waiting forever for you guys!" Demelza said, smiling at Harry.
"What was the idea?" Tracey persisted, and Harry grinned. He was coming to understand that Tracey hated to be left 'out of the loop' so to speak.
"Giving the tree fort a name!" Harry replied, "It was Katie's idea."
"Oooh, we should! That's a great idea!" Katie smiled at Demelza praise, blushing a bit.
"Well, just as long as we don't name it after that football team Dean likes so much…" Tracey said, and they all laughed.
"Come on, let's go tell the others!"
First off, I am so sorry it took so long to update. All I can say is that life got in the way, it's been a crazy year for me.
Secondly, thanks to everyone that's stuck with me! And to everyone that has reviewed, I appreciate you all!
Next, I'm going to apologize now for any spelling and grammar mistakes in this chapter, I didn't have time to edit it before I posted it. Also, I'm sorry that it's so short! But I wanted to get a chapter out ASAP, because I figured that I've kept you guys waiting long enough. I'm going to try and post the next chapter within the next two weeks though, and it'll be a much longer one!
Lastly, I'd like you guys to give me your opinions on what they should name the tree fort. I'd also like some suggestions for names for Harry and his group of friends, keep in mind that it should be something that they can still use once they get to Hogwarts and get older. I have a couple ideas, but I'm not too happy with them. If I pick your idea you will receive credit for it.
Sneak Peak as to what's going to be in the next chapter:
- Ron and Ginny are going to break through and get the first horcrux! It will be dangerous, and perhaps not go as smoothly as they had planned.
- Sirius hits a snag in trying to gain custody of Harry.
- We get to see how the Weasleys are doing.
As always, please review!