A/N: I was re-reading OotP a few weeks ago and I realized that Arthur and Sirius seem to have an interesting relationship – mainly that it's a lot fonder than Sirius/Molly. And it got me thinking…why would Arthur not immediately agree with his wife when she was arguing with Sirius about Harry? I remembered the first time reading this book I was surprised that he practically sided with Sirius. Then it hit me: they're both "blood traitors" and they both enchant Muggle artifacts. If that doesn't make guys bond, I don't know what does.
Standard disclaimers apply.
Of Cleaning and Flying Vehicles
If Arthur Weasley were asked a month ago what he thought about Sirius Black, he would've said that the man was a raging psychopath who ruined many lives.
But now here he is, about to be living under the same roof as him.
Of course, now he knows better: Sirius Black was unfortunately framed for the atrocities committed on that Halloween night. What surprised him the most about discovering this, however, was that Ronald knew about it for a year and kept silent about it.
The growing distance between him and his youngest son pains him, just like it did with his older sons.
At first, Arthur couldn't help but feel anxious when he and his family are brought to Number Twelve Grimmauld Place. Even though he knows Sirius Black is not a killer, he had stood at his youngest son's bedside with a knife! He could've killed his child! A parent certainly doesn't forget that easily.
So he enters the extremely old house with his hand clasped around his wand and the rest of his family behind him.
"Quiet 'round here. Mrs. Black will have a fit," Moody growls, gesturing towards the set of curtains on the wall.
Figuring it must be an enchanted portrait, Arthur nods his head in understanding. Just in case, he whirls his head behind him and shoots the twins warning glares, who stare back innocently.
Once Moody leads the Weasley family through the foyer, they arrive in the living room where bottles of cleaning supplies are stacked on the floor, waiting to be used. Ginny sneezes as dust particles rise to the air as they step on the dirty carpet. Arthur's nose twitches in slight disgust – this house is unfit to live in.
"Hey, Lupin, the Weasleys have arrived," Moody calls out, a bit louder than he was in the hallway. "I have to go – business," he grunts to the Weasleys before going back from which they came.
On cue, Remus strolls out from what seems to be the kitchen with a spray bottle and a facemask dangling from his neck. He greets them with a warm smile.
"Hello, everyone. I would greet you properly, but I'm a mess," Remus says, walking towards them.
Arthur could see his point. The poor man's clothes look even worse for wear and he's covered head-to-toe in dust.
"We're trying to make this place…a little bit more habitable," Remus continues.
Arthur sneaks a glance at Molly and almost laughs at her horrified expression.
"Well…we haven't got a moment to spare," Molly strangles out, her voice strained. "Boys! Start cleaning this general vicinity!"
Everyone collectively groans.
"But Mum! We just got here!" Ron complains.
"This constitutes as abuse!" one of the twins adds.
"Do you want to be rolling around in dust and Merlin knows what else?" Molly threatens, her lovely brown eyes flashing dangerously. "Ginny – you come with me into the kitchen. Remus, dear, you can take a break. You look worn out," Molly adds kindly.
Remus smiles sheepishly. "It's quite all right, but thank you, Molly."
The unmistakable sound of footsteps down stairs catches Arthur's ear.
"Oi, Remus, you won't believe what I found in my old room!" a voice calls out.
Remus rolls his eyes. "This is the third time, Sirius! Continue cleaning," he replies, but he's laughing.
The name makes Arthur's stomach lurch unpleasantly. That's right, Remus Lupin and Sirius Black were childhood friends along with Harry's father, he realizes.
The footsteps get closer and suddenly, Sirius Black is standing merely a few feet away from Arthur and his family.
Arthur's grip on his wand tightens as he observes Black, ready if he makes any sudden movements. Although the man before him no longer resembles the monster in the Wanted posters, his eyes still retain that shadows depicted in the photographs – Azkaban did quite a number on him.
But otherwise, Black is still quite handsome and Arthur could tell that in his youth he was even more so; his charming grin would've obviously attracted many girls in school.
Seeing this man smiling and holding up what seems to be an old test with his wand safely tucked away in his belt, Arthur doesn't quite see how anyone would've believed him to be a murderer.
Black quickly realizes that he is no longer alone and smiles at the Weasleys. "Hi – the Weasley family, I'm assuming? I'm Sirius Black…as you're probably well aware of," he introduces himself rather shamelessly, walking over to them.
"Hey, Sirius," Ron greets.
Black and he shake hands first. "Nice to see you, Ron."
Then he stares at Arthur Weasley and he knows that he has to set the bar for the rest of the family. Deciding to momentarily trust Dumbledore's word, he sticks out his hand. Black takes it heartily.
Arthur tries to convince himself that there's truly nothing to fear about Sirius Black.
Lupin smiles widely as Black shakes hands with everyone in the Weasley family.
Arthur wishes he could believe more sincerely in Dumbledore's and Lupin's trusts in this man, but it's rather hard to undo fourteen years of believing in something horrific.
Arthur helps out with the cleaning for a while – mostly ridding the living room of dark creatures with Lupin. He keeps checking up the stairs because Fred and George had ran up about thirty seconds after Black did. There shouldn't be any reason to fear for his sons' well-beings, but he can't help it.
After the fourth time in two minutes, Lupin notices.
"Are you okay, Arthur?" Lupin inquires as he waves his wand lazily at a creature that Arthur shamefully forgot the name of (he was never very good with remembering names of creatures).
"Yes, yes. Just a bit concerned with everything going on," Arthur answers, hoping he doesn't sound false.
Lupin stares at him for a few moments before saying, "I know you don't trust Sirius," in a low voice.
"I do," Arthur lies.
Lupin smiles. "It's okay. Sometimes I wake up and half-expect it to all be just a dream."
Arthur looks away, unable to comprehend what he must've gone through all these years, dwelling over the "fact" that his best friend was a murder.
"I know my word won't mean much to you on this, but you can trust him. He's one of the most loyal people I've ever known. There's a reason why his Animagus form is a dog."
Arthur tries his best to accept this, he really does…
But he checks the stairs again, rather relieved to find the twins walking down them, identical mischievous smirks on their faces (never a good sign). Lupin smiles at the twins and their smirks widen.
Suddenly, Lupin grins and Arthur instantly realizes something: Lupin understands them. He just had to be a mischief-maker in his youth – Arthur knows that look anywhere.
When Arthur narrows his eyes at the boys suspiciously, they begin to whistle and head into the kitchen.
He directs his gaze toward Lupin, whose face has smoothed over to mild puzzlement.
He's very good, Arthur thinks.
"Sirius and Fred and George will get along famously," Lupin points out arbitrarily, focusing his attention on cleaning.
Arthur doesn't know whether to lament over the fact that his troublesome boys are going to have two possible mentors or that he's going to have to tell Molly about this development.
"Oh, Professor Moony," Fred says, sticking his head out from the kitchen.
George sticks his head right below Fred's. "Mr. Padfoot requires your presence in his bed chamber."
Lupin lets out a laugh, confusing Arthur. "All right, then. Thank you, gentlemen."
Fred and George salute at the same time before disappearing.
Arthur stares at Lupin with raised eyebrows.
"I better go," Lupin says, his mildly emotionless expression on his face once more.
In that moment, Kingsley's Patronous appears in front of Lupin. "Dumbledore says it's time," the lynx states before disappearing.
Lupin frowns and sighs, looking older than he is. "I'm afraid I have to leave. Will you just let Sirius know? I should be back in a day or two."
Arthur clenches his jaw, but nods in agreement.
"Thank you." Lupin heads toward the front door but before he reaches the portrait, he turns to Arthur and says, "Maybe you can help him out a bit? Being in this house depresses him and I don't fancy the idea of his being alone for too long," in a whisper. "It's the third door on your left."
"Sure," Arthur says, not quite sure if he really plans on doing so.
Lupin smiles gratefully at Arthur before disappearing through the foyer.
Arthur knocks on the door twice.
"Moony, just come in!" he hears Black say with a laugh.
Internally sighing, Arthur opens the door to find Black sitting on the floor cross-legged. But what surprises him is the rather large Hippogriff on the bed, gnawing on a bone. He looks cramped.
Black turns to the door with a grin, which fades a bit when he sees Arthur standing there. "Oh, hello Arthur," he greets, not unfriendly.
Arthur coughs rather awkwardly. "Sorry, don't mean to barge in, but Lupin had to leave for a mission and mentioned that you might need some help with your room."
Black shrugs, his smile completely gone. "It was nothing important – I don't really need help."
"All right, then. I will see you at dinner," Arthur says, hoping his ears aren't red with embarrassment.
Clearly sensing Arthur's discomfort, Black offers, "But I wouldn't mind if you searched through this box," while pointing to a rather large box in the corner by the door. "I think it's just old tests that I miraculously kept, but there may be other documents. Yesterday I found a copy of my father's will in one of them, which was strange…he actually left me a knut. What a bloke," Black continues, his voice dripping with sarcasm as he rolls his disquieting gray eyes.
Arthur nods to the Hippogriff. "Are you sure it's okay?"
Black waves a hand dismissively. "Just bow and once he does, you're fine." Then he thoughtfully adds, "I really need to move him into my mother's room, but it's not cleaned out yet."
Arthur feels silly bowing, but he gives a low one, remembering that Hippogriffs are temperamental creatures. After a second, the Hippogriff bows back.
Arthur steps into the room and unwillingly shuts the door behind him.
"This box?" Arthur gestures to the large box to his right.
"That's the one."
As Arthur lowers himself to the ground, he thinks about how odd this situation is.
He really hopes he can finish this quickly so he can go downstairs and be with his family.
Well, Black is right: it's mostly old tests. Most of them are perfect marks, but every once in a while Arthur will find one with missing answers, always on the last page, which he doesn't understand.
There's also a note from Black's mother that tells him to not break anything while she and her husband are at a dinner party and proceeds to call him a disgrace to the family and other horrible things.
He feels a twinge of sympathy for Black – he knows what it's like to be called an embarrassment to the wizarding world for being a "blood traitor." Maybe they have more in common than he thought possible.
Arthur does a double take on the next piece of parchment.
It's a rather crude drawing of a large motorbike, but there are many notes and written-down spells that he remembers using once to enchant his Ford Anglia (how he misses that car…).
He looks up to stare at Sirius Black in complete shock.
"Is this yours?" he inquires rather stupidly, holding up the parchment.
Black glances up and after a moment, he laughs. "Yeah. That was my first prototype. Ever since I was fifteen I'd wanted to bewitch a motorbike. That was a rudimentary design. I thought I left it here!" He takes the parchment from Arthur's grasp and quickly reads over his notes. "Damn, I had the right idea at first. I had to redraw it after I ran away and I stupidly forgot about which spells I researched. If I hadn't left it here I would've had it done before I finished Hogwarts."
Arthur doesn't bother to hide his awe and amazement: it took him the better part of three years to enchant his car to make it fly – a sixteen-year-old boy was able to figure most of it out? He doesn't know whether to feel like an idiot or to believe that Sirius Black was a child prodigy.
"I enchanted a Ford Anglia a few years back," Arthur tells Black, trying not to sound too proud.
Black raises an eyebrow, impressed. "What model?"
"A light blue 105E. It was remarkable," Arthur answers with a loving sigh.
"What happened to it?" Black turns his body so he's facing Arthur, completely forgetting about organizing.
"My son and Harry flew to Hogwarts with it three years ago because they couldn't get to the Hogwarts Express and didn't bother writing a letter. It's now wild in the Forbidden Forest."
Black laughs loudly, heavily reminding Arthur of a barking dog. "Oh, that's brilliant. James would've loved that," he says fondly before saying in all seriousness, "I'm sorry about that – it takes a lot of hard work to enchant a Muggle vehicle."
Arthur nods solemnly. They seem to mourn in silence for a moment before Arthur asks Black, "What bike did you end up bewitching?"
"It was a black, 1959 Triumph Bonneville T120. I gave it to Hagrid to take Harry from…yeah. I think he still has it," he answers, looking away and muttering the last part.
Arthur feels a pang of sadness for this man; he's experienced so much grief from that war when he was only in his early twenties. He simply can't imagine going through anything like that when he was that age.
"I also modified the car so that it could turn invisible," Arthur blurts, hoping to distract Black from his memories.
It takes a moment, but Arthur is rewarded when Black's eyes light up excitedly. "Did you really? I didn't feel the need to – a bit of a risk-taker, I was," Black admits. "Do you mind showing me how you did it? Doing a bike was quite hard enough – I can't imagine doing a car – the engine alone would've driven me crazy."
For the next hour or so, Arthur sketches out his old car, explaining the charms he used to make it fly, turn invisible, and magically stretch to fit over ten people. Black chimes in to explain what he used for his bike; sometimes claiming his spell was more effective or stating that Arthur's was better.
Arthur was never able to talk about his bewitched car because it was technically illegal, so being able to discuss the details and the process with someone who is equally passionate about it is extremely pleasing.
Arthur completely loses track of time until the bedroom door swings open to reveal Molly.
"Arthur, dear, I've been calling you! Supper is ready," she explains, sounding slightly exasperated.
Arthur freezes a little and hopes Molly will go back to the kitchen and won't see the scattered papers all over the ground.
But his wishing was in vain as Molly's eyes lower to what Black and Arthur have been working on.
Her lips purse together. "Arthur, what is this?"
Arthur tries to laugh. "Oh, just having a little conversation with Sirius here, nothing to be concerned about."
Sirius covers his mouth, but he can't hide his eyes, which are filled with amusement.
"I thought we discussed this, Arthur, that you wouldn't involve yourself with enchanted Muggle forms of transportation!"
Arthur winces at her harsh tone. "Yes, well, I did say that, but Sirius enchanted a motorbike when he was younger! Fancy that!"
Molly is not amused. She directs her fury toward Sirius, who tries to charm Molly with a grin.
She narrows her eyes more.
Sirius drops the grin.
"You better not get any funny ideas!" she threatens them.
"Yes, dear," Arthur announces quickly.
Sirius clearly doesn't know whether to laugh or quiver in fear, so he just nods once, his mouth twitching.
She smiles again, warming Arthur's heart. "As I said, dinner is ready. Make sure you wash up," she says before disappearing down the stairs.
Sirius stares at Arthur incredulously.
Arthur shrugs his shoulders. "I love her dearly – I'd do anything for her," he answers. But after a moment, he whispers in rush, "Hide the drawings – somewhere my wife won't look."
Sirius gives a roguish grin. "Will do." He collects the sketches and charms them with his wand, wiping them blank. Then he goes over to the Hippogriff, patting his head a few times before hiding the papers under his bed. "This room is almost done – she won't come in here."
Arthur nods. "Good, good."
Sirius walks over to Arthur and claps a hand on his shoulder. "I can see where the twins get it from," he says before removing his hand and walking out the door.
Arthur doesn't know whether to feel proud or a little concerned.
He quickly follows after Sirius to the kitchen.
"Hey, Sirius? Why did you leave test answers blank?" he inquires as they walk down the stairs.
"Because I was bored and didn't feel like finishing them," Sirius answers without looking back.
Arthur smiles and shakes his head. What a fascinating person Sirius Black is; he thinks living here will be just fine.
A/N: I'd love to know what you guys think, so please review!