A/N: So this is the Unhappy Ending version. Harry is NOT a Horcrux. Thanks for reading this story, adding it to your Favorites and Alerts Lists. Most of all thanks to those who gave kind and supportive reviews. You kept me going. Hope you like how it ends.
June before 6th Year
Harry and Ron were helping greet the wedding guests, and show them to their seats. Ron was less than happy when Krum appeared, and Harry led him to his seat. Harry returned just in time to welcome, "Luna. Hello."
"Hello, Harry. This is my father," she introduced.
"Hello, Mr. Lovegood."
"Harry Potter. We at the Quibbler are great fans of yours," he greeted.
"Uh, thank you. Let me show you to your seats…"
A short time later, Sirius stood beside Remus, as his Best Man.
Harry sat in the front row with Ron and Hermione. Across from them sat Tonk's mother.
Music began and Tonk's appeared, walking up the isle on her father's arm, looking beautiful in her elegant white dress.
Once the wedding was over, the dancing began. Ron spent most of the time scowling at Hermione and Krum. Harry danced with Luna a couple times, Hermione once, and Ginny several times. He and Ginny had become an 'item' over the last school year, and he liked that Ginny wasn't bothered or threatened when he danced with his friends.
That night when they got home Harry pulled out the picture of his parent's wedding, and looked at it for a long time before going to bed. He was sure they'd be happy for Remus, and wished they could have been there.
Sirius wasn't really surprised when a few hours later Harry woke him up, having had a nightmare. He'd seen the picture Harry was looking at when he'd told Harry good night.
July before 6th Year
Harry answered the knock at the door. "Professor Dumbledore. Come in," he said, moving out of the way. "Sirius is in his study."
"Right here, Harry," Sirius said as he walked into the room. "Albus."
"Good evening. I was wondering if I could borrow Harry for an hour or two. I want someone to meet him."
"Who?" Sirius asked, having noted that he wanted someone to meet Harry, not that he wanted Harry to meet this person.
Harry looked at Sirius, and could almost see the thoughts racing in his head.
"It's up to Harry. I have no objections if he wants to go."
"Who's Slughorn?" Harry asked.
"A former Hogwarts' Professor. Your mother was a great favorite of his," Dumbledore answered.
"Okay…" Harry agreed.
"What happened to your hand?" Sirius asked Dumbledore, seeing it blackened and wasted looking.
"It is a long, and interesting story, but Harry and I need to be going," Dumbledore replied.
Harry was enjoying being home for the Christmas holidays. After dinner one night he brought up a subject that had been on his mind.
"Sirius… Do you know about… Horcruxes."
Sirius looked at his godson, his face and tone serious. "I'm a Black, and an Auror. Yes, Harry, I know about them. How do you?"
"Voldemort… He made 7 of them…"
"That's why even the Killing Spell that rebounded from you and hit him didn't kill him. I thought it was because it had lost some of the power when it hit you, but this makes more sense. With a Horcrux, even a Killing Spell couldn't kill him. I assume Dumbledore is working on getting the Horcruxes?"
"Yeah. And he says I can help," Harry replied.
"Harry… You do realize how dangerous it is to be going after Voldemort's Horcruxes?"
"Yes. But destroying them is the only way I can beat him and end this. The Prophecy says one of us has to die, and he can't die until all the Horcruxes are gone. And Dumbledore won't let anything happen to me."
"No… He needs you to much to let you be killed," Sirius said in a bitter tone. He was going to have a long talk with Dumbledore.
Once Harry was asleep Sirius placed a mirror call to Remus, and had Remus come over. He related his conversation with Harry, then continued.
"I think it's even worse though. I wanted you to tell me what you think. I'm afraid… I'm afraid Harry is a living Horcrux. It would explain his link to Voldemort's mind… and Voldemort had just killed Lily and James, so the murder requirement was taken care of…"
Remus mind raced, trying to figure out how Sirius was wrong. After several moments he sighed. "It makes sense. Harry is a Horcrux. You know what that means…"
"The only way to kill Voldemort is to kill Harry first," Sirius said, his voice and heart breaking. He had so hoped Remus would tell him he was wrong, and there was no way Harry could be a Horcrux.
"Have you talked to Dumbledore?"
"No, but rest assured that I will."
"What are you going to tell Harry?" Remus asked, willing to follow Sirius' lead.
"How can I tell him? But… How can I not? He has a right to know, but he already has so much weight on him. To add this… But if I don't tell him now, when I finds out I knew and didn't warn him?" Sirius ran his hands through his hair.
"Talk to Albus before you make any decisions. Maybe he knows what the Horcruxes are, and if Harry is one," Remus suggested.
"Sirius," Dumbledore greeted a week later.
"You've not only told Harry about Horcruxes, but are going to take him with you to go hunting them?"
"He asked to go, Sirius."
"Of course he did! He's James' son!"
"I will keep him safe, Sirius. You have my word on that," Dumbledore replied.
"Yes… How could I forget. You need him alive to fight Voldemort at the end. Or at least not to die just yet. But you do plan for him, the final Horcrux, to die, don't you?" Bitterness and disappointment dripped from Sirius tone.
"Sirius, Harry isn't a Horcrux," Dumbledore said.
"How can you be sure?" Sirius asked, even as relief washed through him.
"Creating a Horcrux takes an extreme act of will, and preparation. Voldemort wouldn't have been capable of performing the spell in the second between sending the Killing Curse at Harry and himself being almost destroyed. He went there to kill Harry, not to create a Horcrux. He wouldn't have been prepared. Harry isn't a Horcrux."
"Then how are their minds linked?"
"I don't know that for sure. But I am very sure that Harry isn't a Horcrux."
"Thank you, Albus."
"I care about him too, Sirius."
"Do you? Do you care about Harry? Or do you care about the Boy Who Lived, the Chosen One, and his place in your plans?"
"Both, Sirius. Both. I can't deny that I must care about the Chosen One. But that doesn't mean I don't also care about the innocent boy who's already been through far too much."
"But you'll still put him through more," Sirius said.
"Yes. If there was another way, I would take it, but there isn't. I wish there was."
Sirius emotions were caught between impressed and terrified as he watched Harry out-fly the cursed Quaffle. He knew even James couldn't have done so well. The worst part was knowing he couldn't help Harry. The cursed ball was so close to Harry, and Harry's flying was so erratic to avoid the ball, that any spell he sent would be as likely to hit Harry as the ball chasing him. All Sirius could do was watch and hope Harry's skill was up to the challenge.
As Harry hit the ground, Sirius raced forward with Remus beside him. Hermione was also running up, and the rest of Harry's team were landing and moving to him.
Harry woke to see Sirius worried grey eyes. "Hey, Kiddo. You gave me real scare."
Sirius rolled his eyes. It was the same thing James would have asked. "You won."
The rest of the Team moved in. "What's that?" Harry asked, seeing the large bundle the Twins held.
"No!" Harry said.
"Hang the broom! I'll have you another one in a day or could have been killed, Harry," Sirius said.
"Give us a few minutes," Sirius told the others. They quickly left.
"Once you are well, you will be writing lines for me, young man. 'My life is more important than winning a Quiditch Match.' I think 500 times will do."
"Or you can lose your flying privileges for the rest of the year, and all summer. The choice is yours."
"I'll write lines," Harry agreed.
"As soon as you saw the Ball was cursed, you should have stopped the Match. You have no idea how scared I was watching you. I'm impressed with your flying – more than impressed – but…"
"My life is more important than winning a Quiditch Match," Harry finished. "Why didn't you stop it?"
"I don't have standing – even as a Hogwarts' Governor. Only one of the players could have stopped it. I'm very disappointed that no one else in your Team did."
"They wanted to. I told them not to."
"Make it 1000 times."
"Harry, if someone's life had been in danger, it would have been fine, and you would not be in trouble. But all that was in danger was winning a Quiditch Match. And…"
"My life is more important than winning a Quiditch Match," Harry finished again.
"Please understand, I am not so much angry at you as worried for you. But I am angry that you would so reckless risk your life for a stupid match."
"But Quiditch, flying, it's what I'm good at! I knew I would be able to do it!"
"And you ended up getting badly hurt. I am well aware of your talent, Harry. We all are. You can out-fly your father, and likely professional players like Krum. Your talent isn't in doubt – hasn't been since your 1st year. Your sense of self preservation however, is very much in doubt."
"You're one to talk…" Harry sulked.
"Harry… Watch your tone. Yes, I've risked my life, and taken chances I probably shouldn't have. But I am not the only one with a chance at beating Voldemort and saving the Wizarding – and Muggle – worlds." As soon as the words were out, Sirius closed his eyes, then slowly opened them again. The look in Harry's eyes told him just how badly he'd messed up. "I apologize, Harry. I should not have said that. I know you already feel too much weight from being the Chosen One. I would never want to add to that. I'm sorry. And I wasn't even thinking about the Prophecy or larger consequences if you couldn't face Voldemort. I was thinking that I could lose you. You are what matters to me, Harry. Because you are my child, not because you are the Chosen One. I love you. You – Harry, my godson, my child. Do you believe me?"
"Yeah. Of course I do, Sirius. I know you love me. I'm sorry I scared you." Even after a couple years with Sirius Harry was still getting used to the idea of having someone worry about him so much – care about him so much.
Sirius hugged his son, and silently vowed to be more careful in what he said.
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"Sirius, I'm not sure you're prepared for how things might end," Dumbledore said as they sat in his office.
"What do you mean?" Sirius asked, his voice chill. "If you mean it might end with Harry's death… No I'm not prepared to accept that. I failed James and Lily once. I will not let their son die. I will not let my godson, my child, die. I will find a way to protect him."
"Harry or Voldemort must die. And now that Voldemort took Harry's blood into his own, the Blood Protection from Lily has become… complicated. I believe Harry will somehow win. But I believe the final battle may come down to Harry facing Voldemort alone. It may just be the two of them. You may not be able to be there to protect him."
Finally Remus spoke. "Or it may be that we can best protect Harry by taking care of the Death Eaters, keeping them away from him, while he deals with Voldemort."
"That I can accept. I'd love to have a real fight with Bellatrix," Sirius said, relaxing a bit, and his voice returning to its usual tone.
"Don't get cocky, Sirius," Remus cautioned. "Yes, you're good. Very good. But so is she."
End of 6th Year
Once the gathering outside the Tower had broken up, Sirius placed his arm around Harry's shoulders. "I'm glad you're safe, Harry," Sirius said, hugging his godson. "I'll be in the rooms I usually use when I'm here, if you want to talk to me. I understand if you need to be with Ron and Hermione right now. I'm staying the rest of the school year."
"Yes. I'll justify it to the other Governors if I have to, but I doubt it will be a problem," Sirius said. "I'm staying here the rest of the year. I wouldn't be surprised if a couple other Governors also come to stay – or at least make regular visits. It'll be expected with no Headmaster."
Harry hugged his godfather close, and rested against Sirius for a few minutes, as Sirius held him safe. "I'm gonna see Ron and Hermione. I'll talk to you later. Sirius… Thanks."
"I love you, Harry."
"I love you, Sirius" Harry said, before leaving.
Two hours later there was a soft knock on Sirius' door. "Come in, Harry," he called, sure no one else would disturb him at this hour.
Seeing the tears shimmering in Harry's eyes, Sirius opened his arms. Harry hurried forward and let himself cry against Sirius shoulder.
Sirius didn't bother telling Harry that it was fine, or that everything would be alright. He simply held him and let him cry. Eventually Harry felt better, and Sirius made hot chocolate. Harry told him about what had happened that night.
"The locket isn't even real," Harry finished. "It had this message." He handed Sirius the small paper.
Sirius went white as he recognized his brother's handwriting. "Reg… Oh, Reg…" he murmured as he read the message.
The pieces fell into place for Harry. Regulus Black. RAB. Sirius younger brother.
"RAB. Your brother…"
"Yes… He didn't die a Death Eater. He saw the truth. He was working against Voldemort at the end."
Hearing the pain in Sirius voice, Harry hugged him. After several silent minutes, Sirius spoke. "I think I know where the real Horcrux is… if Reg didn't manage to destroy it."
"A place I never wanted to go back to… My parent's house. I'll have to go search it."
"I'll some with you. So will Remus, and Ron and Hermione. You don't have to be there by yourself," Harry assured him.
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"Kreacher! Sirius yelled.
"You're back. Mistress wouldn't want you back," Kreacher muttered as he came in from the kitchen.
"Help me find what I need, and I'll leave. I don't want to be here any more than you want me here. Just before Regulus died, did he bring a locket home?"
Kreacher suddenly looked up.
"It looked a lot like this one," Harry said, holding up the locket.
"The locket! You have Master Regulus' locket!" cried Kreacher.
"Did he bring another one home?" Sirius demanded.
"Kreacher, if you give us the other locket, we'll give you this one. You can have Regulus' real locket, if you give us the one he brought home," Hermione said.
"The Mud-Blood speaks to me. Disgraces this House. But you will give me Master Regulus' locket?"
"Yes, you can have Reg's locket if you give us the one he brought home," Sirius said.
Kreacher went away, and eventually returned. Harry held out the locket, and Kreacher snatched it, throwing the real Horcrux at Harry.
"Let's go," Sirius said.
"You can't just leave him here alone…" Hermione protested.
Sirius paused and turned to Kreacher. "Kreacher, do you want to leave? Do you want me to free you?"
"NO! NO! NO! Even the traitorous son isn't that cruel! You wouldn't free me and make me leave! You wouldn't free me from my Mistress's home!"
Sirius turned back to Hermione. "You see, Hermione? Leaving him here is what he wants. Let's go. I hate being here."
"Thank you!" Kreacher said as they left. Hermione gave a sad look back to see him clutching the locket to his chest.
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"I would like to make Delores Unbridge the new Headmaster of Hogwarts," the Minister of Magic told the assembled Hogwarts Governors.
"The last thing the students need is more upheaval or a new face. I think Professor McGonnagall, the Deputy Head Mistress, would be the most logical choice," Sirius countered. "And it is the job of the Hogwarts Governors, not the Minister of Magic, to choose the new Headmaster."
They voted, and the Minister left the meeting fuming, as the vote had been unanimous against his choice.
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Sirius was reviewing the homework that the students had just turned in, as he was taking Remus classes for a few days over the full moon. Opening Draco's scroll he was surprised to see small scrap of parchment fall out.
Please meet me near the Shrieking Shack on the next Hogsmeade Weekend. I need to talk to the Head of the House of Black..
Sirius re-read it a couple times. What game was Draco playing? And why the Shrieking Shack? It was outside the view of the Marauder's Map… Did Draco want to talk to him without taking the risk that Voldemort would see it on the Map? Or was this a trap?
He'd meet Draco, with Lupin nearby, Sirius decided.
Looking around, Sirius saw Draco standing just under the cover of the trees. "Draco?"
"No one can see us talking," Draco said, motioning Sirius over. "Please," he reluctantly added when Sirius didn't move.
"What is going on, Daco?"
"I'm risking a lot by talking to you. I… I need your help. My mother needs your help. Voldemort has moved into our place. Voldemort was furious my father lost that diary, and about what happened at the World Cup. I… I want out. I think Mum does too, but she's scared."
"Draco, I want to believe you. But you know enough of my past to understand why I am wary of spies and traitors. How do I know this isn't your way of winning favor with Voldemort – becoming close to his enemies then betraying us to him?"
"Look, I'm not saying I don't still love being a Pure Blood, and think Harry is a prat. I just don't want to be the one who pays the next time my father messes up. And father takes all Voldemort's anger at him out on me. He's was never the nicest guy, but now… I have to get away from him."
"Draco, has he hurt you? Are you injured?" Sirius cut in, now truly concerned. His opinion of Lucius had never been high, but to abuse his own child…
"Mum used healing spells. I'm fine. I don't enjoy asking you for help. I hate it, and wouldn't do it if I had any other choice… But I don't. You and Dumbledore are the only ones powerful enough to protect Mum and me. I can't approach Dumbledore – they'd find out. That leaves you, Sirius."
"I'll talk to Dumbledore and the others. If you think there is immediate danger, go to Lupin or Harry. They can contact me. Draco… If you are lying and betray my godson, you will wish you'd been left to your father's less-than-tender mercies."
Draco nodded, to show he understood.
June after 7th Year
"Death-Eaters are starting to search the area east of London," Mad Eye reported. "I'm assuming that's where you're hiding Harry."
"It is," Sirius responded. "And I'm glad they've found it."
"By the end of the month Harry and I will be moving to our new home. Let the Death Eaters keep looking for the old one."
"As soon as he leaves it…"
"The blood protection ends. It's only a few weeks early, and they won't be expecting us to move yet," Sirius said. "The house still has other protections, as does our new one."
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"Harry, you'll need to start packing your things. We have to move," Sirius said as they finished dinner.
"What? I know the blood protection ends, but we still have the Fidelis Charm, and the other spells," Harry said.
"And our new home has those as well. The Death Eaters have found this general area. Our new home is far away from here. And that isn't the only reason for moving. Once you turn 17 this becomes your house, Harry. As your Guardian it was my place to be here, and run the house. But once you turn 17… You can choose to stay here, or live in my new home with me. Of course I want you to stay with me, especially through your final year at Hogwarts. You'll always be welcome in my home, if you live there, or live here and just visit me. My home is yours, Harry. Always. But it is time for me, and I hope you, to move to that home. And you're at least moving there until you turn 17."
Harry sat in stunned silence, thinking about what Sirius had said. The house would become his… He'd certainly stay with Sirius any time he was home over the school year; but after graduation… He decided he'd figure that out when the time came. It felt good to know that he had choices, options; and that he'd always have a home with Sirius.
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Voldemort looked at his gathered Death Eaters. "Now that I have the Death Stick, the unbeatable Wand, we will attack the Ministry. No one ill be able to stand in my way or stop me!"
They all cheered, and Voldemort smiled.
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Harry was flying behind the house, when he felt a joy he knew wasn't his own. He landed and hurried inside.
"Sirius, Voldemort is really happy. Like we was after he got the Master Wand. Something is happening. I'm sure of it."
"Ok. Let's get to the Ministry. We need to warn the Aurors."
A moment later they were standing in Mad-Eye's office. He pulled out the Dark Mark Map. As they watched, a group of Death Eaters suddenly appeared in the streets outside the Ministry.
"AURORS! WE'RE UNDER ATTACK! DEATH EATERS ARE HERE!" Mad-Eye yelled to the other Aurors.
"Harry…" Sirius began.
"I'm not leaving! This is it. It's time to finish this, Sirius. I have to be here…"
Sirius reluctantly nodded. Harry was an adult now, and he couldn't order him away. Sirius pulled out his mirror and called Remus, as Harry called Ron and Hermione.
Seconds later the Weasleys and Remus had Apparated in. "Greyback is mine," Remus said.
"I want Peter," Sirius replied as they left the room side-by-side.
"You may have your hands full with your cousin," Remus replied.
"That works too," Sirius said.
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The Ministry was in shambles as the various fights continued. The main fight was in the Veil Room.
Ron and Hermione dueled a brother and sister. Remus was dealing with Greyback. Sirius dueled his cousin as Harry faced Voldemort.
"You'll have to do better than that, Bella," Sirius taunted as her curse missed him. He sent his own Stunning Spell, that knocked her to the floor, unconscious.
Sirius attention immediately went to Harry. Harry dodged a curse. Sirius suddenly saw the solution he'd been desperate to find. He could save Harry – the same way Lily had. He just had to wait for the right moment – the right Curse. He moved to stand beside his godson, as he'd so often stood beside James. "I'm sorry, Harry, but it's the only way. I love you, Little One," he said softly.
Harry looked at his godfather, not understanding.
Voldemort sent a Killing Curse at Harry. Sirius threw himself in front of his godson, taking the curse.
"NO! NOT AGAIN!" screamed Voldemort in rage as he realized what Sirius had done.
Harry looked up from his godfathers dead body, raised his wand, and calmed spoke the word, "Cruciatus."
Voldemort fell to the floor, screaming in agony. Some part of Harry's mind remembered that when Remus had taught them about the Unforgivables he'd said, 'you have to really mean it.' Yes, Harry did mean for Voldemort to suffer. His godfather was dead, and he wanted Voldemort to suffer.
"Harry, stop. This has to end," Remus said.
Harry ended the spell. "Yes. It has to end," Harry said, turning to meet his uncle's eyes.
Remus saw the devastation and pain in Harry's eyes. Voldemort sent another killing Curse at Harry, but it didn't hurt him.
Harry turned back to Voldemort. "My godfather made sure you can't ever hurt me again."
Voldemort tried once more, this time Harry cast his own spell, "Expelleromus."
There was an explosion of light as the spells collided. Both rebounded. Harry's wand flew from his hand, but Voldemort's life was ended by his own spell.
Harry sank to his knees and wept beside his godfather's body. Ginny came up and wrapped her arms around him. Tonk's held Remus close as he wept for his lost friend.
Hermione held Ron as he wept for the Twins, who'd both been killed by Death Eaters.
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That night Remus and Harry sat with Ron, Hermione, Ginny, and Tonks. They all sipped hot chocolate.
"As much as Sirius loved James, he loved you even more, Harry. James was his brother, but you were his child. As a father, I can tell you that a child means more than anything else in this world," Remus said, looking over at Tonks, who held Teddy in her arms.
When Harry spoke, his voice was low and broken. "I thought… I thought I'd be the one to die. I was ready to do it. I would have…"
"We know that, Harry. We all do. But Sirius couldn't let you die if there was a way to save you. He just did what any parent would do," Remus said.
"But what do I do? What am I supposed to do now?" Harry said.
"Live, Harry. That is how you honor Sirius memory, your parent's memory: you live."
"But how? I was going to live with Sirius. He was going to help me become an Auror. He was…"
Harry's voice broke completely, and tears began to fall again. Ginny wrapped her arms around him, offering what comfort she could.
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A gathering such as hadn't been seen in the Hollow since the burial of James and Lily Potter was taking place. Harry and Remus had refused to let Sirius be buried with the Black family. They agreed Sirius would rather be buried besides James and Lily.
Ron and Hermione stood either side of Harry. Tonks, holding Teddy, stood beside Remus. The gravestone was simple. It had his name, birth and death dates, and three words.
"Sirius taught me that you don't have to be perfect to be a hero. Sirius wasn't perfect, but he was a hero. He was a Marauder. An Auror. A Godfather. He was the only parent I ever knew. I love him. I'll miss him," Harry said.
"As Harry said, Sirius was many things. Brave. Impetuous. Talented. Arrogant. Loyal. Clever. Charming. Frustrating. Strong willed. A Black who was friends with Muggle-borns. An Auror thrown into Azkaban. A reckless playboy who became a devoted parent. As his favorite Muggle author said: He was a man, taken for all in all, we shall not look upon his like again. Good bye, Padfoot."
A/N: Please don't think I was trying to make Sirius the hero instead of Harry. Harry is the chosen one and a hero. Just as Lily saving Harry didn't make him less of a hero I don't see Sirius saving Harry making Harry less of a hero. I mostly wanted to show just how much Sirius had come to love Harry.