Disclaimer: I don't own it. JK does.
Shivering, the eight year old boy wrapped his arms around himself, trying to will the oversized shirt to be warmer, to protect him against the harsh autumn cold. Something seemed to have worked, because he was sure he was beginning to become a little warmer, but perhaps he was just imagining it. Regardless, he hoisted his backpack further up on his shoulder, not wanting to drop it despite its rather meagre contents; it was all he had.
His only extra set of clothing (just as oversized as the ones he was wearing right now), his scruffy blanket, three apples and a fairy-tale book he'd taken from Dudley's extra room once had been neatly packed into the practically unused backpack - which he was sure his aunt and uncle had forgotten existed - earlier that day when Harry Potter, eight years old and the resident freak in the Dursley household, in a fit of panic and fear, had run away from home.
Now, in retrospect, he was sure it hadn't been one of his brightest moments - not that he had many of those, according to his aunt - but he was sure he couldn't go back. The mere thought of the beating Uncle Vernon would give him if he returned now had him blanching in fear, and no matter how much he wanted to crawl into the warmth of his cupboard, he forced himself onward, through streets he didn't recognize, towards a destination he didn't know.
He did feel kind of bad for taking the things he had - stealing was bad, Aunt Petunia had told him on many occasions - but he seriously doubted they would miss them. Except, perhaps, the apples; Uncle Vernon and Dudley were very serious about their food.
Looking up from his feet, Harry realized he had come to a cross-road, and he bit his lip, pushing his glasses, that were beginning to fall off, up his nose as he looked from side to side, trying to determine which way to go. The road going left seemed to only lead into more houses, but the further down the road to his right he was sure he could make out a play-ground, or perhaps a park, and he figured it would be as good a place as any. If anything, he supposed he could find some place to sleep there, as it was late, and soon it would be getting dark.
Choosing to go right, he soon saw that he was nearing a playground and a park, and he couldn't help but grin at having guessed right. And Uncle Vernon thought he was stupid. His little burst of joy - out of place and most likely highly inappropriate - faded soon, however, as a particularly cold gust of wind tore through his tiny frame, and he couldn't shake the feeling that it was laughing at him, mocking (a word he'd learnt once when his aunt, uncle and cousin had been away, and he'd been looking through Dudley's very unused dictionary) him in his plight.
Pouting, and trying to suppress all the other emotions that threatened to well up inside of him - he had run away from home he was all alone it was cold Aunt Petunia would be furious he was all alone it was getting dark he was cold Uncle Vernon would beat him with his belt he was all alone - he walked up to the play-ground's swing-set, sitting down on one of the swings with a despondent sigh.
Looking around his surroundings in an attempt to distract himself from his own thoughts, his eyes fell onto a large dog he for some reason hadn't noticed earlier, and despite the situation, he found a smile forming on his face. He'd always liked dogs - except Aunt Marge's - even though they'd never had one, since Aunt Petunia didn't like dogs at all. It was one of the things not even a Dudley-tantrum had been able to change.
He held out a hand towards the dog - a large thing with shaggy, black fur and suspicious yellow eyes - still smiling. "Hey there, boy," he said calmly, having heard once on TV that you were supposed to let the dog come to you, or something like that. He'd been cooking dinner at that moment, so he hadn't been able to focus too much on the telly.
The dog was still eyeing him suspiciously, but after a few moments where it looked as if it was debating running away, it slowly edged closer to him, carefully sniffing at his outstretched hand. Harry waited patiently for the dog to relax, and then began scratching it behind its ear, letting out a small laugh as the dog immediately began wagging its tail, buffing up into his hand for more.
The little boy laughed, eagerly continuing to scratch the dog, letting it buff its large body into his in an attempt to be scratched more. Harry accepted the source of warmth, leaving the swing in favour of slumping down on the ground with the dog, leaning into its warm body as he continued to scratch it.
"You're the best dog, ever," Harry mumbled later, sighing in content, when both dog and boy had calmed down and were now sitting on the ground next to each other. The dog nudged him with its head as if to say "Why yes, yes I am," making Harry laugh. Moments later, however, he shivered, and tried to pull his shirt closer around himself. It was darkening rapidly now, and with the fading light the remnants of warmth began to disperse. Doubting it would do him much good, but cold enough to try, he pulled out his tattered blanket from his backpack, wrapping himself in the worn fabric.
The dog gave him an odd look, and Harry found himself looking away, feeling a blush creep up his cheeks. "I ran away from home," he admitted morosely, pulling his knees up to his chest. The dog tilted its head to the side, looking at him expectantly, waiting for him to continue. Not knowing why, Harry did. "I-I, my Aunt and Uncle and Cousin w-were out," he began, stuttering a bit as he felt tears prickle at his eyes, "and they had left me at h-home, because Mrs. Figg was away couldn't watch me." The dog nudged at him with its head, gently urging him on. "A-and I didn't mean to, but when I was t-trying to reach a book I fell a-and somehow the vase fell, too, and it broke into a million bits and Aunt Petunia is going to be so mad when she finds out, and Uncle Vernon..."
Harry's voice faltered, his eyes wide with fright at the mere thought of his uncle's reaction. Beside him, the large dog growled, making the boy flinch, scurrying away from the black dog without even realizing he was doing it until he was suddenly several feet away. Seeing the boy's distress, the dog forced itself to calm down, making a disturbingly human grimace as the boy stared at him in fear.
Then, it looked around, soft paws padding over the ground, it occasionally glancing back at Harry as if to make sure the boy was still there, and then, after what seemed like making sure they were alone, it turned back to the lithe boy. It whined in the back of its throat, its yellow eyes somehow pleading. Before Harry had time to react, the dog began to change, the body morphing, and seconds later a man stood in its place, looking at Harry with the same pleading expression the dog had had. The man was dressed in ragged clothing, and his hair seemed to do its best to impersonate a birds-nest. The beard that covered his gaunt face was must the same.
Harry was pretty sure it was alright for him to panic now. The dog had just changed into a man. The dog had changed into a man. God, his uncle had been right; he must be a freak.
"W-wait, Harry!" the man rasped out as Harry began to scuttle away, freezing the boy mid-step.
Turning around, the boy gave him a wild-eyed look. "You were a dog," he accused, voice high-pitched and panicked. "A dog," he repeated, and the man flinched.
"Well, yes," he admitted, and it looked like he was about to say more when Harry's eyes suddenly widened to comical proportions as realization dawned upon him.
"How do you know my name?" he whispered, beginning to get really afraid. He knew he hadn't told the dog - man, whatever he was - his name.
The man grimaced again, but didn't look away from the child. "I've known you since you were born," he said, sounding very much like someone had kicked his puppy. "I-, I knew your mother and father, Lily and J-James, and, uh, well, I'm your... d-godfather. "
Harry stared at him. Godfather? No, that couldn't be right. Freaks like him didn't have things like godfathers. Besides, weren't godfathers supposed to take care of their godchildren? "No," he protested, feeling anger building up, "I don't believe you. If you're my godfather, then why did you leave me with - with the Dursleys!"
Faster than Harry could react the man was suddenly kneeling in front of him, pulling him into a tight hug. "Oh Harry, I'm so sorry," the man whispered, clutching tightly to the child's too thin body, "I'm so very sorry," he repeated, and Harry couldn't seem to determine whether it was he or the man who were shaking. Maybe both of them were. "I've been... away, you see," the man continued, stroking Harry's hair, "and I didn't know, gods, I didn't think Dumbledore would place you with them. What was he thinking?"
The last part didn't seem to be aimed at Harry, who for a moment wondered who this "Dumbledore" was. The man-who'd-been-a-dog kept muttering things under his breath, keeping apologizing over and over, and Harry found himself swallowing back a sob. "Why didn't you come get me," he wondered in a small voice, voicing what he'd wondered as long as he could remember. Why hadn't anyone come to get him, to rescue him from his aunt and uncle and his horribly cousin who made sure Harry didn't have any friends.
"Oh Harry, Harry, little Prongslet," the man mumbled, "I am so sorry." He pulled away from the child, his hands still on the boy's arms. "I wish I could've come sooner, I truly do," he confessed, attempting to smile at Harry, who looked away in an attempt to hide the fact that he was about to cry. Boys didn't cry; only freaks and babies cried.
"I was supposed to take care of you," he told the boy, swallowing in an attempt to get rid of the lump in his throat, "but I was... taken away, and I haven't been able to get back until now."
Harry, who was desperately trying not to cry, glanced at the man claiming to be his godfather, only to have to look away again at the man's practically broken look. "Y-you knew my parents?" he asked instead, in an attempt to change the subject somehow.
An overwhelming sadness emitted from the man. "Yes, I knew them," he said, every semblance of a smile having disappeared from his expression. "I went to school with them. Your father was my b-best friend, he was like a brother to me, and your mother was the most brilliant woman I have ever known."
Biting on his lower lip, Harry desperately wanted to believe the man, wanting what he said to be true. But how could he? The Dursleys always told him his parents were drunken delinquents, dying in a car-crash because his father had been drunk-driving, leaving him with the Dursleys. He told the man so, and was surprised at the anger in the man's eyes.
"Your aunt and uncle were wrong," he said through clenched teeth, "and lying. Your parents were the greatest persons on this world."
A bit frightened at the man's sudden intensity, Harry tried to change the subject again. "How can you change into a dog?" he asked, genuinely curious.
The man blinked at the sudden question, and then sighed despondently. "The Dursleys' didn't tell you anything about your parents, did they?" he asked. "About who they were, where they came from?"
"I know my mother was my aunt's sister," he said, suddenly feeling embarrassed without knowing why.
"I figured as much," the dog-man muttered under his breath, and then he smiled at Harry. "I'm a wizard, Harry, just like your mother and father was. Just like you are."
"A what?" Harry stared incredulously at the man. Was he mad? Wizards weren't re- He paused mid-thought, remembering all his uncles outburst about magic. 'There is no such thing as magic!' His aunt was the same, snapping at him when he'd asked her about her parents. Though, to be honest, she snapped at Harry whatever he asked. Still...
Smiling at the rapid thoughts going through the child's head, realization dawning in his green eyes - lily's eyes - the man gave him a knowing look. "Ever had anything strange happen, things you couldn't quite explain?"
Eyes widening, Harry nodded. "I turned my teacher's hair blue. And once when Dudley was chasing me I was suddenly on the roof, where he couldn't reach me." Harry blinked at the realization. And here he'd figured the wind must've caught him, somehow.
The dog-man nodded and said, "Accidental magic," as if that explained everything. After a moment's thought Harry realized it probably did. Then, as if trying to remind him of its existence, a cold wind ruffled his clothing, chilling him to the bone and he failed to suppress a shiver. When had it turned so cold outside?
Frowning down at Harry, the man began to speak. "Look, Harry, there are so many things I'd like to tell you, and I'm sure you have many questions as well," which was true, "but this is not the place for it. Would you - would you like to come with me? To my house, I mean."
Harry stared at him. The surprises had been standing in line, it seemed. He knew trusting strangers was a bad idea - and the strange man-who'd-been-a-dog certainly counted as a stranger - but his other options were staying there or going back to the Dursleys. He shivered at the mere thought - or perhaps it was due to the cold - and immediately scrapped that idea. He wouldn't go back to them, ever. Also, there was something about the man that Harry couldn't help but... trust.
Against better judgement, Harry nodded, looking up at the man with large, hopeful eyes. "I'd love to come with you," he said, but then hesitated. "It's just that... Well, I-I don'tknowyourname." He rushed out the last part, feeling his cheeks redden in embarrassment.
The man blinked in surprise, taking a moment to decipher the boy's word, and then smiled. "Sirius," he said. "My name is Sirius. Now, hold on to me, this will be a bit uncomfortable."
Harry did as he was told, clutching the man's arm close to his body. The man - Sirius - smiled down at him, and then produced a stick from nowhere. Moments later the world around him darkened, and Harry felt like he was being sucked through a tiny hole, feeling something press down on him from all around, pressing all air out from his chest. Then, as soon as it had begun, it was over, and Harry found himself staring up at a row of connected, run-down houses. The street was deserted, and one of the street-lamps was broken.
"Harry," Sirius said with a grin, "Welcome to Grimmauld Place."
A/N: I'm not entirely sure what to say. First story I'm posting here on , and it's a prologue-thing of a story I fully intend to continue, even though I quite frankly have no idea where it'll go. I'll come up with things as I write them. Also, spell-check keeps wanting to change Dumbledore into Tumbledown. The next suggestion is Battledore. For some reason I find this hilarious.