Disclaimer: I do not own anything of this story. Harry Potter and all of the notable characters belong to J.K. Rowling.


Magnolia Crescent

Chapter Twenty-Four

Business Taken Care Of

The next morning, Sirius and Remus quickly put the tent away as the others simply stood, numb from last night's events. The floating bodies, the Mark in the sky, everyone seemed to want to leave. Tents seemed to vanish inhumanly fast, even with the use of magic.

"I hate refolding these things," Sirius grumbled to himself, stomping on the tent for good measure. Remus sighed, snatching the case up before he could do anymore damage. Sirius walked after him as they quickly made their way back to the portkey.

"I can't believe they didn't catch the man who sent that spell up," Charlie muttered under his breath.

"I can't believe that stupid elf," Percy muttered as well to himself. Harry noticed Hermione give him a sharp glare over the comment but she kept her mouth shut. Harry put that in the back of his mind to ask about later.

"We will be heading to your house first. I am sure Molly will want to see all of us before we head home," Sirius mentioned.

"Thanks, I really think she would appreciate it. Harry has always been like part of the family," Arthur replied, smiling back at Harry. He looked away, feeling a bit embarrassed. He glanced back to see Ginny hiding in his shadow, jumping at nearly anything that looked big enough to hide a full-grown person.

Harry felt a stab of sympathy for the girl. She always seemed to be getting the blunt of the problems. Between the chamber, the boggart and now all this, he silently wondered how she was keeping herself together.

They grabbed ahold of an old boot and before they knew it, they were on the front lawn of the Burrow with a familiar mother rushing towards them.

"Oh, thank goodness, you're alright! I read the headlines!" she shouted, grabbing her husband with a massive hug. "You big idiot! You could have gotten yourself killed!"

Arthur looked confused before she stuffed a copy of the Daily Prophet into his hands. "I made front page," he said, looking at the crumpled paper in his hands.

"Arthur Weasley seemed to be the only competent man in the Ministry – responsible for single handedly apprehending three Death Eaters during the tragic events at the Quidditch World Cup," Hermione read aloud.

"Congratulations, Mr. Hero," Sirius smiled, clapping him on the back. Harry watched as each of the redheads got scooped up in a massive hug. Harry braced himself as he got hugged as well. Leo was given a small hug in comparison to the others, which Leo seemed relieved over. Ginny seemed to be trying to recapture her breath.

Harry moved towards her, rubbing her back as Ginny gave him a thankful smile. "Thanks," she said in a quiet whisper, quickly vanishing from his side and back into the house.

"So, what's with you and our sister, Harry?" George asked. Poor Harry found himself surrounded by the twins and Charlie.

"You have been getting pretty close to her," Fred added.

"Not planning anything, are you?" asked Charlie, looking down at Harry. He opened his mouth to protest.

"No way. She has been under a lot of stress and I just want to make sure she is okay," Harry replied, looking a bit confused.

"I don't know," Charlie said, glaring down at Harry. "I think he has got a heart out for our little sister."

"I bet he thinks she owes him for all the times he came to her rescue," George added, exchanging a knowing glance with the others.

"Nothing like that. Nothing like that at all. She's my best friend's sister, I would never," Harry quickly blurted out, feeling more color on his face than he thought possible. "Sirius, help me out," he asked, searching for any kind of backup.

"Sorry, Harry. You want to snog a cute girl, you got to deal with the family first," Sirius replied with a smile, clearly amused.

"Huh?" Harry said. It looked like his face had turned into a tomato as he just stood there.

"I am so proud; you take more after your father than I gave you credit for."

"What's that supposed to mean?" Molly asked hotly, glaring at Sirius.

"Nothing at all," he replied, quickly plastering a fake smile on his face.

"Something I don't know about?" Arthur asked. Molly quickly turned red.

"Nothing at all, dear. Don't you have someplace to be?" she asked, sending another glare at Sirius.

"Oh, right the thing," Remus said, tripping over his words. "You know, the thing. With the Quidditch player."

"Oh right," Sirius said, eye lighting up. "We lost our two guests," he realized.

"Wood!" Harry, Ron and Hermione all shouted at the same time.

"Arthur, get Harry home. We have a few people we need to check up on," Sirius stated. Harry looked a bit downcast; he was being sent home instead of out for a change.

"They can stay here for now," Molly said quickly while Remus nodded. "Dear, go with them. I'll keep an eye on the kids." Sirius looked at Harry with a slight frown on his face before his godson nodded.

"Let me know when you find something," Harry said. Sirius gave a quick nod before the three vanished. The remaining group moved into house, heading for the living room. Molly looked up at the grandfather clock devise that kept track of the family members. She kept glancing at it as the hours passed.

"Look, I need to get home. Not that I don't mind the company but I got a feeling my mum will want to see me as well," Leo finally said.

"Right," Molly replied, standing. "I am so sorry. Forgot all about getting you home. Your mother must be worried sick," she said, moving to the fireplace.

"They don't have a Floo connection," Leo said, looking at the fireplace.

"Guess I will need to go home as well," Harry said. Leo didn't reply but Harry noticed that he shifted a bit as they moved into the fireplace. Harry fell onto the hard floor of Grimmauld Place before he quickly got up. Not a second later, Leo joined him, stepping out unharmed.

"Why am I always the one ruffed up by this darn thing?" he asked himself.

"Thanks for letting me join you," Leo said, making his way to the front door.

"No problem. Sorry it went so sour towards the end," Harry apologized.

"Harry, with your reputation, it wouldn't be fair if something didn't happen," Leo chuckled. Harry frowned at the comment. "No offense."

"No big deal," he said, well aware of the reputations he had garnered from people like Malfoy who thought of him a sow off while others figured he was just a magnet for trouble.

Leo nodded and with a quick handshake, he was out the door and on his way. Harry looked around the big house; it felt odd without Sirius around. With a spark of inspiration, he called for Hedwig, wanting to send a message to his godfather now that he was home.

The snowy owl flew down, landing on his outstretched arm, biting playfully at his hair. Harry chuckled, trying to push her beak away and keep his hair on his head.

"Bloody bird," Kreacher muttered. Harry's heart almost skipped a beat. "Noisy thing wouldn't stop cawing," he groaned.

"Sorry, she just wanted out for a bit to stretch her wings," Harry explained. The house-elf didn't seem convinced as he grabbed a stool to deal with the portrait of Mrs. Black. Harry winced, moving up the stairs to get a quill and paper. When he got to his room, he grabbed what he needed and sat down at an old wooden desk.

"A sandwich, Master Potter?" Kreacher offered, appearing with a small pop next to him. Harry looked at the sandwich.

"Thanks, but I didn't ask for it."

"Master Black asked if you ever made it home before him to offer you something to eat," Kreacher replied, glaring at Harry with massive tennis ball-like eyes.

"Um, thanks," Harry said, gingerly taking the ham sandwich. "I appreciate it, Kreacher," he said, taking a bite of the food. He could have sworn he saw the faintest smirk on the elf's face. Taking it as a figment of his imagination, he went back to finishing his note. Hedwig held out her leg for him to tie to the note. She hopped onto his arm as he flung open the window and she leaped into the sky.

Harry took a deep breath; it felt weird. The house was cleaned up, new carpet and it felt a bit brighter. Walking onto to the landing, he could still smell some of the fresh paint Sirius had put up – a dark crimson. Sirius was pretty quick to start using Gryffindor colors – something that caused a few of the portraits no end of grief. Walking down the stairs, he could still see the tools Sirius had used to try and chisel his mother's portrait off the wall. Sirius had settled for a Silencing spell but the damage he had done to the wall was still visible.

Harry sighed, settling in the sitting room to wait. He picked up one of his school books, having nothing better to do.

Harry blinked, sitting up. He looked down to see his book resting on his chest, realizing that night had fallen. He was about to close his eyes once more when the door opened. Harry slowly stood up at Sirius moved into the light in the hallway.

"So, did you find Wood and your girlfriend?" Harry asked, not missing a chance to do some teasing of his own. Sirius gave him a smile.

"Both fine, and I have a date as well," he smiled, holding up a small piece of parchment. "I am surprised you are up this late."

"I fell asleep on the couch."

"I see. Well, nothing like a school book to put you out in my opinion," Sirius said, noticing the book in Harry's hand.

"Well, I had nothing better to do," he shrugged, setting the book on an end table.

"Huh, perhaps a pool table or something. I don't know, maybe a TV. Anything to liven this place up, feels like something out of the 1800's."

"You would get a TV?" Harry asked. Sirius gave a wry grin.

"Hey, anything to spite the family. Besides, I got no issues with Muggle contraptions. Better than sitting around reading school books all summer long. Better yet, get a girlfriend or something. Plenty of rooms to hide in, if you know what I mean," Sirius joked. Harry flashed red as his godfather laughed. "Well, off to bed. We got a platform to get to soon enough."

"Will you be taking the train?" Harry asked.

"Nah, I got to get there early. Haven't been able to look at my office – got to get things organized for the first day of class," Sirius said, moving upstairs with Harry following him. They passed Kreacher on the way up as Sirius glared at him. "And make sure when we are gone, not to let the dust settle. Keep it clean," Sirius ordered.

"Yes, Master. Anything to serve the Noble House of Black," the house-elf replied, returning the glare.

"Do you really have to be so mean to him?" Harry asked.

"Yes," Sirius returned bluntly. Harry shook his head.

"Well, see you in the morning. If not, at school," Harry said, entering his new room. Sirius gave him a wave as he walked further down the hall to his own bedroom to get some sleep as well.


Not to much to say, but R&R as always please!

~LE