Just a notice: I may not update for a while, due to the fact that I will be studying abroad in Japan until July or August. I will try to update occasionally but I won't make any promises, since enjoying Japan and learning the language will be my main focus for the next few months. Enjoy!
Sirius snarled upon seeing Snape. Why was he here?
"Snivellus," he growled, automatically reverting back to the childhood nickname for the Potions professor. Severus's murderous glare turned on him before turning back on to Pettigrew, who was trying to squirm out of Lupin's grasp.
"Severus," Lupin said with surprise. "What are you doing here?"
Severus reached into his robes to draw out the vial of Wolfsbane potion he had with him.
"You forgot to take your potion," he informed Lupin, whose eyes widened. "Very reckless of you, especially with students wandering about after hours."
Snape turned his glare on Granger and Weasley, who flinched back. Then Hermione gasped as she looked at the potion.
"That's Wolfsbane, isn't it?" she asked. Lupin gave a reluctant nod.
"Then that means you're a werewolf," she said as the Defense Against the Dark Arts professor downed the potion, grimacing as it traveled down his throat.
"I'm a werewolf," Lupin confirmed. "I was bitten as a child. Dumbledore has been kind enough to look past my condition this year and when I went to school here."
"Leave us," Professor Snape ordered Hermione and Ron. "Go back to the castle and fetch Professor McGonagall and Professor Dumbledore. Tell them that I sent for them and it's urgent. Nothing else." That would be enough to make the headmaster and deputy headmistress move quickly.
"Now!" Snape snapped when the two students hesitated.
"Ron's leg is broken, sir," Hermione said. Severus glanced down at the boy's leg. He could see it bent at an odd angle.
"Then I suggest that you go alone, Miss Granger," he informed the girl. "Mr. Weasley will be brought to the hospital wing shortly."
Hermione nodded. She gave Ron an apologetic look before darting out of the room. Severus could hear her pounding down the steps. He kept his wand trained on Black. Lupin's wand was pointed at Pettigrew.
"Start talking, Black," Severus ordered coldly. Black glared at him. "Or I start throwing curses," Severus threatened. "I know quite a few now."
Black sneered but began to talk.
"You remember Peter Pettigrew, don't you?" he asked. Snape nodded. He had loathed the cowardly Gryffindor when he was in school. He had never understood how the likes of Pettigrew had become friends with James Potter.
"You're supposed to be dead," he told Pettigrew, who shivered under his cold stare.
"He framed me," Black said. "And he's been masquerading as a rat for the past twelve years."
"My rat," Ron Weasley muttered, slightly stunned by the turn of events.
"I'm going to kill him," Black whispered, eyes mad. Severus grit his teeth. Black was still as idiotic as ever, then.
"If you think that I will allow murder on the grounds of Hogwarts and Hogsmeade…" he said in a low voice. "But I am not surprised that murder is your plan, since you already attempted it once when you were a student."
Sirius glared at Severus.
"You're still on about that?" he asked.
"You tried to kill me," Severus reminded the mad man. "I won't ever forget that."
"It was a joke," Sirius snapped. "You overreacted, like always."
A cough from Lupin broke into their fighting. Severus directed his attention back to Pettigrew. As tempting as it was to kill the rat, there would be no use in Pettigrew's death. The Potions professor briefly considered allowing Black to kill the rat and then handing over the escaped prisoner to the dementors to ensure that Black would be unable to try and obtain guardianship of his son but he discarded that thought. It would be foolish.
"Why are you here tonight, Lupin?" Severus demanded. "I thought you were against helping old friends into the castle after hours." He made sure the mocking tone was strong in his voice.
"I received a letter from Sirius a few weeks ago," Remus replied. "And I saw Pettigrew reappear on school grounds earlier. I came to investigate."
"And put students at risk," Severus sneered. "And here Dumbledore convinced me that you were harmless."
Remus glared at the dark-haired man.
"Are you going to let me kill Pettigrew or not?" Black demanded, lunging for the rat. Snape forced the man back with a stinging hex.
"Don't be rash, Black, despite how impossible it is for you," he said. "Unless you want to return to Azkaban and receive the Dementor's Kiss."
Black paled but his eyes were still manic as he stared at Pettigrew, who was quivering in fear.
"I don't care," he said. Severus tried not to roll his dark eyes.
"Then I will take delight in informing your godson of your fate," he said, reminding Black of Harry. It was risky but Severus was trying to ensure that Pettigrew remained alive. He needed to know how much Pettigrew knew, especially about Lord Voldemort and the night the Potters died. There were some details that were still unclear to the wizarding world and Snape was sure that Pettigrew held the answers.
Sirius's wild grin faded at the mention of Harry. Regret flashed in his eyes.
"What else am I supposed to do?" he asked. "Let this rat go free?" He laughed bitterly at the thought.
"I'll take Pettigrew back to the castle," Lupin suggested quietly. "The dementors are already here so they can transport him to Azkaban. If we handle this right, you can be free, Sirius. You can get to know Harry, Sirius."
Severus frowned. Sirius's eyes flickered to the dark-haired man but the former prisoner sighed as he silently agreed. He would rather be free than locked back up in Azkaban.
"He's awfully quiet," Sirius commented, aiming a kick in Pettigrew's direction.
"Silencing charm," Remus explained. "You know how he can whine, especially when feeling threatened."
Ron cleared his throat, reminding the adults of his presence.
"So, what's going to happen?" he asked. Lupin glanced at Severus, who sneered in return.
"We go back to Hogwarts," Lupin said, ensuring that Pettigrew couldn't escape. Since there was a silencing spell on the rat, they didn't have to worry about Pettigrew undoing any spells or transforming back into his Animagus form. "But first, I think your leg will need to be strapped before you move."
Ron glared at Black, who was the one responsible for his broken leg. Black stared back, unapologetic. He would do anything to get his revenge. He would even play nice with Severus "Snivellus" Snape.
Severus glanced around at the motley crew. He had Pettigrew tied up in chains, with his magic bound so he couldn't transform back into his rat form. He had Lupin, who he didn't want to be around any students, Weasley included. He had Weasley, who couldn't walk unassisted due to his broken leg. And he had Black, who the dementors would attack as soon as they sensed his presence on school grounds.
The man sighed. Just once he would have liked for things to go his way.
"Lupin, help Weasley," he ordered. The redhead didn't look thrilled to be so close to the werewolf but he swallowed his complaints and accepted the help in getting to his feet. "Black, grab Pettigrew."
"Why should I obey your orders, Snivellus?" Sirius sneered. Severus glared at the man.
"I was going to help prove your innocence, Black," Snape sneered. "Since I dislike Pettigrew even more than I dislike you—something I didn't realize was possible—but if you don't want me to, I will be more than willing to let the dementors get you. In fact, I will even direct them right toward you."
Sirius's sneer grew but he stayed silent when Severus barked out his next orders. The potions master knew that it probably wasn't the best thing to let Black guide Pettigrew down the tunnel as they made their way back to Hogsmeade but he didn't care. The rat had cost him a relationship and a family. Any injuries Pettigrew sustained from Black were well deserved in Snape's opinion.
As they reached the end of the tunnel, Severus was the first out. He froze the Whomping Willow before assisting Lupin in levitating Weasley out of the tunnel. Pettigrew was levitated up next.
"Don't come up," Severus ordered Sirius when the man tried to exit the tunnel.
"You won't be able to stop me," Sirius snapped.
"The dementors will be able to sense you," Severus snapped. He wasn't surprised that Black was unwilling to see sense. "They'll come straight away."
"I won't stay behind to let you take all the credit!" Black growled. Severus huffed in annoyance. It was obvious that Black hadn't changed since their school years but he was unsurprised. The man had always been slightly on the dim side.
"It's your own head," Severus bit out. He didn't want to deal with Black any longer than was needed. "But if you're really masochistic enough to suffer the Dementor's Kiss, be my guest."
"I was always under the impression that you were the masochist," Black growled. Severus did his best to ignore that comment, despite the slight truth behind the statement. He did have masochistic tendencies at times. That much had been clear when he entered his first relationship.
"I can get around the dementors," Black said, before shifting into a large black dog. Severus rolled his dark eyes. Another unregistered Animagi. The Ministry of Magic was slacking. How much havoc had Black caused in that form?
"Stay behind Lupin," Professor Snape ordered. "Black can support Weasley." He still didn't want the werewolf anywhere near students on this night. Lupin had taken the potion but it was always better to be on the safe side.
Professors Dumbledore and McGonagall were waiting at the entrance to the castle for Snape. He gave them a curt nod.
"What's going on, Severus?" Professor McGonagall asked. She glanced at the group. Her eyes widened as they landed on Pettigrew's bound and pathetic form.
"Is that Peter Pettigrew?" she asked. Black gave an affirming yip. Severus shot the dog a sharp look. If Black insisted on tagging along, he should keep a low profile. Which, in Snape's opinion, meant not acting like a human or letting on to the fact that he understood English.
Albus Dumbledore gave the dog a knowing look.
"I will summon the Minister of Magic," he said. "While Minerva will go fetch a vial of Veritaserum from Severus's stores and take Mr. Weasley to the hospital wing and while Severus will take Pettigrew to my office."
Severus nodded and did as requested. Sirius Black trailed him and Pettigrew. Severus sneered at the dog when its tail began to wave. Now wasn't the time to start celebrating.
The closer they got to Dumbledore's office, the more Pettigrew began to struggle. However, without his magic, he was as weak as a second year girl. It was pathetic in both Black and Snape's opinions.
Within an hour, Cornelius Fudge, a squad of Aurors, Professor Dumbledore, Professor McGonagall, Professor Snape, and a black dog stood around Peter Pettigrew, who had been unbound enough to speak.
"What are you doing?" Pettigrew demanded. "Why am I tied up? I'm innocent!"
"You're very quick to proclaim your innocence, Peter," Professor McGonagall said. "Especially since we haven't accused you of anything yet."
"But you're going to!" Pettigrew squeaked. "Why else would I be tied up like a criminal?"
"I have a quick way to solve this issue," Severus interjected. He reached over and began rolling up the left sleeve of Pettigrew's robe to reveal the mark of Death Eater. He noticed the Aurors tightened their grips on their wands. At Dumbledore's nod of agreement, the head Auror administered the Veritaserum.
"Who are you?" he asked.
"Peter Pettigrew," the rat replied, sweat rolling down his brow.
"Did you fake your death?" The Auror asked.
"Yes," Pettigrew said.
"Why?" Cornelius Fudge demanded. His face was slowly turning purple from rage.
"To hide," Pettigrew said quickly. "From Sirius Black."
Snape sneered. He knew that the rat was doing his best to talk around the truth. That was the problem with open-ended questions such as Fudge's. There were always ways to skirt around an answer.
"Were you the Secret Keeper for James and Lily Potter?" he asked, deciding to take over the interrogation. The head Auror stepped forward but Dumbledore waved him away. Like always, Albus Dumbledore would vouch for Severus Snape.
"Yes," Pettigrew admitted. The Aurors glanced at each other in surprise. They had been unaware of the change in Secret Keepers.
"Did you betray James and Lily Potter to He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named that night?" Severus demanded.
"Yes!" Pettigrew wailed. "I gave him their location!"
"Did you kill those muggles and blame their deaths on Sirius Black?" Snape demanded.
"Yes!" Pettigrew whimpered, tugging at his bonds. "It was perfect. Black went to Azkaban for killing those muggles and for betraying Lily and James! The plan went perfectly!"
The black dog growled. A female Auror stepped away from it with a nervous look. Snape glared at the mutt.
"How did you fake your death?" he asked.
"I cut off my finger and transformed," Pettigrew said, shivering in fear as he stared into Snape's black eyes.
"Are you an unregistered Animagus?" Snape asked.
"Yes!" Pettigrew cried. Dumbledore placed a hand on Snape's shoulder, silently signaling for the man to stop. With great reluctance, Severus stepped away.
"The Veritaserum will wear off soon," Snape informed the Aurors. "I would question him quickly."
"We'll take him to the Ministry," the head Auror decided. "Where he'll be questioned properly and be put on trial."
"I'll accompany you," Albus Dumbledore said suddenly. "I've been meaning to visit the Ministry lately and this gives me the perfect opportunity. Cornelius, I suspect you'll be removing the dementors from Hogwarts tonight?"
Put on the spot, Fudge could only nod in agreement, though his face showed that he was reluctant to do so.
For once, Severus was glad of Dumbledore's meddling ways. With the man's presence, Pettigrew would be questioned and Sirius Black would be cleared without question. Pettigrew wouldn't be disposed of accidentally.
The rat was screaming and shaking as he was carted off to the Ministry of Magic by the Aurors. Dumbledore quickly followed after them.
"There is still the matter of Sirius Black," Fudge informed Professor McGonagall. She traded looks with Professor Snape. Then, Professor McGonagall glanced down at the black dog that was lying on the floor.
"He was James' best friend," she said. "I believe, especially with Pettigrew's revelations, that he is innocent. It would be best to declare him innocent and announce that in the papers as soon as possible."
Cornelius Fudge sputtered in outrage and shock.
"But Minerva," he protested. "There's still the matter of how he escaped from Azkaban!" Professor McGonagall gave him a stern look.
"He didn't perform the crimes he was convicted of," she informed the Minister of Magic. "He shouldn't have gone there in the first place. However, I understand that it was wartime and mistakes were made. But, if you should send him back, I think the Daily Prophet would be eager to know that the Minister of Magic placed two innocent people in Azkaban during the past two years. It would call into question your…effectiveness."
Fudge continued to sputter. When he regained some form of control, he stormed out of the office. Professor McGonagall glanced down at the black dog, who had begun to pant happily.
"What are you going to do with him?" she asked Snape, who scowled at the dog.
"Lock him in Lupin's office for the time being," he replied. "I suppose it would be too cruel to put him down. Besides, Lupin likes mutts and he'd appreciate the present. I've heard that rat-catching dogs are hard to find nowadays. "
Sirius gave a warning growl. Professor McGonagall smiled.
"Careful Severus," she said. "Some might start thinking that you care."
Severus scoffed at the notion.
"Hardly," he said, before leaving the office. "I'm going to bed. Have someone else cover my patrols for me."
Minerva McGonagall smiled. Severus tried his best to ignore the black dog trailing after him.
"No," he said as they reached his quarters. "You're not staying with me. Go find somewhere else to sleep."
He shut the door to his personal quarters before Sirius could sneak in. The black dog gave an angry bark before padding down the halls. He would stand guard outside the Slytherin common room then.
The next morning Severus went to breakfast early, wondering what he would find in the Daily Prophet. Dumbledore had fire-called him when he had returned from the Ministry, hours after Severus had fallen asleep. The Potions professor hadn't been thrilled to be woken up and had made his displeasure known through his acidic comments.
Dumbledore had relayed to Severus that the questioning had gone smoothly and that Pettigrew had been transferred to Azkaban as he had left the Ministry. Dumbledore hadn't mentioned if Pettigrew would remain at Azkaban for the rest of his life or if he would be on the receiving end of the Dementor's Kiss. Snape didn't particularly care what happened to the rat. Just as long as he was being punished…
Dumbledore had also informed Severus that Sirius Black had received a full pardon from the Ministry of Magic, along with possible monetary compensation. The mutt was free.
Severus hadn't been overly thrilled at the news of Black being declared innocent. He had worked carefully and determinedly to see that Harry had been placed with the Davises and that everything had been done legally. He didn't want Black interfering with the family he had attempted to give Harry. Sirius Black may have been Harry's godfather—something Snape had only agreed to after hours of arguing—but that didn't mean the man could mess with Severus's hard work.
Harry had woken early that morning in hopes that he could talk to Professor Snape before classes began. Unfortunately the man hadn't been in his office or in his quarters. The dejected boy made his way to breakfast. He had wanted to talk to someone about Pettigrew because with every moment that he waited, the larger the chances were that he could slip away.
The Great Hall was louder than it normally was at breakfast. The students had bunched up in groups, talking loudly. Every single group had a copy of the Daily Prophet.
"What's going on?" Harry asked, approaching his yearmates. Pansy practically shoved the Daily Prophet in his face.
"Read it!" she said. Harry read the headline.
Black Innocent—Pettigrew alive!
His heart thudded painfully against his chest. Harry continued to read.
Late last night, Aurors and the Minister of Magic were called to Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, where Peter Pettigrew—long presumed to have been killed by the notorious Sirius Black—was being held for questioning.
After hours of intensive questioning, Pettigrew admitted to committing the crimes Sirius Black had been accused of. Since the discovery of this information, Black has been cleared of his crimes and the Minister of Magic apologized publicly for the indiscretions early this morning. Pettigrew was transferred to Azkaban, where he awaits the Dementor's Kiss.
Black has yet to be located and asked to comment but one hopes that with these new revelations, he will return to the wizarding public.
To learn how Pettigrew evaded authorities for so long, turn to page 3
To learn about the crimes Black had been accused of, turn to page 5
Harry flipped to page 3. He scanned the article until his eyes landed on the words "Unregistered Animagi". He had thought so.
With the news that Pettigrew had been apprehended easing his mind, Harry returned the Daily Prophet back to Pansy.
"Eventful night for the professors, then," he said. Pansy nodded.
"What do you think of it, Potter?" Draco asked. Harry raised an eyebrow in confusion. "Black is your godfather and Pettigrew betrayed your parents," Draco clarified.
"I'm glad they got the right man finally," he said vaguely. Tracey gave Harry a nervous look.
"You're still coming home with me this summer, aren't you?" she asked. Harry nodded.
"I wouldn't go stay with Black," he assured her. "He may be my godfather but I've never met him. Besides, your parents are amazing."
Tracey blushed at the compliment to her family.
"Good," she said. "Because I'd have to hurt you if you backed out of your plans now."
Harry rolled his eyes and glanced around the Great Hall as he filled his plate. All the professors were present, talking quietly. Professor Snape sat in his normal spot, reading the Daily Prophet with an indiscernible look on his face. Professor Lupin sat on the other end of the table, looking more exhausted than normal. A large black form lay at his feet.
Green eyes narrowed as he tried to figure out what the black shape was. Then they widened as Harry realized it was the black dog he had seen on his various Hogsmeade trips. Had it been Professor Lupin's dog all along?
Sirius stretched out on the cold stone floor as he watched the happenings in the Great Hall. He had picked up from the conversations he could overhear that he had officially been declared innocent and free. Good. Twelve years late but it was better than being back in Azkaban.
Sirius's canine eyes landed on Harry Potter, who was eating his breakfast. He panted happily and began to fidget. He really wanted to talk to the boy but he had promised Dumbledore earlier in the morning that he wouldn't try and contact the boy until exams were finished. In the meantime, he was staying in Lupin's quarters and wandering the school halls in his dog form.
Sirius's eyes traveled to Severus Snape. His lips lifted up and he growled silently at the thought of the man. He knew that he should also talk to the man about contacting Harry, but that didn't mean he wanted to. He wasn't looking forward to that particular conversation but he knew that it had to happen.
Two days later, Snape glared at the large black dog that had entered his office.
"What do you want, Black?" he snapped, grading a paper. It was already filled with angry red ink. When he looked up again, Sirius had changed into his human form.
"To talk about Harry," Sirius said. Severus's quill stilled for a second before resuming its work.
"What about the boy?" he demanded.
"I want to assume guardianship over him," Sirius said. "I'm free now, and his godfather. I can legally do so."
"And like always, you want to do the worst thing possible for the boy," Severus said coolly.
"How would it be a bad thing?" Sirius demanded. Severus sighed and set aside his quill.
"He's been taken away from his first family and house," he said, folding his hands. "He is only just getting used to having the Davis family as his guardians. He doesn't need any more drastic changes in his life. He's only thirteen years old."
"Why was he taken away from the Dursleys?" Sirius asked. "I'm happy that he isn't anywhere near those muggles but why—"
"Why was he there in the first place? Or why was it necessary for him to leave?" Severus asked, anticipating the questions.
"Both," Sirius said with a frown.
"Dumbledore thought it would be beneficial to have the boy living with blood family," Severus said with a frown. "He put wards around the house to protect the boy from the Dark Lord and his followers. The wards were dependent that he stay with those who shared the blood in his veins."
Sirius growled under his breath. Blood wards. He hated such types of magic. They were tricky things to work with and around.
"Then how did the Davis family gain guardianship?" he asked as the thought occurred to him. Severus's black eyes narrowed it.
"I took care of that when Dumbledore had to vacate the school last year for a few weeks," he replied stiffly. "I believe that he is still unaware of the change in guardians for Harry Potter."
"And the blood wards?" Sirius asked sharply. "Don't tell me that he goes back to the Dursleys just for the sake of blood wards."
Severus shook his head.
"I'm insulted that you would believe that I would allow that to happen," he said. "I've taken care of that as well."
"What about in a few years?" Sirius wanted to know. "If I would apply for guardianship then?"
"It would be very foolish of you, but I would expect nothing less," Severus replied. "Even if you applied for guardianship now, Harry could turn seventeen before you were legally declared his guardian. You know how slow the Ministry of Magic is about such matters."
Sirius growled. The Potions professor had a point.
"I still want to be around him," he said petulantly. "He's my godson. It's what James would have wanted."
Severus stiffened at the mention of James Potter. Sirius knew that he had hit a nerve but didn't apologize. He was being civil for the time being but he still didn't like Severus Snape.
"Talk to the Davis family then," Professor Snape replied. "But I would advise you to leave Harry alone until you've cleared it with them."
Sirius scowled at the assumption that he would do otherwise.
"Fine," he said.
Severus gestured for Sirius to leave but Black had one more thing to talk about.
"I want your promise that you won't try and keep Harry away from me if the Davises agree to letting me see him," Sirius said. Severus gave a loud irritated sigh.
"Why do you think I would do something like that?" he asked with a glare. Sirius returned the glare.
"Because I know you," he said simply. "Do I have your promise?"
"As long as you aren't trying to harm the boy, I won't interfere in your relationship," Severus said. "Now get out of my office. You're making it smell like wet dog."
Sirius scowled but left the office. Before he did, he had one last comment.
"Stop calling Harry 'the boy'," he told the dark-haired man. "I know he's your son, so either call him that or just call him Harry."
Severus scowled as Black left his office. Once the man was out of sight, he tossed an empty vial against the wall, frustrated with the whole situation. He had dreamed of becoming a father once but now…This wasn't how he imagined fatherhood turning out to be.
Sneak Peek for Next Time:
"You won't always think that," he informed his son. "Most teenagers enter a phase when they hate their parents."
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