Author's note. This story has been adopted from Emily Dawn 94, so the majority of the first two chapter aren't mine although I have tweaked them from the original. After the first two chapters, it's all my own work.
Suggestions for this story would be very welcome.
Enjoy and please review.
Chapter One:Laying It All Bare
Before he was imprisoned in Azkaban, Sirius Orion Black had been an infamous ladies man; one night stands were the epitome of his existence. Now, at thirty-five, he is one of the only people ever to have escaped Azkaban and now, after three years on the run, his name had finally been cleared.
Looking back at the events of the last month Sirius couldn't believe just how close it had all come. If it hadn't been for Remus' quick thinking he would have surely died. The minute he had been stunned, Remus had stopped duelling to send a body-bind at him, stopping his fall, causing him to bounce off the arch and onto the dais. Once he was safe, or as safe as one could be in the midst of a battle, he had been revived, ready to rejoin the fight.
It had come even closer for Harry.
Convinced that Sirius was dead, Harry had ran off after Bellatrix Lestrange intent on avenging his godfather only to find himself possessed by Voldemort. It had only been his intense grief that had expelled Voldemort from his body. After that, Dumbledore had taken Harry away from the Ministry so he would not have to face questions from that idiot Fudge and also to reassure him that his Godfather was in fact alive.
Dumbledore said it was the closet he'd seen the strong willed boy come to breaking down completely.
Even now Harry was blaming himself, but Sirius wasn't. If it hadn't been for Harry, his name would never have been cleared. Fudge, the incompetent moron that he was, had arrived as Sirius resumed his duel with Bellatrix. The Minister for Magic, or former Minister for Magic as he was now known as, had to admit to two things that night; one, Voldemort had, indeed, returned, proving that Harry and Dumbledore had, in fact, been telling the truth for the past year; two, Sirius as innocent.
Now Sirius was pacing the living room awaiting Harry's arrival.
The first thing he had demanded once he had been declared innocent was custody of his godson. Only Dumbledore had objected. The old coot had insisted Harry stay in Surrey, muttering something about blood wards. He had, Sirius thought, put up a good fight, but so had he.
Eventually they came to a compromise.
Harry was to spend the first two weeks of the summer holidays in Privet Drive, much to his chagrin, to ensure the blood wards. Once the two weeks were over he would come to Hogsmeade and live, as he should have done all along, with his godfather.
Dumbledore had warned Sirius that this arrangement would have to continue the next year too, but Sirius, ever the Marauder, had conveniently misheard him.
With the compensation the Ministry had provided for his wrongful imprisonment he had easily been able to afford a house in the heart of Hogsmeade village. His reasoning for buying a house in that particular wizarding village was so Harry visit on the approved Hogsmeade weekends. They had been apart for twelve years - they had plenty to catch up on.
The house had three bedrooms; one for each Harry, Sirius, and Remus, should he agree to stay. Sirius had worked tirelessly over the last three weeks transforming Harry's bedroom. The walls had been painted in the red and gold Gryffindor colours, several pictures of Lily and James graced the walls. Sirius wanted the first thing Harry saw before going to bed and waking up to be his parents. It wasn't much but he hoped Harry would love it.
Sirius was feeling restless as he glanced at the clock. It was a few minutes past three. Harry was late. Panic began to overwhelm him as his thoughts began running errantly through his mind. Where was he? Was he okay? Had something happened?
Breathe, he reminded himself and took a deep breath. They're probably held up; there's no need to overreact. Remus is with him. He'll be fine.
He sighed. Merlin, he was fussing more than Molly.
Glancing at the clock once again, Sirius almost missed the door swing open, revealing Harry and Remus laden with Harry's trunk, bag, and broomstick. Dropping the items on the ground, Harry ran up to Sirius and was immediately pulled into a tight, bone-crushing hug that could have possibly broken his ribs.
They could never have enough moments like that, like godfather and godson.
"Everything all right, Padfoot? You look worried."
Sirius snapped his head up to see Remus smirking at him. The panic was plastered all over his face.
"Well, I'm not," he said in a voice that betrayed him. Turning to his godson, smiling broadly, he said, "What are you waiting for? Go and see your new room. It's the first on your right," he called after Harry as he disappeared from view up the stairs, dragging his trunk, grunting as he did so.
Sirius turned back to Remus, who was still smirking at him. "What?" he demanded with a playful huff.
"Nothing," said the bemused werewolf, walking into the living room and flopped onto the couch.
"Everything go all right then?" Sirius asked, trying to sound nonchalant about it as he took out a bottle of Firewhiskey and two glasses.
"His aunt and uncle are certainly... something," Remus replied heavily, downing the glass of Firewhiskey that had been placed in front of him. Usually he didn't drink but after that encounter with Harry's relations, he definitely needed it.
Sirius narrowed his eyes, not liking the tone Remus had used. "What did they do?"
He had heard stories from Lily about how unpleasant her sister and her husband could be, and he knew, before Lily's death, there had been no love lost between the sisters no matter how much Lily had tried reaching out to her.
It reminded him of his own relationship with his late brother, Regulus.
"His uncle's last words before we left were: "Good riddance!" And unless my hearing if defective, I could have sworn I heard the word "Abnormality."
"Abnormality? He can't be serious."
"Unfortunately, I think he was," Remus replied wearily, rubbing his eyes.
Pacing once again, Sirius asked, "What did Harry do?" The one thing he had learnt about his godson, especially in light of recent events, was how rash he could be, not unlike himself.
"He shrugged it off like it was a regular occurrence." Remus poured himself another glass of Firewhiskey. "I know Harry hasn't had the best childhood and maybe I'm reading too much into it but I get the feeling there's more going on."
"I'll have a word with Harry at dinner," said Sirius, stopping his pacing and flopping into the vacant seat next to Remus. "Fancy joining us?"
Remus shook his head. "I'd love to but I can't. Albus wants me back at Headquarters to update him on the werewolf situation." Remus checked his watch, sighing. "In fact, I have to leave now."
"See you soon?"
"Of course." Remus looked to his oldest friend and smiled reassuringly. "Don't worry, Padfoot, you'll be fine. Harry loves you."
"I don't want to ruin this, Moony," admitted the animagus, shifting uncomfortably as he stood.
"Harry has a hard road ahead of him, Sirius, that I won't deny. He's going to need all the love and support he can get, as corny as that sounds, and fortunately for him, you can provide that. There's no doubt in my mind how much that kid cares for you - he went to the Ministry intent on saving you last month, didn't he? In all the times that I've seen him, I have never seen him as comfortable with anyone as he is around you."
Sirius smiled appreciatively. "Thanks, Moony. I really needed to hear that."
"I always was the wise one."
After a quick hug and handshake, Remus disappeared through the door and into the village leaving Sirius gazing upwards, a wide smile playing on his lips. He climbed the stairs, stopping outside Harry's new bedroom. Taking a deep breath, he knocked twice.
"Come in," came Harry's voice.
Sirius entered to find Harry adding the finish touches to his new room. The older man smiled as Harry placed a framed picture of James and Lily dancing together on his bedside cabinet. His trunk was lying open in front of his four-poster bed. When decorating Harry's room, Sirius had dissolved into a panic, wondering what his godson would want or need. It had been Remus' suggestion that he decorate it similar to his dorm at Hogwarts to feel more comfortable.
"Do you like it?" Sirius asked quietly, sitting down on Harry's new bed.
Harry nodded. "It's great, Sirius. Thanks."
"Anytime, kiddo." Sirius smiled. So far, so good. "You hungry? I thought we could go to the Three Broomsticks for dinner tonight. I'm not much of a cook."
"Dinner at the Three Broomsticks sounds great."
"I'll leave you to finish unpacking." Sirius stood up to leave but paused at the door. "I'm - er - really glad you're here, Harry."
At six that evening, the pair of them made their way into the hot summers evening and walked to the Three Broomsticks. As they walked through the village several heads turned in their direction, their features mixed with fear and interest.
Sirius sighed loudly; he should be used to this by now.
Since his name had been cleared, everyone had been wanting to get a glimpse of him. Whispers followed him wherever he went, but he wasn't surprised - all people wanted was gossip, and here he was, a readymade topic. Not everyone was convinced of his innocence but it didn't bother him. People could say what they wanted about him, whether it was true or not. As long as the people he cared most about knew of his innocence, especially Harry, he didn't care what a bunch of old ladies had to say about him. There was also the issue of Harry; the man who had supposedly betrayed his parents to Voldemort now had custody of the Boy-Who-Lived. Though Sirius held his head high, ignoring what anyone had to throw at him, Harry, however did not.
"If you've got a problem, why don't you come and tell us rather than whisper about us behind our backs!" he burst out angrily at a stunned middle-aged woman, who hadn't bothered to keep her voice down as she murmured her concerns to her friend.
"We've only got your best interests at heart, dear," she replied calmly, staring deeply into Harry's face as though checking him for injuries.
"Really?" Harry demanded coldly. "Funny, I don't remember you sticking up for me last year when I was supposedly a liar? What's changed? Is it because I'm fifteen or because I'm the so called Chosen One?"
Sirius placed a hand on his godson's shoulder, both comforting and restraining him, and tried pulling him backwards. Harry didn't need this.
"Don't," he whispered gently into his ear. "They're a bunch of gossips with nothing better to do."
"It makes me so angry," Harry huffed, stalking away from the woman with Sirius at his heels. "Why can't they leave us alone? For once I've gotten something good in my life and they're trying to ruin it. Do I have to save the wizarding world and be unhappy at the same time?"
Without thinking about the many eyes fixed on them, Sirius pulled Harry into a hug. It hurt him to realise that people only cared about Harry because of the rumours - albeit true rumours - circulating since the battle in the Department of Mysteries. To the wizarding world Harry is just a pawn to be played; an expendable piece of the game, as long as he can kill Voldemort first. Didn't they realise that Harry was still just a boy; a fifteen-year-old boy? He doesn't need the prophecy hanging over his head wherever he goes.
He noticed with a pang that Harry held himself rather stiffly, although he was exceedingly unused to hugs.
"I'm sorry, Harry," Sirius apologised as they parted. "Do you still want to eat out or would you rather go back home?"
"We're staying," Harry declared firmly. "We're not going to hide because people want to talk. I've dealt with it for the last six years of my life. Besides, it will prove to people that you're not locking me up or starving me."
Laughing weakly, Sirius put an arm around his godson and walked together into the packed pub.
Harry was fuming as they walked through the door, though he tried not to let it show. How could someone who didn't even know him, have his best interests at heart? If they did then they ought to realise that Sirius was the best thing to happen to him. If Sirius had died back in the Ministry, Harry had no idea what he would do, especially knowing that it was his fault. Sirius was the closest thing to a father he had. Even now he still hadn't forgiven himself for walking into the trap. If he had worked harder on his Occlumency lessons, it never would have happened. Sirius could have died... Hermione could have died... Ron could have died...they all could have died and it would have been his fault.
"Are you okay?" Sirius' voice broke through his musings.
Harry turned to stare at his godfather. Sirius' brow was furrowed in concern.
"Hm? Oh, yeah, I'm fine. I was just thinking, that's all."
"Ignore them, Harry," Sirius murmured quietly, shooting him a reassuring smile. "Just ignore them. It doesn't matter what they or what they do because I have legal custody of you and nobody, not one person, is going to take you away from me. Stop worrying, okay?"
"I can't help it, Sirius," Harry said softly. "Back in the Shrieking Shack, it looked like everything was going to work out but look what happened? I was all set to win the Tournament with Cedric, for us both to become Hogwarts Champions and foil whoever was trying to get me killed..."
Sirius placed both hands on either side of Harry's face, effectively silencing him apart from his breathing, which was a little faster than usual..
"Take a deep breath," his godfather instructed calmly.
Harry gave him a weird look but as Sirius continued to look at him, sighed before sucking in a great breath and exhaled slowly. Immediately he felt better, especially as the pain that came with thinking of Cedric was receding. He wondered if he'd ever really recover from what had happened to the kind Hufflepuff.
"Good. Now, listen to me carefully. Are you listening?" Harry nodded with difficulty since his godfather still had his hands cupping his face. "Nothing bad is going to happen, no one is taking you away. Not ever. We're a family and we're here to stay. Even if I get accused of something then Dumbledore can help us."
"Just remember all the people who would be more than happy to help if anything happened," Sirius continued, as he gently released his Godson's face. "The Weasleys, Dumbledore, Tonks, MadEye, hell, even the Hogwarts teachers would take you in."
"Even Snape?" Harry asked with a completely serious expression although his lips were twitching."
"Eh, we'll put him on the 'over my dead body' list," Sirius offered before they both laughed. "Seriously though Harry, as a big a git as he is, I don't think he would ever actually hurt you. Be a complete and utter git to you yes, but not hurt."
"I know," Harry quipped, although one of his hands flexed strangely. "You know he saved my life in First year?"
"Really?" Sirius asked automatically before frowning slightly. Had Dumbledore already told him that? He wasn't sure and for a moment, panic rose up in him before he forced it down. He'd worry about that later.
"Yeah, this other teacher was jinxing my broom during my first match," Harry exclaimed. "He was saying the counter curse which kept me from being bucked off completely."
Now Harry suddenly grinned in memory.
"But when Hermione spotted him muttering under his breath, she thought he was doing the jinxing so she...went and set his robes on fire."
Sirius stared for a moment before tipping his head back and roaring with laughter. Harry grinned although they were getting a lot of strange looks but no one came to bother him. Sirius continued laughing for a few more minutes before finally say.
"Merlin, that's priceless, absolutely priceless. I wish I could have seen the look on his face, that's just what your dad would have done."
As Sirius chuckled fondly, Harry's smile slipped for just a moment as an unwelcome memory arose. One of an angry, humiliated Snape and a taunting James Potter. Hermione had jinxed Snape purely because she thought he was attacking Harry, she never would have done that for any other reason. Was Sirius implying that his dad would have done as Hermione did or...that James Potter would have happily set Snape on fire, no matter the circumstances?
Harry forced it from his mind, he didn't want to think about that, not when he'd just gotten his Godfather back. He could talk to Sirius later about it, reassure himself that his dad and friends hadn't been bullies like his cousin's gang.
"Did he ever find out?" Sirius now asked eagerly and Harry shrugged.
"No idea, he's never mentioned it. I don't think so because he'd have probably taken it out on Hermione but who knows."
Sirius scowled before asking.
"How did you survive that Harry? If Hermione jinxed Snape, that would have broken his concentration on you."
"Ah," Harry said with a laugh. "It turns out she really did save me from the attacker...she bashed into Quirrell and knocked him into the next row as she was rushing over to Snape. So, that meant Snape actually had a few moments extra to get rid of the jinx on my broom before he got jinxed."
Harry paused. Was this maybe why, if he knew, Snape had never gotten onto Hermione? Because she had actually helped save his life by putting the attacker briefly out of action? It was an interesting thought and he resolved to suggest it to his friends, see what their opinion was.
"That's incredible," Sirius murmured, barely able to believe what his Godson had been through. "And that was just your first match?"
"Yeah but it's not even the most exciting one," laughed Harry. "But here's hoping this year's Defence teacher doesn't try to either kill or maim me."
Sirius laughed uneasily, a creeping sensation in his spine. He didn't know about Harry's second Defence teacher but he knew that Remus had unknowingly tried to hurt Harry in his wolf form. Fourth year...well, nothing needed to be said about that. Fifth year, he knew Umbridge was a piece of work but there was still a bit of confusion over what she had all done to the students while in power. He resolved to ask Harry at a later date but first thing's first.
Clearing his throat, he said quietly.
"You know I'd never hurt you, right?"
Harry nodded. Of course he knew that. He never considered the notion that Sirius would ever lay a finger on him. There was something between the pair of them that Harry had never known from the Dursleys - love.
"I know. Don't worry about me Sirius, I'll be alright. Whatever happens during the school year, I've got Ron and Hermione to back me up."
"And now you've got me," Sirius reminded him and Harry nodded.
"And now I've got you. And you've got me."
A faint smile broke out on the older man's face, but his eyes were full of sadness. "I know I do. You're truly incredible, you know that, Harry James?"
"I've been told."
With a wink, Sirius said, "Now we've gotten the intense emotional stuff out of the way, what do you fancy to eat?"
Harry laughed with him and together, they settled down to check out the menu.
Author's note. Those already familiar with the story will notice I changed the second half quite a bit. The reason for this is I found Harry a bit too emotional in the original chapter; he is someone who is very closed off, even around those he trusts. So, I just couldn't see him blurting out everything that had happened to him in one go, it's going to be a slow process for him and Sirius. Not sure when the next chapter will be up, hopefully not too long, until then.