A/N: V.L. Crawford this chapter is for you and all of those who never get enough of Siri3
Reviewers: So… I finally got this to update. There's a longer apology and explanation at the bottom. For all of you who stuck with me and kept reminding me of this story, thank you and I'm sorry for the long wait.
Disclaimer: I do not own this except for the OC. This is also unbeta'd.
Chapter 17: Sirius Saving
I stepped down the trail to Hogsmeade feeling surprisingly lonely without Viktor at my side. However, this was something I had to do on my own. Turning away from the busy sector of the village I strode down the narrow cobblestone walkways towards one of the lesser used paths. Finally I reached my destination. It was a small community garden that had fallen into disuse, the flowerbeds growing however they wished and a rickety bench perched next to a fountain. Percy stood with his back to me, hands twisting nervously behind his back, the tips white with the stress he put on them.
"Percy," I said calmly attracting his attention. He turned towards me and a whistle of relief left him.
"Good, I don't have long," the third oldest Weasley brother said tiredly. The older wizard sunk down on the bench tiredly and I joined him after a moment's hesitation. "It's getting worse Harry. I always saw the ministry as this great beacon of hope and a chance to make a name for myself but… I think there's something seriously wrong with my boss and everything that happens at the Ministry is done through bribes." The eighteen year old buried his face in hands, his glasses sliding up to the top of his head. I watched as he rubbed his eyes and temples tiredly. To be honest I wasn't surprised to hear the Percy was growing dissatisfied with the underhandedness rampant with the government.
"I looked into Sirius Black's trial like you asked," Percy whispered and I tensed. That had been the only thing I asked in return from Percy besides updates and to look after Hermione if everything went south. The slender man was up and pacing back and forth before me his hands flailing with indignation. "There's nothing on Sirius Black at all besides his birth records and his school test grades. Not even his records of when he served as an Auror! There are no medical records, ownership documents, or employment and tax information. Absolutely nothing on anything about the man! If it wasn't for the fact I remember meeting the man a few times when I was very little and all the trouble last year, I'd say the man was a myth, a false identity!"
"I can promise you he's not. Do you think someone hid the information or purposefully removed it so any enquires would turn up ineffective?" I asked him. Percy paused and just stared at me in silent shock.
"Harry you sounded surprisingly like Granger for a second there…" He told me before a distracted look passed over his face and he bit his lip in consternation. He finally nodded, "it's possible." He said softly, "Entirely possible." He suddenly started digging through his messenger bag, made of smooth camel colored leather with buckles, a gift from his girlfriend if I remembered correctly. He made a slightly pleased sound and pulled out some documents. "Here!" He said pushing them at me. I blinked and took the time to glance it over, my eyebrows shooting up in surprise. It looked like formal legal documents to put a non-family member, or at least a distantly related one with no immediate ties, under the protection of any or all of my houses.
"Why did you give me this?" I asked glancing at him in curiosity.
"They're for your friends, Hermione specifically, but…. After looking for that trial I figured you were likely to need a few. They can be used as a way of formally admitting someone into your family or placing them under your protection. There are also a number of fealty contracts." I felt my eyebrows go up at that. Fealty contracts were pretty much alignment contracts between houses. They could span any period of time, and depending on which one you used, they could in affect make the co-signer your vassal, your lord, or an ally.
"You're brilliant," I state quietly after looking through them all. All of the documents were specially made so they could be duplicated to make blank copies or copies of the completed work. Percy cleared his throat awkwardly as I returned to looking and reading some over and I glanced up. He was blushing slightly and holding a few tightly rolled parchments. He offered them to me before saying in an almost garble, "betrothal contracts." I felt my eyes widen and my hands tighten almost uncontrollably around the vellum.
"Percy!" I squeaked. Percy merely held his hands up and glanced at his watch hurriedly, a look of relief covering his face.
"Well, look at the time, I've got to run! Bye Harry!" The older wizard popped off with a quick Apparate and I just stared at where he stood red faced and open mouthed. After a few moments I shook my head. "Bloody nosy bunch those Weasleys."
I headed back to the castle focusing on the fealty documents and getting in touch with Sirius. I hadn't heard much from him since his last owl right before the ball that had come about two weeks ago. My godfather had admitted to slowly trying to sneak his way closer to Hogsmeade, Remus having to stay behind because of his lycanthropy. I wasn't sure how long it would take him, but I hoped he'd be okay. I was halfway up the pathway when I saw a familiar pair of redheads. The duo seemed to be intent on talking to me and I stopped on the path to wait for them.
"Harry!" One of the twins said when they finally reached me.
"Our favorite non-blood brother," the other said.
"How have you been? We haven't been able to get a hold of you what with the mess with Ginny and Ron, never mind everything else." The first speak said.
"I've been alright," I say with a shrug, "Thanks for asking I guess."
"We still consider you our brother, Forge and I," Fred, I think, said, waving between them, "And we support you. Ron does now too, but he knows he was an arse so he's keepin' away. We're really sorry about Ginny by the way. We didn't know she was that off." I couldn't help but smile and nod.
"It's alright," I reply, "She's doing better now right? The healer is helping?"
"Yup, it seems that the possession she suffered from when she was a first year really affected her, that and her crush on you when she was little has turned into an unhealthy obsession." George, I guess, said seriously.
"She's finally making a break through," Fred said. "Thank Merlin."
"If you need anything, Harry, anything at all," George said, "You just let us know…"
"And we'll take care of it. You just let us know."
Another week passed and the large basilisk was half stripped through the weekend works of a seemingly random group of people under the hawkish stare and swift perfectionist handling of the resident Potion Master. He enjoyed it a lot, to my amusement, and there were times I even thought I caught him humming pleasantly.
Neville isn't scared of him anymore and the two have bonded a bit over Nev's ability with plants. If I asked him who his favorite teachers were I'm pretty sure Professor Snape would come out second, right after Professor Sprout and tied with Professor McGonagall.
However, it's the weekend Sirius promised to come and I am super excited. I step into Hogsmeade giddy and worried at the same time. Draco and Neville hang back, chatting over some sort, their own interest and excitement hidden. Professor Snape is eyeing us from his placement a few students behind us, he probably suspects something is about to happen, and I finger the heavy silver ring hidden in my pocket.
Immediately screams alert the four of us and we turn as a group.
A massive scraggily dog wanders through the crowd, sniffing around in interest.
"It's a Grim!" Someone shouts fearfully, and shrieks of agreement, fear, and general panic follow. The dog stops directly in front of me and sat, tilting its head to the side calmly, tail beating the ground rhythmically.
Professor Snape stiffens, his hand going to his wand, and I shift into his way.
"Mr. Potter," he said sternly. I shook my head.
However, before he could do anything, I stepped forward.
Taking a deep breath I ordered the dog, who was actually my godfather in disguise, quite firmly, "Sirius Orion Black, as the Lord Potter, I order you to submit yourself to my purview until sentencing. As an adoptive son of my grandfather's house through his own words, my father's sworn brother of his heart, and my godfather through magic, you will submit to sentencing or be stripped of your magic, name, and titles." A globe of magic started swirling around me with each word, and I continued on, ignoring the squishy feeling in my stomach, "Sirius Orion Black, as the Heir Black, I order you to submit yourself and turn away from your waywardness. To don the ring you were supposed to have accepted and worn when the last head of the Ancient and Noble House of Black passed. Do you accept this, Sirius Orion Black?" The dog's form slowly morphed into a man, and he rasped. People screams became even louder. Many were calling for an auror or the ministry. The gold globe encompassing us, however, would prevent any such interference.
"I do," he said firmly. I nodded.
"The ring," I told him pulling it out of my pocket and offering it to him. "As your heir, my duty is to give you this ring, as it is yours to wear it. Do you accept the duty as the Head of the Ancient and Noble House of Black? Knowing that if you have betrayed any of our family out of malicious intent to kill and/or cause lasting harm outside that was first given to you, your magic will be forcibly removed from you and you shall perish?" Sirius paused for a moment and I had to keep myself from saying something by biting my lip.
His bony fingers finally reached out and tentatively took it.
"I do," he whispered, and the ring was slipped on. A flash of power, not unlike what I felt when I put on the signet ring for the Potter House. An answering jerk appeared on the Black Heir ring and I smiled down at it.
"Congratulations," Draco broke in with a polite bow, followed by Neville.
Sirius swept me into a hug and twirled me around.
"Congratulation, Lord Black," I said with a wide smile, "You stink though."
He barked out a laugh and kept swinging me in circles before finally setting me on my feet.
"Mr. Potter!" Professor Snape snapped. I winced but turned to glance at him sheepishly. The somber black figure gave me the evil eye.
"Yes, Professor Snape?" I said, shifting awkwardly.
"Will this…" He paused to sneer at Sirius who just glared back. I could see him about to open his mouth, so I not-so-subtly stomped on his foot, earning a yelp, but the necessary, momentary quiet from him. "Lord of yours… Be staying with you?"
"Yes, Professor," I replied. He growled, looked away while pinching his nose in thought.
"Fine," he suddenly huffed, "I will still be dismantling the basilisk, however, I implore you… Keep us separate. I do not doubt either of us is interested in conversing or being in one another's presence."
"Okay, Professor Snape!" I chirped, slumping in relief when he turned away. Sirius scowled at me for a moment, before ignoring the other man by turning back into a dog. About four seconds later the sounds of popping could be heard.
"We heard there was a major sighting of Sirius Black here?!" a stressed out Auror said as he hurried over. He looked around and did a double take at me and my companion.
"It's a Grim!" He screeched and his partner, following looking just as tired, stumbled into him rather forcefully. They both ate dirt.
Snuffles and I exchange a long look before getting out of there.
I didn't even want to think about what would happen if they realized I was there too.
Sirius Black had a scraggly formed figure with lanky, shoulder length black hair, had a beard that was more wild-man than tamed, and gray eyes that danced in delight whenever they landed on Harry. He was also surprisingly positive when he found out that Harry and I were dating.
"Caught yourself a Quidditch star, ah?" Sirius said hugging Harry and then stepping back to look me offer with interest. "Your father always talked about you marrying a Quidditch player. Though I think he always hoped for a Holyhead Harpy, he was a big fan of them, not even for the fact they were all very hot witches." Sirius wiggled his brows and Harry laughed, which I happily soaked up, before a small frown developed on his face.
"Sirius," Harry started, pausing the rambunctious man, "D-do you think Mum and Dad would have agreed with me dating Viktor? With me…Liking and being with Viktor?"
I felt a knot develop in my stomach as I watched the fear and worry appear in Harry's face.
Sirius' goofy expression disappeared and he seemed to seriously consider the question.
"Harry," Sirius said with a stern look appearing on his face, "Your parents would have been thrilled. Well, maybe not with the age gap." He added on and Harry glanced at me uncertainly. I tried to glance back comfortingly and his shoulders relaxed a tad. I stepped closer and hugged him over the shoulders.
Sirius continued though, "But that would be because your mum was always protective and while your dad might have been a bit of a prat sometimes. He was so in love with your mum and you, he couldn't possibly ever want you to date or marry someone. He'd want to keep you for himself and Lils. Both of your parents would be perfectly fine with your being gay or whatever. Your mum had a best friend, not Alice, who was pansexual and when I came out to them your father punched out three different Slytherins for trying to call me a pillow-biter." Harry blinked at him. I did the same.
"You're gay, Sirius?"
"Nope, I'm polysexual, which is different than pansexual no matter what some people say. I prefer the male soul, no matter the packaging. Girls think weirdly." He shuddered. Harry's face slowly broke into a smile and I jerked in surprise when suddenly Harry and I were engulfed in a hug by the skinny man.
"Enough about that though," he said cheerfully, "I want to hear everything about this silly tournament and how you two hooked up."
If Harry and I turned as red as a Chinese Fireball we were lucky Sirius didn't tease us about it.
Sirius and Snape painstakingly avoided each other during that first weekend, to my amusement. Astonishingly, Sirius devoured an entire chicken, half a casserole, and a rather large pot of soup during his first meal back in Hogwarts. Sirius told me Remus would come at the beginning of the semester and I was unsurprised when an official looking letter appeared from Gringotts with a brand new list of information on the Black holdings. Sirius got a similar one, and his whole face twisted as he looked it over, pouting and sneering. I made sure to make several copies of the official paperwork before handing over a lighter and scissors.
Sirius took childish delight in destroying the multiples, while I put the first statement in a folder for later.
I'd get Hermione to nag him into looking it over. She was good at doing that kind of stuff.
"Moony!" Sirius shouted excitedly. The thin ex-convict launched himself at the slightly shorter and graying werewolf.
"Padfoot," Remus greeted warmly and hugged his old friend before seeing me. "Hullo there Harry."
"Hi professor," I replied cheerfully accepting the warm handshake when my old professor released one hand from the clutching hold Sirius had on him and shook my hand.
"It's Remus, Harry," he stated with warm amber eyes.
"Or Moony," Sirius chirped. The man rolled his eyes but nodded in fondness.
"Or Moony," he repeated dutifully, "Now, I am staying with you in your personal chambers I heard?" He glanced at me curiously and I smiled sheepishly with a nod.
"Yup, c'mon," and I lead them back to Myrtle's bathroom, opened the slide and then grinned at the gobsmacked expression on Remus' face.
"No stairs?" Remus asks dryly and Sirius snickers.
"Only when you climb up," I chirp.
"Right…" Remus drawls eyeing the cleaned slide with some trepidation. "So I would prefer not to slide down…"
"C'mon Moony be adventurous! Even Snape slides down!" Sirius jeered.
"Oh joy," Remus grumbled knowing he wasn't getting out of this now. I chuckled at the childish gauntlet Sirius threw down, though I knew Remus didn't have big a problem with Professor Snape as Sirius did.
Sighing, Remus sat down at the edge. He studies the hole and glances at me one last time as if to ask if he really, really had to do this. I was tempted to say no, but Sirius proved to be impatient, and gave Remus a strong shove, sending the werewolf shouting down the slide.
"Go Remus!" Sirius choked out through his laughter, the horrified look on Remus vanishing around the bend and into the dark.
"I'm going to kill you Padfoot!" Remus' fading shout echoed back up to us. I glanced at Sirius with an arched brow.
"He really is going to kill you," I point out. Sirius grins at me smugly.
"He'll probably be too busy trying not puke. But either way, it was worth it!"
I shake my head in fond exasperation.
Viktor, Sasha and Draco snickered when I recounted what exactly happened to Sirius once Remus got a hand on him. The Black Lord had looked more like the Pink Lady when Remus turned his wand on him, charming his hair into a blond bee-hive (with conjured bees), a gaudy pink tutu like dress, and what could only be called pink, ballet stiletto heels. He also had the most awful make up on, black goatee still in place in a face of white paint, bright purple and turquoise eye shadow and some odd face jewels twinkling at the corners, and pink clown lipstick.
"Did you get pictures?" Draco choked out, Sasha nearly turning blue as he tried to catch his breath. Viktor snickers turn to guffaws when I nod.
"I gave a copy to Professor Snape and Professor McGonagall," I confess and Cedric, who had been looking rather restrained, broke into laughter.
"Wha-Why?!" He asked between laughs.
"Payback and blackmail," I reply, "Poor Professor McGonagall had to put up with all sorts of stuff when Sirius was still a student here and Professor Snape actually smiled, evilly mind you, but smiled when he saw the picture. If it hadn't been too undignified I'm sure he would have gloated and skipped away to rub it into Sirius' still make-up covered face."
"W-wait," Sasha wheezed, "He still has the make-up on?"
"Only Remus can remove it." I state solemnly. The whole table dissolves into laughter.
Harry curled as close to me as he could with us sitting in different chair in the library, pouring through the books in frustration to figure out a way to breathe under water. The books were complex, and the only ideas we had so far was the Bubble-Head charm, something Harry couldn't do since it was too advanced and I was uncomfortable to do since charms was not my strongest class. I preferred Transfiguration or Herbology.
Harry poured through a borrowed book from me when Neville came running in carrying a book, already opened and looking breathless.
"I found something than can help!" Neville said putting the book in front of us. We both blink at him owlishly.
"Eh?" Harry says eloquently and I lean forward to read the passage.
"Gillyweed?" I mutter, reading the page.
"It'll let you breathe underwater for however long you need as long as you eat enough!" Neville explained, collapsing into a seat across from us.
"This is perfect Neville," Harry exclaimed happily, leaning into to me to read the book as the blonde flushed. If I didn't have Harry, and knew Sasha would kill me, I would lean over and kiss the boy in thanks.
"Dank goodness," I mutter, "I vas vorried I vould haff to do someding crazy."
"Like transform into a shark?" Harry asked sharply, remembering one of my ideas on self-transfiguration. I winced. It was a difficult transformation and I knew Harry worried about me injuring myself, even if I did practice. He was still slightly upset with me over such an idea, and I smile sheepishly at him when he huffs.
"Ja," I state, "Vut dis vill vork better."
"Where can we get some?" Harry asked Neville thoughtfully. The blonde's eyebrows scrunched together thoughtfully as they leaned towards each other and started whispering furiously. I watched on in amusement as the two discussed the local Apothecary, an Owl-order catalogue, and even speaking to Professor Snape.
"I don't think we should ask Professor Snape," Harry says softly, "He's touchy about his stores, especially lately. Things have started going missing."
"Really?" Neville replies in surprise.
"Yes, he mentioned it when he came by to finish up working on the Basilisk." Harry said with a nod, "He didn't tell me exactly what's been gone, but I'd prefer not to bother him."
"Right," Neville said with a nod. "Well, we could ask either him or Professor Sprout for a catalogue. The local apothecary wouldn't carry it since it's a temperate waters item, but we could get imported in time. You could even practice with it."
"At least this also takes care of learning how to swim," Harry mutters. Neville blinks at him.
"You don't know how to swim either?" Neville asks.
"Nope," Harry admits.
"Neither do I," Neville says, "I was scared after being pushed in by my uncle." Harry winces and I stare at Neville in horror.
"VAT?!" I growl out. The resulting story infuriated me.
"It doesn't matter though," Neville confessed softly looking at us, "Because the second I become Lord, I'm cutting him off from any money, and shipping him to the continent to live in a little cabin in the middle of nowhere until he dies." I blinked at him while Harry grinned.
"Make sure to pensieve his face!"
Neville and I quickly got dragged into swimming lessons. Sasha and Viktor adamant we learn, especially when they found out why we didn't know, and quickly recruited Cedric and a reluctant Fleur. Fleur was not fond of water, mentioning her reluctance was due to her grandmother being a veela. Veela had a preference to land and fire, enjoying being around trees and wildlife over any sort of water feature. She was probably the most worried about the task as it would turn out and I sympathized with her. Especially since she was uncertain who exactly would be her hostage.
However, she knew how to swim.
"So," Cedric said, bringing us to the prefect's bathroom, "This is where you'll be learning to swim."
"More like drown," Neville mumbled and I couldn't help but wince and agree. The bathtub was massive, looking more like a miniature swimming pool than a bathing unit.
"C'mon you two," Cedric grumbled, and we both reluctantly stripped down to the swim shorts we were wearing, uncomfortable. We climbed into the shallow end and learned how to drown gracefully.
I returned to my chambers with the knowledge that my doggy paddle would save me from immediately drowning, and hair that looked like a wet mop dipped in ink. I starred in surprise when I a cloud of glitter and feathers blew up in my face. Blinking in confusion, I watched in a little horror as streams of color erupted from either sides of living room with a bemused, but mostly irritated, Sal looking over.
"What the buggering hell are you two doing?!" I finally shout to get their attention. Sirius and Remus both freeze, looking remarkably unlike themselves. Remus had peacock feathers sprouting from his head like some warped antennae, purple paint from neck to waist, yellow bat wings and a black eye. Sirius did not look any better, a return of the beehive hair style, though this time he was dressed as a giant bee with matching wings and a stinger that prodded him instead of poking out of his back.
"Er…" Sirius answered, "Prank war?"
Staring at the two supposedly "grown" men I slowly edge out of the room with a mumble, "I'm going to take a shower." A few seconds after the door shuts behind me an explosion of noise tells me the war has restarted and I can't help but laugh.
Second Task going to happen next chapter.
So… I want to apologize for the long wait. I've said it before, probably to my beta and fellow writer friends, but I have the brain of a squirrel. It's constantly refocusing on things and when I lose my track, largely from school, technology mishaps, or muse being a complete nightmare, I have a hard time continuing. But I'm determined not to abandon this. I get stories to a point where I'm super interested and then...my Muse goes... "Fluffy over there" and I'm lost. I do have it back and I will be focusing on this story and others.
For those of you waiting for Pear Shaped or Raising the Saviors, I'll be working on them this week. Pear Shaped is difficult for me because I had to change laptops and lost whole chapters. It makes motivation difficult around the depression. I am trying to recreate it considering I lost my timeline. I'm really sorry. I'll be updating as soon as possible.