AN Disclaimer Harry Potter belongs to JK Rowling I own nothing. This is fanfiction, I make no money out of this whatsoever. Now that's out of the way...
Chapter 37 – Ministry Mayhem
Sirius was pacing, unable to stay still as Pomfrey hovered over his son, a continuous stream of Latin flowing from her lips as she attempted to heal the damage caused by the acromantula venom in Harry's body, combined with magical exhaustion and the after effects of prolonged exposure to dark magic and the cruicatus. The poison she had been able to deal with, with nothing more than a few potions, a process aided by the residual presence of phoenix tears in Harry's blood, and the surface wounds had been healed and dressed with startling efficiency but it was the residual dark magic that was causing the problems.
While the ritual had removed the horcrux, and Sirius was forever grateful that it had, it had not removed - and until today they hadn't even realised it was there - the deep scaring the horcrux had left on Harry's magic. It did not affect Harry's ability to use magic, but due to the contact with dark magic, and dark magic of the same vein that had originally created the horcrux and caused the scarring, the scars on his core had become inflamed for want of a better term and it was a race against the clock to reduce the swelling before Harry could sufficiently recover from his magical exhaustion for his magic to chafe against the obstruction which would result in dangerous outbursts of accidental magic.
Sirius continued to pace restlessly, Poppy had sent him to the other end of the Infirmary, worried that the presence of a third magical core close to Harry's would make the damage worse, particularly when Sirius's magic had links to the ambient magic. He hadn't objected, unwilling to do anything that Pomfrey deemed dangerous when it was his son lying there injured but it couldn't stop his fear and worry.
Several awful, fraught minutes passed until the mediwitch finally stepped back, relief and tiredness mingling in her features. Sirius rushed towards her, frantic eyes fixed on the still form of his child. "He'll be fine," she answered the unspoken question. "He'll be on bed-rest for the next several days, while the physical wounds heal, and magical restriction for a month to ensure there are no complications as his magic recovers but I expect him to make a full recovery. He'll probably sleep for the next several hours, and I wouldn't be surprised if he has nightmares. I'll give you a prescription for Dreamless Sleep, and other milder Sleeping Potions to take away with you."
Sirius sat down abruptly, collapsing onto the chair by Harry's bedside, the relief making him weak at the knees. His child was fine, had survived and he was going to be there to deal with the nightmares and the mental trauma that Harry had to have incurred during the fight and to support his child. A shaking hand reached out and softly stroked Harry's hair away from his forehead, the contact reassuring Sirius that his son was here, had got out alive.
"Thank you," he murmured, his voice hoarse. The words seemed too small and insignificant for what Poppy had done for him, for the act of healing his child after the battle he had been forced to fight, from the multitude of injuries he had sustained. Pomfrey simply placed a supporting hand on Sirius's shoulder in a silent acknowledgement of his words before crossing to the other occupied bed in the infirmary, to check on Cedric.
Thankfully the other boy's injuries had not been severe. He had accumulated a variety of scrapes, burns, bruises and other shallow surface wounds in the maze that had taken mere minutes to heal. He had a concussion due to the impact with the ground which had been responsible for his period of unconsciousness, which Sirius knew with cold certainty had saved his life. He had returned to consciousness for long enough to swallow the necessary potions and was currently in a natural sleep and would be free to leave the infirmary the next day.
Harry had been the one in critical condition and while Sirius tried to be thankful that Cedric had not been gravely injured it was hard to be thankful for another's fortune when it was his son who was lying there in critical condition.
Sirius let out the breath he had been holding and continued to stroke Harry's hair, the motion slowly calming him as he gradually began to let go of the suffocating fear that had engulfed him ever since he had seen where his son had been taken. Harry was alive, safe and was recovering and he needed to be calm, not just for his child but because the rebirth of Voldemort had brought events to a head and fast.
Dumbledore's actions today, and the actions of the ministry had shown Sirius beyond a shadow of a doubt that he needed to get the school out of Dumbledore's control as well as out of the reach of the ministry not just to ensure that Harry was safe but also to assure that the children would be safe in the coming darkness because he had been on the front line of the last war and he knew that he had to act now to ensure that his child was safe and that the Wizarding World would not be consumed by blood and fire.
He had what he needed to remove Dumbledore as Headmaster, and the events in the third task would aid that goal no matter how awful they had been. It was cruelly ironic Sirius thought, that the rebirth of Voldemort that would cause terror and anguish to the Wizarding World was also going to provide the impetuous that would ensure that the children would be saved.
He would wait twenty four hours, to ensure that both the foreign schools and the Ministry representatives had departed then Dumbledore would be removed as Headmaster and the wards would be raised to full strength whilst they ensure the transition was as smooth as possible but Sirius knew they would also have more to discuss, not least ensuring the muggleborn were protected and whether summer camps could be introduced to ensure that all the students had the means to defend themselves for long enough to escape or for help to arrive if the Death Eaters came knocking.
But those were problems he would face and discuss with the other staff members later he thought as he saw his son shift restlessly under the blankets, the sleep giving way into dreams and nightmares as the events of the last few hours imposed itself on his child's subconciousness. His first priority was, and always would be his son and he would not leave his side until he was certain that Harry was fine. He could just as easily remove Dumbledore as Headmaster and raise the wards here as he could at any other location in the castle. While his son needed him he would be there and he would remain there for as long as possible after that point.
Harry shifted under the blankets, uneasy movements showing the turmoil in his dreams. Tenderly Sirius stroked Harry's hair, as he hummed the melody to an old song quietly, letting the rhythmic motion and the low sound of his voice lull Harry away from his nightmares and back into a peaceful, healing sleep. Slowly he felt Harry relax under his fingers, the nightmare giving way although he was not fool enough to think that he had won, he knew there were other nightmares lurking in his child's mind and he wouldn't be able to stop all of them but he would be here for his son afterwards, to hold him and comfort him.
Raised voices and the sound of running footsteps broke into the quiet of the night and Sirius's wand was in his hand before he was even conscious of the movement and in the next second he was standing at the foot of Harry's hospital bed, his wand up and ready to cast as he faced the infirmary door. He couldn't tell if the noise represented any kind of threat but after dealing with the imposter he would kill before he let anyone get close to Harry who he was not completely certain meant him no harm.
The Infirmary door burst open and Sirius tensed, his body going instantly into battle readiness. He relaxed infinitesimally as he noted the figures of Dumbledore, and several high ranking Ministry personal. While he didn't trust them as far as he could throw them, and the distrust had only been magnified by the events and their lack of action a few short hours previously, he was reasonably confident they were not attempting to murder Harry. If they had been wearing Death Eater masks, they would not be standing now and it was only the presence of Flitwick and McGonagall entering behind the group that tempered Sirius enough to allow them to speak first, although the expressions of anger on their faces did little to allay his concerns.
Dumbledore looked at him sadly, his eyes conveying an aura of grandfatherly disappointment. "Is the wand really necessary Sirius?" He asked quietly, a hint of reproach in his voice but Sirius was in no mind to play along with the man's games.
"When my son has been kidnapped, forced to fight Voldemort, nearly dying in the process and been threatened again on Hogwarts grounds I believe it is indeed necessary." He made no attempt to hide or mute the tartness in his voice and he felt a small amount of satisfaction as he saw a couple of the Ministry workers wince.
"I can assure you that we mean no harm to either Harry or yourself," Dumbledore said in what he obviously hoped was a conciliatory tone.
He was unprepared for the sudden burst of anger that lashed out of Sirius, "You lost any claim to those words the instant you refused to even attempt to find my child," The words were low and venom coated his tone, "There were two children out there – and whilst Cedric may be of age he is still a student here – we could all see that they were fighting for their lives and you sat in your pretty little box and did nothing. And now you have the gall there to stand there and say you meant no harm!"
Dumbledore looked taken aback, evidently he had not been expecting anything like the rage that flowed through Sirius, becoming palpable in the air as the ambient magic rose up in response to the call of the Black Lord. However Fudge was not as attuned to the magic in the air and he ignored the warnings in Sirius's words and posture as he stalked forward, his lime green bowler hat spinning rapidly in his fingers and his face an interesting mix of pasty white and beet red.
"Now look here Black, there are some basic procedures we need to go through and then we'll be on our way." He attempted to bluster.
Sirius's eyes narrowed, "And what procedures would those be?" He asked, his voice dangerously soft even as he shifted his weight slightly, prepared to cast at a moment's notice.
But Fudge blustered on, either unaware of the warning or purposefully ignoring it. "We all saw Voldemort rise tonight, a dreadful business, what with being sure he was dead and all that but Harry beat him again, he's the only one that can do so it seems. Therefore we regret to inform you that your guardianship of the Boy-Who-Lived has been officially removed and Harry will be placed in Ministry custody to come into force immediately. Now if you would kindly step away..."
His words trailed off into silence as a wave of pure magic in its most potent, raw form slammed into the entire delegation, knocking the breath from their lungs and freezing them to the spot as efficiently as a petrification. All eyes in the room swivelled to the Black Lord and more than one attempted to step backwards from the rage shining in the suddenly coal black eyes, only to find that they were frozen to the spot and unable to move.
"You will not touch my son," he growled out, his voice sounding uncannily similar to that of his animagus form as he stood protectively by the bed, the fire in his eyes and the magic whipping up a storm around him proclaiming more effectively than any words ever could that it was be suicidal to cross the Black Lord, or even attempt to raise a wand at his moment in time.
There was a slight feeling of satisfaction in Sirius as he saw the Minister and the vast majority of his party turn a sickly white at the force of the ambient magic in the air but the greater part of his consciousness was focussed on the fact that they were trying to take his child away from him, and if he had not blood adopted Harry he would have been unable to prevent them from stealing his child when Harry needed him the most. And the rage that was coursing through his veins with that thought demanded nothing but retribution, and even though he did not know it, at that moment he looked every inch a Black. They had dared to threaten his son and they would be lucky if they left the Infirmary before Sirius ensured that they could never threaten his son again.
But with the control honed by the years in Azkaban and the year on the run he pulled the bloodlust back. He would harm Harry more if he did something foolish now and got himself arrested when legally the Minister had no leg to stand on and there was no way that he was going to be leaving the infirmary with his son in Ministry custody, and of course the fact that the man would leave without any bodily harm did not mean that Sirius could not ruin his career in a single move if he so choose.
The thought of the consequences a second rash action could have on his son sobered him quickly, whilst the need for retribution was satisfied by the knowledge of the damage he could inflict on Fudge without ever needing to draw his wand. Slowly he let his rage cool so it was no longer storming in the magic but washing lightly over his skin, controlled and ready to lend power to his words if he needed it, and as he did so he let a wide malicios smirk cross his face.
"I'm afraid Minister that you will not be leaving with my son today," His voice was light, almost jovial but the sudden change in his demeanour frightened the onlookers far more than his previous anger. "You see, the Ministry cannot remove Harry from my custody, just as they cannot remove and heir and son from any pureblood lord. I'm so sorry but you will not be leaving with Harry this evening." His tone told the gathered delegation that he was anything but sorry, as did his eyes which gleamed venomously in the candlelight.
"Hem, hem." Sirius's head whipped round, and his black eyes bored into the squat toad-like witch who had spoken. "I believe," she said in a high girlish voice, "That it sounded as if you were going against a Ministry decision Mr Black."
Sirius smiled at her but the smile was all teeth, "On the contrary Madam Umbridge," he said pleasantly, but with a hint of menace in his tone as he remembered all the legislation she had pushed through that made it impossible for Remus to get a job, "I think you will find that I am complying with Ministry Laws and Procedures exactly."
There was a sudden silence after that remark as the Ministry personal tried to locate the meaning in the sentence but Sirius did not give them time to catch their thoughts. "I am the Head and Lord of the House of Black after all and Harry Potter is my son by blood, by magic and by oath." His voice had lost its light tone and had slipped into the archaic forms, the magic behind the adoption singing in the old ritual words.
He continued, the gravity in his voice unmistakable as slowly but surely he saw comprehension dawn in the faces of his listeners. "Therefore the Ministry has no authority to remove him from my care, or insist anything with regards to my son."
He could see that his message had been received and understood by the vast majority of his listeners, his eyes noting the expression of defeat almost on Dumbledore's features as the adoption was confirmed, and the pleased and supportive looks directed his way by both Filius and Minerva, but inevitably there were some in the ministry delegation who did not know when and how to give up.
"Mr Black," it was the hideous Umbridge woman again, "You are not complying with Ministry protocol, Mr Potter has been removed from your custody and you must stop obstructing us or we will be forced to call the Aurors."
Sirius merely laughed in her face but there was no humour in the sound. "Call the Aurors if you feel the need madam," his voice sneered the last word in an excellent imitation of pureblood strength in its finest, "But I am afraid if you continue this course of action I would welcome their assistance in arresting you for attempted the kidnapping of a minor, and heir to the Ancient House of Black."
The woman's face became pasty white and she began to splutter in outrage but Sirius continued to speak, completing ignoring her protests and cutting her off very effectively. "I would have thought you of all people, considering your history of campaigning for purebloods, against half-bloods, muggleborns and magical creatures would have remembered the laws detailing the fact that the Ministry has no say in the lives of the heir of a pureblood lord, and cannot determine custody over them, or remove them from their Lord's custody."
A hint of what seemed to be triumph flashed in the woman's eyes for a brief second, "But the Lord and Lady Potter passed away over thirteen years ago," she exclaimed triumphantly, confident that she would get her way, "Therefore those laws no longer apply to Mr Potter."
Sirius smiled slowly at her, as he stalked forward like a predator circles his prey, "But my dear Madam Umbridge," he replied urbanely, "I regret to inform you that your information is incorrect. Whilst the Lord and Lady Potter have indeed passed away, Harry Potter has been blood adopted into the House of Black as my true son. Those laws do indeed apply to my child."
The woman was spluttering in outrage, "The Ministry would have to have been informed of such a change. There is no proof of what you say. You are lying and I demand Mr Potter is removed from this place immediately!"
Her words seemed to have resonated with Fudge and the man turned to look at Sirius, some colour back in his cheeks and there was some confidence in his voice as he spoke, "As my Undersecretary has so kindly pointed out there is no proof of your claim. We will remove Harry from your custody until such time as such proof can be provided."
Sirius half spun and in the next instant the ambient magic yanked away from the delegation and formed a perfect shield over the unconscious form of his child. "You will not touch him," he all but snarled.
"If you insist on proof, summon a healer from St Mungo's and they can perform a paternity test but in the meantime Harry will not leave this room." His voice became soft and deadly, "Not only would such action amount to kidnapping but my son is lying there injured and unconscious, recovering from injuries and you want to remove him from a hospital before he has even regained consciousness!" His voice had risen to a near shout by the end and he was vindicated when he saw several of the delegation exchange shame filled glances, that aspect of their actions only just occurring to them.
"I won't stand for this," Fudge attempted to bluster, "Time is short and I demand that the boy be taken into protective custody immediately."
Sirius pinned the man with his eyes, his gaze deadly and the portly man flinched back at the venom swimming in those black eyes. "My son will not leave this room until he is well, and it will not be in Ministry Custody. If time is such a priority summon a healer now and we can settle this matter, but if you insist on trying to remove my son I leave you to the ambient magic." He waved his hand almost lazily at the shimmering shield of pure magic that surrounded Harry and he was satisfied when nobody made any move to attempt to breach it.
The Black's ability to control the ambient magic was notorious, particularly in pureblood circles not the least because there was little that an ordinary witch or wizard could do to combat it. It was magic in its raw, pure form and there were no spells or shields that could prevent it from reaching a person. They had no defence and it made people wary, not to mention the magic itself was unpredictable and there was no way of knowing what would happen to anyone who tried and failed to breach the protections.
Fudge's face turned an interesting shade of magenta when he realised that he had been out-manoeuvred. "Send for a healer," he snapped out and one of the aides instantly scurried away, "I want this matter cleared up immediately. The boy will be in ministry custody before the day is out."
Sirius just smiled menacingly at the incompetent that they called Minister of Magic and he saw him drop his gaze and look away. No more than ten minutes had passed before a slightly frazzled looking healer stepped into the room.
"Healer McKinnon," Fudge said pompously, "You are required to perform a paternity test on the boy there."
The woman looked at the minister in disbelief, then her gaze strayed to Sirius and he saw the slight fear in her eyes, a fear that the man knew would take more than a year of his freedom to erase before her eyes widened as they came to rest on Harry. "Harry Potter?!" She asked in disbelief. A stony gaze was all she received from Sirius.
"I believe Madam," he said a little frostily but still politely, "You have been requested to perform a paternity test. I would rather that my son's identity be confirmed, so the Ministry can leave and let him heal."
The woman gave him a startled glance before she turned to view the shimmering shield that still protected Harry. "I will need blood in order to perform the tests," she informed them briskly. "I cannot do so when the shield is in place."
Reluctantly Sirius removed the shield but before the Ministry delegation could even contemplate snatching his child he immediately threw the magic back at them, freezing them in place. He saw the sudden flash of anger in Umbridge's eyes as the foul woman realised she was unable to move and inwardly Sirius marked her name up for those he had to ruin once his child was safe. From the attitude she had displayed throughout this entire meeting he was convinced she was behind a large portion of this initiative, and even if she wasn't she was certainly the person who took most glee in executing Fudge's orders.
Secure in the knowledge none of the Ministry delegation were going to be moving anywhere until he released them Sirius turned his attention back to the healer and his son. The woman waved her wand once over the unconscious teen then she placed her wand at his wrist and with a curious pulling motion a glob of blood, quivering crazily, rose from Harry's skin and splashed down into a waiting bowl.
The minutes passed slowly as she waved her wand carefully in a complicated pattern over the bowl then a silver smoke rose gracefully into the air. She jabbed it once with her wand and the silver spilt into three distinct groups. Out the corner of his eye Sirius saw that Fudge's face had suddenly gone pasty white as he realised the implications of the three groups.
A second jab and the silver twisted into three names, Sirius Orion Black, James Charlus Potter and Lily Amelia Potter nee Evans. Both Lily and James's names were tinged with gold, indicating that they were the birth parents whilst Sirius's had a slash of pure emerald showing clearly the blood adoption. The healer's mouth dropped open but she recovered quickly and turned to the assembled officials. "Harry Potter is the son by blood and magic of both James Potter and Sirius Black." She nodded sharply, "If you have no further need of me I have patients I must be getting back to, good day."
Sirius felt a spark of admiration well up inside him at the tartness of the healer's reply, it seemed that there were more in the Wizarding World that dislike the incompetence of their Minister.
"I believe that you are no longer needed here gentlemen," he said politely although his voice had a steel tone in it that told his audience that he would not tolerate anything else, "Now my son needs to heal and you have no business in the Infirmary. Good day."
In a movement of utter contempt he turned his back on the delegation and returned to his seat at his son's bedside.
There was a strangled sound of pure unarticulated rage behind him and Sirius felt rather than saw the curse that sped at him. In a single move his was on his feet, a shining golden shield materialising in front of him and absorbing the curse. Pure fury radiated from every fibre of his being and his eyes were jet black as they bore into the unfortunate Ministry workers.
"Get. Out." The words were softly spoken but the wave of pure power that slammed into the delegation and threw them out of the infirmary sending the doors crashing shut was not. But Sirius didn't care about the Ministry party as he locked and warded the doors with the strongest spells he knew and only then did he sink down into a chair, letting go of the ambient magic as a wave of exhaustion swept over him. Keeping such iron control over the ambient magic for that long was no mean feat, even with the amount of experience he had with controlling it.
He reached out with a shaking hand and gently stroked his fingers through Harry's hair, the contact soothing both himself and Harry as he reassured himself that his child was still here and safe, despite the best efforts of the Ministry to achieve the exact opposite. Slowly he let himself relax but he knew that he would have to move fast, the Ministry was going to be a problem and with Voldemort's return the situation had become a lot more difficult.
He felt a hand on his shoulder and he glanced up to see the features of his old Head of House, her eyes kind. "Harry will be alright Sirius," she reassured him briskly and he let a hissing breath escape from between his teeth.
"I know," he admitted quietly, "I just won't be able to believe it until I see him wake." He paused for a moment, his expression considering before he waved his wand and a patronus shot out of the end and sped away into the night. McGonagall raised a questioning eyebrow.
"I asked Remus to make his way here along with Andy, Ted and Tonks. As soon as the ministry are clear of the castle and we are sure Beauxbatons and Durmstrang have left I want to raise the wards and get rid of Dumbledore. The position of the Ministry and his actions today have shown me that the position of the school is precarious and with Voldemort's return I want to ensure the school is safe."
The older woman nodded, her expression set, "I will notify the staff to the expected ward changes," she paused, consideringly before she turned back to him, "Thank you for doing this Sirius. The last thing I want is for the school to fall in the second war, it will be dark enough and I fear for what the school would have become with Dumbledore at the head."
Sirius nodded and turned his attention back to the child lying in the bed. Harry's face was pale, too pale and the shadows beneath his eyes clearly showed the pain he was in and had been in. He cursed himself for not being there, for not trying harder to get Harry out of the tournament, for that fact that Harry had been forced to face Voldemort once again and had only survived by a miracle. Although deep in his heart he knew there was nothing else he could have done, and even at this moment he was doing all he possibly could to ensure that his child would continue to remain as safe as Sirius could make him. All he was waiting for now was the knowledge that the two other schools were clear and it was safe to raise the wards.
The sound of footsteps ringing out against tiled stone snapped his from his thoughts and he turned sharply to see the figure of his friend enter the room along with his cousin, her husband and his niece.
"How is he Padfoot?" Remus asked as soon as he saw Sirius had noticed them.
The animagus let out a sigh, "He has yet to wake but Poppy managed to heal all his wounds and she expects that he will wake soon although he will be on magical restriction for a while, and it will take some time until all his injuries are fully healed."
There was a pause then Remus spoke once more, "Are you intending to act now?" There was no question to what he meant as Remus was well aware of Sirius's plans and he received a nod in response.
"I'm going to make it safe for him Moony, for him and for all the students. There will not be a repeat of the Hogwarts Massacre." Their expressions darkened as they remembered that night. They had been seventh years and they had fought alongside the professors when the castle had been attacked and they had seen more death and pain that night than they had ever wanted to see again. But despite all their efforts, and fighting until nearly dawn so many still lost their lives. It had been after that night both James and Sirius had decided to become Hit Wizards, they hadn't wanted to ever see that sort of pain again.
And even though it had been nearly twenty years since that night Sirius was still fighting to ensure that no-one and especially not his child would have to see or face that sort of pain again.
A patronus floated through the window and opened its mouth, "The schools and Ministry are off the grounds Sirius and we will be with you ready for the transfer in a few minutes."
Sirius sucked in a deep breath, in one move he was going to be announcing his intentions loud and clear to the entirety of the Wizarding World and he wasn't naive enough to think that it wouldn't result in trouble and that the Ministry weren't going to try and come down on the school like a tonne of bricks. No it would be a struggle but a struggle he would gladly take to ensure that Harry remained safe.
He reached into his pocket and withdrew a packet of documents he had prepared making him fully ready for this eventuality. All they required were his signatures and the command, relayed by him from Harry who was using his position as heir to both Gryffindor and Slytherin to command that the wards were put on lockdown, trapping the school until the transition was irrevocable and that the school was already completely prepared when the vultures and the Ministry swooped down.
He waited until Minerva and Filius returned, this time accompanied by Pomora. They had wanted the Heads of House to be present at the signing, although Snape had been excluded for obvious reasons. His allegiances were far too obscure and clouded, despite the binding and they weren't willing to risk any of their scheme getting back to Dumbledore, not to mention they would be getting rid of the man as soon as they had a new Headmaster. Not only didn't the man teach, but in a war a spy was too great a risk to have on staff, particularly as their main concern was the safety of the students and it was easier for Sirius to let him go rather than smother the spy in orders.
Minerva caught his eye, "We're ready as soon as you are Sirius."
He nodded and drew in a breath, but really he didn't have to think about this course of action. It was the best way to keep Harry safe and that was what mattered. With a flourish he signed his name beside Harry's on the documents, being forced to ratify Harry's signature as he was his father and such an action could not be completed without the guardian's consent when the Heir was underage.
There was a bright flash of magic as the contracts and orders suddenly became valid and they all let out a gasp as they felt the wards shift. Now was the crucial time, they had at most five minutes before Dumbledore burst into the wing and the Ministry came swooping down and only now could they raise the wards.
Sirius straighted, his wand pointing upwards and power layering his voice, "By the authority of Harry James Potter, Heir of both Sytherin and Gryffindor, I say now that Hogwarts in under threat from within and without and I command that the wards be raised to lockdown." His voice fell ringing into the quiet.
For a moment there was silence, and the pause was just long enough that Sirius had begun to worry that something had gone wrong, that something hadn't worked and then he felt it. Magic was seeping up through the very stones of the castle itself, thrumming as it surrounded every stone and slipped into every crack. He felt awe fill him as the magic continued to rise, it was magic applied in a way he had never felt before as it branched out as an almost living entity, surrounding Hogwarts in a shield of impenetrable protection.
With a sudden start Sirius realised the gold sparks were beginning to coalesce over the unconscious form of his son. Worry rose up inside him, nothing he had read had suggested that the heir was involved in the raising of the wards beyond the ritual words but then again very few would have seen such a ceremony performed so it was entirely possible that something did happen and with Harry unconscious and with magical exhaustion Sirius had a terrible foreboding that something was about to happen that he had not prepared for and that could hurt his child.
The magic swelled and Sirius watched with baited breath as the golden sparks grew thicker and thicker over the body of his child. He knew better than to try and interfere with the magic now it was working, nobody knew what the consequences of tampering with such powerful and ancient magic could be and when it concerned Harry, Sirius was not willing to risk anything.
With a swiftness that stole his breath the sparks plunged into Harry's body and he glowed golden for a brief second before his eyes snapped open and he lurched upwards into a sitting position. Sirius was moving forward before he was even aware he was doing so but his progress was halted when Harry's hand snapped out, the palm facing downwards and a stream of pure gold flew from his hand and infused the room.
"In the authority invested in me by the blood of Gryffindor and the magic if Slytherin I hereby call on the magic of the castle of Hogwarts to rise and protect." The words were spoken from Harry's mouth but it was not his voice, power layered his tone as he continued, the language strange and archaic. "They hath called forth war and shall pay for their presumptions. Let the gates be barred, let the cannon be stocked, let old Prometheus's fire strike down those who lay siege to this place of learning, of sanctuary, of knowledge, of hope. Let the wards rise!"
The last words burst out as a shout and Sirius felt a huge rush of magic snap through him as the wards rose completely, thick and impenetrable. Harry started to fall forward as the magic left him and Sirius was moving almost unconsciously, his arms already stretching out to catch Harry as he slumped over. And then Harry was in his arms and Sirius was sitting on the edge of the bed, holding Harry protectively.
His son's eyelids fluttered then opened once more, "Dad..." he slurred out, his voice weak and hoarse from the magic that had poured through him, "W'at 'appen'd?"
"Shh pup," Sirius murmured, pressing a kiss to Harry's forehead, pure unadulterated relief coursing through him, "You're in the Hospital Wing at Hogwarts and Poppy's healed you although you won't be moving from this bed for a while, your injuries are serious and you just felt the wards go into lockdown. Hogwarts is completely safe and Minerva is now Headmistress. You're safe."
"Cedric?" Harry asked next, between one breath and another.
"Just sleeping," Sirius reassured him, "Poppy's already looked at him and he will be out of here far sooner than you will."
At those words Harry relaxed, a detached part of his mind noting that the pain was far less than it had been the last time he had been awake although he was aware that his whole body felt like lead, and mentally he conceded that a long hospital stay was probably necessary. He was trying as hard as possible not to think about what had happened in the graveyard, a feat that was made a little easier by the embrace he was being held in.
He burrowed deeper into his father's embrace, drinking up the comfort he was offered eagerly. There had been several moments in the graveyard when he had thought he would never get out alive and although he knew that his friends and family were now in danger he couldn't think about the future as he clung onto Sirius. He had thought he was going to die and never see his father again and now he was here and safe he couldn't bring himself to let go.
It seemed that Sirius felt the same way for the animagus refused to let go of him, even when Madam Pomfrey came over to check his injuries now he had woken but Harry didn't mind. He knew he would have been embarrassed were it not for the fact that inside he was still carrying some of the terror from the graveyard and he knew that Remus and Madam Pomfrey would never tell anyone so he just snuggled closer as his eyes began to droop and he drifted back off to sleep, unable to remain awake for long.
He felt his father kiss his forehead and gentle hands reached out to tuck him in. "Go to sleep pup," Sirius murmured, "I'm right here and I'll still be here when you wake." With that reassurance to comfort him Harry drifted off into a healing sleep, although all present knew that nightmares were inevitable.
Sirius straightened and with a quick wave of his wand conjured a chair which he sank down into, his eyes never leaving his sleeping son. "I presume you do not need me at the moment Minerva?" He asked, although the whole room knew that any attempt to pry him from Harry's side unless it was to protect him would be useless.
When the answer took some time in coming, he glanced up for a brief moment, "I know you have several plans you want to implement immediately – including I believe some new lessons." He laughed slightly at her shocked expression, although the sound was strained. "I was a Marauder Minerva and I am well aware that the only reason you consented to take the position of Headmistress was because of all the new magic and lessons you could start to teach the children now you no longer have to worry about Ministry interference."
She gave him an exasperated look, however she nodded, "Why we thought you didn't know I don't know," she said, "However I intend to have a meeting between the four of us before we lower the wards and I will need you there."
Sirius nodded, a frown marring his face, "Harry may have to be there as well," he pointed out, "As the Founder's Heir, we may need him for certain functions when it comes to the wards and there are issues I would like to discuss with you, particularly surrounding the muggle-born students and their safety, both within the castle and during the holidays." The older woman frowned and nodded sharply.
"I suggest then that we meet in here tomorrow just after afternoon lessons are over. Remus for the time being can you cover defence – Sirius is in no state to teach classes." She paused and her eyes surveyed the entire gathering, "Good, that is agreed then." She turned and hurried from the room, Flitwick following her, just as she reached the door a thought occurred to Sirius,
"When you find Dumbledore feel free to send him in this direction, I need a few words with that man."
McGonagall's eyes widened slightly but she nodded and left the hospital wing. After a brief discussion Remus too left, followed by the Tonks, but not before Remus laid a comforting hand on his shoulder. "Harry strong Padfoot, you won't lose him and he is as safe as he can possibly be. You have no need to worry."
Sirius nodded his thanks but his eyes never strayed from his son as he finally allowed a little of the tension that had filled him since the third task had started to drain away as he carded his fingers through his son's hair in the peaceful dimness of the hospital wing.
AN I know this is late and I'm sorry, real life just sort of got in the way - uni open days, D of E etc etc. But I hope you enjoyed it and that you for all your support.
For those of you who were worried seeing as I was assailed by a new plot and have posted a new story, I am still updating these - although there are only a few more chapters in this one left and there will be an update to AGB in the next few weeks.
Apologies and thanks and please review!