The last thing Sirius Black saw as he fell through the veil of death was the anguished look on his godson's face as Remus kept the boy from joining him in death.
Harry had so few people who genuinely loved him and cared about his opinion. Dumbledore sure as hell didn't.
He closed his eyes...and felt something kick him firmly in the arse.
You do not belong here, Sirius Orion Black.
His eyes jerked open, and he looked around.
He wasn't in the Ministry anymore. He was still in London, but he wasn't in the Ministry. And his eyesight seemed different. It took him a moment to realize what it was.
He was shorter than before.
Passing by a window, he had to hide a gape. He looked like an ickle firstie! Swiping a newspaper from a nearby bin told him the date.
August 24, 19XX.
The same year Harry would start Hogwarts.
'What the bloody hell is going on?'
Those that do not belong in the Veil are given a second chance. Use this opportunity wisely, Sirius Black. If you alter the timeline too much, you will not survive to help your godson in the war to come.
Sirius would have asked how he was supposed to do that, but looking at his new body, he had a good idea.
He would infiltrate Hogwarts as a new student. Sometimes the letters didn't reach the intended recipient, or they were waylaid. It was rare, but it did occasionally happen.
Which is why Gringotts had a way of enlisting students who didn't get the letter in time. That rule applied mostly to pure bloods and half-bloods from a pure-blood family.
Luckily, his wand was still in his vault. He had a spell placed on it by the goblins in case he ever lost it to return to his main vault.
Not even Ministry spells would prevent something like that from working.
He went straight to the Leaky Cauldron, and went into Diagon.
He already knew what to do in order to reclaim his vaults. The goblins didn't even give him a second look, until he told them that he was there to claim his vaults, without the key to prove it.
The goblin took him aside, since if he didn't have any vaults he would be arrested within seconds.
The moment the door closed, Sirius did the one thing he had sworn never to do unless he absolutely had no other choice.
"I, Lord Sirius Black, Claim the Lordship over the Noble and Ancient House of Black, and all that it pertains therein."
The effect was immediate. The goblin gave him a startled look as the magic took effect, proving without a doubt that he was in fact Lord Black, Head of the Noble House of Black. His grandfather had turned over the title of head to the one family member who had at least shown some backbone against the Dark Lord. Sirius had never claimed it before because he had never wanted to use the power it gave him.
"I am sorry Lord Black, we did not recognize you," apologized Ripclaw.
"Not your fault. I have no idea how I ended up looking like an eleven year old, but I intend to make use of it."
"What do you have in mind?" asked Ragnok, the head of Gringotts.
"I intend...to pull one over the old goat. Dumbledore will ruin Harry's life if I don't do something about it. Besides, I will share the look on his face when he learns that the House of Black and Potter are forever out of his reach with the entire goblin clans for your help."
Ragnok grinned ferally. The goblin clans had it out for Dumbledore, mostly because he had always sided with the idiots who promoted racial bias.
Sirius Black, through the efforts of Lily, had at least treated the goblins and their kin with respect. He always sought to end their meetings quickly, mostly because he knew they had better things to do with their time than to listen to him whining.
They had a mutual agreement. Get in, get your business done, and get out.
It didn't take long to file him under 'Loki Black', and to create a false back story.
As far as the Ministry was concerned, Loki was the illegitimate son of Sirius Black, who recently learned of his heritage and since it would be on Ministry records that Sirius had just claimed his true title as Head of the Black family, Loki would inherit everything by default.
If anyone asked, his mother died in childbirth and he was raised by a now dead Pure Blood family with no idea of his heritage.
It was flawless.
And armed with his wand which he reclaimed from his vault, he went shopping around Diagon in broad daylight for the first time in over a decade.
Since his wand was over seven years old, the trackers that the Ministry put on it were gone forever, and there wasn't a chance any new ones could be placed on it without the consent of his 'father', which they would never get. Not to mention the fact that as the son of Walpurga Black, he knew every counter spell to the tracers.
He was going to have lots of fun with that.
He put to use his second chance to get a heads up on Dumbledore and any plans he had for Harry.
First thing he was going to do was keep Ron from ruining Harry's school years. Hermione had complained to Sirius about Ron keeping Harry back, since he was the only one who would actually listen to her rants.
Ron Weasly was a stereotypical pure blood wizard, who barely gave any real respect to the non humans and muggleborns. And he was incredibly lazy.
Sirius remembered vividly Ron's complaints about cleaning the house. Everyone else had helped with minimal fuss, but Ron bitched about it every time. More than once, Sirius and the twins had to hex him so he would shut up.
No, Ron had to go. Hermione was decent enough, once she loosened up. And the twins were worth keeping.
Once that was done, he went shopping for all the necessities. A trunk with multiple rooms (where he threw all his new books in, to be sorted by the magic for him) potions gear for intermediate brewers, new robes, the works. He was about to leave Horizontic Ally when he spotted something unusual in the exotic pet store. Very few knew about Horizontic Alley unless they were pure bloods from old families.
Harry never knew about it, because Dumbledore never let anyone tell him.
Loki was going to change a lot of things about how Harry grew up. Starting with the train ride to Hogwarts.
Loki saw his godson, and was shocked by how skinny and frail he was. Harry had always mentioned that he had never had a decent meal until first year, but he had no idea that his godson had meant that the Dursleys never fed him properly. And the way he flinched spoke of hard abuse.
Time to change things.
"Hi! Are you a first year too?" he asked, feigning cheerfulness when what he really wanted to do was rip the Dursley family limb from limb.
"Yeah. Never been on a train before. My name's Harry."
"Loki Black. I heard how to get onto the platform. Need any help?"
Harry's look of relief made Loki burn with rage inside. Spotting the Weasly red hair, Loki lead Harry to the pillar as he explained how to get through. He even went first to demonstrate, popping his head out to the startled amusement of Harry.
Once they were situated, Loki popped out for a bit as if to speak with someone he knew, when in reality he went looking for Neville and Hermione.
She seemed highly impressed with his summoning charm (which was fourth year, but she didn't know that) and when he made it back, he found that he had just missed the twins.
Harry while uncomfortable about the full carriage, soon got into a discussion of gardening with Neville. That relaxed him enough that he didn't really flinch when the door slammed open.
Loki hid a grin. He had beaten Ron by a good five minutes, and helped Harry find a friend in Neville, who was as nervous as he was.
Ron scowled when he realized there wasn't any room for him. He stalked off to find another compartment.
Loki had successfully kept Ron from ruining Harry's chances. And if he was lucky, he would be able to head off Ron's bad study habits.
Harry was smarter than anyone realized.
While they rode the train to the school, Loki talked about what he knew about the houses.
This time, he was going to help more than Harry to fit in. Hermione never truly liked Gryffindor until Harry and Ron became her only real friends. Neville was the Cowardly Lion and Ron was far more suited to Slytherin than he knew.
Plus he could already see the chaos of Ron being a Slytherin would cause, and he would enjoy every minute of it.
The door only opened twice after Ron vanished. Once for Draco and the other time for the trolley witch.
Loki took great pleasure cutting Draco off before he ruined any chances of befriending Harry. There was nothing Loki would love more than to infuriate his cousin Cissy by having her son befriend Harry Potter and turning out like he had.
Oh he had plans for the hat to consider. Plans that would make people wonder if his namesake was walking amongst them. The twins would love it!
What is this? I didn't expect to sort you twice Sirius Black.
Oh you are going to love what I have in mind for the school. I'm going to turn this place on it's head and possibly cause Dumbledore to be kicked out for mental insanity.
...I would tell the headmaster, but this seems like it would be far more interesting. What ideas do you have in mind?
Just a few place changes.
Get on with it, we don't have all day.
Ron Weasly in Slytherin, Hermione Granger in Ravenclaw, Neville Longbottom in Hufflepuff, and Draco Malfoy in Gryffindor where I can keep and eye on him and possibly save him from turning into an ass like his parents.
Let me look into their minds, but I will take your recommendation under consideration...provided you do me a favor in return.
Try to unite the school. I have been trying to do it for years, but Dumbledore seems to thwart all my efforts before they even have a chance to mature.
Done! Enjoy the chaos I'll leave in my wake!
Have fun in...
Loki sat next to the twins, who grinned at him. Next went Hermione, and seconds upon having the hat on her head, it yelled Ravenclaw. Clearly the hat was agreeing with the suggesting Loki made, because things only went downhill from there.
Neville went to Hufflepuff, Draco went to Gryffindor to the shock of the school, and to make matters even more shocking Ron ended up in Slytherin.
The twins were beyond shocked at that one. But it was Harry that he was really concerned with. Once, Harry had mentioned that the hat nearly put him in Slytherin. It took ten minutes for the hat to yell Gryffindor, where he ended up being frog marched by a pair of chanting twins to sit across from Loki.
That night, he went to sleep with the biggest smile on his face since James had died. He hadn't had any real reason to smile in years.
Loki got up early for one reason, and one reason only.
True pranksters always got up around sunrise to cause chaos, and the twins were no exception. His grin once they saw him only lead them to grin evilly back. Clearly he was of the same mind.
"So gents, who is first on the list of people to prank this fine morning?"
"Filch," they replied in sync.
"Might I suggest a better target? Say the woman with the ten inch spike pole up her ass?"
They raised an eyebrow and Loki elaborated.
"And what would a fellow prankster recommend?"
"Catnip. Though from what I hear, she checks everything for it since the Marauders used to hit her with it every other week."
Their eyes bugged out.
"You know about the Marauders?"
"My dad was Padfoot."
Loki was gratified to see them bowing and saying they weren't worthy.
"I also happen to know that the son of Prongs just started school too. I believe his name is Harry Potter..." hinted Loki, and the twins grew identical fish expressions.
And with that, Loki became their accomplice. It didn't hurt that he remembered most of the pranks he always wished he could have unleashed on the school, but never had a chance to since he graduated when he came up with them.
Draco was the second first year to come down, and he was still in shock over the sorting. His father would no doubt be displeased about the news.
All the plans they came up with revolved around him taking over Slytherin and forming a power base. Ravenclaw as well, just in case.
But Gryffindor was the furthest choice from their mind.
"Morning Draco," said Loki cheerfully.
The shock of his placement was enough to dislodge whatever stick Lucius had shoved up his son's arse. Getting it out was another story.
"What's good about it?" he asked.
"You do realize you're not the only Black to be sorted into Gryffindor, right?"
"The last one was disowned!" Draco nearly wailed.
"Actually, my dad was disowned by his mother, but his grandfather left the Lordship to him anyway without telling her. He's the current head of the Black family, even if his mother and father disowned him."
"How do you know that?" asked Draco, with some measure of hope in his eyes.
"Because the goblins told me when I came to see if I had any vaults. Apparently Sirius Black had a...fling...with a pure blood witch and didn't know that she became pregnant."
"What happened to your mother?" asked Draco. The twins listened it with interest.
"Died from childbirth, according to the family who took me in. they died last year, and I didn't know who my father was until I went to Gringotts."
Draco's expression at least turned to hope, even if he knew his parents wouldn't approve of the fact that he was a Lion and not a snake.
At least he could negate most of the pranks caused by the twins now that they believed he was the son of Padfoot.
When Harry came down, Loki came up with a brilliant idea. Appearance was everything in the pure blood community, and no one was more fashion conscious than the son of Narcissa Black.
So he pushed Draco towards Harry, and dropped a mild suggestion that worked out better than he hoped. Draco dragged Harry back to the dorm bathrooms and fifteen minutes later the boy hero came out far more presentable than he had earlier.
He had no idea first appearances counted for a great deal on the first day. Most Slytherins wouldn't dare step out into the Great Hall with their hair unbrushed or their uniform scruffy looking. Most girls put on as many jewels and make up as they could, just so they could outshine their peers!
Harry came down the stairs the second time, looking far more presentable than he had earlier. His hair, while untameable by brush, was now a bit more uniform. His outfit, which had been crooked, was now straightened and suited him. He had forgone the tie altogether, since it felt like a collar. Even his glasses looked more presentable.
At least he didn't look like a ragamuffin.
Loki grinned at his cousin.
"Trust the son of Narcissa Black to turn a scruffy dog into a presentable bloodhound."
Draco preened at the praise. While surprised Harry had never actually bothered to brush his hair in his life, he had been very relieved by the fact that the boy was borderline OCD with his hygiene and cleanliness.
When they made their way down to the great hall, lead by the twins, they found a different reception than they had been counting on.
Loki noted the looks people shot at Harry, most of which were speculative. He was openly sitting with a Malfoy and a Black, both of which were from Dark families. The twins were sitting with Lee, so there weren't any Light families anywhere near him.
Loki got into a healthy debate on the whole Light VS Dark issue with Draco and Harry, to Draco's delight. Harry, being raised by things that could barely qualify as human, was surprisingly more open about the whole issue, not understanding why people made such a large deal about it all.
Once the schedules were passed out, Loki openly groaned.
Snape, McGonagall AND Binns. The gods must hate him to make him suffer through all three. Snape would definitely be gunning for both him and Harry because of the pranks James and him had played during school.
McGonagall might see him as Sirius Black, but he doubted that. And Binns...enough said. He drank the scorching hot coffee and prepared to meet his maker.