"You have to believe me Moony. I didn't do it." Sirius pleaded, "It was Peter. We switched at the last minute."
"Why?" Remus held him against the wall and a foot in the air. He left just enough space for Sirius to get a little air and talk, "Why would you switch? And more importantly why not tell me about it?"
"I thought it would be a way to flush out the spy." Sirius gasped, "Let everyone think it was me and even if I was captured I couldn't tell them anything. We didn't tell you because Peter kept insisting you were the spy. He said he wouldn't switch unless you weren't told of the change."
"So Peter outsmarted you?" Remus laughed cruelly, "That's rich. I can't believe you're trying to feed me this crap."
"He didn't do it on his own." Sirius yelled, "He's a Death Eater, he had help."
"Prove it." Remus dropped Sirius on the ground and handed him his wand, "Palm only give me a vow on your magic."
Sirius stumbled upon landing and grabbed the edge of the table to keep himself from falling. He held out his palm and Remus placed his wand in it, but kept his own wand pointed directly at Sirius.
"I Sirius Orion Black do swear on my magic that I was not the secret keeper for James and Lily Potter. I further swear that Peter Pettigrew was their secret keeper. " he then grasped his wand fully and said, "Lumos." The tip of the wand glowed brightly, "Will you help me hunt him down and make him pay?"
"No we can't." Remus sat hard in the chair that was behind him and let his head fall back.
"Why not?" Sirius demanded.
"We have something far more important to do." Remus dropped his head into his hands and whispered, "Albus took Harry to live with Petunia."
"Dursley?" Sirius asked incredulously, "Hagrid took him to Dumbledore so he could take him to Petunia? Is he insane? I thought he would just hold him until I could come and get him. He is supposed to go to me and then you and if we are both dead then to Frank and Alice."
"He couldn't go with you because they believe you turned dark and killed your best friend." Remus pointed out, "The new werewolf laws won't let me take him. Frank and Alice are in St. Mungo's because they were attacked this morning by Death Eaters."
"Are they going to be ok?" Sirius asked concerned for his friends.
"No." Remus choked out, "They were subjected to the torture curse until they lost their minds. They're alive but in the long term ward. Neville is as much an orphan as Harry is. Albus said there was a prophecy that said either Neville or Harry would have the power to stop You-Know-Who so he planned to kill them both."
Sirius sat stunned for nearly half an hour. Finally he said, "I have an idea."
"Lovely do I want to know what that idea is?" Remus groaned.
"Probably not." Sirius grinned, "But I'll tell you anyway. I think we need to get Neville and Harry and teach them everything we know so they can be prepared to defeat You-Know-Who when it's time. We'll have to either convince Franks mum to let us take him or take her with us. We'll have to hide where we go so no one will find us. And we'll have to block the trace for them."
"Ok, I see a few problems with this. One, what if Augusta doesn't want us to work with Neville? Two, how are we qualified to teach anyone? And three, who in their right mind would allow us to do it?"
"James and Lily wanted us to do it." Sirius pointed out, "Besides you always wanted to be a teacher."
"I don't know."
"At least think about it."
"I will but you need to leave now. Albus is coming in ten minutes to try to talk me into joining the hunt for you." Remus said, "I would like to tell him about your vow."
"Fine, Padfoot will be right outside. Just give me the sign if you need my help." He said just before he transformed and slipped out the back door.
"Albus I know Sirius wouldn't do it." Remus argued later with his old Headmaster, "James and Sirius were like brothers. Nothing would make Sirius turn them over."
"I'm sorry Remus but all the evidence points to him." Albus stated, "We all saw James ask him and he agreed to do it."
"Where's Peter?" Remus asked.
"I don't know." Albus answered, "But it doesn't matter."
"It does matter. I think Peter is under a Fidelius charm." Remus said, "I got this note from Sirius this morning and it's stated like a Fidelius. I think maybe Peter did it. And if I'm right then Sirius is going to want to make him pay for handing them over."
"A prank on Voldemort." Albus sighed sinking back into his chair, "Let everyone think Sirius is the secret keeper. But have Peter be it and hide him using Sirius as his secret keeper, genius unless Peter is a spy for the Death Eaters."
"Exactly, I can see how James would love this plan." Remus stated.
"I'll have Alastor meet us there." Albus agreed finally.
The three met at a wizarding pub not far from Peter's address. They walked down the street to his hiding spot and as suspected Alastor couldn't see the house. After reading the note it came into view.
"He's not inside." Alastor said, "Maybe Black already got to him, no one to prove his guilt."
"Or his innocence." Remus stated then added in a whisper, "You two are getting muggle attention."
Albus and Alastor slipped into an alley and made themselves invisible and then stepped back out to join Remus. They waited for an hour before Peter finally showed up. He scuttled along the sidewalk glancing nervously over his shoulder every few steps. He was within cursing distance before he realized he had a visitor. He saw Remus watching him from inside his Fidelius area.
"Re… Remus, how are you?" He stuttered.
"Not well at all. How are you?" he continued with the pleasantries.
"Fine. Is… is Sirius with you?" he asked.
"No, we're looking for him. He's going to be arrested for murdering James and Lily." Remus said, "We need you to come and testify against him you were there when they made him the secret keeper."
At first Peter sighed in relief finding that Sirius wasn't around, but when Remus suggested that he testify he got nervous again, "Sorry, I can't. I've got real important things to do."
"What could be more important than finding the guy who murdered your friends?" Remus asked incredulously.
"You don't need me everyone knew he was the secret keeper. They announced it in that order meeting." Peter started slowly backing away, "I told you he'd go bad, he was trying to get back in good with his parents, he hated being poor."
"Peter what's really going on?" Remus pressed.
"Nothing really, I've got to go." Peter turned and ran. As he did he tapped his wand on his head and started to shrink. Several stunners flew over his head and a couple hit the ground where he had just been.
"He's a rat animagus, don't let him reach the sewer." Remus yelled as Peter started to shrink. But he was too slow and the rat got away.
"That would have been good to know ahead of time." Alastor grumbled.
"Sorry I forget others don't know." Remus sighed, "Will you at least question Sirius when you find him? Surely this is enough evidence to cause you to question your assumptions."
"I agree but Bagnold won't." Albus leaned against a nearby wall, "He's already got him convicted. He ordered Aurors to break his wand and send him to Azkaban as soon as he's captured."
"What about a trial?" Remus was shocked.
"I already agreed. We all knew Sirius was their secret keeper. None of us had any question about his guilt." Albus pointed out, "We must find him first."
"What will you do?" Remus asked.
"Alastor, go and get the strongest truth potion you can find." Albus said, "I want to be prepared in case we can find him."
"Are you willing to question him then?" Remus asked. Albus nodded his agreement so Remus suggested, "Get your potion and meet me at my house. I think I may know where he is. Give me twenty minutes."
"I hope you know what you're doing lad." Alastor mumbled.
Remus returned home and opened his door then paused. He whistled and then yelled, "Paddy come on."
A dog trotted out of the woods. Just before entering the wards of the house he stopped and sniffed the ground for a few seconds then bolted into the house.
"Stay in that form." Remus suggested once he had followed the dog inside, "Albus and Mad Eye are coming with some truth potion." He told the story of how Peter had acted and escaped and then their agreement to let Sirius tell his side of the story. After he finished he asked, "Do you want to stay and talk to them?"
The dog cocked his head and gave Remus a doggy grin. Then turned in a circle on the spot and plopped to the floor.
"I'll take that as a yes then."
Later when they arrived Albus started, "Bagnold won't listen. He won't even think about Peter. But if Sirius wants to meet us we can at least hide him."
"Word of warning, he won't let you leave Harry with Petunia." Remus said, "We know the will states Sirius first and never under any circumstances should he be left with Petunia."
"You don't understand." Albus stated, "It's the safest place for him. I've created blood wards no one can get past."
"But she hates magic. Ever since Lily started at Hogwarts she's been horrible to her." Remus declared, "He might be safe from Death Eaters, but who's going to keep him safe from her jealous hatred."
"They won't treat him that way. They are family they will love and protect him." Albus said, "That's what families do."
"Aberforth is your family." Alastor pointed out.
"Point taken." Albus sighed in defeat after a few more arguments were thrown at him, "If he's innocent I'll hide him and Harry."
"Together?" Remus pushed.
"Together." Albus relented.
The dog lying beside Alastor stood up and to the surprise of the two men he kept standing up until Sirius Black was in its place. He had his wand in his palm with his hand open flat. Alastor took his wand and Albus tied him to a chair. Sirius opened his mouth waiting for the potion. He was given three drops of the potion and Alastor watched as the grey eyes lost focus. Then the questioning began.
"Name, rank and number." Alastor demanded.
"Sirius Black, Auror level four, 71316B."
"Dark arts defender, second degree."
"Were you the Potter's secret keeper?"
"Who taught him the spell?"
"Lily did, I don't have enough patients with him."
"What was James Potter's job?"
"And the other?"
"… I can't say I wasn't his secret keeper."
"Why didn't you tell Remus about the switched secret keepers?"
"Peter kept saying he was the spy. He wouldn't switch if Remus knew about it. I finally agreed."
"Mostly to get Peter to do it, but then I remembered his assignment was to live with the werewolf community and try to convince them not to join the Death Eaters. You-Know-Who has been recruiting heavily from their numbers and I thought he may have been caught and imperused."
"An unwilling spy?"
"When did you suspect Peter?"
"When James and Lily were dead. At first I was just worried about him so I went to check. But then I saw him talking to Malfoy and I knew he had sold them out." Sirius was openly crying by this point.
"What did you do next?"
"I came and found Remus and tried to convince him to help me. Peter I could take alone no problem but he had Death Eaters backing him up. I knew I needed help."
"How did you convince him of your innocence?"
"Wizards vow on my magic."
The questions went on for hours until Alastor was satisfied. Albus then gave Sirius his wand and said, "I want a vow on your magic that you will protect him with your life."
"I Sirius Orion Black vow on my magic that I was not the secret keeper for James and Lily Potter. I vow that I love Harry Potter as if he was my own son and I will protect him with my life. I will ensure that he has every tool needed to defeat You-Know-Who. I will ensure that he gets a good life with lots of love and fun." clutching his wand he then said, "Lumos."
The wand tip lit up and he was given the antidote to the potion. For a while they sat and discussed what to do about Peter. Albus convinced Sirius to let him and Alastor handle it as Sirius was going to be too busy with Harry. When Sirius told them of the plan he had thought of Albus promised to talk to Augusta about it.
"Now all we need is a place to keep you all safe." Alastor said, "I think you need to be there too Remus. You're the only one not wanted for anything. You'll be able to keep them in supplies."
Remus nodded in agreement and then asked, "What about Potter's Pride? It's secluded, well protected and has blood wards in place. If anyone tries to enter with the idea of hurting a blood Potter they get ejected painfully. It also has a hiding charm but not the fidelius."
"No memories to modify because no muggles know of its existence. We'd be able to get outside the actual house and the forest is well guarded." Sirius pointed out.
"There is only one problem." Alastor said, "No one knows where it is. Even James didn't or he would have used it."
"He knew where it was and he showed us." Sirius said, "He just couldn't bear to go back."
"That was a horrible night." Albus recalled.
The fireplace flared in the Headmaster's office, "Albus, you need to come through. The Potter's have been attacked."
"I'll be right there." Albus stood from his desk and stalked over to the floo. He tossed in some powder and stepped in yelling, "Potters Pride."
The scene he stepped into was like one from a horror story. Blood was everywhere and what was left of the bodies was in a smoldering heap near the door. Seventeen year old James was being held back by Remus and Sirius and they were trying to get him out of the room. Shock and horror were etched on his face.
An Auror was trying to question the group, "Where were you tonight, what happened and what did you see? Come on you have to answer my questions or we'll have to take you to the ministry."
Sirius turned to shove the Auror away and that is when he saw his Headmaster striding towards them, "Easy Mitchell, let me try, Sirius?"
"We were in the forest out back just messing around." Sirius said, "We were making our way back towards the house for dinner when we saw some fifty or so people in dark cloaks and white masks. James tried to run at them but we restrained him. They threw the mark into the sky and then left. Once they were gone I checked for others and called the Aurors. Remus kept James outside for a while but he managed to get past him. We started searching the house and found this mess just before the Aurors arrived."
"Thank you. James, go to the kitchen with your friends. Let me handle this then I'll be in." James nodded at his Headmaster and quit fighting his friends. His sobs could be heard as they left the room.
"Will you two be alright living there?" Albus was concerned.
"Yes, for Harry we will. But we will seal off that ball room. We won't be using it anyway." Remus answered.
"I'd rather have nightmares about that every night then let Petunia torture Harry." Sirius stated grimly.
"Remus, make sure you can still get there and enter the place. Sirius, stay here and stay in your dog form." Albus said, "Alastor we're going to assume that Sirius just made his first transformation and he is now registered through you. We'll get it into the records and seal them before anyone can read them. I'll go get Harry and your things. Sirius, sit. Stay."
In his dog form Sirius rolled his eyes at Albus as he joked even in this stressful time. The others left and Sirius sat on the rug in front of the fire and waited.
Remus walked the drive to the large house. Steeling himself he opened the door. He was briefly assaulted by the thoughts of that night.
"No James stay here you don't want to see this." Remus insisted struggling to hold his friend at the forests edge.
"I've got to save them Remus get out of my way." James yelled.
"No, there's nothing you can do." Remus stumbled as James finally got past him, "Come back James."
Remus ran to catch up to his friend and was assaulted with the smell of death and blood. He tried to stop James from entering the door to the room but it was no use. Remus refused to look at the spot that James was focused on. He didn't want his sight to reinforce what he already smelled. He tried to push his friend back out of the room but he was unmovable even against the superior strength of the werewolf. Aurors soon arrived and began to question them. Remus concentrated on trying to keep James back. After several minutes he felt James stop pushing so he switched from pushing him back to holding him up. Finally he seemed to give up and Remus steered him out the door.