Disclaimer: I own neither Harry Potter nor The Dresden Files.

Of Wands and Staves

Chapter Eighteen-

Snuffles whined nervously as they stepped off the plane. His ears were back, his tail was down, and his fur stood on edge. He was the picture of nervousness, at least until Mouse chuffed at him and knocked into him with his shoulder, which settled the mangy black beast down. Harry, too, was nervous. But he knew that his Dads would give him a chance to explain. He knew it.

Of course, Dad looked at poor Snuffles with a painful expression of disdain. "You really did mean a stray dog," he muttered in disbelief before shaking his head. "At least tell me it doesn't have fleas."

Snuffles took offense to this and growled, and Harry got to watch both his of parents jump. "Maybe he's a dog like Mouse?" Uncle Harry suggested, although he, too, was eyeing the dog rather dubiously.

"What did I say about discussing this at the airport?" Harry asked sweetly, hoping against hope that there were no eager Aurors or anything else on American soil to re-arrest his godfather. That would suck, to have gotten Sirius all the way here only to have him be caught by an Auror. With any luck, the Americans wouldn't be so eager to capture his godfather. He hoped. He'd never really spent much time in wizarding America, not with Ministry wizards anyway.

Could he even call them that if they weren't British?

It didn't matter. That wasn't what he should be focusing on. He should be trying to keep his godfather calm during the awkwardly silent car ride that followed, because both of his parents were clearly studying the mangy dog that rode silently beside Harry with his head down and ears back. Sirius must be terrified, and Harry could understand that. He was going to give up his secret to two very powerful men, and hope that they would shelter him.

But Harry had faith in his parents. He knew that they wouldn't let Sirius be persecuted for something he hadn't done, and unlike the Aurors and the Ministry of Magic, they would listen to what he had to say before condemning Sirius. They just had to.

His parents, despite all of their faults, were good people. Or… as good as they could be, considering his Dad's line of work.

ooOOooOOoo

Harry studied the black dog in the backseat. It was huge, and yes, it looked suspiciously like a stray. It was underfed, it's fur was matted, and it had the posture of a beaten and broken dog. But Harry was clinging to him, arms curled tightly around the dog, and the dog wasn't exactly protesting. In fact, Harry could see the dog leaning into his son's hold. Which meant that it wasn't what it looked like, because Grims were notoriously not cuddly.

Which meant that the dog was a mystery. It could be a stray, definitely. Stray dogs often understood when they'd been rescued, and that could certainly be the case here. But something about that disagreed with Harry. For one thing, he'd never seen a stray dog that looked so much like a Grim in his life. For another, the dog had a strange feel to him in general, much like the feelings Harry got when he was around Ministry wizards.

Could Ministry wizards turn into animals? He'd never heard of their being able to, and yet… maybe… No. The thought was ridiculous. It wasn't exactly a common ability, after all, and if his son was dealing with something that could… that meant that whatever was leaning against his son was incredibly powerful, and he really hoped that it wasn't dangerous.

Just in case, however, he began considering what sorts of spells he would need to get that thing away from his son.

John parked the car and they made their way into the house, and as soon as they were in the house Harry asked urgently, "Would we know if anybody were... I don't know, watching the house? Anybody magical, I mean."

Because that wasn't a suspicious question at all, right?

Harry couldn't suppress a small snort. "Kid, there are so many wards on this place that I'd know if anybody were even thinking of turning their gaze on this house. There's no magic done on this property or directed towards it that I don't sense. It's been one of Molly's projects this year to try and get past them, and she hasn't managed it yet. And you know how sneaky she is."

"Okay. I think it's time, then, to explain to you about... about Snuffles." Their son was flushing, and Harry couldn't tell if that was because he was thinking of Molly or because he was about to be caught in a lie. Either way it was something that deserved being made fun of, just not right at the moment, so he filed it away for later reference and waited patiently and hoped that he didn't have to hurt the thing beside his son.

John, beside him, was tense with anticipation, his hand already creeping towards his gun. Harry supposed he couldn't blame him, considering the tales that Harry came home with every year.

ooOOooOOoo

Sirius didn't want to do this. He was tired and he was hungry and he was frightened. Harry had assured him, had promised him that this wouldn't go badly. But these two men before him were terrifying, and he was sure that Harry didn't even see it. Not that he wanted his godson to be terrified of his parents, but still. They were arguably more frightening than the Dementors in their own ways.

The one with the silver hair and the money-green eyes that were so like Harry's had an air of quiet menace to him. He looked like he could break you in half and then crush up your bones and not think twice about it. It didn't help that he knew this man had been responsible for Harry's gun and his marksmanship, which had kept Peter from running away but also meant that he would never stand trial. It was hard to try a dead man, after all. And poor Moony would be a long time recovering from the wound in his chest, but at least he wasn't dead.

The other was taller, lankier, with wild dark hair that looked a bit like Harry's. He had a different sort of aura of power surrounding him, one that made Sirius want to cringe away and whimper. The man was powerful. Terrifyingly so. He felt like he could have levelled Dumbledore when Dumbledore was in his prime, so great was his power. Sirius didn't want to know what this… juggernaut would do to him once they realized he wasn't a dog.

And both of these men were focusing on him. He didn't like that at all. But he'd... Harry had promised him. Harry had told him that it would be safe. So he unhappily began the transformation, and soon he was standing before these two powerful men in his rags and dishevelled state. "Hi," he offered weakly. He hoped that Harry had something more than that planned, because the silver haired one was pointing a gun at him and the other had his staff out. This could be very painful, and Sirius was very tired of being hurt.

ooOOooOOoo

John was very lucky that his reflexes were as good as they were. Otherwise, the shot that he'd fired just as his son had blurted out, "He's my godfather and he's innocent!" would have actually hit the convicted criminal standing before them. Instead it flew wide and merely shattered one of his windows. A negligible expense, and certainly worth far less than a life.

"He's innocent," John repeated flatly. The man had allegedly killed thirteen people, not to mention betraying his son's biological parents.

"He never had a trial," Harry said quickly. "It's a really long story, but he was set up by their friend who could turn into a rat. The friend's dead now, so I don't know how we can prove his innocence, but I know you can Dad. I know you can. And you wouldn't let an innocent man go back to a prison where they'll suck the happiness from him, will you? That's if they even let him live! They were going to kill him when they caught him, Dad!"

It was his son's desperation and the fact that Sirius Black looked grimly accepting of whatever fate awaited him that caused John to lower his gun. "Innocent, huh?" he asked, looking the man in the eye. He'd always considered himself a pretty good judge of character.

"I didn't do it. I never would have betrayed Jamie or Lily like that," the man rasped, his eyes wide and wounded and just a little bit insane. "I loved them. I love little Harry. You have to believe me."

John glanced at Harry out of the corner of his eye, and the older wizard nodded once. "As it happens, I think we do," John said finally. His legal team would love this.

Hopefully they were as good at navigating the law of wizarding Europe as they were at navigating the laws of Chicago, because they were about to have a hell of a case dropped in their lap.