Disclaimer: I do not own the Avengers or Harry Potter. Unfortunately.
Chapter 18: I Solemnly Swear I'm Innocent
Tony was having a relatively good day. He'd managed to sleep for two hours last night. His son was in a safe place learning how to control his new magical powers. One of the psychos that had hurt his son was locked up even if said psycho was now his kind of second father. But Tony was trying not to think about that too much because it was just too weird, and it did things to his head. He was already overworking himself building new suits, and doing all of the research that he could on Sirius Black and Voldemort. Pepper was worried about how much he was working but Tony couldn't find it within himself to care. If him staying up all hours meant that Harry was going to be that much safer than he would do it. Some called it obsessive behavior. He called it being prepared.
Tony was thinking about taking a break and heading back to Malibu for a little while. His fellow Avengers were beginning to wonder about him. Bruce was just as helpful as he had been during Tony's last no sleeping binge. But he was beginning to worry about him now. Tony's behavior had gone to the next level after actually seeing Asgard and how it completely dwarfed Earth in everyway possible. It made Tony start thinking about what else was out there. About what else could possibly be coming after them. Tony needed to keep his loved ones safe. Harry had been in Asgard alone for a week now, and was scheduled to come home this coming weekend. Tony couldn't wait; although, sometimes he wondered if Asgard wasn't a safer place for him. Earth seemed to have made a target of itself after the first failed invasion. Tony was pretty sure that no one would be stupid enough to attack Asgard.
He was working in the living room, tinkering with his latest project, an implantation under his skin so he can call his suit whenever he wanted, when Jarvis alerted him to an intruder.
"Sir, there appears to be a large black dog in the elevator," he informed him.
"What?" Tony wasn't sure if he had heard Jarvis correctly.
"A dog is in the elevator, and the elevator is on its way up," Jarvis repeated.
"A dog," Tony said slowly. "And how did a flea bitten animal find their way into my tower? Let alone work the elevator"
"I'm not quite certain, sir," Jarvis replied sounding as disgruntled as an AI was capable of sounding.
"You're not sure," Tony repeated.
"No, sir, my protocols seemed to have gone a bit fuzzy around the animal."
"Did you just make a pun, Jarvis? Either way, call security to have it removed. The thing just better not pee on my carpet before they get here," Tony muttered.
He stood up as the elevator pinged planning on grabbing ahold of the furry menace himself. Tony wasn't prepared for the huge mangy beast that lunged out of the elevator. It looked like a combination of a massive black German Shepherd and some sort of wolf hound. It was thin, and appeared to be rabid. The beast started stalking towards him a strange intelligence in its murky gray eyes. Tony immediately turned the arm canon he'd been tinkering with on the dog as it snarled and barked at him.
"Nice, doggie," Tony whispered.
The creature paced closer, and Tony was preparing himself to put the poor thing out of its misery. However, his jaw went slack and he completely forgot what he was going to do when the dog changed. One moment he was a dog the next a ragged and deranged looking man was standing in his penthouse. The man was extremely gaunt as if he hadn't had a decent meal in a decade, and he appeared to be completely out of his mind. His hair was a black tangled mess that looked like it hadn't been washed in years. The man's gray eyes were locked on Tony with a sort of crazed fury that had a tingle of fear trickle down his spine.
However, Tony soon realized something. He knew this man. Despite the thick and wild beard covering his face. Tony knew he would have recognized this man anywhere. He'd been studying his face for over a month now. This was Sirius Black. Somehow the man had found him and come after him, and most likely his son as well. Tony had been starting to believe that Sirius Black might be innocent with all of the inconsistences in his imprisonment. Considering the fact that he was standing in the middle of his penthouse looking ready to end him Tony figured there might be some truth to the story after all.
"Sirius Black," Tony greeted cautiously.
"Tony Stark," Black spat back.
"So, what brings you here? Because I hate to break it to you, if you came for Harry you're going to be disappointed. He's not here at the moment," Tony was just going to get that information out of the way. He wanted Black to know that there was no way he was getting his hands on his son.
"I didn't come here to hurt Harry. I admit, at first, I wanted to get him away from you because I thought you were poisoning him against James. I thought that you were lying to him, and were working for Voldemort. But then my mind cleared a little, ten years in Azkaban can do funny thing to your head, and I was able to think a little more rationally. You're a muggle, Voldemort would never work with a muggle, and you were far too well known in the muggle world for Death Eaters to be controlling you without anyone realizing it. I finally accepted the truth. You are Harry's father, which means that you slept with Lily. You enticed her, and cuckolded James. So I'm going to make you pay. If it wasn't for you, James might still be alive," Black snarled proving he wasn't quite as sane as he thought he was at the moment.
The accusation brought Tony up short. Black had gone through all the trouble of tracking him down to come and yell at him for sleeping with his ex- best friend's wife? That didn't seem like the work of a man who had plotted to murder his friend. Something wasn't right here. Maybe Black wasn't the murderer he thought he was. Although, the man was certainly crazy now, and he intended to hurt Tony. But it wasn't for the reasons that everyone seemed to think. He wasn't spouting about loyalty to a Dark Lord, and coming to kill him for being the muggle father of the boy who defeated him. He wanted revenge for his dead friend who he obviously still cared about.
"Listen, I understand you're angry. Just calm down. Let's talk about this," Tony cautioned.
"Angry? Angry doesn't even begin to describe what I'm feeling right now. To find out that my best friend was betrayed like that. How could you?" Black hissed.
"It wasn't anything personal. Yeah, it wasn't right but I'll freely admit that I was an ass. Back then I didn't think about who I was hurting and I didn't care. I just did what I wanted without thinking about the consequences," Tony replied honestly.
"Then why shouldn't I just kill you now?" Black growled.
"Because I'm a better person now. Harry's helped me do that. And because a man that came all the way across the ocean and tracked me down while being hunted just to avenge his friend's honor certainly didn't give him up to be executed," Tony said.
"I would have never betrayed James and Lily. I would have died first. Even if I had known Lily had betrayed James I would have still protected her. She was my friend too, and I loved Harry," Black pleaded momentarily distracted with the need to prove himself to someone.
"I believe you," Tony said earnestly.
Some of the craziness seemed to fade from Black's eyes at finally having someone believe him.
"You do?" he choked out in disbelief.
"Yeah, I've been looking into your case after you first escaped. Great work by the way, you'll have to tell me how you did it. I've heard Azkaban is supposedly inescapable. But anyway I thought you'd come after my kid, and I wanted to know what I was up against. I happened to notice some irregularities. First of all you never got a trial, there wasn't an investigation, and you were never proven to be a Death Eater. You were just locked away without any proof. Something definitely wasn't right. I want to help you prove your innocence," Tony explained.
"The only person who believes me is the man who slept with James's wife," Black chuckled hysterically.
"James was a good guy. He gave his life for Harry and I'll always be grateful for that," Tony said softly.
"Yeah, he was, one of the best," Black mumbled nostalgically.
"I feel bad about what I did. But I don't regret it, and I won't apologize for it. If I hadn't done it then there would be no Harry, and I definitely wouldn't change that," Tony vowed.
"About Harry, how is he?" Black asked.
"He's good, he's in Asgard with his grandparents," Tony said just to throw Black off.
It worked because Black gave him a wonderfully confused look.
"Why don't we get you cleaned up and get you some food then I can explain everything. Unless you still want to kill me?" Tony offered. "In which case I'll have to have you blast you into the wall."
"If you can prove I'm innocent then I can hold off on killing you for now," Black said.
"Good enough for me. Let's go, Fido," Tony waved him towards the bathroom.
An hour later saw Sirius Black sitting in his kitchen having a bowl of some much needed soup. The man had taken a shower, had a haircut, his beard was now trimmed, and he was wearing some of Tony's clothes even if the arms and pant legs were a bit short. Being cleaner only made it easier to see just how truly starved the man was. The food and clothes Tony gave him certainly didn't endear Black to Tony any more if the glare Black was shooting at him was any indication.
"So how did you find me?" Tony asked conversationally.
"It wasn't hard. Your name is everywhere in the muggle world. I had you're name from the Daily Prophet. The moment I tried looking you up I found you," Black replied smugly.
"You came from a completely wizarding family. How'd you know how to navigate the non-magical world?" Tony asked curious.
"I was the rebel of the family. I hated their views on muggles and muggleborns. To piss off my mother I learned everything I could about muggles and their culture. I even got myself a muggle motorcycle. Of course I tampered with a bit so that it could fly but you get the point. Things have changed a bit since I was in Azkaban but I knew where to look, and I'm not an idiot. Just a bit mad," Black shrugged.
"Huh, I think you'll have to tell me more about that bike later. But we should probably try to stay on topic here. Why else did you decide to come after me? There had to have been another reason besides payback to put all this effort into getting here when you're probably the most wanted man in Europe," Tony questioned.
"I wanted to check on Harry. Make sure he was all right, and before I got a little more rational I was thinking about different ways to murder you," Black said with grin flashing his yellow teeth. Tony made a mental note to buy lots and lots of teeth whitener for him.
"Well, you're not the first person to want me dead. I doubt you'll be the last," Tony responded dryly.
"Got a real charming personality do you?" Black joked.
"I'm very charming. More charming than you, Black," Tony sniffed, offended.
Black barked out a loud laugh. "So what's this about Harry being in Asgard with his grandparents."
"It's a long and very bizarre story," Tony sighed.
"We've got time, and I want to know about his life. I want to hear about it all," Black insisted.
"Don't say I didn't warn you because I'm pretty sure this is about to blow your little wizarding mind," Tony then launched into the story. He decided to start from the beginning, from the vary first moment he found out about Harry all the way up until he left Harry on Asgard.
"Aliens are real and they attacked the Earth. Asgard is real, and the Loki from Norse mythology is now Harry's third parent," Black whispered in disbelief as he took a sip of his scotch. During the story the two of them had shifted onto the couch, and were now indulging in a glass of Tony's finest scotch. The conversation certainly called for a good drink.
"Yup, I know its crazy. I've just kind of accepted that this sort of thing is how my life is now," Tony shrugged taking a drink for himself.
"And he's really a god?" Black asked.
"More of an alien but when you compare them to us… He might as well be," Tony replied.
"What you said. At least the fruitcake is locked up tight in an Asgardian prison. I've seen it for myself, and there's no way he's getting out," Tony assured. More to reassure himself than Black.
"Do you think he'd hurt Harry if he got out?" Black wanted to know.
"I don't think so. Although, I don't know what his reaction to the news that he was technically Harry's other parent was," Tony groused.
He'd only gotten a quick peek at Loki in his cage. Just long enough to make a face at the madman. He couldn't help but feel a little intimidated by Loki being in Harry's life. There was now a contender in Harry's life who actually had a stake in it. He was biologically related to Harry and that was something that they couldn't just ignore. Tony just hoped that Loki would stay locked up for the rest of their lives so they wouldn't have to deal with the wacko. However, knowing Loki he would find some way to escape.
While he had Black at his disposal and was deciding their next course of action Tony asked him more about the European wizarding world. Black had grown up in an ancient 'pureblood' family. He'd been out of the picture for nearly eleven years but he could give Tony a more in-depth look into their world. His brief conversation with Dumbledore didn't provide him with the knowledge he wanted, and Coulson while knowledgeable hadn't actually been around during Voldemort's reign of terror. Black had not only lived it but had been right in the middle of it. Black had also gone to Hogwarts with Lily, and could provide Harry with more information about his mother that Tony couldn't.
"Are you serious?" Tony asked in shock.
Black had told him all about his school days, which mainly consisted of his three best friends. The four of them made up the Marauders, and had come up with little nicknames for one another in honor of their animagus forms. Tony had been interested in the animagus transformation, and why they decided to learn such dangerous magic without help. Black reluctantly admitted that one of their friends had been a werewolf leading to Tony's question.
"Always," Black replied with a wide grin.
Tony dropped his head in his hand. "I walked right in to that one."
"You certainly did," Black loosed a barking laugh.
"How often do you use that joke?" Tony asked.
"Every chance I get, Tin Can," Black replied.
"Hey, no, nicknames are my thing, Lassie," Tony insisted. "So this friend of yours is really a werewolf? It just doesn't seem logical that someone would be forced to change based on the lunar cycle." But then again Tony knew a man who could turn into a green rage monster.
"Yeah, it's not a pretty thing to witness. We always did everything we could to make it more comfortable for him. He hated what he was. I should have known he wasn't the traitor. I should have trusted him with the truth that we'd switched Secret Keepers," Black looked regretful.
"Yeah, who was the real Secret Keeper by the way? And why the switch?" Tony asked.
"James and I thought we were so clever switching. Everyone knew how close we were. His parents took me in after my own family disowned me at sixteen. We never thought Voldemort and his followers would suspect little Peter Pettigrew. We should have known better. His animagus form was a rat. Should have known he'd turn on us. He even kept hinting about Remus spending too much time with the other werewolves. It made us cautious so we never even told Moony about switching," Black's eyes were filled with hatred towards Pettigrew, even more hatred than he had shown towards Tony.
"Well, it's too bad you killed the man. We could have used him to clear your name," Tony frowned thinking up some other ways to clear Black's name; although, as long as Black didn't want to return to Europe he should be fine. The wizarding world really didn't have extraditing laws. The only problem would be if they discovered his location and came after him.
"Oh, the little rat's alive," Black snarled.
"What? Didn't you blow him into a bunch of little pieces? Something about there only being a finger…" Tony trailed off as he recalled the details of the case that had bothered. "I mean I could understand if you really did kill him all things considered. But it would make sense, everyone else was vaporized. But this guy's finger survived? And he was the closest one to you? I don't think so."
"The bastard cut it off, turned into a rat, and scampered off into the sewers leaving me to take the blame. Of course this was after he started screaming about me betraying Lily and James to anyone within earshot. I was so shocked that I'd been bested by Peter bloody Pettigrew that I just starting laughing. I couldn't stop when the Aurors showed up because I knew they'd convict me. I was from a dark family, a Black. Of course I'd betrayed my friends. Of course I'd show my true colors eventually. They had witnesses. They threw me in Azkaban, no trial necessary apparently. I was in too much shock to protest in the beginning. I blamed myself for my recklessness. I should have taken Harry, gotten things cleared up at the Ministry, and then had help going after Peter," Black looked so lost.
Tony could relate. His own hot temper had gotten the better of his rational mind too many times to count.
"Sometimes you get framed by your friends for murder. No need for the continued pity party," Tony smirked attempting to lighten the mood.
Black rolled his eyes. "When you've spent eleven years in Azkaban having all of your happy memories sucked out of you we'll talk."
"Yeah, well I was held hostage by terrorists in a cave for months," Tony protested.
"Were there dementors?"
"Then I win," Black said smugly.
"Well, I fought aliens."
"Don't even bother, Stark. You're not winning this," Black shook his head, unimpressed.
"Now listen here, Spot, this is my—"
Tony was cut off when his elevator doors opened and Coulson stepped out.
"Jarvis, what did I tell you about letting SHIELD agents into the building?" Tony whined.
"To only allow access to Agents Romanoff, Barton, and Coulson," Jarvis replied primly.
Tony sighed. "You could have told me at the very least, Jarvis."
"Of course, sir," Jarvis agreed readily.
"Mr. Stark should I even ask why a dangerous criminal is sitting in your penthouse sharing a drink with you?" Coulson asked dryly.
"The better question would be: what does SHIELD know about the situation?" Tony asked.
"Nothing as of yet, I'm here through my connections in the magical world. Someone saw Mr. Black in the city," Coulson announced.
"How could they? I was careful," Black frowned.
"You'll find American wizards have a higher surveillance system in place especially in large cities, and you were spotted while apparating into an alley in the city," replied Coulson.
"They use CCTV?" Tony asked, curious.
"No, pigeons," Coulson was all smug secretive smiles.
"A spell to look through the birds' eyes?" Black asked looking equally curious.
Coulson just continued to look smug and secretive.
"Who are you?" Black questioned looking completely bewildered.
"I'm a squib who now works with a separate, secret muggle government that investigates and takes care of various odd occurrences outside the realm of capabilities of witches and wizards. Our name is SHIELD it stands for Strategic—"
"Blah, blah, long boring name that's an acronym for SHIELD, and doesn't really matter," Tony cut in.
"I didn't know muggles had anything like that or that there was even a need for something like that. Considering everything that's happened since I've been in Azkaban it's probably useful. The world is certainly a different place now," Black shrugged in acceptance.
"Since neither of you is dead, I assume that Mr. Black isn't guilty of the crime he has been accused of?" Coulson questioned.
"Nope," Tony grinned.
"I see, this changes things," Coulson said thoughtfully easily believing Tony. He trusted Tony's judgment enough to accept Black was innocent.
"I'm going to clear his name," Tony insisted.
"It will need to be done quickly. The American Wizarding Government had already alerted the International Magical Office of Law who in turn notified the Ministry of Magic by the time I was given the information. They will be here soon to try and collect Mr. Black. However, due to recent events coming to light SHIELD is willing to offer its support in proving your innocence, Mr. Black."
"Thank you, both of you," Black nodded gruffly.
"I needed a distraction anyway. I've already made over thirty different new suit designs in my down time, and until I get to my workshop in Malibu I won't be able to start mass producing them," Tony muttered.
"What is that you do exactly anyway? I saw your iron suits on a muggle news broadcast," Black frowned in confusion as he glanced over at Tony.
"Gentlemen, we can discuss that later. I think it would be more prudent if the three of us headed over to the Ministry of Magic before they have a chance to storm the tower," Coulson reminded them.
"You really think we should just head right into the hands of the people who want me Kissed?" asked Black in shock.
"Kissed? You're afraid they're going to kiss you? What kind of punishment is that?" Tony frowned.
"A Dementors Kiss is where you have your soul sucked out of you. If you don't die immediately, you'll spend the rest of your life as a vegetable," Black informed, a hint of fear in his eyes.
"That sounds pleasant," Tony muttered.
"I have quite a few contacts in the Ministry. Trust me. I will sort out this situation without the danger of having your soul removed, Mr. Black," Coulson assured.
"You're all I've got. Let's go," Black stood.
Tony groaned. "Don't tell me we're taking another portal key."
"Portkey, and yes," Coulson shot him an exasperated look.
"I really need to get a move on that teleportation device," Tony grumbled as he stood to take hold of the straw hat Coulson had brought in his briefcase. The man was always frighteningly prepared for everything.
"Wait, before we leave I'm going to bring some insurance with me. I've been working on a prototype. All of my suits are capable of function in the presence of magic now but my newest suit will hopefully repel magic," Tony announced proudly.
"I don't believe that you will need the suit, Mr. Stark," Coulson argued.
"Bring it, I've seen some the things your suits can do on the muggle news. They're wicked things, and I'd love to see the faces of the Ministry officials when they get their arses handed to them by a muggle machine," Black flashed a fierce grin.
Coulson sighed. "I assure you both that I will be more than capable of keeping the situation under control. As long as the two of you let me do all the talking."
"I better get the suit. The track record of me keeping my mouth shut isn't exactly a great one," Tony countered.
"Get the suit," Coulson ordered.
Tony grinned and had Jarvis send it up. He had the suit fold down into a briefcase. The suit hadn't been thoroughly tested yet but Tony was pretty confident that it would hold together and at least serve as full body armor if things came down to a fight.
Now that he had his suit, Tony once more took hold of the straw hat along with Coulson and Black.
"This particular portkey is voice activated," Coulson explained.
"What's the activation word?" Black asked.
"Ministry of Magic," Coulson replied with a slight upward tilt of his lips.
Before Tony could protest the feeling of something hooking him behind his bellybutton over took him. Everything spun wildly around him. Upon arriving at their destination Tony once again found himself crashing to the ground. Coulson and Black both landed gracefully. Black sent him a smug, superior smirk. Tony sent him a one-finger salute.
Tony climbed to his feet and took in his surroundings. They were in a large corridor with polished dark woodened floors, and with a peacock-blue ceiling. Golden symbols swirled along the ceiling constantly changing and moving. The walls were also made of dark wood, and rows and rows of fireplaces. All sorts of witches and wizards were coming in and out of the green flames, and moving through the hall. In the middle of the hall stood a large golden fountain with a witch and wizard, and several other magical creatures standing around them. Tony thought he recognized the little one with the big ears. It looked like Harry's little stalker from the hotel. Tony wondered absently what had happened to the little weirdo.
Coulson confidently led them towards a golden gate with a desk on the left where all of the other wizards seemed to being going through. The sign above the desk read SECURITY. A wizard in bright blue robes sat reading a newspaper. Coulson flashed some sort of pass at the wizard as the three of them passed. The wizard barely took the time to glance at the badge before waving them through. The three of them joined the crowd in moving through the smaller golden gates towards a row of golden elevators. For being one of the most wanted criminals in the wizarding world no one seemed to recognize Black. But then again they were probably looking for a madman. The groomed, albeit gaunt, man in a normal business suit probably didn't register to them much.
The three of them entered an elevator, and Coulson yanked the grill of the elevator shut before anyone else could get on with them. A few papers flapped above their heads, zooming around the compartment like bird. The elevator slowly began to ascend. It was a little wobbly, and Tony feared that it was about to break down and send them crashing to their deaths.
"Someone really needs to have a talk with you wizards about easy transportation," Tony groused as he reached up to grab a handrail just in case.
"There's no such thing as easy wizarding transportation. I should take you on the Knight Bus some time. I think you would really enjoy it," Black grinned.
"You know as much fun as that sounds, I think I'll pass," Tony replied dryly.
Tony listened patiently as they continued up through the levels of the Ministry. Coulson continued to keep other wizards and witches out with stern glares. In fact one wizard was so traumatized he dropped a box of toads that were belching fire. Neither Black nor Coulson so much as flinched at the revelation.
"Muggle-Worthy Excuse Committee? Really?" Tony asked.
"Don't try to understand wizarding logic. We don't have any," Black informed him seriously.
Finally it was announced that they had arrived at level two, the Department of Magical Law Enforcement, including the Improper Use of Magic Office, Auror Headquarters, and Wizengamot Administration Services.
"We'll need to have Mr. Black questioned under Veritaserum, a potion which forces the drinker to tell the truth, to have a record of his innocence if we want to push for a trial," Coulson explained as a bunch of the little memos flew in and out of the elevator waiting for them to get off.
"I've been a guilty man for eleven years. Let's go rub my innocence in those bloody bastards' faces," Black snarled striding forward.
Coulson quickly followed, leaving Tony to catch up to the two of them. They moved through a hallway with rows of doors. They finally entered an open area with a bunch of cubicles. A sign declared that this was Auror Headquarters. Wanted posters, mainly of Black, were strung up the cubicle walls along with ones from the broom game Harry loved so much. It was oddly quiet for it being the center for the wizarding police force. Black muttered something about them all being out looking for him under his breath, and Tony shrugged figuring that he was probably right. Coulson made his way to a reception area where a woman was sitting filling out paperwork with a feathered quill.
"Excuse me, Miss, we would like to speak with the head of the department to conduct a questioning with Veritaserum in order to prove the innocence of a prisoner," Coulson announced politely.
"I'm afraid you'll have to make an appointment for something like that. There's all sorts of paperwork that would need to be filed. The prisoner would need to be removed from Azkaban under an armed guard, and a certified Auror with the proper training and authority would need to be the one to complete the questioning. You won't be able to make an appointment for quite a while. We're very busy right now. If you haven't heard Sirius Black is on the loose," the woman replied without bothering to look up.
"What a coincidence the prisoner I'm here about today is Sirius Black," Coulson replied.
That got a reaction out of the woman. Her head shot up and she caught sight of Black. She shrieked and scrambled out of her chair only to faint dead away on the floor.
"Perhaps we should have anticipated this reaction," Coulson said calmly.
Tony didn't buy that. This was just the reaction that Coulson was hoping to get.
A large black man burst from one of the cubicles. His wand was raised, and he looked ready for a fight. He reminded Tony of Fury. If Fury wore robes, had both eyes, and was a semi-decent person.
"Mr. Shacklebolt, it's nice to see you again," Coulson greeted steadily as he stepped in front of Black.
"Agent Coulson. It's nice to see you, too. Can I ask why you've brought such a dangerous criminal here without being properly restrained?" Shacklebolt asked glancing from Black to the passed out receptionist.
"She merely fainted from the shock. She should wake up within a half hour. And Sirius Black is innocent of his crimes. He never betrayed the Potters, and did not murder any of those civilians. We've come here to ensure that Mr. Black receives the fair trial he always deserved. Is Amelia available? I would like to get this questioning done before the Minister catches wind of it, and tries to put a stop to it," Coulson stated calmly.
"I trust you Agent Coulson but this is Sirius Black. He's a murderer," Shacklebolt eyed Black warily.
"I am aware of his supposed crimes," Coulson replied.
"I'll probably be fired for this but you've never steered us wrong before. Come with me. You're lucky everyone else left to apprehend Black, including Madam Bones. I offered to stay behind in the event something else came up. I'm one of the few who is qualified to administer questioning under Veritaserum," Shacklebolt sighed and started leading them towards one of the back rooms beyond the cubicles.
They entered an interrogation room. Shacklebolt sat Black in of the chairs. Handcuffs immediately sprang out to wrap themselves around his wrists and legs. Black tensed, but managed to relax a bit once Coulson placed a supportive hand on his shoulder.
"All right, let's just get this over with," Shacklebolt went to one of the paneled walls. He tapped it with his wand and pulled out a vial of clear liquid.
"Today is Wednesday, November 28th, 2012. I, Auror Kingsley Shacklebolt, am authorizing a Veritaserum questioning on Sirius Black, convicted mass murderer and Azkaban escapee. Also witnessing this questioning are Phillip Coulson, an American squib and an Agent of the muggle organization SHIELD. And who are you exactly?" Shacklebolt turned to Tony.
"I'm Tony, uh Anthony if you need my full name, Stark. I'm Iron Man," Tony answered unsure of what sort of information he was looking for.
"And Anthony Stark, a muggle who is also a protector of the Earth through his use of his mechanical suit called Iron Man," Shacklebolt continued surprising Tony with his knowledge even if it was a bit inaccurate. Tony was Iron Man with or without the suit.
"I will begin by administering three drops of Veritaserum," Shacklebolt continued and Tony figured that there must be some sort of recording system in place.
Shacklebolt held the bottle over Black's mouth, and Black willingly opened. Three small drops fell into his mouth. The bottle was capped and returned to its place. Tony kept his eyes on Black. His gray eyes had glazed over and a vacantness over took his features.
"What is your full name?" Shacklebolt asked.
"Sirius Orion Black," Black replied in a monotone.
"When were you born?"
"February 14th, 1979," Black answered.
"Were you the Secret Keeper of Lily and James Potter?"
"Did you betray them to You-Know-Who?" Shacklebolt asked looking somewhat shocked by Black's earlier answer.
"Did you employ the use of a spell, which was responsible for killing twelve muggles and Peter Pettigrew?"
"No, I didn't cast the spell that killed them and Peter Pettigrew is still alive," Black replied.
Shacklebolt was stunned by the revelations, and Tony was trying to think of some ways he could get his hands on some of the truth serum. It could come in handy when Barton stole his coffee and then denied it.
The questioning continued until the entire story had been told, and Shacklebolt's curiosity had been sated. At least by the end of the lengthy questioning Shacklebolt now believed in Black's innocence.
"We need to call for an immediate trial. I can't believe such a gross misconduct of justice could have happened," Shacklebolt looked a little lost. "I apologize for what's happened Black."
"It's not your fault. Blame Crouch and Fudge. They're the ones who threw me in Azkaban without a trial. Of course it's not like anyone protested, and I didn't make it easy with the maniacal laughter," Black replied. The effects of the truth serum had worn off.
"How soon can we set up a trial?" Tony asked.
"Considering the notoriety and severity of it all… I would say they would call for a trial as soon as they can. They should be ready by the end of the week. With the confession on record Sirius, you should be a free man by the end of week," Shacklebolt replied.
"I can't believe it," Black breathed a sigh of relief.
"I'll take care of everything. I'll give the report to Madam Bones, and she'll set the trial date up. Until then I suggest you lay low. I'll let Agent Coulson know when the trial will be," Shacklebolt assured them.
"We'll prepare our case," Coulson agreed.
With that Shacklebolt escorted them back to an apparition point. Coulson pulled out an old rusted tin can, and handed it to Tony.
"This will take us back to your home in Malibu. I'll have some friends put up some wards, and since your mansion's address is private you should be fine for a couple of days until we can get you to the trial."
"Will they come after him?" Tony wanted to know.
"Yes, such a failure will have the public up in arms. It will vastly affect the Minister's popularity ratings," Coulson replied evenly.
"The Ministry is corrupt. They'll do anything to cover their own arses," Black growled.
"I'm going to remain here for the time being to ensure that things run smoothly. I will make sure that you get a proper trial, and that they don't lose that report," Coulson informed them.
"Thank you for all your help," Black said sincerely.
"Of course," Coulson replied.
"Let's get going to Malibu. I needed to get away from the cold weather anyway," Tony said eager to get out of the magical world.
Black agreed and took hold of the can. The password for this portkey was home. Tony reluctantly said the word, and Black and he were whisked away to just outside his Malibu mansion. Black was suitably impressed with the place as he showed him around. Tony called to let Pepper know what was going on so she wouldn't worry. He showed Black around the place and set him up in a guestroom. Tony finally settled himself down in his workshop. The labs in the tower were great but this would always be Tony's comfort zone. This was the place where he had built his first new and improved suit, and it stored all of his past models. Now that Tony was here he could get to work on building all of the army of suits he'd designed the last few months.
The next few days passed quickly. Black and he had been keeping their distance from one another. Coulson had let them know that the trial would take place at the end of the week. Tony wanted to get in touch with Harry but seeing as how the only way to do so was to call for the mystical, all-seeing Gate Keeper he figured he'd wait. Tony had been given the authority to call for Heimdall while Harry was on Asgard but only in the event of an emergency. Harry would be home this weekend so he could tell him all about it then. The trial had been scheduled for the following Monday meaning that Harry would get the chance to meet Black before the trial.
Tony wasn't sure what was going to happen after the trial. Black wanted to leave England behind and stay close to Harry. Tony wasn't sure if the dog wizard was going to become a permanent fixture in their lives. If so Tony wasn't so sure how he felt about that. Black was further competition for Harry's attention with the added benefit of being a wizard and having gone to school with Lily. Black could be useful with all of the magical problems that might crop up in Harry's life. As long as Black got over his feelings of animosity towards him the two of them might get along pretty well. In fact Black's work with incorporating magic into flying vehicles just might come in handy.
Friday night Thor arrived with Harry in tow. Black hung back in the house as Tony went to greet them.
"Dad!" Harry cried in excitement running towards him.
Tony swept him up in a tight hug.
"Hey kiddo, how's Asgard?"
"It's great. I'm learning a lot from Frigga and a couple of others," Harry smiled. "Actually I wanted to talk to you about that."
"We can talk about it later. Thanks for dropping him off Thor," Tony nodded his thanks to the Norse god.
"Of course my friend. I am off to see my Lady Jane. I will return dear nephew on Sunday Evening," Thor announced before taking to the air.
Harry and Tony watched him disappear into the clouds.
"Um, there's something I need to talk to you about before we head inside,"
"Did you get me a present?" Harry asked.
Tony snorted. "Yeah, I got you a dog."
"Really?" Harry's eyes widened comically. "No you didn't. You don't like dogs or pets. You tolerate Hedwig because she takes care of herself."
"No, I didn't get you a dog. Well, not exactly," Tony hedged.
"What are you on about?" Harry looked at him expectantly.
"You remember Sirius Black?"
Harry nodded his expression darkening. "He's the one that betrayed mum and James to Voldemort."
"No he didn't. He's innocent."
"What? How do you know?" Harry demanded.
Tony told him about Black confronting him, and how Black innocence was proven beyond a doubt with the truth serum questioning.
"I can't believe it," Harry murmured.
"It's all true. You can ask Agent about it," Tony insisted.
"I trust you, dad," Harry rolled his eyes.
"Black is actually a decent guy. He has a few screws loose. But a couple of years in person will do that to you. He's not the dangerous criminal we thought he was. Trust me I wouldn't have him wandering around my house otherwise. He was good friends with James and your mom. He really wants to meet you," Tony said tilting his head towards the house.
"He's here?" Harry gasped.
"He's staying with us until his trial officially declares him innocent," Tony said as he started steering Harry towards the house.
"I haven't seen this house yet," Harry's gaze darted about the open interior of the mansion.
"This is my main house. I only recently started staying at the tower when we met. We'll set up a room for you here. Maybe a different scheme than your room at the tower," Tony offered.
"Alright," Harry said distractedly. His emerald eyes had finally located Black. The man had stepped up to greet the two of them his gray eyes flickering over Harry in disbelief.
"Merlin, you're all grown up," Black smiled a sad cast to his features.
Tony stepped in when Harry didn't immediately respond. "Harry allow me to introduce Sirius Black, your godfather. Well, your other godfather."
"Other godfather?" Black frowned in annoyance.
"Yeah, I sort of appointed someone else when we thought you were a homicidal maniac. And well he's an actual god so I thought it would be funny…"
"Thor's actually my uncle so you can take back the full position of godfather if you want to," Harry offered speaking up for the first time.
"I would like that," Black said flashing Harry the largest smile Tony had seen from the man yet.
"So you went to school with mum and James?" Harry asked timidly.
"Yeah, we were all in Gryffindor together. We used to drive McGonagall mad with some of our pranks," Black boasted.
"I'd love to hear about it," Harry said eagerly.
"Well, he likes to talk about it," Tony smirked.
Black glared at him.
The three of them settled in the living as Black started regaling Harry with all sorts of stories about his wild school days with the Marauders. There were a couple of awkward moments where Black mentioned James's determined pursuit of Lily but Tony wasn't bothered by it, and he made sure that Harry wasn't either. It was a fact of life. Lily and James had been married. Tony didn't want Harry to feel ashamed about his own birth. He deserved to know about all of the people who cared for him. James's gave his life for Harry even after knowing the truth. Tony certainly didn't mind him learning about the man. Tony's obvious acceptance of Black telling Harry about James made Black visibly relax, and some of his indifference to Tony relaxed a bit. It also helped that Black wasn't purposefully trying to get Harry to like James better than Tony. That was something Tony would have put a stop to right away, and the mutt would have quickly been out on the streets.
"So that's why dad said he'd gotten me a dog," Harry said grinning widely when Black told him about his shape shifting abilities.
"A dogfather," Tony said unable to resist laughing at his own cleverness.
"I like it," Black grinned.
The next two days passed quickly. Black and Harry, and by extension Tony spent a lot of time together. Black seemed unwilling to allow Harry out of his sight, and Tony actually liked that he now had an ally who was as obsessive as he was about Harry's safety. Black and he may not exactly be friends but they had a common interest in keeping Harry out of harm's way. For now that was enough to bond them together.
Black eagerly taught Harry several pranks; although, the wizard was a little disappointed to hear Harry wouldn't be returning to Hogwarts. After hearing Harry's tale about the Voldemort possessed professor, and the basilisk incident Black withdrew his disappointment. He was all for Harry being closer to home once he learned Voldemort wasn't entirely gone. Black spent his Harry free moments badgering Tony about what they were going to do about Voldemort. Tony resolved to set up a meeting with Coulson to discuss the issue. Honestly, Tony didn't have the opportunity to talk to Coulson very often. The agent had his own team to lead, and missions to go on. Tony was surprised the man had shown up for the case against Black.
The day of the trial arrived. Harry had reluctantly returned to Asgard with Thor, and the promise that he was going to bug Heimdall to provide him with a play by play of the trial. Coulson arrived with yet another portkey, and several American Aurors with him to ensure that Sirius wouldn't just be carted off the moment that they stepped foot into the courtroom. Tony brought his suit with him once more in the event things went south. Black was trying to convince him to blast all of the pompous old windbags even if he was declared innocent.
Their small group was greeted by Shacklebolt, an older witch with short gray hair and a monocle who introduced herself as Amelia Bones the Head of the DMLE, and a small contingent of British Aurors. Madam Bones was a no nonsense sort of woman who was on a clear mission. She also seemed to know Coulson quite well and believed in Black's innocence thanks to truth serum questioning. Tony was glad to have her on their side. She reminded him a bit of Pepper when she was on the warpath. Watch out to any one who got in her way of seeing justice.
"The Minister is insisting on holding the trial in the old courtrooms with a full meeting of the Wizengamot," Madam Bones huffed, annoyance clear in her tone.
"I didn't expect anything less from Minister Fudge," Coulson sighed.
"The Wizengamot-thing is like the Supreme Court Justices right?" Tony questioned of Coulson.
Black had done his best to give him a rundown on the way the law worked in the British wizarding world. It was similar to non-magical law but the Wizengamot seemed to be made up of people who had inherited their positions and were allowed to keep them until death or until they willingly stepped down. Since wizards lived quite a bit longer than the average human this ended up creating a council of really old people with really outdated ideas.
They were taken deep into the bowels of the Ministry. The courtrooms were so deep that the elevators didn't even go down that far. Their group was forced to take several flights of stairs. It made Tony curious how far beneath the ground they were, and where exactly the Ministry was located. The courtroom they entered was very different from the ones Tony was used to, and he'd seen a lot of different ones considering all of the different places he had been arrested. It looked more like an indoor arena with raised stadium seats set all around. The defendant was place in a chair in the middle of the floor, far below the row of judges or whatever they were. The defendant's allies were allowed to remain with him on the floor, and the rest of the seats were opened to the public. The stands were completely packed. Every wizard had turned out for the chance of getting a look at the infamous Sirius Black.
Tony got his first look at the Minister of Magic as he burst into the stands and took his seat among the plum robe colored judges. He was a portly little guy who a very displeased expression on his face. A woman dressed all in pink who must have undergone some sort of human-toad transformation followed along behind the Minister. She stood out to Tony because of her hateful, superior expression. Tony was very good at recognizing kiss-ups, and he knew instantly that this woman would be one of their biggest hurdles in getting Black free.
"He came," Black whispered in shock.
His gaze was looking off to the side towards a man dressed in shabbily patched robes, and quite a few interesting facial scars.
"Who is that?" Tony asked.
"Moony. Remus Lupin," Black replied not looking away from his old friend.
The scars made sense now. That was Black's werewolf friend. Lupin looked torn between hope and rage. He was no doubt hopeful that his old friend just might be innocent but angry that Black was even claiming innocence for this. Tony couldn't think anymore of it because just then the court was called to order.
"I Cornelius Oswald Fudge, Minister of Magic, call this court to order," the round man announced a spell of some sort making his voice carry into the large room.
"It has come to the Ministry's attention that Sirius Orion Black never received an initial trial, and was therefore unjustly imprisoned within Azkaban," Madam Bones announced.
The room erupted into a bunch of whispers. Order once more had to be called before they could get any further.
"The trial for Sirius Orion Black will commence on the second of December. For the offence of betraying James and Lily Potters to He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named, and being responsible for the deaths of twelve muggles as well as Peter Pettigrew. Prosecutors for the court: Cornelius Oswald Fudge, Minister of Magic, Amelia Susan Bones, Head of the Department of Magical Law Enforcement, Dolores Jane Umbridge, Senior Undersecretary to the Minister…"
Fudge continued to drone on but Tony tuned him out. He focused on the faces of the other judges to try and gauge their reactions. The only true friendly face he saw among the wizened old wizards was Dumbledore. The headmaster caught him looking, and gave Tony a slight nod of acknowledgement.
"For the Defense: Phillip Michael Coulson, Head Liaison between SHIELD and the wizarding world, Anthony Edward Stark, Iron Man, and Avenger of the Earth, Kingsley Amis Shacklebolt, Auror for the Ministry of Magic," Coulson announced his voice easily carrying through the courtroom with just as much authority as Fudge's.
"Hem, hem, pardon my asking but should a muggle and a squib really be allowed to stand up in a magical court?" the pink toad woman, Umbridge, questioned, a sickly sweet smile on her face.
"There are no laws against it. As long as the muggle is already aware of the magical world. So for as long as Mr. Black wants us here we can remain," Coulson answered.
"Yes, well let's begin," Fudge blustered clearly upset. "More than a dozen witness saw Sirius Black at the scene of the crime…"
The prosecution continued listing their evidence, and brought up several witnesses who claimed to have seen Black kill those people. Dumbledore was also called as a witness since he was the one person who James and Lily Potter had personally told Black was their Secret Keeper. However, Dumbledore now expressed his doubt that this was the complete truth.
Finally, after over an hour and a half of listening Fudge and his cronies drone on about all the different ways that Black was guilty it was the Defense's turn. Between Coulson and Tony they made a very convincing team. If Tony didn't hate lawyers he thought he and Coulson might have had a very successful career in law. Tony was charismatic and cunning. Coulson delivered no nonsense facts in a way that left little room for people to doubt him. With Shacklebolt providing the clear evidence from the truth serum test given, and Madam Bones clearly on their side Tony was fairly certain that they had this case in the bag.
"It proves nothing," Fudge growled red in the face by the end of their report.
The rest of the council didn't seem to feel the same way.
"I think it proves a great deal Cornelius. I can't believe such a travesty was carried out by our Ministry. I think we should stop delaying, declare Sirius Black's innocence, and start looking towards how this could have possibly happened. Not to mention we should start our search for Peter Pettigrew," Madam Bones spoke up.
"It's all lies," Umbridge snapped.
Throughout the trial she'd been making all sorts of snide comments about Tony and Coulson's ability to be a part of the trial. Tony had made rude comments right back, and the toad woman looked like she personally wanted to murder him. The feeling was mutual.
"Are you saying that Sirius Black was capable of lying under the effects of Veritaserum, something that no wizard or witch has ever been capable of doing before?" Madam Bones snapped. She had lost her patience with the woman as well.
"He is the first wizard to break out of Azkaban so it wouldn't surprise me," Umbridge simpered.
"He told us how he escaped," Madam Bones sighed.
"Yes, an illegal animagus. The man is a criminal. He flouts the law, and disgraces his heritage," Umbridge retorted.
"Listen hear you ugly—"
Coulson cut Black off by placing a hand on his shoulder.
"I think we can all agree that time served will more than make up for his failure to register his animagus form," Madam Bones sighed.
"No, it does not—"
"Enough of this arguing. We've heard both cases. It is time to vote," Madam Bones cut her off sharply.
Tony listened closely as the judges began to vote. There were several votes of guilty but the vast majority sided with them. Their evidence had been enough. Black was pronounced not guilty, and was now considered a free man. The obvious sigh of relief Black loosed made Tony grin.
After the trial Tony, Coulson, Black, and Black's friend the Wolf Man all had lunch in a small private pub. Tony and Coulson mostly left the two old friends to catch up and make amends with one another. Remus seemed like a very nice guy. He was gentle and kind but held a vicious monster beneath his skin. In a way he reminded Tony a lot of Bruce.
Tony was pleasantly surprised when Thor showed up with Harry.
"Hey kiddo, what are you doing here?" Tony questioned.
"Harry insisted on returning to Midgard to celebrate the good news of his other godfather's triumphant release from the injustice wrought upon him," Thor boomed.
Thor still insisted on being Harry's other godfather, and Tony really didn't mind. Besides he didn't want a pouting God of Thunder on his hands.
"Well, I'm always happy to have you around," Tony smiled as he pulled Harry into the seat beside him.
"There's something I have to tell you dad," Harry said.
Tony waited patiently. Harry's statement had caught the attention of Black and Remus.
"I think I might know where Peter Pettigrew is," Harry announced proudly.
"What!?" Tony and Black shouted at the same time.
"Ron's rat, Scabbers. It's missing a toe, and it's really old. It was his brother's before it was his. Sirius said that Pettigrew could turn into a rat. Hiding as someone's family pet would be the prefect place to hide especially if no one knew that he could turn into one," Harry cried excitedly.
"We have to catch that rat," Tony announced.
"He's at Hogwarts with Ron," Harry informed them.
"Well, it looks like we have a mission to complete. We'll catch the rat, and Coulson can take him to Ministry. Since I have no plans on ever stepping in that place again. Miss Piggy will need to be removed from her position before I even think about it," Tony said.
"I'm coming with you," Black commanded.
"Are you sure? Public sentiment towards you is still a little hostile," Tony argued.
"It'll be fine," Black assured.
"If you're sure," Tony shrugged. Black was a grown man. Tony wasn't going to argue with him.
"Does everyone even realize you're innocent yet? I don't want you to be attacked," Harry worried.
"I'll be fine. It's Hogwarts, Dumbledore was at the trial and knows I've been declared innocent. I want to be there when that filthy little traitor is finally caught," Black insisted a hint of his former madness flashing in his eyes.
"It's settled then we head back to Hogwarts for some rat hunting," Tony decided.
Thor came with them to aid them in their search. But it turned out useful. Harry's friend said that his rat had gone missing shortly after the rumors that Black was innocent had started to circulate. This only strengthened the conviction that Scabbers was Pettigrew. Tony was not pleased that the man responsible for Lily's death had been living in his dorm room with Harry. Harry was equally disgusted. Black was nearly inconsolable about Pettigrew escaping his grasp once more. Only Remus was able to calm him down a bit. Harry also helped out a bit by offering Black a place to live.
"Now that we know you're not really a murderer would you like to come live with us?" Harry asked.
Black's eyes widened. He flashed a glance towards Tony asking for acceptance.
Tony just grinned. "Sure why not? Everyone else seems to keep moving in. You'll fit right with all the other crazies running around here. But there's one condition, you have to have a flea bath."
Black glared. "Just wait until I get my new wand Stark, I have a list of hexes I want to try out."
"Bring it on, Black," Tony smirked.
It looked like his family had gotten a little bit bigger.
A rat scurried quickly through the underbrush moving further and further away from the large castle. The rat, who wasn't really a rat, was desperate to get as far away from Hogwarts as quickly as he could. Everything had finally fallen apart for him. Sirius Black had been acquitted. The world now knew that the man was innocent. What was worse was that they now knew it had been Peter who had framed him. They knew his animagus form, and Peter knew that it would have only been a matter of time before they realized that he had been hiding these past eleven years as the Weasley's pet rat. Peter had caught sight of Sirius and his godson in the castle searching for him. Everyone was searching for him. There weren't any safe havens for Peter anymore.
There was only one thing Peter could do in a situation like this, only one thing he could do in hopes of saving his own hide. If there was one thing Peter was good at, it was protecting his own hide. Peter also had a knack for seeking out powerful people and attaching himself to them. He was going to follow this instinct, and track down his Master. The Dark Lord was his only hope at freedom now. He knew the Dark Lord was alive out there somewhere after his run in with the Potter, now Stark, boy last year, and wasn't that a shock to Peter. Although, it did fill him with vindictive glee to know that the lovely Lily Evans had cheated on the golden boy James. Sirius Black and James Potter were everything Peter had hoped to be when he'd been young. But his fascination with them soon turned to envy and hate. Seeing them both brought low had been the highlight of his life.
Now Peter would go seek out his Master. He would bring him back, and be rewarded for being his most loyal follower. He could see it now. The glory and power he would garner for helping the Dark Lord return to power. Determined the rat charged on.
Sorry for such a long wait! Tony and Sirius are now on their way to being BFFs.