Disclaimer: I do not own Harry Potter or any of its characters. If I did...Sirius, James and Remus would have never died and neither would Fred.
Warnings: Strong language, Umbridge and Dumbledore bashing.
Prompt for this story:
Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire chapter 18. The lines "He came back to the country just because my scar twinged. He'll probably come bursting right into the castle if I tell him someone's entered me into the Triwizard Tournament."
And I wondered...what If Sirius had learned about the Blood Quill? This story is what ran away with me as a result.
Special thanks to Kitty for beta-ing this story. You're the best!
It had been a relatively quiet dinner at Hogwarts, or at least as quiet as Hogwarts ever got just before the Christmas Holidays started.
The first hint Harry received that things were going to change soon were the hairs in his neck standing up for no particular reason.
The second hint was more noticeable to those around him as the enchanted ceiling changed from its reflectance of a quiet afternoon to a full blown storm in moments; half the Great Hall darkening in result.
Many students shrieked and the professors glanced at one another in confusion as Umbridge rose from her seat before Dumbledore could. "Hem-Hem... Will all students please remain seated and quiet down," she said in her sugary sweet voice and most students turned to watch her.
"There is absolutely no reason to panic because of a ceiling that..." she tried to continue but was cut off abruptly when the doors to the Great Hall were slammed open by force.
Everyone turned to the entrance as a man appeared in the semi-darkness there, dark overcloak billowing around his Muggle attire as he stormed in, wand in hand and a murderous expression on his face as he was followed closely by another man.
Several students close by shrieked in fear and several reached for their wands.
"Expelliarmus, Colloportus, Impedimenta, Silencio," the man spoke softly yet clearly audible.
Hundreds of wands flew out of the hands of their owners; towards the stranger while simultaneously all the doors slammed shut and locked themselves.
Everyone was slammed into their seats; the air being knocked out of those attempting to stand regardless and startled screams were cut off.
The man raised his free empty hand and all the wands zooming towards him clattered onto the ground before him without a spell or wand used and tension cut through the air as everyone seemed to realise how powerful the one forcefully entering truly was.
The man behind him didn't bat an eye at the display as they both passed by the pile of wands and strode to the Head Table and Harry felt his heart clench as he finally recognised the two men as they crossed into the light.
Sirius and Remus.
Sirius was still a fugitive and if he was captured here, there would be no one able to protect him. Umbridge would have a field day arresting him the moment she realised who he was.
He wanted to call out to his godfather; tell him to run but even if the Silencing Charm didn't ensure his silence, he found himself unable to speak as he caught sight of the expression on the man's face.
Sirius looked absolutely murderous, angrier than Harry had ever seen him before; angrier than he had when he faced Pettigrew two years before.
His gaze didn't move from the Head Table he was approaching rapidly; Remus, who walked in step with him now seemed to switch to a neutral expression where before it had been slightly worried.
And as terrified as Harry was for his godfather's safety; he was also awed by the sheer amount of power Sirius was radiating; clearly being what had affected the ceiling to behave as it did as the sudden storm had not let up at all.
"Hem-Hem," it seemed Sirius hadn't included the staff table in his Silencing Charm; though most of the staff seemed too gobsmacked to see the two arrivals to act.
"Who do you think you are, entering like that," Umbridge's sugary sweet voice pitched up a level as she tried to rise, but found she couldn't.
Apparently Sirius had stuck the staff to their seats; even if he had not silenced them and Harry wondered why that was when his godfather spoke. "Are you Umbitch?" Sirius completely ignored that she had spoken as he came to a stop before the teacher's table and stared up at her.
Harry could see several students around him snicker mutely as his expression changed from anger to clear repulsion as he took in her appearance; his eyes lingering on the black bow on top of her head for a long moment.
"My boy..don't do anything stupid," Dumbledore's expression was disapproving as he seemed to realise he couldn't move either.
"You don't get to talk, you are next on my list," Sirius' thunderous expression was enough to shut Dumbledore up and make him shrink into himself. "I believe I asked the pink toad a question."
"Why I have never...I am Dolores Umbridge, Senior Under-se..."
"I don't care what titles you have, I asked for your name. So you are indeed the one I'm seeking, good. Get off your high seat so we can talk before I decide to hex you and forgo the talk all together," Sirius cut her off.
Remus brushed past him to casually lean against the end of Ravenclaws' house table; like it was an everyday occurrence for him to see Sirius barge into a full hall in anger.
As he leaned against the empty area of the table; he made absolutely no indication that he was going to stop Sirius from whatever he had planned any time soon. In fact, Harry got the distinct feeling that the man was there to have Sirius' back.
Umbridge clearly took too long to respond and a sweep from Sirius' wand pulled her over the table and down to the ground before it; making her screech undignified.
"Who do you think you are, that you think you can talk to me like that?!" any pretence of the sugary voice was gone as she shook in anger and tried to scramble to her feet.
"My name is Sirius Black and I will talk to you how I see fit. Now get to your feet before I force you," Sirius snapped.
Umbridge turned a nice shade of purple as his words registered and she realised just who exactly was standing before her. Her body went rigid for a moment before she raised her hand; seemingly not realising her wand was lost in the pile near the closed entrance doors.
"Sirius Black, you are arrested under law..."
"Suit yourself," Sirius cut her off once more and a quick sweep of his wand forced Umbridge to her feet, making her stumble but hold her balance.
"How dare you! I am..."
"How dare you! I heard rumours about what you are doing at this school and if I find those rumours to have a truth to them I shall show you what exactly I dare," Sirius snapped.
His voice never rose; but it still cut through steel and most teachers visibly winced at his tone, some even attempting to shift away from the angry man as they could obviously feel the power radiating off of him as easily as Harry could.
"You are a convicted felon and wanted by the Ministry. You have no right to make threats to me!" Umbridge managed to bring out as she regained her footing properly.
"Funny; being a convicted felon would indicate both a crime has been committed and a trial was given that took care of the convicting part. Neither one was ever applied to me so forgive me if I say the Ministry can go to hell for all I care. The lack of justice and my innocence is not why I am here today."
Students glanced at each other surprised as he spoke and Harry could almost hear their thoughts.
Could this man be telling the truth? Had he never received a trial?
His heart hammered in his throat; why exactly was Sirius here, if not for his innocence?
"Then why are you here, Sirius? If not to finally prove your innocence?" surprisingly, it was Flitwick who spoke, his squeaky voice ringing clear through the silenced space.
It was surprising to see how normal the tiny Charms professor spoke to his godfather; not at all like he thought him to be an escaped mass murderer and he felt a wave of affection for the man as he realised the man clearly didn't believe his godfather to be guilty.
Dumbledore made to open his mouth, but a sharp glance from Sirius made him snap it shut again.
"I am here because the so called Headmaster of this school failed to keep one of your students safe while in his care and I refuse to stand by and watch my child be hurt," Sirius answered Flitwick respectfully, making Harry frown.
His child? What was Sirius talking about? The only child Sirius ever referred to having was Harry himself, and he certainly wasn't in any danger currently as far as he knew.
"Now tell me, and you would be wise to answer honestly. Did you, or did you not use a Blood Quill on my godson?"
More students glanced at each other, some shifting uncomfortably as they seemed to realise what he was talking about and rubbed their arms nervously. But no one made any attempt to speak to their neighbours as they watched intently as the dark-haired man before the staff table was making an utter fool of the hated professor.
Alarm flashed through several of the teacher's expression; surprise and disgust taking over as it became clear none of them had known about it either. But it took Harry a moment longer to realise exactly what Sirius was talking about; unconsciously moving his right hand out of view. How had Sirius found out about that? Worst, who could have possibly told him as barely anyone even knew about it in the first place?
A quick glance at Hermione and Ron told him they were just as baffled as he was; so they were ruled out immediately.
"I do not see how my teaching methods are relevant to the likes of an escaped convict," Umbridge sneered out in a way that reminded Harry eerily of Aunt Petunia.
"Do not make me repeat my question twice woman," Sirius' growl made Umbridge flinch before she frowned. "I have no obligation to answer the likes of a murderer!"
Above her, the enchanted ceiling started thundering as something flashed in Sirius' grey eyes and Umbridge unconsciously took a step away from him. The chandeliers started rumbling and the plates on all four of the House tables clattered as Sirius' temper clearly rose.
Harry barely had time to marvel at his godfather's ability to affect the area around him so effectively when Sirius spoke again.
"You have one more chance to speak the truth before I will turn to easier methods that might turn me into one. Did you make my godson, Harry Potter, write lines with a Blood Quill?"
"It would be wise to answer the question and not anger him any further," Remus advised her calmly. "Most of the teachers here can vouch for just how bad an idea that is."
"I will not take orders from a Half-Breed!" Umbridge spat, jumping in fear as the rattling plates and goblets spat into millions of pieces; the oil lamps exploded in a burst of fire and the windows all shattered.
Students ducked down as far as they could while stuck in their seats; but nothing actually touched the immobilised students as broken glass instead slammed into an invisible wall around them.
Harry's mouth fell open in disbelieving awe as he saw the shimmering of a bluish white barrier surrounding the students from both their surroundings and the tables between them; one that hadn't been there when the plates broke.
How had Sirius woven that shield around hundreds of students in that short a time span; without uttering a single word and as his temper had flared? A quick glance around showed that same realisation travelled through most of the other students as well and most sat back up properly again.
If Sirius had wanted to harm them, they would have long since been dead and that knowledge was enough for most students to relax against their invisible bounds.
Umbridge' eyes flashes nervously between Sirius and the millions of broken pottery and glass pieces that collected themselves above her head in a silent threat; making her tremble as she caught the eerily calm expression on the man's face as he stared her down with unforgiving eyes.
Without a single movement or enchantment from him the wall shattered above her head; shattering her in slivers of stone and glass which caused wounds on her face and exposed arms.
She shrieked in pain; though Harry could see all the wounds were shallow at best but still her eyes widened and she gasped in pain, clutching her right arm hard as she stared at Sirius wide-eyed.
The shower of shattered glass should have hit him, too, with how close he had been standing to her, but everything had fallen around him without leaving a single trace on his cloak or body.
Glancing past his classmates, Harry could see Remus was completely fine as well; still leaning against the Ravenclaw table and having been protected by the same shield as them.
"You...you," angry tears ran down Umbridge's dirty cheeks.
"I do not need a dark object to inflict pain upon tyrants," Sirius' voice was clearly audible despite the softness of it. "You will not insult my family ever again or you will find out exactly why this is child's play compared to what I could do to you."
"There really is no need to defend my honour like that, Siri. I'm not really bothered by whatever that toad might think of me," Remus looked at him amused.
"I believe I have told you before that I will always make those who insult you pay, haven't I?"
"You have," Remus' voice was full of affection as he looked at his friend. "You are as always looking out for me. But don't you think this reaction was a tiny bit harsh?"
"No, not when she refuses to admit the truth while she tortures my child for doing exactly that. She hurt and now insulted two members of my family and I will not stand by and let that disgusting thing do either without consequences."
As he spoke, the pottery rose together into the air; repairing themselves into the dishes they had been while the glass flew back to the windows and repaired themselves as well and Harry marvelled at Sirius' abilities.
Their interaction caused quite a few surprised looks from the students; most of whom recognised Remus as their previous Defence teacher and although Harry was used to their behaviour by now; it was probably shocking to everyone else to see the dangerous supposed Death Eater Sirius Black on such friendly terms with the old teacher.
"You never did," a fond smile slid over Remus' lips. "What did you do to her anyway?"
"She made our boy write with a Blood Quill and although I am not quite as barbaric as to use such a foul item on even the likes of her, I couldn't not repay the action by writing words of my choosing into her own skin."
"That sounds fair, what did you write?"
"Why don't you see for yourself?" a small gesture from Sirius tore Umbridge's right sleeve off; revealing the bleeding red words carved deeply into her lower arm and ensuring the words would be visible for the rest of her life.
"I must not deny the truth," Remus read out loud. "Fitting."
"Yes, I thought so as well," Sirius smiled while Umbridge gasped for air angrily.
Harry knew it should probably disgust him, to see what Sirius was doing to her, but he couldn't even bother pretending to be so as he knew she only got what she deserved.
The words carved into her skin were pretty gruesome but she truly deserved it for what she did to the students and not just Harry himself as he had seen just how many students had reached for their hands earlier. At least Sirius hadn't made her write the words herself over and over again.
"That hurts, doesn't it? And it is so much less than what you deserve for using such a foul torture device on an innocent child. I have no doubt that you have used that and other illegal methods on the other students as well, but they are not my concern. Harry, however is, so this is what's going to happen from now."
Sirius flicked his wrist and Umbridge was forced onto her feet once more under his silent power and although she stared at him in hatred, it didn't seem to bother him at all.
"You are going to back away from this school as far as you possibly can. You will not interfere with their classes and what they learn any more. You will get your fool of a Fudge to get his behind into gear and stop spreading lies about Harry. Then, you will start to prepare to fight against Voldemort before he takes over this whole bloody country while you Ministry people are too busy sticking your heads into the sand," Sirius paused, accepting the pumpkin juice Remus held out to him and took a sip before handing it back.
"And while you are busy actually manning up your government and hopefully de-corrupt it, you will shut your foul mouth and stay as far away from my godson as is humanly possible or I will tear you apart limb by limb very slowly."
For several long moments, even Umbridge's gasps seemed to have disappeared as the entire hall stared at Sirius in shock; teachers included.
Harry didn't for a second think Umbridge would listen to his godfather; no matter how scary he might seem right now and wasn't disappointed when the woman spat.
"You-Know-Who is not back. That is a lie spread by that insolent boy!" her eyes widened immediately and she doubled over with pain.
"I wonder if all Ministry workers have this much difficulty listening to some ground rules, or if it's just you," Sirius calmly gazed down at her. "I do believe I just warned you against insulting my family again."
He turned to the Gryffindor table; eyes immediately focusing on his godson and Harry couldn't help but smile as he realised his godfather had known his exact location all this time.
"Could you come here?"
Taking the words to mean he could move again, Harry rose from the bench without hesitation. He was aware that every eye in the room was now following his movements as he climbed over the bench and moved towards Sirius, but he wasn't bothered by their stares, used to them as he was.
Surprisingly few seemed alarmed at him being called forward, though quite a few seemed convinced he was walking to his death and regarded him with fear.
But fear was not something Harry would ever be able to feel for the man he was walking towards; even if he had not known Sirius was in fact innocent. The man had done nothing but looked out for him since returning; going out of his way to try and help him in any way he could.
His godfather had stormed into a crowded Great Hall; under the eyes of hundreds of witches and wizards all armed the moment he entered. He left Grimmauld Place despite it being the only safe place for him right now; despite the fact that most of Wizarding England was hunting him and had come to Hogwarts.
He had come into the heart of magic and the future generations because he had heard a rumour that Harry was being forced to write with a bloody Blood Quill; risked his freedom and safety and an one way ticket back to hell because he believed Harry not to be completely safe.
Based upon a rumour.
He had loved Harry enough to live off of rats for months just to be able to be close to him in case he was needed and risked everything by taking his place at his hearing to ensure he wasn't punished unfairly for using magic in front of Dudley.
He cared about Harry enough to have actually threatened both Dumbledore and Molly Weasley; and now the Ministry because he believed his boy was being hurt.
Harry still wondered how he had found out about the Blood Quill, but it didn't really matter any more as he looked up into the warm grey eyes of the one person he knew would always have his back no matter what.
The one person who would always try everything in his power to protect him; who would probably walk into Voldemort's lair of Death Eaters willingly if he thought it would keep him safe.
The one man who loved him more than anything; who loved him as much as his parents had done.
How could he ever fear Sirius no matter how much raw power there seemed to radiate off of the man; that same power wrapping around him steadily like a cocoon of love and protection as he came to stand before him.
Sirius was still his Siri; the man who always made him feel safe and content despite having the entire student body look at him and the man who he himself loved more than anything.
He realised that this was why none of the other teachers were reacting; for he knew they weren't silenced. A subtle glance into their reaction showed most of them to be looking at them with an expression Harry couldn't entirely identify; not fear or anger...but the gazes of McGonagall, Flitwick and Madam Pomfrey almost looked affectionate as Sirius' arm pulled him into his side protectively and Harry willing leaned against his godfather.
Only Snape and Dumbledore were looking down upon them disapprovingly, though neither of the two acted and from the scowl on Snape's face Harry wasn't sure they even could.
Sirius didn't seem to notice the teacher's reactions as he turned back to Umbridge, who had sunk back to her knees as she was clutching her right shoulder; blood seeping down freely as she tensed upon feeling his attention on her again.
Figuring Sirius hadn't been kidding when he said he would tear her apart limb by limb if she so much as glared at Harry.
Sirius ignored her whimper of fear. "He is a lot braver than any of you Ministry fools have ever been. Calling him a liar without even investigating his story shows just how much of a bunch of cowards you truly are."
Squeezing Harry's waist gently, Sirius turned back to the students again; gaze shifting over the Gryffindor table once more before coming to rest on one individual.
"You're Neville...right? Could you please tell me what a Pensieve is?"
Harry didn't seem to be the only one surprised by the change of subject as Neville almost audibly gulped as Sirius singled him out, but the timid boy rose to his feet almost automatically.
"A P- pensieve is an object used to review memories. It's basically a shallow stone basin with runes carved into it. It can be used to slip the memories of someone into it so that they can then be viewed from a non-participant, third person point of view."
"Well summarized, thank you. Who else can confirm that Neville Longbottom's definition of a Pensieve is correct? Raise your hand if you agree, please," at Sirius' nod, Neville sank back down again, blushing furiously.
Harry didn't know if it was shock or if it was the way in which Sirius asked the questions, but three fourth of the students present raised their hand to confirm Neville's words; even Slytherins.
"Good, so now that we all know what a Pensieve is and what it can be used for. Another question...let's say...Luna," the girl in question immediately rose from her seat as if undisturbed by his earlier spell and from the corner of Harry's eyes he could see Sirius didn't seem surprised.
"You are Pandora's daughter, aren't you?" Sirius smiled softly. "You look just like her."
"I am, thank you," as Luna beamed, Harry shot his godfather a surprised glance for recognising his airy-headed friend so easily before realising Sirius must have known her mother from his own time at Hogwarts. He also recalled Sirius was the reason he had first begun to make a serious attempt to befriend the girl and had a lot of fun at the Yule ball with her.
"Tell me, Luna. What would be the easiest way to see if someone is telling a lie or not about a certain event?"
"I would say that a Pensieve would be a very good tool to verify the truth as it is widely known that a Pensieve repels the effects of a Nargle infestation."
Harry suppressed a groan at the end of her sentence. It was so like the sweet naive Ravenclaw to completely lose any credibility with her own words no matter how smart she was.
Several students grinned but Sirius however nodded with a smile.
"Yes, that is correct. Although spells can be used to confound wizards, the same does not happen with their memories. If you tamper with a memory, or as you so wisely say, Nargles infest them, it is clearly evident in the Pensieve because it acts like a third person based view and only the person confounded sees the memory differently and without change. That is why the Pensieve was always standard procedure in trials before Voldemort's first rise to power and he corrupted enough officials to ban the use of one."
Harry wasn't the only one openly staring at Sirius as his godfather basically confirmed Luna's belief in the existence of Nargles, but transformed them into something everyone else understood without losing credibility.
"Nargles are not powerful enough to truly work on a Pensieve," Luna smiled as Sirius nodded again.
"Even Merlin himself could not confound the memory in a Pensieve due to that feature. You see everything the person whose memory it is saw, but you see so much more. And it is quite hard to mess with the entire memory like that and to do it so that others will not notice."
"it is impossible to do so, Mr. Black."
"You can call me Sirius, Luna and yes it is. So...why would the Ministry fail to use this very easy option to verify if Harry was telling the truth when they did not believe him on his word?"
"Oh that is easy, Sirius. If Minister Fudge had given Harry the opportunity to prove he was telling the truth, then they would have to admit to being wrong. They don't like doing that," Luna answered with a shrug.
"More like the Ministry would rather tell a complete lie than to admit they have been incompetent fools, even if it means innocent people suffer for their incompetence," Remus added angrily with a glance at Sirius, who indeed was a victim of the Ministry's incompetence.
"Thank you Luna.," he smiled at her and Luna answered it without hesitation. "The pleasure was mine, Sirius," she seemed oblivious to the stares directed at her as she sat back down and Harry had to admire her nerve.
She had pleasantly spoken to Sirius as if he was just another teacher among the staff. Had given him respect like one, too, as if he wasn't viewed as an escaped criminal in her eyes at all.
Harry bit his lip to keep himself from smiling, knowing the petite blond as he did she had probably known his godfather was innocent from the moment he escaped.
"The incompetence of the Ministry is not something I will allow to continue any longer. It doesn't matter where these children come from; what house they come from, every single one of them should be given the opportunity to know the truth and prepare themselves for that is coming, no matter what side they might end up choosing," Sirius glanced at the Slytherin table before returning his attention to the Great Hall at large.
"The Ministry is lying to the adults and as usual, they believe everything that is fed to them. But I want all of you to have a fighting chance, to not be slaughtered like cattle like people were in the first war because they refused to see the truth until it was too late."
As he turned to the teachers, Harry's attention was momentarily caught by Umbridge, seeing the woman was Silenced and bound in place somewhere during Sirius' speech and although she stared at him furiously, Harry thought he detected a hint of alarm as well as she struggled against her bonds without result.
"I am going to use your Pensieve to do what you should have done the morning after Voldemort was resurrected. Instead of using your status in the Wizarding World to protect Harry from ridicule and show everyone what had happened so they could prepare for the fight that is no doubt coming, you let the Ministry sketch him as a lying attention seeking lunatic."
As Sirius spoke to Dumbledore with disgust, Harry refocused his attention on his godfather; ignoring the toad.
"This is the third occurrence in which you failed to do your job properly and I am sick of waiting for you to take action. I'm taking all options away from you before it gets us all killed."
Harry wasn't sure what was more amazing; the look of shock and fear on Dumbledore's face or the expression of pure loathing on his godfather's and he was at once reminded of another occurrence earlier that summer where the two Marauders had pretty much hexed and cursed Dumbledore for not doing his job.
Even now, though Sirius clearly had his temper completely under control, Dumbledore looked weary to be at the receiving end of it.
At Sirius' whistle, Fawkes appeared out of nowhere to drop Dumbledore's personal Pensieve into Sirius' waiting hands before landing on his shoulder; seemingly unaware of the ripple of shock going through the crowd at the sight of Dumbledore's familiar taking Sirius' side so clearly.
Harry glanced at the Headmaster, who looked more shocked than anyone else to see Fawkes showing Sirius obvious affection by rubbing his head against Sirius' cheek and he didn't try to hide his grin as the phoenix seemed equally unimpressed by Dumbledore's lack of action as Sirius was.
"Thank you, Fawkes," Sirius brushed a hand affectionately over the phoenix' feathers before stepping up to the Staff Table and holding out the Pensieve to Flitwick. "Could you confirm if it is in a good condition?"
Flitwick carefully accepted the Pensieve, turning it around in his hands. "Minerva?" He held it out to his colleague and McGonagall accepted it, checking it over as well.
"It is in good condition," she confirmed, rising to her feet to hand the Pensieve back to Sirius, ignoring the betrayed expression and Umbridge's glare as she revealed not to be stuck to her seat.
Sirius thanked them both before passing the Pensieve to Remus, who walked over to the Gryffindor table to place it on the table there while Sirius turned to Harry; his grey eyes softening emphatically as he nodded to him.
Taking a deep breath, Harry gave a nod as he knew Sirius wanted him to give him the memory of that night. He closed his eyes and mentally pulled the memory to the front of his mind like Sirius had taught him during their Occlumency lessons the previous summer; believing it to be a good idea to shield his mind against Voldemort with the things he had seen in his dreams during his fourth year.
Feeling the tip of Sirius' wand softly against his temple, Harry didn't fight the sensation of the memory being removed and opened his eyes in time to see the silvery white substance fly into the Pensieve, swirling there.
Placing a hand on his shoulder, Sirius directed him to Remus and Harry leaned beside the man against the Gryffindor table.
He knew that Sirius would need to do something that made everyone see the memory at the same time and took a deep breath as he knew that would force him to see it again as well.
Sirius moved closer, raising his arm to his shoulder so that Fawkes could hop onto his wrist before he moved the bird to Harry's lap where the Phoenix immediately settled.
As Sirius moved to stand before the Pensieve, Harry looked up to him confused as he knew the man didn't need to actually touch the Pensieve to activate it. But almost immediately he realised that this position shielded Harry almost completely from seeing anything around him; Remus from the side and Sirius from the front, shielding him from having to see the memory again.
The little of the Great Hall he could still see not shielded by the two men before him showed him students understood the other message Sirius was clearly giving out.
Harry was under the protection of these two dangerous men and although everyone at school who had known Remus as a teacher had liked the man; something which had hardly changed after they had been told he was a werewolf, they knew he was calm, collected and kind.
But they also knew he had been one hell of a teacher and pretty powerful.
No one truly knew Sirius though. They had only heard rumours of what he had done according to the Ministry, which many now clearly doubted the truth of.
But the display of power earlier had made it very clear to everyone that this was not a man to underestimate, even if they did doubt he was guilty. He had already shown himself to be more than capable to hurt those he deemed a threat to Harry.
Tapping the bowl, Sirius muttered something under his breath as he waved his wand upward and the enchanted ceiling and walls glowed under his actions; shimmering as the memory surrounded them all around.
Harry shifted his gaze away from the Great Hall as the students watched interested as he and Cedric both grabbed what would turn out to be a Portkey. Instead he turned his attention to Fawkes, softly stroking his feathers as the bird leaned into his touch.
"Are you all right Harry?" Remus leaned in. Looking up to him, Harry ignored what little of the background he could see; barely able to see Pettigrew cutting off his own hand while speaking. "Yeah, I just don't want to see any of it again," he whispered back; trying to smile reassuringly as his godfather glanced down at him worriedly.
The smile seemed to reassure him and as Sirius squeezed his shoulder while returning his attention to the Pensieve, Harry looked back down to Fawkes; wondering how Sirius knew the phoenix and had won his trust.
Remus shifting beside him and erecting a privacy shield around them made him realise he'd spoken out loud. "They are old friends. Remember when we told you Fawkes got Sirius out of Dumbledore's office during that prank with the candy?"
"After that, Sirius occasionally snuck back in to chat with Fawkes. And if I had a really bad full moon he would ask him for a tear so that he could heal the worst of my wounds or the wounds the others received while transformed. Fawkes was always happy to help him if asked and it seems that their unusual friendship remained."
"I can't believe Sirius managed to get behind Dumbledore's back like that," Harry snickered.
Remus shrugged. "There was a lot that Sirius and James and to an extent Peter and I did behind his back. Sirius was on friendly terms with all the ghosts, especially Peeves. And through him the rest of us were on friendly terms with them as well. Due to his friendliness with them, we could move places without being ratted out to anyone."
He smiled as he continued. "It was the same with the House-elves, Sirius was friends with pretty much all of them and could even tell them all apart without a problem. Those friendships led to most of them going out of their way to help him out if he needed it."
"So he made useful friends?" It didn't sound like the Sirius he knew to make friends the way Malfoy did.
"Oh no, he was absolutely sincere in his friendliness. He often tried to help the House-elves with their cleaning or just chatted to them. He actually learned to cook and bake from one of them; the one he was closest to and involved them in some of his prank ideas. But when caught, he always took the full blame, protecting them and forbidding them from punishing themselves."
"Well, you know how House-elves are; his behaviour made them absolutely adore him and James used to believe that they would have walked on fire if he had asked them to; not that he ever did," Remus' smile dimmed. "He was heartbroken when Tiffy died and I don't think he's ever truly forgiven himself for it."
"How did she die then, if he feels responsible?"
"She saved his life; being hit by the spell meant for him and he couldn't heal her from the effects of it," Remus glanced at Sirius who couldn't hear their quiet conversation before taking a deep breath. "But anyway, even now, the House-elves remember him and work their magic to help him out."
"Help him how? Isn't Sirius keeping everyone locked in their seat and silent on his own power?"
"He is, never doubt he isn't strong enough. But the moment offensive magic was used inside Hogwarts by someone not meant to be here, the Ministry would have been alerted. Hogwarts is delaying the signal to keep the Ministry officials from being alerted and trying to interfere while the House-elves are combining their natural magic to aid him in keeping everyone in place."
"Hogwarts itself is trying to help Sirius? You mean even the castle itself works with Sirius?" Harry asked amazed.
"Yes, she has done so in the past as well. Both when he was a student and when we still thought the worst of him, the castle helped him sneak in undetected and shut plenty of portraits down so that they couldn't alert Dumbledore while Sirius went after Wormtail. Helped him flee as well, when Ron woke up. Have you never wondered why not a single portrait outside of the Fat Lady and Sir Cadogan ever saw him?"
He couldn't say he had ever given it any thought, but now that Remus had pointed it out, it made sense that Sirius would have had help escaping and entering and it wasn't so weird that Snape had believed Remus to have helped him.
"Why did the castle and the House-elves help him if he was an escaped convict like everyone believed?"
"Because they knew him to be innocent like many of us should have realised," Remus answered and Harry could hear the blame in his voice. He didn't think the man would ever forgive himself for having doubted Sirius and thus letting him rot in prison for twelve years.
"Peeves helped Sirius, too?" Harry recalled the annoying ghost had seen Sirius as well.
"Yeah, he bought Sirius time to hide in one of the hidden places only they knew of before helping him get out of the castle again," Remus laughed as Harry looked at him in disbelief. "Peeves and Sirius have been friends since our first year."
Harry snorted, finding it hard to believe that Peeves would be friendly with any student, but if he had been then Sirius would probably have been the one. "Is that how you got in now, too? With the help of the castle?" he asked to which Remus snorted.
"No, we didn't need help this time. Sirius simply barged through the hallways, radiating so much anger and power that all the portraits kept quiet in fear he would slash them down."
Harry chuckled at the thought before he turned serious again.
"Why did you come with Sirius today? He's doing a fine job threatening Umbridge on his own, isn't he?" he frowned at the way his words came out. "Not that I am not happy to see you. It's just..."
"I promised you a while ago that I would do my best to not let him kill anyone, didn't I?" Remus smiled.
Harry stared at him for a long moment until he remembered he had indeed asked Remus to keep Sirius from killing Dumbledore.
"I didn't think that still stood."
"It will always stand. Though I must admit I was curious to what he would do, too. I am a bit surprised you are not arguing against his methods."
Harry glanced towards Umbridge, who despite obvious disgust couldn't seem to look away from the memory, before turning back to meet Remus' green eyes.
"She is a horrible woman and frankly I had expected Sirius to do something much worse than what he did."
Remus glanced up and waved his wand, taking the privacy charm down so Harry turned his attention back to the Great Hall again as he noticed the memory was almost over.
He looked from Sirius' unreadable expression to the students who were all mesmerized by the memory; almost all of those faces registering shock and disgust.
All of a sudden Sirius waved his wand and the memory vanished, the Great Hall returning back to normal.
Sirius paused for a few moments as the students sat in shock at finally learning the truth. Some who had clearly already know the truth, like Hermione, Ron, Neville and Luna, turned to him immediately but most just stared before them unseeingly.
"Now it doesn't matter what lies you tell to their parents; at least they will have a fighting chance if they start preparing properly," Sirius looked down at Umbridge, who looked away in anger and disgust. "And if they wish, they can share what they've seen with their family through the use of another Pensieve easily."
At his words, most students had broken out of their shock to stare at him with tear tracks on their face; several glancing at Harry with different expressions as they finally realised he had told the truth all along.
Harry caught the eyes of his friends who all nodded to him before shifting his gaze back to Sirius.
His godfather was staring at Umbridge in disgust; waving his wand and she was thrown backwards against the Slytherin table.
Suddenly interested in the reactions of the Slytherins Harry looked in their direction, acting like he was watching Umbridge' unmoving form but truthfully looking at their reactions.
Most, like Greengrass and Zabini, looked absolutely horrified to know Voldemort was back while others like Malfoy and Parkinson seemed to gloat, likely already having know the truth. And some even looked indifferent, like they couldn't care.
But although Malfoy seemed to gloat he also looked angry. Probably at having his father clearly shown as a willing Death Eater, which went against everything Lucius Malfoy had ever told anyone.
Harry had to bit his lip hard to keep from snickering as he spotted Susan Bones and other Ministry worker's children glare into Malfoy's direction and knew they for sure would share the memory with their families.
Who knew, Malfoy might even lose his influence over this! Harry shifted back to Sirius as he felt his godfather turn to the Staff Table. "All right, now that the toad has been dealt with, let's talk about you."
"Sirius my boy I..."
"Don't you dare call me your boy," Sirius snapped, his temper spiking and Dumbledore flinched as the enchanted ceiling clasped with lightning.
"I am not and never have been your boy and frankly find it very insulting to be spoken to as if I am. There was once a time where I followed your lead; listened to your advice. It led me to losing my brother and spending twelve years in that hellhole while it tore Remus' and Harry's lives apart. You left Harry with the one person his mother wouldn't have wanted to force Voldemort himself upon and then proceeded to do everything you could to deny Remus any contact with him and myself after I escaped Azkaban. You have absolutely no right to even speak to me."
Sirius' glare was murderous enough that Harry half expected his Headmaster to burst into flames and the man tensed back as if expecting the same.
Sirius let out a humourless laugh. "One would think you'd have learned from previous mistakes, but you just keep on believing yourself to know everything. Feel like you are above everyone else and can decide their lives for them. How many people have died because they trusted you? James trusted you, we all did and you've made our lives into living hells. No more," Sirius bit out. "From this day onward you don't talk to Harry, you don't even look at him. The only reason I am not pulling him out of Hogwarts altogether is only and I repeat, only, because he loves it here and I trust Professor M and Flitwick to keep him safe."
Harry felt his heart beat rapidly in his throat as he realised what Sirius was saying; that he was truly taking charge of him now without secrecy being involved.
"Sirius, Harry belongs with his family, you cannot..." Dumbledore spluttered. "And that is where he will be going. Remus and I are his family; no one else," Sirius interrupted him.
"The Ministry will never allow..."
"The Ministry is filled with useless idiots the likes of Umbridge and Fudge, who kiss the robes of snakes like Malfoy because they have money. I have not an ounce of faith that there are more than a handful of people like Arthur Weasley and Alastor Moody walking around in those walls. Anything they say should be taken as rubbish. And what they want and allow is something I have no concern about."
"Sirius is Harry's legal guardian, stated in the Will of James and Lily Potter and confirmed in a blood adoption ritual when he was only hours old. No objection of the Ministry is worth an ounce to that status since they failed to give him a trial that convicted him of a crime he didn't commit. So legally Sirius is still Harry's guardian as it was never taken from him," Remus said.
"Sirius, you must listen to reason, Remus is a werewolf. It is too dangerous to..." Dumbledore ignored Remus' words as he kept his attention on Sirius.
"Too dangerous for what? Remus wouldn't hurt a fly even if it bugged him all day. And when it's the full moon he is very unlikely to spend it in the same room as Harry even if he does have the Wolfsbane potion."
Sirius' eyes shot fire. "Unless you think he is dangerous simply by being a werewolf at all, which would mean you are a hypocrite all around by claiming to be for equal rights of all and by allowing such a dangerous person to follow an education at Hogwarts for seven years when there was no such thing as Wolfsbane yet. You would be admitting that you are not for equal rights at all and that you put hundreds of students in danger by secretly letting a werewolf roam around the castle freely among all those innocent little students for seven years. Not to mention that you hired him to teach them for a whole year. Is that what you are saying, Headmaster?" Sirius' tone of voice had taken a dangerous hue to it that had even Harry tensing and many others trembling.
He glanced up to Remus, wondering if Sirius' words bothered him but he didn't seem bothered at all, only anger at Dumbledore visible on his face. "No...I...I meant it is too dangerous because others, who are prejudiced against werewolves, would act against you," the Headmaster tried to save face.
"And how would Harry be in more danger in the presence of two wizards who are very capable of defending him than in the presence of two powerless Muggles who would rather see him go than come?" Sirius asked.
"If they came in big numbers you wouldn't stand a chance." Sirius raised a single eyebrow that had several students snicker, making Harry realise the silencing charm had vanished. Remus snorted too, much louder than the students had.
"You mean to say that those sheer numbers would be capable of taking Sirius by force, when he disarmed, silenced and has been immobilizing a few hundred witches and wizards for over a hour now, including a fully fletched staff of supposedly powerful wizards and witches and one who is claiming to be the strongest wizard after Merlin himself?"
"You are talking about the boy Voldemort himself couldn't take down when he was only thirteen years old? Even hundreds of Dementors couldn't stop Sirius from escaping when he thought Harry was in danger from Pettigrew and he was without a wand or ally then."
The man paled suddenly. "Good Merlin, if he had truly wanted to harm him like everyone thought he did, he could have simply barged in; killed everyone on the spot moments after arriving and you would all have been as powerless to stop him as you are now. Harry would have been dead ten times over along with everyone present in this hall right now if he truly had been a Death Eater like we all thought."
Taking a deep breath, Remus glanced at Sirius while many students whispered to each other as they realised the significance of his words.
"He disarmed every single person in this room seconds after arriving and as far as I can tell, all those wands are still lying harmlessly in a pile back there. How could you possibly think there is any better protection for Harry than Sirius has ever been."
"That is different. I knew Sirius wouldn't come here to harm anyone now," Dumbledore defended himself.
"You didn't know that two years ago, nor did you now. Even I wasn't certain he wasn't simply going to kill the toad for what she's done to Harry. And I can assure you that I know Sirius a whole lot better than you ever have. And in the unlikely scenario of Sirius being unable to protect Harry comes into play, I am a fairly powerful wizard myself. He and James made sure of that."
"To be fair, you did most of the work on that, we just guided you," Sirius told Remus. "But we've been training Harry in what he will need to know all summer and will continue to do so at every opportunity we get. He is very capable of defending himself, too, should the need arise. He is not a weak little wizard that you can bend to your will, nor will I ever allow him to become one."
Sirius stood tall in front of the Staff Table as he stared Dumbledore down. "I don't know how yet, but I will ensure that you will face responsibility for endangering the safety of the students over the course of the last few years. Trolls, possessed teachers and students, dangerous charlatans and Basilisks roaming free; which you truly should have realised upon Nick being petrified because what else could possibly petrify a ghost?"
Most teachers' faces flushed as they hadn't quite realised the significance of that.
"And not only that, but you housed Dementors at Hogwarts, grudgingly, but you did, despite it being in your power to absolutely refuse. Dementors, which as Remus and Fudge told you before seemed to have little to no effect on me. Where were all the extra security measures? You locked none of the secret passageways Filch knows about; you didn't get extra security for the students near their dorms. You didn't ask Remus for other secret entrances that you should have realised he would have known after all the pranks we pulled during our own school years," Sirius shot Remus a glare, who grinned guiltily.
"No precautions on the school grounds for students who are sure to be adventurous and might have entered the Forbidden Forest; which you knew some had already done the year before. I could have killed the Weasley twins a dozen times over when they kept entering the Forest while I was hiding there. Not to mention that the person every staff member believed I was after had shown a tendency to do the exact same thing."
Sirius' eyes made Dumbledore shrink down even more as he spoke harsh but true words.
"Not only that, but you kept your suspicions from Harry. A boy who owns various means of walking around undetected at night and any other time. Not to mention that you failed to realise Crouch Jr. was an imposter despite Moody being one of your so-called closest friends for a full year until it was almost too late. You let that toad do as she pleased, let her use a torture device on my godson while lying to me and saying everything was going well when I asked after him repeatedly this year."
Harry hadn't thought it possible but Sirius' glare became even more fiercely as the enchanted ceiling, which had been turning darker than dark again since Sirius had started his rant, started thundering and flashing lightning again.
"If I hadn't found out about that bloody Quill...I wonder. Would you have taken action at all to ensure the safety of my godson and the other students? Or would it have taken a disaster for you to finally get your lazy ass into action?"
Dumbledore opened his mouth to speak and closed it again, before repeating the motion a few times, looking very much like a fish on land as he spluttered.
"You know what? Don't bother answering that. You've never taken action before when it was truly needed so why would you have now. I want you to stay the hell away from my godson. Anything related to his education can be dealt with by McGonagall, who does your job most of the time anyway. You will not have any contact with him or try to get to him through his friends and associates. If I catch even a sniff of you approaching Harry through any means I will take action against you. And it won't be the gentle kind."
"More a repeat of what happened last summer." Remus added calmly and Dumbledore's already pale expression paled even further as he clearly remembered the same thing Harry did.
"That will be nothing compared to what we will do if we learn you are trying to control Harry again. And trust me when I say that I have more eyes and ears in these halls than you will ever have."
It sounded cryptic and various students frowned and whispered about his words but Harry, remembering what Remus had just told him, knew he meant the House-elves, ghosts and the castle itself.
"Is that how you found out about the Blood Quill?" he couldn't stop the question from tumbling out.
Sirius turned to him, his expression changing into a bemused one. "No, our new House-elf told me about that."
"New House-elf?" Harry asked confused. "What happened to Kreacher?"
"He's still around unfortunately. But our old friend came by, concerned for your safety and disturbed by Dumbledore's lack of action. He had promised you some years ago to never again try to save your life so he didn't know what else to do than to come to me."
Harry blinked before he beamed, knowing exactly who Sirius meant. "You took him on as our House-elf?"
"Yes, he looked miserable to work for Dumbledore and persuaded me into taking him on. He's a truly nice sight to see bouncing around the house. I will have to buy him some nice hats though, the things he wears now are absolutely ridiculously hideous."
Harry snickered as Sirius pulled a face, insulting Hermione's homemade hats. But the girl in question didn't seem to realise he had just done so as she spoke up loudly.
"You better be paying him!"
"Not a chance," Sirius snorted and leaned in a little to whisper to Harry. "I asked, but he had the decency to glare at me, saying it was an insult to be paid to look after his Harry Potter sir. We'll buy him something nice for Christmas."
Hermione huffed but fell silent when Fred and George glared at her and Sirius turned back to Dumbledore. "Heed my warning, you old fool, or I will be coming back," he growled before turning to Snape.
"The same goes for you. I will not tolerate your behaviour towards him. Harry is not James despite what you might think. He has no part in any hatred that took place between the Marauders and you and doesn't deserve to be punished for actions you believe his father to have taken. Treat him any different than you would any other student, the same with any of his friends and you will bear the consequences. And in case your memory has become lacking, I remind you that I do not need the Cruciatus Curse to inflict pain upon those who wrong the ones I love."
Harry, who had shifted uncomfortable when Sirius turned to Snape, felt his mouth drop open in shock upon seeing Snape of all people pale at Sirius' reminder and the stiff nod that followed made many of the students gape at him.
"Good. Professor M, even though the train doesn't officially leave until tomorrow afternoon, I would like to ask for your permission to take my godson home now already, so that we may enjoy the holidays together. It will keep the other students from overrunning him with questions until everything has sunken in a little bit more, too," the suddenly formalness of his tone made everyone blink surprised.
Where it had held various notes of anger, disgust and threat when speaking to Umbridge, Dumbledore and Snape, and calm and easy when speaking to Remus and Harry, it now held a note of respect and most students openly stared at the Deputy Headmistress.
That Sirius Black, the man who had just openly and quite thoroughly threatened Umbridge, Dumbledore and Snape spoke to Professor McGonagall with such open and clear respect made many see her in a new light and the respect they all felt for the stern professor rose tremendously.
"Is there even the slightest chance that anything other than me saying yes would have any effect on your plans, Sirius?" she asked.
"None whatsoever. But I respect you enough to at least pretend to ask for your permission regardless of my plans," Sirius answered honestly and McGonagall smiled.
"You may take Mr. Potter home, Sirius. I assume your new House-elf has already collected his possessions and taken them to your house?"
"That is a correct assumption, Professor. We will not be leaving for that place though. This is a holiday for the family so we're going to have fun," he added before he bowed slightly to her, once more showing the amount of respect he held for her before he turned to Harry.
"My business is finished here so let's go, shall we?" he offered and Remus nodded.
"What about the others?" Harry asked as he waved his hand to show he meant the other students.
"They will return home tomorrow night, long before the ridiculous hag will regain consciousness and hopefully share their memories with their families. Some will probably take action and hopefully the fight against Voldemort will start properly now. Or at least families will get the chance to defend themselves to ensure their safety."
"They will tell their families about you, too. They still think you are a murderer," Harry frowned as Sirius shrugged. "My concern is your safety, not my freedom."
"I think you will be both pleasantly surprised, unless I am mistaken in Miss Bones' intentions?" Remus asked as he turned to the girl.
Susan coloured deeply but shook her head as she answered fiercely. "That was Peter Pettigrew in that memory. I recognise him from my aunt's papers. Mr. Black was accused of killing Pettigrew but I just saw him alive and killing Cedric. So if Mr. Black is innocent of that crime I wonder about the other things he has been accused of. Pettigrew is clearly a Death Eater. Add to that the fact that Mr. Black indicated that he never received a trial, I will make sure my aunt gets to see this memory so she can set things right."
Remus smiled at her. "Thank you, Miss Bones. Tell your aunt that if she wishes to reach either of us for any questions, she should send your owl. We'll ensure that your owl has access through our wards."
Sirius nodded to indicate it was arranged and Susan nodded, too.
"Good, shall we get going then?" Remus asked as he gave Fawkes a single pet over his feathers, making the phoenix thrill happily from his spot on Sirius' shoulder, where he had returned to once the memory had finished.
"I will need my wand though," Harry said, looking forward to spend quality time with Sirius and Remus.
"It is in your robes," Sirius answered calmly and Harry reached inside his pocket, pulling his wand out.
"You didn't truly think I'd leave you completely defenceless did you?" Sirius asked amused.
"And the other students?"
"Their wands will return to their rightful owners once we've left. Although I believe Luna already has hers," Sirius nodded to the small Ravenclaw who indeed waved at him while showing her wand.
Sirius waved back as Harry chuckled.
"I don't even want to know," he shrugged as he pocketed his wand again.
"Sirius, you can't just...ahhh!" Dumbledore made one last attempt to try and stop Sirius before he yelped out in pain, turning everyone's attention to him.
"What did you do?" Harry asked curiously as he turned back to the staff table.
"Something to shut his annoying voice up," Sirius winked and Harry laughed.
"You are truly horrible, Siri," smiling fondly at his godfather as the students stared at them, no one speaking as the three interacted calmly with one another.
"I'm only horrible when they touch my family, pup."
"Then I am glad I am part of your family," Harry grinned.
"So am I," Sirius answered with a smile as he turned to Fawkes. "Would you be willing to take us to our destination so we won't have to leave to Apparate?" he asked pleasantly and the Phoenix thrilled happily.
Harry slipped his hand in Sirius' as Remus put a hand on Sirius' arm.
"Try not to get us lost, Siri," he commented lightly.
Sirius stuck out his tongue.
"That was James' fault, he distracted me. Besides Fawkes would never get us lost."
Harry laughed at their playful banter and couldn't help but look forward to spending time with his two most precious people.
Even if the entire world would change around him tomorrow once the other students got home and told their families of what had happened. Even if everything would probably get thrown into chaos and he'd be looked upon differently.
Even if Sirius might or might never get freed of the accusations against him, he knew the two men beside him would always have his back and stand at his side.
They loved him for himself. And that thought made Harry happier than any protective rant Sirius threw at the vilest of people in the world.
And as Fawkes disappeared with them to their place of destination the last thought Harry had was that he truly should thank Dobby for telling Sirius what he did.