A/N: Hey guys! So this is my first fic, but I hope you enjoy. :)
Disclaimer: Obviously, I don't own Harry Potter.
"Now I have work for each of you. Fudge's attitude, though not unexpected, changes everything. Sirius, I need you to set off at once. You are to alert Remus Lupin, Arabella Figg, Mundungus Fletcher — the old crowd. Lie low at Lupin's for a while; I will contact you there."
(Dumbledore, GoF, pg. 713, US version)
Harry was about to protest, but before he could, Sirius intervened. He fixed Dumbledore with a firm look and shook his head.
"No," he said.
"I beg your pardon?" said Dumbledore, taken aback.
"You heard me. I won't be leaving Harry again," said Sirius determinedly. He faced Dumbledore calmly, but Harry could see his shoulders tense, as though preparing for a fight. "He has been through hell and back tonight, he needs me, and for once, I'll be there for him."
"Sirius, be reasonable," implored Dumbledore, taking a step forward. "You know this is important."
"Harry is important as well," replied Sirius calmly, standing his ground. "And frankly, I don't see how you expect to me reach out to everyone. Other than Remus, they all think I killed Lily and James and then obliterated Peter. There are only four people in this room who know the truth; how can you expect me to contact all the remaining Order members when they don't know what happened thirteen years ago?"
He fixed Dumbledore with a pointed look, reminding him of the events from last year.
"If you like, I can contact Remus and he can come here. He can gather the old crowd; they all liked him well enough, and he'd be happy to do it. I'm staying here with Harry," he said, drawing up a chair for himself next to Harry's bed.
It was silent in the Hospital Wing at Sirius' pronouncement, but Harry couldn't help but smile. It was the best he had felt all night.
"Thank you," he said quietly.
Sirius shook his head and turned his head to look at him. "You don't have to thank me for doing what I'm supposed to do as your godfather," he replied softly.
Harry noticed Dumbledore did not look happy at Sirius's pronouncement, but he gave a defeated sigh. "Very well. I'm assuming you have a way of contacting Remus apart from sending an owl?"
"Of course, I do," said Sirius, disregarding the dismayed look in Dumbledore's eyes. "Remus doesn't have an owl, anyway."
Sirius rummaged around in his robe pockets and pulled out a small hand mirror. Harry quirked an eyebrow at this, but Sirius just winked at him.
"Remus," he said firmly.
Harry leaned over his shoulder and gasped when he saw Lupin's face in the mirror.
"Hello, Sirius," said Lupin mildly. "And Harry! It's nice to see you again. I'm assuming the task is over?"
"Professor? How…?" he stuttered, but Lupin just smiled at him.
"It's a two-way mirror. It's a much faster way to communicate than owls, and a lot cheaper. All you need is the incantation to enchant the mirrors," explained Lupin. "And please, call me Remus. I'm no longer your professor."
Harry nodded slowly, a little dumbstruck.
"Listen, Moony, something's happened," said Sirius quickly. "Could you Floo over? We're in the Hospital Wing."
Lupin's eyes filled with concern. "Are you all right, Harry?"
Harry swallowed thickly as the images he'd been trying to keep away from his mind washed over him. Dumbledore whispered something to Sirius that he didn't hear. He was too focused on the green light that had rushed toward Cedric, his glassy eyes and the shocked expression frozen on his face when it hit him.
"I've been better, to be honest," he said quietly after clearing his throat.
"I'll be over right away," said Lupin in a no-nonsense voice.
"The Floo password is 'Fawkes,'" said Sirius. Lupin nodded and his face disappeared from the mirror.
Harry looked curiously at Dumbledore, but he didn't explain.
He turned as the Hospital Wing fireplace burst in green flames. Harry smiled weakly when Lupin stepped out.
"I will explain everything in a moment, Remus," said Dumbledore, and he turned to Snape. "Severus, you know what I must ask you to do. If you are ready…if you are prepared…"
"I am," said Snape, paler than usual. With a nod at Dumbledore, Snape swept from the room.
"What has happened?" asked Lupin, glancing at Sirius and Harry in turn. Harry could see the worry forming on his face when he saw Sirius outside of his dog form, especially since he was transformed in front of someone who didn't know the truth about him. He shot Harry increasingly worried look when he saw him; Sirius's chair was close enough to Harry's bed that Harry was able to lean heavily against Sirius's shoulder, exhausted and haunted from the night's events.
Before anyone else could answer, Harry replied, "Voldemort's back."
Lupin's mouth dropped open. "Back? What do you mean back?"
"I mean he's back to full power. He has a body. Pettigrew helped him do it…" he shuddered and trailed off. Sirius placed a hand on his knee and squeezed it gently, and Harry welcome the silent support.
Lupin swallowed loudly. "You saw it happen?" he asked gently.
Harry nodded. "Peter…he killed Cedric. You remember him, don't you?"
Lupin paled. "Yes, of course, I do. Cedric is…dead?"
Harry nodded looking away as tears fought their way to his eyes. He struggled to keep them back. "It's my fault."
"What?" exclaimed Lupin, a look of disbelief replacing the worry on his face. "I rather doubt that!"
"As you should," said Sirius. He turned around to face Harry. "Harry, it's not your fault!"
Harry pushed away from Sirius and glared at him, who looked taken aback at Harry's sudden anger.
"Yes, it is! I told him to take the cup with me! He wanted me to take the cup, but I said no, I said we should share the victory. He wouldn't have been in that graveyard if it wasn't for me!"
"Oh Harry, dear…" said Mrs. Weasley, moving toward him, but Sirius got out of his chair and sat on the bed, stopping her from reaching him. Ignoring Mrs. Weasley's indignant look, he gently took Harry's face in his hands.
"Harry James Potter, you listen to me very carefully," he said firmly. "That boy's death is not your fault. It isn't. All you did is act selflessly, and that you have the ability to be so selfless after everything you've been through is an incredible thing. You have a very big heart, Harry. You did nothing wrong, do you hear me?"
"Sirius, it doesn't matter why I did what I did! It lead to Cedric's death!" replied Harry, voice shaking.
"Of course why you did it matters!" said Sirius. Sirius dropped his hands from Harry's face and took his hands. "You are too young to realize how much it matters, but it really does. Your actions, how and why you do them, always matter, don't ever forget that.
"The only people responsible for Cedric's death are Peter and Voldemort. And don't you dare think otherwise. It won't help you, and it certainly won't help Cedric."
"Harry, I remember Cedric," said Lupin. "He would not have blamed you."
Harry didn't reply to either of them; instead he looked away, the guilt bubbling inside him unbearably.
"Harry," said Sirius, "do you blame me for your parents' deaths?"
Harry snapped his eyes back to Sirius's, shaking his head emphatically.
"I would never!" he exclaimed.
"Why ever not?"
"Because that was Pettigrew's and Voldemort's fault!"
"Is it?" replied Sirius mildly. "James and Lily asked me to be Secret Keeper, after all. Shouldn't I have accepted instead of trying to trick Voldemort? Instead of suggesting Peter?"
"But you didn't know that he was betraying you! You didn't know that he was on Voldemort's side!" insisted Harry. "Really, Sirius, I don't blame you —"
"Then why do you blame yourself for Cedric?" interrupted Sirius gently. "You did not know the cup was a Portkey. You could not have known where you would go, or that Voldemort would order Peter to kill Cedric, or that Peter would listen to him. Why do you blame yourself?"
"I —" he began, but he could not answer. Sirius had a point, he knew that, but the guilt would not go away.
"I know accepting that the blame doesn't lie with you will be difficult, but please keep in mind that you didn't know," said Sirius. "No one knew, and no one could have predicted what happened."
"Does the guilt ever go away?" asked Harry after a moment of silence.
"It gets easier with time," said Sirius softly. "And it helps to keep the truth in mind. And to have someone to talk to. Know that I'll always be that person for you, Harry. Day or night. I don't care what time it is; if you need to talk, find me and I'll be there."
"Thank you," said Harry. Sirius nodded.
"Take the rest of your potion and get some rest," he said, squeezing Harry's hands. "I'll be here when you wake up, I promise."
Harry nodded. "Do me a favor and just tell everyone here what happened tonight," he said, sighing. "I really don't want to repeat myself."
He downed the rest of his potion and after a few minutes, he knew nothing past the darkness that fell over him.
Sirius finished telling Harry's story and sighed. He still couldn't believe that his godson had faced all that and lived to tell the tale. He couldn't be prouder of him if he tried. Dumbledore asked Remus to follow him to his office, and after clasping Sirius shoulder, Remus followed him.
"Bloody hell," said Ron after Dumbledore left. He looked over at his godson's best friends and smiled tightly at them. Ron was pale beneath his freckles and Hermione was crying.
"You two take care of him for the rest of the year for me, yeah?" said Sirius. "Dumbledore might let me stay a few days, but he certainly won't let me stay until the end of term."
"Of-Of course," said Hermione shakily. Ron nodded.
They sat in silence for a while, and Sirius continued to watch Harry, as though he would disappear if he took his eyes away from him for even a moment. After several minutes, Molly broke the silence.
"You…you really didn't kill all those Muggles thirteen years ago? And Pettigrew?" she asked him warily.
He sighed. He should have expected it; she was, after all, Ron's mother, and he obviously did not speak to Sirius as though he was a stranger.
"No, I really didn't. And I didn't betray Lily and James. They and Harry were the only family I had; I would die before I betrayed them," he replied.
"Then what really happened that night?" she asked, still wary.
Sirius turned to look at her with a haunted expression. He sighed and began to tell her his story. He got up and started pacing after a while, and agitated, he ran his hands through his hair. He talked and talked and he didn't turn to look at her until he explained how Peter escaped.
"I was left standing there with a wand surrounded by dead Muggles, a finger, and blood. It didn't take much for the Aurors to arrest me and throw me into Azkaban. Barty Crouch declared there was enough evidence that I didn't need a trial and he left me in Azkaban to rot. Said that I could be an example to other traitors."
"An example?" asked Hermione.
"Didn't I tell you?" he said. She looked confused. "I was an Auror. Harry's dad and I were partners, and we had a really high case closure rate. Then I was declared a traitor to the Ministry and Crouch decided to use me to show other traitors what would happen to them when he caught them. Until, of course, junior was brought in and Crouch lost everything, but you already know that story."
"But how did you escape Azkaban?" asked Molly.
So he continued to talk, deciding to tell her what had happened in the Shrieking Shack last year. She wasn't happy about him breaking her son's leg, but she forgot all of that when she learned that a Death Eater had been living with her family for twelve years. He explained how Harry and Hermione had rescued him and how he'd been on the run ever since.
"You've been living in Hogsmeade?" she exclaimed, eyes wide, when he told her.
"Not at first, but Harry wrote me and said his scar had hurt. I needed to be there for him," he said, as if it was the most obvious thing in the world. "So I came. It's as simple as that."
She nodded at that, and he figured that, as a mother, she understood.
They soon went to bed afterward, and Sirius transformed back into a dog and curled up at the foot of Harry's bed. It wasn't until early in the morning that he was awoken with a kick to his side. He yelped and jumped up, staring at Harry with concern. The boy was tossing and sweat was running down his face. It seemed the Dreamless Sleep had worn off and Harry was stuck in a nightmare. Sirius quickly transformed and cast a Silencing Charm around them.
"Harry," he said, shaking him gently. "Harry, wake up. Come on now, it's just a nightmare, wake up. You're safe, wake up."
"Come on now, it's just a nightmare, wake up. You're safe, wake up. You're safe, Harry, you're safe."
Harry shot up and looked wildly around, gasping for breath. He felt a warm hand on his shoulder, and he turned to the person next to him. His glasses were placed on his face and Sirius's concerned eyes swam into view. Harry relaxed slightly.
"Hey," said Sirius. "You all right?"
Harry nodded, his breathing still slightly labored. "Bad dream."
"I figured," said Sirius. "You want to get some air?"
Harry nodded, and they went to sit on the ledge next to the window, which was quickly opened. The sun wasn't up yet. He knew it was early morning as the sky had changed from black to a dark blue, but Harry could still see stars. Harry watched the stars he could still see twinkle at him, unable to believe that less than twelve hours ago, he had witnessed Voldemort's resurrection. Hell, he had contributed to it. And yet, the rest of the world slept soundly in their beds, not knowing the danger they would all be in soon.
"Did I wake you?" he asked, shaking himself from his morbid thoughts.
Sirius chuckled. "In a manner of speaking," he replied.
Harry raised an eyebrow.
"You kicked Padfoot in the side with your tossing," said Sirius, grinning slightly.
Harry's eyes widened. "Bloody hell, I'm sorry. I didn't mean to," he said hurriedly.
Sirius waved him off and smiled. "Don't trouble yourself; it's not a big deal."
"Does everyone know what happened now?" he asked after a moment.
Sirius nodded. "It took everything I had to keep Molly off of you."
Harry chuckled. "Well, thanks. I really needed the sleep."
"I told her as much," said Sirius, grinning slightly. "I assume you don't want to go to back to sleep, even though it's still early?"
Harry shook his head frantically. "But I don't want to keep you awake, so if you want to go back to sleep —"
Sirius waved him off again. "I'll sleep when I'm dead. I'd rather spend time with you. And while I've got you, tell me something about yourself."
"What?" said Harry, looking at Sirius as though he were mad.
"Tell me something about yourself," he said again, an amused smile playing on his lips. "I missed twelve years of your life, and other than you liking and being good at Defense and Quidditch, I don't know much about you."
"Well, what do you want to know?" said Harry, still slightly surprised.
"Anything. Everything. How did you, Ron, and Hermione meet?" he asked.
Harry grinned and started talking. They talked and laughed and shared stories until the sun rose. Noticing it, Harry sighed.
"How long do you have left?" he asked.
Sirius shrugged and threw him a reassuring look. "I'm hoping for a few days. But I don't know how long Dumbledore will let me stay, and I really should help with the Order."
"The Order of the Phoenix," he explained. "It's a group Dumbledore formed to fight Voldemort last time. We were all in it. And before you ask, no, you can't join. It's for of age wizards and witches who have left school."
Harry grumbled. "It's me Voldemort's after. I should be allowed to help fight him."
"You seem to have fought him quite a bit already," said Sirius, grimacing at what Harry had told him about his first two years.
"Not my fault he keeps going after me," said Harry bitterly. "I don't even know why he came after me in the first place."
"You don't know about the prophecy?" asked Sirius, staggered.
"What prophecy?" said Harry, completely nonplussed.
Sirius's eyes widened at this, and at the same time, Dumbledore entered the infirmary. Sirius turned to glare at him.
"Albus, what is this about Harry not knowing about the prophecy?"
A/N: What do you think? Too much for one chapter? Not enough? Not interesting enough? What can I improve on? Let me know!
Credit to JKR for Dumbledore's question to Snape and his response (GoF, pg. 713, US version).