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junk of the heart

Chapter Text

 

 

i wanna make you happy / i wanna make you feel alive

 

 

Sirius Black was a wild card that impetuous Fate had chosen to toss into his game. 

 

He had been manipulating pieces about his chessboard for longer than he’d been alive, and his final endgame was decades in the making. He’d waited far too long to allow a single man to derail his plans. 

 

He would do what needed to be done. 

 

Harry Potter couldn’t be raised by Sirius Black. He was simply too independent, too out of control, too prone to making impulse spur of the moment decisions that risked overturning his plans. He couldn’t be allowed to raise Harry James Potter, no; the boy’s destiny was too great to let it fall under any hands other than the man’s own time-wrinkled grasp. 

 

The man turns to face out the window of his tower, stroking his beard thoughtfully. After all, he thinks warmly to himself. It was for the greater good. 

 

 


 

 

 

Sirius Black feels like absolute shit. He hasn’t showered in who knew how long, and he hated being dirty. He could lick himself as a dog or something but that just didn’t hit the same. 

 

Part of that charming pureblood upbringing he’d been subjected to courtesy of his parents, he thinks sardonically. His mum would be shocked to find some of it had actually rubbed off on him. He’d grown used to the cramps caused by dehydration and starvation, but the lack of hygiene was what really got him pressed. 

 

Side effect of getting himself thrown into prison because of his own stupid plan, he supposes. Really, you’d think after all Lily’s rants on Murphy’s Law and how it seemed to almost have been written for Sirius would’ve stuck with him and he would’ve refrained from tossing his hat in the ring when it came to life-threatening situations, but nope. 

 

He’d had to butt in and give his ideas and trust the wrong man and get his best friends murdered by an insane psychopath, and then in a fit of deranged anger get himself arrested, thereby ruining little Harry’s life in the process too. Go big or go home, he always said.

 

He looks out the tiny window into the raging ocean that batters and attacks the impenetrable fortress of Azkaban on all sides, sending frothing waves almost up to his cell. 

 

He hopes Harry doesn’t hate him too much. 

 

If he’d had a trial before they’d chucked him into this apocalyptic backwater, he might’ve been able to prove his innocence before James and Lily’s kid had been doomed to a life raised by the only Muggles that he thinks he’d feel absolutely zero guilt turning over to the most avid of Transylvanian Muggle-hunters. His initial intention had been to find Peter, savagely murder him as he deserves, and then go back to Privet Drive and take Harry home. Where he belonged. 

 

The famed Black madness that ran through his veins has a habit of surfacing at the least fortunate moments. 

 

Loud cackling laughter interrupts his musings, and he scowls instinctually. God, was he cursed to be followed around by his annoying cousin his entire life? Not even jail could keep her quiet. 

 

“Shut the fuck up, Bella!” he roars, entirely ineffectually. His voice is dry and wretched because of the dehydration, and what he thinks is a roar is probably closer to a croak at this point. The only way he has of ascertaining whether or not she heard him is that her cackling increases exponentially. 

 

He hears it before he sees it; the rush of water rising and falling rapidly outside his little barred glimpse into the outside world, rising just enough to spray fat droplets right inside, drenching him entirely. It’s rusty-brown and wafts of the deathly stink that follows around Dementors. Did they fucking excrete in the seashore? A shiver of absolute visceral disgust runs down his spine. 

 

Alright, that was it. He has to get the fuck off of this island. 

 

 

 


 

 

Harry Potter, age six, sits in his little cupboard under the stairs at Number 4 Privet Drive, and stares blank-faced at his slanted roof and kicks his legs up idly. 

 

It was going on four days he’d been locked in here and he was all out of spiders to play eye-spy with. Even the biggest creepy-crawly had gotten tired of him assigning them voices and acting out personalities, scrambling back inside the woodwork. He’d kicked at the hole bitterly a couple times, trying to get it to come back out, before sighing and collapsing back onto his crib in defeat.

 

He could deal with the constant verbal abuse, the cramped living space and Aunt Petunia’s garbage cooking, although she’d rather die than admit it. He’d had a bit of a harder go with her equally as bad haircutting skills, shaking and crying a bit when she’d taken those dastardly scissors to his head. But after their miraculous regrowth, he wasn’t even scared of ending up with a terrifying haircut anymore. Turned out his head of messy hair was doomed to be as eternal as his Aunt's sneer.

 

The loneliness, though. That was a little harder to bear. 

 

Maybe tonight as he imagines a relative coming to rescue him from the Dursleys and raise him as lovingly as they would their own son, he’d add a brother to the fantasy. A partner in crime. Someone who always took his side.

 

“Boy!” a voice calls out nastily from outside. Harry stiffens, pulling the covers over his head out of habit before realizing it was probably better to throw them off. 

 

The door flies open, flooding him with afternoon sunlight. Turned out it was midday. He really needs to sneak a watch in here. 

 

“Come out for dinner, “ his aunt says, crinkling her nose in disgust at him huddled into his dusty little corner. Harry almost sticks out his tongue at her, but doesn’t want to get shoved right back in for another week. He’s really getting sick of the boredom. 

 

He wonders if he can trick Dudley into thinking his Nintendo is broken by turning it off. The kid is definitely dumb enough. 

 

Aunt Petunia bustles off, leaving the cupboard door open for Harry to duck out of. He stretches a little, stomach rumbling, before following.

 

Maybe his imaginary saviour would own a pizza restaurant. 

 

 

 

 

Chapter Text

 

 

 

A single boat bobs up and down on the uneven surface of the sea, guided by a single oarsman. He peers out into the foggy unknown and out of the corner of his eye, he thinks he sees a small black figure floating in the water. 

 

He frowns for a minute. If there was someone there, should he go save them? 

 

On the other hand, as a muggleborn Ministry worker he’s already alarmingly underpaid. Not to mention currently carrying a boatload of highly dangerous prisoners to Azkaban Island. 

 

He relaxes his shoulders, dismissing the thought. Yeah, it was definitely outside of his jurisdiction. He keeps on his path, allowing the waves to guide his little wooden boat towards the intimidating black structure looming up ahead. 

 

Not 5 metres away, Sirius Black breathes a sigh of relief. That was a close one. 

 

He paddles on in dog form, refusing to think about the icy water pushing up against him on all sides, or the pervading mist deadset on blocking his view. He has a single minded focus- a clean bath. And rescuing his godson. 

 

 


 

 

 

At Privet Drive, Harry sits in the backyard, leaning ba ck on his arms. He’s been sent out to weed the garden in the sweltering midsummer heat, and his dark hair is damp with sweat and matted to his forehead. 

 

He gives himself all of two minutes- counting down the seconds in the back of his mind, because he knows his family won’t stand for one of the neighbors peeking over the fence and noticing the boy lying on the grass, small and exhausted. They’d ask too many questions that they didn’t have the answers to. 

 

He hits 60 seconds on his count and heaves himself off the ground with a sigh. His hands are red and calloused from daily work, and the dirt from the garden has dug its way deep under his nails. 

 

Aunt Petunia takes one look at him trudging filthily through the house, blushed red with heat and lets out a sound of disgust. 

 

“Go take a shower,” she orders. “And don’t use up all the water, you hear me- Dudders needs it for his nightly bath.”

 

Harry wants to say that it doesn’t quite matter because Dudley stinks like a pig regardless of how often he baths, but he refrains. His smart mouth has gotten him into trouble with Aunt Petunia one too many times before. 

 

“Yes, Aunt Petunia,” he says instead, and her eyes narrow at his tone. He feels a slight jolt of fear and watches her carefully. 

 

She huffs, opting out of saying anything, and walks away without another word. Harry breathes out a sigh of relief and climbs up the stairs two at a time, making for the bathroom. 

 

 


 

 

 

Sirius paddles the last few metres at a snail’s pace, bone-deep exhaustion seeping through him even in this small, limber form. Almost six years in jail will do that to anyone, he supposes. He makes it to the shore and collapses onto the ground, whining softly. 

 

He is so incredibly tired. All he wants to do is collapse into a bed and sleep for a hundred years. 

 

Unfortunately, the wizarding world still thinks he’s a mass murderer. He almost wants to snort. The Black family name haunts him even after most of them are dead. He never could escape the rumors, even at school, that he was a blood supremacist. They finally caught up with him. 

 

He gets up, opting to travel as Padfoot. It’s far more inconspicuous than an escaped convict, and faster at that. Unless he finds a bed soon, he’ll have to curl up as a dog in some back alley and hope he doesn’t wake up too grimy. Sirius drags his feet out ahead of him, one after the other. 

 

Unless. He ponders for a moment. 

 

There was no escaping the Black family name anyways. It came with its own warning label- “Side-effects may include insanity, a vicious, bloodthirsty reputation and mild itching.” He may as well take the good with the bad. That is, inherit the Black Lordship and all the advantages that came with. 

 

It would do wonders when it came to clearing his name, he would have the family fortune which he had, admittedly, rather missed when it came down to it. Sirius likes luxury as much as the next man. Not to mention he could raise Harry comfortably and spoil the kid as much as his heart desires. He could throw dirt upon the family name that his harpy mother had so worshipped. 

 

His mouth stretches into a wide, animalistic grin, shaking his head to throw off the drops of water still clinging to his fur. He makes his decision.

 

Gringotts it was. 

 

 


 

 

Harry Potter hums to himself as he pulls on a pair of plastic gloves, far too big for him. His little digits barely reach halfway through the fingers on the glove, but he’s found it helps with the calluses on his palms. 

 

He stands before the sink on the stool, mechanically cleaning the dishes one after the other. His mind, however, rests far away. 

 

Mysterious things have been happening around Harry lately. Like his hair growing back, although at the time he’d attributed it to Aunt Petunia just being really bad at cutting hair, and not noticing it was all still there. But recently, he’d disappeared and reappeared on the roof. Uncle Vernon’s ensuing punishment had meant the incident was burned into his brain forever. 

 

Despite his grades at school, Harry isn’t dumb. He’s just a little too busy trying to survive the Dursleys to worry about maintaining his grade point average. 

 

He knows he’s different. His relatives had made that clear enough with constantly referring to him as a ‘freak’. What he doesn’t know was what exactly makes him so different. But he really, really wants to find out. 

 

More importantly, he wants to find out how he can do it again. 

 

Disappearing out of his bullies grasp is far too useful of a skill for him not to try and use. 

 

Harry thinks carefully, trying to call back the memory of doing that. He remembers being scared out of his wits pretty well. He remembers running away and reaching a dead end, and the feeling of helplessness, followed by a jolt of anger and rebellion. He remembers taking a deep breath and trying to calm himself so he can think clearly when Dudley and his cronies finally make their appearance. 

 

He remembers closing his eyes, and the next thing he knows he’s on the roof. 

 

Harry frowns, scrubbing the dish in his hands a little harder. No, that wasn’t quite right. He’d felt something. 

 

He’d fisted his little hands and shut his eyes tight and felt rising inside him. Something innate and instinctual had taken over. Something within him. 

 

Harry frowns harder, putting the dish aside and picking up another one. He’s been listening in on one too many of his Aunts’ yoga CD’s. Awakening his chakras isn’t gonna do anything. 

 

Still, he can’t shake the feeling that there’s something just out of reach, close enough that he could grasp it, brush it with the tips of his fingers. He loses himself in the motions of his task, lost in thought.

 

 

Chapter Text

 

if you could see me now / if you could see me smile

see your little boy / would you be proud  -  See Me Now, The Kooks

 

A few days later, Sirius Black, much cleaner, having snuck into a vacationing Muggles’ lavish home for the godsent bath and a shave, pads into Knockturn Alley as a dog for the sake of hiding his identity. He can only hope Moony never went to the Ministry to tell them of his status as an unregistered Animagus; for his alter ego is pretty much the only thing keeping him safe right now. 

 

Oh god, Moony. He has to go see him, convince him of his innocence. He misses his old friend. Sirius doesn’t hold a grudge because he knows how it looks- and besides, he’d been guilty of suspecting Remus of having betrayed them, otherwise he’d have been let in on the secret. 

 

Padfoot snuffles a little, annoyedly. He’d really dug his own grave there. 

 

Remus is definitely destination number 2. After he gets a wand. 

 

He speedily locates the dirtiest, oldest, most unappealing wandmaker in the already begrimed Alley and pushes open the rusted door with his nose. He hides behind a pile of old boxes before transforming, stepping out warily as a handsome man looking like he’d fallen on hard times. 

 

Sirius walks up to the wandmaker, snoozing lightly behind the counter. He taps gently on the bell, standing at the ready. It’s just the one man, which he’s fairly confident he can knock out and obliviate with one of the many wands lying around before making a hasty exit if needed. 

 

The man continues snoring, and Sirius bangs his palm on the bell about five times impatiently. The ancient wandmaker blinks awake, drowsily, and a frown spreads across his face upon seeing Sirius standing there. Sirius stiffens, hands balling up into fists. Was he going to have to steal the man's wand and obliviate him?

 

As it turns out, however, there’s no such need. The wandmaker is old and out of touch enough that he doesn’t even recognize him, and cranky enough at being woken up from his nap that he sells him the first wand that sends up any semblance of sparks when he grips it.

 

"Well, don't just stand there!" the man snarls when Sirius waves the wand once more in excitement. He hasn't felt the rush of energy flowing down his spine that came from doing magic in so long, and he's itching to cast some spells. The man limps over behind the counter once more and Sirius leans forward, giddily. 

 

"What kind of wand is this?" he asks. The man jerks back, startled at being talked to. 

 

"It's ash and dragon heartstring. Strong core, good for casting complex spells," he mutters out, after a moment of silence. Sirius nods thoughtfully. 

 

"Thank you," he remembers to tell him. 

 

Sirius pays with muggle money, and the man grumbles but takes it regardless. The economy must be pretty rough post- war, Sirius muses. Lucky for him, considering until he visits Gringotts and inherits the Lordship,  he's entirely broke. 

 

Sirius Black walks out of the tiny shop glamoured as the wandmaker that resides within, but with a comically large nose.

 

He sniggers quietly to himself at the private joke. 

 

Next stop, Gringotts. 

 

He hobbles into Diagon Alley and instantly regrets his choice of disguise. This was going to make getting his way around an absolute nightmare. He’s covering ground at a literal snail’s pace, if the snail was perched in the back of a particularly geriatric turtle. 

 

On the other hand, people hurry right past him in their desire not to look upon a wrinkly old man. So it sort of cancels out. 

 

He makes his way to Gringotts Bank and climbs the steps painfully, entering and then stopping in front of the closest free teller. The goblin looks down at him, bored. 

 

“May I help you?” he drawls. Sirius smiles a gummy smile. 

 

“Oh, I rather think you can,” he purrs. The goblin arches one scaly brow. 

 

Five minutes later, an unglamoured Sirius Black finds himself freely lounging in a private room with two long suffering goblins. He considers himself lucky they stay out of wizarding affairs and nurse a not-insignificant grudge against the Ministry, and are willing enough to keep his business on the down low. In return, he promises them that the Black family fortune would stay right where it was- filling up their coffers. 

 

“Will you be accepting the Black Family Lordship as well, Mr. Black?” inquires one of the goblins, a rather tall fellow named Sharptooth. Well, tall for a goblin, anyhow. 

 

“Why, yes, I will, Sharptooth,” he says smugly. Lord Black suits him rather, he thinks gleefully. Not to mention the clear fact that there’s no way for him to accept the lordship if any viable family members were still alive, meaning his parents and older relatives were all dead and departed. 

 

It’s an easy enough matter for him to prick his thumb on the spindle they put forward and receive the Black Family ring, a silver affair with opals set in the side and a slightly larger black onyx set in the middle. It resizes to fit him automatically when he puts it on.

 

“You shall now have a seat in the Wizengamot,” the goblin informs him ironically. “Perhaps you can raise a motion to get yourself declared free of charges?”

 

Sirius lets out a bark of laughter. “I should walk into their next meeting and let the stuffy old lords know their outdated laws mean a criminal can inherit.” 

 

“It is rather illogical,” Sharptooth answers. 

 

“It’s stupid as hell, you’re right,” Sirius agrees. Sharptooth cracks a toothy smile.

 

They go down to the vaults next, bypassing Sirius’ own fund that he’d been cut off from after his parents kicked him out, he reminisces. Good times. 

 

They travel straight down to the old Black Family vault, ancient and guarded by a dragon. He isn’t very well-versed on the breeds, but even he knows this is one to stay away from. Sharptooth simply presses on a button, and the collar around the dragon’s long scaly neck sparks up with some kind of running light, and it lets out a shriek before falling back, reluctantly. Sirius winces commiseratingly. 

 

Within the vault, he finds an old enchanted dragon skin bag that he fills with as many Galleons as he could suitably carry. The bag is featherlight and expansive on the inside, of course, so he comes away with about a solid one tenth of the vault entirely. When it comes to the Black fortune, he’s probably carrying more in his bag than most wizarding families would see in their lifetimes. 

 

Well enough, too. He doesn’t know when exactly he’d be able to return. He also picks out some old books on wards and defensive magic, just in case. He has the feeling the wizarding world won't take kindly to an escaped convict raising their venerated boy hero. Sirius didn't really care what they thought either way.

 

He comes up to the surface after about half an hour’s worth of solid work. It’s been a rather productive day already, but it’s not over yet. He heads straight to Twilfitt and Tattings next, the shop being rather more discreet than Madam Malkins’.

 

His glamour this time round consists of simply himself but with blonde hair and a rather pointy face reminiscent of the Malfoys, for the sake of accurate robe sizing. He comes away with a full set of fitting dark robes, midnight blue dress robes and dragonhide duelling robes. Another item off the checklist. 

 

He has a ton of other shopping to do too, but he’d rather do it with Harry. 

 

Next up, finding a place to live. He wonders if Grimmauld Place is empty after Orion and Walburga’s timely departure, but then recalls Kreacher, and a grimace passes over his face. No, that clearly wasn’t going to work out.

 

Sirius mentally goes over the list of other Black family properties under his name he’d been shown at Gringotts, and alights upon one in specific. He grins belatedly upon realizing. Yes, that could work out pretty well.

 


 

 

Meanwhile, Harry James Potter sits in his cupboard once again in mid-June, legs stretching out. He’s grateful that he’s small enough to still fit in here comfortably, if he was anywhere close to Dudley’s size his head would poke out the stairs. He’s tired out from his full day of chores, and wants nothing more than to remain hidden in his little refuge until the next morning. 

 

Not to mention, he’d found a rather interesting book he wanted to peruse. Something he’d found when dusting the attic the other day in an old box marked junk. It was a leatherbound journal, one he thinks belonged to Aunt Petunia as a little girl. 

 

Normally, he’d want absolutely nothing to do with his family. But Aunt Petunia was his mother’s sister, and they’d grown up together. He’s certain he’ll find some mention of his mother in here, and Harry craves any form of contact with his family. One that might have loved him the way little kids are meant to be loved. 

 

He opens the journal eagerly, taking in the stickers littering the inside and the bright blue ink. It dates back to the early seventies, and the pages are dusty and falling out. He reads through it, drinking in any mention of his mom's name. Lily, my little sister, my annoying sister leaving her red hair in the bathroom. His mom's hair had been red, Harry thinks wonderously. He feels strangely emotional at this new tidbit of information. He keeps reading in the feeble light within his cupboard, unable to stop himself. 

 

It was about halfway through the diary when Harry finds the entry that changes his life forever. 

 

Dear Diary, it reads. 

Today was a strange day. Lily met a boy called Severus who lives down at Spinner's end. He's got dark hair and he's very creepy, but she won't listen to me when I tell her not to make friends with him. She says that she and Severus are both the same because they're special. She says he told her he's a wizard, and that she's a witch, and they can both do magic. Isn't that freaky?

 

Harry stops reading, leaning back against the wall. He feels something rising in his chest, something strangely familiar. Aunt Petunia had called his mother's friend freaky- she called him a freak too. Was his mother really a witch? What did that even mean? 

He opens the diary again, pressing it close to his face so he can make out the blurry words. 

 

Dear Diary, begins a separate entry, dated a few months later. 

Today was the strangest day of my life so far. Lily got a letter in the mail this morning that invited her to a school called Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. I tried to tell Mother and Father that Severus must have faked it to try and get Lily's attention- he's obsessed with her and she doesn't see it! But Lily was so excited, they both believed her. And then later in the day, a woman in a witch hat and a long black dress came to our house to tell us that Lily really does have magic. She turned our clock into a rabbit! It was real magic! I was so shocked! And to think that Lily is going to a school in Scotland where she's going to learn all that... I'm excited for her, but I'm also angry. 

Why is it always her? She gets everything! No one else in our family even has red hair and green eyes- and she' gets good grades at school and she can do magic? It's so unfair. 

 

Harry shuts the journal with a snap, feeling a mixture of emotions. The dust rises at the sudden movement in a cloud, making his nose twitch, but he barely notices.

 

His mother had been a witch, magic was real, this was why he could grow his hair back and teleport to the roof, this was why his relatives hated him and called him a freak, his aunt had been jealous of his mum. Everything seemed to slot into place, like a puzzle which a single missing piece he'd finally found. 

 

He slumps back against the wall, feeling overwhelmed. The diary falls out of his hand and onto the floor with a thunk, and he picks it up hurriedly, stowing it in his pillowcase before his Aunt can come on and see it. He doesn't know what her reaction would be, but it definitely wouldn't be pretty. 

 

His mum had been smart. His mum had green eyes like his, and bright red hair. His mum could do magic, just like him. He feels dangerously close to tears. Instead, he curls up on his tiny little mattress, resting one hand on the journal, letting its weight comfort him, thinking about his mum. 

 

Maybe he should try and do better at school so he could get good grades. Just like her. He shuts his eyes tight, small smile finding its way onto his face. His mother, Lily. He knew his father's name was James because he'd heard his uncle say it sneeringly a few times, throwing the names out in disgust everytime he yells at Harry, always bringing back any of his innocent mistakes to his good for nothing parents, as if they lay buried at the heart of all the Dursley's problems.

 

But now that he knows they lied to him about magic, he isn't inclined to believe anything they tell him anymore. After all, who knows what else they've kept from him? 

 

 

 

 

 

Chapter Text

 

Sirius stumbles a little as he lands, catching himself. Long distance apparition had never really been his strong suit. 

 

He brushes himself off, looking up ahead of him. Blackthorne manor looms ahead, intimidating and stately. It's a rather old Black property located in the south of France, one that Sirius and his fellow cousins had been taken to a few times during the summer as kids. The manor was beautiful and elegant, with old European architecture dating back to the 17th century, and the grounds spread languidly over several acres. Summers here had been incredible, warm sun trickling down their backs as they lay sunning on lush green grass, back when they were still young and timeless and changing for the better instead of for the worse. 

 

It's one of his only good childhood memories, and one he's grateful the prisom wardens of Azkaban didn't get a chance to leech. 

 

He hopes Harry likes it as much as he did as a child. 

 

Sirius pushes open the gate, the Lord ring on his index finger letting him bypass the wards that would have stopped any intruder in their tracks. The gate itself is arched and intimidating, topped off with sharp black spikes. 

 

He recalls that during his youth, there had been a groundskeeper that resided in a little cabin near the southside of the grounds. Sure enough after hiking the short ways to where he remembered it being, he sees it, a small wooded affair, but cosily kept and crawling with wildflowers. 

 

Sirius hesitates for a second, before knocking firmly on the door. He isn't the first Black with certain misdemeanors darkening his past, and he likely won't be the last, although he is perhaps the only of their name that is in all actuality innocent of those deeds. Anyone choosing to tie themselves in service to the Blacks know what they're getting into. 

 

The door creaks open after a slight wait, and he takes a step back. A wrinkled, wizened little face peers out of the cracked opening, eyes narrowed, and then widening upon seeing his face. 

 

"Master Sirius, is that you?" The old woman says incredulously, opening the door wider in her surprise, voice dry and shaky from disuse, like crumpled paper. 

 

Sirius grins at her, wide and disarming. "It's Lord Black, now, actually. How are you, Miss Nora?" 

 

Miss Nora looks out at him for another couple of seconds, shaking her head disbelievingly. "Well I'll be," she mutters, before pushing the door open completely and limping off, gesturing at him weakly. 

 

"Come on in, Lord Black," she calls out, threaded with sarcasm. "Please, make yourself comfortable." 

 

Sirius steps in as careful as he can but the floorboards still creak beneath his feet. He looks around, taking in the small table and chairs sat next to what he assumes is the kitchen, and the single door leading into a no doubt equally small bedroom. The place is small but loved, fresh flowers spilling out of vases on every surface and knitted throws littering homely furniture pieces.

 

It looks exactly as he remembers it. He tells Miss Nora as much, tone curious, as she moves around her little kitchen, filling a kettle with water and putting it on to boil.

 

"That's right," she tells him over her shoulder, sharply. "While some of us were out getting in trouble, I stayed here and minded my business. Something you could do well to learn, my lord ."

 

Sirius can't help smiling at the woman's unrepentant tongue. Some things never changed, he thinks to himself, settling down at her gestured invitation.

 

"I can't believe you're still scolding me as if I was nine years old," he says mock-injuredly.

 

Miss Nora scoffs. "Well, maybe when you stop acting like it," she says scathingly, and Sirius leans forward, giving her a cheesy wink. 

 

"Never," he promises, and later on if you asked him he would swear he sees a hint of laughter around her eyes.

 

The kettle whistles and she pours the steaming tea with her back to him. "So you broke out of jail," she says dryly. "Is this the part where you hide out?"

 

Sirius takes the misshapen mug she offers him, wrapping his hands around its warmth, blowing at the top thoughtfully. "No," he tells her after a bit. "This is the part where I prove my innocence."

 

She looks at him then, really looks at him, surprised and glad, trying to divine the truth in his eyes. He lets her look, mouth quirking up as he sips the tea. Miss Nora nods decisively then, seemingly satisfied. 

 

"Alright then, I suppose you'll be wanting to move in," she announces, brisk and business-like. "I'm sure you'll find the grounds have all been kept to your liking, and the manor itself was maintained by two house elves. They should arrive when you summon them, they'll likely have felt the presence of a new Lord Black already."

 

Sirius nods slowly. It seems it was down to work, then.

 

"As for setting up floo and wards, Lady Cassiopiea had a book of contacts in her private room," Miss Lola informs him. "Discreet ones who should be able to carry out your tasks without- shall we say- alerting anyone we don't want to be alerted."

 

He can't help grinning at that. "We?" he parrots, lifting up his mug to take a sip. "Aw, Miss Lola, you do love me," 

 

She rolls her eyes up at the ceiling, but doesn't move to deny it, and Sirius feels a little comforted at that. That she had trusted his innocence so quickly, that she had immediately moved to support him. Maybe being a Black had some merits, after all. 

 

They finish their tea and then he bids her goodbye, giving her an impulsive hug before he leaves, grinning at her beady eye roll. He can feel her gaze burning into his back even as he walks away and the cottage door swings shut behind him.

 

Sirius heads to the manor next, apparating across the acres of land to the man-made path leading to the house and walking the rest if the way up, gravel crunching beneath his boots. 

 

He doesn't bother knocking on this door, pushing it open instead, shoulders squaring with the effort of moving the weighty carved wooden door that most likely had not been moved since Cassiopieas Blacks’ unfortunate passing in the seventies. Or fortunate, depending on your political allegiances. 

 

Sirius steps into the foyer and immediately sneezes about four times. He rubs at his reddened nose in a wounded manner, and surveys the layers of dust on every ancient surface. 

 

He thinks for a minute, before clicking his fingers in recognition.

 

 "Mopsy! And- I don't remember the other elf's name, fuck. Uh- Lord Black summons you. Or Something. Please come here, I require your assistance-" 

 

He's hardly finished his sentence before there's a slight pop and the air shimmers and discolors before his eyes, two small house elves appearing out of nowhere. They fall over each other into curtsies as soon as they see him, letting out cries of delight and surprise. 

 

“Lord Black! We is so happy to serve you, Lord Black. It has been so long since Ditsy and Mopsy has had a proper Master, sir!” Mopsy cries out in ecstasy, and Sirius thinks oh yeah, that was the other elf’s name. 

 

“I’m grateful to you for having me as your Master, Mopsy and Ditsy,” he concurs. “Now, is there any way the two of you could have this manor all cleaned up in a couple of days? I know it’s a lot to ask.”

 

Mopsy shakes her little head frantically. “No, no sir, Mopsy and Ditsy shall scrub the whole house for Lord Black, sir!”

 

He grins at them and their obvious happiness. It had been a while since someone had been this excited to see him. 

 

Maybe he could get used to being the Lord of the Noble and Most Ancient House of Black.

 

 

 


 

 

Harry hurries through his tasks that day, clumsy and unfocused, barely able to pull himself together enough to keep a straight face in front of his Aunt and Uncle at the dinner table. His mind is overrun with thoughts of his mother, of magic, of everything they had in common. 

 

Aunt Petunia eyes him suspiciously as they eat and he wonders shortly if he should be scared. Then again, Aunt Petunia's default state around him was a haze of suspicion, as if any moment he would decide keeping up the poor orphan act was too much effort and start doing magic. 

 

He could do magic. Harry has to duck to hide his grinning face, pretending to shovel peas into his mouth instead. Luckily his Aunt and Uncle were too busy fussing over Dudley's steak to pay him much mind. 

 

That night, he waits until he can hear his relatives snores vibrate and echo through the house before he slides the journal out from underneath his pillow and sits cross legged on his mattress to peruse it once more. The last time he'd skimmed it, desperately searching for any inky letters speaking of Lily, but this time he's going to read every word and press it into his memory like dried flowers, too-sweet and sepia. 

 

Hours pass and he barely even notices, huddled up, pressing the pages between his fingers as if he could absorb the discoloured ink right into his skin. Every mention of a funny little girl, a red-haired tempest, a little sister makes his chest hurt a little bit. 

 

In a later, tear-stained entry, his Aunt talks through her tears about how she sent in a letter to Hogwarts and got rejected because she didn't have any magic, and Harry can't help feeling bad for his aunt. To find out about another world and have it be out of your grasp was painful, and Harry knows that pain intimately.

 

On the other hand, he knows that he’d never wanna treat a kid the way he’d been treated. 

 

He holds the diary closer to his face, glasses slipping down his nose, eyes roving impatiently over the letters. 

 

Dear diary, 

Lily went shopping for her Hogwarts things today. We went to a place in London called Diagon Alley, and got a ton of things like a cauldron and newt eyes for potions and a lot of strangely named books of magic. We also had to go through a gross pub to get into the Alley, and I saw a man with fur and he bared his teeth at me. They were really sharp. 

 

Diagon Alley, Harry thinks. Now how could he go about getting there?

 

 

 

 

 

Chapter Text

 



 

Sirius sips on his morning tea, letting the heat scald his tongue and wincing slightly with a grimace, before downing the whole cup. He has things to do today. 

 

A copy of the Daily Prophet lies haphazardly on the wooden kitchen table, open to the first page. He’s gotten himself a subscription in order to check the headlines everyday and make sure the news of him escaping hasn’t gotten out already, knowing the Ministry visits to Azkaban to maintain order are scheduled for every other month, lazy and incompetent as they were, not to mention understandably avoidant of the Dementor-infested island. He shivers bodily upon recalling their darkened visages. 

 

The sun streams in through the windows, reminding him that it was already noon. He should be up and away, having a few more errands to run before going to pick up Harry. 

 

Sirius had worried initially about how he was going to prove his innocence to a criminal justice system as flawed as the Wizarding World’s, and then he’d hit upon an epiphany. He isn’t in the country anymore, and as a Black he’s part French citizen too, with a permanent residence visa. 

 

So all he needs to do is prove his innocence to the French ministry, which from what he remembers is far more accommodating and professional than the British one. 

 

Now all he needs is some irrefutable evidence. 

 

He hears a thumping noise by the window and whips his head up, startled. An owl flaps its wings on the other side of the double-glaze testily. Sirius pushes himself to his feet, moving over and unlatching the window to let the creature in. 

 

It flaps its wings by his head a couple times, displacing his dark hair that's grown out to below his ears, and a few strands fly into his eyes. He scowls at the crotchety bird, tucking his hair behind his ears. 

 

“It’s not my fault you flew into the window,” he accuses, and the bird huffs, dropping it’s cargo on his head. Sirius snatches up the letter before it can fall onto the floor, and sticks his tongue out at the bird childishly. 

 

The envelope is waxed shut and he slits it open with his nails, noting the Gringotts seal and furrowing his brow, confused. He scans through the letter quickly, eyes growing wider and wider with each line. 

 

He finishes reading and looks up numbly. The bird looks down his beak at him as if it were a haughty nose pointed in the air, like yeah, bitch . He lets out a slow, feeling exhale.

 

“Eureka,” he says, dazed and wonderous. 

 

 The owl attempts to fly out and bumps into the window for a second time. 

 

A few hours later sees Sirius donned in brand new robes, sporting the shiny chunk of metal that passed for the Black Family Lordship ring on his index finger, weighing him down with the heavy burden, generations’ worth of deranged expectations, and a tarnished reputation he would have to redeem. 

 

Hopefully, what he’s about to do will help him hop one stepping stone further across that lake. 

 

He apparates to Diagon Alley right outside of Gringotts, landing on his feet with barely a stumble. It’s been about a week since he’d escaped from Azkaban, and living in comfort with two house elves waiting on him hand and foot, not to mention filling French food, has done a considerable lot to help him along the road to recovery. He’s not fully healed yet from the trauma. It’s not the kind of thing he may ever fully heal from- but he’s on mend. 

 

Sirius strides towards the bank with a mask of confidence, grinning to himself at the nature of wizards, and how the casual superiority he projects does more to keep him unnoticed than the glamour he’d cast. People hurry out of his way like sheep, not daring to look him in the eye. A skill passed down through decades of blood supremacy, and employed particularly well by his cousin Narcissa, if he recalls correctly. 

 

Once he’s inside, he finds himself quickly shepherded down three flights of winding stairs by harried looking goblins, led down further and further underground into their territory. His nerves bubble up, making themselves felt in the pits of his stomach, and he tries very hard not to offend an entire nation by making expressions of sick in their presence. 

 

By the time Sirius is ushered into a large, circular room with a desk in the middle and chairs on either side, his legs ache and his sides are sharp and lancing, and he collapses onto the seat with some measure of relief. One goblin surveys him through lowered spectacles, and he sees the judgement in his eyes, and can’t bring himself to stop gasping for air. 

 

Offending one goblin wouldn’t matter that much, probably, he thinks hopefully. Then again, by the looks of the room he’s in, its state and pompour, it might just not be any goblin. 

 

“My name is Stonefoot,” the goblin announces, after giving Sirius a couple of seconds to compose himself. Long seconds. “I trust you received our letter?”

 

The fateful letter that had interrupted his peaceful morning with a thump and a squawk and a skip of his heart. Reading their names on the page had broken his heart as if he was back there on Halloween night, clutching desperately at their corpses. Lily and James Potter. 

 

“Yes, I did,” he says, voice shaking slightly. “Do you have- do you have the- is it here?”

 

It being, of course, their last will and testament. 

 

The goblin hands it over to him silently, eyes softened at his reaction, and he takes it with shaking hands. 

 

His dark eyes scan over the inked parchment, searching, hoping desperately, filled with a sense of burgeoning hope that this could be what he had been looking for, his holy grail, but it’s overlaid by grief, pressing down on him like a wall. 

 

And then all of a sudden, there it is. Right at the bottom. He stills as he reads the words. 

 

In the event of our untimely deaths, let it be known that our Secret Keeper was in fact Peter Pettigrew, and not Sirius Black, the aforementioned godfather to our son, Harry James Potter. 

 

He lets out an exhale, air puffing out in a cloud. 

 

Talk about irrefutable evidence. 

 

“Thank you,” he remembers to say to Stonefoot, and the goblin nods in understanding. 

 

“That is a copy, we still retain the original document,” he informs Sirius, and Sirius soaks the information in, thinking. With this copy, he could prove his innocence to the French ministry, and gain official custody of Harry through Muggle courts of law. The other copy is probably safer where it is.

 

“Thank you,” he says again. “I would greatly appreciate it if Gringotts would continue to house the original document, in case there is ever a need of it,”

 

“That would be acceptable to us too,” Stonefoot agrees, and then they shake hands once, and he ducks his head in an awkward bow, straightening up and rubbing the back of his head at the amusement radiating from the goblin, who bows back mockingly. 

 

He walks out in a daze, and by the grace of Merlin manages not the splinch himself during his way home. Once back at Blackthorne he walks to Miss Nora’s cabin in much the same state, and hands her the copy of the will still clutched in his hand. 

 

They sit across from each other at her little table, and she brews him a cup of warm tea. They drink it slowly as she peruses the entire document, and Sirius stares into his cup, unseeing. 

 

He has proof now, at last. He can prove his innocence, finally, after five years in prison. After years of everyone thinking of him as a traitor, as a blood supremacist, as bad to the bone as his parents before him and their parents before them, blood always wins out in the end. Even after everything they had been through. 

 

He thinks then that his friends, ones who he’d fought a war beside, deciding he’s a Black like any other is a worse punishment than any he’s had to endure. 

 

He can’t endure it any longer. 

 

Sirius stands up once he finishes his tea, and Miss Nora hands him the will, eyes quiet and soft with understanding.

 

“Good luck,” she says to him, and gives him a hug, patting his back gently. He blinks rapidly, and smiles bravely at her. 

 

Then he leaves. He has somewhere to be.

 

 


 

 

Remus John Lupin wraps his hands around a rather large mug of tea, long fingers intertwining with each other. He drinks more tea when he’s feeling overly anxious, usually before or after the full moon, or when he’s gotten fired from another wizarding job after they discover his monthly on the dot little problem. 

 

However, he’s been working at a muggle bakery for over three months now. The full moon isn’t for another two weeks. Remus is on his second cup of tea.

 

He looks out his dinky little window, early bird bits of sunlight streaming in, his sharp vision catching the dust particles floating mid-air, momentarily caught in the frail rays. 

 

It’s a warm and sleepy morning, but he feels sleepless. Remus can’t seem to shake the feeling that something in the composition of the world has utterly changed, as if someone had added something impulsively into the mix just to see what happens, and the world is still holding its breath, the calm before the storm, in the moment of stillness still waiting to see its result.

 

Remus has done a lot of waiting in his life. 

 

He waits every month for the full moon, for the sheer agony that twists and reshapes his bones and turns him into someone else, and then he waits, long and painful and dragged out, enduring, for it to be over. 

 

He waits everyday for the world to realize that being a werewolf doesn’t change who he is, that he’s still human, he’s a human with a disease that he can’t cure, but he’s still human . He’s been waiting since he was a child for things to change. 

 

He had waited years for the war to end, and when it did, violent and bloody, gasping for air in its final throes and lashing out like a wounded animal, he had wished so hard for it to still be happening, because the end of the war for Remus Lupin was the end of everything. In one fell swoop, he lost all that he had. 

 

Now he waits for his life to begin again. 

 

Remus drains the rest of his tea, closing his eyes and feeling its warmth trickle down his throat and into his body. There’s about an hour until he has to leave for his job at the bakery, where he works in the kitchen, kneading dough and whisking batter, the flour trailing over his skin, the mixtures similar enough to Potions that Remus isn’t that far out of his comfort zone. The smell of baked goods linger long after the door tinkles with his exit.

 

He gets up, chair creaking considerably louder than his bones, but there’s not enough of a disparity between the two as he would like. He has enough time before his shift starts to finish the dishes left over from the previous night and maybe sweep the measly few rooms in his house before he leaves, and he's just pulling his washing gloves out of the cupboard when the doorbell sounds, and he stops in place. The sense of foreboding from earlier comes back with a vengeance. 

 

He moves to the door with his wand in his hand. He peers through the eyehole, one of the more useful Muggle inventions. Outside stands a tall man that he doesn't recognize, but feels strangely familiar. 

 

He takes a deep breath. He opens the door. 

 

The man stares at him and for split second, a heartrending expression steals over his face, making him look old and broken, one that makes Remus' eyes widen and chest twang like the strings of a guitar once played. Then the look is gone as quick as it came, and the man gives him a stiff smile. 

 

"Remus Lupin?" he says. "I need to show you something."

 

 

 

 

 

Chapter Text

 

 








Remus leans back his hard wood chair, back curved, and looks up at his ceiling. His fingers curl and tighten around the parchment, and he tries in vain to smooth out the crumples that came from being pressed into a robe pocket. 

 

"This is real?" he asks, hoarse and raw, without looking down, and he sees the man's head duck in confirmation out of the corner of his eye. 

 

"I got it from Gringotts," the man says, and something about his tone is a little careful, slightly defensive in a way Remus would recognize if he hadn't just been delivered the metaphorical equivalent of a sucker punch. 

 

Sirius had never been the secret keeper. An innocent man lay rotting in Azkaban. Peter had been the secret keeper. His supposedly dead friend was a traitor and a murderer. 

 

The guilt, by now an awful, familiar emotion to Remus, one that he hails in fearful recognition everytime he hurts somebody without meaning it, rises in his throat and he nearly chokes from it. 

 

He feels like coming undone. Like the string that had been pulled taut the past five years, tangled since Halloween, had snapped from the pressure and was unravelling before his eyes. 

 

"Jesus," he says, voice raw and breaking, and curls inward with the gravity of grief. 

 

"Sirius-'' he chokes out, and the man jerks slightly, but Remus barely notices, eyes welling up. "Sirius Black is innocent , he's in prisin for the murder of James and Lily, oh no, I have to get him out-"

 

The man looks at him, eyes full to the brim with unnamed emotion. Remus feels another stab of familiarity, and later would blame it on his panicked state that he doesn't notice. 

 

His head is buried in his hands and his chest heaves, air sounding with deep breaths as he tries to get himself under control. He sees red when he thinks of Peter, and how easy it had been for the small man to delude them into thinking he was their best friend, someone who was worthy of having their lives placed into his hand only to pull out the rug from underneath them and reveal the ugly truth. And then Remus remembers thinking the same scornful thoughts of Sirius once, and he crumples. 

 

He cries silently, uncaring of the other man's presence, and it's only after a while has passed and his head hurts from crying that he feels a warm sensation on his arm, and looks up to see the man had placed a hand comfortingly on his. 

 

Remus conjures up a rueful little smile, weak and watery, and wipes his tears.

 

"Thank you for bringing me this," he says at last, and the man nods."If you don't mind me asking - who else knows?" 

 

He shrugs. "You're the first," he tells him, and it feels significant. 

 

Remus burns with unasked questions about the man's identity, how he came into possession of the will, why he had come to Remus of all people. He hasn’t had any contact with Sirius since, well, a certain dark and stormy night. After breaking down in front of him, though, he feels the situation is a little delicate. 

 

The stranger in his kitchen grins, teeth bared, and then winks at him as if he somehow knows exactly what he's thinking. 

 

"You're probably wondering who I am and how I got the will," the man follows up smoothly, and Remus has barely a moment to feel a jolt of realization, before the glamour spell fades and an older, more jaded version of his best friend, Sirius Black sits perched on his kitchen chair, leaning it back precariously on its two hind legs, and he jerks forward in shock. 

 

"You bastard ," Remus says feelingly. Sirius lets out a savage bark of laughter, as if he’d been waiting for it, and a feeling of warm nostalgia saturates through Remus' entire body, the soundtrack to his teens. 

 

"I can't believe you became a crybaby," Sirius teases, dark eyes glinting with humor. 

 

"I can't believe you escaped prison," he replies numbly, still finding it hard to think, let alone tear his gaze away from the man seated across from him. 

 

"I can't be tied down in one place, Moony, you know this," Sirius proclaims, "I'm a free spirit," and perhaps its a combination of the familiar stupid banter and the nickname he hasn't heard in years, or maybe its just the fact that his best friend is innocent and free and in front of him right now, within his grasp, but Remus breaks. 

 

He gets up from his chair and rounds the table to where Sirius' eyes get wide and soft, and pulls him into his arms. 

 

Sirius stiffens initially, resisting him, but Remus doesn’t let go, burying his face and his emotions in the hug, trying not to let them overwhelm him entirely. Eventually Sirius sags into his grasp, wraps his arms around him in turn, and Remus’ fingertips touch around skinny, protruding shoulder blades. 

 

“Moony,” he breathes out, the voice of a young man whose world has gotten far too old. Remus closes his eyes. He hasn’t heard that name in so long.

 

“Padfoot,” and it sounds like a war-time whisper from the past, once shouted across classrooms and corridors, now irrevocably sewn into his patchwork heart. 

 

“I wish James were here,” Sirius says, in a moment of weakness, confessing into the scruff of Remus’ neck.

 

“Me too,” he replies. 

 

They break apart after a few more moments, and Remus looks at Sirius, who looks up at him, face old and sad. 

 

“James isn’t here,” Sirius says, haltingly, unsure when he meets his gaze. “But Remus- Harry is.”

 

Little Harry. Another in a long list of scribbled mistakes Remus calls a life, written out and crossed and written out again and underlined and erased in a litany of regret. He’d tried and failed to take him after in a haze of grief, trying desperately to cling onto any memory of his friends that remained, but had been denied on account of his werewolf status, and the downward spiral that had resulted lent him enough shame to keep him away for years. 

 

He’s always wondered, though. 

 

“Who has him now?” Remus asks, a sense of unease snaking its way up his spine. 

 

“Petunia, that hag,” Sirius says, scowling. “There’s no way she’s treating him the way he deserves, not after how wildly jealous she was of Lily.”

 

“It must have been Dumbledore who placed him with her,” Remus surmises, accurately, he judges from the considering look that appears on Sirius’ face. 

 

“Yeah, that’s what I was thinking too,” Sirius agrees. “But Remus- I’m his godfather.”

 

Remus stares at his friend, bruised and battered and beseeching, malnourished from prison but somehow not diminished in the slightest, and thinks of the care with which he’d handled Harry as a baby, and the warmth and affection in James’ voice when he’d told them Sirius was to be his godfather. He thinks that he doesn’t want to add any more regrets to his already extensive list. 

 

“Alright,” he tells him. “Let me call in sick to my job, first.”

 

The grin that spreads across Sirius’ face is blinding.

 

Ten minutes later, Remus settles back down into his seat, and clears his throat noisily, having just called his boss Marjorie and done a very convincing impression of a man on the sickbed.

 

“Okay, so first and foremost, we need to get you declared not guilty,” he says to Sirius, mind whirring, ever the schemer. He leans his chin onto crossed fingers, brow furrowing. 

 

“Oh, I already have a plan for that,” Sirius informs him, and  Remus’ mind comes to a grinding stop. He blinks. 

 

“Uh, okay, well-”

 

“I’m gonna owl a copy of the will to the French ministry,” Sirius shrugs. “Sign it as Lord Black, they’ll have me declared innocent because of how much they hate the Brits, and I’ll dust off some of my French at a couple of fancy events, and with any luck Britain won’t even know til I’ve already got Harry sequestered away at Blackthorne.”

 

“Oh,” Remus says. “So you’ve done your homework, then.”

 

“Don’t pout, Moony,” Sirius teases, holding back a grin. “It’s not very becoming,” 

 

“I’m not pouting,” Remus replies, petulant. “I’m just saying you clearly don’t need my help.” His bottom lip curls up and his eyes flitter about the room, and he can hear Sirius’ laughter. 

 

“I’m a grown man,” he says. “I don’t pout, that’s so dumb,” getting ignored by Sirius, growing more indignant, “Stop laughing!” 

 

“Ah, Moony,” Sirius says, sounding fond. “Never change.” Remus shoots him a stink-eye. 

 

“It’s been five years,” he deadpans. “You certainly haven’t.” It’s a lie, they both know it, they can both see the past five years haunting Sirius’ eyes, widening his pupils the smallest bit, but it’s nice to pretend. 

 

“Untrue, Moony,” Sirius says. “The old me would never have accepted this,” and he wiggles his right index finger in Remus’ face, and his eyes cross trying to look at it upfront. 

 

“Is that the Black Lordship ring?” he asks, incredulous. “Oh, snap, you really have changed.”

 

Sirius nods, grinning. “Yep, so you can address as me as Lord Almighty Black from here on out, peasant,”

 

“Yeah, okay, down, doggy,” he says, snorting. 

 

“That’s Lord Doggy to you,” Sirius replies. “Ah, I can almost hear the sweet sounds of my ancestors rolling in their graves right now.”

 

“Roll over and sit?” Remus suggests sagely. Sirius falls forward onto the table in his laughter. 

 

“No, but seriously,” he says, after the other man has calmed down a bit, still giggling to himself. “You have the Lord Black ring and you’re at Blackthorne? What does that mean for Harry?”

 

Sirius sobers up a little, hearing that. “Yeah,” he says, slowly. “I’m still- I’m still thinking about it, but you know Moony- it’s kind of a fucked up world, isn’t it?”

 

Remus gives him a look. “I know that better than most, Padfoot,” 

 

“Yeah, yeah and Harry too, right?” Sirius says, seriously. “He’s not gonna have a normal life, no matter how much I want him to, and no matter how much I’m gonna fight for him to,” 

 

Remus nods for him to continue, wondering where this was heading. He has an inkling, and although his normal reaction to what he thinks Sirius is heading for would be vehement disapproval, in Harry’s case- he rather thinks it might be justified. 

 

“I just want him to have every advantage I can give him” Sirius admits, looking him in the eye. “You know what I mean, don’t you?”

 

“You want to raise him as your heir,” Remus surmises. “He’d be Heir Potter-Black, raised by Lord Black, in France, as well as the Boy-Who-Lived.”

 

Sirius blinks in surprise. “I mean-yeah, that was my plan but- sorry, the Boy-Who-What?”

 

“Oh, shit, yeah, you wouldn’t know. So basically, after Halloween-” they both wince slightly - “Harry was kind of hailed as the savior of the Wizarding World, kind of. He survived the killing curse, so he’s known as the Boy-Who-Lived. And he has that lightning shaped scar on his forehead.”

 

Sirius is silent for a minute. Then- “How do they know he was hit by the killing curse?”

 

“I don’t know,” Remus tells him. 

 

“No, but how would anyone know?” Sirius insists. “It’s not like there was a Daily Prophet representative to report live on the actions of one Dark Lord. As far as I know, I was the first person on the scene, and I gave Harry to Hagrid.”

 

“Hagrid was there?” Remus says, curiously, and then something slots into place in his brain, and he shuts his eyes in realization. When he opens them, his only remaining best friend is looking at him grimly, and he knows he’s come to the same conclusion. 

 

“Dumbledore,” they think out loud in unison, and Remus sighs. He gets up and fetches out two glasses, and a half-empty bottle of Firewhiskey. 

 

“Dumbledore placed Harry with those horrible Muggles, Moony,” Sirius says softly from behind him. “And he’s the one who apparently turned Harry into some kind of national celebrity, even though he was barely a year old when it happened, for Merlin’s sake, and not to mention- he didn’t even get me a trial!-”

 

“I know,” Remus groans out. “I know, you’re right, I just can’t- goddammit, Padfoot, I’ve had enough life-changing realizations for one day, alright?”

 

Sirius snorts. “Alright, but we are totally coming back to this.”

 

Remus sets down the glasses in front of them, sitting back down, and downs half of his in one go. 

 

“Just to clarify,” he says sardonically. “‘This’ being the theory that Dumbledore is some kind of evil mastermind who’s been manipulating Harry’s life from behind the scenes?”

 

Sirius looks at him in awe, opting to ignore what he’s said in favor of commenting on his drinking skills. “It’s eleven in the morning!”

 

Remus takes another sip, shrugging. “Well, you know what Lily always said- It’s happy hour somewhere,”

 

Sirius softens at the reminder of their old friend, gives him a half-smile. He picks up his own glass and holds it up, offering. Remus knocks them together in silent cheers. They drink together, and the warm liquid burns down his throat and settles deep in his stomach, giving him strength. 

 

He thinks he’s going to need it for what’s about to come.