October 31st, 1981, Godric's Hollow, West Country, England
"Find Harry," that was all Albus Dumbledore had said, usually kindly blue eyes hard with determination. "Find Harry so we can get him somewhere safe."
Those were Rebeus Hagrid's orders. Find Harry, get him somewhere safe. He was supposed to be safe in Godric's Hollow, but now James and Lily's home was in ruins. It had not fallen. The door had been forced open magically and several of the windows were blown out from spells, but it still stood. Yet something about the house felt... Wrong. Dark magic had happened here- death had happened. It had poisoned the once warm and inviting home.
James Potter lay dead by the stairs, still clutching tightly to his wand. Hagrid wanted to stop, to move the body somewhere more dignified, but he had his orders. Harry.
He was still in his cot, standing in it, clutching to the railing. It was obvious he was trying to escape it, to go to his fallen mother. He was wailing, his messy jet-black hair pushed back, revealing the slash on his forehead.
The gigantic man scooped Harry into his arms. The young boy flailed, continuing to try and reach his mother. He cried and thrashed, unwilling to be held by this man while his mother lay on the ground.
"Shhh... Harry, it's all right," Hagrid tried to soothe him, feeling utterly helpless. "I'm here t'help you."
"Mama!" Harry wailed helplessly, still trying to escape the man's grip.
There was the roar of a motorbike outside. Through the broken window, Hagrid could see lights that quickly died. There were thunderous steps and then the frantic, heartrending cry. "PRONGS! PRONGS! NO! Oh Merlin... NO!"
Hagrid descended the stairs. He knew that voice- though he'd never heard it filled with such despair. Despite his knowledge of the new arrival, he still drew out the umbrella he carried his broken wand in.
Sirius Black knelt beside his best friend's corpse, clutching him to his chest. Normally shining, elegant black hair was wild and falling in front of his eyes. When he heard the echoing footsteps, he looked up, wet grey eyes wild behind the curtain of hair.
"HARRY!" Sirius cried, running to Hagrid and the still squirming child. "Is he-" He choked on his own words. "I heard... James and Lily... They're both..." A hand went to his mouth. "Oh Merlin..."
"Pa-fa," Harry trilled his voice still filled with sorrow. He reached out for his godfather desperately.
It was the first time the boy had settled down since Hagrid had picked him up, so he relented on his hold, allowing Sirius to scoop him into his arms, cradling him close to his chest.
"Harry," Sirius's voice was thick with tears as he held the boy close to his chest. "I'm so sorry. I couldn't... I wasn't... I should have... This is my fault."
A large hand clamped down on Sirius' shoulder. "You can't do that t'yerself, Sirius. Wasn't nuffin any a'us could do."
Sirius just clutched Harry to him. The small child was finally settling down in the arms of his godfather. "I need to get Harry somewhere safe."
Hagrid paused for a moment. Dumbledore had given him orders to bring Harry to safety.
But then, Harry was far safer with Sirius. Sirius was a fully trained wizard and an Auror. His wand was not broken. Add to that, he was Harry's godfather. 'Safety' for Harry was going to be in his arms.
"Bring him t'Hogwarts," Hagrid told Sirius gravely. "Dumbledore needs t'see him."
There was a flash of something in Sirius' fathomless grey eyes. "Of course." He gaze was hard. "Find Peter. We need to talk to him."
Hagrid watched woefully as Sirius carefully placed Harry in the sidecar, touching his wand to the child's head to cast a sleeping charm. He wouldn't squirm during the trip; he would remain asleep and safe. Sirius mounted the bike and gave Hagrid one last look. "He'll be safe. Find Peter."
Hagrid had never seen Albus Dumbledore even slightly cross. But at that moment, he was downright livid.
"Why do you not have him?" The Headmaster demanded, pounding his fist onto his desk, rattling his pensieve. Any trace of the kindly old man was gone. There was absolutely no doubt anyone- even You-Know-Who- would be afraid of him now.
"Sirius Black, Sir," Hagrid replied. "He showed up and he could protect 'im better... So I told 'im ter bring Harry here." He shrank down, chastised. He had slumped so much, he appeared almost the height of a normal man.
The next words out of the Headmaster's mouth chilled Hagrid to the bone, made the breath catch in his throat. "Sirius Black was the Potter's Secret Keeper. Voldemort knew where to find them because Sirius told him."
There was no more yelling. Dumbledore had gone oddly calm. He withdrew his long, elder wood wand and pointed it. For a heart-clenching moment, Hagrid feared Dumbledore might curse him. But the wizened old man spoke very clearly, "Expecto Patronum."
A silver phoenix emerged from the wand. It remained for only a moment, before disappearing in an ethereal haze.
"The Order must be mobilized. We must find Black. Find Harry. Before..."
Dumbledore didn't finish his final dark thought. He simply strode from his office, intent on locating the spy in their midst and hopefully, the boy would still be with him.
Woodsview, Oxfordshire, England
Woodsview was a tiny Wizarding settlement. It was so name as it was surrounded on all sides by trees, which Muggles did not dare traverse in thanks to Muggle repelling charms.
Sirius had parked his motorbike in the trees a little way from the home he shared with Remus Lupin. He had a special hiding place for the bike so not to give away his location to wizards. Sirius Black's motorbike was very recognizable- especially to the wrong sort of people. Besides, the Enchanted Sleep charm had worn off and Harry was now awake and squirming once again. Sirius picked up the child and held him close. He was not crying, comforted by the presence of the man so familiar to him, but he seemed confused.
Remus. Remus would understand. Sirius would be able to explain to him what had happened. How they had switched Secret Keepers. Remus could be trusted.
What a bitter irony it was. Sirius had only a week ago believed Remus to be the traitor in their midst. He hadn't wanted to believe it. But Peter had told Sirius that Remus had been acting strangely of late, far more aggressive. When Sirius spied his roommate speaking to Fenrir Greyback, the accusations had been confirmed for him.
Had Peter set that meeting up? Made Sirius believe that one of his dearest friends was a spy? All to murder Lily and James...
Sirius was just approaching the door when he saw Remus through the window. He was facing a phoenix Patronus. A quick eavesdropping spell was cast and Sirius was privy to the voice of Albus Dumbledore, speaking words that made his blood run cold.
"We must not hesitate to kill him. If Harry is still alive, Sirius will kill him before he lets us get to him. If Harry is still alive, we must retrieve him... But I fear it may be too late..."
Remus' eyes were wet, his face pale. But there was a hard determination in his features. Sirius had only seen that look before when in his canine form, in the moments before Remus transformed into his bloodthirsty wolf form. Remus believed him to be the traitor and if he saw Sirius, he wouldn't hesitate.
Of course. If the positions were reversed, Sirius wouldn't hesitate either. As it was, all that stopped him from pursuing Peter was the child wriggling in his arms. Harry was his lifeline, all that he could cling to stop himself from descending into insane grief.
He needed to run. He needed to escape. He needed to keep this child- Prongs' child- safe.
He clung to Harry and raced back to his bike. The Order would be combing all of the United Kingdom for him.
He placed Harry back into the sidecar, placing another- stronger- sleep spell on boy. He didn't like performing magic on Harry, but it was the only way to keep him safe. He would be fine once they arrived at their destination.
He did have a destination in mind. Only one place he could escape to, hopefully find an ally. Hopefully, in the confusion of the night, Dumbledore had neglected this potential safe haven. It was so far away; so unlikely, given what had happened.
He cast warming, shield and imperturbable charms over the sidecar to keep Harry comfortable and safe. Sirius didn't care about his own wellbeing. Only about the boy. Finally, he cast a disillusionment charm. He couldn't have anyone following the flying motorbike. It was going to be a long trip.