This was written by talented Slytherin Sionna Raven! You can find more of here stories at her Live Journal Profile.
This ties in well with Pottermore's suspected release of Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix Chapters that will be arriving on Halloween! What do you think of this interpretation of Sirius' 'mission'?
Summary: Sirius arrives at Remus' place in June 1995. After two years on the run, he's probably not the most kind and social person to be with. Remus is kind and understanding. Dumbledore has his own plans.
Alert the old crowd and lie low at Lupin's. Yes Sir, at your service whatever you say... Snuffles is going to be a good boy. Shall I sit and wag my tail? Maybe I can get your slippers first and the latest Prophet?
“Who's there? Is that you, Sirius?” Remus opens the door, rubbing his eyes. “ Come on in.”
The small semi-detached house hasn't changed much throughout the years, nice and tidy as it always was, perhaps a bit more worn, more faded. The crocheted cloths on the rests are gone. Remus hated them. His Muggle mother made them to cover the thin fabric and the stains, to cover the time with useless work. Cover up what you can't change.
Remus gestures me to the old sofa. I hesitate to sit down. The months in the cave have not left me in a state to go near clean furniture. Remus smiles wryly.
“Do you really think it matters?” , but he summons a blanket.
He waits patiently for me to get ready to talk. When has he ever been impatient?
After having seen every single living member of the Order tonight, telling them that Dumbledore calls us to duty, I'm dead tired, but I owe Remus a report of tonight's events. He listens with apprehension, wringing his hands when I tell him about Harry's strange duel with Voldemort.
“And what about Harry? Is he all right?”
“Yes, only a few scratches. He fought bravely.”
Do I believe that rubbish? The boy should never have been in this bloody tournament. He has been through more than enough during the previous years. Dumbledore was supposed to keep him safe! I forfeited all rights to decide Harry's fate when I let Hagrid take him away, not even asking where. I've been a lousy godfather. I was scared of the responsibility. What did I know about caring for a toddler? Dumbledore knew best, he always does. I had already failed the parents.
“He is a brave boy, just like James.” says Remus.
Like James, I wish he was. I miss James. My thoughts must have shown in my face.
“Sorry, I didn't mean to remind you.”
I sigh. Don't apologize when you've done nothing wrong. One thing I miss about James is that he could be such an insufferable prat himself that I never felt guilty, when I was one.
“Dumbledore has sent me to stay with you for a while. Do you have a warm place for a tired old stray to curl up for the night?”
“You can have the second bedroom. Give me a minute to get it ready.”
Remus looks me up and down.
“You might want a bath, before you go to bed.”
“No thanks. I'd fall asleep and drown in a hot tub, I'm afraid. A blanket in front of the fire is all I need for tonight.” Remus frowns. “I'll take a bath first thing in the morning, I promise. The spell you're looking for is Expulex.”
I don't give him any chance for further arguments and turn into Padfoot. I grab the blanket with my teeth and pull it to the dying fire. Stretching the blanket on the floor, turning on the spot to flatten the grass and drive away the snakes. Remus gives in as usual and goes to the door. From the corner of my eye I see him draw his wand.
I wake up to the smell of bacon and eggs, the sound of sizzling fat and a whistling kettle. I rise and stretch and yawn and follow the enticing smells and noises to the kitchen.
Remus doesn't turn around.
“No dogs in the kitchen!”
I sit on the doorstep, sniffing. Remus walks over to the fridge to get some butter. I look hopefully. He throws me one slice of bacon which I catch in the air. Best thing I've had for months.
“That's enough, Padfoot. Bathroom, off you go. You stink!”
I long for a hot soak myself, but... One more on the way? I raise a paw and whine a little. I knew he won't say no.
Breakfast feels like heaven. Remus is watching me. I can't stand this look. I don't need your pity. I don't want your pity. I haven't really been starving in the cave. A good hound always gets his hare and there were rabbits, squirrels and once or twice a juicy partridge. Padfoot doesn't need much.
It's just that I prefer cooked human food. Padfoot does, too. Bacon and eggs, fried tomatoes, a warm crisp toast dripping with melted butter and a good strong cup of tea with milk and sugar!
“I'll get brown sugar for you from the village store.” Remus sounds apologetic again.
I realize that I probably have swallowed his week's supply of food and start feeling guilty.
“You don't need to provide for me. I can give you access to my Gringott's vault. The Goblins don't care that I'm a wanted criminal as long as they get their fees.”
“The Goblins don't, but Fudge and his Aurors do. Don't worry, I can keep you for a while. I've got a regular job.”
“That's great. What are you doing?”
Remus pushes over the Prophet.
Small ads, the newest development in magic gardening.... 'Ask Millicent'?
“You're kidding. You're not trying to tell me you are Millicent Trimble?”
I really try not to laugh, but I fail. Remus shrugs.
“Why not? It's an honest job, it pays the bills and most important I can work from home.”
“Finding work shouldn't be so difficult now that you're on Wolfbane Potion.”
Remus stares down at his toast.
“I'm not. Snape only made it while I was at Hogwarts, on Dumbledore's orders. He stopped the day I left.”
“Sirius be fair. Brewing Wolfbane is expensive and time-consuming. I can't expect him to do it out of pure kindness.” He tries to smile. “I don't mind too much to be honest. The stuff tastes awful.”
Is this supposed to be funny? A dark voice in my mind starts whispering 'He never liked taking it. He never took it in time. If he had taken it in time, the rat was rotting in Azkaban.'
Don't let him see what you're thinking. It's nonsense. He saw Peter on the Map and acted on impulse. Nobody is to blame.
“Hey, this means that Moony and Padfoot can have a night out next full moon. It'll be great. Like old times.” I try to sound cheerful.
There's a gleam in Remus' eyes, but he shakes his head.
“Better not, this is a densely populated area. We can't be sure that Padfoot is able to control the wolf. Last year you....”
“Last year I wasn't in the best shape.”
“And you are now?” Stop looking like that! “ No, it's too dangerous. Dumbledore has told you to keep a low profile while you're here.”
“Has he? I don't remember.”
“He called when you were in the bath. Asked, if you arrived safely and everything went all right with informing the others. He told me to be careful and that we should not draw unnecessary attention to your stay with me.”
“How nice and caring. Any more orders? Two bowls a day, provide fresh water, treat against fleas and ticks? Oh yes, of course, don't let him run off leash.”
“Sirius, you are impossible. Dumbledore is worried; he does care for you. Peter has probably informed the Death Eaters about your Animagus form and someone like Lucius Malfoy may find a way to pass this information to Fudge.”
“Dumbledore hasn't incidentally said something about my trunk? I've left it with Hagrid when I returned in autumn. Your father's bathrobe is very comfortable, but I long for my own fitting clothes.”
“No, he hasn't mentioned it, but I'm sure he'll sent it along soon. Don't complain about the bathrobe; the colour matches your eyes. I'm afraid there's no way you fit into my clothes, beanpole.”
“It doesn't match my knees.” I pout.
Remus laughs. Then he gets serious and rises from his chair.
“I've got to leave you for a while. Shopping. No, you can't come.” He adds, when I look hopeful. “I'll be back soon.”
Standing in the door frame he takes a look around.
“Just in case you get bored, I don't mind you doing the washing up.”
“Get yourself a house elf”, I laugh. “and bring biscuits!”
“Biscuits?” Then he remembers. “Dog biscuits! Be a good boy, Padfoot and I'll give you a treat.”
He dodges the fried mushrooms I throw at him and is out off the door.
After I amused myself reading Remus' column in the Prophet, checked the spare bedroom he offered, cut my hair to look halfway civilised and had another two cups, I'm finally bored enough to do the chores.
The kitchen is clean and shiny again and Remus still hasn't returned. Dumbledore still hasn't sent my trunk. What is he thinking? Not only my clothes are in the trunk, my wand is also. I was stupid to leave it, but Dumbledore's refusal to let me stay with Hagrid came as a surprise. I found myself in that cave with two blankets, a packed lunch and a matchbox, before I really had time to think. It's only a cheap replacement I got from a backstreet dealer, but I feel useless without it.
I decide to do what I always do, when I have nothing to do. I turn into Padfoot and curl up at a sunny spot near the window to doze. Outside a robin is singing, but its song doesn't tell me anything.
I stay Padfoot when Remus finally returns with loads of deliciously smelling shopping bags. He praises me for having been a good boy and gives me my biscuits.
“You're not going to change back, are you?”
I grin and nibble on the last biscuit. Remus resigns to having a dog instead of a friend and serves the sandwiches for a late lunch on the floor. He even lets me out to the back garden when I scratch at the door. I challenge him for a game of stick-throwing. He obliges without much enthusiasm. He's not James. He can't really deal with me.
I give up and look for things to do on my own. I chase a tabby cat up a fence post. Hey moggie, just kidding! Won't hurt you. She eyes me suspiciously, but she understands. Remus doesn't. He calls me back. All right, I'll be a good boy. I roll on the grass and jump after butterflies. Remus watches me. That look of pity again.
“James was right. You're so much happier as a dog and I would give anything never to turn into the beast again.”
I rub my nose at his hips to comfort him. Don't be sad. I like Moony. I don't blame him for trying to bite me last year. No harm done.
We sit down on the patio for a while. I rest my head on his knee. He runs his fingers through my fur. Oh yes, that's good, right behind the ears. Don't stop.
He starts talking, about Sirius, about James, about Lily and their puppy Harry. I listen. He needs someone to talk to, but Sirius can't. He thinks too much. It's better this way. You talk; I listen. We're not alone any more. I stay with you for a while. I'm your doggie. It's good to be a dog, no need to talk, no need to remember, your fingers fondling my ears.
Suddenly he stands up.
“I need to do a bit of work today, one or two reply letters.”
We go back into the house and Remus sits down at his desk. I stretch out in front of the fire.
“I guess you're not going to help me?”
I stretch and grin. Dogs like me can grin. Remus starts reading a letter, taking notes.
The fire is cold. I wish he would light it. I like fire. I rest my head on my front paws staring at him pointedly.
“Do you want me to do anything?”
I wag my tail and look at the fireplace.
“Fire? It isn't cold in here.”
I whimper looking at him and then at the fireplace, back and forth.
“All right, all right, I light a fire for you.”
Remus flicks his wand and tiny flames spring up.
I wag my tail cheerfully.
“Careful Padfoot, you'll catch fire.”
No, I won't! I roll on my back and stretch luxuriously. Fire feels so good. Red tongues lick at the wooden logs; yellow flames waver. Some have tiny blue tips. Sparks fly up into the blackness of the chimney. The warmth penetrates my fur, my skin, my whole body, my soul. I roll over. I watch the flames, red and gold dancing merrily. When I close my eyes, I can still see the flickering flames. I listen to the crackle of the wood and the scratching of Remus' pen, slowing sinking deep into the warmth. Let it last forever, never feel cold again. I swish my tail to put out the sparks that have fallen on my fur. Outside the sky turns red, red like the flames. The scratching of Remus' pen has ceased. His chin rests on his folded hands. He's watching me again, worry and pity. Yes; it's because of the Dementors! So what? You don't understand. You can't! Nobody can! I manage; I managed within; I will manage now. Why not enjoy the warmth, when you can? No harm done.
Remus finally moves.
“What do you think? Time for supper?”
I rise, too, Supper sounds good to me.
“Turn human, if you want your share. I won't waste shepherd's pie and spotted dick on a dog.”
I lower my head, look away, yawn. Calming signals. I don't really want to turn human, but I know I've got to sooner or later. Good food is a reason.
Before I've performed the transformation, the door bell rings. I jump up and run to the door barking.
Remus shoos me away and opens. Dumbledore, twinkling, smiling kindly and he's got my trunk! I stop barking, but I don't wag my tail.
“Remus, nice to see you. And you of course, Padfoot. Nice to see you, too.”
He bows slightly down to pet my head and then fondles my ear. He knows exactly what he's doing and he's damn good at it. I can't help wagging.
“May I come in?”
“Yes, of course, we were about to make supper. Do you want to join us?”
“No thanks, but don't let me disturb you. I've come to talk to Sirius. Padfoot, if you don't mind....”
I do mind! I step back and stop wagging. A talk with Dumbledore always makes me feel like I'm still a student, but wearing a silk dressing gown, red with green paisley, twice my size and barely long enough to cover my knees it becomes unbearable. Remus saves the situation.
“I think Sirius would prefer to change first. He's been waiting for his trunk all day.”
“How thoughtless of me, sure go change. I'll talk to Remus first.”
So kind and understanding, thank you very much. I run up the stairs following my trunk to the second bedroom. The two of them return to the sitting room.
“Yes Albus, he seems fine enough. A bit grumpy for having to wear my father's bathrobe.”
Dumbledore chuckles, while Remus obviously describes the look. I thought you were my friend!
When I return, Dumbledore is about to finish giving a more detailed account of last night.
“Severus went back to Voldemort on my orders. That's why I've been so late, he needed some rest after his return and I wanted to wait for his report, before I made any further decisions.”
“Snape is a Death Eater?” Remus cries out in shock. “Did you know that?”
I nod. I must have forgotten to mention this detail last night. He returned to Voldemort hours after the Dark Mark started to burn? There's no denying the slimy git's got guts. It took a good deal of nerve to show the mark to Fudge, but that.... What on earth made Dumbledore think his spy had any chance to return alive? 'Since when does he care?' whispers the dark voice in my mind. I don't listen to Dementor's echoes.
“Severus joined our side during the first war. The information he provides is invaluable for our fight. I expect both of you to get along with him.”
“Certainly Albus, I'll do my best to work with Severus.” Is there no limit to your kindness, Remus? You have even more reason to hate Snivellus than I have. Have you forgotten what he planned the night he went down the tunnel? But it's 'yes Albus, sure Albus, everything you ask me to do'. Sit at heel, wag your tail, Moony! Who's the dog? You or me?
“Keep the snake away from me and I'll promise not to hex him first!” I growl. Joined during the first war? There's no doubt who fed you the lies which made you believe I was the traitor.
Dumbledore's eyes bore into my mind. I hardly can hold his gaze. I won't look away, not now! I won't forget just to please you.
“Sirius, I need you, especially you, to co-operate with Severus. I came here to ask you a favour which makes it inevitable for you to meet with him quite often.” Dumbledore fumbles in his pockets. “But at first I have something for you. Kingsley removed it from the Ministry stores this morning and sent it to me. He thought you might like to have it back.”
I can't believe my eyes! He produces my wand. My own blackthorn wand. It feels so good to hold it again. I run my fingers over the decorated surface fighting the urge to try it immediately. It has become a bit dull over the years, but otherwise it's in perfect condition. 'Don't let them know what this means to you.' warns the voice in my mind. I can't hide my happiness. I am so grateful I would do anything. Now with my wand back I can do something at last.
“Thank you very much, Albus. This is.... Tell Kingsley I'm so grateful. “ I pause for a second wondering. “He won't get in trouble because of it, will he?”
“Don't worry. He replaced it with a fake. He's in charge of your case now. There's no danger that anyone else will try it and find out. They are a bit reluctant to touch a Dark Wizard's wand.”
“Superstitious idiots!” I laugh.”You said I can do you a favour. What is it? I'll be more than happy to be of use.”
Dumbledore looks very satisfied.
“Well, you mentioned to Harry that he could live with you in your house. I suppose you meant your parents' house in London. Your flat has been cleared by the Ministry after your arrest. The house would be ideal for headquarters of the Order. Hogwarts with its Anti-Apparition wards is rather inconvenient to have a lot of people come and go. Are you sure the house belongs to you? Your parents have disowned you.”
“Yes, the house is mine. There's a magic entail on it my parents couldn't break. They cut me off from access to the family vault and I couldn't enter the house at will anymore, while they lived. They might have been able to twist the entail to put Regulus first, but after his death it returned to me. It may have been different, if he had sons of his own. As it stands I'm the only living male of the name of Black. I guess my mother passed some of her private fortune and belongings on to my cousins. It won't make a noticeable difference.”
“You seem quite confident about that.” Dumbledore asks.
I nod. There's no doubt. “My father made us learn about Black family tradition, Black family laws and all the other nonsense, since we were hardly able to read or write. Direct male line Sirius, Orion, Arcturus, Sirius, Phineas, Mortimer, Alphard, Regulus, Pollux, Cygnus....blahblahblah. 56 generations learned by heart over the years, to be recited before bedtime. The house is at your disposal, if you wish, but for two small problems. The protections are rather tricky and only answer to someone of Black blood and it's not empty.”
“My parents' house elf Kreacher, lovely fellow. I suppose he's still alive, lurking in the house, waiting for someone to come and cut his head off for dropping the tea tray. I guess I should return and do him the favour.”
“Sirius! How could you? An elf is bound to follow his masters' orders and can't be held responsible.” Remus is quite upset. He's never met Kreacher. Traditional family elves aren't the cute, obedient fellows he knows from Hogwarts. Dumbledore should know better.
“The elf belongs to you. He must obey your orders.”
“I can make him. But that doesn't solve the problem with the wards. The house can get rather unfriendly, unless I come to live there.”
“That's what I wanted to ask from you. “ Dumbledore states and adds in a casual tone. “Harry only has to stay with his relatives for a short time once a year. If you can make it fit for human accommodation, he can spend the summer with you.”
Live there again? I offered it to Harry in the spur of the moment. As a free man I could have changed a lot, dropped most of the wards, torn it down to the foundation walls and rebuild from scratch, if necessary. Will it be possible to turn it into a home for Harry and me without drawing too much attention? It must be possible. Dumbledore had not offered it, if he thought it wasn't. I will do my utmost to make it a home, a bit of cleaning, clearing out the dark stuff. It's not a prison, when I hold the keys.
Dumbledore talks on. He explains the advantages of its central location, large enough for the whole order to meet and protected against the Ministry. I don't really listen anymore. I'm planning how to make the house inhabitable. To give Harry a home....
“I'll have a look at the house first thing tomorrow. “
“Remus can accompany you. You'd better go as Padfoot. The Auror Office doesn't have his description, yet.”
Dumbledore has had his say and leaves.
Clanking plates wake me from my dreams. Remus is preparing supper. I should go and help him. There's not much left for me to do.
“I'll do the washing up.” I promise.
“I never knew you were so skilled with doing the chores.”
I don't tell him how many hours we've spent in the kitchen watching Kreacher. Father locked himself up in his study and it was usually better to avoid Mother.
"Are you sure you want to do it?"
“Return to your parent's house to live there. As long as I remember you said you hated the place.”
I breathe deeply. I'm asking myself the same question since Dumbledore mentioned it. Do I really want to return?
“It's just a house.” Am I trying to convince Remus or myself? “It's not like it is cursed or something. It became a prison because my mother made it one. To be honest it used to be quite luxurious, lots of space for me and Harry. Maybe his friends can come, too and fill it with life and laughter.”
“Sirius, have you listened to one word Dumbledore has said? You won't be able to leave it and you will have to stay there, when Harry returns to Hogwarts.”
“I've heard what he said, Bullocks! Of course I will be able to get out. I've been able to escape the Aurors for two years. I have my own wand back and a safe place to live. Why should it be more difficult now? I know a bit of Transfiguration and if you can part with a lock or two, there's Polyjuice. ”
Remus looks at me doubtfully. Can't he understand that I want to have a chance with Harry?
I remember how Regulus and I played as kids. Harry could do the same. He is still just a boy. I'd love to play Quidditch against him to see, if I'm still up to it and show him a few tricks. I imagine how we would talk. I'd like to know, if he likes blueberries. James was mad about them. Mrs Potter feared the time when they were ripe more than anything else, because the stains can't be removed magically. Lily made pies and chased us out off the kitchen with a broom.
James and I had made so many plans for Harry, all the things we wanted to show him, all the places we wanted to take him. First of all I want to take him to Godric's Hollow to visit his parents' graves. It was the first place I went after Azkaban.
Maybe it's not too late to be a godfather.