SIRIUS BLACK CLEARED OF CHARGES In a surprising turn of events, the Minister of Magic claimed that Sirius Black, the presumably notorious convict of Azkaban, was actually innocent and not to be blamed for the crimes he supposedly committed more than twelve years ago. Under the influence of a truth serum, Black claimed that it was not him that performed the murders but indeed another Death Eater, Peter Pettigrew, who escaped justice due to his being an unregistered Animagus. Black is now once more a certified member of our community and has reclaimed his proper wizarding status. All charges against him have been dropped. He is currently residing in his childhood home and is eager to take his place as a wizard once more. Sirius slammed the DAILY PROPHET edition down onto the worn kitchen table. "See that?! SEE THAT?! Oh baby, this thing is going down in history: October Third, I am a free man!" Everyone cheered and Cassie laughed. "Doesn't it feel great, Sirius?" Everyone was in Grimmauld Place- Sirius, Cassie, Remus, the Weasleys, Harry, Hermione, and Dumbledore. Harry had greatly improved physically, even though his arms still bore the tell-tale scars from his stitches. He was talking animatedly to Ron and Hermione. Ron's skin was finally back to normal, and Hermione's eyes were their usual brown. They had been released from quarantine the previous week. The other students had gone back to the school to fully recover in the Hospital Wing, but Dumbledore had managed to smuggle the three of them to Sirius's house to celebrate the clearing of his name. Even with Mrs. Weasley clucking at them in concern, they were incredibly happy. Remus, though still looking a bit haggard from his full-moon transformation, was smiling as he spoke quietly with Dumbledore. Fred, George, Ginny and Percy were all clutching butterbeers and playing some sort of bizarre drinking game that involved the loser having to stand up on his chair and sing an opera tune. So far, Percy was the only one who had had to. Sirius and Cassie were sharing a chair, and Sirius had one arm curled tightly around Cassie's waist. She leaned her head on his shoulder and sighed in contentment. "Sirius, I don't know when I've ever been so happy," she murmured into his ear. He grinned. "Me neither, sweet," he said, kissing her cheek. "But this is great… people are actually coming up to me in the street and apologizing for hating me." "They ought to," Cassie said. "Serves them right, the idiots." "Ah," Sirius said, smiling. He looked up as Dumbledore stood, his long robes making him look like royalty. "May I have your attention?" he called softly, and everyone fell silent, save the random hiccup from Fred and George. Dumbledore smiled. "It is my great pleasure to be with all of you tonight for such a wonderful occasion." "Hear hear!" Ron called, and everyone laughed. "But even this news- Sirius being free- is not all that is to be said tonight." "What do you mean?" Sirius asked, confused. Dumbledore said nothing, but the distinct twinkle was dancing in his eye. "Sirius," the old man said, "Remus, I have a proposition for you both." Sirius and Remus looked at Dumbledore, clearly not knowing what he was going to say. "As we only have a substitute in the position now, I was wondering whether both of you would like to come and teach Defense Against the Dark Arts at Hogwarts." Everyone gasped in delight and looked at the two men in question. Sirius looked as though every dream of his had come true at once. Remus, however, looked doubtful and uncomfortable. "Albus," he slowly said, "but… but what about what happened last time I taught? I thought that we agreed it would be safer if I did not teach." "That has been taken into consideration and overlooked," Dumbledore said, smiling. "Even now, after all of this time, I am receiving owls from parents saying that their children want you to come back. I have never had a more wonderful teacher than you in that position, Remus, and I would prefer to keep it that way. Being a werewolf can easily be remedied, as there have been more advancements with the Wolfsbane Potion." Remus's face burned and he grinned. Sirius suddenly let out a whoop of laughter. "Severus is going to kill you," he crowed. "He hates me, he hates Remus, but putting both of us together-" "I have actually spoken to Severus about this, and while he was not originally too keen on the idea, he gave in towards the end," Dumbledore said. "Although it most certainly took a lot of bargaining on my part." "Co-teaching," Sirius said thoughtfully, tapping his chin with one finger. "Remus, what do you think?" "I think we could definitely have some fun with this," Remus answered, a gleam in his eye. "Two of the Marauders, back to running Hogwarts. I'm liking the idea." "Why co-teaching, though?" Sirius asked. "I mean, Remus is definitely the one more qualified for the job." "You both have proven yourself as amazing defenders against the Dark Arts," Dumbledore explained. "And I figured, since you both are so close and you will undoubtedly be staying together anyways, why not offer you both a position where you can work with each other? This will allow you to cover more in class, provide more discussion… and it will let both of you get a firm handle on your personal status before moving on to other things, if you want to. Besides," he added, "I want people who will take the position seriously and train the students for the real world. I know that I can trust both of you to do that." Remus looked as though he was struggling not to get too excited, just in case something happened that took the opportunity away from him. Sirius, however, was bouncing in excitement and turned to the others. "What do you think?!" he almost shouted, his eyes dancing. Harry, Ron and Hermione all grinned at him. "It's a great idea," Hermione said at once. "Having you two teach? We'll be able to slack all year," Ron said, smiling. "I think it's perfect," Harry said enthusiastically. "That's the most perfect teaching idea you could have come up with, Professor Dumbledore." Sirius looked as though he was going to explode from his exhilaration, but turned instead to Remus. "I'll only do it if you do it, Remus." Remus stared, first at Dumbledore, and then at Sirius. Then his gaze slowly moved to Harry, Ron and Hermione. "Albus," he said, "It would be an honor." Sirius let out a bizarre war-call and punched his fist into the air. Cassie threw her arms about him and, turning his head towards her, dragged him towards her and started kissing him deeply. Remus started laughing and leaned back in his chair. "Professor Lupin," he said quietly. "Merlin, I've missed the sound of that." "Professor Lupin?!" Sirius exclaimed, pausing in mid-kiss with Cassie. "Who cares about Professor Lupin?! We've got Professor Black coming to Hogwarts!" "Hogwarts is doomed," George called, and let out a shout as Sirius threw a napkin at his head. "You know," Harry commented, "if you had told me when they were both kids they'd be Professors one day, I'd have laughed in your face." "Well," Dumbledore said, smiling, "Fate often does have odd twists." "Yeah," Harry said, watching happily as Sirius started to twirl Cassie around the kitchen. "Yeah, it definitely does."
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