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As ever, it’s JKR’s

 

Chapter 17

 

Harry appeared in the kitchen, looking tired and drawn, but a lot happier than he had since he had returned to Grimmauld Place for Christmas.  He had saved the life of Arthur Weasley; he had dreamt that he had seen a snake attacking him in the ministry and had raised the alarm. 

 

But Hermione had spoken to Terese the previous night, and said she was sure Harry had thought he was possessed by Voldemort.  Terese and Sirius had been up most of the night talking about it.  Now they were sitting in the kitchen.  AJ, unusually, was asleep in his basket in the corner. 

 

“Alright, Harry mate?”  Sirius asked.

 

“Yeah, I think so.” He replied. 

 

“Are you sure?”  Terese asked, concerned.  Harry guessed immediately that someone had told her their suspicions about his thoughts. 

 

“Yeah, Terese.  I’m… ok”

 

“You don’t think that you’re… that he…”  Harry shook his head.

 

“No.  Ginny said… well… No, I don’t” he concluded awkwardly.  Terese continued looking at him searchingly. 

 

“Are you sure?”

 

“Tess, let him have his breakfast” Sirius said as Harry sat down at the table and helped himself to the sausages, eggs and bacon that was left on there. 

 

“Alright, I’m just making sure” she said huffily. 

 

“He said he’s ok, babe.  Now would you sit down and eat something?” 

 

“I’m going to have a shower first” she said.  “Can you keep an eye on AJ?”

 

“I think I can manage” he said, rolling his eyes at his godson.  She clipped him round the ear and left the room.  “So, before you had to come here, how was your term?” he asked Harry.

 

“It was ok.  Umbridge…” Sirius pulled a face.

 

“Old bag.” He said. “You’re still doing that DA thing, though?”

 

“Yeah we have been.  There’s loads of members now” he said.  He debated whether to talk to his godfather about what had happened before he had the dream.  Now he wasn’t convinced that he was possessed, he could think about it again.

 

“That’s good.”

 

“Sirius…” he began. 

 

“Yeah?”

 

“Before I… at the last meeting there were all these Christmas decorations and stuff up in the room.  Mistletoe…”

 

“Uh huh” Sirius grinned.  “Come in handy, did it?”  Harry looked at the table, and nodded.

 

“Anyone I know?”

 

“A Ravenclaw. Cho Chang.”

 

“And?”

 

“She cried.”

 

“She cried?”

 

“Yeah.  Well she was going out with Cedric Diggory.”

 

“Oh!”  Sirius said, nonplussed.  “Do you like her though?”  Harry nodded again.

 

“Since last year.  I wanted to ask her to the Yule Ball but Cedric asked her first.”    

 

“But she likes you now?” 

 

“I think so, yeah.”  Sirius grinned at his godson. 

 

“Nice one” he held up his hand which Harry, slightly reluctantly, hi-fived.

 

“But it can’t be a good thing that she cried.”

 

“If her boyfriend…” Sirius began, stopping as he tried to work out how to finish the sentence tactfully.

 

“So you don’t think it was because of me then?”

 

“Harry mate, it’s not always that simple.  Tess still has the ability to completely bewilder me.  But I will say that there’s no point in forcing it.  Just let it happen.”  Sirius replied as the door opened and Terese walked in.  Sirius grabbed her wrist and pulled her onto his lap, tipped her back and kissed her.  Harry, once over his initial embarrassment, was sure that she was going to be irritated and cross with him for it.  Instead, she slipped her arms around his neck until he swung her upright.  They pulled apart and she flushed, giggling slightly.  Harry thought she wasn’t unlike the girls at school had been over the Yule Ball.

 

“Sirius…” she said eventually, smacking him lightly on the shoulder.  “What was that in aid of?”  Sirius shrugged.

 

“Does there have to be a reason?” he asked, winking at Harry as she stood up.  She walked over to look at AJ, who had begun to stir.  She put her hand on him to try and sooth him back to sleep for a bit longer.  Harry walked over and stood next to her.

 

“He’s grown so much again”

 

“I know.  You did as well”

 

“Did I?” he asked.  He was still unused to being around people willing to talk about his early years and his parents.  He rested his hand on the side of the basket.  Terese saw the scar on there.  The I must not tell lies

 

“What’s this?” she asked, in a voice that made Sirius look up in alarm, ready to pacify her when her temper inevitably snapped.

 

“It’s nothing” Harry mumbled, pulling his hand away from her and yanking his sleeve down over it.

 

“Harry, don’t!”  She said softly.  “What is that on your hand?”

 

“What? What’s on his hand?” Sirius asked.

 

“A scar.  That says I must not tell lies.

 

“Eh?”  Sirius frowned.

 

“I had detention.  With Umbridge. And I had to write lines…”  Harry couldn’t finish his explanation; Terese let out an angry hiss, which would have been louder had she not been aware of her son still asleep. She spun round and, grabbing her pashmina and heading to the fireplace.

 

“Tess. Where are you going?”  Sirius said.

 

“I’m going to kick that evil old cowbag into the middle of next week” she hissed again.  Sirius quickly moved after her and grabbed her around the waist.  She struggled in his grasp, her legs flailing and kicking out hopelessly.  Harry watched, guiltily.  Minutes ago he had witnessed such a happy, domesticated family scene; now because of him his godmother was about to try and attack a ministry official.

 

“Tess, listen to me.  Listen…” Sirius said as she began to calm down.  “If you go over there shouting the odds, it’s going to make it worse.  She’ll go after Harry worse than ever, and the ministry are desperate to disgrace anyone they think is friendly with Dumbledore.  You’ll be playing right into her hands.  They want to get something on us more than anyone.  Do you want them to have an excuse to put you in Azkaban, or take AJ away…”  She froze.

 

“They can’t.  They can’t take any of you away” she whispered fearfully.

 

“Terese, look.  It’ll be fine.  Honestly.  I’m not going to let her get to me.”

 

“Have you told Dumbledore?”  Sirius asked.

 

“No.  He’s got enough to deal with.  So have you two.  I promise, it’s ok.  She’s not going to win.”

 

 

 

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