How could he have done this? Why did he betray them? How had he managed to fool them all for as long he did? Had they ever truly known him?
Sirius pushed down the anger he could feel welling up inside of him, knowing that now was not the time to go running off to find Peter. He needed to find out if his best friends and godson had survived their encounter with Voldemort, but just looking the huge gaping hole in the roof, where he knew Harry’s room was, he could tell that it was highly unlikely that any of them had. Even so, he needed to confirm it before he went after that traitorous rat who had fooled them all.
Tearing his gaze from the roof, Sirius’ gaze moved towards the front door to find Rubeus Hagrid, a fellow member of the Order of the Phoenix, moving towards him. It looked like there was something in Hagrid’s arms, but Sirius was unable to tell due to the sheer size of the man walking along the garden path.
“Are they…” Sirius started to ask but a lump quickly formed in his throat, forcing the end of the question back down.
“Lily and James didn’t make it, but Harry here somehow survived whatever happened in his room.”
Sirius immediately shifted his gaze to the bundle the half-giant was carrying, shocked to see a mess of black hair that he knew belonged to his precious godson. He quickly glanced back up to the hole of the roof and wondered how Harry had managed to survive the destruction that had been caused.
“Pa, Pa,” a tiny voice came, pulling his attention back to the bundle in Hagrid’s arms.
Sirius couldn’t help the small smile that graced his lips as he heard the name Harry had come to call him in past few months. Padfoot was too big and hard a word for a child his age to say, especially when he was still learning to talk, and his vocabulary was extremely limited. However, the smile disappeared the moment he caught sight of a lightning-shaped cut on the forehead of his godson.
Moving nearer to Hagrid, he conjured a cloth and carefully cleaned the cut clean of the blood and dust covering it. He carefully looked at the cut, intrigued by its shape. His healing skills were limited at best, but something told him that even the best Healer would not be able to rid his godson of the cut that now resided on his forehead. Shaking the thoughts away, he Banished the cloth and took his godson into his arms, who immediately curled into his godfather’s chest.
“What are you doing here, Hagrid?” Sirius asked as he turned his attention back to the half-giant.
“I’m here on orders from Professor Dumbledore,” Hagrid explained. “He notified me about an hour ago, saying something had happened at the Potter’s house and he needed me ter come find out what had happened and see if anyone had survived. He told me ter meet him in Surrey at an address he gave me if Harry was alive.”
Sirius knew Dumbledore was considering placing Harry with his relatives as he knew Petunia, Lily’s sister lived there. He knew they were Muggles who didn’t like magic, James had told him as much, but they could keep Harry safe while he went and apprehended Peter for his betrayal. He knew it was a risk to go after Peter. There were too many unknowns now when it came to dealing with his so-called friend and if he didn’t play right, it could end with him being taken away from Harry.
Sirius glanced down at the little boy in his arms, who was starting to drift off to sleep, and he knew in that moment he needed to put Harry first. He couldn’t be making reckless decisions anymore and going after Peter would be doing so. He had to keep his promise to James and Lily that, no matter what happened, Harry would always come first. He loved this little boy more than life itself and he knew he would do anything to protect him.
“No, Harry won’t be going to his relatives. I’m his godfather and he is my responsibility now.”
Sirius paused, waiting for Hagrid to protest, knowing he would want to follow the orders he was given from the headmaster.
“Where will you go?” came the unexpected reply.
Sirius looked up at the half-giant, surprised to see a glimmer of understanding in his eyes.
“James and Lily made me set up an additional safe house that only I and one other person know about. They wanted to make sure Harry would remain protected if they died.”
Sirius choked as the reminder of the fact his best friends had been killed slammed into him. He didn’t know how he and Harry were going to survive without them, but he knew he was going to try his hardest to give his godson the best life he could, even if they were in hiding.
“What will I tell Dumbledore?” Hagrid asked once he could see the grieving man had regained his composure. “He was insistent that Harry was to go to his relatives.”
“Tell him I will be in contact with him in a few days’ time once Harry and I are settled at our new home. I will need to speak to him as he was not aware of everything James and Lily had planned to protect Harry, but make it known that they were insistent that Harry did not go to his relatives, unless it was the only option available.”
The conversation with Dumbledore would be unavoidable as most people, including the headmaster, believed himself to be the Secret Keeper for the Potters. He knew, then, that he would have to remain at the safe house with Harry until it was made known who the real traitor was – Peter Pettigrew – and he could safely leave the house without fear of being arrested. That meant he would need to notify his Secret Keeper that he would be at the house and that they would need to reveal the location so Dumbledore could meet with him.
“I need you to also pass on a message to Professor McGonagall for me.”
Sirius carefully passed a sleeping Harry over to Hagrid to hold and then proceeded to summon a piece of parchment and a quill. He caught them easily and he quickly wrote a note stating where he was going and what he needed the Transfiguration teacher to do for him.
“Please make sure you give this to her the moment you see her,” he asked Hagrid as he passed the note to him.
Hagrid gave him a nod in agreement as he placed the note securely in his pocket.
“Could you hold Harry for a few more minutes?” Sirius asked just as Hagrid went to pass Harry back to him. “I need to Summon a few things of Harry’s before we leave.”
Hagrid held onto Harry as requested as Sirius raised his wand and immediately Summoned a bag to place the items he didn’t want to leave behind. Then, in quick succession, he Summoned into the bag several items, including clothing, a toy broom, several stuffed toys and a few framed photos he knew Harry would appreciate when he was older. Satisfied he had everything he wanted from the house, while also knowing the essentials were already stocked at their safe house, he zipped up the bag and put it over his shoulder.
“We better be going,” Sirius said as he took Harry into his arms and placed him in the baby carrier he had Summoned. “I don’t want to be here with Harry when the Aurors inevitably get here to investigate what has happened.”
Sirius turned away from the half-giant and began to walk towards the gate.
The wizard paused and turned his head to look back, carefully keeping his eyes on Hagrid to avoid looking at the house where his friends had died.
“Will yeh be okay?”
Sirius nodded as he replied, “We will be eventually.”
Even though it looked like Hagrid wanted to say something else, Sirius looked back to where he was heading and moved towards the gate once again before anything else could be said.
“Just please pass that note onto Professor McGonagall, Hagrid,” Sirius said as he finally reached the gate and left the property.
He quickly moved to his motorbike that was parked across the lane from the house, wanting to be leave the area before anyone could stop them.
Before he settled onto the bike, he made sure Harry was secured and cast a number of charms to protect the baby while they travelled. Once he had cast his own charms to protect himself while travelling, he jumped on his bike, turned it on and drove away, not once looking back at the village.
It was about an hour later when Sirius finally pulled his motorbike onto the lane that led to the safehouse. As he drove through the wards, he felt a bit of tension drain away from his body at the knowledge that he and Harry were now safe and hidden from anyone who could cause them harm.
The wards surrounding the cottage were the strongest wards that could be used around a property and the best that money could buy from the warding team at Gringotts. The Fidelius Charm had obviously been used with only himself and Professor McGonagall, their Secret Keeper, being aware where the property was. The goblins had added a number of complicated wards that used magical signatures that would only allow select people, specifically those that did not carry the Dark Mark and those who did not mean them harm, to cross the wards onto the property. The sheer number of wards that had been used meant this was currently the safest place they could be, and Sirius wished James and Lily had used them too as it would have meant them having time to escape once Voldemort had been able to get through the Fidelius.
Looking down at the sleeping child, still comfortably strapped to his chest, Sirius could only sigh in defeat at a now unachievable wish. He knew his friends had refused the idea of the additional wards for multiple reasons, one of which they had refused to reveal. They had chosen this option to make sure Harry would have somewhere safe to live, far from prying eyes and from those who wished to harm him further. He could only hope that their decision would be fully revealed to him in some way now that the worst-case scenario had come to pass.
Sirius shook the thoughts from his head and focused on what needed to be done now – taking care of his precious godchild. He finally climbed off the motorbike and headed into the small cottage that would now be their home.
The house had been chosen specifically for its location, far from any villages or towns, with their nearest neighbour being a good couple of miles away. The property had plenty of land, with James specifically stating, when they had found the house, that he wanted to build a mini Quidditch pitch when Harry was old enough, something Sirius knew he, himself, would make happen. The house had everything that they could need, having been fully furnished and set up so it was ready for use if they needed to use it. He knew James had come out here once a week to check on the house and to add any additional things, like food, that would be needed.
On reaching Harry’s room, Sirius stood in the doorway and took a look at the layout of the room. He had not seen the room since he came with James to take a look at the house, ahead of his friend buying the property. He couldn’t help the small smile that appeared on his face as he realised that James had made sure the room was a complete replica of Harry’s room in Godric’s Hollow. It seemed James had wanted the transition for Harry to be as smooth as possible.
Sirius felt Harry begin to stir, causing him to finally move into the room and over to the changing table. He quickly and carefully removed Harry from the carrier onto the table. Luckily, Harry settled back down, making it easier for Sirius to clean the child up and change his clothes and nappy before he transferred him into the cot.
He remained standing watching over his godson as he slept. He didn’t know how he was going to manage suddenly becoming the parental figure in Harry’s life, but he knew he would manage somehow, because James and Lily trusted and believed in him to do so. He also knew it meant that he would be responsible for protecting Harry if Voldemort ever returned, something Dumbledore had been adamant would happen if he was defeated too soon. If Dumbledore’s guess was correct, and it most definitely would be, then Voldemort would more than likely come after Harry in retaliation for what had happened tonight. Therefore, Sirius needed to make sure Harry could fight when the time came.
Grateful that Harry had settled down without any problems, Sirius finally left his godson’s room and headed to the bathroom to clean himself up.
Once clean and changed into fresh clothes, Sirius headed back downstairs and into the living room, where he proceeded to collapse onto the sofa. The silence of the house didn’t ease the heartbreak he felt deep within him and before he could gain control of his emotions, the tears began flowing from eyes. Knowing it was no use to ignore his grief, he allowed himself to fully succumb to it as he wept for the loss of his closest friends.
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