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Chapter Eight

Seriously Sirius



He would remember the dream of his youth when he and James Potter would rumble through the halls of Hogwarts, two hellions on top of the world. Life had been a wonder then and he had so loved being there away from this house that was now his prison. The dreams of James, and Remus, his fellow Marauder’s had kept his sanity within the hell that had been Azkaban Prison. Sadly, his youth remembrances hadn’t kept the demons away as much in the horrible hole of a home that imprisoned him. It was somehow harder to keep his sanity when he was locked in the house at Grimmauld Place, with his mother screaming insults at anyone who walked in the door and her crazy dirty mouth little house elf reminding him of the horror that was his childhood as a pureblood Black. He hardly had any dreams of a future anymore except when he looked at Harry, James and Lily’s son.

Harry was the spiting image of James. Sirius couldn’t help himself when he was near him. Even though Harry could never be James, he felt his youth again in the reflection of Harry’s eyes and yearned for it. It was hard to think about. In fact, sometimes it was hard to think at all. He had been locked away for so long in Azkaban Prison that his mind had been affected. The Dementors had taken chipped away, bit-by-bit the joys of his soul. It was so difficult sometimes to remember what was and what he imagined it was.


The will to seek revenge on Peter Pettigrew had kept him going, kept him alive and focused while in prison. He would be focused on that still but for Dumbledore confining him to the house, the jail of his youth. It was just one big bad dream. As his whole life after James and Lily had died had been, one long bad dream. It was only brightened by Harry’s need of him. Harry was the troubled boy with no parents who now looked to him, his godfather, as his family. It was seductive and the Black in him was seduced by that need. He needed to be needed. It was as simple as that. The boy gave him life again.

Sirius waited by the fire in the kitchen, sometimes for whole days, except when he was upstairs keeping Buckbeak company. People did come to the house almost daily. Grimmauld place was a stopping off, checking in and reporting central office for the Order of the Phoenix. All the members who fought against Voldemort were given free access to the house. He wasn’t really always alone with his thoughts. He had the Order’s purposes to keep him company. Sirius was grateful for that purpose at least. Anything was better than spending his days cleaning out the Black mansion of pests and magic vermin that infested the house. Such drudgery was more than he could bear when others were out there fighting Voldemort and finding the traitor Peter Pettigrew. He wanted so much to be with them.

Remus and Tonks walked in the front door of Grimmauld Place and for once Sirius’ mother did not scream bloody murder.

“Wotcher, cousin,” said Tonks coming in and throwing herself on the seat next to him and the fire.

“So talk,” said Sirius. “I’ve been sitting and waiting for two bloody days with only the spiders for company. How’d it go?” He was irritable that his tea was cold but he was glad to see them.

Remus stood looking at him with a pained expression. It was killing him seeing Padfoot like this. It was almost as bad as thinking for twelve years that his closest friend had betrayed them all.

“It was very exciting,” said Tonks smiling up at Lupin. “Remus made some new friends and we got to tussle a bit with Uncle Lucy, which is always good for a laugh.”

Sirius smirked. “Malfoy showed up, heh?”

“Recruitment, I think he was trying to do,” said Lupin. “He didn’t really make much of an effort. And then,” Remus made a face at her, “Tonks scared him off first thing before we could duel and accidentally kill him.”

“Very funny.” Tonks stuck her tongue out at Lupin. “Seriously, Sirius you should have seen the werewolves. They’re everywhere, you know. I no longer believe that there are just a few. Half of Britain is werewolf, I’m sure.”

“What’s this?” asked Sirius trying to make sense of what his younger cousin was saying.

“Two hundred werewolves in Wolvin Village,” said Remus, hardly able to believe it himself still and he’d seen it with his own two eyes. “Two hundred.”

“You should have seen Lupin, Sirius,” said Tonks. “They accepted him like a long lost brother and invited him to run at the full moon.”

A pained expression appeared on Sirius’ face. He looked to Lupin, who knew exactly what he was thinking. Inside Lupin was dying for his friend and frankly, himself. He remembered how Agatha had called him the lone wolf but really it was worse than that. His pack had all but died off. They had been betrayed by one of their own. His family could no longer run under the moon together. Sirius was the only one left and he was damaged by life and trapped by the past. There would be no running under the moon with those of his clan.

Remus turned away from the pain and searched for the kettle. When in doubt or under pressure, making tea was the best stress reliever.

“So have they joined us then?” asked Sirius trying to forget his thoughts and concentrate on important matters at hand.

“I’d say they have,” said Tonks. “You should have seen them when Lucius walked into their meeting. Ten or fifteen wands came out and were pointed at the git.”

“Wands? Some of the werewolves are wizards?” Sirius was shocked.

“Yeppers, Remus isn’t the only wizard that’s a werewolf,” said Tonks nodding. “They’ve even got their own little school to teach magic.”

“Do tell?” said Sirius thinking. “I wonder if Dumbledore knew?”

“Of course, he did!” said Remus more stridently then he normally would have. He realized he felt some bitterness toward Dumbledore. “I can’t imagine why he never told me. All these years and there were so many others like me.”

The kitchen door opened and Mad-Eye Moody walked in swirling his head all around so his revolving eye could make sure that the coast was clear.

“Wotcher, gaffer,” called Tonks.

Mad-Eye didn’t say anything but traveled around the room for a minute looking for intruders.

“Tea, Moody?” asked Remus.

Moody stopped and looked at him as if he’d grown three heads. “Are you daft, man? That stuff will kill you.” He took out his flask and held it up to show Remus. “Always drink your own to be safe.”

“You are so-o-o-o paranoid, old man,” said Tonks, rolling her eyes.

“As well you should be!” snapped Mad-Eye.

“So you’re off from the Malfoys?” asked Sirius conversationally. “What’s happening at the devil’s lair, these days?”

“I’ve got Tomasina Tall over to the house watching that Death Eater Snape having dinner with the snake.” He growled again. “I cannot stomach that pasty faced vampire working for the Order.”

Sirius snorted his agreement.

“His help has been invaluable to the Order,” said Tonks reasonably. “He’s the only one that we’ve got close to You-Know-Who. Dumbledore trusts him.”

“Sodding Snivellus was always a sneak,” said Sirius bitterly.

Remus looked over at him with a worried look. There was not enough light in Padfoot’s life. He needed a distraction, a purpose, something to bring his spirits up. Lupin was at a loss. It wasn’t as if he himself was on top of the world. He could use a distraction as well. He suddenly thought of Felicity Wood and felt his heart leap a little at the thought of her. She was a delightful distraction.

“I think I’ll send Hedwig back to Hogwarts, Sirius,” he said casually. “Would you like me to get a message to Harry, Padfoot?”

Sirius’ face brightened up. “Well, I was thinking of contacting him by floo, actually.”

“Argggghhhh!” Bellowed Mad-Eye. “Are you mad, son? Why don’t you just leave your calling card for the Ministry to hunt you down with?” He shook his head disgusted at the idiocy of the young. “EVER VILGILANT!!! Malfoy has been hobnobbing with some young secretary at the travel authority. He’s looking for you as well, boy. YOU STAY PUT!”

Sirius folded his arms stubbornly and frowned at Moody.

“Well, you’re just a happy camper all day, every day, aren’t you, old man?” said Tonks with heavy sarcasm. “Come on, let me take you away from torturing these heroes. I’ve got to check in at the Ministry and pretend that I work there. You come with me and pretend that you order me around.” She got up and grabbed Moody’s arm. He shook her off. Moody was not one for being touched but he got up willingly enough.

He and Tonks were almost out the kitchen door when he turned to look directly at Remus Lupin. “That woman you were making eyes at during the meeting,” he said.

Lupin looked taken aback. There was not much that was missed by Moody.

“She’s not what she seems to be, that one,” said Moody ominously. “I know Dumbledore is all for believing that she’s one of us.” He shook his head as if he just couldn’t shake a bad feeling. “But she’s not one of us. There’s something ‘not us’ about her.”

That said he left the room to follow Tonks, shaking his head.

“Wanker,” said Sirius under his breath.

“I HEARD THAT!!!” yelled Moody from the front door.

“BLAPHEMOUS TRAITORS!!!! MUDBLOOD RELATIONS!!” cried Sirius’ mother’s portrait from the hall.

“Bloody hell,” said Sirius getting up to go shut her up.

As Sirius was closing the curtain on the portrait thinking that he was very tempted to seal her mouth shut with a sewing spell, Mundungus Fletcher rattled through the door reeking of drink and smoking his pipe. The green smoke instantly filled the hall with the weird odor of rankish tobacco. He looked as if he were dressed in a flour sack with holes. He coughed at Sirius in greeting.

“Mundungus, you dirty geezer,” said Sirius disgusted and happy to see him at the same time. Mundungus was always entertaining. His stories of thievery and wickedness were legendary.

“Follow me to the kitchen, Black,” he said in his gravely voice. “I’ve a gossip about those young brats of yours to tell ya that’ll freeze your balls up tight!”

Sirius laughed heartily at the reprobate and followed him into the kitchen.

Mundungus doctored his tea with a flask pulled from his grubby robe. He sipped the warm liquid with relish and drew breath to launch into his tale. But just as he was about to begin, Molly Weasley pranced through the door with a sack of food and stopped mid-step to glare at him. Molly didn’t much approve of Mundungus Fletcher.

Both Remus and Sirius called out to her in welcome but Mundungus hunkered down under her glare. “What are you doing here, Mundungus?” she asked. “You’re supposed to be up at Hogsmeade.” She went to put down the sack of food so that she could more readily put her hands on her hips and glare at Mundungus.

“Ya should na be so bleeding sacrosanct, Missus,” he said defending himself. “I’ve come to make a report on your rebel child, so don’ be lookin’ a me like that.”

Molly visibly paled. “What’s happened?” she asked panicking.

Mundungus crossed his arms contemplating not saying another word but Molly started yelling at him and he had to relent. Remus and Sirius were both falling all over themselves laughing at the two, which only made Molly more fired up. Sirius was feeling much more upbeat and happy as they argued over whether Mundungus would tell what he knew or not. Finally, they agreed that Molly would fix a bite to eat for him if he’d relay to her the information about her sons.

She sat the food before him and waited tense.

“Well, all’s right, then, I guess,” said Mundungus airily.

“Spill it!” said Molly trying to hold her temper to a dull roar.

“I was in the Hog’s Head, see,” he began.

“I thought you weren’t to go in there?” said Molly. “I thought you’d been thrown out!”

“Well, that’d be correct, but I was in disguise, weren’t I?”

“As who?”

“Eh?”

“Who were you disguised as, Mr. Fletcher?” she said an edge to her voice.

Mundungus mumbled something unintelligible into his plate.

“What was that? Mundungus Fletcher, please speak so that we may hear you!”

“I was disguised as a bloody woman!” he yelled at her disgusted. Remus and Sirius pointing and laughing didn’t help his mood much.

“Can you imagine?” said Sirius in awe.

“All right, all right enough of that, gentlemen. Anyways, nobody recognized me and that were the point, weren’t it?”

They settled back down to listen.

“Those brats of yours, and Harry and that snooty girl with the frizz hair all were there.”

“At the HOGS HEAD!!!” yelled Molly. The Hogs Head was a hole in the ground and not a place for her precious children.

“Molly,” pleaded Remus, “let the man tell the story.”

Mundungus got a very superior look on his face. “They was at the Hogs Head recruiting for a secret club of theirs teaching each other Dark Arts ‘cause that weird teacher of theirs won’t let them learn anything. They’re going to meet in secret.”

“That’s a great idea!” said Sirius.

“Sirius Black! It most certainly is NOT a great idea!” yelled Molly.

“Well, I think it is,” said Sirius stubbornly. “And when I talk to Harry on floo, I’ll tell him so.”

Molly Weasley was having one of those moments when she was tangled up in wanting to yell her head off but having too much to say at once.

“Now, Molly,” said Remus soothingly. “I’m sure that Dumbledore knows all about it.”

“Sirius you must swear to me that you’ll tell my Ron, not to do it,” she said trying to keep her voice to a normal noise level.

“But, Molly…” said Sirius.

“YOU MUST SWEAR TO ME, SIRIUS BLACK!!!” she shouted. “He’ll damage his career and there’ll be plenty of time later to learn all that. He’s a child still.” The tears began to flow. Both Sirius and Remus stole a look of incredulity at each other.

“All right Molly, I swear,” he said to shut her up.

“And you must promise to tell both Hermione and Harry that I STRONGLY suggest that they leave well enough alone.”

Sirius nodded grudgingly. Molly could be such a pain with her mothering.


That evening Sirius and Remus sat talking after dinner, finally alone. Sirius had sat alone for two days with nary a soul but Kreacher the house elf and then everyone seemed to be on the doorstep that day. It’d been like Paddington Station at Grimmauld Place all day.

“We should send Hedwig back tonight,” said Sirius.

“Are you sure it’s wise?” asked Remus. He was having second thoughts about Sirius contacting Harry by floo. “Miss Wood did warn that this Dark Arts professor had a secret agenda. She might be intercepting mail. Perhaps we should use another owl.”

“Miss Wood?” said Sirius snidely. “Moony, you are too much. You’re dreaming about the woman with that look in your eye and still you hide behind formality.”

“Felicity, then.”

“Do you want to send her an invitation with my note to Harry?”

Lupin smiled lazily. “I just might.”

“So what are you going to say?”

Lupin looked askance that he would ask.

“Can’t I get a vicarious thrill from you pursuing a pretty woman, Moony?” He looked a little forlornly into his drink. “You don’t see me being able to do any pursuing on my own in the near future, do you?”

“Now you’re just feeling sorry for yourself, Padfoot,” said Lupin not unsympathetically. He relented for his friend, however.

“I thought I might ask her to meet me at the Hog’s Head in Hogsmeade,” he said casually.

Sirius laughed out loud, which was the reason Lupin, had said it in the first place. The Hog’s Head was the world’s worst pub and no place to meet a lady. He only wanted to hear Sirius laugh.

“Why don’t you ask her to meet you at the Shrieking shack while you’re at it?” said Sirius slyly. “It’d be more private.”

They both had a good laugh before fetching Hedwig for the post.


*************

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