The Sugar Quill
Author: birgit (Professors' Bookshelf)  Story: The Godfather Part I - Decisions  Chapter: Chapter 2: The Change
Next Chapter
The distribution of this story is for personal use only. Any other form of distribution is prohibited without the consent of the author.

Disclaimer: This is Harry Potter fan fiction, meaning that it is inspired on the Harry Potter series and some elements will be similar to the original story. It also means that I'm not making any money off this and that I don't believe that this is a better version than the original story – how could anything be better?

Author's note: Many thanks to my amazing beta readers Jo Wickaninnish, Whimsy and CornedBee, and to Dinka Kartinka, without whom it would never have been published.

The Godfather Part I – Decisions

by Birgit


Chapter 2 – The Change


When Sirius woke up, for a few blessed seconds he didn’t have a clue where he was. Then everything came back to him, and the beautiful room he was in seemed to lose some colour. He buried his head in his pillow, until he heard someone cry. Harry.

He was out of his bed and scooping up Harry in less than a second. Sirius supposed that Harry was crying because he remembered what had happened the previous night, and tried to comfort him, but Harry didn’t stop crying. Confused, Sirius tried to remember what James always did when Harry was crying. Then it hit him. Harry was just hungry, like babies always are in the morning.

A house-elf had brought up a large tray of food, and Sirius started with the difficult task of feeding Harry, occasionally taking a bite himself. He lacked appetite. Thoughts were whirling in his head; the sight of Peter’s empty flat came back to him repeatedly. He also thought about the weeks before Peter’s ultimate betrayal. Ever since Professor Dumbledore had told them that Voldemort was after James and Lily, everyone had been very subdued. Everyone except Sirius, because Sirius had believed Dumbledore was exaggerating. He hadn’t been able to understand that his friends were in real danger. He hadn’t thought that the elaborate precautions were necessary. He had acted immaturely, and he realised that only now.

Now he could see just how much danger his friends really had been in. Now he could see why everyone had been acting like there was a time bomb under their feet. Now he could see that the world wasn’t a playground, that Voldemort was real, and that people were in great danger. Death and destruction: it wasn’t something to joke about. This was serious, and he realised that only now. Far too late.

Sirius felt different. He felt like he was split into two parts: the old Sirius, who never took anything seriously and thought the world was all about jokes, and the new Sirius, who had lost two of his three best friends in one night, and had entered the real world much too late. The old Sirius was losing the battle; he was crumbling, and maybe in a few weeks, he would disappear entirely. Sirius couldn’t mourn that. Everything was different now.

James had changed years ago. Right after the Whomping Willow incident. Sirius had laughed about it, a few days later, and the others had, too. But yet James had changed. He remembered talking to James about it some years later.
“Everything has changed, Padfoot,” James had said. “Saving the life of someone you hate changes everything. Not at once, but gradually. You don’t know; you didn’t save Snape. Nothing has changed for you. But for me, it has. You are still my friend; Snape is still my enemy. But I’ve changed, Padfoot. Maybe sometime, you will change, too, and you’ll understand. Everything is different now.”

Sirius hadn’t understood then. But now, the moment James had been talking about had come. Sirius had changed too. Changed from an immature prat to something else. He didn’t know yet what he had become, only that he wasn’t the same any more.

Sirius fed Harry another spoonful and brought his thoughts back to the present situation. Would he be able to care for Harry? Sirius really didn’t have a clue why James had appointed him guardian, because he always spoiled Harry to bits. James had told him once that if something ever happened to him and Lily, Sirius should not spoil Harry. “I don’t want him to be as big-headed as I was, Sirius,” James had pleaded. And Sirius understood. He would miss it, but he wouldn’t spoil Harry, now that he was his guardian.

A noise disturbed Sirius’ musings, and Dumbledore came in. Sirius kept his eyes on him as he walked through the room.

Dumbledore sat down at the table, opposite Sirius. He didn’t say anything. Sirius looked at him, and then down at Harry. Suddenly, the conversation of the previous night came back to him.

“What did you mean yesterday,” he asked bluntly, “when you said that Harry had to go and live with his relatives?”

Dumbledore observed him over his half-moon glasses for a few seconds. “I know this will be difficult for you, Sirius, but you have to try to listen to what I have to say. I’m sure you will understand if you just stay calm and hear me out.”

That didn’t sound very good. Sirius felt his mood darken. Dumbledore seemed to be waiting for Sirius to do something, so he nodded shortly.

“Yesterday,” Dumbledore said, “Harry Potter defeated the man who has been trying to ruin our world for years. It seems Voldemort is gone for at least a while, if not forever. Right now, the news is spreading. Some wizards and witches will be very happy. Harry will be extremely famous; famous for something he won’t even remember. Other wizards and witches, on the other hand, are very angry now. They have lost their master, and they will do everything they can to bring him back; Harry Potter seems to be the key to that.”

Every time his name was mentioned, Harry cooed happily and waved his little hands, but Sirius didn’t really notice. He was listening intently to Professor Dumbledore.

“Now, there are two things threatening Harry. One is the Death Eaters, the other is fame. It’s not healthy for such a young boy to be famous. He’s much better off without knowing that, at least until he’s prepared to deal with it, and that will take a couple of years. On the other hand, it’s extremely important that Harry is protected from Voldemort’s followers. Only the strongest protection is enough for him.

“There’s only one way to accomplish both goals. You must know that Lily protected Harry against the Killing Curse by sacrificing herself for him. Her love is in his very skin. Voldemort cannot understand love; he was unable to touch someone marked by something so good. We can continue to use this protection: as long as Harry lives at a place where his mother’s blood dwells, Voldemort will not be able to touch him. It’s the best protection we can offer him. Also, if he grows up with Muggles, he won’t know about his fame until he’s ready for it.”

The horrible truth dawned on Sirius. “You’re saying that Harry should live with Lily’s sister?”

“I am,” Dumbledore said.

“Have you even met them?” Sirius asked. “Petunia and her husband?”

“No.”

“They won’t take him. They will never take a wizard into their home.”

Dumbledore smiled. “I’m sure I’ll be able to persuade them.”

Sirius wasn’t angry. He knew that the old Sirius would have been angry, but he wasn’t. He just felt horrible. How could he ever make Dumbledore see the truth? James’ son couldn’t go to Petunia Dursley and her husband. He just couldn’t.

“There must be other ways,” he said desperately. “You can’t do that to Harry!”

“There is no better protection than blood magic,” Dumbledore said matter-of-factly.

“There is,” Sirius countered. “You told us yourself: the Fidelius Charm is the best protection there is. It’s – it’s infallible.” He choked on the last words. Why had he told James to change?

“You can’t stay protected by the Fidelius Charm for long periods of time, Sirius,” Dumbledore said. “It’s not doable. No one will be able to notice you, except the Secret-Keeper and those few you let in on the Secret. You can’t live that way.”

“We can use it just for a short time,” Sirius said. “Until the Death Eaters are all caught. After that, protective charms will do the rest.”

“We won’t,” Dumbledore said harshly.

Sirius felt the old Sirius taking over. He started to get angry. “You’re not the one to decide. James appointed me Harry’s guardian.”

“I said no. Harry will live with his blood relatives.”

“And what exactly is wrong with me?” Sirius shouted.

“You’re not responsible enough!” Dumbledore said forcibly.

“I am!”

“No, you’re not. I’ve known you for seven years as a student, and as a member of the Order for a year and a half; you are irresponsible and immature!”

Sirius calmed down at once. The new Sirius looked the Headmaster straight in the eyes. He kept staring for a few seconds, and he slowly saw Dumbledore’s expression change. He could see that the old man was surprised at what he saw in Sirius’ eyes.

“Everything is different now, Professor,” Sirius said with a shaking voice. “Everything has changed. I have changed. I know I can’t change everything overnight. But I’ve changed, and I will change more. Give me the chance to prove myself. Please, give Harry the chance to live the life he deserves.”

Dumbledore was taken aback. After a few seconds, he opened his mouth to reply and –

BANG!

The door of the room was thrown open forcefully and a grey blur flew across the room, halting inches from Sirius.

Remus Lupin stood very still. His eyes darted from Sirius to Dumbledore and back. Then he looked at Harry, who was stretching his little arms out to Remus, bawling. Finally, he stared so intently at Sirius it seemed he was trying to read his mind.

Suddenly, his eyes widened. “You switched? Without telling me?”

“I’m sorry, Remus,” Sirius said miserably. “It’s all my fault.”

Remus reached out and embraced him. They held each other tight for a full minute. When they broke apart, they were both crying. Now there were only two Marauders left, Sirius realised. And he had spent the last couple of weeks suspecting Remus of being the spy.

“I thought you were the spy, Remus,” Sirius said. “I trusted Peter. I as good as killed James and Lily.”

“Calm down, Sirius,” Remus said, wiping his face. “I didn’t suspect Peter either. I thought you were the spy.”

Nobody had suspected the real spy, Sirius thought wryly. Peter had fooled them all.

While they all sat down, the new Sirius made a decision the old Sirius never would have made.

“Remus,” he said, “we’ve got to tell him about Wormtail.”

Remus’ eyes flickered towards Dumbledore, and he paled.

“No,” he said weakly.

“Yes,” Sirius said determined. “We’re the only ones who know. They’ll never find him if we don’t.”

Remus nodded, but he avoided Dumbledore’s gaze and stared out of the window.

“Professor,” Sirius said. “Peter is an Animagus.”

Dumbledore arched an eyebrow. “He is?”

Sirius clearly sensed that Dumbledore didn’t believe him. He thrust Harry in Remus’ hands and stood up; concentrating hard, he felt himself morph into a large, black dog.

“Pah-foo!” Harry cried, excited.

As a dog, Sirius could sense Remus’ sorrow, mingled with fear. He quickly changed back into a man, not wanting to feel his friend’s emotions so strongly.

“We did it for Remus,” he told Dumbledore. “We wanted to accompany him on the full moons. Since it’s not allowed for underage wizards to become Animagi, we did it in secret. Nobody knows about Peter, except us.”

“What kind of animal can Peter transform into?” Dumbledore asked, now very serious.

“A rat.”

When Dumbledore didn’t react, Remus spoke up. “You’ll be able to find him. Peter is unsure of what to do now. He’ll want to know what’s going on, and he needs wizarding news for that. But he can’t go back to the Death Eaters, obviously. He’ll stay around wizards in his Animagus form.”

It pained Sirius to notice that Remus knew exactly what Peter would do. And it pained him even more that he agreed with everything Remus said. The four of them had known each other so well, and now it was all gone. Peter had ruined their friendship. Everything had changed.

“Very well,” Dumbledore said. “Remus, I presume that you’ve seen Peter transform quite a few times?”

Remus nodded.

“I’ll extract one memory from you later,” Dumbledore continued. “We can use that to find Peter. Now, Sirius, we need to continue our previous conversation about Harry. I’ve –”

“Remus, he wants to put Harry with Petunia!” Sirius interrupted.

Remus’ eyes widened in shock. He turned to Dumbledore, but the old wizard held his hand up to stop him.

“I’ve changed my mind,” Dumbledore said.

Sirius stared. “What –?”

“I will perform the Fidelius Charm, and you and Harry will go in hiding. I’ll give you this chance. It is only for a few weeks, however, and we will talk again when I lift the Charm.”

Sirius nodded. He felt like someone had lit a fire in his chest. The fire was still tiny, and it gave only a tiny bit of warmth, but it was there. He would give Harry the home he deserved. For the rest of his life. Because he didn’t believe that Dumbledore would take Harry away again after a couple of weeks.

//
Write a review! PLEASE NOTE: The purpose of reviewing a story or piece of art at the Sugar Quill is to provide comments that will be useful to the author/artist. We encourage you to put a bit of thought into your review before posting. Please be thoughtful and considerate, even if you have legitimate criticism of a story or artwork. (You may click here to read other reviews of this work).
* = Required fields
*Sugar Quill Forums username:
*Sugar Quill Forums password:
If you do not have a Sugar Quill Forums username, please register. Bear in mind that it may take up to 72 hours for your account to be approved. Thank you for your patience!
*Comment:
The Sugar Quill was created by Zsenya and Arabella. For questions, please send us an Owl!

-- Powered by SQ3 : Coded by David : Design by James --