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SIYE Time:22:04 on 25th September 2017


The Road not Taken
By potterfan2008

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Category: Pre-OotP, Alternate Universe
Characters:Harry/Ginny, Sirius Black
Genres: Drama
Warnings: Mild Language, Violence/Physical Abuse
Story is Complete
Rating: PG-13
Reviews: 138
Summary: The summer before his third year, Harry stormed out of his relatives' house and met a large dog. Instead of taking the Knight Bus, Harry throws his lot in with Sirius Black. Join him as he fights for his godfather and gets to know his best mate's little sister just a bit better.
Hitcount: Story Total: 18693; Chapter Total: 2077
Awards: View Trophy Room




Author's Notes:
Hello! This is another story that has been sitting on my computer for a while. It is a re-imagined third year story. Thanks to my wonderful beta, Arnel, for all of her hard work with this story. This story is finished and will be posted over the next few weeks. I hope you enjoy!




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Harry was shaking with pent up anger and a bit of fear as he dragged his trunk down Privet Drive. He knew he shouldn’t have gotten so angry, but listening to that horrible woman go on and on about his parents was more than he could take. His father wasn’t a drunk and his mother wasn’t a ‘bad seed’ or whatever stupid thing Aunt Marge called her.

As he turned down Wisteria Walk, he wondered just where he should go. Was the Ministry even now looking for him? Should he just hop on his Nimbus and fly off? Both Ron and Hermione were on holiday with their families and honestly he didn’t really have many other friends. Sure he and Neville got along and he was friendly with the girls on the Quidditch team, but he couldn’t imagine showing up at any of their houses unannounced in the middle of the night. Not that he even knew where any of them lived, they just weren’t that close.

Looking up, he scanned the skies once more. He really wished he knew where Hedwig was, he didn’t want her to go to the Dursleys' house and get hurt because of him. He wouldn’t put it past Uncle Vernon to take his anger with Harry out on poor Hedwig. Unfortunately, there was no flash of white in sky.

Turning down Magnolia Road, he headed for the play park. If nothing else, he could sleep there. He reached the play park and pushed open the gate. For once he was glad for his cousin’s delinquency. He knew that it was Dudley and his gang who had broken all of the locks on the gates. Of course it had been Harry who had been blamed for it, but since he’d started at Hogwarts his aunt and uncle didn’t punish him as severely as they had in the past.

A noise had him turning around quickly. He looked into the darkness nervously. After a moment a large, black dog stepped out of the shadows. Harry relaxed slightly. He’d never really liked dogs, but this one for some reason didn’t make him nervous. While it was big, it was also skinny and rather bedraggled.

“Hello,” he said quietly. The dog approached him and Harry could see how skinny the dog was. Smiling, Harry cautiously extended his hand to the dog. “I’m not going to hurt you.”

The dog seemed to cautiously sniff him, before letting Harry pet him. Harry petted the dog for a few minutes noticing how easily he could feel the dog’s bones under his fur. He wished he had some food to share with the poor animal. Looking around the park, Harry headed over for the nearest bench and the dog followed. Glad for the company, even if it was only a dog, Harry grinned as he sat down and settled his trunk next to him.

“Sorry I don’t have any food or anything for you,” Harry said as he continued to pet the dog. “I left my aunt and uncle’s house tonight. I’m sure I’m in lots of trouble, but I really don’t care. Aunt Marge, who isn’t really my aunt, was saying all kinds of horrible things about my parents. She’s been doing it all week and I’ve held my tongue all week, but tonight I couldn’t. I got so angry at her that I somehow blew her up. I didn’t do it on purpose, but I was just so angry with her. Last summer a house elf did some magic in my house and I got in all kinds of trouble. I can only imagine what kind of trouble I’ll be in for blowing up my aunt.”

He sat quietly for a minute. “My parents died when I was a baby so I’ve lived with my aunt and uncle since then. They don’t like me much. I never knew why they just always hated me. Then I found out two years ago that I’m a wizard and my aunt and uncle hate magic. I don’t think that’s all of it, I think they’d still hate me even without the magic, but who knows.”

Harry fell silent as he thought over the night. He grimaced, he really was going to have to sleep on the park bench. Maybe in the morning he could make his way to London and find Diagon Alley.

The sound of the dog whining made him look back at the dog. As he watched, to his astonishment, the dog turned into a man. The man was as skinny and neglected looking as the dog had been. For some reason, this didn’t really alarm him. Something about the dog and now the man just made Harry trust him.

“Hello.”

The man smiled. “Hello, Harry. My name is Sirius Black. I was a friend of your parents.”

“Really?” Harry was amazed. People mentioned his parents as heroes, but no one ever talked about them as friends or real people.

Sirius nodded. “What happened tonight, Harry?”

Colouring slightly, Harry explained about Aunt Marge’s visit and the disastrous dinner party. Sirius frowned as he listened to Harry’s account. Sirius’ family life had been awful and he could tell that Harry was leaving out a lot. “So what are you going to do?”

Harry shrugged. “I don’t know. My friends are out of the country on holiday and I…well I don’t really know where to go or anything. I thought I’d just sleep here tonight.”

Their conversation was interrupted by a fluttering of wings. Harry looked up in relief. “Hedwig! I was worried about you, girl.”

The snowy owl landed on his outstretched arm and rubbed her beak against Harry’s hand. Harry petted her and smiled. Turning to Sirius he explained, “I was afraid she would go to my relatives’ house and Uncle Vernon would hurt her.”

Not liking what he was hearing at all, Sirius made a decision. “Harry, would you like to come with me? I know you don’t remember ever meeting me, but I am your godfather. I was going to go to a safe place and hide out for a while. I need to tell you that I just escaped from prison — I was wrongly imprisoned. A man who I thought was a friend of mine framed me for dark magic and being one of Voldemort’s followers.”

Harry was surprised, but when he heard that Sirius was his godfather he knew it was the right thing to do. “Sure, I’ll go with you.”

The fact that Harry so willingly agreed to go with him solidified in Sirius’ mind that something was seriously wrong with Harry’s living arrangements. “Have you ever Apparated?”

Harry shook his head. “I don’t know what that means.”

Sirius smiled at him. “Don’t worry, it won’t be a problem. It’s a means of wizard travel where you can go from one place to another using magic. It feels a bit strange, but it doesn’t hurt or anything.”

“Okay,” Harry agreed. “What do I need to do?”

Sirius held out his hand. “I’m going to take your arm.”

Nodding, Harry let Sirius take his arm. There was an uncomfortable feeling of being squeezed, but suddenly they were in a dark alley. Hedwig squawked rather indignantly, apparently she didn’t like the sensation of Apparating either. Looking around Harry realized they were in a city, he wondered which city it was.

Sirius led him out of the alley towards the street. The street looked rather old and neglected as though it had seen better days. They were facing a row of older homes in varying states of disrepair. Sirius gestured towards Number Twelve. “This is my family home. I should warn you, my whole family is dark and this house is…horrible. I just need a place to regroup and figure out what to do.”

“Okay,” Harry replied. He couldn’t really explain it, but he trusted Sirius.

Together the two of them entered the dark and gloomy house. “My father placed all sorts of charms on this place,” Sirius explained. “Its unplottable and there are Muggle repelling charms on it. We will be safe here for a short time. Unfortunately Dumbledore knows about this house so he might think to look for me here.”

Harry was surprised. “You don’t trust Professor Dumbledore?”

Sirius sighed. “I guess now is a good a time as any to tell you my story.” He had led the boy down to the basement kitchen and started a fire. “I have always respected Professor Dumbledore. He was the leader of the light and the defeater of Grindelwald. When I started Hogwarts he seemed like an all-seeing wonder. He’s a bit odd, but he has a liking for sweets and a good prank so when I was a kid at school, he seemed great to me.”

Harry nodded he had also found Dumbledore to be odd but a great wizard. Sirius glanced over at Harry and smiled. “Sorry, you just look so much like your father. Your father, James, was my best friend. We met on the Hogwarts Express and just clicked. We were both the oldest son and heir of old Pureblood families. James’ family was much different from mine. His parents were wonderful. They didn’t hold with this pureblood nonsense like my family and they were incredibly supportive.”

Gesturing around at the house, Sirius said, “I ran away when I was sixteen years old. My parents were horrified that I was in Gryffindor — my whole family had been in Slytherin for years. They couldn’t believe I’d befriended half-bloods and even worse Muggleborns.” Sirius rolled his eyes as he spoke. “I have never seen that blood counts for all that much.” He smiled again at his godson. “Your mother was a Muggleborn and she was one of the best students in our year, not to mention she was just a genuinely nice person.”

Standing Sirius began rummaging through the cupboards. He made a face at the dirt and dust. “I hate not having my wand.”

“You can use mine,” Harry offered extending his wand to the man.

“Thank you, Harry,” Sirius said taking the wand. He winked at the boy. “It’s been a while since I’ve done magic. Let’s see if I can still do some.”

“Scourgify!”

Harry laughed as the spell hardly made a dent in the amount of dust and dirt. Making a face, Sirius conjured up a large bucket of soapy water and two cleaning clothes. Taking one for himself he handed one to Harry. Together the two of them tackled the kitchen using a combination of Muggle and magical means. As they cleaned, Sirius told Harry about the Marauders and how they had become Animagi in order to be with their friend, Remus or Moony.

“A real werewolf?” Harry asked in wonder.

Sirius nodded. “Most of what you hear about werewolves is crap. Most of the time they are just regular people, it is only during the full moon they become monsters. It is totally not their fault and they are often treated horribly because of it.”

“I can imagine,” Harry said, thinking of he had been treated over the past year by most of the Hogwarts students.

Sirius raised an eyebrow. He knew there had to be a story, but he wasn’t going to push Harry into sharing anything. By this time they’d cleaned up quite a bit of the kitchen, enough to find a kettle.

While Harry was cleaning the kettle, Sirius opened the cupboards. He gagged at the smell. Harry looked up wrinkling his nose as Sirius banished a bottle of obviously spoiled salad cream and several jars of pickled onions that had gone bad.

“Damn, that was nasty,” Sirius commented. The cupboard was rather bare, but Sirius found two boxes of tea bags. He looked at them curiously. “We have a choice of Blackcurrant and Vanilla or Cherry and Cinnamon. My mother must have bought these; my father wouldn’t drink anything but loose tea — no tea bags allowed.” He held up the boxes. “Do you have a preference?”

Harry shook his head and Sirius chose the Blackcurrant and Vanilla tea. Harry put on the kettle while Sirius went back to the cupboard. “Harry, I’m afraid we only have these. We’ll have to go shopping and get some food.”

He brought over to the table a jar of applesauce and two unopened boxes of biscuits — one of chocolate digestives and the other was shortbread. Sirius opened the digestive biscuits and smelled it. Cautiously he took a bite. His face cleared. “Well, they might be older than you are, but they don’t taste too bad. Someone must have put a preservation charm on them.”

Soon the two were sitting at the newly cleaned large wooden table with a pot of tea, a bowl of applesauce and a plate of biscuits. Harry offered some tea and biscuits to Hedwig. She drank some tea and settled at the end of the table to watch over him. Harry noticed that Sirius seemed rather hungry so he only had a handful of biscuits leaving a majority of them and all of the applesauce for Sirius. After all, he’d had dinner with his relatives and it didn’t seem like Sirius had eaten in ages.

While they ate, Sirius continued his story. “Just before we finished at Hogwarts, Professor Dumbledore approached us with an offer. He had started something he called the Order of the Phoenix. It was an organization to fight Voldemort.”

Harry raised an eyebrow. He was amazed that Sirius was able to say Voldemort’s name without any problems. It reinforced Harry’s belief that Sirius was trustworthy.

“So did you join?” Harry asked.

Sirius nodded. “Me, Remus, James, and Lily all joined — along with Peter.”

“Who’s Peter?” Harry asked.

“Peter Pettigrew,” Sirius bit out. “We thought he was our friend. He wasn’t as talented or as good a student as the rest of us, but he was a Gryffindor and our friend so we helped him. He’s the one who eventually betrayed your parents to Voldemort.”

Harry felt sick. “He was a friend of theirs?”

Sirius nodded. “As I said, we all joined the Order and helped fight Voldemort. Soon after you were born, Dumbledore told your parents they had been targeted by Voldemort. I don’t know why they were targeted, but they were. They hid for a while and it was hard on them especially on your dad. He wanted to be out fighting and of course he wanted to protect you and your mum. In October, your dad approached me about being their Secret Keeper.”

“Secret Keeper,” Harry repeated. He looked puzzled and Sirius quickly explained the Fidelius Charm. Harry thought it over. “So my dad asked you to be his Secret Keeper?”

“He did,” Sirius agreed. He sighed. “The day before we were to perform the spell I ended up in a fight with my cousin, Bellatrix. She’s a Death Eater, one of Voldemort’s most devoted followers. She was taunting me about finding the Potters. I realized that I would be the obvious choice for the Secret Keeper. So I came up with the brilliant idea of using Peter as the Secret Keeper. That way Voldemort would come after me, but you and your parents would be safe.”

Harry had to blink away tears as he listened to his godfather talk about finding his parents dead on Halloween night after having been betrayed by their friend. Sirius wiped his eyes unashamedly.

“The next morning I made my biggest mistake when I went after Peter. As soon as he saw me, he started to run. I caught up with him on the street. He yelled something about me betraying James and Lily and then he cast an extremely dark spell. The whole street exploded and when the smoke cleared I was standing there with twelve dead Muggles and Peter was gone. All that was left of him was a finger. I imagine he cut off his own finger before he transformed into a rat and escaped down the sewer or something. I started laughing — I think I was in shock. I couldn’t believe that little Peter had turned dark or that he had gotten the better of me. Magical Law Enforcement showed up and I was arrested.”

“But didn’t you get a trial or anything?” Harry asked.

Sirius shook his head. “No, I’d been found at the scene of the crime and my name was Black. My family had long been supporters of Voldemort’s and many people just assumed it was a matter of time before I joined him.”

“That’s awful!” Harry gasped as he realized, “Professor Dumbledore didn’t help you.”

“He wouldn’t even see me,” Sirius said rather bitterly. “He knew there was a traitor who was close to the Potters and with my family I was the obvious choice.”

“He should have listened to you!” Harry said indigently. “I could tell you wouldn’t hurt me, why couldn’t he?”

Sirius smiled at his godson’s defence of him it warmed him in a way he couldn’t describe. Before he could say anything else a noise behind them caused them to jump. Sirius turned with Harry’s wand at the ready. An extremely ancient and rather filthy house elf scuttled into the room.

“Bad Master is back. Too bad he didn’t die in Azkaban; he broke poor Mistresses’ heart.”

Sirius snorted. “My mother didn’t have a heart to break. What the hell are you doing here, Kreacher?”

“Kreacher serves the noble house of Black.”

“Not very well,” Sirius said. “This place is filthy. Have you cleaned anything since my mother died?”

“Master brings a nasty half-blood into our noble house,” Kreacher said ignoring Sirius. “My poor mistress would be so upset.” The decrepit little elf eyed the boy. “It’s the Potter boy. The boy who brought down the Dark Lord.”

Harry looked between the two of them curiously. The only house elf he had any experience with was Dobby and the two of them couldn’t have been more different.

“Kreacher!” Sirius said sharply. “You will not speak that way of my godson. Has anyone been here looking for me?”

Kreacher seemed to struggle with the answer, but he eventually said, “No one has been here in years.”

“Excellent,” Sirius said. He looked at the elf. “You will not tell anyone that Harry and I have been here. Do you understand? No writing or hinting or any type of communication to let anyone know we’ve been here.”

“Yes, Master,” Kreacher said resentfully.

“Are the bathrooms fit to use?” Sirius asked. “Clean up the bathroom next to my room and clean my room.”

“Yes, Master.”

Harry stared at the elf as he made his way out of the kitchen. “What…”

“Kreacher was my mother’s house elf,” Sirius bit out. “He always hated me and he would do anything to get me in trouble. He and my parents much preferred my younger brother who was a perfect little Slytherin. Kreacher would do things like leave a puddle of water outside my room so I would slip and fall, then I’d get in trouble for roughhousing or making a mess.”

He shook his head. “One time, I was probably nine or ten. Kreacher was going on about how Mistress’ silver was dirty. I thought if I cleaned it, maybe she would be happy. When she found me in her silver drawer…well let’s say she wasn’t happy. Kreacher laughed his foul little head off over that.”

Harry listened in horror. “Did…did she beat you?”

Sirius nodded shortly. “She did. My father did too, but he didn’t like to get his hands dirty as much. He would usually use his wand.”

Harry’s eyes widened. “Your father cursed you?”

“When I was little it was stinging curses or other little things,” Sirius said in a controlled voice. “When I got older…the night I left here he’d used the Cruciatus Curse on me.”

“What’s that?” Harry asked, rather afraid of the answer.

To Harry’s surprise, Sirius smiled. “I’m actually glad you don’t know what that is. It’s the torture curse — one of the three Unforgivable Curses. Use of any of them is supposed to land you in Azkaban, but of course if you use them at home against your family no one knows.”

“That’s horrible,” Harry said feelingly.

Sirius looked over at his godson curiously. “I get the feeling your relatives aren’t very nice to you either. Do they hit you?”

Normally Harry would never have answered that question, but after what Sirius had told him he knew he had to tell the truth. “Not much. My cousin likes to hit me. Him and his friends like to go ‘Harry hunting’ and they beat me if they can catch me, but I’m pretty fast so they don’t catch me often. My aunt doesn’t hit me much; she usually just makes me work. She’ll give me a ridiculously long list of things to do and if I don’t finish I don’t get to eat.”

“Does that happen a lot?” Sirius asked. Seeing Harry’s confusion, he clarified, “That you don’t get to eat.”

Harry nodded. “My uncle wouldn’t feed me at all if he could get away with it.”

“Does your uncle hit you?” Sirius asked when Harry didn’t say anything else.

Harry sighed, he really hated this topic. “Not much, he can’t catch me most of the time. It was a lot worse when I was little; he used to use his belt on me.” Harry shivered. “I hated that. He would hit me and throw me in my cupboard. That was one of his favourite punishments — locking me in my cupboard.”

“Your cupboard?” Sirius asked in a very cool controlled voice.

Harry swallowed; he really hated thinking of the past. “That was my room when I was little. I lived in the cupboard under the stairs until I got my Hogwarts’ letter. When the letter came addressed to me at the cupboard under the stairs they became nervous that someone was watching them and moved me to Dudley’s second bedroom. It’s a lot bigger, so if they lock me in there at least I can walk around.”

His eyes found Hedwig who was watching him with her big amber eyes. “I was so worried about Hedwig. I really thought Uncle Vernon was going to hurt her the last two summers. He threatened to kill her if she woke him up one more time.”

To Harry’s horror, he felt tears welling up in his eyes. As hard as he tried, he couldn’t blink them back this time. In an instant he felt Sirius’ arms come around him. It felt odd at first, he wasn’t used to anyone hugging him, but after a moment he relaxed against his godfather. The tears he’d tried so valiantly to hold back fell against Sirius’ robes. Sirius ran one arm soothingly down Harry’s back.

Sirius held the boy until he stopped crying. When he felt Harry relax, he dropped a kiss on top of his head. “I am so sorry, Harry. I know what it’s like to not be wanted at home. I never wanted that for you.”

Harry pulled away and wiped his eyes on his shirt sleeves. “Sorry. I don’t usually do that.”

Sirius waved away his excuses. “It’s fine, Harry.” He grinned at his godson. “You should have seen me when I arrived at your grandparent’s house. As I said, my dad used the Cruciatus on me and I packed up and left. I made my way to your grandparent’s house. It must have been past one in the morning when I arrived. Your grandmother took one look at me and held out her arms. I cried like a baby in her arms. I thought your dad was going to take the mickey out of me, but he never did. He was…he was great. The best friend a guy could ask for. I stayed in his room that night and the next day your grandmother gave me my own room right next to your dad’s. I stayed there until I graduated from Hogwarts.”

“Really? They sound great.” Harry’s eyes lit up hearing not only about his dad, but his grandparents as well.

“They were,” Sirius said. “I am going to do my best to be there for you like they were for me.”

Harry grinned. He really liked the sound of that. A thought crossed his mind. “So how did you get out of jail?”

Sirius laughed. “That is another tale!” He explained to Harry how he’d seen the picture of Peter in the paper and how he escaped as Padfoot.

Drinking his tea, Harry listened in amazement to Sirius’ tale. “Wait, so you mean that Scabbers is Peter?”

A dark look crossed over Sirius’ face and he nodded. “He must have decided hiding with a wizarding family was the best way to hear news about his Master.”

Anxiety seized Harry. “Ron and his family aren’t in any danger, are they?”

“I don’t think so,” Sirius mused. “Peter has obviously been hiding there for many years and feels comfortable there. As long as he doesn’t feel threatened, he won’t be any danger.”

Relieved, Harry tried to hide his yawn, but Sirius noticed. He stood up and sent the dirty tea cups to the sink. “Come on, let’s see if Kreacher managed to clean up.”

Together they headed upstairs with Sirius leading the way in the dark and gloomy house. As they reached the front entrance hall, Harry nearly jumped out of his skin as one of the portraits began screeching. “Traitor! What are you doing here you wretched beast? Why couldn’t you be the one to die?!”

“Mother,” Sirius said after regaining his composure. The portrait continued screaming, now she had descended into profanities. With a wave of the wand, Sirius pulled a curtain over her silencing her. He managed a weak smile at his godson. “That was my lovely mother.”

“She’s horrible,” Harry whispered back.

Sirius laughed and the pair continued upstairs. Harry couldn’t see much about the house other than it was dirty and much bigger than it looked from the outside. By Harry’s reckoning they’d reached the fourth floor when Sirius turned down the corridor. He opened one door and Harry peeked around his godfather.

It was possibly the biggest bathroom he’d ever seen. There was a large shower and a huge sunken tub. The whole room had obviously been recently cleaned, the fixtures were gleaming.

“Wow!”

“I know,” Sirius grinned. “When we were little, my brother and I would swim in here. We’d have great naval battles or have to rescue damsels in distress from mermaids. It was great fun.”

“I bet,” Harry said rather enviously.

Backing out of the room, Sirius continued down the hall and opened another door. This was obviously Sirius’ room. The room was painted Gryffindor red and gold and on the ceiling were plastered dozens of pictures of girls in bikinis. Harry’s eyes widened and he blushed before looking away. Kreacher was finishing up in the room.

“Kreacher put new sheets on Master’s bed. Where will the little half-blood sleep? Kreacher can fix a spot on the floor for it.”
Sirius’ countenance darkened. “Enough Kreacher. I’m going to take a shower. Stay away from Harry — that’s an order. You have to do what he says if he gives you an order, but don’t pester him. Why don’t you find some food for the morning?”

Kreacher bowed low so his nose was almost touching the ground. “Yes, Master.”

“Nasty little beast,” Sirius murmured as the elf left the room. “Sorry about him, Harry.”

“That’s okay,” Harry said. He looked around the room curiously. It was easily bigger than both his and Dudley’s rooms combined. Kreacher obviously could clean if he wanted to as the furniture in here gleamed. It was as far from his room of mismatched left over furniture as you could get. The large bed, chest of drawers, and wardrobe were very nice and looked expensive.

Sirius headed over to the wardrobe against the far wall. He pulled out some clothes and said, “I’m going to take a shower. I feel filthy. I never felt clean in Azkaban.”

“Of course,” Harry said.

“Feel free to explore this room, but don’t go exploring other rooms. Kreacher has obviously let the house go and I don’t know what might be lurking around here.”

Once Sirius left to take his shower, Harry sat down on the bed. He really couldn’t believe everything that had happened that night. He grinned when he thought of Aunt Marge floating away from Little Whinging. Sirius had reassured him he wouldn’t get in trouble for accidental magic. Sirius explained that the Accidental Magic Reversal Squad would find her and return her to normal. They would probably Obliviate her so she wouldn’t remember what had happened.

He realized that his trunk was in the room, so he changed into his pyjamas. He’d take a shower in the morning. Wandering around the room he saw a picture on the wall. Unlike the bikini clad girls, this was a wizarding photo of four young men. Harry’s heart leapt when he recognized his father and Sirius. The other two must be Peter and Remus. After studying the picture, Harry decided the heavyset boy must be Peter.

He didn’t look evil — maybe a little weak, but not evil. Harry shook his head, Voldemort could make people do all sorts of things. Not for the first time that summer, Harry thought of Ginny Weasley. The previous year she’d been possessed by an old diary of Voldemort and forced to open Slytherin’s Chamber of Secrets releasing a deadly Basilisk on the school. Luckily, no one had been killed and Harry himself had killed the Basilisk when he went down the Chamber of Secrets to find Ginny.

He hoped she was having a good summer. Hopefully the trip to Egypt would be good for her. Ron seemed to feel that Ginny was just fine, he’d been shocked that Harry would even ask after her. Ron claimed that Ginny was back to normal, but Harry wasn’t so sure. He couldn’t imagine an experience like that wouldn’t be scarring. He’d thought about writing to Ginny himself, but he was reluctant to do so because Ginny had had a huge crush on him. She would blush and stammer whenever he was around. It was a bit embarrassing, but Harry also found it a bit flattering.

When he was growing up, everyone had ignored or teased him. To go from that to someone having a crush on him was dizzying. Except for the rather embarrassing, but kind of flattering Valentine she sent him last year she’d never actually approached him until the day she’d been taken into the Chamber. He didn’t think she still had a crush on him; she seemed more comfortable around him at the end of term and fine on the train. He hoped they could become friends this next year.

As he thought about it, he thought maybe Sirius would have some insight. He might have a really good idea about what he should do. Harry yawned and lay down on the bed. He didn’t know where he was supposed to sleep, but he was getting tired. He imagined that after not having a decent shower or bath for over twelve years, Sirius might be a while.

The bed was huge, so Harry pulled back the covers and lay down on one side of the bed. The bed was very soft and comfy and it didn’t take long for him to drift off.

While Harry was falling asleep, Sirius was enjoying a soak in the tub for the first time in over a decade. He’d shaved off his rather scraggily beard and brushed his teeth. His hair was rather tangled and matted and it took him a while to work a comb through it, but he’d finally managed.

When he finally felt clean he stared at his reflection in the mirror, he was shocked at what he saw. He looked a decade or two older than his actual age of thirty-three. He’d lost a considerable amount of weight as between the Dementors and with the gruel served by the prison he couldn’t remember the last time he’d had an appetite. He was amazed that Harry had been able to trust him — he must have looked rather scary to the boy.

He brushed through his hair and brushed his teeth again before pulling on some of his old clothes that had been left in his wardrobe. The trousers were flared at the ankle and Sirius imagined they were hideously out of date, but they were clean and they were his. A quick charm burned the prison robes. Sirius couldn’t resist a smile as he watched them burn.

Making his way back down the hall, he re-entered his childhood bedroom. A smile crossed his face at the sight of the sleeping boy. He was amazed and humbled by the trust Harry had shown in him tonight. Obviously the boy came from a very neglectful and abusive home, Sirius was surprised at how small Harry was. He wondered why no one had ever done anything about it. He’d heard over the years how Harry was famous as the Boy Who Lived. Surely someone should have been keeping an eye on him and his living arrangements.

Sirius lay down on the other side of the large bed and watched the boy sleep. Having Harry with him would change a lot of his plans. When he’d escaped from Azkaban, the one thought on his mind was to get to Peter, but now he had Harry to think of as well.
Sirius ran through one plan after another — some ridiculous, others actually workable. While he had thought of contacting Dumbledore or his good friend, Remus, he had decided against it. Not only had neither of them lifted a finger to help him, they had also left Harry in an obviously neglectful and abusive home. How could they not notice the boy was much smaller than he should be? What the hell was he even doing with Lily’s sister? Even with Sirius in jail, Remus could have taken him or any number of people would have been preferable guardians to the Dursleys.

The next morning, Sirius headed down to see if Kreacher had managed to find some food while Harry went to take a bath. To his surprise, Kreacher had managed to obtain some food and Sirius set about making eggs, bacon, and toast.

As he was setting the toast rack on the table, Harry entered the kitchen. Harry had taken the time to play in the huge tub this morning and to his amazement Sirius didn’t mind. Harry sat down at the table and watched Sirius plate the food. It was rather strange to be the one to be sitting at the table rather than the one to be fixing the food, but Sirius seemed to find it quite normal.

“Good morning,” Harry said shyly.

“Good morning,” Sirius said cheerfully. “Kreacher actually managed to find some food for us.”

“Great,” Harry said.

As the two of them ate, Sirius eyed Harry’s clothes disdainfully. He imagined that Harry’s relatives didn’t buy him new clothes.

“So I’ve been thinking,” Sirius said. “We need to get out of here for a while. Obviously they will be looking for me and I imagine they will now be looking for you as well.”

Harry nodded and Sirius continued. “My parents had a holiday home in the Canary Islands which I have inherited. Kreacher was able to make a rather sizable withdrawal from my vault, so I have plenty of money. How would you like to spend the rest of your summer in paradise?”

Harry’s eyes sparkled. He’d never gone on holiday before. “That sounds wonderful!”
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