Chapter 2 : Chapter 1 - St. Mungo's
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When Harry woke, the first thing he noticed was that the pain in his hand was gone. Instead of opening his eyes to meet the blurry vision of his room lit by the day's early sunlight, Harry kept his eyes shut tight, thanked Merlin for the relief he felt for his hand, and sat up.
But Harry had fallen asleep sitting up, and on the floor. The surface he now rested on was far too soft to be his floor. The biggest surprise, however, was what Harry saw sitting on his desk once he opened his eyes.
There was nothing else the blurry snow white patch could be. No longer caring that he was on the bed instead of the floor, Harry instinctively reached for his now shattered glasses which had been left on the carpet in the corridor downstairs.
Harry, as he wondered who would have been in the house that cared enough to get him his only friend back, didn't see the snowy owl ruffle her feathers indignantly and place her head back under her wing as she fell back back into the sleep Harry had roused her from. And it wasn't because he didn't have his glasses.
When Harry's hand felt the cold metal, his thoughts switched from his owl to "what on earth happened last night?".
As the wizard picked up his glasses, to inspect for any sign of the damage done last night, he found another mystery, which quickly branched into two.
Throwing on his glasses, Harry examined his hand, only it wasn't covered in sloppy bandages; it was completely healed, and clutching a piece of parchment.
Curiosity overcame the young wizard as he wondered what secrets this could solve. Haphazardly smoothing the parchment out between his palms, Harry read:
I wouldn't even have bothered sending Hedwig back to you except that he just woke up. Now, before you go and send Hedwig back with a letter to me, GIVE THAT POOR OWL A REST! I doubt she's had a break from you in hours.
As for the questions I can tell you're wanting to ask:
He did wake up, but it was only for a few minutes before he was given a Dreamless Sleep Potion. The Healers said he should be ready to receive visitors tomorrow. So Harry, no need to ask, I'll be picking you up tomorrow around midday to see Sirius. And don't worry about anything; like I said, the Ministry has been convinced of his innocence.
Now get some rest yourself so you don't pass out from exhaustion tomorrow. Alright? And I don't want to see Hedwig again until I pick you up.
Good night, Harry.
What was this?! Harry couldn't think straight. Was this some kind of sick joke? He felt the anger begin to boil up inside of him, that someone would find it humorous to tell him that Sirius wasn't gone hurt. . . He was gone.
His hope subdued his anger, however, as Harry slowly reread the letter. He was certain that was Lupin's handwriting, and Lupin wouldn't have lied to him, not about something like this. . . Would he?
Trying to decide what this could possibly be, Harry pinched himself to make sure he wasn't dreaming. It hurt, but he didn't wake from this world that was so much better than the one he'd fallen asleep in.
Flopping back down on his bed, Harry glanced at the clock. 11:46 am. Well, he didn't have long to wait to find out what kind of cruel joke this was.
But as 12 noon ticked closer, Harry couldn't deny the hope beginning to bubble up in the pit of his stomach as he paced his room. He might be seeing Sirius again soon!Nearly sick with anticipation, the raven haired wizard forced himself to fall face down on his bed to stop looking at the clock that seemed to stop.
Time, too, seemed to stand still for Harry; anxious as a child on Christmas Eve, he waited for noon.
BUZZ! Harry jumped up.
The alarm went off for the time the letter said: 12:00 pm.
Harry hit the snooze, a bit too hard, and strained his ears to listen for the sound of someone at the door, or even in the fireplace.
But it never came.
Lupin never came.
12:30. He wasn't coming. Sirius was really. . . gone.
The young wizard's knees buckled and he supported himself with his arms and bed as the realization of this came crashing down and hit hard. Harry felt his godfather wrenched from him again. And grief, anger, and heartbreak filled him.
Harry seized the letter, scanned it over, and ripped it to pieces. His breathing heavy, Harry fell to his knees, and as hard as he tried to keep the tears from falling, they fell. As hard as he tried to keep his cries silent, he heard them.
He couldn't take it. He was alone. Utterly alone.
Slowly, his cries turned to snores, and Harry Potter, once again, fell asleep on his bedroom floor.
"Harry?" a gentle voice called to the boy as a hand gently shook him awake.
Harry opened his eyes and blinked the water out of them, and the blurry face of Remus Lupin slowly came into focus.
"Professor!" Harry jumped up, realizing just what Lupin's being there meant.
"I'm sorry about being so late, Harry, an unavoidable circumstance arose. Are you ready to go?" Lupin asked.
Harry quickly made sure he had on all necessary articles of clothing, found his wand, and pocketed it, the excitement in him beginning to rise. He didn't care that Lupin was late, he was really going to see Sirius!
"Good, let's go."
Harry followed his†at-one-time professor out to the street, happier than he'd been for a long time, even when Lupin told him they'd be taking the Knight Bus to London. His godfather was alive!
After enduring nearly an hour of Ern's less than admirable driving, Stan announced their arrival at St. Mungo's Hospital for Magical Maladies and Injuries, where Sirius was waiting inside.
The two wizards climbed off the purple bus, feeling slightly nauseous, and heard it take off behind them.
Through the front door, past the Welcome Witch, Remus led the young wizard to ward nine, ground floor.
"Aw, damnit," was the first thing Harry heard as the ward door opened. A cheery, female laugh followed.
When Harry looked in the room, he saw two people sitting inside; a man with long black hair who looked - and sounded - remarkably like Sirius was half propped up on a hospital bed with his back to the door, and a woman sitting on a chair, facing Harry and Lupin. Between them was a bedside table and some cards.
"Wotcher Harry, Remus!" Nymphadora Tonks said happily.
"Yeah, like you're really going to get me with that one again," the man scoffed.
"No, Sirius, it is us this time," Lupin told him with a bemused grin.
Hearing his friend's voice, the man turned around. And it was him.
Harry didn't know what feeling it was he felt exploding in him, all he knew was that it was the best feeling of his life. He wasn't alone. He had a family.
When Sirius spotted Harry, his already smiling face lit up.
"Sirius," Harry whispered again, not noticing as Lupin and Tonks exited the room.
His godfather's expression turned from happy to concerned. "Harry, are you alright?"
Harry felt tears in his eyes and his lip quivered from his heavy breathing. Without answering his question, Harry ran to Sirius, hugging him tightly and burying his face in his chest.
"Harry, what. . . ?" Sirius put his arms lightly around his godson. "What's wrong?" When he felt Harry crying, Sirius wrapped his arms tighter around the boy. "It's alright, it's ok. Everything's alright now, Harry. Shhh." He tried to soothe him, truly worried about his godson.
"Sirius," he muttered again.
"Yeah, Harry, it's me. I'm right here." Sirius rested his chin on Harry's head, holding him closer than ever.
Once Harry had calmed down, Sirius held him out at arms' length. "Harry, what's wrong?" he asked, his worried grey eyes scanning his godson's face, now red from crying.
"It's just. . . It's just. . . I thought--" But Harry couldn't say it. How could he? How could he tell his godfather, alive and holding him,†he had been dead yesterday? "You'renotgoingbacktoAzkabanareyou?" came out instead, in one rushed sentence. "I- I don't want you to go back there." It was true, even if it hadn't been the reason Harry had†been upset.
"Oh, Harry," Sirius' face relaxed, "didn't Moony tell you? Those blockheads down at the Ministry finally realized I'm innocent."
Feeling slightly better, the young wizard smiled. "So. . . Does that mean I can live with you?" The forbidden hope again began to rise in†his chest.
If Harry had thought Sirius' face lit up before, he had been mistaken; that had been nothing compared to how his godfather's face lit now. "You mean you still want to?" he asked excitedly.
"If I can."
Still smiling, Sirius placed a hand on each of Harry's shoulders. "Of course you can, Harry. Of course."
Harry grinned even wider. He didn't know this foreign feeling that began to course through him, but Harry decided to act on it; to tell Sirius what he couldn't before, and so desperately wanted to. "Sirius. . ."
He gave his godson his full attention.
"Excuse me, Mr. Potter?"
Godfather and godson looked at the man who hadn't bothered to knock before entering. His tawny hair was like a lion's mane, and his bushy eyebrows intensified that appearance, despite his spectacles and slight limp as he walked on two legs.
"I'm Rufus Scrimgeour, Minister of Magic. May I have a word--"
"No! I told you before that--"
"Mr. Black, I realize that in light of recent events, you may have strong feelings on certain matters, but since you declined our offer of--"
"Hey! Minister," said Sirius - who, it seemed, hadn't accepted some sort of apology from the Ministry - almost mockingly, "you aren't talking with me, and you most certainly aren't talking with my godson. You're wasting your time here, now get out!"
The Minister looked insulted for a moment, but recovered so quickly that Harry couldn't have been sure.
"Now, Mr. Black," he said, "you've misunderstood me. I won't be speaking with Mr. Potter alone, also present will be one with a better understanding and appreciation for children, Madam Dolores Umbridge--"
"What?" It was Harry who spoke this time, causing both men to look over at him. How could that- that thing still be working with the Ministry?!
"You've got a lot of nerve," Sirius started, glaring at the Minister. "If you want to talk to my godson, first you're going to have to put that-" he cast a glance at Harry, as if to keep himself from using words he didn't want his godson to hear him using "-hag in Azkaban, then owl us once a bearded monkey flies outta your mother's butt asking for Merlin!"
This time, Scrimgeour did look insulted, very insulted. "Now see here, Black!" he roared. (By this time, many people - Healers and patients - had gathered around the ward door to watch all the commotion.) "I won't be spoken to like that! And--"
Sirius' smirk clearly said 'You're in trouble now,' as a pretty and would-be-kind-looking-if-not-for-the-anger-on-her-face Healer, who looked a few years older than him with soft blonde hair pulled back into a tight bun not unlike McGonagall's forced her way into the room wearing a scowl and carrying a basin of objects with the St. Mungo's seal on it.
"I won't have someone barging around disturbing my patient-" The Minister turned around and she apparently recognized him. "You!" she snarled, any trace of a kindly appearance gone. "You and your Ministry have made my family's lives nothing short of hell these past few years! And if you don't get out of here now I will take you out myself!" The Healer, oblivious to the crowd,†pulled something out of the basin. Harry had no idea what the spindly object was or how to use it, but it looked like if it were stuck in the wrong part of the body - or maybe even right - it would really hurt. It also looked like the Healer did know how to use it.
"Ma'am, you can't go around threatening the Minister of Magic! I--"
"Oh, my apologies! You're right." The Healer put the object away and her expression changed to a sly grin. "Bob! Hank! There's a visitor in here who's disturbing my patient and refuses to leave. Could you two gentlemen please escort him off the premises?" She turned to the Minister. "Bob and Hank are two of our Hospital Security Wizards," she said, smiling.
When Bob and Hank came in through the crowd, which quickly began to disperse, Harry immediately saw why the Healer choose to call these two wizards. Both being well over six foot and with bulging muscles, Harry doubted if they'd even need a wand to escort the Minister - or almost anyone, for that matter - off the premises.
"Well," the Minister started, "I assure you I have no need to be 'escorted' from anyplace; I am quite capable of leaving on my own." With that, Scrimgeour, thankfully, left.
"Thanks, guys," the Healer said.
"Any time, Andromeda."
"Yeah, no problem."
Andromeda. Harry knew that name. "Sirius, she's your cousin?"
"Yup. Harry, Andromeda. Andromeda, Harry."
"It's nice to meet you Harry, in person that is," Andromeda told him, her kind face smiling. Harry was worried for a moment that she was talking about everything the Daily Prophet had written, but was relieved that she didn't stare at his scar. She continued, "I don't know if this. . .†idiot-" she added with a smirk and wink at her cousin "-told you, but the reason I kept giving him Sleeping Droughts was because he wouldn't shut up about you."
Sirius beamed proudly at his godson, while Harry smiled shyly, not meeting the Healer's eyes. He felt Sirius' arm wrap tighter around his shoulders.
The cousins continued talking for some time, Harry feeling a bit awkward and staying, for the most part, silent.
Eventually, Tonks and Lupin came back, and, unfortunately for Nymphadora, her mother made a fuss over some smudge on her face that wouldn't come off. As Tonks fought, her embarrassed face blushing, against her mother, Sirius snickered openly while Lupin did everything short of sewing his mouth shut to hide his laughter.
"Nymphadora, if you would just hold still!"
"Don't call me 'Nymphadora,' Mum!" Tonks shot back.
"And you don't raise that tone with me, young lady! I didn't name you Nymphadora to call you something else!"
Not long afterwards, Tonks got free by dragging both herself and Lupin out the door saying something about Order papers. With a hurried good-bye and portkey made on the spot, probably illegal, they were gone.
Andromeda turned back to Sirius and Harry. "Now, I've got to go soon--"
Sirius opened his mouth, but his cousin cut him off by saying 'Not a word.'
"So is there anything you need, last minute?"
"Another bed." Harry's godfather answered without hesitation.
Healer Tonks rolled her eyes. "Sirius--"
"Not for me! For him!" He pointed at Harry.
With a sigh, the Healer started talking about hospital policy and not losing her job.
"But he has to stay, he's sick!" Sirius protested, then gave Harry an expectant look.
"Uh. . ." Harry gave a weak fake cough into his hand.
Andromeda sighed again. "Fine." She went to get another bed to put in the ward. Harry assumed the only reason there wasn't another already there was that while people were getting over the shock of Sirius' innocence, they probably weren't lining up to share a room with him.
Harry had changed into a pair of the hospital's pajamas, and was hugging his godfather again; something that, until that day, he had never done before.
As Harry thought over the day, he knew it had to be one of the best in his remembered life. True, they hadn't done much besides joke around, talk about things that really didn't matter, and play card games and wizards' chess - Sirius was much better at it than Ron - but Harry had never felt closer to his godfather than on that day. It was a feeling he never wanted to forget.
"Good night, Harry."
"Good night, Sirius."
The young wizard snuggled under the covers of his bed, unable to wait to wake up tomorrow, to finally spend a summer with his family. A family he loved.
A/N: I hope I'm not confusing people to the point that they stop reading this fic. After a couple more chapters, things should start falling into place. . .
And reviews are welcome!
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