Sirius was making breakfast while Harry sat on the kitchen floor doing one of his favorite things: Making noise. Sirius's eardrums cringed as his godson made known his enjoyment of the pots and pans that surrounded him; but Harry was having fun, and if Sirius's ears would have to suffer for it, then so be it.
Never before did Sirius think he'd be grateful for the food and cooking spell book Lily had given him a few years back when he said he kept coming around to the Potters' because Lily made such delicious meals, but now he was. Three days ago, he had received the Daily Prophet as usual, and opened it to see a large picture of himself and one of his godson plastering the front page underneath a headline reading "Top You-Know-Who Supporter Kidnaps Boy-Who-Lived" and next to a quite lengthy and colorful article about how Sirius was Voldemort's right-hand man and was brutally torturing Harry, who may have even been dead at that point in time. The rest of the paper was filled with similar articles, one even quoted Albus Dumbledore saying that Sirius's "betrayal was a tragic one, but he must be found in time to save young Mr. Potter." At that point, Sirius figured it would be a mistake to leave the house, for any reason; if any witch or wizard spotted him, he could kiss his godson (and his soul, the way those articles were going on) good-bye. But now, Sirius was using the cook book to make enough food for himself and Harry from what food supply they already had, and transfigure that food into different kinds to keep their tastebuds from getting bored, and he was getting enough practice at it that the food was actually edible, as opposed to a week ago.
Sirius looked over at Harry and smiled sadly. He was only a year old, but he was having trouble sleeping. Sirius had no idea why Harry was waking up and crying, and nothing Sirius did could calm him down, but he suspected it was all because of Halloween. It was impossible for anyone to forget something like that, even a one-year-old who didn't fully understand what happened. However much Sirius wanted to give Harry a Dreamless Sleep Potion (and take one himself), though, he didn't; he didn't know what kind of effect it would have on someone as young as his godson, and he didn't dare take anything that would help himself sleep, in case Harry woke up and he didn't hear.
"Sirwus," Harry said, letting go of the pot in his hands and lifting up his arms to his godfather.
Sirius's smile widened, becoming less sad, as he bent down to scoop up the tiny boy in his arms. Harry yawned, and Sirius hoped that his nightmares (because, as much as he wanted it to be something else, nightmares were the only conclusion Sirius had come up with for why Harry was having trouble staying asleep) would end soon. He took it as a sign of that when, the day before, Harry had a nap and didn't wake up because of an invasion of his dreams; but Harry was so young, he couldn't even know what that dream meant, why did it have to plague him? He never did anything to deserve that.
A tap tap sounded at the window, and Sirius cast an untraceable charm on the delivery owl before letting it in to deliver the morning paper, paying it, and sending it on its way. Sirius may not have been too fond of what the paper was saying (for crying out loud, he wanted to maim the people coming up with the junk about how he was hurting his godson so that they could no longer write), but he needed to know what was going on in the wizarding world; and so far, things weren't looking too up.
Balancing Harry in one arm, and opening the paper in his other hand, Sirius nearly dropped both when he glanced at the front page headline. He put Harry in his highchair and read the article entitled 'Bartimus Crouch Named Minister of Magic'. If Crouch was the new Minister, then that meant nothing good for anybody. Sirius had seen Aurors under Crouch's command do horrific things equivalent to what Voldemort had ordered his Death Eaters to do, and Crouch just cranked out laws to make that activity, if done by Aurors on duty, perfectly legal. With a flick of his wand, Sirius turned off the stove, positive he was so pissed that if he tried to cook anything, by Muggle means or magic, the end result wouldn't be pretty, and he had completely lost his appetite. Crouch, when he was still Head of the Department of Magical Law Enforcement, had thrown dozens of suspected Death Eaters into Azkaban without even thought of a trial; what he would do as Minister of Magic, Sirius didn't even want to think about.
But all this was no reason for Harry to starve. Sirius grabbed a container of baby food and sat down to feed his godson, his hand slightly shaking as he thought about the injustice of the world. It just wasn't fair.
Remus sat at his kitchen table with his elbows on the table and his head in his hands, and a cooling mug of untouched tea sitting in front of him. He had lost count of the days he had spent looking for Harry and Black, and was about ready to give up hope. Even if they did manage to find Sirius, the chances of Harry still being alive... well, he didn't want to think of that.
Sitting next to Remus with a half finished cup of tea was Peter Pettigrew. He was nervous and fidgeting (especially when Dumbledore was around), but Remus assumed that it was just because he was worried about Harry too, never once did he suspect that what Sirius had said that night, about Peter being the traitor, was true.
"Lupin, Pettigrew," a strict female voice said, causing Remus to look up and Peter to jump. "Professor Dumbledore would like you to meet him in Amesbury. He believes he has found a way around the charms protecting Black's house without alerting anyone inside they are being broken."
Remus stood and headed for his door, without a word to his Transfiguration teacher. (His cloak was already on, and his wand was in his pocket. Since news of Harry's kidnap, he hadn't found the strength to sleep, eat, shave, shower, or change. Occasionally, he, or rather someone with him at the time, would force something in his mouth and get him to swallow, and Remus would use the occasional cleaning charm on himself, but all in all, it was taking a toll on him, especially with the full moon six days away.)
"Remus," Professor McGonagall said, placing a hand on the werewolf's arm, preventing him from getting closer to the door. "Even though you are concerned, you cannot simply barge in there. There is no knowing what is to be found inside that place, and necessary precautions must be taken."
Remus gave her a curt nod before continuing to the door and apparating (had the situation been different, he would have been amazed he didn't splinch himself) to the street where a man he once considered a close friend lived.
"Come now, Pettigrew," Minerva said to Peter, who was following Remus's route to the door slowly and uncertainly. She side-along apparated with Peter (who had failed his apparation test miserably, even after all the help he had received from James and Sirius) to Amesbury.
Sirius, who had just put Harry down for a nap, was pacing nervously outside his godson's partially open bedroom door, thinking about what he had been all morning: The world's injustice. He couldn't even avenge James's death (although, in the choice between killing Pettigrew or protecting Harry, he'd pick Harry every time), because he couldn't leave a one-year-old in a house by himself, and he couldn't take Harry with him, because the last thing that child needed was another memory of someone being murdered. Not to mention that if he took one step outside, there was no doubt in Sirius's mind that no less than fifty Aurors, and possibly a few dozen dementors, would turn up, leaving him rotting in Azkaban or soulless, and Harry only Merlin knows where.
Sirius stopped his pacing, feeling the beginnings of fear set in. He had heard something, he had definitely heard something. Someone was downstairs.
Carefully and quietly, Sirius closed the door the Harry's bedroom. Gripping his wand firmly in front of him, Sirius made his way down the stairs, after administering a nonverbal Silencing Charm to keep them from making noise. Sirius got to his kitchen and didn't know whether to feel relieved or worried by who he saw there. He knew Death Eaters wouldn't dare impersonate the man sitting at his table, but either way, he didn't put his wand down.
"Hello, Sirius," Albus Dumbledore said, an unreadable expression covering his frowning face. "I've been wondering how long it would be until we met again." There was no twinkle behind his eyes.
Outside of Sirus Black's home, Peter Pettigrew stood alone, nervously awaiting for Dumbledore, McGonagall, and Remus to return with Sirius safely in custody. Only then would he feel a bit more relaxed. Sirius tended to act rashly without thinking the consequences of his actions through, and Peter shuddered at the thought of what Sirius would do to him if Sirius could get ahold of him.
At first, Remus was supposed to be the one who guarded the front door, in case Black tried to escape that way, but Peter convinced him to switch, to let him guard the door while he went inside with the professors, just like he had convinced Sirius to get James to switch Secret Keepers. But Sirius was the only one alive who knew that, and once Sirius lost his soul, like the new Minister had promised he would, Peter wouldn't have to worry. There would be no one left to testify against him.
Anxiously, he rubbed the Dark Mark that was burned into his left arm. But what if Dumbledore believed Sirius's story enough to see if it was true? Dumbledore could always tell when he was being lied to, and Peter had no greater mastered Occlumency than apparation. Dumbledore believed in second chances, and surely Sirius had done no harm to the Potter boy. It would be easy to convince Dumbledore to question him, just as easy as Peter convinced Remus to go inside, something Moony was all too willing to do.
With a last nervous glance at the house in front of him, and then down the street, Peter Pettigew transformed into a rat, and fled the scene, unnoticed by any, whether they be magic or Muggle. And he didn't stop running until his out of shape body could run no more. Panting heavily, he forced himself to continue. Wormtail had joined Voldemort because he was afraid. He had been very afraid of what Voldemort would do to him if he had been caught in Dumbledore's ranks. But now, he was afraid again. The Dark Lord was defeated because of Peter's information, and he knew it wouldn't sit well for him to look for help in his fellow Death Eaters. He couldn't go to anyone in the Order, either, because Dumbledore, surely, would want to question him sooner or later. The very thought of Azkaban scared him more than death, and he was positive that'd be where he ended up were Dumbledore to find any reason to believe Sirius Black.
A/N: A couple of things, Crouch is the Minister of Magic because his son hasn't been caught in the company of Death Eaters or been accused of Death Eater activity, at least not yet...
Pettigrew wasn't hiding out because, up until this point, he hadn't felt there was a need to, and if he was with Dumbledore, he would be protected from Death Eaters, who, he's realized, aren't too happy with him.
The "-6-2-9-..." is just instead of "---" or "***" or some other kind of page break.
Finally, sorry, I know the chapter's a bit of a short one, but I already added a few extensions to make it as long as it is, and I thought this was kind of a decent place to end the chapter.
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