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The Hard Life by killthatrat
Chapter 34 : Chapter 34 They're not going to let him go
Rating: MatureChapter Reviews: 27

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Sirius stared vacantly out the kitchen window of the Burrow, looking out into the dark backyard as he washed the dishes by hand. He put the soapy dishes in the draining rack to let them dry, as Tonks bustled around him wordlessly, putting away various things. He briefly looked up at his cousin, who tonight was again sporting shoulder length pink hair. Catching his look, she stopped what she was doing.

"What is it?" she inquired curiously.

Sirius quickly turned away and looked back into the sink, mumbling a quick reply. "Nothing."

Tonks frowned, but resumed packing away the dinner things. Sirius looked down into the warm, soapy water, his hands relaxing for a moment as he became lost in thought. The recollection of a distant memory found its way into his head, and he found himself remembering what his godson had been like as a small child.


Sirius grinned, his dark hair falling gracefully around his face as he leaned over the young boy, who lay patiently on the changing table. He let Harry grasp hold of each of his thumbs, before he spoke in a low and tantalizing voice.


He straightened up quickly, pulling Harry to his feet amongst shrieks of childish laughter. Sirius’ heart swelled as Harry grinned up at him with his new teeth, almost jumping up and down with excitement. Suddenly he turned serious, looking at his godfather with an almost business-like stare, before going limp and falling back onto the soft changing table. Sirius leant over him again, repeating the process of their new game.

"One…" he said, and Harry smiled widely.

"Two…" he continued, causing Harry to writhe and grin with excitement.

"Three!" Harry squealed and shrieked with laughter as Sirius again pulled him to his feet. He held on tight to Sirius’ thumbs, waving them about as he bounced up and down, laughter still filling his face. Slowly he quieted and leant comfortably up against Sirius, tired of this new game. He released Sirius’ thumbs and grasped the material of his jacket with one hand, the other warily prodding the drawstring of the jacket hood.

Sirius too sobered down slightly, rubbing his free hand soothingly across his godson’s back. He gently patted the child’s back, watching as he hesitantly put the end of the drawstring into his mouth, sucking it gently. He knew he should have reprimanded Harry, for putting foreign things into his mouth, but he stayed silent, not wanting to ruin his fun.

Harry looked up at him, his emerald eyes sparkling with the simple curiosity that could only amuse a child. He put his free hand to his mouth and pulled out the drawstring, offering it to Sirius to taste.

Sirius pulled a face, not wanting to taste the drool on his drawstring. Harry looked at him persistently, jigging up and down with insistence. Reluctantly Sirius bent his head down, taking the moist string in his mouth. He pulled a face as Harry smiled, revealing his teeth. Sirius spat the string out, watching with another smile as Harry’s eyes opened wide with disbelief.

Frowning, Harry reached across and grasped the end of the string, holding it up to Sirius again. Holding back a laugh, Sirius again took it into his mouth, holding it there for a moment before spitting it out again. Harry whined with impatience as he again picked up the string, thrusting it at his godfather.

Sirius sighed as he took the piece of string into his mouth again, before slinging a hand firmly around Harry, picking him up from the table and quickly spitting the string out. Harry relaxed against his chest as Sirius carried him downstairs, and almost wouldn’t let go when he was put down. However he quickly crawled away, searching underneath the furniture for some sign of the cat as Sirius leaned casually against the dining room table.

End flashback

Sirius dragged himself back to reality, staring at his hands in the soapy sink as he idly continued washing the dinner plates. He looked up at the window above the sink, watching Tonks’ reflection as she continued putting things away, organizing the kitchen for Mrs. Weasley. He knew he could ask Tonks this burning question, he knew she would answer him honestly, even if neither of them really wanted to hear it.

"Tonks," he muttered, getting her attention.

"Yeah?" she replied, craning her neck around to see him.

He paused briefly, knowing that he probably didn’t want to know the answer to his question. But he asked anyway.

"They’re not going to let him go," he said lowly, referring to Harry. "Are they?"

He watched Tonks’ reflection as she hesitated, not knowing how to answer such a sensitive question.

"Sirius, we just have to-"

"Stay positive," he interrupted. "Yeah, I know. That’s what everyone keeps saying."

"They keep saying it for a reason, Sirius."

Sirius fell silent, trying to form an argument to this, trying to formulate words for what he needed to know. He drew in a deep shuddering breath as he leant against the kitchen sink, his head bowed in defeat.

"Tonks, I just need you to be straight with me," he said lowly. "Even if it’s not what I want to hear."

"Sirius, I don-"

"You’re an Auror Tonks. You look at things like this differently, it’s your job," Sirius said bitterly, not hearing what she had begun to say. "They’re not going to let him go, are they?"

"You want to know, what I think," Tonks replied, verifying what he was trying to say.

"Yeah." He hesitated before continuing. "And please don’t ‘sugar coat’ it like Remus does."

"He’s just trying to make things easier," Tonks’ protested softly.

"Yeah, I know," Sirius replied quickly. "I know he’s trying to make things easier."

He turned away from the sink, straightening up. "I just need to know, what’s really going on, Tonks. Please just be straight with me."

Tonks stared at the kitchen floor, knowing that her words were not what her cousin wanted to hear. She raised her head, looking anywhere but at him.

"From an Auror’s point of view, not everything adds up."

She quickly glanced at him, waiting for his reaction. When there was none, she continued softly.

"They made demands, and we met them exactly. Normally they would have made more demands, or have negotiated his return. The only thing they’ve done is prove that he’s still alive."

"So what does that say to you?" Sirius said hesitantly.

Tonks looked away again, not wanting to meet his eyes. The weight of her words seemed to settle on her chest, and she could feel the nervous pound of her heart. She swallowed thickly, and continued.

"It says to me that," she paused, blinking back the burning feeling behind her eyes, as all the worries and emotions of that week came rushing back to her. "That they’re not going to let him go, and that they never intended to."

Sirius turned back to the sink, leaning heavily on it as he chewed his lip, letting out a low breath. He stayed silent for a moment, before speaking again.

"Well, why would they go to the trouble of making demands?"

"I’m not sure. But Sirius, this isn’t a normal kidnapping, where you pay a ransom, and then everything goes back to normal. These are Death Eaters we’re talking about, they don’t need money, or any kind of ransom."

"But then why? Why go to all this trouble?"

"Sirius, can’t you see what they really want?" Tonks said, slightly desperately.

"That’s not exactly what’s been on my mind Tonks,"

"They’re after information," she replied gently. "Information that Harry probably has, and-"

"They’ll stop at nothing, to get it," Sirius finished.

"Yeah," Tonks said grimly.

They lapsed into an uncomfortable silence, neither of them quite knowing what to say. Sirius looked blankly into the sink, his cousin’s words going through his head at a hundred miles an hour. He let out a breath he didn’t realize he had been holding. Tonks’ words made sense, what did the Death Eaters have to gain by letting Harry go?

"It’s going to have to be us," Sirius said. "It’s up to us, to get him back."

Tonks paused for a moment, before she replied. "Yeah."

Sirius turned away from the sink, drying his hands on the legs of his jeans. He leaned against the sink facing Tonks, the urge to keep talking pressing at him.

"This wasn’t exactly what I had in mind this summer."

"Well," Tonks said sarcastically. "I would hope not."

Sirius laughed softly, seeing her point. "I had so much planned, things were going so well. Especially his birthday."

"Have you seen the photos Arthur has?" Tonks asked with a smile. "There are some really great ones."

"Yeah, there are," Sirius agreed quietly.

They fell into another uncomfortable silence, the two cousins feeling strangely awkward around each other. Sirius resumed the washing up, and Tonks went back to tidying up the kitchen, both of them avoiding each other’s gaze.

Sirius stared into the sink as he scrubbed the roasting pan, wondering briefly why he wasn’t using magic to clean it. He breathed in deeply, trying to clear his head as thoughts rushed through it. He thought he had freaked out when Harry was in that accident, but that was nothing compared to now. Sirius clenched his eyes shut for a moment, his body reminding him of how much sleep he had lost, of how mentally and physically exhausted he was.”

Anger quickly began bubbling up inside of him again, furious about the injustice of the situation. Life for Harry was complicated enough, he didn’t need things like this. None of them did.

Sirius scrubbed at the baking dish, venting his anger and frustration onto the burnt pieces of food when somebody called out frantically from the lounge room.

"Oi! Tonks get in here!"

Tonks glanced at Sirius, her eyes wide open as she quickly left the kitchen. Sirius followed, his heart pounding as he and Tonks entered the living area. Charlie stepped forward and urgently thrust something into Tonks’ hand. She looked at him questioningly, before glancing down at the paper in her hand.

"It came out of the fireplace," Charlie explained. "It just came flying out."

"What is it?" Sirius said imperatively as he made to look over Tonks’ shoulder. Catching his movements, she pressed the piece of parchment against her chest, shielding it from his eyes. He noticed she was shaking.

"Ginny," Tonks said, her voice quivering slightly. "Go get the Aurors outside."

"The Aurors?" Sirius said as Ginny rushed outside, nearly knocking over her mother as she entered. "Tonks what is it?"

Tonks looked at him wide eyes, an internal battle raging in her mind. Before she could decide what to say, Sirius swiftly grabbed the parchment from her grasp and looked down at it. The bottom seemed to drop out of his stomach as he realized what it actually was, and the pounding of his heart increased. He watched the photo as Harry’s arm was forced out, followed by a brief flash of light. The Death Eaters who had been restraining him released him, before Bellatrix kicked him hard in the face, sending him to the ground.

Sirius swore under his breath, and thrust the photo into the hands of the nearest Auror. He moved past Mrs. Weasley and rushed through the back door, breathing the warm summer air as he stumbled into the backyard, his heart pounding, thoughts rushing through his head.

Sirius collapsed to his knees, burying his face in his hands as he tried to remove what he had just seen from his mind. He pressed his hands to his head as hard as he could, trying desperately to remove the image of his godson from his mind. But he could still see him, he could still see the dark mark as it formed on his arm, the relief on Harry’s face as he was released, and the bloodstains on his face and body.

He let out a frustrated yell as anger coursed through his body, stronger than he had felt it for a long time.

"Are you sure of this information, Narcissa?" Lord Voldemort asked emotionlessly.

"Yes, my Lord," Narcissa Malfoy replied nervously.

"Lucius saw the boy late yesterday afternoon.

"I assume he is following Potter?"

"Yes, my Lord, he is waiting for whatever you command."

Voldemort sat in silence for a moment, the small circle of Death Eaters remained still in the early sunshine of Sunday morning. The corner of his mouth turned upwards in a hint of a smile, as he sat in deep thought. The boy would be coming back, that much was obvious, but how long would it be until he finally cracked?

He had not anticipated this level of rebellion from Potter, and he had quickly tired of it. He knew if he wanted information any time soon, then he would have to go to the next extreme. Potter could cope with his own suffering, he had shown that, but could he cope with another’s?

Making his decision, Voldemort raised his head, his eyes scanning the Death Eaters, halting briefly at each one who had failed him one way or another. His eyes fell on the youngest of the group, his bruised and swollen face standing out in the light that seeped through the boarded up windows. Draco Malfoy’s idiocy had allowed Potter to escape again, whether or not he was heading straight into a trap. He pushed away the desire to punish Malfoy, remembering that he had more important things to organize.

"Bella," he said.

"Yes, my Lord?" she replied, stepping forward from her place, and pulling back the hood of her cloak, so that she could be clearly seen.

"Contact Greyback," Voldemort said. "Tell him he did such a good job on Bill Weasley, that I require his services again."

"I will. What else should I tell him, Lord?" Bellatrix replied.

Voldemort paused, the right words coming to mind. "Tell him to switch places with Lucius Malfoy. Tell him to keep following Potter at a distance, and await my next command."

"Yes my Lord," she replied, before quickly leaving, determined to follow her master’s orders exactly.

Voldemort again paused, carefully choosing the faithful Death Eater who would do his bidding. He spotted the figure of Severus Snape, who had proved himself worthy more than once, and smiled gently.

"Snape, there is another that I need you to bring in."

"Yes, my Lord," he replied as he too, stepped forward into the circle, pulling back the hood of his cloak to reveal his face.

"Good," Voldemort said simply. "Pay a visit to Percy Weasley, I’m sure he will be most helpful."

Snape nodded, and asked expressionlessly. "Who is it, that you want me to bring in?"

Voldemort smiled, and leaned back into his chair comfortably. "Severus, I’m sure you heard about Hogwarts’ golden couple."

"Yes, I did my Lord," Snape replied, realizing who it was.

Catching the curious and unsure faces of the other Death Eaters, Voldemort elaborated.

"Ginny Weasley."

A/N *laughs evily* 
update coming soon, and please please please leave a review! they make me soooo happy!

keep an eye out for chapter 35, coming in about a week ;)

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