After counting out the money, if he remembered right from Lily teaching him muggle coins, he had about fifteen pounds. If he could hit a couple more fountains he could buy a wand. Then all he had to do was get into Diagon Alley, exchange the coins, buy a wand and leave without getting caught. If he could get a wand he would be set.
The next morning he was sitting and making plans, he heard another wizard pop into the alley. He leaned out to look and saw a witch straitening her robes. When she moved to leave Sirius noticed a paper on the ground at her feet. He waited until she was gone then, in his dog form, he jumped from his hiding place, grabbed the paper and ran back to hide again.
He transformed back and started to read the Daily Prophet she had dropped. First thing he saw was his own face plastered across the front page. Sirius groaned this would make it harder, a lot harder. Reading the article he laughed, he had already been spotted. They saw him in Hogsmead what a joke. That school was the last place he wanted to go, that would have way too many painful memories.
Soon there was another pop and Sirius noticed a woman in a nurse’s uniform. He went back to dog form and followed. She rounded the corner and walked down a few blocks then disappeared into a store front with a manikin in the window. Sirius lay down to watch, sure enough magical folk were going in and out of the store front. He couldn’t believe it, Harry was so close to people who could help. He couldn’t believe the muggle hospital was this close to St. Mungo’s.
As he was watching Sirius recognized a man that had exited alone. Sirius ran to the alley ahead of him and found a stick lying on the ground. He waited until the man had passed and jumped out. Holding the stick like a wand he poked the man in the back .
“Please put your hands on your head.” The man followed instructions, Sirius continued, “I promise not to hurt you I just want your attention for a few minutes. Step to the shadows in the back of the alley and we can talk.”
They moved and Sirius started his story, “There is a young wizard in a muggle hospital called St. Theresa’s just east of here. He is being raised by muggle relatives. But they are horrid people. They threw the boy down the stairs for punishment and he has been unconscious for five days. Every day his uncle comes into the room and threatens him. I just want someone to go to his room invisibly and listen to the threats and protect the boy.”
“Why don’t you do this yourself?” The man asked.
“No one would believe me.” Sirius sighed, “The boy is Harry Potter. And I escaped so I could rescue my godson but I can’t do this alone. I’ll turn myself back in as soon as he is safely away from those muggles.”
“You’re Sirius Black?” The man asked.
“Yes.” Sirius replied.
“If you tried to kill him as a baby why would you try to save him now?” The man asked.
“I didn’t.” Sirius said, “I wasn’t the secret keeper. Our friend Peter was and I didn’t kill him either, he blew up the street and slipped into the sewers in his rat animagus form. He’s probably living in high style as a pet rat to some poor family.”
“I’ll check it out.” The man said, “How can I get back in touch with you?”
“There is a park across from the muggle hospital.” Sirius said, “Go sit at the picnic table near the trees. Arthur I will be in your debt forever for this, thank you.”
He removed the stick and watched Arthur Weasley take a few steps and disappear. Sirius changed back into his dog and ran to the park. A few hours later he saw Arthur walking through the park towards the table, it looked like he was alone but Sirius wasn’t sure.
Arthur sat down and asked, “Sirius?”
“I’m here.” He replied.
“You were correct about Harry.” Arthur said, “Albus is getting him moved to St. Mungo’s as we speak.”
Sirius breathed a sigh of relief, “Thank Merlin.”
“Are you still willing to turn yourself in?” Arthur asked.
“As soon as I know he’s safe and won’t be sent back to Petunia and Vernon.” Sirius said.
“Fair enough.” Arthur replied, “I told Albus everything and he is willing to put you to trial and let you give testimony to your innocence.”
“Thanks Arthur,” Sirius said, “I never expected that of you, thank you.”
“One more question if you don’t mind.” Arthur asked, “Does the rat have any distinguishing marks?”
“Not really,” Sirius said, “I’d know him if I saw him. But most people wouldn’t see a difference. “
Arthur thought for a moment, “Well he should be missing a finger on one hand.”
Sirius was confused, “Why would he be missing a finger?”
“When the street was blown up,” Arthur said, “all they found of Peter Petegrew was a finger.”
“That’s right I had forgotten.” Sirius said, “Is there any way we can we keep this out of the Prophet. When I prove my innocence I am going to track down Peter and I don’t want him to know I’m coming for him.”
“I’ll see what I can do.” Arthur said, “Shall I meet you back here this afternoon?”
“I’ll be waiting.”
When Arthur left he went home and met his family in the kitchen. He wanted to tell his wife what was happening but he had to wait until the children went off to play so he sat down for lunch. Percy walked up to him with his pet rat and showed him to Arthur, “Dad, Scabbers is sick and Mum can’t do anything. I think the twins must have poisoned him.”
Arthur started to examine the rat; he was losing hair and trembling, “When did this start?”
“Right after breakfast.” Percy replied, “Bill was reading the Prophet, I was sitting across from him trying to read the front page about that Black fellow and then Scabbers just started shaking. Fred and George were sitting beside me.”
Arthur thought it couldn’t be, but he knew the rat was missing a toe, “I think I better take him to someone who can look him over.” He conjured a cage and placed the rat inside. Then he waved his wand over the cage, “I’ll take him to work with me, I’ve put some safety spells on it so he can’t get out and get lost. After work I’ll take him to the Menagerie to see about getting him some help.”
Percy looked relieved, “Thanks Dad.”
Lunch was set on the table and the usual noisy meal started. After the children had eaten and left to play outside Molly noticed Arthur wasn’t eating like normal. So she sat at the table and waited for him to speak.
“I was accosted this morning coming out of St. Mungo’s. I wasn’t hurt the man just wanted me to do him a favor. It was Sirius Black.” Molly gasp and Arthur hurried to continue the story, “He wanted me to check on Harry Potter he said he was in danger. I agreed to check and took Albus with me and we found what he said we would find. Harry Potter was thrown down the stairs and injured badly. His muggle uncle that he lives with was the one who did it. We witnessed him telling the boy that he needed to keep his mouth shut or he would get in worse trouble. If the healers found out that he was so bad that he had to be thrown down the stairs they would punish him more.”
Molly was in tears, how anyone could treat a child so badly was beyond her, “What’s to happen to them?”
“Albus is working on getting the guardianship and then prosecuting them.” Arthur said, “Sirius is turning himself in as soon as he knows Harry is safe, it’s the reason he escaped. “
Molly was confused, “But he….”
“I don’t think he did.” Arthur interrupted, “He told me he wasn’t the secret keeper. Molly he was never given a trial. He says Peter Petegrew was the secret keeper and that he is still alive in his animagus form of a rat with a missing toe.” When he said that he pointed to the caged rat at his feet.
Molly’s eyes widened. Arthur said, “If my suspicions are correct, Scabbers won’t be coming back home.”
“I’ll prepare Percy,” Molly said, “Scabbers is very old. He may be too ill to come home.” Arthur picked up the cage and headed out.
Albus Dumbledore was angry and feeling guilty. Never in his wildest dreams did he think Lily’s sister could treat her nephew this way. He should have checked up on the boy. He was so afraid that the dark side would find him that he delivered him into a different kind of darkness. He was still radiating anger as he was walked through the Ministry’s Atrium.
That was the way Arthur found him, “Albus” he called.
Albus waved and turned to meet him halfway. Arthur said, “I need you to come with me to the Aurors office.”
Albus turned and walked with Arthur, “Is this about Sirius Black, is he giving you trouble about turning himself in?”
Arthur shook his head, “No, I think this is more important.” This got Albus’ attention as they entered the lift, “You remember the story he told me about Peter Petegrew being a rat?”
Albus looked at the rat in the cage and then at Arthur, “Do you think?”
“He’s missing a toe.” Arthur nodded, “It’s the first thing Percy spotted when he found him more than three years ago.”
“Very well, let us proceed.” They stepped out of the elevator and went to find Alastor Moody. They found him sitting in his office doing paperwork. They knocked; he looked up and motioned them to come in.
Arthur explained what had been happening and Albus informed him that Harry had been moved to St. Mungo’s and he was moving to take guardianship away from his relatives. Then Arthur showed him the rat and told him there were anti-break spells and a silencing spell so the rat couldn’t hear what they were saying. Alastor cast a couple spells and then said, “It is an animagus, whether it’s Petegrew or not I don’t know yet. Let’s get the Wizengamot together for this. How soon can we get that?”
Albus looked at his watch, “We have a hearing at one but it shouldn’t last long. Have the rat there by one thirty. Arthur get Sirius here by then too. Make sure you disguise him we don’t want him mobbed before we learn the truth. Don’t tell him about the rat just in case it’s not Petegrew.”
“I’ll have Kingsley Shacklebolt and a trainee waiting in the Atrium for you to protect you both and get him through security.” Alastor said.
The three disbanded and Alastor kept the rat, Albus went to the hearing and Arthur went to get Sirius. When Arthur arrived at the park Sirius was waiting with a huge smile, “I saw the wizard’s moving Harry and I made sure he went to St. Mungo’s. Thanks. When is my hearing?”
“Albus wants us at the Wizengamot today at one thirty.” Arthur grinned, “But we need to disguise you before we go.”
“I got that covered.” Sirius said and changed into a dog.
“I guess I shouldn’t be surprised.“ Arthur sighed, “Today has been a day full of surprises.”