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Chapter 11 : Maneuvers and Visitors
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He loved the fact that he was able to bring justice to dark wizards that did horrible things to people that didn’t deserve them. He also loved the excitement that went hand in hand with the apprehension of said dark wizards. To be perfectly honest – a person would have been hard-pressed to find an element that he didn’t love about his job – but that meant that he, of course, didn’t love everything about it, and that a person could find something that he didn’t love.
“Hey, Em’?” Harry called while stifling a yawn.
“Harry?” The elderly man answered without looking up from the paper he was reading through.
“What – in the name everything magical – does ‘reverberated incarceration’ mean?” he asked while pinching his nose in irritation.
“Has it got to do with that nutter we apprehended down by the harbour the other day?” Emory asked lazily while turning the page of the Daily Prophet.
“That’s the one,” Harry answered.
“Basically, it means that you used a verbal incarceration spell of some sort.” Emory explained in a monotone. He secretly smirked behind the paper at Harry – he knew how the boy despised paperwork.
Harry gave a muttered ‘Of course’ and continued to fill out the document.
“How’d things go with the Weasley girl the other night, by the way?” Emory asked while folding up the Prophet and putting it down on his desk beside the mountainous stack of finished paperwork.
Harry felt his stomach flutter and a grin spread automatically flashed across his face. They’d spent the entire day together yesterday. Talking, joking around... kissing – man could that woman kiss...
“Potter!” Emory was snapping his fingers to get Harry’s attention. “That well?” he smirked.
“You know how happy a kid gets when they receive their acceptance letter to Hogwarts for the first time?” Harry asked, his eyed clouded over and his head now resting on his hand.
Emory raised an eyebrow. “You do realize that I’m a hundred and fifty years old?” he sounded puzzled. Then, seeing that his joke didn’t even register with the boy, “Yes, I do?”
“Well... That doesn’t even come close,” Harry sighed, now lazily twirling his quill in his hand.
“I’m guessing it wasn’t just dinner, then?” Emory chuckled.
“What? No! We didn’t... I mean... Not that I didn’t want to... We’ve only known each other...” Harry sputtered.
Emory burst out laughing. “Honestly, boy. I’m not your father – you can talk to me about these things,”
“You may not be, but I am,” a voice spoke from behind Harry, causing him to jump. “...Well... in a manner of speaking, of course!” Sirius Black chuckled.
Harry spun around in his chair, “Sirius?!” he exclaimed, jumping up to hug his godfather with excitement flooding his being.
“Harry,” Sirius chuckled as Harry pulled back. He looked over at Emory and then lifted his eyebrows at Harry.
“Of course,” Harry shook his head. “Emory this is my godfather, Sirius,” he indicated. “This is my partner Emory, Padfoot.” As the two men exchanged pleasantries, Harry started to become suspicious. Why would Padfoot be visiting me when I’m going to my parents’ house later today? He thought to himself.
“So, Harry,” Sirius began. “When’s your shift over? I was hoping my favourite godson would be showing me around Whales by now,” he said as he leant against Emory’s (who’d gone back to reading his Prophet) desk.
“I’ll see what I can do,” Harry said excitedly as he jogged out of the small office he shared with Emory towards the office of Frank Longbottom – who appeared to be having a serious conversation with his son, Neville.
“...honestly, Neville, why don’t you just ask Dumbledore if there’s a spot open at Hogwarts is beyond my understanding,” Harry heard through the door just before he knocked.
“That’s what I wanted to talk about with you... I think there’s someone at the door, dad,” the other man, Neville, answered his father.
“Come in,” Frank said in his most authoritative voice. “Ah, Mr Potter, what can I do for you?” he asked with the friendly smile Harry had only seen when he was with one of his family members. He wondered if Frank experienced the same kind of rollercoaster-stomach feeling if someone mentioned his wife – or son, for that matter.
“Sorry, Frank, I knocked and all...” Harry apologised so as not to be accused of listening in on the conversation.
“Of course, Harry, I was just talking to Neville, here – went into my own little bubble, I s’pose,” he chuckled while nodding towards his son.
“How’ve you been, Neville?” Harry asked while shaking his hand.
“Great, thanks Harry,” he answered with a friendly smile.
Neville and Harry had been potions partners for most of their years at Hogwarts, and while Harry had been rather successful with the subject (thanks to multiple letters and extra classes at home with his mother during vacation) Neville had been dead awful. Neville never judged Harry because of his house, and Harry – in return – shielded Neville from Crabbe and Goyle on multiple occasions. This led to them becoming friends... of sorts.
Harry looked at Frank. “I was wondering if maybe I could get the rest of the day off?” he asked tentatively.
Frank’s face contorted in confusion. “What do you mean?” he asked.
“I wanted to know if maybe I could go home a little...” Harry began, but he stopped talking when Frank started laughing. A little taken aback, Harry frowned and turned around, preparing himself to tell Sirius to wait for him at home, when Frank called him back.
“Harry, you’re not even supposed to be working today!” he gasped. “It’s Sunday, after all.”
Harry felt the blood drain from his face, only to feel it rush back and heat up his ears.
“Get out of here,” Frank said with a chuckle, “And say ‘Hi’ to James and Lily for me.”
“Thanks, Frank,” Harry said. “See you, Neville.”
“Cheers, Harry,” Neville said as Harry walked out of the office and back to where he left Sirius with Emory.
When Harry stepped entered his and Emory’s office, Sirius was sitting behind his desk with his feet resting on it. He was laughing at something Emory must’ve said.
“What did the boss-man say, kiddo?” Sirius asked jokingly.
“Well – apparently I came in to work without actually having to be here,” Harry said with a puzzled expression.
“Oh! I didn’t tell you?” Sirius said as he jumped back to his feet. “I arranged with Frank for you to have the day off!”
“Brilliant,” Harry said whilst sighing and running his hand through his hair. “Pity you didn’t tell me though,” he chuckled.
Emory snorted and Sirius shrugged. “All in the past now, let’s go!” he said a little too enthusiastically for Harry’s taste.
“Err, right. See you on Tuesday, Em,” Harry said with a frown as Sirius gripped him on the arm and led him out of the Auror’s office.
A feeling of unease settled over him: Sirius never visited him – and he was never this cheerful – excluding the days when there was a full moon, of course. Something really good must’ve happened to him. Either that, or Sirius was under the Imperious curse.
“All right, stop right there,” Harry said as they stepped out of the building. He shook off Sirius’ hand and took out his wand. “Who are you really, and what have you done to my godfather?” he demanded.
Sirius rolled his eyes. “I told your Prongs it was a bad idea to talk you into being an auror –look at you -”, he gestured at Harry’s entire body, “All paranoid and Moody-like.”
The corners of Harry’s mouth twitched as if he was going to start laughing, but he frowned and lifted his wand so that it was trained on Sirius’ chest. “Sirius was never this happy,” he said in a cold voice. “So either you’re him under an Imperious curse... Or you’re using Polyjuice potion.”
He was breathing heavily through his nose, trying to remind himself that he’d have to be ready to defend himself against – whoever this was – in a few minutes if need be.
Sirius lifted his hands and smirked. “My name is Sirius Orion Black, I’m the godfather of Harry James Potter, my Patronus takes the form of a dog, err,” he seemed to be searching for another piece of information that only he’d know. “I gave you a broom for your first birthday, and I also bought you a Firebolt for Christmas in your third year,” he’d let his hands fall to his sides. “And honestly, a person is entitled to be happy every once in a while – is it wrong for me to be excited to see you for the first time in three months?” he said with a scowl.
Harry’s wand arm wavered.
“If you don’t stop pointing that thing at me, I’m going to set my dog on you,” Sirius said in code, eyeing the wand carefully.
Harry let his wand arm fall to his side. “I’m sorry, Padfoot. It’s just that we’ve had to become a little more careful after we caught that werewolf,” he explained as he put his wand away.
Sirius ruffled his hair. “No problem, now let’s go – or else we’ll be late!” he started walking away from Harry. After a few steps, though, he seemed to notice that he was the only one moving. “Well? Are you coming or not?” he shouted over his shoulder.
Harry shook his head and smiled – he ran to catch up. “Where are we going?” he asked as he fell in step with Sirius.
“We,” Sirius began, “are going to watch some quidditch, kid!”
Harry chuckled. “Who’s playing?” he asked?
“Oh, nobody,” Sirius answered lightly.
Harry was dumbfounded. “We’re going to watch quidditch... but nobody’s playing quidditch?” he asked with a scowl.
“Exactly,” Sirius said happily. “I knew your seven years of education weren’t wasted!”
Harry tutted and shook his head. Definitely Sirius, he concluded. Sarcasm and craziness included. “You’ve finally cracked,” he said out loud.
Sirius feigned injury. “You only realized this now?” he asked sarcastically. Then he looked at Harry with a sly grin, “We’re going to go and meet your little girlfriend, Potter!”
Harry froze. “She’s... Well I guess... But we’re...” he stuttered. I feel like I have some kind of speaking disability today, his mind accosted. “How did you know?” he asked finally.
“Oh please, do I look seventeen?” he asked.
“Of course not! You’re... old,” he joked with a grin and dodged hit Sirius had intended for his arm.
“Well... Since I’m – how’d you put it? – old,” he said the word as if it burnt his tongue. “I guess you could say that I’ve had a little experience with the opposite sex,” he explained.
Harry had a confused look on his face.
“Well, that, and I eavesdropped on your conversation with Collins before making my presence known.” he explained. “You’re falling behind again,” he said to Harry, who’d stopped walking while Sirius hadn’t missed a stride.
I’m definitely developing some kind of physical illness, Harry frowned and jogged a little to catch up with Padfoot.
“What’s she like?” Sirius asked, his voice was still light, but there was some seriousness mixed in with it. Harry recognised the tone from his many talks with Sirius – he was concerned.
“She’s amazing, Padfoot,” Harry said, the telltale smile spreading across his face.
“Amazing, you say?” Sirius with a smirk, “Do tell,”
“She’s amazing,” Harry repeated, “And then some.” He looked up from the street at their surroundings and his forehead scrunched into a frown. “Where are we going, exactly?”
Sirius looked surprised. “I don’t know! I thought you were taking us to the Harpies’ stadium?”
Harry looked at Sirius as if he was a crazy person and they started laughing.
“I’ve missed you, Padfoot,” Harry clutched at the stitch in his side.
Sirius’ bark-like laughter stopped abruptly and he smirked. “Didn’t feel like it?” he said. Harry couldn’t tell if he was joking or if he was being serious. “I mean, did Hedwig forget how to deliver letters, or something?” All traces of laughter were now erased from his face.
He’s being serious, Harry decided. Guilt washed over him. “I’m sorry, Sirius, I’ve just been busy with...”
“Oh!” Sirius exclaimed loudly. “Busy! That explains it!”
An old lady that was hanging her washed clothes on the other side of the road jumped and cursed loudly – this would’ve caused them to dissolve into laughter, but the situation was a little too tense for that, so they just started walking in silence.
“Look, Sirius,” Harry began, “I know it’s been a while...”
“Three months, Harry,” Sirius said with a pained expression. “You didn’t send one letter, didn’t floo once... You do realize that we wizards can apparate too?”
“Would you let me finish a sentence, already?!” Harry shouted.
“I have not forgotten about you guys,” he began, realizing how weak this sounded. “You were young once, too!”
“I was...” Sirius nodded. “But you do realize that my parents and yours have quite a bit of differences -” Sirius began, his eyes clouding over. “So I didn’t particularly have someone to write home to.”
“I’m sorry, that was uncalled for,” Harry began. He couldn’t believe how thoughtless he’d just been – Sirius hated talking about his past, and here he goes trying to draw a parallel between their two very different childhoods.
Sirius continued as if he hadn’t heard Harry speaking. “Your punishments as a child were – what – being grounded from time to time? Doing chores the muggle way? Heaven forbid,” he added with dark humour.
Harry hung his head in shame. “Sirius, I didn’t mean it that way.”
His godfather still continued talking without taking his apology into account. “My parents – good riddance -” he added bitterly. “They let my siblings practise the torturing curse on me,” he chuckled. “I remember good old father coming into my room one afternoon – ‘Give me your wand, boy’,” he imitated the deep voice and closed his eyes to flinch at the memory.
Harry’s mouth hung open. Sirius had told him bits and pieces from his past, but they mostly contained a prank or his own father, James. This story – well... Harry could see why he was only hearing it now. They were standing in front of an abandoned building in a part of town Harry’d never set foot in. Sirius’ eyes were shut tight and he was shaking.
Suddenly he smiled and clapped Harry on the shoulder. “But that’s all in the past,” he said and cleared his throat and shook his head. “Don’t let it happen again,” he said, smirking as if he’d just told a joke and not a horror story.
Harry nodded. “Got it,” he said.
“Now,” Sirius said suddenly, causing Harry to jump a little. “We’d better get a move on if we’re going to meet the girl and get to Godric’s Hollow for lunch in time!” he chuckled and grabbed Harry’s arm.
“Oh, right,” Harry chuckled shakily, still trying to erase the image of a much younger Sirius writhing in pain on the floor at the mercy of his relatives. He took out his wand. “Actually... I’m not exactly sure where the stadium is...”
“Okay, so we’ll run that play again!” Gwenog Jones shouted from the other side of the stadium. “Weasley, Griffiths, you’ll need to try and fly closer to Morgan before she starts climbing if we’re going to have any hope of this working,” she explained.
“If we fly any closer, were going to have to share a broom,” Ginny’s teammate, Valmai Morgan, joked. They shared a quick chuckle and flew over to the goal posts where they began to fly their manoeuvre.
At first, they feign a Hawkshead Attacking Formation, after which the head chaser – Valmai – would start a steep climb, initiating a Porskoff Ploy, after which she’d pass the Quaffle to one of the supporting chasers, allowing them to score while the other team is focused on the ascending player.
It was a brilliant plan, but it was almost impossible to manage. Sure, in theory, catching a falling Quaffle seemed like something even a two-year-old could manage, but since the steep climb made it impossible to see where your teammates were for you to aim at them, they had to manoeuvre like madmen to catch the ball. Ginny had to push her Cleensweep to its limits to even get close.
The Jones’ whistle sounded and they shot in the direction of the goalposts on the other side of the field.
“Get closer!” Jones commanded.
Ginny shrugged and tried to fly a little closer to Valmai. It seemed to be working, but only for a few seconds, before her broom started to undergo some rough turbulence. “Damn broom!” she cussed loudly before bailing out of the formation.
“What the hell, Weasley!” Gwenog shouted, her voice sounding rough from the night’s verbal abuse.
“That play is impossible!” Ginny shot back. “At least with us flying on these!” she nodded at her broom.
Gwenog hit barrier she was standing by with a fist. “Stupid budget cuts,” she muttered under her breath. The Harpies were having a rough season, and so their sponsors had lost some interest and they had to move back to the Cleansweep series.
“We only need one good broom,” Ginny said seriously as she landed a few feet from her captain.
“And how do you suppose we get said good broom, Weasley?” Gwenog croaked before taking a swig of water.
Ginny smirked. “Well, you could always show some leg to old Arnold,” she chuckled.
The manager of the Holyhead stadium, Arnold, was surely the oldest person Ginny knew – and this included Dumbledore.
“Yeah,” Wilda Griffiths chimed in. She was hovering a few feet above the stands, fiddling with her gloves. “Give the old nutter one last heart attack, why don’t you.”
The team started laughing, and the tense atmosphere was immediately broken. After they’d all recovered from their fit of giggles, Gwenog stood up from the seat she’s collapsed into after picturing old ‘Arny’ ogling her legs. “Let’s try it one last time. Weasley, try and get as close as you can, if the broom gives any trouble I’ll have my wand ready,”
“Who’s that piece of studmuffin over there?” Valmai said almost breathlessly.
“OI! THIS IS A CLOSED PRACTISE!!!” Gwenog shouted at the pair of men sitting on the far side of the field. “Damn, reporters,” she cussed loudly.
“Damn attractive reporters,” Wilda mused, preparing to mount her broom. “I think I’ll go and offer an exclusive interview,” she started, but was interrupted by Ginny.
“That’s my studmuffin slash attractive reporter,” she said while giving her teammates some death stares. “I’ll just go and see what’s up – no, I don’t think you have to come with me, Wilda – you guys... err... lap the field or something,” she said dismissively.
“There she is,” Harry smiled and pointed to the goal posts closest to them. “The...”
“Redhead? Yeah I guessed that much – she is a Weasley, after all,” Sirius said, his voice dripping with sarcasm. “Quite the beauty, isn’t she?” Sirius said, sounding impressed.
“I know right?” Harry said as he sat down in one of the spectator seats. “There they go!”
A whistle had sounded and a trio of chasers set off across the field. They were flying in what looked like a very cramped Hawkshead formation, and the woman at the other end of the pitch kept yelling at them to get closer to one another.
Ginny seemed to respond and flew slightly closer to the middle chaser.
“What brooms do you think they’re flying with?” Harry asked Sirius without his eyes leaving the game.
“Cleensweeps, by the look of them; why?” Sirius answered lazily.
“They’ll never get this play to work, then,” Harry pulled his wand out of his pocket. “Cleansweeps are great for a game of Quidditch at Hogwarts, but under high strain they... look!”
Ginny’s broom started to buck violently and she bailed out of formation. Harry raised his wand and prepared to cast a cushioning charm, but he breathed a sigh of relief as she pulled the broom back under control and shouted something back at the captain.
“Quite the flier, too,” Sirius said whilst nodding in approval.
“She’s perfect, Padfoot,” Harry sighed as he pocketed his wand and fell back into his chair with his hands behind his head. “She’s headstrong, so passionate about everything she does – and she didn’t even freak out when I told her about Remus...”
“You told her about Moony?!” Sirius said in disbelief.
“Don’t bite your arm off, she’s fine with it – and I didn’t do it on purpose, so you can stop looking like I stole your breakfast.”
“What do you mean you didn’t tell her on purpose?” Sirius asked, his voice betraying his anger a little.
“I was telling her the story of my scar,” Harry started, before...
“OI! THIS IS A CLOSED PRACTISE!!!” a hoarse voice yelled from across the field.
A few minutes later, Ginny was flying across the field with a giant grin mirroring the one Harry had plastered on his face since they’d set foot inside the stadium. “Hi there,” she said as she stopped midair – a few inches from Harry’s chair.
“Hi,” He said huskily and stood up to kiss her while she was floating on the broom – until Sirius cleared his throat loudly. The Harpies were clapping and whistling from the other side of the field and Ginny giggled as she jumped off her broom to stand next to Harry.
“Gin, this is Sirius, my godfather,” he started.
Sirius inclined his head and took Ginny’s hand to kiss it. “And... err... this is Ginny... old man,” Harry emphasized and Sirius pulled back with a slight smirk on his face.
“Pleased to meet you, Sirius,” Ginny said with a scowl. “Please don’t do that again,” she said flatly.
Harry snorted and Sirius blushed a little. “Sorry, Ginny – uptight upbringing, I’m afraid,” he shrugged. “It ruined me.”
Ginny chuckled. “Don’t worry about it,” she said and looked at Harry. “This is a pleasant surprise?”
Harry pecked her on the lips quickly. “We were on our way to my parents’, and Sirius wanted to see if I made you up,” he shrugged.
“Wouldn’t be the first time he did that, you know,” Sirius said in an undertone.
“Well, I assure you, I’m real!” She chuckled and Harry ran a hand through his hair in embarrassment.
You’re going to pay for this, Padfoot, he thought as his eyes flashed. He looked down at Ginny and smiled – he loved feeling like the happiest and luckiest man in the world – and she was definitely his cause for feeling that way. Suddenly – a thought crossed his mind.
“Hey, Gin?” he started.
“Hmmm?” she looked up at him again, knocking his breath away a little with her raw beauty. WOW, he thought.
“I was wondering,” he ran his hand through his hair again.
“Oh this ought to be good,” Sirius chuckled.
Suddenly his stomach was in a knot again. Just spit it out! The more confident, mental Harry shouted. “Doyowangomeetmyprentswime?” he blurted – Sirius dissolved into hysterics.
Ginny frowned at him, and looked back to Harry with concern. “Are you alright?” she asked with a frown on her face.
“Yes, yes, I’m fine,” he said while shaking his head. “What I meant to say was,” Just get it out there... err... a little slower this time. “Would you want to go and visit my parents? With me?”
Sirius was laughing loudly, so when Ginny wanted to answer Harry, and she was interrupted by the very unappealing bark-like laughter issuing from his godfather, she snatched Harry’s wand out of his back pocket. “Silencio” she muttered at Sirius and his laughing was cut off immediately.
“That’s better,” she sighed and Harry snorted loudly and gave her a questioning look. “What? He was getting on my nerves,” she shrugged.
“Ginny, we’re going to hit the showers!” one of the remaining players on the field hollered up at them.
“Be right there!” she shouted over her shoulder. She gave him back his wand and they shared a laugh as Sirius stalked away from them, his mouth forming words that would definitely not be considered polite in decent conversation.
She turned back to him and looked into those green eyes that melted her from the inside out. “What I meant to say was – of course, Potter; I’d love to.” He lifted her up in his arms and kissed her once again.
Sorry for the long wait, but school has had me pretty busy...
Anywhooo, another longer chapter and we finally met Sirius!? Let me know what you think about his character in a quick review!
Which brings me to my next order of business - I'd just like to thank all of you that have been reading my story and are still with me! You're the reason I keep on writing, so thank you from the bottom of my heart!
Also those who've been reviewing, even if only to tell me to HURRY UP AND UPDATE ALREADY! :P I appreciate each and every one of you!
Time to wrap this up, though, so you knowthe drill: Any questions, comments, thoughts and concerns are welcome! (I reply to each and every one as soon as possible!)
All my love,
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