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Innocent by MarauderLover7
Chapter 76 : Dystopian December
Rating: MatureChapter Reviews: 8

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It was easy, once he knew what to look for, to find the signs that Harry's departure had not been without thought. Not only was his rucksack missing, and some of his clothing, but also a photograph from his desk, and, once Sirius looked inside the drawers, his stash of pocket money, and also his vault key. His mirror, though, troublingly enough, was still there. Which Sirius thought was indication that Harry, wherever he was, didn't want to be found.

"Why?" Sirius asked Remus. "And, more importantly, where in Merlin's bloody name would he have gone?"

Remus sat down on the bed and put his face in his hands, and Sirius felt a stir of sympathy; Remus was still recovering from the night's events.

"We won't be able to find him until we know why he left," Remus said. Sirius sat down next to him, nodding his frustrated agreement, at least until he realised something.

"He's done this before. Not this, exactly," he added, as Remus gave him a look like he was mad, "but remember the Floo, the first time you re-met him? And we found him."


But Sirius had aleady leaped off the bed, yanked open the door and bellowed for Kreacher.

*                    *                        *

Dust billowed up around Sirius and Remus as they stepped out of Apparition and into the lower floor of the Shrieking Shack.

"Here?" Remus mouthed, looking surprised. His breath misted out in front of him. Sirius shrugged; Kreacher'd just given him coordinates that he'd followed to get here. He hadn't expected Harry to be here either, but he supposed it made sense on a few levels.

"Look." He pointed to the dusty carpet; there were small, Harry-sized shoe prints that had been made in the dust. Sirius followed them with his eyes, watched as they looped around the room, over to the door to the tunnel, over to the kitchen, around one of the old, battered couches, and then to the stairs. There was no set of return footprints. "Upstairs," Sirius said. Both of the froze as one of the floorboards upstairs creaked. Sirius thought he even heard a quiet thump.

He gestured to Remus and the two of them crept over to the staircase, wincing every time the floor groaned beneath them.

"Do you reckon they'll still hold?" Remus asked, eyeing the stairs. Sirius eyed them too.

"Want to go first and find out?" Sirius joked.

"Not particularly, no," Remus said. "They haven't had what I'd call an easy life." A wry smile worked its way onto his face, and he did make to head up first, but Sirius caught his arm. Remus gave him an odd look.

"No," Sirius agreed. "They haven't." And then he stepped past Remus, onto the stairs, thinking it was probably unfair to make him go first after the night he'd just had, if the stairs did give out.

They made it up safely, onto the landing and followed the trail of footprints into the upstairs bedroom.

It was empty, but the bed had been slept in, and Harry's rucksack had been half-tucked behind the tattered curtains.

Footprints dotted the floor and it looked rather as if Harry'd been pacing... and there was also a strangely shaped, considerably large patch of dust which had been cleared, right beside the bed.

"Under there," Sirius mouthed, pointing. Remus nodded, obviously having reached the same conclusion. Sirius pulled out his wand. Remus did the same, and held up three fingers. He lowered the first, then the second, and then, finally the third.

Wingardium Leviosa, Sirius thought, and the bed floated up toward the ceiling. Harry, lying on his stomach on the floor, looked startled, and immediately scooted back toward the wall, holding his wand out in front of him. He had dust all over the front of his jumper and jeans, and in his hair and on one half of his face. It puffed out in front of him as he breathed. His eyes, behind his dusty glasses, were equally defiant, disappointed, and scared.

Sirius reduced the power of his spell, and the bed stayed where it was; obviously Remus was still holding it up. Sirius lowered his wand and gestured to Harry.

"Shall we talk?" he asked.

"No," Harry said at once. "Just- I'm sorry, Padfoot, but I- You have to go."

"Why?" Sirius asked, taking a step forward. Harry's wand jerked up to focus on Sirius, who put his hands up and took a step back. "Hey," he said, frowning.

"Please," Harry said. "I don't want- I'm not- It's too dangerous."

"Well yeah, kiddo," Sirius said. "You've got a wand pointed at me." Harry started to lower his wand and then changed his mind. His hand was shaking, but the wand itself hardly moved.

"Not the wand," he said. "It isn't. It's- It's me, Padfoot. And I can't- I'll hurt you."

"Why would you do that?" Sirius asked, frowning. He caught Remus' eye and gave him a questioning lift of the eyebrow, but Remus just looked blank. The bed still floated above Harry, held in place by Remus.

"I wouldn't want to," Harry said, obviously distressed. "It might just-" His eyes suddenly landed on the wand in his hand, as if he'd only just realised it was there. With a small, panicked noise, he flung it away, and was on his feet and halfway to the door before Sirius reached out and caught his arm. "Padfoot, please," he whispered, trying to wriggle away. "Please. It's not- I'm not safe."

"Harry, we've got no evidence that the Serpent Sworn are after-"

"Not them! Me!" He smelled terrified, and that scared Sirius; Harry had faced Inferi with more composure than he was demonstrating now.

"You're after you?" Sirius asked blankly. Harry decided to take advantage of his confusion to tug free and was almost to the door when Remus caught him. The bed dropped to the floor and the entire shack shuddered, and Harry struggled against Remus' grip, but couldn't get free. He gave up and flopped onto the ground, but Remus maintained his hold. Harry hugged his knees and stared at them both with big, frightened eyes.

"Harry," Remus said, in what Sirius and James had long ago dubbed his Prefect voice, "you're making remarkably little sense. Now, if you could just explain-"

"-That would be brilliant," Sirius continued. "Because right now, neither of us have any idea what in Merlin's bloody name is going on, or why you ran away, or-" Sirius took a deep breath and ran a hand through his hair, and then started to pace, and then stopped, walked back to Harry and crouched down beside him. "Why do you think something's wrong with you?"

"I was- the mirror. I was looking through the mirror last night and- well-" Harry hesitated, and Remus let go of him. Sirius put a hand on his godson's shoulder, just in case, but he didn't move; he, like Sirius, watched, as Remus walked over to one of the walls and pressed his hand to one of the long scratches that had torn the wallpaper.

"You saw me," Remus said. "Didn't you?"

"No," Harry said, and Remus relaxed a little. "I saw- It's my scar. It's- It looks like the horcrux. Exactly like the horcrux." Sirius went very still, and the mist that was Remus' breath stopped. "I mean, it's- the magic- his magic- Voldemort's magic is in my head, in my scar, just like with the horcrux, and I- What am I supposed to do? What if I start attacking people, like the locket? What if he's in my head, what if he can control me, or-"

Sirius dragged Harry into a hug. He was still shaking, and tried, halfheartedly to pull away. Sirius, a little hurt by that, loosened his hold and Harry inched away, then paused, and then flung himself at Sirius, trembling all over.

"It'll be all right," Sirius said, rubbing his back. On the outside, he made sure he looked calm and sounded reassuring. On the inside, he felt like sobbing. Neither shall live while the oter survives, James had told him. And now, it made sense. "We'll sort something out, okay?" Harry's arms tightened around his neck. "It'll be fine. You'll be fine. You're not going to hurt anyone-"

"You don't know that!" Harry cried. "There's no way you can- What about you two, and Dora, and Blaise and Hermione and- I could hurt-"

"No," Remus said slowly, and then a small, tentatively relieved smile slid onto his face. Harry looked at him like he was mad, and so, for that matter, did Sirius. "It's not a Horcrux, Harry, or at least I don't think it is." Desperate hope gleamed in Harry's eyes, and Sirius was sure he was hanging onto Remus' words just as desperately as he himself was. "Magic leaves traces, right?" Both of them nodded slowly. "Harry was hit by the Killing Curse, arguably one of the darkest pieces of magic we know of. Right?" Sirius nodded slowly. "You can't tell me that's not going to leave a trace."

"So- what, it's like magical residue?" Sirius asked, but he actually thought the idea was a sound one. "But why wouldn't it- Oh. Of course." Harry looked blank, but Remus was still following. "Magical scar tissue's going to hold the magic of the one that caused it, because it's a scar. It's permanent."

"But it's black," Harry said, his voice muffled by Sirius' jacket. "Voldemort's green and silver, but this is-"

"Dark magic's going to look a bit different," Remus reminded him. "And you're the first person to have survived, so we're working with something unprecedented here-"


"You bleed," Sirius reminded him. Harry looked confused. "You've broken bones, you've been sick, you've splinched, you were poisoned by those doxies... kiddo, horcruxes can't be damaged. Merlin knows we know that."

Harry's lips moved soundlessly, and he was frowning, but he didn't look or smell as scared as he had before.

"I'm sorry," he whispered finally. "I didn't even- I just saw the magic and- I-"

"It's all right," Remus said, bending to pat Harry on the shoulder.

"No," Sirius said, and Harry went very still. Remus gave him a stop-talking-now sort of look, and Sirius ignored it. "It's not. I understand that you were scared, and that you did what you thought was the right thing, what you thought was necessary, but it was dangerous, and really, it wasn't very well thought out."

Harry shrank back, away from Sirius, into Remus' legs, and Sirius took a deep breath, surprised at how calm he was.

"If you'd waited, and told us what you'd seen, we could have had this discussion hours ago, and avoided all of this. You put yourself in danger - I mean, the Serpent Sworn are still on the loose! What if they'd got to you first?" Harry opened his mouth, but Remus put a hand on his head and Harry shut it again, looking chastened. "And what about us? What if we hadn't been able to track you? What were we supposed to think, kiddo? At least when I ran away, I gave my parents pretty clear reasons... You, though, you just disappeared-"

"I thought I was-"

"Protecting us," Sirius sighed. "I know." He ran a hand through his hair, and then clasped the dogtag around his neck. Harry just rested against Remus' legs, looking devastated. "I'm disappointed," Sirius said finally, and Harry looked like he might cry, "that you thought you had to run, because you didn't think you could trust me - us - with this. What you did wasn't wrong, necessarily, but it was the wrong option for you to have picked." Harry nodded, and Sirius opened his arms, just a bit. It was enough though; for the seond time that day, Harry launched himself at Sirius, and clung on, trembling.

"Can I- am I- Will you let me come home?" he asked, his voice shaking.

"For a smart kid, you can be bloody thick sometimes," Sirius said, pulling Harry into a tighter hug. "If you don't come home, I might drag you back there myself." Harry laughed weakly. "But," Sirius said, "there'll be punishment for this little stunt." Harry nodded, not seeming at all worried about that. "You- er- You'll have to-" Sirius frowned and looked to Remus for help. Remus just gestured to Sirius to continue. "-write lines," Sirius said. Harry pulled back to stare at him. "'I am not evil or dangerous, and should not have run away and scared poor, frail Moony and my dear, brilliant godfather Padfoot', one hundred times."

Harry disappeared up to his bedroom as soon as they got home, while Sirius and Remus went down to the kitchen for a strong, hot cup of tea. Kreacher, oddly enough, didn't volunteer to make it for them; he stalked out of the kitchen, scowling and headed for the stairs. Sirius assumed he was off to have a word with Harry, and thought it'd be best for all parties involved if Kreacher wasn't interrupted.

"How did you know?" Sirius asked, as Remus stirred sugar into his tea.

"Know what?" Remus asked tiredly.

"That he wasn't a Horcrux. That it was just magic-"

"'And the Dark Lord will mark him as his equal'," Remus quoted in a soft voice.

"Of course," Sirius breathed, and then lost his breath, as something he'd missed entirely crept into his head. "It's funny."

"What is?"

"I was thinking of the prophecy too, when he said about his scar. 'Neither shall live while the other survives'... I thought it supported the idea." Sirius shook his head. "I s'pose I was thinking too literally." He and Remus both sipped at their tea and sighed. "Do you think it could be dangerous, though? You know, like long term side effects from exposure?"

"Ten years is pretty long term," Remus said, but then shrugged. "Honestly, I don't know. It might be worth a trip into St Mungo's-"

Sirius snorted and said, "What, so they can treat him like some sort of target, and cast spells at him all day and night? Not bloody likely. Healers are-"

"Lily was a Healer," Remus reminded him.

"Lily was special," Sirius threw back. "And I doubt she'd take kindly to having her son used as a test subject."

"No, probably not," Remus said, looking momentarily amused by the idea. Then he sighed. "Of course, if Lily was still around, none of this would even be an issue."

Both were silent as they contemplated that. Remus stared, very hard as his teacup, and Sirius almost found himself trying to imagine the world with Lily and James still in it. It was an alien concept, and he banished the thought before it could properly take root and upset him.

"Dumbledore," Sirius said.


"I won't go to St Mungo's, but he- I dunno, might know something about any long term effects, or at least have guesses."

"Regarding the scar?"

"No," Sirius said sarcastically, "regarding the fact that my left foot is slighty bigger than my right one." Remus rolled his eyes. "Yes, Moony, about the scar!"

"And what about the horcrux?" Remus asked. "Will you trust Dumbledore with that too?"

"No," Sirius said, after a pause. "I- No. Not yet."

"What if he's got guesses about that too?"

"We found it, we'll deal with it," Sirius said. "And-"

Harry chose that moment to appear in the kitchen. He was still dusty, and Kreacher, who'd come in seconds after him, snapped his fingers to get it off the floor.

"Hi," Harry said, fiddling with a piece of parchment.

"Hi," Sirius said in the same tone. "All unpacked?" Harry shook his head. "What've you been doing, then?" Sirius asked.

Harry hugged him, and then hugged Remus, put his parchment down and then Disapparated, probably back to his bedroom, or perhaps to the bathroom to shower. Frowning, Sirius picked up the parchment, and unrolled it.

I am not evil, it said, many times, in Harry's messy writing, or dangerous and should not have run away and scared poor, frail Moony or my dear, brilliant godfather Padfoot.

Wordlessly, Sirius handed it over to Remus.

*                     *                      *

"Sirius," Albus said, as a familiar face appeared in the flames in his grate. Sirius looked worried, or at least he thought so; it was hard to read expressions through the Floo.

"Sir," Sirius said. "Are you alone?" Albus glanced over at his visitor, who'd vanished the second the flames went green, but hadn't left the room.

"I am," he said. "Unless of course, you count Fawkes."

"I suppose he can listen," Sirius agreed, winking in Fawkes' direction. "I've got a few questions for you," he said. "They're important."

The slightest movement caught Albus' eye; his visitor had just moved and in doing so, moved a quill on his desk. Albus thought that he and his visitor were on the same wavelength; Sirius had more questions about the Serpent Sworn.

"I'm sorry, Sirius, but I was just..." He sighed. "Now isn't a good time, I'm afraid."

"Sir, it's important," Sirius said. "Please."

"I really need to finish a few things here," Albus said. "Can it wait a bit longer?"

"I, sir, please-"

"I'm sorry, Sirius," Albus said again. "Perhaps put it in a letter, or try the Floo again in another day or two."

"It's important!" Sirius said. "It could be dangerous!"

I'm sure, Albus thought, sighing to himself. "I really must get going," he said. "Goodbye, Sirius."

"Bye, sir," Sirius sighed. "I'll be in touch." The flames went back to their normal, warm orange.

"I'm sure you will," Albus murmured.

"So am I," his visitor said, amused, as he reappeared with a flourish. "Thank you for getting rid of him." Albus' mouth turned down at the corners. "Now... What was I saying?"

*                     *                     *

Sirius still hadn't managed to reach Dumbledore by the time Christmas came. Information about Harry's scar wasn't something he wanted to put in a letter where it could be found and read by anyone, so he decided to wait, hoping that once Christmas was over, things would have settled enough at Hogwarts for Sirius to organise a meeting of some sort.

All thoughts of Dumbledore were put out of his head on Christmas day, though. Harry, despite his little scare the week before, had more or less gone back to normal and was up at the crack of dawn - like he was on all birthdays, Easter, and of course, Christmas -  ready to open presents. Unluckily for Harry, that excitable behaviour had been inherited from Sirius, who was up a few minutes before the crack of dawn and already settled on the end of Harry's bed, wearing a Christmas hat.

Harry's eyes opened, and he checked his watch and sat up without even noticing Sirius. And so, Sirius draped Harry in tinsel, and bounced off the bed, while Harry untangled himself from his bedding and stared at the tinsel around his neck, as if trying to work out when it had got there.

"Happy Christmas," Sirius said.

"Yeah," Harry said, still looking bewildered. "Happy Christmas, Padfoot."

Grinning to himself, Sirius stepped out onto the landing. And was promptly startled by several loud bangs going off in unison and then hit by what felt like a tonne of the stringy tissue paper muggles (like Lily's parents) used in their poppers.

Harry's laughter rang out behind him, as Sirius took a deep breath - half sure he was going into cardiac arrest from shock - and a moment later, felt something slither around his neck.

He started and Harry laughed again, secured the tinsel more tightly, and went to offer a cheery greeting to Kreacher, who was collecting the party poppers, looking decidedly gleeful. He'd even donned a red tea-towel with white snowflakes on it for the festive occasion, and as usual, the Black ring rested on his hand.

"You set me up," he said, tossing the streamers at the old elf.

"Happy Christmas," Kreacher said slyly, sharing a conspiratory look with Harry. "Now, breakfast for Master and his brat?"

"And for Master's grumbly old house elf," Sirius said. "Sounds good."

Remus stepped out of the fire about half an hour later, not at all surprised to find them awake and eating. He clapped them both on the shoulders, and deposited a small bag on the end of the bench. Sirius saw Harry trying to take a peek, and kicked him. Harry immediately returned his attention to his toast. Kreacher passed a plate to Remus, and then, at Harry and Sirius' insistence, sat down next to Harry with a bowl of porridge.

"Nice tie," Sirius told Remus, who smoothed his bright red tie. It had reindeer on it. Remus muttered something about it being a gift from Dora, and wouldn't meet anyone's eyes. "I'm serious," Sirius said, and Remus and Harry and Kreacher all rolled their eyes, even though Sirius hadn't really made a pun. "I like it. Covered in all the little Prongses." He and Remus shared a nostalgic smile across the table. "Is Dora coming today?"

"She thought she'd come by for an hour or so, before training." Remus paused and then looked up at Sirius. "Are you heading in, today?"

"Yeah," Sirius said, frowning. "How'd you know?"

"I just wondered," Remus said, buttering his toast. Sirius shrugged. "What for, do you know?"

"Apparently Scrimgeour's got some things to talk to me about. My guess is that it's probably something to do with the Serpent Sworn... that maybe they need help now, or something."

"Maybe," Remus said, and then turned to Harry. "So it'll be just us this afternoon; do you have anything in mind?"

"I was hoping to go flying," Harry said.

"I think we could manage that," Remus said, looking pleased with the suggestion.

"As long as you're careful," Sirius said.

"Harry's hardly in any danger, Sirius, you've seen him on a broom-"

"I wasn't talking to him," Sirius said, smirking. Remus scowled, but it was playful; things between them had more or less gone back to normal after Harry’s disappearance; it had been a reminder, if nothing else, that they could rely on each other where it counted. Sirius still thought that Remus knew more about the Serpent Sworn than he was letting on, but things had been quiet on that front for a while and Sirius trusted that Remus would have told him anything he needed to know.

They moved onto presents shortly after; Harry and Sirius gave Remus several new pairs of robes, an enormous bag of Floo powder (since he spent so much time coming and going via the fireplace), a set of very detailed, non-biased encyclopaedias about magical creatures and a block of Honeydukes' best.

Remus and Sirius had gone in on Harry's present together; they'd visited Keira, and with her help, had ordered a book that was supposed to be very helpful in assisting the reader with their Animagus incantation. They'd also bought him a Snitch - he was the right build, and had the reflexes for it, and he'd expressed interest in the position - and a subscription to Mid-Air Manouvres, which published a lot of moving pictures of things that Sirius knew Harry would love to try on his Galaxy as soon as he had the chance.

And Sirius, from Remus and Harry, got a navigation orb for his motorcycle. He'd never seen anything like it before; it was almost like a compass, but could be set up to guide him to anywhere he needed to go. For long-term journeys, which he was, admittedly, yet to make, it would be very useful. He'd also been given a book - a muggle one, which he suspected Dora had helped with - of the best muggle pranks ever pulled, and a large bag of Bertie Botts.

They were taking turns with those, trying to guess flavours (Sirius and Remus had a definte advantage over Harry with their excellent sense of smell, but Harry ate them so often that he knew the colours and flavours better) and ruining their appetite for lunch, when Dora Flooed in.

Sirius didn't recognise her at first; she was white - snow white, which was probably the point - with a very round face, dark eyes, black lips and a long, pointy orange nose. Her hair, which was black, had been tied up into a puffy bun - a bun that looked rather like a top hat.

"A snowman?" Remus asked. "Here I thought I was Christmas-y with my tie." Dora just laughed and hugged him, and then the rest of them - Kreacher included, and to Sirius' amusement, he seemed flustered - and then started handing out presents.

"You look brilliant," Harry said, seeming awed.

"Thanks," she said brightly, handing him a white parcel. "Happy Christmas. And Sirius..." His was wrapped in red paper, which he tore off immediately. It was a small book, bound in black leather and had a simple clasp holding the two sides of the cover together. Sirius flipped it open and frowned; the first page was blank, but beside it, on the inside of the cover, was another clasp. He opened that, and found a small handle, which he tugged on.

A box, about the size of a tissue box, slid out.

"How-?" Harry, who'd got the same thing as Sirius, looked between the thin cover and the large box that had just come out of it.

"Undetectable Extension Charm," Dora said. "Or at least I think so. And only you can open the notebook. I thought it might be useful at work, Sirius, given that you're not supposed to know about the Serpent Sworn, and that it's hard to trust anyone at the moment..."

"Thank you," he said sincerely. He tucked the box back in, and re-examined the other pages, and the covers.

"And Harry, I don't know what those papers are you're always rushing to hide when I come over, but I thought maybe they could go in there. Then you don't have to worry about them being found."

Harry looked equally uncomfortable that she knew he was hiding his Animagus work from her, and pleased to have somewhere to keep it all.

"Thanks," he said, his attention drifting back to his present.

"And," Dora said, pulling a large bottle of butterbeer - with a festive ribbon around it - out of her bag, "this is from Mum and Dad, for the two of you." Sirius accepted it, touched, and gave Dora a small bag of Honeydukes chocolate he'd picked for Ted and Andy, and also her own present.

"Shoes?" she asked with a grin, holding up one of the boots by its laces so that she could get a better look.

"Balance Boots,” Sirius said, grinning at Harry, who was trying to keep a straight face over Dora’s shoulder. “Purebloods use them, so their toddlers can’t embarrass themselves by not being able to walk.” Sirius rolled his eyes to show what he thought of that. “But we thought they might be a bit of fun, so we had a large pair made... you can’t use them for any of the Stealth tests in the Program, but-”

“Brilliant,” she said, laughing, and held them up to show Remus, who’d known about them for weeks.

“Very nice,” he said, sniggering, and Dora pulled a face at him. He smiled, and Sirius couldn’t help but think that here – with all of them – was the happiest he’d seen Remus since their school days.

Sort of hard not to be, though, Sirius thought to himself, and smiled, just as Dora checked her Sidekick and stood up.

“I’ve got to head off,” she said apologetically, speaking mostly to Remus. “I know I haven’t been here long, but-”

“It’s fine,” Sirius said. “I’m coming in too.”

“You? To do what?”

“Scrimgeour wants a word. Apparently, it had to be today.” Sirius rolled his eyes, but he stood, and made a pile of his presents that Kreacher could take upstairs later. Dora switched her shoes, to her new Balance Boots – Harry burst out laughing and Remus inhaled very slowly and then exhaled very slowly; he was obviously trying not to laugh – and left her old trainers in the kitchen corner; she’d probably be back for dinner tonight.

“Floo?” Sirius asked.

“It’s probably easier,” she said, shrugging. Remus stood, and came over to kiss her. Kreacher very pointedly cleared his throat, but Harry wasn’t watching; he was staring at his notebook. Sirius thought he seemed a bit bothered – which was unusual – but then Harry caught Sirius’ eye and mustered a smile. Sirius smiled back.

“Happy Christmas,” Remus said, passing Dora a small box. Then, he attempted to open his large bag of Floo powder, but Sirius wouldn’t let him. He wished Harry and Remus a happy Christmas, told them to behave themselves, and stepped into the flames, saying, “Ministry Atrium.” He could feel Harry’s eyes on him as he left.

The fireplace spat him out into the empty Atrium and Sirius brushed soot off of himself and moved so that Dora wouldn’t trample him on her way through. She appeared right behind him and walked out with the most grace he’d ever seen her manage. She looked down at her boots, seeming impressed, and Sirius chuckled. Then, he frowned.

“What’s ringing?” he asked.

Dora shook her head, looking confused. There was no one else in the Atrium with them, and the noise was nearby... eventually, they tracked it to the pocket of Dora’s robes; it was the box Remus had given her, just before she stepped into the fireplace. She frowned at the box, and then muttered a charm, one that Sirius was certain she’d learned from Mad-Eye.

“If you tell anyone that I just did that,” she threatened, giving the box a gentle shake, “then-” She paled. “It’s glass.”

“What’s wrong with-”

“If it’s a statue, even if it’s a joke statue, I will kill him,” she said, but she looked a little worried. She tugged on the ribbon, which slid loose, and then pulled the wrapping away. The ringing got louder. She pulled off the lid of the box.

She needn’t have worried about it being a statue, but she, like Sirius, looked afraid anyway.

It was a Sneakoscope.

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