Story Summary: The war ended, and then it didn’t. Voldemort is gone but somehow Harry, Hermione and Luna ended up as Undesirables 1, 2 & 3. Controlling the future is going to take some controlling of the past, and they say those who control the present control the past, so why not make the past the present? A time-travel fix-it where a trio of tricksters set up shop and revolutionize the wizarding world, for all that it takes a great deal of time to do so.
This is chapter twelve of a fanfiction that is part of a series. To start from the beginning of this fic click here. To start from the beginning of the series click here. And to learn more about the series as a whole click here.
Disclaimer: Ugh, please don’t insult me by thinking I’m JK Rowling.
A/N: Posting the new chapter a couple days early because I’ve been feeling kinda down lately, and I know fanfiction cheers me up, so I hope a new chapter will brighten someone else’s day. Share love and all that. Thanks to Transreal_Clouden for helping me write the outline for this chapter that I disregarded after 2 scenes. Despite said disregard, it was actually really helpful for the planning & writing process! And thanks cyborg_goddess for the copyediting. Y’all be the best.
I hope that I am not being too forward in writing to you, rather than to your supervisor, Auror Shacklebolt. It is not merely that I wish to take advantage of our familial connection (though I can’t lie and say that I don’t hope that will engender some natural rapport between us — Andy was always my favorite cousin) but I know that you know what it is like to be on the outside, to be an outcast, to be taken advantage of and to have your intellect, your autonomy dismissed. You know what it is like to be dehumanized, and as a member of the DMLE, you have been to Azkaban, and know what awaits me if I return there.
As the auror who was responsible for bringing in the traitor I used to call a friend, you also know of my innocence, and you have known for longer than anyone else in the department. I said before that these weren’t the only reasons I was writing to you and not to Kingsley — the other is that I know you will show him this letter, but I couldn’t be certain that my old comrade would show you any letter I wrote to him. The main purpose of this letter is not simply to wax poetic about our different types of trauma. I want to turn myself in, I want to be a free man again. I will happily meet with the two of you, as long as you can bring me safely to the ministry for fair trial. I do not want to risk triggering the kiss-on-sight order I know the minister has instigated upon me, for all that the remaining dementors have cloistered themselves on the island that holds that wretched hell on earth.
If you will agree to a private meeting where I can turn myself in quietly and safely, simply change the time, date, and location on the enclosed fake galleon. The protean charm will adjust a linked coin that I possess, and I will know where to find you.
Sirius Orion Black
Head of the House of Black
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Kingsley’s eyes reviewed the letter for a third and final time, before he rolled up the parchment and set it aside on his desk. Leaning forward he stared at Tonks, who was sitting in a comfortable chair across from him on the other side, a facsimile of calm. The charmed galleon sat innocently next to Sirius’s letter.
“What is your professional opinion about this, Auror Tonks?” Kingsley asked after he had a moment to gather his thoughts.
“I think Black is being on the level. He has no reason to lie to us, not when the Ministry has put out a call for him to come forward and prove his innocence. His provided reasons for writing directly to me rather than you are logical, and his hesitation to approach the Ministry without the escort of Aurors he trusts is reasonable. That those aurors be a familial relation who has proven themself to be fair in judgment and their supervisor who supported the prosecution of the man who committed the crimes Black was incarcerated for is a sound decision on his part,” Tonks hesitated before continuing.
“I sense that there is a qualifier coming,” Kingsley said with a half smile.
“And yet that’s a bit of the problem isn’t it? Black is very reasonable here. He seems quite rational, and sound of mind. He is persuasive, his language is smooth. He writes on clean parchment, his penmanship is precise and done with an elegant and sturdy quill. He is clearly getting assistance from someone, somewhere. This was sent via a first-class courier owl from Diagon Alley, chartered by a woman calling herself O.S. White. That’s clearly a pseudonym; as it’s his initials reversed and a color reversal on the last name. Whoever is helping him clearly believes in his innocence, but who they are is a mystery, and a concerning one because, innocent or not, they have the power and the resources to hide the most wanted fugitive in recent history from extensive search by the Ministry, and that kind of power, if abused, is a major security risk for our country.”
“Very well deduced. Now, what should we do ?” Kingsley pushed.
“Me? Why are you asking me?” Tonks asked, startled. “You’re the boss.”
“That doesn’t mean I don’t want your opinion. You’re one of the sharpest minds we have on the force. Just because some of the others here don’t see it doesn’t mean I don’t. So tell me what you think. You’ve never been shy before,” Kingsley gave a rueful smile.
“Well, things never involved a member of my family before,” Tonks adjusted themself in their seat, uncomfortable. “I want to avoid the appearance of any impropriety. But if you truly want my opinion, I think the best thing to do is to take things to Director Bones, and get her sign off to bring Black in, and arrange for trial. Open trial, so that everyone can see that we are on the up and up, and things are in the open. The last thing we want is the public thinking we’re lying to them.”
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“What do you mean we aren’t going to hold a trial? This man was denied a trial twelve years ago, and look at the mess that happened! We have to have one!” Amelia snapped at the Minister, who rubbed his forehead.
“Look, Amelia, this whole Black-Pettigrew thing is a complete disaster, that never should have happened. Bagnold was too busy throwing parties to be an effective minister, so it’s up to me to do the job. And I say that the public doesn’t need a big fancy trial right now. We can do a small inquiry, just the two of us and Dumbledore, with the two aurors as witnesses, and that will be enough to get Black acquitted. Then we make an announcement in the Prophet, Black can go to St. Mungo’s for treatment while everything blows over, and it all gets swept under the rug,” Fudge said tiredly.
“Swept under the rug — swept under the rug??? Cornelius, are you insane? Sirius Black has been our most wanted for months! Dementors were stationed at Hogwarts for Merlin’s sake, until they got blown up by we still don’t know who, and you want to sweep something as massive as Sirius Voldemort’s-right-hand-man Black being innocent under the rug?” Amelia’s face was as red from shouting as Fudge’s was pale at the mention of the Dark Lord’s name.
“Amelia, you have to look at it from a public relations standpoint, this really is the best way—”
“I am thinking about it from a public relations standpoint! This is going to go badly Cornelius, mark my words. And I can only pray that it’s not going to blow up in your face as badly as I think because Merlin knows the last thing we need right now is an emergency election cycle,” Amelia grumbled before wrenching the door open and slamming it on her way out, much to the alarm of the Minister’s aides who sat outside his office, and hadn’t been able to hear the shouting through the silencing charms, and thus had no indication anything was wrong.
Cornelius sighed, cradling his head in his hands. Why did no one ever appreciate his genius?
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SIRIUS BLACK — INNOCENT?
(As published on the front page of The Daily Prophet on Wednesday, October 6th 1993)
My dear readers, I (Rita Skeeter, Special Correspondent) was absolutely shocked to find out, fresh from my full recovery from Dragon Pox, that the Ministry of Magic now proclaims Sirius Orion Black, Head of the House of Black, former inmate of Azkaban and later fugitive, previously accused murderer and right-hand man of none other than He-Who-must-Not-Be-Named himself — completely and totally innocent. The question now is how did the Ministry make such a blunder? How did the head of the Most Noble and Ancient House of Black end up alone in a cell for twelve years if he was completely and totally innocent? What other innocent souls could be locked away on that island? I tried, dear readers, to get records for the trials of Sirius Black to determine by what evidence the Ministry declared Black guilty twelve years ago and by what evidence they declared him innocent just this week, but I found myself denied at every turn.
One thing I did find out, dear readers, was that Sirius Black is currently the legal guardian and godfather of one Harry Potter, the boy-who-lived, who is not only the heir to the Potter fortune, but also heir to the House of Black. Furthermore, once the Hogwarts term ends, Mr. Potter will be leaving the safety of the only home he has ever known, with his mother’s sister and her family, to live with Black, who sources say is still potentially unstable from his time in Azkaban.
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Hermione Granger was in a bad mood after reading the paper at breakfast. She decided to take a walk by herself around the castle to collect her thoughts. Rita Skeeter was a sore spot she didn’t like thinking about. The woman was a pest, in more ways than one, and Hermione was itching to trap the woman in a jar again. Though that was technically torture, and torture was bad, and she shouldn’t do such things but oh did Skeeter make her blood boil. Negative press really did have the potential to ruin them, but she didn’t want to kill Skeeter. She just wanted to trap her in a jar for the rest of her miserable life. Was that so bad? Yes. Yes that is bad. Let’s do it anyway. Came a voice in her head that sounded a lot like the older Draco that had become, in the end, a very good friend.
She still remembered the Draco who stood pale and shaking as Bellatrix carved the word Mudblood into her arm, tears in his eyes. She remembered the Draco who, years later, would confess that Bellatrix had caught him bringing extra food to the prisoners, casting healing spells on them, and as recompense held the Cruciatus curse on him just long enough that he didn’t go mad, but came close. He kept bringing food and casting spells anyway, but just got better at getting around Bellatrix’s wards. Once she had cursed him enough, he got a nuanced feel for her magical signature.
Shaking herself out of her memories of the long gone future, Hermione settled down her her favorite alcove, a window that overlooked the lake, and focused on what she could do in the present. What to do about Skeeter? They could kill her. They could obliviate her and strand her somewhere and pretend that wasn’t just as horrible. They could use magical means to force her to do what they wanted and take away her free will, which was also horrible. Or they could bargain with her and hope she didn’t betray them when a higher bidder came along. But which to do? Nibbling on her quill, and staring down at the blank parchment that she hadn’t dared write her incriminating list of options on, she decided the real thing to do was to talk to Luna and Harry, because that’s how they did things — together.
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Defense Against the Dark Arts was the last class of the day, and Harry was glad for it. All day he had been getting whispers and stares from various students, a few of them bold enough to try and ask him questions, though his roommates were good about providing a buffer. The other Gryffindors in their year weren’t so bad — he didn’t know the guys in the other boys’ dormitory as well as he knew Ron, Dean, Seamus, and Neville, but they were an alright sort, and didn’t ask too many questions. Hermione was able to run interference with her roommates, giving them just enough information that the notorious gossips would spread enough around the school that hopefully it would satiate the masses enough to leave Harry alone — if the message didn’t get too garbled. “No, Harry’s never met Sirius. Yes, he’s excited to meet someone who knows his parents well. Yes, he’s probably going to spend some time with him this summer even if he doesn’t completely move out of his aunt’s house because Sirius is his magical guardian while his aunt is his guardian in the muggle world.” The last one was a bit of a lie — Harry would be spending zero time with Petunia, but the school really didn’t need to know that, and this was a much more palatable story to spin.
All the same, Harry was very glad that they only had DADA left, because it meant that the only things he had for the day were dinner, and the small study group he, Hermione, Luna, Ginny, Neville, and Ron had created together. What had been an offhand idea on the train that sort of petered out once classes started and overwhelmed them all, was brought back into the forefront when Harry, Hermione and Luna revealed that they knew the Patronus charm and had seemingly learned it without the other three. After Ginny got over her hurt at the trio effectively starting the study group without them, she demanded to be included, and dragged a reluctant and nervous Neville and a frustrated and annoyed Ron with her. Neither boy particularly wanted to come; Neville because he didn’t want to impose when feeling unwanted by people he thought were his friends, and Ron because he was angry at being excluded. Ginny, however, gave them no choice. This would be only their second meeting, but Neville and Ron had been warming up by the end of the first, so Harry expected it to go well.
Before he could leave the classroom, however, he was surprised by Lupin asking him to stay back as he was packing up to leave with the rest of the class.
“Harry, could I speak with you for a moment?”
Harry, who had been listening to Ron and Hermione bicker about muggle vs. magical methods of cleaning one’s teeth (“they just don’t feel clean if I haven’t brushed them myself!”) while Neville tried not to laugh, was surprised to hear his name.
“Of course, professor.” The three looked at him curiously, and he could tell they were wondering if they should wait.
“You go on ahead. I’ll catch up and meet you in the classroom,” Harry told them as he shrugged on his knapsack and approached Lupin’s desk. Ron looked like he didn’t want to move, not trusting Harry alone with yet another defense professor, but Hermione grabbed his arm, and the other three students made their way out of the classroom.
“What’s so bad about Harry needing to see a professor?” Neville whispered.
“Not here,” Hermione hissed. And the door closed behind them.
“You wanted to see me, professor?” Harry asked.
“Yes, I wanted to ask — well —” Lupin ran a hand down his face. “This isn’t quite the way I wanted to do this, but I knew your parents, Harry. We were friends at school. Your father, Sirius Black, Peter Pettigrew, and I were all in the same boys’ dormitory, and we bonded over that. Your mother and I were also potions partners in our last two years of school. I haven’t been sure whether to tell you, but now that we know Sirius is innocent, and that you’ll be getting to know him, I figured I should. Just so you won’t be surprised, if he mentions me,” Lupin paused, studying Harry’s expression. “You don’t look surprised, even now. Why is that?”
“Well,” Harry shifted guiltily. He was twenty-eight, not thirteen; he should be better at this. “I thought you looked familiar. When we met. But I knew I’d never met you. But then a few weeks ago I was looking through a photo album that Hagrid gave me as a gift a couple years ago. It has pictures of my parents, and their friends. One of them has everyone in their wedding party, and you’re one of the groomsmen. And note on the back of the photo says ‘Jenny, Marlene, Alice, Lily, James, Sirius, Remus, Peter, January 28th, 1980’ in your handwriting. I recognized it from my essays. I checked the back of a few other photos too, and lots of them had your handwriting. You sent Hagrid most of those photos, didn’t you?”
Remus gave a rueful smile. “How could I not? Hagrid said that you had no photos of your parents, that you had no memories of your family. So I made copies of everything I had and sent them. I didn’t realize my notes on the back copied over too. Were you going to tell me you knew?”
“I was planning to wait until you mentioned it, or until Sirius did, professor. You’re still my teacher, and I didn’t want you to think I was asking for preferential treatment, just because you knew my parents. I don’t think you’re the type to give it, and I’m not the type to ask,” Harry scratched the back of his head, face reddening.
“Well, given how successful you are in this class, and from what I’ve heard all of your classes, I don’t know that preferential treatment would even matter much even if I was the sort to give it. You’re a smart lad, and you have powerful magic, just like your parents,” Lupin smiled, before shuffling some parchments on his desk.
“Thanks, professor.” Harry shouldered his bag, sensing it was time to go, before turning back. “Professor.”
“Yes?” Lupin looked up.
“Could I —” Harry paused, then swallowed. “Could we perhaps, talk, sometime? About my parents? Or,” Harry fiddled with the strap of his knapsack. “Particularly about my mother? My aunt Petunia only ever says horrible things about her, but with the dementors — I heard her voice, for the first time. And she died for me. And people always say I have her eyes,” the words tumbled out of Harry before he was even aware he was saying them. Part of him wanted to take them back — he would surely let something slip to Lupin if they spent too much time together — but also Sirius was going to be in St. Mungos for the foreseeable future, and visiting him as Harry with privacy would be difficult. And he had rarely heard stories of his mother in his past life, the majority of the time only ever hearing about James and his adventures. Stories of Lily were tainted by Snape, Sirius and Remus having died too early on in the war to leave a lasting impression of her.
“Of course, Harry. Why don’t you stop by my office during your free period on Friday? I should have time then,” Lupin smiled, and Harry returned it with a grin, before dashing out of the classroom, feeling equal parts elated and frustrated with himself.
A/N: So I’ve established that for my version of Hogwarts there are supposed to be about 28 students in each house in each year, but because of the war Harry’s year is a bit smaller, and so each house has only about 16. Gryffindor has 9 boys and 7 girls, split into 4 dormitories, which is why Harry has 4 roommates and Hermione has 2. In a larger year there would be something like 3 and 3 or maybe 2 and 3 and a gender neutral. It depends on the gender distrubution obviously and whether there are any gender nonconforming students in a given year in a given house and it’s all very complicated to try and think about and plan for because we are creating systems for a series whose creator is a TERF who is bad at math. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
Fic recommendation: Kindness and Remorse by Rboooks on FFN. Summary: “Dudley lives with the guilt of what his family had done to his cousin. He resents the person he used to be and tries to live as someone better, but a part of himself can never truly forgive the cruelty done to the kind-hearted Harry. After a car accident, he wakes to find himself a child again. He sets out to make sure Harry has a better childhood all while hiding his own magic.”
So far it’s only a few chapters, but I like it so far! I’m interested to see where this goes.