Moody took Sirius to his house by side – along apparition. ‘Stay right here,’ Moody grunted as he stepped forward and waved his wand in complex patterns. Sirius watched as Moody took down a multitude of defensive wards placed around his modest one storey house.
‘Seems you have become a bit paranoid over the years, Alastor,’ Sirius said dryly. ‘Or at least, more paranoid than before,’ he amended as he walked up to the grizzled ex-Auror.
‘It isn’t paranoia if you know they are about to get you,’ Moody said in response.
‘True,’ replied Sirius. When they stepped over the threshold, he smartly commented, ‘What no booby traps placed on and around your door? I’m surprised.’
Halfway to the drawing room, Moody paused. Slowly turning around, he grinned at Sirius. ‘Now, there’s a good idea, laddie! It never did cross my mind ... I will look in on that right away! I knew there was a reason why I considered you to be my protégé!’ he sobered suddenly. ‘I would like to hear what happened with Pettigrew, if you don’t mind.’
Sirius stiffly recounted the whole story right from the decision to change Secret Keepers up to the time Pettigrew had blown up half the street.
Moody sighed as the story ended. ‘I had no idea that a trial was never granted to you, Sirius. I was led to believe that you had been formally charged. Had I known, believe me, I would have petitioned for one ... and I would have spoken on your behalf. I knew you Sirius; you never would have betrayed James.’
Seeing the remorse and sincerity in the other man’s eye, Sirius gruffly accepted the apology. At least his mentor, unlike his traitorous friend, hadn’t known.
The moment having passed, Moody sat up suddenly and leant forward, an intent look in his eyes, ‘So what do you plan to do now?’
Taking a deep breath, Sirius said, ‘It depends. Can we get a good lawyer? I would prefer Cousin Andromeda.’
‘Ah, young Nymphadora’s mother,’ Moody said contemplatively. ‘She is on the way to becoming a good Auror, that Nymphadora. A bit clumsy, but she is good at disguising herself.’
‘Little ‘Dora?’ said Sirius incredulously. ‘She’s becoming an Auror? Well, isn’t that something ...’
‘Yes, anyway, I think we can get Andromeda onboard here,’ Moody said. ‘She never did believe that you were capable of what you were thrown in jail for.’
The very next day, Moody, with Sirius in his Animagus form (‘Interesting talent you have there, Black.’) paid a visit to Andromeda Tonks at her house.
It took a bit of convincing, but Andromeda was finally persuaded into believing in Sirius’s innocence.
‘Well, this is quite a shock,’ said Andromeda. ‘I cannot believe that Sirius spent twelve years there without a trial! And it’s quite unbelievable that Pettigrew managed to fake his own death.’ She sat in quiet contemplation for a moment.
‘Yes, I saw him with my own eyes,’ said Moody. ‘Amelia was pretty unhappy on finding out that Sirius never was given a trial. She decided on the spot to hold another trial. Dumbledore had no choice but to agree, I expect Fudge will be browbeaten into agreeing soon enough.’
‘So he will need representation, I gather,’ Andromeda mused. ‘When can he meet me then?’
‘How about now?’ asked Moody.
At those words, the dog in front of Andromeda changed into Sirius Black.
Andromeda looked at Sirius for a few moments before shaking her head and saying, ‘I should’ve known ... hello again, Sirius. It’s nice to know that I was right in not believing you capable of betraying James and Lily ... though the whole killing the Muggles along with Pettigrew business was a different matter. You always did have a penchant for exploding things.’
Moody snorted at her last statement. ‘I agree. No offence, Sirius, But you weren’t the most level headed Aurors back then. You always were a bit hot-headed, brash and impulsive.’
Sirius winced at this statement, ‘You’re right,’ he said soberly. ‘I will admit that I did not think with my head and acted on instinct. What I should have done is informed you at the least and confronted Pettigrew with backup. But times were tough then. And I trusted the wrong people. Both Pettigrew and Lupin betrayed us, betrayed me!’
‘What do you mean, Sirius,’ Andromeda asked.
‘James and Lily were quite adamant in letting Remus know who the real Secret Keeper was. So on Lily’s insistence, I had included a letter with the normal monthly package of food and some of the Wolfsbane Potion James had procured. Remus used to go out on Order business quite often, so I had placed that parcel in the living room of his house when he was away. I had even warded the bloody thing myself so only Remus could read it!’ Sirius replied.
‘So he knew, and yet he testified against me and with Dumbledore, Crouch and Bagnold pushed to send me to Azkaban without a trial.’ Sirius finished bitterly.
After a few moments Andromeda said slowly, ‘So ... what do you want to do now?’
Sirius smiled coldly. ‘First I am going to get my name cleared. Once that is done, we go after Bagnold, Crouch and Dumbledore. At the same time I want undisputed custody of my godson. After that ... we’ll see...’
Moody stared at Sirius through his fake eye. ‘What you do with Albus is between you and him, so I won't get in the middle. Despite being my friend, Albus has made his own decisions and he will have to deal with the consequences. But I refuse to take sides. Having said that, Dumbledore is going to be tough to take down,’ he said. Andromeda agreed saying, ‘He has a tonne of influence and power which has been gained from a near century of politicking. And a lot of goodwill to boot, people still look up to him even though it has been nearly fifty years since he defeated Grindlewald. And I won't even mention the goodwill he has earned from managing things with You - Know - Who’
‘We shall see,’ Sirius mused. ‘I will have to check the family vaults for any information my dear old father had dug up on the old man. A man as old and prolific as Dumbledore would have some skeletons in his closet. And if he had even a sliver of a bone, Orion Black would have found it.’
‘The family vaults? But, Sirius weren’t you disowned?’ Andromeda asked in confusion.
‘Not really,’ said Sirius. ‘Apparently, when my dear old mum had tried to do that when I ran away, Orion Black decided not to go through with it. I guess he wanted to see which Black ended up in the winning side. He, unlike Abraxas Malfoy, took care to stay the hell away from committing to either side. I only found this out last winter actually, when I had gone to Gringotts. Turns out that the goblins really did not care whether or not I was innocent. As far as they knew, the Ministry had no documentation that I was a convict, so they happily kept my accounts active! Thanks to that and the fact that no withdrawals had been made, the family fortune has gone up ever since.’
‘So that would make you the-‘
‘- Head of the family? Yeah. Once my name is cleared, I’ll see to reinstating you and recognising Nymphadora. Then I’ll have dear Bella disowned. I might do the same to Narcissa ... then again it would be a useful bargaining chip if we needed to get Lucius’ support in bringing Dumbledore down.’
Andromeda’s face lit up at being reinstated back into the family. While she loved her husband and would have married him again in a heartbeat given a choice, she still did feel a slight amount of loss at being disowned.‘Let’s get cracking then, shall we?’ she said, rubbing her hands together. ‘Start at the beginning, I want all the pertinent facts.’