Discovering a Godfather
Draco nodded, a bit of a sour look on his face. "Yeah… I'm the closest male relative, so my parents were quite miffed when he was made your godfather. Mother especially; she was Black's cousin, you know, and had wanted the Black lands and property to stay in the family."
"Hold on a second," Harry said, and sat back to think, letting Draco take over the lavender slicing he had been doing. So… Sirius Black, the man who had betrayed his parents to Voldemort, was also his godfather. Why would his parents have made a man like that his godfather, who would have taken him in if they died? No; they had trusted him, that's why he had been able to give them away. So…
Why had they trusted him? Surely people as smart as his parents had been would have seen some clue, something that said Black wasn't trustworthy. He hadn't even been in Slytherin. Well… maybe there was some other reason. Was there some way of getting information out of a person's mind? There was probably some kind of truth potion, but surely a charm as powerful as Mr. Lupin had implied would've been able to cover that. He really needed to look it up…
"Not like that, Draco," Harry said suddenly, stopping Draco as he was about to remove the petals of the flowers. "It works better if you slice the middle out instead of just cutting the petals." Draco gave him a skeptical look, but obeyed as he continued to think.
Was there some other kind of magic to do that? Perhaps something to read minds? Maybe. "Draco," he asked, "is there some sort of magic that can force someone to reveal information?"
Draco raised an eyebrow, surely wondering what train of thought had led to that question. "Several," he said. "There's the Confundus charm, which compromises someone's common sense. If you get hit with it, someone could convince you that it's a good idea to tell them whatever the information is. Veritaserum, of course, will force you to tell the truth when they ask you. Let's see… there's something that can let you enter a person's mind… it starts with an 'L', but I don't remember the name. Oh, and the Imperius curse too."
Harry frowned. He had read that several of Voldemort's servants had been judged innocent by virtue of being under the Imperius curse, but Rise and Fall of the Dark Arts hadn't said what the curse did. "What does the Imperius do?"
"It makes the victim do whatever the caster wants," Draco said, adding the flower cores to the bubbling potion. "It can be fought off, but the stronger the caster is the harder to fight. My father is very strong-willed, but the Dark Lord was able to get him with the Imperius and control his mind."
Harry froze. He had, of course, known that Draco's father had been one of those who pleaded the Imperius, but… this could explain why Black betrayed his parents! If a wizard as powerful as Draco's father could be suborned by this curse, then Black probably could be as well! He hoped that another owl would come soon; he needed to talk to Mr. Lupin as soon as possible.
Or even to Dumbledore. Surely the greatest wizard in the world, as Ron called him, would want to get a possibly innocent man out of prison. Right? If Black was innocent, if he had been Confounded or dosed or caught with the Imperius, Veritaserum would reveal it. He would be out of prison, and if he was innocent, then maybe he would be able to live with Black instead!
If he's innocent, Harry reminded himself. It was entirely possible that Black had actually done what he was claimed to. He had certainly never denied it, but then he hadn't confessed either. Best not to try and think about it being one way or the other.
"Potter!" Snape snapped. "Are you arrogant enough to make Malfoy do your work for you?" Harry snapped back into reality at the sight of the professor looming over him.
"Sorry Professor, I just have a lot to think about." Harry snatched the next ingredient from Draco's hands and began preparing it for the potion.
That night, Ron sat all the way at other end of the Gryffindor table from Harry and Hermione.
"Well?" he asked her. "What did he say?"
She sighed. "Ron agreed to apologize…"
"Good," Harry growled.
Hermione continued as though she hadn't been interrupted. "…if you buy him a good broom for Christmas."
Harry's eyebrows snapped together angrily. "I'm already buying him and Ginny proper wands; well, certificates for proper wands; and he wants something ten times the cost instead? That's… well, ridiculous!"
Hermione shook her head. "Not instead of," she explained. "Along with. I know, it's greedy and ridiculous, but…"
Harry practically snarled. "No. I'm not going to buy a friend. He's not getting a broom from me, not this year. And if he doesn't apologize, then I'm not getting him the wand, either."
Hermione shrugged. "I agree with you, he's being completely unreasonable. I think that maybe you should try to, well… try to talk to him. It doesn't have to be now but…"
They ate in silence for a while as Harry stewed inside. Finally, he said "All right. I'll try to talk to him in the common room tonight. I don't want to lose Gryffindor any more points if he blows up again.""I've been meaning to talk to you about Snape," Hermione said, ceasing the opening for a change in subject. Harry observed it with amusement; she clearly didn't like the idea of her friends arguing. "Professor Snape is… how shall I put this? He's… not the best teacher."
Harry paused with his fork halfway to his face. "What do you mean?"
The Ravenclaw sighed. "He hasn't explained anything about how potions work, ever. All he does is put the instructions on the board, in such tiny writing it's hard to read even from right in front. Then he walks around the room, criticizing without telling you how to fix the problems he points out."
"It's even worse for us Gryffindors, Hermione," Seamus Finnegan interjected. "He takes off points for anything and everything up to breathing, but only off of us, not the Slytherins. Whenever one of them messes up, they claim that one of us sabotaged them, and he takes their word for it. But we tell him that they sabotaged us, which they do, he doesn't believe us. The git–"
"Seamus!" Hermione gasped, scandalized. "He's still a teacher!"
Harry just sat there as Hermione and Seamus argued about whether a teacher who didn't teach deserved respect. Why was Professor Snape not teaching? The books he had recommended were wonderful, and had definitely helped in Harry's understanding of the subject. Why wasn't The Ingredients Guide a course book? It was laid out simply and understandably, so it wasn't that it wouldn't make sense to younger readers. Small but Important, on the other hand, had explanations for why each little change had the effect it would, but the explanations went far over Harry's head. Even so, there was no reason he could see for Professor Snape to not put them on the book list.
And why did he favor Slytherin so blatantly? Sure, he was their head of house; but Professor Flitwick was head of Gryffindor, and he was as lenient with the Hufflepuffs Harry had class with as the Gryffindors. And why did Professor Snape seem to hate Gryffindor? There was the house rivalry thing, but surely it wasn't that bad! He and Draco were the probably the most prominent students in their year, and they were friends.
Harry set the subject aside and decided to ask Professor Flitwick sometime. He was the head of house, and had actually insisted that any concerns be brought to him.
When he returned to the Common Room that night, Harry found Ron sitting in an armchair, surrounded by the other first-year Gryffindors. When they saw him, grins spread across their faces, until Ron snapped "Push off, all of you! I told you, this is private!"
They grumbled about it, but eventually left as Ron glared. After a few minutes, it was just Ron and Harry, staring at each other.
Ron sat back in his chair and sighed. "I suppose Hermione told you about our conversation."
Harry nodded. "I'm not buying you a broom," he warned.
Ron chuckled. "She really thought I was serious about that? What I said was 'maybe I should refuse to apologize until you buy me a broom'; it was a joke."
Harry burst out laughing. "Well, good, because after I heard that I was planning to not give you anything for Christmas!" Ron looked panicked for a moment. "Look, are we both sorry about what happened?" The redhead nodded. "Then it's done, we're fine. You're getting a new wand, same as Neville and Ginny, and that's the end of it."
Ron sighed with relief. "Oh, good."
The next morning, Harry was glad to see a member of the cloud of owls swirling down towards him. He snatched the letter greedily and fed the ragged-looking owl a strip of bacon before he tore open the envelope.
I'm glad you're willing to see me. I'll go through the appropriate channels to return to Britain, and I should be there by the end of October. Perhaps I can come visit you for a proper talk on Halloween.
While I would like to believe that Black is innocent, there is no way I can think of for it to be that way. The Imperius curse broke on those who were under it when Voldemort was destroyed, and Black's murder of Peter occurred the day afterwards. There are other possibilities for why Black would've betrayed your parents, ones in which he is innocent. But none of these can explain why he killed Peter and twelve muggles. No, logic says that Black is guilty.
However, you are correct that it is a travesty of justice to put anyone in prison with no chance to defend themselves; especially when the prison is Azkaban, which can be rightly called the worst place in the world. But let us leave this subject for our meeting. I can't send owls during the immigration process anymore, but I'll be looking forward to seeing you.
Harry finished the letter with a sinking heart. Mr. Lupin was right, Black was probably guilty. He wouldn't be able to take him from the Dursleys. But, Harry reminded himself, Mr. Lupin might. His first letter had implied that he would have raised Harry himself, but Dumbledore had wanted him with his relatives.
Which was strange. Dumbledore was the Headmaster of Hogwarts, the most powerful wizard in the world. Surely, he would have known how the Dursleys had treated their foster child. No… no, there had to be a reason for it. Not all of You-know-who's followers had been caught, after all. Perhaps there was some sort of protection over the Dursley's house. But that could have been placed somewhere else too, surely. So if there was a protection of some sort, it would have been something that couldn't be replicated, similar to whatever had saved him originally, perhaps.
What had saved him, anyway? No one seemed to know; but maybe whatever it was could be… recharged? Maintained? If it could be kept alive by living with family, then that would be a good reason for it. Maybe. There was very little that could excuse leaving him with the Dursleys.
Dear Mrs. Weasley,
So there are a few questions I have, but I'll start by telling you about how my first two weeks went.
I got Sorted into Gryffindor, first of all. I made five friends; Ron, who also got into Gryffindor (I noticed he hasn't sent you anything. Do you want me to bug him about that?), Neville Longbottom, who's in Gryffindor with me and Ron, a girl named Hermione Granger in Ravenclaw, Ginny and this kid named Draco Malfoy, who's in Slytherin . Oh, and Ron said something about a blood feud with the Malfoys, but Draco told me that there isn't anything like that. Can you clarify?
Anyway, I talked to Professor Snape about my Mum, and he told me a lot about her. He seems to like me, but he hates every other Gryffindor. I don't know why. I'm doing pretty well in my classes; I think I'm the best in Gryffindor at most of them, actually. Not History, though, that's boring. I can barely sit through it.
Then there was the flying lesson. God Merlin, the flying lesson. That was weird. Neville fell off his broom and broke his wrist, and then Draco grabbed the Remembrall Neville's mum had sent him that morning. I convinced Draco to give it to Ron to return to Neville, by beating him in a Seeking competition. Professor Flitwick saw; I thought I was going to be expelled! But no, I was put onto the Gryffindor Quidditch team! Apparently they haven't had a decent seeker in years. Ah, well.
Now, for my questions; what do people do after they get out of Hogwarts? From what I've seen, there aren't any versions of muggle jobs like accountants, and manufacturing is mostly pointless when people can make anything they want from anything.Harry