The Knight Bus
A/N: Wow, I hardly had any author’s notes in the last two, and so far I’ve had really stinking long one’s in every chapter of this. I love it! I’m enjoying commenting back as much as you guys seem to be reading, so here we go Guest: (sucks in deep breath even though I’m typing)
I’m glad you like the way I do Lily. I always pictured her more fun-loving than a lot of people seem to, she married James Potter for crying out loud, she has to have some sense of humour, but she’s also fiercely overreacting in protecting people. Lots of you have noted that she does seem a little too forgiving of Snape in this series, and I promise that will start wearing off real soon in this book. She was big on it in the first book, mostly due to her instinct and flashbacks of how they treated him through their school years. He didn’t have much to do in the second book, so there wasn’t much time to show that she really was getting sick of how he treats Harry. Mostly when she berates the Marauders, it’s more of a trying to rein them in type thing, rather than outright disapproving of them.
They don’t know that the person who broke out was from Azkaban. It appeared on the Muggle news, and so their first instinct really was to think it was just a muggle who shared the name. Sirius doesn’t keep track of his family; I think he states in the fifth book that he didn’t even find out Regulus died until he got out of Azkaban. I certainly don’t see him keeping up with him to know now. If you want other candidates, Bellatrix before she got married (and who doesn’t go to prison until after the downfall of Voldemort), maybe his Dad since we know so little about him, etc. but again they were mostly joking and fixing a random name to someone they knew.
I am just as bad at math as JK, so my idiocy for not double checking dates was my fault. I will go back and fix it saying that this takes place during ’80 the year Harry was actually born. The part about the Fidelius charm only lasting a week, is something I genuinely forgot but did go back and check and Fudge himself saying that the charm barely lasted a week, thank you for pointing that out, but it doesn’t change my timeline of events that they go into hiding just before Harry’s first birthday, but I suppose they didn’t actually use the Fidelius Charm itself until the week before Halloween, why it wasn’t used at once and that subsequent thing won’t be touched in this particular story, or any of these books, because I’ve no idea honestly and the character’s wouldn’t either. I like Guest’s idea though that Dumbledore was researching stuff about the Charm in the meantime while they were lying low.
I know in canon it says that all four past people who are present were full-time members of the Order, but I cannot see Remus or Lily just ‘living’ off of James and Sirius. So, since I can’t decide yet what kind of ‘work’ any of them are doing for the Order, the only thing we really see them do in the book is guard the Prophecy, they’re kind of on hold for the reading, and I might touch as I go on what they do more specifically if I come up with any good ideas. I know Remus specifically ‘spies’ on the werewolves on Voldemort’s side, but I really can’t see James and Sirius letting him do this too much, they’d throw a fit. James and Sirius together could kick up enough of a fuss he couldn’t do it too often, while an after Azkaban Sirius probably isn’t in any kind of good position and couldn’t do as much to stop anyone from doing anything.
I’m afraid I’m still refusing to answer any and all actual question like the one Guest asked, that’s as the story goes, and in the chapter below coincidentally. HAHA dang this is probably the longest A/N ever, and I’m sorry if it seemed a little rambly. It’s probably a bad reflection on my writing that I couldn’t just sit down and explain this in story...but oh well.
“Honestly Harry” Lily began, shaking her head from side to side “I’m afraid to ask, but how come you’ve never ran away before then?”
Harry just sighed miserably as he answered “the Dursleys ignored me more than anything else growing up. They never sat around insulting me like she was, that’s why I lost my temper. I guess I’d just never been driven that far before.”
“Best thing to happen, honestly” James nodded in total agreement “mind you, I hate what led to that, but if you never go back, will be the happiest part of this.”
“Where’s he going to go though?” Remus asked in concern, stating the one thing that really could make this an awful situation very quickly. “Ron and Hermione are out of the country, and even if they weren’t, would they really just let him move in like that?”
“I’m positive they’d let him live there” James scoffed “the Weasleys let him stay there most of last summer, right?”
“He could stay in the Leaky Cauldron” Sirius offered, “I ran away from home a few times and stayed there, always went back eventually but it was a good place to cool off for the weekend, especially when James did go out like this.”
“But does Harry think to do that?” Remus prompted.
“Well let’s find out” Lily shrugged, turning to her chapter.
It took Harry several blocks before a new emotion made him stop, panic.
“Completely understandable” James nodded.
His mind couldn’t seem to find a way out of this mess. He was alone in the Muggle world, and he’d just done some of the most obvious of magic, which probably meant he was going to be kicked out of school as well.
Remus cut in, saying “Harry, you do know now you really shouldn’t be expelled for that. It was uncontrolled magic.”
“Do they actually know the difference though?” Sirius asked, more puzzled than actually concerned. This crime really wasn’t that bad, it certainly wasn’t the worst he’d heard of. “Between wandless magic and, ah, wand magic.”
“No,” Lily frowned, “but once they come upon the situation, and hear Harry’s side of it, there shouldn’t be punishment. In fact, I’d like to think the Ministry will actually do something to get Harry out of there.”
Harry remained quiet, ignoring that pull in his gut that said his Mom’s words weren’t ringing true. Out loud he responded to Remus’ original question “yeah, now. Back then, not so much.”
Harry had just broken the law, and really wasn’t sure why the Ministry hadn’t yet appeared to take his wand away.
“Actually kind of hoping for that here soon,” James sighed “now that Lily’s said it, it seems obvious that the Ministry’s going to come and see what happened and then take Harry somewhere else.”
Sirius frowned, biting at his lip and trying not to argue. He personally had little to no faith in the Ministry, and he had a really bad feeling they might just try to brush this whole thing over and simply leave Harry there again once they’d fixed this situation. The after effects of which would plague him no matter what really did happen.
Harry shivered in the cold weather as he glanced around himself, mind spinning in all directions. All he could think about now was that he was a criminal, and would be cut off from the magical world. He knew Ron and Hermione would help him out given the chance, but they were both out of the country, and he had no way to get a hold of them.
“You’re starting to depress me” Lily sighed, an old now familiar pang back in place as she realized no one was really there for her boy in this moment when he needed them most.
He didn’t have any Muggle money, either.
“So, no one ever did tell you about the Gringotts exchange then” Remus pointed out something he’d noted back in the first book.
“Nope, no one had told me then, and even if they had I might not have anyway. Didn’t want the Dursleys questioning why I suddenly had money on me.” Harry reminded, frowning and suddenly wondering why he was getting a mounting feeling of apprehension. Alone on Magnolia Crescent, the night that he had been most desperate to leave the Dursleys...why did this feel so important to him. The longer he sat here, wondering if he was going to have to go on the run...did that remind him of someone.
Lily cut off his train of thought by reading.
Harry did have some wizard money in his vault, but he could never drag his stuff all the way to there, unless...
“Oh please tell me you grabbed your broom” James frowned in concern.
“Yes, it was inside my trunk” Harry nodded. Remembering vividly back during the end of his first year when he had been packing away all of his stuff and worried about how to carry not only his broom, but his cauldron as well, when he realized that the trunk would magically expand to hold quite a bit of stuff, even if it was so heavy he could hardly lift it.
He glanced at his wand, and came to the conclusion that if he was already expelled,
“Please stop saying that,” Sirius huffed “you’re starting to depress me now.”
“Can’t help it” Lily pointed out as she continued with a bit of curiosity now, wondering what cockamamie plan Harry would consider doing before the Ministry got a hold of him.
he could just continue to do more magic to get himself out of this. He’d enchant his trunk to be light enough he could rope it to his broom, throw on his invisibility cloak and fly to London to empty out of his vault, and then what? Go on the run the rest of his life?
“While it’s not an awful plan,” James snorted “you’re either ignorant or forgetting a very important detail.”
“What’s that?” Harry asked.
“The trace,” Remus pointed out “that allows the Ministry to find you until you turn seventeen. Plus, and no offense Harry, you really don’t know enough magic that you could make it on your own anyways.”
Harry nodded in understanding, not exactly up to arguing the point. While his thirteen-year-old self might have argued the matter, he also hadn’t known about the trace back then and hadn’t realized just how easy it would be for him to be found.
He did not enjoy this future, but he could hardly sit here forever lest a Muggle policeman come by and ask why Harry had luggage full of spell books and a broom.
“That would be a story,” Sirius agreed light-heartedly “though personally we never exactly stuck around long enough for them to ask any questions.”
“When did any of you get a run in with Muggle police?” Lily demanded suspiciously.
Sirius went a little shifty eyed and declined answering, while James laughed with far too much unease and said “don’t be silly Lily, he was joking.”
Lily snorted, they weren’t even trying to hide the fact that they were kidding, but she was too curious about the book to really interrogate them now. She’d wait until later.
Plan decided, he went rummaging through his stuff to find his cloak, when he felt a tingling go up his spine. He stood up strait and glanced around himself, the lone streetlight showing no one else around.
“Well this can’t be good” they all muttered at once. Harry already had an impressive track record when it came to getting into bad situations. And now, here he was, alone and feeling off again. One glance at Harry now showed they weren’t wrong about being worried either; he had a frown already in place as he remembered exactly how he had been feeling at that time.
He went back to his stuff, only to stop again at once, wand now in hand as he glanced more suspiciously at the dark surroundings. He thought he caught sight of something moving between the gaps of the houses.
Lily already wanted to stop and bite at her lip in worry. Way too many horrible things could be lurking behind her boy. The boys were all thinking of their joking comments about a convict being around, and violently berating themselves as they realized their joking may have come true.
He strained his eyes in the shadows, trying to make out if it was just an animal, or something worse. He lit the tip of his wand with the spell Lumos, which shone so brightly that Harry was momentarily blinded as it shone off of the garage door, but he just had time to make out the shape of something very large, with watchful eyes.
Lily’s voice was heading into outright fear now, even if it was just a stray animal she didn’t like that it was scaring her son.
Harry though, was frowning in remembrance. Wasn’t he supposed to have a good feeling about this? That was his first reaction, but he knew his thirteen-year-old self-had acted in fear at this startling sight. He wasn’t even for sure what he had seen then...
He took an automatic step back, fell over his luggage, and ended in the gutter with his wand arm thrown out to catch his fall. There was a very loud BANG from just to his right, and Harry barely had time to roll back onto the sidewalk before wheels landed where his head had just been.
The whole time Lily had been reading that, her voice had continued to edge higher in fear. Now as she recognized what must have happened, she only marginally relaxed. She was almost quaking in terror; the book almost slipped from her grasp. She still wasn’t quite back to normal after that horrid dinner scene, and Harry coming so close to death right after that caused her to want to fling her arms around her son and hold him as close as she could.
For a moment Harry was sure he’d been knocked silly as he looked up at a triple deckered bus, which was bright purple,
“Thank Merlin” Sirius breathed, his eyes lighting up at once as he recognized the description, and then he released a bark of laughter and said “you just called that by accident.”
Harry was rubbing at his head and looking marginally embarrassed as they really did give a light chuckle at that, but his mind was still on the thing he’d seen. It was a dog, but massive. Why was this so important to him? It must just be a stray, so why should he care?
Lily was the only one who still looked on edge about the matter, Harry had never said what he’d seen in the dark, but now that the Knight Bus had appeared, surely everything was going to be okay now.
with the label The Knight Bus on the side. Before he had time to process this fully, a young man was stepping off in uniform and announcing himself as Stan Shunpike, a conductor for the bus, then he saw Harry still on the ground and asked why he was down there.
“Nice of him to notice” James said lightly.
Harry got to his feet and said that he’d fallen over, and Stan asked why he did that.
“Just seemed like a fun thing to do obviously” Remus snorted.
Harry snapped back he hadn’t done it on purpose.
“Wow, getting a bit snippy there Pup” Sirius laughed.
Harry suddenly jerked; he looked like he was on the verge of something really important. Back when they had told him about their decision to be Animagi, and the subsequent animals, he hadn’t thought much on the matter. It did explain the random nicknames, and beyond that he’d never questioned it. Now...
Lily hadn’t seemed to notice Harry wasn’t paying much attention to them, she was still stuck on the fact it had yet to say what Harry had seen to startle him so badly. So for once she didn’t take note of her son in the room now eyeing Sirius curiously, but instead read.
Harry then turned to look behind him, but there was nothing there where the headlights clearly shown. Stan asked what he was watching, and Harry explained that he’d seen a humongous black dog.
Now that finally struck a chord with everyone in the room. Sirius looked like he’d just been clubbed over the head. Harry was still eyeing him like he’d never seen him before, no that wasn’t right. He was staring right at him like he was trying desperately to remember something...
“So, err” James began, looking from Harry to Sirius and back wearily “who wants to count the odds of this?” A guy named Black had been heard from on the news, and a giant black dog which happened to be Sirius’ animagus form, had been seen around Harry.
They still didn’t believe in coincidences, but none of them really knew what to make of this. Because if that was Sirius, then that meant that first of all he was still alive! That alone made their heads spin, because what force on Earth would keep him away from Harry for all of these years. Which brought up the most confusing part, had it really been him on the news? Was it Sirius who had escaped from a prison, meaning Azkaban itself? How would anyone even go about doing that? They had been kidding earlier in even suggesting it was a relative of his, since it was impossible to escape from that place. Was it simply two unrelated instances and they were just trying to over-read it?
Sirius looked likely to pass out, not finding this remotely funny anymore. The possibilities were endless and far too horrible. Lily and James were eyeing each other, unsure what to make of all this. The past few times they jumped to a conclusion, they weren’t always right. Remus was beside himself; lost in questions he wasn’t sure he wanted an answer to anymore.
Harry wasn’t helping anyone, he hadn’t spoken a word through all of this, simply sitting there watching Sirius. His mind and gut were at war with each other the longer this continued. He knew him, he had been so sure of that, and simply from the small amount of time he had known him now he was convinced Sirius was as close to him as his own parents. He should be happy at the very thought of Sirius being alive, his gut told him that. So why was something very dark and bad building up inside of his mind even as he sat there? A pounding headache was forming again, his body at war with itself, not knowing what to think or even what instinct to trust.
Finally after a very long, drawn out silence where no one offered anything, Lily finally convinced herself to just read on. Coincidence or not, she had a very nasty feeling they would find out sooner rather than later.
Stan didn’t seem all that impressed, he was still watching Harry and asked what was on Harry’s forehead. Harry reacted by brushing his hair in the way and saying nothing while trying to cover his scar.
“Can’t blame you for that” James muttered, not even slightly distracted from his best friend’s odd mentioning, if it was even that at all.
Harry knew that if the Ministry was after him, he didn’t want to help them along.
Sirius finally came out of his torpor to release a surprised snort, shaking himself firmly like a wet dog. He was being paranoid, they all were. So why didn’t he believe that? Well Harry eyeing him every other second now wasn’t helping the matter. Out loud he said “credit for trying anyways.”
Stan then asked for Harry’s name, and he gave the first one that came to mind, Neville Longbottom.
“At least it wasn’t Ron’s, you don’t exactly resemble him,” Lily agreed, trying in vain for some normal mood again, though none of the boys looked remotely up to it.
Then Harry changed the subject to asking about the bus, and where it led? Stan promptly explained it would take him anywhere except underwater.
“Where would I even go underwater?” Harry asked loudly, not having meant to pitch his volume like that, but hoping to distract himself from the way his head seemed to be developing its own pulse.
“Err, guess you could go visit mermaids or something” Remus blurted, finally pulling him away from his thoughts.
He told Harry, in a very thick accent, the different prices for the ride, and extras such as hot chocolate, or a little more for a toothbrush.
James finally made a brave stab at humour again, saying “Lily Flower, please never try and mimic that accent again. You’re doing a horrible job.”
Lily took a small moment to stick her tongue out at him, but didn’t bother defending herself. It’s not like she could skip what Stan was saying.
Harry paid his dues and loaded his stuff onto the bus, and instead of seats inside he found beds. Stan set him up right behind the driver’s seat, a man named Ernie Prang at the wheel.
“Is he still driving that then?” Sirius asked, dully, and the others were slightly concerned to see that he hadn’t really bounced back yet. Sirius was pretty well known for not letting things get to him for too long, so the fact that he was clearly still upset and distracted by all of these horrible implications about him wasn’t boding well.
No one answered him, mostly because it was a rhetorical question anyways.
Then Stan took a seat behind the driver, and told Ernie they were good to go. There was an equally loud BANG as the one that had arrived, and Harry was tossed onto his bed with the speed of force.
That finally earned a half-hearted chuckle from them, knowing all too well the sensations of riding that bus for the first time.
Stan was still eyeing Harry curiously, but Harry asked first where they were. Stan said somewhere in Wales, and Harry asked how come the Muggles couldn’t hear the bus.
Harry closed his mouth sheepishly, finally distracted from his impending thoughts and was fixing to ask that himself. Lily smiled indulgently at him before reading.
Stan just laughed, saying those Muggles never saw anything proper, while Ernie told him to go and wake a woman whose stop was coming up.
“Well that didn’t really explain it” Remus said lightly.
“It’s okay,” Harry said quickly “magic makes it hard to see and hear, got it.”
Well Harry hadn’t stayed distracted long. He was already over his curiosity at this new magical object, and the brief feeling of wanting to object why this was okay but Mr. Weasley’s car was illegal, and back to wondering why he felt like this should be the most important night of his life. He still had no answers though, and so he didn’t want to delay the reading much.
Harry began watching out the window as Ernie spun crazily through the streets, while cars, mailboxes, and street lights all jumped out of the way only to go right back when they’d passed.
Harry raised his brows in surprise, he did find that pretty amusing, but not enough to interrupt again.
Stan came back down the stairs with an elder woman, and the bus screeched to a stop. While Madam Marsh tottered out, slightly green from the trip, Stan tossed her luggage out after her,
“Well he’s a polite one” Lily snorted.
and then they were off again. Harry spent the next while sitting on his bed, but knowing he could never sleep. He was too busy thinking about if Marge had stopped floating around the Dursleys house yet.
That gained a weak laugh from the group, happy to have something to distract them and that delightful mental image worked fine.
Then he caught sight of Stan holding a copy of the Daily Prophet, and the large image on the front was of the same man Harry had seen on the Muggle news.
“Wow, wait!” Remus said in surprise. “So the person who did escape, was a wizard?”
“But, how is that even possible?” James demanded. “No one should be able to escape from Azkaban, no one!”
Sirius looked almost mildly amused as he said “well, props to them for being the first one to do it.”
“Knock it off Sirius,” Lily snapped, getting a little huffy at once at such a prospect “it’s not funny, this could be a problem.”
“Quit fretting Lily,” Sirius scoffed right back “so it’s weird, kind of freaky, and I’m going to insist still cool, but it’s probably nothing to do with Harry.”
Lily wasn’t the only one who disagreed with that, Remus also had a bad feeling that trouble seemed to go out of its way to find Harry, and an escaped prisoner who shared a name with Sirius seemed almost likely by this point. Remus had met Sirius’ family only once, and it had been far from a pleasant experience, one he would never wish on Harry.
James dearly wanted to side with Sirius, but he still didn’t like the uneasy way his son was acting now, it didn’t bode well.
Stan looked back at the front page,
Lily froze dead in her tracks as she looked down at the name, the first name, of this convict. Harry didn’t even need to ask this time, one furtive look from his mom to his godfather and he knew his answer. James wasn’t having it though, he tore the book away and glared down at that name like it was the worst trick in the world.
“Someone’s dead” he snarled, his hands beginning to shake so hard the book was in danger of being broken all over again. “Whoever the hell framed you for whatever the bloody hell you ended up in there for, they are beyond dead!” He got to his feet and began pacing the length of the couch, continuing his violent mutterings about how his best friend had been set up for something.
Sirius said nothing, he looked almost mummified, and for a horrible moment Remus thought he’d stopped breathing. “Ah, Padfoot” Remus said gently, since James was still yelling at the top of his lungs and Lily and Harry were watching him wearily. Sirius was still losing colour, and were his lips tinged blue? Remus poked him, hard, in the ribs which only elicited the smallest of reactions that he sucked in air through his nose finally. He still wasn’t reacting though, just gazing straight forward with a look of utmost horror on his face.
His friends had seen him in quite a few ways, so excited he couldn’t hold still, so angry he couldn’t spit out the words, and one single moment before this where he had been terrified. Then though, Sirius had done the opposite and had sat around talking almost nonstop in an effort to show how ‘not afraid’ he’d been. This shell-shocked display was something none of them had seen before, and it was beginning to scare them all.
“Sirius” James said loudly, finally having noticed he was the only one shouting. He waltzed over and placed his hand on his friend’s shoulder.
The man jumped like he’d just been electrocuted; suddenly his eyes went flying around the room like he had no idea where he was. Blinking so fast there was no way he could really be clearing his vision, he stammered “s-sorry. Zoned out there, what was that?”
“You kind of went mental there for a moment” Remus told him kindly, trying to put some warmth into his voice that Sirius didn’t even register.
“Di-did I?” he muttered, and then he shook himself like a wet dog with a rabid cat on its back. When he was done doing that, he looked around again with far more sense, and his eyes landed on Harry. Sirius swallowed hard, and opened his mouth as if to say something, but no words came out. What exactly he was trying to say, apologize for being absent, ask him if he knew what had happened, or anything else for that matter just wasn’t getting past his lips.
Harry took pity on him and addressed both of those questions “I’m not mad at you Sirius. I’ve only known you for a few days and I know you’d never do anything to get sent there.” Harry very carefully avoided using the word of said prison; Sirius still looked likely to faint at any moment. “I still don’t know what happened either, I just knew I remembered you. I’m not afraid of you though, and don’t you think I’d be afraid of someone who I knew was a mass murderer?”
“Murderer?” Remus repeated eagerly, as Harry immediately dissolved into grimacing and rubbing at his temple as words slipped out that he had no knowledge of. Just this small little dig and he was already back to that horrid pain that sent white hot flashes through him.
Remus retracted at once, very much wanting to find out exactly what Sirius had been accused of, but unwilling to persist Harry in the matter. It was ridiculous after all, Sirius was a hot headed idiot on a good day, but he would never do something like murder. Or, well, maybe he would...
Harry cut in with another question instead “but how did you know where I was? I didn’t really think you’d ever been to the Dursleys?”
Sirius didn’t really answer, he still looked like he was in a daze, and Lily answered “all three of them know where Petunia lives, her address anyways. I’ve it listed under people who should be contacted if I die, which I need to fix” she added to herself with a mutter, ignoring the flinch that caused James for the suddenly very real threat. “It’s how Dumbledore eve knew where Petunia was living back in the first book. It was dangerous though” she finished with a sharp look at Sirius “for him to still go there. Any fool who knew you would know you’d go and seek out Harry.”
Still this gained no reaction from said Sirius.
James was still grumbling mutinously as Lily finally convinced him to take his seat, the parents still eyeing Harry with some concern. Experience had already told them if he continued in this way, his body would rebel and he would end up crumpling to the ground in pain, so Lily was now very eager to keep going and read. James only shut himself up for now so that he could see what exactly was going on here.
the name Sirius Black plastered across the headline.
Sirius convulsed slightly, hearing his name like that. He had been, well not content per say, but had accepted that he must have died shortly after James to have been absent so long. Now that he found out where he had been, he pondered whether he’d just as soon be dead. Then he grit his teeth and began mentally pummelling himself for that thought. He was alive, which meant that he really could get out and find Harry. It all came together very clearly in his mind now. Whatever he had been accused of doing didn’t matter, how he had even gotten out didn’t matter. That black dog Harry had seen, it must have been him! Which meant he would finally be able to do what he’d always swore he would, look after his godson. The whys and how’s didn’t even matter, so long as he could just do one simple thing and keep an eye out for him.
Stan laughed, saying he’d been all over the news, yes even the Muggle’s and Harry should keep up more. He handed Harry that section of the paper, and Harry began to read
Lily released a very shaky breath, mixed feelings twisting inside of her as she realized she very well might just find out what had happened, and almost not wanting to find out. Whatever it was, this wasn’t going to be pretty, but she pressed on anyway.
about this man who had been held in Azkaban was still on the loose. The Minister of Magic, Cornelius Fudge, was trying to stop the public from panicking, and denied any knowledge of how the escape had even happened. Everyone had been warned to keep an eye out for this deranged man, who’d been locked away twelve years ago for killing thirteen people with one spell.
Some kind of life finally reappeared on Sirius again, but it wasn’t the kind anyone wanted to see. He laughed then, and it wasn’t his usual jovial laugh, this already had an edge of madness tinging it as he leaned as far away from everyone as he possibly could.
Remus punched him on the shoulder, hard. “Ouch” Sirius whined, and Remus sighed in relief to finally have gotten a normal response out of him. “What was that for?”
“Shut it” Remus snapped, “and quit acting like an idiot or I’ll do it again.”
“How does someone so scrawny hit so hard” Sirius muttered, slumping back down, and wondering if he could get away with listening to this on another continent.
Remus hadn’t really meant to hit him that hard; he had actually been projecting his own annoyance at himself in that throw. How could he have thought something like that of his friend, even for a second? Yes, Sirius had made quite a few threats against members of his family, even Snape from time to time, but he’d never meant them! That accident when they were kids was just that, an accident. He’d forgiven Sirius for that a long time ago, so to even consider him to do something like that now felt like a betrayal.
“This is foul” James snarled, looking far more likely to rip someone’s head off than Sirius himself in that moment, “how could anyone think you’d done this!”
They were all stumped. They of course knew Sirius quite well, but to the general populace he was simply a name attached to one of the pure-blood households. It really wasn’t much of a stretch at all to think a Black would pull this off.
Lily wanted very much to sit around questioning how all of this had gone in trial, what kind of evidence had been used against Sirius in the matter, but since no one here actually knew the answer she didn’t even touch on the question. She gave all of the boys a pitying look, but with James’ almost comforting words still in mind she read out the full charge.
Harry looked at the picture again, of the man with such sunken features it was a wonder he was even breathing.
Sirius then balked and shuttered all over again, remembering Harry saying how non-human he had looked like. He’d heard stories about how that place sucked the life out of you, but it was more unpleasant to picture yourself like that.
Harry had only ever seen pictures of Vampires before, but he would have put money this man looked just like one.
Remus jerked away from Sirius in surprise as he made a pitiful noise deep in his throat, and then bent towards him in concern all over again. “Sirius, I think you stopped breathing again.”
“Sorry,” he muttered again “just trying to picture it, and it’s not much fun.”
James was bouncing in place in his seat, still with that manic energy that he needed to go curse someone into oblivion for this slandering, and also dearly wanting to go sit next to Sirius now and hug the life back into him. They could hardly blame him for reacting like this, but it was still creeping them out how he had yet to regain any of his normal colouring and actually seemed to be getting paler the longer this went on.
Harry handed back the paper, Stan not even fully looking at the picture as he commented on what a creepy looking man he was. Harry was stunned as he asked that Black had really killed thirteen people at once, and Stan was nodding along, adding details that he’d been caught doing it in broad daylight, with witnesses all around.
“Bollocks,” James hissed “a big, rotten pile of steaming-”
“James,” Lily sighed “we’re all mad at this, but I want to hear it anyways.”
James’ upper lip curled in a sneer, he didn’t look like he was going to back down one bit, until Sirius finally gave an intelligible sentence again and said “let it go James. Don’t get me wrong, I’m glad you find this so ridiculous, but I want to hear this too.”
“Might help us figure out who really did do it” Remus added on quickly.
James huffed and crossed his arms, while Harry simply sat there nodding along with his Mom. He knew the answer to this. He had never been so sure of anything since he’d woken up here, and he dearly wanted to find out now because it felt majorly important to him. Like something bad had happened, simply because he hadn’t known this information...
Ernie added on that Black had been a well-known backer of You-Know Who,
Lily couldn’t read that sentence without snorting in disbelief, while the other four boys made choking noises of disgust at such a ridiculous accusation. “Where is he even getting that from? He didn’t know you,” Lily demanded of the book.
Sirius gave her a wane smile, pleased she seemed to find this as outrageous as anyone else. Sometimes he wondered how much she really did like him, considering how often she threatened, yelled and berated him. And now her snarky little joke from before actually seemed to have come true. Watching her now though, he no longer had a doubt in his mind.
Harry corrected Voldemort without thinking about it.
“Well this should be fun” Remus noted absently, noticing Harry still didn’t seem to realize he shouldn’t be spouting that name without thinking about it.
Ernie jerked the wheel of the bus so hard in shock, a whole building had to jump to the side.
“Still love that you do that so casually” Sirius said a little too loudly, obviously trying to force a devil may care attitude. The others didn’t buy it, but it was a nice attempt anyway.
Stan looked likely to faint from shock, demanding to know why Harry would say that name! Harry apologized, saying he’d forgotten people didn’t like that.
“You forgot” James laughed lightly, not anywhere near over his shock and anger that his best friend had survived, but enjoying Harry’s unintentional humour all the same.
Stan wasn’t buying it, still rubbing at his chest from shock, and Harry tried to change the subject by repeating that Black had been a supporter of You-Know-Who.
Sirius went so bug-eyed all of a sudden, Remus had to stop himself from reaching out and grabbing hold of him to make sure he really didn’t fall over this time as Sirius nearly shouted “oh bloody hell!”
“What” James yelped in concern, Sirius was more than scaring him now with these awful freak out moments he kept having.
“This!” he snarled, and it finally looked like he was edging back to his normal self, except now he was truly pissed at something as he continued to nearly shout. “This is the first thing Harry hears about me! He’s grown up not even knowing my name, and the first thing he ever hears about me is that I, I’m a-”
“Oh Sirius-” Lily muttered, while Remus really did look like he was fixing to hug him. Sirius was in no mood, he had built up enough steam that he was going to keep going until someone forcibly muted him.
“Don’t any of you apologize! I’ve dealt with a lot of crap so far, but this!” He continued in this way for so long, he actually started to go horse, but none of them stopped him. They felt he more than deserved it.
When he finally did subside, now absentmindedly rubbing at his throat and looking far calmer and more himself, Harry was quick to cut in “if it helps at all, I know you now.”
Sirius grunted, though maybe he didn’t verbally reply because his vocal cords were still coming back, but, after a quick look from James, Lily decided to keep reading now before Sirius got his voice back.
Stan agreed, telling Harry about how some of You-Know-Who’s other followers had been caught right after his downfall, and had come in without much of a fight, but not Black. Others said he was his second in command, and was even going to take over for You-Know-Who.
“The fact that anyone believes that is sad,” Remus sighed. “I’ve heard of some pretty nasty Death Eaters, and even they don’t have the gall to go around saying that, they’d be killed by Voldemort himself.”
“Most likely this is all rumours that happened after Sirius was framed” Lily pointed out “details were exaggerated; the worst of it always comes after the act itself.”
“Glad you two think this is so interesting” James huffed, since Sirius’ indignant look clearly said he was thinking that, but he was still rubbing his throat and couldn’t say it.
Remus looked slightly offended for a moment that James thought he meant it, but then he backed down when he realized it was more of a really dark joke.
Lily didn’t deign them with a comment at all; she just kept going and hoping for more actual evidence than slander.
Then he told how Black had been found in a Muggle neighbourhood, and that he blew up the street rather than go in, killing twelve Muggles and one wizard.
“Ah, how would someone go about making that look like me?” Sirius said in mild concern, finally getting his voice back and seeming to lose it all at once.
“There are several ways,” Lily frowned “but my main issue is then what happened to you?”
Remus snapped his fingers and said “what if the person who did this simply made themselves look like Sirius, then the Ministry came and got him after the fact.”
“Wouldn’t be the first time someone blamed him for something he didn’t do, because of his name.” James agreed, hardly looking pleased that they might have figured this out, since he still wanted to murder the fool who had thought they could frame his best friend and get away with it.
Harry was pondering how he felt about this. For some reason, it didn’t feel right. There were huge chunks missing, and the set up his family had offered wasn’t quite right, but as always he just wasn’t sure how to best put those pieces together.
Then he told of what Black did after the fact, he sat there and laughed. Just sitting in the streets laughing when the Ministry showed up and properly arrested him, probably because he was mad.
“Mad in the emotional sense,” Sirius sniffed. “I like to think I’m a little saner than just standing around after something like that anyways. Ouch-” he cried again, giving Remus the stank eye. “Why do you keep hitting me? You’re supposed to be the nice one.”
“You don’t get to joke about this” Remus told him with one of the sternest looks anyone had ever seen. “Not this Sirius.”
Sirius opened his mouth, a nasty little retort already in place, when he shut his mouth just as quickly and nodded his ascent. The joke had slipped out before he thought about it, same as most of his jokes really. Now though, looking at his friends, he recognized it was only going to make this worse.
Then to everyone’s surprise, Lily spoke up “don’t be too hard on him, Remus. You know he plays off things to show how aloof he thinks he is. If making stupid jokes helps him to cope, don’t beat him for it.”
“My jokes aren’t stupid” Sirius snapped at once, then he went bright-eyed and cooed “aw, Lily, that’s the first time you’ve ever defended me.”
“Don’t get used to it” she smirked at him.
James and Remus didn’t really look happy, feeling they’d rather strangle someone who made light of this situation regarding their friend, but so long as Sirius was the one doing it they couldn’t really say too much.
He’d spent the rest of his life in Azkaban, though Ernie reflected that if he wasn’t mad before he went in there he most certainly was now, of course he did deserve it.
“Someone certainly deserves that place,” James agreed “but it’s too good for what I owe them.”
There was a big cover up from the magical community, telling how the big explosion had been some sort of gas leak, but now Black was out again, and he was the first to ever have done it, and nobody knew how.
“That is still a very good question” Sirius nodded to himself, cocking his head to the side and actually considering the matter. “Or why I didn’t do it earlier, like as soon as I got there. Why now?”
“I got nothing” Remus shrugged.
“Can we not think about this,” James moaned “I really don’t want to think about this anymore than I have to.”
Harry frowned, he had honestly wanted to hear if his family had any theories on the matter, but his Dad now looked as ghastly as Sirius had before. His anger seemed to be subsiding, and James was starting to push past his outrage at Sirius being there, to Sirius being there. Alone in that dark, creepy place where no one would normally survive more than a few years, and Sirius had been there for twelve!
The others recognized this as well, and Lily was quick to move on.
The two elders were still talking about how terrifying that prison was, and Harry couldn’t help but reflect how this conversation would go in a few weeks when word got around that Harry Potter had broken wizarding law. Would he end up in Azkaban to? Were Ernie and Stan going to be sitting around laughing then about how he’d blown up his aunt and made a run for it?
That released a startled laugh from Remus. They had just found out something major, life altering even. Nothing this bad or emotionally horrifying had come up since the first chapter of the first book, and here Harry was. Thirteen and caring nothing for his would be Uncle’s state, but simply still worried about something as petty as accidental magic. It wasn’t really funny, but it made him laugh anyways.
Sirius was dearly tempted to punch him then, more for payback than actually wanting him to stop, but he was already trailing off and Lily was still eager to keep going.
Harry had broken the law, just like Black.
Sirius made to open his mouth again, but this time it was Lily who cut him off and said “don’t. I do not want to hear some stupid joke about that one.”
Sirius huffed, she had just defended him and now was the one stopping him from saying ‘he takes after me’ but on retrospect, that really was a little too dark of humour even for him.
Was inflating Marge bad enough to land him in Azkaban?
“Not even close” James shuddered in disgust, wanting to vomit all over again at Harry going anywhere near that place.
He’d never been there himself, but he’d heard nothing but terrible rumours about the place, even Hagrid, the strongest man Harry knew, had all but begged not to be sent there.
While it did keep things in perspective for Harry, Lily dearly hoped this was the last time that horrid prison would be mentioned, because now every time it was all three of her boys winced at the very thought of the place.
The trip wore on, and the scenery outside continued to change around as passengers got off. At one point Stan went to go get Harry his hot chocolate, but managed to spill it all over him at the next take off.
“What, it didn’t have a lid?” Sirius asked absently.
“Not the best time to drink that anyway” James shrugged. Their light commentary still seemed to be lacking, and they were now beginning to wonder how long it would take before they could actually sit around and absorb this new information.
When Harry was the last one aboard, the Knight Bus set off for the Leaky Cauldron, daybreak beginning on the horizon.
“Wow, you were on that thing all night” Lily said in surprise.
“You said the ministry would be tracking me,” Harry frowned “how come they wouldn’t have caught up by then?”
“You would have been moving around too fast” Lily shrugged when it looked like none of the boys were “so by the time you were pinpointed, the bus would have been off again. I’m sure they’ll catch up to you before you leave Diagon Alley though.”
Harry frowned, not looking remotely comforted by that. The horrid news of Sirius had distracted him now, but his thirteen-year-old self was still firmly upset by the matter with Marge, and even more so if he was going to be forced back to the Dursleys for the rest of the summer. He might have been the only one thinking about this though; the others were clearly still out of it.
Harry’s plan was still in place, now deciding what he would do after he got his money.
“Could go see the country,” Remus joked “might be fun for a while anyways.”
Lily just ignored him, knowing full well Harry wouldn’t be able to get that far.
The bus came to a stop, and Harry was getting help from Stan unloading his stuff when a voice behind called out a greeting to Harry.
“Who do you think that is?” James asked, finally an actual distraction from the fate of his best friend.
“He knew Harry by name,” Lily puzzled, noting just the first name and not his full name like some awestruck person might have “you think they sent someone who knew Harry personally?”
“Well you tell us” Remus pointed out.
Harry nearly dropped his stuff in shock as he saw the Minister of Magic.
“Say what!” The ones without the book yelped.
“Surely the Minister himself wouldn’t have come after you” James said in surprise.
“Well why not?” Remus acknowledged once the shock had worn off. “He is the famous Harry Potter after all. He might have gotten some special attention for his bit of acting out.”
“I keep wanting to forget that honestly,” Lily sighed “but I guess it does make sense.”
He came forward and placed his hand on Harry’s shoulder, while Stan was caught off guard, saying how he’d thought this was Neville. Fudge looked at him curiously as he corrected that this was Harry Potter, and Stan shouted that he’d known that all along.
“Sure he did” James scoffed, now frowning as he realized Sirius seemed to have gone quiet again. He was still obviously paying attention, but normally that would have been his line. James really hoped this chapter would be over soon, they needed a few moments to absorb this mess.
Fudge turned back to Harry then, inviting him inside and then asking the bartender, Tom, for a pot of tea in one of the rooms, hand still firmly holding onto Harry’s shoulder.
“That’s starting to annoy me,” Lily frowned “where does he get the right to hold onto you like that. He doesn’t think you’re going to make a run from him does he?”
Harry just shrugged; he had no idea about the Minister’s motives.
Stan and Ernie were coming in from behind, carrying Harry’s stuff, and Stan asked why Harry had lied, still calling him Neville.
“Is he going to keep calling you that?” Remus asked, slightly amused.
“I’m okay with this,” Harry smiled weakly “it’s better than being treated like famous Harry Potter.”
The Minister dismissed the pair, and Harry was led away into a private office where he was seated, and then Fudge introduced himself and his title.
“Glad you already knew that, or this would have been even more awkward” James nodded.
Harry had already known this, having once seen him in person, but as he’d been hiding under his cloak at the time, he didn’t think Fudge needed to know that.
“It might have been a spot funny if you had though” Remus pointed out.
“Still glad he didn’t,” Lily frowned at him “it’s too odd to explain.”
“Could have seen him in the papers or something couldn’t he” James shrugged, still keeping an eye on Sirius who was still being far too quiet for his liking.
Then Fudge turned to telling Harry that he’d been quite worried when Harry had run away from his family’s house, something terrible could have happened, he had been starting to think...but then changed the subject.
“Started to think what?” Harry asked with interest.
“I’ve no idea,” Lily frowned “perhaps that you were going to head out somewhere else and it would be harder for them to find you.”
No one offered anything else, but they did wonder if Harry’s name really was the only reason Fudge was there. What else could it be though?
Telling that they had deflated Marjorie Dursley,
“Still one of the best sentences I’ve heard all day,” Remus muttered to Sirius, and then frowned when he only gave a weak grin back.
and that her memory had been changed so that she didn’t remember a thing,
“Almost a pity,” Lily sighed “might teach her not to go spouting such crap to a child.”
“I love you” James grinned at his wife, adoring that she had only beaten him by a second on saying that.
concluding that no harm had been done. He then looked over Harry with a warm smile, like an uncle watching his favourite nephew.
Which caused Remus to sniff in disdain. He, much like Lily and James, seemed to find it personally offensive when anyone compared themselves to Harry’s family, only a few exceptions came to mind. It bothered him all the more when Sirius didn’t even flinch at the sentence.
When Harry said nothing, Fudge did say that Harry was probably worried about the Dursleys reactions, and while they had been angry, they were willing to let Harry come back next summer,
“No” James moaned, putting his face in his hands now.
“My sentiments exactly” Harry sighed, unable to think of anything else to say to that.
“Here I thought you’d finally gotten away from those...” Lily trailed off into a few foul mutterings before clearing her throat and reading.
but Harry protested he never wanted to go back there again! Fudge was shocked, saying that he was sure Harry still loved them, erm, deep down.
“Like the pits of hell deep,” Remus huffed “where fondness equates to hatred.”
“Poetic” Lily noted.
“And true” Harry agreed.
Harry in no way agreed, but didn’t argue the point. Fudge then spoke about what Harry would do in the meantime, and suggested he just stay here at the Leaky Cauldron for the remainder of his vacation. Harry interrupted by pointing out, what about his punishment?
James made a funny choking noise like someone had just elbowed him in the throat. “Did you really just ask that? Harry, why on earth would you?”
“It didn’t make sense” Harry shrugged, still finding this odd now as he explained “every other time I’d done magic, I’d at least gotten a warning. Now, here I had done something really serious, and nothing.”
Harry had used that word on purpose, he had been trying to elicit a reaction from Sirius like everyone else, but the man still seemed so out of it he wasn’t going to bite. James and Remus exchanged very worried looks, wondering what had made him bounce back so hard when he’d been trying for a moment to come out of it, while Lily offered an explanation. “Perhaps because they went there themselves and saw what happened? No one could possibly blame you for your actions, the way they were treating you.”
Harry didn’t really agree, but he wasn’t going to argue the point either.
Fudge gave an uneasy laugh, saying why would he do anything like that? Harry insisted that he’d been told off last summer for a house-elf doing magic in his house, and the Ministry had warned him he’d be in real trouble if it happened again.
“Are you trying to get yourself kicked out” Lily demanded of her son.
“I just wanted an explanation” Harry reminded.
“Well, they didn’t know a house-elf had done that last summer” Lily reminded him “and they say expelled as a severe warning. You still haven’t done anything bad enough for that to be a real threat.”
Harry nodded in acceptance.
Fudge brushed him off though, trying to say that things were a little different now, given the fact that, well… then he blurted that Harry shouldn’t want to be expelled?
While most of them simply put this down to Fudge being really bad at explaining the system to Harry, none of them noticed Sirius finally reacting again, by his eyes narrowing with suspicion.
Harry agreed he didn’t, then Fudge declared there was no more need to talk about it. He got up and left, but Harry still couldn’t believe this. Then he reflected it was odd enough that the Minister of Magic himself had even shown up here.
“I think you’re reading too much into it,” Lily told him lightly “it’s really not that unusual for someone to have come after you. Maybe not the Minister himself, but still.”
Harry still wanted to disagree with her on that, there was something he wasn’t quite remembering that would prompt said Minister’s motives, but he had no clue as to what.
It really didn’t add up that the Minister would come after wayward school children to deal with this. Fudge came back then, saying that Tom had a room for Harry, but then Fudge requested that while he stayed there, he shouldn’t go into the Muggle world.
“Who’s he to tell you that,” James scoffed, finally dragging his eyes away from Sirius to look at the book in annoyance “it’s none of his business where you go.”
“I don’t really blame him for this” Lily shrugged “he is underage by all accounts, so it’s not that weird for wanting to keep him in a smaller, magical community.”
Harry agreed, but did ask why.
“Glad at least Harry questions it” James huffed, still rather annoyed by that.
Fudge just said that he didn’t want Harry to get lost again, it was better for now, then he trailed off again.
Sirius narrowed his eyes further, taking note of that as much as Remus and James noticed him doing it. Was this really what was bothering Sirius so much, the Minister appearing? Sirius hated the Ministry, which had only increased, they were sure, because of what they had just found out, but this seemed a little odd for him to have such a dislike of someone who really hadn’t done anything wrong yet.
Sirius declined telling them what was really on his mind. Which was that, like Harry, he was wondering if there wasn’t something more going on right there, something to do with a supposed supporter of Voldemort suddenly breaking out.
Harry then randomly asked if there was any news on Black, and Fudge flinched in surprise.
Far from looking pleased, Sirius slumped back in his seat and grumbled something under his breath Remus didn’t catch. He noted the act though, and he and James shared another look, hardly wanting to wait until the chapter was over anymore to get him to talk.
Fudge tried for a laugh that didn’t work, saying that they had nothing yet and the Azkaban guards were quite angry about it all,
“Can Dementors be angry?” Lily asked, never having considered this. “I’ve never known them to hold an emotion really.”
“They can certainly express themselves if they wish, just not the way you’re thinking” Remus offered, realizing in that stretch of quiet he was expected to answer. He didn’t look up to elaborating, which was odd enough for him, so Harry didn’t ask what a Dementor was.
Fudge made to leave then, but Harry jumped in with one last question, reminding that as a third year he could go to Hogsmeade,
James smirked then, happy his son still had a way of distracting him from something like his best friend acting weirder as time went on. “You would ask something like this after the night you’ve had.”
“I had to put up with all of that crap, and I still didn’t get it signed,” Harry shrugged “it was worth a shot.”
but no one had signed it for him. Fudge tried to stall by saying he wasn’t Harry’s parent or guardian of any sort.
“He’s got a point” Lily frowned, hating the way this was turning out for him. “I hate to admit it, but it really doesn’t look like you’re going to get to go this year. You’ll have to try something else with those Muggles next summer.” The taste those words left in her mouth made her wish she could bite her tongue off so she’d never have to hear that again.
Harry tried to protest, pointing out his position, and that if he gave him permission,
“Too bad it doesn’t work like that” James agreed absently.
but Fudge declined, saying this may be all for the best for now. Then he did leave.
Since they were watching for it this time, James and Remus noticed Sirius give an imperceptible nod at yet another action from the Minister. Remus, growing sick of trying to guess what Sirius normally would have said himself anyways, asked “how much is there left Lily?”
She checked and told him, making them all feel a bit relieved, more than ready to take a break after this monster of emotional baggage had been dumped on them.
Harry was lead to his room, to find Hedwig inside.
“How did she know to go there?” Lily asked in surprise. “I thought she went to Ron in Egypt?”
“I’ve no idea” Harry beamed, more than pleased anyways.
Harry was as surprised as anyone while Tom explained that she’d just arrived a few moments after Harry, then he left. Harry sank onto his bed, staring around this room and the perspective freedom, without any Dursleys, for the next two weeks.
“No,” Remus corrected himself from earlier “that’s the best sentence I’ve heard yet.”
They all nodded in agreement with that.
He was tired though, so he slumped down onto the bed and fell asleep without even taking his glasses off.
“That’s the end of the chapter” Lily declared, closing the book with a sharp snap of disgust.
Harry, who had noticed Sirius acting odd just as much as his Dad, decided he’d like to try and get a happier subject going.
“Err, so, about that police thing?” Harry asked hesitantly, since Sirius still looked a little vacant and Remus looked like he might not speak again for some time. James was shifting his weight around in so much unease he was practically bouncing in place, but decided to answer anyway. Yes Lily might get mad, but it was better than sitting around thinking about...
“Sirius and I were out doing some business for the Order when we realized we were being followed. We were on his bike, and so we hit the concrete since we were a lot bulkier in the air on it, and not ten seconds later we got the Muggles chasing after us, lights flashing. Still we gave them a chase around, hoping to lose both pursuers, when Sirius shouted back that he was going to pull over and for me to get ready. Of course I had no idea what that meant, but since he was steering I couldn’t argue when he lead us into a dead end.”
He glanced back over at his best friend, and while it was clear Sirius was listening, he still didn’t look up to interrupting and stating his side of the story. More than concern was beginning to tighten up in James, that expression was really starting to scare him, but he finished off the story anyways. “So we were kind of cornered and being chased by two parties. The three Death Eaters who were chasing us above kept circling lower and lower, so we chatted up the cops until the Death Eaters finally lined themselves up and tried charging at us. We used the cop’s cruiser as a wall, they crashed into it, and we bolted out of there before anyone recovered. Got the Ministry out there later to deal with the Memory charms and such. We didn’t even get in trouble for the whole thing.” He ended, sounding quite pleased with himself.
He then turned to Lily, expecting a barrage of questions. It was clear from her expression she was annoyed she’d never heard of that before, and was going to demand to know exactly how old they had been, what they had been doing for the Order, etc. but she didn’t. She remained just as quiet as everyone else. The silence dragged on into near uncomfortable levels until James finally took the book from Lily, checked his chapter, and then closed it and put it down, wondering what he could say.
Finally! The Big Reveal! Hope I did it justice guys.
*I recognize in reading that fun little thing you can find at( headsup. freeshell drumsticks/) that it states the boys are in their late teens, maybe just seventeen but that means Sirius got his bike well before I said, so I went back and changed that. Hope you enjoyed the short, and started crying when you realized there’s really not going to be a prequel.
More A/N I know you guys are all sick of my words by now, but this is also something I need to address, a few people have pointed out that Snape heard the Prophecy and started this whole mess and Dumbledore immediately went to the Potter’s and put them into hiding, but to that I say you really think his first thought was the Potter’s? Dumbledore was running a war, and when this came to him, I like to think he had to actually look around even outside the Order to establish that only two current families fell under this threat, the Potters and the Longbottom’s. Even after this, no due date is literally exact so he probably still would have waited until he was sure these two families were the ones. Even then, I still insist they wouldn’t have immediately gone into hiding. If the Potter’s had gone into hiding while they were still pregnant, then how on Earth did the rest of the world know Harry (and Neville) even existed if they were in hiding literally so much of the first year of their life. I don’t think I’m making any sense...and I hope you all enjoyed the chapter you’ve been dying for so I’ll stop talking/typing now.