A/N: Sirius Black is always portrayed as a hotheaded idiot. I mean, really; he always does the same thing, gets framed by Peter and either sent to Azkaban or has to hide out for years. What if he had done the right thing?
October 31, 1981
The large man, some would have said giant, stepped past the rubble in the entryway, past the body of James Potter, and made his way gingerly up the ruined stairs to the nursery. He took in the ruined, spell blasted room and the body of Lily Potter and the empty robes of the evil wizard who called himself Lord Voldemort. Something caught his attention, and he bent down and picked up Voldemort's wand.
"Dumbledore will be wantin' this." Picking up Lily's wand, he added, "An someday little Harry will be wantin' his ma's wand. I'll get James' on the way out." The reference to Harry made him turn and look around the room. "Harry… where's Harry?"
Visibly upset, Hagrid searched every room of the house, picking up huge pieces of lumber and tossing them aside in an attempt to find the tot. Failing that, he picked his way out of the ruined house and down the walk. He walked to a nearby tree and retrieved the oversized broomstick that he had left there when he had arrived. "This'll throw a wrench into Dumbledore's plans," he thought as he kicked off the ground and headed for Surrey where the headmaster was waiting.
Ministry of Magic
Department of Magical Law Enforcement
The dark haired man, his face tear streaked and stained with ashes and dirt, stepped into the door and up to the desk. On his back he had a papoose carrier containing a sleeping child, a bloody cut on the child's forehead. He cleared his throat, getting the desk auror's attention.
"Auror Black, what the hell happened to you? Is that Potter's kid?"
"Yeah Frank, I need to report a murder. Actually two murders and a self defense killing."
The auror grabbed a quill and parchment. "Okay, Black. Better start at the beginning." The tale that the auror heard next would haunt him for the rest of his life.
"You know that James and Lily Potter are my best friends, right?" At the auror's nod, he continued. "James, Lily, and Harry had to go into hiding because You-Know-Who has been hunting them. James was talked into putting their house under the Fidelus Charm to keep them safe. We made everyone believe that I was the secret keeper, even Dumbledore. Then at the last minute, we switched secret keepers and made Peter Pettigrew their secret keeper. We figured that it was the perfect plan, I mean, really; who would suspect that little, meek Peter was the secret keeper? That way, even if I was captured and tortured, the Death Eaters could not get the location. I was really the obvious choice as the secret keeper since I was closer to James than Peter was. We knew that there was a spy, but I thought it might be Remus Lupin. It turned out that he was loyal, no matter that he is a werewolf."
"I went to James' house tonight and found it destroyed, James and Lily dead and You-Know-Who completely destroyed, nothing left of him but his robes and wand. Little Harry was in his crib, screaming his head off and bleeding from this cut on his head. Look, the only way that they could have found James and Lily would be that Peter was the spy! He HAD to have sold them out to You-Know-Who! I picked up Harry and came straight here. You-Know-Who is dead, but James and Lily need justice! Pettigrew should have his thrice-damned soul sucked out!"
"Black, these are serious charges, I assume that you can prove them?"
"Damn right. Give me Veritaserum and take my pensieve memories. That will give you all of the proof that you need." Sirius shook his head. "I feel so damned guilty, it was my idea to switch secret keepers. I thought I was being clever. My cleverness got my best friends killed!"
"Okay, you know procedure, I need to call in a witness." Walking over to the fireplace, the auror tossed in a pinch of powder, got on his knees and called out, "Amelia Bones!"
A few seconds later a voice was heard, "What is it, Auror Longbottom?"
"Madam Bones, Sirius Black is in here with a story that is almost unbelievable. I need you to come through and witness his testimony under Veritaserum."
"Very well, stand back." Frank Longbottom stood back and the fireplace flared green again. A dignified 40-ish looking woman came through and stepped into the office. Taking in the scene, she spoke to Sirius.
"This better be good, Black. I just heard from Dumbledore and he is claiming that you had something to do with the deaths of the Potters and possibly even the kidnapping of their baby. The baby that I might add is currently strapped to your back." Leveling her wand at Sirius, she continued, "Now, very gently take the baby off of your back and pass him over here."
Frank Longbottom stepped up. "Amelia, Black came in of his own volition to lodge a complaint. He has volunteered to be placed under Veritaserum and to turn over his memories of the relevant events." Longbottom reached out and took the still sleeping Harry from Sirius. "We may as well get started."
Handing the sleeping child to Bones, Frank went to a wall safe, opened it and pulled out a sealed vial of clear liquid. He took it over to Bones to have her verify the seal number, then they both initialed the label. Frank broke the seal and administered three drops of the liquid into Sirius' open mouth. They watched Black's eyes and when they became unfocused, Longbottom started the questioning.
"What is your full name?"
"Sirius Orion Black."
"Were you the secret keeper for the Potter Family?"
"No, I was not."
"Who was the secret keeper?"
"Why was Pettigrew named secret keeper?"
Sirius recounted the details of why he had convinced James and Lily to change secret keepers. His logic was sound, and both aurors found themselves sympathizing with him. Longbottom then administered the antidote and they watched as his eyes slowly focused.
"Okay, now all we need is your memories to back up the Veritaserum." Longbottom retrieved a number of vials for the memories, opened them and looked expectantly at Sirius. One at a time, Sirius took all of the relevant memories out and placed them in the vials while giving descriptions of each memory. The two aurors watched each memory in a penseive, then placed the memories back in the appropriate vial, sealed them, and initialed the labels. Longbottom gathered them up, placed them into a box, sealed it and put them into the evidence safe. Madam Bones then got their attention.
"Black, Longbottom. I need to contact Dumbledore and have him stop spreading it around that Black is responsible for James and Lily's death. We will also do a press release so that people will be on the lookout for Pettigrew. Do you have any idea where he might be?"
"Probably some sewer," Sirius answered bitterly. At their questioning look, he continued. "James, Peter, and I are all animagi. James was a stag, I am a black dog, and Pettigrew is a rat. We became animagi in order to help Remus Lupin during his changes on the full moon. We never got around to registering."
"You know that we will have to charge you with that. Longbottom, write Black a summons and take down his registration information. Black, the fine on that is five thousand galleons and an additional five hundred galleons for the registration. Do you have the money now? If you don't, you will have to go to court and you could face six months in Azkaban."
"If you can do a key transfer with Gringotts, then yes, I have the money."
"We can do that." Taking a wax pad out from under the desk, Amelia heated up a stylus, wrote '5500g, and passed it over to Sirius. He pressed his key into the pad and passed it back. The pad glowed gold, then once again became blank. "All done, now if you will change into your animagus shape, Longbottom can get the particulars. I am going to do the press release and call Dumbledore. Have you figured out what you are going to do with little Harry?"
"I was actually going to ask Frank if he and Alice could watch Harry for a couple of days while I make my flat a bit more child friendly. I am Harry's godfather, so I will take the responsibility of raising him. Lily said that if I couldn't raise him that she wanted either you or the Longbottoms to raise him. She just wanted to make sure that her muggle sister never got hold of Harry. She figured that her sister's husband would just as soon kill Harry as raise him."
"I'll take him home with me." And then, silence fell for a moment, before Frank asked the question that had been on his mind ever since the story had come out. "Sirius...why didn't you go after Pettigrew yourself? I mean, no offense, but you do have a short temper.
And as close as you were to Lily and James...I'd think you would want to make them suffer."
"Don't think that I didn't consider it. I would love nothing better than to paste that traitor right into a wall. I just realized that it would be much better for Harry if I was around instead of in Azkaban for murder. Besides, if I killed Pettigrew, the truth would never come out. I figure that the Death Eaters will be looking for Pettigrew as hard as you will be. After all, if he hadn't led You-Know-Who to James and Lily's, he would be alive. I would almost wish them luck if I didn't wish them the same fate as Wormtail."
Bones went over to the fireplace, took a pinch of powder and called out, "The Daily Prophet!" She bent down and announced, "The DMLE will be giving a press conference in 30 minutes. We have very important information on the defeat of You-Know-Who and the betrayer of James and Lily Potter, as well as the condition of our littlest hero, Harry Potter." She then did the same thing for the Wizarding Wireless.
"Auror Black, would you care to join me for the press conference?"
"Absolutely, Madam Bones."
2 hours later
Lucius Malfoy and the Lestrange's were in shock from the report that they just heard on the Wizarding Wireless. Their master dead at the hands of a one year old and the betrayer on the run. Lucius sat down heavily.
"Merlin, we're screwed. With the master gone, they will just round us up and either throw us into Azkaban or give us the kiss. I knew that Pettigrew was a rat! I just didn't realize how much of a rat. Do you have any ideas?"
"I don't think he is dead," stated Bellatrix firmly. "They've done something with him. We need to hit them where it hurts to find out just what they did. That auror, Longbottom, he is a close friend of the Potters, right?" at Lucius' nod, she continued. "I would be willing to bet that he or his wife knows something. We, " she pointed at her husband and his brother, " will go after the Longbottoms in a couple of days. One way or another, they will talk. Meanwhile, you can track down Pettigrew. Take Barty Crouch with you. If the Longbottoms don't know where the Master is, I would bet that Pettigrew knows."
"I'll bet that Black could find him, he will probably be assigned to track him down since he knows him so well. If I shadow Black, I should be able to find Pettigrew. When he goes to arrest him, I will kill Black and snatch Pettigrew. He should be willing to go to 'safety' with an 'ally'." Lucius snickered. "We will only have one shot at this. If we mess this up, we might as well start to pick out our clothes for our trials."
A/N: I would like to thank SweetSouthernGal for the wonderful suggestion on a bit of dialog between Frank and Sirius. I have used her suggestion and reposted the item in italics. She was right, that particular line was very stilted and rushed.