A Different Kind of Magic
A/N: Most of this should have probably been put into the beginning of last chapter or the end of Chapter 1, but I just couldn't get it to flow. What you need to realize is that this chapter begins on October 31 and November 1, and most of it takes place prior to last chapter. I will show this by noting it with the dates.
A Different Kind of Magic
Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry
Office of the Headmaster
Oct 31-Nov 1
Albus Dumbledore was in a foul mood. Unknown to the rest of the wizarding world, Albus and Bellatrix Lestrange had something very important in common. Neither believed that the Dark Lord was dead, and for much the same reason. When the instruments on his desk monitoring the life force of James, Lily, and Harry Potter had gone off the charts, he quickly moved to implement what he had begun to call "Plan B". The instruments tuned to James and Lily's lives had gone hypersonic, then went permanently still, Harry's spiked, stilled, then immediately started back up. Dumbledore summoned Severus Snape.
When the unpleasant Potions Master entered the Headmaster's office, Albus decided to forgo any pleasantries and told Severus to raise his left sleeve. The Dark Mark was still there, a bit fainter, but there nonetheless. Dumbledore would have been amazed had it not been. In his research into the mark, he had discovered that it was tied to the life force of the caster. The mark was a willing bond of servitude, cast by and agreed to between consenting adults. Should the caster die, so would the recipient, and the mark, dependant on the magic of both parties would disappear. Voldemort was weak, but he was still alive, somewhere. This meant that Albus had to get little Harry into a safe, controlled (by him) situation. Knowing what was in the Potter's will, he decided that he would have to somehow circumvent that, therefore he had thus come up with the Dursley Solution.
Even though he knew that Vernon and Petunia Dursley hated magic and, for some reason, refused to have any contact with her sister, Lily, Albus could not bring himself to believe that Petunia would refuse to treat her dead sister's orphan child with anything less than the very love that she showed her own child. Therefore, against the advice of his old friend and colleague, Minerva McGonagall, he apparated to Privet Drive and cast the Old Magic blood wards. Now all he needed was a drop of Harry's blood to activate the wards. This little detail is where everything went straight to hell.
Dumbledore had sent his groundskeeper, Rubius Hagrid, to the Potter Home to retrieve little Harry, but the half giant had come back empty handed. Thinking that Sirius Black had betrayed the Potters and had kidnapped Harry for some demented reason, he called and emergency meeting of the Order of the Phoenix. He told the members of his suspicions, then dismissed them to put out the word about Black. Sooner or later some word would come back to him and he could put his last ditch plan into effect. This assurance lasted until the next morning when he opened his copy of The Daily Prophet. What he read made his jaw drop in shock.
Sirius Black was not the traitor, Peter Pettigrew was. Albus had to admit that the last minute change in the secret keeper was a plan worthy of himself, but that brought in even a larger danger. If Sirius Black were, as stated in the Potter's wills, to gain guardianship of Harry, the child would actually be in more danger than he would otherwise. Sirius Black, having never been formally disowned by his late father, was the Head of the Most Ancient and Noble House of Black. Never mind that Walburga Black, Sirius' mother, was still alive, she had no power since the lineage in that house was strictly patriarchal. She now had no authority to stop his ascension. This meant that should something happen to Sirius, custody of Harry could pass to Sirius' nearest relative, Narcissa Malfoy, nee Black. Although Lucius Malfoy was suspected of Death Eater activity, Dumbledore had no faith that justice would actually be served in his case. Lucius just had too much expendable money to spread around for that to happen. This meant that, at least theoretically, the Boy-Who-Lived could be raised by a Death Eater. Albus could not allow this, he had to somehow get Harry under his control so he could assure his safety. This meant calling a special session of the Wizengamot and convincing them that Harry should be with family. Since there were so many criminal trials scheduled, this might take as much as a month. During that time, he would appeal to Sirius, telling him his fears.
November 2, 1981
Sirius Black, Frank Longbottom, and Amelia Bones entered the office, having been given the password by Minerva McGonagall. When the three of them came in, they actually caught Dumbledore by surprise. He quickly composed himself, although he was seething inside at this unexpected turn of events. Putting on his best grandfatherly smile, he offered the three Aurors a lemon drop, which all declined.
"Mr. Longbottom, Madam Bones. I am surprised to see you here, I had only requested to see Mr. Black." Amelia smiled back.
"I thought it probably unnecessary also, but Mr. Black insisted. It seems that he is a bit intimidated by you even now. Something about the last time that he was in this office he thought the wrath of Merlin was about to smite him over some prank he pulled on Severus Snape. Which brings up the other reason we are here. We have a warrant for the arrest of Professor Snape for suspected Death Eater activity, and we will have to take him with us when we leave."
"Amelia, I implore you not to do this. Severus has done so much for our side while putting his life in daily peril. I would trust him with my life."
"That is high praise, but my hands are tied here. I will guarantee his safety though, and a fair trial where you can argue his case before the Wizengamot. He can also do what Mr. Black has done and subject himself to Veritaserum. If he is, as you say, innocent, it will all come out at the trial. Now, should we get to the reason that you requested Sirius' presence here?"
"Ah, yes. I would like to make a plea to you for Harry's safety." Albus then did something that he never would have imagined doing. He actually told the three the complete and unvarnished truth. Had Black come alone, he would not have told him as much, and if it came out to a worst case scenario, where Black told him to go pound sand, he would have put him under the Imperius Curse and made him sign over custody, then he would have obliviated him and made him believe that it was his idea. He would have felt guilty doing it, but there were just times where the ends justified the means. With three highly trained Aurors however, one of whom at least being immune to memory charms, he had to dispense with that option.
"Okay, let's see what we have," Sirius said. "One; I will accept what you say about the Dark Mark and Whats-his-name not being completely dead. It would explain a lot, especially the Death Eaters that we have captured who are surprised at being alive. So I'll give you that."
"Two; Lucius Malfoy as a Death Eater. You are probably right, but unless we catch him in the act of something, you are probably right that he will be untouchable, and maybe even if we did catch him. I also have to agree that it is a scary thought that he could get his hands on Harry, he might be trying to anyway. There are some things that I could do as head of the House of Black, but that means that I am going to actually have to make my claim to the House. I had been trying to avoid. If Regulus was still alive, I would have abdicated to him, he is, after all, much more in line with the beliefs of the House, especially that insane old bat that birthed me. I will look into that."
"Three; Blood wards that would keep Harry safe at his aunt's home. I want to know more about the wards and about Petunia and her family. The only recollection that I have of her was when Lily brought James, Remus, and myself to meet the family. Her folks were great people, but Petunia had her future husband there that day, and they were the coldest people that I have ever met. That husband of hers looked like he would be a bad one to cross, and when Lily said something about some of the magic she was doing at school, I thought that he was going to go spare. It seems that Petunia had not told him about Lily being a witch. It didn't help that he tried to grope Lily at one point and got hexed by all four of us. He went off about 'unnatural freaks' and only shut up when Remus told him that he was a werewolf and could make sure that Dursley could also become a 'freak' at the next full moon if he continued. It is the only time that I ever heard Remus threaten anyone. Even if Petunia would accept him, would those blood wards protect him against her husband?"
Dumbledore broke in. "Surely you don't believe that an adult would attack a helpless child in his care?"
"Tell me again why you wouldn't want Malfoy as Harry's guardian?"
Sirius continued. "The best argument though is James and Lily's wills. They were very succinct about that fact that they, under no circumstances wanted Harry to go to her sister's home. So, in that case, I will have to decline. Now one other thing, I found out that Hagrid was the one that you sent to retrieve Harry from Godric's Hollow. When We searched the place the next day, there were a few items missing. I would like James and Lily's wands and James' invisibility cloak."
"What are you planning to do with them?" Albus felt a bit uncomfortable about giving up these items for some reason.
"I plan to take them to Gringotts and have them placed in Harry's family vault. When he is old enough, they will be his. Although the wands at least are evidence in a criminal investigation, but Amelia assures me that they will be returned, they just have to be tested first."
This backed Albus into a corner. Since he had not denied that he had them, it could be assumed that he did have them. He thought a moment, then decided that if he looked like he was cooperating, he could blindside them at a later date on the more important issue, that of Harry's guardianship. He had an enormous amount of political capital, it would be a good idea to spend some of it.
"Very well, I will retrieve them." He got up from his desk, placed his hand on a plate attached to his bookcase. The bookcase slid aside, opening up Albus' personal quarters. He went in and came out a minute later with the items requested. He was just glad that they had not asked for Voldemort's wand. He had placed it in Hogwarts high security Gringotts vault. That way he could truthfully say that it was not at the school or in his possession. He was sure that it would be coming in handy someday.
"Very good," said Frank. "Now, if you could please summon Mr. Snape, then we will be going."
Albus looked over to Fawkes. "Fawkes, please go to Severus and bring him here." The phoenix flamed out, then returned a moment later with the snarky Potions professor.
Snape took in the scene of the three Aurors and nodded. "I have been expecting you." Putting his hands straight out in front of him, he continued. "My wand is in my right pocket. I will give you no reason to hex me, I would just ask that someone besides Black take me into custody."
Sirius gave a feral grin. "Okay, Snivilus, Frank can get his hands greasy."
Frank Longbottom stepped forward and snapped on the magic suppressing cuffs, then took Snape's wand. Leaning in, Frank leaned in and murmured, "Thank you, Severus for going quietly. I'll make sure that Black doesn't abuse his authority. Headmaster, good day." Since Frank had snapped the cuffs in front of Snape rather than behind him, he had Snape touch the Portkey with the rest of them, and the group disappeared.
Arriving back at Headquarters, they turned their prisoner over to a corrections officer, then headed back toward their office in silence, all three in thought. When they had gone in and closed the door, Amelia turned to face the other two.
"You know that Dumbledore is not going to take this lying down, don't you?"
Sirius nodded. "Yeah, he took that entirely too well. I expected him to try something."
Frank said, "He probably would have, had you gone alone. It was just a good thing that we had the warrant for Snape, gave us a good reason for all of us to be there."
Okay, you two," said Amelia. "Better make plans in the event that he attacks your fitness as a guardian, "she pointed at Sirius. "And I think that I am going to have a talk with the Dursleys."
November 5, 1981
Soho Veterinary Clinic
The large black dog shook its head as it came out of the anesthetic stupor. 'Ye gads, did anyone get the license number of that hippogriff…' He then took in his surroundings and his condition. 'Ok, leg is in a cast, I am in a cage, I have been shaved in places… uh, oh..whew!' he thought as he quickly stuck his nose between his legs. 'Good thing that they didn't decide to do any… alterations while they had me under, they would have broken the heart of every available and some not-so-available witch in Britain. Now the things I have to figure out are… How did I get here, where is here, and how do I get out?'
At this thought, his attention was drawn to a stately red headed woman in a white lab coat. A patch on her breast read "Soho Veterinary Clinic" and another that said "Dr. Sarah Nalett, DVM." Had Padfoot been able to whistle in this form, he would have. 'All right, that answers question number 2'. She chose that moment to look his way. He gave his best 'friendly doggie' look at her, then gave a short bark, something that hurt his throat.
"Hello, big boy, nice to see that you finally woke up. Did the big pupper get in the way of a nasty old car?" She had reverted to her 'talking to baby' voice. Sirius shivered. "Well, let's get you out of there and check over our work." Sirius gave a happy bark and rose expectantly as the vet and one of her assistants came over to the cage. The assistant, Hailey, unlocked the cage and the two women picked him up bodily and carried him over to an examining table. As the red haired lady petted him, checked his eyes, opened his mouth to take a look down his throat, Padfoot was in heaven. Somehow the assistant had found just the right spot to scratch him, one that made him go wobbly kneed.
"Hailey, go ahead and check his temperature while I get something for his throat. It seems the anesthetic has made it a bit raw." Padfoot was in complete agreement with that. He looked at Hailey, who had gotten down a glass thermometer and was shaking it down. He opened his mouth so she could put it in, then realized that he was a dog, and you don't check a dog's temperature orally. As Hailey started to grip him around the waist, Padfoot abruptly sat down. Hailey was unable to lift his hind end. It seemed to be a stalemate until the doctor came back in, saw the problem, and joined her assistant in lifting Padfoot's hind legs off the table, keeping it up in the air while the assistant carried out her orders. All he was able to manage was to give a baleful look at Dr. Nalett. When Hailey had finished and proclaimed his temperature normal, Sarah tipped back his head, opened his jaws, and poured a foul tasting mixture down his throat. It did, however make his throat feel better.
"So, boss, any luck in finding his owner?" Hailey asked.
"Not yet, I have a call in to the Royal Association for the Blind, but so far they have not gotten back to me. I have also put an ad in the paper and notified the bobbies at the station closest to where he was picked up. Unfortunately, no one has contacted me back."
"You know, for some reason, I don't believe that he is a R.A.B. dog, I think he might have been privately trained."
"Why is that?"
"I was doing some reading, and the R.A.B. tends toward Labradors and Golden Retrievers. They also have their dogs snipped to lower aggressive tendencies."
"Really, that would explain a lot then. I was surprised about that when he was brought in, but I didn't realize that it was policy."
"Oh, yes. Should we put him back in the recovery cage or a larger pen?"
"For now, let's put him back in the smaller cage so his leg can set better before we transfer him." With that, the two picked Padfoot up and returned him to the small cage. At first, Padfoot was upset about that, then realized that he wouldn't be able to transform back even if he was in a larger cage with the cast on his leg. His leg would change shape and grow, but the cast wouldn't. He would just have to bide his time and hope that someone came for him.
As the door closed him back in, Hailey turned toward her boss. "What are you going to do with him if he isn't claimed?"
"He is such a pretty thing…" Padfoot preened. "I believe that I will go ahead and neuter him and take him home."
It was official, Padfoot had to get out of there somehow!