The fallout that the article posted in the Daily Prophet had amongst the students and staff of Hogwarts was astronomical. If Harry had thought that the awe-filled stares directed his way from the other students was bad in the past, now that it was well known that he'd come into contact with Sirius Black and had managed to not only clear the man of all charges but help capture the real murderer and Death Eater… Well, needless to say Harry was back in the spotlight of the school and this time Ron and Hermione were there with him.
At first, his two friends seemed to be rather flattered by the attention. However as the staring and whispering of the students continued, Harry was rather amused to watch both of them start to get uncomfortable with the always present gazes and the whispering going on no stop. Ron was beginning to develop a tick in his right eye and Hermione was opening glaring at the gossiping students. Harry knew that he shouldn't really be amused by this and he knew that his friends were finding out in the worst way possible how much fame really sucked but Harry couldn't help it.
During his first year, before he had discovered the Tree or even began interacting with Gabriel, neither of his friends had really understood why he was so uncomfortable with fame. Last year hadn't really given them any opportunities to learn exactly where Harry was coming from either. So to finally have them understand why he hated being famous so much was liberating. And Harry felt terrible for feeling that way.
'At least if they find out now they're less likely to find out in a worse situation than this. Better to find out when the attention is positive instead of negative.' Gabriel pointed out. Harry grimaced, there was real merit to Gabriel's words yet Harry couldn't help but feel horrible for feeling as he did anyways. For all that he had the memories of countless lives and for all that he had the mental maturity of at least a young adult, Harry was still thirteen and so were Ron and Hermione. And unlike Harry, his friends had never really been on the receiving end of so much attention. Even when they had lost all those points in first year, Harry was the one that dealt with the worst of the attention. Hermione was barely ridiculed at all and Neville only received a little ribbing here and there. As they had basically isolated themselves, Harry had been forced to face the anger of the entire school by himself. Even before that, Ron and Hermione had only ever seen Harry dealing with the schools attention from the sidelines. Now they were right in the center of it and Harry could see them slowly cracking under the pressure.
Hermione and Ron weren't the only ones on the receiving end of school's attention. Percy and the Twins were also the focus of the gossip as Percy had been the one to originally find and nurse the injured Pettigrew in the first place. The redheaded Prefect was walking around in a permanent state of horror and disgust while the Twins were gleefully sharing tales of the pranks that they'd used Pettigrew in when they were younger that had no doubt traumatized the little bastard. Harry wasn't the only one who noticed how much vindictive pleasure that Percy seemed to take out of those memories, it seemed as the Twins made sure to recount them whenever they noticed their older brother was near.
In the weeks following the article, Sirius presented himself to St. Mungos for treatment and had been rewarded 13,000 galleons in reimbursement for his wrongful imprisonment. The Ministry had even declared that no penalty for being an unregistered animagus would be enforced as it was a war and Sirius had been immediately imprisoned before the war was officially over. Sirius had even gotten away with claiming that he had been planning to register as soon as it was safe to, although Harry doubted that was really the case. Everyone knew that only idiots willingly registered their forms with the Ministry. No offense to his Transfiguration professor, Harry thought with a grimace as he remembered that the woman was a registered animagus.
Everything seemed to be coming together perfectly however something was nagging at the back of his head and Harry couldn't help but wonder what was bothering him. Logically, everything should be fine. Ron's leg was healed, Hermione was unscathed, and Harry had managed to have nearly a full year where he hadn't ended it battling Voldemort. He had discovered a new friendship in Luna Lovegood and he could even hover about five feet off the ground with his wings now!
So what was it that was causing Harry to feel like something foreboding was about to happen?
He received his answer two weeks before the school year ended in the form of the Daily Prophet's front page.
PETER PETTIGREW ESCAPES FROM AUROR CUSTODY
ON THE WAY TO AZKABAN!
By Rita Skeeter
As Auror teams escorted Peter Pettigrew back to Azkaban after being removed for further questioning on the years that Pettigrew spent free, Pettigrew was able to escape his bonds and flee from aurors. Auror Kingsley Shaklebolt, the leader of the task force created to track Pettigrew down, had this to say:
"Peter Pettigrew is a fugitive of the law. We do not currently know how Pettigrew managed to break his bonds without a wand, however a full investigation into the aurors escorting him to Azkaban is underway and they have suspended from duty during the investigation.
The Department of Magical Law Enforcement would like to ask the public to remain calm. A Floo tip line has been established and we urge you to contact us with any information on Pettigrew that may help lead to his re-capture. Pettigrew is a dangerous killer and we urge you not to approach him in anyway."
How was it that Pettigrew managed to escape from his four auror escort is unknown. This-
Harry stopped reading, closing his eyes in as a headache threatened to become a migraine. 'Just great,' he groaned silently.
'How do you lose a known mass murdering Death Eater, especially when everyone and their cat knows he's an animagus?!' Gabriel practically shouted in their mind. 'Not only that but how do you get outsmarted by a man who's spent twelve years as a rat?!'
'I don't even know,' Harry groaned as his head gave a particularly pain throb.
"Hey, isn't that Hedwig?" Ron asked, deliberately distracting Harry from the Daily Prophet and redirecting his attention elsewhere. It was rather obvious what the redhead was doing but Harry appreciated the effort all the same. He knew that Pettigrew's escape was likely affecting the Weasley's even worse than it was affecting Harry. Even Hermione looked a little upset at the article.
Turning his attention to Hedwig, who was indeed heading his way, Harry frowned when he noticed a letter attached to her leg. He couldn't recall sending anyone any mail recently and couldn't figure out where Hedwig would have gotten that letter from. Gabriel radiated the same confusion as him.
"Where did you get that, girl?" He asked the snowy owl as she landed. Hedwig gave a rather smug bark in response, helping herself to some of Harry's bacon from his plate. Shaking his head in fondness, Harry untied the letter and opened it.
I don't really know how to start this letter off. Remus says that I should introduce myself first, so here it is: My name is Sirius Black and I'm your godfather.
I don't know if you knew that or not. The last time we met, you didn't give any inclination as to whether or not you did. Actually, the last time we met, I was having too much trouble trying to figure out what was happening to really pay attention to what you may or may not have known. You and your friends are amazing, did you know that? I don't think most third years would have reacted in any way similar to how you and your friends did, truthfully. Speaking of your friends, how's the redhead, Ron was his name? I really didn't mean to grab his leg like that but twelve years around Dementors really shot my motor skills and aiming more than I thought.
I'm currently at St. Mungos receiving treatment, as the Daily Prophet has no doubt let the entire country know by now. Nosy reporters. I have to say, I was rather surprised when the Ministry let me off on the unregistered animagus charge, not to mention receiving 13,000 galleons from them. 1000 galleons for every year of wrongful imprisonment and an extra 1000 galleons for the lack of trial, the whole stomping on my rights, and a few other reasons that I can't be bothered to remember. I was sure that they were going to push the matter and fine me the 2,000 galleons for not registering. I guess they didn't want the public backlash that might happen if they did, not with the public already foaming at the mouth now that it's widely known they sent an innocent man to Azkaban without a trial. Blooming Wankers. Truthfully, I can't say that I'm all that impressed with the Ministry at the moment.
Enough of my babbling, as I doubt you really care what my views of the Ministry currently are.
Harry snorted, amused. 'I don't know, listening to him rant about the Ministry might be fun,' Gabriel mused.
So I'll get to the point of this letter: As your godfather, your parents' will states that I'm am to receive full custody of you should anything happen to you. Now, I wasn't originally going to fight for custody as I was sure that you were happy where you were until I got a rather disturbing letter from Headmaster Dumbledore a few days ago, asking that I take full custody of you when I'm able.
Harry started, surprised. 'What?'
He could practically feel Gabriel thinking (which was still weird despite the fact that he was rather used to it). 'If I'm remembering the Hogwarts charter correctly from when we were Ian,' Gabriel began. 'If a student is severely injured and remains unconscious for more than two days, the family of that student receives a formal visit to be informed of their students health.'
Harry couldn't help it. He snorted. The very idea of the Dursley's receiving a home visit by one of his teachers (likely the Headmaster if Harry was right) was hilarious. He could just imagine the looks on their faces when they realized there was a 'freak' on their doorstep. However, it would also be rather revealing to whoever visited them that they were not proper guardians. Harry couldn't help but wonder why the Headmaster hadn't spoken to him about it already.
I have to say, when he told me that you had been living with Petunia, I had a fit. The Healers had to force a calming potion down my throat. I've met your aunt and her horrid husband at your parent's wedding and the filth about magic and Lily that came from their mouths…Well, I honestly considered cursing the Headmaster for even considering placing you with them, let alone leaving you there! I don't know what he was thinking but their treatment of you that he alluded to in his letter didn't really surprise me.
He told me that he originally had planned to give custody of you to the Weasley's, however since it's now public knowledge that Pettigrew was hiding out in their home, he thinks that any attempt to assign custody of you to them would be contested and you may end up in an even worse situation that you currently have been. Not to mention your grandmother, Dorea Potter, was born Dorea Black and therefore give the Malfoy's a blood relation to you through Narcissa Malfoy nee Black, you second cousin. As I have seen how intelligent you are, I have no doubt that you know what would happen if they contested the Weasley's custody of you with blood relation on their side.
'Yeah, not happening.' Harry thought with a shudder. He so did not want to end up living with Draco Malfoy of all people. The fact that he actually had a blood relation to that little git… 'Ewww,' Gabriel interrupted. Harry had to agree with him. Eww, indeed.
However I'm equally as related to you as Narcissa, not to mention that I was your father's best friend and named your godfather. I filled out the paperwork that the Headmaster sent with his letter and I was granted custody of you two days ago.
I was originally going to send a letter to you after the paperwork was filed, however as you are the Boy-Who-Lived, the Ministry decided that a full investigation into me was needed. No doubt some unsavory officials were trying to deny me custody of you. During this investigation I was legally not allowed to contact you in any shape or form. So sorry about the late notice of all this as I doubt that the Headmaster informed you of any of this. No doubt he thinks that you're too 'young' to be burdened with such knowledge.
'For someone who fought on the same side as the Headmaster in the last war, he doesn't seem to think all that highly of him,' Harry commented absently.
'You know, you're right.' Gabriel responded after a moment. 'That is weird. Something obviously happened between the two of them to cause that amount of scorn, especially since he seems to be trying to hide it from us.'
Harry studied the last few lines of that paragraph again, frowning. Gabriel was right, Sirius tone was one that could be taken as fond exasperation instead of scorn. If it wasn't for the slight difference in handwriting, more rushed and indenting the parchment deeper than the sentences before it, Harry wouldn't have even caught the underlining scorn in the words.
The Ministry seems to have finally decided that I'm healthy enough and sane enough to have full custody of you. No doubt they'll be mourning their defeat for weeks to come, assholes that they are.
Harry couldn't help laugh at that, bringing Hermione and Ron's attention to him immediately. He just shook his head at their questioning gazes, motioning with his hands that he'd tell them later.
I'm currently staying at my old childhood home as I look for a house. As you're going to be living there with me as well, I thought that I would hold off on making any final decisions until you can have a look at them as well. You'll be pleased to hear that until we buy a house, I've asked Molly Weasley if it would be alright if you stayed at the Burrow, so you'll be leaving the Platform with them when school gets out. I figure that would give some time to get to really know each other in there. No doubt you've changed a lot since you were a baby.
P.S.- This snowy white owl showed up and started demanding that I give her the letter. Started pecking me when I tried to refuse. You wouldn't happen to know anything about that, would you?
Harry looked up from the letter and raised an eyebrow at Hedwig. The still smug owl just barked at him before finishing off his bacon and taking flight. Shaking his head, he turned his attention onto his curious friends and began filling them in on what he had learned.
Exams passed quietly, something that Harry couldn't help but be thankful for. He wasn't sure if he could handle any more drama this year. Havoc and Tinker returned to spending most of their time in his pockets and Ruth began to nest in Harry's trunk, the three of them seemingly realizing that they would be leaving the castle soon.
Harry began sending letters back and forth with Sirius every few days, getting to know the man that he would be living with from now on. He couldn't say that he was all that sad to know that he would never be seeing the Dursley's ever again and he was rather pleased that he would be spending the beginning of the summer with the Weasley's. Percy, the Twins, and Ron seemed just as pleased as he was, though Hermione seemed a little disappointed that she wouldn't be able to visit with them. Her parents had written and told her that they would be spending the beginning of the summer in Greece and that they wouldn't be back until early August.
For once, Harry wasn't dreading the end of the school year and he couldn't help but marvel at the feeling.
Gabriel was more apprehensive, however. They had never had to worry about an adult during their summers before and it would harder and harder to practice their swordsmanship or flying if they ended up living in the middle of London. Harry didn't let this get to him, as Sirius had been adamant during their letters that he wanted Harry's opinion before he settled on a place. In his more recent letters, he had been alluding to having found a house he thought Harry would love. Harry was honestly curious to see this house and even Gabriel found himself intrigued.
The weeks since he had begun exchanging letters with Sirius had been rather eye opening for Harry. For the first time since he had started regaining his memories in second year, Harry actually felt like he was thirteen. He would never have to see his childhood tormentors again, he was getting a new home and he was regaining the family he had lost when he was only a year old. Professor Lupin, who now insisted that Harry call him Remus, had easily worked his way back into Harry's life long before Sirius was proven innocent. The man had been taking time out of his own schedule to help Harry and his friends master the Patronus Charm and though they had yet to fully master the charm, Remus had been patient with them.
Harry was actually rather frustrated with his lack of progress on the charm. No matter how hard he tried, Harry couldn't seem to get the charm past a strong mist of light. It was frustrating and Remus kept frowning at the mist. According to the professor, Harry should have at least gotten an incorporeal animal by now, as the mist he was getting seemed to be getting more and more solid every time he preformed the spell. The only upside was that he was able to keep his Grace from affecting the spell again.
Hermione and Ron hadn't managed to get anything beyond the mist they'd been producing in the beginning and Harry could practically see the frustration in their eyes as well. Remus seemed impressed with their progress, however, so none of the three mentioned their frustration to the man.
Harry was also rather disappointed to learn that Remus wouldn't be returning for the next year. According to the man, he didn't want to push his luck with the curse and Harry honestly couldn't blame him. Quirrell had come to a horrible end and Lockhart's reputation was completely ruined after he had fled from the post the year before. Harry had no doubt that if Remus tried to return the next year, an unfortunate fate would find him and he rather suspected that it would involved his status as a werewolf.
So Harry resigned himself to dealing with yet another new professor the next year. The whole school had been sad to see the man go (sans Snape, but the Potion's Professor didn't count).
"Come on Harry, the train's about to leave!" Hermione scolded him as she dragged him by the arm to the train entrance. Harry shook himself from his thoughts, grinning as he boarded the Hogwarts Express. He didn't look back.
"Well, well," a gaunt man said, watching the students hurry to board a large steam train. His eyes were focused on two full grown wings attacked to the back of a black haired boy. "This gets more interesting as time goes on. I wonder if this is what You had planned?"
He had been keeping a close eye on the progress of events ever since he had first discovered the humanized archangel. He had found himself impressed and intrigued by events ever since then. When he had first set eyes of the boy that the Archangel Gabriel had become, he had not known what to expect. Ever since then, he had found himself enraptured by what was unfolding before him.
It was unlike anything he had ever seen before or anything he expected to ever see again. Soul and Grace had never merged in such a way before. He could see them slowly becoming one inside the fragile human body and the wings that were folded gracefully behind the archangel's back were a testament to how far along that the merging was. Everything about the situation screamed that the Archangel should have found himself back within a tree, yet somehow that wasn't the case. Death couldn't help but marvel at His latest scheme and the ingenuity of the youngest Archangel.
Gabriel had always been a crafty one and his stint as Loki had proved amusing for the Horseman to watch. His Reapers had even begun telling tales of Gabriel's exploits and the strange deaths that he caused. When the youngest Archangel had been felled by Lucifer, Death had thought the story would end there only to find himself gazing at the Archangel once again when a shock wave had rocked the universes.
Those in Heaven seemed unaware of Gabriel's resurrection and that was what had originally intrigued him enough to seek out the Archangel. And he found that he was increasingly glad that he did. While the Winchester's had been a temporary amusement with their antics, Gabriel's situation was far more entertaining than those humans would ever be.
The adventures that Gabriel had been on since he had begun pulling himself together, while amusing and entertaining, baffled the Horseman. The Archangel had nearly found himself dead once more many times during the last two years and Death had yet to see the purpose behind them or what He intended by putting His archangel through this. And Death knew that He had to have a plan for what other reason would Gabriel have been reborn as Harry Potter? The boy that was prophesized to defeat the current human called Tom Riddle?
Even now he was unsure as to what was going on so Death resigned himself to watching and waiting.
At least he wouldn't be bored.