Harry Potter: Neko's Mate @vancemcgill
A Sirius Conversation

Chapter 29
A Sirius Conversation

Author's Note: The very beginning of this chapter takes place at the same time as the meeting between Minerva, Albus and the Hogwarts Governors – seen in Chapter 28.

If you read my "Harry Potter and the Bonds Of Time" story, some of this chapter (such as the title) may seem familiar to you.

Saturday, January 2nd, 1993 – Mid-Afternoon

About an hour after the final trial of the morning, the trial of Severus Snape, concluded, Amelia Bones was back in her office in the Department of Magical Law Enforcement, finishing up the post-trial paperwork. She was also waiting for Sirius Black to visit.

She smiled lightly to herself at the thought of Sirius Black. Good and bad things had happened that morning, but at least one of the good things was that Sirius Black was now a free man, cleared of all charges, as he should have been over eleven years ago. He would have to spend some time at St. Mungo's in order for him to recuperate so he could be healthy. Amelia doubted that Sirius would be back to one-hundred percent health ever again. There would likely be some lasting effects from the eleven years he had spent in Azkaban in close proximity to the demons known as Dementors.

Amelia shivered lightly at the thought of Dementors. She hardly ever visited Azkaban solely because she hated being anywhere near Dementors. Over the last decade or so, she had been part of a group of Wizengamot members, who had tried to expel the Dementors from Azkaban. But every time the topic was brought up, it was shot down by votes opposing the move.

The opposing arguments had stated that if the Dementors were expelled from Azkaban, it would be nearly impossible to keep track of them, and therefore they would be a threat to innocent people. Isolation in Azkaban was the reason they didn't breed. Also, it was argued that Dementors were the reason there had never been a breakout from Azkaban. The Dementors weakening the prisoners, plus the fact that the prison was on an island in the middle of the North Sea, made it nigh-on impossible for anyone to escape, even if they could get out of their cells.

Amelia had to admit that the opposition had made some excellent points. And there definitely was some prisoners in Azkaban who deserved to be in close proximity to the demons. Newly imprisoned Severus Snape was one of them, at least in Amelia's opinion. Another person that probably deserved it was Albus Dumbledore.

Amelia growled under her breath at the thought of Dumbledore. She could not believe that there had been enough votes to clear Dumbledore of all charges. Not just some of the charges, but all of them! She had presented clear, incontrovertible evidence that Dumbledore was clearly guilty of some of those charges! Kidnapping Harry Potter from his godfather on the night of his parents' deaths, that was incontrovertible. As for the other charges – well – Amelia had to hand it to Dumbledore. Explaining Harry Potter and Hermione Granger's experiences actually being hallucinations instead of Flushing Draughts curing their lost memories – that was ingenious defense on Dumbledore's part. It had thrown plenty of doubt amongst the Wizengamot.

Amelia sighed. She wondered if it was inevitable from the moment of Dumbledore's arrest that he would be cleared of all charges in the end. He was simply too popular, too famous, and had too much support, and too many allies amongst the Wizengamot. There was no way he wouldn't get a majority to clear him of all charges. Hadn't Alastor "Mad-Eye" Moody alluded to that at the beginning of the investigation? He had basically predicted the outcome.

Still... Dumbledore may have been cleared of all charges by the Wizengamot, at least the majority of them, but she knew in her heart that he was guilty of at least some of his crimes. She would keep a close eye on him. Just as she had been warned that Molly Weasley – and probably her son, Ron – would likely slip up and do something that would cause them to be arrested, Amelia was sure that Dumbledore would do the same.

"Note to self," Amelia muttered under her breath, as she wrote in her personal datebook, "Speak to Harry Potter, and Hermione Granger, soon. Convince them to place an restraining order against Albus Dumbledore. And maybe Molly Weasley and her son too. Though a restraining order against Ron would be problematic, and Minerva McGonagall has already basically done that on her own."

Suddenly, there was a knock on her office door.

"Come in," Amelia said.

The door opened and Amelia's secretary, Samantha, poked her head in.

"Sirius Black is here to meet with you," Samantha said.

"Allow him in," Amelia said, "Thank you, Samantha."

Samantha backed away, and Sirius Black stepped into the room.

"Thank you, beautiful," Sirius said, with a wink toward Samantha, before closing the door behind him.

Amelia rolled her eyes. She motioned to the chair in front of her desk. "Sit down, Sirius."

Sirius grinned, crossed the room, then sat down.

"Sirius Black, will you ever change?" Amelia asked.

"What is that supposed to mean?" Sirius replied.

"You were flirting with my secretary," Amelia said. "She's your cousin's daughter's age. May even have been dorm-mates in Hogwarts, those two. Oh, and did I mention she's related to Cornelius Fudge? Like his second cousin through marriage or something. She's only at my desk because her parents wanted her to get a Ministry job."

"Hmm, you seem jealous," Sirius said, grinning, "Are you jealous? I mean… I notice the only family I see in your photos are relatives. Nobody waiting for you when you go home?"

"I'm married to my job," Amelia said, "The only one waiting for me at home – when she isn't at Hogwarts - is my niece and ward, Susan."

"Edgar's daughter?" Sirius asked, "I seem to remember you adopting her, after your brother – well, yeah. How is she? Teaching her to break hearts yet?"

Amelia chose to ignore that last. "She's a wonderful young lady. Her parents would be very proud of her. She's the same age as your godson – they're fellow students at Hogwarts, though she's a Hufflepuff, and he's a Gryffindor. According to Susan, they haven't actually really talked much."

"Really?" Sirius asked, frowning, "I thought they'd be close. I mean they're both Children of the Great Alliance."

Amelia sighed. "I'm afraid Harry didn't know very much about Charlus' legacy until very recently. He didn't know about the Great Alliance. Didn't know he was an Heir Apparent or future Lord, or part of an Ancient and Most Noble House, until last week. Then as soon as he learned about it, he immediately became Lord Potter. Susan, on the other hand, has grown up with most of the Children of the Great Alliance. Most of them, aside from Harry, hung out together at social parties. Myself and the other Alliance members did that on purpose to make them closer."

"'Aside from Harry'," Sirius echoed, with a frown. "That is a tragedy, Amy. Growing up not knowing about his family's legacy. If I hadn't gone to Azkaban. If I had raised him -"

"I know, Sirius," Amelia said, "But you can't linger on the 'what ifs'. It will only make you depressed."

"Already going down that route," Sirius muttered.

Amelia sighed. "You'll get better, with some fresh air, support from friends, good treatment at St. Mungo's, and, above all, if not most importantly, time. Frankly, I'm shocked you're as healthy as you are. You've been in Azkaban for more than twelve years, Sirius. Most prisoners go mad long before they're in Azkaban for a decade."

"Most prisoners in Azkaban are guilty as sin and know it too," Sirius muttered. "The aura around Azkaban – the Dementors and the general gloominess there – feeds on that guilt. I, however, knew I was innocent. Plus, well, I'm an Animagus. More often than not I was in my Animagus form when the Dementors or human guards weren't around my cell."

"Animagi in their forms don't get affected by Dementors," Amelia said, nodding.

"Exactly," Sirius said.

"And because nobody in charge of the prisoners of Azkaban knew you were an Animagus," Amelia said, "They didn't place Anti-Animagus wards on your cell."

"Thank Merlin for that," Sirius muttered. "When Peter Pettigrew gets captured and sent to Azkaban, make sure they place those wards on his cell."

"I will, I promise," Amelia said, "By the way, Minister Fudge has given me his official permission to be in charge of the investigation against Peter Pettigrew."

"I wish you the best of luck," Sirius said. "I'd volunteer to assist you, but I'm afraid I'm not going to be much help. If his mother's dead, he's the last member of his family who is alive. He has no siblings, and no other family. Moony – Remus, I mean – I asked him if he knew anything about Pettigrew and his answer was -"

"He thought Pettigrew was dead," Amelia guessed.

Sirius snorted and nodded.

"I'm not surprised," Amelia said, "The common belief was that he was dead, Sirius."

"Which is exactly what he wanted you to believe, of course," Sirius said, with a deep sigh. "And then there's the fact that he's a rat Animagus. He could literally hide anywhere. Sewers, alleyways, anywhere. Hell, he could masquerade as a family pet if he wanted. Though I highly doubt he'd do that. He'd become too codependent on that family."

"If he's still alive, we'll bring him to justice, Sirius," Amelia said, "I can promise you that."

"Good," Sirius said.

"Have you talked to anyone about your treatments at St. Mungo's yet?" Amelia asked.

"That Healer that looked me over the last couple of days," Sirius said, "If I was found innocent, I was to meet her at St. Mungo's by the end of the day to speak to her about the treatments."

"So you'll go to St. Mungo's after you're done here?" Amelia asked.

Sirius frowned. "Actually, I was thinking... well, I want to go to Hogwarts to see Harry. Remus is going there soon, he's going in for an interview with Minerva, for the vacant Transfiguration post. If she's named Headmistress, that is. Remus, a Professor. Who would ever imagine it? Ha! Anyway... I convinced him to take me to Hogwarts so I could see Harry. After I meet Harry, then I'll head to St. Mungo's."

"I think he'll be happy to meet you," Amelia said. "He knows you're innocent, thanks to the information he read in James and Lily's Will."

Sirius nodded, then grinned. "You said he has a girlfriend?"

"Yes," Amelia said, "She's a Muggleborn and – well – I'll let you meet her. She reminds me so much of Lily."

"Smart, feisty, and auburn hair?" Sirius asked.

"Well, not the auburn hair," Amelia said, "But she's definitely smart and pretty feisty."

Sirius laughed. "Well, Harry must be just like James then, if he knows how to pick the girls."

"He looks like James," Amelia said, "But he isn't him, Sirius. He's definitely James' son, but he's not a reincarnation of James. I know you want your best friend back, but -"

"He's not James," Sirius said, nodding, "I'll do my best to remember that. Thanks."

"You're welcome," Amelia said, "I'm not against you meeting him so soon after getting out of Azkaban. It will be good for you. But there is such a thing as 'too much, too soon'. Here's my advice. Meet your godson, get to know a bit about him, but don't demand a biography of his life so far. That will come in time. Maybe even this summer. He'll be out of Hogwarts for the summer, and you'll be healthy and out of St. Mungo's. You'll have plenty of time to get to know him then."

Sirius nodded. "Alright. I'll keep that in mind."

"Good," Amelia said. "Alright, the moment the Wizengamot cleared you of all charges, the Gringotts Goblins recognized you as free, and you are now the owner of the Black Family Vault. Also a healthy amount of Galleons have been added to the Vault as compensation for your time served."

Amelia took her wand and waved it, not around the room, but toward a drawer on her side the desk. It opened and a box flew out and landed on the table.

"Earlier this morning," Amelia continued, "Before the trial, I went to the Auror Department and retrieved an item for you."

"Aw, Amelia," Sirius said, with a smirk, "Did you have the foreknowledge of the events of the trial? Or were you just very hopeful that things would turn out right for me?

"Yes," Amelia said, not revealing which question she had answered.

She took a long thin box out of the bigger box, and handed it to Sirius. He took off the lid from the top of the box and smiled as he saw its contents. Inside was his old wand.

"You're quite lucky to be able to have that, Black," Amelia said.

Sirius looked at Amelia with raised eyebrows.

"When you were arrested, Bartemius Crouch was all for snapping your wand in two," Amelia said, "But he was overruled."

Sirius shrugged. "You might think I blame him for my arrest. I don't. I blame Albus Dumbledore more. He knew about the Godfather Ritual and deliberately chose to not give me a trial back then. He obviously did it for a reason. I just don't know what that reason is. The fact that he ignored James and Lily's Will completely, not just the Godfather Ritual fact, but the fact that Lily forbade her sister to raise Harry. He gave Harry to Lily's sister. There has to be a reason he did that, and it can't be just that whole blood protection thing."

"I would like to know the reason as much as you," Amelia said, "And I promise to do my best to find out."

Sirius scoffed. "Good luck. I doubt Dumbledore would ever tell you."

Amelia raised her eyebrows, as a thought crossed her mind. "Or maybe he already has."

"What?" Sirius asked.

"When I arrested him," Amelia said, "he tried to bribe me with information. If I didn't arrest him, he would tell me something. However, he had not expected another person willingly giving me the same information. Algernon Croaker – he's an Unspeakable, maybe you remember him?"

Sirius frowned, and his expression turned to one of concentration.

"Frank Longbottom's Uncle," he said, "His mother's brother? I think Frank called him Algie?"

"Yes," Amelia said, with a smile, "He was there during the arrest, and he spoke of a Prophecy. Dumbledore got really mad at Croaker for that. Croaker told me that there is a Prophecy concerning your godson in the Department of Mysteries."

Sirius tensed up. "Does Algie know what it says?"

"The first two lines are known," Amelia said, "And from what I can tell, it has to do with Voldemort. It specifically says 'The one with the power to vanquish the Dark Lord approaches.' The prophecy was made the winter before Harry was born, and it speaks of a baby born as the seventh month ends, born two to parents who thrice defied the Dark Lord. Dumbledore was a witness to the creation of the prophecy."

"Dumbledore believes my godson is destined to defeat Voldemort?" Sirius asked, "Is that why Voldemort attacked Harry and his parents that night?"

"It seems likely," Amelia said.

"But... wait," Sirius said, "Voldemort is dead, isn't he? Harry already defeated him, didn't he?"

"There is evidence that Voldemort may still be alive, Sirius," Amelia said, with a grimace. "If he is, then he'll likely return eventually. Maybe sooner rather than later."

"Shite," Sirius cursed.

"My sentiments exactly," Amelia agreed. "Anyway, Harry knows there is a prophecy. He has plans to visit the Department of Mysteries in the future – likely during the summer holidays – to retrieve it, and hear the whole thing."

Sirius nodded, then he sighed. "I don't like this one bit. Harry is prophecized to defeat Voldemort, and Dumbledore knows it. There's a connection to all of this. But what is it?"

"We'll figure it out," Amelia said, "Don't stress yourself too much over it."

Sirius shrugged, but didn't reply. Once again, there was a knock on the door. It opened, and Samantha poked her head in again.

"Minerva McGonagall is here," Samantha said, "She's asking to meet with you. Should I tell her you're busy with another visitor?"

"What do you think, Sirius?" Amelia asked.

"She can join us," Sirius said, "I'd like to talk to her myself."

"Invite her in, Samantha," Amelia said, "Thank you."

Samantha backed away, and Minerva McGonagall stepped into the room.

"Good afternoon, Minerva," Amelia said; she conjured a chair near Sirius' chair, "Please take a seat."

Minerva shut the door behind her, then walked over to the empty chair and sat down.

"Mr. Black," Minerva greeted, "I realize I haven't had a chance to speak to you since you gained your freedom. Congratulations."

"Thanks, Professor," Sirius said.

Minerva laughed. "Mr. Black, I haven't been your Professor for nearly a decade-and-a-half. Call me Minerva."

"Only if you call me Sirius," Sirius replied.

"Of course," Minerva agreed, she turned to Amelia, "I hope I wasn't interrupting anything?"

"Not at all," Amelia said, "I think Sirius and I were just finishing up. Sirius said he wanted to speak to you anyway."

"Oh?" Minerva asked, looking back at Sirius, "How can I help you, Sirius?"

"I am planning on visiting Hogwarts with Remus Lupin today," Sirius said, "I understand he is meeting you to discuss him becoming a Professor?"

"Yes, I just spoke to him in the waiting room and finalized meeting arrangements," Minerva said, "I'll be meeting with him in about an hour at Hogwarts."

"So does that mean the Transfiguration post is looking for a new Professor?" Amelia asked.

"Indeed it does," Minerva said, smiling, "I just finished up meeting with the School Governors. They have named me the new Headmistress of Hogwarts."

"Congratulations," Amelia said, and Sirius echoed her.

"Thank you," Minerva said, her cheeks coloring slightly pink, "So you want to visit Hogwarts today, Sirius. Believe it or not, I already expected this. I assume you want to meet with Harry Potter?"

"Yes, ma'am," Sirius said. "Would that be alright?"

"I think I could arrange that," Minerva said, "I was planning on introducing Harry to Remus, whether or not he becomes the Transfiguration Professor. So I think it would only be appropriate that he meets both of his father's best friends at the same time."

"Thanks, ma'am," Sirius said. "Though I would call it a reunion, even though he might not remember Remus and I."

"You wished to speak to me, Minerva?" Amelia asked, "Is this about more than just your wish to inform me of your new job?"

"Yes," Minerva said, then turned to Sirius, "I suppose it would be appropriate to speak about this with Sirius in the room. Amelia, I wanted to know whether or not you're still planning on coming to Hogwarts again tomorrow."

Amelia realized exactly what Minerva meant. This was about the Chamber of Secrets investigation.

"Yes, I am," she said, "I was planning on speaking to the Aurors and Unspeakables about that very thing. When should we be there?"

"The Start-of-Term Feast will begin around seven-o-clock tomorrow evening," Minerva said, "So... two hours before, just so we can have plenty of time to prepare. Five-o-clock sound okay?"

"That would be fine with me," Amelia agreed. "I might even speak to Susan about it. If she doesn't want to take the Hogwarts Express back, she'll come with me."

"Alright," Minerva said.

"DMLE, Aurors and Unspeakables going to Hogwarts?" Sirius asked. "Is this still about Dumbledore and Snape?"

"Nay," Minerva said, "I'm afraid there is more going on around Hogwarts than just the issues surrounding Dumbledore and Snape."

Over the next few minutes, Minerva and Amelia caught Sirius up on the Chamber of Secrets fiasco. Sirius' eyes were as large as saucers by the end of it. His mouth was opening and closing like a fish, obviously trying to figure out what to say first.

"My – Harry's a Parselmouth?" Sirius finally asked.

"Yes," Minerva said, "Apparently he inherited it through the Black bloodline."

Sirius snorted. "Poor kid. There hasn't been a Black Parselmouth for several generations, unless someone is keeping a secret from the rest of their family, cousins and what-not. I think Dorea's grandfather was the last one that I know of. But it makes sense if it passed a few generations. How does Harry feel about it?"

"Hard to say," Minerva said, "Several students thought he was the Heir of Slytherin because he's a Parselmouth. You probably remember how fast secrets and news gets around Hogwarts. Probably didn't take an hour after it happened during the Dueling Club meeting for everyone in the castle to find out about it."

"And since Salazar Slytherin was a famous Parselmouth," Sirius said, "The students immediately connected Harry to him."

"Unfortunately," Minerva said, grimacing.

"I suppose I could speak to him about it," Sirius said, "After all, it could be a handy ability, instead of a burden."

"Very true," Amelia agreed.

"So... who's responsible for the fiasco?" Sirius asked.

"We haven't found the human culprit yet," Amelia said. "Hopefully we'll find them tomorrow night, or at least get closer to finding them."

"Well, I wish you the best of luck," Sirius said.

"Thanks," Amelia said, "If there isn't anything else, I think we're done here."

"I need nothing else from you until tomorrow night," Minerva said.

"I'll see you around five-o-clock tomorrow night then," Amelia said, "Congratulations again."

"Thank you," Minerva said, then turned to Sirius, "Sirius, I guess I should expect you soon?"

"I'll join Remus at Hogwarts shortly," Sirius said.

"I'll do my best to alert the staff and students that you're an innocent man," Minerva said, smiling, "Would hate for someone to hex you because they think you're a dangerous criminal."

Sirius barked a laugh. "I knew you could crack a joke, Minnie!"

Minerva rolled her eyes. "You're still the same rascal, Black." Then she smiled. "That isn't a bad thing. I'll see you soon."

She stood, said farewell to Amelia and Sirius, then left the office.

"I suppose I do have two final things to talk to you about,Sirius," Amelia said. "The first is a question."

"Are you asking me on a date?" Sirius asked, grinning.

Amelia did her best not to blush. "No, Sirius. Actually I wanted to know if you have given much thought about what you'll do once you're out of St. Mungo's. Careers and what-not."

Sirius sighed. "I haven't thought about it. I suppose it will be something to ponder about while I'm cooped up in a hospital bed. Why?"

"Before you were arrested," Amelia said, "you were one of the most promising Aurors in the group, and you could have been high up, or even Head of the Auror Department now if you hadn't been arrested. I was curious whether or not you'd want to be an Auror again."

"Really?" Sirius asked, "That is an option?"

"We need all the Aurors we can get, Sirius," Amelia asked. "Especially if the rumors are true, and Voldemort isn't as dead as most believe he is."

Sirius nodded. "I'll truly consider it. I suppose it all depends on what the Healers say about me."

"Very true," Amelia said.

"There are several things I could do," Sirius said, "I'll think about all the options, and let you know when my treatments are done."

"I look forward to it," Amelia said. "As for the other issue. As you are planning on speaking to Harry, I need to ask you for a favor."

"Name it," Sirius said.

"Because he is officially Lord Potter, he's Emancipated," Amelia said, "If that wasn't the case, this decision would be up to you, since you're Harry's Godfather, and his parents' first choice as guardian. Officially he has no guardian as an Emancipated Minor. So it has to be Harry's decision. I need you to try to convince Harry to place a restraining order on Albus Dumbledore. Even though he was cleared of all charges, there is evidence – as I alluded to earlier – of Dumbledore having an unhealthy interest in Harry."

"You think Dumbledore would harm Harry if he had the chance?" Sirius asked, a frown marring his face.

"Maybe not harm him, per se," Amelia said, "Especially if Dumbledore believes Harry is destined to defeat Voldemort. But he'd most certainly try to do something. And I doubt it would be anything good for Harry. Anyway, I am planning on speaking to Harry about the restraining order tomorrow."

"But you'd like me to convince him in order to make your job easier?" Sirius guessed.

"Precisely," Amelia said.

"If I can find an opportunity to talk to him about it," Sirius said, "I'll do it. I mean, as much as it hurts to say, the kid doesn't know me. I bet he barely remembers me from when he was a baby, if he remembers me at all."

"If I'm asking too much from you, tell me," Amelia said, "I can speak to Harry about it without your help."

"No," Sirius said, "I'll try to do my part if I can."

"Thanks," Amelia said, "Well... if that is all, I have nothing else."

"That's all I have," Sirius said, "Aside from another request to keep me informed about the case on Pettigrew."

"Of course," Amelia said. "As long as you promise me again you won't interfere with the case, or attempt to go after him yourself."

"You have my promise," Sirius said. "Thanks. I mean... thanks for all your help today."

"You're welcome, Sirius," Amelia said, "I was happy to help."

Sirius smiled. "Right. I'll just... be going then. I'll see you later, Amelia."

Amelia nodded. Sirius stood and headed toward the door. He turned back to her and appeared to want to say something else. Then he apparently decided against it, because he said another goodbye, then left the room.

As soon as the door was closed, Amelia sighed and relaxed in her chair, staring at the spot where Sirius had been a moment before. There was a time when she was in love with Sirius Black. She could tell that Sirius still had feelings for her. She had seen it in his eyes, and the way he had flirted with her. She wasn't sure whether she still had feelings for him or not. She was happy he was a free man. She was happy to see him, that was true.

But she hadn't been with anyone in a romantic sense in a long time. As she had said to Sirius, she had been too focused on her career, and raising her niece, and ward, Susan. Everything else simply went on the back-burner. Was she avoiding romance because she had been hoping one day she could rekindle a relationship with the only man she had ever fallen in love with? Even she couldn't answer that.

Amelia cleared her throat, and her mind of the thoughts of Sirius Black and what could have been. She needed to focus. She had to begin the investigation on Peter Pettigrew. And she needed to meet with Kingsley Shacklebolt, Alastor Moody, and Unspeakable Croaker, in order to speak to them about going to Hogwarts the following evening, hopefully to end the Chamber of Secrets investigation once and for all. That was more important than thinking about 'what-ifs'.

After all, as she had told Sirius, it wasn't smart to linger on 'what-ifs'. It would only make her depressed.

Chapter finished. I'm sure the end of this chapter has readers wondering if Sirius and Amelia will have a romantic relationship in this story. The truth is I don't know yet. I have several ideas surrounding Sirius, and in essence, Amelia. One idea I am strongly considering would have a bad outcome for any dreams of a successful Sirius/Amelia relationship in this story.

Next Chapter: Sirius and Remus head to Hogwarts. Remus and Andromeda have interviews for the Professor jobs. Also Dora might make an appearance. We'll see what happens. Harry meets Remus and Sirius in two chapters! Reviewers are asking for more Harry/Hermione page-time. That comes in TWO chapters!

Hope you liked this chapter!

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