AN: This story involves Harry being able to turn into a girl. If gender identity and gender-swapping aren't your thing, then feel free to check out my other stories. The pairing is ultimately Harry and Tonks, but the relationship is a slow build.



Thoughts / "emphasis" / Title of Books or spells used


¬¬Foreign Language¬¬

"Magical language."

Book 1: Azkaban Aftermath

18th June 1994 – King's Cross Station

"What's that?" Vernon snarled down at Harry. The fat man's beady blue eyes narrowed at the envelope the too-small boy clutched like a lifeline. "If it's another form for me to sign -"

"It's not," Harry burst out. The parchment letter had provided him with such joy that not only did he interrupt the perpetually angry man, but he had done so with a smile. "It's a letter from my godfather!"

The obvious sign of disrespect from the boy's lack of meekness caused Vernon's bushy black moustache to twitch. That they were still at Kings Cross and surrounded by 'regular' folks was the only thing keeping his vicious temper in check. Harry knew the man's desire to appear normal would delay any negative reactions until they reached Privet Drive and out of the public eye.

"Godfather?" Vernon scoffed while Petunia paled behind her husband. Harry was an abused thirteen-year-old boy and slave to his relatives, who had been 'trained' to never ask questions. Training that the Dursleys had failed in beating into him, meaning his curiosity burst awake when Petunia paled behind her husband. "You haven't got a godfather."

"Yes, I have," Harry Potter, Boy Who Lived, Parselmouth, and Dark-Lord-in-Training, according to school rumours, pushed on. "He was my mum and dad's best friend. He's a convicted murderer, but he's broken out of wizard prison, and he's on the run. He likes to keep in touch with me, though... keep up with my news... check I'm happy..."

Harry's quiet periods would often see him wonder what the Magical World would think if they saw how he interacted with the Dursleys. He thought it still wouldn't stop some people complaining about him being spoilt.

The controlled rambling shut down anything the large brute was going to say. Harry wondered whether Vernon's paling cheeks were from 'convicted murderer,' or 'wizard prison.' His bet would be on the use of the W-word.

Vernon Dursley swallowed hard and stormed off to the parked company car. Petunia had a look in her pale blue eyes that Harry had never seen before. It lasted long enough for him to know he didn't imagine it before her nose lifted in the air. She followed her husband, uncaring if he followed. Vernon's rotund frame forced him to move at a sedate pace, ruining their attempt to storm off. Neither saw the bounce in Harry's steps as he pulled his trunk along.

Harry's dream of living with Sirius Black was shot down before it got started. No one had believed Sirius was innocent of betraying Harry's family, forcing the man to remain on the run if he wanted to keep his soul. And that wasn't a metaphor considering Minister Fudge had been ready to feed Sirius to a Dementor with Severus Snape playing the arrogant butler.

The Minister's refusal to listen to Harry's testimony had forced him to save Sirius. With the aid of his friend Hermione and her time-turner. The night's chaos had soured Harry on the man he had original met after his 'exploding Marge' incident the previous summer, while some soul-searching had tempered his frustrations when he realised his reactions came from the thought of 'it's not fair.'

Harry Potter hadn't expected life to be fair since the first time he did better than Dudley in school resulted in punishment for cheating rather than any praise.

Although Sirius hadn't been able to gain custody of Harry, the teen wasn't above using the man's villainous reputation to improve his summer. It might even have the power to force the Dursleys to feed him like a human being. Harry planned to milk the hanging threat of his godfather for all its worth, even if he wasn't sure about the man himself.

The drive to Little Whinging was peaceful for Harry. After so many years with the Dursleys, Vernon's verbal rants at everyone and everything he didn't consider normal became background noise. Harry could recite verbatim the raving Vernon would use for any situation. That the man was being louder than usual was a positive for the abused teen. It meant the anger was being worked off now, rather than unleashing it later on Harry once they got to Privet Drive.

It had become a ritual for Harry to use the return trip from Hogwarts to analyse the past year. His own worst critic, he often mentally ripped apart his actions, or lack thereof, making promises about what he wanted to change for the following year. This time, Harry vowed to follow through rather than fall into his bad habits the moment he was back with Ron and Hermione.

Harry sighed as he noticed the car pulling into Number Four's familiar driveway. He cared for his two friends and saw Hogwarts as a home, but it had become too easy to slip into patterns; stumbling into trouble when he wanted the exact opposite to happen; or ending up not pushing himself to appease one of his friends, while aggravating the other.

Vernon moved faster than Harry would have given credit for. The man was out of the car, and through the front door before Harry had even got to the car's boot. Petunia's rigid posture and frown as she followed her husband meant she was still worrying over Harry's surprise news.

He sighed again as he struggled to pull his battered and worn Wizarding trunk out of the car's boot. He could only imagine the Dursleys' emotional roller coaster if they knew about his past year. A ride that culminated in crushing disappointment that he didn't get his soul sucked out by the vile and horrifying Dementors. He could only imagine their reaction: 'three years, three near-death experiences and you survived each time. You can't even die right!'

He dumped Hedwig's empty cage on top of the trunk, and wrestled everything into the house, finding the first of many changes to the normal. The Dursleys were waiting for him. And not for any sort of punishment. Harry saw a glimmer of fear in Petunia's eyes, while Vernon looked as though he was attempting to dry swallow the Monster Book of Monsters.

"Take your stuff to your room," Vernon ordered. Only years of 'training' kept Harry's surprise from showing. He could finally do his summer homework if they weren't locking his trunk up in his old cupboard. "I don't want any of your freakishness and you'll keep out of our way, you hear? As long as you keep quiet, then you won't have that many chores and you can tell your godfather how happy you are this summer."

Harry had to fight the laughter that threatened to burst free at the idea of him being happy at Privet Drive. He gave a quick nod and dragged everything upstairs with as little noise as possible. An unfamiliar feeling grew in Harry's chest, and it took him time to realise he was feeling delight over having access to his books. He had devoured his first-year books once he got back from Diagon Alley, his excitement about magic reigniting his joy at learning. Even if he wasn't able to find anything to keep the Dursleys under control. That summer was partly behind Harry's refusal to respect Snape. The questions the Professor had asked during their first class were early second-year material or O+ questions for the end-of-year exam. Nothing difficult, but nothing you'd expect any Muggle-Raised to know on his first day of Potions.

And Hermione didn't count.

Harry pulled his thoughts away from the Greasy Git as he manoeuvred the trunk to the bottom of the lumpy bed. He flicked open the scuffed locks and gathered up his important possessions to hide beneath a loose floorboard in case a Dursley reverted to type. He would never let them at his photo album or his father's cloak, nor the Marauders' Map that the twins had given him that year.

Thoughts of the twins brought up memories of Harry's second summer, and the youngest three Weasley brothers breaking him out of his prison using their father's flying car. Spending the rest of the summer at the Burrow had been fun. But as much as he enjoyed Ron's friendship, doing homework around the youngest male redhead was like telling Dudley he had chores to do. An exercise in futility. Combined with Molly Weasley's pathological need to keep the two boys busy and it forced Harry to do all his summer work and assigned reading the first few nights at Hogwarts. Resulting in some horrendous grades.

The year itself didn't provide too many chances to learn with Lockhart's terrible classes. And this was before the Chamber of Secrets fiasco threw all the other teachers off their stride. Add the hatred/fear of the students after learning he was a Parselmouth, and he had been under enormous pressure the entire year. He had been an emotional wreck by the time he went to rescue Ginny from the Chamber, even if he had hidden it well.

A sign of Harry's twisted life was that the summer a mass murderer escaped an inescapable prison was the summer that allowed him the best opportunity to dive into his studies.

Harry could imagine how fast the Dursleys would change their minds if they knew how much the summers affected his grades and standing in Hogwarts.

He added his stash of emergency food courtesy of the Hogwarts House-elves and returned the boards. A quick check of all angles, and Harry was happy nothing was out of place to catch someone's attention. He next set about putting Hedwig's cage in her spot beside the open window, making sure she had fresh water and food.

He made a mental note to let his friends know about the diet Vernon had ranted about during the drive. Poor little Dudley couldn't get his immense bulk excused away by Petunia's blind love. The Smeltings' nurse had forced the bully into a strict diet. Petunia's horror and reaction at having to 'starve' her little boy proved her insanity. The shrew of a woman was sharing out of the pain by restricting everyone's portions. Which meant even less for the malnourished Harry. And with that depressing thought, Harry decided he wasn't yet ready for life inside Privet Prison. He slipped unnoticed out of the house and headed to his favourite spot in the area.

The local park had sprung out from the small wood nearby and was large enough that he could enjoy daydreaming on the swings and keep watch for Dudley's gang. His solitude didn't last five minutes when a voice spoke up behind him.

"It's so disappointing that the son of Prongs has free time, and isn't playing pranks."

Harry's instincts had him off the swing and spinning around, reaching for his wand. All before remembering he had left it in his room. The action and mental crossfire had his legs taking on a life of their own, sending him sprawling to the ground in a heap. The laughter that followed was so close to the barking enjoyment of a dog had Harry blinking up in confusion at the grinning sandy-haired man.

"Sirius?" He stammered once the actual words had sunk in. Harry scrambled to his feet and dived into the waiting arms of the man. It was a toss-up who held whom the tightest. "Polyjuice?"

"Glamour," his godfather explained, pulling Harry away to get a proper look at the son of his best friend. "Though for future reference, always double-check someone's identity if you haven't seen them in a while. It's a trick we picked up in the war."

"You called me the son of Prongs," Harry pointed out with a bright smile. "I only found out you four were the Marauders when Professor Lupin told us. Only the people in the shack would know I knew about those names. You wouldn't have been Pettigrew, and the Professor has no reason to hide his face."

Sirius blinked down at his godson. "Did you actually work all that out, or is this all hindsight?"

"I worked it out." Harry frowned, first at the question and then at the situation. Happiness turned to fear, and the teen was frantic as he searched the park as though expecting magicals or Dementors to appear and attack. "Wait, Sirius, what are you doing here? You said you were going on the run. What if someone can tell that it's you? You shouldn't be here!"

"Don't worry about that," Sirius threw his arm over Harry's shoulder with a chuckle. The Marauder led them to the trees at the far end of the park and hid his frown at the feel of his godson's bony shoulders. Only experience allowed him to keep his dark thoughts and feelings over Harry's home life from showing past the joyful grin. "I've got it all sorted out and I'm proud of you for doing all that thinking so quickly. It'll make what's going to come easier and more difficult."

That ominous sentence hung between them, and Harry stared up at the not-Sirius face. A sidelong glance had the fugitive's heart jumping. The crease between Harry's eyes was pure Lily Evans when she suspected someone or something.

"The first time you saw me in my Padfoot form was when you got the Knight Bus, remember?" Sirius spoke to chase the ghosts away. Harry nodded and wondered why he was okay with touching Sirius when he fought against any type of physical contact the rest of the time. "Well, it wasn't the first time I had seen you after my breakout. I'd been keeping a watch, trying to learn what I could about my godson, and found a brilliant spot to rest at night. Welcome to my Wizard's Tent!"

They had slipped through the trees into a small clearing where a large green tent sat waiting. Sirius withdrew his arm and vanished through the flap, leaving Harry to stand outside unsure about what was going on. He feared losing Sirius after they had only now found each other. He wanted his godfather as far away from danger as possible. Yet, a much louder part of him wanted to latch onto the moment with everything he possessed and hold on for dear life.

The desire for a family won the war against the fear of loss. Harry screwed up his Gryffindor courage and stepped into the tent. Only to stop dead at the sight that greeted him.

Harry had the urge to keep running in and out of the tent to test that it really was bigger on the inside than the outside. The flap opened into a cosy living room with a rug-covered floor and the usual furniture one would expect of such a room, including several bookcases and side tables. One wall even had an unlit fireplace. The major focus of the room was a not-too-large table surrounded by comfortable-looking seats. A now glamour-free and smiling Sirius was sitting at its head, with a bag on the table in front of him. Harry could see doors over his godfather's shoulder, meaning there was even more to the magical place.

Sirius let loose another of his barking laughs that reminded Harry so much of the man's Animagus form. His godfather looked clean, and his teeth were a healthy white, but the physical baggage of Azkaban was there still. You could see it in the way the man moved, and in his stormy eyes during silent moments.

"Come and take a seat," Sirius waved at the chair to the man's right.

The action seemed so natural that Harry saw a glimpse of what it would have been like to visit Sirius if his parents had survived. Harry buried the pain at that image, having learnt long ago that such things were never good to dwell on, and took the offered chair. He instead focused on the multitude of questions running rampant through his mind. After all, Sirius was still on the run. The look in those old grey eyes made Harry almost squirm from their intensity. It was as though they were weighing his soul.

"First things first," Sirius declared with a playful smirk. He reached into the bag and pulled out a small object wrapped in a soft cloth. Harry took it with the same sense of reverence Sirius offered it. "That right there is one of the crowning glories of being a Marauder. It's a two-way mirror and I've got the one it's connected to. If you want or need to talk to me, then say Padfoot into it and I'll be there. James and I used them all the time when we were stuck in separate detentions."

Harry's fingers didn't shake, but it was a close thing as he unwrapped the gift. He immediately thought of another magical mirror as his fingers slid along the detailed edges. This was a bridge between Harry's past and present. A connection to his father's childhood that allowed him to keep Sirius in his life no matter what events came. The tears formed, and though he instinctively pushed them away, he knew they were his first-ever happy tears.

"Harry..." Sirius brought his attention back to the present. He looked up to see a haunted look in the older man's eyes. A look Harry couldn't translate. "I need to know everything you've learnt about the Magical world."

That caught Harry by surprise. Out of all the topics Sirius could have started their bonding with, this would never have been his guess. It took Harry no time at all to go through everything he had come to know over the past three years. Especially after admitting the lack of learning in his History of Magic class.

"Damn that man!" Sirius shouted in genuine anger, spinning up out of the chair to pace back and forth behind it. The harshness in Sirius' voice made Harry flinch, but the Animagus was too absorbed in his thoughts to notice. "What about the Families? Do you know anything about them or the Wizarding Council?"

"Families like the Malfoys and Weasleys?" Harry asked, scrunching his nose at the Pure-blood bigotry that seemed important to wizards.

"Morgana curse you, Dumbledore!" Sirius snarled at the ceiling, his magic flaring out in a suffocating rage that had Harry cringing back against the horrible feeling pressing on his skin. This time Sirius noticed and attempted to pull back his emotions. The child of House Black stepped in front of his godson and dropped to his haunches, pulling Harry into a tight hug. "It's okay, Harry, I'm not angry at you at all. I'm angry for you."

The show of weakness mortified Harry. He knew how to cover up the flinching at Hogwarts. To never show the little boy who had made being skittish an art form in surviving angry adults. Being back at the Dursleys seemed to strip Harry bare of his protective shell, and he hated them even more because of it. He straightened up in Sirius' arms and gave a small smile. The ease Harry had in slipping on his mask had Sirius' heart clench. The adult wizard sighed, climbing to his feet to resettle into his chair.

Sirius' stomach twisted. He was far too familiar with Harry's emotions and reactions than he would have liked to be. A familiarity that had seen him run away from home and into the supportive arms of Charlus and Dorea Potter.

"Kreacher," Sirius called out. An ancient-looking house-elf appeared, and Harry blinked at its appearance. The elf looked as run down and pitiful as Sirius had in the Shrieking Shack and Harry couldn't help comparing it to Dobby. "Butterbeer and Firewhisky. This is going to take a while."

"Filthy master calls Kreacher, yes he does," the old elf complained to Harry's shock and a little amusement. "Master comes back home where he broke Mistress's heart, and now sitting down with little half-blood. Oh, Kreacher knows of Harry Potter, Kreacher does. The boy who stopped the Dark Lord, but Kreacher not know how. Kreacher wonders how and why ungrateful master is sitting with the Half-blood."

Harry didn't know if the creature's rant was more impressive or worrying with its belief in blood purity.

"NOW, Kreacher!" Sirius snarled.

The elf nodded, snapping his gnarled fingers. Two bottles of Butterbeer appeared on the table, along with a bottle of Blishen's Firewhisky with glass for Sirius. The strange elf popped away, and the Marauder sadly shook his head.

"He was my mother's elf," Sirius explained, pouring himself a full glass of the potent alcohol. While the masses might drink Ogden's, the Blacks had helped fund the higher-quality Blishen Brewery that continued to be one of the top-shelf drink makers in either world. "Fanatically devoted to her and the way she saw things. Since I grew up nothing like her, he enjoyed making my life hell. Becoming Head of House Black hasn't stopped him."

"Head of House?"

"Yeah... and we're back to why I asked you about Families," Sirius ran his hand over his face in exasperation. The anger was back in the man's voice, even if he kept it muted. He threw the Firewhisky back in one gulp, and topped the glass up, mentally wincing at the reaction Charlus and Dorea would have if they found their grandson lacking in basic Wizarding knowledge. "But I think you need to hear my story first. Okay, kiddo?"

"Sure, Sirius -"

"Padfoot. Call me Padfoot. I'd like that."

"Okay, Padfoot," Harry knew the name from the Map, but the way Sirius asked made it seem that it held more meaning than a simple nickname. The smile he got in return was worth the fear he had felt earlier. It was a smile of pride from an adult.

"As you know, I'm a Black. I am Sirius Orion Black, son of Orion Black and Walburga Black nee Black, Scion of the Noble and Most Ancient House of Black," Sirius snorted at the pompous wording that he had always fought against. "Yes, my mother was a Black before she married my father. I'll explain all about everything else I just said soon enough."

Harry's brain pulled up sharp at the idea of the Blacks marrying their own family. He could only blink as his thoughts rebooted.

"The Families can trace their lineages deep into Wizard history and were the ones who came together with Merlin to form the Wizard's Council," Sirius made sure Harry was following and smiled at his godson's nod. "Don't misunderstand. We have many old and respected Houses out there that aren't Families. Some are even pretty powerful. But the Families have extra importance to our society for being there at the creation of the Wizard's Council. Which, after some political changes and lots of years later, is now called the Wizengamot. As the Founders of Hogwarts are the founders of the British magical education system, the Families are the founders of our political system.

"There's a lot of history involved that we'll cover another time," Sirius continued. "But right now, the important part is that a lot of the Families and Houses have a motto that travels down the generations. For the Blacks it is Toujours Pur – Always Pure. My parents, especially my dear mother, took it to mean purity of blood. She joyfully fell in with Voldemort and his followers, the Death Eaters. When I was growing up, my parents pushed the idea of Pure-bloods being better than everyone."

Sirius saw the distaste on Harry's face and laughed.

"Do you know what the legal definition of a Pure-blood is?" Harry shook his head in the negative. The young teen felt trapped between shock and frustration at how little he knew of his world. He wanted to know why no one had told him any of this before Sirius. "They don't tell anyone this, and it's so well-concealed within the laws that it's now hard to find. You're an official Pure-blood when your grandparents on down are Pure or Half-bloods. That's it. Three generations of wizards marrying witches with no Muggle or Muggle-born relations, and you've got a new Pure-blood family line."

Sirius sneered as he took a sip of his drink. The look showed his feelings towards what he was about to say. Harry was so caught up in the information that he had yet to even reach for the Butterbeer.

"But it's forgotten or ignored by society with how deep-rooted blood prejudice has become. I remember one night when Lily gave us all a lecture about the blood issues in the Muggle world and how things were changing to be more welcoming to those who were different. She wanted us to see that even if we lost to Voldemort that someone, somewhere, would eventually come along and defeat him. It inspired us. We knew we were doing the right thing."

"She sounds like Hermione…" Harry murmured. His green eyes brightened with hunger at hearing something of his parents.

"In some ways she was," Sirius was quick to agree as many of the Hogwarts staff would. But only one Professor would echo his next words. The two men's mutual affection for the woman in question reached beyond even their legendary animosity. "And in a bigger way, she wasn't. Lily was not only incredibly smart, but she was also full of life and love. She had a lot of friends in school, some more questionable than others. There might not have been a problem she wasn't able to find the answer to in some book, but she would often find a better one inside her head. From what I saw this year as Padfoot, Hermione hordes knowledge like a Niffler with gold. She sees it as the be-all, end-all. Your mum never did that, Harry. She saw knowledge and information as the means to an end. A support structure for free thinking."

Harry thought it over and had to agree with the way Sirius was pointing out Hermione's flaws. His best friend loved her books, perhaps too much, and no one desired to be the one arguing that something written in a book was incorrect. As for Hermione's other issue...

"What about authority? What was mum like with them?" He asked, remembering their fight over the Firebolt.

"Let me guess, Hermione's first thought is to run to a teacher, and yours is to handle it yourself?" Sirius cocked his head to the side, the move more Padfoot than the man, and considered the question. He smiled at a memory as Harry nodded. "Your mum would go to a teacher if she had to. She'd tell them only what she needed to get things done. Despite the help that Dumbledore gave Remus with his condition, she was never the headmaster's biggest fan. And she also knew how to handle things herself. She was our fifth Marauder by the time we graduated."

"Anyway," Sirius shook away the ghosts of the past and refocused on the boy in front of him. "My family was obsessed with blood purity. I was the oldest son, and it was my responsibility to follow their beliefs. I didn't. Instead, I fought against the bigotry and insanity with everything I was. They made sure I paid for my rebellion."

Harry listened, growing ever more horrified at what his godfather's own family had put him through. He heard of the years Sirius spent protecting his younger brother Regulus from their mother's ire. Of the many punishments that he took when he argued back, or when little Reggie questioned why rather than accept what their parents had preached. Harry listened and felt himself in Sirius' place, had been in Sirius' place. Or rather, Harry was coming to understand that Sirius had been in his place growing up.

Then the story moved on to the Hogwarts years. How the separation into Gryffindor and Slytherin split the brothers. And the big fight with his parents that forced Sirius to leave him and move in with James and the elder Potters. Harry wasn't sure what he found most shocking: that Sirius' own mother used the Cruciatus Curse on him, before trying to beat him beyond death's door; or the Marauder's iron will in Apparating to the Potter's property, and walking up the long path to the front door, bleeding to death with every step.

Almost as shocking to learn was that Harry's grandmother had wanted to leave the scars in place as proof of Sirius' inner strength and courage. His grandfather had to not only use Sirius' mental state as a reason that was such a terrible idea, but also talk her out of beheading Walburga Black for mistreating a boy Dorea saw as her son.

Harry understood what his godfather was doing and still couldn't stop the memories of his own childhood from rearing up. By the time Sirius finished his tale, Harry had the strength to begin his own. Both cried at the harshness of their lives, and at the tattered remains of what some could only laughably be called a childhood. Harry ended his story curled in Sirius' arms. The older man rocked him back and forth as invisible wounds finally had the chance to heal for the very first time.

"Harry." Sirius softly said. "I heard a lot of rumours about your time at Hogwarts. I need you to tell me what happened."

Harry pulled back, giving a wan smile to show he would be okay, and did as asked. He was too raw to hide anything now. Truth be told, the Hogwarts years were far easier to talk about than what he had already shared. Even with him being an outcast in his second year. Sirius took everything in the same way he had when Harry spoke about his life with the Dursleys. Not even Harry being a Parselmouth fazed his godfather. When Harry finished explaining the time travel rescue of Sirius, the man in question could only sigh at what his godson had been through.

He pulled out a wand and cast a Tempus spell; the result shocked them when they saw it was almost eleven at night. They had been talking for hours, and both felt emotionally drained.

"Right," Sirius nodded to himself, his eyes hardening with determination. "A few more things before you go. First, why in Merlin's name did you pick Care and Divination?"

"Padfoot?" Harry blinked in confusion at the intensity of the question.

"We both know the reason, Harry. What I want is for you to say it, accept it, and then tell me if that's what you want for your life from now on."

A part of Harry, a big part that he had been listening to for years, tried to pretend not to have a clue. The deeper part that found delight in learning knew what the answer was. It knew what Padfoot had asked.

"I took the easy options when we had to fill out the form," he revealed. "I remember thinking that if I failed, then at least I'd have a Ron with me."


"And..." Harry took a deep breath and saw a chance to do something more than survive. The cleansing talk had forced him to come face-to-face with how much the Dursleys influenced his life as a wizard. Harry found he didn't like the person he had allowed himself to become. "And I regret it. I want to be true to myself for once, and not let the way I survived primary school hold me back. I always loved maths, so Arithmancy sounds like it would be perfect for me. Especially from how much Hermione raves about it. And whenever I've seen her notes on Ancient Runes, my fingers have been itching to pick them up to know what's going on."

"Good!" Sirius grinned, slamming his palms together in an eager clap that had Harry jumping in his chair. "Lily might have been a Charms Mistress and a Potions genius, but she could take apart and put together a spell or rune system better than anyone I've ever known. Runes are in the Potter blood too, even though James' first love was Transfiguration. I'll get you some books on the two and if you study hard enough, you could take an exam when you go back to Hogwarts to show you're ready for Fourth Year material. But this is only if it's what you really want. I refuse to make you into someone you're not."

Harry beamed at Sirius and glowed with enthusiasm. This was the first actual choice he could remember making for his own benefit. That he had a parental figure so proud of him for following his own mind was intoxicating.

"Now, last things for tonight," Sirius declared. He went back into the bag and pulled out a small wooden box, along with what looked like a pocket watch. He opened the first and showed it full of two different potions. "I saw how small you were and guessed your Dursley life wasn't as good as it should have been. Only the Map's password can open it once it's closed, and it's also got an Unbreakable charm on the off chance those animals get nosey or try destroying it. There are two different potions here and don't worry, you aren't the only one that's on them."

Harry frowned at the last part and Sirius sighed, the pain of his Azkaban years coming to the fore.

"People aren't always in Azkaban for life. When a prisoner comes out, they're given a schedule of potions that give them back a healthy body. You're still older than you went in, and the mental scars don't go away with a quick shot of magic, but physically, you're able to be in society again without scaring everyone away."

"But you should take these!" Harry cried out, horrified at the idea of taking potions that could help Sirius.

"I am," Sirius promised. "I got these from the goblins. Mine will have me healthy in a month. That's the usual time frame for something like this. With you, I asked that the effects happen over the summer. Aside from this one," Sirius pointed out the only purple bottle. "You still take the same number I do. This way, it looks to everyone else like a growth spurt rather than anything magical. The red ones are once a day for the month, and they'll repair bones. The blue is every two days and will help your muscles. Maybe even your eyesight if your eyes are doable."

"My eyes?" Harry was in awe. Why hadn't he wondered if magic could fix his sight? That's right, he thought. Because I had my head buried in the sand.

"Yep," Sirius grinned back. "James had some genetic thing, so he couldn't get his fixed until his mid-twenties. If yours is the same problem, then you won't notice any changes. It might not be, and you could be without the glasses by the time you return to Hogwarts. I'll put a spell on your glasses so they adjust to your prescription. It's a spell I had to learn for James in case he lost his, and we had to transfigure an emergency set. You wouldn't believe how often I ended up having to use it with everything we got up to."

Even if his eyes didn't get any better, Sirius' spell would still allow Harry to see better than he could right then. From the horrors of earlier, Harry was experiencing being loved and cared for.

"You need to work out and run so your body knows what to do with the muscle. Once you stop working out, you stop growing muscles even if you keep taking the potion. If you run in the mornings and join me in the tent's exercise room, then we can give you the body you should have had already."

Harry took the box with reverence. The thrill of having a body that wasn't the result of the Dursleys 'love and care' caused his heart to beat wildly in his chest, and he almost missed what Sirius said next.

"And this is an old family heirloom," Sirius showed him the gold pocket watch. Harry assumed the Black coat of arms was what he could see on its cover. Two rampant greyhounds charged on either side of the chevroned shield. Two five-pointed stars were above and on either side of the chevron point, with a short sword blade up below it.

Sirius pushed a button to spring the watch lid open. Harry could only describe what he saw as a work of moving art with golden arms and intricate hour marks. Harry was sure it would be the most expensive thing he'd ever possessed. Another button pushed, saw the watch face snapped out and dangle from the casing to reveal a small, familiar-looking hourglass underneath.

"That looks like... that's a..." Harry stammered.

"That's right, kiddo," Sirius smirked like the schoolboy of years past. "The Black family time-turner. Possessed by the Head of House and given to the heir Black when in need. Last seen in the possession of my grandfather, Arcturus Black. It's blood-tied to the Black line, and I want you to have it. Aunt Dorea was Arcturus' cousin. Trust me, you have enough Black blood to qualify for its ownership."

Harry tried everything he could to refuse the gift until Sirius had him examine why he didn't want it. After admitting he felt he didn't deserve such a special object, Sirius was having none of it.

"Listen, Harry," the Marauder demanded. "This tent is under strong notice-me-not and anti-Muggle charms. I'm planning on being here the entire summer teaching you everything you should have been told about the Wizarding World, your family, and where you come from. You're being left ignorant of too many important things, and everyone who should notice that you're lacking this knowledge is failing you by not giving it. I want you to use the watch so that you can spend your days here and at the house doing your homework, or any other study I think you need to do. I'll have Pepper-up potions ready for you to use so you can handle the extra work to keep you from burning yourself out. That is, if you want to do this?"

Sirius' speech petered out into a shy question laced with fear. Harry realised the plan was also a way of giving the two their chance to connect. Harry answered the only way he could, by tackling his godfather in a rib-creaking hug and taking the watch. They said their goodnights, with Sirius giving Harry a strange set of instructions before Harry left to get to Number Four. He spun back the number of hours he had been told, went to his room and mirror-called Sirius to say that he was safe and that the Animagus could now leave the tent to pick up the younger Harry. With that piece of confusing closed-loop time travel over with, Harry sat down to work on his summer homework with a sense of purpose his teachers would never believe.





Last Edited - 30th July 2023

Word Count – 6,589

Previous Word Count - 6,624