The House on the Hill

A/N: Dear readers, I, The Temporal Penguin, present a new bunny. This is a Marauders' Era story, without bashing, and is J/L and may have a grudgingly good Snape, if I ever get around to writing it. It is inspired in part by the excellent story 'Embers' by Vathara (Avatar: The Last Airbender), the arc of James Potter growing up, an under-explored back-story for the Marauders and deep irritation with the all powerful "Lord Potter" trope, so I am modifying it to mean something instead of grey silk hair ribbons, exaggerated rules of public manners and all that tripe. Nobility is as nobility does.

This story will have many Character Deaths.

Also, James' parents are Charlus and Dorea Black-Potter, not Fleamont and Euphemia. Dorea is Arcturus Black's sister as with many other stories on this account.

So without any further preamble...


7th June 1976

The Kiln, as it was called by its owners, and also by those very select few outside the family who knew about it, was a meticulously clean, spacious, well-maintained house that seemed like a very small fort, nestled into what seemed like a recess in a hill but near its foot (that was actually a part of the property) and bound on the other three sides by a lake, one of the many that are part of the blessing that England's Lake District has received. Curiously, it was also not used at all. It wasn't abandoned, though. It was actually revered. It was surrounded by a vast wild garden and tall trees haphazardly distributed. As odd as the landscaping seemed, with the lone pathways that connected the empty stables that were now adorned with ivy, the Mill, and a medium-sized Tudor style cottage with various fruit trees and flowering plants interspersed, made it all look picturesque and yet homely. It was also invisible to non-magical folk.

This place was the home of the Potter family, a family whittled down by wars to its last three surviving members, Charlus Potter, his wife Dorea, and their only son, James. And they lived in fear still – their world was embroiled in yet another war. It wasn't an open war yet, no; but it was as evenly poised as a landslide held back by a pebble.

So on that night of the 7th of June, 1976, when all three were woken from slumber near midnight, they feared the worst.

The truth was even worse.

A bedraggled, severely injured, presumably tortured, bleeding young man, who shared the stormy gray eyes of Dorea had just crash-landed through the wards; his broom nearly destroyed, his baggage half open, and mostly lost.

Tying the sashes of their respective dressing gowns, the three Potters rushed towards the bushes into which their infiltrator – who it turned out, wasn't one at all – had crashed.

It took James just one look at the long black hair to recognise the young man, as he ran towards him with a panicked cry of "Sirius!"

He only received a pained groan in answer.

As his wife rushed towards their son and his friend, Charlus face closed off in fury and he stayed back for a moment. He needed to calm himself before he did something drastic. And he was angry with himself. He had known from Dorea. He had heard from James. He should have done something before now. The septuagenarian, not that he looked it, inhaled and exhaled deep and long. Sirius didn't need that right now. He needed care and comfort, not someone out to avenge this treatment at the hands of the boy's own family. It was only when he was sure of his hold on his temper, a trait known to manifest in his family not through words or hexes and curses, but through actions that had far-reaching effects, that Charlus approached them all. After all, all magicals had strong emotions. It was only how they handed them that set people and families apart.

"Dorea," he softly spoke, "let me take him to the healing room. I daresay you will be able to work better there than out here."

His wife moved away, and then hurried into the house to get her paraphernalia ready. One of the few women in the House of Black who dared to aspire to be more than just a trophy-wife for some pureblood House, Dorea Potter nee Black was an accomplished Healer. And, as all Healers were required to be, she was obviously proficient enough beyond her specialisations in healing Dark Magic, to attend to cases like Sirius, her grandnephew.

Yes. That was how convoluted the situation was.

Charlus gingerly lifted the now unconscious boy and commanded his son to fetch his things. Most others would have commanded their house-elves to do so, but this needed a human touch, not something as impersonal as an order to an elf, however well-respected the elf might be within the household.

Even as Charlus took the boy into his home, he knew what his action would be. He didn't care if he was accused of stealing the Black heir. He was going to have one more son.


"I have known you for about six years, cumulatively, Prongs," Sirius dryly stated as he spied his cousin and best friend loitering in the doorway to his room, five days later. It had taken Dorea quite some time to alleviate the physical pain and injuries – by magical standards, that is. That she had had to call upon her specialisation to aid the healing process told her all she needed to know. Even now, almost a week later, Sirius wasn't fully healthy. "Never have I known you to not be able to spew out your thoughts with your rather lacking vocabulary."

"And even though you are the master of understatement, I haven't known you to be a liar," James darkly rejoined.

"And what have I lied about?"

"We always asked you why you came to Hogwarts with suspicious bruises and you have never told us why and that it was this bad. It is lying by omission Sirius!" James was angry at his friend. "What makes you think that we wouldn't have taken you away? Were we so poor friends?"

"He doesn't think that, son," Charlus gravely interrupted before a flushed Sirius could retort. "He doesn't. But he also didn't want to be a poor son and give up."

"Then they are not worth it!" James burst out.

"But that's not for you to decide, is it?" Charlus mildly rebuked his son.

Sirius could not answer. Uncle Charlus had him pegged. He looked away.

"I want to talk to Sirius, James. Please."

With a last glower at them both, James stalked away.

"Uncle?" questioned Sirius, as soon as his best friend, and cousin, was out of sight. Both Sirius and Charlus knew better than to assume that James wasn't around – both had enough understanding of the fact that an invisible James wasn't the same as an absent James. Still, they let that pass for the time being.

"How are you now, Sirius?"

"I am fine."

"If you give me the stock answers like that, I will set Dorea upon you, again. Her methods of torture may be different, but she is still a Black by birth."

In spite of himself, Sirius couldn't help but grin weakly. Apart from a scary temper which could be equally scarily controlled and directed, another defining trait of the Potters was their ability to crack jokes irrespective of the situation, or the appropriateness of the situation. They were often textbook-perfect examples of insensitivity. And, Sirius thought proudly, he was a lot like that himself.

"I am okay," he reiterated. "She healed me up almost completely and the rest has to heal on its own, she said. Otherwise I am about as well as you'd expect."

"That's good. That's very good," Charlus declared, though it seemed he was steeling himself for something. "I am going to ask you a few questions and I want honest answers for them – at least as honest as you can bring yourself to be, at this point."

"Yes Uncle."

"I want you to tell me what exactly happened."

Sirius had expected that question. And since it was only Uncle Charlus, who through Aunt Dorea sort of knew that things were bad, but as the Potters were not allowed near the Black properties because of their marriage, could do nothing, Sirius didn't hold back.

"It was those bastard Lestranges, Uncle. I turned sixteen in November. It was high time, they said, for me to enter the Dark Lord's service. She agreed."

The stress of hatred that resonated through Sirius' voice upon the word 'she' did not need explanation. Only one woman ever held that much contempt from Sirius. That she was his mother was a misfortune of the highest order.

"Your protest was very creative, I take it?" Charlus asked lightly, but conspiratorially.

Sirius grinned. Uncle Charlus might not be related to him, directly, but he and Uncle Alphard were the only two male relatives he cared for.

"I...ah...might have cast an animation charm upon Rudolphus' digestive tract. It explained in great detail how the food didn't agree with it. He was still seated at the table."

Charlus and Sirius shared a snicker at that, through which the only word that the older man could get through was, "Excellent!" It put Sirius at ease enough to let the story flow from thereon.

"She knew immediately of course. A screeching harridan that she is, she shouted for a good five minutes before she asked me where I learnt to do what I did." Sirius looked away, abashed.

"Sirius, I am an old pure-blood – by a quirk of fate than actual design. And that has been so since the past fourteen documented generations. I know what books your family has, and if I were as bored out of my mind as you evidently were, I would go through them too. It was some sort of possession spell, was it not?"

"How'd you know?"

"In his attempts at ensuring that the unfortunate death of your great-uncle, one Marius, Arcturus' and Dorea's squib brother, was completely unremarked upon, your great-grandfather donated several rare books on Dark Arts to Saint Mungo's Healer's Academy. It was indeed an irony that Dorea took up healing Dark Spells as her specialisation, which protected her from the loss of knowledge that her excommunication from that family, as was only threatened, would've otherwise caused."

"Oh. It was," Sirius agreed sheepishly. "We learnt the elements of spell modification for our OWLs, and I decided to give it a go..."

"...and made a prank spell out of a dark curse," Charlus completed. "I am not sure whether to be exasperated by the fact that you tried that spell at all, or to be proud of the fact that you have done well in Arithmancy, made a mockery of the Dark Arts, and pulled a spectacular prank." He paused and pretended to think. "On balance, I have more to be proud of, so we'll go with that."

The man's manner might have been easygoing, but the words were very important to Sirius. He needed that – to be told he was wanted and that someone was proud of him.

"What happened then?"

"She might have felt a bit proud herself, that I tried to learn the Dark Arts," Sirius explained. "Then she ordered me to put that bastard right. I might have retorted by saying I would rather that his very talkative rear release poisonous fumes and do away with them. After all, venom is used in anti-venom potions, right?"

"She took objection."

"Was there any doubt?"

"No. Did she attack you?"

"Not immediately, no," Sirius answered. "I might have ranted for a bit, and told them all where to get off, and that I would sooner die than become a monster who'd serve a worse monster."

Charlus' put upon mirth dimmed. No person should ever have to wish so. "And?" he prodded softly.

"She said she would help me get my wish, and well... I only just escaped because my broomstick was in the hallway. I'd been flying before dinner."

Charlus didn't need anything else. Dorea had the list of spells that had certainly been used upon Sirius, and she was checking daily to see if any others with subtler symptoms had been used. He would ask her if need be. But now he had what he wanted. Walburga had attacked her son with the intent to murder. He sat next to the boy and gathered him in a very paternal hug. Sirius did not struggle much as he savoured the bit of alien warmth.

"What do you want to happen, Siri?"

"I don't know. I just...I just..." Sirius couldn't speak anymore. He clutched at Charlus' cloak and sobbed unashamedly, though he did not even realise it for a bit, especially since he had been explaining the incident in the grimly humorous tone that he shared with Uncle Charlus. Why hadn't his father stopped mother? Why? "Why?" he asked in a broken voice. "I am her son. Why does she hate me? Why is being a Death Eater, why are the pure-blood ideals more important to her than I could ever be? What did I do wrong? Why did she...?"

There were many questions, all of which boiled down to just one: Why had Walburga Black tried to murder her son? Why had she never loved him?

"Sirius, if my actual thoughts about the subject were to define Walburga Black, then I am afraid you would be classified as a half-breed by Ministry standards, and that too only just because I don't think you father is too different. They are vile beasts who have forgotten what being humans, what having a child, what being parents means." He forced the boy to look at him and gave him the one truth that he needed to know. "You did nothing wrong. Do you hear that? You are a perfectly good person, a wonderful person. I would be proud to have a son like you, just as proud as I am to have a son like James."

Sirius just clutched at the man tighter than before and let his sorrow and anger out.

When he was done, Charlus conjured a handkerchief for Sirius to blow his nose into. Sirius felt quite abashed. He hadn't meant to cry, but...

"None of that now, Siri," Charlus said in gentle reproach. "If James or you ever need such a relief, just understand that I will be there for you; always. You need never feel ashamed of needing someone to take care of you, or to be strong for you, do you understand?"

Sirius just nodded.

"Good." Charlus gave Sirius a few moments before resuming his line of questioning.

"Now, please think this through and answer my questions. Will you do that for me?"

Sirius took a deep, bracing breath before nodding.

"What do you want now? Know this, though, that there is no chance that I will ever let you go there, at least not unless you prove to me that you can take all of them on single-handedly. And I still might break my word about letting you go there at all, even if you demand it."

"I don't know. I just don't want to go there ever again."

"Which, as you are sixteen, won't be a problem after your term begins, given how you will be at school when November comes," Charlus agreed. "It is the interim that may be a problem."


"Sirius, Dorea was politely thrown out of the House of Black, and her existence is tolerated because she married a pure-blood. You have come to us off your own volition, and you are always welcome here, yes. But do you truly see your family letting go of that? They might not immediately know where you might be, but it is known well enough that you and James are as close as two friends can be without actually being brothers. And that Dorea is James' mother."

"You won't let them take me away would you?"

"Absolutely not," Charlus resolutely promised. "In fact, since I believe that you must have a choice in what happens, I will tell you the options. For one, I shall adopt you as a son. It means you will legally be Sirius Black, Heir of House Black and Son of the House of Potter, should they not throw you out, or Sirius, the son of House Potter with whatever surname you'd wish to choose. That will make every injury upon your person my responsibility to seek justice for. Should your grandfather or father then seek to have you returned to their custody, I fully intend to blackmail them into resolving the matter out-of-court, and in your favour."

The world tilted for Sirius. This man was willing to take on two of the Darkest Wizards who still somehow managed to stay within the law, officially at least. And he was willing to resort to all means fair and foul for the same. And, more importantly, he was willing to induct him into his family, legally.

He didn't really care for another option. Just for the sake of knowing, therefore, Sirius asked, "Or else?"

"Otherwise, you remain Sirius Black, legally the underage Heir to the House of Black. Your folks might still – or, assuming the worst case, will appeal to the Wizengamot. At this point, I shall step forward, claim that you were visiting James, who is your best friend, produce a letter to you inviting you over to join us on a vacation to the continent, and that you'd return home soon after that."

Sirius' eyes widened. Charlus raised a hand to ask for silence and patience, and Sirius let him complete.

"Your folks can hardly claim that you ran for your life. I might put a little blame upon you, and say that I didn't know that you didn't have their permission, but plead to the Wizengamot to allow your vacation to continue. After all, you are a teenager who's just had his OWLs. Your safety shall be my responsibility, and they wouldn't really want to stop you from winding down after the stressful exams would they?" He added a look of such wide-eyed innocence, that Sirius snorted.

"That this vacation starts the day after tomorrow in Yugoslavia, and that we shall be going to various countries to gain first-hand experience of their magic, will be known to the Wizengamot. They shan't know however, that our expedition shall end on the 31st of August. Should you choose this option, do try to write home and apologise for the inconvenience you might cause them, and inform them that you'd go to King's Cross with us – after we return, that is."

James, Sirius decided, came upon his Marauding skills honestly. The boy could only gaze at Charlus in awe.

"Did anyone tell you that you're effing brilliant?"

"Alas, no, they don't. I'd appreciate being told that often," Charlus replied, preening a bit.

"You are effing brilliant, Uncle Charlus. You are my hero! Can I be you when I grow up?"

"You might want to hear the third option, one that I will try to avoid, but may not have the power to do so, before deciding that."

Sirius' spirits, which had risen, were harshly brought back to reality.


"The previous case assumes that the Wizengamot agrees with us. We should prepare for the other case, where they don't. Should that happen, I am going to destroy your parents legally. I will call upon one of my three yearly special requests – don't worry, that still leaves me two – and ask for a special committee for a closed hearing of the dispute. The committee will be under oath to not release any information to anyone. Dorea and I shall swear a binding oath to tell the truth, and she will do so as a professional healer, and expose your mother's heinous acts. We will seek a long stay in Azkaban for her – not even a sanatorium – and also your custody. We will then ask why the rest of the Blacks did nothing to stop her, and try and find a way for Regulus to be taken out of that House as well."

Sirius panicked. He hadn't even thought of Regulus. The kid may be an idiot who was toeing his family line, but Sirius couldn't bear the thought that he had actually abandoned his brother to that. As much as the first two options were the best, for Regulus' sake, he would accept the third.

He may consider James and the other Marauders his brothers, but Regulus was his brother, and he may be Walburga and Orion Black's son, but he would not abrogate his responsibility to his brother.

"Would that be bad?" Sirius asked.

"It would violate your privacy, Sirius. I know you are thinking of Regulus, but my priority is ensuring you are free from your folks till you turn seventeen. That may not be too far off, really, but adulthood gives you the right to seek justice and legal retribution without having to rely on your current legal guardians, and save Regulus, yourself."

And that was the best thing about Uncle Charlus. He always knew when to treat him as a grown person. And he had only known the man for a grand total of six months over five years; six months during which he had been more a of a father to him than Orion Black ever had.

Gently, Charlus held Sirius at arm's length as he met the younger man's eyes gravely. "Sirius, I must say this before anything else, however."


"I have feared that such a thing as has happened would come to pass for quite some time. I hoped it would not, and I let you remain there, when I should have done something before." He sighed deeply. "I am sorry, Sirius."

"But it isn't your fault! Why would anyone think parents would do...?"

"Parents are still humans Sirius. But some humans are not truly so, and it was my mistake that I pledged my conscience to the hope that it would not be so in your case, instead of facing the reality of the situation and helping you."

Sirius just looked at one of the only persons he looked up to, looking so forlorn and apologetic. A moment passed before he just dumbly nodded, if a little fervently. Taking that for what it meant, Charlus patted his shoulder and stood to leave, the slight gleam of mischief in his eyes restored.

"I will come again later, Sirius. Talk to Dorea and James as well, if you wish to. Think about it while you pack your bags."

"Pack my bags?" Sirius asked dumbly.

"Our European tour starts in Yugoslavia on the fifteenth, lad. We can't use magic around the muggles, you know, so pack your underwear. I won't be conjuring any."

"Why Yugoslavia?" asked Sirius, now genuinely curious, and making a spirited attempt to not show excitement.

"Go search what muggle Europe is doing from the sixteenth to the twentieth of June, Sirius. Don't make me spoil the surprise," Charlus reproached as he left.

Uncharacteristically, Sirius whined, "Uncle, tell me!"


Over the next two days, as Sirius got better, he was torn between the excitement of the impending trip, and worry about the impending decision.

Would Uncle Charlus and Aunt Dorea be disappointed if he didn't choose the first option? Was it worth actually giving his father and grandfather a chance to get him into their custody? Should he abandon Regulus, if only, as Uncle said, for a few months? Then again, was it worth the trouble the Potters could get into if he chose the first option, all to buy a few months of time?

James knew the options existed and though he never said it, Sirius knew what James wanted him to choose. It was a bit difficult not to get caught up in that, honestly.

But it was important to ask Aunt Dorea.

"What do you think?"

"Do you want my opinion as Aunt Dorea, or do you want my opinion as your Healer?"

"As a healer, first," Sirius requested.

"I want your parents arrested, you and Regulus placed with any family that your parents won't approve of," she listed, ignoring Sirius' snort at the second demand, considering the Potters were among the only ones that fit the bill – apart from Andromeda, of course, "and an inquest into how this was allowed to happen."

"And as Aunt Dorea?" asked Sirius.

"I think that my brother and those little globules of boggart droppings that you have the misfortune to call biological parents need to be cursed so badly that they forget the meaning of existing, let alone their names. Then I want to wrap you and Regulus up, and ensure that you don't forget that you aren't alone."

Sirius quite forgot that he had asked Dorea Black-Potter, however much her former family refused to acknowledge her existence. A touch of violence was always present in any dealings thereof. It just reminded Sirius that the violent streak spanned both sides, good and bad.

"Thank you Aunt Dorea."

"You needn't thank me Sirius," Dorea replied, ruffling Sirius' hair fondly.

It was enough to make him decide.

He chose to have a family after all.


Ever since a half-dead Sirius had crash-landed into the Potters' garden, Dorea and Charlus were embroiled in a flurry of activity that revolved around making Sirius comfortable and treating him especially for the Dark Curses without it ever becoming obvious that the ingredients for the Potions required were being purchased by them. Every iota of effort which contributed to secrecy over the matter counted.

For the first time that he remembered, James was not the sole receptacle of his parents' attention. But quite contrary to those who knew the rather exuberant show of a personality that he displayed at Hogwarts, James was more than just willing to remain silent and observe. And he was showing the sensitivity that the situation demanded, but which if inconsiderately shown, would label him as an angsty teenager. Sirius was important then, and having the assurance that he had them all was what his best mate needed, so that was what he would get.

But more than that, he was learning more and more about his father than he had ever stopped to wonder about.

He had obeyed Charlus Potter without question as the man had shed the persona which earned him a half-hearted scolding from his wife for the distilled, pure immaturity that he revelled in showing. Acting his age was something Charlus Potter had decided was singularly insulting, and his son had decided that he was the world's greatest hero for him, as most sons do. But following Sirius' arrival, he had shown a strength that had been thereunto carefully hidden.

He had been there for Sirius in a way that not even James' mum, Sirius' own Great Aunt could, or James could be. He had become a father to Sirius. He had become a protector to the weak, as terrible as it felt to think of Padfoot as weak. He had ensured his security. He was preparing to take the fight to the Blacks.

Amidst it all, he had seen Charlus gaze wistfully at the Kiln. He did not understand why. But maybe he would ask what it was all about when they visited the Kiln as they did each year. Maybe they would even have Sirius with them this year.

But what struck him the most was what he saw now to be the true person his father was – a man whom he wanted to emulate. All along, his father's seemingly insensitive banter, constant jokes that James never found embarrassing, his fun way of learning things to ensure that everything was geared towards fun, his utter devotion to James' mother and his ability to exasperate her and infuriate her every now and then, his bravery as a former Auror, and now trainer...the litany of things that made his father his hero for James would never cease. But his father had always been a friend to him more than just "Dad" so the side of him that put Sirius at ease, the one that promised Sirius help on his own terms...that had never come out around James. What he saw now was a man who thought his actions out, who felt responsible for everything he did, and especially for those he cared and those who trusted him.

That had been the person who had apologised to Sirius for not doing enough.

It was there that James started to think about how much he really was like his father.


13th June, 1976

"Get ready git," James barked at the still sleeping Sirius as he threw the door open.

"Whazzamazzer?" demanded Sirius groggily.

"It's the 13th of June. We always go to Kiln for the whole day."

His only answer was a snore.

"Oi!" scolded James. "Wake up! It's a ceremony we never miss. You're coming with us this year onwards!" He then slammed the door and walked off.

"Dumb prat!" grumbled Sirius as he peripherally registered waking up after James and being woken by him without any sort of prank. "'s not even seven!" he slurred. Then he heard Dorea call out for him and hurried to get ready.

About half an hour later, the four were trooping up the hill to the Kiln. Sirius had never been able to see it till he had been invited to the Potter home, the small cottage that the Potters occupied to be precise, just after his second year. He had spent two weeks in July then and those had been the best two weeks outside school he could remember. Yet he had never been to the Kiln itself. Even James, who prided himself in continuously toeing lines and pushing boundaries to their breaking point, had been reverent regarding the place, as if trying to preserve its sanctity.

"What is this place, really?" he asked at last in a hushed whisper, as they reached the edge of the recess into which the Kiln was nestled. It was simple, old, stately and functional, a weird mix really. It almost seemed to be steeped in some sort of history that made it feel living, much like Hogwarts.

"This," Charlus answered gravely, "is the true home of a true Potter. A home to every Potter who proves himself worthy of the trappings of nobility that is paraded around like an ornament instead of a responsibility by so many of our peers."

Sirius rightly took that to mean that it was the home of the true Lord Potter. "How come you don't live here, then?"

Charlus did not answer beyond a strained smile.

James had, upon being asked, explained that they held their yearly ritual there. It turned out to be nothing more than reading manuscripts of times when English was not recognisable as the language Sirius knew. It spoke of deeds of valour, of kindness, of cunning, of mercy, and of wisdom. Most importantly, it spoke of deeds which were performed beyond the call of duty.

One of them caught Sirius' eye. It was a record of Aurelius, disciple of Salazar Slytherin. Sirius knew the name. It was the name cursed in homes such as his, if he could call the Black family his home. It was the name of Aurelius the Betrayer.

"He was charged with taking the muggles and muggleborn to Slytherin?" Sirius demanded incredulously.

"His earliest memories would have made your mother shiver in ecstasy," Charlus replied, then grimaced.

"It was that bad?"

"Yes. Imagine everything you hear these days about those Death Eaters. He was all that."

"Then how did he...?"

"It was nothing dramatic. He chanced upon a muggle house and farm. They were happy, that family. The kid was magical. He helped with the farm. They were happy. That was it. With that, Aurelius' hand stayed. And then he asked himself why he should destroy that happiness. The quest for that answer became an obsession. And when no answer could convince him, he found he could not, and would not do it."

"And so he became Aurelius the Betrayer, the man who saved many muggles, hid magic from them where he could knowing they could be cruel as well, and cut Salazar Slytherin from his army at the cost of his own life, enabling Gryffindor to defeat him."

"He brought a certain sense of honour to the family, and two centuries of penury also. Then Caradoc the Uniter united the families and took the magicals away from the reach of the muggle feuding rulers who saw even children with barely a hair on their lip as expendable fodder against their enemies."

"Sides did not matter," Sirius spoke in comprehension. "The principle did. They supported the cause that was right, that was worthy of the effort."

"Indeed; and so the family motto," Charlus replied, with a flourish towards the shield bearing a charging lion flanked by a rampant stag and hound. Underneath were the words, "To be worthy."

Sirius lapsed into deep thought and he wore an even deeper frown.

"You are hoping that Regulus, Bellatrix and Narcissa can still be helped."

Sirius' head jerked up in shock.

"You have to understand, Siri, they have to want to change from within. Regulus is young, but Bellatrix maybe beyond help. She is not a human, Sirius. She is a weapon."

"That doesn't mean you can't do anything about it," Dorea reasoned. "You are sixteen and Walburga tried to coerce you. Maybe, just maybe, you may find others around you, needing the same chance that you have?"

And while Sirius focussed on the idea of getting hold of Regulus before his mother forced him astray, before the unusually solemn James Potter's eyes flashed the faces of not only the muggleborn like Lily Evans and Mary McDonald, but also many untold, faceless pure-bloods like Sirius who were going to be forced to wage, and fight in and die for what the supporters of Voldemort considered Holy.

Was staving off the death of a generation for the ideology, ambition and madness of one man truly worthy?