Chapter 3 – Missing
In only a few minutes, the mysterious imposter was conscious but bound to a chair in Molly and Arthur's living room. Harry was in disbelief. He had no idea how anyone could impersonate a dead man so accurately without Polyjuice potion. And how were they going to get a sample when Sirius' body was never recovered. This man looked like he hadn't aged a day beyond the battle at the Department of Mysteries so what in Merlin's name was happening? The life of an auror was interesting but Harry had certainly never come across someone pretending to be his dead godfather.
Logically, none of this made any sense. He knew that it couldn't possibly be the real Sirius Black but maybe a small part of him wished it was. Wouldn't it be incredible to spend time with Sirius again, introduce him to his children, talk about the Marauders and Harry's dad and everything they never talked about in Harry's fifth year because he was just too damn mopey the whole time. Harry cursed himself for these thoughts. There was no use thinking about things like this because this was nothing more than a cruel joke or just a really terribly executed plan for something more sinister.
Harry knew that everyone who was at the party had either been told to go home by Ted or Ginny, or was waiting outside for any developments. He knew this because the minutes before Percy and Teddy came back with the veritaserum were dead silent other than some periodic feet shuffling from Ron.
As soon as the potion was there, Percy was asked to administer it and the bound man quickly obliged. Bracing himself for what he was about to hear, Harry watched as Fake Sirius' eyes glazed over slightly.
'Now we can really start.' Harry approached him, getting very close to his face. 'What is your name?'
'Sirius Orion Black.' His eyebrows were raised as if it was obvious all along.
'What is your date of birth?'
'3rd November, 1959.'
'What is the name of your younger brother?'
'Regulus Arcturus Black.'
'At Hogwarts, Sirius Black had a tight-knit group of friends, each with their own nickname. What were these nicknames and how did they come about?'
'The names were Moony, Wormtail, Padfoot and Prongs. Moony is Remus Lupin, named so because he is a werewolf. James Potter, Peter Pettigrew and I were the other three. The nicknames are derived from the animagus forms we transformed into to help Remus on the nights of the full moon.'
Harry's grip on his wand only got tighter. Veritaserum can't be fooled by anything other than the Imperius curse but animagi transformations are better. 'I am going to unbind you now. Do not try to make a run for it, there are several highly trained wizards in this room ready to take you down. When I unbind you, I want you to turn into Padfoot. Failure to do so will land you in right ack in these ropes.'
Harry muttered the spell to make the ropes fall. In no time at all, a shaggy black dog was staring back at him with stony grey eyes.
'Merlin's pants,' Harry heard eldest son from the back of the room. 'It's really him, isn't it?'
'Yeah, Jamie. I think so.'
The dog morphed back into Sirius. And Harry got to embrace his godfather for the first time in twenty-three years. Harry knew that the entire room was watching what was going to happen next, but he didn't care; he let a sob loose as Sirius ran a hand through his hair and stepped back to look at him.
'You're probably bored to death of this, Harry, but you look just like your dad.'
The whole room started laughing. That broke the tension and let go of a breath everyone was holding.
'I don't get bored of it from you. You look exactly the same, Sirius.'
He grinned. 'Not bad for sixty, eh Potter?' his smile faltered a bit. 'Have I really been gone for twenty years? How did I-'
'No idea. Last time I saw you, I was fifteen. Remus had to hold me back from going after you. Next thing I know, you're crashing a birthday party at the Burrow in 2018. I don't know how you 've done it but I can't believe I'm seeing you again.' Harry let out a giggle, totally contrasting with his attitude five minutes earlier. The former Marauder returned a disbelieving smile.
Harry remembered that he and Sirius were not the only ones there when Teddy spoke up. 'Um, Harry? I think that photograph might have something to do with this…'
Harry had been so distracted, he'd almost forgotten about the giant volt of electricity that led to his son being exiled, only to find his dead godfather in the living room. 'You're probably right, Ted. Let's go outside and reassure Molly that there isn't a Death Eater in the house.' He looked back to Sirius. 'We have some things to talk about.'
By the time the whole interrogation as over, only a few people were left in the garden. Some of the parents had volunteered to shuttle most of the younger generation back home by means of side-along apparition, so the ones still there were waiting anxiously for whatever was transpiring, made up of Molly and Arthur, Ginny, Victoire, George and Hermione. They had only heard snippets from what Lily told them and Ron's instructions to stay put so when they saw none other than Sirius Black walk through the back door of the Burrow, all of them immediately moved into a defensive position.
'Relax, guys,' said Ron. 'Somehow it's really him.'
'It can't be,' said Hermione incredulously. 'He died. It's been over twenty years.'
'And you don't look a day over twenty-five, Hermione.'
Hermione blushed and turned straight to her best friend. 'You definitely questioned using Veritaserum?' Harry nodded. 'Then it's definitely him,' she said knowingly and bounded over to Sirius to give him a hug. Molly Weasley joined her, tears streaming down her face.
As much as he could tell everyone was enjoying this little reunion, Harry knew that it was still a very sensitive situation and he had a lot to talk about with his godfather. He hurried them along and persuaded Sirius to say goodbye to the rest of the Weasleys and then the pair flooed back to Harry's home in Godric's Hollow with Teddy and James in tow.
Immediately, his son pulled a face. 'But Dad I'm fifteen! Besides, Teddy gets to stay.'
'Teddy is of age, and has every right to be here as I do, you know that,' countered Harry. Huffing because he knew his dad was right, James gave a longing look to Sirius and marched out of the living room.
Turning back to Sirius, Harry was silent for a moment. 'I bet you have questions. You've missed quite a lot.'
'That's an understatement.' He laughed but it didn't have the body his usual bark did. 'Harry, I went from knowing you as a baby to a teenager and two seconds later we're the same age! I'm your godfather; I should have been there the whole time and it feels like I've missed everything in your life. I'm so sorry. To you, to your mum and dad. I just-'
'Don't you dare blame anything on anyone who isn't your cow of a cousin. You're here now. You just got a new chance at life and a new way to spend time with me in a far less stressful period this time.'
Stuck for words, Sirius merely nodded. 'So, godson of mine, what have I missed since my unfortunate demise? And can I have an introduction?' he asked, looking at the pink-haired man in the room who had helped administer his veritaserum but had been very quiet since.
'Uh, sure,' said Teddy, nervously looking for an approval from Harry. He nodded. 'I'm Teddy. I've heard loads about you, obviously. I'm Harry's godson and it was my 20th birthday party you crashed.'
Sirius grinned. 'Sorry about that, mate. And may I ask who would give the responsibility of a child to my own moody godson?'
'Hey!' interjected Harry. 'I'll have you know he turned out alright!'
'Remus and Nymphadora Lupin.'
Sirius stopped laughing at Harry and stepped closer to Teddy, examining his face and reading it like a book. 'Merlin,' he smiled. 'Remmy finally did it, the bastard. About time those two acted on all that ridiculous flirting. It's wonderful to meet you Ted, I bet your dad's told you a few things about old Padfoot. Speaking of – where is he?'
Teddy paused for a second before responding. His hair faltered slightly, turning a bit more orange. 'Well, you see, I know a lot about you from Harry. My mum and dad were killed in the war too, just a few days after I was born in '98.'
Sirius' face fell. 'Not Remus and Dora.' Teddy nodded sadly as Sirius collapsed onto the sofa behind him. Teddy and Harry took a seat on either side of him.
'Were they happy?' he asked without making eye contact with either of the other two men. 'Were they a beautiful little family before it happened?'
'I have about a thousand photos with them, Sirius,' reassured Teddy. 'From what I've heard, they couldn't stop cuddling me those first few days. I know I never got to really know them but I've always had Harry and Gran and the rest of the Weasleys.'
Harry didn't know what to do in that moment. He was so proud of his godson for continuing to reassure Sirius while Harry himself sat there not saying anything the entire time. Having to tell his dead godfather that his best friend and cousin had died, only to leave an orphaned son wasn't anything he ever expected to do. As Sirius' head fell into his hands, Harry rubbed his back.
'Your death hit Remus hard too, you know,' he finally chimed in. Sirius lifted his face to look between Teddy and Harry. 'His best friend was killed and I think he took it as a sign that life is short and he should make the most of it instead of hiding his feelings from Tonks. Then Teddy happened and I'd never seen him happier.'
Sirius finally smiled. 'Well, I kind of wish there was something after all this where I could tell him how happy I am for him. Nymphie, too. I like you, Teddy. You seem like a more fun version of your dad.'
Teddy laughed. 'Marauder's honour?'
'You bet, kid,' Sirius grinned.
'We've still got to catch you up with everything else that happened after you copped it,' Harry smirked. 'Starting with the end of my sixth year.'
Sirius was silent throughout the whole explanation of Horcruxes until Dumbledore's death was brought up. 'SNAPE DID WHAT?'
'Remember,' Harry tried to calm Sirius, 'Dumbledore was dying from the cursed ring. He wanted Snape to kill him so that Voldemort would be a hundred percent convinced of his loyalty to the cause. Snape was one of us the whole time, trust me. Even though I didn't know that until a year later.'
Mumbling something about greasy hair, Sirius motioned for Harry to continue the story. He managed to get through the Horcrux hunting without much issue (Harry specifically didn't mention the fight between him and Remus) until the Battle of Hogwarts. 'So we got to the Hog's Head and found out that Aberforth was the one keeping an eye out for us. Anyway, he called Neville Longbottom and Nev took us through the castle to the Room of Requirement, where they had turned it into a kind of sanctuary for anyone who wanted shelter from the so-called teachers Snape had instated.'
Sirius was captivated and was genuinely upset when he heard about the death of Fred Weasley, but not as upset as when he heard Harry tried to sacrifice himself in the Forbidden Forest. 'Dammit Harry, after all that everyone went through trying to protect you, you go and do that?'
Harry explained that it all worked out okay in the end but Sirius wasn't impressed with his excuse. The best moment wasn't when Harry told his godfather about Voldemort's defeat, but Molly Weasley's victory over his rotten cousin Bellatrix. In Sirius' words, 'the cow should have suffered more.' Teddy and Harry couldn't have agreed more.