Sirius Thoughts and Considerations
I'm sorry it's taken me so long to update this story and I want to thank everyone who has left me a review. I have been working on this story on and off but haven't really gotten much done so I especially want to thank whoever nominated me for the Crossing Over Awards. That prompted me to sit down and outline the remainder of the story and get moving.
Sirius Thoughts and Considerations
(aka Xander still doesn't have any fashion sense. At all.)
Sirius Black had learned early on in his incarceration in Azkaban that the dementors' despair didn't affect him as badly when he was in his animagus form. There was something about the simplicity of his thoughts and feelings when he was a dog that didn't give the dementors any reason to hover beside his cell. When he was Padfoot, he missed his pack mates and he knew they wouldn't return to run with him again but he mourned as an animal did; with fleeting memories of running together in the night and the occasional mournful howl.
Sometimes, though, when the human guards walked the prison halls, Sirius had to remain human and feel the effects of the soulless dementors. He despaired at the loss of his best friends, Prongs and his lovely mate, Jessica. He seethed and raged over the betrayal of Peter Pettigrew. And most of all, he feared and dreaded the hatred his best friend, Moony, would hold for him. During the times when the humans walked the halls and the moon was full above Azkaban, the dementors were always near his cell, feasting on his pain and despair.
Even now, when he knew he was safely away from that hellpit of a place, the dreams of the dementors disturbed Padfoot's sleep. His dreams never let him escape and on his worse days, he knew he deserved the pain for what he considered his fault.
In his dreams, he still stood before the still form of his best friend's body, sprawled just inside the doorway of his home in Godric's Hollow. He saw the brown gaze that had shared so much laughter staring up at him, the expression on his face frantic and frightened and knowing that his wife and son would be the next to die. Sirius then raced up the stairs to find Jessica's body fallen beside the crib of his godson, on her face the same horrible expression as her husband.
Beyond her body, in the scorched crib lay Xander, his cries of pain and confusion filling the room, the wound on his forehead bleeding freely. His brown eyes were wild and gleaming with tears in his little red face and always in his dreams, Xander was screaming out Sirius' shame.
*This is your fault, Sirius! I hate you! You killed my parents!*
And Sirius didn't respond as he listened to those painful cries. It was, after all, true.
He whimpered in his dreams, feeling cold and hurt and helpless. His paws dug into the sheets beneath him, trying to get away from the despair that, even dimmed by his animagus form, rolled through his dreams.
Eventually, though, even through the dreams, Padfoot began to feel gentle fingers drifting through the fur on his neck. In his dreams, baby Xander's cries faded away, replaced by a familiar voice that murmured comforting, calming words. His furred ears perked for a moment before lying down against Padfoot's head and the dog dug himself deeper into covers that carried the comforting scent of his godson. A final whuff of air and Sirius sank into less hurtful dreams and a peaceful sleep.
Beside him, Xander just watched the snoozing animal for a long time before he went back to reading. He made a mental note to make sure that once his name was cleared that Sirius should go to see a mind healer. He knew the man wouldn't like it but after 12 years in Azkaban, Xander thought it was something that was non-negotiable. He remembered wondering why no one in the books really did anything to help Sirius' mind or body considering how long he'd been in prison. Certainly the man was an escaped convict and not able to go to St Mungo's but Poppy, at least, could have helped him.
Xander sighed to himself and pushed those thoughts away. The past (in the Harry Potter books anyway) didn't concern him any longer. He was focused on the present and the future and what he needed to do to make it work out how he wanted it to.
A very selfish point of view, perhaps, but he happily blamed the vengeance demon and continued his planning.
With a faint smirk to his lips, Xander continued to absently pet the large dog dozing beside him on the bed as he turned another page in the first book of the Sunnydale Series. "Buffy Summers: The Slayer of Sunnydale" was an amazing read and he'd soon found himself immersed in the story even though he usually knew what was going to happen next. There were some definite differences though that he'd noticed immediately. He'd also blushed hotly as poor Harry fell off his skateboard on his first meeting with the pretty new student, Buffy Summers. Xander definitely felt his pain.
He had just finished the sixth chapter, called The Pack, when a furry nose stuck itself into the pages of his book. A moment later, Sirius was leaning over him with a curious look.
"What are you reading?" he asked
Xander flipped the book shut, holding his place with his finger as he showed Sirius the front cover. "The Slayer of Sunnydale," Xander said in case his godfather couldn't read. "It's pretty good."
Xander watched as Sirius studied the cover of the book, which sported the pretty, young face of Buffy with Willow, Jesse and Harry in the background. Though not prominent on the cover, the fifteen-year-old Harry was detailed enough to show his messy hair and round glasses. Xander wondered if Sirius would show any reaction to his real godson.
Sirius just gave Xander a faint leer. "Aren't you a little young to be crushing on blonds?"
Xander didn't reply verbally. He just beaned Sirius on the head with his book.
"Hey!" an indignant godfather yelped as he rubbed his head and looked very pained as Xander slid off the bed. "You didn't have to hit me so hard," Sirius whined.
"With a head as hard as yours, I should be more concerned for my book," Xander noted with a smirk and checked the cover of his book for any head-shaped dents. Sirius' blue eyes narrowed.
"You know I'll have to retaliate, pup," he stated in a lazy tone as he leaned back against the headboard. "Just wait 'til I get your wand again. You'll remember your braids fondly after what I do to you next."
Xander turned and glared at his smirking godfather. "Speaking of...." he started as he yanked a couple of his braids pointedly.
The older wizard beamed happily. "They look good on you, pup."
The little wizard crossed his arms and pouted. "Well, until you turn my hair back the way it was, you won't get the present I got for you."
Sirius blinked for a moment and then jumped off the bed and practically bounced in place. "What did you get me?"
Xander blinked for a moment before he grinned. "Braids first, dogboy."
"I don't have a wand, Xander," Sirius pointed out in a tone that implied his godson was a little slow. Xander just smirked.
"Well, that's true enough," the boy said as he dropped his book on the table and picked up the bag that was sitting there. He rummaged around for a moment and then turned back around. "I guess you'll have to use one of these," he noted as he held out the two wands he'd found in his parents' vault at Gringotts.
Sirius froze as he stared at the pair of wands he immediately recognized. He didn't move for several moments and Xander's grin dropped away.
"What's wrong?" he asked his silent godfather. "Can't you use one of them?"
Sirius tried to speak and found he couldn't. He cleared his throat but all he managed to choke out was, "Where did you get them?"
Xander stared hard at the two wands; one a dark, lustrous wood with detailed vines winding around it and the other made of a light, strong wood with graceful runes carved along the sides.
"I found them at Gringotts," he replied in a faint voice that slowly gained volume and momentum. "I thought you could use one of these until you got another wand since I know you'll be moving around a lot after you leave here on your way to Hogwarts and I didn't want you to be defenseless I mean who knows what you might run into but this way you could apparate and you have to be safe Sirius I want you to be safe...."
Sirius was suddenly beside him and holding the boy close to his side. Xander hadn't realized he was shaking until his godfather held him close.
"I will be, Xander," Sirius said in a calm tone as he ran a hand through the thick braids. Xander didn't see it but the older wizard gave a faint grin. "You've made sure of that."
"Promise you'll be careful, Sirius," Xander as he looked up at the worn face that had become so dear in just a matter of days. The boy couldn't tell if it was his Harry memories that caused him to become so attached to his godfather or the fact that Xander was already predisposed to like Sirius Black but either way, the man was definitely pack. "I don't want to lose anyone else."
"I promise I'll be very careful, Xander," Sirius stated and his blue eyes were dark with the same pain Xander was feeling. The animagus didn't want to lose anyone else either.
Xander took a deep breath and then offered the wands again, looking up at his godfather.
"I hope you can use one of these," he said as he worked to keep his tone steady. "I don't know how compatible wands have to be to a wizard in order for them to work."
Sirius just grinned and carefully took the wand with the lighter wood. "Tony and I switched wands several times during school for various prank purposes," he said and then stood proudly and looked down his nose at his godson. "Purposes that I will reveal unto you, Xander, so that you may go forth and create havoc as your father and I did."
With a flick of the wand, Xander's braids vanished, leaving his hair as spiky and messy as ever it was. The boy sighed with relief and ran his fingers through the thick mane of hair.
"Thanks, Sirius," he said with a sigh as he replaced his mother's wand in his bag. "But since all the teachers that were there when you created the original havoc are still there, they would know all your tricks and immediately know it was me." Xander shrugged and then grinned at Sirius' slightly disappointed expression. "I'll have to come up with some new and improved havoc."
Sirius just gave him a proud look and sighed happily. "That's my pup!"
Xander spent the remainder of his very enjoyable summer exploring Diagon Alley and the many smaller streets that led off of it that had never even been mentioned in the books. He saw a lot of the friends he remembered from Hogwarts and eventually got used to the weird feeling of seeing old and familiar friends for the first time. He also made a point to spend a lot of time reading his old school books as well as the new ones he'd gotten from his vault.
He finished up his summer homework, despite Sirius doing his best to distract his godson from something as plebeian as *homework*. But Xander was determined and so wherever he found an empty table in Diagon Alley, at Fortescue's Ice Cream Parlor, the Leaky Cauldron or some other eatery, he settled in to study, usually with Padfoot lying at his feet or in some nearby patch of sunlight. He'd decided that good food was absolutely necessary if he was going to have to actually break down and *study*.
He also finished up the Sunnydale series very quickly and was still amazed at how similar the seven years of stories went even with the addition of Jesse and Tara. It gave him some hope that the timeline here would remain similar enough for him to know what might happen and yet still allow him to make some changes for the better.
He wandered a lot as well. Sometimes he was accompanied by his very large, somewhat intimidating (but very well groomed) dog and sometimes he just wandered on his own, window shopping or buying some small item that he quickly tucked away in a shoulder bag.
Unbeknownst to the Wizarding population at large and a certain godfather in specific, Xander had also explored the muggle streets surrounding the Leaky Cauldron as well. He had wanted to know what was in the area in case he or Sirius ever had to make a quick escape from Diagon Alley. He had also been hoping to find an internet café where he could log on and see if he could find any traces of a Watcher's Council in this world. But there was nothing even similar to an internet café and checking the phone book was unsuccessful though he'd suspected that would be the case anyway. He at least found some clothing stores with things he actually recognized.
After a return trip to Gringotts to change some of his galleons into pounds, Xander bought himself a few pairs of jeans that fit and some comfy shirts along with various other items he was lacking: shoes, socks, underwear, a warm jacket, etc. He also bought some clothing and a warm, leather duster for Sirius that he told the clerk was for an older brother. Sirius was still thin and malnourished but he was slowly gaining a bit of weight so Xander guessed his size and hoped for the best. He thought about trying to get a Wizarding robe for his godfather but as well known as Xander was around Diagon Alley, he didn't want to take the chance that someone might ask who he was buying such a robe for.
Besides, Xander had found he was far more comfortable - and knowledgeable - about buying muggle items than he was Wizarding clothes though at one point towards the end of August, Sirius had insisted the boy get some decent robes.
"Muggle clothes are fine but you need Wizarding robes as well," he had pointed out firmly. "You may have been raised as muggle, Xander, but you are a wizard - a *Noble* wizard - and sometimes you'll need to look the part."
"But Sirius-," Xander had started to reply but the older man just held up his hand in an imperious manner.
"More importantly, no godson of *mine* is going to be seen in something like *that* in public!" he finished as he gestured toward the brightly colored shirt with green leaves and multi-colored parrots Xander had gleefully found on a clearance rack marked down to almost nothing. "You've obviously been spending far too much time around Dumbledore."
Xander felt his lip sticking out in a pout. "But I like this shirt!" he whined as he held the thing close to his heart. He gave his godfather a sly glance. "I was thinking of asking Madam Malkin if she'd make a robe in this material for me. And maybe a matching hat." Xander grinned. "With a tassel."
Sirius' blue eyes had just about popped out of his head. "ABSOLUTELY NOT!" he shouted. Xander grinned to himself as he thought about the hour-long rant *that* particular comment had brought about. Obviously Sirius took his clothing...er...seriously.
Currently, however, the Boy-Who-Lived was enjoying the last day he would have in the Alley this summer. Even though he would leave for Hogwarts tomorrow - and he could hardly contain his excitement at the thought of riding the Hogwarts Express - he was a little glum as his godfather had slipped away early this morning to make his own journey to Hogwarts.
Xander had insisted that he go, though, knowing the whole Weasley clan (plus one Pettigrew rat) would be at the Leaky Cauldron tonight. He certainly didn't want a confrontation between Sirius and Ratboy before Xander was ready for it but he already missed his godfather.
Sirius had wanted to go with Xander as Padfoot on the train but Xander quickly pointed out that Remus Lupin was going to be on the train as he was going to be the DADA teacher this year and he would immediately recognize the animagus for what he was. Xander didn't want to mention that he knew dementors would be aboard the train as well. He already had enough trouble keeping how he knew what he knew from Sirius.
Sirius had gotten quiet after Xander had mentioned Remus Lupin, turning away and staring out the small window in Xander's room. The younger wizard moved to stand beside his godfather and reached out to grip his arm.
"Remus didn't want to believe that you were guilty, Sirius," he said firmly. His godfather turned to him and Xander held his blue gaze. "There just seemed to be so much evidence against you and I don't think anyone was thinking straight at that time." Xander glanced away for a moment, his eyes growing hard. "I mean who would believe that *Peter*, of all people, would have the guts to betray his best friends?"
Sirius snorted as he folded his arms and turned to glare out the window again. "I certainly didn't."
"And then he cut off his own finger," Xander continued, his nose scrunching as he thought about it. "What kind of psycho rat does that? I mean, gross!"
Sirius studied his godson as Xander contemplated the grossness of Peter Pettigrew.
"You've never told me how you know all this," he said as he turned back to the youth beside him. "How you know I'm innocent or how you knew that I was Padfoot. How did you know Peter cut off his own finger?" Sirius reached out to grip his godson's shoulder and looked at him intently. "Xander, are you a Seer?"
Xander blinked and words from long ago flew through his mind.
*You're the one who sees everything, aren't you? Well, let's see what we can't do about that.*
The boy shuddered and crossed his arms in front of himself and he closed his eyes tightly. He may have two eyes now but he vividly remembered the feeling of Caleb's thumb popping out his eye as he said those words.
He lowered his chin and took a few deep breaths before he opened his eyes to find Sirius' worried blue gaze. Another breath and then Xander shook his head.
"I am not a Seer, Sirius but I do know some things," he said, "things from the past and some things from the future. But I'm not a Seer by *any* means." He held the older wizard's gaze. "I just need you to trust me for a little longer. Once I get hold of the rat that is Pettigrew, I can explain everything and make sure the Minister pardons you. *That* is my first priority."
Sirius' eyes widened in surprise and then narrowed. "You know where he is, don't you?" Xander nodded. Sirius paled and then felt his temper start rising. "I thought you meant you'd get him in a general sense of 'I'll track down his wormtailed arse and make sure he regrets ever being born' but you know exactly where he is."
"Yes and within the first week back at Hogwarts, he's going to be in a cage eating moldy cheese," Xander stated flatly. "And Professor Dumbledore had better start storming the Ministry to get you cleared."
"He's at Hogwarts?" Sirius asked in a deadly quiet tone and his godson shook his head.
"Not yet, but he will be," Xander stated. "And Sirius, I need to you trust me to take care of this. I know you hate Pettigrew and have every reason to want to bite his head off - and I can I just say ewwwwwww, don't *really* bite his head off, at least not in front of me cause that's as bad as cutting off your own finger, gross! I saw this Conan movie once where Conan bit the head off a vulture and it majorly squicked me..."
Sirius rolled his eyes and snapped his fingers. "Xander, focus."
The Boy Who Lived blinked for a moment and then looked a bit sheepish before his expression turned to a very determined one. "Well, anyway, just give me a chance to catch the little rat and turn him over to the headmaster. Then if you want, maybe Dumbledore will let you bite his head off." Xander's nose scrunched up. "Gross."
Sirius glared at his godson for a long moment before he took a deep, *deep* breath.
"All right, Xander," he finally said and then he gave his godson a half-smile. "I'll trust you. With everything except for my grooming and wardrobe."
"Hey!" came the indignant retort. "You do not have grooming issues! Thanks to me, you look great! And your teeth look absolutely splendid. Not even Gilderoy Lockhart has such fine teeth!" Xander beamed at his godfather. "Or nails, come to think of it."
Sirius growled and turned into Padfoot as Xander sprinted for the door. The boy slammed it shut just in time.
Xander smiled absently as he remembered Padfoot growling on the other side of the door. Of course his godfather had gotten revenge and made Xander's nails grow about five inches later that evening, each nail painted with a gold glitter.
The young wizard smiled to himself as he dodged another group of people shopping in Diagon Alley. He had reconsidered the wisdom of letting his godfather have Anthony Harris' wand several times, usually when Xander ended up with pink hair or gold-toned fingernails. But Sirius took such a simple pleasure in wielding his magic, even if it was just pranks that Xander couldn't make himself truly regret it.
Now, however, he had other things to think about as he came to a stop outside Quality Quidditch Supplies. He'd walked past this window at least four times a day, staring at the new Firebolt hanging in the window. He stood with a few other admirers in front of the window and quietly drooled. He reeeeeeally wanted that broom.
This was a completely new sensation to Xander. He'd never been interested in sports and never gone to any sort of game. Now, however, he had memories of zooming across the Quidditch pitch chasing the elusive golden snitch while the school kids far below him cheered him on. He knew with *this* broom, he would be just about unstoppable in catching the snitch. The fact that it would completely piss off Malfoy would just be an added bonus.
Xander's lips curled in a positively wicked smirk. Oh yeah. Malfoy would just have a frothing fit if Xander strolled onto the pitch with this Firebolt clutched in his fist. The Boy-Who-Lived snickered happily to himself as he considered that. He sincerely hoped that Sirius would get him the broom even after he was cleared. He could already feel how fast this broom would fly, how loud a scream Malfoy would let out.
Xander was just about to let out an evil cackle when a loud voice echoed across the street.
"Oy, Xander! Mate!" Ron Weasley called out as he crossed the busy street followed by a beaming Hermione Granger.
Xander took a deep breath and waited for the pair to join him. They looked just as he thought they would, just as his Harry memories had said they would. Ron was a bit taller than Xander remembered, his hair was fire-bright and his face and manners open for anyone who would like to look. Hermione was also getting tall but she was developing a few curves and her hair was a little more tamed than it was when Xander had last saw her in June.
This last observation was, of course, something that Harry Potter would never have noticed as a thirteen-year-old concerned more about Quidditch and candy and avoiding Death Eaters but Xander had cultivated his powers of observation to a razor's edge throughout his long association with various slayers and their bad hair, red tide days.
"Hi Hermione!" he called as they approached. "Your hair looks great!"
The girl blushed slightly as she hugged him for a long moment. "Thanks, Xander," she said as she stepped back and twined a brown tendril of hair around her finger. "You really think so?"
"Definitely! And Ron," Xander turned to his other best friend and blinked. "You got tall."
Ron smirked at his friend from his additional inches before Xander turned back to Hermione and stared hard.
"You're taller than me too!" he bleated. "It's only been two bloody months! How did you get taller than me?"
"Language, Xander," Hermione said primly though she was grinning at him. "We'll just have to make sure you eat more this year so you can catch up."
Ron laughed as Xander glared and grumbled, "It's just not fair. The Dursleys will pay for this. Mark my words. There will be pain in Dursleyville if I don't gain some inches this year!"