AU. When Sirius and Remus go looking for Peter Pettigrew, they make a wrong turn and someone else finds him first. Eight years later, Sirius owns a book store and Remus manages it for him. When Harry stumbles into the store and they find out the truth, they decide it's time to be Stealing Harry. (SB/RL slash relationship in later chapters.)
Alastor Moody hung up his Muggle bowler hat on a hook inside the front door of 12 Grimmauld Place, and growled a greeting at Sirius as he stumped inside.
"Dumb luck," he said. "Pure dumb luck."
"Seems to run in the family," Sirius replied, knowing that Moody's grim and threatening tone was an act; Remus was still somewhat in awe of the older man, but then Remus liked to circumvent authority by other means than confrontation. One or two good shouting matches, over the years, had brought Sirius and Moody to an equable if somewhat tense understanding.
"Not a single ward on the Weasley place. Big high hedges for hiding in. Are ye daft, man?" Moody continued.
"No, sir," Sirius said. "Just wanted to let Harry have a real birthday for once."
"Constant vigilance!" Moody boomed, following Sirius into the kitchen. He thumped his way to the middle of the floor, and took in the breakfast table where Ted, Remus, and Andromeda were sitting. Nymphadora stood nervously behind her mother, and Harry behind Remus. Moody let the sack he was carrying fall to the ground.
"Lupin!" he barked. Remus nodded. "You saw her first."
"Smelled her," Remus answered. "Bill Weasley saw her, though, I think."
"She hadn't washed," Remus said simply. "She smelled like rot."
"Where's the Weasley boy?"
"Gone home," Sirius said.
Mad-Eye seemed resigned to this, and nodded, with muttered greetings, to the Tonkses. "Speak with him later."
He kicked the sack he'd dropped towards Remus, who bent and lifted it, untying the knot holding it closed. "Brought the lad's broom. What's left of it," Moody added. Remus took out a handful of slivers, each about as long as his hand, and glanced over his shoulder at Harry, who bit his lip.
"My racing broom..." the boy said, voice shaking a little.
"We'll get you another one," Remus said softly. "We should be grateful. This could have been your leg," he added, holding up a smashed piece of wood.
"Never mind that now. Black's got a plan," Mad-Eye prompted, turning to Sirius, who was staring at the piece of wood with a hard, cold look on his face.
"I'll kill them both," he said softly. "With my bare hands."
"Better to toss 'em in Azkaban. Really make 'em suffer," Moody put in.
"The plan is Nymphadora's idea," Sirius said, pulling himself back to the present. The girl opened her mouth to protest the name, but Sirius continued. "Snape -- "
"Right," Moody barked. "That one. Taking the lad places he oughtn't be going, Dumbledore said something about it. Go on then."
"Peter must have been hiding out at the bookshop. Snape thinks he might go back there, especially if he doesn't know we've guessed he's holed up there. We thought we ought to try trapping him."
Moody scratched his chin with a sound like sandpaper on wood.
"There are spells to expel an animagus from animal form..." Nymphadora said hesitantly, suddenly shy in front of this strange, claw-legged man.
"Aye," Mad-Eye agreed, regarding her. "You'd be the trainee, then."
"Scared of me?"
"Good. Ought to be," Moody grunted. "Right then. Takes care of half the problem. Can't find the fugitive without the rat, though. Any ideas on that front, trainee?" he asked.
Nymphadora bit her lip. "Veritaserum on him when we catch him, though that's dangerous. Or...we could...use him to catch her...he's hiding her somewhere. Probably warded," she said, gaining speed. "And if we want to catch her we've got to lure her out, so -- get her to come to the bookshop -- "
She faltered under Moody's unblinking gaze, and fell silent.
"I think it's a good idea," Harry piped up, fearlessly. Moody glanced at him.
"Not bad," he agreed, and Nymphadora swelled with pride. "Black, you're the chess player. Your own home, your own child, so we're at your disposal."
Sirius sat, and let his fingers drift over an empty teacup, considering matters. Remus coughed quietly, and Sirius glanced at him. The brown-haired man tilted an eyebrow, and stroked the scar on his jaw.
Message sent and received. Indestructible Lupin is also at your service.
Damned if he'd send Remus into danger alone. Not now. Not when he was so close to everything he needed for happiness, with only Peter Bloody Pettigrew and his own cousin Bellatrix standing in the way.
Besides, Remus didn't have it in him to kill two people.
At least, Sirius didn't think he did.
"We need to make them think they're safe at the bookshop," he said slowly. "Bellatrix needs a reason to come after us there."
"I think they already took what they needed from us," Remus said, touching Harry's hand where it rested on his shoulder. "Though I don't know why."
"We should...find out," Sirius answered. "And...we should -- we need to know what they're thinking, what they're planning."
"Shouldn't be too hard," Andromeda put in. Sirius glanced at her. She looked down. "She's family," she said. "We remember."
Sirius bowed his head. He couldn't deny it, much as he wanted to. And Peter had been one of their inner circle; no matter what he was now, ten years ago only James and Remus had been closer to Sirius than Peter.
Moody was watching him with a look that was almost smug. He and Dumbledore had warned them of the dangers of taking Harry from the Dursleys.
"Right then," Sirius said finally. "Harry stays here. Andromeda -- "
"We'll stay also. We can clean," Andromeda said brightly. Nymphadora let out a tiny groan.
"Remus, can you find out why he'd want that blood?" Sirius asked. Remus drew his eyebrows together.
"I'll need a few books from the flat. And..." he paused. "It would help if I had...well -- "
Moody cleared his throat. "Saw Dumbledore before I came here. Said we might put Snape to work. Man's climbing the walls for lack of employ."
"He could mind his business, if he wanted a job," Sirius grumbled.
"Snape would be a help," Remus said. "He has access to Hogwarts' library, and he...well, he knows Dark Arts."
"So d'you," Sirius replied.
"Not the way he does," Remus murmured. "Not from the inside."
"Merlin forbid you ever should," Moody snapped. "Blood magic and kin-protection charms! Damn mess, the lot of it."
"Can I see Professor Snape?" Harry asked, and most of the adults looked at him. "I'm good at books. I could help."
Sirius covered his face with one hand, rubbing his jaw in thought.
"Why don't we go and look at the library," Remus suggested. He gave Sirius a warning look as he left, leading Harry. "Don't do anything I wouldn't do, children."
"What's that supposed to mean?" Nymphadora demanded, as the kitchen doors swung shut.
"He's worried we're going to hatch a half-witted plan," Sirius answered absently.
"Well, you have done in the past," Andromeda pointed out. "Really, Sirius, stealing the boy from his family without even making any preparations beforehand -- "
"How many times do I have to say this? They were locking -- " Sirius began to snarl about what the Dursleys had done to his godson, then caught himself, glancing at the door Harry had just passed through. "I'd rather take my chances with Peter than with the Dursleys," he muttered.
"And I'm sure Harry feels the same," Ted said smoothly. "That's not the problem right now. The problem right now is that Bellatrix Lestrange is loose, and Peter Pettigrew too, and they clearly have a plan. We might consider telling the Ministry there's a dead man on the loose. They've got a lot more firepower than an Auror and a couple of shopkeepers," he added ruefully.
"I'll talk to the Aurors," Moody grumbled. "Ought to know there's been a sighting of Lestrange, and that Pettigrew's still alive, fingers or no." He pointed at Sirius. "You give Lupin and Snape today and tomorrow to find out what the wicked pair're after. If we don't know by then, we'll bloody start putting out mousetraps."
Sirius nodded, slowly. "In that case, I ought to help with the research also," he said, almost as a question.
"I'll go back to your flat with you," Ted said. "Looks like your wards may or may not work -- you can fetch clothes, and anything you're worried Pettigrew might get his hands on."
"Take the lass," Moody grunted. Nymphadora blinked. "Nothin' like field work. I'll fetch Snape, explain everything. How're the Weasleys holding up?"
"Fine, so far as I know," Ted answered. "You might check in on your way to get Snape."
Moody nodded curtly, and without another word, floo'd out to the Weasley house, leaving the Tonks family and Sirius in the kitchen.
"Well," Andromeda said, after a brief moment. "That'll clearly take some time, he'll have to argue a bit with Severus. I'm going to go home and get some cleaning supplies."
"You don't have to do that," Sirius protested weakly.
"Well, I might as well, if you're going to be here a while, and anyway, if you're serious about selling it to us, I'd have to do it then." Andromeda gave him a falsely bright smile. "Besides, it'll keep my mind off of things. Don't wait for me; I won't be gone long, but you might as well get a jump on the day."
She tossed a pinch of powder into the fireplace, stepped inside, and vanished; Ted glanced at his daughter, who was watching Sirius, wide-eyed.
"I'd better go tell Remus we'll be gone," Sirius said. "I'm not sure we ought to leave just the two of them alone in the house."
"Moody and Snape'll be back soon, I'm sure they'll be fine," Ted said reassuringly. "We'll wait here."
"Ought to lock them in the library," Sirius grumbled, as he climbed the stairs. He heard Ted chuckle, behind him, and ask Nymphadora something indecipherable. He caught the words "Moody" and "dangerous job", and grinned a little to himself.
He let himself into the library quietly; his father had charmed the bookshelves to spit books at anyone who talked above a certain level, and he'd been a very bruised young child when he'd finally taken an interest in reading, but hadn't figured out the charm. It had, on the up-side, taught him to be nimble, since he was forever dodging large leatherbound books until Bellatrix had taken pity on him, despite her belief that he was insane for wanting to read for pleasure, and told him about the charm.
Bellatrix had once been beautiful and nice to her young cousin and everything Sirius wanted to be.
He shut his eyes, standing in the entranceway of the library. He'd genuinely liked Bellatrix, as a child.
Then they'd grown up, and it had all gone to hell the day Sirius walked out of this awful old house, if it hadn't already gone to hell when Bellatrix joined Voldemort.
And she's the one, he reminded himself, who's responsible for that bandage on Harry's shoulder.
The thought gave him strength, of a horrible sort, and he opened his eyes, taking in the long, dusty shafts of sunlight thrown across the floor by the library windows. If he listened hard, he could hear Harry's high, child's voice asking a question, and Remus' deeper reply. He followed the sound silently until he could make out the words.
" -- actually read all these books?"
"I don't know, Harry. Some people buy books just to own books."
"Because they like having books around, perhaps. Or they think it makes them look clever, I suppose."
"I don't think some of these books would make anyone look very smart at all. This one's too big."
"Put it on the table, there, I need that one."
"I guess just about everything in the world is in these books somewhere, huh?"
"Everything we know about it, anyway. You know, all these books belong to Sirius. He inherited them after his mum died."
"Sirius had a mum?"
"Course Sirius had a mum. So have I. Well -- his mum and mine are both dead, like yours. And Sirius' dad, too. Which is why all these books belong to Sirius."
"Sirius hasn't any parents either?"
"Sort of. His parents weren't as nice as yours."
"Sirius could open another bookshop with all these books."
"That he could, but I don't think he will. Some of them are...not very nice books."
"Like the ones you keep on the top shelf?"
"In a way. If I lift you up, can you take that one for me? Grand, Harry, thanks."
"Are there fun books in here? Like storybooks?"
"I doubt it. Maybe. Sirius told me he used to spend a lot of time in here, reading. Which explains a lot, really."
"What's he gonna do with all these books, then?"
"I don't know. Sell them to Andromeda, maybe."
"I like her. When I grow up I'm going to marry Nymphadora."
"Have you told Nymphadora that yet?"
"She said she wouldn't have me till I was eighteen, and I'd have to fight Bill, but that's all right, as he's wretched at duelling, she says. I'd definitely marry her if her mum has all these books."
"Well, Sirius might give them to you, instead, you know."
"I'd rather have Sandust's books."
"Me too, Harry."
"Sirius hasn't any parents? Really?"
"He must get lonely."
Sirius rapped on the edge of the bookshelf, softly, and Remus looked up from the book he was reading, startled. "Making trouble, Harry?" he asked. Harry, who'd been happily building a tower out of Caspan's Magical Grimoire Index, volumes E through X, smiled brightly at him.
"Harry's been helping me get books off the high shelves, haven't you lad," Remus said, setting a red, cloth-bound book on a table he'd apparently charmed to follow him around. It was floating an inch off the floor, already groaning under the weight of dozens of various-sized volumes. Harry nodded solemnly.
"Finally earning your keep, eh?" Sirius asked, leaning against one of the shelves. "Harry, there's a window-seat the next shelf over, if you lift it up there should be a box of comic books in a hole under the cushion."
Remus lifted an eyebrow as Harry crossed the central aisle. Sirius gave him a grin, and a shrug. "Had to stash them somewhere, and the house elves were always poking around my room."
They heard Harry laugh delightedly, and Sirius leaned just enough so that he could see the boy settling onto the cushion with a Wizarding comic in his hands.
"What's the decision?" Remus asked softly.
"We have until tomorrow evening to figure out what they want. After that Moody's going to call the Aurors in, I think. I'm going back to the flat to pick up some clothes, and Frog -- is there anything you need?"
"My shaving kit, and a few books -- I'll give you a list," Remus said, taking a scrap of parchment out of his pocket and scrawling on it with a quill from the table.
"Andromeda's gone to get some cleaning supplies -- she's determined to dust from cellar to attic," Sirius added. "Ted and Nymphadora are going to come along with me."
Remus was nodding as he wrote. Sirius grasped the end of the quill between two fingers, and the brown-haired man looked up.
"You'll be all right? Here alone with Harry?" he asked.
"We're safe here. From the outside," Remus added, dusting off a book. "Nothing in here I can't handle."
Sirius let go of the quill, and Remus dotted a final i, handing it to him. Sirius' index finger brushed his thumb, and they both smiled.
"Listen...I don't, you know. Get lonely," Sirius said. "I hated my parents."
"You heard us talking."
"Some of it. I'm not lonely," Sirius repeated. "I'd better to say bye to Harry. I won't be long."
He felt Remus' eyes on him as he bent to kiss the top of Harry's head; as Harry lifted his face to Sirius, stiffly because of the bandage, and smiled encouragingly. He felt Remus still watching him as he turned to leave, letting himself out as quietly as he'd arrived. It made his skin tingle in unfamiliar, not entirely unpleasant ways.
Andromeda was noisily cleaning the kitchen when Sirius and the rest of the Tonks family returned; Moody was sipping tea in a corner of the kitchen, and indicated with a mutter and a wave of a hand that Snape was already in the library. Sirius barely paused to set down two hastily-packed satchels of clothing in their bedroom, snatch Frog, and grab the pile of books Remus had requested, before he pushed his way into the library.
The table Remus had charmed to follow him was now resting firmly on the ground, in the central atrium of the library; he was hunched over it, sunlight turning the book-pages, and his hair, bright gold. Snape was standing to one side, leafing through another volume, and Harry was sitting crosslegged on the table itself, still reading comics. He looked up when Sirius entered, and grinned. Snape looked up also, and scowled.
Sirius set the books at Remus' elbow, deliberately brushing his arm with his hand, and passed Frog over to Harry.
"Thanks, Sirius," Harry said, tucking Frog next to his hip. "Gonna read with us?"
Sirius reached into his pocket and took out the rest of his cargo for Harry -- the blue snake that Snape had given him as a birthday present. He saw Snape's eyes follow his hand as the small reptile curled close to Sirius' fingers, before sliding across them and around Harry's wrist. Harry, delighted, held up his hand to Snape, who gave him a brief nod before returning to his reading.
"Ted and Nymphadora are going to help Andromeda -- they thought they'd get in the way here. Where've we got to, then?" Sirius asked, seating himself next to Remus and picking up a book off the pile. Remus rested his cheek on his hand, a gesture left over from their Hogwarts days.
"I'm on blood rituals, and Severus is looking at hexes aimed primarily at children. Though I do think if he'd wanted Harry dead he could have been more direct about it than he was. Wouldn't have taken all that much effort to roll you off him," Remus said quietly. Snape flicked the fingers of his left hand dismissively before turning another page. "Most blood rituals require willingly-given sacrifices on the part of the wizard performing the spell -- like the nomos spell I cast on the flat. Things that require innocent sacrifice..." he glanced at Harry, who had hung the docile snake around his neck; he leaned closer to Sirius, lowering his voice further. "This is deep, dark magic, Sirius. We're talking necromancy, demon-raising, torment curses...the sort of thing Bellatrix would practice, I suppose -- I always pegged Peter as more of a yes-man who found the wrong person to say yes to." He took the book out of Sirius' hands, replacing it with another. "Have a look at some of the necromancy stuff. Possibly Peter's trying to resurrect...someone. I don't know that he's bright enough, but..."
"Lupin." Snape's voice was quiet but crisp, as he held out the book he'd been reading, so that Remus could examine the text. "Quite possibly it's not actually for a spell at all. There's a compendium of potions by base ingredient, I believe; I'll retrieve it from Hogwarts tonight. Have you a copy of Libris Sanguinorum?" he asked Sirius, who looked surprised at the directness of the question.
"The one with the bloody hand on the cover?" Sirius asked.
"Yes, the third edition."
"I think so. Fascinated me as a kid," Sirius said, not quite able to believe he was being civil to his archnemesis. "Try the third aisle down, with the house-elf head on the end."
Snape swooped off, and Remus made a notation on his parchment. Harry appeared to be watching them over the edge of his comic.
"Can people talk to frogs?" he asked, when he saw Sirius watching back.
Even Remus tore his attention away from his book, for that one.
"Not normally," Sirius answered cautiously. "I guess there are spells...don't see why you'd want to, really. Frogs can't have much to say."
"Snakes do," Harry answered. "Snake says he likes me better than your fuzzy old pocket."
Remus looked amused.
"He says you had coins in your pocket and they were lumpy," Harry added. Sirius reached into his pocket and brought out a handful of sickles. "Also they were cold," Harry added, as Snape returned, carrying a ghastly green book with a lurid bloody hand on the front cover.
"It was that or he starved," Sirius answered. "I don't know when we'll be able to go home again, Harry."
All three men stared as Harry hissed.
"Harry -- " Sirius began, but Harry continued to hiss and make small, strange noises in his throat, as the snake curled up over one of his ears and down near his mouth, looking for all the world as if it were trying to hear him better.
"What on earth..." Remus said, now totally distracted from research.
"He says it was still cold." Harry shrugged and returned to his comic.
"Harry, did you just talk to that snake?" Sirius demanded. Harry grinned and nodded. Remus' jaw had dropped. "Not for play, Harry. For real."
"I'm not playing," Harry replied. "Or telling tales. Ask Professor Snape, he believes me."
Sirius turned, ever so slowly, to regard Snape, wearing one of the most smug expressions Sirius had ever seen.
"Is he a Parselmouth?" he asked, feeling like the biggest fool in the world.
"I was," Snape said, silkily, "forbidden from telling you. Dumbledore's orders. I understand you take great delight in defying such things, but I, unfortunately, had a career to consider. I cannot, after all, be responsible for your lack of obser -- "
"YOU KNEW?" Sirius roared, and a flock of books immediately flew out of the nearby shelves in attack formation. Harry squeaked and ducked, Remus tried to fend them off, and Snape stood very still, like a Zen master witnessing an avalanche of a very literary nature. When Sirius emerged from the melee, Snape raised his index finger to his lips and made a very soft shushing noise.
The shush may have been his death knell, except that Remus instinctively blocked Sirius from getting his fingers around Snape's throat, and after a second, Sirius realised that Harry was watching with great interest.
"Outside," Remus ordered. "Now. Go. Shout at Dumbledore if you have to, but if you're going to be uselessly loud, you may as well let the rest of us work in peace. And you," he added, turning to Snape, "Are going to tell us everything you know, just as soon as I get through this section on poisoned daggers."
"How can you -- " Sirius sputtered, but Remus pressed his thumb over Sirius' lips, silencing him quite effectively.
"I have a limited capacity for dealing with crises," he said, emphasising each syllable. "I cannot at once process an attempt on Harry's life, Peter living as a rat for eight years in your bookshop, two grown men who can't be arsed to be civil to one another, and Harry's Doctor Doolittle act simultaneously without a great deal more alcohol than I currently have. Either go shout somewhere else, the both of you, or stay here and actually make yourselves useful."
Both men were silent for a minute; finally, Sirius picked up a book and plonked it down on top of the first one, flipping angrily to the index. Severus, hesitating, took a careful seat well on the other side of the table. Harry leaned forward over his comic, and whispered to Remus, "You're not going to turn them into turtles, are you?"
"I'm seriously considering it, Harry," Remus replied. "How long, incidentally, have you been able to talk to snakes?"
Harry shrugged. "Since I can remember. Nobody ever believed me. Am I in trouble?"
"No. But I wouldn't start hissing in public, all right?"
"It's not like anyone ever notices," Harry sulked.
"As a favour to me, Harry?"
Harry lifted a hand to delicately stroke the snake's head. "All right, Remus." He bent forward. "I'll keep your secret, too."
Remus bent forward. "What secret is that?"
Harry turned his comic around, and showed Remus one of the picture pages. In it, a caged werewolf was savagely attacking the bars of its prison.
"Oh bloody hell," Remus said, with feeling, right before five or six books attacked him.
"Those were some very bad words," Harry said over his crisps, as he and Remus recounted the library attack for the Tonkses and Moody, minus a few key details.
"Indeed they were," Remus agreed. "I'm sure a couple of grimoires upside the head were only what I deserved."
Down the stairs floated the muted sounds of Sirius and Severus having a really mighty row. Harry seemed unconcerned by it; Remus was going to leave them to it. Moody seemed to be positively enjoying it. The general drift seemed to be that Severus ought to have told Sirius his own godson was a parseltongue, and Sirius ought to have noticed it himself if he was so bloody great at being a godfather in the first place. Remus had quietly confiscated both their wands just before announcing they ought to stop for dinner.
"We should look into getting rid of that particular charm," Ted said, around a mouthful of sandwich. Nymphadora had made the sandwiches, and none of them wanted to see what the kitchen looked like after half an hour of crashing and clattering, but he had to admit they weren't bad-tasting.
"You say you wanted to put in a shop on the ground floor, Andromeda?" Remus asked.
Andromeda smiled and nodded. "We thought we could get one of those new portkey-storefronts, have you seen them? The storefront opens onto Diagon Alley but the actual shop can be nearly anywhere in London. Certainly wouldn't get much business around here. Neighbourhood's definitely gone downmarket in the last ten years."
"Give you a hand, if you like, once everything blows over," Remus offered. Upstairs there was a crash.
"Reckon we ought to go make sure nobody's going to die?" Ted asked.
"Let 'em to it," Moody grunted. "Do 'em no harm."
"I could certainly show you how to set up accounting, I've been keeping Sirius' books for a few years," Remus continued. Andromeda seemed to choke on a piece of chicken, and Ted thumped her back.
"We'd appreciate that," Ted said, scraping the tomatoes off his sandwich. There was a muttered "Sorry, dad" from Nymphadora.
"How did your research go?" Andromeda asked, when she'd cleared her throat. Remus frowned.
"I'm not sure. It...worries me," he said slowly. "I don't think it's meant to harm Harry at all, or Peter wouldn't have -- " he broke off, glancing at Harry, who was stealthily stealing one of Ted's discarded tomatoes. Andromeda nodded. "Severus thinks perhaps it's a potion, he's going to do more research tonight."
They all listened philosophically to another thud from upstairs.
"It's a good thing he likes Harry," Remus said with a smile. "I can't imagine either of them would take the sort of abuse the other dishes out, otherwise."
"Hard to imagine him liking anyone," Nymphadora muttered.
"At any rate, we're narrowing the field on why they wanted that blood. Slowly. We won't know what to do until we know what Peter's planning, but by the time we find out he may have already done it."
"S'why there's a time limit," Moody put in. "Can't afford to wait any longer, not with that crazy b -- " he looked at Harry, who was interestedly examining his false eye. "With that Bellatrix on the loose."
"Why's it move on its own?" Harry asked. Moody reached up and, to a chorus of disgusted groans from the rest of the company, took the eye out, dropping it in his water glass and holding it out for Harry to look at. The eye rolled around in the water until the electric blue pupil was fixed on Harry.
"Must you give anatomy lessons at the dinner table?" Andromeda asked delicately.
"He asked," Moody grunted. He took the eye out of the water and popped it back into place, where it swiveled upwards. "Looks like Black and Snape're pretty well finished," he added, as Sirius came clattering down the stairs. He gave them all a sullen, angry look, and threw himself into a chair next to Remus. Snape followed. Andromeda offered sandwiches.
"Nymphadora made them," she said, just as Sirius bit into one. Sirius paused for a moment, apparently decided to go through with it, and bit the rest of the way. Snape eyed them with the suspicion of a man who's seen exactly how many ways the sandwich-maker in question could screw up a potion.
"I'm going to Hogwarts," Snape growled. "For further research. I'll return tomorrow."
"Don't hurry back," Sirius said under his breath. Remus kicked the back of his leg. Harry got up from his chair, took a sandwich off the platter, and offered it to Snape. He hesitated a moment before accepting.
"I'm sorry Sirius yelled at you," Harry whispered.
"I'm not," Sirius added. Snape gave them all a sweeping, slightly disgusted look, tried to look as though he wasn't actually bending to hug a nine-year-old boy goodbye, and then vanished into the kitchen fire with a toss of floo powder and a snarled "Hogwarts!"
"Good talk, was it?" Remus asked mildly.
"He should have told us."
"Does it occur to you he was trying to, without breaking a promise?" Remus asked.
"No, that doesn't occur to me, why didn't he just tell us?"
Remus sighed. "He gave Harry a snake, Sirius."
Sirius frowned for a moment, until comprehension dawned in his eyes. Remus saw his suddenly understanding look, and nodded.
"Why didn't you point that out before?" Sirius demanded. Remus shrugged.
"Does you both good to shout a bit," he said calmly, and Andromeda began to laugh.