Grazhir :: Harry Potter :: Breakpoint :: 03 :: Surprises

03 • Surprises

He groaned when he woke up. The floor was chilly and somewhere in the distance was the sound of water splashing every so often. Eventually tired of simply lying there he opened his eyes and sat up. The chamber was exactly the same if he ignored the fact that Voldemort and Lucius weren’t there, and after a moment of thought Harry chuckled.

As he got to his feet and stretched he absently praised the powers that while he was at the heart of an extremely powerful artifact, it was one that Voldemort could not use for himself. Otherwise. . . .

Well, there was no point in dwelling on the impossible. He should be grateful, he knew, that Voldemort was willing to send him back, essentially cutting loose a potential enemy. Either Voldemort considered Harry to be a man of his word and thus neutral, or too weak or stupid to screw up his plans from the relative safety of anonymity.

Better Lesath Black than Death Eaters bent on Harry Potter’s death, right?

Harry—Saiph—checked in his pocket for his planner, then nodded and strode confidently toward the exit. He had a life to lead and a world to explore, and aside from verifying the actual date, the first thing he needed to do was tie up a few loose ends in England. That being the case, he verified his appearance once outside and headed toward the nearest town.

Diagon Alley was a quick stop once he was back in London, experienced long enough for Saiph to secure a newspaper, then resolutely left behind as he ensconced himself a muggle hotel room for the time being. The date, apparently, was 1 August 1991.

Saiph smiled. He knew that № 12 Grimmauld Place had not been taken over by the Order until he was fourteen, which meant that with a bit of caution and cunning he could enter the house and search for anything of interest. He really only needed to be careful of Sirius’s cousins; it wasn’t totally out of the question that any of the sisters might visit there from time to time for some mysterious reason, such as sucking up to the portrait of Walburga Black, though he rather doubted that Andromeda would do any such thing.

At any rate . . . Saiph was nothing if not daring.

A few weeks later he had left the United Kingdom behind, carefully keeping in mind the information Lucius had thoughtfully given him so that he might avoid any trouble spots.

*

“Well. . . .”

Lucius waited patiently, his gaze on the now empty design, only just then realizing that he and Saiph had never actually come to an agreement on when they would meet up next.

“Keep an eye on that suite, Lucius. While you may not see Black himself, he may leave something for you to let you know he has stopped by.”

“Yes, my lord.”

“We shall return now.”

When he did arrive back at the manor he checked Saiph’s suite, and there on the mantle was an envelope with his name on it, so he opened it and began to read.

Lucius,

First of all, I am well, and will be seeing you soon. However, I must warn you that I have a few surprises with me. One of them was planned, but the other two. . . . Let’s just say they were a surprise to me as well, not to mention an object lesson or six.

I won’t be able to bring them there, so once I’ve set things up, you will have to come to me, at least initially. I hope that is all right, and that I am not stressing our tentative friendship. I know that you hosted me for only a short time, but I look back on that time rather fondly.

I will contact you soon to let you know where to find me.

Saiph

*

Saiph checked, double-checked, and even triple-checked that he was ready before he headed out. He had spent a year, perhaps a bit more, training himself for the night to come. And while he had studied a number of memories almost obsessively for some time, there was one in particular that had occupied his attention almost exclusively for the better part of the past year. If he failed, he would have lost nothing, but if he succeeded. . . .

His first stop was the outskirts of Hogsmeade; from there he could sneak onto the school grounds via the tunnel from the Shrieking Shack. He settled in to wait, sitting high up in the branches of a tree on the edge of the dark forest, until he finally caught sight of three figures exiting the castle and heading his way.

And still he waited, until they had passed by him and disappeared into the forest, at which point he leapt down to the ground and took off back to the village. Once there he apparated to London and entered the Ministry of Magic, giving a false name and reason for his visit. As expected it was late enough that the guard was not present, so Saiph snuck off toward his destination with the utmost of care.

His repeated perusals of memory served him well on the journey and he eventually arrived in the Death Chamber without ever seeing another soul, though he did slip a few odds and ends into his pockets on his way there as he went through various rooms. The temptation was simply too much for him.

The room was just as he remembered it; well it ought to be, considering. Saiph snorted at his idiocy and looked upward, then nodded. Perfect was the only word which could be used. The ceiling was shrouded in darkness, and he knew from the memory that even the light of spells going off would not pierce its gloom.

That having been verified, Saiph pulled a gun of sorts out of his pocket, aimed, and fired, then yanked hard on the rope then hanging from above. A few more goes at it made him feel quite a bit more confident, so he clipped the gun to his belt and began shimmying his way upward. At the top he wound his legs around the rope and hauled it between his thighs to keep himself steady, then set about using sticking charms to attach the harness he was wearing to the ceiling.

Hands free, he retracted most of the length of the rope back into his gun, then produced a second harness and attached it to the ceiling. Into that went a life-sized golem that looked astonishingly like Sirius Black.

Saiph grew rather bored hanging from the ceiling, waiting, and was relieved at last when the action started, at which point he focused intently on what was happening, knowing he only had one chance to get things done right. It was agonizing to do nothing. But at the very last possible second he poured his heart and soul into a switching spell that resulted in a very much alive Sirius Black hanging where the golem had been.

The golem, of course, fell backward through the veil.

Saiph whipped his wand over in a flash and cast a silencing spell on his godfather, then a stunner for good measure. And when the man’s wand slipped from his grasp Saiph summoned it to his hand and tucked it away where it would be safe.

He looked back down to see his younger self being restrained by Remus Lupin and sighed almost inaudibly. It seemed to take forever for the room to clear out again, at which point he stunned Sirius again (just to be sure) and portkeyed the man out.

Saiph began the tedious process of removing his handiwork from the ceiling in reverse order, and was shortly dangling from the original rope. He got his portkey ready, cast a levitation spell on himself (which would, admittedly, only last for approximately fifteen seconds), then cancelled the sticking charm holding the rope to the ceiling. Two seconds later he was gone.

*

Sirius was glaring at him. Saiph eyed him curiously for a few moments, then straddled the man and stared into his eyes. “My name is Lesath Black,” he said.

If possible, Sirius’s eyes managed to widen.

“I know you probably think I’m some crazed psychopath. I assure you I’m not. Of course, you’re only alive because of me, Snuffles, so I suggest you just go with the flow for the moment, not that you have much of a choice just yet. Now, according to the rest of the world, you died tonight.

“And because you died your godson, Harry Potter, inherited from you the title of Lord Black. He also claimed the title of Lord Potter. At any rate, your godson also arranged to fake his own death due to some very interesting information he learned—well, technically, he’s learning it right about now, I’d imagine.

“First he has a confrontation with Bellatrix to go through—he chased after her, you know, because she knocked you through the veil—and then he watches a duel between Voldemort and Dumbledore, and then he gets possessed by Voldemort. He’s having a very tiring and emotionally difficult day, let me tell you. I can totally empathize.

“Your godson learned an amazing number of things during that little bit, and later on, at Hogwarts, Dumbledore will tell him all about a prophecy. Anyway, I’m totally getting off the point of this whole thing. People think you’re dead, Snuffles. And if you’re not dead, those nice goblins at Gringotts won’t be able to let your godson inherit properly, and if that doesn’t happen, I’ve just created a paradox and expect that the universe will implode any second now.

“That being the case, I’m going to be ever so slightly cruel, Snuffles, all for the greater good. You see, the Draught of Living Death is a peculiar sort of potion. You won’t really be alive or dead, but you’ll be dead enough for your will to kick in. You’ll be . . . under the radar, as muggles like to say. And then, after your godson has had his fun at the bank, I’ll wake you up. Okay? Fantastic!”

Saiph slid a vial from his clothing and thumbed the cap off, then pried open Sirius’s jaws. “Bottoms up, Padfoot.” Saiph dosed his godfather and made sure the man swallowed by stroking his throat repeatedly, then settled back to wait until the potion took effect.

*

He didn’t actually wake Sirius up until the second of August, after he had been sent back in time. That being so, he was no longer living a doubled life. Still, he had snuck into his suite at Malfoy Manor long enough the day before (after he and Lucius were gone) to leave an envelope in plain sight for Lucius to find the next time he looked.

Saiph didn’t bother to stun Sirius before administering the antidote. His godfather would wake up weak and mildly disoriented, and he didn’t have his wand, nor anything else interesting, like a portkey; Saiph had made sure of it. But given that he wanted to talk to the man, he had reverted to his original appearance, though he had not bothered to turn back time, as it were, to erase the effects of five years.

He was sitting a short distance away when Sirius started shifting around, and watched silently as the man slowly opened his eyes and sat up. “Hello, Sirius. I hope that nap wasn’t too much of a trial.”

His godfather’s eyes slid over to him and widened. “Harry?”

“In a manner of speaking, yes. How do you feel?”

“Tired.”

Saiph nodded. “We need to talk. And, for your information, the date is presently the second of August, so you’ve been out for over a month.”

Sirius frowned in confusion and blinked a few times, then looked around wildly. “Where am I? Where did that man go?”

“You’re in a small house I rented. Precisely where isn’t important at the moment. You were saved from certain death at the ministry by Lesath Black.”

Sirius nodded after a moment.

“Lesath Saiph Black is me.”

“No.”

“Yes. I know your head isn’t on quite straight at the moment, but if you look closely, Sirius, you should notice that I don’t look like a boy of fifteen anymore. Do I?”

Sirius squinted at him and eventually shook his head.

“That’s because I was sent back in time a distance of five years. Yesterday, actually. I woke you up today because there’s just one of me again, finally. As to why I insist that I am Lesath Black, well, that’s because I am legally. I discovered that I, like Tonks, am a metamorphmagus.”

Saiph paused long enough to shift his appearance, then smiled when Sirius inhaled sharply and narrowed his eyes. “Surprise. After you died. . . .” He shook his head. “I, as Harry, went to Gringotts, and to my surprise found that I was not only old enough to inherit, but could claim the title of Lord Black. I never realized that you being my godfather meant you were more like an actual father. I wonder why you never told me?”

Sirius frowned and said, “Dumbledore didn’t want me to.”

He snorted derisively. “Well, isn’t that just a huge surprise.”

“Harry?”

“Please call me Saiph. That is who I’ve been for five years. Besides, as I told you earlier, though if you don’t remember I can understand, I staged my own death as Harry. To the wizarding world, Voldemort captured me after I ran away from the Dursleys and brought me back to his headquarters. And then, a select handful of his more fervent supporters got to take turns torturing me before Voldemort cast the killing curse.”

“What!?”

Saiph shrugged nonchalantly. “I really hope things go well between us. I’d really hate to have to obliviate you. I mean, I’ve gone to all this trouble to get you back. I swear, if it hadn’t been for everything else going on at the time, I might have lost my mind from grief.”

“Ha—Saiph, there is no way,” Sirius said slowly, “a fifteen year old boy could stage that elaborate of a death.”

“I totally agree. I had help.”

“Do I even dare to ask from who?”

Saiph flashed him a sunny smile. “Probably not, but I’ll tell you anyway. The plan was conceived between me, Lucius Malfoy, and Voldemort.”

Sirius scrambled backward on the bed as one hand went in a reflexive action to where his wand should have been.

“Now don’t be like that,” Saiph chastised. “Voldemort and I came to an agreement, Sirius, a truce. He’s not actually such a bad guy once you get to know him. Neither is Lucius, really.”

He took in the look of horror on his godfather’s face and decided to take pity on the man. “All right, look. Let’s start this off easy, okay?” Saiph reached into his pocket and pulled out his planner, then opened it and fished out Voldemort’s letter and the notes on Saxeten. He left the planner on his lap as he tossed the documents over.

“Read the letter first. Once you’re done reading both of those, I’ll answer questions.”

Saiph kept a very close watch on Sirius without appearing to do so while the man read, and was inwardly amused at how incredibly expressive his godfather’s face was. He could, after all, sort of imagine the kinds of things going through Sirius’s head given the contents of the parchments.

Sirius eventually looked up, still appearing to be confused and wary. “What does he mean, information exchange?”

“He possessed me that night at the ministry. Dumbledore thinks I drove him away because I thought of you and how much I love you. Well, that’s not what took place. When Voldemort possessed me something really strange happened. It was like everything he knew, like spells and stuff, plus certain kinds of memories, passed into my head.

“He felt the same kind of thing in reverse. Honestly, I think I got the better part of the bargain there. I was able to pass my NEWTs at sixteen. They thought I was some sort of a prodigy.” Saiph rolled his eyes expressively. “Anyway, one of the things I got from the exchange was that Dumbledore was supposedly some guy named Davos Saxeten, and the other was that Voldemort was not the person who killed my mum and dad.”

“Then who did?”

“The false Dumbledore, Saxeten. Anyway, after I ended up back with the Dursleys my uncle was really pissed off because some of the Order kinda threatened him at the station. He basically beat the shit out of me back at the house, broke my arm, starved me. You know, loads of fun.”

Sirius frowned as his face flushed. “Aren’t you being awfully blasé about this?”

“Well, it has been five years, Padfoot. I’ve developed a sense of humor since then. So, I sent a letter to Dumbledore, telling him what happened. He wrote back and told me about how I needed to get along with my relatives and all that rot. I decided I’d had enough and used the portkey to Malfoy Manor. Lucius got me fixed up, and once I demonstrated to him that I’m not a complete idiot with more brawn and bravery than brains, we got on just fine.

“Anyway, Voldemort suggested to Lucius that I go through a revealing ritual, which I did. As it turned out, after Voldemort failed to kill me that night, Dumbledore placed blocks on my magic. Voldemort removed them for me. But before that point, he proved to me that the memory I kept experiencing around dementors wasn’t correct. We went through a bunch of memories with a pensieve so I could see which ones were tampered with. The correct memory of that night shows that Saxeten killed mum and dad.”

“But, Ha—” Sirius growled like a dog. “Saiph, the man still tried to kill you! How can you let that go!?”

Saiph shrugged. “Well, he did have what he thought was an excellent reason, Sirius. Snape brought him word of that damn prophecy. Of course he tried to kill me. He probably would have gone after Neville next. I’m not saying it was a good thing to do, just that I can sort of understand his reasoning.”

Sirius gave him an incredulous look, then blinked in surprise as a loud crash sounded from outside of the room. It was quickly followed by wailing.

“Ah, hell, not now,” Saiph whined. “Sirius, I need your oath that you will not try to leave this room until I give you permission to. If you won’t give it, I will stun and bind you.”

“I—what? Okay, okay.” Sirius quickly (but properly) swore his oath.

Saiph snatched up the documents and shoved them in his planner, which went back into his pocket. Then he flicked his wand at the door, yanked it open, and stepped outside. “What happened?”

Two cherubic little faces looked up at him, fat tears sliding down pale cheeks. An elf was nearby, fussily righting a table that had been knocked over. “Ouzo is fixing this mess right up, Master Saiph.”

Saiph nodded absently and looked back at the children, then went down on one knee so he could hoist them both up into his arms. “Have you two been naughty?”

They shook their heads in unison, looking just as innocent as they possibly could.

“Uh huh. Would you like to meet your grandpa? He’s awake now.”

“Yeah!” they cried happily.

“Well, all right, then. Let’s go see him.” Saiph pushed back up and turned around, then returned to the bedroom to see a very astonished godfather. “Dad,” he said with a look that quite clearly meant go along with this or I’ll kill you, “I would like you to meet your grandchildren, Altair and Adhara. Twins, this is Grandpa Sirius, but you can call him Snuffles.”

“Snuffles!” they cried.

Saiph set them down on the end of the bed. “Now go say hello, but be careful. He’s been sick, remember?”

The twins scrambled across the bed in record speed and piled onto the poor, bewildered man, laughing in delight, their earlier tears obviously forgotten.

“Uh. . . .” Sirius shot him a helpless look, then glanced down at the two giggling children and smiled. “Hey, squirts!”

“Daddy says you can be a doggy!” Altair said.

“Now, kids,” Saiph said warningly. “Snuffles isn’t up to that right now.”

“Aw!” Adhara pouted adorably. “But we wanna see!”

Sirius coughed. “Maybe later, okay?”

Altair twisted around and stuck his face up close. “Promise?”

“I promise, after I’m feeling better.”

“Okay,” they chorused, smiles back on their faces.

“All right,” Saiph said with a clap of his hands. “I’m going to go fetch something real quick for Snuffles, so you two be on your best behavior. And then when I get back it’s off to bed, got it?” He nearly smiled at the immediate pouts he received, then stepped out again briefly to retrieve a pensieve from his planner.

The planner disappeared into his pocket before he stepped back into the bedroom, and he took a seat. “Dad,” he said, and paused meaningfully, “I’m going to drop a few memories into this for you to watch while I put my little monsters to bed, all right?”

Sirius nodded, so Saiph went ahead and extracted several memories, such as of conversations he had had with Lucius and Voldemort prior to his time traveling stint, with Dumbledore, his visit to Diagon Alley, and so on. The pensieve went onto the bedside table, and the twins were hauled back into his arms. “Please remember, don’t leave the bedroom. I wouldn’t want you to get hurt what with you not feeling well.”

“Right.”

Satisfied that Sirius had not mistaken his meaning, or forgotten his oath, Saiph strode out with his two protesting children.

*

An hour later he was back, feeling more than a little worn out. He slumped into a chair and rubbed his eyes before blinking them a few times at his godfather. “I don’t even want to think about how much trouble they’re going to be when they get older.”

Sirius opened his mouth, paused a second, then said, “The memories explained a lot, thank you. Now please, for the love of all that’s holy, will you explain how I came to have grandchildren?”

“Well, you see, Sirius, first you take a boy and a girl, and then—”

Sirius growled.

“It was an accident. They are mine, I just hadn’t planned on them. When I was traveling in the past I stayed in America for a year. To get my NEWTs? It was a day school, not like Hogwarts, so I had rented a house for that time. Well, I ran afoul of something called roofies. They call it the date rape drug. You slip it to someone you want to have sex with, they tend to pass out or at least be really amenable, and they usually don’t remember what actually happened to them.

“I got nailed while I was at a bar one night by some girl. The next thing I know, she turns up at my door a couple of months later telling me I got her pregnant and what did I plan to do about it. Well, if I was the father, I sure as hell wasn’t going to let her wander off into the unknown, right? So I invited her to live with me and offered to pay all the medical costs.

“She wasn’t due until after my NEWTs were scheduled to be over, so that was mostly okay, though I really didn’t want her there. I took my exams, she went into labor, and I modified a whole lot of memories at the hospital. They all think the babies died. I hid them briefly, packed up everything I owned, and moved into a hotel with them until I got my results. After that I left the country, but not before hiring some house-elves to help me take care of them.”

“I’m not sure what to say.”

Saiph shrugged. “Just be their grandfather. I mean, I didn’t even know the girl, and I sure as hell wasn’t going to marry her. I’m not even straight!”

Sirius went into a coughing fit at that, causing Saiph to leap up and plant himself beside the man so he could pat his back. “You okay? I'm sorry, that was kind of blunt.”

“So, they’re how old?”

“Their birthday is the twenty-first of June, so they’re four. There’s no real record of them in the muggle world, I am positive they’re mine, and they are magical. Oh, that reminds me, please don’t ever let on to Lucius that you know he’s a healer?”

Sirius nodded, then turned a funny look on Saiph. “You do realize that Malfoy has a thing for you, right?”

Saiph looked at his godfather like he was crazy. “What? No.”

“You should try looking at some of those memories yourself,” Sirius advised. “If I can see it, well. . . .”

“Don’t be silly,” he protested. “I was fifteen, Sirius!”

Sirius sighed and shook his head. “And speaking of Lucius, do you plan on going back to Malfoy Manor?”

“Er, well, the thing is, he doesn’t know about you or the twins. It’s not like I can bring you all there. Voldemort would have to alter the wards, and he can’t do that if he doesn’t know for who. I left Lucius a note, and told him I’d contact him shortly so he could come see me, and I did sort of warn him that I had some surprises.”

Saiph got to his feet long enough to turn around, then knelt on the bed, moving so that he was straddling Sirius’s legs again. He knew as he did it that his godfather might get the wrong impression. “Sirius?” he asked softly.

“Yes?” The single word was stretched out uncomfortably.

“Will you . . . be my dad for real? I mean, I know you’re my godfather and all, though I didn’t understand at all about how that affected us until Lucius explained. But, you wanted to give me a home, and that made me so happy, and you’re the only father I’ve really known. I know it’s not really fair that I’ve already told the twins that you are.

“But I just want us to be a family. And, Siri, I moved all the Potter and Black money into new accounts under my current name. It’s not our fight! If you don’t want to stay in England we can go away, anywhere you want. Just please, stay with me? Trust me? Please don’t leave me again. I missed you so much. I know, I’m older now, a grown man, but I need you still.”

Sirius reached up to pull Saiph into an awkward hug. “I love you too, kiddo. I’m not going anywhere, okay?”

Saiph pressed closer and snaked his arms around his godfather’s neck, then slithered around until he was stretched out on his side next to him and resting his head on Sirius’s chest. “You’ll be my dad for real?”

“By intent, word, and magic, Saiph,” Sirius said as he slid an arm around Saiph’s shoulders. “And you did go to all that trouble to make sure I lived. How could I say no?”

He snorted softly. “Well good.” In truth, he felt a bit like crying. “And soon you can show the twins how you can be a doggy, and then madly try to get away when one of them tries to climb on your back and ride you around the room.”

Sirius chuckled. “You used to do that, you know?”

Saiph smiled at the idea. “I’m sorry, but I’m not, that I took your title, your position.”

Sirius squeezed his shoulder. “It’s okay. It’s not like I ever did anything with it. Well, I couldn’t, right? I was in Azkaban all that time and I never even stepped into Gringotts after I escaped, just used owl order. And you made your claims before . . . before Voldemort offered to send you back. Don’t worry about it. Heck, I’m supposed to be dead anyway, right?”

He bit his lip at that and tilted his head back so he could see his godfather’s face. “That’s the part I hadn’t really figured out,” he admitted. “I mean, okay, it’s barely possible that you had an accident in your youth and got some poor girl pregnant, resulting in me, but. . . . I was able to save you, but the Order thinks you’re dead. And Gringotts. Probably the Ministry.”

“Either way, I’m still a wanted criminal.”

“Maybe.”

“Hm?”

“Well, maybe Voldemort will play nice and hand Pettigrew over. He does want me to stay neutral, and I can’t imagine that the rat would be much of a concession.”

“Saiph. . . . Neutral, sure, but he probably wouldn’t mind if you helped him out, either.” Then he flushed as his stomach made known its current state of being empty.

Saiph shot up quickly with an apologetic look. “Ouzo!” After the elf popped in he said, “Please bring a light meal in for Sirius? Thank you.” He left his godfather alone as he ate, then pointed out the door which led to a full bathroom. Once Sirius was back under the covers he snuggled up close again and said sleepily, “I release you from your oath, Sirius. We’ll talk more . . . in the morning.