Siria Potter was a highly unusual girl in many ways (B3, 1). For one, Siria Potter was a witch, fresh from her second year at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. For another, through her persistently messy hair, on her forehead, was a scar shaped like a lightning bolt. This scar made Siria extremely unusual, even in the wizarding world. It marked her as having survived the unblockable Killing Curse, when she was only a toddler. The same curse had killed both of her parents and was why Siria Potter sat, on this fine summer day, at the dining room table of her Godfather's house.
"Now, remember," her Godfather insisted, for at least the fifth time since breakfast, while pointing at the twelve of her watch, "I won't really be in trouble."
"If you hadn't have told me, I wouldn't have worried." Siria repeated. The kind grey eyes of her godfather looked more worried than her green ones. Sirius Black was a handsome man with elegant features. When he moved, he looked noble. Even now, as he knelt before his Goddaughter, he looked more like a king than a knight.
"You'll be with Remus and Kreacher is staying with me. It'll be fine." Siria turned back to her book, Animagi. Sirius sighed, but rose to his feet and kissed her forehead.
"You manage to find danger at Hogwarts, how can I not worry about you finding it here?" He asked.
This was another reason Siria Potter was unusual. Though she didn't always make a point to be safe, trouble found her—often. Part of Siria wondered if the Killing Curse Tom had cast was trying to finish her off. While most of the wizarding world referred to him as Lord Voldemort, He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named, or You-Know-Who, Siria made it a point to call him Tom. It was Tom Riddle who grew up to kill Siria's parents and so many others. As a teenager, he was very used to charming people into giving him what he wanted. As an adult, he had been very used to terrorizing people into giving him what he wanted.
Tom had, however, failed three times to kill Siria. First, when he killed her parents and gave her the lightning bolt scar. Second, at the end of her first year at Hogwarts, when he wanted the Sorcerer's Stone. Finally, just a few weeks ago, right before finals, in the Chamber of Secrets. Tom could not charm or terrify Siria, but it seemed to only worry Sirius more. It was because of her most recent run in with Tom that Sirius was so hesitant to leave her today.
"If you're that worried, you could always bring me or go when I'm at the Dursleys." Siria suggested.
"No." Sirius gave a rather pained smile, as if someone had kicked him and he didn't want them to know it hurt, "It has to be today, and I don't want you anywhere near those guards." As if on cue, there was a knock on the door. "That'll be Remus." He said without taking his eyes off her face.
The door opened and closed, knocking at Number 12 Grimmauld Place was a formality; Siria often thought she was the only one without a key. "You're doing it again." Siria told him.
"What?" He asked in sincere innocence.
"Looking at me like, if you look away, I'm going to disappear." He patted her head.
"Sometimes, I worry you will," but he turned to greet Remus.
Remus Lupin was just younger than Sirius, but no one could guess by looking at them. Sirius's hair was a lustrous black, while grey flecks sprinkled Remus's brown hair. A few wrinkles had already formed around Remus's eyes and smile, while Sirius had none. Nearly every time Siria saw Remus, he had a new injury. With how scratched up he always was, it looked as if he owned a rather vicious cat that hated him.
"Hello, Siria." Remus smiled from the doorway. Siria waved back.
"Hello, Remus. Could you pick a safer place for your next date?" She turned her eyes on Sirius.
"It isn't a date." Sirius refuted.
"You won't date Chloe, you won't date Remus, I'm worried about you." She grinned.
"You'd be fine with either?"
"I'd be fine with anyone that wasn't Tom or Snape." Siria imagine there may be other people she would she wouldn't want to see Sirius with, but Tom and Snape, her Potions professor, were two she wouldn't stand for.
"A conversation for another time, surely." Remus's face blushed. He tapped his watch, "mustn't be late. Are you ready?"
"Almost," Sirius went from a tall, elegant man to being a bear of a dog.
"Snuffles?" Siria rose from her chair and hugged the dog. "I know it's you, but I really have missed my friend and oldest friend." She told him and she scratched behind his ears and under his chin.
For as long as Siria could remember, Snuffles had been there. After the death of her parents, Siria was sent to live with her mother's sister's family. They were the most normal people in the neighborhood, the Dursleys. Dudley Dursley, Siria's cousin, had made a point to stop anyone befriending Siria, or else they would be bullied by him and his gang. Snuffles, who was Sirius in a way the Dursleys had never seen, had been her only friend. As much as Siria now knew Sirius and Snuffles were the same, she had missed the behemoth dog.
"You can't be serious" Remus shook his head. Siria laughed as Sirius played up being a dog by licking the side of her face.
"He's always Sirius!" She laughed. Remus looked firmly at Sirius, who stopped wagging his tail.
"If you're revealed, there will be more than galleons to pay." said Remus. Snuffles's head drooped down as he pleaded with his large, dog eyes, but Sirius was the one to cave in. A few minutes later, they left as Remus and Sirius.
Siria's green eyes watched the elaborate third hand of her watch snap from 3 o'clock to 5 o'clock and stay at 12 o'clock. She placed her thumb over the face of the watch and took a deep breath. Even though Sirius had assured her he was fine, knowing that 12 o'clock meant he was somewhere dangerous made her heart sink.
The dining room went from being lively and fun to empty and cold. She went from being comfortable and happy to uneasy and sad. This had been happening lately. One moment, Siria was fine, but, the moment it was quiet, she was almost scared. Her eyes closed and she tried to focus on the leaf beneath her tongue. It was bitter and made her want to spit it out. Everything she ate tasted like it was covered in ginger because of the leaf. Even her water tasted like ginger.
"Mistress?" A deep, croaking voice, like bullfrog asked. Siria startled and stumbled back with a gasp. It was Kreacher.
"I'm—I'm fine." She stammered.
"Master should not be teaching such dangerous things." Kreacher told her. The house elf's bulging, pleading eyes peered up at her.
"I want to learn." She picked Animagi off the table. "Would you rather I try to teach myself?" Siria asked as they walked up the stairs.
The house elf followed behind her, as he had taken to whenever she was out of Sirius's line of sight. He kept her within arms reach. It made her feel like they thought she was going to disappear if they blinked. She wasn't that prone to danger.
Kreacher's croaking voice told her "Kreacher would rather Mistress not do such dangerous magic."
"Kreacher is in luck. Sirius won't teach me until I can keep a leaf under my tongue for two months." She sighed and placed the book on her pastel yellow desk. Even though it was only her third summer in the room, it felt more like home than the Dursleys' ever had.
When Siria was eleven and the Dursleys had learned they couldn't beat or bully the magic out of her, she had been allowed to spend the rest of her summer with Sirius. He had promised her that, once she learned to turn beetles into buttons, they could start on her turning into an animal. Just this last year, Siria learned it in school and Sirius was true to his word.
Animagi or Animagus, as the book explained, are witches and wizards that can turn into an animal. Those who are successful will turn into the same animal for the rest of their lives. The animal is not determined by will, but by the person's traits. It is a very dangerous process, to the point that the book doesn't say how one becomes an Animagus.
All Sirius had told her so far was she had to be able to keep the same mandrake leaf under her tongue for one lunar cycle. Rather than starting on a cycle now, he wanted her to focus on not eating her leaf, which was apparently his and her father's biggest problem during the process. She had done well until dinner last night, when she swallowed her leaf with a bite of chicken. It was looking like their biggest problem would be hers.
The rest of the first three weeks for summer passed too quickly for Siria. They spent more time on Helping Hands, a book of spells, potions, and balms for healing, than on anything else. Sirius had insisted on doing two chapters of math problems every day because "you'll need it for next summer." He wouldn't answer more, but the more she thought about it, the less she really wanted to know. It wasn't until her last few days that they did so much as touch Transfiguration. They hadn't dueled at all and it took most of her focus to keep her signs of disappointment to a minimum. Sirius ruffled the top of her messy hair.
"We have the rest of summer to duel," he reminded her. "You can make a list of spells you want to learn at their place and we'll practice once you're back."
"What if I don't come back?" She did her best to ask the question in a casual voice, but his expression shifted, from the worried one he had worn all summer, to panic. His eyes were wide as dinner plates and his breath seemed to escape him, just like his words.
"If you… It would be fine… I won't make you… That is…" although none of his sentences were finished, she knew where they were all going. Siria didn't really want to be mean. She didn't know why she was being mean. Lately, she had just felt like being mean and couldn't stop herself. It was a different mean than she was being sarcastic, but she hadn't figured it out yet.
"Of course I'm coming back, but you have the same look since I beat Tom," Siria snapped. He cracked a smile at the name.
"Well," he looked directly at her and took in her face. "Most people don't have a goddaughter who is brave, clever, and reckless enough to go after Voldemort, twice in two years."
"To be fair, I didn't know either time until I was there." She said, but her eyes were burning with determination, as if she were going to charge after Voldemort today.
"Are you saying that would have stopped you?" He asked, but knew the answer.
"No, but I might have handled things differently." She didn't really know if this were true.
The minute hand of her silver watch ticked. They would be late, but she didn't want to go anyway. Mrs. & Mr. Dursley, with their son Dudley, of Number Four Privet Drive thought they were the picture of normal. Their house was full of expensive, nice things that served no purpose other than showing wealth. For the purpose of bragging about themselves, they had a very lush, green garden with a variety of flowers and bushes.
Aunt Petunia was a thin woman with long neck for poking into the neighbors' yards. Uncle Vernon was a large man with a thick mustache and no neck. He owned a company that dealt with drills and, just last summer, had a very good business deal with a Mr. Mason. This business deal allowed them to buy a vacation home in Majorca, which they did not want Siria anywhere near. It was because of this that Siria, who was previously supposed to spend her first week of summer with them, would be spending her fourth. Sirius had planned for her to return the Sunday of her birthday week, which, to her, was one of the best presents ever.
Knowing they would only get more late, she said good-bye to Kreacher and they loaded up Sirius's Austin Healey Sprite with her trunk. She wanted to kick and scream and beg him not to make her go, but that was a different type of mean than her non-sarcastic one. No matter how much she wanted to protest, Siria knew Sirius wanted her to stay even more than she did. Over and over and over again, she reminded herself that this was to keep her safe. This one, single, week was to keep her safe.
"Did you pack all your books?" Sirius asked again.
"If I forgot any, you can send them." She cracked a smile. He made it seem like she was going somewhere their post couldn't go, or else somewhere Kreacher couldn't Apparate.
"If you need anything—"
"What I need is for you to get along with Kreacher." She fiddled with her necklace. It was a small, silver S and even smaller star. Sirius had given it to her on her first Christmas at Hogwarts. Though he had been giving her things for years, it was the first gift he could put his name, not Snuffles's, on.
"I know you two have your differences, but look at Ron and Hermione. They couldn't be more different, but they're both in Gryffindor and my best friends." Siria told him. Ron and Hermione agreed to disagree on most points: when to do homework, taking notes, and hobbies. Hermione was a do-it-right-away and take-notes-on-everything kind of girl. Ron was very good at procrastinating and taking notes off of Hermione's notes.
He understood how much Siria loved Quidditch, the best sport in the world. Though Hermione seemed terrified whenever Siria had a match, she was supportive. In Hermione's defense, Siria's broom was jinxed in her first match and she'd fallen off when her arm got broken last year. Quidditch was worth it though. Two teams of seven brooms and three goals, one Quaffle for the Chaser to score through the goals, one Keeper to block the goals, two Beaters to send the two Bludgers at the other team, and one golden Snitch for each team's Seeker to chase after.
Next to Hermione and Ron, Siria missed Quidditch and flying most. Sirius had kept her busy with healing and Transfiguration, but they didn't compare to flying. She hoped that, if she managed to keep control of her temper, he would let her go flying when she returned. At this point, being on a broom may be even better than dueling.
Sirius parked along the curb in front of Number Four Privet Drive. Siria's chest trembled as she took a breath. They looked at the door through the car window. "Life is doing things you don't want, sometimes, right?" Siria tried to smile, but the corners of her mouth, much like her gaze, fell to her lap.
"Hey," Sirius lightly held her wrist and watch. "It's seven days,"
"Of Twenty-Four hours," she let her eyes wander to her watch.
"So it's only a hundred sixty-eight hours," there was a smile in his voice, like the time would fly by. They both knew he was just trying to be strong.
"Which is just ten thousand and eighty minutes." She smiled weakly in return.
"With how much you'll be reading and sleeping, it'll pass in a blink."
There was no way her time with the Dursleys would pass in the blink of an eye or even a thousand blinks, but there was no fighting this. Professor Dumbledore had explained the importance of Siria being accepted into the home of her Aunt Petunia enough. Their seat belts unbuckled and car doors opened. If there was no fighting it, she was going to accept it as well as she could. Siria took a deep, swelling breath then straightened herself up and stepped out of the car.
This would be the first summer the Dursleys wouldn't get her down. She was going to be happy for Sirius and show him just how good she could be. With her best smile in place, Siria closed the car boot. Sirius was also wearing his best smile. It put a dash of genuinity into hers because it felt like their battle paint. The Dursleys wouldn't know what hit them.
Although the Dursleys looked at Sirius and Siria like they were muddy, drooling slugs, they were let in. Unlike most of their guests, no one offered to take Sirius's coat or if he'd like a cuppa. He didn't mind. Sirius placed Siria's trunk on the floor of the entryway and flicked it open. Aunt Petunia cranked her long, thin neck over the case, but it was only clothes and a few perfectly normal books with motionless pictures and nothing about magic. Uncle Vernon had Siria slide the clothes around to show there wasn't anything magically under them.
What the Dursleys didn't know was that, though the contents they would see were perfectly ordinary, the trunk was not. Sirius had given it to Siria as a Christmas present last year. The trunk, which had star inside a dial, opened to five different settings. As the orange point of the start was up, it opened to the actual dimensions of the trunk. Three of the other points opened to rooms and the final opened to a depth for her old school trunk.
"They really do hate magic, don't they?" Sirius sighed. He placed her trunk on the floor, at the end of the bed. Siria shrugged. She pulled the centre front of her jacket out, which revealed the lightly padded interior and what was unmistakably her wand.
"Emergencies only," he reminded her "and only if you can't take the Knight Bus."
"I know." Siria rolled her eyes and patted her jacket down. She knew not to do magic in front of Muggles and that she wasn't supposed to do magic outside of school. It was only at Sirius's, when he was there, that he allowed her to, and he wasn't supposed to.
"Though, if Dudley gives you hard enough of a time…" Sirius locked eyes with her and raised an eyebrow.
"There'll be more than galleons to pay" she quoted Remus. Sirius sighed and looked at his watch.
"Look at that, just started and you're already almost done." He tried to be optimistic. Sirius patted her head and hugged her. His warmth and heartbreak over letting her go for a week was endearing. Her resolve and smile were starting to shake. "It's just a week" they assured the other and cracked for a moment.
"PICK UP!" Chloe's voice screamed from Sirius's pocket. They stumbled apart and he flipped the phone open. "Changed my ringtone" he gave an uncomfortable smile. Chloe wasn't the one on the other end; it was Remus. Whatever he said made Sirius give Siria that look. The one he had been giving her since he saw her at Kings' Cross. The one with a slight crease in his forehead, like he was worried and trying hard to not to be. The one she had already grown sick of. The one that made her feel he thought she was going to disappear.
"I'm just dropping Siria off." Sirius placed the phone to his chest and kissed Siria's forehead. "I've got to so, but I'll see you in a week, okay—do not leave the Durlseys'!" He cracked through the air. Siria ran downstairs and out to his car. Why had he Apparated when he brought the car? Wouldn't he need it to pick her up? What happened to make him leave?
Siria Potter stood at the curb of Number Four Privet Drive knowing something was wrong and she and her Godfather were unusual people.