“So, Padfoot, what’d you need to come over here for tonight?” James Potter asked as his friend walked through the front door, carrying a small bundle with him.
“Prongs, look!” His voice portraying only the utmost joy, Sirius carefully held out the bundle for James to see.
James peered down into the soft, blue blanket; a tiny head crowned with thick, dark hair was that was exposed of the sleeping child that was wrapped in Sirius’ arms. “Sirius… is that a- a baby?”
Sirius nodded, smiling. “Yeah. He’s mine.”
He pulled the sleeping infant closer to himself, gently rocking him while he slept. “Mhmm, mine,” Sirius answered, gazing lovingly down at the boy. “I’m naming him after you though, if that’s alright.” He looked up quickly as he said this, watching his friend’s reaction.
“You’re calling him James?” James asked, taken aback.
“No, I’m calling him Harry. I want James to be his second name.”
Grinning widely, James clapped a hand on Sirius’ shoulder, careful not to jostle the baby it was supporting. “Thanks, mate.”
“There’s, ah, one more thing, though…”
“Anything, what?” James asked, now unable to take his eyes off of the child Sirius was holding.
“I, um, I want you and Lily to be his godparents. Incase anything, you know… happens.”
His hazel eyes peered over the rims of his glasses, meeting Sirius’ grey ones. “Of course,” James said with a smile. As his smile became a well-known grin, he added, “Now instead of waiting nine months for a kid, we can just off you and wala!”
Sirius’ expression, for the first time that night, lost the happiness and pride James had never seen before. “Oh, man. Prongs, I’m sorry. I didn’t think…” He trailed off.
Giving him a look of confusion, James asked, “What are you on about?”
“Lily… Is she…? I mean, I know she was sick and everything…”
James’ face became one of realization and his mouth formed an ‘o’. “Yeah, she’s getting better though; been recovering on bedrest for the past couple of weeks. She’s not contagious or anything, and I’m sure she’ll want to meet her godson.”
Sirius nodded. “You had us all worried with what was going on with her, ya know, Prongs. You’ve been the only one who’s seen her for, what, six months now?”
“Yeah… Dumbledore’s stopped by a few times though; gave her some things she could do for the Order. It wasn’t too much, but I’m willing to bet it helped keep her from going insane.”
“Don’t doubt that, mate; I don’t think I could last six days holed up like that, let alone six months.”
James nodded this time.
“But I also meant, since, you know, you guys have been trying for awhile, and I just pop in here with a kid…”
James smiled sadly. “Yeah…” He paused for a moment. True he hadn’t thought much of it once he saw little Harry, but Lily… that was never far from Lily’s mind, not since their second scrape with Voldemort… “Don’t worry about it. Lily would be more upset if you don’t take her godson up to meet her.”
Padfoot grinned, and started his way up the familiar staircase and to a door, the plaque on which read ‘Prongs and Lily’, James directly behind him.
The two wizards went into the room, where Lily was sitting in a plush armchair under a tall lamp, reading a book.
“You should be in bed,” James told her with a slight grin.
“I was. I got bored.” She smiled over the top of her book, finished the sentence, and set it down on her lap. Lily looked fairly curious as she saw her husband’s face.
“You’re grinning like a maniac, love. Not one of your more charming expressions.”
That was when Lily noticed the other Marauder in the room. “Sirius!” Carelessly placing her book aside, she jumped up and hugged Sirius tightly.
Sirius subconsciously removed one arm from around his child and held it firmly in front of the sleeping baby to keep him from being squashed by his recently appointed godmother’s shocking action. Prongs must have missed something when he said Lily hadn’t gone insane. Lily had nevergreeted him this warmly before. Sirius had been under the impression the phrase ‘good to see you, Padfoot’ was not in her vocabulary. But, he reasoned, although he loved the man like a brother, six months with only being around James (and occasional minutes with Dumbledore) would probably make him grateful to see Snivellus. And that was saying something.
“Careful, Lils; wouldn’t want to squish your godson to death, would you?” James asked teasingly.
Lily looked over at him. “Godson?” Her emerald eyes traveled back to Sirius, and she noticed the bundle he held for the first time.
Sirius nodded enthusiastically, grinning widely, and carefully held out his baby for her to see.
However, unlike James, she didn’t erupt with undisputable happiness; she bit her lip, obviously thinking something over.
“Sirius… why didn’t you tell us about your… his mother being pregnant?”
“I didn’t know myself until a few hours ago.”
Cautiously, Lily questioned, “Are you… are you sure that this is your baby, then?”
Sirius looked as though she had sprouted another head. “Of course he’s my baby! Why wouldn’t he be?”
“Well…” Lily thought carefully, not wanting to arouse the temper of Sirius Black on such a delicate subject. “Who’s his mother?”
“Don’t know, actually,” Sirius answered, as though it were common not to know who the mother of your own child was. “Her name wasn’t even on the birth certificate.”
“So you adopted him?”
Sirius looked at her with bewilderment written all over his face. “Why the hell would I go out and adopt a baby?”
“Lily, do you really think Sirius would be so stupid as to not double-check when a baby he knew nothing about suddenly pops up into his life that the baby was actually his?”
“Yeah, really, Lily; the WCS found me through Dumbledore. He wouldn’t make a mistake like that.”
Lily nodded, trying not to show the feeling of jealously that had begun to bubble in the pit of her stomach. She wanted a baby of her own for years, but now, Sirius was the one who had a child. She knew James would make a better father than Sirius ever could, and she knew she would certainly be a better mother than a woman who appeared to want nothing to do with her baby and left him in the hands of Sirius Black. She mentally snorted. Sirius Black single-handedly raising a child. That was a disaster in the making. Outwardly, though, she smiled. “So, this is my godson?”
“Yup,” Sirius answered, any sense of hostility that was beginning to erupt within him against the woman accusing Harry of not being his quickly evaporating. “Lily, meet Harry James Black,” he said proudly.
For the first time, Lily took a good look at the baby Sirius held and felt her heart melt. “Oh, Sirius…” He carefully placed Harry in her arms. “I never thought you could… What I mean is, I never would have guessed…” What she really meant was that she thought the baby was far too sweet and innocent to belong to someone like Sirius, but she didn’t complete voicing her thoughts, figuring that sooner or later, the boy’s father would take care of that. “He’s beautiful,” she finally settled on saying.
James nodded. “I wanna hold him now. He’s my godson, after all.”
“He’s my godson too, James.”
“Hey, let’s not forget that he’s my son.”
“You already got to hold him.”
“Only for a few hours. Give me my baby.”
“He’s been alive for a few hours, hasn’t he?”
Lily rolled her eyes.
“No, he was born a week ago. Now give him back.”
“I haven’t held him at all yet!” James all but shouted, earning a harsh glare from each his wife and best mate.
“You’ll wake him up!” Lily quietly scolded.
“Let me hold him,” James insisted.
Lily gently brushed the dark bangs off the baby’s face and handed him to James.
“Don’t drop him,” Sirius stated blandly, starting to feel upset that he now had to share his son with the boy’s godparents.
“I’m not going to drop him, Padfoot,” James replied, rolling his eyes.
As he said this, the tiny baby slowly opened his light green eyes, looking up at the smiling people who surrounded him.
“Hey, Harry,” a soft voice said to him.
A moment later, a sniffing noise was heard. “Merlin! What’s that smell?”
Lily looked at Sirius in disbelief. “You mean you don’t know?” she asked, glancing pointedly at Harry.
“Oh, oh… right…” He looked around, as if searching for a button he could press that would magically change the baby’s diaper.
“Sirius, where are the clean nappies?” Lily asked, as James handed Sirius’ son back to him.
“You didn’t bring nappies?”
“No. No I didn’t.”
“What about bottles?”
“Slipped my mind.”
“Sirius, do you even own formula and nappies?”
“Crap,” Sirius said, after a moment’s hesitation.
Baby Harry started to cry.
“Oh, Harry. Shh…” Sirius tried to sooth his crying infant. “It’s alright, Harry.”
“No, it’s not ‘alright’, Sirius,” Lily told him. “You need to get a clean diaper on that baby.”
“I, um, I have to…”
“Here,” Lily said, her tone becoming much kinder. “Give him to me, you go get diapers and everything else Harry needs.”
“Won’t that take too long?”
“No, I’m sure I have enough to change his nappy once. And if not, there’s always a wand.”
Sirius nodded. He held the infant up to him. “Okay, Harry. Daddy’s got to go a bit, but I’ll be back soon, all right? You be good for Aunt Lily now, you hear?” He kissed the top of his son’s head. “I love you, Harry.” He hugged the sobbing baby one more time before handing him to Lily and heading to the door with James. Sirius turned around for one more look at his son and waved good-bye, with one thought going through his mind: If it was this hard leaving to go to the store, what would Harry going to Hogwarts feel like? It was a good thing for him that James decided to come, because once they set foot in the store, Sirius had no recollection of why he needed to be there. That and the fact that Sirius had been awfully distracted by the hot, young female sales clerk who offered him a flirtatious smile. But James quickly reminded him that however much he loved Harry, there was no way in hell he was ready for another one if he couldn’t recall why he needed to buy nappies; and that his dating life was over if he expected to be a full-time dad.
Lily carefully carried the baby, her godson, up the stairway to the attic. It didn’t take her long to locate a box of her own baby things, including some of the cloth diapers her mother had kept for her. Taking a couple with her, Lily went back into her bedroom and laid Harry on the bed. Summoning baby powder and banishing the dirty diaper to the rubbish bin (after placing a strong anti-odor spell on it), Lily tenderly changed her godson’s diaper (with some help from her wand), humming to herself and little Harry as she did, not knowing if she was trying to forget or remember that Harry wasn’t her son.
Once she was finished, Harry had stopped crying and was peacefully listening to the soft song his godmother was humming. He giggled when she tickled his tummy, and then she carried him downstairs, where she saw James and Sirius step through the front door, laden with shopping bags of baby things for Harry.
Upon entering, Sirius immediately placed (and not too gently) everything he was carrying on the floor and went over to Lily and Harry.
He took Harry from Lily and kissed his tiny forehead. “Hey, kiddo. Smelling much better now, I see. Were you good for Aunt Lily? I missed you, Harry.”
Harry started to cry again. Sirius looked up in horror. “What did I do?”
“I doubt you ‘did’ anything Sirius, he’s probably hungry. Did you get him formula?”
“Oh, right, yeah.” Sirius gave a weak chuckle, relieved he hadn’t been the reason his son started to cry.
He handed Harry to James and made up a bottle, Lily discreetly watching him as he did so; truthfully, she was rather worried at how Sirius would fare as a single parent. Worried for her godson more than Sirius.
He heated the bottle with his wand, and took his son back.
“Sirius! You can’t just give it to him, you have to make sure it isn’t going to burn him first!” Lily lightly scolded.
“I used my wand; it’s fine,” he told her.
“Sirius, trust me on this, it still might be too hot for him.”
“Oh?” Sirius answered, not really paying much attention to where the conversation was going.
“Yes, I know about these things, and you obviously don’t.”
That hit a nerve. Of course he didn’t know everything about parenting! His own parents never cared enough to bother to set an example of what a good, loving parent would be; all he had to go on was basic ‘general knowledge’ of baby care he had picked up when dating a pregnant woman once a nearly three years ago. And Harry was his first kid; how could he be expected to know everything he needed to do all the time?
“You positive you do?” Sirius shot back. “It’s not like you have any experience to build on.”
Lily stared at him open-mouthed. Feeling tears begin to build behind her eyes, she refused to let them fall. “How dare you,” she nearly snarled. She looked as though she wanted to slap him; but she hadn’t lost so much self control that she would hit Sirius while he held Harry. “How dare you,” Lily repeated before turning around and heading back upstairs to hide her unwelcome tears, the hand that was not on the banister clenched in a tight fist.
“Padfoot…” James said after a moment of silence.
Sirius looked at James, clearly upset with what he had said. “I… I didn’t mean to…” His throat suddenly felt very dry. “I didn’t mean to say that.”
“I know, mate,” James said softly. “I’ll go talk to her.”
Sirius nodded mutely, before looking back down at his son. Realizing he still hadn’t feed Harry, he tested the temperature of the liquid in the bottle before holding it to Harry’s mouth.
A/N: WCS is the Wizard Child Services. Feedback welcome! Thanks for reading!