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Chapter 4 : Harry's First Word
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Harry’s First Word
Sirius Black tiredly shuffled into the large room. With one arm, he held his soon to be six month old son; and with the other, he dragged a would-be-heavy-if-not-for-the-feather-light-charm baby bag. Once he reached the large table in the center of the room where the meeting would take place, Sirius let himself fall into a chair next to James, and placed Harry on the table in front of him.
“Mate, you don’t look too good.”
Sirius snorted. Upon closer inspection, James had been able to see the dark bags under Padfoot’s eyes; eyes that held a small bit of red on the white surrounding the grey. Needless to say, Sirius could not remember the last time he had a good, full night’s rest since getting Harry. Not that it mattered; Sirius would choose Harry over sleep any day. . . he was already doing so.
(For now, though, Sirius was just glad he didn’t have a job to worry about. He had handed in his resignation to the Auror department shortly after having Harry; during his short time as an Auror, he had been sent on more than one last minute notice missions that lasted over a week, and he wasn’t willing to do that now that he had Harry to look after. Besides, he wouldn’t be much help on a mission if he could only think about his son, and Sirius was fairly certain he would go insane if he was without Harry for too long.
Also, being the last Black, he had come into a rather large inheritance when his mother died a few months prior; and although it was enough to last both he and Harry well past his son’s Hogwarts years, and Sirius knew his life would get pretty boring once Harry went off to school if he didn’t have job to distract him from the boredom. . . and heartache; right now though, he was just glad Harry could be, in addition to his first concern, his only concern. Well, besides the Order.)
With a failed attempt to stifle a wide yawn, Sirius reached down into the baby bag while trying to keep his drooping eyes focused on Dumbledore for the beginning of the Order of the Phoenix meeting. Getting frustrated that he couldn’t find the objet he was looking for, Padfoot seized the bag up into his lap to continue his search.
“Whatever you’re doing for that baby, do you think it could wait until after the meeting, Black?” Mad-Eye Moody asked not too pleasantly, his magical eye searching the bag Sirius held. Whether it was for the same thing Sirius may be looking for or some undetected threat, no one bother to find out.
“It’s not for him,” Sirius spat back, finding the object at last. Plopping the bag back to the floor, he pulled up a small, light blue pillow with ‘Sleepy Head’ stitched onto it. He dropped it to the table and let his head fall atop it.
Harry immediately busied himself by playing with his father’s long, tangled hair.
Remus raised a concerned eyebrow in Sirius’ direction as Dumbledore began to speak.
Not five minutes into the meeting, and Mad-Eye especially, was growing rather annoyed that someone present would not have the state of mind, or decency, to at least stay awake during a meeting Dumbledore had dubbed ‘of vital importance’. Sirius was soon woken from the light slumber he had drifted into by a harsh shout of “Constant Vigilance!”
Unfortunately, those two words also startled Harry, or rather, scared the poor child out of his mind; Harry’s father always made a point of trying not to shout around his small son (in other words, the only loud and unforeseen noises Harry was accustomed to were the ones he himself created. . . at all hours of the day). Having grown up himself in a house where he was often shouted at without real reason, Sirius didn’t want to subject his own son to the same thing, even if his shouts weren’t directed at Harry.
Upon hearing Harry’s frightened cries, Sirius (with a backwards ‘Sleepy Head’ lightly imprinted on the side of his face) instantly jumped up and, sending a glare in Moody’s direction, scooped up the startled infant in his arms, gently rocking and bouncing him, whispering softly in his ear. Once Harry had finally settled down, Sirius planted a light kiss on the side of his head then sat back down, Harry in his lap.
Turning to the witch he sat next to, Sirius asked, “How do you do it, Alice?”
Alice Longbottom chuckled. “I’m not a single parent, Sirius; that’s helped a great deal.”
She didn’t mean Sirius should find Harry a mother, and Sirius, understanding this, nodded. “Where is Neville?” he asked, suddenly realizing that the other Order baby wasn’t present. Harry usually enjoyed being around someone who could understand his baby-talk, and Sirius was pretty sure the Longbottom boy did too.
“Frank had to go on an assignment for the Ministry, Neville’s with his grandmother.”
Sirius nodded again. He was about to lean back in his chair, Harry held close on his lap, when he heard a small voice sound in his arms. Sirius looked down at his son; Harry looked up at his father and repeated the sound he just made.
Sirius sat gaping like a fish, eyes wide. A third ‘Dada’, and it all sank in.
“He said his first word,” Sirius whispered in awe, a fatherly pride glowing behind his eyes as his face broke out in grin. “He said ‘Dada’!” he nearly shouted, jumping up. Sirius held Harry close, spinning him around, almost dancing with glee. Harry giggled and his father was teary-eyed with happiness. “He called me ‘Dada’! HE’S SPEAKING! Harry’s talking!” The only word that could describe Sirius Black at that moment was positively giddy. After all, the man had been waiting months for his son to call him ‘Dada’, and now that Harry finally had, Order meeting or not, he would be damned if he let anyone disturb this for him.
Sirius completely ignored everyone else around him as a fresh wave of love poured from his eyes as he looked at his baby boy.
It took awhile, but it seemed that both father and son were able to calm down enough, or in Harry’s case, tire out enough, for Harry to dose off and Sirius to sit back down. Sirius leaned back in his chair, Harry snoozing against his daddy’s tummy, and found himself unable to ward off his own nap, even for something so important as this meeting.
James got the unfortunate duty of reaching over to pinch Sirius’ nose every time the Animagus began to snore too loudly for the liking of those around him.
Once the meeting was over, (Dumbledore told them of a Prophecy that had been made a little over a year ago concerning Lord Voldemort and someone who could defeat him, saying that one of the Dark Lord’s followers had overheard part of the Prophecy being made and Voldemort was now seeking the child spoken of in the Prophecy. Although it hadn’t been said, the way Alice received the information suggested that she knew of this prophecy, and that suspicions were it pointed to her child. However, Dumbledore gave a quick, odd glance to Harry as he told of the clues surrounding just who this child was, and, although James was pretty sure he was the only one who caught the look, he made him all the more glad his best mate had been asleep for this, even if Harry only fulfilled the ‘born at the end of July’ part. That wizard could be too overprotective for his own good at times.) Dumbledore and most of the members left, but some, including the Marauders, remained behind at Headquarters.
A foul odor reached the noses of a few, and Harry began to stir. Picking the baby up before he could wake his father from his much-needed nap, James handed his godson to Lily with a smirk-ish smile. She rolled her eyes, but grabbed the baby bag anyway and headed into another room to change the boy’s diaper as he softly started to whimper, getting ready for a full-out cry.
James stayed behind only long enough to use his wand to write ‘Sleepy Head’ across Sirius’ forehead. Then, as Remus and Peter watched with amusement, summon Harry’s pacifier and stick it Sirius’ mouth, just for good measure.
By that time, the smell Harry had been emitting was much less profound, so the three went to the other room with Lily, Harry, and a few other Order members; including Hagrid, who, in addition to thinking Harry was the most adorable thing he had ever seen (besides his Acromantula, Aragog, the existence of whom he accidentally let slip), expressed his amusement of having a Marauder’s son at Hogwarts in eleven years time.
Not long afterwards, Sirius woke up himself with a slight gag, and spit the pacifier into his hand.
How the hell did that get there? he thought to himself, letting his chair slip back onto all four legs with a small bang as he rubbed his eyes.
Oops. He looked to his lap, expecting to see a startled, and probably annoyed, Harry. Instead, there was nothing.
In fact, he seemed to be the only one present. . .
“Harry?” Sirius called out, cautiously, drawing his wand. If something had happened to Harry while he was asleep. . . Sirius didn’t think he could ever forgive himself. “Harry!”
“Dada!” Sirius heard from the next room. He breathed a sigh a relief as he heard this and James came in sight, carrying Harry, whose little arms were extended towards Sirius.
“Sorry ‘bout that, mate. You really needed the sleep though.”
Sirius nodded, taking Harry from his friend.
Smiling, and yawning, Sirius followed James into the adjoining room. He sat Harry down on a blanket next to some of his toys, then sat down himself to watch the small child play.
How he wished he had sat closer to the boy.
The door was blown in as half a dozen cloaked, hooded, and masked Death Eaters marched into the supposedly safe Headquarters for the Order of the Phoenix. Wands were drawn and a battle ensured. Sirius launched himself in Harry’s direction, but not quickly enough. One of the Death Eaters had grabbed his son.
Not knowing what else to do, unable to think of anything else, Sirius dropped his wand and fell to his knees.
“No! No, please! No!”
He couldn’t have attacked or disarmed the Death Eater without possibly hitting Harry instead; summoning charms didn’t work on people, and Sirius didn’t think that Harry’s clothes were secured enough to his body that a summoning charm on them would bring the child with them.
Sirius cried, panicking. Each of Harry’s terrified screams was a dagger through his heart. “I’ll do anything! Please!”
A sinister smirk showed from behind the mask. “Well, well, well, Black,” the Death Eater said, “times have changed, haven’t they?”
Sirius’ eyes widened in disbelief. No, this couldn’t be happening!
“Sniv— Snape. . .Please. . . He hasn’t done anything to you!” Sirius pleaded. “Harry’s a baby; he’s done nothing! Please!” Severus Snape was only toying around with Harry because of what his father had done to Snape at school, and Sirius knew it.
“On the contrary, Black, it’s more the fact that he exists.”
Sirius felt his heart racing, and he longed to be holding Harry all the more. He knew from where and why Snape had chosen his words.
Maybe, maybe, if he hadn’t been such a prat to Snape at Hogwarts; maybe if he and James had listened to Lily when she. . . James!
Sirius couldn’t help but risk a glance at the surrounding battle. Surely one of his friends must have seen what was transpiring right in front of him! Surely! They wouldn’t abandon Harry to become a Death Eater’s revenge; they would notice what was happening, they would help save his son from whatever fate Snape had in mind for him! They had to!
But help was nowhere to be found. Everyone was wrapped up in their own battles, fighting for their own lives. Sirius had always been able to hold his own in battle; they hadn’t seen him succumb to the opposite side only moments before.
No. . .
“Please. . .” Sirius begged, his words coming from his mouth as tears leaked from his eyes. But he hardly cared for his pride anymore.
“You gambled my life,” Snape told him. “Why should I not do the same with his?”
“Harry’s done nothing to you! I’ll do whatever you want! Please!” Hysterics were settling in even more as Snape withdrew a sharp knife from his black robes. Sirius could not mistake the intentions of the knife as it was brought closer to his son.
“Whatever I want? What do you think I want, Black?” he sneered, bringing the blade ever closer. “I want you and Potter to suffer; and I believe this is just the way to go about it.”
Sirius couldn’t think. This couldn’t be happening!
Snape raised the knife, ready to bring it down on the infant he held.
The small child’s father felt as though the blade had already pierced him.
Not fully understanding how it happened, Sirius launched himself forward to catch Harry before the baby hit the ground and pulled him away as the knife clanked harmlessly to the floor; its wielder fallen beside it.
Now Lily stood in front of Sirius; a fierce, fiery rage built up behind her eyes as she glared down at the man she had felled with her still-raised wand. Her emerald eyes softened, however, as she took in the scene of Sirius and Harry before her.
Sirius was clutching the small boy close to him as though his life depended on it, sobbing in obvious relief that the child was once again safe. The wizard noted nothing that surrounded him besides Harry, not his friends and not that the battle had ended.
He barely seemed to register James and Remus on either side of him, helping him to his feet and out the door to the apparition point; or Lily pocketing his fallen wand and following them out.
Before either Marauder could side-along with Padfoot, Lily picked up a pebble and created an illegal Portkey. They somehow got Sirius to grab onto it.
Sirius was sitting on a bed in a guestroom at the Potters’, staring blankly at the crib in which his sleeping son lay.
James sat next to his friend, and placed a supportive hand on his shoulder. When Sirius didn’t respond, Prongs withdrew the hand and spoke slowly about what happened in the battle that took place at the old Order Headquarters.
“There weren’t any fatalities,” he said.
Sirius only nodded. He didn’t seem to realize he was no longer at St. Mungo’s, where they had brought Harry immediately after the battle was over to ensure that the precious baby really was going to be alright.
“Well, not that we know of. . .” James trailed off. “Dearborn, we don’t know what happened to him. Dumbledore thinks they may have him alive. He just stepped out the door before the attack, so he might have gotten away too.”
“Any idea who it is?” Sirius asked, speaking for the first time since Lily had stunned Snape.
James shook his head. “Not really. . . Dumbledore thinks it was someone who stayed after the meeting was over. Doesn’t reckon Dearborn’s responsible, though.”
Sirius looked away from Harry for the first time since arriving. “But. . . that means. . .”
James nodded this time. “The only people still there were you, me, Lily, Moony, Wormtail, Hagrid, and Alice. Well, Harry too, but no one’s daft enough to think he’s the spy.”
“Spy. . .” Sirius repeated slowly. “Who do you think it is?”
“Honestly, I don’t know.” He sighed. “I know it wasn’t you, Lily, or me. I don’t believe Remus or Pete would betray us like that. There’s no way it could be Hagrid; the man’s too loyal to Dumbledore for his own good. And that leaves Alice, but I don’t think it was her either. Not with Voldemort looking to kill her kid and all.”
James took a slow breath. “I really hate saying this, Padfoot, but the most likely suspects are one of the Marauders.”
“We don’t betray our own, Prongs,” Sirius stated offhandedly, not really thinking about his own words.
“I know; I don’t think any of us would do that. . . I won’t think we did it. . . but, anyone else. . .”
“Well, we know it’s not me and we know it’s not you.”
“We know it’s not Lily, so that leaves Remus and Peter.”
“How are we ruling ourselves and Lily out, though?” James asked, beginning to feel like he and Sirius were back at school and they were mentally testing out all outcomes of an upcoming prank.
“Simple,” Sirius stated. “I’m pretty sure you and Lily would be able to see if each other was a Death Eater,” he said, wriggling his eyebrows suggestively.
James blushed, muttering a ‘stuff it’ as Sirius let out a bark-like laugh. Both knew all Death Eaters were visibly marked by Voldemort, even if they had yet to figure out how. The Order had no intelligence in the Ministry that would be able to gain access to that information. (It was suspected that with the number of dead and captured Death Eaters, the Ministry had long since found whatever this ‘mark’ was, but they were not releasing such information to the public; and even Dumbledore was having a hard time with it.)
“But what about you?” James asked, some of his blush still visible, trying to change the subject.
“I’ve got Harry.”
“What’s that got to do with anything?” It wasn’t that Prongs suspected Padfoot, he just couldn’t understand the other’s reasoning all the time.
“You know how I raise my Little Padfoot.”
“So I don’t know of one dark pureblood supremacist family who raises their kids like I do mine.”
James shrugged, offering a trademark Potter grin. “Fair point.” He didn’t want to suspect his best mate after all, and refused to unless Voldemort’s mark was pointed out to him somewhere on Sirius.
James saw a sad look entering Sirius’ eyes, and quickly brought his train of thought back to the topic of their discussion. “So how do we rule out Moony and Wormtail?”
“No idea, mate. We can’t very well accuse them of being Voldemort’s spy.”
“Yeah. . . It’s not like we can just start inspecting them, either. We don’t suspect them, I mean.”
Sirius nodded. “Wormy’s too frightened of his own shadow to even think about voluntarily approaching Voldemort; and Moony’s far too loyal to the whole ‘doing the right thing’ thing, even with all the crap the Ministry gives him for being a. . .” An odd look crossed the Marauder’s face. “Isn’t Voldemort gaining increased support from--”
“Don’t say it,” James said sharply. “Don’t you dare even think it, Sirius! Moony’s not the traitor; he wouldn’t sell us out like that! And especially not because of his furry little problem!”
Sirius sighed. “I don’t know what to think, Prongs.”
“It wasn’t Moony,” James insisted.
“James. . . do you think I can keep Harry safe?”
James startled, unsuspecting of this change in the conversation. “You’re doing all right so far.”
“No, I mean. . . with what happened. . . what if Lily hadn’t been there?”
“Sirius, we all saw; if Lily hadn’t gotten there, one of us would have. We’d never let anything happen to Harry, especially not you.”
“But I was just- just there! I let that bastard-”
“Sirius, you panicked. I would have too, if it was me in your place.”
“I should have done something, Prongs! I almost lost him because I didn’t! What if something like this happens again, and-”
“You won’t let it.”
“. . .Huh?”
“Think about it, mate; we’ve never been in detention for the same thing twice (quite an amazing feat, if I do say so myself, what with all the detentions we’ve managed to receive). We, you, don’t make the same mistake twice. I know you, Padfoot; you won’t panic again. Trust me.”
Sirius fought against the tears threatening to grow, rapidly blinking his grey eyes. “I just. . . If I lose him. . . I don’t know what I’ll do. I need him, James.”
“I know you do; that’s why I know you won’t panic the next time Harry’s in danger. If there even is a next time.”
“Dada,” a small said from the crib, bringing a soft, sad smile to Sirius’ face. “Dada!” Harry repeated when he noticed his father wasn’t instantly standing over the crib.
Sirius got off the bed and picked his child up. Smiling more brightly, he said, “You’re right.” never taking his eyes off of his son.
“Is the great James Potter ever not?” Prongs replied cheekily, causing Sirius to snort.
“Yeah, ‘great’ my arse.”
James feigned hurt. “You wound me, Mister Padfoot.”
“Shut up, Mister Prongs. Mister Padfoot believes it is now time for his nap.”
“Yeah, yeah; Mister Prongs would like to bid Mister Sleepy Head a good night,” James added the last bit under his breath.
“What?” Sirius asked, still oblivious to the writing James did on his forehead; the same writing he would fail to notice until the next time he stumbled tiredly into the bathroom.
Shrugging, Sirius lay down as James left the room, Harry curled up contentedly on his chest, to finally catch up on some of the sleep he had been deprived of over the past six months. At least until Harry began to cry as his nappy became disgustingly full.
Sirius nearly cried himself at that point, however grateful he was that his beloved son was still alive to make a mess of his diaper and cry. And to call him ‘Dada’, a thought that he knew would never fail to bring a smile to his face.
A/N: Next chapter will take place about a year and a half from now. It might take a bit longer to get posted though, with the beginning of school and everything. Thanks for reading!
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