Sirius finally started to fall asleep after spending all night getting everything ready for Harry’s eleventh birthday when light from the corridor spilled into his opening door.
“Dad! Get up!” Harry was practically jumping as he shook his father’s bed. “You said we could leave early.”
Sirius glanced at the clock. “Pup, it’s barely seven. None of the shops open this early.”
“But the earlier we eat breakfast the earlier we can leave once they do open.”
“James and Lily aren’t meeting us until ten. Do you want to tell your aunt why she missed your school shopping?”
Harry sighed and looked to the floor. “No.” Glancing back up, he said, “But we don’t have to shop until they get there.”
“Let me get a couple more hours of sleep and I’ll take you to the Leaky Cauldron for breakfast,” Sirius promised. He smiled when he saw Harry’s face brighten.
“Harry, wait,” Sirius said, as Harry turned to leave the room. He beckoned his son over.
Sirius grinned and grabbed Harry, then began tickling him in his sensitive underarm. “You think you’re getting out of here that easily after waking me up?”
Harry tried with all his strength to get away while laughing so hard he began to turn red. “Dad! Hahaha! Sto-haha-stop! Let-hahahaha-go!”
“Are you going to try waking me up again?”
“Good.” Sirius stopped tickling and pulled Harry close for a hug while the boy, still giggling, tried to even his breathing. “Happy birthday, son.”
Harry put his arms around his father’s back and squeezed tightly.
“Alright, let’s get up,” Sirius said.
“Yeah.” Sirius swung his legs out of bed and stretched. Lily was right, he did spoil Harry silly, but as long as the kid wasn’t turning into the bratty bugger Sirius had once been, as a father who wanted his son to have everything he’d ever need or want, Sirius couldn’t deny Harry anything that wasn’t dangerous. “Get dressed, we’ll leave in 15 minutes or so.”
Harry dashed out the door, causing Sirius to chuckle.
Really, Sirius hadn’t been half as spoiled as Harry, but it still took him most of his life so far to learn to be grateful for the little things and appreciate what might not be there tomorrow. He had learned that from watching friends get blown to bits. Harry, although he had never been the most obedient kid, was almost always well-mannered, kind, and thankful for what those who cared about him did for him. Even though he would never admit it to her, Sirius thanked Lily for that; he easily would have gotten carried away and turned his wonderful son into Europe’s biggest brat if it hadn’t been for her.
“I’m ready!” Harry came back into his father’s bedroom.
Sirius looked down at himself. He only had one pantleg on, his robes needed to be fastened, and his toothbrush hung out of his mouth. He gave Harry a sheepish grin and quickly finished dressing, then ran into his bathroom to rinse out his mouth.
“Okay, let’s go.”
Harry eagerly followed Sirius down the stairs, taking them two at a time.
“After you, birthday boy,” Sirius said, holding out a pot of Floo Powder for Harry.
Harry took a pinch, threw it to the fireplace, and stepped in emerald green flames. “Leaky Cauldron!”
After taking a bit of powder for himself and setting the pot back on the mantle, Sirius followed.
“Happy birthday, sweetheart!” Lily pulled Harry into a tight hug after he ran up to her in the Leaky cauldron. “How do you like being eleven so far?”
“Great. Where’s Uncle James?”
“I’m sorry, Harry, he wanted to be here but he got called into work. He’s trying to get home to see you as early as possible.”
Sirius caught Lily’s eye. “Who?” He knew James would only agree to go into work on Harry’s birthday if something terrible happened. Sirius still remembered how James had threatened to quit if he wasn’t allowed to go home early on Harry’s sixth birthday.
Lily just shook her head.
“What happened?” Harry asked, looking from his aunt to his father.
“Nothing, kiddo. But you’ve got a birthday to celebrate; James wouldn’t have us stop the fun just because he’s not here yet.” Sirius smiled as brightly as he could for his son, and he followed him and Lily into Diagon Alley.
“Where would you like to go first?” Lily asked.
“Can I get my wand?” Harry asked, turning to his father.
Sirius gave a bark-like laugh. “Anything you want.”
After growing up with his parents, Mr. Ollivander didn’t bother Sirius at all, but it was clear Lily found him creepy from her awkward smile at being addressed by the man and tight hold on her godson’s shoulder.
“Well, Mr. Black, let’s get your measurements,” Mr. Ollivander said. A measuring tape flew over and began measuring seemingly random proportions of Harry’s body, anything from the length of elbow to fingertip and in between the young wizard’s nostrils.
“Stop!” Ollivander said, and the measuring tape fell to the floor. He went through some boxes in the back and presented one to Harry. “Eleven inches, birch, unicorn hair.”
Harry barely swished the wand before Ollivander yanked it away.
“Ten and half, oak, phoenix tail feather.”
That wand was taken back too.
“Eleven, cedar, dragon heart-string.”
“Ten and three quarters, poplar, dragon heart-string.”
Sirius smiled when he saw red sparkles emit from the poplar want.
“Excellent, Mr. Black!” Ollivander took the wand and wrapped it.
“How about some ice cream?” Sirius asked, after leaving Ollivander’s.
“Sure!” Harry said, just as Lily said, “It’s lunch time.”
“It’s his birthday; he’s got a wand now. Ice cream for lunch is a great idea. Let’s go.”
Sirius pretended he didn’t hear Lily huff.
For being opposed at first, Sirius thought Lily was rather enjoying her ice cream lunch. He was just about to say as much when a large shadow engulfed them.
“Hullo Sirius, Lily, Harry. Fine day, eh?”
“Hi, Hagrid,” Sirius said. “care to join us for some birthday ice cream?”
“Nah, I got ter be gettin’ back ter Hogwarts. Very important business I’m on. Dumbledore’s orders. Did ye lot hear about wha’ happened this mornin’?”
“We’ll hear about it tonight, I expect,” Sirius said, not wanting to think about whatever had happened during his son’s special day.
“Well anyways, I jus’ saw Harry and wanted ter wish him a happy birthday and give him a present.”
“Wow! Thanks, Hagrid!” Harry stood up on his seat to give the colossal man a hug.
Hagrid chuckled. “Yer welcome, Harry. Hope you like it. Well, I need ter be goin’, Dumbledore expectin’ me an’ all.” He waved and headed in the direction of the Leaky Cauldron.
“Can I open it now, Dad?”
“I don’t see why not.” Sirius smiled and bit into his cone.
“You guys back already?” James asked, sitting at the kitchen table with a steaming mug in his hand.
“Uncle James, look what Hagrid got me!” Harry ran into the kitchen and put a birdcage holding a snowy white owl, who seemed not to appreciate the Floo Network, onto the table.
Sirius caught James’ eye from the living room and mouthed, ‘Keep him in there.’
“Neat. Now give me a hug.” Once James had Harry in a hug, he said, “Happy birthday, kiddo. So what are you going to name it?”
Harry bit his lip. “I don’t know.”
“You two going to sit in there all day? We’re having a party in this room,” Sirius called when he finished magically decorating and summoning over the two remaining party guests, with Lily’s help, of course.
Sirius smiled when he saw the excited look on Harry’s face. The living room now housed Remus Lupin, Peter Pettigrew, a pile of presents, a birthday cake, balloons, and a ‘Happy Birthday Harry’ banner, in addition to the Potters and the Blacks.
One good thing Sirius had always noted about Harry getting up early was Harry would go to bed early. After a few hours of cake-eating and present-opening and game-playing, Harry was fast asleep on the couch next to his aunt. Lily and Remus were talking about something, but Sirius was more concerned with what James had to say than anything else.
“So what did happen this morning, Prongs?” Sirius asked, leading James into the kitchen. Peter followed.
James sighed and tilted his head down. “I’m sorry, mate. Ted Tonks was murdered.”
Sirius felt the color drain from his face as he sank into a chair. “How?”
“We don’t know everything yet. We aren’t even sure who they were going after.”
“What about Andromeda? Her daughter?”
“They were out when it happened.”
Sirius hadn’t seen Andromeda or her family much since he joined the Order. Andromeda made it clear she didn’t want her daughter connected in any way to the Order of the Phoenix and Sirius respected her wishes. Purebloods were usually left alone if they had not openly defied Voldemort. Ted was Muggleborn, but Andromeda wasn’t.
“Wait, they might not have been going for Ted?”
“Well, Ted’s Muggleborn, but Andromeda’s a blood traitor, and their daughter is a Metamorphmagus. Mad-Eye’s got no idea.”
“I’ll be fine. Just going to bed.” As Sirius crossed the living to reach the stairs, he looked back at Harry. What if the Death Eaters had attacked the Tonks’ for Andromeda, the blood traitor? Voldemort’s reasons for wanting Sirius dead only began at blood traitor. If Death Eaters came for him and Harry was home… At least Hogwarts was the safest place Sirius knew of.