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Chapter 1 : Halloween, 1981
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Sirius was still shaking when he stepped inside 12 Grimmauld Place, clutching Harry to his chest tightly. He sank back against the wall and squeezed his eyes shut, the bitter thought running through his mind that he had never been so grateful to have a flying motorcycle. Between the shock of finding two of his best friends murdered and his unwillingness to let go of baby Harry for even a second, he wasn't driving very safely, so if there had been any traffic in the sky to hit, he probably would have.
Even though Sirius had few fond memories of his childhood home, it never, ever stopped feeling like home to him in that weird way that only the paintings on the wall that watched him grow up could. And now that he was back surrounded by those walls, he felt as safe as he could on a night like this, and tears began escaping from his eyes. It was like all at once, everything from the moment he walked inside James and Lily's house and saw what happened caught up to him and he couldn't contain any emotion. Still holding Harry, he slid down so he was sitting on the floor and just cried. Some part of him was hoping that tomorrow he would wake up and James would tell him that it was all an elaborate Halloween prank that admittedly was taken a little too far, but Sirius could never forget the way James and Lily looked, lying there, cold, scared, knowing that they'd been betrayed by a man they'd known since before puberty. They were two of the greatest people Sirius had ever had the pleasure of meeting, and now they were just gone. Just like that. And Harry would have to grow up never knowing how lucky he was to have James and Lily as parents. They'd just been talking the week before about possibly all going to the Quidditch World Cup together next summer because James was determined that he would failing in his fatherly duty if he didn't teach his son to love Quidditch before he could walk. Never again would Sirius see that grin of James's when a Bludger got so close to knocking him out cold that it knocked his glasses askew, but James tried to act like he'd missed it by a mile. That was when he was trying to impress Lily. Poor Harry. As long as Sirius didn't let go of him, at least he would still have a part of James and Lily to hold onto. It wasn't much, but the fact that Harry survived at all was nothing short of a miracle, and Sirius owed it to him and to James to raise Harry himself, to give Harry the closest thing to a normal childhood as possible. He didn't know the first thing about taking care of a baby, besides what he'd learned from a few nights of Harry spending the night with him, but neither did James and Lily when she got pregnant. They learned quickly enough because they had to, and so would he. And if he could get Remus to help him…
As the thought flashed through his mind, he heard the back door open, and Remus's voice cried out, "Sirius! Sirius, are you here?"
"I'm over here!" Sirius called back. Harry started fussing a little, and Sirius tried bouncing him up and down. He was in no position to be comforting anyone else, but in the second between Sirius realizing that Lily was dead and Harry was alive, anything Harry needed became infinitely more important than anything Sirius wanted.
Remus instantly burst into the room looking more distraught than Sirius felt, which was saying something. When he saw Sirius, though, Remus visibly relaxed. He walked over to Sirius and knelt down beside him, nodding at the bundle of blankets in Sirius's arms. "Is that Harry?" he asked. When Sirius nodded, Remus said, "I came over here as soon as I heard. Well, I went to James and Lily's house, and Hagrid was there, and he said that…and I thought…" His expression twisted into something nasty. "It doesn't matter what I thought. Harry is safe, and you're okay."
Sirius slowly exhaled a shaky breath and collected himself enough to talk, which calmed Harry down as well. "I had to take him, Remus," he said softly. "I have no idea how to raise a baby, but he's James and Lily's son, and I thought that maybe if we could do it together…"
Remus responded by leaning forward and kissing Sirius. It was such a chaste kiss that the day before Sirius might have given him trouble about it, but now it held so much meaning that saying anything at all just felt wrong. Sirius felt better than he had all night, though. Amazing how just knowing that even though he'd lost so much, the one thing he would never, ever lose was the knowledge of how much Remus loved him. The two of them had a long road to get there, but once they did, he wondered how he had ever lived without the special bond the two of them shared.
Remus put his hand on Harry's head and bit his lip. He looked like he was trying not to cry. Already at just over a year old, Harry had his father's messy dark hair. James always boasted about how much Harry looked like him. Except for his eyes. Harry had inherited Lily's bright green eyes.
Remus brushed back Harry's bangs to reveal a thin, lightening-bolt shaped scar on his tiny, delicate forehead, and that pushed him over the edge. He dug his face into Sirius's shoulder. "James…" he whispered. "And Lily."
Sirius didn't know what to say. He knew Remus was waiting for him to come up with a solution that would make everything better again. Since they were kids, Sirius was always the one who came up with the answers. When Remus finally admitted to them that he was a werewolf, the solution of Sirius, James, and Peter each becoming an Animagus so Remus would never have to go through it alone again seemed so simple and obvious. At the time, Remus couldn't believe that his friends would go through so much trouble for him, but to Sirius, there was never an option. His friend needed him, and he stepped up. Period. Same thing when James needed help asking out Lily for the first time, or when Peter stayed up all night writing a History of Magic essay the night before it was due, and Sirius stayed in the library with him until five o' clock in the morning, both to keep him awake and focused, and to help him research one wizard's role in the Crusades. And now James was dead, Sirius knew that Peter had to be responsible, and he didn't have a solution. What he did have was an infant clutched to his chest and a boyfriend clutching onto him because Sirius was supposed to be the strong one. But he didn't have any strength left. What he did have was the newly orphaned son of two of his best friends, and his other best friend, his everything, the one person he loved more than anyone else in the world. It didn't feel like much at the moment, but at the same time, it was enough. It was everything.
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