Getting out of the Ministry was easier than expected. As we exited the courtroom, almost everyone from my department was waiting for us. Prentiss was in the front of the group, his round face stretched by a smile which lifted his cheeks so high his eyes appeared as slits behind his glasses.
“Ellie, there are crowds of people up there, and the Mmes Black are giving a rather warped version of the events which have just taken place,” he began explaining. “Albus Dumbledore went up to try to stop them, but, it will be very hard for you to get through. We brewed up with a little solution,” he explained. Fellow Potions Master, Esther Hooper, pulled two small phials from her robes, flourishing them as if they were made of gold. “It will temporarily alter your appearances, only lasts about twenty minutes, and should be long enough to get you two out of here. Your house is under the Fidelius, right?”
“It is, thank you, all of you,” I said, appreciating the loyalty and friendship of my co-workers.
“Sirius, take this one,” Esther said, handing him a phial, “and, Ellie, take this one. Wouldn’t want to have you ending up switching sexes too, that would just be really weird,” Esther said and I giggled. She was a cute woman, bubbly and effervescent, words not usually used on one as old as Esther. She was nearly the same age as my mum would have been, if she were still living. Looking at her knowing smile and the mischievous look she was giving Sirius and me, I suspected she had some remarkable stories to tell. Perhaps I would get to hear them someday.
“You’re right, Esther, that would indeed be bad,” I quipped back. If we were Muggles, everyone in my department would be labelled either a “nerd” or a “geek”, I was fine with the characterization. I drank down the sweet concoction, and realized it was a well-done Glamour Potion, quicker than Polyjuice Potion, but much more delicate a brew.
Sirius now resembled the boy we had cleaning out the equipment in our labs, Derrick or Devon or something similar. I wondered if I looked like the girl who tended to our supplies, Agatha or Arlene?
“David and Arielle are staying down in the labs,” Prentiss explained. I wanted to commit their names to memory. They took a risk for us I never would have asked. “The two of you are safe. Now, get going before this potion wears off.”
“Thank you, all of you. You’re very good friends,” I said. Regret nipped at my mind, knowing we weren’t friends. I’d kept everyone at arm’s length all this time. If I returned to work, I had every intention of changing my behaviour. Molly, Arthur and Minerva rode a separate lift up, hoping to divert some of the crowds. Sirius took my hand and we went into the next lift. I liked the way it felt to hold it, out in the open, not having to worry about what someone might say.
“You know, one of these days, Jamie is going to find out about us,” I taunted Sirius as we walked along the edge of the pond. Daddy was working with Jamie on some special magic, something he told me I didn’t need to learn. I hoped it wasn’t like the special magic my mum had taught me last week. Her little talk about Contraception Charms happened to have coincided with my getting my first boyfriend. I was mortified.
Sirius reached out and took my hand, lacing his fingers through mine; my arm tingled where he’d touched it. “Let him, I’ll be happy to explain why I want to go out with you, Ellie. We’re best mates, he’ll get over it.”
“I hope so, because I won’t pick between you and Jamie, I… I can’t, Sirius, he’s my…” Sirius stopped and stood in front of me, taking my other hand in his, too.
“I would never dream of making you pick, Ellie. James will be fine with it, I promise. I just can’t wait to walk through the corridors with you like this, and let every bloke at school know you’re my girl,” he told me with a twinkle in his eye.
“I’ll like that, too,” I muttered back as we continued walking.
Sirius clung to my hand as we reached the lobby. It was crowded, and the atmosphere reminded me of being in Diagon Alley the last week of August. Being taller than most, Sirius could see, and wove us through the throngs with relative ease. I made eye contact with Arthur, giving him a quick nod, before we slipped into a Floo fireplace. My flat was still attached, for which I was thankful. We stepped out of the fireplace and I think we both realized that, for the first time in years, we were alone and no one would be coming to chase Sirius away from me. An unfamiliar discomfort overcame me. I’d never felt awkward around Sirius before.
“Um… there are clean towels on the shelf in the bathroom, and feel free to use my shampoo,” I muttered as I walked to the wardrobe to see what might be inside for Sirius to put on. I thought Jamie had left some clothes here, as when he and Lily had argued, she often locked him out of the house. “I think Jamie had a pair of jeans here, and a few shirts. I’m not sure what we’re going to do about pants, though …” I stopped when Sirius wrapped his arms around my waist, turning me around and pulling me to him. His lips rested on my forehead; it felt so good to have him hold me. I stood there for a moment, relishing how warm and safe I felt. Then I felt something crawling on my neck and I realized he stunk worse than Harry’s dirty nappies.
“Sirius, love, while I am thrilled to have you hold me, do think you could do it after you’ve bathed? You reek, and I think a bug just crawled off of you and onto me,” I explained as I reached behind me and swatted the darn thing away.
“Not a problem, Lolly. Sorry about that,” he apologized as he walked to the en suite. I listened as the shower turned on, and went back to ransacking the wardrobe. I was incorrect, nothing of Jamie’s remained. I decided I needed to go to my parents’ house and get what supplies were there. I Disapparated from my lounge to theirs, and went upstairs. I hadn’t touched Sirius’ room when I’d gone to pilfer furniture, I couldn’t bring myself to go in. I went to the wardrobe and dug through it, finding several pairs of his jeans and trousers as well as three jumpers and a few long-sleeve shirts. I grabbed his school bag and threw them in there, along with the rather ratty pair of trainers which were in the bottom. His school shoes were there as well, but I knew I’d never get him to wear the black lace-up shoes in a million years.
I went through the drawers and pulled out a couple of tee shirts, the pairs of socks looking marginally clean and then stared at the pairs of underpants folded up there. I’d seen him in them before, but it suddenly felt very intimate to be there, pulling them from his bureau. I shook my head at my own silliness and pulled out a few pairs and then threw them into the rucksack as well.
Jamie and Lily had let him keep his room here, as a place to hide from Rosemund. There were months when he was here more than he’d been at his own house. I generally stayed away then. He never wore robes when he was just hanging out. “Robes are damned formal things, uncomfortable, too. There’s nothing formal about being at James and Lilylove’s house”, he used to say.
I went back downstairs and pulled Jamie’s old peacoat from the coat tree, figuring it was better than nothing. I also took a pair of gloves and a knit hat from the basket by the door. It was a start; I’d buy whatever else he’d need. I looked around my family home and I didn’t want to think about how empty and silent the house felt. I turned on the spot and was soon in my old, paltry flat. Sirius was sitting on my bed, with only a towel wrapped around him. I stopped cold in my tracks, my mouth hanging open at him.
I hadn’t seen him undressed in three years, five months and twenty-one days, not since the night before his wedding. Sirius laughed at my reaction. He looked a hell of a lot different at twenty-one than he’d looked at eighteen. He’d lost weight in prison, he had a slightly hollow, gaunt look to him, but there was definition to muscles he hadn’t had when we were in school. The thin line of hair which ran down from his navel and the cut of his muscles leading to the towel both enticed me and embarrassed me at the same time.
“Lolly, you’re ogling,” he joked and I nodded absent-mindedly at him. “Did you find something for me to put on?” His question roused me.
“Oh,” I said, blushing at my reaction. “Um… yeah. I went to your wardrobe at the family house. I hope all of this stuff still fits you. The trainers you had there were pretty ratty, but they looked better than those slipper things you had on before. Where did you put your… rags?”
“I — uh — I burned them in your bathroom rubbish bin. I think I charmed the bathroom against the fleas, but you were always better with the charm than I was,” he confessed as he stood up and the outline behind his towel made me blush even more. I quickly looked away.
“That’s appalling for someone who turns himself into a dog,” I threw back. The comfortable banter reminded me of how we’d tease one another as kids. “I’ll go and check the bathroom and make sure the spell is done right. You… get dressed there,” I said, sounding every bit as flustered as I felt.
“You can stay and watch,” he tempted, but I turned and walked briskly from the room.
“Don’t think it would help anything,” I confessed. He’d done the charm well, but there were still a few of the little buggers left behind. I didn’t want to come back to a full-blown flea infestation, so I redid the charm.
“I’m decent,” he yelled at me, and I walked back into the main room. He still didn’t have a shirt on, but at least he was wearing jeans now. They hung low on his hips, but cradled his bum very nicely. He turned around when he heard my footsteps and I noticed something on his chest. I moved closer to get a good look at the mark on his chest. When I realized what it was, I reached out to run my fingers over it. Sirius’ flesh erupted in gooseflesh as I did.
“How did you get away with this?” I uttered.
“She never knew what it meant. I told her James and Remus had taken me out and I ended up drunk and they made me get it as a joke. I told her it was enchanted, too, so I couldn’t remove it. James backed me up when she confronted him,” he explained. I traced along the tattoo over his heart, in the shape of a lollipop, until I realized my finger was on Sirius’ naked chest.
I quickly pulled my hand away. “Sorry.”
“Lol, you weren’t doing anything wrong. I like when you touch me, love,” he confessed, which prompted me to open my palm and lay it over his heart. His hand moved over mine to hold it in place. “Lolly, we need to talk about this, I mean, it’s going to be different, we can be around each other but we still can’t…” he started.
“I know, and I don’t have any solutions, not right now. Can we not make any decisions just yet? I only got you back a little while ago. Let me pretend, just for a while, please?” I begged and he nodded.
“Lolly, my love, you’re not going to lose me,” he promised, opening his arms, and I fell into them, relishing the contentment I found. I don’t know how long we stood there, but his stomach rumbling signalled our need to move.
“Your belly sounds hungry. How about if we get you finished up here and you get dressed and we go and see that godson of ours and get some lunch,” I suggested.
“As much as I want to see Harry, I need to hold you,” he explained. He pulled me to the bed and laid us down, my head cradled to his chest.
“Lolly, what you did today, I… I thought I loved you before, but that…” He took my head, placing his large hands on either side of my face. “You are the bravest Gryffindor who has ever lived. Your parents and brother would have been so proud to have seen the way you handled yourself. Who knew quiet little Lolly had it in her? The little fox who roared.”
“I couldn’t leave you there. Sirius, even if we’re never allowed to marry, never allowed to be together again, you… you are my heart and soul,” I whimpered, tears falling down my face. “For so long I tried to tell people I was fine without you, but I was dead inside. I’ll take whatever life we can have, because it would be better immensely than what I was before. We will find a way to make this work. I need to, for Harry’s sake. He deserves to have someone who’s alive raising him.”
We laid there for what felt forever, not saying anything, his long fingers trailing down my back, up and down along my spine. I didn’t want to break the embrace, but I knew Remus would be wondering where we’d gone to. Molly must have been there ages ago to pick up the children. I finally pried myself away from him and sat up so I could look at his face and hair.
“You’re a bit of a mess here, even with washing it, you’re still scraggly. If I take you home looking the way you do, Harry will be quite scared. Come on, let’s get you cleaned up, love,” I explained as I took my wand out of my pocket and started trimming his hair and beard. I’m not much with charms for my hair, but Jamie insisted I trim his hair, rather than letting Mum do it. He complained she took too much off. Before long, I was grooming all the guys. When I was finished, I stowed my wand away again and put my hands on my hips.
“Much better, far less deranged stalker guy and more cool uncle who taught me it was okay to fly in the house.” The last bit was said rather sarcastically.
“That’s a problem, huh?”
“Um, yeah,” I responded even more sarcastically. “He’s using the fourth bedroom as his flying room,” I told Sirius and then offered him my hand to get him standing. Once he was on his feet, he looked at me, oddly.
“You know, I haven’t seen you smile like that in… in way too long, Lolly. You have the most beautiful smile. I think Harry’s been good for you,” he tenderly told me, again holding me close.
“I think I ignored just how lonely I’d become,” I whispered to his chest, wanting nothing more than to stay like this forever. I pulled back from Sirius and looked into his face, and I could feel the pull toward his lips, but I knew what would happen if we did. I closed my eyes and backed my body away. “But I’m not lonely now. Live with a toddler and a werewolf. They keep me on my toes,” I added, feeling my smile grow more pronounced. “You ready to go see them?”
Sirius nodded before his lips ghosted over my forehead. He then grabbed a tee shirt and a jumper and then slipped the trainers onto his feet. We discovered a small hole in the sole of the right one.
“Guess we’ll be travelling into town today; selection won’t be great, but at least they won’t be holey,” I commented.
He stuffed the rest of his clothes back into the rucksack, and then slid on James’ old coat, hat and gloves. He looked uncomfortable, holding the hat oddly before setting it upon his head. I thought it might be due to wearing his dead friend’s things, but given the circumstances, it was the best we could do. I pulled my cloak around myself and lifted my wand to once again seal my flat and I grabbed his hand and Disapparated us both to the lane, not more than a few steps from the line of the enchantments. The wind was quite wild and the snow was steadily falling, but it was warm where I was standing. I walked him through the charms and my cottage appeared from out of the snow. Sirius gazed lovingly at the little home.
“Lolly, it’s the perfect house, it’s just… it’s so you. Come on, show me your home,” he begged me as he kissed my knuckles.
“Our home,” I muttered, and then, realizing what the implications of the statement could be, I quickly added, “Harry’s and mine.” I opened the door, and when Harry saw his godfather, he stood up on his little feet and ran toward him.
Remus had been playing with Harry’s building blocks on the lounge floor, but whatever they had been constructing was destroyed in Harry’s rush to get to Sirius. I stood back, closing the door, and watched as Sirius picked up the little boy and threw him in the air and then caught him, wrapping his arms tightly around the toddler.
“I miss you, Doggie,” Harry announced.
“I missed you, too, Sport. I wanted to be here with you and your Aunt Ellie so much.”
“Wild hippogriffs couldn’t make me leave, buddy.”
“Yeah!” Harry cheered, throwing his arms in the air. Sirius threw him again and the little boy laughed uproariously. “Hawwy live with Ewwhie, Doggie and Mus. Hawwy miss Mummy and Daddy,” he told us, and I walked over and put my hand on his back and gave it a little rub.
“I know you do, sweetheart. I miss them, too, but they’re keeping the angels company, and having tea with Grammy and Pappy Potter. We’ll see them someday, I promise,” I told the little boy and he reached over to grab me, and Sirius handed him over. Harry buried his face in my hair, resting his head on my shoulder. Remus had risen from the floor and was hugging Sirius now, and I turned away, giving them privacy for their reunion. They’d not only missed one another, but they hadn’t been given a chance to properly mourn their departed friends.
“Hey, my little guy, tell me what you did this morning with Ron and Ginny?” I asked my nephew as we sat down in my favourite chair.
“Play dwagons. Mus dwagon tamer,” Harry explained.
“Well, that sounds like fun. What did Ginny do?”
“Pwincess need wescue. Kiss her too, but only on hand,” he promised, lifting his little hand up to show me. The guys walked over to where we were sitting by the fireplace. Remus stood next to it, resting his arm on the mantle. Sirius sat on the arm of my chair, his arm gently draping over the back.
“That’s a very good boy. I’m so glad you listened to Aunt Ellie. I think you deserve another biscuit after lunch for listening so well. How about if we get some lunch?” I praised. “Should we go and see what we can find in our kitchen to serve Uncle Sirius?”
“It’s all ready, we were just waiting for you,” Remus explained and I whispered my thanks. Harry took off running at the mention of food and Remus quickly followed. I stood and headed into the kitchen when Sirius grabbed my hand, lacing his fingers through mine.
“What was that about kissing Ginny?”
“Harry has a thing for baby Ginny Weasley,” I giggled. “He was kissing her on the lips, which isn’t right on so many levels. I told him he can only kiss her hand, like this,” I said, lifting his hand and pulling my fingers free. I then placed a kiss in the palm of Sirius hand, wrapping his fingers around the spot when I was done. “I explained if he did so, she could carry his kiss with her all day.” Sirius was enthralled with the simple gesture and his eyes were dark with desire. Our shared desire wasn’t something which we could engage in, but I loved knowing it was there. Some part of him wanted me the way I longed for him. He lifted my hand and kissed it in the children’s manner.
“I hope you’ll carry my love with you, too, my sweet Lolly,” he vowed and then wove his fingers through mine again, and we walked the rest of the way to the kitchen. My feet weren’t touching the floor.
When we were finished with lunch, it was time for naps and, given how little I had slept the night before, I decided to lie down while Harry was. Remus was already setting up the chessboard, a shared hobby which could become rather intense. I changed Harry’s nappy and dirty shirt and settled him in his bed, and rubbed his back for a few minutes until he was asleep, and then I slipped into my room, removed my shoes and robes, and slid into the bed wearing only my undergarments. It didn’t take long for me to fall asleep.
I lit the candles and placed the little copper cauldron on top of the jar with the flame inside. When the cauldron felt warm, I poured the potion phials into the cauldron to let them steep. When everything was set, I opened up the parchment I had written all of the incantations onto and started reciting. I hoped a few mispronunciations wouldn’t affect the Rite, as I really didn’t know how to speak Gaelic.
I said the first few lines, handing Sirius the willow branch. He needed to knot the branch three times, and saying, ‘corp, croi, anam’ as he did. “You are my body, heart and soul, Lolly.”
I next lifted the enchanted dagger and pricked my finger and let three drops of blood fall into the flame of the left candle. I then healed the small wound with my wand when I was done. I repeated the process with Sirius on the right candle and then healed him, along with saying the correct words.
We both then lifted two small bits of the root and held them over our respective candles. The smell was rather obnoxious and sickening.
“Lolly, this reeks,” Sirius announced, wrinkling up his nose.
“I know, but we need to do it. It’s commonly called Adam and Eve Root, and I think the name explains why it’s important to the spell. Only a little longer,” I promised. I said a few more lines of the incantation, and then we were finally able to stop burning the stinky root.
After a bit more incantation, I dropped the pooled wax from each of the candles into the potion, and watched as it turned from a dark orange to a nice light yellow colour, letting me know it was correct. I siphoned the potion back out into the phials, using my wand, and handed one to Sirius. We drank it down together, and I could feel a strange warmth pass over my whole body.
“It tastes good,” Sirius remarked.
“That’s the Liquorice root. Reminds me of the tea my mum made when my stomach was upset.”
There was only one step left, and it required removing my shirt. I’d worn my lowest cut bra underneath, so I could do this without having to become completely topless. Sirius smiled enthusiastically as I removed my blouse, and stuck the ivy leaf between my breasts and said the spell: me’ eadal bhur sma’l. As I said, ‘I wear his stain,’ the leaf began to combust, and while it stung, it wasn’t as if I was being burned. When the whole leaf was gone, there the mark lay between my breasts. The rite was nearly finished.
“Ionúin” he whispered.
“Ionúin, go deo” I responded.
Sirius reached across the cauldron and candles and put his fingers on the brand I was now wearing. The Serch Bythol was an ancient symbol of love and fidelity. The two intertwined Triskeles had no beginning or end. His touch made my breath catch, it was like I could feel him everywhere.
“That is… it’s beautiful, Lolly. You wear that for me?” he whispered, awe at how easily we’d bound ourselves to each other. I felt as if my love were alive and moving through me. I wondered if he felt it. too.
“Only for you, my love. I will always be only for you,” I promised and he crawled around the spell supplies, and had me in his arms. He cushioned the floor with a charm, and then laid me down, covering my half-undressed body with his and sealing our rite with a passionate kiss.
I sighed contentedly as I awoke from the dream and stretched my body, extending my arms out to either side. I was surprised when my left hand hit something that was solid, but not hard like the headboard. I opened my eyes, and saw Sirius lying there, smiling at me.
“I really hope your dream was about me, because I’d be rather jealous if another bloke was making you moan like you just were,” he remarked, and I was thoroughly embarrassed. I then panicked as I was now lying in only my underwear, mostly exposed from stretching and pulling the blankets down my body. It didn’t help I had apparently been moaning in my sleep. Embarrassment overwhelmed me and I yanked the blankets up over my head, trying to hide.
“Sirius, what are you doing in my bed?” I yelped.
“After Remus beat me at chess again, I wanted to explore the house. I opened the door here, and you were all curled up on your side, with a wide smile on your face. It was so compelling I decided I needed to come and watch you,” he explained. “I like your knickers there, Ellie. Much better than the stuff you wore while you were in school.”
I pulled the blanket off my face and looked at him. “Yes, well, when it wasn’t my mum buying it for me anymore, I was able to discover a whole world of lingerie out there. It’s the only thing I ever splurge on,” I confessed. It was something Lily had suggested the summer Sirius was married. I had sunk into a rather deep depression, and wasn’t taking care of myself at all. Lily bought me some beautiful undergarments, telling me no one else ever needed to know they were there, but I would know, and it might help me feel better about myself. She was right.
“Here, Ellie, put these on. I swear they will make you feel better,” Lily said as she handed me a small, lavender silk bag. I looked inside, and was mortified at the bright colours and lace of the underwear inside. I started shaking my head at the sight of them. I threw the bag back at her.
“I can’t wear these, Lily. Why would I wear these?”
“Ellie, I know you’re hurting because Sirius is married, but the old cotton ones you wear, they’re… utilitarian. I think you need something to make you feel beautiful. Just give them a try, please, for me. You need something that’s just for you. It can be our secret,” she promised and I relented. When I slipped the soft garments on, I was surprised at how good it made me feel.
“Well, I whole-heartedly approve of your choice there,” Sirius said seductively.
We laid there, our faces nearly touching, his breath caressing across my face. I felt myself getting lost in his eyes, and I brought up my right hand so I could run it along his cheekbones. I caressed his eyebrows and his nose. My finger traced his mouth and along his freshly trimmed beard. I ran my hand into his hair and fisted it between my fingers. I desperately fought the urge to pull his lips to mine, and realized I needed to get out of this bed now, and we needed to talk. I released him and pulled away, but I could see in his eyes he was pained by our breaking of contact.
“We need to talk,” I muttered.
“Those are never words a bloke wants to hear, Ellie.”
“We need to talk about where you’re going to live and what we’re doing next,” I said and he smiled at the topic.
“I’m living here with you and Harry, we’re going to be a family.” He sounded so assured as he said it, but there were still so many questions. This was a conversation I didn’t want to do while only in my underwear.
“Great, well, close your eyes so I can get up and put something else on, please.”
“Come on, Ellie. I’ve seen you in less,” he commented.
“That isn’t the point, Sirius. I don’t think it will help either of us if I’m parading around here in my bra and knickers. Close your eyes,” I demanded and he did. I quickly slipped from the bed and ran into the bathroom where I had a pair of Muggle pyjama pants and Jamie’s Quidditch jersey. I came back out, and Sirius grinned in a very sheepish way.
“Ellie, hate to break it to you, but you’re as irresistible in that outfit,” he told me, and I shook my head at him.
“You’re incorrigible. We need to talk about some things. Come on, let’s go downstairs and figure out what the three of us are going to do now.”
I pulled on his hand to get him off of the bed. We went downstairs to where Remus was sitting at the small desk in the lounge, writing out something.
“What ‘cha working on?” I asked.
“Just dealing with some of the thank-you letters Harry has received. They go to the Ministry, and Arthur picks them up and brings them over to me. I try to answer at least ten of them a day to keep up with them, and then they’re filed away so if Harry ever wants to see them when he’s older, he can,” our friend replied.
“I didn’t even know you were doing that, thank you,” I responded.
“Ellie, you’ve been rather preoccupied. I figured if I could stay on top of the laundry and this, it was a few less things you’d need to be concerned about.”
“That’s very sweet of you,” I told him with a kiss to his cheek.
Remus stood and moved over to the large rocker by the fireplace and Sirius and I sat down on the couch. He stretched his arm along the back of the seat, and his fingers started playing with my hair. Remus smiled at the attention he was lavishing on me, and I was surprised at how comfortable I felt with it. “Okay, gentlemen. We need to come up with some sort of a plan. It’s been a two and a half months since Jamie and Lily died, and since then, I have simply been in crisis mode; however, now that Sirius is out of prison, we need to come up with something better. I only have until May first before I have to go back to work.”
“Well, the first question I think we need to answer is, are you here full-time or part-time, Sirius?” Remus asked him, and I knew he was trying to ascertain if he was ever going back to Grimmauld Place or anywhere else for that matter.
“My mum has thrown me out of the family home, which is fine with me. It was getting rather gruelling to dodge Rosemund’s rather forceful advances. We were coming close to the five-year mark, and her inheritance grows if she were to produce an heir. I just…” he looked like he wanted to be ill.
“Okay, so, you’re going to stay here? I don’t mean to be indelicate, but won’t it be difficult on the two of you?” Remus followed up.
“You could live in the flat. You’re the one who purchased it in the first place. I know it isn’t much, but it’s paid for and it’s private,” I suggested but Sirius shook his head.
“I don’t want to live alone. I’ve been alone for nearly five years, even though I shared a house with Rosemund and my mother. I want to live with people,” Sirius explained and I nodded at him. “Let me rephrase that, people I like.”
“You would still be part of the family, you’d just sleep somewhere else,” Remus suggested. With Jamie gone, he had taken on the yoke of acting as my brother. I suspected Remus was worried if I would be able to take Sirius in the house full time. The fear had passed through me as well.
“But don’t you see, I don’t want to be the fun guy who comes and takes Harry out places, but nothing more. I want to be here to pick him up when he falls, and calm his nightmares when he wakes up at night. I want to help raise him, just like the two of you have been doing. I want all of it, the nappies and the being sick. Having to teach him right from wrong and teach him how to read.” Sirius was passionate about this. I wondered if this is what had sustained him while he was in Azkaban, dreaming about a life raising Harry.
“Well, I guess it’s settled then. Sirius will move in here, and Harry will lose his flying room. We’ll need to get some furniture for you, maybe bring your things from the Potter house over?” I asked.
“Ellie, my feet hang off the end of the bed, I need something larger,” he explained.
“Oh. Well, then, I guess we’re going shopping,” I replied.
“That brings up another point, I have almost no money now, and I can’t access the Black family vault, or at least that’s what Mother threatened—”
“Stop it,” I demanded. “I have enough money. You don’t need to worry about this. I don’t even need to work, it’s just that I find my research important. None of us ever needs to work and we’ll be fine.”
“Ellie, I’m not living off your money. I’m going to get a job,” Sirius answered and I looked over at Remus. He was trying to be evasive with his eyes, but I knew what was bothering him. He couldn’t work, due to the anti-werewolf legislations which had been passed in the last few years. I gave him a sympathetic look. Having him live with me was neither charity nor pity. He was essential to the running of our household. I wished I could get him to see it that way.
“Sirius, what would you even do? You haven’t ever tried to get a job, even right after school.” I was rather dubious of the idea of Sirius getting a job, but if this was something he wanted, I was willing to support him in his quest.
“Not sure, El, but I’ll figure out something. Now, how much time to do I have before that godson of mine wakes up?” he asked and I looked at the clock.
“At least another hour. Let’s go into town and see what we can find for you in the way of shoes and other clothes. You’re going to need some pyjamas here, too,” I told him.
“Ellie, I’ve never slept in them, even at school.”
“Yes, well, we all wear them here, don’t we, Remus?”
“Yes, we do,” he replied and we both started laughing. Sirius questioned us, non-verbally and Remus answered him. “Harry had a nightmare shortly after we first moved in. We both went to comfort him, but we realized neither of us was wearing much. It made for a rather uncomfortable encounter.”
“I see. Well, then, pyjamas it is,” Sirius answered.