Author: Maybe the Moon PM
Harry is born. For Cassie, on the occasion of her birthday.Rated: Fiction K+ - English - Humor/Angst - Harry P. & Sirius B. - Words: 2,297 - Reviews: 12 - Favs: 24 - Follows: 2 - Published: 12-28-03 - id: 1660905
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
There were times when it was easy to forget that Lily had been Muggle-born. For Sirius, standing in front of a vending machine in the middle of a Muggle hospital, this was not one of those times.
He regarded at the contraption with the same expression he reserved for the things that truly confused him: Potions exams. Women. Intricate Arithmancy calculations. Remus. As with all Muggle devices he'd ever encountered - which to be certain didn't amount to very many - he knew that it was probably not as simple to operate as it looked. He could see the packets of snacks and pasties and things through the glass, but he couldn't work out how you got them out of the thing.
It was when he started to reach for his wand that a hand came down around his wrist and pulled it away, then smacked him on the back of the head.
"What are you doing?"
Sirius grimaced, rubbed his head and turned. Remus was glaring at him, looking about as menacing as he could manage to be on little sleep. "M'hungry," said Sirius. "But the thingy won't let me have any snacks."
Remus rolled his eyes. "You're hopeless," he said, delving into the pockets of his trousers and turning up several funny-looking Muggle coins. He dropped them into a slot in the machine. "What do you want?"
"Er, those," said Sirius, pointing at a packet of biscuits. "They look all right."
Remus punched a series of buttons, and the machine came to life. Sirius jumped as the biscuits fell into the bottom of the thing, and Remus reached through a flap to retrieve them and slapped the packet against Sirius's chest.
"Now, will you sit down and behave yourself?" he asked, guiding him back to where they'd been sitting, in uncomfortable plastic chairs, for the better part of the night. Over the crackling of the biscuit packet as he opened it, Sirius could hear Remus muttering to himself, about idiots drawing wands in public who should have been taking Muggle Studies instead of goofing off in Divination.
Sirius frowned, and threw himself into his seat. "It's all Lily's fault," he said, fishing out a biscuit and inspecting it warily before popping it into his mouth. "Why couldn't she just go and have the sprog at St Mungo's, like any normal witch?"
Remus sighed. "Because she's not a normal witch," he said, wearily, sinking back into his chair and resting his head against the wall, trying to find the most comfortable spot. "It's her first child, Sirius. She's nervous and if this is what she believes in then you ought to just leave her be and lay off."
"Mm," said Sirius. He held out a biscuit. "Want one? They're not bad."
"No," said Remus, wrinkling his nose. "I'm far too tired to be hungry. Why do babies feel it necessary to show up in the middle of the bloody night, is what I'd like to know." He shifted, and grumbled, and lay his head on Sirius's shoulder. "Don't move, pillow."
"Oh, that's nice," sputtered Sirius, spraying them both with crumbs. "What about me?"
"Shut up and eat your biscuits."
Sirius grunted, and chewed in silence. Remus snuffled, and after a few minutes began to snore, lightly. Sirius glanced at the clock on the wall. Half-three in the morning. They'd already been there for four, nearly five hours. James would appear briefly, looking haggard and as frantic as his own hair, with vague updates about contractions and dialation that Sirius had absolutely no interest in hearing about. Then he'd vanish, off behind the double-doors that green-clad doctors and nurses bustled through regularly, looking important and indifferent to the two men curled up in the corner of the waiting room.
The biscuit packet was empty, but with Remus draped over him - was he drooling? He was drooling, on his jumper - Sirius could not get up to throw it away, so he crumpled it up and shoved it into his pocket. He shifted as gently as he could, so as not to wake Remus and incur the wrath of a grumpy, sleep-deprived werewolf. His foot was starting to go numb. His wand, which was stuffed into the pocket of his trousers, was poking him in the side and he feared he might accidentally hex himself if he wasn't careful. He'd heard about a bloke who kept his wand in his pocket and managed to curse his own buttocks off.
Sirius did not want to do that. He liked his buttocks where they were.
Remus made a strange sound in his sleep, something between a growl and a sigh, and nudged his nose against Sirius's neck. The clock ticked off the seconds, then the minutes, and it was just before the hour - when Sirius's leg was completely numb and Remus was well into some dream that had him muttering about billywigs and twitching his arm against Sirius's side - that James burst through the double-doors and promptly toppled over a row of plastic chairs.
Sirius jumped, knocking Remus in the side of the head with his shoulder. They stared at James, tangled up in the chairs and grinning.
"It's a boy," he said.
"...and there was all this blood, and other stuff, and it was wicked you know, because I didn't know it would look like that, and-"
Remus clapped a hand over James's mouth. "Prongs, I love you. Please shut the fuck up."
They were standing in the hall by a large, plate-glass window. Beyond it there were babies - little ones, big ones, pink ones and brown ones, and some where sleeping while others were awake and wailing. Sirius thought they looked a bit like pickled, plucked chickens, and he thought of the machine in the waiting room, wondering if James would now have to put Muggle money into a slot in order to get his son out of there.
"How's Lily?" he asked, and after a nod of assurance from James that he would not describe any more bodily fluids, Remus released him.
"She's brilliant," replied James, leaning against the glass and pushing his hair out of his eyes. His spectacles were slightly askew, and there was a big fingerprint on one of the lenses. "Lovely. Er, well - when it was happening she was sort of." He turned scarlet. "She said she'd curse my bollocks off if I came near her again."
Remus laughed. "You mean that the experience of evicting something the size of a Bludger through an opening the size of a Snitch did not have her awash in maternal bliss?" he said, and Sirius found that he couldn't breathe. "Surely, you jest."
"I'm telling you," said James, a smile on his face but the echo of fear in his eyes. "She was bloody terrifying."
Their laughter was interrupted by movement on the other side of the glass. A Muggle nurse, dressed in white, had come in wheeling a clear plastic basket on an odd little cart. She stopped just in front of the window, and the three men peered down at the squirming little bundle. For a moment, they were silent.
Then, "Moony, Padfoot, this is Harry." James smiled, and draped his arms around both their shoulders. "Meet the family, Harry."
The baby - Harry - opened one impossibly bright eye, and burbled. Sirius stared, and pressed a hand against the glass.
"Hello, Harry," he whispered. "Welcome."
It was something he thought a godfather ought to say.
After they'd been in to see Lily, who did in fact look brilliant and lovely, and really quite exhausted, they'd left James dozing in a chair beside her bed and took the Underground back to Sirius's flat in Camden. Neither of them wanted to risk Apparating, not as tired as they were, lest they accidentally leave behind an arm or a leg, or something equally as important.
Sirius fell asleep on the train, lulled by the rhythm and leaning against Remus as he'd done in the waiting room. His head was full of strange and disjointed dreams, of hippogriffs and big black dogs, wolves and a boy with bright green eyes and James's lopsided grin. He woke when Remus nudged him, and the walk up the road from the station to Sirius's flat was more or less a blur of parked cars, lampposts and buildings tinged blue by the coming dawn.
Remus stopped, at one point, to buy a copy of a Muggle newspaper, pointing out to Sirius the date across the top: 31 July, 1980.
Sirius grinned at it, stupidly.
"Happy birthday, Harry," he murmured, and he let Remus guide him home.
Once there, Remus set about making tea and wondering about breakfast. Sirius sat slumped at the table, staring at the front page of the newspaper without actually seeing the words or photographs. His brain was in an odd sort of flux, stuck on the image of James looking dazed and happy, Lily's weary smile, and the tiny little thing wrapped in blankets that had open and closed its small hands up at him. They were parents, parents, a mum and a dad. Prongs was a father. He was a godfather.
He became aware of Remus standing over him, and realised he was being spoken to. "Sorry?"
Remus sighed. "I asked you if you wanted an egg or something. I'm a bit peckish. How about you?"
Sirius shook his head. "No, I'm all right. I had those biscuits, remember?" He remembered, then, the empty packet he had put into his pocket rather than throwing away, and waking Remus. He smoothed his hand over his trousers and at the odd crinkling sound he reached in and drew out the crumpled wrapper. He smoothed it out against the table and peered at it, for a long moment.
"Hang on," said Sirius, rising out of his chair. "I'll be right back."
He went upstairs, to the bedroom which was in the usual state of disarray, neither of them having any inclination toward keeping it neat. Sirius kicked aside a set of Remus's old robes and a pair of his own trousers and knelt down, ducking under the bed, After a moment of blind reaching around in the dark his hand connected with something, and he grabbed it and pulled it out into the light.
His first broomstick servicing kit had come in that box, a birthday gift from his favourite cousin, Andromeda. It was old, and the gold lettering had nearly flaked off, and as Sirius opened it he had to stifle a sneeze from the thin layer of dust across the top. Inside the box lay Sirius's whole life.
There were things such as his Hogwarts letter, the photographs and the ticket stub from the Muggle film Remus had made him go and see three years ago, and the fragments of a flitterbloom chain that he felt slightly stupid for having kept. If Moony ever found that, Sirius would have to change his name and move to Romania out of sheer humiliation, because he would never hear the end of it.
He was a sap, he knew that much, but nobody else needed to.
Later, when Remus came upstairs wondering where he'd got to, he found Sirius fast asleep on the floor and curled around a filthy old box, with the empty wrapper still clutched in his hand.
-- Sixteen years later --
Harry frowned. The owl wasn't one that he recognised, and the package it bore did not resemble any of the other brightly-wrapped presents his friends had sent to him for his birthday, yet somehow it was the one he wanted to open first. He thought the box itself looked familiar, like something he'd seen before, but the lettering was completely gone and the leather had become weathered and faded, as if it had been sitting in the dark for a very long time, forgotten.
Inside, he found strange things, old things. The photographs were faded, but the subjects completely familiar. A boy with crazy hair and his handsome friend. The same friend and someone else, pale and drawn, but both of them smiling. A ticket stub for Star Wars dated November 1977. A few scattered petals of a strange-looking flower. An aged letter written in McGonagall's familiar scrawl, informing one Sirius Black of his acceptance into Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry.
He stared at it all for a very long time, and even after he'd opened all of his other presents and wrote polite thank-you owls to everyone in return, he kept thinking about the box and who it might have come from. However, as he made ready for bed and pulled the duvet up around him, his mind latched on to something even more puzzling: the thing that he'd found at the very bottom of the box, underneath a yellowed back-issue of the Times.
An empty Muggle biscuits packet.