By Killing Curse Eyes
Chapter 30: Bridging Gaps
"Harry? Can we talk?" Sirius said as he knocked on his goddaughter's bedroom door. It had been nearly a week since Harry had moved into Grimmauld place for the summer and it was not going as well as he'd hoped. She spent most of her time with Hermione or Tom, and barely spent an hour with him.
Alone inside her and Hermione's temporary bedroom, Harry sighed. She had a feeling she knew what this was about. She had been avoiding Sirius. It wasn't that she hated him or anything. It was just... difficult. Her godfather may have been able to look past his prejudices for her, but he couldn't do the same for her friends, which made things difficult for her. Sirius' stories almost always ended up painting Slytherins or her friends' families in a negative light.
Regardless, she clearly couldn't avoid him any longer.
"Sure. Come in." She said as she pushed up her glasses (her contacts had yet to come in) and set down the book she was reading on the night stand. Her hand moved to pet Hank, who was napping by her side, snoring softly.
The door creaked open and Sirius walked in. His hands were in his pockets, his shoulder's slightly raised. He licked his lips. "Do you mind if I sit?" he gestured to the end up her bed.
"Go ahead." Harry smiled weakly. She was not expecting a nervous Sirius.
"Right well, I ended up talking to Molly—that's Mrs. Weasley—and she made me realize a few things." Sirius admitted. "I know you've been avoiding me, and well, I think I understand why."
"Sirius..." the young witch flinched at his accusation. "I—"
"Relax. I get it." The dog animagus ran a hand through his hair "Molly pointed out I've been an ass—well, not in those words, but that was the gist of it.
"She made me realize that my issues with Slytherins and such are creating issues between us. I'm sorry. I know you're a Slytherin, but you don't fit with my perception of them, so I guess I subconsciously feel like you're not a real Slytherin and shouldn't have any loyalty to your house. And that, coupled with the fact that for James and I, talking about Slytherins the way I have been was just what we did and a big part of our time together at Hogwarts and well... I don't think. To be honest, most of the people I chose to be around felt the same way I do."
Sirius smiled sadly. "Except your mum. She wasn't very happy about the attitude James and I had towards Slytherins. After they got together James had to tone it down around her. To be honest, that's probably one of the reasons I was never very close to Lily."
At Harry's wide eyed look, he chuckled. "Does that really surprise you? I'm not saying we didn't get along, or weren't friends. But before Prongs won her over I thought she was uptight and self-righteous, among other things... I didn't get why James fell for her. But after they got together... Well, we were forced to spend time together, and I learned there was more to her than the side I saw when I was just a troublemaker to her. She had a wicked sharp sense of humour, and could be a lot of fun. She could be vicious to those who wronged her, and a fierce defender of people she felt didn't deserve to be treated poorly. But we never really spent time together if Prongs wasn't there, and could hardly be called close—I wasn't interested in being close friends with her at all to be honest." Sirius added the last bit quietly, almost to himself instead of Harry.
"I didn't know that. I guess I assumed you were good friends with both my parents." Harry whispered, hugging her knees to her chest. "Honestly, I don't know enough about her to guess at what her relationship with you was like."
Sirius winced. Of course she wouldn't. "Right. Well, I'm getting a bit off topic.
"I grew up in a family that was obsessed with blood purity. My parents were second cousins who married each other because they didn't trust the purity of other families."
"Why didn't they trust other families?" Harry asked. That was strange even by pureblood standards. Family trees were public record, those who didn't live up to the family's standards for purity were cast out.
"There was a scandal around the time my parents got together. My mother's friend, a daughter of a family of the sacred twenty-eight turned out to be a half-blood—poor girl's mother had an affair with some half-blood, but no one knew and the mother hid it. I don't know how it came out, but there was panic in the Black family. All Blacks were subject to paternity tests, and women who married into the family had to go through quite a bit to prove their own blood purity." Sirius waved his hand in dismissal. "While that demonstrates how serious my family took the subject, that's not really relevant."
"Right, sorry. Go on." Harry nodded, stroking Hank's soft fur while the tiny dog snored away. This whole conversation was making her anxious, and petting Hank calmed her.
"As I was saying, the Black family valued blood purity above all else—our family motto is Toujours Pur—Always Pure. They were also well regarded among the sacred twenty-eight. My mother was very cruel and father had little to do with my brother or me. The Blacks got their name from their talent with the dark arts. In the Black family, you were expected to be a Slytherin. A Ravenclaw was somewhat acceptable, too." Sirius explained. "Growing up, I knew my family was wrong. There's nothing wrong with muggles and muggleborns. They showed me the dark arts do nothing but hurt others and warp you into cruel, twisted person. I vowed to never be like them."
Harry bit her tongue. She could see where his prejudices came from, but he was wrong about muggles and the dark arts.
"When I think of Slytherins, my family is what comes to mind." The last Black continued. "My years at Hogwarts only confirmed this. Most of the Slytherins around my age joined Voldemort. They were racist, horrible to muggleborns, and studied dark magic."
"Not all Slytherins are like that, Sirius." Harry defended softly. "There are plenty of half-bloods and even a few muggleborns. A lot keep to themselves and plenty condemn dark magic."
Sirius blew his hair up out of his face, only to run his hands through it when it fell back in his eyes. "I know. Intellectually, I get that. Obviously you aren't. But in my experience you're the only one, and it's hard for me to believe that on a deeper level. It's just hard. My counsellor says that my stint in Azkaban stunted my emotional development and prevented me from working through issues, instead reinforcing a lot of them."
"I think I understand a bit better now, Sirius." Harry admitted. "But still, those eleven year old Slytherins you would prank because they were so-called dark arts using blood purists? They were raised surrounded by that. They don't know any better. I think that's what bugged me most from your stories."
"That's no excuse." Sirius protested."I was raised in the same environment and I knew better."
"Not everyone can figure that out for themselves, Sirius." Harry pushed up her glasses, despite the fact that they weren't even slipping down her nose. "You're—you're special, in that way. You know, Pansy used to hate muggleborns. She only tolerated Hermione because I was friends with her. But now they're as close to each other as they are to me. Pansy learned she was wrong about muggleborns, because someone took the time to show her. She's not overly fond of muggles, but these days, instead of looking down on anything and everything muggle, she can recognize when they do something great, and appreciate muggle things, like muggle fashion."
"...I see what you mean Fawn, but it's still hard for me." Sirius whispered. "I can't change overnight, from just one conversation."
"Neither can any one else." Harry said.
"I'm sorry, Harry." Sirius apologized. "I'll make you a deal—I won't talk about Slytherins, or the pranks Prongs and I pulled on them to you. And if I mess up and do, just tell me and I'll stop."
"I'd like that Sirius." Harry smiled. "It would mean a lot to me."
"Good." Sirius ruffled his goddaughter's hair. "There's one more thing. Molly also pointed out that you probably don't appreciate me coming into your life and trying to parent you when you didn't even know I existed before two years ago."
Harry avoided Sirius' gaze by focusing on the snoring ball of fluff at her side. "She's right. It's nothing against you. I've just never had a parent figure and don't want one—don't need one. And I get that from your point of view, it's your job. You were meant to parent me if mum and dad couldn't. But you couldn't either and it's too late to start now."
"I'm not going to lie and agree that you don't need a parent figure in your life." Sirius said, causing Harry to frown. She opened her mouth to argue, but Sirius raised a hand, halting her. "But I won't try to act like one. I want to be part of your life, Fawn, and I know that if I try to parent you that will just push you away."
"I think that's what's best." Harry agreed.
"Right, then, c'mere." Sirius opened up his arms for a hug, and Harry crawled over to embrace him.
After clearing the air with Sirius, Harry spent the afternoon with him. True to his word, he avoided stories from his school days that involved her house.
It was the most pleasant interaction with her godfather she could remember having.
She learned that while her father could be mean spirited in his pranks, they weren't all like that and he could, around his closest friends at least, laugh at himself. He was loyal to his friends, and completely devoted to Harry's mother.
"She was the only one he had eyes for, ever since he met her." Sirius said wistfully. "He never looked at anyone else. She was the only person to catch his attention."
"What about mum?" she asked.
"Well, she dated a few boys before your father in their sixth year, but nothing serious." Sirius said, his tone uncomfortable. Harry had a feeling there was a bit more to it than that, but didn't press him. Their truce was still fragile, and she hardly wanted to provoke her godfather into going off on topics better left to rest. Besides, she was fairly certain she knew what he was holding back—she'd bet her hat that her father chased off the other boys.
"But you and mum eventually grew closer right?" The teen witch inquired. "After all, you're my godfather—she wouldn't let just anyone be."
Sirius ran his hand through his hair again. "To be honest, not really. By the time you were born we got along, mostly, but she was mostly just James' wife to me. Someone I was friendly with, but that's it, mostly for his sake. And she let James choose who'd be your godparent."
Harry looked down. "Oh." She licked her lips. "But... why? Why weren't you real friends with her?"
"It's... it's complicated Fawn." Her godfather responded after a brief pause. "I'm all the things she didn't like about Prongs—the things he toned down around her. And I just... I felt like she was changing Prongs into someone he wasn't, and taking my best friend away from me.
"Looking back, after speaking with my therapist, he was just growing up and becoming more responsible."
"It sounds like you didn't like her." Harry murmured, biting her lip.
"I—well... You see, it wasn't..." Sirius floundered. "It wasn't personal. I just felt like James deserved someone better. Suited. Someone better suited."
Harry frowned, not fooled by her godfather's attempt to cover what he said. Better than her mother? That was preposterous to Harry. If anything, her father was lucky to land someone like Lily Evans.
Noticing her expression, Sirius tried to explain further. "Your dad had been chasing her for ages, and she didn't exactly reject him nicely each time. She hurt him a lot in that time, and like I said, I felt she was making him change himself for her. And it felt like they had little in common, and she was always lecturing him and us... Anyways, things changed, and like I said, by the time you came around we got a long pretty well."
"Yeah." Harry smiled half-heartedly. "Thanks for telling me Sirius."
The dining room of Grimmauld place was more than full. Each seat at the long wooden table was taken, and a handful of people were left standing behind those fortunate enough to be seated.
"Good evening, everyone." Dumbledore greeted, and hum of quiet conversation around the table was silenced. "Our first order of business today will be the introduction of two new members joining us in the fight against Voldemort.
"Everyone, please welcome Tom Riddle and Harriet Potter to the Oder of the Phoenix."
Harry and Tom stepped into the room, only to be met with protests.
"Are you serious, Albus?! She's still a child—" Molly Weasley scolded.
"—And isn't he Voldemort's grandson? How can we trust—"
"—Know she fought you-know-who but it still isn't appropriate—"
"Enough!" Dumbledore roared, silencing everyone. "I'm afraid this is not up for debate. Miss Potter has faced and prevailed over Voldemort more times than anyone else, and she is a target—it's important that she know what's going on, so that she may act appropriately when he comes for her.
"And Tom is not his grandfather," Dumbledore lied. "He genuinely wishes to fight against his grandfather's tyranny. Tom has earned my trust, and is a powerful and knowledgeable wizard in his own right. And though he has fallen out of favour in the ministry for siding with us, he still has many contacts in the wizengamot that will keep him, and thus us, well informed of the going ons there."
"I assure you," Tom spoke up. "Not only do I disagree with my grandfather's methods, but his ideology as well. I'm perfectly accepting of muggleborns, and hold no stock in pureblood supremacy. I could never do the things he does." Tom smiled reassuringly, lying through his teeth. Harry was glad she was proficient with occlumency, else she may have betrayed the humour she found in her partner's words.
It took awhile to finally placate everyone, but eventually the order was able to move on to introductions, giving Harry and Tom a chance to learn the names and faces of their comrades.
Few stood out to Harry besides Kingsley Shacklebolt, the real Moody, and Tonks. Tonks and Shacklebolt were aurors, with Shacklebolt rather high up, and excellent sources of information. They had insight into areas of the ministry that Tom's influence had yet to reach.
After introductions were finished, and Harry promptly forgot most people's names, the real meeting finally started.
Professor Snape gave a quick report, that basically amounted to "nothing important is happening," and then the aurors gave theirs on the ministry. On and on it went, around the table, people giving brief reports on whatever they had been doing or learned. Harry nor Tom learned anything particularly new, but they listened attentively just in case.
By the end of the meeting, Harry was dreadfully bored, and instead of mingling with the order, she and Tom headed upstairs to his room.
"Well, that was..." Harry trailed off, not wanting to finish her thought and sound like she was complaining.
"You can say it, dearest." Tom smiled fondly at her, and then pecked her on the nose. "It was boring, and we learned nothing new."
Harry blushed, but nodded. "But we will eventually, and its important to go."
"Indeed we shall, dearest."
...it's short af but I updated?
Please don't expect updates to be frequent, but I will try to get something out a lot sooner next time.
I've just been having a lot of health trouble. I really haven't been doing well, and writing this fic on top of everything else became a stressor. I just couldn't help it. I haven't even being reading reviews because they just made me so anxious and guilty about not updating, and I'm very sorry about that. For quite awhile my notes for the fic were lost, too, so I didn't know what to even write without them.
I've grown a lot as a person since I started this, and so I've realized a lot of problematic elements in this fic. Among other issues, I want to clarify that I'm not promoting adults being in relationships with children IRL. It's wrong, and if you're in Harry's position or know someone who is, run. Run the other fucking way. Still, I'm not going to suddenly completely change the tone and story to reflect my changed opinions/values, but that has made it harder to write this.
Please forgive any minor inconsistencies with previous content—it's been years, and I can't remember everything and I figure it's more important to get something out than have everything perfect.
Thank you all for the love and support you've given this story!