Originally Posted 9/2/16, last revised 10/27/16.

Disclaimer: I don't own Harry Potter, and while I've never met her and am not one of her subjects, I have nothing but respect for the Queen. Information about British law and letters to and from the Queen comes from online research and is accurate to the best of my knowledge.

Epilogue 4: Sirius Black

Sirius sat down on the couch, kicked off his shoes, closed his eyes and just relaxed. He could hear Remus cleaning up in the kitchen, but other than that the last of his housewarming guests had finally left and he could let his guard down a little. After all, with the exception of Remus, the Grangers, and his cousins the Tonks, none of the other guests knew he was a wizard. He thought about everything that had happened in the past three months that had brought him here, and marveled at how much difference those three months had made.

After Harry had gone off to school, Sirius had spent nearly a month working with the government, both Magical and otherwise, to arrange for compensation for his improper imprisonment as well as a suitable cover story for not really having much of a history in the non-Magical world. Eventually they had decided on a sanitized version of the truth, where he had been wrongfully convicted of killing his best friends and after fourteen years had finally been exonerated. The Ministry had, after some deliberation, offered him a quarter of a million Galleons in reparations; a bit over a quarter of that was for lost wages, while the rest was compensation for the injustice he suffered. He also had what was essentially lifetime health care paid for by the Ministry, especially as regards to counseling to cope with his ordeal.

While the amount of compensation had been agreed to, there was still the problem of having the funds to actually give him. This was solved when the Crown Wizards' office stepped in and offered to give him an immediate payment of half a million pounds, which was about 100,000 Galleons, and the Ministry would then have fifteen years to pay him the remaining 150,000 Galleons at a rate of 10,000 Galleons per year. Since Sirius was in need of non-Magical currency anyway, and could easily afford to live off of his own Wizarding funds in the meantime, he graciously accepted and the deal was done within a couple more weeks.

With money, identifying papers, and a convincing back story in hand, Sirius had then gone house shopping. After first speaking to them about Hermione staying a few days with him when he and Harry had returned to Grimmauld Place, Sirius had struck up a tentative friendship with the Grangers, and since then had spoken to them several times about the non-Magical world. When the time came to go house-hunting, he decided to look in their general area first, as they had volunteered one of their weekends to help him out in exchange for learning more about the Magical world. In the end, he'd found a nice house in Pease Pottage about a mile and a half from theirs, which he closed on the week before Halloween.

He'd moved in the first weekend in November (having spent Halloween with Remus and Harry, the latter of whom he'd taken out of school for the day to visit his parents' grave for the first time), and held his housewarming the following weekend. Knowing his name had been plastered all over the news a couple of years previously, he'd decided that opening his new home to the whole neighborhood and getting his 'official' story out would go a long way towards easing people's suspicions. The fact that the Grangers could vouch for Harry attending school with their daughter also helped a lot, something he hadn't planned for but appreciated nonetheless.

He had just heard Remus turn off the water from doing dishes when the doorbell rang unexpectedly. Sirius stretched and called out, "I'll get it," then stood and went to the door. To say he was shocked when he opened it was an understatement; there, in mostly proper non-Magical clothes, was his cousin Narcissa Malfoy. They looked at each other for a few seconds before Sirius shook his head and asked, "Well, this is unexpected."

Narcissa looked uncomfortable but asked, quietly, "May I come in, Lord Black?"

Taken aback at the use of his title, he looked around to be sure nobody was trying to prank him before stepping aside and answering, "Welcome to my home, cousin Narcissa. May I take your coat?"

Looking a little more comfortable at his semi-formal response, she stepped inside the house and said, "Yes, thank you." Looking around as Sirius took her coat, she had to admit that while nowhere near as opulent as her manor, this house felt more lived in than the one she'd occupied for the past twenty years or so. While not quite ready to admit it, she wondered in the back of her mind if it had more to do with the occupants than anything else.

"Can I get you anything?" asked Sirius, once he'd hung up her coat. He would have preferred just asking her what she wanted, but recent events had taught him to be more tactful, and he certainly didn't want to start a fight inside his brand-new house.

Disturbed from her consideration of the house, Narcissa replied, "Hmm? Oh, no thank you."

"Alright," said Sirius, deciding that he'd observed proper form long enough. "So why are you here? While I must admit that you've done an admirable job of trying to fit in, I'm still not inclined to trust you very much given our history." It was true; they'd never really been friends, and once she married Lucius and bought into the Pureblood supremacy nonsense even more he'd never trusted her again. That was why, when she'd first sent him an owl requesting a meeting after Lucius was tried and convicted, he'd respectfully declined on the grounds that he was simply too busy dealing with everything on his end. Now, however, she'd made the effort to track him down and dress appropriately, so he supposed he should at least give her a chance.

"I know, Lord Black, but I felt that I needed to try. If it helps any, I offer my unconditional apology for everything that I've done previously to offend you." The last was said demurely, but Sirius didn't think she was trying to be coy.

"Very well, Narcissa, please have a seat and we will speak about whatever you wish. Do you object if my friend Remus Lupin joins us to act as a moderator if needed?"

Narcissa looked slightly startled at the mention of someone else being in the house, not to mention that someone being a werewolf, but after a moment decided that it might be a good idea. Besides, Lupin had been one of Draco's teachers two years previous, and might have some insight on how to deal with her son as well. "No, I have no objection. In fact, he might have something to contribute to the discussion, as it is about my son, Draco."

Sirius held his tongue wanting to know what his son's nemesis had done now, and instead called out, "Remus, can you please join us in the living room? My cousin Narcissa has come to talk about her son."

Remus appeared a moment later, nodding to Narcissa before saying, "Good evening Madam Malfoy."

"Mister Lupin," she replied, not entirely comfortable but doing her best. Once Remus had seated himself, she looked back at Sirius and began. "As I'm sure you know, Lord Black, my son Draco is somewhat of an antagonist towards your godson."

"Son," interrupted Sirius. At Narcissa's confused look he continued, "Harry is my son now. I formally adopted him as my son and heir before he returned to school, and will do so in the non-Magical world once I've properly established myself here as well."

"I see," said Narcissa, before gathering her thoughts to continue. "In any event, Draco and your son, Harry, do not and have not gotten along well since they started school together. While it appears that your son has managed to grow up somewhat since then, my son is unfortunately lagging behind in that department."

Sirius stifled a laugh, much to Remus's amusement, then nodded at Narcissa as he ignored her glare. "I am aware of the difficulties between our sons, yes."

"Then you are probably aware that my son has had his wand confiscated three times since the beginning of the school year, his prefect status was taken away from him, and that he is facing possible expulsion, not to mention prosecution, should it happen again. I have come to you, Lord Black, to ask for your help in finding a way to prevent that from happening."

Sirius looked at her closely, and decided that she was being straight with him, or at least as best she could. "I'm not sure what you want me to do, Narcissa. Harry's not the one who's been starting things, and the school rules are very straightforward about how inter-student violence is to be handled."

Narcissa nodded and said, "I understand. Were it not for the Ministry's freeze on the Malfoy assets other than necessary living expenses I would have already pulled him out of Hogwarts and sent him elsewhere. Unfortunately, that requires funds that I no longer have access to, and while I know my connection to you is tenuous at best, you are my best hope for being able to provide the financial support needed to send Draco to school somewhere else." Narcissa looked up at Sirius and pleaded with her eyes before adding, "Please, Lord Black. My greatest fear was that I would lose my son to the Dark Lord after already having lost my husband. Now, while that direct threat is gone, I still fear that his attempts to follow the path his father set out before him will doom him to a similar fate. All I ask for is a chance to take him away from his current situation so that he might find a new path for himself."

Sirius stared at his cousin, who he had thought was just as bad as her husband or crazy sister, and realized that while she still held beliefs that ran counter to his own, she was also a mother who would do anything for her only child. Knowing how he felt about Harry, and that he would do the same for him, he considered her request carefully before responding. "I can understand your concern for you son, and I certainly appreciate your desire to see him change, but I'm not sure if you, I, or anyone can really help him with that."

"Please, Sirius," she interrupted, "I have to try!"

Seeing her let her guard down, even for just a moment, convinced him that she was at least being honest with him, and helped make the decision for him. He considered his words for a moment then said, "Very well. I too am concerned that Draco is heading down a path from which he will only reach a bad end, and while I may not particularly like him, I can certainly sympathize with a parent's desire to help their child." He held up a hand to indicate that he wasn't done, and thought for a minute before continuing. "Here is my offer, and it will be up to Draco to demonstrate his worth and willingness to accept it. If he can stay out of trouble until the Christmas holidays, I will meet with him and personally extend the following: In exchange for a vow to not set foot inside the Magical Kingdom of Great Britain for twenty years, I will pay for his tuition and room and board at the school of your choice and give him five hundred Galleons on each of his next three birthdays. Additionally, I will pay him a bonus for his O.W.L and N.E.W.T. scores according to a schedule that I still need to work out."

Narcissa stared at her cousin, gobsmacked at his generosity. "That's," she said, before closing her mouth and gathering her thoughts for a moment. "That's more than generous, Lord Black. If I may ask, why are you being so generous?"

"Two reasons, cousin. First, because no matter what environment Draco ends up in, he's still going to resent having lost his financial security. This will help him get over it, and that should also go some distance towards dissipating his anger about this whole situation. And second, while it may seem like a lot of money to you right now, it's not that much to me, especially given the compensation the Ministry still owes me for my years spent in Azkaban. And if throwing some of that money at your son can prevent my son from having to deal with him as an enemy for the rest of his life, I consider that to be worth every single Knut."

"Thank you, Sirius, I don't know what to say," she replied, once again surprised enough to drop her formal mien.

"Beyond thank you, say that you'll try to be open to the changes that are happening in Magical society. If you can accept them, that will go a long way towards convincing others in your circle to accept them as well. That's the payment I ask for this favor, can you do that Narcissa?"

Stunned at his idea of compensation, she realized the truth of his words. As the wife of one of only a handful of Death Eaters to survive to be tried, she held a rather prominent position from a public perception standpoint. She wasn't sure how well she could actually do it, but today had proven that she could at least make an effort, and if that's what it took to save her son she supposed she didn't have much choice. "I'll try, Lord Black," she said, looking at him solemnly.

Sirius nodded, seeing that she at least meant that she'd try. He wouldn't blame her if she ultimately failed, as long as she gave it her best. Especially if it made Draco behave himself. "Then we have an agreement, Madam Malfoy. I'll speak to my solicitor and have him send you a draft of the agreement, including the exam bonus schedule, and we can meet again over the Christmas holidays to finalize things and have your son accept or reject it. Please do make sure he knows this is a one-time offer; if he rejects the deal out of hand, I won't repeat it. Reasonable changes will be considered, though I make no guarantees."

"I understand, and thank you," replied Narcissa, sounding relieved that her son now at least had a chance. "I'll send him a letter immediately and follow up with speaking to him personally as soon as I can. If I have any say in the matter, he'll accept the deal when the time comes."

Standing, Sirius offered her his hand as he said, "I look forward to our sons not fighting any more, and will speak to you again another time. As much as I'm surprised to admit it, I would be willing to have tea with you again some time, should you wish it."

Narcissa took his hand and stood, looking just as surprised at his offer as he was. "I'll consider it, Sirius," she said, and smiled when he nodded his agreement.

"Well, it looks like you didn't need me here after all," said Remus, standing as well. Both Sirius and Narcissa looked at him and chuckled, as they had almost forgotten that he was there.

Sirius grinned at his friend and said, "Would you mind escorting my cousin back to the Magical world, Remus? While I'm sure she had a plan to do so, I'm guessing she'd feel more comfortable not having to do it alone, and I know you were heading that way anyway."

Remus nodded and said, "Sure," before looking at Narcissa and adding, "if you'd like?"

Narcissa considered for a moment while Sirius went and got her coat, before deciding that this might well be a test of her willingness to change. "Yes, thank you," she said to Remus, accepting her coat from her cousin. "Perhaps you can help me to understand what I should and shouldn't be doing in the Muggle world a little better."

Remus chuckled and nodded, before replying, "I think I can do that." Turning to Sirius he added, "Okay, your dishwasher's loaded so you'll know how to do it next time. Just take a look at how I put everything in it, including the soap, then close it all up including the little soap cover and push the start button when it's all closed. Hopefully you'll figure out the rest on your own, otherwise I'll come by in a few days and help you unload it."

Narcissa looked confused but Sirius just grinned and said, "Thanks Remus, you're a lifesaver. Especially since I can't let Kreacher help out here."

Remus laughed at his friend and patted him on the shoulder before grabbing his own coat and heading for the door. "Coming, Madam Malfoy?"

Narcissa nodded then looked at Sirius and said, "Thank you again, Lord Black. I appreciate your taking the time to speak with me."

"You're most welcome, cousin, thank you for coming." Having observed the formal farewell, he added, "Now go on, I'm exhausted and just want to take a nap. Later Moony!"

"Bye Padfoot," called Remus as he walked out the door, then held it as Narcissa followed him out. Once they were gone Sirius closed and locked the door, then went upstairs to take a nap before writing Harry about his surreal afternoon.

Sirius and Harry's first Christmas together was memorable for many reasons. They celebrated it in Sirius's house in Pease Pottage, along with the Tonks family and Remus, who Sirius had finally convinced to move into one of the spare bedrooms. Boxing day was spent with the Grangers, who were amazed that this was Harry's first real Christmas with family despite what Hermione had told them, and so they did their best to make it extra special. The other memorable event was the meeting with the Malfoys, which took place the day before New Year's eve in a conference room at Gringotts.

"I suppose it would have been too much to ask for you to not be here," grumbled Draco, as he walked in to see Harry sitting with Sirius. Narcissa made to say something but Sirius raised his hand and shook his head, having expected Draco to say something about Harry's presence.

Harry looked back at Draco for a moment, then shook his head as well. "I'm not here to fight with you Draco," he said. "You can take my father's offer or not, it really doesn't bother me. I've already told you what will happen if you step over the line again."

Both Sirius and Narcissa looked at Harry, then Draco, and realized that there was perhaps more to their rivalry than either of them had realized. Draco looked worried for a moment, then huffed, "Fine, let's just get this over with," before sitting down opposite Sirius.

The rest of the meeting went fairly quickly, as the final agreement had been hashed out in advance by Sirius and Narcissa's solicitors; the latter was also paid for by Sirius, but through a proxy to avoid conflicts of interest. In addition to the costs of schooling and the birthday money, Draco would receive 100 and 250 Galleons for each EE or O on his O.W.L.s, respectively, and twice that amount for his N.E.W.T.S. Anything below an A would dock him 100 or 200 Galleons from his total, which would discourage him from slacking on any of the core subjects he had to take the tests in.

The final piece was the vow, which Sirius and Narcissa had haggled over for several weeks. In the end, Draco vowed to not set foot in England, Scotland or Wales for a period of twenty years from the day he left for school, with an exception given should he receive written permission from either Sirius, Harry or whoever was the current Lord Black, should it be someone different.

With their business concluded and the formal farewells exchanged, Harry stuck out his hand saying, "Good luck, Draco."

Draco considered it for a moment, then stood and shook the offered hand. "You too," he said, somewhat begrudgingly. "Just do me a favor and tell everyone you killed me or something like that, just so my reputation remains intact. Alright?" Harry just stared at him incredulously, then nodded and chuckled at the request. "Thanks, Potter," said Draco, before turning and leaving.

Narcissa followed her son out of the room, leaving Harry and Sirius alone. "As much as I'm not going to miss him," said Harry, shaking his head as Sirius was gathering his things, "Things just won't be the same without him." He and Sirius shared a brief laugh, then exited the room as well, heading off to do some after-Christmas shopping at Harrods.

It took a little longer than the year they had hoped, but the week before Christmas of Harry's sixth year, Sirius formally adopted him in the non-Magical world. He'd turned down several full-time jobs, both on the Magical side (with the still reconstituting Ministry of Magic) and the non-Magical side (working for the Queen in several different capacities) in favor of working part-time for Fred and George Weasley helping first set up, and then develop products for, the new Weasleys' Wizarding Wheezes. He'd been able to finagle some sound investments on the non-Magical side to show his net worth, along with a Galleons-to-pounds conversion from his part-time wages, which had ultimately convinced the judge (who knew nothing of his Magical connections or wealth) that he was able to financially support Harry along with himself.

He'd also had to get a psychological certification, which had taken a while to get, but that was mostly because of the difficulty locating a counselor who was knowledgeable about Magic and able to look past both the fact that he was Sirius Black, and that the boy he was trying to adopt was Harry Potter. It wasn't that there were prejudices involved so much as that it was hard for people to just see them as people, but in the end he found someone who not only was willing and able to work with him, but had proven very helpful at dealing with some of his other issues (like getting over his animosity towards Snape).

And so, as they prepared to celebrate their second Christmas together, Harry and Sirius found themselves now father and son in every way except biological. Sirius had decided to keep living in the non-Magical world, at least until Harry finished school, as he'd come to enjoy certain parts of it more than he'd expected. He'd even started dating, though not seriously, much to the surprise of a number of the neighbors; they'd assumed he and Remus were a couple, something that the two Marauders had found both uproariously funny, as well as a little disconcerting. Still, nobody ever bothered them about it, so they didn't really care.

Christmas eve they, along with Remus, stayed up much too late, telling stories of previous Christmases both with now departed family as well as at Hogwarts. When Harry fell asleep on the couch, Sirius carried him upstairs and tucked him into bed. As he did so, Harry rolled over and mumbled, "G'night dad. Merry Christmas."

"Merry Christmas to you too, son," replied Sirius before heading to bed himself. The smile was still on his face when he woke up the next morning.