Disclaimer: I do not own Harry Potter.
A/N: This story is inspired by the TV show the Americans. I hope that you enjoy my take on it. It's an eventual Theomione.
I would love to hear your thoughts on this - let me know if you enjoyed chapter one and be on the lookout for chapter two soon!
As soon as he'd heard the news, he'd rushed to Godric's Hollow. He didn't want to believe that it was true, and he had to see for himself. James, Lily and Harry had been trapped away in their cottage, in hiding for months, hiding from Voldemort. They were meant to be safe there. There were high levels of suspicion in the Order - someone was betraying them, and for weeks now Sirius had been so sure that it was Remus. But, how could he have possibly suspected one of his friends? Things had been so tense...
Now, standing in Godric's Hollow, he saw that the rumors were true. He was right to suspect a friend, but he had suspected the wrong one. Peter. He wanted to string that little rat up by his tail. Tears burst into his eyes thinking that his best friend, James, was dead.
Dumbledore was already there, holding a tiny bundle and talking with Hagrid. "Is Harry alright?" He demanded, fury in his eyes, wanting, needing to know that his godson was alright. He could still make things right, for Harry.
"Yes, Harry survived." Dumbledore said in his calm tone of voice. It almost made Sirius a bit mad that he could be so calm at a time like this. He was supposed to be the one in charge. How had he let this happen?
"You have some nerve showing up here, you traitor!" Hagrid bellowed, making Sirius momentarily afraid of the giant.
His shoulders slumped that people were so quick to believe that he had sold out his best friend. James was like his brother, really. "It wasn't me." Sirius said vehemently. "It was Peter. We changed at the last minute, knowing that...most people would assume that I was the secret keeper. We thought it was safer this way." Sirius turned his attention to Dumbledore. "Go ahead and look in my head. I will take veritaserum, if that's what you need."
Dumbledore gave Sirius a tight smile, before shaking his head. "No need, Sirius. I believe you."
Sirius felt some of the heavy weight on his chest ease up. It was wonderful to be believed in. But at the same time, it made him pause. How was Dumbledore so quick to trust him? Had he known that Pettigrew was the secret keeper? Had he known that Peter was betraying them? Sirius supposed it didn't matter now. "Well, hand Harry over. I'm his godfather - I will protect him with my life."
"I'm afraid that I can't do that Sirius." Dumbledore said, his blue eyes twinkling. "I have another job for you...and it will take years. Harry will be in good hands."
Sirius tightened his hand around his wand, irrationally angry that Dumbledore was talking like this. "Harry's safety is the most important thing. James and Lily would have wanted me to look after him." Couldn't Dumbledore see that this was what was best for Harry?
"No need to come to a duel, Sirius." Dumbledore said, eyes widening slightly, seeing the hand tightening on the wand. Perhaps Sirius was more of a Black than he expected. "We have to think about the Order right now...what is best for everyone. Sometimes we must do things for the greater good."
Sirius readjusted his hand on his wand. "Then, if you won't let me have Harry...let me go take care of Peter. Please, let me kill him, for what he did to James." The rage was boiling up inside of him.
"No!" Dumbledore demanded, using a rarely used raised voice, usually reserved for quieting the Great Hall at Hogwarts. "You will go wait at Order Headquarters. Do not go after Peter. Think about James and Lily. I will come see you later tonight, and let you know what the mission is."
Sirius heard Dumbledore's words, but didn't want to accept them. He looked at the smoldering ruins of James and Lily's cottage and let out a strangled cry, echoing in the stillness of the night. He took a deep breath, knowing he needed to keep his raw emotions in check at a time like this. "Alright, I'll go." Closing his eyes, and feeling the tears escape onto his cheeks, he apparated away.
Sirius had been waiting in Order Headquarters, pacing like a madman for over two hours, before Dumbledore showed up. Everything was still, considering everyone else was out rounding up Death Eaters, now that Voldemort was gone. He felt like an utterly useless lump sitting here doing nothing, and he resented Dumbledore for guilting him into coming. He wanted to be out there fighting, not waiting around!
When Dumbledore finally showed up, Dumbledore was carrying a sleeping child, and Sirius's heart leapt, thinking it might be Harry. But then he saw the long curly brown hair, and his heart sank again. Dumbledore settled the sleeping girl on the couch. "What's the meaning of this?" Sirius demanded. "Where is Harry?"
"Harry is safe, Sirius." Dumbledore assured him, but without proof, Sirius's soul couldn't settle.
"Well, who the fuck is this? I didn't just want any toddler, I want Harry." He demanded, letting his eyes settle on the little girl. Who could she be?
"This is girl is a muggleborn. Her parents were killed tonight, and she will become an integral part of your mission." Dumbledore urged Sirius to sit down, as his pacing was driving him crazy. "I told you, this mission will take years."
Sirius's eyes widened at that. He'd never participated in a mission that took more than a few months, let alone years. Why was Dumbledore giving him this responsibility? "Why are you even giving me a mission?" Sirius asked, finally flopping into a chair, not caring if he woke the girl. "Voldemort is dead."
"For now." Dumbledore said cryptically. The silence between them stretched for seconds, but it felt like hours to Sirius, as the meaning sunk in. "Voldemort, I fear, will be back. And this time I plan on having someone under deep cover." His blue eyes weren't twinkling, but rather, staring at Sirius, trying to see into his soul.
"You want it to be me?" Sirius said, his eyebrows knitting together. He was probably the best equipped, as he still remembered all those pureblooded customs. "But everyone knows I've been disowned. I don't see how that would be much help. And how does she fit in?" He asked, gesturing to the toddler.
"She will be your in with your family." Dumbledore said, and began to unfold his plans. "She is an orphan, in need of a family. We will perform a ritual tonight that will make her your daughter, flesh and blood. You can use her to get your mother to allow you back into the family." Dumbledore said it so matter of factly, as though using a child as a tool of manipulation wasn't a horrid thing to do.
A stone had settled into the pit of Sirius's stomach. He hadn't even thought about his mother. He was just hoping that he could go to one of his uncles instead. "She won't buy it. And unless that girl becomes a pureblood, she will just toss me back out on the street!"
"I'd considered that..." Dumbledore said, looking up at Sirius over his half-moon spectacles. "I figure, the best story is that you didn't know of her existence. The McKinnons were undercover for over a year, before they were killed. And I believe that you dated their daughter...Marlene?"
Sirius resisted the urge to sneer at his words. Dumbledore really had thought of everything. Just how long had he been planning this? But, it was a stroke of brilliance. No one could corroborate if Marlene was pregnant or had given birth. Plus the McKinnons were pureblood, though not part of the Sacred 28. Walburga wouldn't like it, but it wasn't like she could deny the child either. "What makes you think that I am even capable of taking care of a child?"
Sirius could have sworn that Dumbledore smirked at him. "Weren't you the one who was so eager to take custody of Harry tonight?"
"That's not the same and you know it!" Sirius raged, only to stop when he saw the little girl on the couch move around, disturbed by the raised voices. "How does she fit into this? I can't raise a muggleborn as a pureblood, and teach her to hate her own parents. It's not right." Sirius felt more and more sick to his stomach as each one of his questions was answered. Was he really considering doing this?
"Don't you see? She will help you, and later on, she will be able to give us intelligence too." Dumbledore argued. "We know that Voldemort had a recruitment network in Hogwarts. Just look at Regulus." Sirius scowled. Dumbledore always knew exactly which buttons to push. Sirius always cared for his brother, even though his allegiance to the dark side had separated them. "She will talk like a pureblood, act like a pureblood, understand pureblood traditions better than a pureblood. By the time she reaches Hogwarts, no one will question her."
Sirius let his head fall to his hands. Why was Dumbledore doing this to him? He'd always trusted the man...but then, so had James and James ended up dead!
Perhaps sensing that Sirius was weakening under the strength of the argument, Dumbledore decided to twist the knife of manipulation a bit further. "Do it for your best friend, Sirius! Help me bring down the man that killed James and Lily. Wouldn't you do anything for your friend?"
"I would have died for them!" Sirius felt fresh tears on his cheeks, but then, before he knew what he was doing, he was nodding. Dumbledore woke up the little girl, who was confused, and had huge tears in her brown eyes. Sirius took the time to look her over.
She did have curly hair like him, and it was a shade somewhere between his black and Marlene's bright blonde. He wasn't sure if that was how hair worked, but then again, he had cousins with a variety of hair colors. Hell, even Walburga had had blonde hair in her youth. Her eyes were the same brown as Marlene's as well. If he didn't know that it wasn't her, he was certain he could be convinced that it actually was Marlene's child.
Dumbledore began pulling ceremonial instruments out of his sleeves - a dagger, a chalice, a lock of blonde hair, and a little potions kit. He took a bit of Sirius's blood first, leave a small cut on the pad of his middle finger. Then he added the hair - Marlene's, Sirius would wager - and a multitude of other ingredients. It made Sirius's skin crawl. It was blood magic - something the Blacks took quite well to - and he knew it was for a good cause, but it was still dark magic, and it left a taint on you. He couldn't imagine performing it on such a little girl.
When he was done, Dumbledore handed the chalice to Sirius, who then encouraged the girl to drink it. She looked scared, but he could see the beginnings of trust start to form in her eyes. He stroked her curly hair and held the cup to her lips, his own tears forming when she drank every last drop.
Walburga Black was ready to scream at the young man on her doorstep - a young man she told never to come back after she blasted him off the family tapestry - until she saw the little girl that he had on his hip. Walburga pursed her lips together, taking in his disheveled appearance and red rimmed eyes. He was still wearing those ridiculous muggle jeans and a black leather coat. "What do you want?" She demanded.
Sirius seemed to steel himself, taking a deep breath. "Can we come in? Please?"
It wasn't at all what she had come to expect from Sirius, whose conversations usually quickly escalated into screaming matches. Walburga took a look at the girl, with her curly brown hair and frightened eyes. She was holding a little stuffed rabbit that looked ratty and dirty. "Fine." She stood aside and let Sirius enter the house of her father, wondering if she'd just made a horrible mistake.
Walburga brought them to the parlor, and her pureblooded upbringing didn't allow for a lapse in manners. She called Kreacher for tea, and the house elf scowled at her remaining offspring in disgust. Sirius settled the girl on his lap, and Walburga had her curiosity get the better of her. "Who is the girl?"
The girl - as his mother called her - had actually bonded with Sirius quite quickly, and was remarkably talkative for a two year old. She was already calling him papa, which made Sirius's heart clench a little every time that she did. He'd never once thought about being a father, but now that he was acting as one, he found that he took to it quite well. "This is my daughter. She is called Hermione."
Walburga immediately stiffened. "I wasn't aware that you were...involved." She then sniffed, barely able to resist turning up her nose. "Hermione...that's an unusual name...for the Black family."
Sirius scowled, shaking his head. Really, it was as if she didn't know the names in her own family were considered ridiculous by many people. "I wasn't aware of her until a week ago. Marlene McKinnon, my ex-girlfriend, was her mother." He said, petting Hermione's hair. "As you know, she and her whole family were killed, even though they were in hiding." He swallowed, before continuing to lay it on thick. "I would have chosen a different name for her. Perhaps Cassiopeia or Cepheia." He hated those names, but knew his mother would appreciate the constellations.
Walburga's heart soared. A pureblooded grandchild for the House of Black. It was wonderful. She was so concerned after Regulus had died and then her Orion not much later that her house would be in ruins, but now... "How is it that you just come to know of her now?" Walburga asked, suddenly suspicious.
Sirius let his mind wander to James and Lily's death, and let some fresh tears form in his eyes. Dumbledore suggested using real emotion to make things seem more real. "They thought that I couldn't be trusted. So no one told me that she was alive. And then...it took them weeks to give my own child to me, when she had no one else!"
Walburga considered this. "Who is they, Sirius?"
Sirius looked up at her, trying to hide his shock. It was the first time that she'd called him by his first name in years. "They...Dumbledore, the Order of the Phoenix." He kissed Hermione on the head. "They have been taking decisions away from us for years, all in the name of the greater good! But, whose greater good? Certainly not mine...and not Hermione's either." He let his annoyance at being put in this situation, at being manipulated into this situation, bleed into his voice. He needed to be convincing after all.
Walburga was preening inside. She knew that Dumbledore's way was the wrong path, and she was glad that Sirius was beginning to see the light as well. "Well, I don't really see what I can do to help you?"
"I want Hermione recognized by the House of Black." Sirius said firmly. Here was the part that he was dreading the whole time. He didn't want to beg or grovel his way back into a House that he wanted no part of, but Dumbledore insisted that it was necessary. Sirius did resent his old Headmaster now. "I want to be brought back into the House of Black. I want to raise my daughter the right way."
Walburga's lips were held in a tight line. Did she want to let her son back into the Ancient and Noble House of Black? He had been such a troublesome youth and teenager, but people could grow and mature. He was twenty-two, could he really have matured that much in five years?
Walburga looked at the little girl. She supposed that parenthood did change you. "And what is the right way?"
"I didn't realize what it all met until I had her to look after." Sirius said, looking down at the little girl. "I understand now how the pureblood ideals will make her life better. She deserves to be raised as a Black. I don't want to go back to the Order - they got James and Lily killed and they kept Hermione from me for years."
Walburga smiled and stood, glad that Sirius had finally seen the light. It was especially fortuitous for her because it meant the continuation of her line. Recently Narcissa had been a bit too presumptuous about the Black inheritances her Draco was entitled to. "Well, let's go visit the portrait."
Sirius's jaw nearly dropped. Was it really that easy? His mother had practically welcomed them with open arms. He nodded, picking Hermione back up, and followed him mother out of the room. Walburga raised her wand at the spot that used to house his face and he watched as the fabric began knitting itself back together.
He was surprised to see that it looked exactly the same as before. Had he ever been officially disowned? Walburga opened her arms and held them out to Sirius. "Alright, darling! Come to grandmother." Her broad smile made Sirius cringe.
Sirius couldn't think of anything he'd like to do less than hand over his daughter to this woman, who had been abusive to him throughout his childhood, but he knew that he couldn't make a fuss. He hesitantly held out Hermione for Walburga to take.
She awkwardly settled into Walburga's arms, looking at her face. "Granma?" She asked, perhaps confused.
Walburga gave her a tight smile. "Grandmother." She didn't wait for Hermione to attempt the name again. "Are you sure you don't want to change her name? We can still do it before the House recognizes her." She offered, with a smile.
Sirius shook her head. "No, I don't want to confuse her." He was taking every bit of Hermione's muggle heritage away from her. The least that he could do was give her her name. Her real name.
"We can break her of any bad habits." Walburga said, thinking that her granddaughter probably had been taught a lot of things that would need to be removed from her pretty little head, even though she was only two.
Sirius stiffened with that, letting his body fill with repressed rage from his youth. "I will NOT subject my daughter to corporeal punishment."
Walburga saw the fire in his eyes and was reminded of the old Sirius. Not wanting to alienate him too much, she shrugged. "Fine." She got Hermione's attention again. "Alright, darling, give me your hand." She used her wand to slice a small cut across one of the toddler's fingers, before moving to press the finger below Sirius's face on the tapestry. "Now let's see if you really are Sirius's daughter."
Sirius's breath hitched, and he watched as the old tapestry soaked up the blood. Immediately, it began knitting together, until Hermione's face was revealed amongst the threads, "Hermione Black" emblazoned below her face. "Of course you are, you look so much like your cousin Bellatrix." Sirius shuddered further at that suggestion. He wanted Bellatrix as far away from Hermione as possible. If he had his way, they would never even meet.
The girl must have agreed, because she began to fidget in Walburga's arms. "Papa?" She asked, arms outstretched and waiting for him to take her back. Walburga frowned, but handed the girl back to her son.
"Well, I believe you know your way back to your room. I will have Kreacher bring down a crib from the attic." Walburga said. She looked at the disheveled look of her son with disdain. "We should go to Diagon Alley tomorrow to get you some proper clothes."
Sirius looked down at himself. He sighed, knowing that this was his new life, for Merlin knows how many years. "Yes, of course. Hermione will need some new clothing as well." He took a deep breath. "I understand that my cousin Narcissa has a young child as well. Perhaps she could come with to help with Hermione's clothes? I am still learning how to raise such a young child."
Walburga smiled. It seemed that Sirius really had turned around. "Yes of course, I will send her an owl."
Sirius turned around and walked up the stairs towards his old bedroom, Hermione safely on his hip. He opened the door and sighed, seeing that it had been left untouched, still incredibly messy. He hated this place.