In the center of a forest in Kent stood a large two-story house. It was relatively new; its owners only had it built about three years previous when they grew weary of the hustle and bustle of London. On the second landing in a good-sized office whose walls were covered with photos, bookshelves, and other mementos sat a woman with long brown hair tied back and looking as though she'd run her hands through it many times in frustration. She was bent over her desk in front of a large window writing furiously in a Muggle notebook.
For the better part of four years, she'd dedicated her time and energy to a project she'd had in her mind since she'd been fifteen years of age. It was a love story, really, but with all the heartbreak and fantasy and misery that real life sometimes had. Soon she'd finish and would be able to send her precious work to a publisher and hope for the best. She'd actually been against having this particular work published—what if it was rejected and all of her hard work was for nothing?
Her husband, however, had been quite supportive of her work. "Who cares what those idiots think?" he'd asked her one night after she'd spoken her worries aloud. "If one rejects it—which they won't, because this is brilliant—then send it to another."
Thanks to him, she'd been able to complete her work. After this, she could relax some and take care of her ever-growing family. She looked away from her notebook and her eyes automatically moved to the silver picture frame that held a moving picture of her beautiful family.
Six years ago, she never would have thought she could be this happy. She had everything she ever dreamed of and then some. Her husband, her godson, her daughter, her two best friends, and their son—they were her life.
She sighed happily and went back to her notebook, not noticing the time. When her mind was solely on her writing, she could not hear or concentrate on anything else. And that was how he was able to sneak into the office and begin kissing her neck.
"Sirius!" she squealed, trying to squirm away.
"Mmm?" he muttered, pulling aside the collar of her shirt to begin an assault on her shoulder.
"What are you doing?" she asked, not wanting to admit she was enjoying her husband's lips on her shoulder.
Sirius smiled against her neck. "We've got to take our godson to the school train," he murmured.
"Already?" she whined, turning to look him in the eyes. "But I don't wanna..."
Sirius rested his chin on her shoulder and chuckled. "You're worse than Moony and me, Jules."
She glared. "What if I just decide I don't want to let him go? What will you do then, Black?" Julia asked.
"You would actually deny him the chance to go to Hogwarts?" Sirius said incredulously. "After all the stories we've told him... You would do that to him?"
Julia sighed. "No," she muttered resignedly. "Are Remus and Emmeline here yet?"
"Any minute now," Sirius said, reaching over to take the blue ballpoint pen from her hand. She glared at him again. "Come on, let's go downstairs, love."
Sighing again, Julia allowed Sirius to remove her from her chair and lead her down the stairs.
Eleven-year-old Harry Potter sat on a black trunk with his initials emblemized on both ends. He was holding the hands of a small girl of three years old with long black hair and navy blue eyes with a hint of silver. The little girl bounced all over the front hall—Harry was the only thing holding her in place.
"Mummy!" she cried happily wrenching her arms from the boy she thought of as a brother, and running into her mother's awaiting arms.
Julia laughed and groaned as she stood with her daughter. "You're getting heavy, Jasmine. And why are you so hyper this early in the morning? Daddy's been giving you sugar quills again, hasn't he?" She turned to glare at her husband again who busied himself with examining Harry's new pet owl, Hedwig. Julia rolled her eyes and set Jasmine back on the floor, allowing her to run about their large home to look for her dolls. "Do you have your train ticket, Harry?"
"Julia, the boy has everything; you packed his trunk yourself. Twice, actually," Sirius said with a grin.
"You frustrate me, Sirius Black," Julia muttered. "And I believe I was asking Harry."
"I've got everything, Julia. My ticket's in my pocket," Harry said, trying not to laugh at the glare his godmother sent his godfather.
"Uncle Moony!" Jasmine called from the living room window. A second later, a small blur shot past them and tried to pull open the door. Sirius charmed it to remain closed until one of the older residents of the house opened it—his daughter had a bit of a habit of running out when Remus and Emmeline walked up the front path.
Sirius chuckled at the three-year-old's eagerness and opened the door for her. She sped down the lawn and was met by Remus, who'd very intelligently knelt down to prepare himself for the impact.
Julia moved to the open door and smiled. Remus and Emmeline had been married just before Jasmine's birth three years ago. Due to Remus' condition, they were worried about having children—what if they were infected with Remus' curse? When Emmeline announced six months after their wedding that she was pregnant, Sirius was sure his best friend was going to have a nervous breakdown. But nine months later, Alexander James Lupin was born with no signs of Lycanthropy. He'd been carefully watched in the first few months of his birth, and the most serious symptom he ever developed was fatigue on the full moon. The nearly two-year-old boy had his father's blue eyes and sandy-blond hair. He was incredibly bright for his age—no doubt inherited from his parents—and could already write his name if one knew what to look for on paper.
"Well, it's about time!" Sirius greeted loudly.
The Lupins rolled their eyes simultaneously, something that Sirius found both annoying and amusing. "What are you on about?" Remus called, adjusting Jasmine on his shoulders. "We're early!"
Sirius snatched his young godson from Emmeline's arms and kissed her cheek. "So are we ready to be rid of Harry for a few months?" he asked, not bothering to keep his voice down.
"Hey! I heard that!" Harry called indignantly from the front porch
Sirius grinned at his godson. "Get your trunk and your owl, Harry; we've got to be going."
Harry stared at the brick wall that lead to Platform 9 ¾ and the Hogwarts Express with a raised eyebrow. Though his godparents, Remus, and Emmeline had explained to him hundreds of times how to get through, he still couldn't help but feel they were setting him up for a prank. Julia and Emmeline weren't really the types to want to see him run into a brick wall, but they did have their pranking moments.
"Harry, honestly," Julia said patiently. "We're not messing with you..." Harry still didn't believe them.
"Would you like one of us to go first?" Remus asked soothingly, adjusting his son's weight in his arms. Harry nodded.
Sighing impatiently, Sirius offered to go. He handed Jasmine off to Julia and looked around, waiting for a few Muggles to pass. Whistling, he casually leaned against the brick wall and disappeared through the barrier. Harry stared open-mouthed at where his godfather disappeared.
"You believe us now?" Emmeline grinned.
Harry turned to look at her, still not sure about this whole walking-through-a-solid-brick-wall business. Sirius could have just Apparated away to increase the effect of their prank... "Right..." he said slowly, finally willing to go along with whatever they'd planned. He adjusted the grip on his trolley holding his trunk and owl, and pushed forward, remembering what Julia said about a running start if he was nervous. He closed his eyes, took a deep breath, and prepared himself for what was sure to be a rather painful collision with a brick wall.
Instead of a wall, though, he felt a cool rush of air around his body. He'd kept moving; he hadn't crashed into the wall.
"Took you long enough," Harry heard his godfather say. He opened his eyes and felt them widen. Standing before him was the scarlet Hogwarts Express, steam billowing from it as students boarded. "You may want to move, mate," Sirius chuckled, pulling Harry aside just before Julia, Remus, Emmeline, Alexander, and Jasmine came through.
"So what d'you think?" Remus asked quietly, placing a hand on Harry's shoulder.
"Brilliant," Harry breathed. The adults smiled knowingly behind him.
Sirius and Remus loaded his belongings onto the train while Julia and Emmeline fretted over him last minute.
"Be good, Harry, no matter what that oaf who calls himself your godfather has told you," Julia said, trying to flatten his hair. She only did it out of habit anymore; she knew it was no use.
"Study hard, and listen to your professors," Emmeline chimed in, hugging him tightly and kissing his forehead.
Harry promised he'd be good, and bent down to say goodbye to Jasmine. The small girl had begged to go with him—she usually didn't stray too far from him at home. He promised to write—even though she couldn't read yet—and he'd see her soon. She was still quite upset.
After more hugs from Julia and Emmeline, Remus and Sirius pulled him away and helped him find an empty compartment on the train. Following their own last minute instructions ("Don't let Snape give you too much grief"; "Try not to get too many detentions"; "Kick Mrs. Norris for me...") the two older wizards realized it was time to say goodbye as well.
Sirius hugged Harry tightly, probably tighter than was really necessary, dropped a kiss on his unruly head of hair, muttered, "I love you," and got off the train rather quickly, wiping at his eyes gruffly.
Remus and Harry watched him go with raised eyebrows. "He'll be all right," Remus assured the boy. "Once he gets over the shock of not having you in the house, that is."
Harry smiled and hugged Remus next. "You'll do well, Harry," Remus muttered in his hair. "Write often so the girls and Sirius don't go insane..."
"I will," Harry muttered with a short chuckle in Remus' chest.
"You'll make loads of friends. But if you get homesick, just let us know, and we'll see about visiting, all right?"
Harry nodded and pulled away from Remus. The elder's eyes were oddly bright. "See you at Christmas, then," Harry said.
Remus smiled and nodded. "See you at Christmas," he said quietly before hopping off the train to join his wife and friends.
Harry settled in the compartment bench closest to the window, waving at his family.
As the train pulled away from the station, Julia smiled and waved at Harry one last time just before his face disappeared around a corner.
"Well," Remus said quietly, putting an arm around Emmeline's waist, their son in her arms. "Not much point in sticking around here..." The others murmured their agreement and they made their way back through the barrier again.
Walking with her daughter in one arm, Sirius' hand in her other, Julia thought of the perfect ending for her story; though it was horribly cliché and a bit cheesy, she thought it fit perfectly:
And they lived happily ever after.