Summary: In order to cure their friend of his ridiculous fear of Muggles, the Marauders ship Sirius off to spend Christmas with a Muggle family. The lucky host family? None other than Lily Evans and her family, of course!
Disclaimer: I don't own the characters…blah blah blah…I own the plot…blah…the rest belongs to JKR. Any questions?
Chapter Six: Facing Fears
Christmas came and went with nothing particularly exciting happening.
When Lily and James returned with the news that Petunia would be returning in a few hours, Mr. and Mrs. Evans were overjoyed. When she arrived, she was welcomed warmly despite what she deserved. Petunia seemed disgusted by the attention, but she spent the rest of the evening with the family, though she seemed particularly determined to avoid James at all cost.
James left just before supper that evening. He did, after all, have a family of his own at home.
By this time, the Evans family was back in the spirit of Christmas. Lily, though she did not seem pleased by the constant dirty looks and snide remarks from her sister, did not say anything about it. She merely seemed glad to see her parents back to normal at last.
Sirius had definitely decided that he did not like Petunia. He had looked up from his meal twice to see her glaring at him from across the table. He hadn't even done anything to make her hate him…but he could.
Soon, even Sirius could not help but enjoy Christmas. Christmas with the Muggles was even more fun than Christmas with the Potters and definitely a lot better than Christmas with the Blacks.
He couldn't quite put his finger on what was so different about it. It could have been the simplicity of it all. There was no magic involved. They just enjoyed Christmas for what it was. It could have been Lily. She was so happy that she seemed to glow. She danced and sang and was altogether a different person than the one Sirius knew from school. Or, perhaps, it could have been the knowledge that he had put twenty-seven chocolate frogs in Petunia's bed. Around midnight, when Petunia went to bed, he decided that it was the latter. He was rewarded with a loud scream and many angry looks in the morning.
On Christmas morning, he woke up bright and early. Then, he woke Lily up by bouncing on her bed until she finally got up.
They opened presents as a family by the Christmas tree. Sirius received presents from his friends and the Evanses but was not the least bit surprised when he did not find one from his family. His mother had probably disowned him by now.
He laughed silently as he thought of what his family would say if they knew he had spent Christmas living with Muggles. They would more than likely be disgusted beyond belief, and if they had not disowned him already, they would now.
Sirius watched Lily open her last few presents, having finished his before her. He noticed that she blushed furiously when she opened her last present. She denied knowing anything when her mother asked what the gift was and whom it was from, but Sirius knew. He had recognised the handwriting on the card as James Potter's.
The rest of Christmas was spent celebrating, eating, singing, and eating even more. All in all, Sirius enjoyed it thoroughly.
The next day, Lily made an extra attempt to look nice. She curled her hair, put on makeup, and wore a skirt and nice sweater.
Sirius noticed this and had a sneaking feeling he knew what was going on.
"Why, you look lovely today, Lily," he said as she was putting on her scarf.
"Erm, thanks," she replied. "Your approval is very much important to me."
"I'm glad," he said, nodding. "But where might you be going dressed that way?"
"Diagon Alley does not require you look like that. Is there a particular reason you're going there?"
Lily mumbled something about needing new potions ingredients.
"Oh good!" Sirius exclaimed. "Then you won't mind me coming along. I need a new Transfiguration textbook. Peter took a bite out of mine."
"No!" Lily cried before she could stop herself. "Erm…" She hesitated. "I don't want you to come."
"Does this have anything to do with a certain bet you and I made a few days ago?"
She sighed. "Yes."
"Well then I simply must come along!" he said cheerfully. "I promise I won't get in the way. You and James can do what you want. I don't care, but I really do need a new textbook. I wasn't joking about that."
Lily found she could not refuse to let him come, so they both apparated to the Leaky Cauldron. When they arrived, they found James sitting at a table by himself.
He smiled at Lily, but frowned when he saw Sirius.
"Why did you bring him along?" he asked.
"I couldn't help it," she replied, taking the arm he offered her. "He followed me like a lost puppy."
"Oh, isn't that ironic."
Sirius soon began to complain that he was being ignored, but James was quick to point out that this was not his date and that he had no reason being there. So, he walked off to find his textbook, muttering about being unloved.
Lily and James had a nice time together. They wandered the streets for a while, looking at the window displays and talking about nothing in particular. When they were tired of walking, they sat down at Fortescue's and had ice cream.
They were in the middle of a conversation when Sirius came back, swinging a bag with his purchase in it. He was approaching them as if he was still sore about earlier when they had ignored him. As he got near, he swung his bag back behind him and hit a woman walking into a shop.
He quickly apologised, but the woman seemed very angry.
"I'll tell your mother what a monstrous child you are," the woman threatened.
Sirius snorted. "Even if you knew my mother, it wouldn't make a difference. My mother doesn't care about you."
The woman fumed and stalked off.
"And you'd better check your bloodline before confronting her!" he called to her back.
He then turned back to Lily and James, forgetting that he was angry with them.
"That was an awful thing to say," Lily scolded.
James tried to hide his laughter, but failed miserably, resulting in a punch on the arm from his date.
"You two are terrible," she murmured.
"But he was right," James replied. "His mother won't care, and she'll care even less if that woman is anything less than pureblood."
"So am I interrupting anything?" Sirius asked.
"Actually, yes," James said. "Now, leave and let us continue our date alone. We can meet up again in an hour."
"Outside of Gringotts."
"No," Sirius said firmly.
James rolled his eyes.
"Padfoot," he said slowly. "The goblins won't hurt you. They won't even come near you."
"Is he afraid of goblins?" Lily asked.
"Not really," James replied. "He just doesn't like them. He thinks they're mean."
"And I have a good reason!" Sirius said loudly.
"No you don't," James snapped. "You fell out of the cart on the way to your vault when you were twelve and a goblin laughed at you. That does not give you a reason to avoid them for the rest of your life."
Lily couldn't help but laugh at him.
"I hate you," Sirius muttered. "And I'm not going near that bank."
"Fine," James sighed. "We'll just go now. We can spend some time in London."
"B-but we're in L-London," he spluttered.
"I mean Muggle London," James replied. "I want to see what kind of progress you're making."
"Erm, maybe tomorrow."
"No, Sirius. Now."
The three of them made their way back through the Leaky Cauldron and into Muggle London. Sirius grabbed Lily's arm and forced her to walk in front of him.
"You can do this," she told him. "Just do what you did at the barbershop."
Sirius began to mutter incoherently. His eyes never left the pavement.
They walked for a while. Lily and James walked ahead of Sirius.
"You brought him out here because you knew it would keep him from talking, didn't you," Lily said accusingly.
"Maybe," James replied. "It worked, didn't it?"
Lily smiled at him and glanced back to make sure Sirius hadn't passed out yet. He was still alive and breathing.
"How long do you think he'll survive?" James asked.
"I don't know, but if he dies, you won't be as happy as you are now."
"Fine. Let's take him back to the Leaky Cauldron before anything happens."
Just as James had turned around to tell Sirius to go back, there was a scream and a man came running down the sidewalk towards them, carrying a small child in his arms.
Sirius's head snapped up from where he had been staring at the sidewalk to see what was going on. The man with the little boy was running directly at him. Everyone else had moved out of his way- everyone except Sirius.
He tried to move, but he couldn't. Everything was going in slow motion: the Muggle running straight towards him, the child crying, the people watching and wondering what was going on. Finally, somewhere in the back on his mind, he heard a woman screaming, "He took my baby! Somebody save my baby!"
Then, suddenly, the man was right in front of him. At the last second, when he realised Sirius was not going to move out of his way, he went around, but Sirius stuck his foot out causing the man to trip. There was a collective gasp from the crowd as the man fell to the ground.
Luckily, Sirius was fast. He managed to snatch the child out of the man's arms just before he hit the sidewalk. The crowd began to clap and cheer loudly. They worked together to keep the kidnapper in one place until the police arrived.
The little boy's mother ran to where Sirius was standing with the child. She was out of breath from screaming and running, and there were tears running down her cheeks. She took the boy from Sirius and held him tight. Then, she thanked Sirius profusely.
"My poor baby!" she exclaimed, stroking the child's face. "I almost lost him, but you saved him. I'll never be able to thank you enough."
The crowd eventually parted and went about their business. As they passed Sirius, most of them congratulated him, shook his hand, or patted him on the back. He could not stop smiling.
When there was a gap in the crowd, Lily and James ran forward. Lily threw her arms around Sirius and hugged him.
"You were so brave!" she cried. "I can't believe you did that!"
"Lily," James said softly. "He needs to breathe."
He pried her gently off of Sirius before turning to his best friend.
"I didn't think you had actually made any progress," he said. "But I guess you proved me wrong. You've been out here for nearly an hour, and you've been shaking hands with loads of Muggles. You even saved some little kid, but not once did you show any signs of being afraid. Good job!"
He clapped Sirius on the back, and they started back for the Leaky Cauldron.
"So now that he's cured, you can take him back to your house for the rest of the holiday, right?" Lily asked James.
He shook his head.
"I don't think I can do that. While he's at your house, it gives me a good excuse to visit you."
James took her hand in his.
"I guess I can tolerate him for a few more days, then," Lily replied, smiling.
"I'm glad," James said softly.
Sirius frowned and walked ahead of the couple, muttering about being unwanted.
Lily and James laughed, but Sirius was so caught up in trying to act hurt that he forgot where he was and disapparated in the middle of Muggle London. Several Muggles passing by threw some coins on the ground, but none of them gave it a second thought.
Lily and James stared at the place where Sirius had stood only seconds ago.
"You're going to have to have a talk with him," James muttered.
"Why me?" Lily asked. "He's your friend."
"But he's staying at your house. Apparently now he's too comfortable around Muggles."
A/N: And that's the end! Thank you to everyone who reviewed this story. I hope you enjoyed it.
For those of you who are interested in what I will be doing next, I am trying to write a Christmassy one-shot to have up before Christmas, but I haven't really started on it, so I have less than three days to write, edit, and post it. Wish me luck. It may not end up happening at all, but after that I will have to track down my beta who seems to have disappeared (again) with my one-shot about Ginny and her family. I can't post that one on Portkey because it doesn't really involve a ship at all, so if you're interested, you'll have to read it on Fanfiction. Sorry about that. I don't have anything for after that except for half of a chapter of a new story that I'm not too sure about. I'll have to see where it takes me. You can visit my live journal for more information or to make suggestions and requests for new stories (which would be greatly appreciated).
Thanks for reading!