How can I ever apologize, I meant you no such harm
I never knew I could possess that fatal kind of charm
I just wanted to be good to you but I found I was disarmed
By a lifetime of disillusionment and the distraction of the stars
I abdicated, now I'm just a prince without a land
My subjects all adored me but for this I had them banned
Now could I trade my guilt for a good flogging by your hand?
And hey I'm sorry about so much baby, but i know you'll understand
I'm sorry about so much baby but i know you'll understand
I can understand why you'd refuse my one request
Just to press against my weaponry and then lay bare your chest
Challenges like these can be won or lost or laid to rest
Now we both agree to separate from the lonely castle steps
The kingdom is destabilized, the watchtower unmanned
The bedroom lies abandoned and the future is unplanned
But we've got the past to remind us of love; chivalrous and grand
And hey i'm sorry about so much baby but i know you'll understand
I'm sorry about so much baby but i know you'll understand

- "We're Both So Sorry" by Mirah

Part V

It's the roar of the motorcycle that finally snaps him out of this nightmare. Harry is still crying, and Remus envies him a little – wishes that he could curl up around Harry and Lily and give in to the sobs that are choking up his throat. But he's the big boy here; he can't ignore the fact that Lily – Mum – is lying there unresponsive with her eyes open. She is dead, and though Remus has not brought himself to go out into the hall he knows that James must be, as well. He would never have allowed anyone to threaten his wife in this manner, and it has happened only over his dead body.

But Sirius is here now, and Remus knows that he needs help. Carefully, he helps Harry stand up, supporting him like Lily had shown him. But the house is a shambles, and Harry can't possibly walk through it like this, not when he's already hurt and crying copious pitiful tears. Remus makes a brave effort to pick up the little boy, but he can't stand like this, he knows. There is no chance that he will be able to carry his brother out of this wreckage.

"We're up here!" he finally shouts, hoping to Merlin that Sirius can hear him.

But it's not Sirius who finds them, but an enormous giant of a man, who swats away the fallen beams like so many twigs.

"Merlin! You're little Remus, aren't you?"

He nods, wondering who this stranger is, hoping that Sirius will get here soon and tell him what to do.

"I'm Hagrid. I'm to take you and Harry. Professor Dumbledore's orders."

Hagrid smiles, and takes Harry, who fits in the palm of one hand.

"Where's Sirius?"

Hagrid's face darkens. "He's downstairs, with James. Come along, you'll be able to say goodbye to him."

And before Remus can protest, he's been tucked under Hagrid's other arm as the giant navigates expertly through the rubble and takes them downstairs. They make their way through the ruins of the little magic kingdom that Remus ruled as a princeling.

Sirius is kneeling by James's body, his face a mask of penance, his eyes strangely hollow. When he sees Hagrid approach, he rises and moves closer, not allowing the boys near the corpse. Before he can say anything, Remus is hugging him, and Sirius takes him from Hagrid, holding him tight.

"Remus," he says in a broken voice, "I'm so, so sorry."

And Remus is crying openly now, finally, not understanding all the hidden meanings of the apology.

"What have I done here, Remus? How did we not know? How could you leave me like this—you were always the clever one—you should have known! You should have made me do it? How could I have let this happen?"

Hagrid is patting Sirius on the back gruffly, his supposedly gentle ministrations a flogging that brings no absolution.

"Sirius, I'm to take the boys. Dumbledore's orders."

"The boys are mine now. That's what James and Lily wanted. You know that, Hagrid. I'm Harry's godfather, and Remus, you know what he is to me."

"I'm sorry, Sirius, but you'd better talk to Dumbledore about it. I can't let them go with you now."

Sirius nods faintly. He runs a light finger down Harry's tearstained little face, and mutters a spell to staunch the bleeding from the cut on his forehead. He touches that lightning bolt scar with a solemn look, as though granting a final benediction.

"You'd better take them, then. I have my own hunting to do."


Both Sirius and Hagrid start at the little voice.

"You can't leave me and Harry. Mummy wouldn't like it; you know she wouldn't. Can't he come with us, Mr. Hagrid?"

Hagrid blinks.

"I suppose you'd better come with us, then. Reckon Dumbledore'd better have a look at you anyway."

Sirius nods in bewilderment.

"Come on, we'd better get on my motorbike then."

Hours later, they are back at Sirius's little bachelor flat, and Remus is helping Sirius change Harry's diaper yet again, and getting him ready for bed. There isn't a crib here, and Sirius isn't willing to let go of Harry just yet, in a night of close calls, so the three of them pile in together in his large bed. There'll be time enough for childproofing the flat tomorrow.

Sirius is still shaking with fury from the latest set of horrors; Petunia Dursley and her husband's uncouth rant will be planted in his memory for some time to come. He still can't believe that Dumbledore's grand plan had been to leave the boys on the doorstep with a little letter to explain the calamities of the night, and hope for the best. But though Harry was fast asleep in a little enchanted basket, Remus was wide-eyed and terrified, and they'd had to ring the doorbell out of common humanity. The Dursley's reaction was horrifying; they had raged at Lily for marrying a ne'er-do-well, getting herself blown up, and worst of all for having adopted a stray brat on top of having their own baby. They might have been coaxed into taking Harry, though Sirius could see in his mind's eye how his godson would have been neglected. But they had refused pointblank to accept Remus. Yet even after that point Dumbledore had been none too easy to persuade. Much to his chagrin, Sirius owes a considerable debt of gratitude to Minerva McGonagall, the last person in the world capable of believing him an adult, for taking his part over Dumbledore's.

In the end, though, it's Remus who does it. Remus, whom he had failed to trust. Remus, who trusts him implicitly, even after Sirius has cost him another family. Remus, without whose intervention he would already be halfway to Azkaban. Remus, who is not yet four years old, and already raising a baby better than he can. But he will learn, from Remus, and others, as he has already learnt to love, from James and Lily. At least he's got that still, their love, and their two little boys.