A/N: I'm a bad person. I blame Torchwood for it has taken over my life. I fell out of the fandom and into the Torchwood one. It's quite a happy place but I'm still climbing back into the Potterverse.
So I'm really sorry for the delay on this, especially as I'm on Easter holidays and should have managed this over a week ago. But it's here now all the same.
It's un-beta-ed (is that even a word?) because I felt so bad about the delay, once it's been beta-ed I'll put up the edited version though!
Sirius did opt in the end to put off talking to Harry until the last possible opportunity. The morning before Christmas Eve he slid down the stairs to be met by Remus throwing a letter from Mary in his general direction and insisting that he fed the bird that had delivered it because it had already tried to bite Remus four times in the past hour.
Twenty minutes later, with the owl fed and cuts on only three of Sirius' fingers he finally sat down to read the letter and sighed, running a hand through his hair at the realisation that he couldn't put off the father/son, well godfather/godson, chat he had to have with Harry. Remus raised an eyebrow at the expression on Sirius' face.
"She dumped you?"
"Oh don't look so gleeful, why do the failings of my love life always amuse you so? You've wounded me." As Remus took cover behind a chair, preparing for the onslaught of blunt objects Sirius was bound to start throwing in his direction, Harry slipped into the room. His hair was wilder than usual and his glasses a little crooked. He looked half asleep as he slid into a chair and looked up, a little wide eyed, at his guardians, a sleepy smile playing on his lips.
"What he do to wound you? Hope it's not too serious, the St Mungo's healers might try to cancel Christmas again."
"Oh would you let that go. You were seven. That was four whole years ago." Sirius sighed and pulled a face as Remus stuck his head out from behind the chair and decided to make a break for the door. He was inches away from his exit when a bread roll caught him in the back of the head, followed by a cheerful exclamation from Sirius and a spate of boyish giggles from Harry.
"I am leaving." Remus announced as he hurried out the door. "I'm going to buy food, as Sirius is intent on destroying everything we currently have."
"Revenge, my dear Moony! Revenge!" Sirius half-cackled whilst Harry spread butter and jam onto his toast and regarded him with bemusement, shaking his head in a parental fashion. "What, Potter?"
"Nothing. Nothing at all Mr Black."
"Oo, Mr Black is it?"
"Certainly." He paused, tilting his head to one side and licking jam off his finger. "Sirius… did anyone ever tell you it's wrong to write in library books?"
"Of course. Madam Pince told me so frequently."
"And my dad. He wrote in one to tell you not to write in it." Sirius laughed, the ghost of a memory flicking across his face.
"Ah, yeah, I remember that… why were you looking in books about maps?"
"Oh!" Harry exclaimed as though he had suddenly remembered his intention to ask Sirius about Pettigrew. "That's what I wanted to talk to you about! The map!"
"Yeah, it went all weird a while ago. It was showing someone on it that wasn't in the room. And we couldn't work out why."
"Hmm, didn't you ask Uncle Moony?"
"We tried, but we couldn't get him alone long enough and we couldn't say in front of the teachers, in case they confiscated it." Sirius nodded.
"Of course." He chewed on his own toast, which was now slightly cold and not all that appetising. "That's a bit odd. It used to do that when we first made it. Bit of an overlap. But I'm sure we'd gotten all the kinks out of it. Who was it? Someone you know?"
"No, just some boy."
"It's quite old, could be the magic wearing off. I'll take a look at it if you like, or you could get Uncle Moony too. Your dad did most of the charms but it's probably just being temperamental. I think it's got a mind of its own, and if it does it's a mixture of me and your dad, which is quite a fatal combination by all accounts." Harry nodded, feeling satisfied, and returned to his breakfast whilst Sirius dithered about clearing plates, washing dishes with more ferocity than they needed, doing everything by hand so that it would take longer than necessary. If Harry noticed he didn't comment and was still munching away when Sirius dropped into the chair opposite him.
"I need to talk to you about something…" Harry glanced up at his godfather apprehensively.
"Whatever it is I didn't mean to do it." He exclaimed hurriedly.
"It's nothing you've done. It's something I need for you to do."
"I need… I need for you to answer a question and please don't be silly." Harry pulled a face.
"Right. Well… would it be okay with you if Mary still came for Christmas?" Harry paused for a moment, regarding Sirius whilst he considered his answer. If he said yes he might hardly see Sirius over the next few days. Christmas wouldn't be the same with someone else there, she might make him get dressed before he opened his presents and stop him making Christmas cracker towers. She might not want to have Gobstones tournaments and she might send him to bed early. But if he said no then Sirius would be sulky and they wouldn't have their Gobstones tournament anyway. And Uncle Moony would give him the disapproving look that meant I'm very disappointed in you and that he only used when Harry did something selfish or said something horrid. Then everyone would be miserable and he'd have to go to bed early because they'd be angry with him so he wouldn't even get to make his Christmas cracker tower. There might not even be any Christmas crackers at all. "…Harry?"
"Are Dora and Andromeda coming on Boxing Day?"
"Can I still stay up late?"
"And you won't cancel the Gobstones tournament. No matter what she says?"
"And I don't have to talk to her if I don't want to?"
"Alright. But please try and be nice to her." Harry gave a non-committal shrug and rose from the table, leaving to get dressed without a word. Sirius sighed and with a flick of his wand Harry's plate was in the sink. As he scrawled a reply telling Mary she was welcome to come by tomorrow he thought about Mary's place in his life, in Harry's life. He wasn't sure this was serious, he wasn't sure either of them wanted it to be. Harry was his number one priority, but it was nice to have someone around while everyone else was at Hogwarts, very nice indeed.
All in all, he reflected, it had been a pretty good year. Harry was doing well at Hogwarts, he was happy and he had friends. Remus still had his job and was extremely popular and Sirius was doing okay. Getting by. They were doing right by Harry, they were doing things the best way they knew how, muddling through it just like Lily and James would have done. Perhaps with a little less flare than James and lot less sensibility
than Lily, but they weren't doing half bad, he supposed.
And, if Harry warmed to Mary, she would be able to tell him stories about Lily that he had never heard before. The Marauders had always been aware that the girls got up to much more mischief than they let on, Lily included. He sometimes thought they could have given the boys a run for their money, but then he remembered James' originality and Remus' methodology. He thought about his own fearless nature and the way they were always one step ahead. He didn't let himself think about Peter's cunning or the plans he had helped concoct. If he didn't, then the memories were untainted and life was sweet.
A/N: Comments breathe life into me.