Author's note: Wow, only one chapter left after this! I'm so sorry this was such a long time coming. Thanks go to oHmYgOdNoWaY and shemademedoit for giving me the elbow I needed to clear my schedule and prioritise this. The next chapter shouldn't take very long to be posted and I shall post the first chapter of the sequel(yes, there is going to be one and it's going to be so much better, I hope.) out at the same time so the second people finish chapter 50 they can move straight on to reading chapter 1 of the sequel. I thought it would make it easier than saying 'and the sequel will be up soon' because everyone has a different definition of 'soon', especially procrastinators like me!
This chapter is dedicated to Jasmin the Critic from Hell, who sadly passed away on November 1st 2009, just days after her sixteenth birthday. She was an amazing writer and a really nice person. Every time she reviewed this fic it made my day, she will be much missed. Please spare some time to offer a prayer for her and her family.
Oh and a warning for bad language; F word, very bad. It's right after Dumbledore says they 'should enjoy the day without any bad will' if you want to skip it.
Chapter 49: Birthday Visits.
"It's eleven o clock, Uncle Padfoot!" Harry squealed excitedly.
"Ooolbeereaneeminnough," Sirius answered, through a mouthful of Honeydukes finest.
"He said, they'll be here in a minute," Remus translated, rolling his eyes. "And don't eat all Harry's birthday chocolate, Sirius!"
"whoughtooo," Sirius said incomprehensively. Harry looked to Remus who shrugged.
"You shouldn't speak with your mouth full," Harry remarked seriously.
Harry giggled as Remus attempted to take the bar of chocolate away from Sirius, who put up quite a struggle. Before Sirius could choke, the fire flared.
Harry's eyes lit up as the Santa-Clause-like figure stepped onto the hearth rug. He had barely stepped out of the way, when the fire flared again and another well known face stepped out.
"Pr'fessor McGonagall!" Harry exclaimed, remembering playing with Prongs and Firenze in her office.
"Hello Harry, happy birthday!"
Harry blushed. "Umm, thanks."
"How are Prongs and Firenze?"
"Oh yeah, they're good, and they've got lots of new friends now!"
"That's wonderful, Harry. And how are you, Remus?"
"I'm fine thank you, Minerva." Remus bent down to kiss the old lady on the cheek.
"Hello Pr'fessor headmaster." Harry greeted, slightly less warmly but still with a degree of friendliness.
Dumbledore laughed. "Professor Dumbledore, Harry. And hello, I hear it's someone's birthday today!"
"Hello Sirius, how are you? Oh, I'm fine thank you, Minerva. I'm so glad you asked. I would have felt so invisible if you had greeted everyone else in the room and not me." Sirius said loudly, imitating his old teacher's voice at the appropriate times.
"My voice does not sound like that, Mr Black!"
Before Sirius could reply, the fire flared again. Confused, they all stared at the flames as a rather large, dark, bat stepped into the room.
The silence seemed to eternal but in reality it was only a few seconds before Sirius growled "get out."
"Despite your status as a Gryffindor I find it hard to believe that you are under the impression that I would annihilate my evening schedule in order to be here for your little brat's birthday. My presence is entirely non-consensual."
"Now, now, Severus. I didn't force you to come, I merely-"
"Emotionally blackmailed me, Albus, yes."
Sirius, who had been opening and shutting his mouth wordlessly as a flush filled his face, finally found his voice. "How dare you-after everything-bloody death eater-my house-my brat?- how dare you?"
"I did not realise you had ventured so far down the paths of ignorance that you had actually lost the ability to communicate in full sentences. Don't tell me your brat has more intellect than you, mutt?" Snape almost seemed to be enjoying himself.
"Boys, this is Harry's special day and I think we should sit down nicely and celebrate with him without insults or any bad will." Dumbledore said, seating himself in example.
"If you think I'm going to sit here and play happy families with Snivellus fucking Snape and-"
"Sirius!" Remus had, until that time, stayed out of the argument and looking after Harry, who did not seem that upset and quite seemed to be enjoying seeing his godfather insult the man he hated.
"I certainly do not wish to be part of your supposed 'family' with that mangy wolf and-"
"Sirius Black, Severus Snape! Sit down this instant!" Minerva McGonagall's eyes glowed red hot and simultaneously Sirius and Snape scuttled to a seat like naughty schoolboys.
"There, now isn't that better?" Dumbledore smiled encouragingly at Harry who looked a bit disappointed that Snape had got the last insult in.
Sirius and Snape did not answer, they were glaring across the table at each other, unblinkingly.
"Now, I believe someone has some presents to open!" McGonagall beamed at Harry who grinned back toothily after receiving an encouraging pat on the leg by Remus.
"Ah yes, I have mine somewhere." Dumbledore began to search the pockets of his eccentrically florescent yellow cloak, finally pulling out an extremely oddly shaped parcel. "Here we go."
Harry stared at the lumpy parcel with an unreadable expression on his face.
"Open in, Harry." Remus said encouragingly.
Smiling, Harry ripped the wrapping paper off enthusiastically to reveal…
"James's old cloak!" Sirius exclaimed excitedly.
"Albus! He's far too young. You can't possibly think giving a child as young as Harry as invisibility cloak is a good idea?"
Sirius looked at the cloak and Harry's hopeful face longingly, but his parental instinct kicked in. "I think he is a little young."
"A little? I don't think we should give it him before he comes of age!" Remus argued.
"I was thinking Hogwarts age." Sirius said quickly, aghast at the thought of Harry waiting until he was seventeen.
"So that he can creep around the castle after hours and get into all sorts of mischief like you and James?" Remus demanded.
"Well…yes." Sirius had the grace to blush.
"So that he can go on midnight flights on his broom like you did?"
"It was fun."
"So he can possibly break his neck falling fifty feet out of the sky, and then he'll not only be unconscious but he'll be invisible too and no one will know where he was and-" Remus's breathing was getting as erratic as his face was growing ashen.
"Erm…no. Moony, I think you're letting your imagination run away with you a bit."
"It could happen!" Remus insisted. "And I'm not going to take the chance."
"Okay, Harry. I'm sorry, but you're going to have to give the cloak back, okay? Don't worry, we'll find a different present to replace it." Sirius cajoled, gently trying to prise the cloak out of his godson's tight grip, already being attacked by hundreds of images of Harry dropping out of the sky.
"But, it was Daddy's." Harry whispered, his grip not loosening.
Sirius's throat constricted. "I'll find you something else that was your…your…daddy's. Okay?"
"But…I want this." Harry's eyes were bright with tears.
Sirius turned away, shooting Remus a desperate look.
"We just don't want you to get hurt, Harry. It's still yours, we will just keep it somewhere safe in the house." Remus tried to take over, not liking the role anymore than Sirius had.
"Can't I…can't I keep it under my pillow? I'll never ever never ever never ever use it, promise!"
Remus's face looked pained under the pressure, he could feel himself relenting.
"Promise." Harry repeated.
Remus sighed. "Harry, if I let you, then you really must never use it until you are of age or have my or Sirius's permission." He really would feel much safer if the cloak was locked away somewhere safe, but who could deprive Harry of anything. Damn Dumbledore for letting Harry know of it's existence.
Harry's face cleared instantly. "I won't use it, I won't! Thank you, Moony. Padfoot." He flung himself around each godfather happily.
There was silence for a minute as Harry rubbed the cloak against his face, looking thrilled, and Remus and Sirius watched him sadly. Unable to watch any longer, McGonagall broke the silence and the mournful scene.
"My present is not quite so controversial," she announced, sounding a little apologetic, much to Remus's annoyance. Any one would think they wanted Harry to be the owner of powerful artefacts.
Harry seemed just as enthusiastic however, ripping the wrapping paper to shreds just as he had before and pouncing on the toy kitten with delight.
"It's another friend for Prongs and Firenze." McGonagall explained, needlessly.
"Wow! I'm going to call him Mr. Norris!" Harry exclaimed.
"Mr. Norris?" Sirius repeated.
"Yeah, like the story you were telling me about Mr. Filch and Mrs. Norris. He can be Mr. Norris." Harry explained excitedly.
"Very clever, Harry." Remus said with a laugh. "Now if we're finished with presents then we'll get on to the food and-"
"Whoa, we haven't finished with presents. Snivellus hasn't given his yet."
"Sirius, we've finished presents. Now let's have dinner." Remus said warningly.
"Why hasn't Snivellus brought one!" Sirius demanded hotly.
"If you think I am going to spend even a knut on your badly behaved, ignorant little-"
"Don't you even finish that sentence!" Sirius stood up, indicating round two much to Harry's delight.
"I don't think anyone should finish anything, except this infantile behaviour." Remus interrupted, yanking Sirius back into his chair.
"I agree." McGonagall nodded, sending a look in Snape's direction.
"Time for food I think." Remus stood up and went into the kitchen, returning with big plates piled high with Harry's favourite foods.
Sirius quickly stopped sulking.
"Tuck in." Sirius invited, not hesitating to dish out a huge mound of chips onto his own plate.
The whole room was soon full of sound as everyone began to dig in, talking merrily. Only Snape sat in glowering silence.
"Come on, Severus," Remus ignored the death rays Snape was shooting him for using his given name. "You must eat something."
"I will refrain, thank you." His thanks were said so ungratefully that they came across more as an insult.
"Well have something to drink then." Remus offered.
Realising that the wolf was not going to give up, Snape relented.
Remus smiled as he poured a generous glassful and handed it to the Potions master, who drunk a small sip expressionlessly.
"Do you like it?" Remus asked eagerly.
"It tastes like water from the lake," Snape snapped.
"Do you remember that time when the Marauders went into the lake?" McGonagall laughed, quickly changing the subject.
Snape sighed again, his frown growing and his fingers tapping impatiently. As if it wasn't bad enough that he had to sit at the same table as the Potter spawn, he also had to hear tales of the older Potter.
"It was freezing!" Remus remembered, shuddering.
"But so much fun. We were trying to find the giant squid. To persaude it to eat-"
"This greasy little Slytherin we didn't like." Sirius finished, sticking his tongue out at his old friend.
"James dived right down deep, he was down for ages."
"Moony nearly wet himself with worry." Sirius said wickedly, getting an elbow to the ribs for his trouble.
"Then when he came up he pretending he was the giant squid and yanked Peter down with him. The little rat really did wet himself!" They laughed, more happy that the traitorous rat had done something so embarrassing than any real fondness of the memory.
"And do you remember the time you all tried to kidnap the house elves?" Dumbledore added. Trying to steer the conversation from the rat as he had been in the hospital wing at the time of this particular prank.
Remus was about to turn to Harry and fondly recount this memory when he realised that the small boy was fast asleep, head lolling against the back of his chair and eyes tightly closed.
"Fast asleep." Remus commented to Sirius.
Instantly, Sirius, Dumbledore and McGonagall craned their necks to look.
"Oh, isn't he adorable?"
"So much like James." McGonagall agreed.
"I hardly think adorable is an appropriate adjective to describe any Potter." Snape interjected.
"He's asleep, why not save your insults for when he wakes up." Sirius snapped sarcastically, thoroughly annoyed that the dungeon bat had been allowed into his house, uninvited no less.
"Boys, boys. Now, I feel it is an excellent opportunity to discuss the new Primary school before Mister Potter wakes up. I presume you have not informed him yet?"
"Not yet." Sirius said quickly, just as Remus was opening his mouth.
"Perhaps today would be a good time?" Remus suggested, glaring at Sirius.
"Or don't you think it would be a better idea to wait until a bit nearer the time?" Sirius added quickly, glaring right back at Remus. This was an argument that they had daily, and it was still unresolved.
"I think today would be appropriate." Dumbledore said mildly.
Sirius grumbled the whole time he was collecting the plates.
Snape looked pleased for the first time since entering the house.
Remus hurriedly continued the conversation, certain Sirius would forget about it once he got involved in the discussion.
"Have the letters gone out yet?"
Dumbledore nodded. "To every child under the age of eleven who has magical ability."
"Even muggle-borns?" Remus asked, surprised.
"Myself and Minerva are delivering those letters personally in order to explain everything to both the parents and the children."
"Harry's going to be so excited." Remus mused, happily.
Sirius huffed. "I still think it's a terrible idea. My little pup can't go off for six hours a day, he'll get homesick. Remus and I can teach him just fine."
"Sirius, you know Harry needs-"
"Be quiet, Remus!"
"We have discussed this, Sirius." Dumbledore reminded him. "Harry will make lots of new friends and will be able to control his magic earlier, it will also be far safer for him to be educated there. Besides, we've been talking about opening a Magical Primary School for a long time, now is as good a time as ever."
"At least it isn't a boarding school," Remus soothed.
Sirius looked aghast at the thought.
"Which reminds me, have you set up the floos, Albus, so that there are safe points where the children can floo, even the muggle-borns?"
"And apparation points." Dumbledore nodded. "We just have to go through the final details and then we'll be all ready."
"Ready for the 1st of September." Remus agreed, his smile not quite reaching his eyes.
"Harry will love it." McGonagall said softly.
Remus and Sirius just looked at each other, they knew they wouldn't.
Harry yawned, sitting up slowly. His face fell as he realised only Sirius and Remus were sat in the room.
"Have they gone?"
"Afraid so, Harry." Remus smiled softly at the boy's dishevelled hair and, putting his novel down on the arm of his chair, came over to flatten in slightly.
"Awww, but I hadn't shown them how you make Firenze fly yet. And I was going to have Mr. Norris sit on his back and then have Prongs on the floor to be the cushion for when Mr. Norris jumped off." Harry complained, his lip jutting out miserably. Sirius and Remus listening to this little by-play fondly.
"Aren't you glad old Snivellus has gone though, Harry?"
"Okay, Moony, okay. don't get your tail in a twist. I'll shut up about the greasy git now."
Smiling, Remus sank down on the sofa beside his godson.
"I wouldn't be too upset, Harry." Remus said softly, his hands gently resting on his godson's shoulders.
Harry stared up into Remus's kind face questioningly.
"A friend of mine is on his way over, and he has seven children who are very excited to meet you."
Remus chuckled as Harry's arms were thrown around him again and Harry's excited babble resumed.
Harry was about to meet the Weasleys.