A/N: This is SERIOUS AU from the actual Harry Potter series. Voldemort didn't make any Horcruxes, and thus when Lily died to protect Harry, the rebounding curse killed Voldemort totally dead. It's hypothetical, yes. It's also based off an RPG I had with a few friends sometime last year, but it died off and so I revived the idea in fanfiction form.

This fic is written in a series of days between November 1981 and October 1982, following the lives of Sirius Black, Remus Lupin, Regulus Black and Barty Crouch, with various other characters appearing in between. This will contain themes of slash.

I do love feedback!


The Price of Victory:

November 2nd, 1981


November 2nd, 1981, approximately 6:10 PM, Sirius Black is forced to wait.

Sirius Black was pacing impatiently. Yesterday, in the early hours of the morning, he received a letter from Albus Dumbledore, informing him the circumstances behind the death of a certain Dark Lord, his best friends and his godson's involvement with this death, and what would have to be done now, as a member of the Order of the Phoenix.

So he paced the flat. It was around this time that Dumbledore informed him that, if there were no unforeseen complications, Rubeus Hagrid would be delivering Harry Potter to his flat, as he would now be in his custody until he was of age.

Sirius had no concept of how to take care of a one-year-old, he spent yesterday shopping for any kind of book that would help him. He had babysat Harry, of course, and spoiled him with gifts and affection. But he had never fed a baby, or changed a diaper, or anything ridiculous like that. He didn't know what he would do.

And there was the lingering fear of a traitor. Well, he knew who the traitor was. He had asked James and Lily Potter to change their Secret Keeper to Peter Pettigrew, because there was no doubt in his mind that Peter Pettigrew was not a Death Eater. But if someone else close to them was, and Sirius didn't know…he could slip something and be the death of Lily and James.

So they had switched. The mistake might haunt him forever.

He had written his other, his only remaining, best friend, Remus Lupin, to inform him of the switch, and the deaths, yesterday.

So Remus wouldn't believe him to be the traitor.

The fact that Dumbledore would entrust him with The Boy Who Lived was proof enough to anyone he was not the traitor.

There was a loud knock on the door, and Sirius practically ran to it and flung it open with so much force the towering figure that was Rubeus Hagrid took a step back. Hagrid was alarming in appearance, over eight feet tall, and wider than any normal human being, with wild black hair and a matching beard. But anyone who was around him for more than a couple of minutes knew he was as gentle as they came.

"Well, good evenin' to you too, Sirius," Hagrid said gruffly. He ducked and squeezed himself inside the flat. He had a knapsack that appeared tiny in proportion to him on his shoulder, and a small bundle in his right hand. He carefully handed Sirius the bundle, which was the sleeping baby that had, apparently, saved the Wizarding World.

"There's ev'rything you need here in this," Hagrid said, setting down the knapsack beside the sofa. "And a letter from Dumbledore explainin'…well, a lot of stuff, and if ya need any help with him at all, contact Dumbledore."

Sirius nodded, his throat constricted at the sight of his godson, peaceful, asleep, unaware.

Hagrid patted him (he nearly fell over) on the shoulder. "It'll be okay, Sirius, things will be okay," he said sadly. "I can't even believe it meself, half the time."

He nodded again, completely mute.

"Take good care o' Harry, he's yours now."

With that, Hagrid left the flat (with much struggling, of course), and Sirius was left alone with the sleeping baby. He found a safe place to lay Harry down as he unpacked the bag full of baby clothes, toys, a crib, and various other objects. He realized then that he had no space for a baby, or to raise a child, or for a rowdy teenager.

Sirius groaned, setting up the crib in his own bedroom for the time being. He would have to move before Christmas came around. He would have to find Harry playmates and toys, he would have to learn, very quickly, how to become a parent.

The fact of the matter was that Sirius Black could not do it alone…

November 2nd, 1981, approximately 7:00 PM, Regulus Black reads the newspaper.

Regulus Black was stretched out on a knotty, dirty old sofa, flipping through the Evening Prophet, while the shower in the other room is running, his roommate, Barty Crouch Jr. is showering, trying to clear his head.

Secretly, Regulus is overjoyed by the fall of the Dark Lord. He regretted joining up from the second he did it, nearly, and now he didn't have to be a Death Eater anymore. Barty wasn't quite as happy with this turn of events as Regulus was, but it kept them out of Azkaban. Barty had agreed not to join up with the other Death Eaters who were tearing up the entire country, causing panic and discord.

Barty agreed because he didn't want to go to Azkaban.

Regulus' eyes hit an article, and he yelped loudly. "Bloody hell! Barty!" he shouted, jumping off the sofa and waving the newspaper frantically.

His friend ran out of the bathroom, in nothing but a towel. "What the hell, Regulus? I thought the Aurors were busting in our door or something! Don't do shit like that!"

"Barty we've been named!" Regulus said, hysterically, brandishing the paper. "Pettigrew named us as Death Eaters to keep himself out of Azkaban!"

Barty's eyebrows furrowed, he snatched the paper away from Regulus and read the article, then flipped to the front page.

"My father's been named Minister of Magic…" he muttered. "You left that detail out?"

"I didn't look at the front page," Regulus lied, avoiding eye contact. Of course he had read the front page, he didn't tell Barty about his father's promotion because he didn't like to see his friend angry or upset.

"He's going to hold trials for everyone named as Death Eaters based on this testimony," Barty said loftily, continuing to scan the article. "We should be expecting a Ministry owl within the week then."

Regulus sat back down, running his hands through his hair distractedly.

Any day now, Walburga Black would send him an owl and tell him to come home, and tell him how Barty Crouch was bad news and so was his son. She would protect him from the trial and from the Minister and from his best friend.

"Are you going to go back to Grimmauld Place?" Barty asked as he walked out of the tiny sitting room to look for some pants.

"No. I don't want to. I won't be received well by Bellatrix or half of my family if they feel I've betrayed them by staying out of Azkaban."

"Right."

The coming weeks would see many of their fellow Death Eaters killed or put in Azkaban for the rest of their lives, though not many of them would be so spineless as Pettigrew to make a deal with the Ministry to keep themselves safe. Most would suffer death or Azkaban to prove their loyalty.

Barty felt it would be foolish to proclaim loyalty to a dead man, that wasn't his style. Laying low and keeping himself alive was a far more intelligent course of action. There was no help for the Dark Lord, he was dead and gone. There was still a strange pull of loyalty to his fellow Death Eaters.

But he wasn't about to get himself killed for them.

"Regulus, I have no clean pants!" he yelled suddenly, very irritated at this predicament.

November 2nd, 1981, approximately 9:34 PM, Remus Lupin receives a letter.

Remus Lupin didn't get a flood of post usually, but in the days since Halloween (the sound of the word just put a hole in his stomach, sometimes) he had received more post than he had in weeks.

First was a quick letter from Dumbledore, explaining the situation with Harry, Lily and James, and that Harry would be living with Sirius.

Second was Sirius' letter, explaining about how Peter had betrayed Lily and James to Voldemort.

Third was another letter from Dumbledore reassuring him that Harry had been delivered safely.

Fourth was a letter from his mother, asking him if he was alright (of course he wasn't) and telling him to come for tea soon.

Fifth was a scrap of paper with a date a week from that day, Lily and James' funeral. It was from Sirius.

The letter he received on November 2nd, and some awkward time between evening and night, was from Dumbledore. It was a very peculiar request.

Remus,

I know in light of your condition you tend to isolate yourself from things, but I have a request (nay- a plea) to ask of you. As you are aware, your old friend Sirius Black is the godfather of Harry Potter, and is now his total guardian. This, I feel, was the right choice on my part.

But Sirius will need help. I can foresee his stubornness towards accepting such help, but I implore you to help him raise Harry to be the happy child he deserves to be. This experience has been extremely hard on all of us. But especially Sirius, I can't even begin to understand how much this has damaged him. So Remus, if you could help him in anyway, I would be forever grateful.

Sincerely,

Albus Dumbledore

Remus reread the letter a few more times and looked around his flat. It was accommodating to him but that was about it. Sirius' couldn't be much bigger. He would discuss this all with Sirius tomorrow.

Right now he needed a drink and some rest.