Chapter Thirty:

Twice Defied

Evenings with Sirius tended to fly by. They'd meet after work or after dinner, often at Sirius' place, since it was rather awkward to be romantic with James in the same room. With the war raging on there were limited things they could do together. Sometimes they'd hang the safety rules, get Sirius' motorbike and go somewhere, but they spent most of their time together in one of their homes. This evening Harry surprised his boyfriend with a bottle of wine, Sirius had fished up a few candles from somewhere, and they'd had a fun evening – leading, inevitably, to snogging. They eventually found themselves on the couch, and back to talking, some kissing, then flirting and cuddling, which quickly led to snogging again. Harry vaguely saw the smoke penetrating his vision, before he grew aware of the fact that there was actually smoke. He shot up from the couch, ignoring Sirius' spluttering discontent.

"Is it ten-thirty already?" he exclaimed, quickly checking his watch.

"Wha?" was Sirius' only reply. Clearly the Marauder's attention was elsewhere.

"James gave me a ten-fifteen curfew, he's gonna kill me," Harry groaned.

Sirius also groaned and dropped his head back onto the couch. "Why do you even still have a curfew?"

"Cause of the war, it's dangerous late at night," Harry answered simply, "And cause he's James."

Sirius sat up, "It always goes too fast when you're here."

"I know," Harry sighed and scuffled his parchments together. He's come over for dinner, after which he and Sirius spent a little time working on their individual assignments, before they got, well… distracted.

"I don't want you to leave yet," the Marauder voiced his thoughts, "As overly sappy as it sounds, I want to have you in my arms all night."

Harry smiled and leaned his face towards Sirius', "That's not sappy, that's sweet," and pecked him on the lips.

"Well, in that case, maybe next time you should spend the night."

Harry froze upon hearing the words, he had mixed feelings about it ranging from 'oh yes!' to 'don't think so'.

Sirius must have seen it on his face, for he added, "We'll take it slow. Just holding you all night would be amazing. Waking up next to you…" He said slyly and Harry's lips twitched.

Though they were quite into snogging, they hadn't taken things far yet. A part of him wanted to sleep next to Sirius and wake up with him, another part of him was unsure. Didn't lots of other stuff happen when spending the night at your boyfriend's place? He didn't want to get too comfortable yet; he wasn't ready to take that step. But once there, in bed with his handsome boyfriend, wouldn't one thing lead to another?

"I'll think about it. I mean!- don't get me wrong, I want to sleep next to you too, it's just…" he bit his lip.

"I know," Sirius said and stood up, getting ready to say good bye to him. Harry stood along with him. Despite the lofty response Sirius looked let down. Not wanting to send out the wrong signal Harry wound his arms around his neck and kissed him deeply. When they broke apart he whispered, "I'll think about it, I promise".

With that, Harry gathered his stuff and flooed out.

A few days later Harry was up in his room researching the latest topic he was handling at training: what built up the spells that healed the skin. He was leaning back in his chair and had his feet up on his desk, but his mind was only half focused on his book. The other, slightly larger part, was still focused on what Sirius had said the other night.

"Knock knock," James entered his room.

"Hey," Harry said vaguely. James leaned against his desk and crossed his arms, a small smile on his face. Harry barely looked at him.

"What you up to?" James asked.

"Nothing much, just studying."

"Oh," he said in a tone as if he couldn't understand why on earth Harry would want to do that instead of something more fun. "Well, my news is more interesting so you finally have an excuse to put the book down."

James looked at him expectantly but Harry didn't put it down. Not that his attention was on the book anyway, which James seemed to notice, and continued anyway.

"The Marauders are having a night out with Moony, you know its full moon tomorrow… So we're having a little reunion."

"Uhu," he said dully.

"And before you ask, cause you're just like Lily in that respect. Yes, despite not using the Shrieking Shack, it's safe for all of us."

"Ok."

"So I won't be seeing you till Thursday then."

"Alright," Harry said monotonously.

James surveyed him, put out by his lack of response.

"Are you ok?" He asked.

"Yeah, I'm fine," Harry plastered a fake smile on his face and stood up, walked past his brother and turned to face the window.

"You're sure?" James asked in a tone that emphasized that he didn't believe him. Harry couldn't even blame him.

"There is something, but I doubt you'd want to know."

"Hey," James said sternly, "I told you you can tell me anything, I meant that. You're my brother. What's wrong?"

Harry sighed in defeat and ran a hand through his hair, "It's something to do with Sirius," he said warily.

"Ok," his brother said slowly, "What is it?"

Harry warily looked at him, but the lack of danger signals in James' aura prompted Harry to tell him the truth.

"Time always goes by so fast when I'm with Sirius, so… he asked me to spend the night some time."

James was quiet for a moment, before, "I see." They awkwardly looked at each other. "Are you two…?"

Harry blushed and exclaimed "No! Not, not yet. But I think that if I spend the night, you know, one thing will lead to another."

"Is that something you want?"

"I don't know," Harry said, "Not yet."

"Does Sirius know that?" James asked.

Harry nodded, "Yes, he does."

"Then I think you're fine," his brother stated, much to his surprise.

"What?"

"Ah, my reaction surprises you?" James grinned, "Don't worry, I've already had strong words with him about not pressuring you-"

"What?" Harry squeaked.

"But I needn't have. He's changed, he's crazy about you like he's never been about anyone else. He cares about you and won't do anything to hurt your relationship, that's how much you mean to him," he ran a hand through his hair and added cheekily, "You didn't think he's staying abstinent for the fun of it, did you?"

"No," Harry rolled his eyes, "Does this mean you approve, there's no lecture, no tantrum, nothing about me sleeping at Sirius' place?"

James shrugged uncomfortably, "It's your choice. I just don't want you doing anything you're not ready for yet. And if you're worried about Sirius playing a part in that, then I don't think you need to worry much."

"Really?" Harry asked, a relieved note to his voice. He felt a burden lifting from his shoulders.

"Yes," his brother smiled, before bursting out in a grin, "So how did I do? Didn't I tell you you could talk to me about anything?"

XXXX

Harry coughed and stumbled while getting out of the Floo. Grumbling, he dusted himself off. Honestly, how many years had he now spent in the Wizarding World, and he still couldn't Floo properly? He sighed and looked around to see who had already arrived. Dumbledore was having another Order meeting and Lily and the Marauders would be running late, each for their own reason. Well, perhaps not all the Marauders… Harry spotted Peter standing with Marlene McKinnon and a younger Dedalus Diggle, who were in an intense conversation that Peter was trying to be a part of. Harry narrowed his eyes. When would Peter become a traitor? And why? A part of him wanted to change the 'why' so Peter wouldn't become a Death Eater, but another part didn't even believe it was possible to deteriorate the rat from his path. He just had to make sure the people he loved didn't become the victim this time around.

"Harry, good to see you!"

Harry turned around, surprised, and was met with Marlene McKinnon. He hadn't spoken to her much, but he had the impression she was a capable and assertive, but very kind, woman. One shouldn't let themselves be fooled by her charisma into thinking she wasn't a tough fighter.

"Marlene, how are you doing?" Harry asked cheerfully.

"Fine, fine, as well can be expected in the present climate, I suppose."

"Did Dumbledore's assignment go well?"

"Ah, well, Death Eaters aren't stupid, are they? Unfortunately. Travers made sure to clear his tracks of whatever his mission for Voldemort was."

"Sometimes I wonder if Voldemort knows about the Order," Harry mused.

Marlene smiled crookedly, "He shouldn't, none of us has spoken a word of it. But, even he's not stupid."

Harry agreed, but he couldn't help his gaze wandering back to Peter, and the wheels in his mind turned once more.

They were joined by Frank Longbottom, who also asked about Marlene's assignment. Frank was in his later twenties and already had quite some Auror experiece. He was allowed near the more secret documents and he'd nosed through them to find information for the Order. Apparently he'd found some interesting things though, with a wink, he said he wouldn't be revealing anything until the meeting.

Frank looked over Harry's shoulder and grinned, "Harry, I think someone wants to see you."

Harry turned around and spotted Sirius, followed by James, who was already stalking towards him with a delightful grin on his face. As soon as Sirius reached him he bent down and kissed his cheek.

"Missed you," he breathed.

"I missed you too," Harry replied softly, glancing into Sirius' handsome sapphire eyes.

"Are we late?" An annoyed James butted in, resulting in them putting some space between them. Harry suppressed a smile at the look of his agitated brother. Although he wasn't a complete git about it anymore, he wasn't overly comfortable at the sight of Sirius and Harry being even slightly intimate.

"No no, we haven't started yet. Obviously." Harry said in a dull tone.

James innocently raised his eyebrows, before waving, to Harry's complete bewilderment.

"Hello Minnie!"

Sirius looked over his shoulder eagerly while Harry groaned and stuffed his hands into his face.

"James," an exasperated tone said. Harry turned to face the intruder, and came face to face with McGonagall. Despite her exasperated tone, there was still a curling of the corners of her mouth and a fond twinkle in her eyes.

"Minnie, how are you my dear lady?" Sirius asked just as jovially.

Minerva looked disapproving at him, but Harry could detect her amusement – despite what she let on, Harry knew she was fond of the Marauders.

"Harry, you have my utmost respect of putting up with these two, and staying sane."

"Thanks Minerva," Harry grinned, "Even I'm amazed sometimes." Sirius stuck out his tongue at Harry, who grinned charmingly.

"You look tired though, Minerva," James said more seriously, "new pair of trouble makers at school?"

OK, perhaps not quite serious.

"Oh, no, it's nothing. There's a new staff member to get used to, that's it."

"Really?" James and Sirius exclaimed, surprised.

"Who?" Sirius asked.

"I doubt you would know her."

"Who, Minerva?" Harry asked, curious as well.

"Her name is Sybil Trelawney, she's the new Divination teacher. During her interview with Dumbledore she was, apparently, quite convincing." From her tone the three could hear she ad her doubts, though she was too loyal to Dumbledore to voice them to third parties.

"Oh," James said, "So, she's more like, a fraud."

"I wouldn't got for that term precisely, but…"

Harry tuned them out and quickly closed his gaping mouth. Luckily no-one had noticed his state of mortification. But no, no no no, this couldn't be! If Trelawney was hired, that meant she'd made the Prophecy… and if she's made the prophecy… His eyes flew to James, who looked bemused as he listened to McGonnagal, having no idea what her hire truly meant. Then his eyes flew to Dumbledore, who was calmly talking to some other people, giving no indication that the war had just taken on a completely different turn. Had Severus been there? Been caught halfway through, and had told Voldemort? Harry's stomach twisted at the thought.

Lily wasn't even pregnant yet! Well, as far as he knew. Had the prophecy even said the same thing, or was it completely different? Maybe it didn't refer to James and Lily. They hadn't even defied Voldemort three times yet! Only once, the same for Frank and Alice, who'd been unfortunate enough to run into him during one of their Auror assignments.

Dumbledore called for the meeting to start, but Harry couldn't shake himself out of his thoughts. He kept a tight eye on the Headmaster for any signs, but there were none. He jerked when Lily entered late. He couldn't concentrate on the various reports that were being given, and barely participated in the discussions. It was unlike him, and James gave him a funny look which he ignored. Dumbledore didn't mention anything concerning the prophecy, perhaps he would tell James, Lily and the Longbottoms privately. Although, neither was expecting a child yet, so he had no reason to.

Harry was only snapped out of his stupor when he heard his name.

"Huh, what? Erm, could you repeat that?"

"Would you be interested in participating?"

Harry flushed when he realized, he had no idea what Dumbledore was talking about.

"Sure, absolutely, got to start sometime, eh?" Harry tried to smile, and Dumbledore's eyes twinkled.

"Wonderful. James, Lily, Fabian, Frank and Alice will accompany you. I suspect Voldemort wants to target the Aldertons, now that they have conveyed to the minister their suspicions. Brave souls, such a pity that this is their reward. Alas," Dumbledore finished, and the Order continued to make plans for the mission.

The Aldertons were planning on hiding, but until their arrangements were made they needed protection. The ministry could only provide them with a certain amount; they had so much to worry about that this wasn't a priority. That's where the Order came in. They'd be patrolling for two nights through the corridors of their mansion in order to protect the family of four. Harry voiced his thoughts and ideas on patrolling and evacuation strategies, and other things they could do to trap the Death Eaters. But something was gnawing at the back of his mind. First the prophecy, and now this mission with both James and Lily, and Frank and Alice… Surely not?

XXXX

Sirius was walking down the hallway, peeking at the signs beside the rooms and into the rooms wherever he could. Suddenly he heard familiar laughter and he grinned when he stepped into the next room. There was Harry, in his lime green Healer robes, laughing at something the man next to him had said while bending over some parchment. When Sirius entered both heads shot up. Harry's expression went from surprise to delight and that breathtaking smile that Sirius loved so much crossed his face.

"Sirius!" Harry's tone was still of surprise.

"Hello there," he smiled and Harry came round the table for a greeting hug.

"What are you doing here?"

"Thought I'd come by, see where my favorite person in the world is working."

Harry beamed at him, before turning around to the other man.

"Sirius, this is Mike, my trainer," Harry introduced. Sirius sized the guy up. He was semi-handsome, but certainly not ugly. His hair was windswept but he had a pleasant and relaxed expression on his face.

"Mike, this is Sirius, my boyfriend."

"Ah, I've heard about you," Mike nodded.

"All bad I hope?"

There was a chuckle at the joke, and Harry quickly seized the opportunity.

"Mike, d'you mind if I take my break now? Just to show Sirius around."

Harry had a pleading expression which Sirius already knew no mortal could resist – and voila, he could see Mike caving in to it to. Bless Harry, he didn't even realize his charm. But amusement quickly turned to squinting eyes when Mike gave a bit too fond a look at Harry.

"Sure Harry. I'll see you back in fifteen, then we'll continue with scanning."

Harry beamed at Mike.

Alright, he might be a bit possessive of Harry, but for good reason seeing how amazing he was. And with his experience, Sirius could read the tell-tale signs, and personally, he was suspicious of Mike.

"So what's the real reason you're visiting? Couldn't bear without me anymore?"

"Not that I am able to deny that statement, tbut my intentions were truly honorable. I'm interested to see where you work and spend most of your time. You toured the Auror office too."

Harry smiled angelically and proceeded to lead him around. He showed off the training room with lots of dummy objects for practice, the reporting room, some meeting rooms, and a patient's wing that was currently empty. Sirius laughed at some of the things Harry told him, and enjoyed the arm his younger boyfriend had looped through his.

"And how is working with Mike?"

Harry's face burst into a smile, "Mike's awesome, he's fun and professional at the same time, and kind-hearted. I'm lucky to have ended up with him as my trainer," he commented.

"Uh-huh."

"What did you think of him?"

"He was… alright. Seemed like a nice bloke. Didn't see much of a backbone though," he couldn't help himself.

"Mike's a Healer, he's not on the battle field," Harry defended.

"Yeah," he said half sulkingly.

Hours later found an amused James sitting at a table, with a pacing Sirius next to him.

"I don't like him. He's too nice, almost reminds me of that Robert bloke Harry dated before, remember?"

"Vividly, unfortunately," James said amused.

"And Harry's spending most of his way with him."

"Sirius, stop being so jealous-"

"I'm not!" he defended.

"No, you're just pacing, being nervous, and complaining about Harry spending time with another man, forgetting that the guy is his trainer and Harry's supposed to spend time with him!"

"Hmpf!"

"You don't have anything to worry about," James soothed, "Harry's not fickle. He likes you and is not suddenly going to leave."

Sirius ran a hand through his hair, "I guess I'm just not used to this."

"How do you mean?"

"Well… before, I've never had to worry about someone walking out on me… It was more them that had to worry about me, cause I'm really good-looking and everything and everyone wanted me. And still do."

"And so humble," James muttered.

"But now," Sirius glared, pretending not to hear, "it's also the other way around. Harry's attractive and special, and others see it too. Now I have to worry if they're not going to steal him from me!"

"And the great Sirius Black has never had that before."

That's true, he'd never had that before. He'd never had to worry about the other person because they were more devoted to him than he to them, and he could always find someone else to amuse himself with. He clearly remembered the times before he and Harry became involved – when he was living a life without the deeper meaning of love. Sure, he'd been with plenty of people during that time, but whenever he was with the partner of the night, he'd shut his eyes tightly and envision that it was Harry who he had beneath him, moaning and thrashing. Now that he had Harry, he couldn't envision life without him, nor did he want to. He didn't want to lose him to someone else. Even if that someone was a better person and more suited for Harry.

"Prongs, I'm serious," he threw himself into a chair. James quietly surveyed him. "I just don't want to lose him," Sirius said frustrated, "and there are others who are also handsome and better for him than me, perhaps."

"If you think Harry only goes for looks, you don't know him very well. And I think you're good for him," James said firmly. Sirius raised his eyebrows, looking almost amused at that particular confession.

"Besides, Harry rarely notices when someone is interested. Based on that fact alone, I'd say you have nothing to worry about."

"Ha. Ha."

James chuckled.

XXXX

The Aldertons were a family of four who came from a line of successful business wizards. Apparently the father had encountered someone he suspected to be a Death Eater during one of his deals, and had voiced his suspicions at the Ministry. Unfortunately, the wrong people heard it too, and now the family was highly suspected of being targeted by Voldemort. The husband and wife were kind enough, albeit anxious and ready to get out of the country. However, while arrangements were being made, they had to be protected. And thus the Order came in.

Harry left for their mansion separately from the others for safety measures, and he felt the familiar tug behind the navel as the portkey took him there.

"Treacle tart" he said, speaking the password which let him pass the gate. Once inside he saw Fabian and Frank talking to Mr. Alderton who looked calm and collected on the surface, but it was clear he was nervous. Frank was in Auror mode as he briefed the man, and Fabian looked every inch a true warrior with his professional stance. He caught sight of Harry and smiled, catching the attention of the other two.

"Hey Harry,"

Harry nodded his hello, "This is Maxwell Alderton, Max, this is Harry Potter."

Maxwell held out his hand and had a polite smile, which Harry returned.

"With all these youngsters here for protection, I almost feel under trained as a wizard," the man said.

Fabian was quick to reply, saying, "We've trained especially for these things, it's an entirely different career path. And as soon as James, Lily and Alice get here we'll get into details," Fabian checked his battered watch. When the three arrived Maxwell was ushered away to finish his travelling arrangements. For secrecy sake it wouldn't do for him to know all the details.

There were six points across the manor which would be guarded, each position filled by one individual. They would exchange places at certain times in the evening to keep maximum awareness and vigilance. After going over things like communication and distress signals, everyone went to their designated spot. Harry stood guard at the east wing of the manor for a few hours before moving to the south side to replace Frank there.

Harry kept his wand lit and walked back and forth, sometimes staring out the window scanning the grounds, or performing Homenum Revelio to catch any intruders. He wouldn't be surprised if the Death Eaters murdered the family before they could get away. Besides, he had to be on extra high alert tonight. If this was the moment Jamens and Lily defied Voldemort for the second time, he'd do anything to prevent it – get them out of here, keep them away from Voldemort – anything to make them unfit for the prophecy. The area he covered remained clear of any signs of danger, and time went slow, as it tended to do during patrols. After three hours James came into sight, ready to release him from duty to take on the south side.

"Not fall asleep yet?" his brother muttered.

"Just barely. I bet you've amused yourself with petty pranks?"

His brother's guilty smile was enough evidence.

"Honestly," Harry rolled his eyes amusedly.

"I'll see you later."

Harry waved goodbye and made his way towards the south meeting point where Frank was. It took about ten minutes to get there, but when he arrived – there was no one there. He scanned his surroundings but everything was quiet, without a sign of disruption. Was this the right place? There was supposed to be a portrait of a cat pawing at a fruit bowl – and he saw it, to his left. Then where was Frank?

"Lumos," Harry whispered, and waved his wand to scan the area yet again. Why wasn't he here? There was nothing that suggested of a change of plan, nor a struggle… Then something on the ground caught his attention.

"Hold on," he breathed. On the floor was something shiny. He bent down and saw it was a button, the same button of Frank's robe, that he'd worn during the Order meeting. At the same time as the revelation, Harry heard voices in one of je adjacent hallways. "Nox," and he stood against the wall, pushing himself into it as if making himself invisible. The voices belonged to two men, but he couldn't distinguish them. He strained his ears to pick up what they were saying. They sounded satisfied and even arrogant, and were talking too loudly for the tactics that were discussed during earlier. Harry abruptly turned and broke into a run for the nearest corner.

"Over there, I heard something!"

Ok, that was very clear, and Harry was sure this was a voice he didn't recognize. He ran, still looking for a corner or crook in the wall to hide, all the while hearing the footsteps which were chasing him. Thoughts raced through his mind; were it Death Eaters? How had they gotten in undetected? What happened to Frank? How many were there? Were the others OK?

"Shit shit shit. Matrix sonos," he muttered and waved his wand, still running. Finally, finally he found a crook in the wall!

"Finite."

He practically jumped into it, feeling the approaching presence of the Death Eaters.

"Ludi sonos," he whispered and pointed his wand in the direction he'd been going. Suddenly his hurried footsteps resounded in the hallway, becoming more dim and they furthered away.

"It's going this way!"

Harry held his breath and had his wand at the ready when two cloaked figures appeared. But they ran right past him. They fell for the diversion perfectly and didn't even realize Harry was hiding right next to them. He made sure they were out of sight before making a beeline into the opposite direction – those footstep sounds wouldn't last forever, and soon enough those Death Eaters would be back.

He had to warn the others.

As soon as the footsteps dimmed enough Harry sped out from his corner. He had conveniently led them into a different direction than where James was, and Harry sped into another hallway towards his brother. He hadn't even realized how close he'd gotten until a spell was shot his way.

"Hey, it's me!" he whispered harshly.

James lit his wand but had a harsh look on his face, catching Harry off guard. He'd never seen the look directed on him before.

"Oh yea? Then what's your favorite breakfast?" James still had him at wand-point.

"Scrambled eggs on toast."

James eye-brows shot up and it was amazing how fast his demeanor changed into the concerned older brother.

"What's wrong, Harry?"

"The manor's been infiltrated, and Frank wasn't at his spot."

"Infiltrated? Who, when?"

"I dunno, I think Death Eaters – they chased me but I shook them off."

"Let's go," James said but Harry needn't even be told. They both ran towards the north of the building to warn and check on where Lily and Fabian would be. They rounded a corner but were immediately caught in a battle. Harry threw himself out of the way of an impending curse, coming out of nowhere. He turned around and saw Lily dueling a masked Death Eater. Harry sprinted to her side.

"Expelliamus!"

The jinx missed the Death Eater by an inch, causing his attention to divert for a split second. Lily took advantage of it but the Death Eater raised a shield just in time.

"Incarcerous!"

"Locomotor mortis!"

The Death Eater was a clever one and evaded both Harry's and Lily's curses, no matter what they threw at him. He threw a few back, and after a killing curse getting shot at his sister in law Harry was fed up with it

"Confringo!" He yelled, pointing at the ceiling. Rocks tumbled down and the Death Eater was caught off guard. Lily followed up with the full-body bind and took his wand. He surveyed his surroundings to see that a couple more Death Eaters had joined, as well as Alice and Fabian. Harry barely had time to feel relieved before an unseen force slammed into his gut, pushing him and Lily back.

The wind was knocked out of him but Harry immediately came back unto his feet, Lily following suit, his eyes seeking the perpetrator – only to stare into blood red eyes. Time seemed to stand still as Harry stared at Voldemort, who stood on the other side of the room, the battle raging around them. It had been a long time since he'd had the displeasure to look into them. Voldemort raised his wand and opened his white mouth to chant a Killing Curse no doubt, but now he was knocked to the side, this time by Lily. He barely had time to register as she got off him, pulled him up and dragged him away before they ran into-

"Frank!" Harry exclaimed, relief filling him. But the other looked grim.

"The Aldertons are dead, we have to get out of here!"

"What!?" Both Harry and Lily exclaimed.

"No, we have to – duck!"

Harry pulled Lily close to him and pushed them to the floor, trusting Frank's instincts to duck. Two curses flew over them, where their chests had been moments before, and hit the wall. It cracked and dust and stones fell off, but nothing major.

"We have to keep fighting!" Harry exclaimed.

"No! The Aldertons are dead, and we can't take on Voldemort with all these Death Eaters."

Harry wanted to protest. He had fought Voldemort countless times, why leave now? He heard a gasp to his left and Lily hurriedly stood up. Harry followed her line of vision and gasped as well when he saw James and Fabian exchanging curses with Voldemort. He too scrambled to his feet to protect his brother. But Frank pulled both of them back. He grasped something around his neck and mumbled something Harry couldn't hear. But suddenly everything was spinning and he felt a tug behind the naval. The image of James's intense eyes and sweat on his forehead as he focused all his energy on Voldemort, etched in his mind.

XXXX

Dumbledore looked grave as he stared over his folded hands.

"All of them?"

"All of them," Frank answered, "Even the two kids. I suspect a Death Eater or Voldemort killed him while the others were distracting us."

"I see. I am glad you're all alright," Dumbledore surveyed them.

All six of them were there, safe and sound apart from a few scratches. When Frank activated the Portkey they were all taken with him, whether they were touching it or not, a nifty little thing that only Aurors were privy to (or so they thought).

"The mission failed though," James muttered.

"Yes, but you did the right thing in leaving. There would have been more unnecessary deaths," Dumbledore sighed.

"Shouldn't we fight Voldemort though, instead of flee?" Harry couldn't help but ask. How else were they going to defeat him?

Dumbledore smiled softly, "In some cases, perhaps. But here you were outnumbered. It's a good thing that Fabian and Lily detected their presence in time."

"Only the communication can be improved. We need to find a way for Order members to communicate in secret during missions, Albus," Frank voiced. Alice held him tighter with the arms she had looped through his. Lily and James clutched each other's hand. People were always more touchy after a mission or encounter with Dark forces.

"I agree. We'll discuss it at the next Order meeting and have a think on it. For now, go home and get some rest."

They happily took his advice and the Potters were last in line for the floo. James leaned over and whispered in his ear, "Are you OK?"

"Yes," Harry said surprised, "Why wouldn't I be?"

James looked grim. "I saw Voldemort raise his wand at you."

"Lily pushed me out of the way," Harry mumbled. Lily stood in front of them and if she heard them, she was tactful enough not to let it on.

"I saw. I can't believe Voldemort tried to do something to you."

"Oh really?" he was almost amused, "with my track record, I can't believe you can't believe it."

"I really hate him," James said passionately, "He's hurt you enough. He's hurt all of us enough. Next time I see him, I'll do everything I can to get him. I don't care if I kill him or just take an arm."

Harry gently patted his arm, "Don't let him get to you so much. I can take care of myself."

"You shouldn't need to," James said stubbornly, and Harry realized his brother instincts were kicking in again. After he'd seen Voldemort raise a wand against Harry, and in Lily's direction, two of the people he cared about most, James must have seen red and challenged the Dark Lord. Harry was just thankful Fabian had joined his brother. Although it was chivalric that he would do that to protect his loved ones, Harry half wished he wouldn't. It might be the last thing he ever did some day.

XXXX

"Oi!" Harry exclaimed and softly slapped the hand away that was sneakily making it's way towards the cut veggies.

"What?" Sirius gave him the puppy-dog eyes.

"Don't eat my perfectly cut veggies or you don't get any dinner!" Harry held up the knife in warning and Sirius gazed at it warily.

"You almost look dangerous with that. Almost, but not quite," his boyfriend grinned cheekily. Harry sighed and cast his eyes to heaven, and with a small smile, quietly prayed what on earth possessed him to be with the Marauder. Arms encircled around his waist from behind and Sirius pressed a small kiss to his neck. "I think the potatoes are about done, beautiful."

His eyes flew to the pan and Harry softly cursed as it was boiling over. Sirius' bark-like laugh penetrated from the background. Harry got even by ordering him to set the table, and with a cheeky grin in his direction Sirius set it perfectly. When Harry came in with the food he raised his eyebrows at the sight: not only was the table very fancy in the way it was set, Sirius had added a romantic touch to it by including a lighted candle. Alright, maybe being with the Marauder wasn't bad all the time.

"It looks wonderful," Harry sighed as he se the bowls with food down. He turned around and briefly kissed his boyfriend on the lips. He was vaguely aware of the fact that this was the first romantic dinner for them, aside from the picnic a while ago. Sirius acted like a true gentleman as he pulled out a chair for Harry, who, with a slight blush, sat down. He critically looked over the table, but everything was set perfectly. He looked at Sirius questioningly, who shrugged.

"Pureblood."

Harry made an 'ah' sound in understanding before they dug in. He noticed that, once Sirius was put into a setting like this, he lost his boyish behavior and showed his gentleman side. Harry found it attractive, it showed him yet another side to his boyfriend. Sirius was completely at ease and in his element, as he always was, no matter the setting, and he and Harry chatted away.

"How extensive was your Pureblood training? I know James had some, but I suppose the Blacks take it a bit further," Harry asked.

"It was everything," Sirius sighed, "From etiquette, to hosting, to diplomatic conversations, dancing, to law and codes-"

"Ew, dancing, that must have been torture," Harry wrinkled his nose.

Sirius looked at him amusedly, "Actually, that was my favorite part. You don't like it?"

"I'm horrible at it"

"I loved it. It was the only time I didn't have to be all serious and arrogant," Sirius said reminiscently.

"Oh," Harry said, embarrassed. "But you still picked up the arrogance quite well?" he teased.

Sirius pursed his lips, but his eyes twinkled, "I don't know why I deserved that particular comment," Harry snorted and pretended to choke on his food, prompting a wounded look from Sirius, "but I assure you I am completely innocent."

"Sure."

"Is that a dare?"

"No, it was a comment."

"Well it becomes apparent to me that I should prove my humility, by taking it upon myself to teach you."

Harry amusedly rolled his eyes. What a noble phrasing. Stupid Pureblood training, that was one thing Harry couldn't compete with.

"And teach me what, exactly?" He said with a hint of flirtiness. Knowing this Marauder, he already knew the answer.

"Why, dancing, of course!"

This time Harry really did choke on his food, and leant forward to quickly get his wine. Once taken a sip, he protested.

"Absolutely not!"

"Oh come on, it's not that bad," Sirius encouraged. He even stood up and offered his hand, which Harry vehemently declined.

"You've never seen me dance," Harry challenged.

"You're forgetting I'm awesome, if anyone can teach you, it will be me. And not to mention you'd never pass up an opportunity to be in my arms." The cocky attitude was coming through and Harry already opened his mouth in protest. But then again, it would be fun to prove Sirius wrong. And he was sort of right, Sirius' arms were a very comfortably place to be, you know.

"Yea, you so picked up the Pureblood arrogance," Harry muttered.

Sirius smiled mischievously, "But it got me what I wanted."

Of course. Sirius never passed up an opportunity to be close to Harry either. Meanwhile Sirius had led him to the middle of the room, pulled him close. There were only a few inches between them, and Sirius' strong arm wound its way around Harry's lower back. Harry's left arm automatically found its way around the Marauder's neck. It felt secure to be held like this, like nothing could hurt him. His right hand was taken by Sirius and extended, so they were in the perfect dancing position.

"First, we'll do the feet," Sirius said softly, "Just watch mine and follow."

And so he did. It was probably the simplest routine, where they shifted their weight from foot to foot, meanwhile going in small circles.

After a while Harry voiced, "I think I'm getting the hang of this."

"Good, then you can take your eyes up here please."

Harry carefully lifted up his eyes, fully convinced that this was the moment he would step on Sirius' toe in the most painful and embarrassing way, and totally ruin the romantic atmosphere. But when he looked into his boyfriend's eyes, such furtive worry was blown from his mind, as were all other mortal thoughts. He could tell from his eyes that Sirius was smiling, was happy and content with their intimate moment, and thoroughly enjoyed having him, Harry, there. They were like an ocean of depth that Harry could get lost in, and he did, because all he could think about was how much he liked Sirius, how happy he was to be with him, and how he wished it would never end.

Sirius himself was caught in Harry's emerald depths. Somehow, despite everyone he'd been with before (and there were a lot of them), he'd never felt anything as intense as he did for Harry. He was different, he was an amazing person who was beautiful inside and out. He was also the first to want to be with Sirius for him, instead of his looks, popularity, or expertise between the sheets. Harry looked beyond all that. For the first time in his life, except for with the Marauders, he felt wanted and liked for who he was, and that made Harry special to him. He brushed Harry's cheek lovingly, taking in all that was him: the milky white skin, the black lashes that framed his emerald depths, the full, pink lips that were curled in a smile. That beautiful, content and – dare he think it? - loving smile that was always reserved especially for him and he reveled in it. There was still too much distance and Sirius gently pulled him nearer.

Harry was vaguely aware of Sirius pulling him closer, egging for a kiss, and Harry eagerly leaned forward – and that was when the toe nightmare came true. His sense of distance to Sirius, which he needed for the right footsteps, was messed up by getting closer and the result was Sirius jumping away (very comically) with a look of utter surprise on his face.

Even though the deeply romantic atmosphere was out the window, Harry couldn't help but burst into laughter. He clutched his sides and curled down slightly.

Sirius glared at him, "My poor toe is crushed, and you're just laughing!?"

Harry wiped his eyes and looked up apologetically, "You're right, how insensitive. I…" he paused, "told you so."

"Why you!"

Harry was unprepared when Sirius lunged at him and tackled him to the ground, but couldn't stop laughing. It got even worse when Sirius straddled him and started tickling.

"N-no, stop, stop!" Harry caught his breath as he writhed on the floor and tried to get away from his sadistic boyfriend.

"Not until you surrender!"

"Gha- N, Never!"

Sirius continued tickling but then took on a different approach. He took Harry's arms and spread them out over his head, and hooked his legs with his own so Harry' couldn't move. Sirius leaned over him and some of his long, wavy hair became unhooked from behind his ear, and flowed next to Harry's face, his face only inches away.

"You sure?" His breath tickled Harry's face.

Harry refused to give in and tried to wriggle free, but realized it was futile. Despite his own well-built body Sirius was a trained Auror.

"Fine," he muttered.

Sirius smiled like a child on Christmas morning, and swiftly stood up, pulling Harry with him.

"Proven once again; no one can resist the irresistible Sirius Black."

Harry snorted and shot his boyfriend the look. "We'll see about that," he muttered, taking the dare.

Later that evening found Harry waiting in Sirius' bedroom while the other was getting ready for bed. Harry curiously looked around the room, never having been in Sirius' bedroom before. It was simply decorated and had none of the lavishness Purebloods were used to, which Harry was sure had been the intention. It had a queen sized bed with a nightstand on one side and a built-in closet in the wall on the right of the bed, and a door leading to the bathroom. Opposite the bed was the door and some photo's hanging next to it. The wall left of the bed had windows that went from ceiling to floor.

Harry fumbled with his shirt as he surveyed everything. It was almost November, and with the cold nearing Harry wore pajama trousers and a t-shirt. Already feeling a draft he quickly got under the covers, propped a pillow against the headboard, and got comfortable. There was water splashing in the bathroom and a moment later Sirius came out.

Harry's eyes widened and he had to keep his mouth from dropping. The first thing he noticed, was how hot Sirius looked without a shirt on. His chest was toned and his arms strong, and there was a bit of hair splattered across his chest which delved into a thin line leading right down to his -the second thing he noticed, though his boyfriend had the decency to wear pajama trousers too, the were low-slung and showed off some of his hip, but below there they left quite a bit to the imagination.

"Like what you see?" Sirius teased.

Harry's eyes shot up and he shrugged, ignoring his blush, "I can't help it if my boyfriend is so good-looking."

Sirius beamed and slid under the covers. "So you think I'm good-looking huh?" he said suggestively.

Harry smiled secretly and leaned over him for a kiss to show just how attractive he found him. Sirius quickly responded and Harry rested his chest on Sirius' as the kiss deepened. The Marauder ran a hand through his hair and his other arm wound its way around Harry's waist. Harry rested his own hand on the bare chest, trailing his fingers across it in exploration. Sirius moaned, and after a while he gently switched their positions, with Harry laying on his back and Sirius leaning over him. Harry instinctively pressed his hands against the lower back on top of him, wanting more closeness.

Sirius started kissing his throat and Harry sighed in bliss. Sirius kissed and sucked, which Harry was sure would leave a mark, but he was too incoherent to care. Meanwhile Sirius' hand had found its way under his shirt and was doing some exploring of its own, and as it stroked a particular sensitive spot Harry gasped: and opportunity which Sirius took to plunge his tongue back in. It was a short battle for dominance that eventually Harry gave in on, in favor of being pleasured by his expert boyfriend.

Their snogging went on for a while, with Harry sometimes taking the lead, but predominantly Sirius. He easily found out what Harry's sweet spots were, and was more than happy to trigger them. It wasn't until Sirius moved a leg in between Harry's that the latter became very aware. Sirius moved a leg in between Harry's, and his hands slid lower-

Harry's eyes snapped open and he grabbed the hand to stop him going further. He wasn't ready to be intimate. And they'd decided that Harry should set the pace, since the lines were pretty blurred for Sirius given his past relationship experiences. His heart raced as he stared up at Sirius.

Sirius looked up, eyes confused and dazed.

"I… I don't want to go further than this right now, Siri," he said apologetically.

As expected, there was disappointment in the latter – which made Harry want to take his words back and snog on – but it was only a flash, and understanding filled them.

"Ok."

Sirius made to draw away but Harry quickly embraced his stomach, refusing to let him go, so they were lying opposite each other on their sides, but with their arms entangled.

"Was it something I did?"

"Yes, everything," Harry looked up cheekily, "You're too sexy for your own good. But I…"

"I know," Sirius kissed the top of his head and Harry snuggled into his chest. "I'm glad you let me know… Well, not happy, I was quite comfortable with our previous situation for your information," Harry grinned at that, "but I don't want to do something you're not ready for. We'll take it at your pace."

A warm gooey feeling rushed through him and Harry looked up, "thanks," and kissed Sirius soundly.

"What did you call me earlier?"

"Erm," Harry thought, "Siri?" There was a brief pause, before, "I really like that actually," he said smugly.

It was quiet for a moment before Sirius answered, "Me too, but only from you."

"Good."

They snuggled for a while before Sirius asked, "So, how did you take it with your other relationships? Same pace before sleeping with them?" He asked, though he was pretty sure those relationships hadn't lasted as long as he and Harry were.

Harry blushed and said softly, "I didn't."

"Huh?"

"I haven't, I'm still… I mean, I didn't sleep with them," he said a bit louder, feeling self-conscious. He felt the Marauder's eyes on him and he looked up to meet them. Sirius looked surprised but that quickly changed to understanding, to satisfaction.

"I see," sounding suspiciously pleased.

Sirius, in turn, couldn't help his satisfaction. He was pleased about it. Call him a hypocrite, but he wanted something different with Harry and this made it even better. Harry hadn't been touched like that by anyone else, and he vowed that he'd be the one Harry experienced it with. It bound them on a different level, yes, but he couldn't deny his hormones also reacted at the thought of claiming his inexperienced younger boyfriend and heat pooled in his lower regions. He went in for another kiss, resuming their previous position with him leaning over Harry. Deepening the kiss, his tongue invaded and conquered, claiming Harry's mouth – the only possible part right now – as his sole territory.

XXXX

Meanwhile, miles away, a dark cloaked figure exited a black manor. It was veiled by shadows despite it being in the middle of a grassy plain with nothing else in sight. The young man, no older than 20, had a bat like look with his billowing robes. He looked up at the dozens of stars marring the night's sky, thinking of the crucial information he had overheard, and just relayed to his Lord.

Severus smiled grimly at the thought of being so close to winning this war, not realizing the future he had just set in motion.

Hello!

You didn't really think I'd forgotten, did you? I guess I can blame a busy summer of backpacking... But then that'll be lame, so I'll just blame bad time management and not being able to get he words right on paper. Anywho, I'm well into the next chappie so that'll be coming up soon, and hopefully I can keep a better pace going.

Thanks all for the lovely reviews, it's so cool to read your ideas and appreciation for the story... It really helps to continue writing en to keep evolving the story in my mind!

As for some questions raised, yes, Rabastan Lestrange will be making another appearance soon, though he hasn't lost any of his vindictiveness.

Most likely Harry will not divulge his previous life to anyone, after all, he's completely settled in here and has gotten 'a new life'.

There was a long review concerning Sirius' behavior, and I'd like to applaud all the details this person noticed about his (especially teenage) behavior. You fully got what I was trying to portray. However, before anyone judges too quickly, please remember that a lot of things happened before Sirius turned this way, between him and his family. There's a lot of history there, and this was Sirius' way of retaliating. I'll be going deeper into his childhood in a few chapters, hopefully that'll explain some things.

So keep on reviewing cause it makes me all warm and gushy inside and helps to write... And I haven't been one for previews, but maybe this little taster will get you fired up for the next chapter:

xx

"I'm sure there's an explanation why your father wasn't there, but don't immediately think the worst!"

"But they're right, the Slytherins keep saying I'm a bastard child."

James snorted, as if the mere thought of Slytherins was worth less than the dirt on his boots. "The Slytherins, oh please. They're a load of hypocrites since they're the ones who make them," he said in an obvious tone, before he turned, eyes widened and jaw dropped, to Harry who was staring at him in horror.

"What!?" He yelped.

xx

Maybe I have a dash of vindictiveness too...

Yours,

HarryPotterBlack7