A Goblet of Blood

Sirius Black grew up in a noble, pure blood family, committed to practicing the oldest of Wizarding traditions, including the Dark Arts. As a young man, he committed himself to fighting against those practices, as well as the move towards pure blood supremacy. Now out of Azkaban, he struggles with his past as he comes to terms with his new role as Harry Potter's godfather.

This story is canon compliant and continues to explore the relationship between Sirius, James, and Remus, as established in The Secret Keepers and The Prisoner of Memory, although it's not necessary to have read those stories first. This story also explores Sirius' relationship with his parents, Regulus, and his cousins Bellatrix, Andromeda, and Narcissa.

1. A Necessary Evil

Sirius dreamt he was back at Grimmauld Place. He unlocked the front door with his wand, muttering the incantations he had learned in childhood. He heard the satisfying sounds of the many locks clicking and sliding before the door creaked open and he crossed the threshold. Inside, the entryway was bathed in shadow and his eyes strained to make out the once familiar portraits that whispered "Master Sirius" in low, hissing tones as he passed. In the distance he heard the sound of laughter and he headed in the direction of an illuminated doorway at the end of the long, dark corridor. As he drew closer, he could hear the voices beyond the doorway grew louder and their laughter more joyous. Finally he reached the end of the cooridor, he pushed the door open and glanced inside. A chandlier in the image of a Medusa's head, each lock of snake hair holding a brightly burning candle, hung above a long table full of people who were happily eating rich food, drinking robust wine, and talking excitedly to one another.

The end chair closest to Sirius was empty as if it had been left vacant for him. Suddenly realizing that he was starving, Sirious sat down and picked up his fork. But before he could reach for food, the conversation stopped. Sirius looked up and realized that the guests were all members of his family. Sirius' father, Orion Black, sat at the head of the long table at the opposite end from the empty chair. Sirius' mother sat on his father's left and his brother Regulus on the right. Aunts, uncles, cousins, both living and dead, sat in the velvet upolstered chairs and gazed in surprise at Sirius' presence.

It was Orion Black who broke the silence. He was a tall, imposing man with a large build. His dark, longish hair was swept back from his face and curled at the back of his neck, emphasizing his pronounced widow's peak and large, grey eyes. He stood up from his seat and held aloft his ornate crystal wine goblet. The wine was deep, dark red and seemed to absorb rather than reflect the light from the candles..

"To my son, Sirius Black," his father proclaimed boldly. "Whose deception delivered Harry Potter to the Dark Lord!"

"To Sirius!" the others cheered, all raising their goblets of blood and toasting the man who shared the table with them.

It was not wine in the goblet, Sirius realized then, but the blood that so many of his friends had spilled as they fought for the cause in which they so strongly believed

"No!" Sirius shouted. He stood quickly and his chair scraped along the floor and fell backward. "It wasn't me! I didn't do it! I would never hurt Harry!" But the more he protested, the louder their cheers became until the noise deafened him. The pain rang in his ears as he called out for them to stop. He felt someone touch his shoulder and he tried to spin around, but instead he suddenly woke up.

"Are you okay?" Remus Lupin asked him. He leaned over Sirius and looked at him with concern in his eyes. "You were having a nightmare."

Heart racing, Sirius looked around him and tried to return to the present. Harsh, yellow light from the street lamp was coming though the broken slat of the window blind in Remus' bedroom. He was not at Grimmauld Place after all, but safe in Lupin's flat. Perhaps 'safe' did not adequately describe his condition, as he was still a fugitive, but the family members who haunted his dreams were gone. Most, like his parents and brother, had died and many of the others were still in Azkaban. Those who managed to avoid imprisonment had kept a low profile since the fall of Voldemort. And most importantly, Harry was safe.

Remus touched his cheek. His fingers were cool as they stroked Sirius' face. "It must have been bad," Remus said softly. "You're sweating."

"It's always bad," Sirius said, attempting to smile. "You know how it is."

Remus nodded and sunk back down beside him, "I do know. I've lived with haunted dreams most of my life. Can I do anything?"

"No," Sirius answered, turning towards Remus. "But thanks for asking. Sorry for waking you."

"Don't be," Remus said, smiling. "That's what I'm here for."

Despite his efforts to return to the realm of sleep, Sirius remained awake. The random, loud traffic sounds from outside provided a rough contrast to Remus' soft, rhythmic breaths. He tried to shut out those noises and concentrate on the peaceful sound of the bedroom and let himself think about Harry.

When Harry was born Sirius had been happy for both Lily and James. They had wanted a child as a testament to the love that existed between them. However, Sirius could not see how this tiny, shriveled human could make two people so happy. In fact, at first the infant looked so much more like a house elf than a human that Sirius wondered if there had been a mistake – a switch made at birth.

But as the months passed, Harry's appearance changed and Sirius began to see the charm of the little boy. He could see that the baby recognized him and would reach his tiny fist towards Sirius' nose whenever Sirius held him. It surprised Sirius how this simple, instinctual act warmed even the coldest recesses of his heart. This surprise could be more accurately termed "relief," because Sirius had started to wonder if his inability to feel tenderness towards his godson was a reflection of the complicated feelings he had towards his own parents. "Children are a necessary evil," he had overheard his mother say on more than one occasion. He had spent a lifetime wondering what she had meant by that. In his darkest moments, he believed she did not love him, but after witnessing how difficult children, can be, he wondered if she was only jokingly stating the obvious.

As he lay in the still bedroom, gentler memories of his childhood returned unbiden to him. He remembered how he waited excitedly beside the fireplace for his mother to return home from work. He saw the flames jump high and turn green as her image appeared, proudly wearing the robes and cap of a member of the Wizengamot. When she walked from the green flames unscathed, two house elves took her books and quills and hurried off to place them in the library, as she bent toward Sirius and kissed his cheek. "My darling boy," she whispered.

He remembered how beautiful she was as she descending the staircase at Grimmauld Place in a black crinoline party dress, her dark, curly hair flowing behind her. Her face was enlivened and freshly made-up as she prepared to greet the arriving visitors. Her sparkling stillettos clicked with a commanding gait, which announced to all that she was mistress of the household, but her full, red lips and her plunging neckline left no question that she was feminine, but not at all matronly. Her scent was the aroma of power.

And he remembered a story she told him in the years before he left Grimmauld Place. "I don't believe in prophecy," she said with the air of authority she always had. "Your father's mother, who was my aunt, looked at my palm when I was a girl and told me that she could see my future there." She shook her head and the black curls danced around her shoulders. "She told me that I would one day have more love and power than I could imagine. She said five men would love me dearly and I would love them with all my heart. But I would begin to put a desire for power before love and, one by one, I would lose those loves until one day I was alone. And then I would lose my power, too." Sitting at her feet, listening to the story, Sirius shivered at the ominous end of the story, but his mother only laughed. "I love your father, Sirius, and he loves me. There are no other men. You see, the prophecy cannot come true."

At the time Sirius pouted with disapointment and struggled to find some error in his mother's story. His grandmother had just told him that when he grew up, every witch and wizard in England would know his name and he so wanted that prophecy to come true. Of course, it did come true, but not in the way he had imagined.

Thinking back to that long ago prophecy his mother had so casually dismissed, Sirous realized that it had come true after all. He was her son and he had loved her, but when she put the power of the pure bloods before all else and supported the Dark Lord, he left her behind. Shortly afterward her brother Alfard died. It is true that they were not close and Alfard did not support her cause, but he tried to remain on good terms with her due to their family bond. She lost her husband and her brother Cynus a year or so later and, shortly afterward, Regulus died. When Voldemort fell, she lost her power. Now she was gone and all that was left was a portait that screamed obscenities at him when he entered Grimmauld Place.

Despite himself, Sirius felt a great sadness thinking of how his mother's life must have ended. He wanted to believe that she deserved to die that way or at least to feel nothing, so he closed his eyes and willed himself not to think about her. But still, behind his eyelids he could see her smiling at him until her smile turned to smirk, taunting him with her presence.

"Stay with me," he whispered as he moved closer to Remus. "Help me to forget."

Still asleep, Remus moved, draping his arm around Sirius, drawing him in. And in the protective comfort of his lover's arms, Sirius slept.