Harry Potter and the Turning of the Sun
Disclaimer: All JKR's, not mine.
Summary: AU After OOTP- After Harry is thrust back in time, he has to contend with surviving the rest of his years in Hogwarts and living his new life around people that he knows will one day become Death Eaters. Can he find the balance between giving people a chance and doing what he knows is right or will he crumble under the pressure that comes with knowing the future?
A/N: Thanks for the reviews everybody. Oh, and review again!
S/N: Harry and James are now officially friends, so all that's left is for Harry and Sirius to now become friends, hence that'll be pushing the plot forward for the next few chapters.
S/N 2: A lot of Bellatrix and Harry in this chapter, so I'm sure many of you will be happy. This isn't up to my usual standards, as I've been quite rushed, but enjoy! Over 60,000 words in less than a month just to make sure this was out on Christmas Day.
Chapter 28: I'll Have a Black Christmas Without You…
Two days later, as all the students filed off of the Hogwarts Express in London for the Christmas holiday, Harry hung back in the station a bit to talk to Bellatrix, who was saying her goodbyes to her Slytherin friends. Harry turned his attention away, not liking the people who she was talking to, but not criticizing her for it—they had not done anything wrong as far as he knew, outside of being related to some Death Eaters. Eventually, the Slytherins dispersed, allowing Bellatrix to walk back over to Harry to finish up their plans. "So I'll meet you at the Leaky Cauldron on Christmas Eve?" She asked tentatively, wanting to make sure they were on the same page when it came to the next few days.
"Sure," Harry nodded in agreement, as they walked through the wall and entered the muggle side of King's Cross Station. "And then Alphard's on Christmas day, right?"
"You got it," Bellatrix whispered, getting up onto her toes and kissing his lips. While they were relatively the same height, the shoes that she wore were without a lift, making him just a smidgen taller. "I'll see you."
"Bye," Harry waved as she walked the opposite way he was going. "Happy early Birthday!" He called out as she disappeared in the throng of muggles, presumably heading towards her house at 23 Dungient Street.
Harry too began walking through the streets of London, headed towards Diagon Alley, where he would be spending the holiday in one of the rooms that the Leaky Cauldron had to offer. Feeling a bit chilly, he wrapped his cloak more tightly around him, as his eyes gazed about the city, admiring the holiday energy that he felt around him. Children ran about, looking in the various windows that showed what each shop had to offer, all the while passing a store that was adorned with images of Father Christmas, with his green coat and long white beard and a bag of gifts at his feet. After a lengthy walk, Harry neared his destination and he smiled, excited at being at the pub that smelled strangely of pipe smoke and mead once more.
Upon arriving at the Leaky Cauldron, Harry walked into the pub, and just as he envisioned, he was hit with a wave of scents. It was a mix of burnt food, smoked tobacco and an odd spice smell that Harry couldn't quite place. Having already owled ahead for his room, he slung his bag over his shoulder and walked up to his room, his usual number 23, before taking the bronze key from his pocket and inserting it into the keyhole. With a twist, the door opened, revealing a small, one bedded room that overlooked the entrance to Diagon Alley, the same room he had over the summer. During the time that he spent at the Leaky Cauldon, the room had become his home, and with his graduation from Hogwarts quickly approaching, it was more of a home to him than the castle felt sometimes.
"Where am I going to live when I leave Hogwarts?" He questioned himself, realizing for the first time that he had to start finding a flat or a cottage to live for the rest of his life, or at least for the foreseeable future. "I wonder how much a flat in London is, I can afford it, right? I'll have to ask around, I'm sure either Edgar or Hagrid can help me." He sighed, closing the door behind him and walking further into the room.
As he tossed his bag over to the side, he fell onto his bed, a plan of the coming days forming in his mind. It was two days until Christmas Eve, when he was set to meet with Bellatrix and spend the day with her. "I'll go Christmas shopping tomorrow, and then see Bellatrix on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day." He whispered with a smile, as he got back to his feet and changed into more comfortable clothes. Noticing it was a bit chilly in the room, he grabbed his wand and pointed it at the fireplace, where the everlasting logs inside alit with flames, warming both him and the room up. "I need a present for her, Dumbledore, Hagrid, Edgar, Xenophilius, and maybe Greta. Oh, and I should get something for Alphard, too."
Harry slept in the next day, awaking late, not really having any plans to occupy his time other than some holiday shopping. He knew that Bellatrix was at her sister's for her birthday, which left the day open to do whatever he felt like doing. When he was awake enough to get out of bed, he quickly jumped out from his covers and ran over to the table in the corner of the room, and took out a piece of parchment and a bottle of ink. He jotted down a Happy Birthday, folded it over in the middle, fastened it to Hedwig's leg and allowed the owl out of the window. He watched as his loyal companion flew away before, with a gust of wind running through the room, he closed the window back up, shivering slightly. Once she was out of sight, he hopped into the shower and got ready for the day.
It was snowing when Harry stepped out into Diagon Alley later that afternoon. He wrapped his cloak tightly around himself, hoping to stay warm as he shopped for the various presents he needed to give. He went from shop to shop, buying whatever he thought would be good gifts for the various friends and family for whom he was shopping. As he was finished with his gifts, he went to a magical stationary store at the far end of the alley, where he purchased a roll of Spello-tape and wrapping paper that was adorned with pictures of moving snowman, each with a red scarf, a black top hat, twigs for arms, two pieces of coal for eyes, and a button nose. Writing appeared on the paper, as well, as if it was the snowmen themselves that said it, interchangeably saying either 'Merry Christmas' or 'Happy Birthday' depending on what the wrapper wanted.
After four o'clock in the afternoon, he dropped his gifts off in his room and walked down into the pub for a late lunch/early dinner. He ordered a simple meal, and read the muggle paper while he ate, trying to see what he could find out about buying an apartment or a house. He saw a few prices for the monthly rent, but since it was in muggle terms, he didn't know how to convert it so he closed the paper for the time being and gazed about the pub to occupy his time. Eventually, he finished his dessert and got up to leave, saying goodbye to Tom the barman as he headed to the stairs.
He walked back to his room, ordering a mug of hot butterbeer along the way, and began to wrap his presents once he arrived. He flipped on the wizarding wireless that was on the table, turning the channel to one that was playing soft tunes, interspersed with magical Christmas carols that were thoroughly magical—instead of seven swans a swimming, it was seven pixies swooping. He enjoyed wrapping his presents manually, rather than via magic, as it made him feel more connected to the presents that were being given, to the gifts that he had purchased for each recipient personally. Overall, as he drank his butterbeer, wrapped his gifts, and listened to the music, he was happy, so happy in fact that before he knew it, he was already in bed for the night.
Finally came Christmas Eve, where Bellatrix was meeting him at nine o'clock in the morning for breakfast. They intended to spend the entire day together, a fact that excited Harry greatly as it would be the first time where it would be just them and no one else. They wouldn't have to worry about any Slytherins snooping or any gossip circulating: it would be just them. "Harry?" A small voice said from the flames of the fireplace, as the head of a female witch appeared. She had long black hair, heavy-lidded violet eyes, and pointed features, which mixed to form a quite lovely specimen in most opinions.
"Yes?" Harry said, waking up from his sleep, as he rubbed his eyes to clear his vision. He grabbed his glasses off of the bedside table and looked over to the fireplace, knowing that only a few people knew about his presence in the Leaky Cauldron. Then, seeing it was Bellatrix, he grinned and jumped out of bed, suddenly wide awake. "A bit early, don't you think?"
"I can't come," Bellatrix admitted, frowning slightly but noticeably. She was saddened about the news that she was there to tell Harry, that their plan wouldn't go as they had anticipated due to something she had not foreseen.
"Why not?" Harry questioned sadly, having been excited to see her and share Christmas with her. He came closer to the fireplace and stared down at the fire, wondering why she couldn't come.
"Narcissa asked me to come today, and because I'm not going to see her tomorrow, I have to go." Bellatrix replied with a sigh, biting her lip through the flames. "I don't want her to question why I didn't see her and have it get back to my parents. It's…not wise. I can make up an excuse for one day, but not two."
"Oh," Harry nodded tentatively, inwardly frustrated that she still wasn't willing to talk to her parents just yet. In time, she was going to have to if she intended on staying with him past their days at Hogwarts, which he certainly hoped she did. "I understand."
"I'm sorry," Bellatrix whispered, truly sorry that their plans wouldn't work out as they thought they would. "I'll make it up to you, I promise. I thought seeing her for my birthday yesterday would suffice, but apparently with my parents leaving the country, she wants to keep an eye on me. I'm so, so sorry."
"It's okay, I really understand." Harry smiled, not wanting her to feel bad and instead hoping that she would enjoy her holiday. "How could I blame you for having a family?"
"Will you be alone?" Bellatrix asked, hoping that by not seeing him that she was not forcing him to spend Christmas Eve without anyone there with him.
"No," Harry shook his head, though he knew he probably would. "I'll give Hagrid an owl, see if he wants to come visit. I'll think of something." He suggested, hoping that his half-giant friend could come and see him, perhaps spend the day with him.
"Okay," Bellatrix said, wishing that he wouldn't be alone all day, even if he had to spend it with a half-giant. "Well, whatever you do, have fun and I'll see you tomorrow."
"You too," Harry replied with a half-smile, one that didn't quite reach his soul. "Merry Christmas."
"Happy Christmas, Harry," She said, before disappearing and the flames returned to normal. Harry stared at the flames for a few moments, before giving out a loud sigh and shaking his head.
Not really knowing what to do, Harry walked over to the table on the other side of the room, jotted down a note and clasped it onto Hedwig's leg. Throwing open the window, he gave her an owl treat and allowed her to fly away, not really knowing if she would reach Hagrid in time. Then, with another sigh, he closed the window and leaned against the table as a great sadness stole over him. He was crushed—he had been so happy at the thought of spending Christmas Eve with her, and now in a matter of moments, it was taken away from him. He dragged himself back to his bed, threw the covers over his head and disappointedly forced himself back to sleep, knowing that he had nothing else to do for the day.
He awoke hours later to a loud banging on his door. He rolled himself out of bed, rubbed his eyes, and meandered over to the door, before opening slightly to see who it was. "Oy, it's Christmas, you shouldn't be sleeping." Edgar Bones said, pushing the door further open and letting himself in.
Startled by his friend's sudden appearance, it took a second for Harry to realize who it was, but when he did, a new energy filled his body. "Happy Christmas," Harry groggily smiled, waking himself up. "What time is it?"
"Time to go down to the pub," Edgar replied, wrapping his arm around Harry's shoulders. He flicked his eyes over to his younger friend, a large smile taking shape on his face. "I have someone for you to meet."
"Really?" Harry exclaimed, remembering Edgar had said he wanted him to meet his fiancée months before during the summer. "Let me take a shower and get ready, I'll be down in like twenty minutes."
"Alright," Edgar nodded in agreement, turning and closing the door, before walking down the stairs. He walked through the pub, heading straight towards a table that had a lone occupant, a witch with reddish brown hair and brown eyes.
Fifteen minutes later found Harry walking down into the pub himself, his hair still wet from the shower. He looked around, scanning the room, before finding who he was looking for next to a table of vampires, who were all drinking a glass of red liquid that Harry hoped wasn't blood. "Sorry it took so long," Harry said, coming up to the table that Edgar was sitting at and taking a seat opposite the wizard and a witch that was sitting next to him.
"Harry Dumbledore," Edgar said, wrapping his arm around the witch that sat next to him. "This is Charlotte Flowers. Charlotte Flowers, meet Harry Dumbledore."
"Pleasure," Charlotte said, shaking Harry's outstretched hand.
"I am charmed to meet you," Harry returned politely, giving her a smile, hoping to make a nice first impression. She seemed tall, he noticed, as she was around the same height he was as they sat, and was very pretty, with fair coloring.
"I've heard a lot about you," Charlotte started, her eyes flicking from Harry to Edgar as a smile played on her lips. "Apparently you and Edgar formed quite the friendship in my absence."
"Quite," Harry grinned, knowing how surprising it would seem that the pair became best of friends over a short period of time. He didn't know how many friends Edgar had before they had became friends, but he assumed that, like Frank Longbottom and Alice Price, Charlotte and Edgar were best of friends and hung out with each other all of time before she left Hogwarts the year prior to his arrival in the past. "Where have you been?"
"After I graduated from Hogwarts two years ago, I joined the Ministry of Magic and worked in the International Magical Cooperation Department, so I was out of the country on a project." Charlotte informed him, happy for the experience but even happier to be home. "But I'm back now."
"Thank Merlin," Edgar whispered, making Charlotte giggle. Harry asked Charlotte about her work a bit more, with Charlotte filling him on all the details, even ones that she probably shouldn't have been saying. She knew that Edgar was greatly fond of Harry, so she too was trying to form a good first impression, a fact that Harry picked up while they talked to each other.
"Are you two heading somewhere?" Harry asked, wanting to see what they had planned for the rest of the day. He figured they were busy with family, as it was Christmas Eve, and as such, was happy that they found the time to come around and see him.
"Yes," Edgar nodded, turning his attention from Charlotte to Harry. "We were on our way to Charlotte's house, but I wanted to spend a few minutes with you. You can come if you want." He said, looking over to Charlotte, who nodded in agreement.
"Thanks for that," Harry said in appreciation, truly grateful of the gesture. "But you two enjoy yourself. Though, if you want, Xenophilius, Greta, and Milton are coming by tomorrow night; I would love for you two to come as well. And I have someone for you to meet too, finally, although you certainly know her."
"Bellatrix?" Edgar raised an eyebrow, remembering how he had seen the pair spending time with one another on Harry's birthday. While he hadn't commented on it at the time, he did have a few concerns that had been alleviated since then and he now had a positive opinion on the matter.
"I think it's about time, no?" Harry questioned back, hoping that all of his friends would like Bellatrix as he was starting to really care about her in ways that made him a bit afraid. "She's different, don't worry."
"If you like her, I'm sure she is." Edgar agreed, knowing that Harry wouldn't be with her if she was as awful as her reputation implied. Harry was a good man, a good wizard, one that didn't stand by when something wasn't right, so Edgar assumed that Harry was the same way around Bellatrix. "We'll be here."
Around twenty minutes later found Harry watching as Charlotte and Edgar disapparated from the Leaky Cauldron, presumably to visit their family for the holiday. Harry looked around the pub, biting his lip, searching for someone that he knew. Not seeing anyone, he gave out a loud sigh that went unnoticed. Having some time to waste and not wanting to be alone in his bedroom, Harry grabbed his cloak from his room and walked down to Diagon Alley, wanting to enjoy the bustling wizards and witches as they went about their Christmas shopping.
Eventually, Harry returned to his room with a bag full of candy. Not having anything to do, he grabbed some snacks and jumped into his bed, intending on writing in the Remus journal in order to occupy some of his time. "Hello," Harry wrote in loopy cursive as he bit into a chocolate frog. "Merry Christmas, Remus!"
"Happy Christmas, Harry," Black ink replied nearly instantly. "How has your Christmas been so far?"
"Okay," Harry wrote back after dipping his quill in the bottle of ink next to him. "It's still only Christmas Eve. Christmas won't be until tomorrow."
"Oh, well, how have you been since we've last spoken?" Black ink wrote, apparently wanting to make sure that Harry was happy and safe, away from any harm that may come to him.
"Quite well, thanks," Harry returned, biting his lip—it had been a few weeks since he had written in the journal, and even longer since he actually held a conversation with it. He pondered what he wanted to say, what topic he wanted to talk about, before settling on the dueling club. "I had a rematch with Frank, I won this time."
"Good for you, Harry," Remus wrote back, the letters disappearing almost instantaneously for new ones. "I'm proud of you. Trust me, in his prime, Frank Longbottom will be a great wizard, even better than I was. He'll be right up there with the best that the Order has, along with Edgar Bones, your father, Dorcas Meadowes, and Sirius."
Harry replied, and spent the rest of the day sitting in his bed, talking to Remus, snacking on candy and listening to the wizarding wireless. They didn't talk about much, just Harry releasing all of his emotions and whatever he held inside of him, happy that he had someone to talk to about the situation he found himself in with regards to Bellatrix. Additionally, Harry had also informed Remus that his plan to confound the Marauder's Map had worked, and Harry's name now appeared as Harry Dumbledore, not Harry Potter. Overall, while it wasn't how he wanted to spend his afternoon, he had to admit, it was fun talking to Remus and celebrating the holiday with him.
At seven o'clock, Harry went down to the pub below, where he met Hagrid for dinner. It was festive and enjoyable, and Harry was thrilled to have spent some time with his half-giant friend, whom had eagerly accepted Harry's invitation earlier in the day. Before long, Harry was meandering his way up to his room, stumbling slightly, before opening his door and falling headfirst into his bed, too tired to do anything else. As soon as his head hit the pillow, he was asleep, visions of sugarplums dancing in his head as he dreamed of Christmas day.
Right at twelve noon on Christmas, there was a loud knock on Harry's door. Harry gathered his things, passing by a small pile of gifts that were at the edge of his bed, each sitting unopened, and gave himself one last look in the mirror. With a nod of approval and his cloak in one hand and a bottle of wine tucked under his elbow, Harry opened the door with a large smile, hoping it was who he thought it was. "Merry Christmas!" He said when he saw it was Bellatrix, looking as magnificent to him as ever.
She was wearing a long purple robe, with a silver cloak and a black and purple argyle scarf. The purple of her robe brought out her violet eyes nicely, which were framed between locks of flowing black hair that cascaded down passed her shoulders and ended just above her naval. "Merry Christmas, Harry," She returned, kissing him on the cheek as they hugged each other hello.
"Shall we?" Harry questioned, taking a few steps out from his room and closing the door behind him.
"Give me your hand," Bellatrix said, looking into his eyes and reaching her hand outwards to him. Harry placed his hand on hers, and immediately she clasped down on it and disapparated the both of them away, leaving the pub as if they were never there in the first place. It felt like Harry was being pushed and pulled at the same time, folded between space and time as they traveled a great distance.
When they arrived at the location that Bellatrix intended, Harry fell to his knees, coughing. "What did you do?" He questioned in between coughs, his stomach feeling as if it was in his throat.
"We got here, didn't we?" Bellatrix murmured with a sigh, looking around the area to make sure no one had seen them. It was a muggle street, and though they were in a small alley, she knew that prying eyes could be anywhere.
"Barely," Harry coughed once again, holding his abdomen, still a bit queasy.
"Oh get off it, you git," Bellatrix rolled her eyes in faux agitation, not believing that Harry's experience was as bad as he was portraying it to be. "You're fine." Then, seeing Harry continuing to cough, she bent down and rubbed his back. "It was my first time doing a side-along apparition, I'll get better."
"I would hope you would," Harry laughed, getting back to his feet and looking around the environs. "I don't think it can get any worse."
"You're so getting jinxed later," Bellatrix muttered playfully, wrapping her cloak closer to her body to stay warm as a gust of wind ran through the area.
"I don't like the feeling of apparition," Harry noted with a sigh, having realized that he preferred not to apparate if he could. Like the portkey, he didn't appreciate the feeling it gave him, though he knew that he would have to get used to both if he was going to join the Order of the Phoenix one day. "Where are we?"
"Manchester," Bellatrix replied, flicking her gaze over to him as they started to walk out from where they were, Bellatrix leading the way. "Or just outside of it, more likely."
"Do the Blacks not believe in living out in the country?" Harry questioned sarcastically, shaking his head upon noticing that they all appeared to live in a city.
They exited from behind a stone building and walked down the street a short way, before Bellatrix turned onto a private piece of property. The house in front of them was large and made of brick, and had a small lawn and garden on each side of the walk, which were both covered from the snow that fell the night prior. On the wooden front door in front of them, which was a deep mahogany color, there was a large wreath, adorned with small, festive bows that were made from red and green ribbon. Bellatrix marched up to the door, Harry closely behind her, and gave it two loud knocks before taking a step back and waiting for it to open.
The door swung opened and revealed a man of medium height with short black hair that was graying somewhat. While he had a small belly and wasn't at all in shape, he had large smile on his handsome face when he saw who it was, thrilled to have family visit him on Christmas. "Bellatrix!" The man exclaimed, moving to the side and allowing the pair entry into his house.
"Uncle,' Bellatrix smiled, allowing Alphard to wrap his arm around her shoulders and engulf her in a hug. "Happy Christmas." She said, standing back a few feet and allowing him to view Harry.
"And who is this we have here?" Alphard questioned, staring at Harry with a curious expression on his face, giving the younger wizard a once over with his eyes. Bellatrix had told him she was planning on bringing someone, but she did not reveal who in her owl, which made him quite intrigued by the teenager that was standing in front of him.
"Harry Dumbledore, sir," Harry replied, outstretching his hand for Alphard to shake as he politely tipped his head as if to bow. "It's good to meet you."
"Dumbledore, you say?" Alphard raised an eyebrow, his eyes flicking to Bellatrix, who shrugged in response. "It's nice to finally meet you." He mentioned, realizing that Harry was the boy that Bellatrix had mentioned in a few of her letters.
"Finally?" Harry said interestedly, inwardly wondering if Bellatrix talked about him to Alphard before. "Oh, this is for you." Harry said, handing over the bottle of wine for Alphard to enjoy. "I hope it's a good selection."
"You didn't have to do that. As for the selection, it is quite good, thank you," Alphard replied, staring down at the label and admiring the brand. "Come, have a seat," Alphard gestured, showing Harry and Bellatrix the sitting room, where a great fire was flaming in the fireplace. Harry entered the room and took a seat in one of the chairs, as Bellatrix and Alphard were discussing something on the couch.
"Would you like something to drink, Harry?" Alphard asked politely, looking over to his guest.
"A butterbeer if you have it, please," Harry replied, hoping Alphard had a supply of the delicious drinks.
"I'll be back," Bellatrix muttered to Harry, following Alphard out, all the while talking animatedly to him.
As he waited for them to return, Harry's gaze moved around the room, studying its decorations. The walls were of a cream color, with a white wooden crown molding that encircled the ceiling. There was a small bookshelf on the far wall, with a wide assortment of books—some were cookbooks, some were history books, while some were magical fiction like the stories of Beedle the Bard, Eccentrissa Frizzle, and other notable writers of the wizarding world. In the corner, opposite from the door and away from the fireplace stood a large, full Christmas tree, with bright golden baubles and silver tinsel wrapped around it. The ends of the branches had snow on them, charmed to stay cool even in the relatively warm room. It was capped off with a brilliant, gleaming gold star that bounced the light from the torches hanging on the wall.
Above the fireplace, meanwhile, hanging by the chimney with care, were three red and white stockings, each made of soft red suede with a tuft of white cotton on the top. Written in silver and gold lettering in the center of the three stockings were the names of their owners: Sirius, Alphard, and Bellatrix. They all looked to be stuffed with presents, though Harry did not know how many gifts filled them as magic allowed more space in small places, which made it hard to estimate. Overall, Harry greatly admired the decorations—they were classy, yet still possessed individual spirit.
Drawing his attention, in the distance, outside of the sitting room he was in, Harry heard a knock on the door and then the footsteps of someone going to answer it immediately following. "What in Merlin's name are you doing here?" Harry heard a voice question through the walls, sounding like someone was in a great surprise. His gaze moved over to the doorway, where he expected the visitor to be appearing eventually, having an idea of who it could be if the name on the stockings gave him a hint.
"Good to see you too, cousin," The muffled response from Bellatrix came, making Harry smile, realizing that it was exactly who he guessed it was: Sirius. He waited patiently to see his younger godfather come into the room, but he was excited at the prospect of spending Christmas with Sirius again, just as he had once before in Grimmauld Place.
"Where is Alphard?" Sirius questioned, just as he walked into the sitting room where Harry was located, taking off his cloak and placing it down on one of the chairs. "Dumbledore?" Sirius gasped; startled to see Harry there, inwardly wondering what was happening. Coming into the house, he had thought it would only be him an Alphard, but now seeing Bellatrix and Harry there greatly confused him. "What are you doing here?"
"Sirius," Harry smiled, rising to his feet to greet the younger Black. They shook hands, before Harry took a step back and allowed the younger wizard to process everything, gazing at Sirius with a large grin.
"Wait," Sirius said quietly, looking between Harry and Bellatrix, who was standing at the doorway herself before she walked out of the room to get Alphard "You two aren't, no, you couldn't be, could you?"
"Couldn't be what?" Harry asked, raising an amused eyebrow, wanting the boy to spell out his thoughts.
"But I've never seen you two together." Sirius stammered, perplexed by the turn of events. "I mean, a few times talking in the Great Hall maybe, and once in the library, but…"
"Then I guess we are both good at keeping secrets." Harry smiled mischievously, glad that someone finally knew about them. He knew that this would be the first step for Belaltrix, and was thrilled that it was finally happening as he had hoped it would.
"I thought you were an okay bloke!" Sirius exclaimed, his eyes wide with shock, suddenly curious as to who Harry was and how he had been tricked by him so easily. Harry had helped James out with Snape, had played quidditch with them, and had been nice in every interaction they ever had, so to know that he fancied Bellatrix was quite alarming to Sirius
"He is," Bellatrix said, coming into the room along with Alphard, holding a few bottles of butterbeer in her hands. She handed one over to Harry, and another to Sirius, who accepted it with a befuddled look on his face.
"But," Sirius said, opening his mouth before closing it. He repeated the action a couple of times, before shaking his head, seemingly too confused to speak.
"There will be time for that, nephew," Alphard said, taking a seat in one of the comfortable chairs in order to enjoy the company. "Now, now, sit, all of you." Alphard looked over to Sirius, giving the boy a large smile as he plopped down onto the couch. Bellatrix followed suit, sitting on the arm of the chair that Harry was in. "It's good to see you, nephew. I apologize for not welcoming you sooner; I was busy with the roast."
"It's good to see you too, uncle," Sirius whispered back, popping open the butterbeer and taking a gulp of it. He wiped his mouth with his sleeve after he was finished, putting the bottle down onto the table to his right and turning his attention over to the Alphard.
"You really should get a house elf, uncle." Bellatrix suggested, knowing how much work a house was when a person lived by themselves. Even with magic, it was a lot of hard work to keep a house presentable. "Allow the elf to do your cooking."
"And give Sirius' mother here another reason to dislike me when I don't behead it when the elf gets too old? I think not!" Alphard laughed, referencing the fact that his sister always found something to criticize him about. "Plus, I rather enjoy cooking. It's way for me to pass the time."
"Is Andromeda coming?" Sirius questioned, ignoring Bellatrix for a second. He had yet to meet his cousin's daughter and husband due to the troubling times they found themselves in, and had hoped that they would show for Christmas.
"Don't think so," Alphard sighed, disappointed that his oldest niece wouldn't be in attendance. "She and Ted had to travel this year to see Ted's parents; I don't know what time they will be leaving."
"Good riddance," Bellatrix mumbled under her breath, though Harry just barely heard it from his spot next to her. Storing that in the back of his mind, Harry took a sip from his butterbeer and stared into the roaring fire, listening as Alphard and Sirius discussed something about Sirius' mother.
"So, Dumbledore," Alphard said loudly, turning the conversation to Harry, wanting to learn more about the boy that had captured Bellatrix's attention, if not her full heart. "Albus is your great uncle? I never knew he had any relatives."
Harry looked over to Bellatrix, giving her a grin, which she knowingly returned. "Yeah, something like that, yes." Harry nodded, turning his gaze back over to Alphard, who raised an eyebrow in response. "Our family doesn't get along very well, so that's why you may not have known that Dumbledore had family before now."
"You may know his godfather, though." Bellatrix suggested, trying to stop the laughter that she knew was going to come.
"I do?" Alphard questioned, looking from Bellatrix to Harry with a curious expression on his face. "Who is that?"
"Ah," Harry smiled, his gaze instinctively moving over to Sirius, who confusedly looked on as the exchange progressed. "She was kidding."
"Oh, yes, I was joking," Bellatrix snorted, her face alit with such joy that Harry couldn't help but laugh himself. "I sometimes put my foot in my mouth, don't I? If only I could go back in time to change it."
"Go back in time?" Sirius asked quietly, wondering why the pair was having so much fun about a conversation that seemed nonsensical.
Sensing there was something happening that he didn't know about, Alphard laughed, admiring the relationship that Harry and Bellatrix seemed to have. "How did you two become friends? While Ravenclaw and Slytherin get on, it's still curious to see two students from different houses so close to one another, especially in these times." He asked, taking a sip of his drink before placing it back down on the table next to him.
"I taught Harry occlumency," Bellatrix answered, knowing that without those lessons, they probably wouldn't have grown close enough to even realize they liked each other.
"And I taught her the Patronus Charm." Harry replied, as he nodded his head from his seat next to Bellatrix.
"I'm not quite sure what occlumency is," Alphard admitted, furrowing his brows in thought, trying to figure out what the word meant. "But a patronus is strong magic."
"It's an obscure branch of magic," Harry answered with a shrug, wanting to inform him but not go into too much boring detail. "It's sort of like protecting yourself from vibes."
"I see," Alphard nodded, assuming that it dealt with mental magic, an area of learning that he never bothered with. While he was a decent wizard in his own right, he had no false delusions that he was anything but average. "I wasn't much into obscure magic, or any real magic outside of the necessities of life. I'm certainly a decent wizard, I think, however I didn't have the knack for it that some of my family members do." He said, looking to both Sirius and Bellatrix, the two most powerful members of his family, even at their young age.
"Why did you two decide to come here?" Sirius questioned Harry; wanting to know why they wouldn't go to a place that Harry spent his Christmases instead. "Surely you would prefer to be with the headmaster, no?"
"He's unavailable," Harry replied easily, knowing that it was difficult for Sirius to process Bellatrix being there and not spouting blood purity nonsense. As far as Sirius knew, Bellatrix was a future Death Eater, someone who didn't hold the same ideals that he did. "And I wanted to meet Bellatrix's family, so I figured, why not?"
"And where is my dear aunt and uncle, Bellatrix?" Sirius scathed, finally looking to Bellatrix and noticing that she was there.
"With the Lestranges," Bellatrix replied coolly, staring straight back at him. Growing up, they had never gotten along and often fought one another, with Sirius being too rambunctious for her tastes, let alone the way he liked muggles and muggle technology.
"How is your year going in Hogwarts, Sirius?" Harry asked, hoping to stray the conversation away from the two cousins that clearly did not like one another and did not want to be near each other.
"Yes, how is it? Sixth year is always the most tiring, if I recall correctly," Alphard added, agreeing with Harry's tactic of distraction.
Sirius looked over to his uncle, and then went into great detail about his school year, which Harry greatly appreciated. It allowed him to learn more about his godfather, without seeming weird in the younger wizard's eyes. Additionally, it allowed him tolearn about his father, as well, as Sirius had very few stories that did not have James in it right next to him. As such, Harry made sure to keep the conversation rolling, and before long, they had already been there for an hour, enjoying drinks and light snacks, the animosity between the two cousins seemingly forgotten about.
Just then, a buzzer went off in the kitchen, making Alphard jump to his feet. "Dinner is ready." Alphard smiled, as he took deep breath through his nose in an effort to smell the roast from the sitting room. He moved towards the door, before stopping, seeing that no one else was getting up. "Chip, chop, what are you all sitting around for? Go to the dinning room, all of you."
The dining room was big and housed a long table in the center, capable of housing a half of a dozen on each side with another seat at each end. There were four place settings, two on one side, another on the opposite, and one at the head of the table. The plates on the table were made of beautiful china, with sterling silver utensils and fine silk napkins that accompanied a similarly silk tablecloth that was of a deep green color, fitting for Christmas day. At the opposite end of the table, there were a slew of casseroles and empty plates, along with a giant silver platter, making Harry wonder what it was that they were eating. In the center of the table was a centerpiece of pink and red flowers that were arranged around a large candle that smelt like cinnamon. Overall, Harry noted, it was much different than what he had grown accustomed to in the past.
Harry and Bellatrix sat on the side of the table with two settings, while Sirius took the seat opposite from Harry, leaving the seat at the end open for Alphard. A second later, Alphard came into the room, taking his seat at the head of the table, with Sirius sitting on his left, and Bellatrix and Harry on his right, a jovial smile on his face. He lifted his wand, swished it through the air and food appeared on the plates on the far end of the table, allowing everyone to get whatever it was they felt like. Harry eyed the meal: it was a large goose with potatoes, carrots, spinach, sauces and gravies, and golden biscuits, each baked to perfection. In the center of the table was a large pitcher of pumpkin juice, along with a bottle of mead, and a few smaller bottles of butterbeer.
"Well," Alphard said, standing up and using his wand to trim the goose. When the first piece of meat fell off of the bone, he placed it on one of the empty plates and then used his wand to charm two knives to cut the meat for him. "Come, dig in." He said, as they all got up and made their plates. When everyone was seated and the drinks were poured, he looked over the table as they all looked back at him. "Merry Christmas, everyone!" He smiled, as he took his first bite of the meal he himself had prepared with his own hands.
Dinner went by quickly and uneventfully, and before they knew it, Alphard was clearing the table with a swipe of his wand and with another swipe, dessert was served. There were a few different types of cookies, a couple of pies, a pumpkin cake, as well as a large green pistachio cake, glazed with sugar.
"I'm glad that you are here, Sirius." Alphard said, pouring himself another glass of mead and nibbling on one of the cookies.
"Me too, uncle." Sirius agreed with a nod, supremely grateful for everything that Alphard had done for him. "Now that we've both been blasted off of the family tree, you're the only Black I can turn to for help."
"Blasted off of the family tree?" Harry asked with a raised eyebrow, recalling how the older Sirius had told him about the incident back in his own time.
"Yes," Sirius nodded, a hint of sadness on his face, though his tone betrayed that. "I ran away recently. I had enough of their pureblood mania. And once I left, my mother blasted me from the tree and sent me a howler, telling me about it."
"I wouldn't be surprised if your mother had me killed just by having you over for dinner." Alphard grinned, knowing that it was probably true and his sister would at the very least disown him again for socializing with her son. "I'm expecting that she has an eye on my gold, though if she does poison me as I suspect she will, I've already made sure that you, Sirius, will receive all of it that doesn't go to Andromeda…or maybe only half of it, if things keep up." He finished, keeping an eye on Bellatrix, who was cutting a piece of cake at the far end of the table, away from earshot of the conversation.
"I hope it does," Harry whispered, though both Sirius and Alphard heard him. "I'm trying my best to keep it that way."
"You're a good influence on her," Alphard said, seeing how much Bellatrix had changed ever since Harry entered her life. Before the end of last year, he and Bellatrix had only written to each other once every few years, if that, but that changed over the summer, when the younger witch began to write him on a regular basis. They didn't talk about much in particular, but the conversation was always pleasant, and he could tell that she was trying to get close to him because she was beginning to subconsciously distance herself from her previous close family members and didn't have the courage to contact Andromeda just yet.
The conversation paused as Bellatrix walked back to her seat, grabbing a fork and taking a bit from her piece of cake. "I should be getting over to the Potters," Sirius said after realizing the time, getting to his feet. "It was good to see you, uncle."
"Happy Christmas, Sirius," Alphard exclaimed happily, rising from his seat and shaking his nephew's hand, before they engulfed each other in a hug.
"Thanks again for the present," Sirius said, honestly grateful for his uncle's help.
"Spend it well, Sirius," Alphard lectured, giving his nephew a pointed look, not wanting him to splurge on something superfluous. "Don't go using it all on that muggle contraption you're obsessed about, what's it called, a motorboat?"
"A motorbike," Sirius grinned, correcting his uncle on his mistake. While he did appreaciate the fine craftsmanship of a boat, it was a motorcycle that he fancied, having wanted one ever since he saw one on the streets of London when he was a little boy. "Don't worry, I won't. I have a flat in mind for it."
"Good," Alphard nodded, happy that Sirius would have a place to live. While he had offered his home to the boy, Sirius had not accepted it in an effort to prevent any retribution that would come Alphard's way and instead moved into the Potter household for the time being.
"I'll see you back in Hogwarts, Harry." Sirius said, giving Harry a smile, having enjoyed his company. "Merry Christmas."
"Same to you!" Harry chirped happily, thrilled to have spent so much time with his future godfather. "It was good seeing you."
Sirius made a move to leave but paused and turned to Bellatrix, who just looked up at him from her cake, staring blankly his way, not knowing what to expect. "Bye Bellatrix," He said, gulping down the lump in his throat, the lump that had been created through years of dislike.
"Merry Christmas, Sirius." Bellatrix replied honestly, earning a smile from both Harry and Alphard, who each saw it as a tremendous step. Sirius nodded his thanks and left the room, presumably to travel back to the Potter household.
"Shall we move this to the sitting room?" Alphard questioned, and after seeing the pair nod, he flicked his wand and all of the drinks rose into the air and levitated into the sitting room. Harry and Alphard sat down in their former seats, with Bellatrix taking Sirius' old spot on the couch—the plate that held her cake placed on her lap in front of her as she ate. "I went to Hogwarts with that Charlus Potter," Alphard said, taking a sip of his mead and swishing it around his glass. "Of course, back in the 30s, friendships between Slytherins and Gryffindors were especially unheard of so we weren't friends, but we knew each other even still. We are related, as well, however distantly."
"You went to Hogwarts in the 30s?" Harry asked curiously, surprised that Alphard was as old as that. To him, Alphard looked around the age of fifty, not seventy as it would take to be if one attended Hogwarts in the 30s. Wait, this is the 1970s, not the 1990s, he thought to himself, realizing that his estimates were off by twenty years because he had momentarily forgotten that he was in the past. Though, why he had thought he was back in the 90s was beyond him, as he knew that Bellatrix was a Death Eater and Alphard dead in the time that he was from, both of whom were sitting on opposite sides of him.
"Yes, I'm old." Alphard smiled jovially, not minding that Harry poked fun at him a bit.
Harry grinned at that, and then furrowed his brows, wanting to see if his thoughts were correct. "And you were in Slytherin?" He asked cautiously, having realized that there was someone else in Slytherin that had also attended Hogwarts partially in the 1930s.
"Sirius is the first Black to not have been in Slytherin. Ever." Alphard nodded in the affirmative, having never personally known a Black to be in anything other than Slytherin. "Even Andromeda, the only Black in four generations to not marry a pureblood, was in Slytherin."
"So then you knew Tom Riddle?" Harry said, more of a statement than a question, for he knew if Alphard was in the Slytherin house during the 1930s then he would had to have run into Tom Riddle at least once while he was there.
"How do you know that name?" Alphard questioned, narrowing his gaze at Harry, not understanding how a boy as young as Harry could know that. "That's his most trusted secret."
"Who is Tom Riddle?" Bellatrix asked, looking up from her piece of cake, having never heard that name.
"No one, forget you heard it," Alphard replied, not wanting Bellatrix to know who Tom Riddle was for fear that it would put her in danger. "But yes, I did. Terrible wizard he was, even back then; obsessed with his parentage. Though, of course that was only behind closed doors, with Lestrange, Nott, Avery, Rosier and Wilkes, and whatever other Slytherin he felt comfortable in controlling. I was not a member of his gang, but I was certainly close enough to many of them that they let me in on what they were doing. I'll tell you, there were a number of nasty incidents that they caused during their time there that were never linked to them."
"Yes, he was." Harry frowned sadly, knowing for a fact that Tom Riddle had always been Lord Voldemort behind closed doors, even if he acted like the handsome, charming, and intelligent Tom Riddle to the outside eye. "He killed that poor girl Myrtle."
"Moaning Myrtle?" Bellatrix questioned, assuming that was who Harry had meant since they were talking about Hogwarts and Myrtle was a ghost inside Hogwarts.
"I reckon your great uncle will stop him one of these days." Alphard sighed in a forlorn tone, taking a sip of his drink and looking out the window, where snow was starting to fall to the ground. "That is my hope at least."
"Wait a minute," Bellatrix started, furrowing her brow in thought, realizing who it was that they were talking about. "Tom Riddle is…He Who Must Not Be Named?"
"Forget it," Harry said, repeating what her uncle had told her just moments before, not wanting Bellatrix to have that knowledge. "I shouldn't have brought it up."
"So by the way that you are talking, I imagine that you're in support of muggle rights, are you, Harry?" Alphard asked, turning his attention away from the snow, which was always a beautiful sight in his opinion.
"Yes sir, and yourself?" Harry answered, not at all hiding his beliefs from Alphard. While he recalled Belaltrix mentioning a joke of Alphard's that was not pro-muggle, he knew that it wasn't necessarily anti-muggle, either, which left him curious as to how Alphard truly felt on the matter.
"I don't hate muggles, nor do I believe in blood superiority, but I don't want anything to do with them; nor do I look down at any wizard that does want to be around and with them. They can be in their world, while we can be in our own." Alphard answered honestly, which Harry appreciated immensely. "I don't like how purebloods today indoctrinate their children, making them choose between what they believe and what their family believes. That's why Sirius is such an enigma—he was brave enough to rebel outright." Alphard said, watching as Bellatrix shifted uncomfortably in her seat due to the nature of the conversation. He gave a smile at that, knowing that she was going to have to make a choice very soon; a choice that he hoped would make her happy and content with herself. "Even Andromeda didn't do that, as she hid her relationship with Ted until they graduated Hogwarts and she sprung it on the family then."
"That's understandable," Harry nodded, not seeing anything wrong with what Alphard had said since that was how he himself felt in many ways. "And I agree to an extent, so long as our world does not overcome their world and they are free to do as they please."
"Never," Alphard shook his head, not wanting Harry to think that's what he believed. "Wizards are much more equipped to handle lesser space than muggles are, what with our charms that can make a police box five times bigger inside than it seems on the outside. Let the muggles do whatever they want to do, while we do whatever we want to do in our world, I say." He downed the rest of his mead, before pouring himself another glass. "You know, I have quite a few friends who spend nearly all of their time in the muggle world. They break the statute of secrecy on a daily basis."
"How so?" Harry asked with a smile, wondering what they did.
"One works as a muggle housekeeper," Alphard started, laughing at the thought of his friends. "She cleans nearly a hundred houses a day, all the while using magic. She makes quite a living, if I do say so myself."
Harry grinned at that, imagining as a witch waved her wand and charmed cleaning items to do the work for her, allowing her to move on to the next house. "Have you ever been married, sir?" Harry questioned, taking a sip of his tea, trying to decide if he liked Alphard as much as he thought he did or not.
"No, I'm not certain there is a woman out there that could tolerate me enough to be married to me," Alphard laughed, thinking about how preposterous the idea of him being married was. "I wouldn't want to punish any good, wholesome females out there. I stayed single like my dear old aunt, Lycoris."
"Speaking about Lycoris, Harry met her old house elf." Bellatrix stated, looking over to Harry. She finished her cake and put her fork on her plate, and then placed the plate down onto the coffee table in front of her.
"Did you now?" Alphard inquired with a smile, surprised that the elf was still around. "What was his name again, Stubble?"
"Bustle," Harry corrected, having grown a small friendship with the house elf.
"Oh, right, Bustle, how is Bustle doing?" Alphard asked with a laugh, truly having misremembered the elf's name.
"Good, I think," Harry answered with a shrug, knowing that Bustle was very happy working at Hogwarts, if not still a bit sad at Lycoris' death a decade prior.
"Lycoris always treated him like her best friend," Alphard recalled, looking up at the ceiling, remembering his aunt and how she treated her house elf like a friend, rather than a servant. "He was the only one in the world that she spoke to on a daily basis."
"Do you know why she was so private?" Harry asked, still wanting to know if she was as good as Bustle implied. He knew that some house elves were so devoted to their family that they overlooked any negative things they had, and he wondered if that was the case with Bustle—that he was overlooking all of Lycoris' negative traits and that, in reality, she wasn't the person Bustle thought she was.
"She hated purebloods," Alphard answered simply, remembering his cousin, whom was more like an aunt to him, fondly. They always had dinner at least once a week, as she was the last Black that Alphard had any consistent communication with before Sirius and Andromeda began talking to him. "That and she was a lesbian."
"She was?" Bellatrix replied, surprised by that revelation.
"Yes," Alphard nodded in the affirmative. "She knew most of our kinfolk wouldn't accept her for that fact alone, so she became a recluse, which is unfortunate because she was a nice lady. She helped me a great deal, and left me everything she had, except Bustle, of course."
"She was always nice," Bellatrix muttered, remembering how she had received chocolate from the lady back when she was a child.
"The Blacks aren't all bad, Bellatrix," Alphard said with a sigh, knowing that there were a few of his family members that were quite decent—just none of them had the courage to flat out fight against the rest of the family, and instead, hid their decency in order to fit in. "It's just a matter that none of us before Sirius were brave enough to say, 'I don't believe in this.' Not me, certainly not Lycoris, no one was brave enough to stand up and face being blasted off of the tapestry. Andromeda lived with the lie until she could no longer hide it, but even she didn't do what Sirius did and just flat out walk away from the family."
"It's the way we were raised, uncle," Bellatrix whispered, the Blacks being a family that imparted their disrespect of muggles to their children.
"I know what it's like to be indoctrinated, trust me," Alphard said, having a childhood of memories that showed everyone around him mocking muggles for being lesser beings. "Walburga gets her blood supremacy madness from my father, who spent countless of hours in his study while I was growing up searching the family records in order to find a girl from a suitable line for me to marry. And he got it from my grandmother, who kicked her own son out of her house at the age of 11 when she found out he was a squib. The poor kid would have died a beggar on the street if it wasn't for my uncle Phineas taking him in as his own." Alphard shook his head, a mirthless smile forming on his face. "Walburga sits in her ancestral home, like she's royalty, when we only come from a cadet branch of the Black family. If she didn't marry Orion, she would have never stepped foot in that home."
"Walburga is Sirius' mother," Bellatrix supplied, needlessly filling Harry in on the information. "Or did you know that?"
"I did," Harry nodded with a grin, agreeing that he did indeed know who she was. While he had never met the woman for himself, he had numerous interactions with her portrait, usually with her screaming at him about being a half-blood and socializing with her son, who was the worst kind of blood traitor in her mind.
"When Phineas and Lycoris were still alive, we always used to meet up for Christmas." Alphard sighed, a sadness overcoming him as happy memories sprung into his mind, visions of days long since past. "It's nice to have more members of my family join me this year."
They all went silent for a few moments, each looking into the fireplace on the opposite side of the room, enjoying the ambiance and the peacefulness that Christmas brought. "Excuse me, but where is your loo?" Harry asked as he got to his feet, breaking the silence.
"It's straight down that hall, next to the dining room," Alphard replied, motioning to the hallway with his hand. With a nod in thanks, Harry walked out into the hallway, searching for the washroom in the direction that Alphard had pointed.
When Harry was out of the room and out of earshot, Alphard's gray gaze moved over to Bellatrix, who sat on a chair a few feet away from him, quizzically staring back at him. He studied her for a few lingering moments, weighing her appearance, both proud of her and concerned about her. "You know, you're going to have to make a decision soon, Bellatrix, and I just want you to know, that whatever choice you do make, whatever decision you come to, you're going to have people there for you, regardless of the side you choose. Just know that, okay?" Bellatrix looked over to her uncle, who gave her a small smile, before moving her gaze to the floor, a pensive expression on her face.
Before long, Harry and Bellatrix were both preparing themselves to leave. They both fastened their cloaks tightly to their bodies, and Bellatrix grabbed her scarf from the coat rack, intending on using it for extra warmth. Alphard watched them ready themselves from a few feet away, a large smile on his face, happy to have spent the entire day with his niece and nephew. It was a rare occurrence, he knew, but one that hoped would soon become the norm, rather than the exception. "Where are you two off to for the rest of the night?" He questioned curiously, wondering where the two young people would go for the remainder of Christmas night.
"We're going to meet with my friends at the Leaky Cauldron," Harry answered, as Bellatrix wrapped her scarf around her neck. They both walked over to Alphard, closing the distance between them, intending on saying their goodbyes to the host.
"Bye uncle," Bellatrix said, giving Alphard a hug, not knowing when she would next see him. She pulled back and headed to the door, securing her cloak around her body as she waited for Harry.
"Good to meet you, sir." Harry said, meeting Alphard's gaze as they shared a look with one another. He liked the man, who was amiable and nice, not at all like what he had thought Alphard would be. "I really enjoyed this."
"Same to you, son, I wish you a Happy Christmas." Alphard replied in a merry tone, as he shook Harry's outstretched hand and patted him on the arm. "Be good to her," He whispered quietly, making sure that Bellatrix couldn't hear him. "I'll help however I can."
"Thank you," Harry nodded, understanding exactly what he meant. "And Happy Christmas to you, as well." He said, before heading to Bellatrix, who opened the door as he neared her. "Bye!"
"Bye," Alphard smiled with a wave, watching as they exited the house and closed the door behind them. When they were gone, he turned around and walked into the kitchen, intending on eating another piece of his cake before bed.
As Harry and Bellatrix walked out of the house and down the entryway, they were hit with a gust of winter weather, their breaths visible through the cold. "I want to take the Knight Bus," Harry said, breathing the frigid night air, which invigorated him and woke him up from his dinner-induced tiredness.
"Why don't we just apparate?" Bellatrix asked with a sneer, confused by why Harry would want to take the slower Knight Bus, when he could just appear wherever it was that he wanted to go in a blink of an eye. The boy seemed to have an obsession with the Knight Bus in her opinion, taking it whenever he traveled unlike other wizarding folk, who apparated like normal people.
"It's Christmas, a time to try and do different things than normal life." Harry grinned, putting his arm around her and bringing her close to his chest. "Plus, I'm still not fully recovered from last time."
"If you say so," Bellatrix muttered, rolling her eyes in amusement as she gently pushed him. Harry kept his arm around her, however, so he pulled her with him as he fell off the curb and into the empty street.
"You know, we have a week until Hogwarts resumes," Harry said, as they walked back up onto the sidewalk and to the corner of the street to hail the bus.
"Yeah?" Bellatrix replied, wondering what he had in mind. While she usually did school work for the remainder of the break after Christmas, since this was her final year at Hogwarts, she was not as worried about it as she normally would be.
"I want to meet your sister Andromeda," Harry informed her, as the thought of Bellatrix whispering good riddance at the mention of Andromeda popped into his mind, reminding him that the pair did not have a good relationship. "We can have dinner with her and Ted or something."
"No," Bellatrix shook her head, knowing what he was trying to do. She pushed away from him, not wanting to be close to him right at that moment.
"Why not?" Harry asked with a raised eyebrow, wondering why she had said no without even thinking about it first.
"That's too much." Bellatrix growled angrily, looking down the straight, unable to meet his gaze. She took a deep breath, inhaling the cold winter air in an effort to calm herself. "I'm not…I'm not doing that."
Harry noticed her pause mid-sentence, seemingly changing what she was going to say, and he briefly pondered what it was that she was going to tell him originally. "You're going to have to eventually." Harry said confidently, knowing he was right in the fact that, if they were to work, Bellatrix would have to start talking to Andromeda again.
"You haven't even met Narcissa, the sister I actually like." Bellatrix turned on her heels, her violet eyes wide in fury. She could not fathom how he dared to try and force her to do something that she would have no intention of doing without him even mentioning it; it made her flush with anger at the mere thought of him doing it, let alone actually witnessing him trying to do it for real.
"I already know what kind of person Narcissa is. I know what kind of man Lucius is. I know what kind of boy their eventual son will be," Harry answered honestly, a bit saddened that she grew so angry at the suggestion. "They're people that won't like me and I won't like them. Don't even lie to yourself to pretend that they will."
"You don't know that," Bellatrix snapped, though even she didn't believe it. Inwardly, she knew that Harry would get along with Andromeda quite well, but would not be up to the unattainable standards that Narcissa often had for people that socialized with her—she was harder to please than any other Black, which was saying something, considering most Blacks thought of themselves as royalty.
Harry closed his eyes for a minute, taking a deep breath as he thought of what to say. "If you want, I will meet them. If you want, I will do that for you. I will take whatever they throw at me, but I want you to know that I will not change for them." Harry replied finally, realizing he was being unfair and that he had no right to ask her to do something when he himself wasn't willing to do its opposite. "I will meet them. And I will be myself. Set it up; I'll do something for you, you'll do something for me. But I'm telling you now, if they insist on trying to change me, don't think I'm going to do it."
"Like you're asking me to change?" Bellatrix scowled angrily, even more affronted that he would insist on not being changed, yet dare to ask for her to do something that she didn't want to do.
"I'm not asking you to change at all, Bellatrix, what I'm asking is for you to not kill and torture and humiliate innocent people. Dislike muggles all you want, I love you enough that I can overlook the fact that's how you feel, as long as you don't do anything against them." Harry said, rambling, not really thinking about what he was saying, but just expressing himself as best as he could. "I don't plan on living a life involving muggles very much either, if I'm being honest. After all, you know what my aunt and uncle did to me growing up, I've told you that story, but I'll be damned if I sit around and allow people to discriminate against them just because they don't have magic."
Bellatrix shoulders dropped at what Harry said, her face losing the all negative emotion from it instantly and her anger dissipating immediately. She looked at him for a few seconds, searching his eyes with her violet gaze as her stomach tightened up and her legs felt weak. "You love me?" She whispered to Harry in a voice that was small and innocent, one that she hid from the rest of the world.
Harry stayed silent for a moment, realizing he had said that he loved her for the first time ever. Then, with a small smile on the corner of his lips, he nodded, admitting his feelings for her. "Yes, I'm falling in love with you. More than you can ever imagine."
Without saying a word, Bellatrix reached under her cloak and grabbed her wand, before thrusting her hand outwards, calling the Knight Bus to them. It took a minute for the bus to arrive, but when it did, she placed her wand back into her robes and turned back to Harry. "Fine, I'll contact Andromeda when I'm ready to see her," She said before boarding the bus, leaving Harry on the street. Knowing that what she had said was more than just a simple I love you back, he grinned from ear to ear and paid their fee, taking his seat next to her in the back of the bus. While he knew the conversation wasn't over, that they would eventually have to talk about it, he was content in the ending for the time being, knowing that it would be a process.
They arrived at the Leaky Cauldron around a half an hour later, the snow falling as they stepped off of the Knight Bus. They both walked towards the door, before Harry opened it and revealed the bustling pub inside, filled with merry wizards and witches, happy hags, and even some caroling vampires. Bellatrix entered first, Harry following closely behind, and gazed around the bar, wondering where Harry's friends were. "They're in the back," Harry whispered in her ear, interlocking his fingers in hers and leading her to the back room, where Harry had procured a large table and dozens of drinks and other goodies.
At the long table sat a group of people, all laughing and talking amongst themselves. When a female with blonde hair saw Harry, she yelled 'Merry Christmas' happily, which earned the attention of everyone at the table. They all looked at Harry with smiles on their faces, happy to see their friend. "Bellatrix, this is Edgar, Charlotte, Greta, Milton, and Xenophilius," Harry said, gesturing to each person with his hands, introducing them to Bellatrix.
"It's nice to meet you," Greta said with a large smile on her round face, engulfing Bellatrix in a hug, which was hesitantly returned by Bellatrix, apparently unprepared for the contact.
"Grab a seat," Edgar said, gesturing to the two open seats next to him and cracking open two bottles of whatever it was that he was drinking and placing them down onto the table.
Silently, Bellatrix took the seat in between Harry and Milton, with Charlotte and Xenophilius directly across from her. "You were in Hogwarts like two years ago, weren't you?" Bellatrix asked, recognizing Charlotte as Harry and Edgar went off into a discussion that she couldn't hear.
"Yeah, I was in Hufflepuff," Charlotte said, seeing that the girl was uncomfortable and hoping to ease it. She knew the reputation that Bellatrix had, one that probably wouldn't have been given to her if it wasn't true, though the pair had never interacted as far as she could remember. "I don't think we ever talked."
"No," Bellatrix shook her head, feeling rather uneasy, not really knowing what to say or do. While she was a confident woman, strong and capable, she didn't know any of these people, which made her nervous to show her true personality, not wanting to offend Harry and make him mad at her.
"We're not going to bite, don't worry," Xenophilius said, sipping on his drink through a straw that was much too long and loopy for the glass that it was in. Bellatrix looked over at the boy, and seeing how pathetic he appeared, she couldn't help but let out a loud giggle, breaking the ice that was around her. Hearing her giggle, Harry paused his conversation with Edgar, looked over to Bellatrix and smiled happily, glad that it appeared to be working out.
The rest of the night passed by, and before long, it neared midnight on Christmas night. Everyone had retreated home in the late hour, but Bellatrix lingered, intending on exchanging gifts with Harry. To that end, she and Harry sat on the floor in Harry's room, a present each on their laps. The fireplace a few feet away from them blazed, illuminating the entire room in a beautiful light. Their silhouettes flickered against the wall, creating shadows that, somehow, enhanced the ambiance and created a romantic setting.
"This better be good," Bellatrix joked, elegantly tearing off a piece of the wrapping paper. She ripped off of the rest of the paper to reveal a large book of charms, a spellbook that housed many powerful charms, each of which were ones that she didn't know. "This is great." She smiled, skimming through some of the spells, seeing how old they were and understood that most wizards wouldn't know them. "Thank you," She said, truly meaning it.
"You're welcome," Harry grinned, happy that she liked it, having had no idea on what to get her the previous day. With Ron and Hermione, he knew what they wanted, knew what they would enjoy, but also knew that whatever he did indeed get for them, they wouldn't complain—at least Hermione, that is. With Bellatrix, however, he was at a loss, not because he didn't know her as well as he did Ron and Hermione, but because his gift actually mattered, it was important and showed how much he cared about her, which put extra pressure on him.
"Open yours now!" She said, gesturing to the package in Harry's lap, wanting to see if he liked what she got him.
He unwrapped the paper and opened the box to find two pieces of parchment that had dancing brooms on it with writing in orange lettering. "Tickets to the Chudley Cannons," Harry whispered, as a large grin took shape on his face, thrilled at the opportunity to go see a professional quidditch game. "Chudley vs. Wimbourne?"
"The Wasps were my favorite team growing up, and I didn't know what yours was, but I remember seeing the Cannons mentioned in one of your memories when I was teaching you occlumency, so I figured that this would be a good present…if you don't like it, we can find another game." Bellatrix whispered, not knowing if he was happy with the present or not.
"What, no! I love it." Harry smiled, waving off her concern, knowing how expensive tickets were. "I don't really have a favorite team, so perhaps you can help me find one. I was a fan of the Cannons because my friend Ron was, but they weren't chosen by me and to be honest, I wasn't really a fan of them." Harry answered, wanting to find a team that he could root for, one that he liked, whether it be because of the players or the colors or even the team name itself. "I remember the memory you're referencing—Ron decorated his room with all Chudley Cannons stuff."
"Good, because I don't know how anyone could be a fan of the Cannons," Bellatrix grinned, truly wondering how anyone could be a fan of the worst team in the league. "They're awful and they know it."
"Thank you," Harry said, leaning over and kissing her lightly on the lips. Bellatrix kissed him back, before pulling away and smiling up at him, knowing that this was one of the best Christmases she had ever had.
A/N: Merry Christmas! The name of this chapter is a pun on the song "Blue Christmas," just as my previous Christmas chapter of this story was a pun on John Lennon's "Happy Xmas (War is Over)".
A/N 2: The mention of Eccentrissa Frizzle is an Easter Egg. Her books were a gift from Kylie to Harry in my previous story, Harry Potter and the Power of the Past. It's in chapter 29, "Home for the Holidays: Run Run Draco" if you're interested.