A/N: hello! I hope all of my old readers get this update. Everyone always wanted a sequel, and though I don't have the time or the ideas to begin a whole new story, I wrote this instead. It's short, but it's what you've been waiting for. I'll say no more and let you read, and write my mahussive a/n at the bottom. Enjoy.
TWELVE YEARS LATER
It was an unusually cool August evening. The sky was clear of clouds, and the stars were just beginning to appear in the darkest part of the sky. The streets were quiet. Warm golden light from the windows of little homes poured out into the night, with faint strains of televisions and chatter. Inside one of these houses, a young boy was packing a large suitcase. A trunk in fact. He folded another shirt, and dropped yet another heavy book into the trunk. How he would be able to move this when it was full, he didn't know.
There was a knock on the front door. The boy leapt up - glad of the break from the boredom of packing - and hurried downstairs to the door. It was odd to have a caller at this time of night. He looked through the peephole, then opened the door immediately. The man standing on the doorstep stepped back in surprise; not at the opening of the door, but at the sight of the dark haired boy who opened it.
"Mum!" He yelled at the top of his voice. "Mum, someone's at the door for you. And you're gonna want to see who this is…"
The young boy and the man just looked at each other for a few moments, both as shocked as the other by what they were seeing. Moments later a slender woman with long blonde hair appeared in the hallway, and promptly dropped the tea towel she was holding.
"Sirius?" She gasped, rooted to the spot and staring in disbelief at the man stood on her doorstep... The thin man, with dirty, straggly hair and a gaunt face. He was... barely recognisable. Her mind whirled. Why, how was he here? He should be in Azkaban, in prison, how was it possible that he was right here on his doorstep?
"Hello Roe." Sirius choked, his throat suddenly tight, looking past her- her son... to her. Aurora Munro. The woman he'd thought of everyday in Azkaban, the one whose voice in his head had been the only thing that had kept him sane.
"You'd better come in." she said, picking up the discarded tea towel and ushering him inside in a daze. She shut the door firmly behind him. In the bright electric light she could see him properly now, but she didn't allow herself more than a moments glance before she looked away and moved through to the kitchen.
"So… you're here before the Prophet has even reported your escape." she said, looking out of the kitchen window while she absently twisted the tea towel into knots in her hands. There was only one explanation… he certainly wouldn't have been allowed to just wander out of Azkaban. He must've escaped. Somehow.
Sirius stood in the middle of the kitchen, his eyes on the soft bare skin of her neck and shoulder, while her son stood in the doorway, looking on with fascination. While his mother could barely look at Sirius, her son couldn't take his eyes off him. He'd heard the stories about Sirius Black, he'd seen the photographs... There had been no doubt about his identity the moment he'd seen him there on the doorstep. Along with his father, Sirius had been a bit of a hero of his for as long as he could remember. Their faces were engraved in his mind.
"You could at least sound impressed." Sirius said after a few moments. Roe's heart squeezed painfully, and she turned to look at him, to really look at him. He was still in his prisoners' - well, rags was all you could call them, save for the coat he was wearing over top. His collarbone protruded from behind his collar, and his cheekbones were so defined his cheeks seemed hollow. His eyes were set deep and dark surrounded by wrinkles and scars, and his once shiny ebony hair hung dirty and matted around his face. This was was prison had done to him.
"I... I can't believe it. I don't think impressed is the word…" She moved forward subconsciously, her hand reaching out slightly. "I'm… Flabbergasted." And then, with the slightest encouraging movement on Sirius's part - a slight step forward, an almost imperceptible reaching out of his hand - she threw her arms around him, feeling his arms move to cradle her just as they had done so many times before. He smelt of dirt and sweat and just a small hint of dog.
The nervous tension left Sirius's body in a sigh as his body softened against hers. "I never thought I'd see you again." Sirius squeezed his eyes shut and murmured almost silently. He breathed in the scent of her hair, as they held each other for what must have been a long time.
Roe became aware of her shallow, shaky breaths before she realised tears were running down her face. Sirius's arms loosened around her and she stepped back, still clutching the tea towel which she now used to wipe away her tears.
The boy who had been standing in the doorway watching now stepped forward to put his arm around his mother comfortingly. Already he was as tall as her shoulders.
"So this is my son, Orion." Roe smiled through her tears as the recognition flashed across Sirius's face. It was his father's name; Regulus's father's name.
"Pleasure to meet you, young man." Sirius held out a hand to shake Orion's hand.
"And you, Uncle Sirius." Orion grinned.
"Uncle Sirius... Never thought I'd be hearing that." He murmured, his eyes drifting back to meet Roe's gaze.
"Ry, get the leftover spaghetti out of the fridge and put it in the microwave please, I'm sure Sirius is starving." She said, and Orion bounded off to the fridge across the kitchen, more than happy to be doing something for the fabled Sirius Black. Roe gestured for Sirius to sit down at the kitchen table, and they both sat. The microwave began to hum in the background.
"He's so like him... Unbelievably so." Sirius said quietly.
"Yes... Isn't he just." She smiled as they watched her son select a plate and cutlery. She lowered her voice. "It's both wonderful and heartbreaking at the same time... Everyday he looks more and more like the boy I met on Platform nine and three quarters all those years ago."
They were quiet for a few moments, lost in memories. Roe's eyes glazed over, her nervous, fidgety hands stilling on the table.
The microwave beeped and Orion brought a plate of steaming pasta and the cutlery to the table, before sitting down in the seat between them both. Roe blinked.
"Thanks kid." Sirius said gratefully, digging in. "Mmm... you know, that's gotta be the best thing I've tasted in about… hmm, twelve years." He made a poor attempt at a joke. Only Orion smiled, seemingly somewhat awestruck by him. For Roe, there wasn't anything remotely funny about it.
"You look just like your father, you know." Sirius said, studying his young and hauntingly familiar face. It was just like Roe said... Both wonderful and heartbreaking to see Reg's eleven year-old double.
Orion beamed, "That's what mum says!"
"It's true. If I could stand you next to him at eleven years old, I'm quite sure that no one would be able to tell you both apart!" Sirius said, a smile curving his lips. His tone may have been warm, but something was missing there… something maybe Azkaban had taken from him, Roe thought.
"Thank you for doing that for your uncle Sirius." She said softly, stroking her son's hair affectionately. "Up to bed now though. It's almost bedtime and you still have packing to do."
"Oh mum please! I want to talk to Uncle Sirius, he's only just got here." He protested, looking between his mother and Sirius.
"He'll be here tomorrow." She replied, looking past Orion to meet Sirius' eyes, who nodded gratefully.
Orion frowned, deliberating over whether to make a fuss or not, but he was old enough to see his mother and uncle Sirius needed some time. It had after all been a very long time since they last spoke, and that hadn't exactly been in the best situation. "All right then." He sighed, getting up from the table. "Goodnight."
"Goodnight." Sirius inclined his head, and gave him a little wink. Orion couldn't help his frown softening as he left the kitchen.
"He's a lovely kid. Regulus would be proud." Sirius said after a mouthful or two of pasta. "I didn't even know you were pregnant… Did he know?"
Roe shook her head sadly. "I didn't know till I was almost three months pregnant… long after Reg was gone. And you. With all that happened, those days and weeks afterwards went by in such a blur, it's no surprise I didn't realise. The Ministry had a warrant for my arrest after what happened with you and the Aurors on the beach that night-"
Sirius snorted. "Aurora Munro, wanted criminal? Merlin… how didn't I see that one coming."
Once upon a time she might've slapped him playfully on the arm and laughed with him. Today she just tipped her head to one side ever so slightly, and frowned. These weren't exactly happy memories.
"It's not funny… I went on the run. That wasn't easy once I realised I was expecting. I had nowhere to go."
The smirk faded from his face. "I'm sorry."
'Don't be sorry Sirius. I don't regret- I… I had to see you one last time."
"I'm glad you did…" he murmured. Roe dipped her head, a short nod of agreement.
"I changed name and my hair, and disappeared… I had to stay right off the Ministry's radar, and that meant no more magic. Remus sold our flat on my behalf and sent me the money, and I used it to buy this place. We've lived here since, like Muggles."
"That explains a lot."
"The flat. It was the first place I went… Stupid of me to think you'd still be there." Sirius's voice was sad and he changed the subject seamlessly. "So what about now? Packing - I presume that's for Hogwarts. What about the Ministry?"
"The Ministry lost interest years ago really. We haven't had to worry about hiding these last few years; they have better things to worry about it seems. But… you know." She shrugged. "The Muggle lifestyle is comfortable. We're happy."
"I'm glad to hear it." Sirius murmured genuinely. "So he'll be starting Hogwarts in a few days, right?"
"Yeah… I'm not looking forward to him going, it's been me and him for such a long time now. It's going to be hard. But we both know what he's in for... Hogwarts were the best years of my life. He's got all that to come, and more."
"I always assumed parents were glad to get rid of their kids for the majority of the year." Sirius half-smiled. "But what I'd give to turn back time and relive Hogwarts. I'd do it over and over, and never leave. And how's Remus these days?"
"Remus… he's fine. Quiet. We see him every now and again, but not that often. He's never gotten over Janie, that's clear for all to see, but he's learnt to live with it. He's off to Hogwarts this year actually, he's teaching."
"Understandable… How can you get over a loss like that." he replied quietly. "Hm… should've known he'd find a way to end up back there one way or another. Lucky bugger. What is he teaching? Is Snivellus still there?"
"He's doing Defence Against the Dark Arts. And yes, Severus remains Potions Master."
"Hmm… I can just imagine Moony as a Professor…" Sirius mused. "Didn't expect Defence though."
"I think Remus'll make a fantastic professor. It'll be nice for Ri to have a familiar face there too." Roe got up and took Sirius's empty plate to the sink.
"Thank you for that." Sirius said, standing up and stretching. "I can't tell you how much I enjoyed it."
"It's the least I can do..." She said. She reached out and tweaked the collar of his brown leather jacket, that seemed so at loss next to his ragged prison uniform.
"This... This is my father's coat." Roe suddenly realised, recognising the well-worn, soft brown leather that her father sometimes wore when he went for a drink with his friends.
"I did wonder if you'd notice." Sirius smirked. "Yeah… Once I knew you weren't living at the flat, I panicked. I had no idea how I'd be able to find you. But then I remembered your parents, and I went straight there. Only your dad was home. We spoke briefly, he was of course shocked to see me, but he took it in his stride. He directed me here and insisted I take a coat." Sirius gestured to the coat he was wearing. "He said it was no use being the first man to ever escape Azkaban if I caught my death of cold on my first night of freedom."
Roe gave a small smile. Her father always had a sense of humour.
"That sounds just like him." She reached out and slid the coat off each of Sirius's shoulders, then down each arm and off, and folded it over the back of a kitchen chair.
"Come on. Come with me." She said, placing a hand on the kitchen doorframe and looking back at him over her shoulder.
From where he'd been sat on the staircase listening, Orion jumped up and hurried quietly upstairs as the voices in the kitchen suddenly came closer. He turned off the light and dived into bed, pulling the covers right up over his head and closing his eyes tightly.
"When Remus sold the flat, he boxed up what he could of ours, and held onto it until I got this place. Now the majority of it is in the attic." He heard his mother explain as the two sets of footsteps came up the stairs.
"You kept it? Why? For all you knew, I was going to die an old man is Azkaban."
The footsteps stopped on the landing outside his door, and Orion held his breath, ready to be busted for eavesdropping.
"I don't know. I guess I just wasn't ready to let go... Or maybe I didn't want to. I don't know."
The bathroom door creaked as Roe pushed it open. Sirius followed her in and sat down on the lid of the toilet, realising why he'd been led upstairs. He watched her turn on the bath taps and pour in bubbles, and collect bottles and a flannel from the cupboard and line them up next to the bath.
"You really don't want to know how long it's been since I've had a decent wash." Sirius wrinkled his nose and shot Roe a look that was almost playful.
"I can imagine. You smell pretty bad." Roe smiled, looking over her shoulder at him. The distance twelve years in prison had put between them was shrinking, like a frozen lake melting and receding. "I'll find you a towel. Hold on." she said, disappearing out of the door and returning minutes later with a big fluffy white towel. It hit Sirius suddenly how much he been yearning for these basic things... A decent meal. A hot bath. A clean, soft towel. Boy had he missed life.
"Right, well, I'll leave you to it. I'll go up in the attic and find something for you to wear, okay? There's no rush. Just relax." Roe said softly, before closing the door with a quiet click behind her.
Sirius stripped off his clothes one by one and dropped them unceremoniously in a pile on the floor, thankful he'd he'd never have to wear them again. He climbed into the bath, sighing as he sank into the bubbles. The water was hot, but it felt good scalding his skin and washing away the nightmare he'd run from. Hot water was another one of those luxuries he hadn't experienced since 1978...
He closed his eyes and sunk lower until his head dipped under the water, and tried to run his fingers through his hair. His fingers came to a dead stop as his hair was knotted so terribly. Matted even. Damn, and he had such great hair once upon a time... really great hair, he thought mournfully. Sirius sat up again, blinking the water out of his eyes. He picked up one of the bottles on the side of the bath that said shampoo, took a sniff, and began the battle with his hair.
Roe carried the box down the ladder, then dropped to the floor nimbly, pushing the ladder back up in one motion and shutting the hatch. She knelt down on the carpet and opened the box. Immediately on top was a pair of comfortable-looking grey jogging bottoms she recognised, and she pulled these out. Holding them in her hand for a moment, she was overcome with a sudden vivid memory of Sirius standing in their old kitchen, holding a mug of tea and wearing nothing but these and a grin. Roe blinked a few times and shook her head as if to shake the thoughts away, and continued to root through until she had found a plain black t-shirt, some underwear and socks. She closed the box and pushed it against the wall, then knocked on the bathroom door.
"Come in." He replied. She pushed open the door slowly and looked around the side. "It's fine, come in." he repeated, scrubbing his upper arm vigorously with the flannel.
"I found you something to wear." she said, shutting the door behind her. She held out the clothes for him to see, then put them down on the side of the sink.
"Thanks Roe." he said pausing, his arm now bent half way around his body try and reach his back.
"Here. Let me." she said quietly, stepping forward and taking the flannel from his hands and taking over washing his back where he'd left off.
"Thank you." He mumbled. Roe said nothing, just concentrated on washing. She was horrified by how thin he was; she could count every rib and the vertebrae of his spine protruded sharply. She didn't mention it. She just soaped up the flannel and continued to wash, trying not to notice how clearly she could feel his bones through the cloth.
Roe finished and passed him back the flannel, and picked up a comb and wordlessly moved on to teasing the knots out of his hair. Sirius closed his eyes, his mind occupied, thinking back to the days when they lived together, slept together, patrolled together... Those were such happy days.
"I'm sorry I sold your flat." Roe said after a few minutes.
Sirius opened his eyes. "What?"
"It wasn't mine to sell, but I had no choice."
"Roe, it was our flat. And if that was the only way I could have been of help in all these years, then I'm glad you did it."
There was a short silence, before Roe opened her mouth again.
"You know, I would've stayed there if I could-"
"And you would never have moved on." Sirius interrupted.
"I haven't moved on." she murmured.
"Join the club. I've relived the same days year after year in my head till I'm not sure which parts are memories and which are my imagination."
"I want to say I can relate to that, but… Azkaban…" her voice faltered.
"Let's not talk about it. Just for now..." he said evenly, his voice shaking ever so slightly.
"I understand." Roe replied quietly.
The comb began to run through Sirius's hair smoothly and easily. Almost reluctantly, Roe stopped combing and stood up, leaving the comb by the sink.
"All done. I'll leave you to finish up and get dressed-"
"Roe…" Sirius said carefully, "Did you ever find someone?"
Roe was stood with her hand on the bathroom door, about to leave. Her sentence died on her lips.
"Someone?" She asked, then understanding flashed in her eyes. "No. There hasn't been anyone since… Like I said, I never moved on." she said quietly, then slipped out of the door, leaving Sirius staring after her, feeling a strange mix of terrible sadness and shameful relief.
He got out of the bath and drained the water, a little embarrassed by the black ring left around the edge from all the dirt he'd had on him, so once he'd dried and dressed, he cleaned the bath with some spray and a sponge he found in the cupboard. Taking one last look at the unfamiliar man in the mirror, he left the bathroom and padded quietly down the stairs. He looked around as he went, scanning the walls for pictures of familiar faces, but he found none, only non-moving muggle photographs of Orion at various ages in a royal-blue school uniform.
He passed by the kitchen door, finding it empty, and found himself at the doorway to the lounge. He looked in, to find Roe sitting with her legs tucked up on the sofa, and a glass clasped firmly in her hand. Behind her, undrawn curtains framed a large set of sliding glass doors, and outside the moon was nearly full, shining down from just above a line of trees to turn the lawn a pale grey. Inside, only a lamp in the far corner of the room gave a little warmth and colour to the scene.
Roe looked up, feeling his eyes on her.
"Better?" she asked.
"Much better. Thank you." Sirius replied, leaning against the doorframe with one arm. He was wearing his old clothes; the old joggers and t-shirt. Those joggers always did hang loosely around his trim waist, but now Roe could see the drawstrings were pulled tight and tied to keep them up. And as for the t-shirt that once stretched and fitted close to his well-built frame, it now just hung loosely like it was still on the hanger.
Unbidden tears pricked Roe's eyes, and she looked away from him hastily. Sirius walked in and sat down at the other end of the little sofa.
Roe gestured to the coffee table in front of them. "I poured you a drink."
He took the glass of wine and inspected it.
"It's wine, Sirius. It's not butterbeer, but it does a good enough job."
He shrugged and took a sip, and then another, and then put the glass down and reclined.
"Not bad actually, not bad."
They sat quietly for a few moments. There was so much to be said, so many unanswered questions… neither of them knew where to begin. So much had happened all those years ago, and Sirius was gone before they could they could talk about any of it. All those conversations were still waiting to happen.
"It's strange you know. I feel every single day of those twelve years I was in Azkaban, but I still feel like that last night was only yesterday." Sirius eventually said.
"I know. So do I some days."
"Look... I'm sure you realise, but... there are gaps that need to be filled. I need some explanations. I guess I need to give you some too." He took another sip of his wine, glancing at her across the rim of his glass.
"Mm… not least how you managed to escape from the most secure prison in the country, if not the world." Roe cracked a tiny smile.
"I'll come to that one. All in good time." Sirius smirked in reply, undoubtedly proud of himself. Some things never change.
"So… what do you want to know?"
"I guess I need you to start with you and Reg." Sirius said softly.
"Right." Roe swallowed painfully. "Okay. Well." The moment Sirius saw Reg kiss Roe before leaving their flat, having thought he was dead, filled her head. She took a deep breath, took a moment or two to consider how best to start, and then began to speak.
"Okay. So one night, you and I got a Patronus from James during dinner. They'd been ambushed while on patrol, and needed back up."
Sirius nodded slowly, remembering.
"There was loads of Death Eaters there. We had our backs up against the wall fighting them off. I was standing with Frank, fighting a Death Eater. The guy he was firing spells at was blocking them with ease, but made no move to attack. James joined in. Someone's spell caused some masonry to fall, and the Death Eater he ducked out of the way, his hood fell back a little, revealing his face, for just a moment. And it was Reg."
Roe couldn't meet Sirius's eyes, so she continued, looking across the room at a random patch of wall. "No one else noticed but me. The next thing I know, he had his wand raised and fired a spell, but instead of at any of us, he killed the Death Eater who was coming up behind me. Then he Disapparated, and then you were there by my side… do you remember?"
"I remember… I was worried. You were shaking like a leaf and your face was white. I thought it was… 'cause of the fight." Sirius said, then after a moment, "Why didn't you tell me then?"
"I don't honestly know. I should've done. I couldn't come to terms firstly with the fact he'd been there involved in a battle against us, but also that he'd saved me… If it got out that he'd killed one of his own, he'd be in such huge trouble…" She trailed off. "I should've just told you, but I didn't."
Sirius nodded, his jaw clenched. "And so then what?"
"Next thing was the Christmas party, when Dumbledore told us he'd been killed. I believed him of course, I had no reason not to. I grieved his death. We grieved his death…" Roe took a gulp of wine to rid her of the lump that was quickly rising in her throat. "And then, only a week or two past, and something crazy happened. Do you remember that day I was out Christmas shopping in Diagon Alley? You were at home in the flat. I got abducted-"
"Marlene rushed to tell me she'd seen you being taken by a Death Eater." Sirius nodded.
"Well that bit is true. Except, it wasn't some Death Eater… It was Regulus."
Sirius's eyes widened a little as his eyebrows lifted. "Regulus?"
"He Disapparated and took me right out into the countryside; the middle of nowhere. I tried to run before I realised it was him, then once I did, all I could do was have a go at him. I was furious that he'd let me - let us - believe that he was dead."
"You were angry?" Sirius's eyebrows shot right up this time.
"Yes! Angry, and upset." Roe said indignantly. "But he eventually got a word in to explain himself… and it was true; he had tried to leave Voldemort's forces, he couldn't fight on the wrong side any longer. I tried to persuade him to come back to the Order and let us protect him, but even he knew there was a traitor in the Order feeding Voldemort intel. He just didn't know who. The Order could be of no help to him… everyone, including Voldemort, had to believe he was dead. Keeping him a secret was a matter of his safety. I wanted to tell you every single day, but he made me promise I wouldn't, and I kept that promise to keep him alive."
"I see." He said shortly.
"Sirius… Remember when Rosier, Avery and Wilkes were attacked, and only Avery survived? Barely? That was Regulus. In revenge for what they did to Janie… he went after them. He may not have been part of the Order, but he fought for our side." Roe reached out and took Sirius's hand. He looked up and met her eyes.
"So it seems my brother was some use after all." He smirked, but his eyes were full of pain.
"I don't know if we'll ever know how much." Roe replied. Sirius let go of her hand to pick his glass up from the table again.
"How often did you see him then? Those nights I would wake up and find you gone… you weren't out walking, you were with him. I worked that much out a long time ago." Sirius said. Roe was a little surprised that he remembered that - she barely did. But then she guessed he'd had a long time to think through all of this and nothing but all of this...
"Not as often as I would've liked, but as often as he could manage it. He was constantly on the move for a lot of the time, finding new places to stay and avoiding being seen. So yes… I was with him. I hadn't ever realised you'd noticed me gone." Roe said ashamedly.
"I always knew when you weren't there…" Sirius murmured. "Even the day Lily gave birth. You weren't there then. You told me you'd gone out for a walk…"
"I'm sorry Sirius…"
"So all that time, you were sleeping with him?" He asked bluntly.
"Oh God, no, no… we didn't- not for a long time. Not until… um. Orion's conception." Roe said awkwardly, and took another hasty gulp of wine. In some ways, she was just as awkward as ever. "I told you the truth before… it wasn't like that. We weren't sneaking off to have sex." She referred back to that last day in the flat when Sirius saw Regulus leaving, and went mental… he'd accused her of 'screwing someone else', of being a liar and a cheat. How many times she'd replayed those moments in her head...
"I believe you now. I didn't then, I can tell you." Sirius shook his head, remembering too. He had been so angry. He could barely remember the things he'd yelled at her, the names he'd called her. It was one of few memories that he just couldn't quite remember… it was a blur. An angry, painful blur.
"I know you didn't."
"Right, okay. I won't ask any more than that. So um… when did he propose?"
Both of them had their minds cast back to that incident, that fight, in the flat. It was then that Sirius had spotted the engagement ring on her finger.
"It wasn't long after Marlene was killed… He took me out during the day for once, to the spot we'd had our first date. He proposed then." Roe said.
"That was… quite a while before everything…"
"I kept the ring on a chain around my neck with an invisibility charm." She explained, being completely honest with him. There was no point in lying or hiding anything from him after all these years.
"Okay…" Sirius nodded slowly, imagining that ring hanging at her chest between them for all that time. It added salt to the wound, put it that way.
"That night the Potters' moved to the cottage in Godric's Hollow, I'd been with Reg too. That's why I was late, and that's why Peter showed me how to get there…"
"Makes sense." He sighed. "And so I guess time-wise that brings us pretty much up to the day I saw him with you. In our flat." Sirius said. Roe nodded solemnly.
"Yeah. That's right."
They were both thinking of it, but now it came to it, neither of them particularly wanted to talk about it. It hung in the air between them uncomfortably.
"I'm really sorry. The things I said that day. I was awful to you." Sirius said, breaking the silence that had ensued.
"You were understandably angry."
"No, I was beyond furious, and hurt beyond belief. But that doesn't justify the way I behaved. I regret it so much. If I'd taken it better, controlled my behaviour, things wouldn't have turned out the way they did, I know they wouldn't."
"You would never have behaved like that if I hadn't hurt you like I did." Roe insisted.
"That still doesn't justify it, Roe." Sirius shook his head. Roe opened her mouth to disagree, but he reached out a put a finger to her lips. The boldness of the action shut her up immediately.
"I'm sorry." He said, with a tone of finality, his hand moving to touch her cheek briefly before he dropped his arm. "So… after I walked out. What happened next." Sirius asked quietly, when Roe remained wide-eyed and wordless. He knew what was coming. But he needed to hear it from her, properly this time, not just second-hand from someone else's conversation.
Roe took a moment to find her voice.
"After you left, I packed what I could in a bag, and Disapparated to the place Reg had been staying the past few weeks." He'd guessed as much. Sirius nodded, urging her on silently.
"As soon as I appeared in his flat, I was almost hit by a curse. I cast a protective spell and hid. Reg was duelling two Death Eaters, and it looked like they'd been there a while. They'd found him." Roe's voice dropped to almost a croaky whisper.
"The flat was virtually destroyed, and he had blood on his face and was sweating visibly. As for the two Death Eaters… I'd been spotted, and one broke away to come after me. We fought for a little bit, but I eventually managed to stun him. By this point, Regulus and the other Death Eater were fighting with their fists. I looked for Regulus's wand but I couldn't find it, not before the Death Eater Reg was fighting with got hold of it. I blasted him into a wall before he could do anything with it… and… it turned out to be Avery, of all people." Roe had tears running slow trails down her cheeks by now, tears that had been threatening all evening.
"We thought that had killed him. I went straight to Reg of course, and we held each other, and I cried and cried. I told him what had happened with you, seeing him, and our fight; he told me it would all be okay, that he loved me, and that we would sort things out with you when we were able to. And then suddenly, with no warning he twisted round, pushing me behind him, and took a jet of green light in the chest. He went limp and suddenly so heavy, pulling me to the floor with him. From the floor I saw Avery's wand arm fall to the floor and he finally died… really died this time. We had thought he was dead... It never crossed my mind that he could possibly still be alive after the way he hit the wall like that, and the way he'd slumped to the ground... I was wrong." Roe sniffed. "Reg must have seen Avery move, lift his wand, and he made sure I was out of Avery's line of fire by shielding me himself. Avery killed him."
Roe bit her lip, trying to fight the tears from taking over. Sirius felt his throat constrict. He looked down, squeezing the bridge of his nose, fighting tears of his own.
"I closed his eyes and cleaned his wounds, and moved him to his bed, where I tucked him up like he was asleep." Roe was speaking very slowly now, trying not to cry as she struggled to find the right words to explain. "I then came back to find you… I had to tell you. I'd hoped to be able to bring you back to Reg's with me, to see him one last time. Maybe then I would've been able to explain everything to you. So I waited, and waited, but you didn't come, and I fell asleep waiting."
"And you were woken up by Remus at the door." Sirius finished, his stomach feeling like it had dropped through the floor with sudden, awful guilt. She had needed him then, more than ever before.
"Yes." Roe nodded, letting Sirius continue.
"You thought it would be me, but it wasn't… Remus had come to tell us what had happened with Lily and James, and Voldemort. You told him what had happened with Reg… and I was there. I was there the whole time. I'd been sat on the staircase halfway downstairs. I'd been sat there ages, head in my hands… I'd come home, but didn't want to come inside. Part of me was scared you were still there, the other part of me was scared you were gone. For good. I couldn't face it… I'd been sat there psyching myself up." Sirius confessed shamefacedly.
Roe's gut wrenched, and she slid closer to Sirius and he put his arm around her, like it was the most natural thing to do in the world. His voice became quieter, huskier. "I heard Remus and I wanted to get up then, but as soon as I heard you answer the door, I couldn't. It was like I'd frozen to the spot. I listened as he explained about Lily and James, and you told him about Regulus… and then you said you'd follow him to the Order, and it hit me that I didn't want you to leave before I saw you. I don't even know why. When I did see you, it just hurt even more. And to make matters worse, that's when my brain decided to make the connection with Peter. That was when I worked it out, and the red mist descended. I couldn't have hung around to hear your apologies even if I'd wanted to… I just... Had to find him." The memory of the rage he'd felt then made him shudder.
"God I wish you'd stayed." Roe whispered, tucking her head on his chest, savouring the comfort his arms brought.
"So do I. It shouldn't have panned out the way it did. Regardless of what had happened earlier, I should've stayed with you. We had both lost three very special, important people, we were both grieving. We should've gone to the Order together. We should've gone to the Aurors together. Anything… just not what I did." Sirius sighed deeply.
Roe continued her side of the story in a quiet voice. "After you left, I went to the Hog's Head. Remus wasn't there, he'd already left looking for you. Frank and Alice were the only two people there, and Remus had already told them everything before he left. I told them you'd gone looking for Peter and why… Alice believed that it must have been Peter, Frank wasn't convinced. But we barely had a chance to discuss it, as a Patronus came from another Auror and called them both away… to you and Peter."
Sirius nodded. "I found him. At the Potters'… Did you ever see it? What happened to their home? It was destroyed."
Roe nodded. "I saw it."
"From the street I could see right into Harry's bedroom, to where Peter was standing in the doorway. I went to the front door to find James's body slumped on the floor… I almost broke down then and there. I moved him carefully and headed upstairs as quiet as I could. But I knew Pete would hear me, even if he hadn't already spotted my motorbike outside, so I Apparated directly to the bedroom, only feet from him, and went straight for his throat. He managed to get me off, and I got in a punch… I told him Voldemort was dead and gone, and Peter was having none of it. But it certainly worried him. I made him look at her… Lily. Look at what he'd done. She was lying there, her beautiful red hair fanned out on carpet, eyes open and unseeing. For a moment I thought it had gotten through to him, but he looked away and Disapparated. I had only a millisecond to grab onto him before he disappeared, taking me with him. We appeared in the middle of London, it was swarming with Muggles.
"He began to get away, and I was running after him, shouting his name. Suddenly he stopped and turned round, with this insane smile on his face. He began to shout back at me, things like, 'how could you betray the Potters!', and 'how could you do it to them?'. People were stopping to watch us, and all I could do was stare at him in shock; I couldn't work out what game he was playing. I could see his hand in his pocket and the shape of his wand, and then… well. He caused some sort of explosion, I don't know. But it was big. Next thing I remember is waking up on the pavement in a fair bit of pain, and being roughly pulled to my feet. Aurors everywhere, and bodies on the floor… Peter was nowhere to be seen. Where he had been, Alice and Frank were now standing, inspecting a pile of clothing on the floor. Frank met my eyes and looked away quickly… I was soon Apparated directly to a holding cell somewhere. That was it. Locked up, denied a trial. And just a few hours later I was on my way Azkaban…" Sirius trailed off.
Aurora knew what came next, because she'd been there. It was the last time they'd seen each other.
"When Frank and Alice returned to the Hog's Head, it was clear she didn't believe in you anymore. I tried to talk the others round, but not even Dumbledore could do anything to help me… the Ministry wanted you carted off to Azkaban immediately, they had no interest in whether you really did it or not. You were guilty of mass murder as far as they were concerned. But Frank… he took me by Side-Along to the beach, and explained that you'd be there soon with a team of Aurors to take you across the sea to Azkaban. He risked a lot to do that, but it gave me those last few minutes with you."
Sirius shook his head in amazement. "I always wondered how you knew to find me… It was Frank. Wow. I hope I can thank him somehow…"
Roe frowned. "I'm afraid that'd be difficult…"
Sirius's stomach twisted. "Please don't say they're dead too."
"No… Frank and Alice were attacked shortly after the end of the war… Bellatrix. She tortured them - the Cruciatus - it drove them insane. She broke their minds. They've been in St Mungo's ever since."
"Surely that's worse than death…" Sirius whispered.
"Another child is out there growing up without his parents." She murmured.
"Neville. Just like Harry…" Sirius said. "Do you see Harry? How is he?"
"No. I haven't seen him since before all of this…"
It was the answer Sirius had been dreading.
"At first, I was in hiding, and couldn't risk attempting to make contact. Later, it was just made impossible by the fact Petunia and Vernon - Lily's muggle sister and her husband - had been led to believe that I was just as dangerous as you supposedly were. I'm hoping things might change when Ri starts Hogwarts… maybe I could find a way to see him, talk to him, even if it's just on the platform. At least Ri will get to meet him."
"That poor boy… I didn't get the impression that Petunia was particularly likeable."
"Not likeable? She's an absolute cow." Roe frowned. "God I hope Harry's been okay."
"If he's anything like either James or Lily, he would've coped with anything." Sirius replied. "But surely it must've been fine… Harry was a vulnerable and ridiculously cute baby… no one could do anything but love him."
"That's true. He was adorable..." Roe half-smiled.
Sirius reached out a hand and began to stroke Roe's hair, combing his fingers through it softly, making her shiver and close her eyes.
"I'm going to find a way to see him..." He whispered quietly after a while. Roe stirred, realising she had been drifting off on his chest, tears drying on her cheeks.
Sirius smiled, and shifted around on the sofa so that they were lying down, her head nestled on his shoulder. More comfortable, Roe's body softened against his.
"I'll see him somehow. I'll find a way. He's my God-son after all... our God-son." Sirius's voice lowered to a soothing murmur, and Roe let her eyes close again. "I wonder what he looks like... He'll be a teenager now. Dark hair like Prongs, but I wonder if it's all messy and scruffy like James had it. All the girls loved that. I bet the girls love Harry... I bet he's a handsome young lad with Lily and James as parents..."
"He had Lily's eyes." Roe mumbled tiredly.
"Yes... Lily's eyes. That's right. Do you think he plays Quidditch? Blimey if he's anything like James he'll be a fantastic player. Did he get sorted into Gryffindor? Surely he must've done." Sirius paused. "I wonder if Orion will be a Gryffindor or Slytherin... What with you in Gryffindor and Reg a Slytherin..."
Roe drifted off again to the sound of Sirius's voice, tucked in his arms like old times. Sirius soon stopped talking and gazed down at her. He marvelled at his luck. Less than twenty-four hours ago he had been lying on the cold dirty floor in his dark cell, as he had done for the last twelve years, and now, here he was. A wanted man, an accused mass murderer, a part-time scruffy black dog, a skinny, shabby, shadow of the man he was... but did it matter? He was free and he was right back where he belonged.
A/N: I really hope that lived up to what you'd been hoping for, and to those who read Black's Brother all that time ago when I was writing it, I hope you still remember the original story haha! So a few things changed, most noticeably that I wrote this in third rather than first person. It feels more comfortable these days, and it worked better for what I needed to write about. Hope that's okay.
So I actually began writing this last summer. I was laying in bed one night and the ideas all suddenly just came to me, and I sat and wrote 2500 words straight off, then left it. I came back to it a little while later, tweaked it here and there, and then left it again. A few months later, I had a massive burst of creativity and inspiration and added another 4000 words ish. It was virtually finished, but I couldn't bring myself to actually 'end' it. I continued to return to it every few weeks, changing bits here and there, tweaking it, editing it. I meant to post it Christmas Eve as a weird little Christmas present to you all, but I just couldn't bring myself to post it, as that really would be the end of Black's Brother for me. So finally, here I am today, posting it, and saying goodbye! I have edited it today one last time, and I hope it's perfect now, but I've reread it so many times I feel like I won't notice the 'wrong' bits anymore! It'll just have to do now!
I'm sure that this sequel one-shot thingy will be better written than the rest of the fic (or I hope so anyway, considering how long ago I wrote Black's Brother)! And like I said before, I hope my original readers find this in their inboxes and come back to read this last little chapter of the story. I have so much more to say, but I'll start rambling if I continue, so I'll leave it at that.
Please do review and let me know what you think - if it was at all how you imagined, or if it lived up to your expectations.
Lastly, thank you. :)