Posted: 11 April, 2011
Disclaimer: I do not own anything in this story that is recognisable from the Harry Potter books, movies, etc. Everything else however (eg. story plot, original characters, etc.) stems from my own imagination and belongs to me. No copyright infringement is intended and I am not profiting financially from this story in any way.
Author's Note: So, something came outta nowhere with this chapter: mpreg. Don't run away! I honestly don't know how it happened, because I normally wouldn't touch mpreg with a ten foot pole myself, and yet my muse insisted on it. I'm so ashamed. If it's any consolation to those with a similar opinion to myself on the theme, there's just a few mentions in passing and one single scene, which I promise isn't at all gory and detailed. Actually, if anything, the scene's treated with a touch of humour and irony, thanks to Sirius. So yeah, to repeat: don't run away, give it a read.
Oh, and also ... final chapter! Done. Caput. Finished. No more. Hope everyone enjoyed reading, because I enjoyed this little exercise in trying to write smut, even if posting was a bit nerve-wracking at times. And thanks heaps to everyone who reviewed!
Part, the Fourth
"Huh?" Harry shook of his daze. "Sorry Neville, you wanted something?"
"Are you alright? You looked a bit out of it. I called you three times before you responded."
"I think he was thinking naughty thoughts," Luna, on the other side of Neville, supplied in a tone somehow both knowing and dreamy.
Harry flushed bright red, thankful that most people tended to dismiss Luna's odd comments. Neville on the other hand… was now bright red too, and awkwardly not looking in the other wizard's direction. Harry resisted the urge to groan. Neville adored Luna, who had during the summer consented to be his girlfriend, and was one of the few who knew how insightful she could be. That would teach Harry to go daydreaming in the Hogwarts Great Hall, over breakfast, about the evening he spent in the shower with Sirius.
"Um, er, well Harry, I was just wanting to say you have a, uh, package," Neville manage to stutter out.
Harry turned and, sure enough, there was Hedwig waiting impatiently on the table before him. He untied the delivery and offered her some bacon, which she took before flying off again. Harry then turned his attention to the package. It was from Sirius, and wrapped in soft white cloth, held closed with different coloured silk ribbons. Harry's heart thudded faster, knowing what this was. Apparently, he wasn't the only one to have realised either. Across from him and down a few seats, Lavender Brown gave a loud gasp.
"Harry!" she yelled breathlessly. Several heads turned in their direction. "Is that what I think it is?"
She was scrambling from her seat and moving to sit opposite for a better view, dragging Parvati with her. Several others crowded around, curious what the Man-Who-Conquered, latest and greatest topic of interest since his defeat of Voldemort a few months ago, was up to. Harry resisted the urge to groan, reminding himself that they'd waited to formalise the courting till he was back at Hogwarts because they wanted an audience. An audience would help spread the word faster, rather than have the rumours dragged out slowly.
"If you think it's a courting gift, then yes," he said.
"Oh, how romantic!" Lavender said, and several other girls agreed.
"What colours do you have Harry?" Neville asked him from his left, seemingly having forgotten the earlier embarrassment in light of Harry's surprising gift.
Harry looked down to where his hand had been absentmindedly fingering the soft cloth. It was white, as tradition dictated, symbolising purity. The colours of the ribbons each had meanings too. They were chosen by the petitioner depending on what they wanted to say: what they offered to a union, sought from a union, and hoped for in the future of a union. Harry inspected the ones Sirius had chosen.
"Red," he said first, fingering the crimson ribbon.
"What tone?" Parvati asked.
For every colour there were a dozen tones, to differentiate the different meanings possible for the colour. Red could mean love, passion, courage, excitement, and a number of other things. Harry had studied well the book Remus found him about wizarding courtship, and had even memorised all the colour tones till he could differentiate them at a glance. This one in particular meant…
"Love," he said, with a smile.
"There's another red one," Lavender said. "What's that one? I've never bothered to learn them myself."
"Er, passion," Harry admitted, trying not to blush as the good natured teasing that followed. He forged on, hoping to distract the persistent ones from their whistling and winking, and himself from renewed memories of the shower encounter. "Pink for tenderness, a second pink for acceptance, yellow for happiness, another yellow for peace, purple for beauty." Harry's lips quirked, wondering if that referred to him or Sirius himself, the vain git. "Blue for loyalty, a blue for trust, black-"
"Black?" Lavender squawked, and was smacked by her friend for it.
"Not all meanings of black are negative," Parvati lectured. "I think that one means eternity."
"Oh, like together forever?" Lavender almost swooned. "That's so sweet."
"It's for eternity," Harry confirmed, then continued. There were only a few left. "The second black is for style," he said wryly. That one was definitely down to Sirius's vanity. "Brown for home, green for fertility." Some people teased, but Harry just smiled softly at that one. "And- and blue again, for freedom."
"Freedom?" Parvati asked. "That's an odd one for a courting proposition."
"No, it's-" Harry paused to swallow. "It's perfect actually."
He stared at the rainbow fountain of silken ribbons, fourteen in all, contemplating the message. He was more than pleased.
"Well? Open it already!" a voice urged from the still-gawking crowd.
Harry nodded and carefully began untying the ribbons, each coming loose with a spark, before setting them aside carefully. He fully intended to keep them all a memento. When finally they were all removed, he carefully folded back the soft white material, revealing what lay within. Several people gasped, and oohed and aahed.
"It's beautiful," Luna observed, gazing wide-eyed from around Neville.
"Absolutely gorgeous," Lavender agreed.
Harry agreed. Reverently he reached out and traced the collar. It was made of gold and designed to sit snugly around the throat, with discrete joints at the sides so it could be put on, and a clasp in the back. There was also a clear colourless gem front and centre, as was required. The band, an inch or so wide at the front but tapering some at the back, was engraved with decorative scrollwork framing calligraphic runes. Fourteen runes in all, each matching the meaning of a ribbon. That wasn't required, but rather an initiative on Sirius's behalf. One that Harry quite liked.
"A collar?" an unwelcome voice spoke up.
Harry was a bit startled by Hermione's surprise, but he supposed perhaps Dumbledore, being the progressive sort he was, might not have taken the time to teach his granddaughter protégé the older traditions. Plus, from what he knew, Hermione had still been raised in the Muggle world, by her Muggle father and Squib-line mother, neither of whom had been aware of her early training.
"It symbolises belonging," Lavender said in a dreamy, romantic sort of voice. "When Harry puts it on, it means he belongs to his petitioner unless they break the courting off."
"Belong? With a collar? More like ownership," Hermione said scornfully. "Some barbaric pureblood ritual, I take it?"
"What?" Lavender's voice had abruptly turned sharp. "It is not! It's a perfectly respectable and romantic tradition. And it's not ownership when it goes both ways. The petitioner will have an identical collar, and Harry's will only lock if they're already wearing it, so it can lock at the same time. It's about belonging to each other, not one person owning another person."
"Exactly," Parvati agreed, backing up her friend. "And a lot of purebloods actually don't follow the courtships anymore, because more and more they're marrying for blood-line preservation, rather than love, which the courtship can't be completed without. The enchantments won't even let the collar lock unless all the conditions are met."
"Conditions?" Hermione couldn't help but ask, loathe not to know something.
"First, the petitioner's intentions have to match the ribbons they chose," Parvati lectured, sounding uncannily like Hermione usually did. "That's already guaranteed because they would have had to use certain spells to tie the ribbons. The sparks they gave when Harry removed them showed they were done properly. Then there's motives. The collar will only lock if both are wearing it with pure motives. They both must wish to court or be courted, with the goal of love and eventually marriage. And the final condition is-"
"Consummation," Lavender said with a wicked grin, sparing a wink for Harry. "Neither can have consummated their relationship yet. They don't have to be virginal in general, just with one another. And once the collar locks they can't have sex, proper sex, with each other or anyone else until the courtship is finalised, by either breaking it off or finally getting married. Otherwise, the collar falls off. And it turns black for whoever cheated, which considered really shameful."
Hermione had finally subsided, Harry was pleased to see. He picked up the collar finally, admiring it from all angles. Everyone fell quiet, watching expectantly.
"Are you going to accept Harry?" Neville asked him quietly, but everyone could hear in the silence.
In response, Harry just smiled and moved it to his neck, closing the clasp at the back. It immediately shut with an audible click. There was a flash of light, from the gem on the front Harry knew, though he couldn't see it from this angle. Several people gasped.
"Oh Harry," Lavender said, eyes wide with shock and delight. "It's a boy? It is a boy, isn't it? I didn't know you flew that way."
Immediately, the room broke into whispers and babbling and gossip.
Harry took Lavender's comment to mean the gem had turned green rather than purple. He'd expected that. Green was, he knew, the symbol of the Bearer in the relationship, so named because they were the one who would bear the children. Purple on the other hand, was for the Sire, whose family name the Bearer and the children they birthed would take.
Neither was necessarily, despite what he'd thought at first reading it, a sign of which partner was the dominant or submissive sexually. Nor was it a sign of who held the power in the relationship. It could hardly be really, when a male-female partnership almost always indicated the female as Bearer. After all, not every wife let their husband run the family.
Just look at the Weasleys. They mightn't have used the courting tradition, but they were still a male-female marriage. Harry couldn't ever imagine Mrs Weasley as the quiet one of that relationship and Mr Weasley as the ruler of the roost. It was very much the opposite.
"The emerald matches your eyes wonderfully," Parvati complimented, before frowning. "But- oh, there's flecks of purple in there!"
"What?" Harry's hands flew to his throat. That hadn't been covered in his book. "What's that mean?"
"It's very rare," Parvati said, clearly enjoying the rapt attention her knowledge was earning her. "It happens in pairings when the Sire is willing to carry at least one child, for the purposes of carrying on the Bearer's family name as well. When you marry, you'll both take both family names, hyphenating them, but his will get to go at the end as the primary Sire."
"Oh, how thoughtful," gushed Lavender. "You are the last Potter Harry. It's important the name doesn't die with you, and they must understand that."
"Oh," Harry said.
He was shocked and, after he thought about it a moment, pleased. He liked the thought that the Potter name wouldn't die with him.
"So what will your new name be if you get married?" Lavender asked eagerly and everyone leaned forward to hear who the mystery petitioner was.
"Harry Potter-Black," he answered, quite liking the sound of that. "Husband of Sirius Black." He liked that saying that even more.
Hermione cornered him alone a few days later and started ranting about how inappropriate it was, that Sirius was much too old and taking advantage, and how it was alright because she thought she'd found a way to 'free' him. She refused to listen to Harry's explanations, refused to be deterred by his pointing out it was none of her business. Instead she raised her wand and pointed it at his collar. Harry snapped.
Fifteen minutes later, a dazed Hermione wandered off towards the library. Though it wasn't quite as satisfying as throwing an Avada Kedavra at her and using her death to create a Horcrux, he thought the punishment was fitting. Hermione Granger now thought she was exactly what she presented herself as: a clever but ultimately Muggle-born and Muggle-raised witch, who had no knowledge of Hogwarts before her letter came.
She no longer remembered that Dumbledore had been her grandfather, she no longer remembered that he'd trained her from an early age, she no longer recalled any of the advanced and obscure knowledge Dumbledore had bestowed on her, and she no longer remembered how she had been assigned the role of controlling Harry according to Dumbledore's vision. Without all these memories, she saw no further reason to interfere with Harry's life. After all, they were just former friends that had grown apart. And so Hermione Granger never bothered Harry Potter again
Being of age now, physically and officially rather than just in his mind and soul, Harry was permitted to leave the castle whenever he liked outside class time. Such students just needed to let their head of house know, so no one worried whether they'd gone missing. McGonagall was headmistress now, so the Gryffindor Headship had gone to Professor Sinistra who taught Astronomy. The first weekend after receiving his collar, Harry gave Sinistra his notice, and headed for the school gates.
Harry knew it wasn't mere coincidence that had a number of other of-age students heading out that same morning, as well as many underage ones just happening to hang out by the gates. He rolled his eyes internally at their nosiness, though he knew it was his own fault for having discussed his plans with Neville and Luna over breakfast, where others could overhear. He focussed on his destination.
The moment he reached the school gates to find Sirius leant against the stone wall, waiting for him, his annoyance was forgotten. His betrothed, for that was the proper title for someone you were courting, looking particularly handsome today. His silvery grey robes set off his eyes, and were well fitted to emphasise the strong body beneath. Around his throat was a collar almost identical to Harry's own. Sirius spotted him quickly and broke out into a heart-melting smile.
They both stepped toward each other and met halfway. Sirius's hands took his before his head ducked down for a long, sweet kiss. They were interrupted by the sound of whispers and giggles and gasps. Sirius glanced pointedly over Harry's shoulder and his lips quirked in an amused smirk.
"Morning Angel," Sirius said. More whispers at the pet name. "What's with the entourage? I didn't realise we'd need chaperones with the collars preventing anything too naughty." And again, more whispering, and much giggling.
"Siri, don't encourage them," Harry huffed, but was too happy to really sound too annoyed. "They all coincidentally happened to have reasons for being by the gates this morning."
"Ah, I get it." Sirius nodded solemnly, but Harry saw the wicked light in those grey eyes. "We have us some voyeurs." Some seemed embarrassed. Even more joined them in that feeling when Sirius raised his voice to show the next comment was directed at their audience. "Kinky folks, very kinky."
Harry tried not to laugh at the many red faces, and students suddenly having business elsewhere, dragging the reluctant along behind them. Soon, they were alone. Sirius grinned in triumph, pleased with the effect of his words, and returned to kissing Harry. When finally he pulled back, both were breathing a little heavily.
"It really is good to see you Angel."
"You too Siri." Harry's eyes trailed to the band of gold around the other man's throat. One hand reached up to trace the runes, then circle the gem in the centre. "Did you notice…?"
"The green specks in the purple?" Sirius asked, smiling down at Harry. He pressed a kiss to Harry's forehead, just beside the scar that had faded noticeably after Voldemort's defeat . "Yeah. It wasn't really a surprise. It's something I've been thinking about for awhile. You being the last of your family, I mean."
"So you're really willing to-"
"At least one. Just to make sure the Potter name goes on."
"I- thank you. I hadn't even thought about-"
"Sure. Now come on." Sirius slung an arm around Harry's waist and led them towards Hogsmeade. "We've got a date to get to. What? What's wrong?"
"Well, you never did tell me where we're going. It's not- not Madam Puddifoot's, is it?" Harry asked hesitantly, trying not to wrinkle his nose.
"That pink hellhole? Merlin, no!" Sirius snorted. Harry was relieved. "I'd pick Azkaban over that place. No, there's this nice restaurant hidden in a little back lane that's supposed to make the most delicious food you've ever tasted. It's a bit fancier than Three Broomsticks, but not too posh, and no pink I promise. But that's later, for lunch. I figured we'd just wander around a bit till then."
They got a lot of looks and attention as they toured Hogsmeade. A number of the older students who'd fled to the town after Sirius's comments regained their confidence till, along with several villagers, they once more had an entourage of sorts. Eventually lunch time rolled around. Sirius's restaurant of choice really did serve quite delicious food. It also had a sudden , 'mysterious' influx of customers that morning, just 'coincidentally' turning up with or directly after Harry and Sirius.
The attention was a bit annoying, and Harry hoped the novelty of he and Sirius as a couple would fade soon. Sirius though, attention seeker that he was, enjoyed it. He also enjoyed making risqué or ironic comments that embarrassed their watchers. Said comments also amused Harry, saving the situation from being too bothersome. Plus of course, he was with Sirius, his soul mate and betrothed. It made it hard to be anything but happy.
Sirius escorted Harry back up to the school gates later that evening. He left him with a kiss so passionate it had Harry's toes curling and the few still lingering busybodies flushed and impressed, and with plenty to gossip about for the next week at least.
A couple of months later, on another of their regular weekend dates, Sirius had Harry pressed against a wall in an alleyway. It was fairly clean thankfully, so Harry hadn't objected when Sirius dragged him down the little area, which was wedged between two stores . Instead he'd willingly and enthusiastically returned the kiss given him, which had turned to groping, until was backed against a wall with Sirius's body pressed against him.
One hand was threaded in Harry's hair and the other was inside his robes, running restlessly over his back and then sneaking under the waistband of his trousers, when Sirius grinded into him. Harry met the movement with a rock of his own hips, and then- squeaked in shock.
"Fuck," muttered Sirius, after giving a sort of jerking movement. He groaned, sounding displeased, and buried his face in Harry's neck. "Fuck," he repeated.
"Sirius, what was that?"
"You read that book Remus gave you right?"
"Yeah, of course."
"Remember what happens when two betrothed are starting to go too far?"
"The collar gives them a jolt to warn them that-" Harry stopped, eyes wide, and pushed Sirius back to look at him. "Tell me you're joking."
"But we've done more than this before! And the collars still accepted us. It's not like we were planning to 'consummate' here in an alley."
"Hmm, I guess that book wasn't as comprehensive as Remus thought," Sirius said. "There's different rules for what you can't have done if you want a collar to accept, and what you can't do while wearing a collar. The first only requires no sexual intercourse. The second… is a bit more strict." Then Sirius sighed heavily, looking positively petulant. "Though I didn't think it'd be so strict that a bit of rubbing and grinding with our clothes on would set off the warning."
Harry's mind was whirring. Bad enough his and Sirius dates had all remained fairly chaste so far, due to their slowly declining number of watchers. Today had been the first day not a single person followed them about, and Harry had been eagerly anticipating some 'alone time' with Sirius. But now? No sex was one thing. But no getting off at all with each other? That was a whole other kettle of fish. A terrible, unacceptable kettle at that. There was no set minimum length for a betrothal so…
"How do you feel about getting married today?" Harry asked impulsively.
"Today?" Sirius's head cocked to one side, as he looked down at Harry, bemused. "Did you just propose marriage to me? In an alley?"
"It though you already did the proposing when you gave me this." Harry touched his collar.
"I proposed a betrothal, not a marriage."
"Oh. Then yes. Well?" he asked impatiently. "I already love you and want to spend the rest of my life with you, so my half of the requirement to finalise the betrothal with a marriage are met."
"For my side too," Sirius said quietly, earnestly.
Harry smiled, heart fluttering at the confirmation. And then he remembered the important goal he was aiming to achieve, and completely ruined the romantic mood with his next comment.
"Well," Harry said, "then you can't expect me to stay celibate for no reason, can you?"
Sirius gave a loud, barking laugh, not seeming to mind at all Harry's ruining of the romantic mood. He leaned down and pressed a swift but spirited kiss to Harry's lips.
"Unfortunately, I think our friends would kill us if we didn't hold a proper ceremony and invite them," Sirius said, then at Harry's disappointed look quickly added, "But, if you think you can wait just a few weeks, how's Christmas sound?"
"A few weeks?" Harry considered, before reluctantly acceding. "I suppose." A thought occurred to Harry then. "A Christmas wedding though? Are you a closet romantic and I've never realised?"
"Nah, just figured if we made it Christmas Day, I'm not likely to forget an anniversary."
Harry rolled his eyes. That sounded more like the Sirius he knew and loved.
The wedding was small affair. Harry refused to make a production of it, no matter how much of celebrities they both were, and how many persistent requests they received from fans and reporters begging to attend. Sirius had agreed and so there were only eight other people present for their wedding. An older wizard with both the authority to perform the ceremony and an understanding of discretion, Remus and Tonks, and Neville and Luna. And of course Kreacher, Dobby and Winky in the background, watching with tearful joy.
They made vows and exchanged rings. The rings were similar in style to their collars: rune-inscribed gold with a colourless gem that glowed and changed colour when slid them on, to indicate Bearer and Sire. Then the older wizard cast the final spells and rings and collars tingled, even as they could feel a magic binding them together, anchored by their love.
The older wizard, duties done, wished them well and departed. The elves had prepared a feast and Harry and Sirius ate and accepted congratulations from their friends until finally, Sirius grew impatient.
"Alright, enough of this. If you don't mind, Angel and I have a marriage to consummate."
"Sirius!" Harry said, but the embarrassed cry was lost in the vortex of a sudden Side-Along-Apparition.
They appeared in their bedroom at Marauder Manor. Before Harry could scold his soul mate for the manner of their exit, Sirius's mouth captured his and Harry quite forgot what he was going to say. Things blurred from there until they were both lying naked on the bed, Sirius urging Harry to bend his knees up and spread his legs, then trailing fingers back to his opening. Harry tensed a little, nervous at this new experience.
"Just relax for me Angel," Sirius said, then whispered a string of incantations that caused his lover to squeak. "Cleansing and lubrication spells," Sirius explained, then pressed a finger into Harry's now slick passage.
Harry's heart thudded so fiercely he was surprised it wasn't audible. It felt odd, but also exciting in an erotic way. He bit his lip as the finger thrust in and out until Sirius started to ease in a second. Harry tensed at the slight burning pain and Sirius whispered soothing nonsense, turning his head to nuzzle distracting at Harry's cock. Slowly, as Sirius continued working the fingers in and out, the pain began to ease. And then there were was a third finger and Harry gave a gasp of pain, actually reaching down to grab Sirius's wrist and halt the movement.
"Shh, it's alright Angel." Sirius gently but firmly removed the grip from his wrist, and inexorably pressed his three fingers in deeper. He grasped Harry's hip firmly so he couldn't squirm away. "It's okay, just let me find-"
Harry gave a sudden, keening cry. Panting in shock and pleasure, he looked down to find Sirius grinning smugly up at him. The older man repeated his movements, curling his fingers deep inside Harry, pressing against some special spot, and once more Harry cried out. The pain was almost completely forgotten as a mouth enveloped his cock and those fingers began to rub and rub and rub relentlessly at that place inside him. He barely noticed as a fourth finger was added and when he came, with a wailing scream, he saw stars.
Harry was still lost to a daze as fingers slipped out of him, and his legs were spread wider and knees bent back further so that Sirius could settle himself in the cradle of his Harry's thighs. He blinked back to awareness however as he felt a hard length, easily as wide as the four fingers, slide into him. Harry made a breathy sound, somewhere between a groan and a whine. He gripped at Sirius's upper arms and bit his lip, thankful for the slowly fading post-orgasmic haze. The remembered pleasure helped dull the burning pain of the intrusion.
When Sirius had seated himself fully he paused to let Harry adjust, lowering his head to the younger man's shoulder. Harry could feel the tenseness in the form above him, the heaving of the broad chest, the fast hot breaths against his neck, and appreciated the restraint his lover was showing. When Sirius started moving again it was with a gentle rocking, accompanied by languid, wet kisses to Harry's lips.
"Hmm, more" Harry hummed when the pain had faded.
Sirius was happy to oblige and began withdrawing and thrusting, though just a little. One of his hands moved from where it was planted by Harry's shoulder to instead grasp his younger lover's hip. And then he tilted Harry's pelvis a certain way and on the next thrust…
"Oh!" Harry cried, surprised but pleased. "Again."
Sirius repeated the move, over and over, continual gentle thrusts against that wonderful spot inside. Harry's erection was quickly recovering from the earlier orgasm. And then, no sooner than was he fully hard again, Sirius suddenly withdrew almost all the way before pushing back in powerfully, the movement thrusting against that place inside Harry with such force he screamed. Above him, Sirius's face was a mixture of self-satisfaction and unbearable lust as he repeated the move again and again.
The hand on his hip slid around to Harry's erection and gripped firmly. Somehow, even without the grip tilting Harry's hips, the thrusts still managed to hit just the right spot, and accompanied by the hand now working purposefully up and down his cock, Harry knew he wouldn't last long. He threw his head back, almost incoherent with pleasure, only the occasional whined 'fuck' escaped his lips. Sirius's head dived down, sucking and nibbling at the exposed neck, thrusting and stroking faster and faster until suddenly, he bit down. Harry's back arched right off the bed as he screamed, clenching down on Sirius, who quickly followed him over the edge.
It was some time before either noticed the events that had accompanied their completion. Sirius finally regained enough strength to pull out and, as Harry winced at the slight pain, Sirius did to. And then, as Sirius felt surprise at the pain, Harry did as well. They looked at each other in realisation, then with a joy that echoed and amplified between them. Harry laughed in delight.
"The soul bond," he said. "It's complete. I can feel you and you can feel me. And we'll always be able to find each other."
Sirius smiled, clearly just as pleased. Harry leaned up, intending to give a passionate kiss, only to stop short in surprise as their movement caused their collars to fall free. He was worried a moment before remembering that they were supposed to do that. After the marriage and the spells linking the rings and collars, the latter were supposed to unlock as soon as the marriage had been consummated, even as the rings would become irremovable.
Harry watched as Sirius carefully took both their collars and set them aside on the bedside table, before returning to Harry and curling around him. He clasped his love, his husband in return and like that, both happy and sated, tired and content, and most importantly together, they fell asleep.
On February fourteenth, Valentines Day and Luna's birthday, Neville presented his girlfriend with her gift. It was wrapped in soft white cloth, held closed with several coloured ribbons. As Luna opened it, her face was lit with a joy Harry had never seen, and it made her look quite beautiful. She opened the courting gift and picked up the silver choker within, which was shaped like a delicate, twisting, flowered vine. It matched the one Neville was wearing, and Luna slipped it on at once. They both immediately locked with a click.
Harry was torn as to how to feel when, in mid-March, Tonks birthed not a son but a daughter. He should have known, he supposed. There was a certain element of chance and randomness to the conception of a child, and how the genes came together. His godson Teddy it seemed was lost to him, but in the little boy's place was a precious baby girl who Sirius and Harry had been named co-godparents of.
Some years later…
"Merlin's hairy bullocks!" Sirius yelled, followed by several even more florid curses. "How the bloody hell did you go through this twice Harry?" He groaned in pain. "You're stark raving mad," he said in a strained voice. "It's the only explanation."
"It'll be over soon," Harry soothed, brushing back sweaty strands of Sirius's hair. "And I did it because it was always worth it in the end."
"One more push should do it, Mr Potter-Black," Madam Pomfrey said.
"Did you hear that? Almost there!" Harry said, giddy with excitement despite his husband's obvious pain. "Push Siri, push."
"Oh I'll push alright," Sirius growled. "I'll push you, right out of bed if a Gestational Potion ever comes near my lips again."
"I said push, Mr Potter-Black," Pomfrey said again, sharply.
And push Sirius did until, with one last groan of pain turned relief, he slumped back on the bed. An infant's squalling echoed through the Hogwarts infirmary, loud and healthy. Pomfrey checked and cleaned the babe, before settling it into Harry's arms.
"A boy or girl?" Harry asked whisper-quiet, looking down at the bundled form in awe.
"It's a son, Harry," Pomfrey answered with rare affection and familiarity.
"Well come on then," Sirius's exhausted voice said. "Let's see what all that Merlin-cursed pain was about." Harry rolled his eyes but nonetheless brought the child into Sirius's view. He was rewarded with the sight of the man's eyes going suddenly very soft and tender, and a hand reaching out to caress cherubic newborn features. "Oh, he's perfect isn't he? Except the hair of course. Poor thing didn't manage to escape that mess of yours like the other two did."
"Hey!" Harry objected, but smiled knowing Sirius was just joking.
"Course as the official Potter sprog, it's only fitting he got the Potter hair, I suppose," Sirius allowed. "I wonder if he'll look more like you or me when he grows a bit?"
"Well, he has your eyes," Harry said, pleased, "like Alphie."
"Speaking of," Sirius said, and looked up to Pomfrey. "Could you let them know they can come in now?"
"Just let me check you over first Mr Potter-Black, and make sure there are no complications."
After several spells the nurse was satisfied her patient was well, and she left to fulfil Sirius's request. She'd barely left the infirmary for a second before two small forms barged in. They dashed over to where Sirius lay, with Harry seated on his bed's edge, holding a wrapped bundle.
"Is that it?" the older child demanded. The girl had long sleek black hair, Sirius's aristocratic features, and emerald eyes. "Well? Is it a boy or a girl?"
"Lily, Alphie, meet your new sibling," Harry said, getting off the bed and kneeling down so they could see. Sirius watched with affection as his older two children crowded close to peek at the newest member of the family. "Your baby brother, James Neville."
They'd decided, back when they were expecting Lily, to save the name James for the Potter heir. Their first had been born a girl of course, so it hadn't mattered, and they named her Lily Luna. Their middle child though was a boy, and they had settled on Alphard 'Alphie' Remus.
"A boy?" Lily cried in disgust. Her parents chuckled at the reaction. "Well," she said, after looking the babe over again, "at least he's cute I suppose."
"Bwover?" little Alphie asked. His big grey eyes, covered by silver-framed glasses, and set in a face that perfectly mixed both his fathers' features, stared at the baby in confusion. "Why's he so smawll?"
"Don't worry Alphie-boy," Sirius spoke in a tired but happy voice, "he'll get bigger soon enough."
"And then pway Quidditch wiv me?"
"Urgh, boys and Quidditch," Lily groaned. "You both realise you'll have to start all over again, don't you?"
"Start what all over again princess?" Harry asked.
"The baby-making of course," she said as though it should be obvious, rolling her eyes. "I need a little sister to play tea parties with."
Later, after Luna and Neville had stopped by to visit with their little girl Alice, and Remus and Tonks with their children Melissa and Puck, and some of Harry's DADA students had managed to sneak in as well, the room finally cleared.
Sirius turned to pierce his husband with a very serious look.
"What?" Harry asked from where he sat, in a chair beside the bed, bottle-feeding James. "What's that look for?"
"I just want to make one thing very clear," the other wizard said gravely. "If we should ever decide to try for that sister Lily wants, I will not be the Bearer again. Going through the morning sickness, weight-gain, swollen ankles, mood swings, strange cravings, and then the bloody excruciating pain of childbirth even once was more than enough for me." He nodded firmly to emphasise his point. "Never again."
"So noted," Harry said solemnly, then looked away and snickered, adding, "you wimp."
He laughed at the offended look his husband sported, ignored the indignant spluttering, and turned his attention back to their new son.
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