AN: Well, I did warn you. This is the end and it's my signature bitter sweet ending. I actually nearly made myself cry with this, I'm sorry but I simply cannot write anything happy...there must be something wrong with me. So, please enjoy and let me know what you think, I am totally blown away by the interest in this story! All of you are absolutely brilliant, thank you a million times over for taking this journey with me and Sirius and Harry. :D
Being deeply loved by someone gives you strength, while loving someone deeply gives you courage.
- Lao Tzu
Harry opened his eyes and found himself gazing up at the ceiling, he frowned slightly as his strange dream lingered on. He could still see a pair of dark grey eyes in his mind's eye, eyes that were full of love and affection he rubbed his own and yawned as the scent of bacon drifted up from the kitchen below. He reached over to his bedside table and picked up his glasses, shoving them on as he slid out of bed. His room was as it always had been, his posters on the walls, a big gold and crimson Gryffindor banner sporting the rampant lion and his school trunk and the empty cage where Hedwig slept. He frowned in confusion, there was an emptiness in him that told him something was wrong, that something was missing...but he put it down to his strange dream and began to get dressed.
Once changed he went downstairs and into the small cottage kitchen, a woman stood by the Aga her long auburn hair tied back from her face as she kept an eye on the bacon in the frying pan. She turned her large green eyes to Harry and smiled. "Good morning, did you sleep well?" She asked.
Harry gazed at her, something was wrong...something... "M-mum?" He said and stepped forward, his eyes drinking in the sight of his mother hungrily, as if he hadn't seen her for years.
Lily looked at her son in bemusement. "Yes, darling?"
"I..." He frowned and shook his head just as he heard someone coming downstairs.
"Good morning! How is my wonderful family?" James Potter strode into the room smiling brightly as he ruffled his son's hair affectionately. "Happy seventeenth Harry." He said with a wink. "We'll have breakfast and then you can open your presents..." He paused at the confused look on Harry's face. "Are you alright? You're not ill are you?" He put a hand on his shoulder and peered at him, his hazel eyes glittering.
"I-I'm fine...I just..." He took a shuddery breath and shook his head as if to clear it. "I just had a bad dream."
"Oh, well, dreams are just that Harry, they're not real..." He moved to his wife and embraced her as Harry sat at the kitchen table still feeling strange, out of place as if he didn't really belong here, surrounded by warmth and loving smiles.
"What did you dream, honey?" Lily asked as she set a plate before him.
"I'm not sure..." He said slowly. "I remember that...there was someone...someone who I loved but...they went away. They said that they would give me a gift...I don't know, it's stupid."
James shrugged. "It probably doesn't mean anything, eat up, you're seventeen today and I have every intention of giving you the best birthday a father ever gave a son. You're a man now, Harry."
Harry felt a smile on his face and he set to eating his breakfast, yet still that feeling wouldn't leave him, even as he sat in the living room by the empty fireplace and opened his gifts, exclaiming every so often when he got something particularly good. When his mother left the room to do something Harry moved his eyes to a set of photographs that stood along a shelf, most were of him and his family but then his eyes landed on one and he jumped to his feet. He walked over to the shelf and picked up the ornate silver frame as his hands shook, flashes of memory shot through his mind, some so fast he couldn't decipher them properly. "D-Dad..." He said slowly. James walked up behind his son and looked down at the picture, it showed a boy in his late teens leaning against a motorbike and smoking, his smile was cheeky and full of insolent humour, he was handsome with long black hair and a leather jacket hanging off his shoulders. "This is..."
"Sirius Black." James replied, lifting the picture from his son's hands and gazing at it fondly, his eyes full of a bitter grief. "You wouldn't remember him, Harry, he died when you were tiny. He was your Godfather, and...and he died for us."
Harry felt a vicious sting of tears, he took a shuddery breath. "I-I...I had no idea..."
"No...It's not something I enjoy talking about. Actually he left you something...he made me promise not to give it to you till your seventeenth...so..." He went to the pile of presents and withdrew a silver box, it was plainly decorated and came with a lock and key. James handed the box to his son who took it reverently, the tears falling rapidly down his face, yet he had no idea why, he had never really known Sirius Black...why was he crying? "Harry? Are you alright?" James said, gazing at him in surprise.
"I-I...I'm not sure...I...I think I dreamt of him...He had grey eyes...and his family hated him."
James' eyes widened at that. "How can you know that?"
"I don't know..." He sat down and ran his fingers over the box with a frown. "But I think I'm about to find out." He put the key into the lock and slowly opened the lid to reveal a stash of letters and photographs, he picked up the first one and gazed at it with wide eyes. "That's...impossible!" He exclaimed and James moved to his side to look.
"Me...and Ron and Hermione...and..."
"Sirius...oh you bastard!" James exclaimed, his voice cracking as he looked at the moving figures. "You...you git...I-I..."
Sirius black looked up at them from the moving image, he was grinning and had his arm around Harry's shoulders who was laughing. His sixteen year old self was frozen forever in that single moment, a moment that Harry couldn't remember ever experiencing.
I said I'd give you gift Harry Potter.
Harry was shaking, his hands dropped to the box and he began searching through it until he found a letter written on expensive parchment and sealed with black wax. He picked it up and tore it open.
If I got this right you'll be seventeen now, I know you won't remember me as I'm probably not around. This might sound strange but I knew you, when I was sixteen your idiot father did some stupid magic that sent me into the future, your future, Harry. We met there and you were amazing. The years have passed now, as I'm writing this I'm twenty one and I know I don't have much time left, you won't remember but I told you I'd give you a gift, and here it is; I give you your parents. I always swore I would die for James, I made a stupid decision once and I didn't make that same mistake again. I'll tell you what happened after I was returned to my own time...
Sirius felt that tingling buzz fading slowly, he stood still, keeping his eyes closed tightly as he tried to force the tears away, yet they fell anyway. "Harry..." He whispered, but it was drowned out by a sudden shout.
He spun around, letting his eyes fly open and saw James vaulting a chair and running towards him, he had reappeared in the common room. James ran at him and flung his arms around him, he took a shuddery breath and embraced him back. He held him tightly, letting his tears fall as he grabbed James' robes and inhaled his scent, which wasn't Harry's. "James." He breathed. "James...James..." He felt his voice crack and waver. "I missed you."
"I missed you as well." James gasped and pulled away to hold him at arm's length, he looked him up and down carefully. "Welcome home, Padfoot old friend."
"I'm home, James." Sirius smiled.
"We all missed you, Siri."
He turned to see Remus standing beside him and smiling gently, there was no grey in his hair, he had no premature lines around his eyes and he looked happy. Sirius pulled out of James' arms and flung them around Remus, James joined them and Sirius took a shuddery breath, letting his smile stretch his face. He was home.
When he finally managed to get the strength to pull away he turned to look around the familiar Gryffindor common room and spotted Peter standing there and looking awkward, a malicious grin split his face as he stepped over to the round boy. "Hi Peter...sorry, Wormtail..." He let his face fall into a frown.
"Sirius, it's been a while...how are you?"
"I'll be even better in just a moment, I would apologise for this, but I can't say it won't be fucking satisfying..." He drew back his fist. "Call this a pre-emptive strike, you wormy little shite!" he shouted and punched Peter in the face, the boy squealed and fell backwards, Sirius shook his hand and winced. "His face is harder than I thought." He grinned. "But that felt damned good."
"Sirius! What the hell was that for?" James exclaimed as he moved towards Peter, Sirius threw out his arm and stopped him.
"Don't bother James, he's a disgusting piece of filth and deserves everything he gets and worse."
"What are you talking about?" Remus said as Peter dragged himself to his feet, whimpering and clutching his broken nose.
"Let's just say I saw the future, Moons, and he doesn't deserve our friendship. Trust me, I can't tell you everything that happened but he will betray us all, and the effects will be disastrous." He looked at James who was looking at him as he digested his words.
"Dumbledore did tell us that you were in the future, or so he thought..." He said slowly.
"I was." Sirius smiled softly and gazed at his best friend. "And I learnt some things, James."
James returned his smile. "It's good to have you back Padfoot."
Sirius gazed into the crib, his chest tight as he looked at the baby version of the boy he had fallen in love with. Harry was tiny, his head full of gentle black fuzz and his tiny little hands clenched into fists as he slept soundly, he turned to James. "He's gorgeous, Prongs." He said softly but there was a bite in his voice that made James frown.
"Are you alright?" He asked and put a hand on his shoulder, Sirius pulled him into an embrace and smiled into his hair.
"I'm perfect, James." He whispered with feeling.
"Voldemort is going after those who have thrice defied him and have a son born at the end of July...James, it is my belief that he is after Harry."
James gazed at Dumbledore, his face grave. "Then...how can we protect him?"
"You go into hiding, we will secure a place for you to go and we will keep you safe. I would recommend a secret keeper...someone you trust implicitly."
James' eyes met Sirius'. "I'll do it James." Sirius replied instantly, the strange look in his eyes made James pause.
"I...It'll be dangerous..."
"I know, do you think I care? If it means I can protect you and baby Harry..." When he said Harry's name his smile was so soft and full of love James felt slightly sad.
A few days later they stood outside the little cottage in Godric's Hollow, Sirius gazed up at the stars with a cigarette between his fingers. "You'll be safe now, James." He said softly and turned to face his friend.
"Sirius, you're not acting right...what's wrong?" James asked and stepped towards him, Sirius scanned his face intently, absorbing every tiny detail.
"I love you, James." He said with a small smile. "You're the best friend I could ever have asked for, and that son of yours..." The pain in his eyes seemed physical and he took a deep, shuddery breath. "Harry will grow to be a good man, he'll be powerful and intelligent and beautiful...and you'll be so proud of him! He's so loved...and he's so full of love..."
"How do you know?" James touched his face gently, a small frown on his face. "What did you see in the future?"
"Tragedy and pain and death." Sirius replied, stepping close and grabbing his friend, pushing fingers into his hair and pressing their foreheads together. "But it's not going to happen now, James. I promised him, I promised him a gift...A life for a life."
"What are you talking about?" James pulled away and gazed at Sirius with a worried frown.
"Nothing James, nothing at all." Sirius smiled.
When they blasted down his door he had been expecting it. He gazed down at the letters and the silver box and shoved them roughly inside, locking it securely. He made sure the note to James was stuck to the top before he moved out of the bedroom and into the hall way and saw them close in, he fought as much as he could, but they were too many. It was a blur of masked faces, black robes and blinding lights, he heard a shout, a familiar voice;
"Do not kill him! He is for the Dark Lord!"
Sirius turned to see a tall man with long white-blond hair and cold light grey eyes, as the other Death Eaters closed in on him he lifted his wand. "Malfoy!" He screamed as green light shot from the end of his wand, at the exact same moment something hit him in the back but before he fell he saw Malfoy crumple as his Killing Curse hit him and he smiled as darkness obscured his vision.
The room was dark, the only light coming from a single candle upon a table. Two masked guards stood by the door and another taller figure paced up and down before Sirius' blurring vision. He lay on his side, his hands bound behind his back as he recovered from his latest bout of agony.
"I see you are strong, Black. I am impressed. I respect strength and courage, boy, join me and tell me where they are hiding the Potters and I will free you from this pain."
"Go bugger yourself!" Sirius croaked, closing his eyes as crimson light flashed and he was screaming again. Screaming so loudly his throat tore.
"Tell me where the Potters are!"
"Where are they?"
"Where are the Potters?"
"K-Kill me...kill me..." Sirius was practically blind, he could hardly even feel the floor beneath him. He could taste nothing but blood from where he must have bitten his tongue, he was in so much pain he couldn't think. Time had no meaning anymore, it was all one long stream of darkness and the occasional flash of red light. He couldn't even hear his own screams anymore as he lay in a ball and shook violently. Each time the questions came he concentrated on seeing those beautiful green eyes and that smile, when Voldemort paused in his torture he made sure that all he could see was Harry, he imagined what he would look like as an adult and it made everything easier to cope with.
The hours were long. The darkness infinite. His memory was wavering, he could hardly even remember who he was sometimes, the only thing he could remember were those eyes, that smile and a name; Harry.
Sometimes, when he was left alone in his darkness, he would whisper that name to the floor. He would close his eyes and remember what it felt like to be loved and wanted. He would remember that warm embrace, those lips on his and he would smile.
When someone came to him for the last time he felt relief sweep through him. He was dragged up and half carried into the fresh air, when he was thrown to the ground he gazed up at a grey sky and he realised it was snowing. He smiled and blinked sluggishly. The fresh air, the scent of the forest everything was so good he was grinning and chuckling as people surrounded him.
He was still lying there when a great cry went up from his captors, he managed to open his eyes and see figures running through the forest, jets of light shooting through the air. A scream of rage went up as Voldemort was engaged in a fearsome battle with Dumbledore.
But Sirius' eyesight was blurring, he could only see a tall figure racing his way, shooting jets of light in all sorts of directions. As the figure fell to his knees beside him he smiled up into a familiar face, he couldn't remember his name but he knew he loved him. He lifted a shaking hand and grabbed his head, dragging it down to him; "I love you...H-Harry..." He rasped before darkness took him in its soft grip and took him away from his aching body and his broken mind.
James gazed down at his friend as his eyes closed, blood caked the side of his face and his robes were little more than rags, his body shook violently as he whispered in James' ear. When that hand fell away from his head James felt his breath leave him in a desperate sob, he grabbed Sirius and shook him. "Wake up! W-Wake up...No...no...Y-You can't! D-Don't...don't go...Sirius!"
When James finished talking he had tears in his eyes, Lily had joined them for when he had decided to finish Sirius' story. The letter was still clutched in Harry's sweaty hand as he gazed into the empty fireplace. After a while the silence was broken as James wiped a tear from his cheek.
"I didn't...I never understood his last words until now..." He croaked as Lily pulled him to her side. "I was such a fool, I never even realised what he had seen or what he had done when he disappeared all those years ago..."
Harry took a shuddery breath. "They say that Dumbledore defeated Voldemort..."
James nodded. "He destroyed him after learning some secret about what was keeping him alive, after we thwarted the prophesy there was no 'chosen one' and Voldemort never got near you thanks to Sirius' sacrifice." He spoke slowly as he fitted the pieces together.
Harry looked down at the letter and at the signature. "According to this when Sirius went to the future I-I was an orphan...and I was living with Aunt Petunia..." He pulled a face briefly. "So...His gift to me was you...h-he gave me a family." He felt his mother's arms around him and she kissed the top of his head.
"We'll always be with Harry." She whispered and he smiled.
"He sacrificed himself so that you would live..." Harry whispered as he felt a bite of pain as sharp as any knife. "He gave me the only thing he could...just because I loved him."
"There is no magic more powerful than that, Harry." Lily said with a soft smile as she stroked the tears from his face.
"Wh-where is he buried? I-I'd like to see..."
"In the graveyard...just across the way. You've never asked to see it before..." James said.
"Well, now I know the truth...I want to thank him..."
Lily and James both nodded gravely.
Harry made sure to look through everything within that box, it turned out that Sirius had written him several letters, each one a declaration of his love and utter loyalty to him and his father. But he found another letter, written in Sirius' bold cursive, he showed it to his father and James had exclaimed over it.
The last will and testament of Sirius Orion Black, third of his name; I, Sirius Orion Black, third of this name, of sound body and mind do declare that upon my death the entire inheritance of the Black household will go to my Godson Harry James Potter, as is my right as the last living heir. I declare as of this moment that Harry James Potter is my rightful living heir and shall inherit all that I own, as is his right by blood through my Great Aunt Dorea Potter (Nee Black). Upon his seventeenth birthday he shall inherit all that is mine and all the power of the Ancient and Most Nobel House of Black.
This is my Will,
Signed; Sirius O. Black.
Beneath that was a black seal with the Black coat of arms stamped firmly into it. Harry gaped at it for a very long time until James swore loudly.
"Do you know what he's done?" He stood up suddenly and gaped at his son who simply looked confused, as did Lily. James looked from one to the other before throwing his arms in the air in exasperation. "He has made Harry the head of the Black household...he has made him the most powerful seventeen year old in Wizarding Britain! With my name and titles on top of that its...its..." He seemed run out of words to express how huge this was.
Harry looked down at the paper for a long time, he couldn't understand it at all, it was just parchment with a wax seal...what power could it give him? When he expressed this thought his father knelt before him and took his hands. "Harry, Sirius gave you a family but he's also given you a huge amount of political weight. The Black's were the most powerful, largest and oldest families in Great Britain, their heritage goes back to the middle ages. Sirius was extremely rich and extremely powerful. With this much political weight you could become the Minister for Magic! Do you understand?"
Finally it sank in and Harry felt faint, he looked down at the letter again and opened and closed his mouth for a while. "B-But...I...I don't want to become Minister for Magic..." He said finally in a small voice.
The gravestone was marble, green grass covered it as Harry knelt before it and read the writing.
Sirius Orion Black
February 2nd 1959 – October 31st 1981
Loyalty, love, devotion; Never forget.
Here Lies a Hero.
Harry felt tears splash down his face, he lifted his arm and wiped them away roughly. He lifted his wand shakily and waved it, red roses and pink carnations appeared and fell lightly before the headstone. "I'll never forget." He whispered and climbed to his feet, slowly a smile spread across his face as his father put his arm around his shoulders. "Thank you, Sirius."
Together the Potters turned away from the grave, leaving the white stone to glitter in the sunshine. A shadow moved from within the shadows of the bushes on the far side of the churchyard, slowly a massive black dog appeared and padded silently towards the grave where it paused to sniff at the flowers. It gazed at the writing with its strangely human grey eyes before wagging its tail and turning away, as it reached the trees it took one last look over its shoulder and slowly faded away.
The wind blew the grass and the trees rustled, the only sign that the large dog had been there was a single paw print in the earth beside the marble headstone.
You give me the wings to fly
You are the clear blue sky
I'm floating so free, so high
Falling with grace - for you and I
You give me the wings to fly
The Wings by Gustavo Santaolalla