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The Right Parent

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It was a quiet evening at 12 Grimmauld Place as the order meeting had just ended only thirty minutes previously. While none of the members had left the house yet, everyone was currently split into groups of three to four people, all sharing discussions over something or another. On one side of the room, closer to the kitchenette was Molly, Arthur, and Arabella Figg, who normally never made it to one of these meetings, talking about what sounded like magical creatures they all had in common – no doubt cats, since Figg's affinity for kneazles was well known. On the opposite side of the table, close to the kitchen, were Albus Dumbledore, Minerva McGonagall, Severus Snape and Kingsley Shacklebolt discussing something Ministry related – something Sirius Black had no care for; Sirius himself was sitting with Remus Lupin, Mad-Eye Moody, Bill and Charlie Weasley, trying to keep the discussion light by talking about Quidditch, of all things. And even though Sirius was listening to the conversation about Quidditch, it was quite clear that he had no interest in actually joining in on the discussion, instead, choosing to listen to the noises upstairs, and trying to determine if his godson was alright or not.

For it was only an hour ago that Molly had sent Harry upstairs to 'get some rest, dear' despite all of Sirius' arguments that his godson needed to be involved in these meetings, seeing as they pertained to him. He could recognize the fact in his godson that even Harry wanted to be involved in these discussions as much as Sirius wanted him to be, but despite everything, Molly – and Dumbledore, let's not forget the old codger – had sent him upstairs, saying something absurd about how Harry wasn't ready to hear things like this. Which Sirius pondered, was completely fucking insane since from what Harry had told him, he had fought Voldemort thrice already – and that was something he needed to dig further into because, what? And since Harry had fought the bastard more than once and had won more than once, there was absolutely no bloody doubt that his godson deserved to be here.

Which, come to think of it, was probably why Sirius was continuously glaring between Molly and Albus, he snorts. He was being obvious about it, he knew that, but he just didn't care anymore. Between the comments Molly had been making about his parenting and Snape taunting him, he was completely tired of the shit he was being put through. So, so what if he glared. It was better than what he truly wanted to do, which would cause some serious harm.

With a sigh and a shake of his head, Sirius tries to tune back in to the Quidditch discussion but stops when he hears a low groan coming from directly above the room. Knowing that the room above the dining area and kitchen belongs to Harry and Ron, he immediately arches an eyebrow and listens intently. He can tell that no one other than Remus and Mad-Eye heard since they both stopped talking and Mad-Eye's mad eye was focused on the ceiling, no doubt looking in. He's about to look away when he hears another groan, loud enough that the room as a whole stops talking and looks around in confusion, unawares.

He hears a few more groans before the words, "No," are repeated over and over again with increasing aggravation.

"Moody?" Remus questions as Mad-Eye tilts his head to the side, looking intently.

"It appears the Potter lad is having quite the nightmarish memory," Mad-Eye replies as Sirius grimaces. He knows what those are like, a few breaking into his thoughts throughout the night and sometimes the day from his time in Azkaban.

Just as he stands up, he can hear a shout that stops his heart and then restart it full of anger.

Please. No, Uncle Vernon, I'm sorry I didn't mean it, No!

It sounds so familiar to his own hellish nightmares from back when he was being abused by his parents that he can't help but stand up and clench his fists. In his periphery, he notices Molly also stand up and begin to fret, but doesn't roll his eyes, only recognizing the fact that he needs to get to his godson right this instant.

"Black?" Kingsley questions the same time Tonks takes a step forward, having been silent and alone the entire time, watching the room with vague interest. Sirius only has to shake his head for the two of them to step down.

The room can briefly hear Harry tell the quietness of his own room to stop, it hurts, before Sirius begins taking steps towards the stairs.

"Maybe I should be the one to go up there," Molly says as she puts down the towel she had been wringing as Sirius turns towards her with a glare.

"And why should you possibly be that person, Molly?" Sirius questions as his eyes tighten and his anger shines through. He can see Molly harrumph before she glares in return and mentally, he rolls his eyes.

"Because as a parent, I have experience with this sort of thing," She replies with a gleam in her eyes as Sirius snorts.

"You may have experience Molly, in handling your own children's nightmares, but Harry is not your child and his nightmares are without a doubt, something you are not ever going to be used to handling," Sirius replies with seething as Molly's eyes widen in anger.

"I can be there for him when he wakes up from his nightmares!" Molly snaps as Sirius sighs.

"Have you ever been abused, Molly? Ever felt the slap of a parent's palm against your cheek for even doing one miniscule thing they didn't like or agree with? Have you ever listened to your mom or your dad tell you you were worthless, that you didn't deserve the time or the love?" Sirius questions with anger in his voice that causes Molly to take a step back.

Briefly, he can hear Harry mention how it's dark and cold and there's a spider on him and he's had enough.

"Clearly, you haven't. Which is why, I'm going up. Because not only am I his legal bloody guardian, but I also know how to deal with nightmares like his," Sirius snaps before walking up the stairs, composure remained.

***

When he finally reaches the top of the stairs, he slowly, carefully and quietly makes his way to his godson's room, pushing open the door as silently as he can. When he finally gets the door open enough that he can peek his head in, he isn't all that surprised to see Ron awake and sitting up, staring at Harry like he wants to wake him up from his nightmare but doesn't know how to and is hesitant because of it. It creates a big pain in his chest because it's so eerily similar to how Remus said he found James and himself after he ran away that he can't help but make the comparisons.

Before he can get too far into any past memories he sees Ron shift and lets out a small smile.

"How about you go to my room to sleep? Or wherever you're comfortable? I feel like Harry won't like knowing you saw him have a nightmare," Sirius says while Ron nods and stands up. Ron slowly walks out of the room, taking a brief glance back at his best friend before sighing and looking at Sirius hesitantly.

"He's been having nightmares since he came here," Ron mumbles, "He's just been hiding it, not wanting anyone to worry." He finishes with a shrug, confident Sirius will do his best friend good. Sirius can feel himself nodding before patting Ron on the shoulder.

"Go back to bed, Ron, before your mother kills me for daring to wake you up," Sirius says with a light chuckle while Ron smiles and leaves. Sirius sighs briefly before walking into the room completely and closing the door behind him to pitch black darkness. With a wave of his wand, candles appear around the room in various places, lighting up some of the darker areas while still making the room dark enough. He can see Harry tossing and turning, sweat pooling on his forehead and the sheet sticking to his body. He walks over to Harry before sliding in next to him on the bed and putting his hand on Harry's arm, shaking him just slightly.

"Harry, c'mon kiddo," He says as Harry groans once more. Sirius sighs briefly, before shaking Harry a little bit harder than the first time.

"C'mon Harry, wake up." Sirius says as he continues to shake Harry. However, within minutes, Harry's nightmare obviously gets worse, and knowing the signs of someone who is going to scream, Sirius sits himself behind Harry and grabs a hold of him, right on time too as Harry sits up and screams bloody murder.

Pretty soon, Harry's panting, clutching onto Sirius' arms which are around his shoulders.

"It's alright, kiddo." Sirius murmurs as he feels Harry calm down slowly. Ten minutes later, Harry is finally calm enough to look around – or try to, at least, as the way Sirius is holding him doesn't allow for it a lot – and look at Sirius questioningly.

"Siri?" He murmurs with scrunched eyes full of confusion.

"We could hear you having a nightmare in the kitchen downstairs." Sirius replies with a small smile when he sees Harry cringe backwards.

 

"Oh." Harry murmurs while playing with a thread on his blanket, avoiding Sirius' eyes. Sirius looks at Harry closely, trying to decide how to continue his train of thought before letting out a sigh.

"Harry, if I ask you something, will you answer me truthfully?" Sirius questions as Harry looks up at him in surprise. He watches as Harry nods hesitantly, still playing with the thread on his blanket. Sirius himself hesitates before moving himself so he's sitting beside his godson instead of behind.

"Did Vernon and Petunia ever abuse you?" Sirius asks, putting it all out there. He can feel more-so than see Harry freeze. He looks at Harry out of the corner of his eyes and can see that not only is his godson completely frozen, but his eyes are wide with shock and his skin has gone completely pale. He looks quickly at Sirius which only has Sirius arching an eyebrow. The duo remains quiet for a few minutes with Sirius shifting every now and then to get himself completely comfortable on the small bed.

"Harry, you can tell me," Sirius says quietly shortly after, crossing his ankles together as Harry sighs.

"I have nightmares," Harry murmurs looking down while trying not to feel ashamed of himself. "Nightmares of when my bedroom used to be the cupboard under the stairs, nightmares of getting burned when they made me cook their breakfast at the age of three and on, nightmares of Uncle Vernon telling me I was a worthless freak or boy, I just have nightmares!" Harry says, finishing on a shout as a Sirius looks at his godson, full of hurt for the young man. Sirius has never wanted his godson to understand what it means to have your family hate you, and from what Sirius heard Harry unknowingly rant to him, Harry understood just that.

"I'm –" Harry begins with a stutter, stopping suddenly when Sirius wraps his arms around Harry, holding on tighter than he would normally.

"Don't you dare try and apologize, pup," Sirius interrupts with a near snarl, protective over his godson, obviously surprising Harry if the look on his face is anything to go by. Sirius can feel Harry nod his head slowly, but he knows that it isn't enough, knows that the two of them are going to have to talk about this.

"When I was your age, my parents abused me too, you know." Sirius begins slowly, not having talked about this since James and Remus had found out about it years and years ago. He can see Harry look up at him with surprise written all over his face and Sirius smiles lightly, eyes filled with sadness.

"They valued the beliefs of Voldemort – the Blacks were some of the darkest wizards around kiddo, and they expected no less of their children," Sirius begins, watching Harry closely. He watches as Harry's eyes fill with anger and hurt, pain that he never thought Harry would feel for him evident in those green eyes.

"When I had turned sixteen, my parents had tried to get me to take the dark mark," Sirius begins while trying not to fall back into the memories, "When I said no, my mother put me under the Cruciatus Curse for a long time. When I managed to get out of it, I ran away." Sirius finishes with a small smile, "I ran away to live with your dad."

Sirius watches as Harry takes in his – he doesn't want to call it a story, but to Harry, Sirius knows that that's exactly what that was.

"You knew what to look for then?" Harry sighs as he looks up at Sirius and Sirius nods with a small smile.

"Yes. And I know you're wondering why I didn't say anything sooner to you, and well, it's kind of obvious." Sirius chuckles darkly as Harry looks away and blushes.

"It is?"

"Of course it is, kiddo." Sirius smiles. "I didn't say anything sooner because I know what it's like, to not want anyone to know your deep dark secret." Sirius finishes as Harry looks away.

"I know what it's like to feel the shame of knowing you weren't good enough, to feel the constant thoughts of are you good enough for the people you do have." Sirius finishes as Harry looks up at him once more.

"Did everyone downstairs hear me?" Harry questions.

"We heard bits and pieces of your nightmare, but –"

"But in general people got the gist of it?" Harry sighs in disappointment as Sirius smiles sadly at his godson.

"And even if they didn't, they would have anyways when I told Molly off for trying to come up here and comfort you herself," Sirius snorts in disgust, knowing that Molly was the opposite of what Harry had needed. And from the looks of how Harry's eyes widen, Sirius knows he's made the right choice.

The two remain in silence for the next twenty minutes and when Sirius is sure Harry has fallen back to sleep, he's surprised to notice Harry shift and look at him.

"Will you stay with me tonight, Siri?" Harry questions, sounding like the scared child he never had the chance to be. Sirius smiles at his godson, eyes watering slightly as he nods his head and extinguishes the candles with a flick of his wand and settles into the bed with his godson.

***

When Harry woke up the next morning, he wasn't surprised to see that he was alone in his bed. However, he was surprised to still feel the warmth from where Sirius had fallen asleep and he was surprised to see that the bedroom door was opened. The one thing that was most surprising was that the house seemed to be eerily quiet. Harry was so used to hearing Mrs. Black screaming or even Mrs. Weasley screaming – usually, annoyingly so, at Sirius – that the quietness was unwelcome. As Harry slowly climbed out of bed, he was hesitant to walk past the door and down the stairs, not wanting to break the silence by accident. Within minutes, he makes it to the kitchen and –

Merlin, the sight that greets him is the only unsurprising thing this morning so far. In front of him, on two separate ends of the long table in the kitchen is Mrs. Weasley and Sirius. It's obvious that the two of them are in a standoff, with Mrs. Weasley's hands on her hips with her lips pursed and brow furrowed angrily. Across from her, and close to where Harry entered is his godfather.

Sirius' fists are clenched and on the table, though Harry can see Sirius opening and closing his hands as he tries to calm himself down. His eyes are squinted and narrow, a dark gleam obvious in them. Surrounding the two of them is the rest of the Weasley's except for Percy, Bill and Charlie and the Order, except for Snape.

"What's going on?" Harry questions hesitantly as he watches Molly huff and Sirius tighten his glare in obvious anger. The room remain quiets as Harry looks at Ron, who shrugs meekly. Next to Ron is Hermione, who has a blush on her face and seems to be glaring openly at Sirius too, which, what?

"Why is everyone glaring at Sirius?" Harry questions after he notices that most of the order is also doing the same, except for Remus, who just looks resigned.

"Harry dear, were you alright last night?" Molly questions while looking at Harry with patience. Harry furrows his brow briefly before he nods his head and looks towards Sirius for help. Sirius can only sigh and shake his head slightly, which causes Molly to glare at Sirius once more.

"I was fine Mrs. Weasley," Harry interrupts as he tries to get Mrs. Weasley's attention off of his godfather. It works when she turns back towards him and lets out a smile.

"Do you want to talk about your nightmares, dear? I can talk to kids about nightmares quite well, if you need a parent to talk to." Molly states as Harry grimaces and tries to calm down. He knows what Mrs. Weasley is trying to do – discrediting Sirius as a parental role – and it angers him because Sirius – Sirius is the best.

"I talked about my nightmares last night, Mrs. Weasley," Harry begins coldly with his eyes narrowing as Remus, Ron and Hermione's own eyes widen, recognizing the angry burst that is about to occur. Mrs. Weasley, seemingly unaware, tilts her head in confusion.

"Oh?"

"Yes. With my parent. Sirius." Harry says with a clipped tone as Molly starts to fiddle around the kitchen. Out of the corner of his eye, Harry notices Sirius is smiling at him and he can't help but smile back.

"Harry dear, your—" Molly begins before Sirius surprises everyone by slamming his fist down on the table. The room remains quiet for a few seconds before Harry, still glaring, responds to what Molly would have said.

"Yes, my parents are dead. However Mrs. Weasley; my parents also made Sirius my godfather and it is him that I think of as another father. It is him that I go to when my nightmares occur, and it is him, who I tell what happens in my nightmares to, not you." Harry finishes with a steely glint as Molly opens and closes her mouth like a fish out of water. The room remains quiet, surprise written on everyone's faces as no one expected Harry to stand up to Mrs. Weasley, and Harry can't help but grin.

He's just about to turn and walk towards Sirius when Mrs. Weasley starts to say something causing him to immediately stop and try and breathe through it.

"He has no experience handling night—"

"He has experience with me, Mrs. Weasley," Harry snaps while Sirius steps up next to him and rubs the spot between his shoulders, trying to calm him down, "And that's completely enough for me."

Chapter Text

The room remained quiet, eyes flittering between Harry and Molly. It was obvious with one look that Harry was furious and while clenching his fists, was trying to remain calm. It helped, of course, that Sirius was currently rubbing his back in a soothing manner while glaring across the room at Molly. Everyone in the room thought that Molly was smart enough to not say anything after Harry had said that Sirius having experience was good enough for him, but she proved everyone wrong just after that.

"And that's completely enough for me," Harry finishes, narrowing his eyes. For the past three years, he's allowed Mrs. Weasley to mother him, mostly out of a sense of duty towards Ron. Now though, he can't help but wonder if maybe he should have put a stop to it, especially once he started getting closer to Sirius.

If he wasn't paying attention, he would have missed what Mrs. Weasley had said next. Unfortunately for her, and fortunately for him, he had heard what she said next, as it changed his views of his best friend's mom for good.

"Harry dear, he's unfit to be a guardian of any kind towards you, especially a parent. He's unhinged, insane, a murderer, the reason your parent's are—"

Having heard enough, Harry ended up yelling at Mrs. Weasley for the first time in his life. He just couldn't understand why she would say something so cruel about his godfather, knowing the horrors he must have lived through.

"First off, Mrs. Weasley, Peter Pettigrew is the reason my parents are dead. My godfather has never been at fault and that is something I whole-heartedly believe. Having you go around telling him otherwise is helping no one, especially yourself," Harry seethes as half-moon circles begin to form on his palms from clenching his fists extremely tight.

Noticing Mrs. Weasley open her mouth to speak further, Harry narrows his eyes and continues his own speech, "Secondly, of course Sirius is a little unhinged and insane. He spent twelve fucking years in Azkaban—"

Molly ends up opening her mouth once more to tell him off for swearing, but Harry continues on, unimpressed, "And then he had to come back in this hell-hole and be imprisoned again. I'd be more worried if my godfather was completely fine. Lastly, despite everything, Sirius is my godfather. He's the person my parents entrusted my life with, and he has not once shown that he wasn't up for the task. For bloody sake, he lived off of rats for me, Mrs. Weasley. You don't have to like it and you don't have to like Sirius, but you do have to learn to shut up about his parenting skills with me. Because so far, he's doing everything correctly." Harry snaps with wide eyes as the room continues to look between the angry duo.

By now however, Molly couldn't seem to keep quiet about her thoughts on Sirius as Harry's guardian.

"Harry, Sirius isn't right for you as a guardian or parent. He's brash and doesn't think things through, always doing something before asking questions—"

"I'M BRASH AND DON'T THINK THINGS THROUGH!" Harry interrupts, but Molly continues on like she doesn't hear him.

"—He's of no use to the order, always drinking and brooding about—"

"I ALWAYS BROOD!"

"—And honestly, he has no experience when it comes to dealing with adolescents—"

"ENOUGH!" Harry shouts, as a spell explodes out of his wand, showing just how angry he is.

And now, with everyone still watching Harry and Molly; with Sirius still trying to keep his godson calm, despite wanting to be angry for himself, Molly finally quiets herself with wide, surprised eyes. Harry is panting, fists still clenched and all around him, the Order and the other Weasley's are silent. Harry notices the twins slowly inching away from Molly; Ron has wide eyes and looks angry on Sirius' behalf; Ginny had been nodding slightly in agreement with her mother; Arthur, Bill and Charlie had looked at Molly, appalled by what she was saying; Hermione was also inching away from Molly, though biting her lip, hesitant, as she believed some things Molly had said.

On the opposite side of the room was the rest of the order. Tonks currently looked furious, wanting to hex Molly right then and there for suggesting such things about her cousin. Remus was also looking furious but was also hesitant, and the reasoning was clear why. Despite knowing better, he believed that Molly made some good points, but knew that Harry loved Sirius as the father he never had, and was angry over the fact that it seemed like Molly was trying to prove otherwise. The others had anger all over their faces for saying such harsh things about Sirius, and to Harry of all people, but knew that they should let Harry handle this one by himself.

"Harry—" Molly begins, stopping when she notices Harry raise his wand.

"No, Mrs. Weasley." Harry interrupts, not wanting to hear her talking anymore about his godfather. He has to breath in order to calm himself down and smiles towards Sirius when he finally registers the fact that his godfather is still rubbing his back soothingly. He takes in a few more deep breaths, focusing on the feel of Sirius' hand rubbing slow circles in the middle of his back before smiling once more, this time to the people around him.

Instantly, the room is no longer tense. Instead, there's some magic stirring in the air, but almost subconsciously, everyone realizes that the magic is doing its best to keep the room calm, and make sure nothing is said that could seriously hurt anyone.

"Mrs. Weasley, for the past three years, I've appreciated everything you've done for me. You've given me Christmas gifts when you didn't have to; you've let me stay at your house when you've barely known me; you've bought my school supplies, even when you've had your own kids to buy for. You've fed me, albeit, a little much, but you've still fed me," Harry begins hesitantly, wanting to get this over with.

"That being said, you're not my mother. You're not my parent, you're not my guardian –you're probably not even a blip on my parents' wills. While you might feel like you have a right to ordering me around because everything you've done for me, you truly don't." Harry says slowly. Unbeknownst to him, everyone around him is staring at him in shock and nodding their heads, knowing how true his statement is. Molly herself is staring at Harry with wide eyes – eyes that are beginning to water. She's about to say something but before she can even open her mouth, Harry continues with his speech.

"And you might not like Sirius but Mrs. Weasley? I love him." Harry says with a quiver in his voice, avoiding Sirius' gaze, as he hasn't exactly said that before today.

"He's the one person who has been there for me, through everything. He's the one person who sees me as Harry. Not my stupid 'boy-who-lived' moniker, or James, despite what you think," Harry breathes, beginning to become worked up again.

"He's the one person who calms me down when I need it and lets me shout and be angry when I need it. He treats me like the teenager I am. Whether I need him to be a best friend or a parent, he gets it, Mrs. Weasley. And, I'm sorry to say this, but you don't." Harry says before looking at Sirius briefly.

"I think of him as my father, Mrs. Weasley. And that's not going to change anytime soon, no matter what you scream." He finishes. He notices for the first time that Mrs. Weasley appears to be in tears. Around her, most of the Weasley's are grinning and Hermione is also crying, but she's smiling apologetically at Harry, and he understands. Kind of. The order members are also grinning, Remus included, who happens to be shaking his head in fond exasperation behind Harry.

This, in turn, causes Harry to look towards Sirius, who has a grin on his face so wide. It reminds Harry of when he agreed to live with Sirius back in third year, and he can't help but grin in return. Sirius' eyes are shining bright, the haunted look no longer showing throughout them.

Briefly, he can hear many people leaving the kitchen, muttering about how they'll come back for the order meeting in a little while and Harry lets out a soft smile before leaning against Sirius' shoulder for support.

"Harry," Sirius whispers while brushing his fingers through Harry's hair, causing him to hum contently.

"I meant it," Harry whispers as he shakes his head lightly before looking at his godfather. "Every word of it, Sirius. I meant it."

"I know," Sirius smiles before pulling Harry into a tight hug. Harry knew that the two didn't need to say any more than that. The two of them had a sacred bond towards one another – a bond that was so important to the wizarding world that the picking of the godparents was vital. And for the first time in all of Harry's fifteen years, he returned a hug. Not because of the bond, though it did help, but because he felt safe returning said hug.  He felt loved. And it was an odd feeling, something he knew he would need to get used to. But with Sirius by his side, he knew he could do it.

Eventually, Harry let go of Sirius, despite not wanting to, as many of the order members who weren't there before were tinkling in. Dumbledore, Snape and McGonagall were the first three. McGonagall could be seen with a watery smile, Snape with an oh-so-obvious sneer and Dumbledore, surprisingly enough, with a frown. Deciding not to think about that for too long, Harry sighed and began to walk out of the kitchen, knowing he was going to be kicked out by Molly and eventually, Dumbledore anyways.

However, before he could get far, he hears Sirius ask him to stay and turns around in surprise, eyes wide and mouth open.

"How come?" He questions while moving back towards Sirius' side, as Sirius winks and turns towards Dumbledore and Molly, who had just arrived, looking quite upset still.

"I know you won't like this Molly, but can we please bring your kids down here for this meeting? I want to discuss Harry's abuse at the Dursley's and feel like they can help with the discussion." Sirius says before turning towards Harry.

"I know you won't like this, kiddo." Sirius whispers while Harry bites his lip and nods slightly. "But I have a plan, and I need you to trust me, alright?" Sirius finishes as Harry nods once again.

"Will it work?" Harry asks, unsure and Sirius smiles.

"I believe so." He replies before noticing that many people are now in the kitchen, waiting for Harry and him. With a smile, he steers Harry to the table, and the two of them sit down, ready to begin the next order meeting.

And despite the hesitancy, Harry sits down not knowing that after this meeting, everything in his life will be turned upside down.

Turned upside down for the better, though, thankfully.