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The Sacred Grimmauld Place Dinner

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Spring 2022

It was the first day of Easter Hols, a Saturday, and Sirius was frying eggs when Dora surprised him, as he hadn’t expected to see her awake before noon.

“Dora?” he asked noted her (somewhat newly) shaved head bent over the table, seemingly reading something. She lifted her head and Sirius was taken aback to see tears clouding his feisty, stoic daughter’s eyes.

“Dad?” she began, fidgeting her hands around. “I...I just found out..” Sirius’s heart started racing--was could she have found out? She was only fifteen, could she possibly be pregnant? She calmed his heart racing when she added, “I got a few Trolls on some recent assignments.”

Except--wait a second--

“Trolls!” Sirius bellowed. Dora cringed in response. “Your Da and I try everything to help you, you tell us for years that you’re getting all A’s and O’s and all of the sudden, just before OWLS, you’re talking about Trolls!? You’re grounded for all of hols, young lady.”

Dora looked, to Sirius’s dismay, as though she was about to cry. “Dad, I’m sorry, it’s just that I’ve felt such a pressure to measure up to Teddy in my OWLS…” Sirius held up a hand, Dora’s supposed idolized mention of Teddy clueing him in.

“Dora…I’m incredibly disappointed in you,” Sirius began, glaring at his ‘daughter.’ “Or should I say, Teddy?”

All at once, his daughter shot up, her buzzed hair grew out to chin length, became bright blue, and her Black family nose turned into what was entirely a Lupin nose. Sirius narrowed his eyes at his son.

“Really, Ted? Almost twenty-four and you’re still trying to get your sister grounded? Anyway, you should’ve said her line about Al and Scorpius, not you.” he asked in a well-practiced long suffering tone. Teddy’s face split into a wide grin and he shrugged nonchalantly as he tied his hair up into a practiced Bill Weasley-esque bun.

“Bet you a Knut she says that within twenty minutes of waking up. Anyway, you and Da are always telling me to use my skills,” he tried. Sirius glared at him.

“We say that about Apparation. In respect to you apparating out of a situation. When you are in danger. And we only say that when you are in Mungo’s because you did not apparate out of a dangerous situation.”

“Hazards of the job, Pops,” Teddy smirked. “Say, when you were my age, would you say you were in a dangerous situation without Apparating out of it? Like, I dunno, being cornered in a street, cackling, and getting framed for murder instead of leaving and not getting arrested?”

Sirius gestured threateningly with his wand, although he and Ted both knew that it was all bark. “We. Don’t. Use. Azkaban. Against. Me.” Teddy just cackled at him.

A door down the hallway banged just as Sirius was about to try his hand at Ginny Potter’s infamous Bat Bogey Hex technique and the real Dora ambled into the room. Her steps were shuffling and her eyes were bleary, but she managed a few syllables. “Dad, Ted,” she muttered. “Coffee?”

“Oh, yeah, do we have any?” Teddy asked, smiling as though he hadn’t been taunting Sirius moments earlier. Sirius set to making coffee, grumbling about ungrateful children and American swill as he did so.

It took Dora another ten minutes and a full cup of coffee to form full sentences, at which point she apparently came to a realization. “Teddy, why are you here? You don’t live here,” she asked.

“Came by to see you, idiot,” Teddy tousled her buzzed hair affectionately. “I wanted to see everyone before we’re overwhelmed by Potters and Grangers and Weasleys tonight at Grimmauld and you’re given the third degree.” The Grimmauld Place dinner was a tradition that Harry had started with Teddy’s first year of school, where the first Saturday of every holidays, he insisted on hosting a dinner where they would talk, mostly, about the term. Harry had claimed he didn’t see Remus enough, and that he wanted to spend time with him as well as his godson and godfather. There had been some protests as to the redundancy between Sirius and Harry both teaching at Hogwarts, but Hermione and Ron had happily taken to the idea, insisting that they wanted to see Teddy ‘at least a few times a year without the whole Weasley family.’ Since then, it had been a staple.

“You’re going to be interrogated too, you just got that Auror promotion!” Dora pointed out.

“The Malfoys are coming too,” Sirius added. “Al asked if Scorpius could come along anyway so we told Malfoy senior to join.” He was surprised it had taken this long, honestly--Al and Scorpius had been best friends for years. Perhaps they had bonded over having the worst names known to mankind. Seriously. Sirius was pretty sure Harry had waited until Ginny was hopped up on potions and childbirth to get her to agree to the name.

He noticed a familiar, sneaky look pass across Dora’s face as she glanced away.

“No pranks tonight,” he said, pointing a finger at her and internally cursing himself. “I know you and Scorp and Al have some strange rivalry going, but you don’t need to go exploding things in Harry’s kitchen.

“It’s not strange, they’re only a year older than me and I am capable of outwitting them in every way, shape, and form and I just want to remind them,” Dora grumbled, with Teddy mouthing along. Sirius had to bite back a chuckle and dug out a Knut from his pocket, handing it to Teddy.

***

That evening found the Lupin-Blacks, Remus rescued from the shop, standing at the door of Sirius’s now-almost-unrecognizable childhood home.

“Hi everyone!” Ginny flung open the door with a characteristic lack of care. Sirius flinched in advance as the swinging front door knocked over the coat rack in the entry hall. Thank Merlin the portrait of his mother had been long since blasted away, literally.

“Hey Gin,” Teddy smiled, kissing her on the cheek and handing her some flowers that he had somehow kept hidden until that precise moment before sidling past her. “Jamie!” he bellowed into the house, all sense of decorum gone.

“Hi Aunt Ginny!” Dora smiled. “Do you like my hair?”

“Very short, perfect for Quidditch,” Ginny said with approval. “Have you been made Beater of the Year yet?” To both Remus and Sirius’s surprise, as Sirius had played Chaser and Remus had quite insistently not played Quidditch at all, Dora had become a very good Beater for the Gryffindor team. Sirius suspected that at least part of her rapid success had to do with Al’s position as seeker on the Slytherin team--she was maniacal about competition. Sirius was pleased. Teddy could barely stay on a broom, so he had assumed that Remus’s lack of sports ability was hereditary, but perhaps that was more Tonks’s influence than anything. Good thing, too, Sirius wasn’t sure if he could root for Hufflepuff against his own house.

Dora laughed. “You know that’s not a thing.”

“Two more years and I bet the Harpies will be headed your way,” Ginny elbowed her as they followed her in the house.

“No fear!” Dora scoffed. “I want to play for the Cannons, anyway.” Ginny, Remus, and Sirius groaned--Ron had unfortunately made it his mission to turn all children he was around into Cannons fans. Dora was probably his biggest success.

“We brought wine,” Remus announced while they could still get a word in before the inevitable argument.

“Give it to Harry, he’s the hostess,” she said, grinning over her shoulder. “I’m just here to talk Quidditch.”

“Where is my wayward godson?” Sirius asked, noting a significant lack of Harry in the kitchen. Ginny rolled her eyes.

“My husband,” she began--a term she only used when he was being particularly irritating, “has decided that we are to eat food that is not only traditionally Muggle but traditionally American, after a talk with that American exchange student. He’s in the yard drilling hamburgers or something.”

“Grilling,” Remus chuckled. “He’s taken to grilling.”

Sure enough, they found Harry with a tacky apron that Ron had indubitably given him as a gag gift standing over a grill in the garden in the back of Grimmauld place.

“Haz, no offense, but I don’t think your chest looks like that anymore,” Sirius pointed out. The apron featured a shirtless, very fit chest with a Hungarian Horntail emblazoned over the heart, and sparking letters which ordered the viewer to “KISS THE CHOSEN CHEF.” It was entirely the wrong skin tone, hairless in a way that Sirius knew was certainly not a Potter trait, and in general an atrocity. It was also sold by Weasley’s Wizard Wheezes, to Ron and George’s endless delight and Harry’s irritation, as part of the “Chosen Collection” that they had developed specifically to fuck with Harry.

“Never did, I was too busy being malnourished and fighting Dark Wizards to do sit-ups,” Harry shot him a V without looking up. “Try telling Ron and George that though--they’ve added a whole new branch of the Chosen Collection called ‘For Witches Only’ that I’m afraid to even look at.”

“That’s offensive,” Remus put in. Harry looked up, seeming happy to have found some kind of support. The happiness was momentary, however, as Remus followed with, “What about wizards who like wizards? I’m pretty sure I read in Wizards Weekly that you’re the ‘Most Likely Closet Case in the Wizarding World.’” Harry sputtered, flushing red.

“Hey Re, how do you think Lily and James would feel knowing they died just so dirty wizards can yank their wands to the Chosen Son?” Remus burst out laughing and Sirius joined him at the horrified look on Harry's face.

“Oh, fuck off,” Harry grumbled. “I didn’t help him bring you back from the fucking dead for this.”

***

An hour or so later found the Granger-Weasleys, Potters, Lupin-Blacks and, newly, Malfoys, seated around the table in the ‘formal’ dining room, attempting to eat with various success the ‘hot dogs’ and hamburgers that Harry had grilled. Despite his somewhat regular inclusion in family gatherings because of his relation to Teddy and later, invaluable role in Dora’s birth, not to mention the fact that he taught with both Harry and Sirius, Draco Malfoy looked completely horrified by the general table manners. Ron flicking bits of chips at him was probably not helpful.  Lily, who was having a vegetarian phase, (not unlike her namesake’s short-lived attempt for a month in seventh year) was eating a veggie burger with a prim look on her face, ruined by Hugo’s near-constant attempts to swap their plates. Dora was seated in between Lily and Scorpius, and had--as far as Sirius could tell--not hexed either Scorpius or Albus yet, but was shooting glances at them through narrowed eyes. James and Teddy were deep in conversation about something. Hermione was attempting to draw Malfoy into some kind of conversation with herself and Remus across the table from him--probably about the legal work she was doing to try to regulate distribution of Wolfsbane Potion, it was her latest topic--and Sirius himself was enjoying a lively debate with Ginny and Ron about Quidditch.

“So…” Harry began, raising a hand to silence the din of the table. The children sat up straighter and Sirius met Remus’s eyes to mouth the Sacred Grimmauld Dinner Words along with his godson. “How has the term been?”

The Sacred Grimmauld Dinner Rules were such: one person talked at a time and whoever got to speak was determined by who started talked the loudest, fastest. There were to be no questions until all had gone. No veiled insults allowed, as they were usually poorly veiled. All were to remain seated and behave. Teddy, in a reference that Sirius did not understand, had called them the Pirate Code more than once.

To Sirius’s surprise, the first person to try to talk was his daughter.

“So I discovered something very interesting recently,” she announced, smirking. No sooner were the words out of his mouth than Albus suddenly jumped to his feet and interrupted her.

“Scorpius and I have something to say!” He shouted.

Dora, with characteristic persistence, also jumped to her feet. “You’re breaking the rules!”

“More of a guideline,” muttered James, just audibly enough to hear. Teddy chuckled.

“It’s really important! Dora, shut the fuck up!” Albus said, still yelling.

“They’ll find out right now anyway!” Dora yelled right back.

“Everyone stop yelling!” The room fell silent the moment Hermione joined the fray. No matter how kind she was, everyone knew full well what Hermione Granger-Weasley was capable of. Malfoy in particular looked cowed. She turned to Al and Dora, still standing. “Nymphadora, sit down. Albus can go first, as it seems he will not shut up until he does so.”

“McGonagall,” Sirius mouthed to Remus, who chuckled.

“Sirius Black, I saw that.” Hermione snapped. Sirius feigned remorse, which clearly did not fool Hermione, as she continued to glare at him.

“Scorpius and I have something to say!” Albus interrupted what was promising to be a very good scowling match, drawing everyone’s attention back to the commotion at the kids’ end of the table. For the first time, Sirius noticed that Scorpius Malfoy had gone completely white. So, only a tad paler than usual.

“Go ahead, Al,” Harry nodded. Sirius felt a foot kick him under the table and made eye contact once again with his husband, who seemed to be frantically attempting to communicate with meaningful glances between Scorpius and Al that he knew- oh.

Sirius realized about two seconds before Albus spoke again what Remus was trying to communicate. He immediately wanted to yell at himself for being a bad gay grand-godfather/professor/first cousin once removed, because he should have noticed what was going on long ago if they were at the telling-the-family stage.

“Erm, so, as you know, Scorp and I have been friends for a while but recently or at least in the past few months we’ve realized—”

“We’re together,” Scorpius interrupted, rescuing Al from himself. “Like, dating,” he added unnecessarily.

“Here we go,” Remus mouthed, just as the room exploded with sound.

“Why didn’t you warn me!” Malfoy yelled. “A Potter?!”

Ron seemed similarly distraught. “My nephew is dating a MALFOY?!”

“Goddamnit!” Lily shrieked, earning a stern glare from Hermione, which was immediately redirected to her own children, both of whom were also swearing a blue streak. Sirius was slightly taken aback by the strength of their reaction, as none of the kids (or adults) seemed to have a problem with he and Remus, and had not reacted poorly when Teddy came out as queer. Draco’s response was hardly homophobic, as that would be rather hypocritical, but Potter-phobic, but the rest of them…

Ah. The reaction became clear to Sirius as he saw almost all of the kids handing various Sickles, Knuts, and even a few Galleons to his smirking daughter.

Albus has apparently also noticed. “You guys bet on this?!” His exclamation silenced the din as he glared at Dora, who rearranged her smirk into what she probably thought was an innocent smile.

“All’s fair...and was I just going to let what happened last month go by without profiting from it somehow?”

“What happened last month?” Remus put in, his voice a particular Remus Brand that Sirius knew meant he was pretending not to be extremely interested in potential gossip.

Dora grinned. “I walked in on Al and Scorpius in the Room of Requirement,” she explained, waggling her eyebrows as to communicate exactly what was going on in the Room of Requirement.

“You only walked in on us in the Room of Requirement because you and Lavender Boot-Patil were trying to do the same thing. Why else would it show you a room for snogging?” Scorpius pointed out calmly. Sirius gaped.

“Wait a second. Let me get this straight,” Ron began. “You’re gay.” He pointed at Scorpius, who nodded affirmatively. “You’re gay.” He pointed at Albus. “Which is cool, by the way. We don’t care.”

“Bisexual, technically, but yes?” Albus affirmed.

Ron was not to be deterred. He pointed at Sirius and Draco, “You guys are gay.”

“Purebloods rule!” Sirius cheered. Draco just rolled his eyes before giving a quick nod.

“You two are both...bisexual?” Ron gestured at Remus and Teddy. “You too, Harry? Gin?”

“I’m just queer,” Teddy shrugged.

“And now...Dora, you like girls, too?” Ron ended. Dora nodded.

“Come on, Uncle Ron,” she smirked. “It’s 2022. Everyone is at least a little queer. Being straight is so 2010s.”

Ron sputtered a bit. “Is anyone here straight?”

“You and your wife are,” Harry muttered, and Ginny reached across to high-five him. Ron sputtered even more, while Hermione just nodded.

“I am too!” James put in. The table all swivelled to look at him.

“No, no you’re not,” Ron said, after a brief moment of silence. “Even I can tell that.”

“Yeah, literally nobody has ever thought that,” Ginny put in.

“I am!” James protested, looking to Teddy for help. Teddy just shook his head.

“Sorry, Jamie, I can’t back you up here.”

“James. You’ve had a vintage Puddlemere poster of Oliver on your wall since you were five.” Harry pointed out, gently.

“You announced you were going to marry Teddy at the age of six,” Remus added.

“As your teacher, you have been ogling half the boys in your class since you all hit puberty,” Draco pointed out. At this point, James’s ears were going Weasley-red.

“Yeah. Like, I think I should have seen Albus and Scorpius coming, in retrospect. But they hid being gay a lot better than you do,” Sirius jumped in.

“Wait, so you all think this?” James looked from side to side, bewildered.

Rose laid a hand on his shoulder. “Jamie. Have you ever looked twice at a girl?”

“Yes!” James exclaimed. "Just the other day I pointed out to Dom that she had mustard on her tie--oh. You mean romantically? Or...sexually?”

Lily snickered a little bit, and when James looked at her, she merely laughed harder. “You can’t even think about it, James, come on.”

“I can!” James insisted.

“What about that Muggleborn girl in your year?” Albus asked. “She tried out for the Quidditch team this year but didn’t make it? Samantha something?”

“Yeah, she’s dead attractive,” Dora put in. “Just like, imagine having any emotions toward her or whatever. Or any girl. At all.”

James physically flinched at the thought. “Right,” James said, after a pause. “Erm...I think...I might be gay?”

The table burst out in laughter.