Tears streamed down his face as he took in the scene around him. The house was completely destroyed. There was still ash and debris in the air. Only a shell remained of what had once been a warm and happy home.
Sirius parked his motorcycle outside of what had been his best friend’s house. He needed to see for himself if the rumors were really true. James and Lily could not be dead. They just couldn’t be! Some part of him hoped this was some sort of a cruel Halloween joke. Inside however, Sirius knew that no one was playing a joke.
He carefully stepped over the smoking threshold and went into what had been the foyer. He saw the outline of a body in the next room, and he had to stop himself from heaving. It wasn’t the sight of a body that nearly made him sick, it was the fact that the body belonged to his best friend. Sirius could not determine whether or not he should go closer and see James, when he suddenly heard crying from upstairs.
Immediately Sirius ran up the broken staircase and into the second bedroom. The roof had been blasted off the house leaving the room open to the cold night air. Two of the walls were crumbling in, and the floor was hard to navigate because of the plaster and holes everywhere. Sirius saw the scene that he had both feared and hoped for. Lily, James’s wife was dead at the foot of a still intact crib. And inside the crib a young boy of around one year of age clutched the bars crying.
Sirius found a blanket on the side of the crib and scooped up the little boy. He held him close for a moment soothing him. Sirius brushed a hand to the boy’s forehead where a lightning shaped scar had appeared.
“Oh, Harry. It’s alright. I’ve got you. You’ll be safe now.” Sirius murmured to the small boy. Harry who was in familiar arms now, quieted and yawned.
“That’s right. Go to sleep. Everything will be alright.” Sirius turned and carefully surveyed the room before deciding to exit. He frowned, wondering what his next step was.
Downstairs he heard a crash and a not so quiet curse. Pulling out his wand Sirius made his way cautiously downstairs with the now wide awake Harry tucked safely in his arm.
“Who’s there?” Sirius called out once he reached the bottom of the staircase.
“Oy. ‘tis only me.” Sirius put his wand away at the familiar voice, and stepped into the destroyed living room.
“Hagrid? What are you doing here?” He asked the giant, hairy man standing before him.
“Professor Dumbledore’s asked me to collect ‘arry. I’m to take ‘im to ‘is aunt and uncle. The Dursey’s or somit like that.” Hagrid replied.
“You were only supposed to collect Harry? Because you know I could take him. I am his godfather after all.” Sirius said to Hagrid carefully.
“Dumbledore’s orders was to collect Harry and take ‘im to the Dursey’s. C-c-cause of what’s ‘appened. It’s... it’s so ‘orrible what’s ‘appened to poor James and Lily.” Hagrid bemoaned.
Sirius nodded trying not to let another tear fall. He stepped closer to Hagrid silently offering Harry, who was looking up at the tall man with interest. Hagrid took Harry from Sirius, cradling the boy in his massive hands.
“I’m so sorry. Sirius, I know ‘ow close you were to them. It’ll be alrigh’, You Know Who is dead and ‘arry will grow up a hero. James and Lily would be so proud of their son. An’ they would want what’s best for, for ‘im. His aunt and uncle they’ll t-t-take c-care of ‘im!” Hagrid was crying by the end of his comfort speech and Sirius awkwardly put a hand to Hagrid’s back in an attempt to offer his own comfort to the giant.
“It’s okay Hagrid. You’re right. James and Lily would want what was best for their son. And I’m sure Dumbledore knows what’s best. Take my bike. It’s outside. It will get you to Harry’s relatives faster.” Hagrid wiped his eyes and pulled out a handkerchief the size of a table cloth and loudly blew his nose.
“Are ya sure Sirius? Your bike? You love that bike!” Hagrid asked a little bit stunned by the offer.
“I won’t be needing it anymore Hagrid. Take it.” Sirius said softly. Sirius cast an engorgement charm on the bike so it could support Hagrid's frame. Hagrid nodded and went to sit on the bike, which still groaned a little under his massive weight.
“I’ll return it to you! Don’t worry.” He called as he carefully placed Harry in his lap, one hand on the bike the other cradling the small child. Sirius watched as Hagrid kicked off the ground and the bike roared to life. It was soon in the air and Sirius watched until he could no longer see it.
Sirius turned back to the house. He had unfinished business there. Dumbledore had only told Hagrid to collect Harry. Sirius didn’t want to think about what that could mean. Sirius walked past the empty foyer and quickly crossed into the room where James was.
“It wasn’t supposed to be like this.” He whispered to his friend’s body.
“Wormtail was supposed to be extra protection. I didn’t know he would betray all of us. That he would have betrayed you! It should have been me. I should have died not you! Not Lily! Not-” Sirius stopped when he heard a small cry coming from James’s body.
It couldn’t be. It was impossible! Dumbledore had only asked for Harry.
Sirius stepped closer to James. He saw that his friend had died hunched over something. Sirius carefully moved James’s body, laying him flat on the floor. He could not believe his eyes. Underneath James was a small bundle of blankets. Sirius slowly and carefully picked up the small bundle.
“I can’t believe it.” He whispered as fresh tears streamed down his face. This time though the tears were those of relief.
“Let’s get you someplace safe.” He turned and exited the house. He allowed himself one last look, before leaving his best friend, his best friend’s wife, and their destroyed home forever.
Sirius made his way around the block carrying the bundle of blankets close to his chest. He needed to get out of Godrick’s Hollow. The ministry would be there soon and they would be looking to question him. He saw what appeared to be an empty house ahead of him and thinking fast, he decided to enter.
The house was indeed empty and Sirius knew he only had moments to decide the future for him and for the little bundle in his arms. Sirius took out an old piece of parchment from his cloak and scribbled a hasty note. He then took out his wand and watched as the note curled up in flames.
Sirius only waited a moment before he received a reply. A new piece of parchment appeared out of the ashes of the old piece.
‘Meet me in the Leaky Cauldron. I’m waiting. - Jack’
Sirius took the note and burned it, this time for real. Then he made his way over to the empty fireplace and lit a fire. Pulling some green powder out of a small pouch that he always kept on him, he tossed the powder into the flames. When the fire turned green he stepped inside.
“Leaky Cauldron.” He said loudly and clearly. Then he started spinning. Past many other fireplaces and burning hearths, he clutched the bundle tighter to his chest. When the spinning stopped, Sirius calmly walked out of the fireplace and into a dimly lit pub.
The Leaky Cauldron was packed. Wizards and witches were celebrating in a way that they had not celebrated in years. Toasts were being made. Laughter could be heard from all sides of the bar. And there were many people crying tears of joy. For them today was a happy day. Today was the day the Dark Lord perished. Today was the day that the war was over. Fear and uncertainty put behind them. Never mind that He Who Must Not Be Named’s death came with a price. Never mind that Sirius had lost his best friend today. Or that the young Potter boy had lost his parents. No. Never mind all that. Today was a day of joy. Today was a day for parties and celebration.
Sirius bitterly glanced over the bar. In a small dark corner he found what, or rather who he was looking for. Passing by the many witches and wizards in the bar, Sirius made his
way to the corner.
“Jack.” The man turned, and Sirius came to stand directly in front of the table that the man occupied by himself. The man, Jack, picked up a mug of butterbeer. He motioned to the bartender and got another mug for Sirius.
“Are you alone tonight?” Sirius asked the man before him.
“Where’s your wife? Shouldn’t she be here too?” Jack looked at Sirius for a moment before replying.
“Lydia stayed behind with Cooper, they are packing up our house. We're moving back to America. There's too many memories here. It’s time for us to move on.” Sirius noticed the bitterness in Jack’s words, before taking a seat across from him.
Jack and Lydia had come to England shortly after their oldest son Cooper was born. England was one of the main centers of magical life and they wanted Cooper to experience the magical childhood they had been deprived of in America. America's wizards were too spread out for them not to be involved in the muggle world. In England Cooper could have had a solely wizard upbringing. However tragedy after tragedy struck England, and unfortunately for Jack and Lydia tragedy and despair did not escape them either. Death Eaters had come for them, soon after the birth of their daughter. She had been killed as a warning to them that they must choose a side. The Anderson's had turned to the Order then, but Lydia had not truly recovered.
“I’m sorry, Jack. I really am. That’s why I contacted you first. I could have asked Remus but that wouldn’t have been fair to him or the boy.” For the first time since Sirius arrived in the Leaky Cauldron, Jack looked down at the bundle of blankets in Sirius’s hands.
“That’s him then?” That’s the second Potter boy?” Jack asked quietly.
“Quiet! Be careful! No one can know. But yes this is him.” Sirius said shushing Jack quickly looking around to check that they were not being overheard. The witches and wizards surrounding them remained unaware of the important conversation that was taking place, they were too busy drinking and celebrating.
“What’s his name?” Sirius looked at Jack, really looked at him, deciding whether or not the young infant in his arms was going to be safe with the man in front of him.
“Blaine.” he said after a moment’s hesitation.
“Blaine.” Jack repeated. “Blaine Anderson. It has a nice ring to it.” Sirius allowed himself a smile at Jack’s words.
“So I take it that you will care for him. You will take him as your son. Raise him, love him and protect him.” Sirius stated.
“He will be like my own. In fact he won’t know that he is not my own.” Jack said solemnly.
“Swear it. I want an unbreakable vow.” Sirius said moving Blaine to his left arm so that his right was on the table facing Jack.
“We need a third witch or wizard for an unbreakable vow, it is impossible for us now. But Sirius I swear that Blaine will grow up with the best that I can offer. His life from now on will be a good one.”
Sirius stared at Jack hard, and saw nothing but honesty in his hazel eyes. Eyes that were so similar to James. Eyes that were almost identical to the small infant in his arms. Sirius had chosen Jack for a number of reasons but one of the most important reasons was that Jack closely resembled James in looks. It would not be difficult for people to believe that Blaine was Jack’s biological son.
Sirius passed the sleeping baby over the table and Jack picked him up gingerly. Blaine squirmed for a moment before nuzzling into Jack’s robes and falling back into a deep slumber.
“Hello Blaine. Daddy’s here. Nothing is going to hurt you now.” Sirius watched the moment between Jack and Blaine with approval.
Jack and Lydia Anderson were going to be great parents for Blaine. He had made the right choice, he knew it all the way through to his core. Jack picked up his neglected drink and motioned for Sirius to do the same.
“To new life and new dreams with the new day.” Jack said toasting Sirius’s mug.
“To James and Lily. May they never be forgotten and may their sacrifice not be in vain!” Sirius concluded taking a gulp of the warm liquid.
“What about the other son? What about Harry?” Jack asked putting his drink down.
“Don’t worry about him. He isn’t your concern. Dumbledore is taking care of it as we speak.” Sirius said not willing to give out more information than he had to.
“Dumbledore.” Jack said slowly. “ Is he aware of this arrangement?” He continued to Sirius.
“I don’t claim to know what the old man knows or doesn’t know. But at the moment I don’t think he is aware that Blaine is even alive, let alone about this agreement.” Sirius said seriously. Jack paused, taking in what Sirius had said. This meant that he and Lydia really could start over. Nothing and no one was going to connect them to their past and to England. Unless...
“Are you going to stay in England then Sirius? Or will we be seeing you?” Jack said not missing how Sirius had gazed fondly at his second godson. Sirius thought for a moment before shaking his head.
“I still have business to attend to here. Once I have dealt with it I will plan my next move.” Anger flashed through Sirius’s eyes as he remembered exactly what business he had to deal with. Pettigrew was going to regret betraying James and Lily. Sirius was going to make sure it was the last thing Pettigrew ever did!
“Alright, then until the next time. Oh and Sirius thank you. Really.” Sirius heard the sincerity in Jack’s words and he smiled warmly at the man.
“Just take care of him. Raise him well, and don’t forget James and Lily.” Sirius looked down at Blaine one last time. Blaine’s eyes were open and for a moment Sirius could have sworn that he saw a strange red flash in the infants eyes. But then in the next moment Blaine had closed his eyes and he had fallen asleep again. Sirius decided it must have been a trick of the light. He stood and left the bar. Disapparating when he got outside.
Jack watched his son’s godfather disappear and got up to depart as well. Lydia would be ecstatic when he arrived home with Blaine. She too would realize that they could finally start to rebuild their lives. That they too could have a happy ending.
“Let’s go home, son.” Jack said to the small child in his arms.