Rose Potter had seen a lot of incredible things in her 20 years on the planet. From the moment she was told she was a witch by a half-giant, her life was filled with the unexpected, for better or for worse.
But none of it hurt in the same way this did.
She saw her godfather die in the Battle of Hogwarts, but here he was, behind charmed glass in a ministry holding cell, shouting about someone called Harry.
His eyes were as dark gray as she remembered.
“I’ll take charge of him,” Rose said to Auror Robards, once the spells had already been performed to confirm he was indeed a man and not a monster or a mirage.
“Sorry, Potter. Mysteries has already claimed him as one of theirs, he’s popped through the veil looking strangely alive. The Head Unspeakable is coming back early from her holiday to interrogate him,” Robards replied, looking apologetic.
“No,” Rose said. “He’s my godfather.”
“We don’t know quite what he is yet,” Robards argued.
“I don’t care,” Rose shouted. “He’s mine. After what the Ministry did to him—and me—I’m owed this much.”
“When have I ever asked for anything?” she pleaded with her boss.
“Never,” he said, and she knew she had him.
“I’m asking now,” Rose said. “As the girl who lived, let me talk to him, and set him free if he’s not a danger to anyone.”
“It’s on your head if it is,” Robards said, and gestured for her to go in.
“Thank you,” Rose replied.
Robards put his hands on his temples like she was giving him a headache, so she just pushed past him and hurried into the holding cell.
“Hello, Sirius,” she said quietly, soaking in the sight of him, his dark hair and patrician features and the strong set of his jaw, trying to memorise it again after so long.
He looked at her strangely, like a puzzle he was trying to solve. “Who are you then? If you’re chucking me back to Azkaban, can you at least tell me if Harry is alright first?”
Rose sat down across from him, her chest tight. “No one is sending you back to Azkaban, I promise.”
Sirius snorted, but it wasn’t unattractive. “Sorry if I’m not keen to trust the Ministry at the moment.”
“Right,” Rose said intelligently. “I’m not the ministry—I mean, yes, I’m an Auror now! But do you really not know me Padfoot?”
Sirius stood up straighter at the nickname. “Your face is familiar, but no. Where did you get that name? From my godson?”
Rose took a sharp inhale of breath, and remembered something Hermione had mentioned to her in passing many years ago, how she was reading some treatise on mirror universes.
“Is your godson called Harry then?” she asked him.
“Everyone knows who Harry Potter is,” Sirius said arrogantly. “Let me ask you again, where did you hear the name Padfoot?”
“My father and his best mate Sirius Black along with the traitor Peter Pettigrew became animagi to support Remus Lupin during the fullmoon. My godfather could turn into a big black dog, and he was called Padfoot,” Rose said, as if she was talking to a stranger.
“Godfather,” Sirius muttered, looking at her intently. She met his gaze. “Well, you do look quite a bit like Mrs. Potter.”
“Lily?” she asked.
“Euphemia,” he replied. “James’ mum,” he clarified.
“Ah, right,” Rose said quietly, tucking an unruly lock of dark hair behind her ears. She wondered if Harry knew her.
"You've got your mum's eyes though," Sirius said.
"I've heard," Rose said. He told her that at 13 too.
“Sorry--I expect you get that a lot. But I think I’m quite far from home,” Sirius said eventually, still staring at her. “What’s your name then? You’re clearly a Potter.”
“Rose,” she replied.
“Nice to know that Lily stuck with the flower theme,” Sirius said, a wry smile on his face.
Rose shrugged. “I like my name. It was the only thing that was mine for a long time.”
“It suits you, I bet you have thorns too,” Sirius joked.
“When I need them, sure, ” Rose said, smiling at his sense of humour, so like her own dear godfathers’s.
“And Rose, Harry’s not here, but is Voldemort?” Sirius asked.
She shook her head, and watched his face light up.
“And your parents?” he asked, looking away from her.
“They’ve been dead since I was an infant,” Rose said quietly, the loss still hurting.
“I’m sorry,” Sirius said.
She put her hand up to stop whatever other apologies were set to spill out of his mouth. “Sirius—I’m sure in any universe, whatever happened, it was never truly your fault.”
He barked out a laugh. “That’s kinder than I deserve. When did the war end?” he asked, changing the topic.
“We were able to stop Voldemort two and a half years ago,” she told him, restraining herself from reaching out to touch him to see if he was still real.
“Good,” Sirius said roughly, and he must have caught something in her gaze. “But I didn’t make it that far, did I?”
“No,” she confirmed. He was always so clever. “You died saving the lives of Remus and Tonks in the final battle, Bellatrix hit you with a killing curse just hours before the whole thing was won.”
“Ah. Right. Well, I can’t say I’m happy that that fucking bitch got the better of me out in two universes, but I never thought I would die an old man in my bed,” Sirius said, taking the news of his death in stride.
“No,” Rose said. “But we rarely get what we deserve, do we Sirius?”
He reached out and squeezed her hand. “Very wise, Rose Potter.”
She laughed. “Not sure anyone has ever called me that before, but I’ll take it. Let’s get you out of this cell then, hmm?”
Sirius stood up, and flashed her a grateful smile. “Mind walking me back to the Department of Mysteries? Maybe I’ll be luckier on my next trip through the veil.”
“What? No,” Rose said loudly.
“No,” Rose repeated. “That’s the veil of death, Sirius. Death.”
“Yes, and as you can see, I’ve just come through it and don’t I look fine?” he asked, gesturing to himself.
He did, she thought, if not a bit pale and restless. “What’s to say you’ll be as lucky next time?”
“James once told me fortune favours the stupid, so who knows?” Sirius said. “But Voldemort’s not dead back where I’m from, and I’ve never run from a fight in my life.”
“I know,” Rose replied. “But let me help.”
“Seems like you’ve done enough, haven’t you?” Sirius asked, as he followed her out of the cell and to an empty hallway in the ministry. “You said we defeated Voldemort, but I bet you had a pretty big role in that.”
Rose nodded, not wanting to get into the particulars. They won, but at such a cost. Sirius, Fred, Lavender, Molly. War was hell.
“Excuse me for sounding trite, but I bet wherever he ended up, heaven or hell or someplace else, your godfather was really proud of you,” Sirius said eventually, reaching out to cup her face with his hands.
She let them stay there for a beat too long. “Well, I’ve never been one for sitting on my arse,” Rose joked.
“Of course,” Sirius said.
“And I won’t now,” she promised him.
“Thank you,” Sirius replied.
“I’m not exactly an expert on these things,” Rose warned him.
“What, mirror universes? Is anyone?”
“Maybe,” Rose said with a shrug. “But I bet my best mate Hermione might know what to do—why just jump through the veil when we could somehow figure out a spell or another way to get you there?”
Sirius nodded, but looked unconvinced, like he was still a minute away from transforming into Padfoot and running back into the veil.
Rose grabbed his shoulder, feeling the solid, real weight of him. “Sirius! There must be hundreds, thousands, millions of mirror universes through that veil. There’s one where I’m a boy, your universe, Harry’s universe, but there must be one where we lose, or the Potters never had any children. Or where you went into Slytherin—you weren’t in Slytherin, were you?”
“No, of course not,” Sirius said. “But I’m willing to brave those other worlds if you don’t find the way back. Harry’s only 15, and I may be the world’s most shite godfather, but I need to be there for him.”
“Okay,” Rose said. “Fifteen wasn’t a great year.”
“I’m sorry,” Sirius said, as if it was in any way his fault.
She shrugged. “So I’ll deal with the ministry later, but how about you come stay with me for a bit? I found out that my parents left me another house and well, there’s plenty of room, and a library, and we can OWL Hermione and get started?”
Sirius nodded, and took her outstretched arm, and she took the man who wasn’t her godfather back home, not knowing how she was going to ever give him back to Harry.
“Shh, sweetheart, it’s just a dream,” Sirius said, shaking her out of her nightmare.
“It isn’t,” Rose said, reaching out for his outstretched hand. “Vol—He’s making Draco Malfoy torture someone. Malfoy doesn’t have the stomach for it and he likes to make him squirm, it’s horrible to watch.”
Sirius sighed. “That’s shite.”
“He’s done worse, but I never thought I’d feel this sorry for Malfoy,” Rose muttered. She looked over to where Hermione’s bed was in the tent, it was empty, she must be outside with the locket. “Stay with me?”
“Sure,” Sirius said. “I’ll just be right here until you fall back asleep.”
Rose shook her head, and threw her duvet open, gesturing to the bit of space between the bed and the wall.
“Rose,” he said quietly. “What you’re asking…we can’t.”
“I’m just asking for you to hold me,” Rose snapped, her temper shot, not sure if her anger was her own or Voldemort’s.
"Is that all you want, baby girl?" Sirius asked her, reaching out to tuck an errant curl behind her ear.
"All I want right this second, I'm so tired, please," Rose begged.
“Alright,” Sirius said, climbing in the bed behind her, lying on his side and curling his free arm around her protectively around her midsection.
“Thank you,” Rose whispered, feeling loved and safe for the first time in months. His heart was beating too fast, but she didn’t dream for the rest of the night, able to drift off in his arms.
Rose shook off that memory, and stared at this new, strange Sirius who was so familiar. He was looking up at the ceiling, and not at her.
“Is this the lake house?” Sirius asked, looking around her little cottage with the high wood beams and big stained glass windows.
“Yes, it belonged to—
“Dorea and Charlus, I know,” Sirius said, a faraway look on his face. “James and I used to come out here sometimes, we’d go swimming out back for hours.”
“I never knew about them or this place until after the war ended and I got a tax bill for upkeep of a historic property from Gringotts,” Rose confessed.
“What did you do to upset the goblins?” Sirius asked.
“Stole something vital to win the war from Bellatrix Lestrange’s vault and escaped on the back of a dragon,” she confessed.
Sirius broke out into a fit of laughter, barely holding himself upright he was laughing so hard.
His laughter was infectious, and she joined in with him.
“You’re alright, Rose, aren’t you?” Sirius said eventually, and stopped to stare at a photo she had framed over the mantelpiece.
It was of her and Sirius at Bill and Fleur’s wedding, he was twirling her and she was beaming as she went flying into the air. He looked so handsome in his formal robes, and she hated wearing the pink bridesmaid dress Fleur gave her but in the photo, she thought she looked a pretty, if still too skinny.
“How old are you here?” Sirius asked, gesturing to the picture, looking between the moving images and her face.
“Seventeen,” Rose replied.
“That makes me feel a bit better,” Sirius muttered.
“It’s nothing,” Sirius replied.
“That sure sounded like something,” Rose said, taking a step closer to him.
“Were you—and him?” Sirius asked.
"Were we what?" Rose asked.
"Are you going to make me say it? Were you together then?" Sirius asked awkwardly.
“No, we never were,” Rose said.
“Right,” Sirius said, his gray eyes stormy.
“I’m telling the truth,” Rose shot back.
“I don’t think you’re lying,” Sirius replied, and looked back at the photo. “It is nice that I was able to leave bloody Grimmauld Place at some point though, look at your godfather and you outside, in the sunshine!”
Rose was grateful for the change of subject. “Sirius—my Sirius was free for a little while,” Rose explained. “But we had to go on the run again after the ministry fell. You—he was very good at it, always stole us more food than we’d need.”
“Well, I suppose I had practise,” Sirius muttered. He walked toward her and held his hand out like he wanted to give her comfort, and then snatched it back just as quickly. “How bad did it get then? The war?”
“Bad,” Rose confessed.
Sirius swore a blue streak under his breath, and sat down on her leather sofa.
“Exactly,” Rose agreed. “But we’ll get you back so you can do your best to make sure it doesn’t have to be like that for your Harry.”
“Thank you,” Sirius said.
“I’ll just---get Hermione,” Rose said, walking over the floor, not wanting to have him leave but feeling like a warden keeping him trapped in her house like this.
“Hermione Granger’s office,” she shouted into the floo, watching as the shape of her best friend emerged.
“Are the rumours in the ministry true?” Hermione said instead of a hello. “Is Sirius back?”
“No and yes,” Rose replied. “Can you come here please? It’s an emergency.”
Hermione nodded, and a second later, appeared in front of her and Sirius.
“Hello, Sirius,” Hermione said carefully, holding her wand. “Nice to see you again.”
Sirius lifted both of his hands up in surrender. "Hello, Hermione.
Rose stepped out in front of him before Hermione could reply. “He’s not my godfather, but he’s someone’s. Don’t hurt him.”
“I wouldn’t, but it’s not like you could be objective about him,” Hermione replied. “He says he’s from a different universe?”
“He’s right here, and can hear just fine,” Sirius pointed out.
“Sorry for being rude,” Hermione said. “You’re from a different universe?”
“Most likely,” Sirius said with a shrug. “I have a godson, and Voldemort's not dead in my universe, but Rose says she defeated him."
“She did,” Hermione said. “Did you tell him what that victory cost you, Rose?”
She shook her head. “No need to dwell on that. Can we get Sirius back?”
“I think if we make a potion using bits of his old universe—probably hair or blood---sorry Sirius, we should be able to get you back through the veil on a full moon,” Hermione said.
“Probably?” Rose asked.
“The potion is experimental, but allegedly worked in the fifteenth century when another visitor came out of the veil, a lovesick Friar actually,” Hermione explained. “But it’s not as if we could ask him if he turned out fine on the other side.”
“If there’s any chance at all, I’ll take it,” Sirius said. “Let me know what I can do to help.”
“Other than offer your blood, not much,” Hermione said, sighing.
“When’s the full moon then?” Sirius asked.
“Two weeks from today,” Rose said. She usually babysat Teddy on the full moon.
“And there’s no way to make it any sooner?” Sirius asked.
“Unless you want a half-finished potion that could leave you literally anywhere, or in some hellscape where you’re a Death Eater, than no,” Hermione said, not unkindly.
"I'll wait, thank you," Sirius said back, his whole body tense as if he was still poised for a fight.
“There’s plenty of space in the cottage, and I have annual leave saved up so I can keep you company,” Rose offered.
“Thank you,” Sirius offered. “I’ll be out of your hair in no time.”
“Can I speak to you for a minute?” Hermione asked.
Rose nodded, and followed her up the stairs and into the bathroom, and watched as Hermione warded the door against eavesdropping.
“That’s a little overkill, Sirius wouldn’t hurt me,” Rose said.
“Your godfather wouldn’t, this one is a stranger,” Hermione said, squeezing her shoulder gently. “Just because he has his face doesn’t mean he’s back.”
“I know,” Rose replied.
“I’m not touched in the head!” she snapped.
“I don’t think you are, it’s just that I know what he meant to you,” Hermione said firmly.
“I know you were in love with him. I know when you died, that part of you just wanted to rest and stay with him wherever you were,” Hermione replied.
Rose didn’t deny any of it, just looked down at the tiled floor.
“I’m just worried about you, here in this house with Sirius, after you’re finally starting to heal,” Hermione said.
“It hurts less now,” Rose admitted. “But some days I’ll forget and it’ll be like he died all over again.”
“Oh, Rose,” Hermione said, pulling her close in for a hug.
“I think I forget the exact gray of his eyes too, how the colours change,” Rose whispered. “How could I have done that?”
“Human memory is extremely fallible,” Hermione informed her and Rose was so grateful for her best friend.
“Thanks,” Rose whispered. “I’ll be okay, with him here. You don’t need to volunteer to babysit or anything.”
“Okay,” Hermione said, letting go of her. Her face was extremely unimpressed. “What’s he like then?”
“Funny,” Rose said. “Clever---but so tired and so angry too. Like he was when he was trapped at Grimmauld Place all the time.”
Hermione nodded, looking thoughtful. “He’s from a different time too? He mentioned that Voldemort's not dead but when is he from?”
“Four years and a bit years, and a whole mirror dimension separates us,” Rose said. “Is that going to be a problem?”
Hermione sighed. “How much did you tell him?”
“I didn’t draw him a Horcrux map or anything, but I’m willing to,” Rose replied. “Maybe he’s here for a reason.”
“Since when did you believe that fate would do you a favour?” Hermione asked. “Meddling with time’s not generally advisable.”
“We did it before,” Rose pointed out. “To save Sirius once, don’t you remember?”
“Of course I do,” Hermione said with a sigh. “Just—be careful with your knowledge.”
Rose shrugged, not making any promises.
Hermione looked pained, and hugged her again as she apparated goodbye, whispering something about needing to get started on the potion as soon as possible.
Rose walked down the stairs alone.
Sirius was looking at her other photos, pacing around the living room.
“Sorry about that,” Rose said to him.
“It’s fine,” Sirius replied. “Did she warn you that I could be a traitor?”
Rose shook her head. “I think she trusts my judgement in that area, at least.”
Sirius nodded. “But not in others.”
Rose knew she had no sense of self-preservation, either for her body or her heart, but she wasn’t about to tell him that.
She just shrugged. “Are you hungry?”
Sirius met her eyes, and her stomach did a backflip. “I could eat. Turns out dimension travel does something for the appetite.”
Rose nodded, happy for the excuse to cook a meal and do something with her fidgeting hands and take her attention away from her houseguest.
She didn’t know how she could stand two full weeks of this. Hermione was right to worry about her. Her heart could only take so much loss.
To be parted from Sirius for a third time would be too much to take.
Later that evening, Rose took Sirius up to her spare bedroom, her arms full with the spare set of pajamas and Ron’s old clothes that he had sent over.
“It’s not much I know, but we can go into town or to Diagon to get you some of your own things in the morning, things that are more you,” Rose offered.
Sirius shook his head. “This is more than enough, thank you. It’s very kind.”
She hated how formal he was with her. “It's nothing, I know you would do the same for me.”
“You don’t know that, do you?” Sirius said, sitting on the bed, and rubbing at his eyes with the heels of his palms. “Not really.”
“I do,” Rose insisted, sitting down next to him, making the bed dip. “If I showed up, tumbled out of the fireplace at Grimmauld Place in your world or something, would you really refuse to help me?”
“No,” Sirius replied. “Of course not, James would come back to kick my sorry arse if I even thought about acting like that to any child of his, even one from a mirror universe. I just don’t want to be a burden on you, I can take care of myself.”
“Believe me, you’re not a burden,” Rose said, and squeezed his hand.
She noticed his arm had a little gooseflesh, he was always so cold, he had once confessed to her that after so long in Azkaban, he could barely tell if he was shivering as his body got so used to it.
Rose pulled out her wand, and performed a warming charm, increasing the temperature of the room a few degrees. “There, is that better?”
Sirius’s mouth flattened to a thin line, but he nodded.
Rose was no expert on emotions, but she could read his face like the Marauders map, or the palm of her hand, and knew he wanted to be left alone. “I’ll just leave you then. If you need anything, I’m just next door, and I’m not the best sleeper, so don’t worry about waking me, alright?”
Sirius rolled his eyes. “Rose, I’m a grown man. I swam in the North Sea and made it from Azkaban to Surrey to see Harry and then all the way back to Hogwarts, I think I’ll be fine in a warm cottage in the room next to the woman who defeated Voldemort.”
Rose forced a smile, and stood back up. “I know. See you in the morning, Sirius.”
He waved to her, and she walked out and hurried to her own room, slamming the door shut with her magic. She made sure that it would open to him if he needed it, but Rose collapsed in her own bed after, wishing she wasn’t alone in it, and let exhaustion carry her through to a restless sleep.
She woke up still tired, but made herself take a shower and magic her hair into plaits—six years in the dormitories with Lavender and Parvati had taught her some things—before she went to knock on Sirius’s door. But she hesistated, not feeling his magic inside.
She swung the door open. The bed was rumpled, and unmade, black fur on top of it, but he wasn’t there.
She ran down the stairs, and saw a half-drunk cup of black tea on the table, but he wasn’t there either.
“Point me Sirius Black,” she said, and her wand pointed toward the back door. She rushed outside, following her path illuminated by her wand further and further into the garden until she spotted him out by the giant old oak tree.
She slowed her pace and tucked her wand into her jean pocket, and stared at him.
He was digging into the dirt with a spade, sweating slightly in the glow of the early morning autumn sun. He looked flushed, healthy, alive and frustrated, as he cursed after hitting a rock with the spade.
“Any reason you’re digging up my garden?” Rose yelled as she got closer.
“I thought you’d still be asleep,” Sirius explained and continued digging.
“Right,” Rose said. “Carry on then, where did you even find that?”
“Transfigured the spade from a stick,” Sirius replied. “I’m almost there, I can feel it.”
“Feel what, exactly?” Rose asked, watching the way his arm muscles flexed when he dug the hole even deeper.
“Got it!” Sirius exclaimed, reaching down to pick up an old rusted silver trunk, hoisting it out of the ground and placing it next to the oak tree. “Come on, have a seat, you're going to like this,” he said, grinning at her.
“If you say so,” Rose agreed, eying the trunk warily.
Sirius pried the lock off, and gestured to her. "Go on, it shouldn't bite!"
“Sure,” she agreed, trusting him, and she pulled it open. Inside, the trunk was velvet and it was filled with someone's treasures. There was an old Bowie record, a soft Led Zepplin t-shirt, sunglasses, folded up letters written in a familiar hand, and at the bottom of the trunk, the most wonderful treasure of them all--precious photographs of people . Her godfather, Mum and Dad were waving at her, they must have been all of 18. Lily was laughing as she pushed Sirius off a platform into the lake, and he turned into a dog and soaked her a second later.
“It’s a time capsule,” Sirius explained. “It’s this muggle thing I read about in a magazine Lily got for me, and we I decided we should make one, obviously in my world, and we buried it out here in 1977, and your Sirius must have done that too. We were supposed to open it together 20 years later, but that didn’t happen.”
Rose nodded, transfixed by the moving images of her godfather and parents, so young and beautiful and happy and couldn’t look away from the next photo. James and Lily were kissing on a swing and Sirius was making faces behind their back like he was going to be sick. James spotted him and laughed, and kissed him on the cheek while Lily went in for his other cheek, while he continued to pull ridiculous faces before the three of them collapsed in a fit of giggles.
“Look,” Rose said, handing him the priceless photo. “Look at how much they love you.”
Sirius took the photo, his hand shaking a little, his eyes wet. “That’s your Sirius.”
“Then tell me that you don’t have a similar one in your world of the three of you then,” Rose said.
He shook his head. “I remember that day, it was a glorious blur, we all got drunk under the stars later. Prongs couldn’t handle his firewhiskey, ended up sick behind this very tree.”
“Poor Dad,” Rose said.
“Nah, he’s alright, he can’t handle his liquor, but he never got hangovers either, which meant he was always perkier in the morning than the rest of us,” Sirius explained.
“I must have missed that trait,” Rose said, picking up the shirt and folding it gently. “Thank you for finding these for me. Were they your records and shirt?”
“Yeah, except the Fleetwood Mac one in there somewhere was Lily’s, and the glasses were Moony's,” he said. “And you’re welcome, I wanted to do something for you since you’re helping me and in the middle of the night, I remembered this was out here and as soon as the sun came up, I wanted to find it for you.”
“Thank you,” Rose repeated, and moved closer, kissing him on the cheek.
It was chaste and quick, but Sirius shivered as if she had properly kissed him. She wondered how long it had been since anyone had touched him.
“Have you shown Harry this?” Rose asked, breaking the moment between them, the chill morning air feeling too thick.
Sirius shook his head. “I was on the run and then I was supposed to stay at bloody Grimmauld Place, I haven’t had the chance until now.”
Rose nodded. “When you get back, do me a favour and take him here? It’ll mean so much to Harry to see proof that they were real, proof besides his face in the mirror, I mean, proof like their favourite records and photos of them just being teenagers.”
“I promise I’ll do that,” Sirius vowed.
“What’s he like?” Rose asked.
“Yeah. Your godson.”
Sirius smiled, bright like the sun, making him look younger and more like the Sirius she loved. “He’s so funny and kind and talented—he outflew a dragon on the firebolt I got him. He’s loyal, he’d do anything for his friends, or me, and I’m so worried about him in the Ministry with Voldemort after him because he got sent a vision that I was in danger. If something happens to him because of me…” he trailed off. “But you were fine, at the Ministry? In the battle?”
Rose took a deep breath. “Sirius, I never went to the ministry when I was 15. I got the vision of you in danger, but I used our charmed mirrors to talk to you, and we figured out with a trap. You contacted the rest of the Order, and Tonks disguised herself as me, and the Dumbledore was able to prove Voldemort was back and catch a bunch of Death Eaters that night without either of us being involved in person.”
Sirius nodded and looked down at the hole he had dug in the earth.
“I’m guessing Harry didn’t use the mirrors?”
He shook his head. “He hasn’t used them, no.”
“I think I can say he probably felt like he didn’t want to be a burden on you,” Rose said. “I felt like that too, the first few times I got up the courage to say your name into that mirror.”
“But why did you then?” Sirius asked, not unkindly.
“Truthfully, fifth year was one of the worst of my life, but I ended up speaking to you every Sunday, and the thought of getting to see your face and hear your voice, even if just through the mirrors, was what got me through the week when I wasn't sure if I could make it,” Rose confessed.
Sirius looked shocked for the briefest moment, before settling his face back into a mask. “What did you talk about? You and your Sirius?”
“Ways to prank that horrible woman Dolores Umbridge, classes, the Order, my parents. All kinds of things. I did have to carefully edit myself a little, I was worried if I let you know how bad it was that year that you would get arrested for a murder that you actually did commit,” Rose added.
“How bad was it?” Sirius asked, looking quietly furious.
Rose held up her right hand, so that the faint white scars could be seen in the sun.
“I must not tell lies,” Sirius read aloud, his calloused fingers sliding over the scar, making her shiver. “Is this from a blood quill?”
She nodded. “Umbridge made me write it, but I’ve never been a liar.”
“You’re right,” Sirius said, his tone dangerous and eyes dark. “I do want to kill her.”
Rose shrugged. “I think that’s why Harry wouldn’t bother you, it’s not that he doesn’t know that you care about him, he’s just worried about everything, and trying to solve all his problems himself, being so used to having no one to rely on. I can remember those feelings, they’re tough.”
“Okay,” Sirius agreed, clearly humouring her, but she’d take it. “Don’t take this the wrong way, but you are a little more…loquacious than Harry. Especially about feelings.”
Rose laughed, and shoved him gently. “I’m not a fifteen-year-old boy, am I? I’m a 20-year-old woman and I went to a mind-healer twice a week just so I could cope, at least in the first six months after losing you and dyi---dealing with the war.”
Sirius looked at her with the full force of his glare. “What did you not just tell me?”
“Can I tell you later?” Rose asked.
“I’d prefer it if you told me now. Rip off the plaster,” Sirius suggested.
“Have I not bared enough of my soul before breakfast?” Rose muttered.
“That’s probably fair, you can tell me later?” Sirius said.
“I guess I'll have to," Rose sighed.
"I'll hold you to that," Sirius said, and she nodded.
"Come on back inside, I’ll make you eggs and burn the toast just the way you like it,” Rose offered, gathering up the treasured time-capsule Sirius had found for her, such a precious gift.
“I’d be annoyed at that very good offer if I wasn’t so hungry,” Sirius complained, helping her to her feet.
“Sorry,” Rose said, but she wasn’t, not even a little bit.
That evening, as the sun set over the horizon, Rose felt like she had put off the conversation about her death long enough.
“Up for a ride, Padfoot?” she asked him.
He sputtered, spraying the butterbeer he was drinking everywhere. “Sorry?”
Rose grinned, loving the way his pale face had turned red. “On your bike, of course. It's a nice evening for a ride.”
“You have it?” Sirius said, standing up and pumping his fist in the air. “Please tell me you’ve been good to her.”
“Of course,” Rose insisted. “I prefer flying, but I taught myself to ride, after.”
“I’m glad you have it, and I'm always down to ride,” Sirius said. “Where are we off to then?”
“Just a little wooded spot up the road,” Rose said.
“Yeah, sounds great,” Sirius replied, following her out to the little garage she built for her bike and brooms.
She revved up the bike, and tossed him a helmet. “Mind if I drive?”
“Of course not,” Sirius said, getting on the bike behind her as she kicked off on the dark, country roads. His arms wrapped around her middle, and they felt so warm over her jumper.
“Have we done this before?” Sirius asked, voice dark and low, mouth close to ear.
“Not with me driving,” Rose said. “But you drove me back to the Dursleys after sixth year. We had Aurors tailing us, to make sure I got back safe, but I spent the hour back from London on your bike. By the way the neighbours looked at us, you’d think no one in Little Whinging had ever seen a motorcycle before, it was quite the scandal.”
“Fuck ‘em,” Sirius muttered.
Rose nodded, and remembered Sirius slowing the bike down into front of Number 4 Privet Drive. The way he looked at her like she was something precious and sacred, the way his warm hands wrapped round her waist, helping her off the bike, before grabbing her trunk.
“I’ll be fine,” Rose said. “You don’t need to carry my trunk to the door.”
“I’m not worried about You-Know-Who jumping out behind a bush, but let me at least give you a proper goodbye,” Sirius protested.
“Okay,” Rose said, following him up the path to the entrance.
Before they could even knock, Aunt Petunia opened the door halfway. “Get in girl, before everyone else has a good chance to look at you and this trash you brought to my doorstep.”
“Does that mean me, Petunia?” Sirius asked, a dangerous smile on his face. “That's quite a way to greet your wonderful niece after not seeing her in nearly a year.”
“Get in before I call the police, or I'll lock this door and you're on your own,” Petunia snapped.
“Fine,” Rose said, turning to Sirius with an apologetic look on her face.
Sirius pulled her into a fierce hug, kissing the crown of her head. “Hang in there sweetheart, and we’ll see you in a few weeks, alright? You’ll be seventeen and able to stay with me, and never have to come back here.”
“Do you promise?” Rose asked.
“I promise,” Sirius said, putting his hands over his heart dramatically. “Take good care of my goddaughter, Petunia.”
“Unlikely,” Rose muttered, as she followed her Aunt in the house, and watched her slam the door.
“Look at you,” Petunia sneered. “Clinging onto that criminal like some sort of whore, now that you’re barely old enough for that kind of loose behaviour.”
“Shut up,” Rose shouted. “He’s not a criminal, he’s my godfather, and where do you think you get the right to talk to me like that?”
“You’re just like your mother, she was always around that boy and your useless Father all the time, but she at least knew what to do with her looks,” Petunia said, gesturing angrily to the birds nest her hair had become after the hour-long motorbike ride.
“My mum has been dead for more than fifteen years, and people who knew her have nothing but kind things to say about her,” Rose replied. “Your heart is still beating, but what do you think people say about you? Nothing good, I imagine.”
“I’ll not be spoken to like that in my own home,” Petunia shrieked.
Rose rolled her eyes. “Too bad. You called me a whore and insulted my mother, I’m not a little girl who has to sit back and take your cruelty anymore. I’ll be permanently gone from your life shortly.”
“Good riddance to bad rubbish,” Petunia shouted at her back as she climbed up the stairs to her spare bedroom. Rose flipped her the V behind her back.
“You alright?” Sirius asked her, while she was lost in that memory.
“Yeah,” Rose said, pulling up a little clearing that overlooked a river. It was part of a popular rambling path in the daytime, and there was a park bench with a view.
Sirius followed her and sat down next to her, and she checked for any Muggles before performing a warming charm on them both, the early night air having a slight chill. She took a deep breath, gathering all the strength she had, trying to not talk herself out of sharing what she had to.
“What do you have to tell me that you can’t in your home? Afraid my magic’s going to go haywire and destroy something?” Sirius asked.
“More like afraid mine is, but I'm afraid I have to tell you this,” Rose confessed.
“You really don’t if it causes you that much pain,” Sirius said.
“I have to,” Rose insisted. “I don’t know if it’s the same for Harry, but if I can help….look, I have to.”
“Okay,” Sirius said, and looked at her face for a moment, before wrapping an arm around her, and squeezing her shoulder gently. “This alright?”
Rose nodded. “Strange question—but, ehm, do you know if Harry encountered a magical diary in his second year?”
“The one that nearly killed Ginny Weasley? There’s some connection to a giant snake, Harry told me once, he killed it with a sword, pretty impressive for a twelve-year-old,” Sirius replied.
Rose’s heart sank. She hoped Harry would be luckier than she was. “In my world, and maybe yours, that diary was a horcrux.”
Sirius’s brow furrowed. “A soul fragment? That’s such dark magic. My great-grandfather killed a muggle to have one, but his daughter destroyed it and him with fiendfyre after some argument about a dowry, I can’t remember the story exactly, but horcruxes are supposed to be dead unlucky.”
“Really? One of your ancestors had one?”
“My ancestors did all kinds of wicked things,” Sirius said. “I can’t think of anything worse than an immortal Black.”
“I can. An immortal Voldemort,” Rose replied.
“But you said the diary was destroyed?” Sirius asked. “Did he make more after?”
Rose nodded. “Here, it was seven."
Sirius's jaw dropped. "Seven? One is bad enough!"
"Well, yeah," Rose agreed. "In my world, they ended up being that diary, Hufflepuff’s cup, Ravenclaw’s diadem, his snake Nagini, a family ring, and--Slytherin’s locket—which your brother actually died trying to get to, to destroy it.”
“Regulus?” Sirius asked. “My brother?" he repeated, shocked.
“Yes. Ask Kreacher about it when you get back,” Rose implored. “He left a letter to Voldemort in place of that locket that was one of the bravest things I have ever seen.”
Sirius’s eyes looked wet. “How did I take it? Your Sirius?”
“He was proud that Regulus saw Voldemort for who he was and turned against him and angry he never knew about it until years after he died,” Rose said, remembering the way Sirius’s fingers traced over Regulus’s handwriting on that note, the way his shoulders shook with silent sobs afterwards.
“Okay,” Sirius said, rubbing at his temples, trying to take it all in. “Wait.”
“That’s only six,” Sirius said. “A diary, a locket, a cup, a diadem, a snake, and some ring.”
“A Gaunt family ring, they’re descendants of Slytherin,” Rose explained.
“What’s the seventh?”
“He didn’t know about it,” Rose said quietly. “But Voldemort was intending to make another Horcrux on the day my parents died, using the murder, of well, me. I don’t know how it happened, but when his body died, a part of Voldemort’s soul that he had split found its way into the nearest living host.”
“You?” Sirius asked, his voice thick with anger.
“Yes,” Rose said. “Me.” She pushed back her fringe and showed him the faint, lightning-bolt shaped scar on her forehead. “It was here, it’s a cursed wound, it never healed properly until I got rid of the horcrux. Now you can barely see it.”
“How did you get rid of it?” Sirius asked.
“I let Voldemort kill me,” Rose confessed.
Sirius stood up and started pacing, hands running through his hair. “You did WHAT?”
“I thought it was the only way at the time to stop him,” Rose said. “I didn’t want to die, not even to be with you, I was so scared. Some Gryffindor, huh?”
“Stop, you're such a brave woman, don't talk about yourself like that,” Sirius commanded. “I’m so sorry,” he said quietly. “How did you come back?”
“I was offered a choice, it was the hardest decision I ever made, but I came back,” Rose said quietly.
“Hardest decision?” Sirius asked her, sitting down back next to her and grabbing her hands. She didn’t even notice they had started shaking.
“So many people I love are dead, you see. Or people who have loved me. I wanted to be somewhere with them too, to rest a while,” Rose explained.
Sirius met her eyes. “I understand. But I’m glad that you came back, if he was anything like me, your Sirius would have been furious if you stayed in the realm of the dead for him.”
“He would have been, yeah,” Rose said, her chest tight.
“Do you think it’s the same for Harry?” Sirius asked eventually.
Yes, Rose thought, but didn’t answer straight away. “Can he see into Voldemort’s mind sometimes, when he’s sleeping? I know he was sent a vision of you in the ministry.”
“Then, probably,” Rose said.
“And it’s a death sentence?” Sirius asked.
Rose dragged Sirius’s hands to the inside of wrist, and held two fingers over her pulse. “I’m still breathing, aren’t I? But death isn't the only cure. I didn’t know this at the time, but a horcrux can be transferred into another living thing.”
“A person?” Sirius asked, looking as if he wanted to jump up and volunteer to die for Harry.
“Yeah, or an animal, a literal sacrificial lamb could do,” Rose said. “It’s cruel to the animal, but I can tell you that being hit with the killing curse is painless—faster and easier than falling asleep.”
Sirius sighed, and the bench shook a little with pent-up magic. “I am fucking furious that you know that. I can’t tell you how furious I am.”
“I am too, I’ve just lived with it longer,” Rose said. “But at least I know my parents weren’t in any pain, even though they must have been so scared.”
Sirius folded his arms, making himself look so much smaller. He was a large man, but his posture was that of a scared and ashamed child, and Rose couldn’t take it.
She leaned into him, wrapping her arms around his still too-skinny frame in a tight hug. He smelled like her bath products and lavender shampoo, but he relaxed after a moment in her embrace.
“I can’t believe I’m letting you comfort me when you’re the one who died,” Sirius muttered into her neck.
“We took care of each other, you and me,” Rose told him.
“He was lucky to have you,” Sirius said, pulling away and smiling weakly back at her. “Thank you for telling me what you did.”
“I’ll do what I can to help,” Rose promised, and she meant it.
I promise there will be a happy ending on this and eventual Harry, it's just that both Rose and Sirius have quite a bit to deal with.
Thanks for reading and for everyone who has subscribed, left a kudos or comment. It means a lot.
Lots of love,
Summer made one last attempt to come back the next day, as it often did in mid-September.
Rose woke up and she was sweating, she threw her duvet to the floor and stared up at the ceiling. She felt half-awake and more than a little horny, and let her fingers drift lower and rest at the place where her stomach turned into her sex.
She could be so quiet, she had to be so quiet for years, but she jumped out of bed instead of touching herself.
It felt like a violation to Sirius, even though this house was built with strong walls and she could perform a silencing charm in her sleep. It’s not that she was worried he would know she was doing, as much as she doubted she could finish without thinking of his strong arms and warm hands just a little. The guilt wasn't worth the temporary pleasure of the tank. Her head was not in a the best place, and she knows it's healthy that she could admit that.
Rose sighed and threw on an old t-shirt and shorts before heading downstairs and throwing open all the windows with an easy spell. She thought about a cooling charm, but just closed her eyes and enjoyed the rare bit of warmth, tilting her head toward the sun streaming in through the big bay windows.
She felt Sirius come into the kitchen, his magic feeling like home to her.
She blinked her eyes open and smiled at him.
“You’re like a cat,” Sirius said, gesturing to her.
“Just sitting there, all pleased with yourself, soaking up the sun,” Sirius joked.
Rose raised her arms and stretched dramatically. “I’m more of a dog person.”
Sirius grinned. “Cats love me though.”
“You’re welcome to head over to Hermione’s and go hang out with your best mate Crookshanks if you like,” Rose offered.
“Mm,” Sirius said, fixing himself a cup of tea in her kitchen like he belonged there. “Tempting offer, but I think I’ll pass.”
Rose laughed, and accepted the cup of tea Sirius made for her, just how she liked it.
“It’s like a holiday here, isn’t it?” Sirius said, staring out the window. The sun was beaming down on the lake, the water looked like it was sparkling and the trees and grass were lush and green, and Neville had worked so hard on the magical rosebush trellises outside her window.
“The grounds are nice,” Rose agreed.
“No, that’s not what I mean at all,” Sirius said. “They’re nice, yeah, but it feels like…a holiday I don’t deserve from my real life. Voldemort’s dead, this house only has good memories, and you…” he trailed off.
‘I’m brilliant, yeah,” Rose picked up, and winked at him.
“You’re certainly something,” he said, looking at her so intently, it made her flush.
She didn’t look away, and she felt something tiny shift in the air between them, something like electricity, like the feeling before a summer storm. It felt inevitable, but she wasn't scared.
“Would you like to go for a swim on your holiday?” Rose asked, killing the moment. “It’s warm enough today to not need any charms over the lake.’
“That sounds great,” Sirius agreed. “There’s not any kelpies still there, though? Not that a nice fight wouldn’t be an exhilarating way to start the day.”
Rose laughed. “They’re all gone, a few water sprites occasionally stop by, but we’ve come to an agreement and I wouldn’t let them hurt you.”
“I can handle a few water sprites,” Sirius protested.
“I know,” Rose said. “I’m sorry.”
“Don’t worry about it,” Sirius said. “Lily was a little protective of her friends too, I get it.”
“At least I come by the trait honestly,” Rose joked. “I’ll meet you in two minutes, I’ll just go grab my bathing costume and some beach towels.”
Sirius nodded, and Rose headed back to her room. She threw open the drawer of her underthings, and picked out a Gryffindor-red bikini she bought in Australia whilst she lived there after the war with Hermione.
It felt like something a bolder version of her would wear, so she threw it on, covering herself with an oversized white shirt that nearly reached her knees. She ran back down with beach towels a minute later, a part of her still worried he would disappear into thin air if she left him too long.
“Ready?” she asked.
“Of course,” Sirius said, following her outside to the lake. She tossed a pair of sunglasses at him, a fake pair of Ray Bans she bought in Camden, and he looked unfairly attractive wearing them.
When they got to her private lake, she spread out the blankets, and pulled her t-shirt up over her head, leaving her just in the red bikini.
Sirius watched her, his gaze appreciative and lingering and hot.
She didn’t look away either as he stripped down to his boxers. He was too thin but his chest was broad and she wanted to run her hands over the hair that trailed down from his navel. She wanted too many things.
“Right, the last one in is a rotten occamy egg,” Sirius joked, ruining the moment, and running full force into the lake like a child.
She followed, never one to give up on a challenged and dived in, splashing him on arrival. The water was a little cold, but crisp and perfect against the hot press of the morning sun on her skin.
She ducked her head and swam under, kicking his shin with her foot lightly. He retaliated, splashing her with a big wave, and without his wand, created little bubbles from the top of the water.
“That’s amazing,” she said, popping one.
“It’s just kids stuff,” Sirius shrugged. “Manipulating the elements a little.”
“Teach me how to do it,” Rose demanded, swimming over closer to him.
Sirius grabbed her right hand. “So you just let out a bit of energy and visualise a bubble like you’re casting any basic charm, like an unlocking one, and let the magic reach the water.”
Rose took a deep breath, and wiggled her fingers around his. She focused her magic, and watched as giant bubbles lifted up from the lake toward the sky.
“See?” he said. “Easy.”
“You’re a good teacher,” Rose replied, letting go of his hand. “Thank you.”
Sirius nodded, and his daze darted, just for the briefest moment from her eyes down to the curve of her lips.
He was so close to her. He licked his lips, maybe subconsciously, and Rose swam toward him slowly, and wrapped her arms around his shoulders, bringing her body close to his, and she kissed him, closing the distance between them.
He didn’t respond for one brief, horrible moment, but before she could pull away, he kissed her back fiercely, tangling his hands in her wet hair.
It was the opposite of chaste, he kissed her like he meant it, like he knew what he wanted, and she did too.
She laughed, and swam toward the grass, crooking her finger out so he would follow her, and they collapsed on top of the pile of blankets, his big body positioned over hers as they kissed in the sunshine.
“This is probably a terrible idea,” Sirius breathed against her neck, as his fingers toyed with the string of her bikini top.
“When has that ever stopped you?” Rose asked, reaching behind herself to undo the knot herself and pull her top off, throwing it somewhere behind her.
“You’re gorgeous, sweetheart,” Sirius said, staring at her, before reaching out and touching her, gently, reverently, like he was afraid she might break, and it was not enough, not at all, she wasn’t fragile, the only way she would crumble now was with want.
She pulled off his wet boxers and wrapped her hand around him, making him hiss with pleasure.
“We can go slow later,” Rose said, dropping a kiss to his shoulder. “I want you now.”
“Bossy,” Sirius said with a smile, before looking thoughtful as he right hand made its way down to her sex, stroking her intently. “You’ve done this before, right?”
“Yes, have you?” Rose asked.
Sirius smirked. “Yes, but not in a very long time,” he admitted.
“I hear it’s like riding a bike,” she said, wiggling out of her bikini bottoms. “I’ll help you if you get lost.”
Sirius’s fingers found her clit, and started rubbing in a slow, torturous motion that made her moan. “How am I doing so far?”
“Full marks,” Rose replied, so keyed up and close just from the first touches of his fingers inside of her. “Keep going.”
Sirius nodded, and not soon after, her orgasm took her by surprise, making her whole body shake.
Sirius grinned, proud, and she let herself close her eyes for a moment, basking in pleasure, before flipping herself over and positioning herself on top of him.
He nodded and she raised herself up, sinking down on his cock. He was big and it was a stretch and she gave herself a moment before moving, keeping her eyes open to watch the expressions of pleasure building on his face.
He let his hands rest on her hips and she found a rhythm that made him cry out with pleasure, she tried to memorise the sounds and feel of him inside of her.
He came with her name on his lips and the sun shining brightly on them both, but she wasn’t ashamed of her body or the way he made her feel.
Sirius was sex-stupid for a moment, cuddling her tight against him, blinking up at the sky, before his brow furrowed.
Rose shoved her hand over his mouth. “Whatever you’re going to say, just don’t”
Sirius nipped at her fingers playfully. “You have no idea what I’m going to say.”
“Just let me enjoy this,” Rose said, wrapping her leg over his.
“I don’t regret it,” Sirius said. “But you know I can’t stay?”
“I am well aware,” Rose said, and kissed his jaw just because he could. “I know that, I know that, and we can talk about it some more, or we can go back to the cottage and have breakfast and fuck in every room.”
“It’s a very good plan,” Sirius said, and watched as she threw her white shirt back over her wet body.
He pulled his boxers back on and took her hand as she walked back to the cottage, but as she got close, she stopped dead in her tracks, feeling someone else there.
“What is it?” he asked, feeling her fear.
“It’s Remus,” Rose said. “Only a few people know where I live. He's sitting out in front of the door, I have privacy wards, I know it’s him.”
“Okay, then let’s go say hi to Moony,” Sirius said, and didn’t drop her hand as he came into sight.
He stood up as he saw them, his eyes flickering over the just-fucked state of them, a myriad of emotions playing out over his face. “Hello Padfoot, Rose. Tonks said she read a report that said you were back, but I wouldn’t believe it unless I saw it for myself.”
“Hello,” Rose mumbled. “Um--did you send an OWL? I didn’t know you were coming.”
“Well, clearly,” Remus said, staring at the state of her and Sirius. “Hello again, dear friend.”
“Hello. You should know I’m not the Sirius you lost,” he said, dropping her hand.
“I realise that, you look younger,” Remus said. “It’s still good to see your face again, you have no idea.”
“Ehm, do you want to come inside?” Rose asked, folding her arms across her chest, very aware that the wet t-shirt left very little to the imagination.
Remus nodded, and followed her and Sirius back in the cottage, and she got even more self-conscious about her half-naked state. She couldn’t see her hair but she bet that it was wilder than ever.
“So…I’ll just shower and get dressed? Sirius, Remus, you know where food is, help yourself, I’ll be down in a few minutes?” Rose said awkwardly.
“Sure, of course,” Remus said politely, but she could tell he was absolutely furious with her, and she hated that.
Rose ran up the stairs and up to the shower, and touched the runes she carved on the door to listen to the conversation below. It wasn’t eavesdropping if it was her own house, she thought to justify herself as she washed him away from her, letting the water wash his touch away.
“Maybe…I’ll just go upstairs and wash too,” she heard Sirius say.
“My Sirius and my James used to streak around the common room, it’s truly nothing I haven’t seen before,” Remus grumbled.
“We did that too,” Sirius admitted. “Why are you so cross with me, Moony?”
“I’m not cross, I’m grateful that you fought in the battle, but I never wanted you to take a curse meant for me,” Remus snapped. “I never wanted to be the last of us alive, I never thought that I would."
“You are too cross, Moony! And I’m not going to apologise for something I haven’t done, and Rose told me Bellatrix killed me so it’s not like I wanted to leave any of you.”
“Rose told you that, did she?” Remus muttered, and Rose didn’t appreciate his tone at all. She washed conditioner out of her hair, and sighed.
“What’s with that tone about her?” Sirius asked, and Merlin, she loved him.
“Nothing,” Remus replied.
“You’re not calling Rose a liar?”
“Of course not,” Remus replied. “She’s a wonderful woman and I’m so proud of her, but she’s been in love with you for a very long time so I would take anything she’s told you as true but with love-shaped glasses on, Padfoot.”
“Stop looking at me like that,” Sirius whined. “She’s grown. She’s as old as Lily was when she had her. We didn’t do anything wrong.”
“Yes, I’m sure she wanted it,” Remus said. “She loved her godfather, very much.”
“No, she was 17 when he died,” Remus said. “But she loved him, we all knew it.”
“Okay,” Sirius said. “But I think he loved her too, didn’t he? In the photo on the mantle there, I know my own face. He loved her.”
“I don’t know if it was the same way she did, but he loved her very much, yes,” Remus said.
And Rose had overheard quite enough of this conversation. She got out of the shower, put on a fresh sundress and walked down the stairs with dripping wet hair, not wanting them to talk about her anymore.
“What did I miss?” Rose said, rushing down the stairs.
“Not much,” Remus lied. “I was just trying to figure out what’s different between Sirius’s world and ours.”
“I think it’s mostly Rose,” Sirius said. “Are you still a werewolf?”
“Didn’t grow out of that magically,” Remus said.
Sirius barked out a laugh, and looked down at his hand, noticing his wedding ring. “And you’re married!”
“To Tonks,” Remus confirmed. “We have a son.”
Sirius’s eyes lit up and he hugged Remus, genuinely happy for him and Rose beamed.
“You’ve just been pussyfooting around each other in my world, I knew it! You didn’t think you’d actually give her a chance,” Sirius said. “I’m so happy for you.”
Remus smiled back, and fished a picture of Teddy out of his wallet. “His name is Teddy. You never met my son, you died not long after he was born.”
“I’m glad he gets to know his father,” Sirius said, smiling at the picture. “Even if I couldn’t know him.”
“He’s wonderful,” Rose told him, smiling. “Remus is a great Dad.”
“I try,” Remus said. “Even if I was so scared at first, and wanted to run.”
“You didn’t in the end, and that’s what matters,” Rose said, remembering their conversation during the war. Her Sirius watched her yell at Remus and almost looked proud at her over it, when Remus tried to leave Tonks and go on the run with them.
Remus sighed, and looked between them, Sirius still in his wet boxers. “Enough about me. Do you know what you’re doing, Rose?”
“Does anyone?” Rose asked.
“And you’re happy with Sirius here?” Remus said, gesturing to him.
Sirius rolled his eyes, and she cracked a smile. “Yes. I am.”
“Good,” Remus replied. “But I wanted to make an offer to Sirius—you’re welcome to stay with me and Tonks and our son for as long as you need to. We have the space and it might be easier that way.”
“Easier for whom?” Rose asked.
“For you,” Remus said quietly.
No,” Rose replied. “No. Absolutely not. Sirius—it’s up to you, and I would never force you to stay, but I want you here. With me.”
“I’ve never had anyone who wasn’t James or my horrible mother fight over me before,” Sirius joked. “I’d like to stay here, Moony.”
Rose let out a breath she didn’t know she was holding. “Good.”
Remus stood up, and embraced Sirius, who stood up to hug him back. “Then goodbye, and thanks old friend. I think I’ve imposed on Rose’s hospitality long enough.”
“Goodbye Remus.” Sirius said. “You know I wouldn’t want you to feel guilty about whatever happened to me.”
“I know,” Remus said. “Thank you.”
“You don’t have to leave--you can stay for breakfast,” Rose offered, getting up to hug him too, despite how furious she was at him.
“I best not,” Remus said. “Goodbye Rose, and thank you too, you’re such a credit to your parents, and yourself. You’ve grow up to be an incredible witch.”
Rose smiled, and watched him leave, and wondered why his hug had felt so final, like a true goodbye, when she realised with a sudden clarity that Remus had known a truth before she did.
He must have seen it in the way she was holding Sirius’s hand earlier or the way she looked at him.
She couldn’t leave him and she could never keep him here, she loved him too much. Sirius had to go back, she knew that in her bones. But there was nothing stopping her from going with him. Maybe Harry would appreciate the help. She had to go through the veil too.
Andddd some things are moving along! Let me know if you're enjoying the story. Harry will be here soon.
Lots of love,
Rose knew that Sirius’s conversation with Remus had him thinking, his brow was furrowed and his shoulders very tense.
“Let’s have breakfast in the living room, the sofa’s more comfortable,” she suggested, throwing fruit and yoghurt and a whole lot of honey in bowls for them both.
Sirius shrugged, and followed her to her red velvet sofa, and sat down next to her, their shoulders brushing.
“This is very sweet,” he noted, licking the honey off the spoon.
“You like it,” she replied, remembering how he’d dump half a bowl of sugar in his tea after so long without at Azkaban.
“Yeah,” he agreed, smiling at her a little, the silence between them comfortable. When they’d finished, he floated the bowls back to the sink and he sank down to the floor, stretching his arms overhead, resting his back against the velvet of the sofa.
Rose reached down and ran her hands through his hair, scraping her nails against his scalp.
He tilted his head back and she continued to pet him, not voicing how like a dog he was in that moment, so content. She kept that up for a few minutes and she wondered when the last time someone touched him was, and had an idea. She tugged at his hair, not too roughly, but yanking a little, adding some pain to the pleasure.
He squirmed on the ground and opened his eyes, looking up at her, his face flushed.
“Did you like that?” Rose asked.
“Do you not know already?” Sirius asked, not unkindly.
“It looks like you liked it,” Rose replied. “But I don’t know you like this. I already told you that me and my godfather weren’t….”
“Intimate,” Sirius finished, sounding a little shy for someone who was inside her not even an hour ago. “Even though you wanted to be.”
Rose raked her nails over his scalp again. “No. But I wanted a lot of things I didn’t get.”
“Who else did you lose besides for me and your parents?” Sirius asked quietly.
Rose swallowed past the lump in her throat, surprised he could read her this easily already. “Molly Weasley. I’ve barely been able to look at Ron in the face since.”
“It’s not your fault,” Sirius said.
“How do you know?”
“Because Voldemort killed her twin brothers and father before you were even born,” Sirius said. “She had her own reasons to fight in this battle. Her husband is obsessed with Muggles, they’re the biggest blood traitor family there is. I know a lot of the weight of the world is on your shoulders because Harry feels like that too, because of the whole scar-on-your-forehead not dying thing, but it’s not all about you, and you’re going to have to forgive yourself eventually, sweetheart.”
“And you’re the expert on forgiving yourself?” Rose muttered.
“That’s more of a do-as-I-say, not as I do bit of advice,” Sirius replied, the corners of his lips turning up. “Besides, all my guilt is well-earned.”
“You trusted the wrong person, and spent four-thousand and some days in Azkaban for it, you didn’t earn any of that,” Rose said, her voice heating up with anger at the injustice of it all for the millionth time.
“I don’t want to talk about this anymore,” Sirius replied, turning his whole body so that he was facing her.
“I don’t either,” Rose admitted. “There’s better things we could be talking about.”
Sirius grinned, and raised himself up so that he was sitting on his knees. “Or we don’t have to talk at all, do we sweetheart?”
Rose flushed. “I suppose not.”
Sirius telegraphed his movements, moving so slowly, and he kissed the inside of her knee. “Can I?” he asked, looking up at her.
Sirius grinned and rose to his knees, tugging her knickers off and settling in between her thighs. She held onto to his hair as he made her incoherent with pleasure, his tongue hitting just the right place, making her scream.
He smiled at her afterwards, as she sank down onto the floor next to him, but shook his head when she reached down to do the same.
“I just wanted to take care of you,” Sirius said. “You make the most delightful little noises, you know that? We don’t have enough time, I could hear those all the time and still not be sated.”
Rose kissed him on the shoulder, and thought about telling him that she was coming with him but said nothing, the moment didn’t feel right.
The two of them spent the next several days learning what the other liked in bed in between occasional jaunts out to swim in the lake or eat rich roasts and polish off bottles of wine in the village pub.
She learned that Sirius liked it when she pushed him around just a little in bed, but favourite was turning out to be the early morning, lazy sex. She liked the feel of him next to her and loved that when she opened her eyes he was there. He looked so good in her bed, and he took his time taking her apart in the mornings, it was all unhurried kisses and painfully slow touches everywhere until she was absolutely begging him to just hurry up and fuck her already.
Two nights before she the full moon, she woke up to her bed shifting. She rolled over, Sirius was sitting with his back against the headboard, knees drawn up toward his chest. He was staring at her with a soft, sad look, his eyes the same as when he used to tell her about her parents. Melancholy.
“What is it?”
He shook his head, his pale form illuminated by the moon. “Go back to sleep, darling.”
“I’m awake,” she insisted. “What are you thinking about?”
Sirius sighed. “Just trying to commit you to memory, this moment, your black hair spilling absolute everywhere after I messed it up earlier.”
Rose took a deep breath. “What if you don’t have to worry about remembering me?”
“What?” Sirius snapped. “I’ve lost enough memories in my life, how could you even suggest---“
“No,” Rose said, touching his shoulder. “No, Sirius, that’s the opposite of what I meant, I wasn’t going to suggest any spells, I was going to suggest coming with you through the veil.”
Sirius stilled. “I could never ask you to do that.”
“Who is asking?” Rose replied.
Sirius stood up and started pacing in front of the open window. “I can’t ask you to face Voldemort again---you died last the last time!”
“It didn’t stick,” Rose joked, but Sirius wasn’t having it.
“You’ve made a beautiful life for yourself here Rose Potter, I can’t ask you to give it up for me, I’m not worth it,” Sirius replied.
“Yes you are,” Rose insisted. “And I want to curse anyone who ever made you feel that way, don’t you understand that?”
“I understand you loved your godfather,” Sirius replied and she wasn’t having any of this, not now.
“Stop,” Rose said. “Are you really trying to stop the witch who defeated Voldemort—a powerful witch in her own right, with knowledge of what it’ll take to bring him down—from coming into a world that could use that? You’d deny the Order and Harry my help?”
“I’d never deny Harry anything,” Sirius muttered.
“Do you not want me to go with you?” Rose asked, feeling very small.
“Of course I do,” Sirius snapped back.
“Then I’m coming,” Rose said.
“Back to a world at war?” Sirius asked.
“Yeah,” Rose said. “I’m not too pleased about that, but Voldemort can be defeated and they’ll never see us coming.”
Sirius let out a big breath, his shoulders dropping. “If you’re sure, sweetheart.”
“I’m sure,” Rose assured him. “Now come back to bed.”
Sirius nodded, and walked back over to her big, iron-wrought bed and climbed in. He kissed her and it was different this time, it was always good, but he wasn’t holding any of himself back this time, and she felt his magic reach out to her for comfort and twine around her with love as he raised himself over her, pressing his palms into hers over her head as he fucked into her.
He came with her name on his lips like a prayer, and she knew she made the right choice.
The next morning, she left him sleeping, and rummaged to find her priceless two-way mirror, she had them both now. She put it in the pocket of her robe, and went to see Hermione first thing, flooing over to her place in the early hours.
Hermione was reading in front of the window in her favourite armchair and startled when she saw Rose.
Hermione must have seen something on her face, because she ran over and embraced her in a tight hug.
“Are you alright? What did he do?” Hermione asked.
“Nothing I didn’t want,” Rose said. “Sirius and I…we’re good. Really good, Hermione.”
Hermione stared at her, looking her up and down, her eyebrows drawing closer together as she came to a conclusion. “You’re having sex then? You look…sated at least. Relaxed.”
“You do know it’s a terrible idea? Truly one of your worst,” Hermione said.
“It’s not,” Rose protested. “He makes me happy.”
“I get it. I know why you like him,” Hermione said, narrowing her eyes. “Here’s this older man who knew your parents and who cares about you more than any adult has, and he’s handsome and genuinely concerned about your wellbeing, enough to live in a cave at one point to be close to you. It’s not the greatest mystery of our time, you two.”
“I think you need to actually have a Dad to have a daddy issues conversation,” Rose snapped.
“That’s not what I’m saying,” Hermione replied.
“Yes it is,” Rose replied. “And it’s not that. I love him.”
“I know you love him, which is why…Rose, you’ll never forget what it’s like to be with him, and I want you to be happy with someone else one day,” Hermione said gently, squeezing her hand. “You deserve that.”
“I don’t know what I deserve, but I just want him,” Rose said, handing her the mirror, curling her fingers around it.
Hermione’s eyes widened, but she was a genius. She understood. “No, Rose, you can’t!”
“I want to,” Rose replied.
Hermione started to pace, tugging at her hair. “You want to leave the world, where Voldemort is dead, a world where you died to make that happen, to go with Sirius to a world at war, where no one knows you except for him.”
“Yes,” Rose said.
“You deserve this peace, you’re not just the girl-who-lived, you don’t have to fight any more battles,” Hermione pleaded.
“I’m not exactly thrilled about having to face Voldemort again,” Rose admitted. “But I know how to stop him, and I can help Sirius’s world end the war faster. No one else has to die.”
“You could!” Hermione pointed out. “What then?”
“I’ll try not to,” Rose said.
“I know you weren’t raised to see yourself as mattering, but you do, Rose. You matter, your safety matters, your comfort matters,” Hermione said. “Don’t give that up because you feel like you have to. You can be selfish, for once in your life.”
Rose grabbed her hand. “Can’t you see that’s what I’m doing now? I want Sirius, for more than just until the full moon, I want to have a life with him, and I would never ask him to stay because I couldn’t love a man who ran from his godchild and a war. This is my chance.”
Hermione squeezed her hand back. “Your mind is made up then.”
“What did Sirius say about it?”
“He tried to convince me to stay, but didn’t try as hard as he could have, I don’t think he wants to give me up either,” Rose replied.
“And I don’t either, you’re incredible,” Hermione said, pulling her in for a hug again, her face wet with tears. “I’m going to miss you so much.”
“We have the mirrors,” Rose said. “You can talk to me still.”
“There’s no reason to think that they’ll work across dimensions!”
“You’re a genius, I’m sure we can figure it out,” Rose said.
Hermione laughed, wiping at the tears on her face. “Does the other universe have a Hermione?”
Rose nodded. “I think any universe without one is probably a hell-dimension.”
“She’s younger than me now then,” she said. “Will you promise to try and be her friend? I never go on with girls until I met you.”
“Of course,” Rose said. “I promise. You’re the best friend I ever had and I love you.”
“I love you too, of course I do,” Hermione said, and started crying and Rose started crying back.
“I am going to miss you so much,” Rose whispered into Hermione’s bushy hair, remembering how her friend would crawl into her bed in the dormitories and read her pages from textbooks until she fell asleep back when fears of dreaming about Voldemort would keep her awake.
“Yeah, you are,” Hermione said, pulling away and wiping at her face. “So I guess we should make plans, huh? Of what you need to bring with you, your cloak and the elder wand and some galleons and your broom and oh, your mum’s jewelry and your photos, we’ll charm a rucksack for you.”
Rose was so grateful at Hermione’s practical-mindedness. “I wasn’t just planning on jumping in just with my robes.”
“Who knows, with you,” Hermione replied. “Oh—you’ll have to see Dumbledore again!”
Rose nodded, she wasn’t sure about how that would make her feel, knowing that he both cared for her and led her to die like a lamb to the slaughter.
“The boy you is going to be so lucky to have you there,” Hermione said, enveloping her in a hug again.
“Yeah he is,” Rose said, wondering just how like her Harry Potter really was.
Rose was sleeping, she knew she was, but she felt a ghost of a kiss on her temple, gentle and tender. She rolled over, opening her eyes, and she wasn’t in her home anymore, she was back in the tent.
“Go back to sleep, sweetheart, you’re going to need your rest tomorrow,” Sirius said, his voice soft and full of care.
She stared at him in the dark, before grabbing her wand and lighting up the tent with a whispered Lumos. Something was different. “You’re my godfather, aren’t you?”
“Since before you were born, yeah,” Sirius said, grinning at her.
“You know what I mean,” Rose said, running her fingers through his hair, it was down to his shoulders.
He closed his eyes, leaning into her touch. “I do.”
“I'm so angry with you, leaving me the way you did. I miss you everyday,” she confessed, feeling so selfish in both her anger and love.
“Doesn’t seem like you have to miss me anymore,” he replied, raising his eyebrows.
She frowned. “Are you okay with it?”
Sirius sighed. “With you and another me? I’m terribly jealous and worried about your awful taste in men, Rosie.”
“My taste is impeccable, thank you,” she replied.
He laughed, and she shoved him.
“I’m not so bothered about your relationship with….Sirius, Merlin, that’s strange, as much as you going back into a war zone, but at least it’s your choice this time,” Sirius said, frowning.
“You don’t think I should stay?”
“Of course I think you should stay. I want you to grow old and be safe and not have to constantly be looking over your shoulder for danger, I want your biggest concern to be whether the water sprites in your garden are going to come back,” Sirius said, squeezing her hand. “But you’re not the kind of witch to sit on your arse when people are in danger, so I can’t say I’m surprised.”
“I want to grow old too,” Rose told him. “I do want a family and to build a life, I don’t have a danger kink or anything.”
“Danger kink,” Sirius chuckled to himself, and she rolled her eyes.
“Not that you ever got to know any of mine,” she muttered.
“Baby, you were so young,” Sirius said.
“I got older,” Rose said petulantly like the child she never got to be.
“You did,” he agreed, all but beaming at her. “And you have to try and keep on getting older, even though you’re throwing yourself back into harm’s way. Try and live, baby girl.”
“I will,” she promised him and then had a thought. “Are you really here with me, or am I just dreaming of you?”
“Why can’t it be both?” he asked.
Rose opened her mouth to reply, but woke up instead, to the soft light coming in through her windows. Sirius was sleeping next to her, his arm resting across her midsection.
“I miss you,” she whispered to the empty room, wondering if he could hear her. “But I’m starting to love him too.”
That day, Rose left a copy of her will in her house and sent another one off to Gringotts, leaving her vault and home to Teddy and the house’s library to Hermione.
She had packed up anything of sentimental or magical value in her rucksack, and was wearing her invisibility cloak and holding the elder wand. It was time, the moon was full, her heart was heavy, but it was time to leave.
She took one last look at her sanctuary of a home before grabbing Sirius’s hand and apparating the pair of them to the Department of Mysteries.
Hermione was waiting, holding a vial smoking gold potion in her hands.
“Are you ready?” Hermione asked her, and Rose was so grateful that she didn’t ask if she was sure.
“No,” Rose confessed. “But I’m going.”
“Thank you,” Sirius said to Hermione, and to her surprise, he hugged her, picking her up off the floor. He whispered something in her ear, and she smiled at him, wiping at her cheeks.
“Bottoms up,” Sirius said, as he swigged the potions she gave him, and then pulled a face afterwards. “Ugh. Do I want to know what’s in that?”
Rose laughed, feeling some of the tension lifting from her chest.
“No,” Hermione said, smirking. “You really don’t.”
Sirius stuck out his tongue, and looked at the veil. He picked up his wand, and conjured a rope, and he tied their wrists together as they planned, in case the veil sent them off in different directions. The conjured rope rubbed against her skin, but that was the very least of her problems.
“I’m not going to watch you leave,” Hermione said to her softly. “I can’t. I feel like we’re first years again and I’m leaving you to go fight Voldemort on your own.”
“But I’m not alone to this time” Rose replied, gesturing at Sirius, who waved with his free hand.
“I know,” Hermione said, and hugged her goodbye, kissing her on the cheek.
“Let yourself be happy,” Hermione said to her as the last words as she left the room, and Rose swallowed down tears and stared at Sirius, who was transfixed on the veil.
“I thought I was dying when I was in there,” he warned her. “I heard James, and Regulus, until I closed my eyes and woke up here."
“Ah, right,” Rose said, frowning. “So we just ignore the voices and hope we end up back where you started?”
“If Hermione’s potion worked, the veil should just take us home,” Sirius said, steeling his jaw.
“It’ll work,” Rose said. Hermione wouldn’t mess up something this important.
“Just don’t open any doors or walk down any paths,” Sirius warned her.
“I won’t,” Rose said. “Shall we?”
“I’d say ladies first, but I think it has to be me,” Sirius said, taking a step forward, and tossing the veil open. “On the count of three, we’ll jump?”
“One, two, three!” Sirius shouted, and her heart racing at a mile-a-minute, jumped in, connected to him, into the veil.
It was eerie, it was so bright but she couldn’t see anything, and her whole body felt cold and dead.
“Are you with me?” Sirius asked her, holding her hand.
“Yes,” she replied, “but I’m so cold. And I want to go to sleep.”
“Stay awake,” he said. “We’ll be there soon.”
“Rosie!” a voice shouted, and she and Sirius both snapped their heads to the left where the sound came from. Sirius paled at the sound of his own voice.
Rose didn’t reply, remembering the warning he gave her.
“Rosie baby, you’ve come for me! Come find me!” he shouted, and a part of her wanted to go, but she knew better, even though a part of her wanted to head toward the doorway that had just appeared. The handle was rattling, it was so close, she could just reach out and go to him, but her hands clenched in fists, she knew it was a lie.
“No,” Rose said quietly.
“You don’t love me anymore?” the voice asked, and that hit her like a stab to the heart.
“Of course I do,” Rose snapped. “But I know my godfather and he wants me in the land of the living, not here, and you’re NOT him.”
At that, the voice stopped calling to her, and she shivered, feeling like she passed whatever test the veil gave her, but she knew that this test might be the easiest one she’d face in a while.
“Are you alright?” she asked the Sirius holding her hand.
“Yeah,” he said. “I’m with you.”
Rose smiled at him and went to open her mouth, but the veil opened again, spitting them back out onto the hard, cold floor.
He helped her up, and she tossed her cloak over them before they could be seen. If they were in the right world, he was still an escaped convict. So, in the span of a moment, he apparated them to the park around the corner from Privet Drive.
“We did it,” Rose whispered.
“Maybe,” he said, and cast a tempus. It lit up July 2nd, 1995, 9:30 PM.
Rose’s head hurt. It had just been September. “How long has it been here since you left?”
“Two weeks as well,” Sirius asked. “If we’re in the right world, that is.”
“There’s only one way to check,” Rose said.
Sirius took a deep breath, and untied the rope around her wrist. “Let’s go get Harry, then.”
Rose nodded, and followed him down the very familiar streets, down Magnolia Crescent where she had once seen him as a dog, and then, just before Privet Drive, the pair of them stopped when they saw a figure illuminated by a streetlight.
It was a young man, looking up at the stars, and it was like looking at a funhouse mirror version of her own face, though the features were more masculine and softer with his youth. His green eyes really were very bright, and his nose was more crooked than hers, making him look even more like James Potter than she did. He was wearing ill-fitting clothes that were clearly Dudley’s cast-offs but his jaw was clenched and he looked angry and determined and not at all broken, and oh Merlin, she wanted to give him a hug already.
“Harry,” she heard Sirius whisper, and she watched him run over to him, and she sprinted so she could keep up.
Harry drew his wand. “Sirius?” he asked, his voice breaking.
Sirius nodded. “It’s me, but very wise to bring your wand out, we’re in dangerous times.”
Harry’s wand hand didn’t waver. “What did you get me for Christmas in third year?”
“A Firebolt but I suspect a few people might know that, I was quite notorious at the time,” Sirius replied. “Try another question.”
“Okay,” Harry replied, taking a half-step closer to Sirius. “What did you get me for Christmas this year?”
“Practical Magic and its defense against the Dark Arts, though Remus actually bought the book as it’s not like I could leave to get you the presents you deserve,” Sirius grumbled.
Harry dropped his wand. “Is it you? Are you really Sirius?” he asked again.
“Since the day I was born,” Sirius joked, and then went to embrace him, engulfing him in a fierce hug.
“I’m so sorry,” Harry told him, his voice breaking. “I should have learned occlumency, I should have put up with Snape, I should have fought Bellatrix better…”
“Stop,” Sirius said, curling his hand around the nape of Harry’s neck. “None of that was your fault, I’ve been with the Order since before you were born, I knew all the risks, and came anyway, it’s not your fault,” he repeated.
Harry wiped at his eyes with the sleeves of his too-long t-shirt, and noticed the dark circles underneath Harry’s eyes and how red-rimmed they were.
“How?” she heard Harry ask.
“The veil took me into another world, but I had to come back to you,” Sirius explained, pulling away.
“You look different,” Harry said, staring at him intently. "Good, even."
“Freedom, sunshine, food, and company will do that,” Sirius replied, the corners of his lips turning up into a smirk.
Rose cleared her throat gently, and waved, and Harry finally took his eyes off his godfather to look at her, and she watched as shock and disbelief grew on his face, before it settled into a blank mask.
“My name is Rose Potter, and it’s so good to meet you Harry,” she said, smiling at him.
Harry blinked and then narrowed his eyes at her. “Ehm? Sirius, did mum and Dad, before me, um?”
“No,” Sirius said gently. “But I can see why you would think that. I met Rose on the other size of the veil, in another world very like this one.”
Rose stepped closer to Harry and pushed her fringe out of the way, showing him the lighting-bolt shaped scar that had faded some since the Horcrux had gone, but that would never truly leave her. “I got a bunch of nicknames in my life, but the girl-who-lived was my least favourite.”
Harry inhaled sharply, his jaw dropping. “No,” he said to himself.
“Yes, it sucks,” Rose agreed. “Absolutely terrible, everyone staring at me, expecting things because of a scar and my parents and bloody Trelawny making a prophecy that Snape overheard, and I only knew what I was doing about ten per cent of the time.”
“Snape?” Harry asked, his face flushing with anger.
“Possibly you didn’t know that yet, whoops,” Rose said, not feeling worried. “But we can sort the future out as we go along.”
Harry tugged at his hair anxiously. “How is this real? How are you real? How old are you?”
“Twenty,” Rose replied, ignoring the first two questions. “Made it to two whole decades.”
“Congratulations,” Harry said dryly, and oh god, she loved him already.
Sirius was looking at the two of them happily, but his eyes going from them, to the street around them, which was empty save for the occasional passing car. “We have so much to talk about, but perhaps we shouldn’t do it out here?”
“You’re right,” Rose agreed. “Harry, would you like to go get your things and come with us?”
“Back to Grimmauld Place?” Harry asked, rocking on his heels.
“Ugh, we thought about it, but Rose isn’t exactly in on the secret as she’s not from here and we wanted to go see you before Dumbledore,” Sirius said, pulling a face, shepherding them back to Number 4 Privet Drive.
“Okay,” Harry agreed. “The Burrow then?”
Rose shook her head. “Turns out you own a beautiful property in the Lake District, you haven’t been, but I can take us there, it’ll be dusty but safe, no one but the goblins remember it.”
“I own a house?” Harry asked.
“It was a shock to me too,” Rose replied.
“This is too weird,” Harry replied, looking between her and Sirius strangely, slowing down as they approached The Dursley’s house.
Rose felt sick as she walked up to the doorway that she had never technically been in on, but had horrible memories of all the same.
Before Harry could open the door, Petunia Dursley threw it open. She glared at Harry and Sirius, but her jaw dropped when she looked at her. She was told she did look like Lily Evans, especially when her hair was pulled back off her face.
“Who are you then?” Petunia recovered. “Did my sister have another child that she didn’t pawn off to me? A teenage pregnancy, perhaps?”
“She didn’t pawn Harry off, she died so that her son could live, you miserable cow,” Sirius all but growled.
“I’m a distant relative,” Rose lied, “but I don’t expect family means much to you.”
“I took the boy in, didn’t I?” she snapped, and Harry snuck past her to go up to his room, sighing loudly.
“And I’m sure you made him feel at home,” Sirius said, his voice low and dangerous, his hand going to his wand.
Petunia slammed the door in their face, and Rose put her hand on Sirius’s arm before he blasted it open.
“They’re horrible, no one knows that more than me, but cursing them will just create problems now, maybe we can do it later?” Rose suggested sweetly, and Sirius nodded, his jaw tense.
A few minutes later, Harry came back outside with his trunk, firebolt and Hedwig and Rose’s heart hurt, remembering how her beautiful snowy white owl died for her.
“Let’s get out of here,” Harry suggested, and she grabbed both of their hands, and apparated them home.
The three of them arrived outside the cottage. The path to the door was covered in brambles and weeds, and Rose frowned, as she blasted them away with her wand. She already missed the flowers that Neville had so helpfully planted on her front walk.
“Your wand’s not like mine,” Harry remarked, as he followed her up toward the door.
“We’re not quite the same person,” Rose said instead of giving Harry a real answer about the Elder Wand, not now when Voldemort was still living.
“I had that bit figured out, thanks,” Harry joked, exchanging a look with Sirius.
Rose rolled her eyes, and gestured to the door. “I think you’ll have to open it, Harry, it belongs to you. Push the handle, and once you’re in, perform any small act of magic and tell the house that you’re claiming her.”
“Claiming her?” Harry asked.
“Magical houses need owners, and words have weight and their own magic, you know this. Claiming Grimmauld was a lot nastier of a process, that hellhole took a full pint of my blood and some dark spells besides,” Sirius explained with a grimace.
Rose wanted to comfort him, but stayed still and waited on Harry.
He nodded, his eyes bright, and pushed the door open, stepping through the threshold. “Ehm, hello. I’m Harry Potter, and I’d like to live here please,” he said politely, and then remembered the magic. He grinned and shouted “EXPECTO PATRONUM” and a giant stag came out of his wand, and trotted around the entryway, lighting up the hallway until the sconces flared to light and some of the dust began to evaporate, welcoming them in.
“Well done, and not a small act of magic at all, but I liked the drama,” Rose said, smiling at him. “Can we come in?”
“Of course,” Harry said, and she stepped through, back into a house that was no longer hers, and Sirius followed behind her.
With the elder wand, she cast a simple alert charm at the door, it would start chiming if anyone got 100 metres away from the bounds of the property.
“Just an alert ward,” Sirius explained to Harry, as they watched her work.
“Can you teach me that?” Harry asked.
“Sure,” Rose replied, her eyes scanning the room. It looked like it did when she first saw the house, very retro and cozy but everything that would have made it hers was gone. She sat down on her favourite red velvet armchair and sighed.
“You alright?” Sirius said, looking at her strangely.
“I’m fine,” she lied. It was just a house, but it was the only place except for Hogwarts that ever felt like a home to her.
“Okay,” Sirius said gently. “How about we give Harry the tour of the place?”
“Good idea. But we probably let Dumbledore know where Harry’s gone as well, it’s better than him finding out via other means,” she replied, opening up a cabinet, checking for any magical creatures, but the house felt safe, free of the taint of dark magic or death. “
“You can use Hedwig if you like to send him a letter,” Harry volunteered.
“That’s very kind, but perhaps too easily intercepted, especially with how gorgeous Hedgwig is,” Rose replied and Hedwig let out a low hoot at the compliment.
“A patronus then?” Sirius asked.
She nodded, and thought of the way Sirius looked at her when she told him she was going with him, and she gasped as a ghostly big black dog lit came out of her wand when she performed the Patronus charm.
“Padfoot,” Harry whispered, looking between her and Sirius strangely.
“Hello,” Rose said gently to her brand-new Patronus. “Can you go find Dumbledore alone and tell him that Sirius lives and is with Harry at Dorea Potter’s lake district cottage? He’s welcome to visit us as his earliest convenience, but we need no immediate assistance.”
The dog nodded, and ran out of the room and straight through the door.
“I guess we don’t have the same Patronus either,” Harry said.
“Mine used to be a stag,” she said.
“I didn’t know they could change,” Harry mused.
“They’re emotion-based magic, everything can change,” Sirius said, not meeting her eyes.
“I don’t think it will again,” Rose said. “It feels quite settled.”
“Can I ask you a question?” Harry said.
“Anything,” Rose said. “And I’ll do my best to be honest, I remember being quite fed up at how little people told me when I was your age.”
“Is one of those people Dumbledore? You seemed a little off talking to him,” Harry noticed.
“Very perceptive,” Rose said, and started hoovering up some of the dust and opening windows with her wand, desperate for something to do with her hands. “Was that your question?”
“No,” Harry said. “Sorry. I was just thinking about my patronus and in third year, when I saved Sirius from the Dementors, I thought at first that it was my Dad that had done it.”
Sirius made a tiny, choked off noise of pain at hearing this.
Harry stopped for a moment, and kept going. “But your hair’s not red, unless Lily Potter looked more like you where you’re from.”
She knew where he was going with this. “No, she was a redhead so I never thought I was her, but I always knew I had to save myself, Harry. I think it would have been nice to think it was them, just for a moment though.”
Sirius’s eyes looked wet, so Rose went over to him, and grabbed his hand, squeezing it to give him comfort.
“When Sirius fell into my universe, I thought a lot of things, but one of them was that maybe there’s a universe somewhere where everyone lives, and our biggest problems are studying for NEWTS or something,” Rose said quietly.
“That sounds nice,” Harry said. “What did your Sirius have to say about that?”
“He’s gone,” Sirius answered in her stead. “But I imagine he’d think she had her priorities wrong if she was putting studying over pranking.”
Rose gave him a weak smile, but it fell when the door started chiming.
“It’s Dumbledore, here’s here! But how do I know that?” Harry asked Sirius, standing up and holding his wand.
“You’re the master of the house now, kid,” Sirius replied. “Open the door and invite him in.”
Harry got up and Rose watched as another dead person walked back into her life.
Albus Dumbledore was breathing and powerful and angry, if the ice-cold stare of his brilliant blue eyes was any indication.
“Welcome back to the land of the living, Sirius,” Dumbledore said, casting an identification spell that made Sirius glow gold. “It truly is you.”
“It is,” Sirius replied. “I was never truly dead, just elsewhere.”
“Is that not true for all who die?” Dumbledore said.
“It is in my experience, but Sirius came to my world, and I helped bring him back here,” Rose said, standing up and offering Dumbledore a hand. “My name is Rose Potter.”
“Another universe, you say?” Dumbledore replied.
Rose nodded. “In my universe, I had many of the burdens that Harry has here.”
“Fascinating,” Dumbledore said, and met her eyes. She shivered, and felt a push of Legilimency against her mind. She didn’t think she was strong enough to fight him off, so she let him rummage around and she threw images at him, letting him feel what it was like to be hungry and cold and alone in Privet Drive, the wonder of seeing Hogwarts for the first time, Slughorn’s guilt as he confessed to telling Tom Riddle about Horcruxes, the feel of the locket horcrux strangling her neck, and the way she shook with fear as she walked to her death.
“So it’s as I feared,” Dumbledore said, looking so old. He took a seat and rested his head in his hands.
“Yes and no, you can move the soul to a different vessel without damaging the original one,” Rose said.
“Not to my knowledge,” Dumbledore said.
“With all due respect Professor, you don’t know everything,” Rose said, raising her eyebrows.
“I’ve never claimed to be omniscient,” he replied, the corners of his mouth turning up.
“Right, are either of you going to explain what’s going on here?” Harry asked.
“I had entered young Rose Potter’s mind, and had things confirmed to me that I had long suspected,” Dumbledore replied.
“Try that again, but in English, Headmaster,” Sirius implored. “Don’t you think he deserves to know? It’s my godson’s life.”
“There’s no guarantee that everything that’s true in Rose’s world will be true here,” Dumbledore replied.
“No, of course not,” Rose said. “Our genders aside, I’m sure there’s some differences. But Harry is owed the truth.”
“He’s not even sixteen years old yet, he’s still just a boy,” Dumbledore replied.
“The same way I was just a girl when I was stripped and tied to a grave at 14 and made to bleed to make Voldemort corporeal again?” Rose asked.
Sirius’s face went white, while Harry’s face flushed with anger. Sirius spoke first. “Stripped?! Did he—did the death eaters?
Rose shook her head, cutting him off. “No, it was nothing but another reminder from Voldemort about how absolutely powerless I was, how I was ‘at his mercy’.”
“But you weren’t, you won, didn’t you?” Harry asked.
“I did, and you will too. He’s currently immortal, but we can take care of that,” Rose said, meeting his green eyes and feeling a sense of home.
Dumbledore took a deep breath. “Is this the safest venue to have this discussion in? Wouldn’t it be better in our Headquarters? The headquarters of the Order of the Phoenix is at Number 12 Grimmauld Place.”
Rose felt the charm wash over her, she was now a party to that secret. “If Wormtail has never been here and everyone thinks Sirius is dead, no one will see us coming, Headmaster.”
“And Sirius has been trapped in that awful house long enough, can’t we stay here?” Harry pleaded.
“If you promise not to seeking out trouble while you’re here, yes,” Dumbledore said after a moment. “I do have quite a lot to think about.”
“You do,” Rose said. “And while you do, back at Hogwarts, take a little trip to the Room of Requirement. You’ll find a diadem that Voldemort has tinkered with. Don’t…wear it or anything, but it needs to be destroyed.”
“At Hogwarts?” Dumbledore asked.
“It’s truly not too hard to sneak in or out of the castle if one is really determined,” Sirius muttered.
Harry stifled a laugh, and she caught his eye and grinned.
“A fair point Sirius given your history, though perhaps not a comparison you’d like to make,” Dumbledore replied. “I’ll go find this diadem and call on you later in the week?”
“Sure,” Harry replied, and watched as Dumbledore apparated straight out of their living room. “Do you want to explain what all that was about?”
Rose shook her head. “Not at all. But I think I have to.”
Rose opened the cabinets, finding them bare as expected. “We can go down to Tescos in the village the first thing tomorrow, let me know what kind of food you like.”
Harry slid his glasses up his nose. “I’m not a picky eater, it doesn’t matter.”
“Everything matters,” Rose muttered, slamming the cabinet shut and standing up in front of Sirius and Harry. “There’s a good Indian place in the village too, there’s nothing quite like their chicken ruby, I could eat my body weight in naan right now too. Have you had Indian food yet, Harry? I didn’t till I was out of school, but it’s great.”
Harry shook his head.
“We can get all the takeaway your heart desires Rose, but this conversation’s not going to get any better the longer you put it off,” Sirius said, looking her head in the eye.
“Are you sure?” she said, halfway to a pout.
“Yes, Rose,” Sirius said, his voice edging on arrogant and his mouth curved up in a smile.
Harry looked between them for a moment, his brow furrowed.
She gathered her courage and carried on she wasn’t a Gryffindor for nothing. Rose pulled out her wand, and drew a little glowing screen stick figure of a man into the air. “Right, this is Tom.”
“I can see the resemblance,” Harry joked.
“Yeah, it’s uncanny,” Rose replied. “Especially the lack of nose, right?”
Harry laughed, and she winked at him, and Sirius looked between them strangely.
“He had a nose when James and I fought him,” Sirius mused.
“Yeah, he used to be less reptilian and more handsome,” Rose mused. “What happened when you faced him?”
Sirius leaned forward and both she and Harry listened eagerly. “We barely got away with our lives, especially after he offered me and Prongs another chance to join him, due to our ‘noble blood’,” he scoffed.
“What did you tell him?” Harry asked.
“To fuck off and die,” Sirius replied, sticking two fingers in the air.
Rose laughed, tilting her head back. “And this was public? Your answer?”
“It sure was,” Sirius grinned. "I was very loud."
"I'm sure you were, and those idiots still thought you were the traitor,” Rose muttered, her good mood fading away as she imagined a younger Sirius telling Voldemort to fuck off and die.
“Forget about it,” Sirius said, waving his hands. “You were telling a story with some lovely magical drawings, please continue.”
Rose breathed in through his nose and out through her mouth the way her mind healer taught her. “Right, so Tom. He’s a right bastard. All he cares about is himself and power and the only thing that scares him is dying, even though there are much worse things.”
Harry nodded. “You don’t need to tell me how awful he is, I know.”
Rose carried on. “Of course you do. So, he’s afraid of dying. There’s ways to get around the dying thing, you’re aware of some already right, if you saw the Philosopher’s Stone back when you were eleven?”
“I did, yeah,” Harry said, his arms folded across his chest.
“I think I’m going to need this story,” Sirius interrupted, and she shook her head.
“Maybe later, but Tom wants a different way of immortality, a darker one, one where he doesn’t need to depend on alchemy or a stone that can be destroyed by an eleven-year-old. So he makes horcruxes, it’s the worst kind of magic, you have to commit a murder to do it, and you can split your soul up so there’s a piece of you around if something happens to your physical body,” Rose explains, borrowing the calm teacher voice Lupin used with his students and his son.
She waved her wand again, and the ghostly-green stick-boy Tom divided by seven, multiplying in front of them.
Harry inhaled sharply and started counting. “That many? How do I get rid of them?”
She painted a red ex over one of the Toms. “You did already, with the diary in your second year. Basilisk fang works, fiendfyre, dragon fire, the killing curse should all do it.”
“Okay,” Harry said. “But how do we find them, they can be anywhere?”
“Nah, not anywhere, there’s pieces of his soul, he’s not going to drop one in the ocean like the old lady in Titanic,” Rose said.
“What?” Sirius said.
“Sorry, it’s a film that comes out in a few years, but lucky for us, I know where all the Horcruxes are,” she said, as she walked over to her air-drawings. “This one’s a locket,” she said, transfiguring the Tom. “It was at Grimmauld Place, Sirius’s brother Regulus stole it, Kreacher should be able to help us find it.”
Sirius snorted, and she turned to glare at him.
“Try and be nice,” she said.
“He got Sirius killed!” Harry said viciously.
“He can be ehm…well, massively unpleasant, but he can help us, and we came to an understanding in my world, he’ll be useful, I promise,” Rose explained.
“Okay,” Harry said, clearly filing that fight away for later in his head. “And the others?”
“His snake Nagini,” she said, transfiguring the drawing of Tom to a snake, and continued on. “Ravenclaw’s diadem which you heard me tell Dumbledore that he can get and destroy from Hogwarts, the Gaunt family ring which is in a shack in Little Hangleton, and Hufflepuff’s cup which is in Bellatrix Lestrange’s vault at Gringotts which may be one of the trickier ones to get to but not impossible,” Rose explained.
Harry stood up and looked at her drawings, the green snake and locket diadem and cup and ring. “There’s two pieces missing,” he pointed out. “One is obviously Tom, but the other?”
“Will you take a seat, Harry?” she asked quickly.
“I’m fine, thanks,” he said, gesturing for her to continue.
“Okay, the first thing is that he didn’t mean to do it,” Rose said quietly. “It was a magical accident, but there’s a reason you can see visions into Tom’s mind and speak Parsletongue and share dreams.”
Harry backed away from her, scrambling down to the couch to sit next to Sirius. “No. You’re lying! Where did Sirius even find you, this is rubbish,” he shouted, but she saw the moment it registered as truth in his eyes.
“I’m sorry Harry,” she said. “I was a Horcrux too, and I let Tom hit me with the killing curse to get rid it of it, but that’s not the only way, we can get it out of you and you’ll be free of him, I promise. I can save you from this, I know I can, it’ll be better for you then it was for me.”
“You died?” Harry asked, his voice going quiet.
“It didn’t stick,” she tried to joke, but it fell flat.
“I’m sorry,” Harry muttered, and lifted his fringe up and pointed to his scar. “It’s here, isn’t it? The ehm—horcrux.”
“I’m afraid so,” Sirius said, and kissed the top of his head, just above the scar. “But I’m here and Rose and I aren’t going to let anything else happen to you, okay?”
Harry shook his head. “It sounds like something has to happen to me in order to get rid of this. Maybe I don’t have to die and I had a basilisk bite me before and it wasn’t great, but if that’s the only way then I can deal with it, I can take a little pain.”
“No,” Rose cut him off, sitting down on the other side of him. “Harry, I can take it out and put it in something else and kill it that way, no one is burning or poisoning or cursing you, I think you’ve had more than enough of that for one lifetime already.”
“Okay,” Harry said quietly, and his hands went to his forehead, clawing at the scar. “Can you do it now? Get it out of me, I want it out of me, please,” he begged, his voice sounding younger, like a child.
“I’ll need a few days to get ingredients and get another vessel for it,” Rose said. “I’m sorry I have to make you live with this knowledge for a few days without immediately getting rid of it, but you’re still you, Harry, you always have been, your soul and body is yours and not tainted by any of this.”
Harry looked over to Sirius, his green eyes wide and wet with unshed tears. “Sirius, did you know? About the horcruxes, about Voldemort, about me?”
“No Harry, I had no idea about any of this, I knew he must have used some dark magic to stay alive, but the extent of it was all new to me,” Sirius confessed.
“Okay,” Harry said, and then he looked back between them again. “And Rose told you this?”
“She did, but I believe her kid,” Sirius said, knocking Harry’s leg with his knee. “We’re going to help, okay? You’re not alone in this.”
Harry swallowed, but the suspicious look remained on his face. “And Rose? You came to another dimension to help me out of what, the kindness of your heart?”
“No,” Rose admitted. “Although I like you already, you’re funny and brave and without sounding like the world’s biggest narcissist, a handsome kid.”
Sirius chuckled, and Harry cracked the edges of a smile. “And?” he asked.
“And I want to be wherever Sirius is,” she admitted, reaching across Harry to tuck an errant lock of Sirius’s hair behind his ear, in a soft, intimate gesture. Sirius was very still, but he let her, and nodded slowly.
“Oh,” Harry said, his mouth opening wide. “Um. Right… That’s a bit weird.”
“A little,” Sirius replied, holding up his forefinger and thumb. “The last thing I want to do is make you uncomfortable, kid.”
“He’s your godfather!” he said to Rose, looking between them again.
“He’s not my godfather, he’s yours,” she corrected. “And I’m not his goddaughter either.”
“No, you’re just a brilliant, beautiful witch an unfortunate case of Potter hair,” Sirius joked, even though all three of them knew it was much, much more complicated than that.
To her surprise, Harry laughed, a hard-full belly laugh that even seemed to startle him. “It’s still so weird, sorry, but at least I’m not thinking about horcruxes anymore.”
Rose started to laugh too, and the three of them collapsed in a pile of giggles on Dorea Potter’s velvet sofa.
Happy birthday Sirius Black! You get two Potters who love you and two very awkward conversations.
Thanks to everyone who has stuck with this story!
Rose took fresh sheets from her bag and made the beds, checking to make sure that it was safe.
Harry and Sirius trailed behind her, like lost dogs, and she recognised the pained clench in Harry’s jaw and the spark of hope in his eyes.
“You better take the master bedroom,” she said to Harry. “The house is yours, best let your magic settle it into safety.”
“If…it’s the two of you, you can take the bigger room, I won’t need much space,” Harry said graciously.
She shook her head, and walked over to the bookshelf, and pulled out the third book from the shelf, and grinned back at the pair of them.
“Not quite in the mood to read, but thanks,” Harry replied, and Sirius shook his head.
“Wait for it,” Sirius whispered, and Rose swung the hidden door open, revealing a small hidden room with a velvet chair, a wardrobe, a fake fireplace and some floo powder.
“Ta-da!” Rose said. “It took me the better part of a year to find this, but it was built during the War with Grindlewald and should give you time to escape or hide if necessary.”
Harry grinned back at her. “That is pretty cool. Is that common, in wizarding houses? I don’t think the Burrow has one.”
“Some do. Grimmauld Place has lots of hidden rooms, but for purposes a bit more nefarious than escaping,” Sirius explained.
Harry nodded, and the three of them all went for their wands as the wardrobe started to rattle.
“It’s probably only a boggart,” Sirius said, stepping in front of them.
“There was nothing in there except clothes in my world,” Rose mused, holding her wand tightly.
Harry shot her a wry look. “Well, we can’t be the only difference right?”
“Right, that’s probably a little narcissistic now that I think about it,” Rose said, worrying at her bottom lip. “Shall we find out on the count of three? One, two!”
But before she said three, Sirius stepped forward, and blasted the doors of the wardrobe straight off.
A mist floated out, starting to form what she thought was a dementor, until it seemed to look at Sirius, straight into his soul, and turned into something worse.
James Potter was there in front of them, but none of the warmth in his eyes from the photos of him were there. His hazel eyes were dark and unforgiving without any trace of mischief.
“Riddikulous!” Sirius cracked out, but there was no laughter in his voice, or power in the spell, so the boggart merely stumbled over its feet.
Rose shivered and whipped out her wand, making eye contact with Harry, who also poised to cast, arm at the ready.
“Hello brother,” James said, his voice dripping with venom. “Not happy to see me, are you? You wouldn’t be, what with you being the reason I’m dead and Harry grew up with those awful muggles and if that isn’t bad enough, the first thing you do in an alternate universe is start fucking my daughter.”
“Honestly,” Rose said, having just about enough of this, and she stepped forward, looking at her boggart father, imaging him with stag ears and his natural crooked smile. “Riddikulous!” she shouted, and overpowered the spell with the elder wand so much that the boggart disintegrated into mist.
Harry looked between them, and grabbed Sirius’s shoulder. “Dad wouldn’t think that, and I don’t either.”
“I know that thing wasn’t my best friend, I knew it was a boggart,” Sirius confessed, staring at the space where James just was.
“But you wanted to hear his voice?” Harry asked, his voice catching a little at the end.
Sirius nodded, caught out, and she felt a crackle of magic in the air, like he was fighting against turning into Padfoot.
“I understand,” Rose said quietly, and looked outside. The moon was high in the pitch-black sky, it was late, and she was bone-tired. She swallowed down a yawn. “Time for bed, I think.”
Harry nodded. “It’s been a long day for the two of you, what with travelling through the veil of death and all.”
Rose went to say goodnight, but other words spilled out of her instead. “Harry, you’re nearly an adult and I don’t mean to treat you like a child because I know you’re not, but do you mind if I cast a monitor spell on your room? It won’t let me hear or see anything, but I’ll be alerted if you’re in any sort of danger.”
Harry shrugged, but Sirius stepped forward instead. “I’ll do it. I’m your godfather,” he insisted.
“Okay,” Harry replied, looking at Sirius strangely.
Sirius lifted his wand, and started to whisper in Latin and a golden-hued, warm thread of magic came out and wrapped itself around Harry before covering the room in bright light before disappearing into thousands of tiny little stars before fading away into nothing.
Harry collapsed on the bed, his hands going straight to his heart. “What was that? It felt a little familiar somehow.”
“Your mum and dad used to cast it on you as a baby, once you slept in your own room,” Sirius explained. “They left the sound monitoring on of course, and one of the times I babysat you, your Mum heard me singing you some Bowie as a lullaby and Lily said that I missed my calling as a singer.”
“Oh,” Harry said quietly. “Did you watch me a lot?”
Sirius shook his head. “They went into hiding while you were still so little, and Lily and James didn’t like to be away from you. We got along great when I did watch you though, we had fun, Prongs said it was because I had the same maturity level.”
Harry smiled weakly at him. “I wish I could remember.”
“Maybe I could show you one day, I could buy a pensive,” Sirius suggested, and then yawned, swaying on his feet. “Bed it is, I think. Sweet dreams, kid.”
“You too,” Harry said, waving at them as they left the room. Sirius followed Rose toward the smaller bedroom, but he stopped at the threshold.
“I think I’m going to be Padfoot tonight and sleep at the top of the stairs,” Sirius said, guilt etched across his handsome face.
“I want you in my bed,” Rose said plainly, too tired to try and pretend to be okay.
“I can be Padfoot at the foot of it, but I don’t think I’d be able to sleep at all as a man tonight,” Sirius confessed.
Rose nodded, and undressed, changing into a pair of cozy pajamas, while Sirius watched, his eyes gray eyes unreadable.
“Goodnight sweetheart,” Rose said as she waved the lights off with her wand, not watching as he transformed into the big black dog, and hoped she’d be lucky enough for a dreamless sleep. But she’d never been very lucky.
Rose was back in the Forbidden Forest, seventeen and ready to die and surrounded by the shades of her parents and a newly-dead Sirius, looking far younger and happier than she could ever remember seeing him.
“Rosie, my girl, you’ve been so brave,” Lily said to her and her Mum was so young and so beautiful, reaching out as if she’d like to hug her. She was taller than Lily and didn’t look much younger.
Rose trembled, unable to speak, she thought she could stay here forever, looking at her parents and Sirius, whose eyes were soft and kind, three people in the world who had loved her, all gone.
“We’re so proud of you,” her Dad said, and Sirius nodded.
“I’m furious with you,” she said, turning to stare straight at Sirius. “I didn’t want you to die, to leave me, not when I never even told you that I love you.”
“I knew love and I didn’t want to leave you either,” Sirius replied. “I’m sorry I was too slow to escape Bellatrix.”
“Nothing to be said about your taste though,” James joked, but he was smiling.
“I’m sorry Dad,” Rose said quietly.
Lily shook her head. “No, never be sorry for loving someone, you’ve got such a big heart baby girl.”
“I wish I would have been able to share it, to be in love like you two are,” Rose said. “But I don’t have time. Does it hurt?”
“Dying? Not at all. Easier and quicker than falling asleep,” Sirius replied.
“I’ll see you soon,” she promised, but she never did. Dumbledore greeted her in the beyond instead.
I posted two chapters this weekend so if you didn't read chapter 10, go back and come to this one after!
(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)
Rose woke up, and nearly stumbled over Padfoot on her way out of her bedroom.
“I’m sorry,” Rose said, crouching over to pet him behind the ears. He looked so pitiful, and she sighed. She could hardly be cross at a dog.
Sirius shifted in one graceful movement, going from dog to man. “Did you sleep alright?”
“Better than you, it looks like,” she muttered, gesturing to the dark circles underneath his eyes.
The corners of his lips turned up. “Will you hex me if I tell you that you’re very attractive when you’re angry?”
Rose huffed out a laugh, amused despite herself. “No hexes are on their way.”
“Good,” Sirius said, reaching out to smooth down some of her bedhead, though it was truly a futile effort, the Potter hair was hopeless.
“I’m going to town to get food for us, and then I think I’d like to take care of our most pressing Horcrux problem,” Rose said quietly, tilting her head toward Harry’s bedroom.
“Food sounds good,” Sirius agreed. “And I’d like Harry to have his body to himself as soon as possible too. But what makes you so sure that you can do it?”
“Because the other choice is death, and I don’t want that to happen to him, and I know it’s been done before,” Rose replied.
“How?” Sirius asked, his voice low and protective.
“I don’t massively want to explain, how good of a legilmens are you?” Rose said, avoiding his eyes.
“I’m decent,” Sirius said, picking his wand out of his robe pocket. “Are you sure?”
Rose met his eyes and concentrated on the memory. “Go on.”
“Legilmens,” Sirius whispered, and she felt a gentle brush against her mind and Sirius was there with her, on Bondi Beach.
Rose was up to her knees in the water, feeling the golden shine of the sun on her skin. She waved to Hermione who was turning a page of her book underneath a beach umbrella.
A blond haired man with washboard abs came up to her, a strange expression on his face. “Hello little Horcrux.”
Rose put her hands into fists, her heart-beating too fast. “What did you call me?” The beach was full of muggles, her wand was in her bag, she could probably get away but not without an international incident.
“You heard me,” he said, frowning. “You feel like me, our magic has gone through trauma.”
“What?” Rose snapped out. “Who sent you? Voldemort? What do you want?”
“No, no, nothing like that, I’m sorry, I shouldn’t have came up to you like this,” the man said, holding his hands up. “I’m not trying to frighten you.”
“I’m not scared,” Rose spat out. “What do you mean about horcruxes?”
“I was one and I recognise the magic,” he replied. “I’m Jack, by the way.”
“Rose,” she replied. “But you didn’t know that?”
“Should I?” he asked.
She shook her head. “Maybe not here. Whose horcrux were you, then?”
Jack grimaced. “My father. He was a nasty piece of work, and when my Mum got us free of him, he took me from her for a bit and made sure he couldn’t die and I’d always have a piece of him with me.”
“That’s awful,” Rose said, reaching out to comfort the stranger.
“How about you then?” Jack asked.
“Ehm, Voldemort, but he and the horcrux are gone,” Rose said quietly.
“Ah, I think I read about him in the papers, your dark lord” Jack said.
Rose glared at him. “Not MY Dark Lord.”
Jack grimaced. “Right, of course. Sorry. And sorry for asking, but I never met anyone like me, so. Did it hurt? When you got it out? It was blindling pain for a second or two, but once it was gone it was like it was never there.”
“No, dying was faster and easier than falling asleep,” Rose replied, looking back at Hermione who was still engrossed in her book.
“Dying?” Jack gasped. “What do you mean?”
“That’s how I got the horcrux out, got it destroyed,” Rose explained, shivering despite the heat of the day.
“I guess that’d be effective,” Jack said, looking like he was about to be sick. “But my mum was able to take it out of me and she put it into a bird in our yard and killed it instead, said her love for me was stronger than the dark magic and it would always be. It was hard for her, but she does her best to look out for me. And I can’t believe I’m sharing all this.”
“It’s okay, it feels a bit better to know that I wasn’t the only person who ever had something like his happen to,” Rose said, looking down at the waves that were crashing into her knees.
“I’m sorry,” Jack said. “Can I buy you a drink to try and make you forget about all of this?”
Rose looked at Jack, young and fair, a complete stranger, the opposite to Sirius. “I could have a drink after this discussion. Or four.”
And with that, Rose booted Sirius out of her mind, coming back to the cottage and far away from the Australian beach.
“Did you and him?” Sirius asked, making a hand gesture that could have been a hurricane or sex.
Rose nodded, equally pleased and annoyed by his twinge of jealousy. “Yes, not that it’s especially your business.”
“He’s good looking,” Sirius remarked, as if he was talking about the weather.
“He was a lovely man, and I met his mother and she was wonderful, but I couldn’t love him as I never stopped loving you,” Rose said. “Anyway, Jack’s Mum’s love for him was stronger than his Father’s hate and possession, so she was able to destroy the soul shard, and that’s why I know I can help Harry.”
Sirius nodded, and pulled her close, embracing her. She let herself take comfort in his arms, the warmth of his skin, his scent, how she could hear his heart beat through the thin fabric of his shirt.
“Harry and I are lucky to have you,” Sirius whispered in her ear, and her whole body felt warm.
“Yeah, you are,” Rose said, winking at him as she got ready to leave for town.
She came back later with enough food to feed a small army, thank Merlin for weightless charms, along with coffee and chocolate croissants from the local bakery, and friendly garden snake she found on her way back.
She sent a silent apology to the snake as she transfigured a glass container to cage it in.
“Put me back outside,” the snake hissed at her. “I liked that rock.”
“You’ll be back soon,” Rose lied, putting him down on the kitchen table. “Morning, Harry,” she said, tossing him a croissant.
He caught it easily, seeker reflexes. “Thanks,” Harry said, before biting into it. There were dark circles under his eyes too, no one had slept well that night it seemed.
Sirius helped her put away the groceries, and stared at the snake for afterwards. “Are you ready?”
Rose finished her breakfast, and nodded. “I’d like to do this outside, in the light of the summer sun. And I need you to promise to finish it if I can’t for whatever reason. Don’t let me hesitate, alright?”
“I’ll be right here,” Sirius promised, his voice strong and steady.
“Hesitate on what?” Harry asked. “And why is there a snake?”
“Voldemort understands them, I think the Horcrux would be easier transferred to it than any other animal,” Rose grimaced.
“Right,” Harry said, steadying his jaw. “Are you okay to do this now, Rose? Are you sure?”
“We can wait if you want, bring Dumbledore here or your friends if you’d like,” Rose offered.
Harry shook his head, and stood up. “It’s been there for too long already. Please, destroy it.”
Rose nodded, and full of emotion, walked over to Harry and gave him a quick hug. He accepted it, and she thought for a moment that he was nearly as tall as James was.
She didn’t love Harry like Jack’s Mum loved him, but she felt in her bones, in her marrow, that she could love him. Harry was kind and funny and brave, and she knew she could do this, knew she could help him in a way that nobody helped her.
“Let’s go outside,” Rose said firmly, grabbing Harry’s hand and floating the glass caged serpent out with her other hand.
“Can I help?” Sirius asked, looking between them, his gray eyes wide and worried.
“Can you cast a protective circle around us with purifying runes? Put your heart into it,” Rose asked.
“Of course,” Sirius replied, and he started casting around them, the air filling with sparks. She could see the runes around them, until they formed an unbroken circle with Harry and her at the center. Sirius stepped inside it and it closed around them.
“I’m sorry for this, but I have no idea how you’ll react and I’ll release you shortly,” Rose explained, as she conjured up roped around Harry’s wrists and ankles, and helped him down to the ground, cradling his head.
“It’s okay, I wouldn’t want to hurt you,” Harry said, though she could feel his fear.
“I’m more afraid of you hurting yourself,” Rose said, and put the snake down next to him. “Are you ready?”
Harry nodded, and she turned to look at Sirius, who was waiting, wand out.
She took a deep breath, and brushed Harry's hair off his forehead gently and without knowing she was going to do it, she placed a tender kiss onto his scar, letting the magic guide her.
Love over hate, she thought to herself again and again like a mantra and raised the elder wand over the curse wound and pulled, and pulled, feeling a dark thread embedded deep inside of him. She reached for it and it scurried away from her until she finally got ahold of the slippery magic, it was within her grasp.
Harry thrashed about on the ground and started to hiss in Parseltongue. “You think you can stop me, little girl? Me, Lord Voldemort? I’ve been here long before you and I’ll be here long after.”
“I know I can, Harry’s soul and body deserve to be his own,” she hissed back, pouring her heart into the magic, her love for Sirius and her parents and Hermione, her grief at losing his godfather, every bit of pain and heartache that she had, that made her human and yanked.
Harry screamed, and she finally tugged it free, loose from its anchor and her hands shook as she guided the black, twisted soul shard into the snake, who immediately began to hiss wicked words at the pair of them.
“Mudblood scum, you’re nothing, you’ll never be free of me,” the snaked hissed, its eyes glowing red.
She ran over to Harry, and beckoned Sirius over, and Sirius magicked the ropes off of Harry and rubbed feeling back into his wrists.
“Are you okay?” Sirius asked, helping him sit up.
“Yeah,” Harry nodded, watching the snake throw itself over and over at the glass, trying to break free. He put her hands to his heart and breathed out, touching his scar and looking back at her. "It's gone, I know it is!"
“Are you in pain?” Rose asked, positioning herself between the snake and Harry.
“It hurt, but I’m fine now,” Harry said, rising to his feet on his own accord.
“Good,” she said, swaying a little, grabbing onto Sirius so she didn’t fall.
“You did good sweetheart,” Sirius said, glaring at the snake. “You can rest now.”
“I can’t,” Rose protested. “The snake, it can't live,” she said, the words feeling as heavy as cotton in her mouth. She raised her wand, meaning to cast the killing curse, but she could barely light a lumos now, she was so tired.
“I have it,” Sirius said, gripping his wand, and in the space of a second, green light came out of his wand, and the snake stopped struggling.
Rose watched it die, and then felt the grass start spinning beneath her feet, and closed her eyes just for a moment, letting Harry and Sirius’s voices wash over her.
And the horcrux is gone! Thanks for sticking with me and this story.
“If I ran away from here, to somewhere where no one knows me—like California or Tokyo or Barcelona, would you come with me?” Rose asked, feeling the winter chill in her bones in the cave. The warming charm she had cast earlier had started to sputter, Hermione would say should probably study up on her Charms coursework, but she had other things on her mind.
Sirius grinned, making him look more like the carelessly handsome man she saw in her parents wedding photos. “Ha. Well, a teenage girl on the run with an old man would be awfully suspicious, but I wouldn’t let you flee the country on your own. Something tells me that I’d be a bad godfather if I encouraged you to drop out of Hogwarts before you’ve even done your OWLs, though.”
“OWLs don’t matter if I die of embarrassment at the Yule Ball,” Rose muttered. She’d much rather face the dragon again than have to dance in front of everyone.
“A ball?” Sirius asked, delighted, the traitor. “Who is taking you?”
“George Weasley,” she said, making sparks fly aimlessly with her wand, before re-casting the warming spell. “He’s good fun at least.” Earlier that day, Pansy Parkinson said sotto-voice across the hall that she bet Potter paid Weasley to take her to the ball because no one could want to go with her on their own accord. The insult still stung, even though she knew Parkinson was just being a cow.
Sirius wagged his eyebrows. “Good for you, Rosie, you deserve some fun!”
“Oi, it’s not like that! We’re just friends,” she shouted, tugging at her wild black curls.
“Okay, friends are wonderful,” he said, agreeably. “Care to explain to your godfather why you’re dying of embarrassment? You have a date!”
“It’s because I don’t know how to dance, and everyone will be staring at me,” Rose confessed.
“Don’t take this the wrong way, but you’re very different than your Dad in that way, James would have eaten up the attention, he loved causing all kinds of scenes,” Sirius mused.
Rose’s stomach sank.
“Hey, it’s alright,” Sirius said. “Dancing’s not hard, I promise. As long as you pretend to be having fun and don’t step on your partner’s feet, that’s really all that matters. You’ve fought dementors and dragons and been out with a werewolf on a full moon, dancing can’t scare you, Rosie.”
But it did! “Can you dance?”
Sirius scoffed. “Of course I can, every proper little pureblood learns once they can walk.”
“Well, I’m no proper little pureblood,” Rose replied, angrily gesturing to what she was wearing—last year’s Weasley’s jumper and a ratty pair of unstylish jeans Aunt Petunia got her from a charity shop.
“And good thing too,” Sirius said with a wink. “There’s enough of us around, we need more brilliant half-bloods like you.”
Rose felt flushed for a moment, but she was being ridiculous. He was just being nice to her, that’s all. “Teach me then.”
“Okay,” Sirius replied softly. He held out his hand and she took it, he hovered his hand above her the small of her back, not touching her, in perfect, paternal pureblood etiquette.
He moved his foot to her left slowly, and guided her to follow to the right, doing a slow waltz around the cave before got bored and tossed her in the air, cheating a little with his wand.
She laughed, collapsing in a fit of giggles, her worries about the dance nearly all forgotten.
“See,” Sirius said, flicking her on the forehead. “It’s a piece of piss—err, cake, I mean. You’ll be fine.”
Rose opened her eyes, and was staring at the ceiling in her guest bedroom, she wasn’t in the cave. She wasn’t close to Hogwarts, she wasn’t a teenager, she wasn’t even in her own world. It was new. She tried to remember, it was all coming back. That Sirius was dead.
She rubbed blearily at her eyes, and squinted at her surroundings, seeing two vaguely black-haired figures.
“Your glasses are just to your left,” Sirius said, and she reached out for them, and once they were on, her room spun back into focus. Sirius was sitting across from her bed. There were deep bags under his eyes and his nail beds were a little bloody, like he was anxiously picking at them with worry.
“Harry!” she shouted, finally remembering. “Is he fine, did it work?”
Harry waved cheekily at her from where he was sitting, on the other side of her bed from Sirius. “Rose, I’m not the one who just spent the past ten hours sleeping from magical exhaustion.”
“So you’re fine, thank Merlin,” Rose exhaled, pushing herself up to a seated position, and feeling some of the tension bleed out of her with her breath.
“I am, thank you,” Harry said, rubbing at his neck like he spent ages waiting at her bedside on an uncomfortable piece of transfigured wood.
“Ten hours, really? It felt like nothing,” Rose asked. Her limbs felt restless and her mouth a little dry, but otherwise, not too terrible. She had certainly felt worse.
Sirius nodded, and reached out to grab her hands, dropping a kiss to her knuckles. “It was the longest ten hours of my life, second only to waiting outside the delivery ward at St Mungos when Lily went into labour with Harry.”
Harry’s head whipped over to Sirius. “You were there for that?”
He nodded. “Well, I mean, not in the room obviously, it was just your Mum and Dad and your Dad got kicked out for a bit for being ‘too happy’, but when I got the Patronus saying your Mum was about to give birth, there wasn’t anywhere on the planet I would rather be. Merlin, you were so tiny, I was afraid I’d drop you, but Lily let me hold you after a few hours and you just looked at me, and I knew I’d do anything for you,” Sirius trailed off, his voice gone low, his mind lost in the memory.
Harry looked at Sirius like a traveller would look at an oasis in the dessert, absolutely soaking up the information, and Rose’s heart hurt with just how much she understood him.
“You looked a bit like your grandpa when you were born,” Sirius continued, at the look on Harry’s face. “But with a full head of black hair, you were never a bald baby.”
Harry ran his hands through his wild mess of a mane and grinned, making himself look his age for once. “Good to know, that. I don’t think it would suit me, being bald.”
Rose’s mind filled up with an image of Sirius holding a tiny, precious baby Potter again. But this time in her mind, it was her in the delivery ward instead of her mother, and Harry as the godfather waiting outside to meet their child, making their little family that much bigger.
She blinked her daydream out of her mind, Voldemort was alive, this was no time for dreamers. It was war, and she was a witch with power and knowledge, which was a power unto itself. Her dreams could wait.
Rose took another deep breath before swinging her legs off the side of the bed. She steadied herself with great effort until she stood on her own two feet.
“I realise how hypocritical this is coming from me, but be careful!” Sirius pleaded, running around to hold her arm and keep her upright.
“I’m fine,” she protested, but enjoyed the calming weight of his large, warm body next to hers.
“What’s so funny?” she muttered, glaring at him.
“Nothing,” he laughed. “I just feel like I understand how annoyed Hermione gets now when I tell her I’m fine when I’m clearly not.”
Rose rolled her eyes, and blushed when her stomach rumbled loudly. “There’s nothing wrong that some dinner can’t fix.”
“Okay,” Harry said, moving to her other side, helping Sirius keep her upright. “How about I make us some cheese and ham toasties, because if we let Sirius alone at the stove, this whole cottage is going to burn down, and I’ve become rather attached to it in the past few days.”
“Hey, I’m not that bad,” Sirius protested.
“Yes you are,” she and Harry said in unison, meeting each other’s green eyes over Sirius’s head.
She still felt weak as a newborn fawn, but with these two at her side, she felt better than she ever had.
Happy New Year! Thanks to everyone who has liked and supported this story in 2019, it means so much to me.
Lots of love,