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SIYE Time:22:28 on 17th September 2021


Harry's Second Christmas
By Mutt N Feathers

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Category: Alternate Universe, Holidays
Characters:Sirius Black
Genres: Drama
Warnings: Death
Story is Complete
Rating: PG-13
Reviews: 31
Summary: Sirius doesn't go after Peter, but instead takes Harry and goes into hiding in the Potter ancestral estate Linfred Hall. Can Sirius keep Harry safe when both sides of the recent war want him? Can Harry's godparents reconcile enough to care him without hexing each other? Can it possibly be a Happy Christmas?
Hitcount: Story Total: 5023; Chapter Total: 598
Awards: View Trophy Room




Author's Notes:
I am overwhelmed by this story. I promise we will see Ginny in the story, but seeing as they are both babies, give it a bit. MNF




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Chapter 3:
Castle and Manor

Sirius Black should have been exhausted by all rights, and he probably was, but sleep would not come to him. It was three in the morning, and he was walking the halls of Potter family home. It was so different from Grimmauld Place, which is probably why it was so easy for him to call Linfred Hall home when he was fifteen. Plus, what teenage boy didn't want to live inside a walled castle? He and James always explored the places Fleamont told them to stay out of, like the defence platforms that ran over the iron gates at the property's front. They explored the ground level where Fleamont had his potions lab in the old kitchens meant to feed the hundreds who would have kept the keep functioning in the days when it was first built. The rest of the level was now storage, although they'd found many a treasure; daggers and halberds were fascinating even if rusty. The old knights' bunk rooms were the best place to find treasure; they were gone now.

The rooms had been renovated by James in the last few months when they lived in the Hall; he added a panic room which could only be opened with a keyed number and a recognized magical signature at a minimum of twelve hours after the doors were locked. He wanted to have somewhere Lily, and eventually, their child could hide. Sirius knew he and Anwen were the only other people who had their magic tied to it. The panic room's presence made Sirius again question why James and Lily hadn't come here when they went into hiding. The place was well hidden, including a multitude of Muggle-Repelling Charms and, as Anwen said, enchantments galore. Not wanting to question it any further that night, he returned to the first floor's living spaces.

The place had been renovated several times over the years, the most recent being while Fee Potter was pregnant with James. They'd brought everything up to modern building codes, including repairing much of the pointing in the outer fortification walls. They also build permanent interior walls on the third floor, thus creating more guest rooms. To Sirius's delight, the Observatory and telescope were also repaired and renovated at this time. When he needed somewhere to think as a teen, especially the days immediately after he ran away, he'd go there and suss out what he needed to. It was usually Fee who found him and cared for him.

While Monty had been banned from the first-floor kitchen, Fee loved her new, modern appliances and enjoyed cooking and baking for those she loved. She'd never relied on her house-elf for help in that area. Sirius couldn't help wondering if Anwen would take over some of those duties from Hindsa; his ex was a phenomenal cook. Sirius passed back through the dining room and into the impressive marble entryway. The main steps into the structure from the inner keep were at his right, and the grand steps to the second floor were at his left. There were two fireplaces here, one intended to heat the room and one which had been attached to the Floo network at some earlier time. It went nowhere now.

Standing in the empty entryway, Sirius was suddenly struck by the faint sounds of piano music. He didn't need to think long about where it was coming from or from who created it. Walking through the sitting room, he entered the front turret on the left side of the house, stood in the music conservatory doorway, and watched Anwen play. The turret had magical and Muggle instruments lining the wall up the three stories of the circular room. Some he recognized, but others he suspected no one played anymore. The harpsichord suspended mid-air about twenty feet up was one such item.

When they'd shared their small London home, Sirius loved to sit behind Anwen on the piano bench and watch her fingers fly across the keys when playing Rachmaninoff or feel her body sway when she played Beethoven or Bach. Then it was a second-hand upright; here she was playing a grand which was always in perfect tune. The sound was more resonant and full-bodied, but Anwen's playing was impressive, as always. Her musical talents were of a prodigy's level when they met, and when Anwen had given it up to attend Hogwarts, her family had abandoned her. The pair of them, disappointments to their birth families, became a unit unto themselves. Seeing and hearing her now, he realized how desperately he'd missed her.

Sitting on the bench in her plaid flannel nightdress, oversized woolly socks, and her long brown hair plaited down her back, Anwen looked younger than her eighteen years. Eighteen and an Auror; he and James had at least had over a year of training before they were pressed into service. Anwen's training began while she was still at Hogwarts. Anwen believed helping others was her responsibility in life, but looking at her now, he couldn't believe this was the same witch who could routinely knock him, James, and Remus on their arses when duelling. She was right earlier when she said he underestimated her, but that's what made her the perfect Auror. People thought she only stood at five-foot-three-inches and might weigh seven stone soaking wet that she'd be easily overtaken. They were wrong.

When she finished the contemplative piece she'd been playing, he softly clapped. Anwen turned around, surprised, and then blushed at his praise. "Thanks. You couldn't sleep either? You must be exhausted by now."

"I think I am, but I close my eyes, and all I see is James lying there staring up at the ceiling but focused on nothing," Sirius said, getting choked up. "Winnie, he was my best…" words failed him, and he couldn't utter the last of his statement. Anwen knew what he wanted to say, and she stood, took his hand, and went back into the sitting room and seated herself on the sofa and pulled him down with her. She coaxed him into lying down, his head in her lap, and she whispered her understandings and ran her fingers through his hair. They were quiet for a long while, and Anwen wondered if Sirius had fallen asleep as his tears had stopped and his breathing had become slow and deep.

"How did I ever let you go?" Sirius whispered to the air.

"All you ever needed to do was apologize."

"Really?

"Sirius, I've always known you wanted to protect me; it was overbearing, but I learned to live with it. Your forbidding me from doing my job is what came between us."

"If I apologized now?" Sirius asked hopefully, still looking away from her. Anwen sighed.

"It would go a long way, but I don't think we should reconcile while we're both emotionally overwrought. Let's just take everything as it comes, okay? We have a great deal of responsibility suddenly; adding the rekindling of our passions shouldn't get in the way." At this, Sirius sat up and looked at the woman he loved before he softly, quickly kissed her.

A gentle ping was heard, and Anwen rose. "That's the alarm I put on Harry," she explained. "He might be waking up, and I want to be there. Come on, let's get some sleep."

"Can we share the bed, Win? Like we did before we were a couple? Like we did that summer, you had the dinky flat at the music school?" Anwen didn't reply but instead held her hand out to him as she stood. Together they climbed the stairs to what was once 'their' room, although it belonged to Fee and Monty before that. The Linfred Hall was always the gathering place for holidays and eventually for the Order as well.

The Order had begun using the Potters’ home as the meeting place in early nineteen-seventy-eight, and it was this usage which sent James and Lily into their small flat not far from Sirius' first place, just off Diagon Alley. When the Potters went into hiding in Godric's Hollow, the Order stopped using Potter Manor as well because they believed its defences had been rendered ineffective. This idea bothered Anwen greatly. James and Lily had left for privacy from other Order members, but if the Order of the Phoenix wasn't using the place, why didn't James and Lily come back, especially with their baby son? The Hall's enchantments and fortifications were all in place, she could have easily confirmed it for them. It was the safest spot for them to be. Who put them in Godric's Hollow?

As they reached the bedroom, Anwen put the thoughts aside, literally picturing them being put away in a lockbox. It was part of her mental exercises to secure troubling thoughts and then clear her mind before sleeping. Her mind-healer had taught her the trick her sixth year, after she'd been assaulted by several Death Eaters, including three of Sirius' relatives — his younger brother among them. The attack was a way to get back at Sirius for not joining them. Anwen thought of herself locking that away too. The last thing she wanted was Lucius Malfoy or Bellatrix Lestrange visiting her in her dreams.

Harry was sitting up in the bed, his bottom lip protruding significantly, and fat tears ran down his cheeks.

"Dey gone," he said in a wavering tone, and it broke the hearts of Harry's godparents.

"I know they are, Pup," Sirius said as he slid into one side of the bed. "We all miss your mummy and daddy, but Auntie Winnie and I will never leave you alone."

"I up and you not here!"

"I know, Harry, we were just talking and didn't want to wake you up," Anwen said as she mimicked Sirius' movement on the other side of the bed, laying on her side. "However, I set a spell on the bed and you that if you woke up, it would chime and let me know you needed me. Whenever you need Uncle Sirius or me, we will know, okay?"

Sirius had enhanced the double-size bed to accommodate his long legs, but otherwise, it was cosy with three of them in it. Anwen wrapped one arm around Harry's head, so he was resting on her arm while the other went to rub circles on his tummy. Sirius laid down on his side too, one arm going all the way around the smaller members of their trio to go under Anwen's pillow, and the other reached across to lay his hand on her waist.

"Sing, Winnie. Pwease," Harry asked, and Anwen nodded. She began the lullaby that Lily had told her he requested the most from the charmed box she and Sirius had made when Harry was born. The wooden box held six charmed spheres, each one distinct colour. When tapped with a wand, the globe grew and would cast pictures on the ceiling while Anwen's voice sang. Her soft soprano soon had the little boy asleep, so she switched over to a favourite Beatles' song of the former couples to lull the man to sleep too. When she heard his soft snores, she allowed herself to rest.

Morning came gently, and Sirius was the first one awake. In her sleep, Anwen had snuggled closer, her hand coming to rest on his chest, just like it did when they'd shared a bed. She'd once told him that it was his heartbeat beneath her fingers which grounded her to reality.

"Peng," he whispered, and the young elf arrived at his side. "We're all going to be awake soon. Could you let Hindsa know, please?"

"Of course, Mister Sirius."

"Thank you. I also need to speak with your father; if you could ask him to meet me in the study in an hour, I would be much obliged."

"Of course, sir," Peng answered before softly popping out of the room. When he attempted to slide out of bed to use the loo, he awoke the others. He went to relieve himself while Anwen changed Harry's diaper and put him into some clean clothes.

After breakfast, Sirius waited in Wilken's office, who arrived five minutes before he was requested. Sirius was still drinking his morning tea when the elf popped in, causing Sirius to spill a bit on his shirt.

"Shite, sorry," Sirius uttered. Wilken snapped his fingers, and the spill and stain were gone.

"How can Wilken help Mister Sirius?" Wilken asked, a sly smile on his face. Sirius hadn't changed much in the years he'd been coming here.

"Anwen needs to leave today to get clothing and some other provisions for Harry. I'm concern she might be ambushed, but I can't go with her since there's a warrant for my arrest. Can you follow her, without her knowing you're there?"

"Wilken can follow her without being seen but Wilken thinks you should tell her Wilken is there," he replied. "She would be angry with you."

Sirius remembered what she'd told him last night and decided it would be better for all of them if Anwen wasn't in one of her fiery, livid moods. She was gentle nearly all the time, but Anwen had one ugly temper.

"You're right. I'll tell her. Thank you, Wilken. Who has been looking after the finances for the estate while James and Lily were in hiding, do you know?"

"Wilken doesn’t know, but we always seem to have little for the Hall's upkeep. Master James and Master Monty always had lots of monies for things here."

"I'm going to figure it out, thanks, Wilken." Upon James' death, the executorship of all Potter holdings came into his control. Individual accounts seemed to be haemorrhaging gold, which they weren't before they went to Godric's Hollow. In two months, the Linfeld Hall account had dropped significantly, meaning the elves had less to do regular repairs and upkeep.

The pair left the offices, and Sirius sought out Anwen and Harry. He found them in the nursery, playing a game of naming body parts in English and French. Anwen was tickling Harry and would continue until he told her the name in both languages. His laughter was a welcome sound after his tears the night before.

"Tummy, tummy," Harry said through his giggles.

"And in French?" Anwen said, having trouble talking because of her own laughter.

"Ventre, ventre, Winnie!"

"Good boy!" Anwen scooped Harry up from the floor and hugged him tightly.

"Are you sure he needs to learn French? He can't speak in full English sentences yet," Sirius asked as he joined them on the floor.

"Bienvenue, Sirius!" Anwen said brightly.

"Bienvenue, Siri!" Harry chirped in perfect repetition.

"His brain is ripe for learning languages right now. In another year, I might teach him Italian, too. Plus, there will be Latin lessons, so he doesn't go to Hogwarts without a clue how to pronounce his spells."

"You've got his whole education mapped out, huh?"

"Lily and I had often discussed how Harry wasn't going to head to Hogwarts with the abysmal education you and James had in your primary years. What she and I couldn't teach they had the money to hire a decent tutor. I guess that's us now."

"Siri, French!" Harry demanded with a flourish of his arm. Sirius surprised him by reciting the entire alphabet in French with ease.

"The one thing my parents insisted on," he said. "Purebloods with French roots would speak French properly." They laughed in happiness. For the first time in days, Sirius didn't want to die inside.
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