|SIYE Time:22:49 on 17th September 2021|
Harry's Second Christmas
By Mutt N Feathers
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Category: Alternate Universe, Holidays
Story is Complete
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: 5024; Chapter Total: 599
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HI all, here is the end of this little story, just in time for Christmas. My beta, Arnel, is amazing but says you should be made aware of the tissue warning on this chapter. The as yet unnamed sequel will begin January to solve the mystery of where the funds from the Potters accounts and more will be explored. Have a very happy holiday season. MNF
Merry Christmas, Harry
24 December 1981
While Anwen and Sirius weren’t the Lord and Lady of the village, they might as well have been the way the people who lived there appreciated them. They moved as a pair through the throng of people in the multipurpose room at the primary school and out into the parking lot. Anwen was happy that she’d ordered plenty of food, and should she need to, could use magic to make more. The economic recession had hit the small hamlet quite hard, so the friends of the last Lord and Lady were happy they could help.
At the opposite end of the room, the school's headmaster was handing out packages to every student a bag with a new school jumper, socks, gloves or mitten (on a string for the youngest ones) and a woolen cap in their size. Then, as the families were leaving, they would pick up wrapped parcels, containing whatever the child of the home had requested as a Christmas gift unless it was too large like a bicycle, wrapped in plain brown paper over Christmas wrap. Some of the packages had an envelope attached to the bottom side for the parents. Sirius had been generous with the pounds he gave them, wanting to make sure everyone had heat for the winter.
The families were also given a box with a turkey, potatoes, bread, eggs, milk, Brussel sprouts, cranberry sauce, and individual mince pies for each household member. Anwen, Hindsa, Peng, and Remus had worked until late the night before making sure there was enough food for each family to have their Christmas dinner. The vicar and her office staff were in charge of the food distribution, using the chill outside to keep the foods well below forty degrees. Anwen didn't share that they'd charmed all the food to stay at the correct temperature.
Sirius carried young Harry in his arms as his godparents made the rounds in the room. He enjoyed waving at the other children, and many of the older women stopped to tell them how much he looked like his father. The couple didn't need to hear that. At seven-thirty, the vicar needed to leave to prepare for the service, so Anwen took over her position, and Sirius headed home with their very sleepy godson. Remus arrived to help her supervise the clean-up from the meal, but many of the villagers had stayed to make the work light and quick. As the last was leaving, they couldn't thank the pair enough. Worship would be at nine, so the families had time to return home, change, and make the short walk back. As much as Anwen wanted to go to the service, she was exhausted and decided instead to use the wireless James had jiggered to get BBC-1 radio for the services from King's College.
Anwen and Remus could have Disapparated, but it was the perfect night for a walk, the sky clear and sparkling with starlight. There were lights in the village's windows, and the music was spilling out of the church as the choir practiced. It was the first Christmas Eve that Anwen had that harkened back to her childhood in Wales.
"You seem happy, Anwen," Remus said. If anyone was going to know when she was acting and was real, it was him.
“I am genuinely happy. Sirius and I have reconciled, which has made me feel at peace again,” she explained. “What we’ve done here made a difference, and that fills me with joy. Plus, spending time with Harry is always a good thing. He is love all bound up in one little body.”
"That is true," Remus agreed. "That little boy has more pure happiness in him." They were about to enter the keep by the rear gate, one that would only open to them and Sirius, when they caught sight of a familiar wizard. "I can't believe he's here."
“I can,” Anwen replied. “He’s probably employed someone in the village to spy on us. Albus, what could you possibly want?" She was upon him, hands raised before he'd turned toward her voice.
“I was hoping I could see the lad. It is Christmas after all,” Albus Dumbledore said in a penitent tone.
“What makes you think we’d let you see him when weeks ago you wanted to take him away from here. This is his home.” Anwen was testy now. Thankfully, she seemed to still be in control of her magic.
“Albus, I think you should go,” Remus said. At these words, their former headmaster looked crestfallen.
“You too,” he said softly. “You’ve turned against me too?”
“It isn’t a question of being for or against you,” Remus answered. “It’s a question of being for what is best for Harry. He belongs here. If you continue to insist on his going to Petunia’s, then I will remain in opposition.” Albus decided to try another tactic.
“It’s quite a show you made tonight,” he said. “It’s a good thing the Potter Family is wealthy.” Anwen’s eyes became cold.
"James and Lily would have done exactly what we did because it's the right thing to do. These people are struggling financially because of the recession in the Muggle world. The money didn't come from a Potter fund; Sirius paid for all of it with the Black family fortune. He said it was about time his family money did some good."
“But to give them all dinner tonight and then send them off with dinner for tomorrow?” The pair of friends looked dismayed.
"How did you know that?" Remus asked, and Albus said nothing.
"You were there, weren't you," Anwen seethed. "You're the old man who was walking through the meal for whom we didn't have a box. How dare you spy on us?"
“I wasn’t spying,” Dumbledore attempted to justify his actions. “I wanted to see if Harry was doing well.”
“And your conclusions?” Anwen asked.
“Clearly, he is happy with you and Sirius, but parading him through a room full of Muggles? Someone could have approached you and attempted to take him.”
"Isn't that why you were there?" Anwen questioned, and when there wasn't a reply, she threw her hands up in the air. "One of us had him the whole time. Enough, no, you're not going to see Harry tonight since he's probably already in his bed. Goodbye, Albus. Perhaps if you behave, you can see Harry in the future." She opened the gate, and when he tried to push his way in, Anwen raised her hand and sent him flying, landing hard on his backside a good twenty feet away. Remus wrapped an arm over Anwen’s shoulders, and they went into the keep.
After a quick check to ensure the enchantments were all in place and with an addition of an Albus-specific hex, mostly because Anwen was pissed off, the pair went inside to relay the information to Sirius. Hours later, after the presents were gathered from around the house and a bit of the mince pie Harry had left out was eaten, and the milk was poured back into the carton, the trio assessed their preparedness for the next day. Anwen brought in the dirty cup, and it was left by the partially eaten mince pie.
“We always left Father Christmas whisky with his pie,” Anwen said. Remus nodded while Sirius looked at her oddly. “You didn’t leave anything out for Father Christmas as a child?”
“Why didn’t we do that?” Sirius asked. “Instead of the milk, why not whisky? I would have drunk it all.”
“Then go pour yourself a glass and do that, dear,” Anwen said. “However, Remus has gone to put Harry in his bed tonight since he’s staying for the morning. You wouldn’t want to be too drunk for our night alone and drift off to sleep too quickly." Sirius didn't move toward the liquor cabinet but instead lifted Anwen bridal style and carried her upstairs to their room. The reunion would be celebrated tonight.
A solitary figure watched the last of the candles go out in the manor house, and he wanted to turn and leave. It was a duty he hated, just watching, and knowing the boy was in there with those two ruffians, hooligans may be a better word for them. No child should be living with a werewolf, but it wasn't his choice. He was just to watch. He supposed the woman was fine enough, especially since she'd had the good sense to dump Black nearly a year ago. Oh, he loved that news; anything which made Black sad made him rejoice. He didn't know why he was to keep watch each night, but he was told to be here if there was an emergency. So far, all he saw was excessive happiness, which made him sick. The boy would grow up with nearly as much tenderness and concern as he had from his parents. The woman was especially good with him, not his mother but a fair substitute. He looked up at the sky and began to count the stars, it was the only thing which would keep him awake, and he couldn't leave until dawn.
Early the next morning, Anwen awoke first and listened to the household. She heard Hindsa and Peng in the kitchen preparing the large, traditional breakfast for the four of them and Auntie Mini. Anwen would make Christmas dinner without the elves' help, as she had done for years in their little house in London. Anwen thought about her family, now living in Canada, unable to remember her due to the charms put on them when they were spirited away from the UK two years ago. Maybe if the war were really over, she could find them? Anwen sighed, thinking she might like to have something resembling a relationship with them.
Sirius shifted and pulled her closer, which meant he was waking up. She remembered this time of day fondly; sometimes it was the only private time they’d had together during the war. Sirius on duty with the Hit Wizards, Anwen on call with the Aurors in addition to her office hours. Then they added time on Order business; it felt like they were rarely in the same building together. It probably added to the strain on their relationship. She would never allow anything to come between them again. Sirius was turning her body toward him when a wolf Patronus, flew into the room.
"He's awake and wanting to come to see you. He doesn't believe you haven't left," Remus's voice spoke from the Patronus, and the pair groaned. Each reached their side of the bed to find their discarded nightclothes, and Sirius shot a return Patronus out of his wand and then magically unlocked the door when they were sufficiently covered.
Harry toddled into the room shortly after that, Remus trailing after him. "Siri, Winnie, I not in bed!" His little face was scrunched up, and if he could have cursed them, Sirius thought the little boy might.
"No, you had a sleepover with Uncle Remus," Anwen said. "But we're right here; we didn't leave you." Remus picked him up, and he crawled into his spot between Anwen and Sirius.
“Dis my spot.”
"For right now, it is, but soon you're going to sleep in your big boy bed over there," Anwen reminded him.
“Yes, Harry, not yet,” Sirius confirmed when he wrapped an arm around the boy. “Do you think Father Christmas came?”
“Huh?” Harry asked, cocking his head to the side. It was a perfect imitation of James.
"Remember the mince pie and milk we left out last night?" Sirius asked, and Harry nodded. "We need to go see if Father Christmas ate them!"
“Okay!” Harry cheered and scrambled to the edge of the bed and flopped himself onto the ground. Before either Anwen or Sirius could slip out of bed, Harry was almost running out of the room.
"Harry, wait for someone to carry you down the stairs," Anwen called, hoping they'd remembered the charm at the top to keep him from going down alone. Remus reached him first and picked the boy up, and carried him down. Once downstairs, Harry ran into the sitting room and was delighted to find the mince pie partially eaten and the milk gone. There was even a note with his name on it, which Harry recognized. Anwen didn't want to think about how advanced he was. His first presents were opened, and Harry was happy to sit and play quietly while the grown-ups waited for Minerva. When she arrived, the group sat down to a full English breakfast, although Anwen avoided most meat and meat-based items. Eggs and toast suited her fine. After they'd eaten, they went back to the sitting room, and Sirius pulled a long package out from behind the tree for Harry. Anwen looked at him sceptically. He even helped Harry rip open the wrappings.
“You can’t be serious!” Anwen said sternly when she saw what was inside. “He’s still not old enough for it.” Both she and Lily had wanted to strangle him when he'd presented his godson with the first one last year. Harry was only months old, for goodness sake. At least this year, he could hold his head up on his own.
“The other one was destroyed that night,” Sirius explained with a pained expression. The box contained a new toddler broom. Sirius had given him a broom the year before, too when he was much too young to fly on it, although he'd held Harry up on it and walked him around the room. When Harry saw it, he immediately wanted to fly, and helpless against memories both the man and boy appeared to have, Sirius, removed it and helped Harry straddle it.
Unlike the year before, this time Harry took off flying about a foot off the ground. He zipped by his Auntie Mini, who was thrilled at the toddler’s speed. He buzzed Remus and nearly tipped his teacup over. Harry circled Anwen’s chair and then flew into the music room. Anwen was up, worried about the instruments around the turret, but soon Harry flew back out into the sitting room. Sirius sat down next to where Anwen had been on the loveseat, took her hand, and pulled her back into a sitting position.
“He has James’ flying talent,” Minerva said happily.
"He does," Anwen agreed. The adults cast some protection and cushioning charms around the room and made it so Harry couldn't fly back into the music room or the grand hallway, and then set about exchanging their gifts. The morning passed in a happy company.
By ten a.m., Harry had tuckered himself out and was asleep under the tree. Minerva left, promising to be back in the afternoon well before dinner, and it went the three adults to discuss the day.
“I think Harry enjoyed himself,” Sirius said. “Although he still has about ten gifts back there to open.”
"He'll want to do more when he wakes up," Anwen said. "This is just a cat nap. Something to give him the energy to go until lunchtime."
“I miss them,” Remus admitted.
“So do I,” Sirius said.
"So do I," Anwen added last. "I have a few things here," she said as she stood. "They came to me through the bank, something having to do with a bit of their will. I haven't opened the parcel." She withdrew a thick folio with a leather tie from one of the drawers in the coffee table. "Apparently, James thinks of the few things Lily didn't plan for." The folio opened, and she spread the three wrapped packages on the table. Each reached for the one with their name. They opened them at the same time and marvelled at the contents. There were numbers on them, and each read the enclosed note in turn.
Remus held in his hands the pocket watch which had belonged to Fleamont Potter. Remus had lost his father's pocket watch in a gruesome battle with the wolves under Voldemort's rule.
“Remus, we are putting these with the goblins as we go into hiding. We hope we will be with you for Christmas, but Lily and I are worried. It's all a bit too close, and everything is so dark. We didn't give you custody of Harry, but we want you to be in his life. We want you to teach him to respect those who are different and show him how to love everyone. You excel at this. My father would be proud to know you will carry this with you through your life. He respected you for the way you lived your life; Lily and I do too. God speed our friend; know we respect and love you just the way you are. James and Lily Potter." Remus was choked up at the last words but fingered the pocket watch lovingly.
Anwen had a heavy locket in her hands, and when she popped the clasp, it opened to be a triple picture holder. On the left was a picture of Remus and Harry at his first birthday party, on the right was James and Lily from the same day, and in the middle was a picture of Sirius blowing a kiss. "All the people I love most in this world," she said while lifting her paper. "Anwen, we don't need to ask you to raise Harry like we would because you are already doing that. He loves you so much, and we know you love him. Don't turn your back on the most precious gift life will ever give you; you and Sirius belong together. This locket was Euphemia's, and I couldn't think of anyone she would have rather had it worn by. Take care of my guys, and I know we will see you again one day. You are the little sister neither of us was given at birth. Love, Lily, and James." Anwen was crying, and Sirius kissed her cheek before he reached for his note. He turned the object over and over in his hands.
“I know it isn’t what you’d expect, but I know you recognize it. You're the Lord of the manor now, and you should have its key. It doesn't really open the front gate anymore, but I wanted you to know I need you to step up into my role. Dad trained us to take on the responsibility, and I need to know that my son and the Potter legacy are carried on. It's a weighty thing, so many people now depend on you, but Sirius, you are the man for the job. I don't remember life before we met, but I know I'm going to miss you terribly. Fix things with Anwen; your life will be shite without her; she will make the load easier to bear. Raise my son to be the man I know you are. In death, as in life, you are my brother. James. Oh, there’s a postscript in Lily’s hand. “I trust you with the best thing my life ever made. I love you, too. Lily.” Sirius turned his face to his fiancée and buried his tears in her hair.
“Well then,” Anwen said after a lengthy silence. “I think we have our marching orders; Lily was always such a bossy bitch when she wanted to be.” The trio laughed and began to reminisce about their friends.
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