A/N

New chapter is now here and it unfortunately took longer than I wanted… again. This story gets the most traffic per chapter out of my three, and yet it's like the redhead stepchild of my stories in TLC. This was never supposed to happen, I'm supposed to love all my children equally!

Also, Hogwarts Legacy is great. I know of a couple of authors other than me that are definitely going to get some inspiration from that game in writing content.

As usual, this was made available a week ago on my Discord server. Join to get earlier access and a server exclusive thing or two.

This is the link, just remove the space: discord /2XN2rzuFpM

Other than that, not much else to say. Here's a new chapter.

/

"Hey, Mum. Hey Dad." He whispered gently, sitting on the ground cross legged in front of the giant memorial to a shattered family. "I've got good news… she said yes."

His eyes then flicked specifically to the portion of the carved stone that was shaped in the form of the father he never knew. "I wonder if this was how you felt when Mum said yes. I'm almost… I don't know, frightened, maybe. I'm just a year younger than you when you got married, and I don't have anybody to teach me how to be a dad. Teddy's already difficult, but at least Andromeda knows what she's doing."

"Hey, Colin." He muttered sadly, having apparated to the muggle cemetery where the muggleborn Gryffindor had been buried. "It's been a year now. I'm sorry I didn't go to your funeral, I couldn't look your parents in the eye after what happened. I wish you could see the better world you helped build, but I guess I'll just need to finish it for both our sakes."

Without saying another word, he placed a small sheet of paper on the granite tombstone, a Notice-Me-Not and Impervious charm already placed on it so it wouldn't be damaged or touched by anyone.

The sticking charm placed with a hushed whisper and a discreet flick of a holly wand ensured that it would be displayed there forever.

The one and only autograph given out by Harry Potter, The-boy-who-lived.

To Colin Creevey, the truest of lions.

Harry Potter

...

"You're Teddy's godfather, Harry."

...

"I promise I'll be here for you, Teddy. I won't make the same mistake your uncle Padfoot made."

/(SCENE BREAK)

"OH, HARRYKINS!" The obscenely loud voices of Fred and George smashed into Harry like a runaway freight train. "IT IS TIME TO AWOKEN FOR CHRISTMAS!"

Harry jerked awake and opened his eyes, cursing audibly at the antics of the two.

Just from how he felt, he knew it was early in the morning without even having to check the time. Plus, the ruckus the two were causing wouldn't have been as entertaining to the two of them if it wasn't early.

This wasn't a good time, not after those memories resurfaced. One of the few and true downsides of Occlumency, his dreams weren't easily forgotten when they were from potent memories. Of all times for him to get hit with those memories, Christmas was not exactly the best.

Hedwig was also not having any of Fred and George's nonsense, as she was visibly agitated where she had slept in her cage and was letting out an angry bark sound at the door, wings ruffling chaotically.

I know, girl. He thought, taking a deep breath.

He took another deep breath through his nose as the beginning of a headache already started to build, courtesy of the Weasley twins. Sitting there still, he took stock of the situation, formulated as best of a solution his cloudy thoughts could manage, and made it a reality.

Sitting upright in bed after coming to a decision, Harry flipped the sheets off of him and flung his arm out, sending an extremely crude wandless banishing charm that was a diluted purple blur of light at the door, pulling it off its hinges and smacking into one of the annoyances and drew a squawk from him as both door and ginger tumbled to the floor with a clatter.

As the unharmed one of the twins went to assist his brother, Harry forced himself out of bed, swaying slightly as he tried to get his bearings after his blissful sleep was interrupted.

Hedwig at least looked pleased by his actions, or as pleased as an owl could look.

"The bloody hell do you want?" He demanded, still trying to see straight. With a concentrated effort, he cast a wandless Tempus charm, an angry groan coming from him when he saw it read 7:04 am.

You. Bloody. Arseholes. He was supposed to wake up at 9:00.

"Oi, it was just a joke, Harry." It turned out to be George that was struck, who was currently massaging his shoulder and showing feigned outrage.

Harry, still bleary-eyed from having woken up, let out the first thing he could think of to aggravate one of them.

"Sorry, I thought you were Fred."

George, still on the floor of the hallway and either in spite of himself or precisely because he was George Weasley, snickered under his breath.

Fred fought the scowl that attempted to appear on his face and he seemed to debate on whether he helped his brother up or left him on the ground.

The war of emotions evidently went in favor of fraternal love over pride, because Fred helped his brother up and dusted him off before he abruptly smacked him in the back of the head with his palm.

George grunted in pain at the hit, massaging the back of his head.

"That was uncalled for." He grumbled, shooting his twin a glare.

Right as the two looked ready to begin to have an argument in the hallway completely forgetting what they had even gone to Harry's room for, the teen intervened.

"Before you start trying to kill each other, at least tell me why the bloody hell you woke me up this early!" He demanded, realizing he could hardly see anything past a few feet in front of him because his glasses were still on his dresser.

With a brief flick of his hand, he summoned them to him and put them on, clearing up his vision mostly.

"It was just a prank, Harry." Fred scowled as George continued to dust himself off.

Before Harry could make a retort, he heard a door open from down the hall and the sound of footsteps.

"What's with all the noise?" It turned out to be Sirius who had woken up, the man looking extremely annoyed while in a set of black silken pajamas that were about an inch or two too short for him. "Well?" He demanded, his eyes narrowed as he kept looking between the three of them.

"Your proteges," Harry said the last word with as much sarcasm as he could muster while trying to wake himself up the rest of the way, "Are a couple of wankers and were having a go at messing with me."

Sirius looked at Fred and George, then down at the door currently on the ground with the hinges broken.

"And you responded by throwing a door at them?" He asked, before adding, "And they didn't study under me, so don't throw their stupidity at me."

"Merlin, you sound like our mum." George muttered, drawing a visible scowl from Sirius at the comparison.

"I'm not dealing with an early Christmas and getting compared to Molly first thing wasn't on my list of things to expect." With that, Sirius turned around and left to go back to his room. Right before he opened his door, he turned back around to say something.

"And fix the bloody door, you're adults, so repair it… quietly." He hissed the last word and closed his door forcefully.

Now that Sirius was gone, Harry shook his head and went back to his bed, grabbing his wand and flicking it at the door to levitate it and put it back in place, before twisting his wrist slightly and muttering an incantation under his breath to fix the hinges completely.

"Thanks, I'm now awake," Harry muttered after a short silence, "You mind buggering off so I can get my clothes on?"

Harry just counted his lucky stars that he actually slept in night clothes, unlike someone that he had known and had suffered the misfortune of walking in on.

Fred and George both looked a little put out that their joke backfired, but they did in fact leave him to his own needs and left down the hallway and probably towards the kitchen.

Realizing that maybe he could have been less, just marginally so, harsh to them, Harry sighed to himself, before going up to Hedwig and stroking her feathers gently.

"Hey, girl." He whispered, looking into the amber eyes of what technically was his first ever friend and something he had never truly gotten over losing three years ago from his own perspective. "Sorry the two woke you up, I'll be sure to punish them for the crime."

Hedwig leaned into his touch some more, letting out a quiet rumble of contentment.

"I'll see if I can scrounge up some bacon as a Christmas breakfast." He promised, swallowing thickly when the flash of green light and the final screech she made briefly went through his head.

His dreams really didn't do him any favours this morning.

Not again.

Harry just shook his head and turned around to open up the closet. He then used a switching charm to replace his night clothes with a separate set of clothing, preparing to get a light breakfast and wait for everybody to wake up.

If anything, he might just head down into the basement and get a light workout done.

With that in mind, Harry exited what was formerly Regulus' room and made his way into the hall.

Before he could walk downstairs, the door to one of the rooms opened and he saw a frazzled looking Hermione looking around blearily.

"What was the noise?" She asked, squinting at him while trying to get her hair out of her face.

"Fred and George being themselves." Harry replied, "Just go back to sleep, it's far too early."

Hermione just sighed tiredly, accepting the response and closing the door, the faint sound of her cursing the immaturity of the two Weasleys making its way through the door anyway.

Harry then left her to it and made his way downstairs, swinging by the kitchen to get some food before going to the basement.

Pushing the already partially ajar door forward, he caught sight of an extremely haggard looking Tonks, the auror clutching a mug of what Harry suspected was a mix of coffee and a pepper up potion.

There were three others in the kitchen aside from the two of them. Molly was currently fixing a helping of what smelled like bacon and eggs, and the twins were to the right and talking with a barely responsive Tonks.

"You doing alright, Tonks?" He asked, sliding into a seat on her left side.

Molly heard his voice and turned to glance at him, smiling and giving a quick hello before returning back to fixing food for what looked to be Tonks and the twins.

The purple haired woman that had been addressed slowly turned to look at him, not responding at first.

"Called in at 3:00 to after a drunken brawl," She mumbled, taking a long gulp from the cup, "Some idiot thought it'd be funny to try and goad a couple of goblins to fight."

That sounded out of place for an Auror. It was usually the actual patrols or other contracted locals that policed the regular streets or stopped a fight.

"Since when does your job include controlling drunks?" He asked confusedly.

"When a goblin almost got his throat torn out by a dark cutting curse that missed because the idiot was drunk." She mumbled, still looking at him lethargically. "Several people ended up in St Mungo's with stab wounds and two were bitten."

"3 hours of trying to separate a bunch of the drunks who did nothing from the actual perpetrators and a dozen pissed goblins, without anyone getting killed miraculously." She sighed, rubbing at her eyes groggily. " On Christmas too. I hate this job."

Harry understood to an extent what she was talking about. He'd been an auror not too short of a time as Tonks had been so far. Instead of the normal 3 years of extra training to become one, it'd been shortened by over a year due to him already having a considerable repertoire of spells at his disposal, which made up one of those years of training.

So he'd been one for about a year before getting sent back to the past.

"We sleep safe at night knowing that you're on the front lines," Harry said, tapping his fingers lightly against the table out of habit, "protecting us from drunkards and offended goblins."

Tonks just scowled, waving her hand at him in a rude gesture.

"That's just uncivil." He rolled his eyes at her. He was just having a friendly poke at her malcontented experience, nothing personal.

Deciding to cut it out because Tonks was obviously not in the mood for even a particularly muted conversation, Harry decided to strike one up with Fred and George, particularly about their joke shop plans.

Tonks was partially in the know after she fished around and had promised to not say anything to Molly to spare the two any grief over it, so he felt fine asking them vague questions out of curiosity.

The conversation was kept rather quiet so Molly wouldn't overhear, and Harry wanted to be certain that any of the changes that were already rippling about didn't cause a derailment in regards to this.

In the end, it turned out that hardly anything had changed, if any at all. They still had the property ready to buy, were working on a construction deal with a contractor known for his and his crew's reliability, and everything was looking on the up and up.

Harry abruptly put an end to the conversation once Molly finished the food and set three plates of eggs and bacon in front of her two sons and Tonks.

"Would you like anything, Harry?" Molly asked kindly, "I don't want you getting scrawny if I have anything to say about it."

Harry just smiled and huffed lightly.

"Probably just a glass of milk and something light, I plan on heading down to the basement to train some." He explained.

Molly nodded her understanding and glanced over towards Tonks with a look of concern.

"Tonks dear, are you sure you don't want to sleep some?" She asked with the same motherly tone she used with most people. "You look positively dreadful, and I mean that as politely as possible."

Tonks just groaned slightly, setting down her cup and grabbing a slice of bacon before taking a bite from it.

"Mmmm, crunchy." She moaned happily, opening a single dark gray eye that was bloodshot and looked at Molly. "I'll need to be heading out within the hour to swing by my mum and dad's, we have breakfast on Christmas and supper at my muggle grandparents. So I don't need the eggs," She explained, before taking another bite of bacon.

Molly gave an affirmative nod and left Tonks to her own devices while she turned back towards the stove and piled up the remaining eggs and bacon on a plate. She then pulled out her wand and flicked her wrist, levitating the plate over to the table and setting it down. An extra plate and silverware followed in quick succession, gently touching down in front of Harry.

The unspoken request that he eat something more substantial was considered for a moment, and then he made his decision.

Harry elected to just eat a couple of eggs and steer clear of the bacon for himself, putting a few on his plate. But he did sneak a slice that he'd bring up to Hedwig when he was done.

"Thanks, Mrs Weasley." He said gratefully, before eating the light breakfast.

Harry pretty much zoned out for several minutes, focusing on just eating so he could get back into the motion of his training regimen. He'd had a few day reprieve, but soon would be the time to start training some more with Sirius.

Once he finished, he gave Molly a quick hug, a brief trading of friendly barbs with Fred and George, and a wishing of a Merry Christmas to Tonks, before he got up and made his way to his room as a detour for Hedwig and then the basement.

/(SCENE BREAK)

The green flames of the floo influenced fireplace parted slightly and deposited two girls into the living room and both looked at the woman waiting for them with a warm smile on her face.

Even with the woman being in her fifties and with graying black hair, there was more than just a passing resemblance between them.

"I'm so grateful my wonderful granddaughters are here to visit me." Jasmine Greengrass smiled widely and hugged Daphne and Astoria, practically smothering her granddaughters with affection.

"Hi to you too, grandma." Astoria's muffled voice came from Daphne's right, which the elder of the two repeated to the eldest Greengrass.

Their grandmother usually attended the Yule family celebration at Greengrass Manor, then a Christmas dinner would be held at the small cottage by the sea where she had moved to after grandpa Rufus had passed. This year, they'd made an agreement, which the former matriarch of the family had insisted on; that she wouldn't visit them during the Yule celebration so that Cyrus could focus on the task of allying with Lord Black and Harry.

It all worked out in the end, but Daphne still missed her grandmother since she hadn't seen her in months since the summer.

Jasmine broke the embrace and looked over Daphne's shoulder, the rushing sound of flames cluing them into the fact that Cyrus and Roxanne had arrived now.

"Now, Daphne, I must ask whether your father has negotiated your bride price with Lord Black yet."

Daphne's face flushed almost beet red.

"Grandma!" She exclaimed, mortified that she'd actually say that out loud.

Astoria just giggled away, while Cyrus didn't seem overly enthused by his mother's attempt at stirring up things.

"As loving as ever, mum."

Jasmine gave her son a faux scrutinizing look, her eyes trailing up and down from the top of his head and down to his feet.

"Ah, my little boy." She hummed thoughtly, before laughing softly and holding out her arms. "Come here, Cyrus, give your mother a hug."

Daphne's father just laughed, walking up to his mother and hugging her tightly. "Merry Christmas, mum. I've missed you."

"Only a floo call away." She whispered, kissing him on the cheek before breaking away from the embrace. "Now tell this curious lady about your plans to get me some great grandbabies to spoil."

"Grandma!"

"Mum!"

Roxanne took upon the dutiful task at that moment of protecting her eldest daughter and husband from her mother-in-law's brand of humour and spoke up.

"Don't you think it's a little early for such things, Jasmine?"

"Oh pshhh," Jasmine shook her head and waved her hand in a dismissive fashion, "I had Cyrus when I was 19, and there was nothing strange about that."

Daphne was by no means a reformist or anti-traditionalist when it came to Pureblood culture, particularly of the upper caste she was a part of. But her grandmother's situation always felt foreign, downright odd to her. Her grandmother met her grandfather right out of school, and her grandfather was 13 years his future wife's senior. Though the age gap wasn't what weirded the girl out anymore, it was her grandma's age at the time.

Daphne couldn't visualize or imagine herself getting pregnant while still a teenager, like, at all. She'd just started dating Harry, for Merlin's sake!

"But enough of that, shall we discuss what you spoke to Lord Black about in my absence?" Jasmine turned and headed to the kitchen, calling for Daphne and Astoria to follow her.

As the blonde Greengrass listened to her grandmother's request, she swore she heard twin groans of resignation from her parents, but it could have just been her imagination.

(Scene Break/

"Luna." Her father's voice pulled her out of her stupor, her eyes already beginning to well up from the shock of the contents of the letter she held that had been attached to a sealed package.

Luna,

I know about your housemates and that they are taking your things. Once we're back at Hogwarts, I think I can get them returned for you. Until then, here's a few things I'm pretty sure you'll like. Merry Christmas, Luna.

Your friend, Harry.

Neville. Hermione. Ginny. Ron.

P.S. Do the thestrals like apples?

She had friends. Harry called her his friend, and it wasn't just signed by him. Neville, Hermione, Ginny, and Ron had all signed it as well. She recognized the different handwriting, so it wasn't just Harry attempting to make things look better. They really were her friends...

Friends.

"Luna." Her father repeated her name again, causing her to look up at him.

"It's nothing, Dad." She smiled, the dreamy look she normally had on her face absent for the moment as she glanced back down at the box with a smile.

Maybe things were working out for the better now.

(Scene Break)

"How many letters did you write, mate?" Ron asked incredulously, having just heard what Harry had just told Hermione.

"One for Daphne, another for Astoria, then the one for Luna I had you guys sign last week, and the one I sent to Neville with the herbology book." Harry rattled them all off, thinking of what he'd gifted to those four people he had mentioned.

Daphne, there wasn't really that many things he could get her that wouldn't tip off her parents, so he kept it simple and bought a matching set of earrings for the necklace he purchased as a birthday present. Astoria got plenty of sweets that he knew she loved, Neville got an expensive herbology book, and Luna… Luna had been hard for him, but a pair of shoes that were charmed to shock anyone who tried to take them without permission and a charms book with a small note on the front of it that pointed to the chapter that had explicit instructions on the summoning charm was what he settled on.

That's the most he could do until he got back to Hogwarts and could terrorize the bullies into returning her stuff. Not being able to find the time to assist Luna earlier also reminded him of Hagrid. His half giant friend had been back to Hogwarts for some time now, and it made Harry feel cold and annoyed with himself that he had only visited him once.

After the winter break, he'd put a bit more focus into things other than getting himself into better fighting form.

But that was for another time. Right now, and unlike last time, since it had been more than a little hectic when Arthur was in St Mungo's, Harry was clear-headed about being happy about the current setting.

Celebrating Christmas with the two friends of his he went through hell in what was now naught but a nightmare, Fred and George at the table, along with most of the Weasley family, and Remus and Sirius… Harry hadn't felt this whole since the brief moment he'd shared with Daphne in the greenhouse a few days prior, and he was going to enjoy it to the fullest.

With the food Molly was fixing almost done and everybody in the house aside from Kreacher present, it was going to be a fantastic Christmas.

"Oi, Harry, how many books did you get Hermione this year?"

"More than how many OWLS you two got combined." Harry replied cheekily, drawing a laugh from Ginny and Ron. "But you're still my favorite agents of chaos."

Hermione had received a great deal of books for her personally, and Harry had also 'granted' her permission to read a few of the more watered down charms books in the Black Library that he and Sirius had ensured were safe to take out and let those who weren't members of the family read.

"Pleeasse." Sirius picked up what was being said from the other side of the table and tossed a roll at Harry that was easily caught, ignoring Remus who rolled his eyes at the man's antics. "Those two could never match us back in the day. We made that Map and are still remembered fondly by Minnie."

Hermione gave Sirius a severe look, which only succeeded in making Sirius laugh with all teeth visible.

"You haven't quite nailed down the Professor McGonagall look, Hermione, but you'll get there."

"I wasn't trying to, ugh…" Hermione huffed and didn't say anything further, knowing the Marauder would think of a comeback to anything she'd say to scold him.

"Speaking of Professor McGonagall, did you say she was going to be coming here at some point?" Harry looked over to Remus, who nodded in response.

"Something related to Order business, nothing particularly vital."

Harry accepted that answer, not spotting any hint of misdirection or anything of the like.

"Now quiet down," Molly said from the stove, where multiple things were being cooked and prepared with a level of sophistication that couldn't be replicated without magic, "It's nearly finished."

Molly's words were heeded, if only barely, and the Weasley Matriarch slowly completed the Christmas dinner that Harry and the others were anticipating.

The next two hours were some of the best that Harry had experienced ever since coming back. Sirius and Remus were alive and trading barbs at the table, Arthur wasn't in St Mungo's and was instead talking animatedly to his daughter who was humouring her dad's eccentricities related to whatever subject had struck his fancy, Fred was here with his twin brother, and the chaos of the war on the horizon was absent for just a little while longer.

(SCENE BREAK)

"Albus sends his regards." Professor McGonagall said to Sirius, the two being alone in the lord's study. It was late in the evening now and the celebrations had come to an end, leaving everyone mostly satiated and relaxed.

McGonagall had arrived at Grimmauld Place for more than one reason, including delivering some news from Dumbledore and a book meant for Harry's personal use.

From what Sirius could tell from his quick glance at the old tome, it was a Transfiguration spellbook that was one of the rare ones that even his own family library didn't have. A present from the headmaster no doubt, but probably as a loan that Harry would return later.

Other than that, the conversation between the two after a brief discussion so far had been a casual kind that was almost strange, he had always been close to her, though it was obvious to anyone that James was her favorite, but even out of school he'd never been able to look at her without seeing his old teacher.

Sirius just made a slight grunt of acknowledgement, nursing a drink that his former transfiguration teacher had given a slight look over before pointedly ignoring it.

"All he said at the beginning of winter break was that I should watch Harry carefully," Sirius said slowly, "What did he mean by that?"

Sirius knew it wasn't likely that McGonagall knew what happened. All Dumbledore said to Sirius was that a trying event had occurred and that he would be put at ease if he would keep a lookout on Harry's behavior and if anything had changed.

So far, nothing had changed in the negative. The following couple of days after the Yule meeting at Greengrass Manor, if anything, made Harry even more elated.

...

On second thought, maybe he did need to talk to Harry about proper etiquette relating to courting a Pureblood heiress. Who knows, Harry might actually adhere to it when he himself never cared for it.

"Albus mentioned that some cursed object of You-Know-Who had been left in the Chamber of Secrets." The Scotswoman adopted an even more severe look as she mentioned both the name and the location. "And Potter stumbled across it before the two managed to destroy it. I can tell he did not like admitting it to me, but he said the artifact could manipulate their minds and bypass his mental defenses."

Sirius' hand clenched around the glass, his teeth grinding together. "And our enlightened leader didn't think it pertinent to share that with me when he told me my godson might be a little melancholic?!"

McGonagall didn't respond immediately to the angry outburst, but the Transfiguration mistress had a look on her face that looked like she had swallowed a lemon.

"I don't know what sometimes runs through Albus' head, but I'm certain he kept it secret for a reason. Would your own godson's decision to go along with the secrecy not have caused the same negative reaction?" She asked pointedly.

Sirius shrunk under the gaze, being distressingly reminded of a similar look and tone when his former Head of House caught him out at night during his school years.

Worse still, she was right. Sirius didn't have it in him to be upset at Harry. His godson wouldn't have blindly gone along with a blunder in decision making by Dumbledore, unlike Sirius himself just last year.

"This makes me feel like I'm back in school again." Sirius muttered to himself, scoffing slightly as he took a small drink of his whiskey.

"Had you been my student still, that Firewhiskey wouldn't be there and your mother would have insisted that I thrash you for besmirching the honour of your forefathers." Minerva said with a complete and total lack of embellishment.

Sirius just snickered at what she said, knowing that he had already had something similar said to him by his ancestor's portrait in the headmaster's office during more than one meeting relating to him being punished. Phineas Black really did detest him in ways he couldn't help but be amused by.

"I'm certain declaring a half-blood my heir is good enough to besmirch the family." Sirius pointed out, the fingers on his right hand tapping against the crystal tumbler that was nearly empty now.

At the mention of Harry, Minerva's expression softened.

"He reminds me of his father," She said softly, a sad smile appearing on the formidable woman's age lined face, "So much more so after this summer."

Sirius understood what she was saying. Harry had begun to act in a way more in line with James compared to Lily after what happened. More outspoken, had that same wit James did, and had developed into a formidable duelist for his age; caused by motivation and drive in all likelihood.

"Aye," He said, smiling to himself as he remembered those memories, "I'm sure we were a terror to you."

"You were." Minerva said flatly, before the barest hint of a smile flashed across her face. "But you were my favorite students… especially James." She added quietly.

Sirius noticed then that she adjusted her spectacles and blinked suspiciously quick.

If his intuition served him correctly, he'd think that something was troubling her.

"I never told you how sorry I was." She said without any prompting, her eyes no longer looking at him as she reached into her pocket and pulled out her wand. She then flicked it to summon a spare tumbler and poured a generous helping of Firewhiskey for herself.

"What in Merlin's name could you be sorry for?" He asked confusedly, before it clicked and a chill seemed to settle across the room.

McGonagall eventually made eye contact with him and he could see the mistiness in her gaze.

"For believing you would betray them." She said, a tear running down her face. "12 years, Sirius. I remembered all those times you two protected one another, how you loved James like he was your own brother, and I still believed you were a monster."

Sirius shook his head quickly. McGonagall had never spoken with him alone ever since he had escaped from Azkaban, so she'd never shown any shame or deep-seated guilt about it. But moments like these unsettled him tremendously. The specter of Azkaban and all those horrid memories shouldn't be harming others, and he wouldn't let it.

"There is nothing to apologize for, Minerva McGonagall." Sirius said with as much firmness as he could muster. His fingers wrapped around his glass and he set it aside, still fixing his teacher with an unwavering look. "I don't blame you. I don't blame Remus, and I don't blame Dumbledore. I blame myself for my stupidity, and I blame Peter. But Peter's dead, and my penance is to make sure Harry lives to be a thousand with a hundred grandkids to spoil."

What he said seemed to jarr McGonagall from her melancholic state, because she actually looked up at him steadily instead of showing any measure of detectable shame.

"Thank you, Sirius." McGonagall said quietly as she adjusted her glasses. "I'm not sure I would have been able to forgive someone had I been in your position."

Sirius just frowned.

"Enough of that. There's no need to be negative about what ifs. I'd just like to have a drink with my head of house, the same stern and prickly witch that held me when I bawled like a child after Reggie had his little blow-up in the Great Hall."

If that wasn't an unpleasant memory, he didn't know what was.

McGonagall got the implied message and stopped trying to drum up another reason for her to feel guilt, a relaxed silence enveloping the room as she took another sip of her Firewhiskey.

"He reminds me of James," She eventually stated, her eyes flicking towards the door, "So much. Especially this last year."

"Aye, he really does." Sirius nodded, smiling to himself as he thought of his brilliant godson.

Whatever happened, he knew that Harry would make it through this. He could rest easy on that.

/SCENE BREAK)

"This was easier than I thought." Harry played up his bewilderment at his third successful apparition into the hoop several meters from his starting point.

Harry was currently at the park across from Grimmauld Place with a muggle repelling charm on the area, along with sound suppression charms and a disillusionment charm on them both. Fortunately for him, Sirius and Remus had nothing better to do and agreed to 'teach' him how to apparate. Molly had raised a fuss for a moment about the legality of it, until Sirius had flatly stated that he had been legally tossed into prison.

That had quelled any contrary opinion on him 'learning'.

"You're a bloody show off is what you are." Sirius scowled, glaring at the hoop like it had personally offended him. "It took you 6 hours to pull that off, Harry. It's supposed to take days to manage the first step of short range apparition, and that's supposed to be the hardest!"

Harry kept up a mask of continued shock and awe at what he managed, but was internally laughing at how aggravated Sirius was.

"Maybe it's just something else I'm instinctively good at, like my Patronus."

"That took you months of Remus teaching you." Sirius deadpanned, gray eyes darting towards the man in question who was lounging on a park bench and relaxing for the time being. "But I understand what you mean; you mastered it faster than anyone I ever knew. Merlin's sake, I don't even think Dumbledore managed it that early."

To be exact, Dumbledore managed to cast his first corporeal Patronus at the tail end of his fifth year. But Harry didn't bother bringing that up, because he didn't have an excuse on hand to explain how he knew it.

"Now I just need to extend the range." Harry mused, eying a spot next to one of the larger trees in the park.

"Nah, you're not doing anymore today." Sirius waved his hand in a negative gesture. "You can get the twins to babysit you so you don't splinch yourself tomorrow."

"Fred and George…" Harry said slowly, letting that sentence hang out there for a second. "You do realize who you're talking about, right?"

"Aye, and stupid is far from what they are. Have them watch you and I'll maybe teach you that smoke flight thing you're going on about."

Harry just stared at Sirius, the expression on his face saying exactly what he was thinking.

"You not even knowing what it's called is why I'm trusting Remus to show me how not to kill myself when trying it." He said slowly, looking at said man still at total ease.

Sirius just scowled. "I feel so appreciated."

"You're acting like a moody, teenage girl that got stood up on a date." Harry rolled his eyes, trying and failing to remove the disillusionment charm on him wandlessly. "Oi, mind canceling the charm?"

"I'm a teenage girl, remember?" Sirius said, looking personally insulted by the statement. He then stormed off. "Have Moony do it." The Marauder said loudly, before making his way back inside.

For all his dread and skill with a wand, not to mention the power wielded by his family name, Sirius Black was still an overdramatic child at heart.

With today's training session done for today, Harry looked around the park and took the sight in for a few moments before he made his own way towards Remus so they could go back inside.

/(End Chapter)

Nothing else to really say other than hopefully the next chapter comes out sooner. I hope you enjoyed the chapter and I hope you have a wonderful day.

Raging.