Sirius was trying very hard not to lose his temper because he knew that would scare Harry and probably not get him very far with Remus either. Why the fuck was Remus lying to him? He wasn’t some sensitive baby who couldn’t handle… well OK maybe he could be a little dramatic but he was working on his issues! Personally, Sirius thought he had dealt with the last few days with remarkably few histrionics, last night excluded and Remus probably didn’t even know about that. Where had Remus even been anyway?
His train of thought was interrupted as yet another owl tapped on the window. They had been sending and receiving them all day, mostly with McGonagall to sort out the details of the flat. Remus went to the window and read it quickly.
“She says that although the flat was originally council owned, Arabella bought it earlier in the year. Which makes it easier for us to move in with regards to paperwork, but does mean that she can’t afford the new house given that she spent all her savings. She says that’s fine, but Minerva has suggested that if we are able to we should give her a deposit that she can use for the mortgage on the new property and then pay a monthly sum until we have repaid the total cost of the house.”
Remus looked worried, but Sirius waved his hand. He didn’t understand what a council house or a mortgage was and he didn’t know what difference it made but he did understand that they should definitely be reimbursing the kind woman who had moved out of her home for them.
“How much was the house?” he asked.
“Um… around £10,000. Which is about 2000 galleons.”
Sirius swallowed. He was starting to see why Remus might be worried. “We can give her about half of that as a deposit. You said yesterday I had over 1000 galleons left from Uncle Alphard. We can convert those and she can use them for her… mortgage? And then we can work out a monthly sum once one of us is earning money.”
“Sirius, if we gave her that we’d have maybe 50 galleons between us… That wouldn’t get us far, and whilst I might be used to skipping a few meals when times get tough we need to be able to take care of Harry, and that means money!”
Sirius sighed, but he was saved from replying as yet another bird appeared at the window. Taking the letter and quickly stroking the owl’s beak he scanned the note. The tension that had started to coil in his stomach lessened, as he finished.
“Arthur Weasley is offering me a job! So we should be fine! It says here it’ll be part time and probably not pay too much, but if you managed to get something too then I’m sure we’ll be just fine. I’m not sure what I’ll be doing but he works for the ministry and he said I would be joining his department. He’s going to pop round around 2pm to discuss details and he says he has a car to help us move in to the new flat ‘muggle style’.”
Remus smiled weakly, and Sirius knew he was doubting that he could get a job, but the news that Sirius would be earning had definitely helped his growing anxiety. Then Remus startled.
“Sirius, it’s already 1 o’ clock! We need to finish packing and feed Harry and…”
They scrambled over to the remaining mess that filled the room and began furiously packing, argument temporarily forgotten.
Arthur was true to his word, and although they apparated with most of the heaviest items, they did carry some through to his small blue Ford Anglia, so that to any muggles watching them move in it did seem like they had some belongings. As Remus slowly drove them through the London traffic Arthur explained to Sirius more about what the job would entail. Basically, Arthur had been made aware of the existence of Sirius’ not quite legal motorbike after the events on Halloween. Technically, he should be punishing Sirius, but if they kept it between the two of them then he was fascinated by the engineering and if Sirius would talk him through the charms placed on it then he would be more than happy to let it slide “given the circumstances”.
However, the motorbike’s existence showed that Sirius had a familiarity with how magic and muggle objects could be combined and that along with his NEWT results meant that he would be a perfect candidate for the job. Arthur and one other guy was the entire department at the moment and since all the raids on Death Eater’s houses they were both working overtime. Since Arthur had 7 children aged ten or under, this really wasn’t practical and Sirius’ help would be seriously appreciated. The Minister hadn’t yet approved the new position but Arthur was sure that the proposal would be accepted, and that the position should pay around 10 galleons a week for 20 hours.
Basically, it wasn’t perfect and certainly wasn’t masses of money they could probably give Arabella around £100 a month, if Sirius’ mental maths was correct. Which would mean it would take them around 4 years to pay her off… which actually sounded alright? Maybe? It certainly wasn’t ridiculous. Maybe things would be alright after all, although he wasn’t sure if £25 was enough to feed three people for a week and he definitely didn’t know anything about how much ‘elektricality’ would cost. Maybe Remus could find a muggle job, or he could ask for more hours once he’d proven his worth?
A few hours later, when Arthur had left and it was growing dark outside, the three of them stood in what would be the sitting room. Harry was playing with his new train and Remus and Sirius were wearily eyeing the boxes they had still to unpack.
“Bedroom first?” Remus suggested, “Then we can at least go to sleep comfortably and sort out the rest tomorrow.”
Sirius nodded and they walked through the rest of the flat which was decorated in a similarly floral style. Sirius could almost feel his hackles raising at the strong scent of cat that permeated the living space. He waved his wand and most of the florals disappeared to be replaced by plainer fabrics. It wasn’t perfect but he wasn’t getting a headache everytime he looked at some upholstery which had to be an improvement.
They had just finished setting up what would officially be Remus’ room when there was a knock at the door. Scooping up Harry, Remus went to answer it - they had decided that he would be much better at dealing with muggle related things than Sirius would.
Remus opened the door to see a pretty young woman holding a child who looked to be a similar age to Harry, maybe a little older. Her black hair was styled in braids much like the ones Sirius had worn a couple of summers ago and her brown eyes had a friendly sparkle. She smiled at him, revealing startlingly white teeth which contrasted with the smooth darkness of her skin.
“Hi, I’m Lucille, I live next door.” she started and then before Remus could say anything she continued. “I heard that new tenants were moving in today and well, moving can be such a palaver that I thought I could make some extra dinner and save you the effort of unpacking the cooking items tonight.”
“Oh gosh,” Remus stuttered, absolutely taken aback at the thoughtfulness of this stranger. “It’s quite ok we were going to get a fish and chips or…”
She cut him off. “I have a wonderful beef jerk curry that will be ready in fifteen minutes. Now, who is this lovely young man? I guess he takes after his mother? You are all welcome of course.”
“Oh, um, actually… I’m his uncle. His mother was my sister. He looks just like his father.”
“Was?” she questioned, and then froze as she realised. “I’ve put my foot in it haven’t I? I’m so sorry.”
It was then that Sirius appeared, his curiosity having gotten the better of him, and she looked him up and down appreciatively before looking back to Remus with a puzzled expression.
“This is my roommate,” Remus said hurriedly. “We’re splitting the rent since I can only work part time and he’s new to the area and needed somewhere quickly.”
“Hi, I’m Sirius. And this is Remus, and this little fella is Harry. Since Remus probably forgot to introduce himself. I didn’t quite catch your name?”
“I’m Lucille, I live next door, and this is my son Dean.” she said, indicating the toddler she had placed on the ground and who was waddling around in random circles. “Why don’t we go to mine and I can watch the beef jerk while we properly get to know eachother.”
Sirius’ eyes lit up at the mention of food, and so Remus found himself carrying Harry into the flat next door following Lucille as she chatted at a thousand miles a minute.