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Blood of the Covenant

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Sirius fell asleep on Remus’ lap, and, with a presence of mind that astonished even himself, Remus cast a charm to muffle any sounds from outside. Tonight was not the night to explain Bonfire Night. Sirius had never been good with loud noises. He found himself quite unable to sleep until the early hours, thinking hard about the funeral, Petunia, and the looming full moon which they simply hadn’t had time to discuss.

When morning finally came, and the sunlight crept through the kitchen he roused himself and boiled the kettle. There was no point in waking Sirius yet, he needed all the rest he could get - panic attacks normally resulted in a day or more in bed. Which, if they didn’t have Harry, and the issue of Petunia would be exactly what he insisted that Sirius did. But he also knew Sirius, and he knew that if he was at all able to, he would insist on being there to tell Petunia.

Harry woke first, and Remus scooped him up and served porridge for breakfast, which to his complete surprise, Harry seemed to enjoy. No one enjoyed his porridge. It had a texture similar to partly dried cement. Sirius was next. He could hear him stirring in the next room, followed by a long deep groan. It wasn’t a big surprise to hear dog paws padding towards the kitchen rather than human feet. Remus put a plate of bacon on the floor, and let Harry down from the high chair to play with Sirius’ tail. Drinking what must have been his third cup of tea of the morning, he shuffled to the bathroom to attempt to make himself look somewhat closer to Petunia’s idea of presentable. After a shave, an attempt to style his hair, and changing into his newest, least holey jumper, he went back to the kitchen and scooped Harry up. Sirius was nowhere to be seen.

Given his inexperience with toddlers, it was gone 10am by the time Remus and Harry were both ready. Every time he got something done, Harry would have taken off his socks, or chewed Remus' shirt, or Remus would realise he hadn't remembered to take wet wipes. Petunia may know that he was a wizard, but he felt it might be best if he avoided using magic in front of her if at all possible. When everything was finally ready, he walked into the hall to find Sirius, in human form, stood waiting by the front door. He looked exhausted, but he held his hands out to hold Harry and looked straight in Remus' eyes. Remus understood in that moment that there would be no arguing about Sirius coming, but that he would be doing all the talking. Often, after a bad night, Sirius would remain a dog until he felt able to talk but he was clearly making an effort today. That effort would not extend as far as talking, which to be perfectly honest might be for the best - he did have a habit of sticking his foot in it.

"C'mon then chaps," said Remus, doing his best to sound cheerful for Harry's sake, "We're going to visit your aunt and cousin!"

"Cousin?" Harry looked confused.

"Yes, he's the same age as you. They live outside of London but I thought we could take public transport and make an adventure of it!"

Sirius looked a bit concerned at that, and Remus nearly backtracked, but they both knew that he probably wouldn't be feeling up to apparating and splinching would really just put the icing on the cake of a shit few days. Finally, Sirius nodded, and they walked down the stairs together in silence. After relatively few disasters, they arrived in Surrey in one piece. Harry had not enjoyed the tube, but buses were a source of constant amusement. They'd sat behind an old lady with a blue rinse, which Harry had decided was just like one of the wizarding house plants they'd had in Godric's Hollow. Luckily, the lady had just thought that he was babbling nonsense, and gave him some patient smiles. Also somewhat fortuitously, perhaps due to using muggle transport, they did not run into any wizarding folk who recognised Harry.

Privet Drive was exactly the type of road Remus had imagined that Petunia might live in, with neat lawns and hedges pruned within an inch of their lives, but just low enough that someone with a long neck might be able to just about see over. It screamed conformity, and he almost expected to see identical aspidistras in each window like some sort of Orwellian fantasy. They definitely stuck out, even in muggle clothing, so he hurried them towards number 4, knocking on the door before even thinking to check if there was a doorbell. There was.

Inside, he could hear a toddler moaning about something, and a woman assuring her "duddikins" that she would be right back, but that she might have a delivery. The door swung open to reveal a tall, thin woman with pursed lips, who didn't quite manage to hide her shock at who she was faced with.

"Hello, Petunia," Remus started, "Perhaps we could come inside, out of the cold?"

He could see her hesitating, she didn't want them in the house, but he knew she also wouldn't want the neighbours to see the type of people who were visiting her and evidently that side eventually won because she nodded curtly.

"Why are you here?" she hissed, as soon as the door was closed.

"I..." Remus hesitated, "I think you had better sit down."

Petunia's mask of confusion slipped a little to worry, before she plastered on a fake smile and showed them through to the (aspidistra-less) living room. In the middle of the floor was a play mat occupied by a round blond child, who Remus assumed must resemble his father.

"Cousin?" Harry sounded uncertain.

"Yes, cousin." replied Sirius in a voice barely above a whisper, carefully placing Harry on the ground and watching Dudley as though he might explode. "Do you want to introduce yourself?"

Whilst the two boys looked at each other in mild bemusement, Petunia cleared her throat.

"Why are you here?" she repeated.

"Um yes." Now they were here, Remus couldn't think of what to say. He should have spent the travel time thinking about it because his mind was blank. He gestured towards the sofas and they all perched awkwardly in silence, Petunia looking at him expectantly.

Why was this so hard? It was just words, just confirming something they already knew, but he couldn't get his tongue and brain to cooperate.

"Lily is dead." growled Sirius.

Petunia turned white. "This, this isn't one of your pranks is it? Because if it is I'll..."

"No," Remus interjected, finding his voice at last. "Lily and James... they..."

A single tear ran down Petunia's cheek and she swallowed, hard. Then the steel returned to her eyes. "You can't expect me to take the child. Vernon would never agree, and I don't want my Dudley mixing with someone like that."

Remus felt sick, but he heard himself reassuring her that he and Sirius had the situation covered with regards to Harry, and ignoring any pointed comments about their suitability to raise a child. He didn't care whether she thought people like him should be allowed near children or not (especially since she didn't even know the actually dangerous secret he had). Calmly, much more calmly than he expected, he explained that the funeral was in a week's time, and would she like to attend.

"It'll be full of freaks, I suppose?" she asked, eventually.

"I've asked for them to do a church service in a local chapel. There will be wizarding folk in attendance, your sister was a hero to a great many people."

Again, the silence stretched on like a vast ocean with no end in sight. Sirius was jiggling his leg and even the two toddlers were quiet. Finally, Petunia stood up, signalling that it was time for them to leave.

"I'll think about it, and talk to Vernon." she said, voice very nearly steady, and then they were dismissed.

As soon as they were outside, Sirius looked around and then transformed to dog form. Which was stupid and risky, but Remus couldn't find it in himself to feel angry. Just sad that he couldn't, and feeling overwhelmingly tired with a grizzling Harry in his arms. Not thinking too hard, he stuck out his wand to summon the Knight Bus. He couldn't face the idea of muggle transport back to London. They all needed rest and quiet and the safety of their own home.