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The Coldest Street Of Them All

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“What do you think Lily has made for dinner?” Sirius was absolutely starving and hated the fact that James’ car had broken down, meaning that they had to walk the whole mile to James’ house for dinner. Sure, he could’ve taken his bike, but with his luck, Lily would have left him out in the cold until James arrived.

James clicked his fingers as if he had been struck by inspiration.

“That was what she asked me to do! Lily hasn’t been feeling great recently, so she asked me to pick dinner up on the way home. We can stop by the place down the road.”

“Ah okay. Is she coming down with something?”

“I… I think it’s because she found out she couldn’t have children. You know that’s always been a big dream of hers, to have a little one to look after.”

He looked straight ahead, refusing to look at Sirius. The wind caressed his face - as if nature itself was apologising for their situation.

“Aw, James I’m sorry. I know that’s always been your dream as well. You’d make a great father. There are always other options though right?”

He sent a grateful grin at Sirius, though it lacked its usual enthusiasm.

“Yeah, thanks mate - wait, do you hear that?”

“What?”

James rushed off into an alleyway before Sirius could force an explanation out of him.

“James! Wait up! Stupid idiot should know to wait for backup by now.”

“Shit. I mean oops. Sirius come here, there’s a kid.”

In front of James there was a small body curled with their head on their knees, bright green eyes that reminded him strongly of his wife peeked out and stared at him curiously. Though these eyes were filled with tears that had created tracks down his face, this must be the kid he had heard crying.

“Who are you?” The kid’s question sounded like an accusation as if James was interrupting some sort of private time. He probably was. He dropped to the ground and crossed his legs to make himself seem less threatening. Behind him, he heard Sirius copy his movement, letting him take the lead.

“Hi. I’m James Potter and the weirdo behind me is Sirius Potter. What’s your name kiddo?”

Sirius had been adopted by James’ parents back when they were in primary school. They hadn’t forced him to take their name but he had loved the idea of officially being a part of the Potter family.

“I don’t get a name.” 

James was confused, didn’t most kids at that age know their name? In fact, the kid didn’t even seem confused, he seemed confident in that he didn’t ‘get’ a name. Did that mean he wasn’t allowed one? But why wouldn’t he be allowed a name? Unless… The bad feeling he had gotten when he heard the faint sounds of crying only worsened. He took a deep breath.

“Okay. What are you doing here?” James’ voice was more gentle than Sirius had ever heard it.

“I’m waiting for my Uncle to come back.”

James shared a look with Sirius - this couldn’t be good.

“Your Uncle huh? Do you know how long he’s been gone for?”

“He brought me here after breakfast. I don’t know when he’s coming back, have you seen him?”

Ahh, a child’s innocence. Where everyone knew everyone and adults could always be trusted to do the right thing,

“Sorry kiddo, I haven’t seen him. You know what? I bet you’re pretty hungry after being here all day, why don’t you come with me and I can get you some food.”

“Aunt ‘Tunia told Dudley that we shouldn’t go with strangers when they offer food.”

“That’s pretty good advice. You can trust me because I’m a police officer, see?” 

He held out his badge for the boy to see. The kid apparently needed to see it close up though because his arm extended slowly and took it from him to inspect it. Could kids his age even read? Still, James waited patiently for him to finish deciding if he was telling the truth.

“Okay. I believe you. But what if my Uncle comes back?”

James’ heart broke. Of course, the boy hadn’t yet realised that he’d been abandoned in an alleyway. He couldn’t bring himself to tell him.

“I’ll leave him a note so he knows where to find you.”

“But he told me not to move! He’ll be really angry if he finds out that I moved!” The kid shrunk in on himself as if his uncle was there at that moment. James held back his anger at the man who had clearly left this kid terrified of disobeying him - what if James hadn’t heard him crying? It was almost winter, the child could have died if he had been forced to stay out here for a few more hours.

“You can blame me, I promise. Then he won’t be angry at you.”

The boy thought on it for a minute.

“Promise?”

“I promise.”

“Okay.”

The kid stood up, showing off the oversized clothes that did nothing to hide how underweight he was. There were bruises on his arms and what looked like a cut on the back of his hand.

James stood up slowly and held out his gloved hand for the kid to take. It was looked at distrustfully for a second, but the kid soon put his own hand in James’.

“Hi.” He said, looking at Sirius now.

“Hiya kiddo, I’ll leave the note here. Let’s go get some food. I’m starving.” He threw a bit of paper on the ground, mentally apologising for littering.

It was a short walk to the nearest fast food place, where they quickly ordered. Sirius raised his eyebrow at the amount of food James ordered, but one look at how the clothes hung on the kid in between them explained it all. From there they walked to James’ house.

Lily was going to be absolutely furious when she realised they’d brought a child home. It would be worth it though. Maybe she’d fall in love with the kid like James was starting to.

Hell, who was he kidding? He’d practically already decided to adopt him.