The Unexpected Visitor

Chapter 13

Seven weeks later came another milestone event that was cause for celebration - Rose's fifth birthday had arrived at last. Coincidentally at the very same time, it was also Easter weekend and that was all Sirius needed to know for him to host a 2-in-1 party; something which Rose didn't know about in too much detail, but on the morning of her birthday, when she awoke from her preferred sleeping spot on Sirius's chest without disturbing him, she discovered what would turn out to be just one of the many surprises for her… albeit this was probably the most important of them all. Lying at the foot of her bed were presents!

"Wow!" Rose exclaimed softly as she clambered down carefully and quietly, making sure that Sirius didn't wake up, staring in awe at the multiple gifts all wrapped up in colorful, shining, sparkling paper.

Now, being a very responsible child for her age, Rose knew that it would be very wrong if she just ripped them open so early in the morning before the party even began… but… there was no reason for her not to examine the gifts. It was also not lost on her that there was more than just the one gift she had expected from Sirius.

"One. Two. Three. Four. Five." Counting each one of them, Rose couldn't help but wonder if these were all Sirius's gifts to her?

Her curiosity would certainly get the best of her and while she did have some amount of self-control, Rose still ogled the gifts in front of her, one finger on a cheek as she thought about what lay within; two gifts were medium sized thin boxes, a third was considerably smaller than everything else, the fourth was bigger in size but still square shaped… but the fifth… that was the most intriguing shape. And if Rose had not seen something like this in one of Sirius's drawings, she probably wouldn't have been able to guess what it was almost immediately.

"No way!" Rose breathed in a soft whisper when she realized what this fifth gift was; her hands moved of their own accord to touch the object and surely enough, it felt like now would be the appropriate time for happy screaming. Soft screaming.

What she hadn't anticipated in that minute of course, was the fact that her immense feelings of happiness and excitement would be channeled into something different; something which unknowingly caused Sirius to wake up. He had spent the previous night making sure everything was ready for the party and nothing was forgotten; all the invites had been sent to their friends, the decorations were complete, her birthday cake prepared, the theme organized, birthday clothes set aside, and eventually he fell asleep a little later than usual… but in these early hours of the morning, with Rose already awake and ecstatic over her gifts, Sirius didn't expect to feel something tickling his nose even before his eyes opened.

"Rose?" Sirius called out to her in a low voice as he blinked once, twice, thrice… seeing… a white feather floating in the air above his face?

Sitting upright, with a wondrous look on his face, Sirius took in the surroundings and figured out what had happened in a matter of seconds. The entire bed was covered in floating feathers; their pillow fight from the night before had left the feathers behind, and for some reason at eight o'clock in the morning, Rose had caused them all to fly with her magic. By now, her attention was no longer focused on the gifts as she took in the sight and realized Sirius was awake as well.

"I don't know what happened." She said, her eyes wide in surprise, the feathers continued to hover.

"Not to worry love, it's just a bit of your magic." He smiled, "Close your eyes and think that the feathers are not floating anymore." It was something he had taught Rose to do whenever her magic acted up.

"Okay." This had happened a few times over the last eight months and by now, Rose learned that her magic didn't always have to be scary.

Closing her eyes and thinking about the feathers, she could tell that it had worked when she opened them a moment later and saw they were all laying on the bed, perfectly still; except for one stray feather which had found its way to rest atop Sirius's head. Seeing that, Rose didn't even think before she burst out giggling.

"Wha…?" Sirius was confused when he saw Rose laughing all of a sudden until he noticed her pointing in his direction and reached a hand to his hair, "Oh. Very funny Rose." He pulled the feather out and set it aside.

"It is funny!" Rose didn't stop even then, but was now trying to keep her mouth closed with a big grin.

"Really? Why don't I show you what funny means." The twinkle in his eyes went unnoticed by Rose as Sirius bent down to grab her by the waist and started to tickle her!

That definitely did the trick, Sirius had learned only a few short days ago about Rose being extremely ticklish and in the early hours of the morning, it may have gotten her a bit more hyper, for several seconds until she calmed down.

"Not funny." She grumbled into Sirius's shirt, trying to catch her breath as she buried her head on his shoulder.

"It's your birthday love, c'mon… give us a smile." Sirius knew when Rose was being playful and figured she probably had something in mind.

"No." Shaking her head, Rose refused to budge; there was no smile on her face but she wasn't upset, she just didn't really enjoy being tickled when it made her so jumpy.

"What can I do to make it up to you?" Every once in a while, Sirius would play along with her until he could tell that Rose would be okay. It being her birthday meant that whatever she asked of him may be special?

Rose whispered something into Sirius's ear and leaned back, waiting to see what his reaction was; it didn't have any connection to what the situation this morning had conjured up with her magic and the tickling, but Sirius figured that Rose's request was something he could agree too without a second's thought. Which is what he did.

"Go ahead love." Sirius said to her with a smile on his face; he was wide awake now and decided Rose might even surprise him.

"Thank you!" Rose hugged Sirius before getting to work, this also gave her a chance to mention the gifts.

Standing up on the bed and holding Sirius's hand, Rose walked around until she was behind him and grabbed what she needed from their bedside table. There was a comb in one hand and a hair tie in the other; she had chosen to make his hair for him.

"So tell me birthday girl, did you already see the gifts or not?" Something about having Rose comb his hair first thing in the morning was relaxing to Sirius as he brought up the topic himself.

"Yes. But I did not open them." She answered him and then asked the one question that had been on her mind since she possibly recognized what the oddly shaped gift was. "Sirius… is that…?" Rose barely managed to say before he replied back.

"It sure is love." He didn't need to hear the whole question to know what exactly she was talking about.

"But I thought…" Rose was surprised; she hadn't expected Sirius to actually have pulled it off.

"Never you mind all that now, the gifts can be opened later tonight after we cut your cake." Sirius brushed the talk aside, not wanting to ruin the surprise for her completely, "So… are you done?" He could tell that she was trying something different with his hair, he just wasn't sure what that was… yet.

"Yes!" Beaming at her attempt, Rose came back to face Sirius, watching him turn to the mirror and examine the 'new' look.

Sirius noted that it wasn't a ponytail, nor had Rose tried to tie it up in a bun; instead she had taken half of his hair and tied that into a small ponytail while leaving the other half open and combed straight. Given the fact of him being unshaven that week, he wondered if he should leave the scruff the way it was since Rose seemed to have not mentioned anything so far.

"Do you like it?" Rose couldn't tell what Sirius thought of her idea, she didn't even know where she came up with it, her hands just worked on their own accord.

"Of course I like it, something new is always good!" Sirius kissed her cheek and decided it was time the two of them got ready for the day, "Right, well we have lots to do before the party begins, but first things first, breakfast." He said, lifting Rose in his arms and headed for the kitchen.

Over the next couple of hours, working side by side together, as they always did, both Sirius and Rose were able to finish up any last minute details of the party which needed to be dealt with; by noon, everything was done and only the guests had to arrive. By now, Rose had learned of the surprise her birthday theme entailed - Sirius had organized an Easter Egg hunt in the house! It wouldn't begin until after lunch though… in the meantime… there remained one thing left for them to do.

"May I?" Sirius asked as he walked up to Rose, they were downstairs in the hall waiting when she had realized that her hair wasn't made at all; being unable to decide on what to do with her hair, Rose left it open but kept fidgeting.

"Okay." Rose sighed and sat down on the sofa, hoping that Sirius had a better idea. The dress she wore felt good, her shoes were comfortable but her hair was a mess!

"This is a little something that I learned from Lily when we were back at school; she always made it a point to tie my hair at every chance she got and the first time I was able to do the same for her, she taught me a few things." They had a little time to spare, no one had shown up yet and Sirius could tell that Rose was worried; it was one of the reasons why he thought a French braid would be perfect.

"Oh wow." Rose's voice sounded soft and amazed when she looked at herself in the mirror, twirling around to see her shoulder length hair had been transformed into something beautiful. "Thank you Sirius, it's so pretty!" She couldn't believe that they hadn't tried this hairstyle before, but today was the best day to try new things.

"You're very welcome love." Sirius had to remember not to kiss Rose's head in case he messed her hair up.

Just then, they both heard knocks from the main door and exchanged a smile, the guests were here which meant that the party could officially begin. Surely enough, one by one, everyone from the Order arrived within minutes of each other - Tonks was the first, followed by Molly and Arthur, Kingsley, Mad-Eye and lastly, Lupin. Each of them came bearing colorful gifts for Rose who kept them all on the table where Sirius's gifts were… at the time of lunch… she counted that the number had gone up from five to ten, but didn't yet know there was plenty more to come. As soon as the Easter Egg hunt was underway, Rose spared no chances of teaming up with just one person and decided to take everyone's help as she tackled every single room with one adult accompanying her at all times; it wasn't a competition for who could find the most number of eggs, but rather how long it took for Rose to find them. After that, Sirius had told her there would be more games to play, but throughout the entire afternoon, Grimmauld Place was filled with music and laughter and applause whenever Rose emerged from her searches with a basket of Easter Eggs.

"Who else is left, Rose?" Tonks asked her when they had sat down for a few minutes to catch their breath and have some juice and cookies; the two of them proved to be a very good team working together to find all the Easter eggs which were hidden upstairs in Buckbeak's room.

"Moony!" Rose exclaimed happily, according to Sirius, everyone who had helped her so far finished at almost the same time which meant before evening, she would be done.

"You called?" Lupin said as he walked over and sat down next to Rose, "It's my turn isn't it?" He asked her.

"Yes it is." Nodding her head emphatically, Rose didn't waste another second and grabbed his hand, running off to the next part of the house; Sirius had given each adult a parchment with several clues to the location of the eggs and Lupin knew the hardest one had been left for last - the library. "Let's go!" She said, very much excited to be at the end of the hunt, knowing that there was a big prize once it finished.

Lupin didn't need to be told twice and let Rose lead the way, neither one realizing that mere minutes later, there would be another arrival at the party; someone unexpected who was greeted by Sirius at the front door.

"Minerva! This is a pleasant surprise." Sirius hadn't known that she could take time off from Hogwarts, even though the week long holidays were going on, to show up for Rose's birthday.

"Hello Sirius, I spoke to our Headmistress and figured there was no harm in taking the day away from… everything." McGonagall said to him, without elaborating on the details, but Sirius could tell that the older witch seemed to be refraining from commenting on how things were at Hogwarts ever since Dumbledore had been replaced by Dolores Umbridge.

"That's good, I'm glad you could make it. Rose will be happy to see you again." Stepping aside to let her in, Sirius noticed that McGonagall had come bearing gifts… a lot of them.

"These are from Harry and the others; I thought it would be easier to bring everything personally instead of Owl Post." All in all, including her own gift for Rose, McGonagall had six gifts!

"Good point." Sirius knew that Harry, Ron and Hermione were busy preparing for their O.W.L.s which were only a few short weeks away, and the fact that Umbridge would be examining parcels that went in and out of the school.

"Where is the birthday girl?" McGonagall asked Sirius after she met everyone else, noticing that Rose wasn't around.

"Ah, she's actually finishing up the Easter Egg hunt with Remus right now." Going over to grab a glass of pumpkin juice for McGonagall, Sirius explained that he had planned the activity for all of the guests who were helping Rose as they worked in pairs.

Hearing that, it seemed to be the perfect opportunity to take Sirius away for a moment since the others were busy in conversation amongst themselves. McGonagall didn't have much time before she had to return to Hogwarts; but what she had to tell him was important, and this would very well be the only chance she would get to speak to him privately.

"Sirius, might I have a word?" McGonagall took his elbow and led him to one corner where no one would disturb them; fortunately, the others hadn't noticed anything yet.

"Of course Minerva, is everything okay?" Sirius didn't say a word when she suddenly turned secretive; he wondered if there was something about Harry that he needed to know of.

"Yes. I simply wished to discuss the matter with which you asked for my assistance in conveying your wishes to Albus not too long ago." This was a delicate situation but a necessary one, "I have some news regarding the progress of the request." She said to him and saw that he realized what she was referring to.

"Right, yes… that." He tried not to let his emotions betray the thoughts which were starting to flood his mind in that moment. "Is it bad news?" Sirius hadn't told anyone about this except for McGonagall and Dumbledore.

"Not quite." McGonagall knew there was no easy way to say this, "As you are still in a difficult situation, the terms of this request cannot be fulfilled currently…" A pause to note his reaction before continuing, "I do have it on Albus' word that once things change and your name is cleared, then there will be no other obstacles to deal with." She couldn't imagine what he was thinking, but laid a hand on his arm as a show of support.

"Well… I suppose things could be worse." Rubbing the back of his neck, Sirius glanced around to see the other members of the Order before facing McGonagall, "At least it's not been rejected." He was doing his best not to feel disheartened, the request he'd made could eventually be made a reality… one day.

"I trust Albus will do his best to help." Was all that McGonagall could say to try and reassure Sirius, for as soon as she spoke, Rose came running down the stairs with Lupin.

"Miss Minnie!" She couldn't believe that McGonagall was actually here on her birthday; the two hadn't met for quite some time, but seeing her now, Rose was elated.

"Happy Birthday Rose." McGonagall smiled as the little girl hugged her. "I heard that you were hunting for Easter Eggs?"

"I found them all! Moony helped lots in the library." Rose showed McGonagall and Sirius the last basket in her hands.

"I just reached the higher places really." Lupin said as he shook hands with McGonagall, "Can I get you something to eat Minerva?" He asked her.

"No, thank you Remus. I can't stay long… the Headmistress insisted that all professor's must stay at Hogwarts over Easter, but I had to come and see Rose." She did however ask for some water.

"Are these all for me, Miss Minnie?" It wasn't lost on Rose that there were multiple gifts which hadn't been part of her pile until now.

"Yes; these are all birthday presents from Mr. Potter, Mr. Weasley, Miss. Granger, Ms. Weasley, Hagrid and myself." McGonagall showed them all to Rose who clearly had not thought there would be a chance for any of them to get her gifts since they were at school.

"Oh, thank you Miss Minnie!" Rose's eyes were twinkling as she tried to control her happiness, there was no need for any uncontrolled magic related incidents again.

"I hope you have a lovely day my dear." And with that, it was time for her to leave for Hogwarts.

Sirius walked McGonagall to the door once she had said her goodbyes to the other guests and with a word to him about not giving up hope, she apparated back to the school. The rest of the evening went by smoothly as was to be expected; there were games to play, dancing, not a lot of singing, but plenty of food and drink to go around for everyone. By sunset, Rose decided to ask Sirius if they were going to cut the cake before or after dinner, which she couldn't wait for since it would mean waiting even longer to open all of her gifts… and there was only so much patience a 5 year old possessed.

"We can cut the cake now, love." Sirius chuckled, knowing this was as good a time as any for Rose to have cake.

"Yay!" Rose sighed in a happy relief, she didn't even know what her birthday cake looked like, but not for long; she watched as Sirius went to the kitchen with Lupin while everyone gathered around the table.

However, before the two men could return to the dining room with Rose's cake, there came another unexpected arrival of not one but two late guests! With a loud crack to announce that they had apparated inside the house, Fred and George found themselves directly in front of their parents who were surprised to say the least.

"Boys, what are you two doing here?" Molly spoke up first; to her knowledge, the twins were supposed to be at Hogwarts.

"Hello mum, dad! Fancy seeing you here." Fred said as he came up to shake hands with Rose, "Happy Birthday Rose! Sorry we're a bit late." He truly did look apologetic, but there was a hint of something else hidden behind his sad smile.

"Yeah, sorry about that, we were trying to make sure that your gift was ready on time." George, who Rose noticed was holding a… covered cage… came forward and shook hands, "Happy Birthday Rose!" He said and passed the cage to her.

"Thank you." The wonder in her eyes was mixed with confusion, but Rose felt glad to know that they had managed to find a way to be here for the party. She was also a little surprised to be holding something mysterious in her hands which didn't seem very heavy; but she did not get a chance to open it up just yet.

"Fred, George, why are you not at school?" Clearly, Molly had noticed that her sons had carefully avoided answering her question but she wasn't going to let this pass so easily.

"Ah, well you see mum… we had to be here to personally deliver Rose's birthday gift to her." This was George's reply, short and to the point without getting into any details.

"And we missed you and dad of course." Fred added in as an afterthought, hoping that it would help, although knowing his mother, it probably wouldn't.

"And what is this gift exactly?" Molly had noticed the cage as soon as they had arrived and wanted to know what was inside; for Rose to have a pet at such a young age seemed like a good idea, but she couldn't be sure what Fred and George had brought with them.

"Funny you should ask…" The timing of Fred's answer coincided with the cage suddenly starting to rattle, which surprised Rose a little enough to step behind and bumped into Sirius who had returned with Lupin and the cake.

"What is in here?" Sirius asked, lifting the cage off Rose's hands, he could tell that had missed something important.

"Take a look, it's perfectly safe." George gestured to the older man, with a sincere smile.

It was Rose who took the leap of faith, figuratively of course, as she stood on her toes and without wasting any more time, removed the covering on the cage and gasped in surprise. Inside, there was a tiny, pink colored… thing… which looked tiny in size and shaped like a ball, with fur? Sirius still held onto it and seemed equally taken aback at the sight.

"What is that?" Tonks said, coming closer to see what this creature was; she had never seen anything like it before and knew that no one else had either.

"That looks very much like a Puffskein." Lupin replied, "A miniature one, but the color is different and they seem tame." He was fascinated by the reveal of this creature.

"Yep! They're called Pygmy Puffs." Fred said to them all, sounding proud. "And this is the first one of its kind."

"And how exactly did you boys come into possession of a… a… Pygmy Puff?" This time, it was Arthur who spoke up; he hadn't said anything while Molly questioned the twins on their unexpected arrival to Grimmauld Place, but now he needed to say something.

"Well… we have a special license to… ahem… breed them." George explained, realizing that there were a lot of Order members present who worked at the Ministry. "It is perfectly legal." He reiterated and exchanged a quick look with Fred.

"I like it!" Rose chimed in as she stared at the tiny Puff, it had two fairly big eyes which looked back at her but no longer was it moving about and rattling the cage.

"She is the very first Pygmy Puff and she's all yours Rose." Fred couldn't tell if the atmosphere in the room would get any better; no other adult had commented on this yet, but seeing as it was Rose's birthday, perhaps he and his brother would have to deal with the situation a little later.

"Thank you." She looked up at Sirius who hadn't said a word, but when he nodded, Rose understood.

"So… what will you name her?" Tonks asked Rose, "She's a very cute and fluffy little thing isn't she?" It was not lost on her either that there was a certain sense of tension in the air, but perhaps she could help lighten the mood.

"Fluffy!" Rose's ears had perked up when she heard Tonks speaking and knew in that second it was the right name. "Fluffy Puff." She said with a big smile on her face.

"That's a good name." Turning to Lupin who still had the cake, Tonks knew it was time to focus on the party once more, "And here's your cake Rose!"

"Ah, yes… here we are." Lupin finally came forward to set the cake down on the table.

Rose, who had temporarily forgotten about her excitement over the birthday cake because of her new pet, soon discovered that this day was full of surprises; when she laid eyes on it and saw the beautiful design, she almost didn't want to ruin the cake by cutting it up! Sirius had baked her a special cake since he had said that turning five was a big deal - a red rose cake with green leaves on either side and one single candle shaped as the number 5 sat atop a silver stand, the words "Happy Birthday Rose!" were written in pink icing just below the leaves in the center. Simple but pretty, just the way Rose had expected.

"Go on love, make a wish and blow out the candle." Sirius stood by her side as he picked up the knife and held it in his hand, helping Rose to cut the cake when she did blow on the candle after closing her eyes and making a wish.

Everyone gathered there clapped and broke into the birthday song as someone seemed to have magically burst a balloon which was filled with confetti. Amidst all the cheer, Rose laughed and smiled her biggest smile ever as she turned around on her chair to feed a bit of cake to Sirius first, followed by Tonks and Lupin. Once this part of celebrations was completed, about a quarter of an hour later, the gifts were ready to be opened. Since she had already received her gift from Fred and George, Rose thought to see what Harry and the others had sent across through McGonagall; sitting down on the floor of the study with Sirius, she reached for the pile of gifts from Hogwarts.

"This one's from Harry." Sirius said to her and passed a small slender box which reminded Rose of a similar looking gift in Sirius's pile of five.

Rose took the box in her hands and carefully began to tear the wrapping paper; she knew this was only the second of… seventeen gifts, but she didn't want to rush through them all just yet. There was a card inside which she gave to Sirius to read.

"He says, 'Happy Birthday Rose, I found this in Hogsmeade and I thought you might like it. Harry.' What is it?" Reading the message from his Godson, Sirius seemed curious since he hadn't heard about this gift in any of the letters Harry had sent him.

"It's… pretty!" Rose had opened the box to reveal a gold colored bracelet with tiny little charms.

Sirius could see that there was a rose, a teddy bear, a doll, an ice skate and a crown charm; but as his hands were full, Lupin did the honors of wearing the bracelet for Rose who seemed to be completely mesmerized by it.

"Looks like Harry's learning how to charm a girl." Sirius joked, causing everyone to laugh at his choice of words before he handed Rose the rest of her gifts.

She learned that Hermione had gifted her a book, but not just any book, this was Rose's very own copy of 'Hogwarts: A History by Bathilda Bagshot' which Sirius promised he would read to her at bedtime every night. Ron's gift turned out to be a Gobstones set, Ginny had bought a pretty looking doll and Hagrid had sent over a box of treacle fudge! But it was McGonagall's gift that surprised Rose; Wizard's Chess with the pieces made from marble and a note which said something about training to be as clever as her mother Evelyn had been at the game.

"Wow." Rose breathed in wonder when she turned to Molly and Arthur's gift; a pink and purple color bicycle which she could learn to ride all by herself. "Thank you!" She said, going over to hug them both.

"You're very welcome Rose." Molly kissed her cheek, "Happy Birthday."

"Who's next love?" Sirius called out, glancing at the bunch of unopened gifts, apart from his, there were still four more left.

"You're last!" In all honesty, Rose didn't know what to open next, but she did know that she was saving the best for the very end.

Eventually, she went with Mad-Eye's gift first and was amazed to see that he had gotten her a miniature sized telescope which worked just as well as a normal one would. After that, Rose opened Kingsley's gift which was a delight! He had found a stuffed toy of a Hippogriff which resembled Buckbeak and so she decided to name him Beaky. Now came the last two gifts, Tonks' and Lupin's; but Rose was so torn between choosing either of them that she asked Sirius to open one while she opened the other at the exact same time. When Rose saw that Lupin's gift turned out to be another stuffed toy, this time a wolf, she laughed and hugged him tight, thanking him over and over again, declaring that he would be called Moony!

"Oh." Rose had picked Tonks' gift which was very delicate according to the witch and after spending a few careful minutes, she saw at last that the gift was…

"It's a music box." Tonks said to her, reaching out to wind up the tiny little knob on one side and within seconds the room was filled with a soft instrumental tune.

"I know this song." The memory of hearing this very same song came to Rose as she listened to the music playing; it was the most wonderful feeling even if she couldn't remember the name. "My daddy used to sing it for me." She said softly, watching as the ballerina twirled around in the center of the box.

Soon, it was time for Rose to open the last of her gifts, five of them which were all from Sirius; he seemed to know which one she would go for first, but before that, perhaps it would be better to open the lesser important gift. And so, he handed her one of the square boxes which she quickly tore through and let out a tiny happy scream on seeing there was a third stuffed animal for her… this time, it was a Unicorn and after debating on the name for several minutes, Rose decided on Evie. The next gift that Sirius gave her started to build up the excitement when she saw that it was a sleeveless black top with her name written in gold and the number 07 below.

"It's your Quidditch jersey." Sirius said, presenting her with the oddly shaped gift at last. "This should match with it don't you think love?" He knew that this one had been spoiled for Rose already but he could still see her bouncing with joy.

"Yes, yes, yes!" Rose didn't need to be told twice as she finally saw the broomstick revealed in all its glory, "Oh thank you, thank you, thank you Sirius!" She flung her arms around him in a tight hug.

"Ah, but wait… there's still two gifts left to go… and I think you will love these even more." He had been waiting until the last moment to pass over the last gifts to Rose and watched as she opened the smaller one first.

Inside the box which looked almost identical to the one which Harry had used for the charm bracelet, Rose saw something that she couldn't believe. Her heart seemed to stop for a second before starting again and beating faster as she gently lifted the piece of jewelry in her hands, showing it to everyone in the room; a silver chain with a heart shaped locket and the letter 'E' inscribed.

"This was my mommy's." Rose whispered, she had never seen her mother go a day without it, until that fateful day last July when Evelyn had forgotten to wear the necklace and left it behind at home. After, Rose didn't even remember where it was and thought the locket was lost forever… until now.

"I know." Sirius said in a soft voice, "I asked Mad-Eye to help me find it for you." He reached over and opened the locket to reveal that there was a picture of Rose and her parents.

It was in that moment did Rose realize something else; she hadn't been able to find any pictures from her old house when she had left… but Sirius seemed to be able to sense her thoughts, as he handed the last gift to her.

"This gift is from me and from everyone else." Was all that he needed to say.

Rose didn't have a clue about this gift and had no idea what to expect, but the moment she had opened it up and saw a big leather bound… book… all of the feelings and emotions that had been building up within her suddenly made her realize what this was; a photo album, one that was filled with pictures of Thomas and Evelyn. She didn't know how this was possible, she didn't even know that there were pictures of both her parents when they were younger, but the album had them all - several of Evelyn at Hogwarts, not as many of Thomas but enough, a wedding picture, some of Rose too - The McKinnon family. And for a long time, Rose sat there without saying a word as she flipped through the album in its entirety, feeling the tears threatening to fall from her eyes, but not actually crying, because she knew that her parents would have wanted her to keep on smiling, especially on her birthday; Sirius would also have wanted the same, and so she smiled… seeing the moving pictures looking back at her… seeing her mother and father… seeing the happy memories which she didn't have to worry about remembering all by herself now that she had the pictures to remind her. And when she was done, Rose looked up to meet Sirius's gaze, knowing there was no need for words as she kissed his cheek in thanks.

"Happy Birthday Rose." Sirius whispered and kissed her forehead.

Later that night, after the party had officially ended and everyone had left, Sirius gathered up all of Rose's birthday gifts with her help and carried them to their room; he spent a half hour reading to her from the book as promised before tucking her into bed, with each of the three stuffed animals, a doll, as well as Fluffy the Pygmy Puff by her side. And as he began to turn off all the lights save for one, Sirius began to hum a familiar tune, the one from that music box, which Thomas had always sung to her. The song which he would now sing for her, always.

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