The Unexpected Visitor

Epilogue

Six Years Later


“Come on! We’re gonna be late!” Rose exclaimed in a hyper voice as she dragged Sirius through the crowds that had gathered at King’s Cross Station, they were already walking past Platform 7 in a haste.

“Slow down Rose, your old man isn’t that young any more.” Sirius was pushing the trolley loaded up with suitcases and a cage in which sat a surprisingly calm tawny owl.

“You don’t look a day over 30, Dad. Now let’s go!” Her excitement was contagious and soon Sirius found himself chuckling as they made their way towards Platform 9.

“There’s still time before the train leaves.” He said to her, checking the watch she’d gifted him a few years ago.

“Yes I know that, but I don’t want to end up getting trapped by a magical barrier and trying to find a flying car to reach school on my first day!” Rose dropped her voice to a soft whisper as she slowed down to walk beside Sirius.

“Well love, that happened to Harry only once and it was in his second year.” Unable to help himself from grinning, Sirius wasn’t sure if he felt relieved that there was a little adventurous streak in his daughter or worried about it.

“You’re not helping Dad.” Sighing to herself, Rose squared her shoulders once they reached their destination, the barrier between platforms 9 and 10, ready to make her way to Platform 9 ¾.

“Okay… if something were to happen and you need a flying car, I’m driving.” Sirius grinned as he took hold of Rose’s hand, giving it a tight squeeze to let her know that he wasn’t going anywhere.

This was something that Rose wanted to do for herself. Despite her fears, she had been to Hogwarts more times than anyone else her age; taking the Hogwarts Express was a first and she’d decided to take that first step through the barrier that separated London from the magical world on her own. Taking a deep breath, Rose gripped the handles of her baggage cart and broke into a sprint, not paying attention to anything else around her. Sirius had told her to just let go and run into the wall, which is exactly what she did. Surely enough, a few seconds later, Rose felt that she had passed through and was on the other side.

“I did it.” Rose said aloud as she stopped in her tracks and stared at the sight in front of her eyes; the scarlet train looked majestic in all its glory, steam puffing through the crowds of people that had already gathered there.

“Did you ever doubt that?” Her father’s voice suddenly spoke up as Sirius materialized next to her, a big smile on his face.

“No… but I’ve been used to apparating even before knowing how to do it myself.” She admitted, only now realizing how much she had experienced in her life for so many years, that she hoped there was still things which would take her breath away.

“Don’t worry,” Sirius said as he could read her thoughts, “Once you get to Hogwarts, it is going to be a whole new kind of fun for you. Just remember to be careful okay?” He realized what other parents were probably feeling all around them, “Whatever tricks you get up to, save the crazier antics for later.”

They were standing under the giant clock which showed that the time was already 10:30, plenty of time for Rose to get a chance to say goodbye to Sirius and find a compartment before it got too late. And though the two of them could sense some of the other people gathered there talking in hushed whispers as Sirius was recognized, neither one paid much attention.

“Sorry to disappoint you dad, but I really don’t have any tricks or antics in mind.” Rose had always found herself being a stickler for rules, which was a little surprising since she’d grown up with a Marauder for a father, another for a Godfather, Tonks who was her Godmother and Harry who definitely had had his share of adventures all throughout his school years.

“Never say never love, you don’t know what you may find when you finally get to Hogwarts.” There was a glint of… mischief in Sirius’s eyes that Rose could clearly see as he turned to her. “And once you have a group of friends... then anything is possible.” He was talking in code which meant that he was up to something or the other.

“Well I’ll be sure to tell you all about it when I’m home for Christmas.” She figured that whatever Sirius was planning, he might mention something to her in a letter.

“You’re ready to leave your old man behind aren’t you love?” Sirius’s eyes suddenly changed when he saw the excitement reflected in his daughter’s; he knew it was selfish to feel this way, being dependent on her was something he hadn’t done for years now, and even though he was a new Sirius Black now, he still would miss her terribly.

“I can only come back once I leave right?” Rose knew in her heart that she would miss him just as much, but now that the War was over and they were all rebuilding their lives, it was time to let go of the past and look to a new future.

“Did you just quote your Uncle Moony?” Feigning shock as he dramatically clutched his heart at the sudden betrayal by his own daughter, Sirius managed to make Rose laugh as she playfully swatted his arm.

“What? No… I thought of that one all on my own dad!” Shaking her head after giggling at his attempt at a joke, Rose realized that this was his way of lightening the mood between them.

“Sure you did.” The tone in his voice wasn’t sarcastic at all but Sirius still teased her for a little while longer.

The first whistle of the train suddenly rang out loudly across the station as students hurried to board; everything was in a flurry of activity, and yet, Rose and Sirius still stood there. This was the first time in seven years that they would be separated for such a long time and neither one really knew how to say goodbye. It was only when Rose’s owl suddenly screeched, having woken up by the bells and flapping around in his cage that broke the silence between them.

“You never told me what you named him.” Sirius asked, gesturing to the owl who was nibbling on his bars now.

“I… well… I couldn’t really settle on something new, so I went with an old name… something important to me...” Rose blushed a little as she shuffled her feet just then; she never kept secrets from her father.

“And what’s that?” His curiosity peaked now, Sirius waited for her to say something.

“Snuffles.” Was all Rose said, finally looking up to meet his gaze and see what his reaction would be.

There were very few things in life that could surprise Sirius Black after everything he’d been through, but just then, hearing his daughter’s words, he realized that she would always be the one person who managed to do so; and as usual, in that moment, there was no need for anything else to be said between them.

“I think it suits him.” Sirius said at last, a soft smile playing on his lips.

“Me too.” Rose added, glad to know that he didn’t mind the name at all. After hearing suggestions from everyone else, she settled on what had always been her first choice.

“It’s almost time… the train is going to leave soon.” He pointed out, the clock hanging above them still ticking closer to eleven o’clock.

“I know.” She was well aware of the fact that only a little time ago, her eagerness to reach the station knew no bounds, and now all she could feel was her heavy heart.

“Rose…” Sirius started to say, his tone turning fatherly once again.

Dad.” Rose countered, even though she didn’t mean to; now that they were here, she wasn’t sure how she was going to leave him until December.

Sirius sighed as he ran a hand through his hair; it was still as long as it had been, that aspect of him hadn’t changed over the years. He knew that Rose wasn’t going to leave unless he was the one to tell her that it was okay, that he would be fine without her. Three months. That’s all it was and then she would be home again for the holidays.

“There’s something I wanted to give you before you left.” He had a gift for her, one that he hoped would not only help her enjoy herself a little, but also be a keepsake of sorts.

“What is it?” Rose was curious now, she hadn’t seen anything that resembled a present all morning that she’d spent with him and wondered what it could be.

“Let’s just say, it’s an inheritance… something once that belonged to me, which was passed down to Harry when he was at school.” Sirius glanced around to check if anyone was watching them, “I figured it was time for you to have this now since we don’t need it anymore.” He said to her and removed something from his robes.

“Oh… oh!” As realization struck, Rose felt Sirius passing the gift into her hands and gave her a knowing wink.

“Use it wisely.” That was all the advice he needed to give his daughter as he kissed her forehead, “Now go, and make me proud love.” Sirius hugged Rose one last time before giving her a nudge towards the train.

“Thanks a lot Dad.” Rose beamed as she hugged him back and kissed his cheek, knowing that this was what she needed; something to remember him by while at school.

By now the Hogwarts Express had blown its last and final whistle which meant that Rose had to hurry; gathering her things, she ran towards the first carriage that came in sight and jumped on board, before turning around to wave goodbye to Sirius. He stood there on the platform, along with all the other families who were gathered there, as they all bid farewell to their children. He waved back to her and stayed there until the very last minute before turning back and heading home.

“Bye dad.” Rose whispered, before turning away from the steps.

The train set off on its journey and Rose was left to her own devices as she made her way through the corridors, searching for a compartment. She felt less nervous and worried now which was funny since she’d thought the fear would stay with her long after Sirius had left; but she knew that they would stay in touch through owl post and even the two-sided mirror that Harry had gifted her this past birthday helped, and that was going to be enough. Once Rose had found an empty compartment all to herself, she put away her luggage and sat Snuffles down on the table by the window. There were snippets of conversations from other nearby compartments, but for the most part, she was alone and that gave her a chance to take a proper look at Sirius’s gift before she would put it away for safekeeping. Rose already knew exactly what this was, not only had she seen it many times over the years but she had also heard all of the stories that were part of Sirius and Harry’s respective lives. Knowing that her father had entrusted her with something so important and so special, Rose promised that she would do her best to make use of it… at least once.

Opening the parchment up, she saw the words written across; Sirius had left it enchanted before giving it to her, which meant that she would have to use a little magic to make sure that no one else would see the message - “Messrs Moony, Wormtail, Padfoot and Prongs, Purveyors of Aids to Magical Mischief-Makers are proud to present The Marauder’s Map.”

Before she could take a peek inside, Rose heard a chatter of voices getting closer to her compartment. Studying the map would have to wait, she was known for being careful if nothing else and quickly slid her wand out from underneath her robes before anyone else arrived. This was definitely something worth bending the rules a little while in her first year of school. It seemed that Sirius would end up hearing a lot of stories about her own adventures by the time she returned home in December; but first she decided to enjoy the train ride. This was after all, the scenic route to Hogwarts that she was getting to experience all on her own!

Tapping her wand on the parchment, Rose cast her first spell of the year as she whispered the words to make the contents of the map disappear, before settling down for the ride. “Mischief Managed.”

THE END!


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