Family and War
James Potter and Sirius Black looked at each other from across the kitchen table. James had come over to Sirius' house to talk to him and it was supposed to be important but the eighteen-year-old soon-to-be father hadn't said a word since he got there. Sirius had enough trouble trying to get the man to sit down, let alone to actually form words.
James stood up and began to pace again, causing Sirius to sigh.
"Spit it out, James." Sirius said, he really wasn't in the mood to sit here for hours watching James pace. Normally he wouldn't have had too much trouble, he was willing to wait for James to clear his thoughts before talking. This wasn't a normal day though, less than an hour ago Sirius had been on a three-day long mission and hadn't slept more than an hour in the past thirty six hours. He was exhausted and James' pacing was only making him more tired.
"I don't know how." James replied leaning on a wall and sliding down it to sit on the floor.
"Start at the beginning, that's always a good start." Sirius said, glad James wasn't pacing anymore.
James put his head in his hands. "Okay, I guess it started when Dumbledore called Lily and I, along with Frank and Alice to his office..."
"Wow, it's starting to sound like we're back in school." Sirius commented offhandedly, giving a light laugh.
"I wish it was just about something stupid we did, like when we were younger." James replied, not laughing at all.
"What was it about?"
"Harry." James finally looked up to see Sirius' confused face. "and Alice's child also. They haven't decided what to name him yet."
"Still? That woman better get on the ball, she is due about the same time as Lily right?"
"Sorry, don't mean to change the subject. Go on."
"Anyway Dumbledore started asking strange questions, questions he already knew the answers too."
"When Lily and Alice were due, how many times we've met Voldemort face to face... Weird stuff like that, that didn't have any connection at all. Or so we thought." James paused. "You know how he's trying to get a new divination teacher?"
"I thought he was giving up on the whole idea."
"He decided to give someone a chance. During their interview he said she actually gave a real prediction, like one of those ones that they hang up in the department of mysteries."
"Or Alice's boy. It said that someone born in late July. Someone whose parents had gone against Voldemort three times, that the child would be... well I'm not sure exactly what it means but the prophecy went like this... 'none can live while the other survives.'"
"What? Like their going to be connected or something?"
"I'm not sure. It sounds scary though."
"How does he know that it's someone that's going to be born this July?"
"I told you the prophecy said..."
"Yes, late July." Sirius interrupted. "But did it specifically say this July?"
"Well, I'm not sure."
"Then it could be anyone born in late July. There's thousands of people. Besides, there is no way we have to wait twenty years for this war to finally end. It's not possible..." Sirius stood up and began to pace. "After how hard we've worked to end this war, there is no way that we have to wait for your kid to grow up."
"Sirius, I know it seems like a long time, but if that's what it takes to get rid of him..."
"No, it won't take that long. It can't."
"Sirius, I understand, but..."
"No, no you don't." Sirius nearly yelled at him and James looked as though he'd just been slapped. "You have no idea James don't even tell me that, because it isn't true."
"Sirius I've worked hard for this too..."
"That is my family, James! Do not tell me you understand! You didn't just get back from having your cousin, the cousin who I promised to marry, try to kill you! No, James, you do not know how I feel, so stop acting like you've got the worst luck in the world!" Sirius yelled, not even looking at James but looking at the wall as though trying to keep from punching something, most likely his friend. James couldn't respond for quite a while, but when he did he forced himself to remain completely calm.
"I know it's hard for you Sirius, but it's hard for all of us. I have a family to protect, that isn't easy, Sirius. I am not trying to lessen your troubles any or to burden you with any more, but you aren't the only one hurting."
"Easier to try and protect your family than to try and kill them."
"You don't have to kill them, Sirius. No one asked you, no one even wants you to kill your family."
"I already have." Sirius' voice broke, but he was still trying to keep from crying.
"What are you talking about?"
"Regulus is dead."
There was silence in the room. James couldn't reply. This war had been hard, but as of yet he hadn't actually lost anyone.
"He ran off and..and they killed him. Dumbledore told me when I got back, one of his spies told him."
"Tried to quit. You don't just hand in your resignation to Voldemort, it's lifetime servitude or your death."
"How is that your fault?"
"He came over, a week ago. Wanted to ask me something. I- I slammed the door in his face." Sirius managed to choke out, his tears finally began to fall.
"He came by after all this time? What did he think you were going to do? Throw yourself at him?"
"He needed help and I slammed the door in his face, James."
"You had every right to, he deserved it."
"James, he's my baby brother... I'm supposed to protect him."
"You tried that, he wouldn't let you."
Sirius sat on the floor hugging his knees to his chest.
"Sirius, it isn't your fault, if he'd listened to you in the first place..."
"You don't get it, James. That's not how it works, I'm supposed to protect him, whenever he needs me, no matter what."
"No I don't get it. I don't have any siblings."
"If I did that, would you help me." Sirius asked trying to make him understand.
"You mean if you came to my house after treating me like crap for nearly eight years?"
Sirius winced but nodded unable to argue his brother's guilt knowing it was true.
James didn't answer right away.
"I don't know." James said honestly, he wished he could say yes.
"What if he wanted to ask me to hide him, James. I could have saved him."
"What if he ran off because Voldemort was mad at him for failing to kill you?"
"He would have tried harder than knock on the door, James."
"Are you sure about that?"
"Sirius no matter how hard you think about it you will never know what he wanted to ask you, and no matter how long you beat yourself up about it, it won't make him come back."
"I know that."
"All you can do is try as hard as you can to make sure it doesn't happen to anyone else, we have to stop Voldemort. Even if it takes us another twenty years."
"Yeah." Sirius looked up at him, tears still in his eyes.
Sirius smiled, he'd turn James into a family man some day.
Hopefully before this kid was born.
Which most definitely wouldn't happen late July.