The Sugar Quill
Author: Thing1 (Professors' Bookshelf)  Story: Starlight  Chapter: Default
The distribution of this story is for personal use only. Any other form of distribution is prohibited without the consent of the author.

AN: I don't even know what mood I was in to have brought this up out of the depths. It's a tear jerker, I'll say that much. This stands alone from my other works, but it also fits in nicely with them if you have read them.

 

When you look up at the night sky, the reality of what you see is that any number of the stars shining at you 'died' ages ago, but they still burn in our time because their light takes so long to travel. That's the cold scientific explanation, and it takes nothing whatsoever from the beauty of the night sky, and the brilliant shine of the stars as we gaze at them, and the light that illuminates our darkness here.

 

Sirius Black strolled slowly across the great lawn of Hogwarts, smiling faintly as he gazed up at the grand old castle, lit brilliantly by the bright end-of-summer afternoon light. The students would be here soon; children who lived carefree and happy lives, safe in the knowledge that Voldemort was long dead. It occurred to Sirius that the youngest students who would arrive here this year may have no memories of the war at all, and he found that a glorious thought.

Sirius took the steps of the front entrance two at a time, laughing slightly to himself, feeling suddenly invigorated. It was wonderful to be back here, though he had no idea why McGonagall had been so insistent he come here this morning when she had contacted him at his home. Sirius had managed to put her off while he dealt with the all the little chores of daily life he needed to see to that morning, but now he had arrived, and it felt good to be back at the castle, with every memory it held, and still radiating the laughing, wonder-filled days of youth.

Sirius smiled at the house elves he met in the front hall, carefully cleaning the floors in preparation for the arrival of the students in three days. They all greeted him shrilly and told him 'thats the headmistress has been waiting for Misters Black, please go right up! Doors should be open for him!" Sirius hummed an old Gryffindor Quidditch fight song to himself as he started up the staircase, waited for it to shift to the left, then continued on. He wondered if they still sang that song, and if maybe his own son would someday sing it once he came here, and despite his wife's semi-joking that her dearest wish was that the boy would follow her into Ravenclaw.

The door to the Headmistress' tower was indeed open, a sign of how drastically their lives had changed, and Sirius stepped onto the stairs, leaning against the railing as they took him up.

"Hello, Minerva," he called happily as he stepped into the office.

Minerva McGonagall immediately looked up and gave a customarily terse but warm smile, pointing at the seat in front of her as she did so.

"Sirius, thank you. I know this was rather a bother for you to drop everything and come here…."

"Never that much of a bother to come here, what did you need?"

McGonagall gave another smile, this time a little sad.

"How is the family?"

"Rather excellent. Just wait until you get the boy here."

She gave a laugh and shook her head. "Remus' eldest starts next year, you know. I'm already starting to plan my strategy for dealing with that."

Sirius just smiled, but said nothing, only raising an eyebrow and looking rather pointedly at her. She gave a small sigh this time, then picked up a small bundle wrapped in a deep purple silk cloth and stood up to walk around the desk and stand in front of Sirius.

"Sirius, as you know, I have been continuing to find various papers of Albus' from time to time."

"Still haven't figured out all of his secrets, have you?"

"No. And I sincerely hope I never will. But yesterday, I found another collection of his private papers. In them, I found something…that belongs to you."

Sirius frowned at her.

"To me? What on earth would Albus have of mine? Old essays or something I had to write in detention?"

Minerva did manage a small smile at him, but shook her head, then handed him the bundle she held carefully.

"Sirius, I did not, please understand, read any more of this than I had to in order to ascertain what this was. I have not read the contents, simply the first few lines of the letter Albus enclosed with this for you. I think…I think he must have intended to give this to you himself at some point…but…"

"But he never had the chance?" said Sirius, sadly.

"After a fashion. I'm not trying to be complicated, Sirius; these are personal papers for you and you alone. Maybe he forgot he had them. But I truly do believe he wanted very much for you to eventually have them. That will make more sense once you take that with you and read it at home."

Sirius looked at the slim bundle he now held and frowned. "You're sounding a little mysterious here, Minerva."

"Sirius…" but McGonagall stopped and shook her head. After a long moment she looked at him again.

"You know I remember your parents well; they were two of the first students I ever taught."

"Yes, I do know that."

"They were a wonderful pair. We remained friends after they left, all of their lives."

Sirius nodded and gave a self-effacing smile. "I imagine all of the correspondence sent to my house on my behaviour allowed you to keep very closely in contact."

McGonagall did not smile. She looked at Sirius closely and simply said, quietly, "Your parents loved you more than anything in this world, Sirius. They simply didn't understand you, and that broke their hearts."

Sirius had nothing to say to that, so he simply stood up, thanked her, and left.

***

Sirius put off opening the bundle for two days, distracting himself with work and family matters. He knew he was being silly, but he was actually feeling a little scared of seeing what it was that Albus Dumbledore had kept wrapped in that cloth for him. Albus never did a frivolous thing in his life, and whatever was there, whatever had made McGonagall so instant he come to see her and claim this package as soon as possible, made him very trepidatious. He did not tell his wife about any of it, and at last on the third day after he had put his son to bed, he carefully shut his office door and took out the silk-wrapped package.

It seemed to be rather old. Sirius tapped it lightly with his wand to undo the knots McGonagall had re-tied after she had initially opened it. The outer wrappings fell away, to reveal an old parchment letter, carefully folded, and another tightly wrapped bundle. This had not been disturbed, obviously. Whatever was inside had been carefully wrapped and sealed with the dark cords around it a long time ago.

Sirius picked up the letter and opened it, and was greeted with Albus Dumbledore's familiar and deeply missed writing.

Sirius - I found these in your father's study. I thought you might like to have them.

Sirius slowly opened the second package, and found two framed pictures, wrapped in a small piece of purple silk, and a sealed letter. Hands shaking slightly, Sirius pulled the silk back to look at the first picture.

It was a photograph of Sirius and his parents, taken when Sirius was about 10 years old, and Sirius recognized it as the one picture his father always kept with him. They were having a picnic by the river in the back of their house. Sirius was laughing wildly, even as he hugged both his parents tightly, and laughed at the camera. His mother and father were laughing just as much, holding Sirius between them, and looking young and full of life. A year before the darkness had come into their lives and changed everything. Sirius stared at them, marvelling at the sight. He had almost forgotten… this was how he remembered his mother and father in his dreams; in those flickering half-lit images he could never recall fully once he woke up. Like looking at a sea of stars, and seeing them shine in the darkness.

Sirius carefully put the picture on the desk, and then unwrapped the second one. This startled him, as he couldn't image how his father had gotten a hold of it. It was a picture of Sirius and Harry, and Sirius recognized it was taken on Harry's first birthday. Sirius held Harry closely, and they were laughing at each other, and smiling out of the picture radiantly. Sirius felt his breath catch as he suddenly remembered exactly the moment this was taken. He could actually *hear* Lily calling at him to look at her so she could 'get one decent picture of my little puppy with his rather silly godfather'. My little puppy…. Sirius had completely forgotten that Lily used to call Harry that. James had commented that 'my little fawn' might be more appropriate, thank you, but Lily called Harry her puppy. Remus probably remembered, but he had never said…. But that was to be expected. Sirius found that Remus never mentioned things to Sirius about their past unless Sirius remembered them. It was Remus being over-protective of him, but for once he didn't feel like yelling at Remus. He just smiled as he looked at the picture. Remus had been there, of course, right behind Lily with James, both of them making absurdly silly faces at the baby.

Sirius placed this one next to the other, and took up the sealed envelope. He opened it, and took out a sealed letter with a loose piece of parchment folded over it. The loose paper proved to be another note from Albus.

I have something else for you, Sirius. It was something that one day I hoped to give you. I found this in your father's papers, when we searched them after his death. I was the first to find it, something for which I am now more grateful for than ever, as at the time something compelled me to keep it, where others, I greatly fear, would have destroyed it.

Shaking, Sirius opened the sealed letter. It was several pieces of parchment, written on sloppily, vaguely, in a distracted an unconnected fashion - as if the author was simply scribbling things as they came to them….and it was in his father's handwriting. Sirius almost didn't recognise the loose, untidy script for a moment; his father had always been so neat, so precise; but as he read the pages, he understood.

Remus has just left here, Sirius. It was hard for us to speak, as both of us are so trapped in our pain over what has occurred. I am sorry for this, mainly because I think that Remus feels we do not want to see him. Maybe we don't; seeing Remus, seeing him without you there, is more painful than I can tell you. The look in his eyes I am certain is the same one he can see in mine, and it is a horrible thing. Those grey eyes have become flat; I don't think they can even cry anymore. But to not see him would be worse, because even in this cloud of horror which hangs over us, I still see him and remember wonderful things.

I will remember the beautiful little boy who let me hold him tightly in my arms as I told him stories of Muggle knights battling dragons. The little boy who laughed so merry at the idea that you could run a dragon through with a lance. The same little boy who made me worry on occasion that he might just try it for the sport and the thrill of the adventure.

The handsome young man who brought tears to my eyes and a tightness to my chest, I felt so proud to see him -

I love you, my star, my Sirius. I loved you from the moment you were born. I loved you the day your mother told me she was going to have you. Sirius, I think I loved you even before then, because I wanted you so very much, and I wept the first time I looked into your eyes, and I just recognized you; the face of the angel from my dreams for all those years. I have always loved you, even those times you were convinced I did not, and even in those times, now, when perhaps you feel I may not. I will always love you, I will always watch for you and I will wait for you. My tears then at seeing you again will be from unfound joy.

I think you thought nobody saw you crying after Harry's christening, as you sat there in the garden with him. But I did; I did not speak to you as I did not want to disturb you. I wanted only to watch the smile on your face; the joy -------

and I couldn't help but cry a little myself, thinking what I would be like for you when one day it was your own child, not James', you held so closely.

And what of our dreams, now, my star? I will not let them go. I have to believe in my heart that what I feel is true; that this darkness that holds you and keeps you from me now will release you. Not to cold death, but return you to the warmth of the joyful life you carried like a banner with you.

I want to see you hold your child. I want to see the joy on your face that I always felt on mine. I want to hold you again myself

The writing stopped there, and Sirius dropped the parchment on his desk, shaking. He didn't let himself think; he simply couldn't - to go back, to feel the pain of regret again that his parents had never known the truth… but this letter - they felt it, didn't they? Hadn't they?

Sirius sat in his office for a long, long time. Eventually he stood up and moved into the darkened hallways of the house, making his way upstairs. Sirius couldn't stop himself from walking into his son's room. He stood inside the door for a few minutes, just watching the little boy sleep. Finally he went over and knelt down next to the bed and smoothed Griffin's hair away from his face. Griffin opened an eye sleepily at that, but smiled when he saw Sirius.

"Hi, daddy."

"Hi," whispered Sirius, smiling softly, "sorry I woke you."

"That's okay."

Sirius just sat there looking at Griffin for a few long moments, with Griffin watching him. Finally Griffin sat up.

"Daddy? Do you need something?"

Sirius thought about that, then leaned back and held his hand out.

"Griffin? Let's go sit on the roof."

Griffin looked surprised, but eagerly took Sirius hand and let him pull him out of bed, then pick him up and carry him up the stairs to the third floor, then up the stairs to the roof. Sirius carried Griffin over to the side of the flat there on the top, then sat down and held Griffin in his lap carefully keeping an arm around him. Griffin gave him a rather shy smile.

"Mummy doesn't approve of this, you know."

"Well, Mummy's not here right now. I want to show you something." said Sirius, pointing at the sky.

"You see that star just there? The really bright one?"

"Yes."

"Do you know what it's called?"

"No."

"That star is called 'Sirius'."

Griffin looked a little puzzled. "Daddy, that's your name, not a star."

"Well Griffin I'm named after that star."

"Oh."

"Griffin, are you still looking at that star?"

"Yes."

"Okay, now I want you to smile and wave with me."

"What?"

"Come on. Say hello to grandpa with me."

Griffin looked back up at the star, gave a small smile, and waved shyly.

"Can he see us?" whispered Griffin, sounding a little awed at the idea.

"Oh, yes, Griffin. He's looking at us right now."

"Daddy why are you crying?"

"Because I miss grandpa very, very much, Griffin. And even though I know he can see us right now, I would give almost anything to see him, too."

"What did he look like?"

"Well, he was tall, and he had light hair like mummy does, and his eyes were purple."

"Really? Purple?"

"Well really they were blue, but a purple sort of blue."

"What else?"

"Well, actually he looked a little like I do, even though I have dark eyes and dark hair. Our faces were shaped the same, and our eyes."

"So, that means I'm going to look like grandpa too? Cause everyone always says I look like you."

"Yes, you probably will."

"Please don't cry Daddy."

"Sometimes, Griffin, we need to cry."

"I love you, daddy."

"Oh Griffin, I love you too. Very much. And forever, no matter what."

"Do you love me as much as grandpa loved you?"

"Yes, Griffin, I do."

"Good. Because I love you just as much as you loved him."

Griffin still couldn't understand why Sirius cried even harder at that, but he simply wrapped his arms around his father, and gazed over his shoulder at the bright star above their heads, smiling.

//
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