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    July 1st 1985 

     

    Sirius had no idea what to wear. This was a novelty for him because his whole life his outfits were pretty straight forward. When he was young his mother dressed him, then he had his Hogwarts uniform, then he dressed to annoy his mother and at some point between then and now he’d found clothes that felt like him. 

     

    These clothes were not good for parent-teacher interviews. 

    This muggle school insisted on vetting every single pupil that came through its doors. It didn’t matter how much Sirius protested, saying things like “They’re five!” or “Why won’t they just take our money?” they had a meeting today. 
    So Sirius still had to find appropriate muggle clothes.
    Remus of course was fine, he owned enough sweater vests to have an honourary teaching degree and Petunia only wore nice muggle attire. They both assured him that he’d be fine but he worried. This school was exclusive, it’s why they’d chosen it (less people to notice any magic), but what if they decided Harry and Dudley weren’t good enough because of him? That simply wasn’t an option. 
    So with twenty minutes before they left Sirius was trying desperately to find a button up shirt and unripped jeans because he refused to take Remus up on the offer to steal his clothes for this. 

    As with everything, Sirius had made a big deal out of nothing. Clothes were the least of his concerns that day.


    The first problem occurred when they reached the front desk. A receptionist who looked like a younger, blonder version of Sirius’ mother greeted them. That was the first clue something was wrong.

    “Can I help you?” She said not looking up from the form she was filling out. 
    “Yeah, we have an appointment with the headmaster Mathew Winestock” Remus said. 
    “Why have you brought children with you?” 
    “They’re our kids, and this meeting is about whether they’re right to go here.” Sirius said, feeling ready to argue with this woman. 
    “Children are no permitted to be in the meeting, drop them off with a babysitter and come back later.” 
    “Surely there must be somewhere they can stay while we have our meeting?” Petunia said stopping Sirius from saying his less polite next sentence.
    “I’m sorry Ma’am there isn’t” 

    “Our appointment is in five minutes.” Sirius said. 
    “Then I guess you’ll have to reschedule.” 
    As the receptionist said this a man in a suit stepped out of an office. “Why’re we rescheduling, Dorris?” 
    “These people brought children.” 
    “Good thing we’re a school.” 
    “They have a meeting with you now.” 
    The headmaster, Mathew, chuckled, “Larry’s got his granddaughter in with him today, she’s about their age. I’m sure he could be persuaded to have them for the next fifteen minutes,” Mathew knocked on another office door, “Larry does Hermione want a friends today?” 
    Hermione screamed at the top of her lungs “Yes please!” 
    “Send them in Matt.” 


    Larry and his granddaughter Hermione were sat on the carpet looking at a children’s chemistry set. Hermione was very carefully pouring, what smelled like vinegar into a test tube. 
    “Hello there.” Larry said, smiling up at Harry and Dudley from the floor. 
    “Hi,” they waved at him. Dudley had moved half of his body behind Petunia.
    “Do you want to watch our experiment?” He asked. 
    Harry looked at Sirius and asked, “Can we Padfoot?”

    Larry looked at him curiously at the use of the name but said nothing. 
    “Of course, Harry.” 
    Harry took Dudley’s hand and smiled at him, “It’s okay Big D.” 
    The nickname made Dudley laugh and he walked with Harry to watch the experiment. 
    Mathew coughed slightly and said, “Shall we go to my office?” 


    Mathew’s office looked nothing like Dumbledore’s. He had floor to ceiling book shelves covered in text books and photos of his wife and children. His desk was brand new and made of fake mahogany. The carpet beneath their feet was soft and fluffy, like it was vacuumed frequently. 
    “Before we begin can I offer you tea or coffee?” 
    They all asked for tea, and Mathew poured it. 
    “If you don’t mind me asking why are you all here?” 
    Sirius felt himself freeze, they hadn’t planned any of their story. Thankfully Remus knew what he was doing. 
    “Sirius’ brother married Petunia’s sister. A few years ago they died in a car crash. Sirius got custody first and I moved in to help look after Harry. Later Petunia separated from her husband and she and Dudley moved in. Now our family is here.” 
    “I’m sorry for your loss.” Mathew said. 
    “Thank you,” Remus said. 
    “If it’s not rude to ask, why did you come?” The question was aimed at Remus. He didn’t have an answer. 
    “He didn’t tell the whole story,” Petunia said, “When I moved in with Sirius we fell in love. Remus is my fiancé, and he insisted on coming. He just loves Dudley and wants to help.” 
    “Congratulations.” Mathew said. 
    Sirius let out a sigh of relief, and thanked Merlin for their quick thinking. 
    “Thank you,” Remus said, but he was making eye contact with Petunia. 
    “Yes, well onto business. Tell me about your boys.” 
    “What do you want to know?” Sirius asked. 
    “Anything,” Mathew said, sitting down. 
    Sirius didn’t need any more prompting. He spoke in one continuous stream of thought until he ran out of breath and was forced to stop. Mathew stared at him silently. 
    “Sorry,” Sirius said, “They’re just amazing kids.” 
    “No need to apologise, it’s why I take these meetings.” 
    “You don’t have to take them?” Remus asked. 

    “No. The meetings could be held by the teacher and the meetings are a new addition to the school, they’re not mandatory.”
    Sirius fought his anger down, “Why do you do them then?” 
    “To make sure our children have a loving home.” 
    The anger drained out of Sirius, he knew what good a school could do. “Thank you.” 
    Before Mathew could reply there was a loud bang from another office. 


    Everyone raced out to the reception area to see white smoke billowing from Larry’s office. It took a lot of self restraint not to blast the door off it’s hinges when it didn’t open immediately when Sirius turned the handle. He shoved his shoulder against the door and went spilling into the office. 
    “What happened?” Sirius yelled. 
    Larry coughed and walked to open the window, “Sorry about the bang. We put marshmallows in the microwave, I didn’t realise it could go this wrong.” 
    Sure enough the microwave door was hanging open and a  brown lump of caramelised sugar was lining the inside. Sirius had a good idea what had gone wrong, from the looks on Petunia and Remus’ face so did they. 
    “Oh it’s alright,” Petunia said, “we were just about to finish getting enrolled. The meetings over.” Petunia held out her hands and Harry and Dudley ran to take them. 
    “Bye, Hermione.” Harry said “See you later?” 
    Hermione smiled and said “Bye Harry, bye Dudley. See you later.” She said it with so much conviction Sirius wondered whether she had the sight. (Which was ridiculous no one in the last hundred years was documented giving a true prophecy). 
     

    They walked to the receptionist desk where Mathew was waiting for them.
    “All your paperwork is in order, I just need an address and a landline number for emergencies.” 
    Damn. 
    They’re address didn’t exist and telephones didn’t work in magical houses. Sirius really hated his ability to think on the fly. Remus and Petunia came to the rescue again, they really did seem like a to-be-married couple. 
    “We’re currently in the process of moving but Remus has the new address in the car, can you just give him a moment to get it?” 
    Mathew politely accepted this lie and Remus left the room to go to a car they didn’t have. 
     

    Remus returned a moment later with a piece of paper in his hand. To Sirius it looked blank but he passed it to Mathew and he didn’t seem to notice. 
    “Spearhead Avenue? I’ve never been there.” 
    “It’s an up and coming family neighbourhood.” Petunia said. 
    Mathew said nothing while he filled in the forms. 
    “That’s all I need see you September 1st.” 


    When they were back at the house, they all sat around the living room. 
    “Harry? Dudley? Did you make that marshmallow explode?” Remus asked. 
    They looked sheepish. “Maybe...” 

    “Did you mean to?” 
    “Maybe...” 

    “Padfoot what’re we gonna do with these two?” 
    “I dunno Moony,” Remus had the look in his eyes that normally meant he’d planned a new prank. Harry and Dudley were already halfway out of the door, attempting to giggle quietly. 
    “Well if we let them escape they’ll never get what’s coming.” 
    “You’re right Moony, I think we should catch them.” 
    The boys shrieked with delight as they ran in opposite directions. Remus and Sirius made a big show of failing to catch them. 
    “Well Padfoot, I guess they don’t want cupcakes to celebrate their first prank.” 
    “I guess we’ll have to make them ourselves.” 
    The boys crept back to the living room. “Cupcakes?” Dudley asked, “You’re not mad?”
    “Of course we’re not mad. You can’t grow up with us and not learn a few things. Plus you’re first prank should be celebrated.” Sirius said, “Do you want to bake them now?” 
    Their resounding ‘YES!’ echoed off the walls. 
     

    As the boys ran around the kitchen grabbing the ingredients they needed, Sirius turned to Remus. 
    “So you and Petunia... should I be worried?” Sirius could hear the laughter in his voice. 
    “Yes!” Petunia yelled, “He’s realised I look better in the apron and jacket. It’s not long until we run away together.” 
    Remus’ head tipped back as he laughed, “Petunia we just had to last one more week, why’d you blow our cover?” 
    “I couldn’t help it, I love you Moonpie!” 
    Remus laughed harder, “I changed my mind the weddings off.” There was a moment filled with only laughter, then Remus muttered “Moonpie, I’ll never hear the end of this.” 
    “You won’t.” Sirius said gleefully, as he put his head on Remus’ shoulder. 
    “Merlin help me.” 

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