Author's Notes: I haven't had anyone read it over. So...I warn you now, it could very well suck, and suck badly! After all, my opinion is probably a biased opinion.
The Things You Do For Family
"What!" Harry exclaimed. His eyes went round, first staring at Sirius, then at the invitation, and back at Sirius again. His godfather sighed, knowing perfectly well this was how Harry would react.
"It happens every year, except now they want to do it full out. Every family member is forced to go, else Aunt Angela would have fits, haranguing us with owls left and right." Sirius shuddered, remembering the last time he didn? go, fifty owls! Fifty owls perched in various places in his house, with one that was sitting in the soup pot! *At least it wasn? simmering.*
Harry looked a little more calmed down, but his eyes still seemed a bit wild. "But you, Snape....you and...Him!," He spluttered. Harry? face screwed up distastefully, "You?e... related!"
Sirius? face looked pained. Martyred, even. "I don? want to be reminded of it. And besides, I? only his...what was it? Oh, yes, his uncle? fourth cousin?? divorced aunt? half-brother? son? son." Harry looked surprised that he? remembered it all. How could he not? Everytime he picked over the fact that Snape and him were distantly related, trying to comfort himself with that fact. His poor godson still looked like he? been lobotomized, so he tried a hand at comforting him.
"My father was disowned anyway, for marrying a muggle, and not even one with a respectable job. I? technically not even part of the family!" He said, trying to cushion it down for his godson. He had to break it to him gently, although he didn? know how Harry could ever come to accept it. Even he couldn? accept it. In fact, every birthday he had wished that he? been adopted, or, preferably, Snape had been adopted.
"And...and you haven? told anyone but me?" Harry said.
"No, no one. We didn? want anyone at school to know. I didn? even tell James. Even the thought of being related to him..." He shuddered, eyes looking slightly horrified with even saying it.
"How else did you think we came to hate each other so much? It all started at a family gathering....hate at first sight." He sighed, feeling nostalgic. So many memories- him, putting a fish down Snape? back...Snape retaliating by hexing him while he was turned around, saying that it was really cousin Andy's fault...Andy smashing Snape's face into a cake because of it, and him with a camera, catching every angle.
"I'm afraid I'm going to have to go..." His voice resolute, "I'd ask you to come with me..."
Harry's eyes widened slightly. Go with Sirius, to see his family?
"I mean, if you don't want to, I'd understand." Sirius said hastily. And really, why would anyone want to acknowledge his relations? Half the time he was glad his father'd been disowned.
"I'd, Sirius- I'd love to go with you." Harry's voice was choked with emotion. "I'd...never had any family that I remembered, and this would be...I'd love to go."
Sirius smiled warmly. "But you know that this means you'll be related to Snape."
He had arrived in the back of the house, with all the others gathered on the lawn. He'd say that a good three fourths of the family was here. Children were running around, some playing, some attempting to hex eachother. Various parents chasing said children, or talking in groups while drinking some wine. Family members snubbing each other, people sitting on the lawn in garishly colored patio furniture, discussing their vacations. *Ahh, family.* Sirius commented to himself wryly. Harry looked shocked to see so many of them.
Sirius, was in fact, standing on the patio, when he saw one person in particular come towards them.
"Sirius! There you are! I thought you'd never come. And who's this?" A woman in her thirties gushed, still managing look down at Harry, even though he was clearly taller then her.
"Ahem, Estella- this is my godson. I'd brought him along since, well, I'd thought of him as part of the family. Harry... this is Estella."
She stood, looking a bit shocked as she swayed on her high heels. Harry seemed a bit embarrased, not looking directly at her.
"H-hello. Um.." Sirius could tell Harry was at a loss. So was he, in fact. Seeing all his family after..what was it? Fifteen years?
"Well, you must be hungry, its' almost lunch time! Why don't you come with me, Harry, and I'll introduce you to everyone. Sirius, catch up, and have a drink while you're at it." *You bet I'll have a drink.* Sirius watched as his godson was dragged off in the wake of Estella's swishing red robes. He knew she would thoroughly enjoy telling everyone that she had met the famous Harry Potter first.
Harry's head turned back to him, and Sirius mouthed comfortingly, 'You're on your own' while Harry then shot back the 'We're going to have a lo-ong talk about this later' look. Sirius waved at him merrily as his godson was taken away. Smiling amusedly, he watched as Estella tried to shove some family made pie into Harry's hand, and herd him over towards The Cousins.
Sirius wandered around, catching up with some people that he hadn't seen in a while. And, of course, it wouldn't really be a true reunion if he weren't trying, unsuccessfully he might add, to dodge Aunt Angela and her attempts at setting him up. After slipping away, he'd finally ended up settling down comfortably in a lawn chair. It was a nice, soothing sunny day, good for a picnic, in fact. Sirius was slowly starting to relax, while he watched everyone else under a cooling shade. In the back corner of the lawn he could see Harry being introduced to his relatives by Estella in hilarious ways.
"So, I see you're back."
Sirius sighed. He answered tiredly, "Yes, grandfather. It was stated in the invitation. All family members must come."
His grandfather Black harumphed. He stood impeccably in black robes, standing rigidly on the hill besides Sirius's chair. "Can't believe you came... mother....father disgraced...not even family..." He muttered querulously. He shot Sirius a baleful glare. "Your mother should never have married your father. Tricking him with her tricking ways," He growled out angrily. "A muggle! Disgracing the family. Couldn't face your grandmother's father for ages....my own son!"
There was a long pause, and when Sirius didn't say anything, his grandfather continued with his tirade. "You're not even supposed to be here." He looked down at the gaunt man below him coldly, eyes unwelcoming as possible.
Sirius just sat there, under the porch umbrella, eyes striaght ahead, watching the lawn and feeling the soft summer breeze. "It wasn't mother's fault. Father...father chose to do it on his own." He replied quietly, voice having no tone. He'd already been over this many, many times.
There was a prolonged silence. Then he continued, smiling a little. "Besides, do you know what Aunt would do if I didn't come? She would torture me for months about it, and she would torture everyone else about it till the next family reunion."
His grandfather looked down at him with slight disapproval, as Sirius tried to make his way through polite conversation with him. He always got the feeling of mild criticism from his grandparents whenever he was in their presence, and the annoyingly condescending tone of his voice finally became a bit to much. It was an added irritant to the fact that he had to pretend to be nice to him, when it was all he could do to keep from slugging him.
"I'll go over and see how Harry is doing." He said, politely excusing himself, and got up from this chair. In reality, what he really wanted to do was go and get a stiff drink.
In the space of time it took for him to get across the lawn to the table, he had been interrupted five times. *A really stiff drink.* He thought.
The first time he had to escape a group morbid relatives wanting to know what it was like to be on the run. Why, yes, he did have to constantly keep on looking over his shoulder to see if Aurors would be behind him attempting to rent him limb from limb. Eating rats in dog form? What, you mean you've never done it before? No, I don't really want some sponge cake...Then he had decline invitations to see photographs of Darius's vacation through the parchment making factory, with exciting commentaries on the process. Almost two thirds way there, he was stopped to talk with Aunt Angela and slithered his way out of being set up with "A really nice girl, she would be perfect for you, Sirius." Which translated to, 'You should marry her now on the lawn with a temporary alter made of the patio furniture'. Another two obstacles, and he was there.
"Finally," He muttered to himself, wondering at his stupidity at coming. "Parchment factory!" He exclaimed to himself, shaking his head. He started pouring a generous cup of firewhiskey and then downed it in three gulps. *Not as strong as Hagrid's, but it has a smoother taste,* he noted. He saw that it was one of the vintage bottles. *Got out the good stuff. Trying to impress the others, hmm?* Some of his more pleasant relations came by and talked with him, getting a drink, reminiscing of old times.
Sirius watched from the patio amusedly as Harry was trying to converse with a pretty blonde girl on a picnic blanket while they drank some pumpkin juice. He didn't know who she was, he only remembered the older generations. He stood close the refreshment table (a.k.a. the punch bowl), as he lazily watched the others from under the shade.
In his bemusement, he forgot to notice Aunt Angela coming across the lawn towards him with that resolute look in her eye. *Now is the time for panic mode!* His subconscious urged, kicking him awake. Sirius promptly began panicking, and started to flee, but quickly went back for the bottle of Ogden's firewhiskey. *Definately mustn't forget that.* And then he launched himself into the bushes, Bond style, with his black dress robes flying behind him.
Straightening himself, he peered through the dense foliage once, before he heard what sounded like a muffled curse. Sirius quickly whirled around, peering into the darkness of the clearing. The shade was thick and cool here, he could barely see a foot in front of him.
"I'm right behind you, you imbecile!"
"Snape? Is that you?!" He exclaimed, surprised.
"No, it isn't, it's just his clone, who happens to be standing in front of you. Of course it is you idiot! Unless you happen to be blind as well as stupid." Snape glared at him, black eyes simmering with loathing and hatred. *The feeling's mutual.* Sirius thought.
"...can't believe I'm at a family reunion with Black." Snape muttered darkly, wondering why he didn't just poison the lot of them.
Sirius wondered why Severus didn't just poison the lot of them. He probably had a vial with him and couldn't do it. *Coward.*
"What are you doing here, in the bushes?"
"What are you doing here in the bushes?" Snape sneeringly mimicked back.
"Probably what you're doing here in the bushes."
"Then don't ask questions of which you already know the answer to, and waste my time." He said cuttingly, scowling at Blacks idiocy.
"Yes," Sirius retorted, drippingly sarcastic, "I'm sure you have loads of other things to do at this reunion, like spend hours talking with so and so about how their son and/or daughter got promoted in the Ministry, or about how Alexandra's new apartment is just ravishing, or the dirt on other relatives along with the new recipe for oatmeal cookies."
Snape's patented glare switched from infra-red to radioactive hazard at each turn of phrase. Black talking about family just reminded him even more about his...relation with him. His very presence reminded him of it! It was both the most disgusting and torturous thing he'd ever experienced since....since the creation of yellow parachute pants! All Voldemort had to do was shove him here for ten minutes and he'd break like a cheap belt.
"God, stop talking! Your voice irritates me even more then being here! And if you insist on taking my hiding place because you were to asinine to find your own, I suggest you hand over that bottle."
Sirius gave it to him, and watched as he downed half of it like water. They both crouched down, checking to see if anyone was coming towards them.
*I can't believe we're here, hiding together, drinking a bottle of firewhiskey. Complaining about our relatives!... and covertly watching them through a screen of lilac bushes.* Black shook his head. *This is one of the most bizarre moments of my life.* He paused. *And not in the pleasant way.*
"I can't even leave, Aunt Angela would kill me." Sirius thought aloud.
*And that would be a bad thing?* Severus thought. He then smiled maliciously. "Hiding from her are you? Don't worry, she'll catch you soon. She's trying to set you up with that cow, Mildred." He said, while pointing to her though the leaves. "I bet she even has the wedding ceremony planned out, and you'll have no way of fighting her, and have to go through with it- probably at wand point." Sirius wanted to wipe that gloating smile off his face, preferably with his fist.
He turned towards the lawn, and blanched, as he saw Mildred through the bushes, standing next to the refreshments. It was then he decided he needed to get a lot more drunk then he already was. He took a large, large swig of firewhiskey.
"Yeah, so? I bet your Aunt Wendell already convinced this girl...what was it? Oh, yes, Gethel, that you both are practically engaged. Joined at the hip." And Sirius smirked, feeling much better. He'd seen Gethel already many times, and even at a distance, he could hear her high, shrill, piercing voice. Ahh, Snape married to what sounded like a fishmonger's wife.
Snape's eyes glittered, while peeking through the bushes, checking to see if anyone was near them, before speaking. "At least I have the comfort of not having to marry in order to become part of the family again." Snape retorted, savoring the score he'd just inflicted.
Sirius's face broke into a silent snarl. It was a low stab. So, naturally, he responded as any honorable Gryffindor would- with another low stab. "At least my wife will know I have a clean criminal record." Which was true, now that he was cleared of suspicion, he was a free man. Snape, however, still had the stain of his past to deal with.
The other man whirled towards him furiously, "Well, I'll have a job to support my wife, instead of sponging off of other people's generosity!" He said loudly.
"My wife won't have to shrink away every time she looks at me!"
"Well, mine won't have to marry a disgrace!"
"And mine won't have to marry a man under the dilusion that his family actually wants to admit being related to him!"
By now, they were shouting at eachother. Their voices drowned out the sound of people murmuring. Their relatives had gathered at the open area of the clearing, and were staring at them as they spitted insults in each other? face. The gathered crowd of people, in fact, included the ones they were arguing about. Mildred and Gethel looked positively delirious with joy.
"Uhm..." Harry coughed. "AHEM!" He said, even louder.
"What!" Sirius said, whirling around, chest heaving from anger. Snape and him stopped talking, and looked at Gethel and Mildred. His and Black's face went pale with horror, both wishing in that moment that Severus had poisoned the lot of them earlier. Their would be fiancees looked like they had tears of joy in their eyes. Snape and Sirius looked as if they had tears of another sort in theirs.
They turned their heads slowly towards each other, then back again towards the crowd. Everyone was silent.
They looked at each other again, faces desperate, and both silently decided there were two ways to avoid being dragged to the alter. One was to flee like hell and get out of the country, but knowing thier Aunts, they could track them to the moon and beyond.
The other....well, they bravely stepped forward, excruciatingly slow, their faces contorted with disgust, and then....
...they threw themselves into each others arms in what seemed like a passionate embrace, and declared their love for each other.
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