Chapter 1 of 6
Memories from the past
Remus Lupin woke with a start. He pulled his sweat soaked t-shirt from his body and giving it up as a bad job took it off. He got out of bed and stumbled to the bathroom. He opened the tap and soaked his face and hair. He rested his elbows on the sink and kept his head down with one hand gripping the back of his neck.
It had been a while since he dreamt about that night. He had hated himself that night. He took advantage of Lily, no matter what she said. She had been upset with James. She had been thinking James was cheating on her which she found out later wasn’t true. He was just a natural flirt but he loved her and never tried anything with anyone else.
But that night James had gone to an assignment for Dumbledore. A secret assignment. Again. And he had told her nothing; again, just that he had to go out. He confessed the truth later when he came home in the morning to find her packing her bags. He said he’d never cheat but that Dumbledore had told him to tell no one. He begged her to stay and she stayed, he never knew the real reason Lily almost left. He never knew Lily had gone to one of their friends for comfort. He never knew she at first had fought with Remus for him to tell her who James was seeing and he had fought back saying he didn’t know. He never knew they both gotten drunk and that both Lily and Remus used each other. Lily to get back at James and Remus to escape his fears. He never knew they had sex and that Remus hated himself for that. He hated how he used Lily, how he betrayed James and most importantly how he betrayed his feelings. James never knew Remus had been hurt and scared of his feelings for years, and that that night he had tried to prove himself wrong just to realize he had been right all along. James never knew and it was for the best. He never knew how jealous Remus was of him, how he had hoped the baby she was expecting was his and when he saw how the baby looked just like James his hopes were dashed. James never knew how Remus had loved Harry not because he was his friend’s son but because he could have been his son, how he had wanted him to be his. James never knew and Remus hated himself for feeling this way.
He walked back to his bed and dropped on it sighing loudly. He looked to the bed stand and took the frame there. He was holding Harry. Harry loved his Uncle Mooey and Lily told him that she wanted to name him godfather but in times like the ones they were living there was a big chance the godfather would have to raise Harry and the hatred that was running around would make sure that Remus would not be granted custody. So they named him godfather, and he got them killed. Remus would never forgive him, he couldn’t even think of his name without hurting.
Remus had tried to obtain custody of course but to no avail. He tried to find Harry but Dumbledore wouldn’t say where he stashed the boy. There were rumors he was with muggles but Remus didn’t know who and he had faith Dumbledore wouldn’t have given him to Petunia. He couldn’t have been that stupid! He was at Lily’s wedding; he saw the hateful words that Petunia, who had only attended dragged by her parents, told Lily. No Dumbledore knew better than that. Harry had to be safe. Remus didn’t even know where Petunia lived or what was her husband’s name, he thought the first was something with a V, Vagner maybe? Who cares?
Harry would be thirteen tomorrow. He smiled. He had been at Hogwarts for two years now. The first of September of both years Remus had gone to the platform and tried to spot him but had no luck. He’d try again this year and maybe he could tell Harry he was a friend of his parents and meet him at Hogsmeade. Harry would be having his first Hogsmeade weekends this year. With thought of meeting his cub again Remus drifted back to sleep and dreamed of better days were a giggling child listened to him reading stories and making voices to him.
“Remus,” the toddler called in a very adult voice. “Remus are you there?”
Remus found it quite weird for Harry to be talking in Albus Dumbledore’s voice and slowly came out of his slumber and looked to where the voice was calling. “Remus! This is urgent.”
Remus got up and fetched the first shirt he found, wouldn’t do to talk to the headmaster half naked.
“Headmaster?” he said as he entered the living room of the small cottage he inherited from his parents. “What brings you here so early?”
“Bad news I’m afraid,” Albus head said from the fireplace. “May I come through?”
“Of course,” Remus said and in a whoosh of green flames Albus Dumbledore arrived and Remus invited him to seat.
“Have you seen the Prophet?” Dumbledore asked.
“No, I was asleep,” Remus said. “I’m afraid I slept in today.”
“Remus,” Dumbledore started cautiously. “I don’t know how to tell you this, so I think I better be blunt. There was an escape from Azkaban.”
Remus blood froze and his heart skipped a bit. He couldn’t be talking about-
“Sirius Black escaped from Azkaban last night.”
“Harry,” was the first thought in Remus mind and he only realized he blurted it out when Dumbledore said.
“He is safe and will be until school starts. I plan to send an escort to take him to the Hogwarts Express.”
Remus nodded dumbly and Dumbledore continued, “I had been already thinking of offering you this but given the circumstances it has become imperative that you accept. No one knows Sirius Black as well as you do.”
Remus laughed bitterly, “The man I thought I knew would never have become what Black became. I don’t know him.”
“You know his habits even if you don’t know his motives,” Dumbledore explained. “That is why I need you at Hogwarts. Would you come and teach Defense and help protect Harry? There is no doubt Black will try to finish what he started.”
Teach? At Hogwarts? Him? Be close to Harry? Maybe tell him about James and Lily? Of how he was Uncle Moony? Of course he wanted to. And to have a pay check and not worry that his savings would run out was nice too. His parents had left him a sizable sum and this cottage when they passed away but after fourteen years of living mostly of that money and having only the odd job he knew he had to be smart about it. He still had enough to go on for many years, especially since he tried his best to keep a low budget. He did invest some; not much because not many people wanted to do business with him, but he could not deny that being able to support himself with his own money would do a lot for his ego. And a Hogwarts salary could be a good saving since he wouldn’t have living and feeding expenses for a year. He could even maybe rent the cottage while he was at Hogwarts and have another source of income guaranteeing he would get to add more to his saving for later rainy days. He could not fool himself. Job for him was hard to come across and there was a big chance that he would have to live most of his life depending of what he had inherited, he could not waste a good opportunity to add to that money even if there was a lot. And there was his cub.
“Off course I will Albus but what about-“
“Dealt with. I will be providing the Wolfsbane for you, as a matter of fact I’ll bring the first batch for the next full moon.”
Remus nodded smiling. The Wolfsbane would be a huge relief, he rarely came across a Potions Master able to brew the potion and the Apothecary never sold them scared of being tagged as dark because of it. And unfortunately, he has always been rubbish at potions, if he tried he’d probably poison himself.
“I will ask another favor. If you could please ride on the train. I would feel better than having just the conductor and the trolley witch as defense.”
“That would be good Albus,” he nodded. “The full moon is just the day before and I don’t usually feel up to Apparating or Flooing long distances right after it so I would be pleased to have another way to get to Hogwarts.”
Dumbledore rose and Remus followed suit. They said their farewells and Remus could not help but feel extremely giddy thinking of a young lad he would be seeing soon.
Far away from him that same young lad wasn’t feeling all that giddy. As a matter of fact Harry Potter was having one of the worst birthdays ever. He had to rid his room of all his magical evidence and send Hedwig to the Weasleys. He didn’t like not having a way to call for help. After ruining his windows last year, as Uncle Vernon put it, and giving their phone number to one of his freaky friends, the Dursleys had reverted to their nasty selves from before his Hogwarts letter had arrived. Harry was once again often deprived of food if he didn’t finish his chores to satisfaction, which he obviously could never do. He was once again worked to the bone and beaten every time Vernon took a fancy. Of course, Vernon knew how to do it without living visible marks, he had years of experience. Never touch anything that can’t be hidden under clothes. Harry sighed, the reprieve he got last two summers because of the scare Hagrid had given the Dursleys was too good to last. He knew that normal people wouldn’t think that was a reprieve, after all he had been locked up, Uncle Vernon had beaten him and they had given him little food, but it was a lot less beating and more food then he had gotten before his Hogwarts letter arrived.
To top it, Marge Dursley was coming today and Harry new the only reason he was not back to his cupboard was because he didn’t fit in there with his trunk and there was no way Vernon would let his trunk out and unlocked.
Harry sighed again. This would be a long week. He hoped the Weasleys returned from Egypt soon so he could join them.
Remus happily scribbled one lesson plan after the other on his book littered desk. A week ago he had no job, now he was almost done with his lesson plans. Dumbledore had decided on the booklist because he had needed to send the owls to the student but Remus had found no fault in the list and the books he added to his plan could be easily borrowed from the library to add to the students’ studies.
As he finished the last of his plans Remus sighed happily and looked around his room. He would have to start packing. He had spread the word around some friends that he would be renting out his cottage for a year. He didn’t want some stranger in the house that could very well destroy it. So he thought that having someone referred to him was the best course of action. He never expected to get an answer so soon. Kingsley Shacklebolt, a former Order member had fire-called him that morning telling him he would stop by later with a prospect.
Remus looked at the clock and nodded. He would have some time to start packing before the meeting. He had also researched some protection spells and wanted to put them on the house, but he would have to do it later. He hoped they would prevent anyone from damaging his property. But he knew that they could be taken down if the person really wanted and went after the knowledge.
With a wave of his wand he conjured some boxes and started putting away his books in a very organized and catalogued manner. There was no reason to be messy, after all he still had three weeks. And even if he didn’t have he wasn’t a slob like Si- him. He hated that he hardly ever went a day without thinking about that man. He had been such a big part of Remus’ life that he had marred all of Remus’ good memories. He was always there. And there was a time Remus thought he’d always be.
A knock came from the door and Remus hastened to answer. He opened the door and smiled brightly at Kingsley and…er…a very strange young woman!
“Hey there Remus. Here is your future tenant,” Kingsley said happily.
“Oh, yes,” Remus got out of his shock. “Where are my manners? Please come in.”
Kingsley and the girl, who was sporting shockingly purple hair and clothes that wouldn’t be amiss in one of those heavy metal muggle concerts entered and she promptly started examining the place.
“Shacklebolt says you rent this cheap,” she asked directly.
“Yes,” Remus answered. “I am only renting for a year so I thought that cheap would be good. It’s all furnished. I’ll leave the furniture.”
“That’s good. We don’t get paid enough to buy furniture.”
“She is a fellow Auror. Fresh out of the Academy and looking for a way out of her parents’ home.”
“Definitely,” the girl said. “I can’t stand mom’s fussing anymore. Every time I come home she asks. Oh, Nymphadora are you hurt. Are they working you too hard, are they-“
The girl’s head snapped and she narrowed her eyes pointing her wand threateningly at Remus. “Shacklebolt said you were a smart bloke. Gonna be a teacher and everything. Then use that brain and never, ever call me that again. My name is-“
“Tonks,” Remus said and she brightened as if she had never threatened him.
“Why yes! I think we will be great friends Mr.- er- Kingsley?”
“Didn’t I say his name?”
“No.” she glared at him.
“Lupin,” Remus said extending a hand. “Remus Lupin.”
Tonks flushed a nice shade of scarlet and she tripped as she took a step back. When Remus and Kingsley went to help her she whispered, “You’re my chocolate frog prince.”
“Excuse me?” Remus asked and Tonks hastily got up and brushed herself.
“Nothing. So, what’s the rent?”
“How are Andromeda and Ted? I haven’t seen them since- er.”
“They’re fine. I wouldn’t mention Black to them though. Mum never believed his guilt. She is still petitioning every year for a trial she says he didn’t get but never gets anywhere. Dad tried to tell her that we had to be all mistaken about him but he stopped after a while to avoid fighting. She also tried to get custody of the boy, Harry. Said that as the cousin of the godfather she should have been able but Dumbledore cut her by saying he was with blood kin. I understand him. By mom’s reasoning the Malfoys could get the Boy Who Lived.”
Remus gulped, he had had his doubts to, but there was no getting around Si-his guilt. He had been the secret keeper. Then he noticed something Tonks said.
“But James had no family left and the only-no he didn’t?” Remus asked shocked.
“He didn’t what Remus?” Kingsley asked feeling a little left out.
“The muggles! Dumbledore put Harry with Lily’s sister and her husband!”
“What,” Kingsley asked. “That hag that came to the wedding?” Kingsley asked astonished.
“What’s the problem?” Tonks asked.
“Nothing if you’re muggle and not related to Lily Evans. But since Harry is Dumbledore had to be mad to put him there,” Kingsley said. “Honestly, those people. They were nasty. They only came to the wedding because Lily’s parents made them. And they were rude to everyone. And at the reception Bromelia-“
“Petunia,” Remus amended.
“Yes, well, Petunia shrieked at Lily that she was a freak, that she didn’t want anything to do with her and her freak husband and that she hoped we all died! Right there in front of everyone. Poor Lily ran away crying and it took James and Alice a long while to convince her to not let her sister ruin her big day. Petunia and her husband were escorted out by me, Frank, Remus, Peter and er- well we didn’t let them forget not to ever darken any of our footsteps again.”
“What did you do?” Tonks asked eagerly.
“Nothing illegal,” Kingsley said evasively and not very convincingly. “There were three Aurors in the group. But I can’t believe Dumbledore would let a baby with them.”
“Maybe he just said that to get mum off his case,” Tonks shrugged. “Albus Dumbledore wouldn’t give The Boy Who Lived to people who would hate him.”
“No, he wouldn’t right?” Remus asked trying to convince himself. Anyway he would make sure he hadn’t.
Unfortunately for Harry, he had. And after a week of torture with Aunt Marge, who approved of Vernon’s heavy hand. Harry had enough. He had endured it the best he could. He took every blow stoically, every insult but when the woman started bad mouthing his parents enough was enough. Harry could take anything but no one badmouthed his parents who had died to save him. No one!
And so that was why, after blowing up his Aunt, trying a great escape, almost being run over by a triple decker and eaten by a huge dog, learning about escaped mass murderer Sirius Black, talking the Minister of Magic himself, Harry was confusedly staring at the ceiling of his very own room at the leaky cauldron.
Harry hugged the pillow with his belly full for the first time this summer and smiled, tomorrow he would go buy some healing salve for his bruises and have the whole Alley to himself. These would be the best three weeks of his life!