Chapter 2 of 6
“And if you need me or anything happens you just have to Floo Hogwarts,” Remus said and then as an afterthought he added. “I also put an anti-flames charm around the fireplace, the living room and in the kitchen and in the bathroom the rooms-“
“Why would I need an anti-flame charm in the bathroom?” Tonks asked.
“You never know,” Remus shrugged.
“Relax,” Tonks said. “I’m not seven and clumsy anymore.”
“No, you’re twenty one and clumsy,” Remus muttered.
“I’ll pretend I didn’t hear that,” Tonks said firmly. “Well, thank you for accepting me as your tenant and giving me a whole year to find a suitable and in my budget place.”
Remus smiled, “Thank you. I was really dreading this whole renting affair. I am glad I’m leaving the place with someone I know.”
Tonks smiled and then her smile turned in a familiar smirk witch tugged at Remus’ heart, “As I said, I’m not seven anymore and in love with my chocolate frog prince. Who know the orgies I’ll have here,” she said wistfully and Remus glared at here.
“There better be no orgies Ms. Tonks,” he said sternly and she burst out laughing.
“Well, then Professor, go on,” she shooed him with her hands. “Go teach your little students. Don’t forget to get around Hogsmead. I’m sure there are plenty of nice, respectable young blokes just waiting for the bookish type. Oh, don’t blush like that. As I said I’m not seven anymore. Besides, mom always knew. Now shoo.”
“Yes, right,” Remus stuttered as he grabbed his battered suitcase with the words Professor R. J. Lupin carved where all his possessions were shrunk. It had been a graduation gift from the other marauders. A joke because Remus had been such a bookworm they said he would go back to Hogwarts to teach. Apparently they were right.
Remus Flooed to the Leaky Cauldron, there was no other way around that. He wasn’t about to Apparate after transforming last night. But he hated the Floo, especially after his transformation. Granted, it had been better with the Wolfsbane, but he still needed a day to rest and he hadn’t had it. He stumbled on a large family that was getting ready to leave and Remus wandered if they would be able to. The kids kept running back up for forgotten things. How many where there? He thought he counted seven, two girls and five boys. Probably all his future students. All with red hair, except one girl and there was one boy bent over his open trunk whose hair he didn’t see but he could bet the color anyway.
“Have you found the tonic?” one asked.
“No, I was sure I gave it to you last night after I fetched it,” the hidden boy said and his voice reminded him of someone.
“Here Ron,” Remus heard another one say as he left the pub. “You left it on the nightstand.”
Remus haled a cab and asked for Kings Cross, he saw two black official looking cars parking right behind where he left. He shut his eyes for a bit while they rode to the station.
Coming early had been a good idea. Remus managed to bypass all the students and secure himself and empty compartment and promptly get comfortable. For the first time in two years he was not looking for Harry. He knew he’d see him later so he wasn’t worried. He heard the compartment door open and three teenage voices enquiring if he was awake, who he was and if he was alive. Remus chucked inwardly, children could be so blunt! He didn’t move, he wanted to sleep and they would be more comfortable if they thought he was asleep. He recognized two of the voices from the leaky Cauldron and had that familiar feeling again. He almost jumped a mile high when the boy with the voice he couldn’t place started talking about Mr. and Mrs. Weasley having an argument about Sirius Black and him.
Discreetly he opened his eyes and looked at the reflection on the window and his heart soared. James was there! Well, not James. He knew it was Harry but he looked just like James when they were…first years actually. He was a tad small for his age, Remus thought with a frown. The other boy was clearly taller. Weasley, Weasley, there was an Arthur Weasley that had married Fabian and Gideon’s older sister. They did have lots of children from what he remembered of the Prewetts’ tales of their nephews. They were especially fond of a pair of twins. But he didn’t remember them mentioning a niece. Remus raked his brain and found a memory of the Prewett brothers’ funeral. He James, and Si-Black had approached the sister and she was heavily pregnant s maybe they never met their niece. Poor woman, she had been devastated.
He watched as Harry explained about Black wanting to come after him. He didn’t seem scared, Remus smiled. Brave boy, he just hoped he wasn’t reckless, like they all had been. Remus concentrated on Harry’s voice, it still bothered him. He thought it would be like James, everything else was, but no it reminded him of someone else, but who?
Harry had grown so much since he last saw him, Remus thought a little bitterly. How he would have loved to be there to see him grow, maybe visit him even if he wasn’t allowed to raise him. Did he live with the Weasleys? He had mistaken them for being part of the same family before. But no, Harry wouldn’t call his adoptive parents Mr. and Mrs.
Remus was not able to sleep again; he kept watching the kids interact. He was relieved when Harry said Uncle Vernon wouldn’t sign his Hogsmeade form. The thought of Harry out in the open with Black on the loose gave him shivers. His relief was short lived when something that Harry said sunk in; Uncle Vernon did not sign the form. An icy chill ran through him at the thought of what that meant. Despite all he’s hopes and all Dumbledore’s wisdom the old man had put Harry with Petunia. Remus had to restrain himself from jumping and start examining Harry thoroughly. The thought of what Petunia could have done to him in twelve years sent shivers down his spine. Harry’s lack of height and thinness took a whole new meaning for him now. Oh, he had some people to talk to as soon as he got to Hogwarts!
He kept quiet when the girl tried to wake him, he wanted to know more and if he was awake the kids would clam up.
A boy entered the compartment with clear intent of bullying them and Remus almost got up when the boy insulted Ron and he leapt up. But instead he tried another approach, he snorted to remind them he was there and he was so proud when Harry jumped at the chance of using his presence. The boy just said “New teacher,” as an answer to the blond’s, demand of who he was and got ready to act in case the blond was dumb enough to try something. That was so cunning of Harry, even James would have praised such a Slytherin act which he wouldn’t have managed, both him and Si- Black would have punched the blond, or Severus in their case, though by the looks of that kid and the fact that Harry called him Malfoy he must be Lucius Malfoy’s son which would make his father a fair target too, even if he was older. The boy did seem to have his father’s survival instincts since he promptly called his cronies in retreat. Git. Remus reprimanded himself, “Remus Lupin, don’t start labeling the students. You have to be fair to all of them! Even Malfoys!”
Remus tried to keep observing the boys but his exhausted body was calling for him and before he knew it he had closed his eyes and sleep overtook him. He was dreaming of running in the woods with a dog, a huge black dog when suddenly the dog leapt on his lap and grazed his thigh with its sharp claws. Remus opened his eyes to feel a bushy tale against his hand. There was darkness and chaos. The train had stopped and there where more kids than before. They kept talking and he couldn’t hear a thing.
“Quiet,” he roared. He conjured flames to be able to see and looked around. “Stay where you are,” he ordered. He was about to get out of the compartment to see what was going on when the door slid open and he heard a loud howl and a child’s desperate plea followed by his worst nightmare, Dumbledore’s voice: “He did it Remus. He betrayed them and killed all those people. He will rot in Azkaban.”
When he thought things couldn’t get worse Harry collapsed in a dead faint and Remus’ heart went even colder. He turned with rage toward the Dementor and roared, “None of us is hiding Sirius Black under our cloaks, Go.”
The Dementor did not move and Remus summoned his happiest memories. Baby Harry sleeping on his arms, a hug from a black haired boy when he told him he would never leave Remus. Remus conjured a huge dog chased the Dementor away. A bitter taste was left after the second memory, the promise had been broken.
He turned to Harry and saw Hermione and Ron trying to revive him. He let out a breath he did not know he was holding when Harry started to move. He sat relieved on the bench next to another boy he never saw before. He reminded him of someone and when the boy gave him a shy smile he remembered. Alice Longbottom, this must be Neville.
He handed chocolate around and explained what that Dementor had been and went to talk to the conductor. He made sure no other Dementor lingered and when he spotted a boy with a Head Boy badge he told him to gather the prefects and go around handing chocolate.
“Ask the trolley witch and tell her Professor Lupin said that Dumbledore will pay for all the chocolate,” he smirked. That will teach him to do stupid things. Remus still wanted to have a little chat with the Headmaster but he was not feeling guilty about charging anything to Dumbledore.
The conductor was shaken but started the train straight away. Remus also stopped to send an owl to McGonagall informing her of the Dementor’s search and of Harry collapsing. He asked for Madam Pomfrey to take a look at the boy. He headed back to the compartment.
“Petunia! Petunia! Are you out of your bloody mind! Petunia!”
“Remus, calm down,” Dumbledore said from his seat.
“I am perfectly calm. Had I not been calm I would have barged in and demanded answers right in the middle of the Great Hall, instead I acted completely professionally and waited for the feast to end to demand answers!”
And he had, he also ad the pleasure to help Harry and his friends from that little snot, and a snot he was. Malfoy had checked him out and raised his little arrogant nose. Like he was better than Remus just because he wore silk robes!
“So? I’m waiting for a reasonable explanation as to why you put my cub with those monsters!”
“I am sure you are exaggerating. I am sure they would never harm their own blood,” Dumbledore tried to placate him.
“Where you not at the Potter’s wedding Dumbledore? Did you not hear and see how they acted? Or are you just blind?”
“They may not have cared for him as I wished but by accepting him they activated the protection Lily left her son. He is safe from Voldemort and his Death Eaters as long as he calls Petunia’s house home.”
“And can he?” Remus asked tiredly leaning over Dumbledore’s desk, resting his hands flatly on it. “Because I spent a whole afternoon hearing that boy talk and not once did he refer to it as home. He called it the Dursley’s. He doesn’t think of it as his home. I’m willing to bet he calls Hogwarts his home Albus. Does your protection work so well or will you bet all your chips on Voldemort thinking it does.”
“The protection saved him in his first year, as long as he returns once a year-“
“The protection saved him before the first year was over then. Before he came to Hogwarts did he have anywhere else to call home? Have you tested it since then? And even if it works who will save him from the Dursleys?”
“They would never-“
“Your blind faith Albus is both your best quality and worst flaw,” Remus sighed tiredly and defeated. “I am going to retire. I had no chance to rest properly yet.”
With that Remus left Dumbledore’s office and walked tiredly but purposely towards the hospital wing. He had one more visit to make. As he entered the ward Madam Pomfrey was busy putting away bandages.
“As gorgeous as ever my lady,” Remus bowed low and Madam Pomfrey gave a start. She wagged her finger at him and said sternly.
“Don’t you try your charms at me young man. They have never worked and never will.”
“You wound me madam,” Remus said putting his hand on is chest. “I always thought I was your favorite.”
She blushed a little, “Well, you were one of my most frequent patients.”
“One! I thought I won the prize!”
“Oh, yes you did,” she said as she pulled two chairs and summoned some tea. Motioning for him to seat. “But I have another young man that is well on his way to succeeding in stealing it from you. As a matter of fact, thank you for giving me such a good excuse to see him, I had to come up with one last year. I assume he is the reason you are here.”
Remus raised and eyebrow and asked grimly, “Why would you want to see him when he arrives?”
“To make sure he is healthy. I was not impressed in his first year with his first physical exam. Even less by the fact that he had almost no medical records.”
“How was his physical?”
Madam Pomfrey huffed, “I can’t tell you that.”
“You can if you suspect abuse. I am his teacher and therefore legally responsible for him.”
“I went to Albus and he believed Harry’s version that he was roughhousing with his cousin.”
“Of course he did,” Remus grimaced. “That’s the worst part. He actually did believe him. Albus never wants to believe the worst.”
“I told him that Harry is a child that must be scared to come out and say it. He had no bruises on him at the time, but he had too many scars for a normal boy. He was underfed, his growth has been stunted and I had to change his glasses prescription because they hadn’t been updated ever. As a matter of fact Harry drew quite a blank face when I asked him when was the last time he went to the Optometrist. Which makes sense since the only medical record I did get was one Optometrist prescription when he was seven. He told me he got that on a day that the school had organized for Optometrist and dentists to check all the children. Honestly! I bet the only reason those muggles bought the glasses was because the school knew Harry needed them. Last year he was better, again he had no bruises but he had spent some time with the Weasleys were he actually got fed and this year was the same, but I heard he spent the last three weeks at the Leaky Cauldron.”
Remus rubbed his eyes tiredly and looked out the window. He needed to get close to Harry so he could help him.
“You need rest,” Madam Pomfrey said firmly. “The Full moon was last night and I bet you had no rest today. Tomorrow I want you to rest all day long. We have a whole year to save Harry.”
“I’m sorry you are all paying for my acts. But that was just too funny to pass,” came a voice from behind Harry. Harry looked up squinting at the figure that sat besides him on the Entrance steps.
“So is Severus being too harsh?”
“Professor Snape,” Remus chuckled.
“His name is Severus?” Harry asked bewildered.
“You didn’t know?” Remus asked.
“Teachers don’t have first names,” Harry said wisely.
“True,” Remus nodded. “I believe Professor Flitwick only acquired a first name in my seventh year. Though Minnie always had one. Your father always called her Minnie.”
Harry laughed, “My father must have had guts then. Did you know him?”
“Oh yes,” Remus said with a fond smile. “The best friend I could have asked for. We were roommates and he was determined not to leave me be.”
“Really? I never met a friend of my dad’s- that is, that wasn’t at teacher of his. I mean the Professors and Hagrid speak of him but I never met someone that went to school with him,” Harry said excited.
“Severus did,” Remus said simply.
Harry wrinkled his nose, “Yeah but Dumbledore says they hated each other.”
“Oh, yes they did,” Remus nodded slowly. “Tends to happen when you are after the same girl.”
“What?” Harry shrieked. “Who were they after?”
“Your mom Harry,” Remus laughed. “Severus had been her friend since before school. I think they were neighbors or something and James was always after her.”
“Professor Snape? Neighbor with a muggleborn?”
“I think his father was a muggle and his mother a witch, can’t be sure.”
“Professor Snape having parents and being in love with my mom? Ewww!” Harry shuddered.
Remus laughed, “Seriously Harry. He isn’t given you kids too much grief because of Neville’s boggart.”
“Yes,” Harry shrugged. “No change there. His name is very appropriate. What’s yours?”
“Remus, that’s different. I guess all wizards have different names, Albus, Rubeus- I don’t have a proper wizarding name- Harry, even Hermione has one,” Harry made a face. “Well, guess I’ll be just Harry. At least no one will laugh like with Malfoy- honestly who names their kid Draco?”
“He has a cousin named Nymphadora.”
“Poor girl, being Malfoy’s cousin.”
“She is okay. Her mother too. They are the white sheep of the Black family.”
Harry’s eyes widened and he asked shocked, “Black? As in-“
“Yes,” Remus answered tightly. “He happens to be Narcissa Malfoy’s cousin.”
“Wow, guess it runs in the family then,” Harry nodded thoughtfully.
“I guess,” Remus said with a distant look. “Nymphadora is fine though. She is an Auror. Dark Wizard catcher,” he explained at Harry’s blank look. Harry nodded thoughtfully.
Neither saw the pair of eyes that was watching them painfully and with longing. Deep grey seeing both present and past. Deep grey that longed to be with the two people he loved most in the world. To sit there and laugh with them. To tell them what he knew and beg for forgiveness.
A never forgotten argument replayed in his mind.
“You took advantage of him!” he had roared.
“I wanted to get back at James! I was drunk! He was drunk! I didn’t force him to do anything!” Lily had pleaded.
“He was confused and you pushed him!”
“Oh, so that is the only reason he would be with me!” she cried angry.
“Why? Am I that ugly? James doesn’t seem to think-“
“He’s gay. Remus is gay! Haven’t you noticed he never had a girlfriend?”
“I just thought- I never saw him with a boy,” she said in a small voice.
“Because he has never been with one. He doesn’t have the courage to. His father was always very much against homosexuals and Remus always was afraid of disappointing him. He already thought his parents put up with enough with him being a werewolf. To add gay to the mix,” Sirius answered frustrated.
“His father just died,” she said softly.
“Yes, and I kissed him. Right after the funeral. God, I love him so much,” Sirius said running a hand through his hair. “Always have. I kept waiting for the best moment and he was there- so lost- I just… he ran, he pretended nothing happened. He ran and the next day you-“
“And he tried to prove himself wrong. He tried to make his father proud,” she said softly. “I didn’t know. I was drunk and hurt Siri…I didn’t know,” she sobbed, “I don’t want to lose James, I can’t lose my friends either.”
Sirius embraced her and holding her tight to his chest he whispered into her hair, “I won’t let that happen.”
In the end they all lost everything and the innocent paid the price. But he would make it right. He vowed that to James and Lily’s memories and to the two people he loved. He watched as the older prodded the younger to go inside, and he kept watching as they entered the castle away from his view.
Remus closed the door to his quarters and walked to the couch. He dropped heavily on it and exhaled slowly. He didn’t know what possessed him to bring up Si- him with Harry.
He laid back on the couch and did the unthinkable; he plopped his feet on the coffee table. He rested his hands on his stomach and watched the ceiling with a faraway look.
Why did he have to betray them like that? Why did he have to betray him like that?
Remus hated the fact that no matter how much he tried to hate him, how unforgivable Black’s acts had been he still loved him. He still wanted to get lost on those grey eyes that seemed to know him better than anyone.
Remus turned to the side and lifted his feet on the couch hugging his legs. He rested his forehead on his knees.
Nothing had ever happened between them. He had been so scared to admit what he had always known. But he hadn’t wanted to be in love with Sirius because of what it meant. What would his parents have thought of him? They had been so dedicated to him that the thought of disappointing them was unbearable.
At thirty-three, Remus knew that eventually his parents would have accepted him like he was, loving whoever he loved. But at fifteen, nineteen, he had been terrified of his feelings.
After Sirius kissed him that day after his dad’s funeral Remus avoided him like the plague. He hadn’t known what to do. He never stayed alone with him. And when the mere presence of Sirius ripped his heart he started avoiding him all together. Meeting his friends at times he knew Sirius wouldn’t be there. Leaving if he arrived. Volunteering for missions every chance he got. By the time James and Lily died he had managed to go three straight months without seeing him and the last time he saw him was that night.
Remus still couldn’t understand why, but after leaving the Potters and before killing Peter, Sirius stopped by his house. He never said a word about James and Lily being dead, no Remus learned from Dumbledore the next day. He knocked, Remus opened the door, Sirius lunged and kissed him like never before.
“I love you Moony. Forgive me. I’ll make everything right,” he whispered in his ear and Apparated away and Remus was left staring at an empty space. And now he stared at an empty wall thinking of the man he still loved.