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An Alternate Ending by minniemcmouse

Format: Novel
Chapters: 51
Word Count: 220,059
Status: COMPLETED

Rating: 15+
Warnings: Mild Language, Mild Violence,

Genres: Action, General, Angst, Drama
Characters: Draco, Ginny, Harry, Dumbledore, Hermione, Neville, OC, Oliver Wood, Remus Lupin, Ron, Snape, Voldemort, Fred/George, Narcissa, Tonks, Luna, Lucius, Peter Pettigrew, M. McGonagall
Pairings:

First Published: 12/04/2004
Last Chapter: 05/03/2005
Last Updated: 10/15/2005

Summary:

Thanks To Melihobbit For The Mahvellous Banner! Harry returns to Hogwarts for his sixth year after losing Sirius only a few months earlier. The weight of the prophecy is heavy on his shoulders, but can Harry really bear this burden? Can he hide the prophecy from Voldemort? Can he truly live up to the high expectations of the Order? And will he be alive at the end of the year? Read on and find out... Completed.


Chapter 1: Home Again
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Hello, having recently had a few complaints from people about canon and whathaveyou I feel that I should say right now that my story is not canon. It kinda starts out that way but quickly deviates in ways that you will find out soon (or not if you're a canon freak and are ready to leave round about now). This story has Harry and Remus as the main characters with Remus as Harry's godfather. There will be a lot of the teachers and it is only because of people's complaints (well not complaints as such but I lack a better word) that I add this to my opening chapter. That's all from me now and I hope you enjoy my story.

Harry Potter opened his eyes as he curled up in his small bed, in his small room in number 4 Privet Drive. The sunlight streamed in through the gap in the curtains, filling the room with dawn’s soft glow. It was summer now and it was still very early on in the morning. Glancing at the clock on the table he could see that it was only half past six. He sighed as he pulled the duvet back and reluctantly got to his feet.

“Morning.” Harry murmured as he walked over to Hedwig who was watching him from her open cage. He reached out to her and stroked her feathers gently, receiving an affectionate nip on his finger in return. He refilled her water for her and she took a drink from the small bowl he placed infront of her before hopping out of her cage and stretching her wings. Harry opened the window for her and she flew off out into the early morning. The fifteen year old watched her leave to go hunting, since he no longer had the means to feed her. He watched her until she was only a speck in the distance and wished that he could fly like she could. To be free… that would be the most wonderful feeling in the world. He turned away from the window and looked around his prison before crossing his cell and leaving the room to go down to the kitchen for breakfast.

Downstairs was utterly silent but for the sound of the ticking clock which hung on the wall. Harry wondered how many times more it would tick before his life ended and shook the thought from his mind; it was not good to think such morbid thoughts. He moved quietly around the kitchen until a series of thumps above him alerted him to the fact that Vernon was now out of bed and most likely not in the best of moods.

“Morning.” Harry said as Vernon walked into the room, dressed in pyjamas and a navy dressing gown, complete with fluffy slippers to which Harry had to suppress a smile, and had been doing since Petunia had bought them for him a couple of weeks ago. They had been a present to him on the day that Harry had arrived home as if to say that just because the boy was back didn’t mean that everything was bad. Having to convince his wife that he liked those most ghastly of slippers hadn’t been particularly high on the list of things that he wanted to do but he shut up and managed something along the lines of a grimace every time Petunia commented on them.

“Why are you up so early?” Demanded Vernon by means of a reply to his greeting. Harry wasn’t shocked by this response, after all the Dursleys hadn’t taken well to being threatened by his more intimidating friends. Most people would have left Harry alone after that but Vernon, not being a man to be bullied into ending his own bullying had carried on with the endless verbal abuse against the boy although he didn’t quite dare to strike the boy in case of any of his weirdness rubbing off on him. Dudley had reacted in much the same way that his father had i.e. he was verbally abusing him at every opportunity but there was one marked difference: Dudley didn’t care about his weirdness rubbing off on him and frequently took swipes at him when they passed in the hallway or on the landing or in any room of the house really, Dudley wasn’t picky, nor was he intelligent enough to really know the difference. This was one of the reasons that Petunia caught Dudley trying to make a sandwich in the bathroom and wondering where the toilet was in the living room.

“I couldn’t sleep.” Harry said, replying to his uncle’s demand. Vernon glared at him as he sat down at the kitchen table and awaited his breakfast. Harry sighed inwardly before moving to the fridge and taking out the bacon and eggs. It had become something along the lines of an irritating custom for Harry to make his uncle’s breakfast each morning just to remind both Harry and the rest of the family of the boy’s inferior status in the household. Harry moved automatically around the kitchen as he readied the breakfast that he wasn’t allowed to eat. He put the plate of food down infront of his uncle who muttered something under his breath and Harry left the room, retreating back to his bedroom.

He threw himself down on his bed and wondered why he had bothered to get up in the first place. Yesterday he hadn’t left his room at all except to go to the toilet when he had quietly left his room and returned immediately afterwards. He had spent most of his time dwelling on the past and his most horrific mistake to date – going to the department of mysteries. He missed Sirius terribly and he couldn’t help but blame himself; it all came down to the fact that he had been fool enough to think that Sirius would have ended up in the hands of Voldemort and that he had to save him. The whole thing was ridiculous of course and had he but stopped to think he may never have ended up going, but that was him all over: react first, think later. Or regret later, as the case may be. He took his wand from under his pillow, where it had lain, hidden from the eyes of his uncle and began to charm various items around the room. That was one small benefit that summer: he was allowed to use magic. He also knew that no one else his age could, or knew that they could at any rate. The ministry had been so busy dealing with Death Eaters recently that they had no real chance to bother with such trivial matters like underage magic and everyone who had been on that department had been removed to more important departments. The result had been that no one was monitoring the magic used by witches and wizards under the age of seventeen, leaving Harry charming things around his room with no repercussions. Except for Remus occasionally correcting him.

“If you keep changing the colour of things that way then you’re likely to set something on fire.” Remus said and demonstrated the method which would be less likely to go wrong and conjure flames instead to Harry who lay on his bed. Harry smiled slightly at the man who thought correcting him as an acceptable greeting.

“Good morning to you too.” Harry said before changing Remus’ hair to bright blue, without setting fire to it or causing any other unfortunate side effects, unless you counted Remus scowling at him and telling him to undo his spell. “No, I think blue hair suits you.” Harry said and declines his request to return his hair to it’s natural colour.

“And I think that blond hair suits you.” Remus said and a smile touched his lips as Harry’s hair lightened to the colour of Draco Malfoy’s. Harry’s eyes widened as he caught sight of his atrocious hair in the mirror.

“Change it back!” He demanded.

“Change mine back first.” Remus told him and grudgingly Harry changed it back. Remus toyed with him for a while afterwards, saying that he was going to leave his hair blond for everyone to see in September before Harry sent a hex in his direction and he removed the colour from his hair. “Getting dressed won’t kill you, you know.” He said once their hair was back to normal. He reached out to Harry’s pyjamas and touched them with his wand, causing them to change into his normal muggle clothes instantly. He had taught Harry how to do it but Harry felt slightly uncomfortable using the charm due to it going wrong every now and again which left him wearing the wrong clothes, or the right clothes back to front. Occasionally he would also end up wearing no clothes at all but that had only happened once or twice at the very beginning of his practice, luckily when he was alone.

“So how are you then?” Remus asked him and watched him carefully as he responded. He was worried about the effect that Sirius’ demise had had on Harry, he had been the only thing that had resembled anything like a parent to him and now he was gone. Naturally he, Remus, missed him too and spent many an hour wishing that Dumbledore had simply had the sense to tell Harry that Voldemort was trying to lure him to the Department of Mysteries. It was too late to regret that now. What was done was done and that was an end to it. He sighed inwardly and wished that he could take to heart what his mind told him but he couldn’t, he missed Sirius every minute and hated that he had lost him again after such a short time of being reunited with his old friend. Remus supposed that he should be thankful, after all, Harry very nearly ran after Sirius through the veil a moment later, if he hadn’t have held him back… He didn’t want to think what could have happened. His mind wandered back to what he had thought before about Voldemort luring Harry to the Department of Mysteries. Why had Voldemort wanted him there in the first place? He wondered. He knew that there was something to do with a prophecy in all this but then again that had been smashed during the battle. Some time ago he had questioned Dumbledore about it.

“It is not my prophecy to tell, Remus.” Dumbledore had replied to him, “I am certain that Harry will tell you about it when the time comes.”

When the time comes? What was that about? And what made him think that Harry would tell him? It wasn’t like they were particularly close to one another. Not that he wouldn’t like to be close to Harry, he did, very much indeed but it could be a very long time before Harry chose to open up to him. He thought that Harry would keep his secret as long as was possible, and for him that could be a very long time. He had heard about the way that the Dursleys were with him, the endless insults, arguments and orders. They treated him like a slave and Remus loathed the very sight of any of the three members of the family. He knew that Harry had spent his life hiding away his feelings: he had admitted that much during a conversation a day or two ago, although Remus got the feeling that Harry had let that slip out by accident.

“I’m fine.” Harry said to him and smiled slightly as if to show it. Remus shook his head at him; he had spent each day before and after the full moon pretending to be happy and alright, if anyone could tell a fake smile and fake cheeriness it was he.

“You’re not.” Remus contradicted him. Harry considered arguing with him but decided there was little point in the matter; Remus was right. “So do you want to talk about it?” Harry shook his head and declined his offer. Remus wasn’t particularly shocked by this; he had asked Harry if he wanted to talk more than once during their time together but he just didn’t particularly want to talk to anyone, about anything. He had seriously considered talking to Remus about Sirius but then again he didn’t particularly think that Remus would be altogether comfortable talking about his dead best friend with the boy that had caused his early demise. And there was no way that he was likely to talk about the prophecy with him. After a few well placed questions and a few comments from Remus, Harry had discovered that he didn’t know about the prophecy or what it had said and he had no wish to reveal it to him: the last thing that he wanted were people worrying about him, he just wanted to be left alone.

They talked for some time whilst shouts echoed around the house to Dudley who was too lazy to get up before midday. Eventually Remus got so annoyed with this that he cast a silencing charm around the room. Harry liked him being there. Although Harry couldn’t go to them until he had been at the Dursleys’ for at least a month there was no reason that they couldn’t go visit him. This had irritated Ron, Hermione and Ginny immensely due to their inability to apparate to the house and with no connection to the floo system on Harry’s end, there was no way that they could see him until he arrived. This hadn’t stopped anyone else however. Harry had received a visit from Dumbledore at the beginning of the holidays to see how he had been doing. Harry had managed to appear reasonably cheerful and had at least been doing something constructive – Transfiguration homework. Seeming satisfied, Dumbledore had left him with the words that it would only be one month until he could be away from them again. He received visits from the Weasley twins once or twice a week and from what they had been telling him their joke shop was doing fantastically. They had been spending quite a bit of their new found wealth on their younger siblings for things such as robes and school supplies. They had even bought Ron a new broom – a firebolt. Ron’s letters had gone on about this in detail, as if Harry hadn’t owned one first but naturally Harry didn’t point this out to him; his best friend was already seemingly jealous of him enough, he didn’t need reminding that the best thing he owned Harry had owned first.

Molly and Arthur Weasley had literally popped in to see him two days after he had arrived home and Arthur eventually managed to convince her to leave after quite a lot of mothering, something which Harry didn’t mind too much; it seemed very much like the way things had always been: Molly mothering him, and with everything seemingly changing some indication that not all was different was just what he had wanted. Sensing that Harry wasn’t bothered by her mollycoddling she had made it a habit of calling at least twice a week just to check up on him and make sure that he was eating well. Tonks had also come to see him early on and although she had only come just to make sure he was alright, after a couple of days silence in his letters to Ron and Hermione they had started talking and she had ended up informing him of various goings on around Grimmauld Place and the recent success of her favourite Quidditch team – Puddlemere United, and was very impressed to hear that he had known their reserve seeker personally. Since then she had visited him another three times just to chat. She told him that it was nice to escape Grimmauld Place for a while to see him and she was sure he was glad of their visits. Harry assured her that he was and he wasn’t lying; it cheered him immensely just to listen to someone’s talking about their days and their relatively normal lives for a while without having to talk too much about himself. With Remus it was different though. Remus wasn’t one to talk much about himself, leaving Harry constantly questioning him, learning magic, badgering him to teach him magic and occasionally talking about himself and his own life. Remus’ visits had been by far the most common, generally every other day and he stayed for quite a few hours at a time.

It was only eleven in the morning when Harry began to make their dinner. Petunia rarely cooked when Harry was home, since he was now at an age where they believed him capable of cooking all their meals without poisoning him (although they always shot him a suspicious look when they took their first mouthful). Remus stood by the side of him, offering him help which was repeatedly declined by a quiet Harry. They couldn’t talk much in the kitchen in case Harry was overheard. Remus had put some kind of disillusionment charm on him which allowed him to be seen and heard only by those who possessed magic and he could have shouted as loudly as he wanted in the house but only Harry would have heard him.

“Harry, if you would let me help…” Remus said to the young boy who stirred the sauce in the pan. Harry shook his head.

“No, I’m not going to let you cook for them, this is my job not yours.” Harry murmured in reply to the man who stood close to him in order to hear his soft replies.

“You shouldn’t have to be cooking for them either.” Remus said to him, “You cook all this for them but you hardly eat a thing yourself.” Harry said nothing in reply as Dudley walked through the kitchen at this moment, meaning that to reply would be to either hint at usage of magic or depletion of sanity. As much fun as it could be to convince Dudley that he was utterly insane Harry decided it wasn’t worth the punishment he would get when Petunia and Vernon discovered his sanity as reasonable as it ever was.

Harry silently cursed himself for at not making a small effort to eat a little when Remus was around. He knew that the man wasn’t stupid, far from it so why he had thought he wouldn’t notice his lack of meals was beyond even himself. When the meal had been readied he disappeared from the room quickly to leave the Dursleys to their meal, taking nothing for himself to which Remus protested. He went to his room and grabbed a jumper which he tied around his frighteningly thin waist before he and Remus left the house.

“I know that after the events of last year you’re reasonably shaken…” Remus ventured as they walked down the street together. “But that’s no excuse for not eating properly.” When they were out of the house Remus changed into muggle clothes and wandered around the town together, able to talk quite freely. It was also a time when Remus found it easiest to try and talk to Harry about the events of the previous month, with other people around which could help prevent Harry from completely blowing up at him if his questioning went too far and enough distractions and things to focus on if they ended up lapsing into silence. This was added to the fact that Harry was generally more at ease once he was out of his prison and made him much easier to talk to.

“I’m eating well enough.” Harry said to him as they turned the corner towards the park.

“You could have fooled me, you hardly ever eat from what I’ve seen and heard.” Remus retorted.

“I don’t have to eat whilst you’re here. You’re not with me for 24 hours a day.” Harry said to him.

“You can’t use that as your excuse, you’ve not eaten since I got here and I was here at around seven this morning Harry. I saw you in the kitchen and you didn’t have any breakfast. It’s now almost midday and you’ve yet to eat something!” Remus scowled at him as they entered the park.

“I’m fine, don’t worry.” Harry said mildly.

“How can I not, with you starving yourself!?” Remus demanded of him, “This on top of the fact that you’re constantly trying to maintain a reasonably cheerful air around everyone despite your being miserable. If you’re not even going to be truthful about how you’re feeling then why on earth should I trust that you can take care of yourself?” Remus watched Harry carefully to observe his response.

“Can you blame me for being miserable?” Harry asked him, “And everyone’s always so bothered about me even when I’m happy! If I appear unhappy then don’t you think that’s going to get even worse?”

“If you want leaving alone you have only to say, Harry.” Remus said to him, “But letting people know that you’re unhappy won’t hurt. People can’t expect you to be particularly cheerful after what’s happened.”

“I know. Just forget about it, Remus.” Harry said to him as they walked around the park. When Remus had visited him for the first time Remus had been irritated by his still calling him ‘professor’ and he argued that Harry hadn’t been his student for more than two years. Despite this Harry still occasionally called him ‘professor’ to annoy him when in better spirits. This was not one of those occasions however. They talked more as the completed their lap around the park and wandered elsewhere around the town. Remus had tactfully changed the subject of their conversation to something else which was of interest to them both - something he was getting quite good at since Harry often dodged discussions of a certain nature – namely of himself.

“I hate to leave you but the Order are meeting in five minutes.” Remus said to him as they walked back down towards Privet Drive. Harry nodded to him, quite sorry to lose his company. “I’ll see you again in a day or two.”

“Alright.” Harry smiled at him as they stopped at the end of the street. “I’ll see you then.”

“Take care of yourself Harry, please.” Remus said to him, resting his hand lightly on his shoulder and examining the boy’s face which was lacking any real happiness although that was to be expected, he supposed. He noticed how tired he looked and how the dark shadows under his eyes were beginning to give him a gaunt look. He told Harry that he needed more sleep and Harry’s complete and utter lack of energy that day had confirmed that he just wasn’t sleeping properly as well as eating. If he carried on the way he was then chances were that he would have collapsed by the end of the week. He sighed inwardly and hoped that Harry would heed his pleas to take better care of himself.

“I will.” Harry said earnestly. He knew that he had recently been depriving himself of sleep and food and was fully aware that it was doing him no good. If Remus was noticing how thin and tired he looked then he supposed that he should at least attempt to do something about it. He smiled slightly to the man who bid him goodbye before disappearing from the deserted street with a crack, leaving an odd feeling on Harry’s shoulder where his hand had been a moment before. He turned and walked past the sign which read ‘Privet Drive’ and walked slowly back to his prison.

A/N: Those of you who have read my first fanfic 'Harry Potter and the Hopefully Interesting Sixth Year' are probably thinking that I'm going to end up writing the same story again but with a few slight differences. If you keep with this though I would like to show you that this is not the case and there is a vague sort of plot in the works which shouldn't be very similar to the one in my other fic, although Remus and Harry's relationship will probably end up being the same. Hope you liked this chapter and I hope to get a new one up soon :o)

Chapter 2: The Last Will And Testament Of Sirius Black
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Two days after Remus had left Harry to go to an Order meeting they had met again during the afternoon. Remus had challenged Harry to a duel which he warily accepted and after a couple of minutes Harry found himself knocked to the floor and thoroughly beaten. After that he made a mental note not to duel with Remus again.

Remus smiled at Harry as he helped him up from the floor. He had been better than he had thought he would be and if he had actually beaten him then he would have been utterly astounded. Harry winced slightly as he put his weight on his left foot, remembering that he had hit it hard when he had fallen. Remus cast a levitation charm on Harry and lifted him across the room and onto the bed. He was slightly irritated by the little amount of effort it required from him to levitate the thin boy and he could only hope that Harry would heed his pleas to eat more, if he could.

From what Harry had been told he had found that there were only two more weeks he would have to endure with the Dursleys before he could leave to go to Grimmauld Place but from the very slight change in his expression Remus gauged that Harry wasn’t too keen on returning there either. Not that he could blame him. He spent as much time away from the place as he could to avoid the memory of Sirius which seemed to engulf the house. He missed Sirius so much. For two years he had his friend back that he had lost so many years ago and then he had been snatched away from him. His mind wandered back to the piece of parchment which lay in his cloak: Sirius’ Will. He had left the house and half his money to Remus and only his good will and best wishes to Harry. He had explained that Harry wouldn’t want or need either the house or the money but Remus might. There was one thing which was in the house that he knew that Sirius would have wanted Harry to have though, something that he hadn’t mentioned in the will knowing that Molly would read it. His flying motorbike. He had managed to regain it and Remus knew that he had gone out on it many times during the last two years whilst under a disillusionment charm. He had kept quiet about it however, knowing that Snape would love the opportunity to charm it to pieces. Instead he had kept it quiet, knowing that some time soon he would inform Harry all about it and naturally teach him to ride it.

“Remind me never to duel with you again.” Harry said when the levitation charm had been taken off him and he dropped a couple of inches onto the bed. His head was aching from a mild curse which inflicted enough pain onto the opponent to distract them from the duel. Unfortunately Remus had held it a little too long and the result was a headache for Harry.

“You’ll get better if you practice.” Remus told him as he put a healing charm on Harry, sending an odd numbing sensation through his head which slowly disappeared, leaving no ache.

“No, I’ll just get headaches.” Harry scowled at him before his expression faded into a mild smile. He felt much better of late just because he was eating a little more. He was still not sleeping however, he just didn’t feel safe. Last year Voldemort had accessed his head easily whilst he was asleep and the cost? Sirius’ life. He couldn’t afford to do the same thing again which was the reason for his only having two or three hours sleep each night when he could take the exhaustion no longer. Even when he did allow himself some sleep he spent much of his time practicing his occlumency before hand which brought him closer to the brinks of exhaustion and on more than one occasion he had simply fallen unconscious during his practices. No one knew about that however, the closest anyone was to discovering the fact that he was spending only 2 to 3 hours sleeping each day and that he was rigorously practicing his occlumency was Remus, who thought he wasn’t sleeping as well as he could have been.

Remus ran his eyes over Harry, noting how frightfully thin he was and the bags under his eyes. He was worried about him, there was no denying it but similarly there was no denying that he had the right to be worried. The boy was starving and exhausted. Remus felt the guilt at Harry’s state on his shoulders. After all, he was his new guardian, his new godfather. He had read Sirius’ last will the day before and Sirius had wanted Remus to look after Harry once he was gone but would Harry want that? How would he see it? As Remus trying to take his place? He bit slightly from worry and wondered whether or not he was doing the right thing by offering to look after Harry. But how could he refuse? Sirius stated in his last will and testament that he, Remus, would take care of Harry when he was gone and Harry clearly needed looking after. Remus’ eyes focussed on Harry and the room he was in once more, realising that he had just spent quite some time staring into space whilst Harry watched him patiently, waiting for him to come back to the real world. He mumbled an apology and wandered from the bed on which he was perched to the window. Outside in the sunshine he could see children of all ages playing games and laughing. That was what Harry should have been doing – leading a normal, carefree life. Not dwelling on his lost godfather and the ever mysterious prophecy. He could feel Harry’s eyes watching him, waiting to see what he would do. He didn’t know when he was going to show Harry Sirius’ will. He partly wanted to keep it hidden from the boy and pretend as if he had never received it, if only so that Harry would never know that he had been assigned as his new guardian. At the same time the rest of him was dying to be close to Harry and take care of him. He decided that he would leave it with Harry when he left. Then another part of him started to wonder whether or not it was right to leave a young, miserable child to read the last letter of his late godfather on his own. What do you think he’s going to do if you leave him alone with the letter? Soak it in poison and then eat it?! His mind demanded of him. It wasn’t as if he was suicidal or that the letter was likely to push him over the edge of a metaphoric cliff of depression onto the jagged rocks of self mutilation below.

He turned from the window to look at Harry who was charming his quill so that it floated above his head. He made it change a variety of colours before making it spin and orbit the light fitting in the ceiling. Then once he was done with that he transfigured it into something close to a Galleon. Sensing Remus’ stare, Harry glanced in his direction.

“Do you think I could spend this?” Harry asked him as the fake Galleon fell into his hand from a few feet above.

“I doubt it.” Remus said, finally dragging himself away from his thoughts and back into Harry’s room. He walked over to him and sat down on the edge of the bed. Reaching out to Harry’s hand, Remus took the coin from his fingers and turned it over where the word ‘FAKE’ was printed repeatedly on the face of the coin. He handed it back to him with a smile.

“Shame.” Harry said before levitating it slightly again and transfiguring it into a small bar of chocolate. “Do you think I could eat this then?”

“Don’t you listen in transfiguration?” Remus asked him exasperatedly, “Transfiguration only really changes face value of things, it’s not like you can actually change it from a quill to something edible.”

“So what happens if I do eat it?” Harry asked him and Remus smiled slightly at him.

“Then you’ll be eating a mysterious bar that is most likely compressed feathers.” Remus informed him and Harry looked at the chocolate dubiously. There comes a time in every Potter’s life when he tries to eat something he’s transfigured. Remus thought with a smile. Harry put the bar to his lips and bit into it slightly before spitting out a lot more feathers than he had bitten off. “Need I say that I told you so?” Remus grinned as he picked up the bar that Harry had bitten to see that it was in fact made up of lots of tiny feathers coated in brown. Apparently when you tried to eat it the feathers expanded and Harry must have eaten quite a few since he was still spitting them out. Harry tried to retort back to his comment but the feathers kept filling his mouth and soon the room was filled with them.

“You knew that would happen.” Harry scowled at him some minutes later when the feathery flow had slowed enough to allow him to speak coherently. He blew out another feather from between his lips which floated gracefully to the ground. “Remind me not to do that again.”

“Very well, from now on you mustn’t eat what you transfigure nor must you duel with myself.” Remus smiled as he took a feather from Harry’s hair, “Anything else?”

“No thanks.” Harry scowled as he started cleaning his room with his wand, vanishing away all the feathers. Remus didn’t stop to ask to where he had vanished the feathers or if he had just erased them completely. He didn’t stop to think that they could have been hovering right above his head until one stray feather fell from the mound above him and onto his lap. Remus raised an eyebrow and glanced up at them and down to Harry who smiled innocently.

“I wouldn’t if I were you.” Remus warned pointlessly as Harry flicked his wand. Suddenly they all fell down on Remus who blew them in Harry’s direction with a spell of his own.

“That’s not fair!” Harry laughed as feathers flew all around him. He forced a lot of them back around Remus and in a few short moments the room was filled with feathers flying everywhere and Harry and Remus sat on his bed in the middle of it all.

“I told you not to.” Remus grinned as the last of the feathers fell to the ground, leaving the room a field of white and brown. Remus himself looked relatively untouched except for a few feathers in his hair, where as Harry was covered.

Harry felt very glad that he had taken to locking his bedroom door with magic as Vernon rattled the door handle from the outside. Should he have come in to see the room covered with mysterious feathers and a mysterious man sat on the bed wearing robes, Harry doubted that he would have been particularly pleased.

“I want my tea and I want it now, boy.” Vernon shouted at him before stomping away across the landing. In Harry’s room Remus scowled slightly, it was clear that he didn’t approve of Harry’s being forced to wait on the Dursleys one bit. Remus couldn’t help but wonder at what Sirius would have done in the same situation. Probably gone down there and blown him up. Remus thought and tried not to like the idea of blowing up Vernon Dursley but it was of little use, the idea was just too appealing.

Glancing back at Harry, Remus saw that this time he was completely vanishing the feathers out of his room so that should one of the muggles walk in they wouldn’t be asking many awkward questions as to why there were three inches of feathers coating most of the floor. He felt quite a sense of disappointment as he told Harry that he was going to have to leave to go to tea at Grimmauld Place. He found that he was enjoying his time spent with Harry and didn’t particularly want to go back and spend an hour in the large kitchen listening to talk about Voldemort and Death Eaters and occasionally Harry, punctuated by the odd shout from Mrs Black when one of the twins would laugh too loudly or someone would apparate into the hallway or when anything of any slight disturbance occurred at all. Looking at Harry he saw that he seemed quite disappointed in his going as well, he supposed that he was the only remotely intelligent being he would converse with for most days and the only one who didn’t refer to him as ‘boy’ and order him to cook and clean and complete various chores around the house.

Harry sat on the bed and watched Remus get up and summon his cloak to him from the back of the door. The garment flew across the room to him and a letter fell out of it at his feet. Sirius’ last letter. He thought unhappily, Seems it isn’t too pleased about not being read. He bent to pick it up and as he did so Harry took the last remaining feather from his hair and transfigured it back to his quill. Remus watched him for a moment, trying to decide whether or not he should give Harry when he knew that he could barely keep it from him. The envelope was addressed to Harry as well as Remus, Dumbledore and a few others.

“What’s that then?” Harry asked Remus who realised with a jolt that he was still standing in Harry’s room with the letter in his hand. It would appear that the decision of whether or not to give Harry the letter had been made for him. He bit his lip slightly as he sat down next to Harry.

“Sirius’ will.” He said quietly. To which Harry responded with a small “oh”. Remus handed Harry the letter but Harry found himself not wanting to read it. It didn’t matter however as his hands moved automatically, mechanically opening the letter for him, and breaking through the Black family seal which Sirius used mostly to laugh at his family somewhere in the letter. Harry swallowed slightly before starting to read, noticing that Remus hadn’t left him like he said he was going to. He felt slight comfort in this; he didn’t want to be alone and the knowledge that the man was there, less than a foot away from him on the bed made him feel a little better. Slowly he began to read.

Dear Everyone.

This is the last will and testament of Sirius Black and I am of perfectly sound mind thank you very much. I suppose I’d best start listing my possessions and who they shall belong to now, after my hopefully dramatic demise.

I leave the house 12 Grimmauld Place, and everything inside it (including Severus Snape, should he be inside it. May you dispose of your newly inherited irritance in a suitable manner, Remus.) to Remus to do with it what he wishes, although I can’t imagine anyone wanting to do anything other than burn it to the ground to be perfectly honest, and my mother’s awful picture with it.

My money shall go to many people. Remus Lupin shall inherit half of the Black fortune. Dumbledore shall take one quarter and the Weasley family shall take another quarter. I leave no money to my godson, Harry, knowing that he would never use it, although I also know that Remus will use little of it himself.

Finally I leave the guardianship of aforementioned Godson, Harry Potter, to my oldest friend, Remus. I know that he will look after you as well as he can, Harry and will most likely not get himself killed the way that I have managed to. (I can only hope that Remus and I didn’t die at the same time, else you will be rather upset round about now). I hope you accept him as your guardian and godfather the way that you accepted me and I hope that you come to care for him as I know he cares for you. Take care of each other.

I hope to see you all in the reasonably distant future. Remember that I’m never truly gone and part of me probably hangs around Grimmauld Place, so stay away from there if you can.

I’m running out of ink, parchment and things to say now so I better end this now.

Good bye to all, I love you all too much to say (except for Snivelly of course.)

Yours Deadly
Sirius Black


Remus still couldn’t get over the fact that Sirius had managed to sign his will with ‘yours deadly’ and not have the sense to change it back. It had brought about a few snide comments from Snape, although that could be expected since he made a few unkind references during his letter. He looked to the side of him and saw tears glistening unchecked in Harry’s beautiful emerald eyes as his eyes moved down the parchment and flittered over his signature at the bottom.

Harry couldn’t believe it. Sirius was really gone. This letter had really forced his godfather’s mortality upon him and he felt the tears in his eyes fall down his cheeks in steady streams of grief. Beside him he remembered that Remus was still sat, presumably awaiting his verdict on the fact that he was his godson now. He felt Remus move closer to him and a moment later he felt his warm arms around him. Harry leant into the embrace of his latest godfather as everything overpowered him. It was just too much to take as his head began to ache, along with his heart as the tears flowed faster. His mind was filled with the department of mysteries and images of Sirius falling through the veil as Dumbledore speaking the prophecy rang through his mind. He nuzzled up closer to Remus who held him tighter against his chest, silently crying too. After a few minutes Remus’ eyes began to dry and he looked down at Harry whose cheeks were damp but no longer with fresh tears. He had fallen asleep, only confirming that Harry hadn’t been getting anywhere near enough sleep to function properly, let alone take a last letter from the closest thing he had ever had to a father. Remus yawned slightly. The full moon was approaching and he was a lot more sleepy than usual. He would just rest his eyes for a minute. Just a minute…

A/N: Yes.. It sounds kinda similar to the begining of my other fic but it will become more different! Promise! Unfortunately I just realised that it's also irritatingly similar to a scene in one of Pumpkin juice's stories which is damned annoying to discover after writing a whole chapter. Anyroad, I hope you liked it :o)

Chapter 3: Mind Games
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“Calm down, Mum.” Ron said to the woman who was ranting in the kitchen of number 12 Grimmauld Place and threatening him with a wooden spoon which in anyone else’s hands would have been laughable. In the fiery redhead's it was anything but. “I’m sure they’re fine.”

“But… what if…” Molly started before Hermione gently removed the spoon from her hands and Fred seated her around the table. There were Ron, Hermione, Fred, George and Molly all sat in the kitchen of Grimmauld Place, all discussing what could have made Remus four hours late for tea; it was unlike him to be late but not to turn up at all… As always, one of the twins managed to make the situation worse with badly placed comments.

“The Dark Lord could easily have hold of them by now and Merlin help them. Why, Harry and Remus could already be dead…” George said but broke off as Molly’s eyes filled with tears. Everyone scowled at him except for his twin who seemed to see no problem with his comment and even went as far as to smile at George who had come close to making their mum cry.

“Molly, nothing will have happened either to Remus or to Harry.” Hermione tried again to reassure her as Molly shakily lifted a cup of tea to her lips.

“So, what’s happening?” Tonks asked them all as she entered the room and wished she hadn’t upon seeing the grave faces that met her. “Crikey, who died?” Molly burst into tears at this point.

“Remus has been missing for about four hours.” Ron said. Tonks expression changed to worry for him as Dumbledore stepped through the fireplace elegantly.

“Remus is missing?” Dumbledore asked, “He was at Privet Drive last, was he not?” Ron nodded and with that Dumbledore disappeared with a small pop.


***


Harry sucked in a sharp breath as his eyes snapped open and he tried to pull away from whatever was holding him back. Whatever was holding him held onto him a little tighter and he took a few deep breaths after his dream before leaning back against Remus’ chest. Glancing around the room he realised that it was a lot darker than it had been before. Outside he could just see the sun sinking below the line of houses across the street, telling him that it was around half past nine: four hours after Remus said he would be leaving him.

“Are you alright?” Remus murmured softly and Harry jumped slightly, unaware that his latest guardian had awoken.

“I’m fine,” Harry said quietly, “Just a dream, that’s all.” He curled up a little closer to Remus who had wrapped his cloak over Harry to keep him warm as the cool evening air entered through the slightly open window.

Remus was certain that he heard someone murmur “Dead, my beard!” before there was a slight pop from somewhere in the room but surely it was just his imagination playing tricks on him after becoming disorientated by waking up with Harry at an odd time of day in a different house to the gloomy house of Black.


***


“Well?!” Molly demanded of the man who apparated into the room. She was on her feet the moment that he had appeared and Fred and George instantly moved to pull her back into her seat in case she knocked Dumbledore down.

“Harry and Remus are just as alive as I am.” Dumbledore said to her calmly.

“Well what happened then?” Molly demanded of him, as if she were over the initial relief of their being okay and now moved on to Remus’ insult of missing her meal.

“They fell asleep, I believe.” Dumbledore said to her as his mind wandered back to the will that lay on the bed and its contents. He could only assume that that was the reason for Harry lying in Remus’ arms. He only hoped that Harry would be as receptive of his new godfather as Remus was likely to be to him.

Molly opened her mouth to argue the point further but Dumbledore silenced her with a look before having Ron and Hermione removed from the room.

“But…” Ron tried to complain.

“When you have left school then you may join the Order.” Dumbledore said to him and Hermione as they left. Molly shot him an angry glare but said nothing as people began to arrive for the Order meeting.


***


“I’ll see you very soon, Harry.” Remus said as he gave him a quick hug before disapparating from the room. Harry lay down on his bed and stared up at the ceiling which was lit by the light from the lamp on his bedside table. He felt a strange feeling of discomfort inside him as he glanced at the letter which lay on his desk. Sirius’ letter. He wondered how wrong it was that he was getting close to Remus so soon after Sirius was gone. It had only been a month and already it seemed as if he was replacing him. Harry couldn’t help but feel certain that Sirius would have been rather irritated with him by now, considering the fact that he had managed to get him killed and was now replacing him with his best friend. On the other hand had it really been his fault that he died? And surely Sirius wouldn’t have wanted he and Remus to stay alone and unhappy. His head started to ache as his thoughts conflicted until all that was pushed from his head as Vernon knocked furiously on the door.

“Boy?!” The irate man shouted through the door. “You better have a very good reason for making me miss my tea!”

“Why the hell should I have to make your tea?!” Harry demanded through the door, a fit of anger taking him. “Make your own bleeding tea!” There was silence on both sides of the door after this and Harry silently cursed himself for his outburst against the man who would most likely knock him out the moment he opened his door.

“WE HAVE THE DECENCY TO FEED YOU, CLOTHE YOU AND PUT A ROOF OVER YOUR HEAD AND THIS IS HOW YOU REPAY US?!” Vernon yelled.

“YOU GIVE ME DUDLEY’S OLD CLOTHES, MADE ME SLEEP IN A CUPBOARD AND NEVER LET ME EAT AT ALL AND IN RETURN I’M EXPECTED TO ACCEPT BEING TREATED LIKE A SLAVE?!” Harry shouted at the top of his voice. No more sound came from the outside of the room and Harry couldn’t help but regret shouting at the top of his voice at Vernon, who had never borne his presence with good grace and after having a shouting match probably wasn’t going to like his company much more than before.

He waited around a minute for Vernon to retaliate against him but hearing nothing he retired back to his bed. He didn’t feel tired but he climbed underneath the duvet, pulling it up close around himself; despite the reasonably warm summer they were in the midst of, his room was always bitterly cold. He had originally suspected it of being something to do with Dudley’s breaking the central heating a few years ago when Harry had moved into his room but since it was July he thought that a rather dubious explanation. His eyelids shut as he buried himself under the thin duvet and he slipped into slumber.

“Gaining possession will be simple, although finding those willing to partake shall be rather more difficult.” Harry said to a quivering Wormtail who looked rather ill at being forced into his master’s company.

“Yes m-master.” Wormtail stuttered as he handed Harry a potion which he drank greedily. He felt strengthened somewhat and watched Wormtail intently for a moment until Harry felt a smile touch his features.

“Harry, we meet again.” Harry found himself saying and inside Voldemort’s head he shrank back slightly. “Do tell me, how are you after the demise of your poor godfather?” Harry bit back a retort in his head, knowing that it probably wouldn’t do him a lot of good. “Ah, I see you’re already replacing him… tut tut, Harry.” He felt that awful smile stretch across his face again and infront of him Wormtail looked utterly terrified, at either the idea of his master smiling or at Harry Potter being in the vicinity.

“How am I replacing him?!” Harry demanded of the ‘man’ although this time he didn’t feel his mouth move and knew he had only spoken in Voldemort’s head.

“With that fool of a wolf, of course.” Voldemort said smoothly. Dread filled Harry’s mind.
How had he known that?? Harry wondered. Clearly his skills in occlumency had managed to fail him spectacularly. He tried to force terrible images of Remus being killed by Voldemort in a variety of ways from his mind but the harder he thought against them the more they came back to haunt him. “See Harry, you can barely help yourself. Each time you lose someone you will always attempt to get closer to someone else and each time you get closer to someone else then someone else will always die. You cannot stand the isolation and you cannot stand to lose those you love. You are going to your death Harry Potter and there is nothing you can do to prevent it.”

Harry felt the awful truth in his words and suddenly the words of the prophecy filled his head.

The one with the power to vanquish the dark lord approaches... born to those that have thrice defied him, born as the seventh month dies—” Dumbledore’s voice said to him and he pushed it away as hard as he could, remembering too late that Voldemort only knew the first part of the prophecy. He pushed the thought from his head with the first image that came to his head: he stood opposite Tom Riddle in the chamber of secrets, Ginny Weasley lying on the floor behind him.

Inside Voldemort’s head he felt anger and irritation against him growing as he felt Voldemort trying to get past the barriers he had automatically put up against him to prevent him from gaining the information he sought.

—and the Dark Lord will—” Harry heard the prophecy continue and he pushed Voldemort away from him. He felt darkness engulf him and he was falling… falling…

Harry hit the floor of his bedroom with a thud and one floor below he heard an angry shout from Vernon. He was shaking madly and the prophecy seemed desperate to repeat itself in his head but each time it surfaced he pushed it away, unsure of whether Voldemort was in his head or not. He knew that since Voldemort was now so desperate to get hold of the prophecy it was now his priority to keep it from him at all costs. There was no telling when he would attack his mind again, he only knew that he would.

See Harry, you can barely help yourself. Each time you lose someone you will always attempt to get closer to someone else and each time you get closer to someone else then someone else will always die. You cannot stand the isolation and you cannot stand to lose those you love. You are going to your death Harry Potter and there is nothing you can do to prevent it” Voldemort’s voice rang out through his head and he saw a flash of green light. Remus fell to the floor and Voldemort laughed. A shudder ran through him and he suddenly felt very cold.

He shakily got to his feet and pulled himself back into his bed, curling up again feeling sleepiness creeping up on him as the time went by. He tried to stay awake but it was off little use. He could resist sleep no longer.


***


“I see you and Harry are getting on well.” Dumbledore said lightly as everyone but Remus had left the kitchen of 12 Grimmauld Place.

“What do you mean ‘you see we’re getting on well’?” Remus asked him and Dumbledore smiled at him.

“Someone had to check up on you when you were four hours late to dinner last night.” Dumbledore said to him and Remus realised that he must have seen them asleep. He chuckled slightly at Remus’ realisation. “Anyway, I hope all goes well for Harry and yourself. Merlin knows you deserve it.” And then he was gone. Remus was left standing in the middle of the kitchen on his own, left with two choices: retire to his room or go and see if Harry was still awake. He decided upon the latter and disapparated with a crack.


***


Harry jumped slightly as Remus apparated into his room. He had almost succumbed to sleep but his eyes snapped back open when his godfather appeared next to him.

“Sorry Harry, you weren’t sleeping, were you?” Remus asked as he sat down on the edge of his bed. Harry gave a reply muffled by the duvet, but one which still informed Remus that he hadn’t been sleeping. “Are you alright? You look a bit…” Remus trailed off, unable to describe what appeared to be wrong with Harry. Was it his eyes, which seemed wider than before? Was he paler? He didn’t know and the more he thought about it the more the answer seemed to elude him.

“I’m fine.” Harry said to him but even the way he said it seemed to indicate otherwise. Perhaps it was because the full moon was only in a day’s time and that was causing him to find fault with everything he encountered. But then again his senses had become greatly heightened and would continue to grow for another day yet. His senses had never led him wrongly, yet. His sensitivity to everything and his knowledge of it only seemed to confirm the fact that something was wrong.

“Are you sure?” Remus asked, “You don’t sound fine.” He looked hard at the boy curled up next to him, examining his expression for any traces of upset but all he found there was a blank appearance. Harry certainly was good at keeping his feelings hidden, he thought.

Harry made a noncommittal sound by means of a reply and Remus only narrowed his eyes slightly as he watched him, noting how Harry dodged eye contact with him.

“You know you can tell me if anything’s the matter, don’t you?” Remus said to him. Harry nodded. Inside him he was wandering whether or not to tell him about the dream he had had and see his take on the idea that Voldemort thought he endangered everyone who cared about him. He would naturally deny it, but he couldn’t help wonder if it was true. Sirius was proof of that, but then again Ron and Hermione also cared about him and they were still very much alive. He bit his lip slightly before giving in to Remus and he started to tell him about his dream.

He told him everything that had happened, and Remus scowled darkly when he mentioned Wormtail, although he almost thought that he saw some malevolent delight in the man’s eyes of the fear Wormtail had of his master. He noted how he saw a flicker of irritation when he told him that he had named his latest guardian as ‘a fool of a wolf’ but he didn’t comment and allowed him to continue.

“—apparently I can’t stand the isolation, nor can I handle it when everyone I care about is killed.” Harry said quietly.

“You know that’s not true, Harry.” Remus said, resting his comforting hand on Harry’s arm. “Not everyone you love is killed.” It just happened that both your parents and your first godfather were. He added silently in his head, although he realised that he may as well have spoken it aloud from the expression on Harry’s face. He slipped off the edge of the bed and crouched by Harry so that he could better see the child. For that was all he was, wasn’t it? He was only fifteen and he had a megalomaniac attempting to kill him. But then that same man had spent most of Harry’s life attempting to kill him. “I’m not dead yet, am I?” Remus said to Harry quietly, seeing the torment in his eyes he could already predict his answer.

“‘Yet’ being the key word here.” He said darkly.

“Don’t say that.” Remus said quietly and Harry regretted his implication that Remus would soon be killed. “Forget it and we’ll talk about that later, okay? Now tell me what happened after that.” Harry complied with his request and without thinking began to tell him about the way in which the prophecy had just started to repeat itself in his head.

“Hang on a second.” Remus said, breaking Harry off just before he would have spoken the first word of the prophecy. The moment that Remus stopped him Harry remembered that only he and Dumbledore knew the prophecy at that moment in time. “You know what the prophecy says…?” Harry nodded mutely. “Well, what does it say?!” Harry smiled sadly and shook his head. “Why won’t you tell me?” Remus asked, feeling slightly hurt that Harry wouldn’t tell him.

“Sorry, Remus.” Harry said quietly. He felt bad that he had to keep it from Remus and now he knew that he wasn’t being completely open with him but things were better this way, right? After all, it couldn’t do Remus much good to know that he had a fifty percent chance of living. Probably less, considering the fact that Voldemort was incredibly strong and powerful and he, Harry, wasn’t particularly strong and had an amazing knack for walking into traps and endangering people.

Remus watched him in frustration, which he was hiding remarkably well. He wanted to know what it said, although he already knew that it wasn’t anything good. It concerned Harry, he knew that much and the knowledge that there was a bad prophecy about Harry invoked his insatiable curiosity, which would and could only be satisfied when he knew the prophecy. One way or another he was going to discover what the prophecy said.

A/N: Sorry it took me so long to get this up but recently I've been drowning in coursework. Next chapter should be up by Tuesday at the very latest (or so I believe) :o). Cheerio!


Chapter 4: OWLs and Letters
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Dear Harry,

We’re all going to Diagon Alley today and I wanted to know if you were coming. We’ll be meeting at the Leaky Cauldron at around midday and Lupin says either he or one of the Order will portkey you there. If you can’t/don’t want to come then write back and we’ll send more members to take you by force.

See you later
Ron

P.S. Happy Birthday! You’ll never believe what Hermione got you… yeah that’s right, books! I got you something much better. See you at midday.

P.P.S. Before I forget, Dad might becoming an auror soon. The ministry are promoting loads of people and he’s one of them! How cool is that?!


Harry smiled at the letter from his friend. He had somehow completely forgotten that it was his birthday today, what with his waking up at the crack of dawn by Dudley’s screeching that he had a nightmare about ‘those cold things’ which Harry could only assume he meant dementors by. Vernon and Petunia had also come to the same conclusion and he had spent fifteen minutes being reprimanded for sending his sweet, innocent cousin evil dreams by Vernon whilst Petunia tried to calm her wailing son. Eventually Harry had managed to escape from Vernon when Dudley had stopped crying and started complaining about being hungry, something Harry had been forced to remedy by cooking breakfast for the entire family, minus himself of course.

Now he lay on his bed, reading the letters that he had charmed over to him and feeling the effects of his lack of breakfast. He hadn’t been writing to Ron or Hermione much recently and felt quite bad about it, although he knew that they both probably thought it was because of Sirius. He wondered how they felt about the fact that most of the Order had been seeing him more than they had. The next letter on the pile of many was from Hermione.

Dear Harry,

Happy birthday! I hope the Dursleys are treating you well, Remus says they seem to shout a lot though, and I can’t help but think that you’re the object of their yells. I’m staying at Grimmauld Place and writing home everyday – I think mum and dad aren’t too happy that I’m away at school all year round. They invited me to go skiing with them again but I said no, it’s not really my kind of thing. Ron’s been ridiculing me though, saying that skiing is stupid and why ski somewhere when you can fly on a broom. Honestly! I think he reckons muggles everywhere ski to work or something along those lines.

Anyway, Arthur’s getting promoted to auror status some time soon. Ron, Ginny, Fred and George are really pleased about it, although no one else is. I don’t think that they quite understand that Arthur has a lot more chance of being injured now that his job is to catch dark wizards. Oh well, don’t tell Ron I said that, he’s really pleased about it. Speaking of Fred and George, their joke shop’s doing really well, they’ve been making lots of money with their inventions and Molly got over the fact that they’re not taking NEWTS.

Have you got your OWLs yet? I got mine just before I started writing this. I got an O in everything, can you believe?! Ron’s not too pleased; he didn’t get an O in Potions so Snape won’t accept him in his potions class, even though he’s been following him round Grimmauld Place begging him to accept him into the class.

Anyway I better be going now, breakfast’s almost ready. I’ll see you at twelve; Remus says he’ll portkey you to Diagon Alley.

Hermione

Hope you like your present. Ron and I borrowed an owl to send them to you because Pig’s just useless. He flew into the kitchen window yesterday and knocked himself out. Ever since he’s been flying directly at the fire at every opportunity and Bill had to put a shield around it to stop him setting himself and the kitchen on fire!


He glanced down at the next letter as he moved the one from Hermione to one side. Seeing Hagrid's messy writing he smiled and picked up the next envelope.

Hello Harry,

How are you? I hope the muggles are treating you alright. I’ve been quite busy this summer, what with Grawp and everything but things are calming down a little now. I hear you’re coming to Grimmauld Place soon. I’ll see you there. I hope you got good OWL results, you’ll have got them at the same time as this.

Anyway I wrote this to say Happy Birthday! And now that I have then I’ll be going to see Grawp now. Take care of yourself.

Hagrid


Harry’s stomach turned nastily as he glanced down amongst his letters. Sure enough there was one bearing the crest of the Ministry of Magic and he knew with sinking apprehension that it contained his OWL results. Either that or he was being expelled for illegal use of magic. He could only hope that it was the former. He wished for more letters to read but now finding any he picked up his first present instead. It was addressed to him in Hagrid’s untidy scrawl.

Opening the package he found some rock cakes and a book on advanced Defence Against the Dark Arts. He ran his eye over the book and flicked through it to see the diagrams which showed drawn witches and wizards being hexes. He distinctly heard one of the pictures explaining how to properly cast a flame resistant wall of ice before he shut the book and moved it and the rock cakes (which he was wise enough not to eat) onto his desk before picking up his present from Hermione.

Surely enough it consisted of books. His eyes widened when he saw what they were however. Learning To Apparate and Becoming an Animagus. He could only speculate as to how Hermione had managed to buy him these books, after all she wasn’t old enough to buy either of them! He grinned as he looked back down at her present before putting both of them next to Hagrid’s on his desk.

Opening Ron’s present he found another book on advanced defence against the dark arts which he found rather hypocritical of him, considering that he had been complaining at Hermione’s present being a book and he had sent him one as well! That wasn’t all though. He had also bought him a snitch. He stared at it in amazement as it fluttered out of the box that it was wrapped in and commenced to fly around his room. It became apparent to Harry that it wasn’t just Ron that had sent the parcel. Inside he found loads of Fred and George’s stuff from their joke shop, a hand made card from Ginny, a small cake from Molly and another card signed by seemingly everyone: Ron, Hermione, Fred, George, Ginny, Bill, Charlie, Molly, Arthur, Tonks, Mad Eye, Dumbledore, Professor McGonagall, Remus and even Snape. He stared at the card for quite some time, taking in all the different names and staring at Snape’s in disbelief. He wondered how much Remus had to pay him to convince him to sign the card.

Now, after he had put his two cards up next to his presents he realised with a sinking feeling that there was only one more envelope which lay unopened on his bed: his OWL results.

“Aren’t you going to open them?” Remus asked Harry, appearing next to him with a crack, causing the latter to jump slightly.

“Don’t do that!” Harry scowled at him before his eyes drifted back to the letter. He stared down at it as he turned it over and saw the seal of the Ministry of Magic. He felt butterflies in his stomach and to the side of him Remus was watching patiently.

“Well you don’t have to open them.” Remus said. “But if you don’t you’re never going to find out whether or not you got an O in potions…”

“I suppose…” Harry mused, “Wait, how do you know that I wanted to take potions?”

“Professor McGonagall mentioned it when Ron got his results this morning.” Remus replied, “Let’s see if you managed to get into his class.”

“I can’t… you do it.” Harry said and handed the letter to Remus.

“If you’re sure.” Remus said and opened the letter. A smile touched his face as he scanned the letter quickly. Harry looked up at him expectantly. “You got a P in defence against the dark arts.”

“What?! Let me see that!” Harry said and snatched the letter from Remus. His eyes opened wide as he saw his results, “I got an O.” He said numbly. “Snape’s going to have a fit!” He couldn’t wipe the smile from his face as he looked over his other grades.

Defence Against the Dark Arts – O
Potions – O
Charms – O
Transfiguration – EE
Herbology – EE
Care of Magical Creatures – EE
History of Magic – A
Astronomy – A
Divination – P


Remus smiled at Harry as the boy stared at his results. He did have very good results, although he wasn’t particularly shocked that he had failed divination.

“Anyway, what are you doing here?” Harry asked Remus once he had got over his initial shock of his results. “You’re not meant to be coming until twelve.”

“I know, but since you’re staying at Grimmauld Place for the rest of the summer I assumed you’d want to get your things over there first, probably argue with the Dursleys and then meet up with everyone at midday.” Remus said.

“Okay then.” Harry said. He watched in interest as Remus summoned his trunk onto the bed and cast a seemingly simple charm causing all his clothes and belongings that he wanted to take with him to Grimmauld Place and then school to fly into the trunk. Remembering the spell that Tonks had cast the year before he noticed that the clothes and things were a lot more neat and orderly than they had been when Tonks performed the charm. When everything was inside Remus told Harry to shrink the case to pocket-sized, which he did to his satisfaction.

“Very good, Harry.” Remus said to him as Harry took his trunk and put it in his pocket. “Now let’s go see the Dursleys.” Harry looked quite ill at ease with the idea of their going to see his magic-fearing relatives downstairs but he knew he probably didn’t have much of a choice in the matter as he followed Remus from his room.

“Do we have to do this?” Harry asked him quietly as they stood in the hallway, next to the closed door leading to the front room.

“You don’t, but I do.” Remus said to him, “You needn’t come in if you don’t want to.”

“No, I will.” Harry said rather unhappily. “What are we waiting for?” He opened the door and stepped inside, followed by Remus.

Inside the room, Vernon Dursley was sinking into an armchair by the fire whilst on the sofa opposite, Petunia sat watching the TV whilst Dudley played on his latest gameboy. Upon Harry’s entering the room they all looked up; Harry had just taken a step into the family room, and being a room for the family meant that Harry’s presence was strictly prohibited.

Vernon opened his mouth to say something but shut it quickly as he saw that Harry was not unaccompanied. As he noticed Remus, dressed in robes, wand sticking out of his pocket his face changed at an alarming rate from red to white.

“What do you want?!” Vernon managed to choke out of himself as he rose to his feet. “How dare you enter my home?! I must insist that you leave immediately!” Harry instinctively took a step back from his infuriated uncle but Remus stood behind him, not allowing him to move further than a few inches. He felt Remus’ reassuring hand on his shoulder as Vernon advanced another cautious step towards them.

“I merely want to take Harry from your care,” Remus said, “He won’t be returning until next summer and we shall be leaving directly.” He narrowed his eyes at the man infront of him. He wondered how in a million years two sisters had chosen such different husbands as Vernon shot a contemptuous glance at the boy infront of him. He looked to Petunia who was a similarly pale colour to her husband but she sat quietly, watching the scene with interest and fear.

Vernon was in a strange state of indecision on the matter at hand. On the on side he wanted to have the boy out of his house and never have him come back, on the other he knew that a wizard had just entered his house without his allowance and wanted repayment in someway. Petunia seemed to sense this as she interjected.

“Just take The Boy and go.” Petunia said to Remus who looked slightly taken aback at hearing Harry referred to as ‘the boy’ but put a little more pressure on Harry’s shoulder as he pulled him away.

“Come on, Harry.” Remus said to him.

“You heard, boy.” Vernon said coldly, “Get out!”

“Bye.” Harry said as he turned and left the room with Remus in tow. When they left the room Remus couldn’t help but notice the look of relief on Harry’s face. From a conversation with Arthur Weasley this morning he thought better than to ask for a goodbye from the Dursleys but he had never thought of how hostile they could be to him. He felt his anger surge up against the Dursleys as he recalled that it was Harry’s birthday, he knew for a fact that they would have given him nothing on the occasion and wondered briefly whether or not they had even acknowledged the day. Over the holidays he had rarely seen him interact with the Dursleys at all during the holidays and it would appear that he now knew the reason why.

Harry looked at Remus who looked slightly irritated which was something new; he had never seen Remus anything but perfectly calm. He wondered if a normal person of less control over their composure would have been fuming when at his stage of irritation but decided against asking.

“I can’t believe they just call you ‘boy’” Remus muttered darkly in the hallway, not really directed at Harry.

“Are we going then?” Harry asked and Remus seemed to snap out of it and looked to Harry with his usual calm mask back over his face. Remus nodded, not trusting his voice in case it should betray the anger he felt against Vernon.

Portus.” He said, touching a small biro with the tip of his wand. He held it out to Harry who touched it with his finger.

Vernon Dursley sighed in relief as he watched Harry and that mysterious man disappear out in the hallway after taking hold of a pen. He felt the same way each year when the boy disappeared and he could only hope that this time it would be for good.

A/N: People are beginning to read my story now :o) which is fabulous! Next chapter should hold Diagon Alley and possibly Grimmauld Place. That will be up before Tuesday I think. Thanks for reading!

Chapter 5: Diagon Alley
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Harry accepted Remus’ hand as the man pulled him to his feet; he still couldn’t stand after taking a portkey anywhere. That was something he definitely needed to improve at.

He looked around him and saw that once again he was back in the kitchen of Grimmauld Place. It looked as dreary as ever and there was an eerie silence in the house. Remus explained to him that everyone had been at the Burrow earlier on due to it’s being an altogether more homely place than the house of Black.

“Good morning, Mr Harry Potter, sir.” Dobby greeted him from the doorway. “How might Dobby be of assistance to you?” The bizarre house elf dressed in an odd assortment of clothes walked quickly over to him.

“Why are you here, Dobby?” Harry asked the elf.

“Great Professor Dumbledore asked for Bobby’s service after most horrid elf Kreacher took his own life, Sir.” Dobby replied bobbing up and down.

Remus stood to the side of them both, watching the unusual conversation between overexcited house elf and teenager with interest. He knew that Dobby liked Harry a lot and admired him to no end, after all he had spent the last week being berated by Snape after hearing him referring to Harry as ‘the great Mr Potter’. Needless to say, Snape hadn’t been all too thrilled and neither had Dobby when Snape was finished.

“Kreacher killed himself?” Harry asked, surprised.

“Yes, he hung himself in the attic. Molly found him and nearly screamed the place down.” Remus replied. “Dobby, if you would be so kind as to take Harry’s things upstairs for him…”

Remus summoned Harry’s trunk to him from his pocket and enlarged it back to it’s natural size. Dobby nodded to them both before he and the trunk disappeared with a crack.

Portus.” Remus said, touching the biro that they had taken back to the house with the tip of his wand and holding it out to Harry, who didn’t look particularly happy at the moment. He touched it with one of his fingers and the two of them disappeared from the room…

Reappearing outside the Leaky Cauldron a moment later. Harry almost fell again but Remus caught him easily and set him back on his feet.

“I hate portkeys.” Harry muttered.

“They’re not my favourite way to travel. It’ll be much better when you can apparate.” Remus said and shot Harry a sly glance. “Judging from your presents I’d say that won’t be in any great length of time.”

“How do you know about that?” Harry asked him, wondering how he managed to know so much.

“Who do you think bought the books in Flourish and Botts? Hermione wasn’t old enough to do it.” He smiled at Harry who looked quite astounded that he would break the rules like that. “Oh, I didn’t do it, if that’s what you’re thinking. I think it was Tonks. Dumbledore thinks it could be very useful for you to be able to apparate and possibly become an Animagus, although neither of them will be easy. He also wants to have you trained for some reason as well…” Harry felt his stomach churn as he knew that Dumbledore was most likely wanting to discover the power within him that Voldemort had not. Remus watched Harry’s reaction to this carefully, seeing only a slight alteration in his face when training was mentioned. Although the change was only slight, it was a change nonetheless. He wondered briefly whether or not this had anything to do with the ever elusive prophecy that he had been trying to get from other members of the Order recently but from his careful questions he could tell that none of them knew any more about it than he did.

“Why do you think Dumbledore wants to train me then?” Harry asked him. Remus opened his mouth to reply with a wry comment that Harry should know that but he never had the chance; Harry was surrounded by people a moment later.

“Harry!” Molly Weasley cried as she hugged him tightly. “Happy Birthday!” She hugged him again. “Did you get my cake? Did you like it?”

“I’ve not eaten any of it yet, Mrs Weasley.” Harry smiled as she released him from her suffocating hug. “I’ll share it with Ron and Hermione later.”

“Harry!” Came two cries from behind him and he turned only to have himself dragged into a tight embrace by Hermione and Ginny all at once. Behind them Ron stood with Fred and George looking rather amused.

“Happy birthday, mate!” Ron shouted over the two females.

“Did you get my card?”

“Did you like the books?”

“Guess what Fred and George sell in their shop…”

“…all Os in my OWLs.”

“Whoa!” Harry said, pulling away from Hermione and Ginny after their tirade of conversation.

“Come on, let’s go sit down in Florean Fortescue’s and you can all talk there.” Remus said, walking across to them and putting a hand on Harry’s shoulder to steer him away down Diagon Alley. Everyone followed quickly and Harry found himself walking to the ice-cream parlour with Ron on one side of him and Remus on the other.

“So what did you think of my present then?” Ron asked him as they walked along.

“Very hypocritical.” Harry said in reply and grinned at his friend who was trying to remember what ‘hypocritical’ meant. On the other side of him Remus, Tonks and Mad Eye were talking out of Molly’s earshot.

“Well personally I think that Potter could be a dog like Sirius was. He was very attached to him and his loss has affected him deeply.” Mad Eye said quietly.

“It’s affected everyone.” Remus replied.

“Yes, but he was the only father figure he’s ever had. I know it was bad for you, Remus, but think how badly it must hurt for Harry to finally get a parental figure in his life and then have him snatched away two years later.” Tonks said and glanced at Harry who was chatting with Ron about the snitch that he had bought him.

“We can try it out later on. There’s a field nearby the house and Tonks put anti-muggle charms all around it so that we can practice Quidditch there. It’s really cool and Kingsley’s great at Quidditch.” Ron said before adding in an undertone, “Although he looks really stupid on a broom.” Harry laughed quietly and turned around to see Kingsley walking along next to Hermione and Ginny, telling the former about what it took to become an Auror. Hermione was deep in concentration on the matter.

“So you need Os in all four of your NEWTs?!” She asked, sounding quite worried about the matter.

“Yeah, but from what I’ve heard, I’m sure you’ll do fine.” Kingsley said and Hermione blushed slightly before letting her eyes flicker to Ron and Harry to check that they weren’t listening to the conversation.

“Anyway, Hermione’s been practically drooling over Kingsley all summer.” Ron muttered to his friend who grinned. “He’s got no hair for Merlin’s sake!”

“Has she broken it off with Krum then?” Harry asked, interested in the affairs of his friends.

“Oh no.” Ron said darkly, “She’s been writing to Vicky all summer. She got Tonks to try and help her write a decent letter to him the other morning.”

“How’d that go then?”

“Not too well.” Ron replied. “You know Tonks, she spilt the ink everywhere and Hermione spent another half an hour cleaning up. Then she went to mum instead.”

“And she helped?” Harry asked.

“Nope.” Ron said, “She ended up telling her all about love letters and things from her youth. Got nothing done but Hermione was all giggly afterwards.”

“So who did she go to then?” Harry asked, wondering just how many people Hermione had gone to for assistance with this mysterious letter.

“Then she went to Lupin to ask for help.” Ron said and they shared a rather confused look.

“I know he’s intelligent and all,” Harry said, “But Remus is a single man; he’s not likely to be much good on the love letter front.” Ron nodded and then looked at him strangely.

“Since when have you called him ‘Remus’?” He asked, “You always called him ‘Lupin’ before.”

“I know, but he got sick of me calling him ‘Professor’.” Harry explained before glancing at his new godfather and wondered whether anyone else knew that he was now his godson. He heard a few words of their conversation but tuned out of it and turned back to Ron, knowing that he wouldn’t like to have his conversations eavesdropped on, even if it did seem to be centred around random animals.

“Could be a cow.” Tonks suggested with a smile on her face.

“A cow?! What use is an Animagi that can become a cow?!” Remus asked, laughing slightly.

“It doesn’t matter whether or not it’s useful.” Mad Eye said, “The form chooses the wizard.”

“Really?” Tonks asked.

“Did you think that Pettigrew was likely to choose to become a rat?” Mad Eye asked. “No, it’s based on personality, ancestors and experiences. That kind of thing.”

“Like a Patronus then.” Remus said and Mad Eye nodded.

“Maybe he’ll be a phoenix.” Mad Eye said.

“A phoenix wouldn’t be much good.” Remus said.

“Why not?” Tonks asked him.

“Then you’d be able to spot him really easily. There’s only Dumbledore with a phoenix and it’s not as if they all look the same, is it?” Mad Eye said, explaining for Remus. “Could be an owl; he’s always tried to fit in and owls are common animals.”

“And then he’d be able to fly.” Remus said. “Could be very useful, being an owl.”

“Wouldn’t it be funny if he was a slug?” Tonks said. “Don’t think he’d transform much then.”

“How likely is he to be a slug?!” Mad Eye scowled. “He could be a lion though.”

“That would be good but only once.” Remus said, “If he transformed into a lion then he could scare people to death but then when there was a lion walking around the grounds then everyone would know who it is.”

“True.” Mad Eye submitted. “He could be a wolf, you know.”

“Could be.” Remus said, quite hoping that Harry would be a wolf.

“He could accompany you on full moons then, Remus.” Tonks said to him.

“No.” Remus said firmly, “When we did that when I was at school it was dangerous and stupid and someone could have died… As if I’d knowingly put Harry in that kind of danger now.” He said and Tonks regretted having said it. Mad Eye was intrigued however, wondering about his antics during the full moon as a boy. He didn’t ask however as they slowed and waited for Harry and Ron who were walking along a little way behind them. Further back still Kingsley walked with Hermione and Ginny. Then right at the very back of the group were the twins with Molly, who was shouting at them for something undoubtedly to do with the joke shop.

When Harry and Ron caught up with them then they turned and sat down outside the ice-cream parlour on one table which magically extended itself as more people arrived on the scene. Soon all eleven of them were sat around the table as they ordered ice-creams from Mr Fortescue. The arrangements as to their company had changed and Harry found himself sat between Hermione and Mrs Weasley. Opposite him sat Ron with Ginny and Tonks, chatting about Quidditch.

“Anyway I reckon it’s gonna be Harry who gets to be the team captain this year.” Ron said, feeling a slight twinge of jealousy.

“You never know, Ron.” Tonks said to him, remembering that Ron was on the team as well. He had heard Remus discussing Harry’s Quidditch talent with Minerva a few days ago and from that she had judged that he was an excellent seeker. Of Ron she hadn’t heard anything except a comment about his winning a game for them the year before when Harry had been banned for some unknown reason.

“No, I do.” Ron said quietly, hoping that Harry wouldn’t hear, “McGonagall thinks he’s a brilliant player, he’s her favourite.”

“So what? Doesn’t mean that he’ll be captain.” She said to him and Ginny murmured something in agreement to the statement.

Listening in to the conversation Harry scowled slightly at the jealous behaviour that his friend was displaying but tried to remember that he was the youngest boy in the family and had a lot to live up to. He bit back a retort against Ron, as Hermione carried on talking very quickly about the NEWTs she was going to take.

“Well obviously I will be taking defence against the dark arts, and charms, and transfiguration. I’m not sure about potions, I mean it’s a useful subject and all but then again I really like Arithmancy. If I take that I can’t be an auror though because I was talking to Kingsley earlier and he said that I’d need defence, potions, charms and transfiguration to become an auror but I suppose there are other careers open as well as a dark wizard catcher.” She took a breath. “Anyway, Ron didn’t get into Potions because he didn’t get an O. Did you?”

Harry paused for a moment, allowing everything she had just said to him to soak into his mind, enabling him to make a response.

“Yeah, I did actually.” He said and grinned.

“Oh Harry! That’s wonderful!” She said and gave him another hug. She seemed to be very into hugging him today. “You can take potions with me then!” Harry opened his mouth to comment upon her previously being unsure as to take potions or not but then a snide comment from someone he least wanted to see stopped him.

“You’re not seriously telling me that Potter got an O in potions?” Severus Snape sneered from behind him. Harry turned around to face his potions master who seemed to loom over him and he resisted the urge to shrink away from the man. “You can barely stir a cauldron, boy, let alone achieve an Outstanding OWL.”

“Funny how I got an ‘O’ next to ‘Potions’ on my results then, isn’t it?” Harry said to him coolly, not responding when Hermione kicked him hard in the shins to stop him from talking back to Snape.

Down the table Remus scowled darkly at Snape. He had just called Harry ‘boy’ and the Dursleys filled his mind with their contemptuous looks at Harry and their airs of superiority. He had half a mind to leap to his defence, knowing that Harry shouldn’t have to go from sneering muggles to sneering wizards but he kept his silent retorts as just that: silent and watched to see what would happen between student and teacher next.

“I shall not be teaching you potions, Potter.” Snape said coldly, “I shall not teach Weasley and O or not, I shall not teach you.”

“By Merlin’s beard you will, Severus!” Professor McGonagall said from behind him. She had seen Severus making his way to the party of people outside the ice-cream parlour and knew that there was no way he was going to be pleasant to Harry, recently deceased godfather or not. “Harry, do you wish to take potions next year?” She asked him.

“Yes, Professor.” Harry answered politely. A slight smile crossed Minerva’s face and a dark scowl took over Snape’s.

“I won’t teach him.” Snape said.

“Then you won’t teach anyone.” Minerva said in a firm tone. “He got an O in potions and he will take it and you will teach him.” Snape glared at her but said nothing in return. He knew that he was defeated and he knew with a feeling of fury bubbling up inside him that he was going to have to teach the damned child.

“Let’s just hope your new godfather lasts a little longer than your last, Potter.” Snape spat, not wanting to leave without the upper hand in the argument. “Although if I were in his position I think I’d kill myself first, save the Dark Lord the bother of murdering another one of your guardians. Three down, maybe soon it will be four.” He shot Harry a contemptuous look as he turned and walked away from him, Harry leapt to his feet and at the other end of the table so did Remus, who arrived in time to stop Harry from lashing out at Snape.

“Shame you’re not in his position, then you could kill yourself first and do the world a favour.” Harry shot back at him.

“He’s not worth it, Harry.” Remus murmured to him out of Snape’s earshot as he tried to pull him away from Snape, whose face had contorted with hate for the boy before him.

“I think it would be better if it were you that died, Potter.” Snape scowled at him, “After all, I am doing the Order good service, you seem only to hinder it and get it’s members killed. You see, I have importance in this war, where as with you there is no importance whatsoever. You only believe that you are important.” Snape saw Harry and Remus both react to this and smirked, knowing that his job of irritating Lupin and Potter was complete.

“I’m a hell of a lot more important than you, Snape.” Harry hissed at the man, unheard by all but Remus, Snape and Dumbledore who arrived some moments before.

“Severus, Harry.” Dumbledore said to them, “Stop this childish behaviour at once. We are all on the same side, are we not?” Harry looked at Dumbledore with fury at Snape still burning in his eyes and Snape looked coldly at the headmaster with his trademark sneer still fixed firmly in place. “Severus, if you are here only to goad Harry then I suggest you leave.”

“Yes, headmaster, after all, what else is there to my existence except provoking children?” Snape sneered.

Enough Severus, now go elsewhere.” Dumbledore said sternly to him and Snape raised an eyebrow at the man’s patronising tone but didn’t dare to retort as he left and settled with a glare at Potter who returned it.

Harry muttered a dark stream of insults at the man as he left, which went unheard by anyone but Remus who scowled at his language.

“If I hear you use language like that again I’ll hex you, Harry.” Remus said to him quietly as they faced Dumbledore who looked slightly amused by the whole incident but hid it quite well.

“Harry, Professor Snape does not know of which you speak and will believe you to merely be conceited. I plan on revealing the truth soon enough to the Order, should I have your permission to…?” Dumbledore said and behind Harry, Remus looked distinctly puzzled.

He must be referring to the prophecy. Remus thought and it was confirmed in his mind as he remembered Dumbledore telling him quite sternly almost two weeks ago that it was Harry’s prophecy to tell, not his own.

“Yeah, I don’t mind.” Harry said wearily.

“If there is anyone you wish to tell then you may want to inform them before the next Order meeting which will be in three day’s time.” Dumbledore said to Harry and behind him Harry noticed that Professor McGonagall looked rather mystified as to what their conversation alluded to.

“Yes, Professor.” Harry said.

“Oh, and Harry?” Dumbledore said, causing Harry to turn back to him, “Happy birthday.” Harry couldn’t help but smile at his professor finishing his serious conversation about Snape and the prophecy with wishing him many happy returns.

“Albus,” Minerva said, “I must speak with you about…” Harry stopped listening as he returned to his seat opposite Ron who was trying not to laugh.

“I can’t believe you argued with Snape!” Ron said to him, “And got away with it!”

“I doubt he got away with it, Ron.” Hermione said, next to Harry. “Snape isn’t likely to make things much easier on you after that; especially not in his classes.”

“Yeah, trust you to start a fight with the worst teacher in the school just before you start another two years of lessons with him.” Ron grinned.

“Maybe he’ll forget by September.” Harry suggested hopefully.

“Snape never forgets.” Tonks said from next to Ron.

“That wasn’t my preferred response.” Harry sighed as he looked down at his ice-cream that was slowly melting. He didn’t really want it anymore.

“Are you going to eat that?” Ron asked him. Harry shook his head and Ron grinned as he took the ice-cream from his friend.

“Don’t be so greedy, Ronald!” Molly said loudly, causing the whole table to turn and look at him which in turn made his ears go bright red as he shrank down in his seat.

“So who is your new godfather that Dumbledore mentioned then?” Ron asked through a mouthful of ice-cream.

“Yeah, you haven’t told us yet.” Hermione said.

“Really?” Tonks asked, “I thought you read Sirius’ will, Ron.” As she mentioned Sirius Harry felt a feeling of unhappiness pass through him. He wished that his godfather, his original godfather could have been with him on his birthday instead of dead on the other side of a mysterious veil in the department of mysteries.

“I didn’t really, I just glanced over it.” Ron said. “Why? What does it say?”

“Sirius said that he wanted Remus to be Harry’s new godfather.” Tonks said. At the other end of the table Remus glanced up at them, hearing his name. Ron and Hermione looked at him with interest and his eyes met Harry’s. His godson smiled slightly at him and he smiled back before reverting back to his conversation with Arthur and Mad Eye.

“It’s very difficult to become an Auror.” Mad Eye said, “Normally it takes about five or six years of training.”

“And we’re getting a short course of two months.” Arthur said unhappily.

“I can’t see aurors with only two months training being up to much, personally.” Remus said, not wanting to offend Arthur, but they all knew that he was no auror, and couldn’t be without the necessary years of training.

“I know.” Arthur sighed, “Ron, Ginny and the twins are really happy about it though. I don’t think they really know how serious this is.”

“Probably not.” Mad Eye said, hoping that Arthur wouldn’t meet his end working as an auror for the ministry as he had almost done many times before. “The twins are doing well though, I hear.” He said, tactfully changing the conversation from his misfortune to his sons’ success.

“Yeah, they’re making lots of money and that added to what Sirius left… well we’re a lot better off that we once were.” Arthur smiled.

“The Malfoys aren’t pleased though.” Remus said, “From what I’ve heard Narcissa thought she was due almost all the Black fortune that he inherited and she didn’t get a Knut.”

“Good. The more irritated those people are, the happier I am.” Mad Eye smiled sadistically, earning a shake of Remus’ head and a grin from Arthur.

“It’s not as if they need the money though.” Arthur said.

“Even if they did would you give it to them?” Remus asked and Arthur laughed.

“So that it can go towards the means to destroy my family? Not likely.” He said as he looked at his family down at the other end of the table, all smiling and talking amongst themselves. His wife was chatting to Tonks a little further down, Fred and George were scheming as always, Bill and Charlie had joined them a few minutes earlier and were talking to each other about Dementors in Azkaban, his youngest son and only daughter listened to Minerva who was talking to Harry about something. Probably Quidditch. He reasoned. Harry was close to a son anyway and Molly was so attached to him you would think he had always been a member of the family. Ginny looked down the table at her father and pulled a face at him before turning back to her professor.

“Anyway, I would like you to be the Quidditch captain this year, Mr Potter.” She said to Harry whose eyes widened slightly.

“Sure.” He grinned.

“We’ll need almost a whole new team: three chasers and two beaters. They won’t be easy to find but I’m sure that you can manage.” She said to him, “I’m becoming accustomed to beating Slytherin, Mr Potter; I hope that next year won’t be any different.” With that she nodded to him and excused herself as she moved further down the table to where Dumbledore was sat now discussing things with Mad Eye.

“Oh well, Ron.” Ginny said to him, “At least you’re a prefect.”

“Yeah, it would be a bit unfair if you were a prefect and Quidditch captain as well.” Hermione said. Harry kept his mouth shut, thinking that he didn’t think it would be totally unfair for someone to be both, if they were good enough. The knowledge that Ron would take it as a direct insult to his Quidditch skills managed to keep his mouth firmly closed however, and he tried to stay invisible and uninvolved in the conversation.

“And being a prefect is better than being Quidditch captain.” Said Ginny, “It means your better at things all round instead of just being good at Quidditch which is pretty useless anyway.”

“That is so not true.” Harry said. You kept yourself out of the conversation really well there. He thought sourly and cursed himself for being so outspoken.

“It is, I’d rather be a prefect than Quidditch captain any day.” Ron said across the table to him.

“That’s rubbish!” Charlie said, entering the conversation suddenly, “It’s much better to be Quidditch captain!”

“No way, prefects are much better!” Ron argued.

“Nope, ‘fraid not, little brother.” Bill said to him.

“What’s going on?” Tonks asked at the other end of the table.

“Potter’s just been made Quidditch Captain by Minerva here.” Mad Eye, motioning to the stern woman on his left, “And the young Weasley isn’t too happy because he wanted to be Quidditch captain as well.”

“But Ron’s already a prefect.” Remus said.

“I know, which is why Miss Weasley is saying he’s selfish.” Minerva said. “And now they’re arguing about whether or not it’s better to be a prefect or Quidditch captain.”

“Quidditch captain is better, easily!” Bill said at the other end of the table.

“No way,” Hermione said.

“Yeah, it’s alright for girls to be prefects because everyone thinks that they’re alright still.” Charlie said to her.

“But when it’s boys people just think that they’re teachers’ pets and losers.” Fred said, emerging from his plotting to add to the conversation.

“That is so not true!” Ron argued.

“It bloody well is.” Remus muttered from the other end of the table and Mad Eye and Tonks laughed. Dumbledore smiled at them all and watched the arguments ensue.

“Where as everyone always thinks the Quidditch captain is really cool and athletic and all that.” Bill said, “I wish I’d been Quidditch captain.” Ron scowled darkly at this comment and seeing the expression on his face everyone at that end of the table went quiet and decided to leave the discussion alone.

“Anyway I thought that Potter only wasn’t a prefect because you thought he had enough to deal with at the time, Albus.” Mad Eye said. Ron glared at Harry after this comment, which was heard by all due to the awkward silence after Bill’s previous statement.

“I cannot believe this.” Ron said coldly to Harry, “You’re Quidditch captain and you were meant to be a prefect. Well you can just take your stupid Quidditch captainness and your stupid prefect self and—” He glared at Harry once more, who was sat next to his mother and decided against finishing his insulting sentence and stormed off through the crowded street, leaving a stunned table sat behind him.


Chapter 6: Meeting the Malfoys
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“That wasn’t your fault, Harry.” Hermione said to him once Ron had disappeared from sight and most people had gone back to talking about the latest argument between Ron and Harry. “He was stupid to just storm off like that, you had no choice about being Quidditch captain, just the same as he had no choice in being a prefect.”

I know that.” Harry sighed, “Do you think I should have gone after him?”

“No, he’d probably have hit you.” Ginny said, speaking from experience.

“He’ll calm down later on.” Hermione reassured him.

“He better do, I’ll be sharing a room with him.” Harry said.

“Oh yeah, I forgot you’re coming to Grimmauld Place today.” Hermione said, “Dobby’s there.”

“Yeah, I know.” Harry said and rolled his eyes.

“Well if he doesn’t get over it then we can test some of our latest products on him as revenge for you, Harry.” Fred grinned. Harry wondered what Ron would do if his brother tested some jokes on him as revenge for his own best friend. He would instantly assume that even his brothers had taken Harry’s side, which would not be good. On the other hand it could be utterly hilarious to see Ron under the effects of some bizarre new Weasley contraptions.

“No testing things on Ron!” Molly shouted at Fred.

“Anyway, even if we can’t test things on Ron,” George said under their mother’s strict glare, “You can still be cheered up by Dobby.”

“What could be more pleasing than a mad house elf?” Fred asked.

“A mad house elf who’s devoted to you.” George added and Harry sighed; having Dobby around was not going to be fun. At least he would be better than Kreacher though. Glancing down the table he saw that his newly appointed godfather was discussing Ron as well, with those sat near him.

“Well I think that Ron overreacted completely.” Mad Eye said just after Arthur had left to go sit with his two eldest sons.

“Of course he did, but he’s in the shadow of five other brothers who have all made something of their selves in one way or another. He wants to prove himself.” Tonks said.

“And hearing you say that it should really be Harry that’s the prefect probably didn’t help matters much.” Minerva said to Mad Eye who looked sheepish, or as sheepish as a man with a large, electric blue eye set on a menacing scar-covered face could look.

“I agree.” Tonks said. She glanced at Remus who was staring intently at the table and had lost track of the conversation some time since. His mind had wandered back to the conversation whilst Snape had been there some time earlier.

“If there is anyone you wish to tell then you may want to inform them before the next Order meeting which will be in three day’s time.” Dumbledore had said. Remus couldn’t help but hope that Harry would tell him before he found out along with everyone else. Should he make friends with Ron again he would probably be telling him as well, although Ron wouldn’t be finding out during the Order meeting and everyone else would be.

“Remus?” The gruff voice of Mad Eye brought him back out of his trance-like state and he glanced around at the people there and smiled slightly.

“You’re a little out of it today, Remus.” Minerva said to him.

“I’m fine, just thinking, that’s all.” Remus replied.

“I’m sure he’ll tell you, Remus.” Dumbledore said to him from the side and Remus looked at him, surprised.

How does he always know?! He wondered and the old man winked at him. His eyes moved automatically down the table to Harry who was looking a little uncertain of himself since Ron had disappeared, and with him being surrounded by most of Ron’s family he couldn’t really blame him.

“Don’t worry, dear.” Molly said to Harry from the side of him, “He’ll come around, he’s just a little hot-tempered recently, that’s all.” She smiled at him and he smiled back slightly. At least Mrs Weasley hadn’t turned against him for his argument with her youngest son.

“I suppose we should be going to buy things for next year soon.” Hermione said.

“Ah yes.” Dumbledore said from the end of the table, although when he spoke everyone else went quiet in order to hear what he had to say. “That reminds me.” He clapped his hands together and a small form and a quill appeared infront of Hermione and Harry. Harry didn’t doubt that one similar would have appeared infront of everyone else in their year at that moment in time.

The letter had the Hogwarts crest at the top of it and there was a list of subjects there. He could see the four that he wanted amongst that list although looking down it he could see that there was no Divination there. He glanced at Hermione’s and saw that her list was quite a few subjects longer than his.

“How on earth did you manage to get an O in Astronomy anyway?!” Harry asked her, remembering the night they had taken their astronomy exam and looked up the table to Professor McGonagall who had taken four stunners to the chest that night. Everyone had been very shaken up by it, Hermione included, and yet she had managed an Outstanding grade in the subject. It just wasn’t fair.

Hermione only shrugged in reply as she looked down the list longingly at Arithmancy as she ticked defence against the dark arts, charms, transfiguration and potions. Once she had done this her piece of parchment folded itself up quickly and both it and the quill disappeared. A second later a new piece of parchment appeared infront of her with a list of books and potions ingredients she would need for the coming year.

Harry looked down at his own list; charms, transfiguration and defence against the dark arts were already ticked. He stared at the box marked ‘Potions’ and sighed as he ticked the box; signing himself up for two more years of torture. A moment later an identical piece of parchment to Hermione’s took it’s place.

Across the table, Ginny was looking down her booklist at what she was going to need for the next year.

“After Gringotts we’ll go to Madam Malkin’s.” Ginny said to Molly who nodded to her.

“Alright Ginny.” She said, “Well let’s be off then, you have a lot of shopping to do.” Harry sighed as he got up from the table along with Hermione, Ginny and Mrs Weasley. He always hated shopping; it just had no appeal to him.

The four of them said goodbye to everyone else at the table, all of them resolving to meet back there in two hours time. After that Harry, Hermione, Ginny and Mrs Weasley set off towards Gringotts a little further down the street. Luckily he had remembered the key to his vault and fished it out of his pocket as they entered the building.

Soon the four of them were sat in one of the carts in the bank and Harry felt his stomach drop unpleasantly as they took a dip downwards as they made their way to his vault. He got out of the cart and didn’t bother to shield all his money as he had once done from the Weasleys as he filled his bag full of galleons and a few sickles and knuts. He got back into the cart and it set off again at frightening speed through all the tunnels and passageways underneath the main bank as they made their way to the Weasleys’ vault. Harry couldn’t suppress a smile as he saw Mrs Weasley get out of the cart and open the vault, where she was greeted by mounds of gold which were more numerous than the piles of silver by far.

Once they had done in the two vaults Hermione went and changed around two hundred pounds into galleons and sickles before they went back into the street to commence shopping.

“Are we going to Madam Malkin’s?” Ginny demanded of her mother who nodded submissively as the four of them went to the shop for robes a few doors down. Inside the three of them were measured up for new sets of school robes by little Madam Malkin. They all paid for their purchases and left with a bag in their hands.

“So where to now?” Ginny asked her mother.

“The apothecary.” Molly said and walked off down the street with the other three in tow. Harry had always hated the apothecary and as he entered he remembered why; as he entered he breathed in the horrid, choking fumes and fought the urge to hold his breath, knowing that he would pass out before he managed to make it out of the shop again if he tried. Beside him Hermione looked a little ill from the smell of it all herself but she didn’t comment and glancing down at their lists they started to buy the ingredients that they needed.

“That’ll be three galleons, twelve sickles, please.” The woman behind the counter said to Harry as he went to buy his potions ingredients for the year. Using his not particularly advanced mathematics he worked it out to around eighteen pounds, which wasn’t too bad, he supposed considering that he generally bought around the same amount of potions ingredients each year and he had never yet run out. He paid and a moment later Hermione went to the till, paying just less than him with three galleons, ten sickles and 4 knuts.

“So where now?” Harry asked when they got outside, a small bag which magically expanded when opened, allowing it to be filled with vials, bottle and jars of potions ingredients.

“Well I’ve got to buy a new cauldron after Neville burnt the bottom out of it last year,” Hermione said.

“And I need a new wand.” Ginny said.

“Well we’ll go to Flourish and Blotts first then you can all go to your separate shops.” Molly said to them, leading them back down to the other end of the street.

The bookshop was always busy and today was no exception as the four of them entered. It was quite large and had expanded since Harry’s last visit. He pulled out his booklist for the year:

Advanced Charms for the Advanced Student by Selena Spellbound.

Transfiguration: Changing Things Because You Can by Ermond Toade.

How Not To Be Killed: Defence Against The Dark Arts by Louis Tremmer.

Complex Potions For The Simple Student by Phyllis Phungal.

The Standard Book Of Spells: Grade Six by Miranda Goshawk.

Glancing at Hermione’s list, Harry saw that the two were the same. He sighed inwardly with relief at not being the only one told to get Complex Potions for the Simple Student. Snape’s glee if he was the only one who bought that book would be endless.

He and Hermione turned away from Ginny and Molly as they disappeared into the crowd to try and find the books that they needed. The closest ones to them were the Standard Book of Spells series, which were needed by all students in the school and a large supply was close to the doorway. They each took a copy of the sixth book before turning around to find their bearings.

“Potions, this way.” Hermione said to Harry, taking hold of his sleeve and pulling him through a group of people and into a small part of the shop which seemed darker than the rest. They quickly found the book that they were looking for and Harry turned it over to read the blurb on the back:

Learn to bottle fame, brew glory and even stopper death in this potion filled tome, no real intelligence necessary!

Part of it read. Harry stared at it and a slight smile crossed his face as he realised where Snape had got his yearly speech. Either that or one of his past students had written the book and stolen his yearly speech. Harry didn’t mind which one it was because both scenarios could be amusing. Glancing back at his list he decided that they should attempt to access the busy section on transfiguration. Taking hold of Hermione’s wrist, he lead her through the crowds of witches and wizards to the other side of the shop where the saw Seamus, Dean and Neville talking with a copy of their transfiguration book in their hands.

“Harry! Hermione!” Neville said when they spotted them coming towards them.

“Hey.” Harry smiled as he and Hermione took a copy of the books each.

“You’re taking Potions?!” Seamus said incredulously to Harry. “You must be mad, mate.”

“You must have got an O in your OWLs though…” Dean said, staring at Harry who grinned and nodded.

“Saw Ron a bit ago.” Neville said, “Heard you’re Quidditch captain.”

“Yeah, well done!” Dean said to him.

“Ron’s not too pleased though.” Harry said.

“We know, he seemed a bit peeved off as he mentioned it.” Seamus said, “Hope you get a good team together this year, we’ll need one to beat the Slytherins. Heard Malfoy’s just getting together the biggest people he can and the best at hexing people.”

“Fabulous.” Harry sighed and his three friends gave him encouraging looks whilst Hermione browsed the shelves behind him.

“Anyway, I have to go, my gran’ll be wondering where I am.” Neville said to them, “See you on the train.”

The four of them bid him goodbye as he walked off through the crowds to leave the shop.

“We’ll see you later.” Hermione said when she was done looking at the books.

“Yeah, see you.” Dean said to her and Harry as they turned and disappeared through the crowds. Now all they had left to find were books for charms and defence against the dark arts.

“They’re upstairs.” Hermione said.

“I didn’t know there was an upstairs.” Harry said to her.

“Oh yeah, they’ve been extending the place recently. Apparently they want to have about three floors of books when they’ve finished.” Hermione said to him as they made their way over to a staircase in the shop. “The only problem is getting enough books to fill the floors.”

As they reached the staircase an alarm went off in the doorway and they saw Neville being dragged into the back of the shop by two security guards.

“I just forgot to pay, that’s all!” Neville cried as they pulled him away.

“Sure you did, that’s what they all say!” Said a security guard as he was taken away.

“Poor Neville.” Hermione said as the two of them turned back to the stairway and walked up onto the next floor of books. There were two large sections up on the first floor: charms and defence against the dark arts. This floor was a lot less crowded than the rest of the place had been, to Harry’s relief. They walked over and got their charms books with no trouble at all and then wandered into the defence section where they found Remus idly browsing the shelves.

“Having fun?” Remus asked them. Hermione nodded before her eye was caught by a book further down the section and she wandered away to go have a look. Harry pulled a face at all the things he was carrying. “Here.” Remus said to him and shrank his potions ingredients and his robes down to a size where he could easily fit them into his pocket.

“Thanks.” Harry smiled as he put all his recent purchases inside his jacket pocket.

“Don’t you think you have enough books on defence to be going on with?” Remus asked Harry as he took a book from the shelf.

“This one’s for school.” Harry said as he glanced over the cover of How Not To Be Killed: Defence Against The Dark Arts by Louis Tremmer.

Now with the ‘How Not To Be Killed’ box set, you too can avoid certain death in certain perilous situations.

‘How Not To Be Killed: Charming your own Socks’

‘How Not To Be Killed: Shopping’

‘How Not To Be Killed: Eating Toads’

And now, for a limited period of time, ‘How Not To Be Killed: Poisoning Penguins’ comes with a free copy of ‘How Not To Be Killed: Overspending on Unnecessary Reading Material’


Harry raised his eyebrows at the blurb on the back of the book which Remus read over his shoulder.

“‘How Not To Be Killed: Poisoning Penguins’?” Harry muttered as he stared at the page.

“People poison penguins all the time Harry.” Remus said with a grin. “As useless as most of that collection of books is, that one happens to be somewhere close to useful.”

“You don’t happen to know who the dark arts teacher is this year, do you?” Harry asked him.

“As a matter of fact—” Remus said but was cut off from a snide comment from behind the bookshelf.

“Anyway Father wants to have Dumbledore removed permanently, after the line of defence against the dark arts teachers we’ve had, I can’t say I blame him.” The sound of Draco Malfoy’s confident sneer floated through the bookshop and Harry narrowed his eyes. Realising how likely Harry was to start a fight with Malfoy in the middle of the bookshop Remus clamped his hand down firmly over Harry’s mouth as he tried to make a retort.

“Do try to keep quiet, Harry.” Remus murmured to him as he went back to glancing over the bookshelves for anything of interest to him. Harry scowled at him and tagged along after him down the isle.

“Now Draco, you shouldn’t say such things. After all, it wouldn’t do to have everyone thinking that I’m wanting to supersede Dumbledore, no matter how true the statement may be.” Came the voice of Lucius Malfoy at his son’s side as the two of them rounded the corner and found themselves on the same isle as Harry and Remus.

Harry actually heard the sound of contempt as they spotted he and Remus.

“I see you managed to buy your way out of Azkaban then, Malfoy.” Remus said as the man passed them with a superior smirk on his face.

“At least I have the money to buy myself out, wolf.” Lucius said, turning around to face Remus who turned his back on him and walked away. “Don’t you dare turn your back on me you filthy half-breed!” Remus turned to face him with a calm smile on his face, hiding his irritation. Harry didn’t managed to mask his own feelings quite so well and was working hard at biting back numerous retorts.

“And what honour do you have that would have none turn their backs on you?” Remus asked him quietly, “Any ‘honour’ that the name of Malfoy once held was gone once you joined the Death Eaters more than a decade ago and now that you’ve just been released from gaol I can’t see you being particularly well respected in the wizarding world.”

“At least I was imprisoned for assisting in the purification of the wizarding race.” Malfoy said, “More people respect that than you would think.”

“More people condemn it than you would think.” Remus said coolly.

“Ah, you are right; more do condemn than support it.” Lucius said, “But it matters little of the amount of people that support the purification process, and you: a filthy half-breed will be one of the first to be purified.” Lucius Malfoy smirked.

“How terribly interesting for you to say so.” Remus said lightly, “Although you appear to have forgotten one small fact: that Voldemort apparently has an army of ‘Dark Creatures’ such as werewolves, so how likely is he to wipe them all out?” Lucius narrowed his eyes dangerously but was saved from any retort by his wife appearing by his arm.

“Lucius, let us be away from such people.” Narcissa said as she looked down her nose at Harry, who gave her a cold look. “Come, Draco.” She took her husband’s arm and together they marched off down the isle whilst their son strode after them. Harry scowled darkly at the latter and stuck his foot out as he walked past. Malfoy stumbled and glared at Potter, whipping out his wand from his pocket.

“Draco!” Lucius barked at him, marching back towards his son and grabbing hold of his collar he dragged him away. “You might get fleas.” He warned and Harry shot him a look of fury before they disappeared around the corner.

Once they had gone Remus smiled and went back to browsing the shelves idly for anything of interest.

“What was all that about?!” Hermione asked, scurrying around the side of the shelves and standing next to Harry with her hand on her hip.

“The Malfoys trying to stir things up, as always.” Remus replied without turning to look at her.

“Why aren’t I surprised?” Hermione asked coldly. “Anyway, I really have to go buy a new cauldron. I’ll see you at half past three outside Florean Fortescue’s’. She turned away from them both and disappeared through the bookshop with a stack of books in her arms.

“Looks like I’m following you around for another hour or so,” Harry said to Remus who smiled slightly.

“If you insist.” Remus said as he wandered through the shelves of books, Harry tailing him around the shop. Remus turned around to see Harry stood right behind him. He took a step down the isle and Harry took a step behind him, maintaining the distance between them. Remus took another couple of steps and Harry did the same. Remus quickly ran around the side of the bookshelves and turned to see Harry still behind him. He narrowed his eyes at the boy and disapparated with a crack.

“That’s just not fair!” Harry said and from behind him Remus laughed.

“Come on, let’s go pay for these and get out of here.” Remus said to him. They both disappeared down the stairs, glancing around the floor below for any sign of the ridiculously blond hair which signified the Malfoys but there was no indication of their presence and they both assumed that they had left the shop.

They left the shop some time later, Harry with another shrunken bag in his pocket and hoping that they wouldn’t decide to expand to their original size whilst still in his pocket, an event which had once occurred to Neville at school. Thankfully Harry’s bags stayed at their miniature size.

“You’ll have to practice with that Snitch Ron bought you later on, Harry.” Remus said as they passed Quality Quidditch Supplies which was closed for unknown reasons.

“Yeah, but it won’t be much fun without Ron.” Harry said gloomily.

“I’m sure you’ll both make up again, you always do.” Remus said lightly as they wandered down to the far end of the street. Eventually they were as far down the road as they could go and stopped outside a single shop.

“Wow…” Harry said as he stared at Weasleys’ Wizarding Wheezes. The shop was much larger than he could have ever imagined and stretched over two floors. He didn’t want to think how much the shop had cost them, but glancing around he realised that he had never been this far down into Diagon Alley before and the shops that were here seemed to have bigger, better counterparts up towards the Leaky Cauldron.

“Things have never been so busy down here.” Remus said, “They’ve attracted people right down the alley and of course now everyone wants to know what’s so interesting. They’re making a lot of money and even Molly doesn’t mind that they dropped out of school anymore.”

They filed inside the shop with half a dozen other people to find the Weasley twins inside, surrounded by people. Laughing and shouting over the top of them. The crowd parted easily for Remus who made his way to the front, whilst Harry slipped between people, taking a rather more difficult approach to making it to the front but getting there all the same.

“Aha! Welcome to Weasleys’ Wizarding Wheezes!” Fred said when he spotted Harry and Remus next to the till.

“What do you think?” George asked Harry.

“Amazing.” Harry grinned at him.

“Go have a wander round then, it’s not like we’re going anywhere.” Fred told him. Harry walked away and looked around the shop. The bottom floor appeared to be where they kept all their less dangerous pranks and amusements from what he saw, up on the first floor were things such as fireworks and explosive firewhisky (‘Explodes in the drinker’s face, or your money back!’). There were quite a number of people looking at fake wands which could turn into anything from a toad to a small dragon, new potions they had concocted that would turn the drinker into Dolores Umbridge for the day, a product which had sold extremely well over the last couple of months but wasn’t doing as well as previously.

“We’re going to be replacing those soon.” George said from behind Harry.

“What to?”

“New ones which will hopefully make you become Snape or Trelawney if we can get the mixture right, at the moment we can only get a normal Snape though.” George explained.

“Normal Snape? What else did you have in mind?” Harry asked, quite interested to see what alternate Snape they wanted the potions to create.

“The Snape that Neville saw against the Boggart years ago.” George said and Harry laughed.

“How are you ever going to manage to do that?!” Harry asked in amazement.

“Well we’re not certain yet but we’re probably going to have to get hold of Neville and a Boggart for it to work.” George said, “So it could be quite some time until we manage both.”

A series of loud clanging from the wall made Harry glance up to discover that the time was a quarter past three. Two small ginger wizards had walked out of the sides of the clock and were cursing a blond wizard smaller than themselves in the middle whilst clanging came from the clock. Harry couldn’t help but feel amused by the clock on the wall as he turned to walk back down the stairs with George. Glancing back at the timepiece he saw that the blond wizard had fallen to the ground and the other two were dancing back into their holes at either side of the clock.

“How much money did you spend on all this then?” Harry asked Fred when they got back to the tills. Remus had been glancing around at some of their more interesting items whilst listening to Fred trying to figure out how to make some kind of map of Hogwarts for the students. He couldn’t help but smile inwardly at the idea of their replicating the Marauders’ Map, although he couldn’t seem them managing particularly well, especially if they tried to mass produce it.

“We spent the full 1000 galleons.” Fred replied, “And that bought this place and some stuff to start making products with. Now we’re easily making enough money to carry on with the shop and there’s a load spare too.”

“Yeah, we can pay you back the money if you want it.” George said to him.

“No chance.” Harry said, “I neither want it nor need it.” Remus glanced at him whilst he overheard the conversation, wondering why he had given the twins 1000 galleons. That was a lot of money in the wizarding world.

“Let’s be going then.” Remus said to Harry.

“Are you coming?” Harry asked Fred and George.

“Nah, way too busy now!” Fred said to him, “Tell mum we’ll be home for tea though.” Harry nodded as he and Remus were swept away by the crowd and left the shop.

“You gave them a thousand galleons?” Remus asked, raising an eyebrow once they were outside. “Do you know how much money that is?!”

“Enough to buy a joke shop.” Harry replied.

“Enough to buy a large joke shop in the busiest Wizarding shopping area in Britain!” Remus said, “Where on earth did you get the money?”

“Triwizard tournament winnings.” Harry said and forced all memory of his fourth year from his mind.

“Oh,” Remus replied as they walked up the street together. He had never had a full account of the happenings during Harry’s fourth year owing to the fact that he very rarely read the Daily Prophet due to it’s libellous nature. He had spent quite some time avoiding Rita Skeeter once the school had found out that he was a werewolf. It hadn’t been easy to escape but he had managed it, and what’s more he had also only just made the inside pages with a small column about how awful it was that he had evidently tricked Dumbledore into accepting him as a teacher. From the letters he had received from Sirius during Harry’s fourth year, he found that the Prophet had not been very nice to Harry and Rita Skeeter had been snooping around the school for any interesting tales to tell about the boy. He never touched the paper after that.

Then of course he had tried to gain the information about Harry’s entrance into the tournament from Sirius, and was denied it. Then he attempted to discover how he had done in the tasks and received a short dialogue concerning dragons and the lake which had made little sense to him before that conversation had ended. And the third task? No information whatsoever. Sirius had turned up at his door sometime after the third task had been completed after being present at Harry’s debriefing by Dumbledore but he had evidently been rather shaken up by what he had heard there. Remus had questioned him occasionally on the subject but Sirius changed it swiftly afterwards. Dumbledore explained that Voldemort had returned using a ritual involving Wormtail and Harry (which had made his blood boil, remembering how Harry had allowed Wormtail to live. He had been right to do so of course, but then Wormtail was willingly being used for Harry’s destruction which only served to infuriate him). He also found in the first new Order meeting that Mad Eye had been locked in his own trunk for the entire year and subdued under the Imperious Curse, whilst an impostor spent the year working for Voldemort and endangering Harry. There had been a maze though, he knew that, and there had been a portkey to Voldemort. And that was the extent of his knowledge.

Remus scowled and made a mental note to ask Harry about his fourth year, if he was willing to divulge the information, and ask him about it if he was not. Having heard a few interesting tales of Harry’s first and second years at the school when he taught there he resolved also to ask about that.

He glanced at Harry who was walking silently by his side, having noticed that Remus was clearly lost in his thoughts he steered him through the crowd when necessary. His mind still seemingly disconnected from his body he realised that he had been walking along all this time. As a cool, self-important Ministry official strode past them, Harry gently pulled Remus out of his way and carried on walking next to him. He took his eyes from Harry and glanced around the street. With a jolt he realised that they had made it all the way up Diagon Alley without speaking a word to Harry and thinking about him all the way. He saw most of the Weasleys, Dumbledore, Minerva, Hermione, Tonks, Mad Eye and now Filius Flitwick sat outside the ice-cream parlour and realised that they must be the last two to arrive.

“Let’s be going then, shall we?” Molly said as they arrived.

A/N: Do you know what's a brilliant idea? Having chapters pre-written so that I can just post them when I need to. For example, this is chapter 6 (or so I believe) and I am currently just beginning to write chapter 8, which means I can randomly post whenever I feel like it. Cool huh? Anyways, next chapter to be posted when I've finished the eighth. Cheerio! :o)


Chapter 7: Grimmauld Place
  [Printer Friendly Version of This Chapter]

Dumbledore rose from his seat and quickly charmed one of Molly’s shopping bags to fulfil the function of a portkey. Everyone reached out to the shopping bag and took hold.

A moment later they all landed in the kitchen of Grimmauld Place. Harry was helped up from the floor by Professor Flitwick who smiled and wished him a happy birthday.

“Thanks.” Harry smiled at the man, unsure as to why he was there.

“Filius is the newest member of the Order.” Dumbledore explained to Harry, and to Ron, Hermione and Ginny who were pulling themselves back onto their feet behind him.

“Right, everyone out unless you’re going to help me with tea.” Molly said. A moment later the kitchen was empty. “Works every time.” She muttered to the silent room as Dobby appeared in her midst with a crack.

Out in the hallway Harry, Hermione, Ron and Ginny started up the stairs, leaving the adults below them talking quietly so as not to disturb the portrait of the late Mrs Black.

“Ron…” Harry said when they got to the top of the stairs.

“Yeah?” Ron asked good-naturedly as if nothing at all had happened between them.

“Uh… nothing.” Harry replied. Ron gave him a puzzled look and went up another flight of stairs and across the landing to their room. Hermione shrugged to Harry before the three of them followed him inside.

Harry pulled his bags out of his pocket and to his surprise they transfigured themselves back to normal size. Hermione had also charmed her bags to stay small but hers stayed the size she had changed them to when she removed them from her pocket.

“So where’s all your stuff then, Ron?” Hermione asked him as she removed all her things from her bag and made them the correct size before banishing them to her room.

“Erm… what stuff?” Ron asked. Harry and Hermione raised their eyebrows slightly as they looked at him.

“School stuff… books, robes, that kind of thing.” Harry said to him.

“Oh that… I forgot to get it.” Ron said confidently.

“You just forgot to buy anything for school whilst you were in Diagon Alley?” Hermione asked him, “You were gone for more than two hours!”

“I know, stupid huh?” Ron asked, “I can always go again before school starts.”

“Yeah I know, but…” Hermione said and gave up. Harry turned away from them and started to put his things away in his trunk at the end of his bed. Hermione quietly added “Anyway, I’m glad you’ve decided to make up with Harry after what happened earlier…” Ron looked nonplussed for a moment.

“Oh yeah, well it was pretty petty, wasn’t it?” Ron muttered.

“Let’s go play Quidditch.” Ginny suggested suddenly, having become bored of the little activity from the room.

“No, not now Gin.” Ron said.

“Yeah, we’ve only just got back!” Hermione said.

“Later.” Harry told her as he finished putting his robes in his and Ron’s shared wardrobe at the end of the room.

“What’re these?” Ron asked, picking up three envelopes in the doorway. There was one for each of them: Ron, Harry and Hermione. Ginny scowled at them all, feeling quite left out.

“Homework?!” Harry protested as he opened his, finding four sets of homework which were to be done by the start of term.

“Yes, Mr Weasley, you are set homework over the summer.” Professor McGonagall said to Ron when he went to complain at his teacher downstairs.

“That’s an outrage!” Ron said a little too loudly as screams filled the house.

“FILTHY HALF-BREEDS! MUDBLOODS! DEFILING THE MOST NOBLE HOUSE OF BLA—” Mrs Black’s rantings were cut short as the Order shot half a dozen spells at her at once. She screamed in horror as she began to melt from her now multicoloured state. The occupants of the house smiled grimly as she ran from the portrait and through a number of others, although where she finally ended up was a mystery to all of them.

“I would suggest you get all your homework done as soon as possible, Mr Weasley.” Professor McGonagall said to the teenager.

“Yes, I believe Miss Granger has already started.” Professor Flitwick said.

“What?!” Harry and Ron said in disbelief as they turned from their professors and walked into the front room where Hermione was absorbed in a potions book.

“Hermione!” Harry said, sounding outraged.

“The sooner I get my work done—” Hermione started.

“The sooner you can start on extra work!” Ron finished for her.

“Well fine, you can leave all your homework until the very last minute but then you’ll be sorry!” Hermione said to him and Ron scowled at her. Harry sighed in resignation.

“You can be so damned irritating at times, do you know that?!” Harry demanded of Hermione who smiled at him as he summoned his school things.

As you are about to enter your NEWT years, you will need to complete some homework during the summer in each of your chosen subjects. This homework should be handed into your subject teacher on your first lesson of the year. Failure to do this will result in detention which will be enforced more severely.

Defence Against the Dark Arts: One essay between one and two yards long entitled ‘The Correct Application of Shielding and Reversing Charms’.

Transfiguration: Five foot essay on the topic of transfiguring to life.

Potions: Three yards on potions which alter a person’s appearance.

Charms: Essay on freezing charms. Between 3 and five feet in length.


“Three yards for potions?!” Ron demanded as they all sat down around the small table. “That’s ridiculous.”

“It is indeed.” Tonks said, sitting down on the sofa to the side of Harry, joined a moment later by Mad Eye, Remus, Professor McGonagall and Professor Flitwick.

“Honestly, three yards!” Minerva said, “I only set five feet.”

“Is that all?!” Harry muttered.

“Sorry, Mr Potter?” She asked curtly, “Did you say something.” She received no answer but a slight scowl. “I thought not.” She said and everyone smiled slightly.

“I’m doing defence against the dark arts first.” Ron said to Harry. “Should be more interesting. What are you doing?”

“Potions.” Harry said glumly. “If I can get this out of the way then it shouldn’t be too bad, I hope.”

“I still can’t believe you got an O in potions.” Ron said to him as he pulled out some parchment and wrote his name at the top, “I had to take care of magical creatures instead.”

“You hardly had to.” Hermione said to Ron.

“Well if Snape wasn’t such a git and didn’t have ridiculously high standards then more people could take the subject.” Tonks said.

“Did you know that Malfoy didn’t get an O and Snape’s letting him take potions?” Filius asked.

“Really?” Hermione asked, turning around and abandoning her work.

“Yeah, he only got an A didn’t he?” Remus said.

“But Lucius bought that up to an E.” Mad Eye said.

“He never!” Ron said, turning around.

“He did. I saw his potions results after that exam.” Minerva said bitterly.

“I can’t believe Snape is so biased for Malfoy.” Hermione said darkly as she turned back to her work.

“You can’t believe Professor Snape is so biased for Malfoy, Miss Granger.” Filius corrected her and the adults laughed.

“Do you think I could buy my potions up to an O?” Ron asked suddenly thoughtful.

“Why bother? Snape won’t let you in his lesson anyway.” Hermione said.

“As well as that it means we can’t look down on Snape and Malfoy for the whole affair.” Minerva muttered.

“Very true.” Mad Eye growled. “I hear that you encountered Malfoy earlier, Remus?”

“Unfortunately so.” Remus replied.

“Really? What did he say?” Tonks asked.

“The usual half-breed rubbish.” Remus said.

“When was this? I could have cursed him for you!” Tonks said enthusiastically.

“In Flourish and Blotts.” Remus replied, “And it’s not as if I can’t curse him for myself. I think Harry was close to cursing him though.”

“Can’t say I blame him, myself.” Mad Eye said, “I think I might have done if he started insulting you.”

“Did Malfoy say anything to Harry?” Filius asked.

“Not a word,” Remus replied, “Draco Malfoy said something of reasonable interest though.”

“Really? What did he say?” Tonks asked.

“Well if you would let him finish instead of interrupting constantly then you’d know!” Minerva scowled at the woman who muttered a brief apology.

“He said something along the lines of Lucius wanting to remove Dumbledore permanently and then Lucius practically verified it by saying that Draco shouldn’t suggest that he wanted to supersede Dumbledore, no matter how true it may be.” Remus said.

“That’s ridiculous!” Minerva said.

“Dumbledore would never let Lucius Malfoy take over him,” Ron said.

“But it doesn’t matter if Dumbledore would let him take over. If Fudge thinks he’s better suited to the job then he could appeal to the Wizengamot to have him removed.” Mad Eye said.

“And the Wizengamot aren’t particularly on Dumbledore’s side, not after they removed him all those years ago.” Filius said.

“But a lot of them aren’t too keen on Fudge either, are they?” Ron asked, “That’s what dad said before.”

“True. But Fudge is the minister of magic.” Remus said, “And Lucius Malfoy has a lot of money and a lot of influence.”

“Didn’t he buy rather a lot of votes from the ministry to have Buckbeak executed a few years ago?” Filius asked.

“I believe so.” Minerva said, “He had altogether too much influence over Fudge. A Death Eater as an advisor to the Ministry of Magic… I ask you!”

“He’s an advisor now?!” Ron asked, looking up from his work again.

“Ever since he was released from Azkaban.” Minerva explained.

“So a man convicted of following Voldemort now practically controls the wizarding community of Britain?!” Hermione said in disbelief.

“That is correct, Miss Granger.” Minerva replied.

Harry stared down at his work which consisted of his name, the title and a small paragraph which was no good anyway. There was no way that he could work with the all too interesting conversation going on behind him. As much as he wanted to sit and listen to the adults argue incessantly about the Malfoys and condemn them and Fudge, he had work to do and the sooner it was done the sooner he could spend half his summer listening to some of his teachers arguing and spreading rumours. He put a stopper in his ink before gathering his things together into one neat pile and levitating them carefully out of the room, taking care not to spill any ink as he left.

“Nice bit of charming there.” Filius observed absentmindedly, “Good job he’s taking charms.”

“I wonder why he left.” Tonks said as she played with her wand, causing it to send a stream of petals through the air which landed on Ron’s work.

“As shocking as it may seem, Tonks.” Remus said, “I think we may be a slight distraction.”


***


Harry lay down on his bed on the second floor, his potions book open before him and his eyes scanning the page for any useful information he could use. So far he had written more than two yards of parchment on the subject of appearance altering potions. The first foot had been a general introduction and the five feet after that had been mostly about the Polyjuice potion, something he knew about all too well. Now all he had to do was find another three feet worth of information about other potions that could change appearance and he would have finished.

He glanced back at his clock on his bedside table and saw that it was almost six o’clock. Time had flown by unbearably quickly due to his hard work on his potions essay, which was slowly driving him insane. He had been working almost two hours now. He rested his head on his arm for a minute whilst he took a break from work to give his aching hand a rest. He set his quill down carefully, hoping that it wouldn’t just roll across his parchment and leave a large smear where it had been. He sighed sadly as he looked around the room. He couldn’t be in this house without reminders of the last Christmas past floating into his head. He had been with Sirius then and they had been happy and alive, his head added resentfully. He felt a rush of guilt as he realised that he had almost forgotten all about Sirius that day. He had been so busy, what with leaving the Dursleys with Remus, shopping, arguing with Ron, doing potions homework, listening to the talk of the Malfoy’s… nothing particularly noteworthy and yet it had distracted him from the thought of his godfather. But Remus was his godfather now. And how quickly you’ve warmed up to him too. He thought. He bit his lip slightly; was it so bad for him to become close to someone else? It wasn’t as if Remus could ever take Sirius’ place in his life… He buried his head in his arms unhappily. Why Sirius…? Why not him? Why couldn’t he have been the one to get blasted through the veil?!

He supposed that even if it had been he that had lost his life, Sirius probably wouldn’t have lasted much longer anyway… If he was the only one who could defeat Voldemort and he died… then the wizarding world would be doomed. Perhaps he was being a little melodramatic though, Dumbledore wouldn’t just let Voldemort walk all over the world. His head began to ache unpleasantly as he suddenly wondered whether Sirius had known about the prophecy. He assumed that he would not have done, after all he was so close to Remus then Remus would probably know also. Although if Dumbledore told Sirius not to tell anyone… Then he would probably tell Remus anyway. He reasoned. He felt a familiar ache inside him. He missed Sirius. He missed him so much.

He picked up his quill again and started to look back through the book for any appearance altering potions that he could use in his homework. Finding a few he noted down their names and then pulled his parchment back towards him and started to write.

—it is similar to the Polyjuice potion in the way that it can alter—” I wonder whether or not I should tell Remus the prophecy before Dumbledore tells him… He thought, breaking off in the middle of his sentence on his homework, which he was getting steadily more irritated with as he wrote more and more. He thought of the way that Remus was looking after him and remembered that he must be grieving over Sirius as well. He is your new godfather. Doesn’t he deserve to know? His mind asked him. At the same time he wanted to keep the prophecy as quiet for as long a time as possible. But Dumbledore would be telling them in three day’s time, surely Remus could wait until then… He’d prefer to hear it from you… He thought. He knew he was beaten; he knew that he was going to have to tell Remus the prophecy now, but the matter was when? He couldn’t really do it now. He supposed that he could catch him before bed and then he could tell Ron and Hermione either later on at night or in the morning. It wasn’t as if he could leave Ron and Hermione out of things; they needed to know and no one but himself would be telling them.

He massaged his temples unhappily before looking back to his potions. There was no way that he would be doing anymore work on that tonight. He put his things in a pile on top of his trunk which could be called ‘orderly’ when used very loosely. He yawned as he got up from his bed before glancing back around the room which he then exited.

“FILTHY HALFBLOOD!” Came a yell to the side of him. Harry glanced around to see the brightly coloured picture of Mrs Black shouting at him through her rather melted mouth as he passed her by. Irritatingly enough she proceeded to follow him down onto the first floor, shouting insults at him all the way. He turned to her at the top of the stairs to the ground floor and whipped out his wand. Mrs Black’s eyes opened wide before they started to melt shut again and in a multicoloured flurry she was gone: sprinting through portrait to portrait away from him. He smiled slightly as he descended the stairs and went back into the lounge where Ron and Hermione were still working. All the adults had disappeared however.

“You’ve never finished!” Ron said, staring at him with his mouth open. “I’ve only managed two feet on defence against the dark arts so far!”

“I’ve done two yards but I’m not doing anymore.” Harry said, “I’ll finish it tomorrow or something.”

“Three yards…” Hermione muttered, “It’s just ridiculous!” She glanced up at them both from a book on transfiguration before writing something about the correct wand movements for transfiguring an inanimate object to life.

“Tea’s ready!” Tonks said, sticking her head around the corner of the door.

“Thank Merlin!” Ron said and leapt to his feet. Hermione neatly put her things away and the three of them made for the kitchen.

The table had a large white tablecloth spread over it, on top of which was a lot of food, seemingly of every kind possible. Mrs Weasley was utterly thrilled with Dobby, who had made more than half the meal, which was a nice change from Kreacher who had helped unmake half the meal previously.

It turned out that not that many people had decided to stay for dinner that night, a lot of them had returned to Hogwarts or to their own homes but Harry sat down at the table with Ron, Hermione, Ginny, Fred, George, Bill, Molly, Arthur, Remus, Mad Eye and Tonks. They all ate a lot whilst Ginny, Ron, Fred, George and Tonks attempted to talk through mouths of food, earning disapproving glares from the others.

“RON!” Molly shouted at her youngest son, “If you talk with your mouth full again…” Ron nodded to her in acknowledgement that should he speak with food in his mouth once more then the consequences would be dire.

Remus found himself automatically checking to see whether Harry ate enough, despite the fact that he knew that Molly did that anyway with all her children and Harry. He still didn’t appear to be eating as much as he should, however. Naturally Molly had already noticed this and was trying to force more food upon him.

“I’ve had enough, thanks.” Harry said to Molly who looked at him critically, “Really!”

“I don’t see how you can have, you barely eat a thing!” Molly said to him.

“I’m fine!” Harry insisted. After a few more repetitions of this, Molly finally gave in and was forced to accept the fact that Harry wasn’t going to eat anymore.

The table was cleared of all food and plates, although Ron tried to keep eating even whilst Molly removed his plate and scalded him for eating so much, as if it were his overeating that was making Harry eat too little. Once all the plates were washing themselves up in the sink Harry found a large chocolate cake infront of him with ‘Happy Birthday Harry!’ written on it in white icing. Ron was practically drooling all the way through their singing happy birthday to him and was the first one to take a slice of the cake.

“Ronald!” Molly barked, “I cannot believe you have room for cake left!” She scowled as he quickly grabbed hold of a bowl with a slice of cake inside it and pulled it towards himself.

“Thanks, Mrs Weasley.” Harry said as she gave him a slice of cake which was bigger than Ron’s.

“You’re welcome Harry, dear.” She smiled, “Just call me Molly though.”

“Okay, Mrs Weasley.” Harry said and she swatted him lightly with a tea towel before sitting down to have some cake herself.

The evening passed far too quickly for Harry who had wanted that evening to drag out as long as possible. He was happy just sitting in the lounge with a roaring fire in the grate, surrounded by all his friends and having a calm, interesting time. Naturally all good things come to an end and it was only when the clock chimed for half past eleven that Molly sent everyone to bed for the night.

“Harry? Where are you going?” Ron asked Harry as he left their room, still dressed.

“Just going to talk to Remus for a bit, I’ll be back soon.” Harry told him and without waiting for a response that would almost certainly hold questions, he left the room, pulling the door shut behind him.

Down the corridor Remus was just disappearing into his room and Harry called out to him.

“Yes, Harry?” Remus asked as his godson stopped infront of him, intrigued as to what he could want him for at such a late hour.

“Is it too late to talk?” Harry asked him and Remus shook his head.

“Not at all.” He replied, “Do you want to come in?”

“Sure.” Harry replied as he entered the room behind Remus. They both went and sat down on the bed.

“So what is it you want to talk to me about?” Remus asked.

“You know before, when you asked what the prophecy was about…?”

“Yes…” Remus answered slowly, before adding hopefully: “Will you tell me what it said now?”

“Yes.” Harry replied. Remus stared at him for a second; startled that Harry was now willing to tell him something that he had been so reluctant to say before but he listened silently as Harry repeated the prophecy to him.


Chapter 8: Dreams and Quidditch
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Remus stared at Harry for a moment. He knew that he had gone an interestingly pale colour even without having to get up to go look in the mirror. Harry’s words echoed back in his head and he felt sick to his stomach as he felt the implication of the words. Harry has to beat Voldemort… He swallowed hard and focused his gaze on Harry whose eyes were searching his face.

“Remus?” Harry said quietly, “Are you alright?”

Alright?! How can I be alright?! His mind demanded. How could Harry take it? He felt sick and afraid and it wasn’t even he that had to beat Voldemort. Both the wizarding world and the muggle world were both in his hands and he didn’t know how he was coping. As well as having recently lost something that resembled a parent to him he should have given up quite some time ago. In his mind’s eye he could see Harry being cursed by Voldemort, killed in a hundred scenarios. There was a vague remembrance of Voldemort, but only that; it had been a very long time since he had met him face to face all those years ago, and even then he hadn’t dared to fight, he had run as fast as he could, not stopping to turn back. He wondered how on earth he had ever managed to survive; it seemed impossible that Voldemort would just let him run away.

He blinked and found himself sat opposite Harry on his bed. Harry looked quite worried.

“I’m fine…” Remus said quietly.

“I asked you that more than two minutes ago.” Harry replied, “You’re not fine.”

“How can I be fine?! I’ve just lost Sirius! I don’t want to lose you too!” Remus said suddenly as he got up from the bed and paced the room.

“Thanks for the vote of confidence.” Harry murmured softly.

“Can you blame me for reacting like this?!” Remus demanded, his voice rising, “Voldemort’s a powerful, murderous maniac and you’re…”

“His next victim.” Harry finished as he rose from the bed. Remus’ reaction frightened him quite badly, not because the man himself was particularly intimidating but because Remus never dropped his cool exterior. Malfoy had been insulting towards him earlier on in the day and he had managed to stay perfectly composed throughout, even gaining the upper hand, and yet when he discovered that Harry would have to battle Voldemort for the world he had reached a point where he could no longer contain his emotions and had become almost angry.

“Good night, Remus.” Harry said quietly as he shut the door behind him. He received no good night in return, but heard only a miserable groan as Remus collapsed onto his bed.

He didn’t want to leave him there alone but with Remus in his current frame of mind, Harry was likely to upset and infuriate him. Instead he walked across the landing to his room which he shared with Ron and crept inside. The room was dark and Ron was evidently fast asleep. Harry quickly undressed and put on his pyjamas, feeling uneasy at having to change in the same room as someone else. He climbed into his own bed and drew the drapes around the bed, casting a quick charm over the drapes that would prevent them from being opened in the morning; he wanted to get some sleep, not be woken by Ron at the crack of dawn. He closed his eyes and soon drifted off to sleep.


***


Remus walked through the Forbidden Forest, his wand raised. Even with his heightened senses he could distinguish very little through the darkness that smothered his surroundings. He was very alone and rather afraid. He knew the territory well but when there were Death Eaters and their master somewhere nearby he didn’t care whether he was in his own home or in Russia, the fact was that he was trying to find people who would kill him the moment they spotted him. But he had known this would be the way that things were the moment he entered the ministry and applied to become an Auror. He had hidden his affliction well, but in the end it had come out, as it always had to. Fortunately that was after he had completed the lengthy training course. As soon as he had been discharged from the Ministry he had been accepted by the Order of the Phoenix, who valued his intelligence and would use his so called ‘affliction’ to his, and their, advantage. It was for the Order that he walked through the forest, hunting down their enemy. Somewhere on his right Mad Eye Moody strode confidently and yet cautiously through the forest. Around fifty paces to his left walked his close friend, James, whilst behind them both walked Sirius. There were a lot more there than just those four however, around fifty people were there in total and somehow he had ended up on the front line.

If he didn’t know better it appeared to get lighter ahead, meaning that they were getting closer and closer to their foe. He clutched he wand tighter as they moved towards them. He heard muffled laughter, and to his disquiet it wasn’t very far ahead.

Avada Kedavra!” Someone screamed and there was a flash of green light from somewhere ahead. Somewhere nearby there was a thud as someone fell to the floor. “Looks pretty dead to me.” Someone muttered only twenty paces to his left. His chest tightened and his breath became shallow and quick. He was certain that one of them would hear him. There were three men on the scene, both wearing dark colours and barely distinguishable from their surroundings. He forced himself to breathe more deeply and to carry on moving, if he stayed still he was a lot more likely to be caught than if he carried on moving. He chose a path which was forward and away from the men at the same time and began to walk slowly along it, his ears strained in the silence for any sound. For no reason his heart began to beat faster and he felt a sense of dread. A crack of a twig from behind him caused him to spin round, but he saw no one. He took a few deep breaths and carried on along his path, to what would almost certainly be his doom.

Stupefy!” Someone cried out from nearby. A red bolt hit him in the chest and blackness encompassed him.

“How good of you to join me.” Said a cold, cruel voice.
Voldemort! His head cried out and his eyes snapped open in an instant. He was lying on the cold ground of the forest still, but in a small clearing. There were a few Death Eaters around but that wasn’t what concerned him. What did concern him was the ominous figure infront of him, a pale white face, blood red lips and fearsome eyes which inflicted terror into his heart. Imgonnadieimgonnadieimgonnadie! His head yelled out. He forced his demeanour to remain perfectly calm and collected, despite the turmoil in his mind.

“What do you want with me?” Remus managed to choke out through dry lips.

“I want you to join me.” Voldemort said. “There are many more of your kind in my ranks and you could be of invaluable use as a spy. Join me and I will reward you with whatever your heart desires.”

Remus managed to get to his feet, astounded that he wasn’t dead or even so much as bound. His wand was in Voldemort’s hand however, leaving him rather defenceless.

“Will you join me?” Voldemort asked him softly. Remus stared at the man for a moment, almost hypnotised by his eyes which seemed much more prominent than any of his other features that he could see through the dark. Remus gathered all his courage.

“No, I will not join you.” He said and turned to run, as he knew he must. He reached the part where he knew that there was a clearing in the trees but stopped, as he found there was no way out. He span around to see Voldemort sauntering towards him.

“After a mistake in the past, involving me and yourself,” Voldemort said, “I have decided to shut that, just to stop you escaping. Now will you join me?”

“I will never join you.” Remus hissed through clenched teeth.

“So be it.” Voldemort said. Remus’ wand pointed squarely at his own chest. “
Avada Kedavra.” There was a green flash of light and Remus flinched and squeezed his eyes tightly shut. There was an odd moment where Remus was convinced that he was dead and that his torturous life had finally ended until he looked up and saw Voldemort standing over him, triumphant. He turned around and stared at the body on the floor.

“Harry!” The gasp escaped his lips as he saw the boy lying dead on the floor behind him. Voldemort had ceased to acknowledge his presence and laughed at the broken body of the child on the ground before turning on his heel and marching off, Remus’ own wand still in his hand.


“Remus!” Someone said and his eyes opened instantly, resting on Molly Weasley infront of him. “You’ve been asleep for hours!”

“Have I?” Remus asked, quite puzzled.

“It’s almost half past ten.” Molly replied, “I was worried.” It was not in his nature to sleep later than nine. He knew by the enticing smell that wafted up through the house that breakfast was ready. He felt his stomach rumble and thanked Molly for waking him before climbing out of bed and readying himself to go down for breakfast.

“So where is everyone?” Remus asked Mad Eye who was glancing through the hated Daily Prophet over an empty bowl.

“Quidditch.” Mad Eye said shortly. “Potter really is amazing, you should go watch.” Remus made a noncommittal murmur in his throat as he remembered Harry’s abrupt departure from his room the night before.

Thanks for the vote of confidence.” Harry said in his mind. His head was beginning to hurt and he no longer had an appetite. He ate some of the toast that Molly made for him before leaving the house through the back door in the kitchen and walking out into the vast garden of Grimmauld Place.

A large path stretched out infront of him, leading across the vast garden. It appeared to have been a very grand garden before it had fallen derelict along with the rest of the house. Remus took the quickest way through the garden – a straight path down the very centre, with hedges on either side. He could only presume that the hedges themselves had once only been up to around waist height as he struggled to see over the top of them now. At the end of the path in the very centre of the garden was a water feature with a large basilisk in the centre of it, from which water had once gushed out of it’s open mouth. No longer was this the case as a steady drip of a mud and water mixture came from one of it’s elongated fangs into the murky water beneath. He couldn’t help but think that there was little reason that most people chose to fly over the garden instead of walk through it. He shivered at the sight of the small topiary that surrounded the fountain; all animals such as snakes and a few reptiles here and there. These appeared to be one of very few things that Kreacher had actually taken care of before his death.

Remus caught something move in the corner of his eye and span around to see nothing but the hedge. He felt as if the topiary were closing in on him and he didn’t like the feeling at all, he suddenly realised that, knowing the Black house, the hedge reptiles could very easily be closing in on him. That thought got him moving down the garden again, but this time the path kept breaking off and changing as he walked through it. It was very disconcerting to walk through a part of the hedge, only to turn and find that it had gone. The strange fear that the Black garden could inflict on those that were not welcomed into it was nothing he hadn’t felt before however, and he walked hastily on, feeling a sense of great relief as he reached the end of the garden which was a low brick wall with anti-muggle charms and other such charms on it; nothing he couldn’t get past again though.

Putting one palm on the wall, Remus easily swung his body over it and down into the field on the other side. Looking upwards he could see a few figures flying in the air above, not too high though as they all knew that Molly would be watching from the kitchen, ready to chastise anyone who flew too high or too far. He could hear Charlie, Bill, Tonks and Kingsley up in the air, along with Harry, Ron, Hermione, Ginny and the twins who seemed desperate to outdo one another in volume. He watched with his heart racing as Harry and Charlie went into a spectacular dive after a small golden object which fluttered ahead of them and didn’t appear to want to be caught.

“An excellent choice for Quidditch captain, don’t you think?” Minerva said from behind him. Remus turned and saw the head of Gryffindor house accompanied by Mad Eye and Filius.

“Definitely.” Mad Eye said, glancing up to see that Harry had caught the Snitch. Charlie was laughing and congratulating him in the air before they all assembled back in the middle of their makeshift pitch. Bill released the balls, throwing the quaffle high in the air and conveniently catching it himself before flying off towards Hermione, who had been forced into the goals.

“Oh come on, Hermione!” Kingsley shouted to her and to everyone’s surprise she actually put in some effort and blocked the quaffle from the hoop before throwing the quaffle to Tonks who laughed and flew off towards Ron.

“Ron got over that burst of jealousy quickly, didn’t he?” Mad Eye said, observing the youngest male Weasley successfully block a few shots to the net by Tonks, whilst Fred shot a bludger at him.

“Very quickly,” Remus said, “But what do you expect? They argue all the time.”

“True, but few are so furious and so short-lived.” Minerva said.

“And so petty as well.” Filius added.

“Honestly, arguing because Harry became Quidditch captain and he didn’t…” Minerva said.

“Since when has he been ‘Harry’ and not ‘Mr Potter’?” Remus asked with a slight smile. “Surely you don’t actually like the boy, Minerva?”

“Do be quiet, Lupin.” She said coolly but unable to hide a slight smile.

“So why are you all out here? Not like you to enjoy the sunshine,” Remus noted.

“We could say quite the reverse.” Filius said.

“True enough.” Remus replied.

“But we’re all out here because Molly threw us out of the kitchen.” Mad Eye told him, “And I wanted to see if the amazing flying talents of Potter live up to the hearsay floating around.”

“By ‘hearsay floating around’ he means ‘things Minerva’s said’.” Filius added.

There were cheers from the air as all but two players had stopped moving. Down on the ground, four pairs of eyes looked up to watch Harry and Charlie dodging in and out of the players as they chased the golden snitch, before pulling right up another twenty feet into the air. Harry and Charlie swung their firebolts around to see the snitch spiralling downwards through the players and towards the grass below. Having no alternative, the two of them followed it down in a similar pattern.

“I don’t know how he can go vertical on a broom without falling off, to be quite honest.” Filius said.

“Nor do I.” Remus said as he watched his godson spiralling down to the ground at great speed.

“They’re going to crash.” Mad Eye said and Remus couldn’t help but agree with him.

“No they’re not.” Minerva said calmly. Harry took over Charlie who started to slow, just in case he did plummet into the ground. The snitch was around fifteen feet from the floor when it pulled up sharply, causing both Harry and Charlie to cry out in horror at the ground. Harry pulled his broom out of the dive, which only Minerva managed to watch, just skimming the floor with his toes before speeding off after it, finally feeling the fluttering of the golden ball in his palm.

“Wow, Harry!” Tonks said, flying over to him. “That was amazing!”

“Plus we won by about three hundred points.” George said as he joined the two of them gliding back down to the ground.

“That was pathetic, Charlie!” Ron said, flying over to his brother.

“I can’t help it if he’s better than me.” Charlie grinned at his younger brother.

“You will have to be removed from the position of team captain if you break your neck just before term,” Minerva said to Harry as he walked over to them, “I hope you realise that.”

“I’ve never broken my neck yet.” Harry said to her.

“There’s a first time for everything,” She said coolly before picking up her pace to walk with Mad Eye infront of the group.

“Hello.” Remus said quietly to Harry, as he dropped to the back of the group to talk to him. Harry hoped that he wasn’t about to start a conversation about the prophecy, especially not so close to Ron and Hermione who were arguing infront about the most impressive time Harry had caught the Snitch.

“Hey.” Harry said quietly.

“About last night…” Remus said and Harry felt his stomach twist, talking about it now wasn’t the best of ideas, although he would feel reluctant to talk about it under any other circumstances; he had told Remus what it said, he didn’t want to have to discuss it afterwards as well. “I reacted badly… I was just shocked.”

“I know. Which is why I left you to get used to the idea.” Harry said to him. Glancing up at his godfather he could see the anxiety in his eyes and the bags underneath them. He couldn’t help but wonder just how much sleep he had managed to get the night before. “You needn’t worry, you know. I’m sure I’ll be fine.” Remus stopped and looked at him with a tortured expression.

“I know that’s not what you think.” Remus said quietly, “And as much as I’d like to think that you’re going to do well and save the world and all, I’m just… afraid.” He turned away from him and carried on walking. Harry caught up with him quickly and walked close by his side. He felt Remus put his arm around his shoulders as they walked along. “Do Ron and Hermione know yet?”

“No.” Harry sighed, “I don’t know when I’m going to tell them. I want them to know before the rest of the Order but there’s always someone else around and you didn’t react well, who knows how they’ll react!”

“I’m sure they’ll react better than I did.” Remus said quietly as they climbed over the wall and entered the garden.

“I hate this garden.” Harry muttered, changing the subject. “One of those hedge snakes followed me all the way down to here earlier!”

“So make sure you don’t go in the garden alone or at night.” Remus said.

“That was this morning and I wasn’t alone!” Harry scowled as they reached the middle of the garden. He shivered slightly in the morning sun as he was certain that one of the snakes was staring at him. “These things are so creepy!” Harry said, without taking his eyes from the stone snake in the middle. He glanced back to Remus who had stopped suddenly and was staring at him, with wide eyes. “What?” Harry asked.

“Did you just speak in Parseltongue?!” Remus said, feeling a strange twist of fear in his stomach. Harry raised an eyebrow at his unfounded fear. “You can’t be a parselmouth!”

“Why not?” Harry asked him.

“Because evil wizards are parselmouths.” Remus said, uncertainly.

“Then you are in the company of an evil wizard.” Harry said lightly. Seeing the odd look on Remus’ face he added, “It wasn’t as if I was born a parselmouth, Voldemort passed the power to me when…” He broke off, but it was enough for Remus to understand.

“Oh.” He said quietly, thinking for a moment and absorbing the information he had been given, “When did you find that out?”

“Second year.” Harry responded as they carried on up to the house, dimly aware that some of the snakes had moved during their conversation.

This was the final straw for Remus who had been wanting to discuss Harry’s past for quite some time now, and this reference to his second year made him more interested than ever in his life previous to his involvement with him.

“Harry…?” Remus asked him cautiously as they walked up to the stone steps to the house. Harry glanced up at him, wondering what he wanted to know from him; for he knew by then that when Remus said his name in that tone that he wanted to know something. He waited for him to continue and he did a second later, “Whathappenedinyourfirsttwoyears?” He said very quickly. Harry stared at him for a moment before asking him to repeat it, but slower. “What happened to you in your first two years at Hogwarts and in your fourth year as well and maybe…?”

“Basically you want to know what else happened to me of interest in every other year but the year that you were there.” Harry said and grinned at Remus who nodded, smiling slightly.

“Well?” Remus said, “Will you tell me?”

“I’ll consider it.” Harry said, “It will take a lot of telling though.”

“You’ve never had a more action filled year than the year Sirius and I ended up there, have you?” Remus asked, uncertainly.

“You’d think that, wouldn’t you?” Harry said dryly as they re-entered the house.



Chapter 9: A Gift From The Order
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“This is a late birthday present from the Order.” Dumbledore said to Harry as he put a bowl down on Harry’s trunk. Harry was lying on his stomach, looking at the bowl and Dumbledore stood infront of him.

“A pensieve?” Harry asked, quite amazed that they had given him something like that.

“It could come in very useful when remembering dreams, learning Occlumency, that sort of thing.” Dumbledore said calmly.

“Occlumency? Again?” Harry asked, unhappily.

“You clearly need lessons again, after a rather disturbing dream you had a while back during which you actually spoke to Voldemort.” Dumbledore said. Harry groaned and knew that Remus must have told Dumbledore about his dream. He glanced back up at the old man who smiled.

“Snape won’t teach me though, will he?” Harry said.

“I’m not sure about that yet, Harry. If he will not then another teacher could possibly be found.” Dumbledore said. Harry felt rather unhappy at the prospect of having his feeble Occlumency skills mocked by his most hated of teachers but didn’t speak his opinion of the man and decided to change the subject instead.

“So how do I use this then?” Harry asked him.

“Ah, ‘tis a most wonderful creation: the pensieve, and so very simple to use.” Dumbledore said. “All you have to do is think hard about part of the memory you wish to put inside the bowl and then touch your want to your temple and pull away your memory.” He said this whilst demonstrating with his own head. “Then you just put it into the bottom of the bowl, like so.” He said and put the silvery material on the bottom of the bowl and withdrew his wand. Dumbledore put his wand into the strange mixture and stirred it slightly. Suddenly an image filled the pensieve. It was Harry flying during a Quidditch match the previous year but through Dumbledore’s eyes on the stands.

“Wow.” Harry said.

“And of course you understand how to enter the memories themselves.” He said with a slightly amused smile on his face, “And although a lot of wizards prefer to enter their pensieve headfirst, most prefer just a touch of the finger.” Dumbledore reached out to Harry and took hold of his hand before putting his own finger into the pensieve.

“It’s weird watching yourself flying.” Harry said as he found himself stood in the stands with the other staff of the year before.

“I can imagine.” Dumbledore smiled, “As you have just seen, by taking someone else’s hand whilst outside a pensieve you can easily bring them into it also.”

“How many people can go into a pensieve with you?” Harry asked with interest.

“As many people as you wish.” Dumbledore replied, “Which could make it useful for revealing information without having to tell it, show people your past… that kind of thing.” Harry stared at him in disbelief. How does he always know?! He wondered.

“Right, so how do you get out of here?” Harry asked him, realising that he had always been taken out of the pensieve by someone else.

“You simply need to think of the spell ‘egredior’ in your mind. It will cause you to leave instantly along with anyone else in the pensieve with you at the time.” Dumbledore said to him and Harry nodded. “You try it.”

Egredior. Thought Harry and he found himself sprawled on his bed at Grimmauld Place, whilst Dumbledore was stood infront of the pensieve, looking at him with interest.

“Very good, Harry.” Dumbledore said to him, “I hope that you use your new present wisely.”

“I will, Professor.” Harry said and smiled slightly at the man infront of him. “Thanks.”

“You’re most welcome,” Dumbledore said and a moment later he was gone.

Convenient, Harry thought, That just when I need a way of showing Remus my past and showing Ron and Hermione the prophecy, Dumbledore gives me a pensieve… very convenient indeed.


***


Harry sighed with relief as he finally put down his quill and stared at his three yards of potions homework. It had taken him another three hours to write the last yard that he had needed and he had managed to complete it, despite the fact that his head started throbbing after the first five minutes. Ron stared at his work in irritation; he had only just finished his third foot of defence against the dark arts, which was the bare minimum. He groaned when he saw Harry’s completed potions essay and wished that he had also done potions first.

“Wow, well done Harry.” Hermione said when she saw that he had successfully completed the longest and most difficult of their four essays before Ron had finished the easiest and most enjoyable. She was still writing her transfiguration essay but it was now already a foot longer than Professor McGonagall had asked for.

“She won’t mind, Hermione.” Harry said to her for the fifteenth time.

“I hope not; I’ve included all the necessary information, I don’t think I could get rid of any if I tried!” She said and Ron rolled his eyes at Harry.

“Anyway.” Harry said, taking a deep breath. “Did I tell you what Dumbledore gave me earlier from the Order?” He asked them, knowing that he hadn’t so much as mentioned the pensieve.

“A slap?” Ron suggested.

“A book?”

“A lifetime supply of lectures?”

“Information about Voldemort?”

“A good kick up the—”

“Ron!” Hermione scolded.

“If you’re quite finished.” Harry said to them both, “They gave me a pensieve for my birthday.”

“Wow!” Said Hermione, “That’s amazing Harry!”

“I didn’t get a pensieve for my birthday.” Ron complained.

“But you’re not as close to the Order as Harry is.” Hermione said.

“Six members of my family are in the Order!” Ron said, “How many of his are in it?!” He realised what he had said before he so much as finished his last word and instantly tried to apologise for it. “Harry! I didn’t mean… I’m sorry… I… You… Sorry!” Harry observed him coldly for a moment before summoning his pensieve to him.

“Let’s see a memory or something then, Harry.” Hermione said to him.

“Sure.” Harry said, feeling his stomach twist unpleasantly. He concentrated hard on his chosen memory and took it from his mind with his wand, putting it in the bottom of the bowl. He took Hermione’s hand, who in turn took hold of Ron’s and they all entered the pensieve.

Ron and Hermione looked around Harry’s memory with interest; the memory of Harry was sat opposite Dumbledore across his desk and Harry looked upset to say the least.

“The one with the power to vanquish the dark lord approaches... born to those that have thrice defied him, born as the seventh month dies ... and the dark lord will mark him as an equal, but he will have powers the dark lord knows not ... and either must die at the hand of the other for neither can live as the survives ... the one with the power to vanquish the dark lord will be born as the seventh month dies.” Said Dumbledore and everyone stared at him in horror. Ron instantly started counting months on his fingers and suddenly the memory ended and all three of them were thrown back out of the pensieve.

Without warning, Hermione burst into tears and flung her arms around Harry’s neck, who could only sit there, dumbfounded with the sobbing girl in his arms. Ron stared at him, a clear look of disbelief on his face and his mouth hanging slightly open.

Eventually Hermione’s tears began to slow and she pulled away from him apologetically and wiped her eyes. She and Ron continued to stare at him whilst their homework lay ignored on the table.

Remus stood in the doorway of the lounge, looking at the expressions of fear and desolation on the faces of Ron and Hermione. On the table sat the pensieve with only one memory inside it and it didn’t take much to guess what memory it was. Remus bit his lip slightly and backed out of the room, pulling the door to on his way out.

“What’s going on?” Mad Eye asked from behind Remus, making him jump slightly. Remus noticed Mad Eye’s magical eye looking around the room curiously on the other side of the wall but eventually he just shrugged his shoulders and walked into the kitchen with Remus just behind him.

“Well I still think that he may be a cat,” Said Minerva from around the kitchen table but stopped abruptly as the door opened. The topic of Harry and what form his Animagus would take had been a subject of much discussion over the past few days, they had also taken to betting on when he would manage to be fully able to apparate.

“I don’t think so.” Mad Eye said, joining the conversation. “He’ll be a griffin or something similarly Gryffindor.”

“Like a lion.” Bill said, agreeing with him, “Or a phoenix.”

“Maybe he’ll be a dragon!” Charlie said, suddenly.

“I will not have a dragon in this house!” Molly said suddenly.

“But it’s not your house, it’s Remus’.” Tonks said.

“Fine.” Molly muttered, “Anyway, he’s going to be a stag, like his Patronus.”

“He won’t be. He’ll be something different.” Arthur said.

“There’s only so many times we can have this conversation.” Remus yawned.

“And I, for one, am thoroughly sick of talking about that cretin, Potter, and his future Animagus form.” Snape said coldly.

“I think he’ll be a dog like Sirius was.” Remus said, instantly starting up the conversation again to Severus’ irritance and everyone else’s amusement.

“I know he misses Sirius, but he loves you too Remus.” Tonks said, “He could be a wolf.”

“For Merlin’s sake!” Snape shouted, “He doesn’t love Lupin, he never loved Black and he’s never going to manage to apparate or become an Animagus!” Snape glanced round and a sneer touched his face as he noticed Hermione stood in the doorway, she shot an angry glare at Snape before turning to leave the room.

“I can’t believe Snape said that.” Ron said, some couple of minutes later in the room next door. “I mean, I know he hates you and all but saying that you never loved Sirius was a bit out of line.”

“I know, and I wonder how Lupin reacted to his saying that you don’t love him either.” Hermione said, “I didn’t stay long enough to find out.”

“Well it’s only Snape; I doubt he took it seriously.” Harry said.

“So you do love him then?” Ron said and Harry thought for a second.

“Yeah, I suppose so…” He replied thoughtfully and Hermione grinned.

“Anyway, you know that you have to become an Animagus and be able to apparate pretty soon now, just to spite Snape.” Ron said.

“Are you two going to do it as well?” Harry asked them, hopeful that his two friends would be there to assist him whilst he messed up two complex pieces of magic.

“Of course.” Hermione said, “What did you think that we were going to let you have all the fun?”

“Yeah, we’re definitely going to do it.” Ron said, already wandering what kind of animal he should become. “What animal are you going to be, Harry?”

“You don’t get to pick your animal, your animal chooses you.” Hermione told him.

“So when can we get started?” Harry asked her.

“When we’ve finished all our homework.” She replied.

“Hermione!” Ron said, exasperatedly.

“If you try to do this magic whilst you have homework on your mind you’ll never manage it.” She said and although he would never admit it, Harry thought she was right.

It was for that reason that Remus found Harry at work at the kitchen table later on that evening after supper. Molly was walking around the kitchen, trying to clean her half of the room before Dobby cleaned his. He sat down with a cup of cocoa by Harry and watched him writing out an essay on Transfiguration. It appeared that he had left his easiest essays in the subjects that he most enjoyed until last. He charmed Harry a cup of cocoa for himself onto the table.

“Thanks.” Harry said to him, but didn’t glance up from his work. Remus took a piece of parchment from the pile that he had written and ran his eyes over it, reading what he had written.

“You should have mentioned why it’s more difficult to transfigure things to life there.” Remus pointed out.

“I’m writing that now.” Harry said and finished on the piece of parchment he was on, handing it to Remus who read through it.

“So why are you working so early in the holidays? You have another month yet.” Remus said to him as he took a sip of cocoa.

“I know but Hermione says she won’t help with the whole Animagus thing until our homework’s done.” Harry said and rolled his eyes. “And because of what Snape said earlier she and Ron really want to learn quickly so that they can prove we’re considerably better than him.”

“You do know that it can take years to become an Animagus, right?” Remus asked him, putting down his work which was quite good.

“Yeah, although I’m not sure whether or not Ron does and Hermione thinks she can do it in a few days.” Harry said to him.

“You should set them straight.” Remus said.

“Why bother? Hermione’s already reading the Animagus book just for the sake of it; she’ll find it out soon enough.” Harry said, “And when she does then she’ll tell us.”

“You spelt ‘transfiguratively’ incorrectly.” Remus said as he glanced over Harry’s newest page.

“Stop reading my work!” Harry said, snatching back his parchment. “Go criticise Ron.”

“Hermione does that adequately enough as it is. It’s more amusing to wind you up.” Remus smiled. “How did they take the prophecy then?” He asked, lowering his voice.

“Not too well.” Harry replied, “Hermione burst into tears and Ron just stared at me so you reacted better than Hermione but oddly not as well as Ron.”

“You know I’m sorry for what I said the other night, right?” Remus said cautiously.

“Of course,” Harry said, looking back to his work. “Wonder how everyone’ll react to the prophecy tomorrow.” Remus looked at him blankly before remembering that the Order would be learning of it at the meeting the next day. “You’ll tell me how they react, won’t you?”

“Yes, although I don’t really think you’ll need me to tell you; the effects will probably be pretty obvious.” Remus said, his mind wandering back the prophecy which plagued his godson. The clock on the wall chimed ten and Remus yawned slightly and rose from his seat.

“Going to bed?” Harry asked him.

“Yeah, I’m exhausted.” Remus said.

“Can’t say I blame you, you’ve had such an exhausting day…” Harry said sarcastically, and Remus narrowed his eyes at him.

“Night then.” Remus said and hugged him lightly.

“Night.” Harry echoed as his godfather left the room. He stared down at his work; he had just finished and with an extra foot more than Professor McGonagall had asked for, that certainly was unusual for him. He put his things into a reasonably orderly pile and levitated them along infront of him up onto the second floor of the old house.

A/N: Hello there, I'm just beginning to write the eleventh chapter now and I was wondering whether you thought I should write all about the whole Remus finding out about Harry's past or whether I should keep it a little vague or not really mention it at all. Just wanted to know what you want from the story so that I don't get any people complaining about my spending too much time talking about what Remus will be finding out. Anyway that's all I wanted to ask... Hope you liked this chapter :o)

Chapter 10: The Prophecy Told
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“—Will be born as the seventh month dies.” Dumbledore said sombrely. The room was filled to bursting with an eerie silence as the occupants absorbed the information just given to them by Dumbledore. Minerva, Severus, Tonks, Mad Eye, Filius, Arthur, Molly, Charlie, Bill, Fred, George, Hagrid and Kingsley all sat in disbelief whilst Dumbledore and Remus shared a glace across the table.

“You knew?!” Molly demanded of Remus suddenly, after noting his plain expression and his look at Dumbledore. “YOU KNEW AND YOU NEVER TOLD ANY OF US?!”

“I’ve only known for two days.” Remus said, his composure still in tact.

“Two days is a long time to keep something like that quiet.” Mad Eye muttered.

“So Potter’s death has been predicted since before the day he was born. I always knew that he would meet the same sticky end as his parents.” Snape said but it was too far. Around half the people at the table leapt to their feet.

“Lily and James came to an honourable end, do not dare to use it in that way!” Mad Eye yelled.

“And Harry is not going to die!” Minerva shouted at him.

“How dare you?!” Hagrid yelled.

“Any end he meets would be better than your death as a traitor!” Bill shouted.

“Eat frogs!” Fred and George yelled at once, “Kivorgia Vesco!”

Frogs suddenly began to pour out of Snape’s mouth whilst Molly burst into tears. Dumbledore sighed and tried to seat everyone who had jumped up whilst preventing Severus from making any harsh comebacks. Remus sat there with a calm demeanour hiding his horror at the prophecy he had listened to for the second time.

“Molly, don’t.” Arthur said soothingly to his wife who had buried her head in her hands.

“He’s only sixteen!” Molly sobbed.

“He’s faced Voldemort five times now, Molly.” Dumbledore said. Remus’ eyes moved instantly to Dumbledore. Did he say five times?! He thought, a feeling of unease creeping into his stomach as his mind ticked off the amount of times he had faced him. When he was a baby, when he was in his fourth year, his fifth year? He considered since he had no definite information to indicate that Harry had faced Voldemort in his fifth year, but even if he did that left two more years… he got up silently and left the room amid the hubbub, retreating into the hallway.

He leant back against the cool stone wall and sighed with relief, just out of being released from the warm and busy kitchen. He glanced to his left and his tired eyes met with lively emerald ones.

“Sounds interesting.” Harry said, moving as if to pass him and glance into the kitchen as a series of yells came from beyond the closed door, but Remus caught hold of his arm and pulled him back.

“No chance, it’s mayhem in there.” Remus said, getting up off the wall. “Everything was reasonably fine until Snape decided to comment.”

“What did he say?” Harry asked. Remus looked awkward for a moment and glanced away from him. “Remus, I don’t care what he thinks, just tell me.”

“He said you’d die and meet the same sticky end as your parents.” Remus said softly, watching Harry for his reaction. His calm grey eyes stayed with Harry’s and for a moment he saw a flash of fury but then it was gone, replaced with nothing. A cold empty nothingness in his eyes.

“FRED!” Shouted Arthur from inside the kitchen. “Take that spell of Severus this instant!” The sound of Arthur shouting felt strange to Harry, owing to the fact that he had never heard the man shout before; it was always Molly that was the disciplinarian.

“Don’t Molly…” Minerva said from beyond the closed door.

“WHEN I GET MY HANDS ON YOU TWO…!” Snape screeched at the top of his voice.

“Come on.” Remus said and taking hold of Harry’s arm, he pulled him away from the kitchen door and into the lounge in the next room just as the kitchen door was flung open to reveal the two twins laughing hysterically as they ran upstairs from Snape.

Remus pulled Harry away from the door and shut it, preventing the young boy from watching his potions master chasing two of his friends around the house whilst swearing and shouting insults at them. Instead he steered Harry in the direction of the sofa and sat him down, picking a seat on the other side of the sofa to him.

“Just stay in here until everything calms down.” Remus said and in the silence after his sentence loud thuds were heard from the floor above. “Anyway, there were a few things I wanted to ask you…”

“Go on.” Harry said, knowing somehow that the question of his past was about to be raised.

“Dumbledore said something interesting in the kitchen.” He said, “He told us that you’d faced Voldemort five times and I thought that you’d only faced him once or twice and…” He broke off, uncertain as to how to proceed.

“And you want to know when.” Harry sighed; this was not a conversation he wanted to have. Discussing his years at school would not have been a pleasurable experience, but talking only of the very worst times in each year would be a nightmare.

“Yes.” Remus said, and seeing the hesitant and unhappy look on his face he quickly added, “But you don’t have to if you don’t want to.” Harry bit his lip, knowing that he was going to have to tell Remus all about his life and probably very soon.

Harry opened his mouth to say something but paused. The house was silent: completely silent. A few minutes before there had been a constant noise and racket coming from the kitchen and just about every other place in the house, or so it seemed but now all that noise had gone, leaving Harry feeling very suspicious as to what the house’s occupants were currently doing. Remus noticed the lack of noise too and raised an eyebrow. He twisted around in his seat and pointed his wand at the door before muttering a charm under his breath. The door swung open to reveal Mad Eye, Tonks, Minerva, Filius, Severus, Molly, Arthur, Bill, Charlie, Fred, George, Hagrid and Kingsley all jumped backwards away from the door and attempted to look nonchalant whilst Dumbledore stood at the back of the group with an amused look on his face and Dobby, Hermione, Ron and Ginny sat on the stairs looking through the banisters at the people outside the door.

“Are you all just going to stand outside listening or are you going to come in?” Remus asked them coolly from his seat. There was an awkward silence outside and then Minerva strode into the room, quickly followed by the rest of them. Harry moved up on the sofa so that he was sat close to Remus as everyone else joined them and soon the room was filled with around twenty people, one half giant and a house-elf.

“That homework you gave me was atrocious, Mr Potter.” Snape said as he entered the room. He handed the boy his parchment back with a D written boldly on it in red ink. Snape smirked at him and Harry scowled at his new game which seemed to involve humiliating him infront of just about everyone despite the fact that he had just found out that he had a poor chance of finishing school alive.

“There is no way he got a D for that.” Minerva said coolly.

“You haven’t read it, it’s dreadful. Hence the grade.” Severus said calmly.

“I refuse to believe that.” Minerva said, “Remark it.”

“And read that rubbish again?!” Severus demanded of her.

“I shall remark it for you, Severus.” Dumbledore said to him and Snape cursed inwardly as the headmaster took the work from Harry and began to read it.

“Even if he does get a D, I’m sure he can buy it up to an O.” Filius said lightly and Snape glared at him.

“Yes, like Malfoy and his OWLs.” Remus added.

“Malfoy did not buy up his Potions owl!” Snape said vehemently.

“No one said it was his potions owl.” Mad Eye observed.

“But that was what you implied.” Snape said.

“Whether implied or not Malfoy bought up that OWL!” Minerva said, scowling darkly at Snape, “I saw the results just after he took that test and he got a P.”

“And mysteriously enough he’s now in your potions class.” Filius said.

“How odd…” Tonks said.

“So have you three attempted to apparate or become Animagi yet?” Molly asked conversationally and Snape snorted.

“The day that those three manage to turn into animals will be the day that I marry Sybil.” Snape scoffed.

“I’m sure that can be arranged.” Charlie said to him.

“You better tell your bride to buy her dress soon then.” Mad Eye said, “Because I will be helping them to apparate.” Harry, Ron and Hermione looked at him quite shocked at this and couldn’t help but wonder whether or not they were going to attempt to marry Snape and Trelawney.

“And I shall be helping them to become Animagi.” Minerva said coolly.

“I’m not marrying Trelawney and that’s that.” Snape snapped.

“You signed a verbal contract, you have no choice.” Kingsley said to him.

“Shut it, baldy.” He muttered.

“Why can’t I become an Animagus, mum?” Ginny demanded of Molly who was still a bit pale and shaky from the revelation of the prophecy. “And they get to learn to apparate as well…”

“When you’re older, Ginny.” Arthur said, filling in for his wife.

“I still think it’s unfair on other students for those three to get privileges such as apparition and Animagi training.” Snape said, “Why them and no one else?”

“Because in case you weren’t listening in the kitchen a bit ago, Harry, and only Harry, has to defeat Voldemort.” Mad Eye said coldly. Harry felt a desperate feeling of unease stirring inside himself and he fought the desire to run and hide somewhere in the large house. He felt Remus tense slightly at the side of him but he didn’t say anything.

“And since when have you been interested in the fairness on the students?” Filius asked, “You let Malfoy buy up his grade!”

“Hypocrite.” Minerva muttered, loudly.

“Severus, you appear to have made a few mistakes in your marking.” Dumbledore said mildly, “And Harry got an E, not a D.” He handed Harry’s work back to him and everyone glared at Snape who glared back at them.

Time wore on in the room and as the conversation finally began to languish two hours after they all entered. Harry was still sat next to Remus and neither of them had participated much in the general conversation, preferring to sink into the background and await their chance to leave. Harry didn’t like being surrounded by so many people, all of whom had just learned of the prophecy and kept glancing at him worriedly, as if he were about to drop dead. Already he knew that the moment they all left the room he was going to find himself swept into a hug by Molly who would most likely burst into tears shortly afterwards. That was not what he wanted and so when Dumbledore finally got up to leave at around two hours after they had originally entered, Harry got up with him along with numerous other people.

“Take care, Harry.” Dumbledore said to him as he walked into the kitchen and over to the fireplace, “And don’t let Molly suffocate you.”

“I won’t, Professor.” Harry said and Dumbledore smiled at him before disappearing into the fireplace. Harry turned from the fireplace to see Professors McGonagall, Flitwick and Snape all in the kitchen to leave. The former pair smiled at him and Snape scowled as he left the room.

“How can you be so cold hearted?” Harry heard Professor McGonagall ask Snape as he left the room. He considered staying outside the door to hear Snape’s retort but he decided against it as he saw the gathering of people outside in the hallway. He slipped through them, saying a few good nights as he went and ran silently up the stairs, aware of Mad Eye’s magical eye and Remus’ eyes on him as he went.

“So?” Remus asked from behind him causing Harry to jump slightly and spin round to face him. Remus smiled as his mild shock before continuing. “Will you tell me about everything then?”

“Alright.” Harry said quietly as he pushed open Remus’ bedroom door and sat down on his bed. “Accio Pensieve.”

A/N: This chapter was a little on the short side, I know and I apologise but I just needed this to set me up for Harry showing Remus his past. The past will be in parts, since I wanted the chance to show the idea of how I was going to show the rest of the past and see whether people thought it was too detailed or not detailed enough (although I seriously doubt that it will be the latter somehow). Anyways next chapter coming as soon as I've written chapter thirteen :o) Toodle Pip!

Chapter 11: Seeing the Past
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Remus felt his stomach knot slightly in a strange anxiety of what he was about to see. Harry was finally going to show him most of his life in his pensieve which he had just conjured to him and for the moment the two of them were sat on his bed. Harry had just finished adding his memories to it and the bowl between them looked rather full whilst the boy to whom the memories belonged didn’t look too thrilled at the prospect of having to wander through them all again.

“Ready?” Harry asked Remus who nodded with a slight uncertainly. Harry reached out his hand to him and Remus took it as Harry put his other hand into the bowl. There was a strange moment of stillness until both of them were sucked into the bowl.

Remus pulled himself to his feet and looked around… There was only darkness there and little more. He strained his eyesight and looked around for Harry, realising suddenly that he was seeing things from a first person point of view in this particular memory.

From downstairs there was a crash. Quick footsteps on the landing, in the room. The door was flung open and a terrible figure stood silhouetted in the doorway, quickly crossing the room to him. There was someone blocking his view of the man as he lay in the cot in the corner of the room. Lily. He knew it instinctively and his stomach gave an awful twist when he realised that he was about to see her killed…

“Stand aside you silly girl.” He commanded her but Lily refused. There were screams, a flash of green and cold laughter as she fell to the ground. He looked up from inside the cot and saw the man hanging over him, his wand pointed at his head. He said something but he didn’t hear what it was. There was another flash of green and a crash as the man fell down, along with the house.

The scene changed and Remus stumbled slightly and almost knocked someone smaller than him down onto the floor.

“Watch it, Remus.” Harry said to him as he helped him back onto his feet. Remus could only stare at Harry with sadness filling his eyes. He watched his mother die… Ran though his mind. He reached out to Harry and pulled him into a soft embrace. Harry leant against his chest with his arms wrapped around his guardian and his guardian’s arms wrapped around him. They stayed like that for a moment or two until Harry realised that they were now inside the Dursleys’ house. He pulled away from Remus although his hand remained on his shoulder.

“I didn’t mean to!” Cried a small voice and Remus’ eyes opened in fury and horror to see a five year old version of Harry lifted clean off his feet by Vernon and thrown into the cupboard under the stairs. “I don’t know how it happened!” Harry shouted through the door.

“You can stay there until you learn how to behave!” Vernon yelled and bolted the door shut, leaving Harry inside.

Harry glanced up at Remus whose eyes were narrowed dangerously and his grip had tightened a little on his shoulder but apart from that he was hiding his rage rather well, Harry thought.

The scene stayed the same but Harry and Remus glanced up at the clock on the wall of the kitchen and saw that the hands were racing around it’s face. Six hours Harry spent inside that cupboard until Petunia came and dragged him out of it and into the kitchen where he ate a small meal whilst the rest of the family ate a much more appetising dinner and more of it. Afterwards Harry was left in the kitchen, scalding his small hands in the washing up water whilst Dudley ate more and Vernon commended him for it.

“That’s not how to wash up, boy!” Petunia scolded, hitting him around the head with the tea towel, causing Harry to drop the plate he was holding onto the floor where it shattered into a hundred pieces.

“Boy!” Vernon yelled and Harry whimpered and flinched away from the man who advanced on him. There was a gasp from Dudley and from Petunia as the scattered pieces of china on the tiles pulled themselves together and flew back up into Harry’s hand as a whole plate. Vernon’s eyes flashed menacingly and Harry found himself pulled straight off the chair he had been standing on to reach the sink and out into the hall.

“U-uncle Vernon… I…” Harry tried but it was no use as he found himself locked back inside the cupboard and it didn’t appear that he was going to be coming out of it any time soon.

“I cannot believe that man!” Remus exclaimed feeling anger coursing though him. He clenched his fist at his side and realised suddenly just how much pressure he had been putting on Harry’s shoulder. He relaxed his hand and felt Harry lean back against his chest.

The room span round and soon Remus found himself outside in a playground full of laughing children with a pair of teachers stood in the doorway nursing cups of coffee in their hands. Around the edge of the playground he spotted Harry on his own and felt a pang of sympathy for him as Dudley’s gang walked towards him. Knowing that he was about to be beaten up Harry ran away as fast as he could and made to go towards the two teachers, but three of their gang had blocked him from view with their large frames and chased him around the side of the building.

“Come on.” Harry said to Remus and taking his arm he led him around the side of the building after the gang which waddled after Harry. The small boy sprinted down the side of the school, desperately hoping for an escape from his pursuers. Ahead were some bins and he moved to leap behind them but something odd happened. There was a sudden crack and Harry was gone.

“Where are you?” Remus asked Harry by his side and following Harry’s finger he glanced up at the top of the roof where a small, rather confused looking boy was sat on the chimney.

“Harry Potter!” Barked a young teacher behind Dudley’s gang, “You get down from there right now!”

The vision blurred and came back into focus in the home of the Dursleys.

“Climbing the school?!” Vernon demanded of Harry in the hallway of Privet Drive. Remus folded his arms across his chest as he watched Harry cower infront of his fearsome uncle who was more than twice his size before being thrown violently into the cupboard.

“I’m beginning to see a pattern…” Remus muttered darkly as he watched Vernon stalk away into the kitchen.

The room blurred again but oddly enough when it came back into focus they were stood in exactly the same place in the hallway. Remus looked around him questioningly but saw only one difference: a picture in the hallway which had been of Dudley as a small fat toddler in a bobble hat was now a larger fat child playing on a computer game with his father. Remus wondered how many years had passed as Petunia walked out of the kitchen and knocked loudly on the cupboard door.

“Up! Get up! Now!” She screeched through the door. She rapped on the door again before marching back into the kitchen.

“Are you up yet?!” She demanded when she returned to the hallway a few moments later.

"Nearly," said Harry.

"Well, get a move on, I want you to look after the bacon. And don't you dare let it burn, I want everything perfect on Duddy's birthday."

Harry groaned.

"What did you say?" his aunt snapped through the door.

"Nothing, nothing..." Harry muttered as the eleven year old left the cupboard and walked unhappily into the kitchen. Remus and Harry followed him inside where they saw the young boy watching the bacon not burning whilst the table groaned under the dozens of presents which were placed upon it.

Remus made a noise of disgust as he watched the Dursleys’ fat child unwrapping all the presents and complaining at the fact that he had received less than he had the previous year.

“I cannot believe these people.” Remus said as he followed them from the house. The scene changed and suddenly they were at the zoo. “What’s a zoo?” He asked Harry as they walked inside with the Dursleys, Harry and another small boy who reminded him strangely of Wormtail.

“Where muggles take live animals and cage them for people like the Dursleys to look at.” Harry said coldly as they passed cages full of trapped animals. They walked into the reptile area and Remus glared at Dudley as he punched Harry hard in the stomach, knocking him down but that was forgotten and a few moments later he was utterly astounded when he heard the boa constrictor behind the glass speaking in perfect English to Harry.

“This is what Parseltongue sounds like to you?!” Remus asked him as he listened to it. Harry nodded. He couldn’t hide a smile as he saw Harry vanish the glass accidentally and the snake snapped playfully at Dudley’s heel as it left.

Remus grinned at the hysteria that the Dursleys were all in and Harry’s calm composure as if he spoke to snakes in the zoo all the time. They calmed down enough to hear Piers tell them that Harry had been talking to the snake and predictably enough Harry was sent straight back to his cupboard.

“Go—cupboard—stay—no meals…” Vernon managed and Harry signed and walked back off into his cupboard.

“I hate these people.” Remus muttered as the scene changed and Harry was fetching the mail. He smiled when he saw it in his hand: his letter from Hogwarts, written in Minerva’s extremely neat handwriting. He watched as Harry walked back into the kitchen and had the letter snatched away from him. He couldn’t hide his amusement as Vernon’s face went from pink, to red, to green and then drip white.

Remus opened his mouth in indignation as Vernon suddenly tore up the letter and put the pieces in the bin, before throwing Harry and Dudley out of the room.

The room span and Harry caught hold of Remus as he almost fell over in the dark. They were stood on the landing and Remus watched as the small Harry crept out of his room and proceeded down the stairs. He trod on the bottom stair and it creaked ominously and Harry flinched. The house was silent however and Harry stepped off the bottom stair onto something squishy which yelled out. There was a lot of commotion and Remus was highly amused to find that Harry had walked on Dursley’s fat face in an attempt to get the post first.

What followed were many series of attempts of Harry’s to get hold of his letter from the school but all of them failed. Remus was highly entertained by the point where he was stood in the Dursley’s lounge with Harry by his side and the younger Harry handing tea to Vernon.

“No post on Sundays.” Vernon smiled nastily. There was a rumbling noise coming from the chimney and suddenly dozens upon dozens of letters came flying out of the fireplace and into the room. Petunia screamed whilst Harry leapt to his feet and tried to grab hold of one of the letters and Dudley did the same. There was a small fight between Harry, Vernon and Dudley where everyone got hit with the Smeltings stick a lot and no one managed to get hold of the letter until Harry and Dudley were removed from the room by force.

“So how did you get your letter?” Remus asked Harry curiously. The scene changed and Remus caught hold of Harry quickly to stop him from falling into the sea. Looking around him he noticed that it was now very late, the sun had long since vanished and a crescent moon hung high in the sky. Staring out across the sea he could make out a few glimmering lights in the distance; they were quite a long way from the land. He raised an eyebrow out of intrigue as they entered the small hut on the rock.

Harry lay on the floor, drawing in the dust with his finger whilst Dudley lay sleeping on the sofa. Remus presumed that Petunia and Vernon were sleeping in a bedroom somewhere. The wind was howling outside the small house and the windows rattled as Harry watched the seconds ticking past on Dudley’s digital watch which hung on his fat wrist that hung over the edge of the sofa which groaned ominously under his immense weight. Harry quietly counted down the seconds to his birthday and as the date changed to the thirty first there were a series of blows at the door, the last of which knocked it clean off it’s hinges.

Remus’ looked at Hagrid with a mildly shocked expression on his face as he listened to the giant explain everything about Voldemort and Harry’s parents to the small, lost boy on the sofa. He felt a strange feeling somewhere between anger at the Dursleys for not explaining Harry’s past to him and pity for the way in which he had lived all those years. That all dissolved as he found himself walking next to Harry and Hagrid in Diagon Alley as they wandered around the shops getting his school things. Harry had his first taste of fame in the Leaky Cauldron and it was evident that he wasn’t pleased. He also met the defence teacher and Remus’ first impressions were that he was a shaky sort of man who looked as if a good hex would send him crying and hiding in a corner somewhere.

“Packed with muggles…” Molly Weasley said on the platform a memory later. Remus and Harry followed everyone through the platform and onto the other side where Harry boarded the train on his own and Fred and George excitedly told Molly who he was.

Soon the first year Harry and Ron were in the queue of first years in the great hall along with the rest of the year, all of whom looked terrified. The room broke out into mutterings as Harry’s name was called and the small, frightened boy stepped forwards and sat on the stool with the hat over his eyes. Remus listened as it thought about which house to place him in, noting the way in which it lingered, considering Ravenclaw and Hufflepuff for a brief moment before pushing for Slytherin as Harry pleaded against it.

Well, if you’re sure, better be… GRYFFINDOR.” The hat announced and Harry was met with huge cheers as he left the stool and went over to Gryffindors table.

The scene greyed out and soon Remus found himself witnessing the way in which people seemed to follow Harry down corridors and doubling back to get another look at him. Whispers followed him and Ron everywhere in the school.

“That was way out of line!” Remus scowled as Snape took house points from Harry in his first potions lesson and commanded him to sit down. “That’s just….” He broke off and muttered something darkly under his breath.

Things changed again and again and soon Remus found himself watching Harry in his first flying lesson in awe.

“It’s amazing… you’d never been on a broom before and you out-flew Malfoy.” Remus smiled at Harry as they walked through the castle after Harry, Ron and Hermione who were about to meet Fluffy on the third floor corridor. “Still… doesn’t say much for your talent, it was only Malfoy, after all.” He said to him before his attention was caught by the giant three headed dog that the trio had just discovered. The five of them ran out of the corridor quickly and Remus raised an eyebrow at Harry who only smiled and left the memory.

How on earth has he managed to survive that year?! Remus found himself wondering after he witnessed Harry almost thrown from his broom at a frighteningly high altitude and then he was almost smashed into pieces by a troll on Halloween, risking his neck for Hermione. He had felt terror inside himself as he walked through the woods during his detention with Malfoy after a bizarre ordeal with Norbert, Hagrid’s pet dragon. Who on earth is mad enough to try and tame a dragon?! He thought as he walked through the woods, subconsciously moving closer to Harry as they moved deeper and deeper. He watched in disbelief as Harry narrowly escaped the hooded creature drinking unicorn blood and was then rescued by a centaur who allowed him to ride on his back. He felt very thankful indeed that his own first year hadn’t held so much intrigue, mystery and over all danger, come to think of it he didn’t think that his entire school life had been filled with so many bizarre and potentially life threatening occurrences.

“You’ve not seen anything yet.” Harry smiled as the scene changed once more and he witnessed Hermione hex Neville and then follow Harry and Ron from the common room onto the third floor.

“How was this a good idea?” Remus asked him as Harry charmed the frightful dog into sleep and watched the three of them jump down into a dark hole.

“It probably wasn’t, really.” Harry said as he jumped down through the hole. A second later Remus landed besides him and watched with amusement as Hermione panicked whilst they were slowly suffocated by Devil’s Snare.

“Be careful Harry!” Hermione said as she disappeared through the flames after Snape’s barricade against the stones. Remus felt his stomach twist for Harry as he watched the eleven year old go to face who he thought was Snape in the next chamber. He was as surprised as the young boy to find that it wasn’t Snape.

“Quirrel?” Remus asked, intrigued and watched in horror when he unwrapped the turban from around his head. His eyes were wide and frightened as he watched his repeated attempts on Harry’s life and soon it all faded out to show Harry in the hospital wing asking Dumbledore questions and then to the great hall where they won the house cup.

“Come on.” Harry said, taking Remus’ hand. “Egredior.” He thought and the two of them were thrown out of the sieve and onto Remus’ bed.

“Oh my god…” Remus murmured as he fell back onto his pillows and stared to the side of him where Harry was lying on his stomach, watching him with interest. “So you saved the world at the age of eleven…” He said, just to check what he had seen.

“Yeah, that’s about right.” Harry smiled slightly.

“So can I see your second year?” Remus asked.

“Not tonight, it’s late and I’m exhausted.” Harry said to him. Remus glanced at the clock on his bedside table and noticed that it was past midnight; they had been in the pensieve a very long time, but then he supposed that he had just seen a condensed version of his first year at school and his time with the Dursleys, what did he expect? He rolled onto his side so that he was facing Harry and ran his eye over the extraordinary teenager who he currently had guardianship of. How had he managed to save the world at eleven? He should be dead… He didn’t realise just how tired he was as his eyelids slipped shut and his breathing deepened.

Next to him Harry levitated the bowl of his memories onto the floor and curled up a little closer to Remus, not wanting to have to return to his room and explain to Ron where he had been and what he had been doing for the past few hours. He closed his own eyes and soothed by Remus’ rhythmic breathing he found himself falling asleep besides him.

A/N: Well that was the first part of his past, the next part will come in a while, when I feel like putting it in basically. I'd like to know what you think about this chapter and how you think it can be improved etc. Thanks :o)

Chapter 12: In The Garden Of Black
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Remus opened his eyes in the morning to find himself lying fully robed on his bed with his arm wrapped around Harry who had curled up to him during the night. He was also fully dressed in muggle attire and glancing behind him at the clock he saw that it was already almost nine in the morning. The pensieve was on the floor, surprisingly the right way up with no spilt memories (and Merlin knew it would not be good for his memories to soak into this bizarre house, it would end up telling the portraits all about it). Besides him Harry stirred slightly before opening his eyes and fixing them on his guardian.

“Morning.” Harry said, stifling a yawn.

“Morning.” Remus smiled as Harry curled up closer to him for warmth. “I’m getting up in a minute.”

“No.” Harry protested and held onto him to stop him from leaving. It didn’t work and a moment later Remus had risen from the bed, quite reluctantly, and glanced back at Harry who was lying where Remus had been a moment earlier and now snuggled up underneath his cloak. Remus flicked his wand and a moment later another cloak lay on top of Harry, he then turned from him and walked into his bathroom.


***


An hour later everyone was sat downstairs in the kitchen eating breakfast, although it was rather more quiet than usual, despite Snape’s presence. Molly was trying to force more bacon and eggs onto people but they just weren’t interested. Harry supposed that either something had happened that no one had yet to tell him about or the idea of the prophecy had hit them rather hard during the night. He hoped it was the former and that something like one of Arabella’s cats had been injured playing tennis or something similarly non life threatening.

“No thank you, Molly.” Severus said to her as she tried in vain to put more scrambled eggs onto his plate. What on earth was wrong with him today? He was tired and depressed and had spent a long night tossing and turning in his bed with the prophecy running round and round his mind. He assumed it was clearly the fate of the world which rested on the shoulders of a sixteen year old moron that was worrying him but then when he glanced at the malnourished teen he felt a strange pang of unhappiness in him which he didn’t like, not one little bit. “Eat something, Potter. We can’t have the world’s saviour starving himself to death now, can we?” He said coolly to counteract the strange pitying feeling inside him.

“Shut it, Snape.” A few people around the table muttered and Snape glared at them all. Harry said nothing but carried on with not really eating the breakfast that had been placed before him. Glancing across the table his eyes met those of his ever concerned guardian, but he supposed he had reason to be concerned, he had just heard that his chances of survival had decreased dramatically and had seen some of his more frightful past in his first year the night before. That wasn’t likely to make him more easygoing.

Remus opened his mouth and tried not to gag as he swallowed the toast he ate. He didn’t want to eat but he knew that he had to if only to keep Molly’s suspicions from him and on Harry. His mind kept replaying parts of Harry’s past to him and all the way through breakfast he kept thinking of the way that Harry had been forced to live with his relatives: people who were supposed to love and care for him, and yet they had managed to be just the opposite of that. He forced the images of Harry being hit and punched by Dudley from his mind as he swallowed another mouthful of toast.

“You alright?” Harry asked him a few minutes later as he sat on the back doorstep of Grimmauld Place, his back to the kitchen and looking out over the overgrown garden.

“Yes.” Remus lied, as an image of Harry struggling in Devil’s Snare with Ron flooded into his mind.

“So light a fire!”

“But there’s no wood!”


“Are you sure?” Harry asked, concerned for Remus who seemed so much more distracted than usual.

“Certain.” Remus said and stood up. “I know what we should do.” He said suddenly and Harry glanced up at him, intrigued. He turned away from him and walked back into the kitchen; Harry rose to his feet and trotted after him through the house.

“Right.” Mad Eye said some ten minutes later as he stood outside on the small set of steps which led to the backdoor. “The rules are as follows: it is everyone for themselves. The last one standing is the victor. Anyone who is stunned must be sent back to the steps. Once on the steps you may not leave them but to go inside until the game is over. The Cruciatus curse and the Killing curse are obviously prohibited. The Imperious curse is not, as long as it is used in moderation. Any questions?”

Mad Eye looked around at those that were stood around him. This was one of the ways that they had trained aurors back when he had been a teacher at St. Arthur’s school of Aurors. The trainees were let loose around an area with enough places to hide and ambush their peers and the last one standing was the victor. Dumbledore greatly approved of this method of training Potter as it would allow him to become experienced in the stealth and tracking portion of the training but without it seeming as if he was training. Mad Eye hated to admit it but it was an excellent idea of Remus’. It would also give him and everyone else a chance to keep on their toes; after all, since it was everyone for themselves they would be facing each other as well as the children. Not that the children were something to be taken lightly in themselves, Potter was apparently becoming very adept at defence against the dark arts and learned quickly. It was going to be very interesting.

“Is the garden the limit?” Tonks asked him.

“Yes, you can’t enter the house without disqualifying yourself and you can’t climb over the wall.” Mad Eye said. He looked around at the people standing there. More people had volunteered for this than he had thought: there was himself, Tonks, Remus, Minerva, Filius, Severus, Bill, Charlie, Fred, George, Harry, Ron and Hermione. Ginny was sat inside the house watching out of the kitchen window. “Right, if that’s all then upon my whistle everyone enters the garden upon my second whistle then let the duelling begin. If you find anyone stunned on the ground then send them back to here. Oh, and on a final note: no summoning of items such as invisibility cloaks” He looked hard at Harry here before he put the whistle to his lips and blew hard, causing a shrill note to fill the air and everyone around him to flinch before running or walking into the garden.

Harry walked inside the maze-like garden behind Minerva, trying to conserve his energy as much as possible. He soon realised that by staying near a teacher he was likely to be cursed very quickly and sent back to the stairs so he quickly pushed through the thin, neglected hedge and onto the other side where there appeared to be no one. Almost a minute had passed and the garden was very quiet as another whistle filled the air from somewhere on Harry’s left. Knowing that the moment Mad Eye saw him he was likely to be stunned he moved slowly away from the sound and soon found that the garden appeared to have taken on some labyrinthine qualities, so as he walked through an area of hedge he was shocked to find the garden rotate suddenly and from the shocked cries from around him he wasn’t the only one. He heard Ron somewhere on his right and decided that he would walk closer to the centre and try and catch him; there was little point in staying on the defensive side until he was hexed.

Remus glanced around him as the garden rotated and saw a shock of black hair over the hedges. It was only for a moment but he knew that Harry was there. A smile touched his face as he silently walked after him, unaware that he too was being followed.

Stupefy!” The shout filled the air, instantly giving away Fred’s position. He quickly vanished George and ran quickly away from the centre of the garden. He tripped over something and glanced up to see Filius standing over him, a smile on his face. “Ah cra—” He started as he was vanished onto the steps with his twin.

“Didn’t last very long, did we?” George said.

“Nope,” Fred agreed, “Oh look, McGonagall’s about to get Snape!”

Severus span round quickly to see his old professor behind him. She shot a stunner at him quickly but he blocked it. Not bothering to fight back he turned and sprinted through the garden as quickly as he could. He stopped to breathe and realised that he could hear someone walking ahead. He glanced quickly around the corner and saw that it was Weasley, the youngest boy. He leapt back around the corner as the redhead walked towards him. He raised his wand and…

Stupefy!” Ron fell to the floor and was vanished a second later.

“Potter!” Snape barked and the yell sounded strange in the silent garden, “He was mine!”

“Be quicker next time then.” Harry grinned at him.

Insolent boy. He thought and shot a stunner at him.

Protegium!” Harry said quickly, sending the blocking and reversing charm at him. The spell ricocheted off Harry’s shield and shot straight back at Snape who yelled out and leapt to the side and straight through the hedge.

“Severus! How nice to see you!” Mad Eye said on the other side of the hedge. There was a commotion on their side of the hedge as Mad Eye attempted to curse Snape who was attempting to escape and curse Mad Eye and Harry at the same time, the latter who was running as fast as he could through the garden.

Impedimenta.” Someone said and the curse shot straight over Harry’s shoulder. He span round quickly to find himself face to face with Remus.

“Ah sh—” Harry started and raced away from him as fast as he could, spells flying past him as he went, leaving Remus laughing behind him.

“Remus.” Filius said from behind him and Remus cursed his bad luck. Apparently the rumours that circulated about Filius being a duelling champion in his youth were all true and he considered running away after Harry but decided against it.

Stupefy!” Remus cried, trying to catch the man off his guard but he easily sidestepped it and sent the same curse flying back at him.

Gelotrium.” Someone said from behind Remus and he leapt to one side, hoping that the spell wasn’t going that way. It wasn’t and a blue streak shot past him and hit Filius in the chest, causing the man to freeze momentarily until a shield he had evidently put around himself earlier on came into play and began to melt the ice around him very quickly. Remus raised an eyebrow turned and ran away from the centre of the garden, where he had been some seconds before. He wanted to try and catch Harry again in the hopes that he could pull him into a duel. He walked quickly and silently through the garden on his search for Harry and spotted him at a junction ahead. He watched as Harry disappeared down the middle path of three and followed him quickly.

Hermione walked quickly through the garden, not knowing when she was likely to be attacked but knowing that she would be. It was fun being out and about in the garden surrounded by everyone; it just wasn’t nice having the stunning hex shot at you every few minutes. So far she had managed to escape from Tonks and Minerva, both of whom chased her through the garden a good way before giving up. She heard a crack from nearby as someone stood on a twig and then cursed repeatedly. Snape. She realised. Oh how she would love to be the one to curse Snape, but she had little chance of succeeding, he was a previous Death Eater after all. Nevertheless she walked after him, hoping for the chance to catch him. She was originally going after Ron but after Harry cursed him away before Snape had the chance to then she laughed and ran away as Harry sprinted towards her, running straight into Tonks whilst she was at it.

Mad Eye walked slowly around the garden. He hadn’t seen anyone since he had entered it except for Snape some time back and Potter who was on the other side of the hedge. Of course he knew that if he altered his focus in his magical eye he could look through the hedges and hedge animals and see all of them but that wasn’t really fair on them. Especially the younger ones who tended just to run as far and as fast as they could the second they encountered someone with more than two years on their own age. He walked slowly down the side of the garden in the open and glanced up at the steps he could see the two Weasley twins and Ron sat there chatting and watching everyone.

Harry walked quickly down the middle fork in the hedging knowing that Remus was behind him. He hoped that he was fast enough to catch him, although he greatly doubted it; Remus was fast and very intelligent. He ran around the side of the bend and sprinted as fast as he could through the garden in an attempt to get behind Remus who was now stood cautiously at the edge of the fork in the path. He glanced behind him and Harry leapt behind the corner, his breathing coming a little faster before looking back around. Remus was walking slowly down the middle and he took his chance and walked carefully after him.

Stupefy.” Harry murmured softly. Remus whipped around and blocked the spell that Harry sent at him. Harry cursed inwardly and wondered why he had ever dared to challenge Remus. The man smiled at him as he turned and walked back towards him. Harry fought the urge to turn and run but stood his ground, ready to lose spectacularly. A flash to the right of him alerted him that he was probably wrong to do so as he was thrown sideways straight through the hedge and out onto the other side. And I thought that this was a good idea, why?! He thought as he dragged himself to his feet. He walked quickly over to the hedge and looked through the hole that he had just made to see Remus now engaged in a swift duel with Snape, deciding it would be best not to intervene he turned away and walked along the path along side the garden towards the house where he saw the Weasley twins and Ron on the steps laughing and waving to him.

“Mad Eye’s round the corner!” Ron shouted at him suddenly just before Harry reached the corner. He decided that he would take a quick look just to check. He put his head quickly around the corner and his eyes met with one normal one and one which was electric blue.

“Potter.” Mad Eye growled at him. Harry pulled his head back around the corner and turned to run as fast as he could. He managed to get as far as halfway down the garden to the centre of the maze when Snape appeared infront of him.

Stupefy!” Harry said catching him off his guard as he ran past. He turned and quickly vanished him to the steps where he sat scowling down at the rest of the garden after being awoken by George.

Remus laughed aloud when he saw Harry sprint past and knock Snape out. He contemplated following him for a moment and decided against it as he saw Hermione cautiously making her way around the garden, hoping not to be spotted. That’s not the way to stay alive. He thought as he walked along behind her.

Mad Eye had sent a quick succession of stunners after Potter as he sprinted away in the opposite direction but none of them hit the target who was irritatingly quick and nimble enough to dodge them all and then throw himself down a path to the side of him and re-enter the garden. Scowling darkly at the place that the boy had just been, Mad Eye turned and walked along the perimeter of the garden before he spotted Minerva walking along as a cat by the side of the hedging. She stopped as he walked past, his magical eye fixed on her as he did so. Only when she was certain he had gone did she emerge from the hedge and walk slowly along the side of the path, her eyes darting around her.

“Very sly, Minerva.” Mad Eye said from behind her as he stunned her and sent her up to the stairs.

“I cannot believe I was stunned by Potter, of all people.” Snape muttered to Minerva when she awoke a few seconds after being vanished onto the stairs.

“Mad Eye caught me,” She said as she looked over the garden and watched the people that were left inside it.

Charlie walked carefully through the garden and fell down as the hedging moved again. Glancing behind him, the path he had just been on had vanished, which was never a good sign. At the moment he was now at the very centre of the garden, next to the eerie water feature which had barely any water left in it. He looked around him and heard shouts of confusion from the movement of the garden and then he spotted Bill. Dying to get one over his elder brother he moved quickly and stealthily towards him. He leapt out from behind the hedge he was behind and sent a variety of curses his way in quick succession. To his utmost irritation they all shot straight through him and he heard Bill’s laughter from behind him as he was stunned and vanished to the stairs. Bill grinned and waved his wand through the hologram he had conjured of himself before it vanished and he turned and ran through the garden in an attempt to get hold of Harry who had ran past him some time earlier.

Harry raced through the middle of the garden and out at the other side. He glanced up at the trees infront of him and an idea came to him. He ran forwards to them and began to climb quickly until he was right at the top of one of them and well hidden by the thick leaves which obstructed anyone’s view. From there he could just make out the steps at the other side of the garden with quite a few people sitting on there now, three of them redheads. Below in the garden he could see Remus walking along cautiously after Hermione. There was a flash of red and a few seconds later Hermione appeared on the steps next to Ron. There weren’t many people left in the garden now, Harry knew that much and he would almost certainly give his position away if he attempted to stun Remus from here, he also didn’t know how much power it would lose between him and his target if he tried so he stayed silent as he scanned what portion of the garden he could see. He saw Charlie attempt to stun Bill and then in a strange turn of events Bill appeared behind him as well, stunning him quickly. Harry’s eyes were torn from the two brothers when he saw Tonks walking along the path below him. He knew it was her, with long green hair flowing over long green robes which trailed along behind her. She blended into the hedge well but anyone seeing her from the other side would only see a green woman walking along very obviously. He took his aim at her as she walked along underneath him.

Tonks walked along the path at the far end of the garden next to the wall. She had transfigured her robes to become green and had changed so that her face and hair was also green. Being so green was all fine and good when in the centre of the garden but when she was on the outside it served only to make her more conspicuous. She walked silently along the path underneath the trees which lined the wall of the garden and she spotted Remus at the edge of the hedging. She froze for a moment before making her way over to him.

Stupefy!” Tonks fell to the ground and was vanished a moment later. At the edge of the garden Remus grinned and disappeared back inside.

Harry glanced around him as he slipped down the tree and saw an electric blue eye watching him from close by. Encountering Mad Eye again was not high on his list of things to do and he jumped quickly out of the tree and raced back inside the main section of the garden, hoping not to run straight back into Remus.

“So who’s still out there then?” Ron asked as he peered across the garden for any obvious signs of people he knew.

“You’re not going to see them,” Minerva said to him, “Anyone out there isn’t going to be ridiculously obvious.” She glanced out across the garden and saw Mad Eye marching through the middle of it.

“Except for Mad Eye.” Severus corrected her.

“He can afford to.” Minerva said, “He’s got a magical eye that can see through the hedges for Merlin’s sake.”

“Anyway, in answer to your previous question…” Charlie said, “Bill’s still out there,”

“So’s Harry.” Hermione said. “And Lupin.”

“Filius.” Severus said, glancing around him for people whose presence was lacking. “So Lupin, Filius, Bill, Mad Eye and Potter.” He said summing them up. “Although how Potter has not yet been caught I do not know.” He scowled darkly.

“Hello again, Harry.” Remus smiled at the boy in the centre of the garden who cursed himself inwardly for ending up at the middle and then not running the instant he spotted Remus.

“Bloody hell.” He muttered as he looked up to the laughing eyes of Remus, he watched his face for a moment which remained calm but then he glanced down at his godfather’s wand which hung at his side. He jumped back from the Devil’s Snare which was coming from his wand and winding it’s way towards him.

“Pity you noticed.” Remus said and with a flick of his wand the tendrils flew at him. Harry cried out and leapt to the side, the Devil’s Snare embedding itself in the hedge behind him. “Stupefy.

Protegium!” Harry sent at the same time and the bolt of red collided with Harry’s shielding charm pushing back against him. Harry wasn’t sure what kind of a stunner Remus had sent at him but it was pushing against his shield and he was being forced back to the Devil’s Snare, which he didn’t fancy getting any closer to. One of the tendrils reached out to him and he leapt to the side as his shield gave way. The red streak which was still connected to Remus’ wand flew from the end of it and through the Devil’s Snare, destroying it completely, as it flew through four separate hedges, finally setting one of the trees on fire at the end of the garden. Remus flashed an amused smile at Harry as he moved round closer to him and away from the hole in the hedge. Harry and Remus both raised their wands to curse the other but before either of them managed there was a cry to their right.

Imperio!” Someone said and Harry staggered backwards as the spell hit him hard.

Curse yourself, it’s the easiest way out.
Come on, stun yourself
It’ll be fun
Stun yourself
You know you want to
Go on…


Remus scowled darkly at Mad Eye in the hedge before stunning Harry and sending him to the stairs with everyone else.

“That wasn’t very fair, you know.” Remus said to Mad Eye as he emerged, “I wanted to duel with him.”

“He should have fought off the spell then.” Mad Eye retorted. Remus opened his mouth to argue, “It’s not as if he can’t do it. That impostor made him do it all through his fourth year!”

“I know, but it’s not the easiest of things to throw off.” Remus argued.

“He threw it off from Voldemort,” Mad Eye said to him and Remus’ eyes widened, “Dumbledore told me.”

Stupefy!” Someone yelled from the other side of the hedge and Bill flew through it and onto the floor where he lay unconscious. He was vanished a second later and Filius walked through the hedge.

“Looks like it’s just us three left.” Mad Eye said. “Stupefy.” He shot the spell at Remus who wasn’t expecting it and he dropped to the floor. Filius vanished him to the steps where he was revived by Minerva a moment later.

“So who do you reckon will win then?” George asked Fred, “Mad Eye or Flitwick?”

“Mad Eye, hands down.” Ron said despite the fact that his name wasn’t Fred.

“Filius was excellent in his youth though.” Minerva said.

“Yeah, but now he’s old.” Fred said.

“He’s not that old.” Minerva said.

“He taught us when we were at school.” Remus said nodding in Severus’ direction. “And he wasn’t particularly young then,”

“Well how old’s Mad Eye?” Hermione asked.

“Do we look stupid enough to ask him?” Ron asked her.

“Yeah, he’d probably hex you on the spot.” Charlie agreed.

“Well he was at the top of his career in the seventies.” Severus said. “And he was in his late twenties then.”

“Right, so if he was in his late twenties twenty years ago then he’s going on fifty.” Bill said, “He can’t be that old, can he?”

“Why not?” Minerva asked. Suddenly everyone on the stairs began to wonder how old she was.

“How old are you, Minerva?” Severus asked her in as gentle a voice as he could manage. She turned to him and gave him a very cold look before raising her wand to his neck. “Err… what I mean to say is do you want a cup of tea?”

“No, thank you.” She said coldly, “And I do not expect the subject of my age to be raised ever again.”

“Why not? You know how old we are.” Harry said to her and she cast him the same cool look which silenced him and caused Remus to muffle his laughter next to him. “Never mind…”

“Alright then, someone ask Mad Eye and Filius how old they are when they come back.” Charlie said to them.

“I’m not asking anyone how old they are.” Minerva said coolly when he looked to her.

“You ask one of them, Snape.” Bill said to him, “They’re less likely to curse you.”

“Potter’s stupid, he can ask one of them.” Severus said in reply.

“Will you, Harry?” Fred asked him, laughter in his eyes.

“Yeah, alright.” Harry said, wondering how many curses he’d have put on him.

“Well I’ll ask Filius, so you can ask Mad Eye.” Remus said quickly to the side of him and Harry opened his mouth to protest.

“Nope, it’s too late now.” Charlie said to him, “You never said which one of them you’d ask and if Remus is asking Filius then you’re asking Mad Eye.”

“I’m not asking him.” Harry said.

“You will ask him or I’m going to start sneaking Veritaserum into your food.” Snape said to him.

“I’ll stop eating then.” Harry responded.

“Yeah, it’s not like he eats anything anyway.” Ron said, “He’s skin and bone.” Everyone ran a critical eye over his skinny body which was hidden under his clothes but not particularly well. Remus’ eyes lingered on his frame unhappily and he resolved to try and make him eat more.

“Alright then, I’ll freeze you, knock you down and pour Veritaserum down your throat in the Great Hall at breakfast and allow Draco Malfoy to ask you a few questions.” Snape said to him and his lips curled in a cruel smile as Harry scowled darkly at him.

“Fine.” Harry muttered.

“And when do you plan on this suicide?” Charlie asked.

“You’ll do it at lunch.” Snape said to him and Harry shook his head.

“Not with everyone around I won’t.” Harry said.

Snape sighed, “Do I have to repeat everything I previously said? If you don’t I will freeze you, knock you down and—”

“Pour Veritaserum down my throat, I know.” Harry finished for him.

“In the Great Hall at breakfast.” Minerva said.

“So looks like we’re in for an interesting lunch today.” Bill grinned at them all and Harry groaned.

“And when are you asking Filius?” Tonks asked Remus.

“I’ll catch him later sometime.” Remus said lightly.

“Fair enough.” Snape said and smirked at Harry who didn’t have chance to say anything by means of a retort as Mad Eye suddenly appeared in their midst in an unconscious state. Filius appeared at the bottom of the stairs with a pop.

“Well done, Filius.” Minerva smiled at him.

“Ah, just like the old days.” Filius said as he woke Mad Eye. The latter sat up on the stairs and looked around at the people near him. “An excellent duel.”

“Yes, well done.” Mad Eye said but it didn’t take a genius to understand from his tone that he was not pleased with his loss. He got up from the steps and walked inside with a slight scowl on his face. This only widened Snape’s smile and most other peoples.

“Shame he’s not in a good mood.” Severus said to Harry, “And lunch in only an hour as well. He’ll not have cheered up by then. Pity.” He smirked at Harry who scowled back at him. Severus rose to his feet and walked back into the house, laughing at Harry on the way.

“Do you reckon that Snape’ll notice if I just don’t ask him his age?” Harry asked Remus as they sat on the steps outside whilst everyone else rose and re-entered the kitchen.

“I think he probably will…” Remus smiled. “Come on, let’s get inside. I don’t like that those hedge snakes have made it all the way to the path.” Harry looked over and sure enough the hedge snakes had made it all the way to the edge of the garden and were very carefully moving when they weren’t looking. Sometimes he could catch their movement out of the corner of his eye, sometimes they just got closer somehow. But it was always eerie and he felt a strong sense of unease whenever they did it. He allowed himself to be helped to his feet by Remus as they both turned their backs on the snakes which quickly moved forwards a few metres closer to the steps and walked back inside the kitchen.

A/N: Sorry it took me so long to get this chapter up but for a while my internet broke so in my spare time I've managed to write up to chapter fifteen. Anyway, input wanted: Harry, Ron and Hermione are going to eventually become animagi, what animals do you think they should become? Also a couple of people have asked me to email them when I update and I thought I'd ask if anyone else wanted emailing when I update as well. Next chapter coming soon :o)

Chapter 13: A Question Of Age
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Harry stood opposite Remus on the landing of the disused third floor of Grimmauld Place. Remus had challenged Harry to a duel shortly after they re-entered the house, partly because he felt he had been cheated out of a duel with him earlier on in the garden and partly because there was still half an hour until lunch. Foolishly Harry had accepted, although he had no idea as to why he had done so.

“Ready?” Remus asked.

“Not really.” Harry replied uncertainly. Remus smiled encouragingly and Harry bit his lip as they bowed slightly, never taking their eyes from one another.

Impedimenta!” Remus cried and as the duel began the spell shot straight at Harry who dodged it and sent the same jinx right back at him. He knew that he probably should have simply reversed Remus’ spell but that hadn’t occurred to him. The spell just skimmed over Remus’ shoulder and Remus smiled slightly and decided against holding back in this particular duel, just to see what he was really capable of. It probably wasn’t such a good idea to do so; Remus knew Harry was excellent for his age but he also knew that he was no match for himself and only sheer good luck and speed at running had allowed him to last as long as he had done in the garden earlier, after all, he had run from almost everyone he had encountered.

He realised suddenly that he had been duelling absentmindedly against Harry. His eyes flickered back to the boy who was watching cautiously after the last spell he had sent at him which had been a mild stunner.

Gelotrium!” Remus cried and a blue bolt of light shot from his wand and went for Harry’s chest. Harry didn’t know how to cast the spell himself but he had seen it cast before and knew it would freeze him to the spot, should he allow it to hit.

Incendio!” Harry said and fire flew from his wand directly at the freezing spell Remus had hit at him, he could only hope that his spell was strong enough to melt Remus’. Remus watched with interest from the other side of the landing as his ice spell was melted by Harry’s flames. He had to admit that the boy was more ingenious than he had given him credit for. He put a strong force field around himself as Harry’s flames engulfed him and were held to his shield, encasing him in a sphere of flames. Harry looked at this with interest and wondered what it was like to be surrounded by flames like that and how exactly that was going to help Remus in their duel. Remus held the flames to his shield for a few seconds before releasing them and Harry cast a strong shield infront of himself as the flames were blown past him and over him.

Incarcerous.” Remus said and vines shot from his wand towards Harry, tying his legs tightly and working their way up to his arms at a very quick rate. “Expelliarmus.” Remus said almost lazily as Harry’s wand shot from his hand and into his own.

“Let me up.” Harry said to him as he looked up to Remus who smiled as he bent down to him.

Cautus Diffindo.” Remus said quietly as a small purple ray came from his wand. He gently cut down the side of Harry’s bonds, taking care not to cut his clothes or his skin as he freed him. Finally as the last of the ropes were cut Remus helped him up onto his feet and vanished the vine-like ropes which had bound him a moment earlier.

“I’m sure I told you to remind me not to duel with you.” Harry said to Remus who smiled at him.

“Must have slipped my mind…” Remus said as they walked down onto the second floor of the house, “However I do remember that you mustn’t eat things you transfigure. You also shouldn’t ask eccentric hex-happy ex-aurors their age when in a bad mood.” Harry pulled a face as they cross the landing and went down another set of stairs so that they were on the first floor of the house.

“Lunch will be ready in around five minutes.” Filius said as he passed the pair of them walking towards the stairs.

“Ah, Filius…” Remus said, “I’m afraid I have a rather personal question for you.” Filius raised his eyebrows and motioned for him to continue. “Well… I was wondering how old you are.” Realisation touched Filius’ face.

“Oh, is that all?” He asked, a smile on his face, “I’m sixty nine. Will that be all?”

“Erm… yes, thanks.” Remus said, slightly bemused as to how things had gone so easily. “So dinner in five?”

“Yep, but don’t go into the kitchen yet, Molly’s not in the best of moods.” Filius said and disappeared into one of the rooms on the right.

“Sixty nine… he looks older.” Harry said as they walked along.

“It’s the beard he has and the fact that he has white hair.” Remus said as they descended onto the ground floor of the house.

“I can’t believe he’s around double your age.” Harry said, “And I thought you were old.”

“I’m not old!” Remus said indignantly, “Dumbledore’s apparently 150. That’s four or five times my age.”

“Asking Mad Eye his age isn’t going to be easy, is it?” Harry said as they went into the lounge next to the kitchen and sat down with Minerva, Severus, Bill, Fred, George, Ron and Hermione.

“It better not be.” Remus scowled at him as they took a seat on a sofa with Minerva and Bill.

“So, have you asked Filius yet?” Severus asked him.

“Yep, he’s sixty nine.” Remus replied and Severus’ face fell slightly.

“And wasn’t he annoyed? And insulted?” Severus asked him.

“Nope, not in the slightest.” Remus said smiling slightly. Harry couldn’t help but wish he had said he was going to ask Flitwick before Remus did. Severus looked quite disappointed.

“Never despair, Severus.” Minerva said, “Harry’s yet to ask Mad Eye.”

“Thank Merlin for small miracles, and amusements concerning Potter.” Severus smirked and Harry groaned slightly.

“Lunch is out!” Molly shouted and her voice was magically amplified to echo throughout the house. Harry felt a sense of foreboding as he got up from the sofa along with Remus who grinned at him as they left the room and entered the kitchen. Mad Eye was already sat down at one end of the table and Harry decided that he had a much better chance of escape if he sat near the door and as far away from Mad Eye as possible. Remus sat down next to him and Snape chose a seat opposite him, presumably from which he could most effectively convince the boy to ask the most dreadful question of all: how old are you?

Everyone helped themselves to food which was spread out down the centre of the table whilst Molly watched them all especially Harry and Remus, both of whom she didn’t think had been eating enough recently at all. Severus stared pointedly at Harry as their meal began and glances from up and down the table from everyone informed him that he was going to have to ask sooner or later. The meal dragged on and Harry had eaten very little, as he always did, when it began to draw to a close.

“Mad Eye…?” Harry asked, and he received a raised eyebrow in return at the silence in the room. “How old are you?” He watched Mad Eye with interest as the man’s eyebrow managed to raise itself even further than he had ever thought possible up his forehead.

“Do you really want to know?” Mad Eye asked him in a dangerously quiet voice as he rose from the table and walked slowly towards Harry who cowered slightly as the man loomed over him.

“Yes.” Harry said meekly and a slight smile touched Mad Eye’s face.

“Are you sure?” He asked as he raised his wand. Harry ducked quickly under the table and Mad Eye stared at his chair in disbelief before following him underneath.

“Damn, you found me…” Harry scowled.

“What a shock.” Mad Eye muttered as he pointed his wand at Harry’s chest but before he could curse him he was kicked sharply in the shoulder by one of the people sat around the table that were laughing and joking above it.

“In retrospect, hiding under the table may have been a bad idea.” Harry said as he scrambled down the length of the table, causing shrieks and laughter to ensue from the people sat eating above. Mad Eye crawled after him and a moment later an amazed Molly watched as Harry and then Mad Eye got out from under the end of the table and raced out of the room.

“That wasn’t very fair of you, Severus.” Dumbledore said to the man who was laughing at the end of the table. “You knew just how sensitive Alastor is about his age.”

“And you still practically blackmailed Harry into asking him it.” Minerva added.

“I didn’t blackmail him.” Severus said.

“You told him you’d force-feed him Veritaserum at breakfast in the Great Hall if he didn’t, I’d class that as blackmail!” Remus scowled at him.

“Well he didn’t have to ask him.” Severus tried to argue.

“And he could have found himself spilling out any secrets to the school whilst under questioning from the Slytherins if he didn’t.” Minerva scowled, “You would have ensured that!”

“I was merely joking.” Severus said lightly, “It’s not my fault he cannot take a joke.”

“As if…” Ron muttered from the end of the table.

“Do you want to find yourself drinking Veritaserum as well, Mr Weasley?” Severus asked him coolly.

“Right, and that wasn’t threatening at all.” Tonks said.

“DON’T YOU DARE THREATEN MY SON!” Molly shouted at him from the end of the table leaving an odd silence in the room.

“Get back here and face me like a man!” Came Mad Eye’s yell from the floor above as there was a sound like the light pattering of feet and then a thud clunk thud clunk as Mad Eye marched after him on his wooden leg.

“Never!” Harry laughed as he ran as fast as he could around the house. In the kitchen Severus laughed and Molly glared at him for his threats against Ron. “Impedimenta impedimenta impedimenta impedimenta!” Harry cried in quick succession and Mad Eye slowed down a lot. He took a few deep breaths and turned and walked calmly down onto the first floor whilst Mad Eye took a step on the floor above in slow motion.

“So how old is he then?” Remus asked Harry with a wolfish grin on his face as he resumed his previous seat in the room.

“He didn’t say.” Harry said calmly as he took a drink of pumpkin juice.

“Shame.” Snape said. “Where is he then?”

“He’s walking very slowly down the stairs.” Harry explained and they all looked at him, intrigued.

“What?” Tonks asked him.

“Go see for yourself.” Harry said and Tonks did. She rose from the table and stuck her head around the corner to see Mad Eye moving incredibly slowly down the stairs. The sight caused her to burst out laughing which soon brought everyone else to the doorway.

Dumbledore smiled at the infuriated auror moving in slow motion towards the kitchen and took pity on the man. He walked forwards to him and put out a hand against his chest which stopped him. “Finite.” He said, waving his wand over him and in an instant Mad Eye was back at normal speed and looking threateningly towards Harry but with Dumbledore in between them he wasn’t going anywhere.

“He meant nothing by it, Alastor.” He said quietly to the man whilst everyone strained their ears in the doorway to hear just what he had said to Mad Eye and failed. “He didn’t know, he was told to ask that by a certain other individual… now forget all about it.” He subtly waved his wand over his old friend and Mad Eye blinked. All his rage against the teen for his impertinent question had vanished and instead he felt slightly puzzled at his reaction as he walked calmly into the kitchen and sat down at the table, whilst Harry watched him constantly out of the corner of his eye to make sure he wasn’t about to be attacked. Severus looked thoroughly disappointed as there appeared to be no more action between infuriated auror and foolish child.


***


That evening found Harry sat at the coffee table in the lounge poring over his transfiguration book for the next year and writing extensive notes on transfiguring things to life. It was a very difficult thing to do and he had already attempted the spell repeatedly during the day after reading about it but he wasn’t having much luck. Hermione was sat to the side of him writing out her charms homework which was already longer than it was meant to be and Ron was almost crying in frustration with his own transfiguration homework which was only a foot long and needed an extra four feet on it to pass as acceptable in McGonagalls eyes. Behind them sat some of the Order who were awaiting their meeting for the evening and were in discussion over duelling, aurors and other such things.

“Well if you weren’t so insistent on using Serpensortia in every duel you were in you might win once in a while.” Tonks said to Severus who wasn’t looking too pleased.

“It’s a mark of how stubborn and foolish Slytherins are that they always summon a snake.” Minerva said calmly.

“Yeah, try summoning one when duelling with Harry; I can’t see that working out well.” Ron said and Minerva and Filius laughed. Snape pondered this slightly for a minute.

“Yes but just because he’s a parselmouth doesn’t mean that he could control it.” Severus argued.

“Whoa, hang on a second.” Mad Eye said, “The boy’s a parselmouth?”

“‘The boy’ has a name.” Remus muttered darkly.

“Yes, Voldemort passed the power onto him when…” Minerva broke off but it was enough and Mad Eye understood.

“What’s it like speaking in parselmouth then?” Tonks asked Harry from a chair to the side of him.

“Just sounds like English to me, I don’t realise I’m doing it.” He said and she watched him with intrigue.

“Weird.” Tonks said and let him get back to his transfiguration. Harry had been trying to finish his homework as quickly as possible whilst still attaining decent marks for it so that he could get around to starting on becoming an Animagus and learning to apparate. He knew that the latter was going to be the easiest and that was why Mad Eye had promised him that as soon as he had finished with all his homework he would start to teach them. He had said that during the afternoon and Harry had been sorely tempted to turn and run from the man when he saw him coming towards him but he stood his ground just to see whether or not he was actually going to be attacked. When he informed him just how soon he could be learning to apparate Harry was quite shocked to say the least but he merely nodded and set to work on his homework again. So far he had already completed his charms work which had taken him a few hours earlier on in the afternoon whilst everyone else had been outside playing Quidditch. It cost him all his restraint to stay inside working on essays whilst his best friends were outside in the sunshine playing his favourite sport but concentrating on how much he wanted to learn to apparate and become an Animagus had kept him in the lounge working away.

“An excellent essay, Harry.” Filius said, handing him back the parchment he had given him earlier on in the afternoon upon it’s completion. “Now, to see if you can put what you’ve learnt into practice.” He instructed Harry to try and freeze the candle on the table.

Gelotrium.” Harry muttered as he waved his wand. There was a light hissing sound as water fell from the air and onto the candle, extinguishing it effectively but not turning it into ice. Harry scowled at it but it stayed as water.

“Not strong enough, I suggest you keep trying.” Filius said to him mildly.

“Yes, keep trying somewhere not near my homework.” Hermione muttered as she wrote out her own charms work in minute handwriting to try and fit as much as she could onto the set amount of parchment. Harry went back to his transfiguration work which he had come close to finishing. He only had another foot or so left to write and that shouldn’t be too difficult, what was going to be difficult was the practice McGonagall was most likely going to make him do when he had finished it. That seemed to be the trend that the teachers had: when they finished their written work they had to complete practical work and what was more annoying still was that they knew no one else had to do practical on top of the written work. Hermione saw it as an advantage, having all the teachers she needed in the room with her to help with the work she was doing and to assist with the practical, although they had yet to discover who exactly was going to be teaching defence against the dark arts that year. Hermione had asked a few times since the start of the summer but she hadn’t been getting any answers, neither had Ron. Harry had forgotten all about it after asking Remus a while back and was concentrating on completing his homework.

“Anyway, I think it’s good to keep people on their toes in a way such as this morning.” Remus said.

“Why, what happened this morning?” Kingsley asked and Tonks quickly explained to him. “That’s how we learnt at St. Arthur’s.”

“St. Arthur’s?” Harry asked.

“Auror school kinda thing.” Tonks said.

“Oh ok.”

“And sometimes they put you into teams and try and make you work together to take down the other team.” Kingsley said, “It’s fun until you know you’re being examined.”

“Yeah, then you just want to run from everyone you encounter. Especially if you encounter Mad Eye.” Tonks said.

“You almost failed because of that!” Mad Eye scowled at her before going on to explain to everyone else that when Tonks had been taking her final examinations she had almost failed in team work when she had encountered Mad Eye (her examiner) and had simply turned and run as fast as she could in the opposite direction.

“Everyone else who met you earlier on ran as fast as they could in the opposite direction.” Tonks argued.

“Yes, but they’re not all training to be aurors are they?” He asked coolly, “Besides most people who did that managed to escape, you got stunned.”

Tonks mumbled something under her breath and scowled darkly at Mad Eye. Harry smiled slightly at Tonks who stuck her tongue out in return and Harry saw a silver stud there which hadn’t been there before.

“Have you had your tongue pierced?!” He asked her in amazement.

“Yep.” She grinned, “I had it done an hour or two ago. Kills though.” She stuck her tongue out again. “Shame muggles don’t use painkiller when they have piercing done.”

“You mean anaesthetic.” Harry told her and she nodded.

“That’s revolting!” Molly said to Tonks.

“How on earth did they do that?” Bill asked as he looked in wonder at her studded tongue. “I might have mine done.” Hermione laughed at this.

“Only muggle women really have it done.” Hermione said to him and Bill looked quite disappointed by this but didn’t say anything.

“Hang on, so is that a hole through your tongue then?” Remus asked her and Tonks nodded. “That’s awful!” He said and she stuck her tongue out again.

“I can’t believe muggles do that willingly.” Mad Eye said.

“I’ve got my ears pierced.” Hermione said and everyone looked at her; it wasn’t like her to do anything rebellious.

“Most muggle women have their ears pierced.” Harry explained. “How else would they wear earrings?”

“Witches charm them to their ears.” Minerva said, “They don’t make holes!”

“I might have my nose done next summer.” Hermione said thoughtfully, “What do you think?”

“It’ll look nice.” Harry said, “Hurt though.”

“You’re going to have that done in your nose?!” Ron said, sounding quite horrified at the idea.

“People have worst places pierced.” Harry said lightly. Remus looked at him inquisitively and Hermione laughed.

“Just get on with your homework and let’s stop talking about making holes in people.” Molly said, feeling quite squeamish at the whole idea. Harry dutifully complied and began to write more on his transfiguration. What with his immediate future being taken up entirely by homework he was going to be in for a dull couple of days.

A/N: Right, I think I've just about decided on what animals I'm going to have them all as when they're animagi although ideas are still appreciated since I'm not certain yet. Just wanted to warn you all that this is probably going to be a rather long story. This is going on the basis that I'm just starting to write chapter seventeen now and they're not yet going back to school... There was also something else that I had to say but I can't remember it now, oh well, it can't have been that important :o) Thanks to everyone who's been reviewing so far, I love reading what you have to say about my story. Next chapter should be up by Sunday, maybe Saturday. Cheerio!

Chapter 14: A Lesson In Apparition
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“I still can’t believe you’re going to be the defence against the dark arts professor again and you didn’t tell me sooner!” Harry said to Remus at breakfast the next morning.

“Thank god, a decent professor again.” Hermione said, sounding mightily relieved that they knew that their NEWT years weren’t going to be spent in the company of a tortuous ministry official again. “At least you won’t have to run the DA again Harry.”

“I liked that.” Ron said.

“I know but it was exhausting.” Harry said.

“Besides, you’re meant to spend your NEWT years learning not teaching.” Remus said as he ate his toast. Today Harry was learning to apparate from Mad Eye, he had wanted to be there to help and to laugh at him when it went wrong but he had to go into Hogwarts for a bit to help out Filius and Minerva with sorting out the timetables for the year. Hermione and Ron were still doing homework and were very irritated that Harry had finished his first. Hermione said that she didn’t mind and knew that she would learn more from her homework than Harry would from his attempts at apparating. Ron was furious and was scribbling away even during breakfast, although all his teachers had assured him that unless he got at least an A in each piece of work then he wouldn’t be learning to apparate or become an Animagus.

Dumbledore sat amongst them that morning. He had unusually little work to do and had decided upon taking breakfast with those whose company he most enjoyed. It was for this reason that Albus found himself listening to the general arguments and discussions of most of the Order.

“There is no way that this is going to be good.” Severus complained as he stabbed the mushroom on his plate rather violently. “Teaching that boy occlumency was one of the worst things that Dumbledore ever made me do and just when I thought it was all over…”

“I know it seems bad now, but what’s the worst that can happen?” Minerva asked him as she conjured a crumpet from thin air.

“You have no idea. Last time the boy ended up in my pensieve and watching his father charm me upside down and…” Severus broke off and glared angrily up the table at Harry who had his mind halfway between learning to apparate that day and the occlumency lessons he had been informed that he would be having again earlier that morning by Dumbledore. Sadly he had learnt that he wasn’t going to get a new teacher, which was what he had been silently pleading for, but instead he was going to have to be taught by Snape again.

“I’m sure he didn’t mean to, Severus.” Minerva said to him calmly.

“Whatever, that boy was made to ruin my life.” Severus muttered darkly as he glanced up the table at the boy who was talking to Lupin. “This is just a sick punishment from Dumbledore because I was a Death Eater all those years ago. It’s not good enough for him that I’m now a spy, he just has to have a little fun as well.” Minerva rolled her eyes next to him and told him to stop being so melodramatic.

“After all, if you don’t teach the boy then no one else can. You’re the only one apart from Albus with the skill enough to teach occlumency and we know that Albus can’t so you’re going to have to put up with teaching him.” Minerva said coolly, “I don’t see what you have against him anyway, just because of who his father was doesn’t mean that you have to hate Harry as well. They’re very different from one another you know.”

“I refuse to believe that. Like father like son.” Severus said, “Potter is as bad as his father ever was. He only entered my pensieve because he knew full well that it contained some private and humiliating memory of mine and the sadistic little git wanted to see what it was.”

“Do shut up, Severus.” Minerva said coldly to him after he had finished his tirade against Harry, whom she was becoming quite fond of, although she would never admit it. She glanced up to the other end of the table just to check that none of the younger people at the table had been listening to their conversation. It wouldn’t do much good for Harry to hear about Snape’s intense hatred towards him, although he most likely knew how bad it was anyway. Harry wasn’t listening however; he was talking with Tonks at the other end of the table.

“Forget it, you’ll be fine.” Tonks tried to reassure him, “Snape’ll forget about it eventually and he’s good at occlumency.”

“Yeah, but it’s difficult to learn from someone who hates you so much.” Harry scowled.

“Well think of it as practice; Voldemort won’t be nice about it if he breaks into your mind, why should Snape be?” Tonks said.

“I suppose so, but I don’t feel like I learn anything or get any better at it at all. He always makes me feel like I’ve managed to get worse.” Harry said and rested his chin on his hand as he looked down at his cereal that was swimming in half a bowlful of milk.

“You’re still not eating enough.” Remus commented from the side of him to which Harry rolled his eyes and insisted that he was.

“I’m sure I eat more than you do.” Harry said to him, “You just say that I don’t eat enough to cover up for your own noneatingness.”

“Noneatingness?” Remus said and raised and eyebrow at his fictitious vocabulary. “You can’t just make up words.”

“You’d think that, wouldn’t you?” Harry smiled and hoped that the conversation wasn’t about to revert back to his eating habits. Luckily for him it didn’t; Remus had to leave at that point and go to Hogwarts where he said that he was sorting out some things for school. Soon after everyone else left the table and went off to pursue their own leisurely activities, leaving Harry at the kitchen table still, waiting for Mad Eye to arrive whilst he watched Ron racing through his homework as fast as he could and Hermione working slowly and steadily through her textbooks, determined to get an O in each of her homeworks so that she could claim she had learnt more than they.

“Right, ready to go then Potter?” Mad Eye asked him as he walked into the room. Harry nodded and got to his feet, both of them leaving the room and walking out into the garden. Mad Eye explained to him as they made their way down to the field on the other side of the wall which separated the garden of Black from the rest of the world that they wouldn’t be apparating inside Grimmauld Place yet due to the fact that something could easily go wrong whilst he learnt to apparate.

“Well consider this then, if you’re practicing on the second floor of the house and you apparate too far to your left then you’ll end up ten metres in the air on the outside of the house: a perfect opportunity for you to break both your legs but not the best way to learn to apparate.” Mad Eye said to Harry as they went. “And we’re not practicing in the garden because I don’t like it and I don’t fancy losing you in all these hedges.” Harry nodded as they reached the bottom of the garden and both of them jumped over it easily, landing on grass on the other side of the wall. “Right then, let’s get started.”


***


“So, how did apparating with Mad Eye go?” Remus asked Harry when Mad Eye left them both sat on the wall some two hours after Harry had first walked down with the intimidating man. Remus had arrived back from the school in time to watch Harry apparate a few feet to the left of him and was miraculously still in once piece when he had done it although he fell over.

“Urgh, it’s awful!” Harry said.

“What, apparating, or being taught by Mad Eye?” Remus asked, laughter in his eyes.

“Being taught by Mad Eye’s fine but I already don’t like apparating.” Harry said as he idly shot a few sparks at some crows on the field, causing them all to scatter.

“Why not?” Remus asked as he charmed bubbles out of the end of his wand.

“It feels like you’re pulled apart into tiny pieces and then put back together again a moment later.” Harry said, “It’s weird.”

“You’ll get used to it. Once you get over the initial shock that you really are being pulled apart into tiny pieces and being put back together again a millisecond later then you’ll be fine.” Remus said to him. “You seem to be doing quite well though. You can already apparate a few feet.”

“Yeah, but it took me two hours to manage that although admittedly half an hour was spent putting me back together after I splinched myself.” Harry smiled and Remus rolled his eyes.

“You managed to splinch yourself? You were apparating two feet!” Remus laughed in disbelief.

“Don’t tell Ron.” Harry said to him.

“I might have to.” Remus said mildly.

“Don’t Remus!” Harry scowled and Remus laughed and told him that he wouldn’t before pushing him off the wall and into the field below. Unfortunately for him Harry caught onto his arm as he fell and pulled him down with him causing Molly to raise her eyebrows as she looked out of the kitchen window at seeing the two people just fall off the wall.

“Harry!” Remus said, trying to sound stern but failing miserably as he half laughed at the same time. There was a moment of stillness as the two of them lay on the grass before both of them tried to scramble back onto their feet. Harry was first to stand up and Remus shot a quick hex at him in an attempt to knock him back down but Harry quickly blocked it.

“We’re not duelling again…” Harry said to Remus who grinned at him.

“Why not?” Remus asked him. “You’ll never get better at it without practice.”

“Maybe I don’t want to get better.” Harry said.

“In general aurors have to learn to duel, Harry.” Remus said to him, “And if you want to be an auror then you’re going to have to duel and duel well.” Harry pulled a face at him although he knew that Remus was right, he was going to have to learn to duel well at some point. He supposed that he could duel again, although he would almost certainly lose. He would have been exceedingly surprised if he didn’t and so they began to duel one another. Faster and faster they duelled and Remus didn’t hold back against him; he had no qualms about that, after all he was going to have to learn to duel somehow and people whom he would one day be duelling were likely to be shooting much more painful curses at him than tickling charms.

Their duel lasted longer this time than it had done the day before and soon Remus hit Harry hard with the disarming spell and Harry flew backwards across the field a few feet, coming to a halt on the ground and for one moment Remus feared that he may have injured him until Harry slowly began to drag himself back onto his feet, his wand now in Remus’ hand.

“Are you alright?” Remus asked him as he walked over to his godson who had just made it back to his feet. “You’ve twisted it, I think.” He said to Harry who gingerly put his weight on his left ankle and bit his lip as pain shot through his leg. “I’m sure Molly will be able to heal it when we get back to the house, for now I’m afraid you’re going to have to walk.” Harry nodded as Remus moved closer to him and Harry put his arm around his shoulders for support as they walked back to the wall.

“I don’t like duelling.” Harry scowled as Remus levitated him over the top of the wall before jumping over it himself.

“You only don’t like it because you’re not very good at it yet.” Remus smiled, “When you get better at it then you’ll like it more, I’m certain of that, the same with apparating.”

“I doubt it.” Harry said as he limped through the garden, his guardian’s arm around him.

“I don’t.” Remus smiled, “Anyway you did much better today than you did yesterday.”

“You mean I lasted a few seconds longer.” Harry said coolly.

“A couple of minutes longer.” Remus corrected and Harry scowled at him. “That’s the only way you can measure how good you are at it, I don’t duel better or worse each time and since you lasted longer I can only presume that you’ve improved slightly.”

“I’ll beat you one day, you wait and see.” Harry said to him as they passed the middle of the garden, the snakes appearing to watch them as they passed through.

“I’m certain of it.” Remus said sincerely, “And do you know how to get good enough to beat me?”

“Practice.” Harry said dully and Remus smiled down at him.

“Unfortunately so.” Remus replied. “See if you can get Tonks or Mad Eye to duel with you.”

“Mad Eye?!” Harry demanded of him, “No thanks, I don’t really fancy being blown to a million pieces!” Remus laughed.

“Alright then, maybe not Mad Eye just yet.” He said and Harry raised an eyebrow as if to say ‘how about never?’ and then added that he thought that he should duel with Bill or Charlie, or maybe the Weasley twins. “You have to duel with people who are better than you to improve, and I know that you’re much better than Ron and Hermione so don’t duel with them too much if you’re wanting to get better. It might help your ego to beat them but it won’t help your skills.” Harry agreed unhappily and resolved to duel with as many people as he could so that he could beat Remus some time in the far distant future. “When are you learning to be an Animagus then?” Remus asked, changing the conversation from duelling.

“Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays.” Harry replied, “And I’m learning to apparate on Mondays, Wednesdays and Sundays.”

“So you’ve got Fridays off then?” Remus asked.

“I only wish, I’ve got Occlumency on Fridays as well as Tuesdays.” Harry said.

“I’m surprised that Snape’s teaching you again after last time.” Remus said to him as they reached the end of the hedges and walked slowly across to the steps into the house.

“You’re not the only one.” Harry replied, “And Snape doesn’t seem too pleased about it either, I can’t see occlumency being much fun.”

“It’s not meant to be fun, it’s meant to help you block your mind from Voldemort.” Remus reminded him.

“Well there has to be a better way to learn than just having your mind attacked repeatedly and being criticised for your weakness afterwards.” Harry said as he tried to walk up the stairs.

“Here, let me.” Remus said and levitated Harry up to the top of the steps before running up them after him and entering the kitchen by the side of him.

“What on earth have you done?” Molly demanded of him as she watched Remus help Harry into the kitchen, the former supporting the latter who limped to a chair by the table. “Let me have a look.” Harry pulled up his trouser leg and he, Remus and Molly all looked down at it. His ankle was swelling up quite badly and Molly tutted as she pulled out her wand from her pocket.

“What’s he done to it?” Remus asked.

“What have you done to it.” Harry corrected darkly as he glanced up to his godfather who stood with his hands on his shoulders behind him.

“It’s a mild sprain. You shouldn’t have let him walk on it, Remus.” Molly said to him.

“I know, I thought it was only a twisted ankle or I wouldn’t have let him.” Remus said before turning to Harry, “If you had actually told me how much it hurt then I would have known and could have levitated you back you foolish child.” Molly muttered a charm under her breath whilst Remus scolded Harry for his silence earlier on and a moment later the swelling began to subside and the pain decreased in his leg.

“Better?” Molly asked him as Harry stood up and put his weight on his leg.

“Much better thanks.” Harry smiled at her.

“Don’t do anything much on it, no running about the house or anything like that.” She said to him and Harry nodded to her. “Now get out of the kitchen and let me concentrate on making dinner.” She said to them and both Harry and Remus left the room in pursuit of other occupations for a few hours until dinner was ready. The day was Sunday: the only day of the week when most of the Order were promptly present at the dinner table at half past two for the Sunday roast. Unfortunately that meant that they had to wait another two and a half hours for anything to eat since Molly was very against the eating of anything which would spoil their appetites for their meal.

“So, how was apparating?” Ron asked Harry as he sat down in the lounge where Ron and Hermione were both still working on their homework. Hermione was now on her Potions which was the last piece she had yet to complete. Ron was writing his care of magical creatures but it was taking him a very long time; he was only on his second foot out of seven and Hermione was halfway through her second yard.

“Difficult.” Harry replied.

“Did you manage to apparate anywhere?” Hermione asked him mildly.

“Only a couple of feet.” Harry told her and her eyes widened slightly.

“That’s very impressive; it’s really difficult to learn to apparate anywhere in only an hour or two.” Hermione said in response. Ron didn’t do anything but looked back down at his text book and started to write again.

“Yes, I have to congratulate you on picking it up so quickly.” Minerva said to him from the chair to the side of him. Most people who were eagerly awaiting their dinner had gathered in the lounge and were now conversing about nothing in particular as they started to wait out the hours until they were permitted to re-enter the kitchen and eat until they could eat no more. “Although I seriously doubt your success with becoming an Animagi will be at such a rate.”

“I seriously doubt his success will be existent at all.” Severus muttered darkly and Harry looked daggers at him. At that moment the door opened and Bill walked inside and grinned at Tonks who noticed the difference instantly.

“Brilliant Bill!” She grinned at him and everyone turned to look at him.

“My god! What have you done?!” Arthur asked in disbelief as Bill sat down next to Charlie. “Has your mother seen that yet?”

“That’s not all I’ve had done.” Bill said and Harry wondered what else he had had pierced, other than his eyebrow which now had a silver ring through it. Bill stuck his tongue out to show that his tongue was now quite a bit larger than before and more purple but it also had a silver stud in the middle of it.

“Wow, cool!” Tonks grinned and to the side of her Dumbledore shook his head in disbelief. “I might get my eyebrow done.”

“No don’t.” Hermione said, “Girls look awful with their eyebrow done.”

“Well what else can I have pierced?” Tonks asked thoughtfully and a few interesting places struck Harry’s mind but he chose to keep quiet.

“Have your belly button pierced, that’s all the rage at the moment.” Hermione said to her.

“People have their belly buttons pierced?!” Mad Eye asked, his eyebrow raised.

“Well no, not their actual belly button but the skin just at the top of it.” Hermione explained and Tonks looked as if she was ready to go out and have it pierced right then.

“Anyway, I’m off out,” Tonks said to them all and it only required one guess as to where she was going to, “I’ll be back for dinner.” She picked up the floo powder and muttered an address into the fire before dropping the powder into the grate and stepping through the flames.

“She’ll be getting a tattoo next.” Harry said mildly and Hermione agreed.

“Tattoos are ridiculous.” Hermione scowled before glancing back down at her work which she needed to finish soon.

“What’s a tattoo?” Kingsley asked.

“Do we really want to know? If it’s as awful as those piercings...” Snape said apprehensively.

“It’s not that bad, it’s just a picture on your skin that’s there forever. Like the Dark Mark but it can be any picture you want.” Harry said and Snape automatically put his hand to the skull permanently etched into his skin.

“That’s not so bad then.” Fred said, “I might get one.”

“Of a phoenix or something cool like that.” George said thoughtfully.

“Tattoos aren’t cool.” Harry said, “They never go away so people have things like someone’s name tattooed onto their arm and then if they end up hating them years later then it’s still there.”

“Unless you have it lasered off.” Hermione added, “But that hurts more than having the tattoo done anyway.”

“It hurts to have it done?” Filius asked, “How do they do it?”

“They get a needle and put ink in it and it moves really quickly and injects ink into your skin and the tattoo artist draws on your skin with it.” Harry explained to them.

“Sounds awful.” Minerva said.

“I think so.” Harry said. “But loads of Muggles have them.”

“I might get one.” Bill said and Hermione looked at him indignantly, as if he hadn’t listened to anything either she or Harry had said. “I mean, I know it hurts and all but I can stop the pain easily enough and I could have something cool tattooed onto it.”

“Like a dragon.” Charlie said.

“Or a phoenix.” Fred grinned.

“Or a griffin.” Mad Eye suggested.

“Or a Hippogriff.” Hagrid said, his mind wandering back to Buckbeak who Hagrid had eventually released into the Forbidden Forest earlier that month.

“Yeah, I like the dragon idea.” Bill said thoughtfully.

“Where are you going to have it?” Ron asked him.

“I dunno, where can you have them?” Bill asked.

“Anywhere.” Harry replied.

Anywhere?” Remus asked him uncertainly.

“Yep.” Harry replied and Remus thought of a few nasty and painful places someone could have a tattoo before pushing the thought from his mind.

The conversation moved on after Bill had decided that he would think about where he was going to have a tattoo and they went back onto the fallback conversation of what kind of animal Harry, Ron and Hermione would become when they eventually became Animagi. After something which almost became a furious argument between Ron and Severus about his future animal state wherein Severus blatantly told him that he was going to be a snake.

“I’m not going to be a bloody snake!” Ron shouted at him for something that seemed close to the twentieth time.

“I never said you were,” Severus said calmly to him, “It was you that’s so intent on becoming a snake.”

“I do not want to be a snake!” Ron said and Severus needed all his self control to prevent himself from laughing aloud at the boy.

“Well what about Hermione?” Filius said to Minerva.

“She could be a swan I think.” Minerva said in reply.

“But people are never the same as their patronus forms, are they?” Remus asked and Mad Eye shook his head.

“No, they’re always different.” He replied.

“Why?” Harry asked.

“Presumably because the patronus is something which protects you other than yourself and your Animagus form is supposedly the animal which is closest to yourself.” Mad Eye said to him and Harry nodded.

“So Harry can’t be a stag then.” Remus said.

“That’s right.” Mad Eye agreed with him.

“So what can Hermione be?” Minerva asked.

“She could be a bird of some kind.” Kingsley said.

“Like a parrot.” Snape said, entering the conversation and leaving Ron stewing with anger next to him.

“No, like an owl or something.” Kingsley said.

“I thought Potter would be more likely to be an owl or a phoenix, he does like to fly after all.” Mad Eye said.

Likes to fly?” Remus asked, “That’s an understatement.”

“Good job he does like to fly, he’s excellent.” Minerva said mildly.

“Well I reckon that Ron could be a squirrel.” Charlie said to Bill who laughed.

“A squirrel?!” Bill laughed. “No way.”

“Oooo, he could be a sheep!” George said.

“Or a pig.” Fred grinned.

“Definitely a pig.” Ginny said.

“I’m not going to be a sheep or a pig!” Ron said hotly.

“But you are going to be a squirrel?” Bill asked him interestedly and Ron leapt at him, knocking over the drinks that had been on the table causing Filius’, Arthur’s and Snape’s coffee to run towards his parchment and slowly soak into his and Hermione’s work which lay untouched on the table.

“Ron! My work!” Hermione yelled at him as she picked up her work only to find it completely saturated. She growled in frustration as the ink blurred, causing everything she had written to become one large smear. She looked down furiously at Ron’s work which was only partly ruined and pointed her wand at it. “Incendio! She said furiously and his work burst into flames.

“What the hell do you think you are doing?!” Ron shouted at her as he turned round from throttling Bill to see his work aflame.

“Dinner’s ready!” Molly called from inside the kitchen and everyone gladly left the room where only Ron and Hermione were left arguing a minute later.

A/N: Ahoy there! So, how are you liking my story so far? What would you like to change, if anything? More of one particular character? Less of one? More mindless conversation between the characters like in the scene above? More of an apparent plot? (And before you ask, yes there is a plot, yes it is moving, no it's not moving very quickly, yes the title will fit in with the story in the end [well actually I'm not certain about that, you see it made sense once upon a time but now I'm not so sure. I could tell you the reason behind it but that would completely give away my not so great ending...]) Anyway I'm moving pretty quickly with the chapters now so I can get another chapter up either later on today or tomorrow at some point. Toodle pip! :o)


Chapter 15: Seeing More Of The Past
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“Where are Ron and Hermione?” Molly asked, noticing three spare places at the table when she looked up to check that Harry was eating enough and noticed a spare seat next to him.

“In the lounge, arguing.” Bill said to her and Molly stared at him for a second and the room was still until:

“BILL! WHAT THE HELL HAVE YOU DONE TO YOUR EYEBROW?!” She cried when she looked at him and saw the ring in it.

“That’s not all he’s had done.” Tonks said, appearing in the fireplace a second later. Molly turned to Bill furiously who stuck out his tongue and smiled apologetically. His mother’s face went crimson with rage and for a strange moment everyone thought that she was going to hex him but that never happened as Ron and Hermione marched into the room, clearly still infuriated with each other and glanced around the table for somewhere to sit. Ron immediately looked to sit next to Harry or somewhere near him but there appeared to be nowhere since Tonks and Remus were on either side of him and Mad Eye, Filius and Minerva were opposite. Harry would previously have felt quite intimidated by being sat so close to two of his teachers and a man supposedly the best auror ever but now, after living with them all for almost a week he wasn’t particularly bothered and even went as far as to participate in some of their conversations and without Snape there then his general ignorance was less likely to be exposed.

“Are you ready for your first lesson tomorrow on becoming an Animagi, Harry?” Minerva asked him. Of late she had dropped the formality she normally withheld between herself and the younger people in the house and had taken to using his first name. Of course they both knew that this formality would be reinstated once they got back into the school or were out in a place such as Diagon Alley but Harry didn’t mind that.

“Hopefully so.” Harry replied as he levitated the roast potatoes down the table to Snape and glanced back at her.

“You are fully aware that it can take up to five or six years to become an Animagus, I presume?” Minerva said to him and he nodded.

“I doubt it will take him that long.” Tonks said.

“Yes, James, Sirius and Peter managed it in around four and they had no help.” Remus said, “Harry, Ron and Hermione should be much faster.”

“I agree, and they’ll have your help as well.” Mad Eye said to Minerva.

“How do you find out what someone’s Animagus form is going to be?” Harry asked her before seeing how much Yorkshire pudding he could get into his mouth at once, to Remus’ disgust and amusement.

“There’s a spell which can be used. It will show you your exact form and transform you into it for a moment. I would show you but I don’t fancy having the whole room clamouring for me to show them their form.” Minerva said, lowering her voice slightly so that only those few sat around herself and Harry could hear what was said.

“So you could show us all what we’d be if we became Animagi?” Tonks asked, intrigued. “And you let everyone argue for all this time?!”

“It was quite amusing, especially now that Severus almost has Ron convinced that he’s going to be a snake.” Minerva explained and sure enough at the bottom of the table they could hear Ron complaining to Hermione and Ginny about how he was probably going to be a snake when he transformed.

“But I don’t want to transform into a stupid snake!” Ron moaned and let his head loll forwards onto the table where it landed in some gravy. Ginny patted him on the back as he rested his head on the table.

“I’m sure you won’t be a snake, Ron.” Ginny said to him.

“If you are do you think you would speak parseltongue and Harry could understand you?” Hermione asked interestedly.

“I don’t know and I don’t care, I’m not going to be a snake!” Ron argued. At the other end of the table Mad Eye rolled his eyes, which looked odd to all who watched him but no one said anything. After Harry had daringly (and stupidly) asked Mad Eye his age and Dumbledore had calmed him down somehow afterwards he had been no different to Harry than he had been before, although Harry regarded him with caution and was unwilling to mention age at all in his presence now.

“I’d laugh for a long time if he was a snake.” Tonks said.

“Me too.” Harry said to her.

“Do you know what you would have been?” Harry asked Remus.

“I never had the spell put on me but I can only presume that I’d be a wolf.” Remus said to him.

“Why did you never learn to become an Animagus? It could have been quite useful to be able to become a wolf at any time.” Harry said.

“True, but I hate the full moon and each time I transformed it would remind me of those nights. In the end I’d rather not learn to.” Remus said to him and took some more carrots from the dish in front of him.

“I would have been a chameleon.” Tonks said and Harry smiled.

“No shock there.” Mad Eye said to her. “I never had the spell put on me so I don’t know what I would have been. I didn’t even know that there was a spell until you just mentioned it now Minerva.”

“Me neither.” Harry said.

“Well if you’d been reading the book on Animagi like I previously instructed you to, Harry, then you’d have known already that you discover your form using a spell and what the spell was.” Minerva said to him.

“Yeah, but Hermione’s got the book so I can’t read it until she’s finished.” Harry said.

“Well take it back off her.” Filius said, “You’ll be learning before her anyway and you need to read it just as much as she does.”

“As well as that, it is yours.” Tonks pointed out.

“Why will I be learning before she does?” Harry asked no one in particular.

“Because she hasn’t finished her homework yet, nor has Mr Weasley.” Minerva explained to him, “And I will not teach anyone who has not yet completed their work. You have completed all your homework, correct?” She asked him, giving him a piercing gaze.

“Yep.” Harry said.

“And you got more than an A in each?” She asked, not taking her eyes from his. Harry nodded in reply and she settled for that. It was true: he had managed more than an A in each of his subjects. He had managed an O in both defence against the dark arts and charms and an E in potions and transfiguration which he was pleased with, since transfiguration was quite difficult for him. “Very well then, your first lesson will be tomorrow after lunch.” She said to him. “Pass the Yorkshire puddings, please.” Filius nodded and a second later she took two puddings from the dish that was hovering next to her before the dish hovered back to where it came from.

Remus was reasonably quiet over dinner and wasn’t speaking much unless someone spoke to him first. His mind had wandered back to Harry’s past, something which it hadn’t done all day but he couldn’t stop thinking about Harry racing through the obstacles on the third floor with Ron and Hermione and watching him risk his life as he tried to get to the other side where he knew that there was a man who would most likely kill him when he found him.

”Now why don’t you give me that stone in your pocket?” Voldemort asked Harry in his mind and a slight shiver passed through him at the thought and then his yells of “KILL HIM! KILL HIM!” whilst Harry hung onto his arm, keeping him in as much pain as possible. He had almost died that night, although it was not the first time he had been in mortal peril, he knew that but at the same time he had seen him risking his life. He could almost see what could have happened to Harry, how he could have been lain on the floor, the effects of Avada Kedavra ending his life.

He blinked and found himself under the gaze of those sat around him, either looking concerned or amused. He wondered how long he had been staring into space and not eating, it must have been quite a few minutes because everyone’s plates were nearly empty now. There were five more minutes of idle conversation and laughter as people finished their meals although Remus didn’t eat another bite. Molly eventually waved her wand and all the plates made an orderly queue around the bin and poured whatever was left on them into it before flying into the sink to be washed. Everyone else left the room, knowing that to hang around was to assist in the cleaning process, although Harry knew that even if he did hang around or offered to help that Molly wouldn’t allow it.

“Are you alright?” Harry asked Remus as he followed him up the stairs. “You were just staring into space for ages back there.”

“I’m fine.” Remus said to him, trying to appear it, even though now echoes of Harry’s past kept coming back to haunt him.

“No you’re not, you always say that and you never are.” Harry said, “So tell me what’s wrong with you.”

“Nothing… I mean I…” Remus tried to speak but found it difficult.

“At a loss for words at Potter’s incredible ignorance are we, Lupin?” Snape asked him as he walked past, smirking as he went.

“Shut it, Snape.” Remus snapped at him and Harry looked up at him; it was rare for Remus to lower himself to Snape’s level and snap back at him and yet he just had done. They walked together up another set of stairs onto the second floor and Harry allowed himself to be lead into Remus’ room.

“So…?” Harry asked him, hoping that now they were alone he was more likely to get an answer as to what was wrong with him, or what was keeping him permanently preoccupied at any rate.

“It’s your past!” Remus said suddenly, “It’s driving me mad! All I can think about is you walking through those stupid obstacles and trying to get to the stone and you almost died so many times, you should be dead and you managed to beat a fully grown wizard somehow and…” Remus said very quickly before collapsing back onto the bed. Harry sat besides him, looking down at him. How on earth was he going to react when he saw his second year? That had been so much worse than his first, and considering how badly he had reacted to just the first year which seemed relatively normal compared to the rest he didn’t think he could take seeing the rest of his life.

“Your first year was the worst, wasn’t it?” Remus asked him, hoping that he was going to reply with a ‘yes’. Harry smiled sadly at him and shook his head. Remus felt an odd sense of dread fill him at the thought of his years being any worse than they already were.

“Can I see?” Remus asked him softly and Harry bit his lip slightly as he looked down at him, he didn’t know whether or not he could take seeing it. He hadn’t reacted well to his first year and if images of that were still haunting him then he wasn’t going to take a basilisk in his stride. Harry sighed; he knew that he couldn’t resist Remus’ pleas to show him, it would only make him more nervous and fearful of what his past had held.

“Now?” Harry asked him.

“No time like the present.” Remus said, sitting up to face him. He looked worried and exhausted Harry noticed as he summoned his pensieve to him and wondered how odd it looked to people on the landing to see a pensieve flying past them from one room to another. The door opened of it’s own accord, despite the mild locking charm Remus had put on it and the bowl flew in and landed infront of Harry who glanced down at it and reached for his wand. He concentrated hard on the events of his second year at school and just before but his mind began to wander as he took memory after memory and placed it into his pensieve and he found that things went right through into his third year. Not seeing how things could hurt Remus to see him in his memory and observe the year from his point of view he let them stay and now the bowl had become rather full from two years worth of memories inside it. Remus looked down at it with interest as he moved slightly on the bed and some of Harry’s memories stirred to the surface. He heard cheering and could almost feel the wind and knew instinctively that he was in a Quidditch match in that particular memory. Tearing his gaze from the pensieve, he looked up at his godson who offered him his hand which he took before he put his other hand into the bowl.

Remus found himself standing in the kitchen of number 4 Privet Drive and a younger version of Harry was sat at the kitchen table along with the rest of the family and Remus narrowed his eyes ever so slightly as he noticed that whilst Dudley ate copious amounts of bacon, Harry only ate a slice of toast. They were in the middle of a conversation about Dudley and whether or not the students at Dudley’s school got enough to eat.

“Pass the frying pan.” Dudley said to Harry who scowled at him.

“You’ve forgotten the magic word,” Said Harry irritably. Remus laughed aloud as Dudley fell off his chair, Petunia screamed and clapped her hands to her mouth whilst Vernon leapt to his feet, looking furious.

“WHAT HAVE I TOLD YOU ABOUT SAYING THE M WORD IN OUR HOUSE?!” He roared at him before following that up by demanding how he dared to threaten Dudley.

“I just –” Harry tried but Vernon cut across him.

“I WARNED YOU! I WILL NOT TOLERATE MENTION OF YOUR ABNORMALITY UNDER THIS ROOF!” Vernon shouted at him causing Remus to glower at him.

“How dare he call you abnormal?” Remus said indignantly.

“All right,” said Harry, “all right…” and eventually Vernon appeared to calm down. There was silence for some time as everyone finished their breakfast and then when everyone was finished Vernon ran through the schedule of their whereabouts that evening when Mr and Mrs Mason were to be coming round for Vernon to make what could be the biggest business deal of his life.

“I’ll be in my room making no noise and pretending I’m not there,” Harry said tonelessly responding to Vernon.

“I cannot believe him!” Remus cried, “Making you pretend that you don’t even exist!” Harry just looked up at him and shrugged. He took Remus’ arm and led him outside after the twelve year old Harry who was softly singing Happy Birthday to himself. “Did they even acknowledge that it’s your birthday?” Remus demanded of Harry who laughed.

“Yeah right, they’re pretending I don’t exist, Remus, how likely are they to celebrate my birthday?” Harry asked him but Remus didn’t respond. He crossed his arms over his chest and scowled darkly at the hedge which looked back at him. Remus jumped slightly as he stared back at the hedge but the eyes were gone.

Remus felt his irritation with the Dursleys increasing as he watched Harry being mocked by Dudley and eventually resorting to pretending to set the hedge on fire with nonsense words.

“I hate her.” Remus said vehemently as he watched Harry cleaning the house and doing countless chores under the promise from his aunt that he wouldn’t eat again until he’d finished. Dudley sat around watching him, eating ice-cream and mocking him occasionally. He seemed to spend the entire day doing chores until he finally re-entered the house and ate his tea: two slices of bread and a lump of cheese whilst a joint of pork for the Dursleys and their company that night sizzled away in the oven. Remus growled slightly at seeing the food that he ate compared to his detestable relatives but didn’t comment as Harry was told to get upstairs and dutifully did so.

What followed was a strange scenario wherein Harry entered his room only to discover Dobby the house-elf. Remus watched as Harry attempted to speak to a creature he had never encountered before and tried in vain to stop Dobby from punishing himself repeatedly whilst complementing him.

“Give me my friends’ letters!” Harry said as he raced down the stairs after Dobby, leaping down over the last six and racing silently into the kitchen where Dobby was hovering the dessert for that evening high up on the ceiling. Dobby begged Harry not to return to Hogwarts but Harry refused, resulting in the pudding dropping to the floor with a crash. Dobby disappeared and cream splattered the walls and all over Harry. There were screams from the next room and after Vernon threatening to flay him within an inch of his life Harry was left cleaning the kitchen, that was until a ministry owl flew through the window inciting chaos once more as Mrs Mason ran from the house, Mr Mason following soon after.

“Go on, read it.” Vernon hissed at him and unhappily Harry read out the letter, explaining that they had received intelligence that he had used a hover charm in their place of residence. It would appear that by Vernon’s reaction (which was to drag Harry upstairs and to lock him in his room, having bars fitted on his window and a small flap for food fitted on the bottom of the door) that Harry had conveniently forgotten to inform them that he wasn’t allowed to use magic outside the school.

“He imprisoned you in your room?!” Remus cried in disbelief as he watched Harry in his room sped up for three days as he was fed barely anything and treated like a prisoner. He muttered something indistinctly under his breath but Harry moved closer to him to try and comfort him as they watched the rest of his memory.

Remus laughed as he watched Ron, Fred and George come to rescue him. The twins pulled the bars off the window with the car before getting into the room with him and taking his trunk and all the things he needed and putting them into the back of the car. He watched as there was a strange fight for Harry as Ron and the twins held onto Harry’s arms and Vernon had hold of his leg, trying to hold him back from the flying car that had Remus staring in disbelief.

Soon Remus watched Harry’s summer fly past him with the Weasley family where he saw Harry actually happy for a change, he watched as they visited Diagon Alley and felt Harry’s slight embarrassment at his amount of money compared to the Weasleys and then his rather more humiliating experience with Lockheart in Flourish and Blotts after he got lost using floo powder and ended up in Knockturn Alley and then there was Arthur and Malfoy fighting in the bookshop. Eventually his summer had ended though and he watched the Weasley family and Harry make their way to Kings Cross and then watched Harry and Ron get locked out of the train station.

“That was the most ridiculous idea I think anyone’s ever had!” Remus said as Ron flew Arthur’s flying ford Anglia to the school and then watched as they were almost expelled. “What would you have done if you were expelled?!” Remus demanded of him.

“Calm down!” Harry laughed, “It wasn’t as if I actually was expelled, just almost.” Remus looked at him and shook his head before glancing back at the scene around him as he watched unbelieving as Lockheart talked to Harry outside about Harry’s apparent taste for fame and raised an eyebrow at Colin Creevey, a boy he had taught himself and who seemed to chase Harry around the school with a camera. Things then changed to Harry’s first defence lesson with aforementioned moron: Gilderoy Lockheart whose idea of a lesson was a quiz about himself and Cornish pixies which he failed to control.

“He is the most pathetic teacher I have ever seen!” Remus said in disbelief, “He’s awful! Did you learn anything from him at all?!”

“Not to my recollection.” Harry said to him with a slight smile as they found themselves at Nearly Headless Nick’s 500th deathday party which Ron, Hermione and Harry eventually managed to escape from only to find themselves up in a corridor whilst the rest of the school was at the feast as Harry chased a bodiless voice that Remus could also hear although Ron and Hermione were completely mystified. They found themselves underneath Mrs Norris who had been petrified with a message written in huge red letters on the wall.

THE CHAMBER OF SECRETS HAS BEEN OPENED.
ENEMIES OF THE HEIR, BEWARE.

Remus stared at it, his eyes opening wide.

“The chamber of secrets doesn’t exist!” He said suddenly, “It’s a myth!” He looked desperately to Harry for confirmation but he only smiled and shook his head.

“I’d like to think that, I really would.” Harry sighed.

The memories past them and Remus watched as the trio were questioned by Dumbledore, Minerva, Severus, Lockheart and Filch who revealed that he was a squib and blamed Harry wholeheartedly for the petrifying of his cat. Eventually they were allowed to leave and Remus then saw the Gryffindors learning about the chamber of secrets from Professor Binns of all people (well, ghosts) and in Harry’s mind he heard the sorting hat telling him that he could be great if he were to be in Slytherin. Remus felt a slight twist of unease in his stomach but followed Harry through his memories.

“You made a polyjuice potion?!” Remus demanded of him, “You were twelve! You don’t do anything nearly as complex as that until sixth year and even then it’s very simplified…” He stared at Hermione who was stirring a cauldron before the scene changed again and the Gryffindor Quidditch team were in the middle of a discussion about the rogue bludger attempting to kill Harry, repeated, during the game.

The scene changed and Harry was lying in a bed in the hospital wing in agony whilst he talked to Dobby who explained that it had been he who tried to get him injured enough to be sent home away from Hogwarts with his rogue bludger and locking him out of the train station to the school. He was under the effects of the Skele-Gro potion and was trying not to cry out from pain as he threatened Dobby.

“I cannot believe this.” Remus muttered as he watched as Harry was discovered to be a parselmouth infront of the duelling club and then went on to watch Hagrid removed from the school, the effects of the Polyjuice potion on the Harry, Ron and Hermione, the people who were petrified and their trip into the forest to discover Aragog and be saved by the ford Anglia. “This is even more bizarre than your last year.”

“I know, and I’d like to think that it gets better…” Harry smiled at him as they looked down at Hermione who was petrified in the hospital wing. Slowly Harry and Ron began to figure things out and they eventually realised where the entrance to the chamber of secrets was when Ginny was taken into the chamber.

“Oh god, Harry, no!” Remus said as he followed Ron, Harry and Lockheart to the girls’ bathroom and watched Harry speak parseltongue, effectively opening the entrance to the chamber of secrets.

“I don’t want to watch this.” Remus groaned as they watched as Lockheart removed his own memory with Ron’s faulty wand and Harry was trapped on the other side of the rubble.

“Why? You know I’m going to be fine…” Harry said to Remus and hugged him lightly before walking further into the chamber.

What followed was Riddle’s appearance and his proving himself to be the heir of Slytherin and the sixteen year old Voldemort at which Harry thought Remus was about to faint. He managed to stay on his feet however, until the basilisk appeared when he sank to the floor, Harry beside him.

“It can’t be…” Remus moaned softly, “I mean he… you… basilisk…” He had gone an interesting shade of green by now and a moment later his eyes closed and he slumped backwards onto the cool stone floor. Harry sighed and revived him quickly.

“Are you alright?” Harry asked him as he awoke his guardian who sat up and looked around at the suspended scene around him. Harry was staring in horror at the giant snake and Riddle looked rather insane as he stood near to Ginny.

“Oh god…” Remus said softly as he stared around at the chamber.

“You don’t have to watch this.” Harry told Remus who shook his head.

“I need to.” He murmured in reply.

“If you’re sure…” Harry said and with a wave of his wand the scene began to move again. He had watched as Harry had somehow taken the sword from inside the sorting hat and as Fawkes gauged out the eyes of the basilisk but the basilisk went for Harry again.

Remus made a choking noise on the floor as he watched the fang of the basilisk bury itself in Harry’s arm whilst the sword was embedded in the roof of the serpent’s mouth. The giant snake fell but Remus knew that the venom of a basilisk was poisonous and could only stare in mute horror as Riddle sauntered over to him and told him that he was going to watch him die. Harry felt Remus’ warm arms holding onto him as he stared numbly at Harry who was slumped against the wall of the chamber, drenched in blood.

“Get away from him bird!” Riddle commanded Fawkes who was crying against his arm.

The tears of a phoenix can heal almost any wound from anything as minor as a scratch to even something as serious as a cut jugular vein… Remus remembered learning about phoenixes a long time ago and the words drifted back to him as he watched Fawkes drop the diary into Harry’s lap. Riddle writhed in agony as Harry plunged the venomous fang of the gigantic snake into the diary, spurting blood everywhere.

Remus felt himself flying as he glanced to the side and saw that he was quite high in the air whilst Harry was holding onto Fawkes whilst the sorting hat and the sword were tucked into his belt. Ron held onto the back of his robes, Ginny held onto his hand and Lockheart held onto hers, looking utterly bemused as they flew higher and higher out of the chamber. Soon Harry was explaining the entire ordeal to the Weasleys, Professor McGonagall and Professor Dumbledore whilst Harry sat on the floor in Remus’ arms, who seemed reluctant to let him go. He smiled when Harry released Dobby from Malfoy’s servitude but didn’t let go of him.

“You could have died!” Remus choked.

“That happens to me a lot.” Harry said lightly and Remus could only stare at the boy. “Do you want to leave the pensieve now?”

“No, I want to see more.” Remus murmured.

“Very well.” Harry said and the scene changed again to show Harry saying goodbye to his friends at the train station and returning home with the Dursleys.

Now Remus was in too strong a state of shock to even comment upon the actions of the Dursleys as they treated him like vermin once more although Ron’s telephone call amused him slightly. He smiled when Harry received presents on his birthday for once although he was rather intrigued by Hagrid’s present to him. He already knew that Harry didn’t go to Hogsmeade during the school year since that had been when he had allowed him in his office for tea once although he was close to certain that he had snuck in through one of many passageways from the school. It would be interesting to see that. He scowled darkly at Vernon who informed Harry that he had told his sister Harry attended St. Brutus’ Secure Centre for Incurably Criminal Boys. Harry managed to blackmail Vernon into agreeing that he would sign the permission slip for him to go to Hogsmeade if he stuck to the story and surprisingly enough Harry did. Well, for quite some time anyway. Remus watched Harry accidentally perform magic upon his ‘aunt’ Marge, blowing her up and then running away.

“Sirius!” Remus gasped when they saw him in the bushes before Harry boarded the Knight Bus. He was utterly amazed when Harry met Cornelius Fudge and wasn’t expelled for all the magic he had performed, instead he found Harry stayed at the Leaky Cauldron for the rest of the summer where he spent his time doing homework at the ice-cream parlour and goggling at the Firebolt which had just come out in Quality Quidditch Supplies. The scene changed and Remus found himself listening outside a door in the Leaky Cauldron the night before they would all be going back to school to an argument between Arthur and Molly about Harry’s right to know that Sirius was after him and then at the train station he made Harry swear to him that he wouldn’t go looking for him no matter what he might hear to which Harry agreed in confusion before quickly boarding the train in the same compartment as himself. Remus smiled at seeing himself asleep in the compartment and was interested to see what they had talked about whilst he slept next to them. He smiled when Ron asked them if they thought he was dead but his smile vanished when the Dementor drifted into their compartment and he heard Lily screaming. He felt extremely ill when he realised that he was going to hear everything that Harry heard when the Dementors and boggarts got near him that year.

He watched the events on the train and then followed Harry off it and into the horseless carriages to the school. When they reached the school Harry had to endure Malfoy’s taunting which he could imagine went on for some time. He watched him wandering through his year and it felt like a great relief to him to be watching something which he had already seen, something in which he already knew the outcome.

He watched as Harry rode Buckbeak around the school in care of magical creatures and as Trelawney predicted his death repeatedly. Harry sped things up somehow and he saw much less of this year than he had of the previous one although he saw the moments where he saw Sirius, and Quidditch. He smiled when the Weasley twins handed him the marauders’ map and he watched his antics in Hogsmeade and more death predictions. Then to his surprise he found himself listening to Minerva, Filius, Hagrid and Cornelius Fudge discussing Sirius with Rosemerta in the Leaky Cauldron. He had never know that was how Harry had discovered that Sirius was his godfather, he had always assumed that someone had told him, but it would appear that had not been the case. Then came Christmas day and the full moon had been the night before, much to his disappointment. He watched Ron and Harry trying to guess who sent him the Firebolt and was as amused as Harry was at Ron’s suggestion that it had been he. He watched them at dinner and was intrigued that the subject of himself had come up at dinner and then he watched Minerva confiscate the Firebolt.

The worst came and Remus realised that he was still sat on the floor with his arm around Harry who was leant against him as they sat on the floor of the history of magic classroom. They were both there and so was a boggart. Remus felt his insides tense as he watched himself teaching Harry the charm for the patronus and then he faced the boggart. He heard screaming and Lily pleading for Harry’s life as Voldemort told her to stand aside. A second later and the memory of Harry was on the floor whilst Remus was trying to wake him up. Next to him Harry realised that Remus was shaking slightly. Harry nuzzled up to him and Remus held on to him tighter, knowing that it was going to get worse. The next time he heard James and the realisation that he had probably just heard his last words to Lily hit him hard and he felt tears in his eyes as he bit his lip and held Harry.

Thankfully things changed for the better and he watched as Harry received his Firebolt back from Minerva and then watched Ron’s reaction to Peter faking his own death again. Then he watched as things came together as Harry and Hermione ran after Sirius, Ron and Scabbers through the Whomping Willow and from there Harry sped things up until the point where they travelled back in time although he caught a glimpse of Harry’s first corporeal patronus chasing down what seemed like hundreds of Dementors by the lake.

“I can’t believe you went back in time, Harry!” Remus said, his mind back on the ridiculous things his godson did. “You could really have messed things up!”

“Dumbledore sent us and we saved Sirius and Buckbeak!” Harry argued back. Remus considered this and knowing he was beaten settled to look at Harry disapprovingly as he watched Sirius fly off on Buckbeak and then Harry and Hermione race back to the hospital wing where Ron looked completely confused.

The last thing that he saw was Harry on the train reading Sirius’ letter to him and Ron looking suspiciously at Pig before everything faded out and Harry and Remus were thrown out of the pensieve and onto the bed.

“How long were we in there for?” Harry asked Remus who looked a little distracted but replied that the time was almost six o’clock and Harry looked rather shocked; they had been in there for around three or four hours. He supposed that he had seen two years of his life, but still four hours was a long time to spend looking at the past with someone. “Are you alright?” He asked Remus, moving closer to him.

“Yeah… I’m alright I suppose.” Remus said and managed a slight smile. Seeing so much of Sirius hadn’t been easy for either of them but they had each other he supposed, and he was more than grateful for Harry’s presence in his life. “Come on; let’s go get something to eat.” He said and Harry nodded.

A/N: Soooo, what did you think? The third year was pretty short but that's to be expected, Remus was in it after all. The next chapter will be coming soon and I think I can say that they'll be returning to Hogwarts at around chapter twenty unless I got something really wrong somewhere. Next chapter coming soon :o)

Chapter 16: Becoming An Animagus
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Harry sat down in the kitchen drinking cocoa with Remus as he watched his guardian stare blankly into the fireplace. Naturally he was worried about him but he was very glad that he had shown him his third year immediately after his second; it had taken his mind from the chamber which was exactly what he had needed, although for how long it would keep his mind from that he didn’t quite know. It was unfortunate that it wasn’t very late yet, that meant that they couldn’t hide away upstairs from everyone until it was early enough to go to sleep, instead they were going to have to stay downstairs and try to socialise which was going to be very difficult for Remus, if not for Harry. He couldn’t help but wonder how on earth he was going to take his fourth year; he had been tortured in that one and watched the rebirth of Voldemort. There was no way that Remus was going to take that lightly.

He glanced at Remus and watched the flames reflected in his absent eyes. He was very silent and occasionally moved to bring the rim of his mug to his lips but that was all, he hadn’t so much as spoken a word to Harry since they had left his room some time earlier.

“Remus?”

“Mmmm?”

“Are you alright?” Harry asked him, moving closer to him.

“I’m fine.” Remus said, not taking his eyes from the flames that danced before him. Harry scowled slightly but not deterred he moved around so that he was sat on the fireplace in Remus’ field of vision.

“You’re not!” Harry said, “Look, I know you’re bothered about what you saw but it was nothing! I’m still here, aren’t I?”

“That was not nothing!” Remus said as loudly as he could without attracting attention from anyone in the next room or waking Mrs Black’s sleeping portrait. “You could have been killed! You were dying and in the chamber of secrets and you fought Tom Riddle and no normal person could do that and think it was nothing!” Harry just looked at him. He knew that he wasn’t normal but it still wasn’t nice for someone whom he loved to say that he wasn’t. Harry moved to the side of him and rested his head on his leg as he sat on the floor next to him. Remus stared down miserably at the small boy and gently ran his fingers through his hair. They both found this oddly soothing and stayed like that for some time until the screech of Mrs Black brought them out of their strange dream-like state.

“Hey, where have you been?” Ron asked Harry as he entered the kitchen and saw only Remus and Harry sat at the table drinking cocoa. “I’ve been looking everywhere for you.”

“And I’ve been hiding everywhere from you.” Harry grinned.

“Thanks!” Ron said.

“How are things between you and Hermione?” Harry asked him.

“Awful, she’s blaming me for ruining her homework!” Ron said in disbelief, “Can you believe that?”

“It was your fault.” Harry said to him. “You knocked everything over when you went for Bill.”

“Yeah but…” Ron tried, “Oh, shut up.” He grinned at him. “Anyway Charlie wants a rematch since he’s not pleased about losing to you the other day.”

“Charlie wants a rematch or you want a rematch?” Remus asked him smiling slightly and Ron’s cheeks pinkened. Harry remembered that Ron had been on Charlie’s Quidditch team when they played a day or two ago and he hadn’t been too pleased about being on the losing team.

“Alright then, we’ll have another game.” Harry agreed and a few minutes later most of the occupants of Grimmauld Place found themselves walking out through the backdoor and making their way across the ever eerie garden of Black to the field beyond. Kingsley had been working on a way in which he could adequately magic some more permanent Quidditch hoops onto the field as they were currently only floating hoops of gold made of some kind of hologram causing the balls to fly straight through the actual hoops themselves that Filius had charmed there for them. They would do, they supposed but something more real would have been better.

“Come on Hermione!” Ron shouted at her as she allowed the Quaffle to go into the left hoop outside her goal as Ron flew around the pitch playing as a chaser for once. Hermione didn’t make any response to Ron but to fly further away from her goals, causing Ron to become even more frustrated which in turn caused him to lose concentration which then made him fly straight into a bludger, knocking him off his broom.

“Watch it Ron!” Fred shouted as he glanced down and watched an exasperated looking Professor McGonagall slowing Ron down as he fell lightly to the floor.

“There is a very good reason that boy doesn’t play as a chaser.” Minerva said as Ron got back onto his broom from the floor and flew back up to join his team mates who were all watching Harry and Charlie racing around the pitch after the snitch although one well aimed Bludger from George ended that and soon both of them were circling the pitch slowly, seventy feet up into the air.

“Is it because he’s simply no good at it?” Filius asked mildly.

“Well, yes. There is that.” Minerva agreed, “But there’s also the fact that he’s just too preoccupied with everything else going on around him. He’s only a decent keeper because he doesn’t get that much action and can afford to watch Harry chasing the snitch.” They all glanced up to see the Quaffle soar over Ron’s head as he gazed up at his best friend and elder brother who were streaking across the sky after the snitch once more.

“For Merlin’s sake, Ron!” Kingsley shouted at him as Tonks caught the ball and raced off towards Hermione. “Come on, Hermione!” Kingsley shouted and she moved and stopped the ball going through the hoop before throwing the ball back to Kingsley who laughed and shot off towards Ginny at the other hoops.

Ron stared at her in disbelief. She didn’t move for me. He thought bitterly before flying off after Kingsley who was about to be attacked by George and Bill.

Kingsley dropped the Quaffle as George and Bill leapt off their brooms and onto him, the three of them falling very slowly to the floor whilst Tonks and Fred cheered after Harry and Charlie who were racing around the pitch. Harry flew straight through the middle hoop after the Snitch and Charlie tried to do the same, although he hit his head and almost knocked himself off. Harry glanced back and laughed at him before glancing forwards again and ducking fast, narrowly avoiding being smashed in the face by a Bludger shot at him by Fred who was still in the game.

“I can’t watch.” Minerva muttered as she glanced away from the scene and everyone else but Remus and Albus did the same. Harry’s guardian rolled his eyes as he watched his godson flying next to Charlie straight at Bill, George and Kingsley. He winced slightly as they all collided and dropped the ten feet back to the ground.

“Ouch, do you bloody well mind?” George yelled as they plummeted into the grass.

“George! Mind your language!” Molly shouted at him.

“Yes, mother.” He said coldly as he scrambled back to his feet. There was a tangle of arms and legs on the floor and one hand holding onto the Snitch.

“Get out of my way!” Ron said, marching through the small crowd of people down by the pitch and grabbed onto the hand that held the Snitch.

“Oww, my hand!” Harry cried, from under Kingsley, Charlie and Bill.

“Oh for God’s sake, we can’t have lost again!” Ron groaned, walking away from the pile of people as the four of them got back to their feet. “Next time I’m playing seeker.” Ron said to his older brother who laughed.

“You, as a seeker?” Charlie laughed.

“Against Harry?” Bill added, a similar look of amusement on his face.

“He can’t be that good.” Ron said.

“How many times has Harry failed to catch the Snitch?” Minerva asked him as they all made their way back to the wall.

“Erm…” Ron thought.

“Once, twice at most.” Minerva informed him. “And he’s been in the seeker since the beginning of his first year."

“He even caught it with a broken arm.” Fred said.

“And with that bludger after him in third year.” George added.

“That was the bludger that broke his arm.” Dumbledore informed them.

“Oh yeah… best catch ever though.” George grinned as they all leapt over the wall and into the garden on the other side. Minerva scowled at Remus who leapt over the wall as the younger people did as she levitated herself over the wall with an air of dignity as did Dumbledore. Remus glanced at Harry who was walking along next to Tonks and Charlie who were congratulating him on winning the game and chattering idly and for a brief moment Harry turned around and he was sure that he looked at him. He needn’t keep checking on me, it’s not as if I’m not okay. Remus thought as he walked along on his own. But was he okay? His mind travelled inadvertently back to the chamber of secrets and the slightest of shudders passed through him. He was beginning to wish that he had never seen any of Harry’s past and stayed in the belief that Harry had a nice normal life.

“Ignorance is bliss, is it not?” Dumbledore said mildly at his side and Remus jumped slightly at his previously unnoticed presence.

“It isn’t half.” Remus muttered as they walked.

“So, how much have you seen?” Dumbledore asked him.

“Up to the end of his third year.” Remus said worried.

“Ah, pity.” Dumbledore responded, “The worst is unfortunately still to come.”

“What?!” Remus said, more loudly than he had intended, causing Harry and Tonks to glance around at him. “How can it get worse?! I just saw him almost killed by a basilisk in the chamber of secrets!”

“Sirius never did tell you about his fourth year, did he?” Dumbledore smiled sadly, “A very extraordinary godson you have there, Remus.” He said, his eyes travelling through the group to Harry who was now talking to Hermione about anything and everything but Quidditch and Kingsley.

“I know.” Remus murmured.

“Take care of him.” The headmaster said.

“As if he needs taking care of.” Remus muttered.

“But he does.” Dumbledore said, “And I must say that so far you’re doing an excellent job.”

“I haven’t done anything!” Remus said.

“Haven’t you?” The old man said to his former pupil, his ever twinkling eyes watching him with amusement over his half-moon spectacles. He smiled once more at him before dropping to the back of the group to talk to Minerva and Alastor, leaving Remus walking alone in the midst of everyone.

Remus wondered briefly whether or not he had done anything for Harry as they neared the entrance to Grimmauld Place or if it was just Dumbledore’s way of cheering him up and making him think that he had helped Harry in some way. He was slightly apprehensive about viewing his fourth year now, although he knew that he couldn’t bear not to. He glanced behind him to see Dumbledore watching him and Minerva and Mad Eye arguing over something or other. Probably training again. He thought. That morning there had been a rather large argument between the adults in the Order about who out of Ron, Hermione and Harry would be the first to be able to apparate and become an animal.

“I still say that Potter will manage first.” He distinctly heard Severus say from behind him.

“No chance, it’s got to be Hermione.” Tonks said, “She’s dead smart.”

“Brains aren’t everything.” Molly said.

“Ron’s going to do it before anyone else because he has all us to live up to.” Fred said, grinning as if he were someone whose incredible skill overshadowed his younger brother considerably instead of being the joint owner of a joke shop.

“My money’s on Potter.” Mad Eye said in his usual tone which sounded as if he were growling, “What do you think, Albus?”

“It is not my place to say.” The old man said as he walked along with everyone else. Remus dropped down so that he was alongside them all and could better listen to their conversation or argument, whichever it was closest to.

“So, who do you think’s going to apparate and become an Animagi first, Remus?” Kingsley asked him.

“I think Hermione will apparate first and Harry will be the first to become an Animagus.” Remus said stating his opinion, much to the irritation of the Ron supporters, “Sorry.” He said, smiling apologetically at Molly.

“What do you reckon they’re talking about?” Ron asked as he glanced behind him as he reached the steps of Grimmauld Place along with Harry and Hermione. The adults were all walking in a big group and seemed to have their eyes on them for a lot of the time whilst they talked. It was very unsettling.

“Us, I reckon.” Harry said.

“Why would they be talking about us?” Hermione asked as she pushed open the door and walked inside, glancing back she saw the adults slowing their pace so that they could fit in more conversation before they caught up to them.

“Because we’re just that great?” Ron asked hopefully.

“I doubt it.” Harry muttered as they all entered the kitchen.

“You’re on Minerva.” Charlie said to her as they walked into the kitchen.

“On what?” Ron asked.

“On the list of people who want to slap you.” Bill said and Ron looked at him suspiciously.

“Course you’ve to get them to agree to it first.” Severus muttered although Ron, Harry and Hermione heard it.

“Come on, get out you three. Let us grown ups talk.” Fred said and ushered them out of the room before they could say another word.

“I cannot believe we’re actually betting on them.” Remus muttered as Mad Eye glanced through the solid wood of the door to check that the three of them had gone. “Where are they?”

“Upstairs.” Mad Eye informed them as his magical eye followed the three of them up onto the first floor.

“I still want to know why they were talking about us.” Ron said.

“You don’t know that they were talking about us.” Hermione interjected.

“What if they were saying something awful?” Ron asked anxiously.

“Why would they be saying something awful?” Harry asked as they made their way up the stairs and to their rooms.

“They weren’t talking about us at all!” Hermione said, irritably, “Now stop being so paranoid!”

“Night, Hermione.” Harry said and rolled his eyes.

“Good night you two.” Hermione said and Ron muttered a good night as Hermione walked into her bedroom. Harry and Ron kept walking until they were up on the next floor.

“Is it me or is she really crabby today?” Ron asked as they reached the second floor.

“It’s all that homework you ruined.” Harry said.

“Yeah, probably.” Ron agreed, “And because you can already apparate a few feet. She’s not happy about that at all.” He grinned at Harry as they walked into their room.


***


“Checkmate.” Hermione said and Harry narrowed his eyes at his pieces which had just successfully lost their second game in a row. He definitely wasn’t getting any better at chess. He was sat in the lounge at Grimmauld Place which was managing to look rather cheerful for once. The walls were now covered in deep red wallpaper which gave the room a very cosy feel to it as the sun streamed in through the large open windows. It had taken most of the house the morning to get the entire room redecorated although there had been a few members of their group absent. Kingsley and Tonks had gone somewhere for the Order, although Harry, Ron and Hermione had no idea as to where they had actually gone. Severus was also missing as he had been summoned but when informed of this no one needed to ask to where he had been summoned or by whom.

“I think this room looks rather good now.” Filius said as he walked in and glanced around the room. The design for it had been Minerva’s idea but he had done a lot of the paintwork around the skirting and on the window frame, magically of course.

“Dinner’s out.” Bill said, sticking his head around the side of the door and instantly everyone in the room got to their feet and there was a minor stampede as everyone in the house tried to get through the kitchen door at once.

“So are you ready for your first lesson in becoming an Animagus, Harry?” Minerva asked him as he sat down next to her.

“Yeah, I think so.” He smiled at her and she gave him a rare smile in return. Down the table a few seats away Ron was scowling at his food.

“What’s wrong with Ron?” Remus asked him quietly as he looked down at Ron.

“It’s because I’m not allowing him to learn to become an Animagus yet.” Minerva said coolly. “Besides, it might not be me that teaches him when it comes down to it.”

“What do you mean?” Harry asked her with interest.

“What I mean,” She said to him, “Is that we believe it may be beneficial to you to learn separately, one on one with an adult. It would enable you to receive someone’s complete and undivided attention on the subject.”

“Whilst allowing them to bet on who’s going to become Animagi first.” Remus muttered darkly under his breath. It was well known that Remus wasn’t altogether pleased with the idea that they were betting on the three students but that hadn’t stopped him from offering to teach one of them. Naturally his preferred student was Harry but he was quite popular with many other people as well, making for some interesting debates.

Harry heard what Remus had said and looked enquiringly at Minerva who dodged his gaze as she took another sandwich.

“You’ll never guess who bet on you winning.” Remus said to him and Harry glanced across at him, intrigued. “Severus.” He grinned and Harry stared at him in disbelief.

“No way.” Harry said as he searched his guardian’s face for any sign of insincerity.

“He did.” Minerva confirmed to the side of him. “Bet ten galleons as well.” Harry raised an eyebrow, wondering whether the two of them were having him on. “I do not jest, Harry.” She said, causing a smile to touch his lips.

Soon after lunch Harry found himself stood outside in the field. Minerva told him that this was to prevent any distractions which could and would most likely occur in the busy household around them. She took out her wand from her pocket and looked at him closely.

“So what animal do you think you’ll be?” She asked him.

“I’m not sure, an owl maybe?” He thought aloud. “I’ve not put much thought into it.”

“Alright then.” She said, looking at him with interest. She too had thought that he would be an owl when he transformed but they would soon find out. She walked towards him and reached out with her wand, touching it lightly to his heart. She murmured something which Harry didn’t hear and then there was a strange sensation inside Harry, his mind was filled with darkness for a moment and then he could feel his limbs being stretched and something growing out of his back and then as soon as it had begun, the feelings stopped.

“Good lord above.” Minerva murmured as she stared at the boy infront of her, who was no longer a boy but a thestral. She had never heard of anyone being a thestral when they transformed before, it was most unusual.

Harry looked down and saw that he could see two black hooves, he twisted his head around and saw black wings and the body of some kind of four legged creature. He was still shorter than McGonagall though so whatever he had become clearly wasn’t taller than he was.

It was a shame that the spell only lasted a few seconds, Minerva thought as Harry changed back, it would have been most interesting to see everyone’s reactions back at the house. The adults had not only been betting on when they would become Animagi but also what animals they had become. Mad Eye stood to lose a sizeable amount to Severus now since he had bet money on Harry’s being a phoenix.

Harry changed back to his natural self and glanced down just to check that he was all in one piece and then his eyes travelled up to Minerva who was smiling slightly at him.

“A thestral…” She said thoughtfully, “That could be very useful indeed.” Harry’s eyes widened slightly as he realised that he was going to be changing into one of the ghostly winged horses that could only be seen by those that had seen death. He had ridden one the year before to the ministry of magic, although he didn’t want to think of that. He pushed the thought away as he looked to his teacher. “Right, Harry. Becoming a thestral will not be easy, nor would it be easy to become any other animal. We will begin with simple exercises today which I will want you to practice and yes that means that you are going to be working, even when you’re not being taught. Think of it as homework.”

“Brilliant…” Harry muttered but not too loudly; he didn’t want her to stop teaching him altogether.

The lesson was a long one and had him focussed on the creature that he was going to become. She had suggested to him that he spend some time with some thestrals so that he could better understand the animal he was to become. That wasn’t going to be particularly difficult as Harry already knew that Hagrid had many of them living in the Forbidden Forest. She informed him that eventually he would be able to turn into his chosen animal instantly without thinking about it, although at first he was going to be concentrating on just turning into a thestral, then after that he could work on managing it faster and faster with as little thought as possible.

“With tuition you should be able to become an Animagi in a matter of months.” She said to him and he looked quite shocked at this because from what he had heard it could take many years to become a fully able Animagus. “I am serious. Although the hardest part will be turning into the animal for the first time, once you have done that it will become easier and easier as time goes on.” She said as they walked back up through the garden towards the house. He could see already that Ron and Hermione were in the kitchen window waiting for him to come back just to find out what kind of animal he was going to become. That set his mind wandering to them and what sorts of animals they would be.

“So what do you think Ron and Hermione will be?” He asked his professor as they walked.

“I’m not sure. Everyone believes Mr Weasley will be something like a fox, due to his red hair.” Minerva said to him.

“Aren’t foxes meant to be cunning?” Harry asked her and she smiled ever so slightly.

“Yes, this is why many people doubt his turning into a fox. I believe that he will be a dog of some kind.” She said, scowling at one of the hedge snakes that followed them as they walked through the centre of the garden.

“And what about Hermione?” Harry asked.

“Again I’m not certain but an owl perhaps or maybe a cat.” Minerva said, “It’s all very indefinite until that spell is performed upon them.” They walked a little more briskly as they noticed that the snakes were making a vague attempt to close them into the garden. Soon they reached the end of the garden and quickly walked up the steps into the kitchen where Harry was instantly attacked by Ron and Hermione, both desperate to know what kind of animal he was going to be.

“A thestral.” He told them and they stared at him.

“Wow, that’s incredible!” Hermione said and Ron could only stare at him. “Shut your mouth, Ron!” She added when she saw Ron’s mouth hanging open as he stared at his friend.

“So, have you finished your homework yet?” Harry asked them and Ron glowered darkly when he asked, answering his question.

“I have.” Hermione said, “But Ron hasn’t. He spilt ink all over his work and then when he tried to reverse it his parchment set on fire. He almost set Hedwig on fire as well whilst he was at it.” Harry smiled slightly, although he had almost set his owl alight. The point was that he hadn’t and that he was going to spend another day writing it out. He glanced around the kitchen to see that McGonagall had already disappeared, presumably into the next room to talk with the other members of the Order. He still found it hard to believe that they had been betting on them though.

“I’m going to go for a lie down.” Harry told Ron and Hermione. “Learning to become an Animagus really takes a lot out of you and I hardly did anything!” Hermione nodded understandingly and Ron just looked a little jealous as he left and went up the two flights of stairs to his room.

He pushed open the door and found everything the way it had always been as he walked slowly over to his bed and let himself fall backwards into it, his head sinking into the pillows behind him. He felt bizarrely drained in the same sort of way that he felt after Occlumency lessons, although he felt much better than he did after Occlumency.

He was not alone long, soon Remus slipped inside his room, not bothering to knock. He had been wondering how long it would be until Remus had come up to see him and he had been right in thinking that it would be less than fifteen minutes after he went up. Remus smiled at his godson as he came and sat at the bottom of his bed.

“So, how was it then?” Remus asked him, his eyes watching him with interest.

“Exhausting.” Harry replied to him with a slight smile.

“What animal will you become then? Minerva said you’re going to become a kitten but no one believes her.” Remus said to him and Harry grinned.

“I’m not becoming a kitten.” He said to him, “I’m becoming a thestral.” Remus’ eyes widened.

“Wow.” He said, “That’s amazing. You’ll be a flying horse.”

“And half the people at school won’t be able to see me.” Harry said.

“What was it like then, when you changed into it?”

“Strange. Well it was strange whilst I was changing, I just felt normal when it was over despite the fact that I was a thestral.” Harry replied to him. “I’m only going to be a small one though.”

“Really, how big?” Remus asked, an image of a tiny thestral small enough to sit in his hand in his mind.

“About up to here.” He said and put his hand halfway up his aarm.

“Aww, you’re going to be a little baby thestral.” Remus teased.

“Shut up.” Harry scowled at him.

“Well it’s true.” Remus said to him, “You’re only a foal. Your Animagus form will grow as you do though. That’s what happened with Sirius and your father, although Peter was always the same little rat.” He heard the bitterness in his voice as he spoke about Wormtail, who had once been a trusted friend of his. Harry moved closer to him and he heard Remus sigh softly. He couldn’t imagine how awful it must be to lose all his friends the way that he had done.

“So what are you going to do now?” Remus asked Harry, turning the subject away from Animagi.

“Well I’m going to go downstairs and steal the Animagus book from Hermione.” Harry said, “She’s not even been reading it, she’s been reading Hogwarts: A History again! Then I’ll probably come downstairs and see what’s happening there.”

“Why are you going to go downstairs?” Remus asked Harry as he leant back against him.

“To get the book back, I told you.” Harry replied to him.

“And have you successfully managed to forget that you’re a wizard?” Remus said, exasperatedly. “You do know how to summon things to you.”

“So I do!” Harry smiled. It was still a little strange to him that he could summon things to him and will and he often found himself walking around the house for things that he could easily just summon straight to him. “Accio Animagus Book” He said and sure enough the book flew through the door a moment later and landed neatly in his lap.

“Remus, Order meeting.” Charlie said, sticking his head around the side of the door.

“I’ll be down in a minute.” Remus said and Charlie disappeared from the doorway, “Sorry Harry but I completely forgot about the meeting, I’ll talk to you at tea.” He gave Harry a light hug before getting up from the bed and leaving the room. Harry glanced at the book in his hands and started to read.

A/N: So, what do you think about Harry's animagus form? Basically I spent forever trying to decide between wolf and owl and ended up on thestral somehow instead... Anyway, this chapter was for Iced_Cherriez who's feeling crappy and is always after the next chapter. Hope you all liked this and I hope to get the next chapter (Of Duels And Reappearences) up in a day or two :o)

Chapter 17: Of Duels And Reappearances
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Harry limped slightly as he made his way down the steps of Grimmauld Place and onto the ground floor. He had injured his leg quite badly duelling with Minerva the day before on the third floor of the house when she had sent him flying down two flights of stairs where he landed on the first floor and knocked himself out. Since then the rules of duelling at Grimmauld Place dictated that no one was to duel in the house. This had made the field beyond the garden the number one spot for any duelling to take place.

“Anyway I beat you to a pulp!” Hermione was arguing with Ron as they walked down the stairs infront of him. Since Harry had duelled with Remus twice previously everyone else had taken up the idea and now just about everyone in the house spent some portion of the day out on the field either duelling themselves or watching someone else.

“No way, you did!” Ron said, his voice rising slightly in volume. “If I hadn’t tripped then I could easily have won!”

“Yeah, right!” Hermione scowled at him. Harry only rolled his eyes and focussed on not feeling the pain in his leg. It was odd that the house was so quiet for a change, but then that was to be expected; the whole house, but for those three and Ginny, were in the Order meeting in the kitchen and the four of them didn’t need to be listening at the door with Extendable Ears (‘Buy yours now! Only 1 Galleon and 7 Sickles! Purchase before 16th July and receive a free Skiving Snackbox!’ – George Weasley of Weasleys’ Wizarding Wheezes) to know what the subject of conversation was. More than one week ago Tonks and Kingsley had gone on a mission for the Order and Severus had been summoned to the side of the Dark Lord. As of yet, none of them had returned and no news of their whereabouts had been gained.

Harry hoped that all of them were okay, naturally. He didn’t want anything awful to happen to them, not even Snape from whom he had not yet had a single Occlumency lesson from and Dumbledore warned that if he got a single dream from Voldemort then he would have to teach him himself. There were fears that Snape had been discovered to be a spy for the Order in which case he was probably already dead, although no one knew what had happened to Tonks or Kingsley.

The three of them reached the end of the stairs and walked across the hall and into the lounge where Ginny was sat charming things around the room, although not with much skill.

“Hey, Gin.” Ron said to her as they walked inside and sat down. They talked for some time about nothing in particular although the weight of the three missing people was on all of their minds as they wondered what could have happened to them all.

“I just hope that they’re all okay.” Hermione said thoughtfully during a lull in the conversation and at that moment there came a crash from out in the hallway, causing the four of them to leap to their feet to see what all the commotion was as Mrs Black began to howl.

“TONKS!” Ginny cried as she was the first one out of the door and sure enough Tonks and Kingsley were both stood outside in the hallway, Kingsley was holding a watch which Harry presumed had been used as a portkey and Tonks was on the floor, after having fallen and knocked a vase of flowers onto the floor which Molly had put there earlier.

It didn’t take a moment to realise that Tonks and Kingsley were close to exhaustion as Kingsley’s legs gave in underneath him and Rom quickly moved to his side to support him before he fell. Meanwhile, Hermione and Harry went to help Tonks up, although she was just as fatigued as Kingsley was and didn’t look as if she had the energy in her to get to her feet.

A moment later, the noise of chairs hastily being pushed away from the table could be heard and the kitchen door was flung open to reveal all the Order present and looking stunned and relieved at the arrival of Tonks and Kingsley.

“Thank god!” Molly cried as she ran out of the kitchen and charmed Tonks to her feet. “What on earth happened?!”

This question was repeated a number of times by just about everyone who emerged from the kitchen until Dumbledore silenced them all.

“Now is not the time for answering questions.” He said quietly, although when he spoke everyone was silent, even Mrs Black. “Bill, Molly, please escort Tonks and Kingsley up to bed for some well needed rest.” He said and everyone watched as Molly and Bill levitated the two people upstairs. Once they had gone there was a strange silence down in the hallway whilst everyone just looked around them in an awkward silence until Ron turned from the group and walked into the lounge, quickly followed by Harry, Hermione and Ginny.

“It would appear that our meeting is over for tonight.” Dumbledore said and Mad Eye nodded.

“I’m just glad they’re back in one piece.” Minerva said.

“And alive, of course.” Mad Eye muttered and with that everyone else stood in the hallway followed the younger residents of the house into the lounge.

Remus sat down next to Harry as his mind whirled with thought. He couldn’t help but feel slightly anxious for Snape, despite the fact that he had spent seven years of his life detesting him whilst at Hogwarts, but now everything was different and they had no choice but to at least be civil to one another whilst they lived in the same home and worked for the same side. His eyes flickered to the boy sat beside him and wondered what he made of recent events. Looking closer at him he could see how worn out he was and he supposed that recent lessons in apparition and becoming an Animagus had taken their toll on him as well as the constant bickering between the adults who were now coaching the trio. Harry was learning to become an Animagus from Minerva, which everyone who had bet on him were very pleased by, and his tutor in apparition was still Mad Eye, who was naturally harsh on him and was in the habit of challenging him to a duel after their lessons when Harry was generally nearing collapse.

The weight of Harry’s head against his shoulder brought him out of his thoughts to find everyone in conversation about something or another, most likely the reappearance of Tonks and Kingsley and the fact that Severus had not yet returned. Harry didn’t seem particularly enthralled by the conversation as he leant drowsily against him, not that Remus could blame him; the conversation was one which had been repeated by many different mouths over the last week, the more so as people’s anxiety began to rise.

“I hope that Severus is alright, wherever he is.” Minerva said worriedly.

“I’m sure he’ll be okay.” Charlie said, although he didn’t sound particularly certain in himself.

“Maybe Tonks and Kingsley know what happened to him.” Harry said, making a rare contribution to the conversation which no one had yet voiced.

“But if they did wouldn’t they have brought him with them?” Hermione asked softly.

“Maybe they couldn’t because he was still pretending to be a Death Eater.” Fred said and there were a few murmurs around the room, either of hope or of doubt.

“I never thought I’d be so worried about Snape.” Remus muttered and Harry smiled slightly as he curled up closer to him.

“Where did you send Kingsley and Tonks?” Ron asked.

“To Azkaban.” Filius answered, “They were to go and discover Voldemort’s defences. Apparently their defences are very strong indeed.” Harry’s mind wandered back to the conversation he had overheard from Arthur and Mad Eye almost a week ago about Voldemort finally taking control of Azkaban and everyone inside it.

Time drifted on but the conversation rarely changed its course. It was past midnight when the talk began to languish and Remus noticed that Harry had fallen asleep against him. Ginny was also sleeping soundly in a comfy chair by the window and Hermione was drifting off on the floor by the fire as her mind ran over her day’s apparition lessons. Only Ron stayed awake out of the four school students and listened to the conversation with interest.

“Wherever he is, I’m certain he’s fine.” Bill said quietly.

“And Kingsley and Tonks might be able to tell us something of him tomorrow.” Minerva sighed resignedly. They seemed to have said everything a hundred times over and yet the conversation just carried on moving around and around in the same circle.

“I think it’s time for bed.” Dumbledore said softly. He had kept out of the conversations which had gone on and had only responded when spoken to directly. His mind was filled with thought as many possibilities of the location of Severus raced each other around his mind, although most ended up at the frightful end of death. The certainty that he had sent one of his students to his death saddened Albus as he glanced around at the room of people, each and every single one of them had been a student under him and the loss of any of them would be great to him. “Good night to you all.” He said, before disappearing from the house with a crack.

“Night.” Molly said to them as she levitated Hermione up from the floor and out through the door.

“Come on, Gin.” Bill said as he lifted his sister up from the chair she was sat in and carried her up the stairs.

“See you in the morning.” Ron said to them before disappearing from the room.

“Remus, wake up.” Filius said and the man jumped awake. “Everyone’s going to bed.”

“Oh.” Remus said, slightly disorientated from waking up in an emptying room. Harry was still slumped against him and was sleeping soundly. Remus yawned slightly before taking out his wand and was about to cast a levitating charm on Harry before Filius interjected,

“Let me, you look dead on your feet.” Filius said to him, “There’s no point in you levitating him if you’re going to fall asleep half way up the stairs.” He said and Remus smiled gratefully as the three of them made their way up the stairs and onto the third floor where Filius put Harry into his bed and charmed a pair of pyjamas onto him before turning to the door.

“Night, Professor.” Ron mumbled from his bed.

“Good night, Mr Weasley.” Filius said to him as he left the room.


***


The next two days seemed to pass slowly for most of those that were in the house. The entire building seemed smothered in a blanket which muted most sounds, giving the house an eerily silent feel to it. Harry felt as if he were in a library and could only speak in whispers when he met people on the hall and even Fred and George seemed to think like this as they hadn’t shouted or laughed loudly once since Tonks and Kingsley had arrived back at Grimmauld Place.

Tonks and Kingsley were sat down at breakfast that morning and both of them still looked rather ill but after a lot of restorative potions from Molly they were looking a lot better than when they had appeared in the hall two days ago. No one had yet dared to ask them about their ordeal however, except for Dumbledore who had been informed by a teary Tonks that she believed Severus to be dead: killed by the wand of Voldemort on account of being a traitor. After that there had been no more questions asked to either of them; as far as most people were concerned, that was all that they needed to know.

Harry ate little as always when he sat down to breakfast that morning and stared into his bowl of cereal which contained a few cornflakes swimming in milk. His habit of taking very little food and leaving quite a bit of it was becoming almost like routine and because people saw him eating and didn’t see how much he had to start with then no one noticed that he was barely taking anything in. Dumbledore had informed him earlier on upon meeting him in the hallway that he would be teaching him occlumency beginning in one week’s time. Although Dumbledore would almost certainly be a great improvement on the teaching methods of Snape, Harry doubted that he would like learning to defend his mind any better. He also disliked the fact that he knew inside of him that he would rather be learning Occlumency from an irate but alive Professor Snape instead of learning it from calm and kind Professor Dumbledore whilst Snape lay dead in Azkaban.

He glanced up and noticed the ever critical gaze of Remus on him who narrowed his eyes slightly at the bowl infront of him which he knew hadn’t had much food in it to start with. He opened his mouth, possibly to say something on the subject but if he was Harry never heard it.

There was a thud in the hallway. Silence filled the kitchen as everyone glanced around the table. Everyone was present and accounted for. Snape. Each individual at the table thought instantly and there was a dash for the door.

“Severus!” Minerva said as she saw her ex-student lying on the floor. Although he had been of her rival house, she had always thought his bravery to be rivalled by none and had accepted him soon after he had joined the Order the first time round. She was the first one to the foot and quickly walked out of it and to the man lying on the dark carpet. Mad Eye quickly followed and then Filius. Remus, Arthur, Charlie and Bill held everyone else back as Dumbledore passed through them all and to Severus who was unconscious on the floor.

“Severus.” Dumbledore said quietly to the man, “Can you hear me?” There was no response from him and Dumbledore ordered Minerva and Filius to take him upstairs as soon as possible.

“He’s alive.” Tonks said, sounding utterly stunned although not particularly relieved. Harry glanced at her when she spoke but presumed that she was so shocked that he was alive that it had taken away all feeling of relief for a moment until the thought sunk in.

“Go finish your breakfast, everyone.” Dumbledore said to them and they all turned and re-entered the kitchen, Dumbledore included as he left the care of Severus to Minerva and Filius.

Now that they knew of Severus’ safety there was a lot more talk in the kitchen, mostly of his shocking arrival back at the house and his apparent lack of injury, although Remus had noted that he was twitching and shaking slightly, even though he was unconscious. He didn’t even want to think how many times the Cruciatus curse had been used upon him and turned his mind back to other things, such as breakfast and Harry’s apparent refusal to eat it. He had concealed it well and even Molly’s scrupulous gaze had failed to notice that he was barely eating more than a few mouthfuls of cereal every morning to keep suspicions low.

“Harry, if you don’t start to eat then I am going to force-feed you.” Remus said coolly to the boy across the table.

“I have eaten!” Harry argued, despite the fact that they both knew that he was fighting a losing battle, “You watched me eat!”

“Yes, I saw you eat a few mouthfuls of cereal and I have done for every morning these past few days.” Remus scowled.

“I cannot believe you’ve been eating so little, Harry!” Molly said to him as she overheard their conversation a few seats down, “I’m sure that if there is anything else you would rather eat then Dobby or I can make it for you if that’s the problem…” She said kindly.

“I’m fine, really!” He insisted, “I’m just not very hungry, that’s all.” The three of them knew by now that this was an unacceptable answer in both Molly’s and Remus’ eyes and both planned on joining forces in the war of Harry vs. food although they both allowed the subject to be dropped for the present.

“So do you fancy a duel?” Remus asked Harry with a slight smile after breakfast. “You would have Animagus lessons now, I know, but Minerva’s still upstairs.” Harry didn’t appear to have any way out of the situation and supposed that he was going to have to duel Remus.

“Alright then.” Harry sighed. He had been carefully avoiding Remus for the past week at times such as directly after breakfast when he was the most prone to asking him to duel unfortunately due to the commotion about Severus’ arrival back at the house he had forgotten and had unwittingly walked into him in the hall.

He had been duelling with other people throughout the week though, as Remus had told him that he should and he was becoming ever so slightly better than before. He had even duelled Mad Eye once, although that had ended quite quickly and Mad Eye left him in a leg lock for a minute or so just for the amusement afterwards. He had enjoyed duelling with the Weasleys though. He had duelled with all of them but Molly since even Ginny had challenged him to a duel, although he beat her easily. Hermione had been more difficult to beat than he had expected though but he eventually won by apparating behind her and putting her in the full body bind. Mad Eye, who had been watching at the time, had been positively overjoyed at his use of apparition in a duel and the fact that he had managed to apparate almost twenty feet without splinching himself or falling over.

The good thing about duelling with just about everyone who had been willing to duel with him was that they all gave him advice afterwards about where he had gone wrong, even Hermione although he beat her. The most difficult advice so far to follow had been that from Filius, who had told him quite plainly and repeatedly that he was always putting himself in the defence. He knew that he had to attack more instead of focussing on defending the spells that were being sent straight at him, but more and more he was beginning to get attacks in before his opponent and even a few that would have finished the duel in his favour, it was just a shame that his opponents were always so fast and seemingly always one step ahead of him. At least he had got a lot of practice in that week and with lots of different people he had experienced lots of different styles: Filius stuck rigidly to the same sorts of disabling attacks such as leg locking curses and chose to dodge any spells sent his way instead of blocking them, where as Minerva tended to create distractions by transfiguring things around him and then hexing him quickly. Once Harry had tried to ignore what she had transfigured but this failed miserably when part of the wall leapt on him and pinned him to the ground. Remus seemed more into the elemental types of spells, such as fire and ice, although he also used disabling charms and blocking spells, making him seem a very daunting opponent but he had been reassured by Mad Eye that he was not particularly difficult to beat if you were fast enough and kept on your toes. The unfortunate thing for Harry was that he just wasn’t fast enough and was easily knocked off his toes.

His mind was filled with various techniques that everyone else had used as he walked down to the field with Remus. He was dying to attempt to transfigure things like Minerva did but he knew that if his transfiguration failed then he would lose instantly. He also wanted to attempt apparating again but whether or not that would work would depend on whether or not everyone had talked between them about their duels. If they did then Hermione would have said how he had beaten her and they would know to watch out for that in the future. His mind buzzed with thought until he remembered a conversation a while back.

“Yeah, try summoning one when duelling with Harry; I can’t see that working out well.” Ron had said on the subject of summoning a snake during a duel. Summoning a snake… that could be very useful, especially to him.

“What’s on your mind?” Remus asked him as they neared the wall and Harry realised that he had been silent for quite some time as they travelled. “You won’t duel well when lost in thought.”

“I don’t duel well anyway, Remus.” Harry reminded him and Remus smiled slightly.

“You know that’s not true, just as well as I do. You’re excellent for your age.” Remus smiled at him. “Did you duel much this week like I said you should?”

“A little.” Harry lied, knowing that he had duelled just about everyone at least once. He wondered whether Remus knew this as he studied his expression. They leapt over the wall and into the field beyond where they both stood far apart, wands drawn at the ready.

“Ready?” Remus asked.

“Yep.” Harry replied and Remus couldn’t help but notice how much more confident he seemed than the last time they had duelled. They both knew that he was going to lose, but whether he would lose as badly as before remained to be seen.

There was silence and stillness all around them for a second. Harry took the advantage of this and made the first move.

Impedimenta!” He cried and Remus leapt to the side. Irritatingly enough for him, Harry had anticipated this and had also noticed that he almost always dodged spells to his right and had sent the spell that way. It struck Remus in the chest and instantly the man slowed down. “Stupefy!” Harry then tried, although both of them knew that it wouldn’t hit.

Protego.” Remus said and the spell was absorbed by his strong shield.

Incarcerous.” Harry said and vines leapt towards Remus, twisting around his legs.

Incendio.” Remus muttered quickly, burning away the bonds that wrapped around his legs.

Gelotrium!” Harry said as he desperately focussed his mind on the cold, which was rather difficult to do in August. A blue streak of light shot out of his wand and at Remus’ chest. The man jumped quickly to the side as the vines around him finally broke apart. He stared at Harry in amazement; he had been nowhere near this good a week and a half ago, when they had last duelled. He wondered just how much he had been duelling during the week, although he had heard no one mention it he knew that there had been a lot of duelling going on recently.

Stupefy!” Remus tried, attempting to catch Harry off his guard but he reversed it and sent it straight back at him.

Protegium. Remus cried and the stunner flew straight back at Harry once more, who dodged it to the left and it flew past him and across the field.

Serpensortia!” Harry said and a giant snake shot out from the end of his wand. Remus’ eyes opened in disbelief as the snake slithered towards him across the ground. He heard Harry say something in parselmouth and the snake went for him.

Petrificus Totalus!” Remus said as he aimed the spell very carefully. It shot out seemingly towards the snake but it skimmed it’s skin and flew straight at Harry whom it hit hard in the chest. Harry silently cursed himself as he felt the spell lock his arms and legs rigidly to his side. “Evanesco.” He said, pointing his wand at the snake which disappeared in an instant. He walked over to Harry and looked down at him with interest and amusement apparent in his expression before muttering the counter curse and movement came back to Harry’s arms and legs as he slowly sat up and looked to the side where Remus was crouched next to him.

“Are you alright?” Remus asked him.

“Fine.” Harry smiled slightly as Remus helped him to his feet. He felt quite pleased with himself; he had done a lot better than he had done the last time he had dared to accept the challenge to duel from Remus.

“Just how much have you duelled this week?” Remus asked him interestedly.

“A little.” Harry lied and Remus scowled.

“There is no way that you could have become that good by duelling ‘a little’ in one week, Harry.” Remus said to him as they walked. “Who did you duel?”

“Erm…” Harry thought for a moment, “I duelled Ginny once, Ron three times, Hermione once, Fred and George twice, Bill twice, Charlie three times, Arthur once, McGonagall three times, Flitwick twice and Mad Eye once.” He glanced up at Remus’ surprised expression and laughed.

“And you class that as duelling ‘a little’?” Remus demanded with a slight smile as they walked back towards the house, “I’m not surprised you’re getting so good at it!” Harry smiled slightly at his praise but didn’t say anything; he still thought he was in pretty poor shape. “So, how are your lessons going?”

“Becoming an Animagus is going to be really difficult.” Harry said, “McGonagall’s a good teacher and all and I know I’m further than Ron and Hermione with it but I’m still about as close to becoming a thestral at my own free will as I am to beating you in a duel.” Remus shook his head at the comparison but allowed him to continue, “The apparition lessons are a bit easier and I can apparate further and further now, although last time I tried to apparate further than half a mile I splinched myself.”

“How are Ron and Hermione faring?” Remus asked him.

“Hermione’s doing quite well, I think.” He replied, “She can apparate from the house down the garden but she can’t go up and down, so she can’t apparate down the stairs without getting confused and ending up in the attic.” Remus grinned, mostly at the idea of Hermione failing, “And Ron’s pretty much useless at it, Fred and George are getting really annoyed with him, they even asked Charlie if they’d swap and they could teach Hermione but he said no and then hexed them.” Remus listened to him talking without bothering to interrupt, except for to ask questions when he wanted more information. It was nice just to listen to Harry babbling on about nothing much in particular except his friends and his own attempts at becoming Animagi and learning to apparate. It was a shame that they would be going back to Hogwarts in a matter of only two weeks; he was loving living in the House of Black and that was something he never thought he would experience. There was always something going on and even if there wasn’t then it was still an interesting place to be. Of course Remus knew it was the people inside the building which made it so, but still, he couldn’t imagine things being this close somewhere else.

“So what are Ron and Hermione going to turn into?” Remus asked him and Harry looked at him nonplussed for a moment until he realised that he was talking about their Animagi forms.

“Don’t you know yet?” Harry asked him with interest.

“No, Filius and Bill are keeping very quiet on the subject.” Remus replied to him. Filius was teaching Hermione to become an Animagus and Bill was teaching Ron. Although neither of them were Animagi themselves, they were the only ones in the house who so much as had any idea as to how to go about becoming one. Therefore, with a lot of research in Hogwarts library, followed by the reading of dozens of books, they were teaching the pair to become animals at will.

“Hermione’s going to be a Kneazle.” Harry said and Remus looked at him with interest, “A black one though, I think. I wasn’t there when she had the spell put on her and I’m not certain enough of the spell to go put it on her again.” Remus’ mind went to Crookshanks who was curled up in Hermione’s room. He was part Kneazle and he wondered what the difference was between the strange crossbreed he was and the animal that Hermione was going to become. He remembered learning about the creatures but that had been long ago when he had been in OWL care of magical creatures classes.

“What about Ron?” Remus asked and he noticed a very slight change in Harry’s demeanour. His curiosity was instantly incited by this and he couldn’t help but wonder just what Ron was going to become.

“He’s going to be a snake.” Harry told him and Remus laughed aloud.

“Never.” Remus said, studying Harry’s expression for any signal that he wasn’t being truthful but he found none. “You’re serious?!”

“Yeah.” Harry grinned, “Ron’s pretty irritated by it but he’s still going to be an Animagus, just because me and Hermione are.”

“So Snape was right…” Remus said, a slight smile on his face as they reached the door of Grimmauld Place.

“I know, I hate it when Snape’s right.” Harry said as they walked inside the kitchen.

Chapter 18: The Past Just Keeps Getting Worse
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Harry knocked on the door on the third floor and upon hearing a muttered call of ‘Enter’ from within, he opened the door and stepped inside the room of Severus Snape. It had been two days since he had returned and he was still bedridden. Shockingly enough he seemed slightly nicer, even to Harry which had everyone in a state of mild confusion. Tonks had even gone as far as to suggest that Molly had been putting illegal potions in his food, although she strongly resented that allegation and chased Tonks from the kitchen after she suggested it.

“Tea for you.” Harry said as he carefully put the cup of tea down on the coaster which lay on Snape’s bedside table. The man himself was sat up in bed reading The Daily Prophet which Harry shot a dark look at before picking up the plate and the cup which were already there.

“Thank you.” Snape said almost grudgingly to Harry when he set the tea down. “And thank Molly for lunch.” He said to Harry.

“Will do.” He replied before leaving the room. It was certainly strange for Snape to be in such reasonable spirits, even though he had been tortured only forty eight hours ago. He had finally stopped shaking from the Cruciatus curse that morning but he was still far too weak to leave his bed. Harry had put his oddly nice behaviour towards him down to his being confined to his bed and the same strange alteration which came from living in the same house as each other, mixed with the knowledge of the prophecy. He thought it was the same thing with Minerva, although she was not stuck in bed all day and she went as far as to use his first name and to converse with him when she could have far more interesting talks with Mad Eye. Once the idea of the prophecy entered his mind Harry felt his thoughts returning to Remus and their viewing of his past. He hadn’t mentioned that at all recently and Harry was beginning to wonder why. He had seemed pretty keen to see the rest of his life even after seeing his second year and yet he hadn’t so much as mentioned it.

Harry walked into the kitchen where Molly was cleaning up after lunch and he set the plate and the cup down in the sink, taking care not to break anything (which Ron had successfully done earlier). He turned around carefully, just to make sure that Remus wasn’t there and wasn’t wanting a duel with him. Thankfully he wasn’t. Irritatingly enough Tonks was there, and she did want to duel with him.

“So I hear you’ve got really good at this duelling malarkey recently.” Tonks grinned as they walked though the garden to the field beyond.

“Depends who said it.” Harry said, “So far I can only beat Ron, Ginny, Hermione and Fred and George.”

“That’s pretty good; Fred and George are two years older than you.” She said to him. She had made a full recovery over the past few days and had been her usual immature self.

“So did you get your belly button pierced then?” Harry asked her when they passed the middle of the garden. Tonks looked at him for a moment, not knowing what he was talking about.

“Oh no, I didn’t.” She replied.

“What happened? Did you chicken out of it?” Harry asked, a smile on his face. Tonks grinned sheepishly and said that she had. “Weird, you seemed so keen to get it done before as well.”

“I just got there and decided that I didn’t want one after all.” She smiled and shot a curse at a daring hedge snake which had been following them.

“What’s your tongue like now then?” Harry asked her and she stuck it out to reveal the silver stud on it. The swelling had gone down a great deal since he had last seen her.

“Cool, huh?” She grinned, “I think you should have yours done.”

“No, I think I’ll pass.” Harry said before leaping over the wall and into the field beyond. They got into their ready positions and glanced at each other. “Ready?” Harry called across the field.

“You bet I am!” Tonks shouted back.

What followed was a fierce duel, wherein Tonks managed to trip over her own feet a number of times whilst attempting to escape from the giant snake that Harry had summoned which then proceeded to chase her around the field whilst she shot spells at Harry. Eventually she managed to vanish the snake before hitting Harry hard with the freezing spell and then left him frozen on the field for around half an hour until the ice which encased him had melted enough to enable him to use his wand. He was lucky that it was only half an hour he had to wait, had it not been the sunny day that it was he could have been waiting a lot longer. He was definitely getting better at duelling though and had come quite close to beating Tonks, despite the fact that he had still lost spectacularly in the end.

The day was Friday, which meant that Harry had no lessons in either apparition or becoming an Animagus. Normally he would have had occlumency at the end of the day but with Snape still in bed he was free to do whatever he wanted. Unfortunately there was nothing that he really wanted to do at all so he made to walk back up to the house, defeated and thinking of something to do but Tonks stopped him.

“I hear you’re also getting pretty good at this apparition thing.” Tonks grinned, “Care to demonstrate?”

“Sure.” Harry said. He was tired but he thought he had enough energy to apparate back into the kitchen from the field; it wasn’t that far after all. “I’ll see you in the kitchen.” Tonks stuck her tongue out at him and they both disappeared…

And reappeared in the kitchen a moment later with a crack. Harry stumbled slightly but it wasn’t particularly noticeable. Mad Eye smiled lopsidedly at his student for apparition and pulled a face at Charlie and Fred and George who were talking about their joke shop.

“So how do we know which one of them apparated first?” Charlie asked. “Because technically Harry apparated in his first lesson before the other two had even tried.”

“True.” Mad Eye said and thought for a moment. “Well it’s the first one who can apparate to the Leaky Cauldron and back, without getting splinched and without landing on someone else or ending up somewhere else, no matter how close it may be.”

“Deal.” Charlie said and Fred and George nodded beside him.

“Well I would love to stay and listen to you argue about which of your students is the best.” George said, “But we’ve got a joke shop to run!”

“And besides you all know that Ron is the best.” Fred grinned as he finished for his brother before the two of them apparated out of the kitchen and presumably to their joke shop in Diagon Alley before either Mad Eye or Charlie had time to retort.

“Did you win?” Remus asked Harry as they met in the hallway as Harry left the kitchen. He pulled a face at the question.

“Did I hell.” Harry replied, “Like I can beat an auror.”

“I don’t see why not.” Remus said, “Duelling’s not her specialism anyway, I hear she did pretty badly in that one. She’s a master of disguise and deception apparently.” He told Harry before stopping and looking at Harry for a moment before wondering whether or not he should ask…

“What’s up?” Harry asked, knowing that the next answer was likely to hold something to do with his past. He knew that Remus had been thinking about it more often recently, what with little happening during the previous day it had come back to his thoughts.

“When can I see your fourth year?” He asked and Harry looked at him for a moment, thinking of when he would most like to show his guardian (who was generally worried for his wellbeing anyway) the year in which he saw Voldemort’s rebirth, saw Cedric Diggory die, was tortured, subjected to the Imperious curse and forced to take part in the Triwizard Tournament against his will. He decided that the answer was never, but he couldn’t just avoid the subject forever. He sighed inwardly.

“Whenever you like. You can see it now if you really want to.” Harry said, unhappily. Remus smiled slightly, although Dumbledore had told him that his year had been something close to hell he could only hope that he had been exaggerating. A lot.

“Yeah, alright. If you don’t mind, that is.” Remus replied and looked to Harry who didn’t look particularly pleased at seeing his life, but then again he never had done.

“Of course I mind.” Harry muttered as they ascended the stairs.

A few minutes later Harry was sat on Remus’ bed and had just finished putting the last of his fourth year memories into his pensieve and looked at Remus who was watching the silvery material in the pensieve move. Every now and again an image of a memory would reach the surface and he would see a face or an argument or once he even saw a dragon, which had set his stomach twisting in anxiety but he knew that what was done was done. If Harry had needed him to be there for him to talk about his past it was after it had happened, not years after. He bit his lip slightly as he realised just how much of Harry’s life he had missed and wondered what kind of a difference he could have made to it if he had been there for him as a child and been there for support when things got tough at school. He knew it wasn’t his fault. He had never asked to be bitten by that werewolf all those years ago but that night had successfully ruined his life. If he hadn’t have been bitten then he could have adopted Harry when Sirius had gone to gaol, he could have prevented years of his misery in the hands of the Dursleys. He supposed that had he not been a werewolf then James and Sirius would have trusted him more and made him the secret keeper instead of Peter. If he never had been bitten then perhaps the Potters would still have been alive and Harry would have had the family that he desired so much. Perhaps he had ruined Harry’s own life, without meaning to and without realising that he had done so when he strayed into the forest on that full moon almost thirty years ago.

No, that was madness. Utter madness to presume such a thing. It wasn’t his fault, he had never meant to be bitten. He had never known Peter was a spy. He had never wanted Harry to be looked after by his hateful relatives but nonetheless all that had happened. His lycanthropy hadn’t made it his fault though, right?

“Hey!” Harry said loudly and Remus jumped slightly causing Harry to smile. “Ready?” He asked and reached out his hand to him. Remus held it in his own and a second later he found himself back in that most horrid house: number 4, Privet Drive.

He smiled when he watched Harry threatening the Dursleys with Sirius, although it appeared that he had conveniently forgotten to tell them that he was innocent of the murders he had committed. He then saw the letter that he had received from Ron, inviting him to come and see the Quidditch world cup with them.

The next thing that Remus knew he was watching the fireplace being blasted across the room and half the Weasleys fall out of it. Arthur had tried to apologise to Vernon but he didn’t appear to be too pleased. Soon he was watching Dudley eat a Ton-Tongue Toffee which one of the twins had ‘accidentally’ left lying around on the floor and was laughing hysterically as the Dursleys began to panic. Sadly Arthur managed to shrink his tongue back to a normal size, but not before Remus had been doubled over with laughter and Harry had to hold onto the chair besides him to stop himself from falling over.

Remus smiled as they went through the floo network with the memories of Arthur and Harry and found the rest of the Weasleys laughing in the kitchen of the Burrow. Harry was introduced to Bill and Charlie and the rest of the summer commenced. This time Remus didn’t see that much of the activity in the house but instead the memory moved to the Quidditch world cup. He left Harry and Ron’s room at the Burrow with his hand on Harry’s shoulder as he followed them all down into the kitchen. He remembered that as he glanced around Ron’s room he saw a single letter on the floor by Harry’s things, in handwriting that he had known all too well. He knew that Harry and Sirius had been writing to one another and he felt a pang of unhappiness inside him at the loss of his old friend.

That was soon forgotten as he found himself at the Quidditch world cup which he hadn’t attended himself. He was as amazed as Harry was at the incredible speed and skill of the players but soon the match itself was driven out of his mind as he saw Death Eaters levitating three muggles high up in the air and spinning them around. His mouth opened in horror and indignation at them, knowing that Malfoy was almost certainly one of them. This was almost proven when Harry, Ron, Hermione and Ginny met Draco in the woods who then left them with a sneer at Hermione.

“How on earth can they accuse you of summoning the dark mark?!” Remus asked in disbelief as he watched Harry being questioned upon the subject and Barty Crouch sticking up for him.

Harry only shrugged in response to his outraged question as the memories changed again and soon the two of them were stepping off the Hogwarts express and making their way to the horseless carriages which were still horseless to the two of them, being in Harry’s memory of course.

Remus listened with interest when Dumbledore announced at the start of the year that there would be no Quidditch that year and many people stared at each other in horror at the idea across the room, until he finished by explaining to them that two other schools would be joining them for the Triwizard tournament. He watched sadly as Harry was talking to Ron about the coming year and most likely thinking about how amazing it would be to watch three daring students completing task after task in the dangerous tournament for the honour of their school and 1000 galleons of course.

He smiled as he watched the two Weasley twins attempting to get over the age line and then growing two large beards and he looked at the other two schools, fascinated by them. He even thought he spotted someone who looked like the Bulgarian seeker in the crowd but he knew that he was surely mistaken.

Some time later he was stood at the back of the hall as Dumbledore took names out of the goblet of fire. He watched as the names of Cedric Diggory, Fleur Delacour and Viktor Krum were taken from the goblet and then another name came out of the goblet. It was Harry’s. He felt shocked by this, although he wasn’t sure why, after all; he had known that Harry took part in the tournament. He felt rather self conscious as he walked through the hall to the headmaster with the memory of Harry and the real Harry at his side. Even though he knew that no one in that room was real and could see him, he still felt as if their imaginary eyes were burning into him. He watched as the heads of the schools argued and Mad Eye put forward his belief that someone had put his name into the goblet under a false fourth school to try and get him into the tournament in order to have him killed. He watched with his arms folded across his chest as Snape publicly put him down in the presence of Barty Crouch, Ludo Bagman and the other heads of the schools.

“I can’t believe not even Ron believed you didn’t put your name in the goblet.” Remus said as he watched Ron’s scepticism of Harry’s denial before they both went into bed.

Things only seemed to get worse and worse for Harry as the Slytherins took to wearing badges that said ‘Support Cedric Diggory, The Real Hogwarts Champion’ that added to Rita Skeeter who seemed determined to write complete and utter lies about Harry, as well as make out that he was the only champion worth writing about. Remus scowled darkly at the woman as he noticed her in Harry’s memories before things fast forwarded through his thoughts and soon it was the middle of November. He had listened to Harry and Sirius talk through the fire and saw how much better Sirius looked by then although he didn’t approve of his breaking into a house to use the fire.

Then soon he was being lead along by Harry who was following the memory of himself under the invisibility cloak as he in turn followed Hagrid to Charlie Weasley who was looking after four dragons for the Triwizard tournament entrants. Remus’ mouth dropped open as he saw the giant beasts.

“No way…” Remus murmured as the scene changed and soon Harry was telling Cedric about the dragons for the first task and then he was dragged off into Moody’s office where the impostor told him that he had just done a very decent thing in telling Cedric about the task. Remus hated to admit it but he was an excellent actor and he didn’t think that he could tell the difference between him and the real Mad Eye if he tried.

“Hermione, I need to learn how to do a Summoning Charm properly by tomorrow afternoon.” The memory of Harry said to Hermione who stared at him in disbelief after Moody had told Harry pretty much everything he needed to beat the dragons in the first task.

Things sped up once more and Remus caught a glimpse of Harry being frustrated with the summoning charm and then the day had passed and it was the morning of the first task. Remus felt oddly nervous about it, not knowing what he was about to see.

Harry moved quickly and put his arm around Remus to stop him from collapsing when he saw the Horntail infront of the memory of Harry who was boldly walking out across the pitch to it.

Accio Firebolt!” Harry cried and for a moment there was nothing until his broom flew through the sky and landed in his hand. He leapt onto it and after performing a few dangerous manoeuvres on the thing he eventually got the egg. Once he had got it, Remus sank down onto the floor, shaking slightly at what he had just seen. Harry had almost been burnt, knocked from his broom, sliced by the spikes on the Horntail’s tail and after all that he had finished faster than any of the other contestants with a higher score.

The scene swirled suddenly and Harry was holding the golden egg. Everyone around him was clamouring for him to open it, and open it he did. There was an awful screeching sound from within and Harry shut it quickly.

“I thought it sounded like Percy singing… maybe you’ve got to attack him whilst he’s in the shower, Harry.” George said and Harry looked rather sceptical. Remus was already in thought about what on earth was in that egg and why it only seemed to screech hideously.

Things twisted once more and Remus found himself stifling laughter at Ron’s dress robes as Ron and Harry entered the common room together. Harry looked rather impressive in green dress robes which went well with his eyes and Hermione was just leaving the common room in a beautiful sky blue dress robe. A few minutes later and Parvati Patil was walking along with her arm linked with Harry’s and a rather unhappy looking Padma Patil was walking with Ron. Hermione was entering the hall with Viktor Krum to Ron’s horror. Remus smiled as he watched Harry rotating around on the dance floor with Parvati with absolutely no skill whatsoever whilst Ron glared at Harry and Hermione from the side.

They stood outside by the lake as the months raced by and Remus watched the weather change from rain to snow and then back to rain and sun as crowds gathered by the lake. The doors of the castle opened and everyone watched as the four champions walked towards them.

“Tell me you’re not going for a swim in February.” Remus said to Harry as the four of them stood by the lake and were informed of what they had to do. Remus watched as Harry ate the gillyweed and then plunged into the icy waters. Harry shook his head in disbelief at himself when he watched himself attempting to save Hermione as well as Ron underneath the lake.

“I still can’t believe I did that.” He muttered and Remus smiled as he rested his hand on his shoulder. “And I managed to gain points for it as well.”

“Don’t complain then.” Remus said lightly as their surroundings changed. He had to admit that had not been the most difficult of tasks and was nowhere near as close to giving him a heart attack as the first. He could only hope that the last task wasn’t going to be that bad.

Time wore on and Remus began to dread what was coming as he walked along with Harry towards the maze upon the Quidditch pitch. There was a large crowd assembled there and the Weasleys had come to watch Harry, in the same way that Cedric’s parents had come to watch him as well.

Soon Remus and Harry walked into the maze after Cedric and Harry who had both entered on the first whistle. They watched as the two separated and went their own ways through the maze.

“It’s a bit quiet in here, isn’t it?” Remus asked Harry as they followed his memory, “You’d have thought it would be a bit more challenging.”

“It should be but the impostor’s on the outside cursing things out of my way to try and get me to the centre first.” Harry explained and Remus watched as Krum suddenly turned upon Cedric and put him under the Cruciatus curse. Harry quickly stunned him and helped Cedric back to his feet before going their separate ways once more.

“Impressive Harry.” Remus smiled as he watched Harry figure out the clues of the Sphinx and answer the riddle correctly before walking past unscathed. Next they were almost running after Harry as he made his way closer and closer to the middle of the maze and then they could see it: the cup was standing on a plinth in the middle of the maze but Cedric was running there and was going to get there first. That was until a giant spider was about to attack him.

“Cedric! On your left!” Harry yelled and Cedric span round just in time to avoid being attacked by the giant spider. There was a minute during which Harry was picked up in the spider’s giant pincers and then dropped twelve feet onto his already injured leg when Cedric hexed it. It took a joint stunner from the both of them before they knocked it out.

What followed was a bizarre battle between the two remaining champions as to who was to take the cup. Oddly enough, neither of them really wanted to take it. Eventually they agreed to take the cup together.

“You’re both ridiculously noble, you know that?’ Remus asked with a smile. Harry didn’t smile in return though and just watched the scene infront of him, unhappiness clearly evident in his features. Remus didn’t understand what was wrong with him, but he supposed that he would get his answer. And he did. A moment later they were transported out of Hogwarts completely. They were both completely baffled as to what had just happened and Remus was the same. Harry stood by him, not confused but unwilling to watch the scene infront of him.

A figure emerged from nowhere and Remus felt the hairs on the back of his neck tingling as they stood on end. There was a strange sense of terror surrounding them and he had no idea as to why. All of a sudden the memory of Harry dropped to the ground, clutching his scar with his hands. There was laughter which he remembered only too well and then in a high cold voice:

“Kill the spare.” Remus felt his blood run cold and beside him, Harry turned away as suddenly someone spoke the terrible killing curse. There was a flash of green light and Cedric dropped dead. Remus gasped in horror and then suddenly the figure that had emerged from darkness grabbed Harry and dragged him away.

“Wormtail!” Remus growled as he noticed who the man was.

Wormtail pushed a giant stone cauldron into Harry’s field of vision, it was filled with water. Remus watched, biting his lip, as he wondered what was going to happen next. His attention was drawn to a strange bundle on the floor in which, from what he could tell, was a baby, or so he thought. When Wormtail opened the bundle he yelled out in shock and horror, realising suddenly that that was Lord Voldemort and he was incredibly weak.

Wormtail put the baby-like creature into the cauldron and then began the ancient ritual.

Bone of the father, unknowingly give, you will renew your son!” Remus felt revulsion rise in him as he saw some white powder rise up on Wormtail’s command and enter the cauldron. Then Wormtail was whimpering as he pulled a dagger from inside his robes. He began to sob as he spoke the next line: “Flesh - of the servant – w-willingly given - you will – revive - your master.” He stretched out his right hand infront of him and gripped the dagger tightly and chopped off his hand. Remus felt his eyes wide open and felt as if they were stuck to the scene; he couldn’t look away for the life in him.

Wormtail crawled to Harry and with the same dagger he cut his arm.

“B-blood of the enemy… forcibly taken… you will… resurrect your foe.” He let some of the blood from his arm fall into a glass vial before adding it into the cauldron. Wormtail collapsed onto the floor, cradling the stump of his right arm and sobbing uncontrollably. A figure rose from the cauldron and Remus felt his breath catch in his throat.

“Robe me.” Demanded an icy voice and Wormtail instantly did so, sobbing all the while. Voldemort spun around and fixed his awful gaze on the memory of Harry. The real Harry meanwhile, felt Remus holding onto him as if he was to be taken away from him.

Voldemort went along, naming those Death Eaters that apparated into their midst, noticing those that were gone. Explaining his story to the Death Eaters around him and then he moved on to Harry. Remus felt numb as he watched Voldemort draw out his wand and point it at Harry.

Crucio. He said and Remus stumbled backwards slightly but Harry caught hold of him, not wanting him to fall over any gravestones.

No, this can’t be real… it can’t! Remus thought desperately as he watched Harry tortured. Then it stopped. Remus was shaking madly beside Harry who put an arm around him.

“Now untie him, Wormtail, and give him back his wand.” He said softly and the man complied. He told Harry to bow, and after a strange pressure on his back which had made him bow Voldemort spoke again.

“Now you face me like a man… straight backed and proud, the way your father died…” Remus felt that awful feeling of terror, mingled with nausea fighting its way back inside him.

“And now – we duel.”

He was incredibly quick and a second later, before Harry had had the chance to do anything he was hit again by the Cruciatus curse. This time it was held on for longer and Remus could hear Harry’s screams he could almost feel his agony as he tried in vain to tear his eyes from his godson that was being tortured at the age of fourteen.

“That didn’t hurt, did it Harry?” Voldemort asked but when he received no reply he yelled “Answer me! Imperio!” Remus watched, horrified and amazed as Harry fought the curse.

“I WON’T!” Harry shouted through the graveyard. Voldemort sent a curse at him and Harry flung himself behind the gravestone of Tom Riddle.

Voldemort stuck his head around the side of the gravestone ready to cast the one curse that could be prevented by nothing but Harry had already risen to his feet, ready to die fighting.

Expelliarmus!

Avada Kedavra!

A golden thread connected the two wands and Remus felt utterly stunned as he then watched beats of light moving up and down. An intense battle of minds ensued and surprisingly enough, Harry won. One of the beads entered Voldemort’s wand and there were echoing sounds of screams emitted from it.

“Oh dear god.” Remus murmured as Cedric Diggory came out of his wand. Then an old man, then Bertha Jorkins and finally Remus sank to his knees as tears sprang to his eyes as the beautiful form of Lily emerged from his wand. She told him that his father was coming and Harry clung onto his wand ever more tightly as his father emerged from the wand after Lily. He listened to their instructions and after one last fleeting look at Voldemort Harry sprinted through the graveyard, knocking two Death Eaters out of his way. Remus couldn’t move. He was lying on the floor, his eyes fixed on Lily and James. He didn’t need to move though, he moved along at the same speed as Harry ran. Finally he watched as Harry grabbed Cedric’s wrist and summoned the Cup to him. The world dissolved.

And reassembled itself a moment later. Remus found himself lying on the floor with Harry, Cedric’s body and the cup. Dumbledore and Fudge were there and the news quickly spread through the crowd that Cedric was dead. Mad Eye appeared in the crowd and quickly took Harry away, half carrying him and half pulling him to his office. Mad Eye spoke of being a Death Eater and how he would kill Harry. Remus watched in the foe-glass as three figures became clearer and clearer until Dumbledore blasted the door down and Mad Eye was thrown across the floor and knocked unconscious.

Remus felt stunned as he then listened to the account of Barty Crouch Jr. under the effects of Veritaserum, which he vaguely remembered Snape threatening Harry with earlier in the year. After they had listened to his explanation then the scene greyed and a moment later Remus and Harry were lying in Remus’ room on his bed.

“Merlin.” Remus murmured softly.

A/N: I hope that was alright, I didn't want him to completely overreact but I hope he didn't underreact either. Anyway, the next chapter should be the one with Snape's story of what happened at Azkaban in it and the chapter after they go back to Hogwarts :o)


Chapter 19: The End Of Summer
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“Right, you all ready?” Mad Eye asked and the group nodded. “In you go then, you have five minutes until we come looking for you.” Harry, Hermione, Ron, George and Fred all ran into the garden. Time had flown by over the last couple of weeks and now Harry, Ron, Hermione and Ginny were all getting ready to go back to Hogwarts. Fred and George were doing brilliantly with their joke shop and the fact that Ron had new clothes was evidently because of this. The teachers living in the house were busier than ever getting things ready for the next year but some of them had spared part of their morning to chase the younger ones around the garden, attempting to stun them.

Minerva, Tonks, Filius, Remus, Mad Eye and Bill watched the six other people race into the garden before them.

“So, how long do you think they’ll last?” Mad Eye asked them.

“A while.” Minerva said with a slight smile.

“So you think we’re going to win then?” Remus grinned.

“What are the chances of three teachers, two aurors and Bill being outsmarted by five children?” Mad Eye asked him and Bill scowled slightly at being singled out. “We already outnumber them.”

The new idea was that they were to work in teams as Kingsley had mentioned some time ago. It was the young against the old (although Remus was highly offended at being on the side of the ‘old’) in the garden and although Harry, Ron and Hermione had all greatly improved on their duelling in the past month, they were still no match for their opponents. As well as that they knew that they were likely to be caught out with some bizarre scheme of Mad Eye’s.

“I can’t believe how quickly the holidays have gone.” Bill said, sounding quite disappointed as he was due back at work for Gringotts during the next week. Things were definitely much more exciting and interesting when they were all together in one large house.

“I know, school tomorrow.” Minerva sighed. “Ready to go back, Remus?” She asked him and he looked slightly hesitant.

“I’m not sure… the closer school gets the more I don’t want to go back.” He said quietly. That was true in many respects and he was quite afraid of what kind of treatment he was likely to get from the students now that they all knew what he was. Still, he supposed he would be close to Harry and to Filius and Minerva as well. He glanced across over the garden and an image of the maze in the Triwizard Tournament flashed into his mind but he pushed it away; he shouldn’t think about that, once he started he wouldn’t be able to stop.

“You’ll be fine.” Filius said to him, “Any hassle from the Slytherins and you can put them all in detention with Minerva.”

“Thanks, Filius.” Minerva muttered.

“Right, we’re off in then!” Mad Eye said and a shrill whistle filled the garden, alerting the young ones that they were entering. Minerva glanced up at the house and saw that Severus was watching them out of the window. He was much more recovered now and was fully able to leave his room; he just chose to spend a lot of his time in his own company. It was evident that he was much better than before though, and for the past few days he had yelled at Ron each time he walked past the door, just because he had regained the full power of his lungs. He had wanted to take part in the goings on outside, just so that he could have been part of the team to put Potter in his place. Sadly he didn’t think his health that much recovered yet so that he could go running around the garden with many of his contemporaries. Instead he watched with something close to amusement as the elders walked into the garden.

Severus felt it was a shame that he couldn’t take part in the activity; it was the last one that they would have for what could be a very long time. It was the 31st of August that day, and the morning would bring chaos around the house as everyone attempted to leave and get to the train station on time. He would miss the house though: the chaos which almost always ensued when the twins were about, the mindless conversations, Potter attempting to discover Mad Eye’s age, Tonks and those god awful holes in her body. It was like being part of a large and completely insane family. Not that Severus was becoming attached to those he lived with, most certainly not! As if he cared what happened to Potter and Lupin and all their stupid friends. He wanted Potter alive to kill the Dark Lord and that was all, otherwise he would have poisoned him himself many years ago. But it brought back awful memories when his mind so much as touched on the Dark Lord. He felt a slight shudder pass through him as he thought of the events which had occurred less than a fortnight ago.

He had been summoned to Voldemort for what he assumed was a routine meeting. However, Voldemort had finally realised just what his role was in the Order and had subjected him to torture. Severus had feared that his time was up, but he had been left to die just on the very outside of Azkaban. Voldemort had wanted one of the Order to turn up and find him but none did. He thought at one point he had seen Tonks but he must clearly have been mistaken. He had closed his eyes and had prepared himself to die. Then, to his utmost surprise, he had awoken alive the next morning. He didn’t have even the power in him enough to rise from the floor, but he didn’t need to rise, he needed to Apparate. He had found the broken pieces of his wand in his pocket and taking a big risk, he used the pieces to summon a branch from a nearby tree to him. The last of his energy went into turning it into a Portkey. He held onto it gratefully as he felt the familiar tug of a portkey and he remembered nothing more.

Severus shook his head, trying to keep such thoughts from his mind, and instead watched Potter’s interesting tactics against those older and infinitely more experienced than he.

“Are you ready?” Harry asked the other four people who stood around him. They nodded. “We only get one shot at this and we want to win.” There was a murmur of agreement until Hermione silenced them all.

“They’re over there.” She muttered, spotting Remus over one of the hedges.

“Let’s go.” Harry grinned and a moment later they had all vanished from the spot they had been on a second earlier.

“Where the hell are they?” Filius asked and Mad Eye shrugged. He had taken his magical eye out at the request of the twins, who had said quite vehemently that it was completely unfair for him to be able to use it.

“We’ve been looking for quite some time now and we’ve not come any closer to finding them than we have to kicking Sybil Trelawney in the face.” Minerva said and Remus grinned. Most of her comparisons for the last few days had involved some act of violence against Sybil. Everyone’s guess was that it was due to their returning to school soon.

“There.” Filius said suddenly and they glanced ahead to see Harry cautiously walking into the centre of the maze. Mad Eye watched him with interest but felt that there was something not quite right about this. Harry froze when he saw them and then turned to run. “After him!”

Severus couldn’t hide a smile as he watched out of his bedroom window as Potter sprinted around the garden, Minerva, Remus, Filius, Bill, Tonks and Mad Eye on his trail in that order.

Hermione watched as they sprinted past her. “Stupefy.” She muttered, her wand pointed at Tonks, who fell over unconscious and Mad Eye proceeded to fall over her. “Stupefy.” She muttered again and Mad Eye was unconscious also. Hermione couldn’t hide her glee as she vanished the two of them onto the steps leading out from the back door.

“Unbelievable.” Severus muttered upstairs.

“I quite agree.” Dumbledore said beside him as he glanced out of the window and watched the four remaining people running after Harry.

“Headmaster!” Severus said, feeling quite shocked by his sudden appearance.

“Good to see you so recovered.” Albus said to him with a smile. “Although it looks like your days as a spy for the Order are numbered.”

“Pity.” Severus muttered and glanced out of the window once more.

“Bloody hell!” Harry gasped as he raced into the garden, knowing that Minerva, Remus, Filius and Bill ran after him still.

A grin split Ron’s face as he shot a quick stunner at Bill, who crumpled to the ground and he vanished him quickly so that none of the others would notice.

“I cannot believe this.” Mad Eye growled as he watched the remaining three people on their team running after Harry around the garden still. “Ennervate.” He said, his wand pointed at Bill who had just appeared in their midst.

“Depressing, huh?” Tonks asked him as she glanced down into the garden to see Harry running as fast as he could and trying to lose Minerva, Remus and Filius who weren’t going to be lost that easily.

Harry raced around the side of one of the hedges and Remus, Minerva and Remus cut round using a shortcut trying to beat him to wherever it was he was running to. Harry quickly noticed this and turned around, sprinting back through the garden to Fred and George who were in hiding some way back.

“Brilliant Harry!” Whispered the twins, sounding very impressed.

“Now there are only three of them left.” Fred said

“At least Mad Eye’s out.” George said.

“True.” Harry agreed. “Come on, we don’t want to stay here.” The three of them started to move, Harry walking at the front and Fred and George following behind.

“I cannot believe we fell for that!” Minerva muttered to Remus and Filius as they slowly made their way along the outside of the garden.

“There are only three of us left now.” Filius sighed, glancing up at the steps where Tonks, Mad Eye and Bill were sat watching them with interest.

“We could have done with Mad Eye as well.” Remus said, feeling quite irritated that they were now losing but pleased as well; he knew that all this had been the workings of Harry’s mind and most likely no one else’s, after all, who else would be mad enough to put themself in as a decoy?

“So what now?” Filius asked them.

“We find them and stun them.” Minerva said confidently.

“That was our plan before, remember?” Remus said to her and she scowled slightly.

“I think we may need a new plan.” Filius said.

“Well… maybe we should split up.” Minerva said thoughtfully and Remus raised an eyebrow.

“But if they pick us off one by one then we’re rather buggered.” Remus said, “Sorry.” He apologised to Minerva for his mild language who shot him a stern look.

“We shouldn’t be hiding from them here, they’re children!” Minerva said.

“Very true.” Filius said.

“But there are more of them than us.” Remus said, “And they seem to have a vague idea as to what they’re doing…”

“I take it this was Harry’s idea…” Albus said to Severus up in his room.

“Most likely. As if any of the others have enough brains to make up such a ridiculous plan together anyway.” Severus said coolly, not taking his eyes away from the window to see Dumbledore watching him with his laughing eyes.

“You know as well as I do that was a rather good plan, Severus.” Albus smiled and glanced back down at the figures in the garden.

“Right… Ron, Hermione – go around that side of the garden.” Harry said, pointing to his left. “Fred and George – you two go that way.” He pointed to his right, “And I’ll stay on the middle. We’re going to find them sooner or later.”

“And what if they’re all together?” Hermione asked him.

“Then you run away as fast as you can and find someone else to help you.” Harry said to her. Everyone nodded and a second later Harry found himself walking slowly through the centre of the garden, warily walking amongst the hedge snakes as he listened out for any footsteps or any sounds at all that were made by his enemy.

“Splitting up was a little unwise, wasn’t it?” Filius asked Harry, as he appeared infront of him. Harry glanced around quickly and saw that Minerva had blocked the way out behind him and Remus was blocking the other exit to his left, making him rather trapped in the middle of the garden and highly likely to be hexed.

Stupefy!” Filius said and a red jet of light shot at Harry, who leapt out of the way and it skimmed past Remus who had jumped out of its path just in time.

Stupefy!” George yelled from behind Filius and a second later he dropped to the floor and was vanished away.

Stupefy!” The cry echoed through the garden as Ron attempted to attack Minerva but she was much too quick for him and he appeared on the garden steps a minute later, not looking particularly pleased with himself. This was all the time it had taken for Harry to get into hiding in the garden and watch Remus through a small gap in the hedging.

“What now?” Fred asked from behind him, almost giving Harry a heart attack.

“Right… you two go after McGonagall and me and Hermione’ll follow Remus.” Harry said and everyone nodded silently. It struck him as rather eerie that they all just obeyed his commands but he didn’t question it as he watched Fred and George disappear into the garden.

“Come on, let’s get this over with.” Hermione muttered to Harry and the two of them slowly walked through the garden after Remus who had been separated from Minerva.

Remus didn’t like the fact that he was now alone and matching his wits against Harry’s. The fact of the matter appeared to be that Harry was a lot more intelligent when it came to plotting out unusual and unexpected ways to capture people than he had given him credit for, than anyone had given him credit for.

A rustling noise on the other side of the hedges to the side instantly alerted him to the fact that someone was slowly and almost silently walking along at the side of him. Knowing that it was probably Harry he raised his wand and sent a stunner straight through the hedge. Someone cried out on the other side but it wasn’t Harry. He walked slowly over to the hole and saw Hermione lying on the floor, unconscious from his stunner. He half stepped through the hole to help her and then

Stupefy!” Someone cried on the other side of the hedge and he leapt backwards, just as a stunner skimmed past him. Remus knew if he had gone through the hedge any faster he would have been knocked out by then.

Irritated with his hastiness when attempting to stun Remus, Harry quickly vanished Hermione and stepped through the hedge.

“Aha, we meet again Harry.” Remus grinned at him. “Stupefy!” Harry leapt out of the way as the stunner streaked past him and made another hole in the hedge.

Impedimenta!” The spell hit him and Remus felt himself slowing down as the spell’s effects took a hold of him. “Gelotrium!” The blue spell shot forwards towards Remus but he was not so slow that he allowed the spell to hit him.

Protegium!” And the spell bounced back towards Harry who leapt out of it’s way and it froze a hole through the weak hedge and hit Fred on the other side. George cried out at seeing his twin suddenly frozen and Minerva, who they had been following span around and stunned him.

“It would appear you are a little outnumbered.” Minerva said to Harry as she walked through the other side of the hedge.

Stupefy.” Remus said and Harry glanced around wearily to see the bolt of red light, just in time before it struck him and he, in turn, struck the ground.

“I think we did rather well there.” Minerva said to Remus as she vanished Harry to the steps and the two of them made their way back through the garden.

“Aw, Harry!” George said when he awoke on the steps a second later. “We almost won!”

“Almost.” Mad Eye grinned as Minerva and Remus arrived on the scene.

“That was a dirty trick!” Tonks scowled at them, “Making us chase you like that.”

“What was wrong with it?” Harry asked her, “We got you, didn’t we?”

“Exactly.” She muttered and stuck her tongue out at him.

“I thought it was rather a good tactic.” Remus said mildly as they all re-entered the house.

“As did I.” Mad Eye said, “Not a good idea to use yourself as the decoy though.”

“Very impressive, nonetheless.” Minerva said to him, “Catching half of us out with one tactic. You appear to have learnt a lot, Harry.”

“And what makes you think it was all Harry’s doing?” Ron demanded of them and Mad Eye, Minerva, Remus, Tonks, Bill and Filius all looked slightly uneasy for a moment.

“Oh shut up, Ron!” Hermione said to him, “It was all Harry’s idea!” Ron scowled at them all before shooting a nasty look in Harry’s direction as he attempted to march huffily out of the room. Unfortunately for him he marched straight into the open door and staggered backwards to show everyone stood behind him the red line down his forehead from it.

“What are you looking at?! HUH?!” He shouted at them before successfully marching out of the room and up the stairs. Harry was left standing quite shocked at his friend’s behaviour in the kitchen.

“Don’t let him bother you, Harry.” Hermione said to him.

“Yeah, he’s just jealous that you’re better than him, that’s all.” George said, taking Harry by surprise, owing to the fact that he was Ron’s brother.

“Mind you, Harry’s always been better than him and he never really minded before.” Fred said offhandedly.

“Unless you count those major arguments during the Triwizard Tournament, of course.” George pointed out.

“Oh yeah…” Fred grinned.

“Blood of the enemy… forcibly taken… you will resurrect your foe!” Wormtail’s shaky voice, punctuated with sobs broke thought Remus’ barrier against all thought of Harry’s past and in his mind he could see Harry tied to the tombstone and the large stone cauldron as clearly as if he were back in the pensieve again. A slight shudder passed through him as he tore his thoughts from Harry’s past into his present.


***


“Dinner’s ready!” Molly called from the kitchen and her voice echoed though the house. For a moment there was silence and then the door of the lounge was thrown open to reveal Fred, George and Charlie all fighting in the doorway until Bill barged past them all and the four of them scrambled into the kitchen. Harry and Hermione came running quickly down the stairs, quickly followed by Ron and Ginny, who had spent their afternoon away from Harry and Hermione. Mad Eye, Tonks, Remus and Minerva walked out of the lounge after the Weasley boys had fought their way through the door at once and then came Severus and Albus with Kingsley and Filius.

“My last dinner not punctuated with death omens.” Minerva sighed as her mind wandered to Sybil who was probably predicting Harry’s death somewhere in Hogwarts as she thought of her. She sat down at the end of the table between Remus and Severus whilst Mad Eye, Filius and Harry sat opposite her, Hermione on Harry’s left side. She glanced across the table at Ron who was scowling darkly in Harry’s direction, waiting for him to turn around and look at him but it didn’t look like he was going to.

“Since this is our last dinner altogether I thought I would make something nice for you all.” Molly said.

“Brilliant Mum!”

“Thank you, Molly.”

“Thanks Mrs Weasley.”

“Cheers Ma!”

“I suggest we all tuck in then.” Dumbledore smiled at the end of the table next to Severus and Filius and everyone dutifully complied.

Molly and Dobby appeared to have made everything you could ever want to eat and it was all spread out over one very large table around which around fifteen hungry people sat, taking as much food as they desired.

Remus watched Harry critically as he took a little food and put it on his plate, arranging it so that it appeared that he had a lot of food but really did not. Remus also knew from past experience that Harry would likely as not leave quite a lot of it and then claim to be full towards the end of the meal after eating relatively little.

“You better actually eat today, Harry.” Remus said across the table to him who looked innocently confused by his words but didn’t comment.

“I always eat, Remus.” Harry said, raising an eyebrow.

“You eat, but not enough.” Minerva commented and it became apparent to Harry that not just Remus and Molly had been noticing his eating patterns.

“But you must eat, Mr Potter.” Snape said coolly, “For the sake of the very world you must!” Harry shot him a cold look before helping himself to more roast potatoes. Glancing up he saw that Remus was no longer watching him but taking some broccoli from the bowl which floated past him. How he could eat broccoli by his own choosing, Harry just didn’t know.

“So, have you managed to apparate or become an Animagus yet, Harry?” Dumbledore asked him.

“I can apparate a bit.” Harry replied, “But I can’t see myself becoming an Animagus soon, if ever.”

“I’m sure you’ll manage.” Dumbledore said, “Perseverance is the key.”

“But being under possession of a brain would also help.” Severus muttered and Remus unsubtly flicked a carrot at him which smacked him on the side of the head. Minerva attempted to cast him a cool look but she ended up half laughing instead.

“I think that we should see if the three of you can apparate to the Leaky Cauldron and back tonight.” Mad Eye said, eager to see whether or not his student was the better of the three at apparition. Next to him Snape also looked quite interested to see if Harry was the best of the three, considering that he had put money on him, no one was particularly surprised at this.

“Alright then, but not too late.” Minerva said and Harry and Hermione nodded in assent.

“So what animal is it that you are to become, Miss Granger?” Dumbledore asked her and she glanced up at him to reply.

“A black Kneazle, Professor.” She replied and Dumbledore thought for a moment, nodding as he did so.

“Yes, I can quite understand why.” He said cryptically, causing those sat near him to look at him, awaiting an end to that explanation but none came. Remus shrugged his shoulders at Harry who looked reasonably puzzled by this but all went back to the task at hand: eating the magnificent feast before them.

“Good Lord, is that a hole in Miss Tonks’ tongue?” Dumbledore asked at the other end of the table and Severus told him that it was.

“I still don’t understand why she had that done.” Minerva said.

“Nor do I.” Filius said.

“Are we all ready to go back to Hogwarts tomorrow?” Dumbledore asked, changing the conversation away from holes people willingly made in themselves as he helped himself to more pork.

“Yes, I suppose so.” Severus said, although he didn’t sound particularly pleased at going.

“More first years that can’t turn matches into needles – fantastic.” Minerva muttered and everyone smiled.

“What about you, Remus?” Albus asked him, fixing him with his usual bright eyes. Remus made a sort of noncommittal noise by means of a reply and Dumbledore raised an eyebrow. “Everything will be fine,” He assured him.

“It’s only the Slytherins who’ll care.” Harry said and Snape glared at him across the table.

“Don’t glare at me, this is your fault. If you hadn’t gone blabbing to the Slytherins saying he was a werewolf then this wouldn’t have happened, just because you lost the Order of Merlin for the capture of Sirius Black the infamous mass murderer didn’t mean that you could take it out on everyone else.” Harry snapped at him and for a moment Snape looked surprised and there was silence at their end of the table whilst they waited for Snape to make some kind of response to this but he didn’t appear to want to do so. Harry daringly glanced up from his food and looked across the table at Severus who was stabbing at his chicken on his plate, imagining it to have Potter’s stupid face on it. Harry raised an eyebrow slightly and glanced around, his eyes met those of Dumbledore who winked at him and Harry couldn’t resist a slight smile in return. He glanced at Minerva who was silently trying not to laugh as she looked down at the toad in the hole on her plate and next to her Remus glanced up at him and grinned.

“You shouldn’t have done that, Harry.” Hermione muttered next to him, “He’ll have his revenge.”

“All beware the terrible vengeance of Snape.” Harry muttered in return and Hermione grinned although Harry must have been louder than he thought because Snape was scowling darkly at him and Minerva suddenly burst out laughing.

“You appear to have forgotten that you will be in my potions class, Potter.” Snape spat, “And things will not be easy.”

“Do you suggest that you will be against Harry more so than any other student?” Remus asked him, “Because that’s not very fair, is it?”

“Excellent dinner, Molly.” Dumbledore called down to the other end of the table, choosing to ignore the argument which was arising around him completely.

After the sumptuous dinner came a sumptuous field of desserts, spread out across the table.

“More food!” George yelled in delight and Molly whacked him around the head with her spoon to shut him up.

Then after the dessert came the apparition contest. Harry, Ron and Hermione all stood in the kitchen together with Mad Eye, Fred, George and Charlie – their apparition mentors.

“You have to apparate to the Leaky Cauldron and back, where Minerva, Filius and Remus are currently stationed and then return, without splinching yourself and without ending up somewhere completely different altogether.” Mad Eye said. The three of them nodded. “Go!”

Harry, Ron and Hermione disappeared with a joint crack, which echoed throughout the kitchen.

Harry staggered slightly as he appeared in the Leaky Cauldron next to Filius.

“Excellent, Harry!” He said to the boy, “Now back to Grimmauld Place!”

Hermione fell forwards onto the floor as she apparated into Diagon Alley.

“Hard luck, Hermione,” Bill said as he helped her up, “Better luck next time!” Hermione inwardly cursed herself as she apparated back to Grimmauld Place.

“Well done, Mr Weasley.” Minerva said to him in the Leaky Cauldron, “Now see if you can get back to Grimmauld Place.”

There was a crack in the kitchen as Remus, Filius, Minerva and Harry appeared in the room as one and although Harry landed on the floor, he got up to see Mad Eye and Snape smiling. Another crack followed and Hermione landed in the room with more grace than Harry, although she had not made it to the Leaky Cauldron and then came Bill.

“So where’s Ron?” Fred asked. There was a crack outside in the garden and a second later Ron opened the backdoor and walked in, cheeks ablaze.

“Well?” Snape asked.

“Harry and Ron made it to the Leaky Cauldron.” Filius said.

“Hermione ended up outside.” Bill grinned and Hermione blushed at this.

“And since Weasley ended up in the garden then that looks like Potter managed it first.” Snape said. “Looks like you owe me ten galleons Shacklebolt.” Kingsley cursed under his breath as he paid Severus the money which Snape pocketed with something close to a grin. There was quite a lot of exchanging of money which had Harry, Ron and Hermione watching with displeasure on their faces before they left the room and went to sit down in the lounge.

They were soon joined by everyone else as they all sat down and talked about their holiday that year. It seemed almost as if everyone had enjoyed it to the point where they didn’t want to go back to the bustling buildings where they would have to learn or teach.

“Now that we’re going back tomorrow I don’t really want to go.” Hermione said.

“Yeah, I don’t want you all to go either.” Fred said, “It’ll be dead boring with all you at school again.”

“Let’s just hope we have a nice event-free year.” Harry said.

“I most sincerely hope so.” Minerva said to him, “After all, you’ll have enough to worry about with NEWT classes without any bizarre happenings and dangerous adventures.”

“That added to the fact that you have to save the world, of course.” Severus said to Harry, although his voice seemed to be lacking it’s usual sneering tone.

“There’s nothing planned for this year at school, right?” Ron asked.

“Yeah, no killer tournaments.” Harry said and Remus fought back the images that threatened to invade his mind successfully.

“No High Inquisitors.” Hermione said.

“Or an Inquisitorial Squad.” Ginny added.

“Or the hiding of highly valuable items somewhere in the school.” Fred grinned.

“And with no more divination then you won’t be watching your back every minute.” Hermione said to Harry.

“Not that it wouldn’t hurt to do so.” Mad Eye added.

“And with no innocent mass murderers on the loose you have nothing to worry about!” George said.

“Yeah, except that whole prophecy thing…” Ron said and quite a number of people scowled at him.

“So basically all you have to worry about is being assassinated by Voldemort and all his followers.” Tonks smiled brightly.

“Just like every other year.” Dumbledore said.

“Not forgetting that it is your job to ensure that Gryffindor not only has an excellent Quidditch team but that they also beat Slytherin.” Minerva said and then glancing at Filius she added, “And everyone else, of course.”

“As if they’re going to beat Slytherin!” Snape argued.

“Please! From what I’ve heard Malfoy’s getting the biggest people he can and seeing if they can fly! How is that a good Quidditch team!?” Filius said and everyone but Snape grinned; it was clear that he would be having words with Mr Malfoy.

Remus leant back against the corner of the sofa. He had Harry leant against the side of him and it felt nice for the summer to be drawing to a close with them all just sat around in the lounge laughing and talking about nothing in particular whilst the night wore on. He didn’t know how often he would be able to be alone with only the people whose company he enjoyed the most when they were back at school so he just simply enjoyed the atmosphere of general happiness and friendliness, despite Snape’s occasional comments and arguments with Minerva, but that was all part of their bizarre ‘family’. Considering the way Harry’s other years had been he could see things easily turning out badly for them both but at the moment everything seemed so far from the chamber of secrets, the Triwizard tournament or the department of mysteries and there was nothing hidden in the school and no mass murderers on the loose and after Harry… What on earth could possibly happen this year?

A/N: They're finally going back to school, three cheers! Anyway... I was wondering about who you reckon should be on the Gryffindor Quidditch team this year. A few OCs? Dean, Seamus? I have no idea who I'm going to have yet and a few suggestions would be nice since when I asked about the whole animagi thing I got a lot of unexpected and previously unconsidered suggestions. Thanks for reading a ridiculously large 19 chapters before they so much as go anywhere near King's Cross. Next chapter coming on Tuesday, I think :o)

Oh yeah, and before I forget. I've stopped emailing people when I update since if you put the story on your favourites then you get an email saying 'Your favourite story has been updated...' or at least I get emails like that anyway. And away I go to write chapter twenty three!


Chapter 20: The Case Of The Vanishing Robes
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Harry opened his eyes the next morning to Mrs Weasley shaking him awake. He blearily forced his eyes to open and glanced around the room to see that Ron was still sleeping.

“Get up.” Molly said to him, “You’ve got one hour before you leave for school!” Harry suddenly felt a lot more awake as he realised that he was rather lacking in time before they had to leave. He scrambled out of bed and quickly left the room to use the shower next door. Luckily he found it deserted since most other people were already down at breakfast. He finished in the bathroom quickly and magicked himself into muggle clothes before leaving the room and making for the kitchen.

When he entered he saw that most of the adults were there, and those that were not would already have gone to work or to Hogwarts but Harry was the only one actually going back to Hogwarts as a student that day who was up.

“Finally, you’re up.” Remus said before taking a bite out of his toast. Harry sat down in an empty seat opposite Remus and next to Severus, who wasn’t particularly bothered about their seating arrangements.

“Isn’t anyone else up at all?” Harry asked, wondering how they could afford to sleep in so late on the first day back.

“No, you’re the first.” Remus replied.

“It’s not as if you have less than an hour to get ready or anything, don’t get that idea.” Snape said coolly before taking a drink of his tea. “Or are you planning to fly to school in an enchanted car again…?”

“Do be quiet, Severus.” Minerva said to him from next to Remus.

Harry quickly ate some toast under Remus’ scowl but the man was unable to comment due to his own only eating toast. He and Molly appeared to have done quite well in the war of Harry Vs. food but he still wasn’t eating as much as he should be. He glanced up as Hermione and Ginny entered the room, both looking quite worried at the time and neither of them dressed yet. They were then followed by Molly who walked into the kitchen and glanced around.

“Isn’t Ron up yet!?” She demanded as she forced Harry to accept more food onto his plate.

“I’m not hungry, Mrs Weasley!” Harry tried to say as she gave him another slice of toast, “Really!”

“Nonsense, dear.” She smiled as she left his plate looking rather more full than before. Remus grinned at Harry across the table; he had to hand it to Molly, she really knew how to make Harry eat. Harry grinned back at him when Molly started attempting to pile the food onto his plate, telling him that he would need his strength.

“Ron!” Molly barked at him when he walked into the room, “Where the hell have you been?! You have forty five minutes until we leave and if you’re not ready…” She didn’t end her sentence but left it hanging whilst she glared threateningly at Ron.

“I’ll be ready mum!” He said as he sat down at the table and started to eat copious amounts of bacon and eggs in such a manner that it made anyone watching him feel ill.

“You should eat a little more, Severus.” Molly said to him as she bustled around the room, “You need to keep up your strength.”

“I believe that I can safely say your son has successfully put myself and every other occupant of this room off food for what could be quite a long time.” Severus replied coolly as he put his knife and fork together neatly on his plate and glanced to the side of him where Potter was occasionally eating some of his toast.

“So are you actually ready for school then?” Remus asked him and Harry nodded.

“I charmed my stuff downstairs last night so I could have got up later.” Harry said.

“And you didn’t because…?” Minerva asked.

“Molly got me up.” Harry explained and Minerva nodded.

“Well you don’t want to be late, Harry.” Molly said mildly to him before following that up with, “RON! STOP EATING LIKE A PIG AND GO GET DRESSED!” Ron scowled at her before shoving back his chair from the table and marching out of the room, leaving an amused silence behind him.

“So immature.” Harry heard Hermione say to Ginny.


***


Their hour disappeared quickly and soon Harry found himself sat at the bottom of the stairs whilst everyone ran around him in chaos. Fred and George had put off opening their shop until later so that they could see off their younger brother and sister at the train station.

“Are we all ready yet?” Molly asked and glanced around. Molly, Severus, Filius and Remus were all dressed and ready, standing in the doorway awaiting everyone else. Kingsley and Tonks appeared from the kitchen along with Arthur, Mad Eye, Bill and Charlie.

“Hurry up, Hermione!” Ron’s voice called on the upper floors of the house.

“Shut up, Ron!” Hermione yelled back as the two of them came into view with Ginny behind them. Ginny and Hermione leapt out of the way as they saw Fred and George flying along the landing but conveniently forgot to tell Ron to do the same. Ron flew down the flight of stairs and landed at Minerva’s feet as Fred and George flew down the stairs on Ginny and Hermione’s trunk, landing gracefully by the side of Harry who couldn’t suppress a grin at his best friend sprawled on the floor.

“What the hell do you think you are doing?!” Molly demanded of Fred and George who looked slightly less impressed with their stunt now that they were facing their infuriated mother. “You could have knocked Ginny down the stairs!” Ron looked up at her in disbelief as everyone else tried not to laugh.

“Is that everyone?” Mad Eye asked as he glanced around, mentally taking notes of who was there and trying to find any absentees. Finding none Filius waved his wand and the door opened, revealing two cars outside, which had doubtless been magically altered to fit them all in.

“Let’s be going then.” Molly said as she herded the large group of people out through the door and down the path to the two cars. Everyone split up into the two and Harry found himself sat inside the front car with Arthur driving, Molly and Ginny in the front and Ron, Harry, Charlie, Remus and Filius in the back.

“You will be careful this year, won’t you Harry?” Remus said to him as Harry watched the scenery change through the window. Upon being addressed Harry turned round to Remus and looked at him. He looked close to exhaustion and Harry guessed that the full moon was approaching. He saw familiar anxiety in his eyes though, and Harry’s guess was that after seeing four of his school years he didn’t want any repetitions.

“I’m always careful.” Harry muttered, “It’s not as if I planned my life to be as it is.”

“I know…” Remus said softly and Harry smiled slightly at him but the anxiety in his eyes remained and Harry knew that it wasn’t likely to get much better after seeing his fifth year, which hadn’t been too bad, unless you counted Sirius’ death, of course.

“At least you’ll be at school with me this year.” Harry said and he hoped that the presence of his guardian would do him more good than bad, after all, Hogwarts was the safest place in the Wizarding world and Voldemort would have a hard time getting hold of either of them there.

“I was at school with you in your third year and I wasn’t much good then, was I?” Remus said.

“Yeah, do you think I would have believed Sirius without you there? Do you think I would have learnt the Patronus charm? Do you think that I’d be half as good at defence against the dark arts as I am now? Do you think we’d even know each other?!” Harry asked him in quick succession and Remus smiled at him.

“True… but you seem to forget that I could have killed you at the end of the year, or bitten you or anything!” Remus said, lowering his voice slightly as the rest of the conversation in the car began to languish until Ron and Hermione started to argue again.

“So what? I’m almost always being killed by something. My third year was relatively safe compared to the rest.” Harry said and Remus looked disapproving of his life but didn’t comment.

The journey wore on and soon they were all getting out of the two cars and walking into Kings Cross as one large and bizarre looking group. Harry noticed that Mad Eye was wearing his bowler hat again and he hid a grin when he watched people walking out of their way to avoid him in the station. Glancing around as they reached the part between platform nine and ten Harry saw a few people that he recognised from school but no one from his year. Ginny saw a boy that she knew and walked through the barrier with him, much to Ron’s disapproval and insistence that she was far too young to have a boyfriend, something which caused Hermione to laugh and then start an argument with him about.

They passed through into platform 9 ¾ in small groups and soon Harry was surrounded by witches and wizards of all ages as people boarded the train and others stood talking to people through the carriage windows, saying good bye and promising to write.

“I can’t believe we’re not all going to be together again for months!” Molly said, looking rather upset at the idea of not seeing all those around her for some time.

“I know, it’s marvellous, isn’t it?” Severus said coolly, although he wasn’t sure that he meant what he said.

“You must all come to Grimmauld Place over Christmas.” Molly said and everyone agreed. Harry glanced up at the clock on the platform and saw that it was almost time that they boarded the train to go back to school.

They all started t say their goodbyes to one another and Harry found himself embraced tightly by Molly.

“Take care this year, Harry.” Molly said to him and Arthur stood behind her, smiling apologetically.

“We’ll see you at Christmas.” Arthur said to him as Molly grabbed hold of Ginny and hugged her tightly.

“I’ll be arranging for you to carry on your apparition lessons during school later on in the week,” Mad Eye said to Harry as he grinned at him with his eerily revolving eye under his bowler hat. Harry couldn’t take it any more and started to laugh slightly. “What’s so funny?”

“That hat.” Harry grinned and hoped that he wasn’t about to be hexed as he turned and found Minerva regarding him.

“I hope that this year is better for you than your last, Harry.” She said, making sure that none of the students nearby heard her use his first name, “At least Remus will be hear to keep an eye on you. I expect that you will continue your Animagus training whilst at school. We will arrange times and days later on.” Harry nodded and smiled slightly, he had been very grateful for her help with his becoming an Animagus. Filius smiled at him and promised him that he would duel with him during the year. Even Snape didn’t seem particularly cold against him, even though they were in public and even went as far as to mention Occlumency lessons, which he said would commence starting in the second week. Tonks was her usual cheery self and stuck her pierced tongue out at Harry as the two of them watched Hermione saying a blushing goodbye to Kingsley.

Harry looked around and saw Remus watching him with a slight smile on his lips, he walked over to him and for a moment they were at a loss for words.

“Just look after yourself.” Remus said and Harry rolled his eyes, he had heard that so many times from so many people.

“I will!” Harry insisted, “I’m only going on the train to Hogwarts and then once I’m there then we’ll be in the same building. Nothing’s going to happen.”

“I hope you’re right.” Remus said, the prophecy lingering in his mind and the image of Harry being tortured in his fourth year trying to work its way into his consciousness.

“I will be.” Harry smiled and gave him a brief hug before pulling away and walking towards the train. Glancing back, Harry, Ron, Hermione and Ginny smiled as they saw everyone stood smiling and waving, or in the case of Tonks laughing and sticking her tongue out.

They entered the train and soon found a spare compartment towards the back. The four of them entered and left their trunks lying on the floor and as out of the way as they could manage.

They all stood at the window and looked out to see their ‘family’ all there, watching them.

“They’ll be fine, Molly!” Arthur insisted as they looked at the four of them in the train.

“Yeah, they don’t get in danger that often.” Fred said.

“Just Harry.” George said, which didn’t help much.

“But he’s always in danger though.” Fred said and Remus felt a strange stab of fear for Harry, but he knew he was being irrational – Harry was perfectly safe and nothing was going to happen whilst he sat in a train.

“Shut up, you two.” Bill said and they did as they were told. They all looked back up to see the train slowly moving out of the station and Harry, Ron, Hermione and Ginny smiled and waved at them as they went and the adults all smiled and waved back.

“We’d love to stay—” Fred said.

“—and incite fear in Mum—” George said.

“—but we’ve got a joke shop to run!” Fred grinned.

“See you later.” George said as the two of them apparated out of the station, presumably to their shop. Remus glanced around and noticed Lucius Malfoy walking along with Narcissa on his arm and Crabbe and Goyle walking mindlessly behind him. He hated the fact that they had all successfully bought their way back out of Azkaban and believed their money capable of anything. His attention was brought back to those around him as Minerva conjured a portkey and held it out to him. He, Filius and Severus all stepped forwards to take a hold on the item and a second later they all felt a pull behind their navel as they disappeared from the station.

“Aren’t you late for work?” Bill asked Tonks and Kingsley who glanced at each other and looked mildly horrified.

“So are you.” Tonks said, gesturing at himself, Charlie and Arthur.

“We’re not, we took the morning off.” Charlie explained and Tonks looked more alarmed.

“Come on.” Kingsley said and apparated out of the station to the Ministry.

“I suppose I should get back to Gringotts.” Charlie said, “Apparently some of the dragons are becoming restless.” Charlie had recently taken up a job at Gringotts dealing with the dragons which guarded the more important vaults so that he was able to work closer to home. “You coming, Bill?”

“Yeah, I’ll see you at dinner Mum.” Bill said and the two eldest Weasley siblings disappeared with a crack, leaving Molly, Arthur and Mad Eye stood in Kings Cross. The three of them departed to separate locations and soon the platform was empty.

On the train Harry was sat in the compartment on his own. Hermione, Ron and Ginny had all gone to the prefects meeting, leaving him with only himself for company. He knew it wouldn’t last though.

“Hey Harry.” Neville said as he opened the door, “There’s nowhere else, do you mind if I…?” He asked and Harry smiled and told him to come in. They were joined a bit later by Luna who sat down with them and stayed there for the rest of the journey. As they talked other members of the D.A. often came and put their heads around the door to say ‘hi’ and sometimes came in and sat down for a few minutes before returning to their own compartments. Most of them were asking the same question though: Was Harry running the D.A. again that year?

“I doubt it.” Harry replied to Neville and Luna who asked him just that once everyone else had gone, leaving the three of them alone again, “We’re going to have a good teacher this year.” He told them.

“Really?” Neville asked, “You know who it is?” Harry nodded.

“So who is it then?” Luna asked him, glancing up from behind her copy of the Daily Prophet, which she occasionally tutted at and muttered something darkly under her breath when she spotted a ‘mistake’ in their stories.

“You’ll find out when we get there.” Harry said and was saved from saying anything more when Hermione, Ron and Ginny returned from their meeting. Hermione smiled at Neville and cast a cool look towards Luna; even though they had all been at the Department of Mysteries together during the year before Hermione still didn’t like Luna much and was very much in the opinion that she wasn’t quite right in the head.

“What’s the matter?” Harry asked Hermione, noticing that she looked rather huffy when they walked inside. Ron didn’t look particularly bothered about anything which lead Harry to believe that he had said or done something stupid at the meeting. This was soon shown not to be the case when Hermione explained herself.

“Malfoy’s been hexing the second years in Hufflepuff.” She said.

“And we tried to stop him.” Ron said and Hermione scowled at him.

I tried to stop him, you just watched!” Hermione said, her voice rising. “Right infront of some first years though! They’ll be terrified!”

“They’d be terrified anyway.” Ron pointed out.

“That’s not the point.” Hermione snapped at him before magicking herself into her robes and a second later Harry did the same. Neither Neville nor Luna decided to risk making an attempt at doing so and Ginny didn’t know the spell for it. Ron, being Ron, decided to attempt the spell which Harry had only attempted to teach him the day before.

“Ron!” Ginny laughed as Ron was suddenly stripped down to only his socks and everyone looked away from him quickly.

“Cover yourself up, Ron!” Hermione said, not daring to glance back at him to see if he was still only wearing a pair of socks.

“I can’t!” He cried and Harry and Ginny started to laugh helplessly.

“Why not?!” Hermione demanded.

“I don’t know where I vanished my clothes to!” Ron almost yelled and Hermione was soon doubled over with laughter as she kept her eyes well away from Ron.

“I don’t bloody well believe this!” Ron muttered as he glanced up to see Malfoy at the door and then when he moved his gaze he saw Luna watching him. He blushed even redder than he had previously been and looked back up at Malfoy, silently pleading with him not to notice them. Malfoy’s glance shifted into their compartment to see Harry, Hermione and Ginny laughing whilst looking away from Ron in the corner who was completely naked and Luna watching him.

Malfoy was on the floor in an instant, rolling about in hysterics and Crabbe and Goyle laughed gormlessly, not really understanding what was so amusing. After a few minutes, Ron had eventually pulled on one of Harry’s robes which Hermione had summoned from his trunk and Malfoy managed to get up from the floor to see Ron now wearing robes which were far too slim around his middle but which only went down to halfway down his legs, making him look as if he were wearing three quarter length robes which only caused him to laugh hysterically again.

“Thanks for the laugh, Weasley.” Malfoy sniggered as he walked off down the train, still laughing slightly at intervals.

“Mum’s going to kill me when she finds out I vanished a set of robes.” Ron groaned as he buried his head in his hands, the sleeves of Harry’s robes dropping so that they were halfway down his arms.

“You can’t go into Hogwarts looking like that.” Hermione told him, “You’ll have to find one of your own.”

“I only had that one; Mum told me that she’d send me my other ones later on when she’d washed them.” Ron explained as he hit his head on the wall and cursed himself for trying that stupid spell.

Harry hid a smile as he glanced out of the window and watched the countryside rolling by. He felt bad for the position that Ron was now in, but at the same time he was very glad that it wasn’t him that had to walk into the Great Hall wearing robes which were more than six inches too short and very tight fitting. He glanced at Hermione who was laughing silently and he realised that she too was visualising the reactions of everyone in the Great Hall when they entered.

A/N: I know I did something like this in my other story but this isn't leading up to a large set of chapters where everyone curses the Slytherins, don't worry! It's mostly just fluff really, next chapter coming soon but the time between chapters being posted might start to get longer since I'm beta-ing stories for three or four people at the moment (and yes I know my own stories have rubbish spelling and are filled with typos but I don't bother to check my own stuff) so that's why chapters could start taking longer. Thanks to everyone for reading twenty chapters filled with no school at all and I will attempt to add a new chapter on Thursday. Toodle pip for now :o)

Chapter 21: The Feast
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“Good lord above.” Minerva muttered at the staff table as they watched as Ron, Harry, Hermione, Neville, Luna and Ginny entered the hall. They were the first ones in and they could see why Ron was so eager to get sat down. “What happened to his robes?”

“Perhaps he shrunk them with his powers of stupidity.” Severus suggested and a slight smile touched the faces of Filius, Remus and Minerva.

“They look more like Harry’s than his own.” Remus said and wondered whether or not Ron had just vanished his robes altogether and had been forced to borrow someone else’s.

“I can find out what happened if you would just…” Severus started.

“You’re not using Legilimency on him.” Filius told him and Severus scowled slightly but said nothing; he wasn’t going to start an argument with Filius, not after he had seen how formidable he was in a duel.

“Don’t you have somewhere to be, Minerva?” Remus asked her mildly and she leapt to her feet a second later.

“The first years!” She cried as she almost ran through a door and into a small room beyond where the first years had already been taken.

“Wonder what that was about?” Ron asked as they watched Professor McGonagall run out of the room and into a smaller chamber beyond.

“Probably forgot the first years.” Harry smiled slightly and Hermione scowled at him disapprovingly.

“Professor McGonagall would not just forget the first years.” Hermione said coolly and Harry and Ron just grinned, both pretty certain that she had just forgotten them.

“I can’t wait to start NEWT classes.” Neville said to Ginny to the surprise of Harry, Ron and Hermione who presumed that he was dreading the extra work and advanced classes.

“What did you take, Neville?” Harry asked him as they watched the hall filling up with students, now more than half of the room was taken.

“Charms, defence against the dark arts, transfiguration and herbology.” He replied, “What did you three take?”

Hermione replied for herself and for Harry, seeing as they were taking the same subjects and Ron scowled slightly as he revealed that he hadn’t attained a high enough grade in potions to take the same and was instead taking care of magical creatures.

“Well if you’d tried harder last year then I’m sure you could have managed an O.” Hermione said to him, “Harry managed.” Ron glowered at her but didn’t comment as Dumbledore rose from his seat at the staff table and the sorting began.

Harry watched with little interest as the eleven year olds were sorted into one of the four houses. Instead he glanced up at the staff table to see Remus’ eyes glancing around the room at the students, wondering whether or not they would have him chased out of the school in under a week. His eyes met Harry’s for a brief moment and they both smiled before he looked back to the sorting in an attempt to remember where at least some of the first year students would be housed.

Harry looked further along the staff: Professor McGonagall was standing at the head of the shortening line of first years, trying not to look as bored as she probably felt. Dumbledore was smiling as always and observing the new students being sorted, his eyes never wavering from them to show any signs of boredom. Filius had charmed either himself or his chair so that he hovered almost a foot higher than he would otherwise have done and he now sat at the same height as Remus on his left hand side. His eyes flickered over Remus again who was making an effort not to look bored and was coming close to failing. Snape had no pretence about him as he rested his chin on his hand and looked thoroughly uninterested in that which was going on about him. It also could have been attributed to the fact that Professor Trelawney had made a rare appearance and was sat on the right of him, occasionally trying to spark up conversation with him about the meaning of life and other such things.

“The meaning of my life is to poison those who greatly irritate me.” He scowled darkly before fixing his eyes on the next first year to sit in on the stool with the sorting hat falling over their eyes.

“Why does the sorting always take so long?” Ron groaned and let his head drop onto the table infront of him, causing everyone close by him to turn round and look at him upon hearing the thud. Ron went rather more red than he had been before and Dean and Seamus were hiding their laughter opposite him. They all glanced up to the sorting to see McGonagall looking disapprovingly at them whilst Melanie Richardson was sorted into Ravenclaw.

Eventually the sorting had finished and Gryffindor had eight more students in their house. Harry glanced around the table, looking for any potential members of their Quidditch team, but no one leapt to mind, although he had heard that Seamus was a good flyer; his father had played for a minor team at one point and had apparently passed on the talent to his son. Dean wasn’t bad either but ‘not bad’ wasn’t going to cut it when they were desperate to beat the Slytherins.

“To our new students: welcome to Hogwarts, I hope you find the next seven years interesting and productive and to our old hands: a very warm welcome back to you all.” Dumbledore smiled at them all as he spoke to the school. “There are a few notices to be read and a few reminders but now is not the time for that. Tuck in.” He finished and clapped his hands. There was a murmur of amazement from some of the new students and sighs of relief from others as the bowls, dishes and plates infront of them were filled with every kind of food that they could possibly wish to eat and much more besides. Harry was sure that a tough, rubbery looking dish somewhere near to him contained dragon – that was a dish he would not be eating from.

“‘Oody bri’an’!” Ron grinned through a mouthful of food and Hermione looked suitably disgusted with her friend as he gorged himself on the food around him.

“What did he say?” Neville asked him.

“I think he said ‘bloody brilliant’.” Harry replied, “But you can never be sure.” Ron pulled a face at him upon hearing this comment and Hermione looked away, not wanting to ruin her appetite by Ron and the food that was almost oozing back out of his mouth which just wasn’t big enough to handle everything he wanted to eat all at once.

Talk turned to what had happened to them all over the summer and Hermione listened to Lavender telling them how she had gone to Rome with her parents for two weeks whilst Parvati occasionally attempted to raise the subject of Viktor with her. Harry had known that it wouldn’t be long until they managed to change the conversation in that direction.

“So I’ve been writing to him all summer and I promised him that I’d go see him over Christmas and spend time with his family.” She was saying to the two of them who listened intently to what she had to say; it wasn’t often that you met someone who was dating an internationally famous wizard. Lavender’s eyes strayed to Harry for a millisecond before going back to Hermione who was still chatting to Parvati.

“Did you hear that?!” Ron said indignantly once his mouth was emptied.

“What?” Harry asked as he ate some more of the lasagne on his plate.

“Hermione’s going to stay with Vicky over Christmas, can you believe it?!” Ron said as loudly as he could without Hermione hearing him.

“Yeah, I know she is.” Harry said, remembering a conversation with Hermione a while back about Ron’s most likely reaction when he found out about it.

“What?!” Ron cried, causing a few people to turn round, Hermione included but she turned back and started talking about the contents of one of her latest letters. “How could you not tell me? She’s not going to be there on Christmas and she said that she would!”

“No she didn’t.” Harry said, remembering Molly on the platform before they left for school. Everyone had agreed but Hermione, who had stayed quiet on the matter, knowing that she would be going elsewhere. She had told Molly about it before she had left Grimmauld Place though, that had started her off on one of the conversations about love potions and other such things between the two of them and Ginny. “She didn’t say anything.” Ron opened his mouth and Harry was certain that he was going to say something along the lines that he would tell his mother but Harry cut him off before the words managed to escape his lips, “She already told your mum and she doesn’t mind. She helped her write the letter that told him she’d accept and be visiting his house in fact.” Harry said and this only made Ron glower even more darkly, knowing that his own mother had assisted in removing Hermione from them at Christmas.

Soon the feast was over, leaving everyone very full and rather sleepy as well. Harry glanced up to the staff table as Dumbledore rose from his seat to address the school.

“A few notices and reminders.” Dumbledore said to them, smiling slightly at the four tables of bloated students, “A warm welcome back to Professor Lupin who has agreed to fill the position as the defence against the dark arts teacher.” Remus stood up and smiled slightly as the Gryffindors, Ravenclaws and Hufflepuffs cheered loudly for him. The Slytherins made a point of sitting in silence and some of them even booed but it couldn’t be heard over the Gryffindor table. “And Mr Filch reminds everyone that there will be no magic in corridors on pain of death and that the Forbidden Forest is actually forbidden. Quidditch trials will be held in the second week of term and I believe that the Gryffindor team in particular is very low in members.” His eyes flickered towards Harry before glancing back around the hall, “And now that you are all fed and watered I bid you goodnight.”

There was the sound of chairs scraping back from the table as many students all stood up at once and moved to leave the hall. Ginny and the other fifth year Gryffindor prefect lead the first years up through the castle to the portrait hole leaving Ron and Hermione free to walk up through the castle with Harry.

“Hello Nick.” Harry said as he walked past the Gryffindor ghost in the hallway.

“Good evening Harry!” Nearly-Headless Nick said and glided past him as he made his way down to the dungeons for a talk with the Bloody Baron.

“It’s good to be back.” Hermione smiled as they walked along through the third floor and up onto the fourth. “Ron! Where are you going?” Harry glanced round to see that Ron was about to take a passageway which would have been all fine and good but it would have lead him back down to the second floor.

“Anyone would think you didn’t even know where the common room is.” Harry laughed and Hermione grinned next to him as Ron quickly caught them back up and the three of them walked up onto the seventh floor, chatting idly about their coming days. Ron kept trying to change the subject of conversation to the upcoming Quidditch trials which he seemed eager to get going and Hermione kept wanting to talk about NEWT lessons. Harry stayed in the middle, talking about either but trying not to dwell on Quidditch too much for fear of boring Hermione and not talking about Potions if he could help it so as not to offend Ron.

Soon their conversations were brought to an end as the three of them stood outside the portrait of the Fat Lady who was looking rather drunk.

“Password?” She slurred and then hiccupped.

“Locomotor Mortis.” Hermione said and the portrait swung open to allow them in.

“How on earth are the first years going to remember that?” Harry asked. Ron shrugged and Hermione made a mental note to ask the Fat Lady to change it to something a little more first year friendly.

“Night.” Hermione said and the word was echoed by Harry and Ron as they all made their way up to the dormitories for a good night’s sleep.


***


“See, it wasn’t so bad, was it?” Minerva said to Remus as he joined them in the staffroom. All the teachers had gathered together in the room for a little time in which they could sit and relax as they talked to their colleagues about their holidays and complain about the next day’s lessons.

“I suppose not.” Remus replied, “Although some of the Slytherins were booing.”

“Who cares what the Slytherins think?” Filius asked him and beside him Snape scowled but didn’t comment; he knew how cold his house could be.

“I don’t want to be hated.” Remus said, his brows creasing as he drank a cup of tea.

“You’re not hated.” Minerva said, “Or were you oblivious to the other three tables?”

“Don’t let the Slytherins bother you, concentrate on just getting some information through their thick skulls.” Filius said.

“I resent that.” Severus said and the other staff smiled.

“You’re teaching the fourth year Slytherins and Ravenclaws first thing tomorrow so I suggest you stop caring what they think.” Minerva said to him and Remus nodded.

“I suppose so.” He replied resignedly. He had read through his class lists of students in the fourth year and above to see which students he remembered and he was irritated to find that Malfoy had chosen to learn Defence Against the Dark Arts as one of his NEWTs which had mystified just about everyone.

“I still don’t know why Malfoy took defence against the dark arts.” Snape said thoughtfully, trying to think of any reasons that he would have for taking the subject.

“Maybe he misread and only saw Dark Arts.” Filius said.

“Or maybe he wants to keep an eye on how good Harry is.” Minerva suggested.

“He won’t find out easily.” Remus said, “He hides his intelligence well.”

“Have you ever considered that perhaps he doesn’t possess any knowledge and that he is simply a moron who hides nothing?” Severus asked coolly receiving only frosty glares from his colleagues.

“Do you intend on testing him for any talent in channelling magic without a wand, Remus?” Minerva asked him, ignoring Severus completely.

“I’m not sure.” Remus said, “I know it would be useful if he had talent but it would be unfair for him to know he couldn’t learn it if he had no skill in the area.” He said and his companions looked thoughtful.

“If you did test him and it turned out that he could use wandless magic then he would never leave you alone until he could do it well, you do know that, Lupin?” Severus said, “He’s ridiculously determined.”

“I wouldn’t say ridiculously determined.” Minerva said as possibilities of Harry being able to channel his magic through himself without needing a wand flittered through her mind.

“He’s already got a lot on his plate though.” Filius said, “Apparition lessons with Mad Eye, Animagus lessons with Minerva, NEWT classes…”

“And that’s added to the fact that he’s determined to get good at duelling as well.” Remus said.

“And he’s got to try and get the Gryffindor Quidditch team to exist. I cannot wait to see his team play – they’re going to be flattened in their first match.” Severus said and wondered who on earth he was likely to enlist into the team. In his mind Slytherin’s chances of winning the Quidditch cup this year were pretty high, although they too had a new captain. Draco Malfoy was an utter moron at times but with the fast brooms that Lucius would purchase for the team they had only to hope that he would pick a team capable of actually playing the sport.

“Is it true that Malfoy bought the whole Slytherin team Firebolts this year?” Minerva asked Severus and his lip curled slightly at the corner. The Gryffindor team had two Firebolts which were seen as highly impressive but the Slytherins would have seven and that put them at a great advantage.

“I cannot believe that. Why would Lucius bother?” Remus said, reading Snape’s expression correctly.

“I neither know nor care, Lupin.” Severus said, “All that I know is that Slytherin is going to win the house cup and the Quidditch cup this year.”

“Yeah right, if the Slytherins weren’t all such obnoxious little morons then perhaps you might have a chance with the house cup,” Filius said.

“They think they own this school.” Minerva said coolly, “And I plan on making the penalties very severe for any Slytherins who dare to be contemptuous to any member of staff or to any student.” Her eyes flickered briefly to Remus before moving back to Snape who didn’t look particularly pleased by the fact that he now knew that most of the staff was going to be against his house that year.

“Oh god… why can’t she just lock herself up in that damned tower?” Severus muttered as Sybil came wandering over to them away from Poppy Pomfrey, Sabina Sininstra and Heilia Hooch, all of whom looked thoroughly relieved to be rid of her.

“Good evening to you all.” Sybil said to them and Severus, Filius, Remus and Minerva put in the effort not to look as if they loathed her.

“Evening Sybil.” Minerva said coldly. Sybil took this as an invitation to join them and started yammering on about the best ways in which to teach students Divination – a subject which had the other four bored within a matter of seconds.

“Well, as riveting as this conversation is…” Filius said, “I really should be getting to bed now, early morning tomorrow.” He said and nodded to the other three as he quickly escaped from Sybil.

“Yes, I really need my rest.” Remus said, following Filius’ example, “Good night.”

“I have corridors to patrol – make sure students aren’t out of bed, that kind of thing.” Minerva said before adding pointedly, “Good night, Severus.” And a moment later she had hurried out of the room leaving Severus stuck with Sybil. He would have attempted to go join Heilia, Poppy and Sabina but he knew that they weren’t in the best of spirits with him after he had been rather rude to Poppy earlier on. Instead he settled for leaving the room and getting an early night, making a mental note to run in the other direction when he saw her coming in future.

“I have potions to concoct.” He said to Sybil and rose from his seat.

“It’s not good to be down in those dungeons alone so much, I shall assist you.” Sybil said to him and moved as if to follow him. Snape span round and pointed his wand at her face.

“Not with a wand lodged in your eye you won’t.” He growled threateningly before marching out of the room, leaving Sybil stood rather stunned in the middle of the room, surrounded by empty chairs.

A/N: I updated, as promised and I was going to update twice since it's my birthday but unfortunately my chapters are beginning to catch up me and I'm only a couple of chapters infront what I post on here now so you're going to have to wait until the weekend for another chapter. Sorry! Anyway, I hope you're liking it so far. More past coming soon, as well as a new quidditch team, possibly wandless magic, animagi lessons with a twist in there somewhere, apparition lessons, duelling, a few staff points of views (just because I can put them in there and I like writing about the staff) and more Remus and Harry. As well as that there's Hogsmeade trips and eventually Christmas. I'll be interested to see if I can get this fic finished before fifty chapters but I really doubt it. Anyway, thanks for reading and I'll try to update on Saturday morning if not before :o) Cheerio!

Chapter 22: First Morning Back
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Harry groaned and buried himself underneath his duvet as someone pulled the curtains open.

“Come on, Harry!” Ron was shouting at him as he only tried to hide further down under his duvet, hoping to be left alone, “Breakfast is in five minutes, get up!”

Harry sighed as he reluctantly got out of bed. Seamus, Dean and Neville had already left the dorm and there was only himself and Ron left in the room as the bright sunlight streamed in through the window, dazzling his eyes which weren’t used to the light.

“I’ll leave you a minute to get changed.” Ron said and made for the door.

“Don’t bother,” Harry said, quickly whipping out his wand and touching the tip of his wand to his sleeve and murmuring something under his breath. A second later he was wearing his school robes and Ron scowled slightly before the two of them walked down into the common room where Hermione was waiting for them to come down to breakfast with her.

“What took you so long?” Hermione asked them as they left the common room.

“Harry just wasn’t going to get up.” Ron said as he blushed walking past some Ravenclaws on the seventh floor as they started down the staircase onto the sixth. His robes were still not there and he had to make do with wearing Seamus’ which were a lot bigger than Harry’s, Neville’s or Dean’s but still not big enough for him.

“So you spent the whole of the holidays getting up early and then on the first day back at Hogwarts you decide to sleep in?” Hermione asked, raising an eyebrow and Harry nodded sheepishly.

“That’s about right.” Harry said as they walked into a passageway on the fifth floor.

“I hate this passageway; I don’t know how you can take it so often.” Hermione said as they walked along. The passageway was one which went in a spiral between the second and fifth floor and Harry often found himself using it, although it was quite creepy at times since the only light in there was from burning torches on the wall which some of the meaner portraits along the wall would attempt to blow out. Ron rarely used it, since Sir Cadogan’s portrait had recently been moved here and each time he walked passed he asked about the condition of his spattergroit. It was apparent that the portraits had a large social background that no one had been aware of since the healers which had at first diagnosed Ron with the affliction had managed to talk to the mad knight who was forever challenging students. But since Cadogan had started asking about his nonexistent affliction Ron had stopped walking down this passageway altogether and that had been since around May. It was for this reason that Hermione and Harry were puzzled at his walking along there with them, despite the fact that he had sworn never to do so again upon pain of waxed legs.

“So when are you having your legs waxed?” Hermione asked him conversationally as they walked along and Ron stared at her for a moment, almost falling down the steps as he tried to think what on earth she could be talking about.

“Last year you said that you’d never walk down here again because Sir Cadogan kept asking you how your spattergroit was.” Harry explained and Ron looked as if he knew what he was talking about but carried on walking in silence. Harry raised an eyebrow at Hermione who just shrugged. “So how come you are walking here again then?”

“I’m hoping Sir Whatsit’s gone.” Ron said as he grabbed onto the side of the wall in an attempt to prevent himself from falling down the stairs as he had tied his shoelaces with a spell he discovered earlier on but it wasn’t particularly effective for longer than a few minutes. He managed to stay on his feet and Hermione laughed at him as she carried on down the stairs with Harry next to her.

“Spattergroit can often bring upon moments where the afflicted suffers from poor balance.” Came the voice of Sir Cadogan to the left of him and Ron scowled darkly as he walked quickly down the stairs to catch up with Hermione.

“Shut up.” Ron muttered to him before they reached the third floor and after Sir Cadogan had followed them all the way down the stairs explaining that the aforementioned disease could also bring about the reddening of the hair and the face Ron was ready either to set the portrait on fire or simply to run as fast as he could. Wisely he chose the latter and ran out of the passageway as fast as he could and straight into Terry Boot and Anthony Goldstein who didn’t look particularly impressed as Ron sent all Terry’s books flying onto the floor. Harry and Hermione stepped forwards and instantly started to help him gather his belongings back together along with Anthony who scowled up at Ron but didn’t comment as the five of them carried on down the stairs onto the ground floor to breakfast.

Terry took the opportunity to ask Harry whether or not he would be running the D.A. again and to his disappointment he confirmed that he would not be running the defence club again that year.

“We’ve got Lupin again; it’s not as if you need it anymore.” Harry explained and although Terry and Anthony nodded, he could tell that they were not particularly pleased by it.

They parted ways as they entered the Great Hall and Terry and Anthony made their way over to the Ravenclaw table as Harry, Ron and Hermione sat down at the Gryffindor table with Neville, Seamus and Dean who were talking idly about the upcoming Quidditch trials for their house and who were likely candidates.

“I think that tall one in the seventh year’s meant to be good.” Dean was saying, “What’s he called?”

“Lewis Roberts?” Seamus asked and Dean nodded, “My dad knows his dad, apparently Lewis is a pretty good Beater but I dunno just how good he is. Maybe he’ll go to the tryouts.”

“I hope so, we need a new Quidditch team and they need to be good as well. Malfoy’s just got people who can hex well and knock people off their brooms.” Dean said.

“Brilliant.” Harry muttered as he sat down at the table and Dean and Seamus looked over to him.

“Well it’s nothing you can’t handle, is it?” Dean said, “Heard you got the highest defence against the dark arts marks in our year.” He grinned at Harry who smiled slightly in return as Seamus and Neville looked at him with something akin to awe on their faces – he had beaten even Hermione and all the Ravenclaws and that was no small feat.

“How did you all do in defence against the dark arts?” Harry asked the three of them and they smiled.

“We all got O’s” Neville smiled and Harry’s eyes widened slightly.

“Really?” He asked and the three of them nodded.

“Everyone in the D.A. did.” Neville explained and Harry was rather amazed to say the least.

“Timetables.” Professor McGonagall said as she walked along the table handing out each student’s timetable as she walked along the row. She reached Harry, Ron, Hermione, Dean, Neville and Seamus after what seemed like an age and Harry felt slightly disappointed that he had Transfiguration first instead of defence against the dark arts or charms but it could have been worse – he could have had potions. After Transfiguration he noticed that he had charms which was always an interesting lesson, even if he did struggle with some of the charms. Charms was followed by potions and then defence against the dark arts was his last lesson of the day, something that he was already looking forwards to and just the thought of that was likely to drag him through potions alone.

“Don’t make me go!” Seamus said as Dean and Ron attempted to drag him out of the great hall and to Transfiguration.

“You didn’t have to take it!” Dean argued with him as they pulled him from the room, to the amusement of Harry and Hermione.

“Come on, Neville!” Harry called back to his friend who was lagging behind after dropping his books all over the floor. He sighed and quickly turned back to help him when he saw that he would be some time retrieving all his papers which had also scattered everywhere. He waved his wand over all the books and muttered the summoning spell so that all the books flew towards him and landed in an orderly pile in his arms.

“Thanks, Harry!” Neville smiled thankfully as he took his books back from Harry before the two of them quickened their pace and caught up with Seamus, Dean, Ron and Hermione.

“I cannot believe I had the chance to escape McGonagall for good and I didn’t take it!” Seamus moaned and it appeared that he was close to tears as he walked along with Ron and Dean still pulling him along in case he tried to escape and ran off somewhere else.

“Still inspiring terror in the students then, Minerva.” Remus smiled as they walked along the corridor behind the five sixth year students.

“Of course, what good is being a teacher if you can’t terrorise those you teach?” She asked with a smile and Remus couldn’t help but smile back.

“Try terrorising students when you’re four feet tall!” Filius squeaked from beside them as they made their way through the ground floor of the castle.

“I prefer not to intimidate them anyway.” Remus said, “Students who are close to tears from fear tend not to learn well.”

“Oh yes?” Minerva said to Remus, glaring at him. “I seem to remember that I taught you exactly the same way as I teach the students now and you achieved Exceeds Expectations in your NEWT for Transfiguration so don’t give me that, Lupin.” She said and Remus smiled. The three teachers followed Harry, Hermione, Dean, Neville, Seamus and Ron up onto the first floor and the six students entered a classroom.

“See you later.” Filius said to her and Remus nodded as Minerva turned from them and walked into the room to see her entire class was already assembled there before her, which was unusual to say the least. It appeared that the NEWT students wanted to make a good impression, that or she was rather late. They definitely want to make a good impression. She decided as she walked to her desk and turned it into a pig.

“I did this in your first lesson in your first year.” She said calmly and then turned the desk back. “By the end of the next two years I expect you all to be able to do the same.” There were a few dubious looks around the room and Neville looked as if he was about to cry. “I am perfectly serious; there is no reason why any of you shouldn’t be able to transfigure objects in this manner once your NEWT years are over. You can and will learn a lot in two years time.” There was silence in the room as she waved her wand over the pig and a second later it was replaced with her desk which didn’t so much as oink. She glanced round the room and saw only silent students with one or two of them looking horrified at the idea that they would have to learn to transfigure things like desks into pigs.

“I trust you all did your homework?” Minerva asked the class coolly and some of them looked rather awkward and it wasn’t difficult for her to guess who had and who hadn’t done their work. She ordered that they all place their work on their desks and she summoned it all to her in a moment where it landed in a neat and orderly pile on her desk before she turned back to them. “Since you all did your homework,” she looked hard at some individuals here who had dared to leave their work undone over the summer, “then you should have no problem with your task for this lesson. You will each come to the front and take a pincushion and transfigure it into a hedgehog.” Neville raised his hand and opened his mouth to ask something but she cut him off before he so much as had chance to speak, “Yes, the hedgehog must be alive, Mr Longbottom.” She said and Neville blushed slightly and lowered his hand, his question answered. “What are you waiting for? Begin.”

Harry and Hermione summoned a pincushion to them easily and then Ron and Seamus did the same but rather more cautiously. Dean grinned confidently.

Accio Pincushion.” Dean said loudly and Minerva glanced up from her desk when there was a rush past her ear. She sighed inwardly when she saw Dean Thomas open his mouth in horror as the box of pincushions flew straight at his face. A moment later he was sprawled on the floor covered in the small cushions with Harry, Ron, Hermione, Seamus and Neville all laughing at him as he tried to pick himself up.

“Pincushions have now been relocated to Mr Thomas. Anyone who has not already got one will need to go to him.” Minerva said, her eyes going back to her work on her desk. She was amazed by the fact that it was her first day back and already she had work to do, she was beginning to regret having set homework over the summer because although it ruined the students’ summers somewhat, it also ruined her first day back.

“Why the hell doesn’t it have any spikes?” Ron demanded as he looked down at his ‘hedgehog’ which looked as if he had taken a real hedgehog and removed all it’s spikes and then killed it.

“Because your transfiguration is laughably poor, Mr Weasley.” Minerva said and waved her wand without looking up which caused his ‘hedgehog’ to turn back into a pincushion. Next to him, Hermione was concentrating hard on her pincushion which she successfully turned into a hedgehog, it just wasn’t alive. This was in direct contrast to Harry, who managed to bring his pincushion to life, it just wasn’t any more of a hedgehog than it was a koala.

“At least yours is alive.” Neville said to Harry as his pincushion walked proudly around the table on it’s pins and examined it’s surroundings.

“I have no idea how you managed to bring a pincushion to life, Mr Potter, but I suggest you change it back and start again.” Minerva said to him and he dutifully did as he was told. Minerva glanced up from her work and looked hard at Harry who was putting on an extremely good act of having trouble transfiguring his pincushion. She knew that he was acting because she had spent an hour with him whilst they had still resided at Grimmauld Place teaching him to transfigure things to life on his request. He had managed in around half an hour and the rest of the time was spent improving his method and transfiguring larger and larger things to life. She had not taught Hermione though, Minerva presumed that the girl thought she possessed enough knowledge to transfigure to life from the extensive homework which she had done. Clearly, that was not the case.

“Stupid hedgehog.” Hermione muttered and a small fireball shot out of her wand at the hedgehog which Harry quickly levitated out of the way. The fireball shot forwards and Minerva extinguished it in an instant before telling them to get back on with their work.

“Seriously, why can’t I make it get spikes?” Ron demanded as he looked down at his pitiful hedgehog which was still rather more dead than it should have been. Next to him Seamus leapt backwards away from his hedgehog as it grew spikes which were a foot long. Minerva glanced up to look at the bizarre creature he had made and wondered how he had managed to give it extra long spikes before waving her wand and he had a pincushion once more. Next to him Dean was struggling along with a pincushion which after many wand wavings just had lots and lots of pins sticking out of it and two things which looked as if they could be eyes on it’s face. Neville was doing better than Minerva had expected he would though, his hedgehog was actually looking something like a hedgehog should and as of yet he had not set anything on fire. The only problems were that his hedgehog wasn’t alive and it was also an interesting shade of magenta.

Just as Hermione finally managed to bring her hedgehog successfully to life, a bell rang somewhere in the school and was magically amplified so that the sound filled the castle. They all instantly rose to their feet and packed their things away into their bags. Professor McGonagall shouted at them all to leave their hedgehog, pincushion or whatever else they had successfully turned it into on their desks as they filed out of the room and to their next lesson which was charms.

The six Gryffindors walked along the corridor and up the stairs onto the second floor where they passed Remus who smiled slightly at them as he passed. They walked along until they reached a tapestry hanging from the wall. Harry went first and walked behind it and into the spiral staircase on the other side.

“Oh no, I’m not going in there again!” Ron scowled as he realised that was the passageway which housed Sir Cadogan. “I’ll see you in charms.” He muttered and turned from the other five and walked as quickly as he could to the staircase up to the third floor. Dean raised an eyebrow at this but didn’t comment as the five remaining people quickly entered the passageway and walked up to the fifth floor and stepped out onto the corridor in which their charms lesson was situated.

“Welcome to NEWT charms.” Professor Flitwick said to the class as Harry sat down in the lesson. The room was pretty full and it appeared that charms had been a popular choice with all the students as there was all the D.A. and quite a few other people present as well. “Over the next two years you will learn to charm objects, creatures and even people to a degree which you will never yet have experienced. As well as this we will be covering domestic charms which is a mandatory part of this course,” he looked pointedly at Malfoy at this point who looked as if he was about to complain about having to learn such things, “are there any questions?” He asked the group but there were none.

“Today you will learn to freeze objects with a mild freezing charm. Does anyone know of any incantations for freezing charms?” Flitwick asked the group and immediately Hermione’s arm shot into the air. Harry knew the answer – he had been practicing it over and over during the summer and he had managed it, eventually, but he had never really bothered to demonstrate his small knowledge of charms to the class and instead preferred to stay quiet and let Hermione answer the questions. “Yes, Miss Granger?”

“Gelotrium.” She said and Filius smiled and gave her ten points for Gryffindor.

“Excellent.” Filius said to the class, “That is precisely the spell you will be learning today.” He pointed his wand at his desk and muttered the spell. A blue spell shot out of his wand and struck the desk, instantly covering it with a thin layer of ice which cause a few murmurs to pass through the class. He murmured something else and a second later all the ice was gone without a trace, leaving not so much as a small puddle on the floor. “You will be practicing on your quills.” Filius informed them. “You will have this lesson and the next to perfect the charm and in the third lesson I will test each of you on the spell.” Neville audibly groaned and sank down in his chair next to Hermione who smiled at him and assured him that he would be okay as they all took out their quills and their wands and placed the former on the table and held the latter tightly, concentrating on the feather quills before them.

Filius summoned their homeworks to him during the lesson but found that he didn’t want to mark them. Instead he watched the students carefully attempting to freeze their quills mostly with little success. At the front of the class he watched as Hermione performed a near perfect freezing spell and Harry and Ron also did a moment later before all three of them attempted to thaw them out.

Incendio.” Ron muttered and his wand became like a small blowtorch as fire came from it. He pointed it at his quill and it defrosted it effectively until all the water had gone.

Filius sighed as he waved his wand and turned the ashes that had been Mr Weasley’s quill a moment before back into the feathered pen.

Next to Ron Harry was attempting also to defrost his quill. He had a little more luck than Ron as he used a mild heating charm which quickly caused it to thaw but he was left with a small puddle on the table which he then had to vanish. Sadly, Neville knocked into him as he passed, trying to catch his quill which had flown across the room for some mysterious reason, and Harry’s wand was knocked from where he pointed it.

Filius shook his head as he looked at Harry who was sat in the front row with no desk and a puddle of water in midair for no apparent reason. He waved his wand once and the water disappeared, he waved it again and the desk reappeared and once more caused his quill to appear on top of it.

“Thanks, Professor.” Harry smiled before glancing at Neville who came close to falling out of the open window trying to catch his quill which Filius quickly froze for him so that he would not follow it out of the fifth floor window.

Evanescadia.” Hermione said quietly and drew a small circle over her desk. Harry watched, intrigued as a small black hole appeared above the desk. “Wingardium Leviosa.” And a second later her quill was levitating carefully over the mysterious hole. She then used the same mild heating charm that Harry had used as she rotated her quill round, melting the water which dripped into the hole and vanished. “Evanescadia Finite.” She said when she was done and had one defrosted quill sat infront of her. She glanced up to see Harry looking thoughtful about the spell she had just used and Filius looking rather impressed. He was so impressed with her charm work that he gave her another twenty house points for Gryffindor which made her smile slightly. Her smile literally vanished a moment later as Neville attempted to freeze his quill once more and somehow vanished her mouth altogether.

“Mr Weasley, please escort Miss Granger to the hospital wing for her mouth to be replaced.” Filius said calmly and Ron and Hermione got to their feet, Hermione’s hand pressed over the place where her mouth should be.

“Sorry Hermione!” Neville said, looking very worried for her as she walked out of the room. She nodded and tried to smile but remembered she had no mouth and had to quickly leave the room in case she burst into tears.

“Get a new set of teeth as well, Granger!” Malfoy shouted at her as she left, causing many eyes to turn upon him coldly.

“Ten points from Slytherin, Mr Malfoy.” Filius said calmly before setting them some homework.

Harry scrawled down his homework on a piece of parchment before packing up all his things into his bag with the same spell which Tonks had used on his trunk in his fifth year and which Remus had used with more skill before he left the Dursleys that summer. Filius smiled slightly when he noticed the spell he used but didn’t comment as he watched the sixth years leave their lesson for a short but well needed and deserved break before their lessons would resume afterwards.

A/N: My chapters are catching up with me! Nooooo! So I took some time out this afternoon and wrote another one. There should be three chapters until Remus sees Harry's fifth year and a couple of chapters with quite a bit of Snape in them as well because I like him. If I don't update tomorrow then I will on Monday :o) Next chapter called Snape's Change Of Heart? which I just realised that I finished this afternoon so my chapters really have caught up. Anyway, thanks for reading!

Chapter 23: Snape's Change Of Heart?
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Harry rose from his seat in the common room which was all too comfy and he found that he didn’t want to leave it, especially since he knew that he was going to Potions next. He walked down through the school with Seamus, Dean and Neville although they parted on the third floor as Seamus and Dean left to go to Divination which Harry found very difficult not to comment at but somehow he managed as he and Neville carried on to the ground floor.

“See you later.” Harry said unhappily to Neville who walked out of the front entrance and waved before walking off to Greenhouse 5 which he had never entered and probably wouldn’t dare to, knowing that some kind of flesh eating plant would probably catch him the moment he did. Instead he crossed the entrance hall and passed through a small door which led to the dungeons. He walked quickly, not wanting to be late to his first NEWT class which would not have helped matters much at all since he already had to deal with Snape; he didn’t want to deal with Snape who was irritated as his unpunctuality.

He entered the classroom and chose a seat right at the back next to Hermione who had already arrived. He opened his mouth to ask her something but he closed it again as Snape appeared at the front of the classroom.

“Congratulations,” Severus said to the small class which was assembled before him. There were only Harry and Gr— no, Potter and Granger from Gryffindor, a handful of Ravenclaws and from Slytherin house there was Malfoy and Blaise Zabini sat at the front of the room. There were no Hufflepuffs who had dared to take the course. “You have successfully proven that you can stir a cauldron at Ordinary Wizarding Level. Unfortunately for you, NEWT requires more than one brain cell and I do not doubt that some of you will have a very difficult time in this class.” His eyes flickered to the back of the room for a moment and met those of Harry’s. Irritably enough, Severus found that he felt slightly uncomfortable with the idea of mocking Potter infront of his potions class. He made a mental note to attempt to humiliate him more often in an attempt to regain the contempt he had previously held for the boy instead of that strange feeling between compassion and indifference. He could only hope that these odd feelings were the after-effects of living with the boy for a month in that godforsaken house. “This week you will be making a simplified version of the Polyjuice potion. Now, can anyone tell me what the Polyjuice potion does?” Silence filled the room and Severus allowed a slight smile to curve his lips before adding, “Potter?”

“The Polyjuice potion will change the appearance of the drinker to that of another person although part of the person the drinker wishes to transform into must be present in the potion.” Harry said quietly and Severus looked hard at him across the room before reluctantly admitting that he was, in fact, correct.

“Yes, when brewed properly the drinker of the potion will become an exact replica of the person whose body part is in the potion.” Severus said coolly to his class, already moved to one of his worse moods due to Potter’s successfully answering his question.

“Isn’t that what happened to Moody a couple of years ago?” Malfoy whispered loudly to Blaise but Severus ignored him and chose to continue with his lesson.

“As I have already said, the potion you make will be simplified and will only take one week to brew instead of the usual length of time which is what, Mr Potter?” Severus asked, desperately hoping to catch him out.

“One month, Professor.” Harry answered and kept his face carefully neutral so that Snape had no reason to attempt to deduct house points from him.

“Correct.” Snape admitted. “The instructions for today’s lesson are on the board, you will be making the potion on your own and should you finish before the end of the lesson then you have not followed the instructions properly. You may begin.”

He watched as the students pulled out their cauldrons and potions ingredients for that lesson whilst others read through the instructions on the board. He moved behind his desk and sat down to mark all the many potions essays which were infront of him. He had already marked Potter’s earlier in the summer which has been later re-marked by Dumbledore and given a grade two grades higher than the one he had originally given. He supposed that he may have been slightly harsh on him but then this was NEWT level, he wasn’t going to go soft on the boy just because he was pretty much doomed to die. Severus swallowed and looked down at the essay infront of him which he had been staring at but taking nothing in. He still remembered the way he had been treated by Voldemort, the torture had been unbearable and he had screamed and even begged for mercy until he could take it no more and had fallen unconscious from the agony he had been subjected to. He didn’t want to imagine how awful the punishment that Harry would face from Voldemort would be for the most ghastly offence of defying him on numerous occasions. He would die the next time the Dark Lord got his hands on him, he knew that much and it would be agony and slow and… a shudder passed through him slightly and Severus blinked to see that once again he was staring down at that same piece of unmarked homework written by Zabini.

He glanced up and noticed that Potter was looking at him strangely. Severus scowled at him and as his scowl broke unwillingly into a more neutral expression he quickly looked down so that the moron wouldn’t see it.

Harry wondered what on earth was wrong with Snape, he hadn’t yelled at him all lesson or criticised his work or so much as even sneered at him as he passed by. Despite the fact that Snape was busy marking work, or from the looks of it just staring at it, he would normally have barked out orders or tried to humiliate him repeatedly throughout the lesson and yet he was doing nothing. He wasn’t even complementing Malfoy or giving out house points to Slytherin. He wondered briefly if the torture he had been subjected to had made him forget his intense hatred towards him and hoped that he had perhaps forgotten who he was or that he was present in his class.

He glanced up at the instructions again and added the stewed lacewing flies into the cauldron and stirred them clockwise thirteen times before leaving it to simmer. He glanced sideways at Hermione’s and noticed that his was almost the same colour as hers so he couldn’t be far wrong. He looked across the room to see that Malfoy has just added his lacewing flies and instead of turning a pale blue in colour as his and Hermione’s currently were, his was bright red and bubbling violently.

Severus glanced up from the parchment that he had been staring at to see Potter looking across the room at Malfoy who was looking fearfully around the room, hoping that someone else’s potion was the same violent shade of red as his. Sadly for him, everyone else was sat behind a sky blue potion. He sighed inwardly as he realised that the moment he attempted to stir his potion it was likely to explode and cover the entire room with his potion which could serve as an interesting poison and for a moment he wondered what the effects would be should he test it on Potter but a second later he snapped out of it as he dragged himself to a standing position and quickly crossed the room to Malfoy before he could get close to stirring his potion.

“Unless you want this appalling concoction splattered all over the walls and yourself then I would suggest that you don’t attempt to stir it, Malfoy.” He said coldly as he vanished his potion and told him to start again from scratch. Malfoy glared at him as he marched away from him and back to his desk but had enough time to hear him comment to Zabini.

“My father said that when the Dark Lord tortured him he screamed and begged for mercy before passing out.” Malfoy sniggered and Blaise Zabini did the same. Snape took a deep breath as he remained composed and sat back down in his seat. He knew that now he was exposed as a spy for the Order that the Slytherins would be eagerly telling each other the news and would shun him almost certainly. He didn’t mind this too much since the rest of the school would probably cease to loath him as much as they had previously done, not that he cared what any of those moronic Gryffindors thought of him. Besides, most of his house wanted to purge all the muggleborns from the school and he did not want to be associated with people like them. He wondered how many other Slytherins thought the way he did – that anyone with a competent grasp of magic had the right to be there. In that he almost certainly stood alone.

He glanced up from his desk to see Potter staring hard at Malfoy and muttering something. He spotted his wand unsubtly pointed at his back but instead of deducting a few dozen house points from Gryffindor, as he would have done before, he allowed him to curse Malfoy first.

At the front of the room Malfoy screamed and fell forwards into his cauldron, his head becoming lodged in there along with the shredded Boomslang skin. A smirk touched his lips before he forced it to disappear.

“30 points from Gryffindor for that, Potter.” He barked across the room as he left Malfoy staggering around, blinded by the cauldron covering his face and his awful blond hair. He was not in the mood for watching out for the morons in his house that morning, especially when they chose to insult him amongst themselves. If they were going to be like that then he may as well let Potter have his fun, giving him some amusement at the same time and then take points from his rival house in abundance because of it. That way everyone won. Well, everyone but Malfoy of course, but who cared about him? It was nice not to have to pretend to like that blond cretin in his house for a change; before he had been forced to act respectful to him at all times due to Lucius’ position in the Death Eaters but now he could do whatever he liked and that included putting the brat in detention with Argus every evening for the rest of the year. A smile touched his face slightly at the idea of Malfoy cleaning out toilet bowls, scrubbing the trophies and keeping the school clean all by hand every night for an entire year.

He shook his head slightly, attempting to remove all thought from it which concerned Malfoy and that cauldron lodged on his head, Malfoy in detention, Potter cursing Malfoy, Potter being cursed by Voldemort and all such Death Eater related things as he glanced down at the dozen essays or so infront of him. He picked up his quill and not bothering to read them he marked them quickly. He gave Malfoy a D, Zabini an A and the Ravenclaws all received Es. He just hoped that those damned Ravenclaws wouldn’t see it as a personal insult and attempt to re-write the essays in an attempt to achieve an O. He glanced back at Malfoy’s awful work and couldn’t help but feel rather malevolent when he saw the large red D scrawled in the top corner of the parchment. That was all the evil he was likely to be able to perform that day but it still gave him a small feeling of unfairness which made him smirk slightly.

Harry wondered what Snape was so pleased about as he watched his potions master smirk at the paper on his desk. He assumed it was an essay that someone had written and dearly hoped that it had been Malfoy’s. Speaking of Malfoy, he glanced up and saw his rival staggering around the room, one hand on the wall as he attempted to find the door or his seat. At the moment he was at the back of the room and walked face first into the adjoining wall which caused both himself and Hermione to smile malignantly. Somewhere in the school a bell rang, signalling the end of classes and everyone quickly packed away as Malfoy staggered along the side of the room. There was a heavy clang as he tripped over something and Harry had a sneaking suspicion that it was Michael Corner’s foot.

At the front of the room Snape waved his wand and pieces of parchment flew back to each individual but Hermione and Harry and each glanced down at their grade feeling either disappointed in themselves or irritated with Snape for marking them lower than they felt they deserved.

“Be gone, I have a class to teach!” Severus shouted across the room and ushered the students out of the room before quickly vanishing Malfoy’s cauldron and ordering him to leave along with the rest. Malfoy shot him a dirty look before sulkily trudging out of the classroom with the rest. “Get back here a moment, Potter.” Severus called after Harry who was just out of the door. The boy turned and regarded him apprehensively before walking back to him. That was the way Severus liked his students – filled with fear.

“Yes, Professor?” Harry asked, wondering whether he was about to be put into detention for doing absolutely nothing.

“Occlumency lessons. Tuesdays and Fridays in my office at eight. Do attempt to be punctual.” Severus said to him, “Now get to your next lesson.” Harry turned and quickly walked out of the room and ran after Hermione, catching up to her quickly to see that she was walking with the Ravenclaws who had been present at their lesson: Terry Boot, Michael Corner, Anthony Goldstein and Padma Patil.

“Get out of my way, Potter.” Malfoy snapped as he barged past him and quickly walked down the corridor as he made his way to the hospital wing.

“I wonder why he’s in such a hurry.” Harry said lightly as they walked along with the Ravenclaws.

“Probably because he doesn’t want everyone to see that he smashed his nose in when he fell onto his face.” Terry said with a slight smile. Malfoy wasn’t just awful to the Gryffindors after all.

“Where are you going now?” Hermione asked them.

“Defence against the dark arts.” Padma replied.

“Same here.” Harry said to her.

“Loads of people took it.” Michael said as they made their way back up to the entrance hall.

“Yeah, I’ve heard our class is pretty much the D.A.” Terry said lightly, glancing at Harry as they walked.

“So Harry, are you running the D.A. again this year?” Padma asked, hoping that he would say yes.

“No,” He replied and everyone looked slightly disappointed, even Hermione, although she had already known that he wouldn’t be running the defence association again. “We’ve got a good teacher now, the D.A. isn’t needed anymore.”

“I know, but still…” Hermione said as they walked quickly up the stairs and joined with some of the Hufflepuffs making their way to defence against the dark arts.

“I still can’t believe they hired Lupin again.” Ernie Macmillan said, “After all that the Slytherins were saying about him as well. Still, if Dumbledore trusts him then so do I.” He said, placing all his trust in the judgement of the headmaster, as so many other people did. Harry wondered briefly how his guardian’s first class had been. He had known that Remus would be teaching Slytherins during his first lesson and he hoped that it had all gone smoothly for him. Similarly he hoped that there would be none in the class he was about to attend who would now be prejudiced against him, after all it was widely agreed that Remus had been the best teacher for defence against the dark arts that they had ever had.

They reached the room on the second floor to see a stream of third year Hufflepuffs and Ravenclaws filed out of the room, most of them chatting excitedly about their lesson as they made their way to their next class. Remus appeared in the doorway and motioned for them to go in. As Harry passed him their eyes met for a moment and Harry thought that his slight smile looked rather strained; he couldn’t help but wonder how his previous lesson had gone for him as he entered the room and sat down at the front of the room with Hermione and they were joined by Ron a moment later as he arrived, gasping and panting as he struggled to catch his breath, and threw himself down in the chair beside Harry.

Harry glanced over his shoulder to see Malfoy walk sulkily into the classroom and collapse into a chair near the back of the room. Remus walked down the middle of the room and almost tripped over as Malfoy stuck his foot out and laughed at him.

“Watch where you’re walking, wolf.” Malfoy sneered at Remus who composed himself in the blink of an eye and stood at the front of the room, facing them.

“Welcome to your first lesson in NEWT defence against the dark arts.” Remus said and the room went deadly quiet. Quickly glancing around the room, Harry noticed that everyone there except for Malfoy, had been a part of the D.A. “Because this is your NEWT it means that you have made the choice to be here. I have also made the choice to be here to teach you skills that you may well find invaluable to you in the future. As I am certain you are all now aware, I suffer from lycanthropy—”

“So basically, you’re a werewolf.” Malfoy cut in and Remus looked at him coldly.

“Yes.” Remus said, “And anyone who has a problem with this can leave right now and not come back. As I have said, it is your choice to be here to learn defence from me. Is there anyone in this room who wishes to leave?” Remus asked quietly and at the back of the room Malfoy stood up.

“I’m leaving.” Malfoy said loudly, “I’m not staying here to be taught by a filthy half-breed.”

“100 points from Slytherin. Now get out, Mr Malfoy.” He said and Malfoy stormed out of the room.

“And don’t come back!” Harry shouted after him, letting his irritation at Malfoy get the better of him. There was laughter from the class before Remus flicked his wand and the door shut again. They looked to him and he smiled slightly.

“Thank you, Harry.” Remus said, although there was a definite tone of disapproval in his voice as he said it, yet the sparkle did not leave his eyes. “Anyone else wish to leave along with Mr Malfoy?” He asked but no one left or even looked as if they wanted to. “Very well. Now, over the next two years you are going to have to learn a lot. It will all build on previous lessons which you should have covered although owing to certain problems with staffing in this particular subject over the years you may find some of it extremely difficult. This will cause little problem with time however, as I know that after your defence lessons last year you have learnt many spells which would normally have been learnt this year.” Remus’ eyes flickered to Harry’s for a moment and so did those of many other students in the room.

“At the start of the year we will be going over duelling and defensive and offensive spells in some depth which you have probably never experienced before. There will be many practical lessons which I hope that you will all take part in. Then, after Christmas you will be learning about dark creatures such as hinkypunks, grindylows, and werewolves.” He said the last word with a sense of reluctance in it which he could not hide but he carried on nonetheless. “I believe I have talked for long enough now. Today we will be having a practical lesson in this room so wands out everyone and books away. I must warn you that due to the fact that everyone has their own unique style of duelling, you will not be duelling with the same person each lesson. For today you will duel with whoever you choose, next lesson I will choose your partner for you.

“So, if you would all choose your partner and we’ll begin.” Remus finished and the room which had been silent and listening to their professor with rapt attention the moment before was now mostly walking around the room, picking their partner and sorting out disagreements between them.

Harry scowled slightly when Ron stood with Neville.

“Sorry Harry, I promised Neville that I would this morning.” Ron said to him and it soon appeared that the numbers were odd as Harry was left on his own without a partner. Remus smiled slightly at him.

“Very well, it looks like you’re with me, Harry.” Remus said to him.

Fabulous, a chance to be humiliated infront of the D.A. just what I always wanted… He thought but wasn’t particularly displeased with the fact that he would be working with his mentor that lesson.

Remus let his eyes flicker around the room as he noticed that Harry scowled at Ron who was stood with Neville, signalling that they were partners and Harry clearly had no one. He knew that the numbers were odd and he was quite surprised to learn that no one was willing to go to Harry and work with him for the lesson. He supposed that it was because he had taught them all the year before that they were all so reluctant to be with him again, as if they were actually equal to him in skill at defence against the dark arts.

“And you can assist me with the demonstration as well.” Remus grinned and Harry looked reluctant to say the least. “I don’t bite, Harry.” The teenager stuck his tongue out at him as he walked to the front of the room.

Harry kept his eyes on Remus as his godfather quickly waved his wand and murmured something under his breath causing all the desks and the chairs in the room to move to one side of the room and pile themselves up, leaving them with a large space in which to work.

“Pay attention please.” Remus said to them, “Today we’re going to go through the basics, since I don’t believe you’ve had all that much experience with duelling. I do not mean to patronise but you must understand the fundamentals of duelling before you can build upon it.

“Since I am certain that every person in this room can disarm their opponent we will go through reversing unfriendly spells back to your partner today. We will be working with the jelly-legs jinx and that only to ensure that there will be no accidents. So Harry, if you would be kind enough to attempt to jinx me…” Remus said and Harry nodded as he sent the jelly-legs jinx straight at him. “Protegium!” Remus said and the spell shot straight back at Harry.

Protegium. Harry repeated and the spell bounced back off his shield and to Remus again who smiled and caught the spell in a strange kind of net which at first glance had appeared to be a shield but then when you looked closer, it was discernible that it was made of tiny magical threads. The second the spell touched the net it was sucked into Remus’ wand and disappeared, much to the intrigue of the students in his class. Harry raised an eyebrow slightly at this but didn’t comment.

“If you need to block the jinx at any time or you feel that the seemingly endless reversing is becoming too much for you then use Protego to end the spell.” Remus said to them, “I would like you all to attempt to keep the jinx bouncing between you as long as possible. We will do this for a while until I believe you all capable and we can then move on to some more difficult spells to reverse. Now, begin and try to spread out as much as you can.”

The class spread out across the room, leaving all the pairs with plenty of space to work in. Remus and Harry stood at the front of the room for a few minutes whilst Remus surveyed his class to make sure that no one was in any trouble with the spell but to his satisfaction they all seemed to be able to use the spell perfectly.

“You know when you teach us about werewolves…” Harry said.

“I will conform to the curriculum, Harry.” Remus replied before he had even had chance to finish the question, “It’s all fine and good knowing that werewolves aren’t all evil but when the exam board is monitored by Fudge you don’t want every student taking the exam saying that they are classed as dark creatures but are not necessarily so. As far as you and every student in this class are concerned, I am a dark creature.” He said softly so that they would not be overheard.

“I’ll not write or think that ever.” Harry said and Remus smiled slightly.

“I’m glad you would never think it but it could jeopardise your grade in this subject if you don’t answer what you know to be the ‘correct’ answer in the exam.” Remus said as they moved opposite each other and started to rebound the spell between them across the room, staying close together so that the challenge was greater since their time to react to the spell was sliced effectively. “Move closer to each other once you’ve got the hang of it.” Remus called over the class and the students slowly began to move closer and closer to one another. This caused a few people to wobble around the room for sometime when they did not react fast enough and indeed Hannah Abbot was chased around the room by Ernie for a good few minutes before he got close enough to her to counter-jinx it.

Eventually Harry and Remus bored of simply reflecting the same spell back and forth at one another when they were standing barely a metre apart and Remus watched the room working for another few minutes to check that everyone was alright with the spell before moving on. They covered Protego, binding spells such as Locomotor Mortis - the leg-locker curse and Petrificus Totalus - the full body bind before Remus went on to demonstrate some more destructive curses such as Reducto and explaining that a good Protego could block this although it would need an extremely strong Protegium spell to reverse it completely. He briefly touched on the subject of the Unforgivables, and informed them that nothing but strength of will could prevent the Imperious curse and it was a well documented fact that nothing could stop Avada Kedavra. He did mention that there was a counter-jinx which could be used to lessen the pain from the Cruciatus curse and if it was strong enough then sometimes block it completely, although he would only touch on that briefly and explained that he would teach them about that at another time.

Eventually the end of the lesson arrived and everyone felt quite disappointed that their first class at NEWT defence against the dark arts had come to an end so soon, although it had been a full hour since they had entered the room and that was going over time by a few minutes but Remus found that the class was quite reluctant to leave the room. After some time they left after he had given them some homework and promised them that they would be putting their spells together during the next lesson to duel with one another and they would see him duel, if Harry would partner with him. Harry had agreed, although unwillingly; he didn’t particularly want to lose spectacularly to Remus infront of the class he had been teaching himself the year before.

“You don’t seem too pleased at the idea of duelling with me next lesson.” Remus said to Harry once the class had cleared out of the room. Ron and Hermione had left Harry to go to dinner and Harry had stayed behind to talk to Remus for a while since they hadn’t really had the chance to speak on their own since the previous morning. They both knew that things were going to change once they arrived back at Hogwarts and they could no longer be as close as they had once been but just because they knew this didn’t mean that they had to like it.

“Losing spectacularly infront of people who I taught last year. Sounds like fun.” Harry said and glanced at Remus who smiled at him and put his arm around his shoulders as they walked to the door, rather more slowly than they would normally have walked; they didn’t want to break their touch but at the same time they couldn’t stay in this classroom for ever, nor could they walk down the corridor with Remus’ arms about Harry’s shoulders.

“It doesn’t matter if you lose. You duel amazingly now.” Remus said lightly as he waved his wand and all the desks moved back to where they had once been when they reached the doorway and Remus removed his arm from Harry’s shoulders albeit a little reluctantly.

Harry rolled his eyes at his complement, certain that Remus was only saying it to make him feel better and they chatted about their day so far as they walked down to get some lunch from the Great Hall.

“You’re lucky; you’ve got a free lesson now.” Remus said to Harry as they made their way down a staircase onto the ground floor and walked towards the entrance of the great hall. “I’ve got to teach Gryffindor and Hufflepuff first years next and first year lessons are always incredibly dull. They can’t do anything!”

“What did you expect? Masters of duelling?” Harry asked him with a smile as they neared the great hall and they couldn’t help but notice how their pace slowed.

“Come and see me later on, won’t you.” Remus said to him as they passed through the large doors and a few people glanced around to see who had entered before going back to their own meals.

“Course, your lesson ends at three so I’ll go to your office around then.” Harry said to him as they parted and Remus felt slightly happier than he had done all day. It wasn’t that his lessons had been bad but they hadn’t been particularly good either. The one with the DA had been the best and Malfoy had been in there and had attempted to trip him up, insulted him publicly and had eventually stormed out of the room for no apparent reason. His other lessons had been interesting since the students that hadn’t known that he was a werewolf had been informed that he was by himself, to save the trouble of circulating gossip which would manage to turn him from a werewolf into a serial killer who could destroy a man with a single touch, was attempting to kidnap The Boy Who Lived on a regular basis and was a werewolf. For some unknown reason, gossip around Hogwarts tended to move in that direction. He sighed as he walked over to the staff table and sat down with his friends, knowing that however bad his last lesson of the day could go, he would be meeting Harry after it.

A/N: Soooo, what did you think? Any good? Updates should carry on every two days or so for a while at least since I have two pre-written chapters and I'm starting a new one as well but I get my GCSE art exam tomorrow. That means I have five weeks of preparation during which I will be stressed and doing a lot of art whilst I try to keep up with the three beta working things I'm doing for people so basically I won't have the time to try and write fanfiction, not that lack of time's ever stopped me yet. Anyway, after the five weeks of prep then I take my exam but then soon after I have my german speaking test and from there my tests will start becoming more frequent. Damn being in year 11. Anyways, this is my way of saying that I can't write nearly so often as I did before now that my exams are a-coming but I'll try nonetheless. Now that you're all thoroughly bored sick of my ramblings I'll go now :o)

Chapter 24: The Woes of Severus Snape
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“Do you know who needs a good slap?” Minerva asked coldly as her eyes wandered down the table to the woman who was apparently her archenemy in the school and the supposedly mystical woman waved at her.

“Could it be Sybil by any small chance?” Filius asked mildly as he helped himself to a small ham sandwich.

“Excellent, ten points to Gryffindor.” She replied and smiled slightly as ten house points worth of red sand fell into the Gryffindor’s house hourglass. Remus couldn’t hide a smile at Filius’ mild indignation but no one commented.

“Anyway, Severus, I hear you have a new admirer.” Filius said, biting back a laugh which threatened to escape his mouth. Remus’ eyes flickered towards Snape who looked thoroughly unimpressed with the way their conversation was turning.

“Really?” Remus asked curiously and Severus could only scowl at him. “Who in their right mind… I mean, who is it?” He corrected himself and next to him Minerva hid a smile.

“Go on, Severus.” Filius said, “Why don’t you tell him?”

“Sybil.” Severus muttered darkly in a voice barely audible but Remus heard it all the same and cracked up laughing.

“No…” Remus said once he had managed to contain himself and glanced down the table at Sybil who was staring at Severus and talking to Pomona Sprout about something, presumably Severus himself. Remus glanced back at his unfortunate acquaintance and had to fight hard not to burst out laughing again. His expression was so dark and so utterly irritated that it was a lot of work. Eventually he decided that the best course of action was to stay silent and he took a packet of salt and vinegar flavoured crisps from the bowl infront of him. Crisps had recently become a new phenomenon in the school, eaten widely by everyone until the Slytherins discovered it was a muggle snack – they soon stopped eating them after that.

“It does explain her more frequent presence in the staff room and at meal times now, doesn’t it?” Minerva said as she bit into a sandwich.

“I need someway to make her hate me,” Severus said desperately to the three people with him, although he was certain that he would receive no help from them.

“Allow me to bite you at the next full moon; that tends to incite hatred.” Remus said mildly.

“Bit drastic.” Severus said.

“You could always try to poison her.” Filius suggested, “After you did that to Sabina after a few days of meeting her that put her off you for life.”

“True, but she also tends to hex me in corridors now.” Severus said, glancing down the table at Sabina Sinistra who glared at him in return.

“Like Sybil has the competence to so much as remember a hex,” Minerva said coolly.

“She could start throwing crystal balls at you though.” Remus said.

“Or predict your death incessantly,” Filius said, “You’d be just like Harry then.”

“The two of you could team up against her.” Minerva said it and even before the words left her lips she was laughing at the very idea of Severus and Harry teaming up for anything.

“Why don’t you tell her that she’s a stupid old cow and that she should go throw herself off the astronomy tower?” Remus asked him.

“I’ve tried that one,” Severus said and sighed, “She said it was just the potion fumes talking.” At this the other three members of staff with him snorted into their food and tried not to choke on whatever they had been eating.

“You could always try and make her attracted to someone else.” Filius suggested.

“Who am I going to make her like?!” Severus asked incredulously.

“Filius, Albus, Hagrid, Argus, Remus…?” Minerva said as she took a sip of her coffee.

“Dumbledore’s old enough to be her grandfather!” Remus said, and a fleeting glance at Dumbledore told him that he too was listening on their conversation and silently laughing about it.

“Hagrid and Filius are also old enough to be her father and besides, Hagrid’s a half giant.” Severus said, keeping his voice down so that Hagrid didn’t hear him.

“So what if he is?” Minerva asked him.

“I couldn’t care less personally, but she hates giants.” Severus said, “You know what she was like towards him after that Daily Prophet article about Hagrid during the Triwizard Tournament…” He said and Remus fought back mental images of Harry being tortured whilst he wondered when the boy would allow him to see some more of his past.

“There’s no chance that she’s going to fall for Argus.” Filius said, “Didn’t he actually throw Mrs Norris at her during the exams last year?” A smirk touched the lips of all the teachers as they tried to envision Argus throwing his beloved cat in Sybil’s face.

“And she keeps away from me because of the werewolf thing.” Remus said, “See, it would put her off you.”

“Great.” Snape muttered, “So I’m back to poisoning or becoming a werewolf.”

“Or you could just put up with her of course…” Remus suggested as Sybil made her way towards him. Severus raised an eyebrow at him before she reached them.

“Good afternoon, Severus.” Sybil said in as mystical a voice as she could muster whilst she ate a packet of prawn cocktail flavoured crisps. “I trust you are well?”

“Erm yes, very much so.” Severus said, trying not to snap at her or smash her face in with the rock cakes on the table (the recipe for which the house elves apparently got from Hagrid). “Have you spoken to Argus recently? I hear he’s very enthralling company.” He tried desperately to keep the sarcasm from his voice and somehow he managed to sound half sincere. Next to him Remus was biting his lip hard to prevent himself from bursting out laughing and focusing his mind on Harry and his first year (since it was the least worrying of all his years so far) whilst Filius kept his gaze from Sybil and Severus whilst he desperately tried to think of getting Neville Longbottom through a NEWT in charms – something which was going to prove extremely difficult and about as amusing as being in Severus’ current position in fact. Minerva sat there silently, digging her nails into her palms and trying to think of teaching another set of first years to turn matches into needles and all the damned homework she had to mark, not Severus actually trying to be nice to Sybil Trelawney whilst she made vague attempts at sounding seductive.

“I haven’t, but I’m sure you’re far more interesting…” She said in a mystical voice similar to that she had used before but this time it was not restricted by her crisps. Desperately the other three staff focussed on their thoughts and self inflicted pain to prevent themselves from becoming hysterical.

Harry running through the obstacles and fighting Quirrell…

Neville Longbottom trying to pass a NEWT in charms…

Homework and stupid first years, homework and stupid first years…

“Do you know what, Sybil…?” Severus tried, changing tack completely, “I really should make you one of my new potions I’ve developed; it assists the Inner Eye.”

“Really? That would be wonderful, Severus!” Sybil said to him before cheerily walking off before remembering that she was the ever mysterious Divination teacher and started to move in a more bizarre manner.

“Interesting change of tactics.” Remus said to him and smirked as Filius handed him a leaflet he had just charmed, the front cover of which read ‘So You’re Going To Poison Your Colleague.

“Back to attempted murder then.” Minerva said as she finished her coffee.

“I’m not going to kill her…” Severus said, “Just injure her a bit.”

“Oh, well that’s alright then.” Filius said, “Glad we got that sorted out.”

“You could always just act like your usual self and see how long it takes her to go off you.” Remus said as he idly twirled his wand between his slender fingers, a habit he had been finding himself doing more and more since meeting Harry.

“We could put bets on it then.” Minerva said. “I reckon a week.”

“No, I’d say closer to a month.” Remus said but shut up when he saw Severus’ stony expression.

“Do you think I can get to the dungeons without her finding me?” Severus asked them anxiously whilst he craned his neck to try and see out of the large doors into the entrance hall beyond.

“Doubt it; she’ll be waiting for you somewhere.” Filius said.

“And it’s not like you never go to the dungeons.” Remus said, “Go somewhere unexpected.” And the childish voice inside him that could not let go of his adolescent enmity with the man added Like the shower.

“Like her tower.” Minerva said.

“And if she finds me in her room?” Severus asked, wondering what the hell Trelawney would do upon discovering him in her classroom.

“Then throw yourself out of the window.” Remus replied.

“Hex her.” Filius suggested.

“Tell her you’re having a vision and then knock her out with one of her crystal balls.” Minerva said.

“Well as useful as this conversation’s been, I have a poison to concoct.” Severus said, rising from the table and walking cautiously towards the entrance hall. So far so good… He carefully stepped into the entrance quickly to attempt to reach the archway which lead down to the dungeons but out of nowhere that blasted woman appeared before him.

“Severus, what a coincidence!” Sybil said but Severus made no response except to stare behind her looking horrified.

“Is that the grim?!” He asked sounding horrified. She span round and seeing his chance, Severus span on his heel and ran like he had never ran before as he leapt down the stairs in the dungeons two at a time, almost falling on numerous occasions in an attempt to reach safety from that maniac. After taking about a dozen passageways or so he stopped, gasping for breath. Sybil would never find him in the labyrinthine dungeons, especially since he had taken the most complex route he could possibly take through it all.

After a minute of gasping against the cool stone walls Severus regained his composure and made his way to his office through the back entrance and began work on a poison.


***


Remus watched as his last class of the day walked out of the room. They had been first years and had therefore reacted to his lycanthropy in one of two ways: the ones from muggle backgrounds had been interested and rather intrigued by his ailment, whilst those from Wizarding origins stared at him in horror although that soon disappeared after around ten minutes of his talking and saw the calm quiet man that he was.

He was glad to see them leave though. He walked back to his desk and quickly waved his wand, causing the papers that he needed to fly into his briefcase in a neat and orderly pile before he snapped it shut. He hoped that he would return to his office to find Harry already there, Merlin knew he’d had a long day and all he wanted right now was to curl up with Harry and listen to him talk about his day whilst he drank some hot chocolate – a muggle drink which Harry had introduced him to and was even nicer than cocoa.

Remus moved to leave his classroom with his briefcase in hand but as he reached the door he thought better of it and decided to leave his briefcase there instead. He didn’t want to work on his first day back and he quickly banished his briefcase back to his desk as he left the room and locked it securely behind him.

He reached out to his office door and found that it was open. He entered it and silently shut the door behind him, not disturbing the raven haired boy sat on the windowsill with his back to him. He couldn’t help the grin that spread across his face as he walked over to him and pressed his hands to his shoulders, causing the light frame beneath them to jump and turn around to look at him, a familar smile curving his lips. He sat down on the windowsill opposite Harry and glanced out of the window, staring out at all the people out there enjoying the last of the summer weather.

“So tell me about your day,” Remus said and Harry smiled and began to tell him about his classes which he had had and Remus leant his head back so that it was resting in the corner between the wall and the window pane. He listened to him talk with a slight smile on his face as he listened to the nice normal day which his godson had had and the minor events which had occurred in it. He grinned at hearing Malfoy getting his head lodged in a cauldron and Snape letting him stagger around the room.

“—you should have seen it though! It was hilarious! Malfoy was just staggering around with this cauldron on his head and Snape didn’t even care!” Harry said to him, “Apparently all the Slytherins have rejected him though, you know because he was exposed as a spy for the Order.”

“I’m not surprised, that’s what the Slytherins are like.” Remus responded as he watched Hagrid walking Fang across the grounds, “Speaking of Snape—” A grin touched his face as he repeated to Harry what he had found out about Sybil’s newly found fondness for the icy potions master.

“You can’t be serious!” Harry laughed, searching Remus’ face for any sign of insincerity but he found nothing but amusement. “Oh my god, you’re serious!” He laughed until he almost fell of the windowsill and Remus used magic to prevent him from falling.

Harry was leaning against a magical field which was stopping him from falling sideways onto the floor. He glanced at Remus and then saw that his wand was in his pocket. His mouth opened in shock and wondered how on earth Remus was doing this… His guardian smiled as he moved his magical force field so that it pushed Harry back onto the windowsill with him.

“How the hell did you do that?!” Harry asked him, suddenly intrigued. Remus smiled and got up from the windowsill, walking away from him across his office but there was no way that Harry was taking silence as an answer as he leapt up after him and followed him as he walked over to a bookcase and reached up to a book.

As Remus stroked a finger down the spine of ‘An Anthology of Accidental Adjustments to Ants’ Harry stood behind him scowling slightly at his godfather who had still not answered his question. Remus turned to Harry and reached out to him with his arm that was not attached to the finger on ”An Anthology of Accidental Adjustments to Ants” and pulled him close to him. Harry was confused until the whole bookcase and a small semicircle of flooring beneath them rotated round and Harry stared out into a luxurious chamber on the other side.

“This is unreal!” Harry said.

“There have to be some benefits to teaching, Harry.” Remus grinned as the boy looked around his living quarters which he had to admit, were pretty impressive. The room was decorated in various blues and Harry walked over to the large window on one side of the room to see a picturesque view which managed to capture the lake, along with Hagrid’s hut, some of the castle and the Quidditch pitch, all in one. Turning around he saw a small sofa opposite a roaring fire in the grate of a huge fireplace. On another wall there were just books, filling up a large bookcase and Harry knew that these were Remus’ own and close by was a large desk, filled with paper work, spare parchment, quills, ink and reminders to do things like eat and mark homework. On the wall upon which the fireplace was situated was a door and Harry walked towards it, glancing to Remus to see whether or not he would stop him from entering. His guardian had been following him with his eyes and followed Harry through the door into a small corridor on the other side with three doors.

“Bathroom, my room and guest quarters.” Remus explained when Harry looked at him inquisitively. Harry walked to the bathroom and opened the door, gasping at what he saw on the other side. It was even more grand than the prefects’ bathroom. The flooring and the walls were all white and there was a toilet and a sink with a large mirror over the top which asked Harry whether or not he had eaten when he walked past. The shower was large enough to accommodate three people easily and the bath was huge. It was a small swimming pool and there was a Jacuzzi area in one corner of it whilst at another side there were steps so that people could get out since the water was so deep.

“I cannot believe this.” Harry muttered as he passed through the door on the other side of the room and walked into Remus’ bedroom. The room was neater than the one he had kept at Grimmauld Place and a set of robes hung on a hanger on the handle of a large mahogany wardrobe which took up half a wall. Harry wondered why since the people who stayed here were teachers – they never seemed to have many sets of different robes. There was another large window on the wall which was partly covered by heavy red velvet curtains. Harry glanced through this window to see a view of the courtyard in the castle and of the beautiful fountain in it with four trees at each of the courtyards corners; their leaves still a healthy green. He turned and looked around the deep red room and looked at the large mahogany bed which seemed far too big for Remus. Soft drapes hung down the sides and over the top of the bed and Harry thought that the bed looked as if it was so soft anyone who slept on it would simply sink into it.

Harry shook his head in disbelief and walked over to the door on the far side of the room which he presumed would lead into the guest room, almost walking into the large chest of drawers on the way. He only glanced into the guest room for a moment but it was long enough to see that the room was similarly decorated to Remus’ although not quite as big.

“This is incredibly unfair.” Harry said as he walked back through Remus’ room and back to the living room hidden behind the bookcase, his guardian following him all the way.

“It is ridiculously extravagant, I have to admit.” Remus said. “You should see Minerva’s living room though, now that’s impressive.”

“Why, what’s hers like?” Harry asked as he sat down on the sofa infront of the fire and smiled as Remus conjured a steaming mug of hot chocolate into his hands and sat down next to him. He slipped off his shoes and curled his legs up at the side of him.

“It started off the same as all the staff’s do – just the furniture but she started transfiguring things in it and she’s got a quill that she’s transfigured into something which acts like a butler and a small garden area with columns in it and a balcony with a view over the lake and the grounds, but she got Filius to charm the view for her though.” Remus replied and Harry looked astounded at the extravagant ways in which transfiguration and charms could be used. He would dearly have loved to see McGonagall’s rooms for himself, and those of Filius, Snape and Dumbledore come to think of it, but he didn’t think that very likely. After all, he doubted that they would just give him entrance into their living quarters like that.

“I wonder what Dumbledore’s rooms are like.” Harry pondered, “After all, his specialism’s Transfiguration, isn’t it.”

“Is it?” Remus asked him curiously.

“Yeah, he taught Transfiguration when Dippet was still the headmaster, didn’t you know? But that was like fifty years ago…” Harry explained and Remus looked at him with interest before he found himself remembering part of Harry’s past with Tom Riddle explaining how he had tricked everyone into believing Hagrid had opened the Chamber of Secrets.

”Only Dumbledore the old Transfiguration teacher didn’t believe me” He heard the sixteen year old version of Voldemort saying and he wondered how he had overlooked that before. He supposed that it just hadn’t really sunk into his consciousness whilst he was in such shock about the Chamber.

“Remus?” Harry asked him and Remus blinked as he looked at Harry sat before him, looking slightly worried. He tried to smile to show that he was alright, though he doubted that would fool the boy for even an instant.

“When will you show me your fifth year?” Remus asked Harry quietly who held him in his steady gaze.

“Are you sure you want to see it?” Harry asked, “I mean it has Sirius in it and everything…” He spoke the name of his previous godfather softly although he no longer felt the twinge of guilt when he said it, only sadness at his loss. He supposed that he was finally coming to terms with the idea that Sirius wasn’t coming back. He, Harry, would grow old and years and years would pass by and Sirius would still remain gone, if he ever defeated Voldemort he would grow old and have a family and be with Remus and slowly his memory would fade as he got more and more used to his never being there. He bit his lip slightly at the thought and yet he was not suddenly filled with guilt but he just felt the same sad ache he had every time that he thought of him and his smiling, laughing face appeared before him. He no longer saw the way he was when he fell through the veil but he saw him as he had been the Christmas before, happy and laughing that bark-like laugh of his and Harry felt a sad smile touch his lips.

He looked round him as he re-entered the real world and saw that Remus was now a lot closer than he had been before and he moved so that he could lean against his guardian. Remus smiled as he put his mug of hot chocolate down on the coffee table next to Remus’ and wrapped both his arms around the boy who leant back against him. He hated to admit it but his own grief about his best friend was disappearing in the same way that Harry’s was. He still ached for his presence every now and again and when someone mentioned his name he felt a pang of loss and sadness but it was sadness he could deal with. He remembered the good times that they had had together in their youth and more and more frequently he found himself waking up with a soft smile on his face in the morning and lingering memories of dreams of Lily, James, Sirius and baby Harry all running through his mind. It did make him sad and regretful and sometimes even angry when he thought of his fallen friends, but he had Harry to cling onto in life, and although he wished that he could return his friends to their lives, he knew that nothing was more important than looking after their son and godson now that they no longer could.

“So do you want to see my fifth year?” Harry asked Remus after a few minutes of their being close together, curled up on the sofa with the warmth of the fire washing over them.

“Yes.” Remus replied softly.

“I suppose I’ll be summoning my pensieve then.” Harry said and reached out for his wand.

“Allow me.” Remus said and although his wand lay on the table, Remus murmured something softly and a second later his own pensieve came flying through the doorway and landed on the table infront of them. Once again, Harry’s mind was back on the magic his guardian had performed without using his wand now that it was no longer occupied with the amazing rooms which Remus stayed in.

Harry pulled the pensieve onto his lap and using his wand he put memory after memory into the bowl. Remus watched as it became rather full and eventually Harry stopped when the memories were brimming at the edge of the bowl, and it appeared that another one would cause it to overflow completely. Harry glanced at him and held out his hand.

“Ready?” He asked.

“Ready.” Remus nodded and took his hand. A second later he felt an odd sensation as he and Harry were both sucked inside the pensieve to see Harry’s fifth year.

A/N: That looks like it could be it for a good few days now since I need to finish the next chapter before I can post again, because this was the last pre written chapter. It's a nightmare writing the past ones since I have to keep checking things along with the book and when I do I always find things I want to include. Anyway, my apologies since the next chapter is likely to be the longest yet and could take until Sunday to get posted. I'll do my best to get more written tonight though and I eagerly await your responses to this chapter, as always :o)

Chapter 25: The Last Of The Past
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Remus blinked and saw that he was in the middle of Surrey and was pretty sure that he was only a few streets away from Harry’s home. Next to him he could see the sixth year Harry standing with his arms folded watching himself a year ago winding up Dudley as they walked along the street and then cut down an alleyway to get back to Privet Drive. Remus had a strange sinking feeling as he knew that something was probably about to go wrong, seeing as otherwise Harry would not have shown him this memory.

Suddenly everything went black.

Remus spun round in shock and stared through the pitch darkness, looking for any sign of anything but he could see nothing although he could hear Dudley frantically demanding for Harry to stop whatever he had done, although he knew he did not have the power to turn off the stars. After a few moments of staring around him in the darkness a familiar hand found his own and he relaxed with the reminder that Harry was there with him as suddenly a rush of cold ran over him and he realised with a slight groan that Dementors were close and they were coming towards them. He watched as Harry drove them off with a struggle and from nowhere Arabella appeared and Harry looked stunned to see her and even more so when she proclaimed that she would kill Mundungus Fletcher.

He watched the scenes which followed wherein Mundungus apparated infront of Arabella and Harry where the former screamed at Mundungus until Harry was returned to his home with Dudley. Harry then received owls from Arthur and the Ministry of Magic who expelled him. Then after a brief discussion with Harry’s horrid relatives he was unexpelled by letter but still required to attend the hearing for his improper use of magic.

Remember my last Petunia. Dumbledore’s voice echoed through the kitchen from the Howler that had been sent to them. Remus was incredulous after seeing Petunia demonstrate her vague knowledge of the Wizarding world by explaining that she knew of the Dementors and looking absolutely terrified at the idea of Voldemort being back once more.

He couldn’t help but smile when he saw himself and the Order appear in his kitchen. He had to admit that he looked utterly exhausted and Harry looked rather unsure of himself in their presence. He realised how strange it would have been for him to be in the presence of only himself who he actually knew. Mad Eye had attempted to kill him upon their last meeting, well his impersonator had, and he had never met the others in his life.

“How do you know Diggle?” Remus asked Harry with interest, “I never did ask him.”

“He bowed to me once in a shop when I was younger and then I met him again in the Leaky Cauldron in my first year.” Harry smiled slightly at Remus who found the idea of Dedalus bowing to a young Harry in the shop highly amusing.

After they flew to Grimmauld Place, things sped up a bit and Remus watched Harry having a shouting fit at around twice the speed he had done when he arrived there, making him sound rather high and squeaky.

Time passed on quickly and Remus found himself staring round the large courtroom in the Ministry of Magic at the full Wizengamot who had assembled there to try Harry for underage magic. He surveyed the room and noticed the way in which Harry had tried to catch Dumbledore’s eye, who was in turn ignoring him completely. He glanced up to Fudge and the toad-like woman next to her and wondered briefly where he knew her from before the hearing finally ended and Harry was pardoned. It was evident even to him the state of nervousness that Harry had been in and the shaky sense of relief that he felt after the hearing had ended.

Time flittered past again as a few more days past in the headquarters of the Order of the Phoenix and Remus found himself at the celebratory party for Ron and Hermione who had become prefects and he listened the brief conversation between himself and Kingsley.

“…why Dumbledore didn’t make Potter a prefect?” Said Kingsley.

“He’ll have had his reasons.” Remus heard himself say in response as the memory of Harry moved away from them and towards Mad Eye who showed him a picture of the original Order. He felt a pang of guilt and wondered whether he should have made the effort to become closer to Harry before Sirius had died, instead of waiting until he was desperate for help once he had.

He watched Harry get onto the train and Sirius running along side it with sadness filling his heart, next to him Harry was still holding onto his hand and he gave it a gentle squeeze. Soon he found himself biting back laughter as Neville prodded his Mimbulus mimbletonia with his wand and they were all squirted with stinksap before Cho Chang walked into their compartment. From the look on Harry’s face at being seen covered in the foul smelling green slime and being sat with Neville Longbottom and Luna Lovegood he could tell instantly his feelings for that particular girl.

He watched Ron and Hermione’s confusion as Harry stared at the thestrals for the first time and asked them what they were but they only stared at him in blank confusion as Harry also became more confused.

In the great hall Remus stared up at Umbridge in horror and opened his mouth to speak but the memory of Harry beat him to it.

“It’s that Umbridge woman!” Harry hissed before following it up with, “She was at my hearing, she works for Fudge!”

“Why do I get the feeling that she’s not going to like you?” Remus asked Harry who grinned up at him. Although he had most certainly gained some height on the boy from one year ago, he was still a good half a foot shorter than Remus.

“Did she just interrupt Dumbledore?!” He asked, shocked when the short, ugly woman donned in pink stood up and began a long speech, making it clear that she was from the Ministry.

“Well what does that mean?” Ron asked Hermione impatiently after her speech had finished and Hermione was irritated with him and Harry for not listening to her.

“I’ll tell you what it means.” Said Hermione though gritted teeth, “It means the Ministry’s interfering at Hogwarts.” Remus shot another scowl up at Umbridge before the memory faded and he found himself watching Seamus arguing with Harry in the boys dormitory, apparently he and his mother didn’t believe a single word that he or Dumbledore had said and Harry glanced up to see his guardian narrow his eyes at Seamus.

Before Remus had the chance to comment the scene had quickly changed and he found himself stood at the side of his classroom on the second floor, Professor Umbridge at the front of the room. The inhabitants of the room were all unusually silent and were either reading or watching Hermione who was sat with her hand in the air. Eventually Hermione was responded to by the most awful of teachers and was rebuked for asking about the course aims and the lack of mention of actually using any defensive spells.

“I can’t imagine any situation arising in my classroom that would require you to use a defensive spell, Miss Granger. You surely aren’t expecting to be attacked during class?” Umbridge said calmly. Remus stared at her, his mouth hanging open as she went through the students who raised their hands (and some who did not) arguing with them in her sickly sweet way which made him want to hex her repeatedly.

“—but you have been exposed to some very irresponsible wizards in this class, very irresponsible indeed – not to mention,” She gave a nasty little laugh, “extremely dangerous half-breeds.”

“If you mean Professor Lupin,” Piped up Dean angrily, “he was the best we ever –”

Hand, Mr Thomas!” Umbridge barked and Remus stared at her, cold fury coursing through him. He could not imagine how frustrating it must have been for Harry and the other students to have to endure that woman for an entire year… He had barely seen the memory of her for five minutes and already his blood was boiling.

“Considering the way she acted, perhaps you should have kept quiet, Harry.” Remus said to the boy besides him who was watching himself arguing with Umbridge one year ago.

“You’re probably right, a bit late now though.” Harry said to him as he watched himself infuriate his teacher more.

“Mr-Potter-you-have-already-lost-your-ten-house-points-do-not-make-matters-worse-for-yourself.” She said in one breath without looking at him, “As I was saying, you have been informed that a certain Dark wizard is at large once again. This is a lie.” She said slowly and deliberately as Harry grew more angry with her with each syllable which left her mouth.

“It is NOT a lie!” Harry yelled at her, “I saw him, I fought him!”

“Detention, Mr Potter!” Said Professor Umbridge triumphantly. “Tomorrow evening. Five o’clock. My office. I repeat, this is a lie.

“You ought to start listening to Hermione,” Remus said as he watched Harry stand up in his seat whilst Hermione begged him to sit back down again.

“So, according to you, Cedric Diggory dropped dead of his own accord, did he?” Harry asked her, his voice shaking with rage.

“Cedric Diggory’s death was a tragic accident.”

“It was murder,” Said Harry. “Voldemort killed him and you know it.” Remus could only stare at the woman feeling as if he could have torn her to pieces for daring to throw Harry out of the room for telling the truth. He smiled though, when the boy wasn’t looking. It pleased him that he had stuck up for what was right, even if he had attained a detention in the process. Not that he was ever going to tell him how he felt; although he had been a trouble causer himself when he was at school, he did not want Harry going down that route and he thought better than to promote that kind of behaviour in the child he looked after.

Harry walked down the corridor to see Minerva with the note from the most awful teacher Remus had ever encountered in his hand, scowling darkly all the way. He entered her office.

“Is it true that you shouted at Professor Umbridge?”

“Yes.”

“You called her a liar?”

“Yes.”

“You told her He Who Must Not Be Named is back?”

“Yes.”

“Have a biscuit, Potter.”

Remus laughed aloud at her response. He could not believe that Harry was getting away with having an argument with the woman from the Ministry and Minerva wasn’t actually going to do anything but give him a biscuit for it! He still left with detention though, despite his being seen in a much better light in McGonagall’s eyes.

Time flittered past again and Remus found himself walking alongside Harry, Ron and Hermione as they made their way up to the castle after an exemplary Care of Magical Creatures lesson with Professor Grubbly-Plank as Hagrid was still missing.

“I want you to know, Potter.” Ernie Macmillan said in a loud voice, “That it’s not only weirdos who support you. I personally believe you one hundred percent. My family have always stood firm behind Dumbledore, and so do I.”

“Er – thanks very much, Ernie.” Harry said, taken aback but pleased none the less.

At five o’clock that evening Remus was sat next to the memory of Harry doing his detention in Umbridge’s office whilst the other Harry had a wander around the room, occasionally glancing out of the window in boredom.

Remus watched, a slight scowl on his young face as Umbridge handed Harry a quill. It was a long thin black quill with an unusually sharp point. Remus was sure that he had seen a quill just like that somewhere before but he wasn’t sure where.

“I want you to write, I must not tell lies.” She told Harry softly, “As long as it takes to sink in.

Harry touched the quill to the parchment and began to write, only letting out a slight gasp the first time that the shining red ink touched the page. Remus’ eyes opened in horror and fury as he saw what was happening and realised instantly that it wasn’t ink that Harry was writing in as the cuts on his hand slowly became more pronounced.

He span around to see Harry watching him with a slight smile on his face as if to say ‘that’s my life, there’s nothing you can do about it’. Remus shook his head as he looked back at Harry who was slowly writing in his own blood. Remus wondered briefly if Harry’s hand had scarred from it before the memories sped up again. He was forced to observe Harry’s hand being cut open for the rest of the week until he watched Harry get up from her office for the final time, blood running down his wrist and pounding in Remus’ own ears as his levels of anger rose. He felt Harry move closer besides him to calm him and then they were in the common room and Ron was celebrating – he was the new Keeper. Harry smiled and congratulated him, glancing down at his hand slightly as he did so.

Remus caught hold of Harry’s hand next to him and pulled it into the light. Sure enough the words were still etched there faintly into his hand. I must not tell lies.

Remus stared at Harry with an outraged expression on his face until things changed again and Harry groaned slightly as he realised that he was in the owlery with Cho. Remus smiled slightly as Harry managed to have a whole conversation with the girl without wanting to curl up and die at the end of it.

It all went from his mind when he saw Sirius’ head in the fire in the common room late one night with Harry, Ron and Hermione sat around him talking quietly. They mentioned Hagrid and there was quite a lot of talk about Umbridge and even Remus’ name got dragged into the conversation for a moment.

“So when’s your next Hogsmeade weekend, anyway? I was thinking, we got away with the dog disguise at the station, didn’t we? I thought I could –” Sirius said before Harry and Hermione cut him off.

“NO!” They both said together.

“Sirius, didn’t you see the Daily Prophet?” Hermione asked him anxiously.

“Oh that,” Sirius said, grinning, “They’re always guessing where I am, they haven’t really got a clue —” Harry argued with him for a moment, almost begging him not to come to Hogsmeade for the weekend.

“All right, all right. I’ve got the point.” Said Sirius, and Remus noticed that he looked most displeased. “Just an idea, thought you might like to get together.”

“I would, I just don’t want you chucked back in Azkaban.” Said Harry. There was a pause when Sirius looked out of the fire at Harry, a crease between his sunken eyes.

“You’re less like your father than I thought.” He said finally, a definite coolness in his voice, “The risk would have been what made it fun for James.”

“Look –”

“Well, I’d better get going, I can hear Kreacher coming down the stairs, “ Said Sirius although Remus was certain that he was lying and that Harry knew it, “I’ll write to tell you a time I can make it back into the fire, then, shall I? If you can stand to risk it?” There was a slight pop and Sirius was gone. Remus felt a sharp hurt inside him.

Oh, Sirius. How could you say something so cruel to Harry? He wondered as he stared at the place that Sirius had been. He glanced at Harry who was still sat by the fire and saw the hurt that was in his eyes. He glanced at the real Harry sat next to him and searched his expression quickly to see anything but he masked it automatically and not even Remus’ piercing gaze could discern any emotion from his steady gaze.

“HIGH INQUISITOR?!” Remus cried, once the memories had moved on. “She can’t do that!”

“She bloody well did!” Harry muttered.

“Don’t use that kind of language in my presence, Harry.” Remus said coolly as he scowled down at the picture of Umbridge on the Prophet, his hand forgotten.


By the time Harry had made it into his second lesson of defence against the dark arts, Remus was close to lashing out at the memory of the woman, although he knew it would do no good.

“Your previous teachers in this subject may have allowed you more licence but none of them – with the exception of Professor Quirrell, who did at least appear to have restricted himself to age-appropriate subjects – would have passed a Ministry inspection –”

“Yeah, Quirrell was a great teacher,” Said Harry loudly and already Remus was ready for his punishment, “There was just the minor drawback of him having Lord Voldemort sticking out of the back of his head.” There was silence filling the room, during which Remus was desperate to laugh although he had no idea as to why.

“I think another week’s detentions would do you some good, Mr Potter.” Said Umbridge sleekly. Remus gave him a stony look and Harry grinned sheepishly.

Remus had not had much occasion upon which to laugh when Umbridge was present but he did laugh, and for quite some time as well, when she attempted to interrogate Minerva, who was her usual cool self. She even smiled slightly at Harry who grinned at her as he left the room afterwards.

Next she was in their Care of Magical Creatures class.

“Now, I hear there have been injuries in this class?” She said to the Slytherins, trying to cause trouble after Professor Grubbly-Plank had said she was very pleased with the support she had received from Dumbledore and the other staff.

“That was me.” Malfoy said, “I was slashed by a Hippogriff.”

“Only because he was too stupid to listen to what Hagrid told him to do.” Harry snapped. Ron and Hermione groaned as Umbridge gave him another day of detention.

“What the hell is wrong with you?!” Remus demanded of him as Harry made a vague attempt at looking nonchalant, “Why can you never keep quiet?!”

“I have no idea…” Harry admitted. The scene changed and Harry walked into the common room with a severely bloody hand after another detention but Remus had lost the irritation which he had had with Harry after seeing the state that he was in although he was slightly annoyed that he had not said anything to anyone about it.

“I’m talking about you teaching us Defence Against the Dark Arts.” Hermione said to Harry who stared at her in disbelief after a few minutes of conversation between them and Ron. Harry turned to Ron to share the exasperated look that they shared so often but Ron seemed irritatingly enthusiastic about the whole idea. After this, Harry had trailed on for some time about all the times he had faced Voldemort and how it was just luck he had survived all those times.

Eventually Harry nodded to his friends, agreeing to consider teaching them but he made no promises as the three of them went to bed. Remus watched him with a thoughtful expression on his face but didn’t comment, wondering what Harry was like as a teacher. He knew he was good – everyone he had taught had received an O in their OWL but he wanted to see him teach, not just hear about it.

He was sat in the Hogs Head a few weeks later, ready to see just who the D.A. compromised of, although he had a vague idea as to quite a few of the students, he wasn’t exactly certain.

“So who did you say is supposed to be meeting us?” Harry asked Hermione.

“Just a couple of people.” Hermione replied and Remus raised an eyebrow.

“I thought there were about thirty of you in the D.A.?” He said.

“Around twenty five, I think.” Harry corrected, “but yeah, that’s about right.” Before muttering darkly under his breath, “A couple of people… ha.”

Remus laughed as the door to the Hog’s Head opened and in walked Neville, Dean, Lavender, Parvati, Padma, Cho, a friend of Cho’s whose name Remus had never quite managed to remember properly, Luna, Katie Bell, Alicia Spinnet, Angelina Johnson, the Creevey brothers, Ernie Macmillan, Justin Finch-Fletchley, Hannah Abbot, Susan Bones, Anthony Goldstein, Michael Corner, Terry Boot, Ginny, Zacharias Smith, Fred, George and finally, Lee Jordan.

“But the Hog’s Head? How was that a good idea?!” Remus asked but Harry only shrugged in reply as Remus then became absorbed in listening to their conversation during which Zacharias argued with Harry and everyone managed to list the rather amazing things Harry had done, whilst Harry himself stayed modest, insisting that he had help with almost all of it. Eventually they had managed to agree that they wanted to learn defence from Harry, although that was pretty much all they managed to decide. They all signed their names onto the enchanted parchment though, so that if anyone told Umbridge what was happening then they would know about it. Soon everyone had cleared out, leaving them walking through Hogsmeade, having a nice normal weekend.

“I cannot believe the nerve of that woman!” Remus cried indignantly as he read through educational decree number twenty four, which clearly dictated that no clubs were to be allowed without the permission of the High Inquisitor herself.

“Zacharias Smith!” Said Ron at once, punching a fist into his hand when the question of who had told Umbridge arose. “Or – I thought that Michael Corner had a really shifty look too –”

“Isn’t he the one that was going out with Ginny?” Remus asked Harry as he tried to remember just who Hermione had said Ginny was currently going out with in Hogsmeade. Remus snorted with laugher as a stunned Ron went flying down the stairs to the girls’ dormitories a moment later as it became something like a stone helter-skelter.

Time certainly did appear to move quickly and although Remus would have liked to ask Harry to slow some of it down, he knew that by doing so he would end up seeing things that he really didn’t need to see. That wasn’t to say that he didn’t like watching the random parts of his life where nothing much ever seemed to happen and observing a couple of lessons now and again always cheered him up slightly. It was for Harry’s unwillingness to show him much more than was necessary that he sped time up and soon Remus watched the end of another conversation with Sirius before his head disappeared back into the fire and Umbridge’s hand groped for his head.

“Who the hell does she think she is?” Remus demanded of no one in particular as Harry, Ron and Hermione all ran for the dormitories, Umbridge still searching for Sirius.

Things did not appear to get much better for Harry as time moved on. Although Quidditch was allowed once again, Angelina had them all practicing out in the most violent of storms and Harry’s homework, which had once let up slightly was more burdensome than ever. It was for this reason that Remus stood with his hand resting lightly on the shoulder of his godson as the boy’s memory was asleep, his head buried in a potions book until Dobby appeared to wake him and return Hedwig, who had been injured when Umbridge tried to intercept his mail.

“Wait a moment – there is something you can do for me, Dobby.” Said Harry, slowly. “I need to find a place where twenty eight people can practice Defence Against the Dark Arts without being discovered by any of the teachers. Especially Professor Umbridge.” Harry said.

“Dobby knows the perfect place, Sir!” The gleeful house-elf exclaimed.

A few days later Remus was stood in what Dobby had called ‘the perfect place’ and indeed it did appear to be flawless. The Room of Requirement was somewhere which the Marauders had never found and Remus knew instantly that both James and Sirius would have been both annoyed that they had never found it and proud that Harry had, that was, they would have been if they were both still alive.

It was an impressive room, but even more impressive was Harry’s teaching and the attitudes of his students towards him. They didn’t see him as a teacher as such, but somewhere between a friend, a teacher and an equal, although remembering their most recent defence against the dark arts lesson wherein no one had partnered with Harry, he couldn’t help but wonder just how much that had changed.

He had loved watching him teach, although he didn’t teach as such, he was just something like an authority figure to them who helped them when they needed it and watched when they didn’t. He felt a flicker of pride inside him for the unusual boy who he looked after, not that he needed looking after though. He was clearly a natural leader, and Remus wished that he could have been something like him when he was younger, but then again Harry wasn’t really young at all, was he? He didn’t act his age and he didn’t really seem to fit in with everyone else, although they accepted him. He bit his lip slightly as he became absorbed in the memories once more.

Things moved on, the year went quickly and Remus was pretty certain that he saw a flicker of Harry in the Room of Requirement with Cho and he glanced down at Harry who was determinedly not looking at him afterwards. He grinned at him but didn’t comment, although not too long afterwards his grin was wiped from his face as he watched Harry’s dream where he had been Nagini and had bitten Arthur Weasley.

He had been in and visited Arthur, Harry feeling awkward at all times until they were thrown out of the room so that Molly, Tonks and Mad Eye were left to talk to him.

“Dumbledore seemed worried about Harry when I spoke to him this morning.” Molly said quietly.

“Course he’s worried,” growled Moody. “The boy’s seeing things from inside You Know Who’s snake. Obviously, Potter doesn’t realise what that means, but if You Know Who’s possessing him –”

Harry glanced up to see Remus looking exasperated with Mad Eye who hadn’t so much as thought to glance behind him with his magical eye to see if they were listening and no one had even suspected that Fred and George would be listening through the door with their Extendable Ears. Remus shook his head slightly, he knew the way that things were going to turn out and he knew how awful things were likely to get soon.

They went back to Hogwarts and Remus noticed the odd expression on Harry’s face as he left the house, the memory of Harry that was. He looked at Sirius with something in his expression he had never seen before but he didn’t know what it was, or how he would ever manage to describe it. He watched him with interest in his eyes but soon they were back at Hogwarts and Remus watched Snape with an expression of absolute loathing on his face as he ‘taught’ Harry Occlumency.

“What’s up?” Harry asked his guardian who had been staring into space.

“Nothing, just trying to decide who’s the poorer teacher, Snape or Umbridge.” He said coolly, his bad mood from his memories getting the better of him. Harry flashed him a smile and Remus felt vaguely irritated with himself when he couldn’t help but smile back.

“That woman is barking.” Remus said plainly as he looked at the latest educational decree on the notice board.

Any student found in possession of the magazine
The Quibbler will be expelled.


“Which one?” Harry asked when they suddenly appeared in Divination to see Trelawney sobbing and explaining to the class that Harry was not going to die after all but was going to live to be a ripe old age, become Minister for Magic and have twelve children.

“Both.” Remus smiled at him.

“Trelawney’s the most mad,” Harry commented.

“Really?” Remus asked him, interested in hearing his argument for this since Umbridge was clearly without sanity.

“She fancies Snape, doesn’t she?” Harry laughed and Remus couldn’t help but laugh with him.

Once again his laughter was cut short as he was in Dumbledore’s office along with Umbridge, Fudge, Dumbledore, Minerva, Kingsley, Percy and an auror who Remus didn’t recognise.

“Well – it’s just that you appear to be labouring under the delusion that I am going to – what is the phrase? - come quietly. I am afraid that I am not going to come quietly at all, Cornelius. I have no intention of being sent to Azkaban. I could break out, of course – but what a waste of time, and frankly, I can think of a whole host of things I would rather being doing.”

Remus stared at Dumbledore. He had just admitted that he had wanted to start his own army of students against the Ministry and Harry had looked utterly horrified at the idea and had protested, although both Dumbledore and Fudge had told him to keep quiet on the matter.

There was a flash and Minerva moved quickly, grabbing Harry and Marietta and forcing them down onto the floor as the room filled with dust. Remus had stayed standing, Harry at his side although he had fought the impulse to throw himself onto the ground very hard as he did so. Everyone but Dumbledore, Minerva, Harry and Marietta had been stunned although the latter was completely stunned and could understand nothing of what happened around her. Remus watched as Dumbledore said a few parting words to Harry and Minerva before he grabbed hold of Fawkes’ tale and disappeared instantly, leaving everyone else in the room (but Harry and Minerva) searching for Dumbledore and eventually sprinting from the room.

Time passed and soon Remus was scowling darkly at a new notice in the common room which informed him that Umbridge had made herself the new headmistress.

“Well, now –” Said George.

“– What with Dumbledore gone –” Said Fred.

“– we reckon a bit of mayhem –” Said George.

“– is exactly what our dear new head deserves.” Said Fred, identical grins crossing the faces of the twins and Remus was quite intrigued as to what they were going to do and just how far they would go with their mayhem causing tactics.

After Harry was questioned by Umbridge using Snape’s fake Veritaserum, Remus grinned to see a spectacular fireworks show. He was sure that everyone else would have loved it too, had it not been in the middle of the school, causing huge dragons made entirely of red and gold sparks to fly up and down the corridors. Umbridge tried to stun one and it exploded. Laughing, Harry and Remus watched as Filch tried to put one out with his mop and in moments the whole room was ablaze.

“Oh, I hope she tries Vanishing them next… they multiply by ten every time you try.” George laughed from inside a hidden passageway hidden behind a tapestry when Harry found him and Fred in there together.

“Dear, dear.” Minerva said sardonically as one of the dragons soared around her classroom that afternoon. The fireworks had still not gone and none of the teachers seemed to want to get rid of them. “Miss Brown, would you mind running along to the Headmistress and informing her that we have an escaped firework in our classroom?” Remus grinned and shook his head at the woman who was clearly doing all that she could to irritate Umbridge, and she was quite right to do so.

“Thank you so much, Professor!” Said Filius later on, “I could have got rid of the sparklers myself, of course, but I wasn’t sure whether or not I had the authority.” Remus laughed aloud as Filius slammed the door in her face and returned to his students.

As always, the smile was vanished from his face soon afterwards when he was sucked into Harry’s dream and saw him inching closer and closer to the Department of Mysteries. Remus had to admit that if he had been in Harry’s shoes at the time, he didn’t think that he would have been able to resist the temptation to get into that mysterious door which haunted his sleep.

It seemed to be that for every enjoyable and amusing memory of Harry’s that Remus saw, there were around five awful ones to counter it. He soon forgot this thought as he found himself stood by the memory of Harry who plunged into Snape’s pensieve. As ingenious as you are, Harry, he thought, you can be incredibly nosy at times. He felt a familiar ache inside him as he looked around the exam room and saw James, Sirius and himself in moments.

They were talking about the exam and Remus walked along behind his sixteen year old self, with Harry and the memory of Harry close by.

“How thick are you, Wormtail?” said James impatiently, “You run round with a werewolf once a month –”

“Keep your voice down.” Remus implored to his friend and the elder of the two Lupins realised just how unsubtly they had conducted themselves – they had been in the middle of a crowd of people.

He sighed inwardly as he watched the way that James behaved towards Snape and the way that Sirius did nothing but encourage it. It was bullying, pure and simple – Snape was alone and nowhere near as skilled as James or Sirius, and yet the two of them ganged up on him, because they could. Watching himself sitting, pretending to read whilst that scenario went on he wished that he had done something, anything in an attempt to stop his friends behaving the way they had done. He glanced quickly at Harry to see how he felt upon seeing this particular memory again, but he had shielded his emotions and seemed merely bored with the scene being played out infront of him.

Remus bit his lip, knowing just how incredibly conceited and arrogant the scene had made his father and Sirius look and the problem was that they had been like that. Sure, they were young and they had both changed a hell of a lot, as if Lily would have married him if he hadn’t. But the point was that he had been like that, when he was Harry’s age as well. He could never imagine Harry doing something so incredibly cruel to someone else as to taunt them and turn them upside down infront of a crowd of onlookers and suddenly Remus found himself remembering the Quidditch Cup where the Death Eaters had been levitating the Muggles and turning them upside down in exactly the same way. He felt a chill pass through him and he blinked, suddenly aware that he was still inside Harry’s pensieve. He looked around to see Snape and Harry back in his office, the former fuming and looking ready to kill the latter, who ran from the room as fast as he could.

Later on he saw himself briefly in the kitchen of Grimmauld Place, speaking to Harry with Sirius about what he had seen in Snape’s pensieve. Harry made this part speed up.

“What’s the point in seeing something you’ve already lived through?” Harry asked Remus who shrugged and smiled slightly, although he was still a bit shaken by seeing the events which he hadn’t seen in twenty years flashing before his eyes, seeing Snape looking so hateful and James and Sirius so cold and cruel.

The thoughts vanished from his mind and his eyes widened as he saw Fred and George summon their brooms from Umbridge’s office and with style almost unrivalled they flew out of the school, leaving Umbridge screaming at Filch to stop them.

“A giant?!” Remus gasped as he stared at Grawp as he was informed that it was Hagrid’s half-brother. “Jesus, Harry… how have you never managed to tell anyone about this?” His mind went numb as he stared at the small giant infront of him, realising almost two minutes later that he had used a muggle expression, when he would normally have said ‘Merlin’. He glanced down at the boy beside him but he didn’t appear to have noticed anything different, although if he had he wasn’t saying anything about it. He knew that it must have been from Harry that he was saying such things, he also knew that he had been picking up other such strange mannerisms from him, like his tendency to twirl his wand and only the day before when becoming highly stressed marking homework by incompetent second years he had run his hand through his hair just as Harry did. He wondered briefly whether it was because just that subconscious reminder of Harry had the tendency to calm him slightly or because he was beginning to mimic the boy. Either way it was strange how Harry had affected him, and he couldn’t help but wonder whether or not he had affected Harry in a similar way.

He blinked and realised that he was watching Harry taking his OWLs and he realised that it was his practical in Defence Against the Dark Arts that he was watching. He felt a proud smile tug at the corners of his mouth as he watched Harry’s patronus canter the length of the hall before returning to him and dissolving into silver mist.

“Excellent!” Exclaimed Professor Tofty – the old examiner who had been testing him. Remus glanced down at Harry who looked up to him and met his gaze, grinning at him. Remus flashed him a smile in return and ruffled his hair.

As always, his smile vanished when he watched Minerva take four stunners to the chest whilst she tried to defence Hagrid from being arrested. Minerva was knocked out instantly and Hagrid, in his infuriated state started to take swipes at those who had stunned Minerva. Eventually he escaped and ran off into the forest and out of sight. Remus didn’t know what to make of this, but he knew that now there was no one from the Order left in the school except for Snape and he knew exactly what dire consequences that was going to have.

He watched in Harry’s mind as he saw the horrible images of Sirius being tortured which were being transferred straight from Voldemort’s mind into Harry’s. He realised when he saw it just how incredibly convincing it all was and how it seemed as if Voldemort had never planned for him to see this at all.

“Don’t you think you’ve got a bit of a – a - saving-people thing?” Hermione asked Harry who looked rather hurt and beside him, Remus noticed the expression on Harry’s face. It was clear that he was trying to mask his emotions from him but he was not doing it particularly well. It appeared that this was one of few things which could shatter that almost unbreakable mask of his. Remus reached out to him and rested his hands on his godson’s shoulders. He heard him sigh softly and lean back against him, wishing desperately that he had listened to Hermione. He wrapped his arms around Harry, feeling him tremble slightly in his embrace as Remus felt his eyes almost glued to the unstoppable chain of events which were already put into action the moment that Minerva had been removed from Hogwarts.

Remus supposed that by saying that since Umbridge had had Minerva removed from the school then it was all her fault that Sirius had died. Then again he could easily have said it was Fudge’s fault for employing the woman in the first place, or Snape’s for being so damned unapproachable. No matter how he looked at it, he realised that attempting to blame someone for the death of his friend was pointless, the fact that he had died was not something which needed blame upon it, it could not be undone and dwelling would achieve nothing. He had Harry to look after now, and he would not let his thoughts reflect towards the boy whom he cared for.

He did not release Harry as he watched Harry and Hermione leading Umbridge into the Forbidden Forest where they eventually left her to be attacked by the centaurs whilst they made their escape back to the school. There was a brief argument wherein Ginny, Neville and Luna all argued for their coming along with Harry, Ron and Hermione to the department of mysteries. Eventually Harry caved and the six of them took the thestrals to the awful building.

Remus watched as they fought the Death Eaters and did their best to escape, although almost everyone got injured in the process. He held onto Harry tighter as he watched Sirius fall gracefully through the veil and himself grabbing onto Harry, holding him back from what could easily have been his own death. He watched as Harry sprinted away from him, breaking free of his grip and chasing after Bellatrix.

He had never put much thought into what had happened to Harry after he had done this as he had been in so much shock after Sirius had died that he had been entirely focussed on that. He finally cornered the offending woman and he attempted to put the Cruciatus curse on her and Remus stared at the scene in horror as the words left Harry’s mouth but it did little but throw her backwards.

“Never used an Unforgivable Curse before, have you, boy?” She yelled. “You need to mean them, Potter! You need to really want to cause pain – to enjoy it – righteous anger won’t hurt me for long – I’ll show you how it is done, shall I?” They duelled briefly and Harry spent much of his time avoiding the many spells she sent his way until he revealed to her that he had smashed the prophecy.

Voldemort appeared and Remus sucked in a breath. He always found the image of the man utterly terrifying even though he had only seen him in Harry’s memories and he knew that he could not harm him. That did not appear to alter any change of feeling in him on the subject though.

“I have nothing more to say to you, Potter.” Voldemort said to him quietly, “you have irked me too often, for too long. AVADA KEDAVRA!” Harry had not so much as made a move as the spell shot towards it’s stunned target but in an instant one of the golden statues leapt out infront of him, flinging out it’s arms to protect Harry and the spell merely bounced off it’s frame.

“What –?” Cried Voldemort. “Dumbledore!” He breathed in disbelief as Remus turned around to see the headmaster stood by the statues. One of the golden statues ran at Bellatrix and pinned her to the floor whilst another one stayed with Harry, making sure that he kept well away from the fight as the others stayed near Dumbledore, ready to protect him if he needed it. They duelled and Remus watched them with his eyes fixed upon the scene, his arms wrapped tightly around Harry until Voldemort had finally gone and Fudge along with dozens of other people had witnessed Voldemort. Harry was portkeyed back to Dumbledore’s office and Dumbledore followed him soon afterwards.

“I’VE HAD ENOUGH, I WANT OUT, I WANT IT TO END, I DON’T CARE ANY MORE –” Harry yelled at Dumbledore at the top of his lungs, smashing up more of Dumbledore’s office. Remus could only stare at him, he had never seen Harry react this way to anything. He had seen him angry and infuriated enough to curse things into oblivion but never violent in this way.

Remus felt his hold on Harry tightening as he listened to the repetition of the prophecy and Dumbledore’s reasons for not telling him sooner. It was true that Dumbledore had said he had never met a student pass through the school with more burdens that Harry. He, Remus had been a werewolf and Sirius had been forced to live with his awful relations who disowned him and he eventually ended up falsely imprisoned in Azkaban, only to die after being released for two years. And yet, as poor as his own life had been along with Sirius’, Harry’s life just seemed so much more terrible than theirs. He had seen his mother killed, he had lived with people who hated him for the gift he possessed, he had come to a school and a world where he was famous for the curse which had failed to killed him, but not his parents. He had saved the Philosopher’s stone at eleven, saved Ginny and the school from the Chamber of Secrets at twelve, helped Sirius to freedom at thirteen, stayed alive throughout a tournament in which he was forced to partake in at fourteen as well as witnessing Voldemort’s rebirth, being tortured and seeing the memories of his parents before escaping back to Hogwarts. That added to the media attention he had received which had then gone on to slandering him and labelling him insane. Then there had been this year. The woman that had left a physical mark on his hand, the prophecy which had been revealed, the teaching he had done, the tests he had taken and the godfather he had lost.

The pensieve threw the two of them out onto the sofa in Remus’ quarters. There was silence between them as they stared into each other’s eyes for a moment until Harry moved to Remus and wrapped his arms around the man’s waist. Remus held Harry tightly, burying his face in his soft hair as Harry leant his head into his chest.

They stayed like that for some time, until the clock on the wall chimed eight. Remus found that he was absentmindedly running his finger across Harry’s hand along the words that were permanently etched there. He felt his eyes drifting shut and he looked down at Harry, tilting his face up towards him so that he could see his expression. His eyes were shut and his cheeks were damp, his lips were slightly parted and there was something close to a slight smile upon them. Remus sighed as he stared down at him. God help you, Harry. He thought sadly, Dumbledore wasn’t half right when he said you need looking after. His eyes closed as he felt a solitary tear glide down his cheek for the miserable existence of the child sleeping in his arms.

A/N: I know I said I didn't think this would be up until around Sunday but I lied. I spent about three hours working on this today, well two hours working on this and one hour just reading OotP which was slightly foolish but never mind. Anyway... I hope you didn't think it was too long, I was going to separate it into two chapters but I couldn't find somewhere decent to break off. Anyway, I dunno what's going to be in the next chapter but it will be up soon since I'm now on half term holidays and although I have lots of art to do I'd rather write so more updates for you so hurrah! :o)

Chapter 26: The Worries Of Remus Lupin
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Remus awoke alone in his bed the next morning and stared around at his surroundings, puzzling over the night before. He distinctly remembered falling sleep with Harry wrapped rightly in his arms on the sofa and yet here he was, lying alone in bed. He wondered momentarily if it had all been a dream, but he knew he was wrong before the thought even completed itself; not even his mind could create something as horrific as Harry’s fifth year.

He glanced at the clock on his bedside which cheerfully told him that he could lie in for another hour before getting up. He closed his eyes but instantly he found images of Sirius falling through the veil flashing through his mind and he sat up suddenly, his eyes snapping open. He could not stay in bed. He slipped out of the sheets, his alarm clock watching him with interest as he walked barefoot across the room, his feet sinking into the lusciously thick carpet as he made his way to the bathroom.

He ran himself a bath to try and calm his strangely jittery nerves. As he sank into the water and tried to relax he couldn’t help but think of Harry listening to the mermaids’ message in the Triwizard egg. He shook his head slightly and tried to keep his mind in the room with him in his present and not on Harry’s past. It was a pity that it wasn’t working; every time he finally locked the thoughts from his mind then he would allow his guard to drop only to find himself seeing Harry gauging the words into his hand with that awful quill or seeing him attempt to curse Bellatrix. To be quite honest he was amazed that the Ministry hadn’t thrown him in Azkaban for that. Using the Cruciatus curse like that… he shivered slightly although he was submersed in warm water. He had never seen Harry so upset in all his life and so furious either as in those memories. He, Remus had never managed to inflict the Cruciatus curse upon anyone, although he had once tried when training to become an Auror all those years ago. He had failed just as Harry had and when he had to cast the killing curse upon a small spider nothing had happened except for his suddenly being filled with a feeling of guilt that he had attempted to take the life of something else.


As he finally left the bathroom some time later he walked into his living room to see things neat and tidy, his cloak was folded over the side of the sofa and his wand was lying on the table. He had wondered what he had done with that. He knew that Harry must have tidied up slightly for him since he would normally have thrown his cloak on the floor after a long day. He wondered what was going to happen to Harry if and when word got to Fudge that he had used the Cruciatus curse on Bellatrix. He supposed that it may never, after all Bellatrix was supposed to be one of Voldemort’s finest and were it to be heard that a boy (and Harry Potter at that) had managed to curse her she would be the laughing stock amongst the Death Eaters. No, he was sure that nothing would ever come of it. Still, Harry’s temper had flashed there and shown just what he could be capable of if he was pushed too far. His mind lingered on this for a moment before walking down to breakfast.


***


Harry’s eyes opened and he was staring up at his ceiling. He reached out with his left hand to his bedside table and found his glasses. When he put them on everything suddenly came back into focus and he glanced at the clock to the side of him. Almost time to get up. He sighed and curled back up under the sheets for another ten minutes before Ron got out of bed.

The night before he had curled up to Remus and slept for another two hours until a crash from the floor above them had woken him suddenly. He had slipped out of Remus’ arms and levitated him to bed before clearing up a little in his living room and returning to his own dormitory where Ron and Hermione were still up arguing over nothing in particular.

“Come on, breakfast!” Ron said once he was in his robes and dragged Harry out of the room and down to the common room. “I’m starving!”

“When are you not?” Hermione asked him as she joined them from the girls’ dorm.

The three of them walked down to breakfast together, chatting idly along the way about their coming lessons. Harry wasn’t too irritated to learn than he would have Defence Against the Dark Arts, Potions, Transfiguration and then Charms last thing before a free lesson, which he was very grateful for. Unfortunately he also had Occlumency that evening since his lessons over the summer were being fitted into the same routine they had been in before:

Apparition on Monday, Animagi lessons and Occlumency on Tuesday, Apparition on Wednesday, Animagi lessons on Thursday, Occlumency on Friday, a day off on Saturday and then Apparition and Animagi lessons on Sunday. It was going to be a very difficult year for Harry, not to mention an exhausting one.

He entered the hall and sat down in his usual seat at the Gryffindor table with Ron and Hermione. They were soon joined by the rest of their year and all of them began to talk of their timetables and their lessons, mostly Defence Against the Dark Arts.

Glancing up at the table, Harry’s eyes met those of Remus. His godfather looked quite tired but he looked quite happy as well. He smiled and received one in return before both of them went back to their conversations.

“So what do you think of his past then?” Minerva asked Remus who shrugged.

“Surprising, frightening, worrying and even amusing in parts.” Remus replied as he took a sip of his tea.

“He’ll be alright.” Minerva said, seeing Remus’ eyes pulled towards his godson at his house table. “He always is.”

“He’s been alright before, that doesn’t mean to say that he will always be.” Remus contradicted, nibbling at his own lip.

“Have you raised the subject of wandless magic with him yet?” Minerva asked him, interestedly whilst changing the subject away from Remus and his needless anxiety for Harry; he was stronger than he had shown yet, she knew that much.

“No, I showed him a little of it yesterday but then we went into his pensieve and both of us forgot all about it.” Remus said, his mind desperately fighting images of Harry’s expression as he watched his father needlessly bullying Snape.

“I think you should raise the subject with him later on.” Filius said to him, having not said much so far he felt it was time to make his presence known.

“I will.” Remus said, as he saw Harry yelling at Dumbledore in his office, close to tears and lashing out at the old man.

“You do seem very distracted today, Remus.” Filius noted, looking him over. “You might want to get a Focussing Drought from Poppy before attempting to teach.”

“I will.” Remus assured him before setting off to the hospital wing.

“What on earth is making you so distracted, Remus?” The matron asked him as she fetched him the potion he had asked for and found the man staring distantly into space.

“Oh… nothing.” He said, smiling weakly at her as he took the drought from her and drank some of it, instantly feeling his senses sharpen and unnecessary things pushed to the back of his mind. “Thank you.” He said before leaving. Poppy watched him exit the wing, wondering what on earth it was that had caused him such distraction from the world around him that he needed such a potion. From his response she knew not to ask, after all she had long since learnt that young man wouldn’t tell anything of his woes unless he had to, and that was a rare occurrence.

Remus didn’t bother going back to the great hall to finish breakfast; he knew there was no need to do so since he was no longer hungry so instead he made for his classroom, bumping into someone as he walked.

“Sorry,” He said absently before realising he had walked into Severus who looked almost as distracted as he had done before.

“If you walk into Trelawney you haven’t seen me.” He muttered and walked on; leaving Remus stood watching as he slunk into the passageway nearest to them heading for the dungeons. He raised an eyebrow slightly and carried on towards his room but before he got there he did indeed find Sybil.

“You haven’t seen my dear Severus, have you, Remus?” She asked him, not getting too close to him.

“Dungeons.” Remus said, knowing the fact that Snape didn’t want to be found had caused him to direct her to him.

Ten minutes later Remus was in his classroom along with his sixth year students, his eyes wandering amongst them and often finding themselves fixed upon Harry.

“Professor.” Lavender said, raising her hand. Remus looked to her, inviting her to speak and she did so, “You said last lesson that we’d see you duel.” Remus smiled.

“Indeed I did.” Remus said. He looked to Harry who was determinedly staring at the ceiling and whistling quietly. There was no point in treating him as if he was the same as the other students, because everyone in that room knew that wasn’t the case and none of the students took offence to the fact that he picked Harry to duel with – it was common knowledge that Harry was the best amongst them, had he not been then he would not have taught them the year before. “Harry?” Remus said to him and Harry sighed quietly and rose to his feet, picking up his wand. “Oh come on, it won’t be that bad.” Remus grinned at him and Harry raised an eyebrow.

They stood ten paces apart at the front of the room and Remus cast a quick protection charm across the students so that if any spells went astray they wouldn’t do much damage. Harry felt oddly nervous as he bowed to Remus, keeping his eyes on him at all times.

There was a moment’s pause until Remus made the first move in the silent classroom.

Impedimenta!”

Protegium!” Harry cried and the spell shot straight back at him but Remus was far too fast and leapt out of the way. “Gelotrium!” the blue ray shot at his chest and for a moment it looked as if it was going to hit and Harry lowered his guard ever so slightly.

Incendio!” Remus cried and a sudden spurt of fire shot out towards Harry, instantly turning his spell to steam. Harry wondered instantly what would happen if he really fought fire with fire.

Incendio!” Harry yelled and the same fire spell shot at Remus, who raised his eyebrows slightly, wondering what would happen when fire met fire. Their spells struck one another in midair and clashed together, swirling together and growing in size until there was what appeared to be a small tornado of fire swirling around the duelling area towards Remus who grinned. “Ventulus!” He cried and from his wand came a gust of wind which blew the papers and the books on the desks of the students as Remus shot the spell at the inferno which flew towards Harry.

Harry’s eyes widened as the fire moved quickly towards him and he leapt out of it’s way with a yelp of surprise.

Petrificus Totalus!” Remus sent at Harry who dodged it just in time. He tried to keep his eyes on the column of flame which neared him whilst avoiding the hexes Remus sent at him but they both knew that wouldn’t last for long.

Locomotor Mortis.” Harry said and the spell hit Remus, his legs locked together and he swayed. The class held their breath; had Harry really just beaten their teacher in a duel?! He stayed on his feet and Harry opened his mouth in shock and irritation as Remus shot a stunner at him but he reflected it back at Remus who blocked it easily.

Expelliarmus!” Harry said and Remus’ wand flew into his hand.

“Excellent Harry!” Remus grinned at him, “Although I don’t need a wand to beat you.” Everyone in the room glanced around at each other, either out of curiosity or disbelief.

Incarcerous.” Remus said and Harry didn’t move quickly enough this time as Devil’s Snare wound it’s way up his body in a moment, rendering him helpless as he fell to the floor. “Do you surrender?” Remus asked Harry who was unable to move and was lying around eight paces away as the inferno blew nearer and nearer to him.

“Yes, now let me up before I’m burned to death!” Harry said as the heat of the fiery column washed over him, warming him unpleasantly.

Finite Incantatem.” Remus said softly and a second later his own legs were freed from the jinx, Harry was released from Devil’s Snare, the fire disappeared and the shield around the students broke. “Thank you, Harry.” Remus smiled at him as he returned to his seat. There was almost a minute of noise in the room as everyone burst into applause before talking excitedly amongst themselves whilst Harry recovered.

“Now, today we’re going to study duelling and it’s etiquette in more detail so I would like you all to take notes please.” Remus said, “Before a duel the two opponents must bow –” He said and began to speak about the proper rules of duelling, although he stressed the point very strongly that when attacked by a Dark witch or wizard, they were unlikely to adhere to the rules and regulations.

Remus had no idea how he was doing this – the Focusing Drought had almost entirely worn off him now and he could feel his mind slipping back towards the past as he spoke to his sixth year class. It would not have been so awful had the boy not been sat there in the front row, his eyes on him as he spoke instead of on the parchment where it should have been.

“– bowing is always essential to a properly regulated duel –” He said to the class.

Jesus Harry! Why on earth aren’t you dead yet?!

“– and failure to do this can often lead to dishonour in the community –”

That Umbridge woman… If I ever see her again…

“– however that does not mean that when you are attacked you should bow to your attacker –”

What if I’d let go of you and let you run through that veil… what would have happened then?

“– since anyone attacking you is not likely to follow the rules and etiquette of duelling –”

Don’t look at me like that, Harry. Anything but that gaze upon me. That gaze which has seen all that he should never have witnessed from the boy which has felt so much that he should never have known. The pain and the infuriation and the loss he should never have experienced. All that I should have protected him from, after all I should have been his godfather once Sirius had gone to Azkaban…

He continued to speak and his students continued to make notes whilst Harry’s eyes remained fixed upon him. Remus determinedly didn’t look at him to see his expression in case he allowed the fine line between what he was saying and what he was thinking to merge, ending with him speaking his thoughts to the class. Having the class hearing him worry about Harry would do much damage, after all few knew their relationship with one another was more than that of student and teacher.

Time finally allowed him some mercy as the bell rang throughout the school, signalling the end of the first lesson and everyone quickly packed their things away ready to go to their next lesson which was, for Harry, Potions. As everyone moved to leave Remus called Harry back.

“Yes, Professor?” Harry asked him. Remus narrowed his eyes slightly; he hated being called Professor by Harry and Harry knew it.

“Do you think yourself beyond note taking in my class, Harry?” Remus asked him.

“I don’t need to take notes on that stuff, most of it’s common sense.” Harry said.

“True.” Remus said, “But during the first war there was a witch who was killed by a Death Eater. It was her own foolishness that did it as well. She was an excellent dueller but she made the bizarre mistake of bowing to the man who attacked her and ended up dead because of it.” Harry looked at him, wondering how anyone could be so stupid.

“So is there any reason for you’re being completely preoccupied today?” Harry asked him, choosing to ignore the fact that he was trying to change the subject.

“I don’t know… could it be that I’ve spent around a quarter of the previous day in your pensieve watching your horrific fifth year?” Remus muttered under his breath as the classroom began to fill up with second year Hufflepuffs and Ravenclaws.

“It wasn’t that bad, Remus.” Harry murmured to him, holding his gaze with his own. He could see that this had deeply affected Remus but at the moment there was nothing he could do.

“You’re going to be late for Potions, Harry.” Remus said to him.

“I’ll see you later.” Harry said to him, making to leave the room and glancing back at him before he left the room, his eyes meeting those of Remus’ which were still fixed upon him.

Remus watched Harry leave and with a quick wave of his wand he closed the door, ready to face the second years. He took a quick drink of the potion which would hopefully focus him more so and began to teach.


***


“Ah Remus, have a seat.” Dumbledore said to the young man who came and sat down in his office. He wondered just what could be on the mind of the lycanthrope who seated himself opposite him and stared down at his fingernails which seemingly fascinated him. “So, tell me what’s on your mind.”

“Harry.” Remus said softly and the headmaster became immediately intrigued. “I saw the last of his memories yesterday and… they were awful! That woman treated him so badly and was working again him and you should have told him the prophecy sooner and he’s got ‘I must not tell lies’ carved into his hand and he had to teach himself OWL defence against the dark arts and 25 other students besides and she stopped him playing Quidditch and had you kicked out of the school and Snape was awful to him and you should never have let Snape teach him Occlumency –” Dumbledore watched Remus over the top of his half moon spectacles as he spoke rapidly about the awful year he had seen. Albus knew all that had happened to him of course and yet he hadn’t considered how much it may have affected Remus in the process. To Harry he knew that all the events didn’t look nearly as awful as to Remus who had never known anyone with such a traumatic life. Remus’ life was awful but it was awful on a regular basis of every twenty eight days, Harry’s was randomly awful and seemingly for no reason at all. He was, after all, a brilliant student, willing to learn and to help, not arrogant or conceited like one previous Potter had been at his age, nor would he ever dare to bully another student. Basically, he was the image of James Potter with the heart and soul of Lily. And yet, through out his life no matter how nice he was, how kind he was the phrase ‘treat others as you would wish to be treated yourself’ had never quite been fair to him and for every success he achieved and for every triumph over evil there was always something else there threatening to drag him into the depths of depression and ruin the wreck that was his life. Suddenly the headmaster was surprised at just how long Harry Potter had lasted on that world which treated him the way it did.

“Remus, I do not doubt that just for getting all this off your chest you feel a little better.” Albus said to him calmly, “But there is little else but listen that I can do for you. You must talk to Harry about these events; they are, after all, part of his past, not my own.”

“Yes, headmaster.” Remus sighed and for a moment he felt as if he had become sixteen once more and was sat infront of Dumbledore, being reprimanded by something which he had been dragged into by James and Sirius and it took all his self control not to turn around to look for his friends.

“Remus, it has been many a moon since I was your headmaster, do call me by my first name.” Albus said to him and Remus glanced up at him, wondering whether he meant to use the words many a moon but he did not question him as he stood up to leave.

“You were right when you said that he would need looking after, Albus.” Remus said softly. The thought had been weighing on his mind and it was always hat which kept repeating itself through his mind as he went about his daily routine. Take care of him, Remus. Dumbledore’s voice echoed to him.

“I know I was, Remus or I would not have said it.” Dumbledore smiled at him and Remus smiled back, although he knew that Dumbledore was more than capable of making mistakes, he had made all too many during the previous year. He blocked this thought from his mind as he walked out of the office and along to the great hall for some well needed distraction.

A/N: This is quite a short chapter but I had to leave it at this or have one ridiculously long chapter instead, comprising of this one and the next. I'm quite annoyed now though because I don't like my ending to the story anymore and now because the title's 'An Alternate Ending' it won't fit due to the new plot! Damn... oh well, you'll have to ignore the title. Chapter Twenty Seven 'Legilimens' coming on Tuesday! Hurrah! :o)

I'm also mildly infuriated since there's a limit on the characters you can have in your summary and fair enough, mine was pretty long but now it's around three lines long! It's madness! Madness I say! Oh well... never mind.


Chapter 27: Legilimens
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Harry left the common room at ten to eight as he quickly made his way down through the school until he reached the entrance hall and sighed as he walked down into the dungeons. It was Tuesday which meant he was to attend his first lesson of Occlumency which he had had in quite some time. Earlier on he had been in McGonagall’s office trying to master the skills of becoming an Animagus but it seemed as difficult as ever although his teacher had spent quite some time during the lesson watching him intently. He wondered what the matter with her was but he had refrained from asking and now he found himself walking along into the dungeons, hoping not to walk into any of the Slytherins, especially now that he was in what was known as Slytherin territory.

He walked through a few passageways which he had found during one desperate attempt to get to Potions on time during the previous year and quickly arrived at Snape’s office, and glancing at his watch he found it to be one minute before eight. No doubt Snape was in his office putting the clocks forward and getting ready to greet him with a snide ‘what time do you call this?!’ upon his entrance.

Harry reached out and knocked on the door.

“Enter.” Severus said from behind his desk, rising to his feet and picking up his wand from the table as Potter entered the room. He summoned Dumbledore’s pensieve to him and quickly emptied his memories into it before they faced each other across the office.

“So have you been practicing, Mr Potter?” Severus asked him, knowing that he was about to be lied to.

“Not since summer.” Harry replied and Severus felt strangely surprised that the boy had been honest for once. He supposed that even if he hadn’t been honest then they both knew that his lack of practice would show once he started invading his mind.

“Ready…?” Severus asked him and Harry nodded, holding his wand tightly in his hand. “Legilimens.” He murmured softly and a moment later he was in Potter’s head, Black was falling through the veil, Lily was screaming, Cedric dropped dead… He could feel some resistance to his seeing these memories but it was poor, weak and without practice.

He broke off the spell and looked at Harry levelly across the room. He was holding his head in his hands and although he had tried as hard as he could to force the intruder out of his mind, he just hadn’t been powerful enough. Severus watched Harry and waited a moment for him to recover.

“Again.” Severus said calmly and Harry nodded slightly, his resolve building. “Legilimens.

This time the resistance that Severus felt was much stronger and after around thirty seconds of Harry’s memories flying through his mind, he was thrown across the room by a strong spell from Potter, breaking their mind to mind connection.

Harry stared in horror as his potions master was thrown across the room towards the stone wall. He reached out with his hand as if to stop him and he couldn’t take his eyes off him.

Severus was not pleased to find himself flying through the air towards the wall of his office but an odd expression crossed his face as he saw Potter reach out his hand as if to stop him and then to both their surprise he did.

Harry stared at Snape who was hovering in midair. He had no idea how Snape had stopped himself from flying straight into the wall but he supposed he had to be grateful, after all, had he smashed into it he would most certainly hex Harry. He dropped his arm which had been extended towards Snape and the formidable man dropped to the floor in an instant.

Severus opened his mouth to comment, but shut it as he thought better of it. He had not been informed that Lupin had started teaching him so soon, or that he had been so successful. Minerva had made no word of it earlier on, nor had Filius, although he had to wonder whether or not Lupin had actually informed them of his already teaching the boy. There was of course the possibility that Harry had done this by himself without realising it, and the neutral expression on his face strengthened this idea in his mind. Then again Potter had always been an actor, especially around those Muggles from what he had heard so why would it be so difficult for the damned boy to hide his knowledge of the magic he had performed infront of him. He scowled slightly and resolved to mention it to the wolf.

“Better Potter, but still not good enough.” Severus said to him plainly, “Had the first memory been the prophecy then you would undoubtedly have given Voldemort just the knowledge he desired.” He spoke without particularly thinking as his mind inadvertently moved back to the wandless magic. But if he doesn’t know that he’s done it then he could be extremely adapt at it. And if he does know then he’s a little git who should be hexed. Well, he should be hexed anyway, he is a Gryffindor. He thought callously before looking back at those damned green eyes. “Here is a new course of action. You break into my mind so that you can better understand the force which you are protecting yourself from.” Severus said to him suddenly, taking both occupants of the room by surprise. Inwardly Severus cursed himself as he wished that he had never said such a stupid thing and Potter looked dubious and almost suspicious of him as if he was suggesting that the boy take Veritaserum.

“Okay then.” Harry agreed. He didn’t know why Snape was offering him the chance to break into his mind, but then again he supposed that he was an excellent Occlumens so he could easily force him out of his mind should he stumble on a memory he was not meant to.

“Just point your wand and say Legilimens.” Severus instructed him and Harry nodded, still feeling unsure of himself as he raised his wand and murmured the incantation under his breath.

It was a strange experience to suddenly find yourself submersed in the mind of another. He was watching Snape at the age of around thirteen running through the corridors of the castle and with a sense of dread he knew already which two people were chasing him.

“Keep up, James!” He heard the young voice of his deceased godfather yell down the corridor as the pattering of footsteps became louder and louder as Snape ran faster and faster. He turned and raced through passageway after passageway, leaping behind statues and pushing past tapestries as he tried to get back to the Slytherin common room. Harry felt resistance against him but somehow he knew just how to dodge it. He felt his mind shift slightly to the side and whatever it was that had been pushing him away slipped past him.

Harry didn’t want to see any more of this memory and he pushed it aside, another one instantly taking it’s place. Seventeen year old Snape was duelling with Lupin in the defence against the dark arts classroom and he was going to lose. He could hear Snape thinking that he was going to lose against him and as soon as he had thought it his performance became poorer and he watched the young version of his current guardian cry “Incarcerous” and Snape fell to the floor. Four faces loomed over him as Snape tried to get up and Harry recognised them to be that of his father, Sirius, Remus and Wormtail. Remus pointed his wand at him to end the spell that he was under but a malignant smile crossed the face of his father.

Evanesco.” Said James, his want pointed at Severus’ neck where part of his robes were left unwrapped by the Devil’s Snare. There was laughter around the classroom and it seemed to Harry that he was being pushed away from the memory as hard as Snape could. Having no desire to see anymore he allowed himself to be forced out of Snape’s mind and he stared up at his potions master who stood over him.

“Terribly amusing man, your father.” He said in the same cold voice that he had used when Harry had been into Snape’s pensieve a year ago.

“Oh yes, very much so.” Harry said in the same cold voice.

“And I suppose you’re ambition is to be just like him, isn’t it, Potter.” He said coolly as he turned from the boy and tried to compose himself. Potter’s having practically agreed with him that what his father had done was about as funny as a face full of Vanishing Solution had unsettled him greatly. He had expected nothing short of hysterical laughter from the boy and yet he responded with nothing but cold contempt.

“Just because I’m his son doesn’t mean that I agree what he did was right and just because I’m his son doesn’t mean that I’m the same moronic bully!” Harry yelled at him and stormed from the room, realising that was probably just what Snape wanted to hear from him as he half marched, half ran along the stone corridor. He didn’t care where he ran to; he just needed to escape from wherever in the dungeons he was. The problem was that he didn’t really have any idea where he was anymore. He sighed and looked around him, feeling utterly lost not only in the large, complex building but in his mind. He dreaded the next day which would bring more Potions lessons and he wondered if Snape would say anything about it to Remus. He hoped not, Remus seemed very distracted by all that Harry had already shown him anyway, the last thing he wanted to do was distract him further with Snape and the memories he had witnessed.

Severus watched in a daze as Harry ran from the room, slamming the door shut as he went. He walked after him to the door and opened it, watching the small boy take a passageway to the right and he wondered briefly whether his emotions had blinded him since that passageway would not take him back up to the entrance hall. He shrugged before turning back into his office and crossing the room. He reached out to the bottle of pickled beetle eyes on the wall and pressed it with his hand. A second later, part of the shelving that he had on the walls with various potions ingredients in moved to the left, leaving a doorway. He stepped through it quickly and entered his living quarters.

He threw himself down onto the large sofa which stretched out infront of the fire and stared up at the ceiling, reading the message which he had charmed up there the year that Potter had come to Hogwarts: When infuriated take points from Gryffindor it read and a smile touched his face as he took five points from the offending house before he got to his feet and removed his cloak which he had been wearing earlier on. He crossed the dark room and hung it on the back of the door.

Once more he walked over to the sofa and threw himself upon it, his eyes staring into the flames of the fireplace. He had most certainly not expected that kind of outburst from Potter. He never so much as considered the fact that the boy might have been reproachful of his father’s behaviour towards him because… well… it was his dead father and he, Severus, was a man Harry hated. That didn’t make it right for James to have bullied him incessantly but he thought it could have made Harry overlook the fact that his father had been a cruel boy when he was his age. That was the damned problem though, when James had been in his sixth year he hadn’t been Harry’s age. He had been his physical age of fifteen but James’ mental age had been something like ten whilst Harry’s was around twenty five.

He tore his gaze from the flames and as he looked around the dark green room, lit only by torches on the wall he saw the flames still dancing infront of his eyes. Damn the Potters. He thought angrily as he got to his feet, Harry’s outburst had most certainly unsettled him and that wasn’t considering the fact that he had dodged his attempts to force him out of his head, and he had known just how to dodge, just how to move and how to change memories. How the hell had he known that?! He wondered as he walked across the black, sparkling floor which he had enchanted the day before out of boredom. His rooms weren’t particularly luxurious, no more than any other teachers of course but he had his mark upon it as most of the other staff had on theirs. He had his guestroom turned into a potions lab, Sabina Sinistra had her own observatory and all the ceilings reflected the stars at all times of day, Minerva transfigured everything in sight and Heilia Hooch had a miniature Quidditch pitch, complete with players Minerva transfigured from tea cups for her.

Did he know that he did wandless magic? The question suddenly rose in his mind. Impressive wandless magic too… and he’s suited to Legilimency… He scowled slightly at the reaction of the headmaster when he told him the events that happened during their Occlumency session. He would look at him over those half moon spectacles of his with those forever twinkling eyes and he would smile when he explained how Harry condemned his father’s behaviour to him in the past and when he told of the wandless magic he would make a note aloud to ask Remus to tutor him in the discipline and then, when it came to the Legilimency he had allowed Harry to perform upon him he would be rapt. He would listen to him carefully and he would come to the conclusion that two people skilled highly in Legilimency in the school could be highly useful.

“– and who better to tutor the new Legilimens than our old Legilimens?” Dumbledore asked Severus in the headmaster’s office at around half past nine that evening. Severus had finally given in to the nagging urge that he really should go and talk to Dumbledore about the events which had occurred an hour and a half ago, only to find that the conversation had gone exactly as he had imagined and he damned himself for going to the man. “I would suggest around two nights a week teaching him this new skill, and it may also help him with his Occlumency as well.” Dumbledore said cheerfully but Severus could only glare at him.

“Let me get this straight…” Severus said in a cool tone. He was now rather irritated not only with Dumbledore but with himself. “You want me to spend four nights a week tutoring Potter to block and attack the mind?!”

“That is correct Severus.” Dumbledore said with a benign smile on his face.

I don’t see you offering to teach the boy! He yelled furiously at him in his mind, “FOUR NIGHTS A WEEK!?” Severus cried, losing all sense of control. “It’s bad enough having to put up with his feeble attempts at his blocking his mind for one evening, let alone four a week!” He almost yelled at the man, his eyes flashing dangerously.

“I’m sure his attempts will not remain feeble for long.” Dumbledore said, “And it is essential that Harry learns to block his mind properly, and you know yourself that learning Legilimency at the same time as Occlumency greatly assists the learning process.” He said.

Damn, why does he always have to make such sense of such an idea lacking in any logic? Severus wondered and he found himself agreeing miserably with his previous professor.

Severus rose from his chair to leave, seeing that their conversation was over.

“Oh Severus, tell Remus I wish to speak with him if you see him.” Albus said to him. Snape nodded to him and left the room, feeling irritation bubbling up inside him as he walked back to the dungeons, calling in on the staffroom to send Remus to Dumbledore on his way.

He re-entered his refuge with a sigh of relief and he crossed his living room quickly and entered the bathroom which was decorated in all black, giving it a mysterious and yet impressive effect at the same time as Severus ran himself a bath, knowing that if he didn’t relax and get Potter out of his mind then he would surely kill something. He was sure that should he accidentally murder Malfoy then Lucius would not be best pleased and nor would Dumbledore for that matter when he ended up in Azkaban so he slid into the bath and closed his eyes and his mind, blocking out all thought and feeling, just relaxing in the warm water.


***


“No, I’ve not been teaching him.” Remus said to Albus who sat opposite him in the headmaster’s office. “I haven’t mentioned it to him yet.”

“Very interesting. It would appear that his magic has decided to channel itself without any outside assistance.” Albus mused more to himself than to Remus, “Very unusual…”

“Yes well Harry’s not your average wizard, is he?” Remus said, forcing all thoughts of the young boy’s past from his mind as he said so. He wondered briefly whether this had shown in his face as he looked to the headmaster who was observing him.

“I would suggest you start teaching him as soon as you can.” Albus said, “When would that be?”

“That would be now, Albus.” Remus replied to him and the headmaster smiled at being addressed by his first name as Remus had a habit of calling him ‘headmaster’ when in such a state of preoccupation as he was currently in.

“Now may be a little soon.” Albus said to his old student as he called to memory Harry’s current timetable of ‘extracurricular lessons’ as they had been labelled by the Order. “Tomorrow night might be good; he’ll have been in Apparation lessons with Mad Eye until around eight at Grimmauld Place. You can teach him there or in school, it’s completely up to you.” He said and Remus considered his words. “Of course you do understand that if Harry takes a liking to wandless magic, and I do not doubt that he will, then he will want lessons and lots of them.”

“I’m prepared for that.” Remus said mildly.

“He could take up all your free time with it.” Albus said to him.

“I wouldn’t have it any other way.” Remus smiled and Albus’ eyes twinkled.

“Alright, but remember that you said that, won’t you?” Albus said to him as Remus stood up and left the room, deep in thought about Harry and the idea of teaching him wandless magic.


***


Meanwhile, Harry lay on his back staring up at the twilight sky as he watched the sun setting over the lake. He was lying in the Room of Requirement which had responded well to his desperation for a solitary place to relax and think. He was lying underneath a willow tree and glancing behind him he could see people walking around the grounds and playing Quidditch in the distance. He could hear distant laughter and birds singing in the trees. It was an extremely relaxing place to be. On top of that the room appeared to have charmed itself so that no one came within a hundred metre radius of him, leaving him solitary, as he desired.

As beautiful as his surroundings were, that didn’t quite take his mind from the Occlumency lesson he had just practiced. He was disturbed by the memories of his father that he had seen there, hoping that he wasn’t all bad in them all. Then again, he knew that if he had succeeded in marrying his mother eventually then he must have changed at some point during his life, shortened as it was.

Then there was the matter of the magic that Snape had performed to stop him from slamming into the wall. It appeared to be the same kind of magic which he had seen Remus perform once or twice, without a wand. Snape looked rather surprised when he came to a halt near the wall though. He concentrated on trying to remember what happened but even as his mind closed around an image of Snape’s office, the picture began to slip away from him again. He just wished that he could remember exactly what had happened.

The room changed. Suddenly Harry was in Snape’s office and Snape was standing at one end of the room, his face contorted with the concentration. He looked around him and saw that he was stood at the other end of the room as well. He supposed that the room had just turned itself into something like a pensieve. He watched, drinking in every little detail as it happened.

Snape flew backwards from Harry as he pushed him out of his mind. He flew backwards towards the wall and Harry stared at himself as he raised his hand as if to stop him and as he did so, Snape did stop. Snape did look extremely surprised by this. When Harry dropped his arm, Snape also dropped to the floor.

Harry was utterly stunned. Was it actually possible that he had performed the same sort of wandless magic that Remus had performed? As the scenery around him changed back to the Hogwarts grounds, Harry sank down against the willow, his mind deep in thought.

A/N: Soooo... what did you think? My writing's back in full flow again and I've got chapter thirty written now so I can easily post every other day now, at least for a while since I've also now got one of the last chapters written as well which I randomly wrote in the middle of the night just to get it out of my head and onto paper. Anyway, that's irrelevant to everything. I'm quite sad now that one of my sub-plots has come to an end (the seeing the past thing with Remus) which I quite liked but there's more bizarre subplots coming up such as more on Harry and his extra curricular subjects and wandless magic is going to be a big thing in this and very important, although it's probably more than you'd expect. Then there's Severus and his war against almost everyone, trying to find out just how Voldemort knew Snape was a spy, I want to get Christmas written as well at some point, and Quidditch, and a full moon and there's the main plot which has been going on for ages but you don't really have any idea as to what it is yet and won't until right near the end, although one or two people have been picking up on little oddments about it though (how very perceptive you all are [excuse the patronisation {yes, patronisation probably isn't a word!}]).

Oh god, what have I let myself in for! Estimating very roughly this story should be between 50 and 60 chapters long. I'll update on Thursday with 'The Poisoning of Sybil Trelawney'. :o)

Chapter 28: The Poisoning Of Sybil Trelawney
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Severus was alone in his potions room in his office, looking down at a deep crimson potion in the cauldron. It had taken him a couple of days to get the correct potency but he was pretty sure that this strength wouldn’t kill her, although the effects would undoubtedly be interesting. He had always stayed firm by the belief that Malfoy was good for something, and it turned out that one of his failed Polyjuice potions had made a powerful poison instead. Convenient for him, although it would have been less so had Malfoy decided to sample his potion before hand. He summoned a flask to him from a cupboard close by and filled it with the poison before exiting quickly and making his way to the kitchens; he had a favour to ask of the house-elves.


***


Remus’ eyes flickered open and he was staring up at the ceiling.

“You don’t have to get up for another ten minutes.” His alarm clock informed him from the bedside table before yawning and going back to sleep.

Remus shook his head at the sleepy clock before slipping out from beneath the sheets and going to get ready for another day back at school. He had only been back for two days and yet he was already exhausted, although he wasn’t sure how that had happened. His fear of the Slytherins had been completely unfounded though, Minerva’s threats against them each time she saw one of them raise a wand as if to hex him in a corridor seemed to be enough to keep them away from him for good and their rudeness in lessons was nothing he couldn’t deal with himself, even if he wasn’t quite as intimidating as some of his colleagues.

Today was to be the day that he explained to Harry about his wandless magic and he would offer to teach him it if he was willing to learn, and he knew that he probably was despite the fact that he was already doing two other extracurricular subjects in Animagi and Apparation lessons. Wandless magic would just give him more hassle and more to learn, and he was already determined on learning to duel properly as well. The thing was that Harry had already used wandless magic and by now he had probably realised that it was he, not Snape who had stopped the potions master from slamming backwards into a stone wall. He ran his fingers unconsciously through his hair before he realised what he had done.

He sighed as he quickly robed himself and went down to breakfast.

“Good morning, Remus.” Filius greeted him warmly as he sat down, “You’re looking better today.”

“I feel better today.” He said to him and Minerva who were sat in their usual seats on the staff table.

“Fabulous, so you’re ready to deal with Slytherins in your first lesson then?” Minerva asked him.

“I suppose so.” Remus said, sighing.

“Order meeting tonight at 10, Dumbledore’s office.” Minerva said to the two of them quietly once Heilia had passed them.

“Why?” Remus asked.

“I think he wants to attempt to discover how He Who Must Not Be Named found out that Severus was a spy.” She said in a voice which was barely audible. Remus and Filius nodded to show they had heard what she said. Remus opened his mouth to put forward a theory but in the busy room he decided against it.

“You’re looking unusually cheerful today.” Remus noted as Severus sat down next to them and started to nibble at a bacon sandwich. Filius, Remus and Minerva watched him and noticed immediately that he was sat in a position where he could easily see Sybil.

“What are –” Filius opened his mouth to ask but a moment later there was a thud at the other end of the table.

“Sybil!” Heilia and Sabina cried at the other end of the table as Trelawney fell off her chair and onto the floor. Minerva, Filius and Remus all looked at Severus and bit back laughter as muttering broke out throughout the hall. Dumbledore rose to his feet and glanced down the table at the four colleagues before attending to Sybil.

“Oh my…” Minerva said, cupping her hand over her mouth in an attempt to stifle her laughter which threatened to turn into hysterics at any moment.

Sybil was lying unconscious on the floor. Her hair had mostly fallen out, leaving her mostly bald and her eyes which were wide open where totally white. They looked odd set on the now green skin of her face and overall she looked rather funny, at least to Minerva, Severus, Remus and Filius who knew she was not fatally poisoned.

“Severus, if you would be so kind as to take Sybil to the hospital wing and explain to Poppy what happened.” Dumbledore said, fixing the potions master with his gaze. It was clear to most at the staff table what had happened to her since Albus had called upon Severus, who was not stood anywhere near her to carry her to the hospital wing.

Severus sighed as he conjured a stretcher for the woman and levitated her onto it before marching along to the hospital wing with her in tow. He considered covering her with a sheet so that the students would not see her but not only would that mean that Sybil wasn’t humiliated when she found out what had happened but everyone would also think she was dead. As amusing as everyone’s reactions would surely be if they thought he had killed her he thought it would probably be better not to go down that route.

Harry watched as Professor Trelawney was taken out of the room by Snape and she looked as stiff as a board. He couldn’t help but wonder what on earth had happened to her or why it was Snape who had been picked to take her to the hospital wing.

He didn’t question this as he got up from his seat and walked along to his first lesson of the day which was Transfiguration. He was still doing well in transfiguration and was easily better than the rest of the class, but that was due to Professor McGonagall taking some time out of each lesson to come over to his work and if he had succeeded in transfiguring whatever it was then she would teach him something else which was a bit more advanced. This didn’t matter because everyone else around him generally assumed that his spell had just gone wrong, not realising that he was doing something else completely. His mind kept wandering to the hospital wing with Trelawney though; he couldn’t help but wonder just what happened to her although he had a strong suspicion that Snape had poisoned her.

“So, Professor, do you know just what was in this poison?” Poppy asked him as he brought Trelawney into the hospital wing.

“I am afraid not.” Severus answered, “I only brought her to the wing on Dumbledore’s orders.”

“I see.” She said, although she wasn’t pleased with his response. What had she expected, a confession that he had poisoned her? Not likely. “Will you be staying with Sybil?”

“Most certainly not, although I despise the children, I would not entrust their lamentable potions lessons to anyone else.” Severus said.

For fear of success? Poppy thought but didn’t voice her opinions as she allowed the man to leave the hospital wing.

“If he hasn’t poisoned her then I will eat my hat.” Poppy said coolly to Heilia who was lying in a bed close to her. She had successfully been injured the day before by a bludger during a Quidditch session with some Slytherins who had become irritated by her presence and sent two at her at once. It was on the headmasters orders that she attend the sessions of all Quidditch teams, although she had a sneaking suspicion that it was only the Gryffindor team he was really bothered about. Nevertheless she had gone out there and done her best to keep an eye on the dreadful students and how had she been rewarded? Two broken ribs and a punctured lung.

“And I’ll gladly monitor the next Slytherin Quidditch practice.” Said Heilia. “Of course he did it, why else would Albus send him with her?”

“Do you know what this is?” Poppy said to Heilia who shook her head. “The perfect chance to get Severus Snape.” Heilia smiled.

“What did you have in mind?” She asked.

“Tell Sabina to meet us in the staffroom later on. We’ll start planning then.” Poppy said.

“Excellent, but who else can we enlist against him?” Heilia asked, “Argus could be useful.”

“Yes, and what about Remus? He doesn’t like him.” Poppy said.

“True, but I don’t think he’s likely to plot against him either.” Heilia said and Poppy looked slightly disappointed. “And there’s no way that Minerva or Filius are going to help.”

“Do you think Sybil is as stupid as she acts?” Poppy asked suddenly.

“I’m not sure… Even if she is then we can always use her as a useful repellent…” Heilia said thoughtfully.

“Excellent.” Poppy smiled. “You’re going to regret the day you crossed half the teaching staff Severus Snape.”

“You do know that Snape left about five minutes ago, right?” Heilia asked and Poppy shot her a scything look.

“Shut up, Heilia.” She said, with a slight smile.


***


Sybil Trelawney opened her eyes to find herself lying down in the hospital wing. At the other end of the room Poppy was walking around, seeing to various other patients and occasionally talking to Heilia who was really well enough to teach again but the first year Slytherins were her last lesson so it was no real wonder that she was choosing to feign illness.

She was not pleased. Severus Snape had poisoned her, despite her efforts to be nice to the man. Admittedly the efforts were made for ulterior motives but that was irrelevant. The man had been so nasty to her in the past and she had seen terrible things concerning him in the crystal ball that she just had to get into his living quarters and see what he had hidden in there. She had assumed that should she be nice to him then he would probably admit her into his living space but she had been incorrect. Now he had poisoned her in an attempt to rid himself of her and she was damned if that was going to work.

She had heard talk between Heilia and Poppy whilst she was in a dreamlike state between sleep and consciousness and although she hadn’t heard all of it she had heard enough. They were starting an alliance against Severus Snape and they were going to ask her, Argus and Sabina for their assistance. Although she wasn’t after an alliance against him and wanted only to see the hidden part of him kept locked away in his living space she would gladly join. Perhaps they too would desire to see just what he had hidden in that little space in the dungeons that was his own.

“Professor Trelawney, are you alright?!” Came the shrill voice of Lavender Brown, one of her sixth year students.

“Yes, I am fine my dear. I have been seeing something like this in the crystal ball for quite some time.” Sybil replied to the girl who was joined a moment later by her friend, Parvati.

“But your face, it’s green!” Parvati cried.

“And you have no hair!” Said Lavender.

“I am aware of that my child, however I will recover shortly and will be teaching again once more within a matter of days.” Sybil replied.

“Is there anything I can do for you, Professor?” Lavender asked her.

“Yes, bring me a crystal ball to occupy myself with whilst I am recuperating.” She said to the girl.

“Of course, Professor!” Parvati said and the two girls disappeared from the room, returning around fifteen minutes later with a crystal ball.

“Thank you girls.” Sybil said to them, “Now if you would leave a Seer to her gift.”

“Certainly, Professor.” Said Parvati.

“Get well soon!” Said Lavender before the two of them left the hospital wing.

Such nice girls, a pity they’re going to die in a freak chess accident. Sybil thought as she stared into the crystal ball but saw nothing but cloud. My Inner Eye must have been poisoned also. She thought as she set the ball on her bedside table, knowing that if she could not at least use it to See then she could throw it at Snape’s sneering face should he enter the hospital wing.


***


“So your poisoning went well then, Severus?” Minerva asked him as the staff sat down for lunch. They had all had a stressful set of lessons that morning and they were glad for the rest.

“Oh yes,” Severus smiled as he took a sip of tea. “She should be right off me now.”

“And she’s also a healthy shade of green.” Filius pointed out.

“That’s an added bonus.” Severus explained. “And all to think that it was mostly a pathetic Polyjuice potion made by Malfoy, the boy does have some uses after all!”

“Don’t remind me of Malfoy please!” Filius complained, “I had to teach him this morning and he was a nightmare! He kept hexing Harry continually.”

“I see no problem there.” Severus said calmly. It was one of his wishes to have the chance to curse Potter continually himself, even if he couldn’t do it then at least someone else was.

“I do. Potter blocked them all and the more he blocked the worse they became. In the end Malfoy shot the Reductor curse at him.” Filius explained.

“What happened?” Remus asked him, trying not to let the worry that Harry had been blown into several pieces affect his voice.

“Oh nothing much. Harry reversed it (using an excellent spell I might add) and it hit Malfoy.” Filius said, “It taught him not to hex Harry of course, but there was blood all over my classroom after that and Mr Malfoy’s arm soared across the room, hitting Miss Brown in the face.”

“I would put money on Sybil telling Miss Brown that she knew she would be hit in the face with a severed arm today.” Minerva said.

“She’ll be sat there in the hospital wing with a crystal ball in her lap telling anyone who’ll listen about how Severus is going to be attacked by various Divination equipment.” Remus said.

“I do not doubt it.” Filius said. “I still don’t understand why Malfoy took Defence Against the Dark Arts, only to walk out at the beginning of the first lesson.”

“Maybe he didn’t like the class; it is most of the D.A. after all.” Minerva suggested.

“Or maybe he wanted to attempt to humiliate you and try and convince other students to leave the class as well.” Filius suggested.

“The mere fact that it was Malfoy leaving the room would suggest that everyone else was thoroughly determined to stay in their seats.” Severus commented.

“Quite true.” Minerva said. “I really do not know then, just be happy that he left your class and he’s the only one in the whole school that has.” She said to Remus who nodded.

“Are you going to ask him about wandless magic tonight then?” She asked and Remus nodded.

“I’ve thought about it and I’ve decided that’s probably the best time to do it. He’ll only have had Apparation lessons so he won’t be too tired and surely he realises that he used wandless magic on Severus yesterday with.” Remus said.

“Really?” Filius asked Severus who nodded.

“I was showing him some Legilimency to help him learn Occlumency and the boy pushed me right out of his head and I flew across the room.” Severus said coolly, “He flung his arm out looking mildly horrified and I stopped in midair. He dropped his arm to his side and I dropped to the floor.”

“Impressive.” Filius murmured.

“I suppose.” Severus said, not wanting to acknowledge that he had been rather impressed with Harry’s magic.

“So since when have you been teaching him Legilimency?” Minerva asked him as she took a packet of crisps from the basket which floated past her.

“Since I foolishly allowed the boy to break into my mind to see how it is when he’s attacking.” Severus explained.

“Well that was just a one off.” Filius said.

“I only wish.” Severus muttered, “Naturally Potter had to be good at it, I told Dumbledore and he wants me to spend another two nights a week with him teaching him Legilimency.”

“You sound thrilled.” Remus smiled.

“Oh yes.” Severus muttered. “So now I’m teaching him Occlumency on Tuesday and Friday and Legilimency on Wednesday and Saturday. So much fun.”

“I thought Harry was keeping Saturdays free.” Filius said absently.

“He was until he showed skill in Legilimency, unless he wants to start working until midnight just so he has a free Saturday then he can bloody well put up with and be grateful I’m spending my time teaching him.” Severus snapped.

“You ought to be pleased; when he shows skill in Legilimency then it will reflect on you, being his teacher.” Filius said.

“Yes and his failure in Occlumency reflects on me as well. I’d rather not have the reflection of his success and not have to put up with him.” Severus scowled as he glared at the sandwich on his plate, as if daring it to ridicule his teaching. “What’s wrong with them?” He asked, noticing the fact that Poppy and Sabina were glaring at him from down the table.

“I think they might have caught onto the fact that you poisoned Sybil.” Minerva said.

“I think just about everyone realised that by now.” Remus said lightly, ignoring the glare that Snape sent at him.

“Oh shut up, Lupin.” Snape muttered. “They’re conspiracising against me, I know it.”

“Is that even a word?” Filius asked mildly.

“Probably not.” Severus said, not moving his eyes from the two women.

“For god’s sake, stop being so paranoid!” Remus said when he didn’t move his eyes.

“I’ll stop being so paranoid when you stop coming out with muggle phrases like ‘for god’s sake’. That boy hasn’t half turned you into a muggle, Lupin.” Severus said and Remus raised an eyebrow.

“First muggle ever to teach at Hogwarts then.” Filius noted.

“They’re plotting… I can tell.” Severus said.

“I’m sure lots of people are plotting against you, Severus.” Minerva said, sounding quite exasperated.

“They are?” Severus asked, looking up at her with an alarmed look on his face.

“If you can prove they’re plotting against you then I’ll believe it.” Filius said.

“What do you want, blueprints of my office in their rooms?” Severus snapped.

“That would be quite conclusive I believe.” Filius said and Minerva and Remus smiled.

“Right that’s it, I’m going to brew more poison, just in case.” Severus said, glancing at Sabina and Poppy. Minerva laughed but didn’t comment.

“Don’t forget the Order meeting at ten.” Minerva said to him.

“As if I could forget that. The speculation as to how Voldemort found out I was a spy, what fun!” He said with mock enthusiasm as he marched off.

“Do you think they are plotting against him?” Remus asked as he took a packet of crisps.

“Definitely.” Minerva said.

“Do you think we should help them?” Filius asked.

“No, Sybil will help them.” Minerva said. “I’m considering helping Severus actually.” Remus raised an eyebrow.

“Really?” He asked, “Since when do you help Severus?”

“Since no one else will, and that way I can work against Sybil.” She explained.

“How do you know Sybil’s on their side?” Remus asked.

“He did poison her this morning.” Filius pointed out.

“True.” Remus agreed.

“Which side of this impending plotting between the staff are you going to be on?” Minerva asked Remus and Filius.

“Whichever side you’re on,” Said Filius, “You never lose.”

“I’m going to have to be on Snape’s side in case he stops making me the Wolfsbane potion.” Remus said, although the prospect of helping his old childhood enemy when people were plotting against him wasn’t particularly appealing. At least he got to plot against Trelawney though, that was a definite upside to all of this.

“Right, I’m off. Those sixth years won’t teach themselves.” Remus said.

“That’s not true. If you stay here Potter might teach them.” Minerva pointed out.

“True but then again he might not.” Filius said as he too rose from his seat and left for his afternoon classes.

“Don’t forget the meeting,” Minerva said to them as they left.

“Do you think we should turn up late and pretend that we forgot?” Remus asked Filius as they walked away from the table.

“I would but she might get us.” Filius smiled. “Although if she reminds me one more time I won’t be responsible for my actions…” Remus grinned, as a student at the school he had wondered how the teachers could possibly spend all their time teaching in such a dull school when there was a whole world out there. Now that he had returned as a teacher he found that he didn’t want to leave, not since everything was so terribly interesting and so bizarrely amusing. He wondered whether interest in the staff came with age or whether the staff were intentionally dull around the students, he couldn’t have imagined having something close to fun with his formidable Transfiguration and Charms teachers as well as his worst enemy when he was sixteen. Then again he couldn’t imagine that aged thirty six he would be looking after the son of the late Potters (and godson of Sirius Black). Things changed, and he was slowly getting used to that fact.

A/N: Short chapter, I know but the next chapter (More Than Just Magic Without A Wand) will be up on Saturday. Hurrah! I rather liked this chapter actually so I hope you did too. Trust me when I say that there is a plot and it is moving and not that slowly either. Time is going to skip forwards in a chapter or two because incase you haven't noticed it still the first week back at school and I'm on chapter twenty eight(?) I don't actually know the chapter but it's around that anyway. Just think, this is about half way through the story! God knows what I'll write when this is done. Well thanks for reading this far and I'm glad that you're not all thoroughly bored of this yet. Update coming Saturday :o)

Hello again.. this is a quick add in done on Saturday - the day I'm meant to be updating on. I can't update! I've lost all the chapters from Legilimens onwards!!!!! My disk won't let me open them and I have no copies from after Legilimens! I was on chapter 31! Woe is me! Basically I have to start again from there and hope I don't miss out much vital information. I am so annoyed right now!!!!!

Anyway, I'm going to update as soon as I can but that mightn't be for a couple of days. I can't help but wonder how many people are going to end up reading this since most people have probably already read this chapter who read it anyway. Apologies to you all for my successful loss of my work. New chapter coming in a day or two (as soon as I've rewritten it!!!!) Damn you microsoft... damn you!!! *shakes fist at the skies* :o)


Chapter 29: More Than Just Magic Without A Wand
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Harry walked down the corridor and stood outside the two gargoyles who looked down at him with contempt, although Harry was sure that one of them winked at him a moment before. He had been told the password to get in to Dumbledore’s office so that he could floo from there to Grimmauld Place where he would meet Mad Eye to have one of his biweekly Apparation lessons. He quite liked apparating now that he had got the hang of it. Hermione felt the same way and missed the apparating around the house that she had been free to do during the summer. Charlie was thrilled with her work apparently and he didn’t think that she even needed lessons anymore. Mad Eye had said something similar about Harry but he told him that they would be keeping up the lessons if only so that he could apparate around during the time he was at school and keep himself in practice – after all since no one could apparate in or out of Hogwarts then Harry couldn’t practice and if he couldn’t practice then he was likely to splinch himself the next time he tried. Hermione had also received this warning but she had ignored it and was now focussing on her Animagus lessons.

“If she splinches herself the next time she apparates it will be your fault.” Mad Eye had said to Charlie the last time that they had all been together discussing their apparition lessons and Animagi lessons which had been two days before in Minerva’s office.

“She won’t.” Charlie said confidently and next to him Hermione had looked similarly confident of her abilities.

“Well you’re not stopping lessons.” Mad Eye said to Harry who had nodded. He didn’t want to stop anyway; he liked the freedom just to apparate around twice a week, although it was rather exhausting to do so.

“And what about you, Mr Weasley?” Minerva had asked him two days previously.

“Ron doesn’t have any choice, he can’t do it properly yet.” Fred said and looked at his younger brother in an exasperated fashion and his twin did the same. Ron had gone very red at this point and muttered something under his breath. From what Harry had heard from Mad Eye (and that wasn’t very much) Ron was still splinching himself when he tried to apparate further than half a mile. Harry tried not to think too badly of it and judge his friend but he thought that was pretty pathetic. Half a mile seemed like nothing to him now. The last time he splinched himself had been during their last lesson when Harry had apparated from Grimmauld Place in London right up to Edinburgh and even then he had only lost an ear. Ron had managed to lose a calf, an eye, half his hair, three fingers and a foot when he apparated into a field of cows within viewing distance of Grimmauld Place from Grimmauld Place. It was not necessary to state that Ron did not like talking about Apparation lessons, especially not with Hermione.

“Password?”

“Skiving Snackbox.” Harry said and grinned slightly; the idea of Dumbledore using anything manufactured by the twins seemed laughable, and yet at the same time he had seen the headmaster with a rather dramatic nosebleed the day before…

“Good evening Harry.” Albus said to him with a smile. “The floo powder is on the mantelpiece.” He watched as the young boy crossed the room and took some of the floo, taking a moment to state his location before disappearing into the flames. He had heard tell from Mad Eye that he was excellent at the new transportation method, although why he continued to have lessons was beyond them all, especially since he was now able to apparate from one end of the country to the other, which was further than a couple of the staff could manage. Nevertheless Mad Eye continued to teach him, stretching his own apparating distance as well whilst he was at it, although he never told Harry that he could apparate further than Pomona Sprout and Heilia Hooch put together.

Harry stepped out of the flames in the familiar house and quickly flung a shield around him as a hex shot in his direction. He blocked it quickly and effectively as there was hoarse laughter from the side of him.

“Excellent, Potter!” Mad Eye grinned lopsidedly at him, “Constant Vigilance!” Harry smiled slightly as the two of them left the kitchen through the backdoor and apparated down to the field on the other side.

“Where to?” Harry asked his teacher. Mad Eye thought for a moment before coming to a decision.

“I think we’ll go to Paris today.” Mad Eye said to him and Harry raised an eyebrow; he had never gone that far before but that wasn’t going to stop him from trying. The two wizards disapparated with a crack.


***


Harry apparated into the kitchen of Grimmauld Place and into a chair at the table. He jumped as he noticed the man sat opposite him, staring out of the window, but his attention was moved from the scenery and to Harry.

“What are you doing here, Remus?” Harry asked his guardian who sipped at his hot chocolate (Merlin, how he loved that muggle drink…) and smiled slightly at his godson.

“Be here at eight thirty on Sunday morning.” Mad Eye said to Harry and disapparated either to a different building or a different room in the house, Harry couldn’t tell which.

“So…?” Harry said and Remus smiled slightly at Harry before beginning.

“Yesterday you used wandless magic to stop Severus from being thrown into the wall and then ended it, allowing him to fall.” Remus said to Harry and scanned his face quickly but he made no reaction to it, meaning that he either already knew this piece of information or he was hiding his reaction from him. Remus had half a mind to tell him something awful and shocking to see whether he did anything. I caught Filch and Snape at it in a broom cupboard earlier on! Sprang instantly to mind and he had to fight hard not to smile or to speak his thoughts to Harry.

“It’s the same kind of magic which you used in the duel, isn’t it?” Harry said, more as a statement than a question. Remus nodded. “Will you teach me to use it?”

“Of course.” Remus smiled, “I wouldn’t be cruel enough to tell you that you could do wandless magic if I taught you and then refuse to teach you.”

“When can we start then?” Harry asked him.

“Right now, unless you’re too tired from Apparition?” Harry shook his head.

It was for that reason that Remus found himself sat on his bed at Hogwarts some ten minutes later with Harry beside him, twirling a small needle between his fingers.

“So basically I’m going to have to learn all the magic that I already learnt with a wand again, but without it?” Harry asked scowling slightly as he looked up to Remus who nodded.

“Unfortunately so.” Remus said, “But it won’t take long. It took you around two or three lessons to learn to change a match into a needle in transfiguration in your first year. It took you five minutes now.”

“Ouch!” Harry cried as the needle pricked his finger and Remus rolled his eyes.

“Although if you can’t handle a needle without injuring yourself in someway then how you’re going to cope I really don’t know.” Remus said, grinning at Harry. “Anyway, we’re going onto levitation now.” Harry looked at him in puzzlement.

“Well why are we going on to it? Isn’t it just Wingardium Leviosa? I –” Harry was about to continue but Remus cut him off.

“No, it’s not. You can do it that way but with wandless magic you can be so much more precise and you have a lot more power as well since you don’t lose any magic in your wand or waste it channelling magic into your wand.” He put his hand lightly on Harry’s and Harry’s eyes widened as he felt Remus slip into his mind.

How loud is your mind?! Remus thought and Harry heard it quite clearly.

How are you in my head? Harry asked him.

Sort of Legilimency but when I’m touching you Occlumency won’t have any effect on it. Remus replied.

Can you do this without touching?

Yes, I’ll show you in a moment. Remus thought in return. For now I’m just going to control you for a bit… He added and Harry’s arm which was not touching Remus moved seemingly of it’s own accord.

Hey! Harry thought and tried to push Remus out using his Occlumency but Remus’ mind moved quickly in the same way that Harry had done in Snape’s mind only the day before. Harry felt his mind fall past Remus and for a strange moment it was as if his mind wasn’t connected to his body and the room became brighter for a second before he was back in his mind, Remus looked at him with interest and a slight smile playing around his lips.

As I said, Occlumency hasn’t any effect and if you just push someone away like that then you just fall past them if their mind shifts. If that’s all you learnt from Snape then he is a poor teacher but then there are better and more subtle ways to get into someone’s mind than just brute strength. Remus thought. Snape’s failing to realise that is possibly his biggest personal failing and I’m surprised that he hasn’t has his mind broken into a dozen times by Voldemort if he uses that attitude. Harry liked the idea that Snape had a personal failing but not that Voldemort could easily have broken into his mind and perhaps that was what had happened when Voldemort had found out he was a spy… Away from Snape and back onto wandless magic, Harry. For a moment Harry felt slightly taken aback that Remus had known what he was thinking but then again he was in his mind.

Remus could feel Harry’s thoughts, and although they weren’t quite processed into words he could feel them as if they were his own. He thought it was strange the way that he instantly questioned everything that he, Remus, said to him and started drawing conclusions. It was not the way that Remus’ own mind worked, he generally stored up information until he had something close to conclusive proof that something was the way it was, slowly piecing things together like a jigsaw. He thought that this made him a more rational thinker, although he could not solve things and put things together at the same speed of Harry because of it.

Away from thought processes and back onto wandless magic, Remus. Harry thought to him and Remus jumped slightly, almost forgetting that he was in Harry’s mind and not his own.

Sorry. He smiled mentally and Harry looked at him but didn’t see one on his face. It was definitely a strange feeling to feel someone smiling.

So can I make you move then? Harry asked him.

No, we’re in your mind, not mine. Remus replied, If you reversed this then you could.

And how would I go about that?

Focus your mind on my hand and push through it with your mind and into mine. Remus responded. Harry concentrated on Remus’ fingertips which were lightly on his own hand and pushed gently at it with his mind, feeling himself slip through it in a rush and suddenly things were rather different.

This is so weird… Harry thought and tried to fathom just why things seemed so different.

Why is it? Remus laughed.

It’s not like my mind…

That would be because it isn’t your mind, Harry. Remus thought in a slightly exasperated and slightly amused tone. And the difference you probably noticed is that it’s a lot quieter in my mind in comparison to yours. Harry realised that he was in fact correct, Remus’ mind didn’t seem to buzz with thoughts that kept wandering idly through his mind, crossing into his primary thoughts every now and again. Now let’s see if you can control me. Move deeper into my mind and try to move, if you’re far enough in then I should move. Remus thought to him and Harry nodded.

Harry pushed further into Remus’ mind, submersing himself in his thoughts. He then tried to move Remus’ hand but it didn’t work; instead his own fingers twitched.

You’re still too far on the edge. Here… Harry felt himself being pulled deeper into Remus’ mind and the thoughts here were different to the ones he found on the surface where his guardian was thinking about teaching him wandless magic. Here he could still feel those thoughts but there were other things as well, there was a lot of himself there, Voldemort’s occasional laughter and glimpses of Harry’s own past. Those mingled in with thoughts of the staff which were all stood together in two groups. Harry wondered why before things altered slightly and he saw flashes of his parents, of Sirius and Peter when they were younger, Sirius falling through the veil and he was restraining himself from Remus’ first person view. As well as that he could sense an overall feeling surrounding him which felt like guilt mingled with worry, although what Remus felt guilty or worried for he didn’t quite know.

You’re supposed to be controlling me, not looking round my subconscious. Remus thought.

Sorry… Harry thought. He concentrated on moving and raised his arm and to his surprise Remus moved instead of himself.

Good. Remus thought and he felt himself slipping away towards the edges of Remus’ mind but not out of it.

Your subconscious is very different to this. Harry noted.

It would be, if all my thoughts were as cluttered as yours I think I’d end up permanently confused. Remus smiled.

Like I am, you mean? Harry grinned but only in his mind.

You don’t seem that confused. Remus thought. But your thoughts aren’t straight either.

What’s in my subconscious? Harry asked him.

Lots of things: Voldemort, your friends, the Order, Voldemort, Death Eaters, NEWTs, apparition lessons, your Animagus form, Voldemort, Sirius, your parents as you saw them in your fourth year, me, Dumbledore, Voldemort, the Department of Mysteries and Voldemort. Remus replied, there was a lot of Voldemort there, more so than anything else. There was also the prophecy which kept repeating itself again and again and a sense of fear and determination. He didn’t like being in Harry’s subconscious, it made him feel uncomfortable and fearful. What’s in mine?

Sirius, me, my parents, Peter, my past and then a feeling of worry and guilt… Harry replied to him, What are you feeling worried or guilty about?

Probably you. Remus answered without thinking about it and cursed himself mentally for not regulating his thoughts more carefully, especially with Harry in his mind as he was. That’s the problem with mind to mind communication: it’s difficult to conceal the truth or avoid questions, especially if you have the tendency to answer things instantly in your mind before you speak, like I do. If you just blurt things out then you have even less chance of lying. It takes a very skilled liar to conceal the truth in the mind, especially in someone else’s mind.

Remus lifted his hand from Harry’s and the connection broke. Harry felt himself being sucked back into his own mind and he looked out through his own eyes at the room around him. He felt distinctly odd as he looked around, as if he hadn’t been looking through his eyes but someone else’s, but then if he had been looking through Remus’ eyes that didn’t explain why he had been able to see Remus as if he was looking through his own…

“You weren’t looking through your eyes.” Remus said to him as if he knew what he had been thinking, although with the connection broken he had not. “You saw through your mind. It overrode your sense of sight since magic is stronger in you. That is part of what makes a wandless magician. Now lie down and close your eyes.” He said to Harry who did as he was told. Remus had a strong urge to go and hide somewhere in the room and see how long it was until Harry opened his eyes and looked for him but decided against it. “Just let your mind go and tell me what you see.” Remus murmured to him.

Tell you what I see?! I won’t see anything because my eyes are closed! Harry thought vehemently before he did as he was told and cleared his mind completely. A strange drifting sensation overtook his mind and a moment later he could see Remus. He gasped and opened his eyes, finding Remus looking at him.

“What did you see?”

“I saw you.” Harry replied as he looked at his guardian with a strange interest in his eyes which was something along the lines of puzzlement, bemusement, eagerness to learn more and complete and utter confusion all rolled into one expression.

“I thought so. You saw me because you would expect to see me more so than any other object in the room. Now close your eyes again but don’t focus on me and you will see the rest of the room.”

Harry closed his eyes and he saw Remus again, but this time he saw him faster and did not have to wait as long for his mind to clear and his guardian’s body to enter his mind. He waited a moment more and the room slid into focus around him. He looked around him and was shocked to find that it was exactly the same as Remus’ room, although he supposed he would have been more surprised to find that it was different in someway. Remus flashed him a smile before he got up from the bed and crossed the room to stand by the window. He motioned for Harry to move and join him so Harry tried.

“No, you move only your mind, not your physical self.” Remus said to Harry as he opened his eyes. Harry had moved his arm but not only in his mind, causing him to jolt back into reality. “Try again.”

Harry closed his eyes and this time the room and Remus appeared in a moment. He carefully got up from the bed and walked over to Remus who smiled and turned him around. Harry’s eyes widened slightly as he saw himself and Remus both on the bed with their eyes closed. Remus’ hand was resting lightly on his shoulder and it felt very strange as if he was touching him but not…

“Weird…” Harry thought for the second time during their session.

“Things are going to be weird, you’re learning something completely new to you.” Remus said to him.

“Where are we?”

“We are in our minds. You’re just extending your mind into the room, as am I. You can tell the difference between someone’s mind and their physical body easily since their mind is generally pretty transparent.” Remus said to him and Harry looked down at his hands, which were indeed translucent. “You need to be touching the skin to speak in the physical world but in the mind you only have to be able to see one another.” Harry nodded.

“Of course there are always problems with communicating like this; you can be overheard by any other wandless magician in the vicinity this way. Touching someone else in the physical world is much better because then you cannot be overheard so no one knows that you’re speaking to someone else but you have to be touching for it to work.” Remus said to him before going to sit on the bed.

“Can you do this without closing your eyes?” Harry asked him and Remus nodded.

“But it’s much easier this way. The other senses try to block out your mind and in general your eyesight is the strongest of the senses. You can’t build up an image of the room in your head using magical impulses if you already see the room through your eyes; it makes no difference.” Remus told him, twirling his wand idly through his fingers. “You can go half and half; force your mind to look around whilst your eyes are open. That way you still have the room in your mind from your sight but your mind can travel of it’s own accord. You get a strange split vision though: one from your mind and one from your eyes. It can get very confusing.”

“When will you teach me that?” Harry asked him.

“Another time.” Remus smiled. “Doing that’s very useful for seeing anyone invisible though. Because someone invisible only hides their physical appearance then you can see their actual person hiding in the room and as long as you don’t go too far to either your mind or your body then you can walk around in your body as well as send your mind somewhere else.”

“Is that difficult?”

“Very much so. I can walk with my mind walking somewhere else, but I’ve yet to manage to speak to someone whilst looking around in my mind; it’s just too difficult.” Remus said and then added, “Your mother used to be able to do it thought…” He realised that once again his mind had spoken before he’d had the chance to stop it.

“My mum was a wandless magician?” Harry asked.

“Yes, the skill is hereditary; although how I ended up with it I don’t know.” Remus said, “Your father was madly jealous though when I could do it as well. When I was learning we kept talking in our minds and James kept wanting to hear what we were saying but he couldn’t. Drove him up the wall…” He smiled slightly at the memory of his friend and Harry curled up to him; a warm comfort in his mind. Remus idly stroked his fingers through Harry’s messy hair which just wouldn’t neaten up even in Harry’s mind.

“Who else is a wandless magician then?” Harry asked eventually.

“I don’t think I know anyone but you.” Remus told him. “It’s very rare. Well known though. Like being a parselmouth – everyone’s heard of it but few can do it.”

“Is it seen as a good thing?” Harry asked him, the thought sparked from his mentioning parselmouths.

“It is actually.” Remus said, “Wandless magicians are thought of as very strong in body, mind and magic. Not really true but what people think all the same. This is one of those things that we don’t want the ministry to learn of. They would be rather intrigued to learn that you’re a wandless magician and would love nothing more than to make the information public. Naturally since Voldemort doesn’t know this yet then we want to keep this within the Order, and Ron and Hermione of course.” He said to Harry who nodded.

“You were going to show me levitation…” Harry said suddenly.

“So I was.” Remus smiled. That had been some time ago and both of them had temporarily forgotten about it. He held out his hand and his wand flew across the room and into his palm, Harry was impressed but didn’t show it. Keeping his palm open Remus allowed the wand to levitate up two feet into the air, leaving it hovering there. “Take it.” Remus said to Harry who was watching it.

“I don’t know how.” He replied.

“You do. Hold your hand under it at first. Not because you need to but because you’re so used to channelling magic through your hand and into your wand that it will probably help.” Remus said to him and took Harry’s hand and placed it palm up beneath his.

“I can’t do this…” Harry thought, forgetting that Remus would hear it.

“Of course you can.” Remus smiled at him, “Will it to stay in the air. You need to concentrate on it and want it to stay there, just where it is.” Remus said to him as he glanced down at the wand which was hovering in the air, moving up and down ever so slightly. “Ready?”

“Not really…” Harry replied before he could prevent his mind from thinking it. Remus smiled at him before moving his hand and the wand suddenly became perfectly still in the air. Remus’ eyes widened. It was completely still, not so much as a waver. Amazing. He could really concentrate on something when he needed to and that amount of concentration was holding something that still in the air. He knew that Harry was going to be better than him at wandless magic and he doubted that it would take him a long time either. He felt a strange mingling of slight jealousy with pride for him. He shouldn’t feel as if he had to compete with Harry, after all it was Harry who had to face Voldemort, not he. He would be another body for the war, he hoped he would not but part of him was sure that he would not live through this. He felt Harry’s gaze upon him and realised that he had been staring into space for quite some time.

“You won’t die, Remus.” Harry said softly and Remus’ gaze met his. Remus inwardly damned himself for allowing his thoughts to show in his mind, in their minds, for that was what this was – a place where only the mind could reach.

“You don’t know that, Harry.” Remus said to him. “There are always deaths during a war and Voldemort wants me because I’m close to you.”

“I know, but you can’t go around being convinced that you’re going to die or you will.” Harry said to him, “Who has more chance of dying, you or me? Bearing in mind that I will eventually have to face Voldemort of course…”

“I’m sorry…” Remus said, and broke his gaze with those piercing green ones and glanced at his wand which was still hovering, although it was no longer as still as it had been before but then Harry’s concentration was no longer where it had been before. “I think that’s enough for tonight.” He concluded and Harry lowered the wand to the bed without taking his eyes from Remus, who smiled at his success. “You’re going to be extremely good at this, you know.” He said before he opened his eyes and he came back into the physical world. He found that his eyes ached and his head was beginning to hurt as it so often did after so much work for his mind over such little time. The room was almost dark now; the sun had set not long ago and the room was lit by what little light was left outside.

“Are you alright?” Harry asked him, reaching out and putting his hand on his own to get his attention. They didn’t feel the strange joining of minds as Harry didn’t push into Remus’ mind but stayed in the physical world.

“I’m fine.” Remus smiled and got up from the bed, running his fingers lightly through Harry’s soft hair. “You need a haircut, you know.”

“So you’ve said, repeatedly.” Harry said and held out his hand slightly. “Accio wand” He murmured. Two wands instantly flew into his outstretched hand and he stared at them in disbelief. Remus smiled; Harry had just performed fourth year magic without a wand. Without practicing anything more than changing matches to needles.

“Excellent Harry.” Remus said to him, “Try not to speak the spell next time though.”

“Why’s it so dark?” Harry asked him suddenly.

Because the sun’s set. You know what the sun is – big ball of burning gas… Remus thought. “Everything gives off magical waves, no matter how muggle the item may seem. Your mind picks it up and manages to make it into a picture of what things are like around you.” He replied. “Because you can send magic out through your body easily without needing a wand you can also absorb it with much more ease than anyone else which allows you to pick up magical waves and turn them into a picture when few others can. Anyway, as I was trying to say before I digressed… you don’t see with light in your mind, you see with magic. Magic causes colour, magic brings about life, magic holds the world together, magic is the world, it is the meaning of life and without it there would be no life, there wouldn’t be anything without it.

“All that muggle stuff you learn about the world being made of parts like the core, the mantle and the crust – it’s not real. The world is solid except for a magical centre which heats up the earth.” Remus finished.

“How do you know about the whole mantle and crust thing?” Harry asked him, “And what about muggles who’ve proven that the earth isn’t solid?” Remus smiled knowing that Harry’s mind would have been spotting flaws in everything that he said even as he formed the words in his mouth.

“I know about how muggles think the world is because went through the muggle education system and kept learning until I was about fourteen or fifteen, despite the fact that I knew that most things I was ‘learning’ just weren’t true.” Remus replied, “And as for the muggles… well some wizards have fun tricking muggles into thinking they know how things really work. They’ve worked out atomic structure with protons, neutrons and electrons. It’s not real – a wizard once stunned a muggle and wrote the most ridiculous idea he could think of at the time which (most people think) wasn’t really ridiculous enough, on the blackboard behind him and then woke the muggle. He worked it out so that everything would have to be made up of protons, neutrons and electrons by using a lot of imagination and now muggles learn it in schools. In reality everything is made of magic.”

“If everything’s made of magic then why don’t muggles have magic?” Harry asked him and Remus sighed.

“You know most of this is common knowledge amongst wizards, Harry, you could just ask Ron.” He replied.

“Sorry…” Harry said and Remus smiled slightly, he forgot how much about the world Harry didn’t know.

“Don’t be.” Remus said, “Although I’m surprised that your incessant curiosity hasn’t killed you yet.”

“It almost has, on numerous occasions.” Harry said.

“I know…” Remus replied, “Anyway, wizards are really a mutation of muggles. Muggles are normal but wizards have a core of magic trapped inside them. It makes them live longer, heals them quickly and never runs out, although you can temporarily exhaust your magic making it weak and unstable but that rarely happens. Is there anything else or are you going to let me go to the Order meeting I must attend?”

“Sorry, I didn’t know else I’d have shut up a while ago.” Harry said to him and rose from Remus’ bed.

“I’m glad you didn’t. I love teaching you.” Remus said to him, “You’re the ideal student – interested, eager to learn and talented at most things.”

“I wouldn’t go that far.” Harry said but smiled slightly at his praise. “I suppose I could let you leave then…”

They left the room and walked through Remus’ living quarters into his office on the other side.

“So when will you teach me again?” Harry asked him as they left his office.

“Whenever we both have the time. I’m free most evenings unless there’s a meeting for the staff or the Order so whenever you want to learn I’ll teach.” Remus smiled at him.

“I do Occlumency and Legilimency on Tuesday, Monday, Friday and Saturday.” Harry told him.

“But if I remember correctly you only have Legilimency on a Friday – no Apparation or Animagus lessons, so I’ll teach you Wednesdays, Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays if you want…” Remus said to him and Harry nodded.

“Are you sure? That’s a lot of time though…” Harry said to him.

“Well if you don’t want to…” Remus said lightly.

“I was thinking more of you.” Harry said.

“There’s no one I’d rather take up all my time with.” Remus said quietly to him. He knew that it wouldn’t go down well for him to seem to favour Harry, especially if the Slytherins got wind of it but he didn’t want Harry to think he was reluctant to teach him because he loved to teach and he loved him, there was no better combination than teaching Harry something, especially if it was as new to him and interesting as wandless magic was. “I’ll see you tomorrow then?” Harry smiled and nodded.

“See you tomorrow…” He repeated as they both went in their different directions: Harry to his common room to get some well needed rest and Remus to the Order meeting in Dumbledore’s office. Both of them felt utterly exhausted and Remus had forgotten just how draining wandless magic could be but nevertheless he moved his mind so that whilst watching where he was going and walking to Dumbledore’s office he was watching Harry walk back to his common room. He felt a smile touch his face – both in his mind and his physical face. It always cheered him to be around Harry and with everything that his poor godson had been through it made sitting through what was almost certainly going to be a dull Order meeting seem like nothing at all.

A/N: Soooo... what did you think? It was very full of information to be taken in, so I hope it was alright and not too confusing. I'll be having more wandless magic soon though and the more I write the clearer it should become. Next chapter will be up on Tuesday and will be called 'The Infiltration of the Order' Toodle Pip! :o)

Chapter 30: The Infiltration Of The Order
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“Skiving Snackbox.” Remus said as he walked into Dumbledore’s office to see a large table set out in the enlarged room. Dumbledore was sat at the far end of it with Minerva, Filius and Severus already in their seats.

“I see you didn’t forget then…” Minerva said coolly and as Remus met Filius’ eyes he bit back laughter; Minerva had been constantly reminding all members of the Order that she could find not to forget the meeting throughout the day. At one point Remus had considered not turning up to see what she said but considering the number of nasty things that she could turn him into he decided against it and took a seat at the head of the table next to Minerva and opposite Severus.

Soon more people began to file into the room through the fireplace and Remus suddenly wondered why he hadn’t just taken the fire to Dumbledore’s office – it would have been much faster and he would only have had to throw the floo into the fire, say ‘Dumbledore’s Office’ and step through the flames, no spinning, no nausea just step through. That was the benefit of an internal floo system in a building, it was quick and efficient but most people forgot to use it and walked instead.

“Hello Arthur, Molly.” Albus smiled as the two eldest Weasleys sat down at the table. Next through the fireplace came Bill and Charlie who staggered through it together and had evidently tried to floo at the same time. The result was that the fireplace was too small and Charlie had cut his arm, whilst Bill fell over his own feet and landed on the floor with all the grace of Neville Longbottom blindfolded and told he was running from a Hungarian Horntail.

After Bill and Charlie, Fred and George pulled the same stunt and tried to floo together. They had even less luck and appeared with slightly torn robes, covered in soot and blood but grinning inanely nonetheless as they offered Snape a Ton-Tongue Toffee, which he politely (and wisely) declined. Then came Mad Eye, who after entering the room by floo proceeded to check the rest of the room for intruders and began asking the occupants of the room searching questions which ranged from ‘name?’ to ‘ever considering becoming a Death Eater?’.

Tonks staggered out of the fireplace and landed on her face before dragging herself to her feet and attempting to sit Mad Eye down before he hexed Minerva who didn’t appear to be answering his questions to his satisfaction; her claim that she was Merlin had not gone down well, nor had her accusation that he was really a Death Eater in disguise. Kingsley walked calmly through the fireplace and sat down at the end of the table and looked around him at the people idly chatting to one another and waiting for the meeting to begin.

“I believe that is everyone…” Dumbledore said at the end of the table and all became quiet. “Let the meeting begin…

“The first reason why I have called you here today is to discuss Voldemort and his discovery of Severus’ previous duplicitous role in his Death Eaters.”

“I think he wants to know how You Know Who knows Snape’s a spy for the Order.” Fred whispered loudly to George.

“Very well translated, Mr Weasley.” Dumbledore smiled. “Any suggestions?”

“Maybe he read his mind…” Tonks suggested.

“Miss Tonks, do you really suggest that my skills in Occlumency are poor enough to give myself away that easily?!” Severus barked at her and she was instantly silent.

“Well Harry hasn’t been having much success with it so you say,” Remus said delicately, “Perhaps it’s down to your not having enough skill in the subject.”

“How dare you insinuate that Potter’s failure is down to my own poor skill in Occlumency!” Severus shouted at him and Remus smiled slightly.

“Well if you are good at Occlumency then it must be your teaching at fault then…” Remus said and Snape’s expression darkened.

“DON’T YOU BLAME YOUR MORONIC GODSON’S FAILURE ON ME! MY TEACHING IS BETTER THAN YOURS WILL EVER BE!” Severus was shouting at the top of his voice now.

“Your teaching seems to involve incessant bullying of the students entrusted to you.” Remus noted as he twirled his wand between his fingers. The gesture was not unnoticed by Severus.

“I do not bully –”

“You terrorise then…” George said quietly and Snape shot him a dirty look.

“Just because you’re a fully-fledged member of the Harry Potter fan club and are now mimicking his every move as well as giving him ridiculously high marks in every test, Lupin. I do not know the meaning of the word ‘favouritism’ where as you seem to live by it.” Severus snapped. Minerva tutted and rolled her eyes at his last sentence.

“No, you’re not biased for your own house at all, Severus.” Minerva said coldly.

“Harry deserves high marks; he’s excellent at Defence Against the Dark Arts.” Remus scowled.

“Well if the only subject he can do well in Defence Against the Dark Arts which is taught by his second godfather and bearing in mind that he’s been taught duelling all summer I find it highly pathetic that’s the only thing he ‘excels’ in.” Severus said.

“I seem to recall that he got an Outstanding potions mark in his OWLs…” Minerva said.

“And an O in charms as well.” Filius piped up.

“So it would appear that he is not such a failure as you’re so desperate to make out Severus.” Remus said.

“Tell me, Lupin, are you worried for your safety?” Severus asked with a malicious glint in his eye, “I would be if I were you… considering that Potter only had parents for a year before they died, the muggles hated him and his last godfather died after only two years of knowing him… seems like an unfortunate pattern to me. Perhaps the deaths of the Potters and Black were connected to the fact that Potter is such an insufferable brat and they had to end their own lives rather than live another moment in his god-awful company…” Severus said lightly.

“HOW DARE YOU!” The yell came not only from Remus but from Molly, Tonks, Fred, George and Minerva all at once. Everyone was outraged by the fact that Severus dared to suggest that Harry caused his parents and godfather to commit suicide and they were not about to let him get away with it. Even those who did not shout out were enraged with him but didn’t feel the need to show it since everyone else would do it for them.

“THAT IS ENOUGH!” Dumbledore’s voice rose over the top of them all and they were silent in a moment. No one dared to disobey him when he raised his voice to that extent and few could blame them. “This is a meeting of the Order of the Phoenix and we are here to discuss two very important topics this evening. We must discover just how Voldemort found out that Severus was a spy.”

“Who cares?” Remus muttered under his breath and Albus turned to him as if to reprimand him but he didn’t speak to him and their discussion began again, as if nothing had ever happened between them.

“Well if Severus didn’t let Voldemort into his mind then I suppose he could have got the information from somewhere else…” Minerva said.

“What about Harry’s mind?’ Severus suggested quite meekly, afraid that everyone was going to see this as another assault on the boy and begin to attack him again.

“Couldn’t have been, he would have known if Voldemort had gained that kind of information from him.” Kingsley said quietly.

“He would have said something to someone.” Charlie agreed.

“But what if Voldemort got the information and Harry knew that he had failed in his Occlumency and didn’t want to say anything…?” Tonks asked.

“He would have said something to Remus at the very least.” Filius said and there was a slight murmur of consent around them. “And he can’t break into anyone else’s mind from such a distance away as Azkaban.”

“Then that leaves only one solution…” Remus said quietly and everyone turned to him, “There’s a spy in the Order.”

“What?!”

“Never!”

“Preposterous!”

“Lies! All Lies!”

“I bet it’s Dumbledore, he’s got that suspicious beard…”

“Or what about Harry, he’s got a shifty look about him.”

“Yes, definitely Harry… He’s a Death Eater if ever I saw one.”

“YOU TWO SHUT UP RIGHT NOW!” Molly barked at Fred and George who had spent the last twenty seconds crying out in protest in various voices and accents. No one else had said a word but only looked around at those with them in disbelief – it couldn’t be any of them, right?

There was Dumbledore and Harry who could never be Death Eaters. After all, if either of them were working for Voldemort then they may as well throw themselves of the Astronomy tower for all the chance they had of winning the war. Then there was Minerva who would stand by Dumbledore and Hogwarts until the last breath was hexed from her body – a true Gryffindor if ever there was one and the mere idea of her being a Death Eater was enough to bring about laugher. Then there was Remus who was a parent to Harry, he loved him as a son and the feeling was not unrequited. Remus Lupin betray Harry and the Order to Voldemort? Never! The suggestion of which would probably cause the suggester to find himself with a face full of fist in a moment.

Remus sighed inwardly as he looked around the room and saw misery and suspicion on everyone’s face. An idea had been planted into the group and ideas could be dangerous things, especially when they promoted distrust and discord in the group as this had already done. At times like this they needed to stand together as the united group against Voldemort, not spend their time suspecting each other of feeding information to the enemy. At the same time if they didn’t suspect one another and find the culprit soon then they may as well owl their plans to Voldemort for all the good it would do.

“Now that unpleasant topic has been raised I feel it is time to move on.” Dumbledore said, cutting through the tension and the silence between them. “There is a mission to be completed by three people in this room. I have selected the three I would prefer to undertake it after a lot of thought and consideration.

“We must infiltrate Malfoy Manor as I have good reason to believe that there is hidden information in Lucius’ study which would be extremely useful to us.” Dumbledore said, “Arthur, Filius, Alastor… would you be willing to go?”

“Yes.” The three men said as one. There was no hesitation between them; they would do what they had to. Remus felt a strange sense of relief inside him. He had been worried for a moment that it would be he who had to go on a mission for the Order and he would be forced to leave Harry and leave the school even just for a night to endanger himself by walking into Death Eater territory. There was always a chance that the people sent would never come back, despite the precautions that were taken, the means of communication that were used constantly between those back at Head Quarters and those in peril not to mention the extensive planning which had taken place beforehand. Something was always in danger of going wrong and Remus didn’t want to go on a mission where something went wrong and he would never see Harry again.

“Excellent.” Albus responded and glanced around the room at them all, “The rest of this meeting will be taken up with planning for the mission ahead. Is there anyone here who would rather leave now?”

“I would, Headmaster.” Severus said, “I am of no use here and I have extensive homework to mark.”

“Very well, Severus, anyone else?” Albus asked, “Remus, you look exhausted.”

“Two hours of wandless magic with Harry can do that to a person.” Remus replied with a slight smile and Albus smiled.

“I trust all went well?”

“Of course, he is an attentive pupil as always and is picking it up quickly.” Remus replied, “But as I said, it is rather draining on ones energy.”

“Then leave and get a good night’s rest.” Minerva advised and Albus nodded to him.

“I will, good night.” Remus said to them all and crossed the room to the fireplace. “Lupin’s office.” He said quietly and stepped through the flames into his office. His eyes slipped shut for a few moments and he felt as if he could have fallen asleep standing but he shook himself out of his stupor for long enough to get to his room and into his bed, changing into his pyjamas with a small amount of energy. His eyes closed again and he fell into a deep sleep.


***


“Get up now!” Remus’ small alarm clock yelled at him as it jumped up and down on his side. Remus was beginning to regret charming his clock so that it would take an active role in getting him up during the morning. “You’re going to be late!” The voice was quite squeaky and shrill enough to cut through his slumber. Remus snuggled up under his heavy duvet, enjoying the warmth and the strange state between sleep and dreams that he was currently in. He was aware that he was in his bed being woken by an irritating little clock and yet at the same time he was in Gryffindor tower talking to Harry about the best way to hurt Snape whilst in the background James was getting ready to fight Dumbledore and Lily was asleep on the sofa whilst Sirius drew red dots on her face with his wand.

“I think we should kick him in the shins with an iron boot…” Harry said to Remus.

“Get up you lazy man!”

“You’re going down Dumbledore!” James yelled at the old man as he pulled out a sword and the old man did the same.

“If you don’t get up by the time I count to ten, Remus!” The clock threatened.

“A good idea but I really think that knocking him down the stairs with a sledgehammer would work as well.” Remus said thoughtfully to his godson.

“One … Two … Three …” The clock started slowly.

“I don’t think that I am, James.” Said Dumbledore calmly, “I rather think that it is you that will be going down.”

“Four … Five … Six …” The clock continued, becoming more impatient.

“I don’t like being down here so close to their fight.” Harry said to Remus as he twirled his wand between his fingers, not really registering that he had seven fingers and no thumbs on each hand.

“Go sit on the cuckoo clock then.” Remus said to him and Harry nodded and went and sat on a large cuckoo clock on the wall, looking down at James and Dumbledore who were fighting below him with swords and Sirius who had almost done drawing red spots on Lily’s angelic complexion. Remus only stood at the side, watching to see who would win between Dumbledore and his friend.


“Seven … Eight …” The clock continued.

“Avast ye mutinous landlubber!” James shouted at Dumbledore and somewhere in Remus’ mind he questioned why James had spoken with the voice of a pirate.

“Nine …”

“I’ve got people pox!” Lily cried as she awoke.

“Ten!” The clock yelled at him and began to make a noise like a cuckoo clock in his ear.

“Cuckoo!” The clock on the wall squawked and Harry flew forwards on the giant bird from the rather small clock.

“Aha!” James and Dumbledore said together as they struck forwards at one another as Harry flew between them on the giant cuckoo. Their swords plunged into either side of Harry who fell of the bird and landed on the floor. Blood spurted out of his body as he convulsed on the floor and splattered all over Remus.


Remus sat up sharply and his hands reached up to his face, feeling the dampness there. He pulled them back infront of him, almost convinced that they would be covered in the blood of his godson and he felt a strange sense of relief as he realised he had only been dowsed in water. He breathed deeply for a moment, trying not to think of James and Dumbledore stabbing Harry in his sides before he looked to his bedside table. The little clock was grinning sheepishly and holding an empty bucket which had been filled with water only moments before.

“I dislike you.” He said coldly to the clock as he got out of bed and walked into the shower. He relaxed as he felt the warm water rushing over him… it would be oh so easy to fall asleep again in here… “Ah, Jesus Christ! What the hell?!” He cried as the water turned icy cold and he leapt out of the shower and wrapped himself in a towel.

“Just making sure that you stay awake.” The clock grinned at him and Remus glared at it.

“Your job is to wake me and you did so!” Remus scolded as he marched back into his bedroom to find some robes.

“But you could have fallen back asleep in there.” The clock argued as it leapt back onto it’s table.

“Just shut up.” Remus ordered when he realised that he was arguing with a timepiece. He waved his wand over him and a moment later he was wearing a clean set of robes. He shot a nasty look at the clock before walking down to breakfast.

“Morning Remus.” Filius greeted him as he sat down. Minerva and Severus were already there. Severus was cautiously watching Pomona, Sabina, Poppy and Heilia at the other end of the table, an expression of dislike and fear on his face.

“They’re going to get me.” Snape muttered as he looked back to the table and took a slice of toast and quickly spread some marmalade over it.

“They will do if you keep glaring at them.” Remus told him.

“But they were glaring first.” Severus said, sounding rather childish. “Besides, I need to think of how I can best get them…”

“Well get each of them in turn.” Filius suggested, “Burn Heilia’s broom.”

“And you can put a ceiling on the Astronomy tower.” Minerva added.

“Kill all Pomona’s plants.” Remus said.

“Hold Mrs Norris hostage.” Filius said.

“And what about Sybil and Poppy?” Severus asked.

“You could always burn Poppy’s patients at the stake.” Minerva suggested.

“And make sure that Malfoy’s one of them.” Remus said.

“I don’t know why you complain about him, you don’t have to teach him anymore!” Filius said indignantly. “With Sybil you could always follow her around predicting her death.”

“And fill the school full of death omens.” Minerva added.

“Those are rather good ideas for a Thursday morning, you know.” Severus said as he finished his toast and took a sip of his coffee before spitting it out as a long plant coiled out of it and went for his neck.

“Well really!” Minerva said loudly, “Who puts Devil’s Snare in coffee?!”

“Take a good guess.” Severus scowled as he shot the now incinerated plant down the table at Pomona’s face.

“I hope they remember that they started this…” Remus said lightly as he finished his tea. “What was the first suggestion?”

“Burning Heilia’s broom.” Filius answered.

“Broom burning it is.” Minerva said. “Sadly I don’t have any free lessons today so it’s going to have to wait until dinner at least since I’ve got an Animagus lesson with Harry after tea.”

“And I’m teaching him more wandless magic after that.” Remus said.

“He really is going to take up all your time with this, you know.” Filius said to him and Remus nodded.

“He wants to learn it as fast as he can basically.” Remus said, “So I’m teaching him whenever I don’t have anything better to do and he’s not in any ‘extracurricular’ lessons.”

“Speaking of extracurricular lessons…” Minerva said with a slight smile on her face, “Have you heard what happened to the youngest Mr Weasley yesterday during his Apparation lesson?”

“I haven’t but I hope it’s something nasty…” Severus said and Filius rolled his eyes.

“It is quite.” Minerva said, “He was apparating about a mile from Grimmauld Place but he went the wrong way and ended up in a field full of sheep so he tried to apparate back to Grimmauld Place, not realising that he had splinched himself and he splinched himself again trying to get back to the house. Then once he was back the twins had gone down into the garden. The foolish boy apparated there as well, splinching himself once again before there was too little of him left to apparate any more!”

“He splinched himself three times!” Remus laughed and tried not to become hysterical at the idea.

“What did he lose?” Severus asked.

“Apart from any dignity he may once have had, you mean?” Minerva asked him with amusement, “He left an ear, a hand and his hair in the kitchen when he went to the field of sheep. Then he left an arm, four fingers, three toes and his robes in the field when he tried to get back to the house. Then when he apparated to the twins in the garden he left his other leg, part of his torso, his right eye and his trousers which he’d had on under his robes on the doorstep.” There was collective laughter from their end of the table and from the Gryffindor table Ron had a good idea as to what they were talking about.

“What’s up, Ron?” Hermione asked him and Harry hid a smile – he had heard from Fred what had happened to him and decided not to comment.

“So George was quite stunned when half his brother appeared next to him then?” Filius asked her.

“They laughed for a long time, needless to say that Ron didn’t.” Minerva said, “And then Mad Eye arrived on the scene with Kingsley and Charlie and they helped him get back together.

“He is rather lacking in hair today.” Remus commented as he looked at Ron and smiled slightly.

“Speaking of lacking in hair…” Minerva said as Sybil walked past in a muggle baseball cap. It was clear to all that she was completely bald underneath it and Severus, Minerva, Filius and Remus all succumbed to hysterical laughter as she passed them. Some of the students looked up in surprise to see four of their teachers laughing together but soon saw the reason for their mirth and many of them began to giggle as well.

“Aw Sybil, don’t worry dear.” Said Pomona Sprout as the wannabe Seer sat down with them, “We’ll get revenge.”

“Oh really, and what are you planning to do?” Sybil sniffed.

“For starters we’re going to steal all Snape’s potions supplies.” Heilia said and laughed manically. No one else laughed and sat there in stunned silence. “No?” She asked.

“Please, they couldn’t put a plan together to save their lives!” Minerva said as she looked down the table at those who opposed them.

“I’d watch out for flying crystal balls for a day or two though.” Remus said as he took a sip of his tea and wished it was hot chocolate but the house elves didn’t seem to send any to the staff table.

“You don’t have any of that potion you used on Trelawney left do you, Severus?” Minerva asked him.

“I’m afraid not.” He replied apologetically, “But I do have first years first thing. I can give them dangerous chemicals and see whether they make something lethal if you’d like.”

“Yes, alright.” Minerva said to him, “And you have the sixth years after break don’t you?” He nodded.

“I’m sure Malfoy can concoct something poisonous during that lesson.” Filius said.

“That’s the problem…” Severus said, “I think he might be improving…”

“What?!” Minerva said, “Don’t be ridiculous, Malfoy doesn’t improve!”

“Unfortunately he appears to be doing so.” Severus said sullenly.

“So just put blood in his cauldron when he’s not looking and see what happens.” Remus suggested.

“I suppose I could sabotage it.” Severus admitted.

“And then you can have the fun of ruining NEWT potions and hoping no one catches you in the act.” Filius informed him.

“Yes, I suppose it won’t be that bad.” Severus said, “And then there’s poisoning them to look forward to.” He looked down at Sybil, Pomona, Sabina, Heilia and Poppy who glared at him in return.

“Today might not be so bad after all.” Minerva said as she rose from the table and left the great hall, hoping that she could beat the Ravenclaws to her classroom in the hopes of making them appear late for once. Needless to say, she failed and the Ravenclaws had already arrived and were making notes when she walked briskly into the room five minutes before the lesson started. “Damned Ravenclaws.” She muttered.

“What was that Professor?” One of them asked.

“Nothing…” Minerva said as she sat down behind her desk and left them to it.

A/N: How irritating is it to write an A/N at the end of something like this and then try to add the story, only to discover that I've taken too long and need to be logged in again?! Well I was quite annoyed anyway because I took too long (as you may be able to have guessed) and then I got logged off. Anyway, random babblings aside, I apologise for the fact that this chapter was all adults and no Harry but it was necessary for the plot, although not majorly so. It's going to be one of those small things after you've read the story that you might look back on and realise that it was a tiny tiny indication of what was to happen. Basically I'm leaving miniscule clues throughout the story so you can't cruficy me at the end when the overall plot is revealed.

Well, thanks to you all for reading thirty chapters of this drivel, I'm shocked, amused and rather thankful all at once, imaginary chocolate for all! Next chapter coming on Thursday and will be entitled 'A Change Of Form'. :o)


Chapter 31: A Change Of Form
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Mad Eye walked silently across the rooftop of Malfoy Manor. He could hear the footsteps of Filius and Arthur behind them and all three were slightly nervous as they made their way closer and closer to the vent which they would use to enter the large house. Mad Eye cast his magical eye around the surrounding area but to his irritation he found that it could make out very little in the gloom in the room below – the room which he was about to enter. He wondered why his eye didn’t work in the dark but didn’t question it as he stopped when he reached a small vent in the roof. He waited a moment for Filius and Arthur to catch up. The looks on their faces both showed their fear but they were hiding it quite well.

Mad Eye motioned silently to the vent at their feet and Filius looked at it dubiously; there was no way that he could fit in there. He bent down and removed the cover silently as Arthur glanced around at his surroundings, noting the way that the crescent moon hung in the sky, giving them a little light to work with, rendering the use of wands for light unnecessary. His eyes opened wide as he saw a figure moving about in one of the lower windows of the house and he opened his mouth to say something to Mad Eye but it was too late; Mad Eye had pushed him into the vent which magically expanded to fit him. A moment later he got to his feet in the dark room with Mad Eye and Filius at his side. The room was filled with light.

“Welcome to Malfoy Manor.” Drawled a familiar voice as Lucius Malfoy stood before them. The room was filled with red flashes and cries of ‘Stupefy!’ as the three men fell to the floor.


***


Excellent Harry. Remus smiled as he sat with his fingers resting lightly on Harry’s hand. It was one week after Harry’s first lesson in wandless magic and he was picking things up fast. Remus’ eyes looked up at the various objects Harry was levitating in the air – their wands, the clock (which was screeching to be let down), a book and a small snow globe. Remus was sure that when he had been learning the skill for a week he couldn’t have done that, but then again he wasn’t as determined as Harry was to carry on learning until he fell unconscious from exhaustion.

Harry smiled slightly, he knew that he was doing quite well and he was enjoying learning this strange new branch of magic which no one else could do. He hovered everything in the air and brought each item back down, one by one until they were back in their proper places in the room.

“I don’t like you, young man!” The clock told Harry when he placed it back on the bedside table.

“Why not? I only levitated you.”

“And made me feel as if I was about to be sick at the same time!” The clock scowled at him but let it’s eyes stare up at the objects the boy was hovering with amazement when he was sure he wasn’t looking.

“How can it feel sick, it’s a clock…?” Harry muttered and Remus grinned.

“And a strange clock at that, just don’t question it.” He said with a smile.

“What now?” Harry asked him.

“Close your eyes.” Remus said and Harry did so, knowing by now that when he was told to close his eyes he generally entered the room in his mind immediately afterwards. “Watch this.” Remus said to Harry and Harry’s eyes widened as he watched his godfather get up off the bed and stand infront of him and begin to change his form.

“I am not that short!” Harry scowled indignantly as he looked down at Remus who was about a foot shorter than him but apart from that was his exact double. Remus concentrated a moment and grew so that he was the same height as Harry.

“You try.” Harry’s voice said although it came from Remus. At least it sounded quite like him, although there was a difference in his voice that he couldn’t quite place. “Concentrate on the way you want to look and just… change. It’s like transfiguration but on yourself.”

Harry concentrated as hard as he could on the image of Remus.

“No, you’re just projecting the image to me; try to change yourself at the same time.” Remus told him. They had been going through projecting images to one another earlier on which was why they had spent almost a minute sending images of things such as Snape in Neville’s Grandmother’s clothes to each other and other such amusing things. That was one of the definite advantages to using mind to mind communication or speaking through the room they saw in their minds as they were currently doing. They could see through each other’s eyes if they were in the same room mentally and could project images from their imaginations or memories.

Harry felt himself change as he grew taller and slowly turned into his mentor. It was a strange feeling but he was sure that he had felt it before somewhere. He looked to Remus who was smiling.

“Excellent, you look just like me.” He said as he returned to his natural form to show that Harry was still a couple of inches taller than him. Harry realised suddenly where he had felt that before.

“That’s how you become an Animagus…” He said softly and Remus looked at him uncomprehendingly for a moment. “That feeling- I felt it when I became my Animagus form with McGonagall back at Grimmauld Place. I can do it…” Harry said and a smile touched his face.

“You can try once you’ve finished this lesson.” Remus told him and Harry nodded.

“Can you change your image permanently?” He asked him as he let his hold on his form slip and he became himself once again.

“No, you would need unlimited strength to do that.” Remus responded, “I can hold a different form for around half an hour but you get stronger at it the more you do it.”

“Like me with running then.” Harry said, “I spent most of my childhood running away from Dudley and his gang and as a result I can run for ages.”

“Yeah, like that. Although generally you don’t need a gang and the threat of being beaten up to cause you to build up strength.” Remus said, smiling slightly on the outside but not on the inside. Unfortunately for him Harry saw straight through it, since they were in their minds. Harry opened his eyes but concentrated on staying in the room with Remus in his mind at the same time. It worked for a moment and the suddenly more translucent form of Remus smiled at him as his physical self began to twirl his wand between his fingers and in his mind Harry began to levitate things around the room.

It was unusual to see things from the physical point of view at the same time. He just saw objects moving around of their own accord through those eyes, but through his mind he watched them intently, moving things carefully and not breaking his concentration. It was difficult to hold up both sides and Remus was very impressed – they hadn’t gone over keeping concentration balanced between the two sides yet and Harry had clearly been practicing on his own as his physical self curled up in a more comfortable position and in his mind he lowered the objects to the ground. He let his mind slip back into his body and he groaned and held his head in his hands as it began to pound unpleasantly.

“Too much strain on your mind, Harry.” Remus said as he reached out to the boy, “Here…” Remus reached to his head with his right hand and rested his fingertips on his temple.

Harry felt a strange sensation of revitalisation as energy rushed into him. He blinked and looked up at Remus when he realised that his headache was gone.

“What was that?” Harry asked him.

“A slight healing spell which I hope you never use.” Remus said to him.

“Why?”

“It gives your energy to someone else. You can transfer it easily enough by touching your fingertips to their skin and forcing energy into their body.” Remus said, “It’s used to save lives generally if someone’s bleeding to death or something along those lines. There is an incantation for it but I can’t remember it anymore since I don’t really need it.”

“Can I try?” Harry asked and Remus nodded. Harry took Remus’ hand and held it with his own. He pushed gently through the barrier of his skin but instead of entering his mind he pushed his energy into him. Remus pulled back his hand sharply and Harry looked up to him, wondering whether he had done something else instead.

“You did it correctly.” Remus said as Harry leant against his chest, “But you gave me a lot of energy and I don’t want you fainting or anything.”

“Okay.” Harry said softly.

“I don’t want you to use that unless you absolutely have to, and I mean that.” Remus said to him, “You keep your own energy for yourself unless someone really needs it. I know you, you’d give someone energy they need but it would be at great cost to yourself and I do not want you dying because of it.” Remus finished.

“I won’t use it.” Harry said, “Is that healing magic?” He asked suddenly.

“Yes. Madam Pomfrey taught me it a long time ago when I was in the hospital wing.” Remus said to him.

“Do you think she’d teach me healing magic?” Harry asked him and Remus thought for a moment before answering.

“I’m really not sure. She might because she likes to teach and she likes students to take an interest in healing but then again she’s busy and she hates me at the moment.” Remus replied and Harry looked up to him.

“Really? Why?” Harry asked, intrigued.

“Well there’s been sort of a war between the staff recently, me, Severus, Minerva and Filius against Sprout, Trelawney, Madam Pomfrey, Madam Hooch and Professor Sinistra.” Remus explained.

“Teachers don’t have wars.” Harry said.

“They do. We’re a lot more interesting than you’d think. Although that’s generally because we don’t want to seem too interesting to the students…” Remus smiled. “Anyway we’ve been attacking each other all week and yesterday I sort of turned her room upside down.”

“What?” Harry laughed, “How did you do that?!”

“Well I took advantage of the fact that no one was in the Hospital Wing at the time so I charmed all the beds onto the ceiling with Filius’ help.” Remus grinned and Harry laughed.

“What did she do?” Harry questioned.

“She had a fit.” Remus replied, “She came marching into the staffroom to demand that whoever did it put it back but Minerva, Severus, Filius and I hid before she came in.”

“So what happened then?” Harry asked.

“Very little, she’s still trying to get the beds down as far as I know.” Remus smiled mischievously. “It was revenge though, Filch sent that damned cat of his to the top of the stairs and Filius fell over it and down the stairs. Could have broken his neck.”

“It was you who burnt Madam Hooch’s brooms!” Harry laughed.

“Not me. I think it was Minerva actually.” Remus said and Harry grinned.

“You can’t be serious.” Harry said.

“Deadly so.” Remus said, “But if Pomona hadn’t put Devil’s Snare in Snape’s coffee…”

“He did poison Trelawney.” Harry pointed out.

“She had that coming.” Remus told him, “She fancied him after all.”

“And anyone who fancies Snape deserves it.” Harry agreed. “Is Flitwick alright now then?”

“Yeah, he’s fine. He’s still not talking about what happened though, none of them are.” Remus said, “Minerva reckons they had to do something pretty awful to get away from Malfoy.”

“Like what?” Harry asked, intrigued.

“Not sure, kill someone?” Remus suggested. “Lucius Malfoy came up to the school yesterday though and had a good complain about me.”

“What!?” Harry demanded. “What did he say?”

“Cool it, cub.” Remus smiled at him. “Not very much really. The usual complaints that a filthy half-breed such as myself shouldn’t be allowed anywhere near children, let alone hired as a teacher.”

“What did Dumbledore do?”

“He told him that he hired the staff and that I was a good teacher and he was the only one who complained.” Remus said.

“No doubt he dragged Draco into it somehow.” Harry said.

“Naturally, he said his son was too intimidated to return to class.” Remus said. “As it happens I had given Dumbledore my memory of that class in the pensieve upon his request earlier on in the day so I think he knew he was coming.”

“I take it he wasn’t pleased at seeing his son look incredibly unintimidated then.” Harry said.

“Unintimidated really isn’t a word you know.” Remus said with a slight smile, “He told Dumbledore that being loud, brash and rude is his way of showing fear.” Harry raised an eyebrow, “I know. Seriously unconvincing. But of course Lucius’ visit has the whole staffroom debating on just why Malfoy walked out of my class at the start of the year.”

“I reckon it was to try and show you up and see if he could make anyone else leave.” Harry said and Remus nodded.

“That’s what Minerva thinks as well.” He said. “Snape’s getting like Mad Eye though – he reckons it wasn’t really Malfoy at all and it was an impostor.”

“Alright then, why would an impostor walk out of your class?” Harry asked.

“That was Filius’ question to him.” Remus said. “Snape said he didn’t know and left it at that.”

“I still don’t know why Mad Eye didn’t turn up yesterday for my Apparition lesson though…” Harry said, voicing a thought which he had had for quite some time.

“I know,” Remus said, “Maybe he was too tired for it, he hadn’t been out of the hospital wing for that long.”

“True, but you’d have thought he’d tell me.” Harry said.

You would have thought so… Remus agreed mentally but let the subject drop – it was one that Harry would probably contemplate for hours before coming to a decision which was not only most likely incorrect but also irrelevant to everything since he couldn’t get back the lesson he had lost.

“Love you, Remus.” Harry murmured softly as he felt himself slipping into sleep as he leant against his guardian. Remus felt a smile touch his face and warmth spread through him. He fought the urge to ask ‘really?!’ and contented himself with wrapping both arms around him.

“Love you too, Harry.” Remus replied and felt Harry smile against his chest. Harry fought hard not to hug his guardian as hard as he could and refuse to let go. No one’s ever said that to me before… He thought, partly happily and partly sad. They stayed close like that for a few minutes, enjoying each other’s company and not feeling the need to speak until Remus broke their silence.

“Are you going to try and transform then?” He asked him and Harry nodded, pulling away from Remus and standing up. He focussed hard on his Animagus form and remembered the way in which he had changed in his mind. He felt the beginnings of that same sensation in him as he thought of a thestral and then… nothing. Harry scowled and tried again but still he couldn’t manage it.

“I want to know why this is so difficult for me!” Harry said suddenly, giving up for the time being and Remus got to his feet.

“It’s going to be difficult, you’ve not been learning for that long really and it can take years to manage.” Remus said soothingly.

“But I know now, I know how it’s meant to feel and I can make it feel like that at the beginning but I can’t quite do it… There’s something wrong and I want to know what it is.” Harry said.

“Go see Minerva then, she’s not doing anything at the moment.” Remus told him and Harry nodded.

“Alright, I’ll see you later then.” He said and enveloped his godfather in a quick hug before leaving to Remus’ living room, the occupant of aforementioned room walking behind him. He took some floo from the fire place and threw it into the flames. “McGonagall’s office.” He said clearly and stepped through the fireplace leaving Remus on the other side.

Remus smiled as he sat down on the sofa and conjured himself some hot chocolate. He felt very happy at the moment, Harry had told him he loved him and Merlin knew he loved him too. He was the only son he would ever have, he knew that. Then again he was perfectly content with him despite the fact that he was not his biological father. Harry needed him, he knew that much, and that was enough to keep him around even if Harry managed to hate him. He brought the cup of chocolate to his lips and smiled before taking a sip. It was a shame that there wasn’t a Wizarding version of hot chocolate he thought as he curled his legs up on the comfortable sofa and stared into the flames.

“Hello Harry,” Minerva said without looking up from her desk.

“How did you know it was me?” He asked.

“You’re the only one who seems to use the floo around school.” She explained.

“I don’t understand why the staff don’t.” Harry said.

“We just forget and start to walk somewhere.” She said, “We get halfway to wherever we want to be and then wonder why we didn’t floo there. Anyway, what was it you wanted?”

“It’s the whole Animagus thing.” He said to her and she looked up from her work and motioned for him to go on, “I know what I need to do, I know how it feels when I transform and when I was with Remus a bit ago practicing wandless magic I felt the same when I changed my image in my mind –” She looked at him questioningly at this point “– never mind…” Harry said and carried on, “Anyway, I made that feeling again. As if you’re forcing yourself to take on the image of something else.” She nodded.

“That’s exactly what you have to do.” She agreed.

“But that’s the problem!” He said, “I know what I’m doing and I know how to make myself feel like that and I concentrate on the thestral I’m supposed to become and nothing happens!”

She looked at him thoughtfully for a moment before coming to a decision.

“Come here, Harry.” She said and pointed her wand at him, speaking the same spell that she had done when they were back at Grimmauld Place during the summer which had shown his Animagus form in the shape of a thestral.

“Oh my…” She murmured as she stared down at him. He was no longer the little black winged foal he had been before.

A/N: Intrigued? Good. Don't kill me for this, I can explain exactly why Harry's animagus form has changed, I'm not just changing things and saying 'well he didn't really like the idea of being a thestral, so he's going to become a goat instead' that will not be the case... honestly. Anyway, I will get the next chapter up on Saturday morning (or at least morning at GMT) and it shall be called 'The Troubles of the Teachers' as you can guess, it may have the teachers in it. :o)

Chapter 32: The Troubles Of The Teachers
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“Oh my…” Minerva murmured as she stared down at him. He was no longer the little black winged foal he had been before. He was little, and black but nothing like a horse. He was a wolf. She stared down at him and he stared back up at her with those shockingly green eyes of his, questioning the fact that his Animagus form appeared to have changed to that of a wolf. “We’re going to Dumbledore.” She announced to him and marched towards the door before Harry changed back into his human self and called her back.

“There is such a thing as floo you know.” He grinned and threw some into the fireplace. “Dumbledore’s office.” He said clearly and stepped through it, quickly followed by Minerva who was still reeling from the shock of seeing Harry become something so different to that which he had been before.

“Ah, good evening Harry, Minerva.” Dumbledore said pleasantly from behind his desk, “What can I do for you?”


***


“That is very interesting…” Dumbledore said thoughtfully after he had listened to the two of them explain the strange situation, “Very interesting indeed.”

Harry and Minerva glanced at each other and then looked back to the headmaster who was seemingly lost in thought.

“And you say you were with Remus at the time…” Albus said, the cogs in his mind turning as he realised suddenly just what had caused this. Harry nodded in response to his question although he wondered whether the headmaster had actually noticed him do this. “Then I believe I have the answer…”

The fire glowed green and a moment later the Weasley twins fell out of it. Minerva glared at them as if to suggest that if someone wasn’t verging on death then they soon would be for interrupting this.

“Professor Dumbledore!” Fred grinned, just the person we were looking for. He chose to completely ignore the looks on the faces of Harry and Minerva and pulled out a small box from his robes.

“Care to try a Filch Fairy-cake?” George asked him and Minerva and Harry were intrigued to say the least.

“Or how about a Trelawney Tart?” Fred asked, and Harry got a clear look in the box – there were buns on one side and jam tarts on the other and it didn’t take a genius to figure out what was in them.

“I believe I shall try a Filch Fairy-Cake.” Dumbledore said and bit into one of the buns. There was a hissing sound as if he had been punctured and air was rushing out of him. Then a blast of green smoke filled the room, causing Minerva and Harry to cough.

“Sorry about the smoke, we can’t seem to get rid of that.” George apologised but when the smoke had cleared Argus Filch was sat in Dumbledore’s chair, laughing.

“Excellent!” Filch said. “How long do these last?”

“About an hour – they’ve got polyjuice potion in.” Fred said. “Unless you just end the spell of course.”

Finite.” Argus said and in a moment Dumbledore was in his own form once again. “Most marvellous Misters Weasley!” He laughed.

“I’m afraid I will have to confiscate those, Mr Weasley.” Minerva said to him and held out her hand. He reluctantly handed the box over to her.

“We’ve got plenty more where that came from.” George told her and she smiled slightly.

“I am very glad to hear it.” She said and Harry grinned at her in disbelief.

“I get the feeling that Filch and Trelawney are going to get framed a lot this week.” Harry said quietly and she glanced at him, smiling slightly.

“Remus tells you too much.” She murmured before adding in a louder voice, “That’s Professor Trelawney, Harry.” Causing Harry to bite back laughter.

“Anyway, if that is all Misters Weasley.” Dumbledore said with a slight smile.

“Unfortunately it is. We were working on some Snape Snacks but they went a bit wrong. He always ended up bald.” George said.

“Which would have been alright but you just looked like a bald man instead of like Snape.” Fred explained. “Anyway, we have to go, joke shops won’t run themselves!” They took some floo and went back to their joke shop. Minerva shrank the box of snacks and hid them in her robes as inconspicuously as possible whilst Harry watched and shook his head in disbelief.

“Anyway, where was I?” Dumbledore asked.

“You were going to explain why Harry no longer changes into a thestral.” Minerva said.

“It is quite simple – you are getting over Sirius’ demise, Harry.” Dumbledore said to him and Harry’s eyes widened in protest as he opened his mouth to contradict him. “But it is true. You miss him, obviously but it no longer dominates all your thoughts. Try to turn into a thestral now.” Harry got up from his chair and concentrated hard on transfiguring himself into that strange little horse and he did so. He became a thestral in an instant causing Minerva to clap her hands over her mouth in shock and surprise. Harry looked around him in surprise and let go of his form, allowing himself to change back to the way he naturally was.

“Excellent Harry!” Minerva cried and resisted the urge to hug him and congratulate him repeatedly. Harry smiled slightly, that was the highest praise she had ever given him and he felt he deserved it – he had become an Animagus in little over a month although he would not have managed it without his wandless magic. “But I don’t understand…”

“Harry is torn in two parts. On the one hand he just wants to let go of Sirius and get on with the rest of his life, remembering him of course, but no longer pining for him and feeling guilty when he is around Remus. This is the side of you which becomes a wolf.” Dumbledore said and as he spoke things began to make more sense to them both, “On the other hand he cannot let go of Sirius and fears that to do so would be to disgrace his memory and tarnish the thought of him. This is the side that clings to him after his death and will become a thestral.”

“So he has two Animagus forms then?” Minerva said and Dumbledore nodded.

“Yes, but you cannot use them at will, Harry. You must decide how you are feeling and if one form does not work then the other will. More and more often you will become the wolf as time passes and the ache where Sirius once was in your heart will diminish. It will never fade; death leaves an imprint upon us all.” Dumbledore said to Harry quietly, “You must not feel guilt because you are close to Remus now. Sirius would not want you to feel unhappy and detached from everyone, he would want you to live your life and enjoy it whilst you can. Dark times are ahead of us all, but I feel your path will be darker than most.” Harry nodded but didn’t take his eyes from his hands in his lap which had suddenly become rather interesting, much more so than Dumbledore’s face. “I hope you put your new forms to good use Harry, and I believe that the full moon is in less than a week’s time…” He finished. “I would suggest you go get some rest, Harry. It is late and you have another day of lessons tomorrow as well as more wandless magic.”

“Yes Professor.” Harry said, “Good night, Professors.”

“Good night, Harry.” Minerva said to him as he walked towards the door.

“Just use the fire to go to Remus’ office, Harry.” Dumbledore said to him with a flicker of a smile and Harry wondered how he had known where he was going. “You have become rather predictable, I must admit.” He smiled at Harry with his twinkling eyes and Harry and Minerva raised their eyebrows.

“You can predict when someone will have two Animagus forms now, can you?” Minerva asked him lightly as Harry grinned and disappeared through the flames and out into Remus’ living quarters where his guardian was asleep on the sofa.

“Very impressive indeed.” Dumbledore said thoughtfully as Harry left.

“Well we both know how extraordinary he is.” Minerva said and Dumbledore chuckled.

“No we do not.” He said with a smile, “I don’t think anyone does yet, although I get the feeling that Voldemort will be the first to know just what he is capable of.”

I just hope he is capable of enough. Minerva thought as she excused herself and flooed back to her office, remembering that she could be there in a moment for once instead of walking through the school.


***


Harry stepped through the fireplace and looked at his guardian who was fast asleep on the sofa. It seemed like a shame to wake him, but he knew he was going to do so anyway if only because he couldn’t sleep on the sofa all night. He held the image of the thestral in his mind for a moment but a smile crossed his features as he looked down at his protector and knew that that form would not work whilst he was with Remus. He became a wolf in an instant.

“Let me sleep.” Remus mumbled as something wet touched the back of his hand and his eyes fluttered open. They fixed themselves upon a small black wolf next to him, touching the back of his hand with it’s wet nose and fixing him with the brightest pair of green eyes… “Harry?!” He managed and the little wolf turned into his godson in a moment. “Oh my god… that’s amazing, but how?” He asked in a hoarse whisper as he sat up, allowing Harry to sit with him on the sofa.

“Let me show you what Dumbledore just said.” Harry said and summoned Remus’ pensieve to him without his wand, causing a smile to cross Remus’ tired features. Harry put in his memories since he had left him some time ago. Remus watched as Minerva tried to puzzle out just what was wrong and then changed him into his Animagus form which was no longer a thestral.

Once Remus had heard all that Dumbledore had said he left the pensieve and returned to Harry who was sat watching him with interest in his eyes.

“This is so unbelievable.” Remus smiled at him as he turned into a wolf and leapt up onto Remus who laughed and ran his eyes over him. “You’re still only a little cub though. You look very cute.”

The little wolf growled slightly at this and Remus smiled as Harry turned back into himself and curled up on the sofa next to his guardian.

“I don’t want to look cute!” Harry said, sounding positively disgusted, “I want to look intimidating!”

“Sorry to disappoint you then.” Remus replied, “But you look about as intimidating as a little kitten.”

“A scary kitten?’’ Harry asked hopefully and Remus shook his head.

“‘Fraid not, just a regular little cat.” He grinned.

“Go to bed, Harry!” Snapped a voice from the fireplace and they both turned to see Minerva’s head in the flames.

“Ah, Minerva, to what do I owe you this pleasure?” Remus asked her and she stepped through the fire.

“Which would you like, a Filch Fairy-Cake or a Trelawney Tart?” She asked and Remus laughed.


***


Albus looked up from his boiled egg the next morning to see the students and the staff slowly filing into the room, all looking rather exhausted. It was nearing the end of the week and everyone would be glad at the end of the next day to know that the weekend was upon them.

Sybil walked into the room and took a seat at the end of the table where Minerva, Filius, Remus and Severus usually sat.

That’s unusual. Dumbledore thought as he looked back to the doorway and a moment later Sybil entered and came and sat down at the table. Trelawney Tarts. He realised as there were suddenly four Sybil Trelawney’s at one end of the table and another one at the opposite side, surrounded by other teachers who were looking contemptuously down the table.

“You know, I rather like looking like Sybil.” Minerva said with a slight smile.

“I don’t.” Remus said, “I feel like I should be trying to See something.”

“Start predicting someone’s death then.” Severus said.

“Do you know, I think the students may have noticed…” Filius said when he noticed the Gryffindor table mostly looking at them and laughing.

“Who do you reckon that is then, pretending to be Trelawney?” Neville asked down at the Gryffindor table.

“I dunno.” Ron replied, “Normally McGonagall, Snape, Flitwick and Lupin sit there, don’t they?”

“Yes, but I can’t see them doing anything as childish as that.” Hermione said and Harry kept determinedly quiet.

“Where are they then, if that isn’t them?” Seamus asked her and she didn’t reply.

“Do you think we’re setting a bad example?” Filius asked lightly.

“I don’t know but we’re advertising Weasleys’ Wizarding Wheezes quite well aren’t we?” Remus said as he bit into some toast.

“Albus doesn’t look too annoyed.” Severus noted with a quick glance to the side at the headmaster.

“Good, I didn’t See myself being fired today.” Minerva said, “In fact I predict tea leaves coming your way, Severus.” Snape ducked just in time as a soggy green mess flew over his head and landed on the wall. Remus turned to it and looked at it thoughtfully before telling Sabina at the other end of the table that he predicted a series of rather unfortunate accidents would be coming her way rather soon.

“We’ll get you for this.” Heilia hissed as she walked past and Pomona, Sabina and Poppy glared at her, although Sybil looked like she was close to tears.

“I seem to remember you saying something a while back, Severus…” Minerva said to one of the Sybils, presumably the one which was Severus Snape.

“Do I want to know what it was that you remember?” He asked warily.

“Probably not.” She smiled, “You said (and I quote) ‘The day that those three manage to turn into animals will be the day that I marry Sybil’.”

“They’ve never done it!” Snape said, almost spitting out his tea.

“Harry has.” She said with a slight smile and Filius looked at her.

“Really?” Filius asked in his usual squeaky voice, “He can become a thestral at will?”

“Not just a thestral –” She said and quickly explained the circumstances which made him not only a thestral but a wolf at the same time.

“Remarkable!” Filius said and even Severus was impressed that Harry had become an Animagus in such a short space of time. “And how are Mr Weasley and Miss Granger faring?” He asked.

“Not very well, I’ve heard.” Minerva said. “Bill says that Ron has about as much chance of becoming an Animagus as he does of marrying our dear Severus here.”

“So very well put.” Remus smiled slightly at Severus who tried to scowl at him but it just didn’t look right when coming from Trelawney.

“And, according to Tonks, Miss Granger is doing well but she can’t see her succeeding any time soon.” Minerva told them and they nodded.

“But Minerva,” Severus said, “I do believe I said when ‘those three’ become Animagi and so far only Potter can turn into an animal so until they are all beasts then I shall not be marrying Sybil.”

“I’m more determined than ever to make sure that they become Animagi now.” Minerva said as she finished her tea and stood up to leave to her first lesson which was with the sixth years. She walked quickly to her classroom and had just enough time to mutter “Finite” and wave her wand over herself before Harry walked into the room, followed by the rest of the class.

“Professor, are you alright?” Harry asked her with laughter in his eyes, “You weren’t at breakfast…”

“I had other business to attend to, Mr Potter. My location at breakfast time is not any concern of yours.” She forced herself not to smile or offer him a Trelawney Tart and instead began to teach the lesson.

“I still don’t get why they would pretend to be Trelawney at breakfast.” Ron said as they walked to their next lesson which was Defence Against the Dark Arts with Remus.

“For the last time, Ron!” Hermione shouted at him, “It wasn’t them!”

“How do you know?” Harry asked as they reached the second floor and walked towards their classroom where Remus was standing in the doorway observing them.

“The staff would never do anything as stupid as pretending to be one another!” Hermione said as she walked through the doorway and Remus caught Harry’s eye. Harry flashed his godfather a smile as they walked into the classroom and sat down on the front row.

“Now you’re going to pair up just as we did last lesson and duel with one another,” Remus told them, “Although I have picked the pairings for the lesson. You should try and incorporate as many blocks and reversals into your duels as you can. Now, Hermione you’ll be working with Padma…” He read through the list and Harry wasn’t surprised to see that he had been left out, “Sorry Harry but you’re with me again.”

Harry wasn’t disappointed and neither was anyone else, they were all quite glad that they weren’t about to face Professor Lupin or Harry in the lesson.

“So, have you been practicing recently, Harry?” Remus asked him and he nodded.

“I duelled with Filius yesterday during my free lesson.” Harry told him, “And I duelled with Mad Eye the other day after my Apparation lesson as well.” He told him and Remus nodded.

“Did you do well?” Remus asked and Harry shook his head.

“I was all ready for Filius and his duelling style and he changed it completely. Instead of using lots of locks and things like that he used the Reductor curse a lot and freezing charms to throw me.” Harry told him, “It was completely different to his usual style.”

“Well it’s a good thing that he did then, isn’t it?” Remus said as they watched the class duelling, “You can’t afford just to learn to defence yourself against certain styles, or else you’ll be easy prey for anyone who’s style you’re unfamiliar with.” Remus reasoned. “And how was it with Mad Eye?”

“Easier than it was before but still not very easy.” Harry said, “I was doing quite well though until he hit me with a couple of hexes in a row and bound me with Devil’s Snare.” He explained and Remus nodded.

“You ought to try that in duels. If you can get a few spells in quick succession then you often end the duel there. Unfortunately it lowers your defence to put all your efforts into the offence.” Remus told him, “So depending on your opponent it might not be worth it. If your opponent is quick then I wouldn’t recommend it; they’ll block your efforts easily and then attack you in return.”

“I noticed your absence at breakfast.” Harry said, glancing up at him with a smile playing on his lips.

“Oh I was there, I assure you.” Remus murmured.

“Are you aware that your office is now a jungle?” Harry asked him and Remus looked at him with a puzzled expression on his face.

“Explain.” Remus told him.

“I was going to call in and say ‘hi’ this morning but you’d already gone because it was quite late.” Harry said, “And when I opened the door it was full of rather lethal and exotic looking plants.”

“Pomona is going to regret this.” Remus muttered. “I suppose we really should do some duelling.”

Harry and Remus soon became absorbed in their duel and it was not until Remus beat Harry that they realised the class had long since stopped to watch them.

“Homework: I want a roll of parchment on the proper usage of a reversal charm for Monday!” Remus called as they moved towards the door. There was a collective groan from the class as they left. Remus glanced out of the window of his classroom. He had a free lesson now and he had been planning to get some marking done in the staffroom but there were other things that could be done in that time. His gaze landed on Sprout’s greenhouses and he knew just what he was going to do.


***


“I really reckon it was the staff pretending to be Trelawney this morning, Hermione.” Ron said, not because he really cared but because he was enjoying winding her up. Hermione didn’t say anything but glared at him.

“Well we’ve got Potions to go to.” Hermione said coolly, “It’s a pity you didn’t get an O isn’t it. After all, it wasn’t as if it was difficult.” She finished by casting him a cold glare and marching off into the dungeons leaving Harry and Ron stood there in stunned silence.

“I’ll see you later…” Harry said to him as he turned to follow Hermione, knowing that to say anything else would probably offend him somehow. Harry turned from him and ran down the corridor and into the dungeons where he encountered a foot of water. He raised an eyebrow at it as he cast a water repellent charm on his body from the waist down and walked through it, the water parting at his feet.

When he reached the potions classroom he saw that Snape was marching down the corridor with a similar spell on his robes to the one Harry had on him. Hermione had levitated herself above the water using Wingardium Leviosa but it wasn’t working too well as she found it difficult to move down the corridor. When she saw what Snape and Harry had both done she realised what a ridiculous spell she had overlooked.

“Why haven’t you gone in yet?” Severus asked the student closest to him which happened to be Draco Malfoy.

“Well we would have done Sir, but the door is locked.” He replied in his usual sneering manner.

“And haven’t you been taught how to unlock doors?” Severus asked him in a similar fashion. He pointed his wand at the lock and muttered. “Alohomora.” The lock clicked and Severus reached out to the handle and pulled the door open. His eyes had just enough time to widen in horror before he was swept down the corridor along with his class.

“And you didn’t think to extend the spell to your overlarge head, Potter?” Severus asked him as he got up from the floor after being dragged down the corridor by the large wave which had been in his classroom. He was completely dry to the irritation of the rest of the class. Harry dragged himself to his feet from the hard stone floor and looked down at himself in irritation – the bottom half of him was completely dry but from his waist upwards was drenched. He didn’t bother to use his wand when he quickly put a drying and heating spell on him. Severus watched in a state of mild amazement as Potter dried himself without using his wand. He had progressed rapidly through his magic and was nearing his fifth year spells now. He shook thoughts of amazement from his mind in time to glare at Potter as he ordered the class to dry themselves and get back down to the potions room before he stormed past them to the room. He didn’t know which of them had done this but he had a fair idea that it was Sabina and god help them they would regret filling his room with water.

Minerva walked down the corridor whilst behind her more than a dozen students walked, each of them predicting her future with the aid of several crystal balls, three cups of tea and four plastic replicas of her own hand.

“You have a rather long life line, Professor…”

“The crystal ball never lies, I’m afraid.”

“The tea leaves seem to be taking the form of some kind of large dog…”

“SHUT UP, ALL OF YOU AND GET BACK TO YOUR COMMON ROOMS NOW!” Minerva yelled at the top of her voice as she got to the staffroom. The end of the day had finally arrived and she had been hounded by those damned students of Sybil’s who insisted on predicting her future incessantly. She flung the staffroom door open and saw to her utmost irritation that Heilia, Sabina, Argus, Sybil and Pomona were all sat around a table laughing and joking between them. She presumed that Poppy was in the hospital wing, probably plotting devious schemes and Remus, Filius and Severus were nowhere to be seen. She marched straight through the middle of her colleagues, knocking several cups of tea to the floor as she did so and over to the fireplace. She threw the floo into the flames and muttered something before stepping through into Remus’ office.

“This is new.” She said, her eyebrow rose when she saw the jungle which was before her. She ducked as a large flowering plant nearby shot a dart at her and quickly threw more floo into the fireplace. “Flitwick’s office.” She said and stepped through the flames once more.

“Ah, Minerva we were wondering when you were going to join us.” Remus said as she stared around the room in horror.

“You are aware that your office is pink, aren’t you Filius?” She said and Filius nodded.

“But they’ve locked the spells and I can’t seem to reverse it.” Filius complained as he began the arduous task of removing the wallpaper from the walls which had been blue before.

“Do it later, Filius.” Severus told him.

“Yes, I rather think some plotting is in order.” Remus said.

“Most certainly.” Minerva agreed as Filius left the wallpaper and crossed the room to a section of the wall and simply walked straight though it, causing it to spin.

“A revolving door?” Severus asked, his eyebrow raised.

“I want a revolving door…” Remus said thoughtfully as he walked through the door and into Filius’ living quarters.

“Did you know that Trelawney had her students hounding me all day?” Minerva asked as they passed into the room beyond.

“They turned my office into a jungle.” Remus commented.

“So I’ve seen.” Minerva replied.

“And I was swept down the corridor by a large wave which was put in my classroom – effectively ruining all the potions and most of the ingredients which were in there.” Severus scowled, “The only upside was that I had the sixth years at the time so Potter and Malfoy were swept away as well.”

“You know if you hadn’t have poisoned Sybil in the first place then none of this would have happened.” Filius said.

“She had it coming.” Severus replied bluntly. “Now just start plotting!”

A/N: So, what did you think? Was that a good enough explanation as to why his form is changing? I thought of it a while back since he is getting over Sirius and doesn't think about him much anymore (and after some belated research I have found that magical creatures can't be someone's animagus form but for the purpose of not altering things then I'm going to ignore this rule completely, so this is no longer canon [as if it was anyway, teachers in a war? I think not]). Anyway the next chapter doesn't have a title yet because I've not finished writing it but it's going to have a lot of Harry and Hermione chatting in it, information about the Quidditch team and Hogsmeade visit and more teachers with a bit of wandless magic thrown in for good measure. That should be up on Monday afternoon. :o)

P.S. I'll be adding a new chapter to my other fic 'When Boredom Strikes' quite soon, so either tomorrow or the day after I'll probably get a new chapter for that up, hurrah!


Chapter 33: The Strangest Meeting
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“That’s amazing Harry!” Hermione said when Harry transformed infront of her into the little wolf cub that he was and then changed back. “When did you mange that?!”

“Last night.” He replied.

“That’s brilliant… and now you can help me and Ron as well.” She said although Ron didn’t look too pleased.

“I don’t think I want to be an Animagus.” Ron said and Hermione and Harry glanced at one another. “I just don’t see the point – I’m going to be a snake after all.”

“But being a snake could be really useful.” Hermione said to him. “And it would look really good on your C.V.” Harry stared at her in disbelief. As if Ron was going to be convinced because it would look good on a C.V.

“DO I LOOK LIKE I CARE ABOUT MY STUPID C.V.?!” Ron shouted at her. “I’ve already lost any hope I had of being an auror, why the hell would I care about becoming an Animagus?”

Harry and Hermione sat in the common room by the fire looking quite stunned by this. They didn’t quite know what to make of this or how they could respond to him without hurting him in some way. Hermione opened her mouth to speak but Ron cut her off.

“Don’t bother, Hermione.” Ron snapped at her before storming out of the room.

“I don’t get him at all recently.” Harry said and Hermione agreed.

“I know, but I suppose he’s just jealous of you.” Hermione said.

“Jealous of me?!” Harry demanded, “How can he be jealous of me, again?!”

“Well it’s just that your life seems pretty good to him now – you’re rich, famous, you’ve got Remus now, you can apparate, you’re an Animagus and you can do wandless magic. Teachers are willing to give up their free time to teach you things, even Snape who’s teaching you four nights a week with Legilimency and Occlumency. No one else would do that for him.” Hermione said calmly.

“But he’s got a huge family –”

“Who all love you as if you were one of them.” Hermione said.

“He doesn’t seriously think that I’m stealing his family now, does he?!” Harry asked.

“I really don’t know, Harry.” Hermione said to him. “But your life just seems a lot better than his.”

“But my godfather just died!”

“And he was replaced with Remus.”

“Remus did not replace Sirius!” Harry said and Hermione was quick to respond.

“No, I know he didn’t.” Hermione said before Harry could start shouting at her, “But that’s what Ron probably thinks.”

“Well he’s wrong then, isn’t he?” Harry snapped.

“He is.” Hermione agreed, “I know that no one will ever replace Sirius, I never said that they would but Ron has this strange skewed perspective which makes him think that your life is so much better than his.”

“But I have to defeat Voldemort.” Harry said softly and Hermione was silent for a moment before she nodded.

“I know, Harry.” She said, not meeting his eyes but keeping her head down instead and looking intently at her fingers.

“Do you think he’s going to give up on apparating as well?” Harry asked her, changing the subject tactfully away from himself.

“I don’t know.” Hermione admitted, “He’s not doing very well but at the same time everyone else can.”

“Well soon you’ll be an Animagus as well so then he’ll be the only one who can’t. Won’t that be the same?” Harry asked her.

“I really don’t know.” Hermione said, “I thought I had Ron figured out but I guess not, he's been so much more snappy recently and quite awful to be quite honest."

“I know.” Harry said. “It’s probably just a phase, I’m sure that he’ll see sense soon.” He told her, hoping that she would be at least slightly comforted by this.

“I hope so. I just think that he seems to overreact to everything though. He shouldn’t give up on being an Animagus so easily just because you’ve already managed and he should keep trying with his Apparation as well because Fred and George say that he’s making excuses and avoiding their lessons.” Hermione told him, “Anyway show me some wandless magic.” She said. Since Harry had told her and Ron that he was learning wandless magic from Remus they had been rather intrigued by it, although Ron didn’t like him to demonstrate his skills in the subject since it seemed only to depress him.

Harry summoned his wand to him from the other side of the room without moving or even saying the incantation and Hermione’s eyes widened – clearly impressed. Harry smiled at her and levitated it up into the air easily. He had been practicing all week to lift things whilst he was in the physical world instead of just in his mind as he had been when he had practiced with Remus’ wand more than a week ago.

He span it around and quickly changed it’s colour and made it sparkle before making it become invisible.

“Wow, where did you send it?” Hermione asked him.

“Nowhere, it’s still there.” Harry said and reached out to where it was, feeling the wood beneath his fingers. He had to extend his mind for a moment to check where it was as he reached out to it and he saw it’s form hanging translucent in the air.

“That really is incredible, Harry.” Hermione said to him with a smile on her face. “But Professor Flitwick said that it wasn’t possible to make things invisible.”

“Not with a wand.” Harry explained, “You need a lot of energy to make something invisible, it’s quite tiring actually. Anyway, you lose too much energy through your wand when you cast the spell so it’s fallen into disuse since only the most powerful wizards could perform it. Besides with invisibility cloaks and disillusionment charms it’s not really needed.”

“You sound really intelligent when you talk about wandless magic.” Hermione smiled.

“I just repeat what Remus tells me really,” Harry laughed. “He’s really good at it though, he can turn himself invisible and all I can manage are small things with a small surface area.”

“You’re only learning.” Hermione told him, “You’ve been having lessons for what? A week? You can’t expect to become brilliant at it straight away.”

“I suppose not.” Harry said.

“Besides, even if you were rubbish at it then no one would know since there’s only you and Remus who I know of who can do it.” Hermione said, “He’s not mentioned anyone else who can do it, has he?”

“No, he doesn’t know of anyone else who can.” Harry said to her and she nodded.

“I suppose not, it’s very rare. Not surprising that you’re the only student in the school who can do it.” She said.

“How do you know that?” Harry asked her.

“Well anyone else would have made it obvious. You’re one of the only people I know who desperately shy away from the limelight, even Neville doesn’t mind being looked at for the right reasons. When he got an O in herbology he was telling everyone.” Hermione said to him. “Who taught Remus anyway, did he say?”

“My mum.” Harry said quietly and Hermione looked at him with wide eyes and then understanding.

“Of course…” She said, “It’s hereditary, isn’t it?” Harry nodded and they were silent for a moment. “Harry?”

“Yeah?”

“Can I have my wand back now?” She asked him and Harry grinned before taking her wand out of the air and making it visible again. “So how’s Quidditch going?”

“Since when do you care about Quidditch?” Harry laughed.

“Since you’re captain and Ron’s starting fights.” Hermione told him.

“He isn’t half.” Harry said darkly. “It’s mostly with Ginny though because she’s a Chaser. He reckons that she’s too young which is funny because I wasn’t too young to be a seeker when I was in my first year and they’re always the ones that get attacked.” Harry said to her. “And then Dean started to stick up for her (he’s one of the Beaters, you know) and Ginny started shouting that she didn’t need to be stuck up for by him and this is naturally after she dumped him a couple of days ago.”

“What about the other players?” Hermione asked, “You’ve got that Lewis Roberts as the other Beater, I know that.”

“Yeah, he’s alright actually although it seems quite odd that he’s into Quidditch though – he seems more like the quiet reading type. He’s always in the library.” Harry told her, “Which is probably why I never really saw him around before. He doesn’t get on with people in his year very well though.”

“I really am surprised that Katie Bell didn’t get to be the captain you know.” Hermione said thoughtfully. “She’s been on the team longer than you have.”

“Only by a year.” Harry pointed out, “And I didn’t want to be captain, remember.”

“How could I forget?” Hermione asked, “After Ron stormed off in Diagon Alley.”

“I know, that was a little drastic.” Harry agreed.

“Anyway, what’s the name of that other chaser?” Hermione asked him, “She seems really nice from what I’ve heard…”

“Heard from Ron, you mean?” Harry asked her and she nodded. “Strange that, she really doesn’t like him and she’s not been that nice to him. Anyway, her name’s Laura Turner. She is really nice though and she’s in fifth year I think.”

“You seem to like her.” Hermione said slyly and Harry looked at her quite surprised and amused.

“She’s a good Quidditch player and nice to be around…” Harry said, “You’re not going to try and set me up with her, are you?”

“Why, wouldn’t you want me to?” Hermione asked him.

“I don’t want a girlfriend at the moment, thanks.” Harry said to her, “After the last time I went out with someone she spent the day crying…”

“Yeah well Cho was wet, wasn’t she?” Hermione said and Harry grinned.

“She was rather.” He admitted. “Speaking of horrific dates – when’s the first Hogsmeade weekend?”

“Quite soon I think.” Hermione told him, “First weekend of October. When do you play Slytherin?”

“You are frighteningly interested in Quidditch today, Hermione.” Harry said to her and put his hand on her forehead, “Are you sure you’re alright?”

“I’m perfectly fine, thank you.” Hermione said loftily.

“The match is next week if you really must know and if you dare to set me up with Laura on that Hogsmeade weekend you will regret it.” Harry said to her and he meant it. He did not want to be set up with anyone. He was perfectly fine alone, thank you very much. Hermione looked as if she was trying hard to appear unhappy about this but was going to agree to it anyway. Harry knew her well enough to know that she was going to try and set him up anyway unless he said something tactful and soon. “Besides, you and Ron are the only people who I want to spend my time in Hogsmeade with.” Hermione smiled at him and gave him a quick hug. Success. Harry thought. There was no way that she could still try to set him up with Laura now, right?!


***


Dumbledore was becoming mildly annoyed. What had begun as something quite harmless between his teachers was becoming alarming and almost dangerous. A greenhouse had been set on fire that morning whilst Pomona was in it. That did not matter really; she could easily have got out of there alive but many of the plants reacted badly to fire and began to break free. This had resulted in the lake becoming full of many swimming plants and the merpeople were now officially irritated with Dumbledore.

He looked out of the window in his office and stared down at the grounds below where students and teachers were walking around to their next class. He would make sure that he had a word with his staff later on that day and make sure that this problem between them was resolved once and for all because as well as their setting an extremely bad example to the students, someone had taken a bag of his sherbet lemons and he really did want them back.


***


“Your homework was absolutely appalling.” Snape said to his sixth year class, knowing full well that it had not been so and more than half of them had achieved Exceeds Expectations on their work, Potter included, but he wasn’t about to tell them they had done well, heaven forbid! “And your potions are almost as bad. Now, you are going to carry on making your Polyjuice potions today and by the end of the week you should be ready to test them.”

He finished speaking and the class moved to get back their potions from the lesson before. Harry glanced at Malfoy who was complaining loudly that his potion had disappeared but Snape only smirked at him and told him that if he couldn’t find it then he would have no choice but to start again.

Severus watched as Malfoy glared at him and sullenly began to make the potion again from scratch. He had taken his abysmal work from the lesson before and had used it to paralyse that cat of Filch’s so that he could catch it for Filius to get into the ceiling. Of course he wasn’t about to tell Malfoy what his potions had been used for.

He glanced over the class in front of him and his eyes skimmed over Potter who was managing to make a successful potion. For once he wasn’t tempted to stick a volatile ingredient into his work, after all it could be very useful to have a Polyjuice potion handy and Minerva had been complaining about his low marks in Potions recently after he achieved an O in his OWLs and no amount of telling her he was doing badly was going to change that.

Harry was worried. Snape wasn’t being nearly as nasty to him as he was usually and he couldn’t help but wonder whether he was about to get a face full of Shrinking Solution so naturally he was keeping his eyes on his Potions master at all times, just in case. The thing was that Snape kept looking at him over his work, and he wouldn’t have minded so much if it was to bark out some random insult on his work but he wasn’t… he was just staring at him and then going back to his work. It was almost eerie the way he was behaving. At least he had already put Malfoy in detention for attempting to steal Hermione’s potion. That was something at least.

Malfoy glared at Snape as he threw himself back down into his seat and Snape smirked. He had just put the insufferably spoilt boy in detention with Trelawney, Sinistra and Sprout for every night that week. Now that was going to annoy them. It had become something common that the teachers would put their most annoying students in detention with the other teachers which meant that Malfoy currently had more detentions than any other student in the school and was very annoyed about it.

Soon the lesson came to an end and Malfoy stormed out of the room and Snape didn’t bother to stop him. He didn’t even bother to give the class any homework as they exited the room; what was the point? Pomona would probably feed it to one of her more lethal plants anyway.

Severus waited until all the students had left the room and walked into his office, crossing it quickly and entering his living quarters for a rest. He didn’t have any students in the next lesson and he really did not want to have to go to the staffroom and most likely be attacked by any of the staff so he threw himself down on his sofa and dutifully took ten points from Gryffindor.

He was annoyed, it was official. Potter should not be handling things so well. The boy was working at a rate at which anyone normal would be nearing exhaustion and crying, he practically had extracurricular activities coming out of his ears! When the boy wasn’t in lessons he was in wandless magic lessons, learning Legilimency, learning occlumency, learning to apparate even further than he could and up until previously he had been attending Animagus lessons with Minerva, although now those were no longer necessary. Then there were the copious amounts of homework that all sixth years were receiving and not only was he completing them but he was completing them and getting high marks too, even in Potions when he was deliberately trying to find reason to mark him down. And Quidditch too! He had already organised a team which was irritatingly good, according to numerous Slytherins. Then there was the need to sleep and eat and somehow he was getting this all into one week and still appearing bright, cheerful and energetic.

Snape scowled at the ceiling and took five more points from Gryffindor, just because Potter could manage his life effectively. The thing was that even if the boy did happen to have any spare time he would be straight along to Lupin for more goddamn lessons in wandless magic! That was just outrageous behaviour; one should cherish their time, not squander it on such mindless activities.

He glanced across the room at his desk. Even from here he could see the homework that he had to mark beginning to pile up and just the idea of marking it seemed atrocious. Normally he would have gone through it, assigning random grades to the papers and most of them below Acceptable, but the ones he had to mark were for Ravenclaw and they always came back after the lesson and tried to find out just why they hadn’t so much as managed Acceptable for their monstrously large homework. Stupid Ravenclaws… He thought venomously whilst a little voice in the back of his mind attempted to remind him that Ravenclaws were Ravenclaws because of their high intelligence but he wasn’t going to listen to that voice today; that was the voice that told him that Potter wasn’t all bad and didn’t deserve torture. That voice needed silencing. He glared angrily at the ceiling before a little piece of paper was thrown through the fireplace in the shape of an intricate phoenix. Severus sighed and reached out to it and before his fingers so much as even brushed over the paper it unfolded to show a note written in the headmaster’s familiar loopy handwriting.

Severus,

Your presence is required at a meeting of the staff in my office now.

Albus Dumbledore.


That wasn’t good. The headmaster rarely called meetings of the staff where the meeting details weren’t passed on by word of mouth or pinned up in the staffroom. That meant that clearly not all the staff would be attending and he had a sinking feeling as to which staff were going to be present. Of course he could just march into the staffroom and demand to know who had received similar notes but for some reason no one ever did, they just guessed who would be there with them. He got to his feet reluctantly and walked over to the fireplace and taking some of the floo powder on the mantelpiece he flooed to the headmaster’s office.

“Glad you could join us Severus.” Albus said as he walked through the floo and glanced around at those already sat there. There were two groups of people at the two ends of the same long table which had been used for the Order meetings.

He walked confidently across the room and sat down by Minerva, Filius and Remus who were all holding neutral expressions on their faces whilst at the other end sat Sybil, Pomona, Argus, Heilia, Sabina and Poppy.

“You all know why you are here,” Dumbledore said calmly and although his voice showed no sign of anything but calm, his eyes were not twinkling as much as they normally did. Severus focussed his gaze on the table, making sure that he caught no one’s eyes, especially not those of the headmaster himself. It felt odd knowing that he was about to get a telling-off. He had not been reprimanded in the school for many a year and this was an experience he was not likely to enjoy.

When the teachers walked out of Dumbledore’s office almost an hour later Severus had been right in thinking that it would not have been an enjoyable experience. The headmaster had a strange sort of way of making them all feel guilty for their actions, they had been told time and time again that they had acted in a highly unsuitable manner for that of Hogwarts teaching staff and eventually Dumbledore had begun telling them what they had done wrong and they, his employees, had dutifully kept their eyes fixed on the table and mumbled in agreement to everything he said. Now that he thought about it the entire meeting seemed to have gone in a strange blur and he could barely remember anything that happened. Beside him Severus noticed that Remus looked quite dazed and probably felt the same way he did but he refrained from asking him just what the hell had happened and instead walked in silence to dinner.

“What the hell just happened there?” Remus asked Filius as they walked towards the Great Hall.

“In all honesty I can say that I have no idea.” Filius told him.

“That was the strangest meeting that we’ve ever had and I hate to admit it but we really did go over the top.” Minerva said as they reached the doorway to the great hall and walked inside whilst around them students walked either to or from the meal.

“Well it’s not quite until you realise that we were planning on locking Sabina in the now ceiling-less astronomy tower for an unlimited amount of time that you realise we may have gone too far.” Remus said lightly.

“Speaking of which, didn’t you brick Mrs Norris into that ceiling?” Severus asked Filius as they sat down.

“I did actually and as far as I know, she’s still there.” Filius replied, “Although how Filch will get her out I really don’t know; the ceiling is almost twenty feet above the ground and he doesn’t have any magic.”

“How exactly did you manage to build a cat into a large magical ceiling?” Remus asked with interest and Filius only smiled knowingly before helping himself to some rice from a dish which floated past and down to the other end of the table.

“I don’t think I can so much as look Albus in the eyes now.” Minerva said as Dumbledore walked past them and sat down at his usual seat in the middle of the staff table. The four of them were still in their usual seats and no one watching them would think anything out of the usual had happened, or that their staff had just been disciplined for inappropriate behaviour.

Albus smiled as he sat down in his seat and took some of the broccoli before it walked away towards Pomona whose hair did look rather singed come to think of it. He was quite pleased with the way that the meeting had gone, although none of his staff were willing to look him in the eye anymore or even look at him now that you mention it. At least there would probably not be anymore bizarre and frankly dangerous practical jokes from his teachers and that was something at least.

His gaze wandered over the tables of students filled before him before coming to rest on Harry who was deep in thought at the Gryffindor table, surrounded by chattering friends as he had some Yorkshire pudding halfway to his mouth, or at least Dumbledore thought it was Yorkshire pudding, his eyesight was beginning to fail him. He wondered just how Harry was holding up and how soon he was going to give up with all the extracurricular activities he was attempting to pursue. Then there was the matter of his now having two Animagus forms; it was just unheard of and highly intriguing that the boy would have one form for Sirius and one for Remus. At the thought of Remus Albus glanced down the table and saw his four members of staff sat there sullenly talking as if he had given them detention for the week on unfair terms, although surely even they knew how ludicrous they had been. He mentally counted the days to the full moon as his eyes scanned Remus’ tired profile. Only eight, the day after the Quidditch match he remembered before glancing across the room and wondering whether Nearly-Headless Nick was aware the first years he was talking to looked rather frightened.

A/N: Once again I went way over the top and after a wise review from Veritaserum which said that I had basically gone too far with the teachers I decided that I really had. I do go terribly over the top with things like this though (take the example of the Imperious curse in Hopefully Interesting Sixth Year) anyway sorry that this chapter's a day late, I got caught up in my panicky art work (exam in one week). Next chapter is currently nameless but contains the Gryffindor vs. Slytherin Quidditch match and an argument and that will be up on Thursday. :o)

Chapter 34: Quidditch and Quarrels
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Harry walked confidently into the changing rooms where his team was already sitting, ready for their game and awaiting their captain. Katie was pacing the room, looking very nervous, Ron was scowling at the wall, Ginny was chatting tensely with Dean who was mostly mumbling responses to her. Lewis Thomas was inspecting his broom thoroughly, although Harry doubted whether he was doing that because he needed to or because he needed something to occupy his mind before the match and then there was Laura who was sat in the corner of the room, staring around at everyone else with wide and rather frightened looking eyes.

“Ready?” Harry asked them as he walked into the room and they all looked up to him with expressions which quite clearly said ‘nope’. “Come on, let’s go then!”

“Aren’t you going to give us a pre-match talk like Oliver and Angelina used to do?” Katie asked him interestedly.

“I’m that confident we can beat those slime balls we don’t need one.” Harry grinned at them and they smiled. “Don’t be so nervous, if everything goes as well as it’s been doing in the training sessions then we should be alright.” Just as long as Ron doesn’t start any fights… he added as he led them out of the room and onto the Quidditch pitch where the Slytherins were already stood.

“Captains, shake hands.” Madam Hooch said to them and Harry glared at Malfoy before gripping his hand and releasing it as quickly as he could. His gaze locked with his rivals for a moment and he tried not to think how badly they were likely to lose with the Slytherins all riding Firebolts.

“And as the balls are released Laura Turner takes the Quaffle for Gryffindor!” Seamus shouted over the crowds assembled. He had officially become the commentator for the match since he had become lonely in the stands with Dean, Ron and Harry all playing Quidditch. “Those Firebolts might be fast but the Slytherins can’t handle them!” He laughed as Theodore Nott almost lost control and crashed into one of the Slytherin hoops trying to defend the goals.

Remus glanced to the side of him in the stands at Sybil and Argus who were talking to each other. He was stood at the back of the staff stand with Minerva, Filius and Severus. They had arrived there late and now were having trouble seeing everything going on so Filius had levitated himself off the floor and was watching over the heads of those in front.

“Gryffindor will win without a doubt.” He heard Sybil say to Argus who agreed.

“Definitely, Harry’s got a really strong team together this year even if Ron is being a prat.” Argus replied.

“Well he can be a prat but Harry’ll just kick him off the team.” Sybil told him.

“Doubt it, their friendship’s buggered as it is, Harry doesn’t want to kick him off the team entirely.” Angus said.

“I don’t see why not.” Said Sybil, “Harry’s dead popular – he could be friends with anyone.”

Remus smiled slightly before turning back to the game. Fred and George were not very subtle when it came to pretending to be someone else but Dumbledore had allowed them into the school to see the game; it was just they that wanted to be in disguise. They were right though, from what he could tell Harry had assembled a very good team although Fred and George hadn’t heard the half of what trouble their brother had been causing for Harry and the others.

Harry had finally decided that if he argued once more then he would have no choice but to try and find another Keeper for the team, even if they were abysmal; his idea was that enough training should make them good enough to stop a few goals until he could catch the snitch.

“Nice dodging from Katie Bell there…” Said Seamus over the crowd as the chaser successfully dodged two Bludgers and still had a firm hold over the Quaffle as she flew straight towards the Slytherin goals, scoring a moment later. “And that puts Gryffindor at an early lead 10 – 0.”

Remus’ gaze wandered up to Harry who was flying around the pitch ten metres higher than the main game and Malfoy was staying close on his tail, presumably so that he could taunt him and attempt to wind him up.

“So do you think Weasley will last on the team?” Severus asked Minerva.

“I doubt it.” She said coolly, “I told Harry that if he starts any more fights then he was to remove him from the team, best friend or not.”

“They haven’t been very close as of late.” Filius commented, “I can’t help but wonder why not.”

“Well it’s been since Harry started taking lots of extra lessons, I think.” Minerva said.

“It’s because he doesn’t like not being as good as him anymore.” Severus said as he glanced back up at the game to see how well his team were doing.

“Yeah but Harry’s pretty much always been better than Ron at things,” Sybil said to them, “and he’s never been that bothered before.”

“Wasn’t he insanely jealous during their fourth year?” Filius asked him and Sybil looked exasperated.

“Yes, but that wasn’t about Harry being better.” Argus said, “That was about Harry being famous and always in the spotlight and him being shoved to the side.”

“But Harry doesn’t like being the centre of attention all the time.” Remus said.

“That’s debatable.” Severus muttered.

“We know that and seemingly everyone else but Ron knows that.” Sybil said, ignoring Severus completely.

“Well Ron’s a crap friend then, isn’t he?” Argus said.

“I wouldn’t go that far.” Remus said, feeling that their attack on their younger brother probably wasn’t justified and screams of delight and amazement came from the crowd. The staff and the twins at the back who had been absorbed in their conversation looked up suddenly to see that Gryffindor had just scored two goals.

“Crabbe and Goyle are out cold!” Seamus laughed along with the Gryffindors. Glancing down at the ground, Remus saw two figures lying there with brooms at the side of them and Malfoy landed there after calling a timeout.

“How the hell did they both get knocked out?” Minerva asked and those that had been in conversation with her merely shrugged. Thomadius Vector turned around to them and quickly explained what happened for their benefit.

“You are kidding me.” Severus said in disbelief. “I wouldn’t have thought that even those two could be so moronic.”

“Tell me about it.” The Arithmancy teacher said with a light smile. Remus smiled slightly in return. He liked Thomadius, although they didn’t often speak; Thomadius was more often in his own company than that of the other teachers since Severus was almost always rude to him and the other staff had generally been there long enough to have taught him. Although Remus had no problem with socialising with those whom he had once seen as authority figures, Thomadius didn’t seem comfortable without someone of his own age around him. Remus wasn’t far from his age, he was around five or six years younger than his colleague and he resolved to get to know him at least a little better.

Remus’ eyes went down to the Slytherins who were all on the ground shouting and swearing at the top of their voices now. He couldn’t blame them, after all if their beaters were stupid enough to knock each other out by flying directly into each other then so be it.

The whistle was blown and both teams went to the ground.

“And it looks like the Slytherins are back in the air without their beaters.” Seamus told the crowd, “That’ll teach Malfoy to have reserves next time!”

The game was more heated than ever; the Slytherins were constantly avoiding the Bludgers and Harry had little worries of being hit by it and carried on circling the sky from above, occasionally flying lower to talk to Ron by the goalposts. Malfoy on the other hand was acting as a beater and so was one of their chasers, Cavian McNair.

Harry was pleased with the way things were going for the Slytherins. They were almost certainly going to win with both their Beaters out and Malfoy keeping his eyes on the Bludgers instead of keeping a look out for the Snitch which is what he should have been doing. A golden glint caught his eye and he turned around to see the Snitch flying downwards at a leisurely pace. Harry shot after it and the Snitch immediately sped up.

“Potter’s seen the Snitch!” Seamus said over the cheers and screams from the Gryffindors as Harry raced after the tiny golden ball. Remus smiled as he watched his godson daringly whip around the players, dodging Bludgers and people alike. Remus felt his heart flutter; he always felt this strange sense of excitement when he watched him and he was so close to it too.

“And Malfoy’s forgotten that he’s the Slytherin Seeker!” Seamus said and the staff smirked as they watched Malfoy hit a Bludger after Harry and stare around him for the Slytherin seeker. Only at Seamus’ words did he realise that it was he who was meant to be beating Potter to the Snitch. He cried out in frustration and raced after him. Their brooms were equal in speed but Harry was the better flyer and much closer to the Snitch as well.

Harry reached out and felt the fluttering of wings as he caught the Snitch in his hand and held it tightly. The noise from the crowd was tumultuous as Ginny, Dean, Lewis, Laura, Katie and Ron all flew over to him and wrapped him in a strange sort of group hug as they flew back down to the floor.

“I can’t believe it!” Ginny was laughing as they landed, Dean grabbed her wrists and the two started dancing around together, much to Ron’s disapproval. Laura and Katie embraced Harry tightly whilst Lewis stood behind him, avoiding the attention as best he could.

Gryffindors swarmed onto the pitch and soon the team was surrounded. Up in the air Malfoy was furious and was laying the blame on all his team-mates but himself.

“If you had actually gone for the Snitch…” Said one of them and Malfoy turned to glare at him.

“DO YOU WANT TO BE SMASHED IN THE FACE WITH THIS?!” He yelled, brandishing the Beaters’ bat at him. A stray bludger flew towards him and Malfoy glared at the Gryffindors below and aimed the Bludger straight at Potter’s head.

“MY LEG!” Screamed Katie as the Bludger smashed into her right knee. She was on the floor in a moment and Ron leapt on the Bludger, pinning it to the ground before Madam Hooch arrived on the scene to put the Bludger back in it’s box and conjure a stretcher for Katie to go to the hospital wing. The Gryffindors and now the Ravenclaws and Hufflepuffs who had joined them all stared up at the Slytherin with cold looks on their faces and half of them started to shout up at Malfoy in outrage.

“Let’s get out of here!” Lewis said to Harry and the two of them quickly left with Katie on a stretcher, heading towards the hospital wing with the rest of the team in tow.

“Don’t tell me.” Madam Pomfrey sighed as they walked in, “Quidditch.”

“Yup.” Harry said as she quickly got Katie onto a bed and examined her leg.

“Shattered knee.” She said matter-of-factly. “You’re going to be in here for the rest of the day at least.” She told Katie and glanced at the rest of the team to see if they were going to leave but it became apparent that they were not about to leave her. Madam Pomfrey turned from them and walked over to her desk to get out some painkilling potion for her as Minerva walked into the room.

“I ask you to leave, Minerva.” Poppy said to her curtly, “You are not welcome in here.”

“I am visiting one member of my Quidditch team, Poppy.” She said venomously, “You cannot deny me that when there are six muddily clad people stood by the side of her.” She did not wait for a response but marched past her and over to Harry.

“Excellent catch, Mr Potter.” She said to him, “Very unfortunate about your knee, Miss Bell.”

“Unfortunate nothing, if Malfoy wasn’t such a bad loser…” Harry muttered under his breath but Minerva heard it.

“Don’t despair, Mr Malfoy will be punished.” She said coolly. Poppy came over and pushed past Minerva to get to Katie, forcing potion down her throat which instantly relieved the pain in her leg.

“I must ask that you leave.” Poppy said to them, “My patient needs her rest.” Harry looked between Poppy and Minerva who appeared to be having some kind of staring contest, which was surprising; he would never have dared to try to stare out McGonagall. Poppy eventually dropped her gaze and Minerva smirked slightly before leaving the room, the rest of the Quidditch team in tow as Poppy herded them out of the room. Once they were nearing the door Harry turned around and went to Madam Pomfrey.

“Madam Pomfrey…?” Harry asked her once everyone else had left the room.

“Yes, Mr Potter?”

“Would it be possible…? I mean would you…?” He started, “Would you teach me healing magic?” She raised an eyebrow slightly as she surveyed him.

“Why do you wish to learn?” She asked him. She was very cautious of a boy who was the godson of Remus Lupin who only the day before had filled all her potions with spiders.

“I don’t really know…” He replied truthfully, “I just think it would be a useful skill to have.” She was still not sure of him. What if he was only there as some sort of spy for the others, whether or not their war had ended? He had never seemed that bad before though. She supposed that she could put him on trial and see how he went; she could always refuse to teach him.

“Very well, Mr Potter.” She said to him, “But I am a busy woman. I will teach you Tuesday, Thursday and Sunday evenings between seven and nine.” She nodded to him and ushered him out of the room.

“Thanks!” He called to her before she shut the doors and she smiled slightly as he left.

“What was that about?” Ron asked when Harry caught up with him outside the common room but was saved from answering as they stepped inside and the noise of their entire house cheering filled their ears. Harry stepped through into Gryffindor Tower to see that most of their house was assembled there, cheering and ready for a party.

“What are you doing here?” Harry asked Fred who was stood by the doorway. George was on the other side of the room talking to some seventh years.

“Couldn’t miss the opportunity to advertise, could we?” Fred grinned at him before walking over to some third and fourth years, pulling out a Skiving Snackbox from his robes as he did so. Harry shook his head slightly in disbelief and walked over to the chairs besides the fire where Hermione was sat talking to Ginny.

“You were brilliant in the match, Harry.” Hermione congratulated him as he sat down near them.

“Yeah, but it’s not as if Malfoy was any competition.” Harry grinned.

“What an idiot, even when he saw you going for the Snitch he carried on being a Beater.” Ginny told him and Harry laughed.

“I did wonder where he was but I didn’t really notice.” Harry told them truthfully.

“Good job Ron didn’t start a fight with anyone…” Ginny muttered, glancing over her shoulder just to check that Ron was nowhere near her.

“He can’t really be that bad, can he?” Hermione asked her and Harry and Ginny shared a glance which clearly said that he could be.

“Two training sessions ago he managed to start a fight with every single member of the team.” Harry told her.

“Including Harry.” Ginny added.

“Well if he starts anymore fights then you’ll have to kick him off the team.” Hermione said.

“I know, that’s what McGonagall told me as well and even Remus has been hinting in that direction.” Harry sighed.

“Good, you know that they wouldn’t steer you wrongly.” Hermione said.

“But it’s Ron!’ Harry argued, “If I kick him off the team he probably won’t speak to me again!”

“Because you’ve been having really good conversations recently.” Ginny said and Harry had to admit that she was right; recently they had been arguing a lot, to the point where Harry was trying to avoid him a lot of the time so that he wouldn’t have to start an argument with him.

“Trust me, if you kick him off the team and he falls out with you then he wasn’t a good friend to begin with.” Hermione told him wisely.

“But he was a good friend…” Harry said.

“At the moment he’s being a complete git.” Ginny said, “And I’m his sister. If you fall out with him first then there’s loads of other people who you’re friends with.”

“Ron will come crawling straight back to you.” Hermione said, “He’ll regret being such an idiot in Quidditch.”

“I’ll wait and see if he makes any more problems in training and if he does then I’ll kick him off the team.” Harry said, “Alright?”

“I’d kick him off now before he can start more fights.” George said, coming over to them.

“And start looking for a new Keeper right now.” Fred added. Harry felt slightly uneasy with the fact that three of Ron’s siblings were telling him that they should ditch him and get a new Keeper and from the way that Ginny had been phrasing things, a new best friend as well.

“Look, I know you don’t want to do this Harry…” Hermione said calmly, “But it would really teach him that just because you’re meant to be best friends doesn’t mean that he can do whatever he wants in your team.” Harry nodded and glanced around the room to see where Ron was. He was talking to Laura and from the expression on her face he could see that she wasn’t impressed by him. Lewis had just left his company, clearly irritated by Ron and he came and joined them on a chair near the fire.

“Do I really want to know what Ron’s been saying now?” Harry asked him, looking rather tired of his friend.

“Probably not.” Lewis replied. Harry motioned for him to continue, “Basically he’s told Laura and I that if we don’t fit in with the team –”

“And by team he means himself.” Ginny scowled before letting him continue.

“Well yeah, he said that if we didn’t fit in with the team then we wouldn’t be playing for Gryffindor for long and after that I left but Laura challenged him about it; she wants to know why he thinks he can get away with anything.” Lewis said quietly – it was clear that he was not used to speaking to groups of people, let alone people who were mostly related to the person he wasn’t exactly being complementary about.

“His head’s become so big he’ll have trouble getting through the door.” Fred said as he glanced from Ron to the Common Room door and then back to Ron, as if sizing them up.

“We could deflate it somewhat...” Fred suggested.

“Yes, a good sharp knitting needle should do the job.” George agreed.

“Trelawney Tart anyone?” Fred asked the group around them offhandedly and all refused.

“I DON’T KNOW WHO YOU THINK YOU ARE BUT JUST BECAUSE YOU’RE HARRY’S BEST FRIEND DOESN’T MEAN THAT YOU CAN DO WHATEVER THE HELL YOU LIKE!” Laura yelled at Ron across the room and Ron’s ears turned a violent shade of red but before he had chance to respond Laura had marched over to them and thrown herself onto the floor in front of the fire.

“What’s he done now?” Harry groaned and Laura fixed him with a cool glare, as if it had been he who had argued with her.

“He thinks he can do whatever he wants and talk to anyone the way he wants just because he’s your best friend.” She said to him and narrowed her eyes, “What are you going to do about him? He fights with everyone on the team, even Lewis!” It was becoming well known that Lewis would rather run from any form of confrontation and hide in the library than actually face anyone. The previously unknown Gryffindor was becoming rather more known as time went by and he was seen more and more as one of the new Beaters for the team, along with Dean.

“You said that if he caused any more problems then you’d ditch him and get a new Keeper.” Ginny reminded him and Harry nodded and got to his feet amid wishes of good luck from his team mates and friends.

“Oh and Harry?” Hermione said as he turned to walk over to Ron, “Be tactful for god’s sake!” Harry nodded and turned away from her.

Harry walked across the common room towards Ron who was standing sulkily on his own and didn’t appear to want anything to do with him, Hermione or any of his siblings.

“What do you want?” Ron asked him coolly as he approached, “Finished talking about me, have you?” Harry stared at him; this was so unlike the person he had known before it was almost frightening. He knew that it was his jealousy of him being Quidditch captain probably talking, after all he had been saying rather loudly that morning to Hermione that he still thought he should have been Quidditch captain.

“I have actually.” Harry said in the same cool manner, determined that he wasn’t going to lose his temper as he had done so many times in the past. “I just want you to know that you’re off the team.” Ron’s mouth fell open.

“You can’t kick me off the team!” He almost shouted at him, “I’m the best Keeper in this house!”

“I’m sure there are other people willing to put in the effort to become a Keeper, Ron.” Harry said and turned to walk away.

Petrificus Totalus!” Ron yelled as his anger at being kicked off the team finally got to him. Harry span round quickly and flung up a strong shield using his wand which he had pulled from his pocket just in time. His first instinct had been to just use wandless magic but he wasn’t sure about how strong his shield would have been and besides that he didn’t want anyone to know he was a wandless magician just yet, except for his friends, of course. Ron narrowed his eyes at him before marching away and up to the boys’ dormitories leaving a rather shocked crowd of people behind him. Harry had a strange feeling of anxiety in his stomach, he just realised how much Ron knew about him and his extracurricular activities and just how much he could tell everyone about him. He sighed and returned to his friends sat by the fireplace.

A/N: Hope you liked this chapter because I did. Ron isn't going to be a complete prat for long but I'm not sure whether or not he's coming back to the team any time soon. What do you think of my OCs? I don't think they're that bad and they don't seem too Mary Sueish (or Gary Stu in the case of Lewis) but I do want to be shouted at if they turn all perfect and irritating. I dunno what's coming in the next chapter because I've not written it yet, not any of it and it could be a good few days before it's up since I have an art exam on monday and I'm going to be spending a lot of my spare time until then working on that so I'll try and get it written Monday night and I'll post on Tuesday. A long time for me, I know but obviously exams come first :o) I look forward to seeing your responses to this chapter!

Chapter 35: Water Snap
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“I see he didn’t take it well then.” Hermione said calmly as he returned to his seat. Harry didn’t say anything but glared into the fire as if it was he who had dared to challenge his authority and start arguments.

“I think we should test our latest foodstuffs on Ickle Ronnikins,” Fred said with a malignant grin on his face and Harry hoped that he wasn’t serious.

“As do I.” George agreed and then, seeing Harry not looking particularly thrilled by their new test subject, he added: “Don’t you think, Harry?”

“I don’t actually.” Harry said in a tired voice, “It’ll only make him think that I’m stealing his family or something.”

“Rather be your family than his,” Ginny muttered and although Harry smiled slightly at the gesture he still wasn’t pleased with the fact that Ron’s siblings were taking his side of the argument.

“Trust me; Ron is definitely in the wrong here.” Hermione said, seeing his discomfort, “He will have to come crawling back to you.”

Harry nodded although he still wasn’t pleased with the situation he knew that Hermione was rarely wrong in such matters.

“Water Snap, anyone?” George asked and pulled out a packet of cards from his pocket. Harry looked at them dubiously before declining his offer. Hermione similarly declined and sat at the side of him on the large sofa whilst Fred, George, Ginny, Laura and Lewis all sat around the table having cards dealt to them.

“Basically it’s the usual snap game but when you get a snap you get wet.” Fred explained as the last card was dealt to Ginny. “Let’s play!”

Harry watched as card after card was placed on the table and he noticed that the cards all had bizarre flavours of Bertie Botts Every Flavour Beans on them with various drawings of the beans on them. Fred put down a wool flavoured card and then so did Lewis. There was a loud roaring noise and water gushed out of the card up to the ceiling before falling on everyone within a five metre radius of them. They all sat in stunned silence for a moment before bursting out laughing although it was clear from the looks on the faces of everyone else in the room that they were not quite as amused.

“We haven’t quite got the water under control yet.” George said, “Sometimes it’s about 10 metres high, other times it’s just a couple of metres or so.”

“Water Snap! Now for sale, only a Galleon!” Fred said, never missing the chance to advertise, “Anyone?” But the members of the house who had previously been having a party to celebrate their victory over the Slytherins were not particularly pleased by their drenching.

“Do you know where would be a great place to play Water Snap?” George asked them.

“The library?” Harry suggested and the twins grinned identical grins at him.

“That wasn’t what I was thinking actually, but that’s even better…” George said.


***


“It really wasn’t the best of plans to play Water Snap in the library, Harry.” Remus said as he marked essays in his office and his godson sat on the windowsill levitating various objects around the room without the use of his wand.

“I know…” Harry said distractedly as his eyes focussed on the half a dozen objects which were moving in the air. They had been caught playing Water Snap in the library by a very irate Madam Pince before the Weasleys and Hermione had been told their parents would receive a letter home. For a moment Harry had thought he was going to get away with it and then Madam Pince had grabbed his ear and dragged him down to Remus’ office.

“So what happened with Ron then? Why wasn’t he with you?” Remus asked him.

“Because I kicked him off the Quidditch team earlier on and he didn’t take well to it.” Harry said.

“How shocking.” Remus said as he tried to avoid writing ‘how shocking’ on the essay he was marking. “Although wouldn’t it have been a better idea to find a new Keeper before you kicked Ron off the team?”

“I suppose so.” Harry said glumly, “And now I’m going to have to put up with him in lessons and I just know he’s going to say something about the detentions we have with Snape.”

“Well you shouldn’t have done it then, playing Water Snap in the library was a rather foolish thing to do.” Remus said assigning a grade to the paper he was on, knowing without even reading it that it was going to be Dreadful.

“You are such a hypocrite!” Harry said and one of the objects he was hovering dropped as his concentration dropped and he reacted just in time to stop it from smashing on the floor.

“That’s right, because I was there playing as well.” Remus said coolly as he glanced up at Harry over the top of his reading glasses.

“No, you’ve done loads of crap this week.” He scowled and Remus opened his mouth to scold him for his language but Harry cut him off. “No listen, you’ve spent most of the week fighting and pranking the other teachers and you get away with that, I get detention and all I bloody well did was play Snap in the library!”

“You soaked the library and everything in it!” Remus argued back, “Or did you fail to notice how saturated Madam Pince was? You should have detention drying the whole room not just writing lines with Snape for a couple of hours.”

“Okay, so I got a few books wet… you tried to burn Professor Sprout alive in her own greenhouse!” Harry snapped, he was close to shouting now and he knew that he didn’t seem to vent his anger enough; it was just his luck that it was Remus it had finally been vented on.

“Yeah, because I really want to go to Azkaban for burning someone alive,” Remus glared at him, the full moon was in two days time and he was becoming increasingly irritated with everything which was going on around him, just his luck that he was venting out on Harry. “Face it, you were stupid to play Water Snap in the library where as I was just defending myself from the attacks of other staff.”

“Defending yourself?!” Harry demanded, “You’ve been needlessly attacking them all week!”

“Well perhaps so but we’re not talking about me and my activities over the past week, we’re talking about you and your foolish games in the library.” Remus said in a steady voice, his work long since forgotten.

“Talking? Right, so almost shouting at someone is how you talk now?” Harry scowled at him. “You started this whole argument.”

“Actually you did, if you hadn’t been playing Water Snap this wouldn’t have happened.” Remus said calmly although he held Harry’s infuriated gaze with his own which betrayed the irritation he was feeling.

“Oh get stuffed Remus.” Harry told him before getting up from his seat and leaving the room, using one last bit of wandless magic to send all the objects back to their proper places in the room before he slammed the door shut behind him, leaving Remus sat staring at the door which Harry had left through moments before.

He sighed and leant forwards, resting his chin on his hand. He had just had the first argument with Harry he’d ever had and he hadn’t liked it one bit. Normally he quite liked arguing with Severus over mundane things and seeing how annoyed he could make him whilst Severus was doing the same thing to him but arguing with Harry was something different entirely. Now that he had stormed out of the room Remus was left feeling regretful and unhappy. He knew that most of the things they had been saying were true, even though they had become rather melodramatic towards the end. He could easily have burned Pomona to death in her greenhouse and hearing Harry say it had sent chills down his spine – what if he had killed her? What if he had burned a colleague to death and was then sent to Azkaban? Or given The Kiss? He would have left Harry alone again and he knew that Harry would never have forgiven him had he done that. But then again Pomona probably could have got out alive, although the glass was all extremely reinforced but the doors were open. He tried to block out the idea of the fire spreading to the doors and Pomona being trapped inside, unable to get out and he, the murderer, being taken away from Harry and Hogwarts by dementors.

He sighed and ran his fingers through his hair realising that he had just mimicked Harry almost perfectly before pocketing his wand and setting off towards the staffroom, his marking abandoned and the fact that he had been twirling his wand between his fingers in a fashion similar to Harry unrealised.


***


Harry threw himself down into his favourite chair by the fire, the fact that almost all the younger students had seen him throw himself into it day after day had made it almost his, and few under his own age took it. Hermione looked up to him and smiled slightly from her seat on the floor as she did her homework on the coffee table. Ron had been sat on a chair next to Harry’s but the moment Harry had sat down Ron had got up and walked away across the room, although no one was particularly surprised by this. Fred and George were still hanging around after the match and making money from some of the seventh years interested in buying some of their Skiving Snackboxes and Polyjuice Pastries. Laura was sat talking with Ginny over a chessboard although they weren’t playing any longer and Harry noticed that Lewis was sat in the far corner of the common room reading a book.

“So, what’s the matter?” Hermione asked him as she put her quill down, knowing that whatever the matter with Harry was it had something to do with Remus. She had watched Harry being dragged off to Remus’ office after they had drenched the entire library and wondered about his reaction to Harry’s misbehaviour.

“Nothing.” Harry said rather sullenly and began to idly charm things around him with his wand.

“Don’t be ridiculous.” Hermione said to him, observing him and hoping to find some giveaway of his argument with Remus in his countenance. After all, that must have been what it was; what else could put him in such a bad mood that he was barely willing to speak except for Ron and he had been sat smugly in the common room for quite some time now, speaking only to ask Ginny when her detention with Snape was. No, it was definitely an argument with Remus. “You can tell me, it might help.”

“I doubt it.” Harry muttered, “You’ll only tell me to apologise.”

“So you were in the wrong then?” Hermione asked, suspecting that he probably was.

Harry didn’t reply to this and quickly told her what had happened and what had been said between the two of them before he walked out.

“Well?” Harry asked her once he had done and Hermione sat thinking for a moment.

“It’s a shame you didn’t walk out sooner really.” She said and after Harry raised a quizzical eyebrow she went on to explain, “You say stupid things, you should have left sooner and you’d have said less.”

“I’ll bear that in mind for next time I apparently start arguments by playing Snap.” Harry muttered and Hermione sighed.

“Do you want to make friends with Remus again or not?” She asked him calmly and he scowled and muttered something, although she didn’t think that he said ‘no’ at any point there. “You are going to have to apologise to him because I really don’t think that he’s going to come and apologise to you.”

“I know.” Harry said, “But if I leave it for long enough he might…”

“Or you’ll cause a rift between you and things won’t be the same again.” Hermione suggested helpfully and Harry sighed.

“But I’m no good at apologising…” Harry complained and Hermione just shrugged.

“You should have thought about that before you got into an argument with him.” She said to him.

“But it’s—” Harry started.

“—the full moon the day after tomorrow.” Hermione finished for him, not bothering to ask what he was going to say before she cut him off. “Come on, start thinking Harry! How likely is Remus to start arguments with you under normal circumstances?”

“Fine.” Harry muttered, “But if he started it and it’s because of the full moon then he should apologise.”

“How would he do that? He can’t just walk into the common room and apologise to you. He can’t keep you after class because you have so many other things going on in your life. That added to the fact that you’re both likely to start ignoring you, and with the full moon soon he’s going to be in a rather emotional state so he’s more likely to stay stubborn and refuse to talk to you.” Hermione said rather quickly and Harry paused for a moment to let everything she had said register in his head before replying

“If he’s more emotional he might apologise to me first.” Harry suggested.

“If he wouldn’t normally apologise then he definitely won’t if he’s more emotional, he’s more likely to be melodramatic about it and refuse to talk to you, let alone apologise.” Hermione said, hoping that what she was guessing about Remus was correct.

“Bloody hell.” Harry muttered and as Hermione started writing on her homework again Harry tried to think what would be the best way to apologise to Remus before the full moon, which gave him two days. Of course he would rather be friends again sooner than later so he supposed he should attempt to apologise the next day. He glanced down at the work that Hermione was doing it and with a groan he realised that it was work he had yet to complete. Without picking up his wand he summoned his own work to him and pushing all thought of Remus aside he began to write about the legalities surrounding Polyjuice Potion and its use.


***


Remus sat down in the staffroom next to Minerva and although she sensed that something was wrong with him she didn’t comment. Instead she looked to Filius who was finally having his tale coaxed out of him as to what had happened at the Ministry.

“So, tell us Filius.” Severus said as he fixed the man with a calm gaze that gave nothing away.

“Well we went in there, through the roof as planned and once we were inside we realised Voldemort had known exactly what we were going to do.” Filius said quietly and the other three members of staff sat with him watched him and waited for him to continue. “Malfoy was already in there, waiting for us with Crabbe and Goyle.” He took a deep breath and stared down at his hands, all the time he had spoken making sure that he didn’t meet the eyes of any of his colleagues, he was afraid of what they might have seen in his eyes as he retold his tale.

“So then what?” Minerva asked quietly, making sure that no one else in the room that didn’t belong to the Order was listening to their conversation which had a Secrecy Shield cast around it, ensuring that even if someone was to attempt to listen in to their conversation they would hear nothing more than their complaining about the students they had taught that day.

“Then they stunned us.” He said, “And I don’t know what happened but after that I awoke in some sort of cell in Malfoy Manor.” He told them and took another deep breath; it was evidently taking him quite a lot of effort to retell just what had happened to him whilst in the house. “It was Alastor that got us out though. He was in a cell opposite me and guards had to come in and leave a plate of food on the floor. Well the room was so strongly protected that there was no chance of even using magic in there. One of the guards though, he cast me almost a pitying gaze as he walked past and went to give Alastor his food. Alastor, ever bizarre as he is, pulled off his wooden leg as soon as he heard the guard come in. After he pushed his food under the few centimetres of cell bars he simply waited until he’d turned around and knocked him out with his leg.” Minerva smiled slightly at the imagery that the idea of Mad Eye knocking someone out with his wooden leg conjured in her mind. “He managed to reach out to the keys and simply open the door. It was almost too good to be true.” Filius said almost wistfully.

Remus, Severus and Minerva watched him intently, very intrigued as to what was to come next but they never heard anymore. There was a crash on the other side of the room and Sybil had knocked over her crystal ball and the room instantly filled with very thick fog. The staff in the room coughed and spluttered as they all scrambled towards the door.

Albus raised an eyebrow as he walked down the stairs onto the ground floor of the castle and saw his staff running out of the staffroom, choking and gasping for breath. Sybil coming out last of all and complaining at the top of her lungs that it had been her favourite crystal ball. She had liked no other better than it and it was costing her all her self control not to burst into tears. Albus waved his wand and in an instant the crystal ball in question flew into his hands, whole once again although the mystical fog could never be retrieved.

The odd student walking past glanced into the rather smoky staffroom, intrigued as to just what could have caused all that fog but with a cold stare from Snape, they quickly moved on to wherever they were headed. Leaving the staff deciding as to which one of them should venture back in there and open a window.



Chapter 36: Shrinking Solution
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Hermione was getting quite irritated. She had spent the morning walking between Harry and Ron who were still refusing to speak to one another after Harry had finally thrown him off the team. All Harry was talking about was either how best to make friends with Remus again or how Ron was being completely irrational and both were becoming tiresome.

“For God’s sake, Harry!” Hermione almost yelled as they walked down the staircase into the Entrance Hall and walked towards the Great Hall for lunch. Harry looked at her, alarmed and taken aback by her outburst. “You know what you have to do, just talk to Remus, corner him after the last lesson or something!” She told him snappily before marching into the large room and sitting huffily by Lavender.

“But what if—” Harry said and Hermione didn’t even give him the chance to finish what he had been about to ask before cutting him off.

“Look, he is going to forgive you, he can’t stay angry forever.” Hermione said, “And even if he does stay angry after you try to apologise then eventually he will apologise to you instead.”

“I suppose so.” She said, noting that once Harry had taken the seat next to her Ron had sat opposite her so that he was not forced to sit next to his temporary enemy.

Harry stared down at his plate which was currently devoid of anything edible and tried not to let his gaze wander up to the staff table to see what Remus was doing. He failed and his eyes locked with Remus’ for a moment before his godfather looked away quickly and focussed on staring at his own lacking breakfast.

“So, when are you going to apologise to Harry?” Minerva asked him and Remus shrugged.

“You shouldn’t; he’ll come apologising to you.” Severus said as he poured himself a glass of pumpkin juice.

“I’m not so sure…” Remus said, risking another glance back at Harry and felt thankful that his gaze did not meet bright green eyes at the Gryffindor table.

“Of course he will.” Severus said, “He’ll feel bad about the whole thing and he’ll be begging for forgiveness within the day, you watch.”

“Perhaps.” Filius said, “But he is very stubborn. He might be waiting for you to apologise to him.”

“I don’t think so.” Minerva said, glancing over at Harry and studying him before turning back to her companions. “He’s lacking that defiant air he has when he’s—”

“—defying someone?” Severus asked and she gave him a cool look. “He doesn’t look as if he’s waiting for an apology to me though.”

“He looks like he’s attempting to think how to make one.” Filius observed.

“Does he?” Remus asked and raised an eyebrow.

“I think so.” Filius replied.

“Or are you just looking at him and noting that he looks slightly dejected and must therefore be trying to figure out how best to apologise to me?” Remus asked lightly as he took a sip of his tea, noting the silence after his question before conversation turned to lighter matters.

“One more person who sets my classroom on fire this week and they’ll wish they’d never been born…” He heard Minerva say before the conversation faded away to noise in the background as he stared into his tea and occasionally glanced up to see Harry over at the Gryffindor table.

“Remus…” Someone said in the back of his mind and Remus blinked. “Remus!” Someone said again and Remus glanced up to see Filius looking at him.

“Sorry…” Remus mumbled and Filius smiled kindly.

“Don’t be sorry.” Filius told him, “You’d better go though – you have Ravenclaws first thing do you not?” Remus nodded, “I’d be going then if I were you; they’ll already be there.”

Remus smiled slightly at him before leaving the table, which was already half empty, and exiting the room through the large doors. He was still quite distracted as he walked through a crowd of people in the Entrance Hall and walked up the stairs and straight into someone who had been running from one of the upper floors.

“I’m so sorry!” Remus said as books went flying around them and he bent to see who he had knocked to the floor in his distracted state of mind only to meet with Harry’s gaze, shielding any emotions from view. Of all the people you could have walked into, or had running into you… Remus thought as he offered a hand to Harry and he took it, smiling slightly although there was an awkwardness between them which they hadn’t felt in some time; it was almost as if they were just a student and teacher again, although to Remus Harry had never been just a student.

“Sorry, I shouldn’t have been running.” Harry said, not meeting Remus’ eyes as he accepted his hand and allowed Remus to help him back up to his feet before he summoned his books back into his arms. He glanced up at his guardian and smiled slightly before dropping his gaze and turning away from him.

He was going to be late to Potions again and Snape was going to kill him for it, either just by taking a few dozen house points from Gryffindor or killing him in a more literal context by adding something poisonous to the Advanced Shrinking Solutions they were working on.

Harry risked a quick glance back as he trotted to the top of the stairs on the first floor and saw Remus watching him with a rather troubled look on his face.

“Late again, Potter?!” Snape shouted up at him before disappearing into the dungeons. Harry cursed inwardly before running down the stairs and towards the dungeons without casting a look back at Remus.

He raced through the Dungeons using passageway after passageway and eventually ended up in Snape’s classroom, not surprised to see that everyone was already there including the Potions master.

“Late again Potter.” He said, a statement this time. “Twenty points from Gryffindor.” He said and Harry noted with irritance the malicious smile which touched his face as he took points from his rival house.

Harry sat down next to Hermione at the back of the room and saw that his potion was already at his desk.

“I cannot believe he took points.” Hermione muttered, “He only got in a minute before you did.”

Harry nodded to her before looking back to Snape who was clearly ready to see whether or not he could take every point Gryffindor had in his time limit of only one hour.

“Today you will be testing your Shrinking Solution which you should have made to shrink a part of your anatomy for a minute before returning it to it’s natural size.” Severus said coolly to the class. He would be interested to see what Draco’s potion did; he knew for a fact that it was terrible and where as everyone else’s potions were blue his was clear and he noted with some satisfaction that Malfoy was looking particularly worried at that point in time as he glanced around him. “But before you test your potions you will be taking notes on the correct usage of the Shrinking Solution. Any questions?”

Harry contemplated asking him something just to see how irritated he got but, like everyone else in the room, he refrained and remained silent and still in his seat.

“Good.” Severus said, his eyes running over all the students and the potions in front of them. “You may begin.” He said curtly before sitting down behind his desk pretending to mark essays whilst his eyes continually glanced up towards the students – Potter and Malfoy in particular.

“I really don’t fancy drinking that.” Harry said to Hermione as he compared the colour of his potion to hers after spending most of the lesson taking notes in silence. Their potions were almost identical but he still had a sinking sensation as he looked at it.

“I don’t blame you.” Hermione said, noting the way in which her own potion was quite thick where as Harry’s was of the same consistency as water. “But it doesn’t look like you have much choice.”

“I bet Snape did it.” Harry accused as he glared up at Snape who glared back at him causing Harry to quickly drop his gaze. “Or Malfoy. Probably Malfoy.”

“Or just possibly you can’t make a potion.” Hermione said mildly as he gingerly took a sip of her potion and in an instant her ears and her left arm began to shrink. It was very odd to watch and Harry was quite startled and also quite annoyed by her success and the knowledge that his own potion was very unlikely to be as successful. “Go on Harry, just drink it!” Hermione urged him and he gingerly took a sip of his potion. It tasted like leather he noticed as he drank down the contents of his vial.

“It didn’t do anything!” Harry said indignantly and Hermione just shrugged.

“It’s rare for a potion to not do anything at all.” She told him, “Or maybe it has and you haven’t realised what it’s done yet. You might have green legs or something…” Harry raised an eyebrow sceptically but retained a sense of foreboding anyway. He looked across the room to see Malfoy looking suspiciously at his own thin, clear mixture before drinking it.

“Uh oh, Harry…” Hermione said glancing up from her book at her desk and running her eyes over him to see if anything had changed about him.

“What?” Harry asked her warily.

“Well whatever you’ve shrunk will remain until around 6pm from what I’ve read here.” She told him.

“But I’ve not done anything!” Harry told her, his voice suddenly quite a bit higher than it had previously been.

“Not done anything?!” Hermione cried looking back at him and Harry realised with horror that Hermione was growing larger by the second. Come to think of it, so was the rest of the room. “You’ve shrunk yourself!”

Severus could barely contain himself as he watched Potter shrinking himself at the back of the classroom. The boy had drunk almost all of his watery concoction and was now suffering the consequences as he continued to shrink. His gaze was finally torn from the unfortunate Gryffindor as a yell from Malfoy caught his attention.

“What the hell’s happening to me?!” Malfoy yelled at the top of his voice as he began to swell up like a large, panicked balloon. “Make it stop!”

Severus bit his lip hard in an attempt to prevent the laughter bubbling up inside him from escaping and he managed. Just. He sighed loudly and dramatically as he rose from his seat and shouted to them all that class was dismissed although not surprisingly Potter, Granger and Malfoy remained behind.

“Mr Malfoy, your lack of intelligence and overall commonsense has yet to surprise me.” Severus said coolly to the large balloon like boy who was still expanding. “Now I will summon Madam Pomfrey for the puncturing and you should be free to return to your lesson in no time.”

“PUNCTURING?!” Malfoy yelled at the top of his voice and Harry, although only six inches tall and sat on Hermione’s hands, couldn’t help but laugh.

Severus crossed the room quickly, leaving the three students in the middle of the room. Harry had stopped shrinking now and had settled at five inches tall as Hermione carefully put him down on a nearby desk and sat down besides him. Harry, from his new and rather interesting perspective of the world looked up at Malfoy who, unfortunately for him was still growing and could already touch the ceiling.

Severus glanced back into the room filled with Malfoy before throwing the floo into the fireplace.

“Madam Pomfrey!” He yelled into it before the stern looking woman appeared through the flames.

“Yes, what is it Severus?” She asked him coolly as she stepped into his office. “I am a very busy woman.”

Severus knew that she had still not forgiven him for all the bizarre pranks that they had pulled on her and her friends only a week earlier and he couldn’t blame her, but right now his room was becoming ever fuller by one obnoxious Slytherin.

“It’s Potter.” He said simply and that alone managed to make Poppy listen to him. “And Malfoy.” He added, smiling inwardly at the way in which her lips thinned at hearing Malfoy mentioned.

“Where are they then?” She asked him and Severus motioned for her to follow him.

Severus rolled his eyes as he watched Potter leap from one desk to another to the side of it as Malfoy’s ballooning form filled the area around him, knocking desks out of the way as his body pushed outwards.

“I DON’T WANT TO BE PUNCTURED!” Draco yelled at the top of his rather more booming voice.

Madam Pomfrey gave him no attention as she raised her wand and muttered a spell under her breath. For a moment Malfoy thought that it was cured and he was beginning to shrink again, that was until he realised that he was pressing painfully against the ceiling and a large, rather lethal metal pin was in Madam Pomfrey’s arms.

“NO!” Malfoy screamed and Harry burst out laughing as Madam Pomfrey jabbed him in the side with the large needle. There was a strange hissing sound and everyone thought that was going to be it and Malfoy would deflate. Sadly for Malfoy, that was not so.

“That should stop the inflation for now.” Poppy said calmly, “But I’m going to have to take you into the Hospital Wing.” She told him and waved her wand over him, Vanishing him to the ward.

“Now where is Mr Potter?” she asked Severus who smirked and pointed to the small boy sat on the table. She raised an eyebrow as she looked over him. “You will have to come as well Mr Potter.”

“Get back to class Miss Granger.” Severus told her coldly and she turned to leave but Madam Pomfrey called her back.

“No, I would advise that you come with us.” She said to Hermione, “After all, how else will he get around the school?”

“You mean I’m going to have to stay this size?!” Harry yelled in a high voice but received no answer as Hermione picked him up and followed Madam Pomfrey into Snape’s office and through the fire.

Severus watched them leave through the fireplace and burst into hysterical laughter, leaning on a nearby desk for support. He heard something towards the doorway and looked up to see second year Hufflepuff and Ravenclaws stood in the doorway.

“What do you think you’re looking at?!” Severus demanded, his hysterics temporarily subsided as his next class filed into the room, shocked and rather afraid.


***


Ron hid a smile as he glanced at Harry sat on the desk between Hermione and himself. Harry was not looking too impressed as he sat on the table, looking up at Professor Flitwick as they prepared for a double period of Charms.

“Where is Mr Potter?” Filius asked Hermione, before glancing down at the desk and smiling at the miniature boy sat there, “Oh my. What happened, Mr Potter?”

“Potions happened, Professor.” Harry said and Filius nodded.

“Very well.” He said, “I’m sure that we can make arrangements for today.” Harry glanced around him to see the rest of his classmates looking over curiously at him. He pulled a face at Neville who grinned at him with Seamus and Dean from the row in front of them before Filius began the class.


“How the hell am I meant to make notes like this?” Harry asked as he raised his quill with difficulty as it was almost twice his height. Hermione laughed and put it down.

“I’ll charm it for you.” Hermione told him as she picked up the quill and touched it’s nib to the tip of the paper. “Dictartum.” She said and smiled at Harry as she let go of the quill and it stood upright, waiting to be written on. “Harry Potter.” She said clearly and the quill wrote Harry’s name at the top of the parchment.

“Cool, but what use is that to me?” Harry asked her, noticing that the quill did not take down his every word. Hermione touched his head with her wand lightly and then touched it to the quill. It glowed ever so slightly for a moment but didn’t do anything.

“Now try something.” She told him and Harry nodded.

“Domestic Charms.” Harry said clearly and the quill wrote it at the top of the page along with his name. He smiled slightly and glanced back to Hermione.

“So what happened to Malfoy then?” Seamus asked, turning around to face Harry.

“He’s like a giant balloon in the hospital wing.” Harry told them, “Madam Pomfrey doesn’t know how to shrink him yet.”

“What about you?” Dean asked him curiously.

“She can’t make me grow again either but Hermione reckons it should have worn off by the end of the day.” Harry told them with a sigh and they smiled at him. “It’s not funny!” He received no response but laughter and in the end he found himself laughing too.

He turned back to his parchment and began to make notes, feeling at least slightly relieved that his quill had not been taking notes of the conversation.


***


The end of the morning’s lessons could not have come fast enough for Harry as he found himself leaving Transfiguration before lunch, perched on Hermione’s shoulder as she made her way through the crowds and into the Great Hall. Ron walked besides her talking about Care of Magical Creatures.

“And then it bit Pansy and she had a fit!” Ron grinned at her and Hermione smiled slightly.

“Pity it didn’t take off her arm really…” Harry said making Ron laugh, and for a minute things were the way they used to be again. Hermione smiled slightly as she turned to Ron and picked Harry off her shoulder.

“Hold Harry for a moment whilst I tie my shoelace.” She told him as she put Harry into his hands before either of them could say anything.

“Hermione, couldn’t you have picked a better place to tie your lace?” Ron asked her, raising an eyebrow.

“Or perhaps a better place?” Harry suggested as people pushed and shoved whilst they tried to get around her.

“People can walk around me, can’t they?” She asked lightly as she slowly tied her lace, noticing the exasperated looks which crossed between Ron and Harry above her.

“Hermione!” Ron said suddenly, making Harry jump, “You’re a bloody witch! Why the hell have you stopped to do something you could do with a wave of your wand?” He gestured wildly with his hands and Harry clung on tightly to his fingers to prevent himself from being thrown off altogether. “Oh, sorry Harry!” Ron said as he made sure that he wasn’t about to fall off his hands.

“Well old habits die hard.” Hermione said as she stood back up, her lace firmly tied and walked into the Great Hall, leaving Harry sat on Ron’s hands as he hurried after her and over to the Gryffindor table.

“Have you seen Potter today?” Severus asked his colleagues offhandedly as he watched Granger and Weasley make their way over to the Gryffindor table for dinner and the latter of the two set something down on the table. A smirk crossed his face when he realised what, or rather who it was.

“No, why?” Remus asked as his plate filled itself with spaghetti. The other three staff smiled and glanced over at the Gryffindor table, whilst Remus looked also but failed to see his godson. “Where is he?”

“Oh he’s there alright.” Severus said and Remus felt an odd sense of worry in his stomach as he wondered what could have happened to Harry.

“It’s nothing terrible, don’t worry Remus.” Minerva said touching his arm lightly and Remus felt the knot of anxiety in his stomach lessen slightly as he ate some of his spaghetti.

“So what of Mr Malfoy then?” Filius asked Severus who couldn’t hide the wide grin that crossed his face and Remus wondered just what could have happened to him to make him smile like that.

“He’s like a giant balloon in the Infirmary.” Severus told them, “Poppy doesn’t know how to get him down.”

Down?” Minerva asked, raising an eyebrow.

“Yes, she tried to make him smaller using a strange charm I’ve never seen before and suffice it to say that it didn’t work.” Severus told them before taking a small mouthful of rice. “So he’s now around the same size but floating against the ceiling. If I were her I’d be tempted to open a window and let him fly out.”

“It would take a pretty large window to get Malfoy through it.” Filius said and Minerva and Severus smiled.

“What have I missed here?” Remus asked them curiously but the other three just shook their heads and smiled knowingly whilst Remus’ intrigue grew.

“You’ll find out later.” Minerva said to him again and Remus was forced to accept it whilst he listened to their conversation, trying to gain any information that he could.

“Anyway I must get going; I want to get back to the classroom before the Slytherins have a chance to set anything on fire.” Filius said as lunch ended and one by one the teachers left the staff table, followed soon after by the students.

Remus stood in the doorway as his sixth year students filed into the classroom, wondering just what had happened to Harry. He had been guessing all dinnertime but he hadn’t been prepared for seeing Harry sat at a proud five inches high on Ron’s shoulder as the redhead walked into the room.

He raised an eyebrow as they walked past and his eyes met with Harry’s for a moment before he could no longer hold his gaze.

Remus walked confidently to the front of the room and began to teach them about distractive spells which can be used in duels.

“The distractive spell which you will be learning today is the spell Ventulus which sends a strong gust of wind in whichever direction you point your wand.” Remus said whilst the class listened to him in silence, “Yes, Hermione?”

“Isn’t the wind forming spell a charm, Professor?” Hermione asked him after holding her hand in the air to catch his attention and Remus nodded.

“Yes it is, but many charms and transfigurative spells can be used in a duel.” Remus replied to her. “Yes Dean?”

“You said that you’d duel today…” He said trailing off slightly and Remus smiled at him.

“I did indeed, but unfortunately my usual opponent has managed to shrink himself to around a tenth of his normal height.” Remus smiled and Harry stuck out his tongue, “Unless anyone else wishes to duel with me today…?” He glanced around the room but everyone seemed especially reluctant and even Hermione wouldn’t duel with him. “Then I suppose that you will have to wait until next lesson to witness another duel.”

The lesson went on and both Harry and Remus realised that things were just about back to normal between them but that didn’t change the fact that at least one of them was going to have to apologise at some point.

The bell rang to signal the end of the day and Remus motioned for the class to leave before sorting out all the papers on his desk.

“Good luck, mate.” Ron muttered to Harry as he put him down on Remus’ desk and left the room.

Remus glanced up when he thought he heard something but the room was empty, and had managed to become so in a record five seconds.

“Remus?” Harry said quietly and Remus looked down to see Harry sat on the edge of his desk, smiling up at him with a slight sense of discomfort around him. Remus smiled at him slightly before sitting back on his chair to see what Harry was going to say to him. “I’m really sorry… I may have … possibly … overreacted, slightly.” Harry said, keeping his eyes well away from Remus’.

“I know you are.” Remus said, smiling at his miniature godson, “And I’m sorry as well, I overreacted and the full moon’s tomorrow evening and…” He trailed off, not knowing how to continue. Harry glanced up at him and grinned and Remus couldn’t help but return him a small smile as he looked at Harry who was just so amusingly small. “So I suppose you’ll be wanting me to take you back to Gryffindor Tower now?”

“Yeah, unless you want to go to yours for a bit and I can tell you what happened to me and Malfoy in Potions?” Harry grinned and Remus sighed and picked Harry up, letting him rest on his shoulder as Remus turned and walked over to the blackboard. “Uh, Remus? The door’s the other way.”

“Not the one I want to use.” Remus said to him and tapped the blackboard lightly with his wand. Harry raised a tiny eyebrow as the blackboard opened inwards like a large door and lead into a passageway.

“Where does this go?” Harry asked, “And there is no way that this is on the Marauders’ Map.”

“It isn’t.” Remus told him as they stepped inside, “It’s a series of passageways used by the teachers to every classroom, from every office in the school.”

“Wow… that could be very useful.” Harry said thoughtfully and Remus smiled. “Can I use them?”

“Only if you’re very, very careful. If you get caught I’ll be the one in trouble, not you.” Remus said to him as they walked inside and Harry looked around at the passageway which was large and made of stone with white marble flooring underneath. The lighting was from nowhere that Harry could see, it was just… light. “Anyway, tell me how Draco turned into a giant balloon…”

A/N: Hello! Right, after my minor breakdown type thing I have returned with a new chapter (as you have just read) although it's taken me almost two weeks to get it posted, can you believe?! Real life is catching back up with me I suppose and coursework isn't any fun (nor is art preparation but that's finally out of the way!) so I'll try and get a new chapter written soon although I don't think it will be up until Friday (but I'Il try and get it up for Thursday) so never fear, I'm not abandoning this story yet.

And before I forget a huge thanks to everyone who's been so supportive when I wanted to quit and urged me to continue, and thanks for everyone who told me to start again, lol, I can definately see why you'd want me to but when I'm on around 150,000 words it's just too much to throw away I'm afraid and I just hope you like the upcoming and not yet written chapters :oP


Chapter 37: The Full Moon
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Despite the aches that filled his body warning of the transformation to come, Remus was happy. He had spent the evening before talking with Harry and showing him the secret passageways of the staff which led all over the school. It lightened his heart to know that he was back on good terms with Harry once more and Harry was happy too because he was friends with Ron again. Or at least almost friends again at any rate. Things were still strange between the two friends, just as they were between Remus and Harry at times when flickers of their arguments would come back to them. At those times they would feel awkward but Harry always managed to say or do something to lighten the moment or at least to amuse Remus in someway, even if it did involve his own humiliation.

Remus allowed the rest of the repulsive Wolfsbane Potion to slip down his throat, wishing that he had lost the ability to taste, although there was something to it which he hadn’t recognised inside it – an unusual stickiness which was almost sweet in its way. His suspicions were not aroused however; Severus had recently been experimenting with the potion on which he depended in a vain attempt to put an end to his curse, once and for all. Remus would once, in his own naivety, have believed the man to have done it from the kindness within his heart but time and experience told him that his work was upon Dumbledore’s orders and that Severus had no kindness within whatever empty shell of a heart he possessed. He set the emptied goblet down on his desk and walked across the room.

Remus curled up on his sofa and grimaced as the dull ache in his body flared up and became something close to agony. Something close to the pain he would feel that night. Close to the pain that he had felt once a month for around three decades. Close to the pain, the agony and the torture, but not quite. That pain was to come in the evening and all he wanted was to curl up in his office and hide from anyone and everyone until the night has passed but that wasn’t possible.

For many a moon Remus had dreamt of company for the duration of those agonising nights whilst he was no longer himself throughout the longs years before Sirius returned and more recently, since Sirius had gone again but now that he could finally have the company he desired he found he no longer wanted it. He wanted solitude in his pain, to feel that burning inside him as his bones broke, his limbs became dislocated and another mind warred with his own and now that solitude was to be taken from him by a boy. The boy wouldn’t give in to his pleas to be left in isolation and although part of him swelled inside with his refusal to desert him, the rest of him silently begged him not to return to him that night.

His name murmured to him and a cool hand pressed gently to his forehead dragged him from his hazy consciousness and into a clearer perspective. His eyes opened to see the boy who would not leave him and the slightest of smiles touched his face before his eyes closed again. Images flashed infront of his closed eyes of the past: fallen friends mixed with flashes of green and, as always during this time, he found that he could no longer keep his eyes shut with his mind open to those images, some imaginary and some frighteningly real as hints of his transformation took him. Another flash behind closed eyes and he whimpered slightly, a whimper which he had not intentionally allowed to leave him but which had nonetheless. The almost continuous flashes of green were replaced with a deeper green which didn’t so much as flicker in the eyes of his godson who held his gaze, riddled with anxiety and helplessness. Remus wasn’t sure which green he preferred but he longed for his loneliness again.

“Is there anything I can do for you?” The voice, which hid it’s emotions well, quavered only very slightly as it asked the question it knew the answer to.

Remus could barely make a sound leave his lips when he wanted it to. Of course when I don’t want my godson to hear me whimpering it’s quite another matter… he thought bitterly. He mouthed ‘no’ to Harry and another ever so slight smile accompanied it although he couldn’t make it touch his eyes.

He always hated people seeing him in his weakest moments and this was definitely one of them: between the time of inhuman brute strength and his human strength of mind he was neither man nor beast, at least that was the way in which he felt. He had allowed but four people to see him in this state in his life and few others had seen him without his permission such as Severus for instance. He was still making the potion for him although reluctantly and was right now most likely smirking at the pain the potions master must know he was feeling.

Harry was biting his lip lightly as he watched Remus, unsure of what to do for him, if anything could be done. Remus turned slightly from his gaze, wishing so much that Harry would just go, so that he would not see him in agony, wanting to tear himself apart as the moon rose in the sky. He could not stand to be seen as the weakling that he truly was inside, the weak and pathetic man that he had spent many a year hiding from the world but came out once a month, howling in pain and ready to end his own life, were he not too cowardly to do it.

Of all the people to see him in this state… of all the wizards he knew who were powerful, strong and imperturbable why Harry? Why the one person for whom he desperately wanted to remain strong?

He bit down hard on the inside of his cheek to prevent the cry of pain escaping his lips as he felt the moon rising closer and closer to the horizon and would have clenched his fists had his hand not found itself around that of a younger person, desperate to offer comfort in anyway possible.

Leave me, Harry… Please!

Never. Replied a quiet voice in his mind and Remus didn’t need to open his eyes to see that using the physical connection between them Harry had formed a metal one.

You ought to…

Remus, even if I was still six inches tall— Harry started.

Five.

Five? Harry asked him.

Inches tall, Remus smiled. He felt a flicker of annoyance mingled with amusement but didn’t comment.

Okay, so even if I was five inches tall still I wouldn’t leave you to go through this on your own. Harry argued with him, feeling a faint smile in the back of his mind as his only reply.

Harry raised his gaze from Remus and up to the window across the room from where there was a dim glow which, as Harry looked at it, became brighter. The moon was beginning to rise. He had no time to observe the silvery light lighting the grounds outside or assisting the glowing fire in the illumination of their present room – Remus’ living room.

Remus gasped as pain shot through him and Harry’s eyes became fixed upon him once again, his fingers squeezing his tightly, showing him the only way he could that through his pain that he was not alone. Harry knew that his voice was wasted upon him now and so was communication with his mind but he spoke and thought to him regardless. Constantly reassuring him that it would end soon, that he was there with him…

Harry fought the urge to pull away from Remus as he felt something else stirring in his mind. He could not understand the growling in which it tried to communicate but it’s meaning was clear. Harry realised that he probably should have pulled away from Remus when he had the chance to as Remus knocked him down with a single strike… the wolf was winning and though he knew that as soon as the transformation was complete his guardian would be in control, at the moment he was not.

In an instant Harry transformed into the ruffled, black wolf and stood to the side of Remus, waiting for his change to become complete. Harry watched in horror as Remus’ arms and legs grew fur and their bones broke, reforming into the limbs of a large and intimidating wolf. He howled an unearthly cry, which was an unsettling mix of human and the beast within.

After what felt like hours, it stopped. Harry gazed upwards at the large wolf which towered above him and seemed almost to gaze down upon him. He took a step forwards to the wolf, cautiously and unsure of himself. The wolf growled slightly but did nothing to stop him. Harry took another step forwards and so did the wolf, stopping Harry dead in his tracks. The wolf walked slowly around Harry, examining him with bright eyes until it stopped in front of him and Harry forced himself to meet the eyes of the wolf which he doubted Remus would be seeing through. He was almost certain that something had gone wrong with the potion and he was now very afraid of finding himself alone with an unrestrained werewolf on the night of the full moon.

The elder of the two wolves did not make a move so Harry stepped gingerly towards him, closing ground until his own front paw reached out to Remus’ and touched it gently. The wolf eyed him suspiciously but did nothing as Harry pressed his mind into it and through it into the mind of the wolf.

Remus?

Harry felt a sense of panic in the back of the wolfs mind as he pushed gently into it’s subconscious through the uncertainty in the front of it’s thoughts.

Remus? He asked again, fearful that the wolf should react badly to him and push him away. He could feel inner turmoil in this part of the mind which had previously been under control by his guardian as two beings fought one another and for a moment Harry’s own name drifted through to him from Remus but after that he felt the wolf draining him of his power and resolve. Harry knew that he would not hear from Remus again that night.
Harry pulled away from him and the wolf surveyed him carefully, deciding upon whether the cub in front of him was any sort of threat. It growled slightly and Harry took a step back, fear showing in his eyes but he refused to drop his gaze from the wolf which seemed to accept him.

The wolf stepped towards him and felt a sense of recognition as it breathed in the scent of the young wolf as well as an urge to protect. The wolf had missed having a pack. A long time since it had run wild with a dog, a stag and a rat but that time had long since passed. The dog had then finally returned but had left him once again, only to be replaced by a young unknown, and yet familiar cub. He would not let this cub leave him, he would remain a part of a pack, however small it may be and he would protect his young cub which looked up at him with dazzling eyes.

The young wolf walked away from the elder, now more secure in the fact that he was not about to be attacked at any minute. Harry lay down in front of the warm fire, using a little wandless magic to move the coffee table and the sofa back so that the wolf could lay next to him for warmth in the cool room.

Two pairs of eyes closed, both of them surprised by the coffee table and the sofa moving as they had but neither of them bothered by it as they let sleep take them whilst outside the moon continued to rise.


***


Remus felt himself slipped under a heavy duvet and mumbled something into his pillow, noting the silkiness of the pyjamas that covered him which were so different to the plain cotton ones he normally wore.

Harry smiled sadly at Remus before turning the light off as he left the room and walked quickly into the living room, waving his wand quickly to move the sofa and the coffee table back to their original positions.

Turning around, Harry walked over to the window which had been charmed to appear to show the Quidditch field, the lake and the more beautiful view of the grounds. He touched the glass with his fingertips and pushed, a lit passageway on the other side with marble flooring and stone walls which he remembered from only two nights before as Remus had shown him from his classroom to his office. It seemed that the passageways were enchanted however, as Harry had used the passageways the day before and had not got lost once, although he had never known where he was or where he was going.

Picking the way which he thought would lead up to the Gryffindor Common Room, he started to walk and soon found himself walking upwards on a slope. He walked along, heedless of the fact that he could walk into one of the staff at any moment until echoing footsteps met his ears. Panic hit him and he desperately wished for a way out.

A way out met him to his left by means of an intersection which he was almost certain had not been there moments before but he did not question it as he ran into it, risking a look back as he saw Pomona briskly walking past.

That had been close. Too close. Harry endeavoured to be more careful in future of where he walked and made sure that he would listen out in future but until he could get out of the passageways, he would run as quickly as he could and hope that he ended up in Gryffindor Tower.

“Look, mum…” Harry heard Ron’s voice say in an exasperated fashion as he stepped through the passageway which had managed to come out through the portrait of the Fat Lady so it appeared he had just stepped through the portrait hole. “Shhh… someone’s here!”

“Only me, Ron.” Harry called to him and he heard a sigh of relief across the room as he walked towards the fireplace where Molly’s head was hovering in an agitated manner.

“Hello Harry, dear.” Molly said to him and smiled wearily at him. “Anyway, I must be going…”

“Take care Mrs Weasley.” Harry said to her and she scowled slightly.

“Call me Molly.” She insisted.

“Mum, I’m sure they’ll be alright…” Ron said to her but his mother didn’t appear to hear him as she bid him goodbye and disappeared from the fire with a pop.

“What was all that about?” Harry asked Ron, knowing that it wasn’t really his business but he had managed to ask before thinking about it. Ron sighed and sat back on the sofa behind him and Harry sat in a nearby chair.

“It’s Bill and Charlie…” Ron said, running his fingers though his tousled hair. “They’re going to try and break into Azkaban.” There was stunned silence whilst Harry tried to take in just what Ron had said.

“You’re kidding me…” Harry said quietly and Ron shook his head.

“It’s a plan that Dumbledore’s cooked up in an attempt to get a look at Voldemort’s defences. As always he’s confident that nothing’s going to go wrong but Dad, Mad Eye and Flitwick only just got out of Malfoy Manor alive, Merlin knows how they’re going to get out of Azkaban!” Ron moaned, burying his head in his hands.

“So they’re going right into the building?” Harry asked them and Ron looked up to him and shook his head.

“Not right inside, but close enough on the outside so that they can get a good look at their defences so that they can then see the best way to get right inside the building afterwards, something that they’ll probably end up involved in as well.” Ron sighed and Harry put his hand on his shoulder in as comforting a fashion as he could. He didn’t want to say anything for fear of causing another rift between the two of them so he stayed silent, hoping that Hermione would arrive at some point or another so that he would no longer be left alone with his distressed friend.

“Come on, let’s go get some breakfast.” Harry said to Ron eventually, “I bet Hermione’s already down there reading at the breakfast table or something. You know what she’s like…” Ron nodded.

“I know. Drives me up the bloody wall.” Ron smiled slightly. “Still… at least it’s Saturday so we’ve got two days until we have to worry about lessons again, well when I say ‘we have to worry about lessons’ I mean ‘until you have to worry about Potions’ and by ‘worry about Potions’ I mean ‘worry about shrinking yourself again’.” Ron grinned and Harry who pulled a face at his friend as they left the common room through the Fat Lady and walked out onto the seventh floor, briefly causing Harry to wonder just how he could get into the teacher’s passageways from the Gryffindor common room as they descended down to the sixth floor.

“So, do you fancy stopping in at the Hospital Wing and seeing whether Madam Pomfrey’s managed to deflate Malfoy yet?” Harry grinned at Ron who smirked and nodded.

“Definitely. I hope he’s still floating around on the ceiling…” Ron said.

“Although when he turned blue was quite amusing as well…” Harry added and Ron agreed.

“MR MALFOY! IF YOU DO NOT STAY STILL THEN HOW TO YOU EXPECT ME TO TRY TO PUNCTURE YOU?!” Madam Pomfrey yelled as Harry and Ron stuck their heads around the corner of the Hospital Wing doors and saw Malfoy, still rather large, rolling across the ceiling from the matron who was carrying a large metal rod, which appeared to be much sharper and longer than the one that she had been carrying two days before.

“Ah, Mr Potter.” Poppy said as she saw Harry and Ron in the doorway. “Good to see that you have returned to your natural size.”

“Yeah, I just had to wait for it to wear off in the end…” Harry said to her and cast a smug smile at Malfoy who glared at him from the other end of the room.

“I don’t think that the same will work for Mr Malfoy.” Madam Pomfrey said to him, glancing across at her most stubborn patient. “And I expect you to be punctual tomorrow evening, Mr Potter, my office.” Harry nodded as he and a rather puzzled looking Ron were shepherded out of the room.

“Punctual for what?” Ron asked as they walked down to the main entrance and through to the Great Hall.

“Oh, I never told you, did I?” Harry said, realising that he had been saved from telling Ron about his healing lessons just after the Quidditch match by the large party that their house had thrown. “I’m taking lessons from Madam Pomfrey in Healing Magic.”

“Really?” Ron said and Harry could detect no sign of jealousy or ill will in his voice. Harry nodded, “How is it then?”

“Really difficult.” Harry admitted as they entered the hall and saw Hermione sat at the Gryffindor table in their usual seats, eating cornflakes whilst reading. “I can only heal small cuts and not even on myself either… I can’t see myself getting better at it any time soon and to be honest I don’t think that Madam Pomfrey thinks that I can either.” Harry said, feeling rather unhappy as he thought of his unsuccessful lessons.

“Well you can’t be great at everything, mate.” Ron said to him, the tension between them almost vanished now.

“Why, what’s Harry not good at?” Hermione asked without looking up from her book as they sat down opposite her.

“Healing magic.” Ron said and Harry quickly shushed him, not wanting anyone else to know what magic he could perform. He felt as oddly protective of his hidden Healing Magic skills (or lack thereof) as he did with his wandless magic, which he had to admit was coming along much better than any of his other magic was. He seemed to have reached a dead end in Potions after a half decent start, which he could only have put down to having previously made a Polyjuice potion. He supposed that things were slowly turning back to normal, although Snape still felt like picking on Malfoy on most opportunities and failing that then he would begin bullying Harry.

“Healing Magic is really difficult, Harry.” Hermione said, “It’s post-NEWT level magic. I’d be very surprised if you could do it!” This made Harry feel slightly better as he tucked into some bacon and eggs in front of him. “Although I fancy giving it a try though…”

“So since I can’t do it then you must be able to do it.” Harry said and Hermione looked up at him from her book but, upon seeing that he was smiling, she merely smiled in return and ducked back behind her reading material.

“So how’s Remus then?” Hermione asked Harry, lowering her voice and Harry glanced up at her sharply. He hadn’t told anyone where he was going last night and he wondered how she had known where he was. “Last night was the full moon and you were nowhere to be found. That you were with him was the obvious conclusion.” Hermione explained before Harry so much as had the chance to ask how she had known his whereabouts.

“He’s fine. Sleeping now though.” Harry said and Hermione nodded.

“Poor man…” Hermione said before delving back into her book. Harry glanced at the cover of it and noticed that it was the same Animagus book that he had been given for his birthday, by her in fact. He smiled slightly at it but didn’t comment, allowing her to continue reading. It was apparent that she had still not managed to become the Kneazle that she wanted to be, although she had managed it once (by accident) she could not manage it again, no matter how hard she tried.

Harry had heard through Remus that Tonks believed she would manage it either during or before Christmas, although Hermione had not been told this and Harry would certainly not be the one to tell her.

Just the thought of Christmas made Harry feel cheerful, although it was only nearing the end of October, he still felt that childish wave of excitement wash over him when he thought of the festive season and the promise that he would be back at Grimmauld Place again with his ‘family’. At the idea of Christmas at Grimmauld Place, Harry’s mind immediately moved onto Sirius and he felt the familiar dull ache inside him which had once been filled by his godfather. The idea of having Christmas in his house but without him present seemed so cruel and so incredibly wrong…

“Don’t you have an Apparation lesson to go to?” Hermione asked Harry and he nodded, taking one last bite out of the bacon on his plate before leaving it half full as he went to floo to Grimmauld Place, his godfather forgotten whilst he tried to think of a good counter-curse to aim at Mad Eye who would certainly attack him the moment he stepped through the fireplace (or fell out of it, as the case more commonly was).

A/N: Sorry this chapter's a day or so late but I spent a long time writing it and I'm rather pleased with it as well actually and I hope that you are too :o) Anyway, the new chapter has yet to be written but should be up by the end of the weekend, depending on whether I take the sensible route of getting school work done, or just decide to write this instead. Well, I look forward to your comments which cheer me up beyond belief and at some point or another I'll also get another chapter of When Boredom Strikes up, but I'm uncertain as to when. Thanks for reading! :o)

Chapter 38: Weasleys' Wizarding Woes
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Remus opened his eyes to find himself aching all over. The day was Sunday and he had slept all the way through his transformation, all the way through Saturday and then almost halfway through Sunday too. He stretched and yawned in his bed, ignoring the jabs of pain in his limbs as he sat up, dizziness taking him.

“Ah, good to see you’re finally awake, Remus.” Poppy said as she walked through his bedroom door and across the room to him. “You’ve slept for a long time – we were beginning to get worried about you.”

“What time is it?” Remus asked her sleepily.

“Just gone midday on Sunday.” Poppy informed him and Remus looked amazed.

“I can’t have slept for two days…” Remus said in surprise but Poppy nodded.

“You slept straight through your transformation as well or so Mr Potter informed me.” Poppy said as she poured him out a potion.

Harry… Remus thought, wondering what it was that was nagging him in the back of his mind. He tried to remember what had happened on Friday night but he couldn’t do it. There was just pain, a fight and then the wolf. The wolf! It had taken over… The potion didn’t work.

“How is Harry?” Remus asked her and she looked at him relatively surprised as to his question.

“He’s fine, why wouldn’t he be?” She asked him and Remus just smiled slightly and shrugged.

“I just wondered.” Remus said, feeling a heavy sense of dread lifted from his chest just knowing that he had not torn his godson to shreds. He opened his mouth to ask something else but Poppy didn’t waste time in waiting to hear it and taking her chance, she poured a hot potion down his throat. Remus spluttered and choked on the steamy liquid but felt calmed and better for it a moment later. He took his chance to try and speak to her again. “Can I—”

“No.” Poppy replied, not bothering to wait for him to finish his sentence.

“But you didn’t even know what I was going to—”

“He said he’ll be straight round to see you once he’s returned from the headmaster’s office.” Poppy told him.

Or maybe you did know what I was going to ask… Remus thought before going on to wonder just what Harry was doing at Dumbledore’s office.

“Now you get some sleep, I have no doubt that Mr Potter will wake you when he comes to see you later on.” Poppy reassured him and smiled kindly at him before removing herself and her potions from his bedroom, leaving Remus lying in his bed, feeling rather more sleepy than he had before. He sunk back into his pillows wondering how long it was going to be before Harry came to see him as he closed his eyes. Drowsiness overtook him and before long he was fast asleep.

He was still sleeping in this way when Harry opened the door a crack two hours later, causing it to creak and stirring Remus in his sleep. He stepped inside and drew the curtains, allowing a bright ray of sunlight to light the room.

“Leave me alone, it’s too early yet…” Remus mumbled in his sleep and Harry rolled his eyes.

“Too early? It’s almost three in the afternoon!” Harry grinned and Remus’ eyes opened blearily, taking in his surroundings before burying himself under the duvet, away from the harsh light of the window. “You’ve been asleep for two days! You have to get up at some time.”

“Do I have to?” Remus yawned from his hiding place, now becoming awake enough to peek over the top of the duvet at Harry who was sat on the windowsill with one leg dangling off it. “What is it with you and sitting on windowsills?” Harry smiled and shrugged before getting up and walking across to Remus. He sat down on the bottom of the bed, leaning back against one of the posts as Remus sat up a little more.

“So, how do you feel?” Harry asked him.

“Like I’ve just been woken up by an irritating teenager.” Remus smiled and Harry pulled a face. “What happened last night?” He went on to ask, suddenly more serious. “The potion didn’t work.”

“So I realised.” Harry replied, “And not very much happened. You transformed, the wolf studied me for a bit and then we both lay down near the fire and fell asleep.”

“Oh. So I didn’t hurt you then?” Harry shook his head and Remus smiled; relief had never felt so… well, relieving.

“How could the potion have gone wrong?” Harry asked him and Remus only sighed.

“There are only too many ways in which it could have gone wrong. I will explain what happened to Dumbledore and ask him to ask Snape about it; I don’t really fancy arguing with Snape myself at the moment, as I am sure you can imagine.” Remus said lightly.

“No need, I already told Dumbledore what happened earlier on.” Harry told him and Remus nodded.

“So that’s why you went to Dumbledore’s office…” He said more to himself than to Harry.

“No, it wasn’t actually.” Harry said, twirling his wand between his thin fingers, “I only went because I needed somewhere to floo from to get to Grimmauld Place to apparate with Mad Eye, Dumbledore just prefers me to use his office.”

“Alright then.” Remus said quietly, still quite shocked at how badly things could have gone the night before. He could have killed Harry. He would have been a murderous dark creature and he would have been killed himself… A shiver passed through him at the idea of McNair waiting outside his office, sharpening his axe and the Minister stood smugly beside him with his signed form from the Department of the Disposal of Dangerous Creatures. “Don’t you have somewhere more interesting to be or at least somewhere more educational?”

Harry looked at him for a moment, confused until he remembered that he would normally have been attending lessons on Healing Magic with Madam Pomfrey.

“No.” Harry told him and Remus enquired as to why not. “I’m no good at it and I can only do the very basics. I can’t seem to advance beyond there and Madam Pomfrey doesn’t think that I can either.” Remus nodded in understanding.

“It really is far too advanced for you.” Remus told him.

“I managed to produce a corporeal patronus and that was far too advanced for me, apparently.” Harry said and Remus smiled slightly at his attitude.

“Yes, but that was one rather advanced spell which you worked on for many months.” Remus said lightly, “This is a different branch of magic which you’ve been trying to accomplish in a fortnight.”

“I suppose.” Harry said, “But I was becoming too weighed down with extra lessons. Now all I have left are Apparation lessons once a week, wandless magic whenever you’ll teach me and the occasional duel.”

“That’s more than enough on top of NEWTs.” Remus said, not being brave enough to add and the fact that you have to defeat Voldemort, alone. onto the end of that sentence but Harry heard it implied nonetheless.

“I suppose you could be right…” Harry said and smiled lightly. “Hey, did you know about Bill and Charlie being sent to Azkaban?”

“What do you mean?” Remus asked him in surprise.

“Apparently not then.” Harry muttered, “They’re on an Order thing to Azkaban to see how tight the security is.”

“How do you know?” Remus asked him, thinking over this new piece of information.

“Molly was talking to Ron about it through the fire this morning but then she left when I arrived…” Harry said.

“So you were eavesdropping on them?” Remus said, disapprovingly.

“No,” Harry said quickly and then went on to explain how he had known about Bill and Charlie being sent to Azkaban. “So why didn’t you know?”

“Things like this are being kept quite tight secrets in the Order, but as you’ve seen, they’re getting out around us.” Remus told him.

“Why are they keeping things like this secret from other members?” Harry asked, intrigued and quite puzzled by the secrecy which was being withheld, although not particularly well, inside the Order.

“Because they think that there may be a spy in the Order…” Remus said hesitantly to Harry whose eyes widened in shock and Remus just knew that Harry would already be trying to figure out who the spy was. He also knew that Harry would most likely begin to suspect Snape.

“I bet it’s—”

“It isn’t Snape, Harry.” Remus said before he could so much as get the last word out of his mouth.

“But he’s the one who makes the Wolfsbane potion for you and he used to be a Death Eater, how do we know that he’s not being a spy for Voldemort in the Order whilst he pretends to be a spy for us?” Harry asked him quickly before Remus could stop him. The elder man only sighed at Harry.

“For once just stop blaming Snape for everything.” Remus said and wondered how shocked Sirius and James would have been could they hear him now, “He used to be a Death Eater but Dumbledore trusts him now.”

“Yeah, well Dumbledore trusts everyone in the Order doesn’t he, and you think that there may be a spy in the Order so clearly someone isn’t as trustworthy as Dumbledore thinks.” Harry said coolly and Remus had to agree.

“I know, just stop your speculation… Unless they (whoever they may be) make a direct attack on you then you won’t find out who they are for certain and you’re likely to insult half the members of the Order who aren’t the spy.” Remus told him, hoping beyond hope that Harry would just let things be.

“I’m going to prove it’s Snape.” Harry said determinedly and Remus sighed inwardly; once Harry began to speak like this then there was no stopping him, “I know you don’t think that I can but I will.”

“If you can prove to me that it’s Snape with conclusive evidence then I will never doubt you again.” Remus told him, “However, until then I refuse to believe that Snape is a spy. It would be the obvious choice and therefore is most likely not to be him.”

“Yeah, but what if Voldemort knows that we know that because he’s obvious then he’s not going to be a good spy and sends him in anyway because he knows that we would think that?” Harry asked him and Remus groaned.

“Oh for Merlin’s sake Harry! Just leave it!” Remus begged. “I don’t think it’s him and nothing you say will change my mind.”

“Fine…” Harry said sulkily before brightening up again as he raised a new topic, “Anyway, are you going to go to Hogsmeade next weekend?”

“I’m not sure.” Remus said truthfully, “I can go there whenever I want really and there’s the added bonus that then I wouldn’t be surrounded by teenagers.”

“I suppose so.” Harry agreed.

“You’re going, I presume.” Remus said and Harry nodded. “With that Chaser that Hermione was trying to set you up with before?”

“Hopefully not.” Harry scowled, “If she has set me up with her I’ll be very upset and after I was reasonably charming to her as well in an attempt to coax her out of it.”

“I’d be interested to see your idea of charming.” Remus smirked and Harry pulled a face.

“I can be reasonably charming…” Harry scowled but Remus only smiled and didn’t believe him.

“Hot chocolate?” Remus offered, conjuring himself a drink from thin air. Harry nodded and Remus conjured another one. “I wish Honeydukes would make some hot chocolate.” Remus said as he sipped it, “Muggle hot chocolate’s alright but it’s not like Wizarding chocolate…”

“I know, but for now you’re going to have to make do.” Harry smiled at him. “You ought to suggest it to them though if you really want some.” Remus made a noncommittal noise in his throat and Harry knew that Remus would never suggest it. Well if Remus wasn’t about to do it then Harry most certainly would.

“Anyway, I suppose I should think about getting up…” Remus said eventually, once the two of them had finished chatting over steaming mugs of hot chocolate during the late afternoon.

“Okay, well I’ve got loads of homework which I’ve cleverly left too late so I’ll see you at tea.” Harry said, getting up from the bed and Vanishing their mugs.

“See you later.” Remus smiled at his godson as he walked out of the room.

Harry walked out of Remus’ rooms and out onto the second floor corridor which was rather quiet as most students were in their common rooms or looking in vain for the kitchens. He meandered slowly through the school to Gryffindor Tower, more than once coming across the teacher’s passageways which seemed almost desperate to be used at times. He made a note to ask Remus about that as he ascended up to the sixth floor and stopped dead as he noticed one of the portraits looking at him as it spoke to another portrait.

“Yes, he’s the one. My great-great-great grandson’s godson.” The portrait said.

“Phineas?” Harry asked in disbelief as he walked over to him and the other portrait graciously left him to speak. “What are you doing here?”

“Grimmauld Place tends to get a little lonely, what with only the house elves and most of the portraits spend their time hushing one another around my great-great granddaughter.” Phineas said idly, “And is it a crime to wish to socialise with other 2D members of the Wizarding world?”

“I suppose not.” Harry said and smiled slightly as he walked along the corridor, the portrait walking along with him.

“You and Sirius were distantly related, you know.” Phineas said to him and Harry raised an eyebrow in interest, “Come to think of it we are distantly related. Your great-great-great-great grandmother on the Potter side of you was the cousin of your late godfather’s great-great-great-great grandfather.”

“So all the Wizarding families really are all interlinked.” Harry mused and Phineas nodded.

“Naturally.” Phineas said.

“How do you know how we’re related?” Harry asked him, intrigued.

“As I said, Grimmauld Place gets very dull at times…” Phineas said to him.

“So dull you started to read your family tree?” Harry asked, raising an eyebrow.

“So lacking in friends you’re talking to the pictures now, are you Potter?” Malfoy drawled as he walked past him. Harry was tempted to see whether he could knock him down the stairs but decided against it.

“His mother was never so rude to her relatives.” Phineas said with an icy air about him.

“Urgh, don’t even mention me and Malfoy as relatives, no matter how distant we might be.” Harry said as they walked along to the Fat Lady.

“Ah this is where I leave you.” Phineas said to him, “Do take care Mr Potter…”

“See you.” Harry said, a little fazed by the fact that he had just been talking idly with Phineas, one of Hogwarts previous headmasters and one of Sirius’ ancestors. “Polyjuice Pastries.” Harry said.

“Right you are.” The Fat Lady swung open, allowing Harry to enter the common room within.

“What’s the matter?” Harry asked Ron who was sat in the far corner of the room, Hermione on his left. They were muttering quietly between them and Ron’s eyes were rather red, almost as if he had been crying.

“It’s Bill and Charlie.” Hermione said but Ron just shook his head.

“He already knows Hermione.” He told her before turning to his friend. “They’re going tomorrow.”

Harry had no idea what to say to this but luckily for him he was saved the trouble of speaking as Ron got up and walked up to the boys’ dormitory, not stopping to even say goodbye as he left them.

“I hope they’ll be alright…” Harry said absently as he watched his friend disappear from view.

“I’m sure they will be… Dumbledore wouldn’t send them into something that he knew they couldn’t get out of, would he?” Hermione said, the slightest hint of doubt creeping into her voice that Harry couldn’t ignore.

“Of course not.” Harry said reassuringly to her, “They’re going to be fine. I just hope that Ron and Ginny are alright though…”

“I doubt they are.” Hermione said to him, “Imagine how you’d feel if it was Remus going with them. I think you’d be just as bad.”

“I know.” Harry sighed. “But I’m sure they’ll be alright.” Hermione nodded in agreement.


Unfortunately, Harry was wrong. They were not all alright. Ron spent the next two days mindlessly staring into space until he happened to spot his two eldest brothers walking along the first floor corridor and entering the passageway which lead up to Dumbledore’s office through the two gargoyles. Taking his chance he sprinted after them and as they stopped suddenly he ran straight into them.

“Oh Ron, for the last time just leave it!” Charlie said as his brother ran into his side.

“You’re going to die!” Ron almost shouted at them and Bill just shook his head.

“We are not going to die little brother, now let us go!” Bill said, pulling away from Ron who didn’t want to let go of him.

“Be careful, please!” Ron almost begged them with tears forming in his eyes. Bill and Charlie rested their hands on his shoulders and smiled at him before they walked away and up the stairs.

“We will be, don’t worry Ron!” Charlie called back to him and Bill shot him one last smile as he walked up to Dumbledore’s office where the rest of the Order was already sat, waiting for their meeting to begin.

Ron collapsed at the bottom of the stairs, his legs turning to jelly and Harry and Hermione were at his side in an instant just as the tears started to fall from his eyes. Harry looked at Hermione with a confused and horrified expression on his face; he couldn’t deal with upset people, especially not upset and hot-headed friends.

“Come on, Ron.” Hermione said to him gently, “You can’t just stay here…”

“Here, we’ll help you up.” Harry said, trying to sound as if he wasn’t nervous as hell, dealing with Ron in this state.

After Ron simply sat in silence for almost five minutes, sobbing uncontrollably, Harry’s information that dinner was almost ready and hundreds of students would see him crying eventually made it so that they could carry him somewhere.

“Where are we going?” Hermione mouthed over the top of Ron’s head to Harry as they carried him between them along the corridors.

“Kitchens.” Harry mouthed back at her. She raised an eyebrow, wondering whether Harry knew what he was doing or if he was just hungry but didn’t stop him; she had nowhere better to go.

Ron sat down in the kitchens and they were immediately surrounded by house-elves.

“Erm… could you get my friend some Butterbeer?” Harry asked tentatively and in a moment Ron was sipping Butterbeer, his mind still fixed on the danger his brothers were walking into.

They sat like that for some time. Ron drinking Butterbeer whilst Hermione watched him anxiously whilst drinking coffee herself. Harry, who had not eaten much that day drank Butterbeer and took a packet of crisps from a nearby elf.

“What are we going to do?” Hermione mouthed to Harry, hoping that Ron would not see her but he was gazing moodily into his drink and saw nothing.

“I don’t know.” Harry replied soundlessly. He really didn’t.

A/N: I only checked over this briefly before posting because well, I just couldn't be bothered to be honest. I saw no glaring mistakes though so it shouldn't be that bad. Anyway the plot thickens, ever so slightly. I'm re-estimating my chapter count for this once again... Things are moving faster now and I think around fifty chapters, maybe fifty five will be it. I don't think there'll be more than that really. As always, I love to read your reviews and see just what you think of my story whether good or bad (although if it was that awful would you really have read this far?). Chapter thirty nine is in the works at the moment and should be posted by Friday (yes, long time since today's Sunday but I've coursework to be done by the time I break up for Easter on Thursday so that's why). Thanks for reading :o)

Chapter 39: Dream A Little Dream
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Harry stared into the flames, his eyes unseeing and his mind racing with thoughts and emotions. Remus touched his arm lightly and Harry turned to look at him, jolting out of his stupor to see his guardian looking tired and concerned, as always.

“You might want to go and see if Ron’s okay.” Remus suggested and Harry shook his head.

“I can’t deal with him when he’s upset. I always say something stupid and he always hates me for it.” Harry told him.

“Still… it might be an idea to go, after all he probably won’t remember what you say whilst he’s in his current state, he’ll just remember that you were there. It’s the same with Ginny.” Remus told him and Harry nodded.

“Yeah, I suppose you’re right, I’ll go down to the Hospital Wing now and see how he is.” Harry said, “I just feel really uncomfortable being around them all like that.”

“I know you do, but wouldn’t you rather be in your shoes feeling uncomfortable around your friends, or in theirs, not seeing you through the grief at having lost a member of their family?” Remus asked and to his relief Harry nodded and didn’t retort with a remark about his not having a family to lose.

“I’ll see you later then…” Harry said and flooed to the Hospital Wing, leaving Remus wondering why no one but him ever used the floo.

“I ask that you return to your Common Room or wherever you’ve come from, Harry.” McGonagall said to him as he stepped through the fireplace and into the Hospital Wing towards the end, away from the patients.

“But I need to see how Ron is, Professor.” Harry said to her, hoping that she would let him go see his friend.

“I shall tell you just what I told Miss Granger…” She said to him and observed the boy over the top of her spectacles, “Mr Weasley does not wish company at the moment, it is best to leave the family alone in their grief for the present. I would suggest coming back tomorrow when Mr Weasley would be more willing to talk and less willing to hex you off the face of the earth.”

Harry sighed but agreed; there was very little he could do otherwise but leave the Weasleys to themselves and hope that they would be alright and be glad that at least one of their eldest sons had survived. “I would suggest finding something more productive to do in the meanwhile such as homework…”

“Wandless magic, hexing Trelawney, duelling…” Harry said, carrying on and making a list of the things he could do. A smile touched the corners of her lips as she heard his more interesting suggestion of the three.

“You’ve got the idea, Harry.” She said and ushered him out of the room.

Harry sighed and ran his fingers through his hair. Who would have thought it? Only a day ago he had been reassuring Ron constantly that both Bill and Charlie were going to be okay… nothing was going to happen and today everyone was trying to console him and his family that at least Bill had survived, even if Charlie hadn’t.

Poor Charlie… Harry thought absently as he walked along the well trodden route to Gryffindor Tower making his way there without realising where he was going.

Bill and Charlie had both gone into Azkaban, or as close to it as they could and then things had gone wrong. Their communication had been cut, almost as if someone had known that they would be coming. No one knew what had happened to them after that but Bill had appeared at Headquarters almost six hours after the agreed time, alone. He had been muddy, bloody and his face had been streaked with tears. He had told no one what had happened to him or how his brother met his end, but Harry had the feeling that no one would be knowing that was not a part of the family and although he was considered by them as a brother and a son, that did not mean that he would be receiving such information, unless Ron chose to reveal it to him.

“Harry…?” Hermione’s voice as he sat down in the common room brought him to his senses again. “Harry!” She said again, this time more sharply. “Are you alright?”

“Yeah… no … just shocked really.” Harry said to her and she nodded. She couldn’t believe that one of Ron’s brothers was gone either and neither of them could comprehend the awful blow it must have dealt to their family.

“Have you been to see them then?”

“I tried but McGonagall sent me back and told me to return tomorrow.” Harry told her and Hermione nodded, it was no more than she had expected really but she wanted to be there for Ron and let him know that when he needed them then they were there to support him in every way he needed.

“I thought she would, she did with me too.” Hermione said and glanced across the room, noticing the Quidditch team that were stood talking. “I’d go tell them you’re not training tonight if I were you.”

Harry nodded and got to his feet, crossing the room quickly and meeting Laura, Katie, Lewis and Dean who were stood waiting for him in their Quidditch robes.

“We’re not going to be training tonight.” He told them and they all began to ask him why and started trying to second-guess him. Harry lowered his voice and quietly told him that Ron and Ginny couldn’t attend due to a family tragedy, although he was deliberately not specific about it. The four of them nodded once they heard the news and agreed not to divulge the information, not that Harry had asked them to, and went to change back into their normal robes.

Harry sighed and sank back into his favourite chair by the fire as the Quidditch team wandered over to join him, leaving Hermione less than impressed by their appearance as they almost always wanted to talk about Quidditch, or something related to that topic. Today though, they seemed rather more subdued and she knew it was most likely because Harry had told them what was going on.

It was because of their rather more melancholy state that she found them more agreeable company that usual and spent some time talking idly with them about the upcoming Hogsmeade visit which was going to be held at the next weekend, although whether or not Ron would attend with the Weasley twins was debatable.

“You’re not going to Hogsmeade with anyone are you, Laura?” Hermione asked and shot a subtle look at Harry which she knew Laura had seen, Harry also noticed her sly glanced in his direction but chose to ignore it and knew that he would argue with her later about it; he had told her more than once that he didn’t want setting up with the fifth year Chaser.

“No, what makes you ask?” Laura asked, a slight smile touching her face and Harry glanced at her, catching her eye but shaking his head slightly at Hermione as he did so.

Half an hour later, Harry had finally become bored of the conversation being manipulated by Hermione who was still trying to set Harry and Laura up together. He sat writing quickly, his quill racing over the parchment as he tried to get his latest Potion’s essay written, after all, if he wasn’t particularly interested in the conversation around him he should at least make a vague attempt at completing his homework.

He sucked absentmindedly on a sugar quill as he tried to think of what to write next but he had just about exhausted all his knowledge on Shrinking Solutions, and although he could have listed what could have gone wrong (and his case what did go wrong) with the potion, he knew that hadn’t been asked for and Snape would be practically giddy with joy at the idea of having something to mark him down with.

Harry was still absorbed in his essay and didn’t notice that everyone had got up from around him and left. All but Laura that is and Harry had a sinking feeling when he noticed her singular presence as to what was coming.

“Harry…?” Laura started. “You know this weekend’s the Hogsmeade weekend…”

“Yeah.” Harry said slowly, hoping that he wasn’t going to have to decline her offer to go to Hogsmeade with her.

“Doyouwannagowithme?” She said quickly and Harry stared at her for a moment as he tried to comprehend what she had said.

“Uh… Laura, if it’s alright with you I feel really uncomfortable going to Hogsmeade with people, I’d rather just go as a group with my friends, you know.” Harry said, watching her face for the telltale signs which said she was either about to shout, cry or slap him. Fortunately he saw none of these and she nodded and smiled slightly. “You can come with us, if you want that is…” He suggested and that made her smile a little wider and more sincere than it had been before.

“Sure, that sounds okay.” She said, not being able to help feeling a little rejected by him but pleased that she would still be spending the time there with him, even if it wasn’t alone.

“Sorry about that though, Hermione thinks that I need to get a girlfriend…” Harry grinned sheepishly and ran his fingers through his hair.

“I know.” Laura said, “Ginny was saying that Hermione had been trying to ser her up with you as well but it clearly didn’t have any success. She ought to stop trying to set you up with people and start trying to set herself up with Ron.”

“Ron?!” Harry said in disbelief and Laura nodded, to the side of them Lewis laughed and Katie shook her head at him in disbelief.

“You mean you didn’t notice?!” Katie said to him, raising an eyebrow and Harry looked utterly mystified.

“What are you talking about?” He asked her, glancing around at the four people who were sat with him.

“You’re unbelievable.” Katie smirked.

“You mean you seriously didn’t know that they’re attracted to each other?! You’ve been their best friend for years!” Laura said, laughing by now.

“No way…” Harry said, hearing the doubt in his own voice. “Ron and Hermione? They can’t be…”

“So you don’t notice the way that they’re always looking at each other?” Katie asked him.

“But they’re always arguing…” Harry countered.

“Loads of couples argue all the time.” Lewis said, adding his own rare input to the conversation and Harry was reminded of the way in which people had told him his own parents fought. He remembered seeing them in Snape’s pensieve and they had hated each other then, well his mother had hated his father at any rate.

“Maybe we can set them up!” Laura said enthusiastically.

“But they never agree on anything, and they fight and most of the time they’re not speaking to each other and…” Harry ran out of things to say at this point and the other three shot him knowing looks and shook their heads, either in disbelief or amusement.

“Trust me, they’re attracted to each other.” Katie said, “It was exactly the same with Angelina and Fred, before Fred tested that flesh eating gunge on her, now they really do hate each other…”

“How’s that relevant?” Laura asked, raising an eyebrow.

“Well they hated each other and they really liked each other underneath.” Katie said.

“Liked each other enough to throw flesh eating substances at each other?” Harry asked, amused.

“Just shut up and start thinking of how we can set them up!” Katie said, clearly excited by the idea of setting up two people who she knew.

“You do know that Ron’s going to be upset for quite some time, don’t you?” Harry said to them and there was silence until Laura dared to ask just what had happened to upset Ron and Ginny. “Their brother died if you must know.” Harry muttered to them, deliberately keeping his voice low in order that no one else would overhear it.

“Oh my god…” Laura said, “I’m really sorry for asking...”

“You didn’t know.” Harry said, “But Ron’s not going to be too happy for some time and I can’t see him being set up with Hermione going down too well at the moment.”

“I understand.” Lewis said quietly and Harry glanced at him, wondering just what he meant by that but didn’t press the matter as conversation moved on.

“This is one of those things that we have to keep quiet about, isn’t it?” Katie asked and Harry nodded. He knew that under normal circumstances there would have been jokes made about how unlikely she was to keep such a thing quiet but after Ron’s brother had died, they all knew that it would not be spoken of within their small group or out of it either.

“So do you think Ron will be going to Hogsmeade this weekend?” Laura asked and Harry shrugged.

“Doubt it if someone’s just died.” Jamie said quietly.

“He might, to keep his mind off things.” Harry pointed out and they nodded.

“You could be right.” Katie said, “And what better way than to take his mind off things than letting Hermione comfort him?”

“Isn’t that going to make me seem like I don’t care if it’s always Hermione there?” Harry asked her, hoping that this plan wasn’t going to lead to his exclusion by Ron.

“No, because you are going to be there for him, it’s just that Hermione will be there more.” Katie pointed out.

“I suppose, and if Hermione’s there all the time then I have fewer chances to say something that will mortally offend him.” Harry said, wondering how on earth he had managed to get himself into a position where he was now trying to set up his best friends, together, one of whom was extremely upset and the other was so smart she would probably already know what they were trying to do despite her currently not being in the room and was studying in the library. “So how exactly are we going to set them up together?” Harry asked them eventually.

“Like this…” Katie said before going on to explain in detail just how they were going to set Ron and Hermione up.

Harry went to bed feeling exhausted and rather bemused. He had listened to Katie’s matchmaking plans for quite some time along with everyone else before they had started to give their own input. Their ideas seemed so bizarre that they would never work. They ranged from shoving them into a broom closet together and locking the door, right through shoving them into a green house together and locking the door to shoving them in the dorm together and holding the door shut. They were low on ideas basically, and all they seemed able to come up with was locking them in places.

Harry wondered what he would do if someone locked him in a room with someone he found attractive. Probably become more and more annoyed with them as I try to find a way out… Harry figured. They needed a new plan.

He closed his eyes and sleep drifted over him.

“Honestly Remus, I don’t care what you say; I am not going to give Ron my Firebolt as an engagement present!” Harry shouted at Remus.

“But he’s getting married in three years, you have to give him something nice…” Remus told him calmly.

“But my Firebolt? Can’t I just buy Charlie back for him? Voldemort said that he’ll only cost me three other people of my choice.” Harry said reasonably.

“No Harry! That’s an awful thing to do. If you want to buy Charlie back you’ll have to trade yourself instead.” Remus said to him and Harry sighed.

“Fine, but you owe me for this!” Harry muttered as he marched out of the room, throwing his Firebolt into the fire and storming over to where Hermione was already sat in her wedding dress.

“Calm down Harry!” Hermione told him as he sat down sulkily next to her.

“Calm? How can I be calm when I have to trade myself?!” Harry asked her.

“Well it could be worse. I’ve been locked in the common room with Ron for three years now and even though we’re getting married Katie still won’t let us out.” Hermione sighed, “I told her that if she wanted to set us up then she should have subtly left us in Hogsmeade or something but no… she had to try and lock us in places instead.”

“Uh huh… well as interesting as this conversation is, I’ve got to go to Azkaban and ask for Charlie back.” Harry said to her and got up, leaving the common room where he walked out onto the long winding path which leads up to Azkaban. Somewhere in the back of Harry’s mind he remembered that once upon a time Azkaban had been an island surrounded by water. “They must have drained the water…” Harry decided as he went up to the front door and knocked.

There was no answer so he calmly walked off the edge of the mountain and found himself swimming in the air. There was a small entrance underneath obscured by cloud but Harry knew it was there as surely as he knew that he was Harry Potter. He swam down into it with ease and walked inside a small cavern inside. All around him he could hear screams but he shrugged them off as natural sounds of the horrific prison. Ascending through a hole in the ceiling he found himself in a large room.

He had been here many times and knew exactly where to go to get to Voldemort. He marched straight ahead down a long and narrow passageway, taking a left turning… or was it a right? He turned left and found a sealed door ahead of him. He reached out and pushed at it as hard as he could but it didn’t budge.

“In the name of Dumbledore, open up!” Harry muttered and it swung open with ease. He stepped inside and saw his friends sat inside a large room talking between themselves. “Sorry, must have taken a wrong turning there…” Harry muttered apologetically and turned round, walking back towards Voldemort’s chamber.

He walked inside the large stone room which was Voldemort’s and saw the man there, playing chess with Lucius Malfoy and eating Jelly Babies.

“Ah, Harry!” Voldemort said, getting up. “Good to see you, Jelly Baby?” He offered Harry the bag which was full of small wriggling children, not the sweets he had first thought them to be. “No? All business I see.” A sliding door moved and Harry could see Charlie there.

“If you want Charlie back then you are going to have to trade yourself… is that alright?” He asked Harry and Harry nodded. “Excellent…”

“Thank you so much Harry, I’ll never forget this!” Charlie shouted to him and apparated out of the room in a puff of green smoke.

“Now Harry, this may sting a bit.” Voldemort walked over to Harry with a piece of paper with the Dark Mark upon it. It appeared to be a temporary tattoo that Muggles children used. He pressed it to Harry’s forehead and he felt a burning sensation course through his head.


Harry jolted awake in his bed, staring at the ceiling and wondering whether he really should write ‘Don’t panic, it was just a dream!’ on it in large gold lettering but decided he was too tired to do it.

He thought back to what Hermione had said in his dream whilst wearing a wedding dress.

“Leave them together in Hogsmeade?” Harry snorted with laughter, “Like that’s going to work!” The way things were going, it appeared that Ron and Hermione were going to spend a lot of time locked in rooms with one another over the next couple of months.

A/N: Hurrah, chapter thirty nine, that's almost (but not) forty chapters! So... Once again I find myself re-evaluating length, mostly because I want to write a long Christmas - I love writing Christmas you see - And I have to write the rest of the plot which is picking up now, honestly! So since I'm now on my Easter holidays for two weeks then I should have more chapters up soon and depending on how bored I get I could have about six, maybe seven chapters up this holiday :o) I'll try to have chapter forty up by Sunday evening GMT oh and I'm nearing 900 reviews so thank you very much to everyone who reads and reviews :o)

Chapter 40: Remembrance
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Ron wasn’t in lessons that day, nor was he in them the day after or the day after that. Harry had spent one whole week in lessons with only Hermione for company, and she wasn’t bad as such; she just tended to work quickly and quietly from the start of the lesson until the end of it.

Harry walked into Defence Against the Dark Arts with a feeling close to relief. Relief because it was the last lesson of the day on Friday, but only close to it because he just knew he was going to have to duel in front of the class again. Each loss seemed to drive his self esteem further and further into the pit it had already been pushed down into. Still, he did rather enjoy the thrill of a duel and he was improving, even if he believed his skills so lamentable that he couldn’t have beaten a first year.

The lesson began and Harry noticed with a sense of unhappiness the empty seat beside him which no one took; they had their seats and they stuck to them. Remus glanced at Ron’s usual seat for a moment before meeting Harry’s eyes. The former of the two smiled slightly but Harry didn’t quite manage to return it as their lesson began.

Harry found himself losing interest in his favourite subject for once and he could easily have sat there staring at Remus and sucking on a sugar quill were it not for the fact that Remus would probably reprimand him for it later on. The fact that they had argued less than a week ago made Harry rather cautious with his actions around Remus still and he hoped beyond hope to avoid another such confrontation between them.

Harry was staring mindlessly down at his desk when Hermione jabbed him sharply in the side. Harry glanced at her and then around him to see that everyone was looking at him and his feeling of discomfort increased tenfold.

“What?” Harry asked uncertainly and Remus smiled at him.

“You’re duelling with me.” Remus told him and Harry sighed but got up out of his seat. “Today we will be covering the use of distractive spells in duels. Anything which can hinder your opponent’s vision or cause them to look the other way is an advantage to you in a duel. Harry and I will demonstrate such spells in a duel, although obviously with other spells as well.” Harry stood opposite him in the room and Remus quickly waved his wand causing the students and their tables to move back a metre and his own desk and chair to move so that it was pressed against the wall. “Ready Harry?”

“Not really.” Harry said but smiled slightly and Remus did the same with spells that they wanted to use already running through their minds.

They stood perfectly still for a moment, each of them waiting for the other to make the first move.

Nox.” Remus said quietly and the room became completely dark. Harry instantly let an image of the room fill his mind and saw Remus smiling in front of him, although the image wasn’t as strong as it would be if he let his whole mind enter the room, he could not leave his body open to attack.

Remus walked closer to him and they glanced to the side of them where the class appeared to be in the light it had been in before; darkness shrouded only them.

Impedimenta!” Harry cried and the spell shot towards Remus, slipping past him with ease.

Reducto!” The class gasped as their professor sent a highly destructive curse at Harry.

Protegium!

Everriculum!” Remus said and a net shout out of the end of his wand, capturing the spell with ease and sucking it back up into his wand, leaving Harry looking impressed and the class gasping as they saw the spell caught in the orange, glowing net. Then the darkness overtook them again and Harry looked around him for something useful to transfigure in order to catch Remus out.

Silencio!” Harry said, silencing a surprised Remus before quickly adding: “Spoliar Viles!” A yellow jet of light connected their wands together. Remus’ eyes widened as he felt his strength being drained from him and he knew that it was being transferred into Harry’s wand. It was the reverse of transferring strength to one another that Remus had shown Harry in the very beginning of his wandless magic lessons. This was much more basic and could be cast with a wand, as Harry was effectively proving.

Muttering broke out amongst the class as they watched Harry taking Remus’ strength and Remus couldn’t make a sound to stop him.

Finite Incantatem.” Remus mouthed.

Finite Incantatem.” He said, his voice much, much quieter than it normally was, but it was sound nonetheless. The bond between them broke and Remus grinned at Harry, who was rather intimidated by his guardian’s confident air.

Hydratum!” Remus said and a jet of water shot out at Harry, soaking him to his skin.

“What the hell?!” Harry cried and the class laughed, most of them knowing that Harry had just been drenched even through the darkness. He shot a fast transfiguration spell at him and Remus moved easily to the side.

“That was way off Harry.” Remus smiled and Harry shook his head.

“It wasn’t.” He told him and Remus turned around sharply when his desk scuttled towards him and leapt on him, knocking him down. Remus laughed at his use of transfigurative spells in the duel, knowing that was the best example of distractive magic he could have asked Harry to use.

Lumos Solarus” Remus said calmly, his wand pointed at Harry and in a moment he was dazzled by light. Harry shielded his eyes in a moment but not before Remus had got back to his feet and blown his own desk – which was still trying to take a chunk out of his leg – across the room at Harry, taking his feet out from under him and knocking him down instantly, his head hitting the floor hard. “Are you alright, Harry?” Remus asked, lowering his wand and walking over to Harry who groaned and pulled himself up into a seating position. His head was bleeding and Remus held his hand out to it, healing it with a touch of his fingertips.

The class stared at his use of wandless magic and although they had seen it before, it still amazed them.

“Thanks.” Harry muttered as he got shakily back up to his feet and walked back over to his desk. The class clapped as Harry returned to his seat, drying himself with his wand as he went, and Remus smiled at them before putting light back around the area at the front of the room, summoning the desk back over to him and putting it back in an upright position, papers still atop it along with quills and other such stationary.

Remus returned to the front of the class and the rest of the lesson was spent mostly taking notes on the parts of distractive duelling that they would be needing in their exams whilst homework was to practice them if they could and consider any other charms or transfigurative spells that could be used in a duel to distract their opponent.

The end of the lesson arrived quickly and Remus turned from the students, rubbing off the chalk from the blackboard and turning back to find a room empty of students except for Harry. Remus smiled slightly as he saw him and Harry sat down on a nearby desk.

“You have to show me how to do that net thing.” Harry said enthusiastically and Remus smiled.

“All in good time, Harry.” Remus told him, “I’ll teach you over Christmas if you’re still willing to learn then.”

“Christmas?! That’s miles away!” Harry complained and Remus smiled at his measurements of time. That was something new he had learnt once he had grown older, (or just old, depending on his mood) that years seem to race past as if they were mere minutes. If he let himself, he could easily go off on a tangent about how he could still remember being Harry’s age but he decided against it, after all it would have been the final proof that he really was getting old.

“It’s what? Two months away?” Remus asked him with a smile, “Two months is nothing Harry.”

“That’s a sixth of a year, a whole year, Remus!” Harry said and Remus shook his head at the boy.

“I’m not teaching you before then.” He said firmly and Harry knew that he meant it. “Nice work with that desk though, Minerva will be very impressed.”

“Yeah, it was nice ‘til you blinded me and sent it at my legs!” Harry scowled at him and Remus grinned.

“So, changing the subject completely, are you going to go to Hogsmeade tomorrow?” Remus asked him and Harry nodded, “I see, and is Ron going to Hogsmeade tomorrow?”

“I dunno, I’ve not asked him about it but then I’ve hardly seen him at all this week for obvious reasons.” Harry said.

“You ought to have visited him more often, to check up and see how he’s doing. I’m sure that, although he doesn’t say it, he appreciates your company.” Remus said and Harry smiled slightly.

“Well Hermione’s been with him most of the week.” Harry said and Remus caught something in his look that was almost mischievous.

“And why haven’t you been with both of them?” Remus asked, wondering what on earth was going on.

“Because Katie, Laura and Lewis are trying to set them up.” Harry said mildly and Remus laughed.

“You’re kidding me!” Remus said and Harry shook his head, “But his brother just died, that’s never going to work! How do you plan to set them up anyway?”

“Lock them in places together really…” Harry told him and Remus snorted with laugher.

“That is never going to work!”

“Oh yeah, then tell me what will?” Harry demanded.

“I don’t know but you can’t just lock people in rooms and expect them to start liking each other!” Remus said, laughing still.

“They already do, apparently.” Harry said and Remus raised an eyebrow.

“Aha… and what’s that judged on the basis of?” Remus asked, attempting to calm himself.

“Because they argue a lot.” Harry said and Remus smirked.

“Some couples argue, that doesn’t mean that any two people who argue would make a good couple.” Remus said and Harry sighed.

“Well that’s what I thought, they don’t seem to like each other like that.” Harry scowled.

“Then maybe they don’t and you’re just going to really annoy them instead by locking them in places.” Remus suggested and Harry nodded.

“Still sounds like fun though.” Harry said and Remus shook his head in disbelief.

“Alright but Charlie died a week ago, is it such a good idea to start locking in rooms with Hermione?” Remus asked, knowing that when he next saw Harry Ron could well have given him a black eye by that point.

“Probably not, but that won’t stop Katie.” Harry said, “She’s planning on locking them in somewhere in Hogsmeade together tomorrow.”

Remus groaned. “Seriously bad idea you know.” Harry shrugged.

“You’re probably right.” Harry agreed, “Anyway I’m gonna go see Ron so I’ll talk to you later.”

“Okay, well I’d make the most of it, Ron probably won’t be too keen on talking to you after you’ve spent a week or so locking him in rooms with Hermione.” Remus said with a smile as Harry left and once he had left added: “Morons.”

He cast a quick Banishing spell on his briefcase causing it to go straight to his rooms through the teachers’ corridors and perch itself neatly on his desk. He left the room, locking it behind him with a mild locking spell before wandering along to the staffroom.

Minerva was already sat down inside, sifting through essays from her various year groups as she tried to find the ones that needed marking most urgently. She wasn’t pleased that Filch had deliberately tripped her in the staffroom, throwing her essays which had all been organised and ordered just the way she wanted them all over the floor.

“Hello Remus.” She said lightly as he sat down next to her. “Good afternoon?”

“Not bad. Duelling with Harry during the last lesson.” He told her and she smiled.

“How is he coming along?” She asked.

“Very well. We were doing distractive spells so it was a rather interesting duel.” He told her, “He transfigured my desk to life and it almost bit my leg off.”

“Really?” She asked, rather interested in what he had to say.

“Yes, I thought you’d be pleased.” Remus smiled, “It backfired though when I knocked it across the room at his legs.”

“Knocked himself out?”

“Oh no, almost though.”

“Potter been running into walls head first?” Severus asked as he sat down and joined the conversation.

“‘Fraid not. Just Potter duelling exceptionally well.” Minerva informed him and Severus made a contemptuous sound.

“I seriously doubt that he duels exceptionally well, Minerva.” Severus said icily, “With mediocre talent? Perhaps but not exceptionally by any means.”

“And when was the last time you duelled with him, Severus?” Remus asked him.

“During the summer, does it matter?” Severus asked, wondering where this was going.

“As shocking as it may seem, Harry has improved since then.” Remus told him, “You can hardly comment on his talent in the field if you don’t duel with him.”

“Perhaps I will duel with him once he has failed Legilimency spectacularly once more.” Severus said.

“How is he coming along at Legilimency and Occlumency?” Minerva asked him with interest.

“From my usage of the phrase ‘once he has failed Legilimency spectacularly’ do you really think he’s doing well?” Severus asked her curtly.

“Seriously, how is he doing?” She asked him, shooting him a glare which could have made Voldemort think twice about hexing her.

“He is a poor Occlumens but improving. He is, unfortunately, an adequate Legilimens however.” Severus informed her, albeit reluctantly, causing Remus to smile.

“So he’s quite good then.” Remus said to him and Severus pulled a face.

“He is adequate at best, Lupin. Don’t start thinking he is good at mind magic because he most certainly is not!” Severus snapped.

“Yes, Merlin forbid you teach any of your students to higher than an adequate level.” Remus said mildly and Severus had his wand out and pointed at his throat in a flash.

“You are just too annoying for your own good today, Lupin.” He spat, “And I would seriously consider watching that canine mouth of yours.”

“Don’t be so childish, Severus!” Minerva said, snatching his wand from his hand and pocketing it as if he had been a mere child playing with his parent’s wand.

The two men stared at her in disbelief before Remus burst out laughing.

“Shut your filthy half-breed mouth, Lupin.” Severus snapped at him.

“What are you going to do if I don’t?” Remus smirked at him and Severus did the only thing he could – he took a swing at Remus.

“Pathetic.” Remus said as he moved sharply backwards away from his poor shot and Severus’ fist collided painfully with the wall.

“Do try to grow up,” Minerva said as she finished organising her many essays into one neat pile.

“Order meeting tomorrow.” Filius said quietly as he sat down with them.

“Where?”

“When?”

“Why?” The three questions from the three other present members of the Order.

“We’re meeting in Hogsmeade near the Shrieking Shack at noon and I’m not sure why.” Filius told them.

“Perhaps Albus wants to do some shopping.” Remus suggested.

“Wouldn’t surprise me.” Minerva said, “He’s forever going to Zonko’s.”

“Zonko doesn’t like him going in though because all the students clear out once he arrives.” Filius smiled.

“Anyway, I would love to stay and chat… really,” Severus said in his usual cool tone, “But I have a moron to teach Legilimency to.” He got up and walked out of the staffroom, taking a longer route to his office, knowing that Potter never was punctual.

“Good evening, Professor.” Potter’s voice greeted him when he arrived at his office and he inwardly cursed himself for not taking a faster route and beating the boy there.

He looked at the boy contemptuously by means of reply as he opened his office and marched in, Potter following him inside.

“So, have you been practicing?” Severus asked him, ready to chastise the boy if he had been practicing his Legilimency.

“I’ve been practicing my Occlumency but not my Legilimency.” Harry told him truthfully; he had been keeping himself awake just that little bit longer in order to perform his Occlumency and keep out the dreams from Voldemort that threatened to wake him screaming in the morning. His Legilimency he couldn’t practice because to do so he would have to break into someone’s mind and risk giving away his skill. As well as that Snape had forbidden him to break into anyone’s mind, just because it was poor decorum to do so, but Harry strongly suspected that it was because he didn’t want Harry breaking into his mind and getting away with it.

“Good.” Severus said coolly as he faced Potter across the room. Wands were drawn and they were ready. “Now today you are going to get into my mind, from there without using your wand. Wandless magic is stronger; I know that much Potter so therefore it would be of great advantage to you to be able to use your wandless magic and your Legilimency together.” He told him and Harry nodded. He had lied to both Minerva and Lupin earlier on when he told them that Potter was adequate at Legilimency because that was simply not the truth, the reality of the matter was that Potter appeared to be highly suited to breaking into the minds of others and with his nosy nature this did not particularly surprise the Potions Master. “Ready?” Harry nodded, “Then what are you waiting for?”

Severus heard the boy mutter the spell under his breath and a moment later his presence was pressing gently at his mind, slipping carefully past his temples. He always hated those who attempted a more subtle approach into the mind; they were always so much harder to shake off and remove completely and at times you didn’t know that they were even there.

Harry pressed forwards with his mind from a distance, slipping easily inside the outer layer of Snape’s mind and then moving quickly and subtly deeper inside as Snape pushed at him to remove him completely but never quite managed to push him very far back. He was quite good at Legilimency, no matter what Snape might say to him and he was determined to stay in his mind, glancing through some of his more awful memories until Snape had to tell him to stop.

A flicker of a face here and there … his parents … Sirius … Voldemort … Dumbledore … flashes of green … screaming … Azkaban … Sirius again … himself … the Marauders’ Map … Remus in his werewolf form … someone who looked as if she could have been Snape’s mother … Bellatrix … the veil … more green flashes … a destroyed house that looked oddly familiar…

All the while Snape was pushing at him but he was too fast to get pushed out too far but that house, why did he know it? The area around the house filled his mind and he knew that Snape was now letting him see this and if Snape was letting him see this then there was no way that it could be good.

Inwardly Snape groaned for letting the boy get such a good grip on his mind as he sifted through his thoughts, seeing his parents, Lupin, Black… they were all there but then there was the Potter’s destroyed home in Godric’s Hollow. He felt a strange stab of pain for them but ignored it quickly and before he knew it, he was allowing Potter to enter his mind more fully as the memory expanded to show the rest of the area and the sign at the top of the road which read: Godric’s Hollow.

Harry gasped when he saw the sign, although part of him knew that he hadn’t physically gasped, just in his mind. It was a small, hidden Wizarding community, he knew that much, and although Muggles had access to it, they rarely took up residence there.

“Are you just going to gawp around the neighbourhood boy, or are you going to come and look at the ruins of your home?” Severus asked him from the side and Harry realised that Snape’s mind had become almost like a pensieve as he saw a Severus standing across the street from him. That was when he glanced down and saw that he too had a form, it was himself naturally, and he was wearing Muggle clothing he wore most often. “You would sooner be a Muggle than a Wizard?” Severus asked, noting his clothing as Harry crossed the street to him and the two of them walked around the corner. Harry did not answer his question but that alone was enough to secure the knowledge in Severus’ mind that the boy was not happy with his magical status.

He had been aware that Lupin had been teaching him some form of wandless Occlumency for use when in the minds of others or in that strange world which could only be accessed by the mind but he didn’t know just how well Harry could dodge and evade the forces he used to try and remove him. He could just have flung up walls and strong barriers around himself but that would have given him away instantly and he liked the protection which was other people’s ignorance.

He allowed his thoughts to wander as he walked because even in his own mind, he could use the strongest Occlumency he knew and hide his thought processes from Harry, who was still dangerously close to his current thoughts, just not quite there yet.

They turned the corner and Harry saw the wreck of his previous home. There were people swarming about it and he saw Severus there on the far side, alone, just looking. He saw one or two people that he recognised: Mad Eye, Filius, Dedalus Diggle, Mrs Figg but there was no Remus there, or Sirius but it was day time and early morning by the looks of it so Sirius would probably already have been committed into Azkaban.

“You think too loudly, Potter.” Severus told him, but it was not particularly unkind.

Sorry. Harry thought automatically but did not speak; he knew that Snape would hear his thoughts anyway.

“Black already has committed into Azkaban if you care to know.” Severus told him.

“When is this?” Harry asked, his mouth feeling dry and oddly numb.

“1st November.” Severus informed him.

So the morning after… Harry thought.

“Indeed.” Severus said as his eyes wandered over the wreckage which represented so much more than just the wreck of one house, but it was the wreck of so many lives: Potter, Lupin, Black even Voldemort’s life had been ruined and almost taken from him but he supposed that wasn’t necessarily a bad thing.

I wonder why people can see the house… wasn’t it under the Fidelius Charm? Maybe it breaks when the people it protects are dead, but I didn’t die… Maybe because Peter told Voldemort where it was then it broke… But Grimmauld Place is under the charm and he’s told people where that is and it can’t be seen by everyone…

“Your thoughts are too cluttered, Potter.” Severus told him, “And you think too fast.”

“That’s what Remus says.” Harry answered absentmindedly before he could help himself.

“Please do not compare me to that dratted godfather of yours again, Potter.” He said, putting in the effort not to simply call him ‘the wolf’ whilst speaking with Potter. “And people can see the house because it was destroyed. The spell was not put over you and your parents; it was put over the house so they could not leave it and no one could see it or enter it.” Severus explained with rather more patience than he was used to. “Do you have any more questions or can we leave now?”

“Why are you there?”

“Why am I there?” Severus repeated, quite confused to say the least, “I hated your father, Potter, but that does not mean that I wanted him dead.”

“No, I mean that I thought you were tried as a Death Eater…” Harry asked, wondering when Snape was going to hex him.

Severus was slightly amused by the cautious attitude on Potter’s part and his wonderment at not yet having been cursed into oblivion. To be quite honest Severus was rather bemused by the fact himself, that added to his answering Potter’s questions with a certain degree of civility.

“That was a long time before this, and Dumbledore testified at my trial which ensured I was freed.” Severus said, not looking at Potter who was similarly not looking at him as they stared at the broken house.

Harry could see parts of his old life – broken chairs, a wand lay whole on the pages of a shredded book, ashes, roof tiles, bricks, his own toys, glass. All that added to the candles which had been placed at the side of the rubble and the people that stood fighting back their tears.

“What did you have to do to make Voldemort trust you again?” Harry asked and they both knew that his question would not be answered.

“I will never tell you or anyone that. Not even Dumbledore.” Severus said. “Now are you quite finished?”

“Just one more question.” Harry said, “Where is Godric’s Hollow and what happened to the rubble and the house?”

“That was two questions, Potter.” Severus informed him, “Ask Lupin to take you there during Christmas and as to what happened, I do not know; I have never been back there since.”

Harry felt the room slide back into focus as Snape’s mind released him and the place which was once his home faded from view, even as it etched itself into Harry’s memory.

“Up until you decided to fight your way right into one particular memory you did very well.” Snape told him. “Remember – don’t practice and I will see you on Sunday morning for your Occlumency lesson.” Harry nodded and walked quickly out of the room without another word.

A/N: So what did you think? I quite liked this chapter, although in places I had no idea what I was writing or why but never mind... Forty chapters, I can't believe it! Thanks to everyone who read this far, hope you're still enjoying it. The next chapter will be up soon and will be called either 'Hogsmeade' or 'The Horrors of Hogsmeade' or something along those lines, depending on what I finally write about in that chapter (I'm quite uncertain about it you see.) Anyway, that will be up the day after tomorrow which will be Tuesday, so I look forward to reading your comments and I'll 'see' you on Tuesday! :o)

Chapter 41: Hogsmeade
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“…and then we’ll go to Honeydukes and buy loads of chocolate, and we’ll go to Zonko’s if you want…” Harry was saying to Ron as they left the castle in the morning and walked along the road which led into Hogsmeade. Hermione walked on Ron’s other side as they made their way into the village.

“Charlie took me to Zonko’s once…” Ron said quietly and Harry and Hermione shared a glance over the top of his head although Harry only looked perplexed as to what to do for him, Hermione looked thoughtful and was almost scrutinising him.

Once they arrived in the village they walked around for a while, glancing in at shops and Harry noticed Katie, Laura and Lewis walking along not too far behind them and occasionally peering around corners at them, always gesturing for Harry to leave Ron and Hermione and go and join them.

Ron was gazing longingly through the window of Honeydukes which had never looked so busy whilst Harry and Hermione stood back in the street.

“Have you noticed anything odd about Ron?” Hermione asked him.

“What do you mean?” Harry asked her.

“I mean that Charlie has never taken him to Zonko’s.” Hermione said to him and Harry raised an eyebrow.

“You can’t know that for certain Hermione.” Harry told her in an exasperated tone.

“But I remember it from our third year… That Sneakoscope wasn’t working because there were just too many untrustworthy people about and Ron said we could get it checked in Dervish and Banges.” She said to him, pausing in the hopes that Harry would remember.

“That sounds like he’s been there before Hermione.” Harry said to her and moved to go stand next to Ron, whose ear was tilted towards them in a manner that suggested to Harry that he could easily be listening. He glanced at Hermione and then pointedly at Ron.

“He can’t hear us.” Hermione said confidently but Harry wasn’t so sure, “But then after he said that he went on to say that Fred and George had told him, now why would he have had to be told by Fred and George if he had been before?”

“Because he’d never been into that particular shop?” Harry suggested but she shook her head.

“Come on, on your first visit here you went into every single shop just to see what it was like.” Hermione argued.

“But if Ron was with his Mum and Dad, or Charlie…”

“Then they would have let him look around a bit more because he had never been before.” Hermione finished for him. Harry opened his mouth to say something but it never left his mouth as Ron span round in a rage.

“OH YEAH! JUST TALK ABOUT ME BEHIND MY BACK! IT’S NOT AS IF I HAVE FEELINGS OR ANYTHING OR AS IF MY BROTHER JUST DIED! DON’T GET THAT IDEA!” He span on his heel and sprinted down the street. Harry made to go after him but Hermione stopped him and shook her head.

“Let me, I got us into this and I’ll get us out of it.” She said to him as she glanced down the road, “Oh god, Ginny’s there now… and is that Malfoy?!

“Looks like it.” Harry said and before he could say anything else she had taken off and was running down the street after him, leaving Harry left in the middle of the street on his own.

“Hey Harry!” Katie said, running over to him with Laura and Lewis close behind.

Is it me or do people seem to run around here a lot? Harry wondered as they stopped in front of him.

“So what happened?” Laura asked him instantly.

“Ron started shouting at us…” Harry told them.

“We heard.” Lewis grinned.

“Everyone heard, Mr Potter.” Severus said coolly as he walked past them, leaving the four students staring at him as he walked calmly towards the Shrieking Shack. As he walked along he distinctly heard Potter ask if Ron had really been that loud.

“Yes he was Potter, and you are too!” Severus shouted back at him, getting another disbelieving stare from the students.

“What the hell?! That freaky bat!” Laura said loudly.

“That’s Professor Bat to you, Miss Turner!” He shouted back at her, receiving a laugh from Potter and leaving himself wondering why on earth he had said that.

“Professor Bat, Severus?” Remus sniggered when he arrived, only to receive a death glare in return.

“Oh just shut it, Lupin!” Severus snarled at him. “Do we know why we’re here yet?”

“No, Dumbledore’s not here yet.” Minerva told him whilst Filius carefully charmed the rim of his robes to look distinctly more bat-like.

“Ah, good afternoon everyone.” Dumbledore said to them as he walked around to the back of the Shrieking Shack where he saw Minerva, Filius, Severus – with rather interesting robes, Remus, Molly, Arthur, Alastor, Tonks and Kingsley. They had been arriving for the last ten minutes and although Albus knew he should have gone to them sooner, the idea of looking around Zonko’s for a little longer was far too appealing. “I assume you all know why we are here?”

Molly and Arthur nodded but the rest of them merely looked politely mystified.

“The death of Charlie Weasley must be discussed,” He said quietly.

“And you think that out in the middle of Hogsmeade is a good place for this discussion?” Minerva asked him, keeping her eye on Molly and Arthur but they seemed okay with the present situation so she allowed her argument to drop.

Remus sighed inwardly and glanced across the street to see Harry leant against a fence, chatting to Laura, Katie and Lewis. He knew that they were most likely talking about the dramatic escape Ron had made earlier, heard by most of the occupants of Hogsmeade and probably most of Hogwarts castle as well, he had been incredibly loud about it. He wondered just what Harry and Hermione could have said to make him explode like that and he wished that he could just go over to Harry and spend some time just talking with him but that wasn’t an option. He forced himself to listen to the conversation which was going on around him instead.

Harry glanced up to see Remus and many other members of the Order, Dumbledore included, stood up by the Shrieking Shack, talking about something presumably secret. He wondered whether Hogsmeade was the best place for that and whether or not Ron knew that his parents had heard him yelling at the top of his lungs in the quiet Wizarding community.

“So what are we going to do about Ron?” Lewis asked them.

“Do? We don’t need to do anything!” Laura said, “This is perfect!”

“Can you explain how?” Harry asked her.

“Yeah, look Ron ran off and Hermione was straight after him.” Laura said and Katie nodded.

“Yeah, and Malfoy and Ron’s little sister are also there. Hardly the most likely situation for romance, is it?” Harry scowled.

He glanced down the street towards Ron who hadn’t run from Hermione and was arguing vehemently with her by the looks of it. The wind was blowing in their direction meaning that Harry couldn’t so much as catch a word they were saying.

Hermione lashed out at Ron and Malfoy laughed loudly. Ginny moved to punch Malfoy but he had his wand out and pointed at her throat in a moment.

Harry tried to see what was going on but at that moment a ray of sunlight shone over the village as he stared south towards his friends and blinded him, making him unable to see anything but the sunlight shimmering on the wet road.

“Come on, we’ll lock them in Honeydukes cellar later on or something.” Lewis said as their vision was impaired and Harry smiled slightly, knowing that Honeydukes cellar would be the last place that they locked them.

“How about the Three Broomsticks before it rains again?” Harry suggested and they nodded, making their way quickly towards the pub which was already quite full of students.

They found a small table in the corner and they sat down, chatting idly about Ron and Hermione.

“I don’t reckon just locking them in places together will work.” Harry said, echoing Remus. “And I still don’t think they’re attracted to each other.”

“Harry, Harry, Harry…” Laura said, shaking her head at him, “Of course they like each other, they argue all the time!”

“So maybe they don’t like each other at all.” Harry suggested.

“Then why do they hang out together?” Laura demanded.

“To be near Harry?” Lewis suggested to her and she looked thoughtful.

“No, they wouldn’t put up with each other just to be around me, would they?” Harry asked them, feeling uncertain. “I mean, they talk to each other and stuff all the time.”

“Yeah, maybe they do that just to make it seem like they’re friends around you.” Katie said.

“It can’t work very well if that’s the case – they’re always arguing!” Laura pointed out.

“They’re probably arguing somewhere right now.” Katie said thoughtfully and Harry groaned inwardly; barely a minute ago they had been explaining to him that they were madly in love and now they hated each other’s guts? He was going to stop listening to them and start listening to himself, after all no one knew them better than he.

Rain started to drum heavily on the windows and glancing outside Harry could see people running for shelter or conjuring shields above themselves whilst they carried on shopping. There was no sign of Ron, Hermione, Ginny or even Malfoy but Harry wasn’t too bothered about them since seeing them would probably only confuse his thoughts about the relationship between his two friends even more.

The door was flung open and Mad Eye walked into the room. There was an audible intake of breath from the students in there as he limped across the room as they all remembered his teachings from two years previously. He walked over to the side of the room nearest Harry and sat down, joined soon after by Kingsley who nodded in acknowledgement and it was only then that Mad Eye noticed him.

“Potter.” He nodded gruffly to him before turning back to Kingsley and entering in quiet conversation.

Katie, Lewis and Laura looked at him questioningly but he just smiled and took a sip of the Butterbeer that Madam Rosmerta put down infront of him before moving to Kingsley and Mad Eye to see what they wanted.

The door opened again and Mr and Mrs Weasley walked inside. Arthur smiled at Harry and Molly asked how he was and cast a critical eye over his figure before Harry reassured her that he was eating enough.

“Ron’s parents.” He explained in an undertone to his friends. He realised that the whole Order of the Phoenix was likely to be making it’s way into the pub in drips and drabbles which would get annoying; firstly because he would have to greet them all and secondly because everyone else would want to know how he knew them.

Bill was next into the pub, accompanied by Tonks who looked as if she would have greeted Harry loudly over the top of the pub and probably embraced him were it not for the fact that the pub was intrigued enough as to their visitors as it was and Harry’s apparent knowledge of them all only added to their mystique.

Instead Tonks settled for grinning at him and pulling a face which then turned into a different one to the amazement of Harry’s friends. Bill smiled and squeezed his shoulder and Harry tried hard to return his smile but he didn’t quite manage.

“Come on, the rain’s letting up.” Lewis said to them, “Let’s go find Ron and Hermione.”

“Yeah, okay.” Harry said, not particularly wanting to be in the crowded pub any longer.

The four of them got to their feet and left the pub, Harry smiling slightly at Tonks who grinned at him as he went.

“Molly, I’ve got something to show you that might cheer you up slightly.” Kingsley said to her with a slight smile, “Here, I’ll portkey you back to Grimmauld Place.” He said to her and Harry smiled slightly; anything that might serve to make Mrs Weasley smile would be worth it after the death of her son.

“Hello.” Remus said to the group as they left The Three Broomsticks.

“Hello Professor.” The four of them replied to him and Harry caught his eye, flashing him a smile before they left the pub and into the slight drizzle outside.

“A little wet to be taking a stroll don’t you think?” Minerva asked them and Harry just shrugged.

“Not really.” He replied and then muttered under his breath, “How are you Professor Bat?”

“Fifty points from Gryffindor, Potter.” Snape muttered.

“I didn’t think you could take points unless the student in question was in school grounds?” Remus said lightly.

“That is the case, so unfortunately you will need to take points once you get back to the castle for a different reason, Severus.” Dumbledore said to him, causing Snape to glower darkly at him and the four Gryffindors to grin as they walked into the rain.

“I wonder where they went then…” Katie mused aloud as they started to meander slowly down the street towards where, Ron, Hermione, Ginny and Malfoy had been before but there was no sign of them.

They looked through shops and around the small streets of Hogsmeade but they couldn’t find them anywhere. After almost an hour of searching the small village, they met up again after separating outside the Hogs Head.

I suppose we could go back to school and see if they turned up there.” Laura suggested and the others nodded, having become bored of Hogsmeade by now.

“I hope they let us come on a Sunday next time – it’ll be market day then.” Katie was saying as they walked back along the road to school. Harry missed being with his friends, true, Ron was poor company at the moment and Hermione was constantly trying to comfort him at times when she should be leaving him alone but they were still his best friends and as much as he enjoyed his time with Katie, Lewis and Laura, he was still happiest with Hermione and Ron.

It was only early when they returned to the castle to find that many other students had come back before they had to due to the bad weather. Ron and Hermione were nowhere to be seen however so, after hanging around the common room for an hour, Harry walked down to Remus’ office and wandered inside to see his godfather hanging up his cloak and casting a quick drying spell over himself.

“Hey.” Harry greeted and although Remus jumped slightly at the unexpected noise, he turned to Harry with a slight smile.

“What are you doing back so early?” Remus asked as he started to organise the essays left all over his desk.

“Went to find Ron and Hermione.”

“No luck I see.” Remus noted and Harry nodded. “And I presume that you want to learn yet more wandless magic?”

“Of course, what else would I be here for?” Harry asked.

“Because you like my company perhaps?” Remus suggested lightly.

“Don’t be ridiculous Remus, I don’t actually like you…” Harry told him, “People ask what I think of you and it’s always ‘My godfather? Oh he’s alright, don’t enjoy being around him though, don’t get that idea…’”

“Oh shut up, Harry.”