A/N. Bonjour, my readers. I am glad you are reading this. The plot for this story had been revolving in my head since last year but I started writing it in early March and, finally, here is the first chapter. I truly hope that you all enjoy this story as much as I enjoyed writing it. And please don't forget to review and let me know what you think. Thanks! *hugs*
It was the summer after his sixth year and Harry Potter had already returned to the Burrow with all his belongings. Forever. He was never going back to the Dursleys. It had been a couple of days since he arrived and to be quite frank, had been bored stiff with all the wedding preparations going on. Not that he wasn’t interested; it was just that he liked to be on his own. So, currently, he was in his room rummaging through the one out of three cartons that surrounded him. The words ‘Possessions of Sirius Black’ stood out on al the three cartons in big bold letters.
So far, Harry had extracted some notes between the Marauders (they were exceedingly funny), a journal of sorts which only contained the strangest, yet the most funniest of pranks and a few albums of the Marauders and Lily. There were some pictures which contained people who Harry did not recognize and assumed they were probably their other friends or maybe relatives. Some other random stuff in the cartons included Sirius’s old boots, a rusting key, a couple of books on Transfiguration, a ridiculous drawing of a messy haired boy on a broom who kept singing ‘I love Evans’ every five seconds and a muggle photograph.
Harry paused. A muggle photograph? As far as he knew, his godfather did not have any muggle friends. But then again, how much did Harry know about Sirius’ personal life anyway? Harry peered at the photo in awe. There were five people in the picture. In the middle was Remus Lupin. Merlin, he looks young, Harry thought, staring at his former Professor. On Remus’ left were Lily and James (Harry stared at them for a while) and on his right were Sirius and a girl whom he had never seen before. Harry wouldn’t have dwelled on it much longer but there was something about this picture that captivated him…drew him in. He noticed how all five teenagers had their arms around each other and wide happy grins on their faces. Although it wasn’t a moving picture, Harry could tell that these five were very close to each other.
But who was that other girl in the picture? The girl who has Sirius’ and Remus’ arms wrapped around her shoulder? Surely, if the Marauders were so close to her, they would have at least mentioned her to Harry. He traced his eyes along the photograph again and made a mental note to ask Remus about it.
However, Remus didn’t show up for two days and during that time, Harry spent his time discussing horcruxes with Ron and Hermione or else dreaming wistfully about Ginny. But through all this, that picture never left his mind and when Remus Lupin finally dropped in for a visit; Harry was the first to greet him. Remus had been surprised when Harry practically dragged him to the room he and Ron were sharing.
“What seems to be the matter, Harry?” he asked as Harry looked wildly around the room. “Is there something you want to ask me?”
Harry found the picture lying underneath his pillow and looked up at his former Professor with a nod. The difference between the man sitting before him and the Remus Lupin in the picture was stunning! And Harry couldn’t help but feel sorry for Remus. Life had been hard on him.
Shaking these thoughts out of his head, Harry walked forward and handed him the photograph. He watched with interest a variety of emotions flashed across Remus Lupin’s face – shock, dismay and wistfulness. He stared transfixed at the picture for a while before speaking.
“Where did you get this?” Remus asked in a hoarse voice, his eyes still lowered to the photograph in his hand.
“It was lying among Sirius’ other possessions,” Harry replied quietly. “When was it taken, Remus? And why isn’t it a moving photograph?”
Remus looked up and Harry was surprised to see such pain and sorrow in the older man’s eyes. He stepped forward and put an awkward hand on Remus’ shoulder. “What is it, Remus? Who is this girl?” he asked. Now Harry was more curious to know this than ever since Remus was being so mysterious about it.
“This girl, Harry…is Salma Shekh,” replied Remus finally, looking fondly at the other girl in the picture. “She was - is - a muggle. That’s why this isn’t a moving photograph, because it was taken by a muggle camera.” Harry watched as Remus closed his eyes and opened them again, but this time, with a little smile on his face. “I remember when this was taken,” he told Harry. “James and Lily were finally going out and Sirius suggested that we throw a party to the whole city.” Remus laughed at this. “Of course, his idea was rejected but Salma wanted to capture this moment forever, so we had her sister snap this picture for us.”
Harry nodded slowly, not knowing what else to say. “You five seem like best friends,” observed Harry. He was going to ask why Peter Pettigrew wasn’t in there but stopped himself, because he was actually glad he wasn’t.
“We certainly were,” Remus answered. “But we five had different destinies to fulfill and thus, we got separated.” He looked sad but Harry suddenly found himself getting annoyed. If they were such close friends with this muggle girl, who somehow seemed special to Harry, then why hadn’t Remus or even Sirius mentioned her to him? What was so special and yet secretive about her?
“Why didn’t you tell me?” Harry voice wasn’t loud but it wasn’t quiet anymore. “And all this time I thought that the Marauders were the best of friends and my mum never had any close friends!”
Remus opened his mouth to say something but he was interrupted by a sharp voice. “You have no right to speak to Professor Lupin like that, Harry!” Startled, both men looked up. Hermione Granger was standing in the doorway with her hands on her hips, glaring Harry’s way. Remus looked worried while Harry frowned.
“How long have you been standing there, Hermione?” he asked.
“Long enough,” she replied, walking inside and plonking down on Ron’s bed. “They asked me to come up and check on you both since you practically dragged Professor Lupin upstairs,” she said.
“Please, Hermione, I am not your Professor anymore,” Remus said.
“Sorry, Remus,” smiled Hermione. Then, looked at them and spoke, “So, what’s this about a muggle photograph and a girl?”
Harry shook his head and stared at Remus with pursed lips. The older man sighed. “Really, this isn’t worth wasting your time. It’s a long story,” he said. It was obvious that he was lying and Harry’s frown deepened.
“Remus, I have the right to know about my parents’ life!” he exclaimed. “You can’t hide this from me forever. Someone or the other will tell me.” This time, Hermione wisely kept quiet and observed Remus Lupin closely.
“No one knows,” muttered Remus. “No one has ever known about Salma. James, Sirius, Lily and I didn’t tell anyone. Not even Dumbledore and Peter.”
“But why?” Harry and Hermione asked in unison. They both looked at each other and Harry nodded his go-ahead. Hermione cleared her throat. “Prof- Remus, it’s okay if you don’t want to tell me but it’s not fair to Harry,” she said gently. “Please don’t keep him in the dark. He has a right to know.”
Remus looked at her and then at Harry and closed his eyes, letting out a defeated sigh. “Okay,” he said, earning a smile from both Harry and Hermione. “You will never believe me anyway.”
“Try us!” Harry and Hermione had wide grins on their faces as they said this.
Remus laughed slightly and began his tale. He was taking a journey through time and knew it would be hard to remember those long-suppressed memories again. But he had to tell Harry. Hermione was right. You can never keep a Potter in the dark.
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