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.
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