“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)
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