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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.

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