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Time once again began to pass rather more quickly than was desired in Grimmauld Place as although it’s occupants eagerly awaited Christmas, they knew that the faster the day arrived, the faster the new year would follow it and the faster their return to school and work.

Harry walked down to breakfast on Christmas Eve to see that it had snowed during the night and a thin layer of white coated everything in sight as he looked out of the kitchen window. He felt a light hand on his shoulder and turned to see Remus.

“Do you still want to go today?” He asked him quietly and Harry nodded. He wouldn’t miss his chance to see Godric’s Hollow. His opportunity at seeing a fraction of the life he could have led had things turned out very differently. Remus smiled at him and if there was anything but confidence with the slightest hint of fatigue then he hid it well.

Soon the room was filled with the babble of many conversations taking place at once as the rest of the house came down to breakfast, although Harry noticed that Snape was not present at the table for breakfast that day and heard that he was ill in bed.

He chose to stay silent over breakfast as a slight knot of anxiety built its way up in his stomach although he was not sure why he would feel nervous about seeing the house in which he had once resided. Part of him wanted breakfast to drag out forever, or Remus to forget his promise to take him to Godric’s Hollow, whilst the rest of him could barely wait for breakfast to end so that they could travel there and see the place which had haunted his dreams since that fateful Legilimency lesson in which Snape had shown him the ruins that had once been a house.

One by one people began to leave the table until Harry and Remus were the only two left in the room. They all knew of where they were going that morning and none of them had chosen to linger around for their departure.

“Are you ready to go?” Remus asked and Harry nodded mutely. “We’ll be walking; it’s not far from here. Half an hour’s walk if I remember correctly.”

“Alright then.” Harry said and summoned his coat to him, although the action was not necessary as it had been hung on the back of the door with so many others.

Remus steered him out of the kitchen and into the hallway which was eerily silent for a change, as if the whole house had silenced itself just for him. Not even the portraits argued between each other and Harry almost wished that the portrait of Mrs Black was still there if only so that he could wake her and have some form of noise echoing around the large house.

He pulled on his coat as he walked outside, making fresh footprints along the path and listening to the soft crunch of the snow under his feet. Remus quickly caught up with him after shutting the door and trotting down the path and through the gate into the street beyond.

Harry felt the cold wind whip his face, chilling him thoroughly and making him very glad of his coat as he shoved his hands in his pockets to keep them from the harsh weather. As they walked down the street, Harry couldn’t help but wonder whether the entire world had silenced itself for his benefit: not a sound was to be heard anywhere; there were no birds, no people, no cars. Nothing but the whisper of the wind in the branches and the soft crunch of the snow under their boots.

“When was the last time you went to Godric’s Hollow?” Harry asked Remus, breaking the silence around them as they walked, something which Remus was very grateful for.

“Not in years now.” Remus told him, “The last time I went was the Christmas before I started teaching you in your third year.”

“So you always went at Christmas?” Harry asked and Remus nodded.

“It just seems like the right time of year for it.” Remus replied, “I don’t like to go in summer because there are always so many people about on the streets and I prefer to go alone.”

“Then why are you taking me with you?” Harry questioned before he could help himself.

“Why shouldn’t you come with me? You want to see it and you deserve to see it just as much as anyone.” Remus said quietly as they walked through the cold at a brisk pace, “Besides, it’s not always the best of ideas to remain solitary in grief.”

“Why didn’t you come here after you started to teach me?” Harry asked as they turned a corner.

“I had no need to be quite honest.” He said, "I was at school that Christmas and around you my thoughts often returned to your parents. I didn't feel I could leave the school to go and visit the house that you once had however, not now that I had met you because I could neither have gone without you nor taken you with me."

“I suppose.” Harry murmured.

“Then the year after I was in constant correspondence with Sirius, well not constant but as close to it as we could get and I know he was the same with you.” Remus continued, “Visiting Godric’s Hollow was almost my way of communicating or at least feeling closer to the friends I had lost. Then the Christmas after that of your fourth year I was at Grimmauld Place with everyone and once again being around Sirius quelled any need I had to go to visit the dead. Now Sirius is gone and you want to visit so I’m going partly because you want to but mostly because I can’t help but want to see the place again.

“I went there to speak to them when things got hard for me and I had no one else to speak to, having Sirius back in my life provided the confidante I needed and supported me when I needed it. Once he had gone most people really thought I would fall for good, I suppose having you as the support I needed helped a lot. I can’t do without someone else in my life to live for and just to be with me.”

They crossed an icy road and Remus slipped. Harry moved quickly and caught him before he had the chance to fall right over supporting him as he got back to his feet.

“But I’ve never helped you or supported you at all.” Harry said once they were on the other side of the road, “It was all you helping me.” Remus smiled and shook his head.

“It wasn’t. You just don’t see it yet or understand me well enough to realise how much help you truly were, how much help you truly are.” He said quietly as they walked along the edge of a park.

They lapsed into comfortable silence as they walked and as Harry glanced into the park he smiled slightly as he watched a young child playing in the snow, his parents behind him. As their distant laughter drifted across to him Harry felt a familiar sadness at the tantalising vision of what he could never have. He hadn’t felt sadness like that in some time, probably years when he came to think about it; it had been something of his younger years when he watched families together out shopping when he was dragged into town by Petunia, finally tearing his eyes from the perfect families around him he would look to the Dursleys who walked in front of him, Dudley always in between his mother and father, clinging onto both his hands. It had been just another unnecessary reminder that he was the outcast and had never been wanted from the start. He looked up to Remus whose eyes had flickered to the family for a moment as well but had returned to the narrow path on which they walked together. Remus was his family now and although he was happy, he wondered whether Remus was also.

Remus felt the familiar pang of misery he always felt when seeing a family together, although he hadn’t felt it in some time. It was never really families that got to him though, more often the sounds of their cheerful conversations and their laughter. The laughter and the smiles. It was enough to bring anyone to the brink of tears and had done to him more than once in the past. He wasn’t sure why it did though. Perhaps other people’s happiness and intimacy reminded him of his one true family: Lily, James, their son - Harry, Sirius and although he hated to admit it now, Peter. It reminded him so strongly of the one Christmas they had spent together, James and Lily’s only Christmas spent with their son.

Of course now that he thought back and knew that Peter had been passing information for at least two months before the holiday season it tainted the remembrance of that perfect Christmas in his mind like nothing else could have done. He sighed inwardly as he looked down at Harry who was similarly watching the family with the same sad sense of distance. He knew that it was not only he who felt that sense of unfairness at the parade of what they could never have.

After all, he could never have a child of his own for fear it should be a monster like himself and that was even if he did meet a woman who would be willing to spend the rest of her life with him. No, he could never have a real family, but then again did he really want or need one? Walking along beside him was Harry, admittedly not his own son but he couldn’t imagine caring about anyone more than he did for him. He was the last link to a life almost lost and a standing tribute to the lives taken in the previous war who bore the mark to show he had bought the Wizarding world thirteen years of time from Voldemort. Yes, he was all that and at the same time he was just Harry, fame meant nothing, he was just someone whose company he loved and who hopefully enjoyed being around him just as much. As if he ever needed anyone more than him. He felt a faint smile touch his lips and as he glanced down at Harry he wondered whether or not he was happy with his life.

He caught Harry’s arm and steered him down a small, pretty street with large stone houses on one side over looking the park they walked around on the other. Remus knew that he could have walked through the park with Harry, but he had always liked to walk down this street and many a time he had found himself walking down it and around the area in a circuit when he desperately needed to think.

They weren’t far now, Remus recalled as he walked down the deserted streets, past warm houses showing glimpses of lives through windows. A Christmas tree in every window reminding them of the holiday season as they walked down the icy street.

They walked to the end of the street and turned the corner, as did the park causing Harry to see that it was in the shape of an L. Round the corner there was one long street which he could see curved around at the end, trees all along it and what looked as if they could have been lawned areas when they were not covered with a thin layer of snow.

It was strange. Around them there was an area of grass which looked misplaced, as if houses had once been there but had just been removed. Remus noticed him looking.

“You know that Peter killed thirteen muggles and blew up a street with his wand behind his back.” Remus said. Even after three years of intense dislike towards the man who had once been one of his most trusted friends, he could not stop calling him by his first name and bring himself to use his surname instead. He had to admit that it did look odd where the houses had once been but as they were the locations in which people had died many years ago, they had never been rebuilt, although most people knew it was the monetary issues which had prevented it. “Not far now.” He told Harry as they walked down one more road and then onto a smaller street which looked as if it could easily have been a maze of housing with smaller avenues turning off it in almost random seeming locations.

Harry’s eyes did not need to slide to the side of the street to know the name of the area he was in but they did anyway. To the right of him there was a small sign post which read ‘Godric’s Hollow’. Harry recognised the street from Snape’s memories and suddenly felt compelled either to sprint back the way he had come or quicken their pace into the residential area which had once been his home.

It was as if his life had taken on a dream-like quality as they walked towards his former home. He barely registered Remus’ hand resting slightly on his shoulder as they walked and the wind no longer felt as cutting as it had previously. The crunch of the snow became distant and he felt an odd nauseating sensation as he walked down the street.

Even from here he could see that no house had been built over the top of it for there was a large gap between two houses which could not be the beginnings of another avenue where he knew his house had been.

“It belongs to you.” Remus said as they came to a halt. “Although you can do very little with it.”

Harry stood next to him and looked at the space in which his house had once stood. There was no house now, no building whatsoever. Instead it was a large square plot of grass with high hedging at the back of it where the large park curved round to the back of it, giving Harry the knowledge that the park was not in fact L shaped as he had once assumed but in the shape of a horseshoe, surrounding the small housing area of Godric’s Hollow.

In the middle of the grassy plot was one large cherry tree, chosen because of it’s beautiful white blossom in the spring, although Remus had seen it blossom only once. Around the outside there were many different plants, mostly flowers and a bench was placed diagonally across the left corner at the back of the small garden but neither of them moved to go inside the plot and sit down on it. Indeed it appeared that no one had been inside it in a very long time. There was a small white wooden fence running along the edge of it and although there was a gate on it, the hinges had begun to rust and the catch had long since done the same. Harry doubted whether it would even open after so many years during which the area had clearly not been entered.

“How long has this been like this?” Harry asked Remus quietly after a few minutes of simply taking in the area.

“A long time, the rubble of the house was moved within a week of Halloween and the garden was designed by Minerva. Just very simple.” Remus told him. “All the plants around the edges were planted by someone else. I know that Snape planted black roses near the bench and I planted some tulips next to them. I’m sure if Dumbledore hadn’t stopped people then they would easily have filled the garden.”

“What happened to my mum and dad after…?” Harry asked, a lump in his throat and as the icy wind whipped his face, he felt his eyes begin to water slightly.

“Your parents were buried here.” Remus said quietly, “Under the tree in fact, their wands as well. Most people believe that because their wands were buried as well that’s why the garden thrives so well without being tended for.”

Something caught the light on the gate and Harry walked forwards, numb fingers brushing away the snow on a small metal plaque.

In Memory Of Lily And James Potter
And Of Sirius Black
Who Gave Their Lives Fighting For The Liberation
Of The Wizarding World From The Dark Lord
May You Rest In Peace

“Dumbledore changed the inscription over the summer.” Remus told him, walking closer to the garden. “It used to say Peter there.” His cold fingers touched Sirius’ name.

“How can it have an inscription like that in a Muggle area?” Harry asked him.

“It used to be primarily a Wizarding area, but lots of Muggles do live here now.” Remus corrected, “And only the magical can see the small garden, which is why it is in such perfect condition since every witch and wizard knows of Lily and James and would not dare to deface the garden.”

“What do the Muggles see when they walk past?” Harry asked him, wondering whether they would simply see the old ruins of the house with a sign to keep them away.

“They don’t see anything. This whole area doesn’t exist as far as the Muggles are concerned. When they look at where the house should be they see the two houses on either side together as semi detached houses. If someone were to look out of their window at us now they wouldn’t see us at all.”

“Weird.” Harry murmured. It made him feel odd to know that he wasn’t visible to most people in the area that could have seen him.

A gust of wind blew down the street, passing through him as a shiver as his eyes travelled miserably over the last resting place of his parents and the location where he had once lived with them.

“I wonder if they think it was worth it.” Harry said, unintentionally speaking aloud.

“If what was worth it?” Remus asked.

“Dying.” Harry said quietly.

“I’m certain of it, Harry.” He said, putting an arm around his shoulders and letting his eyes travel up to the sky where snow clouds were forming. He knew for certain that could James and Lily speak to them the way they would have reacted to that statement: James would have looked distinctly worried and told him that spending too much time near Snape had addled his brain where as Lily would have told James to shut up, not commenting on her own sacrifice but simply smiling instead and giving her quiet reassurances that the sacrifice was nothing to her leaving her son in life.

He wondered what he would find in Death but decided that there was little use of dwelling on it whilst there was still breath in his body; he would find out eventually.

The wind finally died down and snow began to fall onto them and into the garden, settling in Harry’s hair and adding a new layer onto the ground.

“Come on, let’s go home.” Remus said as he looked through the flakes and smiled sadly as he left the family he had once had as he turned away from them.

“Okay.” Harry murmured as he took one last look over the garden and the fleeting image of the house that had once been left his mind as they walked slowly through the streets, the snow dancing around them as they returned home.

A/N: Right, according to my chapter plan (I finally sat down and made one) then this story will finish on chapter fifty one. Not long to go now! Anyway, I'm halway through writing the next chapter and it will be something Christmassy so I hope you like that (well you probably won't if you're sick and tired of my Christmas chapters but that's too bad!). Anyway next chapter coming on Tuesday most likely. :o)

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