An Alternate Chain of Events

Chapter 3 - The Answered and Unanswered

Chapter Three – The Answered and Unanswered

Remus had set up his office and unpacked his possessions in his quarters but he still felt out of place. All of his colleagues had been educated here too, it must have taken them a while to settle in. His office was in a prime position on the fifth floor, he had a wonderful view of the grounds and was waiting for the moment he would see the first of the carriages arrive at the school for the new year.

Remus didn't think he'd ever been more nervous in his life. Would the children respect him? Would he be a decent teacher? Lily had spent all summer assuring him that he'd be wonderful; she had even gone over lesson plans with him and said they all sounded brilliant. She reminded him he'd been a school prefect and had some experience in a role of authority, he had reminded her that he had never managed to deter James and Sirius from doing anything.

Dumbledore knocked twice on Remus's open office door before entering. "How are you settling in?"

"Well, thank you Headmaster."

"Remus, you do not need to keep thanking me, I wouldn't have hired you if I didn't believe you capable for the job." Dumbledore looked around the many interest artefacts lined on the shelves. "I reviewed your plans and they look wonderful, I fear the children have had a rather uneven education in this subject over the last few years and you look set to rectify that."

Remus could do nothing but smile, it was the most relaxed he'd felt since before Ronnie had left him.

"Now, shall we go down to the feast?" Dumbledore suggested. "We wouldn't want to be late."

Remus and Dumbledore walked down the many flights of the castle's stairs. "Still no news of Peter?"

"Nothing. But while he uses his other form I did not expect anything else." Dumbledore replied. "How's Harry?"

"He seems remarkably unperturbed," Remus answered. "James and Lily worry that he's not taking it all seriously enough." They had arrived at the empty Entrance Hall and stood facing the doors to the Great Hall.

"It is vital he takes the threat seriously," Dumbledore said gravely. "Would you advise that I talk to him?"

"I think they would really appreciate that," Remus said earnestly.

Dumbledore opened the doors and the walked down the long hall to the staff table, to Remus it felt odd not joining the Gryffindor table, Dumbledore watched his eyes glance down it. "Hagrid has saved a place for you," Dumbledore indicated the empty place next to the enormous hairy man.

"Remus!" Hagrid said merrily, wringing his arm. "Good ter see yeh! Told Dumbledore how happy I was ter hear you'd been appointed! Couldn' think of no one better for the job."

"Thanks, Hagrid," Remus said happily. "And I hear congratulations are in order for you too. I can think of no one more enthusiastic for the job." Hagrid chuckled happily.

"Can' say I'm not deligh'ed." He beamed.

McGonagall received a message and rose from her seat, Remus supposed that it was to collect the first years for the sorting. "Filius," she said before she departed "would you please lead the sorting?"

Flitwick nodded and scampered out of the hall after her.

Remus thoroughly enjoyed watching the students file in, and seeing a sea of pointed hats chatting happily to their neighbour. He couldn't see Harry among them at the Gryffindor table, but there were rather a lot of students. Flitwick led the first years in and still McGonagall had not returned. She didn't re-enter the Hall until the stool was being cleared away. She swept up to the top table whilst two students scampered to their place at the Gryffindor table behind her. Remus could have sworn it was Harry and Hermione.

Remus received a modest welcome when Dumbledore introduced him, it was more than he had expected given his reputation. He could only imagine what things the parents of his students had filled their heads with.

At the end of the feast, Harry and his friends approached the top table to congratulate Hagrid and Remus.

"Why were you late?" Remus asked Harry. To Remus's surprise Harry flushed with embarrassment. It was Hermione who answered.

"The Dementors boarded the train to search for Pettigrew and Harry, well, Harry-"

"Collapsed." He said flatly. "It was all very embarrassing. Madam Pomfrey tried to get me to the hospital wing."

"Did you at least have some chocolate?" Remus was concerned.

Harry nodded. "The trolley lady gave me some."

"Good," Remus nodded. "Dementors are foul beings, Harry, try not to let this worry you." The children departed but they were not in overly high spirits.

"Nasty business, Dementors." Hagrid noted as they left the hall.

"Indeed, but if they're for the good of the kids."

"Ah, I suppose. Night Remus, good luck tomorrow."

"Thanks Hagrid, you too."

Dear Mother and Father,

That great oaf Hagrid is the new Care of Magical Creatures teacher and on the first lesson a hippogriff attacked me! It was utterly unprovoked and my arm is left in tatters, I'll be surprised if I can ever use it properly again. Father you must do something!

The werewolf is an awful teacher as expected. The first lesson he tried to make us tackle a boggart, which if you ask me is just inappropriate for third years.

There are Dementors all over the grounds looking for Pettigrew. They're not nice, are they? I heard horrible things when they came near me, I don't even remember ever having heard those things before. Potter actually fainted though. How funny is that?

Regards to you both,


Dear Mum and Dad,

I would bet my allowance that Remus has already told you this but I had an incident on the train. It was the Dementors, they came into our compartment and I felt my chest freeze, I saw flashes of green light and heard high pitched laughter and the next thing I knew, I'd woken up on the floor feeling awful. Malfoy heard and won't stop going on about it. In brighter news, he was attacked by a hippogriff, but on the downside it was in Hagrid's first lesson and now I'm worried Lucius Malfoy's going to get him sacked. It was all Malfoy's fault, Hagrid warned us not to be rude to them.

Remus's first lesson was the best DADA lesson that we've ever had. We tackled a Boggart, get this, Neville went first and his turned into Snape wearing his grandmother's clothes, it's making Snape even more evil of course, but it was the best thing I've ever seen. Everyone had a go, but when it got to me Remus stepped in. You don't think this had something to do with the Dementors do you?

I don't think much to Divination, Trelawney has already predicted my untimely death. I was worried about it until McGonagall said she does this every year. McGonagall is an animagus, did you know? They're quite cool aren't they?

The first Hogsmeade weekend has been posted on the notice board. It's Halloween if you're interested.

How are things at home? Any news about Pettigrew?



"You're up early this fine Saturday," Dumbledore observed.

"I wanted to send a letter," Harry explained, although he thought this was perfectly obvious from his presence in the owlery.

"Indeed," Dumbledore seemed quite cheerful and Harry felt odd about the lack of desk between them. "Harry I'm glad I've caught you, I was wondering if you'd mind taking a walk with me."

"Erm, ok." Harry nodded. They walked down the steps and out into the grounds.

Dumbledore was humming happily to himself and Harry was too awkward to begin the conversation.

"Do you have any questions for me, Harry?" Dumbledore began, when he was sure there were no prying ears. He knew that it would have been more private to have this conversation in his office but he didn't want to ambush his young charge. The open air made the meeting less formal and more like a conversation between equals.

Harry's mind was blank. In truth he had very few questions, he tried not to think about it if he could at all help it. "Why didn't anyone tell me about Pettigrew when you told me about Voldemort two years ago?" This was the only thought that sprung to his mind.

Dumbledore nodded as though impressed with Harry's question. "The fault there lies with me, you see. I didn't want to overwhelm you with the information that you had been targeted, the horror of what happened was quite enough. We knew there would always be a time when you must know the rest, but Mr Pettigrew has forced our hand. You mustn't blame your parents, Harry." Dumbledore looked down at Harry who was watching his feet while they walked. "I also believe that your parents, particularly your father, finds it difficult to talk about Mr Pettigrew's betrayal."

Harry nodded, he tried to imagine how it would feel if either Ron or Hermione tried to sell him out. He couldn't even comprehend it.

Harry felt the mud squelching under his trainers, a remnant from the recent downpour of rain. "Professor, there's one more thing."

"What's that, Harry?"

"The prophecy. You heard a prophecy about me and Voldemort, and you realised he wouldn't be able to kill me. How did you know?"

Dumbledore had been bracing himself for this particular question. "The prophecy spoke of a boy born at the end of July to parents who had thrice defied Lord Voldemort. It spoke of marking the child as his equal, thankfully for us, Lord Voldemort's spy did not hear this last part." Dumbledore looked down at his charge.

Harry stopped. "How did you know that meant me? There must have been loads of boys born at the end of July, Neville was born the day before me, it could have meant him."

Dumbledore smiled sadly. "The prophecy alone could have referred to Neville. His parents had also narrowly escaped Voldemort three times."

"But then, the prophecy might not mean me at all!" Harry could feel his heart lightening.

Dumbledore briefly put his hand on Harry's shoulder. "Harry, there is no doubt that the prophecy referred to you." Harry looked up questioningly and Dumbledore elaborated. "Lord Voldemort chose to target you, he marked you out as the person most dangerous to him."

"How did you know it was me?" Harry insisted. "How did you know that he was targeting me?"

"Spies, we had our spies on his side, as he had on ours. A spy confided it to us. The same spy who discovered Pettigrew."

Harry couldn't think of anything to say. He continued to walk in silence with Dumbledore until they approached the front doors.

"I'm going to have to face him eventually, aren't I?" Harry said neutrally.

"That is very likely." Dumbledore agreed. "You're a very remarkable person Harry, Lord Voldemort chose a formidable enemy."

Harry was taken aback. "I'm not formidable. I'm thirteen."

Dumbledore surveyed Harry from behind his half-moon spectacles. "You are incredibly formidable Harry, you've accomplished a great deal since the start of school. More than most adult wizards. Never sell yourself short."

Harry didn't argue back this time. He felt pleased and oddly embarrassed to be given such high praise by the Headmaster.

Before they entered the castle, Harry asked a final question. "So prophecies are real then, they're not all – er- well like Divination?"

A smile played on Dumbledore's mouth. "Yes some are real."

They parted in the Entrance Hall. Harry went to join Ron and Hermione for breakfast. "Goodbye, Sir."

"Goodbye Harry, do come and speak to me if you should have anymore concerns."

Harry nodded and scampered off, while Dumbledore returned to his office marvelling about how remarkable a child Harry truly was. In some ways this made his job much easier, it made their chances of survival greater. In other ways it was a huge disadvantage. Dumbledore wondered if he should have told Harry the true end of the prophecy, but he reasoned that it was too great a burden to bear for someone so young, he had never even told Lily and James that last line.

"Severus, what a pleasant surprise." said Dumbledore as he walked into his office and found Snape waiting for him. "Or did we have an appointment that I have rudely forgotten about." Dumbledore took his seat behind his large desk.

"I wanted to update you on my –ah – assignment."

Dumbledore nodded keenly. "What's the latest?"

"As you know, I was invited to the Malfoy's house for dinner. At this dinner I observed how dissatisfied Narcissa is with her life, and how concerned she is about Draco following in Lucius's footsteps. Lucius dismisses her as uninterested in any current affairs, but she is keenly interested and I would imagine she has opinions not akin to that of her husband."

Dumbledore nodded as though this was exactly what he had expected to hear.

"Since then, she has sent me a note asking if I would keep a watch over Draco and stop him from publically expressing any views that would seem to support Peter Pettigrew and, by default, the Dark Lord."

"This is wonderful news. Well done, Severus." Dumbledore stood up and walked to an old standing cabinet, he unlocked it and pulled out a stone basin, and to it he added some silvery strings of memory to it. "You must continue to tread that thin line between the Malfoys, eventually there may come a time when you can speak freely with Narcissa."

Snape nodded in agreement. "She misses her family, and she certainly feels a stronger kinship with the members of her family not currently residing in Azkaban."

"Thank you Severus. This is excellent work, please continue and please keep me updated."

Snape stood to take his leave. "Dumbledore, how is Lily Evans doing?"

Dumbledore smiled, and Snape couldn't miss the note of pity in his stare and hated him for it. "As well as could be expected under the circumstances."

Snape didn't say another word and his robes disappeared from sight.

"What are you planning Dumbledore?" asked Phineas Nigellus snidely.

Dumbledore did not answer.

"Sirius you look exhausted." Andromeda noted over supper.

"I haven't had a great deal of time to sleep recently."

"The office is mental mum, Scrimgeour is on at everyone and it's really frustrating when you have no information to give him." Tonks added through a mouthful of food.

"Well, Dora, you were the one complaining that the office was too slow." Ted pointed out.

"I sincerely regret that now, dad, don't worry."

"So there's no word about Peter?" Andromeda asked Sirius. She remembered Pettigrew from Sirius's schooldays, the last time that she had seen him Peter Pettigrew was a chubby child who hero-worshipped her cousin. She still found it difficult to picture him in league with Bellatrix.

"Nothing," Sirius shrugged. "I just don't think he's that big a threat on his own, he's not the most skilled wizard that you'd ever meet."

"Sirius that's an appalling attitude to take." Andromeda reprimanded him.

"Don't worry, I've already been told off for it by Scrimgeour."

"Good. You don't know what desperation will have done to him, the desperate are the most dangerous."

"I suppose." Sirius shrugged. "I'm still amazed that he escaped. Of all the occupants in there I would have thought perhaps Bellatrix-"

"Don't even say that." Andromeda shuddered. "The world is a much safer place with that monster locked away."

"But if it were a question of skill, she'd escape easily." He put a forkful of food into his mouth.

"Are you saying you think Pettigrew had help?" Tonks deduced.

Sirius shrugged. "It's an idea. Like I said, I don't think he could have done it alone."

The Tonks family watched him in disbelief. "That's very serious." said Ted, "the thought of it being an inside job is a very serious claim to make."

"I know, and Fudge won't like it at all." Sirius agreed. "But I still think it's the most plausible solution. So does James."

"James would have the best chance of selling it to Fudge," Ted noted. "It's so personal that Fudge would have to take him seriously, but then again, Fudge is remarkably skilled at choosing the most convenient explanation at any given time."

"Any news on Emilia?" Andromeda asked, while the table mused over Fudge's shortcomings.

"Nothing." Sirius replied. "She may as well be a ghost."

"I like ghosts," Tonks put in. "They're always so friendly, a bit too sensitive about being dead, but they have wonderful stories."

"Unpleasant to walk through," Ted added.

"And they creep up on you unexpectedly." Tonks agreed. "But they always livened up dinner. It was really nice being back at Hogwarts last year."

"Nymphadora, the school was under attack from You-Know-Who and a Basilisk." Andromeda said incredulously.

"Apart from that, it was nice being back there." Tonks amended.

"Have you heard anymore from Narcissa?" Tonks had reminded Sirius of his cousin's involvement.

"Only to say that we shouldn't have more contact." Andromeda sighed. "It's awful that Lucius caused it all."

"Well it's not like we didn't beg her not to marry him," Sirius put in.

"Did you?" Tonks asked with interest.

"Many times over several years." Sirius replied. "Poor Cissy."

"You've changed your tune," Andromeda observed.

Sirius thought about this, he thought about the last time that he saw her and how she had chosen to help them. "I feel like I understand her more now, she's scared and it might actually motivate her this time."

Ted looked between Sirius and Andromeda; they both had a shared hope in their eyes. Ted couldn't help thinking that he wouldn't hold his breath for Narcissa to change sides, but he ate his dinner in silence, not wanting to spoil the moment.

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