Harry Potter and the ? (Prisoner of Azkaban)

Owl Post Again

This series hit over 500 reviews! I never in my life believed I’d get so many, and I just want to thank you all so so much! To all of the endless support I get from every single person, and especially to those who faithfully review every single chapter! I don’t want to single any one person out because I just love every single one so much!

Remus hated to be the one to get their attention, to remind them there was still a chapter left, but he figured they may as well get this all over with sooner rather than later. They’d have more than enough to be dealing with later as is. Lily came down the stairs with the baby, but decided to hand him over to James while Remus got started.

Hermione was trying to get Harry’s attention, telling him they had ten minutes left to get to the hospital wing before Dumbledore locked the door.

“The fact that you still somehow pulled all of that off is a miracle” Lily muttered.

They began running down the spiral stairs of the tower,

Sirius couldn’t help but wonder if this was the same tower Hermione and Harry had been caught on with Norbert, and how much trouble he could have left his pup in if he was discovered helping him. They may be almost done but he felt like his worries would never end.

and as they reached the bottom and began tearing through corridors, they had to come to a quick stop as they heard Snape saying that he hoped Dumbledore wouldn’t cause a fuss about Black receiving the Kiss.

Remus ground his teeth together as he forced that out. He just couldn’t believe anyone was okay with this punishment, that the Minister had given his permission for it to happen! The only reason he wasn’t still shouting about it was because Sirius had gotten away, but that didn’t make what they’d tried to do feel any better.

Fudge agreed it would happen the moment Macnair arrived with the dementors, and how grateful he was this whole matter was to be over, how much he was looking forward to telling the Daily Prophet about this.

“Ha!” James snapped, no real humor to be found as he scowled at the book, though briefly distracted when his infant took advantage to their proximity and made a grab for his glasses. The father had a chore for a few moments getting them back from the tight little fists.

Fudge even said that when Harry came back to his right sense he’d probably want to tell the Prophet all about how Snape saved them all.

Harry made some gagging noises as he theatrically clutched at his throat at the thought.

Finally the voices passed by, and they kept running for some time until Harry heard Peeves approaching, and they had to duck inside another classroom as the poltergeist went bouncing by with laughter. Hermione was muttering how terrible a thing he was, laughing about Sirius getting Kissed.

“Oh he wouldn’t,” Lily frowned. “He can’t hate you that much. Why would he hate you at all?”

“I like to think Hermione may have just jumped to the wrong conclusion that time” Sirius agreed with his head cocked to the side. “He has no personal interest what happens to me, could be anything that’s got him in such a good mood.”

Then she warned Harry they only had three minutes left to get back, and as Peeves’ voice floated away and they started running again, Harry asked what would happen if they didn’t get back in time.

“Madam Pomfrey will know you got out” Lily guessed “and you could get into a cart load of trouble.”

“They can’t prove anything” James said at once, bouncing around in unease because he knew how untrue that was. At least Snape would try to pin the whole thing on Harry, and since Fudge clearly liked him this could turn pretty nasty.

Hermione groaned she didn’t want to know as they sprinted forward, the door finally coming into sight and Dumbledore saying what time it was and that he was going to lock them in.

“Did it say anything about Dumbledore not seeing you” Remus asked “because otherwise that really would have been impossible.”

“I think Dumbledore’s okay” Harry shrugged “he did know about all of this after all, we just couldn’t let him lock the doors.”

Sirius was still cross eyed as he tried to work out that Hermione and Harry had just left to save him...but now they were arriving and talking to Dumbledore because they just had...man he hated time travel.

He began to shut the doors just as the two came barreling forward, and he smiled at the sight of them, asking if they’d accomplished everything. They agreed, and then Dumbledore pressed his ear to the door and agreed that they’d left as well.

“Because, you know, that’s a sentence that exists now” James rolled his eyes.

He ushered them inside and then really did lock the door. The hospital wing was empty once again except for Ron who was still passed out.

Sirius cracked up laughing at that, imagining the poor kid’s face when they had to explain all of that to him later.

Madam Pomfrey came back out in a very bad mood.

“I believe that” Remus nodded in sympathy.

Harry and Hermione thought it best to accept their chocolate quietly. Madam Pomfrey stood over them, making sure they ate it.

“Think it’s kind of moot by this point” Lily shrugged “since it’s technically been what, three, almost four hours since that run in with the dementors, and since Harry warded them off the second time Harry never even got a second blast.”

“Please stop” James moaned “I’ve only just wrapped my head around this, don’t make it worse.”

“Just let them enjoy the chocolate in peace” Remus agreed.

Harry could hardly eat his share though, sitting tense on his bed, worrying and waiting for some kind of news, which he received by hearing a fearsome roar of outrage.

“Who wants to bet it’s some new horror” Remus sighed, trying to imagine what else could have happened tonight to cause that.

“Oh come on Remus, now you’re just depressing me” Sirius tried to give a light laugh, though admittedly on the same page as him.

Madam Pomfrey was alarmed at the noise, demanding to know what that could be, but in answer, they heard Fudge trying to tell Snape that Black must have disapparated!

They couldn’t help it, they all started laughing at once. Sirius had just gotten the best of Snape, and the man didn’t even know how. He’d just had every last bit of false glory snatched away from him, and he deserved every second of it for what he’d tried to do to Sirius. Only Lily felt the tiny spot of pity, as he didn’t know any better, he thought Sirius really had done all of those things, but what he’d tried to do wasn’t forgivable. He could have listened to them, which she knew he never would, shouldn’t have been out there in the first place, he’d only gone out to torment Remus. So even she couldn’t help giggling a bit at this comeuppance.

He was reprimanding himself that they should have left someone in the room with him!

“Yeah, they should have-” Sirius rolled his eyes.

“But thank Merlin they didn’t” James finished for him.

“I think Dumbledore might have had something to do with that” Remus said without any of his usual warmth in speaking of their old headmaster.

No one argued the idea, but they all noticed his tone, but he kept reading quickly before they could ask.

Snape wouldn’t hear it though, storming through the hallways and screaming that this had something to do with Potter!

“Well he’s not wrong,” Harry smirked.

“But still” Lily shook her head at just how stupid and sad this display was. “His first thought is to jump to you? He doesn’t even know why you’d help him, he has no idea about any of this, but his first instinct is to blame it all on you.”

“They still can’t prove anything” Remus grinned, as Harry and Hermione had the perfect alibi now.

Fudge tried to protest that, but then the door opened with a bang.

Five scowls were aimed at the book though, that bit of violence really was uncalled for.

They both came in, with Dumbledore who was the only one looking like he was enjoying the show.

Remus and Harry gave a happy little laugh, they found the Headmasters attitude perfect with their own, but nobody else still looked very pleased with him, still working out and wanting answers from him before they’d allow any good feelings to surface again.

Snape stormed over to Harry, demanding to know what he’d done!

“Yeah, cause he’s really going to tell you” James rolled his eyes.

Both Madam Pomfrey and Fudge tried to calm Snape down, but he wouldn’t hear of it as he shouted in the kid’s faces that they’d helped Black escape!

“Best part is, he’s actually right” Sirius cackled.

“Those were always the best moments” Remus agreed with an old smirk. “When he’d try to catch us at something, and he’d be the one telling the truth, but we still got off.” His face fell at the end, old memories of the four of them laughing about this all day after the fact, and unable to picture that without going blood thirsty again, so moving on fast.

Fudge demanded he stop, he was talking crazy.

“Least he admits it now” Lily huffed.

Snape was adamant though, saying he knew he was right, but then Dumbledore interrupted by pointing out they’d been in the locked door this whole time, to which Madam Pomfrey confirmed. Dumbledore went on smoothly that unless Snape was implying they were in two places at once, it couldn’t be done.

Remus full blown laughed as he realized Dumbledore had just told Snape what Harry and Hermione had done, and yet in such a tone they all knew it wasn’t possible, they wouldn’t have believed it if they hadn’t just heard Harry’s account.

Harry also got the realization that somehow Snape had been left out of the loop of Hermione’s Time Turner, otherwise he would have thrown that out. Maybe Harry had been wrong before and Flitwick hadn’t known about Hermione’s secret either, Flitwick just hadn’t questioned Hermione missing one class from her perfect attendance, so McGonagall probably had been the only teacher to know about it.

Snape froze as he looked at everyone, Fudge’s shocked look,

“Goodbye Order of Merlin” Sirius sneered.

to Madam Pomfrey who looked mildly concerned, to Dumbledore who was still giving a small smile. Snape stormed out then without another word, and Fudge cautioned Dumbledore he should keep an eye on that one.

Harry couldn’t help a small frown, wondering why that felt foreboding to him?

Dumbledore sighed though, saying that he understood Snape’s feelings of disappointment.

“Disappointment!” Lily nearly shrieked. “He wanted to watch Sirius be, well murder would have been kinder!”

“Ge, thanks Lil” Sirius grumbled.

Fudge sighed that Snape wasn’t the only one, how the newspapers were going to have a good laugh at him.

“Oh you poor thing” James snapped, his dislike of this minister growing more with every time he spoke. Every time he’d been mentioned all he’d seemed to care about was what the Prophet, and by extension, the public would think of him. He may be in his rights to do what had happened so far, but it didn’t make any of them like him one little bit.

He would be humiliated between Black and that hippogriff getting away in one night. Before he left though, Dumbledore asked about the dementors, and Fudge agreed they’d have to be taken away as well.

“Thank you!” They sighed in relief, thinking that if one good thing had come of tonight, it was that! They didn’t even care about the reason. Even if Harry did know how to get rid of them now, the last thing they wanted was him going near them again.

He couldn’t condone their behavior of letting them try to kiss Harry.

“Now how did he know about that” Harry asked in surprise, he’d certainly not told anyone, and Sirius didn’t even know, he’d passed out too soon to even tell Dumbledore, and Snape had shown up to late to see that.

Remus did not look happy to answer, but he hated talking about dementors at all so that wasn’t new. “Dementors can, ah, communicate, but it’s not something pleasant at all. When they wish to, they can string together thoughts in your head, putting together what they wish for you to understand what they’re telling you. It’s, unnerving to say the least. Honestly though, I’m surprised they would admit to doing it.”

Sirius offered back “well the Dementors don’t have any sense of loyalty to the Ministry and as Hagrid says, they don’t care about innocence, so telling Fudge that they were going to perform the Kiss wouldn’t have stirred any sense of guilt in them. Harry was in the way of their mission, so they were just doing what came naturally to them-” he couldn’t help but studder for a bit right there, the vivid mental image still trying to suck the soul out of him now at his little pup in that situation. “They were probably just told to report what had happened, why they’d come after me and why they left, and they did.”

Harry nodded in understanding, but still asked for more “how did they know to come out there though?* Snape nor anyone ever got a chance to call for them.”

James despised every last word he was using, it only served as more of a reminder of how long Sirius had to be there for this to be true, but he still offered “they say if you’re around a dementor enough, it gets ah, a sense for you. It can tell when you’re nearby. That’s also why they were even used as guards over just say Aurors, they didn’t know about Sirius being a dog so the Ministry would have figured the dementors would sense him approaching miles before he got there. Now Sirius has been a dog all year, so they wouldn’t have been able to tell that, but he came out of the Whomping Willow as a human talking to you, and the second he did that they would have sensed him and come swarming.” He finished with one more great shudder, still feeling sick all over at the thought of this topic.

Harry decided he was out of questions for now, still knowing he’d much rather never have to deal with those things again then keep coming up with questions for them, but also trying to ignore the feeling saying that was wishful thinking.

No, they were too unmanageable, and they’d have to find something else to guard the school, maybe dragons.

Sirius groaned something unintelligible that none of them needed to translate. They all agreed anyways, they really hoped Fudge was kidding.

Dumbledore agreed Hagrid would enjoy that.

“Least someone would” Remus laughed.

Then they left as well, and Madam Pomfrey went back to her office, but the sounds of the doors closing again finally awoke Ron.

“Oh boy” Lily muttered, not exactly looking forward to hearing this story explained again in detail, she’d barely held it together the first time around.

He caught sight of his friends and at once began demanding to know where Sirius and Lupin were.

“Actually that one’s a valid question” James frowned, getting a little twitchy as he realized they may not be as in the clear as he’d hoped. Remus hadn’t exactly slipped his mind, but as Sirius’ problems had been slightly more pressing he hadn’t thought about it since Remus was last mentioned. Now he realized there was still a fall guy around, and it wasn’t Harry. Snape himself had said he would try and get Remus Kissed along with Sirius, but while Sirius had made a run for it, Remus would probably wake up somewhere in the forest and come stumbling back up to school into the waiting arms of Merlin knew what.

Remus hardly looked concerned, he just gave a halfhearted shrug and tried to keep reading in the most nonchalant way possible. He’d already worked all of that out and knew he wouldn’t have a problem dealing with those consequences, someone other than Sirius deserved them and because it was Remus’ fault he’d gotten away, Remus would pay for it and wouldn’t let his friends dwell on it any more then he could allow.

Harry helped himself to some chocolate as he told Hermione to explain.

Time skip to the next day, where a Hogsmeade visit was being enjoyed by most of the school, though the trio rather enjoyed spending their time out by the lake and talking about the previous night’s events, and wondering where Sirius and Buckbeak were now.

“Wherever the nearest non extradition country is I would hope” Lily muttered.

Harry was lounging in the shade, absently watching the water and the giant squid floating just underneath the surface, his mind across the shore where he’d seen his own patronus stag gallop towards him...

James still gave a happy little smile at that reminder, beaming down at his infant son and cooing to him with pleasure.

Then Hagrid arrived, greeting them with still happy filled teary eyes. He admitted he should be upset about the escape of Black, but asked if they knew what good thing had happened? They feigned they didn’t know,

“Can’t imagine how well that worked out” Sirius snickered.

and Hagrid beamed as he explained Buckbeak had gotten free! Hermione praised how good that was, while trying to subtly give Ron a shove for starting to laugh.

“That could have still been appropriate” Remus chose to laugh now “happy laughter for his friend.”

Hagrid didn’t seem to notice as he explained he must not have tied him up right, though he had been worried Lupin had gotten to him last night.

“Wasn’t actually a problem” Harry gave a slight laugh, worried that Remus’ good mood had vanished the moment his name came back up.

Thankfully Lupin had said he hadn’t eaten anything.

Harry was very torn, he wanted to ask how Remus would even know such a thing, was it just like a feeling he would get? Vague memories that wouldn’t make since, and he had to piece them together? He held that in though, the same fears as everyone else bubbling up because they really wanted to know what had happened to Remus.

Harry asked in surprise what that could mean, and Hagrid was shocked that they hadn’t heard, since Snape had told the Slytherins this morning and the whole school must know by now.

“Snape told the Slytherins what?” Sirius began dangerously, his eyes narrowing to near slits as Remus tried to keep going, ignoring his own mounting sense of doom at how this was starting.

Lupin’s a werewolf.

“HE DID NOT!” James roared, his hands shaking so bad he was in danger of dropping his child, who began crying at the outburst. James tried to force himself to calm down, rocking his baby gently but the shaking wouldn’t stop. He’d been so angry at hearing all of this for so long now, he should have had plenty of practice, but hearing what Snape had just done to one of his friends was not going to be an easy thing to move past.

“I am going to kill him” Sirius vowed right then, his eyes going dangerously dark and his hand already wrapped around his wand. “He couldn’t have my soul sucked away so he turns on you! What’s he trying to do, get you arrested next!”

Remus tried to pacify them, as Lily and Harry weren’t looking much better “honestly I’m considering myself lucky Hagrid’s not yet saying I’ve been executed. I’ll take this over-”

“Snape had better have been fired for that, or so help me I’ll wring Dumbledore’s and Snape’s neck!” Lily cut him off with pure venom. “That was private information that in no way affected anyone at the school, he should not be able to get away with that!”

“It’s probably Dumbledore who stopped the Committee for the Control of Dangerous creatures coming after me the moment Fudge made it to the Ministry” Remus argued back, shrinking into the couch at the looks he was getting. He kept going though, he’d always been the persistent one “if that’s all Snape could get away with doing to me, then I’ll still be thankful.”

“That’s it, you’re going on the chopping block next” Sirius snapped, unable to comprehend how Remus was still defending them. He’d been targeted as much as Sirius this year and still he was straining to keep peace.

Remus didn’t look happy about it though, he was wavering terribly as he struggled to keep going. He was still torn apart inside at what Dumbledore seemed to have done to Sirius in leaving him in Azkaban, how it must have been his Headmaster who had convinced Remus Sirius had done all of those things in the first place, but still it had also been Dumbledore who’d allowed him his job this year, who was clearly still protecting him from the worst of what could happen. Dumbledore had tried to fix his mistake and had helped Sirius in the best way he knew how by giving Harry and Hermione the means to slip Sirius out, shouldn’t that give him some redeem ability? Despite how fearsome everyone still looked, Remus kept going while the silence lasted.

Then Hagrid explained he was packing now of course.

“Packing” Harry repeated, looking just as shocked as anyone at hearing the news. “Why, you aren’t really leaving because of that!”

“He better not be” Sirius snapped when Remus failed to answer.

Truth was that yeah, Remus could see it. He’d come closer in that night to attacking three students, one of them being Harry, then he ever had in his life. It had been his fault the rat had gotten away because he hadn’t had the sense to stay in the Shrieking Shack, the kids were convinced enough they could have come up with any other solution and dealt with this in the morning, anything other then what he actually did! Still being smothered with guilt, Remus kept going for now, loudly, as he knew James and Lily were fixing to start telling him off like Sirius was going to. He wanted to hear the full thing, find out if he had quite, or was being fired, or something much worse could still be happening that Hagrid didn’t know about.

Harry repeated that back and demanded to know why? Hagrid was surprised at Harry’s shock, saying he was leaving of course,

“Hagrid just lost some points with me” James muttered, thinking that Hagrid should be at least a little more upset, but then he reflected that may be too harsh on him. Hagrid had only gotten the story second hand, probably didn’t know all the details of how and why Remus was out on the grounds like that. It still irked him anyone would expect Remus to leave because of this.

that he’d resigned and wouldn’t risk it happening again. Harry jumped to his feet despite Hermione and Ron protesting that if he’d already done the act, but Harry insisted he still wanted to go talk to him and he’d meet them later.

Remus sighed, he’d gotten the feeling Harry would come and see him, it didn’t make him feel any better though. He owed Harry a world of explanations, even with everything come clear about Sirius it still didn’t really explain where in the name of Merlin he’d been these past thirteen years. Maybe now that he wasn’t technically Harry’s professor anymore, but an old friend of his father’s, he could explain just a little bit more.

Harry charged up to the office and found the door cracked open. When he poked his head inside he found everything packed away, but Lupin watching the door expectantly. He smiled as Harry came in, saying that he’d known Harry was coming while gesturing towards the Marauders Map.

“That joke never got old” Sirius muttered, as they’d done that to each other all the time, though with more spirited fun of hiding behind a doorway and trying to freak out the others. It only served as yet another painful reminder though, that the rat had fallen for that trick the most and often retaliated by trying to shoot a curse at them no matter how many times they repeated it and it had always been funny. Great, now he couldn’t even think on his map without getting a cold and murderous chill.

Clearly seeing something was bothering Sirius, Harry quickly asked “I’ve just thought of something. If Remus was watching us all night, how come he wouldn’t have seen me and Hermione twice on that?“**

Remus did a double take at Harry, nodding and saying “now that’s a fair question, but I think it was the timing of it all. I would have turned on the map at about the time I was done with my own exams, to watch you lot head down to Hagrid’s. We know Hagrid’s Hut itself can’t actually be seen on the map, so the doppelgangers wouldn’t have been seen any more than the original trio. When you guys left, the second Harry and Hermione would have been following along in the edge of the Forest of their own progress, perhaps still just out of sight of the maps range. By the time Sirius collided with Ron and dragged him and,” he grimaced for a moment but still managed to get out the name without biting his tongue off “Wormtail underground, I would have been sprinting out the door and probably not paying too much attention to anything anymore.” He looked around like he was expecting someone to argue with him, but when no one did he concluded. “The only instance where I possibly would have seen them both was when Harry and Hermione are first in the closet after they’ve time-turned back, and the trio were on their way down to Hagrid’s. The only way I can explain this is that I hadn’t opened the map to see this yet.”

“Makes as much sense as anything that happened that night” James snorted.

Harry belayed that and repeated what Hagrid had told him, and Lupin agreed it was true.

“Remus!” Lily snapped. “You’re being ridiculous!”

“How so” he shot back, trying for a pleasant tone. “How are you not trying to strangle me and agree with me, I nearly bit Harry. I could have killed those kids because of my oversight, and what if it happens again? I won’t let some accident hurt anybody, and Sirius won’t be around next time.”

“But that was-” James tried to add, but Remus was being adamant.

“A onetime event, but what if it happened again? I’m actually happy I’m not taking the risk.”

The others were at their wits end with him, but what could they do? They couldn’t force him to keep the job, it was just maddening that something like this had been taken away from him. Remus was a good teacher, by far the best one Harry had yet in that subject, but more than that it would have just been nice for him to be on hand more for whatever mayhem Harry was clearly going to get into. It was hard enough for him to keep down a job, especially one as good as this.

James and Sirius still blamed the rat for this happening, linking Remus’ fall from his certainty in the job to his interference, yet another thing he’d ruined in their life.

Lily couldn’t help but blame Severus, he’d gone and told everyone about this for a petty justice he thought he deserved. The students would tell their parents and Remus would be terrified of what the public would think of him, and he’d lose every last drop of faith he should have in himself. That potion was good for him, but she couldn’t begin to imagine how expensive it was, plus Remus wasn’t that good at potions himself. So this all meant he was probably going to go back to a relatively closed off, and pained life. Remus had been very right in saying Sirius wouldn’t be around to help, with any luck he’d left the country and wouldn’t be coming back until his name was cleared.

Harry was the most monstrously disappointed, still grumbling “but you’re the best Defense teacher I ever have.” He still meant it with the utmost sincerity, he didn’t need his memories to reinforce that assured feeling. It would have been even better now that he knew of Remus’ connection to his father, and with Sirius gone out of the country with any luck, he would have liked someone closer by, but he wasn’t getting anything from that. With the gentlest of prodding he tried to deduce that he never got that close to Remus. He didn’t even think he’d remained in his life all that much, which just wasn’t adding up with what he felt now. It left him confused and hurt and still he couldn’t help but think that he never got an answer for this.

Remus though was thinking on something else, that maybe if he was lucky he had quit for a totally different reason than his lycanthropy. After all if his assumption was right and Dumbledore had convinced him of Sirius’ actions, then everything had come out properly, well that meant that Remus would have turned on Dumbledore. If he was lucky, he may well have stood up to the headmaster and said something about it, maybe quit in some shot of spite for what he’d been convinced of. That may have been giving himself too much credit though, he’d proved time and again he’d back Dumbledore’s play no matter what. He didn’t really want to keep bringing the idea up, but he wanted so badly for it to be true he offered that to the others. Sirius actually smiled, he rather liked that idea of Remus telling off the headmaster. When no one else put up an argument for it, Remus decided to keep going.

Harry demanded to know why, if the Ministry thought Lupin had been helping Sirius? Lupin went behind Harry and shut the door before answering,

“Always a good idea” James sighed, still not happy, but willing to hear Remus out. “Even if the map showed no one else there, I wouldn’t put it past half the paintings in that school to go chatting.”

that no, Dumbledore had convinced Fudge otherwise.

That at least gave them all a shot of relief. Whatever wrongdoings Dumbledore had done to Sirius, at least he’d made up for them in that action of protecting Remus. He had been at Hogwarts on Dumbledore’s orders, so he’d better have stood up for him. Sirius knew he probably would have wound up in Azkaban all over again if he heard otherwise.

Then he explained that act had just been too much for Severus, having that happen on top of his Order of Merlin taken away from him,

“Clearly not hard enough, as he’s still breathing” James snarled.

so he’d told everyone about his werewolf status that morning.

Lily began swearing colorfully under her breath all over again, unable to believe he’d done something so horrid and cruel. Snape had better of been fired for that as well, it just wasn’t right he could get away with doing that to Remus!

Harry was still confused why he was leaving just because of that! Lupin gave him an odd smile as he explained that within the hour letters would be arriving from parents,

Remus couldn’t help but notice how he hadn’t actually answered Harry’s question, maybe giving him a little more hope for his own idea, but it still wasn’t enough. It would never be enough for what he owed Sirius for believing that lie, but if leaving this job and with any luck actually helping Sirius now, perhaps spending his now free time looking for the rat while Sirius was safe, then he’d take the trade any day.

that they wouldn’t want a werewolf teaching their children.

“They can bite me” Sirius snapped! Remus had gone to school with most of those people, Dumbledore should have pointed out to all of them that Remus wasn’t dangerous, stuck by his Professor as much as he’d surely done for Snape when he’d been hired fresh as a Death Eater. He really wished Harry had sat in on that conversation, because if Dumbledore hadn’t done everything in the world to convince Remus to stay then he was going to have a shit fit all over again.

After last night, he agreed with them, he could never let those circumstances come about ever again. Harry still rebutted that Lupin was the best Defense Against the Dark Arts teacher they ever had, and pleaded with him not to leave.

“Or ever will have” Harry still agreed.

“Maybe it won’t be permanent” Lily offered hopefully. “Maybe once that rat is caught, and Sirius’ name is cleared, maybe Remus will get it through his thick head he’s needed at that school.”

Everyone else wanted to look like they believed that, but the fact that Harry didn’t add anything but instead just gave a slight frown wasn’t encouraging.

Lupin just shook his head as he finished packing, and while Harry stood there trying to come up with something else to prove his point, Lupin changed the subject by saying how proud he was of how much Harry had accomplished.

They all sighed, grateful and at least agreeing that if Remus had to leave at least he’d left with something good behind him.

Then he asked about Harry’s patronus, but Harry first asked how he’d even known? Lupin pointed out how else had all of those dementors gone away? Harry explained what had happened, and Lupin agreed that’s why they’d called James Prongs.

Harry couldn’t resist the bright smile that crept over his face all over again, words didn’t describe how happy he was his patronus had been his own father, that he’d finally gotten to see the magnificent animal that had spent countless nights protecting his brother from himself. He still couldn’t help but wonder though, if he was an animagus, he’d clearly be a stag as well, but what would he look like? So similar to his father that they’d hardly be able to be told apart even then?

Then Lupin handed Harry back his Invisibility Cloak, saying he’d found it in the Shrieking Shack.

“I thought you pocketed that in the Shack?” Lily frowned.

“Don’t look at me” Remus frowned, as that had been the last time he’d heard it mentioned as well.

“Maybe I found it on the grounds and put it in there” Sirius shrugged, that being unlikely as he didn’t really think he could spot that from the air on Buckbeak, but he also liked the idea that he wouldn’t have just up and left without saying goodbye to Remus. Maybe he had thought back to Remus, and found him after he transformed and dragged him back to the Shack, and found the cloak along the way. Maybe he’d wanted to make sure Remus woke up with a friend at the end of his bed one last time before he had to leave for how long. It didn’t sit right with him if he really hadn’t considered Remus at all after his own freedom was offered.***

Then he also added on that he felt Harry should be given the Marauders Map back, saying that he was sure he Ron and Hermione could find something to do with it.

“Hopefully the good kind” James added on happily, thinking it was high time his son use that for its intended purpose.

Lily didn’t even disagree anymore, she’d happily take hearing her son pull some goofy prank rather than constantly worrying about his life at this point.

Harry took the map back with a smile, asking about how those manufacturers would have found it funny if he’d been led out of the castle. Lupin agreed James would have been very heartbroken if his own son had never learned any of the secret passages of the school.

“Well he’s got you there” Sirius agreed with a real laugh.

“I can’t deny I’m disappointed it took you three years, and you didn’t even find the first on your own” James sighed, wagging his finger in mock scolding at his son, causing him to laugh all the harder.

Then there was a knock on the door, and only after Harry stuffed his cloak and map out of sight did Remus call for them to come in. It was Dumbledore, telling Remus there was a carriage waiting for him. Lupin thanked him, picked up his suitcase and old grindylow tank,

“So that’s actually your tank then” Lily muttered. “Why do you even have that?”

“For fun” Remus rolled his eyes at her. He was known to randomly catch wild animals and study them before releasing them again, he actually had a niffler at his house right now he was most likely keeping in that tank, though thankfully as they lived off of dirt and he’d left plenty in there he wasn’t worried about it going hungry.

and said his goodbyes to Harry and the headmaster. He told Dumbledore he didn’t need to be seen down,

Though still disappointed and argumentative on the subject that Remus should keep his butt right where he was, the others noticed for the first time Remus was acting a little odd around Dumbledore as well. Maybe Remus’ idea wasn’t all that crazy.

and he gave a final smile at Harry before the two shook hands and he shuffled out the door. Harry got the feeling Lupin was trying to make a quick getaway.

Harry couldn’t help but frown, he had a bad feeling he wasn’t going to be seeing Professor Lupin for some time, and it wasn’t making him feel any better.

Harry sat down in the empty chair as he watched the door, and it took him a moment to realize Dumbledore was still there. He asked what Harry was so upset about, that he should be proud of what he did last night. Harry sighed that he hadn’t made any difference, that Pettigrew had still got away.

“That’s not your fault at all” the four of them all tried to say at the same time, making Harry try to shy away at so many people half yelling at him at once.

Remus, James, and Lily gave a quick pause when they realized they’d startled him, but Sirius kept going “Harry you must realize that wasn’t your fault. What were you supposed to do?”

“I even went back in time and couldn’t do anything about it,” Harry shot back, still frowning deeply, wishing he could have taken Hermione’s Time Turner and still tried something!

“What am I, chopped liver?” He demanded right back. It still stung, that Harry had to rescue him at all when it should have been the other way around. Yes he was eternally grateful, but he should be the one protecting Harry, not causing even more problems with his life! Still he kept up his point “you did exactly what you were expected to do, help out my sorry arse. Now come on pup, I’ll get upset all over again if you’re really going to be stubborn on this.”

Harry couldn’t help a light laugh then, surprised that he actually did feel better. If Sirius didn’t blame him, the one person who’d been most affected by the rats getting away, then maybe it really wasn’t his fault.

Remus and Lily smiled, pleased Sirius had gotten through to him, but James couldn’t help that feeling again. Something he’d never felt before wanting to make an appearance, like he should have been the one to comfort Harry about that. Why would it bother him now though, Sirius was doing just fine.

Dumbledore was shocked, repeating what Harry had said, but instantly corrected Harry had made a huge difference! He’d found the truth, and saved an innocent man from a terrible fate. Terrible. That word niggled at Harry, and all at once he remembered ‘Greater and more terrible than ever before’ and he realized those were the words of Professor Trelawney’s prediction.

“Oh wow” Remus muttered.

“Yeah, I forgot all about that” Sirius said with some real annoyance. She really couldn’t have thrown a name into that stupid prophecy. Some other clue that would have made his life a lot easier to cope with! Even if he had been the one to convince the others this Professor was a real Seer, he now probably disliked her the most of all.

Harry began to tell his headmaster that his Divination teacher began acting strange yesterday, and Dumbledore asked if he meant stranger than normal?

Harry couldn’t help a little snort, at least the Headmaster admitted it.

Harry agreed that she’d said something about Voldemort coming back because of a servant, that he’d return even more powerful.

Harry gave a terrible shiver at that remembrance, and he wasn’t the only one. Now that Sirius wasn’t having his life ruined by that, he considered all of the words all over again and felt bile curling his stomach as he realized how true that felt. It wasn’t real though, right? Voldemort wasn’t really going to come back, all because of that rat? At least now he didn’t really think it was his fault, but he got the feeling no one had really convinced him of that in his own time.

The others weren’t feeling much better. They recognized Trelawney had clearly made a real prediction, but maybe they were lucky and it wasn’t being literal. Maybe he wouldn’t really ‘come back’ but...and they couldn’t really think of any other way that could mean. Well, hopefully it still wouldn’t have to deal with Harry, right? That could take years to happen, and Harry was safe here with them now, so they really didn’t want to linger on that long.

Then she hadn’t remembered what she’d even said, and Harry asked if that had been a real prediction? Dumbledore agreed that made her account up to two.

Harry felt a little stirring in him, wondering why that felt significant. He remembered back to feeling he would be grateful he kept Trelawney’s class, and he wondered if it had been because of this prediction about the rat and Voldemort, but he didn’t really think so. Was it because of this other prediction then? Why would he care about that?

Harry was shocked at how calm Dumbledore was about this.

“With any luck, because he knows Voldemort coming back isn’t ever going to be a problem” James muttered.

Pointing out that he’d stopped Sirius and Lupin from killing Pettigrew, so if Voldemort did come back it would be his fault!

“Oh Harry” James quickly said this time, frowning slightly at him. “You can’t really believe that one? You showed him mercy, that’s a lot more kind then he deserved. They were still his actions though, his decisions, not one thing would be linked back to you.”

“I’m still grateful you did as well” Sirius quickly added while Remus nodded vigorously. “If we had murdered him, then who knows, maybe I never would get my name cleared, because that rat couldn’t admit to anything he did. I may not have been able to prove that was his body, but I’d done something to it to make it look like him. No, we needed him alive.”

Harry had to chew on that for a moment before he nodded, finally admitting that while he would always feel guilty Peter got away, Sirius had been kept alive and that was the important part. He nodded his agreement and while Sirius and Remus looked happy enough to move on James couldn’t help a lingering frown, a tickle of annoyance that yet again Sirius had gotten through to Harry while he hadn’t.

Dumbledore disagreed at once, explaining to Harry that he did the right thing in sparing Pettigrew’s life, because he now owed his life to Harry.

‘Which is a hell of a lot more then he deserves’ James still couldn’t help but snarl, wishing they could change the subject again already as the longer this dragged on the more agitated he got.

Voldemort’s most loyal servant was now also in Harry’s debt.

“Something which will bite both of them in the arse” Remus said pleasantly, hoping Harry would stay well away from that, but enjoying the irony for as long as he could.

It was something that had happened the moment Harry stepped up, creating a bond between the two of them. Harry protested he didn’t want a bond with Pettigrew, he was the person who’d got his parents killed! Dumbledore though said that this was magic at its roots, unintentionally or not, something that could not be undone.

“Like when I saved you” Lily added on. “That wasn’t a spell, it was an action that created magic, not something you can or can’t do on purpose.”

Harry was still frowning, hating to think he had any connection to that rat for what he did, but he leaned a little closer into his mother anyways and let it go for now.

Dumbledore finished with the idea that he had a feeling Harry would be grateful for this someday.

Harry considered that for a moment, and realized that Dumbledore may have been speaking the truth. He had no idea why, it was a very faint feeling, but something in him was agreeing with Dumbledore, and he hoped it was worth it.

Harry couldn’t picture it, and Dumbledore seemed to sense this as he also said that he’d known James quite well his whole life, and he knew James would have done the same for Pettigrew.

James sighed and looked away from everyone. He still didn’t know what he’d do when the time came and they could leave this place, when he knew for a fact Sirius and Remus might still go and act on that now before the rat even saw it coming. Would James join them, would he try to stop them, or would he stand by and do nothing which would be just as bad as either option. He hated himself right then, for not wanting Peter dead for what he did to them, but he still couldn’t bring himself to want his death either. And yet when he looked him in the face again, would that still be true? Wormtail, one of his brothers. Maybe Dumbledore was right, but it didn’t make him happy either.

Harry admitted that he’d thought he’d seen his dad last night, he’d thought it had been James who had sent that patronus saving Harry’s life. Dumbledore agreed it was an easy swap, and though Harry may grow tired of hearing it, he did look remarkably like James. Expect for the eyes of course, those were his mother’s eyes.

“Nope, that never gets old” Harry smiled brightly, trying to catch his dad’s eye as they were all well aware of the battle warring in him right now, none of them feeling they had a right to make the decision for him, he had to come to grips with that on his own just like before. Harry did want though to keep his mind on something more pleasant until then, so he kept going even though his dad wouldn’t really look at him “I never get tired of hearing that, makes me happy every single time.”

James heard that alright, and gave him a bright eyed look right back.

Harry still called himself stupid for thinking it, he knew his dad was dead.

Remus still couldn’t read that without a hitch in his voice, the news never getting easier to hear, the act that had caused it now more fresh and disturbing than ever before, but James was still distractedly smiling at his son and so Remus kept going past that.

Dumbledore gently told that he didn’t really believe the dead left the living. Harry showed the best quality of his parents every day, which helped them to live on. His father had come alive again last night through his son, Prongs rode again.

James was so giddy he was nearly bouncing, because that’s exactly what he’d wanted. Even if it had only been in spirit, he had been there for his son when he’d been needed most. Sirius could give all the advice he wanted, at least James had that! His brain gave a quick little pause, realizing what he’d just thought and for the first time understanding what might have been bothering him, but then he got distracted by Sirius blurting out “ah, what? How did he know about Prongs?”

Remus was frowning down at that, wondering if perhaps he’d finally told Dumbledore?

It took a moment for Harry to catch up and realize what Dumbledore had said, and then Dumbledore explained that Sirius had told him everything last night, including the animagi part.

“Oh” Sirius shrugged. “Guess I really did tell him everything.”

“Well I suppose that’s a good thing at least” Lily sighed, this also meant that Dumbledore would also know about the rat’s animagus as well, he’d be much easier to find with Dumbledore and Remus looking for both personas of the traitor.

Dumbledore gave a small chuckle as he congratulated his past students for the feat, and then he gently reminded Harry that he’d found his father inside of himself when he’d needed him most.

Harry and James were beaming at each other, more happy then they’d ever been that they at least had this to identify with to each other, something that couldn’t just be put down to a genetic look or old possessions. Harry truly emulated his father right then and forever with that one simple spell.

Then Dumbledore finally left, with Harry more lost than ever.

Nobody at Hogwarts really knew what had happened the night of Black’s escape except for the trio and Dumbledore.

“That seems to be a running theme for you” Remus rolled his eyes “you getting caught up in the mess, and at the end of the year everyone else trying to catch up.”

The closer school came to an end, the more wild the stories became of what really had happened, but none of them ever came close to the truth.

“I’d like to think that if anyone did guess that well, they’d put Trelawny out of a job” Lily laughed.

Malfoy was furious about Buckbeak.

“Oh boy” Sirius groaned, his eyes narrowing with distaste. Now that he realized his own life had been saved because of that hippogriff, he felt insanely protective of the beast, which made Malfoy’s actions this year all the more loathsome to him.

He was convinced that Hagrid had found a way of smuggling the hippogriff to safety, and seemed outraged that he had been outwitted by a gamekeeper.

“Ha” Remus snapped, happy that Malfoy hadn’t actually been able to get away with anything this year.

Percy was as talkative as anyone about Sirius,

“Oh great” James groaned in disgust, he already didn’t like this one, he really didn’t want to hear anymore failing statements about his brother now that he knew the absolute truth.

speaking of the political side and how when he entered the ministry he’d come up with some new proposals for the Magical Law Enforcement, mostly going over this to the only person who listened to him, Penelope.

Lily on the other hand couldn’t help but be interested. While she would curse anyone who tried to use those on Sirius, she could think of plenty of other people those could do some good towards. Percy was clearly a smart and ambitious boy, she did want to hear these things and see how they could be put to use.

Though the weather was perfect, though the atmosphere was so cheerful, though he knew they had achieved the near impossible in helping Sirius to freedom, Harry had never approached the end of a school year in worse spirits.

All four of them couldn’t help but be in absolute agreement with him. Between Remus leaving, Sirius still being on the run, and the rats escape plus the horrid rise and fall of hope of wanting more than anything for James to have been alive, this was by far the worst year for them to have lived through.

He wasn’t the only student upset at their Defense teacher leaving, having overheard Seamus glumly wonder what they could be getting next year, while Dean gave a hopeful offer of a vampire.

“I’d prefer the werewolf” Sirius grumbled with distaste.

It wasn’t just Lupin though, Harry also couldn’t keep his mind off of that prediction, and kept wondering if Pettigrew had caught up to Voldemort yet.

Remus couldn’t get that out completely coherent. He may agree with his friends, the rats actions had nothing to do with Harry’s decision, he’d done the right thing, but it didn’t erase the black hatred he possessed whenever the name was mentioned, whenever he realized all over again what he’d become and what he was going to do to James, Lily and Sirius.

The thing that was lowering Harry’s spirits most of all though, was the prospect of returning to the Dursleys.

“Oh” Lily moaned, placing her face in her hands and nearly bursting into tears all over again at that. In the following events that had led her to worry about Sirius’ life, she’d almost forgotten about that horrid reminder but now it was back full force. It just wasn’t fair that this had been ripped away from Harry and Sirius, that he was forced back with those horrid excuse for people. His return would be made all the bitter because of what that rat had done, his hand being the one to wrench all of that away.

For barely ten minutes, Harry had been offered something more, a real home with Sirius, his dad’s best friend, it would have been the closest thing he would ever get to having his own father.

Sirius couldn’t help but wriggle with displeasure. Of course he wanted that to, to be that missing piece of James for Harry, but it hurt terribly that he’d have to play the role at all. James should be there for his son, to be the scolding parent and happy go lucky father all in one, while Sirius could be the goofy Uncle and help him get away with everything.

James couldn’t help in that moment leaning away from Sirius slightly. Of course he still wanted Harry away from the Dursleys, of course he wanted Harry to have a proper home life, but it still didn’t erase his rising fear that he was only just beginning to realize he had.

While it was supposed to be a good thing he hadn’t heard a word from Sirius, as this meant he was going underground, it still didn’t erase how miserable he was that what he wanted most of all was impossible.

“Not impossible” Lily said at once, watching all of them take several steps back in their mood with displeasure. “It just might take a little more time.” What they wouldn’t give for Harry to even have gone on the run with Sirius than go back to Privet Drive, after the cupboard and starvation and whatever else Harry wouldn’t speak about, anything Sirius could provide would be better than that!

Their exam results came back, and they’d passed everything. Harry was shocked he’d actually gotten through on Potions, and couldn’t help but wonder if Dumbledore had done something to stop Snape failing him.

“I didn’t even know he could do that” Harry admitted “it was just a guess.”

“Well, I’m not really sure, but I wouldn’t be surprised either” Remus couldn’t help with some blistering hatred still lingering as it was made clear Snape still had his job.

Snape’s behavior toward Harry over the past week had become quite alarming.

Sirius couldn’t help a low whine of fear, he’d been afraid of this but now his earlier joke had come back and it wasn’t nearly as satisfying as he’d thought. He’d been so sure that he and Remus could step in and Harry would tell them whenever Snape did something to horrible and the two of them could tell Snape to shove it for Harry! Now neither of them were around, and Harry was the only one left to take the fall for all of Snape’s built up hatred, and it just wasn’t just!

Harry wouldn’t have thought it possible that Snape’s dislike for him could increase, but it certainly had. A muscle twitched unpleasantly at the corner of Snape’s thin mouth every time he looked at Harry, and he was constantly flexing his fingers, as though itching to place them around Harry’s throat.

Lily’s throat vibrated she made such a scathing noise, she wanted to jack slap him all the way to the Whomping Willow and let that tree finish off the rest of him she was so sick of him. She’d thought he’d hit his low in calling her that word back in fifth year, and she just kept being proven how wrong she was but the hurt had stopped chapters ago, now she was left with simmering hatred that was going to boil over on him the second she could.

He’d concern himself with that next year though, as for now he heard about Percy getting top grades in all of his N.E.W.T.s, and Fred and George getting a couple of O.W.L.s each,

“How would they know that” Remus chuckled in surprise “they wouldn’t get the results until summer.”

“I, have no idea” Harry said, blinking in shock as well. “I suppose with their dad being in the Ministry, maybe they got a heads up that they at least passed a few, and just guessed the rest. I just remember them talking about it is all.”

“Well good for them anyways” Lily sighed, finding at least one thing to smile about again.

and because of the Gryffindor win with the Cup the end of term feast was done with lion pride because they’d won the House Championship as well. Even Harry managed to put all of his worries aside as he laughed happily at everything that night.

All five of them gave great sighs, wishing the story would just end there, wanting more than anything to move to the part already where the most eventful part of Harry’s next year of school would be him reading in the paper about the capture of the rat and Sirius arriving on the next holiday break. The fact that Remus kept going just wasn’t giving them any pleasure, and they didn’t see how it could.

Hermione offered up some more news, that she’d quit Muggle Studies.

“What, are you telling me she actually got tired of being tired” Sirius rolled his eyes.

Ron was shocked, saying how she’d only just told them she’d made a three hundred percent score on her final.

“And she still got a perfect score!” James balked.

Hermione shrugged that off, saying that now she’d dropped that class she had a normal schedule, and she’d turned her Time-Turner back in. She couldn’t handle another year like this one.

“But, but she didn’t even use it for anything fun” Remus couldn’t help but whine. “She had that thing for a whole year and only used it on homework.”

“Well I’m happy to hear that” Lily sighed “that poor thing needs more of a break, if she went another year like that I’d be even more worried for her.”

They were boarding the train now, and Harry couldn’t find the enthusiasm to jump in to discuss this. Ron noticed first and told his best mate to cheer up, he’d be sure to call Harry over this summer as he knew how to use a fellytone now.

That at least gave them a little chuckle again, yes Ron clearly knew exactly what he was doing.

Hermione corrected him on the proper name, and told him he’d do some good from Muggle Studies.

“I’m sure he gets enough of a lesson at home” Harry corrected, fondly remembering most conversations with Mr. Weasley started or ended with something to do with Muggles.

Ron ignored her and kept going, talking about how Harry would have to come over to his place, as it was the Quidditch World Cup this summer!

“It’s what!” All four boys perked up like the sun anew. Lily couldn’t help a girlish giggle at that, she would hear about twenty more Quidditch matches then the disaster of a year she’d just lived through.

“Oh please Harry, I’m begging, tell me you go” James moaned, clasping his hands together as if in actual prayer.

“I sure hope so” Harry nodded back eagerly, he had a very good feeling about this!

“With any luck Ron wouldn’t have mentioned it without having some way to listen in as well” Remus pacified, his own eyes lighting up with hope at the possibility.

Ron also mentioned that his Dad could normally get tickets from work.

“That’s even better” Sirius practically squealed. “Can you imagine hearing about an international game through Harry! He’ll get to see the professionals at work, oh glory I think I’m going faint-” and he was actually jittering around so much he may not have been joking.

“Relax Padfoot” Remus had to restrain himself from laughing to hard. “Don’t go wetting yourself before it even starts.”

Harry was laughing too hard to respond, the longer he thought about it the more sure he had been right, or at least he really hoped so and this was one good thing to be looking forward to.

This idea actually managed to cheer Harry up, agreeing he was sure the Dursleys wouldn’t mind seeing him leaving after what he did to Aunt Marge.

“Thank you for that lovely reminder” Lily forced a laugh this time, her bad mood still lingering enough Harry had to go back at all, that this would be the first time he’d be face to face with them since Harry had left that place. She still couldn’t help but ask “why couldn’t you just stay at the Leaky Cauldron again until Ron’s parents would let you come around?”

“I asked Dumbledore” Harry groaned “and he said Tom wouldn’t allow it, as I’m still underage and would need consent again, apparently the Minister gave it the first time but wouldn’t again.”

They had to suck in air very carefully to prevent themselves from screaming about that all over again, wishing Dumbledore and the Minister would stop making decisions for Harry already. Couldn’t he at least go stay with Remus! It would be tricky, but surely they could have worked out something other than this!

Feeling much better, Harry now happily joined them in a game of Exploding Snap, right up until the lunch cart came around and they all got some treats of everything except chocolate.

“Can’t even blame you” Remus couldn’t help a light snicker, at least happy he had another line or two before he had to think on the end of the train again.

It was late in the afternoon before the thing that made him truly happy turned up...

“Oh yeah” James asked, trying to perk himself back up.

Hermione noticed it first, saying there was something out the window.

Well that was an odd way to start, but Harry had said it was something happy, so none of them could even get worked up about it, instead Remus kept going with heavy interest.

Harry pulled the window open and found it was a very tiny gray owl, twisting this way and that from the stream of the train, but clearly making its way to Harry’s window, while holding a too large letter.

“Aw” Lily couldn’t help but coo with a smile, wondering who on earth that could be from, but knowing mail always made her son happier.

Harry reached out and caught it, finding it felt like a fluffy Snitch in his hand.

“Jeez, that thing is tiny if it’ll fit in your palm” Remus raised a brow in surprise.

He brought it inside and released it, where it began zooming happily above the ceiling, clearly proud of itself as it dropped the letter to Harry’s lap. Hedwig watched with a disapproving look, and Crookshanks yellow eyes were following its progress as well.

“Uhoh” they all couldn’t help but say a little indulgently, no one able to pick a bad feeling towards the ginger cat after what he’d done for Sirius this year.

Ron noticed this and snatched the owl safely out of harm’s way.

Sirius couldn’t help but laugh, wondering why the little owl hadn’t swooped back out when it was done with its task, but finding Ron’s actions nice enough.

Harry unfolded the letter, and happily exclaimed it was from Sirius!

“What?” They yelped in shock.

“Sirius, why would you be sending me mail” Harry frowned in concern. “Wouldn’t someone be able to trace that back to you?”

“Oh no” Sirius brushed that off, that hadn’t been why he was surprised. “It’s plenty easy to make yourself untraceable, paranoid old gits do it all the time when they think the Ministry’s out to get them, which they’re probably right about” he finished absently. “I can send mail and not have the owl unable to trace it back to me with a spell or two, no I’m just surprised I’d send it so early.”

“I’d have thought you’d wait at least a month, you know put some believability into the idea that you aren’t in contact with Harry, rather than on the train when anyone could have seen that,” Remus explained their confusion.

“Oh” Harry shrugged, that hadn’t been what was bothering him at all, he always rode with just Ron and Hermione.

Harry began reading out loud, that Sirius’ note started with a hope Harry got this before he reached his own home, he wasn’t sure how used to his aunt and uncle were to owl post.

Sirius muttered something under his breath that made James and Remus give an almost cruel laugh, and though Harry and Lily may not have been opposed to whatever he’d just suggested, neither really wanted to ask for details either.

Then he said that he and Buckbeak were safe in hiding, but he wasn’t going to say where in case the owl was intercepted.

“There’s that Marauder brain I’ve missed hearing about” Remus said fondly, he just knew Sirius had to have some sense still about him.

He wasn’t to confident of the owl he’d picked, but it had seemed up for the job.

“Where would you have gotten him anyways” Harry couldn’t help but ask, when he realized Sirius wouldn’t have explained that.

“Probably found him in the wild” Sirius shrugged. “It’s a lot more rare to find intelligent owls that aren’t wizard bred up for the job, but it’s not impossible either.”

He was sure the dementors were still out looking for him, but they weren’t going to find a trace of him where he was. He planned on letting some Muggles get a sight of him sometime soon,

“Sirius” Lily began with worry, but hoping he had a good idea of why Sirius would do this, James waved her down so Remus could keep going.

very far away from Harry so that some of his security would get let down.

“Oh” Lily still pouted, but then acknowledged “yes, well I guess that’s alright. Just please at least tell me you let them spot you from a long ways off, even Muggles could be dangerous if they catch sight of you.”

“Worry wart” Sirius returned fondly, loving he could still pick on her at all for this and receiving the glare she gave him with pride.

He did add on that he was sorry he hadn’t a chance to mention it before, but it was him who’d sent that Firebolt-

“What a shocker” James rolled his eyes with a laugh.

“Never saw that coming” Remus snickered.

Hermione interrupted to say she’d known it all along.

“And still with the ’I told you so’s from her” Lily couldn’t help but chuckle, still finding the girls faults more human than alienating. “Hasn’t she learned anything this year?”

“Don’t take so many classes” Sirius shrugged.

Ron agreed, but pointed out that it hadn’t been jinxed either. Then he yelped in pain as the little owl he was still holding nipped him too hard on the finger in what it clearly thought was being kind.

“Yes, owls tend to do that a lot” James smirked, his own owl Click having a knack for doing that whenever he delivered a letter.

Back in Sirius’ letter, he explained that he’d done it by having Crookshanks hand in the order for him, but the money for the broom had been taken out of his own vault.

“See, it wasn’t difficult at all” Sirius laughed happily, joyfully imagining the confusion on those shopkeepers face at the cat delivering such odd instructions, but happy it had worked out for the best for his pup!

He hoped Harry would consider it worth the other thirteen years of presents he’d missed.

“It most certainly is” Harry agreed cheerfully, wishing he had it now, to share with his whole family and take another spin on it, wondering why that would cause another bump in his throat.

He also gave an apology for having frightened Harry that night when he’d been outside of his uncle’s house.

‘Wish you’d gotten around to asking him why he left’ Remus couldn’t help but think, still wanting more than anything for Sirius to go teach them a lesson about how they’d treated their Harry, but he didn’t want to ruin the good mood again so soon so he hurried past that.

He’d only wanted to see Harry, but he realized he may have given him a fright.

“Perhaps a bit” Harry smiled lightly, now wishing he’d caught many more glimpses of that Grim, as it was the most important dog in the world to him, and not exactly liking that aching that wouldn’t seem to go away, reminding him of how long he should be expecting the wait for the next glimpse.

He also added something else extra in the letter that should make his next year a little better for him.

That gave them all a perk of interest, what on earth could Sirius have wrangled together for Harry on the run?

He promised if Harry needed anything, all Harry would have to do was send him a letter, Hedwig would find him.

“So, was that spell like, specialized or something?” Harry asked, scratching his head as he tried to work out this complex bit of magic he’d never heard of.

“Well, yes” Sirius shrugged, trying to think of the most basic way to explain it. “I could change the spell just slightly so that only your designated letters would find me.”

“You know I have been wondering though, if that spell wasn’t placed on Harry long ago” Lily couldn’t help but point out now that she thought about this.

“Why’s that” James scoffed.

“Well, Harry is the famous Boy Who Lived” Lily shrugged, always hating the reminder, but willing to say it to work this out loud. “That’s got to come with say, some kids wanting to write to him, he is almost like a celebrity. I can’t believe not one kid would have addressed an owl to him in their youth, but Harry never received a scrap of mail. If Dumbledore could wrangle together to get your key like he did first year, maybe he placed that no messages spell on you as well, and lifted it for Dumbledore himself through the Hogwarts letters, Ron, Hermione, Hagrid, and now Sirius. Of course that wouldn’t count for the Improper Use of Magic Office, you can’t get out of the trace.”

“I, guess” Remus frowned, it did make some sense, even if it did bother them all the more, since any mention of Dumbledore now came with the added irritation of whatever he did to their lives, and really wishing he’d stop interfering already. If he hadn’t done this, then Harry would have known his whole life he was a wizard and those Dursleys could have possibly backed off all the sooner. It hadn’t happened though, and this was still more speculation then outright answers, so since Harry had no idea of the possibilities himself he just waved Remus on.

He promised he’d send more mail soon, and signed off. Then Harry peaked inside the envelope and found the other thing mentioned, and read it to find it was a note, as Harry’s godfather, giving him permission to go into Hogsmeade.

“Yes!” James yelped with joy, catching Sirius by surprise by hugging him and still laughing. Sirius wasn’t so unobservant he hadn’t noticed James acting a little shifty, but he hadn’t understood why which is why he was all the more happy he seemed to have done something good in that moment.

“How would you have even known he couldn’t” Lily couldn’t help but ask between laughing “that hadn’t come up in your five minute conversation.”

“I am positive I’ve been sending letters with Remus as well” Sirius shrugged “maybe he mentioned it.”

“I am a little disappointed” Remus couldn’t actually say that with a straight face, he was smiling as well but still kept going “now Harry won’t have any reason to use that secret passage anymore.”

“I’m sure Harry will still find plenty of reason to get into trouble” Lily giggled.

Harry cheered that Dumbledore would accept that! Then he noticed a PS on the first letter, and found it saying that since Sirius felt guilty Ron no longer had his pet rat, he could keep this owl.

Sirius couldn’t help a violent snort of laughter, well he wasn’t wrong, but at least this was his way of making up for attacking Ron that night, offering up an owl in return. What an odd way to phrase that though.

Ron went wide eyed in shock as he repeated that.

“Well that backs up that you must have found him in the wild or something” Lily giggled “I can’t see you going through an Owl shop and buying him, or stealing him from someone either.”

“Hopefully Molly and Arthur won’t say anything” Remus chuckled.

James couldn’t help but do a double take, Ron’s parents never really having occurred to him before, but suddenly wondering just how much Ron would tell them about this year. If Ron could convince his parents of Sirius’ innocence, then that would be yet more people on his brother’s side to help him. If he even got Percy to believe it, that would be all the better with his career path, it would do some good for someone in government to know the truth. Ron would have to be careful though, he couldn’t go spouting too much before his family really believed the truth or all three kids could do more harm than good.

Ron eyed the owl still held tight in his hands in shock for a few moments before stunning them all by offering it up to Crookshanks.

Harry broke out laughing, thinking that all of their problems could have been solved a lot sooner if Ron had done that in the first place to Scabbers, cracking up even more at the idea of Ron being suspicious of an owl and not even being able to blame him.

Asking the cat what he thought, it was a real owl right? Crookshanks gave a purr.

“There’s a sentence you don’t get to hear much” Lily gave a halfhearted laugh, wanting to find as much amusement as Harry, but the reminder only causing her more hatred again, as well as the boys.

Ron cheered that was good enough for him, he was keeping him!

“So glad someone got their wish this year” James muttered with sincerity.

Harry kept rereading his note from Sirius all the way back onto the platform.

Sirius still beamed with pleasure, happy that he could still do some good for Harry from afar. His pup would never again have to wonder if he had someone to turn to, someone out there to look after him.

He still had it tight in his hand as he went out into the rest of the world, and spotted Uncle Vernon.

Which didn’t make his murder suspicions any better upon hearing of those useless excuses of caregivers all over again. He wished he could have arrived on that platform for Harry instead, wanted to be able to walk right up to them and deck them a good one and take Harry far away.

Lily still found it a bleeding miracle they showed up at all to pick up Harry, wondering at what their motives for that could be, knowing that either Harry didn’t know or wouldn’t tell her anyways.

He was standing a good distance away from Mr. and Mrs. Weasley, eyeing them suspiciously, and his worst fears clearly came true as the first thing Mrs. Weasley did was hug Harry.

“Well how dare Harry ever receive a hug” Lily scathed, more venom then she’d expected making an appearance the more often she heard about Mrs. Weasley doing this, but her terrible theory confirmed and wondering if Mrs. Weasley was the only bleeding person to ever give Harry a hug! She wrapped an arm tight around him now to at least comfort herself.

Ron gave Harry a quick wave goodbye as the Weasley’s departed, promising he’d call about the World Cup!

James gave a lackluster sigh, never having believed the idea of a Quidditch World Cup could be dampened, but hearing about those stupid Dursleys actually did the trick.

As Harry approached Uncle Vernon and he caught sight of the paper in Harry’s hand, he began to threaten that had better not be some new thing he was expected to sign for! Harry told him it was a letter from his godfather, and Vernon began spluttering at once Harry had no such thing.

“I will tear every last one of your limbs off if you ever say that again” Sirius vowed, his eyes narrowing into cold slits while something else gave him a happy spark. So he couldn’t be there for Harry in person, but if Harry set this up right, he could be in another more important way.

Harry said that in fact he did, he’d been his parents best friend,

Remus was so eager to hear if he was reading this right he couldn’t even bring himself to make a crack about that.

that he was a convicted murderer,

“What a lovely way to start” James beamed, bouncing in place and making baby Harry trill with laughter.

and that he was on the run for now, but he’d be checking in on Harry frequently, to make sure he was happy of course.

“Yes, yes, yes, yes” Lily cheered, doing a little happy dance. If that didn’t scare those Dursleys into treating Harry right then nothing would!

Still grinning at the look of horror on his Uncle’s face, Harry wheeled his cart towards the cars outside, hoping for a much better summer then the last.

That wasn’t the happy ending they’d all wanted, so many things had been left unresolved and they were just so tired of at the end of everything Harry was still forced back into their presence, but for now they’d take whatever happiness they could find, knowing by now it wasn’t meant to last.


“That’s the end of this one” Remus finally breathed in relief as he gave it a careless toss away from him.

“Finally” Sirius moaned, slumping back and running his hand across his face. “Remind me to skip the next one.”

“No way” Harry yelped in protest, now trying for a frown but just unable to keep the expression as he teased “then I’d miss out on all the Sirius/ serious jokes.”

“You say that like it’s a bad thing” Lily scoffed, trying to lounge a bit more comfortably as she noticed the time. It was still too early for the next meal, but she had something even more important she wanted to discuss. She didn’t really want to bring it up, but she turned to Remus with regret filled eyes and began carefully “Remus dear, we need to have a talk.”

“I know” he agreed at once, some color coming into his pasty skin, though it was red tinted with shame and some fear. His eyes flickered to the baby in James lap and away again, his hands starting to tremble as the idea just kept replaying in his head of what he’d almost done to that baby, what he could do tonight.

“You guys are overreacting” Sirius scoffed, placing his elbow carelessly on Remus’ shoulder and trying for an offhand tone. “The three of us will barricade ourselves in one of the guest rooms, we’ll repair whatever damage we’ll make, and be done with it. Moony won’t get past us” he finished, gesturing at himself and James for emphasis. “Then I’ll come back down here, crash on the couch for a day, and we’ll all be good to go.”

“Just one problem” Harry frowned “you should sleep in an actual bed.”

Sirius made to shrug that off, but Harry cut him off.

“No way” Harry insisted, a set look in place and crossing his arms. He looked so much like James in that moment Sirius actually had to do a double take. “I’ve heard how bad this was going to get, and you should get a real bed. I’m sleeping down here tonight, I don’t get special treatment.”

“Looks like you lost Pads” James snickered as he stretched to stand up.

Remus rolled his eyes to cover a scowl as he muttered something about going to the bathroom and exited the room.

Insane girly squealing taking place probably in the background even as you’re reading this! I cannot believe I’ve actually completed three books in a row! There was a lot of hype and build up for this book, and I hope I did it justice! Please let me know what you liked or didn’t like!? Got any plot holes or questions in general you want to see me dissect? Got two more chapters to post before I create 4, just because I really couldn’t cram everything into the bottom of this one this time. Promise it will come up very soon, ain’t no way I’m stopping now!

Thoughts on Prisoner of Azkaban:

The beginning, set up, and basically anything I’ve ever said previously regarding this series, still holds true 98% through the largest of portions through this book. It never felt like it was dragging to me, once again I was completely thrown off by the bang of a plot twist at the end, the setup of some small backstory on Harry’s dad was done beautifully but never felt forced, there is a reason this is my second favorite book in the series. My only reserve on this book is the time travel plot at the end, which I’ve stated my opinion on, but even that’s done so well I can’t find nearly as much to complain about as I can in other medias this is done. The wonderful world of Harry Potter has successfully done one of my biggest problems of a plot and gotten away with it beautifully because of the way in which it happened. 9/10 for me! You cannot skip this book by any means, it holds too much for what happens in later books, and why would you with characters like these?

*Question offered by nahte123456! Thank you for the endless discussions you always offer!

** Question offered by maana999, kudos to you, I’ve never seen anyone ask this, hope you like my explanation.

***I’ve got a second story called Moon and Stars where Remus and Sirius do have a proper goodbye. It’s two chapters, and only the first one is relevant to this.

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