Harry Potter and the ? (Prisoner of Azkaban)

The Dementor

This is more of replying to clh comments, so if you want to skip by this point I don’t blame you, but here you go.

I’m inclined to believe that because JK said so herself, she’s not very good at math and her statement of saying Charlies age in relevance to Percy’s is loosely interpreted, so I worked it this way because of the inconsistencies in the book saying how and when and what exactly he did there. I’m not inclined to go back and change it, because I like putting in those random comments in trying to explain the books mistakes.

I’m sorry you didn’t like the parts I put in about Remus, but when you get to this book you’ll see that I’ve got a very big thing about trying to explain a lot of things that aren’t even touched on about his character, so I threw in that part about wanting him to be Harry’s godfather but the government wouldn’t allow it to give him some extra backstory the books never do. I don’t think it’s too farfetched that the prejudices against werewolf’s would try and stop him from having anything to do with kids, and allowing one to be any kind of part of a kids life would be an easy thing to pass in the laws. I do recognize and admit Godfather doesn’t equal guardianship, like I made it sound, but it doesn’t change my point either that Remus was very forcibly tried to keep out of Harry’s life by the Ministry. Yes I know James and Sirius are just that little bit closer and that’s why he got picked in the end, but that was just my headcanon and I’m sorry you disagreed.

Despite how that might have read, I love clh and everyone’s continued comments and critiquing of these little things I add, please feel free to open any kind of discussion and questions you like!

Sirius eyed his chapter with more weariness than almost any other before. He wasn’t sure how much longer he could stand being talked about like this before he really did have some kind of breakdown, and avoiding the issue just didn’t seem possible at this point. Still, it’s not like he could avoid it, he’d rather break his arm then try to cut off the story here. He still wanted to know more than anything about Harry’s life. So with a heavy heart he went to the correct chapter and read.

Harry woke the next morning and packed quickly, then went to find Ron who was grumbling the sooner they hit the road the better, he was sick of being around Percy, who was now blaming Ron on getting water on a picture of Penelope Clearwater, his girlfriend,

“Wow, Percy really needs to figure out which brother he’s talking to,” James shook his head in disbelief “I still can’t see Ron doing something like that.”

Harry began to explain what he’d heard last night, but then Fred and George popped in to praise Ron for further annoying Percy.

“So, the twins didn’t do that?” Lily asked in confusion.

“So who did” Remus agreed, more than puzzled.

“Must have been Ginny,” James said with a frown, “there’s no one left.”

“Well if she takes after those twins, I’ll be more than happy to hear it” Sirius agreed.

They headed down to breakfast and Ron asked what Harry was about to say, but Harry said he’d explain later, now surrounded by Weasley’s.

Sirius grimaced, selfishly hoping that later never really came up as he didn’t want to hear Harry trying to tell his friends there was a crazy person after him any more then he enjoyed hearing Molly and Arthur talk about it.

Everything was by the doors waiting for the cars, all the animals caged up, including Crookshanks who was unpleased to find himself in a makeshift basket.

“I’m sure that cat loved this” Lily giggled.

Hermione was promising to let him out when they got onboard, but Ron protested she couldn’t, because Scabbers was going to be in there as well.

“This could be rather complicated” James agreed with a frown, while Harry sighed as he realized his friends had something new to bicker about, as if they needed any more fuel. He had a very bad feeling this one in particular lasted for some time.

The cars arrived and Harry, Ron, and Hermione all got in one, but before Harry could try to explain again, Percy climbed in as well, to Ron’s protest.

“I agree, it would have made sense for one of the parents to go with the group” Remus shrugged.

“Guess Percy counts as adult enough” James offered.

They reached the station with nearly half an hour to go,

“A new record for the Weasleys it seems” Lily chuckled.

then the cars drove away, for some odd reason able to jump to the front of the line at the next light.

“Makes me kind of want to get a car,” James grinned “they seem useful, and I’d like to learn about that spell.”

Lily furrowed her brow, not one hundred percent sure they really needed another motorized vehicle around here since she still was quite irked at Sirius’ bike, and that car had been a disaster no matter the good end results. She didn’t argue the point though, not just now anyways.

Mr. Weasley kept close to the trio as they went inside, telling Harry the two of them should go onto the platform first.

‘He’s not exactly being subtle’ Sirius frowned, but didn’t say that out loud, wondering if he was just being paranoid.

“I’ve never asked” Harry said, trying to take away Sirius’ perturbed face, he might not have said anything out loud but they could all see it anyways “how does the platform work?”

“What do you mean?” James asked, looking for specifics.

“How come Muggle’s don’t just wander into it, or notice us going in?”

“Oh,” Lily said in understanding “there’s a muggle repelling charm on it, so they instinctively know not to go in or around the area.”

“What about Muggle-borns parents?” Harry pressed.

“They can go in so long as they’re lead by a wizard” Lily further explained.

Harry nodded, happy that this little detail had been put to rest. He also realized it must be the same for Leaky Cauldron. His attempt had worked, Sirius was slightly distracted and looked just a little bit better again as he continued.

Once everyone was joined on the platform, Percy spotted his girlfriend, and puffed out his chest so that she couldn’t miss his badge. Harry caught Ginny’s eye, and the two had to turn away to stop themselves from laughing.

Harry gave a very happy smile of remembrance, thinking that was probably the first time Ginny had ever met his eyes and turned away for some other reason then blushing. That had been her first instance of finally showing she had a personality other then shy.

“Props to that girl for putting up with him” Sirius rolled his eyes.

“Be nice” Lily chided, she wasn’t the biggest fan of Percy’s attitude either, but they were seeing him from Harry’s point of view. She was sure he must have a kinder side, at least around his girlfriend. She also had to stop herself from pointing out at least Sirius and James were just as pompous about certain things.

They all loaded there stuff into a compartment then exited to say there goodbyes to Mr. and Mrs. Weasley, the mother going around and giving all of her children hugs and kisses, then Hermione, then surprisingly Harry.

“Aw” Lily smiled while the boys rolled their eyes at this mother act in front of school students, all the boys but Harry. He was blinking in surprised shock and pleasure, since no one had ever done that for him before.

He went red in the face from embarrassment, but was quite flattered when she gave him an extra hug.

“Think you were right before James” Remus grinned “the Weasleys might just up and adopt Harry if he asks.”

“I can only hope” James laughed, which was tinged with sadness all the same that this had to be a happy thing at all.

Molly began to hand out sandwiches to her sons, turning to Ron and giving him his while promising it wasn’t corned beef this time,

“Wow, she remembered” Sirius grinned.

“Guess someone must have said something” Harry smirked.

“Where’d she make them at” Lily asked “did Tom let her use the kitchen?”

“I guess” James shrugged, not really thinking too much about it.

Harry was pulled away though, by Mr. Weasley asking for a quick second.

“Now what’s this?” Lily said in surprise.

“You think Arthur is going to tell?” James said curiously.

Sirius huffed and grumbled something under his breath, but none of them could think of anything to say to him that they hadn’t already.

Mr. Weasley led Harry away from the group, but before he could get started, Harry admitted he already knew what he was going to say.

“Wow, not many people will admit too eavesdropping ” Remus said in a laugh.

“I did it so he technically still kept his promise to the Minister that Mr. Weasley didn’t tell me” Harry shrugged.

Harry admitted to having overheard the conversation last night, and Arthur was now frowning as he said that’s not how he’d liked to have explained this.

“How exactly was he planning to tell you ‘hey some crazy guy is coming to kill you’?” Sirius demanded in a snarky tone of voice.

Harry gave him an anxious look, but he couldn’t really answer that since he’d never given Mr. Weasley the chance to explain.

Harry assured him it was fine, because know he knew, but Mr. Weasley hadn’t broken his promise to Fudge. Arthur tried to ask if Harry was terrified, but Harry shrugged, admitting he wasn’t.

Sirius looked up and around in surprise as he said “okay, I know why you mean it now, but why didn’t you then?”

Harry gave an easy shrug as he admitted “sorry Sirius, but you didn’t exactly scare me more then Voldemort did.”

They all grimaced slightly at that, still rather happy Harry wasn’t actually afraid for his life since it just wasn’t possible Sirius could ever hurt him, but hating the idea all the same that there really was someone out there who did want Harry dead.

When Mr. Weasley didn’t look like he believed that, Harry said he was being serious,

Sirius released a surprised snort of laughter and made to say something, but stopped quickly when James smacked him across the back of the head before he got a chance. Giving him a haughty look, he continued anyways this time “not as serious as I could!”

“Where is your off button!” Remus demanded, while Sirius gave them all satisfied smirks and continued.

how could Sirius Black be worse then Voldemort? Mr. Weasley flinched like all wizards did upon hearing that name, but then pressed on trying to make Harry promise him something, but Harry cut him off by grumbling that he was supposed to stay inside this year. Mr. Weasley said that wasn’t what he meant, looking more serious,

“Ouch, dang it guys” Sirius grumbled, he’d been smacked even before he’d finished the word that time.

“How many times can you make the same joke and still think it’s funny?” Remus demanded.

“As often as I want” he shot right back, a superior smirk now in place. This was such a turn around to his depressed mood of late that no one really felt that mad at him anymore.

then Harry had ever seen him as he told Harry not to go looking for Black. Harry was stunned, and asked why he would even do that?

That had them all stumped for a moment, until James snapped his fingers and said “you think Arthur thinks you know everything? That you might know Sirius was a friend of mine, and you would go looking for him because of that?”

“But I didn’t now then,” Harry pointed out “and even if I had, that still wouldn’t encourage me to go find him, when I thought he wanted me dead.” He finished, giving an apologetic look to Sirius for saying that.

They all shrugged then, not really having any better reason why Arthur would think this.

The train gave a warning whistle then, signaling it was about to take off, but Mr. Weasley was still talking, telling Harry to promise him that no matter what he heard but Harry cut him off again by demanding to know why he’d go looking for someone who wanted to kill him?

Sirius grimaced all over again, hearing Harry say that twice in a row made him want to vomit, cry, and scream all over again, no matter how Harry felt now, him thinking this to be true at any point in time tore him to little pieces. He wouldn’t let anyone try and console him this time though, blasting on.

The train really was rolling now, and Harry had to bolt inside as it began picking up speed, then before he knew it the train was pulling out of the station and the platform was out sight.

“I notice you didn’t actually promise him” Lily said in mild amusement.

Harry shrugged and said “still don’t understand why he wanted me to at all.”

Ron, Hermione, and Ginny were all waiting for him, and when Harry said he needed to talk to his friends, Ron told his sister to get lost.

“Oh that was nice” Lily frowned.

“I don’t blame him,” Sirius rolled his eyes at her “who wants their sibling following them around.”

Ginny snapped that was nice before storming off.

“So now you’ve mimicked Ginny as well,” James grinned over at his wife “are you going to mimic everyone by the end?”

Lily decided to ignore them in hopes they would stop this annoying gag.

The three of them went moving down the compartments, looking for an empty one,

“I thought you already stored your stuff away in another one” James reminded.

Harry gave a disgruntled look as he said “yeah, but some first years had come in and taken it, so we’d grabbed our stuff and decided to move rather then force them out.”

but every one they came across already had people in them except for one, which had a man sleeping against the far window.

Harry suddenly went very pale and rocketed to his feet, shaking his head from side to side furiously. Lily reacted just as fast, clutching at his arm and demanding he calm down, or he was going to hurt himself. He relaxed, but didn’t glance over at his mom at all, but instead focused on Remus like he never had before. His face scrunched up, and it was all too easy to picture the man before him with a little extra gray hair, sleeping in that compartment. So he had been right, he did know him!

The boys got up wearily as well, Harry reacting like this to something couldn’t be good, and the way he was eyeing Remus set said man’s intestines churning into themselves. Lily still had her hand on him, looking from him to Remus and back before finally demanding “Harry, what’s wrong?”

“I-” he began, before swallowing hard and still not answering, now rocking backwards on his heels in unease. There was no doubt in his mind, the man he suddenly remembered being in the compartment was standing in front of him, older yes but not nearly as dissimilar to Sirius’ later unhealthy looks. He should say something now, because the bomb of a reaction to Sirius being alive was terrible for his family, so he should get it out of the way now, but the words wouldn’t come out, jammed down his throat as he kept looking wistfully at Remus.

Sirius, still on his feet and wondering what on earth could be going through Harry right now, read to hopefully ease some of the stress.

They found this odd, since no adult had ever been seen except for the woman who pushed the food trolley around.

James and Lily exchanged uneasy looks, James starting to walk over to the pair in case Harry was going to react to something soon. Harry had been reduced to rubbing furiously at his temple, trying to get a word in, but of course he couldn’t say anything even though he knew with every fiber of his being he was right. Remus stayed rooted to the spot, mind going a mile a minute as he prayed he was misunderstanding why Harry was looking at him like that.

They decided to go for it though, entering the compartment to find he’d stored away a battered suitcase above him. He wasn’t that old, but between the patched and shabby robes, and the pale complexion with gray streaked brown hair he looked like he’d been through the run. Ron asked who he might be, and Hermione whispered Professor R. J. Lupin.

The book clattered to the floor and Sirius decked Remus so hard he fell with it.

Sirius was standing over him, shaking and pulling back as if fixing to swing again. James cursed wildly and flew towards him, tackling Sirius and all but dragging him away step by step while Remus stayed on the ground, hand pressed to his cheek in shock. Where to begin as his mind stayed on utter lockdown, unable to process too many things at once.

He kept hearing Sirius shouting, but the words didn’t seem to be getting through, while Lily and Harry heard quite clearly as they moved to Remus side, eyeing Sirius like he truly had gone mad.

“-let me go! I’m going to kill him, that idiotic, manic depressive, self-loathing-” he tore into several other more colorful words for a few moments, while Lily got to her feet again and stood protectively in front of the pair, green eyes flashing as Sirius finally circled out and actually used proper words again, James still keeping such a tight hold on him it was a miracle he was still on his feet. “What the bloody hell is the matter with you, why weren’t you there, huh? Where were you when all this mess was happening to Harry, oh I know, not there for him because you’re more afraid of yourself then-”

“Sirius, you know damn well why Remus wouldn’t be allowed near Harry while he was living with his Muggle relatives” Lily finally cut in, advancing a step towards him and jabbing him in the chest for emphasis.

He was still puffed up and looked ready to breathe fire at a moment’s notice, but the shouting momentarily stopped as Lily’s full words registered. There was a tick going on in one of his jaw muscles, but James took this small moment to continue dragging Sirius backwards, all the way into the kitchen and out of sight. Then Lily turned back to Harry still trying to coax Remus into saying something, while the man looked like he’d never speak again.

He’d landed on his arm, and had automatically sat up on it with his other hand pressed to the spot Sirius had slugged him, looking dazed and frozen. He’d known for a while Sirius was going to get over his shock and fear at what was going to happen to him and channel it into something more violent or at least something that involved a lot of his energy. He had not expected that to all be channeled at him, though in that moment he knew he deserved it and more; because Sirius was right. No matter the legal ramifications of his condition, why wasn’t he there for Harry? He loved that boy like he would his own, and knew without a shadow of a doubt that if he had an inkling of what was going on while he was living with the Dursleys he wouldn’t have joined Sirius in Azkaban, he’d probably be dead on sight for what he owed them.

His whole time he’d been at school, he always wondered if this happy feeling, the miracle he had in his friends, would end sooner or later. Hearing about what happened to his family now was physically tearing him apart inside, and he’d been wishing this whole time he had survived just so that he knew someone would still be out there looking after Harry. Now he’d found out he had survived, and shirked his duty, for what?

There was a light tapping on his forehead, and he finally blinked the static from his brain clouding him from truly registering his surroundings, to find Lily and Harry both watching him with more than concern on their features. Harry had been the one tapping him and trying to get his attention, while having a conversation Remus quickly understood as Lily was clearly explaining to Harry “-I meant that there are laws in place stopping Remus from doing certain things because he’s a werewolf, for example he couldn’t legally adopt you, but he’s also not allowed within a certain radius of Muggle dwellings, or he really could be killed.”

“But why?” Harry persisted, his brow ruffling up just like his father’s did whenever he didn’t understand something.

“All sorts of things dear, prejudices for one, they think he’s some dangerous animal all the time and such. It’s also to ward off temptations, after all not all werewolves are like him, some would purposefully seek out Muggle neighborhoods, so the laws a general sense that they have a right to kill one before they can do the act.”

In the background he could still hear Sirius and James arguing in the kitchen, where James stood in this he wasn’t sure he wanted to know since he was still considering slinking out the front door. Then Lily and Harry seemed to notice he’d come back down to earth, and Lily was quick to try and convince him otherwise of those actions. He said nothing, couldn’t think of anything to say, as the guilt continued to eat him alive from the inside the longer he realized what Harry had been through all because he wasn’t there. Damned those laws, he should have been able to write to Harry at least, set up something with Dumbledore so he could check on him, anything then what Sirius had implied what happened, which seemed likely by this point.

He hadn’t ended up in jail, or otherwise physically stopped, he was clearly still alive and...why was he on the Hogwarts express? He blurted this question out before he had time to think on it himself, finally relieving Harry and his mother of the pent up stress they were clearly feeling. Harry was quick to say exactly what Sirius had just read, and stating “I did recognize you, Professor Lupin, you were my favorite teacher that year.”

Something twitched inside of him, a little niggle that he never would have believed he’d truly feel. Whenever Sirius and James had jokingly called him that in the past, he’d brushed them off and snap at them to quit it because they all knew he’d never actually get that profession, what school could ever allow such a thing, except perhaps the very school he’d attended in his youth.

Now, here Harry was, calling him that very thing he would long for, in a completely serious tone of voice. No mocking, no jesting, he meant it with a respectful tone and a sincerity that spoke volumes of truth. This flashed through him so fast, he’d barely had time to register the happy warmth before James and Sirius came back out of the kitchen.

Sirius still looked rather peeved, which he had every right to according to Remus; since he knew full well his friend would feel wronged at himself being locked away and forcefully stopped when Remus himself hadn’t exactly been tied down and prevented from their personal duty of looking after Harry. As Sirius marched towards him, he half considered apologizing to Sirius, knowing he’d trade places in less than a breath. Then he was stunned all over again as Sirius bent down and offered his hand to help him back up.

After hesitating a few more moments he took it, getting uneasily to his feet and then rocking back on his heels and pushing his hand through his hair, still at a loss for words. Sirius filled in the silence, while avoiding eye contact and saying “I’m sorry I punched you, I know it’s not really your fault and...what else was it?” He asked, trying to force a joking tone in his voice no one else felt as he turned back to James, who simply raised one brow at him and made a ‘go on’ gesture.

Sirius released a huffy breath and slightly turned back to him, still looking more above his head then anything and trying to continue, but Remus cut him off and instead said “honestly, I was going to let you take another swing at me. I can’t say what’s been going on those past twelve years any more than you can, but I was wrong. What made me stay away, is inconsequential.” He came very close to adding on, ‘I won’t let it happen now’ but stopped himself as he realized that, possibly whatever had happened the first time to set up these circumstances, he may not ever really be able to prevent.

Sirius hesitated, but nodded and seemed to take this as some sort of apology, because most of his hostility drained out of him and he went back over to pick up the book. James hesitated and followed him, making Remus hesitate and ponder if James really was feeling just like Sirius, and just couldn’t think of anything to add on. Lily and Harry exchanged uneasy looks, neither of them used to any kind of fight between these three, but when Remus finally decided to go back over and sit next to Sirius, who gave no protest, the other two wandered back to their spot as well.

There was a very sticky silence for a long time, Sirius rummaging for his page being the only noise, and once he found it he began again with a bit more anger in his voice then was normal, but no one said anything. Remus gave a very dark mental laugh, thinking that at least this got Sirius to stop thinking about his problem. *

Ron asked how on earth she could know that, and Hermione gestured above his head where he’d stamped his name on his luggage.

Lily frowned over at these boys, personally annoyed and affronted for Remus at them. She had a very good idea why he hadn’t been allowed to go see Harry, and if they didn’t cool it with the attitude soon she would shove it in their faces why.

Ron asked what on earth he was teaching, and Hermione pointed out the only position was Defense Against the Dark Arts.

“Or Care of Magical Creatures, since we’ve already established there’s an opening for that job as well” Lily offered, watching them all carefully. No one said anything for or against this idea, in fact she was a little more concerned Remus didn’t seem stoked at the idea of this happening. He loved teaching people, had always had a special fondness for younger students at school and was well known for being the most approachable of the Marauders little gang. Secretive, a little odd yes, Lily hadn’t even figured out that Remus was a werewolf until her and James were engaged. So she had not the slightest problem with this, and would gladly curse anyone who said otherwise.

None of them spoke it, but they were all thinking of the jinx placed on this position that had stopped them or anyone else having a teacher in this job for longer then a year. Ron did voice that he hoped the man was up for it, as he didn’t look like much.

Remus gave a wane smile, this wasn’t the first time he’d heard this. He’d always been rather small and underdeveloped because of his condition, and Ron wasn’t the first person to think he didn’t have a source to his wand. It had led to a few instances of teasing and one memorable instance where he had proved a crowded corridor just how stupid it was to underestimate him.

Then he finally turned his attention back to Harry and asked what he wanted to tell them.

Sirius frowned, not at all pleased to be right back on this subject.

James had to force down a strangled laugh as he realized all over again how odd this wasn’t for Harry. Twice now, two of his old friends had made an appearance in his life, someone Harry should have rightfully known since he was born, and Harry had not a care in the world for either of them. Then James frowned further, suddenly wondering at the coincidence of this. What on earth were the odds Remus would wind up at Hogwarts, on the same year Sirius had made his grand escape? Was it possible Dumbledore had sought out Remus for this very reason, like he thought one friend would know the other’s mind set well enough that Remus would perhaps try to stop Sirius. The longer he thought on this, it actually brought up a whole new round of questions, like where was Remus when that big blowdown happened that wound up Sirius in jail. Did Remus really think he’d done it? That was ridiculous, right? He had defended him now, so what could change in the coming year that would stop Remus fighting tooth and nail to keep Sirius out of there. To be fair, even if he had tried to give credence to Sirius, not many people would have believed him anyways.

Sirius hadn’t let himself stay on the matter long, and James was in no mood to bring up any of this, so the reading continued.

Harry told of all he’d heard, and Hermione looked more then freaked out as he demanded that Sirius Black had broken out of prison just to kill Harry!

That finally released a pitiful chuckle from all of them, even at the new tension, they all still found this stupidly funny in the context Hermione meant.

Then she warned Harry he had to be extra careful this year, he couldn’t go looking for trouble, and Harry pointed out that trouble usually found him.

“If that ain’t the truth” Lily grumbled, having noticed that pattern a while ago.

Ron pointed out that Harry would have to be mental himself to go after the guy who wanted him dead.

‘Oh thank you Ron’ Sirius mentally grumbled, though still kept that one to himself.

Harry realized they were taking this a lot worse then he had as Ron continued by reminding that no one knew how Black had got out of Azkaban, which was the most well protected prison there was, and Black had been under twenty-four surveillance watch.

Sirius shuddered all over again, he had known at the start of this chapter he couldn’t exactly gloss over this, but after the bombshell of realizing Remus was still alive, it almost had less of an impact on him. Almost. His anger at Remus abandoning Harry almost made reading about what was to become of himself semi-bearable. It also brought up the fun question of what on earth happened to Peter. Since there original theory of them all being dead turned out to not be true, exactly how untrue was it? Was Peter somewhere out there as well? Sirius decided right then he would kill him if so. Remus had the vaguest of reasons, Sirius would give him that even if he was convinced there were ways to get around them that Remus should have thought up, but Peter didn’t have any reason to abandon Harry.

Hermione was beginning to convince them that he would be caught again, when she heard a noise. They all stopped for a moment, looking around for the tiny whistling.

Sirius couldn’t help but let his voice peak with interest, finally bleeding out that angry tone, making Lily finally relax.

Harry found the source of it in his trunk, as the Sneakoscope Ron had sent him was going off.

“What do you suppose?” James asked mildly, deciding for now to at least try to act like this was as normal as before, though the feeling was getting harder and harder to force as they went.

“Maybe Remus was faking being asleep?” Sirius smirked, attempting to do the same thing as James and not let himself grit out his friend’s name.

“It wouldn’t be the first time he’s pulled that trick, he’s fairly good at it” James agreed in forced light tones.

Remus didn’t add his opinion on the matter, and Lily and Harry had no idea at all, which let Sirius go on.

Ron scoffed and apologized he’d gotten one so cheap, it may even be broken as it had been going off when he’d mailed it to Harry, then he did reconsider that he wasn’t supposed to be using Errol in the first place which may have been untrustworthy of him.

“Like I said earlier, those things should be taken lightly, since they go off so easily” Remus said uneasily, which bothered Harry and Lily at once. He shouldn’t be trying to stop himself from commenting any more than anyone else.

Harry went to put it back away, not wanting to wake up the stranger.

“Nah,” James scoffed, a real smile finally lighting his features as he continued “I’ve known him to sleep through the worst of rackets, and it also depends on just how close to a full moon that was.”

Harry cocked his head to the side in remembrance, but he didn’t exactly watch the lunar cycles very often, so he had no real idea.**

Ron suggested Harry could take it to Hogsmeade to get it checked over, then began listing all of the shops they could go to. Hermione tried to butt in by saying how historically important the sight was to, but Ron was talking right over her, now thinking on Honeydukes. Hermione asked what that was.

“Only the best shop ever” Sirius smirked, wanting to drool again at once as he reminisced about all of the candy in there.

Ron told how it was the best sweet shop in the world! Then he began listing every item you could find on the shelves, including sugar quills which you could suck on in class.

“Those don’t really work,” Lily rolled her eyes “the teachers know a student doesn’t suck on feathers.”

Sirius wasn’t listening, he was too busy smacking his lips in appreciation at Ron’s very good descriptions and continuing eagerly.

Hermione was still trying to talk about some more scholarly things that had happend, like the Shrieking Shack being one of the most haunted places in their country,

“Is that still running,” James asked in amusement.

Harry wanted to ask what he meant but Sirius, much like Ron, was rather bored at Hermione trying to put in historical type things into a conversation about sweets, so he was still continuing.

The two were still talking over each other, when Hermione turned to Harry and mentioned how much good it would do them all to get out of the castle for a bit. Harry told them he was sure the two of them would enjoy it, and Ron was flabbergasted to hear that the Dursleys hadn’t signed his form.

“Ask why” Lily murmured “please ask why and kick up a real fuss on the matter.”

Ron tried to say that surely McGonagall would let him go anyways,

“Dammit” Lily cursed rather loudly.

None of the boys had to ask why, but Sirius rounded on Harry and demanded “didn’t you ever tell Ron and Hermione, anything?”

“They must have noticed something,” Remus agreed, finally pushing the last of the general unease from the room as the boys all found something to rally against again, “they did note back during your second year that you lost weight without being told. You never got anything for Christmas from them, even their cryptic little comments about how they ‘hope the Muggles were treating you alright’ back during the summer.”

Harry hesitated a long time, choosing his words carefully as he said “they, well we never exactly sat around and had it out like you all seem to want to, but I think they were suspicious. Sometimes, I’d just make these snarky little remarks or whatever, but no I don’t think they ever really knew. I didn’t tell them anyways.”

“What about the cat flap then?” James huffed, more frustrated that Harry hadn’t at least told his friends about that excuse for a home life.

“What about it?” Harry repeated curiously.

“Surely Ron, Fred, and George all saw it and wondered, or even questioned why they had to unlock you out of your room” Lily pointed out, clearly not appreciating Harry’s attempts to be daft.

He just shrugged and admitted “Ron asked me once, and I just told him we used to have a cat. I also told him all of the rooms were like that, cause they were paranoid about burglars. Didn’t really feel like explaining it.”

They all sat there gawking at him for a moment, but Harry kept himself tight lipped as ever and was looking pleadingly for Sirius to keep going. Why on earth was the boy still hiding something, even from his best friends? It was driving them all crazy, but they still weren’t even sure how to ask him themselves, since whenever they tried he would just shrug and do exactly as he was doing now. They could hardly force him to tell them, it would do more harm than good. So Sirius, grumbling and unwillingly, decided to keep reading anyways.

but Harry knew better as McGonagall was one the strictest teachers, even if she was head of their house. Then Ron said they could get Fred and George to help, as they knew every secret passage in and out of the school.

“Now there’s an idea” Sirius said, going bright eyed.

“Harry should know those anyways,” James agreed “it’s practically his birthright.”

Lily really couldn’t come up with a reason to protest this, it’s not like Harry was doing anything particularly bad, just wanting to go out and spend time with his friends in a village. The more she thought about it, the more she’d rather endorse the idea, it really would be good for her son to get out more on undangerous missions like visiting the village.

Hermione began to tell Ron off for that suggestion, saying that Harry should be staying inside school with Black running around.

“So what,” Sirius rolled his eyes “can’t really do too much to Harry in such a public place as Hogsmeade can I?”

“Sirius, I hate to remind you, but you do know what you were put in there for in the first place” Lily reminded with a frown.

Sirius opened, then closed his mouth, before nodding and deciding to skip the argument that he really wasn’t that stupid, it was a moot point in this future.

Ron tried to argue the point, saying no one would be stupid enough to do something to Harry with them around,

“He’s got a point there,” James said with a weak grin “sorry Padfoot, I really can’t see you being able to do anything with Ron and Hermione there as well.”

Sirius nodded in agreement, continuing with only the hint of a joke “I can see them taking me down easy, I’m definitely no match for these three.”

Harry smirked, but was honestly unable to decide just how much they were kidding.

but Hermione told him he was being an idiot, that he’d been put away for murdering a street full of people with witnesses abound.

“Thanks, cause I wasn’t reminded of that enough already” Sirius huffed under his breath.

As she was doing that, she was getting to her feet and working the slip loose to let her cat out. Ron snapped at her not to, but to late, Crookshanks pounced onto the seat and stretched before going over to Ron and sitting quite close to him, eyeing the pocket Scabbers was in.

“Knew those two pets were going to be all kinds of fun” Remus murmured lightly.

Ron snapped at the cat to get while pushing it away, and Hermione told him don’t.

“Don’t what?” James frowned, rather on Ron’s side for this particular argument “don’t stop the cat from sitting on him? Don’t yell at the cat for eyeballing his pet? Personally, I think Hermione needs to get a grip here.”

Everyone else in the room nodded in complete agreement.

Ron was about to snap back when Lupin began to move.

They all brightened, but for different reasons. Lily, James, and Sirius were all dying for Remus to really wake up and get some explaining going on. Maybe he even knew more about Sirius’ case that he would bring up, aside from his general explanation of where he’d been.

Harry simply wanted to replenish memories of him, already in these few days he had a high respect for Remus, now he knew he’d get to talk to him for at least a year.

Remus, while still personally thinking he’d never give a good enough reason for his actions to be okay, was simply hoping he and Harry could have a normal conversation about anything, he could only imagine how his life had been without both James and Sirius around. They still had no idea where Peter was, so if he’d truly been on his own for twelve years, the very idea he’d get to interact with Harry would brighten his day.

They all went silent as they watched him, but he only rolled his head and let his mouth hang open slightly as he continued sleeping.

“Okay” James and Sirius said together “now I know he’s faking it.” The pair sounded so disgruntled about the fact, no one asked for details.

The weather outside began turning stormy as the train rattled on, and they found more pleasant things to discuss as the lunch trolley came around. Ron asked if they should wake their new teacher,

“Please say yes” Lily sighed, wanting to stop this delay to what she felt would be the most important conversation of this year to Harry.

pointing out he looked like he could use something to eat.

‘Ge thanks’ Remus mentally rolled his eyes, though he said nothing out loud since he knew quite well how he looked to others, it was one of the things that made him so obviously what he was.

Hermione went over to him,

This time they couldn’t help but lean forward eagerly, Remus couldn’t possibly ignore this.

and gently spoke his name, but he didn’t even twitch.

James and Sirius muttered something foul under their breath, knowing quite well that wasn’t exactly enough to wake him up normally, but having a fairly good idea he was faking it and knowing he was just stalling now.

The kind faced woman told them not to worry about it while handing over Harry’s food, telling them that if he woke up later and was hungry he could come up to the front and get her.

“Probably the only time I’ve ever disliked that woman” Sirius scowled over at Remus as he said that, no one needed to ask why as Remus sunk into the couch cushions a little more, rather upset himself.

Ron wondered if the man really was sleeping,

James rolled his eyes, dearly wanting to point out to Ron what he had a good idea of, but resisted anyways for the sake of repeating himself.

then making the joke that he looked like he’d died.

Lily released a surprised snort of laughter, she remembered one time back during their first year where she had come into the common room and saw him passed out in an armchair and wondered the same thing.

Hermione reassured that his chest was moving.

“Well that’s a relief” Sirius couldn’t help but smirk, being able to picture that all too well.

Professor Lupin may not have been very good company,

“I think I should resent that” Remus remarked, smiling lightly over at Harry.

Harry was quick to return it, saying “well, no person asleep is actually good company, so don’t take it too personally.”

James and Sirius couldn’t help but laugh at that little exchange, it did help to relieve their mood a bit.

but he did have his uses as the day wore on and they were visited by far less pleasant people, Draco Malfoy, who as always was accompanied by Vincent Crabbe and Gregory Goyle.

“Oh joy, cause this was just going so well before” James grumbled.

He opened up the compartment door and gave his common sneer at seeing them, making a clever joke he was sure that he’d found Potty and the Weasel.

“His excuse for jokes have actually gotten lamer” Sirius said in disgust.

“I didn’t think that was possible” James agreed with a grimace.

Then he turned on Ron and admitted his surprise at the Weasleys having won that gold over the summer, asking if Mrs. Weasley had a heart attack from the news.

“Wish yours did” Sirius grumbled, then winced as he realized what he’d just said. He’d made joking death threats before, but now at the all too horrible realization he might have carried through with one of them, he didn’t seem to find them quite as funny.

Ron jacked up to his feet with such anger he crashed Crookshanks basket onto the floor, causing Professor Lupin to snort.

“Now that might have actually gotten his attention” Sirius nodded eagerly.

Malfoy took a step back from shock while asking who that was.

“Your worst nightmare” James grinned, suddenly lighting up in a whole new way. After finally accepting and adjusting to Remus being alive and getting his dream job, it truly sank in that this meant Remus was a teacher at Harry’s school! Once Remus ‘woke up’ and realized who he was sitting seats away from, Harry would finally get what he’d deserved from the moment his parents had died. He was still ticked at whatever reasons had stopped this from happening before, but the point now was that Harry couldn’t get into any trouble this year! Remus would never let anything like the last two years happen to Harry! This raised such a giddy mood in him, he actually laughed out loud, and was forced to explain this to the others.

Lily and Harry beamed, both clearly agreeing with James on the matter. Sirius sulked and didn’t say anything, trying to decide if this made up for his previous absence. He’d withhold judgment for now.

Harry pointed out that he was a new teacher, while getting to his feet to in case he needed to hold back Ron.

“Or back him up,” Sirius scoffed “honestly don’t you ever let your friend have fun.”

“Not this time,” Harry remarked “for the same reason I knew Malfoy should have backed off, no one’s stupid enough to go at it when a teacher’s around.”

Remus shrugged, honestly agreeing with Harry, while James and Sirius grumbled they didn’t really think Remus would have done anything against Harry and his friends.

Malfoy backed down then, recognizing defeat as he and his friends left. Ron sat back down with a huff, stating he was done taking it from Malfoy, and if he said one more thing about his family, then he swung at the air.

“Good on ya” James nodded in approval.

“I’m more than sick of his crap as well” Sirius sniffed.

Hermione told him to keep it down, gesturing at the still asleep Professor.

“Still can’t decide if he’s faking that or not” James smirked, knowing the answer really, but trying to get a rise out of him and giving Remus an obvious look who just shrugged. He had no idea.

Sirius played along and pondered it for a moment before saying “I don’t know, even he isn’t so dense as to snooze right through a bunch of kids being that loud, but then why would he still be faking it?”

Lily honestly wondered if Remus wasn’t perhaps faking it out of fear of meeting Harry. This was going to be the first time he’d seen him in years, it was going to be more than awkward for both of them, so she couldn’t blame him one bit for stalling.

The weather outside only continued getting worse, smashing against the glass like mini drums, the wind howling as they roared on, but still Lupin slept on.

“That’s not the problem,” James shook his head “it’s the other noises I’m not buying.”

Darkness had truly descended outside when Ron voiced they had to be getting close, and just as he spoke the words the train began to slow. Hermione though was frowning at her watch, pointing out they were still a bit early, and Ron then asked why they would have stopped then.

Sirius frowned in concern now, his voice matching that expression. The Hogwarts express was one of the most magical objects he’d ever heard of, it hardly just broke down for any reason, and if Hermione said it was too early for it to be stopping, then what on earth could be going on.

Harry suddenly got a very hair raising feeling, something truly awful was fixing to happen, so he blurted out purely to delay it “you know, I’ve never thought about it before, but how come school always starts on a Monday that’s always September 2nd? That isn’t really possible is it?”

“Its part of the Magic of Hogwarts, it kind of exists in its own little time pocket,” Lily explained at once. They all noticed how Harry seemed to be slowly losing color, fidgeting and starting to rub at his temple, which were all horrible signs that something very awful was about to happen.

Harry asked for a bit more, still wanting to delay as long as he could “so you mean the day of the weeks there really aren’t the same as they should be.”

“Not really,” James agreed “I asked Lily about this a few times, and she said she read it in a few books about how the magic bordering the school, keeping out anything but allowing students and teachers and such, that sustains that magic seems to make a skewed timeline. Apparently it registers the same, for example back during your second year when you got caught in the flying car, it was the same night to you as the rest of the world, but it wouldn’t have been a Sunday night to them but a Tuesday...did I get that right dear?” He finished, giving her a cheeky little grin at Lily’s indulgent smile.

“Mostly yes, you left out some details I’ll forgive, I’m just impressed you remembered that at all.” She returned affectionately, and Harry smiled to himself as he realized it had worked, however temporarily, and he was feeling almost at peace again.

Pressing further he asked “but if the train is what causes that, how come Ron and I made it in the car?”

“You were following the train,” Remus reminded “in a magical object, so the magic the train gives off creating this effect would have affected that Anglia as well. It also would have registered you as two students, so if two adults had tried that same trick, they never would have been able to follow the train in that same manner, they would have had to been invited onto the grounds by Dumbledore, or at least another teacher.”

Harry nodded in disappointment as he realized he was out of questions, but he’d done what he set out to do, the others looked far calmer as Sirius continued.

Then the lights went out.

“Sirius, relax” Harry tried to sooth, all the while his tone said the exact opposite was appropriate. His memory was very forcibly trying to show him, or warn him, of some very bad impending things.

Sirius did hesitate for a moment longer to give Harry a reassuring smile, giving them all a brief reminder that Harry was clearly okay with whatever was about to happen physically anyways, his attitude was still scaring them almost as much as the book itself. Now as tense and jumpy as a cat Sirius read on.

Harry asked if the train could have broken, but none of them knew.

“Not possible” Lily whimpered loud enough for all of them to hear, now clutching Harry’s hand tightly in hers again just for that small reassurance. Harry had a very strong impulse, which he followed, to squeeze right back; instantly confusing him. What on earth could this memory have to do with wanting his mother?

Lily took the comfort from her son for a moment before properly explaining “the Hogwarts Express is magically enchanted almost as much as the school itself, nothing could just make it brake.”

“Then what’s doing this?” James demanded of nothing.

Outside through the mess of the storm, Ron swore he could see people getting onto the train.

“What?” James demanded, looking ready to reach forward and take the book away from Sirius.

He stopped him, swatting him away, while Remus was frowning and offered “they must have been invited on, there is no other explanation.”

“I’ve never heard of anything like this,” Lily groaned, her hand tightening on Harry’s all the more “who would be getting on? Why?”

“Guess Hogwarts wanted to take pity on some hitchhikers” Sirius grumbled without any humor at all, now rushing on for a real answer.

Outside they could hear people moving about the compartments, all looking for someone else to somehow find an answer, and Harry heard their own door slide open again as someone came shuffling in, and Harry recognized him as Neville.

“Can’t blame that kid one bit” James nodded.

Neville made to sit down, and accidentally sat on the cat.

That random comment released a surprised snort of mirth from Sirius, but it didn’t last long enough for him to delay.

Hermione made to get up and go ask the conductor what was going on, but she ran into someone else at the door, which turned out to be Ginny.

“Aw, that’s so sweet she’d go looking for Ron” Lily murmured.

“I don’t like all of these students moving around though,” Remus frowned, bouncing around in agitation now “it’s still creepy that something’s getting on, it would be safer if they stayed still in one place.”

“You can’t really blame them for seeking out friends and older siblings” Lily chided at once.

“No,” he nodded, “just my personal advice.”

They were all talking at once now, trying to decide what was going on, when an unfamiliar voice told them all to be quite.

They all lit up at once, having almost forgotten Remus was there in their new panic. After all it could hardly be anyone else, since Harry hadn’t recognized the voice. James and Sirius at once took back any bad feelings they’d had, now knowing without a shadow of a doubt their friend could handle whatever was fixing to happen that had Harry so on edge in this room.

Professor Lupin had awoken at last, and he quickly drew the attention of all the children as he lit a blue flame in his hand,

“Why would you use the Bluebell Fire instead of Lumos?” Harry randomly asked.

“I prefer that spell because quite a few things that are afraid of fire, and it provides just as much light” he shrugged.

showing his pale face, but intelligent eyes as he scanned the room. He told them all to wait here while he made for the door, but before he got there it opened on its own. Harry felt cold at once, a deadly chill creeping over him as he made out a dark hooded figure, a hand creeping out of the folds, which was skeleton gray but gleaming as if wet or still decaying.

Sirius was near fainting by the end of this description. No one, not even Harry after Remus’ thorough description of these monsters, needed to ask what had boarded the train, or even why.

“This is ridiculous!” Lily spat hotly, her green eyes shining with light as she continued “those bloody things shouldn’t be allowed anywhere near these children! Sirius can’t even get on the train unless a staff member from Hogwarts invited him on, so what do they think they’re doing?”

Harry quickly asked very loudly, watching Sirius with concern to make sure he really didn’t faint “what do you mean? Remus was on the train?” He also had a vague feeling another teacher was on the train with him at some point, but that was only the hint of something he knew better then to try remembering.

James, still torn between wanting to yell all over again in defense of his friend, or hug him, answered Harry “like we said, the train’s got all sorts of magic surrounding it allowing its entrance to Hogwarts, not just anyone can get on, only the students. Why do you think the parents never help load their kids’ luggage. So unless” then he trailed off, going bright eyed himself and turning to Remus, now almost beaming as he finished “unless someone did invite him on?”

Remus cocked his head to the side in wonder as he pondered this. He would like to think Sirius would have contacted him after he got out of prison, and it’s not like Remus would think twice about helping him. Why wouldn’t he help Sirius get to Hogwarts, since as of right now he honestly wouldn’t put it past his friend to be trying to get into contact with Harry as well? Aloud he said “I’ve no idea. If I did, then I would be regretting it then.”

Sirius had to swallow very hard around a lump in his throat, but when no one offered anything more, he finally forced himself to read again.

Then the worst part came, when a sound reached Harry’s ears that resembled a drowning man gasping for breath, a soul sucking noise looking for something deeper then oxygen.

“Sirius, do you want someone else to read?” Lily asked kindly.

James and Remus gave her grateful looks, they had been fixing to ask themselves, the only thing stopping them was his response, which he gave to their predictions.

He fired up and went from stuttering and shuddered disgust, he couldn’t help but think of himself in the future being crammed inside with those things constantly whenever they were mentioned now, to outrage that Lily thought he needed to be pandered. He snapped “don’t patronize me Lily, I’m a big boy” and went on in more huffy tones.

Lily smiled grimly to herself, and Harry wasn’t the only one who realized Lily had done this on purpose.

Harry couldn’t see, couldn’t hear anything but the terrible noise. He could feel his eyes rolling into his head, cold the only thing he knew as he began falling, the terrible sound getting louder every second,

Then they frowned all over again, Sirius switching back to anxious and fear as he could think of several things that would be considered this poor kid’s worst memories. Voldemort sticking out the back of some guys head for one, being poisoned by a giant snake, the worst part is he could go on! Then he glanced over and saw Harry leaning in to Lily, which he found rather odd. Harry had been pretty stoic through most of these misadventures, so what on earth could he be remembering that would make him want his mother’s touch now?

Still half afraid, and now half curious, he read.

when something new began to come forward, from far away he could faintly hear someone screaming.

Harry was shuddering, extremely white and going almost clammy as he remembered that sound all too well. The sound of his mother’s voice cut in, making him almost jump... it couldn’t possibly have been her screaming was it? Her voice now wasn’t nearly as high pitched as the memory...but were they the same? Then her words sank in, and he forced himself to remember where he was and what exactly was going on. Giving his head a firm shake he focused back in on this world as Lily said “-you alright? Harry, please, what’s the matter.”

He pressed his hand to his forehead, pulling it away when he realized he was sweating, and murmured “don’t know. I’ve no idea what that could have been a memory of.”

This was a lie, his mind knew full well what was being repressed, and he almost wondered if this wasn’t one of those moments he might not want to get that particular memory back. His words didn’t make anyone else feel any better either. What on earth could Harry have remembered that would involve someone screaming like that? Obviously nothing they had read about covered it, it wasn’t from his childhood or he would remember it...then what?

The four of them were exchanging panicked looks, but Harry had no clue what to offer them this time for comfort. Swallowing back bile, Sirius wondered if Harry might come out of it having a better idea, and hopefully tell Remus then, so read uneasily.

He knew he should do something, but there was cold and white everywhere...then someone was shouting his name and slapping him on the face, and he sat bolt upright to find himself on the floor of the train, which was moving along again.

‘Thank goodness it’s gone’ Lily groaned, hoping she wouldn’t have to deal with those things ever again. They caused far too horrible reactions, now in two of her boys!

Ron and Hermione were on either side of him, terror all over their faces as they watched him. Neville and Lupin looked pretty similar as they stared down at him.

‘What a lovely reunion’ Remus mentally grumbled, only imagining what he had been thinking of seeing Harry again in this future, and it being spoiled like this.

Harry still felt terrible, cold and sticky all over, and likely to be sick any moment, while Ron helped him back onto his seat and asked if he was okay.

“Oh yeah, he’s just peachy” James scowled, hating to hear about his son in such an awful condition.

Harry said that he was fine, then asked who’d been screaming? Ron said he hadn’t heard anything like this, and Harry glanced around to find the others saying the same, even Ginny who was huddled up in the corner and looking paler then Harry was used to.

They were all frowning for this poor kid, not even needing to guess that her worst memory was probably still plaguing her nightmares after last year.

Harry insisted he’d heard someone screaming, but cut himself off in shock when he heard a crack. Lupin had dug out some chocolate, and was breaking it apart.

“Why do you have that?” Sirius asked suspiciously.

“Is it so odd for him to have some food on him?” Harry asked, giving a weak laugh at what he thought was an overreaction.

James and Lily were both frowning though, James adding “no, I agree with Sirius, bit of an odd coincidence that Remus happened to have something on him that makes people feel better after they run into a dementor.”

“So, you think you did know about the dementors getting on the train?” Lily asked, still feeling rather odd asking anything in regards to Remus being present for this.

Remus threw his hands up in the air, looking rather agitated as he snapped “how should I know?”

“Cool it Moony,” Sirius grumbled, giving him a nudge in the ribs “no one’s blaming you but yourself. At least you got the thing out.” Sirius knew exactly why Remus was on edge right then, he was most likely blaming himself for not acting faster and getting that Dementor out of the compartment before Harry had such a severe reaction.

Sirius’ guess was exactly right, and Remus then gave Lily a sheepish smile and slumped back in his seat, still rather annoyed at his future self. He’d been in the room with Harry again for how long now, and he not only hadn’t introduced himself to Harry properly, but he’d let that situation go on far too long. He should have used that charm the moment he had awoken, if the others’ guess was right and he had been pre worn of Dementors would be on the train. It also answered his earlier question, that no he most certainly hadn’t helped Sirius get on the train, the dementors would have found him no matter where he’d been hiding on it.

There was another long, drawn out silence after this horrible moment, and they were all wishing it would just stop soon. They hadn’t even reached the school yet, and so far this was the worst book possible for all of them. Still, it’s not like they had anything else to do about it, so Sirius forced himself to keep going.

He handed the largest piece to Harry, telling him to eat it. Harry took it, but then just stared at it.

“You don’t realize how lucky you are,” James said weakly, trying and failing for a joke “Remus doesn’t share food lightly.”

Remus didn’t raise to the bait, and Harry only gave a halfhearted grin at his father.

He instead asked what that thing was, and Lupin explained it was called a dementor, one from Azkaban. He stuffed the empty wrapper in his pocket, having given some out to all of them now, and told them to eat up while he went to go and find the conductor, before leaving altogether.

“What was that?” Sirius demanded, now scowling over at said man.

Remus shrugged and looked to the ceiling as he murmured “that was me making a quick exit I presume.”

“Leave it Sirius,” James sighed, pressing his face into his hands as he finished “I can hardly blame him for delaying that. It wasn’t exactly a very nice time to get into such a topic with all of his friends around.”

Remus looked a little better, making Lily and Harry chuckle to themselves that his actions being explained to him by James made him feel better. Sirius rolled his eyes, Remus had more impulse control then he did, since he was sure the moment he laid eyes on Harry he was going to try blurting out all kinds of things. He was positive if the Knight Bus hadn’t interrupted, he probably would have already.

Hermione turned back to Harry and asked if he was really okay, and Harry just asked what on earth had happend. Hermione tried to explain that when the dementor had come in, Harry had kind of...she trailed off, and Ron explained that Harry seemed to go into some kind of fit as he fell off his seat jerking around.

“That’s a pretty sever reaction to something you can’t even remember now” Lily whispered, still keeping a maternal eye on Harry.

He simply shrugged, feeling shame start to replace fear. Why did he have such a sever reaction, when clearly Ron was fine?

Hermione jumped back in by saying that Lupin had stepped in then, telling that none of them were hiding Sirius Black, but when the dementor still hadn’t gone he’d shot some silver thing at it, making the dementor go away.

Remus grumbled something foul about himself under his breath, bordering along the lines of he still should have reacted faster mixed in with a few choice words, but Sirius was still ignoring him.

Neville agreed it was the worst feeling he’d ever had in his life, Ron adding on it had given him the feeling he could never be cheerful again. Ginny was still curled into herself and gave a light sob.

“That poor girl,” James frowned in concern “like she really needed to be reminded of her last year.”

Harry was frowning in real concern, wanting to go back and hug the girl now and try to make sure she was okay, but he’d been a little preoccupied with his own reaction at the time.

Hermione gave her a small hug, but Harry instead asked hadn’t any of them fallen down as well? Ron was still watching Harry very carefully as he admitted that Ginny had been shivering like crazy, but no.

Remus was quick to explain the different reactions people would have to dementor effects. It was all too clear on Harry’s face now what he was feeling, and none of them wanted him to feel like that when it wasn’t his fault how he reacted to this type of thing.

Harry nodded in understanding, very grateful to have this explained to him now rather than sitting on it, and finally understanding why he might have a sense a Deja` vu about Remus telling him this. He very well might have asked him later this school year.

Harry didn’t understand, he still felt like he’d spent a week running a fever, and why hadn’t anyone else reacted like he had?

“Your reaction wasn’t that bad,” Sirius said bracingly, taking pity on his pup and admitting something he was very not proud of. “My first time running into a dementor, I remembered back to when I’d been locked up with that dragon in Gringotts and I ran for it. Didn’t think twice about it, course I felt just as ashamed as you after the fact.”

Harry gave his godfather a full blown smile then, realizing what it took for Sirius to admit to this. He still thought passing out was still a far worse reaction then running, but he understood what he was trying to do all the same and appreciated it.

Lupin came back in then, and when he saw all of them holding melting pieces of chocolate, he made the joke that he hadn’t poisoned it. Harry went to take a bite, and found himself warmed all over.

“Lesson number one, take his advice when it comes to dealing with creatures” James told Harry wisely.

“I’m sure I remember that” Harry smiled right back, more than pleased some of that horrible mood was finally leaking back out of the room. All five of them were almost eager to keep reading now, wondering when exactly Remus was going to pull Harry aside so they could talk, hopefully with a simple and understandable explanation of why it hadn’t happened already.

Then he told all of them that they’d be arriving at the castle very soon, before asking if Harry was alright by name. Harry didn’t bother to ask how he’d known his name.

Remus face twisted all over again with self-hatred and annoyance, Harry should have grown up knowing the answer to that dammit, but no one said anything about it this time.

He just muttered that he was fine before turning away with embarrassment all over again. They all remained quiet the rest of the trip, not having much to say as they went out into the weather,

Then they all felt a sinking feeling residing in them as they realized Remus hadn’t exactly seized an opportunity quite yet. Then Lily said what they were all thinking “I’m sure he just didn’t want to risk being interrupted, the trains not exactly private after all. I wouldn’t even be too surprised if he waits until tomorrow after all of your classes are over, and asks you to his office or something.”

She said it with such confidence, it made the other boys feel better at once, but Harry was still frowning. Why wouldn’t he believe his mother about this? Surely Remus did come talk to him, explain away what was bothering them all now...right?

and the cacophony of the many pets displaying their protest to the rain, even Neville’s toad who could be heard croaking under his hat.

“Glad he didn’t lose him again” James smirked, remembering back to their first year and the mysterious missing Trevor, glad Neville seemed to have found a way to keep a better eye on his pet.

They followed the short path up to the school carriages, said their hello’s to Hagrid whose job was to escort the first years down a different way to boats, and then climbed into the warm seats pulled by invisible horses.

“Nah, you’ll learn about those sometime in your sixth or seventh year” Remus shrugged.

“So, what are they?” Harry asked, feeling grumpy all over again at having to ask a question he should know.

This time Sirius explained, and Harry nodded as he remembered them mentioning these odd beasts earlier, but then asked “so you can only see them when you’ve seen someone die?”

“Yep” Sirius agreed.

“Then how come Harry didn’t see them after he technically saw Quirrell die?” James asked, now realizing this hadn’t exactly come up at the end of the last book when he would have taken the carriages back.

“Harry passed out before he actually saw Quirrell die,” Lily reminded “we didn’t even know he was dead until Dumbledore told us.”

“Oh yeah” he nodded.

Since Sirius had given Harry a pretty good description of the beasts, Harry let the matter go, but he was still wondering why he had a good idea he knew these beasts better.

Harry had started to feel better since he’d eaten the chocolate, but still weak. His friends kept throwing covert looks his way, like they thought he was going to pass out again any second.

“I really wish you had explained better what dementors were then” Sirius grumbled.

“So do I” Remus agreed, more than frustrated with himself...which was an odd feeling, being mad at something you hadn’t technically done, or in this case not done, yet.

There were two more dementors hovering just outside the gates of the school,

“Yes, because I’m so sure I’m just going to come waltzing through the front gates, please give me a little credit” Sirius huffed. James and Remus rolled their eyes, but Sirius had said that with an almost normal tone of voice, a first since finding out and referring to himself, so they let the comment slide.

and Harry had to fight hard against another cold feeling creeping up on him again. Then they moved past, and he went back to feeling just semi nauseous until the carriages stopped and they climbed out, to a less then pleasant welcome as someone said behind him that they’d heard from Neville that Harry had fainted.

“Who did Neville tell that would be mocking Harry like that?” Lily said in outrage.

Harry defended his friend at once, still grimacing in annoyance as his memory recognized all too well that tone of voice, but he knew Ron had asked/ snapped at Neville about this later so he explained “Neville and Ginny had been talking about it in their own carriage when they had been getting in one, and Malfoy overheard. He didn’t mean to start this.”

Lily backed down, mollified at once, but Sirius was still rather annoyed enough his tone showed it as he read.

Ron turned on Malfoy and told him to piss off, but Malfoy was still laughing, asking if the dementors had scared him as well? None of them had a chance to respond when Lupin got out of his own carriage behind them.

“Professor Lupin is the best” James said, then burst out cackling when he realized how much fun this could be.

Sirius was frowning at him though, slightly miffed as he said “you couldn’t have held off on that? I wanted Ron to punch him.”

“So sorry my timing wasn’t to your liking” Remus rolled his eyes at him.

Malfoy gave Lupin an unkind appraising look, taking in his thin frame and very old clothes, before giving an unconvincing no, adding on Professor at the end in the most degrading way possible before walking off.

“And I already hated this kid before” Sirius scowled down at the book now “but if he really gives you crap I’m going to insist someone needs to knock his lights out.”

“I think I can handle a third year picking on me Sirius” Remus smirked at him, still warmed all the same, and flashing back to a few times when Sirius had made that threat about any other kid who picked on him for his appearance.

The three of them went into the castle then, only for Harry and Hermione to immediately be called aside.

“What did they do now?” James demanded of nothing, Merlin they’d just stepped foot in.

“Why Hermione,” Lily puzzled, long since used to Harry seeming to get more attention than any of them wanted “and I agree, what on earth could this be about?”

They turned to find McGonagall waving them over to her,

“Well at least it wasn’t Snape or Filch trying to blame them for something before school even started” Sirius grumbled.

with a look on her face that made Harry think he was already in trouble.

“She has that effect on everybody” Remus smirked.

She clearly noticed this, telling them to relax and she just wanted to talk to them in her office.

“A word about what though?” Harry asked, still a little on edge at that remembered look.

All of them shrugged, not having the faintest idea.

Then she told Ron to go inside and escorted them to her office, starting on Harry and telling that Lupin had sent word ahead something had happend to Harry on the train.

“Oh Remus, you didn’t” Harry groaned, going bright red with remembered embarrassment.

Remus however was smiling, finally pleased with something he’d done in this future, as he explained to Harry “oh I’m very sure I did. You shouldn’t be embarrassed about what happened to you Harry, but I’d still feel much better if you were double checked by someone.”

Harry grumbled to himself, not in any kind of agreement because of the fuss he knew this would cause, but it caused the others to continue smiling more broadly. Finally, here was something they had all been hoping for since the very first book, someone who really was there simply to look after their little Harry.

Harry tried to protest, but then the school nurse came in, Madam Pomfrey, took one look at Harry and stated he must have been up to something dangerous again.

“She makes it sound like I do this on purpose” Harry fumed to himself.

McGonagall explained for him it had been a dementor, and Pomfrey was not pleased as she began checking Harry over, muttering her distaste at those things in this school, around delicate children,

“I’m not delicate” Harry said in outrage, causing Sirius to burst into unrestrained laughter.

He refused to explain why though, swallowing back more laughter as he read.

Harry rebutted he wasn’t delicate!

Causing the rest of them to snicker as well at Harry’s mirrored response. Harry crossed his arms and grumbled about them picking on him.

McGonagall asked what he needed, should he stay the night in the hospital wing?

“Oh he shouldn’t be that bad,” James rolled his eyes “he’s really had all the treatment that could be given.”

Harry protested this at once, horror already coming to him as he realized what kids like Malfoy would have to say about that.

“I swear teachers were never young” Sirius agreed in disgust, they never seemed to understand what their actions could do to a student’s status.

“I think I should resent that comment now” Remus butted in, grinning from ear to ear at being able to say that.

Sirius appraised him for a moment, before amending “okay, most teachers.”

Madam Pomfrey said he should be fine so long as he ate some chocolate, and Harry said he’d already had some, from Lupin. Pomfrey was pleased, saying that for once they had a Defense teacher who knew what they were doing.

“DADA huh,” James said in approval “well I couldn’t be happier, at least now Harry finally has a competent teacher!”

“Thank Merlin,” Sirius agreed, nearly bouncing in place in excitement “I’m almost happy to be able to hold off on all those insults I’ve been coming up with, and push them off for another year.”

“I am equally delighted you both have so much faith in me, and offended you think something’s going to happen to me at the end of this year Sirius” Remus smiled indulgently at the pair of them, continuing by addressing Sirius again “what exactly do you think is going to happen? I like to think I might even be able to break that stupid rumor, I’m not superstitious.”

“Oh I don’t know” Sirius shrugged, not looking very concerned by the matter “in fact, you’ve got my vote of confidence for doing just that.”

“Well now I’m all settled then” he rolled his eyes indulgently, causing the others to continue laughing at the pairs exchange.

When Harry confirmed that he really was okay, McGonagall asked him to step into the hallway because she wanted to speak privately with Hermione about her schedule, but to wait for them.

“McGonagall’s probably telling her she can’t actually take all of those classes” Lily remembered sadly.

“But she’s already bought all of her textbooks” Sirius protested with a frown “shouldn’t they have done this before the year started, like last year?”

“Maybe they can come up with some sort of deal so that she can rearrange her schedule?” Harry offered, nodding to himself as he was pretty sure this answer felt right.

“Can’t see how that would happen” James disagreed “like we said, some of those happen at the same time.”

Harry waited outside as Pomfrey went away, still grumbling to herself about the things around this school. He didn’t wait long though when Hermione came back out looking quite pleased,

“Well lookie there,” Remus raised a brow in surprise “looks like Harry was right.”

“How though,” Sirius insisted “private lessons?”

Harry shrugged when he realized they were actually expecting him to answer, saying “she didn’t tell me, that was just me trying to guess.”

They speculated a few more ideas, but when they finally realized they wouldn’t really know until lessons started, and let the matter go for now.

then they all went down to the Great Hall where Flitwick was carrying away the standard stool and hat that was used to sort first years.

“Hadn’t thought of that,” Lily nodded “McGonagall wasn’t the one to do the opening ceremony. Guess I would have thought that the first years would have just waited on her.”

“Something else I’ve never seen before” James grinned.

Hermione was disappointed they’d missed the event of watching the new students be sorted into Hufflepuff, Slytherin, Gryffindor, or Ravenclaw.

“I still don’t understand why this book keeps randomly explaining things we all know” Sirius rolled his eyes.

“Maybe it’s to do with whatever spell was used to create these” Remus offered.

McGonagall went up to the teachers table while Harry and Hermione went over to the Gryffindor, taking a seat on either side of Ron, while Harry was trying to ignore all the looks of students watching him, wondering if it was possible the whole school knew of his dementor debacle already.

“Sadly, I can believe that” James said with a wince for his son. Looks like another first week that was going to consist of people gawking at his boy.

Ron asked what they’d been doing, and Harry was fixing to explain when Dumbledore stood up to make his speech, and watching his headmaster Harry couldn’t help but feel more at peace right then than he had since before his train ride.

While the boys couldn’t help but smile at this, they did tend to feel the same way around such a calming and powerful figure that was their headmaster, Lily felt a sinking feeling as she suddenly wondered if perhaps Harry might even be projecting a sense of parent on Dumbledore? It’s not as if he had anyone else to connect to like this.

He began by welcoming them all to school, but pointing out the search of the train,

“Was trying to forget that honestly” Sirius grumbled.

was instructed by the school itself. The dementors were on the grounds of Hogwarts this year by order of the Ministry of Magic, while pausing for a moment leading Harry to remember that Arthur had mentioned Dumbledore’s distaste with the creatures.

“And now you know exactly why” James grumbled with distaste.

He went on by telling them that there were dementors at every in and out of the school, and could not be fooled by anything, not even invisibility cloaks. Harry and Ron glanced at each other.

“Why?” Remus grinned “you know he knows you have it.”

“Just thought it was odd he pointed that thing in particular” Harry shrugged.

Dumbledore warned that these were not things that could be reasoned with, and it was best to avoid them if at all possible. He then instructed that the Head Boy and Girl were given special permission to make sure no students did anything that had to do with the dementors. Percy puffed himself up, making himself look as important as possible in that moment. Dumbledore took another short pause, continuing on seriously,

“Not as Sirius as I could I’m sure” said man smirked, ducking instinctively as both of his friends made to smack him.

He then quickly hurried on, still smirking.

that he did have some good news, and addressed the newest teacher Professor Lupin, who had consented to taking the Defense Against the Dark Arts job.

“Consented,” James smirked over at him, “like you didn’t faint from happiness when he asked you to.”

Remus shrugged though, not exactly arguing with James, but also rather weary all the same. He knew for a fact he could put the same measures in place as he had when he was younger, and make absolutely sure he never did harm a student, but he also had the lingering fear as he did when he was a child. If anyone, students or parents, found out what he was he had no doubts he’d be forcibly removed from the school. Now though, a new tightening was also beginning to happen in his throat as he realized the circumstances he’d been planted in. Not only would he be locked up in the Shrieking Shack without his friends, but he’d be having the ghost of his memories haunting him in that castle. He shook it off, gave a weak chuckle for James benefit, but Sirius still gave him a perturbed look before reading on anyways.

Very few people clapped at the announcement,

“Ouch” Lily winced in sympathy, but Remus quickly waved her off, saying “I’m not heartbroken. You didn’t hear them applauding Lockheart or Quirrell did you? Being a teacher is hardly a popularity contest.”

“Please Remus, don’t even bother comparing yourself to those two loons” Harry said, rolling his eyes in contempt “I’ve known you for a few days and I don’t need memories to know you’ll be ten times better then them.”

“That’s what I was going to say,” Sirius smirked, then pretended to pout as he continued “though now I am slightly upset myself that I have to hold back on all those new insults I came up with for this position.”

“My heart goes out for you” James snorted.

the only ones doing it with any real heart were the select Gryffindors who’d been in the compartment that Lupin had saved. Harry couldn’t help but notice though how he looked even less then healthy and even more shabby compared to all of the other teachers.

Remus couldn’t help but wince, having a pretty good idea his finances over the years hadn’t gotten any better, but he wouldn’t let anyone pause to give him sympathy for it, nearly pushing the book against Sirius’ nose to make him keep going.

Ron then told Harry to take a look at Snape.

“Oh Merlin yes” James crowed, pumping his fist in the air and bouncing around like he had a sudden sugar rush.

Sirius wasn’t any better, he started laughing so hard the book nearly slipped from his grip, while Remus rolled his eyes indulgently at the pair and couldn’t hide a smirk himself.

Lily gave scathing looks to all three of them, knowing quite well what had them hooting like morons, but Harry was giving them all puzzled looks so she explained to him “they’re being childish idiots dear. You know as well as I do that Severus wanted the DADA position, so there lording it that Remus got the job instead.”

“It’s priceless” Sirius insisted, wiping tears of mirth from his eyes.

“It also means that Snape can’t give Harry too much hell this year” James grinned, still squirming with happiness “because if McGonagall doesn’t stop him Remus will.”

Remus bit at his lip, he didn’t really know what his friends were expecting. It’s not like he could sit in the back of the potions class and tell off Snape for what he did to Harry. He also knew for a fact he was hardly going to dog him in the corridors to make sure Snape didn’t unfairly punish him like he had in the past, he was also rather torn on if he did come along how much help he’d really be. Snape was a teacher just like him, and if Harry was doing something wrong, he would hardly want to let Harry get away with it, in fear of showing Harry favoritism. So he remained silent, still grinning slightly as Lily told them both to shut up. Sirius was still chuckling lightly as he read.

Harry easily spotted him. Snape was well known for wanting that position for himself, but Harry was still shocked to see the look of outright hatred twisting his features that he normally only saved for Harry.

“I would hardly be his favorite person to see again,” Remus nodded “though I didn’t exactly go out of my way to bug him like they did” he finished, gesturing at his friends.

Lily narrowed her eyes in annoyance, and James and Sirius took that as a sign not to add anything on. What they didn’t know was that Lily was actually getting rather annoyed at her old friend this time. She still hated the way he treated Harry, but if he turned and started acting that way towards Remus as well, she really was going to lose her patience with his actions. Remus was hardly innocent in his friend’s actions, but she would be the first to snap at him; he was being childish if he was still going to hold a grudge against him now. She hated what these four boys had done, but she had learned to forgive and forget their stupid actions, why on earth couldn’t he?

Dumbledore carried on, mentioning they had another staffing change,

“Oh yeah” James nodded in remembrance “there’s supposed to be a new Care of Magical Creatures teacher too” he leaned in eagerly to hear this one.

as the old Care of Magical Creatures teacher had retired, wanting to save his remaining limbs,

Sirius released a surprised snort of laughter, yeah he couldn’t exactly blame him for that, though he was sorry to hear him go.

but Dumbledore had hired Rubeus Hagrid as his replacement,

“Really?” Harry beamed.

“Absolutely” Sirius nodded, grinning right along.

“That’s awesome,” James nodded eagerly “no one could do better then Hagrid at that.”

“Does that mean they’d need a new gamekeeper though?” Remus asked, just as happy as the others, but still thinking more big picture.

Sirius looked down curiously.

for the job, who’d gladly accepted along with keeping his original title of gamekeeper.

“Wow,” Lily laughed “well I’m more then happy to hear that.”

“So, for once, Harry will actually get a good education all year” James smirked.

“Just so long as Hagrid doesn’t try and bring another dragon to class for a lesson” Sirius muttered, mostly to himself.

The trio more then happily applauded this, noting Hagrid’s look of embarrassment. Ron was laughing then, pointing out that it made sense he would be the one to get them all to buy a biting book.

That released surprised and happy laughter from all of them, yes it did seem Hagrid’s type now they thought about it.

Hagrid was trying to subtly wipe his eyes on the tablecloth at the staff table.

“Aw” Lily cooed.

“Can’t blame him one bit” Remus nodded in understanding. He more than anyone knew what it felt like to be something someone didn’t particularly have much faith in, but had been given such a chance as this.

Harry knew what this must mean to Hagrid, as he’d been kicked out of school at thirteen for a murder he had not done, meaning he wasn’t technically a full wizard.

“Doesn’t matter,” Sirius said, though no one had asked him, he kept going anyways “you don’t have to be a fully qualified wizard to teach Magical Creatures.”

“Wasn’t that charge dropped anyways?” James asked.

“Yes, but I never asked why he didn’t chose to go back to school” Harry shrugged.

After the food was served and everyone else was heading off to bed, Harry and his friends went up to congratulate him in person, but Hagrid didn’t get much coherency as he started crying with pleasure all over again and McGonagall told them to get to their dormitories.

“Aw” Lily squealed again.

Remus couldn’t help but lean down and whisper something into Sirius’ ear, causing him to laugh quite loudly, and Lily to shoot the pair poisonous looks, making Sirius quick to hurry on.

They caught up with the rest of their house and went up to their tower, waiting for Percy to get there and tell them the new password, making Neville bemoan. He was well known for commonly forgetting the secret word to gain entrance.

“Write them down on something?” Sirius suggested with a shrug.

“You’re not supposed to,” Lily said at once “what if another student found it?”

“I’d rather he did that then get locked out” Remus said in sympathy.

They went inside to find all their stuff already in their rooms, and Harry beamed around finding himself home once more.

“I remember that feeling” Sirius nodded, passing the book along to Harry for his turn.

Sadly updates are going to have to be reduced again with my finals coming up, probably only Tuesdays and Fridays for a while, sorry...

*I know all of you guys have been hyped up for the big Sirius reveal, and I’m so glad you all found it to be good and in character, but this is the chapter I’ve been most anxious to get to. Remus is unabashedly my favorite character! (Have you ever noticed if you ask an HP fan who their favorite character is, no one actually says Harry.) I’ve spent many a long hours trying to understand why and where he was during Harry’s life, and I do hope you guys liked the reasons I provided. More will keep coming the more they understand about Harry’s and Remus’ life later in books five and six, I’ve got some more theories and add on’s then, but until then hope you enjoyed!

** I looked it up, and poor Remus, it was actually a full moon that night, even though Sept. 1st 1993 was actually a Wed, but hey logistics of magic means the true full moon was the night before/that morning. He’s recovering from it, hence he was OK for the feast that night and why he slept most of the trip; he’d been awake all night as a werewolf.

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