Harry Potter and the ? (Prisoner of Azkaban)

Flight of the Fat Lady

A/N: A big stinking thank you to every single person! I’d write it randomly throughout the story as well if I didn’t think that would annoy you guys to show just how grateful I am.

Lily took the book with very mixed emotions. Harry was only one week into this school year and already she felt as wrung out and emotionally drained as his other two years. She would also keep a lid on her emotions and not blow up at Snape like she knew they were all expecting. Hoping it just couldn’t get any worse, she hesitantly began to read.

After that, Defense became hands down the best class for the majority of students.

Remus couldn’t help but beam with pleasure, while James and Sirius were unsurprised and smirking.

Only Malfoy and his select Slytherins found anything to bad mouth Lupin about.

Lily’s lips formed a sneer of annoyance; she found it horrid anyone would say something about someone else because of the way they dressed, especially when he couldn’t help it.

She saw the boys clench as they fought their disgust, only Remus rolled his eyes, not looking very concerned. He doubted this kid could say anything he hadn’t already heard before.

He laughed loudly in the corridors even as said teacher passed, mocking him for dressing like their old house elf.

“I like to think I’m a little better off than an old pillow case” Remus said lightly.

“Wonder what happened to Dobby anyways” James said with interest, still rather wound up at anybody insulting one of his friends, but recognizing it couldn’t really be handled right now.

“I’m rather sure I find out” Harry said with as much confidence as he ever could when talking about his future, but he did seem rather sure on this matter, so the others let it go for now.

This didn’t concern any of the other students though,

“The good people never do care” Sirius nodded in agreement.

as they eagerly anticipated and were promptly delivered the next set of interesting lessons, ranging from all manner of magical beasts over the next several weeks.

However much they all forced themselves to continue ignoring the issue, they all felt just that little bit worse when they realized time was still dragging on and Remus very clearly wasn’t going to have that talk with Harry. Why though, what possible reason could he have for ignoring him like this? If it really was Dumbledore stopping him, then what motive could the Headmaster have? Harry deserved an adult wizard in his life, one that would make sure to look after him like Dumbledore himself clearly hadn’t. No one could bring themselves to say anything aloud though, having no more answers now than when this had first come up.

Harry just wished that his other classes were going as well, like Potions.

Lily grit her teeth in frustration, before reading on forcefully, already having to use a lot of self-restraint to read in a normal tone.

Snape was acting even worse than usual.

“Bitter old bat” Sirius huffed.

He’d clearly overheard the story of his boggart.

Here James and Sirius again didn’t bother hiding their laughter one little bit, dearly hoping they never would have to again.

He’d also taken to giving Lupin a death look whenever they were in the same vicinity, while if ever his name was spoken in ear shot that student would receive the same treatment.

“Glad he blames me for that rather than Neville,” Remus frowned “at least I can handle him.”

His treatment of Neville had doubled up in bad.

Lily wasn’t the only one seething by the end of this; they all wanted to strangle this overgrown child for treating a student like that. It was Snape’s own damned fault he was Neville’s worst fear, and the subsequent boggart form. It was infuriating for him to still not have learned his lesson. His continuation of the treatment to Neville and the other students was doing nothing to stop future boggart incidents. Lily was going to give him a not very pleasant visit soon.

Divination wasn’t going any better, as that teacher now watched Harry with dew filled eyes.

“Oh please” James scoffed with perhaps a bit more acid than normal, still distracted and peeved at Snape’s actions.

Unlike Harry though, some of the other students had taken to revering Trelawney.

“Ah the easily fooled youth” Sirius said lightly, finding her rather annoying as well.

Parvati and Lavender in particular began spending their lunch breaks with her, and proceeded to then speak to their fellow students with knowledge bound smirks.

“And Hermione has to share a dorm with them,” Lily asked in disgust “I feel bad for her now.”

They’d also jumped on the bandwagon and began treating Harry like they were at his wake.

“That must get annoying, considering how loud the school can get. Could you even hear them?” Remus asked.

Harry couldn’t help but roll his eyes, finding those girls antics rather annoying as he said “I hardly spoke to them anyways, and no, not really. By that point I didn’t care.”

Care of Magical Creatures had lost its fun as well,

“Oh no,” Sirius frowned “what happened?”

as Hagrid had lost all charisma after the debauched first class, and had spent the remainder of time teaching them how to take care of flobberworms.

“Ouch” Remus winced in sympathy.

“Poor Hagrid” Lily agreed with a frown.

“Guess I can see that happening” James admitted.

Ron found these classes the most boring thing of all, pointing out how useless the wriggling creatures were while shoving lettuce down its gullet.

“Ron’s also got a point,” Sirius rolled his eyes “flobberworms are very self-managing, and they’re pretty much just grub for a few creatures. Hagrid’s doing the class a real injustice for lingering on these things longer than five minutes.”

“I can only imagine the seventh years appreciating this, as if he carries on to long their NEWT’s will be a breeze” Remus agreed with a slight wince.

October though brought something new to Harry’s plate, as the Quidditch season was set to begin.

“Yes” all four boys brightened up at that, and then Sirius narrowed his eyes dangerously at Lily and said “I swear if you get to read his Quidditch chapter, I’m going to have a fit. It’s high time I’ve gotten my turn at that.”

Lily rolled her eyes at him; personally she was hoping she didn’t get it too since she had hardly enjoyed the sport even before it seemed to have gone out of its way to pulverize her son every chance it got. She’d gladly hand over the book to Sirius if he really wanted to read it.

Oliver Wood was well aware of this, using his first bit of practice to go over brand new skills and tactics he’d been thinking on. The narration began to explain that there were seven players in Quidditch,

“Oh here we go again” James rolled his eyes “the book explaining something we’ve already gone over.”

“Yes well, since it’s about Quidditch, I’m willing to allow this” Sirius smirked.

and gave a small overview of the game.

“At least it was brief” Remus shrugged without concern.

Wood was now a seventh year in school,

“Oh that’s right,” James nodded “this will be his last year there. Poor kid hasn’t won the Cup once as captain has he?”

Harry shuffled a little, feeling personally to blame for this, but the others still wouldn’t hear of it and spent a few more minutes telling Harry why this was ridiculous of him to think so. He did look slightly better by the end of it, and still had a personal conviction that nothing like this should happen this year, he and his team would win that Cup, he hoped.

Hoping to make Harry feel at least a little better he also pointed out “besides, it’s not like anyone who would review him for a professional team could blame any of that on you. They’d look at his statistics of how many goals he’s saved, and other such stats.”

Harry did look a little better at that reminder, thinking he had won Wood every game he’d been in so far, and ignoring an odd little feeling like he should correct that statement.

and as this was his last year to win the Quidditch Cup for their team, he kept up a constant reminder of that. He began by addressing some of the reasons they hadn’t won the last two games, due to unpreventable circumstances,

“See, that wasn’t your fault at all, just paranoid teachers” Sirius said bracingly.

“Rightly paranoid,” Lily corrected “but I’ll admit you’re still right to.”

but they had the best team by far of the school, stating the names of the three best Chasers, the unbeatable Beaters the Weasley twins, who kindly flattered themselves at his praise,

“Well they’re not modest are they” James chuckled.

and their Seeker who’d won them every game.

“Damned straight” Sirius and James both grinned, having called this way back when Harry started playing, and still convinced until otherwise proven that Harry would probably never lose a match.

Wood finished with a furious pride staring down at Harry.

“Err, gee, thanks” Lily muttered, though she was smiling a bit too at how happy Harry seemed at such praise.

Then he tacked himself on at the end. Fred and George were quick to agree his own praise was well deserved.

“Glad they gave him his credit” Remus approved.

Then Wood carried on, reminding that this was his last chance to get that Cup before he left school, and he looked so desolate by saying it even the twins turned sympathetic.

“Aw” James and Sirius said with concern.

“Okay, now I’m really hoping you win this year just because of that” Remus agreed.

The team rallied, promising it would be an easy victory, and they began the team practices three times a week, with Harry now dreaming of that Cup himself.

While the boys were still giddy with excitement as well, Sirius was personally hoping this match got put off for another two chapters, feeling it was high time he got his Quidditch game.

Harry returned from one particularly wet flying practice to find Ron and Hermione eagerly looking over something, a flyer stating when their first Hogsmeade trip would be.

Harry went from pent up excitement at the prospect of winning the Cup like he so dearly hoped, to disgruntled at once. In all the excitement of finding out Sirius and Remus were alive, right now he was more than distracted by the matter, but he knew his thirteen year old self would still be beyond upset at this turn of events.

Which would be taking place on Halloween.

Then the four of them winced, having a rather bad track record of that holiday in their opinion, but still more than convinced nothing too bad could happen to Harry this year, or any more years for that matter. Remus and Sirius would get this whole mess figured out…why they hadn’t already was still too touchy for anyone to bring up. The point was Harry now had two great protectors who wouldn’t let anything too bad happen to him again.

Hermione caught sight of Harry’s down turn of a mood, and tried to sooth him he might could go on the next one,

“Did someone magically sign his form, and he’s still prevented from going this time” Lily asked redundantly.

that Black was sure to be caught sooner rather than later.

Sirius winced, but still said in a forced light tone “that’s not why he’s not allowed to go, come on Hermione should be able to keep up better than that.”

“She’s probably so distracted by her butt loads of homework” James reminded.

Ron brought up the old argument that Black wasn’t stupid enough to try anything in such a public place like Hogsmeade,

Sirius was making goofy faces at the baby again and refusing to allow himself to react negatively to this continued topic.

telling Harry he should still ask McGonagall if he can go anyways.

“She’ll say no every stinking time,” James grumbled “cause he doesn’t have his stupid form.”

Hermione told Ron off for that, saying Harry was supposed to be staying inside.

“They really can’t keep him locked up forever” Remus rolled his eyes.

Ron pointed out Harry would literally be the only person who couldn’t, and Harry agreed he’d at least try his head of house. Hermione looked about arguing,

“Argue what?” Lily demanded.

“That I shouldn’t” Harry shrugged.

“Hermione’s being a bit paranoid this year,” Sirius noted “really, I’m with Remus, she can’t expect you to stay cooped up forever.”

but was cut off by her cat jumping into her lap, a pre killed spider clamped in its mouth. Ron looked disgusted as his yellow eyes watched Ron while he ate it up.

James couldn’t help but snort with laughter at that, the cat was hardly being subtle about its feelings towards Ron.

He told Hermione to keep the cat away from him, he had Scabbers stowed away in his bag. Harry wasn’t paying them much attention as he began to dig out his homework, but Ron pushed his finished copy towards his friend.

“Not going to say anything Lily” Sirius asked, still trying to get a provocation out of her, and being more amused the longer this went on. She was trying so hard not to react to anything.

“No,” Lily shrugged without looking up “I’m not perfect, and I’ll willingly admit I had to sometimes get help from others on some homework. I think Harry should have tried first, but there’s nothing for it now.”

Harry wasn’t the only one who gave her a surprised look at that, but he did look the most grateful.

Hermione may have said something about this as well, but then Crookshanks pounced on Ron’s bag, claws extended.

“Dang,” Remus winced “is he still after Scabbers?”

“Apparently” James grumbled, feeling all the more annoyed at both cat and girl now.

Ron tried to wrench his bag away, and Hermione told him not to hurt her cat.

“Really?” Sirius demanded. “He’s trying to eat Ron’s pet, and that’s her response.”

“Both of them need to learn to keep their pets separated” Lily agreed.

“Kind of hard to do when they spend so much time together” Harry sighed.

Everyone in the room was watching as Ron flung his bag hard, trying to dislodge Crookshanks, but instead sent Scabbers flying away.

“Uh oh” they all muttered, knowing Scabbers was much safer in Ron’s bag, not that the rat could understand that.

Ron tried to grab up the feline, but missed, and yelled at someone to catch him! George made a swipe for his tail, but missed.

“Good thing he’s not a Chaser then” Sirius muttered without any real humor, feeling just as uneasy as anyone else at how this might turn out.

The rat made quick work of darting between everything and flashed under a wooden chest.

“Where the cat hopefully can’t follow” Remus nodded happily.

Crookshanks tried to follow, smashing his face as low as possible and batting at the available carpet, but then the owners arrived as Hermione pulled him into her arms, and Ron had to shove his arm clear up to his elbow to pull Scabbers out by his bald tail.

“At least that went better than I feared” Lily sighed in relief.

“Yeah, but how many more times is it going to happen” James was still frowning “Hermione should have realized it was a bad idea to buy that particular cat back when this happened before.”

None of them could think of anything else to say, all having a very bad feeling this was going to get worse before it got better.

Ron was yelling at Hermione already, saying that cat was slowly killing his rat from stress! Hermione shot back that it wasn’t Crookshanks fault, it was in his nature.

“True,” Lily nodded “but she should have thought of that back when she bought him, and not bought him.”

“Buying a cat when one of your best friends owns a rat feels like a recipe for disaster” Remus agreed.

Ron insisted it was Hermione’s cat though, how it had heard him say Scabbers was in his pack.

“Now he’s just being a little ridiculous” Sirius smirked. “‘Heard’? Nah, he smelt him obviously.”

“Not the point” James reminded.

Hermione told him he was being ridiculous, but Ron wouldn’t hear it, telling her off that Scabbers was sick and here first!

“A very good point” Lily huffed, while Remus cocked his head to the side, thinking over that sentence. Scabbers had been getting sick before Hermione bought Crookshanks, so Ron was obviously exaggerating that part as well. This also couldn’t be the first time Scabbers had interacted with a cat; surely some other Gryffindor owned one. The truth probably was; Scabbers was getting old, and Ron was projecting his fear of his pet dying of old age on his hatred of the cat.

Then he stamped off towards the stairs, and refused to come down until next morning’s class, Herbology, where Hermione’s first question was to ask how Scabbers was doing?

“At least she asks” James said still a little stiffly.

“Hermione cares,” Lily snipped at him for the tone “perhaps she’s not showing it that well, but it’s not like she set that cat on Scabbers on purpose. She’d be just as upset if an accident did happen and Crookshanks ate him.”

James backed off slightly, noting that at least Hermione’s asking was an attempt at the start of an apology.

Ron snapped that he was cowering at the foot of his bed, while knocking over a tin of beans in his rage.

“And Ron’s clearly still holding a grudge” Sirius noted.

Sprout told him off for that, as he ruined a whole plantation that sprouted to life as they watched.

Harry’s startled look was enough to make the others laugh, never getting tired of his constant surprise of the magical world.

Later in Transfiguration, Harry was stewing over how to ask McGonagall if he could go into Hogsmeade

“Know the answer to that already” Remus sighed.

“He’s got a point” James nodded when Harry looked like he might try and argue his point. “Unless you outright tell McGonagall why they hadn’t signed, which by your track record you won’t” he finished in a rather grumpy tone.

Harry sighed, knowing full well he’d never tell a teacher something like that, so remained silent and hoped anyways.

but was distracted outside of the class by Lavender in tears.

“Oh no” Lily frowned in concern.

“She’s a girl” Sirius scoffed “I’m sure she’s just exaggerating.”

“And here I thought you actually had a heart” Lily snapped at him at once, ignoring his eye roll. Whether he meant it or not, he really needed to stop making jokes like that.

Parvati was clearly trying to comfort her while talking to Dean and Seamus, who looked rather serious.

“Shut it Sirius” Lily snapped at him before he could open his mouth.

Sirius pouted at her, grumbling that she was kind of proving his point about how dramatic girls were, but then James nudged him and convinced him to let it go.

When the three of them approached, Parvati explained for them that Lavender had gotten a letter from home saying that her rabbit had been eaten by a fox.

“Aw,” Sirius winced “okay, poor kid.”

“Thank you” Lily acknowledged.

Sirius made sure she could see his eye roll this time, stating “come on Lils, I’m not heartless. I own an owl; I’d be pretty upset if anything happened to him too.”

Lily still didn’t think he’d gotten her point, that he shouldn’t have made the joke in the first place, but decided to let it go.

Lavender was wailing that she shouldn’t even be surprised, today of all days! It was October sixteenth, and the thing she’d been dreading happend, she was right!

“Oh crap” Remus said, blinking in shock.

“I’d honestly forgotten about that” James admitted.

“Wow, honestly, I think that Trelawney might have some real Seer’s blood” Sirius said in surprise.

“Really Sirius? One right prediction and that’s what you go with?” Lily asked, not bothering to try and hide her disbelief.

Sirius shrugged, personally he found the odds that not only had she chosen the death omen that was dogging Harry this year, but now this? No, he truly was beginning to believe this woman might really have a power, even if she did still annoy him for her use of it on his pup. He said as much aloud, and while he didn’t really seem to convince anyone but Harry, the others found the argument to become rather circular after a time. Sirius wasn’t letting up and he wasn’t convincing anyone else so Lily decided to forcefully read on past this.

The rest of the class looked shocked and downed at the news, but Hermione began hesitantly by asking if Lavender had really feared her rabbit Binky being killed by a fox? Lavender stuttered that it wasn’t a fox exactly, but she’d feared for him! Hermione then asked if Binky was an older rabbit.

“Really Hermione?” Remus said with a frown. “Now, really?”

“I can see what she’s trying to do,” Lily nodded in agreement with both the girl and Remus “but, yeah, wrong time and place.”

Lavender moaned back that he was just a baby. Hermione then asked why she was so afraid of him dying. Parvati was now giving Hermione a dirty look.

“A fair reaction honestly” James sighed.

Hermione turned away from her and began addressing everyone as she pointed out that Binky hadn’t even died on this day, but Lavender had just gotten the news of it.

“Harry now would be the time to be a good friend and drag Hermione away” Remus pointed out.

“Before she continues making an arse out of herself like this” Sirius agreed. While he still would have argued the point on the probability of this happening on this day, he more than agreed Hermione wasn’t doing it the right way.

Harry just sighed, he’d only observed the scene and hadn’t really put an opinion on the matter, but he had felt rather bad for his friend as the rest of the class had been giving her harsh looks.

Plus, Lavender couldn’t have been too surprised, since she was so stunned by the news.

“Now that was just tactless” Lily winced.

Ron cut in, telling Lavender to ignore Hermione, since she held no regards for how other people felt about their pets.

“And that was just heartless” Remus huffed.

McGonagall arrived then, cutting off a haughty glare between the two normally friends.

“Finally I can count on her good timing again” Sirius said weakly, more than happy himself to have avoided that fight, and they weren’t even his friends.

They marched into class and sat on either side of Harry without looking at each other, and remained this way until class let out. It was McGonagall herself though that brought up the Hogsmeade trip, reminding that no one was allowed entrance without a form. Neville raised his hand hesitantly, beginning to explain he lost his,

“Ouch” all five of them winced, though none of them would admit rather selfishly pleased if Neville wouldn’t be permitted to go either. They could hardly get mad at Hermione and Ron for wanting to go, but it would certainly make them feel a little better if Harry wasn’t left behind on this.

but McGonagall explained that Neville’s grandmother had mailed it to her personally.

“Smart woman at least” Lily said aloud, ignoring the internal wince.

Then she dismissed the class, and Ron told Harry to go and talk to her. Hermione tried to say something,

“Still don’t understand why she’s arguing that one” Lily shook her head in disbelief. “Harry deserves to have a little fun.”

but Ron cut her off by insisting Harry should try. Harry went up to McGonagall’s desk, and began to explain that his relatives had forgotten to sign his permission form,

“Forgot” the four of them muttered in disgust, eying Harry in disbelief. They honestly wondered if Harry had told her what really happened if she would have really done something about it, but they couldn’t say they were surprised at this point either. Harry’s bad habit of glossing over this clearly hadn’t gotten any better now that he was older.

but stuttering out by asking if he could still go anyways?

“And stammering on top of everything” Remus sighed.

“I could already tell her answer from the look on her face before I finished” Harry sighed.

McGonagall replied as expected, telling him that no form meant no visit, it was a rule. Harry tried to protest, saying that his muggle relatives hadn’t understood it,

“That’s what you’re going with,” Lily groaned “just tell her the truth, and let’s sit back and see how quickly they continue living.”

Harry gave her a rather edgy look for her tone of voice but chose not to comment on that.

but if McGonagall gave him permission- she cut him off by saying she wasn’t going to. The form stated it had to be Harry’s parent or guardian.

“And now I want to cry for that reminder” Sirius hissed, looking far more deadly than upset in that moment at that stupid reminder they were all Harry had to claim as guardian right then.

Then she gave Harry an odd look, which sort of resembled pity.

“I’d like to think more like confusion,” Remus huffed “since she’d probably be wondering why you really hadn’t gotten your form signed.”

“With any luck she’ll bring it up to you, and you’ll investigate” Sirius murmured to him, causing a vindictive smirk to appear on both of their faces.

Then she told them to get along to their next class, and once they were gone Ron spent the time walking calling McGonagall a couple of things that annoyed Hermione.

“The worst part is, McGonagall’s still in the right” Lily sighed.

Said girl had a look on her face though that made it clear this was the best outcome, only angering Ron further.

“Yeah, she’s not exactly being helpful this year” James sighed.

As the weeks crept on and this was the sole topic of everyone’s conversation though, Ron tried to cheer Harry up that at least they would enjoy the holiday feast.

“Not exactly the worst consolation prize” Sirius offered bracingly, and Harry tried his best to give him a smile he didn’t really feel.

The rest of the Gryffindors tried to cheer up Harry as well when they found up, Dean offering to forge someone’s signature as he was a pretty good artist,

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

“Except that Harry just got done saying he hadn’t had his form signed” Remus reminded.

“Harry could have mailed it back and had it signed” Sirius said, mind now churning with possibility as he came up with a story for this. “He shouldn’t give it to her until the day before, gives some credibility to the idea, and he’d have to mail himself something that looks like that in case McGonagall notices how often he gets mail. Most likely she doesn’t, but it’s a safe backup.”

“You are putting way too much thought into this” Lily told him.

“Nonsense” Sirius scoffed at the same time James said “no such thing.”

While Harry didn’t disagree with them, he had a sinking feeling that all of Sirius’ planning didn’t actually come true then, and hardly looked happy about it as Lily read.

Harry turned down the idea though, reminding he’d told McGonagall he hadn’t had anyone sign it.

“Well dang, clearly no one in your dorm thinks outside the box” Remus sighed.

“Wish you’d go to the twins for help,” James grumbled “they could sneak you in no problem.”

Harry perked up suddenly, his dad’s words finally gave him that feeling he’d been missing, and he had a very good feeling this just might be what happened at some point. Still too worried about being wrong on the matter though, he didn’t say this.

Ron offered for him to use the invisibility cloak,

“Which might have worked if not for those bloody dementors” Sirius grimaced.

but then Hermione reminded they didn’t work on dementors. Percy offered the least helpful advice of all.

“Oh this can’t be good” James groaned.

Telling Harry that everyone made a big deal about Hogsmeade in a serious tone of voice,

“Not as Seriously as I could have” Sirius said quickly, clutching the baby to his chest to prevent either of his friends from smacking him.

“You shouldn’t be allowed to do that” James grumbled, looking rather disappointed that he didn’t have a chance to get at him.

“I think I should claim rights” Remus huffed, eyeing the baby “you’ve been holding him long enough.”

“I might share if you didn’t look like you were about to slap me once I did” Sirius smirked.

listing some of things that were worth seeing, but then adding on at the end that it wasn’t that much fun.

“He only listed like a fourth of the good stuff” James huffed under his breath, making sure Harry didn’t hear that one so he really wouldn’t feel worse.

Halloween dawned with Harry feeling the lowest he had in a long time, but he attempted to act normally, though unable to fool his friends as Hermione promised to bring him back loads of sweets, while Ron agreed. They’d clearly put the fight over their pets aside in favor of trying to make Harry feel better.

“That’s when you know you have some good friends” Sirius smiled brightly “when they put aside their differences for you.”

Harry couldn’t help but beam right back, trying his very best to smother how much he really missed his friends.

Harry tried to reassure them that he was going to be fine,

“I get the feeling it wasn’t actually an offhand tone of voice” Remus said lightly, “but good effort for trying.”

and promised to see them that night. He watched them leave, with Filch checking names off of a list to make sure no one was getting out who shouldn’t,

‘Which was basically every third year and up, aside from Harry’s,’ they all sighed in their head, but kept that comment to themselves.

and did his best to ignore Malfoy who laughed when he saw Harry wasn’t going, asking if he couldn’t stand the idea of going past the dementors.

“Of all the bloody rotten timing for him to-” Sirius began, using a bit more of a threatening growl than normal because of his depressed mood for his little pup being left behind.

Harry went back to his common room and went inside, only to find the place diminished to second years and below, and the few older students who had no want to go to Hogsmeade.

Harry grumbled something about he really couldn’t picture that. Honestly the other four really couldn’t either, it was never worth passing up an opportunity getting out of the castle, with permission the three trouble makers mentally added on.

He was just wondering what to do with himself now when Colin came up to Harry, a boy a year below Harry who always talked to him whenever he could.

“Oh yeah, almost forgot about him” Remus said in surprise.

“Well he clearly wasn’t dogging you that year, or he would have been mentioned by now” Sirius pointed out.

“No, thankfully he hadn’t memorized my schedule again,” Harry said in relief, but repeated “but he still went out of his way to talk to me.” He didn’t exactly look pleased, but he had to admit this was still better than last year.

He asked Harry why he wasn’t in Hogsmeade, then offered Harry to come sit with him and his friends.

“I don’t see that as being at the top of his to do list” James smirked.

Harry told him he’d forgotten to go do some homework.

“Pretty good on the spot lie” Remus appraised.

Then he turned back around and left, with the Fat Lady calling behind him that what was the point of getting her up?

“Because you deserve it for sleeping in the middle of the day” Lily snapped right back.

Harry began wandering through the hallways, but didn’t get very far before he decided homework wasn’t going to help.

All four of them were wincing in pain, hating how truly upset and lonely he seemed to be right then.

He didn’t backtrack too much when he ran into Filch, who snapped at Harry what he was doing? Harry just said ‘nothing.’

“You can’t ever really be doing nothing” James said loudly, trying to get at least a small smile out of Harry again.

Sirius noticed at once and continued “yeah, like technically right then you were walking, that’s something. Or you were standing, that’s something to. You can’t ever really be doing nothing.”

Harry recognized what they were doing and really did give them a small smile for the effort.

Filch said back that he didn’t believe that one bit.

“Funny part is he actually wasn’t doing anything wrong right then” Remus chuckled.

“Probably had another flashback to when he caught James like that” Lily pointed out lightly.

Then he demanded why Harry wasn’t out with the rest of the miscreants buying everything possible to destroy this castle.

“He just thinks so much of all of them doesn’t he?” Sirius snickered.

Harry didn’t answer, and Filch told him to get back to his tower.

James rolled his eyes and pointed out “it’s not like it’s curfew or anything; Harry can go wherever he wants to in that castle.”

“Like that’s ever stopped Filch” Remus pointed out.

Harry walked off, but had no intentions of going back there. He was now thinking of going to see Hedwig,

“At least that’ll be something pleasant” Lily sighed.

when another voice called him back and Harry turned to see Professor Lupin.

“Yes!” All five of them brightened at once. Surely the fact that Remus had just called out to him meant he really couldn’t ignore him this time! Why he had waited until now, months after school had started they still couldn’t guess, but now would be the most perfect time to finally have that talk Harry so desperately deserved.

He asked what Harry was doing, in the opposite tone Filch had used.

“Well I should hope so” James agreed.

Then he asked where Harry’s friends were, and Harry told him. Lupin watched Harry for a second,

“Remus I will give you all of the gold in my vault right now if you bloody ask him about this” Sirius said, nearly bouncing around in anticipation for what this could mean.

“And Harry actually tells him the truth” James noted.

Remus couldn’t help the pessimistic little niggle that Harry had known him for far less a time then he’d even known McGonagall, so why would he tell him something like that? He looked so dejected Sirius finally gave up the baby and passed him along to Remus, which put a smile on his face at once.

then he offered Harry to come inside his office and have a look at his new grindylow.

The two boys refused to let them get there hopes down, so Remus hadn’t started off like they would have preferred, but it was finally happening. He and Harry were completely alone with the best amount of time no one would walk in on a conversation that was so desperately needed. If Remus didn’t get to it this time, they would know something was up.

Harry walked in to see an odd creature floating in the tank, green in skin color with spiky little horns jutting out of its forehead and trying to hide in some weeds. Lupin explained it was a water demon,

“I always get those confused with kappas” Lily said absently.

“Kappa is Japanese for cucumber” Remus said randomly.

At Lily’s blank look he shrugged and said “when I was first learning about them, I found that a random and interesting fact, so when I got to grindylows it was an interesting distinction.”

“Okay then” Lily said with a shrug and a small smile, not having actually expected an answer.

telling that after they’d dealt with the other creatures, this one should be easy to handle, noting its weakness in the strong but brittle fingers. The grindylow gave them a dirty look and dug itself into the sand.

“You are the only person who would actually keep that thing in his office” Sirius snickered.

“It’s not that weird” Remus defended. “Where else would I keep it?”

“In the staff’s supply room, where all the other teachers keep their stuff, like live animals, they plan on using for class” James said in a duh like voice. “Did it never occur to you why McGonagall and Flitwick don’t have a bunch of random animals around their offices?”

Remus rolled his eyes; he wasn’t going to argue the point.

Then he offered Harry some tea, and Harry agreed with some lingering awkwardness.

Remus grimaced and turned his attention back to the child, hating just how awkward it clearly was for the two of them to be in the same room. He felt lucky Harry had accepted at all, considering the past two DADA teachers had attacked him.

Harry tried to catch his eye and give him a reassuring smile now, to prove he didn’t still feel that way, but Remus was clearly ignoring everyone else in the room now.

He began to set up a pot, making the joke that all he had were teabags, but he’d heard that Harry would prefer that to leaves.

Sirius couldn’t help but give a little surprised laugh, Remus had obviously been checking up on Harry’s other classes.

He caught Harry’s eye then, trying to suppress laughter as he explained that McGonagall had told about his first Divination class, and asking if he was worried about that Grim?

“I’m sure you two had a nice long conversation about him” James snickered, having quite the amusement at McGonagall telling Remus all the things Harry had been up to the past two years at school.

Harry looked mildly annoyed at this, not really appreciating the thought of teachers sitting around gossiping about him, but couldn’t find it in himself to be to mad at Remus for this, knowing now that he probably just wanted to know more about him.

Harry admitted he wasn’t, while considering thinking about telling him that stray dog he’d seen months ago.

“Now that would have been interesting” Lily said, eyeing Remus who did look mildly entertained at how that reaction would go. Most likely, if his assumption was correct, Sirius would have already told him that he’d seen Harry then; but he certainly wished Harry would tell him. It would help ease into the conversation they were all wanting to hear about Harry’s past really being explained to him by someone who really knew.

He didn’t though, wondering if bringing this up would only reinforce what a coward he was sure Lupin already thought he was after that boggart mess.

Which popped any form of happiness Remus was feeling, and he turned as if to quickly say something to Harry, who waved him off and said “I know, you already said it now. I didn’t know then.”

Remus still didn’t look very happy, but admitted there wasn’t much else he could say right then.

It must have been clear enough on his face though, as Lupin asked if anything was on Harry’s mind? Harry’s first instinct was to say no,

Remus winced and began bouncing his leg in high agitation now, greatly amusing the baby at least though it didn’t seem to be helping him now. He would never not hate just how little Harry seemed to trust him, Harry should have been able to come to him with any of his worries since he could talk, not this nonsense where he was lucky Harry was talking to him at all!

His emotions were written all over his lined face, so Sirius took pity on him and tried to put some comfort into his words as he said “Let it go Remus. Yeah this sucks, but there’s no sense in dwelling on this now that we’re going to fix it.” Sirius was still rather torn about Remus in the future. His actions were more annoying than anything; what could be holding Remus back, from stopping him from seeing Harry like he should have. But had decided to wait until that reason was revealed before he fully passed a judgment on Remus’ actions.

Remus didn’t exactly look comforted, but Lily decided to read on anyways.

but then he said yes before he could reconsider.

Which made them all perk up as if Christmas had suddenly been announced. It didn’t matter what had changed Harry’s mind about telling Remus, the fact that he was meant more to all of them then they could have put into words.

He finally asked why Lupin had stopped him from tackling the boggart, and Lupin said he thought it was obvious.

“No, sorry, not really” Harry told him, still smiling faintly.

Remus fidgeted around a bit, but shrugged all the same, still unsure what to say about his future actions.

Harry had been expecting Lupin to deny his actions altogether,

“Now that would have been just stupid, one thing Remus usually isn’t” James noted.

“Usually?” Remus snapped without any heat, to which James ignored him.

but still asked why? Lupin explained he hadn’t wanted a Voldemort to appear in class, boggart fake or not.

Remus rolled his eyes, he still didn’t think this was a good enough reason to publicly deflect Harry the way he had, though his classmates clearly hadn’t noticed, he still didn’t like the way it had made Harry feel. Then Sirius leaned over and whispered in his ear “glad to see you obviously still know him so well, even then.” Which caused him to smile in spite of himself.

Lily was watching them curiously, noting the change in Remus’ demeanor, but kept going when it didn’t look like they were about to explain.

Harry was stunned not just because he’d partially guessed his actions right, but because he’d called Voldemort by name.

“I can see why you’d find that so surprising,” James said fairly “since, aside from Dumbledore, you’ve yet to see anyone else do that.”

The only person Harry had ever known to do that, apart from himself, was Dumbledore.

“Whom Remus idolizes, so even if he didn’t have his own brain, he’d still do whatever that man said” Sirius rolled his eyes.

Remus scowled lightly at him. Yes he was eternally grateful to the headmaster for everything he’d done for him, but Sirius had made it sound like he had blind faith in the man… which he didn’t. Mostly. Okay, maybe a little, a lot, before they had read this, but after all the things the book had implied Dumbledore had done to Harry he wasn’t one hundred percent sure on that anymore.

Lupin easily read Harry’s face and said he must have misinterpreted it wrong, but it really would have been a bad thing if even a fake Voldemort had come to life in the school, it would cause quite the chaos.

“I can see that” Harry said fairly.

“But it still wouldn’t do you any good, even if I had been right. You still should have had practice at it just like anyone else” Remus argued back.

James suddenly burst out laughing, causing Remus’ annoyed look to double up on him. “What” he snapped, his tone far sharper then Harry would have thought.

James hardly looked offended, or even surprised, as he admitted “you do realize you are arguing against yourself right. How is that not funny?”

Remus paused with his head cocked to the side as he realized what James meant, then gave a wane smile and sat back and cuddled the baby as he gave up on the pointless argument.

Harry then admitted what he had been thinking at the time, dementors. Lupin found that intriguing, telling Harry that meant that he feared fear itself, which was very smart.

“Glad to see you agree with yourself on some things” Sirius snickered, causing Remus to stick his tongue out at the pair.

Then Lupin asked if Harry had really thought he wasn’t up for the job of going at a boggart?

“Well you can’t blame him for thinking that” Lily defended.

“Oh I know” Remus said at once peaceably.

Harry admitted he had, then began to ask about the dementors, but was interrupted by a knock on Lupin’s door.

“Dang it” they all muttered, wondering who on earth could be interrupting them now when they were finally talking!

“What were you going to ask anyways?” James inquired.

“I was going to ask him about the effects dementors could have on people” Harry admitted. “Wanted to ask why I passed out and Ron didn’t.”

They looked all the more annoyed now, very much wanting Harry to be able to get that answer, so even before the person came in they were in a disgruntled mood.

Lupin called for them to enter, and Snape came in.

“Gah! Can’t go one bloody chapter without wanting to hex him lately” Sirius snapped.

“What’s he even doing there?” James frowned “I sincerely doubt it’s a casual visit.”

Harry was just as curious as the others, thinking back and wondering why something significant might be fixing to happen, so eagerly asked his Mum to go on.

He was holding a goblet, which was smoking at the brim, but froze when his eyes landed on Harry.

“Try something in front of Remus you slimy little git” Sirius growled.

Remus couldn’t help but agree this time, if he started in on Harry he’d have every reason to step in, though he somehow doubted Snape was that stupid.

Lupin greeted him pleasantly, asking him to leave the drink on his desk.

“Say what now?” James demanded, doing a double take on that.

Lily was looking down at the page, clearly just as confused as anyone else.

“What would you be accepting from him?” Sirius demanded, looking at his friend like he’d just declared he and Snape were the best of friends.

“Whatever was in that goblet I guess” Remus shrugged, looking just as perplexed as anyone else.

This was such an odd interaction, they were still pretty stunned and no one protested when Lily decided to carry on and hope for a better answer.*

Snape did as told, still watching the pair of them with narrowed eyes.

“Probably wondering if he’s concocting some mad scheme with you” Lily smirked.

“He might have been having a flashback to be honest” James agreed with a laugh.

Lupin told Snape that he’d been showing off his new grindylow.

‘Wish he was joking’ Sirius noted sourly, wanting very much to grumble about how Snape shouldn’t have shown up for hours so these two had a better chance to talk, or not at all preferably.

Snape didn’t react to the news, telling Lupin to drink whatever was in that cup as soon as possible. Lupin agreed he would,

“Well I obviously know what it is” Remus observed quirking a brow in surprise.

“Wish you did now” James frowned.

then Snape added on he had more and it should be drunk as well tomorrow, which Lupin also agreed to, and thanked Snape.

“The fact that you two are being so polite to each other honestly scares me” Sirius grumbled.

“I’m just waiting for Harry to ask what’s going on” Lily sighed.

Snape said it wasn’t a problem, but Harry was getting a prickling feeling from the look on Snape’s face.

“I don’t like any look from him” James agreed, his eyes still narrowed suspiciously. Snape wouldn’t do anything too bad to Remus in reaction to that Boggart mess, and Remus clearly wasn’t bothered by the interaction in the future. Then again, Harry wasn’t the best eyes to go on for that, as he might not have even noticed Remus’ tells.

Then Snape left the room by walking backwards, still eyeing the pair of them mistrustfully.

“Be a little more scared if he was smiling” Sirius snapped.

Harry looked back at the drink and Lupin explained Harry’s look saying that Snape had just made him a little pick-me-up. He picked up the goblet and gave it a dissatisfied look, telling that sugar didn’t make it taste any better as he drank some and shuddered.

“But what is it” Lily huffed, her eyes narrowed in high agitation that she didn’t know the answer to that, though she couldn’t help a sneaking suspicion of something it could be.

“Wish I knew” Remus answered with a shrug.

“I don’t like this” James and Sirius said in sync, still frowning in concern that Snape might be trying to get some sort of payback at Remus for that boggart stunt. Then again, Remus didn’t seem very concerned for this, in fact if they were hearing this right he seemed rather grateful to Snape for whatever that potion was. It was driving them all crazy none of them could figure it out.

Harry began to ask why, but Lupin cut him off by stating he’d been feeling off-color, and he was lucky Snape had done this for him when most wizards wouldn’t bother.

Sirius and James exchanged wide-eyed looks at that. ‘Off-color’ was a kind of inside joke that Remus said when he wasn’t feeling well around the full moon, and the ‘many wizards aren’t up to making it’ bit sort of made it seem like it might be about the same thing. Had a potion actually been discovered to help with his lycanthropy? If so, then this was a miracle as much as it was mind-blowing. Neither voiced their suspicions though, wondering if it would give Remus false hope.

Lupin took another drink, and Harry had to fight down the want to throw that cup across the room.

“Can’t blame you on that one,” Sirius agreed “I wouldn’t trust him not to poison me any farther then I could throw him.”

“He wouldn’t do something like that right under Dumbledore’s nose” Lily said at once, and all of the boys noted she had just so phrased that in the way she hadn’t exactly said he wouldn’t poison Remus. It was far from reassuring, even if it did mean she really wasn’t exactly in Snape’s corner anymore.

Instead Harry told him that Snape loved the Dark Arts.

“Which is not a surprise to me, I can assure you” Remus rolled his eyes.

Lupin didn’t look very interested, but Harry kept going, stating that he’d heard rumors Snape would do anything to get Lupin’s job.

“Glad Harry’s so trusting of his potions teacher, really makes me feel all warm and fuzzy” James said with only mild amusement, still stuck on the potion itself.

Lupin downed the rest of it and made an ugly face at the taste, then he told Harry that he would see him later.

Then they all pulled a face remarkably close to how Remus had looked finishing off that potion, Harry noted, but didn’t need to ask why. He knew they were just as disappointed as he was that their little talk was clearly over, and they actually walked out with more questions than answers.

Recognizing he was being excused, Harry did indeed leave, though still watching that goblet that still had smoke curling out of it.

“Ominous” James drew the word out, still giving the book a significant and haughty look.

Time skip to Ron and Hermione returning, looking like they’d had the time of their lives as they bestowed Harry with a shop’s worth of sweets.

“Please, do anything but tell him what all you did” Lily sighed without any hope.

Harry thanked them for it all, then asked how it had gone, where all did they go?

“Well Harry’s not helping anything” Remus grumbled.

Pretty much everywhere.

“And Ron and Hermione clearly weren’t pulling any punches” Sirius winced.

They told Harry every detail of the village, all the shops you could go into, and their favorite the Three Broomsticks, where they swear they’d seen an ogre.

“That would have been a fun sight to see” James chuckled, remembering sneaking into there all the time just to watch who came and went.

Then Hermione changed subject to asking if Harry had done any homework.

“Oh yeah, he really sat around and hit the books” Sirius rolled his eyes. “Honestly, doesn’t Hermione know him at all?”

Harry instead told them his day, and Ron asked if Lupin was mad when he heard he’d drank that stuff.

“That’s actually a fair question as of right now” Sirius agreed sagely.

Remus rolled his eyes at him, but couldn’t think of any kind of argument for it.

They were heading down to dinner now, while Hermione put in that Snape wouldn’t have tried to kill Lupin like that, not with Harry sitting there as witness.

“Don’t think Harry could really have done much to stop him,” James frowned “or known to do otherwise.”

“I still kind of agree with Hermione” Lily said thoughtfully “Snape’s not so stupid to do that in front of someone like Harry, even if he didn’t understand what was going on.”

“If you’re all done deciding whether I’m going to die or not” Remus pleasantly mocked Harry, the pair exchanging amused looks.

James and Sirius frowned, not finding that funny in the least. They’d only just found out he was actually going to survive, the thought of him being killed right now made them want to lash out at anything even slightly threatening. Whether they were right in their guess or not, they still didn’t trust Snape to do a damned thing for Remus for any reason.

The feast was as pleasant as always, but Harry felt distracted the whole time as he kept an eye on Lupin through the night, who was acting no different than usual.

“I’ll admit, I do find that rather comforting” James nodded in agreement, suddenly putting the date with the act and remembering all over again Harry’s spectacular bad luck with this particular holiday. If something bad was going to happen to Remus, he wouldn’t even be surprised if it had happened on this day.

Then he switched to watching Snape, who also seemed to be watching the DADA teacher with more interest then was called for.

“Please tell me you are exaggerating” Sirius groaned “cause otherwise, that is creepy.”

The show for the night turned out to be Nick showing off the way he’d died.

“Glad to see they still think that’s funny” Harry said, trying to move on to lighter topics, and ignoring the mounting feeling he’d had earlier. He was still so sure something did happen today, but it clearly didn’t involve Remus and Snape, so what could he be thinking of?

As they were leaving the halls, Malfoy got one last crack in about how the dementors missed Harry.

“That joke is still not funny” all three boys on the couch snapped, thinking this kid really needed to get a grip, or at least a new book of jokes.

They made it all the way up to Gryffindor tower, but met most of the house crowded up in the hallway. Harry tried to crane over heads to see what was up with the portrait, which was still shut.

“Did McGonagall change the password without telling anyone?” Lily asked in confusion.

“She’s only ever done that to us, not the whole house” James disagreed with a frown in place.

Harry was starting to get fidgety again, instinctively knowing something bad was about to happen, and trying his hardest to keep that feeling suppressed.

Percy was shoving his way through, announcing his position for them to move,

“Yes, because that will make them move out of the way so much faster” Sirius rolled his eyes, thinking that even if their unlikely guess was right; Percy would know the new password at least.

but when he reached the front, he froze up as well, before hollering for someone to go and get Dumbledore!

“What, why, what happened?” The boys demanded at once.

Lily desperately wanted to pause and bite at her lip again, fearing that anything that made Percy upset couldn’t be good, but read on quickly anyways for her answer.

Said headmaster arrived soon enough, and the parting of the crowd finally revealed that the Fat Lady’s painting had been torn to shreds, little bits of canvas all over the floor.

James was blinking spastically like someone had just shined a bright light in his eye, while Sirius’ mouth was hanging open in shock. Remus and Harry leaned forward, not wanting anyone to pause and try to guess what had happened, but encouraging Lily to keep going and try to get an answer already.

The rest of the teachers arrived with Dumbledore, and he quickly instructed them all to spread out and find the Fat Lady, but then Peeves arrived and told that would be a chore, laughing at all of them.

James was getting jittery all over, and keeping a paternal eye on Harry as he watched him continually rub at his temple, a sure sign something important was fixing to happen. Who, or what, on earth would have attacked that painting?

Dumbledore asked what he had seen, and Peeves put on an air of respect, even he wasn’t stupid enough to mess with Dumbledore.

“Found the other person, besides the Bloody Baron, who Peeves won’t mess with” Sirius said, but was ignored by the others.

He began to explain that it had started as a nasty little argument, and the end results was the poor woman running through paintings crying and screaming.

“Running from what?” Remus muttered, though not loud enough Lily stopped to acknowledge it.

Dumbledore asked who had done this, and Peeves told that of course it was none other than Sirius Black.

The book slipped out of Lily’s numb hands and landed on the floor with a thunk.

*I would just like to note before anyone says anything, in chapter eighteen Remus says that the invention of the Wolfsbane potion is ‘very recent’ which makes me think that it possibly wasn’t even discovered until after the events of their deaths. So no, they really don’t have any idea what Remus drank.

You can all yell and scream at me all you want, but I wanted to end it there for the dramatics… don’t worry you’ll get your reactions in the next chapter, it’s not like I’m going to skip it and leave it out. Love this chapter, it’s a personal favorite of mine watching Remus and Harry interact…heh hope you enjoyed and don’t want to kill me now.

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