Chapter Six: Take a Picture
He'd spent the entire day holed up in his room, and he didn't know why. He just didn't want to face anyone. Not Remus. Not Bella. Not anyone.
Bella had knocked on his door a few times with meals, and requests for him to come out and join her, but he only politely took the food, and kindly declined her invitations. Surprisingly enough, she hadn't argued.
She looked sad, and tired, and for the first time since he'd first laid eyes on her, Harry realized Arabella missed Sirius just as much- if not more- than he and Remus.
He made it a point that day to eat everything she brought him, no matter what his appetite was.
He tried to sleep that night, but the nightmares kept him wide awake. He tossed and turned for hours, until finally, at around midnight, he wandered quietly down to the living room.
He hadn't expected Remus or Bella to be awake, but there they were, sitting on the couch, drinking tea, and talking quietly over an old photo album.
Bella spotted him first and smiled warmly. "Come down, Harry. Sit with us."
No inquiries of why he was awake. No overly concerned tones. No worried eyes. He supposed they didn't really have to ask. They were probably still awake for the same haunting reasons he was.
He smiled and they made room for him to sit in-between them. Bella set the photo album on his lap and he looked down to see a number of teenaged girls laughing together, sitting on a table in what looked to be the Great Hall at Hogwarts. A blond, two redheads, and three brunettes.
Bella smiled. "The Gryffindor sixth years of nineteen seventy-six." She pointed to the blond. "That's me… there's your mother, Harry… Zena Robins… Lara Foster…" She trailed off. "Sirius was mad about that one, he was… Edna Carrie… and… Rita Skeeter."
"I didn't know you went to school with Rita Skeeter," Harry said, looking down.
"That was back when she was almost tolerable," Remus muttered. He turned the page and broke into a smile.
Three couples stared up at them, all in dress robes. A handsome, dark-haired boy, who was obviously Sirius, with Lara Foster on his arm, a couple Harry recognized as being his parents, and the third couple he realized were Remus and Bella.
"Same year," Remus said. "The Yule Ball… James set off Filibusters in the Great Hall five minutes before it ended."
A photo down depicted Bella and Sirius dancing stupidly together, both almost in tears from their laughter.
Bella smiled fondly. "He loved to dance." A sad look played on her features as she looked down at the pictures. "He was such a prat sometimes… conceited… always picking fights…" she sighed and Harry saw a tear trickle down from her eye. "Azkaban killed him long before Bellatrix Lestrange did."
Harry pursed his lips, determined not to let her words affect him. Not in front of she and Remus. He turned the page to find a picture of the four Marauders sitting together on the grounds of Hogwarts, much like they had been in Snape's pensieve.
Bella wiped a stray tear away and smiled. "Last day of seventh year."
Remus grinned. "That night we flooded the Slytherin dorms with water from the lake… the night before, we'd covered the entire Slytherin common room in grape jam."
"The night before that you set sixty frogs loose in the girl's dorm in Gryffindor," Bella laughed.
"They got us back," Remus told Harry, pointing to Bella. "They stuck bees in our trunks just before we boarded the train to go home."
Harry smiled. "What happened just after Hogwarts?"
Bella sighed and thought. "We all joined the Order together… the four boys, Lily, and I… your parents got married…"
"I mean," Harry said. "What did you do for a living?"
Remus smiled. "Well… Bella here became a healer at St. Mungo's."
Harry turned to her, looking intrigued. "Really?"
She blushed and nodded. "I was."
"She was really good at it, too," Remus added.
"Why'd you give it up?" Harry asked.
"The Order needed me," Bella replied. "And after Voldemort fell, I had to help my gran in Little Winging… make sure you didn't know we were watching."
Harry's brow furrowed. "Where were you the night the Dementors attacked Dudley and I?" he asked, slightly annoyed.
Bella gave him an odd look. "Grimaulde Place… being debriefed by Arthur Weasley… then after Moody and company came to collect you I covered your tracks… and you handled those Dementors quite nicely on your own, the way I hear it."
Harry sighed. He didn't know why he'd brought that up. He didn't want to think about it. "So… what did my parents do for a living?"
Remus smiled. "We opened up an Auror stop."
"An Auror stop?"
"Lodgings for traveling Aurors," the older man explained. "We provided room, meals, medical services… which Bella so kindly provided when she could… and information we could provide them about whatever case they were working on… your mother and father and Sirius and I used to dig up whatever we could."
"We used to hold order meetings in the basement," Bella chimed in. "With so many Aurors there, it was easy to swap information and leads on Death eaters." She leaned forward and flipped the page of the album to a very strange picture.
Alistair "Mad-Eye" Moody sat on a stool in a nice-looking building. On one of his knees sat Lily Potter and on the other sat James. Arabella and Remus stood behind them, Bella with her arms around Moody. Into the picture ran Sirius, who tried to sit on James and wound up on the floor instead. All six people laughed.
"This was taken right before things got really bad," Arabella said. She smiled. "Mad-Eye fancied the five of us his children… he took your parents' deaths really hard."
Remus nodded slowly. "After that he shut most of us out."
Harry looked down at the photo album and turned the page. It was Moody again; he was wearing a big grin and holding two very small children in his arms. He squinted down at the picture.
Arabella smiled. "The smaller baby, with the dark hair is you, Harry. And the redhead-"
"Is Ron," Harry finished with wonder in his voice. He smiled a little bit. "Wicked."
Remus grinned. "It's no wonder you two are so close."
Harry couldn't stop looking at the picture. "Wow…" They had been so young. Babies. He couldn't even imagine himself being that young, yet there he was, smiling, what little hair he had, obviously messy, and no scar.
He shook off the thought and looked to Remus. "Can I send a copy of this to Ron?"
Remus smiled over Harry at Bella and shrugged. "I don't see why not. And I'm sure Molly would love to have a copy. You know how she gets with photographs."
Bella chuckled and flipped the page to a picture of herself… well, a younger version of herself, trying to hide from the camera.
Harry laughed. "What's this?"
"Your father with the camera," Remus replied.
"That one, too?" Harry asked with a chuckle, pointing to one of an up-close nose.
Bella nodded. "That one, too."
Remus turned the page, and quickly shut the album.
Harry blinked. "What?"
Remus turned a bright shade of red. "N-nothing."
"Let me see," Harry said, making a grab for the book.
"No. No. No boy should ever see his parents in a picture like that."
Bella couldn't help it. She burst into laughter.
Harry blinked, and turned red as well. "I… oh… Ah… I…"
"Yes, exactly," Remus said.
Bella looked at the clock on the wall. "Oh, my. It's already two in the morning. I believe it's time to get some sleep."
Remus nodded and yawned. "We'll make a copy of that picture for Ron in the morning, Harry."
"Alright," Harry replied, getting to his feet. "Goodnight."
"Goodnight," both Remus and Bella said.
Harry gave the couple one last look, before heading up the stairs to his ladder, and finally to his room. He hadn't felt so calm in ages. He got back into bed, and pulled the covers up, his last thought before falling asleep was that he never wanted to see the back of that photo album.