A/N: As you might have noticed, I have removed all chapters of my earlier version of this story. My muse left me halfway through it, and from the way I had started it, I could not reach the ending I wanted to reach.
This is no re-post, this story is somewhat different from the earlier version, even if parts of the main story line remained the same. So, even if you have read the first version, please take the time and read this new one, otherwise you won't be able to follow. But I promise that this version is a lot longer, and there is more Sirius in it!
As always, reviews are highly appreciated!!!
One thing before you start reading: If you haven't read "The Last Marauder" so far, maybe you should go and read it first. "The Final Battle" completely spoils the main storyline of The Last Marauder, so reading it afterwards means taking all the suspense out. Even reading the summary does so! DON'T! And without the suspense it's only 24 chapters of boring words…
Again, reviews and constructive criticism is HIGHLY appreciated, you guys really make my day.
So guys, you asked for it and here I try to give it to you. I try to be nicer to our protagonists this time, I promise. But from what I have in mind, it will be hard. But I'll try.
Disclaimer: I don't own any of the recognizable characters or settings, they all belong to J.K. Rowling, Bloomsbury, Warner Bros. or somebody else who is not me. Summed up: all the good stuff is hers, the rest is mine. No money is being made with this. This story was created for enjoyment only.
Author's note: This is a sequel to the story "The Last Marauder", set after the events in that story, i.e. during Harry's sixth year. It would be advisable to read The Last Marauder first for it will help to understand some comments or references, though I try to explain them when they occur. However, reading this story first completely spoils The Last Marauder, so maybe you want to read that one first.
Summary: After the eventful start of Harry's sixth year at Hogwarts, the following months turned out to be rather eventless. At least concerning Voldemort. The wizarding community has been occupied with cleaning up the damages the Death Eater attacks have left and the Ministry could not deny the rise of the Dark Lord anymore. However, the lack of activity from his followers have left the wizarding world in a constant state of insecurity.
Due to his incompetence, Cornelius Fudge has finally been removed from his position as the Minister of Magic and has been replaced by Hermes Wielding, a long-time associate of Albus Dumbledore. Arthur Weasley has been promoted and now works very close together with Wielding.
After the removal of Fudge, Sirius Black has eventually agreed to take up his old job as an Auror again and Remus Lupin once more teaches DADA at Hogwarts due to the fact that Arabella Figg decided to be more useful as a researcher for the Ministry.
Harry, Ron and Hermione have finished the first half of their sixth year at Hogwarts and after the events of the previous term Harry now looks forward to coming to a little rest. So far, there has been no indication that his strange bond with Voldemort has once more been activated.
Underlined words indicate that they are emphasized.
"..." marks direct speech
'…' marks the thoughts of one character
It was the 27tth of December, and for the first time since Harry Potter went to Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, he spent his Christmas holidays at home. The main reason for this debut was that for the first time in his life, Harry had a home he wanted to return to.
Said Harry Potter at that moment sat in an armchair in front of the fireplace of his godfather's living room and stared at the dying embers in front of him. His thoughts drifted away as he contemplated how much life had changed for him during the last couple of months. In the end, it had all changed towards the better.
Sirius was a free man now, he had been cleared of all charges and finally he could take up his duties as Harry's guardian. One of the first things he had done had been offering Harry to adopt him, an offer Harry had been more than glad to take upon. Though the name Potter-Black was only used on official papers, it seemed more than right to Harry.
The two-men household in Black Cottage had soon been extended, when Remus Lupin had been found alive two months after his house had been attacked and burned down by Death Eaters. He had been at the brink of death when Sirius had found him at Malfoy Manor, and though as a werewolf he healed much quicker than normal human beings, the recovery from his injuries had been an irritatingly slow one. Because his own cottage had been far beyond repair, Sirius had talked him into moving in with Harry and him, and while Harry had been back at Hogwarts to finish his term, Sirius had seen to Remus' recovery.
Harry smiled when he thought about that.
Sirius had been euphoric about finding his friend alive, but it had taken him some time to push away his fears that this was only a mere dream from which he would wake up soon. Ever since he had taken Remus out of Madam Pomfrey's care, he had fretted over his friend, concernedly noticing every expression of uneasiness and treating him as if he were made of glass.
Harry had received several owls from Remus in which his former teacher practically begged him to try and talk some sense into his godfather, and when Harry had returned home for Christmas, he had more than once had to restrain himself from laughing about Remus' distress.
He knew that it would not take much longer until Remus would rip Sirius' throat out when he once again forced him to take an extra blanket or would tell him off for walking around in the garden without somebody watching him. Remus had already hinted at asking Severus Snape for some strong tranquillizing potions.
Raised voices from the direction of the kitchen pulled Harry out of his thoughts. He sighed. His godfather and Remus were at it again.
"Remus, I will only tell you once more: go into the living room and sit down. I'll make dinner."
"Then I will only tell you once more that I'm not leaving you alone in the kitchen. My birthday is in February and I'd like to remain alive to see the party. Which I certainly will not be if I let you blow up the house in an attempt to cook!"
"You need to sit down and take a break. You're still not up to so much activity."
"Sirius, I'm perfectly fine. I can walk around on my own without tiring, so I think I'm perfectly able to cook dinner for us."
Harry could vividly see his godfather shake his head in protest.
"You'd only overtax you strength. And you'd stress your arm too much."
"Sirius, I'm talking about cooking, not about weightlifting. And my arm is fine, the shoulder has only been dislocated."
"But it's your wand arm. You should be careful!"
"If it helps you, I'll use my right arm to prepare dinner."
"You can't cook with only one hand!"
"Oh, now listen to the expert speaking. Sirius, only because you could not prepare a meal with both hands if your life depended on it, that doesn't mean that I can't do it with only one. Really, it's only making food and we're fighting about it."
Harry now stood in the doorframe and watched the exchange between the two adults. Sirius threw up his hands in a gesture of defeat.
"Okay, make dinner if you want to. But don't come to me and complain when you've overtaxed yourself."
"Or when your arm starts hurting again."
"Wouldn't think of it."
"And if you collapse, don't expect me to nurse you up again."
Remus now jumped off his chair and with an expression that declared his determinacy, he pushed Sirius out of the room, shutting the door close behind him.
Sirius for a moment glared at the wood, then turned and looked at his godson, his eyes pleading for help in that matter.
"Oh no Sirius, don't even try that! I think Remus is right, he's perfectly up to do things like cooking."
"Harry, I'm only trying to help him."
Harry shook his head and sat down on the sofa.
"I think you'd be helping him more if you wouldn't treat him as if he were made of glass. Sirius, he's a grown up man, and I think that he knows exactly what he's up to and what not."
himself fall on the sofa next to his godson and
obviously contemplated what Harry had just said. After some moments, he shook
"Harry, I have seen how badly he was hurt. He can't tell me that he's perfectly fine again."
"Sirius, I've been there too. I've seen him too. And nobody said that he was perfectly fine, but he doesn't need you to fret over him the entire time."
"I'm only concerned."
Harry sighed. He had the feeling he didn't get anywhere.
"It's okay to be concerned, but you're suffocating him. Literally. It won't be long until he tries to beat some sense into you and I won't stop him. Leave him some space to breathe."
For the next twenty minutes, they talked about this and that and nothing in particular until Remus' voice from the kitchen told them that dinner was ready. Harry had little hope that his godfather would be able to change his protective behaviour towards Remus from one moment to the other, and truly, the moment they stepped into the kitchen Sirius glanced up and down his friend in search for any signs of uneasiness. Finding none, he sat down at the kitchen table and the three started eating.
The peace didn't last long, not nearly long enough for Harry's taste at least. Sirius carefully eyed Remus' plate for quite some time. Finally, he broke the silence.
"Remus, you should eat more."
Remus merely raised an eyebrow and decided to ignore his friend's statement.
"I'm serious about this. You're eating far too little."
Remus shook his head.
"I don't think I will starve, Sirius."
"You've lost a lot of weight, at least twenty pounds."
"Yes, and since you started mothering me, I've gained at least twenty-five. Time for a diet, don't you think?"
"Remus, this is no joking matter. I'm concerned about you."
Remus sighed heavily.
"And I appreciate that Sirius, I really do. But you exaggerate it. I know that my injuries were bad, but believe me, I'm quite experienced with the healing abilities of my body. It comes along with being a werewolf. I think I know what I'm able to do and what not, and if I get the feeling that I'm still not up to something, I'll ask for your help. But as long as I don't, please don't treat me like a baby."
He gave Sirius a stern look to underline what he had just said. Sirius didn't like to be shut up like that, especially when he thought he was right. Though he nodded, his facial expression clearly indicated that he didn't think the last word concerning this matter had been said yet.
He was startled when he heard a suppressed snort coming from the direction where Harry sat. Turning around he faced his godson, who obviously had a very hard time to stop himself from laughing out loud.
"And what exactly is so funny about this?"
Harry chuckled and fought hard to restrain himself before he answered.
"You're pouting! I can't believe you, you're pouting like a four year old boy who didn't get his will."
Sirius' face fell and Harry could not hold back his laughter anymore. It didn't help to ease Sirius' mind that Remus as well could no longer hide his mirth.
"Fine, if you two think that you know better than I do, then I'll keep my mouth shut. If you want to ruin your health Remus, then it's your business, you won't hear another word from me."
Sirius turned back to his dinner and ignored the mumbled "That would be a first" that came from Remus' direction.
The three finished their dinner in silence and afterwards a still pouting Sirius conjured the dished to clean themselves. Remus meanwhile went into the living room where he helped Harry with a rather nasty Potions assignment Snape had given them for their holidays.
They spent their evening sitting together in front of the fireplace and talked about old times when Sirius and Remus still were at school. Harry could easily tell that Sirius had not given up worrying about Remus, and from time to time he threw concerned glances into the direction of his friend.
At ten o'clock, Remus stifled a yawn and before Sirius could say anything about it, he got up and told them that he would go to bed now. After he had left, Harry threw a very amused look at his godfather.
"Sirius, you don't have to turn around 180 degrees and pretend that you ignore him. We're not daft, we both know that you're not able to. You simply have to stop mothering him, no matter how hard that is for you."
Sirius shook his head.
"I'm not mothering anybody."
Harry looked at him and raised an eyebrow. "No?"
Sirius shook his head and sighed.
"Let's just go to bed and forget about it."
Harry nodded and got up from the sofa. "Good night Sirius."
"Good night Harry. Oh, and before I forget it. Albus said that he and Arabella will come over tomorrow morning. He wanted to talk about something, but didn't say what."
Again, Harry nodded.
"Well, I guess we'll see tomorrow. Good night."
"Good night Harry."
Sirius sighed and got up from the sofa as well. Those two simply didn't understand how concerned he still was about Remus' wellbeing. His friend had nearly died and this had been only three months ago. How could they act as if nothing had happened? Remus still wasn't his old and strong self, Sirius could clearly see that, so why didn't he allow him to be concerned?
Sirius shook his head and went upstairs into his bedroom. There was no use in pondering about this now, he would go to bed, have a good night's sleep and tomorrow morning he would see what Albus wanted. Harry's headmaster would surely understand his concerns and maybe he could talk some sense into that stubborn werewolf.
With these thoughts, Sirius lay down on his bed and immediately fell asleep. He had never imagined how exhausting it could be to take care of somebody's wellbeing.
When Harry woke up the next morning it was already past nine. Inwardly cursing himself for having slept so long, he took a shower and dressed himself. He had planned to be awake before the adults got up, so that he could make the breakfast and prevent another fight about Remus' ability to survive the act of cooking.
When he came down into the kitchen however, Remus and Sirius were already sitting at the table and ate. There was no smoke in the kitchen, nothing seemed to have burned and Harry could detect no traces of an explosion, which led him to the conclusion that Sirius had not been the one to prepare breakfast. But the fact that the two adults were talking animatedly told him that this time Sirius had managed to restrain himself from a lecture.
Remus and Sirius looked up.
"Ah, good morning Harry. We were already wondering when you would show up."
"I slept in. Actually, I wanted to make breakfast today, but I must have forgotten to set my alarm clock."
He shrugged his shoulders and helped himself to some scrambled eggs.
"So, when will Professor Dumbledore and Professor Figg arrive?"
"What's so funny?"
"Nothing Harry, it's just that I'm not used to somebody addressing Arabella as Mrs. Figg. I've known that woman ever since we left school, and I don't think that anybody at the Ministry ever called her that. But being your teacher, I think it's something different. As far as your question is concerned, Albus said that they would drop by around ten. They'll arrive by Floo, so maybe we should wait for them in the living room when you've finished your breakfast."
Harry nodded and continued eating. But still he eyed his godfather and his former teacher as if he was only waiting for another quarrel to come.
When he had finished, Sirius cleaned the kitchen, prepared some tea and the three went into the living room to wait for their guests to arrive. Some minutes after ten o'clock, the flames in the fireplace turned green and the figure of Harry's headmaster emerged, followed quickly by his Defence against the Dark Arts teacher. Sirius and Remus got up and greeted their guests, monitoring them to take a seat and help themselves to some tea.
Dumbledore took a sip from his cup and turned his eyes towards Harry, a playful sparkle showing behind the half-moon glasses.
"Good morning to you, Harry. Enjoying your Christmas at home?"
Harry raised an eyebrow and returned the gaze.
"Good morning Professor. And yes, I'm quite enjoying my stay here, though Sirius somehow has turned into a mother hen during the last couple of months."
Dumbledore laughed and fortunately Sirius had been tot deeply engaged in a discussion with Mrs. Figg to hear what Harry had just said.
"I see Harry. Well, we all knew that Sirius can be a little over-zealous in certain things, I'm sure he thought it was only for the best."
"Better tell Remus about that, he was the receiving end of his concern."
"Oh, I guess we probably have a solution for that."
The headmaster now turned his attention back to the two men and Arabella, who by now had all sat down and drank their tea.
"Well, well, good morning once again. Remus, I hope you're doing better?"
"Yes Albus, thank you. I'm fine."
Remus nodded to underline what he had said and wisely chose to ignore the snorting sound Sirius made when hearing that statement. Dumbledore turned towards Harry and smiled knowingly.
"The reason why I asked the five of us to meet is that, as you surely know, a lot of things have finally changed at the Ministry of Magic. Though I have chosen not to talk ill about him, it is our luck that Cornelius finally has resigned from his post."
"Been removed would be the appropriate word, that man would not have resigned if the world had been falling apart around him."
"However, it is our luck that Hermes Wielding now is Minister of Magic, it will make things a lot easier. I guess you still remember Hermes?"
Remus thought hard.
"Ravenclaw, if I'm not much mistaken. He was three or four years ahead of us at school, so I don't remember much about him. But from what I've heard during the last years, he was one of the very few people of the Ministry who did not willingly accept everything Fudge announced as the truth. If Fudge had stayed in power for much longer, he surely would have removed Hermes because he would have gotten in his way."
"I'm afraid that is true. He and Arthur Weasley had been working together for some time, before Hermes decided to change into another department. Climbed the career ladder there very quickly, everybody was quite impressed by his cleverness. However, I have not come to discuss Hermes' personality of course. It's more that now the Ministry is undergoing a couple of changes, most of them have been long time overdue the way I see it.
Sirius, you have surely realized the process of re-organizing that takes place at the moment."
Sirius hesitantly nodded.
"Well, I can only guess how it worked while Fudge was still in charge, but most of the people I've met so far seemed to be encouraged by what has happened. There's now no denial about Voldemort anymore, this makes working against him a lot easier. And as far as I see it, Wielding puts a lot of effort into breaking up the wrong loyalties that have established themselves over the years. But I guess it will take some more time until everything works the way it should have worked all the time."
Mrs. Figg spoke for the first time since she had arrived.
"That's exactly what we think. There is still a lot of work to do at the Ministry, and though there are far more competent people in charge right now, we still need the most experienced wizards we can get to organize the pieces Fudge left. Mundungus Fletcher's death has been most unfortunate, but Alastor Moody has agreed to take over the Auror training once again. Arthur Weasley is in charge of the contact with the Muggle authorities, and I think as soon as he has reduced his…enthusiasm a little, this will prove to be the best choice we could have made.
The wizards and witches in charge of the Auror units are reliable and experienced allies as well, but we all know that Voldemort surely doesn't just sit back and wait for us to move.
We don't know what we have to expect from him, but Hermes and Albus have decided to establish a research unit closely working together with the Auror squads. As soon as the Death Eaters start to move again, we'll have to analyze their moves and start researches on whatever means they use. Only if we keep up with them, we'll stand our chances. That's why we're here today."
Sirius raised an eyebrow.
"I don't quite understand what you mean by this."
Dumbledore continued Mrs. Figg's line of thought.
"We still need a very experienced leader for this new unit. My first thought was Arabella. Her years as an Auror during Voldemort's first reign, not to mention her knowledge about curses and potions make her the best qualified candidate for the job. When I asked her about it, she immediately agreed, but this left me in a rather…uncomfortable predicament. If Arabella leaves, Hogwarts will be without a Defence against the Dark Arts teacher in the middle of the school year, and Defence is the most important subject we can teach our students in times like these."
Harry smiled. He could guess quite well what Dumbledore was driving at. And one look at Remus told him that he guessed as well. Harry looked back at Dumbledore as the headmaster continued to speak.
"It has been very difficult to find competent teachers for this delicate position in the past years, nobody knows this better than the three of you. And when I thought about it, I remembered one professor who had not only been more than qualified, but also most popular. Though your knowledge would be missed strongly in the research unit, I think the best way to use it would be to teach it to the students, Remus. What do you think? Are you up to teach at Hogwarts again?"
Remus' smile now nearly reached his ears.
"Of course I am Albus. There's hardly anything I'd rather do."
"Fine Remus, I had thought that you would agree. Of course there is still…"
'Oh great.' Harry thought. 'Sirius has finally realized what is going on and now he plays nurse again.'
"Wait, wait, wait. Albus, with all due respect, but I don't think Remus is up to teaching again yet. He nearly died only three months ago, and he's still not his old self. Going back to Hogwarts and teaching would only overtax the little health he has gained in the last couple of weeks. I know how much those students can exhaust their teachers, and I don't even want to think…"
All heads in the room now turned towards Remus who sat on the edge of his chair and glared daggers at his friend.
"It's enough! I told you yesterday that I can judge for myself what I am up to and what not. And if I say that I feel able to teach again, then you better believe it, because you won't be able to stop me. At first your concern was quite comforting, but by now you're really going on my nerves! You can't put me in a cocoon and hide me from the world forever, have you ever given a thought that I might want to do something eventually? Well, I tell you now that I want to. It is up to me to decide whether I accept Albus' offer or not, and I do. You will have to live with that."
Remus turned back to Dumbledore and ignored Sirius, who sat in his armchair and opened and closed his mouth like a fish that had been pulled out of the water.
"Albus, I guess there are still some things that need to be talked about. First of all, do all the students know by now that I am indeed alive? I have to admit that I don't know how much of it all became public."
"I will make an announcement at the first evening back at school. Your stay at the infirmary was kept secret, but afterwards the Daily Prophet had some reports on it. However, we cannot be sure that everybody has gathered the news, and it would surely be better to tell the students about it before you return."
"My lycanthropy? I can imagine that there are a couple of parents who wouldn't want me to teach their children."
"Remus, as I have told you when you resigned three years ago, most of the parents will understand when we explain. The Ministry will not object my decision if I re-install you, and Severus has already agreed to prepare the Wolfsbane Potion for you. With these assurances, I believe that hardly anybody will disagree with you taking the post. And for the few who might protest, I'll offer them to explain it all in person. I don't think that there will be problems with it."
"Very good. Albus, I'm more than glad that you asked me to return to Hogwarts. We'll stay in contact, just in case that there is anything more that needs talking about."
"We can talk about the curriculum at the first evening back, Arabella has already prepared the lessons for next month. I think you won't need much time to get reacquainted."
"I trust Arabella did a very good job. If that's all, I'll take my leave now. There are some things I still need to do before I prepare myself to leave. Albus, Arabella."
He nodded at his guests and with a last deadly glare at Sirius he left the room and went upstairs. Under his breath, Dumbledore muttered something that sounded astonishingly like 'Now I understand the thing about the mother hen', before he once more turned towards Sirius.
He smiled and shook his head.
"It seems to me that Remus doesn't appreciate it if others make his decisions for him. Maybe you should talk to him about this, I'm sure he'll understand you in the end. Well, this has been all we needed to discuss for now, but we'll stay in close contact. You'll surely meet Arabella more than often from now on. Harry, we'll see each other at the feast on the first evening back, I trust?"
"Sure Professor. Until then. Goodbye Mrs. Figg."
Mrs. Figg smiled.
"Please dear, call me Arabella. I'm not used to being addressed like that and now that I'm not your teacher anymore, I think it's okay if you call me Arabella. It's a pity to lose you all as my students, I really enjoyed teaching you."
"Thank you. But I think we'll meet from time to time if you'll be really working together with Sirius."
"I hope so Harry. Good bye."
"Good bye Arabella."
Both Arabella and Dumbledore said their good byes to Sirius and then vanished again through the fireplace. Harry sighed and relaxed against the back of the sofa.
Sirius raised an eyebrow.
"I've never seen Remus so angry. He looked as if he wanted to curse you on the spot."
Sirius lifted his hands.
"Don't even start it Harry, don't even start it. I think I'll go upstairs now and have a look at how bad it really is. Do me a favour, would you?"
"If I'm not back in an hour, make sure that I get a nice funeral."
"That's not funny, Sirius."
"I know. Sorry."
Sirius got up and walked out of the room, into the hall and upstairs towards Remus' room with all the dignity of somebody soon facing his execution. In front of Remus' room he took a deep breath, summoned all the courage he could and knocked.
He sighed and knocked again.
Still, no answer.
"Remus, I know that you're in there. Can I come in?"
"If you think you have to", came the muffled reply from inside.
Sirius opened the door and stepped into the room. Remus was sitting on his desk and wrote something on a piece of parchment.
"Writing a letter?"
'Better to start this nice and slow. No use to risk his wrath unnecessarily.'
"To my father. I wanted to tell him that I move."
"Send him my greetings, will you?"
"What shall I write? Sirius sends his best wishes? Or better: My jailor hopes you are doing well?"
'Okay, back to plan B. Direct confrontation.'
"Look, Remus. I'm sorry. I should have kept my mouth shut down there."
"For sure you should have."
"Remus, could you at least turn around and look at me when we're talking?"
Remus angrily threw his quill onto the parchment, spilling ink all over the letter to his father. He furiously turned around and faced Sirius. His face clearly showed that he was not intending to forgive too easily.
"And what exactly are we talking about, if I might ask?"
Sirius sat down on the bed facing his friend.
"Remus, I'm really sorry about it. It's just…you know…"
"What Sirius? Because I don't know what makes you behave like you do. You're treating me as if I was either an invalid or a little child, neither of which is the case. So tell me Sirius, what the heck is wrong with you?"
Sirius sighed deeply and fell backwards onto the bed. For some moments he stared at the ceiling and searched for the right words, but could find none.
"I don't know how to tell you Remus."
Remus snorted loudly.
"Now that's a first. Sirius Black can't find the right words. I had never thought I'd live to see that day."
Sirius sat up and stared at his friend.
"Remus, I don't think that it's that funny. You want to know why I don't like the idea that you go back to Hogwarts just yet?"
"No, I want to know why you don't like the idea that I get up in the morning and lead a normal life!"
"Remus, when we brought you to Hogwarts that night, you were nearly dead. Madam Pomfrey told me that it would be a close call, and if there is something Madam Pomfrey can't do anything about, it scares the wit out of me. For more than ten hours I sat beside your bed and just didn't know if you would wake up again or not. And there was nothing I could do, simply nothing. But if I had acted earlier, if I had tried to find you, then all this would not have been necessary. Then you would have never had to go through all this.
And when you finally woke up, I promised myself that I would never allow something like this to happen again. I brought you home and I took care of you as good as I could.
I know you Remus, you can't lie to me. You can't pretend that you're perfectly fine again. I can see that you still tire easily, that there are still movements that hurt you and I can tell that your arm hurts again from time to time. And I don't think that you should pretend nothing had happened and just continue where you were before all this happened. Because you are not up to it.
And the last thing I want is that you collapse again and that I have to spend more nights in the infirmary, worrying about you. So, now you know."
Remus shook his head and sighed.
"Okay, let's get this from the start. I will only tell you once more that none of what happened was your fault. You thought I was dead and from what Harry has told me you had enough else on your mind than searching for me. There was no sign that I could still be alive. And if you had started searching for me, everybody would only have thought that you had gone completely nuts.
And, as I already told you yesterday, I really appreciate your concern, but you're suffocating me. It's true that I still tire more easily than I did before, but I am able to judge when it's too much for me. And it is true that I felt sore all over after the last full moons, but that was over within the next day. And yes, my arm did hurt again, once, when I tried to lift the boulder in the garden, but that was the only occasion.
Sirius, I am perfectly aware that I'm not as healthy as I was before all this happened, but believe me that I can judge what is too much for me and what not. And teaching at Hogwarts doesn't fall into the first category.
Do you honestly think that I just want to sit by and watch everybody else do the work? You have your job at the Ministry, Arabella now has a new task at hand, everybody has something to do. Do you want me to sit by and merely watch everybody around me risking their lives?"
"I'd prefer it, yes."
Remus sighed and sat down on the bed beside Sirius.
"Listen to me Sirius. I know that you're worried about me and that everything that happened in the past only increased this concern. But if you look at it from my perspective, then it's rather you that I should worry about.
When the Death Eaters start acting again, or when Voldemort develops a new plan, you are standing right in the frontline, like every other Auror too. I will only be at Hogwarts. Hardly anything can happen to me there, so I don't understand why you make such a big deal out of it.
But this is something I have to do, if you understand it or not.
Sirius, this is my fight just as well as it is yours. It were also my friends who have been killed by Voldemort. It's also my friends and family who are threatened by him. And if there's nothing I can do at the Ministry because of what I am, then the least thing I can do is teach others how to defend themselves against Voldemort. Prepare the children for what they might be facing one day. Preventing that they face it defenceless.
If this is my task in all this, then I'm more than willing to do it, and I don't need your blessing for it."
Sirius sighed and buried his face in his hands. Of course Remus was right, but still…
"I just don't want anything like this to happen again."
Remus put a comforting hand on his friend's shoulder and forced him to look into his eyes.
"Sirius, I cannot guarantee this, nobody can. You know that. When you leave the house in the morning, you can't guarantee that you will still be alive in the evening either. We both know what is at stake here, and what price we'll probably have to pay to reach our aim. But I simply know that we will do anything to prevent something bad from happening. Nevertheless, sometimes things just happen which are out of our control.
But you know me Sirius, you know that I would never consciously put myself into danger. Which leads me back to the reasons why I should be worried about you…"
Sirius raised a hand and gestured Remus to stop.
"I think I get the message, Moony. But I just can't stop worrying about you."
"You don't need to stop worrying about me. You just need to stop taking away my space to breathe. And you'd better start with it, because my patience with you has become very thin. Some of that old Marauder and Mischief Maker spirit is still alive inside of that greying head, and if you don't get back to normal soon, be warned. I'm not afraid to use it."
"I'd love to see that. You wouldn't be able to come up with a plan to trick me, no way!"
"Do you really want to risk it?"
Sirius thought for a moment, then he shook his head. "No, I don't think so." Suddenly, a smile spread across his face. "You know, I slowly understand why everybody always called you the Head of the Marauders. You're quite good with this logic-thing."
"And the fact that you realize this only now shows me why you were never called the Head of us. Ouch!"
Sirius had given his friend a gentle smack on the back of his head and did his best to ignore the accusing looks he received as an answer.
"Thank you, Moony. I think I needed that."
"My pleasure. Come here, you stupid old dog."
Remus smiled and pulled his friend into a warm embrace. Never again parting on non-speaking terms had been a silent promise between the two of them after the events some months ago. And though both of them thought it was a little bit childish, they told themselves that it helped the other. None of them admitted openly that it was more for their own peace of mind than anything else.
"Just promise me that you'll take care, Sirius. You know, I'm quite worried about you as well."
Sirius pulled away and held Remus at arm's length, giving him a mischievous grin.
"As if I'd ever been careless Moony. 'Care' is my middle name."
Remus looked at him in disbelief.
"I could give you a couple of examples for your carelessness if you'd like."
"No, not really. Save them for Harry, he treasures a good story. Oh, Harry!"
Remus raised an eyebrow.
"What about Harry?"
"Well, I should maybe go down and show him that I'm still alive before he calls the police." With an apologetic shrug, he stood up and went towards the door. "Well, I didn't know what would expect me up here."
"Then get better down before he starts making an account of his heritage. I'll tell Dad that you sent your greetings."
Remus shook his head.
"No, the stupid old dog."
"Stupid I can accept, but old? What does that make you, silver-head?"
He quickly closed the door before the pillow Remus had thrown could hit him.