THE NATIVE HUE OF RESOLUTION
A/N: In Thing1's brilliant "Veritas," Draco asked Harry what he did the night they finished their education at Hogwarts. This is the story of what Harry did that night.
I am grateful to Thing1, for writing such wonderful characters and allowing me to borrow them and to my wonderful beta-readers, Durayan, Luna, Thing1, and Vargmoy.
Of course, I am indebted to J.K. Rowling, for writing such wonderful characters and letting us borrow them.
CHAPTER TWO – A LONG AFTERNOON
Remus and Sirius completed the wards around the house by early afternoon.
"Now I can finally spend some time with my younger godson!" said Sirius crisply as he clapped his hands together.
"It is good to see that twinkle in your eyes again, Padfoot," remarked Remus. It's been far too infrequent of late.
Sirius strode around the house and into the back garden, then sat on an oak bench near where Katie was cutting flowers. Malcolm wobbled over to his godfather with his arms reaching out for Sirius, a happy baby grin on his face and his large brown eyes dancing as Sirius swung him into the air.
"Ah, my little marauder, would you like me to show you the muddiest places to play in the garden?"
Malcolm bounced upon Sirius' knee as he reached for his nose.
"How are the arrangements coming, Katie-girl?"
Katie looked over at Sirius and smiled as she brushed a stray lock of her dark hair back from her eyes, leaving a smudge on her temple. She rose up and instinctively wrapped her arm around Remus as he came up next to her and gave her a soft kiss.
"For the twentieth time today, Sirius, everything is fine."
Remus smiled at Katie as she said this and gave her that special look he reserved just for her. Katie met his gaze with her own dark brown eyes and shook her head slightly.
"If you think he's bad now, Katie, you should have seen him before James' bachelor party! Worrying over all of the, um, 'special' arrangements he had made to make the night unforgettable!" Remus winked at Sirius.
"Well, it was my duty and obligation as his best man!" Sirius pretended to be quite serious. Yeah, right!
"Where you got the veela from is what I would like to know." Remus and Sirius had matching mischievous smiles on their faces as they started laughing.
"I don't, thank you…" said Katie as she collected her son from Sirius. "…especially in front of Malcolm."
"Katie-girl, we have to train him now while he's young - otherwise, Argus Filch will be very disappointed in us. Malcolm's already one and a half years old!" Sirius put his right hand across his chest and gave Katie that innocent look he had perfected so long ago.
"He's right, Katie." Remus had the same innocent look on his face as Sirius.
"I have no doubt you both will have thoroughly corrupted Malcolm before he goes to Hogwarts no matter what I say!" she laughed. "Why don't you go see what Liz is up to, Sirius."
"As you wish, madam. I trust you have no objections to my putting your son down for his nap first." Sirius gave a deep bow, reclaimed Malcolm, and exited into the house. Remus rolled his eyes at his friend's melodramatics. Together, he and Katie gathered the rest of the flowers for the party and arranged them in the house.
It was quiet downstairs after he and Katie had finished with the flowers. Sirius is probably still upstairs with Liz. Good. That should keep his mind off of Harry for a little while. It's going to be quite a shock for Harry, but I think he is ready to handle it. James, where are you when we need you? Sirius is so afraid he won't be able to calm Harry down, even with all of us here to help! Ah, Prongs, you chose your son's godfather well. He loves Harry as much as any parent ever could. We both do. But this… this is unfamiliar territory. Thank goodness Dumbledore is going to explain it. I don't know that Harry would believe us about this.
After tidying his study and reviewing one last time the list of wards Dumbledore wanted, Remus went upstairs to check on Malcolm. He smiled as he looked down at his own son napping in his little bed with the old blue and white quilt on it that had once belonged to his own grandmother when she was a child. The brightly embroidered quilt had been Remus' favourite blanket when he was a little boy. He could still remember the day his father had given it to him when he was a mere three years old. Oh, how his parents had filled his mind with stories Remus still treasured about the birds, animals, and fantastic beasts on the quilt! He stroked Malcolm's soft brown hair with the gentlest of touches. I cannot imagine having to tell Malcolm something like this, especially with Voldemort still out there. And Wormtail. It will be hard enough telling him about the wolf, let alone something like this. Remus pulled the warm blanket closer around Malcolm's shoulders. Gods, we better defeat Voldemort soon so this world is safe for you and Harry!
It was soon time for all of them to take their showers andget dressed during the last quiet minutes before Malcolm was once again awake. And then all that remained was to await their guests.
Remus was the first one ready. He went down to his study in his midnight blue robes and looked at the picture of James, Sirius, Peter, and himself that Lily had taken when they left Hogwarts. He fingered the clear crystal frame gently as the sun glinted off of it like a prism. We were so young and innocent then. He chuckled to himself quietly. Well, as innocent as we ever were. And yet, James and Lily would soon be married and have a son. Who knows if Wormtail had already been working with Death Eaters? He sat down at his desk, staring outside at the afternoon sun shining brightly across the gardens.
Sirius soon joined Remus in the study looking somewhat pale in his black robes. He sat down heavily in one of the overstuffed chairs in Remus' study and buried his head in his hands. "I feel sick."
Remus got up from his desk and sat in a chair opposite Sirius. Putting a sympathetic hand on Sirius' shoulder, he said quietly, "He must know; it is vital to his future. He cannot be protected by Hogwarts anymore."
"I know!" Sirius barked as he stood up suddenly and began to pace back and forth. "James should be here! He should be telling Harry." Sirius stopped pacing and lifted his head towards the ceiling, tears pooling in his eyes. He crossed his arms and resumed his pacing. I hate it when he does that! Especially when he has a good reason to be nervous.
"Sirius, this conversation has been a long time in coming. You know that. It must happen. It is going to happen. Let's not think about it anymore. The conversation will take care of itself. Harry is strong and will be able to face it. In the meantime, let's focus on the evening's festivities."
Sirius smirked at this suggestion.
Remus continued. "You know, we will have a lot of fun tonight, too. No reason to be so down trodden. It's not like you made the meal! Katie's making a wonderful dinner. Everyone we care most about will be here. We will be starting a whole summer with Harry in the house. You have Harry's and my birthday parties to plan, not to mention two godsons to spoil rotten and corrupt. Things are looking brighter!" Remus clapped Sirius on the back. Sirius managed a weak smile. They walked down the hall to the front room, where Liz was descending the staircase, dressed in emerald green robes that showed off her bright hazel eyes. Her dark blonde hair cascaded over her robes so that her face was beautifully framed as her eyes shone brightly at Sirius.
Sirius gazed up at her, all thoughts of Harry apparently having temporarily fled his mind as a smile began to grow on his face. "You know, Moony, I think you might be right!" Sirius reached up and took Liz's hand in both of his and gave it a gentle kiss. Thank Gods!
Liz came and stood next to Sirius, her hand still in his. "Has Katie come down?"
"No," Remus replied, "not yet. She shouldn't be that much longer."
"Good. Then we can all set the table for dinner while we wait." Liz always was good at taking charge of things.
The mahogany table was soon set with the Lupins' best china and glasses. The china had been in his father's family for several generations. The two birds on the blue oriental inspired Weeping Willow pattern made him feel like he was flying free above the worries of life. The china also spoke of home, where Remus always knew he was loved unconditionally and that meant everything to him.
Katie soon joined her husband, Sirius, and Liz. Instead of the usual Muggle attire she preferred, she was wearing her dusty rose coloured robes that Remus adored on her. She leaned against Remus' shoulder as he began rubbing her back. Even Katie understands the significance of this evening; of the histories and destinies to be told here…in our home. Ours.
"Is everything ready, then?" Sirius was tapping his watch with his index finger again. He started fussing with the table settings, making sure everything was exactly straight and centred at each place. Everyone else's eyes were following his movements. He bent over the dining table with one eye closed tightly and held his thumb out in front of his other eye, carefully aligning the table settings. He appeared to be concentrating quite hard on this task – as if it were a matter of life or death.
"Would you like a hand, Padfoot? Can I get you anything? Ruler? Leveller? Sextant?"
Sirius looked up at Remus with a start. The very corners of his mouth raised in the tiniest of smiles. "There's that sarcasm nobody believes you have, Moony." Sirius bent over the table again deliberately.
"Mr Black, I think it is time we chill the pumpkin juice and Butterbeers," suggested Liz, putting her arm around Sirius' and pulling him away from the place settings with a wink to Remus and Katie. "I am sure they would find ice cold drinks more enjoyable than perfectly aligned dishes!"
"I apologise, Miss Harker. I just want everything to be perfect tonight for Harry… I mean for all of them. It's such an important night!" Sirius was fidgeting as he tried to get out of the hold Liz had on his arm.
Liz cupped Sirius' face in her hand and pulled it in front of her own face. She looked him straight in the eyes in her no-nonsense fashion. "It will be, Mr Black. All they care about is having a good time together and with us. You know Harry is just as anxious to see you as you are to see him."
Sirius nodded slightly but started fidgeting once again, trying to straighten a fork that was still within his reach.
"Just think of all those stories we can tell Harry now that he is out of Hogwarts." suggested Remus brightly, trying to help Liz in settling Sirius' nerves.
"Come on, Sirius!" said Katie. "I need you out of the way so I can start dinner. Heaven knows I would not trust you with the cooking!" she sniggered.
Sirius straightened up and looked at all of their faces. "It would seem my presence is not wanted here. Fine. I am quite certain that young Master Lupin would not mind a visit from his godfather. Perhaps I can wake him up from his nap and teach him some of the finer points of being a Beater. It should come in handy when he gets to Gryffindor."
Katie opened her mouth to reply. However, Sirius was too fast for her. He had already left the room and bolted up the stairs bellowing in a singsong voice, "MALCOLM! Are you ready to have lots of fun?" before Katie had realised what Sirius was up to.
Liz put her hand firmly on Remus' shoulder. "And you've known him how long? Typical Sirius… one minute he's totally depressed and as nervous as a cat and the next he's as happy as you are in front of the Chocolate Frogs display at Honeydukes! Still, there is something about him you've just got to love!" She withdrew her arm and sighed. "I suppose someone ought to go up there and serve as chaperone for those two, although it's not Malcolm that I'm worried will destroy the room!" Liz followed Sirius up the stairs as a toddler's giggles could clearly be heard erupting on the second story.
"It's amazing the way Malcolm is always so cheerful when Sirius wakes him up; why can't he ever be like that for us?" remarked Remus.
Katie eyed Remus with concern. "Is Sirius going to be alright?"
"Certainly. He's just all wound up right now, that's all. Sirius is torn between wishing Harry would arrive post haste and worrying about his reactions to tonight's revelations." Remus' grey eyes wandered as he looked out the dining room window at the spot where the Portkey would shortly be depositing Harry, Ron, Hermione, and Ginny.
Katie followed her husband's line of vision with her own eyes. "He's not the only one feeling that way, I dare say."
Remus turned back to her and softly pressed his lips upon her cheek. "Katie, love, I never could get one past you, could I?" Her eyes sparkled as he gently stroked her cheek with the back of his hand.
"Right, then," he said all at once. "Let's finish our dinner preparations so we can help Liz peel Sirius off of the walls!"