Thanks to all of you for putting up with me for so long! One and a half years are a long time, and I know that sometimes I tested your patience to the limit with my irregular updates. All the more I'm glad that so many stuck with the story to the end, I'm a bit sad to see it finished (though I'm also very, very, VERY relieved that it's done).
Anyway, here's a short epilogue with some of how the story goes on. There won't be a sequel to it, at least nothing that is planned. I've written some scenes for my own amusement, but I don't plan on re-writing Harry's school years.
More about how and when a new story of mine might pop up (and a little preview for it) at the end of the chapter.
So once again Thank You, all of you.
Remus' steps grew more and more hesitant as he and Harry walked through King's Cross Station. Remus pushed the trolley with Harry's trunk and owl cage in front of him and watched with a slight smile as Harry excitedly hopped along next to him. Right now he was glad that Sirius had won that particular argument and had come along to bring Harry to the train, because Remus was sorely tempted to apparate Harry back home and lock him up in the house for the rest of his life. Not because he wanted to punish him, but because he didn't want to let him go. Sirius was walking a couple of steps behind them, and had Remus seen his face he'd have realized that his old friend was watching him attentively.
Sirius' recovery had been remarkable. Truly, it had been more than four years now since his escape from Azkaban, but judged from how worried the mind-healers had been about Sirius ever recovering completely, his progress had truly been surprising. It had taken some time until he had gotten accustomed to real life again, though. Every-day occurrences which were normal for most people had become near-impossible obstacles in his way, and even simple things like going to Gringott's or a simple shopping trip had never gone easy. Especially not since Sirius was recognized practically everywhere, particularly shortly after his trial. But the interest had receded gradually, eventually allowing Sirius to lead something akin to a normal life. He still had weekly sessions with a mind-healer, though nowadays their purpose was no longer trying to restore Sirius' memory. Rather, during those sessions Sirius was working through his Azkaban experience which still was weighing heavily on him. He could probably never forget what he had experienced during his five years of imprisonment, but those sessions helped him to deal with the memories and the nightmares which still plagued him from time to time. Sirius didn't talk often about either the nightmares or the sessions with the mind-healer, but Remus knew that when the memories came, they still bothered him greatly.
The damage which the Memory Charms and the longer stretch of time during which he had been under Imperious had done to Sirius was as undone as it could be. There had never been the chance for a complete recovery, but thanks to long and strenuous sessions at St. Mungo's, Sirius was now at least aware of the few blind spots that had remained in his mind.
He had become a bit quirky, though. On occasion, it happened that Sirius got lost in his thoughts all of a sudden. Not often or regularly, but still often enough to be noticeable. It could happen anytime and anywhere, be it at home while preparing dinner, while playing chess with Harry or while he was shopping in the supermarket. Nobody really knew what triggered it, but it could happen that Sirius thought of something and got so lost in his thoughts that he didn't realize what was going on around him anymore. The first time Remus had witnessed this, he had been rather shocked about it, but over the past years he had gotten used to the possibility that Sirius might abruptly space out for a couple of minutes. It was over within a few minutes mostly, and the healers had said that it was nothing to worry about, so Remus forced himself not to worry about it too much. As long as it didn't happen while Sirius was on a broom or driving that blasted motorbike of his Remus could remain calm about it. Strangely, those never seemed to be occasions when he got lost in his thoughts.
And he had spent a lot of time on his broom. After all, he had argued, he had five years worth of Quidditch to catch up on. That meant flying as well as watching games whenever he could. It also had been Quidditch which had broken the ice between Sirius and Harry after their first meetings. Harry had found a lot more interest in his godfather's friend when he had found out that Sirius was just as much of a Quidditch fanatic as he himself was. And as Remus' interest in Quidditch was only half-hearted and he didn't enjoy talking about the sport as much as Sirius did, Harry and Sirius had grown closer through their common interest. And through that, Sirius had gradually become one of the important persons in Harry's life. Nowhere near as close to him as Remus or even Janus, but Sirius had become something like an adult friend for Harry, a friend with whom he could have fun and who hardly ever reprimanded him or forbid him anything.
And Sirius had helped to reveal the prankster potential in Harry. It had been a scary revelation, if Remus was honest with himself. Even before he had met Sirius, Harry had enjoyed the occasional prank or joke with his family, but Sirius had taken that to an entirely new level. More than once they had left Janus, Richard or Serena speechless with what they had done, and Remus was sure that the number of his grey hairs had multiplied since the first time that somebody had put Zonko's Ten-Hour-Sticking-Glue onto the handle of his tea-cup. And as if that wasn't enough, that certain somebody had also put another little fun-potion into his tea which had turned his face a livid green. Remus still remembered the telling-off he had given his friend and godson that afternoon, but he had had to realize that his authority suffered quite a bit when his face was poisonous-green and he had a tea-cup sticking to his right hand. Harry and Sirius had had a hard time suppressing their laughter, that much he remembered. And that day had only been the start of it all. Harry and Sirius were quite the devious team. Harry had the ideas, Sirius knew how to take them to the limit and where to get the required ingredients. Remus gave a mental sigh. Somehow, he'd miss their scheming when Harry was at Hogwarts, and he was sure Sirius would as well.
Maybe his current position in Harry's life was not what James had had in mind for Sirius by naming him godfather, but it was as good as they could get after everything that happened. Harry liked Sirius, he spent time with him and never protested when Remus left him with Sirius for a day or over night. He trusted Sirius implicitly. Remus didn't want that to change, but both Sirius and Remus knew that one day they'd have to tell Harry about Sirius' involvement in his kidnapping. They didn't know when the right time for that would be, and they didn't know how Harry would react to that revelation. They'd cross that bridge when they came to it.
Remus had been so lost in his thoughts that he hardly realized how they had arrived at the barrier between Platform nine and ten. Harry stopped and looked expectantly at his guardians.
"And we'll just walk through? Nothing more?"
Remus must have explained him a thousand times how to get to Platform 9 ¾, but now that they were finally there Harry seemed to think that his godfather had made fun of him. He frowned his nose, the old habit he had never quite outgrown, and waited for Remus' answer. Remus could not help but smile.
"Yes, we'll just walk through, nothing more.
Sirius, why don't you together with Harry and I go after you with the
Sirius tore his gaze away from the young woman he had watched entering the express train to Liverpool and nodded at Remus.
"Sure. Alright kid, it's best if you take the
barrier running for the first time."
Sirius reached for Harry's hand but the boy immediately took a step back.
"If you expect me to try running through a solid wall, then you're completely nuts. I might fall for most of your pranks, but I'm not stupid."
Remus snickered and ignored the glare Sirius shot him. That was the boy he had raised, never believe anything unless you've found proof that it's true. He was proud that Harry didn't blindly trust anything he was told, even if it came from Sirius and him. But if he didn't do anything now, they'd still be standing here in the evening.
"All right Harry, I'll go through first and you and Sirius follow. You'll see that it's not a solid wall."
Harry didn't look too convinced, but the last thing Remus saw when he leaned against the barrier and vanished right through it was his godson's jaw dropping a couple of inches. When Sirius and Harry followed through the barrier moments later, Harry a bit flushed from running, there was a huge grin on his godson's face.
"That's brilliant! Can I have something like that at home, at the door to my room?"
"I can imagine that you would like to have something like this to hide this chaotic mess you call your room behind. I don't really think I can allow you to have your door charmed into looking like a wall, though. I know exactly that Sirius and you would only use it to open up a secret pranking headquarter in your room. For now I think we should try to find you a place on the train, it's bound to leave soon."
Sirius and Remus brought Hedwig's cage into the luggage compartment and carried Harry's trunk along the train. Hundreds of students with their parents were standing around on the platform or moving in and out of the train, most of which didn't pay Harry and his guardians any attention at all. Once or twice somebody whispered 'Isn't that Harry Potter?', but Harry moved along quickly towards the end of the train. The second to last wagon seemed to be still quite empty, and Sirius hoisted Harry's trunk into the wagon from where the boy could more easily drag it into his compartment later on. When he left the train again, he quickly gave Harry a hug and grinned mischievously when he released him.
"Okay kid, have fun at Hogwarts. Try not to get too many detentions, your father and I worked hard on our record, we'd like to keep it for a little while longer. And if you need to know any secret passages or ways to get rid of Peeves, just send me an owl. I'll miss you, Harry."
"I'll miss you too, Sirius." Harry hugged
him again around the waist and then turned to Remus. Sirius nodded at his
"I'll wait for you in the station. Maybe that muggle train with that nice looking young woman hasn't left yet."
He waved Harry good bye and set off towards the exit, Remus' grateful smile in his back. Remus knew only too well that Sirius had not gone solely because of that muggle woman, but to leave Remus some private space to say good bye to Harry. Sirius and Harry had grown closer during the past four years, but their relationship still was nothing compared to the one Remus shared with Harry.
Taking a deep breath, Remus turned towards Harry. He absolutely didn't want to say goodbye to his godson right now. Yesterday, when Harry had said goodbye to Richard, Janus and his family Remus had already felt slightly sick. The only funny thing had been Janus' desperate attempts to explain his oldest daughter Julia why she could not go to Hogwarts as well just yet. And Remus knew from experience that five year old children were not exactly open for reasonable explanations. Things had not gotten better when Janus' younger daughter Hannah had joined into her older sister's wailing. In the end Janus had carried both of them upstairs so that he could have at least a little peace to say goodbye to Harry.
And when Richard and Janus had finally said goodbye to Harry, Remus had suddenly had a really large lump in his throat as he thought about the next day. He didn't want to let Harry go just now, he was only eleven years old! Why couldn't the child just stay with him for another year or so? Oh, who was he fooling, he didn't want to let Harry go at all. But he had to, he knew.
He placed his hands on Harry's shoulders and squeezed them gently.
"Okay pup, that's it I guess."
Harry grimaced a bit at being called 'pup' in public, something he felt far too old for by now with his eleven years. Remus crouched down a bit so that he was at eye level with Harry and took him in a tight long hug.
"Be good, have fun, and whatever Sirius told you, don't do it. Don't get yourself into too much trouble, and try to make some new friends. An owl from time to time would be nice, too. If there's anything wrong, just let me know. I'll miss you, Harry. The house will be far too silent without you."
Harry looked as if he was about to be sick any moment.
"I don't want to go."
For a fleeting moment Remus was tempted to tell him that he didn't need to go and take Harry back home with him, but he resisted. He knew that Harry wanted to go to Hogwarts, he had been excited about it for weeks, ever since his Hogwarts letter had arrived.
He hugged Harry again. "Yes, you want to go. Harry, those will be the seven best years of your life, believe me. And you will be surprised how quickly it'll be Christmas and you'll be home again."
Harry shook his head. "It'll be boring. Eric and David won't be there. And you and Uncle Janus and Grandpa, Sirius, all of you will be so far away."
"You'll make new friends before you know it, and Eric and David will be there next year. You can write to all of us every day, and you'll get used to Hogwarts quickly. It's me you should be worried about, pup. What shall I do now that you're gone? My life will be boring."
"You still have Sirius to take care of."
An eye-roll was all he got for an answer.
"Oh yes, I forgot about that, I have another kid to look after." He ruffled Harry's hair affectionately, messing it up even more, then gave him a kiss on the forehead. "I love you, pup. Take care."
"Love you too, Remus. And I will."
"I know you will. Bye."
Harry jumped onto the train just as the conductor blew the whistle and a minute later the train stated to move out of the station. Harry was waving from his compartment window until the Hogwarts Express drove around a corner and was out of sight.
Remus sighed deeply and kept on staring at the spot where his godson had vanished for some minutes longer. Harry was on his way to Hogwarts now, and it definitely would take some time to get used to that.
All right, that was "Hunting The Traitor". I'm a bit sad to let it go, but it's not as if I had nothing left up my sleeve. Though there are some good news and some bad news.
The bad news first:
It'll take some time until you'll find the next post from me here. If there is anything HTT has taught me, then that it's never wise to publish a fic before it's entirely finished. I want to spare myself the struggle with my next project, so I'll only start posting it when it's finished. I can't tell you exactly how long that's going to take, though. So either check my profile from time to time, put me on your author alert, or simply join my yahoo-group. That's where you'll definitely get to know about any progress or delay. The address is on my profile page.
Time for the good news:
I'm working on a new fic idea. It's going to be a trilogy, and the first fic is already in good progress.
A tiny little glimpse? Here you go:
Making History (1) – The Fate of One
In the aftermath of Harry's fifth year at Hogwarts, everybody tries in their own way to deal with what has happened. But there is not much time for processing and self-reflection. The war has started, and the Order finds itself faced with the impossible task of stopping Voldemort before it's too late. There is no time for personal problems to interfere with the fate of the wizarding world. Yet personal problems never ask whether it is the right time for them to appear or not. Something from out of Remus' past suddenly surfaces, and Remus is not ready to deal with it in any way. His life is at stake, and there is nothing that can be done to save him – except from one very dangerous thing. And the only person who could save Remus' life is a person who does not want to awaken the ghosts of his own past – Severus Snape.
Now Harry has his own reasons to interfere with Remus' business, and though he only wants to do good, he increases the danger for everybody involved. What he foolishly sets in motion has to be finished. Only, nobody can say what prize will have to be paid for it. The only place where all the questions will be answered is the last place Harry ever wanted to see again – the Death Chamber in the Department of Mysteries. Yet that is exactly where he has to go to save the life of a person he holds dearly. Or where he might lose another one he cares for.
The second and third fic of the Making History Trilogy will be set in Harry's sixth respectively seventh year at Hogwarts.
Canon, for a change. I needed to get out of the AU-world after HTT.
It might take another two or three months until I've got it finished so far that I can publish it, after all I need to work out the whole trilogy to a certain degree until I can post the first fic. I hope to hear from all of you once I start posting. If you want to contact me or write a review for which you'd like to have an answer, best send me an e-mail or post it in my yahoo-group, I'll definitely check there more often than I'll check my profile.
Until then, I hope you all enjoyed Hunting The Traitor! See you in a couple of weeks!