Disclaimer: I do not own Harry Potter or any connected characters, settings or plots.
It was the first of November, the weather was forecast to rain, and all over Britain wizards and witches alike were celebrating the end to one of the darkest lord's in living memory. In Little Whinging, a seemingly magic-free area, the celebrating was at a minimum but still present in the few who chose to live there. Lying, unbeknownst to the surrounding citizens, on the front door step of Number 4 Privet Drive was the reason for all the celebrations and joy that the wizarding world was experiencing on that day.
Though he was only a little over a year old, this small baby had done what no one else had been capable of doing for the last eleven or so years; defeating Voldemort. Little Harry might not know who Voldemort was, or even how to pronounce his name (silent 'T', people), but regardless of that, the people of Britain were all celebrating the victory.
Remus Lupin, who was sat on the small garden wall of Number 4 Privet Drive, held no such celebrations. Morosely, his hands hung limply on his lap and his head drooped, eyes fixed on the little blue bundle sat only a few metres away. Only a few months ago, Remus could quite clearly recall playing with little Harry under the loving gaze of his parents. Now, he was an orphan.
Lily and James were dead.
A fresh wave of grief crashed over Remus, causing him to audibly gasp and hunch down on himself. Tears silently streamed down his face for he had long passed the loud sobbing stage of grief that he'd been suffering through since he'd heard the tragic news. Two of his closest friends... murdered by Voldemort, only for their infant son to supposedly 'banish' the Dark Lord once and for all? Under normal circumstances, Remus would wonder if he was drunk to think of such a sentence; and as much as he might like that to be true (he could really use a drink right now), he knew that it was no lie. Lily and James were gone and now their infant orphaned son lay a scant few feet away.
The majority of Remus' mind was telling him to leave, immediately before any passing muggles saw him and started to wonder why a fully grown man was sat crying at a baby. Though he was a half-blood and was quite integrated into the muggle world by his mother, that wasn't a question he wanted to answer. A smaller part of Remus, however, ached for him to move forward and to pick Harry up. It was his heart, beaten and cracked into two, that made him stay on that brick wall. He had no business being here, yet he couldn't make himself move for the life of him. Eventually, it wasn't for his life that made him move.
A loud POP suddenly echoed throughout the street, causing Remus to jump off the wall and fall forwards, bringing his wand up as he spun around to face whoever it was. His eyes widened when he saw the man; stood a few feet away on the other side of the wall, long black hair cascading around his youthful face, leather jacket torn in places.
"Sirius," Remus said aloud, shock making his reactions slow for a moment. Sirius lifted his head, from where his gaze was fixed on the little blue bundle behind Remus, and then he snarled.
"Get out of the way," Black demanded, drawing his own wand.
"So you can kill him like you let his parents be killed?" Remus replied. Black was a talented wizard, true, but Remus was a prodigy at duelling - he could beat Black. He could. "You'll have to go through me first."
Black flicked his eyes back like he always did when he thought someone was being particularly stupid. "He's my godson, you dolt, I'm not letting him be raised by... these people."
"Please, try harder to hide your prejudice, I beg of you." Remus stalked forwards.
"Them being muggles has got nothing to-" Black growled again, shaking his head so his black mane swished around. "I don't have the time for this - the Aurors are looking for me." He flicked his wand to the side suddenly, yelling out, "Stupefy!", as he did so. Remus, having anticipated that, rolled to the side and returned with his own spell.
"Expelliarmus!" Black deflected the spell with a quickly raised shield, returning his own Disarming spell a few moments later. It was a lucky shot and they both knew it; he'd never really been too good with his charms. Brilliant at Potions, though. "Just give it up, Black!"
"I made the mistake of trusting a friend once, I won't do it again!" Black said, walking towards the small brick wall. "I don't want to kill you, Remus. I've lost two friends already-"
"Lost?!" Remus repeated, feeling the amount of anger that usually formed on a full moon. "You were their secret keeper! You gave them to Voldemort! I am the one who lost Lily and James, you don't have any claim to them! You're the reason they're dead!"
Black took a deep breath. "Yeah, I am. If it weren't for me, they'd be alive." Oddly, for a traitor, he didn't seem to happy about it. "But I never betrayed them Moo - oof!"
Incensed beyond any hope of control, Remus let his animalistic side take control; charging forwards, he used a slight levitation charm to vault over the brick wall and tackle Black to the pavement, both of them scraping themselves on the tarmac. Their wands scattered across the paving stone, rolling across the curve of the street, though Remus had more pressing issues. He'd landed fully on Black, knees stinging from where they hit the floor, and as he reared back to level a punch at Black's head, the bastard jabbed at his ribs. His teeth gritted, Remus managed to land a few slaps and punches on Black's chest and shoulders as the two tussled on the floor. Truly, it resembled two boys fighting over a toy more than a duel to the death between two former friends, though Remus didn't know if it was because, regardless of how angry and betrayed he felt, he would always find it difficult to beat a man he once cared for to death or because Black, who didn't seem to want to fight, wasn't putting up much of a defense.
Realising this, Remus halted his next fist scant inches from Black's handsome nose. "Why are you here for Harry?"
"He's family..." Black groaned, coughing as he did so. Most likely due to the fact that Remus had punched him in the lungs several times. "I can't leave him to them... you heard how Lily talked about her sister... she hates magic. She hates Harry."
"Why would you care?!" Remus now demanded, panting heavily. The adrenaline was wearing off, leaving him cold and empty, and now he just wanted to know why. "Why would you betray his parents and then care for him?! That doesn't make any sense!"
"I didn't betray James!" Sirius roared back, leaning up on his elbows. Remus' fist now rested against his cheek, the bruised knuckles gently pressing against his cheekbone. "Nor Lily! I loved them!"
"You said you were the reason they died!"
"I am the reason! I told them to trust Peter and then that little rat sold them out!"
Their shouting match stopped dead, Remus and Sirius simply lying in the street together as they stared at one another with streaming eyes. Remus didn't want to believe him- no, no, he wanted to know with utmost certainty that Siri- that Black was lying, that this was all a ploy so Black could gain the upperhand and grab Harry. For the last few months, during Order meetings, it had become clear that there was a mole. Naturally, fingers pointed towards him - the werewolf - but also to Black - eldest son of one of the darkest families in Britain. It never occurred to Remus, Sirius and James that there was another possibility altogether.
Sirius dropped back to the pavement, letting out huge puffs of air as he did so. "I thought I was so smart. I said to James; 'No one will expect it to be Wormtail, but I was your best man. We'll tell people I'm the Secret Keeper so the Death Eaters will come after me and Wormtail will be safe'." He met Remus' gaze. "That was three days ago."
"And you didn't tell me?" He shouldn't be hurt by that, he really shouldn't, but Remus couldn't help the fact that his heart still stung regardless. "Damnit, Padfoot, they were my family! I don't care if I turn into a bloody wolf once a month, I wouldn't betray them!"
"I'm sorry, alright?!" Sirius rested one hand on Remus' knee, tapping out a rhythm only he could understand. "I trusted in the wrong friend. It won't happen again."
Now that the fight was over, Remus felt rather foolish about openly sitting on Sirius' lap in the middle of the street, so he shifted over to the side and collapsed next to him, resting on his side. Sirius did not move his hand from Remus' knee. "If Peter was the mole... it explains why he knew information from meetings we weren't in. A rat is easy to miss."
"Compared to a giant stag, a handsome dog and a giant ravenous wolf, yeah, it is." Sirius sighed mournfully, running his free hand through his hair. "I should've known then, really. He turned into a rat, of all things, and I trusted him. I'm a bellend."
"Yes." Remus snorted at the outraged look Sirius shot at him. "Did you expect me to disagree? The entire wizarding world now thinks that you're the scum of the earth because you refused to tell anyone the truth. Not even Dumbledore knew?"
"Less people in the know, less danger."
"Definitely a bellend."
Silence lingered between them for a few moments, a comfortable one that neither really wanted to break. They were at a crossroads, multiple routes leading off into a vast array of possible futures. Some, Remus was sure, were lovely and happy. Others, he knew, were dark and dangerous.
"I'm not leaving Harry here," Sirius murmured, as quiet as possible. Earlier, they had been yelling so loudly he was sure that the muggles around them would wake; now, the both of them were so eager to not let anyone interrupt their private moment. "The Dursleys," he growled the name, "hated Lily and James. They'll hate Harry too, and I know what it's like growing up in a house where everyone wishes bodily harm on you; I won't have that for him. I refuse. I told Hagrid that too, but he slipped that Dumbledore ordered he come here. I gave him my motorbike and followed them here. Arrived as soon as Dumbledore left."
"Why didn't you go after Wormtail?" Remus wondered.
"Little bastard's probably got something planned. I won't give him the pleasure of setting me up more than he already has." He shook his head, looking ghastly in the dark. "No, I'm taking Harry away and I'm raising him the way they'd... the way they'd want him to be raised." Sirius quickly looked at Remus and then fixed his gaze on the gloomy clouds above them. "You should come with us."
Remus jumped, sitting up and staring down at his best friend. "I'm a werewolf."
"You should definitely come with us."
"I'm a werewolf," Remus repeated, stressing the most important word.
"I can't stay in the wizarding world, that's certain, so I'd have to raise Harry where wizards wouldn't look - among the muggles. You're half-blood, you'd be a big help."
"I'm. A. Werewolf." Sirius continued to avoid his gaze.
"And, really, I'd need you there. I'm not the most..." A sly grin appeared on his face. "Serious person out there, and I'm told you need someone fun and someone 'serious' to raise a child properly."
"Bloody hell, Padfoot, what part of 'I'm a bleeding werewolf' don't you understand?"
Sirius squeezed his knee, smiling reassuringly. "I don't think the muggles would care."
"And what if I attacked Harry?" Remus prodded Sirius' shoulder, even as a kernel of hope began to grow. Truth be told, most muggles wouldn't even attribute his monthly sicknesses to lycanthropy.
"Moony, in what scenario would you be around a fifteen-month-old baby when fully transformed?" There was a flaw in Remus' logic, admittedly, but he glared at Sirius until he was forced to give a proper answer. "I wouldn't let that happen, Moony, you know that. I've even heard rumours of a new potion being made that lets you retain your own mind when you transform - I could make it for you."
Remus trusted him, though he shouldn't. He really, truly, especially, utterly, majorly shouldn't trust him. "Where'd we go?"
"Uh..." Sirius scratched the back of his head. "Edinborough."
"You just came up with that."
"I wasn't thinking that far ahead!" Sirius admitted, now also sitting up. He dusted off his leather jacket, wrinkling his noses at the cuts and tears it was sporting. "I just figured I'd grab Harry, summon my bike and flee. Didn't know you'd be here."
"Honestly, Padfoot, you can't just 'wing' raising a child!" Remus sighed at his friend's behavior. "You need to be more-"
"Serious?" He finished, sporting a grin.
Remus stood, gingerly stretching out his knees. "Ten years of friendship; I should've seen that one coming."
His friend made a noise of affirmation in the back of his throat before Remus helped him stand, both of them sore all over.
"I banged my knees when I fell," Remus muttered, hesitantly poking one with his finger. He didn't think it was bleeding, but, still, it was exceedingly sore.
"At least you didn't land on your arse," Sirius said. Indeed, as he moved, Remus could see that Sirius was hesitant to move in anyway that would make his arse shift. He could also see that it was very round and firm. Very firm, he decided, watching with keen interest as Sirius bent over to collect their wands from the road. "I've already sorted out money, actually, so I'm not winging everything!"
His interest piqued - and also Sirius had turned around so he couldn't look at his backside any longer - Remus raised an eyebrow. It was a signature move that the other Marauders had always been jealous of. "How'd you do that?"
"It took Hagrid the entire day to fly from Godric's Hollow to here; I didn't spend that time waiting for the warrant for my arrest to start circulating. I went to Gringotts, explained what happened - the goblins are no friends of the Ministry and Dumbledore, after all."
"What'd they say?" Remus was now firmly intrigued, taking his wand back. It was a sign that Sirius was telling the truth in that he didn't snap it in half and kill Remus on the spot.
"That they had proof I wasn't the Secret Keeper - didn't have the magical signature on me, did I?" He grinned, but it was a hollow one. "Anyway, after that they agreed to sort out gallons-to-pounds ratio from my Vault. The money Uncle Alphard gave me is coming in handy after all."
Remus could quite clearly remember the day Sirius had left home after being disowned; he'd arrived on James' doorstep (where Remus had been staying) crying. When asked why, he replied 'I'm free'. Remus privately thought it was because he missed his little brother, or perhaps it was due to the Potters' legally adopting him on the same day. Sirius cried about a lot of things, especially when he gained a new loving family. "So, you've got the money to raise Harry properly?"
"Moony, I've got enough money to for all three of us to live comfortably for the rest of our miserable lives." Sirius huffed, walking past Remus and clambering over the wall instead of walking slightly to the left and using the path like a normal person. "I can't believe it."
"Harry's still asleep," Sirius told him, with no small amount of wonder. "We had a fight not ten feet from him and here he is, sucking his thumb." He kneeled down, gently taking the bundle into his arms - in the correct position Lily had showed them, so very long in the hospital room, all five of them trying their hardest not to cry as Harry quite happily yanked on Sirius' hair.
Gulping, Remus followed Sirius by climbing over the wall - he never said that he was a normal person either - and hesitantly standing at his side. There, as his heart thudding painfully inside his chest, Remus took the first look at his best friends' son for the first time in over a month. Not much had changed, truthfully; Harry still had that small tuft of black hair, the cherubic chubby cheeks and then the bright green eyes that were a perfect match for Lily's, though his eyes were shut at the time. The only difference was, of course, the lightning bolt scar slightly off-centre in the middle of his forehead. Seeing it for the first time, Remus' breath caught in the back of his throat. "Is that-?"
"I think so," Sirius said. "Other than that, he's healthy." For a moment, they both continued to stare as Harry slept peacefully. Then Sirius blurted out, "I've got no idea how you care for a baby."
"Neither do I," said Remus.
They glanced at each other and then worriedly watched as Harry began to fidget slightly, getting comfortable in Sirius' arms.
"No, no, no," Sirius muttered, trying not to wake Harry whilst simultaneously trying to pass him over to Remus, who took a horrified step backwards. "I have to drive the bike!"
"You're kidding!" Remus harshly whispered, still dodging Sirius thrusting Harry at him. "You can't drive a baby around in a motorbike, are you mad?"
"Hagrid drove him here in it!"
"Hagrid is an eight foot tall giant who Dumbledore personally entrusted Harry to!"
"I'm his godfather!"
"You're an illegal animagus wanted for murder!"
Harry whimpered and they both quietened. With bated breath, they waited at he began fussing again, finally rolling towards Lupin, reaching out even though his eyes were still shut. Sirius sent him a smug grin. "The baby has spoken; you're carrying him."
"Fine." Remus carefully took Harry from Sirius, protectively holding him tightly against his chest. "He's heavier than I remember." He opened his mouth to say more when Harry let out a tiny little gurgle and nuzzled against his chest, causing a surge of protectiveness through him. Sirius gave a gentle grin and smoothed down Harry's little tuft of hair with a lone finger, however, due to the Potter genes he had undoubtedly inherited from his father, the hair sprung right back up. At the shared memory of how James' hair acted similarly - even though it was still far too soon for that to be a memory - Remus and Sirius both smiled.
It hit him then, that they were going to raise Harry together and all of the things that went along with it, and Remus cleared his throat. "So, where are we going? We can't just pick a direction and hope for the best."
The look in Sirius' grey eyes suggested that he rather liked the idea. "Why not?"
"Because he's a baby and they need stability."
"No, I mean, let's just pick somewhere random and stay there to get used to everything. We can move later to somewhere safer." Sirius had now taken to running his fingers up and down Harry's cheek, looking so in love with his godson it made Remus fall in love a little bit more too. "It doesn't even have to be in Britain; the Ministry will be looking for me everywhere."
Remus kept glancing between Harry and Sirius, privately debating with himself, before he finally spoke. "I have a cottage in Yorkshire."
Sirius blinked. "Since when?"
"It's where I went when I was a child for my transformations," Remus explained, shrugging a single shoulder. "It's got room for Harry and it's extremely remote. No wizarding villages or any magical areas for miles and miles. No one even knows it exist other than my mother and I."
He looked to be considering it for several moments, tilting his head left to right as he thought, before Sirius nodded sharply and hopped back over the garden wall. He pointed his wand up at the sky and then yelled out, in as clear a voice as possible; "Accio my motorbike!"
"Sirius!" Remus said, sharply. "I thought you had a charm to quietly summon it!"
"No, I just said that so you wouldn't fret. The charm just tells me if someone's still riding it." Sirius grinned over his shoulder. "You might want to protect Harry's ears."
Remus might want to protect his own ears as well; the large roar of the motorbike as it quickly approached, landing on the road with a massive thump. "Where did Hagrid go that was so close?"
"Diagon Alley, maybe?" He walked forwards, inspecting the beast of a bike. "Who cares?"
"He might be telling Dumbledore right now!" Remus huffed, striding towards the bike and frowning when he saw the sidecar. "That's a bit unsafe for Harry, isn't it?"
"Maybe he sat on Hagrid's knee," Sirius suggested, climbing on and revving the engine. It was so loud Remus was sure he'd wake the muggles. "C'mon."
"What?" Remus glanced between Sirius' openly mirthful face and the bike. "You want me to carry Harry?"
"Yorkshire isn't that far away," he said. "And I won't drop you." Remus looked down at the baby in his arms. "And you won't drop Harry, either."
With a huff, Remus conceded to his friend's request and sat behind him, thighs clinging tight to the bike. With one arm he secured Harry even more tightly, wrapping the other around Sirius. "Let's go, then."
"You don't need to tell me twice," Sirius said, pulling the throttle. The bike started to move, quickly riding upwards into the sky, leaving the picturesque Privet Drive below. The speed with which the bike moved was incredible, the neighborhood of Little Whinging leaving them in a blur. Had Remus witnessed the sight he was sure that it would've been a great one; his eyes were focused on Harry.
The small boy had no idea about the tragedy and mystery that surrounded his brief life, no idea at all, as he slept on. He would continued to sleep on until they reached the cottage that Remus had spoken of, bare but well-loved with scratch marks in the wood, when he would be prodded awake by his over-eager godfather. Harry Potter had no foresight that he would spend the next few weeks being hugged randomly, scattered with kisses and rocked whenever they had the chance by his loving uncles. That he would grow up in that small cottage, isolated but never alone, learning of magic but never seeing it for himself, of flying a broom for the first time at the age of eight after Moony had travelled to Diagon Alley for the first time in years. He'd be ten years old when he learned the truth; of his parents and the night that Voldemort had visited them in Godric's Hollow, of how Professor Dumbledore had tried to make Harry live with his maternal aunt and how his uncles had protested it and taken him away, to be raised with love. Of how Moony's nickname did not come from flashing his bum on the first Hogwart's Express journey but actually from being a werewolf.
And he wouldn't know until he was even older that for the next ten years, wizards and witches all over the country were clinking their glasses together and toasting; "To the Boy-Who-Lived!"
This is just the prologue, but I hope you like it. I might write a few one-shots about Harry being raised by them, but this is the story of his time at Hogwarts, not his childhood. But you never know, right? Please review! And thanks to Rachel for reading through for me!