Authors note: Well I'm back! Many thanks to my new beta reader—Dyly.
Since I've been away for so long, here's a summary of what's happened in the past 7 chapters, but of course it would be a lot better if u just go ahead and read the story from the beginning. It shouldn't take you too long. Enjoy!
Summary: Harry Potter is two years old and his mum, Lily, has recently given birth to another boy – Kevin Potter. It was at this time that Albus Dumbledore heard the prophecy concerning Voldemort and the 'Chosen One'. It is generally assumed that it is Kevin Potter who is the chosen one and Lily and James Potter are deeply troubled by the imminent danger. Unwittingly Harry is ignored and neglected by his parents and uncles. Feeling alone and unhappy, his only happiness is Moony, who realizes what is happening to him. Then one night Voldemort arrives and just before Lily dies he tells her it was Harry not Kevin he wants. The last thing Lily said to Harry was to look after his brother and he is determined to do this, to win his mother's love. Harry, carrying his baby brother runs away, trying to escape. Yet he drops Kevin and as he turns around he is hit by the killing curse, sent by Voldemort. Harry and Kevin are sent to live with Uncle Vernon, where Harry is constantly beaten and abused. They live in the hope that 'Moony' will come and save them. Kevin is still thought of as the chosen one according to the scar, which is actually a burn obtained when Harry dropped him, on his chest and Harry as the brother of the chosen one. And so the story continues.
Albus Dumbledore walked up the small pathway that led to a small cottage whose roof was patched up in numerous corners and had a vast number of molding bricks. Despite its shabbiness, it appeared to be a very cozy and welcoming place to live in, especially if you preferred a quiet life, as it was located in a small clearing surrounded by tall obscuring trees.
Stepping up to the front door, the Headmaster muttered an incantation, which caused it to gently squeak back on its hinges and open to reveal a small hallway. He had been here before on a number of occasions but none as serious as this.
He walked over to the basement door, which he knew had a vast number of locks on its other side. Another set of well-chosen words and the sound of the chinks and chains on the inside were heard as they moved out of their place.
"Lumos," and the wand lit up brightly, helping him to walk down the creaking steps to the lowest floor of the house. He held the wand above his head in order to see better and squinted through the darkness until he saw the naked human figure in the damp corner.
The lithe body was sprawled on its side in a confusing mess of bleeding, trembling limbs. Scratches and wounds littered its arms, legs and chest, most had caked blood on them while other, deeper gashes oozed freely onto the dark floor.
Crouching down next to the body, Dumbledore placed his withered hand softly on the young mans shoulder and shook slightly, as to not cause him further pain.
"Remus," he said quietly, but had to repeat the name three more times before the man awoke from his deep slumber.
Dumbledore took off his heavy cloak and placed it on the shivering werewolf as gently as possible.
Remus Lupin grimaced as the warm material grazed his skin, looked up blearily and blinked a few times to recognize the mass of glittering silver above him, then asked (and later admonished himself for such a stupid question) in a hoarse voice, "Headmaster? How'd you get in 'ere?"
Dumbledore smiled, his eyes twinkling from behind his glasses, "Magic, of course," he said in a whisper as to not jar the man's still sensitive hearing after the transformation.
Albus helped Remus up the stairs, leaving the werewolf to wonder yet again how old his headmaster really was in order to be able to drag his half-limp body up such a long flight of steep stairs.
At 25 years of age, one would think that after more than a decade of werewolf transformations a person might eventually get used to them, but if anything they only got worse with time. Remus knew of course that it had nothing to do with age, but with the painful lack of company, human or animal, sometimes for many months. What was worse was that a ministry official, by the name of Umbridge, had placed so many restrictions on werewolves that it was practically impossible to find a job.
The headmaster of course wasn't part of the 'company' that Remus was talking about, because he made sure to come visit every once in a while; at least to check if Remus was alive. Sometimes he's send the werewolf on small missions to locate something or bring him a certain artifact, which Remus was sure was of no necessary need to the old man, but appreciated the gesture that eventually gave him enough money to be able to feed himself.
Remus huddled in his chair, and pulled the cloak closer to his body for warmth. The headmaster was fumbling in the kitchen behind him, preparing tea. Remus knew that the man could have conjured up the most incredibly delicious tea with a simple wave of a wand but was instead giving his host time to compose himself. It was useless, as his body wasn't allowing him more than a pathetic hunch over the table.
"How have you been lately Remus? Forgive me, I haven't had the time to come visit in the past months. Lemon drop?" Dumbledore offered after seating himself across the tired man.
Remus shook him head, "there's nothing to forgive headmaster. Thank you for visiting again." He knew he'd hate himself for how pathetic he sounded but he just couldn't seem to care at the moment. So what if no one visited him in the past three months? Either way he's been busy uselessly applying for jobs.
"Actually, as surprising as it may seem, I have a reason for this particular visit. A reason that involves a certain Sirius Black," the Headmaster said lightly, as if he merely stated that the weather was lovely for a walk and not something that had been haunting Remus for the fast five years or so.
Remus tensed up, his back straight, his jaw clenched. That name made his blood boil, and at the same time caused the loneliness that cloaked his existence for the past half a decade, to rise up in a suffocating manner.
"Indeed sir?" Remus said politely having to force the words out of his mouth as he took a scalding sip of his tea.
"Yes. The McVir's have won their case this week and their son has already been returned to them. After three months of struggle in the courts, petitioning for the use of Veritaserum, they were finally granted permission a week ago. In fact their son has been released this morning from Azkaban," Dumbledore explained calmly, as he sipped his tea.
"I'm sorry sir, but I still don't see what this has to do with Black," Remus practically spat the name.
Remus painfully remembered the news of the Potters death 5 years ago. The shock had sent Remus' mind reeling in a whirl of doubts and betrayal. At first Remus had denied the rumor of Sirius' involvement for hours, trying to get the order member's to believe him. But not long afterwards came the news of Peter's horrible death, and Remus almost crumbled in the meeting room, as every eye turned to him with looks of pity or remorse. He knew right then, in a moment of absolute clarity, that what he had always dreaded had come to happen. He was on his own all over again.
"Due to the outcome of the trial, many families have petitioned for the questioning of family members under the influence of the truth serum. I had hoped that perhaps you'd like to add Sirius' name to that list, Remus," Dumbledore said quietly, his blue eyes gazing into Remus's own brown ones with polite interest.
Remus, however, was not interested at all. He could almost feel the rage boiling under his skin, his feelings coming to the surface easily at this special time in the moon cycle. Once, not very long ago, he had come to consider Sirius Black as family, as a brother.
Perhaps Dumbledore had felt his anger and indignation because he gently placed his gnarled and withered hand on Remus' own.
"Remus," he began calmly "I am not telling you this to hurt you. It is not good to dwell on the past, and how things 'might' have turned out, but I have seen you shut yourself from the world and become a complete recluse. I know that you do not find this matter at all to your liking, and that seeing Sirius again will reopen old wounds. I do, however, know that you need closure Remus, and perhaps opening these old wounds is the way to do it…you simply must start living again, child."
Remus stayed silent throughout the speech. Dumbledore just couldn't understand! He didn't want to see Sirius! He couldn't look into those eyes again! Not ever!
He swallowed with difficulty, "I can't see him, sir, it's just…impossible. And talking to him? And…and looking at him…hearing him repeating all the things he's done! I can't, sir!" He turned his face from Dumbledore's kind and gentle eyes, his mind filled with memories of Sirius' happy, laughing face replaced with a cruel, sneering look over his old friend's bodies.
"There will be no need for you to talk to him, Remus. He'll be doing all the talking. I understand that this will be very difficult on you, and I can tell you now that you will probably feel a lot worse at the end of it. But you will most certainly get better with time, I know this and so do you," Dumbledore said, and Remus returned his gaze back to his old Headmaster, the only person who had come to visit him in his escape from the harsh world, checking up on him.
For some reason the image of his first day at Hogwarts, after meeting the headmaster in his office, came to his mind. The man had offered him, a werewolf, an education despite his…condition. It was something he had never dreamed about before he met Albus Dumbledore. And he had promised himself long ago, the moment James Potter and Sirius Black invited him to sit next to them, to be exact that he would do anything that this man before him asked him to, and he wasn't about to back out of that promise now.
"Very well, sir. Where should I sign?" Swallowing back the anger and frustration, Remus asked in a tone that he refused to admit was more than a little bitter.
"Splendid, m'boy!" Dumbledore clapped his hands, " there will be no need for you to sign anything, it was all taken care of before I came here. Good day Remus!" and he swept out of the room to the garden through the kitchens backdoor.
Remus starred at the seat that Albus Dumbledore had seated in and blinked. The only sign that the man was here was the empty cup, candy wrapping and the slight pop from outside. He should've known that the old coot had already 'taken care' of things for him.
The werewolf brought the headmasters cloak closer to his worn body as a sudden chill went down his spine. He was going to have to see Sirius soon, and he was afraid that he might end up with his hands wrapped around the man's neck, finally killing him.
Kevin watched as Uncle Vernon screamed his lungs out at the small shaking figure. Harry had forgotten to put the hose back into the shed after watering the whole garden today, and Uncle Vernon was quite upset at the sight of the water liberally running down the driveway.
"I'm so sorry Uncle Vernon! I forgot-" but Harry's trembling voice was stopped with a sharp slap to his face, that sent him crashing to the floor.
"Did I tell you to talk? Did I?" Vernon Dursley spat, looming over the cowering form of his nephew. Harry shook his head, his tears splashing down his front, and received a sharp kick to his abdomen in return.
In a fit of rage Vernon picked his nephew by the neck and held him up against the wall, watching as the younger boy slowly turned blue, "You are to never answer back, you freak! You don't deser- Argh!" He let go of the small neck and spun around shaking his leg, where young Kevin Potter had sank his tiny teeth into the much larger mans thigh in a n attempt to distract his uncle.
Harry pulled himself painfully off the floor, only to see his uncle punch his brother in the face to get him off his leg. Harry felt panic rush through him as he saw Uncle Vernon charging towards the fallen figure of his frightened brother.
Tears running freely down his face, Harry grabbed the nearest vase to him and threw it with all his might to the floor. Its crash rang almost painfully in his ears, and everything was suddenly eerily quiet in the parlor.
His Uncle was still standing over Kevin's form his arm raised, ready to strike, and his brother was curled up on the floor, looking at Harry from behind his shaking hands which were shielding his face.
"Vernon? What's going on?" his aunt's voice came from the kitchen before she poked her bony face from behind the door.
"Darling, must you really-"she began after she looked at the scene in front of her.
"Petunia, we've talked about this! These freaks must learn, or we'll never be able to control them," his uncle spoke in a quiet and sage voice, as if explaining a particularly difficult philosophical point to one of his disciples.
Aunt Petunia pursed her lips, and nodded. "Alright dear. Just don't harm 'that' one," she said nodding in Kevin's direction, and then disappeared back into her beloved kitchen.
The moment she left, Uncle Vernon picked Kevin up by the collar of his shirt and deposited him at the open cupboard door.
"Get in there! And not a single word, do I make myself clear?" Uncle Vernon said, his beady eyes slightly bulging in their sockets, and a vein throbbing dangerously by his purple temple.
Kevin looked tearfully at Harry, asking silently for permission.
"Go!" Harry said, and immediately received a blow to his face that sent him tumbling over the coffee table. He could distinctly hear his uncle shouting something but his head was still spinning from the punch. He saw his uncle shove Kevin into the cupboard and turn with a look of utmost hate on his face directed towards him. Kevin was out of the way, and that was the most important thing for now. Harry shut his eyes, waiting for the fists to come.
Kevin sat on the edge on their small cot, his body extremely tense, and his eyes wide open. He could hear the punches and kicks coming from outside, and jumped as something hit his door with a loud thud. He knew that that something was his brother's body.
He stood up and placed his hands on the door, and pressed the side of his face to the wood. He could feel his body shaking with anxiety and worry, but he made sure not to utter a sound, even though tears were making their way down his flushed face.
There was a moment of sudden silence, and then the door opened, almost causing him to stumble forward against his Uncles large silhouette.
"Get in." he ordered someone behind him. Kevin had to move back as Harry emerged, his head bent as he shuffled past him. The door slammed shut, leaving them both standing in semi darkness.
Harry's arms snaked their way around his battered body as he slowly sank down the door to the floor. He covered his bloodied face in his bruised arms, and began to shake with silent sobs. That was how Harry cried after sessions like these. Kevin knew that and didn't interfere. But this time it was different because he knew that if he hadn't tried to protect his brother, that maybe Harry would have gotten out easy; or as easy as possible.
Kevin's throat began to feel tight and the tingling behind his eyes made way to fresh tears. He couldn't stand watching his brother cry, because if Harry cried then that meant that they were both in trouble and that they were both hurt. He had to try and make things better; he really didn't mean to get his brother hurt.
Kevin sat on the floor next to Harry's sobbing form, and tugged on the torn shirt to get his attention, but Harry just curled tighter.
"A-are you hungry, Harry? I can g-get you food!" Kevin said, in the hope that he might be able to make it up to his brother.
"Harry?" Kevin said, crying a little harder now that his brother wasn't answering him. He didn't know what to do. Harry rarely cried like that, and Kevin almost never had to comfort his brother.
"M'sorry, Harry," Kevin whispered in a broken voice, clutching his brothers arm now. "I'm really sorry!"
Finally Harry looked up through bleary eyes at his brother's face, taking in the split lip that was oozing a little blood, and nodded.
"J-just don't ever do something like that again. Please Kevin. Uncle Vernon can really hurt you," Harry said quietly, sniffing.
Kevin bit at his lower lip and winced, "like he hurts you?" he asked innocently.
Harry's eyes filled up with tears again, "yeah," he said, "like that."
Harry noticed Kevin shiver and brought his brother closer, hugging him at his side, and warming them both in the mid-October chill. Kevin was very careful not to move a lot and hurt Harry more.
"Hey Har, maybe Moony will come tomorrow?" Kevin asked looking up at his brother's slightly swollen face.
Harry was quiet for a long moment causing Kevin to move away to have a better look at him.
"Moony's never coming," he replied, again wishing he had never believed in such a false hope and passing it on to his brother.
Kevin chewed worriedly on his injured lip, "Is it because he's afraid of Uncle Vernon too?" he asked in a whisper, eyes tearing up.
"Maybe." Harry replied, not wanting to tell Kevin that Moony probably didn't exist, and that if he did he wouldn't really care enough about them, to save them.
Authors note: Well, that's chapter 8. Chapter 9 is being written in the meantime. Please review! And kindly refrain from pointing out how I'm such an awful person that deserves to be hanged for not updating in such a long while.