"Guy's, what's going on?" Remus looked around at his friends confused. Sirius was draped in the loveseat opposite him, a serious look on his face that Remus had unfortunately been seeing a lot more of recently during the war effort. A jumpy Peter was squashed next to him on the sofa, eyes bouncing between the other people in the room, like he expected one of them to lunge and attack him at any moment. James and Lily stood in front of the fireplace, worry gracing their youthful features. A fire crackled behind them, the only other sound in the room.
"Well," James said hesitantly, looking between Lily and Sirius, "There is something that the three of us need to tell the pair of you. Lily and I have decided that we need to go into hiding."
"Ok," Remus looked at them with a raised eyebrow, "Can I ask why? It's just, that's not really like you."
"Well, with this spy selling our secrets, we feel it might be the best option. As you know, Marlene and her family were, well, lost, only a few months ago from their own safe house. The Death Eaters knew where to find them, and with Benjy and the Prewitt's dead and Caradoc missing as well, it's clear they are targeting members of the Order. And with Harry, we need to think about him. Marlene's kid was only a little older than he is now. They're not discriminating against who they kill."
"Why now? You've been fine this past year."
"Dumbledore. It was his idea. And we've decided that we agree with him."
"Not like he gave a bloody reason, either," Sirius spoke up, scowling.
"I just think that if Dumbledore's so certain that you need to hide, he should at least explain why."
"I think it's because we have Harry," said Lily, "He gave the same advice to Alice and Frank because of Neville."
Sirius pursed his lips, but didn't say anything else.
"So, how exactly are you going to do this? As you said, there's a spy in the Order. How do you know they won't just find out where you are and tell Voldemort?"
"We're going to use the Fidelius Charm. Again, Dumbledore's idea. It's the best option. It's a complex charm, but I'm sure I can do it."
"Right," Remus glanced at Peter, who remained silent, before looking between the other three, "Which one of you will be the secret keeper?"
"Sirius," said James, "Dumbledore wanted to do it, he offered for Alice and Frank as well, but they wanted Augusta instead. And we feel Sirius will be able to do the job just fine. One of us would have done it, but then to share the secret safely would involve having to go out the house. Sirius is one of the strongest members of the Order and involved in the war effort, so he'll be able to come and go as he pleases. He's the most obvious option."
"Not that we don't trust you two," added Lily quickly, "It's just with your missions, you're always gone, and Peter, well, no offense but…"
"I get it," said Peter quickly, his voice slightly high pitched, that made Remus think that he didn't really like it.
"So, when are you going to cast the charm?" Remus asked, quickly changing the subject.
"Tonight. We'll like for the two of you to pay us a visit at around nine, that way we can see if you can find us to check. If you're not here by ten, Sirius will come out and meet you and give you the secret."
Remus nodded in agreement, and when he returned with Peter to Godric's Hollow that night, sure enough, neither could find the Potter's home until Sirius came out to meet them. They were safe. No one would find them.
Of course, Peter could have easily pretended that he couldn't see the house. It's not like he would have known any better. At the time, he would have argued that there was no way that Peter could hide something that obvious, but if what Snape had said was true, then he was clearly a better liar than he had given him credit for. They had split ways shortly after leaving the house, it wasn't outside the realm of possibility for Peter to have just circled back to be there for the charm. And he wasn't the most obvious choice. The only question was, why hadn't they told him?
Remus shifted slightly in the hard wooden seat as he waited for the Potter Account Manager to arrive. It wasn't like the Goblins to be late. When he had arrived at Gringotts, he had asked one of the tellers to speak to Griphook - (he really hoped that the Goblin was still in charge of the Potter accounts) - only to be immediately hurried into one of the offices to wait only seconds after identifying himself. He wondered if that was a sign that something was wrong with the accounts. The Goblins never kept clients waiting, as much as they despised wizards, they were always professional when it came to business. Quick and to the point, no dicking about.
Shifting again, trying to get somewhat comfortable, he tried to think of someone who they could turn to for help. As Snape had said, a werewolf and a former Death Eater weren't going to get very far against Dumbledore. Not legally at least, although he doubted they would get anywhere illegally either. He mentally went through a list of people who had known that James, Sirius and Peter were animagi, who could identify the rat for them. Lily was gone. Alice and Frank had been told, although they had never seen them transform as far as Remus was aware, but they were in no condition to say anything. He wondered if their will had been carried out. If his memory of the night James and Lily had cast their own charm was right, then Lily had said that Dumbledore had wanted to be the Longbottom's secret keeper. That would mean that they would have been under the Fidelus, and the only way the Lestranges and Crouch could have found them would have been if the charm had been removed very early after Voldemort's defeat, which was highly unlikely. Despite the early celebrations, everyone was still on edge. Maybe Frank's mother could tell him what happened? She was a member of the Wizengamot and would be a powerful ally. He would speak to Snape, see if he could convince the other man to go and talk to her. If it turned out Peter was the spy, then there could be Merlin knows how many Death Eaters who knew. But it wasn't like they could go ask them. He tried to think of someone else who knew, but he was drawing a blank.
The sound of the door banging open startled him and he looked up to the sight of Griphook storming into the room. Not a good sign. The goblin's brow was curved into a scowl as he took in the sight of him, looking him up and down before scanning the room.
"Where's the boy?"
Remus couldn't hide his confusion, "Boy?"
"Yes, boy," the goblin said condescendingly, "You know. Potter, the boy you are supposed to be looking after. Where is he?"
"With his guardians, I'm guessing. Why would he be with me?"
Griphook blinked at him, "What?"
"Harry's never lived with me. He lives with his Aunt and Uncle, and has done since Lily and James died."
"Is this the same Aunt and Uncle that the Potters specifically declared that he should be kept away from?"
"I believe so. Petunia and Vernon Dursley. I didn't even know that I was on the list of people to take him."
Griphook raised an eyebrow, "Well, you were their fourth choice, because of your condition. And as the other three are unavailable, he should be with you. Why is he not?"
"I was out of the country when James and Lily died, I only got news of their death a week after it happened. Harry was already with the Dursley's by then. I tried to get in contact with them, but I never got a response and was unable to find out where they lived to visit. I even tried finding them through muggle means, but they were nowhere." Well, it looked like he wouldn't need to convince them about the fake will after all. That sure did make things easier.
Griphook looked even more pissed now. Goblins didn't take people messing with their clients lightly.
"This is actually part of the reason why I'm here. I wanted to know if the Potter's Will has been opened yet."
"It hasn't," Griphook looked insulted, "I would never open it without Potter present. That's the way it works. The only thing I can tell you is what has been left to you."
"I was left something?"
Griphook nodded and moved to sit at the desk opposite Remus. He dug around in a draw and produced a thick parchment envelope. Opening it, he pulled out a large stack of papers. Even from his seat, Remus could read the loopy writing printed on the top page:
THE LAST WILL AND TESTAMENT
JAMES FLEAMONT POTTER
LILY GERALDINE POTTER (nee EVENS)
"They filed it two days before their death. Gringotts are the ones with the responsibility to execute it, but it's been a bit difficult to do that as we've been unable to contact anyone in it. We sent letters and tried a few home visits, but we couldn't track anyone down," Griphook said idly as he went through the pages.
"I'm guessing that's why you were so pissed at me when I got here."
"You think?" Griphook snapped, before pausing, "Here we go. 'To Remus John Lupin, we leave the trust that you will care for our son, Harry James Potter, in the event of our death and the deaths of those previously designated guardians. In the event that you do become guardian, you shall receive the balance of One Thousand Galleons per month until Harry Potter turns seventeen years of age, to pay for the upkeep of his care. We also leave you ten percent of the Potter wealth and Blackwater House, to ensure that you will be comfortable for years to come after our deaths.'" Griphook looked up at him, "I'll have the money and property settlements arranged after this meeting."
Remus just stared at the will, dumbstruck. To most, ten percent wouldn't sound like much, but the Potter's were a wealthy family, being members or the Wizengamot, members of a long line of pure-blood wizards and owners of a few valuable businesses. Ten percent was a very generous amount. He most definitely would be living comfortably. And Blackwater House was one of the nicest of the Potter's properties, having been built in a muggle village by the coast in the nineteen thirties. "Yeah, that'd be great. Thanks." A thought caught his mind, "I'm assuming that that thousand Galleons a month will go to whoever takes care of him. Does that mean the Dursley's are getting that money?"
"Must be. The money disappears from the Potter vault at the beginning of each month."
"Well, no wonder they were willing to take him in. So, the fact that Harry was sent to live with them, and they are receiving the money, that would mean that someone has been acting out a false will, would it not?"
"It would. And I assure you, I will be looking into it. The person responsible for this has hell to pay. We've been led to believe that it was either you or one of Potter's other designated guardians taking it. The Dursley's aren't his legal guardians, there's no paperwork filled out. He'll need to be removed from them quickly. Do you want him, or shall I contact one of the other guardians?"
Remus frowned, "None of the other guardians are available, are they? Sirius is in Azkaban, Peter's dead and the Longbottoms are in Mungo's."
"No. After you, the Potter's choice was the Tonks family. He can live with them if you are unwilling to take him in."
Remus' first thought was an immediate 'I'll take him!', but then he hesitated. By the looks of it, he was about to get in a lot of trouble with Dumbledore and the Ministry. Add in his condition, if everything went wrong then there was a high chance that he and Snape may end up sharing Sirius' cell with him. There was also the added fact that he didn't have the most stable life. Even with the Potter's money, he would still need a job. And he wasn't liable to be around much, Harry would need someone who could help him, explain what was going on and give him some form of comfort. The Tonks' would be able to give him that. And if they managed to get Sirius cleared, well, Andromeda would be the only family he could turn to. Plus, she could teach Harry about the Wizengamot, as he would be expected to sit in on it when he was old enough. He didn't really know much about politics, but Andy had been raised with politics forced down her throat. Ted was a good connection to the muggle world, plus he was sure Dora would be happy to play big sister, at least for a little while. He had only met her a handful of times when she was small, but he remembered Sirius telling the rest of the Marauders about how she was constantly nagging her parents for a little brother or sister.
"I think that the Tonks' are the best option for now. I'm not really in any position to take in a child right now."
"Right. We'll approach them and talk to them about it."
Remus suddenly felt a lightbulb go off in his head. Andromeda hadn't known that the Marauders were animagi, only his condition, but maybe he could convince her to pretend. She was close enough to Sirius that she could be believed, and respected enough that some would listen. He just hoped that she also believed in Sirius' innocence.
"You said that you've been having trouble contacting everyone in the will, including the Tonks', am I correct."
Griphook curled his lip, but nodded.
"I'm having no such issues. I've been needing to talk to Andromeda anyway for a while now, if you don't mind, I can let them know of the situation and have them come and talk to you. As one of Harry's designated guardians that isn't currently indisposed, I would have the right to do that, wouldn't I?"
Griphook slowly nodded again.
"And considering the fact that you really need to investigate this false will that is currently being carried out, I'm sure that you would really appreciate me taking an extra chore off your hands, don't you. After all, if Harry's guardianship is being ignored, who knows what else in that will is."
Griphook narrowed his eyes and glanced between Remus, the will and back again, before raising a clawed finger and pointing at him threateningly, "If you're trying anything, Lupin, I'll have you sealed in one of the chambers downstairs with one of the dragons. Do you hear me? Why should I trust you?"
Remus shrugged and looked the goblin in the eye, "I guess I'll just have to hope that you think I have an honest face. I want Harry to be safe, that's all. And due to this false will, I don't feel that he is safe, do you?"
Griphook eyed him for a few more moments, before nodding, "Your help would be appreciated. I'll arrange to have the required benefactions sent to your vault."
Remus grinned, "Thank you, Griphook."
The goblin growled and turned his attention to the will once more, ignoring him in favour of his new tasks.
Remus took that as his cue to leave.
Quick, to the point, no dicking about. Yep, that was the gobins.