Chapter 10

Even two weeks later, the conversation with Ms Bittergreen just wouldn't leave Remus' mind. He had talked with Harry afterwards but hadn't gained any information.

Had he been ridiculed? No.

Or beaten up? No.

Did he know why Ms Bittergreen had wanted to talk with him? No idea.

It had been more than frustrating. The werewolf had promised himself, though, to not give up, to figure this out, but he'd gone back on it. Something else had taken priority: the escape of Sirius Black. From Azkaban, the safest prison on earth.

When word of it had first reached him, he'd been sprawled in his sitting room, drinking tea and watching TV. Right in the middle of the bathroom scene in that famous Hitchcock film, came the news-flash: mass murderer escaped, armed with a gun, extremely dangerous,...

He hadn't even had to hear his name, he'd have recognised him from the picture, anyway. But why was it on the Muggle news first? Why hadn't the Prophet reported on it?

As if in answer to this unspoken question an owl had arrived with a letter from Albus Dumbledore. He was to take Harry and set out to Ottery St. Catchpole. It wasn't safe for him to remain where he was. Everything would be explained when he arrived at the Weasley's home.

And what an explanation it had been! Black, Arthur Weasley had reported, had escaped five days before; Fudge, the current Minister of Magic, had tried to hush it up but after Black had been sighted by a Ministry witch named Bertha Jorkins, he had had to fess up. Muggle authorities had been notified on the spot to help looking and now the whole country was out to get the convicted murderer.


Down the stairs and through the hallways, up another flight of stairs and through an endless maze of corridors again.

"Where - is - he?

Are - we - safe?"

Peter was clutching at his side, totally out of breath. Remus wasn't faring any better but Sirius seemed completely unfazed. He was grinning like mad.

"Seems like it. That was fun, eh?"

Remus just shook his head.

"You're - incor - rigible!"

But he smiled, as well. They all knew that this was possible their best prank ever. It was a pity that James couldn't be there. He was in the hospital wing, recovering from a nasty hex Snape had put on him.

"The Slimeryns won't know what hit them!" Sirius crowed. The other boys just nodded their heads.

Most definitely.//

Rumours of how Black had managed this coup abounded in the following days. The Daily Prophet alone published thirteen theories, one as ridiculous as the next. When Remus had read them at the Weasleys' breakfast table all he could do was stop himself from laughing out loud. Dementors could not be fought of with bad smelling socks or pink cucumbers. He glanced at the reporter's name. Rita Skeeter, who else!

But not only had Sirius Black miraculously escaped, he eluded recapture, as well. One week of searching and Remus and Harry were still at the Weasleys. Harry was doing fine, he'd even made friends with family's youngest son, Ron. If not holed up in Ron's room the both of them could be found outside in the yard, having snowball fights or building snowmen.


"Are you sure?"

"Yes, Molly."

She looked at him, kindness alight in her eyes.

"Take care then."

He nodded and she left the shed. Only minutes later a wolf stood in his place. It curled up on a blanket by an old Ford Anglia and went to sleep.

Not too much later, two young boys - one with red, the other with black hair - left the house. They were supposed to be in their beds and asleep but then it was Friday and they wouldn't have to go to school the following day. And anyway, they really needed to find the chess pieces which they had used to give their snowman eyes, a nose, and a mouth.


Harry looked up.

"Have you found it?"

"No, but I've found someone else!"

Ron bent down to pick up something from the floor.

"That's Scabbers," the boy explained. "He's Percy's. Though he doesn't take good care of his pet, Scabber's been hiding from him for almost a week now."

Harry looked closer at the fat, grey rat. It stared back unblinkingly. 'Was this normal rat behaviour?' Harry wondered. "Harry?" Ron inquired impatiently. His friend didn't even acknowledge him.

"Earth to Harry! Where are you?"

The red-head raised both eyebrows questioningly, not that Harry noticed any of this. Something was tugging at his memory. Something Uncle Moony had once mentioned. What was it though? Scabbers flicked his tail. The bespectacled boy gazed at it. Suddenly it hit him.

Of course, "Wormtail!".

"Eh?" Ron exclaimed but Harry didn't get a chance to tell his friend about the man who was awarded an Order of Merlin post mortem because his grief over Harry's parents' death had caused him to take on one of the most dangerous dark wizards ever. Scabbers had taken this moment free himself from Ron's grip and sprint into the woods on the west side of the Burrow.

Ron cursed.

"Percy will have my head! - Harry?"

But the black haired boy had already set out after the wilful pet. Ron swore again and followed his friend into the forest.

The wolf slowly lifted his head. He had been sure he had heard someone call the name of an old friend of his.

"Hey, wait for me!"

That was Ron! What was the boy doing outside at this time of the night?


Through bush, through briar, Harry ran like he had never run before. This wasn't possible, was it? How could his dad's old friend be here? Was he imagining things? But the rat looked just like the one he'd seen in Uncle Moony's photo album. But if this //was// Wormtail, how come the man was still alive?

//"Do they - do they talk with you?"

It felt awkward asking such a question.

"Uhhuh." Neville worried his lip. "But it doesn't really make sense at all, you know?" Harry nodded. Adults talking and their words not making sense was something normal, something he could relate to. Harry waited a bit. He had a feeling that the other boy wasn't finished yet.

"Take Dad, for example." Aha, correct assumption. "He's always going on about a switch and a mistake-" Neville hesitated for a moment. It seemed like he wanted to add something but either couldn't find the words or didn't feel right about it. "A set up, and, well, it really doesn't make any sense at all." He left it at that.

The mood was too depressive, Harry decided then. "What about a game of Exploding Snap?" He ventured.

"Oh, I'd love to!"

He thought that Neville looked grateful for the distraction.//

He stumbled and landed face-first on the ground. When he looked up again, the rat was gone. Harry cursed, then immediately put a hand over his mouth. Uncle Moony would be furious if he knew. He looked around. Large trees loomed above him; they had no leaves, only a layer of pure white snow. Wherever he set his gaze there were only trees and snow. He was truly, utterly lost.

"Ouuuuuu!" What was that? Was it a - a - well, it was a full moon, but surely...?

Screeching. A bark.

Harry breathed a sigh of relief. Werewolves didn't bark.

Rabid dogs //did//.

A wave of coldness crept down his spine and he remembered that his jacket hung in Ron's room.

Suddenly something black and small rushed past him. It was closely followed by a-


Remus had to admit that startling a young boy, the son of his host, was hardly socially acceptable behaviour. It just did not do. And considering just what he looked like, in which form he was...but it //was// for a good reason. Little boys shouldn't be running around in the forest at night. Meeting a fully fledged werewolf had most probably cured Ronald of that, however, and even if it did not, there was still Molly Weasley's reprimands.

Ron wasn't the only one who'd have to face a good tongue-lashing. As soon as he found Harry, he'd... that was, //if// he found Harry, a small voice piped up in his head. With Sirius Black on the loose, it continued, he might not be found before it was too late. Remus did not want to think about //that//.

He'd rather concentrate on preparing his reprimands.

Not even wearing a jacket, for Godric's sake!

Ah, there was his scent again. The werewolf took off at a run. Long moments passed but soon he could see a distant shape, eye-glasses reflecting moonlight, blue jeans, pale skin, a rat-

A rat?

Never mind that! There like a black flash of lightning was a gigantic black dog! It headed straight for Harry, who took this moment set off into the direction the rodent had taken.

The dog in hot pursuit. Moony behind them.

It was on Harry's heels.

It pounced.

And sank its sharp teeth into the rat's body.

The werewolf finally stopped in his tracks when the dog as well as the rat transformed.

Remus couldn't believe his eyes. //Sirius! Peter!//

"Keep away from my godson, you rat!"

"S-sirius, h-how nice t-to-!"

"Nice, my ass, scum!"

He grabbed Peter by the collar and yanked him up into the air. Unable to take his eyes off of them, unable to even move, Remus watched their exchanged with horrified fascination. Thoughts shot through his head. If Peter was still alive, then, but, could it be?

A fist to his head finally ended Peter's feeble protests.

Sirius cursed quite colourfully.

Harry paid avid attention.

Remus decided that he'd wash out Sirius mouth if he repeated these words in from of his charge a second time.


Two minds one thought. Not even after seconds after he had noticed his godson, Sirius grew aware of the looming threat of a nearby werewolf.

He must have been to baffled by this display to follow his instincts, Sirius thought and transformed into Padfoot. He'd guard Harry with his life if this was what it took! Or even sacrifice himself as werewolf food.

Padfoot jumped in front of Harry, a growl forming in the back of his throat. Don't come any closer if you value your life! He bared his teeth. The wolf crouched low in an act of submission. Padfoot stared.

"Uncle Moony!"

What the!? Was this really? Of course the markings and everything!

Harry meanwhile side-stepped the dog, raced towards the werewolf and hugged him. Padfoot dropped his jaw as Moony nuzzled the child gently.

He changed back.

"Remus? But, your mind?"

Harry stared at him. "Have you never heard about the Wolfsbane Potion?"


Chapter added on 12/25/2003. Constructive criticism welcome! Please, review!


AN: an epilogue will follow, it'll tie up a few lose threads. Just so you know what to expect, I won't write about the trial, coz it's really overdone. No, I have another idea *smirks evilly*.


This Parrot has ceased to be:

You're good! To tell the truth I've been reading that poem before I wrote the chapter. Okay, challenge: can you find a reference in this chapter? It's not a Poe reference. You've had snow already? I'm really lucky to have white X-mas this year. And weather forecast says the snow will soon melt.