Definition Of A Wolf II

Chapter Two

Previous Chapter Thirteen of Definition of a Wolf

The story goes on. . .

***

The sun was shining and the sky was clear when Harry Potter woke up on the first day of the rest of his life. It was time to go home for summer. And, for the first time, Harry was exited about the holiday ahead of him.

Sirius had left Hogwarts the previous week, to make himself at home in the London flat Dumbledore had found for him, and to collect some of Harry's belongings from the Dursleys. Professor Lupin, now a lot better but still pale and frail looking, had received a long lecture from Sirius. Lupin was to see Harry safely on and off the train, and escort him to Sirius' place. The animagi was still uneasy about making public appearances, and had apologised over and over to Harry for being unable to meet him at the station. Harry didn't mind, except that he'd had Professor Lupin as a travelling companion once before, and he wasn't the best of fun to be around on trains. He had asked the werewolf to try not to fall asleep this time, but Lupin hadn't made any promises.

Harry fell out of bed, disentangled himself from the sheets, and pounced on Ron. The sleeping red-head yelped and jolted awake, kicking Harry back onto the floor.

"Ow. . . " Harry complained.

"Ow?" Ron murmured, rubbing his eyes sleepily. "Harry, what time is it?"

"Er. . . Six thirty," Harry admitted.

"You Git!" Ron groaned and pulled his covers around himself again. Harry poked him savagely until Ron snatched a book from his bedside table and thwacked him with it.

"Get up," Harry growled insistently, rubbing his bruised head. "We have to get ready to go!"

"Harry, NO ONE ELSE IS AWAKE!" Ron yelled, before pulling his blankets up once more, with a definite air of finality.

Harry sighed. He couldn't go back to bed now, he was wide awake. He decided to see where his feet took him, and wandered out of Gryffindor Tower into the early morning sunshine. An amazing feeling filled him up. He felt, finally, that he belonged somewhere, that he had a real family. He knew that he would never have to go back to live with his aunt and uncle again, that there were people who loved him, that. . .

His thoughts drifted away when he caught sight of a lone figure sitting at the side of the lake, gazing out across the shimmering water. It was instantly recognisable as Remus Lupin. Harry's mouth went dry. There had been rumours flying around for months about the events of that full moon which ended up with Lupin in the hospital wing. Dumbledore had simply announced that it had been "a bad night" for Remus. Sirius' lips had remained sealed. But Harry had heard things from reliable sources. All of what Harry had just gained, Lupin had once lost.

Harry ventured closer to the werewolf, moving silently. He didn't want Lupin to know he was there -

"Hello, Harry." Lupin hadn't even moved. His voice sounded distant and when Harry sat down next to him and looked into his face, it was obvious he was lost in the past.

"Are you okay, sir?" Harry asked.

"Hmm?" Lupin looked round. "Oh. Yes, I'm fine. Done your packing yet? I bet you can't wait to see Sirius again."

Harry nodded. "Bet you can't either," he said, then bit his lip, but Lupin hadn't noticed. He was twisting a bit of his hair between his fingers, staring across the lake, and paying absolutely no attention to Harry.

"Sir? How did you know I was here?"

Lupin glanced at Harry, chuckled, and tapped his nose. "I could smell you the moment you stepped into the fresh air. I could hear you too. Some bits of the wolf never let you go. . ."

"What?"

"I can smell and hear as well as any wolf, Harry. That really creeped your father out sometimes. Of course, you can imagine how handy it could be at times. . ." Lupin shuddered suddenly. He missed James as much as Sirius did. Sometimes it was so hard to let go of the past.

"Come along, Harry," said Lupin briskly. He stood up, in an easy, fluid kind of movement, like a wolf rising from a session of basking in the sun. "Let's not be late."

***

Sirius grinned to himself as he surveyed his new flat. And it was new, built only last year and complete with all the mod cons a muggle could need, and a wizard could find some source of entertainment in. No expense had been spared by Dumbledore in finding a living space for Sirius, and had even had satellite television installed. Sirius was looking forward to watching some of the sports channels once he figured out how to turn the set on, and what the little rectangular box of buttons which came with it was for.

He didn't have any personal belongings, really. Everything he owed had been put in storage after his imprisonment in Azkaban, except for a few things which Remus had managed to liberate and stow away in a locked cupboard. These few items had been retrieved from the werewolf's deserted bed-sit in the dead of night, and now lay sprawled over the four poster bed in one of Sirius' three bedrooms. He rifled through them now.

There were two old robes and some socks. Sirius grinned. Remus had kept his clothes.

There were a few other odds and ends including some old school books, and some photos of Sirius, Remus, James, Peter and Lily. Sirius smiled as he found some blue-tack and stuck them to the wall. Then he picked up his rucksack, which contained everything he had "acquired" since leaving Azkaban. There were several photos of Harry in there, as well as Ron and Hermione. He stuck those up with the pictures of his old friends.

He looked around again. There seemed to be nothing much for him to do now except wait. He was looking forward to having Harry living with him, but couldn't help the pangs of regret he felt as he remembered he couldn't have Harry and Remus, as well. One of these days he was going to have to make up his mind: he couldn't ask Remus to wait until Harry had grown up and left home, and he couldn't ask Harry to share the flat with his boyfriend. A sigh escaped his lips as he realised both of them needed him. How could he reject either of them?

He sat down heavily on the couch, then leaped up again with a cry as the television set jolted suddenly into life. He stared at it for a moment, scowling, then looked down at the couch. He'd sat on the box of buttons. "See?" he said to the air in general. "Knew I'd figure it out sooner or later."

There was a news programme on television. He watched it with interest, fascinated by the presenter's total obliviousness to his presence. He went to make popcorn half-way through, and spent an entertaining five minutes flicking bits at the man's face. Of course, he didn't notice, and Sirius howled with laughter. Muggles, indeed! Whatever would they come up with next?

Then, suddenly, the news reader said his name. "Sirius Black." Sirius started.

"Yes?" he snapped. Had the man in fact been aware of him the whole time but simply tolerating his taunting? Maybe not. . .

"Sirius Black, the notorious mass murderer, has been confirmed dead this morning. The inspectors on his trail have reported just now that Black's body was found in the early hours of the morning, and appropriate arrangements are being made. The emergency surrounding Black is, finally, over."

Sirius grinned. Good old Dumbledore.

"Strangely," the news reader added, "the inspectors also emphasised that should members of the public glimpse or encounter anyone who looks like Black, they are not to worry. He comes from a large family who all display close resemblances to each other. It seems this has caused some confusion amongst the public over the past few months."

Sirius laughed out loud again, then went to make some tea, in his house, in London.

***

"Come along, ladies and gentlemen, come along!" Professor Lupin's voice sounded across the station, encouraging the last of the stragglers to board the train. A few over exited first years apologised, then scurried aboard, leaving only Lupin, Harry, Ron and Hermione on the platform.

"Got everything?" Lupin asked brightly. "Let's get going then."

They all climbed into the very last carriage, Lupin settling into the window seat and the others bickering over the remaining places until the train started to move, and they were on their way.

"D'you think Sirius will let us come and stay with you, Harry?" Ron asked.

"Don't see why not," said Harry, grinning. "I'll telephone you, it'll give you some practice."

Hermione giggled, and Ron glared at them.

"Have you seen Sirius' place?" Harry asked Lupin, to change the subject.

"Yes, I have, it's very. . . spacious," said Remus, who had visited Sirius during the last half-term. He had received a very detailed tour of the bedroom. "All very modern. I'm sure you'll like it." He winced slightly. "Messy, though," he added. Sirius didn't own much, but he'd managed to sprawl in out all the same. But then, Sirius had always been untidy. It was one of the steady, reliable facts of the world. Even if Voldemort took over the Ministry of Magic and people were being slaughtered in the streets, Sirius still wouldn't wash up after himself. It was comforting in an odd, warped kind of way.

***

Something tapped on the window of Sirius' kitchen. He ignored it. He was busy relaxing. But it kept on tapping. Eventually he sighed, crossed to the window and flung it open. An eagle owl fluttered in and landed on the microwave. There was a message tied to it's leg. Sirius took it and read it, the colour draining from his face as he did so. . .

***

To Be Continued. . . ?