Title: Turn Back Time
Author name: SStar
Rating: PG-13 - Will have slash later on in the story.
Spoilers: PS/SS; CoS; PoA; GoF; OotP; FB; QTTA
Summary: What would you do if you had to choose between what was right and what was easy? Harry is faced with this decision as he struggles to survive living in the past, during MWPPL's 6th year.
Harry attends lessons with James, Sirius, Remus, Peter, and Lily, becomes friends with Bill Weasley, while also meeting less friendly students, such as Severus Snape, Narcissa and Regulus Black. Also making appearances will be Minerva McGonagall, Nymphadora Tonks, Gilderoy Lockhart, Bellatrix Lestrange, Lucius Malfoy, and Charlie Weasley amongst many others.
This chapter: It's Harry's 16th birthday and he receives a few surprise guests. Remus and Harry have a heart-to-heart where certain truths are laid bare.
DISCLAIMER: This story is based on characters and situations created and owned by JK Rowling, various publishers including but not limited to Bloomsbury Books, Scholastic Books and Raincoast Books, and Warner Bros., Inc. No money is being made and no copyright or trademark infringement is intended.
Author notes: This chapter was beta'd by the fantastic Angel, Anne, Kristel and Kel. The story would be much more confusing had it not been for the wonderful help and advice from these fabulous four ladies.
Chapter 1: Birthday Surprises
Harry awoke with his threadbare sheets tangled around his legs. He was panting hard, as though he had just finished running a marathon. Taking several deep breaths and trying to calm his racing heart; he sat up slowly. He blinked several times, trying to remove the last images of his godfather falling through the Veil.
Reaching out, Harry picked up his glasses from the bedside table and put them on; his surroundings coming into sudden focus. By the light from the street lamp that illuminated his otherwise dark room, Harry made out the figure of Hedwig, sitting on the top of her cage. She had been watching over him silently as he slept.
Softly, so as not to awaken his aunt or uncle, Harry spoke to Hedwig. "Hey girl, were you out hunting?"
In response, Hedwig flew across the small room to land on his knee. Harry's attention was drawn to a letter attached to her leg.
"Probably the Order checking up on me," he mused as he untied it.
Hedwig gave a soft hoot and nipped his finger affectionately, before spreading her wings and leaving the room through the open window.
Holding the unopened letter in his hand, Harry's thoughts strayed to the events of the previous year: Umbridge, OWLs, Occlumency lessons, Voldemort and the Department of Mysteries. Nearly a month had passed since Fudge's admission of Voldemort's return. Every night since then, Harry had suffered nightmares. Usually he relieved Sirius' dying moments although Cedric's murder also featured prominently.. The outcome was that Harry usually woke only a few hours after he had fallen asleep, with tears falling down his cheeks and his thin body shaking from the whole ordeal.
Luckily, Harry had not received any further visions from Voldemort. Only a few days after his return to number four Privet Drive, Harry's guilt, frustration and anger at those who had attempted to manipulate him motivated him to send Hedwig to Flourish and Blotts. She carried a short note to the manager of the store, in which Harry requested a few books; one on the subject of Occlumency and several other Defence Against the Dark Arts and duelling titles; specifying that the money for his purchases should be withdrawn from his Gringotts account.
This summer Harry had been granted a reprieve from his relatives. Largely due to the threat that had been issued by the Order when Harry had been collected at King's Cross Station. It appeared that Moody had made a rather lasting impression on Uncle Vernon. The Dursleys had taken to avoiding Harry as much as possible.
He barely noticed and did not take advantage of the situation. Consumed with guilt over the events at the Ministry and helplessness over the contents of the Prophecy, Harry was most often found brooding or studying.
However, the warning was particularly fortunate one morning, when Hedwig and two other post owls arrived in the Dursleys' kitchen at breakfast; carrying the books that Harry had ordered. Uncle Vernon, whose face was rapidly turning purple, started shouting at Harry about 'Those damn owls!' and was threatening to lock him up in his room when Aunt Petunia frantically reminded him about the 'warning'. At this, Uncle Vernon went pale and in a terse voice he told Harry that: 'in future, tell those damn owls to go directly to his room,' before he quickly left for work.
Harry did not bother to reply as he was too busy gathering up his various purchases. He left the kitchen – without eating – to return to the solitude of his bedroom. There he began to read 'A Practical Guide to Improving your Occlumency Skills in Easy Steps'.
By performing the outlined exercises and entering into a state of meditation, Harry soon felt as though he had created a reasonably strong barrier in his mind, thereby preventing any visions sent to him by Voldemort. This also enabled him to feel a small amount of relief and satisfaction; Voldemort would be unable to obtain the full Prophecy from his mind.
Bringing his thoughts back to the present, Harry released a soft sigh and decided to fall back into a light meditation. More often than not, he would be unable to sleep after those dreams. Instead, he would spend the rest of the night reading his books for useful spells or writing letters to the Order and his friends.
The worry and pity evident in some of the letters Harry had received so far this summer made him feel very uncomfortable. Mentions of Sirius' death and statements such as 'Don't blame yourself' and 'It's not your fault, Harry' only served to fuel his anger at himself and, perhaps irrationally, at the writers of the letters.
Occasionally, Harry wondered to himself whether or not he would be able to cope with living at the Burrow or Grimmauld Place. He suspected that Hermione would take the first opportunity available to get him to talk about how he was feeling and how he was coping. Unlike Hermione, Mrs Weasley would instead fuss over his appearance. Normally, the Dursleys would ration the amount of food Harry was allowed to eat, but this summer he was free to eat as much as he liked.
The only problem was that Harry had lost his appetite. His relatives did not notice, nor were they bothered by his small weight loss. After all, in their eyes, food was provided. Harry knew that Mrs. Weasley would not understand that he simply was not that hungry anymore. He also knew enough to suspect that the other visitors to Grimmauld Place would look at him with pity, a feeling he hated.
However, Harry's greatest fear was that there would be anger in their eyes, anger directed at him, and that they would blame him for what happened. He knew that talking about everything, well everything except the Prophecy would help him; but he could not. The pain was still too much; the guilt, too great. Harry just wanted to forget for a while. He wanted Sirius back. He wanted the impossible.
Snape believed that Harry wanted the fame that came with the scar on his forehead, that he went looking for it. If he could, Harry would give it all up to know his parents and to have Sirius back in his life. Instead, the only things fame had brought him were pain, loss and loneliness. Those were Harry's last conscious thoughts before he managed to fall back to sleep; the letter still unopened in his hand.
Harry woke up a few hours later to the sound of the doorbell, shortly followed by the shouts of his uncle.
"What the hell are you lot doing here? We've done as you said. The boy has assured me that he's been sending you letters and we've had bloody owls all over the house for all our troubles. He's fine, so go away!"
On that note, the door was forcefully slammed shut.
"Oh no!" groaned Harry, as he got out of bed and stumbled to his bedroom door.
He heard the doorbell again, and as he hurried down the stairs, Harry saw Moody barge in past a pale Uncle Vernon, with his wand in hand.
"Now see here, Dursley," he growled. "We came here to see Potter and not your ugly face; so you just be a good boy and let us in." Turning to face Harry, Moody greeted him. "Ah, there you are, Potter. Didn't you warn this lot that we'd pay you a visit today?"
"I didn't know you were coming. Is there something wrong? Is everyone alright?" asked an alarmed Harry.
"Everything's fine, Harry. Didn't you get our letter?" a familiar voice replied. "We sent it with Hedwig to say we were coming around this morning."
"Professor Lupin!" exclaimed Harry. "Hello! You sent a letter with Hedwig?" Harry paused for thought and the memories of the previous night came flooding back to him; he let out a small groan. "Oh, oops."
"Oops?" Lupin questioned, his eyebrow raising as he put several packages down on the floor in the hallway.
"Yeah, I got the letter late last night, but I fell back to sleep before I opened it. I think it's still in my bed. Sorry," he finished with a sheepish grin.
To his surprise, Lupin did not comment, but instead swept Harry into a hug, which was gratefully returned.
Moody grunted and turned his attention back to Uncle Vernon, who was looking nervously from Moody's wand to his revolving eye.
"So, why are you here then?" Harry asked curiously.
"Don't you know what today is, Harry?" replied Lupin with a small grin. His hand remained on Harry's shoulder, like a reassuring weight.
Any reply Harry might have made was abruptly cut short by a crashing sound. Tonks tripped as she walked into the house, the packages that she carried flying from her arms. One hit Uncle Vernon, but any complaint from him was quickly smothered when Moody pointed his wand at him.
Harry watched with interest as Moody and Lupin cast levitating charms on the packages. Moody then turned to face Harry. "Now why don't we go into the kitchen rather than crowd the hallway here?" Moody announced.
He began directing the packages in the direction of the kitchen, as the others followed; with a red faced Uncle Vernon bringing up the rear.
"Ah, sorry about that there," Tonks apologised. "Couldn't see the floor what with all those things I was carrying. Wotcher, Harry! How are you today?"
"Fine, but I don't…" his reply was cut off once more, this time by screaming from the kitchen. Aunt Petunia and Dudley had finally noticed the floating packages. Uncle Vernon, who had managed to enter the kitchen before the others, was trying to get his wife and son out to safety, but Moody noticed the action with his magical eye and stopped them.
"Not so fast, Dursley!" Moody growled at the retreating group. "Aren't you going to stay and wish Potter here a 'Happy Birthday'? Why don't you take a seat?" he finished, with a menacing smirk on his face.
"My-my birthday, it-, is it, it's today?" stuttered Harry.
"You didn't know it's your birthday?" the question came from an incredulous Tonks.
Harry blushed as he looked from one adult to another. Lupin looked at him with a small smile of understanding, while Moody glared at the Dursleys as though he wished he could turn them all into rodents.
Tonks shook her head and let out a rather unladylike snort before grabbing Harry and kissing him on the cheek. "Happy sixteenth, Harry. We couldn't let you celebrate this one on your own; after all, it is an important one for the Muggles, right?"
"Umm, yeah, I suppose," a shocked Harry replied.
"What's so special about turning sixteen then?" asked Moody.
"Well, you can leave home once you've turned sixteen in the Muggle world," began Harry, but Uncle Vernon interrupted him.
"Ha, well if you are sixteen then, why don't you get out of our home? It's not like we really want your kind here."
"Now, Mr Dursley," Lupin started in a stern voice. "You and your wife know that Harry has to stay here for the summer, so let's stop with the comments like that?"
Harry, used to his relatives' attitude regarding him and his magical abilities, carried on regardless. But he also listened to the amusing comments Lupin muttered under his breath.
"I think you can buy cigarettes legally."
'Better not, Mrs Weasley will have something to say about that!'
"You can leave school as well."
'Definitely wouldn't want to give Snape the satisfaction of that!'
"And you can legally have sex!" finished Harry with a sly grin at his one time Professor. His green eyes were bright with laughter; something that had been missing for quite a while.
Tonks burst out laughing at the scandalous looks Harry received from the older Dursleys, as well as the look on Lupin's face, when he realised what Harry had just said. Currently Lupin was trying to stop coughing, while a light blush stained his cheeks.
"Good one there Harry, although I think Remus might disagree with me!" she choked out.
Moody's lips were twisted into what Harry presumed was a grin; his magical eye was rotating in its socket. Most likely looking for any intruders outside the house Harry presumed.. Lupin, having regained a measure of control, though his cheeks were still pink; asked the amused birthday boy whether he'd like to open his gifts now. Harry was only too happy to oblige and opened a large square box that Lupin pushed over to him.
Inside was a beautifully iced birthday cake from Mrs Weasley. Smiling, Harry asked everyone whether they would like a slice. The Dursleys declined with a disgusted look at both the wizards and the cake. Harry however, noticed that Dudley's pig-like eyes were firmly glued to the box containing the cake. After he had cut slices for the three guests and himself, Harry turned his attention back to the presents that Tonks and Lupin had brought with them.
Harry was shocked at the sheer number of gifts on the table. He was sure he didn't know that many people and this year there wouldn't be one from Sirius… Shaking his head, he pushed those thoughts from his mind, put a smile on his face and took the next gift Tonks had pulled out of the pile for him. Opening it, he found a book titled 'Quidditch: The English Lions', from Ron. Not very surprising, Hermione's present was also a book, 'Curses, Hexes and Jinxes for the Discernible Dueller'.
"That should be useful against Malfoy if he tries to hex me again," he mused out loud, and put it aside to unveil his next present; a small heap of sweets from Ginny, Neville, and Luna.
Next, he was handed a small box that was curiously warm to the touch. Opening the card that was attached to the box, Harry recognised the messy scrawl as being Hagrid's handwriting.
I recently came across this egg and thought you might like it. I had the Headmaster put a warming charm on the inside of the box to keep the egg warm until it hatches, but I don't know when that'll be. I'm not entirely sure what kind of egg it is either though it looks kind of familiar, but it'll be a nice surprise when it hatches!
If them Muggles aren't treating you right, let me know (or Moody, I swear he wants to hex them!)
Hope you have a good day,
"What is that?" inquired Tonks, as Harry opened the box to peek in at the mysterious egg.
"It's from Hagrid," Harry explained. "I don't know if this is a good thing or not, but he says he's not sure what type of egg it is. What do you think?"
Tonks just rolled her eyes, obviously used to Hagrid's fascination with strange and dangerous animals.
Lupin also looked curiously into the box, but seemed none the wiser for it. "Well, I don't recognise it either. But I can tell you this Harry, it's definitely not a dragon's egg," at which Harry grinned at Lupin. "Nor anything of that ilk. I don't think it's dangerous. Then again, you won't know until it's hatched. It could be some sort of bird I suppose, or maybe a snake, though not a rather large one," he mused. "But you wouldn't have problems if it was, would you?" Remus turned to face the retired Auror. "Moody, do you recognise it at all?" he asked.
"I don't know, lad, it isn't my area of expertise; but if I were to guess, I'd say its some sort of bird," replied Moody from where he was watching the three Dursleys, who were either whimpering or silent with shock at the mention of dragons.
"Well, you may as well put it aside and keep an eye on it then. It doesn't look like it'll hatch for a while yet, so you're safe. Besides, if it's big and scary, it'll give Moody and I something to do! Now come on, there are more presents to open!" came from an impatient Tonks, who was bouncing on the balls of her feet.
Next came presents from Bill and Charlie Weasley. Bill had sent him a wand holster, which was met with approval from Moody; he had told Harry off the previous year after he had put his wand in his back pocket. Charlie had sent him a necklace of sorts.
"Is that a dragon's tooth?" exclaimed an excited Tonks, after she saw what Harry was curiously examining.
It was a tooth of some sort, most likely from a dragon, due to the second eldest Weasley's work with dragons. It was threaded onto a black leather thong. There were two gems somehow embedded in the tooth, an emerald and underneath it, a sapphire.
"It's beautiful," breathed Harry.
It reminded him of the Hungarian Horntail from the first task of the Triwizard competition. With the exception of the Dursleys, everyone chuckled when Harry read the short note from Bill and Charlie. The note explained that while they knew their mother would not approve of a fang earring, like Bill's, they hoped that the necklace would be okay. With that, Harry immediately put it on; the weight of the tooth hanging comfortably from around his neck.
"Going for the rebellious look Harry?" teased Tonks.
Harry flashed a quick grin at Lupin as he replied to Tonks, "Why? Don't you think it suits me?"
"Oh definitely not!" she exclaimed. "What with the geeky glasses and hand-me-down clothes. You need something with more flash in that area Harry."
By this point, Tonks was looking as if she would almost burst with excitement. Harry raised a dark eyebrow at her behaviour, before looking at Lupin in hope of an explanation.
"Well you see, several people at the Order got together and we decided to get you some things," he started; but Harry's attention was drawn back to Tonks, who had whipped out her wand and was levitating several soft bundles over to him.
"What Remus here, means to say, is that we saw what you've been wearing, and quite frankly, Harry, it sucks!" Tonks exclaimed. She grinned widely at an embarrassed Harry, her green hair only added to the manic look on her face. "We can't have a young, good-looking lad like you walking around, looking like … well, you know. Besides, I bet you haven't had any new clothes, especially from this lot," she finished with a dark look directed at the Dursleys. At this last remark, Uncle Vernon lost his temper once more.
"We gave the boy a roof over his worthless head! We've fed him and spent who knows how much on him! Who the hell are you to tell us how to treat him?" he shouted.
"Those clothes were perfectly fine when that boy was given them," retorted Aunt Petunia. "After all, why bother buying him clothes, especially when he'd probably do some freakish thing to them anyway and ruin them?" she finished with a sniff.
At this, Moody decided that he had heard quite enough, and he cast a silencing spell on the Dursleys, leaving the three Muggles gaping, as if they were goldfish.
Harry was busy pulling various items of clothing out of the multiple packages; while Lupin and Tonks looked on with amusement.
He sorted through the clothing, finding trousers and T-shirts, which were actually all in his size for once. "This is too much! I can't take this, I mean, how much must all this have cost? It's too much!" Harry said, as he unwrapped a package containing shirts.
"Don't worry about that. Lots of people put a bit in and well, we ended up with all that," replied Lupin in his typical calm, reassuring manner. "Besides, it's your birthday! You probably haven't ever been spoiled, so we're starting now. I think some of the people at the Order felt sorry that you had to stay here for the summer. You should accept the present for what it is Harry."
Harry knew that Lupin was right, but it felt so strange. After all, he wasn't used to things like this. The most expensive thing he could remember receiving was his Firebolt from Sirius in his third year. It was currently in his room, having been returned to him after the demise of Umbridge reign as Hogwarts High Inquisitor.
Harry's roaming hands came across another pair of trousers and he spoke up in a rather strained voice "Ummm, Professor? Tonks? Who exactly bought me these? I mean, I think you've got my size right and all, but who would buy me a pair of LEATHER trousers!"
Lupin's amber eyes held a mischievous glint, while a smirking Tonks answered a crimson-faced Harry.
"Ooo, I was wondering what Bill was up to," she said. "He disappeared and when he got back, he handed me a wrapped package. He wouldn't tell me what he bought, even when I threatened to hex him. I was afraid we might have bought the same thing, but I like his taste!" Pouting at the birthday boy, she asked, "So Harry, are you going to try those trousers on for me then?"
Coughing to cover his surprise, Harry managed to stutter out a half-hearted apology. While he was turning a deeper shade of red, he heard the sound of laughter from the other two wizards.
Tonks merely shrugged and told him, "Well, I suppose I'll let you off, but make sure you wear them on a date with your next girlfriend!"
In an attempt to divert Tonks' line of thinking, Harry asked who had contributed towards the new clothes so that he could thank them later. To his utter amazement, the list included Mr. and Mrs. Weasley, Bill, Charlie and the Twins, Kingsley, Professor McGonagall – upon which Harry gaped at Lupin, who replied that McGonagall felt Harry had an image to project at school and she thought those rags he had been wearing were utterly unsuitable! – along with several other witches and wizards.
Lastly, there were Remus and Tonks, who had bought the majority of the clothes. Harry was so overwhelmed by their generosity that he sat in shock for a moment, before jumping up and hugging Tonks and Lupin, all the while repeating his thanks.
Before Harry sat back down, Hedwig and another owl came flying in through the open kitchen window, carrying a letter and a rather bulky looking package. Uncle Vernon, who was still mute, got up out of his chair, as if to remove the owls, but quickly sat back down with the rest of his family when Moody pointed his wand in his direction. Harry untied the parcel and unwrapped it, as Lupin offered the tired birds some water and a few slices of bacon.
"I thought we gathered all of Potter's presents at Headquarters," remarked Moody, "Who's that from?"
Quickly scanning the card that came with the parcel, Harry grinned at the other three, "It's from the members of the DA. I don't believe it! It says that most of them got 'Outstanding' in their Defence Against the Dark Arts exam; they decided to send me a thank you gift. Wow!" He ripped off the wrapping paper and looked amazed at the two books on Advanced Defence Against the Dark Arts.
"Congratulations Harry," replied Lupin, smiling at him. "Between the four of us though, Professor McGonagall told me that the Fifth Years in the DA got the highest marks in their Defence Against the Dark Arts OWL exams; and the NEWT students also did very well. That's something to be proud of," he praised.
"Thanks, but we all agree that you were the best teacher we ever had," replied Harry, as he accepted another package from the blushing werewolf. Frowning slightly, Harry held up a full-length black Dragon-skin coat, and a rectangular box fell from the coat's pocket.
"Who's that from Harry?" asked Tonks curiously.
Reading the note attached to the box, Harry realised that the coat and box were from Fred and George Weasley.
Hey Harry (our wonderful Investor),
Happy 16th Birthday mate!
Hope you like the coat. After all we, Gred and Forge, owner of Weasley's Wizarding Wheezes, can't have our prized Investor wearing those plebeian things that 'normal' people wear, so in the tradition started with our own dragon-skin jackets, we present you with your very own, finest quality, dragon-skin coat! (We thought black would be better, more intimidating! However, if Charlie asks, we didn't buy it! He's already sent us a howler about our own jackets.)
As you may have also noticed dear Investor, we have included a second present. The box has been enchanted, so that if you are in need of a 'Canary Cream' or one of our fireworks, for example; all you have to do is think of the prank you want to play and something suitable will appear in the box! We got the idea from the 'Room of Requirement', isn't it great? That box is made especially for you, since you were generous enough to help us start up! Thank you so much, come and visit the store soon!
Gred and Forge, Owners of WWW.
"Umm, it's from Fred and George. Apparently, Charlie's been giving them grief over their jackets, so they've warned me to be careful," said Harry laughing.
"But the box is empty. What's it supposed to hold?" quizzed Tonks as she peered into the box, looking as if she expected something to jump out at her.
Harry explained that the box worked using the same principles at the 'Room of Requirement' at Hogwarts.
He took the box from Tonks to demonstrate. Closing his eyes, he concentrated on skipping a torturous Potions lesson with Snape. Opening the box, he pulled out a Skiving Snack, and handed it to Tonks who seemed quite impressed.
Harry looked at the large pile of presents that he had already unwrapped. He couldn't believe the generosity of his friends, but the part of him that was missing Sirius, weighed heavily on him. He couldn't help thinking that he would have given up all of his presents, just to have him back. He knew it was selfish, but he couldn't help it. He missed Sirius so much, and it was entirely his fault.
Moody, who had been calling out his name, jerked him from his thoughts.
"Sorry, I was a million miles away. What did you say?"
"Well Potter, what with everyone running around for your birthday, I thought I better get you something," he said. "Mind you, I wasn't going to spend galleons on anything silly, may as well get you something useful after all. Besides, I hear you fancy being an Auror, right?"
"Uh well yes, I was thinking about it, but I don't know if I'll get the grades for it," replied Harry. 'Or if I'll still be alive then,' he added mentally.
"Well, we'll find out soon enough I suppose, but you've got decent reflexes and a good head on your shoulders; when you use it. Anyway, here you are Potter, but don't go telling people about this," he said as he put a small box on the table.
With a wave of his wand, the box grew into a trunk. It was similar to the one Moody had been trapped in for most of Harry's Fourth Year; except instead of seven locks, it only had four. "And don't either of you two say anything either or I'll hex your mouths shut for a week," he threatened, as grins appeared on their faces.
"Wow. Moody, are you sure?" asked Harry, as he examined the trunk. It was the darkest blue, with gold locks. Harry knew that he could fit everything in with lots of room to spare.
His eyes were drawn to a small metal plate and he raised his eyebrow as he read the engraving, which simply said 'Harry Potter'. "Well, I suppose I'll have to take it; after all, there is only one Harry Potter, right?" he said.
Tonks chuckled and with a sly smile at Moody, she moved forward so she could whisper in Harry's ear. "You know, we all suspected he had a soft spot for you Harry. Did you know he wouldn't tell anyone if he got something for you? Some people thought he was pulling a Snape and was going to ignore your birthday."
Harry saw Moody move to point his wand at Tonks, who held her hands up and stood back. Lupin cleared his throat, smiled at Harry, and nervously slid his present across the table.
Opening the gift, Harry ran his fingers over the fabric inside. It was a dark shade of green; rich in colour, with a delicate gold and silver trim design, which reflected the light well. Standing up, Harry held up the dress robes and his mouth fell open in admiration. There was a dragon stitched with the same gold and silver threads on the robe. The head of the dragon could be found on the right hand side, at the front of the robe, just under the neckline. The dragon's neck twisted around the side of the robe, partly obscured by the sleeve where it met the body, which lay on the back of the robe. The dragon's tail snaked out from the back and curled up around the bottom of the robe.
"Professor," whispered Harry. "It's beautiful." He carefully folded up the robe and then grabbed Lupin in a hug. "Thank you," he told him as Lupin returned the hug.
"You know, all things considering Harry, you should call me Remus, or if you prefer, Moony," he told Harry after they had separated.
"I'll try, I'm used to thinking of you as a professor though," said Harry.
"But you call Mad-Eye there, Moody," countered Tonks.
"But I didn't actually teach him, it was that Barty Crouch Jr." spat Moody.
"Yes, well, leaving that, how about we pop all your presents in your new trunk for now and take it up to your room? I'm sure the Dursleys would like their kitchen back." Lupin's statement drew their attention to the mostly forgotten Dursleys, who had watched Harry unwrapping his presents with wide disbelieving eyes. They were currently caught between glaring and sulking but were obviously much too afraid of the wizards to do anything.
"Now, I'll just remind you of the talk we had at the train station. We don't want to hear of any bad treatment towards Harry going on, trust me, you don't want to see me on one of my 'wilder days'," he finished.
With that, he levitated the trunk out of the kitchen and up the stairs, into Harry's bedroom leaving Moody and Tonks to deal with the Dursleys, once they removed the jinxes that had been set upon them.
Closing the door after Harry had stepped into the room, Remus sat down on the bed. Harry sat down next to him, hands clasped in his lap.
"Harry, I have a few things I need to talk to you about," he said, "Firstly, I don't mean to nag at you, but have you been eating?"
"Yes I have," Harry replied.
Lupin raised his eyebrow at Harry, his expression clearly saying that he didn't believe him.
"What about you? Have you been eating, because you're not exactly a normal weight either," Harry snapped.
With a self-depreciating smile, Lupin shook his head, "No, I admit, I sit down at mealtimes, but I'm lucky if I eat half of it. Molly's going spare, she doesn't know what to do with me. I think she might suspect I'm insulting her cooking by not eating." He finished with a small chuckle before looking at Harry again.
"Same here," Harry admitted with a sigh. "I just don't seem to finish meals. I'm just not hungry. I can't stop thinking about Si-him. Reading seems to be the only thing that can distract me for the moment."
Remus held the smaller boy in a loose hug. He could see the tiredness, guilt, and the pain reflected in Harry's face. He knew it was mirrored in his own face.
"Harry. I'll make you a promise. I'll eat dinner each night, if you also do the same. Okay?"
"Resorting to bribery now?"
"If I have to," came the reply.
Harry got off the bed and began pacing in the small bedroom.
"I'm not some kid you know. I haven't been one for a long time. Not anymore. I don't need someone to tell me what to do," he told Remus, angrily.
"I know that," responded Remus, in a sad voice. "I'm not going to, nor do you want me to. I can't be James, and I won't take over for Sirius." Harry hid the small flinch at his godfather's name. "I don't know Harry, I'm as lost as you are. I see you ... a young man, growing up in a world of pain. I empathise with you. I don't know if you want a friend, or if I can be that person for you either. After all, you already have Hermione and Ron.
"I suppose I'm saying that I can try to understand. If you want, you can shout at me, hit me, or talk to me, whatever you want, I'll try to be there for you. I make no promises to always be there or anything like that. After all it's a promise all too easy to break and I don't want to hurt you any more than you have been. Besides, you still haven't answered my original question," he finished.
Harry stopped pacing as he thought about what Remus had said, before turning around to face his one-time professor. His green eyes filled with a mixture of desperation and understanding. "Can you treat me as an adult and not a child? Can you tell me the truth when I ask questions?" he demanded.
Remus sat on the bed in silence, carefully considering Harry's words before replying. "I can't treat you as an adult because you aren't one yet. You're still growing up, still fighting. Not to find your place in the world because I think that's already been thrust upon you, whether you wanted it or not, but to find out who you are. Nor are you old enough to fully cope with the consequences that come with being an adult."
Any protest Harry would have made was stopped by the fierceness in the older man's amber stare, "I can, however, treat you as the young man I see. I recognise the experiences you have already undergone and I understand that it has made you emotionally older than your sixteen years. I will respect you for that, for what you have gone through and what you will have to go through. I hope to treat you accordingly.
"I won't lie to you, but I may not always be able to tell you the truth when you want me to. That is something you must come to accept and not just of me. It is a childish trait; the world isn't made up of black and white, truths and lies, as you have already experienced. I will be there for you, to help you understand if you need it, to carry your burdens for you, if you want it. I won't treat you like a child, that much I know. However, tomorrow has yet to come, and we don't know what it will bring."
Remus stood up, walked over to Harry, and slid his hand under Harry's chin, tilting it upwards until their eyes met. "I will stand by your side until I can no longer do so. Even then I will still be with you. I don't think you understand yet, but you draw people to you. They can't help but follow you."
The grip on Harry's chin tightened, ever so slightly. "Understand Harry, they follow out of their own free will. Not obligation, fame, or fear, like Voldemort inspires. You cannot blame yourself for that which you cannot control. You have to understand that the Order, your friends, people, make their own decisions and if they are lost because of it, so be it. It cannot always be your fault. You do not control their actions, as they do not control yours.
"If your friends and loved ones die, they will still be with you, in your heart. For one so touched by death and pain, you have a remarkable amount of love to give and you inspire the same in others for yourself. It is a gift both rare and powerful, but I think you are one who can use it wisely. Can you accept that Harry?"
Breaking off from Harry's confused eyes, Remus returned to the bed and sat back down. "So, do we have a deal?" he asked once more, his tone not quite so intense anymore.
"What? Oh, umm ... er, yes?"
Remus chuckled, lifting the serious mood. "I don't think it was quite an answer, but I'll take what I can get."
"Eating at dinner?" Remus reminded. "Come on now Harry. Besides, can you imagine Molly if we both stay at Headquarters looking as thin as we both are? Which is something else I need to ask. Do you want to come over to Grimmauld Place later this summer, if the Headmaster gives it the all clear? You don't have to, I can understand if you don't," he finished.
"I suppose I should. It's just being there, bringing back those memories. I can't forget that he hated it there. That he was hurting, having to stay in that house, but I can do it. I have to do it. For Sirius, for my parents, for you," he whispered. "Especially since I asked you to treat me as an adult. I should stop being so childish about a house I suppose. Besides you'll be there, won't you?" asked Harry.
"Yes, I'll be around," Remus replied as a warm smile played on his lips. "On a slightly more educational note, there's a small problem with the OWL results. Well, more like only your OWL results. Someone noticed that your results have been tampered with. It's not that big a deal, so don't panic, they're rechecking them just in case, but you should get your results soon." Harry nodded and sat back down next to the older man.
"Harry?" Remus hesitantly began. "I have one more present here for you, from Sirius." Harry stared at Remus, his heart pounded in his ears. Harry felt warmth filling him while, at the same time tears formed unbidden in his eyes.
"I wished, you know, I'd have given all this up just to have him back, but I didn't expect anything, I couldn't ask…" he trailed off.
Remus smiled understandingly, "He somehow managed to get you an open appointment at an Opticians, I believe that's what they're called, in Diagon Alley, to be made at your convenience. You're supposed to get new glasses, and he specifically said you had to get contact lenses as well. You know, sometimes the Muggles really know how to do a good thing. It's a pity some people don't try to understand.
"Anyway, Sirius said you might argue about the contacts, so he was trying different ways to persuade you to get them. I think he ended up with 'He's growing up into a handsome young man, and we wouldn't want to hide those eyes from the all those girls, and even some of the boys at Hogwarts, now would we? We wouldn't be doing our duty as Marauders, if we weren't causing some sort of mischief or distraction with any and all available tools, and I think Harry is it!'
"I don't think he quite got what he wanted to say right, but he's correct, a new pair of glasses would do you wonders. We can get a unbreakable charm put on them as well," he told Harry, who was caught between amusement and embarrassment at what his godfather had said.
Before either wizard could say anything else, there was a knock at the door.
"Remus!" Tonks yelled through the closed door, "The Dursley's have left the house, I think Moody scared them off. Anyway we have to go, Moody's muttering in the kitchen and I think he might curse you if you take much longer. Sorry mate," she finished and Harry heard her walk down the stairs, presumably to the kitchen.
"Looks like I have to leave. Try and keep well, and remember, if you need to talk, just send me a letter. If you don't, send me a letter anyway," grinned Remus, trying to distract Harry.
Opening the door, Remus and Harry walked down the stairs, until they reached the hallway, where Moody and Tonks were waiting.
"Thank you for coming over this morning. I still can't quite believe I forgot my own birthday. Can you thank the Order for buying those clothes for me? It's still too much … but thanks," said Harry gratefully.
"Will do Harry," replied Tonks cheerfully. "Can you make sure you pack those old clothes of yours and bring them to Headquarters?" she asked with a wicked grin. "I want to make a small bonfire. You don't mind do you Harry? I swear though, if I see you wearing them again, I'll set fire to the clothes with you wearing them!" she threatened.
"Of course Tonks. Thanks," Harry said and he hugged her before nodding to Moody. Turning to Remus, he gave him a small smile and hugged the werewolf again. He whispered a quiet "Be safe Remus", before letting go of the older man. He watched the three leave number four Privet Drive and Apparate before closing the door and returning to his room.
He spent the rest of the day organising his schoolbooks and other such items into the separate compartments of his new trunk and sorting out the new clothes that he now owned. He had a strong suspicion that Tonks had slipped in some items while Remus had not been looking. After all, why did he have several silk shirts!
Shaking his head at the loveable, yet strange Metamorphmagus' behaviour, he settled down to start reading the duelling book from Hermione. Not once did the Dursleys disturb him that day, and remembering his deal with Remus, he finished his dinner before returning to his room to carry on reading his new book.
Author notes: The Turn Back Time Yahoo Group is a place where updates, missing scenes and general discussion about the story can be found as well as random spoilers for future chapters. Updates and other writings can also be found on my Livejournal (sstarluna). Links to both sites can be found on my profiles page.
Next chapter: OWL results time. Harry arrives at Grimmauld Place and there is a trip to Diagon Alley, before an explosive encounter with a portrait.
For everyone who are patiently (or not so patiently in some cases grins) waiting for the next chapter of Turn Back Time … I am still working on it. Work on the chapter stalled due to my RL commitments and sudden death of my laptop (rest it's poor soul!). I have a new job and several other fandom commitments to adjust to. I'm also working on editing the second chapter of Turn Back Time. All I can do is offer my apologies. I appreciate the reviews and read them all. I hope to get the next chapter out as soon as I can – but I won't until I'm happy with the content. After all, I expect to read good quality chapters and I hope you expect the same of me. Adding to which, the whole plotline of Turn Back Time is growing again groans quietly It's a monster! Keep an eye on my Yahoo Group or Livejournal for updates to my progress. Please leave a comment about what you think of this new edited version of Chapter 1.