Remus fingered an odd collection of items on his bookcase: a pile of letters, a ring, a diary, a set of keys, and a goblet. After today, they would no longer reside together on his top shelf. It was strange to think that the items, which had been bound together for 17 years, would now be separated. The question was, which would be going and which would be staying?

After a long pause, Remus decided on what he would take with him. He placed two of the items in his overcoat pocket, and left his room. As apprehensive as he was about what he was going to say, he didn't want to be late for today's appointment.

"You look like you're off in a hurry," said Emmeline Vance, as she met Remus in the vestibule of 12 Grimmauld Place.

"I am in a bit of a rush. I want to walk to Diagon Alley. I could easily Apparate to The Leaky Cauldron, but..."

"No need to explain, Remus. There are days when a stroll does you more good than all the elixirs in St. Mungo's," interrupted Emmeline with a smile. "Believe me, after I've worked with the Goblins as a translator all day, I have come to appreciate the value of a good head clearing stroll. I've learned if I walk quickly even (NEED GOOD GOBLIN NAME) can't keep up with me to pester me with more questions. They really have no concept of personal space."

Remus chuckled at Emmeline's description. She was a lot wittier and more relaxed than the ever-present prefect watchdog she had been in their Hogwarts days. She and Lily had been great friends once. Her questions interrupted his thoughts.

"So what are your plans, Remus, in case anyone needs to find you? I was going to ask if you would like some company on your walk, but you look like you want some time to yourself."

"I was just about to leave a note. I'll be at the back room at Florean's," replied Remus.

"Oh, the back room of the surreptitious man who collects more than just payment for ice cream," said Emmeline with a gleam in her eye, "He really is a splendid ally. Florean's is the perfect place for people to relax and say more than they should...all to the Order's benefit, of course."

"It's fortunate that Draco spends a good deal of his spare time, and not to mention knuts in there. The information as to what is brewing in his and Narsissa's heads is priceless. Bellatrix isn't the only Black sister with teeth, and we would all be wise to remember that," Emmeline nodded her agreement as Remus continued, "Well my trip today is not purely business. Granted, I will be discussing any new news with Florean, but I am also meeting Harry."

"I'd forgot he was to be in Diagon Alley today to get his school things," said Emmeline moving out of the doorway, "Harry must have been quite happy to have Arthur, Hermione, and Ron get him."

Remus nodded as he remembered that once again Harry had been forced to spend the summer at Privot Drive due to security reasons. On that point, Albus had been adamant. At least, Ron and Hermione had been able to visit frequently thanks to a special floo connection that Arthur arranged. According to all reports, the Dursleys had kept to the agreement about allowing Harry to keep in touch, but one could hardly call them warm.

"Well, I won't delay you any longer. Please say 'hello' to Harry for me, and tell him that I look forward to seeing him here at headquarters later," said Emmeline, as she closed the door behind Remus as he departed.

As Remus went outside, he was relieved to have some solitude at last. Ordinarily, he didn't mind exchanging pleasantries with Emmeline, but today was different. The walk would give him time to reminisce and to think about his plans for the day. If there was one thing he could guarantee, it was that this day would not be uneventful.

What a summer. So much has happened. I don't think any of us are the same. I know my life has changed. Harry's birthday was when I accepted that it was truly changed forever.

The sadness and regret about Sirius' death came crashing in. Strange about grief...until you allow yourself to feel it, you can't accept what is to come. It's impossible to move on, no matter how hard you pretend. Putting on that stiff upper lip exterior fools no one, least of all you. That's all just a fa├žade, an exterior. False wall crash hard, fast and take causalities. It's better to admit to feel something than to deny it's there, or you risk never feeling anything again.

Good thing that Albus did not come to check on me for several hours the morning after the blue moon. He knew I needed the time... we both did...all those demons to face before we could really talk...and what a conversation that was.

"Heavy is the head that wears the crown," I never fully appreciated the phrase, until Albus found me sitting there on the hearth rug of Gryffindor Tower surrounded by my unearthed treasures from the past. Perhaps the only person in the Order who strived to be strong and hide his pain any more than I was Albus. That conversation was a long and insightful journey full of healing for us both. His final words that day still ring in my ears.

"It is the fool, Remus, who cannot admit he has blundered. The question is, how will we, you and I, meet our future?"

I managed to organise the Order's memorial service for Sirius, albeit with Tonk's help. Fond memories of one most loyal were shared that day amidst the tears and laughter. It truly was a time for us to heal and to renew our bonds.

Remus sighed and paused, realising he was at his destination.

There was one missing; however, not a member of the Order officially, but someone upon whom all of our hopes lies.

Remus at last entered the Leaky Cauldron and made his way through the pub, entering Diagon Alley through the back passage. On any other day he might have paused to look in Flourish and Blott's or at least in Catherine Byrne's Olde Booke Shoppe, where he had purchased many of the second-hand books on his shelves. Today's walk, however, was a direct one. He paused momentarily at the front door of Florean Fortescue's Ice Cream Parlour before entering.

The time to face the next part of my life is almost here.

Remus had barely closed the door when Florean promptly greeted him.

"Good to see you, Remus," said Florean, shaking Remus' hand, "Business has been a little slow lately some of my more interesting customers haven't been in this week. Probably off on last minute holiday before the school term begins."

As Florean escorted him to the back room, he let Remus know that Ron, Hermione and Harry were already there

"Professor Lupin, How are you?" inquired Hermione, as Remus entered.

"Good to see you again, Professor," said Ron, "I still wish we had you for our Dark Arts teacher this year. No one knows who it's going to be yet. Although, after last year, I don't reckon we could have anyone much worse."

Harry said nothing; he just stood, nodded and gave a weak smile. Remus swallowed hard; this really was going to be just as difficult as he had imagined.

Ron looked between Remus and Harry and then broke the tension by saying brightly, "Hermione and I have some more things to get, so we'll just be going-"

Hermione, quick as usual caught on to Ron's lead, "That's right, there are those new quills for calligraphy that I have been wanting, and I did actually promise Ron he could show me a few things in Quality Quidditch Supplies to help me better appreciate the game." She grabbed Ron's arm as they made a hasty exit.

All right. Now that we are by ourselves, how do I start this conversation?

"Do you mind if I sit down, Harry?" Remus asked, motioning to the chairs at the room's only table.

"Yes, sir..I mean no, sir." replied Harry sitting down as well.

Why is Harry so uncomfortable around me? Have I done something to put him ill at ease? Granted, I haven't seen him this summer, but neither have any of the other members of the Order save for Arthur.

"I heard the Durselys took our advice to heart, and have been treating you well," said Remus hopefully.

"I guess so," stated Harry, looking at the table.

Remus tried a different approach to break the ice, "I'm sure you were relieved that Ron and Hermione were able to see you frequently?"

"That was good," replied Harry, now playing with the edge of the tablecloth.

Terrific! I seem only able to provoke three word answers. This just doesn't make sense. No one warned me that Harry was this sullen. If he were wallowing in melancholy surely Hermione would have mentioned something.

"You are quite fortunate to have friends as good as Ron and Hermione. I'm sure I don't have to tell you how valuable true friends are," said Remus, trying not to force the issue but hoping that Harry would at least look at him.

Well, if he won't talk to me, maybe he'll at least talk to Ron and Hermione.

Harry looked up at Remus, "I...I know that," he then quickly looked down again, "I know I can always count on them."

I just don't understand why...unless...Oh no! It can't be that. Do I remind him too much of Sirius? Does he blame me for holding him back at the Department of Mysteries? If that is true than I am doing nothing here but adding to his pain. I may be ready to talk, but at sixteen, maybe he isn't.

Remus rose as he spoke, "I know you must be anxious to rejoin you friends Harry. Don't let me keep you. I could ask Florean to walk you over to the- "

"I am so sorry, Professor Lupin!" interrupted Harry, nearly knocking over his chair as he stood. He blinked his eyes, barely holding back the tears.

"Harry what?" asked Remus more confused than ever.

"Please just let me say it, all of it. I never thought that it could be a trick; if only I had listened to Hermione! I really thought he was in danger and I couldn't reach anyone in the Order. I never meant to risk any of you, you have to believe that." Harry was no longer to keep the sobs in control as he forged on, " I know you mustn't think much of me; I let everyone down. I took your best friend from you..." Harry choked up, obviously unable go on. He sank, hunched over, into his chair.

Remus was stunned. He had guessed Harry would feel many things about their meeting, but not this. He knelt in front of the chair where Harry sat hunched over with his head in his hands. Remus put a gentle but firm hand on Harry's heaving shoulders and began to speak softly.

"Harry, you owe me no apology. What is done is done. We could spend an eternity blaming each other, Voldermort, Professor Dumbledore or even Sirius himself for what happened and it wouldn't change anything. It took me almost this entire summer to come to that realisation."

Harry's shoulders had stopped heaving up and down. Remus sensed that Harry was listening at least. He continued in a slow and steady voice.

"The time we all have is too short together, Harry, to waste it on blame and guilt. We all have the right to be angry, to doubt ourselves, to wish things were different; but at some point, we just have to stop, and grieve, and accept what has happened."

Harry at last looked up questioningly into Remus' eyes.

"Don't misunderstand me, Harry. We don't have to like it or even think that it's fair, because it isn't. But what we do have to do is accept it, or we'll go stark raving mad. Where regret and fear and what if live, there is no room for love and comfort. A life devoid of love is something I wish on no one."

Remus paused there. He didn't even know how he had found those words he had just uttered. He had come to Florean's unsure of how to give Harry items that were rightly his. The turn this discussion had taken was unexpected.

"Professor,' Harry began tentatively, "did you really mean what you said?"

"Every word of it, Harry. I meant every word," Remus paused before shifting to sit in the vacant chair next to Harry. "I'd like to speak to you about some other things from my past, if it's all right with you."

Harry nodded his assent as his looked intently at Remus.

Remus began the tale of the Marauder's forest pledge of so many years ago. As he went on, Remus noticed that Harry was hanging on his every word. It occurred to Remus that not even Sirius had ever really had the chance to talk to Harry about their school days, or more importantly about Lily and James. He was now the only close link to Harry's past.

He has to know more about Lily and James, and how much they loved him! I had to be more active in Harry's life. He needs to know where he came from and how proud his parents would be of him today.

As Remus related to Harry what each of the boxes contained and what each of the Marauders was thinking all those years ago, Harry seemed even more transfixed. This was especially true when Remus read to him aloud from James and Sirius' own letters. How Remus kept his composure as he relived all of it, he truly didn't know. Finally, as he came to the end of his story, he knew that time to give Harry his gift from the past had come.

"Harry, I have with me some of the things I just told you about," Remus reached into his pocket and drew out the items he had placed there earlier, "Here are the spare keys to Sirius' motorbike and the letter explaining their significance. I know he would want you to have them. After coming from the Durleys, I know you understand how much Sirius valued the freedom and friendship that these keys represent."

Harry was clearly trying to swallow a lump in his throat as he accepted the gift. He held the keys reverently, tracing their pattern with his fingers.

"This next item is yours by birthright, Harry. I think I can safely say that you are now what your great-grandfather hoped James would become when he gave this ring to him. Clearly you know what it means to live with honour and bravery. I know I don't have to tell you to treasure this and to live up its legacy," said Remus, as he handed the ring and corresponding letter to Harry.

Harry hesitated only a moment before carefully putting the ring on his own hand. The golden Gryffindor lion with the ruby eyes glittered in the room's light. As if by instinct, Harry had put it on the same finger of the same hand on which James always wore the ring.

Harry looked up at Remus as he spoke, at first haltingly, and then with resolve, "I will never forget what this ring means. It is more than just an heirloom; I guess you could say it is part of a legacy that I wish I knew more about. Could you...would you...I mean if I want-"

Remus seemed to read Harry's mind at once. "Harry, anytime you want to talk to me, I give you my word I'll do my very best to be there. Truth be told, I enjoy talking about your parents and Sirius and our past as much as you enjoy listening."

The conversation was then interrupted by a soft knock at the rear door. The sprightly voice of Hestia Jones could be heard on the other side.

"Remus, Harry, are you two in there? I ran into Emmeline, and she told me you would be here. May I come in?"

Harry nodded as Remus answered, "We're here Hestia, the door is unlocked."

Hestia smiled at the two of them as she entered. She had clearly come from her portrait studio since there were still flecks of paint in her long hair.

"Any interesting clients today, Hestia?" asked Remus.

"Well, not today, but I am working on getting Narcissa Malfoy to sit for a portrait. I have just painted her best friend Minaura Synde and you know how she loves to keep up with the top society witches. I am sure it just is a matter of time before she calls, and I begin my "work". It is amazing what people will idly discuss while their portrait is being done," Hestia stopped there to come up for air. She could talk a mile a minute once she got started.

"Just make sure you remember to charm the paint properly, Hestia, if she consents to a portrait. We want Narsissa's portrait to spy for us, not the other way around," Remus stated teasingly.

"I know what I am doing, Remus, really! Anyway, I'm in a bit of a rush today, but I wanted to give you both something before I go," Hestia paused as she reached in to her deep pockets. She handed Harry and Remus identical wrapped squares about the size of Remus old prefect's badge.

"What are they?" asked Harry, taking his present from Hestia.

"Well, if you open them, you will see," said Hestia with a nervous smile. "Tonks said that the two of you would still like them even if, under the circumstances, the portrait won't move."

Remus knew instantly who was in the painting. There was only one reason for a portrait not to move---if the subject was painted posthumously.

With shaking hands, Remus opened his gift. There, in a tiny gilt frame was Sirius smiling a swarthy smile as if he had just pulled off a grand prank. Harry's picture was identical. For several moments not a sound was uttered, but it was not an uncomfortable silence.

"Thank you, Hestia," responded Harry, at last breaking the quiet. "I don't know what else to say."

Remus at last found his own words, "Indeed, Hestia, thank you. It hardly seems enough to merely say 'thank you.' It's beautiful ... it looks just like him. Thank you."

"Well, I'm glad you like them," said Hestia, blushing from their praise as she left.

After a few moments of silence Harry spoke. "Professor, I know you said that you'd answer any questions I had about my parents and Sirius. It's that sometimes...well, Ron and Hermione are great, but...I just need to talk to someone else. I used to be able to owl Sirius, or he'd just seem to pop up in the fire when I needed him."

"I can never be what Sirius was to you Harry, but I'll try my best to be there for you in whatever way you need," Remus paused considering his next words a minute and then continued. "Harry, I know you only remember me as your teacher, but a long time ago when you were a baby I was just Remus. Actually it was just "Re" that you could get out, but you knew who I was. I'd be very honoured if you would consider calling me that again."

There was silence for a moment before Harry responded, "I think I would like that, it might be a little strange at first, but I really would like that," Harry paused before continuing with a mischievous grin that made him look very much like James. "I think I can manage the 'Re", but I'll have to work on pronouncing the 'mus'."

"Fair enough, Harry," said Remus chuckling. "Are you ready to walk with me back to Headquarters? We could talk some more on the way."

"Sure," said Harry. "Just give me a minute to find Ron and Hermione to tell them that I'll be going back with you."

As Harry left, Remus felt as if a new chapter in his life had begun. He had traveled a strange and difficult path this summer: one of pain, anger, denial, grief, and now healing and peace. For the first time in months, perhaps years he was at peace.

I couldn't have done things any differently these past months, in a way I found myself again. One day at a time, I found my life and a purpose again.