:I have been a huge Harry Potter fan for the last three or four years. I've always wanted to have the opportunity to write fanfiction for it, but I didn't know whether I had the nerve to do it. It's a lot more challenging than writing 'Friends' fanfictions. Please review and supply your opinions, bad or good. This is post-Order of The Phoenix.
United Against War
Remus Lupin looked into the fireplace and watched the flames dance around, their bounces getting higher then smaller all the time.
Over the last few weeks, he'd had a lot of quiet moments like these. It was a miracle to get them, being part of a household full of angst-ridden teenagers, family feuds and wheeler dealers like Mundungus Fletcher.
He smiled wryly. If Sirius was here now, he would have slapped Remus around the head and told him to stop wandering around like a lost snitch.
However, it was because of Sirius that Remus chose to look depressingly at a fireplace on a warm summer evening in late July.
It was going to be Harry's 16th birthday soon, and instead of it being a happy occasion, it was going to be sad and full of unspoken wishes. Harry Potter, who should be a out-going, care free young man, had more important things on his mind than blowing out candles on a birthday cake.
Remus sighed. Why did Sirius have to be so stubborn about not wanting to stay at the Order Headquarters? Why did he have to die?
James, Lily… and now Sirius. The only three people in the world who had ever cared about Remus were gone from his life. What was left?
"Brooding again Lupin," a familiar voice drawled at the doorway, "I wouldn't do it too often; I hear it drives people insane."
"Thank you for the advice Severus." Remus replied, without looking up, "but I wasn't brooding..."
"It won't bring him back." Severus interrupted, settling himself in the armchair opposite Remus'.
Remus' head shot up. "How-how did you know I was thinking about..you know."
Severus smiled thinly. "I may be known as Hogwarts' most vile professor, and the only member on Longbottom's hate list but I'm not a complete heartless git."
"I never said you was," Remus said, smiling slightly.
"Even I can have pity for people who grieve for the dead."
"I know." Remus paused and looked at Severus thoughtfully. "Why are you telling me this?"
"Because as much as I hate to say it… I'm worried about you." Severus replied, wincing.
Remus raised an eyebrow and looked at his old enemy in amused astonishment. "Well, I wasn't expecting that reply."
"I'm thinking of the Order!" Serverus added hastily. "How are we expected to win this war when one of our best duellers is staring into a fire at every hour of the day?"
"I'm sorry, I think I misheard you...did you say I'm 'one of the best'?" Remus was smiling now, enjoying the discomfort appearing on Severus' face.
"Yes alright!" Severus snapped, "I actually paid you a compliment there. Spread the news. I'm just saying that no amount of brooding is going to bring your friend back and it isn't going to help anyone either."
"I'm not staring into the fire just missing Sirius," Remus explained sharply, "I'm actually more worried about Harry and how's he's taking all this."
"Potter is taking it as well as can be expected," Severus said evenly. Remus studied him closely. Was that concern he saw flashing briefly in the potion master's eyes?
"Even with this prophecy hanging on his head as well?"
"We will assist Potter as much as we can, but in the end he will just have to accept his Godfather is dead in the darker days ahead." Severus stood up and paced around. "Things are going to be tough on the boy, but I think he will do just fine."
"If I'm not mistaken Severus, I'm quite sure I saw a glimmer of pride in your face just then." Remus told him, grinning. "Have you been put under the Imperious curse or something? Are Fred and George outside the door instructing you to say all these tremendously out-of-character remarks?"
"Those red-headed idiots couldn't do a convincing Imperious Curse if their lives depended on it," Severus said coolly.
"Now that's the Severus I know." Remus murmured. "So? Why is there a change of heart?"
"If I have learnt anything from the Order, and of being a former Death Eater," Snape paused and shuddered, "it is the need for loyalty. Potter may have had a father who I hated, but he remained loyal to Dumbledore, and for that point alone, I have a tiny bit of respect for him. Unlike Lucius Malfoy, he didn't duck and run at the slightest bit of trouble. As much as I hate to say it, Harry Potter is our only hope for peace."
"We finally agree on something," Remus stood up and shook Severus' hand. "We need to be united against war. Ok, I'll stop worrying about Harry so much…but only on one condition."
"What's that?" Severus asked suspiciously.
"Stop treating Harry like he's a dungbomb. Show all the respect that you so obviously have for him."
"That, I cannot do." Severus said, gritting his teeth.
"Why not?" Remus demanded.
"If I am to convince Voldemort that I'm no longer a spy for the Order, then I must show that I hate Potter. The dark lord must be shown that I'm the loyal Death Eater he wants me to be."
Remus looked worriedly at Severus' almost fearless face. He noticed a different emotion in his eyes though. "Are you scared Snape?" he finally asked.
"Honestly?" Severus asked, his lips curving up into a wry smile, "I'm terrified. The death eaters are murderous beasts. If it is possible, they are worse than they were before because they want to prove to Voldemort that they will do anything to gain back his trust."
"Are they suspicious of you?"
"Lucius knows there's something not quite right. He's not prepared to give me the benefit of the doubt."
Remus sighed. "There's always someone who will complicate things, isn't there?"
"Yes," Severus adjusted his robes and made towards the door. He stopped and turned around.
"I hate this bloody war as much as you do Remus," he added, "but we have to make do with what we've got…and that includes you getting up off your backside to continue to battle against the evil that killed Harry's parents and his Godfather."
Before Remus could say that Severus had referred to Harry by his first name, the intense wizard was speaking again.
"Sirius would be saying the exact same thing," he finished, walking stiffly out of the room.
It was a little after 1a.m when Harry was awoken by a tapping outside his window. He sat up, his heart beating wildly. Who was here at this time of night?
"Harry," a voice hissed outside, "Harry!"
Harry cautiously got out of bed and peeked out of the window. In the shadows, he could make out a tall figure waving him down. He swallowed nervously and looked over at his pillows where his wand now took up permanent residence in the night.
"Harry, its Remus!"
Harry's heartbeat slowed and a small smile crept over his face. This was soon replaced by a concerned frown. What was Lupin doing in a Muggle neighbourhood, and in this area of all places?
He opened the window and leaned out. "What are you doing here?" he hissed.
"I need to talk to you. Get down here."
Making sure that he didn't wake the Dursleys, Harry sneaked down the stairs, walked through the kitchen and opened the back door, where Remus Lupin was waiting for him.
"What is it?" Harry asked as Lupin walked inside.
"Remember I said how proud I was of you when you conjured that Patronus against the Dementors?" Lupin asked, smiling kindly down at Harry.
Harry nodded slowly.
"Make me proud again Harry. Make your father proud. Make Sirius proud."
"I don't understand..."
"Don't let the grief get to you," Lupin said fiercely, "Get out and fight! Do the absolute best you can at Hogwarts, take everyone's advice, listen to your friends…we're here for you."
"I…I don't think I can take much more of this."
"You must Harry," Lupin grabbed Harry by the shoulders and looked deeply at him. "don't let Voldemort win. You can do this."
"Are you alright?" Harry stepped back and eyed Lupin with concern. "You seem so…sure of yourself."
"Professor Snape gave me a few home truths."
"Snape convinced you to say this?" Harry asked incredulously, "since when do you listen to what he says?"
Lupin straightened up and smiled. "He really isn't all that bad you know. Somewhere below that heartless git image is a man who cares for the Order's well being."
"But Dumbledore said that the hate Snape has for the Marauders are too deep to repair." Harry reminded him.
"That may be so, but I also know he hates Voldemort and his followers more than he hates us. Look at his point of view for a moment Harry - he's been there…right in the thick of it. He knows what Voldemort is like and how powerful and evil he really is. When he first joined the Death Eaters, I doubt Snape really knew what he was getting into. Do you really, truly think he wants to get back into that?"
"I'm not sure," Harry muttered.
"I think you know where his loyalties are Harry," Lupin said gently, "I heard about how he tried to save you from Quirrel. And remember how quick he was to follow you into the Whomping Willow that night we found out Peter Pettigrew's real identity? He didn't know the truth - as far as he was concerned Sirius was a murderer and I was a dangerous werewolf in league with him. Severus was putting his life on the line for you, Hermione and Ron."
"So you're saying I should trust Snape? Even though he acts like he hates me?" Harry asked doubtfully.
"There's particular emphasis on the word 'act'...because that's all it is."
"Snape is only acting like he hates me?!" Harry exclaimed, wide-eyed, "he actually told you that?"
Lupin smiled broadly. "Well, not in so many words, but I figured it out eventually. He will never actually admit it though. You know what he's like."
Lupin tossed a part of his cloak over his shoulder and opened the door, ready to leave. "Give him a chance Harry, and maybe he'll give you one."
Harry watched as Lupin walked back out into the night. There was no moon, fortunately, so Lupin was safe in more ways than one. He turned back around and stared at Harry with a mischievous look on his face. "Oh, one another thing..." he said, walking back over to the door.
"Dumbledore said you can come back to Grimmauld Place next week. The Weasley's are already there, Ron will be in touch with you shortly. See if you can cheer him up a bit, the boy is driving me crazy." Remus shook his wearily.
"Why, what's he done?" Harry asked in surprise.
"As well as watching his parents fighting over Percy and the twins, he's had another fight with Hermione by Owl Post…do you know over what?" Remus looked questioningly at Harry.
Harry let out a huge laugh, the first laugh he'd had since before Sirius died. "I don't know…don't want to…neither should you."
Remus smiled softly. "They remind me of a couple I once knew…" he looked to the sky, a faraway look on his face.
"My Mum and Dad?" Harry asked quietly.
"Yes, very much so. As you already knew, Lily and James were in constant conflict up to the day they realised they were crazy about each other."
Harry grinned. "No one has ever told me how that all happened."
Lupin patted Harry on the shoulder and walked back down the path. "Too much to get into right now," he called over his shoulder, chuckling, "there's far too much to tell!"
"Then another time?" Harry said to him hopefully.
Remus rummaged around the bushes in the Dursleys' back garden and pulled out a battered old Cleansweep. He got on it.
"Maybe," he replied, soaring into the air. "See you soon Harry!"
"Bye!" Harry whispered, watching his friend fly away into the dark clouds above. He walked inside, suddenly shivering from the nightly chill. He walked through the hallway and past the cupboard under the stairs, almost colliding with Aunt Petunia.
"What do you think you're doing, wandering around the house at this time of night?!" she demanded, hands on her hips.
Harry grinned up at his Aunt, no longer afraid of her. "Oh I was just talking to a friend from my world," he said airily, "nothing you'd be interested in of course."
Leaving Aunt Petunia to gape wordlessly at him, Harry walked upstairs feeling more contended and happier than he had been in months.