Remus threw himself onto his couch sullenly and conjured a cup of tea into his hand. He had arrived home from yet another failed job interview, the fourth that week. He sighed and picked up the Daily Prophet from the coffee table, hoping to find someplace, anyplace actually, that would hire him. He was becoming desperate to find a job, now. But as soon as an employer found out about his condition, it was a 'Sorry, but you just aren't qualified' or 'We'll get back to you'
"Please, have a seat," Remus offered, conjuring a mug of tea. Albus sat in a vacant chair opposite him.
"Remus, I've come to discuss something of significant importance with you," Albus said, looking solemnly at Remus.
"Which is, sir?" Remus asked, taking a sip of his tea."Harry," Albus said, "As you know, he was sent to live with his Aunt and Uncle after Lily and James were murdered. Recently, there have been some problems with the arrangement.""What sort of problems?" Remus asked in a controlled voice, looking at him warily. He knew what kind of people the Dursleys were; Lily had spoken of them often, never kindly. "He has been being mistreated recently. At first, nothing serious at all, but as of late, by word of Arabella Figg, it has become abruptly worse," Albus explained."Are you telling me that they are abusing Harry?" Remus asked, his voice not so controlled anymore. Albus nodded.
"He is only a child! A baby!" Remus began to rage, "How dare they--"He was cut off by Albus' calmly spoken words, "Please calm down, Remus. It would be best if this was handled reasonably.""You left him there! I told you you shouldn't! Minerva agreed with me!" Remus began to feel angry now."Remus, it was a mistake, but at the time, it was in his best interest. I had my reasons. I shall talk to you later and explain more. If you would like to remove Harry from their care, you will have to listen to me," Albus said in that ever-calm voice of his."You- you left him there? He is still with them? Why didn't you go for him, yet? We have to go! Now!" Remus continued to yell."I could not take him from that place. He has nowhere to go, which is why I am here, now," Albus said, raising his eyebrows slightly. There was a pause where Remus registered what he was hinting at."You mean- Harry live with me?" Remus asked happily. Then disappointment settled over him, "But my condition.""Remus, I am perfectly aware of your condition. And arrangements will be made for you. That is if you agree," Albus said."Of course I do!" Remus said. If there was anything he could do to help Harry, he was willing. He had wanted to take care of Harry from the start, but Albus had denied him that, saying he had his reasons."You do realize exactly what you are taking on and the freedoms you are giving up?" Albus asked."I have no freedoms. Come to think of it, I have no job. I am barely able to keep a roof over my own head. I don't think I could afford it," Remus said miserably."Not to worry on that. With a job, there would be no time to look after Harry. Things will be taken care of for you and young Harry," Albus smiled."He needs to be taken from that place. When are we getting him?" Remus asked."As soon as you get things in order, you may go for him. You will need a bigger place for the two of you. I have found a small house not too far that will suit you and Harry perfectly. You can pack your things now and take them over. Laertes, the house elf, will greet you there. I thought you might need one as a baby can take up a lot of one's time, so I sent him from Hogwarts. This is the key to an account I have set up for you and Harry. And this is the key to the account left to Harry by Lily and James," Albus handed him two keys, "You'll need to go out and get his baby things and set them up before you take him. You'll have no time to once he's there."
"How am I getting Harry?" Remus asked.
"Apparate to Arabella's, get Harry, and Floo back from her home. Remus, I stress that, no matter what you are met with, you do not harm the Dursley's. I urge you to only take Harry and leave," Albus said meaningfully. Lupin swallowed hard. Just how bad was it, he wondered."Where do I get all this stuff at?" Remus asked."There will be some shops in Diagon Alley. Spare no expense. The sooner you set up, the sooner you can get Harry. I've already set the house with the Floo network, Remus's Cottage," Albus said."Knew I wouldn't say no then?" Remus asked."Yes, I did," Albus smiled, "I must be going now. I have to see to a few things about this at the ministry, now. I will be by in the morning to discuss things with you."
He stood and took a pinch of the floo powder from the pot on the mantle and threw it into the flames. They turned green and he stepped in, calling out clearly, "Ministry of Magic!"
Remus stood in silence for a moment, taking in what just happened. He couldn't believe he'd be taking care of Harry. He snapped out of his thoughts. He had to hurry up and get everything settled. The sooner that was done, the sooner he could take Harry away from the Dursleys. He hurried up the stairs and pulled out his battered old trunk. There wasn't very much to pack. He took out his wand, shrinking all the furniture, and then he put it in the trunk. He hurried through the house, doing the same in every room. It only took fifteen minutes before he was completely ready.Remus took a pinch of Floo powder and dropped it into the flames, calling out, "Remus's cottage." He stumbled out into a big kitchen, well, big by the standards he was used to. He saw a little elf hurry towards him, bowing."Master Remus, you is here. Master Dumbledore say you is coming and I is to greet you," it squeaked, "I will take your trunk, sir."
"Thank you," Remus said. The elf began to heave the trunk across the room. Remus stopped him."Never mind that, Laertes. You can use magic. It will be easier and faster," Remus smiled at the elf."Is you sure, sir?" Laertes asked. Remus nodded."Can you show me around first?" he asked."Yes, sir," Laertes said. He led Remus through the whole house quickly. It wasn't too big or extravagant, a nice size home for Remus and Harry to live. Downstairs was the kitchen, living room, and a study. Upstairs was the two bedrooms and a bathroom. He smiled when Laertes led him outside. Only trees, flowers, and grass. No other houses or noisy shops, as he was familiar with, living in small apartments."I'll unpack when I get back. Right now, I have to go pick a few things up from Diagon Alley," Remus said to Laertes when they were back in the kitchen. He decided against the Floo and apparated into the crowded cobbled street.-----------------------------Two-year-old, Harry Potter, sat in a dark cupboard under the stairs of the Dursleys large house. A house with two extra bedrooms, and he had to lie in a cupboard. Harry's stomach hurt with hunger. He sat up on the cold floor and held tight to a raged old blanket. Dare he go out and try for food? Was it worth the risk?Slowly, he pushed the door of the cupboard open and inch and looked out. He could hear his aunt and uncle laughing. They were in the living room. Harry pushed the door ever so slowly open enough to squeeze through. He got shakily to his feet and crept to the kitchen. He pushed open that door, too. Without a noise, he went over to the counter and took from it a slice of bread that was in a basket. He put the delicious food into his mouth, taking a big bite. He took another bite, eating as quickly as he could. He had only a little bit left when he heard footsteps coming towards the kitchen. He threw the small piece of bread under the stove and began to crawl under the kitchen table."Boy! What the bloody hell do you think you're doing? Did I say you could come out of your cupboard?" Vernon roared at the little boy. Vernon grabbed him roughly by the arm and shook him.
"Sawry!" Harry cried. Vernon hit him hard across the face. Harry began to cry, only enraging Vernon more."You little bastard! Stop that!" he yelled and gave Harry another smack, before dragging him to the stairs. He gave Harry one last smack before tossing him into his cupboard. Harry curled up into the fetal position and cried quietly into his ragged blanket to muffle the sobs that would surely bring more trouble if heard.-----------------------------Remus entered the first shop he saw that had what he was looking for. A woman in dark blue robes greeted him. "Can I help you, sir?" she asked."Yes, I need a crib, baby clothes, toys, just everything. I need to have the room ready very soon," he said. She smiled and led him through the store. By the time he left, he was weighed down with three heavy bags of shrunken furniture, toys, clothes, diapers, and all else that she could sway him to buy, which was nearly everything. Upon apparating home, he found his things had been unpacked for him, and arranged throughout the house. The house elf had obviously been busy while he was gone. Everything had been cleaned and arranged nicely."Thank you, Laertes," Remus said, smiling at the elf."You is welcome, sir. Is master needing anymore help?" Laertes asked."No, I can manage," Remus said. Laertes nodded disappointedly."Well, actually I could use some help setting up Harry's room," Remus said, causing the elf to brighten up."Yes, sir!" he squeaked. He took one of the bags and began up the stairs, Remus following after him. Remus was in a hurry to get this done. He didn't want Harry to have to spend a moment longer than he had to with his horrible aunt and uncle.Once Harry's room was finished, Remus apparated to Arabella Figg's house, eager to bring Harry to his new home. He couldn't believe how vastly, in the last two hours, his life had changed.
"Remus, you nearly gave me a heart attack," she sighed, "I thought you'd never come. I've seen the boy this morning. He wasn't looking very good. Underfed and dirty. Decided to contact Dumbledore. You'd better get over there."
As she spoke, she led him to the door and pointed to the house at the end of the block on the other side of the street."Thank you, Mrs. Figg," he managed to say, before hurrying towards the house. He couldn't believe the nerve of these people. How bad was Harry anyway? She made it seem worse than what Albus had explained. He fingered his wand as he walked up the sidewalk, but no, Albus warned him not to. He pulled his hand away from it.He didn't bother knocking when he reached the house; he flung open the door and stepped inside. Vernon Dursley looked up from his paper, startled. He jumped to his feet, his face turning a deep red."Who the bloody hell are you?" he demanded.""Where is Harry?" Remus asked."Harry? We know of no Harry!" Vernon said, trying to be calm, but failing."Don't lie to me! I know he is here!" Remus pulled out his wand, without the means to use it. He just wanted to get Dursley moving a bit faster. He heard a whimper from near the stairs and rushed over as a screechy voice sounded from upstairs."Vernon, that boy whining again? Give him a whack for me!" screeched Petunia. Remus couldn't believe he heard her say that. He tried to keep his anger in check. He needed to find Harry and leave.He saw no sign of Harry near the stairs, but he was sure the sound came from that spot. He strained to hear another noise and his wolf hearing picked out another low whimper. On the side of the stairs was a small cupboard door. He reached out to open it, but his hand was slapped away roughly."GET OUT OF MY HOUSE!" Vernon roared."Get back, Dursley, or you will regret it," Remus threatened and he meant it now. His anger was reaching its breaking point, something that rarely, if ever, happened."What's going on, Vernon? Who is that?" the bony, horse-face woman appeared at the top of the stairs. Remus ignored her and her husband and opened the cupboard door, bracing himself for what he was going to see. A small, skinny child of two lay curled up in the corner with a ratty old blanket. The sickening smell of dirty diaper hit his nose. He gasped at sight of it all. Instantly, a rush of emotions came over him, sorrow for little Harry, anger at the Dursleys for doing this, anger at Dumbledore for leaving him, and guilt for not being to help Harry sooner."Harry?" he said and the child flinched. Remus slid his arms underneath Harry and gently pulled him out, holding him close. He couldn't believe this was Lily and James' happy son of only one year ago. The little boy looked up at him, fear in his once bright green eyes."Sawry," he said inaudibly and he cringed as if expecting a blow. Remus stroked his cheek, and said quietly, "It's okay, Harry. I won't hurt you. I'm here to take you away from here. Okay? Do you want to come with me?"
"About time you're taking it," Vernon muttered. It wasn't a good idea to get Remus' attention. He raised his wand, about to disregard Dumbledore's warning completely. He hated the sight of that man. Reluctantly, he lowered his wand, his levelheaded side causing him to. He hoped they knew enough not to say another word. He wasn't sure he could resist that impulse again. He held Harry close to him and left the house. He wiped the tears off Harry's cheeks, surprised he wasn't flailing in protest not to leave with a stranger.
"Me weavez?" Harry asked uncertainly. His speech wasn't exactly up to speed for a two-year-old. Remus sighed again. He couldn't believe anyone could be so nasty to such a sweet child."Yes. You are coming to live with me. Okay, Harry?" Remus smiled. Harry nodded slowly.Arabella met them at he front door of her house, and pulled them in. She looked sorrowfully at little Harry."Poor little thing. Half starved and so sad looking," she muttered, "I suppose you best be off with him, Remus. The ministry will be looking for him if Dumbledore didn't sort that out yet." "Sort what out?" Remus asked."Well, the minister doesn't exactly approve of you taking Harry. Dumbledore will have that fixed soon, though. But, just in case, you'd better leave now. They'll know Harry has been taken from his home," Mrs. Figg said, holding out the Floo pot."Thank you, Mrs. Figg," Remus said before taking some and throwing it into the flames. As they turned a bright green, Harry began to bawl, frightened by it."Just go now. He'll be fine," Mrs. Figg urged.Remus held Harry tightly as he stepped into the flames, saying loudly, "Remus's Cottage!" They were whisked away past a hundred fireplaces and finally emerged into the kitchen of their new home. Harry was crying harder than ever.
"Shh. It's okay Harry. It's all over now," Remus tried to comfort him, rubbing his back soothingly. The cries stopped abruptly and Harry pushed away."Sawry. Cries no mo. Don hih," Harry said. Remus had to take a second to understand what was said."Harry, it's okay. I'm not going to hit you. No one is ever going to hurt you again," Remus said, "I won't let them."
Harry wrapped his short arms around Remus' neck tightly. Remus hugged him back gently and brushed his black hair away from his face. On his forehead was a thin white scar. He knew where that came from."Let's go upstairs and get you cleaned up," Remus said softly. He carried Harry upstairs into his bedroom and set him on the changing table."This is your room now," he said, taking out the things needed for diaper changing. "My," Harry said, eyes wide and a small smile on his face. It made Remus sad that such a small thing as having a bedroom, was so great to Harry. He should expect to have such things as that."Yes, Harry. Yours. Now let's see if Remus can remember how to do this," Remus said. He had done it a few times before, when he and Sirius used to steal Harry away from his parents for the day."Remy," Harry said."That's right. I'm Remy," Remus smiled, "Maybe I should just clean you up and give you a bath." As Remus undressed him, he was appalled to see bruises all over his body. He pulled out his wand to heal them. Being a werewolf was a self injuring hobby, so Remus had often ended up in need of healing afterwards. He decided to learn some of the practice himself, so he didn't need to go see a healer after every full moon."Owie," Harry said, indicating a mark on his arm. "How about I fix them for you," Remus said.
"Wuh that is?" Harry asked, looking curiously at the wand."Well, it's to do magic. Like, now, I can fix all your owies so they don't hurt anymore. You'll never have any more of these owies again," Remus said as he fixed any bruises, bumps, and scrapes. Harry smiled happily. "Awl betta," he said. Remus picked him up and took him into the bathroom to get a bath. As the tub filled with warm water, he called for Laertes. Harry giggled when he saw the elf."Could you cook something Harry to eat? I'm not sure what they eat at his age. There's a book in his room that I got, though," Remus said."Laertes knows how to cook for Master Harry. And what is Master Remus liking?" Laertes asked."Whatever you make will be fine," Remus smiled appreciatively."Yes, sir," the house elf bowed and left. After he gave Harry his bath, Remus dressed him in the robes he'd bought for him at the store in Diagon Alley. Already, Harry looked much better. Remus took him downstairs and put him in the high chair."Ready to eat, Harry?" Remus asked. Harry nodded eagerly. When a big plate of food was placed in front of him, he looked at it in doubt."Udleys?" he said."No, Harry. This is yours. No more Dudley. No more Aunt and Uncle. Just Remy and Harry," Remus said. He handed Harry a sippy cup of milk. Harry smiled again."No go back?" he asked uncertainly."Never. You're going to stay with me," Remus said. Harry banged his hands on the high chair happily, causing his sippy cup to fall to the floor with a clatter. Harry's smile washed away quickly and he looked from the puddle of milk slowly spreading across the floor to Lupin fearfully, tears filling his eyes."It's okay, Harry. It's okay. Look, we'll just clean it up. Don't worry," Remus said quickly, before Harry began to cry. He pointed his wand at the floor and the milk disappeared, "See. All better.""No hate me?" Harry asked timidly. He was cringing away a bit."No Harry. I love you," Remus picked him out of the high chair and hugged him. Harry hugged back, though apprehensively at first."Love my Remy," he said quietly. Remus smiled at hearing that and put him back in his chair."You go ahead and eat. I'll get you a new cup," Remus picked up the sippy cup and rinsed it in the sink, refilling it with milk. He placed it in front of an eagerly eating Harry, "There you are."Harry sipped it and looked at Remus curiously and asked, "Wuh dis?""Milk. Haven't you ever had milk before?" Remus asked, though he knew that answer."Udley milk. Arry wauh," Harry said, cherishing the new treat. Remus thought he would get used to finding these things out, but each new revelation only sent a new wave of sympathy, guilt, and anger through him."Here, you can have as much milk as you want. Food, too. If you're ever hungry or thirsty, you just tell me. You never have to be afraid of me. Okay Harry?" "Okey," Harry said, through a mouthful of potato. Remus laughed, wondering whether there was more food in his mouth or dripping from his chin. He didn't seem to have very good aim with a spoonful of food yet. Remus started on his own plate of food.Once finished, Remus took Harry upstairs to go to bed, after washing his face. It was pretty late and Harry's yawns assured Remus it was time for bed. He put Harry in his crib."Night, Harry," Remus said softly. As soon as he turned the lights out, a loud wails issued from Harry. He hurriedly flicked the lights back on and rushed to Harry's side."What's wrong Harry? You don't like the dark?" Remus asked."Prease...no...weave," he said through his sobs."I won't go anywhere. I can stay here with you tonight," Remus dried Harry's eyes with the corner of the blanket. Harry's sobs faded, but he wouldn't take his eyes off Remus, as if afraid he would disappear if he shut them."Go to sleep, Harry. I'm not leaving," Remus said. He shut the lights off and magicked a small stuffed animal to glow as a nightlight. He settled himself in a rocking chair beside Harry's crib. It wasn't very long before Harry's eyelids drooped shut and he slept peacefully. And even less time after that when Remus' own eyelids fell shut.Lupin was awoken fairly early, well earlier than was usual for him, by Harry's excited squeals. He was smiling and giggling in his crib, obviously pleased about something. Remus leaned in and took him out of the crib."Why are you so happy, now?" he asked cheerfully."My Remy stills here," he said."I told you I would be. I'm not going to leave you," Remus said, as he began to dress Harry. "I hungy," Harry said warily, waiting for the response he would get with shut eyes."We'll have to get something for you to eat, then. Eggs and bacon," Remus set Harry on his feet, "Can you walk by yourself?" Remus wasn't exactly sure at what age babies began to walk, but thought they should know by this age. Harry nodded and began wobbling across the room. He reached the door and stuck one of his chubby hands out to Remus. Remus took it and walked him down into the kitchen.Laertes already had eggs, bacon, and toast laid out for them, Remus smiled as he saw it. He'd forgotten he wouldn't be doing the cooking any more. He put Harry in his high chair and sat beside him. As they finished their morning meal and Remus was clearing the table (to Laerte's dismay), Albus emerged from the fireplace. Harry let out a gasp of surprise, but didn't cry. He eyed the man apprehensively. "Hello, Remus. And hi there, Harry," Albus greeted."Laertes, will you take Harry upstairs? Give him some toys to play with. I need to talk with Albus," Remus said, eyes narrowed. He set Harry on his feet. Laertes took his hand and began to lead Harry away. Harry looked at Remus timidly."It's okay, Harry. You go with Laertes. He'll play with you," Remus said. He waited to hear the soft click of Harry's door being shut, before he rounded on Albus."YOU LEFT HIM THERE! LEFT HIM WITH THOSE- THOSE PEOPLE! HOW COULD YOU DO IT? THEY'RE HORRIBLE! I CANNOT BELIEVE YOU!" he yelled, letting his anger fly at Albus. This was definitely out of character for Remus, who rarely, if ever raised his voice."Remus, I had reasons. Of which, I shall tell you now," Albus said. Remus forced himself to lower his voice and sat down at the table."Do you know where he slept for the past year? A cupboard! Know what he lived off of? Some water and the occasional scrap of food! Rarely changed or cleaned! And they hit him! Hit him!" Remus said angrily. Albus sighed and lowered his head."I am sorry. I wish I had known sooner," he said."Tell me why you left him there," Remus bid."I'll start with the fact that Lily had died in order to protect Harry, as you know. Something happened that Voldemort could not harm Harry, which is why he survived. This magic was used to protect Harry. As long as he stayed in the care of his relatives, he was safe. I could not risk taking him away, but as it has gotten to a bad point, I thought it best if he left. I have put up many wards on this house and tried in every way possible to make it safe. Few know that Harry resides with you. It will be kept like that," Albus explained."But surely, Voldemort is gone?" Remus said, though he wasn't so sure he wasn't."For the present, yes. But I have no doubt he will return one day. He is not gone forever," Albus sighed, "The safety of you and Harry has been taken care of. And arrangements have been made for Harry to stay at Hogwarts the afternoon of your transformation until the next evening or the day after that. Madam Pomfrey, myself or the other professors will watch over him."
"Thank you," Remus said quietly."Remus, I trust you will make a good parent for Harry. If you need any help, do not hesitate to call on me," Albus said, "For now, I must go. I have many things to attain to at the moment. I will stop by to check on you two before the full moon."They bid each other good bye and Albus left. Remus went upstairs to find Harry giggling happily as Laertes magicked a stuffed cat to dance about the room, as he cleaned. Remus was glad Harry was laughing like a normal child should.
"Thank you, Laertes," Remus said. Laertes bowed in response and left the room. Remus sat on the floor with Harry and played with him for a long while. Before he knew it, it was almost noon. Remus scooped Harry up into his arms.
"How about we go for a walk after lunch?" he asked. Harry smiled and squealed. Remus took that as a yes. Remus grabbed an outfit from Harry's dresser and changed him out of his pajamas. Remus took Harry downstairs and they ate a quick lunch of sandwiches. Before leaving Remus questioned Laertes a bit about where they were and what was around the area. He found out that they lived in Carnet. And that not very far from there was a small muggle town. Remus decided he would take Harry into town to a park Laertes had told him about.Harry held Remus' hand as they walked along the dirt road that led to the town. It wasn't far that they had to walk until they reached the park. Harry stood behind Remus shyly as he watched the other children playing. "Don't you want to go play?" Remus asked him. Harry shook his head."Go ahead. You can go play with the other kids. Look how much fun they're having," Remus said. Harry looked longingly at the others playing in the sand box. "You comes with me?" he asked."I'll come with you," Remus said. He walked over to the sandbox with Harry. A small sandy haired boy walked up to Harry. He looked a little older than Harry. "I'm Mason. What's your name?" he asked."Harry," he answered shyly."Want to play with me, Harry?" the boy asked."Okay," Harry said. Remus smiled to himself as he watched Harry sit with the other boy. He walked over to a bench near the sand box and sat down to watch. Harry and Mason played for a while until a man, Remus assumed was Mason's father came."Time to go, Mason," he said."Okay, daddy," the little boy said."Say goodbye to your friend," he said."Bye, Harry," the boy said."Bye, Mason," Harry said. "Okay, let's go," the man said. Mason took his hand."Can we comeback tomorrow, daddy?" the boy asked as they walked away."Sure," the man said, scooping the giggling boy up onto his shoulders.Harry stood and walked over to Remus. He climbed up into Remus' lap."Are you ready to go home, now, too?" Remus asked. Harry nodded. Remus picked him up and started walking home. Harry's head lay nestled in his neck. "Remy," Harry said."Yeah, Harry?" Remus said."Who my daddy?" Harry asked curiously. Remus stopped, he was so taken aback by the question. He had no idea how to answer that."Udley has daddy. Mason has daddy. I want daddy. You be mys," Harry said, wrapping his short arms around Remus neck. Remus hugged him back."Okay, Harry. I'll be your daddy," he said. Harry planted a wet kiss on Remus' cheek."Love my daddy,"Harry said."And I love my Harry," Remus said.