Author's Note: This story rewrites the parts of PoA that deal with Sirius and/or Remus; the rest of the book has been left untouched, and the fic is to read as a series of vignettes. I'm not sure how often I'll be able to update this.
Having left the Dursleys, Harry is on the Knight Bus heading for The Leaky Cauldron.
On the front of Stan's paper was a moving photograph of a man who looked familiar somehow. He had a very gaunt face and there were large scratches all across his face.
"Who is that man?" Harry asked, curiosity getting the better of him.
Stan lowered the paper and stared at him. "Who is that? D'you hear that, Ern, he wants to know who is that's on the front page of the Daily Prophet. Who's that? That's Remus Lupin, Neville, where you been?"
Ern shuddered and turned a sharp corner. Harry braced himself against the wall.
"Er," he said when the Knight Bus had returned to its usual breakneck speed, "sorry, but – what did he do?"
"He escaped from Azkaban, that's what 'ee did," Stan replied, chewing on his lip in a distracted sort of way. "First person to ever do it, and no one's figured out how."
"He was on the Muggle news," said Harry, suddenly remembering where he had seen the man's face before.
"Well, of course 'ee was," said Stan with a touch of disdain. "I mean, there's some wizards who aren't fond of Muggles and all, but almost nobody's so cruel as to not give them some sorta warning when there's a werewolf loose."
Harry stared. "A werewolf?"
"That's right, Neville, a right proper werewolf, what with the fur and fangs and hunger for blood and all." Stan looked as though he were enjoying himself. "Course no one's told that to the Muggles, breaks secrecy and everything, but the Ministry's told 'em that there's a murderer escaped."
Harry looked at the picture of Remus Lupin again. The scratch marks on Lupin's face were four in number and evenly spaced, as if they had been inflicted by a wolf's paw. One of the scratches had nearly cut into his eye. Another had torn his lips. Lupin leaned slightly forward and blinked; his posture made him look rather timid.
"Is that why he went to Azkaban in the first place, because he's a werewolf?"
"Naw. Can't do that unless they've killed or hurt someone. Naw, Lupin ended up in Azkaban for killing thirteen people all in one go. And that wasn't during the full moon, either, that was in broad daylight while he was a man. Bloke like that, if he could kill thirteen people just walking around like you and me, it makes you shudder to think of what 'ee could do as a wolf."
"Stop it, Stan," said Ern. "You're scaring me, and I'm trying to drive and all."
"Sorry, Ern." Stan lifted his paper again and continued to read. Harry eyed him cautiously, trying to think of the best way to go about asking another question.
"Lupin was a big follower of You-Know-Who," Stan said, not looking up from his paper. "And why wouldn't he be? Dark Creature and all. They say he was so powerful that he was the only one You-Know-Who let join him who wasn't a pureblood wizard. Came as a shock to some people, though, finding out Lupin was with You-Know-Who. Lupin owed Dumbledore a big favor. When Lupin was a kid just startin' Hogwarts, Dumbledore let him in even though he knew that there'd be trouble if other people found out their kid was having class and eating dinner with a Dark Creature."
"Wouldn't want my boy goin' to school with one," said Ern, coming to a screeching halt at a traffic light.
"So Dumbledore hid it somehow?" Harry asked.
"Must've. Don't know how he did it, this was before my time. Bet he regrets it now, eh?" Stan chuckled ominously. "Oy, Ern, we nearly there yet?"