6. Building a new home
Ron got used to seeing his friends as a couple together. They were relieved that he still wanted their friendship and gladly gave it to him. Classes resumed the first Monday after New Year and Remus held Harry back after his first lesson in the new year.
"Harry, do you still want me to help you fight a Dementor? Because I think you need to try, seeing that Dementors affect you so terribly."
"Yes, please, Remus. If you know of something that would help me and if you can teach me, I want to learn it."
"Okay, then how about Thursday here in the classroom at eight pm?"
"That's fine, I'll be there!"
As soon as Harry had come back to the common room he was held up by Oliver Wood who asked him:
"Harry, do you have a new broom ordered yet? Because you won't be able to play well on one of those school brooms, you know!"
"He didn't need to, Oliver, he got one for Christmas," said Ron with a glee.
"Yes, Sirius has given it to me, Oliver, and it's a Firebolt."
"What? You have a Firebolt? Wow! Did you hear that, people, Harry has a Firebolt! This is amazing, Harry!"
"I know. We stand a chance now, don't we?"
"Absolutely! This will be great! A Firebolt on our team and for the seeker on top of it!"
Remus met Harry for the first training lesson to fight a Dementor on Thursday. Harry eyed the wobbling box on Remus' desk with a weary eye. Sirius was there as well and looked grim. He wasn't so sure if this was all a good idea after having heard the story of how Harry responded to the Dementors.
"What's that?" Harry asked.
"That's another Boggart. I've been searching the castle up and down for one and was lucky to find this one in one of Mr Filch's filing cabinets. He was more than glad I took it out. Since your greatest fear are Dementors this Boggart will turn into one once it senses you and you can try and fight it. We can store it in this box when we don't work with it."
"Oh! Okay," Harry said, not at all sure he liked it.
"Well, let's start with the lesson. The charm I'm going to teach you is a very highly advanced charm, Harry, and you might not be ready to do it, but we can try in any case. It's called the Patronus charm and the incantation is 'Expecto Patronum'. Now this is only the easy part, because you will have to concentrate on a single very happy memory when you cast this spell, because only then it will work out."
"And what happens if it works?"
"A Patronus will come out of your wand. It's something of the stuff Dementors are after, only the Patronus cannot feel any emotion. The Dementors can't destroy it and they are usually chased away by it, as the Patronus charges on them."
"Okay, I'll try," said Harry.
"Just try without a Dementor first."
Harry did and after a few tries he watched as a silvery mist came out of his wand. After that, Remus let him try with a Boggart-Dementor. Sirius kept himself well out of the way. He even transformed into Snuffles, as soon as the Dementor glided out of the box. Harry tried his best, but he found himself flat on the ground, where Remus woke him up, offering him chocolate. After a while Harry was ready to try again.
"You might look for another memory, Harry, one that was really happy."
"I don't have many of those. Well, I think I found one, let's try again."
He tried. And felt the familiar cold, heard the screams and then a male voice, calling out:
"Lily! Lily, it's him! Take Harry and run, I'll hold him up!"
Harry woke up and it took him longer to remember where he was this time. Sirius and Remus were standing next to him and helped him up. Harry had tears in his eyes and Remus asked:
"Harry? Are you getting better? Here, take this chocolate, or Madam Pomfrey will have my head!"
Harry took the chocolate, but stared down on the ground.
"It's getting worse, Remus. I've heard Dad. He told Mum to take me and run for it…"
"You… heard James?" Remus asked in a small voice.
Harry only nodded. Sirius pulled him into his arms and Harry cried.
"I'm so sorry, sweetheart, I'm so sorry!" Sirius whispered, "it's still just as painful as the day it happened, and it's my fault you never got to learn to know the wonderful people your parents were, I'm so sorry…"
"It's not your fault, Sirius! I just wish I had been able to know them…" Harry sobbed.
"I wish I could help you, Harry," Sirius said.
"I know. – Can I try once more, Remus?"
"Yes, but only once."
"Okay. I think I have a better memory now."
Harry kept the feeling and the image of holding Hermione in his arms in mind and when Remus released the Boggart, Harry shouted:
A silvery mist came out of his wand, more distinctive, but not recognisable yet, but it hovered in front of the Dementor. Harry heard the screaming, but only very faintly. The Dementor couldn't get past his Patronus, even though it was not strong enough to chase the Dementor away. Harry didn't faint this time and Remus, jumping forward and causing the Boggart to turn into the full moon, said:
The Boggart turned into a squeaking mouse and Remus was able to push it back into the box. He turned to Harry, beaming and said:
"Wow, Harry, that was amazing! Not many wizards your age would be able to even get that far! Well done! – Here, have some more chocolate."
"Yes, that was superb, Harry. I don't think I could have still done it…" Sirius added.
"You could do with a try yourself then, Siri," Remus said.
"Next time maybe, okay?"
They accompanied Harry to the Gryffindor common room and wished him a good night.
In the following weeks Remus and Sirius continued to tutor Harry with the Patronus charm. He still didn't get much more than the indistinct Patronus out, but Remus was very content and told him not to worry, that would come once he needed it. At least he didn't faint anymore.
January turned into February. Sirius oversaw the construction of their house near Hogsmeade. It was finished by the beginning of the month and Sirius was most happy about it all. He surrounded the garden with a high wall and planted shrubbery around it that would conceal it in a short time. On the inside he couldn't do anything to the garden yet, but he looked forward to the spring, when he intended to start on landscaping the large area. In the meantime he furnished the house and let Harry choose the furniture for his room.
Meanwhile Hagrid had his own worries. He tried to prepare himself for the hearing before the Committee for the Disposal of Dangerous Creatures in defence of his hippogriff Buckbeak who had injured Draco Malfoy in Hagrid's very first lesson of Care of Magical Creatures. When Sirius heard about it he told Hagrid to continue preparing, but went and gave Lucius Malfoy an earful about spoilt children.
"You do not go and intimidate them to kill a perfectly healthy and fine animal, just because your son is unable to do what a teacher tells him. There are about ten witnesses who will confirm that Draco clearly insulted Buckbeak after not listening to his teacher's lecture and you know as well as I what a hippogriff has to say to insults. You'd better take that as a lesson for your son to learn to fend for himself, Lucius, because I'm going to get the Minister's veto on this if that ridiculous Committee sentences Buckbeak to death."
Not that Lucius Malfoy was in any way intimidated, but he knew that he couldn't bully Arthur Weasley in any way. He still tried to influence the sentence, but Sirius kept being in contact with the members of the Committee and they dared telling him that Malfoy had indeed tried to bribe or bully them. So Sirius threatened to bring the whole affair to the Daily Prophet and with that, Malfoy finally relented. He ground his teeth though, because once again, Sirius Black had proved to have the stronger set of nerves. Malfoy had begun to fear Sirius during the first war against Voldemort. It had gotten more and more difficult to plan and act out his plans for the Dark Lord back then, and not too seldom because of this interfering git. Malfoy fumed, but he knew he had lost the most important foot in the door to the Ministry when Fudge had been thrown into prison.
"Blasted Black! I wish I could just get rid of him!" he fumed.
"You do not want to do anything foolish, Lucius!" Narcissa warned.
"I've never done anything foolish!" he shot back.
"I think you did, but that's not going to help in this discussion. You know that without the Dark Lord there you stand no chance to do anything against Black. Especially not now, he would have the upper hand and he has the sympathy of the wizarding world right now. Most of them anyway."
"I know. That's what makes me so angry. But I'll get my fingers around his neck yet!"
"I think, Buckbeak is safe for now, Hagrid. I'm keeping my ears on the Committee and so does Arthur. You should probably get a letter from them soon that they will be dropping the charges," Sirius told Hagrid.
Hagrid nearly broke down on him, sobbing. He looked at Sirius and said:
"Thanks so much, Sirius, I always knew ye were a right lad! I don't think I would have been able to defend Buckbeak properly."
"I'm sure you won't need to, now. And if you do have to go there, I'll be right on your side, Hagrid, they won't kill the hippogriff."
Hagrid received that promised letter a week later. It was the week before the Gryffindor-Ravenclaw match and Hagrid was beside himself of happiness, thanked Sirius again and again. When Draco Malfoy heard the news during the next Care of Magical Creatures lesson, he was beside himself with rage. He fumed and was ranting, until all of a sudden Blaise Zabini and Millicent Bulstrode walked up to him and declared:
"We're fed up with you, Malfoy! You know very well that the hippogriff only attacked you because you didn't care to follow Hagrid's lecture. Had you listened then you wouldn't have done anything quite so foolish as to insult the animal. It was personal revenge for your own stupidity, and it didn't work out because some people saw sense, so just bloody drop it!"
Malfoy stared at them, even angrier now.
"What the hell are you talking about? You're Slytherins, how can you even dare to betray your house?"
"We're not betraying our house, we just have common sense, Malfoy," said Blaise, "and we have enough of you thinking you can buy half the world. You can't and it's about time you learn that. There's limits, even for your precious father, Malfoy, and he's just reached one of them."
"Black!" Malfoy raged. "It's all Black's fault. This snivelling git is meddling everywhere these days."
"So what! He's helped Hagrid who would have been in no position to defend himself or his hippogriff, that's all, now for Merlin's sake, just drop it."
With that both, Blaise and Millicent turned around and stepped away. Draco stared after them and for once he didn't have an idea what to say.
The day of the match was cold, but clear, there was no wind, it was the perfect weather for a fair game of Quidditch. The two teams came out of the changing rooms and stood ready, then Madam Hooch ordered them to mount their brooms. Upon her whistle they all rose in the air, Madam Hooch released the Bludgers, the Snitch and the Quaffle.
When Gryffindor was leading by 80 to 30 points, Harry spotted the Snitch first. He was ahead of Cho Chang, the Ravenclaw seeker. All of a sudden, he heard her shout:
And made the error of looking down to the field. The blood in his veins seemed to freeze. There were three Dementors! Harry didn't hesitate, he continued in the direction of the Snitch, pointed his wand below and behind and cried:
He had his wand still in his hand, clutched in the hand that held the broom, while he caught the Snitch with the other. He hadn't even looked behind what had happened after he cast his Patronus charm.
"AND POTTER CATCHES THE SNITCH, GRYFFINDOR WIN AGAINST RAVENCLAW WITH 230 TO 30 POINTS! THIS YEAR'S CUP IS CERTAINLY NOT YET WON BY ANY TEAM!" Lee cried.
When the team had landed, everyone came running. Wood was almost out of his mind of happiness, everyone congratulated Harry on his catch and he was surrounded by friends who wanted to embrace them.
"That was quite some Patronus," said a voice in Harry's ear.
Harry looked around to see Remus, who looked both shaken and pleased.
"The Dementors didn't affect me at all!" Harry said excitedly, "I didn't feel a thing."
"That would be because they – er – weren't Dementors," said Remus with a grin, "come and see!"
He led Harry out of the crowd until they were able to see the edge of the pitch.
"You gave Mr Malfoy quite a fright," said Remus.
Harry stared. Lying in a crumpled heap on the ground were Malfoy, Crabbe, Goyle and Marcus Flint, the Slytherin team captain, all struggling to remove themselves from long, black, hooded robes. It looked as though Malfoy had been standing on Goyle's shoulders. Standing over them, with an expression of the utmost fury on her face was Professor McGonagall.
"An unworthy trick!" she was shouting. "A low and cowardly attempt to sabotage the Gryffindor seeker! Detention for all of you and fifty points from Slytherin! I shall be speaking to Professor Dumbledore about this, make no mistake! Ah, here he comes now!"
Next to Minerva stood Sirius, laughing himself silly. He had his hand on Hermione's shoulder and she was laughing, too. If anything could have set the seal on Gryffindor's victory that day it was this. Ron, who had fought his way through to Harry's side, doubled up with laughter as they watched Malfoy fighting to extricate himself from the robe, Goyle's head still stuck inside it.
The Gryffindors went back to the castle and up to their tower to have a celebration party. George, Fred and Lee vanished for a while and when they came back they were laden with bottles of butterbeer. Sirius had sent some house-elves with some food up and had joined Remus in his rooms. They were packing up what Remus wanted to take to the new house with them.
"Remus, did you see the shape of Harry's Patronus?" Sirius said, as soon as they closed the door behind them.
"Yes, I did."
"Do you think James is somehow around? It feels like he's come to his son's aid."
"I thought it was amazing! And the stag was so strong!"
"That was really a cruel trick. I'm glad Harry knew what to do and didn't hesitate. If he meets a real Dementor now, he'll be able to cope!"
"I'm sure about that, Sirius. It'll surely boost his confidence in casting that spell. He was already on a pretty good way there."
"He was. I'm glad for that."
"We still have to reinforce the wards around our house, Siri. Do you have the list of the spells ready? I have put everything on it except for the Jupiter ward, which I would love to use, but then we couldn't get any owls."
"The Jupiter ward?"
"An extremely strong ward, which keeps everything out except eagles. Not a very known one. We used it on the castle in Romania, to keep out vampires mostly. It's difficult to take down, too. You had to know what to do."
"Oh, that would be limiting us too much here, don't you think?"
"Yes, I do. Alexandru was able to get the ward to accept eagle owls, but since Malfoy uses only eagle owls that's not a good idea, so we've got to leave that one away. But there are the moon wards, the protection wards, the anti-apparition wards, and we'll use additional spells to strengthen all of the wards. On that list are most of the spells that protect Hogwarts. I've checked several maps, the house does not show. And I'm going to make a new map like the Marauder's map, showing the vicinity of the house. We'll hang that one up in the study, so we can check it regularly. I think you infuriated Lucius, he may want to get back at you, you know."
"I know. But right now he won't try anything, he knows he's lost his footage in the Ministry. Arthur is not exactly his friend…"
"Oh no, definitely not. According to Harry they were fighting like dogs at Flourish & Blotts last year. Malfoy in such an undignified action! I had to snicker a bit."
"I'm sure you did. I would have bloody laughed straight out! I only hope Arthur beat the crap out of Lucius."
"I don't know how the fight really ended, but Lucius managed to sneak Riddle's diary into Ginny's things."
"Oh, I've heard that story."
"Okay, I've got most of my clothes and most of my books, I just leave some stuff here, in case I want to stay overnight once," Remus checked his things. It wasn't too much, but since Sirius had come back into his possessions and Remus had a regular fairly good salary he had bought some new things. Sirius had packed his things before and had already moved into their new home. They had invited the trio and Ginny for the next afternoon to have a small inauguration party. Sirius was still pondering whether he should get a house-elf, but Remus was not in favour of that. He preferred his complete privacy.
"But then you'll have to put up with my untidiness again, love," Sirius reminded him.
"We'll see about that. If I can't stand it, it will still be time to look for a house-elf. Besides, for the moment you're the one who will be the housewife, so you might learn to pick up after yourself…"
"Okay. Put that stuff away, Moony, I want to finally get that bed put to the use for which we intended it."
"It's only five pm, love!" Remus said.
"So what? Since when did that matter?"
He pulled Remus close and kissed him. They had gradually found back to their former sex life and had built up their strength again. Both enjoyed making love to each other and both never needed an excuse for a hop in the bed. Remus had finally dropped all of his inhibitions again and enjoyed his mate. Sirius on the other hand, was working hard to get his physical strength back, which went slowly, but steadily.
They found their new bedroom, undressed each other and were on the bed in the matter of minutes after their arrival. By the time they got up again it was dark again and they were quite hungry. They took their time for a shower though and only got dressed again after that. Sirius chose some thick woollen socks he had got for Christmas from Molly Weasley, a pair of grey sweatpants and a t-shirt, covered with a nice and warm woollen jumper, courtesy of Molly Weasley as well. Remus dressed into socks, trousers and the set of warm robes he had received from Duncan and Adara. Sirius looked at him.
"You really like those robes, don't you?"
"They're so absolutely comfortable and warm, yes, I really love them. I bet it was Mum who picked them."
"I would have thought so, too. They really like you, you know."
"Yes, I know. And you know how grateful I am for that. I love them, too."
"Well, let's see what we can make for dinner…"
Sirius studied the larder and brought out what he needed to make a nice dinner for them. He had bought quite a lot of food the day before, so he would be able to feed the teenagers on Sunday. For now he just prepared two steaks, some potatoes and salad. Remus prepared the table, got out a bottle of wine and opened it, then they sat down to eat.
"It was simply marvellous to watch Harry play today! He does so well, Moony! I really had to remind myself that it's not James who's up on that broom!"
"Yes, I've had that feeling, too. We just have to get used to it, Padfoot. Oh, and I need a broom. I don't think I want to use that Portkey every day. It's just too darn uncomfortable, so when it's not too cold or wet I'm going to use the broom to get to the castle."
"That's a good idea. Until you can get your own feel free to use mine."
"No, you wouldn't be happy without it. I can use the Portkey until I can get to the Diagon Alley."
"I can go and get one for you, if you like."
"That would be most welcome, love. I don't need anything else from there."
On Monday Remus left early enough to reach Hogwarts in time to start his first lesson. He used the Portkey and landed in the teacher's lounge. He picked up his briefcase and went to his office, where he put everything down. It would be a strange feeling, only to stay at the castle for lunch, but he decided it was so much better to stay in his own home.
Sirius meanwhile intended to make the place a home. He had bought a baby grand piano and started to learn again what he had once known. When he had been at his parent's place the last time he had found a big pile of notes and had taken them back along. Now he started to work on the easier things, first practiced scales again, then tried the simpler pieces and then gradually continued to get back what he lost in the twelve years in Azkaban. The music did a lot to sooth his angst and his nerves.
While Remus was working Sirius arranged all the furniture in the house, until he was satisfied. On some evenings, Remus would come home only to find everything rearranged. He laughed about it. And teased Sirius:
"Hey! Have you been bored? You've rearranged everything again."
"No, just – it still wasn't how I like it most. I'm still looking for that, love. How was your day?"
"Quite nice actually. I've done some good stuff with the Ravenclaw seventh years today. They are getting quite good with the curses I'm teaching them. Albus wants me to do the Unforgivables with all students from fourth year up next year, Sirius."
"What? He really wants you to teach them….?" Sirius was baffled.
"No, of course not! No way! But I'm to demonstrate them on mice or spiders or something, and possibly teach them to throw off the Imperius curse."
"Wow. No one would have done that for us!"
"And it would have been much better if someone had. I'm to put them under the curse and then they are supposed to know how it feels. I think that's wise. To know how it feels means to recognise what happens. If you know how it feels then you also know that someone's used the curse on you. That should be a good thing."
"Yes, I think so, too. Blimey, Albus is one courageous man. I think he'll have to have the school governors behind this decision…"
"He's working to get their okay. Not an easy task I'd bet."
"Especially since they all know that the Defence teacher is a werewolf."
"Exactly. – And what did you do today, except rearranging the living room?"
"Played some piano, started to prepare the garden for the spring planting and went to look for some more bushes for the edge of the garden. Then I went to Diagon Alley to get your new broom, which is now in the broom cupboard under the stairs. That about sums it up."
"Wow, you were busy…"
"Well… I have to do something with all that free time I have now. You tell me when you need my assistance, yes?"
"Sure. And I will gladly have your assistance the day after the full moon, which is a school day… Albus has agreed that you should be my substitute. He's glad he doesn't have to make any of the other teachers substitute for me. And you're well capable to watch the students the day after the full moon. Or at least the morning."
The next morning Sirius got up to make breakfast. He insisted that he got up when Remus did and that they ate breakfast together. He opened the window for the post owls who wanted to come inside. The large kitchen was positioned to the east, so they would have the morning sun. The back front looked to the south and the living room had south and west view. Remus' ground floor study looked to the north.
Coming in from the front porch they entered directly into the kitchen. The kitchen and dining area took a bit more than a third of the rectangular house. To the left the corner was filled with a fairly large counter, which looked rather Muggle style with lots of drawers and cabinets, but which allowed for the wizarding cooking as well, especially when Sirius wanted to brew potions, for which he included a small area on which to put his cauldrons. The counter was covered with plates of polished granite. To the right of the main entrance was the door to Remus' study and right next to it was the staircase to the basement, the upper floor and the attic. Walking past the staircase was the dining area with a round table which could easily be enlarged to a big oval one when they entertained guests. There was a lovely sideboard and a small buffet to complete the furnishing. Through a large sliding door one got to the living room. In the front part there was a Corbusier chaise and a small table. To the left, slightly in the middle of the room, a double door opened to the back porch. In the left corner of the room was the huge couch filling the corner, a large coffee table and several armchairs. The right end of the room was now filled mostly with Sirius' baby grand piano and a long cupboard which filled the entire length of Remus' study. The study held three walls full of bookcases, Remus' desk and chair, a small coffee table and two comfortable arm chairs.
Downstairs was one large room to the right of the stairs and another to the left. The smaller room was meant for storage space and utilities like washer, dryer and had an extra bathroom. There was a large cupboard for the brooms and other stuff that needed to be stowed out of sight. The large room was meant to be used for Remus to transform. It was furnished as a party room, with a bar and several tables and armchairs and a low bench which ran alongside of one of the walls, covered in soft pillows. On the full moon nights the few pieces of furniture would be minimised and stored in the bar section, while the bar was completely covered and protected with a ward, so that even the raging werewolf would not be able to destroy it. The whole room was covered with a wall to wall carpet, extra soft and the walls were of course covered in cushioning charms, so that Remus would not hurt himself too badly.
Upstairs were the bedrooms. To the left of the staircase was Harry's room on the south eastern side, Sirius' extra room on the north eastern side, a tiny store room filled the corner behind the stairs up to the attic. Straight ahead of the stairs was Harry's bathroom. To the right of the stairs were two smaller guest rooms on the northern side and the master bedroom on the southern side. On the western end of the room was Sirius' and Remus' bathroom and a large wardrobe. From both southern bedrooms there was a door to the terrace outside. Through Sirius' extra room led a door to the terrace over the front porch.
Finally the last staircase led up to an open attic room, which was used entirely for storage. Remus had some windows placed there though and a section of the attic was very bright, with good light to work on a desk he had placed there. Next to the desk was a sofa with a coffee table and the whole room was covered with a wall to wall carpet. In case of need they would be able to cram in several people to stay overnight. There was by far enough space to put up some spare beds both, in the attic as well as in the basement.
Sirius soon managed to have his new house transformed into a home. Remus did his part, he left books lying around and he had a whole stash of craft materials for his main hobby besides reading. If he needed a break from reading he stitched. Sirius found this rather amusing, but endearing. Remus had done this long ago, but completely dropped it in the years he was abroad, now he picked it up again.
Sirius hummed contentedly while he let the owls have a few owl treats and his own owl, a barn owl named Aventicum, after an old Roman city somewhere in Helvetia, took a seat on her perch in the kitchen. She was still young, but already a very accomplished post owl. Sirius had bought her when he got Ron's owl. He took off the letters she had brought. Two were for Remus, some bills, one was for Sirius from his Mum. Then Sirius took the Daily Prophet and that owl flew out of the window immediately. Since Sirius and Remus had a prepaid subscription they didn't need to pay the owl every day. And finally there was another owl who brought a letter to Sirius. People had finally stopped to send him masses of letters. He was left alone now, but occasionally he still had some letters from unknown people in the mail. Sirius took the letter and looked at the owl who went to join Aventicum on her perch.
"Oh, you are waiting for a reply, aren't you? Well, I'll have to read that letter first, so you'll have to wait for a while."
Sirius dropped the mail on the table, then went on to prepare the breakfast. He left the bathroom to Remus first, who needed to be at Hogwarts on time. Remus came down the stairs fully dressed and ready for the school day. He went into the study to get his briefcase ready, a new one now, a bit larger than the old one, because he needed to transport everything back and forth between Hogwarts and his home. He placed the briefcase next to the door on a small bench. Then he joined Sirius at the table. Sirius had cooked the breakfast and poured Remus some tea.
"You're beginning to become a perfect housewife, love!" Remus teased.
"Oh shut it, Remy, I just want you to feel at home and start the day well! There are some letters for you…"
Sirius handed the two envelopes over to Remus.
While he was sipping his second cup of coffee, Sirius opened the letter from his Mum, then looked at the bill and finally opened the letter that the strange owl had brought. He sighed and threw it on the table.
"Imagic Publications again! They really don't take NO for an answer," he said.
"Again? That must be about the twentieth time now."
"They ask me to write down my experiences. How can I tell them that it's just a few sentences I could write? Twelve years summed up in several paragraphs, that's it. Apparently there's interest in my story…"
"I've been thinking about that, Sirius, I'm sure it would be a good thing if you wrote it all down. Just take your time for it and you'll find more and more things to say. Start with the beginning and really go into detail. For yourself and if it's any good for publication then have it published. Tell them you'd be doing it in your own time, and that it might take years until you've got it down. See if they're still interested then. But you'd have your memories placed elsewhere for your own good."
Sirius looked at his lover. Remus' ideas were good. He thought about them, then went to get a piece of parchment and a quill from Remus' study and wrote his answer for the publishing house. He fixed it to the owl's leg and sent it back out. Remus finished his breakfast, drank his last cup of tea and banished his dishes to the sink.
"Oh, just leave it be, love, I'll do it right afterwards."
"Just a habit, sweetheart. I'll be off then."
Remus got up and came around the table to Sirius, who got up to kiss Remus goodbye. Then Remus went to get his cloak and his broom, took his briefcase and was out of the door. Sirius sighed a bit, then cleared the table and used a washing and drying spell for the dishes, which he then banished back into their cupboards. He sat down to put his shopping list together. Then he got washed and dressed and went to Hogsmeade to get the groceries. While walking past Dervish & Banges he stopped and went inside. He looked around and finally found a pensieve, which he bought.
Back at home he put the groceries away, then went up to his room where he set down the pensieve. He put his wand to his head and started plucking memories from his brain and placed them inside of the pensieve. He continued for a while, until he felt like his brain was empty. He left the pensieve on his desk and went back down to practice the piano. In the afternoon he worked a bit in the garden, degnomed it and started to prepare the flower beds after his plans. He had prepared a layout for the garden, large bits of lawn, flower beds all along the edges in front of bushes and trees, some trees strewn over the lawn, a rose sector along the porch. Some climbers up the pillars on the porch, which carried the terraces above. He would lead the climbers up to the terrace and have them grow along the railings. One side would be roses, the other would be wisterias, which he planned to pull along the western part of the house on two wires. On the north side he planted some ivy.
He came back into the house at about five o'clock, just when Remus returned. They kissed, but Remus said:
"Ooh, you're dirty! You must have been working hard!"
"I did. This garden is going to be lovely. It's huge, so I use some magic, but there's lots I'm doing by hand. It will take a while until it's the way it should become, but it will be well worth the wait."
"That sounds marvellous, love. Can't wait to see things growing."
"Well, the tulips won't be long, and the daffodils are already showing quite a bit. I have a whole section of irises planted around the pond, in all possible colours! I didn't even know there were so many different ones. Then I've gotten all the roses. Tea hybrids for the area along the porch and climbers in three colours for the pillars and a wisteria for the western pillars, which I want to pull along the western side."
"Mmm… what colours are the climbing roses?"
"One dark red, two white ones and one yellow. I've planted one on each pillar except for the two at the western end of the porch. And I'll still have to set up an arbour and plant two climbers at the entrance gate on the front side."
"That sounds luscious!"
Remus hung his cloak on the rack in the broom closet and placed his Nimbus 2001 there. He thanked Sirius for getting it for him.
"Thanks for getting me that broom, Siri, it's a really good one. Reacts smoothly and is very comfortable."
Sirius turned his head.
"Oh, that's okay, you're welcome. It's still one of the best brooms on the market. Should last you a while… and you won't have any excuses for not playing Quidditch with the rest of us anymore."
Remus smiled. He kissed Sirius quickly and vanished into his study to put his school things on the desk. Sirius followed him and asked:
"Do you have much to do tonight?"
"No, not too much, I did much of the grading I had to do during lunch time. I have almost an hour then."
"You should eat, love!"
"I do! I still get enough time to do something. And I usually also have about half an hour before the lessons start, to prepare. So I only have one essay to grade tonight, that's fourteen students. Should be done in about an hour. – What's for dinner?"
"What would you like?"
"Hogwarts house-elves are great cooks, but they don't seem to know pasta… anything like that in the house?"
"Sure. How would you like them?"
"Hm. Any way actually, you choose."
"Okay. I'll call you!"
Remus went up to his bedroom to change from the more formal robes he now wore to school into his comfortable ones. Then he started the work on his essays while Sirius got busy in the kitchen. He prepared the spaghetti and made a sauce of olive oil, onions and mashed anchovies, some salt and pepper, then he made some salad to go with the meal and sent some bread into the toaster. He set the table and brought the food over.
"Dinner is ready, love!" he called.
They ate and exchanged their day's activities, Remus related some bits from his students and they laughed. Sirius told him about the pensieve. Remus held his breath for a moment. Then he said:
"So you're thinking about writing this down?"
"I have yet to pick up the courage to go and look at it all, Remus."
"Do you want me to accompany you?"
"You'd be mad to do that, Moony! There's horrors in that pensieve now which you don't need to see and add to your own! I don't even know if there are words to describe this all!"
"Do I sound nosy to you when I say that I would like to come in there with you… you might need someone to pull you out, you know."
"I've put it in there. It may take a while until I dare to go in."
"I'll be ready when you are, Padfoot."
After a while Sirius asked:
"Fine. This seems to be a good year for him, he does well in most of his subjects. No need to ask where he's just barely passing… I'd love to shake some sense into Snape, but I suppose I'd have to kill him to be successful. I'm glad Harry's together with Hermione, because she really helps him in Potions. So Snape can't but deduct only minimal points. The match against Slytherin is scheduled for the first Saturday after the Easter break."
"Oh, good, so we'll go and watch again."
"You bet on that."
"I'll start your potion tomorrow."
"Good. How long does this take to make?"
"A good twelve hours. But one can take longer than that it's not a problem. Only it can't be shorter. I can stop at certain stages and continue the next day if I want to. There are about three cooling periods and during those one can interrupt."
While Sirius cleaned the kitchen after dinner Remus continued to work on his essays. He brought the last six to the living room to grade them there, while Sirius played some piano for him and when Remus was through with his work, they did something together.
It took Sirius a whole month to pluck up the courage and look at the memories in his pensieve. He had still added more memories about his past inside. He wondered if there was a limit to the amount of memories he could place in a pensieve, but so far he had found none. He was glad for that because he knew there would be enough to put down. He had started to gather all their old photos which Remus had kept locked up in Sheridan Place and what he could find at Black Manor. He wanted to go through the good memories, before he tackled the bad ones.
One morning in early April, when the sun came out and beamed down the whole day, Sirius picked up a quill and got hold of some parchment and began to write down his life's story. He scribbled a few things down, just some short bits, fragments of memories. He had looked at the photos his Mum had given him, the baby pictures and pictures of him as a toddler. Even some of his accidental magic was documented on celluloid. Another fragment. He put the parchment away into a box. The box went onto an empty area on the counter where Remus would see it.
Remus got home on that Friday and saw the unfamiliar box. He put his things away and asked:
"I've jotted some things down. I'll collect those bits and pieces in there. You're welcome to read it."
Remus picked the parchment up when they changed to sit in the living room. He took it to the Corbusier chaise and read it. He smiled when he lowered it.
"Writing your memoirs, eh?"
"I decided I needed to gather the happy memories, before I could venture into the hell."
"Might be a good tactic, or go back and forth. Some bad ones, then lots of good ones."
"Should help to keep my wits."
Easter break. Remus was mostly at home and got some rest. The full moon fell on the first night of the break. The potion had worked fine and Sirius was able to let Moony out of his confinement. They stayed in the living room and then went up to their bedroom. Moony slept through the night, but woke up at about five in a very playful mood. He nudged Sirius awake. Padfoot looked indignant, but accepted the offer and led Moony downstairs and out to the porch. He transformed and the two of them played around the garden until shortly before Moony was to transform back. They managed to get back into the house and Sirius transformed to cast some cleaning charms before they padded through the living room and up to their bedroom.
"Moony, you are definitely filthy! Once you've changed back I'll put you straight into the tub!" Sirius said.
Moony was tired again and it didn't take long anymore until he transformed back. He sank down on the rug and Sirius levitated him into the bath and filled the tub with warm water, to which he added some essence of lavender. Moony sank into the water and relaxed. He closed his eyes. Sirius gently washed his body and his hair, then left him be for a while, to go and take a shower himself. He did that as fast as he could, then he got Remus out of the water, dried him and put him to bed. Remus sighed and was asleep in a matter of seconds. Sirius covered him up and kissed his forehead tenderly. He pulled the curtains over the large window and left the room. He went down to the kitchen to make himself some breakfast and read the Daily Prophet. Around ten there was an invasion of children, among them Harry of course, and he brought Ron, Hermione, Ginny, Parvati, the twins, Oliver, Lee, Alicia, Angelina and Katie along. They all deposited their brooms outside and greeted Sirius cheerfully.
"Hey there! What makes you invade my quiet home?" he asked them.
"PERCY!" they cried in unison.
"Really, he makes us all go crazy, Sirius! You make one single peep inside the common room and he deducts points! It's become a bloody cloister in Gryffindor tower!" said George.
Sirius grinned. This must be torture for the twins. But even Hermione complained.
"He's exaggerating, Sirius, you wouldn't believe it. You could think it's all about him only, really. – How is Remus? Has he had a good night?"
"Yes, Hermione, he's still sleeping though, so I will have to ask you all not to be too loud and boisterous here either until he wakes up."
"What's wrong with Professor Lupin?" asked Alicia.
"He's not been feeling too well last night," Sirius said.
"Oh, I'm sorry to hear that. I hope he gets better quickly."
"I'm sure he will. In any case right now he's sleeping."
They moved over to the living room and played some games until Remus came down the stairs later on to find his home invaded by a bunch of teenagers. They all came over to ask him if he felt better.
"Yes, yes, thank you. I'll be up and about in no time," he said, "what made you come over?"
"Percy! Our brother behaves like the biggest prat on earth," Ron said.
"What's he doing?"
"Demanding absolute quiet in the common room. From before breakfast until long past bedtime. He wants to get a huge score on his NEWTS, therefore all of us have to suffer with him."
"Let's hope he gets it, otherwise he'll be absolutely unbearable!" George said.
"But if he gets it, he will be just as unbearable, George! And Mum will be worse than ever!" Fred added.
"Oh yes, I forgot, she'll rub perfect Percy in as much as she possibly can. She expects us to get as many OWLS as Percy did. He got 12."
"That was my score, too…" Remus said.
"Really? Wow! You must have been pretty good at school then," Angelina remarked.
"He was third over all in the end and beat me to it… it was probably one of Gryffindor's best years as we held the four first places," Sirius said.
"Wow, that's really hard to get! We'll have some concurrence, mainly from Ravenclaw. Terry Boot is doing very fine and so does Lisa Turpin. Then there's Ernie McMillan who's always pretty good, too. He's Hufflepuff," said Hermione.
"Only Blaise Zabini, but he doesn't dare to score too well, because Malfoy has them under his thumb," said Ron.
"But Blaise and Millicent have told him off fairly nicely a couple of weeks back, remember?" asked Harry.
"What happened?" asked Katie.
"Well, it was in Care of Magical Creatures and Malfoy was absolutely livid, because Sirius had stopped the charges against Hagrid's hippogriff. Malfoy thought his Dad would be able to bully the Committee for the Disposal of Dangerous Creatures into a death sentence for Buckbeak."
"And you stopped him, Sirius?" asked Alicia.
"Yep. Malfoy used to have a prominent ally in the Ministry through which he practically got everything he wanted. But Fudge is gone now, so Malfoy has lost that help. I talked the members of the Committee out of it, they gave me enough evidence of Malfoy's deeds to silence him quite effectively. He's done some stuff in written, so he foolishly gave them ammunition. McNair is fuming of course. He's the executioner and he's most probably a Death Eater, just like Malfoy."
"But Malfoy was cleared," said Lee.
"Oh yes, of course he was cleared. But mainly because he bribed Fudge. If all those trials would be rolled up again and some questions would be asked under Veritaserum there would be a whole different picture of some of our prominent wizarding families. I can name at least ten persons who were acquitted of being Death Eaters even though each and every one of them carries the Dark Mark on their forearms," Sirius said and he sounded very bitter.
"Oh dear… do you think you could do this? Roll these cases up again?" asked Katie.
"No. I'm no lawyer and I would have a hard time finding one who would be willing to do it and I would have to pay that lawyer or team of lawyers a lot of my own money, so no thank you. But it definitely does not add to my well being, to know that these people went free all the way while I have been locked up in that hellhole for twelve years."
Sirius ended the discussion a while later and asked if they were in the mood for lunch. Remus, who had been nibbling on some toast definitely was. Sirius decided that for that many surprise guests he had only either spaghetti or risotto to offer. They finally decided on spaghetti, because it would be done much faster.
It didn't take long, because there was a lot of help. Remus enlarged the table so it would hold fourteen persons. The teens laid the table. Remus went to reply to a floo call.
"Remus, are you alright?" asked Poppy Pomfrey.
"Hello, Poppy. Yes, thank you, I'm fine. The potion was okay."
"I'm glad to hear that, Remus! Have a nice day then."
"You too, Poppy!"
They sat down to eat soon after and then someone asked:
"Can we play Quidditch?"
"Sure, why not?" Sirius said.
"But we won't play against the whole of the Gryffindor team, that would be highly unfair!" Ron protested.
"No, we won't, we mix up," Oliver promised.
In the end it was decided that Remus played seeker with Ron as keeper, Angelina, Katie and Hermione were to be chasers on his team, Sirius and Fred played beater. The other team would consist of Harry as the seeker, Oliver as the keeper, Parvati, Ginny and Alicia as the chasers and George played beater with Lee. Sirius brought out the Quidditch balls he had bought shortly before. He looked forward to the afternoon, this would be fun. Remus had been quite an accomplished seeker at a time when he and Lily would alternate playing on the Quidditch team. And it would be a complete surprise for Harry who thought he had an easy job.
He released the balls and everyone was up in the air. Sirius had already set up goal posts a month before, at the opposite ends of the garden. He had placed a ward behind them, which would keep the balls inside the field. Ron and Oliver took their positions in front of the goals and Ginny had caught the Quaffle first. She passed on to Alicia, who threw the Quaffle to Parvati. They moved forward to Ron's goal quite swiftly, but he saved when Alicia aimed at the left hoop. He threw the ball out to Angelina, who passed it on to Hermione and then they darted in the other direction. Angelina scored the first goal for Remus' team. They were called to watch out though, as the Quaffle was headed right back to the other end of the garden. Sirius and Fred got hold of the Bludgers and sent them off to obstruct the girls, but this time Ginny got through and scored against her brother, grinning as she turned around fisting the air. For a while the game went on between the chasers, but then Remus, who had been looking for the Snitch and only watching Harry out of the corner of his eyes, saw the golden glimmer on the other end of the pitch. A quick surreptitious glance told Remus that Harry hadn't seen it yet. Remus continued on as if he were still searching. Then, with one swift dive, he went down and had the little ball in his fist.
"Got the Snitch, ladies and gentlemen!" he called and showed it.
His team had won by 210 to 50 points.
Not even Harry's Firebolt had been fast enough to get there. Sirius grinned, as they landed to analyse the game. Oliver made quite the big eyes. He looked at Harry, who grinned sheepishly and shrugged his shoulders. Sirius gave his lover a quick kiss.
"Knew you'd be surprised – he was playing seeker for the Gryffindor team on and off for two years. And in seventh year he helped win the cup. In sixth it was your Mum, Harry."
"Oh you sly thing, you!" Harry was offended, "You could have told me!"
"Can't give all my secrets away, Harry."
"That was great, Professor! I should have recognised your name, after all, I've seen the players of all of Gryffindor's years back to about 1950…" Oliver said.
"Thank you, Oliver. It was fun. Do you want another round? I think it was a fair split of the team, and you were all playing rather well!"
"Siri almost caught me with an awfully vicious Bludger," Harry complained.
"Well, you need to keep your eyes wide open, youngling," Sirius commented.
"You must have been a scary beater in your time," Fred said, "you did some pretty daring manoeuvres."
"He was! Racing along the pitch in a maddening speed, too!" Remus told them.
"Okay, let's play again. That was quite short!"
They played another match and this time Harry beat Remus to the Snitch. They were both going for it, but Harry was a bit faster, because of his broom. When they all came down, Remus checked the time and said:
"Well, you have to go back to the school if you want to get there by dinner time."
"Yes, unfortunately. We don't want to get into trouble, so shortly before the last game, that would only play into the hands of the Slytherins," said Oliver.
"But that was fun! Can we do that again?" asked Alicia.
"Anytime! It's really been fun!" said Sirius.
Remus glanced at him. This afternoon had done Sirius better than most of the things they had done since they were reunited. He was pleased to see his lover's eyes sparkle and his cheeks coloured with a flush from the workout. He nodded:
"How about the next Hogsmeade weekend?" he suggested.
"Prepare yourself for an invasion!" Harry said, grinning.
"We'll have the pumpkin juice and butterbeer ready," Sirius promised.
Then the teenagers were off, riding their brooms back to Hogwarts. Remus looked after them and then turned back to Sirius, who stretched out his hand and led Remus back inside when he took it. Remus closed the door. Sirius went on to the kitchen and pulled out his wand to put water in the kettle and heat it. Remus got out the teapot and the cups, both waited for the tea to steep and then poured two mugs full. Remus sat down at the table.
"You were doing fine, Remus, after the full moon night…" Sirius remarked.
"I'm a bit tired now, though, but it's a good form of tired. I think I'll just go to sleep right away. – I have to admit I thought you were a bit childish to set up the goal hoops, but I'm glad you did!"
"I re-awoke your Quidditch fever, did I?"
"You did. Happy?"
"Completely. I think I might just join you…"
They drank their tea and went up to their bedroom. Both undressed and went for a quick shower, then straight to bed. Sirius lazily pointed his wand to the window to draw the curtains closed.
The students meanwhile got back to the castle and were able to slip in, looking like they'd come from the Quidditch pitch. They were all flushed, but they went straight to the Great Hall for dinner. Percy accosted them and wanted to know where they were.
"Somewhere, where you couldn't boss us around, Percy! The common room has become a prison and we don't like prisons at all! You could study in your own dorm, if you so need it and if you need all that quiet. You're being highly unfair to all of us," George declared.
George's statement gave other Gryffindors the courage to speak up for themselves, too. Percy had to hear he was not a head boy, he was being a tyrant and that he should just stop being so unfair to the rest of them. After that, Percy held a bit back until about two weeks before the exams.
But there was the Easter break first and the much awaited match between Gryffindor and Slytherin. Naturally, Remus and Sirius came up to see it. The Weasleys were there, too, to see their boys in the last game of the year. And Gryffindor won the cup for the first time in several years, Harry had been able to wait to catch the Snitch and to keep Malfoy away from it long enough to get enough points to win. They were all out of their minds of happiness. Harry was in bliss! His fellow team-mates were just as exuberant. And for some time the common room was a happy place again.
Until Percy demanded silence again. They all needed to study for exams. The third years had a tough week ahead of them, with every subject taking half a day for the exam. Hermione had finally reached a breaking point and was just barely getting through hers. But they made it to the last day. Remus had them on the Friday morning. He had set up an obstacle course, with all of the dark creatures they had been taught about during the year. He smiled at Harry who had gone through it flawlessly.
"Well done, Harry, full marks!"
Harry beamed. He waited next to Remus to see how his friends fared. He already had the pleasure to see Malfoy struggle with the Kappas. Now Ron had a slight problem with the Hinkypunk, but got through well otherwise. Hermione did everything perfectly well, until she reached the trunk with the Boggart. Which gave her quite some problems, as she came running out of the trunk, screaming.
"Hermione! Whatever happened?" asked Remus.
"Professor McGonagall! She said I'd failed in all of my subjects!" she cried.
"Calm down, Hermione, it's only a Boggart!"
Harry put his arms around her and soothed her, too. She calmed down and Remus informed her, that she would still get 95.
"You've done everything alright, just not the Boggart."
"Thank you, Remus."
He smiled at her and watched them go back to the castle for their lunch. And after the lunch, all that remained was one more subject. Harry had to go up to the North Tower for the Divination exam. He had to wait to the very end until Trelawney called him up, and while he looked into the crystal ball and invented something he saw, she asked him a few questions and was about to dismiss him, when she fell into a trance and started to speak in a very strange voice, one that Harry wouldn't have thought was hers:
"The Dark Lord lies alone and friendless, abandoned by his followers. His servant has been chained these twelve years. Tonight, before midnight, the servant will break free and set out to rejoin his master. The Dark Lord will rise again with his servant's aid, greater and more terrible than ever before. Tonight… before midnight… the servant… will set out… to rejoin… his master… "
Harry was shocked and stared at her. He asked her about that prophecy, but she just waved him off as being foolish and sent him away. Harry left the tower hurriedly and all but ran back to the Gryffindor tower, where he found Ron and Hermione waiting for him to return from his last exam. He panted and wanted to tell them immediately about what Trelawney had predicted.
"Harry, what's up? You're all agitated!" Hermione said.
"You won't believe this," Harry said between heavy breathing, "but Trelawney just told me that tonight before midnight, Voldemort's servant would set out to aid him back to life! What should we do?"
"Go to Dumbledore, tell Remus and send Sirius a note about it," Hermione said immediately.
"So you think it's important, too? She said she didn't say anything of that sort, but I heard her, really and truly, I'm telling you. It sounded so real, it was frightening. She said that Voldemort would be rising again with that servant's help!"
"That does sound frightening. Tell Sirius and Remus, Harry!" Hermione repeated.
Harry sat down and wrote the prediction down for Sirius and Remus. They went to find Hedwig to send the note and then they went to find Dumbledore's office. They didn't know the password, of course, but then Dumbledore came down the stairs, so they could get hold of him.
"Calm down, children. Now, once more, please tell me, Harry, what happened?"
"Well, I had to go for my Divination exam and when I was just finished it seemed that Professor Trelawney wanted to let me go, but then she became very funny, strange, and then she said that tonight Voldemort's servant would set out and run to his aid and help him to a new life and then he would rise again more terrible than ever. And then she said it again, tonight before midnight… do you think that this was a real prediction?"
"You know, that might be one. Who'd have thought it. That brings her total of real predictions up to two. I should offer her a pay rise."
He rather confused the children, but then thanked Harry:
"Thank you for telling me, Harry, this might be an important information. Have you come straight from your exam?"
"No, we've written it down for Sirius and Remus. And then we passed by the owlery and sent Hedwig. Then we came to you."
"Okay. Now don't talk about it with others, you'd probably only start a panic. I'm passing the information on to Arthur Weasley. Now you'd better get out to the grounds, children, the weather is so beautiful, you don't want to hang around inside all the time."
"Thank you, Professor."
The children went on their way, and Dumbledore pondered the prediction. He mused which of the Dark Lord's servants could be meant. Since Voldemort's downfall almost all of the Death Eaters who had been able to go free had kept themselves mostly inconspicuous, especially Lucius Malfoy, who wanted to look cleaner than clean. Dumbledore was sure he wasn't the one, as Malfoy must have secretly been glad to actually be rid of his master.
Sirius got Harry's note just a few minutes after it was sent. Hedwig soared into the open double doors of the living room, seeing Sirius at the piano and went directly to land on his shoulder.
"Hello, Hedwig! – Oh, you have a letter for me? Thank you, my girl."
Remus came back from work, just as Sirius read the note for the second time.
"Hi, sweetheart!" he called, "What's up?"
Sirius stood up from the piano, offered Hedwig his arm and she hopped on to be carried over to the kitchen. He gave Remus a kiss on the way and passed him Harry's letter. While Remus read it, Sirius offered Hedwig a biscuit which she nibbled from his hand. He caressed her wonderful plumage and she hooted contentedly. Sirius quickly wrote a short note that he got Harry's message and wished him and his friends a nice weekend.
"You're a swell girl, Hedwig. Now off you go back to Harry!"
"Sirius, I really wonder which of them could it be? It does sound like a real prediction."
"It does, doesn't it? I have no idea. There's still so many of them out there."
They received their reply the following morning. Sirius got up at half past nine to make breakfast and let the owls in which were waiting outside of the dining room window. Sirius took the mail and the Daily Prophet and scanned the front page. And woke Remus with his scream!
Remus jumped out of the bed and ran out of the room and down the stairs.
"Sirius! What happened now?"
"Read this, Moony!"
Remus took the proffered Daily Prophet and read:
Peter Pettigrew escaped!
A/N - As shocking as that may sound - but this is the end of the story - I actually have a fourth year sequel partly written, but I'm hanging on with it because of a terrible writer's block in some parts of it. You'll have to just wait and see