Disclaimer: I don't own anything pertaining to the Harry Potter series nor its affiliates. All characters that you recognize belong to JK Rowling.
Author's Notes: I hope you all enjoy the irony of the title. Ta.
Children require guidance and sympathy far more than instruction.
– Anne Sullivan
After the Halloween of 1981, Remus Lupin still remained fully in contact with the Wizarding World despite the fact that he would have willingly given it all up after. He lived within a few miles of Hogsmeade, worked in Wizarding areas, the full run. His closest contacts were wizards – an understandable thing, seeing as he mainly spoke to Albus Dumbledore only, the Headmaster of Hogwarts school.
However, at the moment, he was in a muggle area, calmly walking down one of the streets.
Number four, number four. He had his brow furrowed as though trying to remember something. His hands were deep in his pockets and slightly sweating and he had the very soft smile of a person trying to make a choice of whether they should continue doing something against their better judgment.
He was twenty-nine years old, an age where a hint of teenager still remains inside of most people. Remus, on the other hand, had outgrown being a teenager when he was sixteen. Most people, upon meeting him, would think he was about thirty years old, possibly. This was not only from his personality, but also his appearance. He still looked young, but his short brown hair was barely starting to fade already and he had something about his face – maybe around the eyes – that gave off the impression of age.
On that day, he was out to meet Harry Potter, the Boy Who Lived.
Of course, being close friends with Harry's parents when they were alive, he knew Harry. There's just that small difference of knowing a person when they can't speak and when they're nine years old.
He shivered slightly in the cold air and walked up the drive to the house. It was very orderly, the grass perfectly cut around the bends in the driveway and the house was almost gleaming. He raised a fist to the door and paused. There was the sound of footsteps behind him as someone walked up, but he ignored it, still trying to will himself to knock.
He spun around and saw a tall woman with blonde hair piled on her head glaring at him while fishing keys out of her purse. With one arm she held a boy tightly. The boy was also blonde, and almost perfectly round. Hovering behind them was a shorter boy who was carrying several bags and trying to keep straight as he came up to them. Remus eyed the shorter child for a moment, then brought his eyes to the woman.
"Hello, Petunia," he said, smiling slightly. He knew that the smile would bring up some sort of response from the woman; they had met on several occasions and she had taken a disliking to Remus for many reasons including being a wizard. Sure enough, her eyes flicked over his recognition and she opened the front door, still staring him down.
"Dudley, go inside. You, boy –" she motioned to the shorter one who paused and stared up at her – "get the rest of the bags." There was a nod and the two walked in.
Petunia pulled Remus over to the backyard of the house, peering over the fence as though seeing if they were being watched. He noticed.
"If you don't want anyone to see you talking to me, we could just talk inside," he told her lightly. She turned towards him, not bothering to hide her loathing.
"I'm not letting one of – of you in," she hissed. "Not when my husband is around."
"He's at work right now," Remus answered.
"How do you know?"
"I tried to be a convenience and I picked a time when he wouldn't be here." He gave her a brittle smile and let it drop off his face. "Petunia, I know this may be a bit… unexpected and certainly unwanted, but I wanted to know if I could see Harry."
He had been planning this for months. He was going to walk up the door – done – then demand to see Harry. If he did not get his way, he would try anything to get to the boy. He had no rights to Harry, that much he knew, but he owed something to James and Lily. Looking after their son would be a start.
Dumbledore had carefully explained to him that Harry had to stay at the Dursley's, giving very vague reasons and not saying more than needed to understand. Remus, respecting the old wizard, agreed. Seeing Harry would not involve anything out of what Dumbledore needed, however.
Her expression could not be read. It was anger and pity and remembrance mixed together on the horse face as she kept silent.
"Not long," Remus said hastily. There goes demanding to see him. "Just… as short as you want." He had his hands grasped together, whether to stop himself from grabbing her or just to stop the shake of them.
As she spared a glance at the back door, Remus closed his eyes. I owe at least this much to them.
When he opened his eyes, she was staring at him, lips pursed and eyes narrowed slightly.
"Stay away from Dudley and don't mention any of your – your kind and… for a few minutes, possibly. No more. After that you have to leave."
Remus smiled brightly, biting his bottom lip slightly. She opened the back door and led the way in, telling him to wipe his shoes and close the door. He did so, not wanting to upset her.
The kitchen was cleaner than the outside, which was saying quite a bit. Remus was nodded away and he glanced around, wondering where Harry would be.
The front door closed, softly as though the person did not want to be heard, and the boy walked in, tipping the last bags onto the counter and glancing up at his aunt.
"You have someone here to see you," she said indifferently and glanced at Remus. "Just a few minutes," she reminded him.
He nodded and turned to Harry, asking Petunia if they could speak outside. She nodded, still looking angry as she unpacked a few bags.
Harry may have had James' hair and nose and just about every feature except eyes, but he looked nothing like Remus would have imagined him to look at that age. He had a pinched look, eyes wide in his thin face. His expression was like an animal trying to decide whether to run away or stand ground.
Neither spoke for a moment, so Remus started with the only thing he could think.
"You look just like your father."
Harry glanced up at him, almost cowering. "I do?"
Stricken, Remus nodded. "James. Yes, you do. Do you know much about your father."
"Only a bit," Harry admitted. "May I ask who you are?"
Remus had never heard such a polite boy in his life; he wasn't such whether he was amazed or angry about that.
"My name is Remus Lupin. I – well, I knew your parents. I've met you before, really." He broke off. It felt weird, speaking to someone who had always been close to him as though they were perfect strangers.
"I see," Harry murmured, falling silent and just staring into his face.
"You aunt promised me a few minutes to speak to you. I – well, I was your parents' friend."
He trailed off yet again, hoping Harry would get the hint. The child still remained there, the same expression covering his face.
"What I was really wondering was… would you like to be… friends?"
If James had been there, he would have been shocked to see Remus loosing his touch with words and actually stuttering.
Harry's eyes visably brightened, which Remus took as being a good sign. He muttered a small little, "Well, sure, if you want," and tried to hide the smile coming up on his face.
The door opened and Petunia was there, glancing at them. "Time to go. My husband will be home soon."
"Just one moment, then." Remus turned to Harry. Bright green eyes stared him down, kindly watching him. "I'll be seeing you some time, right?" Harry nodded. "Good. I'll see you, hmm, in a few days. I think I may be able to stop by then."
Harry just nodded, smiling shyly. Remus started to wrap his arms around Harry in a hug, but paused and gripped the thin shoulders tightly and grinning. "Until then."
The young boy rushed inside, past Petunia who was watching his crossed arms and a sour expression on her face.
"You better not have let anything leak out," she snapped as Remus passed.
"Of course not."
The door snapped shut and Remus walked down the sidewalk, heart a hundred times lighter than it had been ten minutes before.Tuesday
"You adore the brat already?" Severus Snape, Potions Master of seven years already, asked him, face contorted in disgust. "Only you would be so sentimental with any creature related to that –"
"What do you need me here for?" Remus sighed, restraining himself. He hated the man, deep down, but he found that being civilized made life easier, so he treated Severus mildly, almost indifferently.
"I assure you that I did not wish for your company," Snape told him, starting his round of excuses of why he was wasting his time. "I would much rather be doing other tasks that I had to set aside for your health."
Biting back any rude words, Remus shrugged slightly, waiting for the reason.
"The Headmaster says I should tell you all of this against my judgment. I'm sure you will find the news rather enjoyable."
Again, Remus shrugged slightly, getting annoyed at his stalling.
"There is a new potion that's currently being discovered and revamped to work properly without side effects. It's termed the Wolfsbane Potion. Have you heard of it yet?"
"No." Remus only knew that wolfsbane was a type of poison that was used in many potions. However, Severus would not have brought it up if it was not worth anything to either.
"It helps to control a werewolf during the full moon. Well, we assume it will once it is finished."
"You mean… stopping transformations? That's impossible."
Severus gave him a look that should have silenced him but Remus went on.
"There's no such potion that does that. No point to trying to make something like that."
"What I meant," Severus cut over him, "was it may possibly decrease pain or make it seem as though your human without actually being in that form. However, if you're so ungrateful for that, I suppose there's no reason to offer it to you."
"What exactly is it? A potion, yes, but what?"
Severus paused for a moment, apparently thinking. His expressions were so hard to read. "It needs to be tried a few times in different ways to make sure that it does work as it's only been tested once and still did not have the desired effect."
A lip curled. "Are you sure you would like to know?"
Remus kept silent and Severus continued. "We need someone to test it on. It would include months. Possibly even years, I suppose. I'm offering you the position to try to help improve on it."
He narrowed his eyes slightly. "It doesn't sound like a pretty job," Remus finally answered. "I think normal transformations would be better because I know what to expect."
"Once we get the correct mixture, I'll be able to provide it to you." A thin eyebrow rose as Severus watched him consider.
"That's only if I survive the tests, is it?" he asked rather rudely. Severus remained motionless.
After watching the other man for a moment, Remus said, doubt riding on his voice, "I suppose I have no choice but to accept."
Two thin hands grabbed a slip of parchment from the desk and waved it to Remus. "This is the form explaining all of the procedures. You'll be needing to sign it."
Remus took it and glanced the paper with Severus' cramped handwriting over.
I, will be under the Wolfsbane Potion, which I am aware is a new discovery. I will help test the potion as I am a registered werewolf. Under the supervision of Severus Snape, I will spend as many days as needed transforming under the potion and I understand that this is my own choice.
Remus glanced at this face for a moment and filled in his name in the first blank, using the second to sign with an offered quill.
"I hope this works," he told Severus. "I'd prefer not to end up worse than now after transformations."
Severus took the parchment from where he left it and rolled it up quickly, slipping it into his desk. "The first day to start working with it will be –" He cut off, glancing at a calendar on his desk.
"The thirteenth," Remus answered quickly. "That's next Monday. About six o'clock will be moonrise, so what time should I be here?"
Severus glanced at Remus for a moment, thinking deeply. "About five, I would say. No later than five-thirty. And don't be late."
"I'll plan to be here then," Remus answered kindly and forced a smile as he walked out.
The halls were empty. Hogwarts was already into the school year, it being November. At the moment, he knew that they would all be inside of their dorms, sleeping by now. There was an eerie silence that filled everything except the space around him, with the exception of his footsteps.
As he was rounding the corner to leave through the doors and get outside and back home, a body came up behind him and rested a light hand on his shoulder.
"Do you remember Alexander Mulciber?" came a gentle voice from behind him. Remus spun around and saw Minerva McGonagall standing there, looking rather worried. He nodded and followed when she quickly spun on her heel and walked down a separate hall. He knew that the direction she was going in was Dumbledore's office.
"Sugar Quill," she told the gargoyles, all of which jumped to the side and let her open the door into the office. Remus followed, glancing around the room again, spotting small differences from when he had been in school.
"Thank you, Minerva," he told the woman, who sat down. Dumbledore motioned for Remus to sit, so he did, staring at the old man intently.
He sighed before speaking. "Remus, I'm brought you in here because there's some recent news that I think you would like to know. It involves Harry."
Remus took a deep breath out of worry. What if it was that Dumbledore knew he saw Harry? He had not been allowed to and the thought had been bothering him for nearly a week.
"The Dursleys, whom I am sure you've met and know about, have been attacked."
Caught in his own thoughts, Remus was sure he misheard that statement. However, he did not usually ask people to repeat what they've said. Moving forward to the edge of his chair, he watched as Dumbledore finished speaking.
"Mr. Mulciber, about five years ahead of you, if I remember correctly, was found by Aurors inside of their house with a wand in hand."
"What happened to the others?" He knew who Mulciber was well enough. He was a fifth year when he arrived at Hogwarts. Severus Snape hung around him from the first day to when Mulciber left. From the First War, Remus knew that he became a Death Eater who was never caught and sent to Azkaban. Lord Voldemort must have thought him a betrayer – the man pretended to not be connected to Voldemort and often hid instead of fought.
"The Dursleys were all found Stunned, not seriously injured, while Harry was found inside of the cupboard under the stairs, perfectly fine if not frightened."
Finally, Remus felt he lost his composure. There was a sick satisfaction he felt after hearing the news. Dumbledore would not have told him at such a time unless –
He let the thought go and only concentrated on Harry. Perfectly fine. Frightened. Safe. Unfound. No Death Eater got to him.
"Why were they after him?" Remus asked suddenly. "If Voldemort" – McGonagall shuddered and sat up straighter than before, fixing her glasses – "is dead, then what would be the point of getting Harry now?"
Dumbledore stared him down before answering. "Do you truly believe that Lord Voldemort is dead forever."
That's what dead usually implies, Remus thought, annoyed. "Yes," he answered instead.
Glaring at him over his spectacles, Dumbledore told him, "Don't always believe what you may hear."
The conversation from the day before ended in a fight. Remus gave in because there was no point in fighting with Albus Dumbledore; everything worked out to his own good in the end, no matter what you said. He was not an unkind man, almost everyone would say. Albus Dumbledore was just persuasive and kind.
Remus had offered to care for Harry for as long as needed – he was hoping that would mean for a while, as in until he went to Hogwarts and possibly over those summers. Dumbledore reminded him of what had been said so long ago about Harry having to stay at the Dursleys. By this point, McGonagall left the room quietly, leaving them to their own devices. Remus countered Dumbledore with the fact that the Headmaster said Harry only had to stay with his relatives for a little while and he would be fine for a while. Dumbledore brought up his condition and how the Ministry would never let someone like him near the savior of the Wizarding World. Remus said that he knew that, thank you very much, but that Dumbledore could easily get them to let him. That was retorted with a simple no. Remus angrily snapped that Dumbledore had nothing else to do with the child until he was eleven, which, unless his memory was already starting to fail him, was a whole three years away.
Although the Headmaster was a kind man, he, like Remus, knew ways to show being upset without yelling or violence. He calmly told Remus that he knew what he could do with Harry for a few years and that there would be no need for help.
Remus had walked out of the room, remaining as calm as he could in that situation. It had been a short walk from the front doors to Hogsmede, where he could Apparate back to his house.
Wednesday morning was greeted with the sound of an owl pecking on the window. He got up, yawning, and opened it. The tawny animal fell in the room, almost giddy with the thought of a delivery. It dropped a letter into his bed and he opened it, ruffling up his hair as he yawned again.
Met me at my house at noon today. Don't be late. I have important news for you from both myself and the Headmaster.
He tossed the letter back down onto the bed and motioned the owl out again. Severus would need no answer; he knew that Remus would be there.
From a glance at his watch on the table, he knew that it was about six in the morning.
He pulled open the wardrobe door, took out a random set of robes, and got ready. That afternoon, he would discover what he had been waiting for for eight years.
First off, let me say that I thank you for reading. This story will be continued and will end up a novel length, I think. I have it all planned out. Don't be too irritated if I don't manage to update fast. I have a busy life and this chapter already took long enough. Also, I would like to warn you all that there may be romance later on (slash, legal ages, no I'm not going to tell yet).