Disclaimer: I still do not own anything pertaining to the Harry Potter series. Yeah. If I did, the books would be different. See? I don't own them. Get on reading the story, now.
Remus was in his bed, head resting against the soft pillow, feeling comfortable for the first time in what felt like forever. However, he refused to sleep.
"What happened?" he asked Dumbledore. Harry was perched on the end of Remus' bed, giving him long, calculating looks, studying his face. "Tell me how that all happened. Peter's dead!"
He felt sick again, guilt bubbling in his chest. He killed someone who was already dead. Killed him.
"You're burnt," Harry said quietly, picking up Remus' arm, lightly touching a hand over the burn, giving it a harsh look. "How did that happen?"
Remus gave Harry a quick look, staring back up at Dumbledore at once. "What happened?"
Dumbledore rested a hand on a chair near the desk, sighing before he started explaining.
"The time that we could not find you was spent trying to find the missing pieces of the story. By what it sounds -"
"Who knows the full story?" Remus interrupted, eyes wide. All thoughts of pain were flooded out of his mind. Harry's thin fingers touching his burn did not have an impact on him.
"Sirius Black, Severus Snape, and Peter Pettigrew," Dumbledore answered. "However, Peter is now dead. I have managed to get Severus to speak to me, telling me as much of the truth as I could get. Sirius will be questioned later today.
"Severus informed me that Peter, an animagus from the sounds of it, able to turn into a rat -"
"It's my fault," Remus whispered, feeling a muscle twitch in his cheek. "They did that for me." When Dumbledore gave him a questioning look, Remus continued. "When they found out I was a werewolf, they became Animaguses. During school." His voice trailed off and he felt fainter than before. It had been his fault.
"He went to Severus, apparently under the orders of a fellow Death Eater, though I could not coax the name from Severus. There, he stayed with Severus until Severus moved, using the secret room you were in to keep Peter hidden. Peter had orders passed from Lord Voldemort to him and was giving them to Severus. Severus, as it turns out, was not on our side."
Dumbledore's face showed the strangest expression Remus had ever seen upon it: self-loathing and hardness. Dumbledore had never made such an expression, and now every line in his face gave off the same impression.
"My mistake was in trusting him. When you used Floo Powder to enter his home, he was able to trace the address back and pass it along to other Death Eaters, along with the perfect time to attack." Dumbledore sighed. "I only figured it out when I heard from Ms. Johnson that you had been tutoring that Severus had not turned up for his lesson."
Remus' mouth hung open slightly, a dull feeling pounding through his chest. Not only his fault, but Dumbledore's? He said nothing, though Dumbledore seemed to understand what he meant.
"In one hour's time will be a hearing with Sirius Black. We will then discover the answers to everything."
Closing his eyes, Remus tried to let the information sweep over him. It was too much to handle - Severus being a Death Eater, trying to get to Harry, Peter being alive -
"You ought to sleep," Dumbledore told him gently, resting a hand on Remus' shoulder as he used the other one to pull a sheet up to his chin. Remus took a shaky breath, lungs still burning from pain and distress. "I will send Madam Pomfrey along later to patch you up."
Harry gently placed Remus' burnt-up arm on the bed, standing up. He glanced into Dumbledore's blue eyes.
"Could I stay here?" he asked. Dumbledore nodded and retreated from the room.
"Are you alright?" Remus asked, feeling ashamed. The scar marring Harry's pale face was all his fault. He was reminded of the scars running down Severus' arm and the hand in the box. How many people did he have to ruin in such a short time?
"I'm fine," Harry answered. "Just a cut. The scar will be off at some point soon." He gave Remus a critical look, studying his face for a moment before hovering around the end of the bed. "Are you alright?"
Remus smiled faintly. "You're always going to ask that, aren't you?"
Harry did not return the smile. "I mean it. You look terrible."
"Ta." Remus tried to move his arm, but he felt a two shattered parts of bone grind together and remain still. "I'm dreadful, really. But, Harry - tell me you're fine."
"I'm fine," Harry answered voice crisp and fast. He sounded as though he was pushing back tears. "It was all my fault this happened."
"It's not," Remus said sharply, trying to sit up. His broken ribs objected painfully, pushing him back. He was forced to stare at the ceiling as he spoke. "It's my fault, if anyone's, Harry. I was stupid enough not to realize what I did, Flooing from here to Severus' -" He broke off. One other person had witnessed his Flooing.
"Danielle," he hissed suddenly. When he pushed himself up on his elbows, making to stand up, Harry pushed him down, frowning.
"Don't move," he commanded. "What about Danielle?"
"She may have given away the address to Severus -"
"You heard Professor Dumbledore. Snape got it himself." When Remus opened his mouth, Harry said, "She's not evil, I don't think. She doesn't seem evil. Professor Dumbledore spoke to her when trying to find out everything. I was there. She was under some potion to tell the truth and she said that she had no part in anything. She was just helping."
"The Imperius Curse," Remus suggested weakly. Harry furrowed his brow.
"You mean where you make someone do something? No. She's good, Remus. I promise." Harry sat on the edge of the bed. "It was Snape in the end. In an hour, we'll know everything. I promise that once it's over, you'll be the first to hear everything."
Remus nodded slightly.
Harry looked at his lap, sniffing loudly. When he looked up again to meet Remus' blue eyes, tears streaked his face.
"What's wrong?" Remus asked, trying to lean forward. He ignored the screaming agony in his chest and took Harry's head close to his heart.
"You almost died," Harry said softly, still sniffing. "You almost died!" Remus was going to answer that he was fine, but Harry broke into large sobs, burying his face in Remus' burnt arm. "You're the only person who I've actually been friends with and I almost got you killed! If I hadn't been here, you would -"
"I would be lonely, as would you," Remus said, tightening his hold on Harry. "It's not your fault. If it's not mine, then it's no one's fault that this happened. Harry, don't cry..."
Moving his head and wiping his eyes, Harry took in another shaking breath. He took Remus' burnt arm into his hands and examined it. Remus saw that there was a long, dark red blotch down his arm. The scar was raised and still hot to the touch. It beat painfully against him whenever he moved it.
"You should do something about that," Harry said quietly. "Looks deep." He looked Remus in the eye, still studying his face. Remus had not seen himself in the mirror properly yet, and could only guess at how horrible he had to of looked. "What happened to you?"
"Just a bit of..." When Harry gave him a glare, Remus corrected himself. "The Death Eaters enjoy torture; you know that first hand now." He ran his thumb along Harry's jaw line where the scar ended. "I'm so sorry," he whispered.
"What happened to you?" Harry repeated. "Tell me everything."
"They took me to Severus' house," Remus told him, not meeting his eyes. He was studying his hands, which had been ripped by rather viciously by his own fault. "A few rounds of the Cruciatus Curse, by the feel of it, some burning, and a forced transformation." When he looked up, Remus attempted a weak smile. "I'm fine, Harry." As he shifted, he winced as his broken rib dug into the skin.
Harry moved the covers slightly, glancing past Remus' ripped clothes, hand hovering over the rib for a moment. He frowned. "I'm going to make sure Professor Dumbledore gets Madam Pomfrey."
"It's fine," Remus said again, wrapping his unbroken arm around his ribs. In truth, he wanted her there badly, wanted to just be numbed and repaired easily, but he did not want to show any weakness in front of Harry. In his state, he guessed, he must have looked weak anyway.
"No, it's not," Harry said, walking out of the room. Remus heard faint footsteps, then knew that Harry stopped. There was another choked sob from outside of the room. He was tempted to call out, but Remus knew that Harry was like him in that sense: both were afraid of showing their weakness.
More footsteps came and there was the sound of sniffling. The door opened again and there was Albus Dumbledore letting Madam Pomfrey in. She was dressed in her usual white robes and took one look at Remus before rushing to his side, examining him.
"How did you manage to survive that?" she asked, brow furrowed, trying to force a potion into his mouth. Remus was reminded of the potion Severus forced into his mouth only hours before and tried to tilt his head away, but she forced it into his mouth. "I heard what happened. My God, Remus." She took his arm and was twisting it in her hands. He winced. "Broken or just burned?" Remus nodded as she said broken and clenched his jaw, wishing Harry, Dumbledore, and the matron would leave him there to die in peace.
"I was just meeting with the Minister of Magic," Dumbledore said to Remus. Remus opened his eyes, feeling ill once more. He forced himself not to vomit at the thought of what may have been said.
"He has told me that the meeting with Sirius Black shall settle the matters. Although" - Remus winced; that was not a promising word - "he has requested that Harry be taken from your care for a while."
"How long?" Harry asked, eyes widening.
"Forever," Dumbledore said solemnly. Harry stared from Dumbledore to Remus, his face frozen in shock.
"No!" he yelled. "You - he - I'm not leaving!"
"It's for your own good," Remus said quietly, how own voice starting to break.
"No," Harry repeated, a fire burning behind his eyes. "I'd rather stay here than go back with the Dursleys!"
"You're safe with them, Harry," Remus told him, closing his eyes and leaning deeper into his pillows. He wished he could disappear into their softness forever and never have to talk to anyone again. He took Harry out of force, tried his best to give something to Harry, and now... he was a murderer.
Harry's eyes were brimming with tears and his voice was quiet and choking. "Remus - I - I can't go back. They hate me. You don't. You're a million times better than them. I don't care about what happened today. It can happen again to me, for all I care. Just as long as I can stay here with you."
"I'm sorry," Remus said. He meant it, from the bottom of his heart. 'Sorry for being a dreadful adult. Sorry for taking you here. Sorry for not saving you. Sorry for leaving you to die.'
Madam Pomfrey had peeled the sheets away from Remus again, making disapproving noises as she felt along his ribs, watching his face for wincing, then repairing the bones.
There was no sound from Harry. Remus cursed the silence in the room for a while, until Madam Pomfrey started on about how he should take care of himself. Plenty of rest and food, no doing stupid things, don't move for a while... He blocked the voice from his head.
Suddenly, Dumbledore's voice said quietly from near the door. "Harry, it's time to say goodbye to Remus."
Harry walked up to Remus, staring at him for a moment. Remus was not sure whether Harry was going to hit him right there, but instead, he felt two thin arms wrap around his body.
"I'm sorry," Remus repeated. He wrapped his own arms around Harry, and they remained there, words passing between the two without moving their mouths.
Tears stained Remus' shirt, Harry's tears. He forced himself not to cry along with the young boy, and instead shut his eyes tight. Remus let go of Harry and took his hand for a moment.
"I'll still be here," he said in a low voice. "Always. You can still talk to me any time you want."
Harry nodded, eyes red and downcast. He turned without saying a word and followed Dumbledore out of the room.
And then Harry was gone.
Remus remained in bed for the rest of the day, not moving out of pure spite. Harry was gone and there was no reason to bother. The spells had been taken off of his house. He had received news only a half-hour before saying that Severus was rotting in Azkaban. He was still waiting for news of Sirius.
There was the sound of knocking at the front door, faint as it reached his ears.
"It's me, Remus, Danielle," came the mournful voice. Remus tried to call back, but his throat was still closed with oncoming tears. He heard a faint whisper from her, and the sounds of the door opening. She walked into his room, wearing long robes, tucking her wand into her pocket. Her hair was lank around her face and she looked depressed, standing there, shoulder slumped.
"Good heavens!" she yelped when she saw him. She rushed to him much as Madam Pomfrey had, bending over him. "Are you alright? They said you were in bad shape, but -"
"I'm fine," Remus said, staring at his feet. He felt cold inside and the blankets around him did not help.
Danielle gave him a searching look, saying, "I have the news of the trial. I said I would tell you because I was just leaving the Ministry."
"Why where you there?" Remus still had not forgotten his impression from earlier of Danielle being a Death Eater.
"I had to speak to my sister," Danielle snapped, but her face soon softened. "I'm sorry. I just heard from Dumbledore about what you thought of me." She smirked. "I promise you that I do not look good in black."
Against his will, Remus smiled. "I'm sorry," he said grudgingly. "What happened?"
Danielle perched herself on the edge of his bed and started talking about what happened. She went into great detail of everything she was told and Remus wondered how good her memory was. Sirius, by the sounds of it, claimed that Peter was the Secret Keeper and Peter cut off his finger, transformed, and ran off. Everything linked together in the end and Remus was left there, staring at Danielle. Her plump cheeks were flushed as she spoke, obviously not stopping for breath.
She fell silent and Remus said nothing. "It's weird," she told him. "Anyway -"
"How did it end?" Remus asked quickly. Danielle smiled.
"I was going to tell you. He's innocent. He's leaving Azkaban."
Remus' eyes widened.
"Dumbledore's sending him here first. Figured you would want to talk to him." She forced a smile. "I'm happy for you two."
"What about you and Peter?" Remus forced himself to ask. He felt a bubble of guilt in his stomach.
Danielle gave him a doleful look, biting her lip. "It's fine," she said quietly. "Turns out he was a Death Eater and he's dead now. Waste of so many years of mourning." She sighed and pulled a tissue from her pocket, wiping her eyes and frowning. "I'm fine, I promise."
"I killed him," Remus said in a quiet voice, feeling the need to tell her. Danielle had loved him and it was his fault he was dead.
Danielle gave him a long look of shock, and then cleared her throat. "Well, it turns out he wasn't that great of a man." Her smile was weak and watery. "'S'fine. I'll manage. However, I believe you'll be having a guest over soon." She stood up. "I'll get going then."
"Wait." Remus shifted in the bed, managing to get to his feet. His bones were no longer broken after Madam Pomfrey's healing, but he still felt stiff and dreadful. After being so ill after hearing what he did, Remus still felt his head spin when he was on his feet, but resisted the urge to vomit again. He stretched out his arms and took her into them, hugging her strongly. She wrapped her arms around him, too, sniffing into his shirt.
They remained like that until Danielle stopped crying again, and she broke away, giving him a small smile. "Thanks, Remus. I'll leave you to wait for him." With a small wink, she said, "I'll talk to you another time. We can stay in touch."
Remus said goodbye to her and watched her leave. The sounds of Apparating came soon after, and there was a knock on the door. Remus sucked in a breath, biting his lip. When he opened the door, Dumbledore was there with Sirius.
It was not Sirius as Remus knew him. This Sirius was not young and muscular, but instead looking old and ragged. He was wearing rather new robes, but they did not hide the fact that his bones were sticking out further than needed and that his long hair was matted with grime and dirt.
"Remus?" he asked, grey eyes traveling over Remus, a smile starting on his lips.
"You're innocent," Remus said, feeling faint. He grabbed onto Sirius, ignoring Dumbledore, hugging him more tightly than he ever hugged anyone before. Sirius did not smell like Sirius with his faint smell of dust and soap. Instead, he smelled like dirt, though Remus saw no difference. He looked at Dumbledore and said, "Thank you," before the old wizard smiled and disappeared.
After so many years, Remus found that ten years of friendship and trust that had been knocked down came back and swept through them. They carried on as if they had only spoken to each other the day before. Sirius went off to shower, and Remus cooked. They talked about what Remus had been doing and carefully ignored all mentions of Azkaban.
It was a wonderful hour.
Then there was another knock at the door.
Remus, feeling confused, stood up, glancing at Sirius, who shrugged. When he opened the door, he had to glance downwards a bit to see the dark-haired visitor, who was smiling widely.
"I don't think Wizarding hospitals are that great. Still some problems. Besides, I haven't gotten to meet my godfather yet. Or you, really," Harry told him, confidence coating his voice like it always had with James.
The end, kiddies! Well, I may write a sequel if I get enough support. If no one wants it, I may not. I'm not sure, though. It would mainly consist of Hogwarts, and I could never write school years. Anyway, those are my favorite words. The end. It feels terrible, though, like I killed someone. If anyone's dead, you don't have to review, haha.
Scribhneoir: I'm evil, yes. Tehe. Summer is indeed over. And so is this story. I wanted, like, 80 chapters, but I can't drag out a story that long. Thank you so much for your wonderful reviews during this story.
ThrainTalonwater: Here's your wish! If I decide to, you may be able to see more between the three.
Mikee: You rock so much. More hugs to you. You kept me sane during this with those wonderfully long reviews. Thank you! I am naughty. I've just always wanted to write something kind of dark, and I did my best.
A Teenage Werewolf: Harry doesn't need tissues now, I suppose. Well, maybe a few. I'll take the rest. I'm not good at real writing outside of fan fiction. Published two books and I'm ashamed to admit it, really. Well, I suppose this should have been a fast enough update, muahaha.
Quick Note: My C2s on this story dropped from 10 to 1. I was rather amused by that. I have over 5000 hits, though, so I'm happy. I want to thank everyone who has read this story, whether reviewing or not. You all rock so much! Have a great life and I hope to talk to some of you soon.