AN: Okay, kiddies, again, I can't seem to stay on track with anything I'm doing, so here is yet another new story. This one is a crossover between my universeof Truths, Lies, Consequences and Altercations, and whydoyouneedtoknow's universe (Living with Danger, Living without Danger, Dealing with Danger, and a bunch of one shots. If you haven't read her stuff, you really should -as I've said many times. It's really worth repeating. You won't regret it.) It's taken me nearly a month to get up the nerve to type the first chapter and send it for someone to look over. I'm not positive as to where this is going as of right now, but I've got a few ideas. So, enough babbling from me. Enjoy the chapter.
Remus Lupin smiled as he allowed the six-year-old attached to his left hand to drag him down the sidewalk. The pair had been walking through London all day, and there were still no signs that Harry was going to slow down anytime soon. The messy-haired green-eyed boy spotted a playground in their exploration of the city and decided he'd had enough ice cream – the chocolate cone was abandoned in a trash bin seconds after seeing the playground. Remus glanced quickly at his watch – they still had about an hour before Sirius got off work from the Ministry. While Harry played, Remus could relax and sit for a change. Harry was a bundle of energy, and it only seemed to intensify when only one of his guardians was watching him.
"I'm going to play on the swings!" Harry announced happily when they reached the grass. The child dropped his guardian's hand and ran full force to a set of swings.
"Stay where I can see you, Harry!" Remus called, looking around the crowded park for a place to sit. He decided on a spot under a tree where he could see all the goings on in the playground. He sat with a groan – it felt good to be of his feet – and rested his head against the tree's trunk. He watched Harry swing higher and higher in the air until he got bored of it and jumped off into the sand, landing easily on his feet. Without a moment's hesitation, the boy ran to the monkey bars and began to cross them expertly. In the middle of the bars, he swung his legs until they wrapped around another bar. Hanging upside down, now facing Remus, Harry grinned, his face flushed as the blood rushed to his face.
"Look at me, Remus!" he yelled.
Remus smiled. "I see you!"
As Harry continued to play, Remus started to wish he'd thought to pick up a book from the little bookshop they'd been in earlier. Just as Remus was preparing to call for Harry and tell him it was time to go home, a woman and a little girl walked into the park. The little girl's features lit up as she watched Harry go down a slide.
"Harry!" she called happily, running to greet the boy.
Remus stood up slowly and watched as Harry smiled in a way he only did when one of his guardians came home. "Neenie!" Harry cried, running to the girl and hugging her.
When the children released each other, Harry looked around wildly and smiled even wider just before running into the waiting arms of the woman the girl arrived with. Remus raised an eyebrow. In the nine months he'd had Harry in his custody, he'd never seen the boy greet anybody with that kind of enthusiasm. Slowly, Remus walked to the happily chattering trio. He casually cleared his throat and stuck his hands in his pockets. Harry spun around and grinned. "This is Remus," he told the girls. "He's one of my guardians."
The woman stood slowly from where she was kneeling in front of Harry with an odd expression on her face. Her brown eyes were widened slightly, and her mouth had dropped open. She stared at a suddenly self-conscious Remus for a moment before shaking herself from a daze and clearing her throat. "Pleasure to meet you, Remus," she said, extending a hand for him to shake.
"The pleasure is all mine," Remus said, bemused, as Harry and the little girl – Neenie, he recalled – ran off to the swings.
The woman was still watching him with that odd look, but her brow was furrowed as though she was thinking hard about something. "He seems happy," she said finally.
"I'd like to think he is," Remus smiled as the two children started to race higher and higher on their swings. "May I ask how you know him?"
"Oh, we used to be neighbors. I babysat him for a few years before he moved away."
"Ah," Remus said, inwardly frowning. Harry had never mentioned another babysitter besides Arabella Figg, nor had he mentioned a little girl.
"Neenie was heartbroken when he left," she continued. "Cried for a week… She was begging me to find out where he'd gone so she could go see him."
"They must have been good friends," Remus smiled.
"Inseparable most days," she laughed. Remus' smile widened at the sound. "He was always so sweet. I could never figure out how he survived with those people he lived with." Remus' eyebrows shot up at the slight growl in her voice. "I don't want to think about what would have happened if it hadn't been for Neenie and me."
"So you knew the Dursleys, I take it," Remus said.
She scowled. "Unfortunately," she said a bit darkly. "Of course, they didn't deserve what happened to them."
Remus noticed her eyes gloss over a little. He felt the same way concerning the Vernon and Petunia Dursley – they may have been horrible to Harry, but they definitely hadn't deserved to be murdered. Even Sirius agreed with that…
"So how's Harry adjusting to life away from marvelous Privet Drive?" she asked.
Remus chuckled. "He's doing well. There were a few – er – bumps when he first came to live with us, but we managed." This, of course, was the understatement of the year, but Remus couldn't tell this woman – a Muggle, he assumed – what really happened when Harry first moved in with him and Sirius. "I've been teaching him to read and write, and he seems to be enjoying that. And when he's not in those lessons, he's planning his next prank on Sirius."
"Sirius?" she asked, furrowing her brow again. "He's that guy you were with when you picked Harry up last year?"
Remus nodded. "Yes, Sirius is Harry's godfather," he replied. "You saw us that day?"
"Yes, we did. Neenie and I were just pulling into the driveway when you three were walking down the street. Neenie thought the two of you were stealing him, but I-" She stopped suddenly, looking away. Remus raised an eyebrow. "Well, Petunia told me later you were friends of Harry's parents," she corrected herself – or so Remus thought that was what she was doing.
The two of them talked about Harry for a while longer. Remus discovered in that time that the little girl wasn't the woman's daughter as he originally thought, but her sister. Their parents died a few years back, and she gained custody of the girl.
She and Remus had a lot in common – they both had a love of learning that was outweighed only by the love of the children in their lives. She was intelligent, witty, and funny, and Remus found himself wanting to know more about her. Unfortunately, he caught a glimpse of his watch and realized Sirius would be home by now, and probably worried that his best friend and godson hadn't returned yet.
Harry didn't want to say goodbye to his friends so soon, but the woman wrote her phone number on a slip of paper and handed it to Remus. "Maybe the kids can get together sometime. I know Neenie would love that," she said, blushing a little.
Remus looked at the paper – 'Danger and Neenie', it said above their phone number. He looked at her questioningly. "Danger?"
She smiled. "Nickname – long story. My real name is Gertrude, but all my friends call me Danger."
"Well, since we're on a nickname basis, call me Moony – also a long story," Remus grinned.
He borrowed Danger's pen and wrote his own phone number on the slip of paper, tore it just under her neat handwriting, and handed that and the pen back to her. "Just in case," he said with a smile. "We've got to be going. It was wonderful meeting you, Danger. And, of course, Neenie," he added to the girl who'd hidden behind her sister's leg.
Harry waved goodbye to them as he and Remus left the park, and the boy wasn't the only one looking over his shoulder at the pair of them as Remus tried to find a safe place to Apparate to his cottage in Kent.
Sirius Black sat in his armchair with a sigh, laid his head on the back, and closed his eyes, rubbing his temples. He'd been working relentlessly on the Lucius Malfoy case for months, and he'd had absolutely no leads whatsoever. Malfoy had just disappeared off the face of the planet after Voldemort fled back in September. Malfoy Manor had been rigged with magical detection devices that would tell the Ministry if any Death Eaters, not just old Lucius, decided to pay Narcissa and Draco Malfoy a visit.
Shortly following the near return of Lord Voldemort, Mad-Eye Moody retired from the Ministry of Magic and appointed Sirius his successor as Head Auror. Not even Sirius could figure out why Mad-Eye picked him – he'd only been back at the Ministry a few months – but for the most part, he'd been easily accepted as the leader of the Auror squads. He named Kingsley Shacklebolt his second-in-command – Kingsley was the only person in the Department of Magical Law Enforcement Sirius could trust; the only person who didn't question his innocence after being released from Azkaban. (Of course, there was the small fact that Kingsley had been at Azkaban when Sirius was questioned under Veritaserum.)
There was a soft pop in the cottage's kitchen followed by a giggle that could only belong to one person –
"Harry!" Sirius called happily, his headache and fatigue from the day forgotten immediately. He stood from his chair and started to enter the kitchen where he knelt and prepared himself for the impact of the eighty pound ball of energy. Sirius hugged his godson tightly and kissed the untidy hair on the boy's head before standing up with him in his arms. Harry started talking animatedly about what he and Remus did that day – Sirius thought he heard the words 'exploding quill' and 'finger-biting Golden Snitch', but he pretended not to.
"And guess what else!" Harry said excitedly as Sirius sat him on the kitchen counter. "We saw Danger and Neenie!"
"Did you?" Sirius asked, trying and failing to copy Harry's excitement. He turned to Remus who had been watching the conversation in increasing amusement. "What the hell are a Danger and a Neenie?"
Remus glared at him slightly. "Language in front of Harry," he said sternly. "Danger and Neenie are friends of Harry's. Former neighbors from Privet Drive. Danger babysat Harry for a few years."
"Really?" Sirius said, surprised. He didn't know Harry had any friends. "Where did you meet them?"
"Playground in London," Remus said, taking two Butterbeers from the fridge and handing one to Sirius. "Just before we were getting ready to leave, they showed up."
"Can I get down?"
"So this Danger bloke," Sirius began, helping Harry off the counter. The boy immediately ran off to his bedroom.
"Not a bloke," Remus said, swallowing his Butterbeer.
Sirius grinned. "A woman, then?" he said slyly. Remus rolled his eyes. "Is she hot?"
"Sirius!" Remus said loudly. "What kind of question is that?"
"It's an honest question," Sirius insisted. "What's she look like?"
"No," Remus said, taking his Butterbeer into the living room. "I'm not having this conversation with you, Sirius."
"Why not?" Sirius asked, following him. Remus ignored him. "Oh, come on, Moony! Humor me, here! These are the types of things we're supposed to be talking about. Now, when was the last time you went out on a date," Sirius asked, sitting in his armchair.
Remus glared. "Don't," he warned.
"What happened to Naomi again?"
Remus' jaw clenched. "I told you," he said through gritted teeth. "She went to America after Lily and James died."
"But you never said why," Sirius said quietly. "You two were, what, two weeks from your wedding?"
Remus nodded stiffly. "She couldn't handle everything going on here. She didn't want to," he said sadly.
"Did she try?"
"No. She showed up here a week after the funeral and told me she was leaving. She took off her engagement ring and left, and I haven't seen her since."
"I'm sorry," Sirius said quietly and sincerely. "I know how much she meant to you… But you shouldn't let what happened with Naomi keep you from finding someone else."
"What does that have to do with anything? If you're talking about Danger, I just met her today, and if I do ever see her again, it will be because of Harry and her sister," Remus said flatly. "She's a Muggle, Sirius; she wouldn't want to get mixed up with me."
Sirius sighed. His best friend never did have any confidence when it came to women. "Okay, fair enough," he said. Remus nodded thankfully, thinking Sirius would drop the subject. They sat in silence for a few minutes, sipping their Butterbeer before Sirius grinned. "So, was she hot?" Remus threw a pillow at him.
Inside Number Seventeen, Privet Drive, Danger and Neenie were sitting down for dinner – Neenie was still talking happily about seeing Harry at the playground earlier that day. Danger pretended to listen as she scooped casserole onto her sister's plate, but in reality, her mind was on Harry's guardian, Remus.
For the past five years, since her parents' murders, Danger had been experiencing odd dreams featuring two men she'd never met in her life, a woman she hadn't seen in years, her baby sister, Harry Potter, another boy, and a dark-skinned little girl. Danger enjoyed the dreams – for the most part, they were happy; sometimes things happened to make her wake in a cold sweat.
The dreams made her feel as though her life was incomplete somehow. But earlier that day, when she'd met Remus, one of the empty spots in her head seemed to fill just a bit. She knew everything about him just from looking into his blue eyes. Of course, if she told him this, he'd think she was mental and would want nothing to do with her. Until that day, Danger even thought herself a bit mental – witches and wizards and werewolves didn't exist. But if Remus existed and so did Harry, maybe those other things did too…
She turned to look at the small cork board hanging next to her telephone that had Remus and Harry's phone number held to it by a purple thumb tack. She wondered what would happen if she called and asked him to join him and Neenie for dinner one night – Harry would, of course, be invited. Would anything come of it?
Sighing, she turned back to her baby sister and began eating. She could daydream once Neenie was in bed.
AN: For those who haven't read whydoyouneedtoknow's stuff, any ideas who Neenie is? You'll kick yourselves when you find out - I did. Thank you to Anne for looking this over and fixing the few things that needed to be fixed, and for approving the chapter. I'm dealing with your characters here, and if I screw up, please don't hesitate to tell me. Any suggestions, comments, or ideas are very, VERY welcome!
Please review if you've read. I'll be working on the next chapter within the next few days and have it out once I'm happy with it. I've got a one-shot I'm working on, and I should have that done tomorrow. Till then!