Extended Summary: Sirius felt bad about Harry's reaction to Snape's Worst Memory. So, in order to make himself feel better about Harry and Harry feel better about James, he went off and found a box of letters and journals that James had started keeping the summer before their seventh year. It also had a few things from other people in it too however it is mostly James at this point.
Regrettably he died shortly after that. (I'm very sorry if you didn't already know that Sirius dies, but come on. It was a book and a bit ago, try to keep up.) Upon finding it Remus, darling man that he is, sent it to Privet Drive where it was waiting for Harry when he got back for the holidays.
This is the story of Harry's reactions to the contents of the box, interspersed with the actual contents of the box. It's set in the immediate aftermath of OotP.
R&R: I'm not saying that if you don't review I won't write anymore, because I will. However I would be very grateful if you did review just as a favour to me because it makes me all happy and I spend the day walking around grinning like an idiot. Please and Thank you.
Disclaimer: If I owned Harry Potter et al then: Bellatrix Lestrange would've tripped on a rock as she was fleeing Azkaban and tumbled into the black, watery depths below with a resounded shriek that can still sometimes be heard echoing off the cliff faces in the dead of night by the desperate, apathetic, isolated prisoners rotting in their cells... Hermione would've cursed Umbridge into oblivion, the 'Won-Won' monstrosity would never have occurred, and Ron would've been elected Grand Supreme Ruler of the Universe, along with his two main advisors, Fred and George Weasley.
…None of that happened.
…You work it out.
"And how long will it take to send them a… an…"
"Owl?" Harry supplied for his Aunt.
"Yes. How long exactly?" she asked him quietly while peering around the road for previously unnoticed pedestrians. It was getting dark and, for the most part, the good people of Little Whinging were indoors eating dinner. So Harry didn't quite understand why she insisted upon being so careful. Besides, it struck him as unlikely that any pedestrians would be capable of hearing a conversation inside Uncle Vernon's car, which had the windows wound up and doors locked from the inside.
"It depends on the weather." Harry told her in a bored sort of voice. "But seeing as how they aren't that far away I imagine it would take a couple of days at the most. Why?"
"Why!" Vernon huffed, angrily. "So we know you're sending them on time, boy! I know exactly what you're thinking!"
"I doubt it." Harry muttered. The internal debate he'd been having about whether there was a fruit punch flavoured Every Flavour Bean, had turned into a desperate attempt to recall Sirius' favourite flavour. Within seconds he was, once again, replaying his godfather's last moments in the back of his mind on a never-ending loop… And Harry sort of doubted Uncle Vernon knew that.
"You want to humiliate us by having those freaks come round!" he growled accusingly, also taking care to keep his voice comparatively low. Ah, of course, Harry realised. The Order's threat to come and get him if they didn't receive correspondence for three days in a row. Harry would have pointed out that, while he had been guilty of more than a few unpleasant thoughts towards Order Members recently, he would never have wished Privet Drive on any of them. But since he wasn't really in the mood for Uncle Vernon's 'respectable members of society' speech, he decided not to bother.
A few minutes later the car pulled into the Dursleys' driveway. Harry wasted no time in getting out, grabbing his trunk, and practically sprinting up to his room. He slammed the door shut behind him and, just for good measure, shoved his trunk in front of the door-frame; effectively blocking any attempts to open it from the outside.
He mentally thanked Professor McGonagall for setting them so much background reading over the holidays. It would probably take a couple of bulldozers to move that trunk, and all it's contents, now that the lightening charm had started to wear off. Harry had thought it rather presumptuous of Professor McGonagall to assume he was taking NEWT level Transfiguration. He WAS. And, as Hermione had pointed out, he wouldn't have to do all that reading next year if he did it over the holidays. But still, the fact that she had assumed irked him slightly.
Without even bothering to turn on the lights, Harry collapsed onto his bed and closed his eyes firmly. It was amazing just how tired a person could get after almost a week of being utterly unable to sleep. It made them feel almost like a delicate crystal vase, that would shatter at any moment. It also, for some bizarre reason, made them feel colder than normal. Though he may have been imagining that one.
Lying in the vaguely familiar, yet distinctly wrong, bed gave Harry some form of respite. Not that he would be able to sleep now that he was in Privet Drive. But he would, at least, be allowed to stare off into space for vast periods of time. Something which everyone at Hogwarts tried their hardest to make sure he couldn't do, for fear that he would go mental and throw himself off the Astronomy tower or something.
He wondered sometimes if he was cursed. Not in the Hogwarts sense but rather in the old muggle sense. If he was damned, jinxed, doomed for a bad ending… First his parents had died before he got to know them. That, for most people, would be enough to elicit sympathy. Perhaps not overwhelming levels of sympathy, but rather that slight amount of sympathy that made people tell you they're sorry while tilting their head and nodding a lot.
Then he'd discovered that the most evil wizard of his time, possibly of all time, was out to get him. Not to mention said Dark Wizard's followers. By this point even Harry was tempted to feel ever-so-slightly sorry for himself. Being hunted would do that to a guy.
Then he thought he'd caught a break in third year when he found out about Sirius. His godfather, his father's best friend, who wanted to take him in and raise him as his own. Well that had last about five seconds, he thought bitterly, before Snape and the Ministry had managed to ruin it. That had made Ron, Hermione and Dumbledore feel sorry for him. As for Harry, he'd just been annoyed. He'd also allowed himself to feel slightly more loathing for Snape, though not too much more. After all, too much more would have resulted in an overdose of bile.
Then there was Cedric Diggory last year. God, he'd never felt that terrible before. Just as he was sort of starting to like the guy… And it was his fault. It had been him Voldemort was after not Cedric. "Kill the spare." Such a pointless, needless death that was all Harry's fault because he was such a noble prat and hadn't just taken the Triwizard Cup... that one had kept him awake for quite a while.
Then he'd been mocked, ridiculed, and insulted by people he had never even met, all because those idiots at the Ministry didn't want to see the truth. Once more, Harry hadn't felt self-pity so much as overwhelming anger.
And last but not least was Sirius. Sirius who he'd loved like a father, brother and best friend rolled into one and who had died in an attempt to save him… Whose death was still stuck firmly in Harry's mind, the way other people had the Grat Escape stuck in there. Whose slightly surprised look as he fell through that eerie curtain still haunted him…
Harry groaned loudly and rolled over to face the window, somehow hoping that this would effect his current mental state.
A half moon was visible through the curtains, shining brightly in the dark blue sky. Dark shadows stretched across his room and Hedwig cooed quietly by the window…
Harry's eyes opened wider. That couldn't possibly be Hedwig. He'd let Hedwig out of her cage at King's Cross to fly home. There was no way she beat the car, particularly since she would have probably hung around London until nightfall.
He reached out and flicked on the cheap reading lamp on his bedside table, illuminating the dark room with a bright, rosy light. Over beside the open window, four eagle owls were resting next to a large package they had obviously just delivered before Harry had arrived. Harry hopped out of bed and moved towards it, pulling out his wand. He had a sudden, ridiculous, mental image of Voldemort sending him a letter bomb or something. Despite the sane part of his brain saying that this was utterly preposterous, he kept his wand outstretched. Just as a precaution.
The largest of the owls had a note attached to his leg. Experience had taught Harry that when someone sent you a parcel and a note it was generally a good idea to read the note first. The owl glared at him slightly as he approached it but did not resist as Harry expertly untied the note. It occurred to him that six years ago, he would have probably run away screaming if he had encountered four pairs of fierce yellow eyes, staring at him like that. As it was, his only reaction was to swear under his breath for running out of Owl Treats. There was effectively no other way to tip an owl. It would also annoy Hedwig.
As soon as the envelope was safely in his hands, the quartet flew off into the night without glancing back at him. Harry shrugged and closed the window after them, wondering slightly as to why it was open in the first place. The note was written on a scrap of yellowing paper and written in an impossibly neat scroll that, somehow, looked familiar.
Dear Harry, it read.
I knew that Sirius was searching for this ever since you spoke to us in April. He felt that you had been given a wrong impression of your father and it upset him. I believe his exact words were "I won't have him thinking less of James just because of that one idiotic incident".
And so he hunted around a bit and found this. I must apologise for not sending it to you sooner however I was rather interested in it myself.
In the package I sent you there is a collection of journals that James started keeping the summer before his seventh year. He had helped Sirius escape Grimmauld Place. Unfortunately that involved incapacitating Sirius's father, for which he was punished by the ministry and sent to a Quidditch Camp in Australia for most of his holiday.
Everyone wrote a truly obscene amount of letters to him and I believe that all of those are included as well, along with one or two things from the following year at school.
Please remember Harry, your father was a good man and a dear friend of mine and of Sirius. I can only hope that the contents of this package will help you see him in a better light.
(If it doesn't trouble you too terribly much I would appreciate it if you didn't mention this to other members of the Order, at least not for a while. Strictly speaking we were not supposed to return to Grimmauld Place.)
Harry sighed and put the note down on his desk. As much as he appreciated Lupin's intentions, he really wasn't in the mood for re-living James Potter's exploits at the moment. He had more than enough to be miserable about without discovering yet again that his dad really was as big a prat as Snape said he was, thereby proving the Potions master right, which Harry would rather not do. In fact, at that particular point in his life, Harry would rather have undergone Chinese Water torture than prove the Potions master right.
Ignoring the package completely, he walked over to his trunk and began pulling out his homework. Thankfully, McGonagall was the worst offender for holiday homework this year as all the other teachers were unsure about who would be taking which classes. They were, therefore, hesitant to set homework.
Dumping the books on top of Lupin's note he began reading, stubbornly ignoring the parcel by his window and pretending he couldn't care less about it's contents...