Yes, tis an AU. Thought it was about time I did a proper one. I have started the next chapter of Seeing, but seem to have mislaid the piece of paper it's on (I wrote it in my psychology lesson).
OK, in this, no Voldemort. Lily and James are still alive. Harry is six. Remus went away for five years, no one heard anything from him. Yeah… think that's all you guys need to know!
The stars twinkled distantly in the black blanket of the sky. Remus pulled his cloak closer around him, the wind biting through his few layers and striking at his body. Merlin, he was cold. It was stupid to walk so far in the middle of winter, but he'd had no choice. He had no money for the Knight Bus, and his wand had snapped. He didn't fancy trying to Apparate with a wand held together with some muggle invention called 'Sellotape'. He'd probably end up splinching, with one leg in Wales, one in Egypt, and his torso in Timbuktu. He might have been warmer if his hair was down around his neck, but he'd tied it back to keep it out of his eyes. He needed to actually see where he was going.
He shifted his bag on his back. There wasn't much in it, but he'd been carrying it for so long and was so damn tired that it felt like it contained several bricks. He'd been away for five years, and hadn't amassed many belongings since then. Some of them had been left behind, and others were randomly scattered at friends' houses. Friends who didn't live in England, because that would have made him too easy to find. He had a few photos with him, ones he'd never been able to let go of. He was also carrying one spare shirt (covered in mud and therefore too dirty to wear) and a bar of the cheapest chocolate he'd been able to find. He could eat properly when he got home. Well, not his home. He didn't have one, hadn't since his parents had thrown him out at the age of seventeen. But James and Lily had always said that he could treat their home as his own. He couldn't exactly go back to where he'd been living before he left. That would just result in too many awkward silences, and awkward questions, and all round awkwardness. No, he'd walk to Godric's Hollow, and ask James if he could kip on the sofa for the night. He'd already walked pretty far, getting off the boat at Plymouth and walking up through Somerset. He'd walked along the Severn Bridge to get into Wales, and was nearly at the wizarding village.
Remus looked up at the house. It looked… homely. Not in a bad way. It looked exactly how a home should look. It had barely changed in the time he'd been away. The front garden's flowers were slightly more untamed, and there was a football lying half in a bush, but mostly it hadn't changed. He knew there was a larger garden at the back, and Remus smiled. He could remember James being ecstatic the day they bought the house, jumping around and screaming that his child was going to fly before he could walk. Remus had no way of knowing if that was true. Harry had only been eighteen months when he'd left, and now he'd be six. Wouldn't recognise his Uncle Moony.
The path seemed to beckon to him, and Remus took a deep breath. He set off on the cracked stones and lifted the door knocker. He paused, the cool metal in his hand. What right did he have to turn up on their doorstep? He'd been away for years, giving up any rights to friendship he'd ever had. He was nothing but trouble, and he wasn't going to cause it for them. He let the knocker fall and turned, ready to leave and camp out in the woods somewhere.
Behind him, the door was flung open and light shone forth. "I've already said- oh, you're not a caroller. Who are you?" Remus twisted back, wanting to see if she hadn't changed either. She hadn't. The light was shining gold on strands of her hair as they stood up straight from her head. She was still slim, and her hands were placed firmly on her hips in the way that he remembered oh so well from his adolescence. Her eyes widened as she saw his face. "Re-Remus?"
He gave a sad little smile. "Hello, Lily."
"Oh, Remus!" She ran to him, throwing her arms around him. He held her closely, letting her bury her head in his shoulder, slightly alarmed to find her shaking.
"Lily? Are you ok?"
"Of course I am." She pulled back, searching his face with tear filled eyes. "It's been five years, Remus. Five years, and not a single word. You could've been dead for all we knew." Tears were falling down her face, and he reached to brush them away.
"I know, and I'm sorry." The words seemed inadequate, but there was nothing else he could say.
She sniffed loudly. "You should be." She gave him another squeeze and yelped. "You're all skin and bone! When was the last time you ate?"
"About five minutes ago. I had some chocolate."
Piercing green eyes stared accusingly at him. "Last proper meal."
He couldn't lie to her. Never had been able to. "Maybe a week, two weeks ago."
She released him and took his hand. "Come in and I'll make you some food."
"Lily, I don't want to intrude-"
"Lupin, shut your noise. I won't have you dying of starvation and hypothermia on my doostep." She dragged him into the warm hall and disappeared through one of the doors. Remus pulled the door shut behind him and tugged his boots off. There were lots of photos on the walls. One was a young boy- had to be Harry by the hair- riding a bike round and round. Another showed James and Lily on their wedding day, dancing in slow graceful circles. Yet another, the family, swinging in a park somewhere. And the last one, as he walked along, was of the Marauders on their last day at Hogwarts. Remus leant in closer, his breath sticking in his throat as he remembered that day…
"Remus?" Lily's voice cute into his thoughts, and he turned guiltily. Her head was stuck round the door, green eyes quizzical. "Are you planning on standing in the hallway all night, or do you want some food?"
He let his lips curve upwards in a smile, entering timidly. He perched on a stool as she bustled around, before dumping a steaming bowl of soup in front of him. "Thank you."
"It's nothing." She sat opposite him, staring. He started to eat- anything to avoid those eyes.
"Where's James? And Harry?"
"At his parents'." The soup really was good- filling him up with warmth from the inside, flowing down his arms so that his fingers tingled. His stomach had lost the dull ache it had had for the last few days. "Why did you leave?"
Ah, the killer question. He lifted the spoon to his mouth, blew on it, and took a mouthful. "I got a job."
"That's so much bull, and you know it." She leant forward. "You didn't tell me, or James, or Sirius. You were sharing a flat with him, for God's sake!"
He shut his eyes for a moment. "What's Harry like?"
She frowned at the sudden change of topic, but obliged. "A lot like James. He's mischievous, and has such a cute little grin… he can be serious though, with his little glasses. He can fly already, but what choice did he have in that? He's great at it, gonna be better than James. We want him to go to Hogwarts, and James reckons he'll declare war on Albus if Harry doesn't get into Gryffindor. I'm teaching him to read and write, and he's a quick learner. If he pays attention."
"Just like James," Remus smiled.
"Yeah. What's been up with you?"
He shrugged. His voice was getting hoarse now. This was the most he'd spoken to anyone in months. "Not a lot. Worked for a couple of rich French families, did some stuff in Germany, then came back here."
"What about… you know…" Lily mimed claws and fangs.
"The werewolf?" He couldn't tell her everything. "There's this new potion, and I've been sent it regularly. It's been ok." Except for the months it didn't come. And when he couldn't pay for it.
Lily smiled, and glanced at the clock which hung on the wall. "Right, where are you staying tonight?"
"In that case, go upstairs and first room on the right. Kip in there for tonight, and I'll sort out the room properly tomorrow. It's got blue walls. Can't miss it."
He yawned, his mouth stretching wide, and stood. "Thank you." He kissed her on the cheek. "I'll leave tomorrow."
"No you won't." A finger, with its bitten fingernail, was pointed at him. "I want you to stay here until you're properly rested and fed. If I let you, you'll just fade away."
He left her sat in the kitchen, drinking a mug of hot chocolate, and walked up the stairs, eyes were falling shut despite his best efforts to stay awake. The carpet felt oddly comforting beneath his thinning socks. It had been so long since he'd been in a place with a carpet.
The room wasn't that big, but better than what he'd got used to in his travels. He pulled off his clothes, leaving just his boxers on, and slipped between the sheets. They felt so strange against his bare skin, but he fell asleep within minutes.
Remus did all the buttons on his coat with shaking hands. He was leaving, and wouldn't- couldn't- tell anyone, but he was scared. There was one person he had to see, before he left on a journey he might not return from.
Taking out his wand, he Apparated to Godric's Hollow and walked into the house. Lily was in the kitchen, murdering a song on the radio, and Remus walked into the living room.
Harry was sat on the carpet, playing with his toy car. Remus held his finger to his lips, and the toddler recognised a game. "Harry," Remus whispered hoarsely.
"Oo-ee," Harry said back quietly.
Remus picked him up, the weight in his arms held close. He bounced the baby softly. "Harry baba, gotta say bye bye now. But you gotta know that I love you so much, and if I could I wouldn't go. I have to do this. I might not come back, and so you need to look after the Marauders and your mum. Do it for me, Harry baba." He gave the boy a swift kiss on the top of his head, and placed him down again. "Bye bye."
"Oo-ee! Oo-ee!" The last thing Remus saw before Disapparating was Harry holding out his chubby little hands and saying, "Oo-ee gone."
I said it on my last fic, and will repeat. If you are on deviantart, friend me. I am oz-nuriko. If you aren't, go and join. Because it rules, and that's where I'm sticking my original fiction. Some of it, anyway.