Pairing: HP/RL (SB/HG)
Summary: Slight AU. When an injured Remus Lupin, missing for nearly 20 years, finds himself on Harry's doorstep both men get much more than they thought possible.
Disclaimer: It's all Jo's.
Notes: Originally for wishforthemoon's 28 Days Later Challenge. I'm done writing it so I will be posting regularly. Sexual content in later chapters. You've been warned.Chapter One
"Are you sure you will be okay while I'm gone? Why don't you go and crash with Ron or Neville?" Said Sirius Black, waving his wand to send the last of his belongings to the rucksack sitting in the middle of the living room.
"I don't think Luna or Ginny would be too happy with that plan. Just because you didn't mind imposing when my parents were newlyweds doesn't mean I want to do the same." Harry said with a smirk. "Besides, I'm twenty years old, I'm more than capable of taking care of myself. You need to do this."
"I know I do." The older man said, the humor gone from his voice. "It's just been so long since we've had a lead on Remus…."
"If he really is back in the UK your chances of finding him are better than ever," said Harry.
He knew how much finding the werewolf meant to his godfather, even if he couldn't remember the man himself. He had always sensed that Remus Lupin's disappearance had been in many ways even harder for his godfather to deal with than Pettigrew's betrayal or the death of his parents. Maybe it was the lack of finality that had not allowed Sirius to put this particular piece of the past behind him.
"And if I do find him?" Sirius asked, running his hand anxiously through his long dark hair.
Harry sighed; they had been over this so many times.
"Then we finally get our answers," he said.
"So he can tell me he believed the Prophet? That he thought I would do something like that? I'm not sure I can hear that from him."
Harry was careful not to let his own feelings upset the other man even more.
"What about me? He took off while you were still in custody. Until Dumbledore convinced Snape to come forward about that damn rat they were going to send you to Azkaban for life. Professor McGonagall says I'm lucky I don't remember the two weeks I spent with mum's sister. "
"I was so relieved when I came to get you. That woman was horrible but it's not like they would have given you to Remus anyhow."
Harry calmed himself. He knew that. He couldn't really hold that in particular against his father's missing friend. He had a great life here with his godfather, but he still would have liked to have another friend of his parents' around.
"I'm hoping I'll know what to do when the time comes," said Sirius crossing the room and placing a feather-light charm on the rucksack before hoisting it over his shoulder.
"You always were better at improvising than planning."
"And you are a chip off the old block, so leave your poor old godfather alone. " Harry smiled, he knew he even looked the part. After defeating Voldemort he had let his dark hair grow long, despite the fact he no longer had a scar to cover.
"You're barely 40, that's hardly old age. You had better go before you lose your lead."
"You're right. Be careful Harry and if you need anything call the Burrow or Hogwarts. I'll floo when I can. "
"You be careful. You're the one running around the country. I'm going to rest and watch muggle soaps all day. "
Sirius snorted, "We really need to find you a man, kiddo." Harry just glared at his godfather; he hadn't really been interested in seeing anyone since that nasty break up with Justin.
"And when, dear dogfather, was your last date?"
"Time to go!" declared the older man, disapparating with a pop.
A few miles from the comfortable cottage Harry Potter shared with his godfather the subject of their conversation was slipping in and out of consciousness as several other men kicked him in the stomach and head.
"Half breed trash!" Kick.
"Dangerous beast!" Kick.
"Worthless creature!" Kick.
Finally, after what seemed like hours the attackers stopped. Thinking their victim was unconscious the men left the internal injuries to do their work. As soon as the men had left the small, run-down shed Remus Lupin forced one eye open and slowly rolled over. He knew it was bad. A person didn't go through a monthly re-arrangement of their entire body without knowing when something was wrong. He needed to find help and he needed to find it soon. He took as deep a breath as his injuries would permit and turned all his focus on making his weak limbs cooperate. Gingerly he rose to his hands and knees and crawled out of the shack and towards the edge of the forest until something stopped him dead in his tracks.
That scent. He knew that scent but he could not place it. The familiarity made him feel strangely calm. He knew somehow that it would lead to help so he carefully began to follow it. As he moved through the forest he couldn't help but be reminded of another forest and better times. The best times of his life had ended in violence and betrayal and he had fled before it could destroy him completely. He had been living in the muggle world doing odd jobs for nearly two decades. He no longer considered himself a part of the wizarding world and paid no attention to the headlines. He had seen the only headline he needed to: Potter Family Murdered, Sirius Black in Custody.
Hours passed as the werewolf crawled along the underbrush. He had to stop to rest so often sometimes it felt like he wasn't moving forward at all, but he pressed on. More than once he stopped to empty the contents of his stomach into a waiting bush. The scent was getting stronger and he knew that he was closing in on his target. He could only hope that his instincts were right and he would be welcomed at the end of his journey.
Finally, when he was beginning to realize that his limbs would not carry him much further he saw a light up ahead. The light grew and slowly a modest but well-kept cottage came into view. Using the last bit of strength to bring himself to the front door he tapped on the door with all the force he could muster. When he could fight it no longer the blackness engulfed him.
Though his godfather had likely thought he was joking Harry was indeed doing exactly what he had said. He was lounging across the sofa, a butterbeer in hand, watching a muggle soap opera. A few years back he had discovered that the benefit of watching something meant for muggle housewives meant that there were often well built men wearing very little.
He was startled out of his ogling by a faint sound coming from the front garden. "Damn animals" he muttered to himself "and just when Jasper was headed for the shower". With a deep sigh he hoisted himself onto his feet to investigate the disturbance. Due to his godfather it was very unusual for stray cats to willingly get close to the cottage, in fact, Padfoot's scent kept most animals away. Pulling his wand he carefully opened the door and whispered a quick "Lumos" to check the garden drawing a sharp breath at what he found.
Taking in the thin and broken form of the man on his front step he cursed silently. Why did everything have to happen to him? There was too much blood for him to get a good look at the man and he was alarmed to observe the man's breathing was shallow and irregular. He knew he had to help the stranger, but he also knew his godfather would have a fit if he knew. It was a chance he was going to have to take. His decision made he quickly levitated the man into the small guestroom and ran for the fireplace. He considered calling for Poppy Pomfrey, but abandoned that idea when he realized that doing so would likely involve half of the Hogwart's faculty. Grabbing the floo powder and tossing it into the hearth he called out "Hermione's Office". In a matter of seconds a bushy head appeared in the fire.
"Harry! What's wrong? You look upset."
"I need you come here right away, he's badly hurt." Harry felt like he was going to scream and he found himself pacing a very short path back and forth in front of the fireplace.
"Who's hurt? Is it Sirius?" Hermione asked, a note of panic in her voice. She had only just finished her healer training and was beginning to see patients under the supervision of a more experienced healer.
"No, not Sirius. I don't know his name, I just found him lying in the front garden." Harry explained.
"And you let him in the house just like that! It could be a trap Harry!"
"He's not dangerous Hermione, he's not even awake. Please just come do what you can. There is something about him."
"Okay, I'm coming through."
Hermione landed in his living room carrying her wand and a small black bag. Harry motioned for her to follow and led her into the guestroom. She too gasped when she saw the condition the man was in.
"I'll start doing what I can, but I need a better look. Get a flannel and start cleaning him up. I don't think unnecessary magic is a good idea right now."
Harry did as he was told, his heart beating fiercely in his chest. He carefully swabbed the blood from the man's face and chest. Now that he could get a better look he could see the man looked a bit older than Sirius, but not by much. To his shame he also couldn't help but notice that the man had a rather well built chest and strong shoulders. He scolded himself mentally and focused on helping Hermione tend to the stranger.
After nearly half an hour Hermione lowered her wand and collapsed into a chair.
Harry looked at her questioningly.
"He'll make it," she said and Harry let out a breath he didn't realize he'd been holding.
"I couldn't heal everything right this moment with magic, he'll need a week or two in bed for things to get back to normal and he might be weak for a while after that."
"Thank you Hermione. I don't know why, but I feel like we were supposed to help him." She just rolled her eyes.
"Haven't you had enough of destiny and divinations?" she asked.
"Probably watching too much muggle television." Harry conceded with a smile. "What can I do for him now?"
"Just let him sleep and give him a bit of water when he wakes up. He should be able to handle broth by tomorrow. I have a seminar tomorrow but I'll come back the day after to check him over. He's lucky he stumbled here. I best go home and get some rest. You should sleep too."
"Okay Hermione," he said, walking her to the fireplace "Thanks again."
With a few words she was gone and Harry collapsed into his own bed after warding the door and setting an alarm to tell him if the stranger was in trouble.