A/N: I hope y'all enjoy this. I've been meaning to portray the father/son relationship between Remus and Harry. This ought to do the trick. It'll end up to be roughly six chapters long. Tell me what you think! Oh, and it hasn't been beta-ed yet, so be patient with spelling errors.
Disclaimer: T'ain't mine, I'm afraid.
Harry Potter woke up at the Burrow incredibly early one August morning and heaved himself out of bed. As much as he'd like to say that he was a morning person, lately he'd had to drag himself out of bed. He figured it was due to his stress over... well, everything that had happened to him. However, he seemed to be able to get up before everyone else in the morning – though his nightmares certainly served as a strong wake-up call.
It wasn't as if Harry was not used to nightmares. Since he was a child his dreams were filled with his parents and flashes of green light. But through the years the nightmares just sort of... piled on. He not only had flashes of the night his parents were murdered, but Cedric's, Sirius', and now Dumbledore's had all been added on as well. He was too ashamed to talk about it, supposing that people would think him childish for having nightmares about such things. But he couldn't help being frightened. Not only for his own life, but the lives of people around him, since they all seemed to be dropping like flies. Let's just say that Harry was a little weary of his nighttime confrontations with Voldemort or his Death Eaters.
Today Harry had an idea. He'd actually had the idea for quite a while, but he decided to act upon it today. He had never visited his parents' graves before – he had never found the time or mode of transportation. But now it was different, since he'd just received his apparition license and had told the Weasleys' that he was going to be out today.
It took a while to convince them. Mrs. Weasley kept insisting it wasn't safe and Ron kept saying he wanted to go with him. They even pulled the "If Dumbledore was here..." card. But they didn't understand. They would never understand. So he was going alone.
He very quietly stepped out of Fred and George's room, where he had been staying, and walked down the stairs – carrying his shoes in one hand and his wand in the other. Being careful to jump the creaky step second to the bottom, he stepped lightly into the kitchen. He breathed a sigh of relief as he saw that Mrs. Weasley was not up yet. Even though he had informed the Weasleys of his departure, he didn't want any last minute confrontations or second thoughts.
It may seem like a simple feat – visiting your parents' graves sixteen years after they died – but Harry was extremely nervous. Even though this was important to him, he knew he had enough doubt to not go through with it. And he really wanted to go through with it. He didn't really know why it was so important to him. He felt like he was going through with some sacred ceremony and that things were going to change because of it – hopefully for the better. He didn't really know how to describe it. He also couldn't shake the feeling that he needed to be there today rather than another day. But again, he had no idea why.
Not having much of an appetite, Harry pushed on his shoes and walked out the door without bothering to eat. He walked down the path that led from the Burrow to the road, ignoring the chickens that were clucking about at this ungodly hour. He quickly made his way to the road and walked about fifty feet away. When he reached what he felt was a good point, he turned around and sadly noted that this was where Dumbledore had apparated with him a little over a year ago. Therefore it should be safe to apparate.
Before he could change his mind, Harry shut his eyes and pictured Godric's Hollow in his mind. Then he quickly turned into nothingness, feeling the familiar – yet still uncomfortable – sensation of being pushed through a small tube. However, unlike all the other times he had apparated, it was over quickly and he found himself at his desired destination.
A soft breeze was playing its way across his face, gently pushing back his hair as he took in the small wood surrounding him. There were many ancient looking trees that were spread helter skelter throughout the peaceful area, and Harry briefly entertained the idea that perhaps they were as old as Godric Gryffindor, seeing as the hollow was named after him. He immediately pushed that thought out of his head as he noticed the houses a short ways away, and he instantly knew that he had lived there, on that street, with his parents. He had a strange feeling that he knew someone else around here as well, but immediately shook it off. He felt like he was delaying, and he really did want to visit his parents' graves. Straightening himself to full height, he looked up at the sign that read "Cemetery" and marched through the gate into the small enclosed area.
Immediately a sense of ultimate peace washed over him. Ron had once said that magical cemeteries were different than Muggle ones, though he didn't expound on the subject and it had left Harry to wonder. Now that he was feeling this incredible sensation and he never wanted to leave. Immediately the memory of Dumbledore telling him it didn't do to dwell on dreams popped into his head and he felt like it was a message from his mum. Harry nodded his head as if someone had spoken to him because he agreed that he couldn't simply wallow in this peace and forget to live, just as he could not wallow in the peace of the Mirror of Erised when Dumbledore had given him that particular piece of advice.
Harry quietly walked through the few headstones in the enclosed area, and found his parents quite easily, just to the right of the entrance. He walked over to the two headstones and knelt in the damp grass.
James and Lily Potter
Beloved friends and parents
You will always remain in our hearts
Harry smiled as he traced the inscription softly with hi finger, doubling over "beloved" and "parents".
My parents, he thought with a smile. These were my parents and no one else's.
He knew that sounded selfish, but after years of coveting every family from the Dursleys to the Weasleys, he couldn't help but finally feel like he was whole again, even if for just a moment, because he had found where his parents' bodies lay.
Sighing with a bit of contentment, yet also with regret, Harry settled back and pulled out his wand. Concentrating really hard, he thought, "Orchideus" and immediately a small bunch of flowers appeared in his hand.
"I tried really hard to learn that when I knew I was coming here, so I hope you like them. It's not much, but... well, anyway, it's the best I can do."
Carefully placing the flowers in the small cup by the headstone, he smiled wistfully and wiped a stray tear that was making its way down his cheek.
"You know, I... I really miss you guys. I got really mad about Rita Skeeter's article a few years back – you know, where she said I cried about you guys every night. It's no where near true, Dad, so you can wipe that smirk off your face," Harry said with a smile. "But I do think about you two an awful lot, and sometimes I just wish..."
He sniffled quietly and bit his lip as it trembled dangerously. He didn't really try to hold back, however, since he was pretty sure he was the only one around so early in the morning. He felt his eyes burn and quickly closed them, trying to focus on saying the right thing.
"It's kind of unfair," he concluded weakly, trying to control his emotions and not start blubbering. "Everyone always gets to know their parents, and they have rows, certainly, but they have so many good times. I only had you for a little over a year, and everyone else always talks about what wonderful people you were. They talk about what a fantastic joker you were, Dad, and how you were so smart. And you too, Mum. You were always so clever and nice to everyone. I kinda feel like I have to compete with everyone's memories of you - sort of how Ron competes to be as good as his brothers. But Ron has known his brothers all his life, and I don't know you two at all."
He sighed and wiped his cheeks with his sleeves. "I just have so much to worry about, and I wish I could just sit and talk with you about something mundane, like school work or Quidditch, and just forget about it for an evening. It's not like I haven't accepted my fate. It's just that... well, I'm sick of being alone all the time. Sure, I have friends, but it's not the same as having family. Sirius was the closest thing I had to that, and now he's -"
Suddenly Harry felt an inclination to look over to his left. Again, it felt like someone was telling him to do so, only this time he felt very strongly that it was his dad. He slowly turned his head and read the inscription of the next gravestone over.
Sirius "Padfoot" Black
Beloved friend and godfather
Harry blinked and stared at it for a moment. He felt strange, and he couldn't get the picture of Sirius grinning at him out of his head.
"S-Sirius?" Harry hiccupped.
The picture of Sirius grinning remained in his mind. At first it comforted him, but suddenly he felt the pain of his godfather's death wash over him as it never had. His eyes began to burn with ferocity and he felt his shoulders begin to shake, even as Sirius' grinning face faded into a frown.
"This is what I mean!" Harry said to his parents' headstones, very distressed. "It's so unfair. I already lost you two, and then I lose Sirius, just what I was trying to prevent, and I... I..." He let out a small sob, hardly noticeable to anyone who didn't know that
Harry had never cried so hard in his life. He sniffled and wiped his eyes, desperately trying to quell the tears that continued to stream down his face.
"Sirius, I miss you so much. And now that Dumbledore's gone I don't know what to do. I know I have to destroy Voldemort, but let's face it – that's easier said than done." He vaguely realized that he was beginning to talk quite fast and was now blubbering as he had feared. But he continued to speak, desperate to get the weight off his chest. "And I can't go back to school because I have to look for the Horcruxes, and I had to break up with Ginny because I'm scared to death that someone will use her to get to me, and I have no home now that I'm seventeen and have left the Dursleys'. I'm just staying at the Weasleys, but I'm sick of imposing upon them, and I know I could go to stay at Grimmauld Place since you left that to me, but I could bear that because, as I said, I miss you so much, and now I'm terrified of what may happen, and – as much as I hate to say it – I wish someone would just help me!"
He was breathing heavily by the end of his schpeal, but as soon as he said everything he'd wanted to say, he felt peaceful again. He closed his eyes for a moment, letting the last of the tears wash away, when he was suddenly scared out of his wits by a hand on his shoulder.
Jumping and whipping out his wand, he turned around to see a haggard looking Remus Lupin, who was smiling sadly.
"Harry, what are you doing here?"
Harry felt his cheeks grow hot as he realized he'd been caught sobbing in a graveyard.
Merlin, if the Prophet hears about this...
His thoughts were interrupted when Lupin sighed.
"Never mind, I understand. I just stopped by to replace the flowers I put here last week," He said, gesturing to the graves in front of Harry. "But I see you've already covered James and Lily, so I'll just put these here for Sirius..."
Lupin knelt down and put the flowers reverently nest to Sirius' headstone before standing up and turning back to Harry.
"I came here a few minutes ago and saw you here, so I thought I'd give you some space," he said, looking at him with a mixture of sadness and concern. Harry knew Lupin ad seen him crying.
"Yeah, well..." Harry mumbled, searching for words. "I guess I'm not as over it as I thought," he said, gesturing to Sirius' headstone.
Lupin smiled and nodded. "I know how you feel." He paused for a moment. "You know, when Sirius... er, when it happened, I decided to put the headstone here, next to James. There was a small funeral, and I'm sorry you didn't get to come to that. Dumbledore didn't think it was best."
Harry sighed and nodded. He had often wondered if there had been any sort of memorial service, even though they could retrieve Sirius' body. He had long since forgiven Dumbledore for all his mistakes, but he couldn't help but feel a pang of regret that he'd missed it.
Lupin put a hand on Harry's shoulder, bringing his attention back to his old professor.
"Listen Harry, I'm really sorry I haven't had time to be with you. It's been hard to communicate, what with living with the werewolves. I'm only home for a little bit and all."
Harry forced himself to smile and looked down at the ground. "It's all right. I understand." He was surprised when Lupin shook his head emphatically.
"No Harry, it's not all right," Lupin said with conviction. "I know you need someone besides those Dursley's for parental guidance, and even though you're now legally an adult, I'd like to at least be there for you when you need me. Besides, I need someone too." He smiled as Harry looked at him skeptically. Then he looked like he suddenly got an idea. "Well, why don't you come by my house for a cup of tea?" he asked, sounding a little excited.
Harry's brow furrowed in confusion. "Where do you live, exactly?"
Lupin's eye's widened. "No one ever told you? Well, no wonder you haven't come around! It's just around this corner here, number nine." He had started to lead Harry out of the cemetery and toward the houses Harry had spotted a little ways away, but suddenly stopped and looked a bit awkward. "That is, if you want to..."
Harry could have laughed. Remus Lupin was normally so confident and composed. It was odd to see him nervous about what Harry's response was.
"Of course, er... Professor," he said awkwardly, mentally kicking himself for how stupid he sounded. Lupin hadn't been his professor for nearly four years, and he still called him that. Nevertheless, Harry noticed the relieved look on his face.
"Call me Remus, Harry. Or Moony – whichever you like. I was one of your Dad's best friends, and I'm no longer your professor, so feel free."
Harry nodded. "All right, er... Remus."
Harry couldn't help but smile as he walked out of the cemetery, Remus leading the way. They stepped past the gate and walked across the small grassy meadow until they reached the small lane where Remus' house stood. It was the house closest to the cemetery, and was rather small, but Harry didn't mind. He knew Remus had trouble finding work and he was away from home most of the time, anyway.
It was a little brown cottage with a dried lawn out front and a little number nine nailed to the siding, its white paint peeling. As they stepped inside, it was rather dark despite the morning light, due to the curtains that were covering the windows. Remus must have seen this and waved his wand, causing the curtains to jump backward and allow cheery light to filter in. There was a couch and a few shabby armchairs in the front room, but it was mostly loaded with bookshelves. Harry gazed at the titles and saw every type of book on every type of subject was crammed into these shelves. Snape's memory Harry had watched in the Pensieve must have been true to Remus' character. He appeared to be a very learned man.
"Go ahead and sit down, Harry. I'll go into the kitchen and make some tea."
Harry sat down on the sofa, feeling the sun slowly heat his black hair as he watched Remus bustle about making tea. He felt awkward just sitting there, but he didn't know his way about the kitchen, so he contented himself with looking around the room. There were various pictures he hadn't noticed on first glance, and Harry's heart skipped a beat when he realized they all had either his parents or Sirius in them. He picked up the one laying on the coffee table in front of him and saw that it was of Remus and Lily throwing snowballs at each other. Suddenly a stray snowball came from outside the frame and hit Remus in the back of the head. Harry watched as James marched up to Lily and wrapped his arms around her protectively and smirk while Sirius snuck up behind Remus and dumped a huge amount of snow down his shirt. Harry laughed as he watched Remus jump and then wrestle Sirius in the snow before he heard the present Remus clear his throat.
"Well, here's the tea. Which picture have you got there?"
Harry forfeited the picture to Remus and watched the man laugh and hand it back.
"I remember that day as clear as if it had just happened," he said, staring off into space with a smile. Harry waited for a moment before pressing.
"Er, can you tell me?" he asked quietly.
"What?" Remus asked, shaking his head as if coming out of a daze. "What did you say, Harry?"
"Can..." he shifted awkwardly in his seat. "Can you tell me what happened on that day?" he asked again.
Remus' smile widened. "Sure, Harry, I'd love to. Let's see... it was February, I believe, a few months before you were born. Lily had just gotten over her morning sickness stage in her pregnancy and surprised us all by suggesting we go outside and play in the snow for a bit. Of course, James was rather hesitant. He was very protective of you and your mum. But she insisted, and James could ever say no to Lily, so he relented. Sirius and I were there because we were always hanging around for some reason or another, though Lily never complained. That's just how your mother was. She could have a fiery temper for sure, but most of the time she was the nicest person you'd ever meet."
Harry couldn't help but get absorbed into the story as Remus told it. The way the werewolf told it, he made it sound so much more exciting, though it probably helped that Harry was eager to hear anything he could about his parents. Remus knew this, and Harry smiled in gratitude before gesturing for him to continue.
"Anyway, we went outside and walked in about six inches of snow to that meadow over there." He pointed out the window to the meadow they had walked through to reach Remus' home. "Of course, being the Padfoot and Prongs we know and love, they decided they wanted to transform and run wild for a bit. Next thing Lily and I knew, a stag and a dog were running about, tackling each other to the ground on occasion."
Harry grinned, picturing the two at it. What he would give to see that for himself.
"Lily and I, not able to transform – though we were sort of grateful that I couldn't – decided t play in the snow in a more conventional way. That, of course, was a snowball fight." The way Remus said that last sentence – with such an ominous tone – made Harry laugh loudly. Remus smiled, seeming glad that Harry was so into the story, and Harry waved him on. "Right, well, anyway, Lily threw the first snowball, thinking she was being clever by sneaking up behind me. It was too bad that she was a pregnant woman who wasn't exactly athletically inclined and I was a twenty-one year old who had too much pent up energy. I tried to go easy on her, but as you can see, she got completely soaked."
Remus pointed to the picture and Harry laughed to see that he was right. But then Harry got a closer look and realized that Remus was drenched as well. He didn't fail to point that out to the man sitting across from him.
"Er... Remus? You're all wet too," Harry stated simply, but with a playfully accusatory tone.
Remus glanced at the picture and laughed. "All right, so your mother had a mean right arm. But I put up a fairly good fight," he said in his defense. "Anyway, we'd been at it for a good half hour when someone chucked a snowball at the back of my head. I knew it wasn't Lily, since the head was against the rules, and Lily always plays by the rules. I began scanning the trees to find Sirius and James when I saw a flash." He pointed to the picture. "Apparently James had gone into the house and gotten the camera before bribing Sirius into getting me with that snowball. Anyway, I was going to go steal that camera from James, but he went over to Lily to 'protect' himself and next thing I knew, I had a huge amount of freezing snow in my shirt."
Harry was laughing hysterically by the end. He knew it wouldn't really be all that funny to someone else, but to him the story meant so much that he couldn't help but feel more happiness that usual. Plus, the picture was reenacting the story as Remus told it, complete with Remus glaring menacingly at Sirius and James hiding the camera behind his back.
Remus looked very pleased to see Harry so content, and Harry felt infinite gratitude toward him.
"Thank you so much, Prof... Remus," Harry said, grimacing at his mistake.
"Any time, Harry," Remus said with a smile. "And it's okay that you aren't quite used to calling me that, yet."
Harry sighed. "I don't think I'll ever be. I think I ought to try calling you something else, like... how about 'Uncle Moony'?"
To Harry's surprise, Remus started laughing.
"Erm... I wasn't aware that that was funny," Harry said awkwardly.
Remus shook his head, smiling brightly. "No, it's just that your dad used to tease me that he was going to have you call me that when you were old enough to keep names straight. I think he got you to say it once or twice."
Harry smiled. "Uncle Moony it is, then." They sat there in contented silence for a few moments, until suddenly Harry looked at his watch. "Oh, bugger. I told the Weasleys that I'd be back in time for lunch." He stood. "I'm sorry, but I have to go. Thanks for the tea."
Remus stood as well. "Any time Harry. Really. I know I haven't been around much. Would you like me to owl you when I get back from my next mission?"
Harry's eyes widened. "Really? You'd do that?"
Remus could have laughed at Harry's innocence, but just continued to smile. "Of course. I like spending time with you."
"Yeah, I'd like that," said Harry, grinning broader that he thought possible. "I hope it's soon." He walked toward the door. "Right, well, bye Uncle Moony."
Remus grinned, shaking his head and smiling as he waved goodbye. Harry stepped out into the front yard and disappeared with a pop.