Sighing for what seemed to be the millionth time that day, Harry looked up at the now darkening sky and around the playground that he was currently inhabiting. Harry was an unusual boy for many reasons, but mostly for the fact that he had always hated the summer holidays more than any other time of the year. But, he hated this particular holiday season more than ever. His godfather, Sirius Black, had been killed at the Department of Mysteries at the end of Harry's fifth year at Hogwarts. He knew that it was his fault that Sirius had been killed because of his 'love for playing the hero'.
Because of the guilt that he carried around with him, the teen hadn't eaten very much, and as a result had become very skinny. He developed the penchant for trying to stay awake until he couldn't hold his eyes open anymore. When he did doze off, his sleep had been interrupted by dreams of Sirius falling through the veil and the events that occured in the Department of Mysteries. Harry thought Sirius had been captured and tortured by Lord Voldemort and thus, had been foolish enough to try to rescue him. Because of this, Sirius had tried to come to his rescue and had fallen through the veil after Bellatrix Lestrange's curse had pushed him through.
Harry got up out of the swing and walking the streets of Little Whinging. He had taken to traveling the streets to get his mind off things. When he wasn't strolling around Privet Drive he was in his room, trying to get some work done. He was also trying not to think about when he would have to go back to Grimmald Place, which was Sirius's house and headquarters to the Order of the Phoenix.
Harry had walked around the block so many times he had lost count. So he decided to go inside and try and get some work done for his classes. He walked back towards the house knowing his every move was being watched, even at night. He understood why the protection was needed, but it didn't mean that he had to like it. He walked inside the house, passing his uncle on the way, and walked up the stairs and into his room. He closed the door and walked over to his desk, got out his potions book, and started on his two-foot long summer essay for his most hated teacher, Professor Snape. He looked in the index and found the potion he was supposed to be writing about and started reading. He hadn't gotten very far when he heard his uncle calling from downstairs. He sighed, wishing that things were different. Harry looked up at his calendar that he made to mark off the days until he would go back to Hogwarts. He was only two weeks into summer vacation. He sighed again as his uncle yelled again, "Potter! Get down here!"
Harry put his parchment inside his book and went downstairs. As he slowly descended the stairs, the teen tried to figure out what had gotten his uncle in such a mood. He looked at the clock near the stairs: it was dinnertime. Harry sighed once again, knowing he would be fixing their dinner and would force down only a small amount of food himself. Harry walked into the kitchen where his aunt, uncle, and cousin were all standing. "Yes, Uncle Vernon," he said, in a monotone voice.
"You are going to cook tonight, we gave you a night off last night. Cook the chicken and rice. Don't burn anything," his uncle said. He walked out before Harry could answer. His aunt was close to follow him.
"Yes, Uncle Vernon," he said to no one. He walked over to the stove and started to prepare the food. Harry thought he heard the back door open so he looked and saw that the door was indeed open and that Dudley was walking towards the park. "Stupid git," he said softly, closing the door. He walked back over to the stove and started cooking. He didn't mind the cooking, it gave him something to do, and his mind was closed to everything except for the task in front of him.
When the food was done, he set the table and put the food out. He walked into the next room and told his aunt and uncle that the food was ready. He went back into the kitchen and took a piece of chicken, albeit a small one, and walked back upstairs. Before he got all the way up, his uncle yelled up to him, "Did you send your letter to those people today?"
Harry sighed for the millionth-and-one time. "Yes, Uncle Vernon," came that same monotone reply. Then he walked upstairs eating his small piece of chicken. He thought he heard the stair creek behind him, and he spun around looking. He saw nothing. Harry shook his head, he was getting paranoid. "Moody would be proud," he said quietly. He rolled his eyes and walked back up the stairs. He went into his room and put the rest of his uneaten chicken into the garbage. He already felt full from eating what he had. Subconsciously he knew that wasn't good, but he didn't care; he had too much on his mind right now.
Harry had been at his aunt and uncle's house for two weeks and two days now and he had a few letters from his friends saying that he would be away from Privet Drive as soon as possible and that they would see him soon. Harry had been putting on a false cheery tone when he wrote them and told them he was fine. He had some letters from Remus Lupin, his ex-professor, asking how he was and if he needed anything to just to let him know and he would try and help.
Harry looked up at the sky; the stars were bright tonight. Walking over to his closet, the teen started getting ready for bed. Before lying down he looked at Hedwig's cage, which was empty. He wished that she was back from hunting. After all, she was the only creature in the house that could tolerate him.
Harry was now lying in bed trying hard not to fall asleep by reading his potions book but it proved to be the wrong thing to read. He looked at the clock, it said 2:25am. He had to try to stay awake but he couldn't hold his eyes open anymore, and just before he drifted off he whispered, "I'm sorry, Sirius", and that was when the dreams began:
The order was fighting Death Eaters in the Department of Mysteries, and Sirius was fighting Bellatrix and dodging her curses while he was throwing his own. She threw a stunner at him and he dodged it, saying, "Come on, you can do better than that!" Then she hit him with another spell, and he fell through the veil. And just like that he was gone. Harry screamed, "Sirius! Sirius!" but when he didn't return he realized he was gone.
Harry woke with a start, realizing he was wet with sweat and he had tears running down his face. He took a few deep breaths and knew sleep would not come again, so he propped himself up and laid there thinking about Sirius. About how in his third year, he had thought Sirius a traitor, and then he had found that Sirius wasn't the traitor but it was in fact Peter, his parents other best friend. Sirius heard what Wormtail had done and went to find the rat and kill him for what he had done. He had found Wormtail and had tried to kill him, but not before Peter had sent a spell that killed anyone within the area behind him and scurried off with the other rats to leave Sirius to take the blame and be sent to Azkaban. But Harry had saved Peter's life, and with that Sirius would be free. Sirius had offered him a home once his name was cleared, since he was Harry's godfather. Harry had accepted, but before they could turn Wormtail into the authorities he had escaped. So Sirius had to flee for his life.
Harry had always dreamed about the home that he could have had, but now it would never happen. He felt such a surge of hatred towards Wormtail, but then he shut it out. He had to keep his emotions under control, knowing that if he didn't, he would be giving Voldemort a chance at his mind, again, so he controlled his thoughts by putting up his barrier, however untrained and possibly weak, that Occlumency provided.
It was morning when he heard a knock on the door. "What do you want," he said dully.
A familiar laugh met his ears. "What a nice way to great an old friend," it said. "Can I come in, Harry?"
"Remus?" he asked.
"Who did you expect, Crookshanks?"
"No, come in," he said, in what he hoped was a cheery voice, and stood up.
The door opened and in stepped his smiling ex-Defense against the Dark Arts professor, Remus Lupin. "How are you Har-" He stopped in mid-sentence, looking Harry up and down with an expression of worry.
"I would think that something's wrong Harry. You look like skin and bones. When was the last time you ate something?" Remus asked in a concerned voice.
Harry shrugged and made his excuse. "I haven't been hungry, I guess."
Lupin sighed. "Harry, you have to eat."
"I'm fine, Remus," he lied.
Lupin studied him before finally replying, "You aren't fine Harry. You haven't eaten a decent meal in three weeks, you've hardly slept, and you've been tearing yourself up with guilt, am I right?"
Harry shrugged again in response.
"Just seeing you makes me want some of Molly's cooking; you're so thin."
"Okay, I guess I have gone a little bit over board on the guilt trip, but I can't help it. It's all my fault that Sirius is...that he's gone," Harry cried out. His eyes watering, he quickly dropped his gaze, but just as quickly, he pulled himself together. He didn't want Remus to see him like this.
Remus pushed his chin up so that Harry was looking at him. "No Harry, it isn't your fault. Sirius is..." he stopped and sighed, choosing his words carefully. "Don't say that, Harry. Sirius wouldn't want you to suffer. Look, how would you like to get out of here tomorrow?" he asked, trying to get Harry on another topic of discussion.
"Sure, that would be-" he stopped just realizing. "Wait, where...where would we be going?"
Remus looked at him, obviously not understanding the young man's sudden confusion. "Grimmuald Place, why?"
Harry shook his head. "I can't go back there Remus. You of all people should understand that. I can't go back there, not yet. It's not that I don't want to, I just - I can't do it Remus."
Remus nodded his understanding. "Yes, I understand. I felt the same way after," Lupin paused. "But after being back there, it's not that bad, once you get used to being there. But if you'd rather stay here than see Ron and Hermione, that's up to you. I must tell you that they are very worried about you though, Ginny too. They don't get much out of your letters, not that you gave them anything. It was always a false cheery tone that they didn't believe for a minute anyway, and always the same thing. 'I'm fine, don't worry about me. The muggles are treating me good,' and all that rubbish."
Harry thought for a moment, then gave in. "Okay Remus, I'll go. But I'll go in on my own time. I'll have the invisibility cloak so I can take my time without anyone seeing me and until I'm ready, I'm not going to go in. Deal?"
Remus nodded. "Deal. Now, how about some food and some sleep? You look like you could use some sandwiches. Molly made some so I could bring them to you; she doesn't trust these muggles." He brought out a tray of sandwiches.
Harry grinned, realizing that he was hungry after all, and started to grab as many sandwiches as his mouth would allow him to eat. He didn't notice Remus smiling at him and watching him.
"Harry, do you still have that mirror? The one Sirius gave you?"
Harry looked up frowning and swallowed. "Yes, do you need it?" he asked apprehensively.
Remus smiled and misunderstanding Harry's worried tone said, "Yes, but when I'm done you'll get it back."
Harry got up and went to his trunk and fished out the mirror, still wrapped in the brown wrapping from when he had thrown it into the bottom of his trunk, and gave it to Remus, who looked at it and smiled. "Thank you Harry, I'll be right back."
Not able to help himself, he wondered what Remus would think when he saw that the mirror was broken. Harry picked up another sandwich and continued to eat, Mrs. Weasley's sandwiches were just as good as he remembered them. Remus came back soon after leaving.
"How about you get some sleep, and when you wake up, I'll have some surprises for you," he said with a smile.
"That sounds great, but, I'm afraid to sleep, Remus. I'm afraid that someone will get hurt, I've been trying hard all summer to practice Occlumency," he yawned, closing his eyes. "But, I guess it couldn't hurt for a few minutes," and with that he drifted off to sleep, not knowing that Remus was watching him sadly. "G'night, Remus," he said quietly as sleep overtook him.
"Good night, Harry."
Harry woke up to a dark room. It took him a few minutes to register the fact that he just had the best sleep since Sirius's death. He then remembered that Remus was there. "Remus?" he whispered.
"Yes, Harry," he said after a moment. "Is something wrong?"
"No, I just had the best sleep since - well since Sirius -"
"I understand. I'm glad you slept well, Harry," said Remus.
"So...what about those surprises you said you had for me?" Harry asked
Remus laughed. "I'm sorry but you're going to have to wait, Harry. It's no use to tell you now seeing as how it's almost two o'clock in the morning." Harry just stared at him with his mouth open.
"What? You just said it was the best sleep you've had in teehr weeks. You slept through the day, and almost all night. I was wondering when you would get up."
"Remus, did I wake you up? Were you just asleep?" he asked. "I'm sorry, I thought it was weird that it was dark, I just thought-"
"Harry it's okay, I'm a light sleeper. I wake up easily and go back to sleep just as easily. Don't worry. Why don't you get some more shut eye and we'll talk in the morning?"
Harry looked at the shadow of his friend. "OK, I'll try, and if I'm not up by nine, wake me up, please, because I feel like I could sleep my summer away."
He heard the light smile in Remus's voice. "Don't worry, I wasn't going to let you sleep in anyways. I'll see you in the morning. I hope," he added in a whisper, but loud enough for Harry to hear.
He laughed. "I'm sorry for waking you. See you in the morning," and with that he fell into another deep sleep.
As Remus got up, he stretched, and looking at the clock, 8:58, he thought, I might as well get him up. He bent down towards Harry's ear, smiling, almost sorry he had to wake him.
"HEY HARRY, GET UP!" he screamed into his ear, and moved back so that he wouldn't get clobbered with Harry's fist. Just as predicted, Harry bolted upright and looked around and swatted at the air where his old friend had just been. "Morning, Sunshine."
Harry grumbled as he fell back into bed. "Wake me in a few hours, Ron."
Remus grinned. "Hey Sleeping Beauty, you said to get you up at nine, so here is your wake-up call." Remus said.
Harry turned in his bed to look at his old professor, who was grinning sheepishly. "Where did you learn that screaming into someone's ear was considered a wake-up call? Ever heard of poking and speaking quietly into one's ear to wake someone up?" he asked sleepily.
Remus grinned at him. "You forget, I grew up with James and Sirius. So when you ask for a wake-up call, you get the works. Be glad screaming in your ear was the only thing you got. Besides, you looked out like a light bulb, so I doubt that poking and prodding you would have helped at all. Don't you want to know the surprises?" Remus asked suddenly, looking as if he were going to explode with joy if he didn't get it out soon.
"Yeah, what is it? Harry asked, his excitement bubbling out.
Remus smiled wider. "Close your eyes," he said. Harry quickly obliged, and when he closed his eyes he heard Remus say a quiet spell and felt something cover his eyes. He felt Remus press something into his hands and he felt a jerk behind his navel. A portkey! he thought. He felt Remus bump along with him. He couldn't open his eyes so he couldn't see anything when he landed hard on a stone floor.
"Ow! Remus! I hate portkeys enough without not being able to see where I land," he yelled. He heard Remus stifle a laugh. Harry tried to remove the blindfold, but was unsuccessful – it must have been charmed to stay put. "Where are you, Remus?" he called, getting to his feet, feeling around blindly for him. "This is a really bad surprise! When you want to give me another surprise, don't do this! Give it to me in a box or something," he grumbled slightly. Remus couldn't contain himself any longer; and he erupted into fits of laughter.
"Just say put, I'll be right back," Remus said, after he got control of himself, and Harry heard his footsteps leave the room and start to fade.
"Remus! Come back here! Take this stupid blindfold off so I can see!" he yelled, but when no one answered, he sighed as he sat down. "Oh well, might as well get comfy, knowing Remus he could leave me for hours-" he stopped, thinking that maybe this was Voldemort's plan. "Shit." he whispered.
"Watch your mouth, young man." he heard Remus say with a smile in his voice.
"Remus, is this a trap? Am I in Voldemort's headquarters and he's waiting to kill me?" he asked with a slightly concerned tone, then he heard Remus laugh.
"No, Harry, it's not a trap. Brace yourself, I'm going to take off the blindfold now and you are going to get quite a shock," he said, laying his wand on the boy's face. Harry nodded, and suddenly felt the material leave his eyes. He braced himself and slowly opened his eyes, to get used to the light. When his eyes were open enough to see the person in the room his flung his eyes open and gasped. There stood, alive and well, his godfather, Sirius Black. He was standing there beaming at him. Harry noticed they were in the drawing room of Grimmald Place. Harry stood up, tears welled in his eyes. Sirius started walking toward him, but before he could take two steps, Harry bolted.
He ran down the stairs, not noticing where he was going or that Sirius and Remus were calling after him. He ran through the kitchen, which had several people in it. He didn't notice Mr. and Ms. Weasley get up to greet him before he was out the room. He ran down the hallway and when he got to the door, he wrenched it open and ran full out, not realizing he had no idea where he was going or where the roads led. How could Remus pull a trick like that on me? He knows how much I miss Sirius, why would he spring it on me like that? he asked himself.
He ran until he couldn't run anymore, and finally stopped on the side of the road; where, he had no idea. He sat down and tried to stop the tears, not being very successful. He didn't even hear the sound of paws on the ground, nor did he notice a huge shaggy, black dog had neared him until he heard a whine. Harry looked up to find Padfoot standing a few yards away looking at him with big sad, worry filled eyes. Harry stopped trying to stop the tears, seeing as how he knew that it seemed as if they would never end, and stood up. Sirius started to move, as if trying to block him from running.
Harry did run: right at Sirius.
He ran as fast as his legs could carry him to the dog, which bounded forward. He fell to the ground hugging the shaggy dog's neck. He didn't hear Remus come up, nor did he notice that he had apparated them back to the drawing room. He just sat there crying openly with Sirius in his arms. He couldn't believe it. Sirius was here! He was alive! One question ran through his mind, How? He didn't feel shaggy hair anymore, he felt the neck of his godfather, his arms around his waist, both clinging to each other for dear life, as if they let go, they would lose the other forever.
Sirius sat there making circular motions on his godson's back. Harry's crying started to stop, both smiling as they hadn't in a long time. Remus coughed, and they both opened their eyes and pulled back. They both laughed as they each saw tears staining their faces. Harry started to get up, when he collapsed. Sirius caught him. "It's okay, Harry. You ran a long way," he said, picking him up and putting him on his bed.
Harry looked up at Sirius, thinking how great it was to hear the voice that had been plaguing his dreams for the past few weeks. Harry stared at Sirius and voiced what he had been thinking since he saw him. "How?" he said roughly. Remus gave him a glass of water, Harry smiled appreciatively.
Sirius looked at Remus. "Well, we're not really sure, Harry. Dumbledore is trying to find that out now. What I do remember is falling through the veil after Bellatrix hit me with that curse and then I was in a dark room. I heard voices, very familiar voices I might add. When I turned towards the voices, I saw them, Lily and James." Harry gasped. "Yeah, I know. That's exactly how I reacted. I wanted to run, just as you did, but I couldn't move. Then they said that they missed me and you and everyone but that I couldn't be with them yet. James even made a joke out of it, telling me that they didn't want me there anyways. But, then I remembered you. I told them I had to get back to you and Remus. I couldn't leave you. They said that I would but they gave me a message to give you, Harry."
"What is it?" Harry asked him. He didn't realize that his eyes were starting to fill with tears, just as Sirius's were.
"They wanted me to tell you how proud they were of you, and that you will do just fine when you go to fulfill the prophecy. They just ask, that you make sure that you're ready and not just to do it because of anything that happened at that moment," Sirius paused and smiled. "James also wanted me to ask you if you've noticed a certain red head in your house yet," he said with a snicker. As Harry's eyes grew round and his face steadily turned a bright red, he gulped. Sirius and Remus looked at each other and then the laughter that had built up exploded, and they broke down and laughed at the look on Harry's face. Harry looked totally and completely embarrassed. Here I am, totally embarrassed, and they decide to laugh hysterically and roll around on the floor. he thought. As he watched his godfather and his best friend laughing on the floor, he chuckled. The chuckle turned into a laugh, and the laugh then turned into hysteria. They would gather themselves and take one look at each other and they would go at it again. No one noticed a white bearded man walk in, smile at the scene, and leave, chuckling.
They finally gathered themselves enough and Harry just got up and walked to the two men on the floor and smiling, he bent down and drew them both into a hug. He didn't want to let go of these two who had become very good friends, for adults anyways. Harry let go and gave them each an individual hug, Remus chuckled softly as he hugged Sirius. Harry never wanted to let go of him, for fear it might just be a dream and he would lose him forever. He pulled back and asked, "Is this a dream?"
Sirius shook his head. "No, Harry. And I will never leave you again. You don't have to worry," he promised. But he then saw anger present in the young man's eyes.
Harry was upset. "You can't promise something like that. Voldemort could kill you in a second if he wanted to. No one is safe, especially if they are close to me. Anyone who is close to me is going to die if I don't do something. Sirius, you don't understand: He will kill anyone I love. He killed you, even though you're back, he killed Cedric, and my parents, just to get at me. He doesn't care who he kills as long as he gets me in the end!" he ended up yelling, and he left the drawing room. He ran up to his old room, and locked the door. He stared at the room, his eyes filling with tears, then he slid down the door and cried.
Sirius and Remus were outside his door, listening, and heard him slide down the door and start to sob. They looked at each other, knowing that they couldn't go into the room. They went into the kitchen, where they saw a smiling Dumbledore and Mr. and Mrs. Weasley. The smiles didn't last for long, however, when they saw the look Sirius and Remus wore. "What happened?" Dumbledore asked.
Sirius spoke up. "He asked if it was a dream, and I told him that I would never leave him again and he got upset and left. Remus and I followed him. He's scared that I will leave again, not to mention everyone else might die," he said.
Dumbledore nodded. "Yes, I'm not surprised at that. He was very upset when you 'died', and he felt responsible. He knows what could happen, he knows the prophesy. He's worried that the ones that he calls his friends and family will die because of him. He puts too much pressure on himself to do everything," Dumbledore said.
Sirius sighed. "I just wish there was some way to help him; he took my death pretty hard, and he looks like he could drop dead if something else happens. Albus, I need to be with him," he begged.
Dumbledore smiled. "Yes, you will have the rest of the summer."
Sirius sighed. "No, not just the summer. During school as well. I could go as a dog if I had to, and stay in Harry's dorm. Please, Albus, I can't leave him again," he pleaded. Dumbledore looked in Sirius's eyes; he saw pleading as well as love for his godson, and he didn't want to leave him.
Dumbledore sighed. "I'm sorry, Sirius, but..."
"Albus please, I'm begging you. I'm not above begging for my godson."
Albus saw the determination in his eyes, after a minute of looking at the pleading eyes of Sirius Black he said, "Well, I have a proposition for you," he said turning to Remus.
"Remus, I am in need a Defense Against the Dark Arts teacher, again. I'm afraid the curse is still active, no one wants the job."
Remus smiled. "Are you asking me to come back and teach?" he asked.
Dumbledore smiled. "Yes, I am asking just that. Would you like to come back to Hogwarts, Remus?" he asked.
Remus smiled wider. "Yes, of course I would. But, what about..."
"Don't worry about that, we will take all the necessary precautions, and I'm sure that no one will turn a head about having you back," Dumbledore told him.
Not really convinced, but wanting to go back to Hogwarts, he agreed. "Alright, I'll go back to work for you."
Dumbledore nodded, then looked at Sirius, who was still pleading with his eyes for his godson. "Well then, I have a proposition for you. Since Remus will be teaching this year, we will need a second teacher to cover for the full moons." Sirius looked shocked, then started to smile. "So, if you would like to keep close to Harry, you could come and teach with Remus." Sirius's smile was as wide as his mouth would go. "Of course, you would need to be in disguise, and have a new name, but that could be dealt with later," he paused. "Why don't you go back upstairs and see Harry, I'm sure he can't wait to hear about this," he said knowingly. He looked pointedly at the door and back at Sirius and Remus. They got the message: Harry was outside the door.
They smiled at each other. "Just like us when we were young," Sirius whispered. They started towards the door. "Thank you, Albus. I appreciate it."
Hey All! I hope you are enjoying this back to the past thing I have going on here! I just wanted to say THANK YOU to the only two people who reviewed for my last chapter; truefairy lights and hpboolover127, I thank you very much for your reviews! PLEASE review, I really enjoy reading them, and seeing what you think about the chapter! The next update should be either next weekend, before I go to camp on Sunday, or this time next week, depends on how my other story is going, and if I get to write another chapter. So please review, and I hope you enjoyed the latest chapter!