Thanks to WaffleOfMusic, my beta!
After the death of Voldermort, things were rather messy for the ministry. They had former Death Eaters swearing they had been under imperius curses (for more than thirty years? doubtful) left and right, and of course, the Order.
Seeing as Harry Potter, the boy who lived and Order of Merlin, first class, remained a staunch supporter (and member) of the Order of the Phoenix, they very well couldn't denounce it when the whole magical community was clamoring for its support. So, they slapped a few important titles on the prevalent Order members and created a whole new department for them: The Department of Dark Arts Trials and Prevention.
Remus, needless to say, had only gotten an Order of Merlin, third class and no position in the DDATP thanks to the ministry and their incorrigible prejudices against werewolves.
As his wife, Nymphadora, and practically the whole Order had been granted positions in the DDTAP, he spent his mornings fairly secluded in a small, comfortable room in the new head quarters of the Order of the Phoenix (located just behind and between Diagon Alley and the Leakey Cauldron) being an independent researcher.
He was quite comfortable and didn't mind being alone for such a large part of the day, due to lone wolfish tendencies. Remus also kept the head quarters clean. Kingsly teased him cheerfully for it, but he knew his obsessive compulsive attitude towards cleanliness (second to only that of Molly Weasley) would nag at him insistently if he let the place get all cluttered.
The small, homey wooden building had been used previously as a hideout for those targeted by Voldermort. Its attic was a complete mess of dusty trunks and boxes left by the previous inhabitants (which had briefly included Lily, James, and Harry Potter).
This particular day it was raining and Remus simply could not concentrate on the invisibility potion he was trying to perfect. With a sigh, he rubbed his temples, and looked around his small work area. His gaze fell upon a small flight of stairs in the corner.
Armed with his wand, a bucket of soapy water, and a few dishrags, Remus climbed the steps and prepared to give the attic a thorough going-through.
"Yes, yes" he muttered gleefully to himself, scrubbing at a floorboard with a particularly persistent stain. "I will get you one day, there's no use trying to hide!" He cackled maniacally but was cut short by soft chuckles coming from the doorway.
Looking up, Remus saw his wife standing in the attic doorway. The dim light fell gently on the curve of her stomach and he smiled fondly at the small bump. Oh, James, Sirius, if only you could see me now…
Nymphadora "Tonks" Lupin grinned at her husband and walked over to him, knocking over several boxes in her wake.
"Oof, 's harder to navigate with this thing", she said, patting her abdomen fondly and kissing her husband on the cheek. "I just love how evil you get when you're cleaning".
Remus stood up and hugged her. "What's Molly making for dinner?" he asked hopefully.
Tonks laughed. "Steaks, for you and Bill. He's coming over with Fleur and they're bringing Matt."
The thought of the rather mischievous toddler and what he had done to his lab the last visit made Remus twitch slightly. "I've been looking for an excuse to strengthen the wards downstairs", he murmured, pointing vaguely in the direction of the doorway.
His wife winced too, clearly remembering the last time Matt and her husband's laboratory had met. "I'll get some barbed wire," she said. "Dinner starts at seven, don't be late or Molly will bite your head off!" Blowing him a kiss, Tonks walked back downstairs.
A few seconds later, Remus heard a distinct CRASH and the unmistakable tinkle of broken glass on a tiled floor. His suspicions were confirmed later at Molly's exasperated shouts of "Tonks! That was the marinade!"
Laughing softly to himself, he bent to continue scrubbing at the offending floorboard when a glimpse of familiar writing caught his eye. Written on a large, cardboard box, in James's thick, block writing and in Lily's neat, curvy writing were the words:
Compiled August 2nd, 1981
Love Mum and Dad
Remus froze. He wasn't sure he was breathing and he could feel the hairs on every part of his body standing on end.
"Holy crap," he whispered, awestruck, letting his breathe out all at once.
Gingerly, he approached the box and lifted it up, cradling it his arms as if it would break. There was a note spell-taped to the top. Sitting cross-legged on the floor, still cradling the box, he began to read:
Dear Remus (Moony),
Moony, mate. Lily thinks I'm crazy for assuming you'd be the one to find this, but I know you. You'll be the one up here long after everybody has gone, alone with your duster (GET A GIRL if you haven't already) because of your obsessive compulsive cleaning tendencies. But back to the point. Lily?
You are crazy, dearest. Remus, we've realized in the past couple of weeks that we may not live to see Harry grown. If by any chance this has happened (Oh God, I hope it hasn't) please give this to him. You'll be curious as to what it is, of course. James?
Right. Well, being stuck in this place with NOTHING TO DO we've decided to write a story for Harry. Our story. Which you must admit, is pretty spectacular. Hopefully it will help him know us, if we're gone. Probably we're at our house right now, and you'll bring this and we'll all have a good laugh. Take care, mate.
All our love,
Lily and James
Remus fell back on his heels, not quite sure whether he was laughing or crying. Maybe a bit of both, he decided, reaching up to touch his wet cheeks. Typical Lily and James. Never miss a chance to call your spouse a lunatic!
They would have made an absolutely spectacular old, crotchety couple…
Harry came home from the trials very late that night, much later than he normally did. Remus was sitting up with the box in his lap, twitching at every little sound resembling an opening door. Finally, the door actually did open, and Harry walked in.
Harryhad always been lanky, but this was ridiculous. His face was gaunt and pale, and his glasses kept sliding down the bridge of his nose. His robes hung loose and long upon his scrawny frame. It was obvious he has lost a great deal of weight. There were huge purple bags under his eyes and he shuffled along tiredly.
Remus bit his lip. This was certainly a change from the tall, muscular teen he had seen dragging the body of Voldermort across the ashes of the Forbidden Forest.
"Harry," he said softly, and then again, louder, when Harry walked right past him, "Harry!"
"Exp-! What? Oh, Remus. Hi." Harry said putting his wand away, smiling tiredly and pushing his glasses up the bridge of his nose.
"Why are you so late coming back? These are insane hours, honestly."
"Draco Malfoy's trial started today," Harry said dejectedly, slumping in an armchair across from Remus. "It's possibly one of the hardest things I've ever had to do in my life."
Remus nodded sympathetically, and reached over and rubbed Harry's shoulder. "Oh, Harry, that's difficult. That's really really difficult. Aren't there rules about the leading member of the trial having personal ties with the accused?"
Harry laughed, a sound too bitter for someone only seventeen. "They don't care," he whispered fiercely, "they don't give a damn. They've got Death Eaters coming out of their ass and I'll probably be trying them for the rest of my life. No –" he said, as Remus opened his mouth to speak "I can't quit. I can't quit because I'm already too far gone and I've stopped caring what I'll become. Ron and Hermione have already quit and tried to convince me to as well, but I can't do it Remus, I just can't."
"I don't know if this will make you feel any better, but," Remus stood up, and gently placed the box into Harry's lap. "I found this cleaning out the attic today. Speaking of the attic, I cleaned up a pretty good portion of it today but nobody knows it's not like the pit it was before I got to it, so, if you want some peace and quiet, I'd suggest going up there."
Ruffling Harry's hair fondly, Remus threw a little floo powder on the dying fire. "186 Merlin Flats," he whispered. With a small pop, he was gone.
Harry sat in the armchair, hand resting on the armrests until his curiosity got the better of him. Lugging the box, he climbed the rickety staircase to the attic.
"God, Remus," Harry muttered, rolling his eyes "you have too much time on your hands."
The basement, half of which had been previously caked with cobwebs, dust, mud, and who-else-knew-what, was clean. There was a veritable mountain of clutter piled against the walls of the dirty half of the room, but Remus had certainly made an impressive dent on "the pit" (fondly christened by Fred and George Weasley).
Harry noticed a small, battered loveseat pushed up against a stained glass window shrouded in absolutely hideous, ancient curtains. Tucking the box securely under his arm, he made his way to it, and sat down heavily. Propping the box against his knees, he got his first good look at it.
Compiled August 2nd, 1981
Love Mum and Dad
The writing glinted eerily in the dimly lit attic and Harry felt his breath catch in his throat. Awestruck, he ran his fingers gently across the faded lettering.
"Mum?" Harry heard himself whisper. "Dad?"
After what seemed the longest time, he flipped the box topside-up and began peeling off the spell tape holding the top shut. Harry reached his hand inside and pulled out a thick book, accompanied by a letter, so old the parchment was beginning to crackle around the edges. He opened it, and began to read:
Frankly, your Mum and I don't know whether we'll be alive right now to see you read this. So, in the time we've been cooped up in this place (with Moody driving us INSANE, coming to check on us at incredibly weird hours, does the man ever sleep? I don't think s- JAMES! Sorry sweetheart. Anyways -)
I'm going to do this properly. Harry darling, your Father and I don't want to leave you with nothing to remember us by. You're only a year old now and it breaks my heart to ever think of leaving you and your Father, but we've both realized over the past couple of weeks that it's quite possible we may not make it out of this alive. So we've decided to write a remembrance for you.
We had a rather…interesting seven years at Hogwarts together, for a large portion of which your mother hated my guts. (I did not, I just extremely disliked them). A large portion of these years I was also a rather arrogant little prat. It makes for a wonderful story, really, and we figure it's something to make you laugh and know us better. And Harry, always remember: People can change. Always remember that. You change, your best friends change, and there's not a thing you can do to stop it. You can fight the change or you can accept it. And accepting it is usually the less painful route. I love you, son. I have faith in you.
Sweetheart, if there's anything you take away from reading our story, let it be this: Always keep an open mind about people. Even if you have thoroughly convinced yourself they are the most rotten person ever to walk this earth, still give them a second chance if they need it. Don't let your prejudices blind you to the good in people. Ever. I love you, my baby boy. Be strong and brave. I know you will be, even as I am writing this.
Mum and Dad
Harry let his parent's advice wash over him. "Thank you," he whispered. Pulling the thick book onto his lap, he opened it, and began to read.