Disclaimer: Not mine.
A/N: I am so very sorry for the massive delay. Originally planned to make this the last chapter but due to your enthusiasm I am extending it. I'm sorry I did not find time to reply individually to each of you but thank you so, SO much for your wonderful review, support, and above all patience. Thank you!
I'm Still Here!
Chapter 17: A Very Good Question
Harry awoke to find himself in the arms of Remus, who was silently weeping. Tears fell on Harry's soft head.
"Moo?" he asked carefully, and Remus started in surprise. He looked down at Harry in pure disbelief and suddenly burst into tears, clutching him tightly. Harry did not move nor make a sound. He was very, very confused. What had happened and what was wrong with Lupin? He wondered perplexedly until Remus leapt up and exclaimed "He's alive!"
'Well, of course I'm alive.' Harry thought rather confoundedly.
Tearfully Remus was hugging him, squeezing him actually. The pressure on his midsection was tremendous. He wiggled to get loose but Remus only held him tighter. Harry thought he felt his lungs condense. Hermione, Mr. and Mrs. Weasley, Draco Malfoy, and Snape ran into the room, stumbling over one another. Harry had the feeling of being a dinner dish, happily passed from one person to the other and being fiddled with.
"He's smaller than he was a little while ago isn't he?" asked Hermione in a near gasp as observant as ever.
"Yes, and lighter." Lupin conceded, amazed.
"What exactly did that potion do Severus?"
"It brought him back to the age he was a couple of months ago when we first witnessed the effects of Lord Voldemort's curse."
"Why?" Tonks demanded blankly. Everyone else looked equally confused.
"Simple," explained Snape, looking bored now that he wasn't at fault for killing the boy who lived. "Now I know how to concoct a potion that will affect the aging process he's undergoing. The only thing remaining is-"
"How to affect it the right amount!" finished Hermione excitedly. Snape looked rather annoyed. Perhaps he wanted to say that part. It was a very important part or his plan no less. Harry might have felt sorry for him if he were not highly distracted by the force being applied, once again, to his abdomen. He was pleased to see Hermione looking so hopeful but this squeezing business was about to damage his internal mushy bits. He whined.
"Sorry Harry bear, didn't mean to squish you." In unison Draco and Snape rolled their eyes and excused themselves from the presence of the fawning, admiring crowd.
"So this means we are finally getting close." Hermione smiled. She was much prettier when she did that. Harry had almost forgotten.
"Closer." said Tonks with notes of caution and excitement in her voice.
Although he didn't know he was supposed to be dead, Harry found himself pretty thrilled to be alive again. It was a bit exciting. A bit too exiting.
"Oh…" Fred grumbled handing him over. Molly giggled.
"I'll change him." Sighed Remus. Good Ole Remus to the rescue. Harry had always liked that man but he felt closer to him now than he ever had before, his parents' last remaining friend. He had so much he wanted to ask him about them he had forgotten to ask about himself. He was kind, gentle, and very patient. He had a straight back, an honest way, a strong work ethic, and big heart. His laugh was not as infectious as Sirius' had been, but his smile was one of a kind. Harry found himself smiling back as he looked up at him from the changing station.
Look at this Tonks," he called softly. "He's smiling really big for such a little guy."
"Bless him." She laughed, grabbing Harry's foot playfully. Lupin had definitely given him something no one else had ever been able to, a chance to see what having parents might have been like. He did not even know it.
'One day,' Harry thought. 'This guy is going to make an awesome dad.'
"Da!" Harry shouted at him enthusiastically. Remus' smile disappeared.
"No pup, I'm not your Da. That's him." He pointed to a picture on Harry's mantel. His dad's familiar face smiled back at him and waved. Still grinning, Harry persevered. "Da!" she shouted, pointing at the photo.
"That's right," said Lupin happily.
"Da!" Harry said again, this time pointing at Lupin. He sighed resignedly, eyes twinkling like Dumbledore.
"Sure, why not?" he said lifting Harry. "You're a clever little guy, aren't you?" he asked, curiosity audibly aroused.
'Oh please,' Harry rolled his eyes thinking 'That's what I thought about you.' He cooed contentedly as Remus sand him to sleep in has basinet, something Irish sounding, vaguely familiar. "Your mother used to sing that to you." He whispered as Harry drifted off.
Harry woke to being pulled from his bed by a downright cheerful acting Hermione. They rushed downstairs.
"Careful with him, Hermione." Mrs. Weasley reminded her.
"I am!" she called over her shoulder. Harry quite enjoyed the day after Christmas as well, the good mood of his not death was uplifting. He very much enjoyed watching the adults attempt dancing the mambo playing from the record Bill got for Christmas. He was glad he could watch amusedly from the sidelines rather than look like an idiot for joining in. He and Ron attempted to bang rhythmically on their high chairs to the beat. Hermione picked up Ron and began to dance with him He squealed with glee. An Irish jig came on and everyone joined in. A bored looking Draco, never one keen on being left out, picked up Harry cautiously, as if picking up a baby dragon. Harry was unsure if he should call for help until he found himself bobbing up and down like an apple. No one- and he meant no one- could ever know he had danced with Draco Malfoy.
Too late, Ron spied him and dissolved into hopeless giggles so serious he developed the hiccups. Good for you, thought Harry vehemently. The dancing did not last long but it was enough to make him blush furiously. Naturally they thought he was just flushed.
'Shove it Ron!' he thought at his best friend. 'I see Hermione finally asked you to dance.' Ron wasn't so unbearable after that. The music stopped abruptly and they were all caught by a dark looking Snape.
"We do have work to do, do we not?" he asked slowly as dripping honey, poisoned honey.
"Oh, come now Severus. Where is your Christmas cheer?"
"It isn't Christmas. Perhaps that nasty storm outside blew it away."
"Humbug!" teased Fred. Snape raised an eyebrow menacingly. Fred gulped and looked apologetically his way before making himself scarce.
"Morning Severus," offered Molly. "Care for a cup of coffee?"
"No thank you. We really must be going. There was an attack this morning."
"Where?" asked Lupin, in a fresh seriousness.
"The Ministry of Magic. Certain artifacts were removed."
There was a bustle and flurry of movement and then the house was quite deserted save Mrs. Wealey, Hermione, Draco, Harry and Ron.
"Well this should certainly be fun!" said Draco glumly. If he only knew how right he truly was…
"Watch them while I go check on the potion."
"Just do it."
"How do you know I won't kill them while you're out of the room."
"Do you have a suicide wish?" she asked, wand suddenly in his face.
"Good. I'll be back in a few minutes. How much trouble can they cause in a few minutes?"
'That' thought Ron to Harry. 'Is a very good question."
A/N: I haven't done this in a while so I hope you found that chapter enjoyable. As I said, I'm sorry for the wait and I do not plan on the next up-date taking that long. Please leave a review! Thanks to everyone for reading.