Disclaimer - I don't own Harry Potter or any of its characters.
Reteaching What's Already Been Taught
" Mr and Mrs Dursley, it has come to my attention that your nephew, Harry, has been recently bullied in class and has been doing poorly in class because of it." Ms. Brown spoke in a clean, crisp voice. Her glasses fell to the very end of her nose as she stared impassively at the parents she was talking to.
" What bullying?" Mrs. Dursley asked with the same composed voice. " Harry hasn't been complaining about any kind of bullying to us."
" Some children at Harry's age prefer to keep quiet rather than talk about their problems," the teacher explained patiently. " Which furthers another problem. Ever since Harry started school, I haven't seen one boy or girl make friends with him."
" He isn't the ... sociable type." Mr Dursley smiled an unconvincing smile.
This time, Ms. Brown didn't bother to hide her disbelief. " Mr. Dursley, Harry hasn't been eating his lunch, due to the fact that many of his own students have been forcefully taking his lunch from him."
" He should learn to take care of himself better."
" I believe during break, your son and his friends would often gang up on Harry, playing a game known as Harry Hunting." She was met with a wave of disapprovals.
" What?! Dudley would never do such a thing!"
" My son is no bully."
" He wouldn't even hurt a fly."
" A pack of lies!"
" Mr and Mrs Dursley," Ms. Brown spoke tersely above their arguements. " Also, there has been ... weird things happening at the school. Such as his broken pencils suddeny becoming whole again and his dirty clothes becoming clean. The strangest one would be Harry somehow getting up to the school's roof when the door to the roof is locked."
" Are you accusing us of doing such freakishness?!" Mr Dursley stood up, his eyes flashing dangerously.
Surprised at his sudden outburst, Ms. Brown shook her head calmly. " No, I am not. I am merely expressing my doubts and concerns for Har - "
" You don't need to be concerned about him!" he shouted, banging his fist on Ms. Brown's desk. " He's my concern. Not yours. So stop meddling into our business!"
" Mr. Dursley, if you don't calm down this instant, I will call the police!" The kindergarten teacher raised her voice nearly as loud as his. " If this continues, I can possibly report this as child neglection and worse, child abuse ..."
" Abuse?" Mrs. Dursley nearly swelled from anger. " How dare you accuse us of such things!?"
" I never said - "
" This conversation is over!" Mr Dursley stormed, grabbing his wife and slamming the door shut as he left Ms. Brown's room.
ooo - O - ooo
" How will he react when he sees me?" the newly released Sirius Black asked, nervously running a hand over his dark hair.
" How should I know? Harry was only a year old when he last saw you," Remus Lupin reasonably said. " He should be five years old now. He most likely won't remember you or me."
" I do remember that babies have an extraordinary memory, if I'm not mistaken," Albus Dumbledore, Headmaster of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, claimed. " Harry was able to say my name, even though he had only seen me three times before."
" Well, Harry isn't your average baby."
" Maybe you just don't have the average brain."
" Gentlemen," Dumbledore cleared his throat, though a twinkle was in his eyes. " We are here." They stood in front of Privet Drive, staring at the door. " Who shall do the honours?"
" I believe I owe a little something to a certain Mr Dursley," Sirius smirked before he knocked on the door.
A skinny, horse-faced woman answered. " Hello? How may I - ?" Petunia stopped, her eyes popping out as she stared horror-struck at Sirius and Remus. Mostly Sirius. " You!"
" Good to see you too, Petunia." The Animagus smiled a smile that only a vampire could achieve, just before sucking your blood dry. The only thing he was missing was the vampire teeth and the cape. " Where's Harry?"
" Who's Harry?" Her voice was shrill, covered in terror.
" Harry Potter. Lily's son. Your nephew." Sirius was beginning to get impatient. " Where is he?"
" He's not here!" Petunia shrieked, about to close the door with a snap. And she would have if Sirius hadn't grab the door.
" It isn't nice to close the door on guests," he mockingly lectured her. Sirius didn't even have to put up a fight to open the door. Petunia already sank to the ground in terror, trembling from head to toe.
" Mom! Mom! Where are you?! I want my cake now! Mom! Where is my cake? I said I want it now!" A fat, round-faced boy ran down the stairs, only stopping when he realized three strangers were standing by the door.
" Dad!" he screamed. " Dad! There are freaks at the door!"
Remus raised an eyebrow. Freaks, were they? Oh no. They were much worse than 'freaks'. Monsters, perhaps. Dark wizards, definitely.
Vernon came charging from the kitchen, holding a pitiful looking rifle. " I demand that you leave at once, sirs!" he demanded bravely.
" Hello, Mr Dursley," Dumbledore inclined his head slightly. " My name is Albus Dumbledore, Headmaster of Hogwarts Witch - "
" I don't need to hear that nonsense from a crackpot, old fool like you!" Vernon yelled, pointing the gun at Dumbledore.
A split second later, the man found his gun lying the ground in two, useless pieces and two wands jabbing into his face. " I would apologize if I were you," Remus hissed, something the normally calm and gentle wizard would never do.
Vernon backed into the wall, shuddering from the very touch of the wands.
" Where is he?" Sirius asked, his voice low and deadly. He didn't have to repeat who 'he' was. " I won't ask again."
" In - in there." Vernon pointed a shaky finger towards the cupboard underneath the stairs.
They keep him in a cupboard? Sirius stared in horror at the tiny cupboard. His prison cell was hardly any better than that. Harry didn't deserve this. His godson, Lily and James' son, deserved to be cuddled and spoiled rotten. Not locked up like some prisoner.
" Do you want me to open it?" Dumbledore asked quietly, taking out his wand.
" No. I'll do it," Sirius said, with some determination and a whole lot of dread. Swallowing and mentally preparing himself for what he might see, Sirius unlocked the cupboard door and swung it open.
Harry Potter sat up from his bed, staring at the strangers with a bewildered look. There were bruises across his face. Even a black eye could not hide the brightness of his green eyes.
Oh Harry, what have they done to you?
" Hello, Harry." Dumbledore smiled kindly at the boy, who gave a small smile in return. " My name is Professor Albus Dumbledore. We are here to take you to a much better and safer place. Would you like to come with us?"
The five year old said nothing, his eyes darting to Sirius and Remus behind Dumbledore. There was distrust and awe written all over his thin face. Have they been starving him? Sirius realized with horror.
" I'm Remus Lupin," the man quickly introduced, smiling only for Harry's sake. " And this is Sirius Black." Remus indicated for Sirius, afraid the man might do something rash. " We are old friends of your parents, Lily and James."
At the mention of his parents, Harry sat up a little straighter, his eyes wide. " You knew my parents?"
" Of course. We used to go to school together." Remus kept the smile plastered on his face a little bit longer. " We promised that if anything happens to them, we would take care of you. And we would keep that promise," he continued, kneeling down so Harry could see him a lot better. " If you would let us."
Confusion and inquisitiveness were clearly seen in Harry's eyes but he nodded. " I want to go with you," he said quietly.
Smiling a real smile, Remus extended a hand towards him. Shyly, as if he wasn't sure what would happen, Harry took Remus' hand, who helped him out of the cupboard.
" Why don't you and Harry go outside for now?" Dumbledore suggested. " Sirius and I will stay behind and collect Harry's belongings."
" Come on, Harry," Remus gently pulled him to the door. " Let's go outside for a bit. It won't be long."
The boy glanced at his petrified family. " What about Uncle Vernon - ?"
" Don't worry about him," Sirius abruptly cut in. He too forced himself to smile cheerfully at Harry. " He's going to have a little chat with us. Why don't you go for a walk with Moony for a while? I promise we won't take long."
Still confused about the entire situation, Harry allowed Remus to lead him away from the house and away from the Dursleys.
Sirius waited for Harry and Remus to leave before grabbing Vernon by the collar.
" How could you - " His voice was no more than whisper, shaking with suppressed rage. " How could you do that to him? He's just a boy!"
" We - we - I never laid a hand on him," Vernon spluttered, shrinking away from Sirius. " There were bullies - bullies at his school. They always picked on him - whenever - wherever ..."
" Then why didn't you help him?!" His voice rose to a yell as he slammed the muggle into the wall.
" I - I have no control of those children. I could do nothing!" he shrieked.
" Saying part of the truth isn't enough, I'm afraid Mr. Dursley," Dumbledore stepped in, gazing at him with such an intensity that the entire room seem to darken. " For instance, you failed to mention that your own son did most of the bullying and you do have control over him. Now, will you tell me what really happened?"
" I just did." Vernon tried to look intimidating but failed miserably since Sirius was the one doing the intimidating.
With another piercing look that made the man shiver, Dumbledore bent down to the cupboard to grab what belonged to Harry. All that was there in the cupboard was a small, dingy mattress, a tiny, neatly-folded pile of overlarged clothes and some measly school things.
Frowning in disgust, Dumbledore stood up, without bothering to take anything from the cupboard. " We will be taking custody of Harry. Your signatures will be required and the papers will appear tomorrow morning."
Reluctantly, the old man tilted his head towards the Dursleys. " Thank you for your cooperation," he said, rather stiffly.
" Go! Take him! Get him out of my sight!" Vernon spat. " He's a freak just like his parents and the rest of you."
And he would have said more about the matter, if Sirius hadn't hit him with the Bat Bogey Hex. Little bat wings appeared on his face, blinding Vernon, causing him to howl in pain.
Petunia fainted right on the spot, while Dudley screamed.
" Sirius." There was a slight warning tone in Dumbledore's voice but nothing more than that.
" Don't worry. The hex will disapper by tonight." Sirius glared fiercely at the terrified man on the ground. " Think of it as a reminder of what you did to my godson."
He exited the house as quickly as he had entered, evil thoughts swarming in his mind of what he could do to them for their treatment. He wanted to repay triple everything that Harry went through to the Dursleys. See if they like how it feels. The terror. The dread. The fear. How could he let something happen to a sweet, innocent child?
" How come that man called you Moony?" Harry was asking Remus curiously. " I thought your name was Mr Lupin ..."
" Yes, my name is Remus," the wizard answered, somewhat surprised that Harry had such polite manners at his age, not to mention quite attentive. " But my friends call me Moony. You can call me Moony if you want."
" Does that mean I'm your friend?" His face brightened visibly.
A wave of longing washed over Remus. He wanted to take the boy, hug him and never let go. Harry has been through more than he should have in his short life. And one of them was not having friends.
Remus could relate to that. He was a werewolf. He was always shunned by society. He was a monster. A beast during the full moon. Dumbledore accepted it. So did James, Sirius and Peter. They made his life less painful and more bearable during the nights he transformed.
In Harry, he saw a reflection of himself. Someone who was tied down by rules. Someone who needed a family and freedom.
" Yes, Harry. You're my friend."
" Ready to go?" Dumbledore asked abruptly. There was still that cold fire in the old wizard's eyes. Remus never saw his old mentor look this angry before.
" Shall we Apparate?" he asked, hoping to distract Harry.
" It's the only way," shrugged Sirius. " I'll do Side-Apparation with Harry," he quickly added, in case anyone had any objections. He took Harry's hand, who felt apprehensive. " It's all right," he murmured to the nervous boy. " Just hold onto my hand."
Suddenly, with a sharp crack, they were no longer at Privet Drive. They were in the Hogwarts grounds.
" How did you do that?" Harry was amazed, turning his head to get a clearer view of the place.
" What else? Magic," Sirius grinned.
" But there is no such things as magic," Harry frowned, trying to will some logic into these two silly men.
Words that aren't meant to be uttered, felt like spilling out of Sirius' mouth. Same with Remus. And they both would have said those words willingly and quite loudly too, if a little boy wasn't in their presence.
" Harry, who told you that magic doesn't exist?" Remus asked softly.
The boy shrugged. " My uncle."
When I get my hands on him ... " Listen, Harry." Sirius took a deep breath, to calm himself down. " Magic does exist. And we're living proof of it."
Sirius would have began talking about Harry's parents if they had arrived at the Hospital Wing. Madame Pomfrey was already waiting. " Would you like to come with me for a while, Harry?" Dumbledore asked graciously.
Glancing at Sirius and Remus, who both nodded encouragingly, Harry took Dumbledore's hand and entered Madam Pomfrey's office.
All the feelings and unsaid words burst from Sirius's mouth. " I'll kill them!" He stood up, pacing like a wild animal. " I swear I'll kill them! For everything they did! For what they said! Just everything!"
" Calm down." The lycanthrope tried to grab Sirius's arm but the man angrily yanked it out of his grip. " Do you want everyone in Hogwarts to hear you?" he hissed.
" I don't care. Let them hear me. Maybe then someone will actually do something for Harry!"
" Sirius!" Remus risked raising his voice. " Harry's probably frighten and really confused right now. What he needs isn't more questions. He needs someone to comfort him and give him the love he deserves."
Sirius sighed, collapsing into a chair. He buried his face into his hands. " It's just that ... How can I face James and Lily after what happened to Harry? I'm his godfather. I should have been there to protect him. But I failed. I failed them. I failed Harry."
" You didn't fail." Remus placed a comforting hand on Sirius's shoulder. " Harry's here, alive and well. Yes, he's hurt from his experiences but that doesn't mean he can't move on from his past."
" What if he doesn't move on from his past?" Sirius asked in a hopeless voice.
Before Remus could reply, a tiny voice interrupted. " Mr Lupin? Mr Black?" Both of them spun around to see the very topic of their discussion.
Harry stood at Madam Pomfrey's doorway, in his new pajamas and holding a stuffed animal stag. Madam Pomfrey was beside him, holding his hand.
" Hey, Prongsling," Sirius smiled, all remorse hidden from his face. " Where did you get that?" He feigned curiosity. Likely for him, Harry didn't notice it.
" Mr Dumbledore got it for me," he chirped happily.
" How was the check-up?" Remus asked Madam Pomfrey.
The woman smiled. " Nothing to worry about, Mr Lupin. Some bruises, malnutrition, slightly underdeveloped body structure ... nothing that can't be recovered from. He seems to be doing fine, emotionally. A little shy and reserved but he can come out of it."
" Thanks, Poppy." The man never felt more relieved. Harry was just going to be fine.
" As I said before, Remus," Madam Pomfrey gave him a small but warm smile. " Nothing to worry about. If Harry needs something, don't hesitate to come to my office." Then, she left.
Remus turned to see Harry excitedly telling Sirius about his stag. " All Dumbledore did was wave his wand and poof! It appeared. Just like that." Harry gave his new stuffed animal an extra squeeze, happy that he even has one.
" Do you have a name for it?" Sirius asked, interested. Conversations with children were quite unique and fascinating.
" I dunno." Harry cocked his head in thought. " I was thinking maybe Prongs."
Surprised fluttered across Sirius's face. How did Harry remember his father's old nickname? He was beginning to feel frightened at how accurate Dumbledore's earlier comment had been.
" That's a wonderful name," Remus managed to speak, doubtless thinking the same thing as Sirius. " It's getting late. Why don't you go to bed, Harry?"
Sirius helped him crawled into a bed, nicely tucking Harry into his covers and giving a short kiss on the forehead. " Good night, Harry. Sweet dreams."
However, whether Harry sensed some tension earlier or he was simply James' and Lily's son, he slightly frowned. " Are you mad at me?" he asked.
Both Sirius and Remus was surprised at his question. " Why would we be mad at you, Prongsling?" Remus asked, taken back.
" Well," the boy slowly said. " I'm a freak. Nobody wants a freak." The way Harry said was so calm and blunt that it actually hurt.
No one said a word. Remus stayed standing. Sirius remained sitting on the bed. And Harry watched them with a sad and unquestioning look. As if he would simply accept what would happen to him and take the blame for it.
There was no room for defiance or protest in Harry Potter, only bitter acceptance. Which goaded Sirius to act.
He embraced Harry, trying his hardest to squeeze out every ounce of his love into his godson, willing him to realize that he does have family and that they were right here, in this very room.
" You aren't a freak, Harry," Sirius whispered, blinking back tears. " You're a wizard. Just like your mum and dad. You are my godson. I would do anything to protect you ... to keep you happy ... to love you. Please, just give me that one chance. That one chance to show you how much you mean to me, to Remus, to everyone."
Harry wasn't quite sure how to react. He never been hugged before. Or talked to like this before either. There was an indescribable warmth radiating from Sirius. A feeling that the boy didn't understand but remembered that he had felt it before. With a beautiful, red-haired lady with green eyes and a kind, dark-haired man wearing glasses.
Whatever this feeling was, Harry decided he liked hugs. " Please, " he said quietly, almost begging, causing Remus and his godfather to look up at him worriedly.
Did Harry hated us after all?
" Let me stay with you."
The breath that Remus had been holding, was released. Sirius let out a bark of laughter as he ruffled Harry's hair. " No problem, kiddo. You won't go going anywhere for a while anyways." His arms enveloped Harry, holding him tightly.
Remus felt slightly incompatible. He wasn't Harry's godfather or a relative. He could relate to the boy but that meant little. Harry needed Sirius more than him. He was just the 'replacable uncle'.
But before he could leave, two pairs of arms yanked him into a full-force hug.
" You won't be going anywhere either, Moony," Sirius gruffly mumbled. " You need this one as much as we do."
Laughing, Remus allowed himself to buried underneath the tangle of arms, bodies and faces. He clearly heard Sirius' and Harry's laughter join with his, ringing across the Hospital Wing.
At that moment, nothing sounded more sweeter.