Harry Potter sat alone on the steps leading to the great doors of Hogswart's School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, re-reading the letter he had received the night before.
Dear Mr. Potter,
I have something which your grandfather, Charles William Potter, left for me to give to you. If it is possible for you to do so, please come to my shop tomorrow after the Hogswart's Express arrives in London. Tidwell's Wizarding Tents and Trunks is located in Diagon Alley, two blocks north of Gringott's bank. This matter is both urgent and confidential. If you are unable to come at that time, please send an owl to let me know when a more convenient arrangement might be made. If, however, you can be here tomorrow, no owl is necessary.
Harry refolded the letter and stuck it in his pocket. His grandfather had left him something? Had his grandparents been alive when he was born? Why hadn't it been given to him before now? He wondered what it would be like to have grown up knowing his grandparents.
Remus had arranged to meet him at King's Cross Station. They were going to Gringotts for the reading of Sirius's will, and then to Remus's cottage for the night before Harry returned to the Dursley's house the next day. It had been exactly a week since Sirius had fallen through the veil, and the last thing Harry wanted was to walk into Grimmauld Place knowing his godfather would not be there. He was sure that Remus felt the same and had decided to take Harry to his own cottage for that reason.
He had not told Remus about the letter, but he was sure he would allow him to visit the shop before their appointment at Gringotts. Mr. Tidwell had said the matter was "both urgent and confidential." He wondered how much he could tell Remus without him repeating it to the headmaster.
Harry was upset with Dumbledore. He believed that much of what happened could have been prevented if the headmaster had not kept silent. Had he been honest with Harry; had he told him about the prophecy stored in the Department of Mysteries; had he made Harry aware that Voldemort could place false visions in his mind; had he gotten anyone but Snape to teach him occlumency; had he not kept Sirius a prisoner in his own house; had he allowed them to get rid of Kreacher; had he not allowed Snape to goad Sirius . . .
Harry sighed and rubbed his eyes underneath his glasses, forcing his thoughts back to how much he should tell Remus. His thoughts were interrupted as the doors to the castle opened and Neville and Luna joined him on the stairs.
"All packed, Harry?" Neville asked.
"Yeah, just waiting for the carriages," he answered.
"Where are Hermione, Ron, and Ginny?" Luna asked.
"Ron's still packing. Hermione's helping him, and I haven't seen Ginny since breakfast." He looked at Neville sheepishly. "How's your nose?"
"It's fine. Madame Pomfrey fixed it right up."
Harry nodded. "How about you, Luna? How are you doing?"
"I'm good, Harry," she said, staring at him with her wide blue eyes. "How are you?"
"Fine," he said. "I wasn't hurt all that much."
She stared at him for a moment longer, then opened a copy of the Quibbler and began to read silently. Harry turned his attention to Neville. "I'm sorry," he said softly. "About everything."
Neville frowned at him. "There's nothing to be sorry about, Harry. You didn't do anything wrong."
"He's right," Luna said, not looking up from the Quibbler. "Every one of us would have done the same if it had been one of our family members. It would have been unforgivable to."
Harry felt tears sting his eyes and wiped at them furiously. "But if I'd done what Hermione said and gotten more information . . . "
"You did everything you could to get information," Neville argued. "You had no idea that the vision wasn't true. If it had been, you couldn't afford to wait any longer. You did what you had to do. We all did."
"Yes, we did," Luna added, finally looking up from her paper. "And I would do it again under the same circumstances. Wouldn't you, Harry?"
He thought about that for a moment before he truthfully answered, "Yes, I would."
She smiled and turned her attention back to her paper. Neville took a small box out of his pocket and began to feed his toad Trevor some dead flies. Harry watched, feeling a little better for the first time since Sirius had died.
Finally, the carriages began to arrive. Students poured out of the doors of the castle, pulling trunks and carrying pet cages. Harry, Neville, and Luna stood and moved out of the way, waiting for Hermione and the Weasleys.
The train ride did not seem as long as it usually did. Harry, who had not slept well for some time, was asleep shortly after the train pulled out of Hogsmeade Station.
The next thing he knew, Ron was shaking his shoulder. "We've arrived, mate. Time to wake up."
Harry sat up, rubbing his eyes and looking dazedly at the people in the compartment. "Why didn't you wake me before?"
"Thought you could use the sleep," Ron said, taking his trunk off the overhead rack.
Harry waited until the others had moved out of the compartment, then got his own trunk and owl and followed them out of the train and onto the platform.
Remus, who was waiting with the Weasleys, waved when he saw Harry. Taking a deep breath, he prepared himself for the reception he would get from Mrs. Weasley and followed Ron and Ginny over to the waiting family members.
"Oh, Harry!" Mrs. Weasley cried, crushing him in a motherly hug. "I'm so sorry, dear." She held him close, gently running her fingers through the back of his hair. Harry laid his head on her shoulder and held her tightly, shutting his eyes to stop the tears that were again threatening to rob him of what little dignity he had left. He wished he could just stay where he was, in her arms, and let the tears fall. But the station was crowded and an awkward silence had developed around them.
"Thank you, Mrs. Weasley," he said, raising his head and loosening his grip. Finally, she let him go.
"If you need us for anything," Mr. Weasley said, placing his hand on Harry's shoulder, "Just send us an owl and we'll be there."
Harry forced a smile and nodded. "Thank you, Mr. Weasley."
Finally, Remus came to his rescue. "We should be off," he said, placing an arm around Harry's shoulder. "We have an appointment to keep."
Harry waved goodbye to the Weasleys and allowed Remus to lead him away. Before passing through the barrier to the Muggle area of the station, Harry released Hedwig and told her meet them at Remus's cottage. Remus shrunk the cage and trunk, and Harry put them in his pocket. Then they walked through the barrier toward the underground.
When they were finally seated on the underground, Remus placed silencing and notice-me-not charms around them so they could talk privately. "We need to talk about something," he said.
Harry looked at him warily. He wasn't ready to talk about Sirius yet.
"I want to prepare you for something before you hear it read in the will."
"All right," Harry said, glad he wasn't asking him to share his feelings.
"Sirius asked me to be your magical guardian and I agreed. However, if you'd rather someone else . . . "
"No," he said quickly, relieved. "I don't want someone else. I'd rather have you."
Remus smiled, also relieved. "Good," he said, sounding pleased. "Then I'd be honored."
"What exactly is a magical guardian?"
"Well, it's pretty much what the name implies. In this case, the Dursleys are your guardians in the Muggle world, and I'll hold the same rights and responsibilities in the Wizarding world. Because of my condition, I can't legally adopt you, the way Sirius could have if he'd been free, but other than that, it's pretty much the same."
"So, you're my godfather now?"
"Well, no. I'll be your guardian, though. I'll be the one to grant you permission for Hogsmeade trips and such; I'll be the one they'll contact if you get sick or hurt or in trouble."
"So, you'll be more like a parent, then."
"Exactly. If that's all right with you."
Harry smiled. "I'll finally have a real parent."
Remus laughed. "I'm not exactly an experienced parent, but I'll do the best I can, Harry. I promise."
Harry looked at him thoughtfully, wondering if he could live with Remus. But then he reminded himself that Remus was still spending most of his time at Grimmauld Place, and Harry wasn't ready to return to there.
Remus watched the emotions playing across his face. "What are you thinking, Harry?" he asked softly.
"I-I was just thinking about . . . maybe later . . . not now, though . . . that maybe I could live with you someday?"
Remus smiled at him. "The headmaster told me that, in order to keep the blood protection active, you have to return to your aunt's house once a year for no more than two weeks. That's how long it takes for the wards to renew themselves. After that, though, you can go wherever you want, as long as it's safe."
Harry nodded thoughtfully. "I'm not ready to go back to Grimmauld Place yet."
"I understand. I'd like to move out of there as soon as possible."
"Remus, there's something I need to talk to you about, too." At Remus's nod, he continued. "Since you're like a parent now, can I tell you things without your telling Professor Dumbledore? I mean, you're the one responsible for me now, so can things that I tell you stay between us?"
"Of course, Harry. The only thing I would report to Albus is anything having to do with the Order. Anything you tell me privately is between the two of us."
"Okay, so, for example, if I told you that I needed to go somewhere before we went to Gringotts, that would be between us?"
Remus frowned suspiciously. "Where do you need to go?"
Harry sighed and took the letter out of his pocket and handed it to Remus. "To Tidwell's Wizarding Tents and Trunks."
Remus read the letter, then looked up at Harry. "Thomas was a friend of your grandfather's, a very close friend. Of course you can go there first. Do you want me to go in with you or wait outside?"
"Well, he wrote that it was confidential, so I thought I should go in alone. Do you think it's safe?
Remus nodded thoughtfully. "Yes, I do. However, I'll wait just outside the shop." He looked at his watch. "We have two hours before we have to be at Gringotts. If we have time, we'll have dinner after you visit Thomas. If not, we'll wait until after our appointment at the bank." He discreetly ended the charms and smiled at Harry. "Here's our stop."