Authors Note: Just wanted to let everyone know that I'm looking for a beta to help me with grammar and editing. Please send your work to me through a private message or in a link in the review section. Check out my Tumblr as well, the link is on my profile. I post a lot of pictures that give me inspiration, and some that just flat out make me laugh. Please review! I value your opinions so much!
"Mum?" Harry repeated and took a step forward, at a complete loss as to how to approach this. He ignored the student's hushed words to each other and the look of utter confusion on Remus' face. He didn't understand this boggart, was it a mistake?
But suddenly the boggart with Lily's beautiful face twisted into a viscous glare causing Harry to halt in his tracks before the creature sneered in his mother's normally kind voice, "You're not my son!"
Harry's heart dropped at her words, the true meaning hitting him like a ton of bricks. He could feel the eyes of everyone in the classroom on him.
But the boggart wasn't done yet, "My son is dead! You're not my son! You're a LIAR!"
The boggart was now making her way towards him, her hateful words echoing in the dead silent class room, "You're not my son! My son is DEAD!"
Just as the boggart was about to reach him there was a sudden cry of, "Riddikulus!"
The boggart screamed as it was suddenly thrown backwards into the wardrobe. The doors slammed loudly and jerked violently in their efforts to contain it, muffling the screams of the struggling boggart. Remus' hand was shaking as he placed lowered his wand. He turned around to address the class and just managed to see the door slam shut behind his nephew.
"Harry!" Remus sprinted to the door to stop him, but Harry was already out of his sight.
Harry had no idea where he was running to; he just knew he needed to get away. The hallways were a blur; the voices of people trying to ask him what was wrong went in one ear and out the other. By the time he knew it, he was at the only place in Hogwarts he knew would be safe for him. And as he reached the nearly empty seventh floor, the door to the Room Of Requirement appeared as if it were waiting for him.
He pushed open the heavy doors with all his strength and the room came to light before him. The roaring fireplace had a large leather French club chair facing it directly. Harry threw himself into the chair his mind racing a mile a minute. On the side table there was large liquor decanter filled with a brown liquid he knew all too well, an ice filled glass right next to it. Now that was just what Harry needed. Harry deftly filled the glass to the rim, emptying it in less than five seconds before refilling it again and placing the half empty decanter back on the stand. He placed the chilled glass to his head and breathed in deeply, the crackling sounds of the fireplace and the pounding in his chest filled the room.
How was he supposed to explain this? How could he be so stupid?! He should have just made up an excuse to skip the class. It wouldn't have been that hard, Remus would have understood. Because you wanted to know, he thought angrily. You wanted to know what you fear the most in this world, and now you do.
Well I suppose it could have been worse, Harry debated; it could have been the dead bodies of the ones I lost. It could have been Ginny. Harry shuddered at the thought and took a large gulp of his liquor.
But the sight of his mother looking down at him with such hate filled Harry with enough sorrow to kill a normal man. He could feel the burning of his eyes filling, reaching up to angrily wipe them with his sleeve. Crying would do nothing. His family would simply NEVER be able to know where he truly came from. They couldn't handle the truth and to be honest Harry wasn't sure he could handle them knowing it.
The lies he was going to need to tell were just going to get bigger and bigger. But what could he do? He needed to think of a way out of this pickle he was in. It was almost three hours later when he finally left the Room of Requirement. He was currently missing his Herbology class but Harry couldn't find the energy to care, he could give a shit about detention right about now.
A few hours later the Gryffindor common room began filling up from students returning from classes for the day. Harry was currently seated on one of the plush red couches, catching up on his Charms lesson when a small red headed figure plopped down abruptly next to him. Sakura adjusted herself to where she was completely resting her back on Harrys shoulder, reading a book of her own. Harry didn't even bat an eye at the intrusion and the two sat in comfortable silence for a few minutes before she asked the inevitable question.
"So you wanna tell me what happened in Remus' class today?" She asked nonchalantly and turned a page in her book.
It was silent for another few minutes before she continued, "So what do you think it meant?"
Harry closed his eyes slightly and with a sigh he closed his book with a snap, "If I knew what it meant I would have told you."
She turned her head and stared at him blankly as if to say that's a total lie. They both knew that.
"Well Remus called mum and dad so there's no use trying to hide it from them." He cursed under his breath and dreaded the future conversation. Soon the common room was at full capacity with Ron, Hermione and Yuna soon joining their friends around the fire.
They could tell from Harry's expression that the last thing he wanted to talk about was the boggart so instead they spoke of the upcoming trip to Hogsmeade this weekend. In the middle of their conversation Crookshanks suddenly made an appearance onto Harrys lap, kneading his paws into Harry's leg back and forth find a comfortable spot before sitting down. A large, dead spider was currently hanging from his mouth and he gently placed it on Harry's hand and looked up at him as if to say 'cheer up mate.'
"Thanks." Harry smiled crookedly and scratched under the cats chin.
"Bloody hell does he always have to show us his kill?" said Ron, scowling as he stared at the dead spider.
Hermione ignored Ron's disgust, leaned over Harry's lap and cooed, "Good Crookshanks."
"Well cheer up mate, Hogsmeade's this weekend and I think I've convinced Fred and George to give us ageing potions to sneak into The Three Broomsticks. Madame Rosmerta won't suspect a thing."
Harry gently tossed the spiders carcass into the fire, "Thanks Ron but I don't think I'm really feeling up to going this weekend. I'm gonna pass." They all looked up in shock; Hogsmeade was always a treat and a way to get out of the castle for at least a few hours. No one ever passed up that opportunity.
Leon cleared his throat loudly, "Um, did that Boggart mess with your head or something? You've been talking about the trip for days."
"Nothing like that. Just want to catch up on some things before the holiday."
Soon the subject changed to something else and it was time for dinner. Harry lied and said he already ate but urged the rest to go on without him. After a few attempts to get him to join them they went without him. Harry sat in the empty room once again with only Crookshanks on his lap as company. He watched the fire with the wood slowly turned to ash on the bottom.
Suddenly Harry looked from the cat to the fire where the dead spider lay currently as ash and back to the cat.
"Brilliant!" Harry whispered before carrying the disgruntled animal to his room. Kneazles have always been remarkably intelligent and have the incredible ability to detect something suspicious or distrustful. Harry wondered whether or not he could use Crookshanks abilities to lure Pettigrew close enough to the castle. The cat did it for Sirius back in his world in third year, why not this one?
A few days later it was finally time for Hogsmeade, and Harry managed to wake up before everyone else and head to the library. He wanted to miss everyone trying to convince him once more to join them on the trip. Most of the day was spent searching the hidden passages of the castle, looking for any evidence of Pettigrew living there. The first place Harry searched was the shrieking shack, but it was completely bare and had no sign of activity. No footprints or scraps of food in sight. He was nearly driving himself mad looking at the Marauders Map nearly every night for any sign of the rat. Crookshanks was now on the hunt as well, Harry managed to place a charm on the cat that would heighten the already intelligent animal's instincts for distrustful creatures and alert him if there were anything suspicious.
Making his way towards the Astronomy Tower with the map in his back pocket, a loud meow from behind startled him. Mrs. Norris stared at him from where she sat perched on the end of the stair bannister. Harry's green eyes met the cats red, glaring at her for a moment but before he could move away he smelled rather than saw Filch approaching.
"What do you think you're doing here?!" Filch growled at him, his eyes full of suspicion.
"Nothing." Harry answered truthfully.
"Nothing eh!" spat Filch, his jowls quivering. "Typical! Nasty brats sneaking around the castle, leaving stink bombs and Belch powder everywhere. Why aren't you with the others at Hogsmeade?" He continued to move closer, his breath was nearly making Harry's eyes water. Harry answered him with a shrug.
"Well, get back to your common room where you belong!" snapped Filch. As the caretakers hand reached over to grab Harry by the scruff of his neck, by pure instinct Harry stepped back and snatched Filch's arm to push away from him roughly. This sent the old man reeling, his back hitting the bannister behind him violently.
Filch paused in shock before starting towards him, "WHY YOU LITTLE-"
Remus was walking towards them quickly, "What seems to be the issue Mr. Filch?"
"He's been sneaking around the school, that's the bloody issue! Probably setting up to cause trouble!"
Lupin turned to look at Harry directly, "What are you still doing in Hogwarts?" He spoke a very different tone of voice from Filch who was now nearly shaking in rage.
"Where are your friends?"
"Hogsmeade," said Harry, in a would-be casual voice.
"Your brother and Alex?"
"Ah," said Lupin his eyes flickering back and forth, "Well why don't you come into my office. You can help me prepare for our next lesson and get a sneak peek while we're at it." Harry thought of a thousand things he'd rather be doing but agreed nonetheless. He figured it was the best option of the two.
Remus placed his arm around Harry's shoulders and began to lead him away, the caretakers mouth dropped and he began to sputter, "But-he- but-"
"I'll take it from here Mr. Filch."
When they reached the Defense against the Dark Arts Classroom Harry sat down in front of the large oak desk, the older man coming around in front of him, the silence in the room was deafening.
"So what's the next lesson?" Harry inquired.
Remus stared at him before asking, "Cup of tea?" looking around for his kettle. Harry nodded and even more awkward silence followed until he was given the tea.
"What happened with Mr. Filch, Harry?"
Without missing a beat, "He tried to grab me and I didn't let him." Harry answered simply taking a large sip of his tea, and it was the truth. Well he left out the part where he shoved him but he didn't need to know any of that. Lupin's eyebrows rose in surprise, more than likely not expecting such a blunt answer.
"While I don't blame you for reacting the way you did, we both know that such actions will not stand here and you will receive detention for it."
Harry mentally cursed, just what he needed to deal with. He could be hunting down Pettigrew but no instead he would be shining some Quidditch trophies with Filch drooling as he hovered over him every second of it. Before he could protest they were interrupted by a knock on the door.
"Come in," called Lupin.
The door opened, and as Snape entered with a smoking goblet, he stopped at the sight of Harry.
"Ah, Severus," said Lupin, smiling. "Thank you very much."
Snape set down the smoking goblet in front of Lupin but his narrowed black eyes never left Harry. "I advise you to drink that directly, Lupin."
"Yes, thank you Severus."
"Not at all," said Snape with no emotion as he made his exit.
Harry's eyes were locked onto the goblet and Lupin smiled, "Professor Snape has taken the time to make my monthly potion for me," he picked up the goblet and sniffed it like a dog would.
"Why didn't you ask mum? She's just as talented as Snape."
"Well to be honest Harry your mother's been having a bit of a difficult time since Pettigrew escaped. I don't want to bother her with any requests at a time like this."
"Pity that sugar makes it useless," he added, taking a big sip and fighting the gag that was creeping up his throat.
"Try cinnamon." Lupin looked at Harry curiously for a moment, how would he know that?
"Read it in a book."
They sat for a few moments more as he finished the lumpy potion. "You know I could make it for you too? I've gotten top marks in potions."
"Much to Professor Snape's chagrin, I can imagine." Lupin smiled, "Oh Harry I think you've got enough on your plate this year."
At his look of confusion Remus spoke again, "Please don't insult my intelligence Harry." Harry's eyes widened in surprise as he continued, "I know that look on your face more than most people. It's the same look your father has whenever he is up to something."
Harry opened his mouth but was cut off, "Now I'm not going to even begin attempting to argue with you or ask what is going on because I know it will fall on deaf ears. You're as stubborn as your father, I daresay you're even more so. I just want you to be careful of this situation and aware of the risks. This isn't a game."
Lupin got up from his desk, opened his trunk and unlocked a hidden compartment on the side. Reaching into it he grabbed the Marauders Map, pointed with his wand and muttered, "Merlin, help me. I solemnly swear that I am up to no good."
He held the parchment out to Harry but pulled it away the last second, looking his nephew directly in the eye he spoke firmly, "Your father will never see this. And he will never know who gave it to you."
Harry nodded numbly before taking hold of the parchment. How strange it was to be given this map by an original marauder, when the only other copy was in his back pocket. Harry looked at the names of the footprints over the school. His eyes found Dumbledore's office where Neville's footprints were also, no doubt giving the chosen one a private lesson.
"Mischief Managed." Remus muttered and sat down, the ink on the page began to fade until it looked like simple parchment.
"Now, meet me at seven o'clock tonight for detention. We have plenty of work to do." Harry couldn't find it in himself to mind.
Soon after Harry left Lupin's office he was making his way back towards to common room when he heard from behind, "Harry! Wait up!"
Walking quickly up to him was Ginny; her hair was up in a bun with a few strings dangling in front of her face. Harry nearly reached up to tuck them behind her ear before catching himself. God she's beautiful.
"Hey Ginny, how've you been?"
"Oh you know same as ever. You ready for the match against Ravenclaw?"
"I hope so, they've got a really good defense this year. Davies keeps getting better and better."
"Well just do me a favor and try to stay safe? No more Wronski Feint's or Sloth Grip Rolls until after you've gone pro."
Harry laughed, "Oh please this coming from you? You're a better player than your entire family combined!"
Ginny's eyes widened, "How do you know I play? I haven't told anyone."
Shit, how the hell am I supposed to explain that?
Thinking on his feet, "I just meant I don't think you're the type to let anyone say you can't play because you're a girl. And I'm sure after living with Fred and George you would know that anything's possible if you've got enough nerve to do it."
Ginny smiled widely, "You took the words right out of my mouth."
"Plus your reflexes, you don't see that in everybody. And you come back to the common room looking like you've been flying for hours. That takes dedication."
They continued to talk as they made their way to the great hall for dinner, and as they walked to their table they caught the eye of Harry's siblings. Sakura gave her sister a look, obviously displeased at her brothers company.
"Where've you been?" Rosa asked Harry, her eyes never leaving Ginny.
Harry couldn't understand the hostility his sisters had towards Ginny, "Around." He replied somewhat harshly, attracting the attention of Padma and Yuna.
Sensing the hostility, "I'll see you later Harry." Ginny reached to squeeze his hand slightly and moved to sit further down the table with other girls in her year.
"What is your problem?" Harry said, finally fed up with their attitude.
Sakura rolled her eyes, "Listen, you aren't the one who has to listen to her and all the other girls in our year blab on about how great Neville is and how he's so handsome. Plus they all brag about whose going to be his girlfriend."
"Ginny wouldn't have anything to do with that." He argued.
Yuna interrupted from beside them, "Oh please, she and Fay Dunbar go on about him all the time."
Harry didn't know what to say to that, hadn't Neville proven time and time again he was nothing but a coward? Couldn't she see that?
"There you go," said Ron. "We got as much as we could carry." A shower of sweets fell into Harry's lap, effectively ending the argument. After sorting through the sweets dinner was soon over and Harry walked with his sisters along the usual path to Gryffindor Tower, but when they reached area of the portrait of the Fat Lady they found it jammed with students.
"Why isn't anyone going in?" asked Leon, standing on his tip toes.
Luckily Harry was abnormally tall for his age and able to peer over the numerous heads in front of him; he could see the commotion but not the cause. Dumbledore was standing at the portrait along with Professor McGonagall, worried looks on their faces. The blank portrait in front of them had a large slice that went down the entire frame, the cut so deep you could see into the wall. A surge of anger went through him, he was here.
Suddenly the Gryffindor crowd became quiet as the headmaster spoke with the Poltergeist Peeves, "Did she say who it was that attacked her?" said Dumbledore quietly.
"Oh yes indeed, Professor," said Peeves, rubbing his hands together excitedly. "He got very angry when she wouldn't let him in, you see. Nasty temper he's got, that Peter Pettigrew. Slashed her all the way down he did."
A half hour later the entire school was inside the great hall and absolutely buzzing with chatter, the Gryffindor's hurriedly told the other confused houses what happened. Students were beginning to set up their beds when a loud commotion could be heard; Neville was standing with Dumbledore at the teachers table.
"The teachers and I will be conducting a thorough search of the castle," Professor Dumbledore told Neville calmly with his hands raised slightly in a futile effort to settle the boy.
"I'm afraid that, for your own safety, you will have to spend the night here with the other students. The prefects will stand guard over every entrance to the hall."
"Oh, like some student is going to stop this maniac! He's going to come after me! My parent's said he would." Neville's face was slowly turning pale.
Dumbledore paused, "If it will make you feel better Mr. Longbottom we can summon Ministry Officials to further ensure your safety."
"Like they did last time? That Dementor nearly kissed me!" His shrill voice continued to get louder before they took it into the hall. They never came back.
"What a twat." Alex spat furiously, Yuna smacked his arm for his language but agreed with his statement nonetheless.
"Everyone into bed!" shouted Percy. "Come on now! Lights out in ten minutes! No dawdling!"
"C'mon," Harry said to his siblings as they dragged the sleeping bags into a corner where Padma and Hermione were whispering to each other but stopped when the others approached.
"Alright, Hermione?" Harry asked. Hermione attempted to smile but it came out as more of a grimace instead, she climbed into bed her face red. Harry raised his eyebrows to Padma in question but she just shook her head and lay down as well.
Leon groaned as he climbed inside his bag, "Mum and dad are going to go mental over this, you know that right?" Harry smacked Leon's head with a pillow in response.
Rosa snorted, "Everyone's parents are. Can you believe it? The safest castle in the world and the only one to ever escape Azkaban broke into it." Everyone voiced their agreement, worried looks on their faces.
As he rolled around trying to find a comfortable spot he finally decided on his side which happened to be facing Yuna. Their eyes met in the dimly lit room and she smiled slightly, her cheeks reddening but Harry could tell she was still shaken from tonight. He moved to reach out and grab her hand. Her smile widened as he rubbed it slightly with his thumb, she could feel her anxiety ebbing away slowly.
"Do you think Pettigrew's still in the castle?" Yuna whispered.
"Dumbledore and the rest of the professors are searching the castle from top to bottom. I'm sure he's long gone."
She rolled her eyes, "He already got in once, what makes them think he won't again?"
"We'll be ready this time. I'll be ready. I promise."
Yuna tried to smile, trying to convince herself that the situation wasn't as dangerous as it actually was. But she knew better, she knew what Pettigrew had come for tonight. He came to kill Harry.
But she had this feeling that Harry wasn't telling her something, sure she'd had it for a while but ever since Pettigrew escaped he was different. He seemed so focused on something and almost separating himself from the rest. Soon the entire great hall was asleep, light snores coming from all different directions.
Harry was still wide awake, his eyes fixed on the ceiling full of shooting stars and moons. He fought the urge to sneak out of the hall and look for the rat as well but there were too many eyes on high alert, he would surely be spotted before he could grab his invisible cloak.
His hand was still in Yuna's and it comforted him in more ways than he wanted to admit. But he still found himself angry, angry at himself for letting Pettigrew get too close. Too close to his family, his friends. It caught him off guard and he vowed it never to happen again. Pettigrew would never come within a mile of his loved ones while he was still breathing. Harry slowly turned his head to look at his peacefully sleeping siblings, Ron, Yuna, Padma and Hermione. No one would ever hurt them he would make sure of that. He would protect them with all that he had, or he would die trying.
Pettigrew nearly fell over from the force of the device as he suddenly appeared in the house. The empty can of cola dropped to the ground beside him as he sat down in the purple chair covered in cat hair. The Ministry doesn't have the ability to detect the creation of illegal Portkeys, so he could go wherever he pleased, even Hogwarts. If only that stupid hag of a portrait would let me in. He reached over to angrily grab the plate of half eaten chocolate cakes that tasted like they were months old and ate them like an animal.
Flies were buzzing all over the house from the old bat's body that was still in the closet, the stench nearly unbearable but not for him. Azkaban was a thousand times worse. There was suddenly a series of knocks on the door that sent Pettigrew diving for the ground, looking around everywhere for the cause of it. His paranoia was at an all-time high.
It was the bloody neighbor. She needed to seriously fuck off. "Mrs. Fig, I have warned you multiple times and you have not cut your grass for nearly a month. It looks absolutely ghastly."
"Come along dear, she's not worth our time." Oh and here come's her whale of a husband.
"Honestly though Vernon, who does she think she is? This was a perfectly beautiful neighborhood until she suddenly became lazy. She hasn't even weeded her garden since October!"
"I know Petunia but there's nothing we can do but complain to the bloody community board." Pettigrew's ears perked slightly, not over the complaint but the names. He slowly crawled over to the window and peered ever so slightly through the closed blinds. At the sight of the neighbors returning to their home and immediate recollection of who they were, his cracked lips stretched into a malicious grin.