Chapter One: Choices
On October 31st Molly Weasley was bathing her 2 month old daughter, Ginny, as her husband tried to remove gum from their youngest son's hair. Apparently one of the twins thought it would be amusing to launch already chewed gum at the wall using a spoon that he had smeared with butter. Unfortunately for Ron, he had gotten into the line of fire.
"Just use a little dragons blood on it, Arthur, and it should come right out," she called out to her husband.
It was days like these when she could hardly believe that she was only thirty. Already her oldest son was in his first year at Hogwarts.
Suddenly she was startled out of her thoughts by her daughter suddenly screaming as though she were in pain.
Arthur rushed into the bathroom to see if something had happened. A frightened Molly was holding the baby to her chest trying to sooth her. A minute later Ginny stopped screaming, but still was crying softly.
Neither parent knew why their daughter started screaming.
Meanwhile, in Godric's Hollow, at the exact moment Ginny screamed, Harry Potter was hit with the killing curse only to have rebound onto Voldemort destroying the man's(?) body.
- - - -
Albus Dumbledore sighed wearily. He had been unable to sleep the night before out of guilt.
The day before, November 1st, he had left young Harry Potter at his muggle aunt's house in Surrey.
It was not a decision that he made lightly. Even now he was sorely tempted to take the boy back and place him with a different family. Each time he considered it, he was reminded of the blood protection created by Lily Potter's sacrifice, and again chose to let things remain as they were.
With Sirius Black on the run from the Ministry, Harry was best left alone. Sirius, James' best friend, was thought to be the Secret Keeper for the Potters. No one could find them unless the Keeper told them how. In addition he was suspected in the disappearance of Peter Pettigrew, another of James' friends.
Pettigrew's home had been destroyed, as though with an explosion, and the only clue of what happened to Peter was some blood and a finger.
- - - -
Minerva McGonagall was struggling to keep calm.
She was furious with Dumbledore. From what she had observed, Harry would have a horrible childhood at the Dursleys'. At the best, he would be treated like a freak; at the worst, he would be abused terribly. She was betting on the worst.
Minerva was also saddened. She had lost two of her four favorite students in one night, and a third was suspected of betraying them. However, she knew better. Sirius would never betray James and Lily, he would sooner die.
Her theory was that they had changed Secret Keepers and Sirius was the decoy to protect the true keeper. If that were the case, then the Potters would have chosen the least likely person to be Keeper in order to keep Voldemort from finding them.
In her opinion, Peter Pettigrew was the Keeper. Either he was found and tortured, or he betrayed them. Either scenario was plausible. Pettigrew was a very weak wizard.
The fifty-ish professor now was trying to decide her next course of action. She would rather die than leave Harry to his fate, and she knew that she must do what James and Lily would have wanted.
Decision made, the professor began to plan for Harry's future; it would be a plan worthy of the Marauders. But to succeed she would need help; help in the form of the werewolf Remus Lupin, otherwise known as Moony.
- - - -
Sirius Black was hiding in the last place anyone in their right mind would go. It only made sense, therefore, that the other inhabitant of the house he was at would be a psychotic house-elf whose chief ambition was to have his head mounted on a wall when he died.
Yes, Sirius was hiding in the Noble and Most Ancient House of Black; which looked as though it hadn't been cleaned since both his mother and younger brother had died the year before.
He had bigger fish to fry than a crazy elf. He had been spying at Godric's Hollow and heard where Harry would be staying. Dumbledore needed to stay in the Janus Thickey ward at St. Mungos.
Sirius swore under his breath, "I will kiss a dementor before I'll leave Harry with those-those people."
- - - -
Remus Lupin was beginning to seriously consider going out to buy fire-whiskey to drown his sorrows, when he heard the popping sound of apparition.
"Remus, are you in. I need to speak with you on urgent matters."
He was instantly alert. He knew his old transfiguration teacher when he heard her. He invited her in.
"Professor McGonagall, what's going on?" the startled young man asked.
Minerva McGonagall paced feverishly back and forth, before turning to face the fourth of her favorite students. In a heavy Scottish accent she asked, "When faced with a choice, would you do what Albus believes best, or what you believe to be best for Harry?"
"If my opinion was that different from Professor Dumbledore's, then I would obviously go against his wishes," Remus replied, confusion about why she asked the question coloring his voice.
She sighed in relief, "Thank Merlin. Albus has sent Harry to live with Lily's sister. I fear what kind a life he is being sentenced to. You know as well as I do that Petunia Evans treated Lily with malicious contempt, and often it extended into physical altercations. I will not sit quietly by and let Albus have his way in this."
Remus was mentally agreeing with everything she had said thus far. "What do you need me to do?"
The brilliant professor and head of Gryffindor house laid out her plan.
By the end of the day Remus Lupin had a new purpose for life.
- - - -
The next day Remus approached a menacing looking house that no one else seemed to see.
As he knocked on the door, he could only hope that Sirius was there and would answer. The door opened for him, and a haggard looking Sirius said, "Well, come in."
"Padfoot, I believe that you're innocent, and so does Professor McGonagall," the werewolf said.
Instantly he was being suffocated in a hug.
"Thank you," was all Sirius could say.
They went into the kitchen and Remus explained that the Ministry was just tossing suspected Death Eater's in Azkaban without a trial, and therefore it would be best if Sirius remained in hiding. He also explained Minerva's plan to save Harry.
Sirius was all for the plan.
By the end of the day, three people were confident that Harry James Potter would be safe with them by Christmas.
Chapter Two: Rescue
A small one year old boy stood in a pristine kitchen staring up into the face of his aunt. "Da?" he asked. He'd never been away from his parents before, and waking up in a stranger's house had scared him.
"No, he isn't here," Petunia Dursley responded harshly barely sparing a glance at the child.
"She isn't here either."
"Unca Mooey…Unca Pa'foo'," Harry asked, lip quivering, and on the verge of tears.
The woman gave an exasperated sigh, and glared at the small child, "No. They are all gone, and are never coming back. Don't talk about them anymore."
The small boy burst into loud sobs. He was really scared.
Petunia grasped the boy's arm, dragged him into the front hall, and shoved him into the cupboard under the stairs. "Stay in there, and shut up!" she snapped, and slammed the door shut.
Harry quieted, but continued crying. Where were his parents and uncles, and who was the strange woman? Harry didn't know. All he knew was that he was hungry, and he wanted his Da to make him some pancakes, or maybe his Mum to make him some scrambled eggs.
He spent the next hour crying until he finally fell asleep.
- - - -
A week later, he was still there. Once, he had tried asking the strange man about his parents, and was hit in the face before being shoved into the cupboard again. After that he stopped asking.
Harry was smart, after all he was talking in (sort of sentences) at just over a year old. He also learned from his mistakes quickly.
He realized on the second day with the Dursleys to not ask questions. On the third, he learned that he wasn't allowed to play with anything. On day four, he realized that he shouldn't ever mention flying on a broom around the fat man. Day five, he learned to avoid his cousin; and on day six, he learned that he was a freak.
- - - -
In a small cottage hidden in a forest in Scotland, two men were finishing breakfast. Both were in an excellent mood. Today was the day that they rescued Harry.
Minerva had bought the small cottage as a "vacation house" and had a strong Fidelius charm placed on it. Sirius was the Secret Keeper. Minerva felt that it would be tangible proof that she did have faith in him.
Remus and Sirius had spent the past week preparing Harry's room. Minerva had searched Godric's Hollow for any of the Potter's possessions that might have survived the events on Halloween, to scatter throughout the house in an attempt to make the transition easier on the boy.
It had ultimately been decided that Sirius would be the one to kidnap Harry, that way Remus and Minerva would be free from suspicion in his disappearance; and could still do things like hold a job, go to the bank, and go shopping.
Shortly after breakfast, Sirius apparated to a hidden spot in the park near Private Drive; Minerva had provided him with a picture so he would know where to go.
As soon as he arrived, he transformed into his canine form and began his search for his godson. As it turned out, he didn't have far to go; Petunia had decided to take Dudley to the park so he could play in the autumn leaves, and, as she couldn't leave a one year old alone, she brought Harry along.
Dudley ran screaming through the park, laughing. Harry, however, wandered a small distance from his aunt and sat under a tree. This tree happened to be facing where Padfoot was hidden.
After an hour, Petunia had completely forgotten Harry's presence, and was engrossed in playing with Dudley.
Padfoot approached Harry, whined softly then rolled onto his back exposing his stomach.
Harry, seeing him, cried out, "Pa'foo?" He quickly toddled over to the big black dog, and began rubbing his belly.
The dog enjoyed this for a few moments then rolled to his feet. He walked a few steps toward the trees, paused looking at his godson, and waited for him.
Harry thought Padfoot was leaving him, but when the dog paused he decided to follow him.
Sirius led Harry into the trees where they were hidden from view before transforming back to human form. "Come 'ere, kiddo," he said softly crouching down for a hug.
Harry dashed into his arms then asked a heartbreaking question, "Mum…Da?"
Tears trickled down Sirius' face. "I'm sorry, Harry, but they're gone."
Harry cried quietly. If Uncle Padfoot said something, then it must be true. "Unca Mooey," he asked, he feared the answer.
Sirius looked at his godson and replied, "We're gonna see him, and Aunt Minnie soon."
Harry's face lit up. "Go 'way wi' you?" he asked hope shining in emerald eyes.
"Yeah," the man said softly, "You're coming home with me."
Harry grinned at him.
Sirius stood slowly, picked Harry up, and apparated to the cottage.
- - - -
Remus was a patient man. Actually, he was usually a patient man. Right now, though, he was wearing a hole into the floor.
"Tea…that's it, I need tea…that'll calm me down."
He rushed into the kitchen and fixed himself some tea.
Ten minutes later, he had finished an entire pot of tea, and was impatiently drumming his finger on the tabletop.
He knew that Sirius would likely be gone for hours, and yet he couldn't keep from impatiently looking out the window for his arrival.
Suddenly he heard the pop of apparition. He rushed out the door.
- - - -
Harry had closed his eyes for the apparition, and, after a brief feeling of being squeezed into a tight tube, he opened his eyes.
He saw a small cottage that was surrounded by trees on all sides. The door to the cottage burst open and a tall, thin man rushed out.
"Unca Mooey!" Harry cried, excitedly kicking his legs and flailing his arms.
Sirius struggled to keep his grip on the wriggling child.
As soon as he was within reach, Moony grabbed Harry out of Sirius' arms and hugged him tightly, tears streaming down his face. He pulled slightly away to look into Harry's eyes, as though to confirm that Harry was in fact safe. He smoothed Harry's unruly black hair away from his face and pressed a kiss to his forehead.
"So…when's lunch," Sirius asked, looking at Remus.
"Erm…," Remus thought quickly, "Grilled cheese sandwiches." With that the two marauders went inside to fix the meal.
- - - -
One hour, six grilled cheese sandwiches (one for Harry, two for Remus and three for Sirius), three cups of milk, and one chocolate biscuit later; the two men changed Harry's diaper, covering themselves in baby powder in the process, and tucked him in for his nap.
Minerva had, thankfully, found Harry's three favorite toys; Harry had always slept with them and had cried himself to sleep without them.
The little boy hugged his stuffed stag, dog, and wolf to his chest.
As Harry fell asleep, Padfoot jumped onto the foot of his bed, and lay down staring at his charge.
No one would get past him to harm Harry.
- - - -
Molly Weasley didn't know what to do. Ever since November first, Ginny had been inconsolable. She cried and cried, and nothing calmed her down.
Molly was about to floo with her to St. Mungos, when, Ginny stopped crying.
She looked up at her mother and grinned, as though to say, "Gotcha."
Molly sighed in relief. Maybe now they could all get some rest.
- - - -
Nearly two years later…
"Moony!" a distraught Sirius Black yelled at his sleeping friend. "We've got a problem!"
Remus got to his feet groaning as he moved, the night before had been the full moon which always left his muscles protesting for days.
"Waz'goin'on," he yawned.
"Yes, what is going on," asked a stern Minerva, her Scottish accent thicker due to annoyance.
Sirius was panicking. "Harry has a fever!" he cried out before dashing out of Remus' room and into the room with the sign proudly proclaiming Prongs Jr.
The two left in the room looked at each other in alarm. It must be bad, otherwise Sirius would have given him some Pepper-up potion and slept with him as Padfoot.
Remus and Minerva rushed to Harry's room, and gasped.
Harry was green…well, green tinged anyway.
Minerva pressed her hand to Harry's forehead. He had a high fever. She had no doubts.
"Harry has dragon-pox. He needs a Healer."
At her words, the two men blanched.
Sirius spoke up. "There's no choice," he said grimly, "It'll have to be Andromeda." He sighed, "I just hope that she doesn't kill me before I get her here."
Chapter Three: Friends in Need
Knock, knock, knock.
Andromeda Black Tonks looked up from her book. It was three a.m. and no one should be visiting this late.
Andromeda's husband, Ted, was working the late shift at St. Mungos tonight, and she was waiting up for him. Ever since their marriage when she was seventeen, she had been unable to sleep at night unless he was by her side.
Right now she was desperately wishing that he was home.
She still lived in fear that one of her Death Eater relatives would attack them and kill her husband and daughter. Her family had been furious when she ran off and married the muggle-born Hufflepuff. Threats used to be a daily occurrence, but since Voldemort's defeat; she had been lulled into a sense of security.
She stood, grabbed her wand, and opened the door. Her eyes widened in shock.
"Si-Sirius," she whispered, "What are you doing here?" She had never truly believed that her favorite cousin would betray his best friends, and so chose not to stun first, and question later.
"Andi, I really need your help," he murmured, looking into her eyes with trust.
"Get in here," she said tugging him inside. "What do you need my help for?"
Sirius again looked her in the eye. "It's Harry, he's got dragon-pox, and we need a Healer. We can't take him to St. Mungos because then they'll take him away from us, and send me to Azkaban. Please help us, Andi, I'm begging."
Andromeda thought for a moment. That he had Harry was no surprise, she'd suspected as much. She had known Lily Potter a little and knew what her family was like. Sirius would have gone to any lengths to keep Harry out of their clutches.
She had to help. She sighed, "Let me leave a note for Ted, and we can go. Oh, but we have to bring Dora with us."
"Great! Thank you, thank you, thank you…" he said.
Andi wrote a short note to her husband saying that she had a medical emergency and took Dora with her.
Ten minutes later, Andi and Dora grabbed hold of Sirius' arm for him to apparate them to wherever his home was.
They arrived in the woods and Sirius told them where they could find the "Marauder's Den".
Andromeda followed Sirius to Harry's room and immediately set to work. She barely acknowledged the presence of Remus and Minerva.
Remus left Harry's room in search of tea. He was useless when it came to Healing, and he would probably only get in the way if he stayed.
When he entered the kitchen, he was startled to see a slender thirteen year old girl, with red and gold striped hair (clearly a Gryffindor), fixing tea. She jumped in shock when he entered causing her to drop the mug she was holding.
"Shit," she muttered. Who is he?! Damn he's hot!
"Sorry for startling you," Remus said as he repaired the mug.
"It's not your fault, I'm just clumsy. It happens all the time. At least I hadn't poured hot tea into it yet," she said, "I did that yesterday, scalding hot tea on my legs and the floor. Thank Merlin both of my parents are Healers."
Remus grinned at her. Definitely a Gryffindor, she wasn't embarrassed by anything.
"Let me fix both of us some tea, while we wait," Remus offered.
She chuckled, "Yeah, that's a good idea. Don't let me anywhere near the stove; I'd probably start a fire."
Remus fixed the tea, and for the next five hours they sat talking. He laughed more in the five hours with her than he had in all the years since he was running around school with James and Sirius.
Nymphadora Tonks was in heaven. He was smart, funny, and gorgeous. She definitely had a crush on him.
Around eight a.m. Minerva, Sirius, and Andi entered the kitchen.
"He'll be fine. He just needs to take some potions every morning and evening until the green tinge goes away," Andromeda told them.
Remus breathed a sigh of relief.
After eating breakfast, Andi and Dora left, promising to be back in a week to check up on Harry.
- - - -
Molly was walking the floor of Ginny's room rocking the small girl in an attempt to get her to sleep.
She had let her four youngest children visit the Lovegoods overnight, and they had come home with dragon-pox.
Fred and George were thrilled to be green, and Ron was fine as long as Bill was around to play chess with. Ginny, though, was having a hard time with it. The medicine was hardly helping.
Ever since Ginny was two months old, Molly had known that she as going to be her biggest challenge as a mother. After having the twins, that was saying a lot.
Ginny was prone to mood swings, and she sometimes felt tired for no reason. Other times she had way too much energy to sleep at night despite having had a long day.
Just now though, Ginny needed some rest, and nothing seemed to be helping.
Molly looked at the clock. It was almost eight in the morning; she had been up all night.
Just then the little girl in her arms yawned loudly, and just like that, fell asleep.
Molly sighed in relief and went to bed.
Bill was fifteen, and a decent cook. He could take care of the younger ones for the morning, in fact, he would probably enjoy it. Bill loved being a big brother more than anything. He especially doted on Ron and Ginny. Yes, Bill was more than capable of handling the kids, and Charlie would help.
- - - -
"Harry, there's someone here that I'd like you to meet," Sirius said. "This is your Aunt Andi, my cousin. She's the Healer who took care of you."
Harry looked up at his godfather's words. "It's nice to meet you ma'am," he said holding out his hand to shake hers. Aunt Minnie and Uncle Remus had taught him to be polite from an early age.
Another person entered his room. Harry stared in shock at the teenager with the electric blue hair.
"Wotcher, Harry," she said plopping onto the end of his bed. "I'm her daughter," she said nodding in her mother's direction, "Nymphadora Tonks, but don't call me Nymphadora unless you want to be pranked."
"It's, err, nice to meet you," he said wide eyed.
Andromeda quickly ran some spells on Harry. Dora kept Harry distracted by changing her nose and hair as Sirius called out requests.
"Do the duck bill," Sirius called out, chuckling at the look on his godson's face when Dora complied.
Twenty minutes later, Harry had been pronounced healthy. There was just one, tiny, little problem.
"He's nearsighted," Andi told the two Marauders and Minerva. "He needs glasses. Nobody, aside from Dumbledore, can transfigure something permanently with the degree of accuracy necessary to get the right prescription. Not even you, Professor." She sighed softly and continued, "What we need to do is have someone take him to a muggle eye doctor and get the correct prescription the muggle way."
"I'll do it," Remus volunteered.
"Actually," Andi said, "I think it would be best if Ted took him. All of us are either half-bloods or pure-bloods, and we would probably only draw attention to ourselves in the muggle world, which is something we don't need. Ted is muggle-born. He can do this, and no one will remember him even without a memory charm."
The other three adults looked at each other, and Minerva stepped forward. "Very well, he can go home with you tonight, and get his glasses tomorrow."
Chapter Four: Prank Wars
Harry enjoyed spending the night at the Tonks' house. Dora taught him all kinds of pranks that he could do to his unsuspecting uncles, and Uncle Ted was really nice. He even enjoyed the trip into the muggle world.
When he arrived home, he was relieved. As much fun as the trip had been, he had missed his family.
A week later Andi and Dora visited again. This time it was to deliver his glasses.
While the adults were talking in the living room, Harry and Dora were setting up elaborate pranks in the Marauder's bedrooms. (They were using James Potter's wand, which Harry had been given for his magic lessons.) They didn't dare prank Minerva McGonagall.
When Sirius entered his bedroom that night, he saw cats everywhere. He went crazy. He transformed into Padfoot and began running around the room barking to try to scare them away, but nothing worked.
Minerva, Remus and Harry stood in the doorway laughing at the crazy dog. He was running and barking at nothing.
Dora had placed a hallucination charm on the door using Sirius' "borrowed" wand.
After a half an hour of laughter, Remus went to his own room. The moment he entered the room he began singing. "You must remember this, a kiss is just a kiss, a smile is just a smile…"
His face turned beet red. He couldn't stop singing.
He heard laughter coming from the doorway. Minerva and Harry were laughing at him. This meant war.
From then on, it was the Marauders vs. Dora and Harry, in the battle of the pranks.
The week before school started, Dora spent the night with them. Of course, she also spent the night as a llama. Harry, on the other hand spent the night as a fawn.
Dora spent the school year sending Harry instructions for pranks. (NOTE: Harry had already learned to read and write, living with Remus and Minerva, how could he not.) Harry spent the year sending her the results.
- - - -
Four years later in December…
"Harry!?" bellowed a very upset werewolf.
Sirius stood nearby laughing so hard that he was crying. Even Minerva's lips were twitching.
The prank war had reached new heights.
"Yes, Uncle Moony," came the truly innocent sounding reply. The problem was the reply only sounded innocent due to Harry's occlumency lessons with Aunt Andi, which were going so well that he could now lie to Aunt Minnie and be believed, an extraordinary feat.
Harry peered into the kitchen to look at his honorary uncle. As Dora wasn't even in the country, Harry must be the one responsible for the prank. His innocent face fooled no one.
"Harry," an exasperated Remus said, "Why is my hair pink?"
Harry pasted a look of remorse on his face and softly replied, "You said that you wished your hair wasn't turning gray."
At these words, Minerva lost all semblance of control and burst into laughter. This in turn caused Sirius to beam in pride at his godson. The Marauders had tried in vain to make the professor laugh, but they never got more than a lip twitch.
"Where did you get the idea to do that?" Sirius asked.
Harry brightened, "I told Dora what Uncle Moony said, and she told me how to do it. I chose the color 'cause it's Dora's favorite. She said something about her mission in life being to 'brighten Remus' world in every color of the rainbow'."
Remus groaned. He was always embarrassed by the young teenager's attention; however he was also never as happy as he was around her.
"Change it back," he said through gritted teeth.
"Oh, I can't do that," Harry said.
"Why not?" Remus' patience was being sorely tested.
"Oh, she didn't tell me how. And she also said that she wanted to see how you looked with it." With that, Harry left the room. As he entered his room he heard Remus burst into laughter.
He pulled a small mirror out from a hiding place under the floorboards. Privacy was hard to come by in this house.
"Dora," he whispered to the mirror.
"Wotcher, Harry. How'd it go?" Her reflection shone with excitement.
"Great," Harry said. "He was so upset at first, then I told him exactly what you said about wanting to see him. He burst into laughter as soon as he thought I was out of earshot."
"Wicked…" the platinum blonde, green-eyed girl replied. "What color did you choose?"
Harry looked affronted. "Pink, of course. It is your favorite color, is it not?"
"Ooh, I can't wait for Christmas now. I wish we didn't have to visit Uncle John here in America." She looked miserable.
"Hey, cheer up, sis. After all, you're gonna be home for Christmas, which is only a week away."
"Thanks, Harry. You can always cheer me up."
"What else are annoying kid brothers for?"
A noise came from Dora's end. "Damn," she muttered, "I have to go. They're awake, and I can't let Mom catch me with the mirror. Bye."
Then the mirror again looked like a normal mirror.
- - - -
"Merry Christmas, everyone," the Tonks family called out as they entered the house in a flurry of snow.
"Merry Christmas," Harry cried out as he ran to hug them.
Just as the Tonks had finished hugging him, Sirius and Minerva; Andromeda said, "What in Merlin's name happened to you, Remus?"
A pink haired Remus had entered the room, wand in hand.
"Why hello, Dora," he said eyeing her with a wolfish grin, ignoring everyone else.
Sirius and Harry gulped, and backed away from the soon to be victim.
"Hu-Hello, Remus," she said voice quaking. She tried to back away but there was no where to go. Her back was against where the door used to be. Remus had vanished it wordlessly.
He stalked closer, still eyeing her evilly.
She licked her lips nervously staring up at him as he towered over her.
"How was your holiday?" He asked, still grinning at her.
"Lovely," she squeaked. She shifted her weight nervously from one foot to the other.
"Good," he responded, and backed off to greet her parents.
She breathed a sigh of relief.
And then she screamed. She had caught sight of her reflection in the mirror that hung over the fireplace. She tried metamorphing them away. It didn't work. Her face was covered in pimples. And to add insult to injury, when reflected they read 'Moony's Lupa'.
Remus had been teaching her some ancient Roman history because it fascinated her. In ancient Roman slang 'Lupa' meant whore.
Dora, of course would never let her parents see what the reflection said, and wouldn't explain it if they asked. If they had known, they no doubt would have been furious.
No one, however, could be as furious as Dora was right now however.
"Take them off!" She spat at him, gritting her teeth.
A vengeful werewolf was scary, but an angry Dora was terrifying, and unbeknownst to Remus and Dora, the others hurriedly left the room.
Remus glared at her, "Not until you change my hair back."
"It'll wear off eventually. I can't do a damn thing to help you. NOW, take them off!"
"I'll take them off…" he muttered.
She sighed in relief.
"…when my hair is normal again."
"Turn about is fair play," he grinned at her. "We're both stuck."
So for the remainder of the day, the two weren't talking…to anyone.
- - - -
Christmas morning, everyone was up early to open presents. Aside from the Remus-Dora tension, everyone was having a wonderful time.
Christmas was also Dora's eighteenth birthday, so she was opening her birthday presents as well as Christmas ones.
She had just picked up a small silver wrapped package when Remus felt the need for some fresh air regardless of the snowy winter weather.
Dora read the note, and saw that it was from Remus; she slowly opened it, half expecting it to be a prank. It wasn't.
Tears filled her eyes as she lifted a small antique gold locket out of the box. It was beautiful. She opened it and read the inscribed message to herself, before running after Remus.
She found him near the edge of the forest, leaning with his forehead pressed against the trunk of a tree.
"Remus," she said softly to get his attention.
He turned to face her. He stuffed his hands into his pockets and stared at the ground. He slowly lifted his eyes to her face.
"You gave me your mother's locket. Why?" she asked, voice quavering.
"I thought it was obvious."
"You thought what was obvious?" she asked tenderly.
He sighed, "I'm too old. I wish I weren't. I wish that I could date you and marry you, but I can't. I'm too old, and I'm a werewolf. But I can't help loving you, no matter how wrong it is."
Tears fell down her cheeks. "You're not too old. Nine years is not too old. You're only twenty-seven. And to hell with you being a werewolf. With the wolfsbane potion available you're harmless. And-and I love you too damn much to let you run off in fear."
"I-I can't, Dora, I'm sorry." He started to walk toward the house.
"I thought you were a Gryffindor, not a coward. You're acting just like a Slytherin," she sneered at him.
It had the precise effect she hoped for. He stopped in his tracks and turned toward her.
"What did you call me?!"
"Slytherin," she muttered.
"Like hell, I am!" In seconds he had her pressed to his chest, and he was kissing her.
Meanwhile, inside the cottage…
"It's about time they admitted it," Andromeda muttered.
Everyone had been watching the scene unfold from the moment that Dora left the house.
Despite what most people might have thought, Andi and Ted were thrilled for Dora. They knew that it wasn't Remus' fault that he was bitten. And as for the age difference, it was a common occurrence in pure-blood families for a young girl to marry an older man.
- - - -
Ten minutes later, the new couple entered the house hand-in-hand to applause. Both were now pink hair and pimple free.
And so ended Harry's training in pranks, but it was only the beginning of his training in what it means to love someone.
Chapter Five: Odd Events
August 10, 1988
Harry had begun Occlumency lessons when he was four and continued with them even at the age of eight.
To become a master Occlumens, a person was often in training for over a decade; Harry was a quick study. He was according to Aunt Andi the best Occlumens she had ever come across, and she had come across a lot of them.
It was now a week after Remus and Dora's wedding, a very small affair. The young couple was on their honeymoon, and Aunt Minnie had decided to leave for Hogwarts early as she had a lot of work to do in preparation of the new term.
As it was only Harry and Sirius at home, it was rather dull…well…aside from the explosions.
Sirius had taken to experimenting in the basement. He was attempting to create joke products for Harry to take to school in three years.
Harry was left to his own devices.
He decided to clear his mind to strengthen his occlumency shields. As he sat on his bed, he wandered through the very deepest recesses of his mind. He saw his earliest memories of his parents, and wandered deeper still.
A memory came to him…except…it wasn't his.
He saw a boy, about his own age, in what appeared to be a schoolyard, and he was being picked on by some bullies. The style of clothes told Harry that this vision(?) must have been from the 1940s.
He knew this because for his birthday, Dora bought him a film of his favorite book 'The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, The Witch, And The Wardrobe'. The movie was set in that time period and the fashions were similar to what he saw now.
As he continued watching, he saw the boy run away from the bullies and begin to plan his revenge. He used wandless, non-verbal magic to scare the bullies. He didn't threaten them, but instead did subtle things to scare them. A dead pet was found one day, and on another their belongings were destroyed.
At the beginning of the memory, Harry had felt pity for the boy, but now he felt righteous anger toward him.
'No matter how horrible the bullies were to him, the boy should not have responded in violence. That made him no better than them. A harmless prank that resulted in embarrassment was one thing, but the death of an innocent animal was going too far,' Harry thought fiercely.
Harry retreated from that corner of his mind. Whatever else was hidden in there could wait for another time.
He wandered to the opposite corner. He didn't expect much. In fact he rather expected it to be cobwebby with lack of use.
What he found however, was paradise.
Paradise was in the form of a crooked wooden house that was only standing by magic. Inside he saw a large family of red-heads seated around a scarred wooden table, and eating enough food for a feast.
He knew that he was looking for one person in particular, though he couldn't say how he knew that.
'There she is,' he thought.
The lone girl in house filled with boys. She was about his age, perhaps a year younger, with chocolate brown eyes and a lot of freckles. She was laughing at something the set of twins said.
Somehow, he felt as though he knew her.
The memory changed. He was now on a broom with her flying through the sky.
'She wants to be a chaser. She'll make a great one with the way she flies.'
Her grin was huge as she soared around the paddock. She flew lower though as she saw her mother waving at her.
Harry watched as her mum gave her some excellent flying tips. 'Her mother was obviously a chaser herself. That must be were she gets it.'
He watched various other memories of the girl, and, when he reluctantly pulled himself away to go eat dinner, he swore to himself that he would be back in that part of his mind soon.
- - - -
That night, he cleared his mind and went to bed. He rather expected to dream of the girl, but he didn't expect to have a conversation with her.
He appeared in the paddock that she had flown in earlier.
"Oh, hello," she said, looking surprised. She held out her hand to shake, "My name is Ginny Weasley. You're the one who visited my memories earlier aren't you?"
Harry felt his dream self's mouth drop open. "Err, yes I did. I didn't mean to intrude or anything. It was a complete accident. Oh and my name is Harry…Harry Potter."
Ginny giggled, "Imagine, a common girl like me gets visited in her head, and when she does it's by the hero of the wizarding world. This is definitely not normal."
"I'm sorry," Harry offered, thinking that he should apologize for intruding on her normal life.
"Oh, don't be. As my twin brothers always say 'Normal is highly overrated. Why be normal when you can be extraordinary.' They always say witty stuff like that," she smiled at him.
"Well, my life is anything but ordinary. If you promise not to tell anyone, then I'll tell you about it." He instinctively felt as though he could trust this girl.
So he began to tell her about his uncles, aunts, and sister. Even that they weren't actually related to him. "Family isn't about blood; it's about love," he said.
He told her about his studies, and she made him promise that the next time they saw each other, he would teach her some spells and Occlumency.
She also told him about her life. Growing up in a big family, she had lots of experiences that he hadn't. Also, he found out that she was a year younger than him. This meant that she would start Hogwarts after him. He was disappointed because he wanted her to go with him.
By the time Harry woke up, he had a friend who was actually his age, a best friend.
- - - -
The next day Harry remembered the boy from his vision. He had done wandless magic without spells.
He decided to dedicate this day to figuring out how to do it.
Aside from the occasional explosion from the basement, he was able to practice in peace.
After an hour he was able to stop the sound from entering his room. After two hours he levitated a pillow.
By four in the afternoon, Harry was levitating all of his furniture at once. He was making a chair somersault through the air, careful not to touch the mirror that was orbiting his desk.
He was so focused on his task that he failed to hear his door open.
- - - -
Minerva had arrived at the school on the day after Remus and Dora's wedding. She had spent a productive week confirming the classes that her third and sixth year Gryffindors would be taking. She also began updating her lesson plan.
On her eighth day there she realized that she had forgotten her notes on inter-species transfiguration. She decided that she would go home for the weekend to surprise 'her boys'. Perhaps she would also be in time to stop Sirius from blowing the house up.
She apparated home in the late afternoon on Friday, and went in search of her boys.
Sirius was doing Merlin-only-knows-what in the basement, but where was Harry?
She checked each of the main rooms and didn't find him, so she went to check his bedroom. She could only hope that he hadn't gone flying by himself. He might be the best flyer she had ever seen, but she didn't want him flying this close to sunset in case he got lost.
When she opened his door, she was astounded. The air in the room crackled with magical energy.
Her boy sat atop his bed which was floating halfway to the ceiling. He was moving his furniture throughout the air showing immense control, and he didn't seem to be at all tired.
The most shocking part about it was that he wasn't even using a wand.
He had a small smile of pride on his face, as he lowered everything to the ground in their original spots.
He turned toward the door and spotted her. His eyes went wide and he said, "Err, hi. I'm not in trouble, am I?"
"No, Harry, you're not. But…would you mind telling me how you did that?" she asked rather timidly.
"I just figured that since magic is inside of us, not our wands, then, theoretically, why couldn't I do magic wandlessly? For that matter, why would I even need an incantation to do it? After all, children do accidental magic all the time. So I decided to see if I could 'will' things to happen, and I could. So I've been practicing my control, like you taught me…I think I'm actually better without a wand than with one, though that could be because I've been using Dad's wand rather than one that 'chose' me."
Minerva's mouth was hanging open, and she stared at her charge in shock.
'Not even Albus can do wandless magic without an incantation. For that matter, he can hardly do wandless magic at all, and he's one of the two most powerful wizards in the world,' she thought.
She gathered her thoughts and talked to her charge, "Well, Harry, not many people take the time to learn how to do wandless magic, and even fewer learn it without incantations. The last wizard who could do both at once was Merlin."
Harry chose not to tell her about his vision of the boy. Perhaps it wasn't real, and he had just imagined it. Of course that would mean that he had probably also imagined Ginny. 'I don't want to think about that.'
Minerva stared at Harry for a moment, and said, "I'm proud of you, Harry…more than you know." She paused. "Harry, I want you to continue practicing this, and since Animagus transformation is wandless, I will inform Sirius that he is to start teaching it to you…I can't believe I'm saying this…illegally."
"Really," Harry asked, hope shining in his eyes. "I'm not in trouble?"
"Really, Harry, and no, you are not in trouble."
Chapter Six: Animagi
Harry again visited Ginny in his dreams. This time they were by her family's pond.
Harry told Ginny about his wandless, non-verbal magic and suggested that she try it as well. Then he kept his promise and began to teach her Occlumency. He would be unable to test her because he was already inside her mind, but he explained the theory so she could start to organize and protect her memories.
After spending a delightful night with Ginny, he woke up to Sirius jumping up and down on his bed.
"I get to teach you to be an illegal Animagus…with Minnie's permission," he screamed bouncing even higher. "Voldie has begun to pass out chocolates, and Dumbledore decided to get the Dark Mark. Minnie okayed illegal activity!"
"Sirius…have you been drinking maple syrup again," Harry asked. Sirius, on occasion would drink maple syrup for breakfast then be on a sugar high for the rest of the day.
Sirius pouted, "Only a little…why…do you want some too?"
"Not if your life depended on it," Harry groaned as he stretched his muscles. "I don't much fancy the crash after the sugar wears off."
For the rest of the day Sirius was bouncing all over the place.
Needless to say, they didn't get to do any work on the Animagus transformation.
- - - -
After another amazing night teaching Ginny, Harry was ready to go into his Animagus trance.
He had managed to brew the revealing potion the evening before, while Sirius slept off the sugar high.
Sirius told him, that when he drank it, it would show him his animal form. Then he would know what to practice changing into. Apparently, the animal that chooses you is a reflection of your true self.
This explained why Sirius was a dog. He was fiercely loyal, and had energy to spare. It also explained why Peter was a rat.
Harry sat in the center of his bed with his godfather watching from across the room. His trance would only last for about ten minutes.
After he drank the potion, everything around him disappeared and in its place a field surrounded by trees appeared.
Harry gazed at the tree line in front of him. A pair of emerald eyes appeared in the shadows of the trees. The animal slowly stalked toward the boy.
It was a lion.
It sat before him and gazed into his eyes. Slowly it morphed into a large black snake, still with the green eyes. The snake, to Harry's surprise, spoke to him.
"You speak my language…"
The snake then morphed into the most beautiful bird Harry had ever seen. It was gold and red in color. He knew instantly that it was a phoenix.
Then the field disappeared and he was in his room once more, and was staring into the concerned face of his godfather.
"You were out for over thirty minutes. It wasn't supposed to take that long. Are you okay? Do I need to get Andi?" Sirius said in a rush of words.
"Relax, Padfoot. I'm fine. It's just…odd," Harry said softly
"What's odd, Prongs Jr.?"
"I saw not one animal, but three: a lion, a snake, and a phoenix. The really odd thing was that the snake spoke to me. He said that I speak his language."
Sirius' eyes went wide. "Three forms means that you must be really powerful. The lion is probably because you are brave, and destined to be in Gryffindor. The phoenix is probably because you are so much like your mother in temperament. James always said that if she were an Animagus, then she would be a phoenix because of her purity and good heart. As for the snake…well…I have a theory. We'll test it later."
"Okay…" Harry wondered at this. As far as he knew, Sirius had never kept a secret from him before. 'Why now? What's so odd about the snake talking to me?'
Sirius got a playful look in his eyes. "Let's start with your lion form. Try focusing on your magic and change your arm." Sirius didn't expect Harry to be able to even change a hair.
Which explained was why Sirius fell out of his chair when Harry succeeded in changing BOTH arms immediately.
"Damn, I knew you were powerful, but you only took one minute to accomplish what took me a full year," Sirius said climbing to his feet.
- - - -
A week later Harry had completely mastered his lion form and wanted to start on the snake, but Sirius kept telling him to wait.
Harry was just about to start a new argument over it with Sirius, when they were interrupted by the sound of apparition.
Remus and Dora were home.
After they had greeted each other, Remus pulled Harry aside for a minute.
"Harry, Sirius mirror called me, and asked me to bring a garden snake home for an experiment with you. What is going on?" he asked.
Harry told him about the trance and what the snake had said. It all made sense to Remus now.
"Sirius must suspect that you are a Parselmouth. It is known as a "dark gift", but in reality it is no more dark than I am." At this Remus pulled a box out of a bag he was carrying.
Harry opened it to find a small green snake. He knew what to do. "Hello," he said, only…it wasn't words, it was a hiss.
The snake lifted its head to stare into his eyes and replied, "Hello. One of your kind has never spoken to me before. My name is Basil. Are you my new master?"
"Err, master?" Harry questioned.
"Yes, a master is the one who takes care of a snake, the protector and guardian, often a friend as well."
"Then yes," Harry replied, "I am your master."
"Good." The snake was relieved. "There is a rat in the house. May I eat it?"
Harry shuddered. "Please do. I don't want a rat around here."
Just as Basil made it to the ground, a girlish scream came from the doorway.
Sirius leapt onto the table doing a little scream and dance routine. "Moony, I told you to warn me before you let the snake loose."
"Aww, but Padfoot, this way is so much more fun," Remus replied, grinning broadly.
"Uncle Padfoot, calm down. Basil isn't poisonous. In fact he says that there's a rat in the house and he's going to eat it."
Now, Sirius was scared of snakes, but, ever since Peter's betrayal, he'd been more scared of rats.
Sirius climbed off of the table and said in a "manly" tone of voice, "Right then, carry on, soldier." And Sirius saluted Basil.
Harry heard a strange sound come from the snake. For a moment he thought that something was wrong with it, but then he realized, Basil was laughing at Sirius.
- - - -
That night Harry and Ginny laughed uproariously at Harry's memories of Sirius and Basil.
Harry was quite thankful that Ginny treated him the same as always. He had been worried after what Remus had said about Parselmouth being considered dark.
Ginny and Harry spent the remainder of the night sharing memories. Ginny deserved the break from her training. She had worked really hard on everything that Harry taught her.
Chapter Seven: Metamorphmagus
Dora was in a foul mood. She had been in Auror training for three months, and today they had been practicing muggle fighting. She had beaten everyone else, but the Auror in charge, Auror Dawlish, refused to give her the score she deserved. He said that she was in need of more work, and had given her opponents higher scores than her.
She had overheard him talking to another Auror about her after class. He was only doing it because she was married to a werewolf.
Thankfully, Auror training was to be taken over by Moody. He was the best of the best. And, most importantly, he wasn't prejudiced.
The only thing she had to do now was pass her physical, be tested by Moody and she would get a good grade.
She was still mad at Dawlish though. She was already planning to prank him in retaliation.
- - - -
Dora came home from training the next day very subdued. Her hair was, instead of the pink from this morning, soft blonde.
Remus watched her sit down at the table with him. Worry was etched onto his face. "Dora, is everything alright?"
"Yes…No…I don't know," she sighed. "I'm scared."
"Of what," Remus asked. "I'm sure you're physical went fine, and that you'll pass your test with Moody."
"That's just it, Remus." She paused before continuing, "I can't take the exam until next year."
"Why not," he asked. "You're the best one there."
Dora smiled at him, "Congratulations, Remus, you're going to be a dad."
He stared at her frozen in shock, then he passed out, falling out of his chair.
Harry walked into the room just then. "Congrats, Dora. You're having a girl, by the way."
"How on earth do you know that?"
He just looked at her and said, "I don't know how, I just know it." He waved a hand over Remus' prone form and the werewolf woke up.
Remus was pale as he climbed to his feet, "Are-are you sure, Dora?"
She smiled, "Yes, I'm sure. I had them check three times."
"Merlin's beard, I'm going to be a dad," he grinned. Then he panicked, "What if the baby is a werewolf too?"
Harry piped up then. "She won't be. She'll just be moody twice a month instead of once."
"Yes, Uncle Moony, you're having a girl," Harry said happily.
"How in the world do you know that?"
Harry thought for a moment, "You know what, I think it's because I've been working on my phoenix form. I think maybe I'm picking up on some of its extrasensory talents."
"Whoa," Dora said. "That is amazing."
Harry got himself some milk, took a sip, then spat it into the sink. "Bleagh, that's disgusting. It's gone sour."
"Erm, Harry?" Dora said.
"Look in a mirror," Remus said.
Harry went into the living room to look in the mirror over the mantle. His hair had turned a sickly green color. "Wicked…" he cried out.
He focused on turning his hair pink, and it worked!
So instead of taking her Auror exam and working for the ministry, Dora began teaching Harry how to control his Metamorphing talents.