Author's note: ( sheepish look) I'm so sorry that I haven't updated in so long, life just got so, so, so busy! I made this chapter extra long as a peace offering though! I won't leave you that long again, I got all inspired for this story, and completely revamped the plan and so everything that's going to happen has completely changed and it's much better now, I hope! To recap, I read back through the previous chapters and realised how many mistakes there are and things I've missed out (magic hasn't even been explained yet, duh!) And so when I have time I'm going to go back and tweak the other chapters and add new bits to explain things like Remus telling Harry about magic, and I'll let you know when I've done that. I have an exam early next week, but after that is out of the way updates will be regular.
I have really missed you all, and I so hope you are still reading. Also, I apologise if you reviewed one of the previous chapters and don't have a reply yet, my inbox got completely stuffed during my long absence, I will get round to replies for everyone.
I hope you enjoy the chapter! Apologies for the delay again, I would never abandon this story!
Remus Lupin turned over sleepily, his eyes reluctantly cracking open and focusing on the silhouette in his doorway. "Mhhm?"
"I can't sleep."
Pulling himself into a sitting position, Remus patted the bed beside him. Smiling, little Harry Potter leapt onto the bed and into his guardian's arms, snuggling into the warm body.
Remus cringed internally as Harry's cold little feet curled up against his side, he was really going to need to get that boy some bed socks.
Smiling tenderly, he smoothed Harry's hair, methodically ruffling it in the way that always calmed his young charge down when he was upset, his baggy pyjama sleeve tickling the little boy's face every time Remus stroked his fringe. Giggling, Harry grabbed the soft material, pressing it against his face and sighing happily, within seconds little Harry's breathing evened out, his little face looking blissfully relaxed as his tiny fists clenched the sleeve of Remus's pyjamas.
Continually to absentmindedly ruffle Harry's messy black hair, Remus began to think about the following day. He had already decided that he was going to have to start tutoring Harry, after all, he had basically had kidnapped him and due to his status as the Boy-Who-Lived, a huge amount of people were after the boy; all of Voldemort's old Death Eaters would be seeking revenge and if Dumbledore and the old Order had discovered Harry gone, they would certainly be pulling out all the stops in search. A Primary School, even a muggle one, would be far too dangerous, he told himself firmly, though really a large part of his desire to teach the boy himself was that he simply couldn't imagine being away from his little godson for six hours a day, now he'd found him he wasn't going to let him out of his sight for a long time!
It was quite the norm, anyway, for Wizarding families to home school their children, the pure blood families didn't want their children mixing with any 'inferior' children, not that Remus wanted Harry to turn into one of those bigots, but also many just found it easier, young witches and wizards often displayed accidental magic and it could be disastrous in some circumstances, plus it meant a children could be equipped only with what they needed for their life and Hogwarts, equipping them with small knowledge of the basics of magic which would stand them in good stead for their first year and make settling in that little bit easier, and of course, forgetting long division and Pythagoras and all those other mind-blowing boring things that the muggle curriculum taught young children which most went on never to use again, certainly nothing a young witch or wizard couldn't work out with a quick SolveMe spell, and didn't muggle children also have some sort of device which worked these things out for them? Lupin cast his mind back to sixth year Muggle Studies, a Kallicu? A Callilater?
Remus shook his head, glancing over at his bedside clock, Remus realised it was nearly three in the morning. Three in the morning, with a busy day ahead of him, and he was trying to recall pointless facts from nearly a decade ago. He made to lie back down and catch a few more hours sleep, and realised that he actually couldn't, his little godson had hold of his sleeve, had it pressed against his face, and had turned over and so without physically detangling himself, Remus had very little manoeuvrability.
Yawning, he reached out to see if he could slide the material gently from the boy's fingers, but Harry was gripping it for dear life and, afraid he would wake him up, Remus left it.
Sitting up, glancing around the dark room, Remus realised it was at least four hours before the time Harry usually woke up. It was at that moment, that Remus realised the metal bedstead was digging into his back in a very uncomfortable way, he shifted and found himself in an even more painful position as one of the metal decorations on the bedstead dug further into his back, wincing he shifted once before, a tiny amount but enough to position himself between the bars without waking the little boy sleeping beside him, it still wasn't comfortable, but it was better.
Now he just had to find a way to occupy himself for a few hours with relatively little movement. He waved his free hand and a parchment and quill flew towards him, he half heartedly wondered if he could just use magic to take his sleeve from Harry, but realised he rather liked the feeling of being needed, and besides, Harry might wake up.
He began to write out a small timetable of what he would teach Harry, with only one hand, he couldn't hold the parchment still and as he was leaning on a duvet too, his normally stylish swirly writing was messy and scrawled.
Subjects to teach:
History of Magic
Basic Defence Theory
Charms and Transfiguation Theory
Other things to teach Harry
Riding a bike
The magical subjects he thought he'd just touch on the theory, and demonstrate a few spells, because he knew it would thrill his young charge, it would not be a bad thing for him to know a few basics, he wanted him to be able to defend himself, and because most non-muggle-born witches and wizards knew some basic spells before attending Hogwarts; he didn't want Harry to ever feel inferior again. He knew Binns made History of Magic very boring, and he knew he could make the subject more interesting, it would be good for Harry to know more of his roots, especially as he was part of the magical world's history. Herbology was a subject Harry didn't need to actually use magic for and Remus could imagine countryside walks, with picnics, looking for interesting plants. They could even touch on Care of Magical Creatures, Harry would like that.
"Look at that strange little animal!" Harry squealed excitedly, dashing off up ahead, Remus hot on his heels.
"It ran off, it went that way, it was really cool, Uncle Remus!"
"What did it look like?" Remus queried, stretching contentedly in the warmth of the sun, smiling proudly at his enthusiastic young godson.
"Well, it was sort of yellow, and it had this long nose and then on its neck it had a…there it is! Look Uncle Remus, it's there, it's there!" Harry was physically leaping up and down on the spot with excitement, unfortunately this had the effect of scaring the-as-yet-unidentified-yellow-long-nosed-very-exciting-mysterious-creature and making it run off just as Remus turned to look in the direction Harry had been excitedly pointing.
"Aww it's gone," Harry pouted.
"Never mind," Remus smiled fondly at his little cub, "there's a little pond further down, why don't we see what we can see in that?"
"Yeah!" Harry exclaimed dashing ahead excitedly.
"Don't run so far ahead, Harry," Remus shouted after his godson's retreating form, picking up his own speed. "Harry…Harry…Harry!"
"Remus, Remus, Uncle Remus, Reeeeeemus?" The voice sounded like Harry's, but it wasn't coming from the way the little boy had just darted off, it was coming from closer. Right near his ear.
Remus frowned, twitching in his sleep. One hand twitching slightly as if to bat something away.
"Hmmph? Harry?" Remus's eyes stayed closed but his head moved slightly, as if trying to decipher the sound.
"Uncle Remus, wake up!"
A strange sound in the back of the man's throat, and then his eyes opening blearily as Remus took in his surroundings.
Remus smiled, pushing himself off the hard, metal headboard and wincing slightly at the pain in his back from sitting against it for so long. "Hello, Harry, sorry… I must have dropped off." He realised he now had the freedom of both hands and he stretched his arms above his head, they ached terribly.
"You were making these funny little noises, like you were talking but not really," Harry informed him earnestly.
"Was I? Sorry, did I wake you up?"
"Nah, I was awake. It's nearly ten o clock."
Seemingly unaware of his godfather's horror at having wasted half of the morning, Harry continued "so were you dreaming?"
"Erm, yes I was," Remus's voice was muffled as he pulled his pyjama top up over his head and disappeared into the ensuite. "Can you be a good boy and run yourself a quick bath?"
Remembering the boy's terror of putting his head under the water, Remus quickly corrected himself "actually, never mind, just go and find something you'd like to wear today."
By the time Remus was showered and dressed, he found Harry dressed in a pair of denim jeans and a bright green top with a dinosaur on loudly proclaiming "I'm a tyrannosaurus!" Smiling slightly, Remus cast a quick spell to freshen him up and delay an inevitable bath, and then led the way to a delicious breakfast of pancakes with lemon (chocolate sauce in Harry's case).
It was as they were tucking into their gourmet breakfast that Remus broached the idea of school.
"Did you like school, Harry?"
There was silence.
Remus chuckled, "I'll take that as a no, shall I?"
Harry blushed, ducking his head. "It's not that I didn't like learning things…It was Dudley and his gang, and it was so boring, and we hardly ever got to do fun stuff…like drawing and-"
Remus mentally added drawing to his list of things to do during 'school hours'. Then, realising the boy was still talking, tuned back in.
"And the teachers were so mean, they always made out like they were really clever and I was stupid. I'm not saying I wasn't stupid, and they weren't clever, but its not nice to remind everyone about it all the time, is it? I think that's stupid. I think all teachers are stupid!" Harry blurted, trying not to sound as if he was a total failure at school, and upset or anger his guardian, but he didn't want to raise his new guardian's hopes about his academic ability either.
Remus laughed, "I'm a teacher, Harry."
"What! I didn't mean…I mean you're not…I wasn't saying…" Harry's face burned crimson, had he really just called Remus stupid? He really was as stupid as his old teachers had made out!
Remus, still chuckling, laid a hand on his godson's rather trembling smaller one. " I know you weren't, besides I'm not a proper proper teacher, I just did a few terms a while ago." He paused, his tone changing to one far more firm "and you most certainly are not stupid, if your teachers did say that then they are every bit as stupid as you said."
Harry squirmed, "well, they didn't actually say it. But they made me feel it."
"That's every bit as bad," Remus told him seriously.
There was silence for a second and then Remus said, "If you didn't like school then you might be rather pleased with what I'm going to tell you."
Harry blinked his emerald eyes innocently "what?"
"Due to our current…ah…circumstances, I think it would be for the best if I tutored you, if you didn't mind, that is." Remus fiddled with a strand of his browny blonde hair nervously.
"As in, just you and me, no other kids, just me and you doing school stuff together?"
Remus fidgeted, "well, erm…yes. But I guess we could look into something else if-"
"That would be brilliant! You'd be like the best teacher ever!"
Remus's face lit up. "Really? You'd like that? You know, we will actually have to do some work, it won't be fun all the time. You probably won't like me much at times…"
"I'll always like you! This will be so cool! They'll be no other kids laughing at me, and you won't shout at me…erm…will you?"
Chuckling, Remus shook his head "I've never shouted at a child before, I highly doubt I'll pick up the habit with you. Now, cone on, finish up your breakfast while I go and get some things ready."
"We're starting today?" Harry was already shovelling down his pancakes as fast as possible.
"I thought we might, yes…don't choke!"
Harry's breakfast was finished within seconds and he darted upstairs after Remus, who was in the process of setting up a little table with some pens and some paper, while banishing the bed and wardrobe, which had previously been in the spare room, with a quick spell.
"To start with, I think we should probably find out what you already know so we don't repeat things." Remus suggested
"I don't know anything really," Harry informed him seriously.
Remus, who had smiled to begin with but his soft smile faded as he realised his godson was not joking, he really did have that much of a low opinion of himself.
"Of course you do, you strike me as a very intelligent boy."
Harry bit his lip, he knew he really wasn't very good at anything, the faith Remus seemed to have in him was disconcerting. Remus was going to be really upset when he found out his godson really was thick, and with him being a teacher too…maybe he would be really upset and angry, maybe he'd throw Harry out. Remus seemed very, very wise, he wouldn't want to be saddled with a dunce like Harry, would he?
Catching sight of the boy's nervous expression he smiled soothingly, "I'm not going to judge you from this, Harry. I literally just want to know what you have already covered so I don't bore you going over the same things again."
"You won't bore me, maybe we should just start from scratch?" Harry suggested, he was pretty sure he could do the really easy stuff, that could be some questions he would get right, and then Remus would think he was just picking it up really fast.
"You've done nearly three years of schooling already, Harry. You don't need to go over all of that. Lets just see what you know, and we'll cover any bits you are unsure of. I've already seen for myself how good you are at some things, you obviously have quite a good vocabulary for a start, I expect you're rather advanced with English."
Harry blushed, unable to stop a smile creeping onto his face, Remus thought he was good at something! It was such a nice warm feeling in his stomach, but, he frowned, that feeling would go away once Remus realised how wrong he was and how stupid Harry was and washed his hands of teaching him, or perhaps even looking after him.
Sitting down gingerly, Harry weakly picked up a pen and looked expectantly at Remus, best to get it over with, if he had to disappoint his guardian he would rather do it quickly than drawing it out, then he'd go upstairs and find somewhere to hide while Remus looked over his work and saw what a dunce he was.
Remus looked up from the book he was looking through and smiled nicely at him again, Harry wished he'd stop doing that, it made him feel worse about letting the man down. All he wanted was to make the man proud of him, he wanted it to be true that he was 'advanced', he wanted Remus to be able to think of him as intelligent, but he knew it wasn't true and pretty soon Remus would know too.
Remus waved his wand and the papers in front of Harry began to fill themselves with questions slowly, Remus was concentrating hard, he was evidently determining what the questions were, Harry watched him in awe, that would take normal people hours. If doing magic meant he was a freak, then he wanted to be as talented a freak as Remus was, and as nice, and as clever, and as strong, and as caring.
Harry watched as the sheets finished writing themselves, dread growing by the second.
"I don't want you to worry about any questions you don't know, just give them your best shot or skip them. This is about the level this book feels you should be at, so it shouldn't be too hard, but if it is just let me know and I'll get you some different ones." Almost as if he could read Harry's mind he added "and you don't need to prove anything to me, Harry, these tests don't mean anything to me except letting me know what to teach you, they aren't going to change anything. I certainly am not going to form any opinions of you from them, I already know you're a sweet, caring, generous little boy, and I will always, always be proud of you."
Harry blushed deeply, pleasure filling his stomach, Remus was the nicest man in the whole wide world, even if he severely overestimated Harry and was about to be very disappointed when Harry couldn't do any of these questions, Harry pulled the paper towards him, like the first one…Harry's eyes widened, wait, he knew how to do that one. Well, at least he wouldn't get zero on this test, he skimmed to the next one, he could do that, and the next one, and that! His eyes brightening and a smile lighting up his face, Harry began writing quickly, he almost didn't hear Remus, with a huge smile on his face, murmuring "You may have as long as you want", before leaving the room.
Harry put down his pen, sighing happily as he looked at the sheets filled with his writing, that wasn't bad at all, it was so much easier to work when Dudley wasn't launching missiles at the back of his head and the teacher wasn't telling him off for distracting his cousin. He wondered whether he should go and find Remus and tell him he had finished, or to wait quietly until he got back.
He decided to stay where he'd been told to, he thought he'd done rather well on the test and that would make Remus very happy, he didn't want to ruin it by making Remus angry because he hadn't stayed put, at least he thought he'd done well on the test…it had seemed quite easy…perhaps he had done it all wrong, it didn't seem right that Harry Stupid Potter had done something well, he must have done it all wrong…
Dread filled Harry as he looked at the lines of writing, he didn't want Remus to be angry and think he'd done it on purpose, perhaps he should start again, hide his first copy…
Harry was just anxiously looking around for somewhere to stash the papers when the door swung open and Remus stepped back into the room, causing Harry to jump in alarm.
"What have you been up to?" Remus smiled.
"N-n-nothing, I've just been sitting here…doing nothing!"
"I was only joking, Harry," Remus frowned, "of course you aren't up to anything, I hope you haven't done nothing though, not with all that work I left you doing." Remus chuckled, knowing of course that Harry would have done it.
"Oh, I did that, I think…but maybe I should do it again. This is quite messy, you can hardly read it. I'llscrewitupanddoitagain!" Harry gabbled, grabbing the papers in his fist.
Remus dived forwards and just managed to extract the papers from his godson's fists before they were turned into paper balls, they got away only slightly crumpled. "Harry, what's the matter?"
"N-n-nothing," Harry mumbled, eyes on the papers in his guardian's hand, now there was no way he could stop Remus reading it and seeing his stupidity.
"This writing looks fine to me, and even if it was messy, I wouldn't ask you to do it all again." Remus was still looking at him concernedly.
"What if I've done it all wrong?" Harry whispered.
"It won't matter at all," Remus said firmly. "Now, you can have some free time to play if you'd like, while I mark it. You can stay in here or play in your room and-"
"I'll play in my room," Harry interrupted quickly, racing off upstairs, he did not want to watch Remus's facial expressions as he read his work and his faith in Harry was shattered.
Remus watched his godson go in surprise, looking suspiciously around the room, just what had been going on in here?
Clunk, clunk, clunk. Harry's heels repetitively hit the side of a storage box under his bed as he swung his feet over the side. He had no idea how long it had been since he had taken refuge in his room, but it seemed like hours. Maybe Remus had got so angry that he didn't even trust himself to speak to him, or maybe he was so upset that Harry wasn't the person he thought he was that he was hiding in his room, much like Harry was hiding in his. Or perhaps, he was too ashamed at being so wrong about Harry's abilities that he was avoiding seeing him and admitting his mistake and that Harry really was stupid, adults hated being wrong. Harry was very used to his Aunt and Uncle blaming whatever had gone wrong on him so they didn't look bad, even when Harry had no idea what they were even talking about, and especially in front of company. They liked to make him look bad. Remus wasn't like that, Harry knew, he was very, very, very nice, which is probably why it would be so difficult for him to admit Harry was stupid, he didn't want to hurt his feelings with the truth.
There was the sound of feet on the stairs, Harry froze, his legs plonking back to the box one last time with a satisfying clang, Remus was coming, it was time.
Without even thinking about it ,Harry leapt to his feet as Remus entered the room…with a big smile on his face.
Harry's face fell, was Remus not as nice as he had thought? Why did he look so happy that Harry had failed his test? Was he going to laugh at him?
Harry's heart thudded faster.
"Harry," Remus smiled tenderly at his nervous little child. "Here you go."
Harry took the sheets off Remus with trembling hands, there was green ink all over it…corrections he supposed, there sure was a lot of them. Sighing, he pulled the sheet closer, his cheap non-prescribed glasses not really helping him read the bright ink, he still couldn't quite make it out, it wasn't words…it was big lines, through nearly everything, so he had got it all wrong…or wait a minute, were they…ticks?
They were, big, enthusiastic, green ticks. Filling with excitement, Harry turned the pages over, Excellent, Harry. Brilliant point. Very clear working out. Tick, tick, tick, tick, tick.
Remus smiled as Harry's smile grew as big as his own.
"I told you you were a very intelligent little boy, and you even outperformed my own expectations," Remus praised.
Harry beamed, Remus was such a generous marker! He was so nice, and Harry hadn't let him down!
"I think we're all ready to start learning!"
"Can we start now?" Harry pleaded, excitedly.
Remus laughed at the sudden eagerness from the-boy-who-hated-school. "You want to start now? I was thinking we could have dinner, and some playtime, and then maybe start after that."
"Pleeease can we start now?"
Remus laughed, "of course!" Well, he didn't want to stand in the way of his godson's new found scholastic enthusiasm, did he?
"So if nine fours are thirty six, what are ten fours?"
"Very good, Harry!"
Harry pushed his glasses up his nose eagerly, "the ten times table are easy, Uncle Remus!"
Remus laughed. "Okay, Mr Clever Clogs, then what are eleven fours?"
"Forty four! That's easy too!"
"Forty Eight!" Harry's answers were instant, and rather loud due to the small boy's enthusiasm.
"Hmmm, so what are thirteen fours?"
"Uncle Reeemus, we only did up to twelve times at school."
Remus blinked "really?" Strange Muggle Curriculum. "Well, you know twelve fours are forty eight, so if you add an extra four to that you get…"
"Yes! Good boy!"
Harry smiled happily, they had been playing at schools for nearly two hours, and it really did feel like playing, it was fun! And Remus praised him for every little thing, and when Harry was wrong he didn't shout, he just said nearly and then helped Harry get to the right answer. It really wasn't like proper school at all, there was no teasing or shouting, or being sent out, or being told off in front of everyone, or having to stay in at lunchtime, or people laughing when he got the wrong answer, or being made to feel stupid, or people calling him names. It was the best school ever!
Remus, smiling proudly at his godson's achievement, (he was going to do so well at Hogwarts!) glanced at his watch and then started, "Merlin Harry, its nearly three o clock, you must be starving!"
Harry hadn't really noticed his stomach growling, but at that moment he realised his pancakes seemed a really, really long time ago.
"Let's have dinner, then I think you can have the rest of the afternoon off after all your hard work!"
Slipping his hand into Remus's, Harry skipped downstairs, this really was the best school ever! He got Remus's undivided attention and praise, he understood what he was doing, he got to play games and got time off and he could choose whatever he wanted at dinner rather than soggy potato and mashed carrots like he had had to have at school because he was always last to queue up (after being kept behind every time Dudley did something) and only got the leftovers, and no one ever left the nice chips or any chocolate pudding.
Harry had the best guardian ever!
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Please review, I would love to know what you thought of the chapter, it's been a long time since I've written FF and so it might take me a while to get back into it. I would love to know if any of my old faithful readers are still out there, sorry I neglected you so much, I do feel awful, all of my fics will be getting an update soon, AYC will finally be finished and then my full concentration will be on this one.
Old and new readers, please tell me what you thought!