Disclaimer: I, being a poor college student, do not own Harry Potter. But damn it'd be awesome if I did!
Also, if you've been wondering what happened to me and why I've been gone for so long, read the (rather lengthy) note at the end of this chapter.
Healings and Beginnings
The door opened to reveal a man with mottled brown hair, with flecks of gray throughout. He had a tired, worn look about him, but his eyes were full of life and hope. His clothes were slightly shabby, but fit him well. He looked strangely familiar.
"Harry, I would like to introduce Remus Lupin. He is more that willing to be your new guardian."
"Nice to meet you sir," said Harry politely.
"Sweet Merlin," whispered Remus. "You were right Headmaster, the resemblance is uncanny."
"Remus, you aren't a student anymore. Call me Albus outside of school meetings."
Remus nodded as Dumbledore rose.
"As I was saying," the Headmaster continued, "Whether or not you accept Remus's offer is up to you and you alone. All I ask is that you give him a fair chance and not let certain...events in your past ruin something that could be great for you."
"Harry," began Remus, "Would you care to join me for a walk?"
Harry glanced from Dumbledore to Amelia to Susan, a slight trepidation evident in his eyes. Susan gave him a small smile of assurance.
"Excellent." said a smiling Remus. "I wager I'll see a thing or two that will spark a story from my time here with your parents."
Harry's eyes instantly lit up at this. He'd only had opportunities like this in his dreams.
"That'd be brilliant!"
Remus gently gestured towards the door and followed Harry out.
Amelia turned to Dumbledore as the door latched closed.
"Well Albus, I'd have to say that that went quite well."
"Indeed it did Amelia," he replied. "Though Harry did seem to be quite apprehensive, although that doesn't come as much of a shock. How did he fare when he stayed with you and your niece?"
"Fairly well, all things considered-in fact for the most part he seemed to be normal...though whether or not he had to put effort into it I cannot say," said Amelia. "He still has a lot to overcome though."
"Nightmares," Amelia stated. "He had at least one a night. I even considered Flooing for a Dreamless Sleep Potion. If it wasn't for Susan I would have."
"Oh? How did you help Miss Bones?"
Susan's cheeks turned slightly pink under the Headmaster's scrutiny. The old wizard's eyes twinkled merrily.
"I... I was always there before Auntie when the nightmares hit. Sometimes Harry was awake, other times he was thrashing about. There were always screams and crying. Most of the time it was like St. Mungo's; I'd give him a hug and he'd calm down. But whenever I went to hug him when he was awake, he was really tense..." Susan teared up slightly.
"Remember what I told you Suzie," consoled Amelia. "It's not uncommon for children who have been through what Harry has to be uncomfortable or apprehensive of contact like that. Things like hugs are quite new to Harry. I have no doubt he'll be jumpy like that around Remus at first, but Remus will be able to work him through it."
Susan nodded and took a breath.
"One more question for you Miss Bones," said Dumbledore. "Did Harry ever open up to you about what happened?"
"A little. He talked about the beginning of his summer, but he only went to right before...that night. After that he'd trail off and start getting scared."
"This is still good news Miss Bones, despite what you may think," explained Dumbledore. "I have no doubt that you, along with Miss Abbot I'm sure, have a lot to do with Harry's progress. Now, what's this I hear about you dragging Harry and your aunt all over stores in London?"
Remus and Harry were hitting it off fairly well. The first few minutes were awkward, as first meetings tend to be. But the castle provided many topics and memories to relate, and Harry slowly began to relax and open up. Remus had many stories to share from his days at Hogwarts.
"And that's how my friends and I got our name: The Marauders." concluded Remus.
"Wow! It sounds like you had a really interesting time at Hogwarts," said Harry. "Wait a tick..."
The pieces slowly started to fall into place.
"I knew you seemed familiar!" shouted Harry excitedly. "I could have sworn I'd seen a picture of you somewhere. And...I got the Marauder's Map with my father's invisibility cloak! If my dad had the Map, which called me the 'Scion of Prongs' and you say you and your friends were the Marauders..."
Harry was practically bouncing with excitement as the picture finally came into focus.
"You were one of the other three in all of those pictures! You were one of my dad's best friends!" shouted Harry.
Their walk had taken them outside into the courtyard. The two had stopped, the only movement being the wind gently ruffling Remus's robes.
"Yes Harry...your father James and I were very dear friends," said Remus, a sad smile on his face. "He was the closest thing I ever had to a brother. In fact, we regarded each other as such; all four of us did. We were inseparable."
"Then why didn't I live with any of you?"
"I'm...the only one left. At first, I was in no condition to look after a toddler. Losing everyone, especially your father and mother, tore me apart. I wouldn't have been a very good guardian. Plus there's one other issue...one that has cursed me my whole life."
Harry had a very confused look as Remus took a deep breath and visibly braced himself.
"Harry...I'm a werewolf. That's why I was called 'Moony'"
"As in once a month you turn all furry, howl at the moon, and bust up everything?"
"Yes...and because of that, I'm an outcast to most of the wizarding world," said Remus sadly.
"Well that's a load of rubbish! Just because you transform into something once a month doesn't make you any different from anyone else the rest of the time! It doesn't change who you are."
"Harry," Remus began softly, "You truly are Lily's son. That's nearly the exact same thing she said when she found out about my...condition."
"It's just that: a condition. A furry little problem."
At this, Remus suddenly roared with laughter. Harry gave his proposed guardian a confused look, watching as he doubled over with laughter.
"Oh Merlin," wheezed Remus. "You're definitely James' too. He said the exact same thing: that I had a 'furry little problem'. It made everyone else think that I had a particularly vicious pet rabbit."
Harry couldn't help it. Laughter is infectious, and Remus' renewed bouts of laughter caused him to join in. The laughter went on for a few minutes before the two wizards were able to calm down.
"Um...Mr. Lupin..." began Harry quietly.
"I think...I think that I'd very much like it if you were to be my guardian. That is...if you still want to."
"Of course I want to! Your father was like my brother. I'd like nothing more than to take in his son and raise him. And call me either Remus or Moony. If I'm to be your guardian, then 'Mr. Lupin' is far too formal, don't you think?"
"Moony..." said Harry, testing it out. "Actually...if you and my dad were like brothers, do you think that I could...maybe call you..." Harry trailed off shyly.
"Call me 'uncle" instead?" asked Remus gently.
"I'd like that very much Harry."
Both wizards broke out into large smiles. Each of them felt weight come off of their shoulders. The stood gazing over the grounds, basking in the newfound happiness.
"...Uncle Remus...you said earlier that I was truly my parent's child...what did you mean by that? What were my parents like?"
"You look like a miniature of your father, but you have the exact same eyes as your mother: innocent and kind. Even your persona is similar them. Your parents, Harry, were two of the most extraordinary people I have ever met. James was...James was very bold...very brave. Some would call it brash. Your father always defended his beliefs and his friends. He was also a very talented wizard. A few were starting to call him a Transfiguration prodigy. His talents didn't stop there. He was also a magnificent flier...and, if truth be told, those two things gave him a bit of an ego." Remus chuckled at that. "Yes he had an ego alright... Your mother did wonderful job of always bringing him down to earth, none too gently either."
"What do you mean?" asked Harry, totally entranced by this new knowledge.
"Lily took every chance to knock your father, and the rest of us Marauders actually, down a few pegs. The more the better, as she couldn't stand James at first. I was the only one she could remotely stand. She was...incredibly kind, always willing to befriend or help anyone, regardless of what House they were from. She was one of the best in our year-especially in charms, but didn't flaunt it. Lily was very humble, and absolutely hated the limelight. She had a side that very few brought out as well, and for good reason. Quick question Harry: what do you know about redheads and their tempers?"
"Er...I didn't know it changed anything..."
"Well let me tell you Harry- in my experience, if theres a hint of red...just...don't. I promise that it won't end in your mother had a temper that you wouldn't believe! Whenever your father, or anyone else for that matter, drew her ire..." Remus shuddered. "Suffice to say, I started to find myself ducking for cover and covering my ears."
Remus chuckled at the memories and as Harry tried to envision just how scary a redhead's temper was.
"So is this supposed to be your first lesson as my uncle? To not tick off anyone with hair like Susan's?" asked Harry wryly. "And if my mum didn't like my dad that much, how did they get together?"
"Oh, is that her name? Why yes...yes it is. Trust me it will probably save you a lot of trouble later" replied Remus with a teasing undertone. "I wouldn't say that Lily disliked James...but they definitely didn't get along all the time. I'll tell you more when you get older. I need to have some stories for later you know..."
Harry groaned impatiently. There was so much he wanted to know!
"At any rate, we shouldn't keep the Headmaster and Boneses waiting too much longer. Shall we head back?"
"Yeah. Just one more thing Uncle Remus: er...where do you live?"
"I can't believe I forgot that part!" laughed Remus. "I have a flat in London. It's nothing fancy, but it will suit us wonderfully. However when the full moon hits, I shall be going to a hut I have in a forest, and you shall spend the night with a friend."
Harry nodded and smiled as the two started walking back to the Headmaster's office.
"Ah, Harry and Remus. I hope that your walk went well. Have you reached a decision Harry?" asked Albus after Remus and Harry arrived.
"I have Professor. I'd be more than happy to live with Uncle Remus."
The old wizard's eyes twinkled at this announcement and his face broke out into a smile. Amelia smiled and Susan was barely able to control her joy for her friend.
"That indeed wonderful to hear! All I need you to do is sign these papers and it will be official. The Ministry will not be able to interfere with this, no matter what legislation they try to pass."
As the adults were going through the paper work, Susan turned to Harry, a smile gracing her features.
"I'm happy for you Harry. You finally have a chance to have a family! But...why did you call him your uncle? I thought you aren't related?"
"We aren't," replied Harry. "But he was a really close friend of my dad. They were like brothers, and it...just felt right. It's hard to describe, but he feels...familiar. There aren't memories, but he definitely isn't a stranger. It probably sounds silly."
"No it doesn't," assured Susan. "It's like seeing someone for the first time in many years. Maybe it's the same with Mr. Lupin."
"You mean that maybe he was around a lot when I was a baby?"
"Yeah! It would explain why he feels so familiar. If he was a close friend of your dad, he was probably around often enough to make some sort of lasting imprint."
"Harry, Susan," said Amelia as she approached the pair. "We're going to head back to the house. You need to pack Harry, and the Headmaster wants a private word with Remus."
The three bid farewell and stepped into the fireplace. With a call of, "Bones Home" and a roar of green flames, they were gone.
Albus gave a chuckle.
"What's so funny Albus?"
"Just what I've been told Harry's skill with magical travel. From what I hear, Flooing isn't his thing."
"What do you mean?"
"He doesn't land well. Harry has a habit of flying out of the Floo, a crash landing. Between him and Miss Bones, it's a wonder Amelia didn't have to brush up more on her healing and repair spells."
"I'll have to keep that in mind. Hopefully he isn't too adverse to Side-Along Apparation."
"It might be the safer option," agreed Albus ruefully. "But to more important matters Remus. As you know, Harry has been emotionally and physically abused by his relatives for the past few years. This will cause him to be very jumpy for a time, so be careful how you act physically. Abrupt movements in his direction may give him a start. Also, from what I'm told he has nightmares. Miss Bones has been able to quell them somewhat, but she's also one of his closest friends, not to mention female. You may have greater difficulties."
"I noticed that he was a little more relaxed around her... But I think he and I will be ok. He took to calling me 'uncle' on his own. I can only hope it's because of a feeling of familiarity and trust and not because he knows I knew James. I watched over him a lot after all...Merlin that child was a handful!"
"Do you think you'll be able to get him to open up about what happened?"
"In time...He and I made a lot of progress today in just getting to know each other. I've played psychologist before, and its all a matter of putting one foot in front of the other."
"You'll be good for him Remus, and him for you. He needs a guide...a role model. He can learn a lot from you. Not just about his parents, but about his world and about life in general."
"I'll take good care of him Albus."
"I know you will, I can see it in your eyes. I know I did right by coming to you."
Albus' words were proven right time and time again throughout the summer. The first few weeks of their new living arrangement could only be called a healing experience for Harry. Remus was extremely attentive, always ensuring that Harry was taking his nutrient potion and eating and sleeping well. Harry's nightmares slowly started to decrease in frequency, and Remus was always there for him. Over time, Harry started to open up about his past life of the Dursleys and Remus steadily worked to reverse the damage his cruel relatives had done.
Harry still declined to talk about that night in detail, but the astute werewolf managed to piece together enough to have a good guess about what happened. Vernon Dursley was a businessman, and anytime a deal fell through he'd take it out on Harry. Harry's late night screams helped fill in the rest.
"I didn't touch the cake I swear!"
"I didn't do anything wrong! I did as you asked!"
"I'm sorry it fell through Uncle Vernon!"
Remus sent his findings to Dumbledore, who in turn submitted it as evidence to the wizarding court. Harry wasn't directly involved in the case due to trauma. This suited Remus, as he felt that the less he heard of his relatives, the sooner he could heal.
Remus was an editor and author, and so was able to work from the flat. His employer was a wizarding publishing company who was kind enough to overlook his lycanthropy so long as his work was of good quality and on schedule. The pair spent most of their time at the flat watching TV, playing cards or a Muggle board game. Harry loved it, and his enthusiasm always caused Remus to smile. Remus was sure to indulge Harry as well from time to time, either taking him out into town or (more commonly) allowing him to visit Susan and Hannah.
July 31st found Remus sneaking into a bedroom with a Muggle air horn in one hand and a pie tin full of whipped cream in the other. The occupant was sleeping peacefully. Remus hesitated...but only for a moment, mind you.
With a smirk, the werewolf crept to the boy's bed and held the tin. After making sure that everything was in the correct position, Remus blasted the horn.
Harry shot up with a yelp...
...Straight into the pie tin.
"Uncle Remus!" shouted Harry indignantly. "What was that for?"
"Oh come now Harry," said Remus between peals of laughter. "You didn't think that you could get me, a Marauder, with shaving cream and feather and not get a classic in return, did you?"
Harry laughed and shook his head. There was no use denying it. He had been disappointed that he'd lost Battleship a few nights ago. Remus had steadfastly denied moving his ships around after they were set. Harry hadn't been convinced, so he took action.
"Go on and get yourself cleaned up. Oh, and Harry?"
Harry paused at the door and turned to his foster uncle.
"Happy twelfth Birthday!"
"Thanks Uncle Remus," said Harry with a grin.
That was something else that Remus tried to balance: being a fun uncle and being a parental figure. He generally tried to be relaxed and lenient with Harry (within reason), since his other relatives (if they could truly be called that) were unrealistically harsh with him. Luckily, Harry was a generally well behaved boy that didn't take advantage of Remus' leniency too much. In fact, the largest problem was Harry's aversion to essays, particularly essays for Potions. Even then, it just took a slight reprimand and Harry would comply.
Today was a very special day. It was Harry's first birthday under Remus' care, and he wanted to make sure it was one that his foster nephew would enjoy. Remus went around the house and made sure everything was in order and then made a quick fire call to Madam Bones.
"Amelia," he called.
"Hello Remus," answered Amelia. "Is everything prepared?"
"Yes everything is ready. We just need to go get the cake. Will you be ready to come at noon?"
"More than ready, actually." replied Amelia. "The girls are itching to get over there."
"I can't imagine why," muttered Remus. "I need to go make sure Harry is ready to go. See you at noon."
With that, Remus pulled his head out of the fire. Shortly after, the phone rang.
"Lupin residence, Remus speaking. Hello Mrs. Finch-Fletchley. Justin can come after all? Excellent! Oh yes, directions..."
After telling Mrs. Finch-Fletchley how to reach the flat, Remus placed the phone back on the receiver and waited for Harry to finish getting ready so they could go pick his cake.
Noon found Harry pacing while Remus relaxed on the couch.
"Harry, sit down and relax. You're starting to make me dizzy!"
"Sorry...I'm just too excited to sit still."
"I know Harry, but they're coming-any minute now actually..."
As if to agree with Remus, green flames rose in the fireplace. The first to step through was Hannah. With a quick smile and wave, she immediately stepped aside. Just in time too, as Susan came stumbling though as soon as Hannah had stepped aside. Susan quickly steadied herself as her aunt serenely stepped out. Amelia walked over to Remus as the two girls went to Harry and gave their birthday wishes.
"How has he been Remus?" inquired Amelia quietly.
"Today? Harry's been going absolutely nutters. The lad couldn't stay still from pure excitement."
"I meant since he's moved in. He looks a lot better now..."
"That he does. In fact, I wager that from looking at him, no one would know what had happened to him."
"From what I've been told, he's acting like he used to," agreed Amelia, stealing a glance at the trio. "In fact, he seems livelier than when he stayed with me."
"That he has. I think that he is becoming who he is truly supposed to be...it was just suppressed by his relatives."
The two adults were brought out of their thoughts as a buzzer sounded.
"Oh, that must be our last guest." announced Remus.
"I didn't know you'd invited any one else..."
"Of course! It wouldn't be right to celebrate Harry's birthday with a quarter of the group missing!"
"Let's go find out, shall we?" was the enigmatic reply
Remus went to open the door and was greeted by Justin and his mother.
"Ah, you must be the Finch-Fletchleys!"
"Yes, I'm Erin; and this, as you might have guessed, is my son Justin."
"Pleased to meet you both."
Once Remus tracked down Harry, Susan, and Hannah, the introductions were finished. The adults and children went their own ways. Remus and Amelia found themselves deluged with questions by a very curious Erin Finch-Fletchley. The children took the time to catch up with with one another.
"So how was Germany?" asked a curious Harry.
"Absolutely brilliant! The were plenty of sights, and the food... the food was fantastic!"
The other three laughed at this. Justin always had an appetite; how the boy stayed like a toothpick was a mystery.
"Oh shove it. Anyways, how have you lot been? Did I miss much?"
"Nothing really. The biggest happening was Harry moving in with his Uncle Remus..." said Hannah.
Susan shot Hannah a warning look before giving Harry a glance.
"Uncle?" Justin asked, puzzled. "When did this happen?"
"A few weeks ago," explained Harry. "He isn't really my uncle...but he and my dad were like brothers, and he's treated me like a nephew from the beginning. Living with him has been amazing."
Harry finished his explanation with a smile, which proved to be infectious.
"Good for you mate! You've been long overdue for some good luck!"
To his credit Justin, curious as he was, didn't pry beyond what he was told. If Harry wanted to talk about it, he would. Justin would wait until his friend was ready.
The day was a very laid back affair, which suited Harry. He and Justin spent much of their time teaching the girls about some of the boardgames and card that Remus had. Unfortunately for them the girls were fast learners, and the boys quickly found themselves being challenged. Time flew by, and before they knew it, the four young witches and wizards were called for dinner and cake. Remus had ordered a pizza, and the youngsters dove on it. Well...after a quick explanation.
"What is this?" asked Susan as she inspected her slice.
"You've never heard of pizza? What rock do you live under?" asked Justin in disbelief.
"A big one apparently," quipped Hannah.
"Harry, you wanna take this one?"
"Actually Justin, all I know is that it's apparently really good." said Harry.
"Looks like its up to me then. Alright you lot, pizza 101. It's a Muggle meal, and it's pretty much the greatest concept of all time. You take dough and toss it into a round shape, add a tomato sauce, mozzarella cheese, toppings like pepperoni or ham, and then you bake it. It's absolutely amazing."
Justin found himself proven right. His three friends fell in love with pizza, and all but dove on the remaining pies. Cake followed the pizza, and it was found to be equally delicious. Presents were opened after the cake. Hannah got him a pack of exploding snap cards along with a box of chocolate frogs. From Justin, Harry received a block of German chocolate ("You'll love this stuff mate") and a German camping knife ("Dead useful, those"). His gift from Susan turned out to be several posters featuring the Tutshill Tornadoes plus an album by the wizarding band "The Weird Sisters". Remus opted to give his gift in private, which turned out to be pictures of Remus, Harry's parents, and baby Harry. Harry was profoundly touched. He also received letters from Cedric,Jason, Julia, and surprisingly, Ernie; all wished him a happy birthday, hoped that he was well, and said they'd see him on the train. All in all, it was the best birthday Harry had ever had.
Harry's summer flew by quickly. Harry and Remus bonded more as the summer went on; if passers by were to look at them, they wouldn't be able to tell that the two weren't actually related. Remus' first transformation with Harry in his care went without a hitch. Hannah's parents were more than welcoming, and it turned into a sleep over for the four friends. Remus was exhausted afterwards, but Harry was a great help to him-making sure the worn out werewolf didn't over exert himself. Remus tried to decline, but the young wizard was insistent. Before either either of them knew it, they were in Diagon Alley to buy Harry's things for the upcoming school year.
"I can't believe this," grumbled Remus as they walked to Gringotts. "Gilderoy Lockhart'sbooks? What in the world is the new professor thinking? I can't believe this..."
"What's so bad about him Uncle Remus?" asked Harry. "I mean... if a professor assigned his book, then this Lockhart must know his stuff right?"
"Trust me Harry, Lockhart is a a pompous and absolutely worthless pillock. He was just above me when I went to Hogwarts. He was all talk; always begging for help from others and then claiming the credit himself. There is no possible way he could have done anything in those books. I should know. I had the unfortunate task of editing those...things. Sadly, the rest of the company ate them up and said they were 'brilliant displays of bravery'. Bollocks I say!"
When the pair arrived at Gringotts, Remus halted.
"Harry," he began, "I have no problem paying for your supplies this year..."
"I know Uncle," replied Harry stubbornly. "But Mum and Dad set up that vault for me to use. It just wouldn't feel right for me to not respect their wishes."
"Alright you win," conceded Remus.
One round trip on the Gringotts carts later the pair left, with Remus looking slightly worse for wear. They met up with the rest of the foursome and their families at Florean Fortescue's for ice cream before setting off to buy their supplies for the year. As they passed Flourish and Blotts they saw a scuffle between a blond haired, well dressed man and a man with red hair. Harry recognized Ron Weasley among the redheads. There was a young girl, presumably their sister, who had had her books knocked to the ground. The ever antagonistic Draco Malfoy was also in the crowd around the two men.
The group went from store to store, steadily chopping off everything on the list. Before long, nearly everything was bought.
"Well you lot," said Remus, "Just books left on the list for us. What about you?"
"All of us got those before you came Remus," said Amelia apologetically. "It was the first thing we did. You'd best prepare yourself. Lockhart's signing autographs today."
"He is? Oh Merlin, just our bloody luck," cried Remus in dismay. "Well Harry, we'd best get this over with. We'll see you lot on the platform in a few days then?"
With that, everyone bid farewell and Remus and Harry went to Flourish and Blotts.
It was a madhouse. Witches of all ages were packed from the front to the back. Remus and Harry managed to slip through the mob and get to the shelves. They quickly went from shelf to shelf, wanting to get out as soon as possible. The duo finished paying and were on their way out when a voice called over the crowd that made Remus curse under his breath.
"Yes...yes...thank you very much for coming out! I have a very important announcement to make, but before that I'd like to remind you to purchase your very own copy of 'Magical Me' before you leave. Now then...it gives me great pleasure to announce to you, my adoring fans, that I...Gilderoy Lockhart, Order of Merlin, Third Class, Honorary Member of the Dark Force Defense League, and five time winner of Witch Weekly's Most Charming Smile Award, shall be taking up the vacant Defense Against The Dark Arts post at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry!"
Remus swore violently as the store erupted with cheers and girly screams. Remus and Harry doubled their efforts to leave. They inadvertently bumped into a large, heavyset man with a bushy mustache who was taking pictures of the event.
"Harry Potter? A picture of you and Lockhart will make the front page! Come here, boy." said the man as he roughly grabbed the famous wizard and tried dragging him to the front.
Harry's eyes flew wide in panic.
"Let me go!" he yelled in terror as he struggled to break free. Memories of his Uncle Vernon flashed before his eyes.
Remus was there in an instant. His right hand flew to an inside pocket of his robes as his left latched onto the man's wrist.
"If you know what's good for you," Remus growled as he tightened his grip, "you'll let go of my nephew...now!"
The man fled in terror as Remus surreptitiously removed his hand from his pocket. Gently grabbing the shaking boy, Remus gave a sad sigh as he led the poor lad out and Apparated the two of them back to the flat.
It took Harry the better part of a day to calm down and work past the memories that resurfaced. Remus was by his side the whole time.
Finally, the long awaited date, September first, finally arrived. Remus and Harry took a cab to King's Cross and arrived at 10:40.
"Are you excited for your second year Harry?" asked Remus as they approached platform 9 ¾.
"Very much! Er...I...that is..." stammered Harry.
Remus merely laughed.
"Don't worry so much Harry. I know what you're getting at; there's no place like Hogwarts after all!"
Harry smiled in agreement. After a quick glance around, the two leaned casually against the barrier between platforms nine and ten. It was solid.
"It's blocked!" gasped Harry.
"So it would seem," murmured Remus pensively.
"What are we going to do? The others are already on the platform!" panicked Harry.
"Calm down Harry. We have some time yet," said Remus soothingly. "I have an idea. Step back for a moment."
Harry complied. Remus reached back, only to have his arm go through.
"How odd..." said Remus as he withdrew his arm. "Harry, lean on the barrier again."
Harry did so...and didn't disappear.
"Aha...I can, but you can't," concluded Remus.
"What about the other side?"
"Probably the same problem.. Looks like someone doesn't want you, or some other under aged wizard, on the platform"
"Dobby!" gasped Harry.
"Remember the house elf I told you about? The one that was mad as a hatter and thought that I was in grave danger?" asked Harry.
"Not that he was that far from the truth" muttered Remus. "Yes I do recall. What are you getting at?"
"I think that he's behind this."
"Blocking the barrier when you try to go through? That may be within an elf's magic."
"What do we do?"
There's more than one way to get onto the platform besides the barriers," said Remus with a smirk. "It's just not as traditional. Come with me."
Remus led Harry to a partitioned area of the station. Taking a quick glance around, he ducked out of sight.
"I know how much you dislike this Harry, but I'm afraid we'll have to Apparate."
With a groan, Harry took Remus' proffered arm. With a crack and a moment of a feeling of intense compression, the were greeted by the sight of the Hogwarts express. Stepping from the Apparation point, Remus noticed Arthur and Molly Weasley getting their children on the train as well. Their number was slightly smaller than he recalled, but Remus thought nothing of it.
"I hate Apparation," complained Harry.
"You'll get used to it Harry, especially when it's not Side-Along. At least you didn't puke this time!" said Remus teasingly.
Harry just groaned.
"There you are!" exclaimed Amelia.
They turned to greet her and saw that she was accompanied by Hannah's and Justin's parents.
"Hello Amelia, Abbots, and Finch-Fletchleys." greeted Remus jovially. "Where are the kids?"
"We sent them onto the train so they could have a compartment. There were anxious for you to get here Harry." said Sara.
"Well then, we shouldn't keep them waiting!" said Remus.
After Harry's trunk was loaded, the other adults left Harry and Remus to say their farewells. There was a silence, neither wizard knowing quite what to say at first.
"I'm going to miss you Uncle Remus," whispered Harry. "This summer has been the best one I've had."
"I'm going to miss you too Harry," said Remus quietly. "Merlin, I'm of two minds here. On one hand, I want to play the parental figure and tell you to be careful, study hard, and write often. On the other hand, I don't want to be horribly stuff. Guess it's a compromise then: don't procrastinate too much, be sure to work ahead when you can, write when you can, and if you feel the need to wreak a little havoc, make sure they deserve it and don't get caught."
"You mine Lockhart and people like Malfoy?"
"Sorry, my hearing's a little off today. Can't remember that last bit I said either. My I'm off today," said Remus with a wink. "I'd hate to get a letter saying my nephew has been up to all sorts of nefarious misdeeds."
"Don't worry Uncle, you won't get any letters like those."
Harry suddenly enveloped Remus in a heartfelt hug, surprising the werewolf. The warning whistle blew.
"It's time for you to go," said Remus softly. "Stay safe."
With a nod, Harry pulled back and stepped onto the train. As the train departed, Harry searched for his friends. After he found their compartment, he joined them with a large smile breaking out on his face.
At long last, they were on their way back to Hogwarts!
Wow...I can't believe that I've been gone for so long. I can't even begin to describe just how long and difficult this year has been for me. I don't even know where to begin. Long story short, it's been hell. There was a lot of stress and even some depression involved. Shortly after I posted the last chapter, I hit another skid. Any time I tried to write, it just didn't click. So I just stepped back for a while. November hit, and I was beginning to piece together the next chapter. I scrapped several versions. Then one of my grandmothers (my dad's side) had a massive stroke just before Thanksgiving. It was very close, and I'm very lucky that she was alive. Over my winter break I was sick with mono (it wasn't from parties and girls! I swear!) and couldn't really generate any thoughts. Then in January I suddenly lost my aunt to cancer and found out my grandfather (mom's side) had cancer. His health declined rapidly and he passed at the end of February. I was devastated, and to top it off one of my closest friends dropped me on my ass when I needed her most. I got very depressed, to the point where my friends were very concerned I nearly went to the mental health clinic on campus several times. Hell, sometimes I still feel a little depressed. So that's whats been going on this year. I'm improving, so hopefully I'll be able to get another chapter out soon, but I hope you understand if I don't set a time line. If time allows, maybe I'll be able to give myself a cushion some time. I would have done it with this chapter, but it's just been too long
That said...WOOO! 6K (excluding this note) words! Go me! And over 100 review now! Go you guys! On the note of reviews, concerns were raised about my inclusion of Remus. Personally I think I did alright with keeping the "like James" comparisons to a minimum. I'm hoping that my motivations for for Harry welcoming life with Remus is always acceptable. It fought me for a bit. Likewise, I hope my characterizations are accurate. The only thing I was second guessing as much as my characterizations was my writing style, haha. I hope that all this time off and all the...events...this year haven't adversely affected it. Also, I shall endeavor to (finally) reply to all of the reviews.
I'm looking forward to doing second year. I made some changes to my original plans, but I think it will work well. I think I'm going to have more fun with this one.