Disclaimer: Not mine – I'm just playing with JK's dollies…
A/N: Happy Valentine's Day people! Okay… so it was yesterday… shut up!
Mistakes are purely mine, as this isn't beta-ed (Aidan apparently sleeps at night… freak), so don't hate me for any mistakes – I couldn't be bothered reading it through. :S
This is another missing moment from HBP, this time set during the Christmas holidays. This is set a day after the events of 'A Very Frosty Christmas' (Boxing Day).
Lets get this party started! xP
A Poster-Boy, Just Like My Father
Remus Lupin was standing at the window of the Burrow, nursing a cup of tea and staring out at the joyous scene with a heavy heart. It had snowed heavily last night and the younger occupants of the house were engaged in a snowball fight.
Bill had been the first to surrender to the cold and come back inside, much to Fleur's delight. He sat down at the kitchen table, methodically removing his socks and shoes before placing warming charms on his feet; ignoring Mrs Weasley's protests of 'proper hygiene' as she bustled about doing housework. Fred, George, Ron, Harry and Ginny however, were too stubborn to join him.
Remus watched as Ginny threw a perfectly aimed snowball at the back of Harry's neck, making him squirm and yell out. Recovering, Harry turned around and retaliated with such force that it caused Ginny to fall face-first into a pile of snow. The look of mischief on his face as he ran away from Ginny, who was blindly throwing fistfuls of snow at him, was not missed by Remus. Nor was the laugh he issued when she couldn't catch him.
'Sometimes Harry is so much like James,' he said to no one in particular, barely noticing that the dishes Mrs Weasley was washing had stopped clinking and everyone's attention was on him.
He drained the rest of his tea from his cup and placed it on the counter in front of him before saying, 'It's the way he smiles. The smile where it's obvious he's up to something, but you don't know what and you don't really want to know.'
Turning his back on the window, he cast his eyes over the other occupants of the room, taking in their cautious expressions with a slight chuckle.
'I can talk about him, you know.' Remus said reassuringly, 'It's been a long time and you can't possibly look at Harry without thinking about James. Or Lily.'
'Is Harry a lot like James?' asked Bill, his voice soft, consoling.
Remus gave a bark of laughter; making the other three jump slightly. He leant back against the counter, bracing himself with his hands and waited for his laughter to die down before replying.
'No! No, Harry is not like James. Not much anyway…' he trailed off and sighed, carrying on only when glimpsing the expectant faces before him. 'What you have to understand is that James was a prankster, he always liked to make people laugh and would go out of his way to make that happen. Him and Sirius were… the 'Weasley twins' of our generation, except more… intense.'
'"More intense"? Is that possible?' Bill enquired incredulously, laughing lightly.
Remus laughed with him and nodded.
'As incredible as that sounds, yes. James and Sirius would – would read love letters to McGonagall during class, paint the Slytherin table Gryffindor colours, charm suits of armour to follow people around, place jinxes over doorways and spike the Slytherins' pumpkin juice with… anything they found. They would spend weeks planning their next prank and they were always so serious about it…' he exhaled and shook his head, chuckling slightly as his mind drifted to other memories of his best friends. 'I remember the rule was: Be serious now and laugh along with everyone else when the time comes, because, that way, it was less suspicious and they wouldn't get caught. Of course, they always did get caught, because they… well, we… were the only ones that would do something like that…'
Shifting slightly on the edge of the counter, Remus broke out of his reverie and smiled broadly at the floor tiles, before lifting his head.
'Harry's not like that. He's not as… confident and full of himself as James was. There are some similarities between them, naturally, but mostly… they do things in the complete opposite ways,' he finished.
'Opposite? Like what?' asked Fleur.
'Well,' he laughed, 'James used to ruffle his hair up to make it messier than it already was and Harry flattens his down.'
As Remus finished his sentence, the door banged open and Fred and George came rushing in through the door laughing.
'- And then she was like, 'your magic tricks are so realistic! I'd love for you to show me more of them.'' Fred said, putting on a high, girly voice and batting his eyelashes like he was sporting those of a doll's for the impersonation.
George, Ron, Harry and Ginny laughed as, they too, piled in the door. The sight in the kitchen, however, made Harry stop in his tracks in the doorway.
His ruffled hair, lopsided grin and happily surprised expression reminded Remus strongly of the forth Marauder he had been discussing. Had it not been for the fact that this doppelganger had called him "Professor Lupin", he would have sworn it was Prongs himself.
Harry's body jerked forwards and his expression turned to one of confusion.
'Move it, Potter!' Ginny said forcefully, pushing the door to and walking out from behind his tall frame. 'Stop loitering in doorways! You want to have a conversation? You have it in the middle of the room!'
She flung her hair over her shoulder and stalked away to hang her coat up. As Harry laughed at her antics, Remus saw his eyes travel down her form and come to rest at the base of her spine…
Unable to help himself, he chuckled and leaned towards Harry.
'I saw that,' he said in his ear, smiling at the blush that appeared on his cold-flushed cheeks as he tried to form a coherent sentence. 'Don't worry, your secret's safe with me.'
Still laughing at the "caught" expression on Harry's face, he said, 'Your father would be proud.'
Harry's mouth opened, confused frown in place, but before he could speak, George asked, 'What? Why would Harry's Dad be proud?'
'Because Harry was chosen to represent the Ministry,' Remus stated without hesitation, exemplifying his previous years as a Marauder.
'Why would that make him proud?' asked Fred, 'Was he some kind of model?'
'-Or rent boy?'
'That's quite enough!' snapped Mrs Weasley, silencing the twins, though their amused smirks stayed in place.
Harry and Remus looked sideways at one another and began to laugh, surprising the other occupants, whom had sympathetic smirks on their faces.
'Could've been,' Remus choked out through his laughter. As if in all in one, smooth, simultaneous movement, all the heads in the room turned to stare questioningly at him.
Harry's smile dropped.'Er… what?' he asked, looking confused and slightly worried.
'Yeah, didn't he look just like Harry?' asked George.
'Yeah, no offence mate – can't imagine you in a thong,' said Fred, smirking at Harry as a few people chuckled.
Remus sighed, 'James could have had any girl he wanted,' he explained. 'I'm sure any girl would've liked to have seen him – and Sirius, probably – in some sort of… outfit in some magazine.'
'Really?' asked Harry, frowning.
'Yep,' Remus smiled.
'How?' enquired Ginny, 'Was he some sort of… player?' Remus laughed.
'Really? How can you be a player in a small community – people would soon realise what you're like and stop wanting you. Wait – was he a suave player?' asked Bill.
'Yeah… he was…' Remus smiled and looked unseeingly into the distance. The others looked at each other and Mrs Weasley clinked some dishes in the sink in an attempt to bring Remus out of his reverie.
'Yeah…' said Ginny, breaking the silence, 'I see how you two-', she looked at the twins, '-don't think Harry could be a model,' she glanced at Harry and said in a mock whisper, 'He's not suave.'
'Thanks.' Ginny laughed; Harry tried to ignore how the sound made him slightly weak at the knees.
'Oh, come on – I think Harry could be suave,' protested Bill.
'You've not seen him dance,' Ron threw in, smirking.
'Really? You can't dance?' Remus asked Harry over the laughter, 'James was an amazing dancer… maybe a bit inappropriate at times but… Lily was good too. I think she did ballet before she got her Hogwarts Letter…'
'Well, not everything's hereditary – if that were true, none of us would be able to play Quidditch,' announced Ginny, indicating her brothers. 'But we can – just ask our… captain…' she raised her eyebrows at Harry; he chuckled and broke her stare in return. 'But, I think Harry could be suave…' Harry looked back at Ginny. She was looking at him with a calculating expression, her mouth slightly open and her tongue grazing the tips of her teeth.
'Yeah,' said George earnestly, nodding.
'No – seriously,' Ginny said, eyebrows raised, looking at the somewhat sceptical faces around her. 'What about Cho?'
'What about Cho?' Harry asked quickly, suddenly defensive.
'Did she think you were suave…?'
'No! I don't even think I'm suave!'
'Who's Cho…?' asked Bill slowly.
'Oh, really hot,' said Fred.
'Year below us. Was always… well developed…' George held his hands quite far from his chest and gestured. He was still "gesturing" when Mrs Weasley turned around.
'George!' snapped Mrs Weasley, cuffing the back of the twin's head. George grimaced.
'I'm… Fred?' he enquired hopefully, earning him another light slap from his mother, the room sniggering at his antics.
'So,' said Bill, continuing their conversation, 'You went out with her?' He nodded towards Harry.
'Yeah…' Harry said slowly.
Bill smirked, making him look very much like Fred and George. 'How far d'you go?'
Everyone – including Mrs Weasley – turned to look at Bill, incredulous expressions in place, before turning to Harry, curiosity mingling with their disbelief.
'Er,' began Harry, feeling distinctly hot around his collar, 'Kissed her a bit… I dunno…' Ron, thankfully, spared Harry the humiliation of telling everyone that she'd been crying at the time.
Unnoticed by the others, Remus smiled at Harry's shyness; wondering if James' arrogance was, in fact, a recessive mutation on the X chromosome. Or a personality trait. Whichever it was, it was not passed down to Harry.
'That's all?' asked George, looking disgusted, 'All you did was kiss her?! Have you not seen her? At all?!'
'So,' Bill said loudly over George, whom was gesturing again, 'You still going out with her?'
'Okay. So, now you're going out with…?'
Harry was slightly taken aback, 'Er… no one?' It came out as a question rather than a statement.
'Really?' asked Bill, frowning, 'I'd have thought you would have, you know…' Harry looked distinctly baffled and a low chuckle rang throughout the room, led by Bill.
'What? No one you want?' Everyone seemed to still at Bill's question, as though they thought that if they were quiet enough, they would hear the answer seep out of him. Even Mrs Weasley stopped bustling around to turn and look at Harry, interested in his answer.
Harry could feel himself blushing and cursed himself for it.
'So you do want someone! Who is it?' asked Bill eagerly, smirking.
Harry dared himself to not look at Ginny, who was standing tantalisingly close, staring at him and waiting for him to answer. He gulped.
'Weasleys!' cried Mr Weasley, coming in the back door, shaking snow off his shoes. 'Potters, Lupins, Delacours,' he added, nodding to the respective individuals.
Calls of 'Arthur!' and 'Dad!' filled the room as everyone started to ask questions about the "protective" artefacts Mr Weasley had found and confiscated, as he apologised about being called away.
The previous conversation hung, invisible and forgotten, in the air around them. Remus saw Harry breathe a sigh of relief and join in the conversation. Remus smiled. Harry was like his father in one respect: he, too, had a thing for redheads.
A/N: Hope you liked it, and I hope you had a good Valentine's Day (hopefully not Lockhart style – if so, I feel for you, I really do…)! Tell me what you did in a review if you feel so inclined – I want to live through you all… obviously. :P
But, seriously, reviews help me get better at this (or at least keep me writing), so it'd be nice if you left one (but don't feel you have to – don't stress, calm down :P). Constructive crit always accepted and appreciated. :)