Disclaimer: I do not own Harry Potter or the world of. They most unfortunately are the sole property of one J.K. Rowling.
Not Set In Stone
Remus Lupin stumbled across the threshold of Number Twelve, Grimmauld Place exhaustedly. He'd been on assignment for Dumbledore for a fortnight now, hoping to recruit new members for the Order. His luck, unfortunately, had been non-existent. Of the dozen or so people he'd spoken with, people Dumbledore had dearly hoped would support the Order, even though the Ministry was doing everything to discredit the Headmaster and anybody willing to support him, only a few would actually hear him out. But even then, they were hesitant to commit to anything more than considering Dumbledore's message until more information came to light.
A familiar barking laugh floated up the kitchen staircase and met Remus' ears as he headed towards the staircase that led to his bedroom and what would undoubtedly be a very satisfying sleep. With a raised eyebrow, struggling to remember the last time he'd heard Sirius genuinely laugh, Remus detoured down the hallway. In the kitchen, the werewolf discovered his best friend sitting at the kitchen table with an unfamiliar wizard. Remus' eyebrow rose as he observed the man—he had shoulder-length blond hair, what looked to be a tall, thin frame, and a crooked nose, as though it had been broken a few too many times in his life. If Remus had to guess, the man looked like he might have been some relation of Dumbledore's.
Sirius' laughter tapered off and he glanced around the kitchen. "Moony!" he exclaimed loudly. "I was wondering if you'd ever find your way back here!"
The new wizard turned with a bright smile that seemed to churn something in Remus' memory. But the more he tried to bring it to the surface, the further away it moved. "I was bound to stumble across the place at some point," Remus said, trying to smile in welcome. He crossed the kitchen and offered his hand to the blond wizard as he stood. "Remus Lupin."
"Ken Revold," the wizard said, shaking Remus' hand. "Pleasure to meet you."
"Pleasure's mine," Remus said politely, already starting to like the man.
"He's a new Order member, Moony," Sirius explained, pouring a glass of firewhiskey. Remus was about to say he didn't want a drink, then realized the drink wasn't for him as Sirius drained it in record time. "Dumbledore brought him by earlier; wanted him to get settled a bit before the meeting began."
"Ah," Remus said as he sat at the table. "Are you from Britain?"
Ken grinned a little. "Yes and no," he said wryly. "I was born here, but I've been gone for some time."
"Ken's just been telling me a bit about he and his friends used to get up to," Sirius said, his words slurring just a little. Remus vaguely wondered how long he'd been drinking. "Tell him the one about turning that one kid into a bat for Halloween..."
Ken chuckled a little. "I doubt he wants to hear about all that," he said dismissively. "Anyway, he looks kind of tired."
Remus nodded in agreement, punctuating this with a large yawn. "Well, I can't say I've slept much in the last few weeks. What time does the meeting start, Sirius?"
"About eight," Sirius muttered, concentrating hard on selecting a sandwich from the plate in the middle of the table.
"In that case, I think I'll take a nap," Remus said apologetically. "Perhaps we'll have time to catch up later, Ken."
Ken nodded. "Indeed, Remus. Enjoy your rest."
Remus' response lost to another yawn as he headed up the stairs, hardly seeing anything until he reached his bedroom where he collapsed on the bed and was asleep within seconds.
During the Order meeting, it was obvious Ken Revold was well-liked by everyone else just as he seemed to be with Sirius. As it turned out, the wizard's family was in the business of troll taming of all things. He immediately found a fan in Charlie Weasley as the two wizards compared notes of trolls and dragons, at least until Molly sent her second eldest son a glare to tell him to pay attention to what Dumbledore was saying. The Headmaster, however, seemed to be enjoying the conversation and seemed reluctant to turn to business. According to Kingsley, Fudge was making his way around the Ministry, carefully checking that nobody had contact with Albus Dumbledore; those few Order members who worked at the Ministry have been smart enough to take up the attitude that the Hogwarts Headmaster was indeed a senile old man who was an immense danger to the wizarding world. Dumbledore seemed greatly amused by this.
Following Remus' report on his failure in recruiting, Dumbledore stood. "I believe this brings us to our final order of business," he said, a strange twinkle in his eye as he surveyed the Order. "Harry Potter."
Movement out of the corner of his eye turned Remus' head and he found his eyebrow rising. He wasn't sure why the sight of Sirius Black and Ken Revold straightening up in their chairs with identical movements at the sound of Harry's name seemed to make him uneasy, but it did. Sirius' reaction was completely understandable: he'd been desperate for news of his godson for days now. But why did Ken seem so desperately interested? The more Remus watched the newest Order member, the more curious he became of the wizard's story. Unfortunately, he was unable to focus on this thought for long; Dumbledore was announcing the need to organize a guard duty on Privet Drive; the reasoning of this seemed to be caused by Harry's new fondness of wandering around his neighborhood in the evenings.
"What, he can't even take a walk anymore?" Sirius asked rather irritably. "Let the boy stretch his legs! At least one of us is getting some fresh air."
Remus sighed inwardly as Dumbledore answered, "Harry is quite free to go for a stroll. However, he's straying further away from the sanctuary of his mother's blood." The Headmaster's eyes seemed to dart towards Ken very briefly; the younger wizard was staring at the table. "My concern is that he will grow bolder in his walks and wander far enough that he is no longer protected by that ancient magic. Lord Voldemort will know all about this magic by now; it would be too much to wish for that he hasn't stationed a few of his followers just outside the boundary of Privet Drive with the hope that they can benefit from Harry's mistake."
"So why not just tell him exactly what the problem is?" Ken asked suddenly. Dumbledore's face was suddenly blank. "You tell him your concerns, make him understand the dangers, and he'll be more willing to follow your instructions."
Sirius made a noise of agreement, as did a few other Order members.
"We have discussed why this cannot happen," Dumbledore said quietly. Remus was unsure whether he was speaking to Sirius or Ken, or both. "The connection Harry holds with Lord Voldemort is still rather unknown, and I do not wish to put him into any more danger than he is already in by merely existing."
This seemed to temporarily silence Ken, though judging by the look on his face, Dumbledore was in for an earful once the meeting had ended. And indeed, when the meeting ended, Ken shot up from his chair and moved towards Dumbledore. Remus watched the exchange, straining his ears to hear what was said; but between the rest of the Order talking around him and what Remus assumed may have been the use of a Muffliato spell, he was unable to make out even one word of the discussion.
Remus jumped a little in his chair and turned to find Tonks, sporting purple spikes this evening, sitting in a chair recently abandoned by Arthur Weasley. "Ah, hello, Tonks," he said, forcing a smile. When he glanced back to the corner where Dumbledore and Ken had been speaking, the two wizards had moved on to other things already. Remus sighed a little and turned back to the young witch beside him. "What can I help you with?"
"You and I have guard duty tonight," he was informed brightly.
Remus looked at her blankly. "Er, we do?"
Tonks nodded. "Didn't you see the schedule?"
The wizard shook his head. "I've been gone for two weeks, remember?" He sighed; his hope had been to spend the evening with Sirius, try to raise his best friend's spirits, which haven't been very high since his return to his childhood home. "What time do we have to be there?"
"Midnight," Tonks replied. "We've got about an hour."
"In that case, I should probably make sure Sirius is occupied for the evening before leaving," Remus said, glancing around the kitchen in search of the other wizard. When his eyes landed on Sirius, his eyebrow rose again; far from being bitter over how Dumbledore was keeping Harry in the dark about his future or about his own orders to remain in the house at all times, Sirius had a grin on his face Remus hadn't seen for a very long time as he talked with Ken Revold. The two wizards seemed to be discussing something very amusing with Mundungus Fletcher.
"I think he's occupied," Tonks said with her own grin.
"Indeed," Remus said faintly, watching Ken tell a story using exaggerated waves of his arms. Who does he remind me of...?
"Does Sirius know him?" Tonks asked curiously. "They seem to get along better than Sirius does with most people."
Remus shook his head. "They only met today, as I understand it," he responded.
Remus glanced at the witch beside him; she was staring unabashedly at Ken. He cleared his throat to get her attention back. "We should probably head out." He immediately turned away from Sirius, and moments later, felt Tonks do the same. "I'll just go get Mad-Eye's Invisibility Cloak, shall I?" Without another word, Remus was up the staircase and searching for Mad-Eye, all the while trying to figure out what about this situation bothered him so.
Next morning, Remus didn't wake up until long after breakfast, but couldn't quite find the energy to feel bad about it. He and Tonks had spent six hours beneath an Invisibility Cloak outside the Department of Mysteries where the only interesting happening had been when they'd gotten up to stretch and Tonks had lost her balance, causing her to fall out of the cloak. Luckily nobody had been around to witness the mishap and Tonks had remained off her feet for the rest of the night.
Upon his arrival to the kitchen to see what Sirius had gotten up to the night before, Remus found the only person present was Ken Revold. During his time beneath the cloak in the Ministry, Remus had had plenty of time to think about the newest Order member and what it was about him that seemed so familiar. He hadn't been able to come up with anything concrete other than the fact that he seemed rather experienced in dealing with Sirius' bad moods. And the only conclusion he could draw from this was that Ken must have had a friend with Sirius' temperament at some point.
"Good morning," Remus said pleasantly to the other wizard as he started some tea.
Ken looked at him over his shoulder and smiled. "Morning, Remus," he said. "Have a good night?"
The werewolf made a noncommittal noise. "Uneventful," he reported. "Which I'm told is a good thing."
"Have you seen Sirius this morning by chance?" Remus poured his tea and headed over to sit at the table across from the other wizard.
"He's upstairs with his hippogriff," Ken replied. "And not exactly in the best mood it seems." Remus raised a questioning eyebrow as he sipped his tea. "Dumbledore was here about an hour ago and rather firmly instructed Sirius not to step foot out of the house."
"Sirius has had those instructions since we got here..." Remus said dully.
Ken nodded. "Well, this was after Sirius was spotted by Mad-Eye Moody trying to sneak out in his Animagus form."
Remus sighed wearily. "You'd think someone in his situation would do everything possible to not get himself caught." His brow furrowed as he thought of something he probably should have thought about before beginning this discussion. "Er, you do know Sirius' situation, don't you?"
"Dumbledore briefed me," replied Ken in a wry tone. "Actually, I wanted to ask you about that..." The other wizard leaned a little across the table and dropped his voice. "What d'you reckon it'd take for the Ministry to believe he was innocent?"
A humorless snort escaped before Remus could stop himself. "At this point, nothing short of a miracle," he said grimly. "The only people aware of truth would never be believed or are long dead." He began counting his fingers. "Three teenagers, one of whom Fudge is trying to convince the world is absolutely mental and his two best friends; one werewolf, yours truly," he pointed at himself; there wasn't much point hiding the fact if Ken was going to be staying at Headquarters, and judging by the look on his face, Dumbledore had let those beans spill as well, "the escaped mad mass murderer himself; the betrayer; and those he betrayed." Remus felt a sad smile on his face.
Ken nodded slowly, thinking hard about something. "But you are trying, aren't you?" he asked quietly, not quite looking at Remus. "I mean, you're trying to find a way to clear his name..."
Remus' brow furrowed. "Well, yes, but as I said, unless Peter Pettigrew willingly walks into the Ministry and confesses all, there isn't much of a chance." Again, Ken nodded. Remus' brow furrowed a touch at the turn the conversation had taken. "Can I ask why you seem so concerned about Sirius' innocence?"
The other wizard gave a half-shrug. "He just seems like a nice bloke," he muttered unconvincingly. "Doesn't seem fair he's gotten such a raw deal." He hesitated a bit, staring into his tea. "And I had a friend like him once—one who drank a lot when he got really upset and depressed, or suffered a really bad disappointment. It didn't really end too well with him and I'd hate to see that happen to Sirius too."
Remus wasn't sure how to respond to that other than nod.
"Well, I should be getting on," Ken said, draining his own teacup. "Dumbledore's asked me to head over to Privet Drive to bring Arabella Figg up to speed on a few things." There was an excitement on the wizard's face that Remus didn't think was warranted, considering his task. "See you in a while."
Remus was barely able to wave before Ken had disappeared around the corner of the staircase. Shaking himself a little, trying to convince himself he was reading far too much into something that probably didn't exist, he made his own way up the stairs, determined to find Sirius and cheer him up some.
Harry Potter walked along the sidewalk of Privet Drive, his hands stuffed deeply in his pockets, his head bowed. For weeks now, he'd been waiting for word from his friends about the state of the wizarding world—had Voldemort started attacking people yet? Had the Ministry changed its opinion of whether Dumbledore was mad? For now, though, it seemed everybody was quite content with leaving him in the dark. Even Ron and Hermione and Sirius didn't seem to think he needed to know what was happening anymore. ("I expect we'll be seeing you soon," "Just be patient; everything will work out," "Keep your head down and out of trouble.") Thinking over his godfather's most recent note, Harry found himself becoming rather bitter and resentful. The man who had been accused of murdering thirteen people, who'd spent twelve years in Azkaban, and who'd risked his capture more times than Harry wanted to count over the last year telling him to keep his head down and out of trouble.
Do they think I can't handle it? Harry asked himself bitterly, kicking a pebble out of his way. I've got more right than any of them to know what's going on!
Growling under his breath, Harry took a sharp left into a park where he immediately plopped into a swing, wrapping his arm around the chain. I'm the one suffering from nightmares—they weren't there to see Cedric fall over dead... And yet I'm the only one who's out of the loop while everyone else is having a right good time wherever the hell they are.
Harry froze suddenly, feeling eyes upon him. He slowly turned and looked down towards Mrs. Figg's house across the street. Sitting on the porch, surrounded by cats, was a man Harry didn't recognize. Harry shifted a little under the stare, starting to feel a little uncomfortable. The man didn't turn away, though. In fact, it seemed to Harry that the only thing keeping him on the porch and away from Harry was Mrs. Figg who'd come out to find her guest staring at the park. The old woman slapped the man in the shoulder to stop his staring.
Harry averted his eyes briefly, uncertain why his heartbeat had sped up the way it had. When he turned back to Mrs. Figg's porch, both the batty woman and the man had disappeared. With a heavy sigh, Harry stood, hearing his cousin's loud voice not far from the park and decided it was probably time to head back home; the last thing he wanted to deal with was his aunt and uncle screaming at him for being later than their ickle Dudders.
As he left the park, Harry felt his eyes drift back to Mrs. Figg's house. He could just make out a face watching him through the curtains.
AN: So I have good news and bad news. The good news is that I am very much alive and have not fallen off the face of the planet. The bad news is that I've hit the most solid Writer's Block I can remember having with Through Another's Eyes. (Though I'm sure some of you might have figured that out by now...) However, inspiration helped along by one whydoyouneedtoknowhas brought this little story to life. Hope you enjoyed the first chapter. As always, please review. Thank you.