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Harry's eyes widened as Juan passed through the wall, as large and unappealing to look at as ever; and yet somehow seeming more free than Harry had ever seen him. As his hood was drawn back, Harry could see an exultant grin covering his face. Harry had never seen a smile of that pure, intense emotion cross Juan's face at all in the past three years.
Harry pushed himself to his feet to meet the excited Juan, who glided across the floor… only to find himself facing not Juan, but the backs of Sirius and Remus. The two bristled angrily and radiated protective fury. This time, Harry did roll his eyes; the overprotective thing was already old.
"Stay away from Harry, you disgusting monster!" Sirius glared at Juan, not taking a moment to consider the fact that Juan had just called Harry's name in a language that he, Sirius, could understand. Remus just growled defensively.
In response to the insult, Juan's smile diminished largely in size but still managed to take on an amused tone. "Hey, insulting. No name calling, please."
Harry heaved a sigh and ran a hand through his hair, wincing as it caught on some of the clumps that had fused together in the sweat that had been pouring off him earlier. Apparently, dying was a strenuous activity that involved sweating. Harry made a mental note to take a shower soon; he was sure he didn't smell good at all. "I apologize for my ignorant godfather," Harry sighed again.
Juan grinned in a way that was remarkably cat-like for a dementor and raised one gaunt hand to salute Harry. "No, prob, Harry. But just to be sure, he does realize I'm a dementor, right? Not to be mistaken for some other sort of ordinary monster – like a werewolf," pointed stare at Remus who started at the word, "or vampire."
"A least our vampires don't sparkle," Harry muttered under his breath, despite his exasperated appearance. Juan, as per usual, ignored him. It seemed becoming his own person – dementor – had not changed Juan quite that much.
Oblivious to all that surrounded him, Juan continued dramatically, "Dementors are far scarier and more threatening than ordinary mon– ow! Cindy!" Juan rubbed the back of his head, mourning the sore spot Cindy had left there when she'd slapped him.
Behind Juan, Cindy grinned, looking more relaxed than Harry had ever seen her. "Oh, shut up, Juan, and stop trying to scare the wizards." She spoke softly, almost with reverence, as if basking in the feeling of speaking in an understandable tongue.
In front of Harry, Sirius seemed unsure of whether or not to be happy Harry had called him his godfather, worried Harry had spoken to a dementor, nervous at the arrival of a second dementor, or freaked out by the fact that both dementors had spoken back in a coherent language. He settled for remaining in front of Harry and adopting a considerably unbalanced look. Beside him, Remus just shifted in confusion, still blocking the path to Harry. Juan took another gliding step forward, and both Sirius and Remus stiffened even further.
Harry glared at the two half-heartedly and was about to move them out of the way when Luna's voice rang out from behind his ear. "Let me, Harry."
Harry turned to look at Luna, who smiled brightly, and took a step back to allow her access to Sirius and Remus, both of whom had their attention solely focused on Juan and Cindy and therefore failed to notice. Harry took advantage of the small reprieve from their close proximity to glance back at Lucas and Draco.
Lucas appeared to be slightly wary but otherwise relaxed and just watching the scene unfold. After all, the guy who was going to save his clan and who had just defeated Voldemort hugged dementors… right? Ok, even he didn't understand what he meant by that; but he was still just struggling to make sense of the entire situation. Better to just relax and go with the flow.
Draco seemed slightly weirded out by the appearance of the dementors but, having become already accustomed to all the weird crap and creatures that happened around Harry, did not seem too upset. In fact, he, in true Slytherin fashion, appeared to have decided that since Harry wasn't freaked out by the dementors, then he, Draco, shouldn't be and that they were potential allies. And then, proving his well-being, Draco caught Harry's gaze and sniffed. "You smell like death, Potter," he griped.
"Harry," the Boy-Who-Lived corrected, a large smile on his face. At least one person could be counted on to not treat him any differently – even after he'd just risen from the dead.
Draco just made a vague, dismissive noise and turned to stare at the body of Voldemort, as if marveling in and relishing the fact that he was finally gone.
Harry turned his attention back to Luna, who in turn had her attention on Sirius and Remus, who, having their attention on Juan and Cindy, did not notice her. "Ow!" the two both yelped and cringed as Luna placed a sharp slap on each of their necks.
"Juan's a friend," Luna stated. "And so's the other dementor with him."
"Cindy," supplied the she-mentor.
"Cindy," Luna finished, eyeing both Sirius and Remus dangerously until they backed down and moved apart, allowing Harry access to his dementor friends. "It's lovely to meet you, Cindy," Luna continued. "And good to see you again as well, Juan," the atypical witch smiled.
Juan grinned brightly again and moved forward to catch Luna in a hug, which she happily returned. "Good to see you too, o' future sister of mine. And hey, I can finally touch you now!" Before Luan could start inspecting Juan's skin and body, taking odd little scientific notes on her findings, Harry stepped forward to intervene between the curious Ravenclaw and the excitable dementor.
"So… the spell worked? Completely? …No surprises or unexpected side effects?" Harry asked carefully despite the weight being gone from his mind and Juan hugging Luna – needing assurance after all that he'd been through. After all, he'd just died today, so it was pretty feasible that not much was as it seemed to be; and his mind could be playing tricks on him, despite how real everything seemed.
Juan rolled his eyes in response. "No, Harry, I'm just standing here, speaking plain English and giving your girlfriend a platonic hug just because it didn't work. Of course it worked." Juan stepped forward to ruffle Harry's hair, eliciting a disgruntled look from the young wizard, as well as two more yelps from Sirius and Remus when Luna had slapped their necks once more for stiffening up again.
Harry smiled and reached up his arms to encircle Juan, though they really only went partly around the dementor's waist, even with Harry stretched all the way up. "I'm glad you're free," Harry said softly.
Juan returned the awkward hug and laughed. "Course I'm free; you're Harry Potter. I mean, it's not like you might have – I don't know – mispronounced the incantation and transported us all to Antarctica. And then, of course, you wouldn't have gotten us stranded there for a week because, apparently, extreme cold warps dementor magic and you got pneumonia within, like, two hours and couldn't apparate us back to Azkaban and so we had to rely on locals to help us out – after we spent four days searching for them on a barren wasteland and then two more with you unconscious.
"And even then we had to get sent to the shore of the lake Azkaban's because of the magical wards covering the jail; and because of the fact that it took a few days for our magic to stop going wacky and you were still rather inept at dementor style magic, we had to swim all the way across to building. But, of course, that never happened. Because you're Harry Potter, and Harry Potter never ever makes a mistake."
Juan adopted an innocent expression and glued his eyes to the wall past Harry's head, a smirk tugging at his carefully neutral lips. Harry scowled and pulled out of Juan's arms, which had really been circling around the tops of his shoulder, as the dementor was so tall. "That only happened once, and you were the one who didn't think anything would happen since I hadn't… killed Voldemort yet." Harry paused slightly before finishing the sentence, his irrational guilt returning slightly.
A worried look flitted over Juan's face only to be plastered over by a smirk. He shrugged in the universal "whatever" gesture. "Ow!" Juan grabbed at his shoulder, where Cindy had swatted him.
"Quit teasing him, Juan; he's had an exhausting day. And we owe this freedom of ours to him." She pushed him gently to the side and reached forward to grab Harry in a hug, which he gladly returned. "Oh, Harry," her arms held him so tightly that Harry had to loosen her grip slightly. "Thank you so much. You did it. You did it! I'm so proud of you."
Harry smiled into her cloak before stepping back. "Thanks, Cindy."
Behind her, Juan coughed something into his cloak that sounded eerily like, "cliché." He immediately recoiled, as if expecting a slap; but Cindy didn't even glance back at him. He remained paused in a defensive position for a second before straightening up, a disgruntled look on his face, as if irritated that he hadn't been deemed important enough for a swat.
"What is going on?" Sirius' voice broke through the reunion, thick and worried – as well as confused and upset. Harry turned to look at the older wizard, taking in the pained looks on both his and Remus' faces.
Luna put her hands on her hips and frowned at the two, who stepped away from her nervously. "I told you that Juan's a friend."
Harry rubbed his scar exasperatedly. "Look, Juan is the male dementor with the smart-"
"-stupid-" corrected Cindy.
"-mouth, and Cindy is the female dementor currently hovering over me. They're family."
Neither Sirius nor Remus seemed to know how to respond to this, their faces having been drained of what little blood had remained in them. Lucas, however, piped up and asked the question, "How on earth are you related to dementors? …The wizarding world is so messed up."
Harry chuckled a little at the look on Lucas' face, a mixture of revulsion and curiosity. "Not Biologically."
"That would just be gross," Juan supplied rather unhelpfully.
"Shut it, Juan," Harry responded without looking behind him. "How do I say this without off as completely self-important?"
Draco snorted. "Potter,"
"Whatever. You just defeated the dark lord. Everything you do and say for the next five years will seem completely self-important."
"Yeah, but still…" Harry rubbed his scar uncertainly.
"Ugh!" Juan stepped forward and pushed Harry out of the way to be in front of Sirius and Remus. "Wimp." He smirked at Harry before turning his gaze over to Sirius and Remus. "Look, while Harry was at Azkaban," he paused to give a look to Sirius and Remus, who shifted guiltily. "He turned seventeen, which, as I'm sure you know, means he became an adult and came into his magical inheritance. Then, bada-bing bada-boom, turns out Harry's an heir of Slytherin! Little birthday present from Voldemort. Too bad Harry forgot to send him a thank you card. Still, happy birthday, Harry," Juan waved his hands sarcastically. "Glad someone got him a gift."
Sirius and Remus squirmed in response to the depreciating glance Juan sent their way. Behind Juan, Harry chocked back laughter at Juan's retelling of his life story, while Cindy just looked faintly disapproving.
"So to put a quick summary to this long, rather boring–"
"Hey!" Harry cried indignantly.
"–story, Harry inherited the ability to understand us dementors. So Cindy and I," Juan jerked a thumb back at Cindy, who waved in response. "explained to your oh, so wonderful boy Harry that we dementors are under a curse! Not evil at all! Had you fooled, suckers! Nope, not evil; just got a lot of bad luck and a case of what you would consider the," Juan paused and glanced around, shifty eyed, before whispering, voice appalled, "uglies."
Then, Juan just shrugged. "Of course, you lot look pretty ugly to us. –Darn you, Harry, you're making me talk British– But anyways, I mean, come on. Have you seen yourselves in the mirror lately?"
"Wait, so you aren't originally bad?"
"Didn't I just say that? What, are you stupi–"
"No," Cindy cut in diplomatically, stopping the volatile Juan in his tracks. "Salazar decided he didn't like the way we looked, so he decided to make us slaves to his line."
The wizards and two werewolves looked faintly repulsed at the thought of such outright slavery. Luna reached forward to pat Juan's arm consolingly.
"Yeah," Juan continued. "So while he was making us watch over all of your murderers, he also decided to make us more… suited to the task. So, instead of sucking out negative emotions and making people feel good – which is what we actually do; yes, we are that much awesomer than you–, we were forced to suck out positive emotions and make people feel, well, you know, bad. And on top of that, he made it so that just touching one of us inspires fear and despair in wizards and humans; one kiss, and we can suck out your soul. Whoopty-doo for us." Now Juan and Cindy both looked down, lost in bad memories.
"Wait," Lucas ventured another question, "just to be sure, you didn't originally make people feel horrible and lose their souls?"
"…Yep." Juan nodded his head.
"You made people… happy?"
"You're glorified therapists!" Draco exclaimed with slight disdain.
"I didn't think wizards had therapists," Lucas butted in.
"Not really," Remus replied. "Which really is something that should be fixed."
"Then how do you know about them, Draco?" Lucas asked curiously.
"Because he goes to one," Juan couldn't help saying.
Draco flushed angrily, and Sirius cackled with laughter, despite not quite knowing what a therapist was himself. "I have never been to that poor muggle excuse of a healer! We learned about them in muggle studies, just like we learned about you muggle aurors called 'lifeguards' – what an undignified name – and the professional torturers you call 'dentists.'"
Everyone stared at Draco. "Who in the name of Merlin was you muggle studies teacher?" Sirius asked, finally, in shock. "I mean, muggle aurors are called accountants, not lifeguards!"
Now everyone turned to stare at Sirius, except for Draco, who just sniffed haughtily and turned away. Juan looked over at Draco, a mischievous smile spread across his face. "He wasn't much of a student, was he? Must've been lacking in a certain cerebral department," Juan tapped his head pointedly at the last part of his statement.
Draco, apparently not knowing the definition of cerebral and taking Juan's insult in an entirely different and more degrading direction, advanced threatening towards Juan, newly recovered wand drawn. "Potter, I don't care if he's a dementor and your friend – if he doesn't shut his mouth, I'll hex it shut."
"You and what army?" Juan said. "Your magic doesn't even work on me."
Draco pulled back his arm to cast a spell, practically bristling in anger. "Well, let's see if crucio works at on dementors."
Harry decided it was time to intervene. "Now, now, play nicely, children," he stepped between the two. "Draco, Juan didn't mean to insult you the way you think he did. Ignore his taunts; he's an idiot." Juan scoffed in an offended manner, and Harry sent him a despairing look. "I say that in the most (brotherly) loving way possible. Now stop being an instigator. And no, Draco wouldn't actually crucio you, though I highly doubt it would work at all."
"Doesn't mean I can't try," Draco muttered, stuffing his wand back in his robes.
Juan stuck his tongue out at Draco from behind Harry. Draco's face twitched. Harry took a leaf out of Luna's book and reached up and slapped Juan, though he only reached the dementor's shoulder. "Ow! What's with all the slapping?"
"We're getting off topic," Harry said menacingly. "Continue. Now."
"Fine, sheesh." Juan rubbed his neck again, deciding that it would definitely be red in the morning and that, as retribution, he should change Harry's vision so that he only saw in shades of red for a few weeks. Resuming his now official role (with Harry's verbal consent, however indirect it was) as story teller, Juan continued.
"Anyways, so we became slaves to wizards, were turned into monsters, only the true heir of Slytherin could lift our curse, Harry would only be the true heir after Voldemort died, soooo we took care of Harry and trained him and now he saved us. The end." All of this was said in one breath. Juan grinned triumphantly, as if to say, 'Ha! How's that for an ending.'
They all stared at Juan in shock, except for Harry, who laughed, and Cindy, who groaned. "Are you capable of uttering a sentence that isn't twenty times too long or that's just short enough to confuse?"
Juan ignored her and looked around expectantly, waiting for a reaction. "Hey!" He clapped his hands twice, trying to wake the four wizards and one non-wizard/also-werewolf out of their semi-daze. "Story's over. Feel free to respond. Ask questions? Scoff? Scream obscenities? Marvel over my awesomeness? Something?"
Sirius was still staring at Juan uncomprehendingly, jaw slack. Remus was peering at Juan analytically, as if staring at a puzzle to be solved, slightly creeping out Juan in the process - if his inching away from the werewolf was any indication. Luna just smiled and waved unhelpfully, pausing to look down at her hands before giving him a thumbs down that Juan was vaguely sure was supposed to be a thumbs up. Draco, once more, looked bored; and Lucas seemed enthralled by Juan's tale, as if listening to a book on tape or something.
Juan sighed and threw his hands up in the air before whirling around to point his finger accusingly at Harry. "This is because of you. You infected them with your… Harry-ness. And now they're just vegetables. You're fault." He made a strange, complicated hand gesture before summoning up a chair and sitting down, pouting.
Harry raised one eyebrow at the hand gesture.
"…Felt like it," Juan responded, eyes on the ground, still feeling rejected. Harry lazily patted Juan on his head, which was as high up as Harry's shoulder despite the fact that the dementor was slumped forward in his seat.
"So… there're your answers," Harry said, looking at the five around him nervously, unsure of how they would respond.
Draco shrugged and leaned up against the wall in false nonchalance. "Eh, the ending was a bit dull."
This surprised a chuckle out of Harry. "My life is not some book, Draco. You can't review it and leave your opinion for future notice."
Draco gave Harry a dry look before shrugging again. Lucas raised his hand. "I thought the story line was pretty good. Characters were a bit one-dimensional, though."
"My life is not a book! Stop analyzing it!"
Draco snorted. "Wouldn't have been a very good read, anyways."
"Hey!" Harry felt his eyebrow twitch and began rubbing his scar again. 'At this rate, I'm going to rub my scar raw,' Harry thought with a mental sigh. Out loud, he said, "I defeat Voldemort and all I get is criticism and sarcasm?"
Juan nodded seriously. "Yes, that's all you get. Nothing else. I probably won't even buy you a Christmas present this year.
The dementor paused. "…Again."
Cindy patted Harry on the head sympathetically. "I'm sorry, Harry," she knelt down to speak face to face with him, her apology reflecting in her eyes even as her mouth pulled into an almost involuntary grin. "You deserve better than this for what you've done today, and I'm afraid Juan and I are doing a rather poor job of showing you how grateful we are and how proud we are of what you've done." She stood up and gestured down towards herself. "It's just… I can't tell you how amazing it feels to be free. I… I almost can't think straight."
Harry took a moment to look up at Cindy's face and see - really see - the giddy excitement there, the liberation that he'd never seen before. He glanced over at Juan, and he, while still being his annoyingly cheerful and sarcastic self, seemed somehow… new. If Harry had to describe the aura these two gave off, he would compare it to when you build a fort of blankets in your bed, cutting off all open air flow and breathing, for a few minutes, only the stale air contained in the blankets before reaching out your head and taking a deep breath of pure, flowing, fresh air.
Harry smiled, a sense of calm, purpose, and satisfaction drifting over him. And – as cliché as it was – it was all worth it. Even glancing over at Lucas and Draco, Harry could see relaxedness in them, as if all the tension they'd been feeling since – well, since Voldemort had come into their lives – had drained out.
Seeing his glance, Cindy said, "And don't worry; this is just their – and our – way of trying to deal with the shock of this all."
Harry raised an eyebrow once more.
"The natural pureblood response to anything unsettling or strange is either sarcasm or open hostility," Juan responded. "That's the way it's been for centuries."
"That… makes a surprising amount of sense," Harry muttered.
Lucas looked up at Harry then, and the young wizard could see the werewolf shaking slightly and that he had a mixture of relief and terror on his face. Lucas raised another hand haltingly. "It's either this for me or freaking out. I mean – I swear this has been the most messed up day I will ever have in my life." Harry winced in sympathy and gave the werewolf a compassionate glance.
Harry started slightly as Remus finally spoke and moved his eyes back over to Juan and Cindy, steadfastly aware that he had not looked over at Sirius and Remus directly since Juan had continued with the story.
"Please look at us, Harry," Remus begged softly.
Harry's eyes remained firmly planted anywhere but the two. He wasn't quite sure why, after everything that he'd experienced, it was so hard to own up to the last few years to them. Maybe it was the guilt – their guilt – at believing he'd been in Azkaban suffering so badly for so long; the guilt that was built on a bit of a falsehood. They'd deserved it, but still… Why was it that this kind of revenge just made Harry feel like the guilty one? And not only that, but Harry felt exposed. Just about every single secret he had was now exposed.
Harry sighed and moved his gaze down to his feet. "Now you know just about everything important about me. What now?"
"No, we don't. Harry, please look at us."
Juan, quickly growing weary of the melodrama, stomped hard at Harry's foot, forcing the wizard's head to flinch up and his eyes to look straight into Remus and Sirius' faces. Remus was staring at Harry with earnest, apologetic, sympathetic eyes, his visage begging Harry to 'please listen.' Sirius appeared suitably devastated, rather ashamed, and – as Harry has expected – angry. Harry braced himself for what he fully expected to be a horrible reprimand.
Instead, he found himself roughly pulled into his godfather's tight, almost desperate, embrace. "Harry, we don't know you at all anymore," Sirius reiterated Remus' words. "I really don't think we ever did. Not only did we let you get sent to Azkaban without a fight and missed even more of your life - after having already missed most of it." Sirius paused for a breath, and Harry took the time to try and sort out that sentence in his head. Sirius continued, "And now we find out that during those three years, you took on another almost impossible and life-threatening task. And now, today, we couldn't help you at all, even though you died for crying out loud! And all that on top of the fact that we don't even know your favorite food, your favorite color, anything! We make the worst godfather and –well, whatever you're gonna call Remus – in the history of godfathers and whatever-you're-gonna-call-'ems."
Sirius pulled out of the bone-crushing hug he'd been giving Harry to allow the young hero to be transferred over to Remus, who nearly hurt Harry with the strength of his hug. "I'm so, so sorry, Harry," he whispered.
Harry blinked, unable to comprehend for a second that Remus and Sirius were apologizing to him over the fact that he'd let them feel guilty believing he'd been being tortured in Azkaban. "So you're not angry I let you believe…" Harry trailed off, and Sirius jumped to fill the silence.
"Oh, of course we are. That was horrible."
Remus nodded sagely and added," But we deserved it completely."
"So now," Sirius said, "We're just going to make up for lost time and spend as much time as we can with you, so that we won't be helpless to save you ever again." Both ex-convict and werewolf gave each other satisfied glances, proud of their little speech, and stepped back to allow a stunned Harry some room.
"But you did help me," Harry said slowly, to Sirius and Remus' great surprise. "You came, didn't you?" An unspoken, 'I needed that' followed Harry's words.
Now everyone in the room, including Juan and Cindy, was confused. "But you made us swear unbreakable vows to do whatever you said," Remus countered in an off-balanced way and with a scrunched up face that indicated he was searching his memory for any clue as to Harry's enigma of a statement.
"We had no choice," Sirius strengthened Remus' point.
Harry himself frowned in confusion before bursting into laughter, startling the room's occupants and triggering an involuntary, blissful smile on both Sirius and Remus' faces. They did not seem as if they would ever again take for granted his laughter. When Harry had controlled himself, his mouth was still stretched in a smile as he explained, "I barely put enough power into that spell to make you think it worked; it has nearly no effect. If you hadn't truly wanted to come with me, you wouldn't have had to, and the worst you would have gotten out of it would have been a stomachache and maybe a fever."
Sirius and Remus exchanged glances, dumbfounded. Lucas leaned over to whisper to Draco, "Is that possible?" For once, Draco just shrugged – before pushing the werewolf out of his personal space. Cindy frowned disapprovingly at this falsehood, though a hint of pride at Harry's abilities showed in her eyes. Juan laughed uproariously, not hiding his mirth at Harry's actions.
Harry continued, "If you really hadn't wanted to be with me, to do what I said, to regain my trust, you would have been able to not follow my orders and would have figured out about the spell – even if you hadn't wanted to die."
"B-but," Sirius stammered, "I felt a need to do what you said."
It was Remus who answered him. "There was no compulsion in the spell, though, was there? We just thought there was, and it was just our minds ways of attempting to keep us alive at all costs because we believed we would die if we didn't obey. We were rationalizing things without even realizing it."
Sirius turned to Harry. "You said you wouldn't put your friends – whom I will now assume are these dementors here – in danger."
Harry shrugged. "I… took a risk and trusted in you naivety and fear of the spell, at least, if not you intentions and loyalty. It wasn't really that much of a risk; and Juan and Cindy trust my judgment, so I knew they wouldn't have minded." Harry looked away, blushing slightly at the exultant looks on Sirius and Remus' faces.
This time, Sirius' calloused hand pulled Harry's head over so that his eyes would meet the young wizard's. "Thank you," Sirius smiled. "For trusting us."
Remus' hand reached out to ruffle Harry's hair before the werewolf's attention turned back to Juan and Cindy. "So you've lived with them for the past three years?"
Harry nodded. "They're my family now."
"And they've been the ones taking care of you and teaching you?" Now Sirius' interest was piqued once more.
Harry nodded again. "Yeah, and they did a good job of it too. Those three years were some of my very best."
Sirius assumed a rather pained expression at that, as if being reminded of all the best years he'd missed. Remus suddenly took on a speculative air and leaned in to inspect Juan and Cindy intently. "So you've been completely taking care of Harry? His training, sleeping arrangement, meals, and health have all been your responsibility?"
Juan and Cindy shared a confused glance as to why the two felt the need to keep stressing this point before Cindy responded. "Yes, Juan and I –along with our father, Harry's 'Uncle Morty' – were put in charge of Harry and his wellbeing while he was at Azkaban."
"Yup," Juan agreed, patting Harry on the head. "Poor little Harry here needs some chaperones to keep him out of trouble and still breathing." Harry scowled.
Remus turned his stare over to Harry for a few tense seconds before swinging his gaze back to Juan and Cindy. Sirius looked puzzledly at Harry, trying to figure out Remus' meaning before his forehead creased in realization; and he looked over at Juan and Cindy as well. Lucas, once more, appeared lost and didn't try to hide it. Draco scoffed at the entire matter.
"What?" Juan finally demanded, quickly growing irritated with the entire matter despite his euphoria over being set free.
Finally, Remus was the one who answered. "He's far too thin."
Harry immediately groaned, out loud and unabashedly. Why was everyone so stuck on his weight?
"Yes," Sirius said accusingly, "And his health and food habits were your responsibility."
Juan had ducked down behind Harry to snigger – though, Remus and Sirius seemed to take it as shame, to which they nodded in slight approval. Cindy, however, seemed to light up at the topic of discussion, causing Harry to have several slightly uncomfortable flashbacks in quick succession.
"You're completely right," she agreed. "I've been saying so ever since he arrived at Azkaban; even when we could feed him decently, he never gained weight! This situation needs desperately to be remedied."
Remus and Sirius made noises of consent, and the three quickly formed a circle and began discussing how to "fix the dilemma."
Now Juan was erupting into full-blown peals of laughter. Harry began to glance about in panic.
"Lucas, stop looking at me!" he growled to the young werewolf who had been checking out his waistline.
"But they're right," he defended himself.
"Shut it, Lucas!"
Draco snorted, drawing the werewolf's attention, before proceeding to ignore said werewolf.
Harry might have felt some pity for the neglected Lucas had it not been for the sly looks he was being sent by the three in the corner.
"Juan, Juan – where's Dave?" Harry asked, a note of desperation creeping into his voice.
It took Juan a few seconds to overcome his laughter and answer Harry. "Debriefing the troops." Harry gave him a blank stare. "He's talking to all of the other dementors about our current 'sitch–'" (1) air quotes here. Not for the time, Harry wondered where Juan had been picking up such phrases. "– he'll probably want you to come in and talk to him and the others later as well. Cindy and I were sent ahead to make sure your head hadn't exploded or something."
Harry scowled, both at Juan and at Dave's irritating absence. Harry was just about ready to shove his way into his companions' "let's-make-Harry-fat"-fest when a distraction that immediately captured the whole – and rather hostile – attention of every being in the room was duly provided.
Harry wondered absently if anyone in the room would object to murder.
Author's Note: (1) "Sitch" equals "Situation" I have no idea how archaic that term actually is (and whether or not anyone uses it anymore) but I just did. Does anyone but me automatically think of "Kim Possible"? No? Okay.
Anyways, I am so, so, soooo sorry for the long wait. I've had this up on my computer for weeks, but I just forgot about it because my life has been an absolute terror this year. (Word of advice, AP US history is horrible. Don't take it unless you want an hour and a half of studying every night.)
Also, I realize this was kind of a filler chapter, but don't worry; stuff is supposed to happen in the next one.
Anyways, I'm really sorry about the wait, and I'll try to work on the next chapter but I'm afraid you get no promises from me on update times. I apologize for this, but don't worry; I will not put this on hiatus or delete it – there may just be (huge) discrepancies in how often I update. Although, I've lost a lot of steam in my inspiration for this; I'm not sure whether or not it would be better for me to just start revising the story (like I am planning to) and hoping that gives me some good ideas and new enthusiasm. Oh, well, I don't know either way.
Thanks to all my reviewers and those who participated in my poll. I will leave that up for a while longer, so if you haven't done it yet, please do. Bye.