Disclaimer: I own nothing! The rights of everything that people recognize go to J.K and the plot line goes to PadyandMoony.
"What's going to happen?" James demanded, on the edge of his seat. Harry just started reading.
Chapter 7- Walking with the enemy
"I don't like the sound of that." Sirius grumbled.
He was in the middle of grading the end of term exams when an undescriptive owl flew in. He reached for the letter and saw the Ministry seal. He opened it and read and then effectively cursed in a couple of languages he knew.
"That's probably Sirius." Lilly said.
The other occupants of the room nodded, but then Sirius realised what he was doing, and shot Lilly a glare.
He got up and all but stalked to the Headmaster's office. What the bloody hell were they playing at? And why now? After all this time? Well he would have none of it!
"What is going on? Who's playing at what?" Remus asked, confused.
The three kids ran as fast as they could to the Headmasters office. One of them barked out a password and they were in the rotating stairs. The other two were so worried that they didn't even have time to be awed by the beauty of said office. Said very empty office.
"Where's Dumbledore?" Lilly asked, worried.
Harry turned to one of the portraits.
"Uncle Phineus where is Grandpa?"
"He's not talking about Phineus Black, is he?" Sirius asked.
Hermione stared and mouthed Grandpa. But Harry had no time to explain.
"You slipped up, Harry." Younger Severus said.
"I know." Harry replied, "I was under severe stress at the time."
"Well, you don't come here to talk to me all year, then with the arrogance that is so common on insufferable children just go barking demands for information-"
"Yep, that's Phineus Black." Sirius nodded gloomily.
"Uncle Phineus I don't have time for your long tirades, I need to know where my Grandfather is. It's an emergency!" he said irritated.
"Good one!" Sirius crowed. "GO Harry!" Sirius was beyond proud that Harry had berated the pureblood. Even if he was just a painting.
"Everything is an emergency to you brats-"
"Now," and he turned to another portrait, "Professor Dipet, would you know?"
"Yes in fact," Dipet started just to be rudely interrupted.
"That mongrel of a father of yours came here all altered with a missive from the ministry and they both left for London," Phineus answered ruffled at being swapped for Dipet like that.
"What in Merlin's name would the Ministry be sending Padfoot a missive for?" Remus pondered.
"I don't know. But it doesn't sound good, Moony." James replied.
"Thank you Uncle, Professor Dipet," he nodded and tried to leave calmly but once out of ear shot he cried to his friends.
"They left! How could they leave?"
"We probably had no clue that anything was about to happen! Go tell Moony, this instant!" Sirius ordered. "Don't do anything stupid Harry!"
"What now?" Ron asked equally nervous.
Hermione bit her lip and started running. Shocked the boys ran after her straight to the Deputy Headmistress's office.
"Oh, thank goodness." Lily said. "Someone is showing a bit more common sense in the situation, rather than despairing that plan A went out the window."
"Professor McGonagall, Professor McGonagall you have to call Professor Dumbledore back!" Hermione cried opening the door without knocking.
"Uh oh." Said all the teens from the past. Each of them knew that it was not good to just barge into McGonagall's office unannounced.
McGonagall was startled by the abrupt entrance of the three flushed children and said in a stern tone.
"What is the meaning of this?"
"Hagrid told a stranger how to get past Fluffy. We think he is going after the Philosopher's stone. And now Grandpa left and Quirrell has his way open to him!" Harry cried.
"There's a good boy. Leave the adults to handle it." Lilly nodded approvingly. The marauders and younger Severus relaxed, thinking that everything would be alright. But with Harry's luck, that wouldn't last very long.
McGonagall's first instinct was to berate the kids for knowing more than they should but Harry's slip of calling Dumbledore Grandpa told her the boy was really preoccupied. He hadn't slipped once. And of course she knew of Dumbledore's and the three young teacher's suspicions about Quirrell.
"Everything will be fine." James said, smiling.
Sirius nodded in agreement, relief on his face.
"I don't have to remind you three not to go looking for trouble and let the adults deal with this. I will alert Dumbledore of your suspicions and don't fret. Fluffy was by no means the only protection. Now I want you three to go up to your dorms and stay there for the rest of the day. Do I make myself clear?"
There were several sighs of relief heard. Only Remus noticed the look exchanged between Harry and the older Severus.
They silently left and made their way to the Tower. Hermione saw Harry bite his lips in thought and turn to them.
"Don't do anything stupid!" James said, tensing.
"I'll meet you up in the Tower."
"No! Back to the tower with you! NOW!" Lilly all but screamed.
The others from the past agreed, and older Severus shook his head. This wasn't going to go down well with them.
"Harry. Professor McGonagall said-" Hermione started.
"I am not going to look for Quirrell. I am just letting someone else know of our suspicions. Just to be on the safe side."
"Harry…" Younger Severus said in a warning voice.
"I was eleven!"
Assuming he meant Professor Lupin they both nodded and left but Hermione didn't miss Ron's frown or last glance at Harry.
"Not Remus?" Lilly asked. Harry shook his head.
"Sev, then?" Lilly enquired.
He hated coming to the Ministry. No matter who you where, or were with in his case, it took you an eternity to get through all the security measures. Finally after over an hour of telling their names and having their wands checked and rechecked a dozen times they were in front of the moron in chief. Sorry, he meant Minister Fudge.
"Oh, Paddy, your opinions don't change, do they?" James asked.
"Nope." Sirius said, grinning like a maniac.
And he was by no means any calmer than when he first read that accursed letter.
"What is the meaning of this Fudge? You have no legal right to annul Harry's adoption.
"WHAT?" There were several shouts, and cusses from people in the room of requirements.
"Kill- maim- torture-" Lilly ground out.
You people already tried to keep him from me once and it didn't work!" he all but barked.
"Sirius is right Cornelius. That letter has no grounds whatsoever and I find myself quite disappointed to have to remind you of that," Dumbledore said in his always pleasant voice, the one which made you feel very tiny.
"This isn't going to end well…" Remus said, shaking his head. "For Fudge at least."
"What letter?" Fudge stammered.
"Moron can't even remember sending out mail." Sirius muttered.
"This one," Sirius growled shoving said letter under Fudges nose.
"We did not send that letter. I did not sign that. It's a forgery!" Fudge pleaded.
Sirius was about to bite his head off when a horrible thought crossed his mind. Dumbledore was already waving his wand through the letter and it glowed red. Wrong color.
"Quirrell." Younger Severus said darkly.
An authentic signature would have glowed blue. How could they have been so stupid not to check? Sirius stormed out and Dumbledore told Fudge before following him.
"So sorry for the misunderstanding Cornelius, have a nice day."
"Typical Dumbledore." James said, shaking his head.
"Quirrell," Sirius spat on the way to the lifts, "He knew that I'd go to you for help and we'd both leave."
"Yes I am afraid so, lets not waste any more time Sirius."
Ron was seated in one of the armchairs by the fire. Arm propped up by his elbow on his knees, biting his nails, which was an accomplishment seeing as he was shaking said knee up and down non stop. Hermione was pacing in front of him.
"What's taking him so long? He should have been here long ago?" she asked wringing her hands.
"Please be alright, please be alright." Lilly muttered. James hugged her tightly.
"Severus'll make sure he's fine." He assured her.
Both Severus' looked surprised at this statement.
At the display the twins just had to know what was going on.
"May we be of service?" Fred asked.
"No," Ron answered, "We're waiting for Harry. He should have been here long ago."
"Ah, then we may be of service," said George and he disappeared up the stairs. Ron and Hermione looked at Fred astounded but he just whistled calmly. After a short moment George came back and said.
"Not to fret, he is walking down the third floor corridor with Professor Quirrell."
"They have the map." James breathed, and then panic broke out as he and others realised the danger Harry was in.
Apparently that was to fret because both kids bolted out the door.
"Of course it's reason to fret! My baby's with a dangerous Psycho!" Lilly screeched.
Harry pulled her into a hug, silently reassuring her that he was alright.
"We have to tell someone," Ron said running to McGonagall's office but no one was there.
"What now?" he asked.
"Professor Lupin," she said.
Ron looked outside, almost moonrise.
No, not tonight." Remus said, shaking his head. "No, no, no."
"No he is, hum, otherwise engaged tonight."
"I quite think Professor Lupin will think Harry's safety is more important than whatever he is doing."
"It's not quite his choice," Ron said biting his lip, "There is one other person but I don't know."
"Just go find me you dumb idiot!" Younger Snape burst out, his worry for Harry overflowing.
"Well it's not like we have a choice, let's go.' Hermione said.
They were down the trapdoor and through the Devil's Snare. Quirrell was working out how to get the flying key to open the door and Harry said.
"I could fetch it for you."
"Don't help him!" Sirius all but yelled.
Harry shook his head, trying not to laugh. "I was trying to get away."
"Do I look stupid boy," Quirrell answered.
"With that turban? I'm afraid so." Harry said in a fake sympathetic tone, causing laughter.
"Do you really want an answer?" if he was going to die he at least was going to say whatever he wanted.
"Good one!" James chortled.
After all, the body bind Quirrell put him prevented him from moving. Not talking. He had tried to let Uncle Sev know about Fluffy but apparently Quirrell had been tailing him just waiting for the moment he would be alone.
"Yes, I know, I played right into his hands." Harry said, preventing the onslaught of comments.
Apparently he had orders to get the stone and kill the boy. Harry just couldn't figure why he wasn't dead already.
"Probably some plan of Voldemort's." Lilly whispered.
Quirrell decided to mount a broom and after missing the key a lot of times in which Harry knew he would have gotten it he descended, opened the door, hovered Harry in front of him and went through just to find themselves face to face with a gigantic chess set.
"Minnie." The marauders said together in union.
Aunt Minnie Harry thought fondly and sadly.
"Great minds." James said proudly.
"James! Don't insult Harry!" Lilly scolded.
"Guess we have to play then," Quirrell drawled.
"No shit Sherlock." Lilly said, voice dripping with sarcasm.
The purebloods looked confused.
"Muggle saying." She explained.
He took the place of one of the pieces and floated Harry to another. Harry just hoped he wouldn't have to be sacrificed because this game was turning brutal.
"Don't say that!" Sirius said, panicking truly now.
Miraculously they made their way through intact ad Harry was almost sighing when he found himself face to face with a Troll. With an almost lazy flick of his wand Quirrell hit the Trolls mouth with a cutting hex effectively killing it.
"I have a special talent with Trolls," he smirked at Harry's shocked face.
"Already know that, dumb ass." Sirius said bitterly, looking about ready to tear out his hair
In the other room they were trapped by to walls of fires. A row of bottles on a table and a piece of parchment that Quirrell read out loud was right in front of them. Good old Uncle Sev, Harry thought fondly.
"Please let it work…" Lilly said.
His Uncle always said that Wizards didn't have an ounce of logic.
"Most don't." Both older and younger counterparts said.
Well he actually said no one; wizard or muggle had an ounce of logic. And he hadn't put it as politely as that.
"A lot less politely, actually." Harry pointed out. "If I remember correctly."
Older Severus just smirked.
It took Quirrell quite a long time to figure the puzzle. All the better, thought Harry. By now Ron and Hermione must be missing him and hopefully going for help.
"Hurry up!" were what were heard. Harry rubbed his quickly deafening ears. They weren't going to like fourth year. Not one bit.
Once through the fire they found themselves in the last chambers but there was no stone on a pedestal like Harry imagined. No, the only thing there was the Mirror of Erised and Harry wondered if he would see his dad, Uncle Moony and Uncle Sev's reflection once again before joining his birth parents. Cheerful thought Harry.
"Think positive! And get a plan!" Remus said.
"I was under a lot of pressure!" Harry said.
He scolded himself. But the truth was he was terrified and couldn't do anything but think or give cheeky answers.
"Get yourself killed faster, why don't you?" Younger Sev muttered.
Quirrell was in front of the Mirror examining it and muttering. Harry caught the words "presenting the stone" and "how do I get it" when he decided to pay attention and looked at Quirrell's back. His scar flared in pain again and he did not like what that meant. Then he heard it.
"No, please don't let him be there…" Lilly begged.
"Use the boy, the old fool would have told him how to."
"Noooo!" James moaned.
Lilly grabbed at Harry, as if to reassure herself.
And Harry had the sinking feeling he understood why he wasn't dead yet. He felt the body bind lift and his legs walk commanded by someone else. He decided he would stall the best he could. Help had to be on the way and there was no way he'd let Voldemort get the stone.
"Yes, stall!" Sirius said.
He was in front of the Mirror but he didn't see his family, instead he saw himself blinking at him and putting the stone on his own pocket. He felt a weight on his pants but didn't dare make a sound.
"He has the stone! You have the stone!" younger Sev said.
"What do you see Potter?"
"No one forgetting that my name is Potter Black."
"Quick." James nodded. "Keep stalling."
"Don't get cheeky with me boy," Quirrell said grabbing Harry by the gruff of his neck and shaking him.
"Stop man handling my son!" James and Sirius yelled at the same time.
"I see myself as Quidditch captain getting the House Cup," he lied. Quirrell got annoyed and shoved him aside. He went back to the mirror and Harry thought that just maybe he'd get lucky and could use Quirrell's distraction to get away when the voice spoke again.
"Let me talk to him, he lies."
"Leave him be!" Lilly ordered. She seemed close to tears.
"Are you sure master?" Quirrell asked and Harry was starting to think he must have some kind of mental disorder when he started unrolling his turban and Harry found out that that hadn't been Quirrell making voices. Once again Harry's scar flared in pain and he was looking straight in the ugly face of Lord Voldemort, which just happened to be residing on the back of Quirrell's head.
"Eww." The boys from the past shuddered.
"RUN!" Remus yelled. "Get away!"
"Why don't you give me that stone like a nice boy so Quineus can kill you swiftly instead of painfully Harry?"
"Don't give it to him. Period." Young Severus said.
"I have no idea what you are talking about," Harry tried to sound brave but he wasn't sure he managed with all the terrified shaking his body was doing and all.
"Just run." James said, not caring about Gryffindor bravery at this point.
"I am talking about the stone on your pocket Harry. You wouldn't want to beg for death like your pathetic father now would you?"
"He didn't beg." Harry ground out, looking furious, and getting distracted.
Lilly took the book from him, and carried on.
"My father wasn't pathetic and he didn't beg!" Harry shouted.
"You're right. James isn't pathetic, and wouldn't beg." Sirius said.
"No, you're right," Voldemort laughed, but it wasn't warm like Uncle Moony's or that funny bark his dad had or even the deep one Uncle Sev had, no this was a cruel laugh.
"He's enjoying this." Teenage Severus said, looking slightly green.
"He put up a fight he did. Quite entertaining and useless. But enough chatting. Seize him!" he ordered and Quirrell threw himself at Harry and grabbed his arms. Harry never felt pain like this.
"Get off him!" Remus growled, eyes flashing as his over protective nature sparked.
"Fight back!" Sirius said.
Not even in the forest. His forehead was splitting open, he couldn't think or hear. And suddenly the pain was gone and Harry looked up to see Quirrell staring at his hands and stammering
"It burns master."
"What did you do? Do it again! Or run!" James said, practically bouncing with nerves.
Harry looked at them and saw they were red, he also felt the smell of burning flesh.
"I don't care! GET THAT STONE!"
"Run Harry!" Lilly said, looking frantic.
Quirrell launched himself at Harry again but this time Harry grabbed Quirrell's face and as Quirrell screamed in pain he grabbed on to Quirrell by the arm and hung on tightly.
"Good boy. But I would have preferred that you ran." Severus said.
He was in so much pain but all he thought was that if Quirrell was distracted by the pain he wouldn't get the stone. He held as long as he could but he could feel blackness inching closer. He thought he heard other cries in the middle of Quirrell's screams and a familiar voice calling his name. Then he knew no more.
"No!" Lily said. "Someone! Help! Get him to safety!"
The wolf was pacing, something happened to his cub.
"How do you know?" James asked.
He could fell it. He whined and scratched the door even though he knew his human counterpart had locked the door very tightly. He had to get to his cub.
"It's just a sense, I guess." Remus said.
He was running through the corridors with the limp small body in his arms. Was he too late? How long had it taken for him to get back through the chambers.
"Please, please." Lilly begged.
Had he managed to pull Quirrell off him fast enough. He shuddered at the image of Voldemort's spirit leaving Quirrell's body to death. There was nothing to do for him. He would have died once Voldemort left him even without whatever Harry did.
"He's gone. Thank Merlin." James said.
He was running as best as he could, he could hear Harry's breath get more haggard by the second.
"Be faster!" Sirius said.
He didn't stop at the two figures he met in the halls. They were now following him and one used his wand to bang the infirmary doors open. Madam Pomfrey stalked from her office.
"What is the meaning of this? Harry? Oh, my, put him here," she motioned to one of the beds.
"He's there, Poppy'll take care of him." Remus assured the others, and himself.
"Now leave," she ordered, "Let me do my job," and waved her wand at the three men.
He was quite shocked to find himself being pushed outside the Ward by wind and hear the doors shutting them out.
"What happened Severus?" the aged Headmaster asked. Severus turned to him with a lost expression. He saw the same expression on Sirius face that was still watching the door as if he could be with his son that way, as if he let the door out of sight Harry would leave them.
"Thank God, they're back." Lilly said.
"Quirrell, he took Harry," he answered detachedly. Never taking his eyes off the door. "Weasley and Granger came to see me. They were worried. Somehow the twins found out that Quirrell was taking Harry through the third floor corridor. When I got there. Oh, God, I thought I was too late.
"It was hell." Older Severus said.
Quirrell was screaming in pain, but I didn't care, I just heard Harry painful screams.
"I'll never forget that." Older Severus said.
And yet he wouldn't let go of Quirrell. He kept grabbing him even though he was in pain."
"What of Quirrell?" Dumbledore asked.
"Dead. The Dark Lord was sharing his body and when he left Quirrell died."
"He was possessed?"
"No Albus, he knew what he was doing," Severus looked Dumbledore told him. "I told you!" he shouted, "We all did but you insisted on giving him a chance. Second chances are good and all but some people don't deserve them!" and he stalked to one of the chairs.
"Some, really don't." Lilly agreed. "Voldemort being one of them."
He didn't even make a move when he saw the Werewolf that trotted to Sirius' side and nudged his hand with his muzzle whining.
"How did you get out, Moony?" Sirius asked, confused.
Lupin was on the Wolfsbane there was no risk. He was in control. He did wonder how he managed to free himself.
"So do we." James said.
The wolf guided Sirius to a chair and jumped on the next setting his head on Sirius' lap. Sirius stroked the wolf's head mechanically, never taking his eyes off the door.
"That must be a weirdly cute scene." Lilly sniffed.
Hours later Madam Pomfrey stalked out the infirmary and dumped a red stone on Dumbledore's hand forcefully.
"Oh, Poppy is pissed." James and Sirius said.
She then turned to Sirius and the wolf that had gotten up.
"I did all I could. I had to give him all the restorative potions I had in stock. He is magically and physically exhausted and I do not expect him to wake up for a couple of days, but he should survive. Though after he wakes up he will need to rest and don't worry if he gets tired easily for a while. You may sit with him but in turns. As I said he will be out for days and the last thing he needs is for you all to drop from exhaustion at once."
"Good old Poppy." James said fondly.
"Remind me to send her a thank you basket of some sort." Lilly said.
"But Ginny never misses class?" he heard a voice from the distance.
"What's going on now?" Remus asked.
"Oh, Professor Moony's lost his pupil." Sirius smirked.
"Shut up." Remus said.
"Because on the day after the full moon we usually had study sessions with whatever teacher was available to chaperone us. Sometimes even Madam Pomfrey. So nobody would notice and realize. If every month we didn't come once, students would talk and parents could complain."
"What's going on here then?" Lilly asked, brow furrowed.
"That's rubbish. You said he was perfectly safe."
"He is. The Wolfsbane lets him keep his mind. Also prevents him from hurting himself. That was the worst part of the transformations before. He would hurt himself and take days to recover. Now he just needs a day and it's mostly because he stays up the whole night and the magical effort of the transformation.
"I can't wait until they develop that." Remus said.
Professor Lupin said this job saved him. That otherwise he wouldn't be able to afford the potions and would have felt the stress much more. Right now it's just a minor inconvenience that he has to deal with but is not life threatening or anything. He may live as long as any other wizard."
"Thank Merlin." James muttered.
He decided he was too tired and went back to sleep. Apparently Hermione found out about Uncle Moony's furry little problem.
"Oh, Harry woke up for a moment!" Sirius said, grinning.
He watched his son sleep begging him to wake up. He had been unconscious for two days already. His son. He remembered the first time Harry called him daddy. The feelings of joy and guilt. He wasn't daddy, James was. He tried to tell the two and a half year old that but he had rolled his eyes and said:
"He' my first daddy. You my other daddy."
"Oh, that's soo cute!" Lilly cooed.
"Don't worry Siri. You have just as much right to be called Harry's dad. You raised him, after all." James said.
"Thanks, Prongs." Sirius said, smiling.
Simple child logic. Took him quite awhile to stop feeling guilty. Having nightmares of James accusing him of knowing Pettigrew was a spy and setting him up to steal his son.
"I would never, ever do that!" James said.
A lot of late talks with Moony later he started to realize that he wasn't talking James place but he was a daddy now. The joy of hearing the word never faded.
When he had apparated with the Ministry case worker at the Dursleys he was afraid Harry wouldn't remember him. But he found that wasn't true. He found a scared toddler locked up in a cupboard. When he finally stopped shaking at Sirius gentle voice coaxing him out he looked up and cried "Pa-foo" in a small voice.
"Aww." Lilly cooed at the idea, but then she scowled at the reminder of Harry's treatment.
Ran into his godfathers arms and grabbed on for dear life. Sirius had taken him straight to Hogwarts and Poppy had quite a hard job of checking him because he wouldn't let go of Sirius. Until he compromised and sat on the bed holding a handful of Sirius sleeves. Still she couldn't get near without the boy shaking. The only other person Harry had made any sign of recognition was Remus. When he came in Harry cried "Mooey"
Laughter was heard. "Could you say anything right?" James asked.
"Nope." Harry said, proudly.
and made to go to Remus but when Remus picked him up Sirius found that his sleeve with arm attached was taken with Harry.
"Cuuuute!" Lilly cried.
Sirius fire called Auror Headquarters presenting his resignation as soon as Harry was asleep.
"A fire call would probably have scared Harry otherwise." James said, musing.
He had to give his godson his full attention, and he didn't actually need the job. But Moody had refused. He said he'd only accept a leave of absence. But Sirius knew he wouldn't be an Auror any more, even when he went back to work. He couldn't have such a dangerous job. If something happened to him there was no way the Ministry would let Remus keep Harry.
"At least you set your priorities straight." Lilly said in approval. Remus nodded in agreement.
The only reason Remus was listened about his innocence was because Dumbledore wanted to convince him of Sirius's guilt or else he could have yelled and yelled and all the bigots would do was give him a cell next to Sirius'.
"As much as I hate to say it, that's probably true." Sirius muttered, and then he shuddered.
He shuddered to think what would have been of Harry if he had ended up in Azkaban. He didn't think the Dursleys would have killed him. Petunia wanted the protection Lily's sacrifice gave her and her precious Duddykins too.
"Duddykins?" younger Severus asked in horror.
That's why she agreed to the yearly visits. But he wouldn't be happy. He would probably be made as their house elf. Given just enough not to starve to death and be abused both physically and mentally if the bruises the almost two year old had where anything to go by.
"Remind me that I have a visit to pay to your sister." James said.
"She's no sister of mine." Lilly said, harshly.
Sirius had wanted to kill the Dursleys but he knew Harry needed the damn protection, so he left all the Dursley dealings to Remus. He was good at keeping his temper. He had to learn. Contrary to popular belief a werewolf did not fight his inner wolf all month long. There was no inner wolf, any other day and night of the month he was as normal as any person. On the night of the full moon he transformed into a wolf and forgot who he was but only that night. But people didn't think that and any sign of rage from him was interpreted with fear of him letting the supposed inner wolf win.
Snorts were heard in the room. "I said that they didn't have an ounce of logic." Older Severus said.
Because of he was able to put his anger aside to deal with the Dursleys. Something Sirius wasn't.
The door opened and non other than Remus himself walked in looking like the kneazel that ate the pixie.
"Moony, what did you do?" Sirius asked.
He sat on the chair by Harry's bed's other side and stroked Harry's hair. He brushed some invisible lint and by then Sirius couldn't take it.
"What? What did you do? What do you know?"
"Oh, nothing. I just took a stroll to Filch's office."
"Why?" James asked, confused.
"Any particular reason?"
"And, what did you find there?"
"It's a question of what I didn't find there. More precisely on the Highly Dangerous confiscated items drawer."
He grinned. And Sirius became impatient.
"I have no idea what you are going on about."
"Well, you see, when Ron and Hermione told us Fred and George knew exactly where and with who Harry was I started thinking."
"NO!" Sirius said grinning.
"The map." The three loyal marauders said.
"Oh, I am quite sure of it. It would explain how come we never catch them. And not even Filch knows this castle as well as you and me."
"Worthy successors," Sirius beamed.
"Definitely." James said.
"Now I can tell them you approve." Harry said, smugly.
"Who's worthy?" came a hoarse voice from the bed and both jumped.
"Harry! You're up," Remus cried helping his nephew seat up while Sirius fetched him water.
"So who's a worthy successor," Harry asked trying to delay the time he knew he'd have to talk about what happened.
"It burns master."
"I hate it when I remember bad things." Sirius shuddered.
Remus gave him a knowing look but obliged, "The Weasley twins, we suspect that they found and worked out the marauder's Map."
"Uau," the Marauder's Map to Harry was stuff of legend. Harry had always wanted to be able to use it but according to what Remus and Sirius told him Peter Pettigrew had lost the Map to Filch on their seventh year when he was caught out of bounds.
"Sounds about right." James muttered, shooting the traitorous rat a glare.
At the time the Marauder's hadn't cared seeing as they were about to graduate and thought that some future mischief maker could find the map. But once Remus told him that when Harry had been born James had lamented not being able to give his son the map. He had even come up with a plan to rescue the map from Filch but was never able to put it in action. In all their years at Hogwarts Remus and Sirius had never thought of doing it.
"Why not?" James demanded.
Remus and Sirius just shrugged.
Harry fidgeted with the glass in his hands until Sirius gently took it and put it in the bedside table.
"Pup, we need to know what happened," Sirius said gently stroking Harry's fringe from his face.
Harry shook his head. He didn't want to tell them, they would hate him, he killed a man, he was no better than Voldemort.
"It wasn't your fault! You didn't mean to, and it was self defence!" Lilly scolded her son.
"I know that…now." The last part was whispered.
"Harry," Remus said gently holding one of Harry's hands and Harry had to fight the urge to take his hand back. He had no right to be touching someone as good as Remus. "We know the basics but we need to understand what happened when you were alone with Quirrell so we can help you through this."
Harry took away his hand and crossed his arms shaking his head violently.
"Definitely his parents son." Older Severus said.
"Yeah, I am, aren't I?" Harry said, but the way he said it stated that there was a hidden meaning to his statement.
"Shut it, brat." Older Severus, said, fondly.
"Ha-" Sirius started just to be interrupted by a voice from the door.
"May I have a private word with Harry?"
The three looked up and saw Severus Snape standing in all his dark robed forlornness at the Wards door. Sirius moved to protest but understanding that maybe Snape could relate better to Harry right now Remus stopped him. Remus had a good idea of what was troubling his young nephew. Not that he hadn't had to kill in the first war, but he had been much older and had entered the situation willingly. He ushered the protesting father outside and closed the doors casting a silencing spell.
"I never did thank you for that." Snape mused. His younger counterpart proceeded to thank Remus Lupin.
Snape sat in the chair that Remus had previously occupied and waited in silent for Harry to make the first move. A long while later he heard the whispered words.
"I killed him."
Severus sighed, an eleven year old shouldn't have to feel this, "Technically, no you didn't. His fate was sealed when he let the Dark Lord possess him willingly. When he let the Dark Lord draw from him to keep himself alive. He would have died anyway by the damage made by the Dark Lord even if he had been freed right there and then uninjured.
"See, it wasn't your fault." Lilly assured her son, hugging him tightly.
Ironically, the only thing that was keeping him going longer was the Dark Lord, but soon his magic would have been too depleted for the Dark Lord to keep using his body and he would leave a shell behind as he did. Your actions just sped the process up."
"But they did speed the process up. And I knew he was hurting. He kept yelling "It burns master." And I didn't let go. I was just thinking that I had to keep him from the stone and hoping someone would get there before I let go," Harry said softly and hurriedly. Like this was some awful secret that he didn't want anyone to hear.
"You are a good person. And I'm proud of you. Never forget that." Lilly said, her voice slightly muffled by Harry's shoulder.
Severus wiped the tear tracks on Harry's face gently with his thumbs and turning the boys head towards him he said.
"You were right. You can't even begin to imagine the horror that would come had the Dark Lord managed to retrieve the stone. I wish you hadn't had to make that choice Harry but you made the right one. This doesn't make you evil.
"He's right." James said, nodding.
Voldemort killed for pleasure and power. What you did was out of love for the people you care for. It's that love that Voldemort possessing Quirrell couldn't bare to touch. The same love that Lily had and left you with that saved your life all those years ago and that still lives in your blood, in your skin."
Comprehension dawned on the teens from the past. They realised just how powerful Lilly's protection was from Voldemort.
Sad green eyes looked at him intensely and Severus continued, "Some times we have to do things that are horrible and unimaginable to protect those we love. Your parents, Sirius, Remus, Dumbledore and-" he hesitated, "myself, we've all had to kill in the first war. But what differs our killing from the ones Voldemort did was that we did it because at the time we had no other choice, and they haunt us, we never stop regretting them, that's what makes us different from him." He swallowed hard as he got up and sat on the bed pulling Harry into a hug.
Lilly stopped reading again, but instead of hugging Harry this time, she launched herself at both Severus' and hugged them tightly. "Thank you for looking after my baby." She said, before pulling back, and continuing to read.
He kept rubbing circles on the boys back and running a hand through the messy hair while he let Harry digest everything. He had been reluctant to add himself to the list because he knew that he wasn't all that innocent. Yes, the only time he'd killed directly was at the Order's service. Voldemort thought Snape potions skills too valuable to risk him on the fields. But he wasn't naïve, he knew his potions had helped the Death Eaters achieve their goals.
"I'm never going to accept the mark." Younger Severus vowed.
Lilly looked proud.
How many faceless lives had he taken indirectly? He didn't know, but they haunted him even more than the ones he'd taken to fight against Voldemort. Those he had taken out of self defense and defense of others. Not the firsts one. He had joined Voldemort out of hatred and bitterness. Hatred for all his cruel father represented to him. A hatred that made him lose the most important person in his life. That was his biggest regret. That she had died hating him, hating what he had become.
"I don't hate you Sev." Lilly said, her eyes shinning with unshed tears.
The older Severus' tears had spilt over, though.
It was to achieve her forgiveness that he fought so hard to defeat Voldemort. Maybe one day he would. Maybe one day he would forgive his foolish decisions.
"You definitely should." Lilly said. "After all, I do."
A/N: sorry for the long wait. I had a hell of a case of writers block on this, and a swarm of ideas for my other stories. Please review!