A/N: Hello everybody! Er… right, so you all read the summary, at least I think you did, so you should already know this is an AU story where Remus takes Harry in and they do all that bonding type stuff that we all just love so much :D
So here are some things you should probably know: Harry's six years old, the Dursleys abandoned him at Mrs. Figg's house after he showed signs of magic and now Remus is going to take care of him. All of that is sort of explained in the little italicized prologue-ish thing at the beginning, but in case that's not very clear, I thought I'd mention it here.
There will be mention of abuse from the Dursleys, so take that as a warning.
This story should cover all kinds of things from emotional problems, trust issues, and physical scars to dealing with nightmares and colds and all the other wonderful things that come along with having a six year old. Be patient with me though, because it might take a while to get to the part you like. Hopefully you'll like it all, though ;)
Okay, so to those few people out there who have read my other story, Almost, this is a bit different for me because I usually like to keep things as close to the plot line as possible and am a stickler for detail, but I really wanted to write this, so I can live AU for a while. I'm going to try to update this more than Almost because it's got more of a plotline and also I've got more motivation right now.
Alright, I'm done babbling. This is my first shot at AU, and I would absolutely love it if anybody reading this would give me a review! I really could use feedback on this story and it would keep me going! ;)
Also, THANK YOU SO MUCH to Morning Lilies, who is my Beta for this story! I've never had a BETA before and it's thanks to her that this made it to publishing! You should go check out her stories if you a member of the Remus Lupin (or James Potter) fan club, as we both are! Anyways, happy reading!
Dear Professor Dumbledore,
I think something has happened. The Dursleys left Harry with me as they normally do whenever they go anywhere that might be enjoyable, but they haven't returned. Harry's Uncle said they would be gone over-night visiting his sister, but it's been three days and I haven't heard a word from them. What's more, the house phone is cut off and when Harry and I went over to get some more things for Harry, I found the house completely empty. I don't know what is going on, but I don't like it.
Yours most sincerely
I was notified that Harry showed his most prominent sign of magic last week. The Ministry notified me that he re-grew his hair overnight. I'm afraid that it may have frightened his aunt and uncle off for I know that they are not very keen on the idea of magic. I am currently working on the situation. As you understand it is very important that Harry stay with them, but since they are currently nowhere to be found, and I believe it will take some time to track them and then convince them to take the boy in again, I think it will be best to find Harry another home for the time being. I believe there is someone more than willing to care for the child until his relatives can be convinced to take him in again. I will be speaking to him shortly and will send you the details once they have been decided upon.
My humble gratitude for all that you have done,
Remus Lupin stood anxiously at the edge of the platform, twisting his threadbare gloves in his hands and staring with a kind of pained intensity at the place where the next train would appear. He barely seemed to notice the crowd pushing past him in every direction. For the past half hour he'd paced the platform, occasionally sinking down onto a bench only to leap up again immediately and continue pacing.
He could only remember being so nervous once in his life: the morning he'd climbed aboard the Hogwarts Express for the first time. His knees were trembling just like they had all those years ago, his palms were clammy and his stomach was fluttering restlessly as the seconds ticked down to that train appearing.
On that train was a little boy. He would be six and a half now, Remus thought. It seemed incredible that the little squealing bundle so fascinated by cardboard boxes could already be walking and talking in complete sentences and learning to read and write. But it also seemed incredible to Remus that it had only been five years since… all of that… had happened. Sometimes it felt like only a moment ago that James and Lily and Peter were going out for a drink with him. (He refused to think about the fifth person that would have been in their group. He wasn't letting the traitor destroy his memories, too.) But then he would blink and it would all come rushing back to him, the funerals and memorial services and terribly empty, grief-stricken years, and it would seem as though a lifetime had passed…
The train came screeching onto the platform and Remus jumped, all thoughts blown out of his mind. This was it. In just a moment Remus would be able to see him. What then? Panic overtook him. What was he supposed to do with a little kid? For all that Dumbledore and Molly Weasley had said to him, for all the books he'd read and planning he'd done, Remus felt completely inept for this job. And then what if the kid hated him? Remus couldn't blame him if he did. Remus had basically abandoned him for the past five years, hadn't he? What if the boy didn't want him anymore? What if he ran away or shouted or…
Remus was on the verge of pulling his own hair out with all the terrifying what-ifs when the train doors opened and people began spilling out. And then he spotted them. An old woman clutching a carpet bag in one hand and the tiny, mittened hand of a little boy in a bright red coat in the other was tottering off the train.
"Mrs. Figg!" Remus called above the noise before his voice could fail him.
He raised a hand over his head and waved to get her attention. The woman turned her head, spotted him, and nodded, smiling. Then she knelt down and said something to the boy. Remus could only see glimpses of his bright red coat through the crowd bustling around them. A moment later Mrs. Figg popped back up again and pushed her way across the platform.
And then they reached him.
"Hello, Remus," Mrs. Figg said over the noise of the station, smiling slightly. "It's been a long time, hasn't it?"
"It certainly has," Remus mumbled, thinking with a pang of the last order meeting. He took the hand Mrs. Figg offered and smiled in return.
"Now then, I'm sure you'd much rather be chatting with this fine young man than with a nutty old lady," Mrs. Figg said cheerfully, though Remus caught a knowing look in her eyes before she looked away.
She tugged gently on Harry's hand, urging him forward a step. "This here, is Harry Potter, of course," she announced with a smile. "Harry, this is Remus Lupin, the man I told you about, who's to be looking after you now."
Heart hammering madly, Remus swallowed and looked down for the first time in five years at James and Lily's son. He was tiny, Remus thought, made to look even smaller by the puffy red coat. But even so, Remus had to stifle a gasp at how familiar his features were. He could see James so clearly in Harry's thin face, in the wild, jet black tufts of hair poking out from beneath his knit cap. But it was Lily's eyes gazing up at him from behind round glasses. Those bright green eyes James had been so proud to see on his son. His hat covered up his forehead, but Remus knew that there was a livid scar there that hadn't been the last time he'd seen the boy.
Harry peered up at Remus shyly, pressing himself closer to Mrs. Figg's side so that he was half hidden behind her. Remus smiled kindly at him, kneeling down to be on a level with him.
"Hello, Harry," he said quietly, offering a hand for Harry to shake. Harry only shrank back, further behind Mrs. Figg.
"He's awfully shy," Mrs. Figg explained, catching the disappointment and bewilderment Remus was fighting to keep off his face.
"That's alright," Remus replied, gathering himself quickly. He supposed it was to be expected, given the circumstances. Dumbledore hadn't exactly explained very much, but from what he had, it didn't seem that Harry had had much in the way a loving family. It filled him with both anger at Lily's sister and guilt for never bothering to check on Harry himself.
"We'll just have to get to know each other so there won't be a reason for shyness anymore," he told Harry kindly. "Has he got any bags?" he added to Mrs. Figg, standing up again.
Something flashed in the old woman's face, but she replied as placidly as ever. "I bought him some things for the journey, but apart from them, no, he hasn't got anything. Dumbledore spoke to you about clothes and such things… ?"
"Yes, yes," Remus said quickly. "I've got it all back at the house, but I just wondered if he had any personal things with him."
Mrs. Figg pulled a picture book, a coloring book, and a pack of crayons out of her bag. Remus took them, looking curiously at the stationary muggle pictures.
"It's nearly noon," Mrs. Figg said. "My train doesn't leave for another two hours, what do you say to grabbing a bight?"
"Sounds like a fine idea," Remus agreed, tucking the books and crayons into his coat. "What do you think, Harry? Are you hungry?"
Harry only stared at him with wide eyes.
"I'm sure he could do with some lunch," Mrs. Figg answered when Harry stayed silent. "We haven't had anything since early this morning, have we lamb?"
"There's a café up the street that's rather good," Remus offered. "They've got the best hot chocolate I've ever tasted," he added, smiling down at Harry, but Harry was busy studying his scuffed sneakers.
"That sounds lovely for such a chilly day," Mrs. Figg said happily, and so Remus turned and lead the way out of the station and up the street.
A/N: Please Review! Please? If no one's interested in this, I'll just write it for myself, but if people want to read it, tell me and I'll post updates! :D