Six year old Harry Potter was miserable. It was raining and he was wet, cold, tired and hungry. He'd been following his Aunt, Uncle and Cousin all through London on a shopping trip and it had been raining all day. He'd followed the rules; he walked several feet behind them, he'd pretended he wasn't with them and when they went into a store he stayed outside. When they would finish he would be behind them again. When they went into the restaurant he had not followed. His Uncle had promised he'd get some leftovers from lunch if he had followed all the rules.
When they had come out Uncle Vernon had thrown him a bag and they headed to the next store. Harry had opened the bag hungrily but had been disappointed. There was food in the bag but it looked like Dudley had eaten it and then got sick in the bag. Even as hungry as he was he had been unable to touch it. Still his stomach had protested when he had tossed the soggy mess in the trash.
Now here he was two hours later, still in the rain, watching Dudley play in a toy store, they had been inside for an hour. Harry huddled miserably under the canopy by the door. Finally they left the store with even more bags than before. They had two big umbrella's shielding them from the cold rain and they walked briskly down the street. The sidewalk had become increasingly more crowded as the day went and now Harry was having trouble keeping up with his relatives. He was trying to follow them he really was but people got in the way. He saw them turn a corner ahead so he rushed to catch up. When he arrived they were nowhere to be seen. Harry figured they had stepped into another store so he found a decrepit looking doorway and sat to wait. He didn't realize he had fallen asleep until the door opened behind him and he fell backwards. He stood quickly with an apology ready for his Uncle, but it wasn't him. Instead it was a man dressed in clothes that kind of resembled Harry's own. They weren't baggy like his but they were full of holes and generally worn out.
"Are you coming in?" The man asked kindly.
"N..n..no." Harry's teeth chattered as he talked.
"Why are you sitting in the rain?" The man asked pulling him inside.
"W..w…waiting f…f..for m…m…my u..u..uncle." Harry replied grateful for the warmth of the room he was in.
"Who is your uncle?" he continued to question the small boy that seemed to be on his own.
"Vernon Dursley." Harry answered. He then smacked himself on the head, he'd broken the rule. He'd told someone he was with them. He'd be in trouble now.
Wondering at the boys actions he chuckled confusedly and asked, "Why did you smack yourself like that?"
"I broke the rule and now he's going to be mad." Harry whispered, "Please don't tell him."
As he had been questioning the boy he had taken to looking him over. He nearly fell over when he realized just whom he was talking to, "Where's your aunt Petunia?"
"I don't know." Harry began to cry, "I tried to keep up but they got too far ahead. I'm supposed to pretend I'm not with them but people got in the way and I lost them."
Through the child's rambling the man understood one thing, Harry Potter was not being well cared for as Albus Dumbledore had promised. Now he was one angry werewolf.
"How long have you been in the rain Harry?" Remus Lupin asked his best friends child.
"All day." he replied continuing to cry, "First we had to get Dudley's school supplies. Then he and uncle Vernon had to get new clothes because their old ones are too small. Then they had lunch but Dudley threw up in the bag and I just couldn't eat that. Then they were at a toy store for hours. And now I've lost them, I'm going to be in so much trouble."
"Weren't you out of the rain in the stores?" Remus hoped the boy was exaggerating.
"No, I have to wait outside." Harry whimpered, "I have to pretend I'm not with them. I can't spoil their day."
"They made you wait outside the restaurant too?" Remus said, "Then you couldn't eat what they brought?"
"It looked like throw up." Harry cringed.
"Are you hungry?"
"No, I'm fine." Harry responded as he was supposed to but his stomach betrayed him by growling when a waitress walked by with food on a tray.
Wondering why he would tell a lie like that Remus asked, "When was the last thing you ate?"
"I had a piece of toast at breakfast; uncle said it was all I needed." Harry replied.
"And when did you last drink something?" Remus asked not really wanting to know the answer. It was obvious to him now that he wasn't given enough of anything.
"I had some rain water when I got thirsty."
"Come with me, I promise not to hurt you." he said, "My name is Remus Lupin by the way."
"Ok." Harry followed him.
Remus led Harry to the bar and whispered to the man behind it for a few minutes. The man looked at Harry and then nodded. He hated using Harry's fame to get things but he was desperate to get Harry taken care of. The two bedraggled people followed the bar keeper up the stairs.
First thing Remus did was run the tub full of warm water. He knew Harry was too cold for hot water. He helped him get out of the sopping wet clothes and into the warm water. It felt hot to Harry and it took him a few moments to be able to sit down completely. Remus took the clothes into the other room and dried them with a quick flick of his wand. He decided to not let Harry see him use a wand. Doubtless Petunia would not have told him anything about magic.
"Harry if you don't mind me asking, why do you live with your aunt and uncle?" Remus was curious as to what they had told him.
"My parents died in a car crash when I was a baby. Its how I got my scar on my head." He said, "Then I was dumped on their doorstep, a burden for them to deal with."
Remus swore under his breath, a burden indeed. If he ever got his hands on those two he would strangle them. After a while there was a knock at the door. Remus opened it to reveal Tom bringing in a tray of food.
"Thanks Tom." Remus said, "I appreciate you doing this. I'll pay you back when I get some money."
"No don't worry." he replied, "It's the least I could do. He's done so much for us. What's he doing out on his own?"
"Looks like he got separated from his relatives on a shopping trip." Remus said, "I know where they live so I'll get him back home as soon as he's warmed up and had some food."
"They aren't very careful with him are they?" Tom said as he left, "Let me know if I can do anything else."
Remus went into the bathroom with the dry clothes and helped Harry get dressed. He sat him at the table and watched him eat. The plate was still half full when he fell asleep in the chair. Remus wrapped up the rest of the food and put it in a pocket of his cloak. He then picked up the small boy and walked down stairs. Tom saw him and briefly grinned at the sleeping form on the man's shoulder.
Remus cast impervious spells on himself and Harry then disapparated to an alley not far from his relatives. Remus was one of the few people who were allowed to know where Harry was living. He approached the house hoping to see a frantic aunt waiting for news of her missing nephew. Instead he saw a happy family of three laughing at a television program. He doubted they knew or cared about Harry's whereabouts.
Making a spur of the moment decision Remus turned on the spot and disappeared from Privet Drive. He stopped at his own home for a few moments, just long enough to gather his things and then he left. He would have to go a long way to escape the reach of Albus Dumbledore.
One year later Albus Dumbledore was in a panic when the blood wards at number four Privet Drive failed.
Seven year old Harry Smith was a happy little boy. He still remembered his life with his relatives but it no longer affected him. He played with the other kids in his school and neighborhood; no one thought he was freaky here. Every full moon he got to stay with one of his friends. His friend's families understood that his uncle Remus Smith was a security guard and that his company always paid overtime for work on a full moon nights. Everyone knows things are a little bit crazy on full moon nights.
Life for Harry and Remus was not as mundane as it appeared from the outside. To the muggle observer the inside of the little house they rented was just as normal as the outside. The basement, however, was a different story. The basement was accessed through a hidden door, only magic folk could see it or any movement near it. It was separated into two spaces, each larger than the proportions of the house should allow. One section had a strong looking metal door. It was odd because there were no handles on the door and no obvious way to move it. This door was only opened on full moon nights and the mornings after.
The second half of the room looked more normal if not old fashioned. They had what looked like a fireplace but there was no chimney on the roof of this house. Beside the fireplace was a stack of big black pots and a counter for preparing ingredients. Opposite that were a library and two desks. The last area had walls on three sides and seemed to have scorch marks on them.
Remus was not a particularly strong wizard; his condition took most of that away. But what he lacked in strength he more than made up for with brains. And he had decided to teach Harry as much as he could. This particular day Harry was sitting at one of the desks in the basement library. Remus was sitting at the other and noticed Harry staring off into space.
"What's on your mind Harry?"
"I was just thinking how hard it is to believe that one year ago today I was standing on the street in the pouring rain watching Dudley play in the toy store." Harry scratched his chin as he sat looking thoughtful.
"I can't tell you how glad I am that I was the one that found you." Remus stated, "It could have turned out so much worse."
"Why did Dumbledore put me there?"
"Because of my Mum and aunt Petunia being sisters?" Harry asked.
"But didn't he know." Harry wasn't even sure how to phrase the question, but Remus understood.
"No, I don't think he did." Remus sighed, "I think he figured they would take care of you because you are their family."
"And we're in hiding because he would send me back?" Harry asked, "Even if he knew what happened?"
"He would send you back and he would make it so I couldn't see you." Remus said. Harry started to say something but Remus waved him off, "He would have to ban me because I wouldn't leave you there."
"Thanks." Harry said. He truly appreciated knowing Remus cared, "How would he be able to keep you away?' I would think you could figure a way around it."
"Thank you, but this is Albus Dumbledore we're talking about. He's got more brains than I do and he is the most powerful wizard in the world." Remus pointed out, "He can ward the place so that a werewolf couldn't get close."
"Oh." Harry was thoughtful again, "If he's so smart why did he leave me with people who hated me?"
"Sometimes even a genius doesn't understand things." Remus stated, "In this instance he doesn't understand the depth of Petunia's fear, hate and jealousy toward your mother."
Harry jumped off his chair and walked around to Remus. He gave him a hug around the waste, "I don't think he understands you either."
"You may be right pup." Remus said, stroking his hair, "You may be right."