Under a Pale Light: Stolen Memories

Part 1: Prelude and Prophecy

On a dark street, lit only by the smoldering fires of what once was a proud house, a tall giant looked down towards something huddled within his arms. The bundle let out a small wail; perhaps the child understood all that had been stolen from him.

"The rumors are true, then?" the giant asked, his voice sounding rough from unshed tears.

A kindly looking old man with robes sighed, a slight crack in his voice the only sign that he too was in mourning. "Yes. The good, and the bad."

The giant looked back, both disturbed and relieved by this news. "And the child... ye wouldn't leave him with those muggles, would ye?"

The old wizard considered for a moment, then replied. "No... Not like this; it would be too dangerous... for all concerned." Glancing upon the still glowing scars that ran across the child's body he paused for a moment. "Ah! Perhaps there is something I can do, still." A smile crossed his face as he declared this, and then slowly held out his arms. "The child, Hagrid?"

The giant glanced at the child, only pausing for the briefest of moments before passing the bundle to the old man. "What do you have in mind, Professor Dumbledore, sir?"

Not bothering to respond, the professor began to chant words whose meanings were lost in the flow of time, yet still remained startlingly clear.

With peace comes the answer once sought:

That which appears is not as it seems.

What would happen once has come to naught

Under a pale light, your future gleams.

That which is glimpsed may be untrue:

It is this falsity you must dispose

Lest the truth be concealed from you.

Under a pale light, your eyes unclose.

What once was, still sustain

Until the time that was once foretold;

What once you were, become again.

Under a pale light, your wings unfold.

What would happen once has come to naught,

and all that is left are the dreams

of the future for which they fought;

Under a pale light, your future gleams.

As the old man's chant ended, he glanced down at the sleeping child. The giant followed the professor's gaze, then looked up questioningly. "If ye don't mind me asking, Professor, what was that?"

The professor looked up, the weariness that resulted from such an old and powerful spell evident in his voice. "A blessing, a healing, and a prophecy. Let us have hope for the good they will do him." as an afterthought, he added "The outward scars, at least, have disappeared."

Hagrid glanced in worry at the strain the aged professor was showing, before raising his voice in question. "And the child, sir? Where will he be raised?" pausing for a moment, he proceeded. "With the scars gone, surely he could fit into any wizarding family..."

Dumbledore raised a questioning eyebrow. "Growing up in a family, knowing he is different, would not be good for the child" he looked towards the disappointed Hagrid, and a grin passed across his face. "And neither would hiding the truth. I'm afraid the muggles are out of the question, now." A warm sparkle in his eyes, Dumbledore continued. "Remus will know how to handle the child, if what I suspect is true. It is something Lily and James would have preferred... "A frown appeared briefly on the old professor's face, as he spoke one of the thoughts weighing upon his mind. "If only we could clear Sirius's name... This shouldn't be Remus's responsibility alone."

With one last look around, the old man and the giant vanished; the air itself seemed to repeat the professor's last whisper. "I only wish I could return your parents, Harry, and all your stolen memories."

Under a Pale Light: Stolen Memories

Part 2: Friends and Family

The office was cozy, a fireplace in one corner filling the room with a warm glow, and adding warmth to the office that would have been missing otherwise. An aged suit of armor, slightly worse for the long years that had passed since the time it was last worn, had been used as a makeshift hat-rack, an umbrella in its arms and several coats hanging from its shoulders. A magnificent Phoenix sat perched on one of the many bookcases that lined the walls, perhaps guarding the ancient tomes of forgotten lore within the shelves, or perhaps hoping for a candy from one of the various jars placed around the room, used as bookends and paperweights and whatnot. Behind a desk piled high with parchments, books, and the occasional arcane object sat an aged wizard, conversing with a brown haired man who was doing his best not to look astonished by what he had been told.

The tall man with light brown hair and sharp eyes stared incredulously at the aged man before him. "You want me to do what?" he asked, obviously not for the first time since this conversation had started.

Dumbledore gave him a patient smile, gently repeating himself. "I want you to raise the child, Remus. After what happened with Sirius, there is no way the child could stay with his godfather, and..."

At the mention of his former friend's name, Remus scowled. Noticing the scowl, Dumbledore interrupted himself. "Relax, Remus; I do not believe that Sirius betrayed anyone. Lily and James were talking of changing secret keepers... before the tragedy, and I don't think Sirius had it in him to betray anyone. He and James were like brothers... you know that. Unfortunately, there is no proof to support him, and much against him..."

Remus's expression calmed slightly, before turning to one of grief. "My best friends, all gone. It was bad enough with just Lily and James, but Sirius and Peter, too?" he took a moment to calm himself, then continued "Like me, Harry has no one now. I guess... I guess I can take him in. It is what they would have wanted, and I... I want it too; but what about my curse? How am I supposed to take care of a child when I have to worry about mauling him every full moon if I cant take my potion?"

Dumbledore smiled a gentle, knowing smile. "Because of what happened to him during the battle... I don't believe you have anything to worry about. He is not affected by the moon himself, but when you change you will merely see him as a cub, part of your pack. Even still... there are other precautions that will be taken."

This reassured Remus greatly, but the nervous look he wore showed there was something else. "I don't know anything about children, I'm barely an adult myself; how am I supposed to raise one?" Remus asked the only thing left bothering him.

Dumbledore smiled softly after listening to this last question, replying, "I have prepared a list of families that could help you out there. I was thinking that you and Harry would stay near one of these families; they are all trustworthy and have plenty of experience with children, so it should be no problem." Dumbledore shuffled papers a bit, then pulled a parchment from behind a stack of books "Ah, here it is." he handed the parchment to Remus, then continued "You should visit each of those families before deciding, and it would be nice to have an answer by next week... better make it two weeks; they are all pretty isolated." he paused, then looked towards a clock "Now that this is settled I'd normally ask you to stay for a nice chat, but I believe Harry will be awakening soon, and you should be there."

Hearing this, Remus headed quickly for the door, glancing over the parchment on the way towards the make-shift nursery; he barely noticed Dumbledore's parting comment. "Oh, and Remus... be discreet; the fewer who know about Harry, the less the danger."

Remus was so engrossed in the parchment Dumbledore had given him that he almost didn't notice his arrival at the hospital wing.

"McGonagal? Is that you?" a woman's voice called out from inside a nearby room.

"Just me, come to pick up Harry" Remus replied, pausing for a second before continuing. "How was he today, Poppy, any trouble?" he smiled towards the woman, waiting for her to reply even though he already knew the answer.

"No, none at all... He was a perfect little angel." The woman grinned back at Remus. "Not at all like you were, I'm sure."

Remus smirked back, letting a hint of mischievousness creep into his voice. "And what of that incident with the chocolate frogs, when you and a certain Gryffindor 2nd year were sent to the Headmaster's office, Poppy?"

Madame Pomfrey smiled, remembering younger days. "I thought you would have forgotten that by now, Remus... do you remember how you tried to take all the blame upon yourself, but I wouldn't let you?" Remus had a hearty laugh at the memory.

"I remember. I was surprised when I heard Dumbledore had hired you as school nurse... you always had a talent for charms; I thought you would be working in a lab at 'Charmed Creations', designing the latest charms and driving the rest of the staff wild with your crazy inventions."

Madame Pomfrey laughed at that, then responded seriously "They did send a job offer, but I had always thought my true calling was medical work, and when Dumbledore offered a position, how could I refuse? A chance to be working with good friends in this old castle... It was perfect. I took the job, of course."

Remus grinned at her while walking towards the cradle where Harry was sleeping. "Harry and I have to go now; I've got a list of families from Dumbledore that we need to check out. If we're lucky, Harry and I will be moving in next door to one." he lifted the sleeping child out of the cradle, then continued. "I think I can squeeze in time for dinner afterwards... It would be nice to have a chat... With Sirius, James, and Peter gone I've been feeling somewhat lonely."

Madame Pomfrey was positively delighted at the idea, and her reply showed it. "I'd love to, Remus. When?"

Glancing over the list, Remus replied. "I should have all this done by Friday after next; How about I find you on Saturday, around seven o'clock?" He tilted his head at her in question.

"It's a date." She smiled at him as he gathered Harry's items, preparing to leave.

"It is." Remus called gently back. He left the room feeling happier then he had in a long time.

Under a Pale Light: Stolen Memories

Part 3: Neighbors and Noon

Almost two weeks had passed since Professor Dumbledore had given Remus the list. Harry and Remus had visited with all but one of the families, but each one seemed unsuitable in some small way. With some it was the area; either too crowded or too isolated. With others, it was the neighbors, the houses, the children; any one of a million reasons not to live there. Remus was fairly sure the best choice would be that Weasely family, if it weren't for the fact that the area they lived in was so public... still, if this stop had nothing better to offer, then that would be where they stayed.

With one last glance at the list, Remus grasped the Portkey that would take him to Winbouryn lane, and vanished.

A small path meandered along an ancient forest about a hundred miles from Hogwarts. Silver light filtered through the leaves above, shining along the forest floor in ever-changing patterns. The shining light increased along the path, slowly resolving into the form of a man holding what could only be a small child, bundled up in cloth to keep warm.

Dropping the now inactive portkey into one his pockets, Remus turned a smile towards his ward. "Alright Harry, last stop is 28 Winboryn lane."

Still smiling gently, Remus arrived at his destination. The house was a simple affair, one story, all white with slightly blue shutters. Lilies lined the small stone walkway from the forest path to the house, and young children could be heard playing in the background.

Carefully holding the child with one hand, Remus knocked on the door.

A flurry of activity resulted as small footsteps could be heard running, and a young voice shouted "I'll get it".

A small girl, no older then six, with short brown hair and matching freckles, answered the door. Slightly behind her was a three year old, a shy look on his face as he stood there.

"Hello," the six year old spoke up. "I'm Britt. Who are you?" She smiled brightly, waiting for an answer.

Remus smiled down at the children, responding "I'm Remus. Are your parents around?"

Britt stepped back from the doorway to shout "Mom, There's someone here to see you! His name is Remus!"

A tall woman with light brown hair and freckles stepped into view, smiling down towards her children. "You shouldn't shout, Britt. Cidus is still sleeping."

Turning towards Remus, she smiled. "Dale is at the Ministry right now, but I'm here." She glanced towards the sleeping child in Remus's arms, continuing "I'm Selena. Is there any way I can help you?"

Remus grinned. "Do you mind if I come and chat with you for awhile? My nephew and I are thinking of moving to the area soon."

Selena led him towards the sitting room, taking a seat while looking questioningly towards the bundle in Remus is arms. "Your Nephew? Are you the one Dumbledore mentioned?"

Taking a seat for himself, Remus replied. "Yes. He was orphaned recently, and I don't really know how to raise a child... I think I can handle the basics, but it would be good to have someone to ask questions of."

"Of course Dale and I would be willing to help. Cidus is close to Harry's age,"

"Ma!" A sharp cry interrupted her; Cidus had awoken, and he wanted his mother.

"That would be him now. He's a perfect angel most of the time, but he absolutely hates waking up without one of us nearby." Selena stated as she walked from the room to the nursery.

Remus smiled gently down at Harry, sleeping in his arms. "I'm glad your not like that, little one." Harry began to stir, letting out a piercing wail as if in defiance towards Remus's words.

"Calm down, Harry," Remus gently shushed the child. Harry quieted down a little, but still he continued to wail.

Entering the room holding the now quiet Cidus, Selena smiled towards Remus. "Having trouble?"

A sheepish grin was all the answer she needed. "Let me help" she spoke, cradling her child in one arm while holding out the other. Gently grasping both Harry and Cidus, she began to sway back and forth, humming a simple tune.

Having calmed the children, Selena set them both into a small play-area. "They'll be fine there; there isn't anything can hurt themselves with, and there are a few toys there."

Turning to look at the children, Remus could see that they were already on their way to becoming fine friends.

The day progressed wonderfully. Cidus and Harry played together, Remus and Selena became friends, as did Remus and Dale, when he arrived. By the time Remus left, he was sure that this was the right place for them.

As he headed back to Hogwarts to tell Professor Dumbledore his decision, Remus turned to Harry. "So, what do you think, kid; is this the place?" A smile and a giggle from Harry were answer enough. Life was once again going good.

Next chapter: Remus and Poppy have dinner, Remus moves next to Selena and Dale, and time passes.


The words and phrases above are mine, but not most of the content or characters; they all belong to J.K Rowling, Warner Bros., etc.

What thief am I, to steal the creations of others and change them by my perverse will? Rather, what thieves are they, to steal my will and bend it upon their creations!

Authors Notes:

This is the first chapter of Under a Pale Light, and I hope you all had as good a time reading this as I did writing it... once again I am struck with a huge sense of respect for those who actually write books; the time and effort put into such just absolutely astounds me.

The original goal for this chapter was 2250 words; why that number? I went on to ff.net, found a story I liked the chapter length of, and set MSWord to start counting words. I tried to keep my goal reasonable, and am quite proud that I surpassed it; even still, there are many things I wished to add that I had to cut, otherwise I would never have finished (The plan was to have 10 families to be visited, a conversation and time spent with them each, just like the Silowne sequence above... It feels like a cop-out to just sum it all up in one paragraph, but it had to be done. I still have my notes for that, perhaps for a rewrite.)

Just in case you are wondering about the way I do things, I split a story into chapters, and then split the chapters into parts; These parts are divisions within the chapter, and keep me from uploading something too early; I will never upload something with less then three parts, unless I am absolutely convinced it has to be that way.

Just think of it as getting three short chapters all at once, with time for me to go over them and change things, instead of getting one short chapter frequently, without time for me to make any changes.

Also, My current idea of the length of this story is 10 chapters; I may extend that or write sequels, but I hope to have fleshed out at least one complete plot section within that space.

And once more, this is an alternate universe, so don't expect the timeline to be exactly the same. (Yes, things are subject to change; I KNOW Poppy was a nurse during Remus & Lupin's time [book three, she walked Lupin to the Whomping Willow every month when he was to transform, during his school days], but I'm changing that... and much more. Call it artistic license, if you will. )