This Time Around

Summary: After Harry asks Remus and Sirius about his father in OotP, the two men have an important conversation about past and present. Marauder friendship, no pairings.

A/N: So I'm re-reading and re-watching the Potter books and movies before Deathly Hallows Part II is released. I also went through the old fanfiction that was gathering dust on my computer. Some of it may not see the light of day still, but after reading Prisoner of Azkaban, I have decided that I still like this story and consider it an important missing moment. Make of it what you will! Set just after Harry asks Remus and Sirius about James.

"I can't believe he's not teaching him Occlumency anymore!" Sirius raged. "He knows how important it is. Dumbledore told Snape. Harry's life could depend on it!"

Remus laid a hand on Sirius's shoulder. "Calm down, Sirius. I'll talk to him soon, but not just now."

Sirius's eyes burned but he said no more on the subject. He sat heavily down at the table and sighed. "You know, I never thought we'd have to reassure Harry about how good his father was."

Remus took the chair across from him. "Nor did I. It must have looked so bad from his perspective."

"Yeah. He didn't see James being there for us when we needed him the most...he just saw him tormenting Snape and being a show-off."

"We were idiots back then. Harry might never understand that...he's not fifteen, not really. He's had too much happen to him to be like us, to see the world as we did."

"As if it was ours for the taking?" said Sirius with a slight smile.

"You could put it that way..."

Sirius shook his head. "I wish he could have known James. Then he wouldn't have to doubt who his father was as a person. He would just know."

Remus nodded in agreement. "And Lily..."

Silence fell for a moment as they lost themselves in memories. Remus thought of Lily smiling, James laughing, and Harry cooing at his parents. If only it had lasted.

"Moony?"

Remus blinked, then gave Sirius a small smile. "Yes, Padfoot?"

"Remember that night in the Shrieking Shack, when you found out I was innocent?"

"Of course."

"Well, remember the reason I didn't tell you I had made Lily and James switch to Peter as secret-keeper?"

"Yes," said Remus slowly, somewhat taken aback by this turn in conversation. "You thought I was the spy. And I forgave you, of course. I mean, times were dark. Torture and disappearances, Death Eaters at every turn, the uncertainty of whether you were going to live through the night. It was impossible to know who to trust."

"Exactly." said Sirius. "I don't want it to be like that again."

"Meaning what, precisely?"

"Meaning this – Voldemort is back, and dark times are upon us once more. But do you trust me now? Completely? Do you truly trust me to put this cause before my own life?"

Remus paused. He still didn't see exactly where Sirius was going with this. "Yes, I do. I trust you completely."

"And I trust you. Completely. This time, can we trust each other until the end?"

Remus was stunned and confused. "Sirius, how did we get on this topic? I don't understand why we're discussing trust when we'd been talking about Lily and James..."

"Remus, listen." said Sirius, and there was something urgent in his tone. "Lily and James died because I trusted the wrong man and didn't trust the right man. I don't – I can't – let it be like that again. You and me trust each other, and even when the rest of the world is in chaos, I need that to last. I know we can't trust everyone, but I trust you with my life, with Harry's life, even. Do you trust me with the same?"

Remus looked into Sirius's over-bright eyes and wondered how long this conversation had been stirring in the back of his mind. Remus had never thought about the situation like that before: it was almost ironic how it had been both misplaced trust and a failure to trust that could lead to such devastating results. Sirius had been scarred by that October night, perhaps even more than Remus himself had been. And that was saying something.

Remus felt weighed down by Sirius's guilt and grief. It was rare to see it out in the open like this – Sirius usually kept the pain locked far away in a place few could ever reach. Remus knew because he did the exact same thing...

"I trust you, Sirius. Completely. I trust you with my life and Harry's life. You would die before you betrayed us. I will never doubt you again."

"Thank you, Remus..." replied Sirius rather gruffly, wiping his eyes with a mild amount of force. He gained control over himself after a long moment, then smiled slightly. "James would be so proud, and not just of Harry."

"That he would, Padfoot. That he would."

A/N: Thanks for reading! Reviews greatly appreciated, and more stories from me might be coming soon. I just can't help myself with my renewed Harry Potter energy. :)