A/N: I'd like to begin with an apology. First, I apologize to everyone who was reading the previously posted version of "Before Harry." I'm sorry to have taken it down while you were still reading. I'd also like to apologize to everyone who read it in the past, because it was so, so bad. I've hated the beginning of it for a long time, and have been upset with its deviations from canon since "Deathly Hallows" was published. So, it had to go.
But, I'm thrilled with the new and improved version so far. I hope you'll enjoy it, too.
Thanks for reading and reviewing!
I don't own the Harry Potter universe.
Their story began with a letter …
"So, you see, your daughter is a very special little girl – far more special, I dare say, than you had realized."
Mr. and Mrs. Evans looked away from Professor McGonagall to stare at their daughter. Lily looked back at them with shining eyes, clutching the letter Professor McGonagall had given her.
"I can go, can't I?" she asked. "Please?"
Her father smiled, his green eyes shining just like his daughter's. "How can we possibly say no?"
Lily squealed and jumped out of her seat to hug her parents. "Oh, thank you, thank you!" she cried. "I'll make you proud, I promise!"
"Oh, baby," her mother sighed, hugging her tightly. "You always do."
"About time!" James yelled, thrusting his Hogwarts letter into the air. "Can we go to Diagon Alley now? Right now? Please?"
Mrs. Potter laughed. "Once you've calmed down enough that you won't scare everyone there, we can go."
"Let him have his fun," Mr. Potter said, smiling indulgently at his son. "It's not every day a young man receives his first Hogwarts letter."
"I'd prefer that fun to be a bit calmer," Mrs. Potter said.
"After we get my wand and my robes –"
"And your books," his mother interrupted.
"Yes, and those, can I get a broom? Please, Dad?"
"First years aren't allowed brooms," Mrs. Potter said pointedly, giving her husband a look. "Right, Henry?"
"Right," he agreed. "But, I'm sure an owl would be perfectly fine."
James cheered. "Can we go now?"
Mr. and Mrs. Potter exchanged helpless looks.
"Yes," Mrs. Potter finally said. "Now will be fine."
"Hogwarts," Sirius whispered, fingering his letter lovingly. "Finally."
"I want to go, too," Regulus pouted, staring at Sirius from across the room.
"You're not old enough," Sirius said. "You have to be all grown up."
Their cousin Andromeda, who was visiting for the day, rolled her eyes. "You have to be eleven," she said. "Not even close to grown up."
"Next year, Regulus," Mrs. Black said. "Sirius, we'll go to Diagon Alley tomorrow to get your things."
"I'm going now, Aunt Walburga," Andromeda said. "I can take Sirius with me, if that's all right."
"Yes …" she said slowly, "that's a good idea. You'll make sure he gets everything he needs, won't you, Andromeda?"
"Yes," she said. "Every single thing."
"I'm going to Hogwarts," Peter said, his eyes shining.
"I knew you would," his mother said, hugging his shoulders to her.
"Well, look at that," Mr. Pettigrew said, his cold eyes narrowing. "My son isn't a Squib, after all."
Peter's cheeks flushed a deep red as his father took the letter from him.
"We'll go to Diagon Alley to get your supplies tomorrow," he said. "We'd better get him a decent wand, Mabel. I don't want him embarrassing us at Hogwarts."
"It's such an honor to have you visit us, Professor Dumbledore," Mrs. Lupin said, handing him a cup of tea.
"I've come on very important business, Anika," he said, his eyes twinkling.
"Oh? How can we help you?"
He smiled and reached into his robes. When his hand reemerged, it was clutching a letter. "I've come to give young Remus his Hogwarts letter."
Remus' eyes grew round and his mouth dropped open. "Hogwarts?" he nearly squeaked. "I've got a Hogwarts letter?"
"Headmaster," his father said quickly as Remus took the letter, "you are aware of his … condition?"
"Oh, yes," he said. "That is why I came myself to deliver the letter. I wanted to make sure that we all understood one another."
Remus stared at the envelope in his hands, holding it as though it were made of the most fragile glass. Dumbledore watched him for a moment with an indulgent smile.
"I see no reason why Remus cannot attend Hogwarts," he said. "We will have to take certain precautions, of course, but as long as he promises to adhere to the rules set forth, I am sure we will not have any problems."
"I'll do whatever you say," Remus said eagerly. "I'll do anything, if it means I can go to Hogwarts."
"John," Mrs. Lupin said quietly, looking at her husband with fear in her eyes.
"What, exactly, do you mean by 'precautions'?" he asked.
"We will send Remus away for his transformations," Dumbledore said. "I am having a house built in Hogsmeade where he can go. We will be able to reach it by a tunnel from the grounds, so no one will see him leaving the school or entering the house. I have ordered a Whomping Willow to plant over the tunnel's entrance. It is an added precaution to keep other students away from Remus while he is … not himself. It will also keep his classmates from finding a way into the house at other times."
"And, the villagers?" Mr. Lupin asked. "How will you keep them away?"
"Professor Flitwick and I are already working on the charms to make sure no one can enter the house without our permission."
"I don't know," Mrs. Lupin said slowly.
"We've worked very hard to make sure that it will be safe for Remus at Hogwarts," Dumbledore said.
"Yes, I can see that," she said. "It's just …"
Mr. Lupin took her hand. "I think we had rather grown accustomed to the idea that we'd be able to keep our boy here with us."
"Ah," Dumbledore said, his eyes softening. "It is difficult to let them stretch their wings."
They nodded silently, knowing in their hearts that the decision was already made.
Dumbledore turned to Remus, who was watching him with shining eyes. "Remus, a great deal of this plan's success rests on your shoulders," he said. "You must agree to several conditions."
"First, you must not tell your classmates of your condition."
"All right." Remus wondered why Dumbledore felt that was a necessary rule. He had never told a soul, and did not intend to begin now.
"Second, you must not show anyone the tunnel, the house, or how to get past the Whomping Willow to reach it."
"Okay.," Again, Remus felt the rule was unnecessary.
"And, finally," Dumbledore concluded, his eyes softening yet again, "you must do everything in your power to make your parents proud."
Remus grinned. "Okay," he agreed.
"Then, as long as your parents approve our plan, I believe we, as they say, have a deal."
Remus turned his wide smile and shining eyes to his parents. They nodded helplessly.
How could they possibly deny their son the first thing that had made him smile like that in six years?
Remus turned his shining eyes back to the letter he held in his hands. "I'm going to Hogwarts."