Rolling to his feet with wand in hand, Harry began to panic. He didn't know where he was, nor did he remember how he got there. The last thing he could remember was the feeling of the clammy, rotting hands of the Dementor before he blacked out. He quickly did a survey of the small room he awoke in. It was small, but very cosy with warm beige walls, and a thick rug under his feet. There was a double bed, a small bedside table and a modest wardrobe that were a dark mahogany color. There was a large window that faced a forest, that also showed him that he was on the second floor of the building.
The next thing he noticed after taking in his surroundings was the lack of pain he was feeling. He still felt exhausted, but he knew that all of the injuries, old and new, that he has received from his uncle that summer were healed.
Before he could think up a plan of action, the door opened to reveal the smiling face of his godfather. Laughing in relief, Harry lowered his wand and allowed himself to be pulled into a hug. When Sirius finally let him go, Harry lowered himself to his bed, unable to keep the grin off his face.
"Sirius! How have you been? How did we get here? Where is here? What-"
"Harry! Slow down, kiddo. Let's take this one question at a time, hmm? Firstly, I'm fine, more than fine, excellent. But we'll get to that in a minute. We're at Remus's house. We needed to come collect you, and it looked like we were just in time! Seeing the Dementors with you was the scariest thing I've ever seen in my life!"
"It was definitely scary for me too. Dementors are my. Boggart after all."
"Really? I didn't know that."
"Yeah, Remus introduced them to us in DADA in third year, and that's how he taught me how to do a patronus. Not that it worked this time.."
"I don't think that was entirely your fault, Harry. You were in pretty sorry shape when we found you. And it wasn't the sort of injuries that one sustains from a dementor attack. And, curiously enough, they weren't all new either. Some of them seemed at least a couple of weeks old. Is there anything you need to tell me Harry?"
"What? Those?" Harry was feeling thoroughly panicked by now. He knew his uncle couldn't do anything to him while he was with Sirius and Remus, but Harry was afraid of what would happen if he found out that he had told them about his treatment during the summer. Thinking quickly, he replied, "Those are just from some scraps I've gotten into with some of the neighborhood boys. No big deal, I've dealt with it before. Nothing to worry about."
Sirius seemed to X-ray him with the intensity of his gaze, and he couldn't maintain eye contact with him when he was looking at him like that. After a tense pause in the conversation, Sirius sighed heavily and finally dropped his gaze. "I'm willing to key it go for now, since you're still recovering, but we are going to have to talk about this eventually Harry. You can't hide forever."
Harry felt a trill of panic rise up in him, but he tried not to show it to Sirius. It had always been drilled into him not to talk about how he was treated at home. No one vet believed him. He tried to get help once, after he started school, but after a couple of clever lies about Harry wing unbalanced and his supposed tendency to get into fights with the neighborhood kids, his teacher didn't do anything to help him. Aunt Petunia had invited her to tea and biscuits, and as soon as she left Harry got his first real beating for "discrediting his aunt and uncle" and "spreading freaky lies". Harry was in no hurry to try to share his predicament again after that. And beside that, Sirius couldn't do anything about it as a wanted criminal, except confront his uncle, but that would only make things worse. And Harry only had one more summer to endure there after this one, and then he'd be an adult, so it seemed pointless to complain now; he felt it would be better to just ride it out, he'd be fine.
"Harry, there's something I need to tell you." Sirius's eyes lit up as he said this, making him looks years younger. Harry almost laughed as he voiced in his seat, seeming to almost burst at the seams with whatever news he had. His grin was infectious. "Actually, I think it would be much better to show you."
"Show me? What in the world are you so worked up and excite over Sirius?" It was good to see his godfather so excited about something, but Harry was feeling a sense of metaphorical whiplash after just finishing the other conversation they were having.
Sirius practically bounced over to the door and yanked another person into the room by their arm. Harry was absolutely gobsmacked as he tried to take in the figure in front of him. The man was about a head taller than Harry, and looked like he had spent quite a bit more time out in the sun. He was also a bit bulkier, although that may have been more due to the fact that Harry was so scrawny from his time on Privet Drive than the man's size. The details his mind almost refused to take in were the bright hazel eyes frames by round glasses, and messy, out-of-control Potter hair that was identical to his own. The man was an exact replica of the photos of his father that was in his scrap book from Hagrid, aged about a decade and with a suntan.
The man's face lit up with a grin, and that seemed to snap Harry out if his trance. Shaking his head incredulously, he slowly backed away from the man who looked like his father until his back hit the wall. He couldn't except this. It wasn't possible. He had heard him die when he was being attacked by Dementors, heck, he had seen a shadow of him come out of Voldemort's wand during their duel in the graveyard the previous school year. Harry knew that he was on the verge of a panic attack, so he drew in a deep breath before sending his fiercest glare at the imposter a that were in front of him.
"Did Voldemort really, truly believe I'd fall for someone posing as my very dead father? Having someone pose as Sirius was a nice touch, a good way to get my guard down. I actually believed it was him for a bit there. Whoever you are, your acting is impeccable." He stood with all of his muscles tensed, ready to spring into action the moment they either attacked or left an opening to escape through.
The Sirius imposter looked totally bewildered. "Harry it really is us. And I know it seems impossible that this could be your dad, but Remus and I have already confirmed that it really is!"
"I don't believe you! This is low, even for Death Eaters!"
"Harry we aren't Death Eaters. I just wanted to help you!" He took a cautious step towards Harry, but Harry took this as an attack and sent a stupefy quickly in his direction. Dodging the stupefy, he tried to disarm Harry, but Harry was already ducking down expecting the attack, and he quickly sent back a full-body bind at him, and chaos ensued.
James watched the unfolding fight between his son and his best friend unfold in shock. He was in turmoil after seeing his son after so many years and not having him believe that he was who he said he was. He was also in awe at his son who was holding his own against his best friend, who at one point in time been one of the top Hit Wizards in the auror department. The room was being destroyed as they both struggled to land a hit, and James was having difficulty taking it all in. When a stray hex narrowly missed his head and hit the wall behind him, he decided it was time to join in the fight. Throwing his own disarming spells at his son, he realized how hard he really was to hit. Suddenly, Sirius went down with why he thought was a stupify, and he was left standing along against his son, who wasting no time in focusing all of his power on him. In the contained room, it was much more difficult for the older Potter to dodge the younger's spells, and he was soon hit by a full-body bind. He saw the door slip open and a stream of red light hit Harry's back before he could turn, and he slowly slumped to the floor.
Remus then crept through the door, and did the counter spells on both Sirius and James, who quickly moved to Harry's side.
"You hexed my son!"
"And your son both stupefied Sirius and managed to get you into a full-body bind"
"I- he- that's not the point!"
"That's exactly the point James! He-"
"Shut up, both of you! We need to figure out what to do next. He obviously doesn't really believe us. I think he was mostly panicked. He doesn't know James the way we do after all."
Their argument effectively interrupted, James and Remus both tried to think of a good solution. It was Remus who finally came up with the idea of James and Sirius taking Harry's wand downstairs, and letting Remus explain everything to Harry. After the other two Marauders grudgingly left, he cautiously revived Harry. He was on his feet in an instant, grasping for his wand, and when he couldn't find it, he panicked and tried to make himself as small as possible. The sight broke Remus's heart, and he very slowly moved over to the small teen and placed a hand on his shoulder. Harry immediately stiffened up, but otherwise didn't respond to Remus.
Remus lowered himself to the ground next to Harry with a heavy sigh and decided to wait him out. After a few moments, Harry's curiosity got the better of him, and he snuck a peek at Remus through a gap in his arms. "Prove you're really him. I just need you to."
"I gave you the Marauders Map at the end of your third year after I resigned from my teaching post due to my secret of being a werewolf getting out. Snape told his students. Sirius is innocent, and I know because of the confrontation that occurred in the Shrieking Shack between he, Peter, and myself. You wouldn't let us kill him. My nickname is Moony, after my lycanthropy. Is that enough?"
Harry seemed to appraise him for a moment, and then he seemed to relax. "And that's really Sirius?"
"But that can't be my dad! It just can't be! People don't just come back from the dead!
"Harry, look at me." After Harry finally lifted his head and looked at him, Remus gave him the most sincere and serious look that he could muster. "Your father was never dead. He's been in California all this time. He was lied to, and so were the rest of us. Harry, he thought you were dead too, and he was so heartbroken that he stayed away for as long as he could. Someone even sent him fake letters from Sirius and I, and prevented us from getting his letters. He was the one who insisted on coming to get you as soon as he found out you were alive."
Harry seemed to be having an internal debate. "How do you know it's really him?" he asked in a small voice.
"He transformed in the kitchen. It's been years, but Moony still recognizes pack mates."
"Oh. I didn't hurt them, did I?"
Remus laughed out loud at this. "Nothing but their pride, cub."
"Oh, er, I used to call you that, when you were a baby. You're a pack cub, at least as far as Moony is concerned, so it just popped out. If you don't like it I don't have to call you that, it's just-"
"Remus! It's alright, I don't mind." Harry was laughing for the first time in what felt like ages, and once Remus shook off the shock of being interrupted, he joined in. They laughed so hard tears began to stream down their faces, and as soon as one of them began to collect themselves, they would glance at each other and the laughter would start all over again. The day had just been too bizarre, and they both needed to laugh it off in order to cope with it.
After they had both calmed down, Harry fixed Remus with a piercing stare. "I'm going to have to face him again, aren't I?"
"I'm afraid so, Harry."
"Well, might as well get that over with, eh?"
He scrambled to his feet and offered his hand to Remus, and then tentatively moved down the stairs to meet the father he didn't know he still had until that night.
Alright y'all. I could give you a long string of excuses, but I know they aren't going to be enough. I just have been super busy, combined with writer's block and a lack of motivation to write, so I just haven't gotten around to this in forever. Please forgive me. :)
I hope you all enjoyed this chapter! Harry finally believes that James is alive, but let me just give you fair warning: it still isn't going to be easy for any of our heroes. Let me know what y'all thought, and justly me know if you guys want to see anything in particular later on in the story.
Review, review, review!
Love you guys!