|SIYE Time:21:57 on 20th January 2018|
The Road not Taken
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Category: Pre-OotP, Alternate Universe
Characters:Harry/Ginny, Sirius Black
Warnings: Mild Language, Violence/Physical Abuse
Story is Complete
Summary: The summer before his third year, Harry stormed out of his relatives' house and met a large dog. Instead of taking the Knight Bus, Harry throws his lot in with Sirius Black. Join him as he fights for his godfather and gets to know his best mate's little sister just a bit better.
Hitcount: Story Total: 20954; Chapter Total: 1771
Awards: View Trophy Room
Thanks again to Arnel for her wonderful job! I have never been to Brighton so hopefully what I've written makes sense :). Thanks again for all of the support for this story.
“You should have seen it,” Harry told Ginny excitedly as they sat down in front of the fireplace in the common room. “It was a stag, just like my dad’s Animagus form. It galloped around the room and scared the boggart back into the trunk; then it looked around and sort of bowed to me before disappearing.”
“That’s amazing,” Ginny replied sincerely as she set her books down. “I know that Bill can perform the Patronus Charm, but I don’t know if any of my other brothers can.”
“Professor McGonagall was very pleased. She had a house-elf bring us some tea and biscuits from the kitchen. It was really nice.”
“She is really nice,” Ginny agreed. “I actually enjoy my visits with her now.”
“I just hope I don’t need to use my Patronus against actual Dementors. The boggart is bad enough.”
“I’m glad those creatures are gone. I can’t imagine poor Sirius dealing with those things for so many years.”
Harry nodded. “He still has nightmares from time to time, but its better since he’s been freed. Professor McGonagall helped arrange some counselling for him and he says that it really helps. When Professor McGonagall started teaching us the Patronus Charm over Christmas, Sirius said it was the first time he’d been able to do the Charm since he was sent to Azkaban.”
“What is his Patronus?”
“The same as his Animagus, a large dog. Professor McGonagall’s is the same as her Animagus as well. She said it isn’t always the same, but the Patronus always takes the form of something we think of as strong or comforting.”
“Bill’s is a Sphinx. He didn’t learn the charm until he went to Egypt. I guess they sometimes have Lethifold attacks, so all Gringotts’ employees have to learn the Patronus Charm.” Glancing over at Harry, she added, “As you said, I hope you don’t have to use it against an actual Dementor.”
“Professor McGonagall talked to Professor Lupin and he’s going to give me extra credit. I wrote an essay on the Patronus Charm and its uses and he’s going to count it as an extra credit project. Of course Defence is my best subject, I wish I could earn extra credit in Potions.”
Ginny laughed. “I think no matter what you do you’ll never get extra credit in Potions.”
“Maybe next year,” Harry brightened at the thought.
“Sirius is really going to find a tutor so you don’t have to take Potions with Snape?”
Harry nodded. “He doesn’t like the way Snape treats me and he doesn’t think he’s a good teacher. My mum was really good in Potions. Sirius found me some of my mum’s old textbooks and she had all sorts of notes written in them. I read over some of them and even just the small changes I’ve tried have made a huge difference.”
Jumping up, he said, “I’ll be right back.”
A few minutes later, he returned from the boys’ dorms with a book in his hand. “This was my mum’s second year Potions’ book.”
Opening the book, he showed her the notes and helpful hints that had been written in it. “I think she went back later and wrote more notes in it. Sirius said she was thinking about writing her own Potions book, an introductory Potions book for Muggle-borns that explains how different ingredients interact and that sort of thing. She was really smart.”
Taking the book, Ginny flipped through to the Potion they were currently working on it class. Sure enough, there were notes written in the margin. “Are you sure you don’t mind me using it?”
“Of course not,” he laughed. “You are a Weasley and a Gryffindor; you can use all the help you can get in Snape’s class.”
“That’s true.” Glancing over at him she asked, “What are you doing next weekend?”
He shrugged. It was a Hogsmeade weekend, but he didn’t much fancy going down to the village. Ron mentioned that he’d talked Hermione into visiting the village and Harry knew she wouldn’t be happy with him around. She was still upset with him.
His eyes lit up. “Would you like to spend the day with me? I know we can’t go to the village, but we can have fun together.”
“That sounds great!” Ginny smiled.
“We could go flying.”
“I bet we could convince the house-elves to prepare us a picnic lunch,” she suggested shyly.
Harry watched the other third years head out to Hogsmeade, but unlike the first visit he didn’t feel left out at all. Ron couldn’t understand why Harry chose to stay behind, but Harry convinced him to go with Hermione and have fun.
Rummaging through his clothes, Harry found a long sleeved light grey shirt, a dark blue jumper, and jeans. He thought about wearing a nicer outfit, but figured for a picnic jeans and a t-shirt would be appropriate. He took the time to try and smooth down his hair, it didn’t work really well, but he thought he didn’t look bad.
Glancing at his watch, he realize it was time to meet Ginny. He hurried down to the common room and she was waiting by the fireplace. He smiled when he saw her. She was wearing a purple jumper with a black skirt and black tights.
“You look really nice,” he said with a smile.
“Thank you,” she said as her cheeks flushed. “Alicia helped me pick out an outfit for today. I talked to Tia. She knows where the hidden pond is and she will bring a picnic lunch to us in a few hours.”
“Great! I was thinking we could go fly,” he said as he glanced out the window. “Unless you think it’s too cold.”
“No, that would be great,” Ginny said.
“Brilliant! I’ll go get my broom.”
The two set out with Harry’s Firebolt slung over his shoulder. They chatted about classes. Ginny told Harry about her classes. “I wrote to Charlie and he thought I would do well in Care of Magical Creatures, but I also like the idea of Muggle Studies.”
“I looked through one of Hermione’s Muggle Studies books the other day. She’d left it on the table and I flipped through it. It doesn’t seem very up to date. The pictures of the cars and the fashions made me think it was written in the 1950s. It didn’t mention computers at all. I looked at the maps and they seemed wrong as well. It still had the Soviet Union.”
She frowned slightly. “But I didn’t understand any of those things you just mentioned. I mean I know about cars, but I’d like to understand things better. I’ve heard Sarah and Anwen talk about the cinema and shows they watch on the telly and I get lost. Sarah talked about having me over to their house this summer. I was both excited and scared. I’ve never been in a Muggle house before.”
“I can understand that,” Harry said. “The first time I was in your house…it was brilliant, but a bit overwhelming. There are still a lot of things I don’t understand. You probably already know more about magical creatures than I do. If you want you can look through my book and see what you think.”
Brightening, she nodded. “That sounds good. I bet I could always ask Hagrid if I don’t understand something. The one thing I want to do is learn about unicorns.”
“We haven’t done that yet,” Harry said. “I don’t think Hagrid finds them interesting enough.”
Laughing, the pair walked down to the Quidditch pitch. With it being a Hogsmeade weekend, none of the teams had practice, but Harry had spoken to Madam Hooch to make sure he and Ginny could use the pitch.
Together the two flew for a while on his Firebolt. Harry had to admit he like having her pressed up against him, but it was also a bit embarrassing especially after the talk he’d had with Sirius over Christmas. He generously allowed her to fly it by herself while he watched from the ground. As he watched her, he hoped she would be able to make the team. It would be amazing to be on the Quidditch team together. Unfortunately, the only opening next year would be Keeper and she wanted to be a Chaser.
By early afternoon, they were cold and hungry. As they walked from the pitch to the secluded grove, Harry kept glancing over at her. She looked so pretty with her pink cheeks and bright smile. The impulse to reach out and grab her hand was strong, but he hesitated. What if she didn’t want him to?
Pushing aside the bushes, Harry let Ginny walk ahead of him into the grove. As promised, Tia had left a large picnic basket. Reaching into the basket Harry pulled out a warm blanket and spread it on the ground.
“Oh, this is nice,” Ginny said with a smile as she sat down on the warm blanket. Tia had thoughtfully included a second warm blanket which Ginny used to wrap around her shoulders.
Digging into the basket, Harry unearthed a large vacuum flask of warm butterbeer with warm mugs. There was a plate of sandwiches and crisps. As a treat, at the bottom of the basket was a large plate of chocolate dipped fruit — strawberries, apple slices, bananas, and, Harry’s favourite, pineapple.
To Harry’s mind it was a perfect day. He thought about his conversation with Sirius and he knew he had to speak up.
“Ginny, I just wanted to say that you’ve been a brilliant friend this year. You’ve believed me and supported me and it’s meant so much to me. I…I really like you, Ginny. I was wondering if you would be my girlfriend?”
He waited anxiously. Ginny was looking at him with wide eyes. When she didn’t answer right away, he wondered if he shouldn’t have said anything. Just when he was about to say something, she smiled and threw her arms around his neck. “Yes, I would love to be your girlfriend.”
Happily, Harry leaned down and gently pressed his lips against hers. It was a sweet and gentle kiss and to Harry’s way of thinking it was perfect. The rest of the afternoon flew by in a happy daze.
The new couple shared a meal and talked about whatever came into their minds. Harry enjoyed the sweet kisses they shared. On the walk back to the castle, Harry boldly reached out and took her hand. All in all it was a perfect day.
As spring wore on, Ron was spending more time with Harry and Ginny and repairing his friendships with them. Harry was happy to have his friend back, he wasn’t sure if Ron would ever go back to being his best mate, but they had a lot of fun together.
Ron was amazingly tolerant of Harry’s new relationship with Ginny. While they hadn’t done anything more than hold hands and share some kisses, to Harry it was an amazing difference. He would walk her to classes and on some days he was able to wait outside her classroom to walk back to the common room with her.
The Quidditch team was happy to allow Ginny to watch their practices. Oliver made her an assistant of sorts. She helped schedule practices and came to every practice, just like a regular member of the team. Ginny was good at catching errors and figuring out ways to correct them. Sometimes after the regularly scheduled practices, the Chasers would invite Ginny to practice with them.
Hermione was busier than ever and Harry never saw her without a book in her hand. She had commandeered one of the tables in the corner of the common room and every night she was buried behind a stack of books. Harry had tried talking to her, but she just snapped at him if he tried. She rarely sat with anyone in classes anymore and both Harry and Ron were worried about her.
The week before Easter break, Harry returned from Arithmancy and found all of the third year Gryffindors talking about Hermione storming out of Divination. It was the talk of the common room.
“What happened?” Harry asked.
“You should have seen it, mate,” Ron laughed. “Trelawney was fluttering about, twittering about what we should be seeing in the crystal balls. Lavender and Parvati were eating it up, but the rest of us…I mean, I didn’t see anything in it. Trelawney claimed to see the grim again and mentioned you. That seemed to set Hermione off. She actually talked back to a teacher!”
“I know. Trelawney was really mad and said something about how Hermione wasn’t well suited for Divination and something about her being ‘mundane’. Hermione just yelled at her that she quit. She gathered up her things and stomped out of class.”
“Wow, I never would have thought Hermione would do that.”
“Wait. When was your class?”
“Just now,” Ron replied.
“But…she was just with me in Arithmancy. She disappeared like she’s been doing right after class, but she was in class the whole time,” Harry said as the pair made their way over to their favourite place in front of the fireplace.
Ron looked at him in confusion. “When is your Arithmancy class?”
“Tuesdays and Thursdays at nine in the morning.”
“That’s when we have Divination.”
“How can she be in two places at once?”
“I have no idea,” Ron said. “We need to talk to her.”
“I’ve tried,” Harry protested. “She always just snaps at me. Since Professor McGonagall talked to her, Hermione has been furious with me. I don’t know why. I wasn’t trying to make trouble for her or anything.”
“I’m worried about her,” Ron said looking around. For once Hermione wasn’t in the common room. “I bet she’s in the library.”
“I’m sure she is,” Harry agreed. “Do you want to go talk to her?”
Before they could decide on a course of action, Hermione slammed into the common room, obviously upset. She glared at the boys relaxing by the fire and hurried up to her dorm room.
“Maybe over the Easter break we can talk to her,” Ron said slouching back down in his chair.
“I’m not going to be here, mate,” Harry said. “Sirius asked me to come home for the break.”
“Lucky,” Ron said. “I wish I could have a break. Wouldn’t it be nice if Hermione and I could come with you?”
“And Ginny,” Harry added a bit crossly.
Ron waved his hand. “She’s fine. She’s making other friends now.”
Harry shook his head as Ron pulled out his homework. While Ron was better about including Ginny, it was clear he’d prefer not to have her around if he could avoid it.
Due to the lower number of students leaving for the break, Harry left from Professor McGonagall’s office Floo and arrived at the Leaky Cauldron in London. Stumbling, he arrived in the almost empty pub. Sirius was waiting for him with a big smile on his face.
“Sirius!” Harry was pulled into a strong embrace.
“I’m so glad to see you, kiddo!”
Blushing slightly, Harry smiled. “Me, too.” Looking around the pub, he asked, “Are we staying here in London?”
“No, we’re staying in Brighton. I thought we could take the Knight Bus there. We’re staying in a Muggle hotel.”
“Okay,” Harry said. “I’ve never been on a proper British seaside holiday.”
“My mum took me and my brother there when we were kids. We had the best time. My mum hated it, but we loved it. I think you will as well.”
Grabbing his bag from the table where he’d dropped it, Sirius guided Harry out to the street. With a wave of his wand, he hailed the Knight Bus. It only took them only thirty minutes to arrive at the hotel in Brighton.
Sirius had chosen a boutique style hotel that had themed rooms. The room he’d chosen had an art deco theme with a view of the water. The hotel was a lot of fun and Sirius snuck Hadrian in with them — hidden from the Muggles of course. They had fun walking Hadrian along the beach. Using a wand made cleaning up after the puppy much easier than it was for the Muggles.
On their first full day in Brighton, Sirius snapped Hadrian’s collar and leash on the puppy along with a charm so the Muggles wouldn’t notice him. Together they all headed down to the Brighton Pier. Sirius paid for two wristbands so they could ride the rides.
Harry’s eyes lit up when he saw everything the pier had to offer. “This looks brilliant!”
“I thought you would like it,” Sirius laughed. “Those rides look like a lot of fun.”
Laughing, Harry pulled Sirius towards the queue for one of the roller coasters. The two watched the coaster as they waited. It was great fun watching the puppy react to everything going on around him and no one noticing him.
“How do they do that without magic?” Sirius whispered.
“I have no idea,” Harry replied as another car went careening down the hill. People were screaming and holding their hands in the air. “I can’t wait.”
The thrill rides turned out to be their favourite rides. They rode them over and over while Hadrian waited below barking and wagging his tail. Sirius secured him with his leash and an extra sticking charm. He continued the charms so the dog wasn’t noticed by the Muggles.
After spending several hours riding the rides, they walked around to see what else they could find. They decided to walk down to the beach which Hadrian much appreciated.
“Are you hungry, kiddo?” Sirius asked as he waited for Hadrian to relieve himself. Harry looked around while Sirius discretely Vanished Hadrian’s mess.
“How about some fish and chips? We are at the beach so it seems like the thing to eat. It smells really good.”
“Excellent,” Sirius replied. Soon they were eating while leaning against the railings looking out over the water. Hadrian was eating the sausage that Sirius had purchased for him. Harry was updating Sirius on everything that had happened since Christmas.
“How could Hermione be in two classes at one time?”
Sirius frowned. “There are some duplicating charms, but they wouldn’t work for the entire year. The only way that makes sense is a Time-Turner. That’s an hour reversal device that can send you back up to five or six hours in time — I don’t know what advances may have been made in the past decade. I can’t imagine why they would allow a teenager to have one. Messing with time is never a good thing.”
“So she could go back and redo an hour and go to two or even three classes that are at the same time?”
Sirius nodded. “If she was really taking all of the classes, she would have needed something like that. I don’t know why they would let her do that. I guess that’s why she didn’t like you taking Arithmancy because she didn’t want you to figure out what was going on.”
Harry’s eyes widened. “That’s why Professor McGonagall made her drop Muggle Studies.”
“She shouldn’t need to take that,” Sirius laughed. “I’m certain it is several decades behind the time. That’s what Lily told me. One of her roommates took the class and Lily thought it was ridiculous. I can’t imagine it’s improved much over the years.”
“Ron’s going to try to talk to her over the break,” Harry said.
“She’s still not talking to you?”
Harry shook his head. “I’ve tried to apologize, but she won’t listen. I never meant to make trouble for her.”
Sirius frowned. “You didn’t do anything wrong. She shouldn’t have been trying to make you drop Arithmancy. I imagine she’s simply overwhelmed. Even with a Time-Turner, I can’t imagine she has enough time for everything.”
Glancing over at the younger wizard, he asked, “How are things with Ginny?”
Harry smiled. “Good. We had a great time flying together. She’s really good. She wants to be a professional Quidditch player when she grows up — I think she could be. When she was working with the elves, she got to know them really well and they prepared a picnic lunch for us. We went back to the place you showed us. It was great.”
“So did you ask her to be your girlfriend?”
Blushing, Harry couldn’t help but smile. “I did. She said yes.”
Sirius cheered for him. Harry had been writing to him about Ginny all term and he’d encouraged Harry to ask her out. Harry had enough things in his life that weren’t normal, so Sirius really wanted him to have a fun, normal Hogwarts experience.
Gesturing towards the games, Sirius asked, “Do you want to try to win her something?”
Fifteen minutes later, Harry found himself the proud owner of a stuffed dolphin. Not wanting Ron to feel left out, he won a funny looking stuffed green alien for him and after thinking it over he won a small teddy bear for Hermione. He didn’t think she would be impressed, but hopefully she would appreciate the thought.
They wandered through the arcade, but he wasn't that interested in the arcade games. That was probably a good thing because when he and Sirius walked through, some of the machines started malfunctioning. "Dudley always used to talk about these games," Harry said dismissively explaining his disinterest. "Anything he liked can't be that much fun."
After buying a bag of hot doughnuts, Harry said, “I want to ride the carousel. I know if won’t be exciting, but I always wanted to ride one.”
Mounting their horses, Sirius said, “You’ve actually ridden a carousel before.”
“Before your parents went into hiding, we took you to the zoo in London one time. They had a carousel and we all rode it. I’m pretty sure Remus took pictures. Lily rode with you. It was a lot of fun.”
“I wonder if he still has the pictures,” Harry said as the music started.
“Probably,” Sirius replied. “Ask him when you are back at school.”
The rest of the week was as fun as the first day. They took a kayaking class and went kayaking in the sea. One day Sirius rented bicycles and they rode around the town. Harry had learned to ride a bicycle the previous summer and he was happy to have another chance to do it. Bikes were a great way to explore the town. Hadrian ran alongside them until he became tired, than Sirius conjured a basket for the puppy to ride in.
Harry even managed to fit in some studying. He felt fairly confident about his exams. Over the past few months, he’d become more proficient at Transfiguration. Even after he managed to perform the Patronus, he continued to meet with Professor McGonagall from time to time. After hearing that his father was gifted in Transfiguration, he’d asked for extra help. He particularly enjoyed Ancient Runes. Sirius made a game of it and gave Harry a new puzzle in runes to solve each morning and reviewed it with him at night.
Neither of them noticed they were being observed during their week. As they were staying in a Muggle establishment, they didn’t see any copies of the Daily Prophet with pictures from their holiday. At Albus Dumbledore’s request, his brother Abe spent the week in Brighton just in case he was needed.
Ron determinedly made his way to the table in the back of the library. As he’d expected, the table was overflowing with books. He really didn’t understand why Hermione studied so hard, she was very clever and knew most of the information even before class. Why did she study so much harder than the rest of them? Percy said that she might be studying because she didn’t have a lot of friends and Ron reckoned that he probably knew what he was talking about.
She looked up, startled to see someone. Ron was glad to notice that she didn’t look as haggard and tired as she had a few weeks ago.
“Are you okay? Harry and I have been worried about you.”
She scoffed. “That’s why he’s here with you?”
“Give him a break Hermione. He’s not even here right now.”
“I noticed he’s goofing off with his godfather. They’ve had their picture in the paper enough this week. I can’t believe he left for the week, he should have stayed here to prepare for his exams.”
Ron shrugged. “He looks like he’s having fun. Besides, he’s doing really well in his classes.” He watched her for a minute. “Why are you so mad at him? I know he’s tried to apologize to you.”
“He almost got me kicked out of Arithmancy! Why did he have to go complaining? I’ve been working really hard all year and he almost ruined it for me.”
“He didn’t do it on purpose. Professor McGonagall asked him how Arithmancy was going and he answered. He didn’t realize she was going to say something to you.”
Hermione glared at him for a minute before she sighed. “I just hate that we’ve been at odds most of the year. He doesn’t seem like he wants to be friends with us anymore.”
“Of course he does,” Ron protested. “If he didn’t why would he keep apologizing?”
When she didn’t say anything, Ron added, “He misses you. He told me that the other day.”
“I miss both of you,” she admitted. To Ron’s horror, he could see tears in her eyes. She quickly wiped them away. “I’m sorry I’ve been so horrible. I…I’ve been so stressed with all of my classes and I don’t think I’ve handled it the way I should have.”
“How have you been getting to all of your classes?” Ron burst out. “Harry and I figured out that you’ve been in Arithmancy and Divination at the same time.”
Shaking her head, she said, “I’m sorry. I’m not supposed to tell anyone.”
Disappointed, but entirely surprised Ron said, “Do you want to go get some lunch?”
With a watery laugh, Hermione agreed.
“What do you think?” Sirius asked.
Harry looked around in amazement. “This is for us?”
Sirius nodded. “We are only about twenty miles from Godric’s Hollow and we aren’t that far from Devon either.”
“This place is huge!”
Sirius laughed. “It is an old wizarding estate. The estate agent told me it was originally built in the 1650s. Over the past several years the house has been extensively remodelled and the grounds have been rehabilitated. There are six bedrooms and eight bathrooms. We have our pick of rooms. Do you want to see?”
The stately manor home had ivy growing up the walls with a multitude of windows and a bowed window overlooking the large ten acre park. Sirius led Harry into the large, refurbished reception hall with a grand staircase leading up to the first floor. They explored the ground floor. There was a large kitchen with breakfast room as well as a formal dining room, all of which overlooked the grounds. A drawing room with large French doors that opened out onto a patio was next to the library.
Upstairs, Sirius showed him the large master bedroom which had an ensuite as well as a large walk-in wardrobe. The room he’d chosen for Harry was almost as large and had its own bathroom.
“I thought you could use this room for a sitting room or someplace to entertain your friends. There are plenty of rooms if you want someone to come over and spend some time here.”
“This is brilliant,” Harry said is amazement. Looking out of his bedroom window, he caught sight of something down the hill. “What is that?”
Sirius laughed. “There is a pool as well as a Quidditch pitch. Actually there is a stable as well, but I don’t know how to ride a horse so it’s empty. All of the latest wizarding gadgets have been incorporated. We can receive the WWN in any room in the house. The cold cupboards are huge and there is an additional cold cupboard out in the pool house.”
“We can afford a house this big?”
“Yes, we can,” Sirius laughed. “This is about how big your grandparent’s house was. After they died, your father sold the old manor home. He and your mum had moved into their cottage and they loved it there.”
Hadrian was running around following them. He was barking happily as he explored the new house.
Harry smiled. This was a home — better than Hogwarts or the Burrow, this was a home that was purchased with him in mind. “We can make it safe?”
“I’ve already contacted the goblins,” he explained. “Gringotts provides amazing wards to those who can pay for them and we can pay for them. They are better than the wards my father had. For now we will have Muggle-Repelling Charms on them, but hopefully sometime in the future we will be able to get rid of them. I’ve started furnishing it and I’m hoping by the time we are able to use it this summer it will be all ready for us.”
“Are you sure you want to do this?” Sirius asked.
Harry nodded. Taking a deep breath, Sirius led the way into town. It was a warm spring day and there were children playing in a playpark. Spring daffodils and tulips could be seen in the flower gardens as they passed neat little cottages. Unlike Little Whinging where every house seemed to be the same, these cottages varied in look and colours.
“It’s really nice here,” Harry commented as they turned onto High Street. The pub on the corner seemed to be busy and several shops were open. Harry stopped in front of a shop that had a large Easter display with all sorts of chocolate eggs, chocolate bunnies, and all sorts of sweets.
Looking over at his godfather, Harry said, “I bet they had an Easter egg hunt here. It looks like the sort of town that would do that. Aunt Petunia never allowed coloured eggs in her house. She would go overboard and buy Dudley this huge basket with treats, but no coloured
“My mum wasn’t one for colouring eggs either. One year Lily organized an Easter egg hunt at Hogwarts. She talked the elves into providing the boiled eggs and colours. We had a great time.” Sirius shook his head. “I’d forgotten all about that.”
As they walked down the street, Harry could see the church at one end of the town square. He could tell it was an old church and he swallowed when he saw the graveyard stretched out behind it. Crossing the town square, Harry gasped when the war memorial changed to a statue of his parents holding him as a baby. His mother was sitting down holding him, while his father was standing over them.
Harry stared in fascination at this representation of him without his infamous scar. His mother was so pretty. A stifled sob next to him made him turn and look at his godfather. The pain on Sirius’ face was hard to see. Harry reached out and pulled the wizard into a hug. He could feel Sirius’ shoulders shake and Harry felt tears burning in his eyes.
He missed his parents in an abstract sort of way, but he’d never known them. Sirius had known and loved his parents. Harry realized how much Sirius missed them, but this really brought it home to him.
After a few minutes, Sirius pulled away. “I’m sorry, kiddo. I didn’t mean to fall apart. I always loved that picture and I didn’t realize they’d done this.”
“It’s a bit strange to see yourself in a statue,” Harry said as he gazed up.
“I can imagine. You look good, kiddo. You were always an adorable baby. I think you took after me. Your father had this crazy idea that you looked like him, but I think you’re more like me.”
Harry laughed. With a wink, Sirius slung his arm over Harry’s shoulder and led the way to the graveyard. Harry could tell right away it was an older graveyard. The pair made their way through the tombstones, stopping to read a few. Harry spotted an Abbott and wondered if they were related to his classmate, Hannah. Sirius pointed out the graves of Dumbledore’s mother and sister.
“I didn’t realize Dumbledore was from Godric’s Hollow.”
Sirius nodded. His eyes lit on a very old grave that was very worn away. “This is one of your ancestors — his name is Ignotus Peverell. I don’t remember much about him, but James always stopped by this grave.”
They continued on looking for his parents’ grave. It was Sirius who found them.
The tombstone was bright white with his parents’ names and dates. Sirius felt to his knees in front of James’ name. Harry couldn’t tear his gaze from his mother’s name. The unfairness of it all washed over him. This was the closest he could ever remember being to his parents. He didn’t even try to stop the tears he could feel falling down his face.
He could hear Sirius talking to his father. Could he talk to them too? Quietly at first, he started talking to his mother. Telling her how much he missed her. He told her all about getting to know Sirius and how wonderful this year had been. Falling silent, he sat cross legged next to the gravesite. With a shaking hand he reached out and traced his mother’s name.
“I think we should leave them some flowers, don’t you?”
Harry looked up startled; he hadn’t noticed Sirius standing up. Taking his hand, he stood. “Okay, what kind?”
“What are your favourite kind of flowers?”
Harry shrugged. “I like cheerful, colourful flowers like tulips.”
With a wave of his wand, Sirius conjured up a basket of brightly coloured tulips. Harry smiled. Waving his wand again, Sirius conjured up a bouquet of white lilies. “Your mum always liked lilies.”
Leaving the graveyard behind, Sirius steered him back towards the pub. “I hope you don’t mind, but I don’t think I’m up to seeing your former house today.”
“I don’t know if I am either,” Harry admitted. “Is much left?”
Sirius nodded. “Most of the house is fine. Your nursery was in the back of the house and that blew up — I think the roof was blown off on that corner. This summer we can come back and see what is left of your parents’ house. We also need to visit your family vault. Most of their belongings would have been sent to their vault after their deaths.”
“I’d like that.”
Remus Lupin sighed as he looked at the pictures of Harry and Sirius on the front page of the paper. This year really wasn’t going at all how he’d planned. When Albus first approached him, he imagined slowly getting to know James’ and Lily’s son over the course of the year. He would reveal that he knew them and Harry would be thrilled to hear stories about his parents. Sirius’ escape changed all of that.
He still wasn’t sure how he felt about everything that happened. He’d spent over a decade furious with Sirius and mourning Peter along with James and Lily. Looking back, it didn’t make sense that Sirius would betray his best friend. Sirius would have died before betraying James and Remus should have known that.
While he’d never been able to come up with a reason for Sirius to betray James, he could definitely understand why Peter would. James and Sirius had bonded instantly on the train. They were closer than brothers. Slowly, they included the other two boys, but Remus knew that James didn’t view Remus or Peter as he did Sirius, the same with Sirius. James and Sirius were brothers in all but blood, the others were simply good friends.
James and Sirius were first born sons of wealthy pure-blood families. They didn’t want for anything. Remus’ family had endured being shunned after he’d been bitten, so money was always an issue. Peter was a half-blood whose pure-blood mother lived in a tiny house eking out a small existence after her Muggle husband left her. The two of them had bonded in a much different way than James and Sirius.
Peter had often seen himself as a lesser wizard than the others. Remus studied hard and managed to scrape together good grades, but Peter’s grades were mediocre at best. James and Sirius didn’t seem to try very hard and they were at the top of the class. They often didn’t realize what a struggle it was for Peter to keep up with them. It came so easily to them; they didn’t understand it wasn’t the same for everyone.
When Remus found out they were Animagi, he was most impressed with Peter. James was a natural at Transfiguration and Sirius wasn’t far behind. Peter had to put in a lot of hard work to keep up with the others, especially in their OWL year.
Remus knew how Peter felt slighted by Sirius at times. Sirius wasn’t always the most patient with Peter. If they hadn’t been roommates, Remus doubted they would have ever been friends. He’d tried to point out to Sirius that he needed to be kinder to Peter, but Sirius hadn’t paid him any attention. If he had, would things have turned out differently?
While he couldn’t see why Sirius would turn to Voldemort, he could understand Peter’s motivations or at least what he imagined his motivations to be. Peter was always looking for someone bigger and stronger to protect him. James and Sirius had shifted their focus to Lily and eventually Harry. Peter needed someone who would help him. So while Remus was angry that Peter would betray James and Lily, he also understood in a way. Could they have helped Peter?
Picking up the paper, he studied the picture of Sirius and Harry on the beach. They were laughing about something and at the end of the pictures Sirius wrapped his arm around Harry’s shoulders as they walked off. Remus felt that spark of jealousy he’d always worked to supress around Sirius. Things just came so easily to the man.
When Dumbledore approached him to teach this year, Remus had thought he might strike up a friendship with young Harry. Over the years he’d wondered how the boy was doing, but he’d felt satisfied that Harry was where he needed to be. It surprised him that Sirius assumed he’d try to obtain custody of Harry after James and Lily died. While Remus loved Harry, he wasn’t ready or willing to assume a parenting role. He much preferred the role of teacher or mentor. He’d hoped to spend time with Harry and develop a mentoring relationship with him. He’d share stories about Harry’s parents and Harry would be happy to know him.
Sirius wrecked those plans. When Harry had come to him at the beginning of the school year, Remus hadn’t been ready yet. It took a while to overcome a lifetime of pushing people away. He wanted to talk to the boy, but as soon as Harry mentioned his summer with Black he let his temper take over. He wished he’d taken the time to listen to the Harry. He’d missed out on that opportunity to know Harry better.
In the months since, Harry was cordial, but he didn’t seek to know Remus on a deeper level. He knew Harry had spent Christmas with Sirius and now Easter break as well. Obviously, Harry didn’t need Remus. Sirius had easily stepped into the parenting role. It made Remus feel a bit guilty. Should he have tried harder? Remus had taken Dumbledore at his word that Harry was better off at his relatives’ house. He hadn’t checked up on the boy because honestly, he was a child. There would be time to become better acquainted when the boy was older. Remus didn’t know how to interact with a toddler or school age child so he’d put the boy out of his mind. Sirius never had any doubts that he had a place in Harry’s life. He didn’t care that the boy had relatives to look after him.
It shamed him a bit to see Sirius’ actions. That is what James would have done for any of their children. Remus wondered again if he should try to form a relationship with Harry. Would Harry even care? Would he want a broken down werewolf when he had Sirius?
Wanting to escape his thoughts, he decided to head down to Hogsmeade for the day. He ran into Minerva in the Entrance Hall.
“Good morning, Remus.”
“Good morning, Minerva. I’m going into town for a few hours. Do you need anything?”
She smiled. “No thank you. Have a good time.”
Nodding, Remus headed to the gate and was soon on his way to the village. He’d always loved Hogsmeade. It reminded him of his youth. Hogwarts really was the best time of his life and he missed it desperately.
Arriving in the village, he wandered around recalling the escapades of the past. He wandered down High Street looking in windows. Stopping at Scrivenshaft’s Quill Shop, he picked up a new black quill and some ink. He walked through Zonko’s Joke Shop, admiring some of their newer items. Whilst he might not look the part, he definitely enjoyed the pranks they’d played at school. He spent quite a bit of time wandering around the new bookshop, The Book Worm, and made several purchases. It was nice having disposable income for once.
He decided to wander over by the Shrieking Shack. It looked much different from the outside. The Wolfsbane Potion was amazing; he could now turn into a wolf and simply stay in his office no threat to anyone. He wished that option had been around when he was a boy. How would it have changed his relationship with his friends? Without the bonding experience of becoming Animagi and running with Moony, would their friendship have been the same?
Remus was so caught up in his thoughts of the past that he didn’t hear the almost silent footfalls behind him.
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