|SIYE Time:20:41 on 24th July 2017|
A Little Bit of Hope
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Category: Post-Hogwarts, Post-DH/AB
Characters:Albus Dumbledore, Harry/Ginny, James Potter, Lily Potter, Remus Lupin, Sirius Black
Genres: Angst, Drama, Fluff, General
Story is Complete
Summary: At the height of the first wizarding war, Albus Dumbledore seeks out a mythical artefact to help bring hope to those he believes will be affected by the prophecy.
Hitcount: Story Total: 3106; Chapter Total: 393
Thank you for the great response to this story.
This chapter is quite a long one and the next two will be around the same length as well. I also do not deal with the return to their own time as you will get to see the affect their trips have on them in the final chapter.
Thank you to Arnel for her help with editing.
May 1st 1996…
Number Twelve, Grimmauld Place was quiet, too quiet. The only occupants of the house were currently sitting in the kitchen, drinking coffee in silence. Neither had anything to do, nor had anywhere else they could go. Sirius Black, considered to be a much-wanted escaped convict by the Ministry for crimes he had not committed, was confined to his childhood home for his own safety. Remus Lupin, on the other hand, had chosen to remain at the house, through his own choice, as the next full moon was due in just two days’ time.
The silence of the dark house was disturbed as a flash of flames suddenly appeared out of nowhere before it cleared to reveal a familiar, magnificent phoenix on the kitchen table.
“Fawkes?” Remus whispered in awe of seeing the bird.
“Ah, it seems our esteemed Headmaster would like to meet with us as soon as possible,” Sirius said, making Remus pull his gaze from the phoenix to his best friend, who held a short letter in his hand. “He has asked Fawkes to take us directly to him.”
“Does he say why he wants to meet with us?” Remus asked, wondering why they, one of whom was restricted to the house, had to go to him, especially when the Headmaster would usually come directly to them.
“I have no idea, Moony,” Sirius replied with a wide, mischievous grin on his face. “All I know is that I am getting to break free of this place, even if it is just for a few hours.”
Remus shook his head in amusement at his oldest friend’s excitement over being able to escape the house he hated so much, even despite the fact they did not know where they would be going.
“Well, then, there’s no point in hanging around,” Sirius said, clapping his hands together. “If you are ready, Remus, let’s get going!”
Fawkes, recognising the man’s eagerness to leave, flew up into the air above the two men and held his tail within reaching distance for them. As soon as they had both grabbed his tail, the phoenix immediately flamed out of Grimmauld Place and into the last place either man had expected to find themselves.
“Good morning, gentlemen,” a voice came from behind them as soon as the phoenix had safely delivered them and flamed away.
The two men turned to see Professor Dumbledore ensconced behind his desk with an amused look on his face. It was only then that it dawned on Sirius and Remus that they were in the Headmaster’s Office at Hogwarts, the last place any one of them should be.
“Do not fear,” Dumbledore said before they could question why they had met here of all places. “Hogwarts, being the wonderful and mysterious castle that it is, has locked the office, making it inaccessible to all people within the school. Madam Umbridge, herself, has not even been able to gain access, despite proclaiming herself to be the new Headmistress. You have been granted access as Fawkes has brought you directly here on my request. Please, take a seat, we have much to discuss.”
Both men visibly relaxed and took a seat in front of desk as requested.
“As to why I have asked you to meet me here,” Dumbledore continued, “I have a special mission for the pair of you to complete.”
“I accept,” Sirius eagerly responded. “I don’t care what it is. It can be anything you wish if it gets me out of that blasted house for a few hours.”
Dumbledore chuckled at the man’s eagerness, not that he could blame him for it.
“Sirius, you should always wait to hear what it is he asking us to do before accepting,” Remus said with a stern voice.
“Trust me, Remus, I have no doubts about what either of your answers shall be once I have explained what the mission is,” the Headmaster calmly told them with a knowing look. “Tell me, gentlemen, what can you tell me about The Hopeful Heart?”
Both men’s jaws dropped in shock. Considering their backgrounds, Dumbledore was not surprised they had knew about the myth of the powerful relic.
“You have it in your possession,” Sirius said in awe, knowing his former professor would not ask unless he had confirmed its existence.
“But… but, it is just a myth,” Remus said in disbelief as the Headmaster nodded in confirmation to Sirius’ statement.
“And yet, as you know, many myths are truly a twisted version of the truth,” Dumbledore replied with a twinkle in his eye. “Well, as both of you have heard of it, as I had hoped you would, this will save me time in explaining what it is and what it is capable of.”
“Have you taken the opportunity to use it yourself?” Remus asked, feeling nervous at the prospect of being given an amazing opportunity to discover the future, even if he knew he would not remember it on his return.
“No, I have not, Remus,” Dumbledore replied with a chuckle. “But, then again, even if I had, I would not remember doing so.”
Remus and Sirius laughed at the Headmaster’s response.
“So, why us?” Sirius asked. “Why not Harry?”
“Because, besides Miss Granger and Mr Weasley, you two are probably the closest to Harry and with what lies ahead for him, those who are closest to him will need, I feel, a boost in morale and in hope for a peaceful future for our world and most specifically for Harry,” Dumbledore explained. “I cannot send Miss Granger and Mr Weasley in the current climate as it would raise suspicion with many people, including Harry himself. As for Harry, I do intend for him to use it, but, only when the time is right. Therefore, the obvious choice would be yourselves.”
Sirius eyed the Headmaster with suspicion. Something about what he had just told them sounded awfully familiar to the escaped convict. Then, it suddenly clicked into place as he remembered a twenty-four-hour period in which he had spent caring for Harry while Lily and James took some time for themselves, just weeks before Harry’s first birthday.
“James and Lily used it, didn’t they?” Sirius exclaimed. “I remember now. They had told me they needed to spend some time together, just the two of them. They said something about a decision they needed to make about whether they should go into hiding sooner rather than later. I remember when they returned home, they seemed different somehow. I never figured what it was as whenever I decided to ask them, I would always forget when I saw them.”
“They were more hopeful,” Remus quietly concluded. “The hope they found in the future must have been the deciding factor for them to choose to hide under the Fidelius when the time came to do so.”
Dumbledore smiled, happy that the two men had figured out the connection.
“Not that it did them much good,” Sirius said solemnly.
“Ah, but you must remember, Sirius, that whatever it is they saw in the future was the world they wished and hoped for,” the Headmaster reminded the Animagus. “James and Lily were already leaning towards going into hiding when I made them the offer. The hope they returned with was enough for them to firmly decide it was the right choice for them when the time came.”
Sirius bowed his head as he digested what he had been told about his best friend and his wife. They had obviously seen something to suggest Harry survived and led a happy life, something he knew he wanted for his godson as well. He realised James and Lily would have discovered they had died, but, he knew that did not matter to them if Harry had lived. Like them, he did not care if he did not survive the war as all he wanted was for Harry to live and be happy.
“So, when do we do this, then?” Sirius asked once he came to a decision.
“I believe now would be as good a time as any,” the Headmaster replied as he pulled a package from a drawer and placed it on his desk. He carefully explained how the relic worked to the two men, letting them know the same details as his brother had told him when he had received the package. “I advise that you travel to 2010. It is far enough into the future to believe the war should be over and it is, also, the same year James and Lily visited. However, you will arrive two months earlier than they did, so you should not expect a reunion with your old friends. As I shall be writing a letter to explain this, the current Head of the school should be expecting you. I am also hoping Harry will be there to meet you as well.”
“Let’s do this, then,” Sirius said, clapping his hands together.
Following Dumbledore’s instructions, the two men stood in a clear space before Sirius wrapped the long chain around both their necks, allowing the Heart to fall gently between them. They both, then, placed a finger on to the thick, gold ring as Remus placed the tip of his wand to the ruby heart.
“Good luck, gentlemen,” Dumbledore said from the comfort of his chair. “I shall see you in twenty-four hours.
“2010,” Remus clearly and confidently stated as both men hoped for a future that was peaceful in which Harry had found happiness.
For a moment, nothing appeared to happen until, suddenly, the men’s fingers felt like they were glued to the ring and they felt a wind whip up around them. Then, they both felt a tug from their naval, like the effect of a Portkey. A second later, they were pulled away.
May 1st 2010…
The legendary Time-Turner dumped the two men in a heap on the floor of the same room they had just left barely a minute before. Neither were completely certain it had worked for the moment, despite knowing they had been pulled away from they had been stood.
“Good morning, gentlemen,” a familiar voice came from above them.
The two time travellers looked up to see their former Transfiguration professor standing above them.
“Professor McGonagall?” Sirius said in shock at seeing her in the Head’s office. “You’re the Head of the school?”
“Indeed, I am,” she replied as she returned to her seat behind her desk. “If you could, please untangle yourselves and take a seat, I would like to fill you in on some basic knowledge before Mr Potter arrives.”
Sirius and Remus did as they requested, taking the same seats they had been sat in just a few minutes before, but with a different head teacher. Remus carefully removed the chain from both of their necks as they did so, placing the Time-Turner into his pocket for safekeeping.
Minerva looked at her two former students, wishing she had not been tasked with informing them with a basic knowledge of the past fourteen years. She had agreed with Harry, though, that the news would be better coming from her as neither was sure how Harry would react when he came face to face with them.
“I am going to start with the bad news,” Minerva began. “I am sorry to tell you that you both died during the war.”
Both men remained quiet as they processed the news of their deaths. Neither seemed shocked, though, still a little surprised. The silence was broken, however, when Sirius began laughing.
Remus and Minerva both shot the laughing man incredulous looks. Neither could understand what could possibly funny about being told he had died.
“Seriously? Are either of you really that surprised?” Sirius asked them when he had finally calmed down. “I’m locked up in a house that I hate, so my guess is that I broke out because Harry was in trouble and I was determined to be there to protect him.”
Minerva could only nod to confirm the man’s suspicions.
“Is there anything else we should know?” Sirius asked the Headmistress, feeling content in the knowledge he would die protecting his beloved godson.
“Obviously,” Professor McGonagall confirmed. “The war itself lasted just two more years from the year from which you have travelled. Unfortunately, it meant we suffered many losses, including Professor Dumbledore himself. Harry finally defeated Voldemort at the Battle of Hogwarts on the Second of May 1998, the same day and battle in which you died, Remus.”
Both wizards dropped their jaws in shock as they both quickly realised the significance of the date they had travelled to.
“That means…” Remus started, but was unable to finish.
“The anniversary of the Battle of Hogwarts and the final fall of Voldemort is, indeed, tomorrow,” Minerva confirmed. “A day which, I’m afraid to say, has never been easy for Harry.”
Neither man knew how to respond to such a revelation. They could not, however, blame Dumbledore for sending them on the day that he had as they knew he could not have possibly known what this day would have meant in the future.
“If it helps,” Professor McGonagall spoke in the hopes of easing their worries, “Harry has always spent this day at home with the ones he loves most, his family. He says it helps him to remember what he fought for and that it helps him to avoid falling into a depression as he has done in the past.”
“He has his own family?” Sirius asked in hope and awe.
Professor McGonagall smiled as she thought of the family Harry had created for himself. “He does indeed, but, I shall allow him the honour of telling you about them.”
As if on cue, the Floo flared to life and an older, dark-haired wizard stepped out and into the office. The man froze in place as he eyes fell upon the two wizards he had not seen in over ten years.
Harry stood still as he drank in the sight of the two men he had missed desperately over the years. It didn’t matter that he had known they were coming, it was still a shock to his system to see them here, alive and in the flesh.
“Sirius, Remus,” Harry breathed out in awe.
Hearing Harry speak their names was enough to make the two Marauders leave their seats and engulf the wizard in a huge hug. When they pulled apart from one another, smiles could be seen on all three of their faces.
“Hello, Minerva,” Harry said, finally greeting the Headmistress as the men all took seats. “Have you filled them in on what we discussed?”
“The basics, just as we agreed,” she confirmed. “We were just talking about you and your family as you arrived actually. However, I refused to give them any details as I believe that is your right more than mine.”
Harry nodded, having expected this. He turned to his godfather and friend and smiled happily at them.
“I promise I will fill you in with more details about my family and the war once we head back to my house,”
Harry explained to them. “However, before we leave, there is something I need to tell you. The only problem
is I suspect I may meet some resistance to the news.”
“Whomever it is you have married, Harry, I am certain we shall approve of them,” Sirius jokingly said.
Harry flashed his godfather a grin, knowing full well that the two men would approve of his choice in bride. “Oh, I am not worried. I am absolutely certain you will love my wife.”
“Do you have children?” Sirius asked. “I am sure, if you do, they are all troublemakers just like their father is.”
“I do have children, three, in fact,” Harry confirmed. “Plus, one godson, Teddy.”
Remus was about to ask who Teddy’s father was, but the look on Harry’s face stopped him. The wizard was looking directly at the werewolf as though he was trying to convey a message to him.
“No… that’s not… why would… no,” Remus stuttered, unable to form a coherent sentence as the realisation washed over him that he was Teddy’s father.
“He’s not a werewolf,” Harry said soothingly, knowing that this had been Remus’ biggest fear when he had discovered Tonks was pregnant. “He is much more like his mother, though he does get a little grumpy during
the full moon.”
Sirius’ face split into a huge grin in elation for his friend. “You’re a father! Congratulations, Moony!”
“Who is the mother? Did she survive the war?” Remus asked as he ignored his excitable mutt of a friend.
Harry’s face dropped in response to the second question.
“He’s an orphan?” Remus said in horror. “He’s been left with no parents just like you were.”
“Yes,” Minerva replied on behalf of Harry. “However, he is being raised by his grandmother, Harry and his wife. He is well cared for, very much loved and he knows the reasons for why you both died. He has become a wonderful, well-adjusted young man.”
Remus tried to speak, but his thoughts were jumbled to the point that he wasn’t sure about what he wanted to say or even ask. Sirius, on seeing his friend’s struggle, spoke up.
“Why don’t you tell us a little bit more about Teddy?”
Harry smiled at the thought of his beloved godson he’d had the pleasure of helping to raise. “His birthday was a couple of weeks ago, he turned twelve.”
Remus’ eyes widened as he quickly calculated that Teddy would have only been a few weeks old when his parents died.
“I can see you have realised Teddy was only a few weeks old when you and his mother died in the battle,” Harry said on spotting Remus’ reaction. “You need understand, though, his presence in our lives was one of the reasons many of us could begin to move past the grief and move forward. He never failed to bring a smile to anyone’s face in the aftermath of the battle. When his grandmother and I felt he was ready to be told what had happened to you and his mother, he dealt with it incredibly well and was proud that you were his parents.”
Remus smiled, knowing Harry probably had a lot to do with how well Teddy had taken the news of why his parents had died, having been through it himself.
“He started Hogwarts this past September,” Harry continued. “He was sorted into Hufflepuff and is a Metamorphmagus, just like his mother was.”
“So, she wears him down, then?” Sirius asked with a knowing smile on his face.
“Obviously,” Minerva remarked with an uncharacteristic smirk.
“Will… will I get to meet him while I am here?” Remus asked nervously while ignoring the comments of the identity of Teddy’s mother. He needed to meet this boy, his son, despite the shock of discovering he had become a father. He would have no memory of his parents and if he could give Teddy just a few, then, he had to meet him, even at the expense of not remembering him on his return to his own time.
“I was truly hoping you would say that,” Harry replied, relieved the news of Teddy had gone over better than he had expected. “I think we should, therefore, head home. Lunch should be ready soon and I doubt my wife or the children will be happy if we delay them from eating for too long.”
“Of course, Harry,” Minerva responded with a look of understanding. “Please, say hello to your wife and children for me.”
“It was good to see you, Sirius, Remus. I shall see you tomorrow morning. Please, do not be late.”
The three wizards made their goodbyes to the headmistress and headed for the Floo. Following Harry’s instructions, they too the Floo to Potter Cottage.
“Honey, we’re back,” Harry called as he exited the Floo into his house. Just seconds later, Remus, then, Sirius followed.
The two older wizards looked round at the well-kept home in awe. Neither could keep the smiles from their faces at seeing the sheer number of photos hung on the walls of Harry’s home.
“Oh, good, the kids are hungry and getting impatient about having to wait,” a familiar voice said as a red-head walked into the living room where the Floo was located.
“Little Ginny Weasley,” Sirius said in amusement as he turned to look at his godson. “You married Ginny Weasley!”
“I believe you know that it is Potter, now,” Ginny laughed as she came over and gave the Animagus a hug. “It is so good to see you!”
Harry watched with a smile as his godfather and Ginny exchanged greetings before she turned to Remus to hug him as well. In the corner of his eyes, he saw a flash of blue, causing him to turn and see his godson, carrying his daughter, with his two sons standing just behind him. He smiled at them as he waved them to come into the living room.
“I have some people I would like you to meet,” Harry announced.
Ginny walked over to Teddy, took Lily out of his arms and encouraged him to move towards Harry.
“This, here, Remus,” Harry said as he placed a gentle, comforting hand on his godson’s shoulder, “is my godson, your son, Teddy Remus Lupin.”
Teddy looked up at his godfather, seeking reassurance, to which he received a nod of encouragement.
“Dad?” Teddy whispered cautiously.
Remus could only stare at the twelve-year-old who was calling him Dad. His eyes widened slightly as the young boy shifted the colour of his hair from blue to light brown, the same colour as his hair. It amazed him that he was here, in the future, meeting the son he would never get to see grow up, especially as he thought he would never experience becoming a father. In his eyes, Teddy was perfect. He nervously and awkwardly opened his arms as an invitation to the boy, causing Teddy to break out into a huge smile and run directly into his arms. The father and son held onto each other tightly as they revelled in this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.
The adults in the room watched as the father and son had an emotional meeting, that was until Sirius had his attention drawn away by someone tugging on his hand. He looked down to see a young boy who was the spitting image of his long dead best friend.
“I don’t know you,” the boy stated bluntly.
Sirius let out a bark of laughter to the comment before bending down until he was eye level with the boy.
“Well, I don’t know who you are either,” Sirius politely replied with a kind smile, despite knowing this was Harry’s eldest child. He knew, from having noticed the variety of photos around the room, there was bound to a photo or two of himself in the house, but he suspected the boy was too young to know who he truly was. Either that, or he did not remember Harry telling him about his godfather. “Well, how about you tell me your name and I’ll tell you mine?”
The boy seemed to carefully scrutinise the older man before breaking out into a cheeky smile. “I’m James!”
“I’m Sirius,” the Animagus replied, not at all surprised that Harry and Ginny had chosen to name him after Harry’s father.
James’ eyes widened at hearing the name as he quickly looked back at his dad and then back at Sirius as though he was trying to figure out a puzzle. Sirius was unsure what to make of James’ reaction to him telling him his name. He figured that perhaps James had been told about him.
“My middle name is Sirius,” James proudly told his new friend. “Do you like pranks as well?”
“I do,” Sirius just about choked out in shock. He was astonished that his godson and his wife had named one of their children for him. He looked at the man in question to see him now holding his daughter as his other son hid shyly behind Harry’s legs.
“I couldn’t not name him for you, even Ginny agreed with me on that,” Harry whispered painfully. “You were the closest thing I had to a father and when you died, it nearly destroyed me.”
An emotional silence hung in the air between them for a split second.
“Can we have lunch now?” James whined.
Laughter rang out at the innocent comment, much to the confusion of the six-year-old.
“Come on, then, James,” Harry said as he began ushering everyone into the kitchen.
Ginny, who had gone ahead to the kitchen before James introduced himself to Sirius, was placing a mountain of food on the table as they arrived. Teddy led Remus to two chairs so they could sit next to one another, while James dragged Sirius into a chair next to him.
“This beautiful little girl is our Lily Luna,” Harry told the two older wizards as he passed his daughter over to her mum, so Ginny could securely place the two-year-old in her highchair. “We named her after Mum obviously and our good friend, Luna. You might remember teaching her, Remus.”
“Ah, yes, Miss Lovegood. Of course, I remember. She was a Ravenclaw, a year below you,” Remus confirmed.
“And, this little man is Albus Severus,” Harry proudly said as he picked up the shy four-year-old, who was the spitting image of his father.
“Severus?” Sirius choked out in shock.
Ginny shot the Animagus a reproving look before sternly responding, “You may have not gotten on with him, Sirius, in all honesty, no one appeared to get on with him. However, new information came to light towards the end of the war, during the final battle, that proved that he had always been on our side.”
Sirius and Remus exchanged a look of disbelief. Neither could help but wonder if this was the information that Albus so convinced that Snape was firmly on their side. If it was, both knew it had to be something big for Albus to refuse to reveal it to anyone and for Harry, especially, to accept it.
“Look, I know I hated him throughout school, but I do have my reasons for the choice of name,” Harry explained calmly. “Trust me, if Ginny had not agreed with my reasoning for the name, she would have refused me my request. I promise I will tell you both later about what it is that we found out as I do have some questions for you about what I discovered.”
Sirius looked as though he was going to question Harry and Ginny’s decision over the name, but another reproving look, this time from Remus, stopped him. He wasn’t stupid to not realise that much would have changed in the ten years or so since the war had ended, so he had to accept, therefore, that his godson’s reasons were strong and valid. Now, all he could do was push it to the back of his mind until Harry chose to bring back up the subject.
“Of course, Harry,” the Animagus finally responded. “We’ll do our best to answer any questions you have for us.”
The tension that had settled over the adults dissipated at Sirius’ words, allowing them and the children to relax and enjoy their lunch together. Conversation was quickly steered away from the heavier topics of the war, with them, instead, choosing to speak of the Marauders’ antics at Hogwarts and the married couple’s relationship and wedding.
By early evening, Harry had retreated to the kitchen to begin making the dinner. He had spent the afternoon in the garden, enjoying the company of Ginny, Sirius, Remus and the children. They had, again, avoided the heavier topics of the war and their deaths as Harry had wanted the two time travellers to spend plenty of time playing with and getting to know the four children they would never get to see grow up. He could see it was something the two men had appreciated as his three children had enjoyed chasing Sirius around in his dog form, while Teddy had taken the time to get know his father.
Harry had just begun preparing the vegetables when his godfather walked in from the sitting room, where the family had relocated when Harry had decided it was time to begin cooking.
“So, I must ask, whatever happened to Kreacher?” Sirius asked as he took a seat at the table.
“Well, considering I was the main beneficiary of your Will, I inherited him after you’d died,” Harry said, keeping his back to his godfather as he continued to peel the carrots by hand. “He was resistant to me becoming his master to begin with, but, then again, I didn’t want him to be my house-elf either. He was the one to betray us, the night you died. He was the reason we all ended up at the Ministry.”
Harry paused from what he was doing, so he could gain control of his emotions over his godfather’s death, something that still pained him even after fourteen years.
“TRAITOR!” Sirius spat in disgust. “I knew he would probably do something like that. I wanted to throw him
out when I returned to my childhood home, but Dumbledore forbade me from doing so.”
Harry spun around suddenly, his eyes flashing in anger at the statement. Sirius couldn’t help but shrink back slightly at the look on his godson’s face, one he had never seen before.
“I hated Kreacher for what he did to you, Sirius. I hated him for a long time,” Harry responded in a calm, low voice, despite the look of anger in his eyes. “However, it was the way you treated him which led to him choosing to betray you when he was given the chance to do so.”
Sirius went to protest, but Harry held a hand up to stop him.
“Leave it, Sirius,” Harry ordered. “He more than made up for his misdeed by helping me end the war.”
The Animagus stared at him in shock, disbelieving the idea that the wretched house-elf could have possibly been of any use to his godson or the war effort.
“On orders from your own brother, Regulus, he was forced to help Voldemort hide one of his Horcruxes,” Harry explained with a sigh, while also knowing he would have to explain about the Horcruxes later. “When your brother discovered what Voldemort had done to avoid death, he, with help from Kreacher, went to retrieve it, dying in the process. Kreacher could do nothing to save him, because he was under orders to return home and destroy the Horcrux. However, Kreacher was unable to destroy it, nothing he tried worked. It was not until we made the connection between your brother and a note he had left with a fake necklace that we discovered what had happened. He helped us track down the missing locket, he even fought in the final battle, leading the house-elves of Hogwarts.”
“My brother… he switched sides?” Sirius whispered painfully.
“Yes, he did,” Harry confirmed compassionately, understanding that this was a shock for his godfather. “I made sure his role in helping bring down Voldemort was made known to everyone. He deserved to be remembered for what he did and what he gave up in doing so.”
Harry turned away and went back to peeling the carrots, knowing Sirius needed a chance to process what he had been told and compose himself.
“What about Kreacher? Where is he now?” Sirius eventually asked.
“He passed away a few years ago, not long before we found out Ginny was pregnant with Albus,” Harry solemnly told his godfather, bowing his head in respect to his loyal and faithful house-elf. “He was a good house-elf in the end. He was loyal to me, took care of me in the months following the end of the war. He just needed to be listened to, he needed to be able to tell his story about Regulus and the locket.”
The two men lapsed into silence as their thoughts turned to the house-elf who had caused them so much grief during their short time together.
“I wish I could say I will treat him better when I return to my house,” Sirius eventually spoke with a slight hint of regret evident in his voice, “but I won’t even remember this time spent with you, let alone this
Harry dropped the carrots into the boiling water before he turned to face his godfather again.
“As much as I hate saying this, and trust me, I have said this a fair few times,” Harry responded, keeping his eyes firmly locked with those of Sirius, “but, I wouldn’t change a thing that happened.”
Sirius was unable to say a word, shocked that Harry could even say something like. He couldn’t understand why his godson would think like that when he knew he would give anything to have James and Lily back in his life, to have not spent twelve years in Azkaban and to have had more time with Harry.
“It doesn’t mean, though, that I don’t wish I could change things, because I do,” Harry quickly explained upon seeing the confused look on the Animagus’ face. “I would give up everything to have been able to grown up with Mum and Dad, with you, but at the same time, there is no guarantee that this would be my life now if anything had gone differently.”
“What do you mean?” Sirius asked, genuinely curious by the comment, though, slightly shocked by godson’s maturity and openness with him.
Harry ran a hand through his already messy hair as he thought about how he wanted to explain the reasons for his comments.
“After the final battle, I was not in a good place,” Harry finally admitted to his godfather. “I was pretty much the same way I had been immediately after the third task, though probably not as angry.”
Sirius nodded to confirm he did, indeed, remember. He couldn’t forget that night as the look on Harry’s face had remained stuck in his mind ever since. He had hated leaving Harry so soon after such a traumatic event, but he’d had no choice in the matter. The pleading look on his godson’s face when he had been about to leave had just about broken his heart at the time.
“Ginny helped me work through everything,” Harry continued with a soft smile on his face. “That’s not to say I moved past everything that happened straight away, that still took time. Even so, Ginny helped, despite her own issues she needed to work through. We helped each other, leaning on one another throughout the funerals and the nightmares. It was Percy, though, who ended up saying the one thing I truly needed to hear that ended up helping me to move forward in my life.”
“Percy?” Sirius choked out in disbelief. “The prat who broke his parents’ hearts and sided with the Ministry?”
“Yeah, that’s Percy,” Harry responded with a chuckle at Sirius’ choice of words. “He realised his mistake, but
it was hard for him to admit to it. He ended up reuniting with the Weasleys just before he fought alongside us in the final battle. He’s a good guy, he just lost his way for a while.”
The Animagus nodded in understanding. It made sense to him, it had happened to him.
“Anyway, it was about a month after the final battle when he asked me outright if there was anything I would have changed about my life, most specifically in regards to the war against Voldemort. I’m not going to lie, I did want to say yes immediately, but I couldn’t.”
“What stopped you?”
“The realisation that one, just one, difference might have meant his victory and not mine,” Harry bluntly stated. “It made me think about everything I had been through, everything I had done. I know I have made so many rash decisions in the past, Sirius, but in the end, in a way, they have paid off for me in the long run. Your death may have nearly destroyed me, but it also made me more determined to do what was expected of me and finish off Voldemort and end the war, even if it meant I died doing so. I honestly didn’t care if I survived the war at the point, I had nothing to live for, but I just knew I wanted to be the one to end it after everything and everyone I had lost to that monster.”
“Obviously, something changed for you,” Sirius said, though, he suspected it was more who than what. Something that was confirmed to him as he watched a dreamy smile spread across his godson’s face.
“Ginny changed everything for me. The few weeks we had together before Dumbledore died and the war escalated were, at that point, some of the happiest weeks I’d ever had in my life. She gave me a reason to want to live, to want to survive the war, all because she helped me see the possibilities open to me after the war. However, when Dumbledore died, I pushed her away, which I’ll admit was not the smartest move I’ve ever made. In the end, though, as much as I hated being away, it gave me the goal of surviving and coming back to her. Anyway, even with as many mistakes I have made, I wouldn’t change a thing as much I might I wish I could.”
Sirius looked at his godson in awe. He honestly could not fault Harry’s reasoning for knowing he would not change anything that had happened. He could only respect the answer Harry had given, rather than question his answer and his sanity. It did give him the hope he had so desperately needed to feel in recent months after watching a fifteen-year-old Harry struggle through so much in his life. It helped to see that, despite all the guilt and grief Harry would obviously suffer through in the coming years, he would find the happiness he thoroughly deserved.
“As much as I wish I didn’t die when you needed me the most,” Sirius eventually responded, “I am glad it gave you the strength you needed to accept the responsibility of ending the war. Minerva told me I will die protecting you and I must say, if I am going to die, then that is the way I want to go. So, if you are still holding onto any guilt in regards to my death, then, please, for me, let go of it.”
Harry could only stare at his godfather in amazement at how calm he was with the knowledge he would die and would do so not long after he returned. However, the very fact Sirius had died to protect him had never sat well with Harry, especially as he had run off to the Ministry under false pretences, which had led to Sirius and other members of the Order coming to his and his friends’ rescue. To now be asked to let go of the guilt by one of the many people whose deaths he had long felt responsible for was something he knew he would struggle to do, but would work hard at to accomplish.
“I’ll try,” Harry promised.
Sirius stood and went over to his godson, placing his hands onto Harry’s shoulders.
“That’s all I can ask for,” he simply stated as engulfed Harry in a hug. “I am so proud of you.”
Harry came into the dining room, carrying a bottle of Firewhisky and four glasses, to find the two time-travellers laughing. It made him stop and pause for a second as he took in the scene before him, something he had never imagined he would see again. It made him smile, thankful for the chance to spend this precious time with them, even if it was for the final time.
“The kids have all settled down for the night,” his wife said as she came up behind him. She stopped next to him, giving him a kiss on the cheek. “Are you okay?”
“I am fine, more than fine, actually,” he said honestly to his wife before he kissed her firmly on the lips, only to pull apart quickly as they received catcalls from the remaining two Marauders.
“I swear we are more mature than they are,” Harry whispered, causing Ginny to giggle as they headed over to the table and began filling the glasses with his chosen drink for the night.
“So, tell me, Harry,” Sirius spoke up once everyone had a glass of Firewhisky in front of them, “just why would you name your child after Snape?”
“Why didn’t either of you ever tell me that Severus and my mum were friends when they were children?” Harry countered, much to the Marauders’ surprise.
Sirius sighed and rubbed his eyes as he tried to formulate an acceptable answer for his godson.
“How did you find out about their friendship, Harry?” Remus asked before Sirius could attempt to reply.
Ginny reached out and took her husband’s hand in hers, knowing this was something he did not willingly speak about to anyone. Yes, the world knew what Snape had done and why he had done it, but Harry had refused to speak about it more than once at the time. He had, however, spent time with Ginny talking about it as he sorted out his feelings on the matter. She did know that this was something they would need to tell Sirius and Remus due to the long-held grudge between them and the former Potions Master.
“It was during the Battle of Hogwarts, the battle that ended the war,” Harry began to explain. “Myself, Hermione and Ron had gone to the Shrieking Shack, where I knew Voldemort to be, and when we arrived we saw him murder Snape. For some reason, once Voldemort had left, I approached him to help him, to save him, but there was nothing I could do for him. He gave me his memories, before bleeding out in front of me.”
Harry took a long sip of his drink to calm his nerves about what he was going to reveal to his father’s friends.
“Voldemort, then, called for a break in the battle to give us a chance to remove our dead, heal our injured. He spoke directly to me and told me I had one hour before he entered the castle to come and look for me himself. I was to meet him in the Forbidden Forest and give myself up if I did not want anyone else to die.”
Harry paused for a moment before looking directly at Remus.
“That’s when I discovered you had died, Remus,” Harry quietly said. “You and Tonks just lying there in the Great Hall was too much for me, so I took my chance to escape and look at the memories. I figured Severus would not have passed them onto me unless they were important.”
Harry looked down at his glass for a moment before looking back up at the two Marauders.
“What he had given me was his memories of his friendship with my mum. From when they had met before beginning Hogwarts, to the day he destroyed their friendship, even to the night he found out my mum and dad had been murdered. He never said it, but it was clear from watching the memories that he loved my mum. Not just as a friend either, he was deeply in love with her. His feelings ran deep enough for him to become a spy for our side and he chose to protect me as best as he could for my mum. It was for this reason that Dumbledore trusted him implicitly and with his life. He trusted Severus to the point that he was the person he chose to give one of the most vital pieces of information I would need if I was to defeat Voldemort for good.”
Silence pierced the air for the moment as the two Marauders processed what Harry had just told them.
“I’m not going to lie, but I think James always suspected Snape had feelings for Lily,” Sirius painfully confessed. He hated himself now for the way he had treated the Order’s spy, all thanks to being told Snape had played a more important role in the war effort than he even had known. “I am sorry we never told you, but, I think, at the time, it just never seemed important to tell you.”
“Harry, think about how you were at fifteen,” Remus gently suggested. “Bear in mind, though, to us, you are still fifteen. You were angry and withdrawn most of the time. You were struggling with so much, including what you had discovered about us and your father. If we had told you about your mother’s friendship with Snape, you would never had taken the news very well and it would have just pushed you further away from everyone.”
Harry opened his mouth to protest, but was cut off by his wife before he could say a word.
“Oh, you know he is right, Harry,” Ginny said sternly as she placed a hand over his lips to keep him from talking. “You were truly awful that year and you know full well that you were. May I remind you that it was me who pulled you out of most of your moods that year? I highly doubt, though, that even I would have been help you figure out your feelings to that piece of news back then.”
Harry locked eyes with his wife for a moment and knew in an instant that she was right. It was just like when he had discovered he was Horcrux, it had to be broken to him at the right moment if he was to accept the truth.
“So, what was the vital information Snape told you about?” Sirius asked, curious know what had been so vital that it had been left to Snape to tell his godson, rather than Dumbledore himself.
Harry swallowed the lump that had suddenly formed in his throat before he whispered what he knew would be chilling news to the two time-travellers, “That I had to die.”
The revelation left both men speechless. How could anyone even respond to that bombshell?
“Harry, I think we need to tell them the full story,” Ginny pleaded with her husband. “They, of all people, deserve to be told.”
Harry nodded his consent, and then proceeded to tell two of the most important men in his life the full story of his involvement in the war against Voldemort.
Sirius stumbled down the stairs as quietly as he could in the still dark house. It didn’t seem to matter that he was currently in a different time-period, he was still unable to sleep, thanks to the effects that had remained with him from his stay in Azkaban. On entering the living room, he discovered he was not alone in not being able to sleep as he found his godson on the couch with his head in hands.
“Harry?” he quietly called out to the wizard.
Harry looked up, startled, to find his godfather stood just inside the door of the living room with a concerned, yet confused look on his face.
“Sorry, Sirius, I didn’t expect you to come downstairs so early,” Harry apologised weakly. “I don’t tend to sleep well on the nights surrounding the anniversary of the battle.”
Sirius’ expression changed from one of concern to one of sympathy. He moved over to the couch, taking a seat next to Harry and pulled his godson into an embrace.
“I understand, Harry,” he responded soothingly. “After everything you told me and Remus, I would be surprised if it didn’t affect you the way it does now. Sleep did not come easily to me when I was in Azkaban as my thoughts would always wander to the night your parents died. I would sit there in my cell and try to figure out if there was anything I could have done differently.”
“I am the same,” Harry admitted. “I know I told you I wouldn’t change a thing, but that doesn’t mean I do not think about it. It helps me reinforce the belief I wouldn’t do anything differently.”
“Don’t linger over the ‘what ifs’, Harry. Like you said before, there is no guarantee you would have won had one thing changed.”
Harry nodded his understanding before the two men lapsed into silence as they allowed their thoughts to drift to the nights that changed their lives, while taking comfort in having this precious time together.
“I need to thank you, Harry,” Remus softly said as he and Harry watched the children chase Sirius around the garden in his Animagus form.
Harry looked over at his former professor in confusion, wondering what he had done to receive his thanks.
“For being there for Teddy and helping to raise him,” Remus explained. “For being willing to give him this chance to spend time with me.”
Harry felt his cheeks heat up as he turned back to look at his godson as he played with Padfoot, James, Albus and Lily.
“He’s an amazing child, Remus,” Harry replied. “I am grateful to have been able to help raise him. He is one of the main reasons I managed to move on with my life after the war.”
“I can only assume Ginny was the other reason,” Remus gently teased.
Harry looked back to the werewolf and smiled widely, “Obviously.”
“I hate that I will not retain the memories of these past twenty-four hours and the time I have spent with Teddy when I return,” Remus said with a sigh. “I hate that he has to grow up without me and Dora not raising him.”
Harry placed a hand on his former mentor’s shoulder. “He is incredibly proud of you and Tonks. He is proud of the fact that you are his parents. He does understand why you did what you did and he is grateful you both took the risk to fight for the freedom he gets to enjoy. However, there are times when he hates the world for taking you from him, especially as he has no memories of your short time together. When he begins feeling like that, and he is with Ginny and me here, then we just let him rant, scream or whatever it is he needs to do to rid himself of the anger.”
“I am glad it is you we chose to be his godfather,” Remus responded with a genuine sincerity. “I obviously could not have predicted what would happen, but, somehow, I am guessing Tonks and I decided on you on the off chance that we didn’t survive, while also knowing you’d do anything for that little boy. Based on what Teddy has told me about his life, you have done that, you gave him everything you could.”
To Harry’s surprise, Remus pulled him to a hug and held on to him tightly for a second. However, the moment was broken as they heard a loud whimper escape from Padfoot’s lips. They pulled apart to see Padfoot laid out on the grass with all four children tickling as they laughed loudly.
Harry and Ginny watched as Sirius and Remus made their good-byes to their three children and their godson. Remus had wrapped Teddy in a tight embrace and was whispering something in his ear, which made Teddy nod and smile sadly. Sirius, however, had been engulfed in a group hug with James, Albus and Lily.
“Do you plan to Floo over to Hogwarts with them to say your good-byes?” Ginny quietly asked her husband, knowing he did not want this visit to end.
“No, I don’t,” Harry replied honestly. “I don’t think I could watch them disappear from my life for the final time, it was hard enough losing them the first time. Plus, you know I have never been to Hogwarts on this date before and I don’t intend to start now.”
“I’ll say my good-byes and then take the kids outside to play while you make your own good-byes,” Ginny told him before she kissed his cheek and moved over to where the two Marauders were stood. She hugged the two men individually, both of whom whispered something that made her smile, before she gathered the kids and led them out of the living room to the garden.
Harry stood there awkwardly as he gazed at the two men for a few seconds after the door had closed behind Ginny. He was uncertain of what he wanted to say now the time had come to truly say good-bye.
Remus decided to make the first move as he wanted to give Sirius and Harry a private moment together afterwards. He approached the man he made godfather to his own son and smiled.
“Thank you for having us, Harry,” he said with a genuine smile that made him appear years younger. “Thank you, also, for taking care of Teddy the way you have. He is an incredible young man and it amazes me that I helped create him. It is certainly worth dying to make the world a better place if he gets to live in it.”
“He most certainly is,” Harry replied in agreement as he hugged his former professor.
Remus pulled away and headed towards the Floo. He stopped before entering so he could turn and look back at Harry one more time.
“Thank you,” Remus said once again before stepping into the Floo to head back to Hogwarts.
Harry reluctantly turned his gaze to his godfather, wishing he did not have to say good-bye, but grateful for the opportunity to do so.
“Don’t say anything, Harry,” Sirius requested when he saw the look on his godson’s face. “I know what I am going back to and it certainly helps I am not going to remember. The whole point of this trip was to find myself some hope for the future, hope that you would come through the war against Voldemort and have the life you have always wanted. I found it in seeing you alive, happy and whole. That, to me, is most definitely worth dying for.”
Harry did not respond in words, but instead, moved across the room and wrapped his arms around his godfather tightly. The two men held on, knowing, that for Harry, this would be the last time they would ever see and speak to each other.
“Just promise me you will look after that redhead of yours,” Sirius said to Harry as they reluctantly broke apart. “She waited a long time to be with you.”
“I know and I will,” Harry whispered, fighting the tears that were on the brink of falling.
Sirius gripped Harry’s shoulders and gave them a squeeze before he moved away for the final time. Neither said a word to the other, knowing none were needed, as Sirius flashed Harry a smile and took the Floo through to the school.
The moment Sirius stepped out of the Floo and into the Headmistress’ Office, he walked directly over to where Albus Dumbledore’s portrait resided.
“Good morning, Sirius,” the former Headmaster said when he saw his former student stood in front of him. “What can I do for you, today?”
“I wish to say thank you to you before I return,” the Animagus responded, knowing Dumbledore would understand why he was saying this now. “Thank you for giving me this chance to spend time with my godson, his wife and his children. I can understand why you sent me and Remus here, even if you were not sure what we would find when we arrived.”
“You are most welcome, Sirius,” Dumbledore responded, his eyes twinkling in delight. “I will say that, despite the fact you do not remember this special and unique trip, you were certainly more hopeful on your return. I believe it was your renewed hope for a happy life for your godson was what led you to risk your life for him. I am, also, certain it is your hope for a free world that you, Remus, eventually gave into Miss Tonks’ advances.”
Remus blushed at the very thought of a relationship with the woman he knew he had deep feelings for.
“Thank you, again, for this opportunity,” Sirius said once again. “I am led to believe, by my godson, that Severus has a portrait hung here in this office.”
“He would be correct, Sirius,” Professor McGonagall confirmed. “Severus’ portrait is towards the back of the office.”
“We don’t have much time left till the Time-Turner is due to return us,” Remus called after his friend as Sirius walked towards the Headmistress had indicated.
A smaller portrait than most was hung on the walls, located towards the back of the office and out of view of the desk and the entrance. Unsurprisingly, the former Potions Master had his usual sneer on his face.
“Well, well, well, it seems that Black just could not stay dead,” Snape snidely said as Sirius came into view.
Sirius ignored the comment, forcing back any snide comment he was tempted to reply with.
“I don’t like you, you don’t like me, that is something that will never change,” he calmly stated. “However, thank you for looking out for my boy all those years and for helping him to fulfil his destiny.”
Sirius immediately turned and walked away, not expecting a reply from his rival and not feeling he needed one. However, to his surprise, he heard two words he would have never expected his sworn enemy to ever say.
Sirius paused for a moment and nodded his acknowledgement without turning to look back at the portrait before he returned to where Remus and Professor McGonagall stood.
“Time to return home, then,” Sirius said with a sigh, wishing he could remain here with his godson and his family.
The two Marauders made their good-byes to their former professor before Remus removed the Hopeful Heart from the pocket in which he had kept it for the past twenty-four hours and placed the long chain around both his and Sirius’ necks. The two men, then placed a finger onto the gold ring and waited patiently for the Hopeful Heart to pull them away from the future and back to the past and their present.
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