Disclaimer: Harry Potter, along with everything that belongs in that universe, belongs to J.K. Rowling and a bunch of other companies that are now milking it for all it’s worth. I, however, am getting nothing out of this other than the satisfaction of writing a good story that people like to review. *hint hint*
Author's Notes: Please keep in mind that this was written right after OotP, so I was unusually sensitive during that time. I'm editing all of the chapters, but I'm also trying to make it less corny than the original version. I’d like to thank my beta reader, Elanor Gamgee, who has probably taught me more about writing dialogue than all my other English teachers combined.
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Quote Of The Chapter:
Ron made a triumphant gesture with his fist and went into a raucous peal of laughter that made several timid-looking second years over besides the window jump.
From: The Order of the Phoenix, Page 458.
Author's Note: Tsk tsk, Ron, stop making the second years commit suicide.
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The 31st of July found Harry Potter lying down on his bed, staring up at the ceiling of his bedroom in Number Twelve, Grimmauld Place. After a hideous three weeks with the Dursleys, Dumbledore had finally allowed him to go to Grimmauld Place, where the Weasleys had joined him less than a week later on the 29th. It was when he arrived at headquarters, escorted by no less than four members of the Order, that he was given a letter that Sirius had written a couple of months before his death. Five days passed before he mustered enough courage to open it. Now it lay by his side, bent and worn from the many times he had read it during the past two or three days. He practically knew it by heart already.
"If you're reading this, Harry, it means I'm dead. If I'm not dead, then it means Moony is a lousy git for giving it to you... and we're going to have a couple of very awkward days..."
' I must have been a lousy godson to have made him think he couldn't tell me he cared about me without embarrassment...'
Well, here it goes. Harry, I'm leaving you my... vast amount of... er.... well, 'wealth'. I'm leaving you all the money in the Gringotts family vault, and the... what is it, again? Ah, yes, The Noble and Most Ancient House of Black. Though lucky for you, I managed to get the tapestry and my mother's portrait down now. Both are in the attic now. Just know, Harry, that if anything should happen to them, I won't hold you responsible. Even if the damage happens to be... irreparable.
Harry had gone to the attic in search of peace and quiet on his first day in Grimmauld place, only to discover the portrait of Mrs. Black, who began screaming at him and insulting Sirius at the sight of Harry. Harry had furiously destroyed the portrait after a rather loud and furious argument, causing Lupin to run to the attic at hearing all the noise. Mrs. Black had fled and now resided in the portrait of her father. Now she just glared at Harry reproachfully on the rare occasions he went by that particular bedroom.
Well, back to the subject at hand, I can't watch over you anymore, but at least I'm happy that I've provided for you. Make sure not to spend all of it on booze and strippers... notice I only said not to spend all of it on booze and strippers.
Obviously, with me not being here, someone else is going to have to take care of you. I don't know how long from now you will read this letter, but unless lots of things have changed, we still won't be as close as I wished we could be. And since part of me feels like I'm not fulfilling my duties as your godfather, I realize I can't mess up on this particular matter. I thought about whom I should name as your guardian. I considered who you'd want to be in charge of you... but realized I had no idea. I mean, the Weasleys have always cared for you, and always will. And Molly loves you like a son, but as you know, she's not very understanding when it comes to her kids getting in trouble. I needed to find someone that I could trust. Someone who would understand you, someone that cared about you and you cared about too.
How about Snape?
No? Okay... Well, then, I choose Remus. I know it was an obvious choice, but let me explain. Remus has been one of my best friends since I was eleven. I can trust him with my life... And you are my life, Harry. I love you like a son.
Though Harry could now make it through most of the letter without crying, he could never stop a few silent tears when it came to that part.
I don't know if you'll miss me, I can only hope you will, but I have to explain to you why I won't come back as a ghost. When Voldemort came back, I knew that there was a possibility that something might happen, specifically to me. It's not because I had a death wish or anything of the sort, mind you, but when Voldemort wants someone dead.... You understand, right? Well, you might not, actually. After all, how many times have you gone up against him and survived?
Anyway, when Voldemort wants one of us lesser mortals dead, it tends to happen. I won't go down without a fight, mind you, though I am hoping to leave behind a good-looking corpse.
Well, Dumbledore's paranoid, you know? He made us write out our wills (Yeah, like that's going to inspire a lot of confidence), and insisted that we write letters to our loved ones and not-so-loved ones. (Believe me when I say Snape will be getting one!) He also made me write out a character study of myself. Can you believe that? As if I don't know who I am (Though I must admit it was rather interesting. I never knew I was a masochist)! He also made me write out my priorities, so that I wouldn't get confused in the future. He made me ask myself if I would be coming back as a ghost. I normally would have brushed it off, but I couldn't do it, for some strange reason. I would have to answer the question.
It didn't take me long to answer that. I knew right away that I wouldn't come back. Not because I would rather see your parents than be with all of you, but because if I came back it would only be a matter of time until you all passed away too. And I would rather wait, and I better wait for a long time, than be with you for a while and then have to watch as you and everyone else I care about dies. Do you see my point?
God, I better be dead when you read this... Otherwise I'm making an ass of myself.
I can't think of any way to comfort you, mostly because I don't know how this is going to happen. I'm not going to waste your time with an exciting scenario of my heroic and untimely death while in battle with Voldemort himself, because with my luck, I'll end up going by choking on a peanut. And unless it was the confirmed Peanut of Death, and I swallowed it in your place, there'd be nothing heroic about that.
I know it may seem a little inappropriate for me to make jokes when this is supposed to be my last letter to you, Harry. But please understand that this is hard for me. I'm barely ever serious... and it's not every day that I write a goodbye letter to my godson. Well, Harry, you'll probably notice my writing's getting very cramped. So it's about time I end this. I think I've said everything there is to say, and probably some things that shouldn't have been said at all. So here it is. Goodbye, Harry. We'll see each other again some day. And I want you to know that I don't regret never having a son, because I have you.
PS. Remus likes dogs, being with friends, walks by the beach, and cartoon episodes where someone destroys the moon. He keeps his firewhiskey under the sink where all the cleaning supplies are, but be sure not to take it for at least a week after the full moon. And make sure you replace it at least a week before it. And he will give in quickly when you're asking for something if you give him the puppy dog eyes and call him 'Uncle Moony'.
Harry smiled sadly at the last part of Sirius's letter. He should stop playing with it, or soon it would be so worn that he'd have to throw it away, something he knew he would never be able to do. He wiped away what was left of his tears and propped himself up against the pillows on the bed, looking at the letter in his hand as if expecting more writing to appear. When it didn't, he folded it up and put it inside his book. He heard someone knock softly at the door.
Knowing it was probably Mrs. Weasley coming to coax him into going down to lunch, he quickly opened a book that was sitting conveniently close and pretended to read. The door opened to reveal not Mrs. Weasley, but Lupin, who gave him a small smile.
"Can I come in, Harry?" Harry nodded. Lupin came in and sat on the foot of the bed, looking steadily at Harry.
"Happy Birthday, Harry." Harry looked up, surprised. He hadn't really expected anyone to remember, perhaps because no one at Number 4 ever did.
"Umm... thanks," was the only reply he could think of.
"Look, Harry, before... Well, before Sirius died, he had an idea. We planned to go through with it on your birthday... but... well, I talked to Dumbledore, and he's okay with it."
"Okay with what?"
"When you contacted us after what you saw in the Pensieve... Sirius and I were both worried about what you would think of your father. Even though we explained the situation to you. We wanted you to have a better, more accurate image of your father. I'm sure your father would not be pleased to know that the only time you saw him was when he was being an idiot and tormenting Snape..."
Harry looked at him with a puzzled expression still on his face. Did he mean...?
"At any rate, Dumbledore came by last night, and left this." He took out the Pensieve and placed it on the nightstand. Harry looked from Lupin, to the Pensieve, and then to Lupin again.
"I've chosen a few memories that I thought would show you what your father was really like, despite his mischievous nature... I'll be really surprised if you don't want to do it, but I will understand-"
"I want to do it." Harry answered quickly. Lupin smiled and took his wand and put it, just as Dumbledore had done, where his hair and forehead met. When he pulled it away, a strand of silvery white stuff followed it. Lupin put it in the Pensieve and repeated the process four more times. Then he put his wand down and looked at Harry.
"Is there anything in particular you want to see?"
"Well, maybe my parent's wedding... when I was born, or the first time my parents met... if you were there..."
"I was. I anticipated the first 2... They're in there already. I suppose you'll want to see some of our adventures..." Lupin smiled as Harry nodded. Lupin removed 5 more memories and put them in the Pensieve.
"Dumbledore told me to remind you of what he told you in your first year... 'It does not do...'"
"'...To dwell on dreams'. I know. I suppose that goes for the past, too?"
Lupin nodded. "Stand up Harry. Am I right in assuming that you'll want to go in completely?"
Harry nodded. "If it's not too much to ask..."
Lupin shook his head. "Of course not..."
Lupin took a deep breath and prodded the stuff in the Pensieve. It swirled and the revealed an image. Harry kneeled down in front of the nightstand. All of a sudden, he felt himself being pulled into the Pensieve. He found himself sitting in the Gryffindor house table next to a very young and timid-looking Lupin. The real, full-grown Lupin appeared right next to him. Harry looked from one to the other. Oddly enough, little Lupin also had a tiny bit of gray in his hair. He was snapped out of his train of thought as a sharp voice called out for Pettigrew, Peter. He looked towards the front of the Great Hall. This was the Sorting, his father's first year. He turned to Lupin, who was watching as Pettigrew, having been sorted into Gryffindor, made his way towards them. He sat down next to little Lupin, who was looking around nervously and occasionally glanced at Dumbledore, who gave him reassuring looks. Harry looked back towards the front and saw his father was sitting on the stool with the sorting hat over his head.
"Gryffindor!" the hat shouted, and James took it off and ran towards the Gryffindor table, sitting down next to a very young looking Sirius. Sirius's hair was still short, only reaching to his eyes. It fell over his eye, obscuring them a little, and giving him something of a mysterious air. James looked like Harry had done in his first year, except a little less skinny. The only differences at that point were his eyes and height. James, obviously having been fed better than Harry had at the Dursleys’, was about 3 inches taller than Harry had been.
"Sirius! You made it into Gryffindor!" James grinned at Sirius.
Sirius grinned back. "Just barely, really. Don't see my parents being too happy with that, though. Guess what I brought!"
"I don't know... dungbombs?"
"Well, yeah. But Hagrid confiscated them... I brought something else though."
"What?" James asked, a devilish smile forming on his face. Harry looked at Lupin, whose smile was replaced by a grin when he saw Harry watching him. Harry couldn't remember ever seeing him grin like that before. Harry turned back to Sirius and James, who were now eating and discussing where they were going to let out whatever it was Sirius had brought. Suddenly Sirius turned to him.
"Can you please pass the bread rolls?" he asked politely. It took Harry a second to realize he was sitting next to little Lupin, and Sirius had not been talking to him. Lupin passed Sirius the basket, and was rewarded when Sirius grinned at him and swallowed the food in his mouth.
"I love bread rolls... I'm Sirius."
The little blond kid, whom Harry had recognized as Pettigrew, looked at Sirius strangely. "But he wasn't arguing... why would you tell him you were serious?"
James and Sirius exchanged a look.
"No, my name is Sirius. So what's you name?" he asked, turning towards Lupin. Lupin looked a little shy, but answered nonetheless.
"I'm Remus Lupin."
"I'm Peter," Pettigrew added. Harry could tell that just telling them his name had taken some courage on Peter's part.
"Well, hello. I'm James. James Potter. Sirius, here, is a little nuts. Best way to see if he's lying is to check for that little malicious glint in his eye. See? Like the one he has now. He's just not right."
"I resent that!"
"Well, it's true. Anyway, we're thinking about giving the prefects the slip and going off on our own. We're going to let these things free. Would you two like to come?" James took a small jar of red ants from Sirius, who was grinning devilishly. Harry looked at Lupin, who was still smiling.
"I don't think we can... The prefects would be sure to miss 4 of us. Even 2 would be taking a huge risk," little Lupin said reasonably. James and Sirius exchanged a look.
"Well, I guess he's right, mate. We'll have to do it another time." With that, James put the jar away again. The feast was over and the prefects started calling for the first years to follow them. Harry looked at Lupin questioningly.
"Do we follow?" Lupin nodded and began to speak as they followed the suspiciously quiet group.
"Just because we couldn't sneak away from the prefects didn't mean our night was over."