Lionhearted: The Moon Ascendant
Hello everyone, and welcome to my first Harry Potter fanfiction! This is the first part of a fanverse I'm creating called Lionheart!Verse, following the Marauders through their school years, the first Order of the Phoenix, Raising Harry, Harry's school years, and the conclusion of the war with Voldemort.
Themes: Canon-divergence, Fix-fiction, (Almost) Everyone Lives, NO Character bashing, Everyone gets an upgrade, More Character Development, Tasteful Romantic Development (I promise), and Necessary but believable character changes.
The pairings are: James/Lily, Sirius/Remus, Harry/Ginny, Ron/Hermione, with a little Tonks/Remus. Slow burn for most of them, and some suggestive themes, but probably mostly fluff. (I'm considering doing a censored/uncensored version.)
All will be posted here and on ArchiveOfOurOwn under Animegirl300, and there are some story notes at the bottom for those curious!
I hope you enjoy!
Sunlight danced across the cellar floor, filtering gently through the spaces of wooden planks boarded over the tiny window and illuminating the stone bricks before stopping near the top of Remus' tiny brown head of hair, where he laid loosely curled on his side.
The cold floor felt incredible against his hot and stinging cheek as he began to wake, still heavy with exhaustion and the gnawing full-body ache from last night's transformation. But that at least wasn't so bad compared to the sharp burn of cuts and scratches over his shoulders and, worryingly, over his face as well.
It was bad enough having scars over the rest of his body; those he could easily hide. But how ever was he going to explain the scars on his face to his future classmates?
He grinned, unable to help the bubble of happiness and excitement that bloomed in his chest as he pulled himself from the increasingly uncomfortable ground and managed to sit up, leaning back against the wall to smile dizzily at the ceiling.
He was going to have classmates.
He was going to go to school.
He was actually going to Hogwarts!
He'd been dreaming of this ever since he was a little boy. He could just imagine the castle with its towers and spires, just see himself walking down the corridors with friends...
He'd never had friends before.
It was hard to make and keep them when you were constantly moving from muggle village to muggle town to avoid uncomfortable questions from neighbors about a child constantly littered with bruises, and scratches, or broken limbs. They couldn't stay near other wizards; too many would be able to recognize the signs. And while keeping that he was a magical child would have been hard enough, with the added risk of letting slip about his 'condition' he was not allowed to play with other children.
But now, now that he was going to school, he finally had the chance to change that. He finally had the chance to have playmates, to have friends for the first time!
They all had been so worried that he couldn't be allowed to go.
They had almost given up hope.
The risk of his escaping and hurting someone had been steadily growing as he got older and his transformed self got stronger and stronger, enough to break wood and shatter windows as he'd done a few months ago, and as he became more and more violent, and more and more destructive on full moons the hope that he could one day go to school with other children had almost been extinguished before he could even receive his Hogwarts letter.
His parents had begun dreading the day that it would come, because they knew what it would mean sending back their reply. For all of them it would have been an admission of defeat, of failure. Failure to give their only son a future, failure to prevent the path of becoming like other werewolves they'd heard of, living on the dregs of society, unable to coexist with Wizarding Kind. He was wracked with guilt of putting them through that. Of the sacrifices they had to make to keep him.
They'd tried everything, gave everything they could to try and find a cure, or a way to restrain him. How many potions had they tried and spells they'd cast? But the danger he posed to others was becoming too great. How could they send him to be with other children if they couldn't control the monster he would become?
They'd just about given all hope.
But then Albus Dumbledore had come.
Growing up, Lyall Lupin had told his son all about Dumbledore; how while he was now the Headmaster of Hogwarts, he was such an incredibly powerful warlock that he'd single handedly beaten Grindelwald the Darkest Wizard in history in a duel. In Remus' mind's eye he had imagined an imposing figure, emanating power.
What he had not expected was the kindly figure who appeared on their doorstep one night, blue eyes sparkling behind a pair of spectacles, frightening his mother and father. At first they'd tried to make him go away, fearful of what any wizard would do if they saw their child, but moments later they'd all found themselves in front of the living room fireplace, Remus snacking on conjured crumpets and being challenged to a game of Gobstones.
He's sat quietly in awe as the wizard began to explain why he was there.
Dumbledore had learned of what had happened to Remus.
The boy had wanted to fold into himself for the wave of shame and embarrassment of anyone knowing about his affliction. But then the Headmaster explained that he saw no reason why Remus could not still come to school.
Instead, Dumbledore said, he'd made some arrangements, arrangement that he would be happy to show Remus on the first day of school when he arrived at Hogwarts, assuring that he would have every available security and protection.
Stunned and overwhelmed with gratitude even after the old wizard bid them adieu, the family's state of shock continued the whole week leading up to his eleventh birthday, the day before now.
The whole week Remus had been alternating between excitement and worry, wary that it was too good to be true. Hadn't he already experienced such disappointments before? The headmaster had never seen his transformation. What if they found out his was it was too dangerous after he got there? He found his parents talking in hushed voices several times only for them to stop once he entered the room, and he knew that they must have been arguing the matter.
But they must have come to an agreement because yesterday morning at the very tail end of breakfast, which Remus had only half-eaten and was pushing across his plate absently, his father set his cup of tea next to his finished plate and said in a mild voice, "I suppose we'll have to start planning your trip to Diagon Alley."
Remus must have been deep in thought and almost missed it, because his father had an expectant look on his face, a face so much like his own but for the age lines and brown eyes. Where Remus' naturally were green like his mother's, with the approaching full moon they were tinting towards amber where they would stay for the day after.
Lyall cleared his throat, ignoring his wife's amused looks and barely contained excitement. They'd had so precious little to be amused about for such a long time, that even at his expense he couldn't take that little bit away from her.
"After all," he said slowly as his son went to eat another piece of egg, "Once your Hogwarts letter comes there will be quite a bit of shopping to do."
At that Remus froze, his fork gripped loosely enough to drop, his mouth opening and closing like a fish as he processed, and for a moment Lyall thought he'd broken the poor boy, but then Remus came to grips with himself, lowering his fork, eyes wide on his young face.
"Do... do you mean…?"
Hope Lupin placed her hand on her son's, squeezing supportively as the child looked between the two, and when her husband gave a silent nod Remus jumped out of his chair knocking it over with a clatter as he ran around the table to wrap his father in a tight embrace. Lyall cradled his little shaking shoulders, alternating between patting him comfortingly and beaming towards his wife who smiled tearily.
None of them had realized just how much they needed this.
Remus must have dozed off again because he woke when he heard his father at the cellar door tapping his wand. The enchanted chains drew away from the metal plated wood, and he drew himself up cheerfully as Lyall came down with a blanket and his carefully packed leather healing kit.
" 'lo Dad," he greeted weakly, still grinning as his father paused in surprise.
"You're awake!" He exclaimed as he approached, eyebrows still high on his face as he got Remus covered and began retrieving dittany from his case, tutting as he looked over his shoulders and face.
"Why, you haven't been in such good shape since you were seven," he told him, and it was true. Most full moons these days ended with fractured limbs and gaping wounds on his wrists from biting himself or ramming against the wall. That this one had only left him with scratches was a miracle.
"I think I was happy," Remus admitted shyly and Lyall beamed, finishing with the aide kit and reaching to help him up.
"Yes well, I think you'll be even happier after we get you dressed and ready for breakfast. Come, your mother made bakestones."
That morning onward the house was alight with a happiness they hadn't experienced in seven years. There were several more full moons to come until school started, but with renewed optimism the family was determined to make the most of the coming months.
They set to work, Remus diligently continuing his assignment from his father; essays on a great number of magical creatures like Grindylows and Hinkypunks, and some of the basics of potion ingredients and their properties. Lyall Lupin had been a world-renowned authority on non-human spirits like boggarts and poltergeists, and expert on magical creatures and was set on imparting all his wisdom on him.
His mother in turn dedicated herself to keeping up with his writing and arithmetic. Being a Muggle she'd tried to have him use a typewriter, the one left over from her old job as an insurance office secretary, but Lyall began to insist that he stick to quill and parchment.
"He needs to be used to it for when he gets to school." He said sternly, although his mother thought it was silly, Wizards still using feather pens and inkwells, and secretly he wondered if he could get away with bringing the machine to school.
He otherwise ate anything up remotely related to magic and the wizarding world and couldn't wait to get his wand so he could start using magic. His mother would tease, both delighted and envious as his father did cleaning spells for her around the house, "Now, don't you start acting like your father, showing off all that fancy spellwork when you get it."
For all that he was learning though, there was one subject his father remained tight-lipped on; other beings that shared his affliction.
He couldn't help being curious and wanting to know more.
Was the transformation just as bad for other werewolves? What caused them, and him, to become so violent and want to bite only other humans? Did most of them stay together in packs like regular wolves? He knew that there was work on trying to find a cure for lycanthropy as he'd been made to try many different potential remedies, but what new developments were being made? Finally he was desperate to know more about the werewolf that had bitten him.
Curious and sympathetic he wanted to know what happened to the one that had burst into his window that fateful night, a week after his fifth birthday. Whatever had become of them? Was the poor soul still out there, living with the guilt of of what he'd done? He could only imagine the torment they could be going through.
But with all these questions he had few resources to find the answers. His father had a study that he kept locked with all kinds of charms and spells, and with all the research he was doing to find a cure for his son, surely he had to have many tomes about everything dealing with his condition. But this was one subject that his usually mild-mannered and gentle father was sensitive and short about, so he didn't dare question him just yet.
He let it slide. All of these questions he supposed would have to wait until Hogwarts.
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
His letter came mid July.
His parents had called him to the living room from where he'd been sitting doing homework, legs dangling from his chair at the kitchen table. When he entered they were sitting sit by side on the couch, hands intertwined, a large barn owl was perched on the mantle eating an owl treat, and there on the little coffee table in front of them, was a thick parchment envelope labeled
Mr. R. Lupin,
He turned it over in his hand to take in the Hogwarts crest printed over the scarlet Hogwarts seal which he thumbed nervously. After all those months of excitement and waiting, now that the letter was finally here in his hand, it felt strangely unreal. He glanced around almost to make sure he wasn't dreaming, the owl ruffling impatiently as his mum gestured an encouragement, and he ripped the envelope open, unfolding the letter carefully.
HOGWARTS SCHOOL of WITCHCRAFT and WIZARDRY
Headmaster: Albus Dumbledore
(Order of Merlin, First Class, Grand Sorc., Chf. Warlock,
Supreme Mugwump, International Confed. of Wizards)
Dear Mr. Lupin,
We are pleased to inform you that you have been accepted at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. Please find enclosed a list of all necessary books and equipment.
Term begins on 1 September. We await your owl by no later than 31 July.
A delirious smile split onto his face, and his parents let out a breath they hadn't known they'd been holding. His dad got up and cuffed him on the shoulder. "I'll go write that reply letter then," he said cheerfully, a pep in his step as he held out his arm for the owl and made his way to his study, and Remus went to sink down in the place next to his mother, passing her the letter shakily.
"I can see what all the hubbubs about. Witchcraft and Wizardry..." she murmured looking over the letter greedily before wrapping her arms around his shoulders to press a kiss to his forehead. "Fy nghariad bach. I'm so happy for you."
"I still can't believe I'm going," he admitted quietly, excitement and doubt and worry coming over him in waves.
She seemed to know what he really meant because she took his face in her hands to meet her eyes, thumbs stroking at his soft cheeks, tracing March's scars with her eyes. "Oh darling, you deserve this just as much as anybody! You're going to make a brilliant wizard."
"Do you think it'll be okay? With my… 'condition'?" he murmured, just in case so dad wouldn't hear him, and she looked into his wide earnest eyes that were their normal green, no hint of amber at all.
"It will. You heard the headmaster. They'll keep you safe, love."
Of course it wasn't himself he was thinking of, but then his mother was kissing his forehead once more and hopping up to look after dinner and leaving him to go over his supplies list.
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
The Lupins chose the second weekend of August to give Remus time to recover from the last full moon before the start of semester, and so there would be time for the rest of the month to familiarize himself with his books.
They went to London the muggle way, Hope chattering to a nice old lady on the train and Remus ignoring glances from other passengers at the scars on his face. Nothing could ruin his good mood or his excitement, and he held his breath as they arrived to the Leaky Cauldron, Lyall waving towards the toothless barman as he led his wife who'd had trouble focusing her eyes on the place by the hand and to the courtyard where they stopped at a brick wall.
Lyall had drawn his wand and tapped the wall three times. The bricks came to life, wriggling out the way as an archway appeared and Remus and Hope both breathed sharply. He'd never imagined it would look so amazing, with all the shops and stalls, but mostly the crowd of wizards and witches. Aside from his dad, he'd never seen his own kind before, and he was amazed as he took in their robes and pointed hats, and the carrying of animals.
"I never get used to that," His mum was saying. It'd been years since dad had brought her. It was dizzying for him, so he could only imagined what it was like for her, and he squeezed his mother's hand, catching her attention. She beamed back at him then hooked her elbow around her husband's arm as Lyall dug into his pocket for the supply list.
"Ready?" he said "We'll gather your books last and start by getting your robes, but first, Gringotts." Even he was full of quiet energy, and he led the way to the large snowy-white building that towered over everything else.
They'd gone inside, past the engraved warning of the silver doors to the marble room full of goblin tellers. His father had teased that there were rumored to be dragons guarding the vaults. They'd waited in line behind a family of four in rich black robes. The two boys, one older than the other looked just like their father, long black hair, grey eyes, and the same haughty, very handsome looks. The mother, a blonde woman, was looking down her nose at the crowd and muttering under her breath. "See what this place has resorted to? Catering to these filthy blood traitors and mudbl-"
"Mother!" the older boy interjected angrily, and the woman scowled, turning to hiss into her husband's ear. The younger brother looked apprehensive, but said nothing as the boy turned away looking mutinous when he accidently met Remus' gaze.
Remus realized with a flush he'd been staring, and the other boy's striking face had also turned red, looking away uncomfortably before his parents began to move to the next teller, and he hurried after them.
While Remus had been amazed at his first time in the bank with it's goblins and roller coaster of a cart ride through the passageways, he was rather less excited when they went to the shop Madam Malkin's for his robes.
There was already another family there when they entered, a nice old couple who immediately engaged in conversation with his parents, and a lean, bespectacled boy with messy black hair almost finished being fitted. He grinned broadly as Madam Malkin set Remus up on a footstool and started taking measurements.
"Hello there!" he said, taking Remus off guard. "Are you going to Hogwarts too?"
"Y-yes, hullo," he replied stupidly, inwardly wincing. But the boy seemed not to notice.
"That's great!" the boy said eagerly, "I can't wait to go. Dad's been telling me all about it! Only, I wish we could play Quidditch in first year. I've been practicing since I was little and I think I'd be able to make the team if they'd let me. How about you, do you play?" the boy chattered on.
Remus who hadn't so much as owned his own broom before and only vaguely knew of the Tornadoes team shook his head, ears reddening. His dad thought it was too risky at all muggle villages they've lived. "No, I don't fly." he admitted awkwardly.
"Oh. Well that's okay! They teach flying first year. Hey! Maybe if-"
Before he'd finished the witch was done with his robes and the boy was being moved along for another customer. Waving back the boy he called, "See you at Hogwarts!" before he was whisked away.
As his own robes were being finished Remus was glowing; he'd had his very first conversation with a schoolmate, and it hadn't been so bad! It wasn't until they were buying his cauldron and potion materials that he realized they'd forgotten to even exchange names.
By this time the shopping district was getting crowded which was a little overwhelming for him. Lyall decided against getting an owl, explaining that there were school owls for the general student body to use, and after he indulged Remus in letting him and Hope ogle the newest broom in the display of Quality Quidditch Supplies, leaving them to dip into Wiseacre's Wizarding Equipment coming back with a small package that he suspiciously hid inside his cloak, the next stop was the one they had all been waiting for.
The wand shop, Ollivanders', was narrow and shabby with peeling letters and a pale purple cushion holding a wand in the dusty window, and they stepped inside, a bell ringing within. They offered Hope the single spindly chair, and Remus looked around at the thousands of narrow neatly piled boxes eagerly. The tingle of magic in the air was putting his hairs on end, when a soft "Good afternoon" came and an elderly man appeared, his wide pale eyes reminding him uncomfortably of the moon. He shivered as his mother and father gave a greeting. Lyall must have been expecting it as he looked unconcerned, but Hope had jumped in her seat.
"Hullo," Remus said self consciously.
Ollivander gazed from him to his father. "Lyall Lupin, how nice to see you and your family today. Let me see… yours is Chestnut and Unicorn hair, 10 inches, rather firm, isn't it? Yes, a great wand for tamers of magical creatures." He'd said this in a strange way that made Lyall looked a little discomforted, and Ollivander turned back to Remus knowingly.
"Well young man, let us see." He pulled out a tape measurer and instructed him to hold out his arm. As he was measured the old man began moving towards the shelves taking down boxes and talking. "Every Ollivander wand is unique with a powerful magical substance at it's core. We use dragon heartstring, phoenix tail feather and unicorn hair here, you see, and as no two animals are quite the same, neither are any two wands. Using another wizard's wand is never going to get as good results. The wand chooses the wizard young Mr. Lupin, remember that." He walked back over, boxes in hand and he sent the tape measurer away.
"Right, lets try this one; maple and phoenix feather. Just give it a wave"
The first wand was a dud, as were the next few, and Remus was beginning to feel foolish as the boxes began to pile and his mother and father watched. Finally Mr. Ollivander handed him a wand, "Cypress and Unicorn hair, Ten inches, pliable," he's informed them, that immediately felt warm in his hand. Eyes wide he swished and a stream of sparks began to fly and dance on to the walls. His mum cheered and father clapped as Ollivander congratulated him.
"Bravo! Very good! And how curious. Cypress wands, Mr. Lupin, are very much associated with nobility." Ollivander was saying to him quietly as he rolled the wand in it's paper his large pale eyes unblinking as Lyall and Hope waited for him at the door, and the next thing he said made Remus go cold; "A self-sacrificing wand, Mr. Lupin. I do not know of any wizard with a wand like that, who did not die a hero's death."
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
After the trip to Diagon Alley Remus counted down the days to the start of term by cracking open his books early, eager to get started. Despite his mum's attempts at comfort, he had no doubt that other magical children would be far ahead of him now, and Remus was surprised at the thrill of competition. He didn't need to become the greatest student Hogwarts had ever seen, but at the very least he owed it Dumbledore and his father and mother to work hard at school. But he was also trying to escape the words of Ollivander. A hero's death. That seemed a bit unlikely considering his circumstances.
Of course, the first book he picked up, looking round warily as if his parents would burst in and see him even though it was late at night and he was alone in his room, was the book that he'd been waiting for. Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them. Here it was, the tool to help answer his questions.
He'd put it off for a day or two.
The title seemed promising, but there was a feeling of dread. He was still worried; after all the Wizarding world was not welcoming to Werewolves.
He'd known this throughout his life, even before the night he'd been bitten, through bedtime stories and lessons from his dad that he couldn't quite remember the details of, just the way they made him feel; terrified, like staring down a nightmare. Not that he could blame anyone, when he himself faced the brunt of the werewolf's curse, suffered for the misery it brought everyone around him.
But he had to know.
Eventually unable to stifle his curiosity he cracked open to page one and skimmed;
" -bizarre magical animals ensured his rapid promotion. Although almost solely responsible for the creation of the Werewolf Register in 1947-"
His heart jumped in his throat as he looked at the word; it was different seeing the word written on paper, rather than spoken in whispers by his mum and dad. Werewolf. It even looked monstrous. He gathered a breath and went on, noting that he knew no such thing as a registry. He couldn't be registered with all the secrecy of his family, and he wondered why. He skimmed through the forward and intro before he came to the page "What is a Beast?" and there in the center were the words that made his heart lurch and a pit form in his stomach.
"-Werewolves spend most of their time as humans (whether wizard or Muggle). Once a month, however, they transform into savage, four-legged beasts of murderous intent and no human conscience.-"
As though scalded he shoved Fantastic Beasts across the room and he buried himself deep into his bed.
A monster is what it was saying.
It was enough to make him ill.
He avoided Fantastic Beasts after that, instead moving on to the next most important book, A Standard Book of Spells. He didn't want to fall behind his classmates, and felt he owed it to Dumbledore and his mum and dad to do his best. He was wary of trying anything too destructive, and opted to start working on the wand-lighting charm and it's brother Nox. It took him several tries of getting it to fill the room without blinding himself, and then to figure out how to put it out without also turning off all the lights.
After he felt pleased enough with that, he then went on to locking and unlocking charms. Once he'd accidently locked his mother in the bathroom, and she gave him a rue smile once he finally managed to free her. "What was I thinking marrying a wizard." she teased when Lyall got home although she refused to rat out her son.
Gladly he was able to make it up to her by then learning the mending charm. Unfortunately this was after it was necessitated by the levitating charm gone wrong. He seemed to be having a problem with force; how to use the right amount at the correct time, and was still working on this all the way up to before the big day.
He and his mother were full of nervous energy. She didn't make him do homework, and instead had him stay with her in the kitchen making sweets all day. Between biscuits, Buckeye balls, caramels, sponge candy, brittle, and an array of truffles, they could have opened their own shop.
"They're for sharing with your friends," she explained as she loaded their goodies into a pair of large storage tins, setting some aside for her husband for later, "And of course…. Just in case... you start feeling homesick." she said, her voice wavering and he watched in alarm as her eyes began tearing over.
Immediately he wrapped himself around her waist as she sniffled. This was the first time they would ever be away from each other.
"I'll miss you," he said thickly earning a peck over his head. This wasn't the first time he'd felt like he was going it alone. How many nights at a child did he cry as he transformed alone in the cellar? But it would be the first time ever being so far away from her, not having her there to fix him up in the morning, whispering comforts in his ear.
"I'll miss you too sweetie. Lord knows it won't be the same without you leaving your belongs around the house, and spilling ink all over my carpets." They smiled tearily at that, but the worry didn't go away, and before he could help it, "What if they don't like me?" he blurted in a strangled voice, chest clenching with his greatest fear.
"Oh darling, Of course they will! How could they not? They're going to love you. You're going to go to school, and make friends, and when you do you will write to tell me all about them, and I'll write back 'I told you so' and by the end of the year you'll hardly want to come back." the tension in his shoulders loosened and they released each other. "You're a good, strong boy Remus. You'll get through this. I promise."
That night after Lyall came home and was bombarded with sweets, indulging them even though he sternly told his son not to have sweets before dinner, and he pulled out the small package he'd hidden in his robes at Diagon Alley and passed it to him over their Welsh rarebit.
Remus ripped open the paper and his mouth dropped in awe.
It was a bronze astrolabe shining brightly with magic, all the planets and stars moving in real time, and most spectacularly was the glowing sphere that was tracking the moon, counting down the lunar cycle.
"It should help," his father coughed nervously, "with planning. And it won't be as suspicious as a lunar chart so you can keep it with you-" He didn't get to finish as Remus rolled his eyes and got him into a hug.
"I'm going to miss you too dad." he said softly. "Thank you."
That night he sat in his bed admiring his gift as he traced the zodiac with his fingers, and even though the moon was gradually getting fuller he could feel nothing but excitement for what the next day would bring.
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Walburga Black strode down the hall towards library in huff, her robes billowing as she found her husband where she'd expected him to be, on the sofa in front of the fire, his handsome nose stuck in a book. He looked up as she entered, taking in her scowl, closing it with a slow snap and giving her his undivided attention.
"What's the matter dearest?"
"That boy is getting out of hand!" she hissed. "Defending rabble! I don't know what's gotten into him. Doesn't he know we're at war? That if we don't stomp out those mudbloods and squibs that everything Wizarding kind has worked for will fall? He is a Black and he's acting like… like.. a Blood Traitor!".
"Ah. Then your tête-à-tête didn't go well I take it." He sighed, shoving the tome Secrets of the Darkest Arts across the table. He'd known it wouldn't. Talking didn't get anywhere with a boy as stubborn as Sirius, but Walburga was much too soft on him. A whipping with a wand. That's the proper way to take unruly children to task he believed. It was how his own parents had done it and they had made him into a smashing success. But Walburga refused, he'd promised her that he would give her the reigns over childrearing.
She gave an angry growl, flipping her blonde tendrils over her shoulder before gracefully sitting beside him. "Hardly! I had sent him up to his room without supper, for all the good that it did me. I had hoped his attitude would be softened by a hungry stomach, but when I went to make sure he'd learned his lesson he didn't even listen to a word I said! He does it to spite me, I just know it! He can't possibly be daft enough to side with those filth! Look at what they've done to us; having us hiding like rats as they steal our magic and turn our people into squibs!"
Orion took her hand soothingly as he let her rant. Best to let her vent then bottle it in he thought. Walburga's anger was like a storm, one could only wait for it to pass.
The house elf appeared with a crack, bowing low to it's masters. "Yes, my master? How can this humble else serve it's most noble of Blacks?" it said in a low voice.
"Fetch your mistress some tea for settling her nerves," he ordered cooly.
With another bow the elf popped away, and he turned his attention once more to his wife who was rubbing her temples irritably.
"Now dear, there's no use upsetting yourself so. Tomorrow Sirius will be at Hogwarts being sorted in with all the other pureblood children to Slytherin. Perhaps here he is rebellious because he is bored and knows it goads you, but once he's with the others they will take him under their wing, lead him to the right path again. And he will also get to see for himself the inferior mudbloods at work, stumbling about the castle and ripe to be taught their place. They will be good practice for him."
As he talked Kreacher returned, bowing and holding up the tray of tea silently before disappearing once more.
"Yes. You're right. Once he is within Slytherin house… All will be well after that." She took a sip and sighed, the tea and his words seeming to calm her.
"Indeed. I look forward to the day that Sirius forgoes his little... rebellion. Come dearest, we will need our rest for bringing him to King's Cross tomorrow." He gave a face of disgust "It was bad enough being amongst the stench of muggles in Diagon Alley. I so look forward to the day that the Dark Lord rids us of those parasites."
He stood, holding out his hand as she finished her tea cup and rose to meet him, Kreacher there in an instant to clean up behind them.
They disappeared into their bedroom, the lights of the hall snuffing out as Kreacher cleaned, muttering under his breath about his poor mistress, beset by her no good son.
He'd just popped into the kitchen when he turned and gave a fright; he wasn't alone.
Regulus Black, his face softer and hair shorter than his brother's, looked back from his place in front of the ice box, surprise and panic on his face for a moment before he realized it was just the elf. He had his arms laden with food, and gave a sheepish smile.
"Master Black!" the elf exclaimed, "What are you doing in this, Kreacher's unworthy domain!? You should be resting, oh yes. Not up at this ungodly hour!"
" 'llo Kreacher," the younger Black said smiling innocently around a piece of bread. "I'm just getting… a snack!"
Kreacher wasn't fooled for one moment. The kindhearted, naive little boy was obviously trying to sneak food to his no good rotten brother!
"Did your brother put you up to this? Of all the rotten tricks! I'll tell my mistress, oh yes, and that boy will get a whipping as he deserves!"
Kreacher was just about to leave when Regulus grabbed his arm.
"Wait Kreacher, please! Sirius didn't tell me anything," he pleaded, "I just thought that since he's going to Hogwarts tomorrow…" his voice wavered and Kreacher paused sympathetically. As much as Kreacher hated the eldest Black child, he could understand that his older brother meant everything to Regulus.
"Master Regulus is too kind to the likes of Master Sirius," his voice softened "but Kreacher understands, oh yes. He will be missing his companion. Fine, Kreacher will not tell." Although the other brother would certainly deserve it, Kreacher thought unkindly.
"Thank you Kreacher!" and with that Regulus hurried up the stairs, careful to dodge the troll leg in the foyer and taking the next few flights of stairs quickly and quietly before he arrived to his older brother's bedroom door.
Balancing the food in his arms Regulus tapped their secret knock softly. There was a moment that he thought his Sirius had fallen asleep, but then the door was opened and Regulus hurried inside.
"What are you doing up?" Sirius asked sulkily while his younger brother dumped the food on Sirius' bed, and turned to face him. His older brother's voice was thick and his eyes pink, and there were red welts on his arm, half-hidden by his pajama sleeves, evident of a stinging hex. But his expression was calm. Feeling a little guilty still, Regulus turned and grabbed the plate of chicken, holding it out like a peace offering.
"I brought you some dinner," he said brightly, then added in his most convincing innocent voice, "and I couldn't sleep."
Sirius straightened up in concern as Regulus knew he would.
"Did you have a bad dream?" He said as he crossed over to the bed, flopping down and patting at a free spot.
Yeah. I dreamed my big brother was going away, he thought sadly, but Sirius had taken the bait and Regulus took the other spot happily, making up a nightmare that would pacify his brother as he tucked in. He nodded patiently as Sirius said something comforting and took the opportunity to look around. Sirius had his trunk open but most of his things were packed aside from his copy of The Dark Forces: A Guide to Self-Protection, that was lying open next to his pillow and turned to the page
"Getting a head start on studying?" His brother said dryly, earning a grin.
"Hardly! Just looking for some good spells, Curses and jinxes you know? Never know when you might need them" he said darkly, and Regulus couldn't blame him. Slytherins weren't known for their friendly personalities.
"It's too bad I don't have anyone to practice on." Sirius continued, finishing his roll, then added mischievously "unless I practiced on Kreacher."
Regulus groaned. "Don't. He isn't all that bad. Do you know, he caught me sneaking food up for you and still let me go."
"Hmph." Sirius replied unhappily. "He only did it for you. You're the good one. And he's still a little bastard," he muttered.
Sighing as Regulus crossed his arms unhappily, Sirius looked from the food to his brother, and gave him a tight smile.
"You didn't really have a nightmare, did you?"
"Whatever do you mean?" Regulus said offhandedly, crunching on an apple.
Sirius grinned but said nothing as they finished off their contraband.
By tomorrow morning he would be on the train to Hogwarts, and he should have been excited. But while there was nothing more that he looked forward to than getting out of this terrible house, with it's terrible house elf, and his terrible father and his terrible hag of a mother he also wasn't sure if he was looking forward to Hogwarts either.
He would be miserable surrounded by all the other pureblood snobs with their blood mania, having to kiss up to people like stinking Lucius Malfoy if he didn't want to get shoved into the privies or pushed off a staircase or something.
He sighed, rubbing the welts on his wrist, but at least anywhere was better than here.
Reglus seemed to read his mind.
"Well, I'm sure Narcissa will look after you at least," making Sirius bark a laugh. Their older cousin would sooner throw him off a bridge than lift a finger to help him. But, at least there was one person who was on his side. They sat up, talking about Hogwarts and what it would be like until Regulus began yawning and Sirius made him go to bed.
"No use staying up for my account" he said sternly as Regulus went to the doorway. "Plus I'm sure you need your beauty sleep" he said teasingly, making his brother bristle.
"Next time I'm not bringing you anything!" He said grumpily, and they laughed, but soon they grew quiet, looking at their feet awkwardly.
"I'm going to miss you," Reglus admitted.
"Yeah, I'm going to miss you too." And Sirius meant it.
"You'll write to me though, won't you?"
"Of course! I'll write every week."
Regulus shifted on his feet. "We'll be okay won't we? With you off at school? Things won't change will they?"
"Of course not! You're my kid brother!" Sirius replied, rolling his eyes.
"And You promise you won't forget about me?"
"I promise. Cross my heart and hope not to get murdered by a hippogryph."
Regulus smiled and nodded, seeming appeased. "At least we'll be together next year" he said cheerfully and Sirius smiled.
"Yeah, at least there's next year. Alright, now go to bed! I don't want mother blaming me when we can't get you up in the morning." He gave his brother a final clap on the shoulder and shooed him away, but when he went to bed he couldn't sleep.
Soon Sirius would be going to Hogwarts, miles away from his parents.
None of them realized just how much they needed that.
So, to start, this universe is being made with an end-goal in mind and is based on the premise of "What is Peter Pettigrew had instead of giving up the Potters chose to sacrifice himself, accidently giving them the Protection Charm that still backfires on old Moldy Voldy, making Harry still the Chosen One, but also keeping his parents alive." I also thought that this, coupled with the idea of Regulus Black, instead of going it alone had gone to Dumbledore for help.
The changes I'm making to the plot also means that other things about the world changes, most substantially during the Harry Saga: after all I wouldn't want to just parrot the books right?
Also for more housekeeping: I've taken the liberty of actually mapping out the lunar cycle starting with when Remus was first bitten, which would have been March 17th 1965, seven days after his fifth birthday. Pottermore's blurb would have put it sometime in February. Looking at the actual days and times for the full moons, it actually IS believable that nobody would connect him getting sick with them unless they were really paying attention.
The titles of these chapters is based on A Treatise on the Astrolabe, the manual to the instrument that Remus gets from his father.
Finally, I'm really excited to be writing this! I actually have everything mapped out to Harry's seventh year so it's just going to be a matter of writing everything, which will be fun!
Anyway, feel free to review!