Hi Everyone! Welcome back! Here it is, the first chapter of the second book. Thank you for being so patient, enjoy and review!
"So how long will it take for us to get there?" Harry asked as they started to pull out of the car park.
"Well usually only 3ish hours but we're taking the roundabout way so closer to a couple of days." Remus had answered rather blasé in Harry's opinion.
"Can I let Hedwig out?"
"Of course, that might be better actually."
Harry immediately opened the cage and his gorgeous owl immediately stepped onto his arm with a soft hoot.
"Hedwig do you want to go on or stay with us as we travel up?"
Hedwig barked and opened her wings, hopping over Harry's shoulder to be closer to the window as she turned her head to stare at him with her amber eyes.
"Haha okay girl, go to Potter Manor in Gloucestershire. I'll see you tomorrow evening or maybe the day after."
With a nip to his finger, the snowy owl flew out the window and Harry watched her slowly disappear into the sky before he turned back to his guardians.
"What exactly are we going to do?"
"Well we thought your historical education was severely lacking so we have planned!" Sirius injected looking very proud of himself.
"Yep, we're doing Windsor Castle then food and sleep then onto the beauty that is Highclere and finally Stonehenge before going to your manor."
"My manor?" Harry asked in surprise.
"Well its certainly not Moony's and I have my own. Several actually." Sirius buffed his knuckles on his jumper.
"Oh try to be serious Pads-"
"I'm always serious!"
"Oh shush. Yes Harry its yours, or your families if that's an easier concept to grasp. Its been in your family for generations and is quite spectacular."
"How often did you guys go?"
Harry watched as the two marauders exchanged glances that were clearly bittersweet.
"Well I first saw it after second year during the summer, the full moon occurred only a few days before the end of term and after begging and begging and begging my parents finally agreed to let me go, we were estactic. James was never able to keep a secret from his parents and they'd actually figured it out before my friends."
"Well James could be quite oblivious and had sent many letters to his parents about the fact that his good friend was ill again, or his grandma was ill or his parents and he had to go home etc. Mr and Mrs Potter figured it out ages before, but they were good and kind people and so after James begged them for about 2 months they finally agreed to host all of us at the manor. My parents were a bit unsure of it but after they met with them and the Potters assured them, they didn't care and the full moon was behind us they agreed. Its one of my favourite holiday memories." Remus said, smiling to himself as he remembered the sword fights he and James had got into.
"I came a bit later, Remus and Pettigrew were allowed to floo in but my dear old mum was never going to let me attend a light families house. Oh no, she ordered me home promptly to ensure that the year away hadn't ruined my training. I eventually sneaked out and spent a few nights there, caught hell for it too but so worth it definitely a favourite memory too."
"Ron and the twins saving me before second year was one of mine."
"I can't believe they flew that car." Sirius said shaking his head. "Your dad would have loved that."
"He'd be furious that the situation called for it." Remus said darkly.
"The point is I got out of there." Harry interrupted before his guardians could go into another rant.
"And we're very thankful you did." Remus said firmly, he and Sirius still didn't feel as though their revenge on the Durselys was complete. Since the first stage of their plan Vernon had been fired and hadn't managed to secure another position to which his response had been to throw himself into drink. Petunia had moved in with Marge -who found her dogs suddenly making a run for it - and was currently working in pet shop as her other three positions as waitresses and grocery shop assistant had led to her being fired after refusing to help customer's she believed beneath her. Dudley was stuck in juvie and had quickly learnt that his size didn't automatically make him the big man. But the two marauders still thought some other things could go wrong for them.
"And hopefully this summer will excel in your expectations."
"I can't wait to find out."
They had carried on talking about what they had done during the holidays as they started to leave the filled streets of London; Sirius explaining the many Pureblood household parties and Ministry events he'd had to attend and the muggle caravanning and camping ones that Remus had enjoyed with his parents all within the time limit given to him by Greyback.
"Moony, how did your parents treat you?" Harry had asked slightly nervously when Remus had made a joke about moonbathing being more deadly than sun.
Remus sighed deeply.
"My parents loved me very much…I never doubted that. My dad especially…you see the reason that Greyback came after me was because my father insulted him during a questioning; when I was bitten my parents did everything they could to provide me with a somewhat normal childhood while still protecting me. They kept me isolated, not allowing me out much –"
"But isn't that cruel?"
"Harry I was only seven years old when I could break though doors and throw off normal containment spells. If word had gotten out about an uncontrolled werewolf I could very easily have been taken away and executed. My parents and I moved villages several times as people got suspicious, they did the best they could, remember wolfsbane has only been around for the last few years. They still took me out with them, I remember we went to Oxford once and spent a whole week looking into the history of the colleges and the different events that occurred there. They did everything they could to make me happy."
"What happened to them?"
"They died, my mother just before the war and my father during it. They were wonderful and your mum once described mine as the classic 'mum who'd have milk and cookies waiting for you after school' I miss them a lot."
They'd been silent for a beat or two until Padfoot had declared himself starving and had demanded Harry give him one of the sausage rolls that made up the food baby.
The conversation had turned to lighter topics until they had arrived at Windsor castle. Only a few select rooms were open to the public as well as the main gardens and somewhat surprisingly Harry enjoyed a happy two hours wandering around as Remus explained the history behind the building and how the royal family used it; all in his 'teachers' voice that had Sirius mocking him from behind. Harry was amazed at the sight of several ghosts that gave a wave and wink to the three wizards.
"While the monarchy does not strictly know about us, there are specifically placed people within their staff to ensure their safety and to keep the ministry up to date, I believe it usually belongs to the role of Lord Chamberlain, there are several old homes around England that contain ghosts."
"Remus, why did you give up on teaching?" Harry wondered out-loud. Remus snorted loudly.
"Even in the muggle world, missing several days of work during the month is a good enough reason to be fired."
"But what about tutoring? You're an amazing teacher, and I know for a fact that tutoring in the muggle world is good money." Harry said, remembering the science teacher that the Durselys had employed for Dudley.
"Honestly Harry that thought had never actually occurred to me…but I can't do it now anyway."
"Because there's a bunch of stupid laws that prohibit people with furry problems from working with muggles in case they 'slip up'" Sirius said sarcastically, as they made their way back to the car, following a tourist group of old ladies all of whom were dressed in similar shades of beige.
"The way the world works, Prongslet. But Augusta and I are trying our best and will continue until old wolfies like Moony here are free to teach all sorts of brats that they want!"
"Gee thanks Pads, sounds like so much fun, whoo me!" Remus replied with a mock cheery grin on his face.
"Awh you're welcome my greying friend. OI!" He yelled dodging out the way as his 'greying' friend took a swipe at his head.
"What about you, Harry. Any plans for the future?" Remus asked as he settled in the passenger seat of the range rover that Sirius had christened Josie.
"To be honest I haven't really thought about it. We didn't have the career talk in primary school and when I took the electives at Hogwarts I just took what Ron took, not really sure how it would help me in the future." Harry answered thoughtfully as he tugged his seatbelt more so that he could lean forward.
"Well how about now? Anything you think sounds particularly interesting. You do have an auror for a father; charms expert as a mother, uncle as a professor and dashing godfather as auror too. Plus four Unspeakables in your life."
"I guess thinking about it….two things stand out." Harry felt a warmth in his stomach at the encouraging looks from the adults without the expectation in their eyes.
"This year when I was helping Neville and Daphne and the gang get the spells…I really enjoyed it…I think I do like the idea of teaching, helping others accomplish something."
"Oh Moony you've corrupted him!"
"Or also healing?"
"Healing?" Asked Remus an interested gleam in his eyes.
"Yeah, some of the research I did for the Tournament really opened up my eyes to the complexity of it. Did you know there is a spell to cure bad eyesight? Its hugely expensive but imagine not having to worry about where you put your glasses or being called names or just being able to see?" He said passionately. "And skelegrow only came about recently, the herbs that Irish druids used centuries ago is actually is used in the potion today! And being able to heal someone's cold! Pepper – up potion, it actually contains bicorn horn! And the way you harvest it is so specific and –"
Sirius and Remus exchanged amused glances as Harry began to expand on the knowledge he had learnt, waving his hands enigmatically.
"He sounds just like Lily doesn't he." Sirius whispered his eyes continuously flicking to the mirror to watch his godson go on about Jewelweed. Remus nodded next to him.
"Daphne thinks I'd be pretty good at it, she says I have the right temperament for a bedside manner? But I do love the idea of helping people because I've actually done something, you know…not just my parents." He said quietly and the two nodded in understanding
"SO are you interested in being a kind of GP or into research?" Remus asked and the drive continued with Remus asking the intelligent questions like if Harry had thought about a specialist subject while Sirius asking the silly questions like did he just want to jab people with needles.
By the time the discussion over healing was finished with, Josie was pulling into The Donavan Arms car park and the food baby was halfway demolished (mostly by Sirius). The drive they had taken to get here had taken them off the main road and through a twisting back track that had too many potholes to count and weaved through fields of corn. It was pitch black out, but the pub stood cheerily under a large lamppost with a few others going through the gravel area. It was a large white wash building with big windows and wooden shutters, the pub sign hanging from above the large wooden door that had 'entrance' written on it in white cursive.
"And here we are, the watering hole! Everyone out, lets get some grub and then snoozy time."
They all trooped in and took in the ambiance.
"Hi there I'm Emily, can I help you?" The woman looked to be late twenties/early thirties and was dressed in blue jeans and black sweater with her brunette hair pulled back.
"Hello there, Miss. We made a reservation under Lupin, should be three of us?"
"Oh yes, Mr Lupin for just bed and breakfast for one night?"
"That is correct."
"Excellent, here are your keys. If you go up the stairs that are down the corridor on your right you'll be in room 6. It's a family room, correct?"
"Wonderful and did you want dinner tonight?"
"If there's space then yes please. We're starving!" Sirius announced, leaning his arms on the high table that held the cashier, papers and some colourful brochures that claimed to have a botanical garden and other interesting days out for people.
"I'm sure we can squeeze you in, give us half an hour." Emily said with a bright smile.
"Thank you, Emily."
The three trooped their way upstairs and to the end of the corridor with its creaky floorboards, the room was medium sized. Certainly not spacious but fit the two bunkbeds in it comfortably. It was painted a light blue with a white wardrobe on the far wall and an en-suite next to the door, a large polished set of drawers stood alongside one wall with a TV over it. Small windows were on the same wall as the wardrobe and looked out over the fields.
"Well, it will do for one night." Remus said, heaving his bag onto one of the lower bunks before heading to the windows and peering out at the darkness.
"Its perfect Moony, cute little pub in the middle of nowhere and yet I get no murder vibes." Sirius said as he slipped his shoes off and immediately headed to the top bunk where he lay back with a sigh.
"Do you often get murder vibes from things?" Harry said grinning as he settled on the bed under Sirius'.
"Sometimes…From my mother every day!"
"Your mother was nuts, Pads." Remus said simply.
"Ain't that the truth, then there was the creepy little cat from a few doors down…he never liked me."
"Maybe he sensed the dog in you?"
"Alrighty then, while you guys carry on discussing murder vibes I'm gonna take a shower."
"Kay, of and do you remember Marlyn Stewart?"
"Oh she was obsessed with you!"
"Yep yep definitely vibes off her."
"Didn't she try to steal your shirt?"
"Didn't you offer to send her more?"
Harry shook his head at the ridiculous conversation and left his guardians to it, deciding to take a long hot shower. As he climbed out, he felt another twitch in his scar. Rubbing it carefully he wiped the condensation from the mirror and looked at it. It was slightly pink still, almost fresh looking but apart from that it was the same as it had always been. He wondered briefly what sought of experiments the Unspeakables wanted to do to it before a knock on the door shook his focus.
"Harry? Everything okay?" Remus' voice said through the door and Harry realised how long it had been.
"Oh yeah sorry fine, I'll be out in a sec."
By the time he got out, Sirius was watching some TV show that had a car blowing up on it and Remus was reading a book.
"Definitely refreshed, either of you going in?"
"Yeah I'll take a quick one. Make sure the dog doesn't do anything stupid."
"He's got a movie, I'm sure he'll be fine."
"I am sitting right here!"
"Technically Padfoot you're lying." Harry said before dodging out the way as a pillow came soaring in his direction. He sat on the floor leaning against Remus' bunk and glanced towards the TV.
"Old TV show, its called The A-Team and it is brilliant!"
"Never heard of it."
"You have not lived, my child." Sirius said looking over at him sternly. "We shall rectify that later."
Harry let out a huff of laughter that was followed by a sigh and it was only due to the animagi in him that Sirius caught it. Quickly he lowered the volume on the show and took a good look at his godson. He looked exhausted, the shadows were gone from under his eyes but the green fire was almost gone too, he seemed burnt out.
"You alright, Prongslet? Some deep thoughts running through your head?"
"Just thinking about everything."
"Anything you want to get off your chest?" Sirius asked as he climbed down to sit opposite the younger man.
"I'm not sure. I don't really know how to feel about it you know?" He pulled his knees up to his chest and rested his arms on them. "I may or may not be a horcrux, meaning there is something in me that stops Riddle from dying. But I have this…connection to what he does, what he feels. Its creepy."
Sirius snorted loudly. "I think that's an understatement. Its weird and creepy and no doubt you've put some sort of pressure on yourself to figure it out?"
Harry looked down slightly guiltily and Sirius knew he'd hit the nail on the head.
"Harry, although I know this must be very odd to hear. This is not your responsibility. This is the responsibility of the adults and the people who have more knowledge about the weirdness of magic that you and I have no hope of understanding."
"I know that…kind of. I just feel like I could be doing something."
"You are." Came Remus' voice as he stepped out the bathroom. " You're going on holiday and relaxing and being a teenager. Harry, do you understand the incredibly complex situation you're in?"
The men looked at each other and shrugged.
"I have a connection to a psychopath. Should I be getting anything else?." Harry said with an almost innocent expression and Sirius sniggered.
"Yes! No one has ever gone through this before. You've gone through hell this year and honestly the fact you haven't freaked out majorly is astounding."
"I know that I've aged at least five years." Sirius said, nodding his head wisely.
"Only five." Remus teased.
"Hm, the point that Moony is trying to make is that you are allowed to have you time, you're also allowed to feel helpless but come on, live in the moment." Sirius said as he stood to stretch.
"I know I know, Luna said something similar. I just I don't get how I 've had this in me for so long and yet no ones found it."
"It does seem quite implausible." Remus said. "But after Halloween, I suppose people didn't bother to check because they wanted to believe HE had gone."
"The point is we've found it now and we have plans to get rid of it, don't worry we kicked Tommy's arse once and we can do it again." Sirius said before the bathroom door shut behind him. Remus shook his head with a fond smile and settled on the bed.
"You got through a Triwizard tournament, Harry. A tournament that you had no business being in and fought in, you also learnt Occlumency, saved Sirius from a life as a fugitive and on top of that managed to have a social life. I have no idea what your grades are like but I'm pretty sure you're close to acing everything. That's not something to be taken lightly, and its certainly something you should feel extremely proud of yourself about. You deserve a break; yes?"
Harry considered saying what he knew his uncle wanted to hear but one look into the green eyes that challenged him, changed that decision and he thought about it carefully, flicking through his memories as he recalled the last year. As he opened his eyes, he knew Moony was right, he forced himself to se his accomplishments and put the guilt where it should be. On the adults, on Dumbledore and Fudge, on the other judges and on Tom Marvolo Riddle.
"You're right, Remus. I do. I am going to have fun, and stay up late and eat junk food and actually have a break."
"Excellent idea, I think one of your best yet." The man said with a soft smile to his nephew and he watched as the younger man grabbed the remote and flicked the volume up just as a gun fight occurred on the TV.
A little while later the three went down to dinner where Remus had a rare steak with chips, Sirius had the almighty burger with chips and Harry decided on the Shepherds pie with greens. The hour they spent down was friendly, with Harry asking about their careers. By the time they struggled up to bed with full stomachs, they'd had a lovely night that had been very chilled and as Harry settled into bed listening to Sirius' fidgeting he smiled to himself at the simple feeling of being happy.
"GET UP POTTER!"
"ARGH!" Harry yelled springing up right before falling back onto the bunk with a pained gasp as his head banged onto the frame. The barking laughter to his right had him glaring at his guardian with venom in his eyes.
"What the hell?!" He whispered harshly rubbing his head.
"Thought you needed some assistance." Sirius Black said nonchalantly as he pushed his hands through the mop of black hair and checked it in the full-length mirror. "Perfection!" He announced before he realised his godson was still sitting in bed glaring at him. "Well come on, it's a brand-new day and we have things to do! Up and at it!" He said just as Remus came out of the bathroom and he managed to slip in before the pillow hit him.
"Alright there, Prongslet?"
"Can't we just neuter him? It'll make him more manageable." Harry said as he climbed out of the bed and stretched, his back cracking in protest.
"I've tried, he always manages to escape."
The two shared a grin and soon after they headed back downstairs.
"Good morning gentleman, did you have a good night?" Emily said with a smile as she greeted them taking in the almost hyper behaviour of the dark haired man, the resigned smile on the taller brown haired one and the excited but still polite younger man.
"Slept like a dog, thanks." Sirius said with a grin as he leaned on the counter, grey eyes resting on the young woman.
"Wonderful, would you like breakfast or just check out?"
"Oh I think we can squeeze in a breakfast, right Moony?"
"Sounds perfect to me."
"Excellent, this way please."
Emily led them away from the main pub area where they'd had dinner and into a smaller dining area. It was a nice room with paintings of corn fields and light-coloured furniture.
"This is the breakfast room for our stay overs, we have a full English, cereal, a few pastries and fruit. Plus, the usual drinks, what would you like?" She asked as they sat down.
"Full English please." Came the united response from all three.
"Haha not too hard then, and for drinks?"
"Orange juice for three plus he'll have a black coffee please." Said Sirius looking at his best friend with a grin. Remus, who had his head resting on his hands already with his eyes closed.
"You got it." The woman said as she left with a wink to him.
"Is he always like this?" Harry asked in interest as he watched his uncle's head slip further down his hand, leaving his cheek all squashed up.
"Yep, at least he has some level of control over it now, during school it was terrible. Weekends were the worst! Especially with Hogsmeade, we always wanted to be up and out but would literally would have to drag this one out of bed."
"Stole my mattress once." Mumbled Remus.
"Ah yeah, that was fun. We managed to tup a blanketfrom under him so that he slipped own onto the floor that we had softened, then levitated his mattress down the stairs, we were halfway down the stairs before he woke up and chased us around the tower several times before being forced out!"
Within 10 minutes they each had their breakfasts in front of them and Remus was starting to look a little bit more awake. Their conversation had shifted to the days plan.
"So first Windsor and now Highclere. Why are we going around old castle's again?" Harry asked as he cut his bacon.
"Well it was one of your mums things, she always wanted to show you the more historical places around England, it was one of their things to do weirdly enough. Your mum loved history almost as much as Moony and she had all these plans to take you to re-enactments. James just enjoyed seeing her happy and agreed to it."
"Plus its where your mum wanted to get married." Remus said, taking another gulp of coffee.
"They got married there?" Asked Harry, suddenly feeling an urgency to see the place for himself.
"I'm afraid not, they wanted to get married as soon as possible you see but it was the height of the first war, they had a simple ceremony at Godric Hollows church with the parents and a few friends. But your dad swore that once it was all over, they'd have a grand reception there and everyone would be invited." Sirius said wistfully.
"Were they big party people?"
"Not so much, one thing they loved though was sharing joy. And when they finally got together…They were so happy, so completely in love, it was incredible to see how they were with each other."
"What do you mean?"
"Well when they started dating we were all still in Hogwarts, and not many people realised they'd actually got together because their attitudes didn't change, they still hung out, still laughed and teased each other but there was a shift. Prongs had calmed down during fifth or sixth year but when he was with Lily he was even more at peace, no longer filled with nervous energy but happy to sit and watch and talk. And Lily she let her jokey side out, made sure she actually gained a social life instead of studying for everything at all times."
"One of my clearest memories is towards the end of our seventh year." Remus said, finally engaging in the conversation. "A second year was panicking over their electives and James had gone over to talk to them, pretty soon he had about five others asking him questions and he sat at their table and answered each and every one. I was studying with Lily and one of the times I glanced over and realised she was watching him, she was smiling not widely or anything just a small one. But that look in her eyes, I'd never seen her look so…" He struggled to find the words and Sirius helped him out.
"Content? Warm? Peacef-"
"Warm, that's it perfectly. She was happy and in love and her eyes were warm." Remus said nodding to himself as he bit into the last of his toast.
"Of course we teased them about it. But man alive, it was something, I see some of that warmth in you." Sirius teased with a wink towards Harry who blushed but smiled.
"You're going to have a lot to tell her when we get to the manor. You can floo as soon as you want." Sirius said before leaning back with a deep sigh. "That was excellent."
"Glad you think so." Said a laughing voice and Emily came through the doorway. "Its good to see empty plates."
"That was brilliant, thank you!" Harry said enthusiastically.
"You're very welcome, would you like anything else?"
At the denial, Emily began to clear up as the men went up to their room to gather their things. After checking out with a final thank you and goodbye to Emily they were finally on their way. It was only 9 o'clock and already there was quite a bit of traffic on the roads as people travelled for the start of the summer holidays, the three were not in any hurry and with Guns 'n' Roses playing they were more than happy to drive along peacefully.
It was roughly 20 minutes into the journey that anyone spoke up again, Remus was struggling with the map while Sirius was singing along to Paradise City and Harry was staring out the window. Remus gave up with the map after he tore it for a third time and threw it down at his feet with an angry huff.
"Oh there there Moony old pal, so you got beaten by a map it happens to the best of us."
"Hmph, you won't be saying that when you take the wrong exit." Remus said moodily as he crossed his arms.
"I'll have you know I have an excellent sense of direction."
"Oh sure, which is why I remember getting a panicked phone call from Prongs at 2 am from a payphone on the middle of Wales!"
"Oh that was one time plus the sheep distracted me."
"Well I suppose that's okay then, I'll use that excuse next time I go shopping and end up at a café."
"That is not the same thing."
"Yes it is."
"No it isn't."
"Yes it is."
"No it isn't.
"Yes it – Harry back me up here!"
"Don't get my godson involved!"
"I'm not I'm getting my nephew!"
"No thanks." The younger man said quickly, trying in vain to hide his grin that had been threatening to split his face since the start of the conversation.
"Ha see he doesn't want to get involved with you." Remus said triumphantly.
"No, he just doesn't want to hurt your feelings!"
"Actually, I really like this song can we turn it up please!" Harry said almost desperately, feeling his stomach start to hurt as he tried not to laugh.
Its so Easy began playing loudly through the car and they all joined in.
"Harry favourite song?" Remus asked as he air guitared.
"I don't really have one to be honest. The Dursley never let me listen to music and Aunt Petunia only put on classical."
"No matter, we'll play enough on this ride for you." Remus said shooting Sirius a warning look as his hands clenched on the wheel. "Harry, can you tell us more about your first year? I don't mean all the death-defying stuff but more like learning magic and quidditch and the fun stuff."
"Oh well to go from the beginning it was Hagrid who came to get me for my school things and showed me around Diagon Alley for the first time, it was amazing! There were so many things to look at! There was solid gold cauldron and I saw the Nimbus obviously and it was so cool! The goblins kind of weirded me out at first but then reminded me of grumpy old men so I got past but the ride is awesome!"
The two guardians smiled at his obvious enthusiasm and asked questions so that by the time they pulled up to Highclere, they were all surprised at how quickly the time had passed.
As they entered the main entrance chamber Harry was struck by the magnificent of the building and started as Sirius slung an arm around his shoulders.
"Now can you see why your mum wanted to get married here? Come on we want to show you something." At once Sirius dashed off clearly expecting to be followed immediately and Remus merely laughed as he gestured to Harry.
"Quick, before we lose him completely, he's only just been house trained."
The two headed in the same vague direction and only just managed to keep up as the Head of House Black darted through the tourist group.
"Why is he so eager?" Harry asked as he apologised to a woman that had stumbled as the tornado that was his dogfather whirled past.
"There's a painting we think you'd like to see. Though this is a bit silly." Remus huffed as they had to quicken their pace.
Eventually they caught up with the man and he grinned widely at them and motioned for Harry to step through another one of the large doors first.
"The long Gallery, Mr Potter. If you would walk down to the fourth painting." Sirius put a superior voice.
Harry sighed but did as asked and quickly ended up by a large oil canvas, the scene was of a ballroom, couple twirled about on a glittering dancefloor and a small orchestra were playing in the corner.
"Erm…its pretty?" He said hesitantly looking back to his guardians.
"What's the date, Harry." Remus asked with a smile.
"And you can't see anything unusual in it?"
Harry looked again, the bands instruments were incredibly detailed, the couples all had specific facial features.
"It was done at the time?"
"Yep, keep looking for something familiar."
Harry took another look and suddenly realised what his guardians had been trying to get him to see. The couple nearest to the band looked familiar, at least the gentleman did. He had a mess of black hair and was laughing with his partner, round glasses present on his face. Harry could even make out a speck of red on his littlest finger. He eyed the date again, his gaze flicking back and forth as he looked at the man then the date.
He felt his guardians come to stand by him.
"That is your great, great, great, great, great, great possibly great grandfather." Sirius announced proudly.
"My family." Harry murmured, feeling a slight warmth in his chest as he looked at the man.
"Another reason why your parents liked it here so much." Remus said softly.
"Would you like to see the rest of the house? Its pretty amazing and will give you a vague idea of what the house in France looks like." Sirius asked.
"Yeah why not, lets act noble and posh." Harry answered with a grin.
Sirius cleared his throat, straightened his back and put on an expression of superiority though his lips were twitching frequently.
"Well I do believe that there is dust! Dust in my house! Oh how terrible quick fetch the maid! I am Lord Sirius, how dare my house be such a wreck." He stalked off with his nose in the air, leaving Remus and Harry chuckling behind him.
"If he was noble, I think his tenants would have killed him." Whispered Remus before he started to follow his friend.
Harry took one last look at his ancestor before catching up to them just as 'Lord Sirius' started wailing about how the banister wasn't polished enough and Lady Christina would be most disappointed with him.
"And we need to redecorate, this carpet is quite awful; what do you think Lord Harrison?"
"Oh but of course, completely outdated, and the red is dreadfully dull."
"Quite right, honestly what was my wife thinking when she brought out these garish curtains." He said with disdain as he waved a hand towards the mint green drapes.
"They are quite ghastly, but society pressures Lord Black, they are all the rage." Remus said with a raised eye at the fabric.
The rest of the tour carried on in much the same manner causing all of them to burst into laughter at random times until the reached the Egyptian Exhibit that caused Remus to practically squeal in excitement as he walked back and froth looking over everything at least three times and describing the artefacts in detail as well as the excavation of it while Sirius and Harry stood by a wall and watched in bemused silence.
"And the curses they used were incredible, so many of the magic men of the court would prepare the chambers to be protected which is why curse-braking is such an incredible career to have."
"I think Bill Weasley does that, he's employed by Gringots?"
"Yes its mostly Goblins who take care of wards because they have such a rich history with it, they began to use Runes centuries before humans and if you want a curse-breaker, contact a Goblin. Now here you see this scarab, this could a genuine treasure found by Carter all those years ago, it may have even been found in the main chamber with the mummies…"
They spent only another 15 minutes there before Sirius' rumbling stomach had them leaving in search of food. Deciding against the gift shop and café and instead returning to Josie the all settled in the boot, munching on BLT sandwiches, pastries and salt 'n' vinegar crisps.
"Well shall we carry on to the last part of our trip?" Remus asked as he stood and stretched.
"Sounds good to me. Prongslet, why don't you hop in the front so I can have a stretch."
"Where are we going now?" Harry asked eagerly.
"Now we shall trek along the backroads to Stonehenge, heard of it?"
"Heard of it, but don't really know it." He answered as he climbed into the front and relaxed into the leather seat.
"It is a collection of rocks." Sirius said with a bored tone.
"It is not a collection of rocks!" Remus spoke sternly as he glared in the rear mirror.
"Could have fooled me." Harry heard him mutter in the back.
"Okay start at the beginning, please." Harry said quickly before a fight broke out.
"Stonehenge is a monument, Harry. Its prehistoric but we're not 100% sure how old it is. As muggles they're not sure how it was done, its simply always been there. It's a collection of sarsen and bluestones set in-"
"Sorry what was that?" Sirius interrupted, sticking his head through the gap between the chairs.
"Sarsen and bluestone?"
"Yeah that word after blue?"
"Hmm and what are stones related too..." Sirius said his hand twitching to wave Remus on who sighed and rolled his eyes towards his nephew as he caught on.
"Thank you!" The man exclaimed triumphantly as he flopped back in his seat with a grin.
"As I was saying set in a ring with a few archways. Wizards know that the magi; the wizards who weren't even called wizards because it was so long ago! Those that worked with earth magic and elemental and all that jazz constructed it in order to perform the first runes. We believe that they made them in order to contact spirits or even look into the future. It's fascinating really-"
"Hm yes rocks can be fascinating, I always thought that." Came the reply from the backseat.
"Come on Padfoot listen, please." Harry requested pleadingly, turning to face his guardian who mimed zipping his lips. "Carry on, Moony."
"Thank you, Prongslet. You'll see when we get there these rocks aren't just big, they're huge! Humungous even! And they're set out in such a way that muggles are almost laughably confused about them, some think its aliens who did it, to leave their mark so they know where to return to. But there have been later records where people have managed to heal, cure, force out demons etc, the power comes from the stones themselves not just the people. Maybe its another healing theory that you can research about?" Remus said, glancing at his nephew who was listening closely.
"How did the power come from the stones?" Harry asked curiously.
"Well some think its to do with the essence of life, you see Harry everything in nature has life. It has energy, that's why magic can exist, because we manipulate the energy of something. While the exact properties of the monument aren't completely clear it is obvious that the power is strong and can-do marvellous things."
The discussion of nature, healing and magic that came after lasted the rest of the trip to the monument with all of them talking over each other as they got into a lively debate and Sirius injected with his own notes of wisdom.
They pulled into the car park and made their way to the information desk where a bright eyed, grey-haired lady cheerfully welcomed them and offered them various gift packages which Harry eagerly started to read through before they were directed through another door and into the great outdoors where a middle-aged gentleman pointed them in the direction.
"What electives did mum and dad take?" Harry asked as they started walking up the grassy slopes. "I know he was great at transfiguration and mum was ace at charms and you mentioned potions. But what else did they do?"
"Your dad took Care of Magical Creatures and Ancient Runes, and your mum did Arithmancy and Ancient Runes. For NEWTS your dad did Transfiguration, Potions, Herbology, Defence Against the Dark Arts, Charms and Ancient Runes, your mum took the same plus Arithmancy. They worked damn hard for their grades, you see most practical came pretty natural to Prongs but he had trouble keeping his mind focussed enough to really remember or understand the reasonings behind things. He spent hours in the library trying to complete Charms homework and he really struggled with Herbology. Your mum was the opposite, she overthought everything to such an extent that she got into her own head quite a few times, the practical was harder to come by. She spent ages practicing spells, totally exhausted herself during exam session." Remus said with a shake of his head.
"Why do you ask?" Sirius said speeding up to walk in front by facing the other two.
"Well until this year I haven't really…well made much of an effort with school work. But I've always done okay, I just don't really know what to do now, I think my interests have changed."
"Well that's okay, we didn't know what we wanted to do for ages." Remus said and Harry snorted.
"Yeah right, Remus you're the best teacher in the world! And Sirius and my dad went into the aurors straight away."
"Harry the reason your dad and I went into the aurors was because there was a war on. Sure we liked the idea of arresting people and doing our part but it was mostly because we wanted to live in freedom. Your dad was fascinated by spell creation and had been looking at apprenticeships in crafting while Remus wasn't allowed to because of his furry little problem and although he is an amazing teacher that wasn't his first thought."
"It wasn't?" Harry asked in surprise.
"Oh no, don't get me wrong I love teaching and I would absolutely do it more if I could but I really wanted to become an author. I wanted to write stories for a group of kids at school who looked out for each other but who tortured their teachers."
"That would have been brilliant." Harry said firmly and Remus smiled at him.
"Yes I think so too."
"Your mum on the other hand was simply mad about research, Professor Flitwick even asked her to be her mentor so that she could get a Masters in Charms. She loved the way things could move and change and wanted to explore the values of expanding the spells to help more of the world."
"They were denied their life." Remus said morosely as he looked over the hills before his gaze cut back to Harry. "I would like to think we've given you enough proof at how much we want to stick around, how much we will support you in decisions?"
Harry nodded quickly.
"We might not have been able to do the things we wanted to do when we were younger but we can assure you that we love where we are now. I might still write a book but I do love teaching, Sirius can still become Britain's Hottest Bachelor."
"Oh please, Mooney; that already happened." Sirius said importantly, running a hand through his hair with a grin.
"Of course my mistake. Anyway the point is, is that you are completely free to do whatever you want, you should not feel responsible or guilty to pursue your own pleasures or interests in life. We did things that we weren't happy with for a lot of reason, not all of them good."
"Like what?" Harry asked and even Sirius looked curiously at his old friend who looked extremely uncomfortable.
"Well, during the war I used to travel to and fro other countries trying to either recruit for the light side or spy on the werewolves who wanted to follow the dark side. I listened to a lot of conversations and pushed myself into situations, endangering a lot of innocent werewolves in order to get more information. I lied and even cheated a few wolves in order to gain my information and more often than not I did it because Dumbledore would personally ask me too and I never felt able to say no because of all that he'd done for me when I was younger."
"I forgot how difficult it was for you." Sirius spoke softly as he returned to walk next to him and rested a hand against his shoulder.
"Its alright, Pads. I was happy to do my part, it was harder to find work in England and to be able to escape and find out what things were like on the continent was helpful to me. But it was a lonely time, I couldn't really trust anyone and because it was 'secret mission' I didn't exactly have a lot of money most of the time."
"Sounds like a delight."
"While it wasn't my most favourite time, I would like to think it helped. And I did manage to make a few friends, some of who were able to get me jobs after the war."
"You worked in Europe?" Harry asked in surprise.
"Oh yes, while its not eradicated completely, the discrimination werewolves face over there is certainly less than here."
"So why didn't you live there?"
"Because if I was the only one to apply I would get the job, if someone else applied even if they were not as qualified or experienced or whatever they were always preferable. Even if I had the job if someone 'normal' came in and asked for a job they were automatically awarded it. Plus I missed England, it is home for me and you were here, I wanted to stay close." The man completed with a shrug. "Anyway here we are, magnificent isn't it."
Harry nodded in awe as he watched the humungous stones in front of him, it was quite an incredible sight, smooth grey faces set in an awkward circle. Several of them were laid about in arches while others merely stood proudly on the hill top.
"Okay I'll admit this is pretty cool." Sirius said with a grin as he started to move around the rope that stopped people from going up to the rocks and touching them. "Though I still think they're rocks." He quickly said, walking away from Remus and Harry.
"I still can't believe Dumbledore stopped you from seeing me." Harry said shaking his head.
"Well, he may have just thought it was for the best, Petunia never liked me and I wouldn't have been allowed to stay with you personally because of the laws. Plus for the first few years I was definitely not myself."
"Will you tell me?" Harry asked slowly, not wanting to push his uncle but wanting to understand. He was so used to people brushing over the pain, sometimes it felt more needed to recognise and accept it.
Remus watched Sirius who was now about 10 ft from them as he looked up at the boulders.
"A werewolf has almost two souls, Harry. The human one and the wolf one. The wolf one is more closely linked to animal traits, like you saw in your third year, it runs on instinct and can easily be swept into its bloodlust. The wolf also has what it considers its pack, the few connections that the wolf bonds with to such a point they are family and he'll do anything to protect them, they're his brothers. Sirius, your dad and Peter were all part of my pack by second year when they found out about me but still accepted me, Lily became a part of it in sixth year and finally you. Almost as soon as you were born." Remus smiled and Harry knew he was far away in that moment. "I wasn't allowed in the hospital so was waiting at Godric's Hollow with Pettigrew making sure everything was ready when you all came home, Lily came in and as soon as she saw me, placed you in my arms. Cub. It was spoken so loudly in my mind that its only one of few that my wolf and I have been on the same page and in complete agreement. When I heard the news, I broke; I lost three members of my pack and betrayed by one. My mind and heart couldn't take it. The pain was excruciating…endless…alone…lost. I let myself practically rot, I wanted death for many months, barely eating, surviving on practically nothing. But then I had a dream, it was of a cub, crying and alone too. I pulled myself out of my hole by force, cleaned up and set out to find you. Dumbledore wanted me to wait until I had seen a mind healer, then he wanted me to wait until I had a job, then until I was comfortable, then until you started Hogwarts. I was hurting, but I never wanted to hurt you and if in Dumbledores mind he was protecting you from me, from the feelings of agony I was dealing with…I can't entirely find fault with him for that."
The two were quiet before Harry put a hand on Remus' shoulder.
"Thank you Moony."
The green eyed man smiled back, shadows being chased from his eyes.
"I got through it, Prongslet. Its why I have so much faith that you will."
They smiled somewhat sappily at each other before clearing their throats and continuing their walk, It was only when they got halfway round that they both realised they were missing something…
"Where's the mutt?"
They both glanced at each other before frantically looking around.
"Oh no, on no this is not good. Who knows what he can get up to!" Remus said almost frantically.
"He's a grown man, he'll be okay?"
"That's what we thought when we went to the top of the largest hill in England and he decided to skateboard down it. He could try Bunge jumping off of them or extreme digging or-"
"Extreme digging?" Harry repeated in amusement causing Remus to shoot a quick glare.
"Hey you weren't there for the national park disaster in '78! Could he have gone back to the giftshop to buy it all out? That seems probable."
They took another scan and started to head down the hill.
"He sure moves fast."
"He's sneaky like that, one time at Hogwarts he-"
"Oh no." Whispered Remus as they both turned to hurried back up the hill and over to the other side to gaze in wonder at the scene.
"MAD COW! MAD COW!"
Down the hill across from them, a herd of cows had been peacefully grazing. Pale cream with brown splodges, no one had paid any attention to them and they hadn't felt bothered. Until Sirius Black had turned up. Now the rather angry, upset and plain pissed off cows were clambering after the man as he shot back up the hill.
"HARRY! REMUS! DO SOMETHING!"
"What do we do?" Harry said urgently, while Remus took note of the situation with a tad too much humour.
"He's a fast runner, he'll be fine." Just then the black haired sprinter tripped and rolled to a stop before struggling to his feet and started in the wrong direction. "Or not. Okay there's just us around, plus that couple over the there and the guides. On the count of three, get your wand out and say 'Tranquillitas' you got that? Awesome, for the wand movement, move it up, then diagonally down left and then straight to the right, okay? Yes perfect exactly like that. Now lets save the idiot once more."
With another quick look around to check to one was near they both drew their wands and while Harry did as he was told Remus intoned 'Arresto Momentum'
Immediately the cows started to slow down and turn away from the rapidly fleeing Head of the Noble and Most Ancient House of Black.
"Nicely done, Prongslet. He lived to be irritating for another day." Remus said dryly as the man took note of the fact the cattle had stopped chasing him and he flopped onto the grass about 5 metres in front of them.
"Erm, Sir is everything alright?" The middle aged man who had directed them to Stonehenge had come up to them and was looking down at Sirius with a quizzical brow.
"Perfectly, thank you. My friend here just gets a little too excited to see cows I'm afraid." Remus said politely.
"Did he…do anything to them?" The man asked.
"I only prodded them with a stick!" Whined Sirius as he pulled himself to his feet and made his way up. "I just wanted them to moo. I can speak very good cow you know." He said to the man seriously who was now looking slightly more worried.
"I see, well we do have signs so if you could perhaps leave them alone from now on?"
At the three's swift assurance that they would, the man walked slowly back over to his tent while constantly looking back at them.
"You speak cow?" Harry asked, trying and failing to keep his laughter in.
"Of course, everyone can listen. MOOOOOOOOO!" Sirius suddenly yelled and Harry fell about laughing while Remus tried to be the adult.
"Sirius stop that."
"Stop the mooing people are looking!" Remus hissed.
"Moooooooo mooo moooo?"
Remus shook his head as he started to walk about to the site.
"I knew I should have had him neutered."
Thankfully no other catastrophe occurred and the three enjoyed another half an hour discussing healing magic and nature and how cows responded to different people before leaving the historical sit in laughter as Sirius mooed at the man by the front desk.
"Right I want to drive the last bit." Sirius announced as they headed back towards Josie.
"We're going to the Manor now?" Harry asked, a little bit of nervousness mixed in with the excitement.
"We were thinking about it? We can find somewhere for another night though if you want?" Remus said sensing there was a little more to it.
"No I want to go now, I just…I don't know really." Harry half mumbled and immediately the other two leant against the car and waited patiently.
"I want to see it, I want to be there but its not like its home, you know? Like what if I don't actually feel comfortable there?" He sounded very lost and confused for a moment and Sirius' heart broke a little.
"Harry, it doesn't have to be your home. I'd be surprised if you did love it right away, you've never even been there. Your parents took you straight back to the hollow when you were born and lived there in hiding until they passed on. Grimmauld Place is the place I grew up, but it is most certainly not home and I doubt it ever will be. Honestly the Hollow was so much more of a home, it was amazing to be there and you only had to step through the door to feel comfortable and it had three of my favouritist people living there! but even the Chateaux is more home to me because its where I felt safe and where Moony and I reconnected."
"My parents place in the midlands was home for me, it was warm and full of love but certainly wasn't perfect. I still own the house but to be honest its not where I want to be, I want to be with you two. And where ever you make home, so will I." Remus said softly but firmly and Harry nodded as he felt the truth in their words and understood the hidden meaning. He breathed deeply before pushing away from Josie and then opening her passenger door.
"Well we'd better get going then."
"Oh I dibs driving!"
"I dibs driving!"
Came two voices and Harry felt a smile grow as his guardians started the now familiar argument.
"I said it first!"
"No I did!"
"Did not, you're too slow!"
"I'm faster than you! You always lost back in Hogwarts!"
Harry sighed as he fastened his seatbelt and decided to put in one of the many CD's Sirius had brought; while the men battled it out now complete with name calling, he leaned his head back as The Beatles - Help came bursting through the and wondered how he'd been getting through it without them.