Hi Everyone, I am so sorry its taken so long to post and its not that long either. Numerous things have been popping up I promise I'm not forgetting to write or anything just life happens etc. So Chapter 4, hope ya'll enjoy!
"GAHHH!" Came the bellow from upstairs late afternoon and Harry was very glad they had silenced Remus's room. "POTTER!"
"Doesn't he remind you of a certain professor when he does that?" Asked Theo interestedly as he spooned another chunk of strawberry cheesecake ice cream into his mouth.
"Don't tell him that, we might have a murder on our hands." Hearing the feet thundering down the stairs he quickly jumped over the couch he had been sitting on to use as a barrier as his guardian came bursting in.
"WHAT DID YOU DO TO ME!?"
Theo lost it immediately, the ice cream almost coming out of his nose as he tried to control his laughter. Harry did a little better, keeping his face a puzzled mask though his lips were twitching furiously.
"Whatever do you mean?"
The Snape look a like glared at him with a fury that cause another spark of laughter from the Heir of House Nott. Black hair was limp and drab, hanging over his cheeks with the same amount of flair as a dead duck. Black eyes were filled with an almost exact amount of rage. The long hooked hose was the piece de la resistance though, it curled just right over the snarling lip and reached a several of centimetres over the body, hanging off of the mixed face of Sirius Black and Severus Snape.
"Do something." Hissed the man.
Harry clutched onto the sofa tightly as he shook his head slowly.
"Nooooo, don't think I can do that. What do you think Theo?"
"Absolutely not, you look truly incredible Sirius. A work of art."
The man glared at the two who started giggling like schoolboys.
"Do something." He repeated harshly as his hands came up to hold his hair. "I feel all…greasy. Eurgh its horrible. Harrrrrryyyy." He whined.
"Okay okay just one sec." Quickly summoning a camera to him, Harry took several shots at the glowering man.
"Work it Sirius!" Theo managed to get out through sniggers.
"I hate you both."
"Oh cheer up, you have to admit its very well done."
"I knowww, I tried to vanish it but the nose lengthened! Then I turned into Padfoot and back but the hair started dripping! How did you manage it?"
"It was all Theo, his idea completely." Harry exclaimed pointing to his friend who had now risen off the sofa and doing a complicated wand movement.
"It wasn't too hard, just the right amount of potion in your shampoo and the right timing and transformation spells on your pillow." The Slytherin responded with an indifferent shrug though a small smirk was just pulling at his lips.
Sirius sighed in happiness as he felt his hair lighten and quickly conjured a mirror to check the rest of his appearance. After making sure he sent a glare to Theo though a glint in his eye told both men he was proud.
"Sleep with one eye open."
Theo gave a salute before returning to his seat and curling up. It was one of the new things that Harry had found out about Theo in sharing a house, he would quite happily curl up in any chair available. Once he had decided on his position he could stay in it for the whole night, was hilariously adorable especially when it was darker and his form was practically invisible as he made himself as small as possible, quite an incredible sight for the 5ft 8 body.
"How did last night go?" Harry asked as he sat on the sofa with his legs crossed and Sirius flopped on the other end.
"Good yeah, his transformation is a lot smoother since the start of the year and he's very playful and carful. We spent it playing catch and actually sleeping for the most of it too. Its been good for him to come to terms with it, and all of your acceptance of it has helped tremendously. And even with the two of us there was plenty of space."
"So more letters to send?" Harry asked.
Sirius nodded slowly, his eyebrows turning a burning lime green as he sat on the enchanted cushion and Harry had to turn his face to hide his smile.
"But we'll wait until Remus is up to strength, it's a big decision to invite other werewolves here and he was stressed enough so it's his choice. Anyway, what did you boys decide to do?"
The next evening was when the first noise from Remus' room was heard, the other three had been busy with various lessons and games through out the day as well as an epic cooking session that had introduced Theo to pizza. Sirius heard first, his hearing enhanced by his animagus form and he quickly motioned for the others to quieten as Remus came slowly into the parlour.
"Hey Moony, how you feeling?" Harry asked as the man slid onto the other sofa with a small sigh.
"Tired but definitely better than usual, thanks. You guys okay?" As unbeknownst to him his hair started to lengthen and stand on end as the others stifled their smiles. Sirius had had the spotlight on him for the last day, eventually getting to the point where he kept flinching when he sat down and triple checking his appearance.
"We've been working on the dancing as well as table etiquette. I did not know there could be so many forks at a dinner." Harry said, throwing his hands up in bewilderment and Remus chuckled lightly as he nodded his head.
"Yeah I remember the first time we had dinner here, Peter and I never had any training and we turn up for the dinner and Mrs Potter wanted to make it all fancy for us and James and Sirius teased us for weeks that we'd dared use the fish fork not the dessert…or something like that."
"Oh I remember that!" Sirius said and the familiar warm yet longing look passed over his face as he thought about the past.
The next few days passed in a further wave of lessons, pranks, writings, mindless chats, re-drafting proposals and more pranks. The sun was warm and the grounds full of life and the house-elves went about their work cheerfully as the laughter spread through the house and into the grounds. They made liberal use of the tennis courts - where Remus proved to fail spectacularly while Sirius declared Harry a natural and only needed practise – and the swimming pool where Harry's years of primary school lessons helped him a little more and Theo had to be taught the basics in such hilarity that he almost drowned twice.
They were all having a lazy morning on the Saturday after a long night that included movies and introducing Harry and Theo to the beauty and artistic souls that made up the band Queen. The younger had enjoyed the elders attempts at perfectly reciting the lyrics and instead improvising with various sounds as the words passed them by. With the elves coming to join them as Sirius and Remus rambunctiously danced around, bellowing at the tops of their voices "BIIIIICYCLE, BIIIICYCLE!"
Now though they enjoyed scrumptious bacon sandwiches on thick white buttered rolls as the sun carelessly swept in through the large windows and coated the walls with a warm glow. Harry was lying full length on the sofa in complete peace while Remus read the paper out-loud when suddenly he felt a twitch in the wards. He'd got used to this feeling within him, it was like a seventh sense. The power and protection thrummed through his veins and Sirius had to give several lessons about thinking and control as the wards could react violently. The comings and goings of the four helped him to have a deeper understanding of the meaning of intent behind magic as well. Each time someone left for the village and re-entered he could feel the lightness they brought with them and the protections loosened their hold for a moment to allow him to sense the intentions before closing around him again. This time was different, the person was curious but Harry felt no ill will and there was a certain glow that had him recalling the words of one Miss Luna Lovegood.
"Looks like we have guests." He announced and gave permission for the gates to open, he could just about feel a sense of appreciation and thanks waft through him before a house elf came scampering up to him.
"Master Harry two strangers are approaching."
"Yes they are friends, thank you Rokly. If you could ask Coodly to ready some cakes and sandwiches I think they might be a little hungry." Harry said warmly to the little creature.
"Who is it?" Theo asked lazily from his slumped position across his armchair.
"A little moon come out in the day." Harry said trying to sound mysterious but ended up sounding like he had a sore throat. But it did the job as Theo boosted himself up and hurried to the window.
"Excellent, I need some intelligent conversation."
"I don't think that was warranted, do you?" Asked Harry to Sirius as he took a step closer. His Godfather responded with a smirk.
"Get him." Remus said as he carefully placed his paper down and leapt at the pureblood.
And by the time they reached the front door to open to their guests their hair was messed up and clothes rumpled and more than a few bruises were made. Their guests were not coming up the lane but rather over the land, from the trees to their left.
"Xeno! Luna! How are you both? Do come in."
"Thank you Sirius, I would apologise for the surprise but Luna was on the track of a Pimple Tarkem and she said the owners wouldn't mind our presence. I had no idea it was you." The editor of The Quibbler had wild white hair and dark gold robes with a creamy ruffled shirt and shook Sirius' hand enthusiastically.
"I found it after Dad and I stopped to see the sheep, he led me here. I know he did." Luna said brightly as she immediately walked to Harry and Theo to wrap them in warm hugs.
"And we're very glad he did." Harry said as he kept one arm around her shoulders.
"Are you staying nearby? Do you have time for food?" Remus asked.
"We're camping, Professor and yes please. I am quite partial to strawberry tarts, you see." Luna said as she skipped over to her father and took his hand.
"Excellent, I prefer eclairs myself." Sirius said as he ushered them in.
"Oh what a beautiful space lots of air and light, you know I think the Zortian Mango Tree would thrive in this environment! It would bring the Crumple Horned Snorkack into your home; and then maybe some okals and if you added some vines here it would look lovely with the decorating. Though maybe some brighter yellow…" Xeno said enthusiastically as they started inside. Harry grin grew as he listened to the man babble on; remembering how he had allowed his eccentricities to grow and let others see him in such a way in order to protect his daughter.
However, Harry felt that to a certain degree the man really was barmy.
Soon they were seated in the parlour/reception room. It was more formal than the one that still inhabited the four mens sleeping arrangements with deep purple and silver pattern across one wall with the other three oak panels. It usually contained several small tables but the house elves had once again known their needs before they did and had already been through changing the layout into a slightly more comfortable space with light grey settee's that were settled cosily around the large fireplace. There was also already a tray on one of the end tables with a selection of cakes and pastries as well as a steaming teapot and cups. Within minutes they were all seated and munching happily, Harry had called in Coodly to thank him and had introduced the elf to Luna who proclaimed him "the most incredible baker in the world." Which induced an embarrassment and pride so powerful that the little elf had ran into the wall on his escape from the room.
The conversation drifted lazily, mostly about the Lovegood's trip with fond memories given by Sirius and Remus about their trips too. It was after the last of the tarts had been devoured that Harry decided to enquire over the real reason for their trip this way.
"Luna, Xeno. Don't get me wrong we are delighted to have you here, but something tells me its not just a pleasant surprise for you."
Luna smiled softly.
"I am afraid you are correct, Harry. My father and I were camping a few miles from here when I felt something urge me to you." She looked to her father who picked up the story.
"I know my daughter has spoken to you and shown faith in you so therefore I will too. She went very still and then simply started walking in this direction, I hurried to catch up her and all she could say was that she was needed here; with her brothers. She hasn't slipped into a vision, which is a little unusual for her, but she was quite adamite about coming this way. I was quite shocked when I realised who the manor belonged too."
"So you have no idea why you need to be here you just know you need to be." Sirius asked, his grey eyes crinkled in confusion.
"Interesting, when I was very young I remember my grandfather telling me a story of a seer, that on occasion when their visions involved people they cared for…they couldn't see through the fog. Does this sound familiar Luna?"
She nodded slowly.
"Interesting, well it could be a manner of things of course." Sirius said briskly, leaning back in his seat.
"Like what?" Harry asked, then watched as Sirius and Remus shared a glance. He huffed a sigh. "This is one of those things that you don't want to tell me, isn't it."
"Yep, off you kids go." His guardian replied, completely unapologetically.
"With another sigh Harry rose, holding his hand out for Luna who took it happily and they led Theo through the door and up to the library.
"You don't mind them keeping stuff for you?" Theo asked, surprise still in his face.
"Not since our row." Harry responded thinking back to that night.
"But I want I want to help! Isn't it better to let them get on with it!" Harry demanded.
He had had his head stuck in the fireplace of the kitchen of Grimmaulds Place for 10 minutes already, arguing with his guardian about whether or not the Unspeakable's should examine and experiment straight away.
"Not until after your birthday! There is no rush."
"There is a dark lord running around! He's going to start killing off people!"
"And that's not your job to worry about it!"
"I'm the one whose already defeated him twice! We could find out how to get rid of him forever!"
"Why not? Don't you think I can!" The Boy-Who-Lived had replied, his voice cold as he stared up at his guardian who refused to look him in the eye.
"That's not the point-"
"Then what is? You don't think I can do it? You don't care about all the people who could die before then!"
"I CAN'T LOSE YOU TOO!" The Black Lord suddenly yelled.
There was dead silence through the kitchen and Sirius dropped into the chair. When at last he looked up, Harry was shocked to see the eyes glinting with tears. "I've only just got you back, Prongslet. I've only just got my favourite kid back. I haven't seen you grow up. I haven't got to hear about you failing maths like your mum or heard about you in the school play. I haven't got any memories of you blowing out the candles and making birthday wishes. The stuff that they want to do to you…We don't know about, we don't know how it will effect you or if it'll change you. All I'm asking is for a few short weeks, that I can really know you, see you relaxed and not fighting for your life. See you actually have a birthday. Imagine how it could have been if I hadn't been a complete moron. If somehow your parents…could have made it."
Harry was speechless. He'd never heard his guardian speak so passionately about him before. He was aware of how much the man cared for him, but this shook him to his core and he felt an immense tsunami of guilt sweep over him as he looked over Sirius's form.
"Siri-Padfoot…I'm sorry…I didn't…I mean I wasn't…Im sorry. I won't do it until your comfortable with the idea."
Sirius let out a snort as he raised his head and Harry once again felt a gnawing in his gut as he saw the lightly red eyes and grey pallor.
"That will never happen, Prongslet. But after your birthday, I need that at least."
"Yes, I can see why you wouldn't push it after that." Theo said softly as he went to sit on one of the sofa's.
Luna wandered over to the fireplace to look at the photos placed on the mantle.
"Sometimes we forget that we are still children. Adults, yes. But still someone's child, my father still doesn't like it when I make dinner."
Harry nodded briskly, his throat a little tight as he thought of Padfoot's hoarse throat. Shaking the cobwebs loose he went to sit opposite Theo.
"Anyway after that they both sent me a letter explaining how they still wanted me to be a teenager and there would be some things they wouldn't share because of that and other things they wouldn't feel comfortable with…they would just need time."
Luna came and sat next to him with a sigh, kicking her legs back and forth in that carefree manner she possessed.
"Everything comes and goes, no reason to worry when we don't know what will be."
"Exactly, so tell us more about your trip."
An hour later Dotty came up to retrieve them for lunh. Meeting up with the others in the kitchen, conversations flowed over a scrumptious buffet of cold meats, Greek salad and cheese.
"Harry how do you feel about doing another interview for the Quibbler? This time focussing on the Wizengamot and the agenda you have for it?" Remus asked.
Harry thought about it slowly, they had been working hard on the new Werewolf bill which they had renamed People with Lycanthropy. Remus had had a few responses to his letters by some who were encouraged and who were interested in the idea of a few tests being run. They had sent a letter to Lady Longbottom just yesterday with a full report of what they were hoping to succeed as well as improving the conditions they worked under in general. She had been very interested in it but also had warned them of the serious consequences that could occur, she added the disaster of 1977 where Robert Dodge had tried to show werewolves could be docile and used for their strength and therefore more respected. The result had been a new law being discussed that werewolves should limit their intake of meat before the full moon to ensure their strength was not at maximum capacity. It had taken the wind out of their sails slightly but then they all dug even harder into the research and trying to find any loopholes that those against them could use.
"I think that's a good plan, it would show people I'm taking my position seriously and also indicate what side I am on."
"Excellent! If you don't mind could we complete it after lunch then? My brilliant daughter has already thought of some excellent questions." Xeno said, his face beaming.
"Of course she had." Harry said with a grin to Luna who did nothing but smile serenely back. "I would be delighted to complete it then. May I suggest that Sirius is present to? Then we can present a united front."
"A superb suggestion, Sirius I assume you are amenable to this?"
"I would lend my support but I do not think it a good idea to annoy my father that much over something so important." Theo said, a faint look of disgust passing over his face at the thought of that man.
Remus put a hand on the young man's shoulder and grinned at him.
"Annoyance causes people to react, how do you think Sirius got so much attention at school."
"Hey I was a masterpiece of pranks. I wasn't annoying! That was James" Sirius said indignantly, hand over his heart.
"Of curse my mistake. Clearly my memory of Slughorn yelling at you to get it and I quote 'leave my sanctuary you exasperating, infuriating, irritating cretin' is faulty?"
"Well did you hear the word annoying in that?"
With a roll of his eyes, Remus turned back to Xeno who was giggling wildly.
"Do you think it would be helpful for you to see some of our research?"
"If I was writing a journal article it would be, but I think an interview is better to get word out. Plus I have my reputation to consider, can't have people thinking I'm a serious person would be detrimental to my career." Xeno said, reaching for the last bit of chorizo and feta cheese.