Summary: With Voldemort defeated Sirius decides to take Harry and Remus on a much needed holiday. Anything that comes out of it is NOT his fault! Slight!AU, SLASH implied, OOC-ness.
Disclaimer: I own nothing as per usual.
This is a story I came up with while I was in Karuizawa, or should I say; I started it in Karuizawa but I had the idea a while before I actually went to Japan. I hope you will enjoy this story as much as you lot did the others. Leave a review on your way out.
"But I don't know how to ski."
"That's the point," Sirius said, sounding slight exasperated and Harry couldn't help but scowl a little at his Godfather. It wasn't his fault he'd been dragged along on this holiday. "You go on holiday to learn these things."
"So you know how to ski then?" Harry asked, shifting through the pamphlets which advertised for things he couldn't even read. Remus chuckled from where he was sitting on the couch, appearing quite comfortable reading his book. The old professor didn't even appear to be trying to find something to do.
Sirius flushed a little, appearing like a stubborn child when he straightened in a defensive manner. "No, but that's why I said; you go on holiday to learn this stuff."
"Aren't you forgetting one fundamental thing Padfoot?" Remus said, lowering his book slightly to look at his friend with amusement clear on his face. "Snow."
The Animagus sputtered and Harry couldn't help but laugh at the expression. "But we're in the Alps!"
"Only you could believe that the Alps would carry enough snow for skiing even in summer," Remus quipped back before returning to his reading again.
"We could always just walk around a little to see the sights," Harry said when Sirius appeared put out by it all. "It can't all be that far away, can it?"
Both men looked at the nearly sixteen-year-old like he was some alien or something. "You really have never been on holiday have you?" Sirius asked and although his tone was light and slightly teasing there was sadness in there which Harry felt embarrassed about.
Rather than reply the raven head shrugged his shoulders and started studying a map of the area. When Sirius had suggested taking Remus and him on a holiday to get away from all the stress which seemed to come with remaining in Britain Harry had gladly agreed. Sure he had to stay in the hospital wing for over three weeks to heal completely after the battle at the Ministry and had gladly stood at the trail which had cleared his Godfather's name. The battle which was the press and his adoring public proved to be too much for the Boy-Who-Lived, which was why Sirius and Remus dragged him abroad at the first available opportunity. His friends had waved his attempted apologies away with smiles of their own and told him to have fun, bring back lots of gifts and to not let Sirius drive him to do crazy things.
After a 12-hour flight and two nights at a bustling hotel in Tokyo city to get into the rhythm of this part of the world, Sirius dragged them to an – apparently - very well-known resort town called Karuizawa. What Sirius hadn't thought about was that not everyone would be able to understand English or that you didn't just show some random Japanese symbols to the cabbie expecting him to take you to the address (mainly because it didn't appear to be an address at all). When Harry tried the name of the hotel the man started to babble excitedly in Japanese before driving them to the hotel which turned out to be a very stylish Bed and Breakfast in the middle of the countryside. Harry loved it instantly and Remus also did express his interest in the place casting a few longing glances at the surrounding woods before dragging a pouting Sirius inside who had cast a subtle translation charm on himself and had been holding a frustrating conversation with the cab driver who looked like he wanted to just get on with his job.
The woman - though Harry was convinced it was a man - running the place was a bundle of energy and had been babbling at the raven head for what felt like half an hour before Harry confessed - in English - that he couldn't understand a word she was saying. "English gentle man, ne?" she said in broken English and with a thick accent, giving him an almost dreamy and adoring look before leaving the three men to get settled into their rooms.
An hour later she returned with a bunch of pamphlets (all in Japanese unfortunately), but a map of the area in English before winking at Harry and leaving them alone for the night.
"Apparently they have a statue of Sherlock Holmes," Harry stated checking the surrounding area for anything else noteworthy.
"What's a Sherlock Holmes?" Sirius asked, sitting down next to his Godson, cup of coffee in one hand while handing the younger man a cup of tea.
"He's a very famous detective," Remus answered while Harry pointed towards the area the statue was in. "I think you'll like his stories Sirius should you ever decide to pick up a book again."
Sirius looked at the werewolf with a pout. "I read."
"I meant a real book Padfoot," Remus quipped back, waving his own book at the dog Animagus. "One without pictures in them."
"I read real books!" Sirius defended himself with a pout and Harry chuckled at the friendly display between the two grown men.
"I'm sure we could rent a bicycle in the morning," Remus said picking up his book again clearly dismissing the subject of Sirius ever reading a proper book. "I saw quite a few rental shops on the way. It'll be an easy way to see all the sights without having to worry about walking everywhere."
"That sounds good," Harry confessed, nodded with a smile at his old professor before pushing the map away and rubbing his eyes.
While the train ride had only been an hour and a half, Tokyo had taken a lot out of Harry already, the young wizard not used to the big city. The raven head had slept on the train but it didn't stop him from feeling tired.
"Do you want to sleep a little longer before going to get something to eat?" Sirius asked looking at his Godson with an assessing look.
Harry cast a look at the clock before wearily shaking his head. "If I sleep now I won't wake till morning and I am a little hungry."
Like it had been the sign he had been waiting for Remus snapped his book close and stood with an energy Harry didn't know the older man still had. "Let's get something to eat then. I'm sure any planning can wait till the morning, we have plenty of time after all."
Nodding, Harry downed his tea in one and stood before stretching a little. "How long did we plan to stay here again?"
"If everything goes well, at least a week," Sirius replied steering his Godson in the direction of the door. Harry cast one look in the direction of his coat before deciding he didn't need it. He wondered if it was really such a good idea to stay in one place for such a long time, but he guessed only time would tell.
Deciding that shopping and cycling didn't go together very well, Harry abandoned the cycling project and made himself content by inspecting all the quirky shops Karuizawa had to offer. There were a lot and even though the big brands offered at the larger shopping mall didn't mean much to Harry, the smaller shopping street was a treasure trove of quirky things which made him happy. Sirius had been a little disappointed when Harry expressed no further interest in exploring the area but settled for dragging his Godson along to shop for even more clothes as he found that the sixteen-year-old had too little. Remus had allowed his fellow Marauder to buy him two new suits and a few new shirts and trousers before putting his foot down. The dog Animagus had huffed for a while before getting a mischievous glint in his eyes and becoming incredibly subdued. Harry would have been worried if he hadn't been distracted by the shop which sold exclusively handmade woodcarvings.
When they had dropped off their shopping they set off to wander the hills. When a helicopter flew overhead Sirius kept staring at it, mouth agape with wonder and Remus had winced a little at the sound but hadn't showed any interest in it. Harry took it on himself to explain just how a helicopter worked as they walked around the woodland.
"How strange," Sirius said with open curiosity as Harry tried to explain how the helicopter could stay in the air with his limited knowledge. "And this is the same as aeroplanes you said."
"Sort of," Harry mumbled trying to remember how the steering gear worked. "I'm not completely sure. I remember the one lesson at the army museum we had and it was more because the boy in our class had some interest in planes and choppers that the man explained."
He glanced at Remus in the hope that the other man also had an idea about these things, but the man was wandering behind them with a content smile. "Don't bother trying to ask Moony," Sirius said when he noticed his Godson's hesitance. "He might know more about the Muggle world than I do but I'm quite sure he's as much at a loss to how Muggles make things fly as I."
So Harry left it at that and they continued to speak about what Harry covered in primary school before going to Hogwarts. "What I never understood is why we never continued to learn maths and stuff at Hogwarts," the raven head confessed. "I mean there are loads of subjects we get in Muggle school that Hogwarts doesn't offer and even though I know that all the things we learn are important to understand our magic and the magical world around us, but it doesn't help us if we want to go into financing or study languages or other such things."
Sirius frowned. "Well we have Goblins for our finances and a simple translator charm to help us with those sorts of things."
"Yes but isn't it also important to understand all this stuff on our own?" It felt freeing to speak of the doubts he had for such a long time, not even once voicing them to anyone in fear of upsetting them. His Godfather had shown an open interest in the subject Harry had been taught so maybe the older man wouldn't mind. "I can understand there is a pride in getting spells right, solving the problems you were having, but what's the point of having magic cook you a beautiful dinner if you can't take pride in making something with your own two hands."
The storm of emotions Harry had felt disappeared when his Godfather remained silent and confidence turned into hesitance and even a little bit of fear. Overcome with doubt and insecurities Harry walked with his head down and slightly hunched as if to appear as small as possible. It was a defensive posture he had often taken when around the Dursley's when he was younger but grew out of the habit when he grew older and started going to Hogwarts. Had he been paying any attention to his surroundings or the people around him Harry would have straightened, walking in his normal stride which had become quite confident. Now though he kept his head low, deep in thought, berating himself about his foolishness. While the relationship with his Godfather had strengthened over the year Harry was still testing the waters on what was and wasn't allowed. The fact that Sirius had never showed any sign of annoyance or anger at his presence or words didn't mean that the older man wouldn't deal some form of punishment should he feel that Harry deserved it.
The raven head shook off his angst and raised his eyes to the sight of the end of the path. The three wizards were completely lost in their surroundings for a while before gaining their bearings and settling for a drink.
"I guess I never really thought about those things before," Sirius suddenly said while they settled on the benches, their drinks and snacks settled between them. Remus looked a little confused when his fellow Marauder addressed his Godson and Harry could see the questions burning away in those eyes but the werewolf remained silent. "Even when Lily made plans for your education, trying to convince James that you needed to be properly educated in both worlds, I never really paid it any mind because I was usually too busy entertaining you. You were quite a handful when you were a baby."
Harry didn't know if he should feel happy hearing stories about his parents or embarrassed about the baby stories. He settled for smiling, concentrating on the whirling emotions caused by the sheer mention of his parents. If either of the older men noticed they didn't say anything and Sirius continued.
"While I did learn French when I was younger and the basics of what you would call maths, I never took much pride in my studies. I was far from interested in learning anything my parents offered to teach me. Or at least anything my dear mother was trying to teach me with brute force. I do understand your point Harry," he said with a soft look in Harry direction before the Animagus turned to stare off across the mountains in the distance again. "When I was little I took a lot of pride in a lot of things before they were squashed one by one and at Hogwarts the only real thing I took pride in were my pranking skills and the ability to attract all the girls I wanted. Not something to be too proud about now that I look back on it." His grin was just a tat too wide to show proper happiness.
"It wasn't that bad Padfoot," Remus said in the comforting tone which reminded Harry of the times he had spent alone with the professor in third year. "You always looked quite proud when you managed spells at the first go."
Sirius rolled his eyes. "That wasn't pride most of the time Moony and you know it."
Harry chuckled at the two men and nodded in acceptance. He guessed that his Godfather hadn't deliberately remained silent.
They continued to discuss their school years all the way back down and the friendly banter put Harry more at ease. The scenery had an equally calming effect and by the time he reached the end of the trail again the raven head had all but forgotten about his near panic attack. They had a meal and drinks at Paddy's Café* which Sirius had a real giggle over. ("Maybe I should go as Padfoot; I might get a discount or something!")
By the time they returned to the B&B it was late afternoon and it looked like a storm had hit the small establishment. Someone had created a disturbing artwork linked to the fencing at the back and when they entered several paintings had dropped to the ground causing glass to line the hallways. Misuzu, the innkeeper, apologised for the mess and served them tea in the lounge. After a short conversation with Sirius, who had cast the translation charm again, she left looking a little worried yet rejuvenated. Harry and Remus looked at the dog Animagus for an explanation.
"It seems there's a competition going on of sorts," Sirius explained glancing around as if to catch whoever had organised the 'event' in the act. "You remember that young girl we saw this morning as we were leaving?"
"About Harry's age? Sweet looking?" Remus asked stirring his drink before taking a sip.
Sirius nodded. "Apparently some friends of hers have come to stay but there weren't enough rooms to accommodate them all."
"And they're the once making all the mess?" Harry asked surprised that someone's friends would create such a storm of chaos just for a room. There was a sudden silence from behind them but Harry could only think about the shame he would have felt if any of his friends would have done something like that. "Do you think Misuzu-san needs any help cleaning up?"
Remus chuckled when Sirius stared at his Godson in wonder. "I'm sure they can handle it cub," the werewolf said consolingly. "You cannot do other people's jobs while you're on holiday Harry, it's considered rude in many cultures. Besides-" he continued when it looked like the raven head wanted to protest "-I'm sure the girl's friends will help clean up the mess they made. That is what friends do after all."
"Chaos and clean-up go hand in hand," Padfoot said grinning like a loon with a faraway look in his grey eyes.
The following day the only thing Harry noticed of Haruhi's friends – the young girl working at the B&B for the summer – was an argument during breakfast. The blond prince-y boy who had helped them at breakfast had some skills in French, which in turn made him a well of information. Watching him babble away at Sirius – who hackled more than not to the amusement of both Remus and Harry – Harry noticed a charm in his manner which send a thrill of excitement through him.
Something he hadn't felt since seeing Cedric alive and well, staring up at him with a patient smile.
Shame and sadness filled him and he had looked away, willing away the images of the boy he had admired from afar – the boy he had let to slaughter. A year might have passed, but the guilt that still clung to him was like a poison to his brain. Oh, Harry had tried to shake it off. He had spent all of last year fighting the demon that was his memory, but with every dream Voldemort put in his head it was like opening the wound again and again until it drove him mad. That was why he had felt agitated that year, not because Voldemort was projecting his feelings or because of Umbridge's injustice, but because he couldn't keep the guilt riddled wound close.
Swallowing thickly the raven head excused himself and wandered outside for some fresh air leaving behind a distracted Sirius and a worried Remus. Outside he bumped into a strange, bubbly child who was very well spoken and turned out to be older than Harry had anticipated. The tall, dark haired boy he was with towered over both his companion and Harry but appeared just as friendly. Hani and Mori – as they introduced themselves as – were on their way to reunite with their friends and informed Harry of the so called 'Golden Week' when Japanese high school students get a week off for summer to spend it as they wished. They often travel through Japan – or outside it if you had the money – and would visit as many festivals as they could.
"It must be nice to have six weeks of summer holidays," Hani all but moaned when Harry explained about how things were in Britain.
"Not really," Harry answered with a small smile. "I enjoy my time at school a lot more."
The two older boy's looked questioningly at him but Harry wasn't about to bare his soul to two complete strangers so inquired about their usual plans during the 'Golden Week'. They admitted to usually spending it abroad as they would often take this time to follow their father's respective businesses. They spoke about being martial arts specialists and Harry was very impressed when Mori explained the principles of Kendo – the sport he was the national champion in. Harry let slip his experience with the sword of Gryffindor when he was twelve though without mentioning the Basilisk, Tom Riddle or Ginny Weasley. Or nearly dying. Or being in a magical school.
Basically the thing he told them was that he had come in the possession of an heirloom - which happened to be a sword - when he was twelve and that he had managed to kill a large snake with it to help save a girl before having it stored safely far out of reach from inexperienced hands. Mori had stared at him as if assessing him while Hani had gaped at him in a form of admiration and disbelief. "I was lucky enough not to have hurt myself in the process," Harry chuckled self-consciously while scratching the back of his head.
"And you have," Mori mumbled staring intently at the scars on either arm. With an embarrassed blush Harry moved his arms behind his back and excused himself, wishing the two seniors a pleasant holiday with a smile which didn't quite reach his eyes.
Harry wandered through the back garden to where the fencing had received a makeover. The section of fencing had been removed completely and only boarded up with temporary wooden planks which wouldn't do at all for the long run. Tools were still lying on the side together with a few planks and nails and without really knowing why he did it, the raven head picked up the tools. The hammer was smaller than he remembered and the nails didn't look quite as sharp, the planks not quite as heavy. But then Harry was no longer the eight-year-old who was assigned to fix the back fencing of the Dursley household.
Maybe it was because he didn't know how to behave when on holiday or that he had taken a liking to the crazy, energetic innkeeper. All he knew was that he didn't mind the work, it almost came automatically, and it took his thoughts away from the depression which he was sinking into. The reminders of Cedric and Pettigrew, his near death experiences from the past five years or the guilt of taking away any chance of a normal future his friends could have had. And all because he had to drag them into his insane adventures; because he couldn't keep them safe.
"What are you doing?" a familiar voice called out to him and Harry turned to see Sirius and Remus standing behind him with the blond prince-y boy from earlier. There was another boy with them, cool and calculating, dark haired and flashing glasses. Both boys were handsome – stomach twisting and flaming cheeks type handsome – and Harry wondered what it was about Asian boys that he found so fascinating at the moment. Maybe it was the combination, he had been obsessed with both Cedric and Cho since his third year at Hogwarts and now they came together in the boys visiting the inn. If anything he was doomed again.
Taking the nails from between his locked lips Harry smiled innocently casting the older men a wide doe eyed look making them falter. "I just couldn't leave Misuzu-san with a broken fence."
Remus chuckled. "I thought we had already gone over the details of what to do and what not to do whilst on holiday?"
"The only other option you two gave was cycling," Harry muttered with a pout.
The blonde chuckled as the two older men rolled their eyes almost simultaneously. The other dark haired teen gave a faint smile, his glasses flashing in the light as if covering up the emotion so easily reflected in his dark eyes. "I suppose that is one way of visiting some of the sights Karuizawa has to offer," the unnamed teen said, a mobile phone appearing in his hands as he typed away furiously on it.
Purplish blue eyes zeroed in on his friend with a sparkle and Harry wondered how the dark haired teen could remain so unresponsive under such flamboyant scrutiny. The rapid Japanese that followed made Harry dizzy and giddy and for the first time in a long while he felt relaxed and happy. He chuckled cheerfully not because he could understand a word the boy was saying but because of the sheer and sincere energy he was radiating. The French boy beamed at him, coming close to take the hammer away from Harry and holding out a hand as he gestured for Harry to get up. He took the hand while his heart continued to beat at such a fast rate he was sure it was going to jump from his chest.
"Will you join us?" the prince-y boy asked.
"I don't -"
"Go with them pup," Sirius said with an easy smile and Remus nodded encouragingly. "You can leave these two old men to run through the woods. As long as we see you before we go to bed."
"What Sirius has forgotten to mention was that we never expected you to spend this entire holiday together with us," Remus continued, overruling Harry again who had started to sputter out a half-hearted reply. Why were they pushing him towards these unknown teens? Didn't they want to spend time with him? "Stop those thoughts right there cub." Remus placed his hands on Harry's shoulders and his amber eyes gazed into worried green. "If anything you have become somewhat of a treasure to Sirius and I and while we haven't been in your life for very long we wish only the best for you. We will be in your life for a very long time cub because no one will make us leave. But while we will always be here for you, we still want you to have fun. Enjoy your holiday with whoever you feel like sharing it Harry. This is your time to relax and have fun. And just between you and me," Remus whispered in Harry's ear as he leaned in to give his honorary nephew a hug. "I have a feeling these young gentlemen are more than able to amuse you today."
Just the implications of those words left Harry a stuttering mess much to the Marauder's delight.
Harry's time spend with the Host Club of Ouran Academy was like a rush of feelings and impression and left him smiling the entire week they spend in Karuizawa. The group of boys and one girl took him to see the sights, helped him shop and brought him to places that took his breath away. It was quite humbling how this group of students - who probably had their own plans for their holiday – took Harry in and allowed him to see into their world. Of course there were the awkward moments when the group would be lost in translation, but Harry didn't mind learning their language and the members of the Host club were happy to learn more of the English language.
At the end of their week a few tears were hastily wiped away and promises were made to keep in touch. Harry invited them all to spend some time in London with him should they ever come his way and they, in turn, invited him to stay at their individual places of residence should he ever be in the neighbourhood.
"I see you had fun," Sirius said while they packed their bags once more. Harry gave his Godfather a bittersweet smile. "Don't be like that Harry. You'll see them again and I'm sure it'll be sooner than you think. Now pack your bags. We have some ground to cover."
And so they continued on their journey through Japan, exploring this bright part of the world with all its eccentric and exotic places and people. Bit by bit Harry began to love this country, the people and the food and he started to learn the language. He enjoyed the way people's eyes lit up in wonder and started to babble excitedly whenever he tried to say a few words in Japanese. A month of travel flew by and whenever he turned to look at his guardians for the next destination he could see them conferring quietly making him wonder just what the two Marauders were planning.
"It seems we've got a little bit of time left dear Moony," Sirius said.
"It seems you are right dear Padfoot," Remus replied. "Shall we make one final stop?"
"I like it," Sirius said with a smile that made Harry stomach do funny flips.
Ouran Academy was nothing like Harry had imagined it to be. It was rich and beautiful in its eccentricity. When he was dropped at the gates to stare up at the Western-style building he wondered just what he was doing here. Having one last day together with the friends he made only to say goodbye again?
"Hari-chan!" someone squealed and in a daze he watched the approaching figure of Hani as the hyper eighteen-year-old made a dash across the school grounds, his cousin Mori following in his wake.
This did appear to be the case Harry decided as a grin nearly split his face in two.
A/N: It took me way too long to finish this. I got stuck on Uta no Prince-sama, it's so cute and the songs are really catchy.
*This is actually a real café in Karuizawa. I think I was chuckling all the way back to my hotel after seeing it.