Sirius stared long and hard at the wall in his office, like it had personally offended him. His mind was a hundred miles away. He had received reports from the aurors about a possible sighting of Bellatrix Lestrange in a remote muggle town not far from Hogsmeade.
This wasn't the first time. Bella was rumoured to have been spotted in and around that area many times now.
What could she possibly want?
Was there something valuable in Hogsmeade? Or did she want to go somewhere else?
There could be another possibility, one that Sirius absolutely disliked.
The mere thought of his deranged cousin breaking into Hogwarts made him shudder.
Besides, how did she plan on getting in? The place was warded heavily. As far as he knew, she wasn't an Animagus.
Was she not interested in the locket anymore or had she given up trying to find it, wanting to chase after something else instead?
Was there anything at Hogwarts that he wasn't aware of?
He had sent Kingsley and a couple of other Aurors to investigate but they were yet to return with any news.
"If you don't like the wall, you can always change it. Don't glare at the poor thing, Sirius."
Sirius looked to see Regulus leaning against the door, arms crossed.
"You think she's after something in the castle? Merlin knows all the kinds of artefacts and antiques tucked away in remote corners of the castle." The younger Black sauntered inside and sat down.
"That could be possible. With Bella, there's no telling what she'll do next."
Sirius rested his elbows on the desk and laced his fingers. "If Bella is going to target Hogwarts, it's best to station aurors at the school."
Although his tone was normal, he was way tense. Hogwarts was the last place where a crazed mass murderer should go. The place was full of children and after the basilisk fiasco last year, quite a few parents had been hesitant to send their kids back.
The term wouldn't begin for another two weeks and Sirius didn't want any trouble, considering that he had his own teenager back at home with a rather distinguished penchant for trouble.
It was late, well after ten and normally Harry would be curled up in bed with a comic or grudgingly working on his holiday homework.
He'd thankfully finished his blasted homework and turned his mind to something that had been egging on him for a while now.
The whole fiasco with the Dementors had really left him shaken. Although he'd gotten over it, he had promised himself that he'd never again be at the mercy of those horrible monsters.
He flipped through the book, reading through this spell called the 'Patronus'. From what he had gathered so far, it was an insanely complicated spell and even many fully qualified wizards and witches were unable to produce a corporeal Patronus.
The sad part was that this wasn't taught at Hogwarts.
He went outside with the book in his hand and saw Sirius sitting in the living room with a small stack of files in front of him.
Harry knew that the man had been working really hard ever since Christmas. His dad was clearly busy and Harry couldn't help but feel guilty for bothering him.
"I've been told on numerous occasions that I am very handsome, but the staring is honestly getting a bit too much, pup."
Sirius looked up from the file to raise an eyebrow at Harry.
Harry made a face at Sirius' words. "Seriously, Dad?"
The man winked at him before patting the space next to him. "What's on your mind, kid?"
"I can um... come back later if you're busy?"
Sirius rolled his eyes. "Get over here, will you? I'm never too busy for you, kiddo."
Feeling emboldened by the reassurance, Harry made his way over and took the proffered seat. He opened to the correct page and held it out to Sirius.
The man took the book from him. "Patronus, huh?"
Harry nodded. "I don't want to feel that way again, Dad. If this Patronus thing is going to help me fight Dementors, then I want to learn."
Sirius took in the determination set in those green eyes (Lily all over again) and knew that Harry wasn't going to let this go.
Sirius felt guilty for not having thought of this solution himself. He knew better than most, what it felt like to be at the mercy of those hooded monsters.
He wanted to reach Harry but with everything going on at work, he wasn't sure if he'd be able to make the time. Now, even Draco's sessions were also managed solely by Regulus.
Every department of the DMLE was working overtime to find Bella but she seemed impossible to find.
But he didn't want to deny Harry this. The boy needed it.
Maybe there was another option.
"Pup, how would you feel about Remus teaching you?"
The werewolf would probably be elated. He had a soft spot for the boy as well.
Who didn't? One look into those puppy eyes and innocent smile and everybody caved. Hell if that look worked on the icy Draco Malfoy, how did Remus even stand a chance?
"I'm okay with that. Besides, Remus is cool."
Harry really was okay with it. It would have been fun if Sirius had been able to do the sessions but this option was great as well. He knew that Sirius was swamped with work and he didn't blame the man one bit. He had to do his job.
Plus, since Remus lived at Hogwarts now, he could have more lessons as well.
When Harry nodded confidently, Sirius couldn't help the rush of warmth inside him. What had he done to deserve such a good kid?
"Great. I'll talk to him about it. He'll be glad to help out."
Harry positively beamed. "Thanks, Dad."
"You got everything you need in there?" Sirius asked as Harry closed his trunk.
"Like the last two times you asked me, yes. I have everything. I know you're old but try and keep up, will you?" Although Harry had his back to Sirius, the man knew that the little rascal was grinning.
Eyes crinkling with fond amusement, Sirius reached out and flicked the boy's ear. "Don't be cheeky."
"I learnt from the best," Harry replied, turning around to smile at the man.
Harry had to leave the next morning.
Sirius' grin faded when he remembered who else could also be coming to Hogwarts.
"Pup, there's something we need to discuss," he said.
"Uh oh. I know that look. What did I do now?" Harry asked, plopping down on the bed.
"You haven't done anything. I just need you to listen. Now we both know that you have a knack for getting into dangerous situations. You agree?"
Looking slightly sheepish, Harry nodded.
"You're going back to Hogwarts tomorrow and I need you to promise me that you will stay safe. My mad cousin was spotted not far from Hogsmeade and she is unpredictable and insanely dangerous. You don't know her the way I do. You need to swear to me that you won't try anything stupid. Yes?"
So far, Hogsmeade visits for students were on, but if Bellatrix got too close, the school would be discontinuing them.
"Dad, I never intentionally do anything stupid. It sort of just... happens. But yeah, I will try and stay safe, I promise." Harry meant it. He knew that Sirius worried about him a lot and he knew that the man already had a lot on his plate. Harry didn't need to increase his burden by making him worry even more.
That and he didn't want to spend his summer being grounded.
Sirius held his gaze for a minute more before he softened and tousled Harry's messy locks. "Atta boy."
"You will be coming for my Quidditch games, right?" The next game against Hufflepuff was coming up in a month. While Harry was bummed that he would have to use one of the school's broomsticks this time, he really wanted Sirius to be there.
"Wouldn't dream of missing it, kiddo."
Harry didn't notice the indulgent, mischievous glint in his father's silvery eyes.
Once the term began, Harry found that he was quite busy indeed. First, there was Quidditch practice. Wood was determined to win this game no matter what.
After their defeat last time, Gryffindor needed to win this if they had any hope of securing the Quidditch cup. Although the team didn't blame Harry for Gryffindor's loss, Harry blamed himself.
Lessons were also another thing he had to excel at. Between brilliant friends like Hermione Granger and Draco Malfoy, Harry found himself studying a good deal more than he had previously done.
When they put their mind to it, they were real slavedrivers!
Plus he also had his tri-weekly Patronus sessions with Remus.
That day was his first class.
At six thirty in the evening, Harry made his way to the DADA classroom, feeling nervous as well as eager.
Remus was waiting for him. The entire classroom had been cleared out except for a large chest in the middle of the room. "Hey, Professor," Harry grinned as he dropped his bag onto the floor.
"Good evening, Harry. Now before we begin, there are certain rules I expect you to follow. The Patronus is a difficult spell and many things can go terribly wrong if not done correctly. I need your word that you will do as you're told. No mucking about, Harry."
Harry knew that Remus was only concerned for him, but his tone sounded a little too similar to Sirius' when the man was scolding him.
"Yes, sir" Harry agreed.
"Good. Now Dementors are creatures who feed on emotions. Happy ones especially. They feed on you until there is nothing left and your very soul has been sucked out of your body. That's how they satisfy themselves: by feeding on your happiness."
"Splendid," Harry snarked.
Remus hid his grin at the boy's attitude and continued. "The Patronus is one of the most popular ways to get rid of Dementors. It's basically magic made up of the one thing Dementors take away from humans."
"Close. Happiness. A Dementor can be banished by the most powerful happy memory conjured by the soul."
"Sounds simple enough. I just think of something happy, do the spell and the Dementors will go away?"
Remus smiled, seemingly amused by Harry's words. "It's not as simple as it sounds. One needs to be extremely focused and the mind must be completely clear except for that sole happy memory."
Remus led Harry over to the large chest. "When I open this chest, a Dementor is going to come out. It's not a real one, just a boggart. Before I open this, I want you to focus on one strong, happy memory. Can you do that?"
Harry nodded, his mind going back to the very first happy memory of his life: the day Hagrid had given him his Hogwarts letter. That was the first time he'd ever felt truly happy in years.
He thought about how he'd felt when he had realised that he wouldn't have to deal with his cousin's bullying at that horrible muggle school anymore.
"We'll first say the words without the wand, okay? Repeat after me: Expecto Patronum."
"Expecto Patronum," Harry repeated clearly.
Remus made him recite the spell this way a few more times before he was asked to take out his wand.
"Wand at the ready, Harry. Keep that memory firmly in place."
Harry gripped his wand until his knuckles turned white.
Remus unlocked the chest and that dreaded, large, hooded figure glided out.
It's not real.
Steeling himself, Harry pointed his wand at the boggart.
The 'Dementor' advanced, until it was looming over him. Fear taking over, Harry scrambled backward, his wand still pointed at the monster, although his hand was starting to shake.
"Expecto P— Expe-"
He couldn't do it. All he could think off in that moment was his mother and how she had begged Voldemort to spare his life.
And then suddenly, the Dementor was gone.
Harry snapped out of his thoughts just in time to see Remus slamming the chest shut.
Remus was gripping his shoulder, grounding him and Harry focused on that. He calmed down, reminding himself that he was inside a classroom and not on his broom, a hundred feet up high with monsters trying to suck his soul.
"I'm okay," he replied. "I want to try again."
"And we will. In a minute. First, I want you to sit down and take deep breaths. No one has ever managed to produce a Patronus in their first try."
Harry obliged and sat down on the floor. Remus sat next to him, pulling something out of his pocket.
Harry couldn't help but smile when Remus broke off a piece of chocolate and held it out to him. "Eat. It always helps."
Knowing better than to argue, Harry accepted the chocolate from the Professor and popped it into his mouth.
They sat in silence for five more minutes before Harry stood up. "I'm ready."
This time, Harry decided to focus on another memory, something even happier.
He thought about Sirius and how the man had changed his life. He remembered when Sirius had offered to take him in. Merlin he had been so nervous about it back then.
The thought made him smile unconsciously. He had been a bit of an idiot.
"On the count of three: 1...2...3"
Remus unlocked the chest and once again, the 'Dementor' appeared before him.
Harry widened his stance and pointed his wand right at the hood. "Expecto Patronum!"
A small tendril of silver shot out of his wand but it dissolved before it could touch the 'Dementor'.
"Expecto Patronum!" A stronger silver wisp appeared this time and hit the creature. Whilst it wasn't enough to banish the 'Dementor', it was sufficient to push it backwards a bit.
That was progress enough for Remus.
He locked the boggart back in and beamed at Harry. "Well done. We'll try again in a bit, yes?"
Harry nodded, feeling slightly more encouraged.
"Third time's a charm," Remus commented before he opened that chest again.
This time, Harry was prepared. He poured his entire soul into that one big ball of happiness: meeting Ron on the Hogwarts express, flying a broom for the first time, befriending Hermione, winning his first Quidditch game and of course winning the house cup in first year.
He smiled inwardly when he recalled the day he'd found out that he had a godfather, getting adopted by Sirius, who was amazing and brilliant and more than anything he could have ever asked for, a father in every way but blood, calling the man Dad for the first time ever, he even thought about that one time when he'd gotten sick and Sirius had been an absolute mother hen. He'd pretended like it had annoyed him, but he'd been secretly pleased and touched about it. Hell there were times when the man was telling him off for doing something stupid but Harry only managed to love him all the more for it.
He remembered Remus, who'd been there like a teacher/ friend, telling him about his parents and the stuff they'd all done.
He thought of Regulus, the uncle he'd never expected to get and how he never failed to embarrass Harry should the opportunity present itself.
He couldn't help but laugh a bit when he thought of his friendship with Draco, whom he'd assumed to be his nemesis.
He thought about all that had changed ever since he'd become a part of the Wizarding world.
A powerful jet of silver shot out of his wand, forming a large shield in front of the 'Dementor', obstructing the hood.
The creature tried to pass through but was unable to, because of the massive force of the patronus.
Harry held steady, driving the 'Dementor' backward and downward: into the chest.
He didn't let down his wand until he heard the lock click.
Exhausted (reasonably so) but elated, he looked at Remus who was smiling at him with no small amount of pride. "Harry, that was wonderful. Extraordinary, truly."
Harry flushed at the praise. "Thanks."
"That was one hell of a Patronus, Harry. I'm proud of you. Sirius would be very proud. Your parents too."
If it was possible for Harry to turn any redder, he did.
"You must've had one powerful memory in mind. What was it?"
Harry could feel his ears burning in embarrassment. He didn't want to say it out loud. He couldn't, not without sounding like an utter baby.
"You don't have to tell me, just hold on to whatever it was. We'll meet in two days for your next session."
"What? No! I want to do it again now. Please, Remus?"
The man firmly shook his head. "Absolutely not. You're done for the day. You've already accomplished way more than the average wizard and the last thing I want is you to drain yourself completely. Besides, Sirius will kill me if anything happens to you under my watch. Come back on Friday."
Harry's shoulders slumped in defeat since he knew there was no arguing with the man on this.
"Fine. Next time." He actually was feeling sort of tired anyway but there was no way he'd ever admit it.
"Here. Eat the whole thing. You'll feel better." Remus gave him the remaining bar of chocolate and Harry obediently bit into it.
Remus made sure he ate the entire bar and only then was he allowed to leave. "Go on, dinner and then straight to bed. You've had a tiring day, Harry."
Harry raised his hand in mock salute. "Yes, sir," he said.
Lesson one: success.
And that's the end of this chapter.
Whoo! My Godfather has now completely fifty chapters! I can't believe this. Thanks a lot, readers. You all are amazing!
I am also incredibly sorry about the long wait but college had me super busy.
Really hope you enjoyed this chapter. I had a lot of fun writing Harry's session with Remus.