Harry Potter lay gazing at the ceiling from his bed. His night's sleep having been plagued by the reoccurring vision of his godfather falling to his death through the veil, he felt tired and sore despite having just awoken. He had been with the Dursley's just a over a fortnight and already he was wishing that his friends would contact him. His aunt, uncle, and cousin had left him alone for the most part; his only chores were lawn care and dishes, which he gladly did simply to keep him occupied, but it also meant that he was utterly alone except for his owl, Hedwig. Harry turned his head towards the window where a tapping noise had caught his attention. Arising and walking to the window he granted entrance to a tawny owl which he did not recognize. The owl extended its leg to him where it had a letter tied. He untied the letter and the bird quickly exited through the window. Looking at the seal on the he recognized the Hogwarts seal. Breaking it open, Harry withdrew two pieces of parchment. The first reading:
Attached you will find the scores from your Ordinary Wizarding Level Exams. Please use this information to asses which courses you will be eligible to take at the N.E.W.T. Level, then please send the list of classes in which you wish to enroll to your Head of House by the 1st of July.
Deputy-Headmistress of Hogwarts School for Witchcraft and Wizardry.
Turning to the next page, Harry saw his grades.
Harry James Potter O.W.L. Scores.
Defense Against the Dark Arts: O
Care of Magical Creatures: E
History of Magic: D
Please use the information found above to discern which courses for which you will be eligible to attend at the N.E.W.T. Level.
Harry smiled down at his scores. He had known he got an Outstanding on his Defense O.W.L. And expected to Exceed Expectations in most of his others, although Potions surprised him. He was glad that Snape didn't grade the exams; Harry was certain that he would have given him a Troll just for spite. Folding the letter he began to search for a pen and paper to respond to McGonagall when a second owl flew through his still open window. Harry stepped back startled by the newcomer; a black owl with an official looking collar around its neck. Harry took the offered letter from the owl who immediately flew off. Turning the letter over, Harry saw the seal belonging to Gringotts Bank. Confused, Harry opened the letter. What did the goblin run wizarding bank want from him; had someone broken in and stolen all of his money? Surely the ministry would have sent an Auror to inform him if they had right? "Don't be stupid, Harry," he told himself, "Gringotts is the most secure place in Britain next to Hogwarts." Opening the letter, he read what must be a Goblin's writing:
Your presence is required at the reading of the Last Will and Testament of Sirius Orion Black on Tuesday, June 25th 1996 Anno Domini,10:30 Ante Meridiem, at Gringotts Bank Diagon Alley, London.
Overseer of the Affairs of Inheritance.
Harry felt the tears welling up in his eyes and the returning pit in his stomach. This was just another painful reminder that Sirius was truly dead, never going to hug Harry, never going to give him advice, listen to him vent, or tell him stories about his family. Harry fell onto his bed as his grief boiled up once again. After a few minutes he recovered. What was he going to do? The twenty-fifth was tomorrow; how was he going to get to Gringotts? Certainly Uncle Vernon would not be willing to drive him to London just so he could attend the reading, plus he definitely didn't want to have to tell them that his Godfather, with whom he had just been reunited, was dead. Maybe he could ask Mr. Weasely to come pick him up and apparate him to Gringotts-no, he didn't want to bother the Weaselys for something like this. There was always the Knight Bus but that was definitely not a method of transportation Harry particularly enjoyed. Sitting on his bed racking his brain for a way to get to Diagon Alley. He decided that he would break into the cupboard that night and get his wand, broom, and invisibility cloak and fly there, that way he could get where he needed without troubling anyone else, plus it would be great to fly again.
That night Harry sat in his room waiting for the Dursleys to go to sleep, it was only half past seven so he still had at least another two hours before Uncle Vernon and Aunt Petunia made their way to bed, and even more until Dudley came home from wherever he was tonight. He started to dose off when, for the third time that day, an unfamiliar owl flew to his windowsill. It began tapping on the glass forcing Harry to get up and let it in. The owl held its leg for Harry to remove. Once he had the letter in his hands, the owl started pecking him for a treat. Harry rolled his eyes but dug into his supply of treats for Hedwig to acquiesce its request. Once it was fed, the owl left not waiting for a reply. Harry opened the letter and read the simple message.
Be ready at exactly half-nine tomorrow morning.
Harry re-read the letter. There wasn't any way to interpret that message other than that someone-possibly Lupin-would be there to take him to the reading of the will.
The morning dawned and Harry's alarm was beeping. He jumped out of bed, grabbing his glasses and turning the clock off. He showered, dressed quickly and ran down the stairs to get breakfast for himself before Lupin arrived by a quarter till nine. Uncle Vernon gave him a glare, "What are you on about, Boy?"
"Oh, nothing, just a friend who's going to meet me in about half an hour." Harry couldn't help himself, despite the somber occasion, he was excited to get out of the Dursleys and back into the wizarding world, with a friend for the first time all summer.
"And just where do you expect to meet this friend ?"
"Oh no you're not! None of your fellow freaks are going to set foot in my house again!"
"Sorry, but it's a little late for me to tell him he can't come here."
"Don't play smug with me, whoever he is is not welcome in my house!"
"Don't worry we won't be staying."
"That's damn well right, if I so much as-"
The doorbell rang.
"I'll get it." Harry said. Opening the door Harry saw his old Defense professor standing on the door standing on the porch looking haggard and worn with his greying hair and scarred face. He wore a blue oxford shirt, tie, brown trousers, and the same old tweed jacket with elbow patches Harry had seen him wear so many times before.
"Good morning, Harry."
"Good morning, Remus."
"A bit too trusting, Harry." Lupin's voice full of caution.
"Oh right, uh-what is the password to clear the map?"
Lupin's eyes smiled slightly as he responded, "Mischief managed."
Harry stepped aside and Lupin entered the house looking around. "Do you have your dad's cloak?"
"Err, it's in the cupboard under the stairs."
"Go and grab it. We'll apparate there in ten minutes. I want you to wear it until we get inside the room in which the Will will be read. Understand?"
"Yes, Sir, but the door's locked."
"Where is your uncle?"
"In the kitchen."
"I'd like to speak to him briefly, if you don't mind."
"No freak is welcome in my house, now get out!" Uncle Vernon bellowed coming around the corner and facing Lupin.
"Mister Dursley, I'd like to inform you of just a few things before we depart." Lupin said, Uncle Vernon's insult glancing off his calm demeanor without causing so much as a breath from the werewolf.
"I don't want to hear any of it."
"First that we are grateful for your continued caring for Harry." Lupin continued as if he hadn't heard him, "second that no one fully knows what will come from this reading so that part of Harry's future is still uncertain, however, he will still need to live here until his seventeenth birthday. Thirdly, and this is a matter about which I am most concerned, we need you to unlock the cupboard under the stairs so that Harry might retrieve some of his belongings."
"No. That stuff stays where it is until he returns to that cursed school of his. I don't want him able to access it and threaten me or my family!"
"I can assure you that Harry will not threaten you nor your family, but it is imperative that we retrieve what we need now please."
"Very well, I had hoped to respect your sensitivities and refrain from doing this, but I will do it myself." Lupin said turning down the hall to the stairs. "Alohomora." he said with a wave of his hand, without drawing his wand. He opened the cupboard and withdrew Harry's trunk. He found the invisibility cloak then Harry's wand and gave him both before returning the trunk beneath the stairs. Glancing down at his watch, Lupin said, "Thank you for your time, Mr. Dursley. Harry, we must be off. Put on the cloak and grab my arm."
Harry did as he was told and followed Lupin out of the door. He kept a hold of Lupin's arm as the thin man walked around to an alley where he reached over and grabbed where Harry's shoulder should be. "Are you ready, Harry?"
"Yes." His disembodied voice came from beside the older man.
With that Harry felt and as if he was being sucked through a tube and spun around. They landed just outside of the Leaky Caldron. "You may let go, but stay covered and close." Lupin said as he walked through the door of the inn and proceeded into Diagon Alley. They walked quickly, Lupin taking every precaution to avoid anyone accidentally brushing against Harry. Harry noticed an old woman walking across the street from them stumble and nearly fall and almost ran over to see if she was alright, but she was already being helped by a passerby. Once they reached Gringotts Lupin walked to the Goblin behind the desk. "I'm here for the reading of the Will of Sirius Black."
"Mr. Lupin, of course. Right this way." The goblin led them to a small room off to the side with a polished desk, and multiple chairs. "Granglock will be hear shortly once the other beneficiaries have arrived." The goblin said closing the door as he exited.
"You can take the cloak off now, Harry." Lupin said.
Harry appeared beside him, "Did you think we were being followed?"
"I suspect that we might have been. Professor Dumbledore feared that the Death Eaters might try something and thought it would be safest if you were read the Will separately and at your home. I agree it would have been safer, but I feel it is best that you be here for this in person. The Order spent yesterday arranging your security." He smiled and added, "you may have noticed Tonks outside keeping watch."
"The old woman?" He asked, Lupin nodded, "Thanks. I want to be here."
A few minutes later Professor Dumbledore entered lead by a different goblin than that which lead Harry and Lupin. They both stood as the aged wizard walked towards them.
"Harry, I am glad that you are here safely."
"Thank you, Sir."
"I take it there were no issues, Remus?"
"None, sir, I believe our precautions have paid off."
"Excellent. Granglock, if you are ready, let us begin."
"Of course." The goblin said from behind the desk. He withdrew a large envelope, broke the seal, withdrew the document and read:
"'I, Sirius Orion Black, being of sound mind and body, doth hereby make this my Last Will and Testament. My Godson, Harry James Potter, I name him Heir and bequeath unto him all of my possessions, including Number 12 Grimmauld Place and the fortune of the Noble and Most Ancient House of Black.'" He put two keys before Harry, one to the Gringotts vault and the other the Grimmauld Place.
"'In the event that Harry Potter is not yet of legal wizarding age, I name my dear friend, Remus John Lupin, as Harry's guardian, and leave him this letter.'" Granglock opened a box and withdrew an envelope and placed it in front of Lupin who's face showed the signs of the struggle within himself to retain his composure.
"'To Professor Albus Percival Wulfric Brian Dumbledore, I leave this silver decorative ashtray bearing the Hogwarts Crest. This is the only object which the Marauders ever managed to nick from his office in our seven years at Hogwarts and it should be returned to him or the current Headmaster of Hogwarts.'" Granglock placed the ashtray before Dumbledore who smiled fondly at the silver decoration. All three of the beneficiaries chuckled at the last entree before the declaration of finality.
"'Manu Propria, Sirius Orion Black.'" Lupin's face was streaked with tears that he had been fighting back throughout the reading. Harry felt empty. This was the end; the last bit of Sirius being handed over.
"My job is done here." The goblin said as he folded the letter. "If you have anything to discuss amongst yourselves, you may do so before you leave if you wish. A bank statement will be owled to you, Mister Potter, concerning your monetary inheritance." With that he left the room.
Lupin wiped his face trying to regain his composure. "I'm sorry, Harry, Albus, I didn't mean to-"
"It's quite alright, Remus, but I would like to discuss a few things once you're ready."
"Concerning the House of Grimmauld Place, Harry-"
"I don't want anything to do with it." Harry butt in.
"That, of course, is your decision, however, I would like to request the further use of the house as the Headquarters for the Order of the Phoenix. If you refuse, as is your right, we would be forced to find new holdings as our base of operation."
"You can keep using it. I don't care."
"Thank you. Now the second issue, is that concerning your guardianship."
"What about it? I thought Sirius made it clear the Remus is my guardian."
"Indeed he did, but there is also a matter of your safety. The blood-wards surrounding your aunt and uncle's house are the very best protection anyone can offer you, Harry, and it is imperative that you continue residing there until your seventeenth birthday."
"It is for the best, Harry."
"Excuse me, Albus, but I have a question." Lupin spoke up.
"Harry has spent the majority of the last six summers elsewhere than his relatives' house. Most of the summer holidays he has spent with the Weasleys. Last year, he spent part of it at Grimmauld Place, and if I'm correct, he spent the last month of his vacation before his third year at the Leaky Caldron."
"What are you saying, Remus?"
"It appears to me that he has spent minimal time with the muggles while remaining fairly safe. In fact, the only time he was personally attacked during the summer was last year while he was living with them."
Dumbledore gazed over his half-moon spectacles at the younger man. "Do you believe that he will be safe with you, Remus?"
"I do. Especially if he were living at Grimmauld Place. The Fidelius Charm is intact, members of the Order are there frequently if not every day. If he leaves he would still have a guard with him as he does now."
"Harry, what do you say?"
Harry jumped. He had not expected the Headmaster to ask him his preference. Was there any question? True he didn't want to think about Grimmauld Place without Sirius, but if it meant leaving the Dursley's, live in the magical world-
"What I think? You mean about leaving the Dursleys and living with Remus?"
"If you don't want to, it's understandable. You've already said that you don't want anything to do with Grimmauld place, I wouldn't blame you for not wanting to live there." Remus said.
"Are you kidding? I would do anything to leave the Dursleys!"
"You wouldn't be leaving permanently, Harry, you would still need to spend the first part of next summer with your relatives to keep the blood-wards intact." Dumbledore said.
"But I could spend most of it with Remus?"
"Then yes, yes I want to stay with you!"
"There is more, Harry. While it is in Sirius' will that Remus be your legal guardian, I'm afraid that the ministry will not allow it. Firstly, that in the eyes of the ministry, Sirius was not your legal guardian because he was a criminal. Secondly, Remus is a werewolf and unfortunately the ministry has certain laws pertaining to the issue of werewolves' ability to have custody of an underage witch or wizard."
"What does that mean?"
"That as far as legalities are concerned you are still the ward of your aunt and uncle."
"But you will still be allowed to stay with me, so long as we don't approach the ministry about it." Lupin added, giving Dumbledore a look that said that would be the case.
Dumbledore nodded in affirmation before adding, "I have one more thing to add. Remus is still expected to fulfill his obligations as a ranking member of the Order of the Phoenix. This involves times when he will not be around Grimmauld Place. His condition also presents occasions that he will be incapacitated."
"I'm sure that there we can find another member of the Order to be around Grimmauld Place when Remus can't." Harry said with an air of certainty.
"Very well. If both of you are adamant, there is little I can do. I think it would be best, Remus, that I take Harry back to his relatives and explain to them the situation. There is also an errand that I need to run with which I require Harry's assistance."
"Harry?" Lupin asked turning to the boy in question.
"Yeah I guess. I need to get my stuff from the Dursleys' anyways. You take the key to Grimmauld Place and get things ready."
"If we're finished, put your cloak over yourself, Harry, and we will return to your relatives." Dumbledore said striding towards the door.
Harry and Dumbledore stood outside of Number 12 Grimmauld Place. They had just visited Horace Slughorn to convince him to reclaim his old teaching position at Hogwarts and Dumbledore had been pleased with the results.
"Harry, before I let you go I must tell you that if it becomes clear that you are not safe with this new arrangement, you will be returning to your aunt and uncle's house. I am certain Remus would agree with me on that issue. Your safety is the top priority in this war, we mustn't let anything happen to you."
Harry glared at his headmaster. He was sick and tired of being treated as if he was an exotic animal that could only be let out of his cage on occasions for fear of it being hurt.
"We will be in touch, Harry, until then, be safe." With that the old wizard walked Harry to the door of the house allowed him to enter then disapperated.
Harry walked into the house; still dark and decaying as ever. Instantly he was hit with a wave of sadness and pain knowing that Sirius was not here to greet him. He walked quietly to the kitchen, doing his best not to disturb the portrait of Mrs. Black, he could only imagine what she would say about him having inherited the House of Black. Entering through the kitchen door he saw Lupin seated at the table with a cup of tea and a book looking quite content.
"Hello, Harry, your things are upstairs, Dumbledore sent them right over. Supper will be in little over an hour. If you're hungry now there are some biscuits in the tin by the sink."
"Thanks. I think I'd like to go lie down a bit."
"Go right ahead. I put your things in...in Sirius' room, but if you'd like to move a different one you're more than welcome. I'm currently in the one I used this past year but I'm more than willing to move if you'd like; it is your house after all."
"No, no need. I'll see what I end up doing."
Harry walked up the stairs and found then door labeled Sirius at the topmost floor. He opened the door and stepped into his godfather's childhood room. The walls were covered with posters, many of them of muggle women in bikinis and motorcycles, the large bed and carved headboard with a scarlet quilt thrown over the top. Harry's trunk was in the corner of the room along with Hedwig's cage, the snowy owl hooting madly at his appearance. Harry closed his eyes trying to hold back the tears that came with the memories of this room's previous inhabitant. He threw himself atop of the bed and buried his face in the pillows to muffle his sobs.
As soon as Harry was upstairs, Lupin reached into his pocket and pulled out the letter from Sirius. He was hesitant to read it and needed to all the same. He needed to see the all too perfect script of his best friend one more time, needed to have one last correspondence with the man he had loved as a brother. Slowly, with hands slightly shaking, he opened the letter.
If you're reading this I guess I finally got what I had coming for me. I'm leaving Harry everything, as you already know, but I want you to take my place as godfather and watch over him. Promise me you'll do a better job than I did and actually be there for him, not that it will be hard being as I spent most of my time as godfather in prison and a fugitive. Teach him, protect him, help him win this damn war that has taken so much from him, be everything he needs.
You're the last of his family, Remus, love him for us all. Love him for Prongs, for Lily, and for me; we can love him from afar, but only you can do it up close. Hold him, he's yours now.
Harry walked down the stairs of Grimmauld place Saturday morning. Once he reached the main level he heard voices coming from the kitchen. Upon entering he saw Lupin standing at the stove frying eggs and talking to a pink haired witch sitting on the counter dangling her feet in the air.
"When did you get here?"
"A little bit ago, I thought I'd check up on you guys and see how you're doin'."
"Oh, fine I guess. I'm glad to be out of the Dursleys' for the summer."
"Oh, I bet, I can't imagine what it must be like living with those muggles. I told you before, they're too clean."
"It's a bit overbearing to say the least."
"Eggs are ready, there's toast on the counter, Harry, if you'll grab it please." Lupin said removing the pan from the stove.
They all sat down at the table that seemed rather empty with only three, and enjoyed their breakfast.
"Actually, Harry, I was telling Remus that I'm pretty sure that my flat is being watched." Tonks said half way through the meal.
"What‽ By whom?"
"I'm not entirely sure; I think the ministry."
"The new Minister, Harry, is trying to show that they are fighting Voldemort, but he wants to be the one who does it, not the Order." Lupin said.
"So, he's spying on members to find out who and where they are?"
"Precisely. They Order of the Phoenix is a secret society for multiple reasons, Harry, the obvious one is so Death Eaters are unaware of our workings and members, but that also applies to the ministry."
"The last thing we need is the Ministry of Magic hindering us any more than they already do, and if Scrimigour has his way we would be shut down entirely." Tonks added.
"That's ridiculous, the Order isn't the problem; Voldemort is, and I doubt that the ministry has even the slightest idea how to stop him."
"Yes, Harry, that is why the Order stays as secret as possible, because we are able to accomplish more without the ministry dictating our every step."
"So, what are you going to do about your flat?" Harry asked turning to Tonks.
"Well I was actually going to ask if I could stay here for a bit."
"Yeah of course. There's plenty of room."
"Thanks, Harry, Remus said it would be fine, but being as you're a big boy now, and the owner of the house, I thought you should have the final say." Tonks said with a wink.
Harry blushed. The way she said, "big boy" as if he was a child was highly embarrassing. He knew she was teasing him, not belittling him, so he didn't get angry but he was immensely grateful that they only other person in the room to hear it was Lupin.
Ye Ol' Author's Note: Salutations my dear readers, Rest assured, I have not abandoned you. My long silence has been due to focusing on my original works. This is my first time dealing with a semi-AU so I hope you enjoy it. Please leave you reviews.