Saturday 10 July 1993
James rode his bike down the drive, breathing heavily in the afternoon sun. He was coming home from Ryan's house where they'd spent the afternoon playing on Ryan's new Super Nintendo Entertainment System, or SNES. James' parents had asked him to be out of the house for the day; they said something about a business visit of some kind-He didn't buy it entirely. His folks seemed on edge ever since they'd heard the news about the escapee in England.
'Why do they even care? It's not like we're ever going back,' James thought. Those were the Dark Times, before mom and dad. Before he was "James." He traced his fingers over the scars across his face absentmindedly. It was strange how something that hurt so bad at the time had saved his life.
James braked into the garage-open like it normally was in the summer- hopped off his bike as it came to a stop, set the kickstand, and walked in the back door. He removed his sweat-soaked shirt and tossed it in with the laundry as he made his way up to his room on the second floor. From the kitchen, he heard voices and peeked in as he passed by.
Mom and dad were sitting at the kitchen table, talking to a thin, older-looking woman. The visitor's grey hair was pulled back into a tight bun, and the scent of hot tea, old books and cats wafted through the door as he continued up the stairs. He didn't catch much of what was being said besides the mention of some school and a group of hellions. He figured he'd wait until the guest had left before he'd take his shower, just in case. To kill time, James grabbed The Two Towers off his dresser and plopped down onto his bed. He propped up his pillow behind him and dove into the book.
His room was a typical room of any teen. Well okay, not that typical: because his dad worked with computers, and was one of the select few to be working on something called the "WorldWideWeb", James had a personal computer in his room- a gift from his dad's work. There were also some titles on his bookshelf that you wouldn't expect to find like Transfiguring the Fight and The History of the Great Wizard's War. Also, the pewter cauldron tucked into the corner with a pair of briefs thrown over it was a bit odd, but other than that, it was an incredibly typical teenage room. James was sure of it. As he read, the sun began to sink. Its light seeped in through the window, painting the blue walls with a yellow-orange glow.
His stomach ached with hunger when James put down his book. The clock read 5:00 pm, he'd been reading for over an hour. James, figuring their guest should be gone, stripped down to his boxer briefs and ducked into the hallway bathroom for a shower.
Once he was cleaned and dressed, he wandered downstairs to see about dinner. He rounded the corner and found the grey-haired woman still seated at the table, his parents glaring at her. He spun around, planning to beat a hasty retreat, but was a second too slow.
"It is rude not to introduce oneself to a guest." The woman said, a distinctly Scottish accent coming through.
James continued his spin, cursing his luck. He glanced at his dad for guidance. After all, she was from that place. His dad was silent with his shoulders slumped, leaning back in his chair. His mom spoke up instead.
"This is our son James. James, say hello to Professor McGonagall. She was our Transfiguration teacher at Hogwarts. She wanted to talk to Remus about something that happened in Britain recently." She said, her harsh tone suggesting the talk was unwelcome and now over.
"Hello, Missus McGonagall. Pleased to meet you. I'll get out of your way then. I was just checking to see if dinner is going to be ready soon, but you seem busy." James said, trying once again to beat a hasty retreat. Something about her name was tickling a distant memory of James'; it prodded at a nagging sense of familiarity.
"Nonsense. Professor McGonagall was just leaving." Mom said as she rose from the table. "As for dinner, why don't we do some Hamburger Helper. I think we have another box in the pantry."
"Veronica please-" Remus started, pleading with his wife.
"No. Remus already gave you his answer. We have a life here. A home and a community that accepts us, or at least doesn't outright persecute us. We came here to get away from Britain, its prejudices, and its problems." Veronica said, a low growl punctuating her statement.
"Calm down love," Remus said, resting a calming hand on her arm. "But she is right, Minerva. I have a home and family here I can't just abandon."
James kept creeping toward the doorway and the stairs to take him safely away from the adults. There was that tickling feeling again Minerva and McGonagall-where had he heard those before?
"What about James and Lily? What about Peter? Does what happened to them mean nothing?" McGonagall asked. "You're the last person left that can help. You have a duty to them and to Harry, wherever he may be."
James didn't hear his parents reply as he scurried back up the stairs. Missus McGonagall's last words were too close. Now he knew why his parents had wanted him to avoid her. At least it seemed like she wouldn't be a problem, just a hassle.
Once he was safely back in his room, he locked the door and started towards his desk. Maybe some computer games would help distract him. Asteroids was always good for some fun. As he walked by his bookshelf, his eyes fell on The History of the Great Wizard's War. James grabbed it on a whim and opened it to a random page. Perhaps the pitched battles of history were a better choice given the atmosphere in the kitchen. As he read about the Battle of the Bulge, or rather how Gellert Grindelwald's forces had aided the Nazis by using magic to create fog and winter storms, Harry stopped dead and re-read it again.
"The 77th Scottish Witches, also known as the Valkyrie Knights are credited with breaking the ritual circle and killing Oberstabsmager Kaus Hazthaust. The daring night raid led by Captain Minerva McGonagall…"
'That's why the name was so familiar.' James thought as he flipped to the index. There were several other instances of Minerva McGonagall listed there. Intrigued, James put the book away when his eyes fell on the spine of Transfiguring the Fight, or more importantly the author.
'Wow, I can't believe I really didn't recognize her name sooner. Then again, how often do you meet an author in your own home.' James grabbed the book and left his room, thinking of all the questions he wanted to ask her, only to stop short of the stairs. 'Is it really a good idea to go talk to her? Probably not. Then again how often will I get a chance like this? Besides, she didn't notice earlier. I'm sure it'll be fine. It's not like she knows what Harry Potter would look like if she ever met him. She's probably expecting that skinny kid with glasses from those stupid books.'
James continued down the stairs. His parents were still arguing with Missus. McGonagall. He was starting to think they'd been doing it all day. Maybe they had.
"'Scuse me," James said, intruding into the kitchen. "I just had a quick question for Missus McGonagall."
"It's Miss McGonagall, James; and I think a quick question would be fine if your parents don't mind." She said, turning her full attention to him for the first time. Like everyone else, her eyes were drawn to the four long scars across his face. Two jagged lines ran across his forehead, the raised pink flesh standing out against his summer tan. The third was only fully visible with his eyes closed, running along the top of his eyelids and across the top of his nose. The fourth line snaked under his right eye until it crossed the bridge of his nose and continued below his left eye. Then her pale green eyes met his. James' dark green eyes were wide and filled with wonder.
"It's fine, Minerva. Though, I think I know what it might be." Remus said, cutting Veronica off.
"Thanks, Dad," James said, turning his attention back to Miss McGonagall. "Ma'am, I was wondering are you the same Minerva McGonagall who wrote Transfiguring the Fight, and fought in the Great Wizard's War?"
Veronica facepalmed as Remus fought to keep the smirk off his face. His cub managed to find, not only the one topic to distract Minerva, but, at the same time, the one topic she would refuse to talk about. Once, Lily had asked that same question in her sixth year. Minerva avoided her for a week. Professor McGonagall's face lit up, then immediately fell as James finished his question.
"Yes, I am. I'm surprised though. Not many of my students ask me about either. I see you have the book, but how did you find out about the War?"
"You are in The History of the Great Wizard's War… several times, in fact. Are the things you write about in Transfiguring the Fight things you learned in the War, or somewhere else? What was the War like? Why did you serve? What were the Valkyries like?" James asked, never giving Minerva a chance to respond.
Professor McGonagall sighed and leaned back in her chair, wishing for some tea, or perhaps some Firewhiskey. Remus, reading the familiar look, pulled out a shot glass, filled it, and passed it to her. "Side effect of living in a military town." He said by way of apology. "The veterans are happy to share their tales...why don't you take him into the living room and talk?"
"Is this your plan now? Send nosy teenagers to drive me off? Actually how old is he?"
"I'm thirteen, or will be at the end of the month." James said automatically. Thirteen was a big deal. He would finally be a teenager. Professor McGonagall regarded him for a long moment.
"I suppose it would not do to deprive an eager student of instruction. Even if I am off the clock, as it were." Professor McGonagall said reluctantly. She took the shot, then followed James into the living room. There she shared all she could, preferring to talk about her old friends and the magic of transfiguration rather than the battles and their tolls.
James proved to be an attentive student, if not a bit pushy about things she would rather not discuss. While laughing at the half-forgotten antics of old friends, or explaining the wonders of transfiguration proved to be enjoyable recalling the pain of their passing was not. As she regaled James with her stories, she found that she was beginning to learn about James in return.
James was a bright young man; impressively well versed in magic for someone his age. It surprised her; especially considering James attended a Muggle school, and would continue to do so for at least another year before starting at an all magical high school. Instead, he learned magic after school and one weekend a month with required day camps over the summer, though it was also possible to do overnight camps. James just attended one in June for two weeks, so his memory was still fresh. He liked something called "science fiction," "fantasy," and whatever "video games" were when he wasn't playing with his friends.
The more she talked to him the more she felt she was missing something. Somewhere, the Arithmancy wasn't adding up. She'd been very surprised to find Remus living in America with a wife and a son. The wife she recognized as Veronica Orion, a Ravenclaw a few years behind Remus and his friends, who disappeared after her fifth year. Minerva guessed she'd fallen to the likes of Fenrir and his ilk, and Remus had helped her survive.
Then there was James. He looked nothing like either of his parents, and those scars looked too much like others she had seen before, on Remus and more recently Veronica. He was undoubtedly a werewolf. She otherwise doubted Remus would let himself care for a child. Was James a war orphan bitten and later adopted, or had it been something else that brought them together? Even then, why leave Britain and cut all contact.
It'd taken until just a few days ago to locate Remus, and that was with Headmaster Dumbledore calling in favors left and right-an exercise made much harder following the Fall of nineteen ninety-one and the ensuing inquisition. If it hadn't been for an expatriate muggle-born in the area they would still be searching.
The thought that he might be an orphan seemed important. His age did too. Thirteen at the end of the month, he said. That would make him the same age as…Professor McGonagall took a hard look at James. He had bright green eyes-Emerald eyes. Then she looked at his hair. It was cut short, not long enough to ever worry about combing or trying to control it, but it was the same black as another James.
Professor McGonagall became still and silent as the most unlikely of discoveries sat before her asking her questions.. A moment later she motioned for James to be silent. Without taking her eyes off of James, said, "Remus. Veronica. Could you please join us?" Her voice deathly calm.
A moment later, the pair appeared. Professor McGonagall motioned for them to sit down next to James. Once they were settled, Remus started to speak only to be cut off as Professor McGonagall went off on them.
"Remus, I want you to explain what you are doing raising Harry James Potter as your own son in the middle of Nowhere, USA; and how he became a werewolf of all things!" Professor McGonagall said, expressing her ire in the way only a matronly schoolmarm could.
The family looked at one another eyes going wide in surprise and fear.
Just then, the sound of a car door opening reached the living room. The calls of little girls followed, and, a moment later, the front door opened wide.
"Mom, Dad, Jamie, I'm home. What's for dinner!?" A light brunette haired girl, no older than seven in a red dress called out as she opened the door. "Missus Reynolds said to say hi." She continued before coming up short when she saw her parents and brother looking guiltily at the person across from them.
"Morgan," Veronica coughed, "Say hello to Professor McGonagall."
"Um, hello Professor McGonagall." The little girl said. "What's going on?"
"Hello, Morgan. I was asking your parents the same question. Let's see what they have to say, shall we." Professor McGonagall said kindly, before addressing the rest of the family far more coldly. "In your own time. No rush."
The trio shared glances for a moment in silence. Veronica spoke first. "Dinner was nearly ready when you called us in here. Let's get something to eat. Then we can start our tale. I suppose I should go first."
"Yay dinner! I'm starving." Morgan said, rushing to her place at the table. "Hurry up."
The adults followed a moment later. A quick spell from Remus reshaped the table, adding room for one more person. A flick of the wrist from Veronica and the places were set, hamburger helper on each plate with a side salad in a bowl. Glasses of milk for the children and something stronger for the adults.
Once everything was set and she'd drained her glass, refilled it, and taken another slip all in quick succession, Veronica began.
"You wanted to know how we wound up adopting James, how he became a werewolf, and why we are living in Minot, or as you called it the middle of Nowhere, USA?"
"Yes, now enough stalling."
"Whadda you mean Jamie is adopted?" Morgan asked, dropping her fork. The room was too tense for dinner. 'Something is wrong. Mommy, Daddy, and Jamie smelled off. The McGonagall lady, who smelled weird, kept glaring at her Mommy and Daddy,' Morgan thought.
"You will find out in a minute honey." Veronica said, giving her daughter a weak smile. "I suppose the best place to start is the summer before what would have been my sixth year at Hogwarts, and how I became a werewolf myself."
Veronica told them how her father, a small business owner, who serviced a magical community in the Cornwall area, had refused to give Death Eaters and other followers of He-who-must-not-be-named "discounted" purchases-otherwise known as free. In retaliation, they unleashed Greyback's pack upon her family the night of a full moon. Her parents had been ripped to shreds, her younger brother rent limb from limb and the family cat swallowed in a single gulp.
Veronica had been injured as the scars on her arms showed, but left alive. They had decided to turn her because, with the harsh laws in Britain regarding werewolves and the complete loss of her family, she would have nowhere else to turn to survive. One more for the pack and one less enemy for the Dark Lord.
"They came to collect me the next day. I'll never forget the look on Larimont's face when they found me. They kept me at their camp, leashed to a post like a pet." Veronica said, stopping as the harsh memories caused her to drain the rest of her glass. Remus took up the yarn.
"Not exactly the best dinner story, is it?" He said pointing to the mostly untouched plates of food. "Please try and eat a bit."
After everyone had eaten a few bites of the now lukewarm meal, Remus began. "I'd just recently started working as a spy in the werewolf packs at Dumbledore's request. It was shortly after the attack on the Orions I was brought to the camp to help with logistics, i.e. latrine duty, because of my questionable loyalties. They needed me to prove my worth to the cause."
Remus described how he'd met Veronica and discreetly aided her in any way he could. The night of her first change, he had stayed nearby and tried to keep her safe when she changed the first time. Shortly thereafter, he was able to help her slip into the muggle world and disappear for the rest of the war.
"The next time I saw her was seven years later. She was holding a small body, still bleeding from a claw slash on its face." Remus finished. His story was far less inappropriate for dinner conversation, so plates were becoming emptier as the group continued to pick at their Hamburger Helper. Not much, but some.
Professor McGonagall held her tongue through it all. It was clear this was no easy thing for them to talk about, and it seemed likely no one had ever heard this story in its entirety before. Even Harry...James...whatever they called him, had been captivated by parts. Morgan had just sat stunned, although Professor McGonagall wasn't sure how long that would last.
"My turn now I guess?" James whispered, staring down at his plate.
"If you don't want to, I'll share what we know." Veronica said, pulling him into a hug. "You don't have to talk about that place or those times. They are behind you now and forever."
"No, I… I think I need to do this." James said. He broke free from the embrace and steeled himself. His gaze swept over everyone before settling on a point far away.
"Miss McGonagall, Morgan, you both need to understand something. What happened to me that June night was the best thing to ever happen to me. It gave me a family that loves me. The first mattress I remember sleeping on was at the hospital Dad brought me to. The first time I remember hearing my name was when Dad spoke to me for the first time."
"Imagine for a second someone calling you by your name, and you have no clue they are talking to you because you've never heard it before. No one has ever referred to you by it before. You don't know it is your name, because all you have ever been called is 'freak' or 'boy.'" James spat in disgust.
"Before that night, I lived with people who are allegedly related to my birth mother. My bedroom was the closet under the stairs, while my bed was a pad and a threadbare old blanket. My earliest memories are of doing chores, being smacked for making noise, and being locked in the closet while they were away. The one time I dared to asked why I didn't get presents when Duddykins did I was beaten with a belt until everything went black."
Professor McGonagall was horrified as Harry/James spoke. She'd told Albus they were the worst sort of muggles, but this. What he was describing was irreconcilable. She struggled to remain silent. She had learned, alongside the rest of the wizarding world in the early days of nineteen-ninety-two, that Harry had run away and been mistreated by the muggles they'd left him with. But to hear what they'd done in his own words made her sick with guilt and regret.
Morgan squirmed in her seat, tears pooling in her eyes. She didn't want to hear any more. She wanted it to be lies. 'What Mommy said was bad enough but Jamie- How could someone hurt her brother like that? Her brother, annoying though he was, who always looked out for her. Who had knocked down rotten Tommy Wisse for her? It wasn't right!'
"One day, after I cooked bacon and sausages for them-, none for me of course-, they threw me in the closet. They were off to the beach, you see, spending the weekend down on the water. Couldn't bring the 'freak' of course. No chores to do at the beach and most people look down on you for beating a small child as I would later learn. To my great fortune, they accidentally left the door unlocked. It was late in the evening before I even tried to open the door, but the need for food had grown great enough I was willing to try. The door slid open easily and I set upon the pantry like a swarm of locusts. I ate myself sick, puked, and went back to eating."
"Eating more slowly, I also turned on the TV. I left it on the channel the land whales had been watching. It was a silly cartoon but had an interesting thing going on. One of the characters was running away from home because he thought everyone hated him." James barked a dry bitter laugh.
"They hadn't remembered the character's birthday. They were avoiding him. I thought if that was hate, the creatures I was made to serve must truly wish me dead. Rather than remain, I too planned to run away. By the time the moon was high in the night sky, I was near the outskirts of the little town. I took refuge in some hedges or trees for the night. I was exhausted from the walking and ill from stuffing myself."
"Sometime near dawn, I was startled awake by a howling sound. Soon after followed the rustling of leaves. Then pain. That was the last thing I remember before waking in the hospital bed." James said, coming back from the far-off place he had been. His shoulders were shaking and his foot started bouncing against the floor. Before anyone could say anything he popped up, catching his chair at the last second before it fell over.
"I think I'm done with dinner." He said in a whisper before running out of the room. Every eye tracked him as he left, then a heavy silence settled over the table. With each passing second, it grew until a whimpering sob broke it.
"Oh honey," Veronica said, getting up from her seat and wrapping her daughter in her arms.
"It's not right. It's not fair. Jamie was lying, right? No one would do that to someone." Morgan broke down crying in her mother's arms. Veronica embraced her weeping daughter, letting out a grunt of effort as she picked her up. Morgan wrapped herself around her mother as they left the room.
Remus sighed and leaned back in his seat. When it was just him and Professor McGonagall in the room, he stood and began gathering the plates. After he set them on a pad next to the sink, they leaped up, dumped the remaining food into the trash and set about cleaning, drying, and putting themselves away.
He rummaged around in one of the cabinets for a moment and came back with a bottle of mead and two glasses. He poured liberally and set them between himself and the only remaining person at the table.
Professor McGonagall was fighting hard to maintain control and listen silently all through Harry's tale. Well, James' tale, she supposed. She felt sick with herself for leaving him there that night-furious with Albus for taking the address from her, "For his own protection,"-sad for the boy and the innocence he'd lost; and guilty for dragging the story out of them.
As she sat there, all the hubbub around her in the kitchen faded away, until Remus broke her out of it.
"Take a drink Minerva, and listen well." He passed her one of the glasses. She looked up and saw the yellow eyes of a wolf staring back at her. "I'm not happy right now. My pack is not happy right now, and the fact I can tell you're not happy right now is the only thing keeping me from throwing you out of my house. I hope now you understand why I won't go back. Not even to help track down the escaped traitor. I won't break my pack up, and being gone for close to a year would do that. I won't make James go back to Britain, and taking my pack with me would do that."
"To him, it is a dark place, a bad place. We have a life here, happiness. For crying out loud, my wife and I both have steady jobs and are respected members of the community. Europe is so far behind and out of step with the rest of the world it isn't even funny." Remus said taking a sip.
"Please Remus, I know I've said it many times but we need you. Black escaped Azkaban. Azkaban! We hardly ever caught you four in your pranks, and you were but children then. During the war, he was a decorated Auror, and few would stand before him and James outside of the inner circle of He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named himself. Even Auror Moody said he wouldn't be able to find him without help. Black aced the stealth portion of his training."
"We'll never find him without your help. Of the people that could help us, you are the only one still alive. Please, Do it for Peter. Do it for Harry. Do it for James. It is Black's fault he ever had to suffer as he did." Professor McGonagall said laying her argument on the table one last time.
"No." Remus growled. "Besides, while liasoning with the Auror might make sense, I don't see how tying me to the castle as a teacher helps with that. Who or what do they even think Black is after at the castle. No Minerva. We are staying here."
Professor McGonagall sighed. She expected as much. She even agreed with him, but they really need the position filled, and after last year's results, anyone would be able to do a better job. The problem was no one wanted it.
"And I hope you can understand why we want to keep James' identity a secret."
At that, she perked up. While she may have said they had only been searching a little while, Dumbledore claimed he'd started trying to track Remus when Harry first disappeared. By the time they found where he'd been living in Britain, he was already gone. It felt bad to pull this card, but it might work.
"Of course you do understand Albus will likely come to talk to you himself. And I'm going to have to tell him about Harry. He's been searching for years you know. Every nook and cranny in England, and several in France as well. His disappearance was kept silent for years, but people knew when to expect him at Hogwarts. Albus lost almost all his positions when Harry didn't appear." Professor McGonagall said. Resorting to blackmail might be questionable. It was most assuredly not the Gryffindor thing to do. In fact, it was downright Slytherin, but when it came to recapturing the right hand of a dark lord it was worth it. She just hoped she was right.
"You wouldn't. Albus was the one that left James with those monsters. I don't know why, but when I checked there were wards there. He had to have known what was happening. You can't tell anyone about him. He is safe here. Happy here." Remus said, his grip on his glass tightening until his knuckles turned white.
"But everyone needs to know that Harry Potter is alive and well. So many people are worried about his well-being. Surely they deserve some peace of mind." Professor McGonagall said. It made her sick to do it but it had to be done. It had to be done she told herself. The hook was baited now she just had to get him to bite.
"Bullshit. If anyone cared, he wouldn't have ever been in that home. You know there were other places he could have gone. The Longbottoms, though thank Merlin he wasn't, the Bones, heck even the Tonks. Sure the traitor was his Godfather, but there was no way he was going to get his hands on James once he was captured. Until then he could have been kept safe at Hogwarts." Remus growled. His eyes flashed yellow again and his lips pulled back exposing his teeth. For a moment Remus was not the mild-mannered wizard she knew so well, but a wolf defending his pack.
Professor McGonagall reminded herself she was, in fact, dealing with werewolves and perhaps pushing too hard was a really bad idea. A really, really bad idea. Remus had called them his pack, and while she wasn't 100% sure, it was a fair guess that messing with a wolf's cubs was a quick way to get hurt. She decided to throw him a bone.
"Remus, I knew they were the worst sort of muggles." His eyes grew hard and his hand started moving towards his wand. "And I warned Albus against leaving him there, but he was quite insistent that all would be well." The hand stopped.
"And you never thought to check on him?"
"I would have, but Albus removed the location from my mind. Hagrid's too."
"Why would he have removed it from Hagrid's."
"Hagrid brought Harry to his relatives. Albus sent me ahead to watch the house for a day after the Potter's were attacked after sending Hagrid to get Harry."
"Really?" Remus asked surprised by this new information. "How did Hagrid get from Godric's Hollow to Surrey?"
"He flew in on a loud motorcycle." She said trying to remember all the details of that night.
"On a flying motorcycle?" Remus said. He didn't believe it possible, but how many flying motorcycles were there. "Did it have a sidecar?"
"Yes, I think so. Hagrid said- He said Black gave him the bike." Professor McGonagall said as if a great mystery was being revealed to her.
"Are you sure?!"
"Yes." Professor McGonagall said, trying hard to think back to that night. Parts of it were fuzzy, anything related to the address, but the conversations were still very much there. "Hagrid said- He said that Black gave it to him when he arrived to take Harry away."
"Why would the traitor give Hagrid his bike; why was Harry even still alive if Black was there?" Doubt had just entered into Remus' world. He didn't like it. Everything was clear cut a second ago. Black had secretly been for He-who-must-not-be-named the whole time. He was a spy and a traitor. He had given up James and Lily to please his master. Once the pair were dead, he had hunted down Peter and killed him in the streets. Remus had no doubt that had Black gotten away with killing Peter he would have hunted him down next. Now, though there was the tiniest sliver of doubt. The tiniest, smallest, most subatomic bit of doubt, but there was doubt.
"I don't know. I never thought about it before, but you're right. Why did Black give Hagrid the bike or let Harry live?"
"He was their secret keeper, right? There is no doubt on that?" Remus asked
"Of course that is what Albus said, and he cast the Fidelius himself, I think."
"What if Black wasn't though. What if James changed it?" Remus said gears starting to turn in his head as he thought like a Marauder for the first time in years.
"Why do that? Black was the obvious choice. No one ever expected his treason." Professor McGonagall said, trying to follow Remus' line of thought.
"Exactly. Think about all the havoc we caused in school. Do you know just how many times you didn't catch us, didn't even suspect us? The two of them would never do something because it was the obvious choice except as a set-up to fool everyone." Remus said, then started muttering to himself trying to figure out what could have happened. "It just doesn't make any sense."
Professor McGonagall stayed silent. Remus was right, it didn't make any sense, but anyone that could tell them more about what happened that night was dead, except Black.
"There is a way to find out." She offered.
"Not likely." Remus muttered. "You would have to catch Black."
"True, but with a bit of help it could be done."
Remus was silent for a long time then sighed. Professor McGonagall felt a bit of relief flow through her. They had a defense professor for the next year. Oh, and they were going to have help hunting down Black, but the important part was the professor bit.
"Fuck." Remus said, punching the table as he realized she was right. Was the tiniest bit of doubt worth it? Did he owe it to the traitor who might not be a traitor to help find the truth? Twelve years in Azkaban, that was hell on earth. Remus knew that if he was in hell he'd want someone to act on the slightest bit of doubt. "I'll have to talk to my family. I won't promise anything yet, but you might be getting what you came for. It's going to come with some stipulations."
"I am certain we can work something out. Do you think you can be ready with your answer and requirements by Monday?" Professor McGonagall asked.
"Monday evening, maybe. I need to talk to my current boss and he might have to talk to some other people. There are a few others I'll need to talk to, but I need something from you tonight." Remus said, standing up and drawing his wand.
"And what might that be."
"Give me a second to get James, then I'll tell you." Remus said. "If you leave before I get him I'll assume you don't want my help." He left and was gone for several minutes. She heard feet stomping on the stairs soon followed by a pair of voices. Moments later Remus and Harry reappeared. "You are going to give him an Unbreakable Vow, I will be the holder, that you won't reveal his identity without James' permission."
"That seems a little much. Surely my word, an oath, will be sufficient." Professor McGonagall said.
"No. We worked hard to keep James' identity hidden we can't risk it getting out now." Remus said with a nod from the boy in question.
"I got my hands on some of those books that were written about me. Curious to know if I got any money for them, but that is beside the point. They were completely bogus. I agree with Dad. Just think for a second how they would treat me. Dad and Mom have told me stories about Britain and how it treats people like us." James said, locking eyes with Professor McGonagall.
Professor McGonagall blinked first and looked away. They were right and her past experience had shown her how important it was to protect sensitive information. "Very well, what will I be vowing to?"
"You will promise to keep James' past identity a secret. You will agree to only address him based on the name James Romulus Lupin. You will keep secret the Lupin Family's Lycanthropy. You will make no mention or hint at an existing relationship between the Lupin Family and Harry Potter. You will be bound by this vow until released of it by a member of the Lupin family." Remus said, laying out the vow he'd hashed out with his family moments before.
"So be it." Professor McGonagall said, extending her hand for James, as she was going to have to think of him from now on to grasp. It wasn't an easy choice. It meant she wouldn't be able to give Albus his dressing down, but it was the right thing to do she felt.
Ten minutes later and she was standing in front of her hotel, courtesy of a quick side-along by Remus. She would return to his home in two days in the hopes of learning his answer and being able to send out the Hogwarts letters before the end of the month. Tomorrow she would have to find a post office and send a message to the headmaster. Just as soon as she figured out what to say.
After Remus returned home, the family agreed to save any discussions for tomorrow after breakfast. Instead, they broke out Morgan's favorite movie, The Little Mermaid, made popcorn, and dug out Trouble. They played the game as the movie ran in the background. Morgan paying more attention to it than the game. Once the sun was fully down, just before 10, the family made ready for bed. Morgan was tucked in first. She even forced her brother to help.
James was the second, his parents showing him the love they always had, the comfort and security of a young man like him deserved. That done, they went to their own room. Once they were under the covers, Veronica rolled Remus over and slipped on top of him. Before he could speak she silenced him with a kiss.
"After everything today, I need you to love me tonight." She said once she broke the kiss. Remus lovingly obeyed his wife, glad the room had a built-in silencing ward.
Harry is a Werewolf story. Enjoy as we delve into a world where Harry is pulled back to Britain again and again against his will. See how we play with Lycanthropy. Watch as he dates women and breaks up with them one at a time! See how a missing pawn has changed the chessboard for the last eight years.
And most importantly let me know where the story is weak and needs work or tweaking. The glory of this kind of writing is it is never set in stone and can always be improved!
Updated 6 Jan 2019 - Proof that the writing can always be improved.