By: USA Tiger
Disclaimer: Harry Potter is the property of J. K. Rowling. Hotel Transylvania is the property of Sony Pictures.
Author Notes: This came about from trying to decide if I wanted to use the HT versions of the classic movie monsters or the Scooby Doo version in my other fanfic The Nightmare Before Hogwarts, I went with Scooby Doo there due to wanting to use the Ghoul School Winnie and thought Scooby Doo fit better in that practical story. Yet I still wanted to write something with HT and many people wanted it as well so I brainstormed came up with this idea.
Future chapters shouldn't be as long as this one.
Thanks to Plumalchemyst for helping me brainstorm this idea.
Update 10-7-19: Betaed by Tsuyu-the-Hanyou
New readers can follow me on twitter usa_tiger1983 where I post updates and sometimes recommendations for stories I've read.
"He's where?!" Remus Lupin coughed and sputtered on his tea in surprise, nearly shouting the question. He doubled over, fist pressed to his mouth, as he tried to cough up his lungs after the tea went down the wrong tube.
"Alrigh' there, Remus?" Remus's lunch mate Rubeus Hagrid asked worriedly, one hand in the air hovering but not quite touching his shoulder. As Remus waved him off, Hagrid instead offered him a napkin off the table.
"Sorry," he apologized, voice rough from the coughing. "But could you repeat that? Did you just say Harry is living with Lily's sister?"
"Aye," Hagrid said with a nod. They were getting a few looks, not surprising since Hagrid was a giant of a fellow, literally since he was in-fact a half giant. "Took 'im there myself. Professor McGonagall didn't seem too happy about it."
Remus didn't doubt that, he never had the 'pleasure' of meeting Petunia Evans, or her spouse Vernon Dursley, but his best mate James Potter had plenty to say about his in-laws. Lily too, had plenty to say about her older sister, and none of it was nice.
Remus Lupin was born a half-blooded wizard, with a wizard for a father and a muggle for a mother. But when Remus was four, nearly five, years old, the infamous werewolf Fenrir Greyback, though at the time the insane alpha wolf wasn't known to be a werewolf, or known as he was now for attacking and turning children, had forced his way into a young Remus's room during the night of a full moon and attacked the youngest Lupin in revenge against Remus's father Lyall Lupin, after the man had attempted to out Greyback as a werewolf that deserved death. Lyall arrived just in time to drive back Greyback and save Remus from being killed, but not from being bitten and turned into a werewolf himself.
From that point on, Remus didn't have an easy childhood. His parents continued to love him and try to give him a normal childhood growing up, in between visits to healers all around the world in an attempt to cure Remus of his lycanthropy, none of which worked.
Then, when Remus had turned 11, he had a stroke of luck when he received his Hogwart's letter. Usually, werewolves weren't allowed to attend the famous school of magic, but the Headmaster of Hogwarts, Albus Dumbledore, had pulled some strings just so Remus could, making special accommodations for the lad off school grounds in a specially built house on the end of Hogsmeade that was named the Shrieking Shack that everyone believed was 'haunted'.
Remus' years at Hogwarts was the best time of his life. Not only did he get to learn magic like any other wizard, but he had made what seemed at the time the best friends he could ever have. The before mentioned James Potter, the heir to the Black family Sirius, and skittish Peter Pettigrew, all of whom were sorted into Gryffindor alongside him. He had also, in his later years, become good friends with Lily Evans, who had gone on later to marry James.
James, Sirius and Peter had discovered Remus was a werewolf during their second year, despite Remus's efforts to hide what he was. They hadn't run or gone to tell the world that he was a monster or turned their backs on him. Well… maybe Peter might have wanted to at first, but in the end he hadn't. Remus would never forget how his friends, who were fellow pranksters like him, had ended up calling their group the Marauders and had learned how to turn into Animagus, a magical skill wizards and witches could learn to turn into their inner animal by their 5th year, an impressive feat considering all that you had to go through to become one. James turned into a stag they called Prongs, Sirius into a black grim like dog dubbed Padfoot and Peter into a rat with a tail that looked very much like a worm hence he was nicknamed Wormtail. Remus, due to being a werewolf, was unable to turn into another other creature other than his werewolf form, but that didn't stop his friends from granting him the Marauder name of Moony.
It had been a happy time, safe from the war brewing outside the walls of their school. After Hogwarts… things had changed a lot for the group of friends, for better and for worse. The war within the Wizarding world was still ongoing, Remus and his friends in the thick of it fighting on the side of the light. His mother Hope died, and he became distanced from his father Lyall. The best thing that happened for all of them was the birth of James and Lily's son, Harry, a sweet little boy who had called him 'Uncle Mooy'.
Things had taken nose dive when on Halloween night three years prior, the Dark Lord, whom was leading the forces of darkness, had killed the elder Potters and attempted to kill Harry. No one knew what had happened that night, but somehow Harry survived and Voldemort, He-who-must-not-be-named, vanished. Harry was now hailed as a hero of the Wizarding world, called 'The-boy-who-lived' by many. Remus to this day still didn't know why Sirius, who had been the secret keeper for the Potters, had turned against his friends and joined the very dark wizard whom most of his family followed. A family Sirius hated with all his heart. It just didn't make any sense, yet everything pointed to Sirius being a turn-coat.
But right now that wasn't important, after that Halloween night Harry had disappeared. He hadn't gone to Sirius, who was named his Godfather by James, since he had been too busy hunting down and killing their last friend Peter before being carted off to Azkaban. Nor had Harry gone to his Godmother Alice Longbottom. No one knew where Harry was except Dumbledore, whom Remus had many times asked where Harry was living so he could at least visit the cub, but was brushed off each time. And now it seemed Remus's former head of house Minerva McGonagall and Hagrid himself also knew.
"…. I maybe shouldn't h've told you that," Hagrid said worriedly. "Just forget I said anything."
The lunch date with Hagrid had been a sudden thing; Remus lived and worked in the Muggle world since, as a werewolf, it was near impossible for him to find work in the Wizarding world. Hagrid rarely, if ever, ventured into the non-magical half of London, but it seemed he had been running a few errands and had seen Remus leaving the bookstore where he worked and suggested they catch a late lunch. They were, of course, getting a few looks as mentioned before due to Hagrid's size. Remus had snuck a few strengthening charms onto Hagrid's chair to keep it from breaking under his weight.
"It's okay, Hagrid… I understand…" Remus said almost absently. His mind raced as he spoke a few more minutes to Hagrid before excusing himself, claiming that his lunch hour was over.
Back at the tiny bookstore where Remus worked, the werewolf let out a slow breath as he sat behind the front counter. The store was quiet; it didn't get much in the way of visitors though it got enough to keep it running. It was an older store ran by an elderly man who first opened it many years ago. The owner, Mr. Oaken, was a kindly older man who fondly called Remus eccentric when the werewolf asked for the days around the full moon off. He never asked why, simply giving Remus those days and running the shop himself until Remus returned. Remus knew he lucked out by getting hired by Mr. Oaken as this was the longest job he ever had.
Remus leaned forward, his elbows laying on the countertop and hands clasped together pressing against his mouth, as he considered what to do with what Hagrid had let slip. He knew, deep down, what he should do, what he wanted desperately to do; to rush to Petunia Dursley's home and snatch the cub up and take him away. Remus wanted so badly to hope that Harry's home life wasn't as bad as he was imagining, that Petunia wouldn't cause any sort of abuse to her only sister's son. But Remus knew all too well that blood meant nothing to some people.
While Lyall and Hope loved their only son even after he had been bitten, Remus knew it wasn't the same for many of his other relatives. His father's family, few that there were, had cut him out of their life calling him a monster. It was only as a last kindness to his father, who had been seen as a disappointment anyway for marrying a muggle, that they hadn't revealed to the world that Remus had been turned. His mother's family was much kinder, but they didn't know that Remus was a werewolf or anything about Lyall being a wizard, just that he was a very odd man.
The Black family was also another perfect example of blood meaning very little to a family, how much one could be hurt by their own flesh and blood… Remus shook his head mentally waving away any thoughts that might lead to Sirius.
Lily had been clear that her relationship with her sister growing up had been troubled. Lily thought part of it was jealousy, Lily was prettier than her sister and got to go to a special school to learn magic. After starting Hogwarts, Petunia's words came out harsher and colder each year until Lily had been called a freak by her only sibling. Vernon was just as bad if not worse according to both Lily and James. The only time James's met the man Petunia was set to marry, and Vernon had called the magical couple every bigoted name under the sun until James finally snapped and cursed the man. Lily had to erase that memory, and replace it in both Vernon and Petunia's minds to keep James out of trouble, but the experience wouldn't have left a positive impression on Vernon, and Remus worried that Harry would be taking the blunt of their pent up anger.
Then somewhere in the depths of his mind, a voice that sounded very much like his old headmaster, chimed in and reminded Remus that there were still followers of He-Who-Must-Be-Named that were free and hidden. Dumbledore had insisted at the very last meeting of the Order of the Phoenix, and still insisted to this day, that You-Know-Who might be defeated but he was not gone. 'He' was still out there somewhere, currently weakened but not dead. That 'He' would return someday and that Harry's destiny wasn't over yet. The voice reminded Remus that Harry was safe where he currently was, that none of Voldemort's followers could find or get to Harry.
Of course there was another voice, one that came more from his heart, which sounded a lot like his mother and like Lily. One that questioned just how safe is Harry living with people who hated him. Sure, He-who-must-not-be-named and his Death Eaters might not be able to get to Harry, but that didn't stop Petunia, or anyone she lived with, from hurting the boy. And who was to say they wouldn't just hand Harry over if it meant saving their own skin?
Remus groaned and rubbed his face with both hands, he just didn't know what to do!
"Remus, everything alright?" Remus lifted his head and looked in the direction of the backroom where Mr. Oaken, his boss, stood in the doorway. "You seemed a bit distressed." The older man hobbled over to the front counter, leaning all his weight on his walking cane. He waved Remus off as the werewolf went to help him, and sat down on the other stool with a little sigh.
"It's… complicated," Remus said with another sigh as he rubbed the space between his eyes. "I found something out today and I'm not sure what to do about it."
"Well, tell me all about it, Remus my boy," Mr. Oaken offered. "Sometimes, it helps to get an outsiders perspective." Remus considered this for a moment then nodded, he would have to edit a lot of things, but he didn't see the harm of telling Mr. Oaken a general idea of what the dilemma was.
"Remember the boarding school I told you I went to, up in Scotland?" Remus asked.
"The one for special and gifted students correct?" Mr. Oaken asked. "The name slips my mind."
"Yeah, that's the one," Remus chuckled softly. "While I was there, I made some very good friends with three of the boys in my dorm. I was very sick when I was younger and I always tried to hide it from them, but James and Sirius figured it out, and they kept me company when I was so sick I had to go see the nurse."
"I am sorry to hear that," Mr. Oaken said with compassion in his eyes. Remus cleared his throat embarrassed and waved off the concern.
"It's alright, it's just something I had to live with," Remus said. "Anyway, James started dating this girl who was in our year, her and I were sorta friends, and became closer after she and James got together. They got married after school, and had a son they named Harry."
"Sounds like a lovely couple," Mr. Oaken said smiling. Remus laughed and grinned as he thought back to his younger years at Hogwarts.
"James was always head over heels over her, but Lily, that was her name, used to hate James. She couldn't stand him for some time and I couldn't really blame her. James could be a spoiled prat and he liked to pull pranks. But he grew up a lot in our last year of school, and I guess Lily saw that and gave him a chance," he said with fond remembrance. Mr. Oaken covered his mouth with a hand to hide a smile, he didn't see his young employee very happy very often, and it was a good look on the lad. But he also caught the way Remus spoke about his two friends.
"I'm sensing there isn't a happy ending for them," he said. Remus sighed and shook his head sadly.
"It wasn't," he agreed. "When Harry was 1 years old, during Halloween of that year, their house was broken into and they were killed. They managed to keep him from killing Harry too, but my poor pup lost his parents that night." It was a very overly simplified version of what happened, but it wasn't like Remus could tell Mr. Oaken what had really happened, or at least assumed what happened, due to the man being a muggle and not knowing about magic. "I haven't seen him since then, the man who killed James and Lily was something of a crime lord. He disappeared that night and a few people believe he might come back after Harry for revenge."
"Poor child," Mr. Oaken said with a sad shake of his head. "So what is it you learnt that has you so upset, my boy?"
Remus sighed and ran a hand through his grey streaked brown hair. "Harry didn't go to live with his godparents, his godfather is believed to have been involved with the whole incident and his godmother and her family were attacked by those who worked for the crime lord that attacked Harry's family, and were hurt to the point that they were unable to take Harry in. A family friend decided it was best to hide Harry away and not tell anyone where he's living but… I ran into the groundskeeper from my old school this afternoon, and found out that he knew where Harry was taken, and I can't say I'm all too pleased with it."
"It must be pretty bad," Mr. Oaken said. Remus sighed again and rubbed his face with one hand.
"That's just it, I don't know if it's bad or not. Harry was sent to live with his aunt I found out," he explained.
"That isn't unusual," Mr. Oaken pointed out. "Many children are sent to their next of kin."
"Yes I realize," Remus said. "But Lily… she used to tell me stories about how things were growing up, that her older sister treated her cruelly, and it just got worse as they got older. The man she married wasn't much better, worse in some ways in fact."
"I see," Mr. Oaken said with a thoughtful look as his face as he twirled the end of his mustache between two fingers. "I will go out on a limb and guess that you feel that this young lad's life is less than ideal. Do you suspect abuse?"
"Again, I don't know," Remus said shaking his head. "I've never met Lily's sister face-to-face, just heard second-hand stories. James said Lily's sister and her husband were pretty horrible when he met them. I really don't want to think that someone would treat a kind, sweet little boy like Harry, so cruelly like that, that they would take out any lingering anger or jealously on a child, related or not. But my own family, at least on my father's side, refused to have anything to do with me because of my childhood sickness so I know blood means very little to some people."
"It sounds like you're in a pickle there son, but if I might give you a suggestion?" Mr. Oaken said as he slid off his stool to stand up, leaning his weight on his walking can, and gave Remus a kindly, grandfatherly smile. "Go with your heart, my boy. Go check on the wee lad and make sure he's in a good home and if not, then do something about it. You'll figure it out." He patted Remus's shoulder, then headed for the back rooms, letting Remus muse over his advice.
"Yeah… I guess I should," Remus said softly, his voice carrying through the empty book store.
Finding out where the Dursley's lived was super easy for Remus, mostly because he had already known where they lived to start with. He had helped Lily research and set up blood wards around Petunia's house right after Harry had been born.
It also helped that they were listed in the phone book.
Remus slowly walked down Privet Drive, casting green eyes up and down the darkened street. There wasn't a soul to be seen other than the occasional cat or stray dog. Not really all that surprising considering it was the middle of the night. And if there had been anyone out and about? Well they weren't likely to see Remus, as the werewolf had cast a Notice-me-not charm on himself.
Remus knew he shouldn't be there, yet he was going with his heart, like Mr. Oaken suggested. He had to see his cub, and make sure Lily's sister really was taking care of him as she should be.
Remus stopped in front of #4, looking up at a cookie cutter house that looked like every other house on the street. It was so boring and really quite depressing; he had a hard time imaging that bright happy boy living here. His mind drifted back to the last time he had been here, that time too had been in the middle of the night, and with Lily.
Lily, who had still loved Petunia despite everything that had come between them, had wanted to protect her only sister and her nephew from Voldemort and his Death Eaters. Blood wards, she decided, had been the way to go. Blood wards were in that tricky grey area of the laws, considered dark magic by most, but wards based on blood were useful and used on just about every old Pureblood home no matter what side of magic they used. No one would think to look for them at a home of a couple of muggles, and Lily was sure it was the way to go to keep Petunia and her son safe. She had asked Remus for help both researching the wards and to erect them in secret in the middle of the night. Petunia, Lily had said in a dry sad tone, would pitch a royal fit if she knew Lily was casting magic around her beloved home, and would never stand for them to remain, even if it was for her protection.
Remus wondered just how the blood wards could still be standing after all this time, the way they were created they should have fallen within hours of Lily's death. He could only conclude that somehow Dumbledore was able to bend the wards to be tied to Harry instead, being of Lily's bloodline. Which left the question of how Dumbledore even knew the wards had been there to start with as the only other person who knew was James. Not even Sirius had known about the blood wards, which was a blessing knowing now that the man had been a traitor this whole time, nor had Peter as their skittish friend was rarely around anymore at the time. Well… Remus supposed that Dumbledore always did seem to know these things…
Remus was startled out of his thoughts, jumping nearly a foot in the air, as a garbage bin was knocked over followed by the angered yowling of a cat and barking of a dog. He let out a breath, hand over his heart, as he watched the dog chase the cat down the street and out of sight as they turned a corner.
"Bloody hell, keep it together Remus," he said to himself softly as he walked up to the door. As he had no idea what sort of spells or wards might be around the house, Remus forewent using any unlocking spells on the front door and instead removed a lock pick set from a pocket. It had been a useful skill he, James and Black had picked up on during school, it was amazing how many doors that were locked by magic that could be open with a couple of picks when a spell couldn't do the job. Remus shook away the fondly remembered memories, this wasn't the time to get lost in them. Instead, Remus turned his full attention to the lock, the tip of his tongue sticking out the corner of his mouth as he used his very rusty skills to unlock the door. After a few slip ups, the door finally came open with a soft click and Remus was inside.
The house, Remus decided, was not much better than the outside. What he could see in the moonlight streaming in from the window, and his own werewolf abilities, that let him see better in the dark than a normal human would have, the inside of house was just as plain and boring as the outside. It was prettied up, no doubt about it, but it didn't look well lived in. Everything was for show, from the books that looked like they had never been touched on the shelves, to the chess board sitting in front of the fireplace in the living room. The chairs around the giant telly looked more used than anything, and the liquor cabinet he spied in the corner of the room had plenty of half empty bottles of various spirits.
There were also photos all around the room and hallway, and curious, Remus found himself stepping closer to take a look. They all seem to be of the same subject; a very, and he meant very, fat blond child that in his baby photos looked more like a beach ball with a wig than an actual child. This was obviously not Harry, his sweet cub favored his father James the most, with dark messy hair and darker skin, while he had his mother's nose, and of course, her famous green eyes. The heavy child in the photos had blond hair and what Remus thought might be blue eyes, it was hard to tell in the near dark. It took only a moment or two for Remus to realize that almost all the photos were of the boy that could only be Lily's nephew… he couldn't remember what the child's names was, something started with a 'B'? Or maybe it was a name that started with 'D'? Whatever it was, other than what looked like a wedding photo from Petunia and Vernon's wedding, and a large woman who shared many similarities with Vernon, the man had a sister? There were no photos to be found anywhere to indicate than another child lived within the house.
'Maybe Harry isn't here,' Remus reasoned as he looked around for any sign that Harry lived there. 'Maybe Harry was only here for a few days then Dumbledore moved him to another family.' That, he thought to himself, was a reasonable idea. Place Harry someplace where no one would think to look for him, then move him to what was hopefully a loving family. 'Or… it's as bad as you feared and the reason he's not in any photo is because he's not included.' His traitorous mind pointed out and Remus winced, then sighed. He had better go ahead, and check the rest of the house to be completely sure Harry wasn't there.
As Remus tried to decide where he should start searching, heavy footsteps on the stairs alerted him someone was coming down. While the Notice-me-not charm should keep any of the muggles from noticing him, Remus still stepped back in the shadows, just in case, and watched as the fat muggle boy from the photos came down the stairs and headed into what looked like to be a kitchen. Remus blinked and rubbed his eyes as the light snapped on inside and he heard a door opening. Moving slowly, Remus stepped closer until he could see the boy was rummaging through the ice box, taking what looked like a very large slice of chocolate cake out and letting the door slam close. Remus's nose wrinkled in disgust, stepping back into the shadows again, the child didn't even bother with a plate, or a fork for that matter, and just stuffed the sweet treat into his mouth with his bare hands smearing chocolate all over his face in the process.
'Ugh, disgusting! Does this boy have no manners?' Remus thought. In person, the boy was even bigger than he thought, and Remus wondered if Petunia even cared for her son at all if she let the child get this large at such a young age, 5 in fact if he remembered correctly since he was only just over a month older than Harry, maybe two months, he wasn't sure. The boy let out a loud belch, and smeared even more chocolate over his face as he wiped at his mouth with the back of one of his hands, which did no good what so ever, then walked out of the kitchen, while hitting the light with one chocolate cover hand. Remus stepped back into the shadows again as the boy passed him, watching curious as the child stopped in front of the door to the cupboard that was located under the stairs, smirked, then pounded on it with his fist.
"Fweak!" he taunted in a gleeful tone, lisping a bit from a missing front tooth. Remus's eyes widened as he heard something move from within, his face paling as the blood drain from it in horror.
'Surely not!' He thought in alarm as he watched the fat boy start up the stairs, taking a few seconds to stop half way up and jump on one step then continued his way to the first floor. Remus was frozen, eyes glued to the stairs, and more importantly to the side of the stairs where the door was located, in ever mounting horror. He barely registered hearing a door close upstairs as he moved slowly toward the cupboard door. The horror increased ten-fold as Remus's eyes readjusted to the dark and he could now make out the small vent inserted on the front, the slats pulled closed, and the simple sliding bolt lock mounted on the door. The lock was slid into the locked position so no one could enter, or more importantly, no one inside could get out. Remus heard shuffling inside the broom cupboard followed by a childish sigh of sadness and, in that moment, Remus thought his heart would break. It was followed by a surge of anger, and Remus had to fight from growling out loud.
'How… DARE they! How dare they put MY CUB! James and Lily's CUB in a bloody CUPBOARD!' Remus could feel the wolf within him wanting to rip out of him and tear those blasted muggles apart, limb from limb. He had to fight back the feeling, the want, telling himself he had to focus on the pup and not those… those people. Shaking himself out of the murderous thoughts running through his brain and relaxing the grip on his wand that had at some point slipped down into his hand, Remus took a deep breath, then very softly, cast a sound damping charm and an alert ward to warn him if anyone was about to come down from the upper floor. He no longer cared if there were any monitoring charms on the house, let Dumbledore come because he had a few not so nice words for the old goat.
That done, Remus dropped the Notice-me-not then, after taking a calming breath, slid the bolt lock open. His heart broke again as he heard a frightened little gasp, and all sounds inside the cupboard ceased, other than little small breaths he could just barely hear. Remus slowly opened the door and knelt down, peering inside the darkened cupboard, he could just barely make out in the moonlight the tiny form huddled against the far wall of the small space.
"Harry?" Remus said in a very, very gentle and soft voice. The child inside the cupboard doesn't move from his spot, but Remus could feel Harry looking at him for a few seconds before a tiny, soft voice comes out of the darkness.
"W-who are you?"
"My name is Remus," Remus introduces himself. "I'm a friend of your parents."
"… my parents?" Harry voice asked in a way that sounded very curious, but at the same time frightened just to voice the question.
"Yes, I was very good friends with your Da and Mum," Remus said smiling softly. "Do you mind if I turn on a light? I want to see you."
"My… my bulb went out," Harry said, Remus can just make out Harry's face lifting up toward the ceiling of the cupboard.
"Well, just let me…" Remus brought his wand up in front of him and softly intoned, "lumos." A light appeared at the tip of his wand, Remus making sure to give the spell just enough power to give the small area some light, but not enough to blind either one of them. Harry's surprised gasp brought Remus's attention back to his pup and he bit back a growl as he took in how Harry looked.
Harry was much too small, just barely looking like his age of 5 years old. His was too skinny, no meat on him anywhere just skin and bones. The clothing he was wearing was much too large on his tiny frame and looked like it had been through hell and back, obviously not something new when it had been given to Harry, as it was faded and filled with holes. He looked so pale in the light but those eyes were still as bright a green as they ever were.
"What's that?" Harry asked then quickly covered his mouth with his hands and his eyes wide in fright.
"It's okay Harry," Remus said wanting to just pick up the tiny boy and cuddle him. Merlin, his poor pup. "It's just a big of magic, a light spell."
"Magic…" Harry whispered in childish awe, his hands lowering a bit, then frowned and glanced up toward the first floor. "U-uncle V-vernon said there isn't a-any such thing as… magic." The last part was said in a whisper and green eyes looking around as if Harry was excepting an attack just for saying the word out loud.
"I can assure you Harry, magic is very much real. Your uncle," Remus's lip curled in disgust at the word, "is a liar." Harry giggled then looked at the wand again.
"Magic," he whispered softly then looked at Remus curious. "Why are you here?"
"I came to see you," Remus said. "I knew your Mum and Da like I said, and I wanted to make sure you were alright when I found out where you were living." Harry seemed like a very smart boy and Remus had quickly decided to be as truthful as he could with the pup.
"You knew my Mummy and Daddy?" Harry asked green eyes wide. "Wha… what were their names?"
Did… did Petunia not even tell Harry what his parent's names were? Remus stamped down on his irritation at Petunia and her husband, the nerve of those muggles, before answering Harry.
"Yes I knew them, we went to school together," he said. "Your Mum's name was Lily and your Da's was James."
"Lily," Harry repeated, he thought that was a really pretty name. "James… my middle name is James! The teacher at school told me so." Harry beamed happily then looked frightened, casting a glance upward again, afraid he had woken up his aunt and uncle by speaking too loudly.
"Don't worry, I cast a magic spell that keeps everyone upstairs from hearing us," Remus assured Harry. Harry's eyes widened again, filled with that wonder and awe.
"How comes you wanted to see me?" Harry asked, so far this very nice man hadn't hit him for asking questions so Harry felt safe asking.
"Well… I knew you when you were a baby, you use to call me 'Uncle Mooy' all the time," Remus explained. Harry giggled, his shoulders hunching around his ears.
"Mooy?" he repeated, it sounded so funny.
"Well your Da used to call me 'Moony' when we were in school, it was a nickname for me. I called him Prongs," Remus said with a smile at the fond memory. "You were too little to call me Moony, so Mooy it was. I was very, very worried about you when your parents died, I didn't know where you had gone."
"You mean in da car crash?" Harry asked, head tilted to the side like a curious puppy. Remus blinked in confusion, car crash?
"What car crash, cub?" he asked out loud.
"Uncle Vernon and Aunt Tuney says Mummy and Daddy died in a car crash," Harry said. "Dey say Daddy was drunk and ran a light. They say that's how I got my ugly scar." Harry's hand came up to rub at the lightning bolt scar on his forehead, the motion bringing Remus's attention to it for a brief second. He had to fight to keep calm as he was livid inside, those bastard muggles lied to Harry and told him his parents died in a bloody car crash! And that it had been James's fault to boot!
"Harry, remember what I said about your uncle?" Remus asked through clench teeth.
"Un-huh, you say he a liar," Harry said with a nod.
"Well this is another case of him lying," Remus said. "Your parents didn't die in a crash of any kind."
"Den… den what happened?" Harry asked. Remus sighed and moved to sit on the ground. He motioned for Harry to come closer, and after a few seconds of hesitation, Harry did allowing Remus to pull into his lap for a hug. Harry let out a little sound of wonder, he seen Dudley hugged many times by Aunt Petunia as well as other children at school. Harry always wanted a hug but as far as he remembered, he never had one, and he found he liked it very much. He couldn't help but snuggle close to the warmth that Remus gave off.
"You see Harry, muggles like your aunt and uncle-" Remus started to explain.
"Wha' a muggle?" Harry asked, the word sounded so funny.
"It means someone who doesn't have any magic," Remus explained. "Muggles like them, live separately from magical folk, witches and wizards and such. Muggles don't usually know about the Wizarding world, but sometimes a magical child is born to a muggle family or a muggle will meet and fall in love with a witch or wizard. My family was like that, my Dad is a wizard but my Mum was a muggle. Your mother was an example of the other type of family, she was the only one to have magic. Muggle-borns we call them."
"Well, some wizards and witches don't like muggles for one reason or another, some fear muggles, but many think they are better than their non-magical counterparts. So there was this very bad wizard a few years ago, we don't say his name he was so bad, so everyone called him names like 'You-know-who' and 'He-who-must-not-be-named'."
"That's funny sounding," Harry said with a giggle. Remus's lips quirked just a bit, he supposed it did sound funny to anyone who hadn't lived during that horrible time. The name Voldemort had a taboo curse placed on it, anyone who uttered the name would have their location, or near too, revealed to the dark wizard and his followers no matter how well hidden they were. It lead to witches and wizard to use the nicknames feared dark lord was known by now.
"I guess it is, but he made people very afraid and it was safer to use those names instead of his actual one," Remus explained. "But to continue, this bad wizard gathered other bad wizards who didn't like anyone who weren't like them, and they started a war within our world. Your parents and a bunch of others, including myself, used to fight against him and his followers."
"Were dey like super heroes? Like in Dudley's shows?" Harry asked.
'Ah Dudley, that was the name. I knew it had to start with a B or D,' Remus thought to himself. "Well I thought they were heroes, they went up against You-Know-Who, face to face, three times." Remus smiled at the look of wonder on Harry's face as he learned just how brave his Mum and Dad were. "But that just meant that You-Know-Who wanted to get rid of them more. Then your Mummy had you, so your Mum and Da went into hiding to keep you safe. They used a very special charm to keep all three of you hidden, but they trusted the wrong person with it, and the bad wizard found out where you and your parents were living."
"Wha happen den?" Harry asked as he picked at a loose piece of thread on Remus's jumper. Remus smiled sadly and started running his fingers through Harry's messy black hair that reminded him so much of James's.
"Well… the bad wizard attacked your Da, he fought very bravely to protect you and your mum but the bad wizard got the upper hand and… well… he was killed," Remus explained softly. "Then your Mum did the same thing, stood up against the bad, bad wizard to keep you safe."
"She killed too," Harry summarized. Remus nodded and sighed.
"Yes, she was killed too. They were very brave people pup," he said softly. "They loved you so very much, you were their whole world, and they gave up their lives so you could live. Your uncle and aunt are very jealous and mean people who can't hold a candle to your Mum and Da, so they spread lies about them. But now you know better." Harry nodded, to him it sounded like his Mummy and Daddy were super heroes, and he wondered if they wore capes while fighting the bad guys. Remus gently stroked Harry's hair as he gave the house a look around, then glanced into the cupboard.
It really was too small for a growing boy, from the floating light that hung just inside the door he could see what looked like a thin crib mattress on the floor of the space with a worn out looking blanket on top and a pillow so thin that it didn't look useable. He could see childish drawings tacked up on the back wall, one paper proclaimed the space as 'Harry's room' in messy childish scribbles. Shelves along one wall, that would usually hold cleaning products, instead held what looked like messily folding cleaning rags but Remus had a feeling that it was much more considering Harry's state of dress. He didn't see any toys but there were enough shadowy places that could be hidey holes to stash items in.
Remus glanced down as he heard a soft rumble from Harry's stomach, the boy was blushing and hands covering his tummy.
"You hungry, cub? When's the last time you ate?" Remus stood up, Harry moved to sitting on his hip, the pup so small and light he could carry Harry with ease. Harry looked surprised at the new position, wrapping his arms around Remus's neck.
"Umm… I had a piece of bread for breakfast," Harry answered Remus's question, watching with wide green eyes as Remus banished the neat magic light by saying a funny word 'nox', then blinked and rubbed his eyes as they entered the kitchen and Remus flipped the switch on.
"Uhhgg," Remus made a face as he looked down at the chocolate on his fingers from when Dudley had smeared it on the light switch earlier. "You're cousin is a disgusting pig, how does your aunt let him get away with his behavior."
"Dudley always blames me," Harry said with a shrug as if that was just a fact of life. Remus's lip curled, he hated those muggles more and more, then sat Harry on the counter and washed his hands. Harry then watched curious and a little worried as Remus opened the fridge to look inside, the man frowning.
"There is nothing in here but junk and other unhealthy stuff. No wonder your cousin is so large," Remus said shaking his head then closed the door. He looked at Harry who was sitting perched on the counter looking as if he was unsure what to do from there. Remus made a decision at that moment, one had he already planned when he heard whom Harry was living with.
"Harry, do you want to come live with me?"
'What am I going to do?' Remus thought to himself as he paced his tiny living room in his shabby flat, wringing his hands together. The offer to have Harry live with him had been a spur of a moment thing, one with very little thought put behind it, but it had been sincere all the same. Remus remembered how Harry's eyes widened, tears gathering in those green orbs, before the tiny boy had asked in a hopeful tone if Remus had really meant it.
Remus, even if he had wanted to, couldn't take back his offer after seeing that. Not that he wanted to take back the offer, he really did want to give Harry a better home than what he was getting with those horrible muggles. So, Harry had gathered his very few belongings from the cupboard; broken but still useable crayons, his few drawings, a couple of broken toy soldiers and the ratty blanket that Remus had after getting a better look at it recognized as Harry's baby blanket.
After that Remus had covered his magical signature, a nifty charm he learned while at Hogwarts that was good for covering up who cast certain spells used in setting up pranks. Then Remus had gathered Harry up, covering them both in a notice-me-not charm, locked the door to the muggle's house, then apparated to Remus's flat once they were several streets away.
Remus had fed Harry some soup, something light for his stomach, once they were settled in. Remus worried at how Harry hadn't even eaten half of the soup before declaring that he was full. After that was a bath where Remus had seen just how bad of a condition Harry's body was in, nothing but skin and bones his cub was. He swore he could count every rib! And Harry sat in wonder of being allowed a hot bath, when asked he said he was lucky if he was allowed a lukewarm one, as his aunt and uncle didn't want him using up the hot water.
The nerve of those muggles!
Harry was now asleep in Remus's bed, wearing one of the man's old but cozy sleep shirts, and curled up around an old stuff wolf that had been Harry's as a baby. Remus had found it half buried in the snow after the attack at Godric Hallow, either blasted out somehow during the attack or a looter had taken it and dropped it along the way. Either way Remus had taken the stuff toy home as a reminder of his cub. Harry had been teary eye at the return of the soft stuffed animal and even now clutched it close to his chest.
But now Remus was alone with his thoughts and doubt was starting to eat away at him. While he didn't regret taking Harry, in hindsight there was a lot he could have done instead. He could have confronted Petunia and Vernon Dursley, made them take better care of Harry. He could have given Dumbledore a piece of his mind and forced him, or at least tried to, to place Harry with a better, more loving family. He could have gone to the muggle police and reported to them about Harry's abuse.
Remus sighed as he sat on the old, second hand couch in his living room, rubbing his face with his hands. None of those things really sounded appealing and deep down, Remus had an inkling none of it would have worked. He respected Dumbledore, the man had done a lot for, not only Remus, but the Wizarding World in general, but Remus knew Dumbledore wouldn't listen to Remus and would arrange for Harry to return to the Dursleys. He grimaced at the idea and shook his head.
No, he couldn't allow that to happen.
So that brought up Remus's original question, what was he going to do now? He and Harry couldn't stay here, sooner or later someone would figure out Remus was the one who took Harry from his relatives' home. That also left out the cabin that Remus had been gifted by the Potter's, which he used during the full moons and lived at when he had nowhere else to go. Remus thought for a moment to get in touch with Lyall but… no, Remus didn't want to involve his father in any of this.
Harry and Remus's best bet would to leave the country all together, it would be stupidly easy. People forgot that Remus was half muggle, Hope Lupin had made sure Remus knew how to live in the non-magical world. All Remus had to do was get a couple of plane tickets and fly the two of them out of there. Pure bloods never seem to think that witches and wizards would use the muggle way of traveling, instead using the magical ways via floo, portkeys, or apparition. They could go to France or maybe even to the Americas, either North or South.
Something niggled in Remus's brain at that idea, something he had forgotten about and was now reminded of. He glanced around the room until his eyes laid on his desk shoved up into the corner. Walking over to it, Remus began to dig through the drawers, shuffling around papers and parchment until he found what he was looking for. He removed the item from the drawer and took it over to the couch to see it better in the light.
It was a business card. The front had H and T next to each other in a gothic text and under it was the outline of a bat. On the reverse side were the words 'Hotel Transylvania', an address and a phone number.
Remus licked his lips as he turned the card over and stared at the number. He had received the card a few years ago, during the war. Then he had been on missions for the Order of the Phoenix, a resistance group started by Dumbledore to fight against Voldemort and his Death Eaters. Most of his missions either consisted of gather intelligence for the Order or reaching out to werewolf packs in an attempt to keep them from joining Grayback and in turn Voldemort, instead joining the Order. Most packs, and lone wolves, had no interest in listening to Remus nor did they want anything to do with Grayback and the psychos he allied with. At least those who were peaceful, those who were as blood thirsty as Grayback joined the forces of evil with glee, the evil Alpha werewolf would also force any other werewolf into his pack that he came across or they would be killed.
Once such mission had Remus confronting the werewolf that had turned him face to face, saving a werewolf couple, the female of which was heavily pregnant at the time. Remus had pulled out all the tricks he knew and surprisingly had beaten back Grayback, with the help of the husband of the pair.
That had been a huge turning point in Remus's life. The werewolf couple, Wade and Wanda, had been extremely grateful for Remus's help and in turn had helped him. They had helped him be more comfortable with what he was and even how to control his transformations. He was still a bit on the wild side and preferred to stay at his cabin during the full moons just in case he slipped, Remus never wanted to hurt anyone, but the last few years had been easier on him.
Before they had parted ways, Wade had given Remus the business card explaining how his friend Dracula (THE Dracula who was nothing like the books or any of the films though his father on the other hand….) had built the castle like hotel not only as a safe place for his daughter Mavis, but as a safe haven for the monsters of the world. So if Remus ever needed a place to hide and be safe, the hotel was the place to be.
Licking his lips, Remus glanced over at his bedroom through the open doorway, eyes lingering on the lump under the covers. Coming to a decision, Remus reached over and picked up the phone dialing the number on the card.
"Hotel Transylvania," a male voice with a think Romanian accent answered after several rings.
"Hi… I got this card from another werewolf named Wade a few years ago," Remus said as he flipped the card over and over between his fingers. "He said if I ever needed a safe place, to call this number. Well, I need a safe place for me and my godson."
Author note: I love Hagrid, I really do but unless Dumbledore had erased the memory of dropping Harry off at the Dursley's from Hagrid's mind with the Elder Wand, I just can't see Hagrid not letting it slip where Harry lived.