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Onward, to Greater Things by killthatrat
Chapter 31 : Chapter 30 The Penseive
 
Rating: MatureChapter Reviews: 5


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Hesitating a few moments longer, Harry steeled himself for whatever he might see, for whatever excuse Remus was trying to give them. Anger burned inside him, but he knew he would have to give Remus the chance to explain if Harry was ever going to get over this. Tipping the memories into the pensieve he swirled them around a little, knowing they would present themselves to him in the intended order. Taking a deep breath, Harry leant over and plunged his face into the penseive, feeling it jerking him inside.

Landing steadily on his feet, Harry watched as the world formed around him, revealing a familiar kitchen and a scene he recognised well, one he had found himself in often. Remus stood in the kitchen of the cottage he had shared with Tonks, the cottage he had opened up to Harry and his friends during the war. He cradled Teddy in his arms, only a few months old at this stage, and judging by the loud wail he was emitting he was not at all pleased.

Moving over to them, Harry noted that Remus looked tired, but calm despite the crying baby in his arms. He held a bottle of formula in his hand, trying to convince Teddy to take it. Doing everything he could, Remus finally sat down in the living room and held Teddy in a slightly different way, and he finally took the nipple of the bottle and began to drink.

"I know, I know," Remus said in a soothing voice, kissing Teddy's forehead. "I miss Mummy too."

Echoing Remus' sad demeanour, Harry sat down on the coffee table and watched, trying to understand. The memory continued like this for some time until Teddy spat out the bottle and Remus stood, rubbing the baby's back and bouncing lightly. Letting out another loud wail, Teddy pulled a face and suddenly belched in a petite manner, spitting a little milk over Remus' shoulder.

"Mind your table manners young man," came a second voice Harry knew well, too well perhaps.

Remus knew the voice perhaps better than anyone, for it had surely haunted his childhood. Whirling around, he drew his wand and pointed it to Fenrir Greyback, who was currently hunting through Remus' kitchen cupboards. Removing a packet of biscuits, he grinned at Remus as he began eating.

"I told you-"

"-not to come 'round here anymore," Greyback finished, still looking around. "I know, I heard yah the first ten times."

"Then get out!" Remus shouted angrily, putting Teddy down on a blanket that lay on the floor. "The war is over Fenrir. Either go into hiding with the rest of them, or come forward!"

Teddy cried loudly, a cry Harry knew. He was both hungry and uncomfortable, needing to be winded again, and he did not approve of being put down before either need was satisfied. Nevertheless, Remus appeared not to hear him, not with Greyback standing in his kitchen eating his biscuits.

"You know why I'm here, Remus," Greyback said politely, putting away the biscuits and closing the cupboard. "I need you."

"No you don't," Remus said loudly, inexplicably lowering his wand. "I cannot give you the help you want. Ask someone else."

Harry's heart sank as he saw someone else arriving from the corner of his eyes. Bellatrix Lestrange was emerging from the hallway unnoticed, and she immediately set her eyes on Teddy who still lay on the floor crying. With what looked like a genuine smile, she bent down and picked him up, cradling him in her arms as his crying stopped.

"He is beautiful," she smiled, gaining Remus' attention. "Don't you think he looks just like Draco did?"

Seeing her with his son, Remus panicked openly, lurching towards her until Greyback put his hand on his shoulder. "Now, now, Remus. I'm the one you should be worried about."

Her smile turning malevolent now, Bellatrix stroked Teddy's face as she rocked him gently, looking up at Remus. "How old is he now? Seven weeks old?"

"Yes," Remus replied quietly, knowing there was nothing he could do.

"I'll bet he tastes just like you," Greyback suggested, looking at Remus with fondness. "There's something about A Positive blood...it just tastes better. And I'd love to infect the father-son set."

"I told you to-"

"-stay away from my son," Bellatrix mocked, still admiring Teddy. "You're right, Fenrir...he's got lovely smooth skin."

"All the better to sink my teeth into."

"That's enough," Remus said angrily, starting forward. Without hesitation he snatched Teddy back from Bellatrix and raised his wand to her. "Get out now."

"A-Positive did you say?" Bellatrix asked Fenrir curiously, not at all concerned by Remus. "Who else do we know that has blood that tasty?"

Fenrir smiled at this, licking his lips. "Potter."

"Get out!"

"I drew plenty of blood from him, it's just a shame I didn't actually bite him."

"I know what you're trying to do," Remus said through clenched teeth. "And it won't work. Now get out."

Bellatrix only smiled at him, glancing back at Teddy. "Come on Fenrir, leave him alone. It would be a shame to maim a pureblood after all."

The scene changed abruptly, and seconds later Harry was standing outside his home at Godric's Hollow, looking inside. The house was as he remembered it before he and Ginny had completed the renovations, an almost empty shell. One wall of the hallway was still standing, dividing the kitchen and dining room from the living room, where he and Ginny were currently seated. Teddy lay in Harry's arms, fast asleep and perfectly content as Ginny sat beside them. Though he couldn't hear what they were saying, it was clear Ginny was trying to convince him to put Teddy into his crib, and that Harry was putting up a good fight. Moments later Ginny put her hand on Harry's leg, moving it higher as her eyes glinted mischievously. Even four years ago Harry knew what that look meant. The possibility of a shag was hanging on the line, and so he immediately got to his feet and raced upstairs to put Teddy in his crib.

The present day Harry was somewhat confused by the memory, and it didn't take long for the reason of its importance to become clear. There was a rustling from the overgrown front garden behind him, a fully fledged Werewolf emerging seconds later. Looking up into the sky, Harry realised that it was full moon, that he and Ginny would have been baby sitting during Remus' transformation. Greatly concerned, he watched as the Werewolf rose up onto his hind legs and looked into the front window, where he could see Ginny closing the curtains Molly had made.

Before the Werewolf could do anything else though, another Werewolf came running across the front yard, faster and more agile than the first. Knowing the second Werewolf to be Moony, Harry watched in relief as he pounced on the first, his jaws snapping and his claws drawn. The two wolves began fighting violently, the first howling loudly to gain the attention of others nearby. Three more joined the fight that lasted less than a minute, concluding only when Moony stopped suddenly, cowering. The others surrounded him, snapping their jaws angrily. The largest of them all, whose fur had a distinct grey stripe up his back, came forward with a low growl, seemingly conversing with Moony in a language only they could understand. Sooner than Harry expected, Moony lay down on the ground and rolled onto his back, submitting. Without knowing what they were saying, Harry knew Remus was agreeing to whatever it was that Greyback had requested.

The scene changed again, and this time Harry was standing in Teddy's nursery, and he didn't need a calendar to know what day it was. Remus stood alone in Teddy's nursery, cradling him and singing softly as tears streamed down his face. Knowing what was going to happen next, Harry moved dreamlike through the walls and into the living room, which was filled by an array of Death Eaters and Werewolves, each of which were methodically moving about, turning over furniture and knocking photos off the mantle piece. Greyback looked positively delighted as he smeared a handful of blood across one wall before picking up a crystal vase that had belonged to Tonk's paternal Grandmother. With great delight, he threw it against the opposite wall, smiling as it shattered.

Rushing back to Remus, Harry watched in devastation as Remus wiped the moisture from his face, clearing his throat. He could hear what was going on elsewhere, but he paid no attention to it.

"Be good for Harry," he whispered to Teddy, who appeared half asleep. "And be good for Ginny."

Teddy took no notice of this, though he opened his eyes when there was a loud knock on the door. "Hurry up, Lupin. Let's go."

Taking a deep breath, Remus kissed Teddy's forehead as he moved over towards the crib. "Always be a good friend," he whispered next, kissing him once more. "Always look after them."

With that final note, Remus placed Teddy into his crib and pulled a light sheet over him, tucking it in as Teddy began to cry. As though he knew what was happening, Teddy waved his fists and screwed up his face, turning red as he wailed. Taking another deep breath, Remus turned away and left, closing the door behind him and locking it. Teddy's cries carried throughout the house, garnering one or two looks of sympathy from those who waited. Greyback on the other hand, still looked delighted as he clapped Remus on the shoulder.

"Let's go then...big night ahead of us."

The cottage faded away to reveal the next memory, though the next few scenes flashed only briefly. Teddy, sixteen months old in his beautiful dress robes at Ron and Hermione's wedding. Teddy on a play date...Teddy at his Christmas recital...Teddy at the park.

The scene settled into a garden setting, where Remus sat on a low bench alongside another man, a few years younger than himself. The younger man appeared rather sickly, and despite the warmth of the sun he was shivering, holding a blanket around his shoulders. Remus was urging him to drink from a goblet, whose potion was a light blue.

“How much will it hurt?” the younger man asked quietly, grimacing as Remus answered.

“A lot,” he replied as honestly as possible. “Especially the first time, that’s why you need the Wolfsbane, it will help. You won’t be allowed it next transformation.”

The younger man laughed bitterly. “Why? Because I’m Fenrir’s prisoner now?”

Remus nodded. “He’s in charge. You know what you’ll be expected to do, right?”

He shivered at this, his face turning even more grey. “I can’t do it…I can’t kill for him.”

“You don’t have a choice,” Remus said bluntly. “You have a family at stake.”

“Seems I’m not the only one,” he snarled, looking up with accusation in his eyes. “I know who you are, Remus Lupin.”

Harry watched as Lupin’s demeanour instantly hardened, his fists clenching. “That’s John, to you,” he said harshly, standing up suddenly. “Drink that Wolfsbane, or you’ll regret it. Trust me.”

As Remus walked away, the younger man stood up angrily, throwing the goblet of potion with what little strength he had. “Trust you?” he screamed out. “You infected me!”

The next scene settled in the corridor of St Mungos, where a worried looking man was speaking to a Healer.

"I'm his Uncle," Remus said, his facial disguise not hiding his voice. "I know it's not visiting hours, but-"

"His Uncle did you say?" the Healer confirmed.

"Yes," Remus said eagerly. "Can you just tell me how he was hurt? Is he alright?”

"This way," the Healer said sympathetically, leading Remus down a corridor and into a ward decorated with balloons and nursery rhyme characters. "I'm afraid I can't let you in to see him, but he's going to be fine. He's a very healthy little boy."

"But what happened?" Remus said urgently.

The Healer raised her eyebrows at this. "Just a normal case of Dragon Pox. At three he's too young to be vaccinated, so he's caught a full dose of it. He'll be hospitalised for a few days, and then allowed to recover at home."

"Oh," Remus said in great relief, slowing to a stop as the Healer showed him a window. Looking inside, he saw Harry resting in a comfortable arm chair, three year old Teddy asleep in his arms. The little boy was covered in bright green blotches, his skin cast in a fine sheen from the fever his body was fighting. Half asleep himself, Harry was gently stroking Teddy's fine blonde hair, his lips moving as he talked to the sleeping child. "He'll be okay?"

"Of course he will," the Healer assured him. "You look awfully worried."

"Oh, I just..." Remus seemed to falter, still looking at Teddy. He swallowed heavily, apparently trying to think. "You hear about all these threats to the Potters..."

"Nothing of the sort," the Healer smiled. "It's a shame though, bad timing. I get the impression Mr Potter and Miss Weasley were getting married tomorrow."

Changing abruptly, the new scene startled Harry, for suddenly he was watching Remus in a rage, shoving a young woman up against a mirror which shattered behind her.

“I told you to stay away from them!” he shouted, shoving her again before letting her go. She slid down to the floor, sobbing as Remus continued. “You came this close, Helen!”

“I was nowhere near him!” she shouted back tearfully, relieved when she saw Greyback joining them. “Fe-Fenrir…”

“What’s going on?” Greyback asked with uncharacteristic patience.

Remus and the woman both started shouting at once, Remus only just making himself heard. “She was in Godric’s Hollow last night! She followed Harry when he went for a jog, I only just stopped her!”

Greyback immediately chose his side, folding his arms and turning to the woman. “Are my instructions not clear enough?" he shouted loudly. "Godric’s Hollow and the Potters are off limits.”

“But he-”

“No exceptions.”

“John infected my brother last month!” Helen accused as she stood, increasingly desperate to plead her cause. "He's seven years old!"

“Under my instructions.”

Remus sighed, shaking his head. As he took a deep breath, Harry could see the conflict playing out inside him. “This isn’t the first time she’s ignored you, Fenrir. She and Patrick have been following my son to pre-school, watching him through the fence.”

There was a long pause no, Helen not denying this accusation. Sharing a brief glance, Greyback and Remus seemed to come to some kind of agreement, with Greyback moving forward and rolling up his sleeves.

“You don’t need to be here for this, John,” he smiled, showing his true nature again.

Seeing he was dismissed, Remus immediately headed for the door, knowing what was going to happen next. Before he could get further than a few steps, Helen started shouting to him.

“They’re after your kid! They’re going to kidnap him!”

Whirling around, Remus looked at her in shock, his mouth gaping. He turned to Greyback next. “Fenrir?”

With a great sigh, he tipped his head back and looked at the ceiling. “Do we have to do this now? You know how I love type A blood.”

Remus turned back to Helen now, who nodded her head in earnest, desperate for him to save her. Turning away from her, Remus said quietly, “We’ll talk later, Fenrir.”

As the memory changed, Harry took the opportunity to look over Remus carefully, noting that he had changed dramatically since the last one. He now sported heavy bandages on his arms that resulted in the scars Harry had seen there yesterday in the Shrieking Shack, and completing his new look was his maimed left ear, the top lobe missing. It was clear some time had passed, and judging by the argument that the dozen or so Death Eaters were engaged in, something was not going according to plan.

"You've tipped them off now," a man said sternly, addressing the entire table that dominated the room in the Shrieking Shack. "They've left Godric's Hollow, and they've redoubled their security wards."

"We've still got the advantage," a woman down the other end of the table said angrily, pounding her fist on the table. "Luther, you're still in with Weasley, right? Right?"

"Yes," Fallacks said patiently. "Ron Weasley still trusts me, even had me make their false identities. He's asked me to help arrange personal escorts for all three of the Potters, starting next week."

"What does that mean for us?"

"I can grab the kid any time, as long as he's not at home," Fallacks explained. "Which is why we should grab him while he's at preschool."

There was a murmur of disagreement from around the room, and Harry noticed that Remus was beginning to look restless. Standing in the corner beside Greyback, his face was passive, yet he looked pale and nervous.

"We cannot take him publicly!" the first wizard said loudly, his frustration growing. "This has to be quiet. We take the kid from his home."

"We can't get in there!" Fallacks argued.

"What about when they move again?" someone suggested. "They'll be busy, frustrated."

"They're not too stupid to not pay attention to security."

"We can still get Ginny while she's at work. She's starting a new job too, her attention to security will be poor."

"Not while she's pregnant."

An argument broke out, the occupants of the room arguing over the idea that had been discussed many times already. Finally Greyback nodded to Remus, who stepped forward with some reluctance. Despite this, Harry could see the determination in his eyes. The room fell quiet as Remus stepped forward, everyone looking at him curiously. Harry got the impression that Remus' presence at this meeting had come under much protest.

"I can get you inside the Potter's wards."

There was a short rumble of laughter, combined with murmurs of interest from around the table. Luther Fallacks in particular looked at Remus in great interest.

"And how do you expect to do that?" he asked carefully. "It took me hours to break into Godric's Hollow, and the wards weren't even fully armed."

Remus structured his answer carefully. "Harry's wards are designed to automatically admit those he trusts."

"Yes, but you're dead to him now," Fallacks said patiently. "Thanks to Lucius and his creative big mouth, Potter is planning your funeral."

"I can still get inside," Remus insisted. "I've done it many times."

"He just couldn't help himself," Greyback laughed, mocking Remus as he clapped him on the shoulder.

The room was absolutely silent.

"So what do you want then?" the wizard at the head of the table asked. "What are your conditions?"

Remus steeled himself for the argument. "I, and I alone, will take charge of Teddy," he began without hesitation. There was an immediate flurry around the table, the Death Eaters talking quietly to each other. This only proved to embolden Remus further. "We won't traumatise a four year old by locking him up like you did to Harry. No harm is to come to him."

"It's not necessary," someone butt in. "Narcissa has already agreed to care for the child."

"No," Remus said firmly. "I take him, or you can do this by yourself."

There was a slight pause, everyone looking to the head of the table for an answer.

"We agree to your condition, but we keep the child for as long as we like" the first wizard argued, raising his hand to silence those who began to argue again. "What else?"

"Ginny and her pregnancy are not to be exploited."

"We weren't going to," he insisted, patiently silencing those who again protested. "Anything else?" he asked, knowing what was coming.

Remus paused now, knowing his final request was going to be denied. "What are you going to do with Harry?"

There was laughter from around the table, and it was Fallacks who answered. "We're still trying to decide."

"On what?"

There was more laughter now.

"On who gets to kill him," Fallacks answered with a smirk. "And how."

"This one is non-negotiable," the first wizard said loudly, quietening the rest of them. He looked at Remus with a frown, scrutinising him. "Are you sure you know what you're doing, Lupin?"

"Yes."

"You'll help us kidnap your own son?"

"Yes," he replied without hesitation.

"Potter's going to die, that's non-negotiable."

"I understand."

There was another pause, both men never taking their eyes off each other. Finally, someone else broke the silence, voicing the question they were all wondering.

"What's to stop you double crossing us, Lupin?"

Greyback smiled at this, clapping Remus on the shoulder again. "Oh, come on now. John here knows what's good for him...besides, he knows I've got quite the desire to sample his son at full moon."

These words bought mixed reactions from around the table, some of disgust and some of quiet laughter. Remus looked highly uncomfortable now, especially with everyone using his real name, not his second name. His jaw was tightly clenched as he waited for them to respond, to agree to his conditions, regardless of what it would mean for Harry.

"We'll agree to your first condition," the first man began. "And to your second. But we will do whatever we like with Potter."

Remus said nothing to this, only clenching his fists inside the pockets of his robes.

"You double cross us," he continued darkly, standing up tall. "And you can bury a three foot casket next to Potter’s. Is that clear?"

After a long moment of heavy silence, Remus nodded.

The memory changed once more, and this time Harry found himself standing in Teddy's bedroom in Tetbury. He was asleep in his bed, tucked up nice and warm with Tank and Vlad sitting on the end of his bed. Looking around the room properly, Harry could just make out the disillusioned form in the corner of the room, seated on the lid of Teddy's toy box. Instinctually, Harry knew that it was Remus, taking the first steps necessary to kidnap Teddy from them. He was there the night before, already inside the house. How many times had he done that? How many times had he strolled past the wards to come inside and see Teddy?

A moment later, Harry's former self wearily came into Teddy's room, dressed only in his old pyjama pants. Seating himself on the edge of Teddy's bed, Harry watched as he stroked Tank's fur, trying to convince him to go for a walk.

"Run?" he whispered next, trying to excite Tank. "Go for a run?"

Tank groaned, raising his head and turning away from Harry. He looked to the corner where Remus sat, unnoticed by Harry.

"You're a sucky dog," Harry muttered in annoyance, kissing Teddy lightly before departing.

As Vlad hastily followed Harry in the hope of being fed, the present Harry watched on as Remus stood up from the toy box and approached the bed.

"Good boy," he praised Tank quietly, patting his head. He sat down on the bed in the very place Harry had just occupied, reaching out to stroke Teddy's hair. He said nothing, content to sit quietly with the son he didn't know.

Some time later Teddy roused, blinking up in surprise at the indistinct rippling shape he could see sitting on his bed. Very slowly Remus stood up, returning to the corner of the room now that he had accidentally awoken Teddy. Yawning, Teddy rubbed his eyes as he got out of bed, dragging Woody along the floor as he went in search of Harry.

A moment later it was daylight, and Harry stood in that very room and watched as a masked Remus took a very confused Teddy by the hand and led him over to the bed. Two other masked men stood in the room, fending off Tank who was barking at them loudly, suddenly jumping at them with his jaws snapping. Whirling around, Harry moved past the men as they yelled and kicked at Tank, moving into the hallway where he could see Ginny racing up the stairs, still heavily pregnant.

"Teddy?"

Before she could set foot in the room she was wrenched back out into the hallway, hands slapping across her mouth and eyes as another two men wrestled her down to the floor. She screamed as she fought against them, but they were far too strong for her to match, and they had her mercilessly pinned in seconds. Wearing his mask, Luther Fallacks appeared above her, glancing into the bedroom at Teddy and Remus.

"Careful," he warned, nodding to Remus. "Do not hurt her."

Shielding Teddy's eyes from Tank who lay dead on the floor, Remus took Teddy by the hand again and began to walk him towards the hallway.

"You're too heavy on her," Fallacks said to the two men holding Ginny down. "Let her up just a little. Let her breathe."

"Where are we going?" Teddy asked in confusion, his eyes now shielded from seeing Ginny, who at the sound of his voice arched up against her captors, surprising them.

"Teddy! Don't!" she cried desperately. "Don't go with him!"

"Mum?" he said in surprise, stopping and looking around at her. Suddenly, one of the men punched Ginny in the face, and the look of horror on Teddy's face was awful. "Hey! You have to be gentle!" he shouted, racing over to protect his mother. "You'll hurt my brother. Get off her!"

"Take him before he gets upset," Fallacks instructed Remus, who looked only too relieved to take that opportunity.

Picking Teddy up by the middle, Remus raced downstairs with him and headed out the front door, apparating immediately. Scenes flashed briefly now, appearing and dissolving almost as quickly. An aquarium with Teddy pressing his nose up against the glass, a movie theatre full of parents and children...a short game of Exploding Snap then Toy Story 2 playing on the television. In seconds Harry watched how Teddy had spent his week, the scene finally settling on the dark depressing kitchen in the basement of Grimmauld Place.

Teddy sat at the long kitchen table, swinging his legs beneath the bench seat as he licked Nutella off his fingers. There was a distinct frown on his face, and Harry could tell that he was tired.

"What would you like to do today?" Remus asked him, seeing the look on his face. "Would you like to go out for a little while? Just a little while?"

Teddy shook his head again. "I want to go home. That's all," he said softly, sniffling his runny nose.

"Okay, well-"

"Soon," Teddy cut him off, knowing what he was going to say. He looked at Remus angrily, making it clear how he felt.

"Yeah, soon."

Moving slowly through the memory, Harry sat down on the bench next to his son, observing his appearance. He was wearing the same clothing he had been when he had returned to them, and Harry realised this must be that day. He sat at the table with his chin resting in his hand, listening to the wireless. A few minutes later Remus suddenly stood up from his place across the table, looking at the wireless in shock. Following his gaze, Teddy raised his head and frowned in interest.

"Harry and Ginny Potter are here this morning to make a brief statement to the wizarding community. When they have finished, they have consented to answer a few questions, the order of which will be determined by myself. Thank you."

Teddy frowned as he looked back at Remus. "Who was that?" he asked, not recognising Timothy Green's voice.

"Shhh," Remus said urgently, raising his hand to quieten Teddy.

"Thank you for being here."

Teddy gasped, hearing Harry's voice coming out from the wireless. "That's my Dad!" he exclaimed before he could help himself, leaping out of his chair and scrambling towards the wireless so he could hear better.

"Shhh!" Remus said again, even louder this time. He followed Teddy and leapt forward, grabbing his shoulder and making him stand still. The two of them stood there in the basement kitchen, listening in silence as Harry kept talking over the wireless.

"...have been said about me this week, many rumours and accusations are circling. I've done a great deal of things that I would never have dreamed of doing, and I know that in doing so, I've let down and hurt many people. But my wife and I are not here to just talk about me today, we're here to talk about our son, Theodore Remus Potter."

Teddy's eyes nearly bulged out of his head at this, his jaw dropping. "Where is he?" Teddy asked, turning around to Remus.

"Go and wash your hands," he said sharply, roughly steering Teddy towards the staircase.

"No!" he protested, screwing up his face in disapproval. "I want to listen."

"Go and wash your hands!" Remus suddenly shouted, grasping Teddy's hand and forcing him up the stairs.

"But I-"

"Now!" Remus shouted again, reaching the hallway upstairs and shoving open the bathroom door. Pushing him inside the bathroom Remus let go of Teddy's hand. "Wash your hands."

Harry shook as he watched Remus coming back down stairs, continuing to listen to the rest of what Harry had said that day in the ministry. Remus paled with each passing moment, groaning as he began to panic. Suddenly he pulled out his wand and turned, running up the stairs to where Teddy was waiting. As the kitchen door slammed closed, the memory changed to reveal Snape's kitchen which Harry had occupied a short time later.

"I had to run," Remus insisted. "After what Harry just said, Fallacks is going to be looking for me high and low. He'll take Teddy himself...I had to leave."

"When are you taking the child home?" Severus asked, his arms folded as he scrutinised Remus was a dark look on his face.

There was a long silence, Remus trying to think clearly through his obvious panic. "Not yet, I can't."

"What is preventing you?"

Remus laughed, rather loudly. "You know what's preventing me. Luther Fallacks, the Malfoys! Bellatrix Lestrange would love to have her say too."

"You no longer work for them. I won't say that you were here. This could be your chance. Return the child, and then run."

"It's not me I'm worried about! You know the threat Teddy faces if I don't cooperate."

"Yes," Severus agreed. "I know about your...agreement."

"Then you understand why I can't take Teddy home?"

"Potter would protect him."

"I know he would, I know," Remus said sadly. "But I can't risk being on bad terms with Fenrir Greyback. He'd love to infect Teddy, he'd love to raise him with the rest of us...I can't risk that."

"Fenrir does a lot of talking these days, and not a lot of infecting. His venom has deteriorated dramatically."

"And what about the thirty or so werewolves I've helped him infect! They'd love a piece of him too! They're full of vengeance, of hatred."

"Understandable, of course," Severus said harshly. "After all, you infected them."

"I know what I've done," Remus said quietly.

There was a long silence, allowing Harry to take it all in. Remus hadn't been lying at all...he was trying to help them, the only way he could by himself.

"I'd like to make it clear," Severus said lowly. "I'm not doing this to help you, I find your actions deplorable."

"That's rich, coming from you."

"I'm doing this for Potter...he doesn't deserve to be identifying his child's body in the morgue."

"That's-"

"Exactly what will happen if you don't return him...Do you really trust Fenrir Greyback to forgive you? After all, you've already abandoned their cause by coming to me."

"I understand," Remus said quietly. "I just need to buy some time."

There was another long silence. "Draco Malfoy will be at the Shrieking Shack this afternoon, at three o'clock. If you want any chance of negotiating the child's return, it will be with him."

"Thank you, Severus," Remus said gratefully. "Thank you, I-I-"

"Take this wireless with you," Severus interrupted him. "Make sure you listen to all of Potter's speech when they replay it...he knows who you are."

"Yes...I thought Ginny must have recognised me."

"He won't sit on this," Severus insisted. "If you don't act quickly, he'll tell the entire world that you're a traitor...he won't hesitate.”

Now they were at Hogwarts, Harry following Remus as he and Teddy rushed hand in hand towards the castle. The legs of Teddy's trousers were wet from where he had fallen in the snow, and when he realised this, Remus stopped and pulled Teddy into his arms. Teddy’s relief was obvious, and he gratefully leant into Remus’ arms and put his arms around his neck, closing his eyes and they walked. Moving with haste, Remus didn’t slow down until he reached a private courtyard close to the castle, where a frozen pond and dormant garden separated them from a pair of students locked in a close embrace.

Hidden from their view, Remus stood there with Teddy in his arms for just a few moments, clearly delaying what he was about to do. Hearing a sound behind him, Remus turned around and looked behind him, his face looking crestfallen at what he saw. Following his gaze Harry too turned, and was unsurprised to see Sirius standing a few yards behind, impatiently waiting for Remus to do something.

“Just wait, please,” he said as Sirius opened his mouth to say something. Remus swallowed heavily, his eyes red as he clutched Teddy tightly. “I just want one minute,” he pleaded.

Sirius hesitated, starting forward before stopping with a sigh. He nodded as Teddy raised his head and looked around, but Remus distracted him and turned his attention elsewhere. Kissing him on the cheek, Remus unwound Teddy’s arms from his neck and set him down. He talked to him quietly for a few moments, asking him what he wanted to be when he grew up.

Remus’ sadness in that moment was overwhelming, and Harry suddenly felt as though he were the one intruding on a father and son moment, not the other way around. He turned away, unable to share Remus’ pain when his own was still so raw. Walking away from that particular memory, he stood by Sirius’ side, who was waiting with great agitation, checking his watch and looking up at the darkening sky. Harry did not move again until he heard Remus’ approaching footsteps, and only then did he turn and look at his son, who appeared frightened by Remus’ departure.

“John?” Teddy called out as Remus disappeared around the corner.

Looking back to Remus, Harry watched as he hunched his shoulders against the wind and walked straight past Sirius, his head bowed as he tried to hide the tears streaming down his face. Sirius followed him, but they only made it a few yards before Remus stopped in his tracks, looking to Sirius with devastation on his face.

“Please, Sirius,” he began, managing his words around his tears. “Ch-check him…please…is he alright?”

Understanding, Sirius nodded before doubling back to check on Teddy. Remus waited, wiping his face dry as he tried to compose himself. His composure lasted only a few moments, crumbling again as Sirius returned to reassure him that Teddy was now safe again. Not wasting any time, Sirius put his hand on his friend’s shoulder and instructed him to keep going, the two of them setting off towards the Forbidden Forest where Remus would be able to transform that night.

When the memory changed for the final time, Harry was standing in the Forbidden Forest, pockets of light streaming through holes in the snow covered canopy. The morning after his transformation, Remus and Sirius sat opposite each other, leaning against opposing trees in silence. They said nothing to each other, and Harry got the impression that conversation had been limited between the pair. A few moments later Remus got to his feet, vanishing the blanket that had been keeping him warm. He approached Sirius, and then held out a small vial of silver coloured memories.

“I don’t need your explanation,” Sirius said, looking at the vial as though offended by it. “Benefit of the doubt…I trust you.”

Remus gave a grim smile, the movement accentuating his exhausted features. “For Harry?”

Considering this carefully, Sirius nodded and took the vial of memories, pocketing them as he too stood up and vanished the blanket that had been keeping him warm. He was wearing the same clothing as he had the night before, the same clothing he was wearing in the present reality. There was a moment of awkward silence, neither men knowing what to say or do until Sirius made the first move. Briefly hugging Remus, he clapped him on the shoulder before walking away.

“See you next month, Moony.”

Remus nodded to himself. “See you, Padfoot.”

The memories concluded in a swirl of silvery mist which seemed to deposit Harry back to his feet in the present, the cold breeze breaking through the flimsy walls of the shed in which he stood. Looking into the penseive of memories that left him feeling as though someone had torn his insides out, Harry allowed himself a few minutes to get himself together, uncomfortably aware of the moisture in his eyes. He didn't want Sirius to see him upset, he didn't want his father to so much as acknowledge what he had just seen.

The memories had revealed a series of events that made perfect sense, events that explained what had happened to Remus to make him disappear so suddenly. The threat made against Harry and Teddy was great, one that would be acted upon with alacrity if Remus was uncooperative. Recalling the memory in which the three Werewolves had sat in wait outside of Godric's Hollow, Harry was horrified by just how close he and Ginny had come to being attacked. Remus had tried to protect them, had tried to find a way to avoid what was being asked of him. But Remus was not naive. He knew of Greyback's determination and desires. If Greyback threatened to do something, he would.

So with his death faked, Remus had joined the Werewolves, the uneasy alliance ensuring Harry’s and Teddy's safety, from Fenrir Greyback at least. In the years that had passed Remus had doubtlessly helped Fenrir expand the Werewolf infection rates, carefully selecting those to be bitten, those to be raised as Werewolves who would doubtless have the same blood lust as Greyback. The agreement had been relatively upheld by Greyback, who appeared to have placed restrictions on the Werewolves he was breeding, an unwritten rule that the Potters were never to be harmed.

With a groan, Harry sat down on the cold floor and put his head into his hands, still trying to comprehend the memories, trying to understand what Remus had done. When the threat against Harry and Teddy had escalated again, Remus had taken control, had stepped forward and placed himself into a central role. Despite knowing that the Death Eaters were going to kill Harry, Remus had done his best to protect Teddy, to ensure that he was not left in the neglectful hands of Death Eaters who wouldn't consider nor care about the harm they were inflicting on an innocent child. The fact that Teddy had been safe in the hands of his true father was difficult to understand.

Some time later Harry found the strength to get up, coming to an understanding and making a key decision. Returning to the penseive, he removed the memories that belonged to Severus Snape, the memories that would expose the truth about Harry and Voldemort. He was not quite ready to share the truth just yet, not even with Ginny. Leaving only the memories provided to him by Remus, Harry shrunk the pensieve and slipped it into his pocket, placing the dead Horcruxes back into his schoolbag and hiding them at the back of a cupboard. Wiping the moisture from his face one last time, he stepped outside and greeted Sirius with a short nod.

"So?" Sirius asked anxiously.

"When did you figure it out?"

Sirius cleared his throat. "Luther Fallacks gave me the impression...but Remus sent me an owl, trying to explain."

"What did you do about it?"

He shrugged now, unsure of how to explain. "When they let me go yesterday, I tried to track him down, tried to find Teddy myself."

"I thought you were dead," Harry said sharply.

"Sorry..."

There was a moment of uncomfortable silence before the two of them hugged, still unable to believe that it was all over.

"Look, Harry," Sirius began as they parted. "I know it's hardly over, and he'll understand if you say no...but do you think you might consid-"

"Letting him see Ted?" Harry concluded, knowing what Sirius was going to say.

He nodded. "In time...would you consider it?"

Harry smiled, knowing this was the most important decision he was ever going to make for Teddy. This decision would impact Teddy's whole life, his identity...it could not be made on a whim.

"Tell him that's never going to happen."

Walking away, Harry listened as Sirius scrambled to catch him, having not expected such an abrupt answer.

"Wait! Harry, you can't-"

"Yes, I can," he said calmly, ignoring Sirius' plea.

"He just wants a chance."

"He had his chance," Harry said, heading for the apparition point. "Four years ago when this started. What stopped him from telling us what was going on? Nothing."

"But-didn't the memories explain?"

"Yes, they explained everything except why he couldn't trust me four years ago. We could have gone into hiding together, all of us."

"No, Harry," Sirius tried to explain. "He didn't want that for Ted...he wanted him have a normal life."

"Well he's got one! At least he did until now. I'm not letting Remus ruin that and confuse him."

"But-"

"Remus made his decision," Harry concluded, reaching the apparition point and stopping. He looked Sirius in the eye. "He made his decision by himself, without trusting his friends to help him."

"Harry, you don't understand."

"I understand perfectly," Harry stated, perfectly calm. "He didn't have to do this. He made a choice. He abandoned his friends, and his son."

“He didn’t abandon anyone.”

“Yes, he did,” Harry argued with conviction. “He abandoned me as a child, and now he’s abandoned Teddy. Am I supposed to give him the chance to do it all again?”

Sirius sighed, unable to believe what he was hearing. "So after all he's done to protect both of you, you're going to do this to him in return?"

Absolutely certain of what he was doing, Harry nodded. "Remus was protecting Ted? Well so am I."

After a long moment, Sirius finally nodded. "So that's it then?"

Harry too nodded, preparing to apparate. He had been gone too long, and all he desired was to bring Teddy into his arms again, to hold him close. "We're staying at the Burrow. Teddy misses you."

Leaving their conversation at that, Harry apparated, leaving Sirius behind to comprehend the decisions that had been made.

 

 

 

 

 

A/N Don't forget to leave me details about any missing moments from this and my other stories that you would like to read about. It won't be written for a few months, but I am keeping track of requests for a rainy day when the writing bug bites.


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Onward, to Greater Things: Chapter 30 The Penseive

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