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worth a thousand words

Chapter Text

There was a knock on Remus’s office door. It was very hesitant and quiet, as if the person on the other side of the door wasn’t completely sure that they actually wanted to get to him.

Remus wouldn’t have heard it had he been an actual human, but he wasn’t and thus he was presented with the chance to help a scared student in need of help.

(like he himself had been not that long ago)

“Come in,” he called towards the door as he looked up, laid the quill he had been using to correct the assignments of the fifth years to the side and closed the ink pot.

The door opened slowly and only just far enough that a very thin person—possibly too thin, actually—student could squeeze themselves through it.

Even if the first week of the school had only just passed, Remus didn’t need to think for a single second to recognize the student in front of him.

“Mr. Potter,” he greeted, but barely stopping himself from using the boy’s first name. “How can I help you?”

The boy (his nephew in all but blood, once upon a time) spoke softly enough that his voice would be easily missed. This was not the courageous boy that Minerva had told him of but not the troublemaker Severus saw in him. He looked more like a kicked puppy than anything else, really. He was clutching an old notebook—it looked oddly familiar to Remus, the way that the pages looked really worn and used and the little photographs sticking out—like his life depended on it.

He didn’t look like he would speak anytime soon, but it was more than obvious that he needed help with something.

“How about you take a seat first and I go and prepare some hot chocolate? It’s Saturday after all, and too early in the school year for you to have Quidditch or be in desperate need to finish some overdue homework.”

Harry gave Ramus a weak smile as he sat down. “Actually, Oliver—Wood, a seventh year,” he clarified, “he woke up us at dawn to train.”

“Already?” Remus asked as he swished his wanda couple of times. Two cups of hot chocolate began to prepare itself. “Isn’t it a bit too early for that? It’s only the first week of school, after all. The Cup won’t be for months, now. Do you have anything against almond milk? I’ve developed a taste for it.”

“He wants to go professional and hasn’t won a Cup yet, even if we should have, were it not for,” Harry winced, “certain incidents. As for the milk, I never had it before,” Harry admitted.

“Allergies?”

Harry shrugged his shoulders. “Not that I know of.”

“Well, if the worst comes to the worst, we’ll rush you to Madam Pomfrey. Sometimes you need to take a few risks in life.” Just as he said that, the cups were slowly floating towards them, as if Remus had timed it. Which honestly, he wished he had, but claiming it would be  a lie (and lies he had more than enough of).

Harry waited until Remus himself had taken a sip before he, too, tried it. “It’s good.”

“Thank you. If there’s one thing I pride myself on, it’s probably my hot chocolate.” It was only half a joke, but it was enough to make Harry laugh a bit more. It seemed like he was now in a good enough mood to talk about what had brought him to Remus’s office.

“You see, Professor, after the training, I was walking through the castle, letting my mind wander, because, well, I need to be alone for a bit. My thoughts drifted to… well, that’s not actually relevant, but to my parents and how I barely know anything about them. I was on the seventh floor or so, I think, when I noticed a door that I hadn’t seen before. I, er, opened it and inside I found this book.”

It was only now that the boy stopped clutching the notebook and placed it on the table. And then it dawned on Remus why it had looked so familiar. It had been James’s notebook, all the way back when they had been in school until he had lost it on their very last day in the castle. Prongs had made a note of everything in there, from pranks, over jokes, right to the ridiculous plans to win him Lily and…

No, it was better not to think about the other one.

“I looked at it, because a photo fell onto me as I was walking by—those shelves were more than full, honestly, there was so much stuff in there, someone really needs to sort through it—and this man looks like me.” At some point, Harry had taken out a picture of the Marauders and Lily in the winter of their seventh year—taken by Lily, she had been obsessed with making pictures around that time—and was pointing to…

Sirius. Harry was pointing to Sirius. This was not where he had pictured that conversation going.

“But, here, on the back, it says ‘Peter, Remus, Sirius, James, and me - December 1977’. So that man would be Sirius. But everyone says that my father’s name was James and also that I look like him with my mother’s eyes.” He motioned to Lily whose eyes were unmistakably just like Harry’s own. “And I guess that I kind of look like James here, but more like Sirius. Like, my nose and my cheekbones,” he motioned to both himself and the picture—and he wasn’t wrong, they really shared these features—before he looked up, right into Remus’s eyes.

It was only then that the man realized that he hadn’t moved for a while now.

“Professor, you are also in the picture, so you must have known them. Is what my aunt told me true? Did my Mom really cheat on my Dad with his best friend? And is that Sirius Black?”

Remus blinked and shook his head slightly in confusion. What had Petunia told the boy? How had he gotten in his head that that was something Lily would have considered doing? And, most importantly, why did Harry look like he was about to cry.

Remus sighed. “Yes, that is Sirius Black. But your mother didn’t cheat on James, Harry.”

“Well, I bloody well don’t understand why I look like Black then, Professor,” he exclaimed, standing up and slamming his hands on the table. Then, he seemed to realize what he had just done. “Er, I’m sorry.”

“No, I understand. Sometimes, not knowing or understanding is frustrating and you need to get it out somehow. There are more important things we need to talk about. If you would please sit down, again, I believe that this may take a while to explain.”