“Don’t cry, little lion. Be with me now, till the end.”
Harry Potter woke up in tears. It wasn't the first time it had happened, but it had been awhile. He had gotten used to these dreams, He’d been having them all his life, but sometimes they still managed to get him. He slowed and calmed his breathing, shutting his eyes in an effort to ignore the panic in his chest, those words ringing through his mind as they had for years in his dream. Wiping away his tears, Harry grabbed the journal from underneath his pillow, soft and wrinkled from age and use and wrote down his latest dream.
We were british soldiers. We met in the first world war and fought together. We met in the spring of 1915 and said our first I love yous in the fall, mid battle, had our first time the night after. He told me we would make it through the war and be together forever. We were seperated 3 weeks later as we were sent to different ends of the battle field and he was mortally wounded. I ran to him and held him as he left me.
I was 19, he was 25. I died 2 years later.
It was a short entry, there wasn't much to say. His life before him didn't matter, his life after was unnecessary. The only thing that mattered was his Tom, the only reason he kept his journals in the first place, stuffed thick with entry upon entry, buckled with spilled ink and tears.
He sat against his headboard for a long moment, listening to the breathing of his dorm mates. He figured he put up good enough front, but he didn’t care much for the boys in his dorm. He had seen their fates, their flaws, betrayals and some, their deaths. These lives rarely changed, he had found. In most of his dreams he was a wizard, in most of those we went to Hogwarts. Most of the time he was in gryffindor (though he had to ask specifically to be in gryffindor sometimes) and he knew that as a gryffindor he had a role to play. Befriend Ron and Hermione, start a rivalry with Malfoy, listen to Dumbledore, all so in the end he would fight Tom. His Tom.
Well, that just didn’t sit well with him. To be brought in to the wizarding world as a child, to learn his dreams weren’t just vivid, vivid nightmares, but a sign. That Tom, his Tom, wasn’t just a cruel figment of his imagination, destined to leave him again and again every night, every life. He had decided, he couldn’t just let him go again, never again, not if he could help it. So he made a plan.
He followed the designs of previous lives, but kept a close watch. In the dress shop, he introduced himself properly to Draco, made a quick friend, then sat with Ron on the train, introducing himself and pretending he hadn’t been in this same cabin on this same day countless times in his mind. In the great hall he sent a small and secret smile to Draco, he would be good to keep around.
On the stool, he asked politely to be placed in Gryffindor and with only a bit of grumbling and snark, he was placed there. He smiled as the hat yelled out and made his way down to sit. He caught Draco’s eye from across the hall, sitting between Crabbe and Goyle and sent him a small smile, that was returned in kind. He always liked befriending Draco in dreams, he was an interesting character, loyal and sensitive, hiding his conflict and mercurial nature behind his guard of slytherin cool and calm. Ron and Hermione were never that interesting, he found, they often wear their hearts on their sleeves and failed quiet spectacularly at any forms of guarding their emotions or thoughts. They were fine, of course, good friends and had his back and all but. They never did agree with him and Tom’s relationship.
He got up from his bed at that, knowing he never fell back asleep after dreaming. He replaced his dream journal and grabbed another from his trunk, silent from years and thousands of dreams of experience. He picked up a small cage from under his bed, the ugly rat inside finally having exhausted itself after screaming helplessly against the silencing charm. He knew what happened this year, how Sirius would be ripped away from him. So he caught Ron's rat at the end of last year, pretended it had run away. The boy had been sad for a few weeks but in the end the rat was more of a burden the anything else anyways.
He didn't bother showering, he only did so every few days, just dressed and tried to fix his hair a bit before he left. He had potions first on Mondays and he knew Snape was often in his office an hour or two before breakfast to speak with older students who needed extra help. It was only an hour off from breakfast (he knew well that gryffindor boys rarely woke before then) so he made his way down to the dungeons.
He wasn't exactly on friendly terms with Snape and never made the mistake of trying to be so. He knew the grudge that the man harbored, having lived with it for years before meeting the man. Despite his cruel glares and harsh teaching though, the man had saved him more times than he could count, both in his current life and through his dreams so he couldn’t exactly be mad at the man. This conversation though, would not be easy though (it never was, trying to explain how he knew things he shouldn't), mostly because he wouldn't just need to speak with Snape.
His walk to Snape's office has him shivering with nervousness, a thing he knew the man hated. While he thought he played his role well, his rough sleep and constant studying and planning made him seem waifish, shivering at the slightest cold and constantly seeming sleep deprived, the late nights and violent awakenings burning dark circles under his eyes. He knocked softly and opened quickly at the rough ‘enter’ through the door.
“Mr. Potter, what a delight.” The man’s sarcasm was slightly lacking with less than a mug of coffee in him, but Harry would never dare bring it up, “May I ask why you’ve decided to grace me with your presence before class?”
“I’m sorry to bother you sir,” He tried very hard to be polite, holding the cage behind his back, “But I need to speak with you about a very important matter.”
“Unless Mr. Weasley has yet again been poisoned by his own sorry excuse for a potion, I can’t see what could be so important.” Snape, sat back in his chair watching him.
“It is much more important, I would say, and has to do with Sirius Black.” At this, Snape surged up in his chair, but Harry resisted the urge to shrink back, “But I believe it would be best to have this conversation with Mr. Lupin present.”
“And why exactly would you need him here?” While his voice stayed the same unpleasant grumble, ire burned in his eyes at the very notion.
“I need you both to be in agreement with the course of action this conversation will lead to and you would both need to believe what I have to say.” He knew very well that Snape would eventually agree, he just had to make him see how important it was, staring into his eyes for just a moment.
Snape looked at him closely, glare cold, but eventually he saw his eyes soften, in curiosity or affection, he didn't much care to know. Nevertheless, the man turned abruptly and moved into his back office, presumably to floo call Remus. Coming back into the room, he sat back down at his desk, and continued drinking his coffee, simply ignoring Harry until Remus got there.
It took a long while, Remus’s classroom and quarters a fair distance from the dungeons, even with the secret passages at his disposal. The man looked tired and beaten, like he had been woken from his first few hours of sleep in days and rushed to dress. He knocked politely and came in at Snape’s response, obviously surprised at his sudden summon so far from the full moon, “Severus, what-”
He looked over and saw Harry then, his face melting with affection, then confusion looking between the two of them, “Did something happen?”
“Ask Mr. Potter, he seems fairly sure he has an important matter to talk to us about,” Snape sat back into his chair, keeping himself well in control despite his curiosity.
Harry took a moment to look at Remus. He had tried not to get too close to him, at least not yet. He knew what he was capable of, he was a great wizard and powerful wolf, or would be if given the chance. But here, pushed down and alone, he was pathetic. Skin and bones and scar tissue filled with chocolate and apologies to little too late. It hurt him too see. He remembered being raised by this man, growing under him and Sirius’ wings, they had saved him so many times. It was only fair he returned the favor, wasn't it?
“Remus, you have to promise not to get too upset, alright?” He waited for Remus to agree, and pulled the cage out from behind him, “Sirius never turned on my parents, Peter did.”
Remus’ confusion lasted only a moment until.he caught a whiff of the cage and saw red, “PETER?” He stood quickly, waking the rat once more and causing it to run circles in its cage, looking desperately for some way to escape the furious werewolf just feet away from it.
Severus watched them quizzically, “are you trying to tell us Mr. Potter, that this rat is actually Peter Pettigrew and that he betrayed the Potters rather than Sirius and that this never came up in his trial?”
Harry shook his head, “Sirius never had a trial, Professor. He was sent straight to Azkaban.”
At this both of the men's eyes widened. Remus looked at him, “what? Sirius… surely someone would have questioned him or given him veritaserum or-”
“No. When they caught Sirius he was put straight into holding, then to Azkaban.” Harry wished more than anything he hasn't seen the look of despair that passed over Remus’ face just then, “and before you ask, no, Dumbledore didn't do anything.”
Remus stumbled back onto his chair, looking shell shocked, pain and fury and numbness passing through him in quick succession.
“I may not have liked Black, and I do believe he deserved time in Azkaban for what he did, Remus, 12 years without a trial? That's inhumane.” Severus frowned, watching the cage with a look of pure malice.
Remus stood, shakily, talking out his want and stupefying the rat, then bringing it out of the cage. He tossed it carelessly to the ground and pointed his wand at it once more. A blue light ran through the room and they watched the ugly old rat become an ugly old man, frozen in terror on the ground.
Remus allowed a tear to slip down his cheek before his face turned to one of rage, “I should kill you. I should destroy you peter, like you've destroyed countless lives. Harry, James, Lily, Sirius, me ... How many others?” He slammed his foot down, pointing his wand into Peter’s face, “Why would you do this? We were your friends!”
Peter stammered to answer, pathetic and sniveling on about him being weak, afraid, forced to betray them, but Remus was having none of it. “Were you forced to stay in your animagus form for TWELVE YEARS while Sirius rotted?” He was about to go on when Severus stood.
“Lupin, control yourself.” He said simply and walked from behind his desk. “I’ve seen enough from the both of you.” He stupefied Peter once more and pushed Remus to sit. “If you give in and destroy the rat as he so deserves, not only will I be forced to report you to the ministry, but you won't be able to prove Black’s innocence.”
Remus nodded, face falling. “Yes, yes I know.” He wiped his face, “I lost my control for a moment.”
“Understandable as that is, it doesn't help.” Severus turned and forced Peter back into his rat form and into the cage, “If you want to actually be helpful, you will escort Mr. Potter to the great hall for breakfast and compose yourself. I will call the aurors and we will meet back here.”
While remus wasn’t particularly comfortable taking orders, and it showed, he listened, leading Harry out the door. They walked in relative silence, both looking tired and worn. Just before they reached the great hall though, Remus turned to him, as Harry knew he would.
“How- How did you know about Peter, Harry?” He asked quietly, looking around the barren hall for any sign of eavesdroppers.
Harry wished he could tell him, he really did. But that would mean explaining his plans and his dreams and everything that came with them and it just wasn't the right time. Not yet. “I can’t tell you yet, Remus, but I will soon. Just trust me, please.”
“Always, pup.” Remus smiled, but Harry could see the disappointment and curiosity in his eyes. “Well, It’s about time for breakfast, huh? Better head inside.”
Breakfast was loud and crowded and he had to listen to Ron prattle endlessly about the dementors around the edge of the castle and all the students and teachers he thought should be in azkaban, a surprising number if you’d never met the kid. It may seem rude, Ron was his friend and all, but after thousands of lifetimes of the same prattling, it gets tiresome. So he excused himself a few minutes early, saying he had to get some work done. Ron looked at him strangely, but Hermione congratulated him, telling him to ask her if he needed any help.
Instead, he slunk to the library to meet with Draco and Luna. Draco had been a valuable friend over the years, he was the first one he told about his dreams who believed him and tried to help and after hearing about his treatment at the Dursleys, had taken it upon himself to sneak him into his manor over holidays. He did his best to help him in his plans to get to Tom and part of that was introducing him to his cousin Luna.
He had met luna in his dreams, the dreamy seer who knew so much more than people gave her credit for. She always looked at him with such sad eyes, seemed to know his troubles before he had the chance to say a word and this Luna was no exception. She met him with teary eyes and an apology for everything he had been through, the loss and pain. She explained his dreams as best she could, that he was a kind of seer, watching himself through timelines and dimensions, and he believed her. She hung around him every chance he could be away from Ron and Hermione, advising him and helping anyway she could.
With his dreams of what came before, Luna's knowledge of the future and Draco's power now, they had been slowly planning and orchestrating as best as they could the day he would be with Tom again.
“The rat is gone,” Harry spoke as he sat at their usual table, tucked away so deep behind the thick shelves even Pince would have a hard time finding them. “Just as it was written.”
“Well, the next part will be easy. I’ve seen the hound on the edge of the forest, watching the castle for days now.” Luna smiled, sitting criss cross and barefoot in her seat. “Now we just need to catch him before the dementors do.”
“How long until they’re cleared out?” He looked to Draco, who was writing quick notes in his own journal.
“With severus on it? No longer than dinner time.” Draco looked up from his journal, “What did you tell Them?”
“Severus didn’t get the chance to ask, but I told Remus I would tell him eventually. And I will.” Harry shrugged, “Any news on Him?”
“Just vague mentions of a temporary host, but father did say we would be preparing for a guest over the summer.” he flipped to a different page, “Have you figured anything out on the bind?”
“Not technically, no. I found that soul bonding book in your fathers study, but I wasn’t able to take it.” Harry grimaced. He was only technically allowed through the Malfoy wards because he was an invited guest, but he couldn't let Narcissa and Lucius know he was there. He had seen them to many great and terrible things in the name of their family and lord and he didn't want to know whether or not they’d be very accepting of him staying over the holidays. “Luna, have you finished transcribing the spell for next year?”
“Oh, just nearly! I’m stuck on a translation near the bottom, I can't tell whether it reads ‘honorably taken’ or ‘willingly taken’ and I’m not sure if the different will mess up the spell.” She pulled her own journal and showed him the last few pages of her translations, “I’m getting my dad to help, I think a new set of eyes will help get the wrackspurts away.”
“No doubt, Luna, I know you can do it.” Harry laid his head in his hands and close his eyes, allowing himself a moment of rest after a fairly stressful morning. He always hated having to do things himself, he much preferred putting things in motion from behind the scenes. He knows Tom is much the same, not afraid to get his hands dirty, but loving to tug the strings from above, orchestrating those below him with his words and presence alone. It was one of the things he always loved about him.
Through the maze of shelves shielding them from prying eyes, they head the bell signalling the start of their first class, but they stayed there they were, listening to the muffled sound of chairs scraping and tired feet padding off to class. After a long moment, They grabbed their things and walked out, moving silently through the shelves to avoid the gaze of Madam Pince until they were already at the door. They moved through mostly empty halls, only the occasional upperclassman with a free period to be seen. The three walked out in the direction of Hagrid's hut but skirted past it, following the edge of the forest. Now, to find Sirius Black.